Politics & the Nation
  • Govt rot earns Supreme Court's wrath
    • The Centre’s failure to prevent wastage of millions of tonnes of grain stored in godowns invited the Supreme Court’s ire. In a stinging indictment, the Supreme Court charged the government with a callous approach and suggested remedial measures.
    • The court said it was concerned the government was allowing rotting of grain when millions in the country were going without two square meals a day. A Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma, who subjected Mr Sharad Pawar to some verbal caning, said the food ministry was not serious about handling the peculiar situation of overflowing granaries and hungry stomachs.
  • Rajya Sabha passes bill for voting rights to NRIs
    • The Rajya Sabha on Monday passed a bill that seeks to amend the Representation of the People Act to provide special provisions for citizens of India residing outside the country. The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2010, seeks to provide that every citizen of India whose name is not included in the electoral roll and who has not acquired the citizenship of any other country and who is absenting from his place of ordinary residence in India owing to his conditions such as employment, education, shall be entitled to have his name registered in the electoral roll in the constituency in which his place of residence is mentioned in his passport. The bill says that the central government, after consulting the Election Commission of India, will specify the time within which nonresident Indians shall be registered in the electoral rolls and the procedure to do so.
  • SC to examine Ahmadi’s Bhopal verdict
    • The Supreme Court will examine legality of the judgement delivered by chief justice A M Ahmadi, in 1996, which diluted charges against Union Carbide officials in the Bhopal gas tragedy. A bench comprising chief justice S H Kapadia, justice Altamas Kabir and justice R V Raveendran issued notices to seven convicts on the curative petition filed by CBI, seeking recall of its judgement of September 13, 1996, which had diluted charges against them.
    • The curative petition was heard by three senior most judges of the apex court in chamber and not in open court. The matter will come up for hearing after completion of process of service of the notices to the accused.
    • The convicts are Keshub Mahindra, the then chairman of Union Carbide India Ltd, (UCIL) Vijay Gokhale, the then MD of UCIL, Kishore Kamdar, then vice president, J N Mukund, then works manager, S P Choudhary, then production manager, K V Shetty, then plant superintendent and S I Quereshi, then production assistant. They were convicted and sentenced to only two years by a trial court in Bhopal on June 7 this year as a result of such dilution of charges.
    • CBI in its curative petition said that it is seeking restoration of the charges of Section 304 Part II of IPC against the respondents/accused persons which were quashed by the hon’ble court. The section deals with the stringent charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, which attracts maximum punishment of a 10-year jail term. However, due to dilution of the charges, the accused were tried under Section 304A of the IPC which provides a maximum punishment of two years of jail for causing death by rash and negligent act.
Finance & Economy
  • Economists question the GDP numbers
    • The government’s claim that the Indian economy grew at its fastest pace in over two years in the April-June quarter has been questioned by economists, who said the huge gap between the different growth estimates was confusing.
    • Their main contention is that there is a gap between the 'supplyside' and 'demand side' growth estimates.
    • The value of all goods and services produced by India, or the gross domestic product (GDP), grew 8.8% in the first quarter of the current fiscal, according to the `supplyside’ growth estimate arrived from various sectors such as agriculture, industry and services. The numbers were 6% a year ago and 8.6% in the previous quarter.
    • But, the robust 8.8% growth figure was not corroborated by the `demand side’ of the equation based on transactions in the market place. The demand number—calculated from private and government consumption, investment and net exports—showed that the economy grew as low as 3.7% during the first quarter of the current year. On an average, the divergence is well below 0.5%, though on a few occasions it has touched 2-3%.
    • Indirect taxes are netted out and subsidies added to the demand side of the GDP figure to arrive at the supply-side estimate. Since excise duties were rolled back and subsidies cut, the demand-side GDP growth should have been higher than the supply-side number. But, it was the reverse, as per government data.
    • Look at this graphic also in this regard.
  • Nokia scores a hat-trick as Brand No. 1
    • Nokia emerged as India’s Most Trusted Brand for the third year in a row, topping a field of 300 product and service brands. Colgate retained its No. 2 position, while Lux took the No. 3 spot in the tenth edition of the Brand Equity Most Trusted Brands Survey, 2010.
    • The Most Trusted Brands Survey, 2010, is conducted by The Nielsen Company and comprises a sample size of 8,160 respondents across socio-economic class, age, income and geography. Given the immense focus on the digital space by brands, this year, The Most Trusted Brands Survey introduced The Most Trusted Digital Brands list. Google search is the No. 1 digital brand, followed by Yahoo! mail at No. 2 with Gmail at No. 3.
  • e-coupons are catching up like wildfire in Indian brand building scene
  • The shrinking of the electronic chips to go on
    • Scientists at Rice University and Hewlett-Packard are reporting that they can overcome a fundamental barrier to the continued rapid miniaturisation of computer memory that has been the basis for the consumer electronics revolution.
    • Rice researchers are reporting that they have succeeded in building reliable small digital switches that could shrink to a significantly smaller scale than is possible using conventional methods.
    • Experimental chips can store only 1,000 bits of data now, but if the new technology succeeds single chips that store as much as today’s highest capacity disk drives could be possible in five years. The new method involves filaments as thin as five nanometers in width — thinner than what the industry hopes to achieve by the end of the decade using standard techniques. The initial discovery was made by Jun Yao, a graduate researcher at Rice. Yao said he stumbled on the switch by accident.
    • HP and the Rice scientists are making what are called memristors, or memory resistors, switches that retain information without a source of power.
    • The announcements are significant in part because they indicate that the chip industry may find a way to preserve the validity of Moore’s Law. Formulated in 1965 by Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel, the law is an observation that the industry has the ability to roughly double the number of transistors that can be printed on a wafer of silicon every 18 months.
    • IBM, Intel and other companies are already pursuing a competing technology called phasechange memory, which uses heat to transform a glassy material from an amorphous state to a crystalline one and back.
    • Phase-change memory has been the most promising technology for so-called flash chips, which retain information after power is switched off. The flash memory industry has used a number of approaches to keep up with Moore’s law without having a new technology. But it is as if the industry has been speeding toward a wall, without a way to get over it.