Politics & the Nation
  • The Yashpal Committee report and education reform in India
    • Much is being heard about this because of the announcement by Kapil Sibal, the Union HRD Minister, to implementation the key recommendations of this committee within the first 100 days in office of the new UPA government.
    • We suggest that you take a look at the report first. Download it from the link given above. Today's ET editorial argues that privatisation of education should not be viewed with suspicion. We are in favour of such an approach. Read today's ET editorial on the subject. Some solid reasoning.
  • Leiberhan Commission submits report to PM
    • Seventeen years after it was set up, the Liberhan Commission probing the 1992 demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya submitted its report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
    • The Commission had got 48 extensions since it was set up.
    • Set up within ten days of the demolition of the historic mosque on December 6, 1992, which triggered widespread communal violence leading to heavy loss of lives, the panel has become the country's longest serving Commission of Enquiry.
    • The Commission was mandated to inquire into the circumstances leading to the demolition of the Babri mosque. It was to submit its report by March 16, 1993 but sought repeated extensions to complete its probe.
  • On neoliberalism
    • One of you have been asking about it in the shout-box for some time.
    • Neoliberalism is about advocating free market prinicples and welfare economics. The central principle of neoliberal policy is a noninterventionist "free market".
    • In the United States, neoliberalism can also refer to a political movement in which members of the American left and right, but especially within Republican rank-and-file endorse free market positions, such as free market economics and welfare reform.
    • Neoliberalism seeks to transfer part of the control of the economy from public to the private sector, to bring a more efficient government and to improve economic indicators of the nation. The definitive statement of the concrete policies advocated by neoliberalism is often taken to be John Williamson's "Washington Consensus."
    • You can read more about in wikipedia here.

Finance & Economics
  • Credit Default Swaps (CDS) to appear in India?
    • The RBI is reportedly toying with the idea of introducing CDS in Indian markets.
    • CDS is a derivative instrument that has been blamed for the global financial crisis. Put simply, a CDS is a bilateral contract, wherein a buyer makes a payment to a seller in exchange for a payoff, if an underlying financial instrument has exposure to defaults. For instance, by buying a CDS, a bank could protect itself against losses on a security such as a bond, if the bond issuer defaults on a coupon payment.
    • It’s not the first time though that CDS against Indian companies will hit the market. CDS of Indian companies such as ICICI Bank, Tata Motors, Reliance Industries are routinely traded in the US and some Asian markets. These cover the credit risk on debt issued in the international markets. The RBI is looking at CDS for debt issued in the domestic market.
  • Don'g write off Ayurveda as a traditional system; it is going places now.
    • The estimated size for ayurveda or herbal healthcare in India is pegged at around Rs 4,000 crore, expanding at 35-40% annually, even though services with ayurveda at its core would be just about Rs 300 crore.
  • Bandra Worli sea link in Mumbai is being celebrated
    • This much awaited sea link is now being thrown open to traffic. Some salient features of the bridge:
      • First such sea link in India
      • First Cable Stayed Bridge of 500 mtr length in India
      • 5.6 km long bridge
      • Four lanes on each side
      • Modern toll plaza
      • Separate lane for BEST buses in each direction
      • Height of the main pylon is 130 mtr, which is equivalent to a 60 storied building Weight of the bridge is equivalent to 50,000 African elephants, each weighing at least 5 tones each.
      • 20,00,000 cement bags were used for this bridge
      • The total length of the bridge is approximately equivalent to the circumference of Earth, around 40,000 km
      • 35,000 M tonnes of steel was used in the project
      • It is noted as one of the miracles out of ten by American Journal Business Week The bridge will be extended from Worli to Haji Ali and then to Nariman point. Constructed by contractor M/s Hindustan Construction Co for MSRDC
      • The Hercules, one of the largest water cranes in the world, was used during the final phase of this project.
Language lessons
  • bespeak: Verb
    • Be a signal for or a symptom of; Express the need or desire for; ask for
    • eg: That a regulated society like the US allows this kind of excess bespeaks laxness in crucial quarters.
  • foible: Noun
    • A behavioral attribute that is distinctive and peculiar to an individual
    • Synonyms: idiosyncracies; mannerisms.