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Financial Inclusion


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India and Japan

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Judicial Appointment Process

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India has grown substantially
since liberalization and GDP of India
has seen a multifold increase over the
last two decades. But this growth has
not been inclusive enough and since
the turn of the century government
has turned their attention towards
inclusive growth. Financial inclusion
is an important tool for the growth to
be inclusive. Financial inclusion
defined by the Rangarajan committee
as The process of ensuring access
to financial services and timely and
adequate credit where needed by
vulnerable groups such as weaker
sections and low income groups at
an affordable cost. This statement
says financial inclusion means financial
services should be accessible to
everyone especially to the low
income section and these financial
services should be available at a cost
that is affordable to everyone.
Different countries are in different
stages of financial inclusion and in
India it is to provide banking solution
for everyone. In India only few are
included with in the financial ambit.
In India after independence at
various stages government has tried
to increase the people with in the
ambit of organized financial services.
In the initial phase of financial
inclusion government nationalised
the banks. Nationalisation of banks
gave government the opportunity to
decide about the rates and also it
provides better control over the
overall functioning of the banks.
During this phase government
provided bank licenses with focus on
uncovered area and also they
provided for priority sector lending.
In the second phase which started in

1990s RBI provided guidelines to

open no frill accounts and various
other initiatives like easier KYC, use
of IT in banking, better customer
services and reduction in amount
which banks needs to keep with RBI.
This provided the banks the adequate
flexibility and credit to lend to those
who need the money. There has
been a commendable progress
achieved by India in financial
inclusion. India has greatly increased
the total number of bank branches
and also the total number of branches
in rural area. Now banks lend more
than their assigned limit to priority
sector. In spite of all the progress, this
has not been sufficient. A lot more
needs to be done in order to make
the financial inclusion successful.
With above objective in mind
government has launched Pradhan
Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. PM
announced the scheme on his
maiden Independence Day speech.
Various objectives of this scheme
includes:1. Enrolling 7.5 crore bank
accounts and bring them in
organised financial sector.
2. Provide Universal access to
banking facilities starting with
Basic Banking Accounts with
overdraft facility of Rs 5000
after six months.

3. Rupay debit card to every

account holder.
4. This card will have accidental
insurance cover of Rs. 1 lakh as
5. An additional 30000 Rs life
insurance cover will also be
provided to those who will
open the account.
6. Final aim is to link bank
accounts with Aadhaar card,
so that it reduces the leakages
in the transfers from
All these measures along with
measures taken by RBI to bring more
and more citizens into financial net
will take some time to reap the
benefits. But they are the necessary
steps to remove some of the
longstanding problems. Corruption in
the transfer of funds can be largely
controlled it objective of direct
benefit transfer can be achieved.
Unaccounted money is also a big
source for black money and it is not
taxed. Farmers and poor who do not
have banking facility are forced to go
to money lenders who charge large
interest rates. These large interest
rates are reason for large scale suicide
of farmers in India. So government
should take all the necessary measure
to bring everyone into financial ambit.
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India and Japan have a long
history of engagements, relations
between the two countries are as old
as 6th century B.C. It started with
Buddhism being introduced to
Japan. Japans relation with India has
always been positive, in freedom
struggle Japan supported netaji.
However the modern relations are
more based on technological
advancement of Japan. But even in
present era where relations are
dominated by economic sphere both
countries have maintained good
cultural, educational and spiritual ties
based upon the values of democracy
and rule of law. Strong cultural values
of Japan has attracted Indian leaders
from time to time, Swami Vivekananda
once said that every Indian must visit
Japan once in his/her lifetime. The
Japan-India Association was set up
110 years ago in 1903, and is today
the oldest international friendship
body in Japan. India and Japan has
seen lot of adversaries in the past but
they have always stood by each other.
Post the Second World War, India did
not attend the San Francisco
Conference, but decided to
conclude a separate peace treaty
with Japan in 1952 after its sovereignty
was fully restored, marking a defining
moment in the bilateral relations and
setting the tone for the future.
Relationship between the two
countries after independence
started with India concluding a
separate peace with Japan in 1952,
which was all the more important
because India did not attend the San
Francisco Conference. After that
Japanese PM visit to India in 1957 and
Indias PM Jawahar lal Nehrus visit to
Tokyo same year started the long

journey of mutual trust and friendship

of two countries who were trying to
get out of their problems. And most
importantly in India there is a great
admiration for Japan for how they
have grown despite all the
adversaries. Despite god beginning
momentum of Indo-Japan relations
died after 1950s. This can be seen
from the fact that no high level visit
took place from India for 30 years.
But Maruti Suzuki investment in
1980s changed the scenario and
they brought good business practices
with them. Japan has always helped
India in the time of crisis they were
among the few countries who
helped India during the balance of
payment crisis in 1991 and India is
also the biggest beneficiary of Japans
overseas development assistance.
At the beginning of 21st century
bilateral relations got a strong push
and leaders from the countries came
forward to make it successful. The
Japan-India Global Partnership in the
21st Century was launched looking
into new challenges and
opportunities present in the 21 st
century world. In the year 2006
relationship between the two
countries were further scaled up and
relationship was upgraded to a Global
and Strategic Partnership and an
annual summit of prime ministers was
declared. India is one and only
country in the world with which Japan
has PM level summit. Due all these
measures economic relationship
between India and japan flourished
to new heights. India finally
concluded a comprehensive
economic partnership agreement
with Japan in 2011. Since the turn of
the century trade relations between

the countries has scaled many folds.

In various fields India and Japan
complement each other; in
demography Japan has an ageing
population while India high youthful
population; India has great stock of
natural resources while Japan has
advanced technology for exploring
the resources; Indias service sector
is flourishing while japan has a great
manufacturing sector. So in all the
above aspects both countries can
complement each other and help in
the growth of other.
Japan-India bilateral trade
reached close to $ 20 billion in the
year 2013-14. Japans trade share with
the India is 2 to 2.5 percent of total
trade by India. India imports from
japan mainly electronic goods,
machinery, Iron and steel etc. while
India exports includes petroleum
products, jewelry and gems. Indian
government also has plan to invest $
1 trillion in infrastructure during the
twelfth plan period, Japanese
assistance could prove to be critical
as they have the expertise and know
how in infrastructure field. Japan has
already provided the willingness for
Delhi-Mumbai Industrial corridor but
India has various other important
infrastructure projects in line like
Western Dedicated Freight Corridor
(DFC) so Japans assistance would be
a great help. In political sphere at the
60th anniversary of diplomatic
relations both countries have signed
Strengthening the Strategic and
Global Partnership. And Emperor
Akihito and Empress Michiko weeklong visit in December 2013 shows
the importance japan attach to India.
Prime minister Narendra Modi visit to
Japan also strengthen the already
existing rapport between the nations.
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Reinterpretation of Japanese Constitution


Administration of law and order
is one of the most important functions
of state. The judicial system deals
with the administration of the laws
through the agency of the courts.
Judiciary has been given the power
to impose penalty and punish in case
of deviation from the normal course
of action. Judiciary also helps in
resolving the disputes between the
people. Judicial system has not been
always like we have right now, it has
evolved through various stages. India
had a fairly well-developed and
administration of justice even in
ancient India. And there is some
similarity between the system we
have now and what it used to be in
ancient India. But laws and system of
administration of justice which we
have now is developed during the
British rule.
In present India judicial system
is divided in three tiers, with Supreme
Court at the top, high courts in the
middle and subordinate courts at the
bottom. Chapter IV of part V of the
constitution deals with the Union
Judiciary and Chapter V and VI of part
VI deals with high courts and
subordinate courts respectively. All
the three tiers of courts also have a
defined jurisdiction. Supreme court
has original and exclusive jurisdiction
with respect to cases related to
interstate disputes. Supreme court is
also the protector of fundamental
rights but High courts also have the
power to issue writs in case of
violation of fundamental rights.
The appointment process of
judges to the Supreme Court and the
High Court is provided under Article

124(2) and Article 217(1) of the

Constitution. Articles 124 says that
every judge of the supreme court
shall be appointed by the president
by a warrant under his hand and seal
after consultation with such of judges
of the supreme court and of the High
courts as the president may seem
necessary for the purpose. The
Supreme Court in S.P. Gupta v.
President of India (1981) held that
the executive would appoint the
judges in consultation with the Chief
Justice rather than in concurrence.
But 9 judges bench in second
judges case interpreted the word
consultation as concurrence and
it was interpreted that the President
has to concur with the names
decided by CJI and Art 50 of
separation of power was cited to
explain this. President invoked the
article 143 in this case and in Third
judges case it was decided that
collegiums will prescribe the name
with which the president has to
concur with. Collegiums will consist
of chief justice and two or four senior
Supreme Court judges in case of
appointment of high court and
supreme court judges respectively.
Present process of appointment
of higher judiciary has been criticised
of several accounts:(1) Process lacks accountability
(2) It does not into consideration
the proper merit.
(3) There are no specific criteria
for selection in judiciary.
(4) In a democracy people are
representative of people, they
should have some say in the

appointment process of
(5) India is the only constitutional
democracy where the
judiciary appoints its own
In keeping these criticism in
mind parliament has passed a bill for
appointment in higher judiciary. With
the passing of National Judicial
Appointments Commission (NJAC),
the collegium system of appointing
judges to the Supreme Court and
high courts is set to become history.
The new legislation seeks to replace
the existing judges-appointingjudges system with a 6-member
The Judicial Appointments
Commission will consist of
(a) The Chief Justice of India,
Chairperson, ex officio;
(b) Two other Judges of the
Supreme Court next to the
Chief Justice of India in
seniorityMembers, ex
(c) The Union Minister in charge
of Law and JusticeMember,
ex officio
(d) two eminent persons, to be
nominated by the collegium
consisting of the Prime
Minister, the Chief Justice of
India and the Leader of
Opposition in the House of the
Involvement of executive and
legislature in the appointment of
higher judiciary is definite
requirement but separation of power
should be maintained and it should
also be seen that impartiality of
judiciary is not hampered.
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National Issues

Taking Decisions on Moral
Grounds By Trial Courts has
become a Fashion: HC

It has become a fashion in

recent years for trial courts to
convict those accused in
criminal cases on the moral
grounds and individual
perceptions of the presiding
officers rather than strictly on
the sound legal principles, the
Madras High Court Bench has
Justice P.R. Shivakumar also
said that taking decisions on
the moral grounds was the job
of those in cassocks and
saffron clothes and not judges
wearing black robes as they
are expected to act strictly in
accordance with the principles
and provisions of law.
The observations were made
on a criminal appeal filed by an
individual in 2006 to set aside
the conviction and 10 years
imposed on him by a Mahila
Court in Tiruchi district.
Centre Identified 287 Outdated
Laws to be Repealed in the Winter

Union Law Minister Ravi

Shankar Prasad said the
government has identified 287
obsolete laws to be repealed

in the winter session of

Mr. Prasad said the Centre has
already written for urgent
departments concerned in
whose jurisdictions the
outdated amending laws
continue to exist.

In the previous session, the

government had introduced
the Repealing and Amending
Bill, 2014, to repeal 36 obsolete
laws. The Bill is currently
Mr. Prasad said the government
is also acting on a September
12 report submitted by the Law
identifying 72 antiquated
statutes, which have to be
immediately axed.
These 72 laws are part of 261
statutes, the oldest one of them
dating back to 1836, which
prima facie require repeal as
they are inconsistent with
modern times as per the
Commission report.
He also informed that the
Centre is considering a
proposal to repeal 700
Appropriation Acts. Every
Parliament passes around 12
Appropriation laws each year
to be used whenever the

government decides to
withdraw money from the
Consolidated Fund of India.
After every such withdrawal,
the particular Appropriation
law becomes infructuous.
Komagata Maru Centenary
Observed on 29th September

A day after Prime Minister

Narendra Modi reached out to
the immigrant community of
the United States, a year-long
centenary commemoration of
the Komagata Maru incident
in which 19 Canada-bound
Indian immigrants were killed
in police firing on September
29, 1914 near Kolkata was
launched here on Monday.
The commemoration was
launched by Union Minister of
State for Culture Sripad Naik in
the presence of three
granddaughters of Baba Gurdit
Singh who was among the
leaders of the 376 immigrants
aboard the ship that had been
turned away from Canada and
forced to return to India. The
British imperial government
saw the men on the ship as
dangerous political agitators,
and sent the police to arrest
Singh and others. While Singh
escaped arrest, 19 men were
killed in the firing.
Government Buses cant Display
Election ads: Election Commission

As Maharashtra and Haryana go

for Assembly polls in October,
the Election Commission ruled
out allowing display of election
advertisements on government
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National Issues
transport buses, saying the
party in power can use it to its
advantage and disturb the level
playing field.
In a communication to Chief
Electoral Officers of all states,
the EC referred to the issue of
allowing election related
advertisements on state road
transportation and municipal
corporation buses.

Level playing field envisaged

under the Model Code of
Conduct is a very vital aspect
for ensuring free and fair
elections. A party should not be
in a position to take undue
advantage on account of it
being in power in the
government.... the buses of the
SRTC are virtually under the
control of the state government
concerned...., the EC said.
Using powers vested to it under
Article 324, the EC has
directed that State Road
Transport Corporation buses
and buses owned by
Municipal Corporations and
other government-owned
vehicles shall not be used for
advertisements during the
period when the model code
is in force.
New Art Award Announced in
Jaipur Literature Fest

The ZEE Jaipur Literature

Festival, the worlds largest free
literary festival, announced a
new art award to be presented
in partnership with Delhi-based

art organisation Ojas Art.

The Ojas Art Award, a new

annual addition to the Festival,
will be presented to two Indian
It will be worth Rs. 51,000 and
Rs. 31,000 respectively. The
award will also celebrate and
encourage new artistic talent
by providing a platform for the
artists to showcase their work
at the Lit Fest.
Known for its innovation and
inclusive approach to the arts
and artistic expression, the ZEE
Jaipur Literature Festival has
been working with Ojas Art for
a number of years, showcasing
up-and-coming artists work.
The first edition of the Ojas Art
Award will focus on Gond Art
and is open for entries from
September 29.
1 out of 10 School Children is
Overweight: Health Ministry

Batting for care of children with

Type-I diabetes in schools and
colleges and allowing them to
take frequent meals even during
examinations, the Union
Ministry of Health & Family
Welfare has sought comments
from the Education and Social
Justice & Empowerment
Ministry on how to bring in the
programme to aid these
Taking action on a report
advocating better care and
maintenance for children with
Type-I diabetes who are in

schools and colleges, Dr. Ashok

Kumar Jhingan, chairman of
Diabetes Education and
Research Foundation, had
written to Health and Education
Ministries stating that the
government should look at
including this (Type-I
diabetes) in the list of physical
disability in the Equal
Opportunity Protection of
Rights and Full Participation
Act, 1995.
In his letter, Dr. Jhingan had
noted that children with TypeI diabetes have to take small
frequent meals to avoid the
danger of hypoglycemia. This
is very important for the normal
functioning of their brain.
However, if these children are
not allowed to take frequent
meals then it leads to
hypoglycaemia, which not only
adversely affects their
performance at school level but
also poses a danger to their lives
and may leave them demotivated and frustrated.
Justice Handyala
Lakshminarayana Swamy Dattu as
the new CJI

Hours after being sworn in as

the 42nd Chief Justice of India
at the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati
Bhavan, Justice Handyala
Lakshminarayana swamy Dattu
pledged to be a common mans
judge on the Bench.
The 63-year-old Chief Justice
was sworn in by President
Pranab Mukherjee. He will serve
for 14 months and retire on
December 2, 2015.
Asked about the changes in the
Supreme Court over the years,
the CJI said the workload had
increased tremendously and
many sensitive cases were
being filed now. Justice Dattu
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National Issues
is presiding over the Bench
monitoring the 2G spectrum
Terrorism Divides, Tourism
Unites: PM

The vast untapped economic

potential of the tourism
industry was at the heart of an
impassioned pitch that Indian
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
made in Manhattan, when he
said to a select, distinguished
gathering of Indian-American
community leaders, opinionshapers, and long-standing
friends of India in the U.S.
government, that tourism could
generate income for taxi
drivers, auto-rickshaw drivers
and even tea-sellers.
Reiterating his support for a
scheme that he had mentioned
in an earlier conversation Mr.
Modi said to the nearly 700
Indian-Americans at a starstudded dinner at the Taj
overlooking Central Park that he
did not need their dollars,
rather he wanted every IndianAmerican to send five nonIndian friends to visit the
This way, even though Indias
current achievements in the
tourism sphere were relatively
low, they could increase
substantially to tap into a global
market worth nearly $3 trillion
globally, he argued, and this
would also bring benefits per

the axiom, Terrorism divides,

tourism unites.
187th Gunners Day Celebrated: 28
Sep 2014

28th September is being

celebrated as Gunners Day. It
has a special significance in the
annals of the history of the
Regiment of Artillery as the first
Indian Artillery Unit, 5
(Bombay) Mountain Battery
equipped with 2.5 inch RML
Gun, was raised on this
momentous day in 1827. The
Regiment celebrates the
occasion every year as Gunners
Artillery was first used in India
in the 14th Century by the
Bahmani Kings during the
Deccan War against Vijaynagar
Kingdom. A force multiplier
throughout the Mughal Period,
and later during the reign of
the Marathas, Hyder Ali, Tipu
Sultan and the Sikhs under
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, artillery
has eternally been an arm to
reckon with.
The Regiment proved its mettle
also during the operations of
1947-48, 1962, 1965, 1971 and
1999. After the Kargil conflict,
Artillery has acquired further
prominence and with its vast
array of weapons, it is
acknowledged as an significant
Arm of Decision.
18-Year-Long Legal Battle Ended,
Jayalalithaa Sentenced to 4 years
in Jail

An epic 18-year-long legal

battle ended in less than five
minutes on 27th september. All
India Anna Dravida Munnetra
Jayalalithaa arrived at the
Parappana Agrahara complex
as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. By
the time the curtains were
drawn on the dramatic day, she
had lost her post after having
been found guilty of corruption.
The three-time Chief Minister
was sentenced to four years
simple imprisonment and a Rs.
100-crore fine was imposed on
her for offences under the
Prevention of Corruption Act.
Her co-accused Sasikala
Natarajan, V. Sudhakaran and J.
Elavarasi were sentenced to
four years imprisonment with
a fine of Rs. 10 crore each.
Jayalalithaa stood disqualified
as an MLA and lost her position
as Chief Minister. She would
now be barred from contesting
elections for the period of
conviction plus six years a
total of 10 years.
Apple Festival starts in Himachal

The Himachal Pradesh State

Tourism Department has
launched an Apple Festival to
showcase and promote locally
produced apples and apple
made products among tourist.
The Tourism Departments also
plans to take the tourists to the
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National Issues
apple orchards itself so that
they may have a more handson experience of the plucking,
packaging and marketing
processes involved. The
department also conducted a
competition for farmers
growing exotic varieties of
apples. Various local hotels and
food chains have also set up
stalls selling apple based
The Save Kappatagudda

The Save Kappatagudda

campaign, to urge the State
government not to drop the
Kappatagudda hill ranges in
Gadag district a wildlife
sanctuary, was launched.
Environmental activists,
religious leaders, farmers,
academics, students, wildlife
experts, residents of villages
surrounding Kappatagudda
and others, led by the former
chairman of the Western Ghats
Task Force Anant Hegde
Ashisar and Nandiveri Math
seer Sri Shivakumara Swami,
conducted a meeting near the
Deputy Commissioners office.
Mr. Ashisar said the
government had dropped
declaring Kappatagudda a
wildlife sanctuary citing the
livelihood of the poor.
However, the wildlife sanctuary
status for the region would not
affect the livelihood of the
people as there was no
proposal either to vacate village
residents or ban farming
activities. It will only prevent
mining activities. If it is not
declared a wildlife sanctuary,
it will provide scope for the
exploitation of the mineral
deposits and harm the ecology,

he explained.
Mr. Ashisar said the seer of
Gadag Tontadarya Math,
Siddhalinga Swami, who led
the agitation against setting up
the POSCO steel plant, and
A n n a d a n e s h w a r a
Mahashivayogi Math seer,
Abhinava Annadaneshwara
Swami, have extended support
to the Save Kappatagudda
Pandavulametta: A Prehistoric Site

barring of course K.
Venkateswara Rao, freelance
archaeologist, who frequently
travels to the place to see that
they are in tact.
The only problem is
Pandavulametta and other
prehistoric sites have never
been aggressively promoted as
world tourism spots. Though
neglected these monuments
are in reasonably good shape,
basically because not many
people know their existence.
All of them lack basic
infrastructure facilities even
pathway to reach them, says
Mr. Rao who has submitted a
concept paper to top officials
of the Tourism Department.
US Court Issues Summons Against
Narender Modi

It is no less historically
significant as Stonehenge,
Machu Picchu and Biskupin in
Poland. Like Stonehenge,
which is variedly believed by
archaeologists as a sun
prehistoric observatory and
even as place of healing,
Pandavulametta too is seen as
sacred worshipping place.
Stonehenge, prehistoric
monument in United Kingdom,
attracts seven lakh tourists from
all over the world annually.
Another such prehistoric site
Machu Picchu in Peru in South
America draws three lakh
tourists. Millions of dollars are
generated from these two sites.
But not a soul visits our own
abounding a cluster of hillocks
Sangamayya Konda and Sailada
though located just about 14
km from the district
headquarters of Srikakulam

Jane Doe, multiple John

Does, a man only known as Asif
and the American Justice
Centre these were the
variegated plaintiffs in the
lawsuit that led to a dramatic
summons issued by a New York
federal court against Indian
Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
In their lawsuit, they have made
eight distinct claims for relief
which include, in order, crimes
against humanity; cruel,
inhuman, or degrading
treatment or punishment;
extrajudicial killing; wrongful
deaths; negligence; public
nuisance; battery; and
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National Issues

intentional infliction of
emotional distress.
All allegations pertain to the
role that the plaintiffs
perceived Mr. Modi to have
played in presiding over the
anti-Muslim pogrom that
occurred in Gujarat in 2002,
when he was the states Chief
Business-to-business a priority
government-togovernment engagements in
Modis visit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
is expected in New York a day
after unveiling his Make in
India plan on 25th September
for a five-day visit expected to
focus on boosting the Indian
Calling the U.S. a vital partner
for our national development
as he left for his tour, Mr. Modi
said he hopes to draw
especially on the rich
possibilities of partnership in
education, skills, research,
technology and innovation.
During his visit, Mr. Modi will
address corporates at different
levels, from a breakfast meeting
with 11 top CEOs, one-on-one
meetings with leading business
figures, including the heads of
Boeing, GE, IBM, but also with
investment management firms
Blackrock and KKR, and finally
an address to business chamber
Another big priority for the PM
will be energy supplies, as he
will try to disentangle the
nuclear knots over Indias
supplier liability laws, speaking
directly to the heads of GE and
Westinghouse that have bid for
plants in India. Mukesh Ambani
will be part of the business
delegation during the visit.

SC Cancelled Allocation of 214 Coal Blocks

In an order with far-reaching

implications, the Supreme
Court cancelled all but four of
the 218 coal block allocations
declared arbitrary and illegal by
it in an August 25 judgment.
The decision comes as a
windfall for the government as
the court has ordered the
owners of the cancelled coal
blocks to cough up Rs. 295 as
compensation for every tone of
coal they extracted illegally, to
make up for the loss to the
The levy was calculated with
reference to the figures of loss
arrived at by the Comptroller
and Auditor General.
The government is expected to
get Rs. 8,000- 10,000 crore this
way. The government is also
free to auction the cancelled
Ganga Clean-up Programme

The Supreme Court said it

wants the NDA government to
give it a commitment that river
Ganga will be cleaned in a
phased manner and said the
court will keep a close watch
on the executives efforts to

rejuvenate the 2,500 km-long


In response, the government

said the Centres efforts alone
will not help the river get a
second lease of life, instead the
thought to keep the Ganga
clean must come from within
for the general public, and
governments in the five Ganga
river basin States - Uttarakhand,
Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand
and West Bengal should rise
above political differences and
chip in to save the Ganga.
Another proposal is by the
Ministry of Drinking Water and
Sanitation to make all 1,649
grampanchayats located along
the Ganga banks free from
open defecation.
The third is to enforce zero
liquid discharge from grossly
polluting industries located
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across the five Ganga river basin
National Tax Tribunal Act is
Unconstitutional: SC

The Supreme Court struck

down the National Tax Tribunal
Act, holding it unconstitutional.
A Constitutional Bench of the
apex court, headed by Chief
Justice R.M. Lodha, said that
Parliament could not take away
the powers of the judiciary and
rest them in a tribunal which is
not a court in its characteristic.
Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman
in a separate but concurring
judgment, describing the
tribunal as unconstitutional and
in breach of separation of
powers between different
organs of the state, said that the
substantial question of law can
only be decided by the higher
judiciary the Supreme Court
and the high courts.

claimed to be members of Full

Gospel Church of God, which
they said had more than 4,000
members. Though they believe
in Jesus Christ, they do not
believe in Christianity or any
other religion.
The court said that every
individual has the right to claim
that he does not belong to any
religion and that he does not
practice or profess any
The HC reminded the
governments that India is a
secular, democratic republic
with no state religion. The court
held that no state authority
could infringe upon a persons
fundamental right under the
Constitution of India (Article
25) of freedom of conscience
and freely practicing,
professing or propagating a
The HC said that if an individual
is told by the state to disclose
his religion, he can say that he
does not practice or belong to
any religion.
BHEL will Set up 2 Power Stations
in Telangana

No Government can Force anyone

to Declare his Religion: Bombay
High Court

No person in India can be

compelled to declare his
religion, the Bombay high court
ruled while hearing a PIL
seeking direction to the
Maharashtra government to not
insist on declaration of religion
on official forms and
The petition was filed by Dr
Ranjeet Mohite, Kishore Nazare
and Subhash Ranaware, who

Public sector giant Bharat

Heavy Electricals Limited
(BHEL) will construct two
thermal power generating
stations for the Telangana State
(TSGENCO) at Kothagudem
and Manuguru in the next three

The government will soon enter

into a Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) with the
state-owned company, for
augmentation of capacities to
the extent of 800 MW and 1080
MW respectively at both
Project cost for both stations
could be about Rs.11,000
crore, out of which BHELs
approximately Rs.9,000 crore,
senior officials informed.
However, negotiations are still
on for arriving at final cost.
NGT gave order to MoEF for the
Demarcation of Eco-Sensitive area

The Ministry of Environment

and Forests (MoEF) submitted
a confusing affidavit to the
National Green Tribunal saying
State governments in the
Western Ghats region may, after
undertaking demarcation of
eco sensitive areas (ESA) by
physical verification, propose
the exclusion/inclusion of
certain areas in the draft
notification dated March 10,
This draft notification issued by
MoEF was based on the ESA
demarcated by the high-level
working group (HLWG)
headed by K. Kasturirangan.
Justice Swatanter Kumar of the
NGT asked the counsel for the
Ministry to take direction from
secretary or additional
secretary on the question of
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demarcating ESAs. He said that
if Kerala had completed its
demarcation of ESAs, then let
it be finalized.

Bilawal Bhutto Statement on


SC Lays Down Guidelines for

Police Encounters

The Supreme Court laid down

stringent guidelines for police
encounters to prevent fake
encounter killings by police.
The top court said every
intelligence input about armed
terrorist movement must be
recorded in writing, without
disclosing vital information, by
the police party before
proceeding to nab them.
If the encounter results in death
of any one, the police must
immediately register an FIR and
furnish a copy to the court
having jurisdiction over the
Restrict MGNREGS only Tribal and
Poor Areas

Political reactions across party

lines have strongly condemned
the statement by Bilawal
Bhutto that his party, the
Pakistan Peoples Party, would
take over the whole of Kashmir.
The BJP described the
statement as immature and
childish, and said Kashmir
would always remain an integral
part of India.
Mr. Bhuttos PPP was wiped out
in Multan in the 2013 general
According to an analyst in
Pakistan, He [Bhutto] thinks he
can gain this region back,
where pro-Taliban forces are
strong, with such statements on
Young Leader of Tomorrow by
Time Magazine

Union Minister of Rural

Development Nitin Gadkari has
proposed that the MGNREGS
be restricted to only tribal and
poor areas and the permissible
labour to material ratio of
expenses be changed from the
current 60:40 to 51:49.
Even as the current upper limit
in expenditure is not being met,
the government wants to
increase this from 40 to 49 per
cent. The change will increase
the presence of contractors in
the job scheme and squeeze
the funds available for wages.

A 28-year-old Bangalore-based
architect has been named
young leader of tomorrow by
Time magazine for his
pioneering work in designing
affordable flood-proof houses
for slum dwellers.
Alok Shetty is among leaders
of tomorrow who are working
hard to change their worlds
Time said as it named six
inspirational young persons in
its first class of next generation
Mr. Shetty, who studied

Masters in architecture at
Columbia University, came at
the problem with an approach
he brings to all of his projects
marrying smart design with
a commitment to sustainability.
Mr. Shetty, working with the
Bangalore-based nonprofit
Parinaam Foundation, is
designing homes for hundreds
of slum dwellers whose
makeshift houses flood during
the heavy rains and become
breeding grounds for diseases
like malaria.
Cleanliness Index

Union Tourism Ministry said it

was working on a cleanliness
index for cities in the country
to encourage the best
performers and, in turn, inspire
others to spruce up.
In 2013, the government
invited proposals from
consultants for developing a
cleanliness index with
parameters and a scoring
method to facilitate ranking of
various cities and towns.
Mandolin U. Shrinivas is no more

The Carnatic music fraternity is

in a state of shock over the
untimely death of Mandolin U.
Shrinivas .
He was reportedly being
treated for liver failure at the
Apollo Hospital .

He had lately received a liver

transplant and had recovered,
but a lung infection proved
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SC objected UGC

A Bench led by Justice Dipak

Misra said the Commission may
be misled by the visual images
and arrive at wrong conclusions
about the facilities in the
varsities under scanner.
The Supreme Court objected
to the University Grants
Commission (UGC) preparing
its report on the educational
standards of 44 deemed
universities on the basis of
photographs and video
footage sent by the varsities
instead of an actual field
inspection of the facilities.
The observation came when
the UGC said it would finalise
its report by September 30.
The Commission said physical
inspection would further delay
the filing of its report.
The court had asked the UGC
to assess the quality of
education imparted by the 44
institutions in the light of the
P.N. Tandon Committee report.
The panel had recommended
de-recognition of these
institutions as they were merely
functioning as colleges without
any research on the curricula
or innovation in teaching.
Indo-China Audio-Visual Coproduction Agreement

India made a strong pitch with

the visiting Chinese delegation
to get actor Jackie Chan to
attend the International Film
Festival of India (IFFI) due to
start in Goa on November 20.


India has already decided to

have a China focus at IFFI with
a dozen Chinese films lined up
for screening. Participation of
stars from China would be a
major attraction, Mr. Javadekar
The two sides signed an IndoChina Audio-Visual Coproduction
through which India hopes to
secure Indian filmmakers a
foothold in the Chinese market.
As per a commitment to WTO,
China imports only 34 films a
year. This quota is strictly

applied in case of foreign films

that opt to release in China via
the revenue-sharing model.
The other route is outright sale
where the Chinese distributor
buys a film for a fixed price and
retains the profits.
India is hopeful that the
Chinese will at some point
agree to extend the revenue
sharing model to Indian films
made under the co-production
agreement as the film
exhibition industry in China is
already double of the size of
Indias and set to boom over
the next decade.

India Newborn Action Plan

The Centre launched a

programme to reduce infant
mortality and bring down the
number of deaths to a single
digit by 2030 from the current
29 deaths per 1,000 live births.
The India Newborn Action
Plan (INAP), inaugurated by
Union Health Minister Harsh
Vardhan, is the first step
towards arresting infant deaths.
Asserting that India can reduce
the deaths through simple,
cost-effective interventions
before and immediately after
delivery, Dr. Vardhan said of

the 2.8 million who die at birth

worldwide, India contributes
seven lakh.
The programme will be
implemented under the
Maternal, Child Health and
Adolescents Plus (RMNCHA+)
To Wipe out Kala Azar

The Gates Foundation is now

planning to work with the new
Indian government to wipe out
kala azar.
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The foundations co-chairs,
Melinda Gates and her
husband, former Microsoft cofounder and CEO Bill Gates, are
in India to meet the new
government, including Prime
Minister Narendra Modi and his
Cabinet colleagues.
The second largest parasitic
killer in the world after malaria,
kala azar is concentrated in 52
districts in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh,
Jharkhand and West Bengal.
India officially reported fewer
than 5,000 kala azar cases in
2011 and fewer than 100
deaths due to the disease,
according to the World Health
However, the international
health community believes
underestimation; while India
reported just over 1,000 malaria
deaths in 2011, medical journal
Lancet placed the estimate 40
times higher.
Lalitha Kumarmangalam as the
of the National Commission for
Women (NCW)

BJPs national executive

appointed as the chairperson
of the National Commission for
Women (NCW).

India host the Third Meeting of

SAARC Cultural Ministers

India will host the Third

Meeting of SAARC Cultural
Ministers in New Delhi from
September 24-26.
Of the seven states invited to
the event, six Afghanistan,
Sri Lanka, Bangladesh,
Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan
have already confirmed that
they will attend the meet.
One Legislation for All Central

To introduce one legislation for

all central universities, the
Human Resource Development
Ministry has circulated the draft
bill to all such varsities, asking
them to revert with suggestions
within three weeks.
There are currently 40 central
universities under the Ministry,
of which 16 were created in
2009 under one Act, while the
rest are governed by separate
Acts of Parliament.
The draft bill is based on
recommendations of the A M
Pathan committee and has
compromising the autonomy of
these universities.

Quality Council of India (QCI).

Zainulbhai, who is currently

serving as a senior adviser with
McKinsey India, is also on the
boards of Reliance Industries,
Foundation, Saifee Hospital,
Saifee Burhani Upliftment
Trust, Network 18 as well as on
the advisory board of Indian
Institute of Technology,
Indo-China Pacts

Many agreements will be

signed dealing with tourism
and student exchanges,
cultural MoUs between several
institutions, including the
National Museum, railway
infrastructure, banks, and
technology assistance on
Chinas decision to build
industrial cities in Gujarat and
Maharashtra at an initial
investment of $10 billion is a
step towards addressing the
ballooning trade deficit India
has of about $35 billion.
Foster Care

Adil Zainulbhai as the Chief of the

Quality Council of India (QCI)

Kumarmangalam is from Tamil

Nadu and runs an NGO called

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

has appointed former
McKinsey India chairman Adil
Zainulbhai as the chief of the
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The foster care proposal will
cover children below 18, who
are either deserted or unable
to get care at home.
Minors in conflict with the law
would also be eligible for foster
care services.
To reverse the declining child
sex ratio (CSR) across the
States, the Minister said 100
critical districts have been
identified and efforts would be
made to correct the imbalance.
The Child Line (1098), an
emergency outreach service
for children in need of care and
protection, is to be expanded
from 282 locations to 343
locations by the end of
Financial Year 2014-15.
The Union Ministry for Women
and Child Development
(WCD) which has set a target
to bring down malnutrition
levels and improve the skewed
sex ratio has decided to bolster
child care in the country by
introducing the concept of
foster homes and creating
awareness about sexual abuse.
Presenting the Ministrys 100day report, Union WCD Minister
Maneka Gandhi said that in
collaboration with the Union
Human Resource Development
Ministry, a project would be
undertaken in schools where
with the aid of teachers and
organisations, students would
inappropriate touch.
L.K. Advani as the Chairman of
the Ethics Committee of Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra

Mahajan appointed BJP veteran
L.K. Advani as the chairman of
the prestigious Ethics
Committee of Lok Sabha.

Manikrao Gavit of Congress was

heading the Committee in the
last Lok Sabha.

Other members of the

Arunmozhithevan, Ninong
Ering, Sher Singh Ghubaya,
Hemant Tukaram Godse,
Pralhad Joshi, Bhagatsingh
Koshyari, Arjun Ram Meghwal,
Bhartruhari Mahtab, Kariya
Munda, Jayshreeben Patel,
Malla Reddy, Sumedhanand
Saraswati and Bhola Singh.
The 86-year-old Advani is a
member of the Committee on
Public Undertakings headed
by Shanta Kumar (BJP) and
Committee on Information
Technology headed by young
BJP MP Anurag Thakur.
Another BJP veteran Murli
Manohar Joshi is heading the
Committee on Estimates. Party
senior Maj Gen B C Khanduri is
heading the Committee on
The Ethics Committee
examines every complaint
relating to unethical conduct of
a member referred to it.
CPI(M) MPs Donate Rs. 50 Lakh
each for Relief and Rehabilitation
Work in Jammu & Kashmir

The Communist Party of India

(Marxist) decided that all its
Members of Parliament would
donate Rs. 50 lakh each from
their Member of Parliament
Local Area Development
Scheme (MPLADS) funds for

relief and rehabilitation work in

the flood-affected areas of
Jammu & Kashmir.

The CPI (M) has 18 MPs, nine in

each House. The CPI(M)
contribution to the nation-wide
relief and rehabilitation effort
would, thus, stand at Rs. 9 crore.
A party release said the rules of
the MPLADS provide for such
a prescribed amount of
contribution by MPs in the
event of a national disaster.
Appointments Committee of the
Cabinet Approved Appointments
to Key Posts

The Appointments Committee

of the Cabinet, chaired by
Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
approved appointments to
several key posts .
Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi, a 1984batch IAS officer of the Punjab
cadre, has been appointed
Adviser, Inter-State Council
Secretariat, under the Union
Home Ministry, by temporarily
downgrading the post that fell
vacant after the retirement of
P.G. Dhar Chakraborty.
Alok Shrivastava from the
Madhya Pradesh cadre has
Secretary, Union Shipping
Ministry, by temporarily
downgrading the newly
created post of Additional
Secretary in the Ministry.
Anand Kumar has been made
Managing Director, National
Highways Infrastructure
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Development Corporation Ltd.,

by temporarily placing the
newly created post at this level.
Vijay Laxmi Joshi has been
appointed Secretary, Ministry
of Drinking Water and
Tapan Ray, Additional
Secretary, Department of
Electronics and Information
Technology; Aruna
Sundararajan, Administrator,
Universal Service Obligation
Neeraj Kumar Gupta, Secretary,
Board for Reconstruction of
Public Sector Enterprises; and
Amarjeet Sinha, Additional
Secretary, Department of
Higher Education.
Yudhvir Singh Malik has been
appointed Chief Executive
Officer, Food Safety and
Standards Authority of India.

Data Glitches Stall Rollout of Food

Security Act

Technological and procedural

delays in identifying the
intended beneficiaries of the
National Food Security Act
(NFSA) has seen the agencies
involved the Ministry of Rural
Development (MoRD), the
Electronics Corporation of
India Limited (ECIL), the nodal
agency to provide enumeration
devices and data entry
operators, and state officials
indulge in a blame game.
For the Socio-Economic Caste
Census survey, proposed as the
basis of the identification
process, enumerators used
scanned images of handwritten
data from the National
Population Register (NPR) to
verify household members
basic details.
They were accompanied by
data entry operators (DEOs)

who entered the responses

into a tablet computer.
Uma Promises Clean Ganga in
Three Years

The 247th Law Commission

report specifically focuses on
the impact caused by Sections
42 to 46 of the 1925 Act on
Christian women and mothers.
Educationist Kireet Joshi Passes

Union Minister Uma Bharti

reiterated her commitment to
clean river Ganga and promised
to do so in three years while
asserting that she would not
entertain any questions in this
regard before the task was
She congratulated the teachers
who were felicitated in the
programme, and asked all
teachers to become real gurus
and students to become better
human beings rather than grow
professionally. PTI
Property Law Unfair to Christian
Women: Report

The Law Commission of India

has asked the Narendra Modi
government to amend
provisions in a preIndependence law dealing
with property succession in
Christian families, saying the
statute gives preferential
approach to men and is unfair
and unjust to Christian women.
Noting that Christianity is the
third largest religion in India,
the Law Commission headed
by Justice A.P. Shah said
Sections in the Indian
Succession Act, 1925 weave
an archaic principle of giving
superior status to man in access
to and owning property.

Eminent educationist and

former education adviser to the
Union government Kireet Joshi
passed away after battling
cancer. He was 83.
Mr. Joshi was selected for the
Indian Administrative Services
in 1955 and posted as Assistant
Collector of Surat, Gujarat in
However, he resigned his job
the same year in order to study
and practise the Integral Yoga
of Sri Aurobindo at
Puducherry. He was appointed
as the Registrar of Sri
Aurobindo International
Centre of Education in 1958.
In 1976 the then Prime Minister
Indira Gandhi appointed him as
the educational adviser to the
Government of India.
He was instrumental in
redesigning and redrafting of
the Bill for Vishwa Bharati
University, Shantiniketan.
He is also credited with seeding
the idea of the Indira Gandhi
National Open University as also
of Pondicherry University.
In 1981 Mr. Joshi was
appointed Secretary of
Advisory Council.
He served as the Educational
Adviser to the Gujarat Chief
Minister from 2008 to 2010.
National Board for Wildlife

The Ministry of Environment

and Forests has filed an affidavit
in the Supreme Court
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reconstituting the National
Board for Wildlife (NBWL) after
the apex court had earlier
stayed all the decisions of the
standing Committee.
In the affidavit the government
has retained the Gujarat
Ecological Education and
Research (GEER) Foundation
and added four NGOs
World Wildlife Fund for NatureIndia, New Delhi, Aranyak,
Guwahati, Nature Conservation
Society, Jharkhand and the
Bombay Natural History
Society, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Dont Celebrate my Birthday,
Instead Help J&K: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

appealed to friends and wellwishers not to celebrate his
birthday and instead dedicate
time and resources towards
relief work in this hour of need
for flood-ravaged Jammu and
Mr. Modis appeal came amid
plans to celebrate his birthday
on September 17, 2014 across
the country, including in
Gujarat where he will be
present that day.
Sakshi Maharaj Courts
Controversy, Again

Days after he courted

controversy with his remark that
love jihad flourished through
madrasas, BJP MP from Unnao,
Sakshi Maharaj, has set off


another controversy, this time

with a statement that religious
learning institutions are giving
education of terrorism.
The remark, made at Nademau
in Kannauj district, is a repeat
of what the MP said on
September 7 at a programme
in Etah, branding madrasas as
hubs of terror where love
jihad prospered.
Love jihad is a term used by
right-wing Hindu outfits while
referring to alleged conversion
of Hindu girls through marriage.
Singrauli to be Developed as
Energy City: Chouhan

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister

Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said
that Singrauli will be developed
as energy city of the State.
Singrauli will be developed as
energy city of the state, Mr.
Chouhan announced while
launching development works
worth Rs. 161 crore in the city
Anyodaya Mela.
Apart from other measures, an
industrial area will also be
developed for all-round
development of the district.
He said Rs. 100 crore will be
spent on infrastructure
development in Singrauli
during five years.
It will be connected with air
and rail facilities. A Central
School will also be established
in the city for providing
education facilities to the

wards of those working in the

energy city, he said.
He also provided benefits
under various welfare schemes
totalling Rs. one crore to 516
Leaders Mourn Avaidyanath Death

Avaidyanath, also a former MLA,

was admitted to Medanta
Hospital in Gurgaon. He passed
away at the Peeth hospital in
Gorakhpur, where he was
admitted after being brought
from Gurgaon.
Avaidyanath, former chief
priest of Gorakhpurs famous
Gorakhnath temple, was also
the guru of Yogi Adityanath,
current MP from the city and
BJPs firebrand leader who is
in the news for his campaign
against love jihad.
Over Rs. 5,000 cr. Loss to J&K Due
to Floods: Assocham

Devastating floods in Jammu

and Kashmir have caused an
immediate loss of Rs. 5,4005,700 crore to the states
economy, with heavy damages
to trade, hotels, restaurants,
horticulture and handicraft,
according to initial estimates of
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industry body Assocham.
Jammu & Kashmir has been hit
by the worst floods in over a
century, throwing basic
infrastructure like power,
railways and communication in
the state completely out of
The initial estimated loss to
hotels, trade, agriculture
horticulture, roads and bridges
in the Jammu and Kashmir
regions itself is Rs. 2,630 crore.
infrastructure like Railways,
power and communication in
the hilly terrains would have
suffered a loss of about Rs.
2,700-3,000 crore, the industry
body said.
Over 1.84 Lakh People Rescued in

Over 1.84 lakh people stranded

in the flood-hit areas of Jammu
and Kashmir have been
rescued so far by the armed
forces and the National Disaster
Response Force (NDRF).
A total of 224 boats of the Army
and 148 inflated boats of the
NDRF are conducting rescue
With life limping back to
normality in the State, the
Centre, as part of the relief and
rehabilitation plan, has made
arrangements for 13 tonnes of
water purifying tablets and six
water-filtration plants.
Over 5 lakh litres of water, 3 lakh
food packets and over 1,054
tonnes of cooked food have
already been airdropped and
Engineering stores, including
Visakhapatnam, have reached
the flood-affected areas.
Heavy duty pumps have been
airlifted from Jodhpur and
Raipur, whereas sewage

pumps have been dispatched

from Delhi.
The government is taking all
measures to restore power
supply to the worst-hit parts of

Deoband Condemns Love Jihad,

says such Marriages are Illegal

Darul Uloom Deoband, one of

the most influential Islamic
seminaries in South Asia,
condemned love jihad, a
headline-grabbing name given
by Sangh Parivar organisations
for inter-religious marriages
that are allegedly a ruse for
conversion .
Without naming any political
party, the seminary said the
bogey of love jihad was
being raised by people with
vested interests.
The Islamic seminary termed
illegal marriages with Hindu
girls after their forcible
conversion to Islam.
Axe 72 Obsolete Laws Urgently:
Law Commission

Even as the Union government

prepares to bring in a
comprehensive law during the
winter session of Parliament to
weed out obsolete laws, the
Law Commission identified 72
outdated laws which required
urgent repealing.
The oldest among them is the
Bengal District Act, 1836,
which relates to the
development of local areas.
Second in line is the Bengal
Association Act, 1838, which
mandates that only residents
of the presidency of Fort
William in Bengal can be
directors of the Bengal

Association and that the

association can sell property
only to the East India
The Sheriffs Fees Act, 1852, is
another antique law which
needs to be axed. The Act
deals with payment to the
sheriffs of the presidency
towns of Bombay, Calcutta and
The 72 laws are part of the 261
statutes that prima facie
require repeal as they are
inconsistent with modern
times as recommended in an
interim report handed over by
the Law Commission to the
Other laws identified have
been enacted from 1838 to
The commission said it found
during its research that 34
repealed laws still remained on
the government website.

Press Council Panel to Probe KCRs


Press Council of India Chairman

Markandey Katju appointed a
three-member committee to
inquire into the remarks of
Telangana Chief Minister K.
Chandrashekar Rao allegedly
against the media.

In an order communicated to
the media, Mr. Katju said that
on the basis of material available
in the public domain, he
believed that Mr. Raos remarks
amount to intimidation of
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media personnel under threat
of dire consequences and
violate the fundamental right of
freedom of expression and
The panel comprises senior
journalists, with Rajeev Ranjan
Nag as convener and K.
Amarnath and Krishna Prasad of
the Outlook magazine as
It was asked to investigate if Mr.
Rao made the statements
attributed to him that he would
break the necks of, and bury

underground, mediapersons
and that they should salute the
Telangana people if they wish
to live in Telangana; if there
was any threat perception to
the media in the State; and
what steps were necessary for
the medias protection there.
The order was in response to
representatives of the Indian
Journalists Union and its
affiliate, the Telangana Union of
Working Journalists.

3 p.c. Quota for Disabled Covers All Employees

in Hamirpur district, has

prepared the bullet train model
that is based on the magnetic
repulsion effect of similar poles
of magnets.
The model, declared the best
in the statelevel science
exhibition, will now be
displayed at the national
level Innovation in Science
Pursuit for Inspired Research
(INSPIRE) exhibition to be
held in New Delhi Oct 68,
school principal Om Prakash
INSPIRE is a programme of the
department of science and
technology of the Union
Government to sharpen young
minds in science.
Veteran Journalist Jiten Paul Dies
at 101

The Supreme Court clarified

that the three per cent
reservation for disabled
persons in government jobs
covered all classes of
appointments and promotions
to the Indian Administrative
Although 19 years had passed
since the passage of the
Persons with Disabilities (Equal
Opportunities, Protection of
Rights and Full Participation)
Act of 1995, the disabled were
struggling for their rights, a
Bench headed by Chief Justice
R.M. Lodha said.

Himachal Student Makes Bullet

Train Model

A Himachal Pradesh student

has created a bullet train model
that has been selected for a
nationallevel exhibition, a
school official said.
Shilpa, a class 10 student in
Government Senior Secondary
School at Sudhial near Nadaun

Jiten Paul, a veteran journalist

and freedom fighter, passed
away at a hospital in Agartala,
at age of 101.
With his demise, a brilliant
legacy of journalism and social
movement in northeast India
came to an end.
He launched Tripuras first
Bengali daily Jagaran in 1953
and had been a guiding force
for journalists, intellectuals and
social activists for decades.
He tirelessly worked towards
rehabilitation of Bengali
migrants from East Pakistan
after partition of India and later
for people displaced internally
due to ethnic strife and
insurgency problem in Tripura.
Before settling down in Tripura,
he took part in Indias
independence movement in
Brahmanbaria district of
Bangladesh, where he was born
in 1914.
The nonagenarian was actively
involved welfare activities and
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rights movements of journalists
till his last days.
Rajdeep Sardesai to Join TV

Former IBN 18 Editor-in-Chief

Rajdeep Sardesai will join the
India Today group as
Consulting Editor .
Mr. Sardesai quit IBN 18, in July
after the Mukesh Ambani-led
Reliance Industries Limited
bought a controlling stake in
Network 18 and its subsidiaries.
He founded Cable News
Network- Indian Broadcasting
Network (CNN-IBN) in 2005,
after quitting New Delhi
Television (NDTV).
Recently, India Today groups
former Editor-in-Chief Shekhar
Gupta was re-designated as
Editorial Advisor just two
months after he moved over
from the Express Group.
Nalin Mehta, Managing Editor
of India Todays English news
channel Headlines Today, also
quit in May.
Pottu Amman Dead

Dismissing reports that the

LTTEs one-time intelligence
chief Pottu Amman had been
arrested in Hong Kong, the Sri
Lankan Army said he was dead
for years.
The Army had sufficient
evidence to believe that the
senior member of the rebel
Tigers who is on Interpols
wanted list in connection with
the assassination of Rajiv

Gandhi was dead,

according to spokesman
Ruwan Wanigasooriya.
Though charge-sheeted in
India in the Rajiv Gandhi
assassination case, his name,
along with that of LTTE chief V.
Prabakaran, was removed from
the list as the designated court
observed that both were killed
in the Sri Lankan Armys

Right to Sell Liquor no

Fundamental Right

The Kerala government

submitted before a Bench of
the Supreme Court that the
right to sell liquor was not a
fundamental right.
Government counsel Kapil
Sibal, arguing against a petition
challenging the decision to
close 730 bars in the State, said
the decision to close the bars
was a policy decision. Bar
licences could be cancelled
any time.
In an urgent mentioning to stop
the State from enforcing the
policy, a battery of senior
counsel appearing for the bar
owners termed the policy

independent NGOs and
representatives from 10 States
or Union Territories.
The Supreme Court on August
25 had in response to a petition
put on hold the over 100
proposals approved by a
truncated standing committee
of the Board notified on July 22
which had only two non-official
members and one government
organisation on board, apart
from a representative only from
Andhra Pradesh.
The government did not
constitute a full fledged Board.
The apex court while staying
the August 12 decisions of the
standing committee, said they
were not in consonance with
section 5 A the Wildlife Act,
The Bench directed that none
of the orders passed by the
standing committee would be
given effect to until the next
date of hearing after two weeks
from August 25.
The order came in response to
a petition filed by Pune resident
Chandra Bhal Singh.

EC Show-cause Notice to Yogi


Govt. to Reconstitute Wildlife


The government has decided

to reconstitute the National
Board for Wildlife (NBWL) after
the Supreme Court stayed
decisions of its newly
committee in August for
violating provisions of the
Wildlife Protection Act.
The new committee is in
keeping with the legal
provisions of the Wildlife
prescribes 10 non-official

Four days ahead of the byelection in the Noida assembly

constituency of western Uttar
Commission issued notice to
BJP MP Yogi Adityanath for
violation of the Model Code of
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The Gorakhpur MP, the BJPs
lead campaigner in U.P. has
been charged with violating
several sections of the model
code : these relate to activities
that aggravate existing
differences or create mutual
hatred or cause tension
between different castes and
communities, religious or
linguistic, making an appeal to
caste or communal feelings for
securing votes, and using
religion for furtherance of the
prospects of election of a
candidate, promoting enmity
or hatred between different
classes of the citizens of lndia
on grounds of religion, race,
caste, community, or language
to help a candidate.
This comes against the
backdrop of Yogi Adityanath
through the campaign, the most
recent on Sunday when he
blamed people of a minority
religion for the States recent
communal tensions.
Bihar Tops in Growth: CSO

Bihar is the fastest growing

State while Tamil Nadu is the
worst performer, the latest data
released by the Central
Statistics Office (CSO) has
Bihars Gross State Domestic
Product (GSDP) grew 10.73
per cent during 2012-13 the
only State that clocked a
double-digit growth rate during
the year.
The growth rate was 10.29 per
cent in 2011-12 and 15.03 per
cent in 2010-11.
Tamil Nadu recorded the
slowest growth rate 3.39
percent slower than the
national average of 4.5 per cent

in 2012-13.
The second-best performing
State is Madhya Pradesh, which
grew at 9.89 per cent. Delhi is
third with a growth rate of 9.33
per cent.
The CSO-verified growth rate
for 2012-13, however, is lower
than that reported by Bihars
Statistics Directorate. The State
government had reported a
growth rate of 15.05 per cent.
All major industrial States lag
behind Bihar. Growing at 7.96
per cent, Gujarat is ranked sixth
and Maharashtra ninth with
6.18 per cent.
As the growth rate for the bulk
of the States is higher than the
national GDP, the economic
slowdown is not reflected in
the data. Normally, the States
GDP adds up to about 90 per
cent of the national GDP. The
difference is the output of the
sectors that do not belong to
any State such as the Bombay
Over the years, discrepancies
have been increasing between
the GSDP data in the States
reports and the figures that
finally come out after
discussions with the CSO and
J&K missing in
CWC flood forecast list

The Central Water Commission

(CWC), responsible for
forecasting floods and issuing
advisory to States, has no flood

forecasts for J&K, according to

Himanshu Thakkar of the South
Asia Network on Dams Rivers
and People (SANDRP).
The CWCs forecast list of
September 6 had 18 level
forecasts and 8 inflow
forecasts, but none from J&K.
Nor were there any
hydrographs for rivers in the
It hoped the CWC would
include the flood-vulnerable
sites of J&K in its forecasts, and
explain why they were not
included so far.
MoU to develop Waqf properties

Development Corporation
(NAWADCO) and the National
understanding (MoU) to
develop Waqf properties in
Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya
Pradesh and Karnataka.
Union Minority Affairs Minister
NAWADCO had identified two
properties in Rajasthan, six in
Madhya Pradesh and seven in
Karnataka and one piece of
land in Delhi for development
as institutional and commercial
The public-sector NAWADCO
was established last December
with an authorised share capital
of Rs. 500 crore to mobilise
resources for developing Waqf
properties in a Shariahcompliant way.
The resources generated by
such development of Waqf
properties will be used for the
welfare of Muslims.
NAWADCO was set up on the
recommendations of the
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Sachar committee report,
which estimated that Waqf
properties, if properly
developed, could fetch an
annual income of Rs. 1.2 lakh
Allegations against you are serious,
SC tells CBI chief

Government has decided to

come out with a policy
framework on by early 2015.
It has also at decided to
disallow foreign direct
investment (FDI) in multi-brand
retail, Commerce and Industry
Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
said .

that at the moment there was

no move to reverse the
notification by the UPA
government to open up the
multi-brand retail sector,
allowing up to 51 per cent FDI.
India wont
Sign NPT, says AEC Chief

R.K. Sinha, Chairman, Atomic

Energy Commission, ruled out
India signing the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT ) since
India is a strong supporter of
[nuclear] regime.

The Minister, however, added

The Supreme Court described
as serious the allegation
against Central Bureau of
Investigation (CBI) Director
Ranjit Sinha that he frequently
met accused persons in the 2G
scam at his residence.
The averments made against
you are serious, a Bench of
Justices H.L. Dattu and S.A.
Bobde told senior lawyer Vikas
Singh, counsel for the CBI
chief, while hearing advocate
Prashant Bhushans allegations
against Mr. Sinha.
The Bench said it was closely
watching the agencys
investigation of the 2G scam
cases and would not let anyone
sabotage the criminal trial.
The Supreme Court wants a fair
trial. If we find there was some
derailment of the entire
investigation, the court will take
a particular view, the Bench
IPR policy soon, says Minister

Following complaints raised by

US companies on Indias
intellectual property rights
(IPR) regime, the Modi

J&K floods a national disaster

The flood situation in Jammu

and Kashmir was declared a
national-level disaster by
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
even as the Army alone
evacuated 15,000 people
from inundated areas across the
As more personnel of the
National Disaster Relief Force
(NDRF), Air Force and Army
were pressed into action, the
Prime Minister asked other
States to also pitch in.
Union Home Minister Rajnath
Singh made a separate appeal

to NGOs to mobilise their

resources to help deal with the
situation.Five additional NDRF
columns and 70 boats were
sent to the flood-affected areas.
Mr. Modi took stock of the flood
situation and relief operations
in meetings with the State
administration in Jammu and
Srinagar. Before leaving for J&K
where he announced Rs.
1,000-crore assistance in
addition to Rs. 1,100 crore
already made available to the
State government through the
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State Disaster Relief Fund he
convened a crisis review
meeting with the Cabinet
Secretary and other senior
officials in the national capital.
The Centre also announced Rs.
2 lakh ex-gratia to the next of
kin of those who died in the
Also, Rs. 50,000 would be
given from the Prime Ministers
National Relief Fund (PMNRF)
to those grievously injured.
Though official figure of the
deaths is not available, by all
accounts at least 160 people
have lost their lives so far.
States free to add official language:

Asserting peoples right to

linguistic freedom, the
Supreme Court has held that
there is no bar against a State
Legislature declaring a
language used in the State as
an official language for the
convenience of its citizens.
This means that a widely-used
language in a State, once
declared an official language
by the State Legislature, would
find a place in official
advertisements and even
A Constitution Bench headed
by Chief Justice of India R.M.
Lodha and comprising Justices
Dipak Misra, Madan B. Lokur,
Kurian Joseph and S.A. Bobde
passed the order on a petition
by U.P. Hindi Sahitya Sammelan
against the 1989 amendment
to the Uttar Pradesh Official
Language Act, 1951.
The U.P. Legislature had
introduced Urdu as the second
official language of the State,
besides Hindi, in the interest
of the Urdu-speaking people.

The Bench upheld the 1989

amendment and declared
Urdu as the States second
official language.
Building, layout permissions to be
given online

Permissions for construction of

buildings and layouts would be
given online in Andhra Pradesh,
Municipal Administration
At a review meeting with town
and country planning officials,
he said the department would
be equipped with GPS
solutions to quickly process the
applications and ensure
transparency in giving
He directed the officials to
expedite processing of
applications and granting of
He wanted all the pending
applications to be cleared in a
Mr. Narayana said there should
be no scope for corruption and
warned of stringent action if
anybody was found guilty.
The aim was to provide
improved and transparent
services to the people.
He said the government would
not hesitate to take action as
per law on the complaints
received from citizens.
Zero tolerance on rhino poaching

Union Minister for Environment,

Forests and Climate Change
Prakash Javadekar announced

that a Special Rhino Protection

Force of local youth would be
raised to check poaching in the
Kaziranga National Park (KNP)
and other rhino-populated
areas in Assam.
There will be zero tolerance
towards rhino poaching and
our efforts would be to bring
down the number of rhino
poaching incidents to zero, he
Addressing a press conference
after two-day visit to the
national park, the Minister
announced that his Ministry
would request the CBI to
expand the scope of its
ongoing probe into rhino
poaching in the KNP by
including more cases and fasttrack it.
A comprehensive plan would
be undertaken to ensure free
movement of park animals
through the six animal corridors
across the National Highway 37
passing through the world
heritage site.
Modi offers assistance for PoK
flood relief

In a humanitarian gesture, Prime

Minister Narendra Modi on
offered all possible assistance
to Pakistan for carrying out relief
operations in the flood-ravaged
Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir
Making the offer after
undertaking a visit to flood-hit
Jammu and Kashmir for a firsthand assessment of the
situation, Mr. Modi expressed
his anguish at the loss that has
been caused in PoK.
Home Ministry asks States to
fasttrack cases against MPs, MLAs,

The Home Ministry has asked

all State governments to speed
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up cases against MPs and MLAs
facing charges which attract
disqualification, directing them
to seek day-to-day trial in
courts, appoint special public
prosecutors and ensure regular

The direction came in the wake

of Supreme Court setting a
deadline to complete trial in
cases involving lawmakers.
The step is also in line with
Prime Minister Narendra Modis
direction on July 24 asking the
Home Minister and Law Minister
to work out a mechanism to
settle cases against politicians
within a year to cleanse politics
from tainted lawmakers.
Any sentence which attracts
punishment of two years and
disqualification from Parliament
or state legislature.
According to a March 10, 2014
direction of the Supreme
Court, cases against MPs and
disqualification under Section
8(1), 8(2) and 8(3) of the
Representation of the People
Act needed to be completed
within one year of framing
Govt to go ahead with key
appointments without LoP

The Government has decided

to go ahead with the
appointments to various
statutory bodies like CVC,

NHRC and Lokpal without the

Leader of Opposition in the Lok
Sabha as a member of the
selection committee choosing

The move comes following a

recent reference from the Lok
Sabha secretariat in this regard,
official sources said.
The Department of Personnel
and Training (DoPT) had
written to the Lok Sabha
seeking information on the LoP.
The secretariat has informed
the DoPT that there is no
recognised LoP in the Lok
Sabha, they said.
The Government will go ahead
with the appointments to
various statutory bodies without
the LoP, the sources said.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra
Mahajan had rejected the
Congress demand for LoP
status for its nominee.
Congress with 44 seats in the
543-member Lok Sabha has
emerged as the second largest
party after BJPs 282 but fell
short by 11 to stake claim for
the LoP for which it requires a
strength of 55.
There is no mandatory
requirement of the LoP in the
selection committee that
recommends persons for
Commissioner, Vigilance
Commissioner, chairpersons
and members for the National
Human Rights Commission

(NHRC) and Lokpal, they said.

The appointment of a Central
Vigilance Commissioner and
Vigilance Commissioner is
done by the President on the
basis of recommendation from
a three member selection
committee headed by Prime
Minister and comprising
Minister for Home Affairs and
the Leader of Opposition in the
House of the People, as per the
Central Vigilance Act 2003.
The Act further has a provision
that when no such leader (LoP)
has been recognised then the
selection committee can
include the leader of the single
largest group in opposition in
the Lok Sabha.
No appointment of a Central
Vigilance Commissioner or a
Vigilance Commissioner shall
be invalid merely by reason of
any vacancy in the Committee,
the Act says.
Government of India can print Re
1 note: Law Ministry

Putting to rest the debate on

printing of one rupee notes, the
Law Ministry has opined that
the Government of India has all
the powers to print currency
notes of this denomination.
While the Reserve Bank of India
(RBI) has the authority to issue
bank notes of denominational
values of Rs. 2, Rs. 5, Rs. 10, Rs.
20, Rs. 50, Rs. 100, Rs. 500, Rs.
1,000, Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 10,000,
the one rupee note was printed
and issued by the central
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The Government of India also
has the sole right to mint coins
of all denominations.
However, since the RBI was of
the view that with the repeal of
Section 2 of the Currency
Ordinance, the Government of
India is not empowered to issue
note of denominational value of
one rupee, the law ministry
opinion was taken.
The Law Ministry in its opinion
stated that the Coinage Act of
2011, which consolidates the
laws relating to coinage and the
mints, does not bar the
Government of India from
printing one rupee notes.
Section 4 of the Act provides
that the central government
may authorise minting of coin
of denomination not higher
than Rs. 1,000, it said, adding
that the definition of coin in the
Act makes it clear that
Government of India one rupee
note is included in the
definition of coin.
The Act defines a coin as
made of any metal or any other
material stamped by the
Government or any other
authority empowered by the
Government in this behalf and
which is a legal tender
including commemorative
coin and Government of India
one rupee note, the ministry
said in its opinion.Further,
apart from the metal, the coin
may be made of any other
material, it said.
The ministry said while
repealing the Currency
Ordinance, 1940, necessary
provisions for inclusion of
Government of India one rupee
note within the meaning of
Coin have been consciously
incorporated in the Coinage
Act, 2011. Further, the RBI, as

per Section 24(1) of the RBI

Act, 1934, is not empowered
to issue bank note of
denomination of value of one
Central government is not
precluded to issue one rupee
Government of India note
under the Coinage Act, 2011.
The dimension, design,
material and standard weight of
such One Rupee Note have to
be prescribed by the Central
Government in terms of Section
4 and 5 of the Coinage Act,
2011, the opinion said.
The printing of notes in the
denominations of Re. 1 and Rs.
2 has been discontinued as
these denominations have
been coinised. However, such
notes issued earlier are still in
Modi greets Malayalis on Onam

loved by his subjects for being

a just and benevolent ruler.
National TSD Rally

The Rally of Coimbatore, the

fourth round of the third FMSCI
Indian National TSD Rally
Championship for four
wheelers will be held.
Organised by the Coimbatore
Auto Sports Club, the rally has
attracted over 40 competitors.
An open TSD event will also be
held concurrently with the
championship event.
It includes a novice and allladies class.
Gopal Subramanium withdraws

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

on Sunday greeted Malayalis on
the occasion of Onam, the
State festival of Kerala.
He also remarked on the
significance of Onam as a
symbol of national integration,
justice, peace and prosperity.
He also said Onam reminds us
of the glorious era of King
Mahabali and is a day to
reaffirm our commitment to
create a just, peaceful and
prosperous society.
Onam is celebrated to mark the
return of legendary King
Mahabali to Kerala who was

Former Solicitor-General Gopal

Subramanium has withdrawn
his letter to the Supreme Court
opting out as amicus curiae in
the Padmanabha Swamy
temple case.
Mr. Subramanium has already
swung into action and left for
Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala
to inspect the temple premises
and prepare an additional
report on the administration of
the temple.
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Supreme Court sources said the
case files had been sent back
to him and he was expected to
appear in the case in
November. They said he
decided to withdraw his letter
after the court asked him to
reconsider his decision.
Early this month, he had written
to Chief Justice of India R.M.
Lodha, expressing his decision
to bow out as amicus curiae. He
had also returned the files
concerning the case to the
Supreme Court Registry.
Mr. Subramaniums report on
the condition of the temple
Thiruvananthapuram had
created a storm.
The report had complained of
corruption and disregard of
ethics in the temples

come to an end and the

executive will get an equal role
in appointments to the highest
Justice Dattu will become the
Chief Justice of India after the
retirement of CJI R.M. Lodha on
September 27, 2014. He will
hold the post for a little over a
year until his retirement on
December 2, 2015.
Aamir to donate Rs 11 lakh for
Mumbai film fest

Bollywood actor-producer
Aamir Khan said that he is
donating Rs.11 lakh towards
supporting the Mumbai Film
Festival, which is facing a funds
crunch for its forthcoming 16th
edition this year.

The number of victims was

2,58,075 1,58,098 men and
99,977 women that year.
Globally, the number was
Suicide by pesticide ingestion
is among the most common
methods employed globally
and is of particular concern in
rural areas in Southeast Asia.
SC moots dual citizenship for
surrogate children

H.L. Dattu to be next Chief Justice

of India

President Pranab Mukherjee

has cleared the appointment of
Justice H.L. Dattu, the seniormost judge in the Supreme
Court, as the 42nd Chief Justice
of India.
Justice Dattu could become
the last Chief Justice of India to
be appointed under the
collegium system of judicial
If the States ratify the National
Commission, a constitutional
body, the collegium system will

Southeast Asia in 2012, says a

report released by the World
Health Organisation (WHO) in

Aamir has joined a list of

cinema lovers who have come
forward to save the fest,
organised annually by the
Mumbai Academy of Moving
Image (MAMI).
Lego is worlds biggest toymaker

Danish toy maker Lego has

taken the top spot as the
worlds biggest maker of toys
by sales, overtaking Barbie dollmaker Mattel, its first-half results
Performance was boosted by
the Lego Movie product line.
India suicide capital of Southeast
Asia, says WHO

India recorded the highest

number of suicides in

The Supreme Court on

government to clarify its stand
on the citizenship of children
born to surrogate mothers in
India, but whose biological
mother was a foreign national.
Under the Constitution, a child
born here from an Indian
surrogate mother is entitled to
Indian citizenship. But what
happens if the biological
mother is a foreign citizen and
the child applies for citizenship
of that country, a Bench led
by Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked.
Additional Solicitor General
acknowledged the problem,
adding that in countries such
as Germany, surrogacy was
banned by law.
The Bench was looking into the
larger issue on the need for a
comprehensive legislation
dealing with all issues and
situations, including the
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citizenship of a surrogate child,
created by new reproductive
The problem of citizenship of
a surrogate child was
highlighted in the case of twin
babies born to an Indian
surrogate mother and a
German father, Jan Balaz, in
The two boys, Balaz Nikolas
and Balaz Leonard, were
conceived by an Indian
woman in Gujarats Anand
district in January 2008.
Justice Gogoi suggested that
the government could
consider dual citizenship for
surrogate children born in such
India violating privacy of Internet
users: report

A report launched by the

Software Freedom Law Centre
Surveillance Stateat the
Internet Governance Forum,
currently underway in Istanbul,
said the Indian state is violating
the privacy of its citizens
through use of Internet
monitoring systems.
The Report further revealed
that an unknown number of
Lawful Interception and
Monitoring (LIM) systems,
tasked with the collection and
communications data and
meta-data, are already installed
in Indias communication
Increasing clamour among
criminals to obtain law degree:
High Court

The Madras High Court Bench

wondered how the Central and
State governments as well as
the bar councils could turn a
blind eye to autorickshaw

drivers, rape accused and

those who could not even affix
their signatures practising as
lawyers in various courts in the
State after purchasing law
degrees from neighbouring
Justice N. Kirubakaran told
Additional Advocate General
K. Chellapandian and Assistant
Solicitor General G.R.
Swaminathan that a judicial
officer had informed him of an
autorickshaw driver practising
as a part-time lawyer in a court
at Ambur town in Vellore
Lokpal search panel gets freedom
of choice

The Department of Personnel

and Training has notified
amendments giving autonomy
to the Lokpal search committee
to shortlist and recommend
names independently for
selection of Chairman and
members of the anti-corruption
The amendments act as a
course correction after the
former Supreme Court judge
Justice K.T. Thomas opted out
from heading the search
committee in March 2014,
citing lack of autonomy.
Eminent jurist Fali Nariman too
had turned down the post of a
member of the panel for that
Justice Thomas had objected
to the provision that the search
committee should only shortlist
candidates from a list provided
by the department.
The amendment made in Rule
10 of the Search Committee
Rules removed this roadblock
by omitting the words from
among the list of persons
provided by the Central

Government in the Department

of Personnel and Training.
SC wants to monitor Ganga cleanup

governments affidavit setting
out its plans to clean the Ganga,
the Supreme Court said it
wanted to monitor the progress
made in efforts to restore the
river and asked for a roadmap.
It is better if you can show us a
PowerPoint presentation. Also,
fix milestones so that we can
assess the progress, a Bench
comprising Justices T.S. Thakur
and R. Banumathi said.
It seems the Ganga will not be
cleaned even after 200 years,
the Bench observed after
perusing an affidavit filed by
the Director of the National
Mission for Clean Ganga, which
outlined plans to rejuvenate the
river and its ecology.
Toilets mandatory in aided schools

The State Cabinet decided to

impose strict norms for
providing fitness certificates to
aided recognised schools by
making it mandatory to build
The norms relating to issuance
of fitness certificates for aided
recognised schools will be
amended by including a
provision for setting up facilities
in addition to the present one
related to safety of the school
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Erring schools will not be
issued a fitness certificate and
would not be allowed to take
up new admissions.
India talking to WTO members on
food subsidy issue

issue for food security

New Delhi has asked WTO to
amend the norms for
subsidies so that the country
could continue to procure
foodgrains from farmers at
minimum support price and sell
them to poor at cheaper rates

without violating the norms.

The current WTO norms limit
the value of food subsidies at
10 per cent of the total value of
However, the quantum of
subsidy is computed after
taking into consideration prices
that prevailed two decades
ago. PTI

Modi@100 days

India is talking to good

number of countries to garner
support on its stand on the food
security issue at the World
Trade Organisation (WTO) with
a view to carrying forward the
talks for freer trade.
The WTO has resumed work at
Geneva from September 1
after a month long vacation.
We will start from where we
have left. The bottom line is
already made clear. We are
willing to talk but achieve the
same objectives in whatever
manner, Commerce Secretary
Rajeev Kher told reporters.
He said that it was now up to
the WTO Director-General
Roberto Azevedo to convene
meetings in the form of either
calling heads of delegation or
in smaller groups.
At its last meeting at Geneva on
July 31, the 160-member WTO
failed to agree on a global
customs pact popularly called
Agreement (TFA).
India had decided not to ratify
WTOs TFA, which is dear to
the developed world, without
any concrete movement in
finding a permanent solution to
its public food stock-holding

A period of 100 days in power

is too short to judge any Prime
Minister, more so when the man
in question, Narendra Modi,
had sought five years to show
results, and in some sectors
such as infrastructure, ten years.
But this is certainly long enough
a period to judge the direction
of the man and his government.
Mr. Modis style has been
crticised as authoritarian by the
Opposition, but his admirers
say it is an assertion of authority.
Protect rights of minorities

The National Commission for

Minorities (NCM) has asked the
government to send out a clear
message to minorities
reassuring them that their
Constitutional rights would be

preserved and protected.

The Commission sent a
communication to this effect to
the Home and the Minority
Affairs Ministries after
discussing the complaint
against BJP member Yogi
Adityanath for a hate speech
he is said to have delivered.
According to sources, the
Commission has taken a serious
view of such speeches;
particularly by prominent
Social media helps raise funds for
Mumbai Film Festival

A fund-raising campaign on
social media helped the
Mumbai Academy of Moving
Image (MAMI), the festival
organisers, overcome a
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crippling financial crisis after
their contract with Reliance
Entertainment, the sole
sponsor for the past five years,
expired in February. Since
then, we were searching for the
new sponsor. But we were
unsuccessful, said festival
director Srinivasan Narayan.
The social media campaign
helped the organisers raise Rs
1.5 crore in just two days. They
are now expecting Rs. 5 crore
by October.
The uncertainty over the
festivals future triggered a
social media campaign,
#pledge4MAMI from wellwishers.
As the word spread, the entire
film fraternity came forward and
now the industry itself is taking
care of the festival. We are
getting commitments from
many individuals and we have
also opened our website of the
contributions from ordinary
fans, Mr. Narayan said.
Katjus solution for ending IndoPak. problems

The former Supreme Court

judge, Justice Markandey Katju,
said the solution to IndoPakistan problems lay in the
reunification of India, Pakistan
and Bangladesh under a strong
secular state, with a modern
minded leadership, which
does not tolerate religious
extremism of any kind, and
which is determined to rapidly

industrialise India and provide

for the welfare and raising the
standard of living of our
He said huge amount of money
being spent on arms purchases
could also be used for the uplift
of poor people and giving them
decent lives.
Justice Katju was expressing his
views in the backdrop of the
Indian government deciding
not to hold talks with Pakistan
after the Pakistan High
Commissioner met separatist
leaders. The J&K Legislative
resumption of talks.
Audit of community policing

After a successful stint of over

six years, the Janamaithri
Suraksha Project (Community
Policing) initiative of the Kerala
Police is set for a professional
audit on its effectiveness in
bridging the gap between the
police and the community.
An external agency will study
the project in detail and its
effect in over 250 police
stations across Kerala.
The Kozhikode city and rural
police officers who head the
scheme in various stations will
share their experience with the
professional agency appointed
by the government to review
the progress of the scheme.
Stress on gender sensitisation in

inclusion will be the core of the

curriculum for schools and the
Ministry of Human Resource
Development (HRD) will
collaborate with the Ministry of
Development (WCD) to ensure
the textbooks are free from
gender biases.
The HRD Ministry, which has
begun the process of drafting
a new education policy, wants
curriculum to underline gender
issues and has assured that all
States and stakeholders will be
involved in the process of
drafting the new policy.
Academic activities begin at
Nalanda varsity

Academic activities began at

Nalanda University at Rajgir,
more than eight centuries after
the ancient university was
destroyed by a medieval ruler.
Out of the 15 students enrolled
in the university so far, nine
attended classes on the
inaugural day in the
departments of environmental
studies and history, the two
subjects which will be taught
here in the first session.
The students were welcomed
by vice-chancellor Gopa
Sabharwal, who also greeted
the teachers and staff to the
reborn university amidst
enthusiasm by those present at
the occasion.

Gender sensitisation and
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First Ajmer literature festival

The first Ajmer Literature

Festival will begin on
September 4.
The three-day festival is being
organised by the Ajmer Literary
Society and its aim is to build
a civilised, cultured and
sensitive society for the
promotion of art, literature and
culture in the country and the
To be inaugurated by filmmaker
Muzaffar Ali, Mira Ali and
Justice (retd.) Dalvir Bhandari,
thinkers, writers, art-lovers and
journalists will deliberate on the
contemporary challenges
faced by the society at present.
Conceived by poet Ras Bihari
Gaur, the event will be the first
of its kind in Ajmer and it will
be held in Hindi.

Modi urged not to visit Renkoji


The Punjab-based Netaji

Subhash Kranti Manch urged
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
not to visit the Renkoji temple
in Tokyo where some believe
that the ashes of the late
freedom-fighter Netaji Subhash
Chandra Bose are buried.
In a statement here, the Manch
observed that if Mr. Modi chose
to visit the temple as was
reported in a section of the
media, it would send wrong
signals about the attitude and
intentions of his government
towards Netaji.
Experts divided over posting of exCJIs as Governors

With the former Chief Justice

of India (CJI) P. Sathasivam

being appointed as Kerala
Governor, a new dimension has
been added to the debate on
judicial autonomy and
It is for the first time a former
CJI is being appointed to a
gubernatorial post.
India, Japan should jointly work
on heritage cities: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

said India and Japan faced a
preserving and building smart
heritage cities.
After meeting Kyotos Mayor
Daisaku Kadokawa, the Prime
Minister said that he had learnt
how the city was dealing with
civic issues.

Sulabh begins toilet for every

house drive from Badaun

Taking a cue from Prime

Minister Narendra Modis
Independence Day speech,
Sulabh International kickstarted its nationwide Toilet for
Every House campaign from
Katra Sadatganj village in
Badaun that has been in the
news for the killing of two girls
when they ventured out of their
homes in the dark to relieve
A U.N. study in 2010 found that
more people in India have
access to a mobile phone than
to a toilet Its a shame.
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Gist of Press Information Bureau

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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu
briefs Modi on IS

In the first meeting between

Indian and Israeli Prime
Ministers in more than a
decade, Prime Minister
Narendra Modi asked Benjamin
Netanyahu to explain Israels
perspective on the Islamic
According to the Ministry of
External Affairs spokesperson
Syed Akbaruddin, the two
leaders discussed the situation
in West Asia. Given that Israel
is well placed in that region, the
Prime Minister requested and
was given a briefing of their
understanding of the situation.
The conversation assumes
significance as it came before
Mr. Modis dinner meeting with
U.S. President Barack Obama
in Washington, and the Prime
Ministers address to the
Council for Foreign Relations to
outline his governments
foreign policy objectives.
India-US expected to announce
Renewable energy pact

While India and the U.S. are at

an impasse over the nuclear
deal, they are expected to
announce an agreement on
reneweable energy when
Prime Minister Modi and
President Obama meet.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
Nisha Biswal said India-U.S. ties
were in for transformational
growth, and identified solar
energy and other clean energy

initiatives as a key area. Clean

energy is a subject very close
to President Obamas heart and
I know that Indias government
has made this a priority too,
said Ms. Biswal.
The U.S. welcomed the
governments decision to allow
an anti-dumping proposal on
solar energy technology to
lapse, which would let India
import solar panels and
technology more easily.
The proposed new agreement
between New Delhi and
Washington would also look at
technology, where energy giant
General Electric (GE) is the
biggest player.
Protests spread in Hong Kong

The ranks of Hong Kong

democracy protesters who
have paralysed parts of the city
swelled into their tens of
thousands, digging in for
another night of confrontation
with police in their campaign
for free elections.
The protesters defied
government calls to go home, a
day after chaotic scenes saw
riot police fired tear gas in
running battles with angry
crowds in one of the biggest

ever challenges to Beijings rule

of the semi-autonomous city. As
night fell, thousands of
demonstrators who have
blocked off a major highway
turned on the torches on their
mobile phones, turning the
Admiralty business district into
a sea of lights.
Hong Kong democracy
protesters defied volleys of tear
gas and police baton charges
to stand firm in the centre of
the global financial hub 29th
September, one of the biggest
political challenges for China
since the Tiananmen Square
crackdown 25 years ago.
Mixed response from Indian

It was literally the ambience of

a sold-out rock concert at
Madison Square Garden (MSG)
as Prime Minister Narendra
Modi took to a revolving stage
and wowed the IndianAmerican community.
There was a sense of breathless
excitement among numerous
young Indian-Americans in the
arena over the opportunity to
see Mr. Modi in person.
Conversations with some of
them seemed to suggest that
the Prime Ministers economic
agenda gave them cause for
However, similar discussions
with a wide range of
organisations protesting against
Mr. Modi and his U.S. visit just
outside the venue on the street
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suggested that a very different
aspect of the Prime Ministers
agenda was a source of deep
concern his social and
political views.
Suman Narayan, a young
Indian-American based in San
Jose, California, who had
travelled to New York solely to
be a part of the festivities here,
said Mr. Modis presence in the
U.S. had energised the
community and made it upbeat
about the future of Indias role
in the world.
While Mr. Narayan expressed
confidence that this would lead
to more investment in research
and development in India,
especially if the U.S. looks to
capitalise on the change in the
Indian government, he seemed
less sure of Mr. Modis political
or social agendas other than the
promise of investment and
growth that they held out.

In a wide-ranging address to the

Assembly Mr. Modi also made
a strong pitch for nations to
fulfill promise to reform the
U.N. Security Council by 2015,
and called for a greater role for
the G-4 coalition including
India, Brazil, Germany and
Japan, one that would help all
countries move beyond
thinking of policy as a zerosum game.
Devoting a significant end
segment of his speech to the
benefits of Yoga Mr. Modi
called for an International Yoga
Day, arguing, It is not about
exercise but to discover the
sense of oneness with yourself,
the world and the nature. By
changing our lifestyle and
creating consciousness, Yoga
can help us deal with climate

those who themselves, their

parents or grandparents or their
spouse, were one-time Indian
citizens, allow for visa-free
travel to and from India.
However, a PIO card is only
valid for 15 years.
On the other hand, the
Overseas Citizenship of India
(OCI) card given to only those
who themselves or their
parents were one time citizens,
has lifelong visa-free travel and
does not require the holder to
register with any office
regardless of the length of their
Eventually the PIO and OCI
schemes will be combined in a
new scheme and also cover
Obama wants Modi to join fight on
IS, Ebola

PM announces lifelong visas for

Indian Diaspora

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is
Indias philosophy: Mr. Narendra
Modi at UNGA

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

opened his historic United
Nations General Assembly with
a tribute to Indias ancient
civilisational traditions, telling a
packed Assembly hall of
philosophy, which was not an
ideology, was the Vasudhaiva
Kutumbakam, or world family,
and this has guided the nation
since Vedic times.

Amid cheers from thousands of

Indian-Americans, Prime
Minister Narendra Modi
announced several measures to
ease travel to their motherland
including life-long visas.
There is even more to come,
he said smilingly as he
announced that People of
Indian Origin (PIOs) in staying
in India for long would not have
to report to police. There is no
need for them to do that
Currently PIO cards, given to

In his summit discussions with

Indian Prime Minister Narendra
Modi in the coming days U.S.
President Barack Obama is
likely push strongly towards
having India play an active role
on the global stage, including
in the fight against the Islamic
State and the scramble to
contain Ebola.
In a media briefing with senior
administration officials on 26th
september the U.S. was also
quick to clarify that the
summons issued against Mr.
Modi in the Federal District
Court of New York could not
be delivered to him while he
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was in the U.S. and he was
immune from prosecution at
this time. The allegations in the
case pertain to the role that the
plaintiffs perceived Mr. Modi to
have played in presiding over
the anti-Muslim pogrom that
occurred in Gujarat in 2002.
Previewing some of the likely
subjects of discussion between
the two leaders the officials
recognised that their summit
would occur at a remarkable
time in international affairs,
including the fight against IS in
West Asia and the challenge of
tackling Ebola in West Africa.
The officials also reiterated the
summit meetings intention to
address a broad spectrum of
policy issues including security
cooperation, defence, trade,
and Indias positive role in
numerous trilateral contexts.
Bamiyan (Afghanistan) will be
SAARC cultural capital for 2015

at the conference while

preparing a road map on
cultural ties till 2017. The year
2016-17 will also be declared
the SAARC Year of Cultural
The SAARC countries also
agreed to formulate proposals
for transnational nominations
for the World Heritage List and
a regional list of heritage sites.
Indias Project Mausam got a
fillip as the Delhi Resolution
agrees to recognise the impact
and contribution of maritime
routes and the monsoon as also
other inland relations through
centuries of trade, migration
and colonialism.
In a measure aimed at
promoting literature produced
in local languages of the region,
the Ministers decided to make
them accessible to readers
across the world through
translations in not just English
but SAARC languages.
Global Arms Trade Treaty to take
effect in December

Bamiyan, the Afghan town

which shot into prominence
when the Taliban blew up two
ancient statues of the Buddha
in 2001, has been selected to
be the SAARC cultural capital
for a year beginning April 2015.
Dhaka will be the SAARC
cultural capital in 2016-17.
This was decided at the
SAARC Culture Ministers
Conference. Finalising the
cultural capitals for the next two
years was part of the Delhi
Resolution which was adopted

A global Arms Trade Treaty to

regulate the $85 billion industry
and keep weapons out of the
hands of human rights abusers
and criminals will come into
force on December 24 after the
50th country ratified the
agreement, the United Nations
The 193-member U.N. General
Assembly adopted the treaty in
April 2013. Argentina,

Bahamas, Portugal, Czech

Republic, St. Lucia, Senegal
and Uruguay deposited their
ratifications with the world
body, taking the total to 52.
The Arms Trade Treaty aims to
set standards for all crossborder
conventional weapons ranging
from small firearms to tanks and
attack helicopters.
Mars mission success pride of
Asia, says China

China has hailed Indias

success in positioning a satellite
in the Martian orbit, calling the
interplanetary triumph of the
Mangalyaan as the pride of
With the success of
Mangalyaan, India has boosted
its credentials as a potential
launch pad for its resourcestrapped neighbors.
Among Indias neighbours, it is
becoming a symbol of national
pride to launch satellites
independently rather than hire
transponders from other
nations. The previous
government had highlighted
the ISROs relative lack of
Climate gathering: focus will be on
Right to grow

UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon opened the UN Climate

Summit on 23rd september, as
world leaders and several
business executives gathered
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commitments to reduce the

effects of climate change.
The summit is not part of the
negotiations that are taking
place in the build up to a 2015
summit in Paris in 2015, in
which a comprehensive deal is
set to be decided. Mr. Ban has
instead convened the event to
build political momentum in
favour of an agreement.
The UN chief called on
governments and private
institutions to invest in climate
solutions designed to reduce
the emission of greenhouse
gases. He also urged the
implementation of carbon
US responsible for the delay in
India Japan nuclear deal
Indias nuclear deal with Japan
is not going to happen in a
hurry. Neither will its nuclear
agreement with Australia which
was signed just weeks ago. The
reason lies in Washington.
India and the US are yet to
complete the last bit of their
nuclear deal, known as
administrative arrangements.
This is necessary to
operationalize the deal, but has
been hanging fire.
India says the US is responsible
for the delay, but US officials
say they are holding firm on
their demand for end-user
verification visits to Indian
nuclear plants and more
important, to track externally
sourced fuel through Indian
This demand is at the heart of
Japanese refusal to sign the
nuclear agreement with India.
Before Modis visit, MEA had
put a lot of pressure on the
Japanese side to complete the

Japan has indicated clearly that

it would wait for India to
complete administrative
arrangements with the US
before they would consider the
Indian deal.

Ashraf Ghani as the next Afghan


Citizenship to some Rohingya

Muslims in Myanmar

Myanmar gave citizenship to

209 Muslims displaced by
sectarian violence, after the
first phase of a project aimed
at determining the status of
about a million Rohingya whose
claims to nationality have been
rejected in the past.
governments chief negotiator
said that efforts to secure a
historic ceasefire agreement
with ethnic armed groups are
at a crucial moment at the
start of a fresh round of
The Rohingya Muslim minority
in Rakhine State need
permission to move from their
villages or from camps, where
almost 140,000 remain after
being displaced in deadly
clashes with ethnic Rakhine
Buddhists in 2012.
Some of the 209 who received
citizenship were members of
the Kaman Muslim minority,
who are recognised by the
government as indigenous to
Myanmar, but there were also

Former Finance Minister Ashraf

Afghanistans next President on
Sunday, hours after signing a
power-sharing deal with his
rival Abdullah Abdullah that
ended a prolonged standoff
over the disputed result.
Mr. Abdullah will now nominate
his choice for the new post of
Chief Executive Officer
(CEO), which will be similar to
Prime Minister setting up a
tricky balance of power as
Afghanistan enters a new era.
The White House welcomed
Sundays power-sharing deal,
which it said helps bring
closure to Afghanistans
political crisis. We look
forward to... the conclusion of
Agreement, it added in a
statement. Gaza truce talks with
Hamas on September 23rd
Israel said it would send a
delegation to attend indirect
Gaza truce talks with Hamas in
Cairo next week, although a
Minister said they would likely
achieve nothing.
Egypt, which has played a key
role in the talks, had initially
invited both sides to resume
talks on September 17 but it
was pulled forward
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John Key
Swept to a historic Victory

New Zealands conservative

Prime Minister John Key swept
to a historic election victory on,
securing a third term as voters
ignored campaign allegations
of dirty tricks and mass spying.
The resounding win makes Mr.
Key the first New Zealand
leader able to govern in his own
right since proportional voting
was introduced in 1996 and
means his centre-right National
Party has increased its vote in
all three elections he has
National won 61 of 121
parliamentary seats, up from 59
at the last election in 2011,
while the main opposition
Labour Party managed only 32,
down two, its worst
performance since the 1920s.

Watson and Mike Leigh.

While Downey Jr. would be
honoured with Stanley Kubrick
Britannia Award for Excellence
in Film, Dench will receive the
Albert R. Broccoli Britannia
Award for Worldwide
Contribution to Entertainment.
Ruffalo would receive Britannia
Humanitarian Award.
According to,
the awards, which honour the
individuals who have devoted
their careers to advancing the
entertainment arts, would be
hosted by Rob Brydon on
October 30 at the Beverly
Taylor Swift top in Peoples 2014
Best Dressed List

Taylor Swift has got the top spot

in the Peoples 2014 Best
Dressed List.
The 24-year-old singer was
followed by Jessica Alba, Diane
Kruger and Emma Stone in the
Obama to nominate Verma to the
post of Ambassador to India

Robert Downey Jr., Judi Dench to

be Awarded at 2014 BAFTA

Robert Downey Jr. and Judi

Dench Mark will be honoured
at 2014 BAFTA Los Angeles
Jaguar Britannia Awards, along
with Mark Ruffalo, Emma

alongside Nisha Biswal,

Assistant Secretary of State for
South and Central Asian Affairs.
Alex Salmond resigned as first
minister and leader of his political

Scotlands pro-independence
leader Alex Salmond resigned
as first minister and leader of
his political party, hours after
Scots voted to remain in the
United Kingdom.
Salmonds impassioned plea to
launch a new nation fell short,
with Scots choosing instead the
security of remaining in union
with England, Wales and
Northern Ireland.
The referendums result
prevented a rupture of a 307year union with England,
bringing a huge sigh of relief to
Britains economic and political
Sweeping a Historic Vote

The White House confirmed

that U.S. President Barack
Obama intends to nominate
Richard Rahul Verma to the post
of Ambassador to India, said an
official .
If confirmed, Mr. Verma will be
the second Indian-American in
a top State Department role
directly responsible for
Washingtons diplomatic
engagement with India,

Bainimarama was on the verge
of sweeping a historic vote to
become Fijis first elected
leader in eight years, as
international observers gave
the ballot a stamp of approval.
With 70 per cent of the vote
counted following poll, Mr.
Bainimaramas Fiji First Party had
60.1 per cent, well clear of its
nearest rival, the Social
Democratic Liberal Party
(Sodelpa) on 26.7.
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liberal Professor of Islam shot dead

A professor of Islam known for

his liberal religious views was
shot dead in Pakistans port city
of Karachi ,two years after he
was labelled an apostate in a
text message campaign.
Mohammad Shakil Auj (54), the
dean of Islamic Studies at the
prestigious University of
Karachi was gunned down in
his car while on his way to an
Iranian cultural centre where
he was invited as a guest of
Mr. Auj, a recipient of a
distinction, was known for his
unorthodox views and was
fighting a legal case against the
originator of a widely circulated
text message that called him an
16th Amendment to the

The Jatiya Sangsad national

Parliament of Bangladesh has
passed a Constitution
amendment bill empowering it
to remove Supreme Court
judges for misconduct and
In a unanimous vote, the 16th
Constitution was passed .
The amendment was passed
amid objection from senior
lawyers and the Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP), which
had stayed off the general

election and is now out of

The Parliament got back this
power after nearly four
The bill, placed by Law
Minister Anisul Huq, was passed
in the night session with
Speaker Shirin Sharmin
Chaudhury in the chair.
Naipaul dropped by an
international literary festival in

Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul has

been dropped by an
international literary festival in
Bali after the event refused to
meet his eleventh-hour
request for a $20,000 fee to
appear, its organisers said .
The Trinidad-born British writer
had been one of the biggest
names booked for this years
Ubud Writers and Readers
Festival (UWRF).
However the events founder
and director, Janet DeNeefe,
said they had decided to
cancel his appearance after he
asked for the fee.
Global hunger figures down by
more than 200 million

The figures confirmed a

positive trend, which has seen
the number of hungry people
decline globally by more than
100 million over the last
decade and by more than 200
million since 1990-92, the
2014 edition of The State of
Food Insecurity in the World
In 2000, the international
community adopted the UN
Millennium Development Goals
commitment to halve the
proportion of hungry people in
the world in the period from
1990 to 2015.
Social Democrats likely to win

Swedish voters headed to the

polls in general elections with
the Social Democrats poised to
reclaim power after eight years
in opposition and the far right
expected to make historic
The anti-immigration Sweden
Democrats could double their
seats in Parliament, as a growing
proportion of the nation of 10
million express frustration with
an accelerating influx of
If opinion polls prove right,
Stefan Loefven, the stocky
leader of the Social Democrats,
looks set to become the next
Prime Minister, although he
could win by just a slim margin.
Pope Solemnises
Modern Marriages

The number of people in the

world without enough to eat
fell to 805 million in 2012-14,
down from over a billion in
1990-92, three United Nations
agencies dealing with nutrition
issues said in a joint report .

A single mother, people who

have been married before and
couples who have been living
together in sin were married
by Pope Francis in a taboochallenging ceremony at the
In another signal of the
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openness of his papacy, Pope
Francis asked to marry 40
people from different social
backgrounds who would be a
realistic sample of modern
Popes very rarely perform
marriages the last one was in
2000. One of the couples was
single mother Gabriella and her
partner Guido, whose previous
marriage was annulled by an
ecclesiastical tribunal.
The last time a Pope performed
a marriage was under the
leadership of John Paul II in
2000, and before that in 1994.
It comes three weeks before a
major synod of the Catholic
Church will discuss the divisive
issues of marriage, divorce and
WWII film idol Yamaguchi dies

were seen as pro-Japanese

propaganda, including China
Nights (1940), in which she
starred with Japanese
heartthrob Kazuo Hasegawa,
and she later expressed regret
over them.
Arrested after the war as a
collaborator, she narrowly
avoided execution for treason
by revealing her Japanese
identity to the Chinese court.
Her hit songs included
Fragrance of the Night and
Suzhou Serenade, which was
banned in mainland China after
the war.
Following her deportation from
China in 1946, she re-launched
her career in Japan under her
birth name, Yoshiko Yamaguchi,
and went on to star in Akira
Kurosawas Scandal and other

She also played a leading role

in U.S. movies and musicals in
the 1950s as Shirley
Yamaguchi, including Samuel
Fullers A House of Bamboo
(1955). She married JapaneseAmerican sculptor Isamu
Noguchi in 1951 but their
marriage lasted just four years.
Need to examine MH370 objects

The Australia-led search team

for the missing Malaysian flight
MH370 has discovered 58 hard
objects inconsistent with the
Indian Ocean seabed, raising
hopes of solving the over six
months-long aviation mystery.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong
Lai said the Joint Agency
Coordination Centre (JACC)
which is leading the search for
the plane is currently in the
midst of retrieving the objects
to be analysed.

NASA to send first 3D printer into space station

Japanese actress and singer

Yoshiko Shirley Yamaguchi,
who was nearly executed in
China at the end of World War
II, has died at the age of 94
after a life as dramatic as any of
her films.
Yamaguchi, who was born to
Japanese parents in pre-war
Manchuria, where her father
worked for the railway,
entertained Chinese and
Japanese audiences posing as
a Chinese under her assumed
identity Rikoran or Li Xianglan.
Some of her movies at this time

NASA is all set to send the

fourth SpaceX Cargo Mission,
that would carry among other
equipments a 3D printer to the
International Space Station
(ISS) from Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station in Florida on
September 20.

Technologies Corp (SpaceX)
Falcon-9 rocket will launch a
Dragon cargo spacecraft
loaded with more than 5,000
pounds of scientific equipment
and supplies, the U.S. space
agency said in a statement.
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It will also carry a small
flowering plant related to
cabbage that would allow
scientists to study plant growth
and adaptations in space.
It will be the fifth trip by a
Dragon spacecraft to the
orbiting laboratory.
The spacecrafts 2.5 tonnes of
supplies and materials are
critical for the implementation
of 255 science and research
investigations that will occur
during the stations Expeditions
41 and 42.
Besides, the spacecraft will
carry science payloads like the
ISS-Rapid Scatterometer to
monitor ocean surface wind
speed and direction.
IS releases beheading video of
British aid worker

Islamic State (IS) extremists

released a video showing the
beheading of British aid worker
David Haines, who was
abducted in Syria last year.
IS militants recently beheaded
two American journalists,
James Foley and Steven Sotloff,
and posted the videos online
after the U.S. began launching
airstrikes and humanitarian
missions in August to aid
waning Iraqi and Kurdish
security forces in northern Iraq.
The IS group has also put out
videos showing the beheading
of Kurdish and Lebanese
soldiers and the mass shooting

of dozens of captured Syrian

At the end of the video showing
the beheading of Sotloff, the
Islamic State group threatened
to kill Haines next and briefly
showed him on camera.
John Kerry
Arrives in Paris for IS Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John

Kerry arrived in Paris after a
four-day tour of the Middle East
trying to build a coalition to
defeat the Islamic State (IS).
Nearly 40 countries, including
10 Arab states, have signed up
to a U.S.-led plan to tackle the
extremist group, the BBC
Mr. Kerry arrived at the Charles
De Gaulle Airport in Paris after
flying from Cairo, where he met
Egyptian President Abdul
Fattah al-Sisi and Arab League
chief Nabil al-Arabi.
Kerry presses Turkey to join antiIS coalition

U.S. Secretary of State John

Kerry arrived in Ankara for talks
aimed at building a coalition
against Islamic State (IS)
jihadists, a visit that comes after
Turkey said it would not allow
its air bases to be used for
strikes on the extremists.
The top U.S. diplomat, touring
the Middle East to establish a
coalition of more than 40
countries, was meeting with

Turkeys leaders including

President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan for talks on measures
to defeat the militants in Iraq
and Syria.
Turkey, a NATO member and
Washingtons key ally in the
region, is reluctant to take part
in combat operations against
Islamic State militants, or allow
a U.S.-led coalition to attack
jihadists from its territory.
Mr. Kerrys visit comes a day
after 10 Arab states, including
heavyweight Saudi Arabia,
agreed in Jeddah to rally
behind Washington in the fight
against IS.
Irish dealmaker Paisley dead

Former Northern Irish First

Minister Ian Paisley, the
firebrand Protestant leader,
died at the age of 88.
A towering figure during the
Troubles in Northern Ireland,
he was known for his decades
impassioned rhetoric.
He did what even he once
considered unthinkable in May
2007 and entered office with
Sinn Fein the political wing
of Irish Republican Army and
as a result restored stable,
devolved government to the
In a feat few could match,
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Paisley co-founded both a
church and a political party,
leading the Free Presbyterian
Church of Ulster and the
Protestant, conservative
Democratic Unionist Party
WHO: Ebola death toll hits 2,400

More international medical

workers are needed to fight the
Ebola epidemic in West Africa,
where more than 2,400 have
died from the disease, World
Health Organization (WHO)
chief Margaret Chan said in
The WHO Director-General
welcomed an announcement
by Cuba to send 165 doctors,
nurses and infection specialists
to Sierra Leone for half a year.
Some 170 international medical
staff are already active in
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra
Leone, the countries at the
centre of the epidemic.
The number of people
infected with the deadly
haemorrhagic fever virus has
risen to 4,784, according to the
UN health agency.
Health services in West Africa
have been strained, partly
professionals have become
Many of them have also stayed
away from work because of lack
of hygienic protection
equipment, security measures

and pay.
Japans centenarian population
reaches new record

The number of Japanese aged

100 and over has reached a
new record, the government
On national Respect for the
Aged Day there would be
58,820 centenarians, the Health
Ministry estimated, some 4,400
more than the previous year.
About 87 per cent are women.
The number of 100-year-olds in
Japan has steadily increased
over the last decades. When
official records began in 1963
the tally of people over 100 was
The growing number of elderly
in Japan, ascribed partly to
advances in medicine and a
healthy local cuisine, in
combination with low birth
rates, is sometimes referred to
as the countrys demographic
time bomb, due to the
increased pressure on health
services and the countrys
welfare system.
Hundreds bid
Adieu to Firoza Begum

Hundreds of people paid their

last respects to Nazrul Sangeet
legend Firoza Begum who
died at the age of 84.
The body of the eminent
singer, who had mesmerised
Bengalis with her voice for
seven decades, was brought to
the Central Shaheed Minar in

the capital where people from

all walks of life paid homage.
The singer had been ailing for
a long time.
Born in 1930, Firoza Begum was
educated in Calcutta in
undivided India and was
closely linked with rebel poet
Kazi Nazrul Islam, who is now
Bangladeshs national poet.
Film about dissidents Banned

Singapore banned a local

documentary about nine
dissidents living in exile, saying
its contents undermined
national security.
The film To Singapore, with
Love , directed by Singaporean
director Tan Pin Pin, features
interviews with the former
activists and student leaders
who fled Singapore from the
1960s until the 1980s.
The 70-minute documentary
was released in December last
year and has been screened at
film festivals in Germany, Dubai,
South Korea and the United
Development Authority (MDA)
said in a statement it had
assessed that the contents of
the film undermine national
security because legitimate
actions of the security
agencies are presented in a
distorted way as acts that
independence in 1957 and
Singapore in 1965, both from
Britain, after brief periods of
self-rule. The Southeast Asian
city-state famous for strict social
controls has relaxed censorship
rules in recent years, but
maintains strict regulations on
films that discuss local politics.
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Xis visit will mark a new era in bilateral ties: Beijing

China has stated its intent to

substantially elevate its ties
during the upcoming visit of
President Xi Jinping to India,
disallowing differences in
perception on the border issue
to cloud a growing relationship
of significance.
Liu Jianchao, Assistant Foreign
Minister, told visiting Indian
journalists that President Xis
visit next week would mark the
beginning of another era in
Sino-Indian ties, embedded
with strong strategic
Chinese analysts are of the view
that the United States Pivot to
Asia broadly seen as a China
containment doctrine has, in
response, triggered greater
possibilities for stronger
partnerships between Beijing
and some of the regional
heavyweights, including Russia
and India.
Imagine the contribution it
would make to human
civilisation if China and India
began to work together for the
development and progress of
2.5 billion people, observed
Mr. Liu.

In response to a question, he
said Beijing was open to
exploring the possibility with
Moscow of linking India with
the $400 billion mega energy
tie up that China had recently
signed with Russia.

The pact will allow India to

leverage its competitive edge
in the areas of finance,
telecommunications and
This will be especially helpful
for balancing Indias deficit
with ASEAN countries in trade
of goods.
The IndiaASEAN Agreement
on trade in goods was
operationalised in 2010.
Key to Indias interests is a brief
annex in the agreement on the
movement of natural persons
that defines business visitors,
intra corporate transferees
(managers, executives and
specialists) and contractual
service suppliers.
Internet censorship not working:

India inks free trade agreement

with ASEAN

India has formally signed a free

trade agreement for services
and investments with ASEAN.
Philippines, now the only
ASEAN country yet to sign the
pact, is also expected to do so
All ASEAN members Brunei,
Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,
Malaysia, Myanmar, the
Thailand and Vietnam are
expected to get the agreement
ratified by their Parliaments
after which it will be formally
adopted during the next
IndiaASEAN summit later this
The services agreement will
open up opportunities of
movement of both manpower
and investments.

President Hassan Rouhani reentered Irans feverish debate

on Internet censorship and
gender segregation, saying
neither policy was in the
countrys interest.
Mr. Rouhani was elected last
year having pledged to be more
moderate on social issues.
Iran has a policy of filtering
online content, which leaves
popular websites such as
Facebook, Twitter and
YouTube inaccessible without
the use of illegal software.
The decision of Mr. Rouhanis
government to approve faster
3G mobile Internet licences for
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two Iranian companies last
month was seen as the first step
toward making Internet access
easier. But he went further and
said filtering was counterproductive.
World Media Summit invites
entries for Global Awards for

The agreement, which will

enable Australia to export
uranium to India in return for
safeguards from India on its use,
will bolster Indias plans to
increase nuclear energy
India offers the potential to
double Australias uranium
exports to more than a billion
dollars by 2018, say experts.
South Africa refuses Dalai Lama
visa for Nobel summit

presspersons that a park would

come up near Pune on about 5
sq. km and another near
Ahmedabad on about 10 sq.
The park in Maharashtra will be
focussed on automobile sector
and that in Gujarat on the
power sector.
The Pune park will be
completed in about 12 years in
three stages and is likely to see
total investment of $5 billion.
The first phase will be
completed in three years.
World Bank rider for pedestrian

The World Media Summit

(WMS) has invited entries for
the first WMS Global Awards
for Excellence, instituted to
honour truth, objectivity,
excellence in journalism.
comprehensive news and
news-related awards at the
international level recognising
professional excellence across
the print, television, radio, and
digital-only platforms.
The four awards announced fall
under three categories:
contributions to public welfare
by exemplary news teams and
news professionals in
developing countries; media
innovation; and new media
India, Australia to sign civil
nuclear deal today

India is set to win another

endorsement for its status as a
peaceful nuclear power, with
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
and his Australian counterpart,
Tony Abbott, expected to sign
an India-Australia civil nuclear
cooperation agreement here.

South Africa has refused to

grant a visa for the Dalai Lama
to attend the World Summit of
Nobel Peace Laureates in Cape
Town next month, his
representative said.
The government conveyed by
phone to me they will not be
able to grant the visa for the
reason that it would disturb
relations between China and
South Africa, Nangsa
Choedon told AFP.
The refusal could provoke a
boycott of the 14th annual
peace summit, according to a
spokesman for South African
Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
China to develop industrial parks

China will set up two industrial

parks in India, one each in
Gujarat and Maharashtra, and
the two countries are expected
to sign agreements for this soon.
Chinese Consul-General in
Mumbai, Liu Youfa, told

The World Bank has told the

Chennai Corporation that its
funding of the pedestrian plaza
at T. Nagar is conditional. It has
advised the civic body to
complete a study on
environment and the social
impact of the proposed
pedestrianisation project in that
The study by the Chennai
Corporation is also expected to
assess the impact of the project
on reducing extreme poverty
and promoting shared
The Rs.83-crore pedestrian
plaza, part of the T. Nagar
redevelopment proposal, had
already been approved by the
Corporation Council a few
months ago.
Funding for the project will
not be approved without a
proper study of the social and
environmental aspects of such
infrastructure project, said
Work on commissioning the
plaza with a commercial theme
was expected to begin this
month. But the requirement of
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a new study is likely to delay
the project, they said.
The plaza is likely to become
operational by May next.
The levels of pollution caused
by traffic diversions, the
increased number of visitors to
T. Nagar, the rise in garbage
collection and heightened
commercial activity will also be
assessed. Displacement of
hawkers and impact on their
livelihood will be part of the
India-Japan ties will only bring
psychological comfort: China daily

The increasing intimacy

between Tokyo and New Delhi
will bring at most psychological
comfort to the two countries,
Chinas State-run Global Times
newspaper said in an editorial .
On the blossoming personal
friendship between Narendra
Modi and his Japanese
counterpart Shinzo Abe, the
paper said China-India relations
denoted much more than that.
Abes harangue on the IndoPacific concept makes Indians
comfortable. It is South Asia
where India has to make its
presence felt Sino-Indian
ties can in no way be
counterbalanced by JapanIndian friendship, the editorial
While mentioning that Mr. Modi
had not named China in his
remarks in Japan, the paper
referred to Japanese and

Western public opinion that the

comments were directed at

town which is an Al-Nusra Front

stronghold just outside
Damascus. They are also
seeking compensation for three
of their fighters who were
wounded in recent days.

Another American journalist


An Internet video posted

purported to show the
beheading of another U.S.
journalist, Steven Sotloff, by
Islamic State, which called it
retribution for U.S. airstrikes.
U.N. troops captors set demands

Al-Qaeda-linked Syria rebels

who are holding more than 40
United Nations peacekeepers
hostage in the Golan Heights
are demanding they be
expunged from a U.N. terror
blacklist, Fiji revealed.
The Pacific nations Army chief
Mosese Tikoitoga said the
humanitarian aid sent to a small

China to lay 1,300 km of rail

tracks in Tibet by 202

The extended railway lines

built by China in Tibet 251
km from Lhasa to Shigatse on
the west and 433 km to
construction) in the east will
effectively link Tibet to India,
Nepal and Bhutan
These are part of the Chinese
governments mission 2020 for
infrastructure in Tibet.
The lines are also seen as a
triangular defence for China,
allowing it to rush troops and
military hardware to its sensitive
southern borders with India at
short notice.

Chinese railway plans for Tibet on track

Chinas railway plans for Tibet

are firmly on track with two new
rail lines going west and east
from Lhasa.
The ambitious railway line from
Beijing to Lhasa was began

seven years ago.

The extended lines 251 km
from Lhasa to Shigatse on the
west and 433 km to Nyingchi
(still under construction) in the
east will effectively link Tibet
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to India, Nepal and Bhutan.
These are part of the Chinese
governments mission 2020 for
infrastructure in Tibet.
The lines are also seen as a
triangular defence for China,
allowing it to rush troops and
military hardware to its sensitive
southern borders with India at
short notice.
U.S. Post Service to release stamp
on Akkineni

Legendary actor Akkineni

Nageswara Rao will be the first


Indian actor to be honoured

with a postage stamp by the
U.S. Post Service (USPS).

The Akkineni Foundation of

America (AFA) has said that the
stamp will be issued on the

birth anniversary of Nageshwara

Rao, who died of cancer early
this year.
A special release ceremony is
being planned by AFA on
September 20 in Dallas, Texas.
The AFA is also planning to
release the stamp in India on
December 17 at the first
International Akkineni Awards
Ceremony being planned at
ANR College, Gudivada in
Krishna district of Andhra
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Resolution of the border Issue

China has called for a

negotiated resolution of the
border issue with India, shifting
the focus on the root cause of
the problem, following the
latest incidents in Chumar and
Demchok, along the Line of
Actual Control (LAC).
In dealing with a complex
relationship, with areas of
agreement and differences,
the Chinese appear to have
pitched for a wide-ranging
dialogue with India in the hope
of building consensus.
In response to a question on the
Maritime Silk Road (MSR) an
initiative, which many of its
critics say has an element of
Beijings alleged Indiacontainment strategy the
spokesman said China and
India should build consensus
on this subject, based on
Chinese officials say the latest
initiatives of the Silk Road
Economic Belt and the 21st
century MSR will carry forward
the earlier spirit of the peaceful
exchanges between China and
its neighbours along the
ancient super-highway, linking
Asia with Europe.

BCIM (Bangladesh-China-IndiaMyanmar) corridor

India has warmed to the idea

of the BCIM (BangladeshChina-India-Myanmar) corridor
that could prove to be a gamechanger in regional linkages
among the four countries.
The BCIM corridor, long

promoted by China, is intended

to link Kunming to Kolkata,
Mandalay (Myanmar), Dhaka
and Chittagong.
It is intended to advance multimodal connectivity, harness
economic complementarities,
promote investment and trade
and facilitate people-topeople contacts.

Key to Xi Jinpings visit to India

20 MoUs and agreements are

expected to be signed by the
two countries on issues related
to infrastructure development,
cultural ties among others
during Mr. Xis visit.
Beijing is expected to push its
new-generation APC1000
nuclear reactors. The two
leaders are expected to
discuss the possibility of a civil
Is the Gujarat model, the way
forward for India-China ties?
Gujarat has been among the

biggest destinations for

Chinese investment in India,
with Beijing looking to take
forward plans to set up
industrial parks in India, in part
based on its experience in
India has warmed up to the
idea of the BCIM (BangladeshChina-India-Myanmar) corridor.
Long promoted by China, BCIM
is intended to link Kunming to
Kolkata, Mandalay (Myanmar),
Dhaka and Chittagong. It is
intended to advance multimodal connectivity, harness
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economic complementarities,
promote investment and trade,
and facilitate people-topeople contacts.
China has amplified the pitch
on its vision of the Maritime Silk
Road (MSR) amid the
repositioning of American
forces in the Asia-Pacific and
an emerging trade deal
between Washington and its
traditional regional allies.
Over $10 billion investment is
expected from China during
Mr. Xis visit. Currently, Chinese
investment in India stands at
$400 million.
Progress has been made in the
negotiations on the boundary
question, and the two sides
have worked together to
maintain peace in the border
area, wrote the Chinese
Premier in connection with the
decades-old border issues that
have marred Sino-Indo ties for
President Xis visit may provide
Narendra Modi a rare chance
to seize the moment by stating
Indias political intent on solving
the border row between the
two countries, beginning with
measurable steps to clarify the
Line of Actual Control, and to
root out border incidents.
With India and China deciding
to mark 2014 as a year of
friendly exchanges, talks on
the issue of stapled visas might
figure in the meeting.

India, Vietnam to sign key oil

search pact

President Pranab Mukherjee

arrived for a four-day state visit
during which India and
Vietnam are expected to sign
agreements on oil exploration
and air connectivity.

The President will also visit the

historic city of Ho Chi Minh.
The visit marks the 40th
anniversary of diplomatic ties
between the two nations.
Mr. Mukherjee was received at
the Noi Bai International
Airport by the Vietnamese Vice
Minister for Foreign Affairs and
Chairman of Presidents Office
Dao Viet Trung and was given
a guard of honour.

Key agreements between

ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL)
and Petro Vietnam for joint oil
explorations in the South China
Sea blocks are expected to be
signed during the visit. Oil
Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
is part of the delegation
accompanying the President.

Developed nations back Indias

stand at WTO

India said it has won the support

of major developed countries,
including the U.K. and
Germany, as also the European
Commission, for its stand at the
World Trade Organisation
(WTO) demanding that the
implementation of the Trade

Facilitation Agreement (TFA)

be kept pending unless its
apprehensions on the issue of
food security are addressed.
Finance Secretary Arvind
Mayaram was leading the
Indian delegation as Union
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is
Many countries like the United
Kingdom, Germany, Finland,
Austria, Switzerland, Sweden
and the European Commission
emphasised on the need for
expressing deep concern on
non-implementation of TFA
without mentioning Indias
concern on the issue of food
security, the release said.
He also garnered the support
of Pakistan, Bangladesh and
Russia for Indias standpoint, it
India is not opposed to the TFA
as it increases the ease of doing
business but wants its adoption
postponed till there is
satisfactory progress on
finding a permanent protection
for its minimum support prices
to farmers against the WTOs
agriculture subsidy caps that
are benchmarked to food
prices of the 1980s.
At the WTOs General Council
meeting in Geneva on July 31,
India stalled the ratification of
the TFA owing to these
India got a reference to BRICS
and disappointment with poor
progress on the IMF quota
reforms also included in the
ASEM communiqu.
The communiqu talks about
between countries of Asia and
Europe to create sustainable
and profitable growth.
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India & The World

20 agreements, MoUs to be
signed during Xis India visit

Ahead of Chinese President Xi

Jinpings visit to India next
week, Chinas Assistant Foreign
Minister Liu Jianchao told
journalists in Beijing that
President Xis visit will mark the
beginning of another era in

Sino-Indian ties, embedded

with strong strategic
India and China are expected
to sign as many as 20
agreements and MoUs in Delhi,
on issues related to
infrastructure development,
cultural ties among others.
Chief amongst the agreements
will be the setting up of two
industrial cities near
Gandhinagar and Pune on the
lines of the Chinese
manufacturing hub Shenzen.
The two leaders, who are
meeting for the second time
since Mr Modi took office, are
expected to discuss the road
ahead in the Sino-Indian border

negotiations. However, the two

countries are still to appoint
their Special Representatives
for the border talks.
In Delhi on September 18,
President Xi will receive the
official welcome at Rashtrapati
Bhavan and will outline his
vision for India-China ties at a
speech which will be
broadcast live in China.
Before he leaves India on
September 19, he will present
Friendship awards to the family
of the Dr. Kotnis, revered for his
service in China during the
Sino-Japanese war. President
Xi will also meet Congress party
president Sonia Gandhi.
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Each and every topic will be given point wise , making it easier to grasp.
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National Portal of India
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billion in fresh investment here.
Amazon launched about a year
ago in India.
Mr. Bezos said that connecting
small and medium businesses
with the digital market is a
prime area for Amazon and will
be a key differentiator
compared to competition.
Refusing to be drawn into a
discussion on the competition
with Google in key businesses,
he said that drone-deliveries
are technologically proven but
will have to wait for rules and
regulations to be framed.

NTPC is not certain on

Fate of Coal Blocks

Healthy inflation declines are not

enough: RBI Governor

The fate of NTPCs five coal

blocks allocated between
1993 and 2010 hangs in the
The Supreme Court on
September 24 ordered deallocation of blocks, except
those given to ultra mega
power projects and Central
Government public sector units
where there are no joint
ventures. In question are 218
coal blocks, of which 12 were
with ultra mega power projects
and 10 belonged to NTPC.
Confusion arose with the Court
specifically saving four blocks,
including NTPCs Pakri
Barwadih. NTPC had 10 coal
blocks, of which one that was
not de-allocated is set to
commence operations soon.
The company had got four
blocks recently, while six were
awarded earlier. Of the six, one
was exempted from de46

allocation by the apex court.

While NTPC has decided to
wait for clarity from the Coal
Ministry, the Ministry, in turn,
plans to seek legal opinion on
the matter.
The Coal Ministry has also
decided to look into how the
miners that were allocated coal
blocks for captive use are
handling the surplus. The case
in point is Anil Ambanis ultra
mega power project in Sasan.
Indias e-commerce market is
growing by leaps and bounds:
Jeff Bezos

Indias e-commerce market is

growing by leaps and bounds,
according to the founder and
CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos.
Mr. Bezos said that the launch
experience of his business in
India was better and faster
than in any other market which
is why he was committing $2

As the Reserve Bank of India

(RBI) gets ready to announce
its fourth quarter bi-monthly
monetary policy review on
September 30, the usual
expectations from the market
for an interest rate cut are
surprisingly muted.
The surprise element lies in the
fact that whatever data that are
available in the public domain
would seem to suggest a softer
interest rate regime. According
to this view, the RBI has, after a
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very long time, a favourable
environment to lower the
benchmark repo rate, which
has remained at 8 per cent for
the greater part of the year.
The broad macro-economic
indicators have generally been
positive even though one lead
indicator the index of
industrial production (IIP)
continues to remain erratic.
Most significantly, inflation data
for August both retail and
wholesale have delivered
big, pleasant surprises. Retail
inflation based on the
consumer price index (CPI) has
declined by almost a full
percentage point from July
from close to 8 per cent to just
above 7 per cent.
Reserve Bank of India unlikely to
cut policy rate

cent with effect from August

9. In the June bi-monthly policy
also, the central bank had cut
SLR by 50 basis points from 23
per cent to 22.5 per cent.
SLR is the portion of deposits
banks are required to maintain
in the form of gold or
government securities, before
providing credit to customers.
CRR is the portion of total
deposits of customers, which
commercial banks have to hold
as reserves either in cash or as
deposits with the central bank
and the repo rate is the rate at
which the central bank lends
money to banks.
In the last policy review, Dr.
Rajan said that The idea
behind the SLR cut is that if
government finances are
improving and the government
is on a fiscal consolidation
mode, we can afford to liberate
more access to government
financing and make it possible
for the private sector and
public sector firms to get
access to that financing.
FDI should be understood as First
Develop India: PM

While the Reserve Bank of India

(RBI) is likely to maintain its
policy rate at current levels, the
financial markets expect that
the central bank would reduce
the Statutory Liquidity Ratio
(SLR) further.
In the last bi-monthly policy
review on August 5, amidst
uncertainty over the progress
of the monsoon, the RBI had
kept the short term indicative
lending rate (repo) at the
current level of 8 per cent and
the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR)
unchanged at 4 per cent.
However, SLR was reduced
from 22.5 per cent to 22 per

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

launched the Make in India
campaign at a high-profile
event, which captains of
industry from India and abroad
immediately joined by
investments and projects in the
presence of Mr. Modi.
Speaking on the occasion,
Aditya Birla Group chief Kumar
Mangalam Birla said his steelto-software conglomerate
already had its manufacturing
base in India and now planned
to leverage its global
production facilities for
bringing technology here.

The head of Indias largest

private sector company,
Mukesh Ambani of Reliance
Industries (RIL), called the
launch of the campaign a
historic day for Indian industry
and said, We are committing
ourselves to the movement our
beloved Prime Minister had
given to 1 billion Indians on
Independence Day The
uniqueness of his leadership is
that he dreams and he does.
Unveiling the campaign logo
earlier, Mr. Modi said FDI
should be understood as First
Develop India along with
Foreign Direct Investment
while encouraging investors not
to just look at India as merely a
market but also as an
The Prime Minister also noted
that India ranked low on the
ease of doing business index
and said he was sensitising
government officials to the
Government to revive five PSUs

The government said it had

begun the process of reviving
five ailing PSUs and is working
on one-time settlement,
involving voluntary retirement
scheme entailing a cost of
Rs.1,000 crore for employees of
six state-run units not capable
of revival.
The state-run units, which have
been identified by the
government for revival, include
HMT Machine Tools; Heavy
Engineering Corporation;
NEPA; Nagaland Paper & Pulp
Co; and Triveni Structurals,
Union Heavy Industries &
Public Enterprises Minister
Anant Geete said.
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Mr. Geete said the government
was working on a one-time
settlement proposal for six
terminally ill PSUs, which could
not be revived, to eliminate
higher recurring expenditure.
The six companies which
cannot be revived are:
Hindustan Photo Films; HMT
Bearings; HMT Watches; HMT
Chinar Watches; Tungabhadra
Steel Products Ltd; and
Hindustan Cables. These six
companies have employee
strength of 3,603, the Minister
said at a press conference to
mark the 100 days of the NDA
government here.

sector. He said for road

development the government
was considering to use cement
instead of bitumen to bring
down construction cost.
The Minister also said private
sector was shying away from
public private partnership
(PPP) projects primarily
because of high interest rates
and reluctance of banks to
fund such projects.

Government decided to give boost

to inland waterways

The Union Government has

decided to give a boost to
inland waterways in a big way
to reduce the cost of
transportation as well as to curb
pollution. This was stated by
Union Minister of Road
Transport & Highways,
Shipping, Rural Development
and Drinking Water &
Sanitation Nitin Gadkari.
He said that the ministry had
also been focusing on the ports

Nepal finalises Hydel project with

GMR group

India support exchange

information on black money

MCX-SX is going to change name

The Securities Exchange

Board of India (SEBI) has
approved a new name for MCX
Stock Exchange (MCX-SX)
which will now be known as
Metropolitan Stock Exchange
of India Ltd, abbreviated as
The exchange is in the process
of making an application to
Registrar of Companies (RoC)
for registration of the new
name, MCX-SX said in a

substantial amount of data

received from financial
institutions by the tax
administration could be used
for domestic tax purposes also.

India will support the proposed

exchange of tax and banking
information that is expected to
aid unearthing and retrieving
black money stashed offshore.
Forty-six countries, including
India, have agreed to set rolling
by 2017 the automatic
exchange of information on tax
At present, countries exchange
information on the basis of
requests and that too only on
suspected tax evasion and
other financial crimes.
The proposed global standard
would facilitate a systematic
and periodic transmission of
bulk taxpayer information by
the source country of income
to the country of residence of
the taxpayer.
The implementation of these
standards by developing
countries could also improve
domestic tax compliance as

The GMR Group said on 23rd

September that it has signed a
Agreement for 900 MW
Upper Karnali Hydro Power
project with the Nepal
It is the largest FDI for Nepal
and also the largest investment
for GMR Group outside India.
The Upper Karnali Hydro
Power project was awarded to
the GMR Group through an
International competitive
bidding process in 2008 on
BOOT basis. The project, with
a capacity of 900 MW, is being
developed as an exportoriented project to be
constructed in a period of
about 5 years.
ONGC will start oil production
from KG block in 2019

start production in 2019,
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ONGC Chairman and Managing
Director Dinesh K. Sarraf said
The oil discovery in Krishna
Godavari basin block KG-DWN98/2 or KG-D5 is the first large
oil production from the Staterun Oil and Natural Gas
Corporations (ONGC) major oil
discovery in the Bay of Bengal
will east coast. The block also
has 10 gas discoveries.
Make In India campaign

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

will launch the Make In India
campaign , aimed at reviving
the job-creating manufacturing
sector key to taking the
economy on a sustainable high
growth path.
The drive, the Modi
Government hopes, will do for
investment sentiment what the
Incredible India campaign
has accomplished for tourism.
With his Come, make in India
slogan in his Independence
Day speech, Mr. Modi had
invited global companies to set
up manufacturing units in India
to supply to the rest of the
Government is likely to invite
the whos who of the global
corporate sector from the US,
Japan, Korea, Sweden, Poland,
Australia, China, Italy, Germany
and France.
The campaign also includes
invitations to the worlds top
3,000 companies to explore
investment possibilities in India.
Indian Embassies around the
world are expected to join the
The objective is to take
manufacturing growth on a
sustainable basis to 10 per cent
over the long term,.

The Department of Industrial

Policy and Promotion has set up
an eight-member expert panel
to redress grievances and
handle queries of global and
domestic investors within 24
Its role will be to provide
information and solve investors

partnership with Huawei to

offer enterprise customers big
data and communication
solutions besides expansion of
its existing engagement with
Microsoft and Hitachi Data

BNP Paribas in collaboration with

the World Bank

Financial services firm BNP

Paribas, in collaboration with
the World Bank, has launched
the first equity index-linked
green bond that will help raise
funds for products seeking to
mitigate climate change.
The 30-stock equity index, to
which the World Bank Green
Bond is linked, comprises
companies selected on the
basis of their corporate
sustainability ratings.
Abhishek Ganguly as new MD,
Puma India

Rajiv Mehta, who was previously managing the reins of

Puma India as the managing
director for nine years, announced his exit from the company.
Puma India said that it had appointed Abhishek Ganguly as
its new Managing Director, taking over the reins of the brand
that recently launched the Forever Faster campaign.
Mr. Abhishek previously had
been spearheading the sales
and retail functions for the
brand and had joined Puma
right at its inception in 2005 as
a founding director.
Infosys global partnership with

Infosys announced a global

Providing details, in separate

press releases, Infosys said the
IT solutions to be developed
with Chinese multi-national ICT
firm Huawei would be for
enterprise customers looking to
modernise operations with
cloud infrastructure.
Both the companies will build
reference architectures and
standardised solutions for big
data platforms on Huawei
hardware infrastructure.
Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M)
partnered Snapdeal

Ahead of the launch of its new

generation Scorpio, Mahindra
and Mahindra (M&M) has
partnered online marketplace
Snapdeal for booking the sport
utility vehicle (SUV).
Scorpio has been Mahindras
one of the highest selling SUVs
and the homegrown auto giant
is to launch the refreshed version on September 25.
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According to the details made
available to users, the new
generation Scorpio will be
available in six variants.
Motorcycle Fazer FI

Yamaha Motor India Sales

launched 149-cc motorcycle
Fazer FI, priced at Rs.83,850
(ex-showroom Delhi).
The new model comes with a
newly designed air-cooled
149cc, single-cylinder fuel-injected engine which provides
enhanced fuel efficiency and
The company had recently
launched new variants under
the FZ series.
Lupin tied up with Merck Serono

TCS opens Saudi Arabias

first all-women BPO centre

Indias largest software

exporter Tata Consultancy
Services (TCS) on Sunday said
it has opened Saudi Arabias
first all-female business process
centre, which will provide
employment to up to 3,000
women in three years.
Saudi Aramco and GE are the
centres first customers, TCS
said in a statement in Mumbai.
Both the clients have already
surpassed their target of
recruiting 100 women each,
while the total number of those
employed at the centre stands
at 300, it said.
The Riyadh-based 3,200-sq mt
facility will offer customers
specialised finance and
accounting, human resources,
materials supply and office
services to improve their
operational efficiency, it said.

Products) Parag Rao said.

Green PIN is One Time
Password (OTP) sent to the
customers mobile number
registered with bank. Using the
OTP, customer can set debit
card PIN at the banks ATM, Rao
said. Customers will get OTP
within 48 hours of applying for
HDFC Bank has nearly 1.75
crore debit card holders and
about 16.5 lakh cards on an
average are issued annually by
the bank.
This facility is for all States
except in Jammu and Kashmir
due to restrictions on bulk SMS
delivery in the State, Rao said.
Facebook set to take on YouTube

HDFC Bank to send debit card

PINs via SMS

Lupin has tied up with Merck

Serono, the biopharmaceutical
division of Merck, to support
the expansion of Merck
Seronos general medicines
portfolio in emerging markets.
A statement from Lupin said the
tie-up would address the local
needs for affordable, high-quality medicines.
While no financial details of the
tie-up were available, Lupin
said it had an established working relationship with Merck and
the agreement could add up
to 20 new products to the current portfolio.
Lupin will receive an upfront
and milestone based licensing
fee. The first launches are expected in 2016.

As part of its go-green

initiative, HDFC Bank has
started sending PIN, unique
code number, for debit card
holders through SMS instead of
sending it by post.
It is not just environment
friendly but also convenient
and saves time of both
customers and the bank, HDFC
Bank Senior Vice President and
Business Had (Cards Payment

Get ready for a fierce content

war between YouTube and
The social networking site is in
talks with some of the biggest
video content producers of
YouTube to test videos directly
on Facebook.
Currently, content creators use
Facebook to promote their
programming but prefer
people to watch the videos on
YouTube and other platforms
where they can make money
through advertisements sales
Facebook and video content
producers are now discussing
how advertising might be
incorporated into these videos,
according to The Wall Street
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Journal . Facebook has been
involved in this video initiative
for at least six months, it said.
Global auto makers
Seek friendly Policy

As India moves towards

becoming a hub for production
and exports for global car
manufacturers, the latter said
India needed to make more
business-friendly policies if the
country wanted foreign
companies to invest here.
Chairman of Japan Automobile
Manufacturers Association
(JAMA) Fumihiko Ike, who is
also the Chairman of Japans
Honda Motor Co, added
another major challenge was to
environment for investing into

General Motors Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mary Barra

is on a three-day visit to India,
meeting dealers, suppliers and
other stakeholders throughout
the country, to study the market here.
The development assumes
significance given the fact that

the American auto major has

been present in the domestic
market for about two decades,
but has not been successful at
making a significant impact in
the automobile sector here.
The company plans to launch
40 new products globally,
including India.

Skoda launches Yeti upgrade

Protection to auto industry cannot

be forever: Commerce Secretary

In a veiled warning to the

domestic auto sector, the
Commerce Ministry, said it
could not continue providing
protection to the industry while
duty barriers were coming
down all over the world.
India is protecting the
domestic auto industry from
overseas competition while
signing free trade agreements
with different nations and
GM to study Indian market

Czech car maker Skoda,

launched its new face-lifted
sports utility vehicles (SUV),
the Yeti, at a price of Rs.18.63
lakh for the 4X2 variant while
its 4X4 variant is priced at
Rs.20.14 lakh (prices exshowroom, Maharashtra).
Both variants are powered by a
2.0 TDI diesel engine.
The new Yeti is being offered
at a slight premium to the
existing variant and will feature
cruise control, KESSY system
and Light Assist.
Sudarshan Venu is Joint MD of
TVS Motor

In a significant move, the board

of TVS Motor Company has
appointed Sudarshan Venu,
son of Venu Srinivasan, as the
Joint Managing Director of the

As a whole-time director, Mr.

Venu has already been very
active in the affairs of the

In view of this, the board has

chosen to elevate him to the
position of Joint Managing
Vijayan Rajes is UPASI President

Vijayan Rajes has been elected

President of United Planters
Association of Southern India
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(UPASI) for 2014-15.
Mr. Vijayan owns MSP
Plantations, Yercaud, and has
been serving on the Executive
Committee of UPASI since
N. Dharmaraj has been elected
Vice-President, an UPASI
release said. PTI
Subhash Chandra Garg appointed
as World Bank ED

Senior IAS officer Subhash

Chandra Garg was appointed
as Executive Director in World
Mr. Garg, a 1983-batch IAS
officer of Rajasthan cadre, will
have a tenure of 3 years from
the date of assuming charge of
the post, said an order issued
Committee of Cabinet. PTI
New VP for Renault India

Renault India Pvt. Ltd., a fullyowned subsidiary of Renault

s.a.s, has appointed Rafael
Treguer as Vice-President
(Sales and Marketing).
He has worked in varied roles
at different locations with the
Renault group. Special
Expedite Delhi govt. formation, SC
tells Centre

The Supreme Court told the

Centre that horse-trading
would continue if steps were
not taken soon to form a
government in Delhi.
Things better be done at the
earliest, otherwise horse52

trading will continue, a fivejudge Constitution Bench led

by Justice H.L. Dattu told the
The observation was made with
reference to a footage released
by the Aam Aadmi Party, the
petitioner in the case,
purportedly showing some
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders
inducing its party MLA with
money and perks to support
the BJP.
Deadline for
Declaring assets Extended

The Department of Personnel

and Training has extended the
deadline from September 15
to December 31 for public
servants to declare their assets
and liabilities under the Lokpal
and Lokayuktas Act.
The decision has been taken in
view of the concerns raised by
various Ministries, including
exacerbation of vulnerabilities
of the public servants after
filing such details, specifically
of moveable property, and their
publication on websites of the
departments, giving rise to
apprehensions of safety and
security of family members of
the public servant, particularly
his children.
The Department of Personnel
and Training has accordingly
revised the deadline for
simplification of declaration
forms and completion of the
entire process from 270 to 360
Upper age limit set for MDs and
CEOs of private banks

The upper age limit for

managing directors (MDs) and
chief executive officers (CEOs)

and other whole-time director

of banks in the private sector
has been fixed at 70 years.
Beyond this age (70 years),
nobody should continue in the
post, the Reserve Bank of India
(RBI) said.
Within the overall limit of 70
years, individual bank boards
are free to prescribe a lower
retirement age for the wholetime directors, including the
managing directors and chief
executive officers, as an
internal policy, the RBI said.
Bajaj Auto launches two
supersport KTM bikes

Bajaj Auto, launched two

supersport motorcycles from
the KTM stable KTM RC390
and KTM RC 200.
KTM bikes have won more than
240 World Championship titles.
According to a company
statement, the KTM RC390 is
priced at Rs.2.05 lakh while the
KTM RC 200 is priced at Rs. 1.60
lakh (both ex-showroom Delhi).
Both bikes will be backed by
KTMs 140 exclusive dealer
network across the country and
will be available from September 10 with dealers.
Micromax launches Canvas Nitro

Micromax , launched its latest

handset Canvas Nitro powered
by an octa-core processor,
targeted mainly at young
professionals and college
students, priced at Rs.12,990.
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will help consumers pay in
dollar, pound settling, euro and
Singapore dollar initially and
eventually be made available in
all major currencies.
Ration shops in Retail Avatar

launched exclusively through
online marketplace Snapdeal,
runs on Android KitKat
operating system, and comes
with 2GB RAM, 5-inch HD IPS
display, leather finish back,
13MP rear and 5MP front
(expandable up to 32GB), and
2500 mAh battery.
Microsoft unveils new look for
MSN in India

comprehensive and seamless
experience to users to access
content via its website and
apps across screens (PCs as well
as mobiles) and operating
platforms, software giant
Microsoft unveiled the new
look of its MSN website in India.
The preview in India had been
made live for users starting
Monday and Microsoft was
inviting people to try out the
new web experience, he said,
adding they could also leave
feedback on the site.
State Bank
Launches New Travel Card

State Bank of India (SBI) and

MasterCard, announced the
launch of Multi-Currency
Foreign Travel Card through
100 selected branches of
Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and
Bangalore circles.
The card, which is available in
retail and corporate variants,

The Fair Price Shops apart from

selling the usual subsidised rice
and wheat, will now sell
recharge coupons, DTH cards,
consumer durables, and even
book tickets apart from
providing other financial
services like ATMs .
SC declines to give relief to
Mallya, Kingfisher Airlines

The Supreme Court denied

relief to debt-ridden Kingfisher
Airlines challenging the
decision of the Grievance
Redressal Committee (GRC) of
United Bank of India (UBI) to
declare the airline and its
promoter Vijay Mallya as wilful
A Bench of Justices Anil R. Dave
and U. U. Lalit refused to
entertain the companys
petition seeking a direction to
the government allowing
liberty to make representation
before the UBIs grievance
committee and right to a legal
The airline claimed that it was
declared a wilful defaulter
without giving it an opportunity
to be heard. It submitted,
through counsel, that the

defaulter order by UBI

blacklists the company
Panel set up to conduct forensic
audit of NSEL

On a plea made by investors,

the Bombay High Court,
formed a committee headed
by a retired high court judge to
conduct a forensic audit of the
troubled NSEL and liquidate
the assets of its defaulting
borrowers in the over Rs.5,500
crore payments scam.
The three-member committee,
headed by Justice (Retd) V. C.
Daga, will also have a solicitor
and a chartered accountant,
according to Advocate Ameet
Naik, who represents NSEL in
the case.
The committee will ascertain
the liability that is outstanding
against the defaulting
borrowers of NSEL, conduct a
forensic audit, and monetise
the assets, the court said in its
The committee will determine
where the amount has gone,
and is empowered to ascertain
the assets of company.
It has also been empowered to
distribute the assets to the
distribution of funds will
require the courts permission.
Toyota launches Innova Limited
Edition 2014

Toyota Kirloskar Motor

launched Innova Limited Edition 2014 for the festive season. Only 1,500 units of the new
Innova LE, in an exclusive
brand new colour Bronze
Mica Metallic besides Silver
Mica Metallic, will be available
till November.
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It is based on the existing Gx
Grade and comes with the
options of seven and eight
seater in both Euro III and Euro
IV engines, a release from the
company said.
Available in the diesel variant,
the price starts from
Rs.12,90,947 to Rs.13,00,710
(ex-showroom New Delhi).
Innova LE will be available at
Toyota showrooms at select
cities whereas in other cities,
Innova Limited Edition
accessory package will be
Promotional air fares from Indigo

Budget carrier Indigo started

promotional air fares by offering
discounted one-way fares
starting at a low of Rs.999 (all
inclusive one-way fare), a day
after SpiceJet started its offer
of Rs.499 one-way charge.
According to Indigo, its DelhiJaipur flight is priced at Rs.999
one-way, followed by Rs.1,399
The fares go all the way up to
Rs.4,829 for Bangalore-Delhi.
The fares are applicable for
booking in 90 days in advance.

The bank has an exposure of

between Rs.350 crore and
Rs.400 crore to KFA, which was
given by the Bangalore branch
of UBI.
It may be mentioned that UBI
filed a caveat in the Supreme
Court against KFA on August
29, 2014, after the Division
Bench of the High Court dismissed a KFA appeal against
Earlier, UBI had identified Mr.
Mallya as a wilful defaulter, and
asked him to appear before the
banks panel to hear him out
before declaring him as a wilful defaulter.
Mr. Mallya later moved the
court seeking exemption of his
appearance before the panel.
Flipkart invests in ngpay

e-commerce firm Flipkart has

made a strategic investment in

mobile payments firm ngpay.

Terms of the deal are not disclosed.
ngpay was founded in 2008 by
Sourabh Jain. Meanwhile,
Flipkart also said it would phase
out its own payment product
Payzippy launched last year.
Basel III capital norms revised

The Reserve Bank of India

(RBI) issued revised and final
guidelines for raising nonequity regulatory capital
instruments by banks under the
stringent Basel III framework
under which lenders can issue
Tier-2 capital with a minimum
original maturity of five years as
against 10 years now.
It further said banks could issue
Tier-2 debt capital instruments
to retail investors, subject to
board approval.

United Bank of India declares

Vijay Mallya wilful defaulter

United Bank of India (UBI) has

declared Vijay Mallya and three
directors of Kingfisher Airlines
(KFA) as wilful defaulters. The
development was confirmed
by the banks executive
director Deepak Narang.
Besides Mr. Mallya, three other
directors A.K. Ganguly,
Subhash Gupte and Ravi
Nedungadi have also been
declared as wilful defaulters,
Mr. Narang .
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Medium: English
Price: Rs. 850
Pages: 1000
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ISBN: 9789351720362




1. Comprehension & English Language Comprehension

PART - I: Comprehension
PART - II: English Language Comprehension

2. Interpersonal & Communication Skills & Decision Making & Problem Solving

PART - I: Interpersonal & Communication Skills

PART - II: Decision Making & Problem Solving

3. General Mental Ability, Logical Reasoning & Analytical Ability

PART - I: General Mental Ability

PART - II: Logical Reasoning & Analytical Ability

4. Basic Numeracy
5. Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency

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Students developed low-cost,
portable Braille printer

In a bid to make technology

affordable and accessible to
visually-impaired persons,
Sandeep Konam, a B. Tech.
final-year ECE student at IIIT,
Idupulapaya, and a group of
IITians are engaged in not only
developing a low-cost portable
Braille printer that could cost
as much as an average Android
mobile but also in integrating
graphics, tables and images in
Indian language
Mentored by Elliott J. Rouse,
Post-Doctoral Associate of
Biomechatronics Group, MIT
Media Lab, and assisted by
premier institutions such as L.V.
Prasad Eye Institute Innovation
Centre, Cyient (formerly
Infosys) and the Tata Centre for
Technology and Design, the
low-cost Braille printer, a
counterpart to ink printers,
using solenoids to control the
embossing pins, could
revolutionize the facility for the
visually impaired and persons
with a low vision.
Orbiter sent picture of dust
storm activities on Mars
Indias Mars Orbiter Mission
(MOM) sent a picture of

regional dust storm activities

over the northern hemisphere
of the Red Planet, Indian Space
Research Organisation (ISRO)

the planet.
The spacecraft was launched
on its nine-month-long odyssey
on a PSLV rocket from
Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh
on November 5, 2013. It had
gravitational field on December
1 and was placed in the
Martian orbit on September 24.
Pesticides in tea Trouble

Regional dust storm activities

over northern hemisphere of
Mars - captured by Mars Colour
Camera on-board Mars Orbiter
Mission, ISRO said.
It said the image was taken at
an altitude of 74,500 kms from
the surface of Mars. MOM
spacecraft had sent its first
images of the planet on
Thursday, a day after creating
history by becoming the only
such Endeavour so far to have
met with success on the
maiden attempt.
MOM aims to study the Martian
composition and scan its
atmosphere for methane, an
indicator of life.
The spacecraft is equipped
with five instruments, including
a sensor to track methane or
marsh gas, a colour camera and
spectrometer to map the
surface and mineral wealth of

The Centres anti-NGO tirade

got a boost with the Crop Care
Federation of India (CCFI)
backed by former Greenpeace
member Dr. Patrick Moore
taking on foreign funded
groups for derailing the
progress of the Indian
agricultural sector.
Rajju Shroff, chairperson, CCFI,
told the media that the
Federation plans to file a case
in the Bombay High Court
against Greenpeace for its
report on pesticides in tea
titled Trouble Brewing. The
report released in August had
said that a large number of tea
samples tested positive for a
cocktail of toxic pesticides.
Mr. Shroff said that Greenpeace
had failed to share raw data
publicly and there is secrecy
on the tea report. He said the
report maligned the Indian
farmers and it even said that tea
monocrotophos and DDT,
which was not sprayed on tea.
Greenpeace campaigner Neha
Saigal clarified that the CCFI
had sent them legal notices
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demanding that raw data be
shared publicly. Ms. Saigal said
Greenpeace had shared data
with two or three companies,
which demanded raw data.
Solar energy could be the top
source of electricity by 2050

Solar energy could be the top

source of electricity by 2050,
aided by plummeting costs of
the equipment to generate it, a
report from the International
Energy Agency (IEA), the
Wests energy watchdog, said.
IEA reports said solar
photovoltaic (PV) systems
could generate up to 16 per
cent of the worlds electricity
by 2050, while solar thermal
electricity (STE) from
concentrating solar power
plants could provide a
further 11 per cent.
The rapid cost decrease of
photovoltaic modules and
systems in the last few years has
opened new perspectives for
using solar energy as a major
source of electricity in the
coming years and decades,
said IEA Executive Director
Maria van der Hoeven.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels
constitute the fastest growing
renewable energy technology
in the world since 2000,
although solar is still less than 1
per cent of energy capacity
The IEA said PV expansion
would be led by China,

followed by the United States,

while STE could also grow in
the United States along with
Africa, India and the Middle
Whale shark found washed
ashore at Panambur

The so-called Rochester Cloak
is not really a tangible cloak.
Rather, the device looks like
equipment used by an
optometrist. When an object is
placed behind the layered
lenses it seems to disappear.
Previous cloaking methods
have been complicated,
expensive, and not able to hide
objects in three dimensions
when viewed at varying angles,
they say.
Earths water is older than the
solar system

A 10-ft-long whale shark was

found washed ashore at the
Panambur beach. The whale
shark, among the largest fish
species in the world, is
commonly found in deep seas
around the Lakshadweep
Islands, and it, probably, is the
first incident of a whale shark
found washed ashore at
An average whale shark is
around 30 feet in length and
weighs around 9,000 kg.
Scientists to come up with an
invisibility cloak
Scientists at the University of
Rochester have discovered a
way to hide large objects from
sight using inexpensive and
readily available lenses, a
technology that seems to have
sprung from the pages of J.K.
Rowlings Harry Potter fantasy
Cloaking is the process by
which an object becomes
hidden from view, while
everything else around the
cloaked object appears

Up to half the water on Earth is

likely older than the solar
system, raising the likelihood
that life exists elsewhere in the
galaxy, according to a study.
The research in the journal
Science found that a
significant fraction of the water
on Earth was inherited from
interstellar space, and was
there before the Sun was
formed some 4.6 billion years
Researchers can tell where the
water comes from by
examining the ratio of
hydrogen to deuterium, a heavy
isotope of hydrogen, in water
molecules. Water or ice that
comes from interstellar space
has a high ratio of deuterium to
hydrogen, because it forms at
such low temperatures.
But scientists have not known
how much deuterium was
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removed in the process of the
Suns birth, or how much
deuterium-rich water-ice the
solar system would have
produced when it was first
Scientists simulated the origin
of a planet under conditions
where all the deuterium from
space ice has already been
MOM is set to search for
methane on Mars

Spacecraft specialists from the

Indian Space Research
Organisation (ISRO) are getting
ready to uplink the commands
and switch on two more
scientific payloads on Indias
spacecraft to Mar, according to
V. Kesava Raju, Mission
Director, Mars Orbiter Mission
The two scientific instruments
that will become operational
on 27th September are the
Methane Sensor for Mars and
the Thermal Infrared Imaging
Spectrometer. The former will
look for signs of methane in the
Martian atmosphere, which is
an indicator of possible
microbial life there, and the
latter will map Mars surface
composition and its mineralogy.
J.D. Rao, general manager of
Indian Space Science Data
Centre (ISSDC) near Bangalore,
said it would be the first to receive data from the five instruments on board the orbiter.

Government study on spurious

drugs is set to gain momentum
The Governments study on
spurious drugs in the country is
set to gain momentum in the
next few months.
The Central Drugs Standard
Control Organisation (CDSCO)
in consultation with the Indian
Statistical Institute and other
partners, including the State
drug controllers, have put in the
basic framework on how to
carry out the study, including
details on the category or
medicines to be covered, said
Bangarurajan, Deputy Drugs
Controller, CDSCO (West
Former Drug ControllerGeneral of India, Surinder
Singh, who is now Director of
the National Institute of
Biologicals, heads this
committee that is studying the
prevalence of spurious drugs.
A similar study on spurious
drugs was conducted in 2009,
where 24,000 samples were
picked up from across the
country. The prevalence of
spurious products was found to
be about 0.04 per cent.
After Mars mission GSLV-MkIII
is ISROs next project
The flush of the successful Indian Mars manoeuvre will take
a while to wear off. Team ISRO
has, meanwhile, got down to
brass tacks and expects to get
one of its biggest projects off
the mark this calendar year
The first flight of the new
vehicle is being considered for
October-end if good weather
holds, said ISRO Chairman K.
Radhakrishnan. The stages of
the vehicle are being put

together at Sriharikota.
The date of its launch depends
on an earlier flight of the PSLVC26, which will put into orbit
the third regional navigation
spacecraft, the IRNSS-1C. If the
PSLV is flown in the week
starting October 9 as planned,
GSLV-MkIII can follow on the
second launch pad a fortnight
after it, Dr. Radhakrishnan said.
The C-26 vehicle is also getting
assembled at Sriharikota.
Expanded U.S. marine preserve
to be worlds largest
Far off Americas shores, an
ocean preserve flush with rare
seabirds, turtles and marine
mammals will grow to roughly
three times the size of California
under a memorandum that U.S.
President Barack Obama
signed on 25th September.
The expanded Pacific Remote
Islands Marine National
Monument will cover 490,000
square miles (1.2 million sq.
km), making it the largest marine
preserve in the world, the
White House has said. The
move puts the remote waters
surrounding a collection of
islands offlimits to drilling and
most fishing in a bid to protect
fragile underwater life.
Millions of marine animals live
in the bio-rich expanse
included by the new
monument, which will also add
new protections for more than
130 seamounts underwater
mountains where rare or
undiscovered species are
frequently found.
Commercial fishing, deep-sea
mining and other extraction of
underwater resources will be
banned, but recreational
fishing will still be allowed, in
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an attempt to preserve the
publics access to federal areas.
The islands sit between Hawaii
and American Samoa and are
divided into five regions. Mr.
Obama is extending the
preserve to the full 200 miles
(320 km) but only for three of
the five regions.
New of brain cell discovered

Researchers have discovered a

strange new type of brain cell
that sends signals by bypassing
the cell body altogether.
Neurons come in different
shapes and sizes but the basic
blueprint consists of a cell
body, from which protrudes
spindly appendages called
dendrites and axons.
Dendrites are branchlike
structures that receive signals
from other nerve cells and
deliver them to the cell body.
The neuron then processes the
signals and zaps along
information to the next cell via
a long projection called the
The newly discovered cells,
however, have a different, and
until now, unknown process. In
these cells, the signals skip the
cell body altogether, instead
travelling along an axon that
project directly from one of the
The new cells were discovered
in the hippocampus of a
mouse. Humans have the same
general brain structure and
types of hippocampus cells as

mice. The hippocampus is

home to extensively branched
neurons called pyramidal cells
because of their triangular cell
Heliborne Surveys reveal
potential for groundwater in the
deserts of Jaisalmer
Presence of fresh water zones
below the upper saline layers
in the deserts of Jaisalmer,
arsenic-free aquifer after the
top zone in Bihar and waterbearing aquifer at a depth of
200 metres in the hard rock
areas of Tumkur, Karnataka are
among some of interesting
findings that emerged from
Heliborne Geophysical surveys
undertaken on a pilot basis in
five States in the country.
With uncontrolled exploitation
of groundwater resources
across the country adversely
affecting the shallow aquifer
resources both in terms of
quantity and quality, a pilot
aquifer mapping project was
initiated by the Central Ground
Water Board, Ministry of Water
Resources, under a World Bank
funded hydrology project.
The aim of the project is to
develop sustainable and
comprehensive groundwater
management plans. The surveys
carried out by CSIR-NGRI
ISRO: Mars Orbiter Mission
India created history on 24th
September becoming the first
country to successfully get a
spacecraft into the Martian orbit
on its maiden attempt.
Indian Space Research
Organizations Mars Orbiter
Mission (MOM) spacecraft

started orbiting the red planet

at 7.47am, but it was only 12
minutes later because of a
time delay in radio signals
travelling the 680 million km
that scientists at ISRO
Telemetry, Tracking and
Command Network in
Bangalore, could erupt in joy
as Prime Minister Narendra
Modi stood a happy witness.
Through its journey since
November 5, 2013 when PSLVC25 lifted off from Sriharikota
with the spacecraft in its
nosecone, MOM has had a
perfect journey.
Mars Orbiter Mission, engine
test firing successful
The test-firing of the engine on
Indias spacecraft to Mars for
four seconds went off smoothly,
boosting the hopes of ISRO
engineers about the engines
performance on 24th when it
will fire for 24 minutes to insert
the Mars orbiter into the Red
Planets orbit.
The engine ignited after it had
slumbered in space for 300
days during the spacecrafts
voyage to the moon. The LAM
engine was fired last on
December 1, 2013 to catapult
Indias Mars orbiter from its
earth-orbit into sun-centric
orbit and its sojourn to Mars
The news about the
confirmation of the success of
the test-firing was received
from the spacecraft after a timedelay of about 13 minutes, Mr.
Kesava Raju, Mission Director
INS Sindhurakshak
The second Board of Inquiry
(BOI) constituted by the
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Defence Ministry to probe the
feasibility of reusing INS
recommended decommissioning of the kilo-class
The submarine was finally
retrieved from the waters in
June 2014 and handed over to
the Navy. Since then it has
been anchored at the Naval
Dockyard in south Mumbai.
Second naval prototype of Tejas
The second naval prototype of
Tejas, the indigenously
developed light combat
aircraft, will undergo flight test
in Goa by September-end.
With that, India would become
the third country to
demonstrate this facility.
Indian Air Force version of Tejas
was expected to get final
operational clearance by March

High-end 512GB memory

card SanDisk
SanDisk Corporation has
launched its high-end 512GB
memory card SanDisk Extreme
The new offering, priced above
Rs.52,000, is designed to meet
the demands of professionals
who require the most
advanced gear available for
shooting 4K ultra high definition
video, full HD video, and highspeed
The company has also introduced a 64 GB memory card
SanDisk Extreme PRO
microSDXC UHS-1.
This memory card, priced at
Rs.9,700, would come in handy
for people who would like to
have 4K ultra HD video shooting for extended period as
well clicking and storing a large
number of photographs.

Web portal on Ganga Rejuvenation Launched

As part of its efforts to make the

programme a mass movement,
the Ministry of Water Resource
launched a web portal to
connect with the public on the

ambitious project of the NDA

The bilingual website has a
provision to receive feedback
from the public, where
suggestions can be given about

the Ganga Rejuvenation Plan.

The public can also upload files
up to the size of 4 MB along
with their suggestions, a press
release issued in Delhi said.
Launching the website, Union
Minister for Water Resource
Uma Bharti said the launch of
the website was an important
tool to connect the public with
the gigantic task of Ganga
Environment Minister launches
online portal for zoos

Union Minister for Environment,

Forest and Climate Change
Prakash Javadekar launched an
online portal for grant of
recognition to zoos and
monitoring of zoos.
He also launched an E- archival
and retrieval management
system for the Central Zoo
Authority and a book on Zoos
in India 2014, an official
statement said.
The portal for grant of
recognition and monitoring of
zoos envisages maintaining and
providing real-time information
about the recognition and
evaluation process.
The portal aims to reduce the
bottlenecks of manual
recognition system and fully
automates the recognition
process, the statement said.
First water clouds found outside
solar System
Scientists have discovered the
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first evidence of water ice
clouds on an object outside of
our own solar system, about 7.3
light-years away from Earth.
Water ice clouds exist on our
own gas giant planets
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and
Neptune but have not been
seen outside of the planets
orbiting our Sun until now.
The findings were published in
The Astrophysical Journal
Letters . PTI
iPhone 6 packs new sensor,
bigger screen

Apple says the new phones will

be faster and have better
battery life than previous
versions. The phones will also
have a new sensor to estimate
how much youve climbed
stairs, not just how far youve
walked or run.
The new phones (iPhone 6 will
cost $199 with a two-year
contract in the U.S.) will start
shipping in America on
September 19.
Apple also introduced a
system, called Apple Pay, for
using the phone to make credit
card purchases at retail stores.
MH17 hit by high speed objects:

Of Apples new smartphones

that were unveiled, the iPhone
6 will have a screen measuring
4.7 inches, while the iPhone 6
Plus will be 5.5 inches. In both
cases, developers will be able
to design apps that can be
viewed differently when the
phone is held horizontally.
The screen resolution on the
Plus version will be sharper than
previous iPhones, at 401 pixels
per inch rather than 326.
The new phones arent as big
as Samsungs latest flagship
phones 5.1 inches for the
Galaxy S5 and 5.7 inches for the
Note 4 but they will be large
enough to neutralise a key
advantage Samsung and other
Android manufacturers have

A Malaysian passenger jet blew

up in mid-air over eastern
Ukraine after being hit by
numerous high speed
objects, according to an
interim report published on the
disaster that claimed 298 lives.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17
broke up in the air probably
as the result of structural damage caused by a large number
of high-energy objects that
penetrated the aircraft from
outside, said a highly anticipated report by the Dutch
Safety Board.
The findings appear to back up
claims that the Boeing 777,
which crashed in July as it was
flying from Amsterdam to Kuala
Lumpur, was hit by shrapnel
from a missile.

There are no indications that

the MH17 crash was caused by
a technical fault or by actions
of the crew, the report said.
Kiev and the West have
separatists of shooting down
the plane with a surface-to-air
BUK missile supplied by
Moscow. But Russia blamed
government forces for the
attack. AP
N-deal highlights growing
energy ties
credentials as Indias core
energy partner by signing a deal
for uranium supplies, and
imparted urgency to the
transfer of coal for thermal
power plants, facing severe
shortage of the resource.
Visiting Australian Prime
Minister Tony Abbot unveiled
Canberras aspirations by
pointing out that Canberra
could become an utterly
reliable source of energy,
resource and food security for
Analysts point out that the
deeper engagement in energy
and food security could pave
the way for a broader strategic
relationship between the two
countries, which could include
A joint statement on defence
cooperation signed last year
had emphasised joint forays
specifically in the Asia-Pacific
region an area of growing
tensions because of rival claims
on South China Sea resources
between China and other
littoral States as well as the
Indian Ocean region.
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UNICEF helps Sierra Leone
combat Ebola

With funds from the World Bank,

UNICEF has facilitated the
delivery of medicines and other
supplies worth over $825,000
for the treatment of people
who have contracted Ebola in
Sierra Leone.
A chartered UN cargo aircraft
landed at the Lungi
International Airport with the
drugs and medical supplies,
Ximhua reported.
The supplies include latex
gloves, intravenous fluids,
assorted antibiotics and
equipment, all of which are
urgently needed to fight the
Ebola epidemic.
The World Bank is committed
to improving the health of the
people in Sierra Leone and
eliminating Ebola, said Ato
Brown, World Banks country
manager in Sierra Leone.
The funding from the World

Bank comes from its $200

million pledge last month to
help Guinea, Liberia and Sierra
Leone to contain the spread of
Ebola, help their communities
cope with the economic
impact of the crisis, and
improve public health systems
in West Africa.
The supplies have been
transferred to the Central
Medical Store in Freetown for
immediate dispatch to
different Ebola treatment
The Ebola outbreak has
claimed over 2,000 lives in West
African countries this year.
North Korea test-fires more
tactical missiles

North Korea test-fired three

missiles into the sea , South
Koreas Joint Chiefs of Staff
The launch occurred at a site
in the Norths border town of
Wonsan, it said.
The missiles were presumed to
have landed about 210

kilometres out in the East Sea.

The military is staying vigilant
and paying attention to
movements of the North
Korean military in case of an
additional launch, an officer
was quoted as saying by
Yonhap news agency.
The officer said it was
presumed to be a new type of
tactical missile
INS Sumitra to be
commissioned tomorrow
INS Sumitra , a new-generation
naval offshore patrol vessel
(NOPV) built by Goa Shipyard
Ltd., will be commissioned by
the Chief of the Naval Staff,
Admiral Robin K. Dhowan, in
The state-of-the-art warship
will join the Eastern Naval
Command in Chennai for
maritime surveillance and
coastal security.
This largest offshore patrol
vessel of the Navy will be the
fourth in its class, built on an inhouse design of the shipyard.
The ship carries most
sophisticated weapons such as
guns, heavy-calibre super rapid
gun mount, rapid-fire Russian
AK630 guns, Kavach chaff
launchers and the Sanket
electronic warfare system and
electronic sensors.
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17th Asian Games
India on Day 10

Sanam Singh could not add a

second consecutive Asian
Games gold medal to his kitty
as he and Saketh Myneni
settled for a silver after losing
the hard-fought final in straight
sets to Koreas Yongkyu Lim and
Hyeon Chung, in Incheon.
It was mission accomplished for
Sania Mirza. She won the mixed
doubles gold with Saketh
Myneni in the Asian Games at
the Yeorumul Complex. The
second-seeded Indian pair did
not give much of a chance for
the top-seeded Hsien Yin Peng
and Hao Ching Chan of Chinese
Taipei in winning 6-4, 6-3 in the
First gold medal in athletics for
India in Asian games

Life has been really hard for

Seema Punia. Despite finishing
with medals in the last three
Commonwealth Games, she

missed the last two Asiads for

one reason or the other.
She did not compete in Doha
in 2006 with talk that she was
probably on dope and she
could not make it to Guangzhou
after failing to qualify from the
New Delhi Commonwealth
So, when she got a chance at
the 17th Asian Games, Seema
made the most of it, taking the
lead from the third round and
improving it in the next to beat
the field hollow and win the
gold comfortably at the Asiad
Main Stadium.
Tears rolled down her cheeks
as she stood on the podium
with the gold.
There were doping allegations
against me earlier and if youre
involved in a doping scandal,
you dont get the Arjuna
Award, said the 31-year-old
from Haryana. All that pain and
sacrifice came to my mind
when I got that gold and that
made me emotional. Im very

womens outfit lost in the

quarterfinal stage to China and
Singapore respectively.
Sanam Singh could not add a
second consecutive Asian
Games gold medal to his kitty
as he and Saketh Myneni
settled for a silver after losing
the hard-fought final in straight
sets to Koreas Yongkyu Lim and
Hyeon Chung, in Incheon.
The Indian squash players
wrapped up a historic
performance in the Asian
unprecedented mens team
gold after the womens side
settled for its first ever silver in
With a silver and a bronze,
through Saurav Ghosal and
Dipika Pallikal respectively in
the individual events, the
squash players signed off with
their best ever medal haul in the
Yogeshwar Dutt wins gold

17th Asian games:

India on day 10th

The Indian paddlers campaign

in the 17th Asian Games ended
after the mens team, led by
Achanta Sharath Kamal, and the

Yogeshwar Dutt ended Indias

28-year-old wait for a wrestling
gold medal in the Asian Games
by emerging champion in the
mens freestyle 65kg category
at the Dowon Gymnasium in
The Indian, an Olympic bronze
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medallist, put on a stupendous
show in winning 3-0 against
Zalimkhan Yusupov of Tajikistan
in the title clash.
Asian games 2014: India on day
9 (28th September)
Indian pair of Sania Mirza and
Prarthana Thombare settled for
a bronze after losing their
womens doubles semifinal to
Chinese Taipeis Chin Wei Chan
and Su Wei Hsiehin in the Asian
Games, in Incheon.
Yuki Bhambri clinched Indias
lone singles medal in tennis at
the ongoing Asian Games,
settling for a bronze in the
mens event after unforced
errors cost him the semifinal
clash against Japans Yoshihito
Nishioka in Incheon.
Three women Mary Kom
(51kg), L Sarita Devi (60kg)
and Pooja Rani (75kg) entered
the semifinals of their
respective weight categories
with commanding victories
assuring India of at least a
bronze medal.
Indian race walkings wonder
girl won a sensational silver in
the 20km at the 17th Asian
Games here. It was the
countrys first-ever womens
silver in the event at the Asiad.
A few hours later, quarter milers
M.R. Poovamma and Arokia Rajiv
picked up bronze medals
while Manju Bala brought
another in the womens
hammer throw.
Asian games 2014: 8th day
India earned their second gold
medal in the 17th Asian Games
after the mens compound
archery team bagged the
yellow metal by getting the
better of South Korea.

The Indian womens compound team, meanwhile,

settled for a bronze after beating Iran in the third-place playoff. The Indian mens trio of
Abhishek Verma, Rajat
Chauhan and Sandeep Kumar
eked out a narrow 227-225 victory over the hosts to give the
country their second gold
medal in eight days.
Indian women had earlier lost
the semi-finals by a slim margin
of 224-226 against Chinese
Taipei to set up a bronzemedal play-off with Iran.
Sandeep Sejwals bronze in
50m breaststroke

Sandeep Sejwal won a rare

swimming medal for India at the
Asian Games, with his coach
insisting that better facilities at
home would have fetched him
the gold.
Sejwal won the bronze in the
50m breaststroke with a timing
of 28.26s, and it was only the
third Asiad medal in the pool
by an Indian in the last 28 years.
Khajan Singh clinched a silver
in 200m butterfly at Seoul in
1986 and Virdhawal Khade
bagged a bronze in the 50m
butterfly event in Guangzhou
four years ago.

Lifetime Achievement award for Kapil Dev

Indian cricket legend Kapil Dev

has been honoured with a
Lifetime Achievement award at
a ceremony in the House of
Lords in London.
The award, constituted by the
Indo-European Business
Forum (IEBF), was presented
to the former India World Cupwinning captain for his
contribution to the sport and
for his work in the field of
upliftment of poor and
destitute communities through
the Khushii society.

17th Asian Games India on

Day 6
With three bronzes India took
their medal tally to 15 (one
gold, one silver, 13 bronze).
Saina entered quarterfinals
while P.V.Sindhu was ousted.
Indian archers had a good field
day with men entering finals
and women aiming for bronze.
Indian golfer Udayan Mane
tamed the windy conditions to
put himself in medal
contention with a superb sixunder 66, which left him tied
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third midway through the Asian
Games golf tournament.
Sawarn Singh wins bronze in

Young rower Sawarn Singh

brought some cheers back to
the Indian contingent as he
clinched the bronze medal in
mens single sculls final at the
17th Asian Games in Incheon.
The 24-year-old Singh finished
behind Irans Mohsen
Shadinaghadh, who won the
gold medal and silver medallist
Kim Dongyong of hosts South
Another rower Dushyant Singh
was the only athlete to manage
a podium finish for India as he
grabbed a bronze in the mens
lightweight single sculls.
Asian games: bronze in double
trap shooting
The Indian shooting team
Chowdhary, Shreyasi Singh and
Varsha Varman bagged a
bronze in womens double trap
event but Gurpreet Singh
narrowly missed out on a medal
in his event at the 17th Asian
Games in Incheon.
In the double trap individual
competition, Chowdhary was
placed 8th, Shreyasi 10th and
Varsha finished 12th.
Saurav Ghosal missed out on
winning the gold medal for India

It was Indian squashs biggest

moment at the Asian Games.

Saurav Ghosal, who has been

leading the charge here, was
just a point away from winning
a historic mens singles gold. But
the top seed slipped at the
doorstep of victory as Kuwaiti
Abdullah Al Muzayen grabbed
the gold with a fighting 3-2
verdict at the Yeorumul courts.

After winning the first two

games in contrasting style, the
28-year-old Ghosal was on
match ball at 10-8 but still could
not pull it off. Abdullah
grabbed the chance with both
hands, took risks, raised his
game impressively and raced to
victory after that.
Abhinav Bindras first Asian
Games individual medal
Ace Indian shooter Abhinav
Bindra claimed his first Asian
Games individual medal by
winning bronze in the mens 10
metre Air Rifle event at the
Shooting Range
The 2008 Olympic gold
medalist had won his first Asian
Games medal earlier in the day
by taking third place in the
mens team 10m Air Rifle event
along with compatriots Sanjeev
Rajput and Ravi Kumar.
Abhinav Bindra
Plans to Quit Shooting
Indias Olympic gold medalist
Abhinav Bindra plans to leave
full-time shooting after
competing in his favourite 10m

air rifle event in the Asian

Tomorrow will mark the end
of my professional shooting
life!, I will however still shoot,
compete as a hobby shooter
training twice a week. Bindra,
Despite giving up serious
shooting, Bindra still hopes to
qualify for the 2016 Olympics
in Rio de Janeiro.

Bindra, who won the gold

medal at the Commonwealth
Games in Glasgow this year,
failed to make the final at the
world championships in Spain.
Another bronze for India in the
17th Asian Games
The Indian trio of Rahi
Sarnobat, Anisa Sayyed and
Heena Sidhu won the womens
25m pistol team bronze in the
17th Asian Games at the
Ongnyeon Shooting Range.
The women finished behind
South Korea and China and
Sarnobat could manage only a
seventh place in the individual
Commonwealth Games silver
medalist, also could finish only
seventh in the 10m rifle event.
Arjuna award for Manoj Kuma
The Union Sports Ministry has
informed boxer Manoj Kumar
that he will receive this years
Arjuna award.
The Arjuna award selection
committee did not consider
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Manoj for the award after the
Sports Authority of India (SAI)
erroneously informed the panel
that the boxer had failed a
dope test.
The panel stuck to its choices
even after it became clear that
Manoj had never tested

An aggrieved Manoj moved the

Delhi High Court, where the
government admitted that the
pugilist also deserved to get
the honour.
After reconsidering the case,
the Ministry decided in giving
the award to Manoj.Assured
bronze for India in Asiad
Indian squash player Dipika
Pallikal could not better the
colour of her assured bronze as
she lost to world number one
Nicol David in the womens
singles semifinals of the 17th
Asian Games on Monday.
India had won three medals (all
bronze) out of four categories
at Guangzhou 2010 and this
time they look good for medals
in all four categories including
the team

China, Afghanistan and, of

course, the host team.
Each team had been allowed
only 130 athletes for the march
past but China, a powerhouse
in the sporting world, came up
with a contingent which was
almost double that number or
The Indian team, which had
hockey team captain Sardar
Singh as its flag-bearer, looked
smart with the men in navy
blazers and blue trousers while
the women wore green sarees
with blazers on top.
Saudi Arabia turned up with an
disappointing considering the
progress the country had made
by fielding women at the 2012
London Olympics for the first
time, but all was forgotten in the
dance, music and lights.
A lovely display of ring
gymnastics by children and
later, the treat offered by
Korean pop stars Exo, JYJ and
Psy lit up the night.

South Korean President Park

Geun-Hye opened the Games
with the simple one-liner as is
the custom and a little later, it
was time to party.
Players allowed to wear
religious head coverings, such
as hijabs or turbans
Basketball players will be
allowed to wear religious head
coverings, such as hijabs or
turbans, on a trial basis in some
Previous FIBA rules allowed a
player to wear only a 5 cm
objections that the group was
discriminating against Muslim
and Sikh players.
The central board of the
Federation (FIBA) met over the
weekend at the mens World
Cup and voted to allow a twoyear testing phase that would
let players wear head

Shahid Afridi as Pakistans T20 captain

Asian Games
17th Asian Games began with
a lovely show of colour, light
and vibrant music at the
Incheon Asiad Main Stadium.
Nepal led the athletes march,
alphabetical order, and loud
cheers were reserved for Japan,

The Pakistan Cricket Board

(PCB) named flamboyant allrounder Shahid Afridi as its new

national Twenty20 captain until

the 2016 World T20 while
Misbah ul Haq was retained as
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the Test and ODI skipper until
the 2015 ODI World Cup.
Afridi has played 381 ODIs and
74 T20 internationals.
Afridi, 34, who captained
Pakistan in ODIs and T20
matches in 2010 and 2011
before being removed by the
board said he was delighted to
get back the responsibility.

originally owned by Dabur, was

dismantled recently due to
financial issues. Along with
Ranchi Rhinos, the pullout had
reduced the number of original
owners in the HIL to four before
Pune came on board as one of
the new teams two days back.

Munawar and Arathi Crowned

Champions again
Kozhikodes Mohammed
Munawar and Ernakulams
Arathi Sara Sunil retained the
mens and womens singles
titles in the 45th Seshasayee
Kerala State senior badminton
championship at the FACT
Udyogamandal Club, Eloor .
Munawar, unseeded as he had
lost early in the lone Stateranking tourney he had played
Ernakulams fourth-seeded
Alwin Francis in straight sets
while Arathi, a former
Thiruvananthapurams J.K.
Malavika in a repeat of last
years final.
The seasoned pair of Rupesh
Kumar and Sanave Thomas
brushed aside the top-seeded
Dilshad Kamaludheen and Ram
C. Vijay while Kozhikodes
Agna Anto and M.H. Haritha
took the womens doubles title.
New owner for Mumbai
Hockey India announced DoIT
Sports Management (India) Pvt.
Ltd as the new owner of the
Mumbai franchise, taking the
total number of teams back to
the original six in the Hockey
India League (HIL).
The Mumbai franchise,

However, the present batch of

players contracted to the
Mumbai team would not be
retained and would be part of
the min-auction to be held
towards end of October.
Davis Cup: Doubles win takes
France into final
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard
Gasquet put France back in the
Davis Cup final by winning the
doubles and ending the two
year reign of the Czech
France makes the final for the
first time since 2010. It won the
last of its nine cups in 2001.
The defending champions
Czechs needed to win the
doubles to keep alive their
chances of reaching a third
straight final.
Honour for Bopanna
Rohan Bopanna has received
the Davis Cup Commitment
Award, an honour accorded to
players who have competed in
at least 20 ties.
The 34-year-old from Karnataka
is the ninth Indian to receive
the award.

Shuttler Prannoy wins

Indonesian Masters

H. S. Prannoy clinched the

maiden title of his career after
winning the USD 1,25,000
Indonesian Masters Grand Prix
Young Indian shuttler H. S.
Prannoy clinched the maiden
title of his career after winning
the USD 1,25,000 Indonesian
Masters Grand Prix Gold,
following his straight-game
victory over local favourite
Firman Abdul Kholik in the
finals in Indonesia.
Field Marshal wins
Maharajas Cup
Field Marshal (Ranjeet Singh
up) won the Maharajas Cup
(1,600m), the chief event of
the races .
The winner is owned by M/s
Harresh N. Mehta and Manav H.
Mehta rep. Rohan Bloodstock
Pvt. Ltd. and trained by S.
Subroto Cup from September 16
The 55th Subroto Cup
tournament kicks off on
September 16 this year, with 94
participating teams across
three categories.
The tournament, organised by
the Subroto Mukherjee Sports
Education Society under the
aegis of the Indian Air Force,
will finish on October 20 with
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the junior boys (under-17)
final at the Ambedkar Stadium.
The major attraction in the
junior boys section will be the
Brazilian side Colegio Estadul
Santo Antonio. The players
from the club regularly train at
the Fluminense Academy.

Committee formed to
Oversee Camp Conditions
Sports Minister Sarbanand
Sonowal constituted a highlevel committee for the
inspection of catering and
other facilities at the Indira
Gandhi Sports Complex where
camps in boxing and
gymnastics for Asian Gamesbound athletes are being held.
The committee, led by Joint
Secretary (Sports) and comprising of senior officials from
the ministry and the Sports Authority of India (SAI), visited
the complex to inspect the
kitchen, storage, waste disposal
and washing areas and discussed the issue with athletes,
coaches and the mess contractor.
The committee was asked to
submit a detailed report within
twenty four hours.
However, finding the hygiene
and food at the venue to be
satisfactory, it instead decided
to provide suggestions to
improve the conditions.
Rohan Bopanna to receive Davis
Cup Commitment Award

Indian tennis star Rohan

Bopanna will be awarded the

Davis Cup Commitment Award
in Bangalore on the sidelines of
the ongoing World Group playoff tie against Serbia, it was
announced by International
Tennis Federation (ITF).
The ITF through its national
associations, will present Davis
Cup Commitment Awards
during this weekends 2014
Davis Cup by BNP Paribas
World Group and zone group
This new award was conceived
as part of the ITFs 2013
Centenary celebrations, and is
presented to Davis Cup players
who have shown long-standing
dedication to representing
their country in this prestigious
Each award recipient will have
competed in a minimum of 20
home-and-away ties or 50 ties
at any level of the competition
(including week-long zone
group events) over their career.
Besides Bopanna, former
Grand Slam tennis champions
Lleyton Hewitt of Australia and
Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil will
also be presented the award
after their respective games.

Karun Chandhok set for

Formula E debut
Twenty drivers, including
Indias Karun Chandhok,
representing 10 teams will kickstart the historic FIA Formula E
championship, the worlds first
fully-electric racing series,
when the 270bhp machines
will run on a purpose-built
circuit around the iconic Birds
Nest stadium that was build for
the 2012 Olympics.
The 30-year-old Chandhok,
only the second Indian after

Narain Karthikeyan to race in

Formula One, will be driving for
Mahindra Racing Formula E
team with Brazilian Bruno
Senna, also a former F1 racer,
as his partner.
The grid is brimming with exF1 drivers besides two female
participants in Italys Michela
Cerruti and Britains Katherine
Legge, one of the FIAs Women
in Motorsport Ambassadors.
The championship comprises
10 rounds over nine months in
Europe and the US with a grand
finale in London June 27, 2015.
Punjab retains Dhruv Pandove

Punjab retained the all-India

Dhruv Pandove Trophy for
under-19 players on the basis
of first-innings lead after the
final against Madhya Pradesh
Cricket Academy ended in a
draw here.
Punjab has now won the title
four times in a row.
10-wicket win for West Indies
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur
Rahim completed his third Test
century but could not prevent
West Indies from romping to a
10-wicket victory early on day
five of the opening Test at Arnos
Vale Sports Complex .
Mushfiqur was last man out for
116 as Bangladesh, 256 for five
overnight, was bowled out for
314 in its second innings.
The pint-sized wicketkeeper
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hit 15 fours and one six off 243
balls in five and a half hours.
Kemar Roach was the best of
the hosts bowlers with four for
64, while fellow pacer
Shannon Gabriel grabbed two
for 25 and left-arm spinner
Sulieman Benn, two for 44.
West Indies, needing just 13 for
victory, eased to the target
before the lunch interval.
Ian Chappell picks India among
WC favourites

With the teams entering the

final phase of their preparations
for next years World Cup, Ian
Chappell said defending
champion India, Australia and
South Africa were the
favourites to win the showpiece
Chappell said that the leading
teams India and Australia
were in good shape partly due
to strong leadership.
Despite Mahendra Singh
Dhonis obvious flaws as a Test
captain, he is still an excellent
leader in the shorter forms of
the game, according to the

seven, India needed 17 runs in

the final over of the match but
captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni
could not steer the team home
in a contest that went down to
the wire at Edbaston.
India ended at 177 for five after
England posted 180 for seven,
thank to captain Eoin Morgans
71 runs off 31 balls.
Pals Serena Williams, Caroline
Wozniacki to meet in U.S. Open
Serena Williams overwhelmed
Makarova of Russia 6-1, 6-3 in
the semifinals to extend her
U.S. Open winning streak to 20
If Williams can make that 21 in
a row by beating Caroline
Wozniacki in Sundays final, the
32-year-old American will become the first woman since
Chris Evert in the 1970s to win
three consecutive titles at the

Fenesta National tennis

championship: Prize money
doubled for Nationals
The prize money for the
Fenesta National tennis
championship has been
doubled for this year to a total
prize purse of Rs. 18 lakh.
Making the announcement in a
press conference here , the
Chairman and Senior Managing
Director of DCM Shriram
Limited, Ajay Shriram, said that
the initiative was to celebrate
the organisations long
association with the game,
dating back to the first edition
in 1992.
Welcoming the move, the
president of the All India
Tennis Association (AITA), Anil
Khanna, responded by
announcing a wild card each
to the mens and womens
winners of the event for the
Delhi Open.

Asian Games contingent referred to the PMO

India end England tour with

narrow T20 defeat
Indias long tour of England
ended on a heartbreaking note
as England held their nerves to
pull off a thrilling three-run
victory in the only T20
International in Birmingham.
Chasing a competitive 181 for

Unable to declare the pruned

list of athletes and officials for
the Asian Games, the Union
Sports Ministry opted to send
the file to the Prime Minister,

even as it faced considerable

pressure from all sides.
It was learnt that the Sports
Authority of India (SAI) had
recommended a list of nearly
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400 athletes, as against an
overall list of 950 members,
including 24 per cent officials.
The argument was to keep a
possible proportion of a medal
for every three sportspersons.
The SAI was pleased with the
improved strike rate of a medal
for every 3.41 athletes in the
Commonwealth Games.
Anand fifth in World Rankings

An inactive Viswanathan
Anand moved up two places

to be fifth in the latest World

rankings after USAs Hikaru
Nakamura and Russias Sergey
Karjakin slipped a few rungs
following their below par
performances in the Chess
Olympiad in Norway last
World champion Magnus
Carlsen held on to the top spot
despite losing seven rating
points. Levon Aronian was the
other player to hold a
published rating in excess of
The lists: World (top-10): 1.
Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 2870), 2.
Levon Aronian (Arm, 2804), 3.
Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 2801), 4.
Alexander Grischuk (Rus,
2789), 5. Viswanathan Anand
(2785), 6. Veselin Topalov
(2784), 7. Hikaru Nakamura
(USA, 2782), 8. Sergey Karjakin

(Rus, 2777), 9. Maxime VachierLagrave (Fra, 2768), 10.

Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2760).
India (top-10): 1. Viswanathan
Anand (2785), 2. P. Hari Krishna
(2725), 3. K. Sasikiran (2680),
4. Parimarjan Negi (2669), 5.
Abhijeet Gupta (2642), 6. Vidit
Gujarathi (2621), 7-8. B.
Adhiban (2619), Sandipan
Chanda (2619), 9. Surya
Shekhar Ganguly (2614), 10. S.
P. Sethuraman (2613).
India women (top-10): 1. K.
Humpy (2598), 2. D. Harika
(2523), 3. Tania Sachdev
(2404), 4. Eesha Karavade
(2389), 5. Mary Ann Gomes
(2355), 6. Padmini Rout (2354),
7. Soumya Swaminathan
(2352), 8. Bhakti Kulkarni
(2328), 9. S. Vijayalakshmi
(2314), 10. N. Raghavi (2253).
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Awards and Prizes


Neel Mukherjee makes it to the Man Booker Prize

Kolkata-born British author

Neel Mukherjees latest novel
The Lives of Others , set in
troubled Bengal of the 1960s
and centred around a
dysfunctional family, has been
shortlisted for the prestigious
Booker Prize 2014, in its debut
as a global literary award.
Mr. Mukherjee, who studied at
Oxford and Cambridge, was
also the only Indian-origin
author to be longlisted earlier
this year.
Mr. Mukherjee, now a British
citizen, reviews fiction for the
Times and the Sunday
Telegraph and his first novel, A
Life Apart was a joint winner of
the Vodafone-Crossword
Award in India.
Previously, the prize was open
only to authors from the U.K.
and Commonwealth, Republic
of Ireland and Zimbabwe.
For the first time in its 46-year
history, the 50,000-prize has

been opened up to writers of

all nationalities, writing
originally in English and
published in the U.K. PTI

The other two who bagged the

prize are Alfred OtengYeboah, Chair, Ghana National
Biodiversity Committee, and
Bibiana Vila, principal
researcher, National Research
Council and Director, Vicunas,
Camelids and Environment
(VICAM), Argentina.
The MIDORI prize is a biennial
international prize given by the
AEON Environmental Foundation and the Secretariat of the
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to honour individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and sustainable use of
biodiversity at global, regional
or local levels.

Global Biodiversity Prize

for Indian
R. Kamal Bawa, president, the
Ashoka Trust for Research in
Ecology and the Environment
Distinguished Professor,
University of Massachusetts,
Boston, is among the three
winners of the MIDORI Prize for
Biodiversity, 2014.
The winners were announced
in Tokyo and Montreal.

According to a press release,

each recipient will be given a
commemorative gift and
$100,000 to support their work
in safeguarding biodiversity.
They will be honoured at an
Pyeongchang in South Korea
on October 15.

Gist of NCERT

IS BN: 9 78938 2732 761
Book Code: F17
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Awards and Prizes

Ashraf Ghani as
Afghanistan new

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has

been sworn in as Afghanistans
new President, replacing
Hamid Karzai in the countrys
first democratic transfer of
power since the 2001 U.S-led
invasion toppled the Taliban.
He became President of
Afghanistan in a peaceful
transition after a six-month
election season that ended
with marathon negotiations that
gave the newly created
position of chief executive to
his challenger Abdullah
experienced its first-ever
peaceful power transition in its
history as outgoing President
Hamid Karzai transfers power
to the new President Ashraf
Ghani Ahmadzai.
Mr. Karzai had been
Afghanistans only leader since

similar circumstances.
In September, 2001, AIADMK
general secretary Jayalalithaa
had to step down as her
appointment as Chief Minister
was quashed by the Supreme

Mr. Panneerselvam, the

AIADMK treasurer, met
Governor K. Rosaiah at the Raj
Bhavan and submitted a letter
and resolution passed by the
party legislators stating that he
had been unanimously elected
leader of the AIADMK
legislature party.
He will be the 28th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu since 1920.

Govind Mishra gets Saraswati

Samman 2013

Abdullah al-Thinni swore in as

Libyas new Prime Minister

Panneerselvam will be the CM

of Tamil Nadu
O. Panneerselvam will be the
next Chief Minister of Tamil
Nadu. He will assume the office
for the second time under

town of Tobruk.
The ceremony followed weeks
of political maneuvering in the
fractious assembly, as clashes
continued between rival
militias near the capital Tripoli
and in the eastern city of
In Benghazi, the largest city in
eastern Libya, radical Islamist
militias have succeeded in
pushing rival forces loyal to
retired general Khalifa Haftar
out of most areas.
The Tobruk-based parliament,
the House of Representatives,
has swung behind the antiIslamist forces, declaring the
main Islamist militias to be
terrorist organizations.

Libyas new parliament swore

in Prime Minister Abdullah alThinni and his cabinet during a
meeting in the eastern port

Renowned Hindi author

Govind Mishra was conferred
the Saraswati Samman for his
novel Dhool Paudhon Par
published in 2008 at a function
in New Delhi.
Govind Mishra is the second
Hindi author who was
conferred this honour after it
was given to Harivansh Rai
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In the News
Bachchan in 1991. Born on
August 1, 1939, in Atarra
(Banda, Uttar Pradesh), Mishra
completed his BA and MA
(English) at the University of
Giving away the award,
constituted by the K K Birla
Foundation, Home Minister
Rajnath Singh said that it has
been recognised as the highest
literary award in India.

Nicola Sturgeon to replace Mr Salmond as Scottish First


Edward Snowden selected for

alternative Nobel

Edward Snowden has been

selected among the winners of
the Right Livelihood Award,
also known as the alternative
Nobel, for his disclosures of
top secret surveillance
The award foundation said the
former National Security
Agency contractor splits the
honorary portion of the prize
with Guardian editor Alan
The 1.5 million kronor
($210,000) cash award is
shared by Pakistani human
rights activist Asma Jahangir,
Basil Fernando of the Asian
Human Rights Commission and
U.S. environmentalist Bill
Award foundation director Ole
von Uexkull said all winners
were invited to the December
1 award ceremony in
Stockholm, though he added
its unclear whether Mr.
Snowden, who remains exiled
in Russia, can attend.

Nicola Sturgeon today

launched her bid to replace
Alex Salmond as leader of the
SNP, putting on course to be
Scotlands first female First
She is the clear favourite to
succeed Mr Salmond, who
dramatically quit after voters
rejected his dream of
independence in the historic
Miss Sturgeon said she wants
to serve my party and my
country and insisted she is the
best person for the job.
Economist Debroy to head new
rail panel

decision-making body and run

it on professional lines.
committee, headed by
economist Bibek Debroy, has
been tasked to suggest
measures to reorganize the
Railway Board and its
departments so that policy
making is separated from dayto-day operations.
The panel, which has former
cabinet secretary K M
Chandrasekhar as member, has
also been mandated to estimate the financial needs of railways and ensure policies to
raise resources, internally and
otherwise to meet future demands.
Rizwan Akhtar as new ISI

The government has set up a

panel of experts to suggest
ways for restructuring the
Railway Board, a long pending
issue, to infuse efficiency in the
transport behemoths top

Lieutenant General Rizwan

Akhtar was appointed the new
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Awards and Prizes

chief of Pakistans InterServices Intelligence (ISI) in
commander-level promotions
announced in the countrys
powerful Army.
Announcement comes as
current ISI chief Lt. Gen.
Zaheerul Islam and five other
lieutenant generals are
scheduled to retire from
service in the first week of
Lt. Gen. Akhtar is a graduate of
the Command and Staff
College in Quetta, National
Defence University and the
Army War College, U.S.
Koli gets reprieve at the
eleventh hour
The Supreme Court stayed the
execution of the death
sentence of Surinder Koli for
killing children at his
employers house in Nithari
village in Noida in 2006.
The reprieve for Koli was

packed with drama as the stay

order came in the early hours
of Monday.
Lawyer Indira Jaising and her
team of lawyers knocked on the
doors of Chief Justice of Indiadesignate H.L. Dattus official
residence in Lutyens Delhi at
1.30 a.m. even as the city slept.
They sought a fresh review into
the death sentence.
Koli was due to be hanged at
the Chaudhary Charan Singh
district jail in Meerut in a few
hours. Jail officials said Koli was
spending his last hours reading
the Bhagvad Gita and
answered questions with a
blank expression. But the
hanging was not carried out;
Ms. Jaising and her lawyer team
Versatile Bapu is no more
The man whose pencil etched
what was universally accepted
as the epitome of beauty is no

Artist, cartoonist, film director,
designer and painter, Bapu
Lakshminarayana) leaves
behind a legacy as one of the
finest filmmakers on the
firmament of Indian cinema.

The director was conferred

with Padma Shri last year. He
has won the National Film
awards twice and the Andhra
Pradesh State governments
Nandi awards for 6 of his films
in addition to receiving awards
from several other institutions.
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Battle Lines Sharpen over GM

Union Minister of Environment,

Forests and Climate Change, Prakash
Javadekar, was petitioned by farmers
and the Swadeshi Jagran Manch to
halt trials of transgenic crops
approved by the Genetic
Engineering Appraisal Committee
(GEAC) on July 18 and there is some
confusion if the government has
actually taken such a decision. The
GEAC decision has come even before
the Supreme Court decides on a writ
petition filed by Aruna Rodrigues in
2005, demanding a moratorium on
genetically modified (GM) crops. A
court hearing on July 15 did not take
place but three days later, the GEAC
cleared field trials for some GM crops.
The Centre had filed a response
to the report of the Technical Expert
Committee (TEC) in April 2014; the
apex court is yet to adjudicate on it.
The GEAC was quick to point out that
the Supreme Court had not imposed
a ban on confined field trials. But the
comprehensive Parliamentary
Standing Committee report on
agriculture in 2012 had taken a clear
stand against field trials.
strengthening the existing regulatory
system before granting permission for
conducting more field trials. In the
absence of a ruling from the Supreme
Court, the GEAC steamed ahead with
what it thought fit, even as some
States were against GM field trials. It
clearly went against the opinion of
the TEC and parliamentary
committee reports and also a letter
endorsed by over 250 scientists
against field trials of GM crops.
Research is important, said a GEAC
official, even as he maintained that a
blanket ban is unacceptable. The
GEAC, it seems, could not wait for
the Supreme Courts decision.
It is this very regulatory process
that has come into question in the past

by the parliamentary committee and

the TEC, which was constituted by
the apex court in 2012 to advise it on
issues related to GM crops field trials
and bio-safety assessment. After the
TEC submitted an interim report in
October 2012, the Centre said it was
scientifically flawed and did not
address the terms of reference and
merits outright rejection since it has
exceeded its mandate. Later, the
apex court appointed Dr. Rajendra
Singh Paroda as a member who
submitted a separate dissenting
report when the five other TEC
members submitted theirs in July
The Centres affidavit trashed
the TEC report on several counts and
accepted Dr. Parodas report which
it felt had addressed all the terms of
reference. It defended the present
regulatory system in the country saying
it was adequate and robust and the
government was committed to
strengthening it while praying for this
writ to be dismissed.
The Centre was also perturbed
by TECs suggestion that there should
be a moratorium on trial for crops
which originated in India. The TEC
had also recommended a moratorium
on field trials of herbicide-tolerant
crops until the issue had been
examined by an independent
committee. The government said
such recommendations were beyond
the mandate of the TEC and based
on scientifically flawed reports..
The GEAC, by granting
approval to GM trials even before the
Supreme Court ruled in the matter,
has shown an undue haste which has
marked the history of transgenic crop
approvals in India. In a way, it has
disregarded the committee of
experts appointed by the
government itself after the Courts
order. There are grave concerns
about a loss of biodiversity

something that has happened

already in the case of cotton and
some other crops and bio-safety
India is a signatory to
international conventions on both
subjects. It is imperative to proceed
with caution on the issue of GM crops,
move away from conflict of interest
situations and take an impartial and
rigorous scientific view which should
benefit humanity at large and not just
powerful corporations.
The Humble Brinjals Bt Moment?

Moratorium on Introduction
The moratorium had been
imposed because of four crucial
reasons. First, no State government
cutting across party lines and
commercialisation. Second, there
appeared to be no overwhelming
consensus on it in the domestic and
international scientific community.
Third, there were concerns that seed
supply would be the monopoly
direct and indirect of one
multinational company. Fourth, there
appeared to be a persuasive case for
more tests and trials under an agreed
protocol and under an independent
regulatory agency that would inspire
wider confidence.
Professor Visvanathan draws
attention to the public consultations
that were held which he feels
strengthened the democratic
process. These took place in seven
cities Ahmedabad, Bangalore,
Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Kolkata,
Hyderabad and Nagpur. Kolkata and
Bhubaneswar were selected
because West Bengal and Odisha
account for 50 per cent of brinjal
production in India. Ahmedabad was
selected because of the success of
Bt cotton in Gujarat. Nagpur was
chosen because it is the home of
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Indias premier research institution in
cotton and there have been
controversies over Bt cotton in
Vidarbha. Chandigarh was included
because it is the capital of Indias two
most agriculturally advanced States
while Bangalore and Hyderabad
were chosen because they are the
most important centres for biotech
Research and Development (R&D).
The extreme intolerance on the
part of the civil society activists as well
as the disdainful arrogance on the part
of the scientists were on full display.
Simultaneously, the views of over 60
scientists in India, the U.S., France,
New Zealand and other countries
were sought. A number of them
supported commercialisation while
many others opposed it. Some others
advocated caution and called for
more data.
The second step which needs
to be taken is to ask the National
Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad and
the Central Food Technological
Research Institute, Mysore to
undertake a careful study of the
chronic effects of Bt brinjal on human
health. This is analogous to the studies
carried out on the impact of tobacco
smoking on the incidence of lung
cancer in human beings. It will be in
the national interest to complete
these two steps before a decision on
the release of Bt brinjal for
commercial cultivation and human
consumption is taken.
The speaking order had also
expressed the hope that the
moratorium period would be used
productively to (i) operationalise the
independent regulatory body in its
entirety as recommended by many
scientists as well as civil society
organisations; (ii) build a broader
political (and public) consensus on
the use of genetic engineering in
agriculture; and (iii) give serious
thought to the strategic importance
of the seed industry and how we can
retain public and farmer control over

it even as we encourage private

investment in this area. Alas, none of
these three hopes has been even
partially realised as yet.
The then Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh had himself spoken
about the issue in his address to the
Indian Science Congress on January
3, 2010, in Thiruvananthapuram and
the spirit of his remarks permeated
the speaking order. He had said:
biotechnology present us the
prospect of greatly improving yields
in our major crops by increasing
resistance to pests and also moisture
stress. Bt cotton has been well
accepted in our country and has
made a great difference to the
production of cotton. The technology
of genetic modification is also being
extended to food crops though this
raises legitimate questions of safety.
These must be given full weightage,
with appropriate regulatory control
based on strictly scientific criteria.
Subject to these caveats, we should
pursue all possible leads that
biotechnology provides that
increases our food security as we go
through climate related stress.
Strengthening public sector
R&D and reviving the public sector
seed industry are critical imperatives
if India is to move ahead in this vital
area. The U.S. approach has been
one of permissions, while the
European approach has been one of
prohibitions. The moratorium was the
middle path based on precautions,
an approach that would be both
responsible to science and
responsive to society. That, in my
view, is the only way forward. The
present acrimony must give way to a
reasoned and sober dialogue.
Irrational Prejudice

That India still has no antidiscrimination law to protect the

interests of HIV positive people
shows how little the nation as a whole
cares about them and how callous

society is to their plight. As a result,

discrimination against HIV positive
people, including children, rears its
ugly head time and again. The latest
example is the case of 13 HIV positive
orphans studying in a school in
Rivona, Goa, being forced to leave
school because of pressure from
parents of other students; these
children join the ranks of a couple of
hundred others in India who have
faced the same fate. Stigma and
discrimination have affected and
gravely impeded the battle against
HIV. Besides anxiety and denial, the
mortal fear of being stigmatised and
discriminated against prevents many
from seeking early testing and
treatment. As a result, they not only
fail to get timely intervention but also
go about infecting others. Only about
half of the 2.1 million people in India
who are HIV positive are currently on
antiretroviral treatment. Its a shame
that this situation prevails even 28
years after the first person with HIV
was diagnosed in Chennai. Besides
doing nothing to end discrimination,
this incident amply demonstrates that
the state has failed to raise awareness
and dispel the myths and
misconceptions about the routes of
HIV transmission. The sexual route,
transfusion of HIV infected blood,
being pricked by a needle used on
an HIV positive person, and from
infected mother to child are the only
modes of HIV transmission. Also, the
fact that young children are infected
with the virus turns the spotlight on
our failing to eliminate transmission
from pregnant mother to child.
Preventing vertical transmission is one
of the easiest ways to cut the
incidence rate.
Refusal of school admission and
expulsion from school are but only
the beginning of a long journey of
discrimination and negative social
response that HIV positive people
encounter. Eviction of HIV positive
tenants from houses, refusal to
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employ such people and even
ostracism from villages are not
uncommon. But most alarming is the
refusal by most private hospitals to
admit HIV positive people, and the
fear among many doctors and
paramedics to treat them. These
individuals who are supposed to be
best informed seem to suffer from the
same paranoia that has seized the
common man. In stark contrast,
doctors have no hesitation in treating
those with hepatitis B and C, which
are much more easily transmissible
than HIV by the same routes. Hence,
the compulsion to broad-base the
Health Ministers initiative to
mainstream AIDS awareness to
reduce HIV infection rate to also
address the issue of discrimination
cannot be overemphasised.
A Matter of Martyrs

July 31-August 1, 1857. It was

the day of Bakrid (Id-ul-Fitr). Two
hundred and eighty-two sepoys of
the Indian army, who rebelled against
the British colonial occupation of
India, were massacred and dumped
into a dry well 100 yards from the
Ajnala police station in Amritsar
district. The remains were dug out
recently by the town people
governmental help. At the time of this
article going to press, the cremation
was scheduled to take place on
August 1. The Punjab Government
has allotted a plot of land for the
cremation, and a memorial will be
built on it later.
Two accounts are available
about the Ajnala incident. One was
the colonial version of Frederic
Cooper, the then Deputy
Commissioner of Amritsar district,
whose book The Crisis in the Punjab
from the 10th of May Until the Fall of
Delhi was published in 1858 from
London. The other, published in the
1920s, was a nationalist version, by
Giani Hira Singh Dard, a respected
Punjabi writer, historian and editor of

the Punjabi magazine Phulwari from

Amritsar. His version was carried with
photographs in the November 1928
Fansi Ank (Execution Issue) from
Allahabad, and it was later included
in the nationalist historian and editor
Pt. Sunder Lals proscribed book
Bharat Mein Angrezi Raj (British Rule
in India). Giani Hira Singh Dard had
recorded the eyewitness account of
Baba Jagat Singh, who was nearly 95
in 1928 and was in his twenties at the
time of the massacre.
Rebellion broke out in Meerut
on May 10, 21 days ahead of the
decided date. As per Coopers
account, thousands of Poorbeah
sepoys of the 26th Regiment of
Bengal Native Infantry were
disarmed in Lahores Meean Meer
Cant. The rebellion spread in
different regions of Punjab, which
Cooper spelled as Lahore, Umritsur,
Phillour, Jhelum, Sealkote, Jullundur,
Ferozepore, Sirsa, Hote Mardan,
Peshawur and Loodhianah [Lahore,
Amritsar, Phillaur, Jhelum, Sealkote,
Jalandhar, Ferozepur, Sirsa, Hote
Mardan, Peshawar, Loodhianah]. The
British Government with support
from feudal chieftains of Patiala, Jind,
Kapurthla and Kashmir, hundreds of
mutineers were slaughtered in the
term used by Cooper himself in
different areas of Punjab. Cooper
proudly and teasingly counts the
killings of mutineers in August 1857
in Peshawar area to 659. Some idea
may be gathered of the terrific and
swift destruction, when it is
remembered that the strength of the
regiment before the mutiny
amounted to 871. The Punjab
Infantry shot and killed 125; Captain
James party killed 40; Lieutenant
Goslings party killed 15. The
Peshawur Light Horse, the villagers,
and H.M.s 27th and 70th killed 36.
By sentence of drum-head courtmartial, on the same day, there were
executed by H. M.s 87th, 187; and
by a similar summary tribunal, on the

29th of August, 167; also on the same

date, 84; one thanahdar killed five:
total, within about 30 hours after the
mutiny, no less than 659!(The Crisis
in Punjab, Frederic Cooper, Page 177,
Elder and Son, Smith, London, 1858)
On July 30, nearly 500 disarmed
sepoys rebelled near Ajnala. One of
them Prakash Singh, alias Prakash
Pandey killed Major Spencer with
the Majors own sword, and they all
fled south, only to be trapped near
Ajnala, by Tehsildar Dewan Pran
Naths agents, who alerted the district
administration. Armed forces arrived
and rained bullets. Many people
jumped into the river near the village
of Daddian and drowned. Others
were taken to the Ajnala police station
to be hanged, while some were
forced into a dungeon. Deputy
Commissioner Cooper had ordered a
long rope. The rebels were to be
killed on the night of July 31. Due to
rain, the execution was postponed
until the next morning.
On August 1, 237 rebel sepoys
were taken out to an open ground in
front of the police station and killed
in turns of 10. When those in the
dungeon did not show up, it was
found that 45 of them had suffocated
to death. The 282 bodies were
thrown into a dry well, 100 yards from
the police station. The well was filled
with sand. Cooper called it rebels
grave and wanted that written in
Persian, Gurmukhi and English. At two
places in his book, he compares this
well to Holwells Black Hole of
Calcutta of 1756 and the well of
Cawnpore of 1857, where rebels
dumped the bodies of British officials.
Coopers glee on attaining revenge is
evident. There is a well at Cawnpore,
but there is also one at Ajnala! The
well was in place till 1972, inscribed
with the words Kalian Wala Khuh (The
Well of Blacks). In 1928, it looked like
a raised sand hill. In 1957, the
centenary celebrations of 1857 were
observed here in the presence of the
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then Chief Minister Pratap Singh
Kairon. However, in 1972, villagers
built a room over the well and turned
it into a Gurdwara. In 2007, the 150th
anniversary of the 1857 killings was
observed at the site.
In 2012, the town people
formed an 11-member committee of
all practising Sikhs, led by trade
unionist Amarjit Singh Sarkaria, to
honour the martyrs by disinterring
their remains from the well. They built
a new Gurdwara nearby and began
digging of the well on February 28,
2014. Before beginning the work,
they tried their best to involve the
State and Central Governments, but
their efforts were futile as no agency,
including the Archaeological Survey
of India showed interest. Within three
days of digging, nearly hundred
human skulls, teeth and bones were
exhumed. Hundreds of volunteers
took part in the digging and
thousands gathered to watch.
Medals, jewellery and coins were also
The managing committee
renamed Kalian Wala Khuh as
Shaheedan Wala Khuh (Martyrs
Well) and appealed to the
Governments of Punjab and India to
give them the vacant land nearby,
under the control of the army, for the
Facilitation and Food

India is receiving a lot of flak for

its stance at the just-concluded
meeting of the World Trade
Organisations (WTO) General
Council in Geneva with epithets such
as deal-breaker being hurled at it.
The country is being accused of
sabotaging the first real agreement
forged by the trade body in 19 years
on trade facilitation with its rigid
stance on the issue of food subsidy.
An agreement on trade facilitation
(TFA), which is aimed at easing
customs rules and simplifying
procedures, was reached at the 9th
Ministerial Round in Bali in December

last year after the developed world

agreed to find a permanent solution
to the contentious issue of stockpiling
of food grains by the developing
countries by 2017. The Bali
Declaration also provided for a
peace clause whereby countries
such as India could continue with
their food subsidy programmes until
then. India, which supports the TFA,
has questioned the current limit of
trade distorting subsidy which is 10
per cent of the value of food grains
output in a year with the base year
for prices set at 1986-88. Its position
is that the limit does not account for
inflation and currency depreciation
and the base year needs to be reset
to a later period. This is a fair argument
as it concerns the critical issue of food
security for a country that is home to
a quarter of the worlds hungry.
The passage of the Food
Security Act means that the subsidy
bill will bloat in the coming years and
the country cannot afford to be
constricted by limits that are based
on flawed calculations. Politically
speaking, no government can afford
to be seen as compromising either
the interests of the 270 million people
who live below the poverty line or its
farmers, and Prime Minister Narendra
Modi is also obviously conscious that
he will be facing elections in two
crucial States in the next few months.
The main grouse India has is that there
has been little forward movement on
discussing the issue since the Bali
meeting even as much vigour has
been exhibited in finalising the TFA.
Indias statement at Geneva clearly
highlights that despite repeated
requests, discussions on public
stockholding of food grains never
started. The strategy to use the TFA
as a lever to get an agreement on the
food subsidy issue was probably born
out of the assessment that it would
be difficult to get the developed
world back to the negotiating table
once the TFA was signed. Clearly,

both sides are guilty of brinkmanship.

Yet, all is not lost. India has signalled
that it is willing to return to the table
and has suggested a permanent
peace clause until a final
understanding on subsidy is reached.
Extending the TFA deadline by
another six months will not cause
harm, especially if it leads to a final
agreement on all issues.
Rape and Reality

The gulf between statistics and

substance is not easily bridged. The
number of rape cases registered in
the country may conceal the reality
in two significant ways. First, only a
small proportion of the rapes are
reported at all. Secondly, a significant
number of rape cases relate to
consensual sex but have been
criminalised by circumstances. The
Hindus six-month investigation into
cases of sexual assault in Delhi has
revealed that four of ten cases arose
out of complaints by parents of girls
who had eloped with boys. Another
25 per cent involved breaches of
promise by men that they would marry
their partners. And rape as it is
conventionally understood, either by
strangers or those known to victims
in their family or neighbourhood, was
seen only in 162 out of 583 cases
registered in Delhi in 2013. Such
cases resulted in a higher rate of
conviction. The association of rape
in the popular imagination with
predators lurking in dark lanes to prey
on vulnerable women has led to a
general belief that better policing
and more stringent laws will be the
solution. While it is entirely
appropriate that womens safety is
given high priority, it is equally
important to identify the strands of
patriarchy discernible in the resort to
complaints of rape at the instance of
parents who disapprove of
relationships, especially if these are
inter-caste or inter-religious. If denial
of freedom of choice to women in
love and marriage is one issue, the
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disavowal of womens agency is
Accounts gathered from
complainants, lawyers and judges
reveal that the protestations of
women that they had consented to
the act or eloped with the accused
are disregarded so that provisions
relating to statutory rape and
abduction can be invoked to
appease angry parents. Conviction is
indeed inevitable if the girls involved
are below the statutory age of
consent. While some sympathetic
judges used to exercise their
discretion to hand down mild
sentences, the much-strengthened
penal law applicable since last year
has made longer prison terms
inevitable for statutory rape. This
places a question mark on the wisdom
of recent legislation raising the age
of consent from 16 to 18, thereby
criminalising teenage sexual activity.
There is no balancing provision to
distinguish sexual abuse of a minor,
which ought to be dealt with sternly,
from consensual sex between
couples of a proximate age group.
While making the country safer for
women, society must move away from
the inherent patriarchy behind the
phenomenon. That means greater
inter-generational dialogue and
display of sensitivity by police officers
and judges. Scripted FIRs,
mechanical resort to rape provisions
and pressure on women to disown
relationships are not the way.
Making Judiciary more

The question of judicial

appointments has reached centre
stage. The new government has
started a process of consultation in
relation to two Bills the
Constitution Amendment Bill and the
Judicial Appointments Commission
Bill. The bills were an attempt by the
previous government to take over
judicial appointments. First, the
composition of the Judicial

Appointments Commission (JAC)

can be modified by Parliament by
ordinary law. Second, the
independence and impartiality of
the proposed JAC will be
undermined by the JAC Secretariat
being made a department of
government. Third, the expenses and
salaries, etc of the JAC would not be
charged to the Consolidated Fund of
India and will be dependent on
budgetary control by the Executive.
The Supreme Court and the
High courts have their independent
registries, where appointments are
made by or at the direction of Chief
Justices (Article 146 and Article 229
respectively), ensuring total freedom
from political interference and
political domination.
Collegium System

There is a broad perception

among most stakeholders that the
present collegium system has not
performed well and needs radical
change. The worrying concerns
relate to: appointment of unsuitable
candidates and selection based on
favouritism and nepotism, influential
connections and personal likes and
dislikes. There appears to be a
consensus that the composition of the
proposed JAC should be entrenched
in the Constitution and cast in stone
and that the pre-1993 position and
the primacy of the Executive should
not be restored a view shared by
two Ministers involved in the recent
consultation process.
The debate raises many
important questions whether the
JAC should be a permanent body
with permanent members and a fixed
tenure, rather than one with ex officio
holders of judicial office who are all
birds of passage with a limited
tenure; whether the convention that
the senior-most Supreme Court
Judge be appointed Chief Justice of
India (CJI) should be disregarded;
whether the judiciary should have a
dominant voice, and whether there

should be a veto for dissenting

members against the judicial
The two Bills being debated do
not address the issue of a lack of
transparency in the appointment
procedure and of non-disclosure of
reasons for selection. The focus of this
article is only on openness and
transparency in the appointment
procedure and on the necessity of
providing relevant principles and
guidelines in the Constitutional
Amendment Bill. All democracies are
swiftly moving toward an open
government and a citizens right to
know an international trend
increasingly being supported by
judicial decisions.
The principle of open justice
and public trial is essential for the fair
administration of justice. In the
celebrated case of Scott v. Scott,
observations by the 19th century
philosopher Jeremy Bentham were
quoted: In the darkness of secrecy,
sinister interest and evil in every
shape have full swing. Only in
proportion as publicity has place can
any of the checks applicable to
judicial injustice operate. Where
there is no publicity there is no justice.
Publicity is the very soul of justice. It
is the keenest spur to exertion, and
surest of all guards against improbity.
It keeps the judge himself while trying
under trial. and The security of
securities is publicity.
Justice Sabyasachi Mukherjee,
during the controversy regarding the
impeachment of Justice V.
Ramaswami, stated: The Supreme
Court must uphold the rule of law. It
is, therefore, necessary that those
who uphold the rule of law must live
by law and Judges must, therefore,
be obliged to live according to law
.. Why should this salutary
principle not apply to the process of
judicial appointments? In camera
trials are ordered where the parties
and witnesses require protection or
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a fair trial is prejudiced. In the
functioning of the JAC or any other
machinery for judicial appointments,
no litigating parties are involved and
the potential candidates who
voluntarily participate must agree to
an open and transparent process.
The present secretive process
followed by the collegium excludes
public scrutiny, violates the citizens
right to know and leads to diminishing
respect for the judiciary.
The observations in the First
Judges Case (S.P. Gupta vs. Union Of
India), which have not been
overruled at this point, support the
concept of openness. Bhagwati J.
with whom five judges agreed
while overruling the claim of privilege
communications relating to
appointments and transfers of
judges, observed: The citizens right
to know the facts, the true facts, about
the administration of the country is
thus one of the pillars of a democratic
State. And that is why the demand
for openness in the government is
increasingly growing in different
parts of the world.
To ensure openness and
transparency, the proposed
constitutional amendment must
embody some key principles and
core concepts for guidance and
implementation by the JAC. These
would include: transparent criteria for
eligibility as well as for shortlisting and
selection (like age, standing, income,
etc); a complete and periodically
updated database of potential
candidates that includes their
qualification, performance, general
reputation, etc and which is
accessible to the public; applications
to be invited by nomination/
advertisement; consultation with
members of the Bar and Bar
organisations; inputs sought from the
public with regard to shortlisted
candidates; absolute immunity to
citizens, while giving their inputs in a

confidential manner, from laws of

contempt and defamation; reasons
for selection to be recorded and
disclosed when required, and, most
importantly, a complete record of
video/audio of JAC deliberations.
For India, a Mixed Bag

Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
featured a few highs for India, but
unfortunately it also marked some
new lows for the country. While the
gold medal-winning feats of discus
thrower Vikas Gowda and badminton
player Parupalli Kashyap signalled
breakthroughs in these events after
several decades, the news that broke
on the concluding day, of two Indian
officials being arrested, was
disgusting and deplorable. From an
overall perspective, India slumped,
not unexpectedly, to the fifth place
in the medals tally from its second
spot in the New Delhi Games though
there were handsome contributions
from the shooters, wrestlers and
weightlifters. Four years ago, even as
our athletes punched above their
level to post a record tally of 101
medals, the sports administrators had
faced corruption charges that
startled the country. Today, following
the modest success by the Indian
contingent, the sports administrators
are once again the butt of ridicule.
There is a need for the Union
Government to enforce discipline
among sports administrators, and for
the Indian Olympic Association
(IOA) to view the alleged criminal
conduct of its secretary-general
seriously. The process of reforms in
the IOA, enforced by the
International Olympic Committee
(IOC) last year, with backing from the
Union Government, could be
frittered away by misconduct of
England, following its success
in the 2012 London Olympics,
predictably displaced Australia from
its perch at the top of the medals tally

gathering 174 medals in all, 58 of

them gold. Australia, which had come
third in 1986 and topped since then,
had only 49 gold out of a total of 137.
Canada and Scotland came third and
fourth. Obviously, the home
advantage that saw India perform
beyond expectations in the New
Delhi Games was in Glasgow lost to
the contingent. Pertinently, some of
the shooting and wrestling events in
which India dominated in Delhi were
scrapped, not to speak of the
exclusion of archery and tennis from
the programme, accounting for 16 of
Indias gold collection in 2010. Still it
was disappointing to note that no
gold medal accrued for India from
boxing this time and the haul in
shooting was reduced. The three
medallists apart, our track and field
athletes fared poorly. The total gold
for India this time, at 15, was the
poorest since 1998 when it was
seven. It was 38 in Delhi, 22 in 2006
and 30 in 2002. The preparations
might have suffered a little this year
for want of adequate resources and
because of delayed planning. Liberal
funding for foreign exposure, strict
adherence to selection standards
and a sense of discipline and
commitment among athletes,
coaches and administrators might
help India fare better in the Incheon
Asian Games next month.
Cautious Outlook

A positive agrarian outlook for

the next decade cannot allow any
quarter for complacency in a nation
that is home to the worlds largest
number of farmers, as also the largest
number of people who face food
insecurity. This would be a fairer
reading of Agricultural Outlook 20142023, a joint report of the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the
Food and Agriculture Organization,
with a special feature on India. The
projection is for sustained production
and consumption of agricultural
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commodities in the country, leading
to increases in per capita availability
during the next 10 years, while
resource pressures may halt absolute
growth rates. Coinciding with this
phase more or less is Indias
emergence as a leading exporter of
agricultural products, with its trade
surplus growing six-fold between
2000 and 2013 to $22 billion. All of
this is a tacit reference to the rise in
public investment in agriculture,
massive increase in credit flows and
upgradation of rural infrastructure,
consequent to important corrective
measures envisaged in the Mid-Term
Appraisal of the Tenth Five-Year Plan.
The OECD-FAO report also notes the
substantive role of Indias wideranging subsidies and support prices
for foodgrains an issue that has
acquired immense currency in the
wake of New Delhis stance at the
No less relevant is the allusion
to a shift to diets rich in protein, sugar
and fats thanks to rising incomes. The
five per cent additional excise levy
on aerated drinks announced in the
budget should be backed by
aggressive public campaigns to raise
awareness of the health risks
associated with the consumption of
fast food, especially among poor
communities. The awareness created
by the ongoing public interest
litigation petition in the Delhi High
Court seeking a ban on these
products in schools could set a
critical standard nation-wide and
save future generations from a rising
epidemic. Whereas the global
forecast for the continuation of the
current run of lower prices of cereals
over the short term is encouraging,
prices are expected to stay higher
than they were before the 2007-08
global meltdown. The demand for
animal feed and biofuels would
similarly exert pressure on foodgrain
availability for human consumption at

affordable prices. The developing

countries are said to account for 75
per cent of additional agricultural
output over the next decade. The
FAO estimates that growth in
agriculture is five times more effective
in reducing poverty than growth in
any other sector. Therein lies a
message for the regions political
leadership and for global stability in
general. The food riots of the recent
past in parts of the world ought not
to return ever again.
A European war, Fought by India

Did you know that India fought

against Britain in the First World War?
That, at least, is the belief of over a
quarter of Indians, according to a
British Council survey earlier this year.
It is no consolation that the situation
is little better in Europe. Two years
ago, another survey showed that over
half of Britons didnt know whether
India had contributed over 1,000
troops. This might be a forgivable gap
in knowledge, if the real figure were
not well over a million. As
Commonwealth heads of state in
Glasgow commemorated the First
World War centenary on Monday,
many in the nations of the
Commonwealth India above all
will therefore wonder why they
should care about, much less
commemorate, a war fought largely
in Europe, led by European
politicians, commanded by
European officers, and resolved to
the benefit of engorged European
The wars legacy has also grown
more complicated, as evidenced in
the United Kingdom by last years
political skirmishing among
politicians and historians. The (now
former) British Education Minister,
Michael Gove, attacked the left-wing
narrative of a cruel and futile war
prosecuted by feckless generals. He
argued, instead, those who fought
were not dupes but conscious

believers in king and country,

committed to defending the western
liberal order. Boris Johnson, the
Mayor of London, agreed, insisting,
German militarism was at the root of
the First World War.
In turn, a slew of prominent
historians, led by the Regius Professor
of History at the University of
Cambridge, Richard Evans, retorted
that Britain and her allies had fought
for dubious aims, against adversaries
who were far from evil incarnate. As
the writer Kenan Malik put it in a
recent essay, Germany had
expansionist aims and a toxically
racist culture. Britain, however, was
not much different. Perhaps, these
sceptics implied, triumphalism ought
to be avoided in the centenary
Remember that British forces in
the Gold Coast (modern day Ghana)
mobilised four days before the British
declaration of war, that the first Allied
shots were fired in the British and
French invasion of German Togoland,
and that the first Allied victory came
here, not in Europe. Paris and London
would later carve up that territory, like
so many other spoils of war.
In addition to being a
battleground, the British Empire also
served as a reservoir of manpower on
an astonishing scale; 1,40,000 men
served in the Chinese Labour Corps,
a force of which most Europeans will
never have heard. The West Indies
contributed 16,000 men. As John
Reader explains in his magisterial
history, Africa: A Biography of the
Continent, by the wars end, around
two million Africans had participated
in the war effort, half of them troops.
Around 2,00,000 died. The French
colonies alone sent just under half-amillion Africans to fight in Europe,
over a tenth of these coming from
Algeria. Kenya, Ghana and, above all,
Nigeria which provided the lions
share for Britain.
It is also crucial not to mince
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words on the nature of this
participation. At first, much
recruitment was, notionally,
voluntary. But, as in India, local
political elites were incentivised to
supply manpower, and they used all
means at their disposal to push
villagers into service. As the historian
Ranajit Guha explained to journalist
Seema Sirohi, a widespread proxy
system developed in the Punjab,
whereby a prosperous villager
would buy a poor neighbours son
and donate him to the recruitment
centre as his own contribution.
Eventually, the French, the British,
the Germans and the Belgians all
used the force of law and arms to
compel Africans to join their armies.
How were these troops used?
Overall, 6,50,000 colonial troops were
deployed to Europe. The French, in
particular, sent Africans to Europe in
large numbers. Senegalese battalions
served with distinction at Ypres, for
instance, and tens of thousands of
African troops even stayed behind
for the post-war occupation of the
Rhineland (in Mein Kampf, Hitler
complained that Jews were
responsible for bringing Blacks into
the Rhineland). The academic
Christian Koller notes that one French
general believed West Africans made
good soldiers because of their
underdeveloped nervous system
and their hereditary fatalism,
permitting them to sleep in trenches
if necessary.
contribution was by India. This
included 3.7 million tonnes of
supplies, over 10,000 nurses,
1,70,000 animals, 146m of Indian
revenue, and political support
including that of Gandhi, who helped
recruit Indian volunteers in the face
of nationalist opposition. But most
important of all was the Indian Army,
the largest volunteer force in the
world, which provided 1.1 million

troops to serve overseas, principally

in the form of six expeditionary forces
labelled A to F. Over 74,000 were
killed five times more than the
combined death toll from every war
that India has fought since
independence and 80,000 were
held prisoner. As the Conservative
politician Baroness Sayeeda Warsi put
it last year, our boys werent just
Tommies they were Tariqs and
Tajinders too.
It would take volumes to list
their achievements in full. These
forces not only protected the
northwest of India, but also
buttressed British garrisons in Egypt,
Singapore and China, as well as
contributing to seminal battles of the
Western Front, such as the Somme
and Neuve Chapelle. At Ypres, in
particular, Indian casualties were
exceptionally high, compounded by
the shock of German chlorine gas in
April 1915.
But Indian forces had their
greatest impact in West Asia, with 60
per cent of all Indian troops serving
in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq),
and another 10 per cent in Egypt and
Palestine. As recorded in a new book
by Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, The First
World War in the Middle East, British
and Indian troops in Mesopotamia
suffered over 2,00,000 casualties
from sickness alone in just one year,
1916. On Jerusalems capture the
next year, it was Indian Muslim troops
who were tasked with protecting the
Dome of the Rock.
Waiting for Growth to Pick up

The Reserve Bank of Indias

third bi-monthly policy statement for
2014-15 has been on entirely
expected lines. The policy repo rate
has remained unchanged at 8 per
cent. Consequently, there is no
change in the rates which are
pegged to it the reverse repo stays
at 7 per cent and the marginal
standing facility (MSF) rate and the

bank rate both continue to remain at

9 per cent. There has been no change
in the CRR. Among monetary and
liquidity measures, the only change
of note even this was anticipated
has been the reduction in the
statutory liquidity ratio by 0.50
percentage points to 22 per cent. In
the June bi-monthly statement, the
SLR was reduced to 22.5 per cent.
There are at least two reasons why
the successive reductions in the SLR
are significant. According to the RBI,
the reduction in June was in
anticipation of a recovery in
economic activity. The Union Budget
for 2014-15 which was presented
subsequently renewed the
governments commitment to the
medium-term fiscal consolidation
road map. It also stuck to the interim
budgets fiscal deficit target of 4.1
per cent for the year. This opens up
more avenues for bank lending to
productive sectors of the economy
as growth picks up. The more recent
cut in the SLR is thus a demonstration
of a welcome resolve on the part of
monetary and fiscal authorities to
work in tandem to achieve policy
Reserve Bank Governor
Raghuram Rajans statement that the
RBI is looking at newer avenues to
support the real economy instead of
depending on the blunt repo rate
is pertinent. The reductions in the
SLR are also seen as a move to
converge towards global norms for
statutory pre-emptions in banks.
However, in India over the near term
at least, the increased leeway that
banks have may not translate into
higher credit disbursements.
Leading banks have invested more in
SLR securities than what they are
required to. Growth prospects have
improved modestly. The deficit in
the monsoons has narrowed
recently and there has been a
pickup in industrial activity. The
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ongoing fiscal consolidation can
release resources for the private
sector. Notwithstanding these and
other favourable developments, the
RBI has retained its April GDP
growth forecast for the year at 5.5
per cent in a broad range of 5 to 6
per cent. The RBI remains
committed to the disinflationary
path of taking CPI inflation to 8 per
cent by January 2015 and to 6 per
cent a year later. The nearer term
target looks achievable now, but it is
critical to persist with the downward
path over the medium term. Both
growth and inflation are subject to
many risks and monetary policy
needs to adapt nimbly to the
changing situation. For now, the
Reserve Banks cautious approach is
certainly justified.
A Weak El Nio and
the Monsoon

This year, even before the

monsoon began there were concerns
about how it might fare. The waters
of the tropical Pacific Ocean had
begun warming ominously. Moreover,
there was a great deal of even warmer
water below the ocean surface,
suggesting that a big El Nio could
be brewing. The development of
such an event, with surface waters of
the equatorial Pacific growing
warmer, could well take a toll on the
monsoon. As if to vindicate the
gloomy prognostications, the
monsoon got off to a bad start. Rain
set in over Kerala five days late and
its progress northwards to cover the
rest of the country was unusually
tardy. The rainfall deficit soared, and
India received about 43 per cent less
rain than it should normally in June.
The poor rains continued into early
July as well. Then the heavens opened
and the second half of the month saw
bountiful rains across much of the
country. Consequently, the July rains
were only about 10 per cent below

average. Nevertheless, the first half

of the monsoon ended with a
cumulative rainfall deficit of about 22
per cent. That is still a substantial
shortfall, and rainfall records for over
a century indicate that the odds
favour the monsoon ending in a
drought (which atmospheric
scientists typically define as a season
with a rainfall deficit of more than 10
per cent).
The seasonal deficit this year
could depend on how conditions in
the Pacific evolve. Contrary to earlier
expectations, a massive warming
event now looks improbable. The
change in wind patterns that typically
accompany a developing El Nio and
aid its growth has not hitherto
occurred. Indeed, in the central
Pacific, the region that has the
greatest impact on monsoon rains
over India, the waters have recently
cooled to a slightly below average
level. But the eastern Pacific remains
warmer than usual and current
forecasts continue to indicate that an
El Nio, albeit probably only a weak
one, is likely to develop later this year.
An El Nio often leads to an early
withdrawal of the monsoon and
reduces the rainfall received in
September. The extent to which that
happens is likely to have a
considerable impact on this years
monsoon deficit, given the
substantial shortfall from the first half
of the season. A big deficit at the end
of the season, however, looks unlikely
at this stage. Even so, the poor rains
in June and July have already
affected agricultural operations, with
the area under kharif crops falling by
about 14 per cent when compared
to last year. This year, given
apprehensions of a drought that an
El Nio might produce, the
government has already initiated a
number of measures to deal with
such a situation. Being prepared for
the worst must continue to be the

Waking up to the BRICS

In his 2001 paper titled

Building Better Global Economic
BRICs, economist Jim ONeill of
Goldman Sachs calculated that if the
2001/2002 outlook were to be
extrapolated, over the next decade,
China would be as big as Germany
and Brazil and India not far behind
Italy on a current GDP basis. Cut to
2013; Jim O Neills expectations
seem modest. Last year, China was the
worlds second largest economy,
Brazil ahead of Italy and India just one
rank behind in terms of current GDP.
In purchasing power parity (PPP)
terms, all the BRIC countries were
within the top 10, with China and
India at second and third position
respectively. BRIC, in Wall Street
lingo, is an outperformer.
Despite the crippling financial
crisis, BRIC has done better on pure
economic terms than most
expectations. But the acronym is
today representative of much more
than an investment narrative alone.
With the inclusion of South Africa,
BRIC became BRICS, giving a pluralist
and inclusive veneer to an economic
idea. This group now has a significant
political dimension, as is evidenced
by the increasing number of
converging positions on political
In a follow-up paper in 2003,
titled, Dreaming with BRICs: The
Path to 2050, Goldman Sachs
claimed that by 2050, the list of the
worlds largest 10 economies would
look very different. It is remarkable
then, that in 2014 the list already
looks radically different, and it is
clear that it is time to wake up to
the BRICS. In this context there were
at least two concrete arrangements
inked at the sixth BRICS Summit in
July, which will have a large
economic and political impact.
These were the Contingent Reserve
Arrangement and the New
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Conversations and reportage on
these two were shrill, coloured and
obtuse in the run-up to the Summit.
It continues to follow in the same
vein. Indeed the NDB is at once the
most celebrated and critiqued
outcome of the Fortaleza Summit.
Now that we are a few weeks away
from its public conception, it is time
for a reality check on this widely
discussed BRICS achievement.
The first reality is the NDB can
neither replace nor supplant the role
of the existing development banks.
The NDB will not be able to compete
with the reach and expanse of
existing institutions such as the World
Bank, which has a subscribed capital
of over $223 billion. The bank
borrows $30 billion annually by
issuing Triple-A rated debt in
international bond markets. Such easy
access to capital markets on the back
of high promoter creditworthiness
allows the bank to have a lower cost
of funds. Other development finance
institutions enjoy similar financial
backing. The Asian Development
Bank (ADB) too has a large balance
sheet, backed by 67 member nations
and a subscribed capital of $162
In contrast, the NDB will
require over half a decade before it
can accumulate the stated capital
base of $50 billion from within BRICS
(approximately) from other
countries and institutions. Indeed, in
the immediate term, only a modest
$150 million has been promised by
each of the BRICS countries. A
contribution of $1,850 million
thereafter, staggered over five to six
years, will require some doing as the
BRICS countries are grappling with
weak balance sheets, fragile current
accounts and other domestic

Then, there are other

questions that will need to be
answered in the days ahead. If China
is unable to dominate this institution,
will it prefer to prioritise investments
through its (proposed) Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank?
How soon can the central banks of
the member countries devise
arrangements to act as depository
institutions for the NDB? And, how
will the NDB raise funds in different
countries? What will be the currency
or currencies of choice? All
important posers which can be
addressed if the resolve is unerring.
The second reality is, in spite
of its modest economic weight in
the initial years, the NDB can change
the ethos of development finance
irreversibly. Rather than replacing or
supplanting existing development
finance institutions, the NDB will
seek to supplement existing
resources. In fact, the World Bank
President, Jim Yong Kim, has
welcomed the idea of the NDB and
acknowledged its potential in
infrastructure development and the
global fight against poverty.
An important difference
could be in the way conditions and
restrictions are imposed on loan
Institutions such as the World Bank
have been known to impose
conditions for lending that create
structural mismatches between
project funding, demand and
supply. As recently as last year, the
World Bank Group decided to
restrict funding for new coal plants
in developing countries, deciding
instead to invest greater resources in
cleaner fuels. Of course, the World
Bank would be well advised to
reconsider this decision given lifeline
energy needs and the energy access
realities in developing countries

such as India.
The NDBs mission must be to
create a business structure where
borrowing countries are given
greater agency in prioritising the
kinds of projects they would want
funded. Over a decade, this could
become the demonstrator project
through which the relationship
between donors and recipients,
lenders and borrowers, will be
rewritten. Hopefully this will be in
favour of developing economies and
will enable the reimagining of
economic pathways.
The third reality perhaps, the
most debated is that the location
of the NDB is immaterial when
governance and ownership is equally
shared. Location has frequently been
confused with ownership, skewed by
our imagination of existing institutions
such as the World Bank. According
to its Articles of Agreement, major
policy decisions at the World Bank
are made through a Super Majority
85 per cent of votes. Vote shares
in turn are determined by the level of
a nations financial contribution. With
around 16 per cent voting share at
the World Bank, the U.S. has a de
facto veto. Conversely, BRICS, with
40 per cent of the global population
and a combined GDP of $24 trillion
(PPP), collectively accounts for a
mere 13 per cent of the votes at the
World Bank.
As such, the concentration of
voting power and headquarter
location in Washington DC in the case
of the World Bank is merely a
coincidence. Japan dominates the
functioning of the ADB with a 15.7
per cent shareholding, despite the
headquarters being located in the
It is also useful to note that
previous World Bank presidents have
been U.S. citizens and the
International Monetary Funds (IMF)
list of managing directors is
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composed entirely of Europeans.
Even the ADBs presidents have been
Japanese citizens, with almost all of
them having served in the Finance
Ministry in Tokyo. In this regard, the
NDB, with its intention of rotating
leadership, seeks to overhaul the
existing governance framework
prevalent in the international
development finance institutions.
Through equal shares of paid-in
capital in the NDB, there is a clear
intention of creating an alternative
model that focusses on voting-power
parity. The smallest country can
negotiate at par with the biggest
With an equal voting share, all
five countries have to be on board to
move in a particular direction.
Admittedly, this can be hugely
inefficient and troublesome.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon
BRICS members to ensure that this
initial at-par equity in governance
does not unexpectedly allow for a
super majority like gridlock,
restricting decision making because
of a lack of consensus. The NDB must
be dynamic and lithe, much like the
BRICS grouping itself. It would be
useful for BRICS members to institute
a professional management body for
steering everyday operations of the
NDB as well as all non-policy related
decisions, including those dealing
with project funding.
And most importantly, as
discussed earlier, BRICS members
should democratise the banks
functioning if new stakeholders are
included in the future. They must find
ways to engage the recipients and
beneficiaries in its decision-making
apparatus. If anything, the NDB must
be a template for change, not a mirror
to the existing hegemony of money.
The Need to Measure Poverty

In June 2012, the government

of India appointed a committee to
take a new look at the methodology
for measuring poverty. The

committee submitted its report

towards the end of June 2014. The
purpose of this article is to briefly
explain the approach taken by this
Growth is not the sole objective
of economic policy. It is necessary to
ensure that the benefits of growth
accrue to all sections of society.
Eradication of poverty is thus an
important objective. Human beings
need a certain minimum consumption
of food and non-food items to survive.
However, the perception regarding
what constitutes poverty varies over
time and across countries.
Nevertheless, there is a need for a
measure of poverty. Only then will it
be possible to evaluate how the
economy is performing in terms of
providing a certain minimum
standard of living to all its citizens.
The measurement of poverty,
therefore, has important policy
In India, we have had a long
history of studies on the
measurement of poverty. There are,
in fact, many approaches to it. Some
analysts focus on deprivations in
terms of health, education, sanitation
or housing, but there are many
problems associated with this
approach including difficulties in
aggregating deprivations on several
scores derived from different
sources. Perhaps the best approach
is to look at it in terms of a certain
minimum consumption expenditure
per person or preferably per
household. Any household failing to
meet this level of consumption
expenditure can be treated as a
poor household. This minimum level
of consumption expenditure can be
derived, in turn, in terms of minimum
expenditure on food and non-food
items. Minimum food consumption is
related to fulfilling certain nutritional
standards. However, minimum non-

food consumption is more

Based on the analysis presented
in the report, the monthly per capita
consumption expenditure of Rs.972
in rural areas and Rs.1,407 in urban
areas is treated as the poverty line at
the all-India level. This implies a
monthly consumption expenditure of
Rs.4,860 in rural areas or Rs.7,035 in
urban areas for a family of five at 20112012 prices. This level of private
expenditure has to be seen in the
context of public expenditure that
is being incurred in areas like
education, health and food security.
The actual well-being of the
household will be higher than what
is indicated by the poverty line.
Based on the methodology outlined
in the report, the poverty ratio at the
all-India level for 2011-2012 is 29.5
per cent. Working backwards, this
methodology gives the estimate for
2009-2010 at 38.2 per cent. This is in
contrast to the 21.9 per cent as
estimated by the Tendulkar
Committee methodology for 20112012 and 29.8 per cent for 20092010.
Are there conceptual problems
associated with the new poverty line?
Our group has gone back to the idea
of separate poverty line baskets for
rural and urban areas. This stands to
reason. This is also consistent with the
way we have derived the poverty
line. Basically, there are three
components in the poverty line: the
food component, the normative level
of expenditure for essential non-food
items such as education, clothing,
conveyance and house rent, and
expenditure for other non-food items.
The group has been criticised for
going back to calorie norms. The new
poverty line is not limited only to
calorie intake but also extends to fats
and proteins. It is true that there is no
direct correlation between calorie
and nutrition. There are many other
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factors which contribute to nutrition.
But taken in conjunction with other
factors mentioned in the report,
relating minimum food consumption
to calorie, fat and protein
requirements appears to be a
reasonable approach. Without such
norms, the minimum level may turn
out to be arbitrary. The Tendulkar
Committee itself did not abandon
calorie norms. It took the urban
poverty basket as given. It also
claimed that the poverty line it
recommended ultimately satisfied
the norms of the U.N. Food and
Agriculture Organization. The
introduction of norms for certain
kinds of non-food expenditures by
our group is an innovation. It is a
simple recognition of the fact that
these expenditures constituted a
significant part of total consumption.
In the absence of any other normative
criteria, the median fractile class
expenditures were treated as the
norm. In fact, non-food consumption
as a proportion of total consumption
has been steadily rising. That is why
the group decided to take a new look
at the basket rather than updating the
old basket for price changes.
Poverty is easy to perceive but
difficult to be precise about. There is
a need to distinguish the rural poverty
line from the urban poverty line and
then a need to work out Statespecific poverty lines. While viewing
the problem over time, the
appropriate price index also
becomes an issue. All of these have
to be done in a consistent way. That
is why though conceptually simple,
measuring poverty is not that easy.
The frequently used World Bank
measure of poverty has no strong
methodological roots. Instead of
going for an absolute poverty line,
one can also think in terms of relative
poverty and define the poverty line
in terms of median or average
consumption expenditure. The
group has done that and reported

the results in one of the chapters.

The methodology adopted by
the new group on poverty is based
on sound principles. However, as the
group has clearly indicated, this
measure is not considered as an
appropriate basis for determining
entitlements under various
programmes. Each programme that
focusses on a particular kind of
deprivation may have to choose that
criterion which is most appropriate.
But to obtain a general picture of
progress in the country, a suitable
measure on poverty is useful. Poverty
is not the same as hunger. Hunger is
far worse. Nor does the poverty line
mean a comfortable standard of living.
It represents the absolute minimum.
Obviously, policies should work
towards not only reducing the
number of people below that line
but also ensuring that people in
general enjoy a much higher standard
of living.
Numbers do indicate that the
poverty ratio in India is coming down,
even though it may remain at a high
level. Policymakers must continue to
follow the twofold strategy of letting
the economy grow fast and attacking
poverty directly through poverty
alleviation programmes.
Kurdish Crescent on the Horizon

A book on the Kurds, published

in 1978, has on its cover a photograph
of a Kurd soldier in his distinctive
national dress, a weapon on his back;
all around him is a limitless, barren
plain, while far in the background are
massive snow-capped mountains.
The title of the book is as bleak as the
photograph: People Without a
Country. Now, this could change: as
Iraq is breaking apart and is
convulsed in sectarian conflict, the
Kurds in Iraq have moved towards
culmination of long-held aspirations.
The Kurds are a culturally
distinct people, with their own

ethnicity, language and dialects, who

reside in the mountains of northeast
Iraq, northwest Iran and much of
eastern Turkey, with a small
community in Syria at the Turkish
border. Racially, the community has
kinship with the Iranians; its language
is also closely related to Persian. The
25 million Kurds worldwide are
Muslim, and most of them are Sunni.
The mountains that made them hardy
and warlike also divided them into
fiercely independent tribes and
clans. Hence, they have never had a
homeland of their own. Till the end
of the last century, the Kurdish story
consisted of persistent uprisings,
consistently crushed; of short
advances and harsh retreats; of small
victories and major setbacks; of
promises made and quickly forgotten,
a narrative of defeat, exile, betrayal
and bloodshed.
However, the decades of
struggle did have some positive
implications. One, over time, the
diffused Kurdish aspirations and
sporadic uprisings acquired a
national character that transcended
tribe, clan and interpersonal
differences among the chiefs. Two,
the struggle imparted a clarity to
Kurdish aspirations, defining their
collective security, economic and
cultural interests. Above all, the
assaults upon these people,
particularly the genocidal violence of
the 1980s and the use of chemical
weapons in 1988, were sufficiently
dramatic and heart-rending as to
place Kurdish aspirations at the top
of the allied agenda after the 1991
war, leading to the setting up of no
fly-zones and safe-havens that
consolidated into territorial autonomy
after the 2003 conflict.
The Iraqi Constitution of 2005
recognised Kurdistan as a part of the
Iraqi federation, with three of Iraqs
provinces Arbil, Dohuk and
Sulemaniya which together have
an area of 40,643 and a
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population of a little over four million.
But, the Iraqi Kurds have much larger
claims, which would boost their
territory to over 78,000 and
population to well over eight million.
The two traditional Kurdish leaders
Massoud Barzani, son of the
legendary Kurdish leader Mulla
Mustafa Barzani, and the great rival
of the Barzanis, Jalal Talabani now
hold major positions in the new
political arrangements: Mr. Talabani
is the president of the Iraqi Republic,
while Mr. Barzani is the President of
the Kurdistan Regional Government
Mr. Barzani and Mr. Talabani
represent rival parties, the Kurdistan
Democratic Party (KDP) and the
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
The third principal Kurdish party is
the Turkey-based Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK) which has been
in conflict with successive Turkish
governments; it has been declared a
terrorist grouping by Turkeys
western allies and its leader,
Abdullah calan, has been in a
Turkish prison since 1999. Iraqs
Kurdish scenario has been
complicated by the emergence of a
new party, the Gorran (Change)
Movement that emerged in 2009 to
challenge what it saw as the
nepotism and corruption of the two
traditional parties.
For the last 10 years or so, Mr.
Massoud Barzani has been a central
figure in Kurdish affairs across the
region. He has engaged closely with
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan, helping the latter to
reach out to the Kurds in Turkey. In
return, Mr. Erdogan has boosted
political and economic ties with the
KRG, achieving bilateral trade of $8
billion in 2013. More importantly,
Turkey is central to KRGs oil exports,
with the old Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline
now being supplemented by a new

pipeline that goes directly from

Kurdish territory to Turkey. Mr.
Barzani is also active among Syrian
Kurds, seeking to wean the popular
Democratic Union Party (PYD) away
from the PKK.
Following the ISIS successes,
the Kurds took advantage of the
collapse of the Iraqi armed forces
and seized the disputed territories
in the neighbouring provinces of
Nineweh, Diyala and Kirkuk,
including the oil-rich town of Kirkuk
itself. Mr. Barzani explained that Iraq
was already partitioned and the
Kurds can no longer experiment
with their fate indefinitely. He then
announced that a referendum
would be held among the Kurds in a
few months to decide whether to
seek full independence. These
Kurdish aspirations pose new
challenges to regional players.
Irans position is more
complex. While it would prefer a
Shia-dominated administration in
Baghdad, it recognises that its
sectarian approach is no longer
viable. It may, therefore, back a
unity government in Baghdad. Iran
would however not like to see a
sovereign Kurdish state on its border
since a truncated Iraq would dilute
its influence in Baghdad and
possibly encourage its own Kurds to
pursue aspirations for freedom.
Again, Israel has maintained close
links with the Kurds in Iraq for the
last few decades, building up their
security forces. Its leaders have
welcomed an independent
Kurdistan, viewing it as an ally in a
hostile environment. This has further
alarmed Iran, encouraging it to use
the PUK, which it has cultivated over
several years, to oppose
This seems to be paying off;
Mr. Barzanis call for full

independence has created divisions

among Kurdish parties. The PUK has
raised constitutional, political and
economic issues to oppose full
sovereignty, backing a united Iraq
against an independent Kurdistan
that in its view would be a Turkish
puppet. Gorran has argued that
independence should go beyond
mere rhetoric and should be based
on strong institutions that provide for
transparency and accountability in
the polity.
The immediate concern relating
to independence is linked to the
borders of this new entity. Kirkuk and
other territories captured recently by
the Kurds are mixed in ethnic and
sectarian terms. Thus, a united Iraq
would provide a much more
congenial a place to accommodate
such mixed communities than a new
state whose origins lie in ethnic
Kurdistan would also face the serious
challenge of economic viability. It is
at present crucially dependent on
budgetary support from Baghdad;
with cash transfers from Baghdad
having been recently curtailed, the
KRG already finds itself in difficulties,
given its serious refugee problem and
the need to fund its armed forces and
pay for imported gasoline. The state,
being landlocked, would always be
subject to the vagaries of its ties with
its neighbours.
Mr. Barzani can be expected to
make every effort to maintain a united
Iraq. However, this is an
unprecedented historic movement
for the Kurds. The de facto foreign
minister of the KRG, Falah Bakir, has
reminded us: The border has
changed. The political reality has
changed. The power balance has
changed. And Baghdad is far
away. It is just possible that the Kurds
may reject caution
Dark Truths about Money

Estimates, by their very nature,
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are approximations and cannot claim
any substantial level of accuracy.
When it comes to the parallel or black
economy, it is extremely difficult to
provide even an estimate that is
reliable which is not surprising
considering that cash transactions do
not always leave a trail. There are
several estimates of the black
economy and the amount of
unaccounted money stashed abroad.
While many of them are believable,
from a policy-making perspective it
is important that the process and
methodology of estimation are robust
and credible. Therefore, when an
agency such as the National Institute
of Public Finance and Policy comes
up with a report that pins the size of
the parallel economy at 75 per cent
of the GDP, we need to take serious
notice. Bringing even a part of this
into the system can work wonders for
public finances. The NIPFP study has
identified four major founts of black
money. Three of them property
transactions, mining business and
private education choose
themselves straightaway; the first two
have traditionally been the base of
the parallel economy, while the third
is a recent addition after private
university education took off. It is the
fourth one diversion from
government subsidy schemes
which is the surprise package in the
NIPFP report.
Diversion of subsidised
kerosene to the open market is
estimated to have generated as
much as Rs.11,910 crore, which is half
the kerosene subsidy provided last
year. It is highly probable that there
are similar leakages with other
subsidies and social welfare
schemes. The biggest source,
though, remains real estate
transactions, the unaccounted
money from which is estimated to
be as big as the Plan expenditure of
the government. Though under-

reporting has decreased after steps

such as making income tax PAN
mandatory for property deals, the
fact is that cash transactions still reign
supreme. The only way to plug this is
by revising guideline values at
frequent, regular intervals to reflect
market prices. Guideline values are
considerably lower than prevailing
market prices, which encourages
registrations at lower prices. The
mining industry generates cash
through under-invoicing of sales,
under-reporting output, and inflating
expenses. Checking this should not
be difficult, but what is required is
the will to do so. Taking a larger
view, the government needs to
review its taxation policies and
tighten systems and processes. If the
infrequent updating of guideline
values and leakage of subsidies are
failures of processes, the
malpractices in the mining sector
constitute a failure of governance. At
some stage in the future, the
government, through reform of its
tax regime, will also have to
encourage people and businesses
to report their incomes truthfully.
Building Smart
Cities without Energy

Recent statements by Ministers

from the National Democratic
Alliance, when read together,
provide insights into the
governments acche din promise.
Urban Development Minister M.
Venkaiah Naidu promised to create a
hundred smart cities with better
facilities, connectivity and a better
environment. Environment Minister
Prakash Javadekar said that to reduce
poverty, Indias carbon emissions
must grow till 2030-40. But can India
access the massive quantity of energy
needed to develop 100 smart cities?
Will more fossil fuel use, the primary
cause for carbon emissions in
projects such as smart cities, bullet

trains, river linking, necessarily reduce

poverty? Can India replicate the 20th
century development model of the
North nations?
Unlike the fully fossil-fuelled
cities of North nations, Indian cities
are semi-fossil fuelled. They consist
of an older city constructed in a prefossil fuel era, with narrow streets
made for pedestrians and animal carts
and low-rise buildings made from
lime binders, and a newer city
constructed with broad streets for
fossil- fuelled vehicles and concrete
high-rise buildings. A conservative
energy cost for upgrading 5,000
kilometres in older cities is 600 million
tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE). That
is almost equal to Indias annual total
primary energy supply (TPES) worth
Rs. 35 lakh crore, i.e., more than
double of the Union budget for 201415.
Since 2000, Indias energy
consumption has grown at 7 per cent
per annum, keeping pace with GDP
growth. If the additional energy
consumption for the smart cities
project is spread over the next 10
years, the annual fossil fuel
consumption rate will have to jump
to 15 per cent. Unlike money, extra
energy cannot be printed at will. It
has to be first found, and then
accessed. India is already hard
pressed to meet the current demand
for fossil fuel. Coal contributes 60 per
cent of the fossil fuel that India
consumes. The country has the fifth
largest coal reserves in the world. Yet,
it imported 21 per cent of its coal last
year, as indigenous production failed
to meet demand. Consequently,
Indias power utilities enforce regular
rolling power cuts. Opening new coal
mines has its own problems.
According to former Environment
Minister Jairam Ramesh, untapped
coal blocks are in dense forests that
constitute only 2.5 per cent of the
countrys area. Opening them will
further endanger our forests. Despite
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Indias effort to achieve energy
security by opening new mines and
acquiring wells abroad, the massive
quantity of energy required for smart
cities is likely to remain elusive.
Comparing Indias carbon
emissions, development, and the
percentage of poor people with other
Asian countries that share the same
tropical ecological space throws light
on the second question. India has a
per capita carbon emission of 1.5 T
per annum. Bangladesh, Cambodia
and Laos emit 20 per cent, and
Bhutan two thirds of that amount. Yet,
the Human Development Index
(HDI) scores of India and these
countries are similar, ranging from
0.515 to 0.554. The multidimensional
poverty index (MPI) puts about half
of the population in India, Cambodia,
Laos and Bangladesh and a quarter in
Bhutan, under the poverty line. Sri
Lankas has done much better. Its HDI
is at 0.715, placing it 46 ranks above
India, and has only 5 per cent of its
population below the MPI line. Yet
its per capita carbon emission is 0.6 T
per annum, 60 per cent less than
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia,
Laos and Sri Lanka matched or
emulated Indias HDI and MPI scores
but with significantly lower per capita
emissions. Their performance
questions Mr. Javadekars statement.
How did they do it? First, they used
proportionally less fossil fuels, whose
contribution ranged from 25 to 50 per
cent of their TPES, compared to
Indias 73 per cent, and hence
lowered their per capita carbon
emissions. Second, lower urbanisation
in these countries results in less
energy consumption and emissions.
Cities consume over 75 per cent of
TPES of a country but produce only
5 per cent of it. Third, Indias greater
reliance on fossil fuels makes its
economy less energy efficient and
more polluting, consequently leaving
less per capita energy available for

poverty alleviation.
The energy density of fossil fuels
is very high, and requires large
investments in mining, transport,
power generation and distribution.
Only the state and big business can
make the large investments required
to produce energy from fossil fuels.
To recover investments, it makes
sound business sense to sell it for
profit rather than to alleviate poverty.
Biomass has an energy density that is
half to a fourth of fossil fuels, and its
energy conversion technologies are
investments. Energy from these
sources is cheaper and more
accessible to the poor to meet daily
In the last two decades, Indias
economy has grown rapidly, but so
has the gap between the rich and the
poor. Indias GDP quadrupled. Indias
Gini index, a measure for income
inequality where zero denotes
complete equality, is up from 0.32 to
0.38. For two decades India has sung
the 10 per cent growth mantra, paying
little heed to distributive justice.
There is growing consensus that
trickle down benefits of growth
have been weak in India. If the trends
of the last two decades continue, it
will take India several decades to lift
the people under the poverty line
above it, provided global warming
and peak oil dont tip the global
economy into a crisis. If either
happens, the poorest and the most
vulnerable will be impacted the most.
The Myth of Happy Old Age

The Help Age India report

(2014) on old age abuse provides
an altogether different picture. The
statistics are frightening and the few
interviews, deeply disturbing. Based
on a sample study of 1,200 people
from six Tier I cities and six Tier II
cities, the report suggests that old
age is a frightening prospect, an
ecology of violence where over half

the elderly interviewed report to

experiencing abuse within the
family. Oddly, while the percentage
of abuse has gone up, the report
indicates that at least 41 per cent of
those abused did not report it.
Abuse, choked within and caged in
silence festers like a sore. Fear and
helplessness that there is no one else
to depend upon and few to report
to, adds to the penumbra of silence.
While our myths and advertisements
perpetuate the myth of happy old
age, the data tells us the behaviour
of our society is an insult to old age
When cities are ranked in
terms of the level of abuse,
Bangalore tops among Tier I cities
with the sample reporting 75 per
cent of abuse. Among Tier II cities,
Nagpur is highest with 85 per cent
interviewed reporting abuse. What is
interesting is that such abuse is not
occasional but sustained with verbal
abuse (41 per cent), disrespect (33
per cent), and neglect (29 per cent)
emerging as the three most frequent
types of abuse reported by the
elderly. Despite their helplessness,
the elderly are good sociologists,
analysing the roots of their abuse to
emotional dependence, economic
dependence and the changing
ethos of values. There is a sense that
in a deep and fundamental way, we
are no longer a caring society.
For many, old age is a space of
helplessness, callousness and
indifference. Despite being caught
in the web of symbolic and physical
violence, the old are still able to
provide an ethnography of despair.
They point out quietly that old age
has become a commodity. The
younger generation commodifies old
age by seeing the old as sources of
pension, property, income. The old
are like the goose that must lay the
golden eggs and move on. Waiting
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for the old to die seems an
unnecessary inconvenience. Yet,
when the old have nothing more to
give, they are seen as dispensable.
Keshav, a 65-year-old from Kolkata,
complains that his wife and he are
constantly abused because they do
not earn. His wife cooks for the
entire family and yet they have to
plead for a fair share of the food.
Worse, as the report notes tersely,
even requests for medicine or
clothes are met with taunts of their
impending deaths and termed as a
waste on them. The political
economy of our new old age
becomes clearer in interviews. Old
age is not a part of the ritual cycle, a
natural process where the old retire
with dignity, providing a richness of
emotion and memory to the family.
Today, when the elderly wither away
as a commodity, a milch cow to be
milked by greedy children, they
become waste to be abandoned.
One literally sees them as useless
eaters to be denied food and
medicines and to be eventually
abandoned in the dust heap and
suffer in silence and indifference.
Many of the old reported that they
went hungry to sleep.
What makes the report so
devastating is that it is so baldly
written. Its a no-nonsense approach,
its census of violence becomes even
more devastating because of a sheer
absence of sentimentality. It provides
the facts and asks you to feel, feel
angry or embarrassed. When parents
complain that they have been
reduced to being less than domestic
servants, denied even their basic
needs, one wonders what happened
to the idea of India, our sense of a
civilisation, the empty boast about
our Indian-ness.
The report shows that the
vulnerability of old age is created out
of the political economy of

dependency. The old probably grew

up expecting their children to nurture
and protect them, sustain their sense
of worth and dignity. What breaks
them is the fact that their children see
them as being useless, a burden, and
yet what adds to the desperate
poignancy is that they are not able to
cut loose. The family, memory,
emotion becomes a guise of
dependency perpetuating the
violence as the old feel there is
nowhere to go and no alternative
system which could sustain them. The
neighbourhood, the local politician
or the policeman are of little help. To
the vulnerability that abuse creates,
one adds a sense of helplessness. Old
age is now an iron cage from which
there is no exit.
There is a touch of the new to
this politics of abuse. The tyranny of
the regime is enforced by the son and
the daughter-in-law. The daughterin-law is the new Hobbesian
sovereign in these sociological
anecdotes as the mother-in-law
becomes a desiccated old creature,
unrecognisable from the soap operas
of old which glorified her power and
authority. The son sides with the wife
against the mother upturning one of
the oldest norms of domestic politics.
It is also clear that there is a
generational change here. The new
generation wants the old to give them
property but then move on. They are
not seen as part of the ritual cycles of
domestic life. The old grammar has
changed. Old age, once a sign of
status, a rite of passage to dignity, is
now redundant or pathological, a
problem for policy and social work,
not for the family which states its
indifference ruthlessly.
The report can be read both as
a sociology and a social policy. As
sociology, the old themselves ponder
on the distance between
generations, the absence of ethics
and memory that could have

provided dignity to old age. As a

teacher I often ask my students a
sensitive lot to talk about their
grandmothers, to give me details
about stories they have heard or food
cooked. Most of them seemed
embarrassed, surprised with such
intrusive questions; only one could
talk of his grandmothers pickles with
a zest that summoned a whole
sensorium. For most of them,
grandparents have become
occasional question marks, ritual
burdens. Few have recollections of
stories told, preferring the narratives
on TV or the Internet. It is almost as if
grandparents are like creatures out
of Tussauds; features that can be
ignored. I asked one student to
describe the touch of her
grandmother. She almost felt
repulsed exclaiming, God, she is so
old and scaly. An absence of
memories and ethos of sharing
disrupts the ecology of old age.
Dignity has become a rare word as
abuse becomes the sociological
The report however raises a
deeper question in a tacit way. One
has to understand that ours was a
civilisation where the old were
honoured, where old age was a
position of dignity and wisdom.
Somehow with modernisation,
consumerism, individualism, the
values of old age are no longer part
of our society, at least as reflected in
the survey sample. The question is
does such a problem have to be
solved civilisationally or is it merely
an act of repair, a creation of social
security to be effected by public
policy? It is the erosion of values that
disconcerts one to suddenly realise
that your grandparents are not a
refuge, a bundle of stories, a ganglion
of memories, an appeal against
parents but an appendage,
burdensome. The question is do we
rethink the norms of old age, treat it
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as a commons of stability and wisdom,
and change the values of our culture?
The other alternative is to accept that
old age is a problem and accept that
new institutions of support outside
the family have to be built. Social
policy as a piece of plumbing and
repair haunts the report. Culture
seems too distant and fragile to
sustain old age. A sense of tragedy
haunts the future. One is forced to
ask what is the use of the idea of India,
of all our pride in our culture, when
the old are left to die or live in
indifference. As children, we used
to laugh when we heard that the
Japanese were buying land for old
age homes in India. Maybe they had
a better sense of the future than us.
Vulnerability and well-being

The 2014 Human Development

Report is methodologically more
sophisticated in that, for the first time
it calculates the gender development
index independently of reference to
males. Equally, Sustaining Human
Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities
and Building Resilience would
resonate among millions of ordinary
people. Across countries and
continents, several of them are still
recovering from recent natural and
man-made catastrophes. The 2004
Asian Tsunami, the 2005 Hurricane
Katrina, the 2007-2008 food, financial
and banking collapse, and the 2011
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster
preceded by an earthquake, among
others, have brought humanity closer
as it grapples with a common
predicament underpinned by
climate change and globalisation.
These challenges also lay bare the
imperatives of fashioning an
internationally coordinated response
in an inter-connected world. Indeed,
most people in most countries have
seen advances in their lives over the
past three decades. But the premises
of progress are increasingly
precarious, argues the report, as new
opportunities expose people to new

uncertainties. Children, women and

the elderly are the most vulnerable,
as are adolescents and the young, in
transition to the jobs market. Those
immediately at risk are the 800 million
people who have just about lifted
themselves out of hunger and want,
but are constantly vulnerable to
return to the brutal cycle of poverty.
Income poverty continues to prove
intractable, with 1.2 billion people
still living below $1.25 a day. Another
1.5 billion people in 91 developing
countries live with simultaneous
deprivations in health, education and
standard of living, as per the United
Nations Development Programmes
Multidimensional Poverty Index. The
2014 report therefore advocates a
return to full employment a theme
that had strong support in the 1950s.
Ranking 135th out of 187
countries on the Human
Development Index, India could
mitigate many of the challenges by
means of creating universal access to
health care, a more vibrant primary
education system, and ensuring
respect and protection for womens
freedom and dignity. But there are
remarkable examples of Indias spirit
of resilience and the capacity to
draw vital lessons. The Naveen
Patnaik Governments action to
relocate nearly a million people
during the 2013 Cyclone Phailin in
Odisha, spectacularly minimising
casualties, is the most recent. The
Indian governments resoluteness in
the wake of the provocative serial
bomb blasts of November 26, 2008
was no less a triumph of moral
courage and resilience. Public action
and democratic accountability can
strengthen communities against a
sense of loss of control over their
Amending juvenile law

Legislative responses ought to

be well thought-out, and lawmakers

need to be wary of tinkering with

existing laws because of moral panic
over one incident. The idea of carving
out an exception in the Juvenile
Justice Act for children between the
ages of 16 and 18 when they are
accused of rape, murder, and other
serious offences is completely
retrograde. The Union Cabinets
approval for legislative changes that
would allow juvenile justice boards
to determine whether cases involving
children of this age-group can be
transferred to a criminal court is an
inappropriate remedy for the
problem of juveniles committing
grave offences. First, such
categorisation militates against the
core principle that everyone should
be treated as a child until the age of
18. The age has been fixed in law
based on studies on child and
adolescent behaviour and the UN
Convention of the Rights of the Child.
Secondly, making such children face
an adult criminal court would mar the
prospect of their rehabilitation and
amount to denial of restorative
justice. The main object of juvenile
law is to preserve the scope for
rehabilitation and prevent recidivism
among young offenders. Even after
the horrific gang-rape in Delhi in
December 2012, the Supreme Court
saw no reason to make exceptions to
the present paradigm of juvenile
justice. Nor did the Justice J.S. Verma
Committee, which made far-reaching
recommendations on the legal
framework on cases involving sexual
offences, think on those lines. Official
crime data do not support the theory
that juveniles are responsible for any
rise in instances of sexual offences.
The case for revisiting the
present law is unexceptionable.
Courts, governments and activists
have noted that the Juvenile Justice
Act, 2000, though laudable in intent,
had not fully achieved its objectives.
The governments intention to
introduce a fresh, comprehensive
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law that covers both children in
conflict with the law and those in
need of care and protection may be
quite an appropriate response. In
particular, the draft bill prepared by
the Ministry of Women and Child
Development contains forwardlooking aspects. The National
Commission for Protection of Child
Rights has noted that the bill
enunciates fundamental principles
for the care, protection and
rehabilitation of and justice for
children. Those in need of care and
protection now include children
living on the streets and child
workers. Both corporal punishment
and persistent verbal abuse will be
prohibited. Provisions for finding
foster care homes for children are
aimed at ensuring mechanisms for
non-institutional care. However, the
time given for stakeholders to study
the implications of the new bill is
inadequate. The government will be
well-advised to have wider
consultations before enacting it into
Keeping Ebola in check

After the H1N1 influenza

(swine flu) in 2009 and polio in May
2014, the WHO has now declared
the Ebola (Ebola virus disease)
outbreak in West Africa as an
extraordinary event and a public
health risk to other countries. It has
also highlighted that the
consequences of its spread across
the world could be particularly
serious considering the virulence of
the virus. After the first outbreak in
December 2013 in the Guckdou
region in Guineas remote
southeastern forest region, the virus
has spread to three other West
African countries Liberia, Nigeria
and Sierra Leone. As on August 6, as
many as 1,779 people (with 1,134
confirmed cases) were infected and
the mortality figure was 961. The

death toll this time is much more

than the combined count of all
previous Ebola epidemics. The
biggest threat comes from the
extremely high virulence of the Zaire
Ebola virus species, the most lethal
Ebola virus known, with fatality rates
going up to 90 per cent; the Zaire
virus species is usually restricted to
Central Africa. Though the virulence
has been lower at 55 per cent, it is
still alarmingly high. The incubation
period the time interval from
infection to onset of symptoms of
two to 21 days poses a real danger
to public health. In this era of global
travel, though infected people
would not transmit the virus till they
develop the disease, they could
facilitate virus spread once
symptoms show up.
characteristics of the virus,
transmission occurs only when
people come into contact with the
body fluids of affected people; there
is no scientific confirmation of
humans getting infected through
airborne transmission. Yet,
transmission has been rampant both
in the community and in health-care
settings. Poor handling practices in
weak health-care systems are putting
doctors and healthworkers at great
risk. Currently, no approved drugs or
vaccines are available to prevent
infections or treat infected people.
But an experimental drug tested only
in animals has improved the condition
of two Ebola-infected U.S. nationals
who were flown back to America. It
is highly unlikely that the drug would
be used to treat those in the four
countries. One way to prevent the
spread is to stop symptomatic
passengers from travelling in normal
passenger aircraft, and to screen and
follow up those arriving from or
transiting through these countries as
the infected people act as carriers of
the virus. India has its task cut out as

nearly 5,000 Indians who live in

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and
about 40,000 in Nigeria may return
here. The Union Health Minister has
held out the assurance that the
Ministry has put into operation the
most advanced surveillance and
tracking systems. Utmost care is
called for.
More teeth for SEBI

The passage of the Securities

Laws (Amendment) Bill by
Parliament is an important step in
empowering the Securities and
Exchange Board of India to deal
with financial shenanigans. The
regulatory body had not been fully
equipped to deal with ingenious
schemes masquerading as collective
investment schemes. Many of these
promised unrealistically high returns
to lure gullible depositors, a notable
example being what the Saradha
group in West Bengal indulged in.
They could sustain their business
model as long as new depositors,
lured by advertisement campaigns
boosted by outsized commissions to
the sales force and aided by
political connections, came trooping
in to repay exiting depositors. Others
like the Sahara group offered utmost
convenience ostensibly
collecting pygmy-size deposits right
at investors doorsteps even in
remote parts of the country. It is a
different matter that the Supreme
Court suspects the bona fides of
Saharas huge deposit mobilisation
claims and has upheld the SEBI
order deeming its latest issue of
optionally convertible debentures
illegal and ordered the return of the
money. Sahara, which has had an
earlier run-in with the Reserve Bank,
was basically shopping for a benign
regulator: the Ministry of Corporate
Affairs, it believed, would not look
too closely at the bona fides of its
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investors. For all its faults, Sahara has
been claiming that there has not
been a single instance of default on
its part, but the Saradha groups
investors have suffered enormously
as confidence in the group
While there have been other
similar acts of malfeasance, the
important message from the new
legislation is that the market regulator
can deal proactively with them
before they assume menacing
proportions. SEBI now gets explicit
powers to disgorge illegal gains made
through fraudulent deposit schemes
and capital market offences. Those
who lose money can be
recompensed from the sale of
recovered assets of a delinquent
company. The money collected will
be parked in SEBIs Investor
Protection and Education Fund. SEBI
can, with a magistrates permission,
conduct search and seizure
operations and initiate recovery
proceedings. The new legislation
was overdue: the UPA government
had promulgated an ordinance in
July 2013 and then presented a draft
bill, which lapsed. Attention will now
be focussed on SEBI, especially on
whether it can act decisively against
frauds that have thrived amid a
regulatory vacuum. In its quarter
century of existence, SEBI has had
to deal with many sharp practices in
the financial system. Its very creation
and periodic strengthening have
been in response to one crisis or the
other. While the new law will deal
with extreme cases of malfeasance,
SEBIs overall regulatory framework
needs to be strengthened.
In pursuit of smartness

The smart phone moment

passed me by, since I was
determined to maintain my edge
over a mere inanimate object. But
the new and eager call for smart
cities is too intriguing to let pass

without reflection and comment.

The call to smarten Indian cities
has gone beyond the tired old
promises of clearing garbage,
building more housing for the poor,
guaranteeing electricity supply and
better roads. Instead, it sets its goals
high placing hope entirely on
creating a new urban space
consisting of hot spots, continuous
and seamless wifi access, sensors
which alert you about impending
traffic jams or tell you how to curtail
water wastage and bring every
household onto a smart e-grid. It
hopes to leverage and mobilise
technology to improve energy
management, clear congestion,
allocate scarce resources wisely,
provide Internet connectivity and
infrastructure to enable ease of
access and movement. Sometimes, a
few other desirables have been
thrown in such as healthcare and
good governance.
This technobabble about our
collective future is not very different
from the dreams which other
technologies once generated. In the
1960s, when we were young and
stupidly enamoured of what
electricity could achieve, the most
popular room at the Visvesvaraya
Industrial and Technological Museum
in Bangalore was the Room of the
Future, whose door would open with
a mere hello. Appropriate lights and
music would turn on as you entered
and settled down. That Ideal Home,
in what was then a Non Fan Station
(Army classification for cool cities like
Bangalore), was a dreamlike space,
but no one seriously believed they
would be part of anybodys real
experience. But that was before the
remote control was even dreamed of.
As Bangalore moved away from its
exalted Non Fan status, new dreams
were spun out of the marvels of city

represented by Singapore. At the
end of the last millennium, the
Karnataka Chief Minister even
pragmatically promised strips of
Singapore despairing at the
hurdles in India posed by
democracy. Meanwhile, IT giants who
made Bangalore their home spoke of
building a home where no buffaloes
roam a la Santa Clara, California, with
Narayana Murthy, the CEO of Infosys,
as the Mayor.
Though we dont have a smart
city yet in India, a 100 of them have
been provided for in the latest
budget, following the model of
Gujarats Dholera. Gujarats Dholera,
which is stoutly being resisted by
you guessed right those who will
be dispossessed, we see many real
estate companies occupying the
Internet with their offers of
smartness. The enchantment with
smart cities, which began with the
previous Finance Minister, was
significant enough to be made a part
of the 12th Five Year Plan. Needless
to say, such ambitious technological
visions involve huge finances, and
once more, predictably, the mere
thought of the quick millions to be
made in building these dreams is
leading many companies, not to say
governments such as that of
Singapore, to salivate.
Is the smart city the one size
fits all solution to the myriad
problems that plague the cities and
towns of the subcontinent? One
quickly realises that it is not; rather,
the smart city will evade the
intolerable strains on public and
private life posed by the
ungovernable Indian city. In order to
do this, smart cities will design a
new future for their inhabitants:
greenfield sites will be made to
ensure the homogeneity of its
population. It is a scaling up of the
gated community concept to the
city level.
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The dream of the smart city is
a morally and socially indefensible
one in a deeply segmented and
hierarchical society like ours, in which
the quest for meeting the basic needs
of its citizens, even decades after
independence, has been all but
abandoned. The pursuit of smartness
is merely another name for a
technological escape from our
bewildering and taxing social milieu.
Meanwhile, emboldened no doubt
by the success of many privately built
gated communities, the Sanathana
Dharama Parirakshana Trust from
Sringeri has taken the pursuit of
smartness to new heights. On offer at
a site about 40 kilometres from
Bangalore is the first exclusively
Brahmin community township, a
vedic village no less, with a temple
complex, a Veda Pathasala, Goshala,
alternative medicine centre, etc.
Houses curving around the
auspicious symbol of Om will ensure
its inhabitants protection from the
rough and tumble of Indian
Curbing capitation fee

What has been accepted in

principle often defies attempts to put
it into practice. The abolition of
capitation fees in education is one
such phenomenon. Banned by law
in many States and by the Supreme
Court through a judgment in 2003,
the collection of capitation fees
remains a hard reality, as a twojudge Bench of the Supreme Court
put it last week. In yet another attempt
to curb the menace, the Bench has
asked former Union Minister and
senior advocate Salman Khurshid to
study the issue in depth and suggest
an appropriate mechanism by which
it can be effectively stopped. In this,
he will have the assistance of the
governments of Karnataka, Tamil
Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and
Maharashtra in the form of provision
of information and data on
complaints. The issue has arisen in the

course of proceedings related to the

fixation of fee by committees in
different States. The practice of
collecting capitation fee has for many
years dominated the discourse on
education, along with related issues
such as the right of minority
communities to administer
educational institutions and the
fixation of an equitable fee structure,
especially for professional courses.
The Supreme Court called it illegal in
Mohini Jain vs. Karnataka (1992),
while in Unnikrishnan J.P. vs. Andhra
Pradesh (1993) it questioned the idea
of imparting of education being
treated as a trade. Finally, in Islamic
Academy of Education (2003), the
court placed a complete ban on
capitation fees.
The general thinking of courts
since then has been that while
educational institutions are entitled
to a surplus of funds that could be
used for further expansion and
provision of facilities, they should not
indulge in profiteering. However,
despite judicial opinion and the law
standing in their way, private
institutions, especially those offering
engineering and medical courses,
have been collecting huge sums as
capitation fees. Anecdotal evidence
suggests that an MBBS seat cannot
be bought for anything less than Rs.40
lakh, with the sum topping the onecrore mark for post-graduate
specialities. With tens of thousands
of engineering seats remaining
vacant, it may appear that this stream
will be free of the menace, but the
truth is that some engineering
institutions and courses continue to
command significant revenue
potential. The reason is not hard to
find: parents and students are ready
to pay fabulous sums for the coveted
degree, considering it to be a
necessary evil. The Khurshid
Committee, while studying the issue,
will perhaps need to address this
aspect. The education sector has

emerged as a significant generator of

unaccounted money, as a recent
report on black money points out. No
law, however stringent, can be made
effective unless the targeted
illegality attracts public odium.
The Javelin challenge

The irony in India-United

States relations is that all the right
things are said about them, and all
the wrong things done. So while the
two countries are said to be bound
by virtue of being the worlds
largest democracy and the worlds
oldest democracy, a line unfailingly
included in the speech of every
visiting dignitary from the U.S., the
reality is a big drift in bilateral ties. As
the time nears for Prime Minister
Narendra Modis visit to the White
House in September, there is an
apparent effort to ensure that his
talks with President Barack Obama
are productive. The pressure has
grown on Washington to show it
wants to take bilateral ties forward
under Prime Minister Modi, who it
had blacklisted while he was Gujarat
Chief Minister over the 2002 riots.
The latest endeavour came from U.S.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel,
who arrived in New Delhi shortly
after Secretary of State John Kerry.
After his meetings with Mr. Modi,
External Affairs Minister Sushma
Swaraj and Finance and Defence
Minister Arun Jaitley, Mr. Hagel
pronounced himself convinced that
the two sides can transform our
potential into results. The main
focus of his meetings was
cooperation in the defence sector.
India is the worlds largest importer
of arms, and also among the biggest
buyers of U.S. materiel. Since 2008,
New Delhi has bought U.S. defence
equipment worth nearly $10 billion
and has been pushing for transfer of
technology to manufacture those
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weapons here. Mr. Hagel appeared
to concur, saying the way to
transform defence ties would be to
move from simply buying and selling
to co-production, co-development,
and freer exchange of technology.
Declarations apart, the U.S. has
a reputation for not being very
reliable on precisely this aspect of its
military partnerships. No agreements
were announced during Mr. Hagels
visit. The two sides, however, agreed
to activate their stillborn 2012
Defense Trade and Technology
Initiative. Mr. Hagel is said to have
discussed a pilot plan to coproduce and co-develop the Javelin
anti-tank missile, manufactured by
Raytheon-Lockheed Martin. A team
from the company had visited India
some years ago, but drew the line at
transferring technology to enable the
system to be built locally. It is unclear
if New Delhis recent decision to
increase the FDI limit in defence
production from 26 to 49 per cent
will be a game-changer. The limited
hike has not received an effusive
welcome from weapons contractors.
A deal on the Javelin would be far
dearer than the Spike, the Israeli
alternative the Army has extensively
tested and liked. Still, Mr. Hagels offer
should be put to the test, to check if
the U.S. is serious about taking its
military partnership with India to a
higher level.
Space history made

After travelling a distance of 6.4

billion kilometres since it was
launched in March 2004, Rosetta
made space history on August 6 when
it became the first spacecraft to
rendezvous with a comet 67P/
Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a 4.5-kmlong object. The craft, which is at an
altitude of about 100 km, will in the
next couple of months move closer
to 67P till it is about 4 km above its
surface. At this altitude, the next
biggest challenge will be to ensure

that the lander, Philae, to be

airdropped from Rosetta, lands safely
on the comet. The identification of a
smooth landing site to deploy the
lander in November was not done in
advance as little information was
available about the nature of the
terrain. Images collected by the craft
from a distance of 285 km from the
comet have suggested a ragged
surface marked by sharp-edged
structures with precipitous cliffs. It
remains to be seen if the smooth
areas seen from that height are indeed
smooth when better-resolution
pictures become available as the
Rosetta gets closer. Unlike the
Curiosity rover that is moving freely
on Mars, Philae, with an array of
instruments, would be anchored to
the surface. Rosetta has already
changed our understanding of 67Ps
shape it appears as a doublelobed structure with a neck
connecting the two. It could have
either been formed by the fusion of
two comets or by differential erosion
at the spot that now forms the neck.
Comets are primitive objects
formed from debris left over when
the Solar System was formed around
4.6 billion years ago. They retain
primordial secrets the gas, dust and
organic molecules since they were
created. Hence, information
garnered from 67P can unlock many
secrets about the birth and evolution
of the Solar System and the origin of
water and life on Earth. It is believed
that comets had seeded Earth with
water and carbon-containing
molecules, particularly amino acids
that are the building blocks of life. By
studying materials lying 20 cm below
the comets surface, Philae is
expected to provide vital information
about organic materials that are
securely locked and cannot be
studied from Earth. Since life on earth
is comprised exclusively of lefthanded amino acids, the
predominance of such molecules

in 67P would strengthen the

possibility of comets role in seeding
life on the planet of humans. Another
important study is the assessment of
the ratio of normal to heavy water
(where one of the two normal
hydrogen atoms has been replaced
by the heavy hydrogen isotope
deuterium) to ascertain if the comets
ice signature matches that of water
on Earth. A few years ago, the Hartley
2 comet was found to have the same
signature as water; none of the other
comets studied before had a similar
Food security
and Rodriks trilemma

The Princeton don Dani Rodrik

is one of the worlds leading
economists. He is a firm believer in
and supporter of globalisation.
However, he has also posed a
famous globalisation trilemma. A
trilemma describes a situation where
only two of three things can hold true
at the same time. If any two out of
three conditions prevail, the third
cannot. Thus, according to Rodrik,
economic globalisation, political
determination are mutually
irreconcilable. We can have at most
two at one time. Democracy is
compatible with national sovereignty
only if we restrict globalisation. If we
push for globalisation while retaining
the nation state, we must jettison
democracy. And if we want
democracy along with globalisation,
we must shove the nation state aside
and strive for greater international
As Rodrik argues, if we want to
deepen both economic globalisation
and political democracy, we would
require global institutions that are
truly democratic, which respond to
legitimate demands, the very basic
needs of world citizens that is
governance at a global level. Since
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such a global political community is
as yet a distant, quite unrealisable
dream, we have to accept the
sovereignty of nation states
responding to the demands of their
citizens. That is if we respect the
democratic ideal.
What the government has
shown is that it is unwilling to sacrifice
the basic requirements for food
security of the Indian people at the
altar of what Rodrik terms
hyperglobalisation. The needs and
rights of the Indian people must
always come first for a democratically
elected regime and the Modi
government is to be congratulated for
affirming its commitment in this
regard, despite the humongous
pressure it was placed under, both
by lobbies within India and powers
abroad. Sacrificing the national
agenda of food security for the sake
of an even deeper globalisation is not
an option for a sovereign government
of India.
demonstrates something even more
important. He suggests that reempowering national democracies
places the world economy on a
stronger footing. Developing strong
markets and open economies
requires more government, not less.
He says, Markets need to be
embedded in institutions of
collective deliberation and social
choice. Weakening democracy in the
quest for deeper globalisation is one
of the worst bargains we could strike.
Building on the work of David
Cameron (the Yale political scientist,
not to be confused with the British
Prime Minister), Rodrik shows that
contrary to popular expectation,
governments have grown the largest
in those economies that are the most
exposed to international markets. And
after testing out a number of possible
alternative explanations for this
counter-intuitive result, Rodrik finally
concludes that this is because in

highly globalised nations, citizens

demand that their governments
compensate them against the risk that
international economic forces
expose them to.
I would suggest that there is
no better way to understand Indias
position at the WTO negotiations. Let
us first highlight two outstanding
facts about the situation regarding
food subsidies and the WTO. One,
that the U.S. and the European Union
currently provide four to ten times
the agricultural subsidy per person
compared to that provided by India.
And two, that India faces a real crisis
of hunger and malnutrition among a
very large number of its people. In
such a situation, it is only natural that
a sovereign democratically elected
government will seek to protect the
interests of its citizens, rather than
be subject to palpably unfair trade
Let me explain why I call the
agreements unfair. There are two
decisions that have proved
contentious here: the Ministerial
Decision for an agreement on trade
facilitation (TFA) and the Ministerial
Decision on public stockholding for
food security purposes. India has
refused to sign the TFA in the
absence of a permanent solution
on subsidies on account of public
stockholding for food security
purposes. This is at the heart of
Indias entire architecture of food
security built up over the last four
decades, which includes the system
of procurement from and assurance
of minimum support prices (MSP) to
its farmers and the public
distribution system (PDS),
culminating in the recently passed
Food Security Act.
The present WTO ceiling on
domestic support is pegged at a
mere 10 per cent of the value of

production, which is itself calculated

at fixed reference prices of the
1986-88 period. This is ridiculously
low, and unrealistic and unfair, not
just to India but to many other
nations with a large farm sector. It
may be useful here to remember that
despite all the efforts to move
people to urban areas and away
from agriculture, the latest United
Nations population estimates show
that even in the year 2050, around
800 million Indians will continue to
live in rural areas. No democratically
government of India can afford to
ignore the interests of these people,
especially given the vulnerability of
farming, deeply aggravated by the
newly emerging context of climate
change. More than 80 per cent of
Indias cultivators are small and
marginal farmers, who grow crops on
less than 5 acres of land. They face
increasing challenges of water and
livelihood security and need
continued government support to
enable them to earn a sustainable
income. This support that we need
to provide our farmers cannot be
given within the limits set by the
WTO agreements.
What is much more surprising is
the kind of media furore that the
Indian governments position has
evoked. This can only be seen as a
reflection of the way in which the
discourse on free market
fundamentalism has acquired a
dominant position over the last 20
years. A deeper reflection on
Rodriks trilemma would hopefully
disabuse many people, who assume
that any and all steps towards the
free market are an unmixed blessing
in themselves, forgetting that robust
structures of governance are
essential to the functioning and
legitimacy of the market mechanism
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in all capitalist democracies,
including the most advanced among
Mr. Modis river disconnect

Since taking office, Prime

Minister Narendra Modi has been
busy outlining just how exactly he will
make the acche din (good days) roll
in for India and Indians. And central
to the governments vision of a
sujalam suphalam mataram is the river
interlinking project. The interlinking
project aims to link Indias rivers by a
network of reservoirs and canals that
will allow for their water capacities
to be shared and redistributed. This,
its votaries claim, is an engineered
panacea that will reduce persistent
floods in some parts and water
shortages in other parts besides
facilitating the generation of
hydroelectricity for an increasingly
power hungry country.
While the interlinking project
may be one of the flagships of Mr.
Modis acche din, its provenance
goes all the way back to the British
Raj. One of its first proponents was
the British engineer, Arthur Cotton
who suggested linking the Ganga
and the Cauvery for purposes of
navigation. Cottons proposal was
shelved but the plan to connect
rivers has come up repeatedly in
post-independence India. Since the
1980s, the interlinking project has
been managed by Indias National
Water Development Agency
(NWDA) under the Ministry of Water
Resources. It has been split into three
parts: a northern Himalayan rivers
interlink component, a southern
peninsular component and an intraState rivers linking component. The
NWDA has studied and prepared
reports on 14 projects for the
Himalayan region, 16 projects for the
peninsular India component and 36
intra-State river interlinking projects.
While several governments have

toyed with the idea before shelving

it (including the Atal Bihari
Vajpayee-led National Democratic
Alliance), Mr. Modi seems all set to
go ahead with it. Ms. Uma Bharati,
the Union Minister for Water
Resources, River Development and
Ganga Rejuvenation, has informed
the Lok Sabha that three interlinking
projects the Ken-Betwa link, the
Damanganga-Pinjal link and the ParTapi-Narmada link are set to takeoff.
But the most crucial questions
about these projects remain
unanswered. Will the interlinking
project really be the magic wand to
reduce water scarcity as is being
claimed? Whose experiences of
scarcity and struggles for livelihood
will it resolve? And what will be the
financial and, most importantly, the
ecological costs of that process? For
example, the Ken-Betwa river link is
currently set to benefit the States of
Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
The cost of the project, budgeted at
over Rs.9,000 crore, is expected to
transfer surplus water from the Ken
to the Betwa basin through a 221kilometre long canal. But theres
more to the cost than meets the
accounting eye. It will also result in
the flooding of 8,650 hectares of
forestland, including a part of the
Panna National Park in Madhya
Pradesh. For some, drowning a few
tigers here and there does not seem
much of a price to pay for more
water and more electricity, but what
of the communities who depend on
these lands for their livelihoods? Of
course there is that old logic that
people must be displaced for the
greater good of the country, but
would the lives of these people get
magically transformed for the better
after they have been resettled?
Perhaps the question to ask then is

whose thirst for water will be

quenched by this process. Or, must
the more vulnerable sections of the
Indian population subsidise the rich
and powerful once again?
The interlinking project offers
us an expansive view of how
championed by the Narendra Modi
government, can be ecologically
and socially disastrous. For, at the
heart of the project lies a
technocratic fantasy of ending water
scarcity through the power of
hydraulic engineering. Writing about
water scarcity in Kutch, Gujarat, Lyla
Mehta has shown how water scarcity
is often portrayed as something that
is natural, rather than humanly
produced. She raises the rather
crucial point that the naturalisation of
scarcity within political discourse
mostly benefits powerful actors and
mega projects; that the water
scarcity crisis must also be seen as a
crisis of unequal access to and
control of a finite resource. Purely
technological solutions like the
interlinking project are myopic
precisely because they do not
adequately study, understand or
prioritise the socio-economic and
long-term well-being of those
families Project Affected
Peoples, as the Ministry of Rural
Development calls them who are
affected by these mega projects. Is
the crisis of water scarcity and
livelihood in contemporary India
about to be solved for landless
farmers, tribal communities and
seasonal labourers or is it only going
to benefit the consumptive desires
of elite and middle class families?
In South India, an environmental
impact study by the Centre for Water
Resources and Distribution
Management (CWRDM) claims that
the State of Kerala has several reasons
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to oppose the Pampa-AchankovilVaipar interlinking project aimed at
diverting water to the water-starved
Vaipar basin in Tamil Nadu. The study
claims that the interlinking project is
based on false data provided by the
NWDA. Instead of there being
surplus water in the Pampa and the
Achankovil rivers, as claimed by the
NWDA, in reality both rivers are
water-deficient. The study further
claims that the link will have
detrimental effects on rice cultivation
in northern Keralas Kuttanad region,
and could potentially create an
ecological disaster for both the
Vembanad wetland system and the
biodiversity of the Western Ghats. It
is no wonder then that Ms. Maneka
Gandhi, a Union Minister in Mr. Modis
cabinet, has stated that Indias riverlinking projects are extremely
dangerous, and will end up killing the
very rivers that they seek to link.
Doing more on climate

Climate change talks are

poised at a critical stage before the
Conference of Parties meets in Paris
in 2015 to finalise a new treaty, and
Indias alliances with developing
countries assume significance at this
point. Environment Minister Prakash
Javadekar has been stressing on
funds from the first world for the
Green Climate Fund (GCF) and also
on scaling up targets in the second
commitment period of the Kyoto
Protocol and its quick ratification. In
line with this, the recent BASIC
(Brazil South Africa India China)
ministerial meeting has once again
called on the developed countries
to walk the talk on funding and
emission cuts, but going by past
experience some advanced
countries are not going to abide by
this. Already Japan and Australia
have scaled back their promises on
emission cuts, and funds for
technology transfer, adaptation and

mitigation are nowhere in sight. The

BASIC meet did not throw up any
new thought or action plan and
reiterated what the developing
countries have tried to do for the last
20 years. As a pressure bloc, BASIC
despite its cloak of togetherness
seems a divided house, and it is
perceived by some to be losing its
significance in terms of climate talks.
Differences in BASIC on various
issues have prompted India to side
more strongly with yet another group
called the Like Minded Developing
Countries (LMDCs), which is
expected to meet soon.
While countries such as the
United States are not even signatories
to the Kyoto Protocol, there is a real
danger that more first world nations
will renege on their historical
responsibility to fund capacitybuilding and other critical measures
in the developing countries vis--vis
climate change. Now more than ever,
there is a need for India to emphasise
along with other countries the need
for strong commitments on emission
reduction and operationalising the
GCF. India has already announced a
voluntary mitigation goal of reducing
the emissions intensity of its GDP by
20-25 per cent over 2005 levels by
2020, but it also needs to review its
commitments and, like the rest of the
world, do more. The BASIC meet
stressed that the 2015 outcome in
Paris should be comprehensive,
balanced, equitable and fair but
so far nothing has been fair in the
climate negotiations. One of the
BASIC countries, China, has emerged
as a major emitter, and despite its
emphasis on alternative energy and
mitigation it still relies heavily on coal
for energy. With little commitment to
emission cuts or funding adaptation
and technology transfer in the poorer
countries, the world is moving
towards a new climate treaty which
seems fraught with contention

already. In this light, Indias role and

alliances, and its emphasis on equity
and common but differentiated
responsibilities, could be a gamechanger.
Young and jobless in India

The Census data released

recently show that unemployment in
the country, especially among the
youth, is very high, averaging nearly
20 per cent for the age group of 1524 years. In some States like
Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West
Bengal, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh
and Jammu and Kashmir, the
unemployment rate is above 25 per
cent. Prosperous States like Punjab,
Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra
have averages that are less than half
Demographic dividend in the
country is not being appropriately
used and there is a need to revisit the
demographic policy so as to tap
benefits from the youth.
There is also a larger issue of
devising a demographic policy to
separately meet the requirements of
the young, middle-aged and older
segment of the population. The
reason for unemployment could be
the lack of employment because of
the quality of education or lack of
opportunities. India has more than
71,000 pre-degree colleges and
senior secondary schools, 25,938
colleges for professional educational
and 436 universities. These are in
addition to the nearly 14 lakh schools
in the country for a population of 25
crore children in the age group of 514 years. Hence, given the number
of educational institutions, there is a
need to improve the quality of
education by ushering in
competition, by probably inviting
foreign universities to set up
campuses in India.
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Employment creation is a
function of economic growth,
capital investment and infrastructure.
As the process involves a long
gestation period, one practical way
could be to train our youth for
employment opportunities abroad.
India already has a strong outflow of
migrants of which two-thirds migrate
to the Gulf countries, 13 per cent
migrate to North America while Asian
countries, other than Persian Gulf,
absorb about 10 percent. In contrast,
fast-ageing Europe attracts less than
3 per cent of migrants but offers
excellent opportunities for high and
medium-skilled labour, especially in
Italy, Germany, Poland and France.
These opportunities need to be
availed of the near future by
appropriate manpower planning. In
recent years, migration to countries
like Spain, Switzerland, Italy and the
U.K. has increased but not in
significant numbers to Germany,
France and Poland. In fact, the flow
of migrants to countries like Portugal
and Austria declined in the last
decade. These countries need
immigrants as the native population in
many of these countries is shrinking,
given the low birth rate averaging 1.6
births per woman against the
replacement rate of 2.1. In countries
like Germany, Spain, Italy, and
Poland, the birth rate is less than 1.5
births per woman and these
countries depend on immigrants.
According to official statistics,
consequent to ageing, one-third
Europeans would be above 65 years
of age by 2060. Consequently,
migration to Europe is expected to
increase significantly by 2020 1
million in Germany, 1.1 million in
Spain, 1.3 million in Poland, 1.4
million in the U.K., and 2.1 million in
France. Further, migration is
expected to add up to 60 million

people in Europe by 2060.

In view of the fact that Indians
migrate to the West in large numbers,
the need is to ensure that they are
suitably skilled. The plight of most
illiterate and non-skilled migrants,
generally illegal migrants, is pitiable.
To equip them with suitable skills,
cooperation from countries which
are seeking immigrants can be
sought. The Ministry of Overseas
Indian Affairs can explore guided
migration agreements, bilateral with
each of the countries in Europe and
multilateral with the Euro area to
educate and prepare migrants for the
destination countries. The universities
from these countries can be invited
to India to train our youth in soft skills
and necessary professional activities.
Such well-trained migrants would
serve two important functions: they
would serve as brand ambassadors
of the country and as a rich source of
There is one silent segment of
the population, the elderly, which
gets neglected in most of the policies
of the government. There are more
than 11 crore elderly people in India
who are above the age of 60 years
generally women who are in
urgent need of care, as nearly 90 per
cent of them who are associated with
the unorganised sector are not
included in any sustainable social
security programme. While some
three crore elderly people who are
under the below poverty line
category get about Rs. 500 as old age
pension, the remaining eight crore
have to fend for themselves. In view
of the weak and inadequate public
healthcare system, they have limited
access to medical services, many
research studies have discovered. In
contrast to many countries in Europe
where age-related expenditure on
health and care is 8-10 per cent of
GDP, it is less than 1 per cent in India.
Some simple initiatives to help the
elderly could include granting

respectable amounts of universal

pension and universal insurance to
help them live with dignity. The
universal pension could increase with
age, especially for women.
Finally, there is a need to
address two things in connection
with changing demographics in India
a need to have a think tank to study
the problems of the elderly and agerelated financial economics and a
need to develop the science of
medical gerontology, an area which
is neglected in the country.
Unshackling Prasar Bharati

No government has so far

shown the will to grant full financial
and administrative autonomy to
Prasar Bharati, which was created by
law in 1997. On paper an
autonomous organisation, it largely
remains a subordinate office of the
Ministry of Information and
Broadcasting. The question of Prasar
Bharatis autonomy has surfaced
again, with its Chief Executive
Officer, Jawahar Sircar, writing to the
Ministry protesting against the
broadcaster having little say in its
own functioning. He has contended
that his suggestions on the posting
and transfer of Indian Information
Service officers in the news divisions
of Akashvani and Doordarshan have
been ignored. With electronic media
exponentially in recent years, it may
sound strange that there should be
any debate now on the autonomy of
public broadcasters in the country.
However, it cannot be denied that
public service broadcasting remains
relevant because All India Radio and
Doordarshan have the widest
geographical spread in terms of
coverage. To a large extent, its radio
and television wings have been
served by competent professionals,
but the impression of government
control remains strong. Their cultural
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programmes have been of high
quality but news programming,
though free of sensationalism, is
often seen as dull and hackneyed.
Conferring administrative
autonomy in such a manner that its
professional head has the final
authority in the recruitment and
deployment of personnel in the news
division will have to be a key aspect
of reforming the institution. Several
committees have looked into aspects
of Prasar Bharatis autonomy, but
there has been very little headway in
putting into practice the ideal of
keeping the government at arms
length. The first step, as noted by the
latest panel, the Sam Pitroda
Committee, is to start seeing Prasar
Bharati as a public broadcaster
rather than as a government
broadcaster. It should be run as a
professionally managed body, and its
oversight handed over, as the panel
recommended, to a dedicated
parliamentary committee. The
corporation is now monitored by the
parliamentary committee on
Information Technology. Further, it
has often been noted that the vast
assets owned by AIR and
Doordarshan are still under
government control and it is time
these were transferred to Prasar
Bharati. The new government would
do well to deliver on its intention to
strengthen its editorial independence
as well as its accountability on the
lines of globally renowned public
broadcasters. Amidst the changing
dissemination and consumption,
public media institutions should not
suffer from bureaucratic control, but
instead have infusion of skills,
technology and autonomy.
A fatally flawed commission

Both Houses of Parliament

almost unanimously passed, and with
inexplicable haste, two laws that
seek to abolish the collegium system

and replace it with a National

Judicial Appointments Commission
(NJAC). There was very little debate
and it was clear that Members of
Parliament were determined to cut
the Supreme Court to size. One
would have expected that such
momentous changes would have
been referred to a select committee
to consider suggestions and
objections of eminent lawyers and
various Bar Associations. The
Constitution (99th Amendment) Bill,
2014 and the National Judicial
Appointment Commission Act, 2014
are both seriously flawed and
contrary to elementary principles of
constitutional law. Both laws will also
be wholly unworkable in practice.
The net result is that a flawed but
workable collegium system will now
be replaced by an even more flawed
and wholly unworkable Commission
The 99th amendment to the
Constitution inserts three new Articles
124A, 124B, and 124C and also
amends several other Articles under
the ostensible objective of providing
a meaningful role to the judiciary,
executive and eminent persons to
present their viewpoints and make
the participants accountable while
also introducing transparency in the
selection. But the amendments
actually contain nothing to ensure
either accountability or transparency.
The fatal flaw is the failure to
give supremacy to the views of the
judges in the selection process.
Under Article 124A, the NJAC has six
members of whom three are judges
the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and
two seniormost judges. The
remaining three are the Union Law
Minister and two eminent persons
who are to be appointed by the Prime
Minister, the Leader of the
Opposition and the CJI. In the Madras
Bar Association case, a Constitution

Bench of the Supreme Court held

that a selection committee to select
members for the National Company
Law Tribunal (NCLT) must have an
equal number of judges and civil
servants (Secretaries) with a casting
vote to the nominee of the CJI who is
the chairperson of that committee. If
the views of the judges have to
prevail in selecting members to a
Tribunal, it is impermissible that they
will not prevail while appointing
Supreme Court and High Court
judges. The National Judicial
Commission that was suggested by
the Venkatachaliah Committee was a
five-member body consisting of three
seniormost Supreme Court judges,
the Union Minister and one eminent
Article 124C is most sinister and
enables Parliament to empower the
commission to make regulations for
selecting judges and for other
matters. Thus, constitutional
provisions and safeguards can easily
be thwarted by regulations framed
by the commission. About 70 Acts
prescribe the appointment of
eminent persons and 65 of them
require specialised knowledge. For
example, the eminent person under
the Biodiversity Act has to be eminent
in the field of conservation and
sustainable use of biological diversity.
Shockingly, there is no requirement
that the eminent persons on the
commission should have any
knowledge of law.
This small Act, with just 14
sections, effectively creates a fulltime commission with its own staff
and regulations. The commission will
now totally control the appointment
of Supreme Court and High Court
judges, Chief Justices of High Courts,
the transfer of judges and even the
continuance of retired High Court
judges under Article 224A. The
NJAC Act is clearly unconstitutional.
While Article 124(3) of the
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Constitution prescribes the minimum
requirement of a person to be
eligible to be appointed as a
Supreme Court judge, Section 5(2)
of the NJAC Act, 2014 can now
prescribe any other criteria of
suitability as may be prescribed by
the regulations. Similarly, additional
criteria not mentioned in the
Constitution can be added for High
Court judges. We now have an
absurd situation where the eligibility
of Supreme Court and High Court
judges will be determined not just
by the Constitution but by
regulations of the Commission.
For the appointment of High
Court judges, the NJAC Act, 2014
also requires the views of the
Governor and Chief Minister to be
given in writing and as prescribed
by the regulations. But the Act is
silent as to what happens if the
Governor or Chief Minister or both
object. It is now mandatory that
eminent advocates are consulted
while appointing High Court judges.
Who are the eminent advocates?
Well, that will also be prescribed by
the regulations.
The 20-year-old collegium
system has been severely criticised
even by Supreme Court judges who
were members of the collegium. The
main allegation is that there is a total
lack of transparency. Members of the
Supreme Court collegium have also
been accused of exploiting their
power to appoint their close
relatives or particular lawyers as High
Court judges. Similarly, personal
animosity has resulted in the delay or
denial of appointments to the
Supreme Court. Undoubtedly, the
collegium system has its failings. But
we cannot forget the manipulation
and humiliation of the judiciary at
the hands of political leaders that
eventually led to the collegium

system. The controversial Justice

Markandey Katju refused to give in
to political pressure and it was the
collegium system and a public
interest litigation that led to the
appointment of 17 competent
judges to the Madras High Court.
In the end, the NJAC will
destroy the independence of the
judiciary. The involvement of the Law
Minister, the leader of the
Opposition, the Governors and Chief
Ministers in the appointment of High
Court judges will inevitably lead to
serious political manipulation. In
1973, Indira Gandhi struck a major
blow to judicial independence by
the shameful supersession of judges.
Forty years later, Parliament has
thoughtlessly created a Commission
that the nation will deeply regret. For
the judiciary at least, acche din may
soon be over.
An ambitious plan for inclusion

The Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan

Yojana, a major socio-economic
initiative of the National Democratic
announced by the Prime Minister in
his Independence Day speech. It is
an ambitious attempt at extending
formal financial services in a country
where only 58.7 per cent of an
estimated 24.67 crore households
avail themselves of banking services.
Despite several steps taken by many
governments over the years, financial
inclusion has remained elusive. In
rural areas 44 per cent of the
households and in urban areas 33 per
cent of them still do not have a bank
account. The NDA government has
brought a degree of urgency to the
scheme of financial inclusion. A few
details of the governments action
plan figured in the budget speech.
A Comprehensive Financial Inclusion
Plan (CFIP) envisaging coverage of
excluded households has been
drawn up and is expected to be
rolled out under the nomenclature.

In its first phase, the Jan-Dhan Yojana

will endeavour to provide universal
access to all the beneficiaries through
sub-service areas (SSA), each of them
consisting of 100-150 families in a
cluster of villages. Each SSA will be
correspondent, who is now being
given a pivotal role in facilitating
account opening and ensuring
smooth bank operations. Unlike in
previous action plans, the Jan-Dhan
Yojana will have as its focus
households rather than geographical
The other important innovation
is in extending need-based credit
facilities to the new account holders
upon their fulfilling certain
conditions. A smart card the Ru
Pay card will be issued. Using this
it should be possible for customers
to operate their accounts without any
external help. This would be one of
the most visible manifestations of
technology as a tool to further
inclusion, others being money
transfers through mobile telephones,
e-KYCs and cash management by
banks to extend their services over
such wide areas. Insurance
companies will be asked to offer
micro-finance packages including
insurance. Obviously there are major
challenges. Even if operational
obstacles can be overcome, there is
the important question of keeping the
first-time bank account holders
engaged. Experience suggests that
a high proportion of such accounts
are hardly used after the initial
enthusiasm wears off. The plan of
inclusion, which is part of the Prime
Ministers vision of a Digital India,
requires all-round support. The
government wants to use these
accounts for routing cash transfers in
lieu of subsidies for essential
commodities. Financial inclusion in
that sense is therefore much more
than extending banking services.
Accompanied by an equally
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ambitious programme of spreading
financial literacy, it can achieve many
The foreign policy report card

The 100-day honeymoon of the

National Democratic Alliance (NDA)
government will soon be at an end.
Despite pressing challenges at home,
external engagements have
encroached on the governments time
and attention. The calendar has been
packed with visits, meetings and
negotiations. What has all this added
up to? It is perhaps too soon to try
and discern a distinctive Modi
doctrine. But the wider arc of foreign
and strategic policy is gradually
coming into focus. The governments
early initiatives have been stamped
with the Prime Ministers style, yet the
real challenges lie ahead.
Lets start with South Asia. From
the outset, Mr. Modi has sought to
accord the highest priority to Indias
immediate neighbourhood. The
decision to invite for his swearing-in,
leaders of the South Asian Association
for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
countries showed a subtle grasp of
the importance of gestures and
interpersonal equations in diplomacy.
The subsequent visits to Bhutan and
Nepal underscored his ability to
project Indias leadership in the
region without a hint of
condescension. In his speeches, Mr.
Modi has outlined a generous vision
of shared regional prosperity.
For one thing, India has
struggled to evolve a sustainable
policy of engagement with Pakistan
one that is insulated from the
pressures of predictable events. After
a promising start, the governments
approach to Pakistan seems to be
spluttering. Take the decision to
cancel the Foreign Secretarys visit
to Islamabad. The government may
be rightly miffed at Pakistan for
meeting the Hurriyat leaders despite
being warned of Indias displeasure.

But it is not clear why a redline should

have been drawn on this issue. At a
time when the civilian government in
Pakistan is on the back foot, New
Delhis digging in of its heels will only
comfort the military.
A related issue is that our
policy towards neighbours is pulled
in different directions by the
concerns and interests of various
stakeholders in the government.
Think only of the deleterious role of
our intelligence agencies in Nepal or
the stonewalling of the Army on the
Siachen glacier. Equally problematic
is New Delhis unwillingness to
meaningfully engage the States in
fashioning regional policy. If
anything, they tend to be seen as
thwarting the governments policy
an attitude that has created
considerable problems in the past.
Finally, nothing has hurt Indias
claims to regional leadership as
much as its inability to make good on
promises. The largesse of our lines of
credit is simply not matched by a
capacity to complete projects.
Redressing these problems is critical
if India is to retain the goodwill
flowing from the shift in rhetorical
The extended neighbourhood has posed more of a challenge
to the government. West Asia has
been wracked by a series of crises
that could potentially undermine
Indian interests in the region. The
government was energetic in
organising the rescue of Indian
nationals from Iraq. Yet, it is not clear
that New Delhi has come to grips
with the waves of change washing
over West Asia. Nor is there any
indication that it is looking beyond
short-term measures such as the
evacuation of Indians from hot spots.
This will be unsustainable if the crisis
escalates and spreads. There are

nearly seven million Indians living in

the Gulf region: almost 7,00,000
workers migrate to the Gulf every
year. Evacuating even a fraction of
these numbers will be nigh
impossible. Never mind the
attendant problem of resettlement.
Indias interests in West Asia
can best be secured by carving out
a larger role in the geopolitics of the
region. This may be an
unprecedented opportunity to do
so. On the one hand, the ongoing
crises are rapidly corroding longstanding
configurations of power. On the
other hand, India has equities with
several regional players who are
arrayed against one another. At a
time when India could expand and
cement its influence, the
government has not shown a sure
Nowhere was this clearer than
in the response to the crisis in Gaza.
The political predilection for Israel
was evident in the stance initially
taken by the government. This not
only equated Israel and the
Palestinians but used stronger
language against the latter. The
subsequent vote against Israel in the
Human Rights Council was a course
correction, but only served to
highlight the lack of a clear strategic
assessment. To be sure, India does
have an important relationship with
Israel. However, this had to be
weighed not against some abstract
notion of solidarity with the
Palestinians but our wider regional
standing and interests in a time of
crisis and far-reaching change.
Strategic dithering will hardly help
win friends and influence people.
On the wider, global stage, the
government has been more attuned
to Indias interests. New Delhi has
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sought to steer clear of the reemerging rivalry between Russia and
the United States. It is also keen to
strike a balance in its ties with Japan
and China. Mr. Modi has indicated
that Indias dealings with each of the
great powers will be conditioned by
the interests at play and not
coloured by the perceptions of
others. This is a long-standing
principle of Indian foreign policy
going right back to Jawaharlal Nehru.
The problem, of course, is that issues
Consider the recent World
Trade Organization (WTO)
negotiations. Despite American
attempts at cajoling and arm-twisting,
the government took a strong stance
to preserve subsidies for farmers. Mr.
Modi observed that his government
was not playing for brownie points.
Indeed, the governments position
and rhetoric were tougher than
those of the United Progressive
Alliance (UPA) government which
allegedly kept America at arms
length. In so doing, though, India
has, yet again, been portrayed as
obstructionist and incapable of
coming up with positive proposals.
The government may seek to
shrug this off, but it will present
larger challenges; not least in our
attempts to resist new trade regimes
like the Trans-Pacific Partnership
(TPP) that are currently being
negotiated under U.S. leadership.
Regional pacts like the TPP seek to
introduce new norms on
international trade that will
subsequently be imported to the
global regime. These norms are
inimical to Indias interests. But our
stance in the WTO weakens our
ability to shape coalitions elsewhere.
Preserving Indias interests, then, is
about more than just standing-up

to any great power or a set of

The development of defence
industries is only one aspect of the
larger problem of military
modernisation. A host of institutional
and operational reforms need to be
urgently considered. The most
fundamental of these is the
relationship. The government began
with something of a handicap on this
issue. By awarding a ticket to
General V.K. Singh, and by
subsequently rewarding him with a
ministerial portfolio, the Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) dealt a blow to an
already problematic relationship
between the government and the
armed forces. Be that as it may, the
government has to work to restore a
harmonious relationship between
the military and the civilian
bureaucracy. A number of proposals
are on the anvil. It remains to be seen
if the government will consider such
serious reforms as the appointment
of a Chief of Defence Staff.
It will be a pity if, as in the past,
reforms are forced on to the table by
a crisis. The government would do
well to seize the initiative on strategic
issues. Appointing a full-time defence
minister would be a good start.
Dabholkar, dissent and democracy

At 7.20 a.m. on August 20,

supporters of the courageous and
gritty rationalist Narendra Dabholkar
will gather near the Omkareshwar
Temple in Pune, where he was
gunned down while on a morning
walk exactly a year ago. Through
street plays and songs, antisuperstition campaigners will pay
tribute to one of Indias foremost
critics of charlatan godmen and
black magic.
The tribute will also be an
indictment of the governments utter

failure to find his killers. Dr.

Dabholkars daylight murder was
initially probed by the CongressNationalist
government in Maharashtra and then
transferred to the Central Bureau of
Investigation (CBI). So far it has
yielded nothing.
Dr. Dabholkar was both fearless
and relentless in his single-minded
drive against blind faith. He had
braved vilification and death threats,
even physical attacks. His
programmes were routinely
disrupted. Yet, he continued to
challenge godmen, often on their
own turf surrounded by mobs of
followers. His targets included the
influential Sathya Sai Baba and his
claims of producing miracle ash out
of thin air. Hindu right-wing groups
were among his fiercest critics, mainly
the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and
Sanatan Sanstha. Both organisations
have vehemently denied any hand in
his murder. However, the Sanatan
Sanstha proclaimed in an editorial just
a day after the murder that it was
Gods wish. One member of the
organisation was briefly questioned
by the police before being let off for
lack of evidence.
Dr. Dabholkars greatest victory
a law against superstition and
black magic came posthumously,
after a dogged 18-year struggle. One
day after he was killed, the
Maharashtra government cleared an
ordinance, and in December 2013, a
law against superstitious practices.
The Maharashtra Prevention and
Eradication of Human Sacrifice and
other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori
Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013
is a diluted version of the ambitious
draft Dr. Dabholkar had championed.
It does not allow third parties to lodge
complaints. Only the affected party
has that right.
However, the law has already
had a massive impact with nearly 80
cases being registered across the
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State in less than a year. These include
cases against human sacrifice, the
sexual exploitation of women by local
godmen and the fleecing of the
gullible by promises of instant wealth.
However, the cases have mostly
come to the Maharashtra
Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti
(MANS) set up by Dr. Dabholkar and
then been registered with the police.
The deceptively gentle activist
had built a robust movement across
all the districts in the State, drawing
on students and volunteers to propel
the battle against superstition. Even
today, MANS has nearly 250 branches
and 5,000 volunteers. Sustaining the
organisation was a challenge. With his
death we lost our security cover. But
we have survived and passed the
test, says Mr. Patil.
This is an issue which goes
beyond my father. If voices which
stand for social causes are silenced
and no action is taken against the
perpetrators, it is an attack on
democracy, he says. And on simple
rational thinking itself.
The navy and economic growth

The commissioning in Mumbai

of INS Kolkata, a formidable
destroyer, has turned out to be much
more than an expression of the navys
heft to safeguard the sea lanes of the
Indian Ocean. The message
delivered by Prime Minister Narendra
Modi at the commissioning had some
subtle but significant doctrinal
content. Mr. Modi made it clear in his
address that the acquisition of more
teeth by the navy was inextricably
connected with Indias growth story.
This focus became transparent when
he stressed the importance of
securing the sea lanes and the role
that ships such as INS Kolkata would
play to inspire confidence to those
involved in maritime trade.
The navy is well aware of the
multiple roles it is expected to
perform, which are defining the
development of the force. These

include safeguarding the countrys

energy security, as the bulk of Indias
oil supplies, procured from the
Persian Gulf, transits through the
shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean,
which has witnessed a surge in
incidents of piracy in recent years.
The 2004 tsunami had earlier
demonstrated that the navy needs to
be well-equipped to provide disaster
relief not only to Indian nationals but
also to people in distress in other
Indian Ocean littoral states. The
growing instability in West Asia is a
source of major anxiety as the navy,
along with the Indian Air Force and
the civil aviation arms, will be put to
severe tests in case a mass evacuation
of Indian nationals residing in the
Persian Gulf states becomes
necessary. The navy is also gearing
up for a role to protect offshore oil
installations far away from the Indian
shores, tap seabed resources, and
expand a rule-based footprint that
extends till resource-rich Antarctica.
The commissioning of INS Kolkata has
shown that the navys warship
inductions are moving to plan, as two
follow-on destroyers of this class
INS Kochi and INS Chennai are
now in the pipeline. The
commissioning also highlights Indias
steady gains in integrating homegrown technology in the
construction and design of naval
vessels. The Brahmos cruise missile
a successful product of IndoRussian

demonstrates the acquisition of

credible land attack capability. The
presence of multi-function phasedarray radar that can track and engage
several targets simultaneously, as well
as indigenously developed
torpedoes, showcases impressive
domestic gains in the integration of
cutting-edge military technology. Yet,
if the navy has to become a force
multiplier to energise Indias
economic growth, more attention
would be required to shore up its

ailing submarine fleet, coupled with

a renewed focus on the
development of a state-of-the-art
aircraft carrier arm.
Learning from NREGA

One neglected aspect of the

debate on the National Rural
Employment Guarantee Act
(NREGA) relates to the process
aspects of the programme. In the
process of planning works, organising
employment, paying wages or
fighting corruption, many valuable
activities take place: Gram Sabhas are
held, workers agitate for their rights,
social audits are conducted,
technical assistants are trained,
administrators find out how to speed
up wage payments, and so on. These
activities, aside from being valuable
in themselves, are also a great
opportunity to learn.
One productive area of learning
has been the prevention of
corruption. The principal method of
embezzlement in labour-intensive
public works programmes is well
known: muster rolls are inflated and
middlemen pocket the difference.
Before the Right to Information Act
(RTI) came into force, muster rolls
were beyond public scrutiny and the
crooks had a field day. Things
improved after muster rolls were
placed in the public domain, and
even displayed page by page on the
internet. Even then, an enterprising
middleman might fudge the muster
rolls and hope that no one will bother
to verify them. So, further safeguards
were introduced one by one
including mandatory social audits of
all NREGA works.
A major breakthrough was the
transition to bank (or post office)
payments of NREGA wages. This was
a painful affair the system was not
ready for it and the overload led to
long delays in payments. Five years
later, banks and (especially) post
offices are still not equal to the task.
For the prevention of corruption,
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however, this was a step forward: the
new system makes it much harder to
embezzle NREGA funds since the
money now goes directly to workers
One major qualification is that
village post offices are still vulnerable
to capture by powerful middlemen.
Extracting money from someone
elses bank account without his or her
knowledge is very difficult because
banks have strict norms of identity
verification. But for a suitable
commission, a village postmaster can
often be persuaded to use the
accounts of illiterate workers as a
conduit to siphon off NREGA money.
Over time, workers learn to collect
their wages in person from the post
office and verify the passbook entries.
But it will take a while for many of
them to protect their account from
fraud. And the crooks next refuge is
to involve workers themselves in the
How much progress has been
made in this step-by-step battle
against corruption? The second India
Human Development Survey (IHDS)
conducted in 2011-12 provides a
tentative answer. Early tabulations of
IHDS data, kindly shared by project
director Sonalde Desai, suggest that
25 per cent of all rural households
did some NREGA work in 2011-12.
The average number of days of
NREGA work was 49 per employed
households, or 2.53 days per person
for the whole sample. Multiplying this
by the rural population total from the
2011 census yields an estimate of 210
crore person-days of NREGA
employment in 2011-12. This
compares with 219 crore persondays of employment being generated
by NREGA in 2011-12 according to
the Ministry of Rural Development. In
other words, the bulk of official
NREGA wage expenditure is fully
reflected in this independent
household survey.
One survey is not conclusive

evidence, but it certainly gives some

reason for hope. The IHDS findings
are consistent with those of another
recent survey: the Public Evaluation
of Entitlement Programmes (PEEP)
survey. This was a relatively small
survey (covering about 2,000
households), conducted in May-June
2013 in ten States: Bihar, Chhattisgarh,
Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand,
Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,
Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and
Uttar Pradesh. In this survey, too, the
number of days of NREGA work
reported by the respondents (22
days on average, in 2012-13) was very
close to the corresponding average
for the same households (24 days)
from official records.
The picture emerging from
National Sample Survey (NSS) data
is a little different. According to
recent estimates by Clment Imbert
of Oxford University, 68 to 78 per
cent of official NREGA person-days
of work are reflected in NSS data for
2011-12. The corresponding
estimates for 2007-08 (prior to the
introduction of bank payments of
NREGA wages) are much lower: 42
to 56 per cent. Thus, NSS-based
estimates of NREGA employment
are consistently lower than the
official figures, but the gap is
narrowing over time. I suspect that
the IHDS figures on NREGA
employment are more accurate than
NSS data because the collection of
social statistics is one of the primary
objectives of the IHDS survey, but
not of NSS surveys. There are
precedents of patchy collection of
social statistics in NSS surveys, e.g.
gross underestimation of the
coverage of midday meals.
This point has a bearing on
recent concerns about the
productive value of NREGA works.
There is a widespread belief that
NREGA works can be made more

productive by raising the materiallabour ratio, because materialintensive works lead to the creation
of tangible assets instead of earth
structures that get washed away. This
belief has no basis. It is all the more
dubious, bearing in mind that
material-intensive works are more
vulnerable to corruption. Thousands
of useless pucca structures have
been built under programmes such
as the Integrated Action Plan (IAP),
Backward Regions Grant Fund
(BRGF) and Member of Parliament
Local Area Development Scheme
(MPLADS) more for the purpose
of siphoning off material funds than
to create productive assets. On the
other hand, some labour-intensive
works can be very productive, e.g.
land levelling and contour bunding.
Even a good earth road is often much
better than a pucca road built with
sub-standard material by a corrupt
contractor. Judging from recent
experience, there is nothing wrong
with the current 60:40 norm for the
labour-material ratio in NREGA works.
Lowering the norm to 49:51 (an odd
figure, perhaps borrowed from the
stock market) would severely dilute
the employment objective of NREGA
without doing anything to make
NREGA works more productive. A far
better way of enhancing the
productive value of NREGA works
would be to provide more technical
assistance to Gram Panchayats.
Much remains to be done to
ensure that NREGA is corruptionproof not just the wage
component but also the material
component. Meanwhile, the
transparency safeguards that have
been painstakingly built into NREGA
are crying to be extended to other
domains. In this and other respects,
the programme is a great learning
tool. This process aspect of NREGA
deserves more recognition than it has
received so far.
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High noon for India in Africa

Our news medias constant

focus on the United States
notwithstanding, it seems to have
completely missed a historic move
earlier this month by President Barack
Obama with potentially serious
implications. From August 4 to 6, he
hosted the first ever U.S.-Africa
Leaders Summit in which over 45 of
Africas heads of states participated.
In his welcome address, President
Obama leveraged his own African
lineage by telling them that apart from
being a proud American, he also
stood before them as the son of a
man from Africa.
unambiguous economic focus.
During its three days of deliberations,
U.S. commitments to Africa worth
$33 billion were announced. These
included: $14 billion in investment
by U.S. companies; $7 billion to
finance U.S. exports; and $12 billion
for a Power Africa initiative to boost
electricity availability. Over 90
American companies participated in
the summit. Because of its vast natural
resources, acute infrastructure
deficit, high population growth and
growing middle class, Africa has long
been a cynosure of many eyes.
Countries such as China, India, Japan,
Brazil, Turkey and South Korea, as well
as organisations such as the European
Union (EU), the Commonwealth and
La Francophonie, have been
regularly hosting Africa-focussed
summits. The U.S. is the latest to join
this Africa rush.
It would, however, be incorrect
to consider Washington a latecomer
to the Africa Party. Historically, the
slave trade provided an umbilical
cord between the U.S. and Africa.
Bilateral landmarks include American
Friendship Treaty with Tunisia in 1799
and establishment of Liberia in 1821.
They also include American support
for Apartheid regime in South Africa
and for right wing dictatorships in

countries from Morocco to Congo to

Angola during the Cold War.
Subsequently, the U.S. did help in the
dismantling of Apartheid and getting
Namibia its freedom.
In 2007, the U.S. Army created
the Africa Command (Africom),
which has been steadily expanding
its presence in the continent. Lately,
however, Pentagon has been
alarmed, in the aftermath of the Arab
Spring, at the spread of Islamic
terrorism across large swathes of
Africa: Maghreb, Sahel, Nigeria, the
Central African Republic and Somalia.
Economically, the American
presence in Africa has been large but
is currently declining. Till 2008, the
U.S. was Africas largest trading
partner. This was spurred by import
of African oil worth over $100 billion
part of U.S. strategy to reduce
dependence on the Gulf. However,
thanks to a shale revolution, the U.S.
has become the worlds largest oil
producer and its oil imports from
Africa are set to plummet to a mere
$15 billion for the year 2014. This has
dramatically reduced U.S.-Africa
trade to around $60 billion in 2013,
nearly a third of Chinas trade with
Africa. If this trend continues, India
may well overtake the U.S. as Africas
second-largest trading partner this
year. However, the U.S. still remains
Africas largest aid provider and a
major investor.
Further, the U.S. products,
services and technology are often
either unsuitable or too expensive for
Africans. Its Asian competitors have
an edge here, in industries ranging
from mobiles to medicines. The U.S.
niche areas for Africa include: export
of commodities (foodstuff, refined
products); supply of equipment (for
power, aviation, construction etc);
and projects for mineral exploitation,
hotels and hospitals.
A closer look at the
Washington Summits outcome also
reveals that the U.S. intends to

follow the Chinese strategy of longterm soft funding for Africa. Beijing
has for long provided concessional
loans to African countries to cushion
them from the lower quality (and
higher costs) of its products and
projects; the U.S. and American
MNCs would possibly do the same.
For most African governments
facing a serious capital crunch, such
long-term soft loans are often
irresistible. Second, with many
African states facing serious security
challenges, the U.S. may also
leverage its Africom umbrella to gain
an economic advantage.
As New Delhi plans to host the
third India-Africa Forum Summit
(IAFS-3) in December 2014, what are
the implications of the Washington
event for us? First, forceful re-entry
of the U.S. and its deep-pocketed
MNCs may lead to a more intense and
potentially unfair competition in
Africa. Second, greater U.S.
engagement in infrastructure building
may release synergies in Africa that
we can leverage. For example, better
roads can mean more Indian vehicles
being sold. Third, if American MNCs
increase production of primary
commodities in Africa, it may benefit
India as their end-user. Fourth, Indian
subsidiaries of the U.S. MNCs stand
to gain. Finally, over the past 15 years,
India has successfully created some
key interfaces in Africa in areas such
as power, Information and
Communications Technology, and
healthcare. A U.S. entry into these
may affect market access for us.
Africans, who have often played the
China card with us, could now play
the U.S. card as well.
India would do well to prepare
IAFS-3 with a Strengths, Weaknesses,
Opportunities and Threats (SWOT)
review of the past six years of the
IAFS process. The following domains
suggest themselves:
(i) Being a developing country with
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income level comparable to
most African nations, India cannot sustain the IAFS process on
the basis of freebies alone. Instead, African countries should be
invited to become co-stakeholders in the process.
(ii) While the African Union Commission can be a political umbrella
for the IAFS process, India
should, on its own, choose both
the recipients for our developmental cooperation and the manner in which we plan to extend it.
We must not abdicate this important task to the African Union
(AU) bureaucracy.
(iii) There is a need to revamp the Line
of Credit approach to projects as
it has rarely delivered the intended results. Instead, greater
support should be given to private sector-driven projects
through initiatives like lower interest rates, risk mitigation, etc.
(iv) We should harness our assets in
Africa, such as the Indian
diaspora there; a growing acceptance of the quality of our
healthcare and educational facilities; relevance of our developmental model; and the greater
willingness of our private sector
to engage the continent.
Blow for public integrity

The Supreme Court verdict

holding coal block allocations made
since 1993 illegal confirms a longknown, but little-acknowledged
malaise pervading the administration:
cronyism often overshadowing merit,
and systems and processes being
undermined by power and influence.
The sweeping nature of the finding
that allocation of coal blocks through
the government dispensation route
as well as through a non-statutory
screening committee suffered from
arbitrariness is a fierce indictment of
successive governments, rendering it
difficult to apportion blame on any
particular party or regime. Rather, as
the judgment points out, the
approach was ad hoc and casual.
There was no fair and transparent

procedure, and this resulted in unfair

distribution of national wealth. The
judgment, in essence, sticks to the
constitutional norms the Supreme
Court has been applying since the
time it cancelled 122 telecom
licences in 2012 based on the finding
that illegal allocation of 2G spectrum
had been made. Of course, a
Constitution Bench has now
calibrated the law that once tended
to make competitive auction the sole
basis for the exploitation of natural
resources, and given some policy
leeway to the government to adopt
alternative methods, subject to
constitutional principles being
adhered to. The court will deliberate
on the consequences of its findings
in further hearings, but it has already
sent out a clear message that it will
no more countenance arbitrary and
illegal allocation of natural resources.
Political parties may seek to
blame one another, and industry may
count its losses and lament the
verdicts impact on the cost and
availability of power and the cost of
importing or transporting coal. Some
may fret over the viability of existing
projects and the fate of investments
already made. They may calculate the
impact on financial firms with
exposure to this sector. All these
factors will now be weighed by the
Court when it sits again to decide
whether to cancel the allocations or
find a just alternative. It has clarified
that its verdict will not touch ongoing
probes by the Central Bureau of
Investigation and the Enforcement
Directorate into illegalities
committed in the allocation of coal
blocks. The judgment also exempts
12 coal blocks linked to Ultra-mega
Power Projects that were allotted on
the basis of competitive bidding.
Those who consider the public
interest paramount and are
concerned about good governance
and the integrity of institutions will
doubtless welcome this judgment.

The tasks that remain are, first, to

disgorge the windfall gains made by
the players in the scam; second, to
save the mining and power sectors
from the consequences of the illegal
allocations; and third, to bring to
book those guilty of criminal conduct.
Regulating Indias nuclear estate

The 2014 Nuclear Materials

Security Index prepared by the
Washington-based Nuclear Threat
Initiative (NTI) has ranked India 23rd
out of 25 countries with weaponsusable nuclear materials. While the
NTI ranking has been criticised for a
variety of reasons including
inadequacies in its methodology, it
has rightly pointed out the absence
of an independent nuclear regulatory
mechanism in India with the mandate
to ensure that high standards of safety
and security are observed in Indias
civilian nuclear facilities. Even though
many Indian analysts and officials
dismiss the NTI ranking as being
uninformed, New Delhi needs to take
such criticism seriously given its longstanding desire to mainstream itself
into the global nuclear order
including gaining membership to key
international export control cartels
such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group
(NSG). Given this context, there is a
need to take a critical look at the
proposed Nuclear Safety Regulatory
Currently, the Atomic Energy
established in 1983 through a
gazette notification, is tasked with
regulating the safety and security
aspects of the countrys civilian
nuclear facilities. However, it is not
an autonomous body as it depends
on the Department of Atomic Energy
(DAE) for all practical purposes. It
has, as a result, been unable to
perform its regulatory functions
effectively. The demand for
establishing a truly autonomous
nuclear regulatory authority has been
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a long-standing one. In 1997, the
Raja Ramanna Committee report had
recommended that the Atomic
Energy Act (1962) should be
amended to enhance the
effectiveness of the nuclear
regulatory system in the country.
Even though the Union government,
in 2000, had directed the DAE to
suggest the necessary amendments
to the 1962 Act, nothing substantial
happened for almost a decade.
Finally, it was the Mayapuri radiation
accident (New Delhi) in 2010 and
the Fukushima disaster (Japan) of
2011 that served as a wake-up call
for the DAE.
In 2011, the Nuclear Safety
Regulatory Authority (NSRA) Bill was
drafted by the DAE and submitted
to the Union Cabinet for approval. The
DAE note that sought approval from
the Cabinet to introduce the Bill in
Parliament had cited both the
Mayapuri and the Fukushima
accidents as the factors that
contributed to the urgency to
strengthen the countrys nuclear
regulatory mechanism. However,
even the NSRA, as currently
envisioned by the DAE, does not
propose the establishment of a truly
autonomous regulatory authority. The
Bill, first introduced in the Lok Sabha
in 2011, has now lapsed and will have
to be reintroduced in the new Lok
Sabha. Before the NSRA Bill is
reintroduced in Parliament, there is a
need to strengthen the powers of the
regulatory authority that it proposes
to set up.
Even as the DAE was preparing
to table the NSRA Bill in Parliament,
the Comptroller and Auditor General
(CAG) of India had undertaken a
Performance Audit on Activities of
Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.
The CAG report, tabled in Parliament
in August 2012, concluded that the
legal status of AERB continues to be
that of an authority subordinate to the

Central Government, with powers

delegated to it by the latter, and
recommended to the government to
ensure that the nuclear regulator is
empowered and independent. For
this purpose, it should be created in
law and should be able to exercise
necessary authority in the setting of
regulations, verification of
compliance with the regulations and
enforcement of the same in the cases
of non-compliance.
Following the CAG report, the
Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of
Parliament also produced a report in
2013 entitled Activities of Atomic
Energy Regulatory Board in which it
agreed with the view taken by the
CAG on the functioning of the AERB.
The PAC also highlighted the
observation made by the
Parliamentary Standing Committee
on Science and Technology,
Environment and Forests in 2012 that
the NSRA lacks autonomy. The PAC,
in the light of the observations made
by the standing committee and the
CAG, was critical of the functioning
of the AERB as well as the proposed
NSRA Bill and stated in its report that
the DAE should seriously reexamine the provisions of the Bill and
take necessary steps urgently so as to
ensure that the nuclear regulator
becomes an independent and
credible body at par with similar
regulators in other Countries. In other
words, the NSRA Bill, as it stands
today, is far from satisfactory even
though the DAE has made the
assurance that the Standing
Committees recommendations
would be seriously considered.
The Council of Nuclear Safety
to be established by the NSRA Bill
with the Prime Minister as the Chair
representatives as members will
be a very powerful body with the
power to appoint the chairperson
and members of the new regulatory
body. This will diminish the powers

of the regulator since it will be

subordinate to the Council chaired
by the Prime Minister. We will, as a
result, end up having a governmentcontrolled regulator all over again.
The NSRA Bill is explicit on the ability
of the government to control the
regulator: the Central Government
may, by notification, supersede the
Authority for such period, not
exceeding six months, as may be
specified in the notification.
The NSRA also does not say
which facilities would be put under
the new authority currently, the
AERB can only oversee the civilian
facilities. The Bill states that the
Central Government may, for the
purposes of national defence and
security, exempt any nuclear
material, radioactive material,
facilities, premises and activities; the
premises, assets and areas associated
with material and activities from the
jurisdiction of the Authority. So, the
question is this: who will oversee the
safety and security of the strategic
facilities and programmes for which
there is currently no regulatory
authority? The Bill mentions that new
regulatory bodies can be created to
regulate the strategic programmes.
Parliamentary Standing Committee
had recommended the creation of
other bodies to do so. However, there
has not been any movement so far on
that front. Another issue is the
exclusion of the NSRA from the
purview of RTI Act, thereby reducing
the requirement for the regulator to
be transparent.
It is unknown how many of the
amendments suggested by the
standing committee have been
incorporated by the DAE. Since the
Bill will now have to be reintroduced
in Parliament, the DAE should try and
accommodate the eminently useful
suggestions given by the standing
committee and other independent
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originatesfrom Latin word juvenis,
which means young. In justice system
it is believed that Juvenile needs
special care because of their tender
age and underdeveloped mind.
Juvenile justice system is to protect
all the children, while looking into the
difference of thinking and maturity
they have. Juvenile justice system is
an offshoot of criminal justice system.
The Criminal Justice System (CJS) is
a system which decide the rules for
society and also provide the sanctions
when behavior is deterrent towards
the social fabric. Juvenile justice
system look into the special
circumstances which juvenile faces
and decide the deterrent towards
wrong doing accordingly.
Juvenile justice act(JJA) which
came into force in 2000 is applicable
to whole of India.Child under JJA is
defined as anyone below the age of
18 years. This legislation came in order to make India coherent with the
legislation passed in UN Convention
on the Rights of the Child. Indian penal code says that any child below
the age of 7 cannot be charged under any crime because they cannot
form their own opinion. And in between 7 to 12 years of age it is to be
tested that have they developed the
mental capacity to form their own
opinion. But after Juvenile justice act
all children below the age of 18 cannot be punished but only measures
to improve their behavior can be
Provisions of the act :Under this act separate judicial

system named as Juvenile Justice

board (JJB)have been created and
only they have the authority to deal
with children. Juvenile justice board
has social workers as members along
with magistrate. If JJB finds out that
child has committed a crime their will
not be any punishment attached he
can only be send for community
service or counseling or can be send
to special home etc. A child dealt
with by the JJB does not suffer any
disqualification attached to
conviction for an offence. Children
Welfare Committee (CWC) was also
created under the act in order to give
children care and protection to those
who needs it. CWC provides care for
children who have been misplaced
by violence, lost their parents etc. JJA
have provisions for police station as
well, every police station should have
special cell to care of children and
police officer dealing with children

should take special training.

Some problems have been seen
in the actual working of the act. In a
country like India records are not kept
properly so it becomes extremely
difficult to find out whether a child
has attend the age of 18 years. There
is also a debate related to serious
crime committed by children below
the age of 18 years. Debate is whether
more severe sanctions should be put
in order to bring justice and fairness
to the victim and his family. In actual
practice we also see problems in the
functioning of juvenile home. Lots of
cases related to misconduct in
juvenile home regularly come in
news. Other problem is related to
adequate infrastructure for all the
children who are below the age of
18. Although the act best provisions
but in practice there are still flaws to
be resolved.
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Government in present era has
to be SMART, citizens want a
government which is simple, moral,
accountable, responsive and
transparent. Citizens want simple
processes which take less time and
energy. Citizens also want that
government and them should be
smooth and being the primary owner
of the information citizen should be
provided with all the information. In
order to achieve all above use of
Information technology is a necessity.
Processes in India generally contain
lot of paper work, less flexibility and
it less takes lot of time to get response
from the government officials. Citizens
also need to visit lot of places in order
to complete a single work.
In order to achieve all the above
objectives government approved the
Digital India programme. This is an
ambitious programme to transform
India into digital empowered society
and knowledge economy.
Department of Electronics and
Information Technology (Deity) will
look into its execution. Digital India
is phased programme with the year
of completion as 2018. But the
expense to provide traditional
services and to extend around-theclock availability to those services can
be astronomical. Multi-channel
access through web, phone or text
message can offer constituents access
through those channels that suit their
needs and preferences.
This programme will help
government in reducing the costs
substantially by migrating users from

high-cost channels (in-person) to

low-cost ones (transactional
websites). Another important
purpose for this programme is that it
will serve the poor. Poor are the most
vulnerable class which has to face
problems due to tardy government
processes. Due to their poor
background and education they are
also least equipped to use ICT.
Ultimate objective of any technology
is to serve the people and make the
life easier for them.
The Government of India
formulated the National eGovernance Plan in order to improve
the services provided to citizen,
business houses and within the
organization. It is now believed in
order to provide more and more
services use of ICT is a necessity. At
present there are three aspects of egovernance i.e. G2C, G2B and G2G.
G2C will include the services
provides government to citizen
similarly G2B and G2G will include
services provided to business house
and government employees
respectively. Ultimate objective is
when people are also involved in

what kind of services they want.

Initiatives like will
involve citizens in the decision
making process.
A significant challenge in the
process of e-governance is also to
maintain inter departmental flow of
dialogue. In governance rarely any
issue involve single department more
often than not multiple department
and ministries are involved. It has
been the focus of new government
to increase the coherency between
the departments to make the
decision making process smooth.
Success of any technological
advancement depends upon the
willingness of the employee. As even
the best technological advances can
be undermined by simple
breakdowns in the collaboration and
advances on the one hand will open
lots of new services for the citizen
while other hand it will increase the
expectation of citizen from the
government. Government will have to
fulfill the expectations which citizen
put on them.
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