Politics & the Nation
  • A very good interview from NRN
    • Take a look at this good interview from Mr. Narayana Murthy.  Many of you may face such tough situations as he finds himself presently in -- the huge investment in an increasingly unpopular sector i.e., MFI and an increasingly unpopular company (SKS Microfinance).  Look at how intelligently he answered the uncomfortable questions!  You can’t call it ‘evasion’; but he came out quite well from an otherwise tricky situaiton.
  • Obama saves Maha CM’s gaddi
    • It is President Obama’s visit that is ensuring that the Maharashtra CM is not replaced immediately.  The Congress high command is reportedly keen on replacing him for his role in the Adarsh housing society scam.  It has found that all the other bigwigs who could possibly provide a suitable replacement for Mr. Chavan reportedly have their hands dirty in the scam.  That’s why the high command is at crossroads in finding an immediate replacement.  The other factor that is weighing heavily is the impending visit of the US President to Bombay.  
  • CWG corruption
    • For years to come, if not more, CWG corruption will perhaps keep throwing up surprises.  Take a look at this news story.  It details as to how Prasar Bharti had entered into a contract with SIS Live which is nothing but a front company for Zoom.  
Finance & Economy
  • All is not well with Air India
    • We all know that the national carrier had a huge debt burden.  That’s what it has been making news for in recent times.  But of late, there is more.  It is in the news for making some controversial appointments.  Take a look at this news story.  
  • Dabangg controversy helps Zandu balm sales
    • Read this interesting news story.  Emami which has sued the film makers of Dabangg has reportedly settled the issue out of court and has also seen Zandu balm sales soaring because of the controversy.
  • E-payments can help govt save 1L cr a yr: McKinsey
    • An estimated annual savings of around Rs. 1,00,000 crore makes a compelling case for the government to make a one-time investment of Rs. 60,000-70,000 crore to build an electronic payment platform for all its transactions with individual households, says consulting firm McKinsey.
    • Such a platform could help the government save Rs. 71,000 crore a year, while benefiting individual beneficiaries to the tune of Rs. 26,200 crore.
    • The saving of Rs. 1,00,000 crore is equivalent to about 10% of the total payment flow between the government and households, considering that in 2008-09, such payments in form of direct cash transactions, subsidies and public services such as education and healthcare amounted to Rs. 13,30,000 crore.
    • The most significant gain from an e-payment platform in a country of 80-100 million poor households would be in the form of financial inclusion.
  • The cornerstone of the common law system
    • Is “innocent till proved guilty.”
  • QE-II
    • It stands for quantitative easing II.  Take a look at what ET in the Classroom explains about the concept.
  • India not yet ready to sign defence pacts with the US
    • US defence ware manufacturers may be looking forward to the visit of President Barack Obama to seal billion dollar deals, but New Delhi is yet not ready to sign pacts that are necessary for sales to go through.
    • The long-pending Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for geo-spatial cooperation (Beca) are crucial for the execution of defence deals between the two countries.
    • It may be recalled that Lockheed Martin and Boeing are participating in the world’s single-largest $12-billion defence deal for supplying 126 fighter jets, F-16 and F-18, to the Indian Air Force.
    • Although the two sides have been negotiating on these agreements for the past three years, New Delhi is worried that these pacts could have adverse impact on its other allies like Russia. While the LSA would allow Indian and American forces, aircraft and ships to obtain logistics from each others’ bases, CISMOA would enable transfer of high technology.
    • It is these agreements that are reportedly causing jitters in the Indian establishment.
  • On people to people relationship between countries
    • We have often heard professors and politicians alike utter the phrase 'people-to-people' friendship or relationship as characterising the relationship between two countries.  What exactly is this relationship?  Kiran Karnik explains this very well with reference to Indo US relations.  An excerpt from his op-ed today.
    • This (people to people friendship) has withstood the vicissitudes of even the worst phases of political differences (for example, during the liberation of Bangladesh). Indians are generally both liked and respected in the US, not only in academic and technology communities, but increasingly — as evidenced in their rise in the political arena — in the mainstream. Similarly, things American have long been popular in India: be it Hollywood films, jeans and Coca-Cola; Apple and Big Apple; or Newsweekand US universities.
    • Over the last decade or so, this relationship has bloomed further with the growing trade and economic links. Nowhere is this more evident than in the IT sector, where the partnership between Indian IT service providers and US companies has brought immense value to both, and greatly benefited the US citizen through cheaper products and better services. US IT companies have set up large operations in India — offshoring work from US and global customers, but also tapping the growing commercial and government market in India, and for R&D. Now, US retail giants, insurance companies, aircraft makers and defence companies see immense potential in the Indian market — just as US consumer companies have grabbed a head-to-toe opportunity (from shampoos or shoes). The technological and economic gains of US-India collaboration in renewable energy, healthcare and space, leveraging the complementarities, can be truly immense for both sides.
Language Lessons
  • ensnare: Verb
    • Take or catch as if in a snare or trap; (hunting) catch in or as if in a trap
  • mote: Noun
    • (nontechnical usage) a tiny piece of anything
    • eg: How much longer will our political leaders pretend not to see this beam in their own eye while they turn aghast at a mote in someone else’s?
  • treacly: Adjective
    • Overly sweet
    • eg: The headline on the cover of the October 2-8 issue of The Economist should gladden the hearts of those who subscribe to the treacly sentiment underlying the song “I love my India”, as emoted by actress Mahima Chaudhry in the 1997 Shahrukh Khan starred Pardes.