Politics & the Nation
  • Why is the CBI raiding the DoT offices?
    • The issue is possible corruption in the allotment of 2G licences last year. The Central Vigilance Commission suspects a criminal conspiracy between senior officials of the telecom department and some individuals and companies in the award of 2G spectrum licences for mobile phone services to eight firms. Hence it had asked the CBI to dig deeper into the issue.
    • The 2G licences, which came bundled with start-up spectrum, were awarded on a first-come-first-served basis early last year. The cut-off date for applications was controversially advanced, which resulted in several companies losing their eligibility for the licence. A pan-India licence was given for Rs 1,651 crore (about $400 million), a price fixed in 2001. Datacom, Swan, Unitech, Loop and STel were among the companies that were awarded the 2G licences.
    • Even before starting operations, Swan offloaded a 45% stake to UAE’s Etisalat for $900 million and Unitech divested up to 67.25% in its telecom venture to Norway’s Telenor for $1.1 billion.
    • The manner in which the licences were allocated and the sale of stakes by Swan and Unitech caused a political uproar, with opposition parties alleging that spectrum was given away at throwaway prices and allowed the companies to rake in windfall profits.
    • Read the full story here.
  • How to tackle the Naxal menace?
    • It is very rare for politicians, especially of the Congress party, to have the courage (or should we say the indulegence of the GoP) to propound policy measures to tackle any issue. That is best left to the Mantris in the government, with the caveat that if what they propound is not liked by the GoP, it will be vetoed. Digvijay Singh is one such Congressman who commands that respect and/or shown that indulgence so that he can air his views publicly -- that too in a newspaper article. Take a look at some of his prescriptions. They are well worth our attention. Don't miss his narrative also. It well worth a read. It is here.
Finance & Economy
  • Infosys's Narayana Murthy starts a PE fund
    • Infosys Technologies co-founder and chairman NR Narayana Murthy has sold company shares worth around $37 million (Rs. 174.3 crore) to set up a venture capital fund for incubating Indian start-ups. A statement issued by Infosys said the venture capital fund would encourage and support young entrepreneurs having brilliant business ideas. It further said that it will primarily invest in India and may, on a case to case basis, consider investing overseas.
    • So, if you have brilliant business ideas, you know where you should air them now.
  • China's economy registers 8.9% growth!
    • China's economy expanded at the fastest pace in a year as stimulus spending and record lending growth helped the nation lead the world out of recession. Gross domestic product rose 8.9% in the third quarter from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said in Beijing on Thursday. Separate reports showed industrial production and retail sales accelerated in September.
  • 15th ASEAN summit under way at Hua Hin, Thailand
    • The fifteenth ASEAN Summit opened with the theme of “Enhancing connectivity, empowering peoples”. The Summit is expected to focus on issues relating to the vision of ASEAN as a Community of Connectivity, a Community of People. Also to be raised during the Summit are challenges that the region has to face, including food and energy security, climate change, pandemics, natural disasters and the financial and economic crisis.
Language lessons
  • skulking: Noun
    • Evading duty or work by pretending to be incapacitated
    • Verb: Lie in wait, lie in ambush, behave in a sneaky and secretive manner; Avoid responsibilities and duties, e.g., by pretending to be ill; Move stealthily
    • eg: "The lonely man skulks down the main street all day"
  • lug: Verb
    • Carry with difficulty; Obstruct
    • eg: Right now, Rahul Gandhi’s effort to sensitise the party to the lot of the deprived has resulted in farce, with loyal party leaders lugging what they consider to be the bare necessities of material comfort along with them when they follow their leader on his poverty trail.