VOL 3 < ISSUE 3 < MAY, 2013
SHREE MAA PRAKASHAN PVT. LTD.
Group Editor M.K. Tiwari Editor Vinod Varshney Executive Editor Dr. Bhagya Rajeshwari Ratna Assistant Editor Anjalika Rajlakshmi
Dragon again in Ladakh!
Campus Editor Adithi Sonali
Threat of Nuclear War!!
World Kargil Villain Musharraf in Jail
Cine Editor Meera Singh
BJP in Dilemma!
Special Correspondent A.K. Chaturvedi
Regional Editor M.P.
Regional Editor C.G. Gopal Thawait Senior Graphic Designer Ashi Sinha
Bhullar case exposed Punjab parties
Stabil ity of third front in doubt
Young Cong chief in Himachal Pradesh
Spice in pol itical summer of UP
Workers would have a say, says Rahul
Chhattisgarh High Court Image makeover
Battle of Yatra
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LETTERS leaders of this government can say that we can face the security challenge posed by China. I think the former defence minister Mulayam Singh Yadav is right in mentioning that the government is overlooking the national security issues. But this matter of ignoring the energy security issue is even bigger. The article rightly says we spend so much money on importing oil though we so much gas in the form of gas hydrates. I think either Mulayam Singh Yadav should become the prime minister or the Narendra Modi, only then things would move in right direction. Vimlesh Yadav, Lucknow
BIHAR RALLY WAS NOT SO BIG! This is wrong to say that it was a big rally in Delhi called by Bihar chief minister Nitish Babu. Delhi has such a big population of Biharis, they must not be less than 20-25 lakh, yet the gathering was around 1 lakh. And still you say it was a big rally. The rally was just an attempt of Nitish Babu to protect his political turf which has come under threat for the first time. The article in your magazine has also overlooked the fact that the growth rate in Bihar has started coming down from this year. There are indications that next year it may be even less. Then the basic problem with granting backward status to a state on political suitability ground would start a dangerous trend. Vibhooti Rath, Delhi
SAD TALE OF HYDRATE RESEARCH! Interesting article on gas hydrates. This is criminal negligence on the part of government of India to not allocate any funding for research on tapping gas hydrates. This government has been doing anti-national things, rather too many, it has reduced the defence budget also—it is now the lowest in terms of percent of the GDP, while China has been increasing it continuously. With what face the
| LOKAYAT MAY, 2013
FACTIONALISM IN CONGRESS Bane of Congress— Factionalism (Lokayat: April 2013) gives a very balanced and mature analysis. The reason of factionalism in Congress, according to me, is because all parties who have tasted power in India today believe in Lootocracy. Congress is no exception. If one group of leaders feel threatened by the other group and sees his chances of making hay when the sun of satta shines are being destroyed, then they naturally start creating problems for the rival group. If Ajit Jogi is doing what has been described in this article, then it means the rival group has become powerful and creating threat to the Jogi faction. But if Congress wants to really come back to power in the Centre for the third time then people like Jogi should be thrown out of the party. But how come I as a reader have to tell this. I think the leaders in the rival faction are cowards and do not raise issue at proper forum. Santosh Nayak, Raipur
KARUNA BOMB FAILED—WHY? Karuna bomb was dropped by the most useless political party of Tamilnadu. It did not work because it
was dropped after the expiry date. This party DMK has looted maximum while a partner in the UPA government in Delhi, and rightly several of its leaders had to visit jails. Now seeing nothing more can be extracted so they thought it was time to pull the rug from under Manmohan Singh. The article ‘Survival Skill on Test’ is useless justification for the need of survival of a government which may not be popular any more. The new set of leaders is sure to come through elections. There is no doubt now, Naveen Patnaik, J Jayalalithaa, Mamata Bannerjee and Mulayam Singh Yadav can make a front. However, BJP is trying to pull these leaders towards itself. Survival of the present government is not such an important thing. Poor people of the country would like to ask what this government would do for them if it survives. It has so far given only corruption and price rise. Ruchir Gupta, Kolkata
GOLDEN RULES TO SAVE KIDNEYS Thanks Lokayat Thanks for giving the eight golden rules to save kidneys. I like Lokayat for good tips it gives to improve one’s health. Please, keep it up. Suresh Agnihotri, Indore (MP)
tters at E-mail your le ail.com, lokayat01@gm ail.com ho y@ tm vinodvarshne
SEXUAL ASSAULTS DUE TO POOR SANSKAAR ho should be blamed for increasing cases of sexual assault in the country—exploding population, rampant poverty, increasing unemployment, criminal elements, culture or our sanskaar? The society should thrash out all the connected issues and find out root causes. Leaving the girl child uncared and unprotected, beginning right from the moment she is born, is no less serious an issue. If we leave so many things unattended then why there would not be spate in rape cases!
Just raising ruckus in the name of dignity of women is no solution. We also need to introspect why poor section of the society becomes victim of such abominable things more than others. And does the role of electronic media have something to contribute to this? Is there no way to protect our 5-6 year old girls from beastly brutal rapes? Unfortunately, there is disconnect between the law and the root causes of crimes in the society. Stringent Act as enacted on the recommendations of the Varma panel cannot ensure safety for girls. The real solution can emerge from introspection in the families and the society. The major role has to be played by mothers. Government might have spent billions in the name of education, but promoting sense of responsibility among children and youth has been neglected. Families, too, are finding themselves helpless to control their own children. The incidents of rapes are coming to light in all states including those ruled by the BJP and the Congress. Are government functionaries directly responsible for them? Accusing governments for such heinous acts is an example of washing hands from our own responsibility. Street protests and violence in the name of rape are meant to fulfil certain groups’ own interests. To raise slogans and blame the powersthat-be for rapes are people’s democratic rights, but the real issue is how to ensure punishment to the perpetrators of such crimes and also those who are responsible for the deteriorating norms in the administration and the society. Any neglect by police on such issues should be dealt with firmly. A single misconduct by one constable or officer is enough to malign the entire organisation. It is for the organisations to take stern action against their own errant personnels. But what is happening? We find the so-called civil society as represented by NGOs is getting more and more politicised. Staging dharnas and organising violent demonstrations do not serve any purpose, except hogging some publicity for themselves on TVs; similarly stalling functioning of parliament also does not produce any fruitful result. One can see, the protests and demonstrations more and more are being staged by opportunistic groups for their self aggrandisement. Blaming Sheila Dikshit, Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi by such people has no meaning. Had there been the government of some other coalition or party, even then similar stance of accusing the top government functionaries for a crime taking place in a lane would have been bad. The time has come to do some serious study and analysis of social changes and factors responsible for increasing crimes against women. We need to identify what is poisoning the healthy social norms and practices in our society. Electronic media, rather than just indulging in the blame game, should run programmes seeking opinion to improve the society from people representing various walks of life, who can give an insight on root causes responsible for increasing criminality. The basic responsibility to protect one’s own child is on the parents and family. For their lapses the blame cannot be apportioned on the head of a government. Moreover, rape cases should not be used to spread bias and animosity in the society. Only healthy society can ensure perfect safety for our girls.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Creative geniuses can be criminals too! ll great men have feet of clay, Shakespeare was no exception. The Bard of Avon is regarded as the greatest playwright of all time in all languages. Adored and worshipped as the exceptional genius who could fathom the human psyche deeply and mould amazingly diverse and realistic characters like crooks and criminals, knights and kings, pundits and proletariats with their noble behaviour, heroism, foibles, frailties-- warts and all-–with panache that it is no wonder, he has been the subject of endless studies. The latest research indicates that Shakespeare might have been a bit of all these strange components, as he might have banked on his own experience, emotions and perversions
to create his wide variety of characters. The study brings out the shocking information that he was a habitual lawbreaker, a top social criminal, and one
who was fond of amassing wealth by any means. Left of the centre professors used to wax eloquent trying to prove that Shakespeare was a progressive genius who took the mighty Greek literary traditions by storm. Now how would they defend a person who continued his brilliant literary pursuit while he was engaged in nefarious activities like swindling the gullible and evading tax collectors? The scholarly researchers have established that Shakespeare was both mean and greedy like Shylock, the superb Jew he conceived. In India such findings would have passed off as literary hearsay, or at best the motivated rumours of some rival gang of authors. There is no effort here for such bail out.<
Mane, na mane …… t is not just Shakespeare, Indian literati too have their weaknesses, fun and foibles. The eminent Marathi writer Laxman Mane, 63, who has had several laurels for his master-pieces, including the Sahitya Akademi award winning autobiography ‘Upara’, is found to be a chronic womaniser. He is an iconic figure in the contemporary literary world and was honoured with Padma Shri four years ago. With considerable following among budding literary fiends, some of Mane’s works have become prescribed textbooks. So it sent shock waves among his fans when news about his philandering reached the public domain. As is usual
| LOKAYAT MAY, 2013
with any accused he stoutly denied all allegations ---even Bill Clinton swore he was innocent till final exposure; Mane said he was being framed. But the charge-sheet against him says that he raped not one or two but five women working at a residential school run by him for tribal children in Satara. Who knows there were many more! Initially, Mane was accused of rape by two of the women. Later, three more came forward to allege that he exploited them sexually as they only wanted to be confirmed in their posts. Among the five women one was a cook and another a peon —easy enough to force himself on. The bewildering part of the salacious story is that he was known in this part of Maharashtra as a committed social worker.<
Neither Beautiful Nor Ugly….Om Shanti Om! he dames may be truly beautiful, but don’t say so. If they are ugly even then you need not venture telling the truth. Beware of the unwritten edicts on the pillar of feminism! Physical beauty may be bonus for many women and the entire cosmetic and fashion industry might be revolving around men’s notion of beauty, but mention of it can lend you men in trouble. Perception has been propagated that men are getting lecherous if they praise the beauty of a woman. Therefore saying a woman is beautiful, especially in public, is a crime. The guideline is--don’t tell if they are ugly or beautiful, as it is their beauty or ugliness and only they have the right to declare it, use it or misuse it. If you flout the guideline, you may be in trouble. Didn’t you hear Sharad Yadav coming in the firing line for telling a reporter that she was beautiful? Have you forgotten that
minister Rajaram Pandey in UP had to lose his job for praising the looks of a district magistrate of Sultanpur. Not just in India, it is a global phenomenon. Remember what tornado of criticism president Barrack Obama had to face after he praised the beauty of 48-year-old Indian Kamla Harris, the attorney general of California. Habits die hard, so do some practices at home. Open a catalogue of women and utter like this: the foreign minister of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar is neither beautiful nor ugly….Om Shanti Om…prime minister of Thailand Yingluck Shinawatra is neither beautiful nor ugly….Om Shanti Om….Hema Malini of BJP is neither beautiful nor ugly….Om Shanti Om….. Regular utterance of such mantras alone can bring you political guys in the right frame of mind. <
Minister of pissiculture! oliticians choose powerful and communicative language to drive home their point. And the most potential articulation of vehemence comes with the high voltage use of sexual expressions. So when people talked of electricity outage and minister Ajit Pawar wanted to make it look a less serious problem, he is reported to have said: to kya hua you get more opportunity to beget children. And people laughed at the joke. But use of similar style put him in trouble as he chose to piss over the sensibilities of people. He had to sit on a fast for penance. If you don’t understand the psychology of such utterances, go into the background of all this. Irrigation projects of thousands of crores remained
only in files and never came on the ground though the cost kept on burgeoning. When people, opposition and media questioned on this the minister resigned. But a white paper white-washed all his lapses and he again became the minister.
But people are not convinced. They continue to protest and raise slogans. Many helpless farmers committed suicides. Farms remain parched and praying eyes look to rain gods in the sky. When nothing happens they curse the minister even more. It was natural for the minister to get upset, who blurted: to kya hua if there is no water in dams, should I piss to raise water in them. When the opposition and media raised a ruckus he realised he need neither piss, nor make a pissicultural articulation of his frustration, but should apologise and seek penance. And that he did in full glare of electronic media.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
WILL IT BE A REPEAT OF 1962? The new leaders who have taken over the reins of power in Beijing seem to be over-zealous in establishing China as number one super power. They have brazenly chosen to raise fresh disputes with its neighbours, be it Vietnam, Japan, Philippines or India. Chinaâ€™s core interests earlier were Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang; now it has added to the list East and South China Seas. Its behaviour is reminiscent of Germany before World War--II. It is a testing time for the world trying to grapple with Chinaâ€™s hegemonic ambitions.
Defence minister AK Antony
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Can Border Dispute Be Settled? ndia and China, the two very old civilisations, which peacefully co-existed for several thousand years, fought a month- long war when in 1962 the Communist China attacked India. After that relations between the two have remained quite strained-- there have been two skirmishes at Nathu La and Chola in 1967 and Sumdorong Chu in 1986. It was at Deng Xiaoping’s initiative that the relationship improved somewhat. Deng Xiaoping prevailed on Rajiv Gandhi in December 1988 to take up other matters of mutual interest to go forward and leave the border dispute behind. On hind thought it seems this was a Chinese ploy because it badly needed peace to grow fast economically and militarily. And it did grow fast for three decades, becoming an economic super power, second only to the US. India-China relationship further improved when prime minister PV Narasimha Rao visited China and signed the Peace & Tranquillity Treaty. When the NDA government under prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee declared India as a nuclear weapon state in 1998 and wrote a letter to the US President Bill Clinton that India decided to do so because of the nuclear threat from China, Chinese attitude softened further and led to a mechanism to deal with the border dispute, the main irritant between the two countries. But despite 16 meetings of the Special Representatives no solution emerged. On the contrary Chinese position has hardened so much that it now opposes even the demarcation of the Actual Line of Control. The intrusion in Ladakh is a signal for India to be ready to face the new reality.<
New Chinese leaders--premier Li Keqiang (left) and president Xi Jinping
By Vinod Varshney
hina’s brazen intrusion near Daulat Beg Oldie in the Northern Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir has given a jolt to Indian belief that relationship with China can improve through trade which is about to touch $100 billion in the next two years. The incident has thrown a major challenge to India’s China policy necessitating a relook. It has seen hundreds of intrusions across the entire 4057-km long border, especially after 2008. There were as many as 233 violations in 2008 and more than 500 transgressions during the period 20102012. These are figures of the ministry of defence. Chumur, near Thankung post, where the maximum number of airspace
violations took place, is nearly 70 km inside the line of actual control (LAC) near Pangong. But various resolution mechanisms seemed to have worked satisfactorily as most transgressions were resolved through flag meetings etc. All the time an explanation used to be given by the government that these happened because the LAC has not been clearly demarcated. But the latest incursion 19 km deep inside the LAC is of a different kind, indicating a possible diabolical motive of China’s new leadership, which assumed power only in March this year. The images taken from drones show that China has not only erected three tents there but, to ensure smooth supplies of stores, a mud-track is being converted into a proper all-weather road. The area in question is about half the size of Delhi
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
China wants an agreement on freezing troops ndia, taking cue from China, is in the process of improving its defence preparedness and mending its badly neglected infrastructures along the border. It was at the second flag meeting on April 23 to resolve the dispute that the Chinese side demanded that the Indian defence infrastructures coming up in Chumar and Phukche sectors should be dismantled first. India is laying four strategic roads in the area. But this should not be objected to by China as it also has built excellent road network on the other side of the LAC. India is building 804 km of roads along the China border. Strategic experts believe that China resents Indian defence preparedness and wants an agreement on border management which among other things includes a freeze on India’s troop levels on the LAC.<
Former defence minister and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had repeatedly cautioned about the threat from China for quite sometime
Opposition wants strong response to China pposition parties have criticised the government for treating the issue of intrusion as a localised one. It calls on the government to deal with China firmly and fearlessly; the BJP president Rajnath Singh has assured the party’s full support to the government on this issue. SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav opposed the proposed visit of external affairs minister Salman Khurshid to Beijing slated for May 9. He was supported by BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab and Sudip Bandyopadhyay of the TMC in the Lok Sabha. The BJP also raised similar demand. Mulayam Singh said he had raised the issue several times in the past eight years warning that there could be a repeat of 1962, but no heed was taken. He warned that China ‘is the biggest enemy’ of India, not Pakistan. Mulayam Singh claimed that one lakh square km of Indian territory was under Chinese ‘occupation’. But the prime minister said India did not want to ‘accentuate the situation’ and that it was a ‘localized problem’. ‘We do have a plan to tackle it’, he added. External affairs minister Salman Khurshid was sore that the Opposition was trying to score points rather than speak in one voice. Rajnath Singh asked the government to hand over the Daulat Beg Oldie sector to the Army. It was under the army till 2010. The government pulled out the army from there and handed it over to ITBP, which was under the home ministry. The BJP chief said he had cautioned the government as early as five years ago about China's plan to encircle India, but the government did nothing. Strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney thinks it will be nationally demeaning if foreign minister Salman Khurshid visits Beijing on May 9 or Chinese premier Li Keqiang arrives in New Delhi on May 20 while the intruders stay put on Indian soil.<
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External Affairs minister Khurshid Ahmed described the problem as an ‘acne’
Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha fears the Chinese intrusion may turn out to be a Kargil-like event
and is strategically situated at the tri-junction of India-PakChina, and from where Indian troops can keep a vigil over Siachen Glacier-Saltoro on the west and Indian observation post in Chumar. Three flag meetings have failed to resolve the present crisis. China insists that India first remove its observation post from Chumar before any de-escalation can take place. This adamant Beijing stand threatens external affairs minister Salman Khurshid’s visit to China on May 9 in preparation for the Chinese prime minister’s visit to India on May 20. Since the latest intrusion on 15th April, three flag
Could there be Pak or US lobbies behind ? ndia has emerged as a big market for Chinese goods. Telecom and power companies have sought big orders from India. They are seeking a share in the finance and infrastructure sector business also. China is the biggest trading partner of India. In the next two years trade between the two is going to touch $100 billion. Can China afford to lose the economic opportunities that India affords? Due to its tense relations with Japan, China has already lost substantial investments from that country. If the same happens with India, it will be a colossal loss to China. Some diplomats believe there could be US and Pak lobbies within the PLA behind the present crisis, because they did not want India-China relationship to be hunky-dory. This can be seen in the context of president Xi Jinping's open call for military- to- military cooperation between Beijing and New Delhi.<
National security advisor Shivshankar Menon
India keeps its defence budget low n Beijing, the new president, Xi Jinping, began his stewardship of the party and government by raising the defence budget by 10.7 percent this year taking it to $119 billion. Indian defence officials say China’s actual defence spending is almost 60 percent higher than their declared figure. In contrast, the Indian defence budget was hiked only marginally to take it up to $37.86 billion this year. Not only this; as the government tried to cut costs given the dismal growth rate, defence spending was the hardest hit. It is barely 1.79 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product. This is a record low in three decades. The figure has dropped considerably from 3.16 per cent of the GDP in 1987 when India had a face-off with China in Sumdorong Chu.<
I The Indian Army chief general Bikram Singh
meetings have been held, but in vain: China continues to say that its troops are in Chinese territory only. This confirms the view that the intrusion this time is not a ‘localised’ affair carried out by some commander on his own as was misread by prime minister Manmohan Singh, but it has the blessings of the Chinese civilian leadership. It is also suspected lately that the Chinese civilian leadership remains under
pressure from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which has some 25 percent representation in the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party. That seems to explain why China has raised fresh disputes simultaneously with most of its neighbours, whether it is Japan, Vietnam, India or Philippines. All indications are that the new leadership in Beijing is deliberately adopting a hawkish and militarist
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
China has made over 700 incursions into Indian territory since 2008. But all of them were resolved through existing Confidence Building Measures. But the latest one near Daulat Beg Oldie, 19 kilometres inside the line of actual control of erecting tents, laying roads for enabling supplies and establishing a helipad and satellite surveillance arrangement, is certainly a mischief of a vastly different kind. It seems to be a Chinese version of the Kargil episode. It has thrown up a big challenge for the foreign policy makers of India. The diplomatic circle in New Delhi is keenly watching the forthcoming visit of external affairs minister Salman Khurshid to Beijing to see if he would be able to persuade the Chinese leadership to withdraw from Ladakh to pave way for the proposed visit of Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang in the third week of May.
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attitude. Soon after taking charge, it issued a defence white paper giving clear signals that the new leadership differs from that of the previous duo president Hu Jintao and prime minister Wen Jiabao, who worked for a ‘harmonious’ world and walked the path of ‘peaceful development’ as theorised by the reformist and farsighted leader Deng Xiaoping.
Islands in the South China Sea is partially disputed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, but Vietnam makes full claim to them. It may be recalled that China had warned India not to go ahead with its oil & gas exploration project jointly with Vietnam in the Vietnamese maritime territory! China started flexing its military muscle from 2008 through massive
It is not an accident that the intrusion into the Indian territory coincided with the issuance of this defence white paper. This is in fact exactly the way China conducts its diplomacy and sends messages across. According to keen strategic experts the defence white paper threatens China’s neighbours that any meddling in its affairs would not be tolerated: in fact would be resisted with massive military force. It has picked Japan for special mention and implicitly hinted at the US as China’s enemies. China has added South China Sea including the Senkaku Islands, now in Japan’s possession, as its territory along with the earlier claim on Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang. Its claim of total sovereignty over the Spratly
military exercises and parades when they displayed their missiles and nuclear weapons too. And notably in the latest defence white paper it has omitted the earlier promise to the world that China would never be the first to make a nuclear strike. The message is clearly directed at the non-nuclear Japan which has described China as a looming threat. These not so subtle declarations of power clearly indicate that India is facing grave threat from China and it has to make measured diplomatic response. It may especially be mentioned that while China has made an expose of its core interests in this part of the world, but does not want to recognise Jammu & Kashmir as part of India’s core interest. On the contrary, for some time China has been saying that
COVER STORY the whole of J&K is a disputed territory, not an integral part of India implying its closeness to Pakistan. India had been making repeated mistakes by not protesting loudly enough when China assisted Pakistan in building up various infrastructures in Pak-occupied Kashmir. This can be juxtaposed with the promptness with which China intervened to stop Asian
up with the US in a short span of time. There are diverse opinions among strategic experts about China’s motive behind the latest intrusion into the Indian territory. One cannot ignore particularly the timing of the transgression. It happened a few days before prime minister Manmohan Singh’s planned visit to Japan by the end of May. China wishes by this
two countries have put enormous efforts to stabilise the borders through various agreements and protocols starting with the Peace and Tranquillity Treaty in 1993 when prime minister Narasimha Rao visited Beijing. Dealing with China has now become difficult due to its overarching ambition to emerge as the only super power in this part of the world. A bigger problem is that the decisionmaking system in China is opaque. The Peoples Liberation Army has become a major political force unlike in India and other democratic countries. According to a sinologist China thinks that the Soviet Union fell apart because the military there was depoliticised. The Chinese leadership does not want to commit the same mistake. The Chinese president, therefore, remains the head of the military, government and the party.
No serious intent of China to resolve the border dispute
Development Bank funding a project in Arunachal Pradesh, claiming it was a disputed area.
No more slogan of ‘peaceful development’ China had claimed over the years that it wanted to pursue the path of peaceful development. But it seems its need for peaceful development is over now with its reaching the economic super power status second only to the US and its military muscle growing even faster due to very huge allocation of funds to acquire and develop newest weapons of mass destruction. Its military industrial growth is unparalleled, making China self-sufficient in all respects. Whether it is development of ultra modern stealth aircraft or super computers it has caught
intrusion to warn India that it should not extend support to Japan over Senkaku Islands. Experts believe that this episode is the worst since 1986 when China intruded into Sumdorong Chu and India surrounded it from several sides. It was the late Deng Xiaoping who salvaged the situation and saved Indo-China relations from taking an ugly turn. The relationship which was cool after the 1962 border war and which the Morarji Desai government tried to improve became worse with China’s attack on Vietnam even as foreign minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was in China on an official visit (February 1979). The ice was finally broken when prime minister Rajiv Gandhi took the initiative and visited China in December 1988. The
President Xi Jinping recently termed the boundary dispute with India as a complex issue left over by history, and solving it won’t be easy. A few days later he told the Chinese news agency Xinhua that ‘China and India should strive hard and make good use of Special Representatives to achieve a fair, rational framework acceptable to both sides as soon as possible’. This was welcomed in India as a positive development to solve the border issue. But within a fortnight of it came the intrusion in Ladakh which some China watchers have attributed to the PLA not being happy with the soft line adopted by the new Chinese leadership towards India. Diplomats fear if China continues to behave like this, it would force India to join the proposed defence arrangement comprising the US, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines and Australia. India would also be required to augment its missile defence and cyber security systems as also conventional capabilities.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
THREAT OF NUCLEAR WAR IN ASIA AGAIN? The risk of a nuclear holocaust in Asia again is looming large due to the war-mongering stance of North Korea vis-à-vis America, Japan and South Korea. It added credibility to its threat by issuing advisories to embassies to leave Pyongyang. Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro termed the n-war threat as the biggest ever since the US-USSR faceoff in the Caribbean in 1962. Moscow also is concerned with the grim development. Diplomats believe that 70 percent population of the world would be affected if the threat turns real. By Prof MR Dua
he entire world was alarmed last month when Kim Jongun, North Korea’s young dictator, threatened to rain nuclear-tipped missiles on the United States, South Korea and Japan. To prove that he meant business, he issued advisories to embassies in Pyongyang to evacuate as security could not be ensured to their staff. The former Cuban leader Fidel Castro assessed the situation as the gravest ever since the missile crisis of 1962 when the USUSSR confrontation threatened to go out
| LOKAYAT MAY, 2013
of hand but did not, because of the good sense and statesmanship of Nikita Khrushchev and John F Kennedy. This time around the world is not sure that the 30-year-old Kim understands the full consequences of a nuclear war. Most diplomats believe it would be suicidal for North Korea to embark on any such adventure. But Kim consistently maintains the bellicosity against South Korea, Japan and the US. The efforts of the UN to rein in North Korea’s nuclear programme have failed so far. Even a six-country initiative in this regard stands derailed after the UN imposed sanctions against North Korea
following its rocket tests in December last and its 3rd nuclear test in February this year. Incidentally, both the programmes are believed to have been helped by China. North Korea successfully shot a satellite into space last December to show the world its missile capability to hit even American bases. Seeing the growing threats from North Korea, Japan, South Korea and the US have started readying themselves to retaliate. As a preliminary to this was a joint defence exercise by the US and South Korea with most advanced weapons held off the North Korean coast in March this
SPECIAL year. As part of this exercise the US sent the nuclear capable B-2 & B-52 bombers and stealth F-22 fighters as near as 30 km from the border of North Korea. The US Navy’s missile defence ships were also moved near the Korean coast. Pyongyang denounced these shows of strength as ‘acts of war’. On March 30, North Korea declared that ‘it was in a state of war with South Korea.’
South Korea with its capitalist democratic system has made rapid economic progress while the communist North Korea is lagging far behind. All the same with secret help from Pakistan
Pentagon too got alarmed The rising pitch of war-mongering by North Korea apart, South Korea and Japan are concerned about the former’s true intentions. Pyongyang’s statement that ‘the situation on the Korean peninsula was inching close to a thermonuclear war’ rang alarm in Pentagon too. But the US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel seemed to think the whole thing as mere saber-rattling-- ‘North Korea’s bluff’. His intelligence information was that North Korea as yet had no capability to mount a nuclear warhead on its long range missile. However, as a matter of abundant precaution the US did not go ahead with its planned missile test to avoid ruffling the North Korean feathers further. John Kerry, US secretary of state visited China to nudge its leaders to dissuade North Korea from developing its nuclear capability if it wanted the US not to raise its military might in this part of Asia. Meanwhile, it would be appropriate to dig a little into the background of the hostility between North and South Korea. The entire Korean peninsula was annexed by Japan in 1910. After Japan’s defeat in World War II (1945), it was split into two and the northern part went to the former Soviet Union, and south to the US. But when the North attacked South in 1950, the US-led United Nations forces fought along with South Korea to dispel the attack. China joined the fray on the side of the North. The war continued until 1953 when truce was declared. In 1991, the UN accepted them as separate countries. But the Korean people are not reconciled to the division. Ironically, a ministry for north-south reunification exists!
A noted political commentator says: ‘China is not happy with North Korea’s nuclear programme, but it considers an independent, stable North Korea essential for the security of its (China’s) highly fragile northeast region of Manchuria.’ China fears ‘collapse of the Kim regime in North Korea would lead to US-dominated South Korea swallowing the North and even establishing US bases within the range of Manchuria and the maritime approaches to Beijing.’ One thing is true: for any successful plan to de-nuclear North Korea, China has to play the central role. The next few months will be crucial for all the parties involved in the Korean conundrum. Washington and Seoul want Pyongyang to resume the six-party nuclear talks – in which China, Russia and Japan are present -- which were abandoned in 2009. The US has expressed its readiness for a meaningful and credible dialogue with North Korea
The real risk is of miscalculation he 30-year-old Kim Jong-un, who succeeded his late father just over a year ago, is the grandson of the founder of the communist rule in Korea. Diplomats around the world feel that North Korea does not want war and the young leader’s saber rattling is intended more to keep its disgruntled people united in the guise of fighting America. But the risk of miscalculation does exist, which means accidental nuclear armageddon. Strategic experts believe that North has not yet acquired the technology needed to make a nuclear bomb which could be fitted on a long-range missile capable of hitting the US. But South Korea and Japan can be rained with nuclear tipped missiles. Japan has, therefore, deployed ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors to thwart any incoming missiles from the North. The US has also deployed land-based missile defence systems in Guam. <
and China it has become a nuclear power with missile capability. It is claimed that it has even developed Musudan missiles which can hit any target 4,000 km away. That means it can hit US bases in Guam and Hawaii. Though a North Korean supporter, China has often been counseling Kim to go slow on its nuclear programme. But that did not have any apparent effect so far.
with which it has no diplomatic relations, but this can happen only when there is firm commitment from it to end its nuclear programme. But North Korea is adamant that it would not give it up. The US had planned a military action to demolish the North Korean nuclear plants in the 1990s, but it desisted from doing so only because of the high human and economic cost.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
CARGIL VILLAIN IN JAIL
It is truly big event for the fragile democracy of Pakistan, which has been ruled most of the years since its birth by military dictators. The democracy is now on the surge and the notorious military dictator who took pride in the Kargil misadventure is behind the bar and has been banned from taking part in political activities for life...
By Janmesh Jain
ervez Musharraf, the wicked brain behind the Kargil war, is today a crest-fallen guy. The military dictator, who once wielded absolute power in Pakistan lives imprisoned, of course in the two rooms of his palatial farmhouse in Islamabad. His own acts and cock-a-
give him a hero’s welcome when he would return from a 4-year exile in London, Dubai and America and elect his party into majority. He had ruled the country dangerously after seizing power in a military coup in 1999. But by 2007 he found Pakistan difficult to rule. There were nationwide protests against him that eventually resulted in his stepping down under the threat of impeachment in 2008.
Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf
hoop personality has led him to this fate. He trampled upon an elected government, imposed emergency, suspended constitution, arrested 60 judges including the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary, entered into a secret deal with CIA to drop bombs on Pak soil from the drones, and allegedly played a role in killings of Benazir Bhutto and Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. When felt threatened from the fundamentalists he attacked the Lal Masjid, killing some 1000 people thus helping a new wave of fundamentalism. Yet, he expected that people would
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When he landed in Karachi on March 23, he got extremely feeble welcome from public. Even Pakistani influential television channels gave scant coverage to his political mission and vision. And when the time came to contest elections, the election commission disqualified him on all the four constituencies where he had filed his nomination. Peshawar high court banned him to take part in politics for life for riding roughshod over the constitution of Pakistan. A court even barred him from leaving the country. As if this wasn't enough, the powerful senate of the
country unanimously passed a resolution calling for his trial for derailing democracy and debilitating the constitution. Even a case of treason may also be initiated against him for imposing emergency on the country. According to a survey by ‘Gallop Pakistan’ Nawaz Sharif, who was toppled by Musharraf in a coup, is the front runner expecting 41 percent of the
Nawaz Sharif is slated to come back to power in Pakistan after national general elections on May 11. It was his government that was overturned in a military coup by Gen Parvez Musharraf who is cooling heels in a 2-room jail of his own farmhouse. popular votes nationally, followed by Peoples Party of Pakistan with 17 percent popular votes and then by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party of cricketer Imran Khan poised to get 14 percent popular votes. Nawaz Sharief is dangling the dream of making Pakistan an economic giant and taking credit for making Pakistan a nuclear power. The country under the PPP government has lost popularity due to misgovernance and poor growth rate of meagre 3 percent during the last four years. PPP is strong only in Sindh province where ten parties have joined hands to ensure its defeat.<
PM ISSUE THROWS BJP INTO A DILEMMA!
Three prime minister candidates of BJP Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj & LK Advani
By Dr Bhagya Rajeshwari Ratna
he issue of naming the prime ministerial candidate by the BJP has created an unsavoury environment in the NDA which, according to certain surveys, can hope to increase its Lok Sabha seats compared to 2009. Surprisingly, however, BJP leaders have made numerous controversial statements spoiling its chances, despite a gag order from the party president Rajnath Singh. These have made the situation unenviable for the party. NDA partners Shiv Sena, Akali Dal and JD-U also had their share of controversial comments. The BJP’s first choice at this juncture is Narendra Modi. The party is on an overdrive to showcase his model of development. Certain corporate houses too have helped in this imagebuilding exercise. But while this is going on, suddenly a sizeable
opposition has started building up against Modi. Not just JD-U’s Nitish Kumar is opposing his candidature by stating that the NDA leader should be of secular credentials. BJP leaders like Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Shivraj Singh Chouhan are among others who spoke in favour of Lal Krishna Advani. Nitish Kumar described Advani as the best option while a strong section in the party pointed out that Advani had already been tried in the last elections. There is no chance that he can enthuse party workers the way Modi can do. The fear that, Muslims votes would get polarised in favour of the Congress in case Modi gets the okay, is discounted by the argument that this happened last time also when Advani’s name was proposed. A section of Muslims says that there is nothing to choose between Advani and Modi. A section in the BJP believes that aggressive Muslim consolidation is a bogey. It is an attempt to malign Muslim voters. Muslims have voted in favour of the BJP in Gujarat. After all there is a section among Muslims which wants to look beyond Godhara
riots. Besides, during Modi’s rule Muslims too have prospered. There is another section in the BJP which thinks that Muslim consolidation may help bring wavering Hindu votes to the party. The attitude of the Akali Dal is in sharp contrast to that of the JD-U. Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal says ‘whosoever is named by the BJP, we will accept. BJP is the largest party in the NDA. It is their right to choose their leader. Why we should interfere?’ He described Narendra Modi as a very fine man, dynamic and decisive. Political observers, however, say that all the names that have been discussed as prime ministerial candidates, may finally get sidelined and a dark horse may emerge. If one goes by the thinking of the Shiv Sena, the dark horse can be Sushma Swaraj. She should be acceptable to the JD-U and will be able to attract more parties to the alliance as she does not have the RSS background. Within the NDA Nitish Kumar is said to be the only leader who is eyeing for an opportunity for himself, but he has avoided declaring so.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
POLITICS ON RAPE CASES IN DELHI Brutal rape of a five-year-old in Delhi has again sizzled the political hot air in Delhi. This time the agitation on the issue has been started by Arvind Kejriwal’s party which is struggling to find a foothold in the political space of Delhi. Congress chief minister Sheila Dikshit and Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar are again targeted by angry protestors.
Delhi BJP workers during a protest march against the recent rape of a minor girl in Delhi
By Kusum Varshney
his is the election year and rape has emerged as a major issue along with many others in Delhi. The opposition ‘thanks’ the ruling Congress because of which Delhi has achieved the dubious distinction of being the rape capital of India. Home minister SK Shinde, however, defends saying rape cases are occurring everywhere in the country, not just in Delhi. The enormous success, in terms of political advantage, of the historic street protest fuelled by NGOs and political groups, after the brutal rape of a medical student who died in Singapore after 13 days of struggle for life, has made rape an explosive issue for use by politicians. No wonder protests against rape acquired a fresh momentum in Delhi when a 5year-old girl was kidnapped, raped and left locked in a room thinking she was dead. She was rescued by neighbours when they heard the wail of the child after 40 hours. Whose conscience would not be disturbed by this horrific crime! This time it was the Aam Aadmi Party which took up the case and raised protests. The victim’s father is a poor daily-wage earner; and so are the two rapists working in a garment factory. Normally
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Police officers take away second accused Pradeep (L) in the 5-year-old girl, rape case in Delhi after arresting him from a village in Bihar.
Manoj Shah who has been accused of brutally raping a fiveyear-old girl in the capital, after his arrest by a Delhi police team in Muzaffarpur in Bihar
nobody raises the issues of the poor. The police initially refused to register the case of the missing child. When the child was recovered in bleeding condition after two days, the father was offered a bribe of Rs 2,000 by a constable to keep his mouth shut. For five days it remained a big issue on TV with other parties also joining the protests which were largely aimed
People protest outside AIIMS demanding death sentence for raping a 5-year-old girl
Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar addresses a press conference at the Police Headquarters in New Delhi
against the police. To worsen the matter even more, a TV camera caught an overzealous police officer slapping a protesting AAP worker Bina Rawat. The police officer was reportedly trying to clear way for the Delhi health minister Dr Ashok Walia and MP Sandeep Dikshit, son of chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who had come to enquire about the condition of the rape-victim.
People protesting against the brutal rape of a five-year-old girl outside a hospital in Delhi
Last time the Congress had made good use of the rape of the medico; it had announced provision of jobs and a house to the family of the victim. It had quickly sent the victim to Singapore for treatment and later took credit for hurriedly passing a harsh law against sexual assault (which many people say is faulty and can be easily misused). The vociferous protests after the horrific rape of the medico had helped Sheila Dikshit in the sense that it erased from the public mind memory of the numerous corruption cases that the BJP and Arvind Kejriwal had raised against her government. But this time in the case of the 5-year-old rape victim the protesters targeted the Congress. BJP workers protested outside the residence of Sonia Gandhi while Aam Aadmi Party workers staged dharna outside the high security residence of the prime minister. Initially it was a small crowd, just 300 odd protesters, which laid siege to an MCD hospital in northeast Delhi where the child was admitted for treatment. As the news of protests hit TV screens, the politicians started pouring in and protesters went hysterical on seeing them. The child was later shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences as demanded by the protesters. Here the AAP protesters were joined by women of All India Progressive Womenâ€™s Association.
The next day an even stronger crowd assembled in front of the police headquarters demanding the scalp of the police commissioner Neeraj Kumar. Later the assistant commissioner of police, who was caught slapping a girl student, was suspended. Top- level intervention made the police active and both the rapists were arrested from their villages in Bihar. They had left Delhi within hours of committing the heinous crime. One culprit was 22-year-old Manoj Kumar Sah, a married man. He had lured Gudiya by offering a chocolate. He and his accomplice Pradeep first drank liquor, saw porn on mobile, then on the demand of his friend went out to lure a girl. Gudiya came into their trap. After repeated rapes they tried to kill the child. Assuming her to be dead, both ran away after locking the room. When neighbours heard her cries, the door was broken open. They were shocked to find her naked, with blood on her body and cuts on her neck, cheek and lips. The doctors who examined her said they found pieces of candles and a 200 ml plastic bottle of hair oil from her
body. She had developed severe infection. Even at the time of the magazine going into print, the child was not fully stable but doctors said she was out of danger. When Sushma Swaraj visited the AIIMS, she found another child too admitted for treatment of almost similar savage rape in the next room. Even while protests of students and political workers were going on for 5-6 days, three more rape cases involving minors came to light in Delhi. Accused Pradeep has criminal antecedents, according to the police. He had robbed a Patna restaurant where he was working as a waiter. He was booked for this and sent to jail. He had been beaten up several times before for offences like teasing girls, stealing valuables and snatching mobile phones. Manoj was a loafer since childhood; that was why his family had driven him out of the house. He was a drop-out after eighth class. The increasing incidence of rapes calls for a deep study by sociologists to find out causes of such horrendous crimes.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
WHAT BJP LEADERS SAY IN Congress is in upbeat mood and despite the irritants, it could not have asked for a better political context. It is expected to get clear majority if the dissidents did not harm its prospects much. While BJP leaders publicly say that Jagdish Shettar would again form the government, but in private they agree that it would be difficult to cross the mark of 60 in the house of 230.
Congress Viceâ€“President Rahul Gandhi and state leader Siddaramaiah during an election campign rally for Karnataka assembly election at Ilkal town in Bagalkot in Karnataka
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PRIVATE IN KARNATAKA? By Uma Sharma B S YEDDYURAPPA
s one drove to the BJP headquarters in Shimoga, Eshwarappa, its deputy chief minister and sitting MLA from the constituency appeared pensive. The party president, Prahlad Joshi, had just given a pep talk to the senior cadres as Eshwarappa looked on. The crease on his brow widened as a group of reporters approached him. The questions were predictable: about Yeddyurappa’s KJP and its likely impact on the BJP. This was enough for the BJP leader to lose his cool as he shouted:
Former prime minister & JD(S) president H D Devegowda addressing the media at Press Club in Bengaluru
Yeddyurappa’s party KJP’s immediate aim is to ensure some political space for itself. The party would be happy to get 10 to 15 seats despite what it may claim. Its poor show is sure as it could not get influential leaders like Murugesh Nirani, Umesh Katti and Basavaraj Bommai, to join the KJP. They remained with the BJP. “Why do you give so much importance to Yeddyurappa. Ask me about the BJP. Why are you so obsessed with the KJP?” That outburst said it all. The BJP is clearly worried about the likely impact Yeddyurappa is expected to have on its prospects. Publicly, of course, the party has been claiming that it would form the government again. It reiterates that Jagdish Shettar, a Lingayat, would remain the chief minister should the party win. In private, the leaders accept the harsh reality adding that ‘we would be happy if we can cross 60.’ The assessment is not far off the mark,
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Where did the BJP go wrong? hen the BJP rode to power in Karnataka in 2008, it marked a major landmark for the party, both in the state and the region as a whole. It was the first time the party had managed to rule a southern state. Considering that in the late 60s, as the then Jana Sangh, it had barely managed to get four seats, the journey up to the Vidhan Soudha indeed was remarkable. Predictably, it was B S Yeddyurappa, its mass leader, to whom the credit went for the party’s success considering the years of hard work that he had put in to build it. In Karnataka the BJP and Yeddyurappa had become synonymous. It was with this tag that Yeddyurappa headed the first BJP government in Karnataka in 2008, raising hopes and expectations of the people and the party--of providing a government with a difference. But, within no time, the very man who took the BJP to power in the state, successfully damaged its reputation and image, providing the most corrupt government. First, it was his attempt to mobilise the small numbers required to form a majority to run the government to add to the 110 that the party had managed. He used ‘Operation Kamal’ to engineer defections from the Janata Dal and Congress besides brazenly tapping the only too helpful independents. Here he used the financial clout of the powerful Janardan and Karunakar Reddy, the mining barons from Bellary, in his cabinet. Secondly, majority of his ministers had come under the scanner for one scam or the other relating to denotification of government land, appointments in state-run institutions and colleges and, for that matter, their escapades with women. If that was not enough a few of the legislators and ministers were even caught watching porn on their mobiles during an assembly session. This was not all. Yeddyurappa himself faced allegations relating to grant of mining leases under controversial circumstances. Even the state Lokayukta report on illegal mining indicted him in 2011. Then there were charges of denotifying government lands to benefit his kith and kin. The babus took the cue from all this even becoming brazen in demanding favours in return for providing the required basic services to the common man. Alongside his government’s notoriety, the city fathers in the IT capital showed their utter contempt for the common man, failing to provide even the basic infrastructure. Added to it were the series of revolts that the party witnessed during Yeddyurappa’s regime with the Reddy brothers from Bellary demanding their pound of flesh for the help they had provided to the BJP government in mobilising support. They started the trend of ‘resort politics’ with legislators supporting them being housed in tourist spots, if only to prevent them from being weaned away by Yeddyurappa. All because they wanted babus of their choice posted in Bellary! Ironically, the same Yeddyurappa who was driven to tears by the mining lords, himself sought to engineer a revolt against the party leadership when he was asked to resign following charges of corruption . The manner in which the central leadership of the party tackled the situation left a lot to be desired as it proved itself impotent in cracking the whip against such indiscipline. Till it was too late!! Admittedly, after Yeddyurappa’s exit from the party, the BJP did manage to provide a scam, taint-free government under Sadanand Gowda and Jagdish Shettar, even introducing the revolutionary Right to Services Act. This covered 265 government services which the babus were bound to provide within a stipulated time. Failure to do so, resulted in a fine of Rs 20 per day, up to a limit of Rs 500 with the money going to the aggrieved citizen. Nevertheless, the manner in which the leadership eased out Gowda if only to please Yeddyurappa, virtually bending backwards, did not go down well with the people. Now, of course, it is even willing to seek forgiveness of the people, claiming that in the last two years, at least, it had provided a clean government.<
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evidenced by BJP’s performance in the urban local polls that were held in March. In all the wards and town panchayats, the KJP successfully ate into BJP’s votes, in the process helping the Congress to romp home effectively. The KJP has effectively divided the Lingayat votes. And it is showing. This explains why Eshwarappa was so agitated. This correspondent’s visits to the northern districts of Karnataka,—the party won 56 of the 95 assembly seats here in 2008—also emphasise that Yeddyurappa, who led the BJP to power five years ago, is set to damage its prospects. The Lingayat dominated districts had then supported Yeddyurappa with the BJP doing well in the coastal regions too. This time the Lingayats-are confused as the Congress and the KJP have put up candidates from the community in several segments. The coastal region has added to BJP’s worries. This is because there has been a sharp increase in the sentiments against the party following the moral policing some of the outfits associated with it indulged in. Brazenly! The Christian minorities, some of whom had voted for the party earlier, are moving towards Congress. The repeated attacks on churches during BJP rule has caused deep anguish and hurt to the secular sentiments in the belt with the moderate Hindus also expressing concern. Predictably, the Congress is in an upbeat mood though the show of dissent by aspirants who did not get tickets to fight the elections, has discredited the party. Further, the claim to the chief minister’s chair by its senior leaders has not gone down well with the electorate. Despite the irritants, the Congress could not have asked for a better political context. Visits to Mysore, Mandya, Davangere and Hubli-Dharwad, for example,
From Knowledge City to Garbage City! Senior Congress leaders Dharam Singh, Ambika Soni, Jitendra Prasad and C.K. Jaffer Shariff releasing the partys manifesto for the assembly polls in Bengaluru
JD(S) supremo H D Devegowda with son and party leader H D Kumaraswamy releasing the party manifesto for the upcoming assembly elections in Bengaluru
showed that while the voters’ mood cannot be predicted, the sentiments were clearly in favour of the Congress. Another factor was that voters believed that compared to the BJP, the Congress’ high command in Sonia Gandhi remained the last word for party leaders. In the BJP there is nobody with such power and influence. That is why, as S Patil, V Katti and Ashok Shettar, all well to do farmers and land owners, for example, told the Lokayat, ‘Sonia would take the call on choosing the CM if the Congress wins and there would be no squabbles after that.’ In the race too is Deve Gowda’s JDS whose influence though is limited to the old Mysore region. Even though it has made efforts to put up candidates in north Karnataka, the fight remains between the two national parties. The JDS, however, has been assiduously working on consolidating as it does have the potential to dent Congress candidates’ prospects. As a senior JDS leader admitted, “We are bound to improve our position, exceeding the 28 seats we got in 2008”.
That is good enough for us as all indications point towards a hung assembly with the Congress becoming the largest party with about 90-100 seats. Senior KJP leaders also admit that the national party has the potential to bag at least 100 if not more seats. Here they see the possibility of playing king makers as Yeddyurappa has shown his keenness to hobnob with the Congress. More so as several CBI cases are pending against him. Helping the Congress would benefit him. For the KJP, the immediate aim is to ensure a political space for itself. The party would be happy to get 10 to 15 seats despite what it may claim. It did receive a setback following the failure of influential leaders like Murugesh Nirani, Umesh Katti and Basavaraj Bommai, to join the KJP. They remained with the BJP. Accordingly, as things stand now, the Congress is set to become the largest single party in Karnataka with at least 100 seats to its credit in a house of 224 and where the minimum requirement for forming the government is 113.<
he most common topic among the electorate is about the extent to which corruption, coupled with non governance, became a byword in the BJP ruled Karnataka. Old timers, however, point out that the Congress government under Devaraj Urs and Bangarappa, for that matter, had also faced allegations of being corrupt though in terms of degrees, the BJP proved way ahead. Bangarappa came under the scanner over the purchase of Apple Macintosh computers from Classik Computers System. The government placed orders with it for supply of 100 computers each costing Rs 5.27 lakh. The deal came under scrutiny with the CBI also being roped in. The agency claimed that over Rs 1581 crore was paid in advance with a major part of the money being misappropriated. The Devaraj Urs government in the early 70s is also said to have witnessed instances of corruption though this was not rampant. For that matter, even the SM Krishna and Dharam Singh governments between 1999 and 2006 did not escape that charge with the mining lobby in particular having allegedly benefitted. In terms of development, however, the Congress governments’ did have much to be proud of especially in the areas of land reforms and irrigation not to mention power and education. While the land reforms under Devaraj Urs brought about a major revolution in the state, chief ministers like Veerappa Moily were credited with maximising irrigation potential of the state besides developing innovative financing schemes including irrigation bonds. Besides, it was under Moily that the state introduced the Central Entrance Test system which made admissions to technical educational institutions transparent. The Congress under S M Krishna, however, provided the much needed impetus, turning Bangalore into the country’s information technology capital showing a vision which only he could. Subsequent chief ministers including party man Dharam Singh, JDS’ Kumaraswamy and Yeddyurappa found themselves inadequately equipped here. It was because of Krishna’s efforts that Bangalore began to be recognised as the knowledge hub. It is no surprise, therefore, to see that 80 per cent of world’s IT companies have their R & D centres in the city. Bangalore is also the fourth largest technology cluster in the world after the Silicon Valley, Boston and London. In contrast, the BJP government has nothing to show as its achievement, at least for the IT city. In fact, the BJP dominated city corporation turned Bangalore into a garbage city.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
SHIELDING RAWAT PUTS BAHUGUNA IN A TIZZY Harak Singh Rawat facing disqualification of the assembly membership is saved by a controversial ordinance
By Adithi Sonali
ver since Uttarakhand came into being, allegations of misgovernance have kept the state politically volatile. This time round, the state government surviving on a wafer-thin majority, appears to desperately trying to save itself by allegedly unconstitutionally bailing out its mighty agriculture minister Harak Singh Rawat who was on the verge of being disqualified from the legislature for heading three corporations in addition to his ministry, which is said to be in violation of articles 102 (1) and 191 (1) of the constitution. For the insecure chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, who has already been facing flak and dissension within the party over his misjudgements, especially after his son ignominiously lost the parliamentary by-poll, the issue is proving to be a litmus test. Sensing the fierce mood of the opposition BJP, the state government has allegedly given its unconstitutional act a constitutional cover. The state cabinet hastily passed an ordinance dropping five offices including the three Rawat had held, from the ambit of offices of profit and that too with retrospective effective, and the gover-
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Surviving on a wafer-thin margin, the Bahuguna government cannot afford to lose an assembly member of the party and has tried to save his membership by bringing an ordinance…. nor Aziz Qureshi did waste no time in giving his seal of approval. The corporations to be thus exempted are–Tarai Seeds Development Corporation, Seeds Certification Corporation, Uttarakhand Purva Sainik Kalyan Nigam Ltd, and Punjab and Urdu academies. First three are headed by Rawat who however,
Current strength of parties in the assembly Indian National Congress
Bharatiya Janata Party
Bahujan Samaj Party
Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P)
said that being the agriculture minister he was entitled to head departments coming under his ministry and the question of holding two offices of profit does not apply here. Waging a war against the move of the govern-
ment, former BJP chief minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank and opposition leader Ajay Bhatt are now threatening to knock the door of the Uttarakhand High Court demanding sacking of the minister and declaring the ordinance unconstitutional. They argue, when the government was itself saying the offices chaired by the minister did not fall into the category of offices of profit, then why it brought an ordinance like this. Experts say the government is entitled to promulgate an ordinance. However, that should be in matters of public interest and that too in special circumstances. But the present move appears to be clearly intended to save the minister Rawat as the ordinance has been drafted with retrospective effect to keep the corporations out of the ambit of offices of profit from the dates they came into existence. The move is necessitated by the survival instinct of the fragile government. Sources told Lokayat that Rawat, who was a strong contender for the chief ministership, but could not convince the high command in Delhi, holds good sway in state politics and can easily influence around a dozen MLAs, posing a threat to the government. Bahuguna indeed can’t afford to annoy him.<
STABILITY OF THIRD FRONT IN DOUBT By Lokayat Correspondent
espite their differences on almost all issues, the ruling Congress and the main opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), do agree on one, that the third front, formed by the Hisar MP Kuldeep Bishnoi's Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) and Bhartiya Janta Party in Haryana, would emerge as a threat to them in the next year's assembly elections. Portrayed as weak, opportunistic and signifying a marriage of convenience by many, the HJC-BJP combine got some real boost after the INLD supremo Om Parkash Chautala and his MLA son, Ajay Chautala were jailed in the junior basic teacher recruitment scam. Its proponents argue that apart from providing an alternative to the side-lined non-Jat communities, the alliance can be the main beneficiary of the leadership crisis in the main opposition INLD and the antiincumbency factor against the Congress for being in power in the state and the centre for the past 10 years. To rule out future discord on power sharing, the alliance has formalised various terms, according to which, the BJP would contest eight of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state, leaving two seats for the HJC. In the Assembly elections, both parties would contest 45 seats each and the post of chief minister would remain for two-and-half-years with each party. The HJC would get the first opportunity to occupy the top post though a section of BJP leaders resent this condition. The biggest question that the alliance keeps facing repeatedly is whether the two parties will remain partners till the election or after it. As
Theoretically the Haryana Janhit Congressâ€”BJP alliance is on the sound footing but many political observers believe its stability is unpredictable in the wake of differences among national leaders of the BJP about its utility for the government formation at the centre in 2014.
INLD have been part of BJP-led NDA and the party chief, senior Chautala, enjoys good rapport with senior leaders of the saffron party and even the NDA partners, there are doubts about its survival for its cherished duration. There are several reasons to think so. First, the alliance despite several factors in its favour does not have a track record of mass base in the state. During the last assembly elections of 2009 the its combined vote share was only 16 percent. In a scenario, when the two main parties falling short of the majority mark, the BJP will still find lucrative to join hands with the INLD to prevent Congress from forming government for the third successive time at the centre. To oust the Congress-led
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) from power at the Centre remains BJP's main goal. It cannot afford to maintain distance doggedly from an old ally INLD who can help NDA inch closer to majority mark. There is already a feeling in the state party that BJP president Rajnath Singh favours alliance with the INLD in Haryana even as a section of party leaders including Arun Jaitley prefer to stick to the alliance with the HJC. The only hiccup the BJP may have over joining hands with the INLD before elections is that the latter's top leaders are in jail for corruption while saffron party wants to retain its main poll plank mega corruption cases of the UPA.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
BHULLAR CASE EXPOSES PUNJAB PARTIES Politics as practised by Indian parties is routinely fickle and opportunistic. How come a political party which four years ago had termed Bhullar a hardened terrorist, is campaigning vigorously to seek remission of his death sentence. Even Congress is doing the same, forgetting that he was awarded the death sentence in connection with killing 9 innocent persons by an attack on the youth congress leader Maninderjit Singh Bitta. And the BJP which had demanded that there should be no leniency towards terrorists is mum on its alliance partner’s stand. Every party is taking cover behind the need to maintain communal harmony. So this is how the country’s political parties think they can combat terrorism in the country.
By Jyoti Thakur
he final rejection of Devinder Singh Bhullar’s mercy petition by the Supreme Court put the Parkash Singh Badal government in a tight spot with the Shiromani Akali Dal forced to do all it can to save the former Khalistan Liberation Force terrorist who is to be hanged for his role in the 1993 bomb attack on Maninderjit Singh Bitta, the then Youth Congress president. Bitta survived the attack in which nine people were killed.
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What made the situation ridiculous for the Badal government is the fact that it had termed the same man in the past as ‘hardened and experienced criminal’. The implications of Bhullar’s hanging on the Sikh votes seem to have forced the SAD from taking an about-turn in the case as the Panthic agenda remains supreme for Akalis. Since the opposition Congress' grip on its traditional vote bank consisting of urban Hindus and Dalits is getting stronger, it became imperative for the SAD to be seen as standing up for a Sikh cause to salvage its own votes.
Therefore no wonder, the ruling party launched a spirited campaign to save Bhullar from the gallows by pleading his case with the president, prime minister and home minister. While doing so the party cited ‘national interest’ and the impact Bhullar's hanging may have on the hard earned peace and harmony in Punjab. Similar arguments were given in the case of Afzal Guru also. It is well known that in 2009, Badal government had refused a request to shift him from Tihar jail (Delhi) to a jail in Punjab, citing security reasons. Bhullar’s counsel had
PUNJAB petitioned the court, saying his client was dying a ‘slow death’ in the small cell in which he was confined in Tihar. Again in the same year, through an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court in a case involving the present director-general of police Sumedh Singh Saini, Akalis government had called Bhullar a ‘hardcore and an experienced criminal’. Bhullar was accused of bomb attack on Saini in August 1991, but was later acquitted in the case. Curiously, after the attack on Saini, Bhullar’s father, maternal uncle and two cousins were picked up by the police. The first two are missing till date and are believed to have been killed. The two cousins did return after suffering alleged severe torture--one’s leg had to be amputated. Bhullar’s sympathisers allege that the illegal police action in this case had turned him into a terrorist, who planned subsequent attacks to seek revenge. People cite one more act of the Badal government: a Central Bureau of Investigation enquiry ordered against Saini, over the missing status of Bhullar’s father and uncle, was quashed by the Supreme Court in 2011 on the basis of Badal government's affidavit which said ‘hard-core and experienced criminals’ like Bhullar are likely to misuse such CBI enquiry for ‘victimisation of dedicated police officers’. Saini is a highly decorated police officer for his anti-terrorism operations and Badal government last year superseded five police officers to make him the DGP even as Khalistani elements in India and abroad resented the move. The chief minister Badal now denies having knowledge of the above affidavit and refuses to go into the allegations against Saini saying ‘several things happened at that time and what can be done now’ in such ‘old
cases’. ‘I don't have any knowledge of this affidavit and what was written in it. Our stand is clear, we want to save Bhullar,’ he said. The SAD defends the affidavit in the Saini case saying it was a part of a ‘routine police exercise’ and there was no politics in it. So is the lure of Sikh votes that even the Congress also wants Bhullar’s punishment commuted to life with former party chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, reportedly pleading his case with Congress chief Ms Sonia Gandhi and citing the sensitivity of the matter in the state. The state Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa accuses Badal of shedding ‘crocodile tears’ on the Bhullar issue and pretending to be a well-wisher of the Sikh community to achieve his narrow political gains. He appealed to the people of Punjab to be vary of double standards of Badal, who was merely playing to the gallery to get political mileage. To SAD's relief, and political observers’ surprise, alliance partner the BJP didn't question the Akali party's stand despite demanding no leniency towards terrorists. But saffron party leaders avoid saying too much on the issue as it may pit them against the Akali Dal. ‘SAD and BJP are two different parties. We share common viewpoints on a number of issues. But over certain issues, they (SAD) have their own view and we have our own. We should respect each other's view,’ the Punjab BJP chief Kamal Sharma gave a lame defence. It may be noted that the ties between the two had remained intact on the issue of Balwant Singh Rajoana also last year, when the Badals met the then president Pratibha Patil on March 28, 2012, to seek clemency for the militant.<
A Brief History of Bhullar September, 1993: Devinder Singh Bhullar, a member of Khalistan Liberation Force, triggered a bomb blast in Delhi which killed nine people and injured 25 others, including then Youth Congress president MS Bitta. December, 1994: While trying to escape to Canada via Germany, he was caught at Frankfurt airport with a fake passport in December 1994. January, 1995: He applied for asylum in Germany. But, turning down his request, Germany deported him to India in January 1995. October, 1997: A Frankfurt court termed the deportation illegal under German law, which prohibited deportation of someone facing the death penalty in the receiving country. August, 2001: TADA court convicted and sentenced Bhullar to death. March 26, 2002: Supreme Court dismissed Bhullar's plea against his conviction and sentence. December 17, 2002: Apex court dismissed Bhullar's review petition also. January 14, 2003: Bhullar files mercy petition to the President. March 12, 2003: SC dismisses Bhullar's curative petition. May 25, 2011: The kind-hearted president Pratibha Patil rejected Bhullar's mercy plea. He, thereafter, moves SC seeking commutation of his death sentence to life term on the ground of delay in rejection of his mercy plea. April 12, 2013: SC dismisses Bhullar's plea also for commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment.
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
CONGRESS GETS NEW CHIEF VIRBHADRA-BAITER, SUKHU GETS THE CHARGE By Lokayat Correspondent
s the Congress vicepresident Rahul Gandhi is bringing the young leadership at the forefront of party politics with a long-term plan to strengthen the organisation, it was no surprise that 48-year-old Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu was given preference for the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee chief's post ahead of several much senior contenders. A two-time former MLA from Naduan constituency from previous chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's home district Hamirpur, Sukhu is not a new face in the state politics. He had all through been a man of the organisation. Sukhu led the Himachal Pradesh Youth Congress for nearly 10 years from 1998 and the state National Students Union of India for six years from 1989. But by his own admission, Sukhu himself was surprised to have got the top job as he unexpectedly lost last year's assembly election and was not expecting the elevation following the defeat. But the rise came after the fall in this case. A known Virbhadra-baiter, Sukhu is currently considered close to the chief minister’s bete noire in state politics, Union commerce minister Anand Sharma. He was a long-time loyalist of veteran leader Vidya Stokes when she had taken on Virbhadra Singh over the years. But to ensure her victory in last assembly elections, she
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Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu
patched up with Singh and is now a minister in the Congress government. Sukhu’s politics had always been anti-Virbhadra. He refused to accept chairmanship under Virbhadra’s previous tenure as chief minister as mark of protest against the veteran's move to appoint some first time MLAs
as chief parliamentary secretaries. It is this anti-Virbhadra stance that is believed to have brought him closer to union minister Sharma following Stokes' patch up with current chief minister. Therefore, apart from his age and organisational experience which put him in good stead with Rahul
HIMACHAL Gandhi, being in Sharma's camp also helped him get the chief's post. This apart, he has good rapport with AICC general secretary Birender Singh Chaudhary who is in charge of state party affairs and whose word matters to the high command. Sukhu got the job despite the fact that Virbhadra was keen to get the post for his loyalist former MP, Chander Kumar. Some observers say the Congress high command preferred Sukhu because they wanted to keep a check on Virbhadra who resorted to pressure tactics on the eve of 2012 assembly elections to get PCC chief's post to his guy, projecting himself as the CM candidate and ensure full say in selection of election candidates. The party does not want this to happen again as the 2014 elections draw nearer. Despite his organisational experience of having headed NSUI and Youth Congress in the state, it would be a tight rope walk for him in his new avatar as he comes from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s stronghold, Hamirpur. He will have to take on former chief minister Dhumal and his two-time MP son Anurag Thakur in Hamirpur. As he now has the responsibility to make the party organisation fighting fit for the general election next year, many of his Congress seniors are keeping an eye on his strategies for these crucial elections. The new PCC chief's real test will start when he undertakes the exercise to revamp the organisation as maintaining a balance in a faction-ridden party and taking care of conflicting interests of senior leaders will not be easy.<
Rajnath’s new team: Celebrations for Dhumal as Shanta is out Anurag Thakur
enior most BJP leader in Himachal Pradesh, Shanta Kumar, 78, has been party’s face in the hill state for decades. But his omission from the new BJP team headed by new president Rajnath Singh was on expected lines. Even worse for Shanta who was dropped as vice president, Anurag Thakur, son of his political adversary Prem Kumar Dhumal, was retained as Yuva Morcha chief. Anurag’s continuance along with the induction of party general secretary, JP Nadda, in the central election committee indicated ‘generational change’ being effected in the hill state keeping in view the 2014 poll and after. Factional feud, between Shanta and Dhumal camps, damaged party’s prospects in the last assembly elections but Shanta known for his clean image, appears to have paid a bigger price for it. After all, he was an important member of former national BJP president Nitin Gadkari’s team and was given charge of politically significant states like Bihar, Karnataka and Punjab. But Shanta had become an irritant within the BJP for his plain-speak against corruption and nepotism, especially a few months before assembly elections which the party lost narrowly to the Congress. Moreover, candidates preferred by Shanta in his home district Kangra suffered defeats. The party could win only three of 15 seats there. As the Dhumal camp had already marginalised him, Shanta perhaps had realised that his days of active politics are over and had already declared publicly that he will not contest any election in the future. Except for just taking a stand for a few of his loyalists in his home district Kangra during the previous BJP government, Shanta generally remained indifferent to the party affairs. A big group of his supporters left the BJP last year and floated the Himachal Lokhit Party, which also dented electoral fortunes of the BJP. For the record, Shanta -- whose term as Rajya Sabha member will end in April 2014 -- maintains that he wanted to serve the party as a worker instead of holding a senior post and he had no regret that he was not given any post in Rajnath’s new team. With Shanta’s ouster, the Himachal BJP has become virtually unipolar with no rival group or leader left to challenge Dhumal. His supporters have reasons to celebrate!<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
By Ratan Mani Lal
ok Sabha election is the flavour of this political summer in Uttar Pradesh, probably more than in other states. The ruling Samajwadi Party would like to establish its supremacy in the state to an extent that it becomes imperative for any party to seek its support in formation of the next government at the centre, while its now-on, now-off Congress ally is banking heavily on the magic mantra of Gandhi family saving it from sudden death by the rumoured pitting of Priyanka Gandhi from Rae Bareli. But it is the Bahujan Samaj Party headed by former chief minister Mayawati that is trying the hardest to emerge on top as the only political alternative to the SP in the state, and also to win as many seats as possible to emerge the kingmaker in the next government formation at the centre. The party has not only taken the lead in announcing its candidates for the general election; it is also trying hard to bring back estranged compatriots. It has opened the ceremonial door and is cordially inviting all those who were once humiliated and kicked out. ‘Change of heart’ and ‘belonging to the same family’ are the words of welcome written on the come-back arches, but essentially it is the winnability of ex-partymen that is forcing the party leadership to take a u-turn. Since the BSP leaders’ desire is to emerge as the biggest gainer in the election, even return of difficult old players is okay. The funny part of this realpolitik is that those ousted from the party on charges of corruption or criminal activities are set to play a bigger role in the party by upgrading them from the level of an MLA to become an MP by contesting the 2014 elections. Among those who came back into the party are R K Chaudhary and Rakesh Dhar Tripathi. Chaudhary was an old associate of the Dalit movement and a compatriot of Kanshi Ram, but he had fallen foul of
Charisma of Gandhi family is rumoured to be resurrected with the pitting of Priyanka Gandhi from Rae Bareli
ELECTION SPICE IN POLITICAL SUMMER OF UTTAR PRADESH The existential necessity of retaining SP support for the survival of UPA government at the centre is the only reason that prevents the Congress from hitting the streets in UP against the failures of Akhilesh government on several fronts despite the state being electorally most important for it to return to power for the third time. The BJP’s response is also weak for other reasons. Naturally it is advantage BSP whose leaders are shriller in their criticism of every lapse of the government. And the public seems impressed…. 30
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UTTAR PRADESH Mayawati when she found him getting too big and ambitious. Despite being one of the most powerful ministers in the first BSP government in 1995 he was ousted by Mayawati in 2001. But 12 years later, he has merged his outfit Rashtriya Swabhiman Party into the BSP at a rally on April 23. He is likely to contest the Lok Sabha election as a BSP candidate from Mohanlalganj in Lucknow district. Former higher education minister Rakesh Dhar Tripathi came back to the BSP-fold in January. It is learnt that he may get the BSP ticket from Pratapgarh. Another former minister in the BSP government, Anis Ahmad Khan alias Phool Babu, has also come back to the BSP and he is likely to contest from Pilibhit. Several MLAs too are reported to be ready to return to the BSP. Jitendra Singh Babloo from Bikapur seat in Faizabad and Rakesh Goswami from Mahoba have already come back. Incidentally, it was an extraordinary spectacle in contemporary politics to see at the fag- end of the BSP rule when as many as 21 ministers were dismissed or expelled from the party on various charges, including corruption, conviction by Lokayukta, defiance of party leadership and popular unrest against them. These included Fateh Bahadur Singh, Sadal Prasad, Anis Khan, Islam Ansari, Rakesh Dhar Tripathi, Rajpal Tyagi, Avadhesh Kumar Verma, Hari Om, Akbar Hussain, Yashpal Singh, Rajesh Tripathi, Rangnath Mishra, Avadhpal Singh Yadav, Badshah Singh, Ratan Lal Ahirwar, Anand Sen and Jamuna Prasad Nishad. In early 2011, two senior ministers Babu Singh Kushwaha and Anant Kumar Mishra were dismissed for their alleged involvement in the National Rural Health Mission scam and murder of two chief medical officers. The sacking spree came only just before the election while throughout her rule Maya vehemently controverted any wrongdoing or corruption on her part or on the part of her ministers or party leaders. As for other parties, prior to the 2012 Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh the Samajwadi Party had re-inducted the Rampur stalwart Mohammad Azam
Khan. He had moved away from SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav over the latter’s proximity to Amar Singh and Jayaprada which Khan resented. His comeback paid rich dividends with the Muslim community rooting again for the SP, giving it an unprecedented majority. In the case of the BJP the big comeback is that of former chief minister Kalyan Singh. The architect of the
Khurshid, R P N Singh and the National SC/ST Commission chairman P L Punia, party leaders Rita Bahuguna, legislative party leader Pramod Tiwari, Jagdambika Pal and the UPCC president Nirmal Khatri are seasoned and capable leaders. Yet, the party has failed to position itself as the main challenger to the SP, despite the growing dissatisfaction among people over the SP government’s failure on
Maya woos Brahmins by tickets
Mayawati is out to take advantage of the failures of Akhilesh government and by playing her cards astutely
he Congress is ruffled by political moves of Mayawati as is evident from the recent statement of a senior Congress leader and member of the AICC, Lav Bhargava who lambasted her decision to distribute 50 per cent tickets to Brahmins in the latest list of 36 party candidates for the general elections. He dubbed the decision as ‘nothing short of chicanery’ as Mayawati has been continuously lobbying for reversal of the Supreme Court decision on reservation for SC and ST in promotions through Parliament’s intervention, which would negatively impact the Brahmins along with other higher caste communities and OBCs. He congratulated Mulayam Singh Yadav for his firm stand on this issue when he objected tooth and nail to any reversal of Supreme Court order declaring reservation in promotions as illegal. His stand on this issue has endeared him to higher castes. <
Ayodhya demolition of December 1992 has been in and out of the party on two occasions and now is back again hopefully for good; even though his formal induction into the party is delayed for inexplicable reasons. The Congress has a plethora of ‘great’ leaders who have been with the party for long, and yet their presence did not make any difference to its fortunes in either the Lok Sabha election of 2009 or the Assembly election of 2012. Stalwarts such as Beni Prasad Verma, Shri Prakash Jaiswal, Salman
many fronts including law and order. Beni Prasad Verma did try to raise a storm whipping up sentiments against Mulayam, but was restrained by the party fearing a backlash from the SP whose support is crucial for the survival of the UPA government. Jaiswal’s antics of staging a dharna in Kanpur failed to cut much ice with the people, and Salman Khurshid has been avoiding UP since the fracas with Arvind Kejriwal over the alleged misuse of funds by his wife’s trust.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
PARTY WORKERS DOUBLE WOULD HAVE M A SAY : RAHUL
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi with union minister of state Jyotiraditya Scindia on his arrival in Mohankheda near Dhar in Madhya Pradesh
Rahul Gandhi is relentless in his mission to root out factionalism, neglect of workers and sabotage during elections. He is in the process of announcing candidates by July-end and wants to ensure that workers do get enough say in their selection…. By Chandrakant Naidu
ome home truths were driven home effectively during Congress vicepresident Rahul
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Gandhi’s two-day visit to Madhya Pradesh in April-end. The party hopes to draw some positives from the exercise and use the next six months to put up a strong show in the assembly elections scheduled in November.
adhya Pradesh chief minister Shiv‑ araj Singh Chouhan seemed to be in a cruise mode just couple of weeks ago. The party hierarchy seemed so supportive and adversaries in the state were either lying low or were taken care of. However, the reconstituted central parliamentary board of the party under Rajnath Singh has jolted him. The rivals in the state whom he had successfully kept off or shown the door, have bounced back just at a time when he was gearing up for a tough election that lies six months ahead. As if this was not enough, Shivraj who was being touted to be a certainty in the CPB has missed the bus because the new star on the horizon Narendra Modi who wanted his trusted aide, Amit Shah, by his side nixed his chances. Both Uma Bharti and Prabhat Jha who have scores to settle with Chouhan are in decisive positions in the board. Both got a rousing reception on their return to the state after assuming charge of their new positions. Photographs of former chief minister Uma Bharti reaching the state party headquarter after nearly eight years and getting a bear hug from Chouhan caught the discerning readersʼ eye. But most viewers were aware that the hugs were meant for photographersʼ consumption, considering it was Chouhan who had forced the central leadership to delay Bhartiʼs re‑induction in the party and pre‑ vented her from dabbling in the state affairs. Jhaʼs unceremonious ouster as the state party president was too recent to be forgotten.
At the end of the brief but muchanticipated visit Rahul made it amply clear that he could be hands on with the party affairs in the poll-bound state without compromising on internal democracy. If a stern message needed to be passed on the persisting bickering and factionalism in the
WHAMMY ON SHIVRAJ
Chouhan within the BJP is challenging the muchtouted Modi model of development by showcasing his own which he says is more directed to take care of disadvantaged sections of the society...He for the past some months is announcing numerous schemes for them...
To compound the matters Chouhan cast his weight around the leadership of L K Advani, there‑ by giving expression to his reserva‑ tions about Modiʼs development model. In a recent tweet Chouhan said, ʻHigh growth and accelerated investments have no meaning unless the benefit reaches the poorest in the society.ʼ Advani and Sushma Swaraj, who make no secret of their disap‑ proval of Modi's prime ministerial candidature, are lavish in praising Chouhan. The new equations would test Chouhanʼs political acu‑ men. The other challenges lie on the administrative front. Chouhan who has been cultivating all strug‑ gling castes and other weaker sec‑ tions with liberal sops to rush through his model of growth in
the election year has been restrained by the State High Court. The Jabalpur High Court bench of acting Chief Justice KK Lahoti and Justice MA Siddiqui restrained diverting of funds for holding Mazdoor Maha Panchayat that Chouhan was to address on April 28. The state government had asked MP Building and Other Construction Welfare Board secre‑ tary to divert funds of the Board to organise a congregation of the labourers. On hearing the petition‑ ers who contended that it was being done against the book as the state government could use the funds only for the welfare of the labourers the court issued notices on the State government and the Board's secretary. Chouhan, however, went ahead
with the Panchayat and announced that his government would constitute the chief minister labour housing scheme to provide dwellings to them and start a pen‑ sion scheme for the registered labourers in the state. In the first phase, the state government will construct 10,000 houses for labour‑ ers in urban areas. Chouhan had addressed more than 30 such congregations to connect with people, like rickshaw pullers, domestic help, washer men and cobblers. With the polls just 6 months away, he was liberally dis‑ tributing largesse. The Chouhan government earlier tried to woo the poor by promising to provide poor families wheat at Rs.1 per kg and rice at Rs.2 per kg. This move targeted 3.5 crore beneficiaries.<
state unit Rahul did that by warning the leaders to sink their differences or face the consequences. It would be too early to judge if the party stands galvanised right away. The workers’ response at the first leg of the interactive sessions at the Jain
pilgrimage in Mohankhera in northwestern part of the state and at the subsequent meeting at Bhopal, certainly infused new hope among the cadre. So intense was the introspection that some party workers felt it
bordered on self-condemnation. Gandhi’s focus was on three main problems plaguing the party — factionalism, neglect of party workers and sabotage during the elections. He assured the party-men that the ordinary workers would have a substantial say
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi being welcomed by AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh during his arrival in Bhopal
in nomination of candidates which would be completed by July-end, giving the party and the contestants at least three months to marshal their forces. Workers openly registered their protest during the interaction with the leader. They bluntly said that egoclashes among the senior leaders had demoralised workers at the grass-root level. Some party workers raised slogans in support of the union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia suggesting that he should be asked to lead the party in the elections. The supporters of the other satraps were not to be left behind. They too raised counter slogans. Gandhi’s disapproval of such oneupmanship came in the oblique reference to senior leaders. He said, ‘No matter how senior or popular the leader is, he would be taken to task if found indulging in factionalism at the
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cost of party.’ ‘Would you prefer five or seven leaders deciding tickets behind closed doors or would you want a wider consultation? Should five leaders decide the fate of 7.5 cr people?’, he asked party delegates from Lok Sabha
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi receives prasad after offering prayers at Jain Temple in Mohankheda near Dhar in Madhya Pradesh
constituencies at a function in Bhopal. He said the district and block presidents would be completely involved in the selection of party nominees. ‘Why should there be parachute-dropping of the leaders?’ he asked. The tickets should be decided in Bhopal and not in Delhi. He cited the example of Kerala and Assam where the aspirants for Assembly or Lok Sabha tickets have to first win the elections to the local bodies. He said the party workers were so particular about it that they had overruled him too. He tried to infuse some confidence among the grass-root workers by suggesting that the district unit president should be so powerful that if he removed some member for antiparty activity, his word should be final. Some workers were asked what should be the reward for the DCC president who ensures the victory of party candidates in all eight assembly segments of a Lok Sabha constituency. When they suggested that he should be given parliamentary ticket, Gandhi countered by asking why should he be expected to give up on the powerful post of the district president. As of now the Congress organisational setup hardly presents a cohesive look. The union minister Kamal Nath has not visited the state party headquarters at Bhopal for the past four years. His supporters are never tired of criticising the PCC president Kantilal Bhuria. Leaders like union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, the former PCC chief Suresh Pachauri and leader of the opposition in the state assembly would want to ensure that most of their supporters were included in the candidates’ lists. The turf war for such support is not unexpected. But what has angered the workers most is the tendency of some leaders to undercut each other’s candidates and seeking the ruling party’s support to feather their own nest. Rahul Gandhi has been quick to notice it and speak about it because this was the bane of the party in Uttar Pradesh too.<
BATTLE OF YATRAS
Rajasthan BJP president and former chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia addressing people during Suraj Sankalp Yatra at Railmagra near Rajsamand
By Lokayat Correspondent
t is a season of yatras in Rajasthan. Sandesh Yatra of the Congress party and Suraj Sankalp Yatra of the BJP are major ones! The latter is precisely of Vasundhara Raje’s. A decade ago, she embarked on a Parivartan Yatra that led her to a historic victory in Rajasthan. Now as a leader of opposition in Rajasthan assembly, she by her Suraj Sankalp Yatra wants to repeat history. This time, the call is not for just change of government, but also to pledge good governance if she wins. Seeing the magic of Raje’s previous yatra, the Congress party also decided to try the yatra formula this time. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot launched the Sandesh Yatra on March 30 from the tribal dominated areas of Banswara and Dungarpur district. The chief minister along with PCC chief Dr Chandrabhan travelled to different parts of the state to addressing public meetings in nearly 28 constituencies. Raje, in her usual signature style, started her Yatra from the Chaarbhuja temple in Rajsamand district from April 4, in a state- of-the-art Rath (vehicle).
It’s Yatras galore in Rajasthan as the elections for the assembly are just a few months away. The Congress and BJP Yatras have resulted into a war of recrimination, mudslinging, allegations and counter allegations. The blistering sun has only added to the heated war of words.
Her yatra has already entered the second phase after completing the first one in Mewar region. She is covering parts of Hadoti now, the region both she and her son Dushyant Singh represent in the assembly and Lok Sabha respectively. Congress Sandesh Yatra has just concluded its last and fourth phase. Interestingly, both the parties chose almost the same time for their Yatras. The obvious result was a war of recrimination. As the yatras picked up momentum so did mud-slinging and flurry of allegations and counter allegations. The blistering sun only added to the heated war of words. While Gehlot continuously focused on his tirade against Raje, she consistently paid back by highlighting the issues of poor governance during his regime. While both the parties are claiming an overwhelming response, Raje seems to have an edge when it comes to displaying oratorial skills. And sometimes being in opposition becomes a virtue! Her Suraj Sankalp Yatra is not a replica of her earlier venture—Parivartan Yatra—when she successfully charmed the voters, particularly, women with her regional outfits and finery. Still, her
present Yatra has a broader coverage area. She is also lucky to get other impressive speakers who have the power to mesmerise audience. In Congress, the whole burden remained on the shoulder of chief minister himself. While the chief minister is on the foundation stone laying spree, unveiling schemes and offering generous free schemes to the poor—free medicines, free check-up, food grains at throwaway prices, Raje had the advantage of reaching out to the larger audience, free from the responsibilities of being in power. Though Congress Sandesh Yatra was bereft of a Rath—high tech or ordinary— the chief of the newly launched National people’s Party’s chief Kirori Lal Meena, an independent MP from Dausa Lok Sabha seat is all set to garner support for himself with a fashionable vehicle and intermittent yatras in helicopter. The dissident BJP senior leader Ghanshyam Tiwari is also trying to find solace in his Dev Darshan Yatra. The yatra contagion has indeed spread as elections are only a few months away.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
IMAGE MAKEOVER ATTEMPTS OF
COMPULSORY RETIRED JUDGES SEEK JUSTICE Judiciary in Chhattisgarh has always been on the receiving end from public and politicians alike. The acute shortage of judges not only delayed justice delivery to those who came to seek relief through courts, but number of cases especially in the lower judiciary kept on mounting year after year. The corruption was yet another malady. A few years ago when 17 sessionâ€™s judges were compulsorily retired, some people described it as a remedy, while others said the remedy was worse than the disease and judges were victims of deeprooted social discrimination, which continues in independent India even now. The judges, finally, are trying to retrieve their honour through Chhattisgarh high court. Meanwhile the new chief justice Arvind Singh has taken a slew of positive measures that may result in over-all image makeover of the judicial system in the state.
| LOKAYAT MAY, 2013
By MK Tiwari
hhattisgarh High Court is in the process of trailing a new blaze. The present chief justice Yatindra Singh has taken several initiatives which people in the know say would change the over-all image of the judiciary in Chhattisgarh. The High Court is young, only 13 years old as it had come into being in 2000 along with the formation of the Chhattisgarh state with Justice R S Garg as its executive chief justice. Nearly a month later Justice W A Shishak, hailing from the North East, was designated as the first chief justice of this High Court. Then, several judicial limelights including Justices ASV Murthy, KHN Kuranga, SR Nayak, AK Patnaik, HL Dattu, Jagdish Bhalla, Rajeev Gupta and now incumbent Justice Yatindra Singh took over the leadership role. They were all men of learning and fine judicial brains, but none till Singh became the chief justice, cared much for the lower judiciaryâ€”which is elemental in the justice delivery to masses. If functioning of lower judiciary is robust, litigants get the true benefit, and ultimately the people. There is no dearth of people who have ideas and vision, but few have the resolve to implement them and care for their timely execution. Luckily for the judicial system of the state
CHIEF JUSTICE YATINDRA SINGH
Justice Yatindra Singh, the chief justice
Justice Yatindra Singh is showing resolve and enthusiasm both to change the shabby image of the judicial system of the state. His style of functioning is characterised by time-bound execution of works. He has sent across the message to all concerned to ensure speedy proceedings in the court. One of his bold moves was to start evening courts. To refurbish the image of the judiciary in the state he has made the declaration of the properties, moneys and assets of judges compulsory. With these along with other slew of measures that are being taken, Chhattisgarh High Court is hoping to ascend higher in the rank of high performing High Courts in the country. Facilities for the judicial and non-judicial staff remain at the core of the set of conditions that can ensure that everybody function with dedication and sincerity. So he has issued orders to bring speed in constructing residences of the court employees. They are being constructed just 2 km away from the High Court premises.
Will he act to fill up vacant positions? The judicial system in the state is plagued like other states with the paucity of judges. It is hoped that he would pay attention to this malady also and issue an order to recruit district judges to the vacant posts so that mounting number of court cases can be taken care of. Every advocate and judge knows that during the decade there has been stupendous increase in the number of pending cases. Clamour of shortage of judges all round is quite old. And amidst demand of increasing strength of judges, suddenly people came to know that 17 additional sessions’ judges have been sent home on compulsory retirement. The order came during the tenure of chief justice Rajeev Gupta in March, 2009. Many recall how initially it was an oral order for judges to stop functioning with immediate effect. This was hailed by many as a right remedy to weed out black sheep, but later people felt the
remedy turned our worse than the disease. Many say that the judges might be victims of the social discrimination prevalent deep-rooted in Indian, especially among elites. Others said they were victims of the inefficient screening system which does not weed out personal biases and egos. Out of the 17 judges, affected by the order, 13 were from STs, 3 from SCs and one from general category. Many cite the Civil Services Act that the judges who had attained the age of 58 years can’t be given compulsory retirement, but such judges were also included in this list. Justice Lakhan Singh and Justice Khagendra Singh were among them. The action against them was taken on the basis of annual confidential report (ACR) which had given them ‘D’ rating. It was argued that ‘D’ meant they were average, but the grade did not imply any adverse aspersion against them. ‘A’ is given for the best performance, ‘B’ to very good and C to good performers.
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
The list of the judges given compulsory retirement in March, 2009 1.
age around 59
V N Pandey
age around 50
age around 55
age around 55
age around 56
age around 57
age around 50
age around 52
age around 55
age around 52
age around 58
Ravi Shankar Soy
age around 55
age around 57
Lochan Singh Thakur
age around 53
age around 55
age around 53
age around 54
Chief justices of Chhattisgarh High Court 1. Executive chief justice
from November 1, 2000
2. First chief justice
from December 4, 2000
3. Chief justice
from February 6, 2002
4. Chief justice
from May 28, 2004
5. Chief justice
from March 14, 2005
6. Chief justice
from November 7, 2005
7. Chief justice
from February 10, 2007
8. Chief justice
from May 19, 2007
9. Chief justice
from February, 2008
10. Incumbent chief justice
from Oct. 22, 2012 to Oct. 8, 2014.
| LOKAYAT MAY, 2013
General observation is that under the ACR system lower court judges sometimes run great risk of being undue victims of the gradation system as there remains always a chance of personal vindictiveness and ego problem. During investigation in this case it was found that a judge against whom certain adverse remarks in the ACR mentioning Lokayukta Justice L C Bhadooâ€™s observation did not meet the similar fate. The said judge was posted at Balod in district Durg during 20082009. The screening committee which recommended action against the judges, included justices Dhirendra Mishra, Sunil Sinha, Satish K Agnihotri and TP Sharma along with chief justice Rajeev Gupta. Buzz in courts still reverberate that at a time when the state was facing shortage of district session judges, forcing compulsory retirement of 13 tribal judges in a tribal dominated state and 3 judges from SC community on the basis of ACR, needs a relook. This is a sensitive issue---how to deal with under-performing judgesâ€”and how to make the system fool-proof devoid of personal and social biases. Legal experts say that it was not constitutional to challenge the decision of the screening committee, however they still say that before taking such a sweeping decision the esteemed judges in the committee should have given serious consideration to overall circumstances and issues. The affected judges appealed to the Supreme Court to get the order vacated but since petitions were not clubbed, the Supreme Court transferred them to the Chhattisgarh High Court. According to sources, affected judges expect similar relief as was accorded by the Karnataka High Court by its verdict in favour of judges in the petition no 27829/2009 of Rudra Muni Rudrappa, Bhamana Padmagh and two others. The verdict came on January 3, 2012.<
VASAN MAY LEAVE THE SHIP? Union shipping minister G K Vasan is in two minds: to remain in the ship or to jump off. No, he is not thinking of suicide. Neither is he contemplating resigning from the shipping ministry. His dilemma is whether to leave the sinking ship–that is, the UPA government–and if the answer is ‘yes’, ‘when’ he should move off. By Lokayat Correspondent
he 49-year-old minister from Tamilnadu is inherently very reserved and softspeaking but very efficient and hard working. He is down to earth and has no airs like many Congress ministers. He is averse to go hobnobbing with the prime minister or Sonia Gandhi and is not close to Rahul. So much so, he is kept out of the loop even when powers that be discuss matters in which he is involved. He resents this negligence. In the recent hullabaloo about Sri Lankan Tamils on which the DMK quit the UPA, Vasan had felt equally strongly. He told the prime minister that the least the government of India could do was to seek a shift of CHOGM (Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting) venue out of Sri Lanka, and if that was not possible, to boycott it. He also pleaded for a ban on Sri Lankans from playing IPL matches in Tamilnadu. In both cases the government seemed absolutely insensitive to Tamil feelings, but in the latter case Jayalalithaa’s
strong-arm method prevailed. Vasan met the PM again recently and urged the notification of the Kaveri Water Disputes Tribunal’s award without further delay. In all these, he got the gut feeling that he was being treated lightly, that he did not count much. It is not known if he discussed his mental agony with anybody, but those close to him could see him sulking for the last few weeks. Is he thinking of leaving the sinking ship? Is there any substance in the rumour that he is thinking of reviving the Tamil Manila Congress (TMC) by which he entered the Congress and the government? Vasan joined the Congress in 2002 after merging the TMC which his late father G K Moopanar founded when he felt slighted by Rajiv Gandhi even as he (Moopanar) was most popular as Congress general secretary. Since then Vasan has held important positions like Congress secretary, minister of state for Statistics and Programme Implementation, minister of state for Labour and Employment and from 2009 onwards cabinet minister for Shipping. In all these positions he has brought to
bear the dedication, rustic ability and integrity he inherited from his father who was an ardent follower of his mentor K Kamaraj. Like his father Vasan also had no attachment to power or position but had staunch conviction and commitment. This is what disturbs him. But it is not easy for him to go back and revive the defunct TMC. He has a large adoring crowd in Tamilnadu but how many of them will follow him to a new party? Again, he has to have an ally to fight elections. Which one? The TMC under Moopanar once fought elections in alliance with the DMK and fared exceedingly well; but now that party’s company is unthinkable. The AIADMK is the only desirable party extant, but there is no assurance that anything of the new TMC will be left once it passes the sphere of influence of the massive star. Another pertinent point to be considered is that Vasan, like his father, has not contested an election. They both reached Parliament through the Rajya Sabha door. Can he, will he do it now?<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
ODISHA TOO RESORTS TO ‘SPECIAL Seeing Bihar’s gain following Nitish Kumar’s relentless fight for a special package, Naveen Patnaik too got a unanimous resolution passed by the assembly seeking a special package from the centre. All local bodies of the state are also to pass similar resolutions. The way ‘discrimination’ card is bandied about, it seems a sure sign of elections. Yes, the state is warming up for a big-bang election campaign in 2014.
| LOKAYAT MAY, 2013
By Ashok B Sharma
ith polls looming large ahead in 2014, Odisha too is becoming a chess board of political parties. The state scene is going to be particularly exciting because along with elections to the Lok Sabha, polls to the Assembly also are to be held. Encouraged by the Congress party’s good performance in the recent polls to the three new notified area councils (NACs), the AICC Odisha in-charge Jagdish Tytler and secretary Mirza Irshad Baig have chalked out plans for energising grassroots level workers for the coming contest for 90 urban local bodies in September this year. Of the 42 wards of three new NACs –Attabira in Bargarh district, Hindol in Dhenkanal and Nuapada-- the Congress won 20, while the ruling BJD could take only 12 and the BJP four. The Congress has rightly sensed the widespread anti-incumbency feeling against the BJD government which is engulfed in a series of scams, scandals and cases of mis-governance. The outcome of the local bodies’ elections can impact polls to the state assembly. So, all parties are gearing up for the fight. In response to the Congress’ focus on youth under the determined initiatives of vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the ruling BJD has also begun alluring them with various sops under the government’s Youth Policy. Free laptops with data cards are to be doled out to about 20,000 meritorious students belonging to tribals, scheduled castes and below-the-poverty line category, apart from scholarships to
PACKAGE’ POLITICS tribal and scheduled caste girls who intend to pursue studies in technical streams. The Youth Policy lays special emphasis on young women, migrant youths, young men and women from ST, SC and minority groups, school drop-outs, unemployed youths, youths with disability and otherwise disadvantaged youths. Capacity building through education and training is an important aspect of the Youth Policy. Career counselling centres will be set up in all colleges to guide students to choose appropriate career. Mission Yuva Shakti, a new initiative under this policy, will promote SHGs (self- help groups) among the youths to explore their potential for self-employment. Biju Yuva Sashaktikaran Yojana will be extended to rural areas where youth clubs will be provided financial support up to Rs 10,000. A Sports Authority of Odisha is slated to be set up for promotion of sports. But this will bring benefits to youths in the future; about the present dismal situation, Naveen Patnaik raises the bogey of discrimination against the centre. He says the UPA government at the centre has given a raw deal to Odisha. Therefore, he himself piloted a resolution in the assembly for according Odisha a Special Category status. The resolution was unanimously adopted. The Congress too lent its support but cautioned ‘that it should not be used as a ploy’ for inaction. But, for the BJD boss it is an ace card; so he has planned a signature campaign across the state to drum up support and get the 6, 236 gram panchayats, 314 panchayat samitis and 30 zilla parishads to pass similar resolutions. In the past, two such motions were passed by the state assembly. The BJD accuses the centre of neglecting Odisha in the allocation
of funds. While an amount of Rs 12,000 crore was allocated to Bihar and Rs 4,400 crore to Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh, the poverty-stricken Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput region in Odisha was given only Rs 1,000 crore under the Backward Region Grant. Odisha had asked for a special package of Rs 4,550 crore but the centre chose to ignore. Naveen claims that the state sustained a loss of Rs 5,000 crore when the UPA government reduced allocations by the 13th Finance Commission to 4.78 percent from 5.15 percent by the previous one. The centre also delayed revision of the mineral royalty. The state lost about Rs 2,550 crore during 2012-13 due to a cut in the central budgetary support to the state. ‘This Rs 2,550 crore included Rs 600 crore as grant towards Accelerated Irrigation Benefit programme. The centre had asked us to spend the money, but it did not reimburse the amount,’ state finance minister Prasanna Acharya said. According to BJD vice-president Damodar Rout while the centre sanctioned Rs 1,000 crore to West Bengal when cyclone ‘Aila’ hit the state and gave Bihar Rs 1,200 crore to take care of the Kosi flood havoc, it did not give any special grant to Odisha to tackle damage due to floods in the state. (The Centre has, however, proposed to construct 140 cyclone shelters in the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and 155 shelters in Odisha.) Rout also charged that although the Indian Railways earned a sizeable revenue from Odisha every year, it did not spend commensurate amount for the expansion of railway network in the state. All these charges of discrimination show, the state is warming up for a big- bang poll campaign in 2014.<
Tytler is doubly happy! agdish Tytler, who is the AICC man in charge of Odisha, is happy at the turn of political developments in the state. He complimented Rajya Sabha MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra for launching the ‘Odisha Jan Morcha’ to take on the ruling BJD. Pyari Mohan has kept his options open about allying with any party to defeat the BJD. However, the BJP which was once an alliance partner of the BJD, has decided not to woo Pyari Mohan while Naveen Patnaik has made it known that he would not have anything to do with the saffron party. This news makes Tytler doubly happy because he hopes Pyari will ultimately tie-up with the Congress. Whatever the final scene, Naveen may be the loser. At present he is day-dreaming about a third front formation at the national level, though he knows that time is not yet ripe for a third alternative.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
BIHAR By Anjalika Rajlakshmi
ith an eye on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress this time embarked upon a tried and tested social engineering formula in Bihar to re-build its party structure in the state, which sends 40 Lok Sabha MPs to parliament and where the party has been almost moribund ever since Lalu Yadav took over the state way back in 1990. The party now has installed Ashok Kumar Chaudhary, a young Mahadalit leader from Passi community as the new state unit chief, giving its prospective ally Nitish Kumar, who depends substantially on Mahadalit support, a jitter. Nitish has relentlessly wooed Mahadalit community ever since he took over the reins of the state, while Chaudhary would also be eying the same political constituency to re-build the party base. Otherwise he will also meet the same fate as his predecessors. Handpicked by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, youthful 43-year-old Choudhary is said to be a desperate choice for the party after Mehboob Ali Qaiser quit as PCC chief after the 2010 Assembly poll debacle when the party could win just 4 seats in the assembly of 243. Gandhi-led team was finding it difficult to discover a proper replacement. Sources said the problem got sticky when several hopefuls with questionable commitment to the organisation, were found to be lobbying for the post, threatening to create more factions in an already fractured party structure. Those who were seen vying for the post included CWC member Shakeel Ahmed, former CLP leader Ashok Ram, former
CONGRESS ALSO EYES MAHADALITS IN BIHAR TO COUNTER
Congress High Command, in order to revive the party in Bihar, had a major task before it to choose a dynamic leader as party president in the state. Those who were seen vying for the post included CWC member Shakeel Ahmed, former CLP leader Ashok Ram, former PCC chiefs Anil Sharma, Ramjatan Sinha and former Youth Congress and NSUI president Prem Chand Mishra. But Rahul Gandhi laid his finger on a low key figure Ashok Chaudhary.
| LOKAYAT MAY, 2013
BIHAR PCC chiefs Anil Sharma, Ramjatan Sinha and former Youth Congress and NSUI president Prem Chand Mishra. Party sources feel Chaudhary’s appointment to the post is a clear indication that Rahul Gandhi is now in no mood to leave the state unit to its fate any more. Rather he is looking for a long-term solution for the party in Bihar. That is why he chose Ashok Chaudhary, son of the veteran party leader Mahavir Chaudhary, who represented the Barbigha seat in the assembly nine straight terms. Ashok was also minister of state for prisons under the Rabri Devi government from 2000 to 2004. He had won the same seat in 2000 but lost it to JD-U’s Munna Shahi in 2010. Chaudhary’s appointment is also being seen as the continuation of the drive under which young leaders are being given vital party responsibilities in different states by Rahul Gandhi, especially those belonging to the marginalised sections of the society. However, Ashok’s elevation to the post is said to have created problem of a different nature. People close to the political developments in the party confided that being close to Lalu Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan, Ashok favours an alliance with RJD and LJP, while in the wake of the next general elections, Congress wants to keep Nitish Kumar, the powerful chief minister in good humour, even Nitish’s prospect of becoming a constituent of the UPA is also being seen in the offing. Going for the Congress doesn’t appear to be smooth in either case. <
NO QUESTION OF ANY TIE-UP WITH NITISH
As long as he is with BJP: Ashok he daunting task of building Congress party organisation in Bihar has been handed over to youthful Ashok Chaudhary. In a brief talk during his visit to the Party headquarter in New Delhi early April, he told the Lokayat how he plans to accomplish this challenging job.
What challenges are there before you? Party high command wants to prepare a second line of leadership in Bihar, full of energy and vigour, which can bring about desired changes in its political fortunes. I think the most daunting task before me is to prepare functional machinery for the party right up to the booth level. You know, we have some 57,700-odd booths in the state. My first job is to form a fivemember committee for each booth across the state. I am pretty sure I shall be able to find people from NSUI and Youth Congress for this. What next? Once District, Block and Booth level committees are formed then we intend to start mass agitations across the state which would energise the party machinery and raise relevant issues… What issues during these agitations? We find that the Panchayati Raj system has not been implemented properly in states, we want empowerment to the Panchayati Raj Institutions…as this is the grass root level administrative tool, we shall be focusing on this…We shall build up pressure on the Nitish government for their empowerment… Our information is you would not succeed as senior leaders will not allow you to succeed? You are a bachcha, just 42 years old, compared to so many seniors in the party who have been sidelined? Our party has a system… everybody has to go according to the wishes of the party high command… if I have been chosen as the party president in the state, it is the decision of the high command…they have reposed faith in me… and the high command wants to prepare a second level of leadership…who can object to this goal in the party…we are committed to collective leadership pattern.. I have full confidence I shall be able to seek cooperation of all senior leaders….One thing goes in my favour… I have had functional relationships with almost all the senior leaders…I worked with all of them, no matter who…Avadhesh Sharma, Chandan Bagchi, Sadanand Singh, Vijay Shankar Dube, Ram Jatan Sinha, Anil Sinha, Prem Chandra Mishra… and others… I don’t think I would face any major problem in carrying out the task I have been obliged with. Is your party seeking some kind of tie-up with Nitish Kumar? Till such time Nitish Kumar is with the BJP, there is no question of any tie-up. If he leaves company with the BJP and shows interest to have some kind of tie-up with us, then the party’s senior leaders would take a call on the issue. So far as the current position is concerned there is neither any thought nor talk of any kind of tie-up with
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
KERALA WINS THE E-STATE A series of ultraprogressive measures are taken by the Kerala government to quickly make up the time it lost in competitive politics, bickering among coalition partners, inertial inaction and utter complacency. Some
of the thoughtful steps are unique in the country and the state may serve as a development model to others. If the expectations are fulfilled even partially, the Congress might show good performance in the next Lok Sabha elections.
| LOKAYAT MAY, 2013
By VSP Kurup
nstead of focusing on development issues and attending to people’s burning problems, particularly in the context of the unprecedented drought, the minor partners of the UDF government in Kerala are indulging in the luxury of backbiting, blowing up a minister’s family matters and undermining the stability of the UDF government by hobnobbing with the CPI (M). Mindful of the coalition’s razor-thin margin in the Assembly, the Congress has been tolerating the partners’ juvenile behaviour so far. But feeling jittery about the coming Lok Sabha poll and eager to present a united front with some solid achievements to show, the Congress warned its allies that no deviant behavior hereafter would be condoned. A particularly tantalising situation in the enemy camp has made the Congress unusually bold. The LDF is totally fractured and the CPI (M) which leads the opposition combo is itself vertically split. The CPI(M)’s official faction headed by general secretary Pinarai Vijayan and the other camp led by the veteran warhorse V S Achuthanandan and the party intellectual Thomas Isaac are engaged in a war of attrition. The central leadership watching the neverending in-fights has shown neither the
energy nor the authority to effectively intervene. Freed of the menace of any irrational opposition thus, the Congressled UDF has dusted up several key development projects the completion of which is sure to catapult the state into a high orbit. One project on which the state pins high hopes is the Smart City in Kochi the Master Plan of which has just been approved by the board of directors of its Dubai promoters on April 11. Eight buildings spread over 15 lakh square feet are to come up on 20 hectare of which 9 lakh sq ft will be reserved for Information Technology. And this is only the first phase. The second phase will follow soon after. A three-lakh sq ft structure will be ready within 18 months. The entire project is estimated to generate 90,000 quality jobs. Another project of importance, which will change Kochi’s landscape, is the Metro Rail, work on which has already begun. The 29-km project is being executed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. It is expected to solve the acute transport problems of this fastgrowing metropolis. Plans are also under way to have a monorail system installed in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram by the same agency. Kerala is already an e-state and the experience is thrilling. The repeated visits by people to government or local self-government offices for any business have become a thing of the past. An applicant for a certificate just has to submit the necessary documents through the Akshaya centre/Citizen Call Centre
AWARD which will scan and attach them with the application and forward to the department concerned. He or she will receive an SMS the moment the digitally submitted papers reach the officer. The receipt issued will mention the tentative date by which the information or certificate–whatever—can be expected. Any undue delay will invite strict penal action by the responsible officer under the Right to Information Act. The e-state transformation has shrunk Kerala into a ‘village republic’. It bagged the e-India Award 2012 for best performance and egovernance. As part of e-governance the authorities have started computerisation of all court records, and steps are being initiated to conduct court trials through video conferencing. It is expected to save a lot of money and time and avoid inconvenience to all concerned. In order to reduce backlog of cases and expedite administration of justice, the Kerala government has ordered the setting up of 27 judicial magistrate courts and 30 village courts! By the way, Kerala has passed or is in the process of enacting other powerful tools to strengthen the hands of the people, like right to education, right to food, health, and services. The right to employment is also in the pipeline. The government proposes to set up in this context an ‘Innovation Zone’ in Kochi with an initial investment of Rs 100 crore to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship. Already some remarkable success in this direction has been achieved with the ‘Business Incubation Centre’ set up in the
As part of e-governance the authorities have started computerisation of all court records, and initiated steps to conduct court trials through video conferencing. It is expected to save a lot of money and time and avoid inconvenience to all concerned. In order to reduce backlogs of cases and expedite administration of justice, the state government has ordered the setting up of 27 new judicial magistrate courts and 30 village courts.
Technopark at T’puram and the ‘Start up Village’ at Kochi. In the first phase the Innovation Zone would provide three lakh sq ft of space at nominal rates to budding entrepreneurs in specialised technology areas like microelectronics and biotechnology. By these the government aims to create five lakh jobs in the IT sector. The Technoparks, Infoparks and Cyberparks coming up in various districts will provide additional fillip to the Innovation Zone plan. There are other measures too being vigorously pursued like giving a comprehensive health insurance to provide treatment for all diseases to all deserving people and credit delivery and expansion of the banking network to extend ready help to the needy. Strengthening of ‘Kudumbashree’ (a network of highly successful grassroots-level women entrepreneurs) as example of how community energy can be channelised in a positive manner. As a matter of fact, some of the decentralization measures successfully implemented, particularly the empowerment of women through
networking, have drawn the attention of world economists and planners. A paper on ‘Kerala model of development’ as it is called, is an essential reading material in Harvard Business School in America. A new farm policy is being prepared to revive and make farming in the state a profitable enterprise. It aims to exploit the opportunities provided by new technologies, to promote bio-agriculture, to build up a data base on wastelands and on farmers (to help extend subsidies) and to work out an agriculture calendar for the state. Despite its high score in education, skilled manpower and high per capita income (on account of NRIs) Kerala has suffered badly in economic development so far due to competitive politics. Unnecessary controversies are the bane of the state. Corruption is another cancer on its body politic. In these both the UDF and the LDF are equally at fault. The bold measures being taken by the Oommen Chandy government now may undo some of the damage and put the state on the development highway.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
FIRST BIG TEST OF MAMATA’S POPULARITY
New Delhi security women protect West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a protest by SBI activists on her arrival at Yojana Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday
Panchayat elections give an accurate clue to which direction the political wind is blowing. Therefore the forthcoming panchayat poll in West Bengal, many believe, will be the first test of Mamata Bannerjee’s two years’ controversial governance. By Lokayat Correspondent
he Panchayati Raj system came to West Bengal very late. It was introduced in the state by the Left Front government a year after its massive victory in the 1977 assembly polls. And, elections to this three-tier system -- gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads –are important because they give a true and fresh measure of political power equation at the grassroots level covering more than 200 assembly segments out of total 293. While the LF expects some recovery of its lost voter base, the Trinamool Congress is keen to show that its mass base is intact.
| LOKAYAT MAY, 2013
All opposition parties are, therefore, extra cautious that panchayat elections are conducted in a free and fair manner and to ensure that they are held under the paramilitary force of the centre and in three phases. The State Election Commission had also proposed this, but it was fiercely opposed by the TMC government, on two counts. First, imposing central forces would mean an ‘expenditure of Rs 400 crore on the state exchequer’ at a time when the government was struggling with its difficult financial situation--it had to pay Rs 21,000 crore annually as interest to the centre towards the huge loan the Left government had taken. Second, never in the past panchayat elections were held
Mamata Banerjee in her now famous role of a stormy petrel rejected the EC’s proposal for holding panchayat elections in three phases under the umbrella of paramilitary forces, and notified 2-phase elections to be conducted under state police, augmented by similar forces of other states. But the State Election Commission, feeling thwarted, filed a writ petition in the High Court challenging Mamata government’s unconstitutional election notification.
under the auspices of the central forces. Besides, the law & order situation was not as bad as was being made out by the opposition. The dispute on how the panchayat elections should be held finally reached the Kolkata High Court after the State Election Commission filed a writ petition against the government notification to hold elections in two phases under the state police augmented by similar forces from other states. The LF is hopeful of a turnaround, but according to the situation on the ground, especially after the SFI activists’ attack on Mamata Bannerjee and her finance minister Ashok Mitra in New Delhi, its expectation may be belied. The New Delhi attack had sent
WEST BENGAL shock waves among the general public across the state. Mamata, an astute politician who single-handedly dismantled the 32-year- old ‘red bastion’ in West Bengal, is also successfully putting the Congress in the dock for not granting financial relief to the state even though it is straining under the heavy debt burden left behind by the Left Front government. On these two counts Mamata may successfully counter the opposition charge of mis-governance, but the death of a police officer and a TMC leader under mysterious circumstances and the attack allegedly by TMC workers on Presidency University have badly dented the image of the government and her party. Panchayat elections may also indicate how the next big contests -- for the assembly and Parliament— not too far away would fare. For example, the panchayat elections in 2008 had indicated that the Left was losing ground in rural areas. Two most important factors that would decide the coming panchayat polls in West Bengal are, the mass base among the rural population and acceptability among the minority communities which constitute nearly 30 percent of the total electorate. The Left’s ground has slipped in both the segments. Their leadership is even doubtful if they would be able to field candidates in all seats. The Left Front leaders’ only hope is, on possible disillusionment of the masses over the continuing ‘mis-governance’ of the Mamata regime. This apart, the LF calculation now rests also on division of anti-Left votes between the Congress and the TMC. The TMC is making allout efforts to make maximum political capital out of the attack on its leaders in Delhi. Soon after the incident the ruling Trinamool Congress workers went on a rampage and political clashes erupted in different parts of the state. Violence spread to almost every district and LF party offices in Coochbehar, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas and Birbhum were reportedly ransacked. Biman Bose, chairman of the Left Front claimed that around 1000 party offices
Kolkata Trinamool Congress activists take part in a silent rally in Kolkata on Saturday against the attack on West Bengal chief minister mamata Banerjee and state finance minister Amit Mitra by SF
Balurghat Trinamool Congress activists take part in a silent rally in protest over the heckling of party chief Mamata Banerjee and Amit Mitra by SFI activists.
All parties have leveled charges of irregularity in delaying the panchayat elections and petitioned the court. The Left Front and the Congress said the government was doing so in order to gain time and check their leaders’ popularity. TMC leaders spoke the same language and said the opposition parties feared that they would get exposed. were vandalised across the state. And in retaliatory violence hundreds of people on both sides were injured. The attack on Mamata came as a blessing in disguise for her, as almost all other political parties and intellectuals came out in her support, dubbing it as a blot on the country’s cherished democratic values.
Last Panchayat elections heralded a change The three-tier panchayat elections held
in the state in 2008 had thrown up a number of surprises. For the first time in over three decades of LF rule, it was not a cakewalk for it. Of the 18 districts of the state the Left Front had captured 13 Zilla Parishads and Congress and Trinamool Congress had jointly won five. The Left Front won almost 70 percent Zilla Parishads, 57 percent panchayat samitis and 51 percent gram panchayats. It was a poor show compared to 2003.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
THE PRESIDENCY RAMPAGE:
Hooliganism is nothing new to West Bengal. But the recent mindless rampage on the historic Baker Laboratory at Presidency University by goons allegedly belonging to the Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad is not just another brazen act of violence, it is rape with the prestige of a pre-eminent centre of learning….hence distressing and highly condemnable. By Lokayat Correspondent
amata Bannerjee, the first non-left chief minister in more than three decades, who had vowed to depoliticise academic institutions in West Bengal, is ironically facing the charge that her own party’s student wing vandalised one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the state. The Presidency university had been the hotbed of left politics for long and it was even the ‘headquarters’ of Naxalite movement in the 1960s and 70s. With political change making its effect felt in
| LOKAYAT MAY, 2013
PHOTO : PTI
the Writers Building, it is bound to reflect on students’ politics also. Since political parties have been using students for their political ends for long, colleges and universities could not remain immune to developments around them. Way back in December 1970 Naxalites had murdered Gopal Sen, vicechancellor of Jadavpur University in the campus itself. That was reprehensible enough. But the recent rampage in the Presidency – use of vulgar language, threat of rape against women students and destruction of Baker Laboratory where numerous top-ranking scientists did their seminal work-- is an ominous sign as much for the democratic polity as
for the future of higher learning in West Bengal. The incident happened a day after Mamata Bannerjee with her finance minister Ashok Mitra was subjected to a ‘pre-meditated attack’ in New Delhi by activists of SFI, student wing of the CPI (M). It is widely assumed that the attack on Presidency University was in retaliation to the attack on the chief minister in Delhi though it was officially and promptly denied. However, very few are taken in by this denial. Mamata Bannerjee herself has reportedly been disturbed by the attack on Presidency, which she had described as her ‘dream project’. Soon after the shameful attack, she called the rattled
A student of Presidency College stands beside a poster in front of the gate during day-long SFI-sponsored students strike in Kolkata
vice-chancellor Malabika Sarkar and assured her all help in providing complete security to students and staff. Action was also taken against a local TMC leader, who was understood to have â€˜brought bad name to the partyâ€™. The entire state was upset at the attack on the CM in Delhi, but all were more concerned at the kind of retaliation the TMC chose to unleash all over West Bengal. The police were silent spectators when goons went on a rampage inside the campus. The government had no choice but to own responsibility and take steps to salvage its reputation as well as that of the TMC. Five people were arrested for the attack on the university.
Four were remanded to judicial custody and one student was released on bail so that he could take his examination. In stark contrast, no action was taken against any member of the SFI activists who had attacked the West Bengal finance minister Ashok Mitra and Mamata Bannerjee in Delhi! The chief minister was so shaken by the attack on her that she became ill and went back to Kolkata without meeting the union finance minister P Chidambaram and prime minister Manmohan Singh. She had to be admitted to the Belle Vue Clinic for treatment of low blood pressure. She was discharged after three days. All this must
have incensed the youths beyond measure in the TMC. The West Bengal Human Rights Commission has constituted a special team headed by Amal Mukhopadhyay who had been the erstwhile principal of the Presidency College to probe the violent incidents and destruction. This indeed is necessary to ascertain facts as the educational environment in Kolkata is vitiated by allegations and counterallegations.
Was student politics behind violence? Clashes among student groups are a common feature in educational
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy Buddhadev Bhattacharya. The famous Baker Laboratory at Presidency University was built by the British government in January 1913 for Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose in acknowledgement of his path-breaking research in physics. Illustrious names like SN Bose, Meghnad Saha, Sisir Kumar Mitra and PC Mahalanobis came to be associated with this lab. The Indian Statistical Institute was born right here. The lab completed 100 years of its glorious existence on 13th January this year. It was renovated under a Rs 50-crore project and was inaugurated by the former President APJ Abdul Kalam on 11th March 2013. Alas! Less than one month later.....
he Presidency College, established in 1817, was upgraded to a full-scale university in 2010. Founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and some of his illustrious associates, it was initially known as Hindu College and was one of the oldest centres of western education in South Asia. It was renamed Presidency College in 1855. The alumni of the Presidency College included such eminences as Nobel Laureate Ravindra Nath Tagore, Swami Vivekanand, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Mahendralal Sarkar, India’s first President Dr Rajendra Prasad, Satyajit Ray, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and erstwhile chief ministers Jyoti Basu and
institutions. One can witness tension building up at the time of college union elections and some fist fights during college fests. But the violence that devastated Baker Lab seems to far exceed just normal student politics. There are signs of deeper malaise. At
known as Independents Consolidation (IC). Incidentally, the Trinamool Congress has no student wing operating in Presidency University. It may be pertinent to note that since 2010 when Presidency College was elevated to a university, student union elections have been put on hold. This ban, applied to all educational institutions, was intended to depoliticise the academic atmosphere in the state. But demands to allow union elections in colleges have been gathering momentum in recent years in the name of democratising campuses.
The chain of events
Kolkata Students of Presidency College
present Students Federation of India (SFI), the students’ wing of the CPI(M), has a strong presence in Presidency University. There is also a rival group
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The shameful incidents in Presidency University can be traced back to the death of an SFI activist Sudipto Gupta in Kolkata police custody on April 2. In retaliation the SFI not only let loose violence at several places in West Bengal but also went to the extent of attacking the CM and her finance minister in Delhi. The next day the atmosphere in West Bengal became politically surcharged to explosive level. Fearing trouble from Trinamool Chhatra Parishad students, as street demonstrations had already started at
many places, the gates of Presidency University were locked around 11.00 am. But, a gang of 50-60 protesters carrying TMC flags stormed in. They were carrying sticks, iron rods and spears. They headed even towards Baker Laboratory and beat up an M.Sc. student working there. The hooligans even tore the pants of a professor who came to the rescue of the student. When Mamata Banerjee’s new government came to power, one of the fundamental changes promised in its ‘poribortan’ charter was depoliticisation of educational institutions. And within that framework, Presidency University was to be a model, an institution which was to be rebuilt as a world-class, politics-free centre of higher learning. That meant cleansing the university of SFI elements. All the same the Presidency University administration does not toe the ruling party line. But perpetration of violence in campuses in any form by any party should not be allowed by anybody who considers education of children our foremost and sacred duty. This is needed more so because not even one of our universities measure up to be among the top 200 institutions in the world. Should we not care?<
HINDI FORCES NORTH EAST STUDENTS OF DELHI UNIVERSITY ON WAR-PATH
By Kusum Varshney
he so-called Hindiisation of Delhi University has set off a language war. After the revamped civil services examination patterns were set aside by the Centre after an uproar in parliament in which English had been given prominence, this is yet another row over language in recent days. The language tussle is gradually agitating aspiring students of the entire country. An NGO espousing the interests of north-east people is playing lead role in this row. Meanwhile, the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) moved the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against Delhi University’s new policy to introduce Hindi or one of the 22 modern Indian languages as a compulsory subject at graduation level. Suhas Chakma, Director of ACHR, has termed it discriminatory and a clear violation of the Article 14 of the Constitution. He accused that it was a conspiracy to keep the students of the
North Eastern states out of the Delhi University. Supporting the cause, several local leaders from these states have demanded that the university should revoke the decision, terming it a bolt from the blue for the students wishing to join the premier institution. Under the existing system, if any student hasn’t studied a modern Indian language at the qualifying level--Higher Secondary and Secondary School, on getting admission to the DU, is allowed to opt some other subject instead of a language. However, a committee set up by the university to re-structure the syllabi for under-graduate courses, made it compulsory for all students to opt either Hindi or any one of the 22 other modern Indian languages in the four-year graduation course to start from this year. It is to be noted that there are hundreds of languages spoken in NorthEastern states, but only three languages-Bodo, Assamese and Manipuri–are recongised as modern Indian language. However, students in these states get their education in various other
The Delhi University has made it compulsory to opt either Hindi or any one of the 22 other modern Indian languages in the four-year graduation course starting this year. Hindi is the only modern Indian language which is taught in every college in DU and most of the colleges don’t have faculty to teach other languages. There is not a single college in the DU that has a faculty to teach Bodo, Assamese and Manipuri, the three recognised languages from the North-East states. Students of the North East accuse that Hindi is being imposed upon them—it is a conspiracy against students of North East. languages such as Mizo or Khasi up to the university level. The fiat in this regard is impractical also as there is not a single college in DU that has a faculty to teach even Bodo, Assamese and Manipuri. The decision for sure would seriously affect the prospects of all students from the North-East. Hindi is the only modern Indian language that is taught in every college and most of the colleges don’t even have faculty to teach such prominent languages as Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Oriya etc, what to say of North Eastern languages. For example, a reputed college like Miranda House has faculty only for just Hindi, Punjabi and Bangla.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
CANADA CALLING: KEEP By Abha Sharma
McGill University of Canada
Study abroad a big drain ndian students going abroad for studies cost the country dearly. An ASSOCHAM study in 2009 revealed that it cost the exchequer an outflow of $10 billion annually. It showed that despite the government giving heavy subsidy to engineering and management students, thousands of them still choose to go abroad every year. This amount is sufficient to open as many as 20 engineering and management institutes in the country! One big reason for this huge outflow of students is that premium institutions in India have not enough seats to offer. Another reason is the lure of getting a job abroad and permanent resident permit later entitling them immense advantages. As a student, one can earn and learn too. So they do not mind paying ten times more fees abroad than what they have to spend in India. The report suggested that India should think of opening quality educational institutes in private-public mode which would reverse the trend by drawing more students from abroad to India. India had only 27,000 foreign students in 2009.<
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Indian students are going abroad today in significantly large numbers despite economic slow-down and weakening of rupee, making foreign education costlier ever. Among four major English speaking countries until recently, the US was the top dream destination of Indian students followed by Australia, the UK and Canada in that order. But suddenly there is a reversal of this order. The last two years’ data show that Canada is their preferred choice now because of its policy change allowing students to work and earn during the study period and even afterwards. Australia, which used to be their second preference has lost its charm after some instances of racial attacks on Indian students. The UK too has put up stiff visa barriers virtually showing Indian students are unwelcome there.
owering mountains, breathtaking waterfalls, grizzly bears, vibrant cities and a host of other exciting sights…Canada has a lot to offer. This, however, is not the only reason why the sprawling four-season country is drawing Indian students in droves. It happens to be extremely student-friendly. In today’s highly competitive education sector aspiring young Indians find the Canadian ambience most agreeable. After American universities marked up academic fees, especially in the wake of the market melt-down, the student community in India started patronising Australia, but following a few instances of racial attacks on them that destination was not favoured any more. Similarly, stringent visa rules turned them away from the UK. Thus Canada emerged a much sought after destination for Indian students recently. Indians constitute the third largest group of immigrants in Canada, with an estimated one million in a country of a little more than 34 million. More than 23,000 Indian students are currently in Canada, making India the secondlargest source of overseas students there. (The first place is occupied by Chinese students whose number is more than twice that of Indian students.) Three years ago only 7,200 Indian students were studying there. At the ‘Focus Canada-India Conference 2013’ held in Jaipur recently, the Canadian minister of state for small business and tourism Maxime Bernier said, ‘Canada is looking at Indian students as potential messengers of goodwill between the two countries.’ This welcome attitude is reflected in the more than 13,000 study permits issued by it to Indians in 2012. This represented a 530 per cent increase in
EXPLORING students’ visa since 2004, which affirms the fact that Canada is becoming a new destination of choice for Indian students. Among other things quick and simple visa policy of the Stephen Harper government makes it easy for Indians to visit Canada. Students from Punjab are particularly more happy to go to Canada perhaps due to their unfortunate experience in Australia. The large number of visa applicants from the Chandigarh region is proof of this preference. In 2012, Canada issued approximately 5,200 student permits from Chandigarh, up from 173 in 2004 when the mission was first opened. ‘Attracting increasing number of visitors to Canada, including the best and brightest young minds, is part of our plan to improve our economy and create new jobs,’ said Jason Kenney, minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism. The new visa policies have made it easier to find a job even while studying, which is sometime necessary for Indian students because of very high cost of education there. They also can stay back after completion of their education if they have a job and it helps them get permanent residency too. Doctoral students can apply for residency under the Canadian government’s skilled worker programme. Getting a visa is easy now. Recently a fast-track system has been introduced to expedite processing of visas for students applying to designated publicly-funded post-secondary colleges and universities in Canada. Over 99 percent of applications routed through Business Express programme are approved within two working days.
Academic Relations Actually, the academic ties between Canada and India are fairly old. We can trace them to the days when the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI) was
Lecture hall in the University of Ottawa
Globalisation has raised international student traffic lobalisation has not only facilitated freer flow of capital, labour and technology across borders, but also helped trans-border travel of students whose number has increased five-fold during the last three decades. An OECD study shows that in 1975 only 0.8 million students left their country to study abroad while their number jumped to 4.1 million in 2010. However, the economic slowdown of the last few years has taken its toll of students going overseas for studies. In 2009, there were 221,638 Indian students in the top four destinations -- the US, UK, Australia and Canada-- whereas their number in 2011 came down to 211,075. Following are the comparative data for Indian students who went abroad for higher education during the last few years, which show that Australia has lost out to Canada substantially:
founded by the two countries way back in 1968 to facilitate academic and other exchanges between the two. An estimated 300 bilateral instruments of cooperation exist between institutions of higher learning in Canada and India. The Memorandum of Understanding signed by Canada and India in higher education cooperation in June 2010 carries the tradition forward. It encourages further expansion of cooperation between institutions of higher education based on each country’s academic, scientific and
educational needs. Indian students and researchers are eligible for the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, as well as other federally funded awards. These aim to attract best Indian talents to Canada. It is interesting to note in this context that a recent report based on internal research commissioned by the Foreign Affairs Department of Canada had found that country was failing to attract high-quality university students from China, India and Brazil.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
BIHAR CAMPUS OF AMU GETS GREEN SIGNAL, FINALLY After a lot of legal wrangling and political bickering, the Bihar campus of the Aligarh Muslim University is finally going to be set up from this academic year. However the fight to take credit for the same would go on till elections at leastâ€Ś By Umanath
ivalry had been the rule rather than exception over the years between Congress-led Centre and JD-U-led Bihar government to take credit for starting the Bihar campus of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). It led to frequent change of stances by both on various
politicians also got involved to seek their pound of flesh from the controversies. After anxious wait of a couple of years now decks are finally clear for the AMU campus in Kishanganj district of the state. And if things move ahead according to the plan, some courses can start from the academic session of 201314. However, the politics of claim will go on for votes. But one thing is certain
a boon for the people of Seemanchal, which is one of the most backward and economically distressed regions of Bihar. Here Muslims constitute around 68 percent in the population of the district according to the census of 2001. Academics of the area say hardly 31 percent people of the region are literate and the literacy among Muslims is even lower at 24 percent. Muslims of the area can hardly
Congress MP from Kishanganj Maulana Former union HRD minister late Arjun Singh took the initiative in 2008 to start AMU campuses at Asrarul Haque Qasmi now feels a dream has several places where Muslims were in large concentration after the Sachchar Committee reported come true as the final nod for the poor educational status of the Muslim community in the country Kishanganj campus of the AMU has been given by the centre
haggling issues. There has been filing of cases also by different pressure groups at Allahabad High Court, Patna High Court and Supreme Court over the land taken over by the Bihar government for the mega campus. Many dalits, mahadalits and tribals lost their land and hardly got compensation worth the name. Land mafia and petty local
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Apart from Kishanganj (Bihar), the AMU is in the process of setting up campuses in Murshidabad (West Bengal), Malappuram (Kerala), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) and Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) also. that this move to bring the AMU campus in Kishanganj is going to prove
afford to go to other places for university education. So, truly it is
CAMPUS going to be a great boon to Muslims of the area bringing higher education at their door step. The proposed mega campus sprawling over more than 224 acres of land would not only provide top notch professional education in management, engineering, biotechnology etc, but would also create facilities for quality school education so that the right feed stock of students from the region can be made available to the university. What made the long cherished dream of the people of Kishanganj, dubbed disparagingly by many as mini Pakistan of Bihar come true is the very competitive politics that previously had acted as spoilsport. Political differences between the state and centre blurred once they found themselves on the same page owing to fast changing political scene after the BJP seemed hell-bent to project Modi as its probable PM candidate for the 2014 elections. Yet, the finance minister P Chidambaram granted Rs 100 crore for the AMU, but none for the Kishanganj campus, as all the credit seemed to be going to the Bihar government. Interestingly, Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasmi, the Congress MP had announced in public that Rs 30 crore were going to be granted for the Kishanganj campus of the AMU in the budget, but no such announcement was made in the budget
Since Kapil Sibal, the former union HRD minister did not see eye to eye with chief minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar, he allegedly did not sanction money for the Kishanganj campus citing one reason or the other. The basic problem was that the credit was being lapped up by the chief minister though the move was initiated by late Arjun Singh in 2008.
Aligarh Muslim University Coordination Committee members met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in march 2012 to complain about the delay being done by the Centre on the issue of granting funds to start campus at Kishanganj (Bihar)
The announcement of starting the campus in Chakla village of Kishanganj district was made in 2009-10, after a few other sites were rejected by the university authorities. But the Centre gave green signal to it only in November, 2012. The state government has given 224.02 acres of land free of cost to the university to develop adequate infrastructure. to the surprise of many. It was a mild snub to Qasmi by P Chidambaram. The centre okayed only Rs 30 lakh to the AMU management on March 6 to prepare Detailed Project Report with the assurance that the centre would release the promised Rs 30 crore for the initial construction works of the new campus only when the DPR was approved. Nitish Kumar knows the sensitivity of the issue and knows how not only the RJD of Lalu Prasad Yadav and the LJP of Ram Vilas Paswan, but the Congress as well want to weaken his hold on Muslims so necessary to make a good showing again in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections which may throw him also as a candidate for the PM if there is badly fractured verdict from the voters. So, Nitish government not only brushed aside all the objections of the land holders, but quickly proposed to provide two buildings to the special campus so that classes could start from
AMU students resorted to a â€˜rail rokoâ€™ agitation to speed up various sanctions for the Kishanganj campus of the university
the coming academic session. However, Qasmi, himself an educationalist, who spearheaded the demand for an AMU campus denied that there was any politics involved in this project. Qasmi says, nursing and technical courses, especially for girls and professional courses like MBA are expected to start this year and then other courses will follow. The entire expense of setting up of the campus would be around Rs 400 crore which would come in different phases. The state government has already provided a four storied building having 200 rooms, approximately 3 km away from the proposed main campus. There would also be two separate hostels for boys and girls. Kishanganj MP informed that the feature of the campus is that there would be no reservation on whatever basis, neither on the basis of religion nor caste. Every citizen would be treated equally to avail the opportunity. The Congress lays claim to the initiative and its leaders in Bihar cite the decision of former minister of HRD Arjun Singh during UPA-1 government in 2008 to open centres of the AMU outside Aligarh to provide modern education to minority-concentrated districts of the country. Kishanganj centre is one of the five planned by the AMU, the reputed centre of learning, seeds of which were sown by Sir Syed Ahmad in 1875.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
REFORMS GALORE IN GURU The 4th convocation of the university this year was different in many respects. Even during the convocation, classes were held as usual since examinations are near. Organisers were apprehensive lest seats should not remain vacant in the auditorium. No political celebrity was invited as chief guest this time seeing the dirty politics that followed last year. So, the apprehension that the convocation might be a big flop was natural. But to everybody’s surprise, it turned out just the opposite. The auditorium was jam-packed and UGC chairman Ved Prakash and chancellor of the university Prof N R Madhav Menon generated such vibrant intellectual notes on burning issues of the state and the nation—the poverty, violence, inequality and goal of education—that all who attended felt time wellspent. 56
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Inspiring talk by UGC chairman Prof Ved Prakash during the 4th convocation
By Aaditya Tewari
ot just infrastructure, buildings and overall ambience, but massive improvements in academic environment-the real core of any centre of learning—are taking place with impressive verve in Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya at Bilaspur. Various initiatives planned with long-term perspective were disclosed by vicechancellor Dr Lakshman Chaturvedi at the 4th convocation of the only central university in Chhattisgarh on April 20. The Vishwavidyalaya came into being in 1983 as the 9th state university in undivided Madhya Pradesh, but got the distinction of being upgraded as a central one in January 2009. Since then, thanks to its unsparing and
resolute vice-chancellor Dr Lakshman Chaturvedi, work is proceeding on all fronts in top gear. Being a scientist himself Dr Chaturvedi has given special importance to research in a state with 34 percent tribal population which believes in witchcraft, sorcery, black magic…. and many other blind beliefs while the world outside their dark one is enthralled by the march of science in all directions. The state has 15 universities of various denominations--from private to distance learning, to technical, to affiliating ones--but the way things have suddenly happened in Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya indicates that it may very soon vie with premier universities of the country, of course with the liberal help that the centre has chosen to extend it. People generally say that starting a
The Audience listening with rapt attention the address of the chancellor Prof N R Madhav Menon
new university or institute from scratch is easier than overhauling an old one, what with deeply entrenched opinions and culture, besides all kinds of corrupt practices. The most troubling part remains effecting changes in the academic culture. It is common in many Indian universities that the quality of faculty in most disciplines is far below par. Very few teachers are inclined to take up research, not to say create a research environment; they do not want either to be judged by students on their quality of teaching, nor do they want to maintain transparency in evaluation of their studentsâ€™ performance. One may be happy to know that on all these fronts sound initiatives have been taken in Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya. The university has put in place a system by which students do evaluate the quality of their teachers. The
Prof N R Madhav Menon, the chancellor of the Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya delivering his address during the 4th convocation
feedback is asked on 11 different attributes that are considered cardinal for effective teaching. According to officials of the university, evaluation forms for each teacher in each course are filled by respective students and submitted confidentially in the middle of each semester. These forms are analysed on the basis of standard procedure. The teachers are communicated the assessment result so that they can try to improve and enhance their performance, if indicated. In addition to this all classrooms are fitted with close circuit television for direct monitoring by appropriate experts. Major reforms have been introduced in studentsâ€™ evaluation procedure also. Every teacher has to prepare a question bank, with 40 percent objective and 60 percent
descriptive types on the course content, he or she teaches. Five different, dissimilar sets of question papers are sorted out from the question bank for the end-semester examinations. The teacher concerned is required to prepare model answers to the questions before evaluating the answersheets in order to maintain transparency and uniformity. The improved evaluation system does not end here. After evaluation the answer sheets are handed back to students to enable them to cross-check with the model answers displayed on the notice board. The evaluated answer sheets of mid-term and end-semester examinations are immediately shown to the students for their own assessment before formal declaration of results. The process leaves no room for any suspicion at any level.
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Hundred percent internal assessment system
system has been successfully implemented and is appreciated by both students and teachers.
The university has switched over from external assessment system to hundred percent internal assessment that provides for continuous evaluation of studentsâ€™ performance. These practices allow students to understand their strength and weakness, help them overcome whatever are their problems and instill self-confidence. By adopting the internal assessment system, as against the old time-consuming external evaluation, the result of all
E-Classroom and Smart Classroom In conformity with the changing times, the university has embarked upon a big plan to make classrooms Information and Communication Technology (ICT)enabled. The university has started constructing facilities for five smart class rooms and 45 e-classrooms with all modern multi-media teaching aids. The first smart class room with video
the much- needed boost to research and development in interdisciplinary areas but also to a major human resource development centre for providing skilled manpower for nuclear power plants of the country. As a novel attempt the university has introduced an incentive scheme to those faculty members who receive national recognition and bring research projects to the university. If the faculty gets a project of more than Rs 50.00 lakh, then one advance increment is given and for a project of more than Rs 1.00 crore, two advance increments are
examinations are declared within a fortnight. The system has enhanced studentsâ€™ satisfaction, confidence and positive thinking. The practice of revaluation and retotalling has been completely dispensed with. It is a major step in the reform process. The evaluation of practicals, projects and viva-voce has also been made transparent and rational. The examiner asks viva questions in writing and the students answer in writing on the practical answer script. Both the student and the examiner put their signatures on the answer script. After evaluation the answer scripts are shown to the students. This model evaluation
conferencing facility is already in place and the remaining ones will be ready in the next three months. The first Smart Class Room was activated by UGC chairman Prof Ved Prakash and chancellor Padma Shri Prof (Dr) NR Madhava Menon during the convocation. Among research infrastructure projects in the offing, the pride of place is for the establishment of a 3.0 MV Pelletron Accelerator which is being developed with the assistance of the Department of Atomic Energy. This multi-disciplinary research facility is expected to become operational by January, 2014. It will not only provide
awarded. Just as the university is trying to develop better research facilities and help better teaching, it has endeavoured to attract better students also. To this end, objective admissions are made through Vishwavidyalaya Entrance Test conducted on all- India basis. Candidates for PhD programmes are also selected through Vishwavidyalaya Research Entrance Test. For 160 PhD seats available, the university received 1700 applications. It shows the popularity of the research degree of the university. During the last one year more than 250 research papers (international & national) have been published.<
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Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarkantak (MP) Marching on the path of development
Sri Pranab Mukherjee Hon’ble President of India
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Dr MM Pallam Raju Hon’ble Human Resources Development Minister
On April 19, 2008, the then Human Resources Development Minister Hon’ble Arjun singh inaugurated the university at Amarkantak. On July 8, 2008, Prof. C.D. Singh appointed as the founder Vice-Chancellor. In 2008-2009, admission of 158 students including 78 from Scheduled Tribes. In 2009-10, admission of 432 students including 230 from Scheduled Tribes. In 2010-11, admission of 770 students including 392 from Scheduled Tribes. In 2011-12, admission of 1222 students including 604 Scheduled Tribes. In 2012-13, admission of 1625 students including 763 Scheduled Tribes. In August, 2009, UGC inspection team visited the university campus. In September, 2009, Manipur Regional Campus was established. In 2010-11, 20 students including 17 from Scheduled Tribes were admitted in the regional campus. In 2011-12, 46 students were admitted in various courses and subjects in the regional campus. In 2012-13, 107 students were admitted in various subjects. An MOU was signed between the university and Anambra state, Nigeria. By 2012-13, 22 departments got operational in the university. In 2012-13, graduate level course in Journalism and Mass-Communication started. Appointments of 79 and 6 teachers respectively in Amarkantak campus and
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regional centre campus, Manipur. Tribal language dictionary project for compiling dictionary is underway for Gondi, Bangani and Koli. Post Graduate courses in management, tourism management, history, political science, geography, English, Hindi, computer science and other streams of science are proposed to be started in the university. Research programmes have started in different subjects. From 2013, four year integrated BEd Course is proposed to be started. A unit of Rashtriya Seva Yojana has begun in the university. An NCC unit has also been established in the university. Internet and Wi-Fi services have come into being in the campus. Narmada Kanya Hostel for 200 girls has started in the university campus. A boy’s hostel for 200 students was inaugurated at the university campus on April 19. The construction work for the hostel in the university campus for 750 girls is nearing completion. The construction work for the hostel for 750 boys has begun. Construction of campus boundary (65 km) has been completed. Painting of tribal art on the boundary has started. The work going on for a building block for tribal studies in the university campus.
Collaboration with different national and international universities and educational institutions for cultural and educational exchange programmes. Efforts for building the main campus of the university at Amarkantak. Establishing a 500-bed hospital and medical college at the university campus. Establishing an agricultural engineering college.
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Prof Chandradev Singh Honourable Founder Vice-Chancellor
The work going on for an administrative block in the university campus. Construction work of the 100 residential units is complete. Construction for permanent residential building for teachers has started. The construction work for the access road to the permanent boys’ hostel and teachers’ residential buildings has started. The sewage treatment plant is completed. Indira Gandhi National Tribal University participated in the Madhya Pradesh Pavillion during the 32nd India-International Trade fair at Pragati Maidan organised between 14-27 November, 2012 Electric supply has begun in the university campus. A Health Centre is also functioning in the university campus. A Central Bank of India branch with ATM facility is soon to come up in the university campus. Bus service from Rajendragram, Karanjiya and Pendra Road has started. National Seminars are organised on the tribal centric issues in the main campus of the university and its Manipur campus. The construction work of the 6 lane road to the university is complete. 5000 saplings have been planted within the university campus. The sign-board erection work is also complete from Rajendragram, Amarkantak and Pendra Road to the university.
Future Plans ¿ ¿ ¿ ¿ ¿ ¿
Establishment of pollution-free campus. To plant 10,000 trees. Establishment of model schools in university campuses. Starting vocational courses and training programmes Starting coaching facilities for competitive examinations. To set up regional centers of the university in the tribal-dominated states.
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Starting courses in pharmacy, physics, mathematics, statistics, forest management, geology and mining, meteorology, home science, nutrition science, information & technology, MEd and 4year integrated course in law. New courses like tribal studies, sociology and social-anthropology to be started at Manipur regional campus.
HEALTH IS WEALTH
AN AMLA A DAY DELAYS AGING By Neeta Jain
n apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is a famous English dictum, but what about an amla (Indian gooseberry) a day? Amla is a wonder fruit with numerous medicinal properties and health benefits. Its medicinal worth was known for ages to practitioners of Ayurveda and Siddha systems of medicine. Latest researches confirm why it is such a great boon from nature. This plum-size fruit has very high content of vitamin C, fiber and some important trace minerals like potassium and manganese. It is said to have 30 times more vitamin C than an orange has, which makes it one of the richest fruits that have this essential vitamin. A human body needs 50-120 mg of vitamin C daily depending upon the age and life style. A single amla contains around 125 mg. Research has proved that vitamin C can cut severity of common cold and flu, help control allergies and boost immunity against many viral and bacterial attacks. It is rich in antioxidants such as quercetin (also found in apple) and gallic and ellagic acids (found in green tea). Foods rich in
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anti-oxidants are known to protect us from free radicals that are harmful, and help the body prevent a variety of serious problems like premature aging, arthritis, heart diseases and cancer. Amla has been found to reduce inflammation caused by arthritis, and joint pain. It also helps in easing bowel movement because of its high fibre content. It retards the aging process, gives a glossy look to the
skin and hair, purifies blood and peps up the liver. What is more, it increases the absorbability of minerals like iron and keeps you free from diabetes. In recent years amla is increasingly put under the scanner not only here but in Japan, China and
some other countries. In several Ayurvedic and Unani formulations, amla constitutes an important ingredient, in fresh as well as dried form. In certain cases amla plant leaves, root, bark and flowers are also used. One recent study found treatment with amla reduced the severity of acute pancreatitis in rats. Spontaneous repair and regeneration of the pancreas has been found possible after an acute attack. Amla extract is highly effective against arsenic toxicity. Arsenic, which even in minute doses cause many diseases, has been found in groundwater in more and more areas of the country and is a cause for great concern. A pilot study demonstrated that amla reduced blood cholesterol levels in high cholesterol people. In another study, when diabetic rats were fed amla fruit extract, significant reduction in blood glucose and triglycerides was seen. It improved liver function also. According to Ayurveda, amla balances all three doshas—vaata, pitta and kafa. It is particularly helpful in reducing pitta (bile). It may be used as a rejuvenator to promote longevity, enhance digestion, ease constipation, reduce fever, purify the blood, reduce cough, alleviate asthma, strengthen heart, improve eyesight, stimulate hair growth and enhance intellect— a true panacea! It is a major ingredient in
HEALTH IS WEALTH
& KEEPS ILLS AWAY Magic of vitamin C ! itamin C is necessary for good health. Since it cannot be produced or stored in the body, it has to be derived daily either from food we eat or through supplements. Normally it is rarely deficient in people who take some fruits and vegetables every day. Only a very small dose of vitamin C is needed daily, but this small dose is enough to make you virtually immune to infections and ensure healthy bones and teeth. It acts as anti-oxidant, necessary to protect your body from free radicals which create situations conducive to cancer, heart diseases and arthritis. Vitamin C controls lead toxicity, which leads to learning disabilities and lowers IQ. It delays cataracts also. The last but not the least, it helps in the absorption of iron, thus removes a major cause of anaemia. Eat vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables -- like citrus varieties, tomato, pineapple, spinach, cabbage and so on-- either raw or cooked with minimal water. For normal adults the recommended minimum dose is 75-90 mg, but lactating mothers should take 120 mg per day. Since vitamin C is water soluble, any excess amount consumed is excreted in urine. But excessive doses are not advisable. Latest researches say highly excess amount may disturb mineralsâ€™ metabolism and restrict absorption of copper, zinc etc. So rather than taking supplements the best way to have vitamin C is to have it through natural foods. Like all other supplements, if required in special circumstances, it may be taken only for a short period.<
the well-known Ayurvedic food supplement Chyawanprash. In north India, Amla used to be very popular in the form of Murabba, but recently many variants like amla
candy and amla juice have flooded the market. In south India, the fruit is largely pickled with salt, oil, and spices. Amla can be eaten raw or cooked with various dishes to give a
sour taste as in chatni, dal curries and vegetables. In short, if you want to lead a healthy life start eating an amla a day.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Come summers and it is time to enjoy mangoes. But in order to beat the heat, raw mango (kairi) is the best. Enjoy the Kairi Danamethi Launji.
KAIRI DANAMETHI LAUNJI:
Ingredients: • • • • • • • •
Two medium size Kairi (raw mango) One bowl sugar or crushed jaggery Two tablespoon fenugreek seeds (dana methi) One tablespoon edible Oil Salt to taste Turmeric, Red Pepper (1/2 tea spoon each) Black mustard, cumin seeds, fennel, asafetida for seasoning, (2-3 each) One cup water
Preparation: Wash and soak dana methi for nearly two hours (or boil for quick results) Peel off the kairi and cut into small pieces. If using jaggery, crush and keep aside.
Method: Heat oil in a pan. Add Black mustard, cumin seeds, fennel, asafetida, cloves and black pepper. Bring them to crackle. Then add soaked/boiled fenugreek seeds. Saute for a while. Then add the chopped kairi pieces. Add salt, turmeric and red pepper according to taste. Add water and let it cook on medium flame till the kairi pieces get tender. Then add jaggery or sugar. When the Launji gets little sticky and thick, it is an indication that it is done. Remove from heat. It can be eaten with paranthas, rotis or purees. Simply yummy!<
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The number of higher education institutes has risen from 250 to 690 The number of students enrolled in colleges and universities grew from 160,000 to 560,000 The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) jumped from 2.5 to 20 The growth rate of the higher education sector in the state is 17.9 percent, more than 2.5 times the national growth rate of 7 percent The number of engineering colleges rose from 11 to 49 with seats increasing from 3,445 to 18,810. Similarly, the number of polytechnic colleges rose from 10 to 23, with seats rising from 195 to 3,820 and the number of ITIs grew from 44 to 118, with total number of seats 20,300 Started IIM, AIIMS, NIT, National Law University etc. in the state
Saif Gets the Right Look for ‘GO GOA GONE’
By Our Film Critic
aif Ali Khan’s looks in his film ‘Go Goa Gone’ has raised many eyebrows. He is playing a Russian mafia lord, Boris in this film. The actor, who is known to not experiment
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with his hairstyle, has an allblonde avatar and an inked bod. Saif Ali Khan’s look for the zombie film was decided after much deliberation. A lot of looks were tried. Different hairstyles with different hair colours were tested before he and directors decided to go for the blonde backcombed mafia look. Apart from beefing up for the role, he was required to learn a new language and
BOLLYWOOD get his body tattooed. Saif didn’t let his apprehensions come in the way and went ahead with his new look and the director duo’s conviction. The film also stars Kunal Khemu, Vir Das, Anand Tiwary and Puja Gupta in key roles. Puja Gupta, the Miss India Universe of 2007 has already earned some name by doing her debut in the film ‘Faltu’. In ‘Go Goa Gone’ she has an entry scene of coming out of the sea in bikini in a styled manner, which may be one of the highlights in the film. Sources say, she had prepared her body well for this scene since she wanted to be just right. This film is India’s first zombie comedy is ready to release on May 10th this year. The story is of two dope heads—Hardik and Luv, who tag along with their buddy, Bunny on his business trip to Goa. Luv comes across a free-spirited girl, Luna (Puja Gupta) who casually
invites them to an exclusive underground rave party on a remote island! The party is the brainchild of Boris to launch the ultimate party drug. But something is not right on this island! All of a sudden, they are accosted by zombies! Where did these
zombies come from? And who is Boris really? These questions keep viewers’ suspense alive till end. The film is meant for ‘A ‘certificate, but its certain dialogues are replete with Russian and Hindi abuses. It was feared the film may get banned by censors.<
Ameesha Patel plans double role in ‘DESI MAGIC’ meesha Patel first made an entry on a scooty and later dancing at a bar at the curtain raiser press meet for her maiden film as a producer, ‘Desi Magic’. DJ Aqeel who is making his debut as the music director with the film, made the crowd go wild with his signature songs. Veteran actor Randhir Kapoor, who plays Ameesha’s father in the film, was also present at the event, where Abbas opened the bottle of champagne & raised a toast wishing the team good luck. Producers Ameesha Patel and Kuunal Goomer unveiled the concept, characters and theme of their maiden venture ‘Desi Magic’ being made under Ameesha Patel Productions. The film will be directed by Mehul Atha who told that the film will be shot in Europe, Punjab and Mumbai. Kuunal Goomer, said, ‘Desi Magic is an extremely positive and entertaining film for all the sections of the society. We hope to start the shooting schedule soon and plan to release the film by October-November this year. The cast includes Ameesha Patel in a never seen before double role. ‘I am excited to play a double role in the film for the first time ever. After many days the audiences will get to see the double role concept in a modern fashion. The film is very contemporary, youth & colourful,’ told Ameesha Patel. It may turn out a great fun film as it will have elements of comic, drama, love, tantrums of rich spoilt girl and emotions. Producers have roped in Amit Mehta, the writer of Don 2, for this film. Sanjay Gadhvi, who is a good friend of Ameesha's, has been roped in as the script doctor. He is overseeing the dialogue and the screenplay.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Memory of Love in Devastated Earth Olga Kurylenko
Tom Cruise (as Jack Harper, with erased past memory lands on devastated earth to repair drones)
Olga Kurylenko (as Julia, the lone survivor of a crashed spacecraft)
By Our film critic
s expected ‘Oblivion’ turned out to be a box-office hit cinematic event. Released on April 19, this sci-fi movie remained number one in New York box office. It has registered a technical triumph of film making by showing a devastated earth, especially New York. However, most critics agree that the film does not give any new great idea or philosophy as most of them have already been shown in past science films. ‘Oblivion’ starring Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko is based on the graphic novel written jointly by Joseph Kosinski and Arvid Nelson by the same title. The movie has been shot in stunning digital 4K resolution on location across the United States and Iceland. It is big budget film costing around $ 130 million (Rs 650 crore). The movie is set 64 years away in the future on a post-apocalyptic earth. It in the end turns into a standard movie showing a guy and a girl searching for certain answers, but the setting is breath- taking, a devastated earth rendered so by use of most of the nuclear arsenal of the earth to repel the attack of certain aliens. People who survived were only those who could be airlifted to a gigantic spacecraft. Now they await evacuation to Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, to begin a new civilisation. The hero Jack played by Tom Cruise, is a former serviceman, one of the few survivors. With almost no humans left on the post-apocalyptic planet, he lives in a loft in the sky. But each day, he heads down to the earth searching for destructive alien scavengers. But Jack's old memories keep cropping up, and he's haunted by the image of a mysterious woman, played by Olga Kurylenko. When she unexpectedly shows up, things begin to change for both Jack and his mission.<
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A new hope in Cheteshwar Pujara who hit double centuries each against England ¬and Australia in recent Test Match cricket
Jubilant Indian players during Test cricket match with Australia
The question is whether the pitches were cooked up to serve Indian victories? If so it was in bad taste. International cricket is not played on such understanding. It must be admitted that the Delhi wicket was not fit for a Test Match. Rather surprising Australia did not object!
By Ramu Sharma
ndian cricket is currently basking in all its glory having concluded a very successful winter session hosting first England and then Australia and is now in the midst of a highly profitable and glamorous venture, the Indian Premier League. The England venture could not be termed as altogether successful as the series was lost but the negative aspects was more than made up with a complete whitewash of the Australian visitors. The glory is also seen by some people in Indian Board continuing its existence as one of the most powerful and rich bodies in the cricketing world. It lords over world cricket through sheer weight of money and has every Indian
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player, Tests or otherwise, virtually on its call duty, paying salaries, doles, pensions and whatnot. Cricket, the very game and its players are all beholden to the Board. What is more, the Indian Board’s writ runs all over the world whether anyone agrees or argues to the contrary. The unanimous acceptance of the eminence of the Board of Control for Cricket in India is often carried too far, sometimes even to deny even the rules of the game. India’s objection to the UDRS rule involving the impartial judgement of the umpires is an example. Everyone knows the flaw in Indian stand but the International Cricket Committee has been surprisingly soft. The decision to review a judgement on a player being out or not is something so much needed and everyone knows it too except of course India which continues to oppose it. There is no logic in its argument against it. The rules are followed in tournaments like the World Cup but when it comes to Test cricket, the ICC has left if to the participating and contesting countries. This allows
India to show its muscle power. A few years ago India virtually questioned the ICC panel of umpires while on tour of Australia. The Indian team questioned certain decisions of one of the umpires and threatened to walkout in the middle of the series if he was not replaced. The highly venerated Steve Bucknor was the official in question. The Australian Board and the ICC quietly submitted to the ultimatum and replaced Bucknor. India may have had reasons for its objections to some of the decisions but the way the Board went about it was unacceptable. And it was a very wrong decision on part of the International body too but it had no choice but to succumb to the financial strong arm tactics of the Indian Cricket Board. Fortunately there has been no repeat of such action since then either by India or any other country.
Desire to win at all cost! There is another front where the Indian Board and its players and captains
WRIT RUNS ALL OVER
Tennis player Sania Mirza during the IPL match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Pune Warriors at Rajiv Gandhi International cricket stadium in Uppal
continue to err. This is in the matter of preparing wickets for the home series. The Indian team’s desire to win at all costs has hit Test cricket badly. By turning out spin-oriented turfs the Indian team feels that it will be able to overwhelm the visiting teams through its known strength in spin. It succeeds most of the time but to what purpose? This strategy is understandable if India is to play all its matches at home. But what happens when the team goes abroad. The name of the game in countries outside India is something different and the Indians are exposed badly. The results of India’s foreign adventures are there for everyone to see. Except for England and once recently in West Indies, Indian cricket has always been on the receiving end. And the England jinx was broken the last time it went there. England won 4-0 and a lot of Indian reputation was lost in the debris. What hurt Indian cricket in the last series in England was it lost badly when it was sitting right on top of the world as the No 1 ranked Test team.
It was this defeat and the one which followed in Australia was what prompted Indian cricket and its pundits incharge of the wickets to decide on a revenge mission. Against England the ploy failed badly. England recovered after the first Test and played India’s game better than the host team. It had the bowlers to exploit the condition better than the Indians while the Indians, allegedly past masters at playing spin were found miserably wanting. And as for Australia it would be better to acknowledge here that the team from down-under was a very weak combination. Any Ranji Trophy team could have beaten it. But the question is whether the pitches were cooked up to serve Indian victories? If so it was in bad taste. International cricket is not played on such understanding. In the final run what was proved was not which side was better but the poor quality of the wickets provided. And in this context it must be admitted that the Delhi wicket was not fit for a Test Match. Rather surprising Australia did not object! <
Sachin should stop playing now!
ow long will it take to nudge the great Sachin Tendulkar that his Test match playing days are over. He is certainly over the hill. He is slow in running and slower in getting his pads out of the way. His footwork is all wrong these days. He has had his time and should go out gracefully. He has often been quoted as having played for his country after a great innings. The country thanks him, is beholden to him and wants him to serve it. But, he should stop playing for his country now. While the Sachin factor is embarrassing, there are other aspects which are encouraging. There is the maturing of Cheteshwar Pujara who scored a double century against both England and Australia and the enforced self discipline of Murali Vijay who is determined to stay at the top of the batting order. Most importantly however is the graduation of Rajendra Jadeja as a fifth bowler. He has more than filled a very important spot which had been vacant for long.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
ART & CULTURE
By Our Art Critic
irls of Miranda House (Delhi University) selected the subaltern sections’ struggle in society as the theme for their annual festival Tarikh this year.
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Quite appropriately they chose Chandalika, a poignant episode from the Buddhist lore to convey the message in dance-drama form. The story is well-known. An ‘untouchable’ girl meets a monk and gets infatuated with him just because, disregarding her low origin, he treats her as his equal. Sree Veena Mani, a Kuchipudi artiste, and Rajashree Raju, a Bharatanatyam danseuse, put to use their respective talents to visually
narrate the plight of the ‘Harijan’ girl in a Brahmanical society. With sagacious blend of Kuchipudi, the traditional dance form of Andhra Pradesh, and Bharatanatyam, a native of Tamil Nadu, the two amateur performers made excellent use of abhinaya to portray the characters with interludes of nritya. In this fusion of the two major South Indian dance forms, Sree Veena Mani, a third-year student of history played the part of Prakriti (Chandalika), and Rajashree Raju, a second-year student of the same subject did justice to the characters of curd seller, bangle seller, Prakriti’s mother and finally Ananda, the Buddhist monk. The travails of the untouchable Chandals in a society following Brahmanical norms, facing humiliation of all kinds, was well portrayed by Sree Veena Mani in the role of Prakriti who meets the monk and impulsively falls in love with him. She realises a bit late that her love was mis-placed and chooses to become the monk’s devotee. The recital was followed by a talk by Prof. Randabir Chakraborty on the theme and background of the story. He said Chandalika was first written when Buddhism was just spreading its wings in the sub-continent. It was re-written by Rabindranath Tagore for the stage in 1938. The professorial talks may have passed over the head of many students but the dazzling presentation of the message by the artistes certainly made a deep impression on the youths.<
NEW PUSH FOR NEW BRAIN Secrets of biology are getting revealed more and more and faster each passing day once scientists decoded the structure of human genome. But understanding of brain, its structure and functions, is desperately poor despite seemingly so much advancement in science and technology. A new push was given recently to develop new technologies to decode brain and its functions…. By Bodhi Shri
hinkers and philosophers since ages have speculated about the nature of mind which incorporates brain functions, properties, consciousness, emotions and thinking. Establishing relationship between mind and body had also been attempted. Now modern science, equipped with advanced imaging, computing and nano technologies-based electrodes wants to understand with high accuracy brain’s structure to its individual neuron level and its function in terms of communication a neuron makes with the complex neural network in the brain. This would ultimately lead to develop technologies to read mind. The knowledge of scientists about the brain is abysmally low. So far as brain research is concerned the world today is where it was in molecular biology in 1950 or chemistry in 1900. One can say the gate is just opening. Though brain research activities have been taken up significantly in the last one decade, yet the issue caught global attention only recently when in the first week of April US president Barrack Obama announced a funding programme for futuristic brain research technologies. The two futuristic projects are—BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) and BAP (Brain activity Map).
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The goal of these projects is to develop technologies that can record interactions between nerve cells and the complex network of circuits that are at the root of human thoughts, behavior and functions. These ambitious projects will probably enable scientists in 15 years’ time to develop technologies that could observe around 1 million neurons in real time. Just as Human Genome Project unleashed scientific imagination and development of new technologies capable of working at the level of genes to bring about changes in human health and develop new kinds of medicines and diagnostic tools. Similarly it is assumed that the Brain Mapping Project would
revolutionise our understanding of how our brain functions. It would be possible in future to create computer simulations of all functions of brain. The secret of brain function lies in neurons getting excited and the communication it sends to other neurons. In a way it would be kind of traffic report between various neurons. Current technologies require implanting nano-electrodes within the brain, but now the goal is to do it noninvasively. A new branch of neuro-science optogenetics has to develop fast to do the job. New microscopes will also be needed to record data of excited neurons in the brain. And then would be required the data-crunching
TECHNOLOGIES capabilities even faster super computers than we have today to give results of thousands of neuronal activities in real time basis. Once these technologies come up, the possibilities to chart new territories are endless. The research would shed light on the complex links between brain function and behavior. The long term outcome may be immense including reversal of brain aging. A nearer outcome may be
Mapping of Dreams y scanning brain activity with an MRI machine it has become possible to tell what people saw in their dream with sixty percent accuracy. This success of Japanese researchers is limited to images like buildings, animals, trees, statues, keys, ice cubes and other objects, the next goal is to also tell about what emotions and feeling people had during the sleep. Professor Yukiyasu Kamitani, from the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, in Kyoto, had believed for long that certain aspects of dreams, especially visual ones, can be decoded and now he has proved it. The technique involved creating a huge data base by asking people to wake up and tell what they saw in their dream and correlate that with the MRI scans showing excited portions of different parts of the brain. Computers on the basis of database were able to figure out what a particular person saw in his or her dream. Now it has to be seen how the next challenge to reveal emotions, smells, colours and actions is undertaken. Once achieving success on this front it would takes scientists nearer to the goal of making dream-reading machines. But such machines can be made on individual basis only as the data fed would be relevant to the specific structure of an individual brain. The general dream reader as according to this method would not be possible. What is the use of a dream-reader? It is assumed that the dreams can be used as diagnostic as well as therapy tools. It may be used to develop individualised lucid dream machines. To get a good sleep and having lucid dreams increases human productivity and sense of wellbeing. Today much is not known about how to influence dreams. Some studies have shown links between dreams and memory. Most people come across traumatic events at some point in their lives, and, for some, these can produce post-traumatic stress disorder, leaving them emotionally broken long after the event itself. So better understanding of the link between dream and memory it should be possible to develop better helps for traumatic stress disorder patients.<
A neuron or electrically excitable nerve cell is the base component of brain. According to the latest estimate a human brain consists of 86 billion neurons. They process and transmit information through electrical and chemical signals. development of better lie detectors for interrogations. And a distant fictional dream can be making artificial human brain. May be in one or two decades scientists would reach a stage when they would embark upon making artificial brains which would be mimicking the real biological brain. But much before that the goal of scientists is to develop treatments to schizophrenia, clinical depression or autism, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury and even obesity, all of which are controlled by the brain, which are non-treatable today. Understanding brainâ€™s deeper phenomenon like consciousness and cognitive functions is a larger task and may be the ultimate dream of any neuroscientist.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
TWO MORE YEARS OF LOW GROWTH By Business Desk
ndian economy is a victim of political mismanagement. The economy which could grow at 6.7 percent during the global crisis of 2008-09 is going to show only 5 percent in 2012-13. What went wrong? Dr C Rangarajan, chief of Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, says the growth should have been between 7.5 and 8 percent as the investment level was 35.8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). We could not achieve the higher growth rate because the invested capital is held-up. For example, there is immense investment in the power sector, but our political managers could not ensure coal or gas supply to the power plants. Mining activity in several states is at standstill due to numerous instances of governmental omissions and commissions. After reviewing the gloomy situation, the prescription written by PM’s economic advisory council is to have more foreign investments, which at present are dwindling. It is a disheartening situation. Dr Rangarajan says, more foreign investment is urgently needed in order to lower the current account deficit which is very high. The deficit worsened because of two things—poor growth in exports and excessive import of oil, gold and coal. India has one of the largest coal reserves in the world (approx. 267 billion tonnes). Yet India’s coal import has risen 40 per cent from 75 million tonnes in 2009-10 to 105 mt in 201112, and doubled in cost, from $9 bn to $18 bn. The situation looks funny when we see that the government is pressurising the Coal India Limited to import coal (instead of stepping up production) to make it available to power plants. Unfortunately,
The economic growth of a country is dependent not just on availability of capital, entrepreneurship and markets for its products and services; it also depends very much on how the country’s politics is managed. If the political management is poor, economic growth will remain low and the country will suffer. It will threaten the security of the nation and hit the welfare of the poor as well.
Dr C Rangarajan, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council
privatisation of coal mining has been done in such a highly corrupt and sloppy manner that scope for growth of this sector is completely jeopardised. Government institutions are in the habit of presenting a rosy picture of our economy in order to give them a euphoric feeling. For instance, predictions made by them about the state of our economy have usually proved wrong by a huge margin. The latest forecast made by Dr Rangarajan is 6.4 percent growth as against last year’s 5 percent. One will not be surprised if this may again meet the same fate as his previous prognostication.
One also needs to see this figure in the context of the 12th Plan, which says the country would achieve a growth rate of 8 percent per annum during the period. But Dr Rangarajan at his recent press conference said for the first two years of the plan, the growth would remain much less than that. The political meaning is clear— whichever government comes after the 2014 poll, the picture is going to be gloomy. Due to political uncertainty and rampant corruption, not only the invested capital will remain unproductive, potential investors will keep away, afraid to make any fresh investment.<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
WHY INDIA HAS ONLY A FIFTY By Koomitara
fter a decade of satisfactory global economic growth, thanks largely to very rapid growth of emerging nations, there is a pall of gloom now when the much celebrated high growth nations too are on the path of slow down. The question is which countries are going to reverse the slow down? Which will be new break-out nations? These questions have been answered in the book under review in highly refreshing manner with convincing arguments and palpable logic. The book remained in the chart of the Best Sellers for months together though it is not sufficient to judge its true merit. On the other hand there are a number of reasons to think that this may be the best book on global economic trends, which are puzzling and defying easy explanation. Ruchir Sharma not only has deep insights into the economic trends of various countries owing to his profession which requires judicious investment decisions in emerging markets of the world, but also has a flair for lucid writing. He writes regularly for the Newsweek, Wall Street Journal and Economic Times. He is with the global market giant Morgan Stanley. The author takes his readers on an exciting tour of the world’s two dozen most interesting economies. He spots, describes and analyses forces that are unique to each country and which could make or mar the countries in the future. This he does convincingly as he has been a keen globe-trotter for two decades watching what was happening on the ground in developing countries. He spends one week every month in one or the other developing country.
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India is like Brazil, not China With these credentials his judgments carry conviction. His first major conclusion is that China's growth will slow sharply. The trend will be even
negative in the case of India, according to him. He thinks India is much like Brazil, not
What has Manmohan Singh done! nd on achievements of Manmohan Singh, he says he opened Indian market to foreigners and lowered import tariff from 85 percent to 25 percent. Yet, in the 1990s Indian growth rate was only 5.5 percent, not much faster than in the 1980s. India took off only during the global boom of 2003. It was not triggered by local factors. Singh remained just a figurehead, did not push any reform measure though he raised high hopes. <
China. He observes: political elites of India and Brazil share a deep fondness for welfare-state liberalism, even though their economies do not generate the necessary revenue to support this.
‘India’s government expenditure has been increasing by 20 percent per year which is much more than the economy’s growth. The result is India’s total fiscal deficit has ballooned to 9 percent of the GDP from 6 percent. And total public debt to GDP ratio is now 70 percent, the highest for any developing country.’ If it goes on like this, India is going to face the same fate which Brazil confronted in the 1970s. The book says, it is easy to increase welfare spending during the boom, but the trouble is, it continues to rise even during a period of slowdown. One bigger problem he cites is the high cost of doing business in India. This makes Indian businessmen reluctant to invest in their own country; their investment has declined from 17 percent in 2008 to 13 percent now. At a time when Indians should invest more in India, they are looking for greener pastures abroad, he moans. Foreign operations now account for 10 percent of their overall profits: it was just 2 percent five years ago. The book is candid in theorising that corruption and crony capitalism lowers the growth as it kills competition. The book makes interesting observations on political leadership and its impact on national growth, and explains why the Congress now rules only in 2 of the ten major states of India. By citing the example of Bihar, he asserts: if people elect right leaders, the growth follows. Jairam Ramesh may be an ardent admirer of MNREGA, but he proves how it is damaging the country overall as it is pinning people to farms in low productivity jobs and restricting their migration to higher productivity employments in urban areas. This Indian strategy is just opposite to that of China which converted its growing labour force into an economic miracle just by helping migration. In India people living in urban areas rose from 26 to 30 percent only while in China
PERCENT CHANCE TO SUCCEED!
Title Author Publisher Price
: : : :
Breakout Nations Ruchir Sharma Allen Lane Pound-Sterling 25.00
they went up from 35 to 46 percent. The author finds great merit in the population explosion of India. ‘By 2020 average age of the Chinese would be 37, average Indian 29 and average European 49. China would be old before it gets rich and India would be a middleincome country and still young.’ Conventional view is, India will be able to put this young generation to work because of its relatively better educational system, entrepreneurial zeal and strong link to global economy. Still the author gives only 50 percent probability for India to emerge as a break-out nation as it is ham-strung by
various risks like bloated government, crony capitalism, falling turnover of capital and the farmers’ disturbing tendency to stay on the farm. The book makes a quick survey of the global scene: Brazil will grow only at half the rate of China if it did not reform. Mexicans are migrating abroad for fear of being fleeced by petty officials and the police. (Mexico saw a net outflow of 2.4 million people during 2006-10, the largest exodus in the world.) Brazilians, very much like Indians, eagerly look for state-funded social welfare, resulting in high inflation and low growth rate-- four percent per year during 2003-07. Brazil
has one of the highest interest rates in the world. As for Russia, despite having been the first into space and produced 27 Nobel laureates in science, mathematics, and economics, it has no global manufacturing company on its stock exchange. It has one of the world's worst aging population problems. In Russia there is room only at the top and things would not improve with the existing czarist mindset. The book surveys the world to examine which nations are likely to flourish or disappoint, and which may emerge as break-out nations. Really interesting read!<
MAY, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Save our girls from rapists! ape cases are mounting at an alarming rate. Everybody is rightly concerned about it. But there is hardly any unanimity about the root causes of this distressing crime, and hence no consensus on solutions. When feminists protest carrying placards and scream ‘this is our body, we have full rights over it’, they just limit the notion about the magnificent womanhood to their body. This is a mistake: they see and want to be seen themselves only as a body-- a sex object-- not as someone with a transcendent personality, exclusive individuality, dignity, opinion and above all, intelligence. It is sad, even ironic that women activists themselves spread this totally wrong notion. It is common knowledge that people with a criminal bent of mind, who think they can get anything done by use of force, and easily escape from the clutches of the law, are the ones who indulge in rapes. So only all-out measures will end rapes. But will it? Odds are great indeed. In some advanced countries rape is punishable by chemical castration, which is surgical intervention to bar formation of testosterone (male sex hormone) and thus cutting out libido. But feminists in India are against the measure as it is against universal human rights. They are probably right. Rape being a crime of pervert mind and excessive sexual desire, controlling it should start with the mindset. There is a well-known aphorism that sex does not exist between the legs, but in the mind. That means young minds should be helped to develop a balanced mind about sex and its broad functioning . However, even a cultured mind can get corrupted by things like explicit cinemas, pornography and vulgar novels. These generate an irrepressible obsession about hidden female parts. But is banning them a solution? No. Because there is a strong lobby favouring them. There is the instance of an advocate who filed a PIL in the Supreme Court to ban internet pornography, especially child pornography. But lo!, there appeared a spate of articles in the social media against the move to ban saying that porn is a good thing! A few said it helped sex awareness and education. Others thought it released pent up energy which in the case of those who masturbated was probably correct. Only a few crazy were for the ban. Over 20 crore porn videos or clippings are freely available in the net. Two alleged rapists of a 5-yearold child in Delhi admitted that they saw a porn clip before committing the crime. Few parents are aware of the deleterious effects of porn on their wards. Even if they knew what could they do? The ubiquitous mobile has made it impossible to have any control on porn - viewing, because schoolchildren are routinely provided with mobile phones (or ‘tablets’) for the convenience of parents They do not have time even to check how their children make use of the instrument. Some schools have banned mobile phones in the premises, but that hardly helps matters. One expected that at least women activists would support the demand for banning pornography, but no; many of them have campaigned against banning it because it curbs the freedom of expression enshrined in the Constitution! They say porns are banned nowhere except in Saudi Arabia and China. Some European countries and Iceland have just started debating the pros and cons of banning it. In this situation it may be outrageous to make viewing porn a cognizable offence, but at least its availability, especially childporn, on the net should be banned. Anybody listening?<