10 things I didn’t know till last week

Over the last few weeks, I have been taking an effort to learn about things I knew very little about, but have a lot of interest in.

This post is an effort to make a list of terms or ideas I learnt about, so anyone who reads it can pick it up in a few minutes, or I can look it up again to refresh my memory. I am not going to attempt to explain each in detail. I will leave that to your curiosity, these are just nudges. There are a lot of these terms, but wanted to stick to my 10 things format.

National Institute of Urban Affairs

The National Institute of Urban Affairs is an institute for research, capacity building and dissemination of knowledge for the urban sector in India. It conducts research on urbanization, urban policy and planning, municipal finance and governance, land economics, transit oriented development, urban livelihoods, environment & climate change and smart cities. It was established in 1976.

Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation

BIMSTEC is an international organisation of seven nations of South Asia and South East Asia. The BIMSTEC member states—Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan —are essentially the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal, hence the name. It was established in 1997, it is 2019 and an FTA is still under negotiation.

Mekong-Ganga Cooperation

MGC is an initiative by six countries – India and five ASEAN countries, namely, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam for cooperation in tourism, culture, education, as well as transport and communications. It was launched in 2000. Both the Ganga and the Mekong are civilizational rivers, and the MGC initiative aims to facilitate closer contacts among the people inhabiting these two major river basins.

Generative Adversarial Network

GANs are a powerful class of neural networks that are used for unsupervised learning. It was developed and introduced by Ian J. Goodfellow in 2014. GANs are basically made up of a system of two competing neural network models which compete with each other and are able to analyze, capture and copy the variations within a dataset. A machine teaching a machine.

Members of Parliament Local Area Development Schemes

The Members of Parliament Local Area Development Division is entrusted with the responsibility of implementation of MPLADS. Under the scheme, each MP has the choice to suggest to the District Collector for works to the tune of Rs.5 Crores per annum to be taken up in his/her constituency. The Ministry has issued the guidelines on MPLADS Scheme including implementation and monitoring of the scheme. Every voter should go their website and see what their MP is spending that money for.

Public Enterprises Selection Board

The PESB under the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) is a body to advise the government on management and top level appointments of central Public Sector Enterprises. Users can get information on vacancies, functions of the organization, guidelines, etc. A group of senior administrators recruit, select and recommend hires for senior positions in PSUs.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010

The FCRA is an act of the Parliament of India, by the 42nd Act of 2010. Its scope is to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution for any activities detrimental to the national interest.

The Chicago Boys

The Chicago Boys were a group of Chilean economists prominent around the 1970s and 1980s, the majority of whom trained at the Department of Economics of the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger. Upon their return to Latin America they adopted positions in numerous South American governments including the military dictatorship of Chile (1973–1990). The Heritage Foundation credits them with transforming Chile into Latin America’s best performing economy and one of the world’s most business-friendly jurisdictions.

Rent Seeking Behaviour

When property rights are weakened and the ownership of someone’s wealth or goods is debatable, people can gain more by trying to appropriate that wealth than by producing wealth themselves. This behavior is called rent-seeking.

1000 Grains of Sand Approach

The “grains of sand” approach refers to the practice of accumulating information from various quarters till a clearer image appears. In addition to human intelligence (HUMINT), technology plays a significant role in China’s Thousand Grains of Sand strategy. The strategy also blurs the lines between military and non-military intelligence.


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