Politics & the Nation
  • About MAC and NCTC
    • Following the Mumbai terror attacks a multi-agency centre (MAC) is operating 24x7 to collate terror-related information.
    • To supplement this another agency -- the NCTC (National Counter Terrorism Centre) is proposed to be set up to draw up operational plans to counter the 'specific' terror threats.  It will also oversee the implementation of these action plans in close coordination with the Central and state police agencies.  It is expected to have due representation of intelligence agencies, Central paramilitary forces and Army.
    • However, the NCTC proposal is still in a nascent stage and the new government will be discussing its possible legal backup with the law ministry. The options available include a special Act to empower the NCTC to plan and oversee counter-operations against terror or its creation by an executive decision. 
  • Nepal to choose a new Prime Minister
    • After obstructing parliament for three weeks, Nepal’s Maoist party finally allowed the house to convene yesterday with caretaker prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda making an impassioned valedictory address, in which he blamed neighbour India, Nepal’s president Ram Baran Yadav, his allies and the army chief, Gen Rookmangud Katawal and warned of a catastrophe in the days to come. 
    • The address paves the way for the election of a new Prime Minister today when the 601-member house meets for the purpose.
    • Prachanda accused New Delhi of basing its relations with Khatmandu on the humiliating Sugauli Treaty signed between Nepal and the British East India Company in 1816, which forced Nepal to concede about a third of its land. He further said that New Delhi had failed to upgrade its ties even after the sea change that overtook Nepal following the Maoist insurgency and the fall of monarchy. 
Finance & Economy
  • Flagship schemes to get a regulator?
    • The new government is reportedly toying with the idea of settiup an independent regulator to monitor the progress of key flagship programmes and submit quarterly reports, as it tries to ensure that the funds earmarked for such social sector schemes reach the intended targets in a timely and efficient manner. 
    • The importance of this proposal arises from the fact that roughly a quarter of the Rs 1,20,000-crore allotted for these schemes in the last fiscal had remained unspent, and the UPA political leadership believes that an independent and autonomous regulator will be able to analyse reasons for this and suggest solutions. 
    • Officials in the finance ministry and the ministry of statistics and programme implementation are reportedly chalking out the contours of this new body, slated to be in place within 100 days of the new government taking charge. 
  • Bank of Japan (BoJ) Governor: Masaaki Shirakawa
Language lessons
  • jettison: verb
    • Throw away, of something encumbering; Throw as from an aeroplane
  • egregious: adjective
    • Conspicuously and outrageously bad or reprehensible
    • eg: "an egregious lie"