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Showing posts from December 7, 2016

The Hindu Airing out a decision (The Hindu )

Why the Indian Navy’s non-acceptance of the Tejas fighter aircraft should be accepted as a result of evaluation by specialists

The Indian Navy’s professional decision not to induct the indigenous Tejas fighter aircraft has given armchair critics a new lease of life. Stand by for a lot of their ‘professional’ views against the Navy especially as the Indian Air Force (IAF) is now out of their cross hairs after its decision to induct 120 Tejas MK 1As — a decision which was born out of no other criterion but a professional assessment. It is time we become wise about how the defence forces go about buying aircraft and other equipment that cost millions of rupees per piece. There are operational pressures too which influence decision-making. In this misplaced assault of the ‘armchairists’, the case of the procurement of the Pilatus PC-7 Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) by the IAF from Switzerland as against Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s indigenous HTT-40 stands out.

Procurement road map

Every pr…

Depression in Bay of Bengal, heavy rain likely(thehindu)

A depression has formed over southeast Bay of Bengal and lay centred at about 1,320 km. southeast of Visakhapatnam at 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday. The system is likely to move initially west- northwest wards and then north-westwards in the next 72 hours.

It is very likely to intensify into a deep depression during the next 24 hours and again into a cyclonic storm in the subsequent 24 hours, according to a spokesperson of the Cyclone Warning Centre (CWC) here. “Since the system is more than 1,300 km away south-southeast of Visakhapatnam, it would take at least three or more days to reach the north Andhra coast even if it travels at a speed of 300 or 400 km/hr... Heavy rain can be expected in parts of north Andhra and Odisha coasts on December 10” said the former Director of IMD, P.V. Rama Rao. Distant cautionary signal (DC-1), a type of storm warning signal, will be hoisted at Visakhapatnam, Machilipatnam, Krishnapatnam and Nizamapatnam ports and DC-1 with section signal no. 5 will be hoisted …

Respond to review pleas, SC tells Ansals(thhindu)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed businessmen and brothers Sushil and Gopal Ansal to respond to review petitions seeking harsher punishment for negligence, causing the deaths of over 50 cine-goers in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy.

A Bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi began the hearing of the review petitions filed by the victims’ families and the CBI against the apex court’s 2015 judgment allowing the Ansals to get off by paying a total fine of Rs. 60 crore for negligence.

December 14 hearing

The apex court restrained them from leaving the country till the review petitions are decided. It said the hearing on the petitions would commence on December 14.

The Association of Victims of Uphaar Fire Tragedy (AVUT) has been seeking an urgent hearing of the review petitions. However, Justice A.R. Dave, who was the lead judge on the Bench which pronounced the 2015 judgment, had retired in November.

In its review plea, the AVUT had said the apex court judgement “bestows an unwarranted leniency on …

J.S. Khehar tipped to be next CJI (thehindu)

Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur on Tuesday recommended the senior-most pusine judge in the Supreme Court, Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, as his successor and the 44th Chief Justice of India.

Justice Khehar, who led the Constitution Bench which scrapped the government’s National Judicial Appointments Commission law, will be the first Chief Justice from the Sikh community. He will be sworn in on January 4 and will hold the post for over seven months till August 27, 2017.

Justice Khehar had also headed a bench which set aside the imposition of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh in January this year. He was a part of the bench that sent Sahara chief Subrata Roy to jail, while hearing the matter relating to the refund of money invested by people in his two companies.

He headed the bench that recently gave the significant verdict that the principle of “equal pay for equal work” must be made applicable to daily wagers and casual and contractual employees.

He had recently said that the judic…

Has a Bangladesh charity found a way to banish extreme poverty? thehindu)

Dughia village is idyllic, but the lives of many of the women who spend their days among its mango orchards, duck ponds and brilliant green paddy fields are anything but. For them, the beauty of the village has been a backdrop to decades of suffering. They fight back tears to explain how they are lucky to eat once a day and cannot even afford blouses to wear under their tattered sarees. All are illiterate, and several have been parted from their children, who have died, gone to faraway cities or been taken in by other families when the cost of raising them at home proved too much. “I don’t want to think about my life. It’s a very hard story — even listening to it will make you cry,” says Lalita, who spent 16 years separated from her children, doing back-breaking manual labour to pay off £400 in loans. “My husband got sick, and when he died I was drowning in debt, so I went away to look for work.” Although she travelled barely 100 km, wages were so meagre she couldn’t afford to return…

RBI keeps rates unchanged, maintains accommodative monetary policy stance(thehindu)

Lowers the Gross Value Added growth projection for 2016-17 to 7.1 per cent from 7.6 per cent. The Reserve Bank of India on Thursday kept the base rate unchanged at 6.25 per cent. This was announced at its bi-monthly monetary policy review. This, being the first monetary policy review after the demonetisation of old Rs.500 and Rs. 1,000 notes, there were wide expectations of a rate cut as banks saw a surge in deposits. But the central bank said all Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members voted in favour of keeping the interest rate unchanged. "The decision of the MPC is consistent with the accomodative stance of the policy in consonance with the objective of achieving 5% CPI inflation by Q4 of FY17," the RBI said. The RBI has lowered the Gross Value Added (GVA) growth projection for 2016-17 to 7.1 per cent from 7.6 per cent. It said it was withdrawing incremental Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) with effect from December 10. On demonetisation Deputy Governor R. Gandhi defended the de…

TIFR discovery challenges theory of superconductivity(thehindu)

A team of researchers has discovered semi-conductivity in bismuth at around -273 C°

Researchers at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, have made a landmark discovery that challenges the conventional understanding of superconductivity.

A team, lead by Dr. S. Ramakrishnan of the Department of Condensed Matter Physics and Material Sciences at TIFR, has discovered bismuth semi-metal in bulk form becoming a superconductor when the temperature is lowered to 530 microKelvin (about -273 degree C), which is three orders of magnitude higher than the theoretical prediction. The results were published in the journal Science .

“The Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory [which explains superconductivity in most low Tc superconductors] cannot explain the superconductivity seen in bismuth,” said Dr. Ramakrishnan, the corresponding author of the paper. “The discovery demands a new theory and a new mechanism to understand superconductivity in bismuth. This discovery provides an alt…

No dividend waiver for Railways this year(thehindu)

The Finance Ministry has rejected the Railway Ministry’s demand for waiving or deferring the payment of dividend for 2016-17, senior railway official said.

The Railways had demanded that the dividend for the divided budgeted for 2016-17 be waived or deferred owing to its poor financial condition in its mid-year review meeting held last month.

“The Finance Ministry didn't agree to our demand of not paying dividend due to weak financial position this fiscal year," a senior Indian Railways' official said, on conditions of anonymity.

After the Railway Budget merges with the Union Budget from next financial year, the Railways will not be required to pay dividend to the Finance Ministry for the capital invested in it. In 2016-17, the Railways were budgeted to pay Rs. 9,731 crore as dividend, whereas the subsidy claimed by the Railways towards loss-making routes was estimated at Rs. 4,301 crore. The net dividend payment to the Finance Ministry was estimated at Rs. 5,430 crore.

The R…

Helen Marten wins Turner prize (thehindu)

Chair of judges praises 31—year—old artist, who recently won Hepworth prize, for baffling sculptural work which ‘reflects the condition of the world’

Helen Marten has sealed her position as one of the U.K.’s most exciting young artists after being named the winner of the 2016 Turner prize, her second big award in the space of a month.

The 31-year-old artist, who was born in Macclesfield, was presented with her £25,000 prize by the writer Ben Okri at a ceremony at London’s Tate Britain gallery.

It comes only weeks after she won the £30,000 Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. On that occasion Ms. Marten announced from the stage that she would be sharing the winnings with her fellow artists and she later confirmed she would be doing the same thing with the Turner Prize.

“I don’t feel I need to politicise that gesture,” she said. “I can do it quietly.”

She won for work which baffles gallery goers as much as it grips and delights them. Ms. Marten creates complex sculptures from a bewildering array of…

The Hindu ‘Chaos will ensue if BCCI bosses are removed’(thehindu)

Lodha panel’s recommendations seem to be aimed at weakening the organisation, Anurag Thakur tells SC

BCCI president Anurag Thakur has said “great chaos” will ensue if the Supreme Court implements the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee’s recommendation to remove the top bosses of the Board and State cricket associations.

In an affidavit before the Supreme Court, Mr. Thakur said “the removal of democratically-elected office bearers of the BCCI or State cricket associations will not result in any benefit to the game and shall instead paralyse the administration.” Their removal would directly impact the BCCI among organisations like the International Cricket Council. Lodha panel’s recommendations seemed to aim at making BCCI a “weak organisation,” he alleged.

Shifting responsibility

Mr. Thakur said the Lodha Committee’s suggestion to the Supreme Court to appoint former Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai as auditor was an attempt to shift responsibility to a third party. “Lodha Committee cannot shift …

MPs submit plea to remove Hyderabad High Court judge(thehindu)

: Sixty-one Members of Parliament have submitted a petition to initiate removal proceedings against Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy of the Hyderabad High Court, to Rajya Sabha chairperson, Hamid Ansari. Mr. Ansari is yet to give any ruling on it.

“Around 61 members of Parliament (MPs), including myself, have signed this petition. We will await his (Mr. Ansari) ruling on the matter,” Communist Party of India leader and Rajya Sabha MP D. Raja told The Hindu . Several MPs from the Telugu Desam Party were also signatories to the petition. In the petition, MPs said, “There is an allegation made by a Mr. Rama Krishna, formerly principal junior civil judge, Rayachoty, Kadapa district, currently under suspension, that he was forced by Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy to remove the name of a Mr. Pavan Kumar Reddy, who happens to be the brother of Justice Reddy, from a dying declaration recorded by Mr. Rama Krishna when he was posted as magistrate at Rayachoty. Mr. Pavan Kumar Reddy is the additional p…

The persistent poverty of the Indian State( themint)

Tirthankar Roy is arguably the finest contemporary scholar of Indian economic history. He has pointed out in one of his books that the Indian government has had to struggle with low tax revenue for a very long time—an issue that is resonant is our times as well.

Roy has provided data to show that the tax collected for every unit of economic output in India was very low compared to not only a colonial power such as Great Britain or an Asian success story such as Japan but also compared to colonized countries such as Malaysia or Sri Lanka. The government of what was then the Federated Malay States spent on average more than 10 times the money spent in British India per head between 1920 and 1930. Not all of this can be explained by differences in average incomes in these two British colonies. Data from the Maddison Project show that India had an average income of $726 in 1930 while Malaysia had an average income of $1,278, in terms of 1990 dollars.

It was the same story in the case of man…