Politics & the Nation
  • NRIs to get voting rights?
    • With the government planning to introduce a Bill in the next session of Parliament to give voting rights to NRIs, they may be able to cast their votes in the 2014 general elections. The Bill seeks to give voting rights to Indian citizens living abroad due to employment, education or other purposes.
    • Voting rights have been a long-standing demand of NRIs, especially those living in the Gulf countries. But the matter has been pending with the government for quite some time. The Cabinet cleared amendments to the Representation of People’s Act Bill to give NRIs an electoral voice as early as 2006.
  • Titbit on road accidents
    • Road-related injuries were reported at around 1.5 lakh in 2008, up from 1.1 lakh in 2007.
  • The case for smaller states
    • Explaining the case for a separate Telangana state, CH Hanumantha Rao suggests the case for smaller states:
    • Post-liberalisation, the impact of state policies on the economy may turn out to be greater than before. The role of government in awarding contracts, sanctions for location of private sector projects and technical institutions, decisions about the number, type and location of special economic zones, land acquisition and compensation policies, various kinds of patronage extended to different enterprises and activities, etc could together make a greater impact on the economy than in the pre-liberalisation period.
    • In general, the effect of such decisions would increase inequalities between different regions and income groups. This is because official patronage in bigger states tends to favour the regions and income groups already endowed with adequate resources, skills, power and influence. Clearly, backward regions run the risk of losing the race in bigger states in the post-liberalisation era.
    • The recent experience with the creation of smaller states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal shows that such states may use state power effectively for their development.
  • The explanation for the demand for separate Telangana state
    • The simple and straightforward explanation for the statehood demand for Telangana is that people have seen, through their experience, that ‘development’ in the sense of equitable share in water resources, jobs, opportunities for enterprise and career advancement and adequate voice in political decision-making is not possible within the integrated state and that separate statehood alone can ensure justice for them.
    • Further, farming has become highly risky in Telangana. There is greater distress being reported from the rain-fed regions dependent on groundwater for irrigation where the suicide rates for farmers are high. Telangana region accounts for as many as two-thirds of the total number of farmer suicides reported in the state during 1998-2006. The water crisis has affected sustainability: land left fallow in Telangana has increased from 25% of cultivable land in the early 1970s to 40% by 1999-2000.
    • For a more detailed explanation of the socio economic issues that have fueled the case for Telangana state do read this article.
Finance & Economy
  • Know anything about the small-boat building capital of India?
    • We are referring to Mandvi. The coastal town in Gujarat that specializes in small-boat building.
    • Mandvi’s boatbuilding industry is worth over Rs 300 crore at present. It is expected to touch Rs 1,000 crore by 2012.
    • The town dates back to the 16th century. In the 18th century, Mandvi merchants collectively owned a fleet of 400 vessels, used for trading with the East African countries such as Mozambique and Jungbar, Iran and at the ports of The Red Sea, and also in the Malabar Coast in India. Till the early 19th century, Mandvi was a major port for Malwa, Marwar and Sindh hinterlands.
  • PM speak on LNM's frustration
    • “I recognise the frustration well-wishers feel when they lament why things don’t work faster or why well-formulated plans and policies don’t get implemented as well as they should be. India may be a slow-moving elephant, but it is equally true that with each step forward, we leave behind a deep imprint.”
    • Speaking at the 8th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas he assured that the government would address bottlenecks in infrastructure, farming and healthcare.
  • FCI godowns bursting at the seams even as wheat prices stay northward bound!
    • Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other state-run procurement agencies face severe storage strains with the approaching rabi season expected to inflate the already-teeming stocks of wheat unsold due to a skewed pricing policy.
    • The government has what is called the OMSS -- Open Market Sale Scheme under which it allocates wheat to states to keep prices stable to bulk consumers. OMSS aims to cool food inflation in the lean wheat season, which lasts only between October-February. States were cold-shouldering wheat bidding due to the initial high reserve price. Only five states and UTs have lifted 43,185 tonnes out of the total allocation of 10 lakh tonnes. State governments also blamed resource constraints and difficulty in distributing at a differential rate for the torpid purchases.
    • Currently, the minimum reserve price for OMSS wheat bids in Delhi by traders is pegged at Rs 1,258.08 a quintal compared to Rs 1,540.09 in December. Incidentally, the high OMSS rates earlier served to push up open market wheat prices noticeably against the scheme’s stated objective of cooling down prices.
  • Indian corporates vie with each other to enter the higher education sector now
    • India’s big business houses are strengthening their focus on education as it is poised to become a $80-billion opportunity by 2012. Indians spend $50 billion on private education annually, according to a research report by IDFC. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16%, said a CLSA Pacific study.
    • RIL announced its foray into higher education by announcing that it will be setting up a world class university near Mumbai or Delhi depending on the availability of land.
    • The Aditya Birla Group, which has already played its hand at commercial education with the Sarala Birla Academy in Bangalore. It has plans to open schools to offer modern education to students in the country’s hinterland. Ditto Jaiprakash Industries, which is already running engineering institutes, while London-listed mining giant Vedanta Group has announced a large university near Puri in Orissa.
  • doyen: Noun
    • A man who is the senior member of a group
    • eg: So, when ET met with the 86-year-old doyen of Indian industry to convey that he has been chosen for the ET Liftetime Achievement Award, all that Mr Mahindra could talk was about the talent that is the Indian manager.
  • putatively: Adjective
    • Believed or reputed to be the case
    • eg: ...This calls for multi-dimensional change, in things ranging from urban planning, a culture of unquestioning respect for destiny, putatively foretold, and lack of any for the rules of man, particularly on traffic, and the preparedness for trauma care for accident victims to a more democratic, accountable culture of policing.


Mohit said...

Now why wud anybdy be tryin hard to vote in the country..? do these NRIs were seriously tryin hard on this issue or gov has done ths to increase its vote bank..?

Ajit Singh said...

I absolutely agree.. just vote bank politics!