11.11.2009

Politics & the Nation
  • National Education Day celebrated
    • It was celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, independent India's first education minister.
    • The government has started major expansion of higher education by opening eight new IITs and 15 Central universities.
    • It has also been decided to set up six IIMs, 10 NITs, 20 IIITs and 6,000 model schools during the 11th Plan (2007-12).
    • It was in this context and on this occasion that the PM was remarking that we face difficulty in finding top level professors and lecturers in the newly created IITs, IISERs and other such institutions.
    • This function was also attended by UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura.
  • Cyclone to hit Gujarat and Maharashtra
    • Cyclonic storm 'Phyan' will hit South Gujarat and North Maharashtra by late evening today following a deep depression in the South East and adjoining Central Arabian Sea.
    • Let us hope it doesn't leave too much of a havoc in its trail.
Finance & Economy
  • Here is an excellent discussion on how best to ensure that subsidies / benefits meant for the poor reach them.
    • It is, sort of high end stuff that transpired between SSA Aiyar and Jean Drez. Take a look.
  • White Paper on GST released
    • The government yesterday released the first discussion paper on GST. Some of the salient features outlined in the paper include:
      • A dual GST model with two separate components: central GST (CGST) and state GST (SGST).
      • Both Centre and state to levy GST concurrently on all goods and services other than a small exempted list.
      • Cross-utilisation of input tax credit between CGST and SGST would not be allowed except in case of inter-state transactions (IGST).
      • GST to have a two-rate structure: a lower rate for necessary items and standard rate for general goods.
    • If you want to get a backgrounder on introducing GST in India, this working paper on GST Reforms written by Satya Poddar and Arvind Virmani will be quite helpful.
    • If you have the patience to go through the white paper and offer your remarks, you can find the white paper here.
    • Incidentally Satya Poddar described the first discussion paper on GST as “a patchwork of political compromises which is neither good economics nor good politics”.
    • We are surprised that the finance ministry site doesn't host the white paper!
International
  • India's Boric acid row with the US
    • This is an ongoing dispute between the two countries. Take a look:
    • The US, which is a major producer and exporter of pharmaceuticals and chemicals, sees a good market for boric acid — a chemical used as insecticide and also in antiseptics, flame retardants and as a controlling agent for uranium fission.
    • American allegation
    • US seeks clarification from India regarding how India considers boric acid to be in automatic import license list with quantitive restrictions in place
    • Indian response
    • India says the no-objection certificates that traders require for importing boric acid is only to ascertain the purpose for which it was being used. The govt wants to ensure the imports are for nonpesticide use.
    • Want to get a lowdown on the issue? Read this news story.
  • China making right noices ahead of Obama's visit?
    • A visiting Chinese deputy governor of PBOC (People's Bank of China -- China's central bank) is reported to have told that China is contemplating a gradual liberalisation of its exchange rate.
    • The Chinese currency Renminbi, or people’s money, established in 1948, is popularly known as yuan. It was made fully convertible on the current account in 1996, when it was pegged to the dollar.
    • The dollar peg was, however, abandoned since July 2005, with the yuan having been pegged thereafter to a basket of currencies and allowed to move up or down in a narrow range of 0.3%.
Sport
  • Germany's goal keeper Robert Enke dead
    • Robert Enke, the Hannover and Germany goalkeeper, died after being hit by a train, according to police. He was 32.
    • Police suspect that it is a case of suicide.
    • Enke played eight matches for Germany. Enke and his wife lost their 2-year-old daughter to a heart ailment in 2006. Enke had reportedly been “unstable” recently, but that it had not been publicly noticed.
Language lessons
  • moue: Noun
    • A disdainful grimace
    • eg: Haute fashion label Chanel now has Vanessa Paradis as the face (or rather, moue) of a new lipstick line and Georgia May Jagger has filled the gap left by the exit of Kate Moss from Rimmel.
  • diastema: Noun
    • A gap or vacant space between two teeth
  • exeunt: Interjection
    • (stage direction) instruction to exit
    • In India, where Bollywood is the beacon for fashion and beauty trends, gap-toothed appeal has been markedly absent after the exeunt of Nargis and Mehmood, with most actors resorting to cosmetic dentistry as a prerequisite; the modelling world is equally close-set in its notions.
  • didactics: Noun
    • The activities of educating or instructing; activities that impart knowledge or skill
    • eg: The special guest — the first lady, Michelle Obama — doesn't make her appearance alongside Big Bird until midway into a show crammed with the usual preschool didactics.
  • gentrify: Verb
    • Renovate so as to make it conform to middle-class aspirations

2 comments:

Satish Medos said...

Mr. Ramakrishna I heartily appreciate your efforts for running such an informative blog ! I have been following it for a month now and even if I miss the newspaper this news digest makes my day. Kudos to you :)

ankit ahuja said...

Completely agree to Mr. Satish , You are doing a super fine job!