Politics & the Nation
  • Equal opportunities commission
    • The constitution of such a commission is under consideration for quite some time. It's expected to look into grievances from groups; rather than individuals.
    • Look at the minister speak on this:
      • After the third tier of decentralization through panchayats, the commission will provide for substantial equality, as against one that is in response to court decisions. Through the commission, it will be possible to ensure equality in a holistic manner, which would pre-empt conflict that gets into courts.
  • With Azhagiri accommodated in Cabinet, can Stalin be far behind?
    • This is what precisely happened. Stalin gets elevated as Deputy CM in Tamilnadu. This is a development that is on the expected lines.
Finance & Economy
  • Good news on economy front
    • The Indian economy grew at higher than expected 5.8% in the quarter to March. This was on the back of strong growth registered in services and agriculture.
    • The country registered an impressive 6.7% growth in fiscal 2008-09. Perhaps it may grow faster in the current fiscal.
    • The optimism is bolstered by signs recovery / good news seen across the globe. Japan's industrial production jumped the most in 56 years in April while in UK house prices jumped unexpectedly in May. German retail sales climbed the most in four months. Even in US, its economy did less badly than expected in the first quarter. It contracted by 5.7% instead of the forecast 6.1%.
    • The escalation in government expenditure though has resulted in the fiscal deficit touching the 6.2% mark of the revised GDP. If you take the off-budget subsidies into account, this figure could very well touch about 13% of the GDP.
    • Even the forex reserves have hit a one year high of $260.6 bn during the week ended May 22.
  • Remember the small paragraph answers that you gave on monsoons as a kid?
    • Let's relive them.
    • Monsoon rains are key to cultivation of kharif crops, which account for nearly 60% of the country's farm output. About 235 mn farmers are dependent on monsoon rains for reaping a good harvest. The monsoon also replenishes water levels in reservoirs, aiding irrigation and hydel power generation.
  • Goa's Feni gets GI status
    • Feni, you might know, is basically manufactured from cashew fruits; though it is also manufactured from coconut palms. But it is the cashew feni that is distinctly Goan. Feni comes under the category of 'country liquor.'
    • Now this has got the GI status It joins the ranks of Darjeeling Tea, Mysore Sandalwood and Scotch Whisky.
    • With this the product can be registered internationally and only Goa will have the right to produce Feni. The GI certificate currently assigned to Feni is valid for 10 years.
    • GI certificate lends authenticity on the unique properties a region could offer to a product, such as weather and water that could not be replicated in any other part of the world.
    • Feni is manufactured by what is called the 'postal method.' It essentially involves a three tier distillation process.
  • MVNOs finally get the government nod
    • THE Telecom Commission, the highest decision making body of the communications ministry, on Thursday cleared the proposal to allow mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to launch operations in India.
    • MVNOs offer mobile services without owning cellular networks or airwaves (spectrum) on which telecom signals travel. Their business model involves buying airtime from existing operators that own telecom infrastructure and selling it to consumers under their own brand.
    • However, the Commission said that MVNOs cannot go for multiple pareinting in India. This means, an MVNO can tie-up with only one operator in an area for their services. But operators can have tie-ups with any number of MVNOs.
    • MVNOs would be given licences for a 20 year period.
  • What is the G4?
    • It is the group of four countries -- India, Germany, Brazil and Japan. This grouping is about securing permanent seat on the UN's Security Council alongside the P5 -- the permanent five.
  • For a country of the size of North Korea, what size could its military be?
    • It is 1.2 mn strong!!
    • Now you know what is meant by a militarist state?
Language lessons
  • affray: Noun
    • Noisy quarrel; a noisy fight.
    • eg: They have been charged with offences including affray, intentionally causing injury...