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Showing posts from December 16, 2016

How babus play ball(theindianexpress)

Even if one discounts the 90 per cent approval rating that a PM-associated poll has accorded to demonetisation, there is no doubt that a large section of the middle and working classes and the urban poor have endorsed what they see as a gigantic step towards rooting out corruption in public life. In their calculus, the rich and powerful, who have exploited this nation for decades, will now be brought to book. With more anti-corruption measures promised, they believe that, among other things, the coercive corruption hawkers, tea shop vendors, rickshaw pullers and shanty dwellers have had to put up with will end, as also the socially debilitating system of bribing when seeking a train reservation, a driving license or a ration card.

Their dreams have been fanned by economists supporting demonetisation. The latter envision a digital India with universal education and healthcare, full employment, low direct taxes, elimination of funding for terrorism, a booming economy, et al. Expectations…

A posthumous honour(theindian express)

In a surprising-for-a-rightwing-leader change of heart, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has renamed the National Centre for Physics at Islamabad’s Quaid-e-Azam University after Abdus Salam, who, in 1979, became the Muslim world’s first Nobel laureate in Physics. The Ahmadi community of Salam had been apostatised in 1974 in the second constitutional amendment by a “liberal” prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, himself hanged in 1979 — the year Salam got his Nobel Prize — by General Zia, a truer Muslim than Bhutto.
The chief reporter of a leading daily, Ansar Abbasi, reacted to the PM’s decision by asking why Salam was being honoured in Rabi-ul-Awwal, the month the Prophet PBUH was born. The intent was to highlight that the faith of the community to which Salam belonged had insulted the prophet PBUH by claiming a prophet after him. Muslims don’t like the pagan Nobel statue coming into the hands of their fellow-Muslims. Nobody celebrated Salam, the Nobel laureate, in Pakistan; then an Egypt…

Mapping the American mind(thehindu)

Given America’s centrality in many areas of knowledge, its own crisis in the Trump era will have an impact on other national systems of education

Donald Trump’s victory has unnerved a vast number of people around the world. It has jolted the common belief that education makes a contribution to the efficiency of democracy. One of the many positive stereotypes of America is that it has a very good system of public education. The reason America attracts some of the best students from other countries to study in its colleges and universities is that the quality of education they provide is believed to be very high. In school education too, the impression persists that America offers an equal opportunity to everyone to excel. These impressions are hard to accommodate with the decision America has taken to choose a man like Mr. Trump to lead and represent it.

Anyone who watched the three presidential debates will have difficulty forgetting the clumsy arguments and crude masculinity Hillary Cl…

Decoding the Fed’s signals(thehindu)

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s widely anticipated decision to  resume its course of normalisation of monetary policy by raising the benchmark Federal Funds rate by one-quarter of a percentage point has unequivocally signalled that the world’s largest economy is well and truly back on track. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said the U.S. central bank now expects the economy to “continue to perform well”. The median projection of real gross domestic product growth among the Federal Open Market Committee’s participants is for the expansion to accelerate to 2.1 per cent in 2017, from 1.9 per cent this year. This bodes well for the world economy as an improvement in demand for goods and services in one of the biggest markets will potentially spur economic activity all over. That the improvement in momentum has been accompanied by “solid” job gains and moderate increases in household spending is particularly heartening since personal consumption undergirds overall demand in the U.S. The Fed has also…

Diminishing options before BCCI(thehindu)

Equivocation before the Supreme Court can be costly. Anurag Thakur, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, may have learnt this bitter lesson after the Chief Justice of India found him prima facie guilty of contempt of court and perjury. The board’s predicament is not only due to its reluctance to accept the reforms suggested by the court-appointed Justice Lodha Committee. It is also because of its president’s ham-handed attempt to explain away his move to get the International Cricket Council to issue a letter to the effect that some judicial orders regarding the BCCI amounted to ‘governmental interference’. Mr. Thakur allegedly approached ICC chairman Shashank Manohar in Dubai in August 2016 in connection with the court’s July 18 order mandating that a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India should be on the BCCI’s apex council. It is not surprising that the court took a dim view of the BCCI initially denying that such an attempt had been made to get…

India remains one of fastest-growing countries: White House report(theindianexpress)

India remains one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, the White House has said even as it underlined that inefficiencies persist in the country’s public sector the poor still lacking healthcare coverage and access to financial services. “India remains one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, with real GDP expanding at 7.3 per cent in the four quarters through 2016:Q3,” said the Economic Report of the President for the year 2017, which was sent to the Congress. The voluminous report running into nearly 600 pages says that economic growth in India continues at a solid pace of a projected 7.4 per cent over the four quarters of 2016.
Aim to make India 'world's most open economy': PM Modi in Japan
“Private consumption has been a major driver in economic growth, contributing 4.3 percentage points to its 7. 3 per cent real GDP growth rate in the four quarters through 2016:Q3,” the report said, adding that lower inflation and fiscal consolidation over the pas…

The long-term solution(theindianexpress)

All of us self-styled and other-styled experts should be gasping for ideas. Consider the following.
In 1996, the Supreme Court ordered the closure of hazardous industries in Delhi to reduce pollution instead of forcing them to clean up their act. This led to the unemployment of over a million people directly or indirectly. In 2002, the Supreme Court ordered that all buses, taxis and three-wheelers in Delhi should convert their engines to CNG to ensure a clean atmosphere. Recent newspaper reports suggest that the policymakers think that “drastic” actions like temporary use of the odd-even scheme, closing schools, factories, construction activities, etc., are a way forward.
All the above actions were based on advice from experts in the city and none of them could be considered harmful as far as controlling pollution in Delhi. However, we have to pause and reflect why the air gets worse every year. Just an increase in the number of vehicles can’t be trotted out as an excuse. Forcing dis…

India remains one of fastest-growing countries: White House report(theindianexpress)

India remains one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, the White House has said even as it underlined that inefficiencies persist in the country’s public sector the poor still lacking healthcare coverage and access to financial services. “India remains one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, with real GDP expanding at 7.3 per cent in the four quarters through 2016:Q3,” said the Economic Report of the President for the year 2017, which was sent to the Congress. The voluminous report running into nearly 600 pages says that economic growth in India continues at a solid pace of a projected 7.4 per cent over the four quarters of 2016.
Aim to make India 'world's most open economy': PM Modi in Japan
“Private consumption has been a major driver in economic growth, contributing 4.3 percentage points to its 7. 3 per cent real GDP growth rate in the four quarters through 2016:Q3,” the report said, adding that lower inflation and fiscal consolidation over the pas…

Death in Aleppo(thehindu)

For too long, we have been a passive society, deaf to Rwanda, Somalia, Syria. Our foreign policy is a piece of empty piety. Maybe Aleppo can be a first step to a more humane India
It began in a simple banal way. I had just spent a wonderful winter’s day suffering a faculty meeting and was blaming myself for having lost a sunny afternoon. I went back to my room and found my usually ebullient student stunned and in tears. All she could say was, “Aleppo. People are dying in Aleppo and no one seems to care. I was reading the messages on Facebook and could not face the suffering of the people. How can 50,000 children be killed in Syria? Is this what they mean by evacuation? Why is it that no one in India is responding? Don’t lives matter?”
Grading genocides
The cascade of questions and the sheer spontaneity of emotions moved me. My student was mourning, mourning for the people in Aleppo and mourning for the death of conscience in India. India, for all its global aspirations, is illiterate abo…

Vulnerable in cyberspace (thehindu)

The ‘Legion’ hacks expose the dire state of cybersecurity in India. Frequent data breaches will steadily erode the confidence of Internet users and deter them from using digital gateways

An expansive cyberattack on critical information infrastructure in India — communications, banking technologies, healthcare services — may be currently under way. What’s worse, many of these operations have likely attained their objective.

If that sounds hyperbolic, sample the comments made to news outlets by a representative of the group ‘Legion’, which has claimed responsibility for hacking emails and Twitter accounts belonging to the Indian National Congress, the industrialist Vijay Mallya, and journalists Barkha Dutt and Ravish Kumar. Buried in their profanity-laced correspondence with The Washington Post and FactorDaily, this group has claimed access to “over 40,000 servers” in India, “encryption keys and certificates” used by some Indian banks, and confidential medical data housed in “servers o…

Rules of an exchange economy(\Thehindu)

How do we work out the obligations of banks in the post-demonetisation scenario?

For any two parties (individuals or corporates) entering into financial transaction, the arrangement is bound by contracts as are obligatory in an exchange economy where money is the medium of transactions. While contracts, especially when breached, are subject to the laws of the land, the basic norms of an exchange economy make it obligatory in any such exchange that the debtor has to honour the claims of the creditor.




As with all exchanges, the above also holds true for financial transactions between banks and the non-bank public. Those cover the deposits advanced by the non-bank public to the other (mostly banks) on a short- or long-term basis. While not explicit, there always exists a contract underlying those exchanges. The contract, as specified in standard documentations on related issues, “… is a voluntary arrangement between two or more parties that is enforceable at law as a binding legal agreemen…