Politics & the Nation
  • Nohria named Harvard dean
    • Harvard Business School (HBS) has appointed Nitin Nohria as its new dean, and in doing so chosen as its head a man who believes management is not a true profession and that managers have lost legitimacy over the past decade.
    • Mr Nohria, 48, will succeed Jay Light on July 1 to become the first foreign-born dean of HBS.
    • Know more about him here.
  • On caste based census
    • The Centre is reportedly going to tell the Parliament that caste-based census is fraught with practical difficulties like inflating the figures of a certain section of the populace.
    • The home ministry, which is opposed to the demand for the inclusion of caste figures, has been maintaining that it was fraught with ``dangerous consequences’’. In a note drafted for the Cabinet, it cited ``operational difficulties’’ in carrying out such an exercise which, if executed, would overshadow its basic objective itself. There were, the home ministry note pointed out, 1,885 notified SCs and STs in India. But the number returned in the 2001 census was 18,478. There were, in addition, surnames and clan names, and classification and grouping under SC/ST itself was a formidable task. In the event of a caste-based census, hundreds of castes will be returned with people using clan names and gotra interchangeably.
    • Did you notice that the census enumerators did ask and note our caste in the recent census enumeration?
Finance & Economy
  • Protection against hazard of living long
    • It is a very interesting article penned by GN Bajpai. You might remember he is a former Chairman of SEBI and LIC of India.
    • In this article he coins an interesting catch phrase. Look at this:
    • The ‘hazard of living too long’ for India as a nation is looming large. The social disquiet, stemming out of economic deprivation, is today manifest in our younger generation but could envelope the entire society, if the misery caused by the longevity of life becomes more painful. Encouraging and facilitating voluntary effort seems to be the only remedy.
    • We, the present younger generation should really be worried about living too long.
  • Well said on food security
    • This is an excerpt from TK Arun's op-ed today.
    • The point is that food security does not, cannot exist in isolation. It is a function of a person’s location in the overall economic and political structure of society. Unless that environment turns benign, piecemeal efforts at easing the pressure on some part of the life of the poor will fail to particularly benefit the poor. Turning that environment benign is a function of politics, not of any particular law.
  • Some stats about the online retailing place
    • The size of online retailing in India is estimated at about Rs 500 crore a year and that of teleshopping is estimated at Rs 900 crore. That makes a total of just over $300 m
    • US recorded $131 billion retail e-commerce in 2009.
  • ECB annual cap raised to $40 b
    • Indian firms can borrow up to $40 billion this year from overseas markets, with the government moving in to ensure easy availability of funds for the rapidly recovering economy.
    • The high level co-ordination committee on external commercial borrowings decided in principle to raise the annual indicative ceiling to $40 billion for 2010-11 from $35 billion last year, a government official said.
    • The higher limit will allow Indian corporates to access cheaper funds abroad at a time when interest rates are set to harden in the domestic market due to the central bank’s monetary tightening measures.
    • The companies are allowed to access overseas debt on a first-come-first-served basis within the $40 billion limit. But actual borrowing in the year could exceed the $40 billion limit as some dollar funds can also come through the automatic route, where prior approval from RBI is not needed.
    • The government seems to be of the view that credit needs and not capital flows is the more urgent issue now. Even the limit on foreign institutional investments into corporate bonds is likely to be hiked to $20 billion from $15 billion.
  • The concept of asset-liability mismatch
  • Picasso sets world record at Rs 475cr
    • This art work by Pablo Picasso was sold for a record $106.4 mn at Christie's in New York. Take a look at the top 10 most expensive art works sold at various auctions here.
Language Lessons
  • curmudgeonly: Adjective
    • Brusque and surly and forbidding
    • eg: To think that if a rule installed in 1799 by a curmudgeonly police chief of Paris had really been enforced, the late Yves St Laurent would not have become the saviour and inventor of the new woman.
  • pro bono: Adjective
    • Done for the public good without compensation
    • eg: Any push product invariably has ingrained in it an amount of intermediation fees payable to the ‘pushers’ commensurate with efforts required. And the task cannot be organised on probono or voluntary basis.