Politics & the Nation
  • Nandan Nilekani to head UIAI
    • Nandan Nilekani, the co-chairman of Infosys and one of corporate India’s proudest names, was hand-picked by the prime minister to head an ambitious project to provide every citizen with a unique national ID by 2011.
    • Soon after he was named chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIAI), a post that carries the rank of cabinet minister, Mr Nilekani resigned as the co-chairman of the board of directors in Infosys.
  • The spread of left wing extremism
    • Left wing extremism has spread from 53 districts across nine states in 2001 to 252 districts across eighteen states in a short span of eight years.
  • Centre plans to do away with Class X exams
    • As part of the 100 day agenda, the government is reported to be doing away with Calss X exams for students. Since there are over 40 Secondary School Boards in the country, almost all of them being in state jurisdiction, the Centre may not find its idea being easily accepted. But it nevertheless is reportedly going ahead with it in the Central Board i.e., CBSE.
    • The HRD minister Kapil Sibal is reportedly in favour of scrapping even the exams at plus two stage. The idea being that exams at plus two stage prepare a student only for college education and that this objective can be equally met by conducting an all India level entrance exam for graduate studies.
    • There can be quite divergent views on this. What is your take?
Finance & Economy
  • Oil price reform?
    • The government is reportedly toying with the idea of giving some modicum of freedom to oil companies in retail petro pricing, as part of the budget proposals.
    • What is being suggested is that oil companies — IOC, HPCL and BPCL — that now sell fuel at government-controlled prices, will have the freedom to price the fuel within a certain band. But if crude oil moves up beyond a level (recommended level of $75 a barrel), the government would step in with controlled prices at the pump level to protect consumers from the impact of high global prices.
    • The government had to issue over Rs 71,000 crore oil bonds in 2008-09, a jump of over 100% from the previous financial year, to compensate the revenue loss state-owned OMCs for selling fuel below the cost. Total revenue loss of these companies also jumped by about 34% at around Rs 103,000 crore in FY09 and the upstream companies had to fill the gap of about Rs 32,000 crore to save these oil companies.
  • Railways can afford to be ethical
    • Though we have all been pleasantly surprised by the superb performance put up by Indian Railways under Lalu Yadav, there remained some nagging doubts about how he pulled it off. For mortals like us, it would almost be impossible to have our doubts clarified. But this piece that appeared in today's ET gives a very good peek into how the superlative performance was achieved. Take a look. Worth a read.
  • Food Security Act
    • The Centre is likely to clear the Food Security Act, statutorily guaranteeing 25 kgs of foodgrain to the neediest consumers at a price of Rs 3 per kg, by early next year. The Bill is slated to come up in the winter session of Parliament.
  • One Person Companies (OPC)
    • A bill allowing for incorporation of OPCs is likely to be tabled in the budget session of Parliament.
    • By definition the OPC is a one-shareholder separate corporate entity that recognises a promoter and is expected to ease start-up formalities for prospective entrepreneurs and professionals with the benefit of limited liability and minimal compliances.
    • The OPC would make the management and corporate structure a lot easier for an entrepreneur to work in. Further, the existing sole proprietor firms can convert themselves to OPCs with the benefits of limited liability and minimal compliance.
    • The concept of the OPC is prevalent in most foreign countries, such as the US, the UK, Australia, Singapore and China. In India, the concept was proposed to provide for a simpler legal and operational framework for single entrepreneurs by the Expert Committee on Company Law under the chairmanship of Dr JJ Irani. The committee recommended allowing OPCs to provide a simpler compliance regime for small companies. In the UK, Australia, Singapore and Pakistan, a single person is capable of forming a private limited company, which may be limited by shares or guarantee. Such single-member companies need to have only one director, who may also be the company secretary. In the US, several states permit the formation and operation of a single-member limited liability company. The amended law in China prescribes that the owner should pay the capital of 1,00,000 yuan at one time and bars him from opening a second company of the same kind.
Language lessons
  • infatuation: Noun
    • A foolish and usually extravagant passion or love or admiration; Temporary love of an adolescent; An object of extravagant short-lived passion
    • eg: There is, for a region boasting some of the biggest democracies in the world, this peculiar infatuation with looking around for something or someone to impose a ban on.
  • wondrous
    • Adjective: Extraordinarily good or great; used especially as an intensifier;
    • Adverb: (used as an intensifier) extremely well
  • penitent: Adjective
    • Feeling or expressing remorse for misdeeds
  • mea culpa: Adjective
    • An acknowledgment of your error or guilt