Politics & the Nation
  • Why does India not sign the NPT? Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.
    • India regards this treaty as grossly unfair as it sanctions the continuance of an unequal world order of ‘nuclear haves and havenots.’ India is all for non-discriminatory and global nuclear disarmament; the key words being non-discriminatory and global.
    • The present secondclass railway compartment mentality of the existing formally-recognised nuclear powers that allows them to retain their nuclear weapons while the rest of the world is denied access is unacceptable.
Finance & Economy
  • Realty regulatory draft bill ready
    • Take a look at this news report. It is a welcome step; and should be implemented speedily. It is understandable that realtors will be upset with the provisions of the bill. But it is heartening to note that it really seeks to protect the interest of the retail home buyer.
  • Deemed export benefits on the way out?
    • Deemed export benefits or ‘duty draw back and refund of terminal excise duty’, is believed to be abused by exporters who make fake claims to demand excess refund of taxes paid in India. For this scheme, the government provides funds to the commerce ministry as a budgetary allocation.
    • The finance ministry is now reportedly toying with the idea of scrapping this scheme from next year's budget.
  • A very good editorial on what reform measures are needed to spruce up our act on the mining policy front.
  • Cash and accrual accounting -- differences
    • Cash and accrual reporting differ in the time at which costs are recognised. Cash-based budgeting records receipts and expenditure at the same time cash is received or spent, without regard to the time at which the income generating, resource consuming, or liability increasing activity has occurred. Accrual-based budgeting, on the other hand, records transactions at the time the activity has happened, regardless of when the associated cash is actually received or paid.
    • A cash-based system would incompletely account for all costs necessary to deliver a specific output, thereby, making comparisons with private — and within public-sector difficult. Cash based systems can result in understatement of government's commitments.
  • What did India press for at the ongoing Pittsburg summit of the G20 leaders?
    • In his speech at the summit, Mr Singh focused on three things: the need to sustain the coordinated stimulus measures by national governments around the world for some more time, at least till the end of 2010; the developed countries’ obligation to take the lead in quelling protectionist eruptions and concluding the Doha Round of trade negotiations fast and stimulating investment in the developing countries.
  • Is it time to bid farewell for G8?
    • The G20 summit underway here got a boost on Thursday night when, at the inaugural dinner for the leaders of the 20 leading economies and their spouses, host US President Barrack Obama said categorically that the Group of 20 has now replaced the G8 as the premier global economic forum. Rarely do changes in the global balance of economic power find such rapid reflection in the global architecture of economic cooperation as in the present instance, said Mr Obama.
  • G20 to crack down on bankers' pay
    • GROUP of 20 leaders said they will crack down on banker pay and better align economic policies as they turned from crisis management to delivering a new set of rules for the world economy. President Barack Obama and counterparts meeting in Pittsburgh crafted a plan to force banks to tie bonuses to risk and raise the amount of capital they hold, officials said, citing a draft of a statement. They pledged to maintain stimulus measures until growth takes hold and to narrow disparities in trade and savings. They also announced the G-20 will replace the G-8 as the main forum for steering the global economy.
  • On LinkedIn
    • We are sure you all -- or most -- of you would have heard of LinkedIn. It's an online professional networking enabler. Those of you who don't know it or have heard of it, an consider exploring it at least once to get a feel of the concept.
    • This is an interview with the CEO of LinkedIn. He is currently on a visit to India. Do read the interview. It gives us insights into the new and fast developing trend of professional networking.
  • Now Helium is found on moon.
    • It was only yesterday that papers were all excited about the discovery of water on moon; thanks to Chandrayaan I. Even the US is reported to have thanked India for the discovery.
    • Now ISRO said that it has been able to detect deposits on the moon of a mineral which can be used to fuel power plants. Believed to be abundant on the moon, the non-radioactive Helium (He-3) is regarded as having the potential to power future nuclear fusion reactors for hundreds of years.
    • ISRO said its Moon Impact Probe (MIP) and Hyper Spectral Imager (HySI) — two of the 11 scientific instruments that formed the cargo of the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft — shattered the belief that the moon is bone dry. The payloads had detected the presence of water some months ago and this was confirmed by data gathered by the American space agency Nasa.
  • On Lata Mangeshkar
    • Yeah, we know the topic may sound a bit out of date. But times will come when you will enjoy your knowledge of some little known things.
    • Lata started singing at the tender age of 13!
    • Her first film (where she acted) was Master Vinayak's Pahili Managalagaur, a 1942 Marathi film.
    • Growing up in Sangli and being born into a Maharashtrian family, Marathi was her first language but their family spoke Persian at home.
    • So far she has sung in 36 languages!
    • Lata could not insure her voice. Because such insurance is not allowed in India. But look at some international greats whose body parts are insured:
      • Cristiano Ronaldo’s legs insured for £90m
      • Footballer David Beckham’s legs £70m
      • Pop diva Jennifer Lopez’s butt $27m
      • Singer Bruce Springsteen’s voice $3m