Politics & the Nation
  • Let's take stock of the women's representation in state legislatures and parliament
    • And then also look at one solution that is offered as the best method of giving adequate representation to women.
    • In last year’s Lok Sabha elections only 7% of the contestants were women. Despite that, they made up 11% of the winning candidates.
    • In the 18 bigger states, there’s a total of 3,463 elected lawmakers; only 293, or 8.4%, are women. Uttar Pradesh with only 6.4% women lawmakers lags below the national average, but Bihar with nearly 11% women legislators is far ahead.
    • The South is often portrayed as more progressive than the North, but the Karnataka legislature has only 2.2% representation of women. Kerala is even more shocking. The state has some of India’s best social indicators, comparable to the best in the world. But it fares miserably when it comes to giving women a say in lawmaking: only 4.9% of its lawmakers are women.
    • The best way to reserve a third of the seats for women, probably for ever, without creating political heartburn is to increase the total number of Lok Sabha and state assemblies by 50% and reserve them all for women. This won’t need any rotation, single term or otherwise, because the total number of seats would have gone up to create the reserved constituencies. It will also make sure that constituencies whose population has gone up dramatically in the 30-odd years since this exercise was last undertaken, get represented better.
    • For a good listing of all that is bad or touchy with the present Women's reservation bill, log in to this article that appeared in today's ET.
Finance & Economy
  • Foreign Universities may set up shop in India
    • India moved another step closer towards hosting campuses of foreign universities, with the Cabinet clearing a long-pending legislation, which the government described as a milestone that will enhance choices, increase competition and benchmark quality.
    • The move was welcomed by domestic private players in the education sector, and foreign universities, too, lauded the effort, but many of them said they had no immediate plans to set up campuses in India.
    • What is the assessment right now about the measure?
      • Some big US and European B-schools have tapped overseas markets like Singapore and the Gulf and are unlikely to make a major foray into India right now. However, others like pension funds may look at setting up new institutes here, or investing in existing ones
      • Some issues such as regulatory framework to look into dual degrees, portability of credits have not been addressed in the bill in a big way. Hence, some foreign colleges looking forward to partnership models will now be forced to wait longer for their Indian foray
      • Bill not very clear on globalisation of Indian curriculum that would have helped Indian institutions offer more globalised courses
      • Move will make Indian institutions more competitive and lead to better quality of higher education in the long term
  • What is the cause behind food inflation?
    • This ET editorial argues that it is basically the MSP announced by the government that is the real culprit. Take a look. So what's the solution for farm nirvana?
    • The right approach is to not to give farmers ever-rising prices and subsidies but to facilitate their shift out of agriculture through massive provision of rural infrastructure and liberalised labour laws that encourage the hiring of workers. This will allow the average farm size to quadruple. That will be a better longterm source of farm prosperity than high MSPs.
  • What is the best pricing model for natural gas?
    • It is a given for scarce commodities to have administered prices. But when the scarcity situation slowly improves -- as is happening in the case of natural gas in India -- what should be the ideal pricing model?
    • One of the currently proposed pricing models is pooled pricing regime (PPR), close to traditional administered pricing mechanism (APM) and proposes pooling all (or categories) of the gas sources and arriving at uniform gas prices. APM was applicable for supplies from the government-nominated companies (PSUs) and required larger government intervention to manage the same.
    • Within the PPR, prices can be further sub-pooled to consider “origin” disparities of gas supplies. Deep water gas supplies, for example, have higher cost of production (both capex and opex) and cannot be priced at the same levels as an onshore gas supply. Such sub-pooling, however, would also mean that gas pricing is cost based, which will, given the high initial exploration risks associated with upstream investments, deincentivise upstream players.
    • Whether or not PPR is a best pricing model can only be known with the passage of time. Also take a look at this article in full. It discusses a couple of other models that are in existence globally.
  • Ever bothered to know the economics behind IPL?
    • IPL is reportedly raking in money for the BCCI. Take a look at these snippets to get an inkling of the moolah:
    • Tyre company MRF joined the IPL brandwagon by sponsoring the blimp, a balloon that floats over the stadium, in a deal said to be worth Rs 15 crore a year.
    • Multi Screen Media, the owner of SET Max, along with World Sports Group, paid around Rs 8,200 crore for exclusive broadcasting rights for nine years after the deal was renegotiated during the last season.
    • Three-year deals with internet giant Google and general entertainment channel Colors inked in January are worth at least Rs 80 crore and Rs 100 crore, say people from the media and entertainment space.
    • IPL has reportedly sold the theatrical rights (for 10 years) to Entertainment Sports Direct for Rs. 330 crores.
    • But the IPL governing council is hazy on sharing with franchise owners the proceeds from the theatrical rights sale, the deal to broadcast IPL matches live on YouTube and the Colors deal to air shows based on the cricket format.
    • Currently, the broadcasting rights and central sponsorship earnings are shared with the eight teams with IPL keeping 20% of the broadcasting money and 40% of the central sponsorship pool.
    • Take a look at this graphic to get more clarity.
  • Know what does RSVP stands for?
    • It is usually written at the back or bottom of the invitation cards inviting you to a party or special occasion.
    • The invitees are expected to respond to the host by confirming their participation or expressing their inability to participate in the gathering. It is a given that in India people care less about such niceties. Or so I thought till I read this engaging article in today's ET.
    • Now that we have company even from the so called advanced nations, we can take comfort.
  • scrum: Noun
    • (rugby) the method of beginning play in which the forwards of each team crouch side by side with locked arms; play starts when the ball is thrown in between them and the two sides compete for possession; [Brit] A disorderly crowd of people
    • eg: The Board of Control for Cricket in India, or BCCI, was counting its chickens well before a single ball was bowled at the third season of the Indian Premier League, or IPL, thanks to a scrum of brands rushing to cricket’s greatest spectacle.
  • epithet: Noun
    • A defamatory or abusive word or phrase; Descriptive word or phrase
  • hangdog: Adjective
    • Showing a sense of guilt; Frightened into submission or compliance
    • eg: ...This irked missive flushed out a final 10 hangdog respondents.