Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hide Act



A section by section analysis of the Act passed by the US Congress reveals stipulations that tie India down. Yet the fiction has been purveyed by the government through the media that these provisions have been dropped. The prime minister’s assurances to Parliament may not mean anything. Arun Shourie, Indian Express, 22 December 2006

No Water? Drink Coke!



"We have arrived at the decision to ask both Coke and Pepsi to stop production and distribution of all their products, based on scientific studies which have proved that they are harmful," said Mr. Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan. Chief Minister Achuthanandan also pointed to the four year campaign by the community of Plachimada in Kerala where the community has protested falling water levels and pollution of the groundwater and soil - directly as a result of the Coca-Cola company's bottling operations in the area. - http://www.anitaroddick.com/readmore.php?sid=587, 10 August 2006

Taking Reservations Little Too Far



In a significant development after the tabling of the Sachar report, Muslim MPs, cutting across party lines, today handed over a wishlist of sorts to Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh: IITs and IIMs exclusively for Muslims, 5,000 schools, 2 lakh scholarships and more campuses of the Aligarh Muslim University across the country. - Indian Express, 20 December 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Nuclear Co-operation or Compromise



Indian scientists have raised objections on certain points of the Indo-US nuclear deal. They have objected to the clause, which says India can't reprocess nuclear fuel. Questions have also been raised on the clause dealing with the inspection process. Scientists feel this will destroy the secrecy of India's nuclear program. More objections – this time to the clause, which forbids India from testing nuclear weapons, making the safety of existing nuke weapons difficult. - CNN-IBN, 17 December 2006

Sporting Blues




Men's hockey was a disaster waiting to happen as India lost to China and for the first time ever in the games history failed to qualify for the semi-finals and in the process also failed to directly qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The over 350-strong (exact numbers not known) contingent which took part in more than 28 disciplines was reduced to the 'also ran' category at the continent's biggest sporting arena. Display by most of them did not even merit mention in any local paper or TV shows beamed all over the world. - Zee News, 16 December 2006

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Indian Cricket Hits Rock Bottom



It did not take long for coach Greg Chappell to slump forward in his chair, hands locked together, supporting the weight of a thousand thoughts. His team was on the verge of its sixth straight defeat, its second series loss in six months, the tricolour lying trampled and limp somewhere on the highway to the World Cup. One block away, South African batting great Barry Richards was reaching for the coffee, shaking his head as former home skipper Kepler Wessels walked in. “No, No,” said Richards to Wessels, who replied with a wry smile. Even they had wanted India to put up a fight at the Centurion. Hoo Haa India? By the end of it all, the Blue Billion had given it their own spin: “Hai Hai India.” Indian Express, 03 December 2006

Think Small



There can be no denying that an industrialisation impetus would involve land acquisition in rural areas, with property becoming prohibitively expensive in cities. But why target prosperous rural regions, where people are not interested in leaving their land for other occupations, when 21 per cent of India, or 68 million hectares, is wasteland? A conflict situation can derail the momentum of an industrial venture and dent the image of industry and government. - Times of India, 05 December 2006

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ministers & Murderers



Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not show much reluctance in re-inducting Soren into the union cabinet in late November 2005. Exactly a year later, just as the UPA regime entered the post mid-term comfort zone, Soren has struck again. This time the case is a lot more serious. He is the first minister to have been convicted by a court on charges as grave as kidnapping and the conspiracy to murder. - Indian Express, 1 December 2006

Be Dud Buy Dud



The precision strike capability of the Indian military has taken a hit with the Russian Krasnopol 155-mm terminally guided ammunition turning out to be “defective” during Army test-firing in the Mahajan ranges in Rajasthan. The Krasnopol deal had been cleared by the NDA government during the Kargil war and is under the CBI’s scanner. – Indian Express, 26 November 2006

Human Rights or Human Wrongs



The people of Manipur are on an ongoing struggle against the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) imposed in Manipur since 1958, which equips security forces with unrestricted powers. Manipuri activist poet, Irom Sharmila Chanu who is on an indefinite hunger strike againstpolice firings in Malom district on November 2nd, 2000, which killed 10 innocent and unarmed civilians, has now entered its sixth year. She has been held under arrest repeatedly on charges of “attempted suicide” by the government, and is being forcibly nose-fed. Even as most political parties have favoured repeal of AFSPA from the State, the ruling coalition partners Indian National Congress and the Communist Party of India remain ambiguous on the vexed issue. For more go to http://manipurfreedom.org/

Sunday, November 26, 2006

You Can Run But You Cannot Hide



"If they have to salvage anything from this tour the Indians will have to start showing some character or this is going to end in a disgrace. It was a gutless showing. I've never seen anything like this before," Shastri said. - PTI, 24 November 2006

Small Favour



Until now, Rs 18 crore has been released for seeds and Rs 50 crore for tools. However, just like the 75% subsidy for cows — as reported in The Indian Express yesterday — both these offers have had little impact on the ground. Instead of 2.5 lakh quintals that was needed, only 1 lakh quintals was supplied through Mahabeej, the state government’s seed marketing unit. Result: it reached only 40% farmers in a quantity just about enough to plant a tiny patch of land in the backyard. - Indian Express, 22 November 2006

All Play & No Work Makes Baburao a MP



Winter session: Day I adjourned after tributes, oath-taking. - Indian Express, 23 November 2006

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mosquitoes & Ministers



Even as the number of people afflicted with dengue in the country touched nearly 3,000, with reports coming in from more states, the health minister, Ramadoss maintained there is no need to panic. - IndianExpress, 06 October 2006

Hypocritical War on Terror



On the one hand Pakistan has been selling terrorists to the US, while on the other, they have categorically refused to hand over any terrorists responsible for Mumbai Blasts in July. But they have agreed to co-operate on everything else. Don't ask me what!!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Exporting Terrorists



The Amnesty allegations follow the revelation by President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in his memoir "In The Line of Fire" that Pakistan had captured 689 al-Qaida terror suspects, and turned over 369 to Washington. "We have earned bounties totaling millions of dollars," Musharraf said, without specifying how much was paid. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam however, rejected the report's allegations that Pakistan illegally detained hundreds of people in exchange for money. - Associated Press, 28 September 2006

Bend it like Musharraf



Pakistani commentator Amir Mir, writing about Musharraf's book in the Frontier Post, has a different take. For him, Musharraf's memoir may seek to paint Pakistan's military ruler in glowing colours, but he shall continue to be seen by Pakistanis as a "self-obsessed and power-hungry man, who would go to any extent to remain in power." - Musharraf's Mein Kampf, The Pioneer, 30 September 2006

Sunday, September 24, 2006

IMF: Size Doesn't Matter



Union Finance Minister, P Chidambaram emphasised that the formula for allocating voting and other powers to countries in IMF must reflect the current economic status of various nations and not what it was in 1944 when the IMF was established. The 23 countries together amounted to only 9.4 per cent of the votes despite countries like India, Brazil, Argentina and Egypt being large economies with large population and area. What, he was stressing was that other under-represented countries should also get more voting rights by reducing those of several over-represented industrialised nations, including the United States and several European countries. - PTI, 19 September 2006

Sleeping With The Enemy



In a reminder of the costs the Indo-US nuclear deal is continuing to exact, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has lapped up a long-pressed US proposal, bringing about a tectonic shift in Indian policy on Pakistan — embracing the sponsor of terrorism as a partner in the fight against terror. While Islamabad has stood its ground, making no new pledge nor budging from any stance, India has overnight gone from portraying Pakistan as the source of the problem to accepting it as part of the solution. - U turn on Pakistan, Brahma Chellany, 19 September 2006

Gas Pipeline



After the meeting Singh said that India would rework on the gas pipeline once the report of the experts on the feasibility of the USD 7.4 billion project is available. The issue of security for the pipeline came up during talks between Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs Rajiv Sikri and Safari in view of the unrest in Balochistan through which the pipeline has to pass. - PTI, 19 September 2006

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Corbett Apathy



Early on Sunday morning, within 7 km of the high-security reserve, three poachers allegedly killed a male tiger on the banks of the Dhela river in the Terai West forest division. Conservator of Corbett Tiger Reserve Rajiv Bharti confirmed Sunday’s killing but washed his hands of the incident saying he didn’t want to comment as the “incident occurred outside Corbett’s boundary.” - Indian Express, 13 September 2006

Eye for an Eye



Five days after the blasts in Malegaon killed 30 people, the police have detained 20 suspects from a predominantly Hindu locality of the town. - Indian Express, 14 September 2006

Non Aligned, Almost



The Havana summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on September 15-16 is expected to be a tightrope walk for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Loaded as the guest list for the summit is with leaders of well-known anti-US persuasion, India will hope to try and keep the Havana Declaration’s expected anti-US language to an absolute minimum. - IndianExpress, 9 September 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Gone With The Wind



The Sultanpur bird sanctuary in Haryana, 50 km from Delhi, is a regular haunt for over 100 exotic species from as far away as Siberia. But now trouble is hovering over this national park with the 2500-acre Reliance Special Economic Zone about to surround the tiny 400-acre sanctuary. "It will be the end of the sanctuary. It was the last safe water body left for birds. Now an SEZ will be built. With its noise, construction and activity, birds will stop coming." - NDTV, 8 September 2006

Song

The Congress Legacy: Dynastic Politics



NCP chief Sharad Pawar's only daughter Supriya Sule is set to enter the Rajya Sabha. In an interview with NDTV shortly after she joined the NCP, Supriya Sule had openly admitted that she needs more time. Ironically, just two months later, she has got the NCP ticket for the Rajya Sabha seat vacated after Chavan's death. And with the Congress, NCP's ally, set to support her candidature, her victory is a foregone conclusion.
Pawar has always been a bitter critic of Congress party's dynastic politics, but with his own daughter getting the Rajya Sabha ticket two months after joining the party, he can hardly afford to take the moral high ground. - NDTV, 5 September 2006

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Balochistan Blunder



Denouncing the killing of tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in an army operation as a “political nightmare”, the Pakistani media today said his death could fuel Baloch nationalism and could end up as the second biggest blunder by the military since the execution of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1979. - Indian Express, 29 August 2006

Very Reserved

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Saying No to Forests



Adivasis have votes. Elephants and tigers do not. Besides, as we can see from our rivers, forests, mountains and even our cities and towns, the average Indian could not care less about the environment. So it will be easy to push through a law that will benefit nobody except powerful timber mafias and poachers. Long after Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh have been kicked out of power they will be remembered in the footnotes of history books as the two people most responsible for destroying India’s forests. It is not just about elephants and tigers, it is about turning India into a wasteland.
- Simple living, or zero thinking?, Tavleen Singh, Indian Express, 02 July 2006

Taking a Hike



The Union Cabinet on Friday decided to substantially increase the salaries and allowances of members of Parliament. The total package is estimated to cost the exchequer Rs. 60 crores a year. Priyanranjan Dasmunshi described the increases as being a measure to improve the efficiency of the MPs in discharging their responsibilities. - The Hindu, 20 August 2006
The Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2006, which was introduced Tuesday, was passed by a voice vote with Left parties opposing its passage, saying that it was an embarrassment for the MPs to decide their own salaries. - IndiaeNews.com, 23 August 2006

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Flying in the Future



Now I’m pretty sure that there’s not going to be a storm of outrage from the business traveler community about the fact that they can’t look over their PowerPoint presentations or financial spreadsheets while cruising at 30,000 feet - the security of the airplane has far greater importance - but it will be both an inconvenience and a worry. - CIO.com, 11 August 2006

Demodivated



‘‘For asking votes all these politicians will reach you anywhere. But in the past four days no one came to help us. If they come now we will beat them to pulp. We are all angry. Why has this happened? Don’t other cities have dams?’’ one of them asked. – Indian Express, 13 August 2006

Duck Season



This much lobbying could have got Sharad Pawar in the Team!

Ganguly has now been included in the list despite poor form with the bat in the county championship in England, which in other words means that if he was dropped from the team for being out of form, he has not been in good touch in county cricket either to come back in the team. Then on the basis of which criteria have the national selectors named Ganguly in the probables’ list can be anybody’s guess. – CricketZone.com, 9 August 2006

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Owners Embarassment Neighbours Envy



Surprisingly, Natwar Singh is still wanted, if not by the Congress, then by the BJP & SP. Strange thing - Politics.

Not Saral Anymore



The tax department has rushed to amend the ‘Saral’ Form 2F and demand detailed cash-flow statements with opening and closing balance. The presumption is that every salaried person is a tax-evader who has made loads of money on the capital market and is hiding it in undeclared bank accounts. Salaried people have no scope for evasion or falsification since the tax is directly deducted.

Why hound and penalise all salaried employees by asking for detailed cash flow statements or opening and closing balances? How is it in the nation’s interest for tax payers to be treated like potential evaders and petty scamsters when there is daily evidence of rampant corruption in most government decisions especially those involving politicians and big business?
- Perils of alienating honest tax payers, Sucheta Dalal; Indian Express, 31 July 2006

Just Got Lapped



A month after the serial blasts in Mumbai, the police probe appears to have hit the wall even as authorities claim that they are leaving no stone unturned.
- Indian Express, 11 August 2006
Why should anyone be deterred from executing another round of blasts in Mumbai trains when he sees that those caught for the blasts executed 13 years ago are well and kicking; when he sees that their lawyers have been able, and with such ease, to ensnare Government prosecutors in the courts?
- Arun Shourie, Indian Express, 02 August 2006

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Pepsticide



Thanda hai par ganda hai yeh!!!

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) came out with a fresh study claiming the presence of 'pesticide cocktail' in 11 brands of soft drink giants Coca Cola and PepsiCo. The new findings, publicised after testing 57 samples of 11 soft drink brands of Coca Cola and PepsiCo collected from 25 manufacturing units across 12 states, claims that all the bottles examined were a 'cocktail of 3-5 different pesticides' which was 24 times above the standards finalised by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
Press Trust of India, August 02, 2006

Pakistani Nuclear Bum

UNable

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tol Mole Ke Bol

General Mischief



A Pakistan Army officer was among three persons killed when troops recently foiled an infiltration bid along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, a defence spokesman said on Friday.
- Press Trust of India, July 28, 2006

Tourist Season in Delhi



Monsoon Session started and this is what the politicians did last week -
Monday, July 24, 2006 - Lok Sabha adjourned over national security and rising prices; RS adjourned in memory of Vasant Chavan.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee admitted an adjournment motion on the Mumbai blasts.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - RS adjourned over Pak nuclear programme.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Devil & The Deep Sea




The Chatisgarh Government, in an attempt to wipe out the Naxalites, started a movement called the Salwa Judum in June 2005. In the local tribal dialect “Gondi”, “Salwa Judum” means the “Path of Peace”. But this “Path of Peace” is becoming more often the path to bloodshed, destruction and displacement. As many as 3,200 tribals have been recruited to fight the Maoists. Over 250 deaths have been reported since Salwa Judum was in initiated last year (250 according to official estimate but thousands if first hand reports are to be believed).
E.A.S. Sarma (former Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Government of India) wrote in his recent article in a national daily, "The counter-insurgency strategy of the Chhattisgarh Government, with Salwa Judum at its core, has unleashed civil strife in Dantewada. It has already pitted brother against brother and village against village."
Excerpts from
Time to call off the Salwa Judum by Ajit Jogi, Indian Express
A State at War With its People, Vishav Bharti, ohmynews.com

Right to Little Information



The cabinet has cleared amendments to the RTI Act, which would mean that only certain 'file notings' will be made public. While the government claims that the changes will end ambiguity, activists say the changes will render the law powerless by only allowing for marginal access to government files.

Indian Govt. Bans Blog - Got To Do Something!!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Bangalore Highway Stalled Again



Politicians in Karnataka stalled work on the Bangalore Highway Project yet again.