Tuesday, May 9, 2017

EDITOR'S COLUMN

Friends,

It’s been pretty hot all of April. Passing shower here and there has been of little use both in terms of water augmentation as well as tempering the rising mercury. Will May bring some respite with some south west monsoon! Or will it be worse than April? Will have to wait and see. Hope weather Gods decide to smile on the parched land across the country or sun strokes cannot be ruled out.
As usual Month-in-Perspective has covered most of the issues of relevance with our usual take. However, we have taken-up here two of the latest happening for the importance it deserved.
The killing of some 27 CRPF personnel by Maoists in Sukma, Chhattisgarh has been the worst of its kind in recent years. Although it’s not as bad as the 2010 attack in which 76 CRPF men perished, it’s bad all the same, since there have been improvement in security apparatus to deal with Maoists menace. What is reprehensible is Maoists attacked the police who had come to provide security to the road construction in the area. It was a development project they had attacked, truly speaking. Clearly they do not want the road to come in, which will help everybody, more so the locals. They have once again proved, they are the enemies of people not just the government of the day. Violence has only exacerbated the problem and this killing will force the hands of the authorities to get better of the Maoists. Yes, civil society members and so-called human rights groups are no where around to condemn the killing, who otherwise have a field day attacking the government over its handling of Kashmiri stone pelters, who routinely bring small children as shield. Hope both the state government and the centre would join hands to quickly respond to the growing clout of Maoist blood hounds.
Election to the Delhi Municipal Corporations has thrown up mostly a one sided result with BJP winning all three corporations. AAP with its government in Delhi couldn’t make much dent. Of the 270 seats in three corporations- North Delhi, South Delhi and East Delhi- BJP won 181 seats which is more than 2/3rd with AAP winning just 48 seats and Congress being poor third with just 30 seats. For a party which went home with over 95% seat share only 2 years ago, it’s a steep fall. It was disappointing to see Kejriwal still blaming EVMs, unlike his former colleague and beite noire Yogendra Yadav giving EVM a clean chit.  
As was the last election to five states with a clear tilt towards BJP, it looks BJP has truly arrived on the national scene as never before. From now on Arvind Kejriwal may at long last stop bragging. His personal ambition to play the national role has put paid to the growth of AAP. That is rather sad. The observation by his guru Anna Hazare “I am happy I have not joined AAP” has only rubbed salt to the growing disillusionment of general public with AAP. 
Come July, the Indian Presidential election shall be set in motion. There have been speculations of all kinds about the possible occupant of Rashtrapathi Bhavan. We have taken the issue of the 14th President of India under Focus. Besides the media speculation and in public space, about the possible candidate, we at I&C had our own pick in Azim Premji, currently India’s biggest philanthropist, as a possible candidate for the highest office of the land. Hope readers will like it. Do revert with your inputs.

J. Shriyan 


MONTH-IN-PERSPECTIVE

Punjab: Promising cleaner and leaner administration in Punjab, the new Chief Minister Captn. Amrinder Singh has reportedly banned foreign junkets for ministers. In India, political office, especially that of a minister is looked upon as a privilege and license to indulge in personal pleasures at the cost of state exchequer. That is fairly normal. In the past, we have heard of MLAs travelling to foreign countries, ostensibly to study and experience developments in those countries. That is only for public consumption. In their itinerary, visiting nightclubs were also included. So, it’s always been ‘Kiska baapka kya jaatha hai’.
Hence, the pre-emptive strike by the Chief Minister is a welcome development. Deciding issues in the first cabinet meeting, reportedly, all VIP culture shall be done away with. Except High Court judges, Ambulances and fire brigades, there shall be no red & coloured beacon lights on vehicle tops. Similarly no foreign travels for MLAs and ministers for the next 2 years, except mandated under some exchange programme etc.
Similarly all information regarding the declaration of net worth of all MLAs/Ministers to be made 1st Jan, every year. For 2017/18, 1st July has been fixed. So also, all salary and other payment to all MLAs/Ministers shall be uploaded on its official website for the information of public, and same shall be updated every month.
These are exemplary initiatives. Hope, Capt. Singh is serious about giving a clean and lean administration. We wish him all the very best to be a model government.

NEW DELHI: Aberrations like Tarun Vijay should be discarded by RSS if it wants to save its ‘fair’ name. This Vijay, who is neither Tarun (young) any more nor is fair skinned, has any right to mouth those stupidities like he did in a tele talk. He is reported to have stated “If we are racist, why would we have the entire south India and why do we live with them? We have black people all around us”.
This is the stupidest remark for any Indian to make with our multiple complexities. Besides, let’s face it, Indians, at least a good number of us, across the country, are racist. The attack on Nigerians is clearly racist, whatever the government try to portray. Drug dealers are all over India, and all are not Africans. There are whites in Goa doing the same besides many Indians and other nationals. How many of them have been attacked? We do have a problem, let’s accept it, and come up with some meaningful response instead of knee jerk reactions.
A Ph.d student from Africa was recounting his experience in Bengalooru with a rickshaw driver, some months ago. According to him, he was twice spat at by the rickshaw drivers for merely asking `2/- refund, after he paid `40/- for the rickshaw fare of `38/- and the rickshaw driver was reluctant to return the change of `2/-. He threw the 2 rupees coin after spitting at the student.
This is obnoxious. How can any civil society or government condone the behaviour of this stinker of a rickshaw driver? And he is doing it to a scholar, so what if he is black! In India, we have enough sick people. Thank God we are not a sick society. The governments, state and centre, as well as the civil society have a role cutout. We are talking about India’s inclusive, syncretic traditions. Where is it?

“Parents can evict abusive children”. The ruling by the Delhi High Court has not come a day too early. In this 21st century globalised world order, we have offsprings making life of their parents miserable. All their life these parents toiled to give their best to their children, through toddling days, to school, to college and until these children are on their own in terms of earning a livelihood. There are many who give their best in return to their parents, not because what they have given to them, may be even in spite of it, but because they are the parents. Many times, it may be difficult for parents to give even basic needs, but they gave their love and protection during their days of physical uncertainties.
Hence, an offspring has his duty to give as much happiness as possible to his/her parents in the evening, in the twilight years, of their life.
But as is the reality, there are enough and more children, who become a burden and even create difficulties to their parents as they walk towards their eventual sunset. There are sadly children, wishing their parents’ early demise even, only to acquire some property, a house or something tangible.
No wonder, the court has come heavily on these abusive children that they can be evicted from the residence by their ailing parents.
Two cheers to Justice Manmohan of Delhi High Court for this addition on the existing law of 2007 meant to protect life and property of senior citizens.

Samuel A Maverick, a Texan engineer and a cattle breeder who lived in Texas during 1803-1870, must be laughing in his grave, if he is still there in single piece. He was made famous by the Oxford University by including his surname Maverick in the Oxford Dictionary. Probably because of his uncertain and unsteady cattle breeding practices his name gave currency to the word. It fairly applies to the former professor at Harvard, an intellectual giant and currently a Member of Parliament, courtesy BJP, Subramanian Swamy. He is well known for walking in and out of controversy routinely. Either he follows the controversy or controversy follows him, so regularly.
And comes this report ascribing to Swamy, “Hindutva helped BJP win”. We all know, in the last assembly elections to 5 states, BJP did very well. It has done well for many reasons, whether its Modi’s win as Modi fans would say, or it’s a vote against the then ruling party in those states, or a possible churning among electorates to give BJP a chance or to a miniscule extent as Swamy says Hindutva helped, BJP win. So it’s not one factor that helped BJP win. Besides it was very likely, most Muslim women voted for BJP in the hope that this party, after all, may help them with their problem of triple talaq and other issues.
Hence for Subbu Swamy to say that its Hindutva only that helped BJP is a plain hogwash. These days, being only an MP does not keep him busy. He is certainly capable of bigger roles, but he is not being given. He is itching to take-up challenges, so either he is using his intellect to create a space for himself or somebody is using his immense potential to cause uncertainty/confusion in the minds of people.
In India, there are millions of Indians, who are not supporters of BJP per se, but may not mind it emerge a numero uno political party in the country. They are also aware that BJP can give a secular government which is truly secular in both precept and practice, if they honestly attempt.
Hence, those who are trying to use Swami to mislead the nation should rethink their strategy. This would help both the country as well as BJP in the long run.

Certainly Leander Paes, the Indian tennis ace deserved a better treatment by the non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathy. For sure, 43 year old veteran is not in the pink of his youth. He should leave on his own and allow others to come in. But that didn’t happen. Here the issue was not that he didn’t want younger players to come in. The issue was the simmering differences that were witnessed since last many years between Mahesh and Leander. They had broken off their partnership since over a decade. For whatever reasons, one could break a relationship. It is personal. But it should not affect their professionalism. Mahesh Bhupathi could have been more forthcoming with his decision to have youngsters for both singles and doubles for the latest Davis Cup tie. It is another matter that the Davis Cup match between Uzbekistan & India, ended in India winning 4:1 and the gamble worked. He probably had decided already not to play Leander, but kept to himself. Leander had reportedly travelled all the way from Mexico only to play in the Davis Cup doubles tie. But was told, on reaching Bengalooru, that he is not in the team. That was rather very unprofessional. This was the first time since 27 years that Paes has been dropped from Davis Cup team. He made his debut in 1990 while playing against Japan in Jaipur. Although it may not be the end of his tennis career, it has certainly left an eminently avoidable bad taste in the mouth.

There was this report in the media “Sachin & Rekha should resign from Rajya Sabha if not interested”.
That both of them are not interested is very clear from their abysmal attendance. Reportedly Naresh Agarwal, an MP from Samajwadi Party had remarked in Rajya Sabha that “The entire session is over but we haven’t seen them whether its Tendulkar or Rekha. If they do not have interest in attending parliament they should resign.”
Controversy involving both cricketer Tendulkar and film actor Rekha has been there in the public space since sometime for their dismal attendance in the Rajya Sabha, to which they are nominated.
There are some 12 members nominated by the President as per Article 80(3) of the Constitution. They are there for their special knowledge, or practical experience in the fields of literatures, science, art and social service. But more often than not, they are recommended for nomination for reasons other than what is mentioned in the constitution.
Among the current 12 members 5 were nominated by the earlier UPA government and they are Anu Aga, a Pune based industrialist, Sachin Tendulkar, a cricketer & Rekha, a film actor, all nominated together in 2012. All of them have a very poor record of attendance or participating in debate. K. Parasaran and KTS Tulsi are both senior advocates. Reportedly KTS Tusli is the most active with most questions asked. Remaining 7 members are NDA nominees, since April 2016.
Coming to Rekha and Tendulkar who will retire in less than one year from now are known for their poor show. There were 348days of session (RS) so far and Rekha has attended 18 of them and Tendulkar 23 of them, that is 5% and less than 7%, but both were paid Rs. 65 lakhs to Rekha and Rs. 58.8 lakhs to Tendulkar.
Their useless presence cost the exchequer some Rs. 1.24 crore that is Rs. 6.16 lakh per day of attendance. It is colossal waste of national resources. What was the purpose and to whose benefit they were nominated as Rajya Sabha members?

I have differences with the singer on some other issues, but on ‘azaan’ and other loud noises coming from places of worship; I am in complete agreement with him. In fact, I was mulling on this issue for quite some time, when a sick person I was attending, was rudely woken up by an afternoon ‘azaan’ call for prayer.
Hassan is social worker attached to a school run by a Masjid Committee. The school is very near the mosque. All through the school timing when the classes are on, ‘azaan’ goes on uninterrupted. When I asked him, if there is any way the mosque authorities can turn the blaring loud speaker away from the school, he expressed his helplessness. However he brought a smile on my face when he said, there were no loud speakers or even electricity when Prophet Mohammed started it all. Indeed, it is so very true coming from a Muslim faithful. There may be many among Muslims and others who are not happy about the noise from places of worship. As a citizen, I support any move to stop loud noise coming from all places of worship, be it temple, mosque or any other place of prayer. In fact, as a responsible citizen, I am all for a uniform policy about sound pollution in the public space. There has to be a regulation in this regard.
Sonu Nigam should be congratulated for bringing up the issue, unlike some condemning him on so-called religious intolerance.
Here I want to recollect what happened to an Englishman who had newly come to a middle-eastern country just across the blue waters. When he was woken-up by the early morning ‘azaan’, he complained to the authorities. Local police visited his residence and was promptly deported back to U.K by the first available flight. Any comments!

Rajasthan: Cow vigilantes and those ministers and leaders who support them or justify their actions are a disgrace to Hinduism and to RSS. Surely no true RSS member would ever do this. I am not an RSS member, but have friends who are RSS activists, who are embodiment of peace and harmony. Hence RSS must clearly take a stand condemning all cow vigilantism.
What happened in Rajasthan, is bizarre to say the least. A dairy farmer carrying a milking cow for his dairy activity was lynched in the presence of his son, despite the papers to justify the transportation of the cow. This is most cruel and the justification by the minister saying “Cow vigilantes did a good job, but broke the law by beating up people”, is outlandish. It shows the complete lack of sensitivity of the gravity where a person was lynched to death, without any rhyme or reason.
This is completely unacceptable. There has to be enough checks to control this vigilante lunacy. The election results favouring BJP is not a license to terrorise people who are law abiding and going about their livelihood earning without causing any problem to the law and order. The perpetrators of the crime at Alwar should be jailed without any bail, since they are a threat to the public order. Vasundhara Raje must take the call to rein in these anti-social elements masquerading as gau rakshaks.

Jharkhand: There is so much ruckus and even crap in the media, that news on human dimension are either ignored or relegated to innocuous space, since they neither have USP or TRP for media.
There was this report in the Deccan Herald (DH) of 20th March in its sports page on one Gopal Bhengra. I am grateful to DH for this beautiful report, which other papers did not care to carry and electronic media had no time for.
The report also carried the sunnier side, hither to unknown, of Sunny Gavaskar, the cricket maestro of yesteryears. Gopal Bhengra, an unknown hero to the present cricket crazy Indians, was the ace hockey player who played for India in the 1978 Buenos Aires World Cup, when India narrowly missed a semi-final spot.
Once his playing days were over, and he retired from the Indian Army, he was completely lost into the national amnesia. With just `1475/- monthly pension he had to take up stone crushing which gave him another `50/- a day, life was clearly difficult. May be this is the story of most of our sports persons of yesteryears, courtesy the apathetic policies of our sports ministries and associations affiliated to these ministries, including Indian Hockey Association.
And comes in CHAMPS -Caring, Helping, Assisting, Motivating, Promoting Sports persons- FOUNDATION, a Mr. & Mrs. Sunil Gavaskar initiative.
Beginning from 1990, Gopal Bhengra has been reportedly receiving `7500/- per month, every month for all these 26/27 years. That’s a staggering over `25 lakhs.
No wonder Gopal hailing from Vyur Gorai, some 55 KMs from Ranchi always wanted to meet his God sent saviour from the imminent squalor, even going to bed half hungry. His deep desire was fulfilled to his greatest joy at Ranchi’s JSCA stadium on 19th March, where he met the cricket legend, who was the commentator at the ongoing 3rd test between India & Australia. Recollecting his meeting, the ace hockey player remarked “I have waited for so long for this moment and I really don’t have word” was his grateful reaction.
Do you harken, Mr. Union Sports Minister, Goel! What it means to take care of sports & sportsmen? Mr. Sunil Gavaskar deserves a standing ovation. But where is the crowd? They have no time. This is Yeh Mera India.

Maharashtra: It is heartening to read that all Airlines have joined together to boycott this goonda Member of Parliament belonging to ShivSena. They should not buckle under government pressure, if any. But what is surprising and therefore saddening is, there is no out-pouring from the ‘freedom brigades’, whether communists or their fellow travelers or those social media icons coming to the defense of Air India duty manager. This shows the double standard of our ‘champions of civil liberties’ in the public space. Actually in the media, as well as in social platform, there should be pressure for this uncouth, uncivil & arrogant Member of Parliament to be sacked. It is surprising that nobody has gone to the court with a PIL to get this MP disqualified.

As ultimate arbiter of justice, courts whether sessions, high courts or even apex court, the highest court of India should apply themselves fully before pronouncing their judgement. The reports like “HC directs striking doctors to resume work.” Or “HC orders striking….” etc conveys a lack of understanding of the suffering of doctors working in the front line, like casualty deptt, outpatient deptt. etc. who are in direct contact with patients, at all times.
The recent case of a doctor being hit by the relatives of a patient, when the doctor lost his eye sight, is a serious issue. That seriousness, the authorities, both government as well the judiciary need to take it on its face value. How would a person work, if his physical safety is not certain? Judges concerned must put themselves in the position of a doctor in the line of front line duty.
Judges, everywhere, are provided with proper security cover for any physical apprehension. The same security, although not demanded by the doctors, their vulnerability to assault need to be appreciated and acted upon, and not just order them or direct them, because law empowers the judges. Case of doctors, although covered under essential services, should be dealt separately, as there have been many instances of doctors both male and female coming under physical attack.
The state must necessarily take it very seriously the issue of safety of doctors on duty. That’s prima facie, is no big deal.

Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation, reportedly the richest civic body in the country, has an annual budget of some `40,000 crores, and yet a fish market in Bandra built some over 80 years ago does not have a working toilet, either for men or for women.
Bandra is a Mumbai Suburb, where ShivSena chief Thackray and his family live. Daily, family helpers must be buying fish for Thackrays, but never bothered to know, if they need any help, especially when Thackray’s ShivSena controls the richest civic body.
Sitting in the ivory tower and mobilizing resources for the party, Thackray has little time for worrying about fish vending women folks, despite they are all being Marathi Manoos.
Reportedly the over 80 years old BMC market in Bandra, having some 500 vendors, including 140 fish vendors, all women, open from 9 in the morning till 10 in the night has four toilets, 2 for men and 2 for women. But none of them have access to water supply. In a toilet, which is already dilapidated with broken doors and without light, if water is not available, how at all it can be used? And Bandra is one of the top suburbs of Mumbai, the financial capital of India. Clearly a poor reflection on the successive administration of the civic body’s civic functions. And BMC takes all its rent from users, who used wash room of neighboring residential houses, especially women folks. They even pay for water to clean their work place in the market and for drinking water.
It is very sad commentary on the city fathers and their civic staff who are all alert to make their share of money, whether rightly or wrongly, and do not attend to even as basic as a toilet for women folks where they sit for close to 8 to 10 hours every day. When shall we have the deliverance from such nation servers? Oh poor mother India!

Kisan Baburao Hazare, aka Anna Hazare is a deeply saddened man at the free fall of his protégé Arvind Kejriwal. In a social interactive session in Ralegan-Siddhi, Anna is reported to have remarked “Arvind shattered my dream”. India Against Corruption was a movement by Anna Hazare and he was joined by many including Arvind Kejriwal. Indians are privy to the development how Aam Aadmi Party came about after Kejriwal deserted Anna Camp. Its 49 days Delhi government, its Loksabha attempt and then the Feb.2015 Delhi election that gave AAP 67 of 70 seats, and India thought AAP has arrived. But the unceremonious sacking of 4 founding members including Prof Yogendra Yadav and Prasanth Bhushan led to the beginning of disenchantment with the newest political party, the AAP. AAP was suddenly reduced to a one man party; some even called it Arvind Akela Party.
The huge majority in Delhi election destroyed Kejriwal’s sense of proportion. Almost on weekly basis, he had running feud with his Lt. Governor and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has a mistaken notion of himself in superlative terms. Slowly and steadily, he didn’t realize, he was losing acceptability in the public space. Elections to Punjab and Goa came, where Kejriwal dreamt of capturing power. As luck would have it, he was a distant second to Congress in Punjab and in Goa, his party drew blank. But the proverbial nail on the coffin came in the recently held by-election in Delhi, where his AAP rules, where Kejriwal is the Chief Minister. AAP candidate came poor third losing to his arch rival BJP and Congress came second. That the AAP candidate lost even his deposit was the ‘unkindest cut’ of all. Suddenly high flying Arvind Kejriwal had landed on the solid earth with a thud. His dramatic penchant for wild and unsubstantiated allegation against Lt. Governor and PM Modi, had its singular impact after all.
Shunglu report added to the mental trauma AAP was undergoing. Anna was generally reacting to the report which accused AAP/Kejriwal of gross misuse of power besides the huge expenditure AAP was incurring on its promotional advertisements. That which goes-up has to come down is the law of nature. Do not rub people on the wrong side as you go up since you may have to meet them on your way down. That’s the lesson Arvind Kejriwal has to learn perforce.

TAMIL NADU: So, at long last some sense has prevailed on the warring AIADMK factions. Post Jayalalitha death Sasikala took over the AIADMK as if it was her property and none objected. O. Panneerselvam, ‘disturbed’ by his conscience rebelled and few members joined him. For Sasikala, it was a minor storm in the tea-cup. With the power of money she managed the huge majority of party MLAs to her side. Apex court came calling to tell her to go to Parappana Agrahara Jail in Bengalooru. Before leaving for her prison term she made one of the MLA, EK Palaniswami, as Chief Minister and anoints her nephew Dinakaran as deputy general secretary, who was sacked from the AIADMK membership by the ‘almighty’ Jayalalitha herself, many years ago.
So here is a bunch of elected representatives, prostrating before a criminal in jail for political power and lure of money mortgaging completely their sense of any human values and their commitment to their electorates. To make them subservient even more, she hoists another ‘criminal’ Dinakaran to complete the servility of entire AIADMK apparatus to the diktats of a woman in jail for proven crimes of corruption. And sadly, very sadly indeed, they take it lying down.
Then you have another joker O Panneerselvam who is incapable, inefficient and a poor manager, but had the blessings of Jaya as an obedient worker. He had completely failed to galvanize the rank and file of AIADMK to muster support for his just rebellion.
Thus, overconfidence does the inevitable nonchalance. Dinakaran tries to bribe EC, and his broker-in-between gets caught.
Suddenly there is ‘awakening’ among AIADMK MLAs in the Sasikala camp. They realize that so far they had mortgaged their soul, which is now not letting them sleep. They call on the original rebel and build bridges to reach out.
And what should have happened immediately after the death of Jaya, happened. Sasikala and her over ambitions nephew Dinakar were dumped into the dustbin of AIADMK politics, hopefully never to be retrieved. This is the best thing to happen. O Panneerselvam should accept a number 2 or 3 position and leave CM to the incumbent EK Palaniswami. Surely they will live happily ever after. This is certainly better than the one family rule by Karunanidhi & company. Now Stalin, the CM hopeful is worried. Long Live Vox Populi.

Karnataka: If you had a joker of Tarun Vijay, a former Rajya Sabha MP, now we have another joker from Karnataka.
If Tarun Vijay had mouthed pearls of hatred while reacting to attacks on Nigerians in Noida, we have this Basavaraj Rayareddy, that too a higher education minister. Reportedly this joker of a minister in Siddaramaiah government in Bengalooru had remarked “Let Modi die, if he wants power”. This minister was reportedly reacting on the banning of red lights on VIP vehicles in Delhi and across the country. What is the relation between the banning of red beacon atop vehicles and “Let Modi die”, was not clear. But it clearly indicated the deep hatred this Rayareddy had for Prime Minister Modi for whatever reasons. But then there are many who do not like or even hate Modi, like Rahul Gandhi, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mamata Bannerji and others. But surely they would never wish PM Modi death, at least publicly.
These mindsets where people announce awards on the head of somebody or wish somebody death, is reflection of a sick mind and sick society.
In a nation where a section, only harps on right to freedom of expression without a sense of responsibility, cannot go too far, either in its practice of democracy or in creating responsible and responsive society and citizenry.
There has to be concerted campaign to isolate and condemn people like Tarun Vijay and Rayareddy. There were media members who lampooned Tarun Vijay but none have strangely condemned this motormouth minister Basavaraj Rayareddy. That is media for you in India.
       
Kerala: This is truly nothing to do with Kerala per se. But a weekly THE WEEK had carried an interview with Alankrita Shrivatsav, the director of film “Lipstick Under My Burkha”.
When I first read the title of the film, I thought, some Muslim outfits will throw some fits. It did happen on a small scale. A Bhopal based group All India Muslim Tehwar Committee had alleged that the film was “against the dignity of our women and Tenets of Islam”. It ended is a whimper. But the earthquake was because of our great Censor Board under Nihalani. This gentleman has his own take on lot of issues and tries to force it. He routinely walks in and out of controversy.
But what is outlandish was the comment of this Alankrita Shrivatsav. She had blasted “CBFC is ill-equipped to judge a film. They are archaic, regressive and illogical. Shouldn’t they view cinema keeping the word cinema in the mind?” “It is becoming obvious that as filmmakers we do not enjoy the freedom of expression available to filmmakers in other democratic countries. Censorship of films in a democracy makes no sense”.
The fact, she said what she is reported to have said, clearly proves that there is enough and more freedom of expression. But clearly her statements were pretty sweeping bordering on arrogant anarchy. As children we were told, Right and Responsibility go hand in hand. You cannot have right without responsibility. May be Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has gone overboard with chairman calling the shot. May be his observation on the film needs a revisit but this outburst is disturbing.
In an evolving world, with digital platform airing all kinds of stuff including rubbish, to say that “Censorship makes no sense” is a misplaced hype, meant for college campuses. A film maker with a social message has a responsibility to be even handed because theatres unlike digital portals, are there for masses, and all films need be censured where needed, especially in a complex country like India. Of course that does not give license to Censor Board to behave with an attitude of “We know better”. It must try to be as liberal as is possible within our socio-political constraints without stretching it too far. Of course Nihakani need to circumspect his role vis-s-vis changing ethos of India in a globalised environment.    

   World: The great U.S President Donald Trump is a bit of a hard nut. He became a president purely on the strength of his hype about Great America to be made the greatest. It’s not that he didn’t have points. It’s also true that lot of Americans have been swept by his flourish.
With the same flourish addressing a Joint Session of Congress on 28th Feb, he was reported to have stated “Ninty four million Americans are out of the labour force”. Is it a hype or real! The TIME of March 13, informs “This statistic is misleading”. According to the TIME more than 88 million Americans who did not have a job in 2016 didn’t want any job, as per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This includes large number of retirees, stay at home parents, students and people who are disabled. Now, clearly, 45th U.S President Mr. Donald Trump is bluffing the nation and by extension, the world. So, does this mean, the Supreme Commander of U.S forces, as its 1st citizen cannot be taken on his face value?!

Like human urges are same all over the world, so are their emotions. But what about being reasonable or fair? Westerners have always claimed themselves to be more fair unlike others, which includes their judiciary consisting of judges.
In India, we have seen, heard and even witnessed cases of judicial miscarriage due to varieties of factors. These factors are believed to be non-existent in these western countries. Is it really so!
Comes this case from Jerusalem in Israel. Jewish judges in Jerusalem have refused a divorce to a victim of domestic violence, because they thought he had good reason to be violent with his wife and that he has regretted and expressed remorse and that it would not recur again.
But, these judges failed to or refused to acknowledge that the husband was jailed earlier for assaulting his wife. Since then charged with attacking her on two more occasion.
He is violent, and his wife says “I want to leave you’, husband gets angry and beats her again. But court says “because you said, ‘I want to leave you’, he has beaten you and hence he can be excused for his violence”.
Now, is this too much or three much! Wife is desperate to leave her husband since he is violent. But the court in Jerusalem thinks “Violence not good enough reason for divorce”.
What do we call this, if not miscarriage of justice?!

There was this report by REUTERS, datelined Beirut ascribing to United Nations “UN official quits over pressure to withdraw Israel report”.
There is nothing new, about UN being pressured at the instance of United States. The official in question, Rima Khalaf, the UN Under- Secretary General, is a Jordanian. Therefore, some vested interest can be ascribed, which may or may not be right, but Israel always got away with murder, especially during hard-line leadership of Netanyahu at Tel Aviv.
The report by the Economic & Social Commission for Western Asia comprising 18 Arab states had clearly charged that “Israel had established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.” However Israel, protected and supported by the US, has fiercely rejected the allegation, as was the norm. Wide world is fully aware of the expansionist attitude of the present regime in Israel, which was building housing colonies for Israelis or construction of Jewish settlements in the land belonging to Palestinians occupied by Israel on the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Both Barack Obama and European Union Countries, including Germany and France had decried in the past, the Israeli occupation of the land agreed to be part of Palestine.
This once again proves, for the umpteenth time, the toothlessness of the United Nations Organization. That is rather sad.

J.Shriyan

What They Said

I am referring to your perspective on Mr. S M Krishna, former CM, Karnataka and former Minister of MEA at the federal government (p.8, Issues & Concerns, March, 2007)
You are, first, critical of Krishna's personal political behaviour and second, based on his age, you think he is in no way significant politically or socially. Thereby, you are condemning all those who are old just because Krishna is 84.
On the other hand he feels personally he was humiliated by the leadership; based on my readings, he was shifted from MEA, as leadership desired to have close relations with China. I have called it since Narasimha Rao, Government under Congress has played second fiddle to China. You can assess the differences by comparing and contrasting Indian handling of China and its all weather friend, Pakistan. Hence, if he joins BJP, it might offer him a post of governor. He can, then write his memoirs. He was a Fulbright fellow.
Prof. P M Kamath, Director of VPM Centre for 
International Studies (Regd) Mumbai. Via email

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Your Focus on KHAIRLANJI MASSACRE (I&C April) is very sensitively written piece on the contemporary India’s cruel face. It is indeed one of the darkest chapter in India’s contemporary history.                                                                    Dr. Pradeep Patkar, Panvel, Navi Mumbai

KHAIRLANJI- Shame of a Nation (I&C April) is a gripping account of one of the dark episode of modern India where for all these 70 years of free India Dalits have suffered at the hands of upper caste wolves. What happened in Khairlanji is the reflection of a deep routed hatred of caste Hindus towards Dalits, that they should languish at the bottom to remain at the beck and call of these upper caste goons. Dalits shouldn’t dare to improve their lot is the view of this section of Indians, is the saddest commentary on the evolving Indian society. I&C has kept alive the issue of gross injustice to dalits while informing how civil society connived to perpetuate this despicable inhuman and cruel acts of these enemies of civilized society by joining hands with perpetrators of the crime, where even police actively participated. What a fall it was!                       C. Shekar, Mysore

Pinarayi Vijayan sandal issue (Month-in-Perspective I&C April-2017) Responsible person's irresponsible perception. Good advice on Sandal.                       Niranjan Thipperudraiah, Via FB

Pinarayi Vijayan sandal issue (Month-in-Perspective I&C April-2017)  Well said! All these pseudo secularists should be condemned! There is limit for everything ! As you said these organisers of bandh should have totally ignored these worthless Sauharda mela and its organisers!!                                               Pnm Ramprasad, Via FB 

Where are Tolerant Khans (Month-in-Perspective I&C April-2017) These Khans, who make lot of money, have their own agenda, and pretend they have not seen or heard anything.                                                          Chandrashekhar Salian, Via FB


FOCUS

THE 14TH PRESIDENT OF INDIA

J. Shriyan

On 25th July 2017, the first citizen of India, the current occupant of Indian presidential palace, the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, Pranab Mukherji, shall relinquish his office as the 13th President of India. He is a politician with over 60 years of political exposure. Has done a fair and non-controversial job as Supreme Commander of India’s Armed forces. These last 5 years he tried to be a statesman, so late in the day. Occasionally he has been mouthing platitudes of a visionary. Knowing his journey in the political party he belonged, his sanctimonious utterances appeared somewhat boorish. Be that as it may, his 5 years term was marked with bonhomie with the government of parties opposed to his own political lineage. There has been no acrimony of any visible kind between two parts of the executive, defacto and dejure, head of the government and the head of the state. This is good for the country.
Now that the present incumbent is on the verge of vacating the Viceregal Palace in some 3 months time, the talks are making its rounds, about the likely new head of the state.
Before the recently held election to 5 states, there were political uncertainties about the candidate. Will the ruling combine have its candidate elected as the 14th president of India? But the election results have put to rest any uncertainty in this regard. The NDA, dominated by BJP, is very well placed to bring its candidate as the next occupant of Rashtrapathi Bhavan.
But, who is going to be the person? is naturally making its round, going in circles. The names being frequently mentioned include senior BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani. Following him is LokSabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Member of Parliament and senior BJP leader Prof Murli Manohar Joshi is the third one. All these names are from BJP and hence one of them may be possible, depending on whose face Mr. Modi likes among these three.
Then you have ShivSena and Jaffar Sheriff ‘combined’ proposal of RSS chief Mohan Bhagvat, for the presidentship. Amitabh Bachchan and Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar are other two names making rounds in the media. CNN/IBN thinks Pawar is the likely candidate.
Along with lot of permutations and combinations, like, support base in RSS and among party cadres, popularity among parliamentarians are the factors being shown as influencing the decision.
But what about the big brother Modi! It is he who decides, who can be his dejure boss. And he is keeping his choice, as usual, close to his heart.
 In the meanwhile, let’s look at the names mentioned above.

Lal Krishna Advani, or LK Advani, as is known, is a Pakistani by birth so also schooled and colleged in Karachi, the commercial capital of Pakistan. Crossed over to India during partition and settled in the then Bombay. He completed his law graduation from the premier institute of law, the Government Law College affiliated to Bombay University.
His RSS connection goes back to his teens, while in Karachi. After migrating to India, his association with the Sangh Parivar only grew to greater heights in tandem with its political wing Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Jana Sangh was founded in 1951 by Shyama Prasad Mukharjee. From being secretary to the General Secretary of Jana Sangh, LKA soon became the General Secretary. Clearly he was meant for bigger roles. Soon he became the President of Delhi Jana Sangh followed by the leadership of Delhi Metropolitan Council. While helping the RSS mouthpiece ORGANISER, he became a member of the national executive of Jana Sangh. Recognizing his ability and talent he was made the president of Jana Sangh in 1973. By 1982, he was already a Rajya Sabha member for 2 terms of 12 years. However in the period prior to 1982, post emergency period of Indira Gandhi regime, he became a LokSabha Member in 1977 due to the political polarization leading to the birth of Janata Party. He became the first Minister of Information and Broadcasting of Janata experiment. However the experiment did not last long. Jana Sangh, part of the Janata Party left the rainbow coalition to form what is now Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP). From a poor 2 seats in 1984, it grew to 86 seats n 1989. In the meanwhile LKA became the president of BJP and embarked upon his now famous ‘Rathyaatra’ criss crossing the country to ignite BJP supporters to the cause of temple for Lord Rama at Ayodhya so also to bring in more and new supporters. This, to some extent, helped BJP to do better politically & electorally. He had a questionable role, in the demolition of old Babri Masjid structure in Ayodhya, where supposedly Lord Rama was born. This could probably haunt him for some time. In 1996, when BJP emerged as the single largest party, its government lasted just 13days only. Wisdom prevailed to join a coalition, based on minimum consensus programme. Thus National Democratic Alliance- NDA- was formed. And it won the majority in 1998 and formed the first NDA government. It lasted 13 months, but the fresh election brought it back to power to last until 2004. In this government LKA played a very important role as Deputy Prime Minister. For 10 long years NDA remained out of power to return in 2014, but LKA was denied any ministerial role due to the 75 years limitation started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The years between 2004 and 2014 saw Narendra Modi, emerging as the undisputed Numero Uno of BJP because of his huge grassroots following. Certainly, seniors in BJP felt sidelined. But the fact of the matter is, Modi did what others couldn’t do. He brought BJP back to power in 2014, single handedly.
LKA, as of now, is in political ‘vanavas’. He enjoys no role, he gives no interviews and reportedly he has stated that he is “not in the race for India’s Presidentship”.
As a political public figure, except the Babri Masjid demolition imbroglio, he had fairly a clean record. Jain Hawala scam did touch and go, but apex court cleared LKA due to ‘no credible evidence against him’. Kushwant Singh, the well known journalist, had reportedly described LKA as “really one of the most able, cool headed, courteous and clean politician left to-day.” According to him he was “pretty certain that he (LKA) will never be unfair to Muslims, if he becomes a minister.”
The description by Kushwant Singh is generally fair. Although LKA is a bit of Hindutva hardliner, he has no adversaries among opposition leaders. His public demeanor is very polished and he is not a rabble raiser. He is a good communicator. In fact Mamata Bannerji, despite her hatred of PM Narendra Modi and her dislike of BJP, had gone on record to endorse LKA for Presidentship after Pranab Mukjerjee.
Speaking at the 80th anniversary of Brahma Kumaris recently, he recollected his association with RSS, and how he imbibed discipline and honesty which helped mould his character, “I have, in my life and conduct, never compromised my principles” he was reported to have stated on the occasion.
89 years old LKA is a good candidate, if BJP, rather Modi, decide to nominate him as its candidate to occupy the Viceregal Palace. LKA will surely bring quite dignity to the office of the President of India.

Sumitra Jayant Mahajan, is the present speaker of Loksabha. Born into a chitpaavan family, she is an M.A and did her LLB, both from Indore University, which is presently known as Devi Ahilya University. She came into active politics little late. However once she took to politics it was like duck into the water. 1984-85 saw her as the Deputy Mayor of Indore Municipal Corporation. In 1989, she tried her luck in Loksabha election and won against a formidable Congress candidate P.C. Sethi, a former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. She actively worked for her constituency by bringing many development projects, through Railways, Civil aviation and Urban Development ministries. No wonder she won from the same constituency for an incredible 8 times from 1989 to 2014. She is known for her simplicity, honesty and clean politics. Reportedly she has a clean track record and has always kept herself away from group politics. She was the president of BJP Mahila Morcha for Madhya Pradesh. During all these years in parliament, she was very active and was, in one committee or the other, for all her 25 years in Loksabha. Three times she was minister in the government of Atal Bihari Vajapayee. In party, she grew up to General Secretary level in 1988/89. In February 2017, she was honoured by LIMCA book of records by including her name for being the ‘First Indian to represent the same LokSabha constituency on the same party ticket for 8 times in a row’. This speaks volumes of her persona.
As a presidential candidate she has enough and more credentials. In age she is younger at 74 years. If NDA decides to nominate her, she will be elected without much opposition.

Prof. Murli Manohar Joshi, an RSS man since 1953, is also a senior leader of BJP with a long standing. During 1991/93 he was the president of BJP. He was the Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee led NDA government.
An M.Sc in Physics, he did the rare Phd, in Hindi in Physics, both from Allahabad University. He was teaching at Allahabad University for quite some time. He spent some 2 years in jail during the emergency days. Janata party, formed post emergency days, made Joshi its General Secretary. When BJP was formed after Janata split, he again became Gen. Secretary of BJP. Since then he held different positions in the party leading up to presidentship.
As a 4 time MP, he had the privilege of vacating his regular parliamentary seat of Varanasi to Narendra Modi. His popularity was such that he won his current parliamentary seat from Kanpur by a margin of some 2.25 lakhs votes. Thus, he not only has grass root acceptance, he is also well versed in parliamentary politics besides his background as a faculty at Allahabad University. All these should stand in good stead for his consideration to the highest position of the land.

Mohan Madhukar Bhagwat, born post Indian independence in Sept. 1950, is the present Sarsanghchaalak, or the Chief of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh(RSS). His name came into currency because of the proposal which came from ShivSena, an ally of BJP in NDA, so also in the state of Maharashtra. ShivSena was only trying to fish in the ruffled water in just being different from its love/hate partner BJP. ShivSena chief Uddhav Thackray, unlike his father, is an unsteady man without any ideology or philosophy. Hence his proposal is not likely to have any impact. However, strangely the name of Mohan Bhagwat was repeated by Jaffar Sharif, a Congress politician from Bangalooru. Of course , the kind of political background he is coming from, he too need not be taken seriously.
However, since Mohan Bhagwat, is part of the Sangh Pariwar, he is being discussed here without much relevance to the topic on hand. Although, in politics anything can happen. Sheriff himself was a driver to the Congress President late Nijalingappa and was a carrier of news/secrets to Indira Gandhi which helped him gain her confidence and he slowly became a prominent Congress politician. After all there is no specific qualification needed to be a politician. Being an opportunist is enough.
Born in Chandrapur, Maharashtra, Mohan Bhagwat is a graduate in Veterinary Science. While doing his P.G, he joined RSS as a full time worker (prachaarak) and gave up his studies. His father too was a senior functionary of RSS. Being a full time worker, dedicated and committed, he grew slowly through the ranks and became the Chief of the organization at the age of 59, supposedly the youngest leader to head the organization in recent times.
With the kind of background, he is from; he is very unlikely to be proposed, as his exposure is not complementary to the functioning of Indian Presidency. Both ShivSena and Jaffar Shariff had only mischief in their mind when they proposed his name. It is also true that RSS chief had recently stated that he is not interested in the Indian presidentship, while adding “Such a news is only for entertainment”.

Sharatchandra Govindrao Pawar, or Sharad Pawar is a political heavy weight. Born to an unlettered Farmers Co-operative employee in Dec 1940, Sharad Pawar grew in stature like a colossus all over his native Maharashtra, through means both right and wrong. He is the most influential politician of all times, both in national and state politics, despite being involved in many controversial issues, and even scams.
In his over 75 years of life, he occupied most positions of power both in state politics as Chief Minister and in Centre as Cabinet Minister under different dispensations. He also nursed an ambition to be the Prime Minister, and why not? In a country where Haradanahalli Doddegawda Deve Gowda can be the Prime Minister, anybody can be, according to Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Without being a cricketer, Sharad Pawar was involved in big time cricket, including that of the Presidentship of International Cricket Council besides, that of BCCI & Maharashtra Cricket Association(MCA) . Only recently he left MCA after Supreme Court fixed 75 years age bar for cricket association office bearers. He is a machinist par excellence, in influencing courses of many events that benefitted him and his activities. He was involved in controversies galore, of every conceivable kind including his alleged contacts with underworld fugitive Dawood Ibrahim. He had friends in high places and used his political office and position to the advantage of his family and friends. Despite all negatives, BJP under Modi, strangely took help from Pawar’s NCP to prove its majority in Maharashtra assembly, when ShivSena played difficult. Modi an anti-corruption man took help of corrupt Pawar to save the day for his party. That’s real politic. And the same government of Modi awarded Sharad Pawar with the 2nd highest civilian award of Padma Vibhushan. Did he deserve it? If so under what category? That was indeed funny. Therefore could it be as CNN/IBN so confidently says that the NDA government will propose Sharad Pawar as the next President. Indeed sometime truth can be stranger than fiction.

Some even mentioned Cine Star Amitabh Bachchan to be a probable candidate for presidency of India. Long ago, when Rajeev Gandhi was the Prime Minister, he had appointed and announced the appointment of Amitabh Bachchan as the chairman of Nehru Centenary Celebration Committee. Rajeev Gandhi was a prime minister of India, due to an accident. He didn’t know what was he doing. That was how he lost the power despite 414 seats in the 1984/89 Loksabha. There was an uproar in the media post announcement of Bachchan’s appointment. It was soon withdrawn. Bachchan & Gandhi’s were family friends. So Rajeev Gandhi thought as PM he is free to do as he liked. After all India knew Amitabh only as a film actor. Of course courtesy Rajeev Gandhi, Bachchan had become Member of Parliament after some years. He even became a film star too due to the intervention of Rajeev’s mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. 
Bachchan has been a successful Hindi film star, made enough name, fame and fortune. He is a very good communicator. He has a huge presence on the stage. He is a very well known face in the public space. He is very well educated. However, is he an Indian president material? But at 76, Amitabh Bachchan is better than Ronald Reagan, a former U.S president, who too was a Hollywood actor.
If these lady and gentlemen were being talked about in the media and public space as the possible next 1st citizen of India, then we at I&C have our own take. In 2002, we had envisioned APJ Abdul Kalam as the next incumbent at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan.
This time we at I&C are envisioning a president who is a technocrat, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist.

Azim Hashim Premji, born in Mumbai, to Ismaili Shia Community is a rare modern day philanthropist India has seen, who is a technocrat and an entrepreneur employing thousands in his WIPRO LTD, a multi products/services company. In 2004 and in 2011, he was one of the 100 most influential people, according to the TIME magazine. In 2010, ASIA WEEK had voted Azim Premji as one of the 20 most powerful men in the world.
Born in 1945 to a wealthy businessman Muhammed Hasheem Premji, also known as Rice King of Burma, young Azim, despite having been born with silver spoon, is a man equally rich at heart. A Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in the U.S., took over the reins of Western India Vegetable Products Ltd., upon the passing away of his father in 1966. From a hydrogenated oil manufacturing company, Azim diversified the company into multi product entity. Realising the potential of Information Technology, he entered the high technology sector in 1980 and made huge strides to be known as the CZAR of Indian IT Industry to emerge as one of the global leaders in the Software Industry. Business Week recognized him as one of the Greatest Entrepreneurs for being responsible for his company WIPRO emerging as one of the world’s fastest growing companies. Among other recognitions are doctorates conferred on him. Manipal University and Mysore University have conferred doctorates to Azim Premji. So also he received Economic Times (ET) Life Time Achievement award. Government of India awarded him with both Padma Bhushan in 2005 and Padma Vibhushan in 2011.
However what is truly exclusive about Azim Premji is his outlook on social reach-out initiatives. He is the first Indian to sign-up for THE GIVING PLEDGE initiated by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, two of the world’s richest individuals.
THE GIVING PLEDGE encourages wealthy individuals to make a commitment to give most of their wealth to philanthropic causes. Azim Premji is the 2nd richest man in India with over US$ 16 billion net worth, that is in rupee terms over 110,000 crores. And he has pledged 50% of that to give it away and already given away over 80% of the pledged commitment. Wesleyan University in Middle town, Connecticut, U.S, has awarded Premji with honourary doctorate for his outstanding philanthropic work.
With a vision to significantly contribute to achieving quality universal education that facilitate a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society, he founded Azim Premji Foundation. He has a vision to bring about systemic change in the elementary education in 1.3 million government run schools of India. To this end his foundation works closely with government of Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. With the larger purpose of creating educational development models so also creating educational professionals he has setup The Azim Premji University under an Act of Karnataka government. With these details of his capability, recognition and his vision for an educated India, we at I&C think, he is an eminently qualified person to be the next President of India.      


FEATURE

Are we in the dark age of money?

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

"This is the latest whiz kid among cardiac stents. Nowhere else in the world you will have a stent like this. I have done 56 so far. No complications at all, affordable too."  This is how a cardiologist starts his live streaming video at the National Interventional Council (NIC) conference in a five start hotel in Delhi where the conference organisers received several crores of rupees for the extravaganza. Paper advertisements and TV serials are old hat now medical advertisement and publicity look like kindergartens stuff. Now live streaming of a flamboyant cardiologist in a so called medical conference where normally science of medicine has to be debated is the in-thing. Even the Chinese device maker whose stent is not passed by the "great" FDA has beena part of the sponsors and must have also paid Crores. How much will this brand ambassador, the flamboyant cardiologist,get?  Where is medical ethics? Where is our great MCI the watch dog which is supposed to keep the watchful eye on medical ethics? What ethics does the MCI follow for itself in regulating medical education? What have we come to and what about the safety of our rich patients who go to the hospitals? Today a case can be made out for angioplasty in any one of any age who goes to the hospital as coronary artery blocks (not coronary artery disease) can be demonstrated in anyone,including children. In this scenario who is safe?
Pharma companies "plotted to destroy cancer drugs to drive up prices" After purchasing five different cancer drugs from GlaxoSmith Kline, Aspen Pharmacare tried to sell them in Europe for up to 40 times their previous price is another headline today (SundayTimes April 15th 2017). Busulfan is an old hat in treating leukaemia. It used to sell for Sterling Pound 5.20 a couple of years ago which now sells at 65.20 in England. This is an old drug and nothing new or exciting about it!  While bargaining the rise in price of cancer drugs in Spain the company wanted to raise the price by 4000 times! When the government did not agree they threatened to stop cancer drug supply in that country to take the country for a ride. In fact, it would have been a great boon for the Spaniards to live without the dangers of these anti-cancer drugs.
The cover story of the OUTLOOK magazine of April 17th 2017 is still worse. We have been fighting a losing battle against vaccinations for decades. Outlook writes under the head when a baby is a business: “Scared middle class buys unwanted vaccines, nearly fifteen of them, as big pharma-mostly foreign-helps doctors to rake in the moolah of 30-300%!” The more dangerous trend is the IAP, Indian Academy of Paediatricians, an apex body to look after the child specialists in the country has now been found to be partner in this venal business! On January 20of 2017 Dr. Vipin Vashista, a former convener of IAP, was unceremoniously eased out of IAP for blowing the whistle on the big money nexus in the IAP! The Health Ministry, I am told, is in the know of things, but prefers to do nothing!  May be the Ministry is afraid of the big wigs in vaccine business! Are we ready to bring forth a full generation of Indians with crippled immune system thanks to so many useless and dangerous vaccines when they are born? Parents are lost in the cacophony of vaccine threats and advertisements and the hapless victims do not have a voice in the true sense of the word. Another good soul fighting for the voiceless infants is Dr. Jacob Puliyal in Delhi. He is a good friend and a fellow traveller in the anti-useless vaccine fight
We are already in the dark ages of money which James Kennedy, a journalist, calls as monetary Fascism. “Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of economics claimed to have refined and developed modern,  scientific tools of ‘free market capitalism’, capable of unlocking ever greater rewards from Adam Smith’s simple, primitive concept of free markets.”“In truth, it was nothing more than a cloak of deception – providing cover for the unscrupulous behaviour of investment bankers, corporate raiders, speculators, off-shore corporation, debt mongers and bubble pushers (typically one and the same).  The enhanced rewards came from the pilfering of capital investments and technology from generations past, the liquidation of employees and off-shoring of production, the pilfering of pension accounts and the termination or spin-out of R&D departments and option packages to executives and directors that focused on short term stock price targets,” says Kennedy and gives the example of AT &T: Bell Labs, once part of AT&T, was the father of all modern telecommunication and electronics technology today was “ morphed into Lucent Technology”.  Lucent quickly “looted the legacy portfolio of Bell Laboratories” to enrich themselves and shareholders, leaving a worthless shell that was eventually merged with Alcatel.
So far so good but these do not deal with human life and health. But when monetary fascism comes to medical business life becomes difficult for humans and the very human race is threatened with slow annihilation for the sake making money for the few! Today we have seen only a few of the glaring dangers of monetary fascism in medicine but this is only the tip of the iceberg. The big belly under the water is the whole gamut of corporate monstrosity in medicine which is for another day.  I am reminded of what Benjamin Rusk warned the American Constitution writes about not letting any one system of medical care to dominate and monopolise the medical care. They did not pay heed to his warning and we are suffering the consequences today.


When nutrition was discovered in your backyard

Ever since she participated in the 15-day nutrition camp that was held in her Nuagaon village in the Bissam Cuttack block of Odisha’s Rayagada district, Chandrabati Kadraka, 22, has been a happy woman. For the first time since her daughter, Tiki, was born two years and four months ago, she now knows how to properly nurture her into a healthy child. Her baby girl is weak and, consequently, falls ill quite frequently, giving the young mother sleepless nights. 
“Fortunately, I have understood the importance of having a balanced meal put together from locally grown produce. We have a variety of foods, including various types of tubers and roots gathered from nearby forests, which are unique to our diet. Previously, we were hesitant to feed them to our kids. However, at the camp, I came to know how our tribal foods are highly nutritious, particularly for children,” elaborates Chandrabati. In Nuagaon, 12 mothers with children under three years of age attended the camp.
According to Bichitra Biswal of Living Farms, “Kondh tribal farmers were growing different varieties of traditional foods in the upland and hill areas. But with time, most shifted to cash crop cultivation for money. Naturally, the highly nutritious foods have disappeared from their plates. Through the camps, we are trying to generate awareness around the good values of their indigenous fare.”
Nutritionist Tapaswini Swain explains, “Tribal people are believed to be the closest to nature. They consume foods with very minimal processing, and the duration from the field to the plate is less, hence the bio-availability of nutrients is very high. Millets, for example, grow in abundance, and are a storehouse of nutrients as they contain protein, fibre as well as micro-nutrients such as beta carotene, iron and calcium.”
Every six months, Living Farms conducts an assessment of dietary diversity in 200 villages across Bissam Cuttack, Muniguda, and Chandrapur blocks. “In Rayagada, there is immense food diversity – from pulses, millets, and other grains to fruits, vegetables, tubers, and mushrooms. We are promoting their nutritive value aggressively in order to encourage the locals to consciously make them a part of their food regime so that their health parameters improve. During our assessments, we found a marked change among those consuming these items regularly,” reveals Biswal.
Emphasizing on the need to have fresh, locally grown or gathered produce, Mangi Kumuruka, 65, enumerates the wide array of millets they have to choose from. “There’s mandia or ragi (finger millet), juara (great millet), bajra (spiked millet), kangu (Italian millet), kodua (kodo millet), khira (barnyard millet), and suan (little millet). Millets are full of iron and calcium, and it’s important for pregnant women to have them. As it is, tribal women are largely dependent on deriving nutrition from forest foods, and it’s even more critical to have these when they are expecting so that both mother and child remain healthy during those critical days,” she explains.
Pratima Kumuruka, another Kondh tribal woman, adds, “There are no chemical fertilisers in our foods, so we do not see many pregnancy-related complications among tribal women. Rather, if we take millets and pulses regularly, our children are healthier.”
These days, Krushna Toiba and his wife, Latika, of Badeipadar village, too, are convinced that millets provide sufficient nutrition to children. That’s why when the Accredited Social Health Assistant (ASHA) worker of their village asked them to start complementary feed for their seven-month-old child, the duo decided to give mandia. “Today, our daughter eats all types of millets, and she is healthy,” shares Krushna with a smile.
Indeed, after participating in the nutrition camp and interacting with activists of Living Farms, there has been a definite transformation in the way the tribal people approach food. Notably, families like Toiba’s have even started cultivating little kitchen gardens to ensure a steady supply, whatever the season. 
“While earlier they used to typically grow three or four types of vegetables, and that too during the monsoon season, nowadays they sow 15-20 varieties and harvest throughout the year,” says Biswal. 
Latika, for instance, has grown nearly 27 varieties of vegetables and fruits for family consumption in the small patch in her backyard. “We do not buy from the local haat (market) as we produce enough for all of us,” she declares proudly. Most women have taken to growing nutrition gardens in their backyard. “We collected seeds from neighbouring villages by sharing seeds of traditional crops, and presently we have a variety of seeds. So much so that we do not have to buy them from the market; rather, we collect and preserve our own,” says Majia Kumuruka.
Whereas good farming practices are one aspect of healthy eating, preparing meals is another. A few elderly tribal women have concerns about the indifference of the younger generation with regard to the traditional preparations. “Our food is our identity. Once our food is lost, we will be lost,” remarks Rupa Kumuruka, 52, of Badeipadar village, rather ominously. However, since Living Farms has been organising recipe festivals, there’s been a revival of interest. At these festivals, community elders rustle up some delicious dishes from millets and other forest foods. They tweak these versions to attract the youngsters, who prefer spicy street fare easily available in haats. Young daughters-in-law are trying their hand at making ladoos, halwa, and pakoda from finger millet, niger and foxtail millet. “In the recipe festival, the emphasis is on making wholesome dishes that children will relish,” says Biswal.
Lalita Mandai, whose son is going to turn three, says, “I have learnt how to use ingredients for interesting meals. I now know how to prepare a special kind of chattua (food powder) from millets and nuts. It is better than any kind of ready baby food in the market.” 
Chandrabati also adds millets, pulses, and tubers to their diet. “At home, I used to make khechudi with cooked rice, pulse, and vegetables. But I have begun adding different tubers to this mix. Another dish Tiki loves is my millet kheer that is high on iron and calcium,” she says.

MEDICAL FRONTIER

Has cancer found its bane in Vitamin C?

Washington: US researchers have found that giving Vitamin C intravenously can produce super-high concentration in the blood, which has ability to attack cancer cells. The findings, published recently in the journal Redox Biology, revealed that vitamin C breaks down easily, generating hydrogen peroxide, a so-called reactive oxygen species that can damage tissue and DNA, says ANI.
Researchers from University of Iowa Health Care in the US also showed that tumour cells are much less capable of removing the damaging hydrogen peroxide than normal cells. They also found that giving vitamin C intravenously -and bypassing normal gut metabolism and excretion pathways- creates blood levels that are 100-500 times higher than levels seen with oral ingestion.
“In this paper we demonstrate that cancer cells are much less efficient in removing hydrogen peroxide than normal cells. Thus, cancer cells are much more prone to damage and death from a high amount of hydrogen peroxide,” said Garry Buettner.
“This explains how the very, very high levels of vitamin C used in our clinical trials do not affect normal tissue, but can be damaging to tumour tissue,” Buettner added. They examined how high-dose vitamin C (also known as ascorbate) kills cancer cells.
The team tested the approach in clinical trials for pancreatic cancer and lung cancer that combine high-dose, intravenous vitamin C with standard chemotherapy or radiation. The new study shows that an enzyme called catalase is the central route for removing hydrogen peroxide generated by decomposing vitamin C.
The researchers discovered that cells with lower amounts of catalase activity were more susceptible to damage and death when they were exposed to high amounts of vitamin C. “Our results suggest that cancers with low levels of catalase are likely to be the most responsive to high-dose vitamin C therapy, whereas cancers with relatively high levels of catalase may be the least responsive,” he explained.

Blindness cure: Fish eyes hold the key!

Washington: Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have identified a chemical signal in the zebra fish brain that helps it regenerate retina, a finding that may help cure blindness in humans.
The discovery raises the possibility that human retinas can be induced to regenerate, naturally repairing damage caused by degenerative retinal diseases and injury, including age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, researchers said. “The prevailing belief has been that the regeneration process in fish retinas is triggered by secreted growth factors, but our results indicate that the neurotransmitter GABA might initiate the process instead,” said James Patton, Professor at Vanderbilt University in the US.
“All the regeneration models assume that a retina must be seriously damaged before regeneration takes place, but our studies indicate that GABA can induce this process even in undamaged retinas,” said Patton.
It turns out the structure of retinas of fish and mammals are basically the same. Although the retina is very thin, less than 0.5 mm thick, it contains three layers of nerve cells: photoreceptors that detect the light, horizontal cells that integrate the signals from the photoreceptors and ganglion cells that receive the visual information and route it to the brain. In addition, the retina contains a special type of adult stem cell called Muller glia that span all three layers and provide mechanical support and electrical insulation. In fish retinas, they also play a key role in regeneration.
When regeneration is triggered, the Muller glia dedifferentiate, begin proliferating, and then differentiate into replacements for the damaged nerve cells. Muller glia are also present in mammalian retinas, but do not regenerate.
Graduate student Mahesh Rao got the idea that GABA (normally a fast-acting neurotransmitter best known for its role of calming nervous activity by inhibiting nerve transmission in the brain) might be the trigger for retinal regeneration.
He was inspired by the results of a study in the mouse hippocampus which found that GABA was controlling stem cell activity.


SERIAL : 8

THE PERSISTENCE OF CASTE

Beyond Varna: CASTE IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Anand Teltumbde

Stated Aims and their Failure

Modernization in India was validated by the colonial intellectual tradition, which considered caste a precapitalist institution that would lose its basis, potency and relevance with the consummation of the modernist project. Most people visualized such a trajectory of transformation as an answer to the problem of caste (and even communalism) in Indian society. After all, modernization meant displacing tradition, removing fetters and pushing the country onto the path of progress. As a model of development, its success in Europe was there for all to see. There was therefore a unanimity of sorts in endorsing the Nehruvian project. Even the Ambedkarite perspective- though differing from the majority viewpoint in holding caste as an institution specific and central to India - had laid emphasis on state intervention towards reducing caste oppression. Modern secular education, state institutions and rapid industrialization thus came to be seen as important in post-Independence India.
Contrary to expectations, however, the relevance and significance of caste in society continued unaffected. Castes placed at different levels of the social hierarchy have not responded uniformly to the processes of modernization and democratic politics at the local, regional and national levels. Caste remains a key factor in the functioning of the democratic institutions of the modern Indian state, especially in its local arm of governance, represented by the panchayat raj (rule of the panchayats) system in the post- Independence period. Caste's cruelty still stands revealed in the unofficial but patent segregation of children in rural schools; in the unseen but hermetic lines that divide caste localities in villages, in the separate eating utensils reserved for the disprivileged in roadside eateries; in the unspeakable conditions municipal sanitation staff work under as they clear sewers, open drains and rubbish dumps; in the raucous, derogatory melodrama of brahminical demonstrations against affirmative action, and in the primeval hate that occasionally precipitates in media headlines and the public consciousness as an atrocity.
The Indian state has had a central role in shaping caste and caste contradiction as they prevail in the country today, for it is its modernist policies which have reinforced caste and accentuated its viciousness as never before. These policies brought the landed castes - the BCs and the OBCs - unprecedented wealth but failed to empower dalits to a comparable degree, thereby accentuating between the two groups the power asymmetry that is the prime mover behind atrocities. Modernism was embarked upon with neither adequate planning for the containment of its consequences nor serious intent to dismantle both caste thinking and the basic source of differential power in the rural context - the unequal distribution of land.
Throughout India's post-Independence history, we see the state weaving an intricate web of protective and developmental policies in favour of the marginalized but not touching the economic base of the village system. Instead, the ruling classes deliberately conceived of 'land reforms' that dealt with land in superficial, quantitative terms but stopping far short of the unconditional radicalism of taking away the basic resource of land from the domain of private property. If instead of implementing dubious land reforms the state had nationalized Land, as Ambedkar proposed in his States and Minorities, one can reasonably argue that the base of the caste system would have been broken. Of course, it can be equally reasonably argued that the state is intrinsically incapable of accomplishing such revolutionary tasks.
Some scholars fault state-driven modernization because of the state's intrinsic incapacity to bring about socio-economic transformation. Given the nature of Indian society and polity, it must have been a veritable feat that the euphoria of independence' was effectively used to adopt an egalitarian Constitution that directly or indirectly facilitated the creation of democratic institutions. If the ruling elite had sincerely nurtured these institutions, many of the problems associated with identities that afflict Indians today would have not surfaced. But that was not to be. The Indian state never really had the urgency to usher in genuine transformation. As Srinivasulu perceptively puts it:
In belated capitalist societies such as India, it is the state rather than class that has assumed a preeminent role in the process of economic transformation. Weak civil society, inadequate channels of communication on matters of social significance and the inability to provide society with ideological and intellectual leadership all demonstrate the capitalist class's historical and structural limitations. The question of socio-economic transformation was left inadequately addressed. The state cannot, due to its historical limitations and bureaucratic logic, undertake such an enterprise - and even if it does, it cannot fully succeed.

Beyond Obsolete Varna

Any discussion of caste typically begins with or bases itself on the classical fourfold varna system. As we just saw, the present-day caste situation does not have much to do with the varna system except for deriving from it a broad ideological framework. Since the 1960s, the shudra castes have emerged into a dominant position in the production process and have successfully translated this into the economic and political domains. This has given rise to a series of significant contestations. In the earlier period, these lay between the brahmins and the shudra peasant castes. Now, they are increasingly seen between the peasant castes as landowners and dalits as landless labourers.
Yet intellectual approaches to the caste question have persisted with the rhetoric of the classical, ritualistic caste system (‘brahminism' being used as shorthand to explain and understand every caste-related problem), and have refused to take note of these transformations. Anti-caste activism has also reflected and reinforced the worst stereotypes, identifying foes and friends in obsolete varna terms. While mouthing the Ambedkarite dictum that they are against brahminism and not brahmins, and that brahminism is not confined to brahmins alone and could well afflict dalits, in reality, anti-caste activists have failed to differentiate between brahmins and brahminism and have continued to associate people with their caste identities.
Electoral compulsions prompted the imagining of an amorphous identity called bahujan (the oppressed majority, discussed in the Introduction under the Bahujan Samaj Party) – amalgamating dalits with the so-called OBCs, sweeping under the carpet many a contradiction between them in the village context. Several landowning castes are part of this conglomeration. Even if they were excluded, and even if some shudra castes were in no better state than the dalits, their traditional social and economic ties with the landowning castes gave them a certain social edge, and they cannot be bracketed with the socially stigmatized dalits. There cannot be any dispute about the desirability of dalit and shudra unity, but it must be realized that caste cannot be the basis of such unity; only a class approach that impels them to identify, with each other on the basis of their worldly placement can achieve it. Indeed, the caste situation today has become so complex that the caste idiom is proving increasingly futile, and the earlier one thinks of substituting it the better.
To think, however, of discarding caste as an analytical category altogether would be counterproductive. What is needed is to sharpen the understanding of caste dynamics as they now exist. If this most brutal manifestation of caste power could be curbed, the expression of caste in terms of atrocities could be arrested. There may, be several strategies to accomplish it, depending on where and how one decides to block the process. It may be at its source - at the level of caste ideology. If one could strip it of its religious mystique with a counter-ideology, or by any other means, atrocities may be prevented by impacting the mindsets of their potential perpetrators. This is akin to the strategy of the classical anti-caste movement that diagnosed the roots of caste as lying in the scriptures and set out to confront them.
One can also tackle atrocity in its physical form. The root reason for atrocities against dalits is simply their relative weakness -numerical, physical and social. How is this weakness to be removed? The strategic options could be in terms of strengthening dalits from within or supplementing their strength from without. If dalits are perceived as being strong enough to retaliate, no one, howsoever determined, would be able to inflict an atrocity on them. This has been seen, for instance, in areas where there is a strong naxalite presence - 'naxalite' being the name given in India to communist groups belonging to various trends of Maoism. In Karamchedu, Andhra Pradesh, where kamma, Backward Class, landlords killed six dalits in 1984, the case headed absolutely nowhere for five years. The main accused, Chenchu Ramaiah, was the father of Venkateswara Rao, the then state health minister and son-in-law of the chief minister, N.T. Rama Rao. Then, in 1989, a people’s War Group squad shot Ramaiah at his home. The killing had such a pronounced effect that there has not been a major atrocity in the area ever since. In other places, however, such tactics have led to reprisals and counter-reprisals, as has been seen in Bihar.
There may also be a statist strategy to handle atrocities - to deal sternly with the crime after it has taken place. If a sure way could be devised of arresting perpetrators and ensuring their exemplary punishment, it could be assumed that it would act as a deterrent. These could be the strategic ways of dealing with the increasing incidence of atrocities.

Monday, May 8, 2017

MUSING

Thou Art That

Nilesh P Megnani

The wisdom of the Absolute posing a challenge to the intellect of human is the whole of human predicament. The perennial questions about god, self, soul, afterlife, purpose and meaning of personal and impersonal existence – all point towards the enormous gulf between our limited capacities to understand on one hand and the infinite wisdom on the other. The bridge of language, logic, poetry and symbol seem to be ill built to travel from one to the other, from the limited self to the infinite Absolute. It is not that human is grappling in the dark but she is perplexed with the subtleties of the wisdom that existence eternally exhibits. A large number of human do not and intend not to decipher these subtleties. Others grasping a little instantly wish to freeze the mysteries into principles or norms of spirituality. In doing so the wisdom flies far away. We do not know what to make of the bounties and the cruelties that surround us. We pickle the mysteries dead. 
Some mystics have managed to reach the other shore of Truth/Absolute and stretched a helping hand for others to find their way to Truth. They have as they say in Zen ‘pointed finger to the moon’. But most seekers have failed to glance at the moon and rather held the hand of the mystic to find solace in his/her refuge. Worse, we have malformed the mystics and their words into ‘things’ we can die and kill for. We sap mystics and religions off their spirit and are satisfied with its corpse. We love to make organizations out of living religions and heroes out of mystics/prophets. We proclaim and propagate the rules of religion rather than imbibing the fundamentals of spirituality. Is our intellect so crippled that it can never comprehend the Absolute? If yes, then the doors to human spiritual evolution are closed. If not, then how do humans understand the essence of spirituality and comprehend the Absolute wisdom that seems to pose a challenge to human intellect? 
To comprehend the Absolute is to come in close proximity of the Absolute. One needs to realize that she is a part of the whole that is named as the Absolute. It is to try and fine-tune oneself with the Absolute that is existing and living every moment. One needs to silence oneself, eliminating all thoughts and sink deep within oneself. Can a part isolate itself from the whole and yet understand what whole means of which it is a part? The Absolute is not out there separate from you but rather is living in, out and through you. The need to interpret existence arises only because one develops an ego identity, ‘I’ as separate from the ’It”, the Absolute. May be we aren’t separate at all! Kabir says: pani hi tai him bhaya, him hve gaya bilayi. Jo kuchh tha sohi bhaya, ab kachhu kahyo na jayi. In essence this means that on Self realization, Existence crystallized in you as the ego, once again becomes Existence. The separation of the self from  the existence is only apparent and illusory in this sense.
Can the intellect comprehend the Absolute? The answer is: Yes, it can. But it is only a necessary condition not a sufficient one. Intellect when satiates its capacities, lets other faculties in humans (intuition, emotion) also to participate in understanding the Absolute. Intellect when unduly dominates over all other faculties skews individuals to skepticism. Skepticism may be useful in the pursuit of knowledge to an extent but it proves to be an impediment when exaggerated in pursuit of wisdom. In the quest of wisdom, intellect must join hands with emotion and intuition. Even what is just said should not be cerebrated into a principle. On the path of spirituality one should be determined but flexible. Determined to find the Truth and flexible in one’s approach. 
Rare individuals have found access to infinite wisdom or at least the key to it. They are the enlightened beings, the masters. For the seekers the words of the enlightened master should serve as a torch to reach the sun which she is yet to discover for oneself. A Master’s words are pointers, not principles. They are truths, not faiths. So whenever you are awestruck by a phenomenon in nature or a statement of a spiritual text, let the intellect not overshadow and let your whole being comprehend its deeper meaning and significance.

Author is a Meditation facilitator and Writer. Connect with on neelvijayalaxmi@gmail.com

YEH MERA INDIA

Clean water is a mirage to 63 million Indians

Kochi: India has the maximum number of people – 63 million – living in rural areas without access to clean water, according to a new global report released to mark World Water Day. This is almost the population of the United Kingdom, said “Wild Water”, a report on the state of the world’s water.
Lack of government planning, competing demands, rising population and water-draining agricultural practices are all placing increasing strain on water, said the WaterAid’s report. Without access to clean water, 63 million people are living in rural areas in India. Diseases such as cholera, blinding trachoma, malaria, and dengue are expected to become more common and malnutrition more prevalent, it said.
Rural communities dependent on farming to make a living will struggle to grow food and feed livestock amid soaring temperatures, and women –typically responsible for collecting water –may have to walk even greater distances during prolonged dry seasons, the report forewarned.
Describing India as one of the world’s fastest growing economies, it said ensuring water security for the growing population is one of the main challenges facing the country.  According to India’s official Ground Water Resources Assessment, more than one-sixth of the country’s groundwater supply is currently overused. “Droughts have become almost a way of life in the Bundelkhand region of North-Central India. Here, three consecutive droughts have pushed millions of people into a vicious cycle of hunger and poverty,” it said. “India ranks in the top 38% of countries worldwide most vulnerable to climate change and least ready to adapt, according to the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index.
“With 67% of the country’s population living in rural areas and 7% of the rural population even now living without access to clean water, India’s rural poor are highly vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather events and climate change,” it said.
The report said, 663 million people globally are without clean water and the vast majority of them –522 million– live in rural areas. According to WaterAid India’s Chief Executive VK Madhavan, with 27 out of the 35 states and union territories in India are disaster prone, poorest and the most marginalised across the country will bear the brunt of extreme weather events and climate change and will find it the hardest to adapt.
“This World Water Day, WaterAid is calling on the government to deliver its promise to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, including ensuring access to safe water as part of Goal 6 to everyone, everywhere,” he said in a statement. 


Audit queries pending since 1993-94 in BMC

Mumbai: Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) audit department has revealed that more than 25% of audit queries go unanswered by several departments. The audit department is yet to clear its backlog of past 22 years in order to complete the entire audit report. However, the department have been submitting its annual report even with some unanswered audit queries.
Speaking exclusively, S Bansode, Municipal Chief Auditor, complained that the audit department is troubled by a severe staff crunch. “We have 700 civic officials in the department; however, around 200 positions are still vacant. We need to hire more in order to speedily finish the pending audit work.”
Surprisingly, out of all the civic departments, health and education department have majority of unanswered audit queries. Bansode said, “There are nearly 3,000 queries pending from the health department. Also, around 1,000 audit queries are unanswered by the education department.”
In the wake of multi-crore scams being unearthed in BMC, the BJP-ruled state government last year had appointed Bansode. The appointment was opposed by Shiv Sena saying the state cannot intervene in the functioning of the civic body.
In order to finish the audit process quickly, Bansode said officials from the audit department will start visiting the hospitals to clearly review the budget allocation and expenditure of the health department.
“I have held a meeting with the city’s deputy municipal commissioners in order to take necessary actions for completing the audit process,” added Bansode.
The issue of pending audit report once again cropped up in the standing committee meeting when a status report on pending audit reports since 1993-94 was submitted.
BJP along with the opposition demanded that audit remarks to be submitted soon to the committee. They went ahead and demanded that the municipal commissioner and chief auditor submit their audit remarks before the standing committee and, if they fail, they would not clear this year’s civic budget.


Career advancement more important than 

ethics for Indians: Survey

Mumbai: Career progression is far more important than ethical behaviour for a significant number of working professionals in India, a survey has found.
About 41% of Indian respondents said they are prepared to act unethically to enhance their own career progression or remuneration package, according to the survey conducted by professional services firm EY.
According to EY’s Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) Fraud survey, 41% of Indian respondents would not report fraud, bribery or corruption incidents due to loyalty to colleagues.
Globally, 1 in 5 respondents said they would be prepared to act unethically for their careers.
The survey said 44% Indian respondents admitted they are unlikely to report fraud, bribery and corruption concerns if it could hamper their future career development within the company.
“The perception of fraud and corruption in corporate India has seen a marginal but positive shift, led by amplified regulatory scrutiny and emphasis on transparency and governance. “However, unethical behaviour at the workplace, including Gen Y, has become a serious cause of concern,” EY India Partner and National Leader, Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services, Arpinder Singh said.
While improved enforcement action has restored confidence in businesses, companies should encourage millennials to strengthen their moral compass, communicate the importance of upholding ethical standards and develop programmes to motivate future leaders make right choices, he said.
Only 30% were aware of whistle-blowing hotlines used for monitoring compliance with anti-bribery and corruption laws, while 20% assented to withholding information or concerns due to internal pressure. The survey said 59% would report concerns around unethical behaviour to a law enforcement agency, 52% to a regulator.


No money to bribe for wheelchair: patient uses toy tricycle

Hyderabad: The state-run Gandhi Hospital authorities constituted a committee to probe into the allegations that a patient was denied wheelchair for being unable to pay “bribes.”
In the absence of the wheelchair, the patient, with severe mobility problems, has been left moving around in the hospital for treatment, on a kids’ tricycle of his son, that his wife brings to the hospital while visiting it with him. S Raju in his 40s had been visiting the hospital for a follow-up treatment for the burn injuries that he had suffered due to electrical shock last August. His wife Santoshi alleged as she did not have money to pay “tips” to the ward-boys, he was not being given wheelchairs and had to use a tricycle to move around in the hospital.
Santoshi said they had been coming to the hospital for the treatment and the doctors had told her that her husband, a painter, needs to undergo surgery. But the hospital authorities, she said, have been postponing it on various pretexts, including the paucity of beds. She further said as ward-boys had been demanding Rs 100 to Rs 200 for providing a wheelchair; she had been bringing their son’s tricycle to the hospital during their visits.
“At least on five to six occasions, I paid the amount. But, on Wednesday, I was not able to pay because I did not have the money. I brought this tricycle to the hospital and made my husband sit on it to move around in the hospital premises for treatment,” said Santoshi, who stays in Begumpet.
Meanwhile, Gandhi Hospital’s superintendent Dr. Manjula told PTI “We have not got any written complaint from the attendants’ of the patient. However, on the basis of media reports, we have constituted an inquiry committee to look into the matter. “A report is likely to be submitted within a day. Based on the report, the necessary action will be initiated against those responsible for the incident.”
Dr Manjula said the patient, who had suffered electric burns, had undergone treatment at the hospital for over three months and got himself discharged against the medical advise, though he had been visiting the hospital as outpatient.