Politics & the Nation
  • Air India prepares to tighten its belt
    • Air India puts up a revival plan before the government for acceptance.
    • Take a look at this graphic. It shows the salient features of the plan.
Finance & Economy
  • We have noted something about bilaterals sometime in the past. Remember?
    • Are bilaterals responsible for Air India's poor show? "NO" argues today's ET editorial on the subject. Well worth a read. An excellent piece. Take a look.
  • How many Indians fly?
    • Only 2% of the population in the country is flying. Led by the low-cost revolution, it went up from 0.5% to 2% during the last term of Praful Patel as civil aviation minister.
  • The challenges in UID project
    • You know about this project; don't you? Nandan Nilekani is heading the UID Authority of India. We note about it. What are the challenges before the project?
    • The first and foremost challenge is accurate capture of personal information from everyone including the ‘uneducated’, and error-free entry of the data gathered for issue of ID cards. Department of posts (DoP), with its network of over 150,000 offices can play a vital role in information collection, delivery of ID cards, as centres for reading those “Smart Cards” and for validation of address change requests.
    • Second, centralised storage of personal information heightens the risk of data corruption, unauthorised access, commercial exploitation of the database and use of information for discriminatory treatment based on religion, mother-tongue, domicile state, etc. These risks can be minimised by limiting the UID related data collection, only to the fields relevant for determination of unique ID and not linking this database to any other databases for banking, education, public distribution and so on.
    • Third, given the limited space, UID cards can probably display information printed in say English, Hindi and one more local language. But such cards issued in one state may not make much sense in the interiors of other states. This can be easily handled if memory chips on the cards are loaded with cardholder’s details in all scheduled languages.
    • Finally, if 31 lakh MNIC pilot project cost was Rs 45 crore, a provision of Rs 120 crore for UIDs in 2009-10 budget can barely cover another 100 lakh population. Also, cards may get spoiled, misplaced, lost or stolen and the budget must provide for at least one UID per person, every five years. Therefore, for successful implementation of UID in a country of 100-crore population; at an average cost of Rs 100 per card issued, there has to be a UID provision of at least Rs 10,000 crore in every five year plan.
  • India signs FTA with South Korea
    • INDIA and South Korea signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement on Friday which will make Korean consumer products and auto parts cheaper in India.
    • The deal excludes fully built-up vehicles and provides for easier movement of contractual service providers and professionals between the two countries and treatment of investments from one another’s country on a par with domestic investments.
    • This is the second CEPA signed by India, the other being with Singapore. This is also India’s first bilateral trade agreement with an OECD country.
    • As per the agreement, South Korea will eliminate duties on 93% of its industrial and agricultural products and India will do the same on 85% of its goods. India has excluded sensitive items such as farm products, textile items and built-up automobiles from tariff elimination commitments. Duties will be phased out on most products in the next eight years.
  • The rise and rise of social networking in India
    • According to industry estimates, there are over 50 million internet users in India, out of which 30 million are active social networkers.
    • The global nature of social networking on the Internet has meant that while the self-employed get to learn the latest developments and trends from across the world, they are also able to attract interest from consumers in different countries.
Language lessons
  • haggis: Noun
    • Made of sheep's or calf's viscera minced with oatmeal and suet and onions and boiled in the animal's stomach
  • suet: Noun
    • Hard fat around the kidneys and loins in beef and sheep
  • viand: Noun
    • A stock or supply of foods; A choice or delicious dish
    • eg: It has been revealed that haggis, that most Scottish of viands, is actually English.
  • offal: Noun
    • Viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal often considered inedible by humans
  • dab hand: Noun
    • Someone who is very good at something
    • eg: He's a dab hand at programming and web design.
  • lasagne: Noun
    • Baked dish of layers of lasagna pasta with sauce and cheese and meat or vegetables; Very wide flat strips of pasta
  • provenance: Noun
    • Where something originated or was nurtured in its early existence