Politics & the Nation
  • With due respects to Arundhati Roy
    • Can you make anything out of her stance on Maoists? We are thoroughly left confused. Perhaps this is the way the intelligentsia articulates its views. Take a look at this news report to understand what we are bemoaning about.
    • She is quoted as saying:
      • “It ought to be an armed movement. Gandhian way of opposition needs an audience, which is absent here. People have debated long before choosing this form of struggle.”
      • "The Naxal movement could be nothing but an armed struggle. I am not supporting violence."
Finance & Economy
  • Bank bailouts -- India's stand
    • India is not keen on any tax on banks to fund future bailouts, but is all for better regulation, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is reported to have told in an interview on the sidelines of a meeting of finance ministers from the G20 countries at Busan, South Korea.
    • The proposal to tax banks is likely to be considered at the meeting. The crux of the idea under debate is that public money cannot be used to fund future bank bailouts. Instead, banks should be taxed to build a corpus for future bailouts.
    • India is not the only one opposed to the tax. Australia and Canada—whose banking system survived the financial meltdown unscathed—too are opposed to such a tax. The US and European countries favour a bank tax to pay for future bailouts.
  • It's boom time for automakers in India
    • With record sales inducing a capacity crunch, motown in India is on a roll and is readying plans to invest about $30 bn in the coming 4 years. What a change? Take a look at this news report.
  • Mining bill to establish govt as ‘natural’ owner
    • The government plans to update the draft legislation on mining to unequivocally establish it as the owner of all natural resources, incorporating the substance of a Supreme Court verdict last month in the dispute between the Ambani brothers over the price of gas from the KG basin.
    • The move is intended to facilitate, with state governments’ cooperation, the allocation of mining leases to projects the government considers to be of national importance by cutting through procedural and legal snarls. The new mining bill itself seeks to clean up one of the most unreformed sectors of the Indian economy, bringing in transparency and reducing the scope for discretion in the award of permission for reconnaissance, prospecting and development of mining blocks.
    • The May 7 Supreme Court judgment established the government’s complete authority over all natural resources and gave the state the freedom to decide on contractors, pricing and allocation of natural gas. The inclusion of the provision in the new mining law is expected to help fast-track large projects worth several billions of dollars and also check widespread illegal mining.
  • Lodha to gift Mumbai world’s tallest homes
    • Lodha Developers, one of India’s biggest realtors, is taking a tall bet on Mumbai’s top-end residential property market and is reportedly negotiating with foreign as well as local financiers to fund what it claims would be the world’s tallest residential tower.
    • The tower will come up on the 17.5-acre plot of the defunct Shrinivas Mill in Lower Parel, central Mumbai, that the Lodhas got control of after purchasing the shares of Shrinivas Cotton—which owned the land title— some years ago.
    • The tower may have 117 floors. As and when the booking starts, the price should be around Rs 22,000 per sq ft.
    • The height of the world’s tallest residential tower—Queensland Number One in Australia—is 322.5 metres. Pentominium, the supertall skyscraper that’s under construction in Dubai, will be 516 metres with 120 floors.
Language Lessons
  • mulish: Adjective
    • Unreasonably rigid in the face of argument or entreaty or attack
    • eg: Fast-growing India needs a lot of pro-people creativity and the Left's mulish refusal to engage with ‘actually existing reality' hurts everyone, not least the Left itself.
  • prevarication: Noun
    • A statement that deviates from or perverts the truth; Intentionally vague or ambiguous; The deliberate act of deviating from the truth