Politics & the Nation
  • SC raps the CBI for lax chargesheet in 2G scam
    • The Supreme Court has rapped the Central Bureau of Investigation for treating politicians and corporate entities involved in the 2G spectrum scandal with kid gloves.
    • The apex court asked CBI why former telecom minister A Raja has not been interrogated and why Unitech and Swan have not been named in the chargesheet.
    • But do take your time read this news report in full.  It throws light on how intelligent the senior lawyers in Supreme Court are.  Notice the interaction between the CBI counsel Mr. Venugopal and the SC.
  • Airlines under fire for ‘inappropriate’ fare hikes
    • A confrontation appeared to be brewing between airlines and the civil aviation ministry after airline companies rejected claims of predatory pricing by civil aviation minister Praful Patel.
    • Mr. Patel who is known for his industry-friendly ways, is reported to have told that he would take 'strict action' against airlines which are indulging in 'inappropriate' fare hikes.  But industry honchos say that there were no such fare hikes.  
Finance & Economy
  • The impact of CBI raids on bankers and financiers
    • Soon after the raids, the finance minister is reported to have directed the state-run lenders to prevent recurrence of the bribes-for-loans scandals.  On top of this, bankers have decided to go for a critical appraisal of all real estate loans above Rs. 50 crore.  This is going to drive the realtors to private funds.
    • Liquidity for the sector may dry up as bankers turn cautious in sanctioning fresh loans, forcing builders to cut prices to improve cash position, helping prospective buyers who have been holding on due to high prices.
  • Increased fertiliser subsidy bill threatens the fisc
    • The fertiliser ministry has sought an additional Rs. 30,000 crore to meet the rising subsidy bill, bringing the government’s finances under stress.
    • The ministry has projected a revised demand of Rs. 82,245 crore as against the budgeted Rs. 52,837 crore, citing hardening international prices of key inputs and imported fertilisers.
    • A group of ministers is likely to meet next Monday to consider partial freeing of urea prices to attract fresh investment in the fertiliser industry.
  • Europe can’t afford a Spanish collapse
    • Europe so far has survived the bailout of Greece. The financial rescue of Ireland also is manageable. Even if Portugal becomes the third country to succumb and seek aid, as many people widely predict, it is unlikely to push Europe to the financial brink.
    • But any bailout of Spain — with an economy twice the size of the other three combined — could severely stress the ability of Europe’s stronger countries to help the financially weaker ones, and spell deep trouble for the euro, Europe’s common currency. Even though Spain, like Ireland, has adopted an austerity plan to help it avoid the need for a bailout, it still could need aid if its banking system proves frailer than the government thinks it is, as was the case in Ireland.
Language Lessons
  • diddle: Verb
    • Deprive of by deceit; Manipulate manually or in one's mind or imagination; [N. Amer, vulgar] Have sexual intercourse with; (slang) spend time ineffectually; procrastinate
    • eg: ...they were also diddled out of some $3,900 worth of the other kind of dough...
  • incipient: Adjective
    • Only partly in existence; imperfectly formed
    • eg: Banks and financial institutions should strengthen the NPA (non-performing assets) monitoring and management in their institutions to ensure that advance action is taken to identify incipient sickness and take appropriate action on it.