Page 1

HYDERABAD POST

ENGLISH FORTNIGHTLY HYDERABAD - A.P.

VOL NO. 1

ISSUE NO. 1

April 01, 2014

PAGES: 12

PRICE:20/-

Sonia Hits 'Runaway' AAP Hard

NEW DELHI: SIGNALLING open season on the Aam Aadmi Party at her firstever rally of the 2014 campaign in the Capital, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday took a dig at the rookie party for stepping down after only 49 days in power

in Delhi. "In front of you there are people who think running a government is child's play. You have seen this in Delhi recently. You saw how people with such thinking ran away from responsibility," Gandhi said while addressing a campaign rally for Congress

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari at the Civil Investiture Ceremony, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on March 31, 2014.

candidate Ajay Maken at Karol Bagh's historic Ajmal Khan Park. Sonia's attack opens the gates for a two-front Congress assault in the Capital, both for the seven Lok Sabha seats and fresh Assembly polls that are inevitable later. That Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ratings are slipping made the timing of the Congress president's attack just right. One recent opinion poll has said the Congress is regaining the voter base it lost to the Arvind Kejriwalled party in the December 2013 Assembly elections. The poll claimed a dip in AAP vote share from 55 per cent in January to 28 per cent late March, with the Congress support growing in inverse proportion. AAP was quick to respond, alleging a Congress-BJP partnership behind the fall of its Delhi government. "The AAP government did not continue in office since it did not have the numbers to get the Janlokpal bill passed and the Cabinet in its last meeting had recommended dissolution of the Assembly so that people could decide what kind of new government they want," a statement issued by the party said. Calling Gandhi's barbs desperate bid to deflect attention from growing public anger against the corruption of the Congress-led UPA government and its wrong policies, AAP challenged the Congress to recommend dissolution of Assembly and conduct fresh polls in Delhi. "In case Congress party is so confident of its mature skills of running governments then why does not it direct the Lieutenant Governor to recommend dissolution of the state Assembly and why is it afraid of facing the elections? It is for Gandhi's Congress party to tell the people of Delhi why it is hiding behind the shield of President's rule and denying the voters their right to elect a new government?" the statement said. SONIA OPENS FIRE ON AAP Sonia opening salvo against AAP gave way to the main attack on the BJP. Sonia, in her first rally in Delhi after the Lok Sabha elections were announced, tore into BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for not understanding the values of secularism and beating drums with fake claims of patriotism. She warned voters against parties which are misleading them in order to gain power. The crowd was estimated at 5,000 people. "There are people who are beating drums of patriotism. For BJP and others patriotism could just be a

lecture. But it is in our blood. Congress leaders have died for the country. But you tell me that those that who don't believe in secular values can grasp the spirit of patriotism? No, they can't. They are just misleading you to grab power for themselves," said Sonia. Claiming that India's 'Ganga-Jamuni' tehzeeb (tradition) is more important for her than coming to power, Sonia said that the coming elections are a fight of ideology. "This election is a fight over ideology. On one hand you have people who want to divide people and on the other you have Congress which stands for unity and keeping the society together. On one side you have a party that spreads extremism and pits one brother against another, and on the other hand you have which looks at everybody as one and wishes well to even its adversaries," she said. Attacking the BJP for stalling the passage of many Bills in the Parliament, she claimed that UPA has brought many laws for common people. Reaching out to Muslims, she highlighted that UPA has implemented many recommendations of Sachar Committee report. "If Sansad was not disrupted in the last five years then we would have passed many more Bills," she said while praising PM Manmohan Singh for his leadership in the last ten years. While warning people that if power comes to people with wrong intention then it can lead society to the path of darkness, she urged people to vote for Congress. Sonia said that she has full confidence on people's judgment. "Power is just a means of doing things. Those with good intentions do good work and those with bad intentions can do destruction," she said. Calling Gandhi's barbs desperate bid to deflect attention from growing public anger against the corruption of the Congress-led UPA government and its wrong policies, AAP challenged the Congress to recommend dissolution of Assembly and conduct fresh polls in Delhi. "In case Congress party is so confident of its mature skills of running governments then why does not it direct the Lieutenant Governor to recommend dissolution of the state Assembly and why is it afraid of facing the elections? It is for Gandhi's Congress party to tell the people of Delhi why it is hiding behind the shield of President's rule and denying the voters their right to elect a new government?" the statement said.


April 1, 2014

HYDERABAD POST,

FORTNIGHTLY, HYDERABAD

EDITORIAL An unequal contest Varanasi’s magnified importance this election season obviously stems from the presence in the fray of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate. In the event, the arrival of Arvind Kejriwal as Narendra Modi’s challenger has added plenty of drama and excitement to a contest increasingly projected as one between David and Goliath. In theory, and possibly in actuality too, Mr. Modi has all but won the election. Mr. Modi comes into the battle backed not just by the BJP, in itself a party of considerable means, but additionally by the formidable campaign machinery of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Mr. Kejriwal, on the other hand, is the proverbial little man with no resources bar his spunk and daring. In the Delhi Assembly election, too, the Aam Aadmi Party had made its financial bankruptcy its USP, deliberately placing itself as the underdog pitted in an unequal race with the Big Two, the Congress and the BJP. However, unlike at that time, today the AAP chief carries the baggage of having hurriedly dumped the first-ever government he formed in Delhi, thus betraying his pre-poll promise to usher in systemic reform. Indeed, the BJP’s narrative, bought into by a large enough section of voters, is that Mr. Kejriwal ran away from responsibility and therefore does not deserve a second chance. Curiously, the counter-view that Mr. Kejriwal sacrificed his chief ministership to uphold a principle, has takers as well, and this group appears to be made up largely of people on the margins — Muslims, sections of Dalits and the economically poor. What makes this election riveting is the seeming clash between the larger picture, which is of Mr. Modi winning the seat on the back of a phenomenal wave all across Uttar Pradesh, and the smaller, fragmented stories featuring underclass resistance. Mr. Kejriwal’s strategy is obviously to motivate the alienated sections into understanding the power of their numbers so as to consolidate themselves as a force against Mr. Modi. However, this is easier said than accomplished given the potential of other contestants to queer the pitch. Rival parties such as the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party will be loath to fielding weak candidates against Mr. Modi, lest that seem like handing him a walkover. The Muslim community may be divided by the likely candidature of a powerful local leader, Mukhtar Ansari of the Quami Ekta Dal. The Varanasi competition is also skewed in favour of Mr. Modi by the AAP’s logistical constraints in fighting a Lok Sabha election, which involves money, manpower and booth management skills. Mr. Modi’s biggest strength, of course, is the perception that he is the man of the moment, the leader on the cusp of power. Varanasi’s magnified importance this election season obviously stems from the presence in the fray of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate. In the event, the arrival of Arvind Kejriwal as Narendra Modi’s challenger has added plenty of drama and excitement to a contest increasingly projected as one between David and Goliath. In theory, and possibly in actuality too, Mr. Modi has all but won the election. Mr. Modi comes into the battle backed not just by the BJP, in itself a party of considerable means, but additionally by the formidable campaign machinery of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Mr. Kejriwal, on the other hand, is the proverbial little man with no resources bar his spunk and daring. In the Delhi Assembly election, too, the Aam Aadmi Party had made its financial bankruptcy its USP, deliberately placing itself as the underdog pitted in an unequal race with the Big Two, the Congress and the BJP. However, unlike at that time, today the AAP chief carries the baggage of having hurriedly dumped the first-ever government he formed in Delhi, thus betraying his pre-poll promise to usher in systemic reform. Indeed, the BJP’s narrative, bought into by a large enough section of voters, is that Mr. Kejriwal ran away from responsibility and therefore does not deserve a second chance. Curiously, the counter-view that Mr. Kejriwal sacrificed his chief ministership to uphold a principle, has takers as well, and this group appears to be made up largely of people on the margins — Muslims, sections of Dalits and the economically poor. What makes this election riveting is the seeming clash between the larger picture, which is of Mr. Modi winning the seat on the back of a phenomenal wave all across Uttar Pradesh, and the smaller, fragmented stories featuring underclass resistance. Mr. Kejriwal’s strategy is obviously to motivate the alienated sections into understanding the power of their numbers so as to consolidate themselves as a force against Mr. Modi. However, this is easier said than accomplished given the potential of other contestants to queer the pitch. Rival parties such as the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party will be loath to fielding weak candidates against Mr. Modi, lest that seem like handing him a walkover. The Muslim community may be divided by the likely candidature of a powerful local leader, Mukhtar Ansari of the Quami Ekta Dal. The Varanasi competition is also skewed in favour of Mr. Modi by the AAP’s logistical constraints in fighting a Lok Sabha election, which involves money, manpower and booth management skills.

Page No. 2

‘Turmeric can inhibit cancer causing cells’ Cancer and cardiovascular diseases researcher from Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Kutala Vijay Kumar is a vocal supporter of turmeric (haldi in Hindi) and its myriad health related applications. Recently, a study, funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), GOI, conducted by Dr. Vijay Kumar and his research team on turmeric and cancer cells was published in well known science journal PLOS One. In an interview to M. Sai Gopal, the researcher fields some questions on the link between turmeric and cancer. Why turmeric? The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin and since second millennium BC, it is widely used in Asian medicine, food and cosmetics. In fact, medicinal uses of turmeric are well documented in folk medicine, Ayurveda and traditional Chinese and oriental medicine. It’s a fact that curcumin is therapeutic and helps in treating respiratory conditions like asthma, liver disorders, anorexia, diabetic wounds etc. It is anti-septic, antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic and that’s why there is a lot of interest on turmeric. Is there any clear link between turmeric and cancer causing cells? Yes, there exists a clear link between cancer cells and turmeric. Research has proved that due to curcumin there is low incidence of colon cancer and neuro-degenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s in Asians. Research has proved that curcumin can inhibit cancer causing cells or genes. The challenge now lies in delivering the right amount of curcumin to the cancer cells. In our research, we have seen that curcumin can inhibit the triggering factors that cause cancer. Is high dose of turmeric toxic? The most compelling and key rationale for researchers to keep sticking to turmeric in research is because it is extremely safe. Till now, no studies on either humans or animals have proved or discovered that turmeric is harmful. Even large doses of curcumin are not toxic for the human body. That’s the reason for its widespread appeal. Can research in turmeric eventually lead to development of anti-cancer drugs? I personally feel it is possible. Pharma giants spend billions of dollars and take a minimum of one decade to develop a single molecule into an established drug. With turmeric, however, there is no need of huge spending. Turmeric is a naturally occurring compound and could potentially cut down time taken to do research and develop a drug. So what is stopping researchers to develop drugs based on turmeric? The challenge faced by researchers is to deliver the exact amount of curcumin to the cancer cells. There are several methods developed to target cancer cells. In our five years of research at NIMS, we have managed to develop a procedure wherein we can deliver maximum amounts of curcumin

to the cancer causing cells. This eventually causes suppression of cancer causing genes. The technology has the potential for treatment of various cancers. Cancer and cardiovascular diseases researcher from Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Kutala Vijay Kumar is a vocal supporter of turmeric (haldi in Hindi) and its myriad health related applications. Recently, a study, funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), GOI, conducted by Dr. Vijay Kumar and his research team on turmeric and cancer cells was published in well known science journal PLOS One. In an interview to M. Sai Gopal, the researcher fields some questions on the link between turmeric and cancer. Why turmeric? The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin and since second millennium BC, it is widely used in Asian medicine, food and cosmetics. In fact, medicinal uses of turmeric are well documented in folk medicine, Ayurveda and traditional Chinese and oriental medicine. It’s a fact that curcumin is therapeutic and helps in treating respiratory conditions like asthma, liver disorders, anorexia, diabetic wounds etc. It is anti-septic, anti-oxidant and anticarcinogenic and that’s why there is a lot of interest on turmeric. Is there any clear link between turmeric and cancer causing cells? Yes, there exists a clear link between cancer cells and turmeric. Research has proved that due to curcumin there is low incidence of colon cancer and neuro-degenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s in Asians. Research has proved that curcumin can inhibit cancer causing cells or genes. The challenge now lies in delivering the right amount of curcumin to the cancer cells. In our research, we have seen that curcumin can inhibit the triggering factors that cause cancer. Is high dose of turmeric toxic? The most compelling and key rationale for researchers to keep sticking to turmeric in research is because it is extremely safe. Till now, no studies on either humans or animals have proved or discovered that turmeric is harmful. Even large doses of curcumin are not toxic for the human body. That’s the reason for its widespread appeal. Can research in turmeric eventually lead to development of anti-cancer drugs? I personally feel it is possible. Pharma giants spend billions of dollars and take a minimum of one decade to develop a single molecule into an established drug. With turmeric, however, there is no need of huge spending. Turmeric is a naturally occurring compound and could potentially cut down time taken to do research and develop a drug. So what is stopping researchers to develop drugs based on turmeric? The challenge faced by researchers is to deliver the exact amount of curcumin to the cancer cells.


April 1, 2014

HYDERABAD POST,

FORTNIGHTLY, HYDERABAD

Page No. 3

The shifting sands of Muzaffarnagar Six months ago, a raging communal conflagration in and around Muzaffarnagar had destroyed the social fabric of the region, leading to a bitter polarisation of the hearts and minds, and shaking up patterns of political choices made in the long years of Hindus and Muslims living together. On a visit to these parts, it is evident that the passage of time has not lessened the anger and pain. Indeed, as the two communities relive the nightmare, scorn and hate gush forth, with both sides affirming that relationships have soured irreparably. And yet, today, there is a fluidity on the ground — in the first place because the local economy has collapsed without the participation of Muslims, and secondly because a new dynamic has come into play with the commencement of the general election. In the months after the violence, Muslims had disengaged from the Uttar Pradesh government and the Samajwadi Party (SP), feeling betrayed by their lack of empathy with the riotaffected. The offer of compensation had seemed like an insult, a token pay off for the mistreatment of the displaced families. Today, the bitterness has been put behind. Instead there is relief at having survived the ordeal, which the Muslim refugees attribute to the SP being in power. “Under a different regime, the police would have killed us all,” is a common refrain in the neighbourhoods where the oustees have relocated. On the Hindu side, too, there is some change, with the Jat reservation announced by the United Progressive Alliance causing an ever slight dent in the perceived consolidation behind Narendra Modi. Muslims justify the change in attitude by a simple differentiation between the “authority” and “sarkar.” The denial of justice is by the “authority” comprising the district police and the administration while “sarkar,” headed by Akhilesh Yadav and overseen by patriarch Mulayam Singh, is a friend rendered helpless by the wicked designs of the “authority.” Regret with a caveat In the aftermath of the riots, the Jat Hindus had rejoiced in the mass exodus of Muslims from their villages. Today, there is regret that they let this happen. However, the visitor’s surprise at the openly articulated remorse vanishes in no time. The repentance owes, not to a genuine change of heart, but to the opportunistic realisation that Muslims are needed to save the village economy from ruin, and in some cases, to buy freedom from pending criminal complaints. Muslims reject this offer totally, and insist that they prefer their hard life as riotrefugees to the fear and insecurity of returning to their vandalised ancestral homes. But home here is no more than a make-shift tent pitched on a piece of plot bought from the cash compensation awarded by the Uttar Pradesh government. The award of Rs. 5 lakh

each to the 950 Muslim families identified by the government is pitiful when compared to the wealth and property left behind. The plots are tiny, and the tents hardly fit even one person, let alone a large joint family. Yet, ownership of the plots has given the displaced Muslims a sense of belonging and security. It is a very different feeling from the dread, disorientation and loss they had experienced, when, simultaneously with the September 2013 violence, they had been shoved into relief camps in roughly the same areas as where they live now. The months that followed brought death and disease, and as winter set in, infants perished and the women barely survived. But worse was to come in the callously indifferent form of the State government. Muslims felt an organic connect with the SP. Party chief Mulayam Singh was Maulana Mulayam. But this time round, Mr. Singh and his Chief Minister son would behave as if the violence on the riot-affected was self-inflicted. There were no answers to why a government invested in Muslims would treat them so inhumanly. The unkindest cut was when an official team set upon the camps with bulldozers right in the middle of winter. In the event, shocked by the patron’s abandonment of them at their time of need and distress, the riot-affected lashed out at the government and swore to vote against it in the general election. Muslims bought into the narrative of the SP and the Bharatiya Janata Party being complicit in the violence to consolidate their respective vote banks. Change in mood However, today, there is a discernible mood change among the riotaffected. In the resettlement colonies of Shahpur, Basi Kalan, Kharad and Jawla, there is little evidence of the anti-SP emotion documented in the months after the violence. “Mulayam has done no wrong. It is all the fault of local officials,” say Shaukat and Nazeer, both originally from violence-affected Hasanpur but now inmates of the only official relief camp at Jwala. This camp has been entirely bypassed for compensation but there is hope nonetheless that “do-gooder Mulayam” will rectify the oversight. The sentiment is stronger among those who have received compensation. Enoos Mussa, a resident of Basi Kalan, a resettlement colony housing as many as 250 families from Qutba village, spares the government and instead blames their plight on Jat Hindus and their “police patrons.” The Jat-dominated Qutba reported eight Muslim deaths. There is a haunted feel to the Muslim parts of the village, with row upon row of burnt and destroyed homes collectively testifying to the September 2013 death and devastation. The Jats here seem contrite at having allowed the Muslim exodus. Suresh Pal a retired schoolteacher says, “What happened was very wrong.” Yet the reason for feeling so is

opportunistic: “Our economy is finished. Muslims did all our work, from masonry and carpentry to agriculture.” Eightyyear old Sukhbiri talks of a “ chhoti si darar ” (small divide) between Hindus and Muslims, which can be healed with the latter’s return. But even as she advocates reconciliation, her language is abusive towards Muslims. The Jat Hindus here are happy that the BJP ticket from Muzaffarnagar has gone to Sanjeev Baliyan, a prominent local figure accused of participation in the riots. “No one can beat the powerful combination of Narendra Modi and Dr. Baliyan.” Elsewhere in Muzaffarnagar too there is a “Modi, Modi” chant and open expression of delight at the candidature of Mr. Baliyan. But this support is less unequivocal in the Jat areas outside Muzaffarnagar, not the least because of the UPA government’s decision to implement reservation for Jats. And though the benefit from this looks likely to go to the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal rather than the Congress, Jat reservation has upset previous calculations for the reason that caste is considered a potential wrecker of religious consolidation. Unsurprisingly, the BJP has responded to the reservation googly with a strong infusion of Hindutva. In the three riot-affected constituencies of Muzaffarnagar, Kairana and Bijnor, the party has fielded men accused of involvement in the riots. A third churn in the region is among Dalits, a section of whom admit to attraction towards Mr. Modi though certain that in the end they will vote the Bahujan Samaj Party. In itself this is a new development, and a cause for worry for Ms Mayawati. In the past, Jats and Muslims often voted the same candidate. The trend briefly broke post-Ayodhya. The 2013 violence saw another political rupture. As Muzaffarnagar votes in this election, political positions seem less defined than six months ago, though undoubtedly it is the BJP in the lead.Six months ago, a raging communal conflagration in and around Muzaffarnagar had destroyed the social fabric of the region, leading to a bitter polarisation of the hearts and minds, and shaking up patterns of political choices made in the long years of Hindus and Muslims living together. On a visit to these parts, it is evident that the passage of time has not lessened the anger and pain. Indeed, as the two communities relive the nightmare, scorn and hate gush forth, with both sides affirming that relationships have soured irreparably. And yet, today, there is a fluidity on the ground — in the first place because the local economy has collapsed without the participation of Muslims, and secondly because a new dynamic has come into play with the commencement of the general election. In the months after the violence, Muslims had disengaged from the Uttar Pradesh government and the

Samajwadi Party (SP), feeling betrayed by their lack of empathy with the riotaffected. The offer of compensation had seemed like an insult, a token pay off for the mistreatment of the displaced families. Today, the bitterness has been put behind. Instead there is relief at having survived the ordeal, which the Muslim refugees attribute to the SP being in power. “Under a different regime, the police would have killed us all,” is a common refrain in the neighbourhoods where the oustees have relocated. On the Hindu side, too, there is some change, with the Jat reservation announced by the United Progressive Alliance causing an ever slight dent in the perceived consolidation behind Narendra Modi. Muslims justify the change in attitude by a simple differentiation between the “authority” and “sarkar.” The denial of justice is by the “authority” comprising the district police and the administration while “sarkar,” headed by Akhilesh Yadav and overseen by patriarch Mulayam Singh, is a friend rendered helpless by the wicked designs of the “authority.” Regret with a caveat In the aftermath of the riots, the Jat Hindus had rejoiced in the mass exodus of Muslims from their villages. Today, there is regret that they let this happen. However, the visitor’s surprise at the openly articulated remorse vanishes in no time. The repentance owes, not to a genuine change of heart, but to the opportunistic realisation that Muslims are needed to save the village economy from ruin, and in some cases, to buy freedom from pending criminal complaints. Muslims reject this offer totally, and insist that they prefer their hard life as riotrefugees to the fear and insecurity of returning to their vandalised ancestral homes. But home here is no more than a make-shift tent pitched on a piece of plot bought from the cash compensation awarded by the Uttar Pradesh government. The award of Rs. 5 lakh each to the 950 Muslim families identified by the government is pitiful when compared to the wealth and property left behind. The plots are tiny, and the tents hardly fit even one person, let alone a large joint family. Yet, ownership of the plots has given the displaced Muslims a sense of belonging and security. It is a very different feeling from the dread, disorientation and loss they had experienced, when, simultaneously with the September 2013 violence, they had been shoved into relief camps in roughly the same areas as where they live now. The months that followed brought death and disease, and as winter set in, infants perished and the women barely survived. But worse was to come in the callously indifferent form of the State government. Muslims felt an organic connect with the SP. Party chief Mulayam Singh was Maulana Mulayam.


April 1, 2014

HYDERABAD POST,

Serena’s Miami record Serena Williams snapped out of her early doldrums to roar to a record seventh Miami WTA title on Saturday with a 7-5, 6-1 win over China’s Li Na. In a battle of the world’s top two players, the US world No. 1 took her tally of WTA titles to 59 — including 17 Grand Slam triumphs. She added a second trophy in 2014 to the one she lifted in Brisbane in January and joined Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Chris Evert as the only women in the Open era to win the same title seven or more times. “I was actually super-excited at the end,” said Williams, who already owned the most WTA titles in the combined men’s and women’s event but had shared the overall record of six trophies with Andre Agassi. “Obviously I wanted to have the most titles here,” added Williams, who lives in Miami and first played the tournament as a 16-year-old. “I guess that I’ve grown up coming to this tournament as a kid, watching so many players, and to be one of those players now is really, really awesome for me,” she said. Williams’ ebullient celebration was a sharp contrast to her somnambulant start, during which Australian Open champion Li powered to a 5-2 lead with Williams surrendering a second service break with a double fault in the seventh game. The seriousness of her situation seemed to wake Williams up. She won the next five games to take the set, saving a set point in the 10th game and hanging on to break Li in a 12th game that went to deuce six times. Although she delivered only three aces in a match that lasted just under two hours, Williams’ serve did steadily improve as the match wore on, as did the power and precision of her returns. She seized a 5-1 lead in the second set with a fierce backhand winner on her fifth break point of the game and wrapped up the contest on her first match point. Although the match turned so dramatically, with Williams winning 11 of the last 12 games, Li had little to reproach herself for as she continued to battle even as Williams inexorably pulled away.

Hamilton storms to big win in Malaysian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton won the Malaysian Grand Prix with a pole-to-flag victory ahead of Nico Rosberg on Sunday in a first Mercedes one-two since it returned to Formula One as a works team in 2010. The 2008 Formula One world champion easily pulled away from his rivals on a dry track with a three-stop strategy to win the race by 17.3 seconds, his 23rd career victory and the first in Malaysia in eight attempts. “Really grateful, thank you so much,” the Briton told his team over the radio after taking the chequered flag for his second win for Mercedes since he joined it last year and first points of the season. Rosberg, who won the season opener in Australia two weeks ago, started in third place but slipped past quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel on the first corner and was able to keep the Red Bull at bay and stay on top of the driver’s standings. Vettel finished third, 7.2 seconds behind Rosberg, for his first points of the season following an early retirement in Australia as he struggled to make an impact on the Mercedes pair without the rain that helped his qualifying bid on Saturday. Alonso fourth again Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso secured his second fourth place finish of the season after coming out ahead in a tight battle with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg in the closing stages. McLaren’s Jenson Button was sixth with Felipe Massa of Williams seventh, just ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas after the Brazilian refused to yield to his Finnish teammate despite team orders to do so. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo missed out on points after a disastrous third pit stop when he was in fourth. The Australian pulled away before his front left wheel was fully attached with engineers sprinting down the pitlane to push him back and fix the issue. He was then given a 10-second penalty for the unsafe release but his chances of points were already over after he shredded a tyre and damaged a wing shortly before the stewards’ decision and he retired before the end. Ricciardo was also handed a 10-place grid penalty for next week’s Bahrain GP after the Formula One stewards ruled he had left the pits in an unsafe manner. The team has appealed the decision with a hearing due in Paris on April 14, after the Bahrain race.

FORTNIGHTLY, HYDERABAD

Page No. 4

Rajapaksa-led coalition retains key provinces The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, retained the country’s Western and Southern provinces after the provincial council elections held on Saturday. In the Western Province — covering Colombo, Gampaha and Kaluthara districts — the UPFA secured 53.35 per cent of the votes, cornering 56 seats, including two bonus seats that the party securing highest share of votes gets as per Sri Lanka’s Proportional representation system. The United National Party (UNP), the main Opposition led by the former Prime Minister, Ranil Wikramasinghe, received 26.59 per cent of the votes, securing 28 seats. Coming third in the race was former Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka’s

Democratic Party, which secured about 8 per cent of the votes, winning nine seats. In the Southern Province — including Galle, Matara and Hambantota districts that are considered the Sinhala heartland here — the UPFA secured 58.06 per cent of the votes, while the UNP got 25.77 per cent. The UNP’s performance also puts in focus questions about its future as Opposition, particularly in the context of the presidential elections here, which is scheduled for 2016. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) or the People’s Liberation Front, which recently saw a leadership change, received 9.05 per cent of the total voted polled in the Province. The Democratic Party received 6.27 per cent of the votes here, winning three seats. President Rajapaksa had, over the last few weeks, been

campaigning intensely for the provincial elections that were held a day after 23 countries voted in favour of the U.S.backed resolution calling for an international probe in Sri Lanka. Much of the campaign rhetoric adopted by the ruling coalition, as reported in the local media here, was pegged to Geneva, about the West’s alleged conspiracy for regime change. “Those who cannot tolerate the country’s growth after the eradication of terrorism are trying to take me to the electric chair,” President Rajapaksa had said on more than one occasion. At the moment, the UPFA rules eight of the nine provinces in Sri Lanka, with the exception of the Northern Province where elections were held for the first time in September. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

Tibetan Communist leader ‘Phunwang’ dead Phuntso Wangye, also known as ‘Phunwang’, a once influential former Tibetan Communist leader who later emerged as an unlikely — and outspoken — critic of Chinese rule in Tibet from within the establishment, died on Sunday. He was 92 The Dalai Lama said he was “deeply saddened” to learn of his passing. “He was a true Communist, genuinely motivated to fulfil the interests of the Tibetan people. In his death we have lost a trusted friend,” the he said in a statement. Phunwang, born in 1922 in what was then Kham in eastern Tibet — today’s Sichuan province — founded the Tibetan Communist Party. He later allied with Mao Zedong’s Communist Party of China (CPC) after the People’s Republic was founded in 1949 in the wake of the Chinese civil war. When the People’s Liberation Army occupied Tibet in 1951, Phunwang became a key interlocutor in talks that later produced the controversial 17 point agreement. He served as a translator for the Tibetan delegation in Beijing. He also interpreted for the Dalai Lama during his 1954 meetings with Mao and then Premier Zhou

Enlai. Despite his Communist leanings, Phunwang was later persecuted by Mao’s CPC and jailed for 18 years. He was released following the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) and rehabilitated in 1978. “He was well-versed in Marxist thought and much of what I know of that I learned from him,” the Dalai Lama said. “He was one of those Tibetans aware of the drawbacks of the prevailing social and political system in Tibet, who was inspired by Communism to bring about change”. The Dalai Lama recalled that he was surprised when Phunwang “chose to make prostrations” before the Tibetan spiritual leader during the 1954 talks. “He remained undaunted and even after his retirement continued to be concerned about the rights and welfare of the Tibetan people, something he raised with the Chinese leadership whenever he had the opportunity,” the Dalai Lama said. Phunwang, in his retirement years, became critical of the CPC’s policies in Tibet and even penned letters to former President Hu Jintao calling for a rethink in policies. His criticism intensified following the 2008 riots. Earlier

this month, it emerged that Phunwang had penned an autobiography in which he called on China to compromise with the Dalai Lama and to “allow the hundreds of thousands of exiled Tibetan compatriots headed by the Dalai Lama to return home, live and work in peace”. “Through his own example Phunwang showed that you could be a true Communist while at the same time proud of your Tibetan heritage”, the Dalai Lama said.

Easy for Odisha Odisha, finalist in all the three previous editions, started its campaign with a 5-0 victory over Karnataka in a Pool B match of the Hockey India-fourth junior men’s National championship at the Mayor Radhakrishnan stadium here on Sunday. Playing with four forwards, Odisha held the upper hand throughout and raided the opposite citadel at will. Sunil Ekka opened the account in the 10th minute with a neat strike off a penalty corner. Dipsan Tirkey made it 2-0 with a fine backhander off another penalty corner seven minutes later. Karnataka’s forwardline and the midfield weren’t up to the mark and the team could hardly make an impact.


April 1, 2014

HYDERABAD POST,

FORTNIGHTLY, HYDERABAD

Page No. 5

Transitions of the angry middle class A few years ago, the emerging markets and middleincome developing countries were considered to have a rosy future — the rising middle class was going to usher in an era of stability, democracy and mass consumer markets that would lead the world economy. The global middle class is growing, but the hoped-for smooth democratic transitions have not occurred. Instead, what we have seen are clashes between an increasingly angry middle class and governments that have broken faith or taken them for granted. Trajectory of confrontations Last year, two of the most promising emerging market nations — Brazil and Turkey — were rocked by massive urban protests. These put in doubt the future of political parties and leaders that had seemed unassailable. The decision by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff ’s Workers’ Party to spend lavishly on the World Cup and Olympics while raising bus fares and letting the exchange value of the Brazilian Real soar hit hard at the pockets of urban Brazilians. Ms. Rousseff had to back down and recast her policies. In Istanbul, the decision by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog?an to reshape the city with new construction, including the closing of Gezi Park, a deeply valued urban refuge, gave rise to protests; Mr. Erdog?an’s decision to respond with excessive force called into question his commitment to democracy, as did his dismissive disparaging of the protesters. Eventually, Mr. Erdog?an not only backed down, but found himself on the defensive, with his ministers and party under investigation for corruption. In Brazil and Turkey — both recently emerged from military rule but with an increasingly established pattern of democracy — the regimes avoided the use of deadly force and backed away from confrontation, seeking instead to respond to the protesters’ demands. Yet, in the last few months, other countries that have only started to move toward democracy more recently or more weakly have seen similar confrontations, and these have erupted into deadly confrontations, in at least one case (Ukraine) toppling the regime. What is responsible for the violent protests that have emerged nearly simultaneously

in the Ukraine, Bosnia, Thailand and Venezuela? As in Brazil and Turkey, what we are seeing is the real result of the emergence of a global middle class — not merely passive consumers or docile voters, they are demanding that governments not accustomed to accountability and showing deference to popular demands start acting like true democracies. Where the rulers of emerging democracies remain visibly corrupt, or treat crucial foreign and domestic policies simply as their personal choices to make, they are provoking waves of anger and mass protests. And where instead of backing down they persist in confrontation, they are reaping violence and losing control of their country. What economic indicators show From São Paulo to Caracas, from Sarajevo to Kiev, and from Istanbul to Bangkok, we are seeing a similar phenomenon. These are movements of the angry emerging middle class in countries at a crossroads. If we examine the background to recent events in the Ukraine, Bosnia, Thailand and Venezuela, we find that despite the geographic distances that separate them, these countries are remarkably similar. All four are middle-income countries. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the best off, oil-enriched Venezuela, ranks 73rd in per capita GDP (adjusted for the purchasing power parity of its currency). Thailand ranks 92nd, BosniaHerzegovina ranks 99th, and Ukraine is the poorest, ranking 106th. Thus, among the world’s 187 countries ranked by the IMF, they are almost exactly in the middle. They have just arrived at the point where the vast majority of the population is literate and expects the government to provide a sound economy, jobs and decent public services. Yet, they are not yet economically comfortable and secure. That security, and a better future for themselves and their children, depends very heavily on whether government leaders will work to provide greater opportunities and progress for the nation as a whole, or only to enrich and protect themselves and their cronies. In sum, all these countries are at a point where limiting corruption and increasing accountability are crucial to whether their country

will continue to catch up to the living standards of richer countries, or fall back to the standards of poorer ones. The short-term economic performance of these countries is not as important as where they stand in this transition, having escaped dire poverty but now just knocking on the door of modern western-style security and prosperity. In fact, the short-term performance of these countries is varied. According to the World Bank, in 2012, the economy of Ukraine grew by only 0.2 per cent, while that of BosniaHerzegovina declined by 0.7 per cent. In contrast, Thailand’s economy performed wonderfully, with GDP increasing by 6.5 per cent, and Venezuela also enjoyed strong growth of 5.6 per cent. Yet, short-term economic performance can be misleading. In 2010, just before Egypt erupted into turmoil, the nation’s economy had enjoyed 5.3 per cent GDP growth; in the first half of 2010, Syria’s economy boomed with a 6.0 per cent GDP gain. The problem is that these short-term, overall growth rates tell us nothing about how prosperity has been distributed, about the gap between economic growth and political exclusion, or the amount of economic growth that is stolen through corruption. It is these latter factors that feed anger that can erupt in protests. Import for India Given that people are protesting not out of sheer poverty, but against rulers they see as stealing their chances to move forward, it should be no surprise that these four countries are also rated as highly corrupt. According to the corruption index compiled by Transparency International (TI), Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela are among the most corrupt countries in the world: Thailand ranks 102nd, Ukraine 144th, and Venezuela at 160th in the level of perceived corruption. The 2012 TI scale rates Bosnia as somewhat more honest, at only 72nd in corruption; but in the last year, perceived corruption has risen sharply, as one of the main complaints of rioters in that country is that the Bosnian government’s privatisation of state assets in the last year was a spectacle of gross corruption. To be sure, the angry middle classes that are demanding change are not always

democrats, nor are they always supported by a majority of the population. In Thailand, the demonstrators in Bangkok are seeking to overturn a freely elected Prime Minister who clearly has support among a majority of Thais; the “yellowshirt” activists who have shut down the government are monarchists who want an appointed leader to take over instead. In Venezuela, the Bolivarian Revolution remains popular with those outside the urban middle classes who have benefitted from the regime’s largesse, fiscally ruinous though it may be. Even in the Ukraine, the protesters in Kiev overturned a government that had won electoral support from a majority of the country, though concentrated in the southeast portion of the country Yet, democracy in the sense of majority rule is not what people are seeking. The middle classes in the Ukraine, Bosnia, Thailand and Venezuela are demanding greater accountability, and are challenging regimes seen as corrupt, out of touch and which form obstacles to a better future. Perhaps, most important, is what these events portend for the world’s largest democracy — India. Just as in Turkey, Brazil, Thailand and the Ukraine, India is developing an urban middle class that aspires to a better life. Yet, just like these countries, India cannot yet provide that middle class the assurance of security and stability. Also, like these countries, the fruits of modernisation are being very unevenly distributed across the population, and this problem is made worse by rampant corruption. What the people of India want, just as the angry middle classes in these four countries do, is a government that is accountable, responsible, and effective in moving their country further into the modern world. Not only the coming election, but what follows this election, will determine whether India’s democracy remains peaceful. Much hope for change is riding on this election, but if whoever emerges as the victor does not deliver meaningful change, and puts India firmly back on the road to rapid economic growth with a more open and responsible government, then India’s middle classes will be angry as well. Today’s scenes from Caracas and Istanbul may then be

repeated in New Delhi before too long. A few years ago, the emerging markets and middleincome developing countries were considered to have a rosy future — the rising middle class was going to usher in an era of stability, democracy and mass consumer markets that would lead the world economy. The global middle class is growing, but the hoped-for smooth democratic transitions have not occurred. Instead, what we have seen are clashes between an increasingly angry middle class and governments that have broken faith or taken them for granted. Trajectory of confrontations Last year, two of the most promising emerging market nations — Brazil and Turkey — were rocked by massive urban protests. These put in doubt the future of political parties and leaders that had seemed unassailable. The decision by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers’ Party to spend lavishly on the World Cup and Olympics while raising bus fares and letting the exchange value of the Brazilian Real soar hit hard at the pockets of urban Brazilians. Ms. Rousseff had to back down and recast her policies. In Istanbul, the decision by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog?an to reshape the city with new construction, including the closing of Gezi Park, a deeply valued urban refuge, gave rise to protests; Mr. Erdog?an’s decision to respond with excessive force called into question his commitment to democracy, as did his dismissive disparaging of the protesters. Eventually, Mr. Erdog?an not only backed down, but found himself on the defensive, with his ministers and party under investigation for corruption. In Brazil and Turkey — both recently emerged from military rule but with an increasingly established pattern of democracy — the regimes avoided the use of deadly force and backed away from confrontation, seeking instead to respond to the protesters’ demands. Yet, in the last few months, other countries that have only started to move toward democracy more recently or more weakly have seen similar confrontations, and these have erupted into deadly confrontations, in at least one case (Ukraine) toppling the regime.


April 1, 2014

HYDERABAD POST,

FORTNIGHTLY, HYDERABAD

Page No. 6

polls by and Samsung and the Two Bears Civic large peaceful

It was only a year ago that Korean giant Samsung could do no wrong. The company was firing on all cylinders: great Android smartphones, creative and prolific marketing campaigns, and a supply chain that wouldn’t quit. The South Korean chaebol’s prowess was sending tremors all the way up to Mountain View. Murky future Today, however, clouds are gathering on the horizon. The company reported its first profit decline in two years this January. With its differentiation slowly disappearing, pressure on its margins increasing and its average selling price (ASP) dropping, Samsung appears to be on the path towards losing its ‘only Android smartphone maker to make money’ crown. In India, the story is same: various analysts estimate that a decent portion of the phones sold by Samsung are in the low-to-mid end. This, of course, implies that the high-end segment isn’t doing as well. So, what are the bear arguments that are disrupting Samsung’s bull run? The first argument is that Samsung is being squeezed both at the differentiated highend and the low-cost, low-end. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that in the last year, both Apple and the rabid, fermenting Chinese-Android OEM bunch have made great strides in the Indian smartphone market. Apple, for instance, has pulled all sorts of marketing rabbits out of its hat— buyback offers, EMI schemes, credit card cash-back— which have allowed it to take a bite into

Samsung’s high-end sales. (The incoming larger-screen iPhone will only add to Samsung’s woes.) At the lowend, companies such as Micromax and Karbonn are starving. The problem in tackling OEMs such as Micromax is that not only do you have to fight over margins down to a fraction of a rupee, but it’s almost impossible to keep up with their go-to-market strategy. When Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma talks about how they can push out a phone—from the ideation stage to manufacturing—in less than 70 days , you know the raceto-the-bottom has begun. Chinese OEMs can exploit the smallest of demand windows, without worrying over product rotation and over-inventory the way Samsung must. The second bear argument is the technology bear. This scenario points out that it isn’t just an issue of Chinese scale, supply chain and margin, but that the smartphone bubble is close to popping. What this means, quite simply, is that it is becoming harder and harder to make a poor-quality smartphone. Advances in technology have made it such that a consumer can now be satisfied with a Rs. 15,000 phone—when earlier he or she would have been satisfied only with a Rs. 30,000 phone. The lines between quality and price category are blurring: a Rs. 18,000 Nokia Lumia 720 or a Rs. 23,000 Moto X is now good enough for a customer who might have earlier purchased a flagship Samsung smartphone. Both these bears have had

significant consequences for Samsung, who, when you think about it, doesn’t have a brand differentiation of the likes of Apple. On a global scale, Samsung’s average selling price dropped by $30 last year, and its share of the premium market slipped from 40 per cent to 21 per cent. When smartphone companies can appear out of nowhere, with “good enough” Android smartphones, what does it mean for Samsung—whose build quality and software aren’t too different from Lenovo or any other Android competitor? The Indian Android smartphone market—where one can no longer distinguish the high-end from the medium-end—is very much like the FMCG market. It’s no coincidence that Samsung India’s head Vineet Taneja can trace his roots back to Hindustan Unilever. Unilever is the king of consumer packaged goods, and plays in a market where brand-building helps to sell a relatively undifferentiated good at a premium. Sounds familiar? The conditions in the domestic smartphone market are such that selling an Android smartphone isn’t radically different from selling a bar soap or a toothpaste. The problem in adding a little bit of extra differentiation, which is what Samsung tries to do, is that Apple has captured most of the consumer base that is willing to pay a lot more for a little more differentiation. The number of people who prefer Android and Samsung will only drop as the quality distance between a Samsung Galaxy S4 and a Rs. 20,000 Motorola or Micromax phone decreases.

Barring sporadic incidents of clashes between the activists of political parties, polling to the urban local bodies across the State was by and large peaceful on Sunday. An average of over 75 per cent polling was recorded in most of the civic bodies. The polling percentage has improved considerably this time as it was only 64.41 in 2000 and 69.12 in 2005. Some polling stations recorded over 80 per cent voting. Missing of names in the voter lists was reported in many municipal bodies. Malfunctioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs) was also reported from several polling booths. Polling commenced briskly in the morning as voters preferred the time convenient to cast their franchise before the temperatures went up in the day. Voters went to the polling stations again in the evening forcing the polling officials to extend the time from 5 pm till 7 pm so that all those who turned up could caste their votes. Voters suffering sun-stroke was also reported from different places. In all, the polling was held in 10 municipal corporations and 146 municipalities/ nagar panchayats in 22 districts. Speaking to newspersons State Election Commissioner P. Ramakanth Reddy said re-polling could be necessary in very few polling stations including two each in Nalgonda and Nandigama and one each at Tadipatri and Madanapalle. However, the exact number would be known only after getting reports from the presiding officers.

‘Indian operations have brought to us an amazing market positioning’ Commercial vehicle (CV) industry is the lifeline of the economy. It does more than just moving freight. It carries the responsibility of moving people and passengers safely and efficiently. $2.7billion Wabco, which has its headquarters in Belgium and corporate office in the U.S., is a global technology leader and supplier of safety and control systems to CVs. Post-acquisition of majority ownership in its Indian joint venture with TVS Group in 2009, Wabco has significantly expanded Indian operations, and made India a key global design and manufacturing hub. Its global Chairman and CEO, Jacques Esculier , who was recently in India, spoke to The Hindu about Wabco India and its contribution, growing interest in ABS (anti-lock braking system) and AMT (automated manual transmission) in the country, among others. How has been the journey post-restructuring of your Indian arm? Wabco India has brought to us an amazing market positioning in this very important part of the world. Though market conditions were disturbing, we didn’t stop at all to increase our investments here. If you look at the investment curve in every dimension whether it is people, capacity or capex, it has been growing

significantly. We have doubled the number of engineers in India since 2009. The capex, which was then $2 million, was over $10 million last year. We added two new factories to take the total number of manufacturing locations to five. Despite weak market conditions, we added 100 leaders for various positions last year. Out of the 11,000 global workforce, 3,000 are in India. In terms of top talent, two people in the leadership team of Wabco global are from India. In every aspect, we continued to invest, and we will continue to do so. TVS group is a pioneer in the automotive sector and one of the respected groups for manufacturing standards. Was there any learning for Wabco from its JV with TVS? Actually, we learnt a lot from Indian operations, which had revenues of Rs.966 crore in 2012-13. I have a lot of respect and admiration for the TVS group. Wabco taking over the JV (then Sundaram Clayton) was one of the important steps based on an established business relationship. As we were taking over the helm of this company, we have worked hard at preserving the culture of company — focus on continuous improvement — and that was the key achievement. TVS has very strong

knowledge and success in the world of TQM (total quality management). It is not by chance they received so many prestigious awards. So, the major differentiator for me was the culture that came from the TVS group. The passion of people in doing what it takes to satisfy the customers and drive the company on the right path. I really didn’t want to lose that and we have worked hard and even quite succeeded in marrying the culture of an American company while preserving the unique culture here even though we realised that there is enormous amount of intersection in those cultures. Could you elaborate on the India sourcing strategy? We gather that your India sourcing has grown 10 times in the last five years. It is true. The value of parts sourcing from India grew from Rs.20 crore in 2008-09 to about Rs 200 crore in 2012-13. By the end of this fiscal, we would have almost doubled it when compared to previous year. However, capabilities and standards of manufacturing in our facilities and suppliers are still evolving. We are continuously bringing the standards up in Indian sourcing business to the global level, as we keep adding technologies and products to the Indian operations. For example, we export air compressors

out of Chennai and almost every market worldwide uses India-built compressors in CVs. We supply parts to BMW in Europe from here. We are going to add air suspensions in that basket. Also, for brake chambers, we are globalising the manufacturing,and Chennai is a major centre of differentiation for us. Of course, cost is an attractive part in our India sourcing strategy. But it is not cost in terms of dollars, it is the value you get and that is what is very attractive. How has Wabco group been leveraging engineering and manufacturing capabilities of its Indian arm? We have leveraged significantly to make India as a major hub of Wabco. We have a threepronged approach. Firstly, we decided to leverage the power of their ability to manufacture. We have expanded manufacturing capabilities here continuously since we took over. A unit at Mahindra City near Chennai facility was established primarily for exports. Wabco India is now producing significant volumes of parts and systems for overseas markets. Secondly, we leveraged the very powerful network of its supplier base. Indian arm has developed its suppliers to feed various factories of Wabco in other parts of the world.


April 1, 2014

HYDERABAD POST,

FORTNIGHTLY, HYDERABAD

RBI may opt for status quo on interest rate For many reasons, the Reserve Bank of India’s forthcoming bi-monthly policy statement for 2014-15 will be unique. The idea to have a policy statement once in two months was mooted by the Urjit Patel Committee. The RBI is signalling acceptance of some of the recommendations, which do not involve discussion with the government. However, the core recommendations of the Committee’s report involving inflation targeting and shifting the monetary policy’s anchor to CPI (retail ) inflation, instead of WPI, will be implemented only after a consensus is reached. It is most likely that the RBI will spell out its approach to this important report but no major decisions can be expected. As of now, inflation targeting is not easily understood in the Indian context. The RBI Governor has said that it will be flexible, which suggests that even when it is adopted formally, the central bank will have some leeway to adjust the target rate and or timeframe. Two important issues confront the RBI. In the run-up to the elections — with the model code in force — how far could it go in deciding policy issues? Even on new bank licences, a subject that has taken a long time and is in the final stages, the RBI is not expected to announce the first few licensees. Although it is not clear that even continuing policy initiatives should be halted temporarily until after the new government is formed, the RBI might play it safe. The RBI Governor has said that the Election Commission will be consulted. A suggestion has been made before whether the monetary policy itself could be deferred after the Union Budget for 2014-15 is presented by the new government in June 2014. This would be on the pattern of government withholding policy measures. For the past so many years, however, elections have not inhibited monetary policy. There is no reason to think that it will be different this time. But it is a safe bet that no “big-bang” announcements will be made. The second dilemma is specific to monetary policy. Both WPI and CPI inflation have come down. CPI inflation is down by 300 basis points over the past three months. Without formally adopting it as the policy anchor,

the RBI has shown its preference. However, no change in interest rate stance is expected. A sharp fall in food prices has driven down inflation. That could be a temporary phenomenon; the possibility of food prices reversing is real. In important vegetable producing states such as Maharashtra, unseasonal rains and hailstorm have damaged crops. This will impact on inflation numbers. Yet with CPI inflation very close to the RBI’s March 2015 target of 8 per cent, the RBI will most probably talk of increased upside risks to justify its holding of rates in the forthcoming policy statement. The other alternative of revising the 2015 target might not be practicable. As it is, the March 2016 target of 6 per cent (as per the Patel Committee report) looks daunting. As has been the case with every policy statement, the RBI’s views on the macro-economy will be keenly watched. The union budget postulated a GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate of 5.5 per cent for 2014-15. In the recent past, even the normally conservative RBI had to lower its growth estimates. There are any number of uncertainties on the macro-economic front. After a record run of favourable monsoons, the El Nino effect can impinge on monsoons, and, hence, output. Administered prices will have to be revised upwards. External account parameters might be much stronger than they were a year ago, but extreme vigilance is still called for. Monetary policy’s traditional dilemma of growth versus inflation can never be wished away. In line with its recent thinking, CPI inflation will be in focus. The CPI index gives more weight to food and it is on this that inflation expectations are based. The forthcoming policy will be the last before general elections, which commence a few days after the RBI policy. The fiscal stance of the next government will obviously matter in policy formulation. All these suggest a neutral policy announcement on Tuesday— a status quo on the interest rates. As always, broad macro-economic trends will be discussed. For many reasons, the Reserve Bank of India’s forthcoming bi-monthly policy statement for 2014-15 will be

unique. The idea to have a policy statement once in two months was mooted by the Urjit Patel Committee. The RBI is signalling acceptance of some of the recommendations, which do not involve discussion with the government. However, the core recommendations of the Committee’s report involving inflation targeting and shifting the monetary policy’s anchor to CPI (retail ) inflation, instead of WPI, will be implemented only after a consensus is reached. It is most likely that the RBI will spell out its approach to this important report but no major decisions can be expected. As of now, inflation targeting is not easily understood in the Indian context. The RBI Governor has said that it will be flexible, which suggests that even when it is adopted formally, the central bank will have some leeway to adjust the target rate and or timeframe. Two important issues confront the RBI. In the run-up to the elections — with the model code in force — how far could it go in deciding policy issues? Even on new bank licences, a subject that has taken a long time and is in the final stages, the RBI is not expected to announce the first few licensees. Although it is not clear that even continuing policy initiatives should be halted temporarily until after the new government is formed, the RBI might play it safe. The RBI Governor has said that the Election Commission will be consulted. A suggestion has been made before whether the monetary policy itself could be deferred after the Union Budget for 2014-15 is presented by the new government in June 2014. This would be on the pattern of government withholding policy measures. For the past so many years, however, elections have not inhibited monetary policy. There is no reason to think that it will be different this time. But it is a safe bet that no “big-bang” announcements will be made. The second dilemma is specific to monetary policy. Both WPI and CPI inflation have come down. CPI inflation is down by 300 basis points over the past three months. Without formally adopting it as the policy anchor, the RBI has shown its preference. However, no change in interest rate stance is expected.

Page No. 7

Yuvraj, Ashwin script India’s thumping win

This game had been rendered academic half an hour before it had begun and while there was still competition, it felt as if all the tension had been sucked out of the Sher-e-Bangla stadium. It made little difference to India’s marks-card at the ICC World T20 as it sailed past Australia to earn a fourth straight ‘A’. Yuvraj Singh put his troubles behind him, making a 37-ballfifty, while R. Ashwin was the outstanding bowler again with four for 11 as India won its final Group 2 game by 73 runs. The team’s out cricket also saw a marked improvement, with as many as six high catches held in the field and none shelled. In pursuit of a not-unreasonable 160, Australia crumbled to a pitiful 86 all out for a third defeat in three. The burden of chasing semifinal places had been lifted, but it far from aided performance. Aaron Finch and Cameron White — in the team for James Faulkner — were dismissed early trying to hit the ball over the top. Mohit Sharma, making his international T20 debut here, then bowled Shane Watson as Australia stuttered to 27 for three in the Power Play overs. The strength of Australia’s reply hinged on one man — Glenn Maxwell. India had evidently practised its catching, but the way Maxwell began, even a fielder on top of the dugout would have been inadequate. Successive sixes were clobbered off Suresh Raina, and a third off Ravindra Jadeja. David Warner had been dismissed at the other end, but the fear of a Maxwell assault remained. But in the end, the batsman caused his own demise on 23, bowled by Ashwin attempting a ludicrous standing reverse-sweep. Australia’s end came tamely thereafter, the next five wickets tumbling for 31 runs. Earlier, for the first time in this tournament, M.S. Dhoni lost the toss and India was inserted in to bat. Shikhar Dhawan was left out after his dire run and replaced by Ajinkya Rahane, while Mohit took Mohammad Shami’s place. Rohit Sharma lasted only four balls, his swish off Brad Hodge caught at short third man. Virat Kohli already seemed warmed up, for he hit Maxwell over deep mid-wicket not a minute after he had walked in. But Kohli’s extraordinary streak with the bat — scores of 74, 36, 54 and 57 in his last four games — was to end. He stepped out to leg-spinner James Muirhead and picked out White at long off. Raina and Rahane vanished without great impact to leave the side four down for 66. If India’s middle and lower order had been demanding time at the wicket, here was a bucketful of it. At the other end, Yuvraj had watched two of his colleagues depart while enduring struggles of his own. He had been unable to put Maxwell and Bollinger away, limping atypically to 13 off his first 20 balls. Dhoni’s arrival must have helped him; the captain and he frequently exchanged words between deliveries, both eager to see the glint return to his batting. Soon enough, a fluency surfaced; it helped, of course, that Muirhead sent down two gracious short deliveries. Yuvraj clubbed both of them savagely, the ball disappearing in tall arcs over the leg side. That was followed by another delicious six over extra cover, against the pace of Mitchell Starc no less. He reached his fifty with a fourth six, doing justice to a full toss from Watson. His partnership with Dhoni — which had raised 84 runs in seven overs — was snapped when the skipper was bowled for 24. Yuvraj was dismissed for 60 as India made 159. Australia may have fancied its chances, but there would be no end to its wretched run in this tournament.


April 1, 2014

HYDERABAD POST,

FORTNIGHTLY, HYDERABAD

Page No. 8

A diversified Muslim identity The electoral behaviour of India’s Muslims is often presented as one of the most inscrutable aspects of Indian politics. We are told that India’s Muslims form a closed, homogeneous social group. As rational political agents, they are fully aware of their legalconstitutional status as a religious minority and they always evaluate the ideologies of political parties and the statements and acts of political players. Eventually, they make certain strategic political choices. This interesting formulation leads us to two obvious conclusions: (a) Muslims of India constitute a political community, and therefore, (b) there is a clear markettype political relationship between Muslims and various political parties which revolves around a much talked about phenomenon — the “Muslim vote bank.” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh’s so-called apology to Muslims, the Congress’ election hoarding depicting a skullcapwearing Muslim face with Rahul Gandhi, along with a slogan “ Main nahi, hum ,” and Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan’s “issue based support” to the Narendra Modi-led BJP can be seen as relevant examples in this regard. This dominant portrayal of Muslim political responses needs to be evaluated more critically. We may ask three fundamental questions: Do Muslims vote only on the basis of religion? Do Muslims vote strategically at an all-India level? Does the Muslim caste structure affect Muslim political behaviour? These questions might help us in deconstructing the established image of Muslim electoral politics. Only on the basis of religion? It is important to note that although Islam as a religion provides a unifying religious identity to various Indian Muslim communities, Muslims tend to follow various sect-based interpretations of religious texts and region-based rituals and customs. It is this religious-cultural distinctiveness which makes Indian Islam a highly diversified phenomenon. The question of politics, especially electoral politics, is inextricably linked to this unique Muslim diversity. This has been the reason why the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)-Lokniti’s National Election Studies (NES) does not ask this question directly. Instead, the question is reformulated as: “While voting, do you give more importance to the party, to the candidate, to your caste community or to something else?” In the 1999 Lok Sabha election, most of the Muslim respondents (around 52 per cent) said that they gave more importance to parties while voting in elections. In contrast, only eight per cent of Muslim respondents said that they found caste and community considerations to be important. This response is not at all a deviation from the general attitude of the voters. A majority of Hindu respondents (55 per cent) also said that they gave

importance to the party in elections in comparison to caste and community affiliation (around seven per cent). This trend continued to dominate the preference of Muslim electorates in 2004 and 2009 respectively (though in 2009, the question was asked only in relation to candidate and party). Broadly speaking, all this evidence suggests that caste and community affiliations remained a relatively less important concern for Muslims in the last three Lok Sabha elections. However, this inference should not be overgeneralised. It is possible that the consideration of “community” might be employed by a respondent to assess a candidate or a political party at the constituency level. In addition, the meanings of the term community can also be interpreted in various ways. Despite these possible limitations, one can certainly suggest that Muslim voting preferences are not entirely different from those of Hindus. As a result, political parties emerge as the most preferred and acceptable factor in voting. This takes us to our second question, which is related to the idea of strategic voting by Muslims. Do Muslims vote strategically? NES data suggests that the Congress is the first choice for Muslims at the all-India level, followed by the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Left parties and the BJP. This trend is quite consistent. This national picture needs to be seen in relation to State-specific data. The BJP, which turns out to be the third choice for Muslim voters at the allIndia level, gets a very different response in States. For the sake of clarity, we may compare the BJP’s performance in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. In the 2004 election in U.P., 2.50 per cent voted for the BJP. This rose to 5 per cent in 2009. On the contrary, the BJP’s performance in Gujarat is very different. In 2004, 18.60 per cent voted for the BJP; this went down to 12.40 per cent in 2009. In Gujarat, we found a very clear polarisation of Muslim votes between the Congress and the BJP. U.P., therefore, has virtually failed to get Muslim support in the last three general elections. In fact, the party could not maintain its national average in the State. This inference need not to be exaggerated. The performance of political parties in a State depends on State-specific political configurations. The availability of viable political alternatives determines the voting behaviour of electorates. Politics in U.P. is dominated by a number of strong political players, who associate themselves with various caste-religious communities in the State. On the other hand, politics in Gujarat is quite polarised where regional parties have not yet carved out a space for themselves. In this sense, the constituency-level configuration of party and candidate plays a more significant role for the Muslim electorate in Gujarat. Thus, Muslim voting to any particular party in

States is not an outcome of any national strategy; rather, the voting preferences of Muslims, it seems, are constituted at the grassroots level. Does caste affect voting? The Muslim caste is not taken as a “serious political factor” by political observers. In fact, the increasing role of Pasmanda Muslim politics, which has been quite active in mobilising various marginalised Muslim communities, especially in U.P. and Bihar, has not been given adequate attention. NES has tried to look at the impact of Muslim caste in electoral politics. The difference between the voting behaviour of Muslim Other Backward Classes (OBC) and other Muslims is not very significant; yet, the plurality of Muslim political attitude is quite apparent. We also find that Muslim caste groups change their political preferences quite considerably. For instance, in 1999, other Muslims (read as non-OBCs, or Ashrafs) overwhelmingly voted for the Congress (45 per cent) in comparison to Muslim OBCs. But, in 2004 and 2009, this equation changed almost completely and the Congress managed to win over the Muslim OBC support. The case of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is more revealing. As a political party, it is officially committed to the political ideology of Bahujan that seeks to fight against caste-based discrimination. The party, however, does not evince any interest in the Muslim caste question. Yet, data suggests that Muslim OBCs (which includes Dalit Muslims as well) are more inclined toward the BSP in comparison to other Muslims. Muslim caste-based voting patterns, we must note, becomes more complicated at the State level. The case of Bihar is very relevant, where the Janata Dal (United) has offered a space to Pasmanda political groups in order to consolidate itself among marginalised Muslims. This trend is quite relevant because a number of Pasmanda Muslim organisations have already passed the resolution (“Political Agenda of Pasmanda Muslims in Lok Sabha Elections, 2014”) seeking direct political support for caste-based Muslim reservation and other demands. This discussion offers us a rather complex picture. Muslim communities, like any other social group, participate in electoral politics and follow established norms and patterns. Yet, the distinctiveness of Muslim identities is always asserted in political terms. This is the reason why anti-Muslim violence (Gujarat 2002, Assam and, more recently, the Muzaffarnagar riots) emerges as a serious political issue for Muslim electorates, at least in the region-specific sense. And, at the same time, the inclusion of Muslims Dalits in the list of Scheduled Castes, reformulation of OBCs to accommodate more Muslim castes, and economic safeguards for Muslims artisans and small businesses have become equally powerful Muslim concerns. Interestingly, political analysts

as well as political parties still evoke the old idioms of secularism-communalism to deal with this discursively constituted and highly diversified Muslim political identity. This kind of political-intellectual apathy cannot help us in appreciating the fluctuating patterns of Muslim electoral behaviour. There is a need to give up the “top to bottom approach.” Instead, we have to pay close attention to Muslim engagements at the local and regional levels to make sense of the role of “Muslim votes” in the 2014 election. The electoral behaviour of India’s Muslims is often presented as one of the most inscrutable aspects of Indian politics. We are told that India’s Muslims form a closed, homogeneous social group. As rational political agents, they are fully aware of their legal-constitutional status as a religious minority and they always evaluate the ideologies of political parties and the statements and acts of political players. Eventually, they make certain strategic political choices. This interesting formulation leads us to two obvious conclusions: (a) Muslims of India constitute a political community, and therefore, (b) there is a clear markettype political relationship between Muslims and various political parties which revolves around a much talked about phenomenon — the “Muslim vote bank.” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh’s so-called apology to Muslims, the Congress’ election hoarding depicting a skullcapwearing Muslim face with Rahul Gandhi, along with a slogan “ Main nahi, hum ,” and Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan’s “issue based support” to the Narendra Modi-led BJP can be seen as relevant examples in this regard. This dominant portrayal of Muslim political responses needs to be evaluated more critically. We may ask three fundamental questions: Do Muslims vote only on the basis of religion? Do Muslims vote strategically at an all-India level? Does the Muslim caste structure affect Muslim political behaviour? These questions might help us in deconstructing the established image of Muslim electoral politics. Only on the basis of religion? It is important to note that although Islam as a religion provides a unifying religious identity to various Indian Muslim communities, Muslims tend to follow various sect-based interpretations of religious texts and region-based rituals and customs. It is this religious-cultural distinctiveness which makes Indian Islam a highly diversified phenomenon. The question of politics, especially electoral politics, is inextricably linked to this unique Muslim diversity. This has been the reason why the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)-Lokniti’s National Election Studies (NES) does not ask this question directly. Instead, the question is reformulated as: “While voting, do you give more importance to the party, to the candidate.


April 1, 2014

HYDERABAD POST,

FORTNIGHTLY, HYDERABAD

Page No. 9

An elusive detector for an elusive particle Hope rallies can be risky

In the late 1990s, a group of Indian physicists pitched the idea of building a neutrino observatory in the country. The product of that vision is the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) slated to come up near Theni district in Tamil Nadu, by 2020. According to the 12th Five Year Plan report released in October 2011, it will be built at a cost of Rs.1,323.77 crore, borne by the Departments of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Science & Technology (DST). By 2012, these government agencies, with the help of 26 participating institutions, were able to obtain environmental clearance, and approvals from the Planning Commission and the Atomic Energy Commission. Any substantial flow of capital will happen only with Cabinet approval, which has still not been given after more than a year. If this delay persists, the Indian scientific community will face greater difficulty in securing future projects involving foreign collaborators because we can’t deliver on time. Worse still, bright Indian minds that have ideas to test will prioritise foreign research labs over local facilities. ‘Big science’ is international This month, the delay acquired greater urgency. On March 24, the Institute of High Energy Physics, Beijing, announced that it was starting construction on China’s second major neutrino research laboratory — the Jiangmen Underground Neutrino Observatory (JUNO), to be completed at a cost of $350 million (Rs. 2,100 crore) by 2020. Apart from the dates of completion, what Indian physicists find more troubling is that, once ready, both INO and JUNO will pursue a common goal in fundamental physics. Should China face fewer roadblocks than India does, our neighbour could even beat us to some seminal discovery. This is not a jingoistic concern for a number of reasons. All “big science” conducted today is international in nature. The world’s largest scientific experiments involve participants from scores of institutions around the world and hundreds of scientists and engineers. In this paradigm, it is important for countries to demonstrate to potential investors that they’re capable of delivering good results on time and sustainably. The same paradigm also allows investing institutions to choose whom to support. India is a country with prior experience in experimental neutrino physics. Neutrinos are extremely elusive fundamental particles whose many unmeasured properties hold clues about why the universe is the way it is. In the 1960s, a neutrino observatory located at the Kolar Gold Fields in Karnataka became one of the world’s first experiments to observe neutrinos in the Earth’s atmosphere, produced as a by-product of cosmic rays colliding with its upper strata. However, the laboratory was shut in the 1990s because the mines were being closed. However, Japanese physicist Masatoshi

Koshiba and collaborators built on this observation with a larger neutrino detector in Japan, and went on to make a discovery that (jointly) won him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002. If Indian physicists had been able to keep the Kolar mines open, by now we could have been on par with Japan, which hosts the world-renowned SuperKamiokande neutrino observatory involving more than 900 engineers. Importance of time, credibility In 1998, physicists from the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), Chennai, were examining a mathematical parameter of neutrinos called theta-13. As far as we know, neutrinos come in three types, and spontaneously switch from one type to another (Koshiba’s discovery). The frequency with which they engage in this process is influenced by their masses and sources, and theta13 is an angle that determines the nature of this connection. The IMSc team calculated that it could at most measure 12°. In 2012, the Daya Bay neutrino experiment in China found that it was 8-9°, reaffirming the IMSc results and drawing attention from physicists because the value is particularly high. In fact, INO will leverage this “largeness” to investigate the masses of the three types of neutrinos relative to each other. So, while the Indian scientific community is ready to work with an indigenously designed detector, the delay of a go-ahead from the Cabinet becomes demoralising because we automatically lose time and access to resources from potential investors. “This is why we’re calling it an India-based observatory, not an Indian observatory, because we seek foreign collaborators in terms of

investment and expertise,” says G. Rajasekaran, former joint director of IMSc, who is involved in the INO project. On the other hand, China appears to have been both prescient and focussed on its goals. It purchased companies manufacturing the necessary components in the last five years, developed the detector technology in the last 24 months, and was confident enough to announce completion in barely six years. Thanks to its Daya Bay experiment holding it in good stead, JUNO is poised to be an international collaboration, too. Institutions from France, Germany, Italy, the U.S. and Russia have evinced interest in it. Beyond money, there is also a question of credibility. Once Cabinet approval for INO comes through, it is estimated that digging the vast underground cavern to contain the principal neutrino detector will take five years, and the assembly of components, another year more. We ought to start now to be ready in 2020. Because neutrinos are such elusive particles, any experiments on them will yield correspondingly “unsure” results that will necessitate corroboration by other experiments. In this context, JUNO and INO could complement each other. Similarly, if INO is delayed, JUNO is going to look for confirmation from experiments in Japan, South Korea and the U.S. It is notable that the INO laboratory’s design permits it to also host a dark-matter decay experiment, in essence accommodating areas of research that are demanding great attention today. But if what can only be called an undue delay on the government’s part continues, we will again miss the bus.

The bulls are back in action after a prolonged spell of hibernation. The last couple of weeks have seen a serious return of enthusiasm in the markets. The indices have been scaling new highs everyday, and the enthusiasm has also rubbed off on the rupee, which is now trading at its highest levels in eight months. The feel-good factor seems to have returned almost overnight. While it is nice to see some optimism finally, it is important that we understand what’s driving this and if it’s sustainable. Foreign institutional investors (FII) are the motive force behind the current rally. They have pumped in over $2 billion this month alone, and if their words and deeds are anything to go by, they appear set to take the party to the next level. Goldman Sachs, for example, upgraded India to ‘overweight’ from ‘market weight’ a few days ago. Whatever happened to all that talk of how the Federal Reserve’s tapering will drain cash out of emerging markets? The answer that analysts proffer is that the FIIs are enthused by the prospect of a stable and favourable government (read, NDA) coming to power at the Centre post-elections. It does appear that the FIIs have some mysterious device to predict the future; it is unimaginable how in the prevailing confusing milieu anybody can even hazard a guess on the next government. Be that as it may, it is important that retail investors are not carried away by the sudden turnaround in sentiment for there is no fundamental cause for optimism right now.

Striving for a polio-free world The polio-free certification given by the World Health Organisation to its 11-nation South-East Asia Region, which includes India, has become a beacon of hope at a time when there is much to be gloomy about in terms of ridding the world of a virus that has crippled and even killed countless children. When the nations of the world committed themselves to eradicating polio in 1988, it was a goal they intended to achieve by the year 2000. But the target date slipped repeatedly. The strategic plan approved last year aims to stop transmission of all naturally-occurring ‘wild’ polio viruses by the end of this year and complete the task of eradication by 2018. The first of those objectives appears to be in jeopardy. Polio cases worldwide during 2013 recorded an 82 per cent increase over the previous year. Although the polio-endemic countries of Afghanistan and Nigeria more than halved the number of polio cases last year, Pakistan registered a 60 per cent increase. “The current situation in Pakistan is a powder keg that could ignite widespread polio transmission,” warned the Independent Monitoring Board, a body established to evaluate global eradication efforts, in a letter sent in February 2014 to the WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan. Worse still, the virus has reappeared in countries that had been free of it. Viruses from Pakistan have surfaced in the Middle East, and those from Nigeria produced a resurgence of polio in the Horn of Africa. The virus could well find its way to more countries, and the situation is serious. Dr. Chan has called a meeting next month of an Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations to advise on measures to reduce the risk of further international spread. One such step could be

the compulsory vaccination of travellers from polio-infected areas. India recently made it mandatory that those coming from countries with polio produce a certificate of vaccination with an oral polio vaccine. As long as the virus circulates in any part of the world, all countries free of it need to be vigilant and stop it from getting a foothold in their territory. Despite the current unpromising outlook for global polio eradication, it would be unwise to give up in despair. As recently as in 2009, almost half the world's polio cases were occurring in this country. Yet, India had its last polio case just two years later, paving the way for the South-East Asia Region’s certification. As the Americas, Western Pacific and Europe have already received such certification, four out of five children in the world now live in countries that have eliminated polio. The global community must find the will and the means to end this scourge once and for all.


April 1, 2014

HYDERABAD POST,

FORTNIGHTLY, HYDERABAD

Page No. 10

Abstention louder than any vote Sometimes, the loudest sound can emanate from the sidelines. At the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva last week, India’s abstention vote — in a United States sponsored resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) against Sri Lanka for an international probe into alleged rights violations in the last leg of the civil war — was perhaps its boldest expression of external policy in recent years, signalling several shifts in decision-making in South Block. To begin with, the Indian decision corrects the aberrations of the past few years. India has an old policy of not voting on country-specific resolutions, much less on one against a neighbour. The fact that India voted in 2012 and 2013 against Sri Lanka was not just a departure from this practice; it was a departure based on political considerations. The United Progressive Alliance’s (then) ally, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and other parties in Tamil Nadu had claimed that if India didn’t vote for the resolutions, the State would erupt in violent protests. Since India’s decision on Thursday was to abstain from the vote, there’s been no such spontaneous reaction from the streets, laying that claim bare. It also means that any violence that breaks out now will be the result of political instigation. It is unfortunate that the government didn’t try to test that claim in earlier years, instead bowing to the threat from its former allies in Tamil Nadu. The next shift has been India’s acknowledgement of progress in the Sri Lankan reconciliation process, with India’s permanent representative to the U.N. in Geneva, Ambassador Dilip Sinha calling the elections in the Northern (Tamil) Provinces held in 2013 a “significant step forward.” Elections in the Northern Provinces were something Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid stress upon in numerous meetings with the Sri Lankan leadership, and it was important to acknowledge the outcome of that pressure. To have voted against Sri Lanka despite the elections having being held would have rendered these efforts meaningless; to have acknowledged the progress is a valid assertion of India’s regional influence. The third shift, the decision to abstain on a resolution after having voted with the United States and the European Union in the past two years, was because of the language of the resolution itself. The setting up of an “international inquiry mechanism” to inquire into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka during the final offensive against the LTTE is a departure from the texts of the past. For India, that holds the question of sovereignty so dear, to have supported such an “intrusive” resolution would have set another precedent. Moreover, the resolution seems to follow a dual principal: exhorting Sri Lanka to adopt the findings of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) — (it was

appointed by Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa in May 2010, to look into allegations of human rights violations by Sri Lankan forces) — while at the same time ordering another inquiry into the same allegations. The text of the UNHRC resolution (A/HRC/25/L.1/Rev.1) even goes so far as to recount the recommendations of the LLRC report, that minces no words about its findings when it says: “Recalling the constructive recommendations contained in the Commission’s report including the need to credibly investigate widespread allegations of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, demilitarize the north of Sri Lanka, implement impartial land dispute resolution mechanisms, reevaluate detention policies, strengthen formerly independent civil institutions, reach a political settlement on the devolution of power to the provinces, promote and protect the right of freedom of expression for all persons and enact rule of law reforms. — From the final resolution of the UNHRC#25.” If the LLRC is in fact “constructive” and noteworthy, according to the sponsors of the resolution, where is the need for another investigation? Instead, the resolution could have proposed punitive measures against the Sri Lanka government until it adopts and acts on the LLRC’s recommendations. In any case, strong measures like having an international inquiry are normally reserved for countries that refuse access to U.N. delegations. While U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay had many complaints about her week-long visit to Sri Lanka in August last year, she was accorded, by her own admission, access to “any place she wished to see” on what was the longest official visit by the HR High Commissioner to any country. While all these points should have been reason enough for India to make the shift in voting on the resolution, the unfortunate truth is that it was political consideration rather than principle and precedent that decided it. As noted earlier, the UPA government and the Congress party didn’t have to worry about alliance partners in Tamil Nadu withdrawing support this time. That worst case scenario had already been played out in 2013, when the DMK withdrew support to the government, not because of India’s vote, but because India had not enforced more stringent measures against Sri Lanka in the resolution. India also sought comfort in numbers, bolstered by the new entry of two powerful countries, Russia and China, in the composition of the UNHRC who would clearly have voted with Sri Lanka and against the West. Had India voted with the western bloc this time, it would have been an Asian exception: while countries like Japan and Indonesia abstained, others like Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan voted against the resolution.

Perhaps, the most notable shift has come from within South Block itself, where recommendations of the External Affairs Ministry have been sidelined over the past few years. The unhappiness among diplomatic officials was evident last year over Dr. Singh’s decision not to travel to Colombo for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) summit. In an interview, Union Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid had told CNN-IBN, “It would be very disappointing if the Prime Minister doesn’t go to Colombo,” later admitting that the decision was forced by “domestic politics”. Now, with India’s abstention vote, it would seem that South Block is wresting back control of its decisionmaking authority from that domestic sphere that has ridden roughshod over several foreign policy decisions including stopping the Teesta agreement with Bangladesh, dealing with China, or restarting talks at a technical level with Pakistan. Criticism of India’s abstention vote includes this — that it would have better suited India’s stature as a regional leader of 1.3 billion people to have voted a firm ‘yes or no’ instead. Amnesty International’s official statement says India had chosen to “sideline itself.” Even so, the significance of India’s vote has been lost on no one. President Rajapaksa’s decision to free all Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody as a sort of “goodwill return gesture” is testament to how important the shift is being seen in Colombo. The importance can also be gauged from the fact that international human rights organisations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have issued statements specifically critical of India’s position. One organisation tweeted that India’s abstention denoted this — “a few steps forward and now several backward” for its record on human rights. Others will see it as India’s foreign policy having come full circle; an important reset just before the election brings the next government to power. Sometimes, the loudest sound can emanate from the sidelines. At the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva last week, India’s abstention vote — in a United States sponsored resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) against Sri Lanka for an international probe into alleged rights violations in the last leg of the civil war — was perhaps its boldest expression of external policy in recent years, signalling several shifts in decision-making in South Block. To begin with, the Indian decision corrects the aberrations of the past few years. India has an old policy of not voting on country-specific resolutions, much less on one against a neighbour. The fact that India voted in 2012 and 2013 against Sri Lanka was not just a departure from this practice; it was a departure based on political considerations. The United Progressive Alliance’s (then) ally, the

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and other parties in Tamil Nadu had claimed that if India didn’t vote for the resolutions, the State would erupt in violent protests. Since India’s decision on Thursday was to abstain from the vote, there’s been no such spontaneous reaction from the streets, laying that claim bare. It also means that any violence that breaks out now will be the result of political instigation. It is unfortunate that the government didn’t try to test that claim in earlier years, instead bowing to the threat from its former allies in Tamil Nadu. The next shift has been India’s acknowledgement of progress in the Sri Lankan reconciliation process, with India’s permanent representative to the U.N. in Geneva, Ambassador Dilip Sinha calling the elections in the Northern (Tamil) Provinces held in 2013 a “significant step forward.” Elections in the Northern Provinces were something Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid stress upon in numerous meetings with the Sri Lankan leadership, and it was important to acknowledge the outcome of that pressure. To have voted against Sri Lanka despite the elections having being held would have rendered these efforts meaningless; to have acknowledged the progress is a valid assertion of India’s regional influence. The third shift, the decision to abstain on a resolution after having voted with the United States and the European Union in the past two years, was because of the language of the resolution itself. The setting up of an “international inquiry mechanism” to inquire into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka during the final offensive against the LTTE is a departure from the texts of the past. For India, that holds the question of sovereignty so dear, to have supported such an “intrusive” resolution would have set another precedent. Moreover, the resolution seems to follow a dual principal: exhorting Sri Lanka to adopt the findings of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) — (it was appointed by Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa in May 2010, to look into allegations of human rights violations by Sri Lankan forces) — while at the same time ordering another inquiry into the same allegations. The text of the UNHRC resolution (A/HRC/25/L.1/Rev.1) even goes so far as to recount the recommendations of the LLRC report, that minces no words about its findings when it says: “Recalling the constructive recommendations contained in the Commission’s report including the need to credibly investigate widespread allegations of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, demilitarize the north of Sri Lanka, implement impartial land dispute resolution mechanisms, reevaluate detention policies, strengthen formerly independent civil institutions, reach a political settlement on the devolution of power to the provinces.


April 1, 2014

HYDERABAD POST,

FORTNIGHTLY, HYDERABAD

Page No. 11

Congress not to return black money: Modi

BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Monday alleged that Congress was not interested in bringing back black money stashed in foreign banks as ‘it belonged to them’. “Why is Congress opposing the move to bring back the money? Because it belongs to them. They have been opposing it for

Tax windfall for GHMC The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) netted a total of Rs.895.50 crore towards property tax by Saturday night and is likely to touch the Rs.1,100 crore mark on the last day of tax payment on Monday. The civic body which already surpassed last year collection of Rs.747 crore, anticipates large payments on Monday as it happens to be the last day to avail interest waiver on the property tax dues. “So far, more than 1,51,000 tax payers have availed the benefit of interest waiver to the tune of Rs.40 crore,” the GHMC Commissioner, Somesh Kumar told presspersons here on Sunday. The response from the citizens towards the property tax collection drive had been positive which resulted in 8.40 lakh property owners making the payments so far, he said. “By tomorrow evening, I am confident that the GHMC would have record collections and cross the Rs.1,000 crore mark and move towards Rs.1,100 crore,” he quipped. Among its 18 circles, Serilingampally circle this year recorded a jump of 39 per cent netting Rs.72 crore as against Rs.56 crore last year. The other top grosser included L.B.Nagar where collections with two more days left, stood at Rs.69 crore on Saturday as against last year’s Rs.60 crore.

the last ten years and they have no intention of bringing it back,” Mr Modi said during an election rally here. “Everyone in the country has been urging the Congress government to bring back black money to India, but they are not taking any initiative though they have promised so in their manifesto,” he said.

“Now, in their 2014 manifesto they have mentioned that they will bring back the black money. They have been in power for the last ten years. What stopped them from bringing the money back till now?” he asked. Alleging that the manifesto was a ‘cheat document’, he said, “It is the money of the poor that has been snatched. Don’t you think that black money should be brought back?” Claiming that the Congress had crossed all limits in corruption, atrocities and bad governance, Mr Modi said, “Even Rajiv Gandhi had said that if Re 1 is released from Delhi, it becomes 15 paise once it reaches the village level.” Alleging that the party had no leader, policy or any intention to work for the country, he said, “It is time to bid farewell to Manmohan Singh, but still I want to ask him, he was elected from Assam, and what did he do for the North East? “You did nothing and you have no concern for the region,” Mr Modi said. Hitting back at Sonia Gandhi over her patriotism jibe, Mr Modi said in Itanagar that people of the country did not need a certificate from her and attacked her over the Italian marines issue, questioning at whose behest they were given a chance to leave the country. Taking pot-shots at the Congress president, he referred to her remarks on Sunday that “some people were beating drums of patriotism” and said she should not raise a question mark on people’s love for their country. Claiming that Ms. Gandhi

had raised a question mark on the patriotism of the people, Mr. Modi asked her at whose direction the two Italian marines, accused of shooting Indian fishermen off Kerala coast, were allowed to leave the country. “Who was it at whose behest the government in Delhi gave the marines a chance to go back to Italy?” Mr. Modi asked. Had the Supreme Court not taken a strong stand on the matter, the marines would not have come back, he said. The Italian marines had been permitted by the Supreme Court to leave the country to participate in Italy’s elections. However, when Italy refused to send the marines back, the Supreme Court restrained the Italian ambassador from leaving the country. Italy later relented and sent the marines back. Ms. Gandhi had on Sunday attacked the BJP, saying that “some people are beating the drum of patriotism” and added that these people who did not believe in secular values only wanted to “grab power” by misleading the people. Hitting out at the Congress further, Mr. Modi said that its manifesto was a “dhokhapatra” (cheatsheet) and that the party had in the last elections promised to bring inflation down in 100 days which had not happened. Mr. Modi also raised the issue of the death of Arunachal Pradesh youth Nido Tania in Delhi, saying that he was pained by such incidents but the Congress president had not mentioned the incident when she visited the Northeast.

Bhullar escapes death sentence NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday commuted the death sentence of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, a convict in the 1993 bomb blast in New Delhi, to life sentence. Bhullar, a Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) militant, was sentenced to death in 2001 for the bomb blast which killed 12 people and injured 29 others. Earlier, the government had told the apex Court that it had no problem with the commutation of death penalty of Bhullar. The government said that a delay in the deciding mercy plea was ground enough for commutation of Bhullar's death sentence. Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati said to a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, 'this is a case which has to be allowed because the mercy petition of the convict was decided after a delay of eight years', to which the bench agreed. "The bench greatly appreciated the candid statement of the attorney general, and therefore there was no further need for argument and the matter has been reserved for judgment on Monday or Tuesday," said K.T.S Tulsi, lawyer in the case. The bench had earlier inquired about Bhullar's health conditions and had examined a medical report of the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), where Bhullar is being treated for mental illness. Earlier in January, the court stayed Bhullar's

execution and had agreed to review its earlier judgement in which it had rejected convict's plea to commute his death sentence. However, outraged at the centre's move, a bomb blast victim and former leader of Congress M. S. Bitta felt if Bhullar's death sentence was commuted, his entire family's life would be in danger. "If now there is any bomb blast on me or my family or if somebody kills me then Sonia Gandhi and Ahmad Patel will be responsible for it, who are wearing masks. They are openly helping terrorists and want to free militants so that there are attacks on us again. This is unfair," said Bitta, who is also the Chairman of All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF). Meanwhile, an advocate and a human rights activist, H.S. Phoolka, welcomed the government's initiative in the wake of Bhullar's mental health. "The first judgment of Supreme Court clearly states that if somebody's mental state is not okay then he cannot get death sentence. This was to be done by the central government, and it is a good thing that agreeing with the Supreme Court, central government applied this in Supreme Court and has said that his execution should be stayed," said Phoolka. On January 21, the Supreme Court of India commuted the sentences of 15 death convicts to life imprisonment,

due to delays in their execution. The death penalty of 13 condemned prisoners has been commuted to life because of delay on part of President to decide their mercy pleas. The other two were given life sentence after it was revealed that the imprisonment, while awaiting their sentence, had turned them mentally ill. The Supreme Court on Monday commuted the death sentence of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, a convict in the 1993 bomb blast in New Delhi, to life sentence. Bhullar, a Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) militant, was sentenced to death in 2001 for the bomb blast which killed 12 people and injured 29 others. Earlier, the government had told the apex Court that it had no problem with the commutation of death penalty of Bhullar. The Supreme Court on Monday commuted the death sentence of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, a convict in the 1993 bomb blast in New Delhi, to life sentence. Bhullar, a Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) militant, was sentenced to death in 2001 for the bomb blast which killed 12 people and injured 29 others. Earlier, the government had told the apex Court that it had no problem with the commutation of death penalty of Bhullar. The government said that a delay in the deciding mercy plea was ground enough


April 1, 2014

HYDERABAD POST,

FORTNIGHTLY, HYDERABAD

Page No. 12

“Fabulous And Beyond”

Creation of Automobile industrial zone in Telangana proposed from FAB Motors Pvt. Ltd.

INDUSTRY OVERVIEW: India is the 2nd Largest two wheeler market in the World. It Stands next to China and Japan in terms of number of two wheelers produced and the sale of two wheelers respectively. Present Estimate size 13.9mn units per year and expected to touch 16.6mn by 2014-15. CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) (Last 5 years) is 15%. Average two wheelers per 1000 people in India are 86. The urban market for two Wheelers is largely penetrated with 77 of every 100 youths that earn an income to support the ownership of two wheeler. INTRODUCTION TO REGAL RAPTOR: Mr. Horse Zhang is the Owner. In the year 1990 REGAL RAPTOR brand was introduced. Regal Raptor has found its forte in producing highly specialized, quality motorcycles by focusing on their Chopper, Cruiser, sports and custom motorcycles. Regal Raptor has Esablished itself in 39 countries which includes USA, Canada, China, Germany, Singapore, England, Australia, etc. In the year 2013 Regal Raptor established its brand in Netherlands. FAB MOTORS INDIA PVT. LTD.: FAB has signed the agreement with leading multinational 2 Wheeler brand “REGAL RAPTOR” for manufacturing & Selling their motorcycle models in India. Group also plans to get into Electric Vehicle business which in the 2nd phase to promote green transportation. Group has decided to set-up the manufacturing unit for Motorcycles & Electric Vehicles in Telangana. Group also wants to develop the area into a fully integrated automobile zone by inviting Auto component manufacturers, soft-skill training institutes to promote the area.

Edited, Printed Published & Own by M.G. Jeelani, Printed at Dot Print, #415, Level-2, Red Hills, Lakdi Ka Pul, Hyderabad. 500004. Published from #16-2-705/8/9/A/2, Akbar Bagh, Peace Campus, Malakpet, Hyderabad.500036. A.P. A.P. INDIA. www.hyderabadpost.com, E-mail: Editor.hydpost@gmail.com, Off: 040-64557325. Fax: 040-64557324. mgjeelani@yahoo.com

Hyderabad Post  

Issue No : 1

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