Politics & the Nation
  • Indian nationals only as COOs of telecom companies?
    • Intelligence agencies now want all telecom companies to have resident Indians as chief operating officers as they want the communication ministry to tighten security norms for an industry that is witnessing a great influx of foreign companies.
    • Intelligence agencies also called for stricter norms for remote access, or the provision to monitor data and voice traffic on cellular networks from remote locations in India and abroad.
    • At present, only the chief officer in charge of networks needs to be a resident Indian citizen, while foreigners can hold all other key positions in a telco such as chairman, MD, CEO and CFO, subject to clearance from the home ministry on a yearly basis.
    • Any request for interception will have to be cleared either by the COO, chief technology officer or a technical network officer not less in position than the vice-president, who must also be an Indian citizen.
  • On delays in government projects:
    • The ministry of statistics and programme implementation monitors for the prime minister’s office central sector projects costing more than Rs 500 crore.
    • The latest report for the period ending March 2009 shows that of the 187 such projects, 84 are faced with time overrun, 87 cost overrun and 47 both.
    • Ever-changing policy, delays in land acquisition, time-consuming clearances, energy linkages for power projects, and skills shortage are largely the reasons why infrastructure projects get delayed.
    • Even the seemingly foolproof projects, awarded through competitive bidding, have run into delays as the bidders have bid aggressively, often under the assumption that they would be able to get policy tweaked later.
    • Will more monitoring help? 'No' argues today's ET editorial on the subject.
Finance & Economy
  • Algo trading gives brokers the jitters
    • Read this article. It explains how algo trading is giving jobbers a tough time. But it would be too soon to write off jobbers altogether.
  • What are 'bilaterals' in aviation parlance?
    • In the context of Air India making humungous losses the bilaterals that the previous government allowed have come in for sharp criticism.
    • A bilateral is a permission to foreign airlines to operate their flights on lucrative routes — a factor which has contributed in good measure to the sharp drop in the revenues of Air India and erstwhile Indian Airlines.
  • Madoff Bill
    • In the ever-widening search for extra income during desperate economic times, states across America are embracing a new idea: making inmates pay their debt to society not only in hard time, but also in cold, hard cash.
    • In New York, Republican James Tedisco has introduced a bill that would charge wealthy criminals $90 a day for room and board at state prisons. Dubbed the “Madoff Bill” after billion-dollar Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, the legislation is designed to ease the $1billion annual cost of incarcerating prisoners.
Language lessons
  • subterfuge: Noun
    • Something intended to misrepresent the true nature of an activity