The Week in Review for 01 October 2010

The Week in Review for 01 October 2010

All eyes were on the Ayodhya judgment this week. On Thursday the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court ruled that the disputed site would be divided equally between Hindu and Muslim groups. The Hindu sect Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Wakf Board and the Hindu Mahasabha will get one-third of the land each. Not surprisingly, the Sunni Wakf Board is unhappy. It’s going to go to the Supreme Court to challenge the verdict. And the Hindu Mahasabha is going to make it’s own appeal as well.

Security was tight across the country on Thursday in anticipation of the verdict. Some two hundred thousand cops were on patrol in sensitive areas, including in cities like Mumbai. Lucknow itself resembled a city under curfew, with shops and businesses closed down and cops sometimes outnumbering residents. But life in the city got back to normal on Friday with schools reopening and businesses carrying on as usual.

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Meanwhile, political reaction to the Ayodhya verdict has been mixed. BJP leader L.K. Advani said the decision paved the way for the building of a grand temple at the site. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat agreed, though both leaders called for people to remain calm. The Congress meanwhile said the judgment ought to be welcomed, but added that aggrieved parties could go to the Supreme Court.

The moment Satyam investors were waiting for left them a bit disappointed. On Wednesday it declared its earnings for fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Its net loss for 2009 stood at Rs8,177 crore. That’s on a revenue of Rs8,813 crore. Satyam did better in 2010, with a net loss of Rs125 crore after a revenue of Rs5,481 crore.

The company’s numbers came 20 months after chairman B. Ramalinga Raju admitted to involvement in the biggest accounting scandal in India. The company’s current management said it plans to complete Satyam’s merger with Tech Mahindra after November. It added that the company would take another two years to recover. Just the previous Friday, Satyam had announced it would delist its American Depository Receipts from the New York Stock Exchange.

The R B I has approved an idea that could finally bring banking services to millions of new customers. On Tuesday it gave the green light for companies to deploy so called business correspondents. They’ll act as intermediaries between banks and their new rural customers. The RBI’s guidelines also allow NGO’s, cooperatives, and even post offices to send out business correspondents of their own. Left out of the new opportunity are non-banking financial companies. The RBI believes authorizing them could cause conflicts of interest. NBFCs of course, include micro-finance institutions that already lend money in rural India. The proposed business correspondents will raise deposits, lend money, recover bad loans and sell insurance and other products.

College admissions in India could be transformed. On Wednesday Central universities decided to hold a common entrance test for students nationwide. Students will be admitted based on the common test and 12th class exams. The system will come into place next year.

The universities also decided to make migration easier, with a new credit transfer system. Education minister Kapil Sibal said the move would not affect the autonomy of Centrally-funded universities. What’s more, some universities like BHU and Jamia Millia will still be able to maintain their one-of-a-kind admission procedures.

The first unique identification cards have been issued. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi arrived at the little village of Tembhli in Maharashtra to handout the first cards. Officials have already started collecting biometric information from hundreds of Tembhli residents.

You can finally buy yourself Mojo. Mahindra and Mahindra may be best known for its utility vehicles, but the company has now unveiled two brand new motorcycles. Vice chairman Anand Mahindra unveiled the Stallio and the 300 cc Mojo in Mumbai this week. The Mojo will sell for about Rs1.75 lakh.