Politics & the Nation
  • Interesting quote
    • In 1887, two years after the Congress came into existence, Baron Acton famously observed, “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Power also tends to make its wielders arrogant, and absolute power makes them absolutely arrogant.
  • France, India Ink Multi-Billion-$ N-Deals
    • France and India signed multi-billion-dollar agreements that will usher in an era of civilian nuclear energy in this country, two years after the US helped end India’s nuclear isolation.
    • In the near term, work will begin in Jaitapur in Maharashtra, where French energy giant Areva will build two nuclear reactors that can generate 1,650 mw each. Four more reactors are planned in Jaitapur and these are among a total of 20 nuclear reactors India plans to build to bridge its massive power shortage. The reactors will be operated by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and will have guaranteed fuel supply from France for 25 years.
    • The deal to build the first two nuclear reactors is estimated to be worth about $9.3 billion.
    • Areva will build its third-generation European Pressurised Reactors in Maharashtra. NPCIL and Areva signed a General Framework Agreement for the two reactors and also inked an Early Works Agreement pact that related to the implementation of the units.
    • The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Bill India passed in August this year had raised concerns that the provisions of the Act will make it prohibitively expensive for foreign companies to enter the country’s nuclear energy sector. India is learnt to have assured France that the legislation is in line with international norms and will not come in the way of doing business here.
Finance & Economy
  • GST stalemate continues, BJP FMs stay away from meeting
    • The government and the opposition failed to end a stalemate over the proposed goods and services tax, with a meeting of state finance ministers on Monday deciding not to discuss the constitutional amendments required for the implementation of the key indirect-tax reform.
    • The government had planned to roll out GST from this fiscal year, but postponed its implementation by a year. The new tax is aimed at harmonising the country’s indirect tax regime by replacing several taxes levied by the Centre and states. Only eight state finance ministers out of 28 attended the meeting that postponed discussion on the constitutional amendment bill to its next meeting later this month. Finance ministers of BJP-ruled states did not attend the meeting.
    • The GST will replace central excise duty and services tax and state taxes including value-added tax, entry tax and purchase tax.
  • House panel seeks to postpone IFRS switch by 2 years
    • Murli Manohar Joshi chaired influential parliamentary committee has reportedly urged the prime minister to delay the rollout of global accounting norms by at least two years, saying India need to enter into a dialogue with other countries to modify the proposed norms to suit local practices.
    • International financial reporting standards (IFRS), which seek to bring about a convergence in the way corporate accounts are prepared globally, is set to be rolled out from next fiscal year in a phased manner.
    • Convergence to IFRS is part of India’s commitment at the G20, a global forum of the world’s largest economies. Convergence typically means that Indian companies will not be required to follow IFRS principles in totality, but they need to follow standards that are aligned to global norms. Many of the converged standards have suggested changes in norms relating to real estate and foreign exchange.
    • The government has charted out a three-phase IFRS convergence process for Indian companies with the first phase beginning in April 2011.
    • Approximately 120 nations have accepted IFRS for domestic listed companies. Of these, about 90 countries have made it mandatory for their companies to follow IFRS.
    • Currently, India does no require its companies to follow the IFRS. However, as per its commitment to the G20, India will converge its domestic accounting standards with IFRS in a phased manner from April 1, 2011.
  • How is the IT tech scene going to be by 2015?
    • This is an interesting list of predictions about the technology scene by 2015.  Look at it.
  • Grameen Bank founder faces tax probe
    • Bangladesh government has ordered a “thorough” probe into allegation that Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus transferred nearly $100 million originally meant for microcredit operations of his Grameen Bank to his another venture to avoid tax.
    • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said that Grameen Bank’s exposure to the controversy could have occurred as it tried to play a “trick” to evade government taxes by transferring $100 million to a non-profit sister venture of the bank.
    • Yunus welcomed the government probe.   A Norwegian TV documentary aired last week had exposed Grameen Bank to a massive controversy.
    • Grameen Bank said there was nothing secretive about transactions
Language Lessons
  • supercilious: Adjective
    • Having or showing arrogant superiority to and disdain of those one views as unworthy; Expressive of contempt
    • eg: "his mother eyed my clothes with a supercilious air”
  • ditzy: Adjective
    • (informal) scatterbrained, silly
    • eg: "Ditzy girls can appear drunk even when they're cold sober”
  • tenement: Noun
    • A run-down apartment house barely meeting minimal standards
  • axiom: Noun
    • A saying that is widely accepted on its own merits; (logic) a proposition that is not susceptible of proof or disproof; its truth is assumed to be self-evident.