Saturday, January 30, 2016

EDITOR'S COLUMN

Friends

We are into 2016. Old order changeth yielding place to the new. Hence at the outset, it’s WISHING ALL OUR READERs, PATRONs & WELL WISHERs A GREAT NEW YEAR. The year 2015, that went by, like the previous year had its ups and downs, politically, economically and even socially.

In U.S, forthcoming, presidential election has thrown up myriad personalities in both Democratic and Republican camp, with Donald Trump making the most controversial demand of banning entry of Muslims into the United States.

ISIS attack on Paris, has been the high water mark of emerging socio/political upheaval that this year could witness. Syria and Iraq continues to be a problem area with major political players, like U.S and Russia being joined by France, Britain and Germany in fighting the barbarous terror outfit.

Economically the world is rather sedate with China sliding down in its GDP, with only India showing some steady growth. Crude appears to be on a bad spin with prices on a continues downward spiral, with Climate meet at Paris, making concerted efforts to reduce use of hydro carbon to save the mother earth from increasing temperature.

Coming to Indian scenario, the climate of sharp differences, more politically driven rather than real, has affected the national socio/ political discourse.

For various political compulsions, legislative functions of parliament remained stymied. Cow and its meat occupied a huge public space which was unwarranted and was more politically driven by all sides to the issue. Debate on alleged intolerance took the toll on the national psyche, which was completely avoidable, only to score political points. There appeared to be a kind of competitive intolerance, fortunately stopped short of violence. Was it all because, an ostensibly Hindu party, the BJP, is in power at the centre ! ?
All need to recognize, the emergence of BJP, from a 2 seat phenomenon in the 80’s, to be a ruling party, has its own logical deduction. Hence in the interest of the socio/economic growth dynamics of the country, all political parties should accept the reality of the BJP. It cannot be wished away. It has come to stay, may be sometime in power or sometime out of power, who does better for the country and its people, shall call the shots, period. And Indian great public are intelligent enough to decide, periodically, who should be given the chance to rule. Therefore, it is good for the body politic of this country to have political bonhomie in the national interest. So that there is less of tu-tu-mai-mai, and more of development with harmony talk. Hope the year ahead shall be a harbinger of prosperity with peace to all Indians across the spectrum. To that end we tried to Focus on the remaining part of little over 3 years of the incumbent government of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. We are not sure how encompassing we have been. But whatever we have attempted is honest and meant well. Hope all take it in the same spirit. Do revert with your valued input. Rest as usual.
     

MONTH-IN-PERSPECTIVE

Jammu & Kashmir: 30 girl students from the state were on a nationwide tour under the Indian Army’s ‘Operation Sadbhaavana’ programme. While in Delhi, they visited Lok Sabha and other prominent places of historical interest. One of the important stop was Rashtrapathi Bhavan. Both the President Pranab Mukarjee and the group of girls were enthusiastic about the visit and naturally as a souvenir, they had a group photograph with the president to take home a copy of it. It was naturally uploaded on the Facebook. Finding it on social media, those who were apparently unhappy with the girls’ posing for photograph with president, started threatening and abusing the girls. So it was not the BJP or the Prime Minister Modi, it was the president, the Symbol of whole of India, that these groups of people did not like. Apparently, they are against the idea of India. May be they would have celebrated if they had met the Pakistani president. Strangely there were hardly anybody who came to the defense of those girls. No PDP, the major partner in the government. No BJP, the junior partner in the government, came to help these youth. Even civil society, except Radio Jockey Nasir of 92.7 Big FM, who felt ashamed at “Our own sisters being trolled, abused and tarnished for meeting the Honorable President”.
Strangely even the police have not acted upon it, saying 'we have received no complaints'. After 68 years, of being associated with the Indian union, which is constitutionally secular besides its traditional secular practices, Kashmiris could not overcome its sectarian Muslim mindset. That is rather sad.    
New Delhi: In India, the mindset is to accuse the governments and its functionaries and of course our political fraternity for any financial wrong doings, broadly called as corruption. It is so in most countries too. But the big-time, humongous practice of wheeling dealing behind the scene by corporates do not come to the limelight, since many times corporates bring media also on board as partners in crime.
And comes the news about Central Vigilance Commission investigating Wal Mart India, into the allegations of its executives having been involved in bribing government officials to get clearances and permits to setup stores in India.
But then most big business have always indulged in this kind of practices. Look at defense purchases, they are dime a dozen. All kinds of agents, brokers, middlemen operating in connivance of unofficial patronage by officials in different levels of departmental hierarchy. With the FDI opening, and Prime Minister Modi’s overdrive for FDI into Indian economy, can have innumerable instances of underhand dealings with expenditure being accounted by these global corporations, as management fees, consultation fees, training expenditure, public relation expenditure, to name a few. These are all time-tested modus operandi of private enterprise anywhere in the world.
Thus corruption in Private sector is also a big manace that need to be simultaneously and aggressively tackled.

‘Economics is a bustard science and profit a stinking concept,’ was a statement attributed to Barnard Shah long ago. It is not who said it, that is important. It is, what is said of relevance, that is important. The above statement does convey money being somewhat dirty. Money need not be dirty, since, it makes the world go round. All of us need a certain amount of money as an economic medium of exchange. But the question always remained, how much? There has always been a battle of rice and avarice, where rice is a need and avarice represents extreme greed.
There was this news item in the print media, datelined New Delhi "MFs should lower salaries of Sr. executives: SEBI". According to the report, the salary package generally offered to CEOs of Mutual Funds is between Rs.1 crore to 1.5 crore per annum, which works to around Rs.8 Lakhs to Rs.12.5 Lakhs per month. By any stretch of comparison, it’s a good salary, which can allow not only a very good life but also very good savings to invest.
But then there are, as it is always possible, some over greedy person popping up to vitiate the atmosphere. According to the report, one particular CEO of a fund house drew a salary of some 4 to 5 times than the norm. Reportedly last year he drew Rs.5 crore as salary. Naturally SEBI, the capital market regulator, is unhappy and wants these Mutual Fund houses to adopt a more cost effective structure.
It is true that individual capability at the level of CEO cannot have a bar. Better productivity has to be higher compensated, that’s the bench mark. Naturally the industry is not happy with this SEBI intervention. Nobody likes to be reined in or told to mind the steps. But the performance related package can be the middle of the road approach. If the profits are more payout can be more, not only to CEO, but to all productive operational staff as well. This will not affect the cost structure and therefore the Net Asset Value shall be better for distribution to all investors.
If the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is unhappy, with Mutual Fund managing houses, and saying so, it is just performing its legitimate role, period.
Two cheers to SEBI  

Indian Medical association (IMA) is an association of doctors of India. Supposedly the biggest. You become a collective of a profession to not only improve its performance bar vis-à-vis the end users, but also to protect its interest. Bigger the group, greater is its strength. But it is also a known fact that within the profession there are many, who are there in the profession only to promote their own interest. It is a fact of life and is prevalent all over the world. Medical profession, although flaunted as the noblest, is no exception to it.
To influence a reasonable course for a patient friendly regime, government enacted Clinical Establishment Act in 2010 (CEA). This act presupposes a display of services offered by the clinical establishment and cost thereof. Idea was, there is no ambiguity and the patient is not in for an unpleasant surprise. As expected IMA has opposed the idea of display of cost. What needs to be appreciated is CEA has not prescribed any cost structure and the freedom to decide on the cost is always with the establishment. Hence the opposition has little logic.
Problem can be, if the government decides what could be the cost each establishment has to charge. Each establishment has its own standard of maintenance, for which it expends labour and resources and therefore has a cost factor and therefore the establishment must have its freedom to fix its charge. Of course to regulate the monopolies and restrictive trade practices, a bar can be introduced as the upper limit.
Now the IMA has come up with the idea of accreditation as an alternative to CEA registration, and have approached the Union Health Minister with their proposal. While IMA is free to do what is right for them. It is for the government to take the call, not to dilute the law which protects the interest of the patient, while not compromising the interest of members of IMA.

All pay commissions are same, this one is no different from the earlier ones. All commissions, while increasing the pay packets, have recommended reduction in government staff strength, rationalization of recruitment and to dump dead wood. But no-government, in the past, have acted on the recommendations of pruning the staff strength, or to send home those who are non-performing. Thus, the latest burden of Rs.1.02 lakh crore, as the annual increase in staff payment has to stay. It’s a political decision, not an economic decision. It’s a political decision because, you are dealing with an organized labour, it is not easy to take on this section of the labour. ‘Ab ki baar Modi Sarcar’ is looking for labour reforms. It is not clear what kind of a reform is on the agenda of the present government. It is also true that among the government employees, only 1/3 is truly productive and 1/3 may be just waste. But all government of the past have only tried to live with these facts of life. This has certainly hurt the country both economically and socially. The tragedy is this expensive organized sector is not even 10% of the working population of the country. Thus more than 90% of this section are denied the benefits available to the organized sector. This is a sector most governments, both central and state, have done precious little. Of course the present dispensation of NDA is trying to do something through Jan Dhan Yojana, Jan Suraksha Yojana and likes. But they are nowhere near the pay packages of these organized government sector employees. Some of the glaring examples of people who are truly committed and working are Anganawadi workers and those who work as ASHA. Their contribution to the child health, maternal health, child nutrition etc. is far greater than any of these government employees. Not only they do not get better paid but also exploited by concerned government departments. This is a sad aspect of the governance dimension of our Yeh Mera India.        

Haryana: What do you do with a Chief Minister, who presides over dalits’ ill treatment, atrocity, even killing, does precious little to assuage the wounded feelings. In 45 days there have been at least 3 attacks on Dalits in Haryana. In October two kids including a 9 month old were burnt to death by upper cent Hindus, after dilly dallying the Chief Minister Khattar handed over the case to CBI. Then a father and daughter were smeared with cow dung on their face merely for entering the house of an upper caste family, and now comes the news a dalit beaten to death for rambling  into a venue of an upper caste wedding. Something is seriously wrong with this Khattar administration.
In the meanwhile, a brave dalit woman, an IPS to boot, has been shunted out for standing up to an unruly and ill mannered minister. Nobody had heard the name of the minister Anil Vij. From now on at least in the news paper and in electronic channels, he will be known. Not only he was ill mannered in asking a lady IPS offer to ‘Get out’, when she stood up to his rudeness and crudeness, he also managed to get her transferred to an innocuous post as punishment. The chief Minister, Khattar didn’t have even the basic intelligence of calling the IPS officer, and discussing the issue of illegal liquor business in the state, the issue that triggered the verbal duel. From now on at least Sangeeta Rani Kalia would be better known and wish there are more who will stand up to the corrupt & inept state administrations.

Maharashtra: There was this notice issued by the Mumbai City Police Commissioner, Ahmad Javed some weeks ago, to his junior police fraternity. Reportedly it says that “there have been reports of Police personnel behaving in objectionable manner and abusing their power especially in public areas. In recent times, it was seen that police officers beat up people in petty arguments so also misbehave with women. Incidents have also happened in police stations and outside too. Image of Mumbai police is being ruined due to the acts of few policemen and this has to stop” the notice has asserted.
Policemen misbehaving in public is as old as Indians independence. It is no news at all. But the top policeman of the city of Mumbai recognizes the existence of violent mindset among policemen is indeed a news. That is how the newspapers reported “City police chief issues circular warning cops against brutality”.
Police violence towards general public is an all India phenomena. Every state in India has the dubious record of police high handedness. Principle should be pari passu. The violence policemen indulge should be paid back in kind by legally appropriate means. There should be an element of mental torture which the law of the land should conceive and implement. Human rights of a person does not permit us to be physically violent in repaying the violence back to the perpetrator, but a mental violence can be resorted to make a person realize to some extent, how violence hurts. Will this ever happen? The notice reportedly informed “Depending on the nature of the offence, the punishment will be decided”. Hope this notice shall have its salutary effect.

Rabiyabi Shaikh was travelling with her husband Kasam Shaikh in the Konkan Kanya Express from Mumbai to Karmali in South West Maharashtra. She is 65 years old. Some time on 11th Dec., early morning she goes to the toilet of her coach No:S-10 and while coming out of the toilet she slips and one of her leg gets stuck into the toilet commode. It happened between Khed & Chiplun. She cried for help and her husband who was standing outside the washroom alerted co-passengers who in turn alerted officials in the train. Reportedly all rushed to the woman’s distress and dismantled the door of the toilet, to ease the rescue operation. All efforts were in vain. However when the train reached Ratnagiri the entire battery of rescue team-staff, doctors with Regional Railway manager B.B. Kadam- attended on the lady in distress and decided to detach the entire compartment. So that, rest of the train can proceed on its designated journey, along with other passengers of S-10.
Reportedly it took some 8 hours for the ‘operation rescue’ of this elderly lady. The Indian style commode was appropriately cut by gas cutter to remove the leg unhurt. It was an extremely professional, committed and humane management of the entire operation. Two Kudos to Konkan Railway. And did we hear India is intolerant! Where is this Khan fraternity of ShahRukh-Amir duo. Do you harken!

The print media reported about the acquittal of Salman Khan on 10th Dec, the charge of culpable homicide, on the accident that took place on 28th Sept 2002. Was that expected, the way, the case was going on in the high court of Justice AR Joshi?!
The report of 11th Dec, describing the persona of Salman Khan, it stated “Wearing blue jeans with black and white shirt, Khan initially looked composed. However, he became emotional after the judge acquitted him. He continued to sit in the witness box till Justice Joshi left the court room. Overcome by emotions, he broke down”.
It was as if from a bollywood film, top lawyers fighting the case with bag full of money. He was acquitted, since, ostensibly, prosecution has ‘failed’ to nail him, according to the Judge. It is also true that the learned judge had the privilege of ruling the evidence produced by the prosecution against Khan as ‘weak’. How can the prosecution challenge the learned judge except in the Supreme Court! In the meanwhile Salman Khan is a free bird.
For 12 years, it was Salman Khan who was driving his SUV under influence of alcohol. On the 13th year a driver Ashok Singh was parachuted into the scene. And this was taken on the face value, as the driver on that fateful day. Indeed Salman had to break down, since it was the lie that saved him.

As a nation, we attend to our duties only when we are forced to do it. Look at Indira Gandhi's emergency period, all offices, trains, government buses were all running on time, punctual to the last minute. It must have taken away our democratic rights, but it forced us to recognize that duty too is part of our public life.
And comes this report from Mumbai “NCP slams move linking toilets with contesting polls”. The govt. of Davendra Phadanavis had decided to make it mandatory for candidates contesting local bodies’ polls to have toilets at home. And why not!? After 68 years of independent India, with maximum number of billionaires after the U.S, trying to be a super power in coming years, has still some 50% households without toilet.
It is a monumental comment on our priorities that the ‘Abki baar Modi Sarkaar’ is the first elected government that made ‘Swatch Bharath’ one of its national priorities. Without ‘Swatch Bharath’, indeed India cannot be a ‘Shreshta Bharath’.
That the Maharashtra government deemed it fit to enforce the toilet condition is certainly exemplary to be practiced by all over India. About having toilet at home, there has been talk since decades, but it made little progress. Now that it is made mandatory to contest polls, it will have the salutary effect. If people’s representatives are not serious about having their own toilet at home, how can the general public be expected to fall in line. Opposition or no opposition, this has to be implemented.  

Karnataka: The issue of ‘Devadaasis’ or the female servant of God has been in the public domain for a long time and yet the authorities in both, state of Karnataka and the central government, have been rather inept in handling the sorry state of these women.
The problem of dedicating young dalit girls to serve the local deities in the temples has been a practice from time immemorial. They remain spinsters and more often than not, are sexually exploited by influential people, all in the name of God. It is an evil practice and there have been activism for quite some time to ban the practice. Both Karnataka and Maharashtra governments, in its border areas, where this practice is infected, have enacted legislation to ban the practice but has failed to contain it, due to poor implementation. According to National Commission for Women (NCW) there are about 2.5 lakh dalit girls who are dedicated to temples in Karnataka- Maharashtra border areas.
Piqued at the apathy of the federal government in Delhi, Supreme Court pulled up the centre for its lackadaisical approach in addressing the issue. Reportedly court had earlier on Sept 11, had granted 8 weeks time to the government to come up with a roadmap to eradicate the evil system. But having noted that nothing had happened, responding to a PIL filed by an NGO S.L. Foundation, that there could be hundreds of young girls being pushed into this practice on the full moon day occurring on 20th Feb, court reacted angrily that it is a serious problem and should be addressed promptly. Reportedly court gave another 4 weeks for the central government to act firmly and decisively, so that the practice of ‘Devadaasis’ becomes a thing of the past. Hope the ‘Ab ki baar Modi Sarcar’ acts.  

There was this news some days ago, about 2 girls missing from Bhatkal traced in Goa.
These two girls, reportedly minors, were attending a religious school. Reportedly one of the girl’s father, was physically assaulting his daughter regularly. Reportedly, the brother-in-law of the girl, that is the husband of the girl’s sister, chanced upon the sight of the girl being forced upon by her father, who is also father-in-law of this man. Hence this brother-in-law also forced himself upon this unfortunate victim of a father’s animal instinct. Story, if true, is incomprehensible. These two animals, the father of the girl and her brother-in-law, should not only be punished for the crime committed on a minor, but should also be socially boycotted by the community. That perpetrators and victims belong to Muslim community is not relevant.

Kerala: The Prime Minister of the country Shri Narendra Modi was visiting for the first time, the state of Kerala. Some pleasant expectation by general public could have been the norm. But what followed the visit was most disappointing. One would have expected him to build bridge with the state and its people, on his maiden visit to the ‘Gods own land’. It is the first Indian state, which had achieved, at least for the record, 100% literacy. It is the best Indian state in Human Development Index (HDI) as per UNDP. Has the lowest population growth. These are the areas he could have complimented the state, and as a national leader, could have got closure to average Malayaali. But what happened!
The controversy of withdrawal of invite to the CM could have been gracefully handled by the PM, by prevailing on the organizers to invite the CM of Kerala. In the event, he allowed the pettiness to prevail and took the attack on the Kerala Government on its political turf. He converted the visit to an election rally, something eminently avoidable. This attitude can neither win friends nor influence people. It was sad to see him as just another politician out to score points.
     
World: British Medical Journal (BMJ), sometimes ago had published a story giving accounts of the experience Indian doctors allegedly facing in their professional life.
Describing these accounts of these medical professionals working in high tech private hospitals with their 5 star ambience, it has suggested that Indian doctors are under pressure to meet revenue targets.
According to the report in BMJ, it says that these doctors are made to overprescribe surgeries or investigation which are unnecessary and even risky, by the management of these privately owned hospitals. And that they are forced to do it for the fear of losing their job.
Supports for Advocacy & Training to Health Initiatives (SATHI), is an NGO based in PANE, has reportedly documented the problem relating to these doctors. The report of SATHI titled “Voices of Conscience from the Medical Profession, informs about the sharp rise in privately owned multi-specialty hospitals, whose main aim is to generate revenue and profits for their investors. And doctors are encouraged to indulge in unethical practices, including risky procedures and needless surgeries like appendecectomy or tonsillectomy. These private hospitals are generally catering to those individuals who are covered under health insurance schemes.
Of course these informations are already available and circulating in the public domain, but for BMJ to make a story about the mercenary aspect of our medical profession is rather a sad development.

It was paranoia at its worst. Or else just for speaking Arabic, if two passengers could be stopped from boarding a flight in the U.S, what else is this!
Two Americans of Palestine origin were booked to fly New York/ Chicago. Being Palestinians, Arabic is their natural language of communication between friends. An American, felt uncomfortable hearing Arabic, post Paris attack, and informed the airlines staff that he is afraid to fly with them. While boarding process was on, these Palestinians, who are already US Citizen since many years, were asked to step aside for others to board. Reportedly, these Palestinians were friendly with other co-passengers and were even distributing some sweets. But were asked for another drill of security checks. They had moved to U.S some 15 years ago, and at being suspected of security risk, they told the staff “if the person does not feel safe travelling with us why doesn’t he travel by bus?” and even called the police to deal with the unexpected situation.
Reportedly they were cleared to travel after some hours of delay of the flight on police intervention. The West is going over the bend. They need to be realistic unlike Donald Trump mindset.

Theocratic living will always have problem with the dynamic practical world. Whatever be the theological leaning, the people, who are the brokers between the general public or devotees and the superior power called, God, Allah and Iashwar etc, are there to serve their own beliefs. That the world has gone on for hundreds and thousands of years, changing with the changing times, does not disturb them. They are also being sustained by a small section who keep these brokers, - the Pujaries, the Priests, the Mullahs etc. that is how they get their sustenance.
There was this news from Lima, Peru, where the law makers, the elected members of the Congress, reportedly rejected a bill to permit abortion in cases involving involuntary sexual assault leading to pregnancy, ordinarily referred to as rape.
Now here is a victim of circumstances carrying a forced burden, which if allowed to sustain can, in all probability, besmirch the honour of the lady in question. But the system, bolstered by the clergy, is saying “damn her honour, we will not allow the termination of her pregnancy”. This was, despite the conciliatory words of the Pontiff in recent times, from Vatican. When will some section of the society understand the pain of, at least, those who are victims of another man’s atrocity.

World of homosapiens is full of idiots. Westerners can be just as stupid as anybody else. Or else what was the need to force small children outside the school premises, into the open, while raining & in freezing temperature, only because they wanted to pray and they were Muslims.
Mirfield Free Grammar School in West Yorkshire, England had reportedly forced dozens of Muslim children that left them soaking wet and cold, out of school premises after refusing to give them permission to offer their daily prayers indoors.
If this action of the school is true, it is pure inhumanity and shall sure to lead to hatred from those small children who are in all probability were in an impressionable age group.
While it is true that there is a section among Muslims who have caused lot of consternation across the world, it is also true that such action as it happened in the Mirfield School only exacerbate the atmosphere which is already vitiated. This approach and attitude shall simply cannot help improve things, instead it can only increase completely avoidable bitterness. These small children, deserve a better treatment in the larger canvas of our global citizenship.

J.Shriyan 

What They Said

I refer to your I&C, volume 16, no. 189 of Dec 2015 and my observation are as follows:
1. New Delhi- Page No.5
“A PWD project in Delhi Asadpur- Prembhari flyover was completed before time and within the budget,- no extension of time sought and no introduction of inflation clause and saved Rs 100 crores. This is really wonder of wonders. It is very rare, rather never happened.”
Very true. You have correctly appreciated the whole achievement. But then Sir, don’t you feel that such a rare achievement should find a place in the first cover page of I&C no 189, than publishing ‘Bihar Election 2015’? I strongly feel that the issue should have been highlighted in the first cover page itself.
2. Bihar- page 7.
“To break the psychological logjam vis-à-vis the Bihar Election results, the central Govt., 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”
Well- political suggestion to P.M!! Be careful Sir, you will be invited to join NDA group very soon.
3. Andhra Pradesh- Page 9
With the series of shortcomings continued in the state 'refunding of funds already allocated by the centre, for the up keeping & construction of toilets' – appears to be sad state of affairs.
‘Added to this the local authority is busy with construction of world class capital for Andhra Pradesh’ – what a contrast! This contrast indeed is a cruel way of functioning in the state affairs and therefore some more adverse comments from your end would have been fully justified to invite more appreciation from the readers.
Hope the above observations will be of some use in your future issues.
S.M Suvarna, Udupi

I am greatly impressed by the quality of your magazine and hope it will shine like a jewel among its peers.                                            K.V. Venkataramana, Bangalore

Intolerance,very well said. Mr.Shriyan. I suggest you to have this subject taken up in detail under Focus in the next issue of I & C. .This is an act not only of shaming the Indian culture and also defaming the Nation.                                                     S K Punja, via FB

Regarding Khan Duo on 'intolerance’, you are a true analyst and putting the facts in right perspective.                                                                                             Prakash Hegde Via FB

On Khan duo, excellent piece of writing. Very thought provoking.                      G.K Bhat via FB

Very well articulated & objectively analyzed. (Write up on Khan duo) Could be an eye opener for many.                                                    Capt Ganesh Karnik- Via FB 

On Tippu Controversy. Nice article sir, beautiful analysis, our political parties not interested in developmental issues, they just do vote bank politics. That's why we suffer in development & growth. Our public & media also very much interested in emotional issues. That's why our political parties take advantage of it. Thank you for clear analysis of complex issues.
Dr Sunil Kumar via FB


On Tippu Controversy.. Well analyzed Mr. Shriyan. This looks to be a well planned agenda of state ruling party to instigate people to further fuel the so called " intolerance" agenda..!!
    Ravilochan Achar  via FB



FOCUS

An Open Letter to
Prime Minister Narendra Modi


Maananeeya Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modiji, Jai Shree Krishna!
Hope this finds you hale and hearty and in good spirit in the midst of all your multifarious activities.This is my second open letter to your honourable self. The first was sometime in April 2012, published in Issues & Concerns in its May 2012 issue. That was the period you were in the zenith of your popularity. The Godhra carnage and the mayhem that followed had completed 10 years. Came 2014, your party BJP decided to close rank and proposed you as the party’s Prime Minister candidate for the Loksabha election due in May 2014. Rest, as the cliché goes is history. The slogan ‘Abki Baar Modi Sarcar’ gave your party and your partners in NDA, an unprecedented victory. Thus ‘Abki Baar Modi Sarcar’ became a resounding reality in India’s public life.

Modiji, whether, as the Prime Minister of India, or as Chief Minister of Gujarat, your former avataar, or plainly as Narendra Damodardas Modi, no other person has ever been written, in such endearing terms and pathological hatred at the same time. If those who did not like you are innumerable, even those who admired you are a legion.
While the reported human pettiness of not paying few rupees as cost of tea, on the Godhra railway station platform, could lead to the horrendous retribution of torching a bogie, blocking all escape routes leading to the burning alive of some 60 humans, what followed, led to the completely senseless death of some 2000 people, most of them so remotely connected, has made Ahmadabad mayhem a completely disproportionate reaction.
You were Chief Minister of Gujarath at the time of this dark episode in the contemporary history of India. Your complicity, although alleged, could never be proved. May be you are innocent. But, after you announced Rs. 2 lakh compensation for Godhra victim, you exposed your quirkiness when you announced compensation to the riot victims of Rs 1 lakh only. It was clearly a bias, that free India never practiced, unlike Arabs against non-Arabs and non-Muslims, or whites against blacks and not whites. Besides, didn’t you have the vicarious responsibility as the CEO of the state?! But you steadfastly refused to express regret for the failure of the official machinery for the collapse of law and order during those dark days. Come Feb 2016, the Gujarath carnage would complete 14 long years.
Amendments from all have improved the atmosphere among different sections of Gujarath. Election 2014 May, to Loksabha, catapulted you to the position of top-executive of the country, despite, Mani Shankar Aiyars and Anantha Murthys. Your acceptance speech was epochal in its depth. “There are no enemies in politics. It is our responsibility to take everyone along” “various governments in the past tried to do some good work in their own way, for which they deserve appreciation”, were some of the gems of your conciliatory noises that you made. You gave glimpses of your being humble on the big stage, when you bowed at the entrance to the parliament and touched your forehead on its steps. This act won you millions of hearts. Indians of all hues, not just the 31% who voted for you, even others envisioned in you to be a great leader. Your being without the weakness of women, wine and wealth added lustre to your persona. Suddenly most Indians thought, we have, at long last, a leader we can be proud of.
August 2014, 15th Aug, followed. It was like that Latin idiom “Veni Vidi Vici”. You came, you saw and you conquered from the ramparts of Red Fort. You came to New Delhi’s corridors of power for the first time, and came as the Chief Executive of the world’s largest democracy, despite being a rank outsider. You spoke from the open podium although there existed a huge risk of attack. You inspired everybody to stand up and be counted in the task of nation building. You promised a more inclusive India taking everybody along on the path of faster sustainable growth. Your declaration that you are the pradhan sevak and not Pradhan Mantri, clicked instantly with the vast majority of Indians. You shocked the Delhiites by speaking about the Delhi’s work culture, of coming late, of absenteeism, infighting within the department and between departments.
You signaled your priorities. Swatch Bhaarath Abhiyaan, separate toilets for boys and girls in all schools across the country by 15th Aug 2015. In your address to the nation, you gave credit, to all previous prime ministers and their governments for the development that country witnessed so far. That was indeed very statesman like. It was a clear indication that you will go for consensual politics rather than politics of confrontation. Right enough, The Hindu, in its 16th Aug 2014 editorial had observed “If his speech, shorn of hype but full of hope, is any indication, Mr Modi looks ready to make the transition from a skilled political orator to an able administrator”. For someone, who did not give you even a passing mark in the past, it was a complete metamorphosis. You gave ample impression that you will lead the nation from front.
“Good days are coming” has been your clarion call in the campaign to Election 2014. But looking  back at your 18 months’ sojourn in the all India governance, although burre din have not come, aache din does not look very promising as of now.
You promised 15 lakhs in every bank a/c from the black money stashed abroad. Will it ever come, or it was just to fool gullible people! Your slogan ‘My her vaade ko poora karoonga’, and promised education for everyone, but your first full budget, reduced the allocation for education.
Showing humility, after the victory, you were gracious in saying while accepting the leadership of the treasury benches “there are no enemies in politics. It is our responsibility to take everybody along”. But what is the story of the last 18 months? The entire opposition seem to have ganged up against BJP in general and Modi in particular.
It is true that you and your government was not involved  in any scam, but your stubbornness, your refusal to see the point the other side is making, is a stumbling block for any meaningful dialogue on building consensual relationship between the government and the governed. Take for instance, the appointment of Smriti Irani, as HRD minister. There has been public outcry, not just the opposition criticism on this appointment. She is not even a graduate. It was like promoting a primary school teacher to the position of college Principal, just because you like the person. You couldn’t get one party man or from your combine, a person properly qualified to understand the human resource scenario of the country, whom both the academia and the political class can hold in respect!
You tried the ordinance way thrice for the Land acquisition bill, and tried all tricks but ended up withdrawing it. I am sure you have the realization that you cannot rob Peter to pay Paul. Yet you persisted with your no debate agenda to the chagrin even to your mother organization, the RSS. The number at Rajya Sabha is what you are trying now to improve, so that you can force your legislation. Thus you are trying to give an impression that, with the help of numbers, ‘hell with the opposition,’ ‘hell with the parliament debate.’ ‘I will do what I want.’ No Mr. Modi, Bihar is a lesson you should not forget. It can come back to haunt you. Please remember Rajeev Gandhi. He got 414 seats in 1984, absolutely unprecedented. But failed to have even a simple majority after 5 years down the line. You have the benefit of history. Your 284 will not take long to evaporate, as it happened to Rajeev Gandhi. But you are more capable, more dynamic, you mean well for the country, you are personally clean, hence you are a gift to this country. You have the potential to deliver. If you fail, it is sad for India. Because, there are many positives in you, that not many are comparable to you. Do not let your ego to come in the way. You had a chance to say ‘sorry’ for Gujarat mayhem, your ego stopped you from expressing regret. It would have helped you build the bridge with the group that suffered, rightly or wrongly. Your stock would have sky rocketed. Now you have the 2nd chance to build this bridge with all stake holders. All political parties are there in the business of doing good to the people in different degrees. But some do it more for themselves, their families and cronies, but still do some good for the people, like Lalu Prasad Yadav, or Mulaayam Sing Yadav or Bangarappa or Yadiyoorappa. Hence, building bridge with these people for the national good, should not be an issue of ego. If you cannot beat them, you can join them. You tried to beat AAP in Delhi but failed, you tried it in Bihar and you have failed there too. But it is possible to build friendship with both Kejriwal and Nitish Kumar for the national good.
It was way back in Oct 2014, we at I&C had written “Certainly Modi is creating a new bench mark for any future prime ministers in his attempt to take every one along. He clearly recognizes the difference between a poll campaigner and a Prime Minister. Fortunately for Modi, his greatest strength comes from his personal integrity. Except his sartorial obsession, there does not appear to be anything expensive about him. His personal habits are supposedly frugal. No woman and wine, nor the attraction for wealth. Therefore at 63, his energy level is phenomenal.”
Similarly recapitulating the year that went by in Jan. 2015, I & C had commented “Narendra Modi is another phenomena, that came with the roar of an untamed lion. He has redrawn the political behavior unseen or unheard earlier, whether it was his prostrated entry into the parliament complex or his Independence Day speech. They were class apart”.
Since then, some water has certainly flown down the bridge. Surely, your personal integrity is not in doubt.
Your decision to do away with those party seniors, including members of parliament, who are 75 and above, surely has its merits. But the way you pushed it down, without even taking those seniors on board, is a classic case of arrogance. As Prime Minister, surely you have your prerogatives. But then there is something like a respect to the aged. These elders, like LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi have worked for the party through thick and thin. None can dump them unceremoniously. Was Yashwant Sinha, a Finance Minister in Vajpayee government, wrong when he said “On 26th May 2014, in BJP those who are above 75 were declared brain dead?” ‘Lend thy ears but reserve thy judgement’ is an oft repeated idom of wisdom. It keeps every body in good humour. Would the sky have fallen, if you had created a consultative body of these elders? They could have given their well meaning matured measured advices in managing opposition. But you ignored them comprehensively, telling them ‘I know better!’ Distance from senior party leaders is a common complaint, besides refusal to share power. Please realize this has not gone down well with people who supported you. Amit Shah is your man. The knowledge that he is your man, has made Amit Shah haughty and incommunicado. He needs to be reined.
Intolerance debate is something you do not have to be unduly worried about. But your intention to deal with stupid and unlawful elements, including motormouths of the party should be clear and action oriented.
Your not so firm reactions and responses on the alleged instances of intolerance have certainly not inspired confidence in people. There is an element of casualness. This has to change, not only for the health of your party, so also that of the nation. What happened at Dadri is dastardly. SN Chary, a former professor at IIM Bengalooru wrote “Stocking beef has invited lynching and killing. Hindutva is inching closure to Talibanism. There is no remorse in the camp of perpetrators. On the contrary ministers and MPs have come in support” Modiji, is it wrong?! Your response, the professor stated further “even when Prime Minister responded, after initial silence, he sadly disappointed with his guarded words and in general platitudes”. He is not far from truth. There were three instances, in less than two months, in Haryana, of atrocity against Dalits. 2 kids were burnt alive, one as small as 9 months, one 40 year old man beaten to death at a marriage venue, and a father & daughter duo, were smeared with cow dung on their face for rambling into a household.   Among the problems haunting the nation is the continued spate of suicides by farmers in different parts of India, and demand for an overhaul of policies affecting agriculture, is fair. You need to be open to listen to cries of desperation from the annadaata to the nation. P. Sainath, is a known voice of agrarian crisis in India. If you mean well to India in general and the farming community in particular, bring him on board. He can be a great source of honest help.
The country is aware that India never had a better salesman then Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Your foreign travel, From Montreal to Michigan, Manchester to Melbourne to Malaysia and other destinations have been success stories. They certainly have improved the Indian stock. For an 18 month old Prime minister, it’s been terrific. In coming years, it is hoped that these overtures shall pay rich dividends. But Modiji, India is not on those distant foreign lands, they are nearer home, in those hundreds and thousands of villages across India. You need to know these villages better.
The heavy emphasis on the so-called ‘growth’ during your foreign visits and your interaction with the Indian diaspora and foreign business leaders, has left the individual back home on the back burner. You must recognize any lopsided growth can be counterproductive. Aren’t, poverty, malnutrition and unemployment still our major scourges even after 68 years of planned economic development? Last year UN reported that the 3rd of the world's poorest live in India, besides the highest rate of child mortality and the highest number of child workers. Isn’t it a national shame that the rate of underweight children in India is double that of sub-Saharan Africa?! Shouldn’t your NITI Ayog address these concerns!? Is there a need for a matured population policy!?
Writing on ‘Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy’, economist Noreena Hertz of University of Cambridge writes “Wealth does not always trickle down. There are limits to growth. The state will not protect us. A society guided only by the invisible hand of the market is not only imperfect but also unjust.”
“Human rights are violated not only by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structure that create huge inequalities” said Pope Francis I. Can you prove them wrong?!
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 SOCIETY, leading to the empowerment of the last man on the development ladder.  
‘Ooper Shervani andar pareshaani’ is a story of India in perspective. Unless you address this, it is like one more government coming, doing something, and getting lost like all earlier governments. Lot of hope was invested in you in particular and your government in general, when you were voted in 2014. You cannot come back in 2019, if you are not serious to address, equally seriously, those issues at hand. It is for you to take the call, while there is still time.



Yours ever Indian.  
Jayaram Shriyan

FEATURE

The Placebo Effect

Prof. B. M. Hegde,
hegdebm@gmail.com

Placebo is an inert substance that has no effect on your body. In medical research, placebos are used as controls against which the effects of drugs are measured. The placebo effect is becoming a big headache for drug developers as they are finding it difficult to produce new drug molecules which are statistically more effective compared to a placebo. Interestingly this placebo effect is becoming more assertive in American clinical trials in the last one or two decades according to a Canadian researcher: The change in response to placebo treatments for pain, discovered by researchers in Canada, holds true only for US clinical trials. 'We were absolutely floored when we found out,' says Jeffrey Mogil, who directs the pain-genetics lab at McGill University in Montreal and led the analysis. Simply being in a US trial and receiving sham treatment now seems to relieve pain almost as effectively as many promising new drugs."
But even in Europe the same effect has been recently shown by Professor Bingel at all in Oxford. In an elegant study with functional MRI confirmation they showed that a powerful pain killer like morphia was only as effective as saline injection both intravenously when the patient was made to believe that saline was morphia and morphia was saline. (Science Translational Medicine 2011; 3: 70) In short, placebo effect is seen universally. So far so good as far as drugs are concerned. What about surgery? There seems to be relative dearth of placebo controlled studies in surgical operative techniques. It is also not imperative that placebo controlled studies are done before a new technique is let loose on the gullible patients. Surgeons are kept at a higher pedestal by lay people thanks to the hype and halo around them.
Be that as it may, in my area of interest there have been studies using placebo controls. A recent one is published in the American Journal of the College of Cardiology (J Am Coll Cardiol. 2005; 46(10):1812-1819) The abstract of the study goes thus: “Treatment with per-cutaneous myocardial laser revascularization provides no benefit beyond that of a similar sham procedure in patients blinded to their treatment status.” This was a well planned, prospective, randomized placebo controlled study done in a very prestigious US University. Cobb et al in 1959 and Diamond et al in 1960 had done similar studies where the placebo was just a skin incision in comparison to regular CABG of those days. Their conclusions were also similar. (Mammary artery ligation by a double-blind technique. N Engl J Med 1959;260:1115– 8. & Dimond EG, Kittle CF, Crockett JE. Comparison of internal mammary ligation and sham operation for angina pectoris. Am J Cardiol 1960; 5:483– 6.)
Another important study that raised so much controversy was the NETT (National emphysema treatment trial) for a new surgical technique of LVRS (lung volume reduction surgery) in the treatment of emphysema. This vigourously controlled study did show the LVRS in bad light. Surgeons usually do not accept defeat that easily and so the controversy rages on even to this day in surgical circles. The results did, however, show that LVRS was just placebo only. Interestingly, animals also have shown placebo effect elegantly in studies. One study is worth quoting here. Epileptic dogs have responded to placebo as well as anti-epileptic drugs.
We should learn from history. In the year 1750 Linnaeus in Germany published his own case of severe sciatica, the pain kept him awake all week and was incapacitating. Drugs did not give him any relief when his wife suggested that eating strawberries (it was the season then) will relieve the pain. He ate all strawberries at home at night and slept for two hours. Got up again to eat more strawberries and got his sciatica cured! Of course, many of you would dismiss this as anecdotal. The good news is that anecdotal N-of-1 studies are now considered better than RCTs (randomized controlled trials) even by journals LIKE Nature! “A major advantage of the N-of-1 approach over classical trials is that patients are no longer guinea pigs, whose involvement in a study may help only future generations. In N-of-1 trials, the effectiveness of different treatments are vetted for the actual participants. Indeed, members of hundreds of patient-advocacy groups, for instance for rare genetic diseases, are eager to be involved in studies to test candidate drugs. Physicians are having to become more acutely aware of the unique circumstance of each patient — something most people have long called for.” (Nature 2015; 520: 609=611)
Now that we have established that placebo is a reality we can go back to quantum physics and the new interpretation of human physiology to understand placebo science more precisely. Matter is not made up of matter. (Hans Peter Durr) Matter and energy are the two faces of the same coin (Durr’s a-duality and Indian Sages’ advaita). The matter, of which the human body is made up of, as we think, becomes energy waves, changing from one to the other nearly 1024 times in a second. (Planck’s constant) Just as an atom has the blue print of its molecule human energy waves know the blue print of their matter. To get rid of any disease and get back to original state of matter (cure in the true sense) one has to get into that higher level of consciousness (meditation) and suggest to energy waves to get the matter to original shape. This was the Indian Sages’ advice. Today science has shown that mindful meditation can even change the gene penetrance and telomere length for better! Changing disease into health should be a child’s play. Powerful suggestion like a doctor’s assertion in the form of a placebo should accomplish similar results. Autosuggestion comes too close.
Candace Pert, an accomplished NIH scientist who missed the Nobel by a whisker, writes in her book Molecules of Emotion, that instead of reaching the drug cupboard when one has a headache it is better to sit in a quiet place to meditate to elevate one’s consciousness where the forebrain produces much more powerful opioids to relieve the headache. This is my experience too in my humble opinion-a N-of-1 study! A great physicist of the last century, Annie Besant, in her celebrated book of 1920 AD, Occult Chemistry, describes her Yogic Siddhi experience where she thinks she develops a third eye like the eyepiece of a microscope and is able to visualize the inside of seven elements from Hydrogen to Helium. She writes that the inside of an atom is just empty energy (amorphic). The reality is that human consciousness turns modern science upside down. How did the epileptic dog get placebo benefit? Animals have their own individual consciousness. (Rupert Sheldrake). Each one of us, including animals live in our own consciousness of this world (Robert Lanza) and so there are many worlds, each one for each of us. So we live in multi-verses, the idea called biocentrism.

Placebo effect has come to stay whether we like it or not.

Demand for OBC Reservation: Get into the Tent to break it!

P. M. Kamath

Originally, the architect of the Indian Constitution, Dr. Ambedkar, provided for reservation to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) for a period of ten years purely on the ground of their social backwardness; past oppression of the communities and denial of humane treatment. Most of us would have seen the inhuman treatment given to SCs and STs or experienced it. However, more than the ordinary people getting benefits of this reservation, during the initial decades, those who claimed to lead them, in the Congress Party like Babu Jagjivan Rams, Makwanas and several of them and their family members gained benefits. 
The Congress and various factions of the Republican Party of India originally founded by Dr. Ambedkar asked for the extension of reservation as the age old socially discriminated sections could not get fully liberated in ten years! As a matter of fact by the 1960s leading leaders of SCs and STs had developed a vested interest in keeping: The benefits of reservation limited to own families and their extended families; and the SCs and STs perpetually backward so that the leaders can use them as their vote-bank! Now it has become a holy cow! No one can get rid of it, at least in the near future! 

Movement for OBC Inclusion: 
The movement for reservation quota for the OBC is an outcome of the compulsions of post-independence decades of developing vote banks in parliamentary democratic politics. Lord Hutton who conducted the last census of castes in India in 1931 mentioned about upward mobility of the new castes/classes like car drivers. Will they call themselves as Fiatwala or Ambassadorwala? But 1931 census did not mention the OBC. Even today there is no clarity on what it means: Other Backward Castes or Classes? Is it decided by birth or is it by social conditions at a given time? What are the criterions to get included in it? Many such questions arise. But we may say that OBC is a collective term used by the Government of India to classify castes which are socially and educationally disadvantaged. 
All over India since 1989 the then PM, V P Singh, used his livers of power to stir a social revolution by which he can consolidate and make his caste-based coalition, MAJGAR—(Muslims, Ahirs,  Jats, Gurjars, Adivasis and  Rajputs) as a coalition to give him political power at the federal and states’ level in the next election. He was facing the internal threat from his Deputy PM, Devi Lal, who belonged to Jat community. The BJP whose external support was also crucial for his survival in power was concerned with V P Singh’s effort to divide Hindus on caste lines. 
As a politician initially he was trained in the Congress Party culture, which had highest reputation in the country for making winning caste-coalitions in different states, like Kshatriyas, Harijans, Adivasis and Muslims (KHAM) in Gujarat or Alis, Bengalis and Coolis in Assam or Marathas, Muslims and other minorities in Maharashtra  etc. It is he who granted in 1990, 27 percent reservation for the OBCs to strengthen his caste-coalition. But he didn’t succeed. But he left people of his ilk like Mulayams, Lalus and Nitish Kumars to build winning coalitions dominated by the OBCs. Since then all over India, OBCs have reaped educational benefits, acquire political power and risen in social hierarchy.  
Since then every community that is left out from the benefits which come merely by including in ‘all inclusive concept of OBC’ have been demanding their inclusion under OBC. Thus in Rajasthan Rajputs, in Haryana Jats, succeeded in getting included to enjoy a sub-quota within the OBC. In Maharashtra Marathas along with Muslims were also given the benefits of reservation by the Prithviraj Chavan government. But these successful legislative acts were struck down by the Supreme Court of India (SCI)! On all-India basis continuous efforts are being made to add Muslims in OBC. To avoid the legal hurdle of ‘no religion-based reservation’ broader concept of ‘minorities’ was floated to include other religious minorities like Christians, Parsees, Buddhists etc. 
However, the State Reorganisation of 1957 has created another kind of minorities. These are the linguistic minorities. Every state in South India today has linguistic minorities, a majority of who are incidentally very poor. But the modern social reformers have never mentioned or include these minorities while creating their vote-banks! I know it for sure as I deal with broadly Kannada speaking slum children who may be Christians, Muslims or Telugus, Tamils and Malayalees!  But federal government though has a toothless Linguistic minority commission; all are focusing only on religious minorities!  

Patels as OBCs:
Be that as it may, Hardik Patel, a young man of 22 years, hitherto an unknown name, shot into prominence not only in Gujarat or all over India but throughout the US and western world: Because he kept Reservation pot boiling for Gujarat state and the federal government both under the BJP at a time when it was fighting an election to win power in Bihar state! He was asking for a quota for Patels within the OBC quota of 27%.This brings to a complete circle what began with former PM, V. P. Singh’s survival step that misfired for him in 1990! Hence the questions under considerations in this article: What are the driving forces for Hardik Patel to launch such a movement? 
After different dominant caste groups, like Rajputs, Jats succeeded to legally get themselves included in states like Rajasthan, UP, Haryana etc. in a sense it is natural for Patels in Gujarat to demand benefits of reservation. As everyone knows that there is a Supreme Court ruling which prohibits governments to exceed reservations beyond fifty percent, all dominant castes like Jats, Marathas and now Patels are demanding a sub-quota within the OBCs quota of 27 per cent. 
But what is interesting is the fact that at least twice the earlier governments in Gujarat had offered the benefits of reservations to Patels, which was rejected by them as they hated to be branded as ‘backward’. Patels all over the world is an affluent community. In the US for instance, 22,000 Motels as in 2012 are owned by Indians, 70 percent of these are controlled by Gujaratis of which three quarters are held by Patels. Even now, they support the reservation only on economic consideration. Those who are economically poor, irrespective of caste, need to be given benefits to improve their socio-economic status. 
The OBCs cannot be said to have suffered caste-based discrimination and humiliation as in the case of untouchables in the Hindu society, since untouchability was not a characteristic of these so called backward classes/castes.
Now Patels are putting forward a grievance that a Patel candidate even with 90 percent marks cannot aspire to get a medical seat, while a SC/ST or OBC candidate can get through even with 45 % marks! But if one becomes a doctor engineer with 45% marks irrespective whether he is SC/ST/OBC or from a forward community, after failing several times before finally passing, he is likely to fail to make a name in his profession even if he is able to make a living. A forward class schoolmate of mine in 1957 with forty five percent marks got into high fee medical college. Now he makes a living by being a general practitioner. That living he could have made even if he had gone into several other professions available in the society. What the reservation has done today is to deny young highly deserving aspirants from a non-reservation category, admissions they deserve in medical or engineering.    
However, it is the OBC’s turn now to become another holy cow. Several intellectuals have suggested that it is time to review the issue of reservation. They belong to all political backgrounds and not necessarily to the BJP or RSS. Thus, for instance, the Congress Party General Secretary, Janardhan Dwivedi had suggested while the Congress was in power in the Federal government to end all reservations and quotas except for the economically weaker sections by bringing all communities under its ambit. But this was contradicted by Congress President, Sonia Gandhi when she said: “Congress is of the firm opinion that the system of reservation for SC, ST and OBC must continue. This is essential to deal with the discrimination imposed by centuries of subjugation and oppression (?).” This was also reiterated on behalf of the then UPA government in February 2014 by the then Union Minister of State, Rajiv Shukla when he stated in the Rajya Sabha that the “reservation for SC, ST and OBC will continue as per the constitution.” 

Hardik’s Motives 
Patels are thus recent converts to favour reservation policy as a panacea for social and educational discrimination allegedly they have suffered and also use of the reservation instrumentality to rise in the socio-politico-economic status in the society without much investment to acquire education or get a creamy job. Still many say these are not at all actual motives of Hardik Patel in initiating the agitation to promote Patel’s cause for reservation. Is he serious on the need for reservation? There are quite a few voices in favour of reservation for Patels, mainly on the grounds, mediocre amongst the OBCs getting admission even with a low percentage of marks; but with the similar percentage a Patel candidate doesn’t get the admission in Engineering College. But watching discussion amongst the Patels in ND TV in September last, created an impression in me that an overwhelming majority of Patels were against reservation.
Then why did Hardik Patel begin the agitation? There are many theories doing rounds. First, it is politically instigated with the likely aim of diminishing the high popularity of the BJP under Narendra Modi leadership in the country, generally and in Gujarat particularly. That is a plausible reason as the Chief Minister (CM) Anandiben Patel is the current BJP CM and hope of the opponents to use the agitation to affect her chances to continue as well. Second, Patels have been generally against the reservation. Hardik Patel has also spoken about ‘give us reservation or abolish reservations altogether’. 
Conclusions
Though in the Bihar campaign, PM Modi had said that reservations will continue indefinitely, it is not inconceivable that in future the BJP might think of gradually limiting the benefits of gains without pain to the OBCs and keep the reservations only to the SCs and STs. The government has valid grounds that the latter communities have really not gained benefits as originally envisaged. 
 If that is not done, OBCs drive for easy ride might take them to seek reservations in private sector, multinational companies, and academic institutions run by minorities or without government grants. Today a majority of artistes, cine stars, T.V.  actors are from forward castes. Who knows OBCs might ask for reservation in theatre, TV industry and Bollywood as well!
But of all theories, it seems more plausible that Hardik Patel really wants to take Patels into already overcrowded OBC tent and break it from within. Hence, it may be imprudence for the BJP to charge him with sedition and permanently alienate him. Why not try to co-opt him? The ultimate outcome of Hardik Patel’s movement to secure the benefits of reservation for Patels within the OBC, only the time can tell. But Hardik Patel will find a place of honour in the pantheon of leaders who fought for OBC reservation.    
Author is formerly Professor of Politics, University of Bombay and currently Hon. Director and Chairman, VPM’s Centre for International Studies (Regd.), Mumbai and Adjunct Professor, Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal University, Manipal.

ISSUES OF CONCERN

Malnutrition Can be Managed

Saadia Azim

It was the same old fare that Pramila Hembram, 22, a resident of Siri Village in Deoghar District, Jharkhand, used to dish out for every meal-rice, potatoes and, sometimes, dal. Despite the fact that wild greens and pumpkin grew in the vicinity of her home, they were never generally cooked because traditionally, food in the family was all about rice and potatoes. What Pramila did not know was that such sustained imbalanced intake was effectively making her family vulnerable to ill health and putting her four-year-old son, Pramod, at risk of malnutrition.
According to Rajesh Jha of the Centre for World Solidarity (CWS), a local non-government organization that is involved in combating malnutrition in the region under the Fight Hunger First Initiative (FHFI), Pramila was not the only one who was cooking up a carbohydrate-rich meal in the region. He says, “Siri wasn’t an isolated village facing nutrition deficiency. The reality was that people were not aware of the need to have an adequate and balanced diet. When we conducted a study on nutrition security in rural Jharkhand what came to our notice was that people just liked to eat rice and potato. Their idea of ‘proper food’ was the quantity consumed and not the quality.”
Last year when several incidents of infant death were reported from Deoghar District and attributed to chronic, neonatal and pregnancy-related complications, they brought into sharp focus the problem of malnutrition that the region was facing. This was also when the CWS decided to do the hunger mapping exercise here, randomly picking fifty villages in Devipur Block for the survey. The findings that emerged certainly proved to be an eye-opener.
Of the total population surveyed, 14.6 per cent reported to be chronically ill, 20.5 per cent were malnourished and 64.9 per cent had some kind of disease. Analysis of the dietary intake provided further clarity. While 90 per cent of households mainly ate starchy foods, protein consumption was found to be low in 60 per cent of the population. Other nutrients such as iron, potassium and calcium were rarely present in the average meal. Ironically, although vegetable production was good in the area, most of produce was sent off to the markets to be sold.
Reveals Sangita Devi, 30, a mother of four growing children in Daranga Panchayat, talking about the foods she usually cooks, “Like any other tribal household, we have boiled rice and potatoes three times a day. That’s our staple meal. In fact, my children relish potato curry. We do grow vegetables at home and in the nearby fields but they are seen as stock to be sold off.” 
The hunger mapping clearly pointed to the fact that even though the carbohydrate-rice diet gave the local people high levels of energy to work tirelessly in the fields, it was also one of the reasons behind the moderate to severe malnutrition and anaemia rampant among the children and women. The survey disclosed that 9 per cent women were severely malnourished, while 40 per cent pregnant showed severe signs of anaemia, with pale lower eyelids and nails. Additionally, more than 15 per cent of them complained of oedema or swelling.
Besides irregular eating patterns, there were other factors that contributed to the dismal health scenario. Bat sanitation practices meant women especially developed worm infestations which, in turn, meant low appetite and lethargy. Additionally, only 55.3 per cent of pregnant women were registered with the government’s Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and most of them were availing of the free or subsidized support services available only once during their pregnancy.
Armed with this information, Jha and his team realized that by simple motivating women to add variety to their daily meals, they could improve the health of the community. To ensure the positive behavioural change, they introduced the tiranga bhojan, or tricolor meal, approach in all the 50 project villages in block.
When activists and nutritionists of the CWS first came to Pramila Hembram to talk to her about including all the three colors of the national flag- orange, white and green- in her family ‘s daily diet, she was confused. What was the need to alter their age-old food habits? And what had these colors got to do with the health? That’s when she was told that her son, Pramod, would end up weak and ill, just like many of the neighbourhood children, if she did not keep a check on what he was eating. “They told me that besides rice and potato we also need vegetables and milk to develop immunity and make the bones strong,” she reveals. That information had her hooked. Today, Pramila, who is expecting her second child, is conscious of what she eats and makes it a point to incorporate foods rich in iron and calcium in every meal. Money is a constraint of course because her husband, Nirmal Mahji, a daily wage labourer, only periodically manages to find work on MGNREGA sites. But that has not stopped her from being innovative and resourceful.
She elaborates, “I know I need to eat tiranga bhojan in order to be a healthy mother. We get yellow from the lentils, the green comes from leafy vegetables whereas white comes from the rice and milk. I ensure that the tricolor content is present in all our meals. I have seen the difference it has made to my child. He has definitely grown taller; his skin is clearer and his hair is black and thick.” For a steady supply of greens and other veggies in her kitchen, Pramila has created a small food garden. The leafy pumpkin and gourd creepers hang temptingly from her rooftop. And whatever is surplus she sells in the weekly village market to make some quick money.
According to the CWS team’s observations, none of the elements of the tiranga bhojan are difficult to either source or cultivate locally. Produce such as jackfruits, fenugreek, spinach, bathua (wild spinach), red spinach, and a variety of beans, grow easily within a span of two months and provides the much-needed iron. Yet, despite this, it wasn’t simple getting women to make the switch. There were even culture practices to contend with. In some pockets, tribal customs banned the intake of certain nutrition-rich foods like soyabean and mushrooms.
What did help, however, were local volunteers like Sweta Devi, 26, who, incidentally, is a graduate in Rural Development, who took her role as a health volunteer very seriously. “I know how difficult it sometimes can be to put food on the table in these parts. During the monsoon season, in particular, villages here become inaccessible and we have seen severe food scarcity in many households. So we try to tell everyone to utilize what is locally available and is good for health,” says Sweta Devi. She finds that with the tiranga bhojan approach- where people are instructed not only to eat the right kinds of food but to cultivate their own small garden patches- things have improved considerably. “Women know it’s better to forage or grow tricolor foods than look for a competent doctor later on,” adds Sweta Devi.
In Kasudih Village, which is part of the Tatkiyo Panchayat, Sheela Devi practices ‘circle garden farming’ to cook up a tiranga bhojan. “Unlike in Siri Village where irrigation is not a problem, in Kasudih water is scarce. So I recycle the waste water from household chores and irrigate my garden where I grow local varieties of vegetable,” she says.    

ETCETERA

Indians are least honest!

London : When it comes to honesty, people rate India among the least honest countries along with China, Japan and South Korea, says a significant study, suggesting that people’s honesty varies significantly between countries, reports IANS.
In the coin flip test among 1,500 participants from 15 countries, the four least honest countries were found to be China, Japan, South Korea and India. However, Asian countries were not significantly more dishonest than others in the quiz, where Japan had the lowest level of dishonesty, said the researchers from Norfolk-based University of East Anglia (UEA).
According to lead study author Dr David Hugh-Jones, the difference between Asian and other countries in the coin flip may be explained by cultural views specific to this type of test, such as attitudes to gambling, rather than differences in honesty as such. The findings also suggest honesty is less important to a country’s current economic growth than during earlier periods in history. The team examined whether people from different countries were more or less honest and how this related to a country’s economic development.
The participants took part in an online survey involving two incentivised experiments, designed to measure honest behaviour. Firstly, they were asked to flip a coin and state whether it landed on “heads” or “tails”. They knew if they reported that it landed on heads, they would be rewarded with $3 or $5. If the proportion reporting heads was more than 50 percent in a given country, this indicated that people were being dishonest. The same participants were then asked to complete a quiz where they were again rewarded financially if they answered all questions correctly. Data from the tests was compared to estimate whether people from particular countries were more likely to tell the truth. The countries studied — Brazil, China, Greece, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, Argentina, Denmark, the United Kingdom, India, Portugal, South Africa, and South Korea — were chosen to provide a mix of regions, levels of development and levels of social trust.

SERIAL : 31

INDIAN IN COWBOY COUNTRY

THE HUNT

Pradeep Anand

A few hours later, after dinner, when he had lulled Seeta to sleep and gently placed her on her Little Mermaid bed, he went to Monica, who was cleaning up the kitchen, and hugged her tightly from behind. She was taken aback by the warmth and strength of the embrace.
“What is it?” she asked as she struggled out of the hold to continue loading the dishwasher.
“I’ve got to tell you something,” he said as he swung her around to face him.
He hugged her again tightly and whispered, “Monica, I may not have said this to you, but you are my pillar of support.”
“Go away,” said Monica as she struggled to get out of his hold, assuming that this was yet another romantic ploy.
“No, I am serious. Without your strong support, I will have a hard time finding a job.”
“Do you want me to look for a job, Satish?” she asked.
“No, that’s not what I meant. I want you to be strong at home so that I can focus on hunting. If I have to focus on two fronts, I will not be as successful as I want to be.”
“Oh, don’t worry about me, Satish. I’ll be fine,” she said as the dishwasher roared into action. “Give me a day or two and I’ll be back to normal. Come let’s watch some mindless TV.”
They sat on the sofa in the living room, cuddled up, and watched a sitcom at barely audible volume so that they would not wake up their sleeping daughter. Soon, the only sound that filled the home that night were his loud, resounding laughter. It overpowered Monica’s sparse chuckles at punch lines and the drone of the dishwasher.
At first, he was depressed when he saw his new surroundings. The outplacement service’s accouterments seemed cheap, with plastic and particleboard fabricated furniture. Their aesthetics seemed to diminish further in the poor but adequate lighting in the premises.
He was thankful, though, that he has a superior package that assured him a private office. And his gratitude for Tim’s efforts multiplied when he saw that his new temporary workplace, on a tenth floor of a high-rise, had a large window.
Basking and working in natural sunlight more than compensated for the other shortcoming of his new office. He rationalized that this was a brief, passing phase and that he could survive the minor discomforts.
The staff was polite and pleasant, speaking in sensitive, hushed, and encouraging tones, as if he was in a sanatorium, undergoing therapy to recover from a corporate injury. He was assigned a counselor, Scott, an expert at helping the corporate wounded in recuperating from their recent little “accident” or “career hiccup.”
Scott was an organizational development expert who had a long career at human resources departments at many Fortune 100 companies. When his last position was eliminated, he changed his career track and decided to join the outplacement industry, which, in his opinion, was a growth industry.
Scott was in his late fifties, six feet five, and lean. Every day, he wore a predictable red tie on a white shirt enveloped in a blue blazer; only the color of his pants changed daily, from blue to gray to tan. He always wore black wing-tip shoes that were worn out at the heels.
He had sparse hair that was perhaps blond in his youth, and he wore thick, gold-rimmed glasses on his hawkish nose. He had a deep, booming voice that he curbed into a whisper when he spoke, as if he wanted his voice to barely reach his intended subject and no one else. Though Satish thought that Scott’s empathy was a little artificial, verging on condescension, he still found him congenial and competent.
“I have been doing this for five years, and the truism behind successful job hunting have not changed, Satish. Am I saying that right?” Scott said from behind his clean, modest desk.
He nodded and Scott leaned forward, as if he had been trained in body language and needed to appear friendly. He continued, “All my successful candidates have followed my step-by-step process and gotten out of here before their outplacement term ran out. Tim tells that you are as smart as they come. I am sure you’ll be out of here in a jiffy.”
Then he sat back with a practiced smile that lacked sincerity the edges of his eyes did not crinkle to display any of ample crow’s feet.
Satish felt as if he was in a correctional facility, doing time, and Scott was benevolent parole officer, giving him hints about how to reduce his stay. He shrugged off the thought and concentrated on what Scott had to say.
“Let me tell you this first: more than 85 percent of jobs, especially at your level, are not advertised. They are filled through personal referrals and recruiting firms. Second, it is a numbers game; the more people you meet and network with, the better are your chances of success. Third, looking for a job is a full-time job. It is an eight-to-five endeavor; you can’t take vacations. But before we get into all that, we have to first get ready and aim. I’d like you to take a few psychological tests.”
He had never taken a job-related psychological test before, and was somewhat reluctant to take one. He had heard from his friend that these tests did not transfer well across cultures; his Indian upbringing could skew his profile in an undesirable direction and scuttle his career.
Scott persisted, “Even if the tests are skewed or inaccurate, it will give you some insights, Satish. I have seen many people come here and look for the next job that looked just like their last job. When they got it, they were fired again. Why? Because it was the wrong job for them.”
He paused to let Satish ponder what he had just said.
“The people with the most successful careers are those who by accident or design are playing to their strengths. Reportedly, I have seen successful careers built around just aptitude, and not strength. We all have aptitudes in several areas, many of which guarantee good careers, but what happens over time is that satisfaction from work begins to diminish and we start living lives of quiet desperation.”
“Thoreau,” piped in Satish. “I undeerstand what you’re saying, Scott. Go on.”
“Good, I am glad you understand. Tim told me you were smart,” Scott said, cracking that artificial smile.
“Here’s the deal. You have a God-given opportunity to understand yourself on someone else’s penny. Make use of it. If you take time and do these tests seriously, they will reveal things about yourself that neither you nor your friends have seen about you.
“It will also confirm how you see yourself, and you can share it with your friends to see if they agree. We do not make an extra dime by doing these tests, my friend. Of course, it’s all confidential. We don’t even keep any of records. We give them all to you, for your safekeeping. Shucks, we don’t have the room here to keep any of your paperwork.”
“I understand, Scott. I have a question. What makes an aptitude a strength?”
“Terrific question,” cried out a buoyant Scott as he stood up, pulled up his pants, and came around the desk to a seated Satish. He bent down and whispered, “A strength is an aptitude that you have great interest in.”
He went back to his chair, leaned over, and said, “You are an engineering manager, right? I don’t care how good you are in engineering, Satish. If you are not interested in it, it is not a strength! Sure, your career will progress nicely, till one fine day you ask yourself, “What the hell am I doing with my life? How did I get here?”
He paused and answered his own question, “By compromising. By compromising. But we all do that, and there’s nothing wrong with it. However, it is a whole lot better when you compromise knowingly, rather than out of ignorance. Self-awareness, Satish, it is all about self-awareness. The earlier you gain it, the faster you are on a path to a meaningful life.”
Then he stood up and extended his hand, indicating that the meeting was over. “For the next ten days or so, spend some time doing these tests, which are quite detailed. Relax; have a good time doing them. Take some time off and spend it with the family. But next Monday, and every subsequent Monday, I’d like you to attend our meetings, where you get to meet other candidates and listen to their progress and experiences.”
He shook Scott’s extended hand. He left the office and went to his own. A well-dressed office assistant, Lucy, came by a few minutes later with test packages. Going through the documents, she gave him instructions on how to fill them.
It was about noon, and Satish was hungry. He asked Lucy for some recommendations to nearby restaurants. She suggested a Chinese restaurant, but as she stepped out of his office, she turned around and volunteered, “Let me see if the Lunch Bunch is still around. Maybe you can join them.”
Half an hour later, he was at the recommended Chinese restaurant with four other candidates from the outplacement center.
“Hi, I am Benjamin,” said the first one, who appeared to be friendly. “Former VP of sales at Brumliere. This here is Samuel Bartlett, former CFO of Brumliere; that’s Darrel Kennedy, president of Trustmink, and that’s Clyde Perrin from Texinveste Bank.”
“Satish Sharma, engineering manager, Clark Oilfield Technologies,” he said as he stood up and shook hands, reaching out across the round table. “Pleased to meet you,” he said to each one.
So began his association with the Lunch Bunch. He was the latest and the youngest addition. Dan was about his age, and the rest were at least ten years older.
 

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Have we discovered Alzheimer’s dark secrets!

Mumbai : In a major breakthrough, Indian scientists have managed to get a glimpse of the protein fragments known as amyloid beta, which hallmark Alzheimer’s disease, reports IANS.
“Everybody wants to make the key to solve Alzheimer’s Disease, but we don’t know what the lock looks like. We now have a glimpse of something which could be the lock. May be it is still not the real thing, but as of now, this is our best bet,” said research co-director Sudipta Maiti from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) here.
The possible lock looks like a bunch of amyloid beta molecules in the shape of a hairpin, but with a twist, the researchers found. Knowing the shape and form of the toxic molecule could lead to better ways of defeating it and evolving an effective therapy for Alzheimer’s disease that robs the old of their memory.
“This has been suspected earlier, but what we found was an unexpected twist in the structure, now becoming a beta-hairpin — very different from the typical hairpin structure people imagined,” said Debanjan Bhowmik from TIFR, the lead contributor of the study. “This may allow these bunch of amyloid beta molecules to form toxic pores in the cell membranes,” Bhowmik explained.
The joint team of researchers from TIFR, Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru and the University of Toronto in Canada, cracked the problem that has eluded scientists for years, by using a modified version of Raman Spectroscopy. A critical modification in the original Raman Spectroscopy technique allowed the measurement of tiny signals that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.They encased silver nanoparticles in a fat layer (“membrane”) that mimicked the outer membranes of living cells.

INDIGENOUS FEAT

Ideal Scooty

Baglakot: A teacher and a student of the mechanical engineering department at the Basaveshwara Engineering College here have devised a micro hybrid scooty that can give a mileage of 366 km per charge.
It cost second year student Suraj C Raikar just Rs. 35,000 and constant effort for one year to build the vehicle under the guidance of Dr Vinay V Kuppasta, assistant professor in the department
Another feather in the cap of the teacher-student duo is that the hybrid scooty has won accolades from the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
They have been promised that their project will get a look-in and support under the Make in India programme.
Its low cost, more mileage and less pollution are the salient features of the scooty, Kuppasta told Deccan Herald. Top companies have released electrical scooters to the market, but their mileage and ability to carry large weight have been found wanting.
But the hybrid scooty addresses these concerns. They run both on the traditional petrol-diesel engine besides an electrical battery, Kuppasta said.
The basic body is that of a Hero electrical scooters, to which a pair of charging batteries have been connected. Once these batteries are discharged, they are recharged in just 12 minutes with a 70 cc engine of the TVS company attached to the hybrid scooty. The engine uses one liter of petrol to charge the batteries. The scooter then runs 366 km, drawing power from the charged batteries.
Cost: “The micro hybrid can be made available to the consumer at Rs 45,000 to Rs 50,000. The batteries have to be replaced once in a year or two depending on the use. The two-wheeler consumes 50 per cent less fuel than other scooters. Kuppasta says their vehicle prototype can go a long way in reducing air and sound pollution. 
The teacher-student duo said that they were in the process of applying for a patent for the hybrid scooty. They are also ready to transfer the technology to interested companies. Raikar said he would make effort to install the system in autos and taxis in the coming days.

YEH MERA INDIA

Staff Dies of TB in TB Hospital

Mumbai : One more staff-member from Sewri TB hospital succumbed to multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), just two days after the strike of hospital workers on October 29 which focused on paid leaves for workers diagnosed with TB. With this, the death toll of hospital workers who died owing to TB has increased to eight so far this year.
The increasing deaths have led to an atmosphere of fear of contracting the deadly disease among other staff-members and workers at the hospital, which is Asia’s largest TB hospital. The deceased was a 51-year-old woman, a senior laboratory technician with the hospital since 2011 who was diagnosed with MDR-TB in August. Her treatment was started on August 20 at Asian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) in Dombivli where she breathed her last on Saturday. Hospital sources said that her condition worsened as she was a diabetic.
Sewri TB hospital bears the highest load of TB patients with critical and high-resistant TB cases posing a huge threat to the workers. Pradeep Narkar, secretary of Municipal Mazdoor Union said: “The workers are working under constant fear as they are exposed to infections. The authorities don’t seem to be serious about this issue as we have been fighting for paid leaves and N95 masks over the past few months. There is a pressing need for infection-control measures in order to protect workers from TB.”

Councillor has milk bath

Panaji : A video clip of a councillor having a milk bath after getting elected on a BJP-supported municipal panel has triggered a bout of sparring between the Congress and the ruling BJP in Goa.
The video shows Kishor Shet, a councillor from Ward No. 3 in the Canacona Municipal Council, on a chair and being given a milk bath by his supporters at the Mallikarjuna temple in Canacona after he was declared a winner on October 27.
Stating that the video showed how insensitive the BJP was to the reality, the Congress demanded action against the councillor.  “Today, only BJP leaders can afford a milk bath. The common man finds it difficult to even buy milk. We cannot afford public representatives wasting milk at a time when people are suffering due to high food prices,” Congress spokesperson Sunil Kawthankar told IANS on Monday.  Shet in his clarification said his supporters were only observing the Indian custom ‘Dudh Abhishek’.  “My supporters were happy and were following an Indian custom which is very popular.”
Asked to comment on the video and the charge made by the Congress, BJP state vice president Wilfred Mesquita told IANS: “He (Shet) has said he was following a custom to appease the gods. We are yet to know whether god was really appeased by his act or not.”

Ease of Doing Business

New Delhi: The government proposes to bring down the average number of days required for incorporating a company to 1-2 days, a move aimed at further improving ‘ease of doing business’ in the country. The finance Ministry said, “as a result of number of steps taken during the past one year to streamline processes and regulatory framework, the average number of days taken for incorporation of a company has come down significantly from 9.57 days in December, 2014 to 4.51 days in November, 2015. 

When ideology got sunk

London: A 75-year-old Indian-origin Maoist cult leader was found guilty of rape, child cruelty and falsely imprisoning his daughter for 30 years by a British court.
Kerala-born Aravindan Balakrishnan, who led a secretive Maoist commune in south London from 1975 to 2013 after emigrating from Singapore, has been accused of raping female followers and imprisoning his own daughter for 30 years after brainwashing them into believing he was an all-powerful and all-seeing leader. He was referred to as "Comrade Bala".
Balakrishnan, who faces life sentence when he is sentenced, was found guilty of most of the 16 charges brought against him at a Southwark Crown Court trial on Friday.
He denied the charges and told the jury that he was "the focus of competition" between "jealous" women who made sexual advances on him.

Bogus muster entries to claim safai dues

Mumbai : In a meeting of the leaders of political parties in the BMC, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta submitted the Nullah Safai Enquiry report for discussion. This will now be tabled before the standing committee.
Rais Sheikh, Samajwadi Party leader in the BMC, said: “The report seeks permission from leaders of all political parties to initiate legal and police action against erring contractors.”
Similarly, MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande said: “Ajoy Mehta has finally admitted himself that about 70% of the entries in musters belonging to nullah safai contractors are bogus entries. This is what we had been saying even before the committee was established.”
The BMC had appointed a five-member committee, chaired by deputy municipal commissioner Prakash Patil, to probe these works after the deluge of June 19 this year that brought Mumbai to a standstill.
The committee submitted its report to Mehta in September, placing responsibility on contractors for carrying out shoddy work.

Meet India’s very own Imran Khan

Jaipur : Imran Khan, a maths teacher in a government school in Alwar district, still cannot believe that Prime MInister Narendra Modi mentioned his name during his speech at London’s Wembley stadium.
“It still is like a dream… PM mentioning my name is unbelievable….When PM was delivering his speech I was half asleep. I do not have a TV in my house. I came to know only after my friends and well-wishers started to call me. To confirm this, I watched the Prime Minister’s speech on YouTube….watched it again and again to confirm….reconfirm it…he was mentioning me,” Imran Khan told media on the phone, a day after Modi’s address.  “You will not believe that since yesterday evening I have not been able to eat food….there are media persons….my friends….my relatives calling up….coming to meet me….absolutely no food since yesterday evening,” said a happy Imran.  “I made a small effort and it has been praised by the PM…..it feels great…really very great,” he said.  Modi, during his speech, said: “In Rajasthan’s Alwar there is a man called Imran Khan. He has made 50 mobile apps. And Alwar’s Imran Khan dedicated those apps to the students for free.”   “My India is in that Imran Khan from Alwar,” Modi said.
The 37-year-old teaches Maths in a government school in Alwar district.  Imran has so far developed 52 education-oriented mobile applications since 2012.  “I do not have any background in computer technology but I had a computer in my house and I used to devote lot of time on it developing websites and other things. When I met the then district collector of my area he told me to develop apps as he said that future will belong to mobile apps, reports IANS.
After reading some books that had chapters on apps, I started to develop mobile apps and since 2012 I have developed 52,” he said.  “My mobile apps have been downloaded by over 30 lakh users so far,” Imran claimed, adding that he considers the general science in Hindi app as his completely “different” kind of one.