Friday, December 4, 2015

EDITOR'S COLUMN

Friends

The last month of the calendar 2015 is around. Indeed as usual, one that begins has to reach its culmination. Most of the 12 months of 2015, has been a roller coaster ride for world in general, and India in particular.
Alarming rise of terrorist outfit ISIS has been a very dangerous development. Something is fundamentally wrong with the whole philosophy of this sickening outfit. Its cruelty has seen macabre dimension. The members, or can we call them animals involved in this outfit, are only driven by revenge for imagined or in some cases apparently real causes. Supposedly they are of Sunni denomination of Islam. But the forms of cruelty they adopt is most sickening. Fortunately for the world, the Ulema, all over the world, including those from Sunni group, has openly disowned and have exhorted the youth not to join this organization.

Latest of the horror perpetrated by ISIS was the attack on Paris where close to 200 were killed and about a thousand injured. Reacting sharply, post attack, French President Hollande has declared war on ISIS. World will not be same place in 2016, it looks like, with most major powers joining France in their bid to silence ISIS.

In India too, there have been killing of intellectuals, activists who were not taken kindly by a section of people. Murder of Dhabolkar, a rationalist, Pansare, who questioned deifying of Nathuram Godse, and Kannada writer Kalburgi have ignited debate on the alleged background of  killers. Reportedly right wing organizations are blamed for the killings.  If killing of Dhabolkar & Pansare happened in Maharashtra, Kalaburgi was killed in northern Karnataka. However, until this day both state governments have failed to nab the killers. This  has resulted in a kind of loose talk on alleged ‘intolerance’ raising its head in the country, is being pushed on to the public space. It is true those who always enjoyed power, are not happy with the new government of BJP at the centre, and are being accused on sustaining intolerance by not taking killers head on. BJP too has not crowned itself to glory by allowing its foul mouthed leaders to go scot free for their unsolicited but stupid remarks. It is sad, with all this talk of development has taken a back seat. Will 2016 be different?

In the Month-in-Perspective, as usual, we have taken up myriad issues involving events of the past month. We have tried to include as many issues of relevance as possible with our unbiased take. Of course due to space constraints many events deserving comments have been left out.

Bihar election, touted as a kind of do or die for Nitisth & Lalu on one side, Modi & Amit Shah on the other, had the possibility of being a game changer. Grand Alliance of Nitish,  Lalu and Congress won it hands down. Despite spending long spells in Bihar electioneering, as if a personal stake is involved, the result has rattled Prime Minister Modi. We have taken it up in Focus, for the implication it can have nationally. Hope readers would find it interesting. Rest are as usual. Do revert with your inputs.

MONTH-IN-PERSPECTIVE

New Delhi:The mild tremor in the BJP headquarters, post Bihar election result, has to be taken seriously for the general well being of BJP. Just because, elders in the family are not contributing to the family kitty, they are not thrown out. This is Indian culture. Hence, if L.K Advani & company have asked for accountability of the Bihar debacle, it has to be addressed. The party in its own interest should have a brain-storming session. Or else, the erosion that has set in, will eventually impact the party nationally. It is an open secret that there is an unspoken discussion within the leadership so also rank & file of BJP on the way, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his chosen party president, treat their party leaders and functionaries. If the 2014 victory has gone into the head of Modi; as invincible, the Delhi defeat has not made him humble. Now that Bihar exploded almost on his face, it should have made him and his party president- chastened.
Starting with sidelining the senior leaders of the party, on the ground they are beyond 75, and concentrating all powers with the PMO, with hardly any freedom allowed to even cabinet ministers, only because, you think you are bigger than party, the irrelevance of the party has begun. Modi functions like Indira Gandhi, domineering and dictatorial. If then, it was 'Indira is India', for Modi its 'Modi is BJP.' This attitude has to change. If a party has to maintain its growth momentum, it has to be the baby of all party members, not just an individual or two or the coterie. 

It is very rare, rather never happened, that a PWD project in Delhi, Azadpur-Prembari flyover in Delhi was completed before time and within the budget. Reportedly, the project cost was budgeted at Rs 247 crores but was completed using only Rs 143 crores, thus saving about 40%. It is very normal that all government projects are awarded to the lowest bidder. The lowest bidder, for varieties of ‘force majeure’, ask for extension of time for the completion and then slowly introduces the inflation clause, keeps demanding more and more money, of course, taking all concerned on board, which generally means sharing the booty.
Under such a situation to complete the job of some Rs 250/- crores well before time and also saving for the government some Rs 100/- crores, is definitely a wonder of wonders. The ministry and the minister, along with all concerned technical and support staff need to be publicity honoured for their efficiency and cost consciousness. After all it is public money. Most of the government money goes for these public projects and saving can only help in additional spending in social sector.
Reportedly, both central government concerned with Delhi infrastructure and Delhi PWD co-operated between them to see that the job went on smoothly. Since both governments are concerned with corruption free governance, this is a sterling example, what co-operation between center and state can achieve. Two cheers to both NDA government in the centre and AAP government in Delhi. Yeh Dil Maange more!

The invocation “prestigious award should be cherished and valued by recipients’”, by the first citizen of the country, President Pranab Mukarjee did not come a day a too early. In an atmosphere of one-up manship of ‘Tu Tu Mai Mai’, it was pleasant to listen to the measured wisdom from the Rashtrapathi Bhavan. Addressing a function organized by Press Council of India, to mark the National Press Day, president is reported to have remarked “Emotions should not over run reason and disagreement should be expressed through debate and discussion”. He was generally commenting on the ‘award waapsi’ programme started and continued, since over a month, by writers, artists, scientists, actors etc.
India is a country of 1275 million people, with diversity that is mind boggling, be it culture, be it languages, be it tradition and religious practices. The exasperating differences that are visible and invisible makes India a very fascinating land in the world of homosapians. By any stretch of imagination, there is no country comparable to India. Therefore it is absolutely unreasonable to expect the country to function like a synchronized clock. Like anywhere in the world, we too have in India, our share of idiots, and they are there in all sections of our society, from Kohima to Kutch, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. But despite such huge and diverse population, these idiotic abbarations, they are so few and far between, but-for-the 21st century 24X7 electronic media, it wouldn’t have been known to the wide world. In Mangalooru, we are all privy to the infamous ‘Amnesia Pub Attack’, by some lumpen extortionist hoodlums, but in matter of hours the whole connected world knew about the, what was termed by our ebullient former central minister Renuka Chaudhary ‘the talibanisation of Mangalooru’.
Of course, the killing of Kannada rationalist writer Kalburgi, Dadri lynching of a beef eater were most dastardly. But the government, in Karnataka and U.P, should have acted with alacrity and purpose. If U.P government could get back all stolen buffalos of Azam Khan in 48 hours, I see no reason, why such efficiency was not shown in catching the Dadri killer?
These ladies and gentlemen who returned their awards were, kind of, suffering from a mental block. In India, there are 3 kinds of peoples. One who like, admire & love Modi, then there are who dislike, detest and hate. Third categories are those, who admire him for what he is, but also criticize him for what he is not. Unfortunately, all these awardees, who returned their awards, belong to the second category. Rationalist among them failed to rationalize the persona of Modi. That Modi is all plus and no minus, is nobody’s case. He is like all humans a bundle of pride, prejudices so also positive emotions. These awardees, instead of returning the awards, can all meet and make a representation to the Prime Minister with their points of view, and suggest what they consider as the good of society. Post President Mukarjee’s wise counsel, hope these awardees are wise enough to remember what Mahatma had said “Eashwar Allah Tero Naam, Sabko Sanmathi Dey Bhaghwan.” 

Professionalism is to admire even your adversary, some one you would rather love to hate. But it is not always the cup of everybody to accept somebody as better than you, whom you pathological dislike. 
There was this report on a survey by World Economic Forum (WEF) listing world’s most admired personality. Interestingly, it had given, the Congress beite noire, Narendra Modi No: 10, where likes of Putin of Russia or Angela Merkel of Germany did not find a place.
Those nine before Modi, were Nelson Mandela at No:1, followed by Pope Francis & Elon Musk of Tesla Motors. While Mahatma Gandhi was named at 4, followed by Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Richard Branson of Virgin Group, Steve Job and Nobel Laureate Mohd. Younus of Bangladesh at No: 9.
Congress, miffed at this gradation called it a ‘good joke’. Very unhappy with the ranking, Congress even questioned the legitimacy of WEF to decide these rankings. WEF is an organization, which provides forums to global personalities in its interaction on global socio/economic thoughts. When he came in 2014, Narendra Modi came as a breath of fresh air on the Indian public space, like nobody else before him. 
Surely, he has made enough enemies since then & even before, in the public space, for varieties of reasons. He recently lost election in Bihar, to his uncharitable attacks on his opponents was one of the reason for the debacle. Still, despite his disappointment, he gave a speech to the standing ovation of British Parliamentarians, only a few days later, which an opposition politician and former chief minister of J & K, Omar Abdulla, had the decency to praise Modi, asking “why can’t we take pride in the excellent speech made by Modi”. That was indeed very exemplary politics. This is the positive politics we Indians need to appreciate and practice for the larger good.  
             
BIHAR: The biggest news of 2015, has been the victory of Grand Alliance in Bihar, consisting of JD (U) of Nitish Kumar, RJD of Lalu & Congress led by Sonia Gandhi. It was entirely unexpected and unprecedented. But then, this is how election works in a democracy.
The people power, had to find its expression, whatever political parties say, or media speculate. 
Post result, always some kind of analysis are made to find reasons and scapegoats for what happened and what has not happened.
Quoting Misa Bharti, daughter of Lalu Prasad Yadav, a report informed “Bhagwat’s statement on reservation made campaign easier”. Many in the media had speculated that remark by RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, that ‘Reservation has to be reviewed’ was interpreted as ‘RSS is opposed to reservation and therefore BJP, if voted to power, may scrap reservation’. That indeed seems to have worked against BJP and NDA. What Misa Bharti is reported to have remarked seem to confirm it.
Reservation and the politics around it, for all these 68 years has been there.  How reservation has helped the targeted group is a study that was never seriously done. How reservation has hurt others also is a study that needs to be done. Bhagwat was only echoing what even Congress had earlier called for a comprehensive review. But the opponents, including Congress in the election battle, twisted it completely to its advantage, . But the fact remains that Reservation as a policy is the most misused legislation that indeed needs a comprehensive review as demanded by Congress for the built in unfairness in the legislation & its execution.Will Indians listen?

To break the psychological logjam vis-à-vis the Bihar election result, the central government led by Modi shall do well to start acting on the Rs 1.25 lakh crore development funding promise Modi has made before the beginning of election. This one single act of pragmatism by the Modi government shall make both Lalu and Congress keep quiet and win him a friend in Nitish. This will also help send the signal that election or no election, development has to go on; and blunt the political rhetorics of opposition parties. To start with Modi must call Bihar Chief Minister Nitish and ask for his suggestions on the pattern & schedule of finding. This can open up a regular channel of communication for the overall improvement of bonhomie.
The news that the global group GE of U.S and French company Alstom are likely to be awarded with contracts worth Rs 40000/- crores for setting up diesel and electric locomotive factories is a very welcome one. And they are going to be set up in Marhora and Madhepura in Bihar.
 Dubbed as the first major project under the Make-in-India initiative to come under Railways, letters of contract acceptance likely to be issued shortly, the report informs. The projects are for a period of 11 years, to manufacture 1000 diesel locomotives by GE, and 800 electric locomotives by Alstom, with 100 units and 5 units respectively being initially imported and rest of the 900 units & 795 units to be manufactured in India. This, when started, is likely to have multiplier effect, and lead to large scale employment opportunities both direct and indirect in down stream industries & services.
Thus, some visions of Prime Minister Modi shall come about to realize the on ground visions of Nitish Kumar for Bihar. It shall be win-win for both.
This will without any doubt usher better states and central relations. 
Hope Modi keeps his promise to not only kick start development in Bihar, but it can also give long term dividend besides a political friend in Nitish Kumar.

Maharashtra: For whom this Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Maharashtra, its Mumbai unit, works? All its staff is getting paid fat government salary. How much they produce in terms of work they are supposed to do?
Reportedly ACB, Mumbai unit received some 7232 complaints on graft and instances of disproportionate assets cases against Maharashtra government staff during the period of Jan 2012 to Sept 2015, covering   some 45 months.
According to the reply received by RTI activist Jeetendra Ghagde, the bureau could look into only 671 complaints which worked at less than 9.3%, which meant more than 90% were left unattended, for whatever reasons, and not taken up. Of the 671 cases, which ACB decided to open and enquire, 322 cases, almost 50%, were closed without taking any action. Of the remaining 50% cases, comprising of 349 complaints, which were opened and inquired into, only 7 cases reached the stage of FIR and the balance were in different stages of enquiry.
So, not even 0.1% of complaints were converted into FIR. Frankly, why this ACB is existing? For whose benefits it is there? For whom these persons manning the ACB are accountable to? In Maharashtra, there is Modi’s government, his effect has not yet percolated into the corridors of Sachivalaya. Are you listening Mr. Devendra Fadanavis, the chief minister!?
      
“Nitish is the new Super Hero say’s Shiv Sena” was the news report datelined Mumbai, post Bihar election result. Of course, they had to say that to rub salt into the gash, not just wound, that its local beite noire cum coalition partner BJP had suffered in the hands of the Grand Alliance in of Bihar. Hence, fireworks was not in Pakistan but in Matoshri the ShivSena head quarters. Surely there is no love lost between Nitish Kumar and ShivSena, wasn’t it the same ShivSena and its cousin Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena who had attacked Biharis in Mumbai not so long ago?
ShivSena is in politics only to serve its local socio/political agenda. Its leader Uddhav Thackray has no national vision.
Earlier it had attacked South Indians, then Biharis, then Gujarathis and now Pakistanis only to extend its political space without any special love for India. Love of India, or patriotism is only a bogie & is an attempt to sustain itself politically. This ShivSena, which is talking about Indian Jawans suffering at the border due to unprovoked Pakistani attacks, should try to send a ShivSena team of Jawans to fight along with our regular Jawans, then their talk about patriotism can be taken little more seriously.
Or else, they too are: fake patriots for some media space only.

‘Police is a permanent defiance of nature’, remarked a Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, long ago. While what he said was in relation to the curtailment of social freedom in his days, perhaps he had no idea how bad police can be, especially in third world countries including India.
Police anywhere in India is known to be a terrible lot for a good part, if not entirely. There are any numbers of cases of brutality in uniform, with or without reasons. When general public take the law in to its hand, law takes care of them. But when police take the law into their hands, law, many times, goes limping. One of the great contribution of smart phones has been its instant utility of recording the event happening before you. It is because of these smart phones video recording and its circulation in social media exposes the nakedness of authorities perpetrating cruelty on hapless helpless victims, many times. And it becomes extremely difficult to escape the public scrutiny.
Same thing happened to the police at the Mumbai suburb Andheri police station, where cops had picked up a young couple arguing loudly between themselves. It was an entirely private affair, and police should have advised them to talk softly and let go. Instead they were taken into the police station, were beaten and locked up for a whole night. Fortunately, the smart phones of a citizen who had come to station on some work, became handy, and it went viral on the social media. After the usual dodging by the police higher ups, the police commissioner, taking a suo moto cognizance of the incident, ordered an inquiry. The public outcry led to an FIR against those unlawful constables. This is not an isolated incident, involving Mumbai police. There have been many even in the recent past. Alert public must expose police whenever it is possible. Only then police can become accountable, and forced to behave as law protector rather than the law breaker.

Some year ago, when Metro was started in Bangalore, an ignorant journalist wrote a story, that passenger utilization of Metro is not encouraging and may not serve the purpose. It was only a month or less, since the Metro had started. This journalist simply had no idea about the metro utilization and unfortunately, the newspaper too carried the story without applying its head.
Of course, those who planned it, and those who spent the money to create it have spent years projecting its ultimate success. Hence, the success of Metro, especially in urban pockets is guaranteed over a period. Every thing takes time, our mode of transport, especially those who are used to two wheelers and 4 wheelers take some time to change over to mass transit mediums like metro.
Metro is a clean, efficient and smart way of travelling in cities. Hence, its no wonder, that a report datelined Mumbai says “Mumbai Metro see rise in passengers & fare revenue”.
Responding to an RTI query, Mumbai Metro One Pvt. Ltd stated that, there is continuous increase in the utilization of metro services, so also the increase in the revenues. This is a development which is expected. Indians of all hues shall be better off using metro, which is environmentally clean, efficient, and smart. Users of metro shall remain fresh for a much longer time, less tired mentally and physically, and more likely to remain healthy without the ailments like, cough, cold, nasal infections, lung  infection, breathing problem etc.
Even in Bangalore things have greatly improved in terms of passenger utilization, so also revenue generation despite journalistic indiscretion.
Hence government everywhere must try to enlarge Metro connectivity. Larger metro network will mean lesser use of automobiles and therefore lesser use of hydrocarbon which will result in lesser fuel import, less pollution and more saving of foreign exchange. 

We have four Khans in the Hindi film world. They are Saif Ali Khan, Amir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan. All of them have made name, fame and fortune, courtesy Indians of all hues. India consists of over 80% of Hindus, although a recent survey has shown it at less than 79%.
Of the above 4 Khans, two have not joined the chorus of so called ‘intolerance’ talk. Saif Ali Khan, probably a mother’s son, has not yet spoken either with the chorus or against it. Salman Khan, a loose cannon anyway, has kept a studied silence, may be due to his father’s advice. Of the remaining two, Shah Rukh Khan is known to be in love with both India and Pakistan. He wants to have all the freedom that the atmosphere in India offers while keeping his Pakistani friends in good humour, a bit like Mani Shankar Aiyar. Amir Khan was better than Shah Rukh in his India equation. Now it looks, he too is set to compete. His wife wanted to leave the country, so he said. Should Indians thank her for staying put!
Intolerance in some form has always been there in India, and so in the rest of the world of homosapians. It is the done thing. West, East, Mid-East, Africa, Asia and all areas where humans are living, a certain level of intolerance is always found. Examples are far too many. But, is there a country, as exasperating in its diversity as India, in the entire world?! India is not a country, its a continent. Hence logically there should have been intolerance on a big scale. But is there!?
Look at our western neighbour Pakistan. What is the status of tolerance in that country? Is that country a model of tolerance?
Dr Khalil Ahmed from Hyderabad is the President of Karnataka Zakaath & Charitable Trust. This trust distributes crores of rupees in scholarship to needy Muslim students.
While speaking in Mangalore, a few years ago, he is reported to have stated “There is no country which is as free as India. Whole of west, including U.S, and after travelling Arab nations, you get an idea of those countries and understand the real meaning of Indian democracy. Even in our neighbor Pakistan, the state of minorities is very pitiable.”
As socially committed individual, Dr Khalil Ahmed, is better qualified than the Khan duo, to pass value judgment on a country, where tolerance is a way of life.
The very fact, that all these ladies and gentlemen have expressed their ‘intolerance’ on the other’s ‘intolerance’, without any problem from anybody, is a good enough reason to acknowledge that there is tolerance in India.
All these alleged acts of intolerance, like killing of Dhabolkar or Pansare or Kalburgi or Dadri Linching, or those small Dalit children in Haryana, could very well have been taken as law and order problem and dealt with alacrity. But, instead, it was allowed to fan restlessness of social divide, media joined the melee. Khan duo has only added to the ‘intolerant’ confusion, despite the wise counsel of President Pranab Mukherjee, the other day.
All these so-called intellectuals and actors who think they are opinion makers, could have called on, as group, on those who are accused to be intolerant, like the central government (read Modi), BJP, RSS and others, if any. These interactions, if it had taken place, instead of so much misplaced hype, atmosphere could have been far better. We as Indians owe it to this great country, to protect its fair name as the most tolerant country in the world.

Andhra Pradesh: The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandra Babu Naidu is busy constructing Amaravathi, in line with legendary Amaravathi, to have a state of the art capital for his truncated state. Thousands of crores are being spent, with thousands of people involved with the concept, creation and construction of the ‘best capital city’ among Indian States.
But, hold your breath, Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has come out with some startling facts on the serious dearth of toilets and appalling condition of toilets, where it is available, in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. CAG verified some 84 schools and they found 40 of them do not have toilet for girls. Of the remaining, where toilets are available 19 are in dilapidated state and 12 are without water. In fact the report informs that most of 84 toilets verified were in a state of collapse and non-maintenance.
According to report, non-utilization of funds already allocated by the centre for the upkeep and construction of toilets is a sad state of affairs. The project officer of Rajiv Vidya Mission was placed with some Rs.25 lakhs in May 2009, remained unspent and was refunded a year later. Even the toilets which are there were without roof and door and are, according to Ayahs of Anganwadis, not baby friendly, and the Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu is obsessed with promoting world class capital for Andhra and Telangana Chief Minister is busy promoting his sons and cronies. That’s indeed a sad spectacle for country craving to be super power.
    
Karnataka: Sometime in October or early Nov 2015, the government of Siddaramayya in Bangalore had decided to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tippu, a former king of Mysore on 10th November. Tippu’s rule in Mysore and his kingdom had a record of controversies. So why the state government wanted to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tippu was not clear. Was it some kind of a agenda driven, since Tippu was a Muslim ruler?
Although it was hoisted by the state government as culture vulture issue, it was reportedly handled by Ministry of Minority Affairs, instead of Ministry of Culture & Kannada. Thus, the undergarments appeared to be visible. 
Print media, on the 7th November had carried report datelined Mangalore, that United Christian Association (UCA) staged a protest in front of the DC office Mangalooru opposing the move to hold Tippu Jayanti.
Report also informed that UCA called Tippu a Goonda and that he had killed over 60000 Christians in coastal region. Attributing to UCA member Robert Rosario, the report noted “Several churches in these districts were destroyed by him. He had converted thousands of Christians and Hindus to Islam.”
This report has not been contested by anybody in the media. Therefore it is reasonable to believe it.
Of course, most Indians are aware of the accusation of Hindu organizations that “Tippu was a religious fanatic and history tells us that numerous Hindus were converted to Islam by him and those who opposed were killed”. But then when any Hindu organization accuses, it is normally taken by the media with a fistful of salt not just a pinch, since there are only a few who see reason in their arguments or accusations, rightly or wrongly.
But the fact of the matter is, the government went ahead with the first ever birth anniversary of this Tippu, despite the opposition from Christians and Hindus. What was that ‘great’ purpose behind it was very unclear? However interestingly, the Christian organizations which protested outside DC office on 6th November, and called Tippu a goonda, did not join Hindu organizations who protested vociferously, accusing the government of indulging in vote bank politics. Is it because Bangalore Archbishop Bernard Moras advised these organizations not to protest, lest Christians be seen, as against the Congress government in Karnataka?! So, if these Hindu organizations are being branded by vested interests as being ‘communal’, so be it. I am sorry, my Christian brethren! This is a clear case of opportunism and implies sinister political design, where truth appears to be a casualty. Unfortunately our ‘ever alert’ media had no comment to offer. Indeed, very disappointing.

Bommanagi Government Higher primary school in Bagalkot district was in news, for an extremely sorry reason. Some 38 students took ill after worms were found in the mid-day meal provided by the school kitchen.
Reportedly 4 cooks have been suspended. But nobody asked how did the worms infected upma was supplied to the school? Is it because the suppliers are friends of the department with their tentacle spread far & wide. After all who suffered? Poor children of poor parents, who have little wherewithal to make noise!
Siddaramayya, the champion of backward class, where is he? Busy politicking as usual!
Reportedly, of the 38 students condition of 18 worsened even after initial treatment, and were shifted to district hospital in Bagalkot.
If the voiceless students have suffered, equally voiceless cooks are made to pay for it, which is in all probability was the casualness of cooks and crassness of the supplier cum department vested interest.
Yes, in India, this is how it works. Those who can’t fight suffer unjustly, and those who can pull strings get away with murder. What if this food poisoning becomes fatal!

Tamil Nadu: There was this report in the print media “In Polaris sale, some national pride gets eroded”.
Chennai based Polaris Consulting & Services, sold its controlling 53% interest to a U.S based, Nasdaq-listed Virtusa Corp in a Rs.2300 crore deal. It was bought by a Srilankan, Kris Canakaratne, Chairman & CEO of Virtusa, based in U.S. The report also informed about another Indian company, iflex solution floated by one Rajesh Hukku, had sold its 61% to Oracle in an $1.5 billion deal, sometime in 2005.
Both Polaris & iflex were fully Indian owned companies and sold its controlling interest to U.S based companies. Only successful ventures attract investors, and therefore it was very evident that, unlike big names like TCS, Infosys, Wipro & others, these one man outfits too quietly went about doing things and succeeded. Surely it was a success story and was making money and therefore U.S companies bought controlling interest.
The report was raising the question of national pride, if these entities were not sold to outsiders, only to make some quick money, there could have been options like, raising capital from Indian market and sell shares to Indian and keep the outfit as Indian. In the long run it could have made as much money or even more money, but could have retained its Indian identity. But then all cannot be Abdul Kalam. He had rejected a highly paid job offer from United Arab Emirates, only to serve India and to see India become a strong country on its own terms. Didn’t he say “A country is greater than an individual!”  
    


What They Said

Your comments under the caption ‘Patels, Ansari and Kalam’ (p16) in the issue dated October 2015 on Vice President Dr.Hamid Ansari’s address were very unfair, to say the least. As a citizen of this country I deem it my duty towards both the Muslim brethren and the learned Dr.Ansari to articulate my disagreement with your conclusions.
First about the lecture. It was very informed, reasoned and without any rancour. There was no demand for reservation as you claim. Holding a constitutional position did not deter him from speaking on very sensitive issues of the challenges before the community (from which he incidentally hails) and the strategies to overcome them. He had called upon the leaders of his own community to adapt to a changing society. What he said, according to me, would be equally applicable to the Hindus.
Dr.Hamid Ansari in the first part of his speech traced the historical perspective of the Muslims in India, their role in the Independence movement, the aftermath of the partition and its trauma, the lofty principles of equality enshrined in the Constitution and about the state of the community as reported by three official committees (not Sachar Committee alone, as you want the readers to believe). Having recounted these facts, he listed out the problems faced by India’s Muslims as under:
1. Identity and security
2. Education and empowerment
3. Equitable share in the largesse of the state and
4. Fair share in decision making
He added, quite legitimately, that each of these is a right of the citizen and advised that the challenge was to develop strategies and methodologies to address them. Nowhere could I find him mention that reservation is necessary for the Muslims. His reference was ‘equitable share in the largesse of the state.’ Is there anything wrong if a citizen to whichever community he belongs aspires to get an equitable share in the benefits the state gives to the citizens?
T.R Bhat, Mangalore, Via email

We thank you for the time taken to write to us. At the outset please note I&C tries to discuss subjects in its pages purely based on issues and not personality based. We always tried to discuss ‘what is wrong’ rather than ‘who is wrong’. Our Focus ‘Patels, Ansari & Kalam’ was meant to convey the need to have reservation, if any, only on economic model, while also informing that a state of reservation over a period of close to 7 decades has failed in its purpose and hence should be done away with. Of course a 1200 words article simply cannot raise all questions and provide answers to all issues relating to Reservations.
Coming to the speech & personality of Dr.Hamid Ansari, we have no two opinions about his eminence and the concerns shown for his co- religionists. But, his being the Vice President of the country puts him in a delicate situation, he did not maintain the discretion of the office. Indeed unlike Dr Ansari, Dr Kalam is far superior in his acceptability as national icon. Hence comparison is relevant. However when someone demands a portion of the national largesse, despite your disagreement, it amounts to reservation. There are any numbers of opinion makers, who are not RSS- non Hindu, who think so. And when somebody demands it as a right, like Patels did, it introduces a degree of unease in the public space. Besides I&C has always tried to perform its duties than hankering for rights.
Any society, if it has to retain its vibrancy, should continuously try to evolve in a dynamic world, it goes for all sections of society pari passu. Your stress for the Indian majority section was therefore uncalled for. We regret we couldn’t reproduce your entire article for reasons of space. What we reproduced has covered the gist of your article.                                                                          - Editor

Fifteen long years.... your deep rooted feelings have been surfacing through your Editorials always and some hidden political issues which usually do not appear in other popular journals or magazines. Thanks for your bold unbiased views- swimming against the present flow of media hypes. I congratulate you for what you are!
The Focus article on 15th Annual publication has come out well. Generally I avoid political topics for the simple reason- reading again makes suffering to be re-visited. Though I too look forward to better days.
Dr. B.M Hegde's article on Ex-President Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam has moved me. I have seen their close association once even at Shri Satya Sai Super Speciality Hospital event. They both shared the dias. I was the witness for it.
Your writings on COW slaughter has also made impact on me. But it is still a dilemma. My memory goes back to then P.M. Jawaharalalu Nehru, who has said “What to do with non- yielding cows when they grow old...?” We still have no right answer.... Riddle continues. Your “Focus” is true...  Your clips sections on  1)Liver cell regeneration 2)Malaria eradication 3)Robotic arm have made medical men glued to I&C. 
J.N Bhat, Mangalore

Here is my feedback concerning issues and concerns. In general Issues & Concern is crisp, short & bold. Cover page by Raveendra Shetty Kuthethure is as usual always very fine and meaningful. 
The last page you are filling up the lacunae left by the absence of the current writings of late Dr. M.V. Kamath by his letters to Gauri is apt. These letters are informative and interesting. I wish you continue these even after getting a gentleman of letters to fill up this page. 
Prof. B.M.Hegde’s articles, as usual, are revolutionary, against the current but consistent with reality. So also the serial bits - Indian in Cowboy Country - is interesting. 
Your editorials, months in perspective and focus are bold and very informative covering wide area. But your comments on Sachin Tendulkar, consistently appearing, though may be factual, but not worth wasting so much space in the magazine. 
One global issue I feel you can take up is to start a campaign in the magazine to eradicate nuclear weapons from earth. No doubt it is a tall order and I do not know how you will go about it. But all the same it is worth an attempt to prevent the       annihilation of planet earth which is a real possibility, especially if these weapons fall in the hands of terrorists who are cruel, suicidal and mindless. Hope you will think about this, start the campaign and succeed.
Dr. Rohit, M.S., Chennai, via email

Thanks for the time taken to write. We note your comments on our writings on Tendulkar. So also, your suggestion regarding starting a campaign on eradication of nuclear weapons, the world over. Shall revert on the issue in pages of I&C in coming months. Issue at the outset is complex. but there can always be a wayout.                                                                                                                                                                                               - Editor                                                                           

FOCUS

BIHAR-ELECTION 2015

&

THE WAY FORWARD

I&C in its editorial extension, Month-in-Perspective of November 2015, had expressed its views, on the, then ongoing electoral battle in Bihar, and we quote,
“It’s all out war in Bihar. Prime Minister Modi appears to be on a long term election mode. It is as if, ‘if he is not travelling abroad then he is at an election rally.’ His attack appeared to be, no holds barred. He is using his gift of gab, which none of the Prime Ministers of the past had, to the NDA advantage. But will it really be advantageous or prove antagonistic in the ultimate analysis! All political leaders try to mudsling at opponents, especially during election time. Some may stick and some may not stick. But the bad taste can linger. As a Prime Minister of the country, his responsibility at a sense of proportion, is far higher, than say Nitish Kumar or Lalu Prasad. Hence his ‘no holds-barred’ attack on all and sundry, especially Nitish & Lalu can have the Bihar voters on the defensive and therefore, at least to some extent, can lead to negative voting against NDA”
“Coming to Nitish Kumar, all Indians are privy to the fact that he has done better than, 15 years’ misrule of Lalu and his wife. There is therefore an element of trust Biharis repose in Nitish administration. That is expected to influence at the hustings. But his association with Lalu has certainly dented such possibility. This is what Modi is exploiting. From the survey of the poll scene, it appears mixed fortune for both sides. May be Nitish Kumar deserves to be given a chance, since he is one of the few Chief Ministers who scored better than many in the shifting development dynamics. Of course, it is left entirely to the Biharis to decide their fate vis-a-vis the newly elected government.” unquote. 
In the event, it was ‘In Bihar, Nitish andar, Modi bahar’.
In the wake of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her Sikh body guards, and the LokSabha election that followed, with Rajeev Gandhi, a political novice, having been made the leader of Congress, the nation had given a clean sweep with some 430 seats to the Congress, over ¾ majority, on sympathy wave.
Ramakrishna Hegde, the then Janata Chief Minister of Karnataka had remarked before the election, who is Rajeev Gandhi? After the unprecedented election victory Rajeev Gandhi had paid the compliments back. Reportedly he had remarked “Hegde got his answer, who is Rajeev Gandhi. In Karnataka, Hegde has become irrelevant". Assembly election in Karnataka followed and Hegde wasn’t sure, despite his credentials, with Indira sympathy wave, whether he would make it to the Bangalore Vidhana Saudha. In the event, matured Karnataka voters knew, what was good for Karnataka and Hedge romped home with resounding victory.
Exit poll on 5th Nov had indicated mixed fortune with one indicating 160/180 seats for the Mahagathbandhan of Nitish Lalu combine, while another said some 150 seats for NDA. However overall, it did give an edge for Mahagathbandhan. One of the major channel NDTV even analyzed all exit polls and came to a conclusion after elaborate detailing that NDA will romp home with clear majority at over 130 seats. Funnily, a spokesperson of BJP appearing in the panel discussion even commented ‘For once NDTV and Pranoy Roy are correct in assessing the situation.’ It is another matter that NDA managed just 58 seats only, and the Mahagathbandhan walked away with more than 2/3rd of total seats at 178, which was more than 3 times of NDA. Result went horribly wrong for NDA and more particularly for BJP and its Modi/Shah mascot.
By any stretch of imagination, this kind of result was simply not anticipated. Despite exit poll, a neck to neck fight was expected, since both sides had given its utmost in terms of effort, rhetorics and bad mouthing in equal measure.
Now that the result has come and started to sink in, the reactions were many and kaleidoscopic. While those who have lost, shall have their plates full to explain the rout, those who won, necessarily has to have grace in victory. But the loud mouth Lalu Prasad Yadav, was his ebullient sardonic self. Indeed it’s a pity that Lalu’s RJD was the party with the highest number of seats. However it may be comfortable to think that they all voted to RJD since it was in alliance with Nitish, and hence it was Brand-Nitish that carried the day. But, Lalu cannot be always trusted to play to norms. He can be difficult. It is something, one has to wait and see. But the victory in Bihar has already gone to the head of Lalu. He is already baying for the blood of Modi. “After Diwali and once the government in put in place, I will organize a rally in Varanasi, PM’s electoral constituency” while adding “The Modi/RSS government will be demolished. I will launch a nationwide stir against Modi. We will uproot Modi government”.
Right enough, Yogendra Yadav had reportedly tweeted “Thanks, It’s a vote against politics of hatred & propaganda. But Lalu coming back is also not a way forward for Bihar.” 
While it is true that Nitish should not allow Lalu & his coterie to influence the course of governance, Lalu need to recognize, Modi is little too tall for Lalu to handle outside Bihar. He has a huge history of misdeeds, record of sleaze, the infamous Chaara Ghotaala, promotion of wife, children and cronies besides complete lack of interest in governance. As compared to Lalu, Narendra Modi is on a totally different level. He is in a sense, an international sensation. The kind of aura he has been able to create on foreign soil, be it U.S, U.K or UAE, it’s a stuff dreams are made of. Lalu is nowhere near him. Modi’s over confidence did him in. Lalu cannot win support beyond Bihar. In Bihar too he has won only because of the Grand Alliance led by Nitish Kumar. But, it is also true that the vitriolic negative barbs of both Modi and Amit Shah could be exploited by Lalu raising the self respect element of Biharis.
If Lalu has been given a lease of life, it is entirely due to Modi/ Amit Shah polemics, so completely distasteful and smacking of arrogance.  
Dislike of Modi/ Amit Shah barb was of such order that Congress, which had no hope of winning even a single seat went home with 27 seats in the 41 they contested. While electioneering, Modi had taunted the Grand Alliance for giving 40 seats to Congress. “Thanks for giving us those 40 seats on a platter. We have already won those.” That was the kind of overconfidence that misfired badly.
But what really went wrong for NDA, for BJP, for Modi and his confidant Amit Shah? In the final analysis, more than anybody else, the Modi Shah duo, has most of the responsibility for the unexpected reversal of fortune for BJP in Bihar.
It is very true, and has to be accepted rather grudgingly, at this moment in the history of India, there is no leader comparable to Modi. His greatest strength is without being weak, like other mortals, towards the three Ws. Women, Wine & Wealth, are the weakness most men suffer from, if not all three, at least one of them. This non-corrosive quality gives him an unprecedented dynamism. But unfortunately he suffers from a king sized ego, and the belief that ‘King can do no wrong’.
All those who are making noises against Modi and his BJP are not truly qualified to make any comments. Their credentials, whether Congress, RJD or Shiv Sena, are known and does not inspire confidence. Only person, who is qualified at this juncture, as Modi & BJP licking their wound, is Nitish Kumar. His leadership is credible and he is not making any noise. 
Modi won in 2014, because, he had a Gujarath record, may be little hyped, but also the central government of the day. UPA II, was seen as incompetent or corrupt or both. Modi had gone hammer & tong lampooning all, be it Manmohan Singh the former Prime Minister, be it Congress President Sonia Gandhi, or her son Rahul Gandhi. His relentless attack carried the day. The electorates, at least 31% of them, voted for him and his NDA. Rest, as the cliché goes, is history. He appeared, for a while at least, very statesmanlike in his public utterances. Was it just a veneer! However, every time when there was an election, he was simply a BJP politician. He forgot, he is the Prime Minister of the country. Victory, at all cost, had to be won, was his modus operandi. Delhi was a test case. He branded Arvind Kejriwal in the same brush as he did with UPA II, dishonest and corrupt. He and his party lost very badly. No lesson learnt. He repeated the same verbose against Nitish Kumar, and it backfired.
Despite being extremely busy with his foreign travels and his position as the Prime Minister of the Country, he addressed more than 30 election rallies in Bihar. An opposition MP remarks, “Never in independent India’s history, have we seen a sitting prime minister getting involved to such an extent in a state election”. And this remark is echoed across the political spectrum. Thus if it is concluded as a personal defeat of Narendra Modi, truth is not far from that, whatever else his friends and well-wishers in BJP want the world to believe. 
So, is there room for course correction? It’s a question NDA, more precisely BJP has to ponder. It is true that, BJP succeeded in replacing Congress in the national scene and emerged as the biggest political party. But can it remain there for infinity, or even beyond 2019! By the way Modi government is going about administering the country and treating opposition ruled states, it is very likely that goodwill earned in 2014, shall be tapering off and shall be difficult to hold on to the victory margin of 2014. Therefore course correction is a must, whether the party likes it or not. Yes, it is not BJP per se, it is more to do with Modi and the party president Amit Shah. It is the style of functioning of Modi that is being called to question. But the problem, like Vir Sanghvi says “Prime Minister does not like to concede points to his critics or to change course. But this electoral disaster should give him reason to pause and rethink his strategy”. He should not mistake courage to stubbornness.
Will he?! May be, he will! Since there is no other option. However best he is, he is not indispensable. It is in his own interest and that of his party, and of course India as a whole, he needs to change in his approach to issues and people.
If the style of his campaigning, where he made offensive, insulting remarks against opponents, is one of the factors, his own contribution to the development story, he is always talking about, is much to be desired. Electorates in Bihar were told by Modi’s opponents that, while he is always busy either being abroad or electioneering in some states, development has taken a beating, it has been relegated to back seat. Hence, if the opponents asked ‘where is the development,’ voters were made to understand, ‘you can’t trust Modi with development.’ Hence, at the husting, it was double whammy for Modi. 
Yes, election over, Mahagathbandhan of JD(U), RJD & Congress is in power in Bihar. Before the 2019 LokSabha election, there are 5 states to go for election in 2016, and some more in 2017. From now to May 2019, there are 3½ years, or some 42 months. 18 months have passed without any promised Acche Din for Indians, but it looks almost there, the Burre Din for BJP, if the government in Delhi does not perform and deliver.  
Ending this November, we can always take stock of 555 days of Modi government’s being in power. Besides some favourable foreign policy initiatives, there have been some infrastructural initiatives in social engineering, like opening bank a/c under Jan Dhan Yojana, insurance covers on life, pension and accident, model village initiatives by MPs, toilets in schools, etc. But many larger issues have remained stuck for varieties of reasons. It is also true that being a very decisive Prime Minister decisions were taken without procrastination and no scams are reported. So, it has some positives, but they are not enough. Indeed, its ‘Ye dil mange more’.
Coming to the pending major issues, like GST bill and Land acquisition bill are the major legislation requiring passage. Modi necessarily has to take the opposition on board. He has to reinvent himself for the larger good. He has to climb down from the ivory tower that he has perched. It is also true that, opposition too need to recognize the strength of the Prime Minister. Just because, he suffers from numerical weakness in Rajya Sabha, the politics should not derail the development. Both Modi and opposition have to make amends to their rigid stand.
Certain amount of maturity must come into play for the larger good. Modi & BJP must give up its attitude, 'that all that they have done, they are doing, is the best, and only they have the interest of the country and others are all jokers'. As the Hindi saying goes, ‘HER KUTTE KA EK DIN HOTA HAI’. BJP and Modi, after the initial feel-good atmosphere created by wordsmith Modi; slowly started slipping, especially his negative remarks on opposition. Those remarks had indeed left bad taste. But both party and Modi refused to recognize the damage it has done to the bonhomie between Treasury & opposition benches.
The latest loss of face for BJP and Modi provide the ammunition for opposition to harden its stand. But in the national interest peace has to be brought about for the development to take place. Modi thought, only way to bring about change is to have numerical power in Rajya Sabha. But the way he went about has failed in Bihar and is not likely to succeed elsewhere unless he changes his tactics, but more importantly his attitude.
Right now, opposition is charged since it has already seen the blood. Modi has to make the first move. His 1.25 lakh crore package to Bihar. When he made the announcement, it was politics. But wisdom should prevail. He should call a meeting between the C.M Nitish Kumar and P.M, himself, and ask Nitish Kumar’s suggestion, how can centre release this 1.25 lakh crores in stages, so that the promise that CM has made to his people can be realized as soon as possible. This single move alone can take the wind out of opposition sail. And possibly win him friends in place of adversaries, including Nitish Kumar.
Development is always possible due to co-operation, not in absolutism. Rajeev Gandhi had more than 430 seats in Loksabha, but he lost even a simple majority of 270 seats in the election that followed after 5 years. He failed because of his self assertion. Modi has the benefit of history, for course correction, as he goes along. And we all know that, those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.
As Sudhendra Kulkarni puts it “The BJP rout in Bihar has suddenly become a turning point in Indian politics. Modi will have to display an altogether different model-wise, benign, inclusive, accommodative, humble, tolerant and trustworthy-of leadership for his remaining period in office to become smooth and productive. Failure in his past to do so will surely bring 2019 closure, with all its grim implication for BJP.”  
Opening of FDI has to be people centric. An FDI which cannot help India achieve better HDI (Human Development Index) is bound to fail in the long run. The idea of governance should be to achieve a JUST SOCEITY, leading to the empowerment of last man on the development ladder. Hope Modi sees what is written in the wall.    
J. Shriyan 
  

FEATURE

Humane definition of Health.

Prof. B. M. Hegde,

"It takes more than just a good looking body. You've got to have the heart and soul to go with it."

I was attending a big conference, called the symposium, at the University of Central Florida Medical School, which had in attendance some of the leading lights of western scientific reductionist (vivisectionist) research. They ranged from those touched by Her Majesty's sword (Sir), or were Fellows of Isaac Newton's Royal Society to those that were nominated for the Nobel and are very soon to get it! Most of them talked about inflammation as the root cause of atherosclerosis! At the end it was my turn, a villager from India, to talk about definition of health. Who is interested in that dry subject where there is nothing to get at the end of the day? If all became healthy where is this trillion dollar business, the medi-business ?
One by one the great researchers left the auditorium when I started and some before the start after lunch, an unusual experience for me. But the young students and some of my colleagues from India who had to, per force, stay back did so. So I had some audience at the end. I tried to do justice to the title to the best of my abilities. One of the senior members in the audience was saying that my speech there did not have the usual punch. Little did he realize my plight when I was seeing the big "guns" leaving one by one. I was happy that the Dean of the medical college stayed back for courtesy sake. I then thought I better put my thoughts which I expressed there that day in print so that the readers could judge for themselves at the end of the day. I also thought I should put my thoughts on inflammation as the root cause of all ills man is heir to. My suspicion that many powerful drug companies are ready with a host of anti-inflammatory molecules which they want to push down the patients' throats with the help of these great researchers That is what research these days is all about.
Kathryn A. Taubert, PhD, of the American Heart Association sums up her opinion about inflammation and heart disease in the following words: "More than 80 million people in the United States have some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD)—for example, coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, or heart failure—and millions of others are at increased risk for these diseases. Over half of these people are also affected by arthritis and other disorders of the musculoskeletal system—the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and bursa. The pain associated with these chronic conditions is often treated with a class of medications known as nonster0oidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, it has been shown that taking some NSAIDs can increase a person’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke. This risk is likely greatest in patients who have a prior history of CVD or who are at high risk for CVD. The information here will help you to understand what NSAIDs are and whether it is safe to take them."
Newer studies funded heavily by drug companies however have a different story. "There is a decreased risk with methotrexate use. "The current evidence suggests that MTX use is associated with a reduced risk of CVD events in patients with RA. This suggests that reducing the inflammation in RA using MTX not only improves disease-specific outcomes but may also reduce collateral damage such as atherosclerosis. (But methotrexate is not an anti-inflammatory molecule. It is an anti-metabolite and it's reducing the risk does not mean that inflammation is the be all and end all of atherosclerosis.) TNF (tumour necrosis factor) inhibitor is another molecule the drug companies are after. They have been able to convince the world that combination of methotrexate and TNF could be a great improvement in treating inflammation in many situations. No one talks about the serious side effects these two drugs could have in the long run. Apart from any others a new blood cancer has also been attributed to TNF. Sitting there in the auditorium for 36 long hours listening to the varieties of studies showing the wonderful effect of inflammation in atherosclerosis was amusing, each one of them patting the other on the back. Today only this kind of vivisectionist research excites researchers, their funders and even the Nobel and Lashkar committees. Have we lost the woods in counting the trees? I can understand the funding sources have their vested interests. No industry wants its stakeholders to lose money but what of us doctors who are trained to keep society healthy? My worry is should we be used as pawns in their game?
I was expecting at least one of those great thought leaders would mention that some safe TNFs are there in the innocent Indian spice Turmeric (cur cumin)" Now that the Nobel committee picked up Chinese herbal medicine artemesenin for Nobel may be they will look back at curcumin! I strongly feel that if we change our educational system to produce "healthy" minds instead of just "wealthy" careers we would have humane researchers who would look at human problems through the holistic glass instead of looking at human beings in bits and pieces in their reductionist research. When the industry is in cahoots with scientific research poor sick population suffers, why even the well segment of the population suffers thanks to the Alma Ata definition of health which, in short, says that health is absence of disease, which boils down to getting oneself screened to know if one is healthy. This WHO definition of health is a damagingly negative definition and serves only the vested interest in the industry and their minions and not the common man. In the presentations one thing came out stealthily is that is statins are given in real big doses (note the stress on dose) it becomes anti-inflammatory. How did statin suddenly become and anti-inflammatory? If it does it could be dangerous as all the NSAIDs have killed people due to heart attacks and as such could not be anti-atherosclerotic.
I am reminded of what that romantic British poet wrote when the first industry started in England at the beginning of the so called the industrial revolution in 1802 AD.
The world is too much with us! The first four lines go like this:
"The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!"
         William Wordsworth. 1802

How very true in medical industry funded research? This malady affects all medical research especially in the area of cancer research. Even the very foundation of the theory of atherosclerosis, Ancel Keys six country study, was not authentic!
Indian Ayurveda has a very fine and ideal definition of health which I call as humane definition as the latter allows the hapless human being to find out if he is ill or well without going to the doctor and without the need for expensive regular check-ups. Sushruta, the great Ayurevdic surgeon, had this definition in his text stanza: 12.7
The exact transliteration in English goes thus:
"The one who is established in the self and always full of bliss, whose doshas are all balanced, whose Agni is also balanced, whose dathus are in equilibrium, whose body excreta and impurities are removed in an orderly regular way, and whose mind and senses are also established in bliss- such an individual should be termed a healthy person. "
The contextual meaning simply is that when you get up in the morning if you find that you have enthusiasm to work selflessly and also at the same time have the enthusiasm to be of some use to someone everyday, you are healthy. If the answer to the above two questions are in the negative you might need help to get back your health.
Work is worship if this world has to go on. Compassion is at the root of our very existence on this planet. But for the generous donation of genes from the germs, our ancestors for two billion years on is planet, we would not have been here today. We are that nucleated cell that was born out of the DNA donation by germs. (Elisabet Sahtouris) We were the single nucleated cell, the zygote, in the mother's womb which multiplied into hundred odd trillion cells today as a happy colony of those human beings (nucleated cells) along with ten times that number of germ cells which are both incorporated inside our genes and others living in symbiosis with us for our good. The billions of germs in our gut manage our immune system, the shield against diseases.
Western medical science can only answer the question as to how does one get ill? But not the question why does one get ill? Now that we know that the human mind is the human body as an illusion, we understand that all diseases start and end in the human mind, human consciousness, which is not situated in the brain. Wilder Penfield, the Nobel winning Canadian neurosurgeon, did write that the mind does not reside inside the brain as recently as 1970 long before quantum physics showed that the body and the mind are but the two faces of the same coin. But the human consciousness, the mind, is a part of the universal consciousness, the universal mind. Just as Ayurveda had said the self healing capacity of the human body is very powerful. Recent study did show that to be true even in western medicine (Bingel et. al. The placebo Effect. Science Translational Medicine 2011; 3: 70) If I have to sell this self-healing in the west I better call it as quantum healing.

"A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses."

U.S. DOUBLE STANDARD

For Cultural reasons Horse Slaughter banned

New York: Everyone has his ‘sacred cow’, even the American who ridicules the Indian’s opposition to cow slaughter.
Only the American’s ‘sacred cow’ is the horse. Horse slaughter is effectively banned in the US through a convoluted budget tactic while two bills are pending before the US Congress to make it permanent.
While the bill for an outright ban works its way through Congress, the present backdoor horse slaughter ban works like this: The budget that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama last year prohibited the Agriculture Department from spending money on inspecting horse slaughter houses. Without inspections, the slaughter houses cannot operate legally and that effectively banned horse slaughter.
Twenty Republican and 50 Democratic representatives jointly introduced a bill in the lower house in April for an outright ban on horse slaughter and its export for butchering. Two senators from each of the two parties followed suit the next month and the bills are pending in Congress.
Several organisations like the Humane Society and Equine Advocates have been lobbying for ending the killing of horses for food.
Cultural reasons that verge on religious fervour in this predominantly Christian nation are the main motivators for banning horse slaughter. In its mobilisation efforts Equine Advocates uses a quote that elevates horses to the level of a national icon and invokes the nation’s cultural heritage. “Our forefathers honoured the horse as a ‘favoured’ animal like dogs and cats when this country was founded,” Cathleen Doyle, who led the efforts to ban horse slaughter in California, is quoted as saying. “Dog, cat and horse slaughter are not part of our culture or heritage. We should no more be slaughtering our horses for export than we should slaughter our dogs or cats for export to countries where their meat is eaten.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says that according to a 2012 national poll, 80 per cent of Americans are against horse butchering.Moreover, the Bible in the books of Deutronomy and Leviticus put horses in the category of the “unclean” and, therefore, not to be eaten because unlike cattle they do not chew the cud.Even though cultural reasons are the motivation, the anti-horse slaughter advocates present it as a health issue claiming that the medications given to horses can be harmful to humans. The legislators, who call their measure Safeguard American Food Exports or SAFE Act, avoid the cultural or religious reasons and say that the proposed law is for health reasons.

REPORT

Coming together to fight hunger

The government of India welcomed the Zero Huner Initiative of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and was committed to supporting it, said Union minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs, Venkaiah Naidu. He was speaking at a session on Policy and Political Support for achieving the Zero Hunger Challenge during an international conference held at the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Chennai.
The Zero Hunger Challenge launched by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012 encapsulates his vision for the future - a world free from hunger and malnutrition, where all people enjoy the fundamental Right to Food; and people’s livelihoods and food systems are resilient and able to withstand a changing climate. As the world takes on the challenge of achieving Zero Hunger by 2025, countries around the globe are committed to freeing humanity from poverty and hunger as a matter of urgency. At the conference, Naidu asserted that government was committed also to the ‘Swaminathan formula’ for minimum support price for crops and was moving in that direction. “Things are improving. Once the economy becomes stronger, we can implement the recommendations,” he said.
Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce & Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman, spoke of the ongoing discussion at WTO on subsidies. “We have the right to determine what can be done to support farmers and the right to public holding of food grains. I am glad that the Parliament came together on this issue and grateful to the WTO that the peace clause has been extended till a permanent solution is arrived at,” she said. The minister also spoke about the rights of the poorest of the poor for nutrition. The government was initiating negotiations on bartering buffer stock in sugar against the requirement of pulses in order to meet the pulses deficit. “The change in dietary pattern because of cost and its effect on nutrition status are serious matters that require consideration,” she noted. Government was closely monitoring the price of ordinary everyday items like onions and would be very sensitive to the needs of farmers, she said.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof Swaminathan expressed the hope that the situation with regard to pulse deficit in India would improve. “The situation is improving and now pulse acreage has gone up. By next year, we can hope to wipe out pulse deficit,” he said.
Jairam Ramesh, MP, congratulated him on getting the parties together on the issue of nutrition security. “No other country has four vulnerability indices when it comes to climate change. We need to be proactive and look for solution, especially with regard to agriculture and food security,” he said.
H.K. Dua, MP, urged media houses to create greater awareness on the issue of malnutrition and hunger, rather than focusing on obesity or fitness, and drew attention to the long term impact that malnutrition would have on a child and her future.
The conference was held in partnership with ICRISAT (International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics) and Harvest Plus and BISA (Borlaug Institute for South Asia) and was inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah. The need for emphasis on the condition of farmers and farming communities to achieve a world without hunger was a theme echoed by scientists, academicians and farmers alike at the conference. Recommendations and outcomes of the discussions will be submitted to the government, multilateral organizations and policy makers in India and across the world.
The inaugural day of the conference was also Prof Swaminathan’s 90th birthday. Combating Hunger and Achieving Food Security written by Prof Swaminathan and the Annual Report of MSSRP for 2014-15 were released.  
PRESS INSTT .OF INDIA

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Pulses: India’s abject failure

S S Tarapore
Pulses are the main form of protein for the masses, yet it is no secret that per capita consumption of pulses has shown a singular decline from 70 grams per day  in 1961 to 30 grams in 2001; thereafter it rose to 43 grams in 2011 and has stagnated since then. Given that there would be skewed consumption across the income strata, there must be large tracts of the population which just cannot afford to buy pulses. With all the fancy data coming out about how deep is the penetration of cell phones in the rural areas, surely we need to give importance to what proportion of the population goes without any protein content in their consumption. It does not need a skilled medical practitioner to tell us that without any protein content in the diet, child development would be stunted. Of course, an elitist response would be that after all, there can be consumption of protein other than pulses- a Marie Antoinette approach. Such a callous approach is close to being criminal.
Some basic facts about the pulse economy
Pulses are cultivated on non-irrigated land and by marginal farmers. For decades after Independence, there was no support price for pulses and when support prices were introduced, they were extremely low and not in any way related to market prices. The average annual production of pulses during 2001-2010 was 13.5 million tonnes. With the advent of improved support prices and the Technology Mission for pulses, there was an improvement in output to 18 million tonnes in 2011. But thereafter, output of pulses has been fluctuating. 
Import of pulses in 2014-15 is estimated at 4.5 million tonnes. Yoginder K. Alagh, a noted Indian Economist, raises a crucial issue that the authorities think of imports after prices of pulses reach Rs 100 per kilogram. He argues that there should be an import price-linked subsidy to farmers which would spur production in India (Hindu Business Line, July 4, 2015). It is not as if one is prescribing inward looking policies.
The fact is that a number of varieties of pulses consumed in India are just not produced in other countries. Quite apart from support prices, unlike in the case of wheat and rice where there are huge public sector stocks, there is no procurement of pulses. If the government were to bring down public sector wheat and rice stocks by a tiny fraction, it would suffice to release funds for procurement and distribution of pulses. There is a strong case for distribution of pulses at very low prices to meet the protein deficiency which is alarming in the Below Poverty Line segment of the population.
Need for paradigm shift in policies
The alarming crisis of pulses calls for a de novo thinking of the present policies by using a radically different approach. There is a need for a holistic policy to attack the problem of protein deficiency. The Indian Institute of Pulses Research (Kanpur) estimates demand for pulses in 2024-25 at 25 million tonnes; this appears to be a gross underestimate. In view of under-consumption of proteins at the present time, and the rise in pulses consumption as income levels rise, it may be necessary to have the availability of pulses of around 30 million tonnes by 2024-25. What could be the ingredients of a new policy on pulses?
Large subsidies on production of pulses
The present cultivation of pulses is by small marginal farmers. If there is a quantum jump in incentives for pulses, and a combination of input subsidies (in kind) as also an outright assurance of remunerative prices on procurement, there would be a shift from other crops to pulses. The fashions of the time may caution against subsidies but the unusually acute problem needs unusual remedies.
Corporatization in pulses
The land which is presently uncultivated could be provided to corporates willing to undertake production of pulses. There is adequate technology to make the desert bloom and there should be concerted efforts to encourage corporate investment in pulses.
Expansion of soybean output
While considerable effort has been made to increase output of soybean, our best efforts have just not been enough. Soybean is a surprisingly adaptable plant which fixes its own nitrogen from the air. More importantly, soybean has a neutral taste and can be textured to adapt to different taste preferences. Way back in the early 1960s, the Soybean Association of America sent out a young enthusiastic Indian to try and build bridges with Indian industry to undertake corporatisation of soybean production in India.
Unfortunately, these seminal ideas could make no headway in a milieu where the authorities were clamping down on foreign investment and also restraining private sector expansion. The young Indian was none other than the Indian Management Guru Pramod Batra, whose leitmotiv has been -“Think, there must be a better way.” If, in the next ten years, India is able to rectify its greatest failure, it would only be appropriate to salute Pramod Batra.

SERIAL : 30

INDIAN IN COWBOY COUNTRY

THE HUNT

“Well,” Satish said, “What favor were you talking about?”
“Even though you did not ask for a severance package, we are going to give you one. Billy has always liked you, and when you left his office, he insisted that I run after you and let you know that you have one,” Tim said.
Satish, his arms still crossed and his chair slightly tilted back, said, “So, what’s my severance package? Two weeks?”
Tim, who was perturbed that he and his good friend were on opposite sides of the table, said, “No, you get six months?”
He almost lost his balance on the tilted chair, “What? Six months? I thought that’s what people with employment contracts were given. Senior executives.”
Tim looked down at the table and whispered, “It does not end there, Satish.”
“We are also going to give you access to an outplacement service that will help you in your job search,” he added.
“Pour moi? For poor little Satish? What have I done to deserve this benevolence? Why the magnanimity, Tim?” he asked suspiciously.
Tim inhaled deeply. After a brief moment, he exhaled and intently watched the miniature cloud of smoke around him dissipate. He knew that this was Tim’s nervous habit when he needed a moment to think about a response to a question.
Tim dropped his cigarette to the floor and squashed the butt with his foot. He turned to him and asked, “Do you want the stated reason or the real reason?”
“Both,” was his immediate response.
“Well the stated reason is that you have contributed a lot to the company over the last ten years, and we value what you’ve done for us.”
“And the real reason?” he asked.
“The real reason is that they are scared shitless that you will bring in an attorney and charge racial discrimination, like you did nine years ago. Corporate memories die hard, and you get the additional benefit of this severance package because of it.” 
Satish went back to his cross-armed, titled-chair position. He thought for a moment and asked, “Does this mean I won’t get good references from Clark?”
“That won’t happen as long as I am here and responsible for human resources. We HR folks contact each other for references; I’ll make sure you are okay,” Tim said.
“Thanks, Tim. Appreciate the candor and all the help. Don’t know if I would have lasted this long at Clark without you running interference for me, especially in high places.” Satish got up from his chair and extended his hand to his friend.
Tim got up and clasped his friend’s hand in firm handshake and as the two left the cafeteria, he patted Satish on his shoulder and said, “Come, let me walk you to your car.” 
Satish was quite relaxed and relieved as he drove home. The last six months had been torturous at work, with weekly announcements of layoffs and the pressure of delivering results on schedule despite a constant reduction in people. It had reached a point where frustrated and deflated employees just threw their arms in the air and gave up, and around doing nothing, waiting to be led to the guillotine.
Satish’s project was a significant part of a revolutionary new technology that would have changed the way oil and gas companies produced from their reservoirs. Despite several engineering breakthroughs that significantly reduced the product’s development time, the team was not fast enough to avoid the inevitable downward cycle that afflicted this hyper-cyclical industry. He often compared himself to a surfer trying to ride the upward cyclical wave and staying on top of his board as long as he could. When a cycle came crashing down, he hoped to find a “tube” to course through for at least some time.
The six-month ride in this tube was harsh, ruthless, and draining; he was glad that it was over. He breathed easier when he drove up his driveway and parked his car in the garage. Monica and Seeta were pleased to see him home so early.
Seeta grabbed him at his knees and thighs, hugged him, and began singing, “Daddy’s home, daddy’s home.” He picked up his gleeful daughter and placed her on his lap as he sat at the breakfast table.
“You are home early,” Monica said. She went to the faucet for some water to brew his tea.
“It finally happened, Monica. They let me go,” he said. Seeta tugged at his tie and tried to catch his attention. Satish kissed her on her ample cheeks, which set off joyful laughter.
“They fired you after all these years of dedicated work?” she asked sternly from the direction of cooking range.
“Yes, they fired me, but they had no choice. They are going to shut down my division,” he tried to rationalize.
“So what do we do now?” she asked in a cool, matter-of-fact manner, her eyes focused on the leaves that were floating on the simmering water.
“Well, on Monday, I’ll start looking for a new job. They gave me six months severance and the service of an outplacement firm,” he said.
“So, you’ll get a paycheck for six months while you are looking for a job?” she asked in disbelief.
“Yes,” he replied simply as he played with Seeta.
Monica placed a cup of tea on a coaster in front of him and asked, “Do you want Gluco biscuits? I just got some.”
“Sure,” he said. He took one from the opened packet that she placed on the table, dipped it in his tea for a split second, and turned to Monica and popped the soggy cookie into his mouth before it could collapse under its own weight.
“Daddy, can I’ve a biscuit? Please?” asked the daughter on his lap as she tried to grab a few for herself. He gave her one, and turned to Monica and said, “Yes, I will get a paycheck deposited directly into my bank account every pay period for six months.”
“That’s very magnanimous of them,” Monica said.
“Oh, I think it’s all Tim’s doing. He told me that the firm was afraid that I would take them to court, and that this was a peace offering. But I think Tim must have scared them into giving me this package. He’s good friend.”
“Did you really have any enemies at work, Satish?” Monica asked her husband. She knew that he was good with people and rarely did anything that would hurt anyone. The last six months of laying off his team had been excruciatingly painful. He had agonized over every person he let go, talking often with Monica about how much suffering he was unleashing on his people and their families.
“I don’t think so, Monica. I don’t think I have enemies.” He gave Seeta, who was still comfortable seated on his lap, another cookie to eat. As he reached to take first sip, Monica came over and picked her daughter out of harm’s way of the scalding hot tea.
“So, what are you going to do now?” she asked.
“Well, I thought about it on the way home, and I have decided that I am going to take the weekend off, relax a bit, and then go to the outplacement office on Monday to start a new adventure.”
“That’s it? Don’t we have to stop newspapers, reduce our expenses for the next six months or something?” she asked, bewildered that her husband was so blasé about not having a job after ten years of continuous employment.
“No. We live as we have so far. No change. I just lost my job. It is not the end of the world. Come, let’s take Seeta for a walk,” he said as he laid down his empty cup.
Satish pushed the stroller with Seeta seated in it while Monica walked alongside. The family walked quietly to their neighborhood park on a lake. He could tell from Monica’s unusual silence that the recent change was bothering her.
“Monica, you really shouldn’t be worried about my getting another job in the next six months,” he said. “All will be fine; just you wait and se.”
“Satish,” said his soft-spoken wife as she reached out for his hand on the stroller handle. “I have full confidence in your abilities, but the market is so bad. What if there are no jobs? What if it takes a little longer? Do we have enough savings for a long job hunt?”
“Monica, I cannot go job-hunting assuming that there are no jobs- that is self-defeating. I have already lost the game before I started playing it if I think that way. I can certainly assume that there are only a few jobs, and my challenge is to find one or more of them in the next six months,” he said.
“You know me by now,” he continued. “I need to have the right attitude in whatever I pursue, and usually I am successful at it. That has worked in the past, and I don’t see any reason why that attitude cannot be successful in the future.”
“I understand what you’re saying but this is so different than anything that I have experienced before. In India, I don’t think anybody in your family or my family ever lost their jobs and had to look for a new one. Your father retired from his first job; same for my father. This is all new to me,” she said.
“It’s new to me too, Monica, but with a big difference. I have seen how people recover from job losses in this country. People here are resilient, and I’ve seen how they do it. I am not entirely ignorant about how to go about it. Trust me, Monica. We will be fine. My goal is clear- a job in six months, come hell or high water.”
Monica held her husband’s hand tightly all the way to the park, where she watched the father take his daughter out of the stroller and place her on a swing. She made her way to the gazebo to get out of the mild spring sun and found a seat on a bench. From there she watched him stand behind his child and give her seat a slight push to begin the oscillations.
At Seeta’s urging, “Higher, Daddy, higher,” Satish complied, his hands pushing his daughter to newer heights and shriller shrieks of excitement. But his eyes were on his wife in the distance, whose morale had ebbed.

MEDICAL FRONTIER

Doctor grows new ears when there were none

Washington: An Indian-origin doctor in the US has successfully grown outer ears from rib cartilage in an 8-year-old boy after a series of ‘miraculous’ surgeries.
  Elijah Bell, a second-grade student at Frazer Elementary in Canton, Ohio, was born with bilateral atresia microtia, a rare birth defect where the outer ears are undeveloped, and, in Elijah’s case, had no openings to the middle and inner ear. On July 28, Elijah completed a final round of surgeries at Akron Children’s Hospital to craft a set of outer ears.
Dr Ananth Murthy, director of plastic surgery at the hospital, made ears from Elijah’s rib cartilage. “We consider it to be a miracle in our family,” said Colleen Bell, Elijah’s mom.  “The changes we’ve seen in Elijah are really remarkable,” Bell said, adding that her son has a new outlook on life. Elijah’s middle and inner ear developed normally, giving him the ability to hear. But the lack of an opening meant that sounds had trouble getting through. Elijah had to wear a bone-anchored hearing aid.
The procedure to grow outer ears required five surgeries, starting when Elijah was 4 years old. Along with harvesting cartilage to create the ears, Murthy had to use a skin graft from Elijah’s thigh to create a gap between his ears and his head. During the final surgery in July, Murthy gave Elijah’s ears detailed “hills and valleys”, CantonRep.com reported. “The body naturally wants to smooth everything out as it heals, so we always have to go back a couple of times to help create the natural curves of an ear,” said Murthy. “It is an artistic procedure,” he said. “He loves his ears. He’s very, very, very proud of them,” said Bell.

ETCETERA

Kids too have self-esteem

Washington: By age five children have a sense of self-esteem comparable in strength to that of adults, according to a new study. 
Since self-esteem tends to remain relatively stable across one’s lifespan, the study suggests that this important personality trait is already in place before children begin kindergarten, reports PTI. 
“Our work provides the earliest glimpse to date of how preschoolers sense their selves,” said lead author Dario Cvencek, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS). “We found that as young as 5 years of age self-esteem is established strongly enough to be measured and we can measure it using sensitive techniques,” said Cvencek.
Researchers used a newly developed test to assess implicit self-esteem in more than 200 five-year-old children – the youngest age yet to be measured. “Some scientists consider preschoolers too young to have developed a positive or negative sense about themselves. Our findings suggest that self-esteem, feeling good or bad about yourself, is fundamental,” said co-author, Andrew Meltzoff, co-director of I-LABS.“It is a social mindset children bring to school with them, not something they develop in school,” Meltzoff said. 
Until now no measurement tool has been able to detect self-esteem in preschool-aged children. This is because existing self-esteem tests require the cognitive or verbal sophistication to talk about a concept like “self” when asked probing questions by adult experimenters.

Jinnah’s ‘wrong turn’

Had Jinnah turned into a terrorist in his last phase to get Pakistan? Jinnah called for direct action which resulted in the Kolkata massacre which proves that he did use and apply the Jihad doctrine of Arab Islam to achieve his objective of Pakistan.
But afterwards, he changed and became secular and wanted Pakistan to be a secular nation but this couldn’t happen. Jinnah was just using the weapon of Islam as a tool to settle scores against Gandhi, Nehru and Congress. 
Could he have succeeded without violence and terrorism is another question.  


YEH MERA INDIA

Dead man wakes up before post-mortem

Mumbai: The Sion hospital authorities have brushed aside all allegations of negligence and have put the entire blame on the police in the case of a 45-year-old man who woke up minutes before post-mortem at the hospital on Sunday.
In fact, the hospital dean stated they found out the doctors were asked by the police to hurry up as they were busy with security preparations for the PM’s visit to the city. The chaotic situation and pressure from the police led to the doctor making the mistake.
Dr Suleiman Merchant, dean of the hospital, said: “After investigation, we got to know that the doctors were under great pressure from the police and therefore the doctor committed a mistake owing to huge confusion. Also, the police didn’t even allow the doctor to keep the patient in the casualty section. The available doctor was a junior owing to non-availability of senior medical officer.”
The patient was found by the Sion police near the ST bus stop and was rushed to Sion Hospital for treatment. Following this, the patient was brought to the casualty department and checked by Dr Rohit Rohekar, who declared him dead after checking him once and made a death entry in the diary.
When the patient was brought to the morgue, the officers at the morgue noticed that the stomach of the patient was moving, indicating he was breathing. Following this, the police officers were informed who immediately admitted him for treatment. The goof-up raises huge questions about the safety of patients and efficiency of the hospital.


CAG exposes dirtier side

The Indian pharma industry has been resorting to a slew of dodgy tax avoidance practices that include claiming exemptions for illegal freebies given to doctors and research work that was not taking place among other tricks, reveals a new report of India’s audit watchdog, the CAG. The report also takes to task the income tax department for allowing these practices causing losses worth crores of rupees of the exchequer.
Taking an innovative approach to dig out the dirt on the flourishing pharma sector, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) asked the income tax department to show tax assessments of the whole pharma sector in India. The tax office had no database of pharma manufacturers and was able to produce only 2,868 assessment records. These were put under the scanner by the CAG and it found 246 cases involving tax deficiency of over Rs 1,348 cr.
The most startling of the dirty tricks played was that of claiming tax exemption for giving gifts to doctors to lure them into prescribing certain drugs or treatments. The Medical Council of India expressly prohibits this and the statutory Central Board of Direct Taxation has also clarified in 2012 that such expenses are not allowable for exemptions. Yet, the CAG found that in 21 cases spread over five states this was allowed by assessing officers resulting in a tax loss of Rs 45.43 crore. Giving examples, the CAG report, says that a company in Gujarat spent Rs 7.48 crore on “doctors’ travelling expenses along with spouse, gift articles distributed, etc.” and was given exemption resulting in tax loss of Rs 2.54 crore. In another case, a pharma company from Mumbai spent Rs 2.91 crore on what they candidly called ‘Heart Touching Celebration, sponsorship of doctors and corporate/ brand recall items’ and got an exemption of Rs 11.91 crore. The biggest deficiency caught by the CAG related to claims of exemptions for R&D that were not valid.

‘Govt must tell 

people what the 

law says’:CIC

New Delhi: It is common sense but it has taken the Central Information Commission (CIC) to drive home the point that the government cannot expect people to obey the law if it does not tell them what the law says in the first place.
The law ministry has been told to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation for the difficulties a law school student had face in 2012 and come up with a plan within the next one month to update all laws on its website.
The money will go to the library of the National Law School University in Bengaluru where Vansh Sharada Gupta was a student when he complained under the information law in 2012.
Gupta had pointed out how he could not access the updated version of Indian Christian Marriage Act on the law ministry’s website. Since e-mails to the officials concerned bounced, he filed an RTI application to ascertain if there was any other e-mail address. When there was no response, he complained. The CIC not only told the law ministry to ensure e-mails did not bounce off its IDs, but also fix the system of incorporating amendments.
Gupta’s troubles owe their origin to the absence any system within the government to update a law once Parliament amends it. This means that if Gupta wants to read the code of civil procedure, he will have to go through each of the 100-plus amendments made to the original 1908 version to figure out what the law really says. Or buy an updated copy from private publishers at an exorbitant price.
“It is the minimum responsibility of the State to provide updated information about amendments,” information commissioner M Sridhar Acharyalu ruled.
Under the RTI act too, he said it was the duty of the law ministry’s legislative department to “provide information about access to every updated enactment. It is not just an recommended obligation under… RTI Act, but a constitutional mandate, a legal necessity, and an essential requirement for peace.
It is not possible to imagine ‘enactment’ becoming secret because of this ambiguity and nonlegibility,” the commission observed. 

7232 cases but FIR only 7:

 ACB Mumbai

Mumbai: Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau’s Mumbai unit initiated probe merely into 9% of complaints that it received during the last 45 months, according to an RTI reply.
ACB’s Mumbai region received 7,232 complaints from January 2012 to September 2015 mainly of disproportionate assets and graft charges against government servants. But it ordered “open and discrete” inquiries in only 671 complaints.
In 322 cases, the anti-corruption watchdog closed the probes without taking any action, RTI activist Jeetendra Ghadge said quoting the reply received from Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police–ACB Rajan Bhogle. Of the remaining 349 cases, FIRs were filed only in seven cases while inquiries were pending in 299 cases, the reply mentioned.
Ghadge said that only seven out of 7,232 cases meager 0.096% complaints were converted into FIRs.
“Most certainly, during the course of trial, the accused would go scot-free. This implies that either everyone is filing false complaints or there is absolutely no corruption in Mumbai,” he claimed.
Referring to Bombay High Court’s directives, he said the ACB is supposed to investigate every complaint it receives.
Refuting Ghatge’s charges, Bhogle told, “When so ever we get any complaint, we go through it thoroughly. When a case does not pertain to graft or corruption, we forward it to the authorities concerned to take corrective measures”.

Cess in the name of labour does not reach them

Bhayandar: Be it rain, cold or sweltering summer, 52-year-old Meera Chinappa slogs for 12 hours every day at a construction site in Kashimira to earn Rs 275 daily to support her family. She has been working for building contractors in and around the region for more than 24 years, but has never heard of any welfare scheme for her kids’ education, healthcare benefits or even low budget homes.
She is one of the many labourers who continue to be deprived of their right to various provisions under the Building And Other Construction Workers (Regulations Of Employment And Conditions Of Service) Act, 1996 and the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008.
As per law, it is mandatory for builders of projects in Maharashtra to pay 1% of the construction cost to the state as Labour Welfare Cess. The respective civic body collects the cess and deposits the amount in the treasury of the State’s labour department, which is supposed to spend it on the welfare of construction workers under the aegis of its Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board. The Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has so far collected and handed over more than Rs.35.62 crores as labour cess to the state government. Its town planning department has already collected Rs 8.39 crore in the current fiscal. However, the money or its benefits does not reach the intended beneficiaries. The region has witnessed multiple mishaps in which workers have lost their lives in freak mishaps at construction sites, but hardly any family has been duly compensated. “Our duty is limited to collecting and handing over the cess to the state government,” said a civic official. In an attempt to increase coverage and reach of the Provident Fund Act, the Central government has introduced generation of Unique ID number for construction workers mandating all contractors and principal employers to register labourers under the UAN number from August 25, 2015.