Politics & the Nation
  • Today ET is 49 years old
    • Our favourite newspaper, The Economic Times, from which we so diligently prepare our daily briefings and notes is 49 today. What a memorable journey for the paper! Take a look at this article. Well worth spending a little time on knowing some little details.
  • Stampede in a UP ashram kills 65
    • At least 65 people — nearly all of them women and children — were killed and 28 others injured in a stampede on Thursday in a local ashram after a collapse of its gate triggered panic among about 10,000 people who had converged for a ritual. Thirty seven women and 26 children were among those killed after they were trampled over by the crowd that had gathered at Kripalu Maharaj’s ashram.
    • Stampedes at temples and other religious places in India have claimed nearly 700 lives in the past eight years.
    • On September 30, 2008, nearly 150 devotees were killed and over 60 injured in a stampede at Chamunda Devi temple in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur city. The incident took place when there was a rumour of a bomb going off. More than 10,000 people had turned up at the famous temple for a darshan. Such a tragedy at the Hindu temple of Naina Devi in Himachal on August 3, 2008, had claimed 150 people, mainly women and children, and injured about 230.
  • Women's quota bill set to sail through in Rajya Sabha
    • With the numbers stacked in its favour, the women’s reservation bill, which seeks to reserve 33% seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women, is set to get the Rajya Sabha’s nod on Monday.
    • The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the Rajya Sabha, which met on Thursday evening, allotted four hours to debate and vote the legislation. The bill, which has been approved afresh by the Union Cabinet, will be tabled in the House the same day.
Finance & Economy
  • Why is tax amnesty bad?
    • The recent budget has reversed the stand taken by the government so far, on tax evasions. There is a body called the Settlement Commission which is entrusted with the job of looking into voluntary disclosures of black money and settling them without payment of penalty. In 2007, search and seizure cases were taken away from its mandate. But the recent budget gives a kind of permanent amnesty scheme for tax evaders. They can approach this Commission and get away without payment of any penalty.
    • Look at this editorial comment in this regard.
  • What is the share of Indian Railways in the country's traffic?
    • It currently has a low share of 30% of country’s freight market and an insignificant 16-18% of total passenger business.
  • Gopinath is doing an Air Deccan in air cargo too
    • The Air Deccan founder has come up with Deccan 360, a low-fare air cargo venture.
    • The cost of carrying one kg of cargo from Delhi to Mumbai by air is estimated at about Rs 16 (inclusive of handling charges), compared with less than Rs 4 by road. So only highend products such as critical equipment, gold and medicine are carried by air now.
    • Gopinath has reportedly started offering his cargo service for up to 10-15% less.
  • Government to infuse 35K crore into banks over two years
    • The central government has reportedly chalked out a two-year plan to infuse around Rs 35,000 crore of capital in public sector banks to enable them to meet the economy’s credit requirement.
    • Banks’ capital structure consist of Tier-I and Tier-II capital. The major components of Tier-I capital are equity share capital, equity share premium and statutory reserves. It is not just these, there can be innovative forms of Tier I capital too such as perpetual debt instruments, or perpetual non-cumulative preference shares etc.
    • According to Basel-II requirements, banks need to maintain a CAR of 12%, including Tier-I and Tier-II capital.
  • Interesting history about one rupee notes
  • Leave your comfort zone
    • Once in a while, we do need a shot of sane advice like this one. It speaks of how we build comfort zones around us and lose valuable opportunities. Very interesting.
  • twinge: Noun
    • A sudden sharp feeling; A sharp stab of pain
  • pastiche: Noun
    • A musical composition consisting of a series of songs or other musical pieces from various sources; A work of art that imitates the style of some previous work
  • wail
    • Verb: Emit long loud cries; Cry weakly or softly
    • Noun: A cry of sorrow and grief
  • sardonic: Adjective
    • Disdainfully or ironically humorous; scornful and mocking
    • eg: Some of the presiding deities in Rail Bhawan have advocated a sardonic myth of rail connectivity as the panacea for inclusive growth and saddled the system with non-performing assets (NPA).