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Showing posts from March 19, 2015

Dollar, rupee and the budget

Since October 2014 the euro has slumped almost 20% versus the dollar as expectations of monetary tightening in the US and loosening by the European Central Bank have taken hold. A strong dollar and rising US interest rates is tough going for emerging market currencies at the best of times and more so following a period of easy money. The collapse of the Russian rouble, Nigerian naira and Ukrainian hryvnia could be explained away by the collapse in oil prices and geopolitical tensions, but the emerging market currency weakness is broad based. Versus the dollar the Brazilian real is down 28% and even the Indonesian rupiah, cosseted by long-term gas contracts with Japan, has lost 8.3%. Even the renminbi is at risk of popping out of its tight fluctuation band on the side of weakness. The Indian rupee is alone in bucking that trend. Since October, the rupee has hardly budged against a rampaging dollar and were it not for fear of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) intervention, maybe it …

Mercury can lead to extinction of Arctic bird

Threats from various sources have contributed to a 70 per cent decline in the bird’s population in Canada
An ivory gull (Photo: Abigor/flickr)Mercury pollution has risen nearly 50-fold in the feathers of a breed of Arctic bird over the past 130 years, says a BBC report that quotes a few scientists. The researchers, according to the report, analysed feather samples of the ivory gull (Pagophila eburnea) from the Canadian Arctic and western Greenland from 1877 to 2007. They found the bird had been exposed to mercury for decades. Scavenging on the carcasses of whales, seals and other mammals killed by predators such as polar bears was the primary source of mercury consumption.
Days before this, in January, the very rare Arctic bird was spotted in US' Quincy, bringing many bird watchers to the city. Meanwhile, in a study published in PLOS One, it has been highlighted that since ivory gulls avoid flying over open water, scientists suggest birds may vary their migration route with the var…

Ordinance to reform the mining sector will do more harm than good(Compilation of Down To Earth Articles on Mining Bill)

Ordinance to reform the mining sector will do more harm than good
SOON AFTER President Pranab Mukherjee signed the ordinance to amend the archaic Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act of 1957, Union minister for steel and mines, Narendra Singh Tomar, announced it is a revolutionary step towards reviving the country’s mining sector. His ministry highlighted that the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment

Demand for Total Ban on Cow Slaughter in Kerala and West Bengal

Download PDF version The last few weeks have witnessed a ban on the slaughter and possession of bulls, bullocks and calves, in addition to cows, in Maharashtra and then in Haryana. The BJP, in power in both these states as well as the centre, has argued that they have agreed to a long-standing demand from various sections of society. In this article published in EPW in 1979, economist K N Raj analyses the demand of Vinoba Bhave for banning cow slaughter in West Bengal and Kerala—a debate that is continuing even today. K N Raj (1924-2010) was an Indian economist, associated with the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram and Delhi School of Economics, New Delhi. Abstract of the article: Vinoba Bhave's demand for banning cow slaughter in Kerala and West Bengal and his fast for gain-ing its acceptance raise three sets of issues; (a) the constitutional and legal basis of the demand, (b) its economic rationale, and (c) the political implications and possible consequences. Th…