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Pranab dragged into chopper Rahul Gandhi interacting deal row, but enjoys immunity with CLP leaders, PCC chiefs

New Delhi:The Ministry of Defence has reportedly named President Pranab Mukherjee as one of the key decision makers in connection with the ordering of 12 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland. The Ministry has said that the deal was ratified in 2005 when Mukherjee was defence minister.The UPA fact sheet, which seeks to show that the specifications of the deal were changed during the NDA regime, also names two governors – former SPG chief Bharat Vir Wanchoo and MK Narayanan, who along with Mukherjee were key decision makers with regards to finalising the deal.However, given that he is President, Mukherjee enjoys immunity from prosecution in a criminal case.The SPG chief at the time Bharat Vir Wanchoo

is now the Governor of Goa. MK Narayanan, who was the National Security Advisor at the time, is now the Governor of West Bengal. Both by virtue of their governorstatus enjoy immunity under the constitutional rules.Former Air force chief SP Tyagi who has been named in an Italian investigation report as being one of the beneficiaries of kickbacks to secure the defence deal

for AgustaWestland, also said that the specifications of the contract had been changed in 2003, when the NDA was in power.BJP leader Jaswant Singh confirmed that this had been done, but said that the changing of specifications in itself was not a crime.“The problem was not with changing the specifications. The problem was the corruption that followed”, Singh said in comments to the media.

Gujrat:Congress vice president Rahul Gandh on Friday began his interaction with chief ministers of party-ruled states and PCC chiefs in a bid to strengthen state units of the party ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.This is the second such consultation by Gandhi after he was appointed the vice president of the party at Congress 'chintan shivir' at Jaipur in January.Gandhi had earlier held free-wheeling discussions with the AICC office bearer about the challenges confronting the party and the way ahead.The two-day meeting with the PCC chiefs and CLP leaders comes as part of Gandhi's well thought out strategy to receive inputs from all levels in the party.The deliberations assume significance as Assembly elections in nine states, including Madhya Pradesh,

Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi, are scheduled this year while the Lok Sabha polls are just 15 months away.After this meeting which will conclude tomorrow, Gandhi will hold interaction programmes in Odisha on February 18 and 19.He will interact with district presidents, block presidents and panchayat members of the state in Sambalpur on February 18 and in Cuttack on February 19. The Odisha visit is the beginning of Gandhi's interaction exercise in states.Chief ministers of

Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh are attending today's meeting.The party is out of power for several years in major states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana were present at the meeting. PCC chief and the CLP leader from Karnataka was also present in the meeting.

GHMC pledges to spend Rs.2,271 cr in 2013-14 Akbaruddin Owaisi finally Considering the gap between the projected and actual figures of the previous year, this seems inflated. A surprising element of the 2013-14 projection is a huge cut down on garbage bins. Hyderabad: The GHMC has projected `1,050 crore revenue generations from major sources of income for the financial year of 2013-14. Th-is will be discussed at the budget meeting on February 18. Property tax is the main sou-r-ce of income of the GHMC, which is projected to be at `950 crore. Advertisement fee is estimated at `40 crore and trade licensing fee at `60 crore respectively. For the year 2012-13, the Revised Budget Estimate (RBE) for property tax collection stood at `825 crore, which will be actually calculated at March end. Similarly, for advertisement, it is `25 crore and trade licensing fee is `25 crore respectively. A total of `2,650 crore has been projected for 2013-14 from various sources, apart from the three major sources of income. While it is `2,047 after revision for current financial year (2012-13), it was `2193, when placed for approval.The corporation will be spending `2,271 crores under various heads for the year 2013-14. It was

`2,283 crore for 2012-13 but the actual spending came to `1,313 crore. Slum development will have a budget of `929.52 crore, public works (general) will have `570 crore. On public health, it will be spending `92.60 crore, for water supply `28.95 crore, and for street lighting `44 crore in the next financial year (2013-14). While on information technology, it will spend `5.5 crore, transportation planning will have a big share of `54.41 crore. For parks and gardens, the GHMC will spend `29.23 crore. The amount for Mass

Rapid Transport System (land acquisition and MMTS Phase–II) will be `450 crore. Public health includes construction of garbage dumping yards and transfer stations (`20 crore), burial grounds or crematoria (`15 crore), modernisation of slaughter houses (`30 crore), purchase of new heavy vehicles (`20 crore), purchase of new light vehicles (`1.10 Crore), dumper bins or garbage dust, and litter bins (`.6.5 crore). It was `125 crore in budget 2012-13 when placed for discussion, but after revision it was brought down to `60.20 crore.

gets bail in both cases Hyderabad,: MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi was granted bail on Friday by the Adilabad and Nizamabad courts of Andhra Pradesh in the alleged hate speech case. The courts approved bail for Owaisi on health grounds on a bond of Rs 10,000 and two sureties, Owaisi's lawyer said. The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator is lodged in a jail in Adilabad, 300 km from here. Owaisi is in jail since his arrest Jan 8 for making a controversial speech at Nirmal on Dec

22. He was also booked for making a similar speech at Nizamabad on Dec 8. In both courts, his voice was recorded and sent for forensic examination as he had claimed that the voice in footage was not his. A member of

the assembly from Chandrayangutta in Hyderabad, Owaisi is facing charges of sedition, waging war against the nation and promoting enmity between people.Cyber News Service.


15-02-2013 to 21-02-2013

Rahul Gandhi’s Vadra test

Mohammed Yousuf: Rahul Gandhi has finally made the choice of leading the Congress party in the next general election even though Sonia Gandhi will, as party President and UPA chairperson, continue to have a major role in all aspects of the campaign. Whatever the Congress may say, Mr. Gandhi, by accepting the post of party vice-president, has also more or less indicated that should the UPA win the election he will not be averse to becoming Prime Minister. Mr. Gandhi, like his forebears, has assumed the mantle of leadership in his forties. Jawaharlal Nehru became President of the Congress in 1929 when he was 40; Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister at 48 and Rajiv Gandhi at

40. All three faced formidable challenges as they took over the reins of power. Nehru was required to give direction to the party in the wake of the Simon Commission and discussions on the devolution of greater authority into Indian hands. Indira Gandhi faced a restive country and the spectre of famine. Rajiv Gandhi had to provide calm to a people as they sought to overcome the trauma of his mother’s assassination.Mr. Gandhi is acquiring the substance of power at a time of great popular anger at the disclosures in recent years of great and systematic corruption by the rich and powerful. These reports have come in an era of rapid and enormous social change, economic stress and political complexity,

when the people are impatient for an improvement in the quality of their living conditions. Mr. Gandhi faces a challenge, at his initiation, which is greater than that which confronted his father, grandmother or great-grandfather when they were at similar stages in their political careers; unlike them he has to ensure the restoration of people’s belief in the political class and especially in his own party. Mr. Gandhi’s address at the Congress Chintan Shivir at Jaipur last month was thought-provoking. He spoke with sincerity and clarity of the tasks before his party. It was not unnatural for him to recount the achieve-

ments of the Congress but it was noteworthy that he co-related all these attainments to popular demands and needs at particular points in our national development. This was skilfully done for it enabled him to move seamlessly from the freedom movement to Nehruvian and Indira Gandhi socialism to Rajiv Gandhi’s emphasis on infusion of cutting-edge technology to the Manmohan Singh era of capitalism and ‘inclusive growth’. His speech also suggested that he is conscious of the need to restore popular faith in his party; hence, the repeated and continuous refrain on the ‘voice of the people’. Political parties wish to use corruption as an issue to target their opponents.

All the perfumes of Arabia Markande Katju: Narendra Modi is being projected by a large section of Indians as the modern Moses, the messiah who will lead the beleaguered and despondent Indian people into a land of milk and honey, the man who is best suited to be the next Indian Prime Minister. And it is not just the BJP and RSS who are saying this in the Kumbh Mela. A large section of the Indian so called 'educated' class, including a section of our 'educated' youth, who have been carried away by Modi’s propaganda are saying this. I was flying from Delhi to Bhopal recently. Sitting beside me was a Gujarati businessman. I asked him his opinion of Modi. He was all praise for him. I interjected and asked him about the killings of over 2000 Muslims in 2002 in Gujarat. He replied that Muslims were always creating problems in Gujarat, but after 2002 they have been put in their place and there is peace since 2002 in Gujarat. I told him it was the peace of the graveyard, and peace can never last long unless it was coupled with justice. At this remark he took offence and changed his seat on the plane. The truth today is that Muslims in Gujarat are terrorized and afraid that if they speak out against the horrors of 2002 they may be attacked and victimized. In the whole of India Muslims (who are over 200 million of the people of India) are solidly against Modi (though there are a

handful of Muslims who for some reason disagree).It is claimed by Modi supporters that what happened in Gujarat was only a 'spontaneous' reaction (pratikriya) of Hindus to the killings of 59 Hindus in a train in Godhra. I do not buy this story. Firstly, there is still a mystery as to what exactly happened in Godhra, and who was responsible for the killings. Secondly, the particular persons who were responsible for the Godhra killings should certainly be identified and given harsh punishment, but how does this justify the attack on the entire Muslim community in Gujarat. Muslims are only 9% of the total population of Gujarat, the rest being mostly Hindus. In 2002 Muslims were massacred, their homes burnt, and other horrible crimes committed on them.To call the killings of Muslims in 2002 as a spontaneous reaction reminds one of Kristallnacht (see online) in Germany in November 1938, when the entire Jewish community in Germany was attacked, many killed, their synagogues burnt, shops vandalized, etc after a German diplomat in Paris was shot by a Jewish youth whose family had been persecuted by the Nazis. It was claimed by the Nazi Government that this was only a 'spontaneous' reaction, but in fact it was planned and executed by the Nazi authorities using fanatic mobs. Hence the only policy which can hold it together and take it on the path of progress is secularism and equal respect and

treatment to all communities and sects. This was the policy of the great Emperor Akbar, which was followed by our Founding Fathers (Pandit Nehru and his colleagues) who gave us a secular Constitution. Unless we follow this policy our country cannot survive for one day, because it has so much diversity, so many religions, castes, languages, ethnic groups, etc.India therefore does not belong to Hindus alone, it belongs equally to Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Jains etc. Also, it is not that only Hindus can live in India as first rate citizens while others have to live as second or third rate citizens. All are first rate citizens here. The killings of thousands of Muslims and other atrocities on them in Gujarat in 2002 can never be forgotten or forgiven. All the perfumes in Arabia cannot wash away the stain on Modi in this connection.It is said by his supporters that Modi had no hand in the killings of Muslims in 2002, and it is also said that he has not been found guilty by any Court of Law. I do not want to comment on our judiciary, but I certainly do not buy the story that Modi had no hand in the events of 2002. He was the Chief Minister of Gujarat at that time, and the horrible events happened on a large scale in

Gujarat Can it be believed that he had no hand in the events of 2002? At least I find it impossible to believe it.Let me give just one example. Ehsan Jafri was a respected, elderly former Member of the Indian Parliament living in the Chamanpura locality of Ahmedabad in Gujarat. His house was in the Gulbarga Housing Society, where mostly Muslims lived. According to the recorded version of his elderly wife Zakia, on 28.2.2002 a mob of fanatics blew up the security wall of the housing society using gas cylinders, they dragged Ehsan Jafri out of his house, stripped him, chopped off his limbs with swords, etc and burnt him alive. Many other Muslim were also killed and their houses burnt. Chamanpura is barely a kilometer from the police station, and less than 2 kilometres from the Ahmedabad Police Commissioner's office. Is it conceivable that the Chief Minister did not know what was going on? Zakia Jafri since then has been running from pillar to post to get justice for her husband who was so brutally murdered. Her criminal case against Modi was thrown out by the district Court (since the Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court found no evidence against Modi and filed a final report), and it is only now that the Supreme Court set aside the order of the trial Court and directed that her protest petition be considered.I am not going into this matter any further.

Editorial The indecency of a secret execution Between Afzal Guru’s hanging at Tihar and the executions of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh at the same jail lies a gap of 24 years. In this time, India has risen tremendously in economic and strategic terms but the decline in our collective morality is evident in the indecorous secrecy which has attended the latest execution. When Indira Gandhi’s assassins were hanged on January 6, 1989, the country had still not emerged from a crippling insurgency in Punjab that had raged through the State for most of that decade and taken the lives of thousands of people. Yet, India appeared a far more confident democracy then. The government of Rajiv Gandhi did not hide the President’s rejection of the mercy petitions of Satwant and Kehar; both men were allowed an eleventh hour opportunity to contest that rejection in the Supreme Court. When the court dismissed their petitions, the date of their execution was made public. Their families were allowed inside the jail for a final goodbye. As many as 20 members of Kehar Singh’s family and 13 of Satwant Singh’s family, including his father, were given permission to meet the condemned men. Though not all of them managed to get access, at least they were spared the shock of being informed after the hangings, not to speak of the shabby indecency of a notification sent through

the postal system that reaches two days later.By trotting out claims about the threat to law and order in order to justify keeping Guru’s execution under wraps, the government has shown itself in even poorer light, as if its lawenforcing machinery is helpless before such threats. Of course that is not true, and it was used as an excuse. Both in Guru’s case and in Ajmal Kasab’s, what the government clearly wanted was a smooth road to the gallows, one that would be free of legal challenges or a last minute reprieve, such as the one granted by the Madras High Court to the three death row convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. But in doing so, the government has gone against not just all democratic norms but fundamental human decency. It has also insulted the country’s judicial system, for the secrecy that attended Kasab’s hanging succeeded in taking away from what was otherwise considered a fair trial. The least the government can do now to make amends for its atrocious behaviour towards Guru’s family is to give them access to his grave in Tihar. Something can still be salvaged from this shameful episode if the government is goaded into adopting proper rules for informing the family members of a condemned man about his impending execution. All this, of course, pending that day when political India is able to work up the humanity to abolish the death penalty itself.


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Botsa's dilema to be PCC or Minister Man attacked for marrying from another community He was beaten up by his brothers-in-law for he followed a different religion. Hyderabad: S John, a 28-year-old Christian, who had fallen in love with Sweta, 24, a Hindu, was allegedly attacked by his brothers-inlaw on Wednesday at Kottapet Road. He is in the hospital with injuries all over his body, Chaithanyapuri police said.It is said that the girl’s parents and brothers did not approve of Sweta marrying outside their community. They were more worried at the conversion, which they thought was demeaning to them. As the parents would not allow such a marriage, Sweta and John ran away and had a registered marriage. Her mother was heartbroken when she knew what her daughter did, police said. The mother and

daughter used to keep in touch over phone.The mother asked Sweta to come and meet her. John and Sweta were riding a bike when her brothers waylaid them. They thrashed John before taking Sweta away to their home. On John’s complaint, police intervened and arrested the brothers and restored Sweta to John. The police later made an attempt to bring the two families together, but both sides were adamant, it is learnt. Sweta’s parents and brothers say the man had trapped her in the pretext of love and John’s parents say their son suffered because of the girl.

HYDERABAD: Will APCC President Botsa Satyanarayana, who is also the Minister for Transport in the Kiran Kumar Reddy cabinet, lose his ministerial berth in tune with Rahul Gandhi’s “one man, one post” policy ?.Soon after taking over the reins as second-in-command of the Congress Party by becoming its Vice-President, Rahul Gandhi had made amply clear that he was against one leader holding more than one post either in the organization or in the government. Though this policy of one man-one post was in vogue in the

past, it was given a go by later.A meeting of all the PCC Presidents and CLP leaders was being held in New Delhi on Friday at the behest of Rahul Gandhi to prepare the party for the ensuing 2014 elections and work out the strategies in this regard. The Gandhi scion is likely to lay more stress on the need for strictly implementing the one man, one post policy.Since Botcha Satyanarayana is holding two posts – that of APCC President as well as that of Minister for Transport – he is expected to be divested of one of the two posts. Thus the million dollar question that is

making rounds in the Congress circles here is whether Botcha would opt

top remain as PCC Chief or would he stick top his ministerial gaddhi.

AP rights body issues notices to East Godavari Collector, SP HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission (APSHRC) issued notices to the East Godavari Collector and Superintendent of Police in connection with a

clash between villagers and police over a proposed power plant in the coastal district. Acting on a petition filed by some villagers, the APSHRC ordered issuance of notices and directed them to file

a report before it by April 4. Over 100 people were injured when villagers, opposing a proposed power plant in Bikkavolu, clashed with police during a public hearing near Kakinada on February 6. People from at least

a dozen villages in the vicinity are opposed to the 100 MW captive power plant of a fertiliser company apprehending pollution and damage to crops. ------------Cyber News Service

Babu Tumbles, But Saved By Bodyguards Youth attempts to rape elderly woman Hyderabad:In a heinous crime, a 25-year-old man has been charged with attempting to rape a 65-yearold widow in Shanthi Nagar of North Lalaguda. The man has been arrested and remanded to judicial custody.According to the police, M Laxmamma is a widow with one son. After she lost her first husband, she had remarried, only to lose her second husband as well. She was now living alone and her only son, a vagabond, was rarely at home with her, said Lalaguda police inspector, V Srinivas Reddy. She lived a lonely life in her home. Neighbours and others who knew her helped her with food occasionally. Of late, she had even resorted to begging, the inspector said. Incidentally, T Vijay Kumar, 25, a painter, used to frequent her home and help her with food. The old woman assumed that it was a sign

of the young man’s affection for an elderly person. But on Sunday night he went to her house in an inebriated condition and tried to rape her. Terrified, she raised an alarm which scared Kumar who fled. Neighbours came and asked her to lodge a police complaint.Kumar was then arrested from his house in Mallapur in Nacharam and remanded. It turns out that although he is married, his wife left him due to his waywardness and alcoholism.

Hyderabad:TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu today escaped from an accident, thanks to the vigilance of his security personnel and his party activists around him. Naidu resumed his yatra in Guntur district on Thursday morning. After reaching Kokalaluru, he unveiled a statue of N T Rama Rao there. When he was stepping down from the dais, the steps collapsed. He was about to fall but his alert gunmen acted fast and prevented him from falling down. He escaped unhurt. However, he sustained a bruise on his leg. However, former minister Alapati Raja was injured. Immediately after the accident, physiotherapists examined him. After making him sit in a chair, they examined and advised him to take rest. Doctors said they would have to con-

duct full-scale examination. Doctors from nearby places are likely to go to Guntur district. Party cadres urged Naidu to postpone his yatra until doctors arrive from Hyderabad. TDP leaders and cadres are all praise for the gunmen, who saved Naidu from a major accident. When Chandrababu was alighting from the dais, a large number of students and party cadres vied with each other for his autograph. In the pressure, the steps gave in. Speaking earlier, Naidu said the helicopters scam was much bigger than the infamous Bofors scam. He alleged that Congress leaders received kickbacks to the tune of Rs 380 crores. He demanded a full-scale investigation into the scam. Actor Jr. NTR and Nara Lokesh expressed anxiety and enquired about the health of

Chandrababu Naidu after it was reported that he fell off from a dais in Guntur district.Soon after it became known that Naidu fell off from the dais and his gunmen saved him, his wife Bhuvaneswari, son Lokesh, brother-in-law Nandamuri Bala Krishna, MP and another brother-in-

law Hari Krishna, actor Jr. NTR and others called the activists accompanying Naidu and enquired about his condition. Bhuvaneswari, who talked to Naidu over phone, asked him not to resume his yatra until they reached the place. Cyber News Service.

Masjid unearthed during digging of a cellar Hyderabad: During the digging of a cellar at house at Narayanguda (Rajmohalla,Ramkote) an Old Masjid E Takiya Gujrathi Sha (RA) was unearthed,Amjed Ullah Khan (Corporator) inspected the site and demanded from the Government of Andhra

Pradesh and the State WAKF Board that the said Masjid should be handed to the Muslims so that the Namaz could be started in the said Masjid.During the search of AP WAKF records the name of the said Masjid E Takhiye Gujrathi Sha is also in the records.

15-02-2013 to 21-02-2013

Sharmila indicates future tie-up with MIM

Budget sanctioned for publication of Inter Urdu Medium books Hyderabad: Government has released a budget of 23 lakh and 78 thousand rupees for publication of Urdu Medium intermediate first year Science and Mathematics syllabus books. Principal secretary Minority Welfare Rani Kumudini issued a GO RT 18 in this connection. As per GO the amount has been issued in favour of secretary / Director Urdu Academy under the bud-

get of financial year 201213 so that intermediate 1st year syllabus books can be published. These syllabus books are published under the supervision of Telugu academy. It has been proposed that from the next year onwards the work of publication of books should be assigned to Urdu academy instead of Telugu academy. Cyber News Service.

Parks shut for couples on Valentine’s Day HYDERABAD: All major parks in the city remained shut on Thursday to prevent any untoward incident on Valentine’s Day in view of threats by some rightwing Hindu groups. GHMC officials said that the city police had directed them to lock the big parks such as Indira Park, Sundarayya Park, Lumbini Park and

Botanical Gardens following threats from groups like the Bajrang Dal and VHP that they would “counsel” and marry off couples who would be seen in parks and other public places in the city on Valentine’s Day. They argued that celebrating the day was against Indian tradition.Hyderabad commissioner of police Anurag

Sharma said that while no order to close the parks had originated from his office, the local police had directed the GHMC to do so in order to maintain law and order.Thus, the city’s well-known parks like the KBR National Park remained out of bounds for

Minority Commissionerate begins functioning from Hajj House Hyderabad:The newly formed Minority Commissionerate set up to improve the performance of minority institutions has begun its functioning from Hajj House. However search for a permanent building for the commissionerate is still on. Mr. M A Waheed who is also the managing director of Minority Finance Corporation has begun his

daily services as Commissioner Minority Welfare from Hajj House. Government had allotted the 5th floor of a government building located at Tilak Road but the building was not suitable for the minority commissionerate. The building has to be located at a prime location of the city which can be easily reached by the public. Naser Times News

people on Thursday and Gandipet as well wore a deserted look. Meanwhile, All India Stud-ents’ Federation (AISF) staged a dharna in front of Indira Park in the morning and demanded that the police provide protection to couples on this day. Few AISF members were arrested as a preventive measure after the protest.When contacted, GHMC officials said: “The parks will remain closed till 4 pm on Thursday; the civic body came under criticism from some youth and student groups for this act though right wing groups have been threatening to disrupt celebrations every year.”Hundreds of people throng the parks every day, especially those living around the Hussainsagar in the heart of the city.

GHMC wary of bouncing cheques Hyderabad: As many as 12,000 cheques for a total of Rs 30 crore, issued by building owners towards payment of property tax in the last couple of years to the GHMC, have bounced. While GHMC pursued and collected Rs 23 crore by settling 10,000 cheque bounce cases, another 2,000 cases for a total of Rs 7 crore are pending. The number of cases will go up

by March-end, during GHMC’s special drive to collect tax in the last month of the current fiscal year. GHMC officials said a dishonoured cheque is a criminal offence. The civic body can file a criminal case under the Negotiable Instruments Act. However, the GHMC has decided to send legal notices to all such owners and give them time to settle their property tax

dues, and this time

with penal interest.

Hyderabad to host national RTI meet Hyderabad will play host to a national convention on RTI awareness and related issues, organised by NCPRI (National Campaign for People’s Right to Information). The three-day convention, also supported by local RTI civil society groups such as UFRTI, will be held from February 16 to February 18 at AMR-APARD in Rajendranagar. Around 300 activists from all over the country are expected to participate in the convention. Speaking at the press conference, Nikhil Dey, prominent RTI activist and coconvenor of NCPRI, said the RTI Act has had a fundamental effect on governance. “The RTI Act has received immense attention and has come under continuous attack. Our aim should be to promote and

protect the Act.”Among the many issues that continue to stall the RTI Act from achieving its true potency, Dey identified three main ones that will form the agenda at the convention. “The usage of the RTI Act by citizens, progress of the government’s role in utilising and promoting the Act and the controversial issue of appointment of information commissioners will be discussed. We must make it clear that the information commission is not an independent judicial body but rather should function in partnership with the people.”The previous convention, held in Shillong in 2011, resulted in the Shillong Declaration, which will be examined. By the end of the third day, all reviews and discussions

will be put forward as the Hyderabad Declaration. “In part, the Hyderabad Declaration of 2013 will look at national issues, but a major segment will look into issues of the RTI Act in Andhra Pradesh,” said Dey.Also speaking at the conference was B Ramakrishnam Raju, convenor of the United Forum for RTI (UFRTI). “The RTI Act has been very influential in solving and bringing in transparency, but a lot of issues continue to stall its progress. For instance, the application file that seeks to remove the applicant’s file for filing an RTI is pending approval from the CM’s office. Other developments, such as the induction of the highlevel committee by the State government inviting suggestions and proposals, have been a welcome move. The

committee, comprising the

CM, chief secretary,

DGP, chief information commissioner, principal secretary among others, will also include two people from civil society. But negative aspects, such as attacks on RTI activists, continue, despite a GO being declared for their protection. Our aim is to educate and spread awareness among district collectorates and SPs with immediate effect,” Raju said. The conference will feature big names from RTI circles such as Aruna Roy, retired Justice AP Shah and Wajahat Habibullah (chairman of national minorities commission). The State government, Centre for Good Governance, AMPAPARD and department of rural development are supporting the event. Cyber News Service.


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VVIP chopper deal was changed in 2006 when UPA was in power New Delhi: The Union defence ministry admitted on Thursday that the operational requirements for the VVIP helicopter acquisition process were altered between March 2005 and September 2006, when Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi was Chief of Air Staff and the UPA government was in power. Union defence minister A.K. Antony, meanwhile, shot off a missive to Italian-owned company AgustaWestland asking it point-blank to state if it had paid bribes to anyone, whether an individual or a company, to secure the Indian deal. The MoD also officially confirmed it had put on hold all further payments to AgustaWestland — which effectively means putting the deal on hold — and said the “government is determined to take all possible legal and administrative action against the guilty parties”. Releasing

the chronology of events relating to the deal, the MoD said: “... The ORs were deliberated at length between the IAF, NSA, SPG/PMO and MoD between March 2005 and September 2006, and the above indicated changes were incorporated.” MoD contradicts Tyagi on rule tweaks: Incidentally, Pranab Mukherjee, now President of India, was defence minister; Antony, took charge in October 2006.The MoD’s assertion on Thursday that the operational requirements for the copter acquisition process were altered between March 2005 and September 2006 contradicts the version of events given by former air chief S.P. Tyagi, who told TV channels on Wednesday the changes were made in

2003 (during NDA rule), and that no changes were made after 2004. The MoD statement falls in line with what the Italian investigators have been claiming. The MoD also said the changes were mooted in 2003 (during NDA rule). It said on November 19, 2003, the late Brajesh Mishra, the principal secretary to A.B. Vajpayee, held a meeting where he expressed concern that the government was in a single-vendor situation.It was noted that the President and the PM have rarely made visits to places involving flying at altitude beyond 4,500 metres. It was decided to make the mandatory requirement for operational altitude 4,500 metres. The higher flying ceiling of 6,000 metres, and a cabin height of 1.8 meters, could be made desirable operational requirements.

Former Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi at his residence in Gurgaon - PTI

The popular Indian dessert, in a few minutes!



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HAPPINESS – A Choice, ZAIKHA THIS WEEK: A Key to Success!!! What is Happiness? Happiness is something that everyone wants. People these days seem to be looking for money, success and fame but what they really want is Happiness. Happiness is something which can be found anywhere; you just have to keep a positive attitude towards life. Unfortunately, many people don’t reach the level of happiness they desire because life is very cruel sometimes. Every person has their own belief or way of looking towards the happiness in their lives. Many people do not notice happiness and do not appreciate it.You are responsible for your own happiness, you cannot blame the outside environment for your unhappiness. Things around you could change into good or bad but it’s up to you how you respond to it. People always think what they really want is a good job, money, success, material possessions, relationships and a good position in society but what they truly want is happiness. Health, wealth and relationships are just rewards of being Happy. If you go after money, you may not get it , but if you go after happiness, money will certainly come to you. Sometime we don’t realize how happy we are and we go after money and do not appreciate the happiness we get and strive hard to earn money. Happiness is

Raheemunnisa Nizam a CHOICE , choosing adventure in every moment of life , choosing to understand that there will always be a light after dark . There is always good in every situation we should have faith in ourselves. Here are some ideal ways to find happiness in our life: 1) Smile It is a very miraculous thing and does a great effect on all. Smiling can transform a dark day into a lightened one, with more lovely moments and pleasant surprises. A simple smile can make your day. Smile for all the good things and problems that you don’t have. 2) You should never compare yourself with others, it won’t bring anything good to you. There are many qualities we should be grateful for, if we go n counting our blessings and the things we’ve got, then you will be much more happier. All the time we think that people around us are happier than us but we should always be grateful to God for whatever he has given to us. 3) Spend more time with the people you love , best relationships offer us more happiness than any other material possessions in the world. Spend quality time with the people who care about you and you will definitely feel good. No love is greater than that of a Love of a Family and gives u immense happiness. 4) Forget and forgive; forgiving others will lighten your burden and you will

find happiness. It will always bother you if you don’t forget it. 5) Be Positive! Yes, might be your blood group as well. Always think positively. Negativity brings sadness in your lives. Being kind to you in thoughts, words and actions is as important as being kind to others. Happiness is such a supreme feeling that, if you give happiness to others it will come back to you, multiplied. Don’t judge others, try to be friendly with everyone, be a social man. Always be grateful for what you’ve got and never complaint. Delight yourself with lovely memories and live your life as you know better.

HEALTH CORNER Scanner s h o w s promise in cancer treatment New Delhi: A state-of-theart body scanner has been set up at the Apollo hospital which dete-cts cancerous cells quickly, and may go a long way in timely selection of treatment for cancer patients, officials of the hospital said Wednesday. The Positron Emission To-m-o-graphy-Magnetic Resonance (PET-MR) has been combined with PET Computerised Tom-og-ra-phy (CT) to create the PET Su-i-te which scans patients quicker, thus reducing discomfort and he-lping in therapy selection and treatment. “Since they (doctors) can simultaneously acquire data from the whole body, the scanning takes less time, thus, reducing the discomfort of the patient,” Prathap C Reddy, cha-irman of the Apollo Hospitals Group, told reporters here. PET Suite will be formally launched February 16 by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. India has approximately three million cancer patients.

Mutton Kabsa


Aliya Hyder

• 3 - 4 lbs Mutton – cleaned & cut very large pieces 2 1/2 cups of Basmati white rice (approximately 500g) - washed & soaked in water for 30 minutes 7 - 8 cups of water 1/2 cup of oil & ghee together 3 tablespoons of tomato paste 1 large tomato – diced 3 Maggie beef stock cubes 6 whole fresh green chillies 1 large onion - diced 6 - 8 coarsely smashed fresh garlic 4 pieces of cardamoms 5 cloves 2 cinnamon sticks ½ teaspoon cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder 3 dried whole black lemon – poke 2 -3 small holes in them (optional) 1 ½ tablespoon onion powder (optional) Salt to taste.


In a large pot add 7 – 8 cups of water; boil the mutton by adding salt, turmeric powder & the Maggie stocks for 30 minutes or 50% meat done. Then remove the whole thing from the pot (the meat and the broth). Clean the pot if needed, and then add in the same pot oil/ ghee, the cut onion and the crushed garlic. Fry for a few minutes, and then take out only the mutton pieces (and NOT the broth) Then, add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, all the powdered & whole spices and the dried black lemons. Cook all this by stirring in between for some minutes or until the tomatoes crushed well. At this moment, add the mutton pieces and fry for a few minutes. Now add the broth (by leaving one cup out for later addition) and cook for 30 minutes or until the mutton is well done. Check the salt and the spices. After that, take out only the meat and the dry lemons from this mixture and set them aside. Add the rice & green chillies on the mixture and cook on a very low heat (preferably by placing a thick metal piece beneath the pot). Stir very slowly ONLY ONE time in between. Check the broth and if it is less then add a few spoons from the left out cup earlier. Cook the rice till about 75% or untill the broth just start vanishing from the top.

For garnishing: 2 pieces of large carrots – thin-stickcut (like match-sticks) ¼ cup of raisins ½ cup of whole almonds – skin removed and roasted to golden ¾ cup of whole cooked chickpeas (garbanzo)

Garnishing: While the rice is being cooked, take a frying pan, add a few tablespoons of oil and roast the almonds till golden brown. Remove and set them aside. In the same oil fry the sliced carrots with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Keep stirring for a few minutes, remove and set them aside. Finally, fry 3 – 4 minutes the chickpea with a tablespoon of tomato paste, a tablespoon of water and some salt, remove and set aside.

Final Presentation for Mutton Kabsa: Take a very large baking dish; place all the rice by spreading more towards the sides. Place all the meat, the whole green chillies and the dry lemons in the centre. Spread all over all the garnishing stuff. Finally, close the dish with aluminum foil and place it under the pre-heated oven of 350F for about 20 minutes. You can serve the dish in this same dish

Doctors say as MR has no radiation, this machine at a Delhi hospital significantly reduces the overall radiation dose, making it safer for paediatrics and patients.



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Maldives slams 'mediator' India Designer Anand Jon admits Maldives: India's effort to play peacemaker between Maldivian president Waheed Hassan Manik and his deposed predecessor Mohamed Nasheed has left the Indian High Commission in the Maldives capital a virtual war room. From the outside, the Indian mission on the Indian Ocean island remained closed and deserted on Thursday, but diplomatic circles were on an overdrive, as the Male government hit out at India, saying in its statement about Nasheed, who's hiding in the mission to escape arrest, that India was "undermining Maldives's democratic institutions." Later in the day, Indian external affairs minister Salman Khurshid spoke to his counterpart Abdul Samad Abdullah in a bid to defuse the situation, but by Thursday evening, India was seen more as a protector of Nasheed than a mediator for democracy. Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party, meanwhile, has stated that its leader would remain in the Indian High Commission till Waheed is replaced by

a caretaker government to ensure a free and fair election in September. What appears to have infuriated the Maldivian government is India's choice of words while stating that it has taken up Nasheed's matter with the Maldivian authorities. Referring to Nasheed, MEA spokesman Syed Akbaruddin, who was in Delhi, had on Wednesday said that "presidential nominees of recognized political parties should be free to participate in the elections without any hindrance." On Thursday, the Maldivian government reacted angrily, saying its election commission had not announced the candidates for the elections. "It is unfortunate that the government of India has decided to comment on the types of candidates that could contest the upcoming presidential elections in Maldives scheduled for September 2013 The

elections commission of Maldives is fully capable of evaluating and deciding eligibility of nominees in the elections and carrying forward a credible

electoral process. To presume otherwise would be undermining the democratic institutions of the country and the progress achieved by the Maldives in consolidating its democracy." It added that the Indian authorities had not held talks with it.While India chose not to issue a public retort, Nasheed went on the offensive against Waheed. "The events of the past year mass arrests, police brutality, politically motivated trials - demonstrate that Waheed cannot be trusted to hold a free and fair election," he said on the website of his political party. Nasheed's party colleagues said he would not leave the Indian High Commission despite the Maldivian government's assurance that he would not be arrested. Nasheed took refuge at the Indian mission in Male on Wednesday afternoon fearing arrest following a warrant by a local court in connection with the alleged detention of the chief judge of a criminal court during his presidency in January 2012. PTI

Australia reviewing ‘Prisoner X’ case Jerusalem: Israel on Thursday admitted that it had jailed ‘Prisoner X’, who later committed suicide, as Australia announced a review into its handling of the case. The Israeli Justice Ministry said the man was held for security reasons and that his death in late 2010 was ruled as a suicide. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) had aired an investigative report on Tuesday revealing the identity of the man as Ben Zygier, an Australian national and Mossad agent, who was held in complete isolation at the Ayalon Prison in Ramla. Zygier was seen as a mysterious figure known as ‘Prisoner X’ and was until this week one of Israel’s most sensitive national security secrets. A lawyer who moved from Melbourne to Israel in 2000, Zygier had married an Israeli and had two children, said the ABC report. Seven days after he was found hanged in his cell, aged 34, his body was

flown to Melbourne, where he was buried in a Jewish cemetery, it said. The statement cleared for publication by Israel, that went to extreme lengths to cover up the issue till now, gives limited details. “For security reasons, the prisoner was held under a pseudonym, but his family was notified of the arrest immediately,” said the statement. Proxy warrant: “The prisoner was held by proxy of an arrest warrant issued by the court. The proceedings were overseen by senior officials in the Justice Ministry and he was duly represented in all the proceedings against him by attorneys Roi Belcher, Moshe Mazor and Boaz Ben-Zur”, it said.The Ministry also emphasised that the prisoner’s legal rights were observed at all times, according to the law. The Justice Ministry’s statement said six weeks ago, the investigation had ruled the prisoner’s death a sui-

to molesting model New Yor k : IndianAmerican fashion designer Anand Jon, facing a 59 years prison sentence in California for sexually abusing aspiring models, has pleaded guilty in a federal court here to molesting a woman whom he allegedly lured with promise of modelling work. Jon admitted to one count of criminal sexual act in Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday and was sentenced to five years under a plea deal reached with federal prosecutors. The Keralaborn celebrity fashion designer was arrested in 2007 in California on charges he preyed upon seven young aspiring models, some as young as 14 and sexually assaulted them. He is currently serving 59 years to life in prison in California. In a plea deal reached with federal prosecutors here, Jon pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual act against one aspiring female model. In turn, Manhattan prosecu-

tors dropped almost their entire case against him. He had initially been charged with preying on a dozen women in a 49count indictment in New York. Assistant District Attorney Maxine Rosenthal told a judge that the deal was accepted “to spare the victims from having to testify at multiple proceedings” and in consideration of his lengthy sentence in California. Ms. Rosenthal said Jon is facing similar charges in Texas. The New York prison time of five years amounts to time served in California, which means no additional years will be added to his California sentence of 59 years to life. Jon had launched a fashion line in 1999 and was featured on ‘America’s Next Top Model’ working with celebrities such as socialite Paris Hilton. His designs have been worn by media mogul Oprah Winfrey and singer Janet Jackson. Jon’s attorney said after the plea that he admitted to the crime so he could

get evidence and materials from New York prosecutors needed to “effectively overturn his California conviction.” “Considering the initial 49 charges included allegations of rape, drugging and mafia death threats, the settlement of one conviction involving Alexander’s giving oral sex to an adult female was acceptable,” they said in a statement. They said some of the materials turned over by Manhattan prosecutors as part of the pre-trial process would be crucial as he continues work on his California appeal.

cide; however, the judge recommended that the State pursue a negligence investigation in the matter.“National security prevents the release of any other details in this case,” the statement added. On Wednesday night, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced a review of the case. Mr. Carr said Australian officials sought assurances that the prisoner’s legal rights would be respected, that he had legal representation, that his family had been informed, and that he was not being mistreated. An interim report in Australia on Zygier case has been submitted by Peter Varghese, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), confirming that Australian Intelligence agencies did inform the department about his detention at a prison in Tel Aviv. DFAT officials did know about Zygier detention. It was not clear if the department informed the then Foreign Minister Stephen Smith.

Hillary Clinton presented with highest Pentagon award Washington: Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton was on Thursday honoured with Pentagon's highest civilian award for her exceptional service to the nation.US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta presented Hillary with the Department of Defence Medal for Distinguished Public Service at a ceremony at Pentagon for playing an indispensable role in formulating and, with great success, implementing national security, foreign and development policies in an era of dynamic shifts in global affairs.Applying an innova-

tive, smart power approach, Hillary led efforts to invigorate traditional alliances, engage emerging powers, and develop new partnerships to advance American interests, security, and values, said the citation.Panetta said that it was Hillary's inspiration that led him to remove the final barriers for women in the US defence services. "In many ways, I have to tell you, it was her inspiration that encouraged me to move forward to be able to bring down the last barriers for women in the Department of Defence and to give them the ability to have a chance

to engage in combat," he said."Today it is now clear that we need to maintain a strong military force to deal with the unstable and unpredictable and undeniably dangerous world that we live in.”"But it is equally clear that we must enhance our other key levers of power, our economic and diplomatic power, if we are to truly achieve peace in the 21st century," Panetta said.""There is no real precedent in history for the role we play or the responsibility we have shouldered. There is also no alternative," she said. PTI

8 SPORTS / ENTERTAINMENT Messi is the best in the world: Ibrahimovic Paris: Zlatan Ibrahimovic has admitted that Lionel Messi is the best player in world football as he prepares to face his former Barcelona team-mate when Sweden take on Argentina.The Paris SaintGermain forward spent two seasons at Camp Nou playing alongside the Argentina captain, and he pointed out that the playmaker wins so many award because he is the finest player currently on show. "Leo is a fantastic player. At an individual level he is probably the best player in the world, so he wins all the awards," he told reporters at a press conference. And the 31year-old, who will only play 45 minutes in the match in Solna, believes the friendly international is more important for the visitors as they look to find their best 11 ahead of the remainder of their World Cup qualifiers. "Clearly it is more important for them than for us," he said. "They have so many quality players fighting for a spot on the team."

Advani creates history, enters pre-quarters of Welsh Open New Delhi: Pankaj Advani today created history by becoming the first Indian cueist ever to reach the prequarterfinals of the BetVictor Welsh Open Pro Snooker Series, defeating former world champion, England's Shaun Murphy, 4-3 at Newport, Wales.Eight-time world champion Advani, the only active player to compete at the highest level in both billiards and snooker concurrently in the same season, reigned supreme at the green baize to enter the Round of 16, where he would be facing either 2006 world champion Graeme Dott of Scotland or Ireland's Fergal O'Brien."I'm ecstatic about this win. Defeating a player of Murphy's calibre, that too in a main event, requires one to play out of his skin. I guess that's what happened!" Advani told PTI."The atmosphere was electrifying. Competing at such a high level and with family and friends all over the world watching live makes you realise you're part of something massive. A grand occasion requires a grand approach," added Advani,

who became the youngest Indian ever to win eight World titles in any sport, following his World Billiards title triumph in October last year in Leeds.In the match between Advani and 2005 world professional snooker champion Murphy, the 27year-old Bangalorean started with a bang in Frame 1, putting his opponent under pressure immediately with some exceptional potting to win it 75-15.Murphy bounced back though in the second with a break of 71 to pocket the frame 100-10. Advani replied with the highest break of the match, a 121 clearance, to take back his lead in the third frame and then widened the gap with a 51 break to secure the fourth.The match was all class with breaks and quality safety play. From here on, Murphy took the attack to his Indian opponent by winning the next two frames to enforce

Guess who's Salman Khan launching now? M u m b a i : Superstar Salman Khan, the man with a bigger heart than his biceps, has introduced several aspirants to Bollywood. From Katrina Kaif to Arjun Kapoor, Sallu has been the Godfather to many in the industry. And the latest we hear is that Salman will make his bodyguard Shera's dream come true. According to the reports, Salman Khan is soon to launch his bodyguard Shera's son in Bollywood. Talking to a tabloid, Salman was all praise for the newcomer. The actor also admitted that he will launch Shera's son soon, as he has the calibre to make it big in the industry. Praising the young boy's looks and personality, Salman Khan also said that the boy is "focused and determined". No

wonder, Sallu has given big breaks to many Bollywood actors like Zarine Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Katrina and

many more. And now, we hope Shera's little boy gets to see the stardom one day!

Rani Mukherji turns journalist Mumbai: We last saw Rani Mukherji in the role of a journalist in 'No One Killed Jessica'. And the actress will be once again playing a journalist. Rani Mukherji teams up with Karan Johar after almost 6 years and will be seen in his next directorial venture Bombay Talkies. Rani and Randeep Hooda play a married couple in the film. The official spokesperson of the film confirms,

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"Rani will be essaying the role of a journalist in the film. Rani was briefed on her character nuances by Karan Johar and, having played a journo earlier, she effortlessly got into her character" She is paired opposite Randeep Hooda in the film. The duo is sharing screen space for the first time. Bombay Talkies will release on May 3, 2013, marking the completion of 100 years of Indian Cinema.

the decider.What looked like a one-sided affair in favour of Advani turned out to be a cracker. The Englishman gathered enough momentum to tip the odds in his favour entering into the seventh frame but it was Advani who used his billiards prowess to make Murphy commit mistakes and concede points through fouls. Advani then hit the final nail in the coffin with a wellcrafted 36 break before Murphy surrendered the match at 64-15.The commentary team was all praise for Advani's display of world class snooker being a billiards expert. This is Advani's first profes-

sional season.Advani had defeated former world champion Peter Ebdon 4-3 to enter the draw of 32 in the Welsh Open.Earlier this season, he defeated some of the big names in the Pro circuit like Steve Davis, Jimmy White, Nigel Bond, Alan McManus, Michael Holt, Mark King, Ryan Day and John Higgins to stamp his authority on the professional snooker world.In the past, twotime Asian champion Yasin merchant had qualified for the Round of 32 in the Welsh Open during his stint on the professional circuit.

Pakistan A beat Afghanistan in unofficial T20 Lahore : Pakistan A defeated Afghanistan in the only unofficial Twenty20 cricket match by 49 runs here. Afghanistan, led by coach Nowroz Mangal, arrived in Pakistan last month for their training-tour, but could not perform well and lost all three of their unofficial limited-overs matches to the hosts' second tier side, reports Xinhua. Afghanistan won the toss and put Pakistan in to bat first on a placid track at the international Gaddafi Stadium.Two blistering innings by Pakistani openers Ahmad Shehzad and captain Shahid Afridi led the hosts to set a huge total of 189 for six in 20 overs.Afghanistan made a brisk start with 32 runs in first three overs but could not maintain their run rate. Opener Karim Sadiq and Asghar Stanikzai were the only batsmen to show some resistance as the visitors could only manage 140 for nine. Pakistan A clinched the two-match Oneday International (ODI) series against the visitors 2-0 Tuesday. Pakistan won the first ODI match by eight wickets and the second encounter by six wickets at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Fresh faces in Bollywood snatch endorsement deals from big stars Mumbai: Out with the old and in with the new. This seems to be the new rule in Bollywood’s endorsement market this year, with young stars being signed up in favour of seasoned actors, as faces of leading brands. While the past few years were undisputedly ruled by the Khans and top Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra, this year, actors such as Parineeti Chopra, Imran Khan, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Ranveer Singh are the brandwagon favourites. Parineeti, 24, who is only two films old, has four endorsements in her kitty — Kurkure, Nivea, Spinz and Maaza, and one more on the way. If earlier, Kurkure ads predominantly featured an older Juhi Chawla, now their ads show a much younger Parineeti and Kunal Kapoor. While 27year-old Ranveer Singh is all set to replace Hrithik Roshan as the face of clothing brand Provogue, Alia Bhatt, 19, who is one film old, is said to have replaced Priyanka Chopra as the face of beauty brand Garnier. Varun Dhawan, 25, who debuted with Student Of the Year last year, is being considered to adver-

tise Pepsi, and 47-yearold Salman Khan, too, has been replaced by Hrithik Roshan, 39, as the face Mountain Dew.actresses such as Maaza too, has roped in Imran Khan, apart from Parineeti. Experts say that this is the first time that one or two-film-old actors are grabbing such plum deals. They say that while brands are cashing in on their freshness, it also helps them save costs.While Priyanka Chopra charges between 4-5 crore per endorsement, Alia Bhatt comes in for less than half that price. “This is a golden period for newcomers such as Parineeti, Alia

and Varun, as their portfolio seems to have shifted in terms of brand value. Earlier, one would need seven films to sign their first ad deal, but now one movie is enough to create demand in the market,” says Manish Porwal of Alchemist Marketing Solutions. Filmmaker Kunal Kohli says, “Brand owners see a longterm investment and they know these young stars are here to stay, and their pay is proportionate to what they bring to the table in terms of their popularity.” new favourite, actor Parineeti says, “I think our country’s audience is getting younger and there should be young faces to endorse products.”


94th issue


94th issue