Tuesday, July 15, 2014

EDITOR'S COLUMN

Friends
We are into the monsoon season, but unlike last year, this time round, rain god is playing hide and seek. It’s not been even 50% of the last year, when, it caused unprecedented devastation in Uttarkhand. Thousands had died and loss of property has been colossal. While the rebuilding is still in its limping stage, the memory of the dead shall linger for a very long time to come with dead bodies still popping up from no-where. A complete account of the loss of life may never be possible with the kind of topography the state has. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was not functional then, hope, it is activated by this time to be available in case of need.
According the Meteorological people, July shall have better monsoon. Hope it is proved right or else we will have a serious socio-agrarian problem.
Month-in-Perspective, as usual, has tried to cover as many issues of relevance as was possible within the space constraints. We have tried to be as fair as possible in our treatment of the issues involved.
Election 2014, has ushered a new government with its own principles and ideology. Administrative changes to suite its thinking is bound to happen with horizontal and vertical transfers in babudom. The gubernatorial position of Governor has as usual, come under sharp focus due to the politicization of governors office by the previous regime. The incumbent government is earnestly on the job of replacing men & women at these comfort zones. The apex court intervention of 2010, in this regard, is the only stumbling block. Congress, which is out of power, is crying hoarse at the attempt of NDA govt. in Delhi, citing this court judgment. But, it was the Congress, which taught others, how to treat the Governor as a foot ball. Now it’s the payback time. However, it is hoped, the present NDA regime at the Centre shall not stoop too low to settle the score. In FOCUS we have tried to discuss the relevance of Governor's office in a country like India, which is quite frankly a superfluous position, the country can live without. Hope readers shall find it interesting. Do revert with your input. We do value them. Rest are as usual.      

MONTH -IN- PERSPECTIVE

NEW DELHI: ‘Good days are coming’ has been the clarion-call of Modi’s campaign in Election 2014. Modi has been rather innovative, in his verbose in the election rhetorics. Result, we have all seen. After 30 years, there’s a single party government in New Delhi. Narendra Modi has certainly arrived on the national stage like none before him. Hence the expectation of ordinary Indians, especially those who voted for him, is justifiably there, of good days ahead.
And comes the bomb shell, by way of 14% hike in the railway passenger fare and 6% in the freight charge. As expected all political parties went to the town to cry hoarse. Even BJP would have done the same before Election 2014. But that is politics. This is the only way it functions in a country like India.
Media informs that the increase of 14% and 6% was planned in the last vote-on-account proposals of former Rail Minister of UPA, Mallikarjun Kharge. But due to possible election fallout it was not tabled in the parliament. Thus saved the ‘blues’ for the UPA.
All Indians need to know that Indian railway travel fare is the cheapest in the world. This means, it is highly subsidized. Media informs that Railway’s daily loss is Rs 30 crores and the passenger fare subsidy is Rs. 26000/- crores. Of course, notwithstanding the media hype that railway is a govt. operated public utility service and therefore should have alternative ways of bridging the loss than increase in the fare. Unfortunately media being less responsible, fails to make the general public understand why this raise is needed. It is true that these raises should come in small doses over period, then the hue and cry could have been much less. But then, somebody sometime has to face the music composed by someone else over a period. In nation building all have to share the pain in different degrees and that makes for responsible citizenry.
Personal Laws affecting the cross section of our multi religious humanity has always come to the fore at election time. BJP in its wisdom always thought that India must have a Common Civil Code (CCC) for its citizenry. While all have to recognize, that CCC is nobody’s case, not everybody thinks about the human rights angle involved in civil codes of different religions and sectarian divide.
The most important dimension of the civil code is the status of women in these myriad social groups. It is very apparent that it is because of the suppressed and subjugated state of women, across the spectrum, which truly demands the Common Civil Code in a democratic milieu.
While there are any number of supporters of CCC among Hindus and Christians, there are opponents too among the same section who like status quo of denial to women to continue. Similarly, among Muslims CCC is largely unwelcome. But a sporadic supporters, among Muslims too pop up here and there.
In a democratic polity, debate is the essence of public life. There has to be open debate on these Civil Codes. A Common Civil Code is definitely in the interest of the country, since it can play a unifying role. What is good for the nation will be good for its population. Therefore all sections must look at it with open mind and dispassionately. The core of the discussion and debate and the eventual agreement has to be the protection of human rights of women and children based on natural justice and transparent fairness to one and all. If all of us think only as human beings who have the same emotions and aspirations, having a Common Civil Code is only as far as that. To decide on CCC, all that is required is, to be a rational human being and being Indian at heart is all that matters. Nothing else should matter.
Prashant Bhushan has done it earlier and is doing it again, putting the CBI and the govt. in dock. This time round he is trying to fix Praful Patel, former Civil Aviation Minister in UPA govt. Patel is a Pawar protage and therefore protected. Despite many accusation against Pawar, either in Maharashtra, New Delhi, or even in his cricket involvement, he appears to be slippery for reasons unknown. Of course, like Ambanis, he too has a large pie in the media, and hence nobody writes against him. 
This Patel was accused of wrong doing in the unnecessary buying of  68 aircrafts in 2005 for Air India. There was a small mention, a storm in the tea cup followed and it quietly died. But this time round, its Prashant Bhushan, who has the wherewithal and the commitment to take it to some logical conclusion. Hence, Patel should be a worried man, and UPA is not in power, Pawar too is not in his political pink health. 
A passenger identification biometric system, was mooted by some Air India insiders, when it was not needed at all. Two Canadian companies, probably Indians owned, engineered the demand. One of them was only a quotation letter head company. Nazir Karigar, sounds a sub-continental name, the owner of Cryptometrics, the other Canadian company, is the kingpin of Rs.500 crore scam of Air India’s bid to buy this unwanted system in 2006. Reportedly, the security department of Air India had estimated the cost of this system to be about Rs.75 lakhs. But the tender committee, directly under the Minister, pegged it an incredible Rs.500 crores. 
Fortunately an upright officer in the finance department of Air India raised objection and the contract was dropped. But the money meanwhile changed hands from Canadians to Indians. A Canadian Court, reportedly, on 23 May sentenced this Nazir Karigar for bribing Patel, V. Tulsidas, the chairman of Air India & others. The sentence is for 3 years.  Strangely Indian authorities had not acted despite the judgement. 
Having complained to CBI, Bhushan is determined to make CBI act or else he has decided to knock at the door of Apex Court. Hope and wish he succeeds to fix Patel + Co.

The newest Chief Justice of India Justice R M Lodha is already making waves with his path breaking initiatives. We are all privy to the unsustainably increasing pending cases all over India. Reasons for this unhealthy development where litigants, especially the poor, have to interminably commute up and down for years on, is innumerable. It is systamic failure of a weird kind. Can we get out of it, is a question never seriously dealt with. Different Chief Justices have come up with different solutions. Surely some improvements have taken place over a period. But lot remains to be done. 
The proposal by Justice Lodha to keep the courts open for all 365 days of the year is certainly a welcome one. Of course as expected Lawyers lobby has opposed it tooth and nail. Unfortunately, the leaders that took over from the British in 1947, which includes likes of Nehru & Patel have, like many other practices, just carried on the colonial legacy of summer break of 45 days, besides other shorter breaks for winter and autumn. Justice Lodha, rightly argues that holidays one can take as per his/her choice than as fixed. A pre-planned holiday programme of all judges can enable planned functioning of the courts. Of course, there are other ways to improve the faster disposal of cases as pointed out by Supreme Court Bar Association president Pravin Parekh, who literally took on the entire judiciary. According to him there are over 3500 vacancies for judges including 5 in Supreme Court and 250 in High Courts. This is to be decided by the superior courts and not the fault of the government, he avered. Besides the functioning styles of judges too are the bane to be addressed. Parekh complained of judges coming late and having intermittent breaks and there has to be policy for the time management of judges. Besides increasing the time of court sitting is better than sitting every day, he suggested in his letter. While both sides have their respective points of view, this move by Justice Lodha should lead to some action taking place for the overall improvement in the functioning of court and therefore to the life of average litigant. 
We thought English MPs from United Kingdom are bad, since they claimed many expenses without incurring them. They tried to enrich themselves with false means. And comes the news “6 MPs & Ex MPs booked in Leave Travel Concession (LTC) scams by the CBI". In England they had both men and women, some even of Indian origin. In India 6 MPs, 3 former and 3 current, all men, have indulged in this despicable malpractice of a man with clerical mentality. Of course, there may be many clerks who are truly gentlemen. But it certainly exposes the cheap and petty mind of those who indulged in this financial misdemeanor. 
It was always thought that financial poverty has solutions but mental poverty had no solution. Obviously these Member of Parliament, by any reckoning, an honorable position, were suffering from mental poverty. They simply threw to the wind the dignity their position brought them. It is indeed an act of disgrace. 
And strangely, TMC, has condemned the new NDA government for allegedly using CBI since one of its MP was booked for claiming air travel fare for his companion who did not travel. But they did not condemn,     if the false claim is true. New government probably had no time even to talk to CBI in the two weeks in power at the Centre. But Mamata being Mamata she suffers from extreme form of paranoia. In all fairness, these dishonourable members of parliament should be stripped of all their previlages. 

Old order changeth to yielding place to the new. This is the law of nature. Whether it is the law of the nature or not, Delhi is certainly changing with the new government taking up its reins to manage the affairs of the country. The new directive of the new man at the helm is going down fast. Reportedly all government offices are suddenly looking spic & span. The age old unclean corners and stinking toilets are things of the past, report media. And a new culture has gripped the corridors of government bhavans. All those babus who were used to come at 11.00/11.30 am, are on their seat at 9.00 AM dot. So are their bosses. Hope it’s not the story of new broom, but shall stay at least during the currency of Modi government. 
Also the decision to dump those above 75 years of age. Modi made a clean departure of denying minister-ship to all those who are above 75. So was Rahul Gandhi. He too denied Rajya Sabha, nomination to all those above 75 years. S M Krishna, 83 year old, tired but not retired, still lobbied hard to get Rajya Sabha nomination. But sorry! said Gandhi. That’s an end to SMK’s long political career. In fact even Janardhan Poojari who was inching towards 80 should not have been given the seat in Mangalore. He too had a very long innings. Again tired but not retired. Hope Modi and Rahul, do keep the reins in leash for all these oldies.
WORLD: That minorities in Pakistan was never safe, is an all time truth, was never in doubt. But also the truth is, who is safe in Pakistan? Even among majority Muslims, there are denominations who are unsafe. Shias, Ahmediyas and a few other Muslim denominations too are unsafe in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It is true that the person responsible for the creation of Pakistan, Mohd. Ali Jinnah himself, had a larger picture of a secular Pakistan. But the fact is after his death, the leaders that came after him, who took over the reins of Pakistan, Islamized the idea of Pakistan, and for all the 66 years that followed non-Muslim minorities of Pakistan lived a harrowing life, and it took the Supreme Court of Pakistan over six decades to think of having a special armed force to give security to minorities and their places of worship. 
Although better late than never, it is a welcome step and that such a realization has come, even so belatedly to the judiciary of the country, augurs well for Pakistan. 
            


So the hands of Pakistani government, army and its spy agency ISI are full with crisis management of a weird kind. Report coming from Islamabad and other places from India’s western neighbour indicates, that there have been wide spread and large scale tit-for-tat violence, between government forces and so-called militants. These militants are truly speaking are the terrorists striking at will at all places in the name of Jihad. These terrorists are all part of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). 
Quite frankly, it is the chicken-coming home-to-roost. For far too long, the authorities molly-coddled these terrorists, as long as they were creating violent trouble for Indians and Indian targets. But then a monster is a monster, sooner or later it will go out of control. And that is exactly what has happened. The level of laxity that Pakistan allowed to its terror outfits like TTP, it has grown to such an extent that it has become a threat to the very existence of Pakistan as a nation. No wonder, the government of Nawaz Sherif is fighting tooth and nail to stop TTP in its tracks. Of course, if the authorities in Pakistan, the government, the army and the ISI, come together with a single purpose, then taming TTP and even annihilating it, may not be a problem. But the issue is, army and ISI wants TTP to remain active to cause the ‘thousand cuts’ agenda of Zia-ul-Haq, to cause mayhem in Indian territory and hence are not honest and sincere in controlling TTP. This indeed is the crux. It is not for nothing that Madeline Albright the former U.S. Secretary of State, had publicly stated on record that Pakistan is an ‘international migraine’. Now it has an internal domestic migraine as well. It has become a victim of its own contradictions with hundreds of men, women and children dying at regular intervals in violence across the country. 

The kind of a civil war between Sunny’s and Shia’s in Iraq was only expected. U.S. made the first mistake of entering Iraq on false premise of destroying WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction), which was not there in the first place. While it is true that Saddam Hussein and his sons were cruel dictators to those who opposed them, the life for an average Iraqi was reasonably good with petrol revenue. But then, problem if any, was of Iraq and its citizens, U.S. had absolutely no role as an international policeman. 
Yes, although U.S. came in wrongly, they were right in exiting but the exit was not properly planned or managed. U.S. had destroyed the status-quo with which an average Iraqi had no issue. Having destroyed Saddam and his coterie, U.S. should have stayed back to adequately strengthen the administration of a changed government of elected representatives. The changed authority composed more of Shia representatives and less of Sunny’s. Although Shia and Sunny are the different sects of same Islam, they have a problem to co-exist. 
Indeed, Iraq is not India, where all sections of Indians co-exist. Of course, India has its share of irritants due to its vastness and plurality, but surely not serious. In India, all sects of Islam live in peace with all the freedom guaranteed by the constitution. It could be true as U.S. accuses the Shia Prime Minister Nuri-al-Maliki of alienating Iraqi Sunny’s. But then the violence, as being indulged by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq & Syria) is no solution at all. That, which lives by sword shall perish by sword, is a time tested idiom. Co-operative Co-existence is the only solution, which countries like, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and Afghanistan need to realize. ‘Peace be with you friends’. Amen   
We are all privy to the visit of SAARC heads of state to the oath taking ceremony of Narendra Modi, as Prime Minister of India. Among these neighbouring VVIPs, was Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He had, due to his domestic compulsions, took his time to accept the invite, unlike others, who responded immediately, to this unexpected and unprecedented display of bonhomie from the world’s largest democracy, so also the biggest among SAARC members. But the internal dynamics of Pakistan was not amused, they were non- plussed. They were clearly in a dilemma. In the event better sense prevailed, and Nawaz Sharif came to India and went back, probably satisfied. Sartaz Aziz, the National Security & Foreign Affairs Advisor has reportedly stated, “The outcome of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to India was much better than we expected”. That was indeed very positive to look at things like that. But here is this cricketer turned politician Imran Khan who went to the town screaming “Sharif was treated like a school boy during his trip to India.” Now that’s a very funny observation. Imran never explained what is the ‘school boy’ dimension in the entire trip. Such observation neither wins friends nor influences people. Of course, all those who were not keen that Sharif undertakes this trip to India to meet the new Prime Minister, may find Imran’s barb sensible, which otherwise did not make any sense.     
MAHARASHTRA: It is ironic, as the Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau, was cleaning their slate by giving Ajith Pawar, the Deputy Chief Minister and former minister in-charge of irrigation, a clean certificate of no wrong doing, comes the CAG bombshell. It was during the tenure of Ajith Pawar, the Rs.70000 crore irrigation scam hit the NCP government in Mumbai. Different persons and agencies had decried the wholesale mismanagement and misappropriation in the administration of irrigation projects for many years. The government of Prithviraj Chauhan did not do anything to check and present the loot of the system, neither they fixed responsibility of the massive procedural syphoning of the money. The report from CAG has come as a slap on the face of Maharashtra government. According to CAG, there was a cost over-run of Rs.47,427 crores in the 601 ongoing projects. Reportedly the CAG report was tabled in the Maharashtra assembly recently in mid-June. The report informs, that of 601 ongoing projects, 77 were under execution for over 30 years and 225 projects were more than 15 years old. This reflects the shocking apathy, inefficiency and incompetence of the state irrigation department. Of course, as usual, there are always explanations for delays and cost over-runs and therefore offers no-solution. In the meanwhile unchecked loot goes on uninterrupted. Report also informs about the projects costs incurred without complete acquisition of land. Similarly, estimates were prepared without survey of the dam sites, invariably leading to the change in design after the works were awarded. These are the time tested ways of making money for everybody in the system. Unfortunately the rot in the system is happening with the active knowledge of top leaders within the government and therefore CAG or no CAG, corruption goes unchecked in Maharashtra. That is a sad last word. 
The violent death of I.T. professional Mohasin Sheikh, reportedly at the hands of some Hindu outfit in Pune, is by any stretch of imagination absolutely  senseless and dastardly. If  as reported, that he has been killed, for no fault of his, but only because   he sported beard and had a skull cap indicating that he is Muslim, it is extremely diabolic. Just because, somebody from somewhere wrote or portrayed Shivaji, the Maratha warrior king and Bal   Thackray, the late Shiv Sena supremo, in terms allegedly inflammatory, one cannot make anybody pay for someone else fault. While violence of any kind is not acceptable on anybody, but to target innocents is totally unacceptable. The authorities concerned must take the stringer possible action on the perpetrators of this insane act of beating somebody, as young as, all of 24, to death. Surely, to his grieving family, the violent death of their son, must be an irrepairable loss. The new government at the centre, it must come down heavily in no uncertain terms that zero tolerance of such violence is not just spoken but practiced as well. For record, however, it is sad, that none from New Delhi has made any positive noise. In the larger context, the supreme sacrifice of this young man, should at least galvanise the authorities in Delhi, not just in Mumbai, to act decisively to ensure safety of every citizen of the country irrespective of its diversity. 
We at I&C can only pray for the departed soul of the young man and ask for forgiveness from his traumatized parents for causing a completely avoidable end of their dear son.   
Kerala: Believe it not, it happened in Thiruvanantapuram, the capital of the most literate state. And it happened to a teacher, who practiced what she taught, and the inflictor was none other than the Kerala minister of education, Abdu Rabb. There was a function to inaugurate the District. English Club at Cotton Hill Government Girl’s High School in the city. It was supposed to have been inaugurated by the Minister of Education at 9.30 and the whole battery of teachers led by the Head Mistress (HM) Smt. K K Urmila had readied the venue and were waiting for the minister to arrive. After waiting for 2 hours, at 11.30 am, HM got going with the function. 
The minister when arrived at 12.30, that is full 3 hours late, he found the gate of the school closed. Minister’s security man opened the gate and arrived at the venue. Welcoming the minister, the disciplinarian HM K K Urmila took the minister to task for making all children wait for such a long time.
Not used to this kind of treatment by teaching fraternity, a show-cause notice was issued to the HM asking her to explain the ‘humiliation of minister’. However, despite the 15 days notice period to reply, the HM was transferred to a school, some 45 Kms away from Thiruvanantapuram. This is Yeh Mera India. Its time All Kerala Teachers Union take up the issue to set right the wrong inflicted on one of them, who had the gumption to stand up-to an uncivil minister. 
 We all recognize that communication is the civilizational dimension of evolving mankind. When we start communicating our views, there comes along a degree of camaraderie, which when properly harnessed leads to bonhomie. And bonhomie is the corner stone of any peace foundation. Progress comes only when there is peace. Hence, we must, as homosapiens always should keep our channel of communication open. 
“Kerala Catholic bishops warm up to Modi” was a Thiruvanantapuram date lined report. Title itself has conveyed it all. Whether right or wrong, Narendra Modi was a butt of all accusations of being divisive ever since the 2002 sectarian violence in Gujarat. 12 years have passed, and India has moved on. Narendra Modi of 2002 has evolved over a period, slowly but positively steadily. Come 2014 election result, NAMO has transformed so incredibly, it is difficult to imagine. Graciousness in victory has been there for all to see. From the day he entered the parliament by prostrating at the entrance to the temple of Indian democracy, to that first address he made in the Loksabha, there was a clear signature of conciliatory noises. It clearly bodes well for India’s pluralism and people centric socio-economic development. 
Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) has to be congratulated for the suo moto-upfront initiative in extending their full support to the NDA led by Modi. 
Speaking to the conference of 35 Bishops belonging to Latin, Malankara and Syro Malabar of Catholic denomination, KCBC president Archi-bishop Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis, promised co-operation of the church in all pro-people initiatives by Modi and hoped that the new government will lead the nation on the path of development. 
Reportedly Archibishop Cleemis, who is also the president of Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCF) did not speak about the concern Catholics nursed       about Hindutva forces in the country. Fittingly, Bishop Stanley Roman of Kollam Diocese said ‘there was nothing for the minorities to fear as they are an integral part of India’ informed the report. This is a heartwarming development for all those looking at the larger Pan India picture. Mera Bharath Mahaan.   


KARNATAKA: There appears to be some haste in the taking over of troubled Bangalore head quartered Amaanath Co-operative Bank. For some time now, there is this news hovering about the public sector Canara Bank taking over this premier Co-operative Bank, owned mostly by the Bangalore based Muslim community. That, this bank is in trouble, is not a news at all. It is probably over a decade old. A minister in the outgoing UPA government at the centre appears to be the ‘Chief Engineer’ of this hurried attempt of taking over this troubled bank. The logic probably is, once it is taken over by a public sector bank, the trouble shall go away, and the trouble makers would heave a sigh of relief. But, unfortunately for Rehman Khan, a Chartered Accountant turned politician that was not to be.
Congress leader Jaffer Sherif and some other share holders of the bank have questioned this hurried attempt of takeover by Canara Bank. Accordingly Karnataka High Court has asked the troubled Co-operative Bank to call for the share holders meeting to decide the future course.
Here it is very pertinent, to understand that Rehman Khan was the Chairman of this Co-operative Bank and during his tenure at the helm of the bank there have been accusations of financial wrong doing on massive scale. None in the government, either the state government or the central government really took interest in fixing this Rehman Khan for the wrong doing. But then, it is India, where aam aadmi is only destined suffer silently, the wrongs committed by khaas aadmi. Yeh Mera India.  
  


FOCUS

GOVERNORS AS TOOL OF PARTY IN POWER
The recent ongoing debate on the removal or otherwise of Governors of states by the incumbent government has prompted us to revisit this institution to put in public domain, how some of the governors appointed by the government of the day played their constitutional role so very unconstitutionally in tune with the agenda of the ruling party at the centre.
We all recognize that governorship of any state is a kind of reward for an old war-horse or to rehabilitate a retired babu, who has been a partner in the past with their political masters in their wheelings and dealings. Also at times to send a troublesome party leader into political ‘vanavaas’, this governorship was rewarded.
Governors playing politics or appointed to play politics was started by Indira Gandhi and continued through Rajeev Gandhi to the latest government of Sonia/Manmohan combine.
Looking back over the shoulder, walking down the memory lane, there have been many governors, acting on instructions from their political masters, played nasty. From Thakur Ram Lal to Sardar Buta Singh to Hans Raj Bharadhwaj were all trouble making governors, besides others, who were not as diabolic as the former three. All of them were politicians first and constitutional heads later.
Thakur Ramlal, who was an MLA from Himachal Pradesh, elected continuously six times, and was Chief Minister twice, was sent to Andhra Pradesh, where N.T. Rama Rao had become a kind of nemesis of Congress party. N.T. Rama Rao’s Telugu Desam Party had won 203 of the 294 seats in Andhra Assembly, against the 56 seats won by Congress Party, in the Dec. 1983 election. Congress had lost power in Andhra for the first time.
On 15th Aug. 1984, exactly one year after Ramlal came to Hyderabad as Governor, he dismissed the Telugu Desam government, when NTR, the Chief Minister was on a foreign trip. Ramlal installed a former Congressman, Nadendla Bhaskar Rao as the Chief Minister stating that he had the support of majority, which was not true. This move had the blessings of Indira Gandhi.
On his return NTR mobilized all his supporters and paraded them at Raj Bhavan. An unmoved Ramlal rejected his claim. There was wide-spread condemnation across the country. Most opposition political parties supported NTR in his fight for restoration of his democratically elected government. In the crisis that remained for almost a month, Indira Gandhi was forced to remove Governor Ramlal and Shankar Dayal Sharma, who was to become the President of India in later years, was sent to Hyderabad as new Governor, who restored NTR as the Chief Minister in Sept. 1984.
Sardar Buta Singh was sent by the centre to Bihar to try and install the government of its choice, and see that it survives without any hiccups. Unfortunately the figures at the hustings did not add up to the required equation. However, since Governor Buta Singh did not want the opposition to have a fair chance to form the government, using his legislative powers he dissolved the assembly, leaving the opposition NDA in lurch. Thus the Governor Buta Singh not only went against the constitutional propriety but also imposed on an impoverished state, a huge expenditure of crores of rupees for another, completely avoidable, election on the state. Of course as the luck would have it, NDA romped home with a comfortable majority on its own. Both Congress and the Governor were disgraced.
Here it is important to recount the Supreme Court intervention in the Bihar imbroglio. According to PTI “The apex court has held that Bihar governor Buta Singh’s decision to recommend dissolution of the state assembly under the garb of checking defection was obviously perverse and taken in bad faith,” observed a five judge constitution bench, in a majority verdict. “On facts, the inescapable inference is, that the sole object of the governor was to prevent the claim (of NDA) being made to form government and the case would fall under category of bad faith” said the judgment.
Rebutting the contention of the centre that the governor was in the know of the state of affairs in the state which was ‘destroying the very fabric of democracy’, (Governor’s report to the centre) the judgment observed that, “it had not reached that stage and the governors report was intended to forestall any voting and staking of claim to form the government”. The judgment further held that, “There was no material, let alone relevant , with the government, to assume that there was blatant distortion of democracy by induced defection through unethical and unconstitutional means”.
It was a damning indictment of the governor, and exposed the culpability of the central government. The very fact, that it met at midnight to discuss the issue and woke up the President (APJ Abdul Kalam) in a foreign country to sign the ordinance to impose President’s Rule smacks of its being more than a willing partner in this rape of democracy.
Looking to the case of former law minister of UPA-I Mr. Hans Raj Bharadhwaj, it is unparalleled in many ways. He was appointed governor of Karnataka on 24th June 2009, replacing Rameshwar Thakur, a Chartered Accountant Congressman. Thakur was transferred despite his term not having been completed. So, was there a plan in place in sending Bharadhwaj, a lawyer by profession, to the only BJP ruled state in the south? Or at least, an appearance of an agenda was not misplaced.
There was this report in the print media, “with governor’s nod, failed BDS student gets another chance”. It was about a student who had failed, but had an IPS officer for a father, with close intelligence proximity to the Governor. Despite being a lawyer, former Union Law Minister Bharadhwaj as Governor of Karnataka did not blink, before asking the university (RGUHS) to constitute a committee and look into it and report back in a week’s time to re-examine the student. It is another matter that former V.Cs were aghast at this unprecedented gubernatorial intervention. And come to think of it, it was the same governor who had earlier in the month admonished the state government on law and order and other issues. Admonishes, advises and other irritating interventions, the governor Bharadhwaj continued and it culminated with Bharadhwaj writing to Election Commission to disqualify Reddy brothers, who were ministers in Karnataka government, ostensibly for holding office of profit, in other words, their business interests. Based on a complaint by a Congress MLC, alleging misuse of office by Reddy brothers in furthering their business interest, Governor issued a notice to Reddy brothers, and since they did not respond, wrote to EC to disqualify them. Now, as a Governor, ‘a friend, philosopher and guide’ that he is, could have called up the Chief Minister for a report and then act accordingly. But the Congressman in him, and the lawyer in him, probably prompted him to ‘act’.
Then there is this tasteless and arrogant dressing down Bharadhwaj gave to the Vice Chancellor of Mysore University in public. There was widespread condemnation of it in the media and in public space, which described the Governor’s action ‘most uncivilized and autocratic’.
Because of his incessant and on-holds barred missives and irritating interventions he has been described in a section of the media, that ‘Bharadhwaj is probably the noisiest governor any state in India had’. Sometime in September 2010, he returned a bill sent to him for ratification, which was probably anybody anywhere wouldn’t have returned unsigned. The Akrama/Sakrama bill, which is the bill to regularize illegal construction or occupation of government land over a long period of time against some hefty fine and other charges is a normal legislative process anywhere in India, and all political dispensations, present and past, have done this, rightly or wrongly. Here we have governors like Bharadhwaj fishing in troubled waters. However, a similar bill by the Congress that came in to power a year ago was cleared without questions, which clearly exposed his duplicity.
He opted for a course of open confrontation, all along his term, then of less than two years. The latest being the recommendation of the Governor to impose President’s rule in Karnataka, in the wake of Supreme Court judgment on 16 MLAs of Karnataka assembly reversing their disqualification back in Dec. 2010, by the Karnataka Speaker, and
later upheld by Karnataka High Court. Of course, whether the judgment is right or not is not the concern of the Governor. But he took a unilateral decision that on the last date of confidence vote in Dec. 2010, the BJP didn’t have the majority since these 16 MLAs who were quali
fied to vote and that they had withdrawn their support. Now this was an interpretation nobody asked for, and although
the centre would have wanted to act on the recommendation, they didn’t, knowing fully well the explosive possibilities. No wonder the news papers gave a call “Bharadhwaj has to go”. One news paper even called him ‘serial offender’ and hence ‘should be recalled’.
Here it is very pertinent to reproduce what The Hindu editorial said, quote “Unabashedly partisan in his motives and actions, Karnataka Governor H.R. Bharadhwaj has been for a long time now, a disgrace to the constitutional office he holds. At every available opportunity, he has been abusing the authority of his office to unseat the BJP government of B.S. Yediyurappa” unquote.      
Before concluding on governor Bharadhwaj, a reproduction of a recent editorial view of a Mumbai based English daily is of interest. Quote “You have a failed mofussil lawyer, whose sole claim to the plum gubernatorial assignment was that while specifically nominated to the post of law minister in the Narasimha Rao regime, he had systematically gone about burying the Bofors case a million fathoms deep. Once he had accomplished the task of judicially killing the Bofors investigations, there was no point retaining him as an active politician, so he was given the high sinecure as governor of a key southern state. "unquote.  
To argue that, why governors positions are hardly the need for the purpose of governance, except as an office to misuse for political ends of ruling dispensation, above narratives should be enough.


GOVERNORS 
WHY DO WE NEED THEM?
Election 2014, has come and gone, but left in its trail, unprecedented arithmetical formulae. Suddenly after 30 years, single party government is in the Centre, although for the record it is National Democratic Alliance (NDA) of some half-a-dozen parties. The supreme leader of the party has been saying all right things and made right noises. But the action-reaction replay on Governors has brought out the old tit-for-tat approach to the fore.
Governors being replaced, when the new government takes over, is not a new phenomena. It has been there since 1977, when the first non-Congress government of Janata Party came to power. So it was not Congress which started the treatment of governors as political footballs. However, it was Congress, more than anybody else, who ruined the office of governor by blatant and brazen politicization of this constitutional position, for their partisan politics.
But quite frankly, what is the earth shattering role of this gubernatorial position that there is a raging national debate on their replacement?
Going back in time informs us, that in the Indian context, it was the Crown of England, as colonial masters, imposed Governors under the Governor General, vide their Government of India Act of 1935 enacted by British Parliament. Under the said law, the Governor wielded enormous power in the administration of the province and was responsible to the Governor General, who was the representative of the Crown. The position also came with immense prestige, privileges and perquisites. Post 1947, swadeshi version diluted governor’s role as an agent of the Union Government to protect constitutional norms while keeping the 3 Ps (prestige, privileges, & perquisites) alive. Thus hankering for these gubernatorial spaces remained high among oldies of respective political party in power. These oldies whose political utility was on the decline, but useful all the same, were rehabilitated in Raj Bhavans. Political parties also obliged former bureaucrats and judges who have helped the party in different ways while in power. Those were acts of ‘thanks giving’. But invariably these ladies and gentlemen were in their 70s and 80s. Thus the sobriquet ‘Old Age Home’ to these royal mansions of the yore.  
Under the constitution, the governor of a state has both legislative as well as executive powers. There are three most important powers that a governor has. The power to call the meeting of the state assembly, the adjournment of the assembly and the dissolution of the assembly, are these powers. Of course, constitution empowers him to actively interface with the state government to be consulted and advise as and when such occasion arises. But truly speaking, it is a life of comforts and some power without any responsibility, except keeping the Centre in good humour and occasional demands on his time. And whenever he is not available or his position remain vacant, the Chief Justice of the state, acts as Governor. Thus in terms of involvement in the governance, it is so few, a Governor’s absence is never felt.

The constitutional powers imply twin roles for a governor, one as the de-jure head of the state, he shall perform his duties as per the recommendations of the state cabinet or the Council of Ministers. Another role is that of being an ear and eye of the Union Government. Thus the state government empowers a governor to call the meeting of the assembly and to adjourn the same. But to dissolve the assembly depends upon the direction of the Union Government. Hence, it is the third power that is greatly misused by the Union Government, making the governor, a mere tool to achieve its nefarious goal of destabilizing opposition parties ruled state governments.
There are any number of instances, where a governor’s office was misused by the Union Government to dismiss an elected government. The union governments of Congress Party, at different occasions, was the most notorious in trying to destabilize an elected government, usually of an opposition party. Here it is pertinent to note that although for record ‘The governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President,’ in actual practice both the appointment and dismissal is based on the recommendation of the federal government at New Delhi.
But the 2010 Apex Court intervention stopped such moves by the incumbent government and hence made any removal, so much more difficult. But then, if the government of the day at the Centre, is not on the same wave-length, then a dignified exit by the governor is the best option. Does this mean, the governor is succumbing to pressure? May be yes and no. It depends, how you look at it.  
Look back at the history of appointment of Governors. These ladies and gentlemen, who were appointed or are being appointed, were invariably retired babus, judges, or senior politicians, who have already enjoyed their life during their active life. Now they are retired, and many of them even tired. In all fairness, having had a good life materially, with the changes in the government with none of their friends and well wishers at the helm, it is but fitting, that they leave the space in dignity, instead of being pushed around with all kinds of machinations by the new government and make them helpless to quit.
As we already know, responding to the calls by Union Home Secretary, two of the state governors have already sent in their papers, while some have refused to quit. What approach ‘Abki baar Modi sarkar’ shall have, has to be seen.
However, as a rational exercise, it is important to understand the role of this gubernatorial office and the cost involved in keeping it going. We have already discussed the limited function of a state governor’s office. Now we shall see the financial implication on a wider scale.
Governor’s bungalow, the Raj Bhavan, is situated on prime real estate property in every state. When sold, it can generate some big money for the state. Then the cost of furnishing it, can be equally big, because of its size. The manicured                garden with, attendant gardeners and battery of other personnel for the upkeep of the Bungalow, like the security staff, office staff, medical staff etc, with all of them having hardly any occupancy in terms of job.

Thus the amount of monumental waste that goes on in Raj Bhavan is really very huge. The salary, the monthly allowances and other benefits besides terminal benefits provided, from the Governor at the top to the security man on the gate, at the bottom, is a huge amount, month after month. Add to these, are the fleet of vehicles, 2 wheelers to 4 wheelers, fuel, spares, maintenance, and insurance cost besides misappropriation through illegitimate means, if any, makes it indeed very very huge, and we are talking about 30 states plus union territories! Can you imagine the mind boggling recurring expenditure, besides the capital expenditure? That’s easily hundreds of crores of rupees every year. And it’s been happening for all the 66 years. Can’t this money be saved and put into better use by simply scrapping the office of Governor? After all this humongous cost is incurred on men and women in their 70s & 80s, not in their best of health either, only to enjoy the state largesse in exclusive ‘Old Age Homes’ called Raj Bhavan. Indeed, India do not need Governors, especially when Chief Justice of High Courts can double up when needed, at no extra cost.  


                                                            

ISSUES & CONCERNS

EcoSan toilets bring dignity to life of villagers
SUGATA ROY, Krishnagiri (Tamil Nadu)
Contrary to the common perception of most Indian farmers T. Venu finds a high water table a bane for the community in his village. For, he has experienced difficulties in having a conventional leach pit toilet in his village, which has a high level of ground water. Because of this, Ponagavananthanagar Village under the Thimapuram Panchayat in Krishnagiri District, Tamil Nadu, did not have household toilets till 2008, and open defecation was a way of life for the community.
“After my retirement from the Indian Army, I returned to my village to lead a serene life. I was shocked when hit by the reality that there are no toilets in my village,” says Venu, who had worked in the Army Medical Corps. “It was difficult for me to accept the practice of open defecation.”
Venu immediately got in touch with the block office and constructed a conventional leach pit toilet in his house. But he soon ran into problems. Due to the high ground water level, the leach pit got filled up, making it difficult for him and his family to use the toilet. “The situation was worse during the rainy season. I even considered relocating to Krishnagiri,” recalls Venu. “However, things changed after the introduction of EcoSan toilet models by UNICEF in my village,” he says happily.
The Ecological Sanitation (EcoSan) toilet model was introduced by UNICEF in Krishnagiri in 2009. The three basic aspects are (a) separation of faeces, urine and wash water; (b) immediate channeling of urine and wash water to enrich surrounding soil; and (c) conversion of faeces to compost through dry, sealed storage. The squatting type of toilet, traditionally used in most developing countries, has been adapted to suit EcoSan needs.
The EcoSan toilet is divided into two parts. The lower part is a large chamber, partitioned by a dividing wall into two compartments, each sealed in the rear by a stone slab that can be opened when necessary. On the floor above are two toilets, one above each of the compartments. Each has a round hole in the floor for defecation and two footrests for squatting. The floor to the front of the user slopes away so that urine flows into a channel that leads to a separate pipe. Wash water too is led away separately. This helps keep the collection compartment dry. Ash is scattered on the faeces after each use.
Only one of the two toilets is used while the other is covered. When the first compartment is filled, the hole is sealed with a lid and the other is used. The lower compartment size is designed to allow continuous use for nine months or more. During this period, the faecal material collected in the sealed compartment becomes clean and odourless compost.
The urine is collected separately and utilized for farming. The wash water is used by draining it for kitchen gardening. The compost collected in the sealed compartment is high quality manure. As all the wastes are utilized, the EcoSan toilets qualify as zero-waste technology. For areas having a high water table or rocky terrain which makes it difficult for a conventional leach pit toilet to function, this technology works best. As the amount of water required is minimal, the technology is also feasible for areas with poor access to water supply.
“Though this technology was different from the traditional model, ours was the only household in our village to adopt it initially. We felt something was better than nothing,” says Venu’s wife Madhammal. “My daughters and I finally have our privacy.”
Apart from privacy, EcoSan technology provides opportunity to improve harvests. Venu and his family started using the compost and the urine in their jasmine and rose farms. The good yield from jasmine farming on less than an acre of land ensures Venu an average income of Rs 25000 per month. “The last harvest in the jasmine field was bountiful. I earned over Rs 300000 last year. I look forward to the same result in the paddy field too,” says Venu.
Venu’s success has now propelled 30 of the 50 households in the village to go in for EcoSan toilets. They too have started using compost in their field. One of the villagers, Ramasamy, says he would use the compost in his half-acre farm this year. “After learning from Venu and other farmers, I used the compost from EcoSan and found it works wonders,” he says. He built the green toilet in 2011 and finds it useful for his family.
The other villages in Thimmapuram Panchayat did take note of the EcoSan toilets and its benefits, but resisted the idea of having one in their homes until they were pushed by their children. After the EcoSan toilet was built in the Thimmapuram Government High School (TGHS) in 2009, students used it and urged their parents to build the same facility at their homes.
Take the case of Sushmitha and Gowthamapriya, students of Class 10, who influenced their parents to install the EcoSan toilet last year. “First, our parents hesitated. They preferred to go out for defecation. But when I insisted that we want a toilet, they approached our school and learnt about the scheme. Now, we are proud to have an EcoSan toilet at home,” says Sushmitha, age 14.
Gowthamapriya’s persistent request forced her father to take help from Venu and district officials to construct the toilet at his home, too. Both Sushmitha and Gowthamapriya now feel dignified because of EcoSan.
TGHS teacher A. Jayanthi explains that an awareness programme was organized among the students. “We were overwhelmed by the response from children because they did not have toilets at home. Then they pressed their parents to build toilets and achieved their goal,” she says. She adds that now 120 students out of 210 have EcoSan toilets in their homes.              





HEALTH

Why stress, fear trigger heart attacks
New York: In a first, scientists have come up with an explanation to why a sudden shock, stress and fear may trigger heart attack and they found that multiple bacterial species living as biofilms on arterial walls could hold the key to such attacks, reports IANS.
Hormones released during these events appear to cause bacterial biofilms on arterial walls to disperse, allowing plaque deposits to rupture into the bloodstream, the findings showed. Because the biofilms are closely bound to arterial plaque, the dispersal of a biofilm could cause sudden release of the surrounding arterial plaque, triggering a heart attack.
“Our hypothesis fitted with the observation that heart attack and stroke often occur following an event where elevated levels of catecholamine hormones are released into the blood and tissues, such as occurs during sudden emotional shock or stress, sudden exertion or over-exertion,” said David Davies of Binghamton University in the US.
The researchers isolated and cultured different species of bacteria from diseased carotid arteries that had been removed from patients with atherosclerosis. Their results showed multiple bacterial species living as biofilms in the walls of every atherosclerotic (plaque-covered) carotid artery tested.
The researchers added nor-epinephrine, at a level that would be found in the body following stress or exertion, to biofilms formed on the inner walls of silicone tubing. “At least one species of bacteria – Pseudomonas aeruginosa – commonly associated with carotid arteries in our studies, was able to undergo a biofilm dispersion response when exposed to nor-epinephrine, a hormone responsible for the fight-or-flight response in humans,” Davies stated.

This research suggests that management of bacteria within an arterial plaque lesion may be as important as managing cholesterol. The study was published in the journal mBio.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Afghanistan & a Female cabbie
When Afghan taxi driver Sara Bahai has male passengers in her cab, she takes the chance to lobby them on female rights and she hopes the country’s next president will also listen to her arguments. Bahai has been driving the streets of Mazar-i-Sharif city for 10 years, during which Afghanistan has experienced huge changes, including limited improvements in the lives of women.
Now, ahead of the Saturday’s run-off election, she says the new president must push ahead with reforms. “Sometimes I argue with male passengers all through the journey to convince them a woman driving a taxi isn’t a bad or un-Islamic thing,” Bahai, who is thought to have been Afghanistan’s first-ever-female taxi driver, told AFP.
“Women should be given bigger roles, they should be given seats as ministers. And female teachers should be paid more to help female education. “I see a lot of changes for Afghan women in the past few years. Many are setting up businesses to do whatever they want.” “I am not afraid of anyone now,” said Bahai, 40, who is unmarried and took up her job to provide for her two adopted sons and her sister’s seven children.
“When I first got the licence after the fall of the Taliban, everybody laughed at me.
But working has emboldened me and I want to show that women are not just meant to marry and have children. “Many women, when they see their taxi driver is female, remove their veils or burqas and talk, they trust me more,” she said, adding she earns about $9 a day.

 

ISSUES & CONCERNS

Inspiring story of a village in Madhya Pradesh
Amita Bhaduri    
Once water-deficient, Didakhedi in Madhya Pradesh is now a village with year-round water supply
The 200-odd residents of Didakhedi, a sleepy village just 13 km from Sehore town in Madhya Pradesh, never had adequate water. Two decades ago, most of the farming in the village was done during the monsoons. The village had no electricity and a lone diesel pump operated the shallow dug wells to irrigate some land during the winter. The shallow wells, their only source of water, would turn dry during the scorching summer months, leaving the people distressed.
Once the village got electricity, farmers began drilling tube-wells to irrigate their fields and ground water was depleted faster than it could be replenished. Drinking water was the first casualty. The four hand-pumps and two bore-wells installed by the government in the village started drying up and became unreliable. As the shallow wells dried up, they were no longer maintained and went into disuse. This forced the women to fetch water from distant places. It wasted their time and took a toll on their health.
A Bhopal-based development support organization, Samarthan, decided to work on a rights-based approach to ensure water security for all. A one-year development plan was prepared with Samarthan’s help. Today, the villagers swell with pride as they talk about the successful community-run piped water supply scheme they own. Their first priority was to make the surroundings free of open defecation, because the women did not feel safe when they went to relieve themselves. However, to make toilets within their homes a reality, they needed to have household-level water supply. This made them realize that both sanitation efforts and construction needed to happen simultaneously.
“The gram sabha (village committee) passed a resolution to provide tap connections to those households who had by the defined date constructed their toilets,” says Santoshi Tiwari, Samarthan, Sehore. Samarthan helped them design the tank and also helped in purchasing the right material so that they could keep the cost of the toilets low (between Rs 5000 and Rs 10000). Rambha Bai was among the first to get a toilet constructed. She was followed by 15 more households.
Now, all households in Didakhedi have tap connections, thus relieving women of the drudgery of fetching water. Groundwater is pumped into a 9500-litre overhead tank and then channeled to the taps.
Winning community buy-in was the key to the project’s success. The committee that was set up to oversee the day-to-day functioning of the scheme collects Rs 60 a month towards operation and maintenance, and electricity bills. The money is collected six months in advance. To keep the costs low, the people take turns to operate the motor instead of hiring a pump operator. Each family takes the responsibility to switch on and switch off the system, and to open and close the valves for a month.
The villagers did their homework and, through the panchayat, put forth a proposal to the Public Health Engineering Department to implement a village water security plan. The community first calculated the current and projected demand and supply. They then developed a plan to ensure long term water availability. Check dams, gully plugs and contour trenches are being built to conserve water and prevent soil erosion.
The work in Didakhedi continues to influence several neighbouring gram panchayats to adopt the same process.

FEATURE

Who says it and how?
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”
Charles Darwin.

Winston Churchill once said that in any statement there are three aspects which matter. They are * who is making that statement, * how is s/he saying it and * finally,what is said? Of the three, Churchill felt, that the last is the least important. Therefore when a big man makes a statement then the powers that be get energised to act! Reading a news item a few days ago about a statement by a great Sarkari technologist I felt that the future of our ancient medical care delivery system using the nature's bounty of herbal drugs and the folk medicines in India, which has been the backbone of medical care for "times out of mind," has a bright future. This statement came from one of the country's top sarkari technologists, Sam Pitroda, in the presence of a business tycoon of Bangalore who is in western drug business, at the inaugural ceremony of a new private university wishing to research the Indian wisdom to be scientifically validated!Pitroda made the statement with all his governmental authority. Now that Churchill's prediction could come true, I am very happy for the Indian wisdom that has found patronage at the highest level. I only hope that this becomes a reality sooner than later for the common good of mankind. The present system of western reductionist chemical molecules in the treatment of diseases has become a curse with adverse drug reactions being the rule rather than exception. In the USA alone every week four Jumbo Jet load of people die of adverse drug reactions, one of the leading causes of death, deadlier than cancer and heart attack. Sam Pitroda was advising the new University to get science out of our ancient "shastras". It is a bit too late in the day as German scientists, especially quantum physicists like Hans Peter Durr, the emeritus director of the famous Max Planck Institute, a Nobel Laureate, has already shown how important the Indian wisdom is? His invention that matter and energy are but the two faces of the same coin, which he initially called "adualtiy," now he seems to prefer the Indian wisdom of Shankara’s "advaita" as a better name for the new science of quantum physics!
.The World Academy of Authentic Healing Sciences, which is now fifteen years old, (www.waahs.com), has been authenticating ancient methods successfully. It has a body of fifteen world renowned scientists from all over the world. They also publish their own journal (www.thejsho.com). Their good work has neither caught the imagination of the press in India nor the attention of our slumbering government. I was so pleased reading the above news item and seeing the colour photographs of the event proclaiming to do just what is being done in many places, but this time the pronouncements are coming from the horse's mouth. If Churchill was right it will take off for sure. Thank God for that, if pursued diligently and sincerely,this will be the saviour of mankind for sure. I have a couple of suggestions for the new university lest they should fall into the usual traps of aping western scientific methods applied to authenticate Indian wisdom wholesale.
The first and the foremost suggestion is about the difference between the western and eastern sciences. The research methodologies should be totally different. In the past there have been governmental efforts to study herbal drugs using the western method of trying to analyse the chemical contents of the herbal drugs on the same lines as reductionist chemical molecules of the western medicine. They came to grief as herbs should be studied as a whole and not in bits and pieces. Sam Pitroda should make the scientists to understand this one line from the Vedas which tells it all. “This is a whole and that is a whole; if a bit is removed from the whole the bit becomes a whole and the whole remains a whole.” To give an example there are 43 scientific studies on garlic pearls in the world literature and all of them showed that garlic is good for cooking but not as amedicine. The flaw was not in garlic but in the method. Garlic pearls did not contain garlic. They had sulfhydryl group removed garlic to avoid the “bad” smell of garlic! Without the SH group, the drug is not garlic at all. To be useful as drug garlic has to be chewed raw in the mouth and kept there for a few seconds for the salivary trypsin to convert the inactive allanin in the garlic into activeallicin. This can only happen in the human mouth and the garlic hasto be whole. Raw garlic has many, many medicinal qualities in many illnesses especially the viral minor illness syndromes.Kienzel at the Late Rustum Roy’s laboratory in the Penn State University has been able to get atomic hydrogen from salt water; leaving the water and the hydrogen as whole entities. They are using that atomic hydrogen for running motor engines. The usual western hydrogen extraction from water leaves only nascent oxygen behind (not water as whole) that eats into the motor engine. See the “Purnam idam and Poornam adaha” dictum elaborated above.
In addition, healing powers of herbal medicines, which are in very small doses in their natural habitat inside that herb, depend on the medicine’s environment (inside the herb as a whole) rather than its pure chemical extract form. Good example will be a tomato. Tomato, which has a small dose of Vitamin C in addition to many other important chemicals, is strongly bio-positive while Vitamin C in large doses in isolation is bio-negative. This process is called HORMESIS. Herbal drugs are useful in therapeutics for another vital reason. Herbs as a whole are accepted by the body’s inherent wisdom (healer inside) as food and used for the body’s own good. All reductionist chemicals that we use in modern medicine are treated by the human body’s wisdom as poison and sent to the liver to get destroyed, damaging the liver in the bargain. It is only what remains (after the liver tries to destroy the drug) that might work on the human body, the so called “first pass effect” in medical school pharmacology classes. This was so elegantly demonstrated by a leading western scientist, Douglas C. Wallace, a professor of genetics using his latest MIT chip (mitochondrial chip). Douglas was able to show how almost all western chemical molecules are rejected by the body while herbal drugs-Tibetan and Chinese-are accepted as food by the human body. Although Indian Ayurveda is more authentic in the world people like Wallace outside do not know about it thanks to our governmental apathy towards Ayurveda and its step motherly treatment. Douglas’s monumental study that gives credence to my forty year old hypothesis is published in one of the leading American journals, Genetics (2008; 179: 727).
The next warning I would like to give to the new university is that the time honoured western randomised controlled trials (RCTs) should not be the method for herbal research. RCTs have brought misery for mankind. West also has recognised that fact. Sir Michel Rawlins, the chief of UKs NICE (national institute of clinical excellence) was of the opinion, in one of his Harevian orations at the Royal College of Physicians in 2008, had this to say. “The RCTs have been put on an undeservedly high pedestal”! The future of herbal science depends on observationaloutcomes research, studying patient outcomes rather than body parameter outcome studies (cross sectional) like lowering blood pressure, sugar etc. The latter are only surrogate end points. Patient outcome is the final end point. The (in)famous multiple risk factor interventional trial, MRFIT study, clearly showed that while the so called risk factors can all be controlled successfully by reductionist chemicals the final risk of premature death is not altered; in fact, the drug treated people have higher precocious deaths! The study has been a boondoggle after spending millions of dollars and twenty five years’ follow up! The new university must not try to ape the west and do copy-cat and me-too research, but must learn from the mistakes west committed in scientific research. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor has shown that almost 95% of western reductionist research is flawed seriously!
Let India show the world the greatness of Indian wisdom of Ayurveda and the time honoured folk medicine in India which has been successfully used for nearly 1500 years in India (Folk Medicine in India by OP Jaggi of AIIMS). Thank you, Sam Pitroda, for waking up to the reality to help the hapless disease sufferers.
“I seem to have been like a child playing on the seashore, finding now and then a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me.”
Isaac Newton.


Author is the former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University. He can be contacted on: hegdebm@gmail.com

OPINION

FREEBIES TO EMPOWERMENT
New Delhi: The government will try strike a balance between reviving a wobbly economy and welfare of the poor sections, but the days of “khairat” (charity) are now gone, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Tuesday.
“Khairat ka zamaana chala gaya, empowerment ka zamaana aa gaya (days of dole are gone, days of empowerment have now come),” Pradhan said. “Swatantra banana padega logon ko, atma-nirbhar banana padega... Gareebon ke liye hi (unko swatantra) banana padega. Koi isme antar-virudh nahin hai (we have to make people more independent and self-reliant… this is only for the poor people’s good… These are not opposing views).”
Stabilizing the economy takes precedence over simply handing out doles to the poor since a weak economy hurts the economically weaker sections the most, the minister said.
The top priority of the government was to bring back economic stability, the minister said, adding that economic reforms would not harm but benefit the poor.
Among the key subsidy doles of the government is that on petroleum products-diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and kerosene. The pricing of subsidized fuels is a critical issue in fiscal consolidation, as the government provides a chunk of the subsidy burden.
Pricing of domestic natural gas is another crucial issue the oil ministry has been grappling with for over a year now. The first increase in natural gas prices in four years was to be originally effective from April1.
However, before a new rate could be unveiled, the general elections were announced and its implementation got deferred.

Pradhan said a decision on the gas pricing issue would be taken at an appropriate time. He refused to say if his ministry will go to the Cabinet again for a review or approval of the Rangarajan formula which was approved by the previous UPA government. – Cogencis

PAKISTAN FOR YOU

Pak Christian lawmaker gunned down by bodyguard
Islamabad: A Pakistani Christian lawmaker was shot and killed by his own bodyguard in Balochistan province’s capital city Quetta, according to PTI.
Handry Masih was elected as the member of Balochistan’s provincial assembly from the province’s ruling National Party. The lawmaker was shot by the guard near his home in Nawa Kalay area of the city, where he met the people of his constituency on the weekends, Dunya TV reported. He was taken to hospital where he died.

One of his nephews was also injured in the attack but he is stable and out of danger. The motive of the attack was not known as yet. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the killing and ordered the provincial government to arrest the killer. Pakistan’s Christian minority is constantly persecuted and attacked by hard-line Islamist elements.  

25 Pilgrims killed in Balochistan 
Karachi: At least 25 Shia pilgrims, including 10 women, were killed when suicide bombers attacked their buses in Pakistan’s troubled Balochistan province as they were returning from Iran, officials said on Monday, reports PTI. 
The attack took place yesterday when 10 buses carrying the Shia pilgrims stopped at a hotel in Taftan near the Iranian border. 
Six of the attackers were killed by security forces after heavy exchange of fire, Home Minister Mir sarfaraz Bugti, told reporters.
“As soon as the pilgrims came out of the buses to go to the hotel first a group of militants first opened indiscriminate fire on them and also threw hand grenades before rushing into the hotel and taking refuge there,” Bugti said. 
The Commissioner of Queta, Qambar Dashti, told PTI that 25 people were killed in the attack and condition of some of the injured was critical. 


 

SERIAL : 14 INDIAN IN COWBOY COUNTRY

THE INTERVIEW
He anxiously swiped his card again, trying to recall the instructions during his orientation session when he joined the company on how to swipe correctly swipe security cards. Nothing happened.
He cleaned the magnetic strip on the card with saliva on his fingertips; still no access.
“It’s just dirty,” he said with a sheepish smile to the secretary who stood behind him.
“It’s okay, Satish,” she said. “If your card don’t work, you can go in with me. I know who you are.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” he replied just as he heard the sounds of his card’s acceptance. He pushed the door with relief and ran up the stairs to Tim’s office.
Liz waved him in, saying, “Go on in. He’s waiting for you.”
“Hi, Tim. What’s up?”
As soon as Tim saw Satish, he stubbed his half-smoked cigarette, grabbed his coat from behind his chair, and said, “Let’s go. We are going to be late. There’s a meeting in a few minutes.”
“What meeting?” he asked.
“Just come with me. No questions,” Tim instructed in a firm tone that he had not heard before. “I’ll explain on the way.”
The pair went briskly down the stairs and left the building. When they were on the sidewalk to the corporate building, Tim said, “Last night Charlie had a meeting with all the divisional presidents. It went on till way past midnight. They are going to make some announcements this morning.”
A puzzled Satish asked, “Why me? Why am I going to this meeting?”
“Beats me. Charlie called me at two in the morning and asked me to call John and Steve to come to this meeting. Billy called few minutes later asking that you be present, too!”
“Billy asked for me?”
“Yes, Billy. The very same Billy who Pete said would not accept you as a manager.”
“What’s going on, Tim?” asked a breathless Satish, trying to keep pace with the older man.
“I’ve told you all I know,” Tim said as he swiped his card and gained immediate entrance to the building. Satish followed him in. Charlie Clark’s office was at the far end of the hallway with the grim portraits, one door past Pete’s.
Tim rushed into Charlie’s office with Satish following a step behind, and both turned into the adjoining conference room. Surrounding the large oval mahogany conference table were twelve well-upholstered chairs occupied by people in suits. Along the inner wall of the room were additional chairs. Tim and Satish sat on the periphery with other unknown faces.
Looking around the room, Satish recognized the cheerful Charlie, a sullen Pete, his recent nemesis, and John and Steve, who seemed to be exchanging small talk. He had never seen the rest of the people before. Seated near Charlie was Sandy, his assistant, with a stenographer’s pad and pencil ready, poised to take notes.
“Good morning,” said Charlie as he rose from his seat after a brief sip of coffee from a mug.
“Good morning,” mumbled the room in response.
He continued, “Sorry for the short notice, but I have some announcements.”
There was stony silence in the room. Nobody moved, and all eyes were on Charlie as he continued, “As y’all know, our industry is in a recession, and we have to continually look for ways to be more effective in this market.”
He paused and took a sip of coffee. Like everyone else in the room, Satish waited for the other shoe to fall.
Charlie put his coffee mug down, stood upright, and looked around, making eye contact with everyone at the table but ignoring those seated on the periphery.
He said, “We met last evening to review our revenue and P and L forecasts for the year.” He paused briefly before adding, “They don’t look good.”
Satish noticed that Charlie’s cheerful disposition had now morphed into a cold, steely one as he said, “We are losing cash every month, and we cannot let this continue. So the management team has come up with a plan to generate positive cash flow by the end of the next quarter.”
He paused, took another sip of his coffee, and surveyed the room, including the periphery. He stopped briefly at Satish’s unfamiliar face and moved on.
“First of all, we will be consolidating our eight divisions into three: a drilling division, a production division, and a logging division. Pete and Paul’s organizations will now report to Billy, who will be an executive vice president of Clark Oilfield Technologies, as well as president of the drilling division. Pete and Paul will report to me and work on special projects.”
He paused, looked at Billy, and asked, “Billy, do you want to say something?”
While Billy readied his papers and glanced at his notes, Satish looked to Tim as if asking, “What’s going on?”
“Not now!” was his silent reply as he looked intensely at Billy and focused on what he had to say.
Satish looked at Pete and saw that he still had his superior grin on his face. This demotion had not affected his demeanor a bit. As he caught Satish’s eye, his smirk turned into a sneer.
Billy stayed seated. He looked around the room with a wide grin that displayed a gold molar and said, “Thank you, Charlie. I b’lieve I do have somethin’ to say. I always do!”
As Charlie sat down, Billy stood up and said to him, “Thank you, Charlie, for the trust and confidence.”
He then raised his hand with the missing index finger and added, “We have serious challenges ahead of us, and I am not going to do this alone. The only way we can come out ahead in this recession is by attracting and keeping the best brains in the world, with the best can-do hustlers in the world. And let me tell ya, nobody has a monopoly on brains or hustle.” He paused and added lightheartedly, “Not even people from West Texas!”
The room responded with a polite, subdued laughter of nervous relief that soon subsided.
He continued, “Seriously, this downturn is going to be a long one, and we need to work smart if we are going to beat it.”
He sat down, looked at his notes, and said, “Just a few quick announcements. John and Steve will be my vice presidents for engineering and operations, and Tim will be my VP of human resources.
“I will work with these gentlemen to define the rest of the organization, but I do have one more announcement.”
He paused, pointed at him with his clenched fist and added, “That young man out there next to Tim, Satish Sharma, will be engineering manager, reporting to John.”
Satish was oblivious to Tim shaking and pumping his hand. He barely heard Billy continue, “Clark got here by attracting the best people in the world, and by keeping them. We are a service company, and we are as good as our people.”
Satish looked at Pete, who stared back at him with a disapproving nod. While feigning attention to and pleasure over what was being said, he leaned over, nudged Tim, and whispered, “Tim, can I have my resignation letter back?”
“No,” whispered back Tim, as he pretended to pay rapt attention to the proceedings.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because I want to keep it,” hissed Tim, stressing “keep” the best he could.
“Why?”
“Because it’s the stone that shattered this fickle glass house,” Tim said earnestly.
However, he was puzzled at Satish’s unexpected response. Something was missing. His reactions were not typical of a victor.
Tim paused, and when the meeting agenda had moved to other reorganization issues, he nudged Satish and asked, “Why do you want your letter back?”
Satish sat up straight, slowly removed his tie, and neatly folded it. He stuffed it in his shirt pocket and said, “Because I want to change the date on the letter. My resignation still stands, Tim, but I want to make sure you know that it was today’s meeting that pushed it over the edge.”
Staring icily in the direction of the head of the conference table, he added, “And that malignant cancer, Pete, is still here, sitting right next to Charlie!”
With that, he quietly rose and politely excused himself from the meeting. With every eye in the room on him, he left the conference room, walked through Charlie’s office and down the gloomy hallway with the grim portraits, and exited the building.

He took deep breaths of fresh air, and collected himself. As he walked to his car, he began digging deep in his pockets for Tom’s card, which had his attorney’s telephone number written on it.

Little Things

Too often, we don’t realize what we have until it is gone.
Too often, we wait too late to say, “I’m sorry – I was wrong.”
                 Sometimes, it seems we hurt the ones we hold dearest to our hearts
                And we allow foolish thing to tear our lives apart.
Far too many times we let unimportant things into our minds
And then it’s usually too late to see what made us blind.
       So be sure to let people know how much they mean to you.
       Take that time to say the words before your time is through.
Be sure that you appreciate everything you’ve got
And be thankful for the Little Things in life that mean a lot.

CONSUMER AWARENESS

Airline to pay Rs 2 lakh
New Delhi: Low-fare airline JetLite has been directed by a consumer forum here to pay Rs 2 lakh as compensation to a flyer, who could not travel from Delhi to Hazaribagh in Jharkhand for a family function because of sudden cancellation of his flight. New Delhi Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed the airline to compensate for the harassment caused to Vinod Kumar Singhal and his seven family members in February 2007 and pulled it up for citing fog as a reason for cancellation of the flight. “It appears that opposite party (JetLite) is taking shelter of early morning fog conditions with weather report,” a bench presided by Justice C K Chaturvedi said, while noting that the first reply of the airline did not mention fog as reason for cancellation of flight.


MEDICAL FRONTIER

EPILEPSY TO BE THING OF THE PAST 
Washington: University of Toronto biologists leading an investigation into the cells that regulate proper brain function, have identified and located the key players whose actions contribute to afflictions such as epilepsy and schizophrenia, reports ANI.
The discovery is a major step toward developing improved treatments for these and other neurological disorders. “Neurons in the brain communicate with other neurons through synapses, communication that can either excite or inhibit other neurons,” Professor Melanie Woodin in the Department of Cell and Systems Biology at the University of Toronto ( U of T), lead investigator said.
“An imbalance among the levels of excitation and inhibition – a tip towards excitation, for example – causes improper brain function and produce seizures. We identified a key complex of proteins that can regulate excitation inhibition balance at the cellular level,” she said.
This complex brings together, three key proteins – KCC2, Neto2 and GluK2 – required for inhibitory and excitatory synaptic communication.
KCC2 is required for inhibitory impulses, GluK2 is a receptor for the main excitatory transmitter glutamate, and Neto2 is an auxiliary protein that interacts with both KCC2 and GluK2.
The discovery of the complex of three proteins is path breaking as it was previously believed that KCC2 and GluK2 were in separate compartments of the cell and acted independently of each other. “Finding that they are all directly interacting and can co-regulate each other’s function reveals for the first time a system that can mediate excitation-inhibition balance among neurons themselves,” Vivek Mahadevan, a PhD candidate in Woodin’s group and lead author of the study, said.
Mahadevan and fellow researchers made the discovery via biochemistry, fluorescence imaging and electrophysiology experiments on mice brains.
The most fruitful technique was the application of an advanced sensitive gel system to determine native protein complexes in neurons, called Blue Native PAGE.

The process provided the biochemical conditions necessary to preserve the protein complexes that normally exist in neurons. Blue Native PAGE is advantageous over standard gel electrophoresis, where proteins are separated from their normal protein complexes based on their molecular weights.



YEH MERA INDIA

Water thieves identified but authorities on slow mode
Bhayandar: Ten days after Kashimira police registered a case of water theft against three tanker operators for illegally drawing water from a lake in Jari-Mari municipal garden situated in Janta Nagar, cops are yet to identify the culprits involved in the massive water theft racket.
Following complaints of water theft from the lake, civic chief Suresh Kakani had directed officials from the Tree Authority (TA) to take immediate action against the offenders.
A team led by deputy civic chief Deepak Kurulekar and TA officer Hansraj Meshram claims to have carried out a surprise raid at the garden last week. It found three water tankers drawing water from the lake with the help of diesel-fuelled pumps. After spotting the municipal team, drivers fled the scene along with tankers. The team informed cops who reached the spot and seized the pump sets.
“We noted down registration numbers of tankers and handed it over to the police. Our job is over and it now for the police to investigate the matter,” says Meshram.
However, it has been alleged that theft from lake is nothing new for a section of influential civic personnel who are allegedly hand in glove with tanker mafia and in the present case culprits were deliberately given a chance to evade the police dragnet.
While a case under sections 379 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against tanker operators, no arrests have been made so far.
Moreover, the police are yet to ascertain identity of the driver and operating company and the TA is least cared to follow up on such a serious issue.
“We are on the trail of tanker operators and will nab them soon,” assured Senior PI Anil Kadam.
It should be noted that tanker mafia, in an apparent move aimed at cashing in on the summer demand, have adopted illegal ways to create their source of water. In a novel way to dodge the arms of law, mafia have dug bore-wells near natural lakes, ponds and also on the footsteps of hills near Dachkul Pada area along the Western Express Highway.

However, the forest and municipal authorities have chosen to turn a blind eye towards the illegal activity which is depleting the ground level of water. It should be noted that most of the water supply companies operating in the twin-city are either owned by influential politicians or have been bestowed by their blessings.


‘Child labourer as conservancy worker’
Mumbai: Congress corporator from F/North ward Lalita Yadav alleged that the contractor Janhit Pratishthan, who is supposed to conduct the cleaning work of ward # 166, was employing child labourers. Due to inefficiency of work this contractor has already been black listed from May 28. She said that all complaints regarding employment of the child labourer and inefficiency of the contractor have fell on deaf ear.
Yadav also complained that there are lots of other issues that her ward has to face. The two major drains, Wadala T.T and Raoli low level nullah, have not been completely desilted. Floating debris could be seen and only 40 per cent work has been completed.
It’s been 15 days since the existing contractor was black listed but a new contractor has not been appointed yet for Transit Camp in Kokri Aagaar in Sion-Koliwada. This ward has a majority of transit camp population and the situation was really bad that no cleanliness work has been done. If cleaning work is not done promptly then the first shower will see rapid increase in people falling ill.
Major embarrassment is when the monorail passes through this area one can only see garbage littered on road. Yadav also mentioned that additional municipal commissioner had instructed the concerned DMC A.L. Waghralkar to appoint a contractor in waiting at the earliest but even that did not happen. “When we called the in-charge on his mobile phone he said he was in a meeting and latter didn’t respond to our calls,” said Yadav.

Ward officer Alka Sasane said that she knows about all the issues but refrained from commenting on it.

Corruption inquiry – Maharashtra style  
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has criticized the Maharashtra government for not providing facilities to a retired judge appointed recently to inquire into alleged financial irregularities amounting to Rs. 6,000 cr in tribal welfare schemes in the state.
“Why has the inquiry not begun? We want the government to provide all help to the concerned judge to hold the inquiry immediately,” said a bench of justices V M Kanade and P D Kode while hearing a PIL filed by a tribal Bahiram Motiram from Nashik district.
On March 27, the court had ordered the inquiry by retired high court judge M G Gaikwad into the alleged financial irregularities in tribal welfare schemes during 2004-05 to 2008-09.
Counsel for the petitioner, Rajendra Raghuvanshi alleged that the state officials were not cooperating in the probe ordered by the court. As a result, the inquiry had not yet begun. Even facilities have not been provided to the judge to hold the inquiry.
The bench expressed its anguish over the government’s “lethargic attitude” and said “It is a big scam. We are very much concerned about the welfare of tribals. People should get benefits of various schemes introduced by the government.”
“Tell your (government) officers not to influence us either directly or indirectly… or else we will take strict action,” the bench told government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani. Adjourning the hearing by four weeks, the court asked the government to inform on the next date how it would utilize the money allocated in the budget for tribal welfare schemes in this financial year.
The court had earlier appointed Retired Judge Gaikwad as Chairman of a five-member committee to probe the allegations. It had ordered that the inquiry shall commence immediately after the government regulation is notified on April 1.
The bench had asked the judge to make recommendations for action to be taken against persons responsible for the scam. In legal and political circles, the court order was considered as a heavy blow to Vijay Kumar Gavit, the then minister for Tribal Welfare.

The court observed that though the GR was issued on April1, the inquiry had not yet begun. The other members of the inquiry committee are Bipin Shrimali, Managing Director of Maharashtra State Electricity Commission Co Ltd; Dhananjay Kamlakar, Special Inspector General of Police, Nashik; Sunil Bhosale, Joint Director (Finance), Maharashtra State Aids Control Society; and Sanjeev Kumar, Tribal Development Commission.

Finger fiddling cop lets youth bleed to death 
Airoli: The parents of engineering student Tushar Jadhav, who was found stabbed in a Thane local train early on Thursday morning, say his life could have been saved if the police constable who found him had promptly taken him to hospital instead of waiting for the train to reach Thane.
Jadhav (22), a student of Rajendra Mane Engineering College in Ratnagiri, was coming home for holidays after having appeared for his last exam of the third year on Wednesday. He boarded the Konkan Kanya Express at 11.30 pm to arrive at Panvel at 4.30 am.
From Panvel, he boarded a trans-Harbour local to Thane. He was in the luggage compartment. At 5.15 am, the constable in the adjacent ladies’ compartment heard someone screaming for help. When he went to check at the next station, Ghansoli, he saw Jadhav soaked in blood from two gashes, one in the stomach and one in the neck. There was a deep gash in his hand too. There was no one else in the compartment, the police said. The constable from the government railway police also did not see anyone.
Instead of taking Jadhav to a hospital at Ghansoli or the next station at Rabale, the constable waited till the train reached Thane, a full 14 minutes later. By this time, life had ebbed out of Jadhav. The Thane civil hospital declared him dead.
“My son was bleeding profusely. There’s a hospital near the next station, Rabale. Couldn’t he have alerted other policemen on duty and taken him to the hospital? I do not understand the workings of the police,” said Vandana Jadhav, Tushar’s mother, who lives at Airoli.
“After having lived in Ratnagiri for five years, he had become used to these trips home in the wee hours of the night. I don’t think that he could have been reckless and got in the company of crooks. He never got into fights with anyone, didn’t even have any rivalry, then why would someone do this to him?” wondered Vandana.
The Vashi railway police has yet to come across any clue in the case. “We have yet to come up with a motive or suspect,” said senior inspector Nitin Bobde.

Asked about the delay in taking Jadhav to hospital, Bobde said, “The constable did what he thought fit. Had he got off midway, he would not have found anyone to help him take Jadhav to a hospital.”






MONTH THAT WAS

A boy from nowhere 
arrives on big stage
Thane: Son of a cycle shop owner from Boisar in Thane secured third rank in the state in UPSC civil services exam 2013, the result of which was announced on Thursday. Varun Baranwal, lost his father during his SSC exams in 2008, got 32nd AIR rank in the UPSC exams. Varun passed the SSC with 89 per cent marks and it was his mother who encouraged him to pursue Science stream. He later got a Bachelor’s degree Electronics and Telecommunications from MIT College, Pune and has been a gold medalist.


Self-defense training to girl students
Mumbai: Brihan-Mumabi Municipal Corporation (BMC) has proposed to continue judo and karate training of girl students for their self-defense. Due to increasing number of rape and eve-teasing incidents, the BMC had started imparting judo and karate training to girl students of standard 5th and 6th last academic year. On successful completion of this pilot project, BMC education officer Shambhavi Jogi said, “The civic body had made special provision in the budget for this pilot project. Now, we have proposed to continue these classes for standards 7th and 8th in BMC schools.”


Special girl makes it big
Bhubaneswar: It was sheer hard work and determination that paid off, says Odisha’s differently-abled Sarika Jain who cracked in her first attempt the coveted civil services examination
“Always think better and be positive. If you work hard and you have a strong determination, you will definitely achieve success,” Sarika told IANS in an interview.
A native of Kantabanji, a small business town in the backward Bolangir district, about 400 km from here, Jain was ranked 527th among the 1,122 candidates who cleared the three-stage civil service examination 2013.
Her father, 58-year-old Sadhuram Jain, is an undergraduate and a smalltime businessman who runs a grocery shop in the town. Her mother Santosh Devi is a school dropout and a homemaker.
The elder Jain has four daughters and one son. Sarika is his third daughter. “From the beginning, my aim was not to be an IAS officer because the infrastructure (to prepare for the exam) was not available here. I wanted to become a doctor, but the science stream was not available in the local college,” Jain said. “I studied commerce and obtained a bachelors degree from the local women’s college. Later I pursued chartered accountancy, studying at home, and got qualified,” she said.
That was when Jain decided she wanted to do something and chose to appear in the civil services examination. She went to Delhi in 2012 and received coaching at a institute for six months.


A HOUSE OF PRAYER!
Berlin: Christians, Muslims and Jews, all praying under the same roof –that’s the groundbreaking project of a pastor, a rabbi and an imam in Berlin.
Still a sand-strewn vacant construction site, St Peter’s square in the centre of the German capital will – God willing - by 2018 host a building that’s so unusual it doesn’t have an official term. Not a church, nor a synagogue, or a mosque as such, but a bit of all three, the centre known currently as a “House of Prayer and Learning” will be unlike any other religious venue in the world, its initiators say. The aim of the $60-million project, whose fundraising was recently launched but has been several years in the making, is not only to show the importance of multi-faith dialogue but to mirror multi-cultural Berlin.
“It seemed to us that there was a very strong desire for the peaceful coming together of the religions,” said Ronald Stolte, one of two Protestant representatives on the board of the association behind the project.
Not by coincidence, it will stand at a location with a strong and long religious significance.
In 2007 archaeological excavations unearthed the foundations of four previous St Peter’s churches that had stood on the site at different periods since the Middle Ages, Stolte told AFP in an interview.
The last one, which had a striking 100-metre-tall steeple and dated from the mid-19th century, was damaged in World War II and later demolished by the former East German communist state in the early 1960s.
A car park then occupied the site which the city authorities later handed back to the local Protestant community.
“We wanted to revive this place, not by building a church again but by constructing a place that says something about the life of religions today in Berlin,” Stolte said.
Nearly 19 per cent of Berlin’s 3.4 million residents described themselves as Protestant, according to 2010 official data.
Some 8.1 per cent said they were Muslim and 0.9 per cent Jewish, while more than 60 per cent said they did not adhere to any religion.

Pastor Gregor Hohberg said it had been crucial to also get the centre’s Jewish and Muslim partners involved right from the start, well before work got underway on building it.


LOAN DEFAULT – PROMOTERS TO LOSE PERSONAL ASSETS
New Delhi: In a bid to crack down on corporate crooks defaulting after taking fat bank loans, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley may roll out the fast-track courts to tackle Rs 100 crore+ dafaults within a timeframe and provide for seizure and auction of the personal assets of the promoters for the recovery of money.
He is also examining other ways to be included in the budget he presents to Parliament next month to make promoters of industries and business enterprises accountable for defaults. 
It may require changes in the company law that makes the liability of promoters limited to go scot free if their ventures fail. 
Jaitley has already set up a special committee in the finance ministry to suggest other measures to deal with the high-value willful defaulters of the bank loans as the bad loans of the public sector banks that are called NPAs (non-performing assets) have shot up from 3.84 per cent in March 2013 to 4.44 per cent in March 2014. The committee has been asked to revisit recovery rules of banks to make them more effective.


Schools to be raided 
without notice
London: British Prime Minister David Cameron today authorized a no-notice raids in UK schools to tackle threats of extremism, saying protecting children is one of the first duties of his government. 
The move follows a report from the country’s schools inspectorate, the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), into allegations of a plot by Islamist extremists to take over the running of some schools across Birmingham under a so-called ‘Operation Trojan Horse’. 
The inquiry into 21 schools in the city has revealed that five did not do enough to protect pupils from extremism and put on shows of inclusivity during inspections. 
“Protecting our children is one of the first duties of government and that is why the issue of alleged Islamist extremism in Birmingham schools demands a robust response,” Cameron said in relation to the official release of the inspection report today.  “The education secretary will now ask Sir Michael Wilshaw (the head of Ofsted) to look into allowing any school to be inspected at no notice and stopping schools having the opportunity to cover up activities which have no place in our society,” he added. 
The British Prime Minister is also due to call a special meeting of the government’s Extremism Taskforce to discuss the implications arising from the review. Ofsted typically warn schools of an inspection the day before an official visit. 


INHUMAN: INDIAN STYLE !
PATNA: A man has sustained serious injuries in Bihar after a group of people chopped off his fingers and poured acid in his eyes over a minor dispute, police said, on Friday. The incident took place on Thursday night in Samastipur district. Vikas Kumar Yadav was attacked by six people, who have criminal background, after an altercation at Vanbhaur village under Bithan police station. Yadav, in his early 20s, was admitted to a state-run hospital. “Yadav was attacked, beaten mercilessly, his fingers chopped off and acid poured into his eyes by a group of six people over a dispute,” police official Sudhir Kumar Razak said. Razak said a first information report was lodged against six people. “Police have begun an investigation into the case and preliminary inquiry suggests that all accused have criminal background,” he said.


Death Row Convict 
Doing PG  
Nagpur: Death row convict Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, a key conspirator with Dawood Ibrahim in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case whose execution was stayed by the Supreme Court last week, is appearing for MA (Political Science) exam in the central jail here. Memon, a chartered accountant, is appearing for second year exams. 
“He wrote his first paper on June 3 and another paper yesterday from his ‘Fasi Yard’ (high security ward where prisoners awaiting capital punishment are lodged) in the Nagpur Central Jail. Being a high-profile prisoner, he is not allowed to go out,” said I.G.N. Open University.


Competition Commission 
slaps fine
New Delhi: Competition Commission has slapped a penalty of Rs 3 crore on British retailer Tesco for delay in filing notice related to its purchase of 50 per cent stake in Tata Group firm Trent Hypermarket. The watchdog, on May 22, cleared the Tesco Trent deal which is the first FDI transaction in multi-brand retail since the sector was opened up in 2012. 
Under the Competition Act, any person or enterprise, who or which proposes to enter into a combination, shall give notice to the Commission, disclosing details of the proposed combination, “within thirty days of execution of any agreement or other document for acquisition”. Tesco should have filed the notice seeking approval within 30 days of its application to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).