06.01.2010

Politics & the Nation
  • India issues travel advisory against Australia
    • The government has issued an advisory cautioning Indian students about studying in Australia and asking them to take precautions in the backdrop of increasing alcohol and drug-fuelled violence targeted at Indians.
    • Perhaps this is the first time in recent memory that our country issued a travel advisory on some other country -- especially a developed one. Normally it has been the preserve of the so -called developed countries to issue travel advisories to their citizens when they want to visit a country like India.
    • Indians contribute $2.5 billion to Australia’s international education industry. And the Australian Tourism Forecasting Committee has predicted that Indian student arrivals will plummet by 21% this year due to the violence. This reverses the growth of 35% last year. According to reports, Australia is now set to lose millions from the fallout of the continuing violence against Indians.
Finance & Economy
  • Kerala High Court stays the formation of an Islamic Bank in India
    • This news report on the subject is worth a read. The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) decided to set up an Islamic bank in the state with a capital of Rs. 1000 crores. According to the proposal, the bank will not pay any interest to customers, while a Sharia board would decide what sort of investments it would make. The proposed bank would have Sharia-compliant banking products and profits made out of the investments would be distributed to the shareholders.
    • But the irrepressible Subramanian Swamy has filed a PIL in the Kerala HC contending that the proposal is:
      • violative of Article 14 and 25 of Constitution which promises equality before law and right to freedom of religion;
      • violative of Banking Regulation Act of 1949; and
      • against the 7-judge Supreme Court bench orde that no public money should be used for promoting institutions of a particular religion
  • Why is a huge fiscal deficit not so bad in a country like the US or UK while it is considered bad in India?
    • The US — to a lesser extent, the UK as well — is able to fund its fiscal deficit by issuing IOUs that the rest of world laps up, never mind that current macroeconomic fundamentals, by themselves, would warrant only junk bond rating for US T-bills. The rest of the world is willing and eager to fund the excesses of the US economy. If, in the past, it was private US consumption that saw the rest of the world accumulate dollar-denominated assets, today it has been replaced by government spending, courtesy the fiscal stimulus.
    • Such a luxury is not there for India. Government borrowing will have to be financed domestically, for the most part. What this means is that large government borrowing could crowd out private investment. Unlike in the US or UK, we have more than 30% of our population living below poverty line. The consequences of fiscal imprudence — whether a sharp rise in interest rates or inflation — are, therefore, much more adverse for India.
  • Want to know the economic performance of various states in India?
    • This is one graphic that gives you a tabulated performace of various states in India during the last five years. Good one.
International
  • Who is the father of city planning?
    • Hippodamus of Greece is widely considered as so by the West.
    • Udaipur, Fatehpur Sikir, Hampi, Vijaynagar and Jaipur before Independece and New Delhi, Chandigarh, Gandhinagar, Jamshedpur, Dispur and Navi Mumbai after Independence are planned cities in India.
Personality: Ram Charan
  • Take a look at this interesting story about him that appeared in today's ET. The person charges $20,000 a day to give consultations to top CEOs of the world! Reportedly he has not even visited his office in the last 32 years! A true one-man money-making machine.
  • scowling
    • Adjective: Sullen or unfriendly in appearance
    • Verb: Frown with displeasure
    • eg: ...Instead, we have the celebrated lawyer alternatively scowling and glaring at the TV camera while ticking off one news channel after the other for ‘undermining’ the judicial system by holding a media trial and stating that he would not like to be a part of this process!
  • feckless: Adjective
    • Not fit to assume responsibility; Generally incompetent and ineffectual
    • eg: "feckless attempts to repair the plumbing"
  • aught: Noun
    • A quantity of no importance

3 comments:

Himanshu said...

Hello Sir. I dont think that Mr Swamy is irresponsible in this Bank case(which he generally seems in most of the PILs). he has raised very valid points here.

Anonymous said...

err.. no one said he is "irresponsible" .. The post says "irrepressible"

jagdish said...

Dr. Swamy has done a great service to the Nation for having filed the PIL. The Govt. funds cannot be given to a religious bank run on Islamic laws.

On all the PILs Dr. Swamy has filed are in larger public interest. Whether on Rama Sethu, Corruption of Raja or Jayalalitha, Hegde or Venkatraman. Hope we have more educated politicans like Dr. Subramanian Swamy. He is not a politician but a statesman. India needs more of this type.