Politics & the Nation
  • What are the measures required in the long term to arrest the militancy -- especially in the North East.
    • In a very good article Raghunathan outlines some of the measures for us:
    • First, the central as well as the state governments must turn their ‘guns’ on corruption at every level.
    • Second, these regions (backward regions) need enormous and urgent investments in basic infrastructure of surface roads, water, power, schools, health centres and connectivity with mainstream India. To ensure that leakage of these funds is kept to the minimum, the government may consider setting up a central government commission, which will oversee these projects directly, with proper security cover for the workers of the projects.
    • Third, these regions could be opened up for adventure tourism, at least in limited areas, to create some quick employment.
    • Fourth, corporates could be provided special tax breaks for setting up their CSR or employment-generating activities in these areas. The CSR activities could primarily be in the area of education, heatlh and capacity building through vocational training.
    • Fifth, capacity building, design inputs and marketing linkages to market the unique and fine handicrafts of the region.
    • Recommend a read of the article at least once.
Finance & Economy
  • Disinvestment proceeds to go into NIF
    • The government said the disinvestment proceeds of public sector NHPC and Oil India Ltd (OIL) would be credited to the National Investment Fund (NIF), and ruled out any plan to restructure the fund.
    • Under the existing guidelines, the disinvestment proceeds are deposited in the NIF, which is managed by three public sector mutual funds—UTI Asset Management Company, SBI Funds Management and LIC Mutual Fund Asset Management Company.
    • The NIF currently has a corpus of Rs 1,815 crore. It generated an income of Rs 85 crore in the first year.
  • FTA with ASEAN gets cabinet nod
    • The Union Cabinet has cleared the free trade agreement (FTA) between India and ASEAN, a grouping of 10 southeast Asian nations, despite concerns over its possible impact on the country’s farmers.
    • As per the agreement, duties on 4,000 items out of the 5,000 odd items traded between the two sides will be brought down to levels ranging between 0% and 4% over six years. While 479 items (comprising mostly agricultural products from India’s side) will be shielded from tariff cuts, duties on products marked as sensitive (like garments and automobiles), will be reduced to 5% over 3-9 years.
    • ASEAN is India’s fourth-largest trading partner after the EU, US and China. Indo-Asean trade, which has been growing at a compounded annual rate of 27%, stood at $38.37 billion in 2007-08.
  • Sea food exports take a plunge on rejections by EU
    • India's sea food exports are increasingly being rejected by EU. There have been nearly 24 export rejections by the EU so far since January 2009. While nearly 19 rejections have been with respect to scampi, about 20 to 21 were in the consignments from Andhra Pradesh.
    • Almost all the rejection was due to the use of nitrofuran, a banned antibiotic, which the farmers are using in the hatcheries and farms.
    • The aquaculture production in general, including scampi and shrimp, has seen a decline due to global economic slowdown and the fall in prices of shrimp, incidence of diseases in the farms, supply of poor quality seeds, etc are the other reasons for the general decline of aquaculture in the country.
    • Faced with a spate of export rejections and slack demand, the production of scampi or the freshwater shrimp has registered a 53% fall to 12,806 tonnes in 2008-09 and that compared with the previous year. The estimated value of scampi fell by 52% and stood at Rs 205 crore.
  • AP experiments with co-operative farming
    • Co-operative farming will be the new mantra for boosting farm sector growth in Andhra Pradesh, the rice bowl of India.
    • While the nuts and bolts of the scheme will be firm up soon, the plan revolves around transferring the farmer’s land and land owning rights to a cooperative. The state government proposes to allow farmers to sell their shares to the existing members of the co-operative. And if existing members do not wish to buy the share, government will buy the share at a pre-defined market price.
    • The cooperative scheme is going to be tried on an experimental basis in two villages of every district in the state.
    • Agricultural growth in the state over the past five years topped 6.4%, surpassing the national average of 4%. Thanks to the increase in output, the state has become the second largest contributor of food-stocks to the national pool.
    • AP’s foodgrain production records an average annual growth rate 8.9% for the period 2004-09, as against the nation’s 1.9%
    • State contributes about 60% of total rice production to the national rice pool
Language lessons
  • kibitz: Verb
    • Make unwanted and intrusive comments
  • hookey: Noun
    • Failure to attend (especially school)
  • goof: Verb
    • (informal) spend time not doing much; fool around; Commit a faux pas or a fault or make a serious mistake


Anonymous said...

Hello sir,
I think..the LINK given for the first point is directed to some other article.Could you give us the correct link? I couldn't find it.

icamaven said...

Sorry guys, just now corrected it. Thanks for pointing it out.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much!