Politics & the Nation
  • The PM did well in demanding that Pakistan act first before expecting resumption of talks
    • On the sidelines of the NAM summit in Egypt, the PM made it clear to his counterpart that talks -- whether composite dialogue or otherwise -- can only begin in earnest only when India is satisfied that Pakistan has stopped sponsoring terrorism. To this the Pak PM was reported as saying: “You test us. We will work with India to prevent such things from happening again.”
    • Let us wait and see what happens next. Pakistan's government, including its army should realize that proxy war through sponsoring of terrorist activities cannot be the basis for furthering Pakistan's interests. Pakistan needs as much international help as it can get to put its house in order. India's consistent stand and restrained behaviour appear to have paid off in the medium term -- soon after the Mumbai attack -- in making the international community see India as a big victim of terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil.
  • US also says that the nuclear deal is on track despite G8 musings; US to get two nuclear park sites in India
    • In spite of the ruffled feathers that the G8 declaration caused here back in India, the US has categorically stated that the civil nuclear deal signed with India is very much on track and that the restrictions sought to be imposed by the G8 thinking will not impact India.
    • The US is going to press India during Hillary Clinton's visit for nuclear park facilities at two sites in the country. India is going to grant them the same to facilitate nuclear trade with India. The two sites will be used by US companies to locate reactors and sell reactors to the Indians. The sites are going to be located in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, if reports are to be believed.
Finance & Economy
  • Pope's veiled comment on outsourcing raises India Inc's hackles
    • The Holy Father’s gentle nudge to his flock to watch out for unholy ghosts lurking in the free market is putting the fear of God in India’s $50-billion outsourcing industry.
    • Pope Benedict XVI’s Encyclical released last week raised pointed questions on the adverse impact of outsourcing, although it steered clear of addressing the issue in region or religion-specific terms.
    • India’s outsourcing sector, which counts top global corporations as its customers and is up against rising protectionist clamour in the US, was quick to react, citing the inevitability of outsourcing in the era of globalisation and the importance of seeing business as what it is: business.
    • BTW do you know what is an encyclical? Look at today's language lessons section below.
    • Even as the Pope's letter was sinking into India Inc, UK’S biggest phone firm British Telecom (BT) announced that it will move back some 4,000 call centre jobs outsourced to Indian service providers, as the company seeks to ensure more employment opportunities for British workers and protect jobs of those employed directly by the company.
    • Both Infosys and Tech Mahindra, which count BT as one of their top customers, are expected to see a decline in back office outsourcing business from the phone firm.
  • We all know that the Air India is finding itself in a mess now. If you are asked to state some solutions to pull it out of the morass that it is finding itself in, will your suggestions tally with the following ones given in today's ET editorial?
    • The issue of bloated work force. It should have the freedom to shed workers and alter their generous salary terms.
    • The government must also decide urgently on the bailout package sought by the airline.
    • The airline needs to be given the freedom to be run on commercial lines. An important element of that is bringing in professionals at the top and not babus who may lack the domain knowledge to run a large airline.
    • A stock exchange listing would also help as regular disclosures, as opposed to infrequent information revealed to Parliament, would increase transparency and perhaps create pressure to effect change.
  • Class action suits in India
    • We have rarely seen such suits in India thus far. But a recent SEBI's decision is going the change this, in so far as class action suits against companies by investors is concerned.
    • In a first of its kind SEBI decided to fund a domestic investors’ association that has filed a class action suit against Satyam Computers, its former promoters, auditors and directors. The lawsuit is seeking compensation from Satyam and the parties involved for the losses these investors incurred in its stock price crash, after an accounting fraud came into light in January 2009.
    • The class action suit, which is a collective lawsuit presented by a representative-member before a court on behalf of a large number of investors, has been filed by New Delhi-based Midas Touch Investor Association in the Supreme Court. Midas, which represents three lakh investors, collectively holds nine crore shares of Satyam.
    • The market regulator will use the investor protection and education fund of Rs 15 crore, which has so far been used to sponsor investor education programmes, to fund Midas. The association will be reimbursed 75% of the total expenditure on legal proceedings that it will incur.
  • India-ASEAN FTA reached?
    • India and the ASEAN countries have reportedly finalised the free trade agreement (FTA). The text of the trade-in-goods agreement has already been finalised while discussions on agreements in investment and services will start soon. If true, it will be only a matter of time before the member countries of ASEAN and India get their cabinets to approve the agreement before it is inked.
    • The signing of the India-ASEAN FTA, which has been delayed due to a variety of reasons, was discussed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s meeting with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Abdul Razak on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Egypt.
    • Under the agreement, duties on 4,000 items will be brought down over a period of six years.
    • The 10 Asean members are Brunei, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.
Language lessons
  • encyclical: Noun
    • A letter from the pope sent to all Roman Catholic bishops throughout the world
    • Adjective: Intended for wide distribution
  • mirth: Noun
    • Great merriment
  • middling: Adjective
    • Lacking exceptional quality or ability
  • conflate: Verb
    • Mix together different elements