Politics & the Nation
  • Police station reform
    • As part of its efforts to bring in transparency to the system of complaint booking in police stations, a new automated complaint filing and tracking system (CCTNS — Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems) is about to be rolled by the ministry of home affairs across India by 2012.
    • This is a Rs. 2,000 crore project for which bids are being called.
    • The system will network initially 14,000 police stations across the country, and all the 6,000 higher offices in police hierarchy — like headquarters, range offices, zonal offices.
    • For citizens, the system means online filing of complaints about stolen property, missing persons or even submitting anonymous intelligence and crime alerts. All criminal complaints in the country will be allotted a number that can be used to access periodical status reports. The system will also offer details of unsolved cases, missing persons and stolen property, besides allowing the general public to lodge complaints if they are not happy with the investigating officer.
  • Remembering Bhopal tragedy
    • This piece penned by Kaveri Rajaraman explains poignantly about the disaster and what went wrong with the safety regime practised by Union Carbide in India at that time.
    • A very good read. Do so here.
  • ULFA Chairman arrested
    • Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah, along with their families, were picked up by an alert Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) from Cox’s Bazaar in Chittagong on Wednesday while trying to cross over to Myanmar, apparently to escape the crackdown on Indian insurgent groups (IIGs) in Bangladesh.
    • It is an interesting story. Read on...
Finance & Economy
  • Allhabad High Court throws a spanner in Reliance Power's plans
    • On Friday the Allahabad High Court quashed an order of the Uttar Pradesh government to acquire 2,250 acres for the firm’s Dadri power project without hearing landowners’ grievances.
    • The court ruled that the state government would now have to invite objections from farmers, if any. It observed that the land acquisition for the Dadri project could not be termed as an action in public interest, but was done for a private company and, therefore, there was no justification in issuing emergency orders for the acquisition.
    • Take a look at this graphic which gives details about the up-coming power plants of Reliance Power.
  • RBI to promote take-out financing
    • Know what is take-out finance? It is a mechanism wherein originator (of a loan) enters into an agreement to sell the loan to another lender at a mutually agreed price in future date. Here the originator holds the loan in his books for the initial years while the buyer of the loan retains its till maturity.
    • Why does RBI want to promote it now?
    • As of now, the share of deposits maturing over five years is 9% of total deposits while the share of one to two years deposits have risen from 26.5% in 2006 to 40% in 2008.
    • Thus, banks are running huge asset-liability mismatches by extending very longterm project loans even as their funding comes from short-term deposits.
    • The RBI has therefore told banks to focus on lending for the short and medium term rather than lock themselves in long-term loans.
  • US economic recovery appears for real!
    • Take a look at this news report.
    • US employers cut far fewer jobs than expected last month in the best showing for the labour market since the recession began, lifting the US dollar and global stock prices on signs of a stronger economic recovery.
    • US Treasury debt prices fell and the dollar firmed as traders speculated the data could lead the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than had been thought.
    • A separate report on factory orders for October showed a higher-than-expected 0.6% rise.
    • But the two items that are a cause for worry still are:
      • Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to hold steady at a 26-1/2 year high of 10.2%.
      • A subset of the data seen as a proxy for business investment retreated 3.4%.
  • China poised to beat India in gold consumption
    • China will overtake India as the world’s largest gold consumer in 2009, with total demand forecast at 432 tonne compared with 422 tonne from India.
    • China’s investment demand alone was forecast at 83 tonne, exceeding India’s 53 tonne. India bought 200 tonne from the International Monetary Fund in November, which helped send gold to successive records.
    • India’s purchase also strengthened speculation that other emerging country central banks will follow suit, particularly China, which has the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves worth $2.27 trillion, mostly held in US Treasury bonds.
  • We are sure, you know who is Ben Kingsley
Language Lessons
  • epiphany: Noun
    • A divine manifestation; A moment of sudden understanding or revelation
    • Epiphany: Noun
      • Twelve days after Christmas; celebrates the visit of the three wise men to the infant Jesus