Politics & the Nation
Finance & Economy
  • Why is the budget that is about to be presented is not a 'normal' budget?
    • For one, Budget 2009 continued with the largesse of the Sixth Pay Commission already committed in Budget 2008.
    • Second, the impact of the worldwide recession of 2007-09 has been felt in the decline in tax revenues in the previous financial year.
    • Third, the ‘stimuli’ given in the previous Budget needed to be addressed amid fears of rising Budget deficits.
    • Fourth, the finance minister will have to return to the path necessary to implement the direct taxes code from 2011-12.
  • OVL team wins 40% in Venezuela oil block
    • A consortium led by Indian state-owned oil companies has won a global bid to pick up 40% stake in an important oil block in Venezuela, providing a boost to India’s attempts to secure oil assets overseas.
    • ONGC Videsh (OVL), the foreign arm of ONGC, will pick up 11% stake in the Venezuelan field Carabobo-1, while other two Indian partners — Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Oil India (OIL) will have 3.5% stake each.
    • The field has potential to produce 400,000 barrels crude oil per day or 20 million tonnes per annum.
    • The field, which is expected to start production by 2013, is likely to achieve a peak production of 400,000 barrel per day by around 2016. The share of three Indian public sector is expected to be about 5.5 million tonnes per annum at peak production.
    • Look at this image to get a glimpse of some other major overseas investments by Indian oil companies.
  • EU seals deal with Greece
    • European leaders struck a deal to provide financial aid to Greece, in an unprecedented move to stave off a broader crisis in the 16-nation bloc that shares the euro single currency.
    • The details of the package were not expected to be finalised until early next week, when EU finance ministers meet, but the bloc's leaders suggested it could include some form of loans to Greece to help it service its debt and avoid a damaging default.
    • As they announced the deal, EU leaders also urged Athens to make deep cuts to its budget deficit to restore confidence in its economy, and the broader euro zone, and prevent its fiscal crisis from spilling over to other high-debt states like Portugal and Spain.
  • Cricket gets IOC approval
    • Cricket’s push to be a part of the Olympic Games received a major boost with International Olympic Council granting recognition to ICC.
    • The IOC in its meeting here voted to recognise the International Cricket Council and the federations of sport climbing and power boating.
    • ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has welcomed the decision and termed it as the first step towards cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics.
    • Cricket was granted the status of a recognised Olympic sport in 2007, for sports not in the Olympic programme but, which conform to certain criteria, pending a decision for a permanent slot in the Games.
    • Cricket was part of the 1900 Olympics in Paris and has not appeared since then. The game was part of the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games and its Twenty20 version is set to feature at this year’s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
  • warped: Adjective
    • Used especially of timbers or boards; bent out of shape usually by moisture
    • eg: Consider, for instance, the warped pricing regime for the main petroleum products.
  • redux: Adjective
    • Brought back
    • eg: Policymakers were hailed for saving the world from a Great Depression redux through their stimulus efforts.
  • squaff: Verb
    • To swallow hurriedly or greedily or in one draught
    • eg: Aman is arguably Delhi’s most expensive hotel, so quaffing gin there would probably be foolhardy.
  • dingy: Adjective
    • Thickly covered with ingrained dirt or soot; (of colour) discoloured by impurities; not bright and clear; Causing dejection
    • eg: You feel terrible when you have to come to office on Sundays and bump into tourists clicking pictures and enjoying their holiday as you enter your dingy office in North Block.