Politics & the Nation
  • Geeta Johri files a curative petition before the Supreme Court
    • In yet another twist to the Sohrabuddin encounter case, Ms. Geeta Johri who is being questioned by the CBI for conducting a no-so perfect enquiry into the case, has filed a curative petition before the Supreme Court seeking the removal of CBI's Balwinder Singh as supervisor of CBI's investigation into the matter.  She has further accused the CBI of forcing her into implicating some politicians in the case -- including the jailed former Home Minister of Gujarat -- Amit Shah.
    • Take a look at this news report, which makes an interesting reading.
    • BTW do you know what a curative petition is?
    • The concept of Curative petition was evolved by the Hon'ble Supreme court in the matter of Rupa Ashok Hurra vs.Ashok Hurra (2002) 4SCC338 where the question was whether an aggreived person is entitled to any relief against the final judgement/order of the Supreme Court,after dismissal of a review petition.The Supreme Court in the said case held that in order to prevent abuse of its process and to cure gross miscarriage of justice,it may reconsider its judgements in exercise of its inherent powers.For this purpose the Court has devised what has been termed as a "curative" petition. In the Curative petition,the petitioner is required to aver specifically that the grounds mentioned therein had been taken in the review petition filed earlier and that it was dismissed by circulation.  This has to be certified by a senior advocate.  The Curative petition is then circulated to the three senior most judges and the judges who delivered the impugned judgement,if available.
    • No time limit is given for filing Curative petition.
  • An excellent commentary excerpted from today’s ET editorial
    • The comment was made in the context of Home Minister’s saffron terror remarks.
    • India is as yet a developing democracy where primordial custom and tradition hold greater weight, for many, than the laws created by Parliament. For the polity to evolve to a coherent concourse of citizens who consciously create and perform their rights and duties, both collective and individual, leaders must show commitment to the core values of democracy, even when these conflict with custom and tradition. To shirk that responsibility, for fear of risking power, comes naturally to the average Congressman. Average Congressmen should not become party leaders or spokesmen.
Finance & Economy
  • New telcos may exit, set off consolidation
    • Some new telcos had reportedly approached DoT seeking refund of entry fee if they surrendered licences and spectrum while some others wanted to selectively surrender licences and spectrum in several circles as they faced ‘several’ constraints.
    • New players have struggled with their rollout plans and their rate of adding new subscribers has slowed down. Etisalat and Loop (except in Mumbai) are yet to launch commercial operations despite holding pan-India airwaves to launch mobile services for nearly three years. Videocon has launched in only five of the 22 circles. STel, another new player, is also exploring options to merge or buy out another telco as its licences are limited to just six small circles.
    • The telecom department (DoT) is reportedly examining proposals that would allow new mobile operators, who were given licences and airwaves under controversial circumstances two years ago, to sell out or exit, paving the way for a possible consolidation in the 14-player domestic telecom market.
    • Some of the options that are available in this scenario include:
      • Allowing some of the new entrants to merge with larger operators
      • Relaxing the three-year lock-in clause for promoters
      • Allowing incumbents to retain airwaves they hold even after merger
  • On India’s energy scenario

    • Here is an excellent graphic that gives facts and figures relating to the energy (petroleum sector) scene in the country.  Very good one.

  • IT department wakes up to the pending litigation
    • With more than Rs. 75,000 crore locked up in litigation at the first stage of appeal itself, the income tax department appears to be looking for solutions to tackle the pendency.
    • Reportedly it is looking at coming out with a jurisdiction less appeal management system to tackle the issue.  For example, a commissioner appeals handling salaries cases has lesser number of cases but cannot look into corporate cases due to jurisdiction issues.  To overcome such limitations, it is reportedly looking at a centralised system at the national level to manage distribution of appeals within the apex direct taxes body.
    • It is time the IT department wracks its brains on pending litigation as it has about 1.78 lakh cases pending with commissioners (appeal), the first level of litigation, as of February 1, 2010.
  • Can we achieve 4% farm growth?
    • This is an excellent essay from a retired Secretary to Government of India -- Mr. Nanda Kumar.  You can use material from this essay to answer quite a few different interview and mains exam questions.
  • Some alarming facts about water consumption in the country
    • Excerpts from an essay that appeared in today's ET.
    • India’s inconvenient truth is that our country’s per-capita water availability has declined from 2,309 cu m in 1991 to below 1,700 cu m — the official waterstressed mark today. And if we do not change our ways dramatically, we are in real danger of becoming water-scarce, with per-capita availability nearing the 1,000 cu m by 2050, and our economic aspirations but a rude mirage.
    • Rainfall is the main source of water in India, and we receive a substantial 4,000 billion cubic metres (BCM) annually. However, about 85% of this rainfall is confined to 4-5 months of the year, and varies widely from just 310 mm in the western belt, to a massive 11,400 mm in Meghalaya. This concentrated, yet uneven, rainfall leads to two major challenges: it causes floods as well as droughts at the same time.
    • Compared to developed countries that capture and store over 900 days of rainfall in major river basins, India captures just 30 days. Consequently, of the total precipitation, a mere 1,123 BCM of water is available for utilisation: 690 BCM in the shape of surface water, and 433 BCM as groundwater resource.
    • As is the case in most emerging economies, agriculture uses about 80% of our water supplies, industry uses 8% and domestic consumption is 6%.
    • Can you guess how much water it takes to produce 1 kg of rice? 3,000 litres. Yes, 3,000 litres of water for each kilogram of rice. And India happens to be the largest producer of rice in the world. What’s more, the country ends up exporting up to 9.6 trillion litres of ‘virtual water’, in years of surplus rice production!
    • ADB plans -bonds to fund pvt infra projects
      • Multilateral institution Asian Development Bank (ADB) could take the lead in routing long-term insurance and pension funds into India’s infrastructure sector — an oft-repeated wish in India. ADB plans to enter the Indian debt market early next year to raise funds through rupee bonds to finance private sector infrastructure projects.
      • ADB had issued rupee bonds worth $100 million in 2004, its firstever global foray into local currency borrowing. Since then, it has issued bonds in Chinese Yuan, Indonesian Rupiah and Phillipine Peso.
      • In recent years, it has been financing Indian projects through crosscurrency swaps, or funds raised in other currencies are lent in India and the risk is hedged through swaps wherein payments in one currency are exchanged for another at an agreed rate.
      • ADB is looking at offering a premium of 20 to 80 basis points on the rupee bonds over the prevailing government securities rate at the time of the issue.
      • ADB is rated AAA by three international rating agencies. It needs to borrow an estimated $15 billion to $17 billion per annum in the next three calendar years.
      • In India, the finance ministry had given the ADB a 4,475-crore window to raise local currency funds either through bonds or cross-currency swaps. Of this, about 2,711 crore has not yet been utilised.
      • ADB’s infrastructure portfolio in India includes 66 projects (energy, power, transport, roads, railways, and communications) totalling more than $12.08 billion, and 129 technical assistance projects totalling more than $67.75 million.
      • India needs over $1 trillion investment in infrastructure sector over the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17), more than half of which has to come from the private sector.
    Language Lessons
    • spot on: Adjective
      • Exactly right
      • eg: Home minister P Chidambaram was spot-on when he focused attention on the danger posed to India’s integrity by Hindu fundamentalist organisations that have taken to heart RSS guru Golwalkar’s thesis that non-Hindus can subsist in this country, at best, as second-class citizens.
    • concourse: Noun
      • A large gathering of people; A coming together of people; A wide hallway in a building where people can walk
    • post-haste: Adverb
      • As fast as possible; with all possible haste
      • eg: The different segmental weights, as also the range of goods being tracked, clearly need to be revised and brought up-to-date, post-haste.