Politics & the Nation
  • Maharashtra DGP selection process found fault with by the Court
    • The Bombay High Court set aside the appointment of Anami Roy as Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) observing that the selection process was “arbitrary” and in violation of the constitutional principle of equality and the Supreme Court’s guidelines. It asked the state government to find a new DGP within four weeks.
    • The SC had said that for the purpose of selection, the Union Public Service Commission should first form a panel of eligible officers and the state can appoint one of them as DGP. No empanellement was ever done in this case nor did the state request the UPSC to form a panel, the court noted.
  • Boys, now you get a chance to see your corrected answer sheets
    • The Calcutta High Court ruled that students have a right to see their corrected answer sheets.
    • Though this may increase the workload of colleges and universities, the haughtiness that some of these institutions have come to acquire will take a beating now.
  • Supreme Court throws up its hands on the state of judiciary in the country
Finance & Economics
  • What is PAYD insurance?
    • It is the name given to usage-based insurance for motor vehicles.  It is all set to debut in the Indian motor insurance market soon, as the country joins developed nations such as the United States, Europe and Japan in introducing this pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) insurance. 
    • Customers opting for this usage-based insurance will be asked to shell out an advance premium and indicate the number of kilometres they are likely to drive during the period of the cover, usually one year. Once the originally indicated distance is travelled, customers will have the option of topping it up further, and if the distance is less, the customer is refunded the extra payment. 
    • A PAYD system has mixed success globally. Customers who joined had a gadget fitted inside their cars which constantly fed back data on where and when they were driving using satellite technology. This was found too intrusive by some customers. 
  • A very good criticism of the US banking bailouts
    • Writing about the US public anger over bank bailouts, today's ET pens these words: "...a system where profits are private but losses are public cannot be allowed to continue."
    • Good one.
  • Inflation dives to 5.07%
    • This time it is cheaper food and metals that have contributed to the fall.  This gives lot of comfort for the government.  It may prompt it to go for another rate cut on the cushion provided by this.
    • But it is a tough call.  Let's wait and see, what the government does.
  • External borrowings come down
    • In the period October-December 2008, inflows through external commercial borrowings (ECB) and foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCB) were only $4.5 billion against $8.1 billion in the corresponding period a year ago. In December 2008, companies raised $1.7 billion against $2.3 billion in the same month a year ago. 
  • Credit offtake nosedives; Government is alarmed
    • The non-food credit from banks slipped 98% to a meagre Rs 412 crore during the fortnight ended January 16 compared with Rs 18,162 crore in the previous 15 days. 
    • The finance ministry is obviously worried at this trend and has asked banks to explain this humungous fall.
  • An estimate of the Asian potential in the current downturn
    • The Asian region has some real opportunities of further consolidating their rapid growth and making it more sustainable by creating a regional mechanism for productive deployment of their foreign exchange reserves. In view of the combined foreign exchange reserves of over $4 trillion, even a very small proportion of these reserves pooled in a regional mechanism for funding infrastructure investment has the potential of creating an additional demand which could be critical in moderating the impact of the downturn in the western world. 
    • It could also provide the countries in the region balance-of-payment support and facilitate intra-regional trade by creating a unit of account such as an Asian currency unit. 
  • Cricket
    • Even as India has thrashed Sri Lanka yet again in the fourth one-dayer, action in the auctions for IPL season II is slated to be in full swing today.
    • Let us hope India wins the 5th one-dayer also and becomes the top cricket team in the world.  I am told that if it wins the fifth one-dayer also, it will become so.
Language lessons
  • trope: Noun. Language used in a figurative or nonliteral sense
    • eg: This is a genuine awakening born out of some time in the political wilderness — quite the sanyasi trope endemic to us.