You can download a copy of the gist of Ayodhya verdict from http://rjbm.nic.in.

You can download the rar version of the same from here.

Politics & the Nation
  • Allahabad High Court to deliver the Ayodhya judgment tomorrow at 3.30 PM
    • The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court will on Thursday deliver its verdict in the politically-sensitive Ayodhya case. This follows the Supreme Court’s rejection of a plea to defer the judgement.
    • The three-member bench of the Lucknow bench will give its verdict on who owns the disputed piece of land, where once stood the Babri Masjid but is claimed to be the birth place of Lord Ram by Hindu groups.
    • The verdict to a more than six-decadeold litigation will mark an important point in the dispute, but is unlikely to bring down the curtains as aggrieved parties are likely to move the Supreme Court.
    • Authorities are bracing themselves for facing any eventuality in the wake of the order.  The political class appears to be confident that the verdict will pass over without creating law and order problems.      
    • The confidence expressed by political parties could possibly be because the high court order may not settle the dispute. No party may emerge as a clear winner or loser in the judgement. This possibility was indicated by home minister P Chidambaram when he appealed for calm last week.
  • Green court from Oct 18
    • The nation’s first environmental court, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), will be notified on October 18 with the appointment of retired Supreme Court Justice L S Panta as chairperson.
    • The legislation setting up a specialised court for dealing with environment issues was passed by both Houses of Parliament earlier this year and received the President’s assent on June 2.
    • Anyone can approach this civil judicial body on grievances that involve the environment. The National Green Tribunal will have the powers of a high court. The verdict given by the tribunal can be challenged only in the Supreme Court. There are at present 5,600 environment-related cases pending in the courts. These cases will be transferred to NGT.
    • Individuals, organisations, civil society and governments can approach the tribunal for redressal. The green court would be governed by the principles of precautionary principles, polluter pays principle and inter-generational equity.
  • DoT refuses to answer CAG on 2G queries
    • The department of telecommunications (DoT) has sought to stonewall queries from the auditor of India’s state-run institutions, using an opinion from the law ministry that said policy decisions cannot be second-guessed by auditors.
    • The department has told the Comptroller and Auditor General, or CAG, that it would not respond to further queries on the award of frequency spectrum to a new set of telecom operators in 2008 because these were policy decisions. The DoT move sets up a possible confrontation with regulatory bodies investigating various decisions by A Raja, the telecom minister.
    • This development is very interesting in the context of the CAG recently warning DoT not to relax M&A norms to provide exit options for new entrants.
    • In its queries to the DoT, the CAG had alleged that Mr Raja’s failure to auction telecom licences in 2008 had led to losses of Rs 26,000 crore to the exchequer.
    • The new pan-India licences issued in 2008 cost Rs. 1,651 crore, a price fixed in 2001 when the mobile subscriber base was 45 million and industry valuations were poor. Nine companies were issued licences in a process that was controversial from the very beginning.
    • Some months later, Swan Telecom and Unitech, two of the winners, sold large stakes in their operations to overseas companies at stupendous valuations. This triggered a furore.
Finance & Economy
  • Oil cos to take bigger hit as govt set to cap subsidy at last year’s outgo
    • The government plans to limit its share of fuel subsidy payout to last year’s levels despite higher losses this year, a move that could result in a significant drop in profits for domestic oil companies.
    • This would require oil marketing companies IOC, HPCL and BPCL to absorb a substantial portion of the losses incurred in selling petro fuels below cost.
    • A part of the subsidy will be paid by government-owned oil producing companies ONGC and OIL. The finance ministry will pay its share of subsidy compensation in cash.
    • Subsidies, referred to as under recoveries in industry parlance, is equivalent to the loss suffered by the oil marketing companies for selling fuel at government controlled prices.
    • In 2009-10, the government agreed to bear only Rs. 26,000 crore of the total under recovery of Rs. 46,051 crore. The total subsidy bill is estimated to be in the region of Rs. 53,000 crore this year, higher by almost Rs. 7,000 crore from last year’s figure, due to higher crude oil prices.
    • Despite a partial decontrol of fuel prices, whereby oil companies are allowed to fix petrol prices, the bulk of the losses still remains as diesel, cooking gas and Kerosene continue to be sold at a loss. Diesel, which constitutes almost 45% of the total fuel consumption, accounts for a large portion of the losses.
  • Centre releases the Budget manual
    • We have all been following the budget over the years.  In spite of detailed explanations by various experts, the budget making process remains shrouded in a kind of mystery.  
    • Now the Centre has done its best to lift the veil of secrecy by coming out with a budget manual.  
    • This is a detailed 216-page document, that demystifies both the product and the process. It traces the history of the budget, dejargonises it and outlines its intricate passage through a fiscal year.
    • Some interesting trivia about budget that is found in the manual:
    • India’s first budget was presented by James Wilson on 7 April 1860. At that time, India followed a 1 May to 30 April fiscal. The current system of April to March fiscal began in 1867.
    • Interestingly, a government committee suggested in 1984 that India should shift to January to December fiscal, but government did not find enough benefit to justify the trouble.  More trivia in this graphic.
    • Have appetite for more?  Read the full manual here.
  • Why should the US care more for India?
    • In the context of the American Presidential visit, there is some clamour for pressing the US to relax the provisions of a recently enacted law that goes against the interests of the Indian infotech companies.  But the US is largely seen as playing its cards close to the chest and expecting matching concessions from India. Is it right for the US to keep expecting matching concessions from India every time it gives some concession?  Why should the US care more for India?  
    • This is what Arvind Panagariya discusses very well in his op-ed piece today.  Recommend a read.
Language lessons
  • nub: Noun
    • A small lump or protuberance; A small piece; The choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience
    • eg: This is not just a question of procuring more sophisticated equipment — breaking codes calls for very heavy computing power and supercomputers will, no doubt, need to be deployed. But that is not the nub of the problem.