The Best Blog for SSC CGL, Banking, UPSC and other competitive exams.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

10 th and 11th nov 2015

prepared by ashok sharma

-The Hindu Courting the people's views

Go as far as you can see, and when you get there, you'll see farther, goes a saying attributed to Thomas Carlyle. The Supreme Court has gone as far as invalidating an attempt to provide a legislated alternative to its own collegium system of judicial appointments. After restoring the judge-made system, it has to necessarily see farther and come up with improvements that will enhance transparency in appointments and provide reasonable eligibility criteria for prospective judges. Having both struck down the Constitution amendment to set up a National Judicial Appointments Commission and admitted to serious shortcomings in the system it has been implementing for over two decades, the court has to take the next logical step of reforming the existing mechanism. It has embarked on a unique process to involve the entire society in the exercise by inviting suggestions from the public. For the first time, the average citizen will be involved in a process hitherto seen as arcane and solely within the domain of the government and the higher judiciary. It may not have been ideal in a democracy for something as important as criteria for appointments to the higher judiciary to be evolved through a court hearing merely after listening to key stakeholders — the government and the legal fraternity. This would have meant nothing more than a process of harmonising courtroom differences and evolving a common scheme. By widening the range of views to include the public at large, the court has made it as close to a democratic exercise as possible.

Public participation may provide a rare opportunity for the government and the judiciary to understand the expectations of the public. It is time for the stakeholders to come together, leaving behind any hint of a conflict between parliamentary sovereignty and judicial primacy. However, the process should not be bogged down by impractical or highly idealistic suggestions, but be one that puts together the best practices of different possible selection mechanisms, and attracts the best available talent drawn from diverse sections of society. What the court has embarked on is indeed an onerous task, combining as it does the responsibility to deliver on its promise to remove acknowledged shortcomings and the duty to have a selection process that will be qualitatively superior. But one question remains. How will the impression that the court is legislating from the bench be overcome? Is it enough if improved procedures and guidelines are in place for selection of candidates for the superior judiciary? The law laid down by the Supreme Court is binding on all, and may normally not require any other source of authority. However, this issue concerns the judiciary itself. It has arisen only because of widespread dissatisfaction over the appointments process being treated as its internal matter. In this backdrop, it will be wiser if the norms to be laid down are converted into law. The government should offer to bring in legislation in line with the court's own mechanism.


·        em·bark

Go on board a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle.


·        hith·er·to

Until now or until the point in time under discussion


·        ar·cane

Understood by few; mysterious or secret.


·        e·volve

Develop gradually, especially from a simple to a more complex form.


·        be/get bogged down

› to be/become so involved in something difficult or complicated that you cannot do anything else:

Let's not get bogged down with individual complaints


·        on·er·ous

(of a task, duty, or responsibility) involving an amount of effort and difficulty that is oppressively burdensome.


·        back·drop

A painted cloth hung at the back of a theater stage as part of the scenery.


Business Standard

One too many

The market regulator's patience with the mutual fund industry seems to be running out, with its reported move that no new launches will be cleared until fund houses merge schemes having similar attributes. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has been insisting on this for over five years now, with limited results. In fact, former Sebi Chairman C B Bhave was the first to point this out in 2010 when he wondered at a CII Mutual Fund Summit whether the schemes were really so different from each other or whether there were other incentives operating in the market that made the industry generate so many schemes. No credible answer from the industry has come over the past five years, prompting the current Sebi Chairman U K Sinha to say publicly that fund houses have launched many new schemes to keep the agency commissions and fees high and this has led to rampant mis-selling of MF schemes. He also said merging of schemes can bring down cost of ownership, and thus protect investors' interests. These are serious observations and the mutual fund industry's continued silence on the issue is baffling, especially because the government removed a key tax hurdle to facilitate such actions in the last Budget.

The data buttresses Sebi's argument. The number of schemes that have been merged is nothing to write home about - 33 schemes were merged in the 2011 calendar year, followed by 15 in 2012; 12 in 2013; 16 in 2015 and nine so far in 2015. If the total number of open-ended equity schemes was 407 in March 2010, the number has come down to 385 more than five later, showing a net reduction of just 22 schemes. The fact that there is a surfeit of schemes without any meaningful distinctions is evident from the following example: one leading fund house has three schemes in the large-cap category - growth fund, dynamic large-cap fund and business leaders' fund. In fact, in the peer comparison segment of Value Research, these three schemes are competing with themselves with a combined assets under management of just Rs 498 crore. What's more, even the top 10 stocks in each of these schemes are similar. It has also been pointed out that many sales representatives of fund houses themselves do not know how many funds they have in their own companies, and fund houses have only merged non-performing schemes with performers so that their overall bouquet looks pretty. These examples prove why multiplicity of schemes has been a major bugbear for Sebi for some time and why merging of schemes is a necessity so that fund managers can concentrate on improving performance rather than managing a multitude of schemes.

A part of the reason for the industry's reluctance to merge schemes is that fund houses can charge higher expense ratios through smaller-sized funds (scheme merger increases assets under management) and the belief that if they have a lot of schemes, chances are that a few of them would do well. Also, fund houses say many high net worth individuals are not comfortable in shifting schemes. And on their part, smaller fund houses say a bouquet of products kills the innovation edge and leads to templatised products. These are fallacious arguments, as the track record all over the world has shown that standard offerings eventually help the industry widen its investor base and fund houses need to have lesser number of, but more credible, schemes from each category.


·        run out

> to finish, use, or sell all of something, so that there is none left:

I've run out of milk/money/ideas/patience.


·        ramp·ant

(especially of something unwelcome or unpleasant) flourishing or spreading unchecked


·        baf·fle

Totally bewilder or perplex.


·        but·tress

A projecting support of stone or brick built against a wall.


·        sur·feit

An excessive amount of something.


·        bug·bear

A cause of obsessive fear, irritation, or loathing.



Indian Express

Maggi returns


India reveres first-mover advantage. Here, Kwality is a generic term for ice cream, Cadbury for chocolate and Xerox for a photocopy, with no anxieties about trademark violation. Here, the homecoming of Maggi must be somewhat dramatic, like Batman Returns. And, indeed, it hits the market on Thursday

with an internet flash sale, shoulder to shoulder with Chinese mobile phones and no-frills airline tickets.

Overseas, Maggi was a late entrant in the instant noodles market, which was opened up in 1958 by the Taiwanese-Japanese businessman and inventor, Momofuku Ando. The brand is hard to find in most countries outside of India and usually, the quickest way is to try an Indian store. In India, it has become a portmanteau term for instant noodles because back in the Eighties, it was the right noodle in the right place at the right time. India had become aspirational, and owning a house, a car, a tape deck and jeans was suddenly more attractive than having a stable job from which you would retire with a tiny pension and a monogrammed watch. Men were in a hurry and meanwhile, the Liril ad was urging Indian women to break out of the kitchen, even if a refreshing waterfall was not nearby. The stage was set for a meal that could be put on the table in two minutes.

Three decades later, India is in the midst of a food revolution. The nearest meal is only an impulsive phone call away. Working people think nothing of living for days on end on delivery and street food eaten standing up. Eating out, which used to be a symptom of Western contagion, is normal. And yet, the idea of quick-fix comfort food is still a plate of instant noodles. The first mover is still like mother-made.

·        port·man·teau

A large trunk or suitcase, typically made of stiff leather and opening into two equal parts.


·        mon·o·gram

Decorate with a monogram.


·        con·ta·gion

The communication of disease from one person to another by close contact.



Nov 10 2015 : The Times of India (Ahmedabad)

After The Euphoria

Despite Lalu-Nitish magic in Bihar, contradictions can mar the new government

The emphatic Grand Alliance victory in the Bihar polls may have halted the BJP-Narendra Modi juggernaut. But the hard part for CM-elect Nitish Kumar begins now. True, few could have imagined Nitish and long-time rival Lalu Prasad coming together to beat back BJP in Bihar. However, the two leaders knew they had to bury the hatchet for their own political survival. This understanding had prompted Nitish to call on Lalu after their respective poor performances in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The tie-up worked as both leaders put up a superlative campaign and won for themselves a huge mandate.

That said, now that Nitish and Lalu have to work together in government, it remains to be seen if the electoral glue that brought them together will hold. Asi de from the history of personal animosity between the two leaders, Lalu's Yadav cons tituency still retains memories of being shunted out of power by Nitish. Given that RJD secured more seats than JD(U) and both of Lalu's sons in the fray won their seats, it's difficult not to see the Yadav chieftain making significant demands of Nitish. And with Lalu engaging in backseat driving, Nitish's development agenda could hit some bumps if not worse.

Conversely, there are also enough reasons for the two leaders to continue to play nice. Given Nitish's governance track record, it makes sense for Lalu to let him do the heavy lifting in administration. Besides, should the two split Lalu would again be isolated, while Nitish theoretically can still go back to BJP. And if the objective is to defeat Modi in the 2019 general elections then the Lalu-Nitish combine can emerge as the fulcrum of the anti-NDA opposition.Taken together, both Nitish and Lalu need each other.


·        mar

Impair the appearance of; disfigure.


·        em·phat·ic

Showing or giving emphasis; expressing something forcibly and clearly.


·        halt

Bring or come to an abrupt stop.


·        jug·ger·naut

A huge, powerful, and overwhelming force or institutio


·        bury the hatchet

>end a quarrel or conflict and become friendly.


·        prompt

(of an event or fact) cause or bring about (an action or feeling)

·        ful·crum

The point on which a lever rests or is supported and on which it pivots.



·        man·date

An official order or commission to do something.


·        glue

An adhesive substance used for sticking objects or materials together.


·        shunt

Push or pull (a train or part of a train) from the main line to a siding or from one track to another.


·        ful·crum

The point on which a lever rests or is supported and on which it pivots.


Nov 11 2015 : The Times of India (Ahmedabad)

A New Innings

BCCI signals reset by rolling out reforms that could clean up Indian cricket

In a historic annual general body meeting that unanimously accepted conflict-of-interest reforms, replaced former president N Srinivasan as head of the International Cricket Council (ICC) with current president Shashank Manohar and appointed retired Delhi high court chief justice A P Shah as its first ombudsman, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has signalled its intent to follow up its declarations on cleaning up cricket with action.

While the end of Srinivasan's role as BCCI's representative at ICC ­ a body which he has chaired since July 2014 ­ was expected after his ouster as BCCI's top honcho, the changing roles of former India captains Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble best exemplified the conflict-of-interest rules. Kumble was replaced by Ganguly as head of BCCI's technical committee because Kumble is still with the Mumbai Indians while Ganguly will not be doing any TV commentary . Though Ganguly is still president of the Cricket Association of Bengal and will be part of the IPL Governing Council, as Manohar explained, a "conflict would arise if he has a commercial interest in the Board". As he clarified, "I am a lawyer and I can't be told I should not practise, what can be told to me [is that] I should not appear in Board cases."

Similarly Roger Binny , the senior selector from South Zone, has been replaced by MSK Prasad to avoid possible conflicts of interest over his son Stuart Binny . Team India Director Ravi Shastri has also been asked to quit the IPL's Governing Council. BCCI's moves, which include new rules for transparency and accountability , are a watershed moment in the battle to clean up cricket. They need to be followed through rigorously to restore the credibility of Indian cricket.


·        u·nan·i·mous·ly

Without opposition; with the agreement of all people involved.


·        oust·er

Dismissal or expulsion from a position.


·        hon·cho

A leader or manager; the person in charge.


·        wa·ter·shed

An area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas.


·        rigorously

In a rigorous manner; "he had been trained rigorously by the monks"


Nov 10 2015 : The Economic Times (Mumbai)

Banks Gain from SEB Reform, Will Power?

The Centre has drawn up what seems an ambitious plan to restructure debt of the hugely loss-making state pow er utilities, but whether the initiative addresses the vexed political economy of power is moot. The fact is that politically mandated tariffs, reckless giveaways and continuing patronage of open theft of electricity have wrought havoc in the power sector. It has led to massive losses in power distribution, now estimated at a whopping . 5 lakh crore nationally ` , and fast rising. The political class seems unable, and what is worse, unwilling, to drive home the message that reasonable user charges for power are simply unavoidable.

The game plan now is that the concerned states will have to take over 50% of the loans of state electricity boards (SEBs) by March 31, and 75% by FY17-end. Reportedly, the taken-over loans will not be counted for the states' Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBM) limits for the current fiscal year and the next.

Also, the states will have the facility of a concessional interest rate of about 9% for servicing the loans, as against rates of 13-14% currently charged on SEBs' outstanding debt. Further, the states will issue bonds at 0.5% above the G-sec coupon rate, to finance the restructuring. The idea is that with loans off their books and improved balance sheets, SEBs will be able to sell the rest of their debt as bonds backed by state guarantee. And to ensure that the states stick to the reform road map, the SEBs losses, if any , will gradually have to be taken over by the states from FY17 without any relief on the FRBM front: 5% of the preceding year's losses in FY17, 10% in FY18, 25% in FY19 and 50% in FY20. So far, so good.

The move would certainly clean up the books of public sector banks that have heavily lent to the power sector.But such window-dressing can scarcely sustain distribution reforms. Competitive politics and gross populism in power could yet short-circuit the reform plan, as they have earlier. Repeatedly . Politics must articulate the simple reality: people must pay for the power they consume.


·        moot

Subject to debate, dispute, or uncertainty, and typically not admitting of a final decision


·        give·a·way

A thing that is given free, especially for promotional purposes.


·        work

Be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a purpose or result, especially in one's job; do work.


·        hav·oc

Widespread destruction.


·        scarce·ly

Only just; almost not.



Nov 11 2015 : The Economic Times (Mumbai) Bearish Markets -It Is Not Just Bihar  


 The sluggish economy must be addressed From Monday , November 9, when the markets opened after absorbing the result of the Bihar assembly election, the 30-share benchmark Sensex has sunk over 500 points.The magnitude of the BJP-led NDA's defeat and the emphatic three-fourths majority secured by the Lalu Prasad-Nitish Kumar-Congress alliance has been interpreted, rightly, as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government he leads in New Delhi. The BJP's majority in the Lok Sabha stays unchallenged, but the Opposition will continue to dominate the Upper House, making it tough to pass legislation without taking all parties into confidence. Nor did the deflection of rhetoric from development to sectarian issues help. But the shadow of Bihar elections is not the only one looming over markets. India's companies continue to lose steam and their numbers look weaker with each successive quarter. Second-quarter (July-September) numbers have been released for many companies: a survey of 700 of these shows revenue growth at a miserable 1.3% and profits inching up 8.2% compared to a year ago. Much of this bump has come from informa tion technology and service exports, helped by a weak rupee. Metal, sugar and capital goods are major laggards. Weak growth in capital goods bodes ill for future investment. Consumers, especially in rural areas, have become tight-fisted, as government programmes like NREGA have been pared down. Unsurprisingly , the Sensex is down 6% over three weeks and a scary 13% lower than its January 2015 peak. Yet, there is no reason to wallow in despair. It is possible for the economy to regain momentum, with the right leadership. The top priority should be to legislate the proposed bankruptcy code and amend the Constitution to implement the goods and services tax. This calls for engaging the Opposition and communicating to the people the rationale of new laws well enough to pre-empt Opposition obstructionism. The ruling formation stands to gain from such a change of tack from polarising confrontation to cooperation and consensus.


·        sink

Go down below the surface of something, especially of a liquid; become submerged.


·        em·phat·ic

Showing or giving emphasis; expressing something forcibly and clearly.


·        de·flec·tion

The action or process of deflecting or being deflected.


·        loom

Appear as a shadowy form, especially one that is large or threatening.


·        wal·low

(chiefly of large mammals) roll about or lie relaxed in mud or water, especially to keep cool, avoid biting insects, or spread scent


·        de·spair

The complete loss or absence of hope.


·        ob·struc·tion·ism

The practice of deliberately impeding or delaying the course of legal, legislative, or other procedures.


·        tack

A small, sharp, broad-headed nail.


·        con·fron·ta·tion

A hostile or argumentative meeting or situation between opposing parties.


The dawn

NAP's patchy progress

THE third 'high-level' review of progress under the National Action Plan since August has produced the same statements of intent that every other such appraisal has generated since the plan began to be implemented earlier this year.

Once again, the list of areas where progress has been found to be lacking is the same: terror financing, madressah reform, moving against proscribed organisations and hate speech.

A patchy track record of action in each of these areas testifies to the immense difficulties facing the state in tackling the roots of militancy in the country.

Also read: Gen Raheel stresses need for govt cooperation to counter terrorism

It is crucial to address each item on this list if militancy and acts of terrorism are to be truly eradicated. Otherwise, the successes scored by the Rangers in Karachi and Operation Zarb-i-Azb in the northwest will be little more than mowing the grass, only to watch it grow back again.

We don't know what exactly was discussed regarding these gaps in the implementation of NAP, but the impression emerging from all these reviews is that the leadership — both civil and military — appears to be stuck in deciding how to move forward in these areas.

There is little surprise in this. Fighting militants on the ground is a far simpler task than rooting out their networks of supply and support. The former represents a guts-and-glory type of a fight.

The latter is more cerebral, requiring nerve and brains, as well as the capacity to mould the discourse and regulate the flows of funds and materiel within the economy. In short, the latter task rubs up against all the key weaknesses of the state itself — its civil-military fault lines and the fact that the wheels of the state — its very writ in fact — rarely touches the ground.

The case of terror financing is a case in point. Where the standard law-enforcement bodies of the country have struggled to detect and intercept terrorism funds, the Rangers in Karachi have used extraordinary powers granted to them under an amendment to the Anti-Terrorism Act passed in the run-up to their operation, to apprehend all manner of people — from politicians to political workers and street criminals, to hardened members of banned outfits — and charged them mostly with terror financing simply to be able to hold them for 90 days.

Very few, if any, of those apprehended have actually been charged, and even fewer convictions have been obtained. This muscular approach, with open-ended targeting, is the wrong way to intercept terror funding.

The right way is to ratify those international conventions that will activate the assistance from authorities in central banks around the world to trace the movement of funds, and develop an automated system for flagging potentially troublesome flows in the financial system. Thus far, progress on NAP is patchy, mainly because the implementation has been more brawn and less brain



·        im·mense

Extremely large or great, especially in scale or degree



·        mow·ing

Loose pieces of grass resulting from mowing.


·        ce·re·bral

Of the cerebrum of the brain.


·        ap·pre·hend

Arrest (someone) for a crime.


·        rat·i·fy

Sign or give formal consent to (a treaty, contract, or agreement), making it officially valid.


·        brawn

Physical strength in contrast to intelligence.