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FDI in aviation: will it help india in the long run P-26 making his ambitions clear? P-14

india a cross section publication 

Volume 1 | Issue 4 | 15-30 March, 2013 | Rs. 20

Debates the

open

forum

for

dialogue

Sanjay Dutt: chorus for reprieve P-18

Affordable housing for all is our goal P-12

our take

will amma bouncer force ipl to duck? inside politics & governance new congress chief in punjab

16 life around us police: what holds them from becoming bon ami?

22 life around us flexi timing: Privilege or a right?

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2

The big Picture

Team leaders for the grand finale

india

Debates the open forum for dialogue

editor:

Navin S Berry navin@crosssectionmedia.com contributing editor

ritwik sinha ritwik@crosssectionmedia.com design

anirban bora anirban@crosssectionmedia.com business

saurabh shukla saurabh@crosssectionmedia.com India Debates is printed, published and owned by Navin S Berry and printed at Anupam Art Printers. B-52, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase II, New Delhi - 110 028. It is published from IIIrd Floor, Rajendra Bhawan, 210, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi – 110 002. Editor: Navin S Berry Tel: 011-43784444, 41001622. Fax: 011-41001627 Total pages 40

Rajnath Singh shuffles his pack; the namo logic rides high

B

e the General Elections in mid-2014 or late this year, the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Rajnath Singh, has fine tuned its pyramidical formation with the six fold task of taking on the Indian National Congress head long; retaining the old Allies of the National Democratic Alliance of 1998; winning back its allies, overtly or covertly, mainly Mamata Bannerjee and Naveeen Patnaik; winning over more allies like Jagannath Reddy’s split away rump of the Indian National Congress, Chandrasekhar Rao, whose Telengana Rashtriya Samiti is at loggerheads with the United Progressive Alliance; and more important eyeing the numerical support of, at least, one of the heavy weights of the South – J. Jayalalitha of the AIDMK or M. Karunanidhi of the DMK; and finally recapaturing the Treasury Benches in the next Lok Sabha. What Rajnath Singh has managed to showcase is a please all bag – bulging a bit, nevertheless, with a Narendra Modi fervour and flavour. The most likely Prime Ministerial probable of the Bharatiya Janata Party has not only been re-inducted, (repeat re-inducted) in the all important Central Parliamentary Board, but is now a part of the Central Election Committee and has by his side, Amit Shah, in the Central Parliamentary Board. True, an L.K. Advani choice, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Chauhan, has been left out, and so has been the rather ‘fault finder’ of many a strategy of the BJP, Yashwant Sinha – yet, in no way it is a slight to the ageing patriarch and the Chairman of the Party in Parliament for two of his committed commanders, Mrs Sushma Swaraj (leader of the of the Opposition in Lok Sabha) and Arun Jaitley (leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha) find a place in the Central Parliamentary Board. The latter is also an acknowledged poll strategist; more significant, it was he who had scripted Narendra Modi’s legendary campaign in two successive Assembly elections in Gujarat. Three more faces are being seen as a balancing factor – Uma Bharati as the Vice President, Varun Gandhi as the General Secretary and Meenakshi Lekhi (a fast emerging channel debate face) as the spokesperson. The casualty has been Ravi Shankar Prasad but a party veteran as he is, his services are likely to be utilised in one of the many fora that usually emerge in the fast track to any General Elections. Rajnath Singh hasn’t really erred, though in a party overseen by the RSS, some heart burning is bound to be there, and it would be no surprise if new offices are set for the veterans who feel left out in the first round. At first look, the regional representation can not be faulted. On a closer examination, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Mission 2014 is focused on upping its numerical strength through picking up as many seats as possible. In an era of Alliances, shifting loyalties are not berated as a sin, but as master strokes of survival. The sound of the bugle would soon be drowned by the din of pied pipers on the prowl. That’s music to the ears of observers abroad who marvel at the mighty democracy at its mightiest best when votes are cast.

Navin S Berry Editor india debates 1-15 April 2013


3

our take

“�

QUOTES worth a debate Dr. Manmohan Singh

when asked on the possibility of becoming the prime minister for the third time after the next general elections

These are all hypothetical questions. We will cross the bridge when we reach there.

,,

Congress used to take support by threatening. I supported the UPA government in bad times but Congress has put CBI after me.

,,

Mulayam Singh Yadav Samajwadi Party Chief

You are hitting the roof saying incidents of rape are rising. But the population is also rising.

,,

Mamta Banerjee West Bengal Chief Minister

I have always believed that winning in overseas conditions matters a lot. I am happy that we have done well at home. But look at South Africa. They beat Australia in Australia and England in England. Actually, they are the No 1 side in the world.

,, Cricketer

Gautam Gambhir

1-15 April 2013 india debates


4

cover story

Jayalalithaa’s pol makes IPL run for Sri Lankan Players in IPL 2013 By Norris Pritam

T

h e ye a r 2 0 0 8 w a s v e r y significant in international sport. In April that year, Lalit Modi changed the way cricket was played and enjoyed by starting the Indian Premier League (IPL). Just five months later, China showed the way how Olympic Games could be organized successfully. In both cases, pundits had raised doubts about the two events.

The question was whether IPL would survive against the way cricket was played at hallowed Lord’s? Or would it die a natural death? Also, would Beijing be able to organize the Games in the face of human rights issues and poverty? Critics were proved wrong on both counts – IPL stayed and flourished and the Olympic Games in Beijing reflected Chinese supremacy in global economy. Five years later, IPL is running into its sixth edition, beginning from April 3. This time the controversy has emerged from outside the amphitheatre of the playing arena. Protests had been going on in various cities of Tamil Nadu, including an IPL venue Chennai over the UN resolution on Sri Lankan war crimes against Tamils. And just a week before IPL launch, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha dropped a bombshell. She categorically announced that Sri Lankan players, umpires and other officials will not be allowed to participate in any match in her state. There are 13 Sri Lankan players playing in eight IPL teams. King’s XI Punjab doesn’t have any Lankan player in their ranks. In fact, Mahela Jayawardene leads the Delhi Daredevils team while Kumar Sangakkara is captain of the india debates 1-15 April 2013

• Chennai Super Kings: Akila Dananjaya and N Kulasekara • Delhi Daredevils: Mahela Jayawardene (captain) and Jeevan Mendis • Knight Riders: Sachithra Senanayake • Mumbai Indians: Lasith Malinga • Pune Warriors India: Ajantha Mendis and Angelo Mathews • Rajasthan Royals: Kusal Janith Perera • Royal Challengers Bangalore: Muthaiah Muralitharan and Tillakaratne Dilshan • Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kumar Sangakkara and Thisara Perera

IPL 2013 auction - selected prices • $1m - Glenn Maxwell (Australia) to Mumbai Indians • $725,000 - Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka) to Pune Warriors • $700,000 - Kane Richardson (Australia) to Pune Warriors • $675,000 - Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka) to Sunrisers Hyderabad • $625,000 - Chris Morris (South Africa) to Chennai Super Kings • $600,000 - Dirk Nannes (Australia) to Chennai Super Kings • $400,000 - Ricky Ponting (Australia) to Mumbai Indians • $400,000 - Michael Clarke (Australia) to Pune Warriors

Unsold: Matt Prior & Ravi Bopara (England), Vernon Philander (South Africa), Matthew Wade (Australia)


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politics & Governance

litical bouncer r cover

Come April 3 and sixth edition of IPL will be unveiled. But will it manage to match the grandeur of the previous editions now that politics has also come into the play big time?

Cheerleaders of Kings XI Punjab in the previous edition

The participation of Sri Lankan players in the IPL tournament, with many games to be played in Chennai, will aggravate an already surcharged atmosphere and further offend the sentiments of the people. Tamil Nadu will permit IPL matches to be held in Tamil Nadu only if the organizers provide an undertaking that no Sri Lankan player, umpire, official or support staff would participate in these matches.

J JAYALALITHAA Tamil Nadu Chief Minister

,,

Sunrisers. Chennai’s home team Chennai Super Kings has two Sri Lankan players – Akila Dananjaya and Nuwan Kulasekara. Although IPL Commissioner Rajiv Shukla denied buckling under political pressure, he did advise the nine franchises to keep Sri Lankan players out of Chennai matches. This has led to another

controversy. Franchises are wondering how the governing council or for that matter anyone dictate terms to them on who to keep in the team. In the league matches teams may still bow to IPL council’s diktat. But franchises would surely demand shifting of the two knock-out matches scheduled 1-15 April 2013 india debates


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politics & Governance perspectives

Cricketers have always been easy targets because anything relating to them creates a lot of news. But barring Sri Lankan cricketers from playing in a Twenty20 League is not going to help resolve any issue. In such a scenario, my advice to Sri Lankan players would be to put their pride over money and boycott the Indian Premier League unless they are allowed to play at all venues. If you are not welcome in one part of the country then why play in other venues just because of the money.

The security of all involved in the IPL, whether players, spectators or those working in the stadiums, is of paramount importance to the BCCI, so the governing council decided that Lankan players will not participate in league matches in Chennai.

RAJEEV SHUKLA

,,

IPL Governing Council Chairman

ARJUNA RANATUNGA

,,

(Former Sri Lankan cricket captain)

in Chennai. In that case, Chennai Super Kings would have been the worst sufferers. Not only would they lose home advantage, their revenues too could take a big hit, especially gate receipts. Without key Sri Lankan players in action, and fears of situation getting tense, not many fans would turn up for the matches. It is also being speculated that Sri Lankan Government may stop the country’s players from participating in IPL altogether. Former legendary Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga has already advised Lankan players to this effect. ``My advice to Sri Lankan cricketers india debates 1-15 April 2013

would be to put their pride over money and boycott the IPL unless they are allowed to play at all venues,’’ Ranatunga has told a newspaper. Jayalalitha’s move has put Sunrisers Hyderabad also in a spot. The team, with two Sri Lankans, is owned by the grandnephew of DMK chief Karunanidhi, Jayalalitha’s arch political rival. Kalanidhi Maran’s Sun Group bought the Hyderabad team last year and christened it the Sunrisers Hyderabad. DMK had a few days back walked out of the UPA at the Centre over the Sri Lanka Tamil issue. Now people in the city suggest if the party

cares about the Tamil issue it must sack the two players. The whole controversy has a direct bearing on TV viewing and marketing of IPL. PepsiCo had replaced DLF Ltd as the title sponsor of IPL starting with the 2013 season. DLF did not renew their contract after their initial five-year pact, for Rs 250 crore, ended with the previous season. It was speculated that apart from slump in their own real estate business, there was decline in IPL’s television ratings also, prompting DLF to exit. How will the current crisis affect PepsiCo who have won the five-year contract for Rs 396.8 crore.


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politics & Governance

After banning Sri Lankan players and officials, Jayalalitha may now ask for stopping of TV transmission in Tamil Nadu of matches in which Sri Lankans are involved. It will have a major impact on the business models of rights holders if that happens. Apart from Tamil Nadu matches in Bangalore, to be held in the city on May 4 and 6, are likely to be affected owing to Assembly elections in Karnataka. “The matches will be either shifted or re-scheduled,’’ a KSCA official said. The Karnataka Assembly election is scheduled on May 5 and counting of votes will take place on May 8. “It will not be possible for us to provide security for the matches as our officers would be deployed for elections,’’ Bangalore Police Commissioner Jotiprakash Mirji has said. Leave aside politics; this year’s IPL had some other changes too. In view of severe criticism of lavish parties, pre-League road shows and promotional events, the organizers have almost done away with money splurging. Nothing much has been heard of Bollywood-style promotional events or road shows. Two new venues have also been added for this year’s competition. The venues are HPCA stadium at Dharamsala and the Jharkhand State Cricket Association International Stadium Complex at Ranchi. The Ranchi stadium will host the two games played by Kolkata Knight Riders and the HPCA stadium would host the two games played by Kings XI Punjab. All these venues are all time favorites of cricket lovers and each have significant features of its own. This will help in top class cricket reaching the far flung areas where the sport is played with great zeal. Whatever the aims and objectives of IPL organizers, critics always find faults with them. Two legends, Sunil Gavaskar and Imran Khan, have been highly critical. “Unless you work out a balance between Test cricket and this 20-20 cricket and the commercial aspect of it, Indian cricket could go down very rapidly because cricketers are made in Test cricket. A great Test cricketer will perform anywhere. An IPL cricketer, a 20-20 cricketer may occasionally do well in 20-20 but will never become a great Test cricketer,’’ said Imran Khan.

In view of severe criticism of lavish parties, pre-League road shows and promotional events, the organizers have almost done away with money splurging. Gavaskar, in turn questioned the complete focus on IPL, often coming at the cost of the national side. “In the events after the World Cup, you will know the guys who actually took their places for granted, those who didn’t make themselves available preferred to play the IPL and then go for surgeries. I think those are the guys who instead of looking at India were looking at contributing for their IPL franchises. If at all you need to take a rest, you need to take a rest from club cricket.’’ Former England captain Michael Vaughan also finds fault with IPL. He says the players see an opportunity in Twenty20 to make a lot of money and prioritise it over the Test game. “I do not blame the modern player. I would do the same. But it is unfair that someone such as Jonathan Trott, a fantastic player, is not rewarded like the Twenty20 big guns such as Kieron Pollard, who can smack the ball

out of the ground. Trott is a more skilful cricketer than Pollard but does not earn the same money,’’ says Vaughn. The former opener feels if the incentives do not change then Test cricket in 15 years’ time will be under huge threat. He says that the current season of IPL in India clashes with May Test series in England and at the moment there is no incentive for visiting players to skip the IPL and play Tests for their country in England. “The prestige of playing a Test at Lord’s only goes so far when weighed against a big IPL contract,’’ Vaughn adds. English wicketkeeper Matt Prior has a different take on IPL, specially the sixth edition this year. He feels players will become increasingly “frustrated’’ unless the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) softens its stance towards IPL. The ECB only allows England-contracted players to play half of the IPL season because of a clash with Tests in May. As a result, they are less attractive to IPL franchises, with Prior going unsold in the last two player auctions. “I know for a fact that players want to play in the IPL – you can’t get away from the fact that there is an enormous amount of money at stake’’ Prior says the scheduling of Tests may have to change to keep players happy. “The one thing, however, is that the IPL and these Twenty20 competitions are not going away,’’ says Matt with conviction. Prior and his England team-mate Ravi Bopara, whose base prices were $200,000 and $100,000 respectively, failed to attract any bids from IPL franchises in the auction on 3 February, leaving Pietersen and Eoin Morgan as the only England-contracted players in this year’s tournament. England is the only Test-playing nation staging matches during the sixth edition of the IPL, which runs from 3 April to 26 May. On the other hand, Australians Glenn Maxwell and Kane Richardson, without a Test cap between them, were signed for $1m and $700,000 respectively, while little-known South African seamer Chris Morris was picked up for $625,000. Like any big venture, IPL has its pros and cons. But one thing is certain as Matt Prior has very rightly said: IPL is flourishing and staying. 1-15 April 2013 india debates


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politics & Governance

states: tamilnadu

Beyond the Lankan policy puzzle: Why it is important to go back to the basics Tamil supporters would want India to take a stern stand against Sri Lanka. New Delhi, however, seems to be dithering fearing losing a strategic ally to its arch-rival. But doesn’t it amount to adopting a lop-sided approach? By G Ganapathy Subramaniam

india debates 1-15 April 2013


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politics & Governance

H

aving reduced the Manmohan Singh government to a minority, the Sri Lankan Tamil issue has shown that every policy, including foreign policy, needs to be dynamic and policy-makers should be alive to ground realities. Last year India voted against Sri Lanka for the first time ever at the UN Human Rights Council and managed to get away by claiming that it acted against the Sri Lankan government. A repeat this year has not been enough to prevent the DMK from parting ways and leaving the Manmohan Singh government at the mercy of ‘outside’ supporters like Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav.

What are the key factors at play in

In the game of perception, the Central Government has lost out completely and Tamil Nadu feels Manmohan Singh regime will not stand up for Lankan tamils.

bringing two different reactions to the same action? First, the mood in Tamil Nadu has changed dramatically in the past two years and people are agitated. Emotions are running so high that political differences are narrowing and it is not possible to play one Dravidian party against another. Rather, it is the other way around – every political set-up worth its salt is trying not to lose the race and gain more mileage at the expense of the others. Secondly, the evidence that is now available seems to substantiate that the war crimes did happen and lakhs of poor civilian Tamils perished due to the excesses. Thirdly, the sympathy that was lost by Lankan Tamils due to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination is now making a comeback; and Indian Tamils want justice and rehabilitation for their Sri Lankan brethren. These are the conditions on the ground, driving the numerous agitations across Tamil Nadu and the scorn poured on the Central government by Tamil leaders. In the game of perception, the Central government has lost out completely and Tamil Nadu feels that the Manmohan Singh regime will not stand up for Lankan Tamils. Now let us move to the policy compulsions of the Indian government which is trying hard not to be elbowed out by China, the US or Pakistan in the strategic chess game being played out in the Sri Lankan theatre. The Manmohan Singh regime has its own compulsions in dealing with this complex issue as it wants Sri Lanka to continue as its ally. That neither the intrusion of the Chinese nor the presence of the US in the Indian Ocean region is good for India is the primary argument of our foreign policy pundits who keep emphasising that our ties with other neighbours with whom we share borders is not friendly. Rather than being a reason for going soft on Sri Lankan human rights violations, this should be a major reason for worry. How can a wannabe superpower be so weak? Indian writ does not run even in tiny Maldives! Talking about non-intervention in the affairs of other countries can be diplomatic but it does not help the country. Why did the US invade Afghanistan? And what happened in Iraq, Libya and Egypt is 1-15 April 2013 india debates


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politics & Governance

India simply has to go back to basics. There should be no hesitation in protecting Indian interests and assertion is definitely required. If there are war crimes and human rights violations happening in our neighbourhood, New Delhi should not be a silent spectator. We should be clear that action against terrorists and bombing of civilians are two different things.

well-known. What is happening in Syria is also well known. Does the international community stop it? If India was strong enough, would any neighbouring country dare to send terrorists across the border? Why India does not stop Nepal or Bangladesh from using their soil for anti-India activities is a puzzle that only highlights the increasing perception of India as a weak state. Earlier, India did not hesitate to send a peace-keeping force to Sri Lanka or air drop food for the Sri Lankan Tamils. Active mediation and organising peace talks were part of India’s response in the past. If we go back in history, India responded strongly to Pakistan’s aggression and we all know how Bangladesh was born. Similarly, nobody is blaming New Delhi for the action at Kargil. India simply has to go back to basics. There should be no hesitation in protecting Indian interests and a stronger assertion of that is definitely required. If there are war crimes and human rights violations happening in our neighbourhood, New Delhi should not be a silent spectator. We should be clear that action against terrorists and bombing of civilians are two different things. India had every reason to respond way back in 2008 and 2009 as Sri Lankan Tamil refugees were pouring into Tamil Nadu. Clearly, this was not then an ‘internal’ problem of Sri Lanka. india debates 1-15 April 2013

Without bothering about imagined apprehensions, India should talk bluntly to the Rajapaksha government and demand justice for the Tamils. The return of land snatched from Tamils, an end to their persecution, fair rehabilitation, and elections in Northern Sri Lanka are the minimum steps that should be taken without any more delay. Why can’t New Delhi forcefully emphasise these demands? Why should India be so hesitant about asking Colombo to fall in line? Diplomacy over the years has not prevented the Sri Lankan government from rolling out the red carpet for the Chinese. On the other hand, our weak foreign policy is hurting Indian citizens across the globe. Indians and people of Indian origin are treated shabbily across the world --- Indian students beaten up in Australia, the mystery death of an Indian student in the UK, an Indian prisoner tortured to death in Pakistani jail, Italian marines refusing to heed court orders to return, French troops gunning down Indians in Africa, Indian fishermen killed by Americans in the Gulf, kidnapping of Indian sailors by Somali pirates, and more instances in Uganda, Fiji, Malaysia..... the list continues to grow and there is no action. Why should citizens of this country suffer? Last but not the least, why should Indian fishermen repeatedly suffer at the hands of Sri Lankan navy? If Colombo is

a friendly regime, it should let off Indian fishermen on humanitarian grounds even if they actually cross the border in search of catch. India definitely needs to handle Colombo with stern hands and bring a resolution of its own at the UN Human Right Council rather than just supporting an American initiative. New Delhi needs to call a spade a spade rather than run shy of words like war crimes, independent international investigation and ethnic cleansing. Any country that aspires to become a regional superpower and economic powerhouse needs to act tough for the right causes, be it a Sri Lankan or any other issue. G. Ganapathy Subramaniam is the Delhi Bureau Chief of Puthiya Thalaimurai, the popular Tamil TV channel. He has written for various leading publications including The Hindustan Times, The Economic Times and The Hindu Business Line.

perspectives

J Jayalalithaa,

TN CM and AIADMK Chief India should stop calling Sri Lanka a friendly nation……there should be an international probe on the war crimes………..and people responsible for that should be tried before an international court.

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politics & Governance

M Karunanidhi

Vaiko

Mahinda Rajpaksa

DMK Chief

MDMK Chief

President, Sri Lanka

So, a situation has arisen where the alliance (with Congress) will not benefit Eelam Tamils in any way. Despite this, if the DMK continues in the Union government, it will be a grave injustice.

Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyavasam has blatantly violated diplomatic immunity by reportedly sending email to media houses recently in which he claimed Sinhalese have their origin in Odisha and West Bengal.

People in the north and south of the island (Sri Lanka) were living together in unity following the end of the war with the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels and such peace and unity must not be broken by any party or individual.

V Narayanasamy

Ranil Wickremasinghe,

,,

Cong MP & PMO Minister Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is committed to rehabilitation of Sri Lankan Tamils and will do whatever is necessary for that. By voting for the US resolution (in Geneva) once again, India has demonstrated that it is a friend of Lankan Tamils.

,,

,,

Leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan Parliament

Sri Lankan Government should summon an All Party Conference (APC) to discuss implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report. If government fails to implement LLRC recommendations (which paves the way for a political solution) to the ethnic issue, the UN would send its agents to Sri Lanka.

,,

Vijaykanth

DMDK Chief After killing lakhs of Sri Lankan Tamils, the Rajpaksa Government is now indulging in cultural genocide. There should be an independent international investigation into war crimes.

,,

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1-15 April 2013 india debates


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politics & Governance

housing for all

Affordable housing for all is our goal

We meet Ajay Maken, Cabinet Minister for Housing and Poverty Alleviation. He is also a prominent face for Delhi in the Union Cabinet and often mentioned in political circles as a likely candidate for the post of chief minister. For him, being CM is not an ultimate goal, but doing a good job of what has been assigned to him, he says in a candid interview. By navin berry

W

hy is it so important to serve your full term? The government seems to be in this refrain consistently, inspite of odds, and even when some people believe it may be more prudent to call the elections and call the bluff off the opposition? See, in a coalition dharma, it is important to serve the full term. After all, people have reposed their faith in you. It is our duty to not call repeated elections, as they also cost the country a lot of effort and resources. But does the electorate also share this perspective? The voter understands and also appreciates. It is a stigma on the government if you do not run the full term. After completion, whether you win or loose is another matter. It is important that we serve the people for the full mandated time. And has this been a good track record, in your opinion? Certainly, even if you go by pure economic growth, in the ten years that we would have served, we would have grown by an impressive 7.9% per annum, even during the worst of times for the world economy. This is no mean achievement. Coming to your own ministry, you have been entrusted with the allimportant portfolio of housing. The motto of the government is affordable housing for all, and how are you hoping to achieve this? Going by census reports, between 2001 and 2011, it would appear that middle class needs for housing have been almost india debates 1-15 April 2013

met with. The overall middle class homes were 79.87 million and there were 79.48 million homes, leaving a shortfall of just 0.39 million, which is just 0.5% of the total. This shortfall was as much as 3% in the 2001 census. Among the bank, the gross credit deployment to the housing sector grew from 1.9 billion US$ to 69 billion US$ in a period of 14 years, clearly spelling that there has been a boom in the housing sector. Coming to the EWS and the weaker sections of the society, there has been a huge inadequacy of both projects as well as availability of loans. Our efforts have been “Everybody would like to become a chief minister of a to provide both. It has state. Not that I have any extra desire. I do have extensive experience of the administration work in the city, and been estimated that whenever it will become possible, I shall deem it my out of the shortage privilege to serve the people of Delhi.” of 18.78 million homes, as much as 95.76% has been in this segment. We government will stand surety for the loan have initiated some programmes like seeker. This was launched in November creation of a Rs.1000 crore Credit Risk last. Then we also have the Urban Housing Guarantee Fund. This would be disbursed through the National Housing Bank – Loans, with NHB refinancing different economically weaker sections of society banks, where Rs 8 lakhs loans for can take loans with offering collaterals properties upto Rs. 12 lakhs can be – the house is the mortgage! The given to people with an annual income


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politics & Governance

“Coming to the EWS and the weaker sections of the society, there has been a huge inadequacy of both projects as well as availability of loans. Our efforts have been to provide both” – the minister at the release of Census of India 2011 report.

of upto Rs. 4 lakhs. Then there is another programme, where on a house of upto Rs. 8 lakhs, a loan can be taken for upto Rs. 5 lakhs – we offer a 5% interest loan subsidy and only 3% is payable. But this is raising hopes. What about the supply side? Yes, on the supply side, we are asking the state governments, under the Rajiv Awaas Yojana, as much as 35% of the dwelling units must be allocated to the EWS and weaker sections. Or, 15% of the total FAR of the housing project. This is under our ambitious slum rehabilitation projects across the country, where we have allocated Rs. 45,000 crores for development. Slum redevelopment is a key concern. Where have we reached? In the next five to seven years, slums should become history. Our cities would become slum free and starting this new phase would be the first two cities of Chandigarh and Rajkot. And how about Delhi, or even Mumbai? As regards the capital, we have given funds for schemes that will provide as many as 62,000 homes as part of rehabilitation programmes. This will cover about 10% of the total slums in the city. We are in dialogue with other central government agencies, such as DDA and

the railways and we are working closely with them. Getting our act together in this regard should free a lot of land for other developmental purposes? Yes, it has been calculated that if we go up to 25 storeys, we can release as much as 70% of the land. But like I said it depends upon how high we can go. Which areas would these free, specifically, in the case of Delhi? I am unable to provide more details as of this moment. But suffice it to say that the effort will be path breaking. We also understand that you are working on a bill to regulate builders and bring more discipline into the country’s building activity. Can you give us more details? We are working on a Real Estate Regulatory Authority, where we are bringing, state wise, strict development norms. Some of the highlights include the requirement of the builders to ensure that they have all the required permissions before they launch any project. Such permissions must be shared openly on their website, clearly mention the open areas, the specific carpet areas of each type of homes being made available. The full sanction plan must be transparently on their website. Further, they will open a separate and

distinct bank account for each project and ensure that the bulk of the money cannot be diverted to another project. How much percentage can they take out, or how much must remain in that account? We have recommended 70% of the total must be retained for the specific project. But then this percentage can vary from city to city and therefore we have left it to the Regulator to decide. We have also asked each regulator to come out with a model builder-buyer agreement. And each builder will have to register his project with the regulator. Alongside, the property agents will also be bound to this agreement and will also register. Where is the bill at present, and when do we see it become effective? I am confident of introducing it in the present budget. I am sure this would be ruffling many a feather in the building industry. You must have been inundated with calls by now? These have come and gone. Work has to go on.. You seem to have ruffled many a feather also in your previous ministry – the sports ministry? I was just doing my work… But much of that work remained unfinished.. I am sure the present minister will take up all that, there is always so much to do. Any meeting with you, any interaction with you, must remain incomplete without asking you about your claims on the hot seat in New Delhi state. How does it go presently? It is not about me. Everybody would like to become a chief minister of a state. Not that I have any extra desire. I do have extensive experience of the administration work in the city, and whenever it will become possible, I shall deem it my privilege to serve the people of Delhi. But honestly, my party has given me so much, placed so much faith in me, that I have achieved this position very early in my life. I am not hankering after any more positions. This too is an important function, being a central cabinet minister at such an early age. I remain grateful. 1-15 April 2013 india debates


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politics & Governance

states: bihar

Announcing his intentions, finally With his “Adhikar” rally in Delhi recently, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has finally announced his ambitions to vie for the topspot. But is his claim of providing the most inclusive growth model above all questioning?

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addressing ‘Adhikar Rally’ at Ramlila Groud in New Delhi, demanding special status for Bihar. By aroon sharma

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ts not easy to speculate if Nitish Kumar is a bit too early or bit too late to sound the bugle ? That is if there is a sudden surge of ambition for a higher rung in power in him or if it’s sudden realisation that Bihar under him needs a status which would secure for the state a special status. Yet another gray area is his unravelling a model of governance which is at variance with that of Narendra Modi ? That the latter’s showpiece, all to visible, beyond the shores, is making waves while the former’s ideology does appeal

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to the emotive segment of the national electorate but can not dig deep without assistance from the Centre, is in the realm of logic alright though a bit too lofty for applicability to other states eternally cribbing for funds. On the presumption that Nitish Kumar had only sought a special status for his state, he is on a lengthy course, far beyond a simple nod from the Prime Minister, but seeped in hurdles as the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission has put it across. The recommendation for a ‘special status’ for any state on any ground goes through the grind of the National Development Council (NDC) which has

its well set parameters for the same. The seven sisters in extreme North East has the ‘status’ but sure enough, Nitish Kumar knows that any comparison with them would be odious and out of sync. True, he did call on the Prime Minister. Also, true he did get a patient hearing, even on assurance. Well, which potential Ally won’t, this year. Theoreticians have opined that Nitish Kumar sees in himself as a consensual substitute to Narendra Modi who has been, without any public relations exercise, retaining the top spot in surveys specific to Prime Minister probables. His unique selling proposition has been the


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The Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar calling on the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, in New Delhi on March 18, 2013.

governance he has projected, and the forever widening spectrum of investors and industries his state has baited. This is where Nitish Kumar’s elevation to the Centre is accepted with a pinch of salt. When he took over, Bihar was poor . As he is seeking sops to bring it out of spiral of poverty, Bihar is poor. The sociocultural outcome is for all to adjudge. Biharis have spread out to other states in search of livelihood. Exodus from Gujarat is unknown. Yet, Nitish Kumar has, as is the nomenclature in a multi-religious peninsula, an unchallenged ‘secular’ image while Narendra Modi, though proud to have presided over a communal riot-free state for a decade, after the Ghost of Godhra, faces inconvenient questions, now and then, in any face-off with the media. The moot point is: would the advantage of what is held against Narendra Modi on its own lead to support for Nitish Kumar’s candidature or would it remain within the boundaries of the Bharatiya Janata Party which has a line up probables – Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley at the Centre and Shiv Raj Chauhan and Raman Singh in

the states, not to ever rule out Raj Nath Singh whom RSS supports the most. Nitish Kumar can still play up the positivity Bihar has gone through under him. For instance, the growth has galloped to double digits, agriculture is

perspectives

Sushil Kumar Modi Deputy CM Bihar and BJP leader The Congress now has become a sinking ship and those willing to ride it will sink automatically.

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on the upswing, rural interiors now have mentionable road links, both, primary education and basic health no longer have depressive figures, and the stellar highlight has been his isolating the bureaucrats from the sickening swim-sink-swim of files. As it is, it is not enough for investors to explore opportunities. Here, one is once again tempted to compare and contrast Bihar with Gujarat. Narendra Modi proverbially thumps his chest that his state is the only one to sell ‘spare’ power to the National Grid. Thus, it bring us back to the question what exactly is Nitish Kumar targeting at? If its power at the Centre on the UPA-III back, the saddle already has Rahul Gandhi with feet firmly in the stirrups ! If it’s seeking funds for his state in exchange of making up the UPA III’s majority mark to power with Janata Dal (United), the proposition may leave him nowhere if NDA-II manages the numbers in a hung House in the General Election due within a year? It was sheer drum beating (all Allies on Election run up resort to) at Ram Lila Grounds in Delhi when he said that “If government accedes to our demands, it will be doing justice. If it does not, then Bihar will force the next government to do it. No government can be formed without our support.” His hard sell that: “My model of development is the one which envisages the progress of the whole country. It seeks to take everybody along.” Well, the model badly needs clarifications to the skeptics. Nitish Kumar, as it happens in Rapid Chess, has attempted to simply move a ‘piece of his politics’ into whatever space, within the time frame, was available. India is fast moving towards Centrebacked public-private partnership and Foreign Direct Investment in retail (and otherwise). His oblique dig at some states, ostensibly, Gujarat that Narendra Modi was all too pro-corporate is a ‘socialist’ dogma which took Nehru-led India of 50s and 60s nowhere, as an emerging industrial giant, except the ornamental rosary of non-alignment. In the run up to Raisina Hill, Nitish Kumar needs to traverse carefully. The bush in the months to come would be a thorny thicket. 1-15 April 2013 india debates


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politics & Governance states: punjab

BAJWA gets appointed as the New boss for Punjab congress In a surprise move, street smart Pratap Singh Bajwa has been handed over the command of Punjab Congress. But will disgruntled elements, within the party, allow him to show his charisma? By AROON SHARMA

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t is by now a known fact that senior functionaries of the Indian National Congress (INC) who matter worked late into the night to dislodge the president of a state unit. It was 10.35 pm when General Secretary, Janardhan Diwedi handed out the press releases announcing that Amarinder Singh was being replaced by Pratap Singh Bajwa in Punjab. What is still

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not known are the reasons for the unseemly haste in this particular case when everyone had more or less expected that change was on the anvil ever since Rahul Gandhi ordered a post-election survey in the state.

Two names had been doing the rounds: Jagmeet Brar and Pratap Singh Bajwa. The former hadn’t been fortunate at the hustings in three successive attempts to the Lok Sabha but had been inducted into the Congress Working Committee. The

latter had had a merry run vis-Ă -vis voters six times in a row at the assembly elections and had held ministerial charge six times. In the 2009 general elections, Bajwa acquired an even larger feather in his cap by getting to Parliament past cine star Vinod Khanna of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Since then, he has been reinforcing his relationship with the High Command at the Centre. The midnight sack did lead to a sulk by


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politics & Governance Amarinder’s Flip Flop on Support to His successor Amarinder Singh who despite conceding that he had been informed by 10, Janpath of his impending ouster the same morning, continued to lament he had not been consulted on who should succeed him; and that had he been consulted, he would have suggested a name other than the one chosen. Soon after however, the 71 year old scion of the Patiala royal family made a graceful retraction from his rigid first reaction by confirming that now Pratap Singh Bajwa had been anointed, he would lend him his support with Pratap Singh Bajwa acknowledging graciously. However, right now any roadmap towards regaining power from the Badals remains mired in riddles. Pratap Singh Bajwa has to re-oil an election machine which has lost the art of winning. The time at his disposal is just about enough – little less than a year. At 56, he has spent 30 years of his life gaining a mix of organisational and ministerial experience. Moreover, he is a Jat – a consideration

l In a defiant tenor, outgoing President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Amarinder Singh has thumbed at his successor Partap Singh Bajwa that his support can not be taken for granted in future campaigns. Said the Patiala scion in a media interaction: “I will go by the instructions of the All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi on what to do.” l But when needled if he had met Sonia Gandhi, the former Chief Minister said she has yet to grant an appointment. The former Chief Minister was quick to add “I will do whatever Soniaji tells me as she had given me a 16-year-long support and continues to do so.” l Pratap Singh Bajwa is getting extended to the full. Punjab is in for a series of elections between May and July – panchayats, zilla parishads and municipalities. General Elections too are not far off. The morale of cadre is low due to successive defeats at the hands of Akalis. Amarinder Singh still has support base amongst the Jats and the peasantry and that always matters in Punjab. l To a pointed question if he was removed because of the loss in the Moga by election, Amarinder Singh defended: “The change in leadership was indicated much before the Moga election.” His hardcore supporters feel the removal has given the impression that Amarinder Singh was to blame. On being asked if his successor’s name was discussed, Amarinder Singh said, “The name of my successor was not discussed and if the party had asked me, I would have offered a capable candidate.” He, however, refused to name his choice.

l However, his piece of advice to Pratap Singh Bajwa was "to take the Akalis head on." Candidly, Amarinder Singh denied that Sonia Gandhi had indicated a new responsibility for him. He is taking to a coffee book table on World War I obliquely hinting that he would not be available or be willing to campaign for Congress under a junior Pratap Singh Bajwa.

which must have weighed in his favour with the High Command. Having been a General Secretary, Vice President and finally President of the Punjab Youth Congress, he has the distinct advantage of having heard and dealt with the differing voices of casteism in Punjab, both urban and rural, as well as those of the mazhabi ( outcaste ) Sikhs in Majha, Malwa and Doaba In Punjab, Bajwa is well known for his fight backs. The fearless warrior in Pratap Singh Bajwa was often talked about in the state after the militants assassinated his four-term MLA father Satnam Singh Bajwa in 1987. The young Bajwa refused the safety of Indian Youth Congress at Delhi, opting to stay back in Punjab and take on the devil in his own den. Defying police warnings, he led street marches in terror affected areas. Five years later, he contested his first election from his late father’s constituency and won. Two years later, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh took him into his council of ministers. After that there has been no looking back. In 2009, his string of victories fetched him a Lok Sabha ticket. He first humbled BJP giant Vinod Khanna in Gurdaspur, and as recently as last year, fielded his wife who won from his wellnurtured assembly seat warding off the Badal-BJP wave. Yet a smooth ride for Pratap Singh Bajwa is not expected. He is known to have net-working skills but it would be fanciful to suppose that overnight the hardcore loyalists of Amarinder Singh would do Pratap Singh Bajwa’s bidding. Sensing some dissidence, he is playing it cool. He has made the first move to try and mellow the Captain’s camp assuring all that “I intend to make no changes in the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee of Amarinder. They are all able people and I don’t want to create groups by dislodging them. If at all, I feel the need to have more people, I’ll bring them in without disturbing the present set-up. I also intend to start a legal services cell to provide party workers free aid in fighting false cases slapped on them. I will be a street fighter and won’t let the ruling party brow beat Congressmen by using brute police force.” 1-15 April 2013 india debates


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politics & Governance

real v/s reel

Baba Black Sheep? A victim of circumstances or someone who believed in his own invincibility thanks to his natural footing in the privileged club? The country’s mindscape swings to both extremes as much as Dutt’s own image from bad boy to the loveable Munna Bhai. By ritwik sinha

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hat the law has an uncanny knack of finally catching up with the culprit is a lesson Sanjay Dutt may have learnt on umpteen occasions in his movies. But this time, the lesson must be harshest since the stage is the real life and not the make believe reel. The recent verdict of the Supreme Court that he should be spending five years behind bars (he has already served 18 months) for hobnobbing with the perpetrators of Mumbai blasts twenty years back could well mean endgame for him in professional terms. Or are we underestimating his abilities to bounce back, as he has shown in the past? But all said and done, he had displayed that admirable trait of rising from the ashes when age was probably on his side. Its difficult for someone to imagine a 57 year old man just released from jail straight away making it to the top league of stardom. Its an open secret for everyone, parachute landing syndrome does not work in the world of movies. At the face value, the verdict of the apex court on 21st March simply means law india debates 1-15 April 2013


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finally catching up with someone who crossed the laxman rekha of the civilized life. That that someone was a big somebody could only mean kudos for our judicial system for having upheld the true spirit of justice by remaining totally unbiased. But is the case really that simple? In the immediate aftermath of the verdict pronouncement which subtly underlined that during a certain period in his life – baba (as Sanjay Dutt is fondly called in Mumbai circles) had behaved like a black sheep- the voices especially from somebody brigade have stormed the public consciousness saying that this baba has a golden heart and therefore within the existing provision of Article 161 of the constitution, the governor should grant him pardon. As against this is the argument: why should a person howsoever popular he may be because of his screen image and natural linkage with the high heels club treated as a special case? There are two clear set of battlelines here in the for or against arguments for Sanjay Dutt. Firstly, from the standpoint of the superstar in the dock, the battle between his own contrasting images – the original bad boy of Bollywood to the endearing Munnabhai. There is no denying the fact that he had displayed a masterly deftness in enacting Munnabhai, arguably the most loveable character offered by commercial mainstream in the last ten years. And the other set of battleline is playing out at a much larger societal level asking can we have two set of rules for the privileged the ordinary mortals?

Has he been treated leniently?

Striking Comments on Social Media l There’s a severe drought in Maharashtra. Women are still raped and abused by the thousands. Our economy is lurching, the poor are getting poorer...the list is endless. May I kindly request our honorable representatives in Parliament to focus on the real issues...rather than worry about a 50+ spoilt brat dumb enough to help terrorists. Sanjay Dutt got much less than he deserved. Now can we just get on with the job of running this country? l Why don’t we start creating a hue and cry for granting pardon to actors who have been charged in the animal poaching case in Rajasthan. It will save a lot of time of judiciary as well. Afterall, they are also as much privileged as Sanjay Dutt.

As far as recent memory is concerned, there has hardly been any apex court judgement which has evoked so strong a response.

Those supporting Dutt have a series of arguments – his family has made great contribution to the country, he has already been punished, he is a reformed person involved in many charity works, you can’t be harsh just because he happens to be a member of the privileged class, etc. But the story is far from being one-sided. Political parties like BJP has made it clear that granting him pardon would result in travesty of justice.

It all began with Press Council of India Chairman, Markandey Katju sending a missive to Maharastra governor asking him to grant pardon to the beleaguered actor. “In the case of Sanjay Dutt, the Supreme Court has not found him guilty for the 1993 bomb blasts, but only found him guilty of having in his possession a prohibited weapon without licence. Surely, this is a lesser offence than murder. When the Governor of Maharashtra granted pardon to Nanavati, surely he can grant pardon to Sanjay,” he wrote. And soon some sort of sympathetic wave emerged for the actor with political parties like SP and NCP supporting this demand though the ruling Congress somewhat issued a guarded response without skirting the point that it is not opposed to the idea. Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh went to the extent of saying - “Sanjay Dutt is not a criminal. He is not a terrorist. The atmosphere was bad in 1993 and he reacted to it like any child would. He made a mistake and paid the price for it by going to jail for 18 months.” His statement though has been dubbed as personal opinion by the party spokesman. And then there is the film fraternity throwing their lot behind the actor, almost unconditionally this time as against 90s when the case was fresh and there were clear signs of members of Bollywood maintaining a safe distance from the Dutt family. No surprises, in the first two days after the judgement, media more specifically the news channels have been in an overdrive mode debating this high-profile case extensively. ( There is a certain section within media itself which believes that with Rs 300 crore worth of projects riding on the actor, his producer friends are leaving no stone unturned to influence media and spread good words about him). Those supporting Dutt have a series of arguments – his family has made great contribution to the country, he has already been punished, he is a reformed person involved in many charity works, you can’t be harsh just because he happens to be a member of the privileged class, etc. But the story is far from being one-sided. Political parties like BJP has made it clear that granting him pardon would result in travesty of justice. Janata 1-15 April 2013 india debates


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Party president Subramanian Swamy has spoken in no uncertain terms that he “will challenge Sanjay Dutt’s release if he is given amnesty.” A bunch of frontline investigative journalists who have observed the case from close quarters have once again come out in the open maintaining that the actor has already been treated leniently thanks to some backroom maneuvering by the CBI when TADA charges were dropped on him and he was sentenced only under Arms Act when other culprits in the Mumbai blast case with same or even lesser degree of involvement have been dealt more severely. And corroborating this line of argument are some retired senior officials of Mumbai Police who have made no bones in declaring on the national television that Sanjay Dutt did not get the real stick which he deserved. Probably it was his father’s good reputation that helped him getting out of the spot with political pressures managing a favourable pr lenient line of investigation.

How much he knew? That he does not deserve the tag of a terrorist and should be charged under arms act primarily is a verdict which was delivered much earlier. But has it really wiped off the doubts in the minds of many as how much he really knew about that devious plot which killed over 250 people and left 750 injured? It does not seem so. Those who are supporting his

Sanjay Dutt’s Gandhigiri act in Munna Bhai series had considerably changed his public persona

some retired senior officials of Mumbai Police have made no bones in declaring on the national television that Sanjay Dutt did not get the real stick which he deserved.

pardon are obviously pointing at court’s version which has endorsed Dutt’s version that he had procured arms for the protection of his family members as in a communally charged environment, he perceived threat to their lives. A former senior cop of Mumbai Police laughs off this argument. “The weapons found from him are called assault weapons. And I don’t need to emphasise that they are meant for requirements more than self protection.” A popular theory doing the rounds in the

perspectives Sanjay Dutt

With folded hands I want to tell the media, the honourable citizens of the country, that when I am not going for a pardon then there can be no debate about it… I have not applied for a pardon. There are many other people who deserve a pardon.

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Digvijay Singh

Justice Markandey Katju

Sanjay Dutt is not a habitual criminal. He is the son of a very eminent person. He was then at an impressionable age and there was this impression that his father was being targeted for supporting the Muslim cause. So he may have done it.

… he has substantially undergone the punishment. He may have not remained in prison for five years but he has undergone sufferings which is substantially equivalent to that.

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If the social media is any indicator of the public opinion, then the verdict on Sanjay Dutt’s pardon largely seems to remain divided. Or rather veered more towards the proposition as why should pardon be granted to him? is plotting some major devious design for the city if not the exact plan. If he had alerted the police in time, just imagine how many lives could have been saved.”

What’s wrong in granting him the pardon? police and media circles in Mumbai is that the weapons found with Sanjay and with many others in the case, were meant to be used in the riots triggered by the bomb blast. This is believed to be the original plan of the D-company. That the riots part did not fall in place is another issue. But Sanjay’s degree of involvement and his complicity in the grand plot still rankles a lot of people. For instance, here is what a senior Mumbai lawyer has to say, “ He was in the know of the fact that the D-company

Jaya Bachchan

I agree with everyone that he has suffered a lot. I believe that he should not be given such a big punishment. He is a changed man now.

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For a moment, forget about what political parties or celebrities from other walks of life have to say. If the social media is any indicator, then the verdict on Sanjay Dutt’s pardon largely seems to remain divided. Or rather veered more towards the proposition why should pardon be granted to him? The emergence of Zaibunisa case has added a new twist to the tale as the 70 year old poor woman appears out to be more deserving. Justice Katsju who is championing Sanjay Dutt’s cause (he has now written to the

Balbir Punj

President as well) firmly believes that on humanitarian grounds, pardon could be granted as it has happened in the several other cases as well. Subramanian Swamy presenting the other extreme has this counter argument that pardon has to be linked with the issue of public good. And then there are others especially some ex-Mumbai Police officials who believe that the stories about his repentance and reformation do not hold much ground. “The entire country had heard his taped conversation with Chota Shakeel in 2002, years after his arrest. Do you think he had mend his ways?” a poignant pointer which was posed by a former senior official involved in the investigation. The arguments against amnesty to Sanjay Dutt are too strong to be swept under the carpet and nothing surprising when he broke down before the media on 28th March, a certain section did not forget to ask – was Munnabhai playing to the gallery? That even as he refused to appeal for any pardon individually, he was probably trying to send the message that he should be judged as poor Sanju Baba who has been a victim of circumstances. Just contrast it with the incident of Kapil Dev breaking down in a television interview when he was asked about the allegations of a player and how the country was moved. Can the public similarly repose an unconditional trust in Sanjay Dutt? Certainly not an easy question to be answered.

Subramanian Swamy

BJP Spokesman

Janata Party president

Simply because he is a big actor, simply because his father was related to the ruling party simply because he is a rich and a famous man and if he goes unpunished and doesn’t get the punishment which the honourable Supreme Court has given, it will send a very wrong message and it will mean that Indian democracy has double standards.

Why should Sanjay Dutt get away because he is a film star... The moral behind the Supreme Court judgement is that no matter how big you are, how popular you are, you must serve the sentence. And Sanjay Dutt should. I will challenge Sanjay Dut t’s release if he is given amnesty.

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politics & Governance police reforms

What holds them fr bon ami?

All of us would like to see cops around us becoming frie custodians dealing with over six million new cases every

Police Force is far from efficient, it is defective in training and organization, it n the Hindi flick Khakhee (released is inadequately supervised, it is generally in 2004), DCP Anant Srivastava regarded as corrupt and oppressive and it (played by Amitabh Bachchan) has utterly failed to secure the confidence tells a colleague in a moment of and cordial cooperation of the people,” distress, “ Forget about major crimes, if thus spoke A H L Fraser, Chairman of we do our duty rightfully, nobody can the Second Police Commission in 1902. steal even a child’s toy.” Can we call it The disquieting fact is the situation hardly melodrama at its best? At one level, yes. seems to have changed in last 100 years. But then if we look at the import of this The Police Act of 1861 still remains the dialogue in a very generic sense, isn’t cornerstone of policing even as most it what we always expect from men in of its provisions are considered to be the uniform- performance of their duty archaic and anything but attuned to the with such a precision that nothing goes demands of the changing times wherein wrong in our social life? The expectation terrorism and cyber crimes have emerged is momentous and nothing surprising as additional streams which have to be the police happens to be the first door controlled and checked. Given the present where blame is transformational conveniently placed does initiating police stage of the Indian (often fuelled by a reform mean doing society what kind of pro-active media) everything afresh? No, policing do we really for every little gap that is not the case. In the need? According in the law and order past a slew of commissions to a study paper mechanism. And if have been formed to prepared by a legal the case happens to suggest solutions. firm, if in the past, be something which the police has been hits the national consciousness, all hell simply breaks loose an oppressive force governed by colonial masters and then it became a statutory on them. Its an unfortunate fact but when it governmental agency acting under comes to image perception, the police archaic police laws when India became personnel are generally perceived to be independent, in future the police force anything but bon ami (good friend). has to be characterized by traits like Inefficient, lethargic, corrupt, with little professionalism, people friendliness or no sympathy for common man, even by becoming an autonomous security perpetrators of crime and violence, etc. providing agency. And this certainly abegs - the colour used mostly to paint them is initiating reforms – a demand which has black. And this perception exists in such become stronger in all debates after that an overwhelming magnitude that even ghastly Delhi gangrape case in December. But does initiating police reform mean when they do some good work, we find it difficult to accord the deserving credit doing everything afresh? No, that is not to them. But this image deficit is not a the case. In the past a slew of commissions recently cropped issue. It has been in have been formed to suggest ways and existence since 1861 when Indian Police means to give a facelift to the policing was constituted by the British rule. “ The regime in the country. Just to name a few: By ritwik sinha

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politics & Governance

rom becoming

endly and efficient. But is it just the case of bunch of khakee y year refusing to mend their ways?

Gore Committee on Police Training, the Ribeiro Committee on Police Reforms, the Padmanabhaiah Committee, Prakash Singh vs Union of India in which the Supreme Court had issued specified directives and Soli Sorabjee Committee. The 22 September, 2006 verdict of the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh vs Union of India case has been hailed as the landmark in the battle for police reforms in the country but there has been hardly any concrete development to suggest that states are serious about implementing them. Among other things, the apex court had recommended constitution of a State Security Commission (SSC) to ward off political pressures, a transparent process for appointment of DGP, separation of investigation and law and order function of the police, setting up of a Police Complaint Authority (PCA) at state level to inquire the public complaints against police officers. “Battle for reforms is going on for several years. Its only after the Supreme Court stepped in that the process has picked up momentum. But in terms of implementation, there’s a lot which need to be done,” says D R Kaarthikeyan, Former CBI Director. A study paper identifies host of hurdles which need to be removed if any reforms in policing has to be undertaken in a holistic manner. The prominent ones are: governed under archaic Police Act, 1861; faculty recruitment based on corrupt practices; inadequate educational qualification and training; lack of professionalism and modern infrastructure; problem of stress, over burdening of work, prolonged duty hours and absence of shift system, shortage of personnel (the global average police: population ratio is 270 for 100,000 whereas it is a paltry 120 in India); unwarranted political interference and patronage’ indiscriminate deployment for VIP security; prevalence of orderly system; lack of modern technology and methods of investigation; refusal to register to FIR, etc. “Apathy, lethargy, non-answerability – these are the basic traits of policing which is disturbing for all of us,” says Pinky Anand, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court. The union government on its part maintains that things have begun to happen on police reforms front. “The 1-15 April 2013 india debates


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politics & Governance

Ministry of Home Affairs had set up an Expert Committee to draft a new Model Police Act. The Committee submitted a model Police Act. The Model Act was circulated amongst the states. So far 15 states have either enacted a new Police act or amended their existing Police Act. I expect that other states left behind would soon complete”, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told the gathering at a recently held seminar on Police Reforms in Delhi. Furthermore, the government of India has given an extension of five years to the modernization scheme for state police forces starting from this year. According to the home minister, the state government would be getting an enhanced funds from the current financial year with a provision of about Rs. 2,000 crore which is available for modernization purposes. It will supplement the police reform process and indicates the seriousness of Government towards police reforms in the country. But this is not enough if the modernization drive of police force has to be undertaken in an expeditious manner, says an observer adding that state police forces need an immediate infusion of Rs 25,000 crore for the required facelift. And what about the non-chalant attitude? The issue of gross negligence or a political mindset which would not like the police force to assume an

independent identity? Here is an example narrated by Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar. “We had been asking for additional PCR vans since 2008. It was not sanctioned. But after Delhi gangrape case, the provision has been made for 370 vehicles. We have also received response on our demand for additional women personnel. The problem is: police gets something after a major crisis. That is our history.” The problem also persists in terms of quality of manpower on the grounds who are involved in patrolling and are the first contact point for ordinary citizensthe constabulary. “When it comes to policing, it’s the beat constables who are the backbone and not people at the top. But there is no respect for them and that is a serious issue,” B K Gupta, Former Commissioner, Delhi Police adds. “ Does anybody take the trouble of ever asking what kind of salaries are being paid to constable level personnel and what is their living conditions? We need more SI level personnel on the ground to strike rapport with citizens but do we have financial wherewithal?” asks a retired IPS officer indicating apathy at the other end. “ Same person is involved in VIP security, some investigation and he may also be dealing with petty crimes. How can you expect him to do justice to all these multi-tasking

perspectives

Sushil Kumar Shinde

D R Kaarthikeyan

Neeraj Kumar

Union Home Minister

Former CBI Director.

Delhi Police Commissioner

The ministry of home affairs had set up an Expert Committee to draft a new Model Police Act. The Committee submitted a model Police Act. The Model Act was circulated amongst the states. So far 15 states have either enacted a new Police act or amended their existing Police Act. I expect that other states left behind would soon complete.

Battle for reforms is going on for several years. Its only after the Supreme Court stepped in that the process has picked up momentum. But in terms of implementation, there’s a lot which need to be done.

We had been asking for additional PCR vans since 2008. It was not sanctioned. But after Delhi gangrape case, the provision has been made for 370 vehicles. We have also received response on our demand for additional women personnel. The problem is: police gets something after a major crisis. That is our history.

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union home minister sushil kumar shinde at the seminar on police reforms organised by assocham in delhi.

B K Gupta

Pinky Anand

Former Commissioner, Delhi Police

Senior Advocate, Supreme Court.

When it comes to policing, it’s the beat constables who are the backbone and not people at the top. But there is no respect for them and that is a serious issue.

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Apathy, lethargy, nonanswerability – these are the basic traits of policing which is disturbing for all of us.

all the time?” points out Dr. Manish Arora, Advocate, Supreme Court while emphasizing the need for separation of functions. Technological upgradation, another critical factor, in police functioning has happened to a certain degree especially at metropolitan level but the entire approach seems to be parochial. “ We have followed a very siloed approach in equipping police functioning with IT solutions. There are systems which do not talk to each other. Today, there are seven intelligence agencies but their systems do not seem to be in alignment when it comes to information sharing,” points out Subrata Das, a senior official with SAP. Delhi Police Chief Neeraj Kumar points out a larger parochial issue – that of considering Police Reforms as the ultimate panacea to take care of all law and order gaps. “ Is the safety and security of a society only a function of police effectiveness? The answer is no. The fact of the matter is: all wings of criminal justice system need to be reformed and aligned to deal with present safety and security requirements,” he strongly underlines while asserting that even other stakeholders need to contribute their bit. For instance, the pulls and pressures from the libertines of the society that they would do whatever they want and police has to ensure their safety is an irresponsible attitude. Additionally, the media too needs to give up its habit of jumping the guns and look at crime scenario in terms of number crunching. “Rise in number of crimes are often presented and perceived as inefficiency of the police force. The case could be quite opposite. It means more victims are coming forward and more cases are being registered rather than going unreported. This is something which will improve police image,” Gupta says. In a nutshell, the idea of police reforms is a complex story where various strands have to be brought in alignment. And that would require collective will of an unflinching nature – something which has remained elusive so far resulting in just baby steps despite occasional reminders from the judiciary. * Quotes taken from a seminar on ‘Police Reforms’ organised recently by ASSOCHAM in Delhi 1-15 April 2013 india debates


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economy & industry

AVIATION

WHAT PRICE FOR FDI? INDIA COULD LOOSE LONG TERM

After government’s green signal to FDI in aviation last year, there are initial signs of foreign capital finally flowing in the business. How far will it help? By navin berry

S

o what exactly is the second FDI in aviation bringing to India’s air travel industry? A sum of Rs. 1800 crores as payment towards buying 24% of the equity of Jet Airways by Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways. This we gather will be the first tranche; we imagine this will lead to a 49% shareholding at some later date to be decided upon between the two parties. We gather that protracted dialogues are preceding any reorganisation – but please note that in the meanwhile three prime slots of Jet have been purchased by Etihad at London’s Heathrow for a sum of US$ 70 million. This should be outside the purview of the proposed 24% equity stake – and will be treated as the separate purchase of an asset off them. We are also being told that Jet Airways has asked for an additional allocation of 10,000 seats per week from the Indian government. These seats are not available in the pool as of now, with 13,330 seats allowed and 12,650 allocated between the airlines that are flying this sector. Prime among Indian carriers filling these is the state owned Air India, with Jet enjoying an estimated 30% allocation of the seats. To enable Jet to get additional seats, fresh bilateral negotiations will have to be india debates 1-15 April 2013

conducted – both countries have to agree to these additional seats in the first place, and then governments on either side will allocate them to airlines of each country. What justifies such an enormous increase? Even the existing seats are not justifiable if we consider the air traffic potential between our two countries. The increase in seats are essentially meant for taking Indians out to the world beyond, through the growing hub of Abu Dhabi by its national airline Etihad on its own international network – what in airline parlance is called 5th and 6th freedom traffic rights. Assuming that Jet Airways gets them, these additional 10,000 seats will improve the economic strength of the airline, and also improve the viability of Etihad (read Abu Dhabi as well) as a hub. The mission is to make a strong hub, and the deal with Jet becomes a clincher towards this end.

What will happen with these additional 10,000 seats? it will improve the economic strength of the airline, and also improve the viability of Etihad (read Abu Dhabi as well) as a hub.

And, just as Dubai has so successfully built itself into a world class hub, so will Abu Dhabi, primarily on the strength of growing Indian business in the region. Hubs in the Middle East, a mere two hour flight from the prime Indian airports of New Delhi and Mumbai, mean bringing down the potential of Indian airports for becoming hubs themselves. Needless to say, aviation is big business, and no one is in it for charity. Hubs and spokes, and the building of world class airports that provide excellent connectivity is the name of the game. There are success stories on our eastern side – with airports like Changi, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok. On our western side, we have Dubai as the leading and most successful example. Europe thrives on this concept as well, with every major airport thriving by providing connectivity and successful hubbing. You cannot fault a city or a country for building a hub; on the contrary, we have to be envious of their success. And strive to do this ourselves. We have lost many a chance in the past, and are on the threshold of doing so again. This time, it will be sadder, as we have world class airports available for the first time, at both New Delhi and in Mumbai. An airport is the first requisite to building an effective hub. What this needs is, most importantly, the dove tailing of an ambitious airline with a growing airport. The examples we have pointed out are of small city states or countries much smaller in size to India. In our country such hub operations should be possible in more than five to six airports, not unlike the United States that has almost a dozen! The question is do we aspire to creating successful hubs, and bringing a bigger size of the aviation cake to India? We would imagine so, given the size of investments being made in Delhi and Mumbai airports. These investments are, to say the least, misplaced if we are going to help other airports grow outside the country on the back of booming Indian air traffic. These hubs we have mentioned do not have any significant numbers to boast for themselves – they are thriving on traffic generated out of other countries. Not so with India – we have been one of the biggest traffic generators for some time,


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REGIONAL HUBS, TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT ABU DHABI

BANGKOK DUBAI

CHANGI

and will become even more so in the next twenty years. India and China are the two big markets for the world, let there be no doubt. So, therefore, where do we stand at this moment in our aviation history? We have growing and reliable traffic, big ticket investments at two major gateways, and a simultaneous entry of foreign airlines (up to 49% equity at present) that will enable – or so it appears – such investments to help build big hubs in our close neighbourhood! The big question is: do we have a cohesive aviation policy? Why are we making these big ticket investments in our airports, if we are going to bring FDI into airlines on terms where it becomes our obligation to also grow airports outside of our country in our own backyard? Does the FDI help Indian aviation? Just total up the investments that have been made in Delhi and Mumbai airports – almost Rs. 20,000 crores! And what will we get

in return, at least in the first instalment? A mere Rs. 1,800 crores. Also, take into consideration the incremental benefit that is supposed to be earned from these investments – airport investments create new cities, generate large scale employment, and provide support to local industry and enterprise. Over and above all this, let us not overlook our national carrier! The government has pledged a sum of Rs 30,000 crores to salvage the airline over the next five years. Of what use will this be if it is not ploughed back meaningfully to create synergies with our airports, create successful hubs in at least four cities to begin with, and to negotiate bilateral agreements with a host of countries, as per our needs, and as per what Indian aviation can utilise effectively. Our support to Air India cannot be half-hearted – either we support it fully, or we don’t. There is adequate vision, and adequate professionalism available in the country

KUALA LUMPUR

– not many will know that most of the successful Middle East carriers were initially nurtured by Indian professionals! The intention seems to be missing; a big ‘India First’ motto appears sadly lacking. Every player, every segment is looking after its own interests, and few look at the scenario in totality. The right time to restore the balance is now – the family silver is in the process of being sold off. Such expressions have been used for Vijay Mallya and his Kingfisher Airlines – in his case it is his personal wealth and let him take a call on it. In the case of hubs, traffic rights, and investments in airports and in the national carrier, it is our national wealth! This article starts with a reference to the second FDI in aviation, and is based upon the premise that Air Asia has announced the first. Will that also come under the same scrutiny as the second one, where we have highlighted the pitfalls? From available information, it does not seem so, but then time will tell. 1-15 April 2013 india debates


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life around us consumer issues

The case of low awareness On the occasion of World Consumer Rights Day (15th March) some murmuring notes emanated from certain quarters underlining the poor condition of Consumer Protection Regime in the country. A study paper highlights that the majority of the consumers are not even aware of what they are entitled to.

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life around us By ritwik sinha

C

onsumerism is believed to be the one of the major catalysts of India growth story in last twenty years. The rapid rise of 300 million plus middle class brigade has meant product manufacturers cutting across the entire spectrum being in an overdrive mode, cyclical downturns notwithstanding, to corner the greater share of consumers’ wallets. But then, India in the same period has also emerged as the third largest manufacturer of counterfeited products (refer to our story Living in a Fake World published in Jan 15-30 issue) where substandard products are passed on to unsuspecting customers. At the same time, firms dealing in mass level consumer services often indulge in unfair practices. But how much of these really affect us? The disquieting answer is: not much. “Despite giving a legal face to the Indian Consumer by legislating the ‘Consumers Protection Act 1986’ (CPA) 25 years ago, only a small fraction of consumers in India are aware about their rights and in the absence of effective government mechanisms and deterrent action against unfair trade practices, the Indian

consumers are deprived of their basic needs and speedy justice,” says a paper recently released by Consumer Online Foundation, a leading consumer organisation in India. In India Consumer Protection Policies are less prevalent in comparison to advanced countries – having percentage ratio of between 80-90% deficient, the paper released on the eve of World Consumers Day last month added. “No time lines or accountability on inefficient delivery are honoured in our country. 80% of doctors in primary healthcare centres are found absent during working hours. More than 90% chemist in India sell medicines without prescriptions. 95% products are sold without any refund or exchange policy. 100% consumers do not receive any rebate on delays by buses, trains, ships and airlines,” says Bejon Misra, Founder,

Despite giving a legal face to the Indian Consumer by legislating the ‘Consumers Protection Act 1986’ (CPA) 25 years ago, only a small fraction of consumers in India are aware about their rights.

Consumer Online Foundation and Former Chairman Consumer Co-ordination Council. On the same occasion, apex knowledge chamber ASSOCHAM also came out with a survey which clearly underlined that consumer class by and large are being besieged by this permanent ‘taken for the granted’ feeling. The majority of Indian consumers polled said they were often short-changed mostly by providers of services like telecom, electricity, toll roads and education than merchandise goods. The survey done among 2,500 consumers across ten major cities threw some useful points relating to the response time of the service providers, lack of immediate relief and redress by regulators and poor followup by the companies providing services. “The most common complaint against the providers of the government services was the apathy of the staff, no redress at the senior level, lack of automation. The worst performers in terms of consumer satisfaction among the government departments were the transport licensing authorities, house tax payments, property transactions and electricity connections and billings”, reveals D S Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM. According to the respondents, the main problems in the

perspectives

Bejon Misra Founder, Consumer Online Foundation No time lines or accountability on inefficient delivery are honoured in our country. 80% of doctors in primary healthcare centres are found absent during working hours, more than 90% chemist in India sell medicines without prescriptions, 95% products are sold without any refund or exchange policy and 100% consumers do not receive any rebate on delays by buses, trains, ships and airlines.

,,

DS Rawat Secretary general, assocham The most common complaint against the providers of the government services was the apathy of the staff, no redress at the senior level, lack of automation. The worst performers in terms of consumer satisfaction among the government departments were the transport licensing authorities, house tax payments, property transactions and electricity connections and billings.

,,

1-15 April 2013 india debates


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life around us

Shaming and rewarding the enterprises based on consumer feedback should be made mandatory for all public and private enterprises in India and promoted by the Government on TV and Radio.

private sector pertained to over-billings, no follow-up, over-promising by the sales staff and delays in installations and commissioning. The present state of affairs in terms of consumers’ dissatisfaction and their inability to pick up cudgels, according to Misra, is testimonial of the gross negligence of a very important issue. It was not meant to unfold in this manner when on 24th December 1986, all the parliamentarians cutting across party-lines agreed to empower the Indian consumer with one voice that if India has to be part of the developed world, they have to support and encourage a strong consumer movement in India. “ It has purely turned out to be the case of honourable intention, but fatal execution. The law was enacted with specific provisions for creating National Commission, State level commissions and district forums to respond to consumer grievance. Speedy india debates 1-15 April 2013

justice within 45-90 days was the major promise. But today we have a situation wherein it takes two years for a notice to get issued. And around 100,000 cases are pending. The mission has got off the path,” he says. But could it be the case of stakeholders being stumped by the suddenness of the rise of consumerism which is now being defined, just to cite an example, by presence of over 200 car models as against just 10-12 before 1990? Consumer activists do not look at it as a valid argument. “ The fact of the matter is the government has been more keen to support and encourage businesses in last twenty years and the consumer hardly finds a place in its consideration despite the existing laws. As far as consumer specific initiative is concerned in terms of pushing up awareness, the most it has done is reflected in its Jago Grahak Jago campaign. But even this campaign has not

caught the imagination of the people in a major way,” says a senior functionary of an NGO dealing with consumer issues. So will it continue to remain a neglected area? Misra vouches things can change but it would require more commitment to the issue. “ In my view, a strong formidable consumer protection mechanism is possible only if the PMO could create a cell to monitor and evaluate the outcomes on prompt redressal of consumer complaints and strong deterrent action taken on the opposite party on delays to resolve complaints. Shaming and rewarding the enterprises based on consumer feedback should be made mandatory for all public and private enterprises in India and promoted by the Government on TV and Radio. There are several such practices globally, which could get easily replicated in India.” Not undoable certainly but the kind of emphasis which they require well make these propositions doubtful.


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top priority

security, inflation are the key concerns

I

By sara suri

ndia Debates spoke to nine women where they were asked to narrate their top concerns and priorities in today’s environment. These women, belonging to middle and upper middle class backgrounds are home makers who have given their perspective and understanding of the various

governmental problems along with societal concerns that bother them in this day and age as they run their households full time. They have also shared their top priorities that are on top of their minds while taking care of their families and engage in complete budgeting for their homes. 1-15 April 2013 india debates


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life around us perspectives

Samira Dewan Suri

My top most concern

Nilu Kumaria

or priority is my safety of my mother at home and outside as senior citizens are neglected in all spheres. Secondly,safety of my daughter while commuting or going out for leisure in Delhi. That is a major sense of insecurity. Finally, prices of commodities is a major concern. The way they have sky rocketed is mind boggling and a matter of anxiety.

Vinita Nagpal

My first priority is

in relation, health issues and available of medical facilities in our country especially for elderly in the house. Second, safety of my daughter to move freely in our country and third, inflation has really sky rocketed and basic facilities like water and electricity are not available to all

india debates 1-15 April 2013

The most

important concern is availability of reliable help at home. Second, the safety of my children also keeps me anxiety ridden. And finally, electricity in the area where I live is just too scarce hampering the smooth running of my household.

Smita Rai Gupta

My top

most concern is the security of my children and family. Second is the lack of availability of house help, whether it might be a driver or a maid. Third, the inflation rate is just too high to keep the house running as it is.


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life around us

Arti Kalia

Shana Parihar

Delhi is

Safety and

becoming dirtier by the day and hence my top most concern that my house and in fact the neighbourhood should be clean. We live in the capital, and it should really look like that. Secondly, security of seniors is also a very important priority. Finally, the inflation is just multiplying where prices have increased tremendously.

Mona Bhardwaj

First, the most

important concern is scarcity of household and neighbour guards. We are stuck in a vicious cycle where we are so desperate for help that knowingly we do hire guards or maids from agencies where they might not have been properly checked. Second, the scarcity of water, especially in Gurgaon is too much of a problem. The quality of water is very important not only for drinking but for bathing too. Third, the cost of living is way too high. We pay our taxes but are helpless beyond that. Inflation has really affected our budget where expenditures are still the same but prices have really increased.

security of women, this is closest to my heart. The second concern is the rampant corruption in daily life. Finally, reservations in jobs and higher education. There should be a mandatory provision for free education upto 10th and then let everyone compete on a level playing fields instead of rewarding mediocrity.

Manna Barua

The first

concern that I have living in the society today is the lack of integrity in people. There are huge gaps between what they say and do. Second, putting oneself before the society. The mindset these days is always about “me” than others. Imagine, if being a mother I worried only about what I do and what I eat. Hence, there’s this lack of accountability and total disregard for others. Third, lack of equality really bothers me. Not giving due respect to merit is one issue that I think needs to be looked upon.

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life around us

work from home

Flexi-timing: Privilege or a right? Deadlines and targets make the corporate world go round. So how does the concept of flexi-timing fit into the HR scheme of things? While it gives you the power to retain a talented workforce, how does it work in areas where collaboration is needed? By Prerna Raturi

T

owards the end of February, when Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer had a memo sent to company employees telling them they could no longer work from home and will have to report to office everyday, battlelines were drawn in the corporate world over the decision. “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices,” said the memo, adding, “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo, and that starts with physically being together.” One of the first ones to criticise Mayer’s move was Richard Branson, founder and chairman, Virgin Group. He tweeted: “Perplexed by Yahoo! Stopping remote working. Give people the freedom of where to work and they will excel.” And when it is Branson who endorses the view, it carries a lot of weight. For, the man is known to take business decisions on his hot-air balloon or while entertaining fellow billionaires on his yacht. “To successfully work with other people, you have to trust each other… A big part of this is trusting people to get their work done wherever they are, without supervision…. Working life isn’t 9-5 anymore. The world is connected. india debates 1-15 April 2013

Companies that do not embrace this are missing a trick,” he further elaborated on his blog later. But what might work for an industry magnate in the UK may not be the solution for an employee back home in India. Is the concept where the employee can be allowed to work from home good enough to be executed? And more importantly, is it here to stay? “Work cultures are evolving and flexitiming as an HR concept is here to stay,” says Sairee Chahal, co-founder, Fleximoms, a company that helps women with flexi-work options. She adds, “Flexi-timing improves the quality of an organisation since it attracts some of the best brains in business, who don’t want to be tied down to office hours and cubicles.” Industry representatives don’t deny the advantages of flexi-timing. It helps retain “New mothers, someone whose parents need care, or those who have issues that prevent them from doing a 9-to-5 job at an office they need to commute to,” says Mahesh Murthy, founder, Pinstorm, a digital brand management company. Murthy feels the concept is particularly attractive for young mothers in the workforce, though it has benefits for members of both sexes, and for people of all ages. “A happy employee is a more productive employee. How happy – and productive – will be an employee who has to travel one-and-a-half hours to get to work, worry about a child or parents at home and then rush home at 5?” she questions.

Chahal feels an employee who can work from home at hours that are more convenient to her makes for happier, more productive employee. “I wish the world was as perfect,” retorts Prof Prodip Kumar Sett, professor, human resource management, Indian Institute of Management, (IIM) Kolkata. Sett feels flexi-timing works on the premise that all employees are equally committed and sincere. “It needs an extremely strong


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life around us

Is the concept where the employee can be allowed to work from home good enough to be executed? And more importantly, is it here to stay?

work culture; not everyone is sincere and serious about their work,” he feels. The solution? Having employees report for work at offices. It is also true that one’s merit is often seen in situations involving collaboration. “And for many job profiles, the next step is often a managerial one, involving supervising people who were once your peers,” says Murthy. Here, flexi-timing may lead to two problems – it is harder to see one’s calibre and merit in comparison to others since you weren’t involved in too many group activities. Two, it’s tougher to be considered for managerial roles if you are flexi-timing or working remotely. “This isn’t to say the hurdles can’t be overcome, but flexi-timers will need to work harder on it,” he feels. Chahal counters, “Do companies really know the measure of their success? Corporates reporting to work everyday may look like good productivity, but the reality could be different. Yes, you are relying on employee discretion or maybe

someone is lending you their discretion.” Chahal feels the old school thinking of not working when no one is watched doesn’t work anymore. “Look at how companies such as Google and Facebook are unlocking discretion and are more open and responsive,” she counters. For ITC Infotech, one of India’s fastest growing IT companies, following flexitiming is a no-no. “In the software industry, people work in matrixed organisations with a high degree of interdependence and it would be extremely disruptive for some individuals in the team to work flexi-hours,” says S Sivakumar, vice-chairman, ITC Infotech. But the company does permit flexible work options such as work from home, satellite offices, hot-desking on a case-bycase basis. “Given the growing congestion in our cities, working from home – but at company-specified hours – on secure network is not uncommon. “Flexi-timing can be productive for that part or type of work that doesn’t require collaboration, or one will need to sync up schedules,” says Murthy. And while his company offers flexi-timing, it is for roles involving individualised and not collaborative work. “And in the case of situations where personal circumstances such as a baby or an ill family member necessitate this for some period of time,” he says. But the company is careful to ensure it is seen as a privilege and not a right. Right move?

perspectives

Richard Branson chairman virgin group

Sairee Chahal co-founder, fleximoms

Working life isn’t 9-5 anymore. The world is connected. Companies that do not embrace this are missing a trick.

A happy employee is a more productive employee. How happy – and productive – will be an employee who has to travel one-and-a-half hours to get to work, worry about a child or parents at home and then rush home at 5?

,,

,,

S Sivakumar vice-chairman, ITC Infotech In the software industry, people work in matrixed organisations with a high degree of interdependence and it would be extremely disruptive for some individuals in the team to work flexi-hours.

,,

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IMAGES OF THE FORTNIGHT

SHARING THE EXPERIENCE President Pranab Mukherjee receiving a copy of book ‘The First Woman President of India: Reinventing Leadership, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil’ at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan. The book is on the work and life of Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Former President of India

DEFENDING A COLLEAGUE Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath with Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma outside the parliament responding to the queries of reporters on latter’s comments on SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav india debates 1-15 April 2013

SAVING SPARROWS

WHAT A RIDE

Delhi metro recentl Barakhamba Road ro called it a beautiful

Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dixit with school children on World Sparrow’s Day


Former President Abul Kalam travelled by ly on Central Secretariat Station - RK Ashram oute. Later speaking to Delhi Metro Rail staff, he l experience

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Supporting green mobility Dr. Farooq Abdullah; Praful Patel; Sheila Dixit with Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group launching the new environment friendly E20 electric car powered by next generation Lithium-ion batteries and which can run up to 100 kms per charge

NAVROSE GREETINGS Lt. Governor of Delhi, Tejendra Khanna extends his warm

greetings to the Parsi Community on the occasion of celebrations of Navrose – Beginning of Spring at the Delhi Parsi Anjuman

1-15 April 2013 india debates


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IMAGES OF THE FORTNIGHT

DRUMMING UP PUBLIC SUPPORT Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal starting his indefinite fast against inflated power and electricity bills from a house in Sundar Nagri

SHARING HER BEAUTY SECRET? Bollywood Actor and Former Rajya Sabha MP, Hema Malini with Shri Ravi SHankar during the launch of a new water purifying product

india debates 1-15 April 2013


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Sizzling the ramp Bollywood Actors, Esha Gupta, Siddharth

Malhotra (2nd right) and jacqueline fernandez (right) displaying the collection of Designer Manish Malhotra (2nd-L) during the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week 2013 in New Delhi

FIGHTER’s TALE Yuvraj Singh with Sachin tendulkar during the launch of the former’s book ‘The Test of My Life’ in new Delhi

SHOW STOPPER

Actress Preity Zinta showcases a creation by designer Surily during the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week 1-15 April 2013 india debates


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Date of Publication: 01/04/2013

IMAGE OF THE FORTNIGHT

RNI No. DELENG/2013/48250. Posting Date 1-6/04/2013 dl(c)-01/1358/2013-2015

STARPOWER ON SOCCER FIELD Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor interacts with his little fans during a recent charity football match in New Delhi

india debates 1-15 April 2013


cross secton