Politics & the Nation
  • Leiberhan Commission's report leakage rocks Parliament
    • Ahead of the 17th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, the issue was pitchforked back into the centrestage of the country’s political discourse, with the Liberahan Commission report “indicting” the BJP’s top leadership for its failure to protect the disputed structure, being leaked. The Commission also found fault with the so-called second generation of BJP which enthusiastically backed the demolition job.
    • While LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and the late Vijayaraje Scindia are accused of leading the movement that led to the demolition, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharati, Ashok Singhal, Vinay Katiyar, Giriraj Kishore and the RSS were held directly responsible. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee figures in the report among those responsible for taking the country “to the brink of communal discord,” alongwith Opposition leader Mr Advani and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.
    • Contents of the 900-page report, which was scheduled to be tabled in Parliament towards the end of the winter session, alongwith the action taken report (ATR), found their way into the media on Monday, taking the political class unawares. It, sure enough, created a furore in the two Houses of Parliament, with the principal Opposition party, the BJP, disrupting their proceedings in protest against the “selective leakage” of the report. The entire Opposition then joined hands to demand the immediate tabling of the report.
    • The findings of the panel, which was set up by the then Prime Minister, late PV Narasimha Rao soon after the Babri Masjid’s demolition on December 6, 1992, to look into the circumstances leading to the event, were more or less on expected lines, barring insertions such as those on Mr Vajpayee, and the late Narasimha Rao. It virtually gave him a clean chit. “He (Narasimha Rao) rightly concluded that neither the central forces could be deployed by the Union in the totality of facts and circumstances then prevailing; nor could President’s rule be imposed on the basis of the rumours or media reports. Taking such a step would have created bad precedent for the future, damaging the federal structure of the constitution and would have amounted to interference in the state administration,” the report noted.
    • Read the entire news report here.
  • Some interesting snippets on the Commission itself:
    • It took 17 years and 48 extensions for the Liberhan Commission probing the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya to submit its report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June this year. One of the country’s longest running inquiry commissions, which has cost the government nearly Rs 7 crore, the Liberhan Commission was set up to probe the sequence of events leading to the razing of the Babri mosque by Hindu mobs on December 6, 1992.
    • During the entire tenure, the onejudge probe has been dogged by procedural delays, non-cooperation from key witnesses and even constant transfers during the early days of the commission’s functioning.
    • The commission’s lawyer, Anupam Gupta, dissociated himself from the one-man panel after eight years because of differences with Liberhan.
  • An excellent editorial comment on the leakage of the report to the media and the inordinate delay in the Commission's submission of report.
    • Parliamentary privilege is one of the most over-rated institutions of democracy. The Fourth Estate is called thus only because it mediates information between the people and the state. The people have primacy, not their representatives. If important information is leaked to select groups, that would be breach of privilege. But making information available directly to the people through the media is no more a crime than Satyagraha is. As for judicial delay — the commission took 17 years and 48 extensions to state the obvious — it leaves justice to be a matter of interpretation by historians, without operative import.
Finance & Economy
  • Economic trends based on CEO churn
    • Look at the following extract from a front-page news report. Notice how CEO churn is an indicator of better times.
    • Executive search firm Redileon Search Partners, which surveyed around 1,000 CEOs from the top listed companies on the BSE, found that close to 106 head honchos left their companies this year in order to seek greener pastures. “Faster churn is an empirical management barometer for economic growth. When the 2009 full-year tally is completed, the total will be higher than ever before,” the search firm said in its findings.
  • A very good analysis of the NREGP functioning
    • Read this story in full. It is a very good analysis of the programme. Conclusions drawn from the analysis:
    • First, the promise of 100-day employment to one member of every household that seeks employment is largely unfulfilled.
    • Second, there are several in-built biases in the execution of NREGP. The poor are inadequately represented in those selected for participation. The duration of employment is systematically lower for poor households. At the same time, the non-poor are disproportionately represented, indicating some capture.
    • Third, whereas few participants admit to paying bribes, several reported that personal acquaintance was necessary to secure employment under NREGP.
    • Lastly, notwithstanding the unfulfilled employment promise of the NREGA, many participants indicated that they wanted to continue to work on NREGP. This is less of an indicator of the efficacy of the NREGP than of the fragility of their livelihoods.
  • Job trends
    • Professionals queue up for a stint with slump-proof NGOs
    • While the Indian corporate sector seems to have shaken off the effects of the worst financial crisis the world has faced since 1929, recruitment activity in several sectors is yet to pick up speed. Non-governmental organisations (NGO) in India, however, are on a hiring mode, as memories of lay-offs during the downturn has resulted in record number of job applications from professionals in the corporate world.
  • A very good graphic that explains the need for India of dual-use technologies and the issues surrounding it.
    • Take a look at it here.
  • Those of you who have the inclination to understand macro economics...
    • Must read this piece by Paul Krugman. Though it's about US economy, most of it applies to India or for that matter any country in the world.
  • India, China losing faith in US $?
    • According to the latest data released by the US treasury department, India has reduced its exposure to US treasury bonds by close to 8% between June-September 2009 to $35.9 billion. China, the biggest investor in US treasuries at close to $800 billion, has also slowed down its pace of investment in US gilts. Between September 2008 and March 2009, it pumped in almost $150 billion in US treasuries. But since April, it has invested just about $30 billion.
    • Besides India and China, even oil exporters comprising Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria and the Carribean banking centres, which have an exposure of over $150 billion each in US treasury bonds, have also slowed down their investment.
  • World Athletes 2009
    • In spite of giving their best, world's athletes are a lot less known than other sports personalities like the footballers, the racers, the tennis players and golfers. Take a look at this photo slideshow which celebrates the world's best athletes for 2009.
    • Hope you recognize the faces.
Language lessons
  • palpable: Adjective
    • Capable of being perceived; especially capable of being handled or touched or felt; Can be felt by palpation
  • perfidy: Noun
    • Betrayal of a trust; An act of deliberate betrayal
  • subtext: Noun
    • The underlying meaning or message of a piece of writing or speech
  • tractable: Adjective
    • Easily managed (controlled or taught or moulded); Readily reacting to suggestions and influences
    • eg: If this is the efficiency of facilitation that the government brings to bear on the success story of India’s infrastructure, what should we expect in other, less tractable sectors?
  • cadge: Verb
    • Ask for and get free; be a parasite; Obtain or seek to obtain by cadging or wheedling


Anonymous said...

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Satish Mantha said...

Please post the link for news regarding NREGA status.

Thank you.