Sunday, May 29, 2011

D govt has commissioned a study 2 b done by 3 top economic think tanks 2 estimate d extent of black money/ unaccounted income generated in/out ofIndia

Govt bid to put figure to black money

NEW DELHI: The government has commissioned a study to be undertaken by three top economic think tanks to estimate the extent of black money or unaccounted income generated both within and outside the country, a finance ministry statement said on Sunday.

On Saturday, the government had appointed a high level committee of tax officials to suggest measures to tighten laws to curb the generation of black money.

The two moves have been announced days before an anti-corruption protest is to be launched by yoga guru Baba Ramdev.
The UPA government has faced strong criticism from courts, Opposition parties and civil society groups for its handling of the issue of black money and corruption in public life. The government has taken some measures to stem the criticism and has engaged with authorities in tax havens to get information about money stashed in these countries.

The three institutes selected to undertake the study are National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, National Institute of Financial Management and National Council of Applied Economic Research. The finance ministry statement said the three institutes had launched their study in March and are expected to complete the project within 18 months. The study is expected to bring out the nature of activities that encourage money laundering and its ramifications on national policy.

The study will also focus on the kind of activities which promote money laundering and identify important sectors of the economy in which unaccounted money is generated and causes and conditions that result in the generation of unaccounted money. It will also examine methods employed for generating black money and conversion of such funds for legitimate activities.

The three institutions have also been asked to suggest ways and means for detecting and preventing unaccounted money and bring it into the mainstream economy. They have also been given the mandate to suggest methods to be used for taxing black money stashed in foreign countries. The study will also estimate the quantum of non-payment of tax due to evasion by registered corporate bodies.

The government has so far maintained that there are no reliable estimates of black money generated and held within and outside the country . It says the different estimates of the quantum of black money range between $500 to $1,400 billion. A study by the Global Financial Integrity Group has estimated the illicit outflow at about $462 billion . The finance ministry says these estimates are based on largely unverifiable assumptions and therefore the government has undertaken the study to find out the actual size of the black economy.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pakistan must 'wake up' and tackle terror: India PM (AFP)

Pakistan must 'wake up' and tackle terror: India PM

NEW DELHI — India's prime minister called on Pakistan to wake up and tackle the "monster of terrorism" that threatens not only itself but the South Asian region, a report said Saturday.

"As Pakistan's neighbour we have great worries about the terror machine that is still intact in Pakistan," Premier Minister Manmohan Singh was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

Singh, who was returning home from Africa after a six-day trip, used his strongest language yet about Islamist militant activities in Pakistan.

"The more I see of what is happening in Pakistan, the more I am convinced that Pakistan's leadership must now wake up," to the threat posed by militants, Singh said.

New Delhi has long accused its neighbour of harbouring militant groups, but analysts say it is becoming increasingly concerned that growing unrest in Pakistan could compromise the safety of the country's nuclear arsenal.

India was particularly alarmed by a 17-hour Taliban siege of a strategic Pakistan naval air base last weekend in which heavily armed militants destroyed two surveillance planes and killed 10 personnel.

New Delhi has also been shaken by the revelation that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, killed by US forces earlier this month, was living in a Pakistani military garrison town just two hours' drive from the capital Islamabad.

"We must convince Pakistan it is in their own interest that they must help us in tackling the problem of terror in the region," Singh said in the report.

Pakistan needs to "recognise this monster of terrorism which they unleashed at one time is hurting them as much as it can hurt our country," he added.

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.

A stop-start peace process is officially back on, but ties remain frosty.

India broke off formal peace talks with its neighbour after the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people and which New Delhi blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba guerrilla force and the Pakistani intelligence service.

Friday, May 27, 2011

An Analysis of the Communal violence Bill as drafted by the NAC by Shri Arun Jaitley-26 May 2011

An Analysis of the Communal violence Bill as drafted by
the NAC by Shri Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition (Rajya Sabha)

A draft of a proposed legislation titled “Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011” has been put in public domain. The draft Bill ostensibly appears to be a part of an endeavour to prevent and punish communal violence in the country. Though that may be the ostensible object of the proposed law its real object is to the contrary. It is a Bill which if it is ever enacted as a law will intrude into the domain of the State, damage a federal polity of India and create an imbalance in the inter-community relationship of India.

What does the Bill in effect state

The most vital definition of the bill is of the expression ‘group’. A ‘group’ means a religious or linguistic minority and in a given State may include the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The bill creates a whole set of new offences in Chapter II. Clause 6 clarifies that the offences under this Bill are in addition to the offences under the SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Can a person be punished twice for the same offence? Clause 7 prescribes that a person is said to commit sexual assault if he or she commits any of the sexual act against a person belonging to a ‘group’ by virtue of that person’s membership of a group. Clause 8 prescribes that a ‘hate propaganda’ is an offence when a person by words oral or written or a visible representation causes hate against a ‘group’ or a person belonging to a ‘group’. Clause 9 creates an offence for communal and targeted violence. Any person who singly or jointly or acting under the influence of an association engages in unlawful activity directed against a ‘group’ is guilty of organized communal and targeted violence. Clause 10 provides for punishment of a person who expends or supplies money in the furtherance or support of an offence against a ‘group’. The offence of torture is made out under clause 12 where a public servant inflicts pain or a suffering, mental or physical, on a person belonging to a ‘group’. Clause 13 punishes a public servant for dereliction of duty in relation to offences mentioned in this Bill. Clause 14 punishes public servants who control the armed forces or security forces and fails to exercise control over people in his command in order to discharge their duty effectively. Clause 15 expands the principle of vicarious liability. An offence is deemed to be committed by a senior person or office bearer of an association and he fails to exercise control over subordinates under his control or supervision. He is vicariously liable for an offence which is committed by some other person. Clause 16 renders orders of superiors as no defence for an alleged offence committed under this section.

Any communal trouble during which offences are committed is a law and order problem. Dealing with the law and order is squarely within the domain of the State Governments. In the division of powers between the Centre and the States, the Central Government has no direct authority to deal with the law and order issues; nor is it directly empowered to deal with them nor it can legislate on the subject. The Central Government’s jurisdiction restricts itself to issue advisories, directions and eventually forming an opinion under Article 356 that the governance of the State can be carried on in accordance with the Constitution or not. If the proposed Bill becomes a law, then effectively it is the Central Government which would have usurped the jurisdiction of the States and legislated on a subject squarely within the domain of the States.

India has been gradually moving towards a more amicable inter-community relationship. Even when minor communal or caste disturbances occur, there is a national mood of revulsion against them. The governments, media, the courts among other institutions rise to perform their duty. The perpetrators of communal trouble should certainly be punished. This draft Bill however proceeds on a presumption that communal trouble is created only by members of the majority community and never by a member of the minority community. Thus, offences committed by members of the majority community against members of the minority community are punishable. Identical offences committed by minority groups against the majority are not deemed to be offences at all. Thus a sexual assault is punishable under this bill and only if committed against a person belonging to a minority ‘group’. A member of a majority community in a State does not fall within the purview of a ‘group’. A ‘hate propaganda’ is an offence against minority community and not otherwise. Organised and targeted violence, hate propaganda, financial help to such persons who commit an offence, torture or dereliction of duty by public servants are all offences only if committed against a member of the minority community and not otherwise. No member of the majority community can ever be a victim. This draft law thus proceeds on an assumption which re-defines the offences in a highly discriminatory manner. No member of the minority community are to be punished under this Act for having committed the offence against the majority community. It is only a member of the majority community who is prone to commit such offences and therefore the legislative intent of this law is that since only majority community members commit these offences, culpability and punishment should only be confined to them. If implemented in a manner as provided by this Bill, it opens up a huge scope for abuse. It can incentivize members of some communities to commit such offences encouraged by the fact that they would never be charged under the Act. Terrorist groups may no longer indulge in terrorist violence. They will be incentivized to create communal riots due to a statutory assumption that members of a Jihadi group will not be punished under this law. The law makes only members of the majority community culpable. Why should the law discriminate on the basis of a religion or caste? An offence is an offence irrespective of origin of the offender. Here is a proposed law being legislated in the 21st Century where caste and religion of an offender wipe out the culpability under this law.

Who will ensure implementation of this Act

The bill provides for a 7-member national authority for communal harmony, justice and reparations. Of these 7 members at least four of them including the Chairman and Vice Chairman shall only belong to a ‘group’ i.e. minority community. A similar body is intended to be created in the States. Membership of this body thus shall be on religious and caste grounds. The offenders under this law are only the members of the majority community. The enforcement of the Act will be done by a body where statutorily the members of the majority community will be in a minority. The governments will have to make available Police and other investigative agencies to this authority. This authority shall have a power to conduct investigations and enter buildings, conduct raids and searches to make inquiries into complaints and to initiate steps, record proceedings for prosecution and make its recommendations to the Governments. It shall have powers to deal with the armed forces. It has a power to send advisories to the Central and State Governments. Members of this authority shall be appointed in the case of Central Government by a collegium which shall comprise of Prime Minister, the Home Minister, and the Leader of Opposition in the house of People and a leader of each recognized political party. A similar provision is created in relation to the States. Thus, it Is the Opposition at the Centre and the States which will have a majority say in the composition of the Authority.

What are the procedures to be followed

The procedures to be followed for investigations under this Act are extraordinary. No statement shall be recorded under section 161 of the CrPC. Victim statements shall be only under section 164 i.e. before courts. The government will have a power to intercept and block messages and telecommunications under this law. Under clause 74 of the Bill if an offence of hate propaganda is alleged against a person, a presumption of guilt shall exist unless the offender proves to the contrary. An allegation thus is equivalent to proof. Public servants under this bill under clause 67 are liable to be proceeded against without any sanction from the State. The Special Public prosecutor to conduct proceedings under this Act shall not act in aid of truth but ‘in the interest of the victim’. The name and identity of the victim complainant will not be disclosed. Progress of the case will be reported by the police to the victim complainant. The occurrence of organized communal and targeted violence under this Act shall amount to an internal disturbance in a State within the meaning of Article 355 entitling the Central Government to impose President’s rule.

The drafting of this Bill appears to be a handiwork of those social entrepreneurs who have learnt from the Gujarat experience of how to fix senior leaders even when they are not liable for an offence.

Offences which are defined under the Bill have been deliberately left vague. Communal and targeted violence means a violence which destroys the ‘secular fabric of the nation’. There can be legitimate political differences as to what constitutes secularism. The phrase secularism can be construed differently by different persons. Which definition is the judge supposed to follow? Similarly, the creation of a hostile ‘environment’ may leave enough scope for a subjective decision as to what constitutes ‘a hostile environment’.

The inevitable consequences of such a law would be that in the event of any communal trouble the majority community would be assumed to be guilty. There would be a presumption of guilt unless otherwise proved. Only a member of the majority shall be held culpable under this law. A member of the minority shall never commit an offence of hate propaganda or a communal violence. There is a virtual statutory declaration of innocence under this law for him. The statutory authority prescribed at the Central and State level would intrinsically suffer from an institutional bias because of its membership structure based on caste and community.

I have no doubt that once this law is implemented with the intention with which it is being drafted, it will create disharmony in the inter-community relations in India. It is a law fraught with dangerous consequences. It is bound to be misused. Perhaps, that appears to be the real purpose behind its drafting. It will encourage minority communalism. The law defies the basic principles of equality and fairness. Social entrepreneurs in the National Advisory Council can be expected to draft such a dangerous and discriminatory law. One wonders how the political head of that body cleared this draft. When some persons carried on a campaign against TADA – an anti-terrorist law, the members of the UPA argued that even terrorists should be tried under the normal laws. A far more draconian law is now being proposed.

The States will be watching hopelessly when the Centre goes ahead with this misadventure. Their power is being usurped. The search for communal harmony is through fairness – not through reverse discrimination.

Rooting out corruption is everyone’s responsibility: Hazare May 28, 2011

Rooting out corruption is everyone’s responsibility: Hazare

There will be no hesitation or discrimination in taking on anyone who stands in the way of eradicating corruption in this country.

These are the words of Anna Hazare to the people of Bengaluru and T Begur.

Corruption is not one man's struggle, it's the responsibility of the entire country. Addressing the gathering, the man who shared that he lives in a 10 ft by 8 ft room with just a bed to sleep on and a plate to eat from, said, "I have taken the wickets of six cabinet ministers and sent 400 corrupt ministers home. We are fighting against big goondas. I made a vow when I was 26 years old that I would stand up against injustice because I believe that 'Dil diya, jaan bhi denge. Ye watan tere liye..' (the lines of a song). I didn't get married because I wanted to dedicate myself totally to the cause."

Disclosing why he decided to go to T Begur village, he cited Mahatma Gandhi's dream of a progressive country through the upliftment of its rural areas. He added that this can happen only when its people change. The villages in this area should create a model village of their own, where its people can be independent.

Reacting to a question on politics in Karnataka, he said, "I can't say if Karnataka is the most corrupt state or not. The four hours that I have been here, are too little to understand the situation here. I will have to look at it more closely. But I have two messages that I want to put before the people of this State. One is my appreciation for their support.

“The other is that if the government does not accept the Bill, we will continue our demonstration and we hope that the support will remain just as strong." Mere speeches, that we have heard for the past 60 years, can't guarantee change. Those who only give speeches are not change makers, added the social activist.

"We are in the process of drafting the Jan Lokpal bill and if it becomes a law, then 65-70 per cent of corruption will automatically stop”, he added.




Thursday, May 26, 2011

Anna to fight for land rights of poor in Guj- May 27, 2011

Anna to fight for land rights of poor in Guj

AHMEDABAD: Social activist Anna Hazare promised to launch his movement for land rights of the poor from Gujarat, during a two-day visit to the city. On the second day of his visit on Thursday, he heard representations about providing land to projects such as special economic zones (SEZs) and special investment regions (SIRs), favouring a handful of industrialists and said that it would be appropriate to start the movement from the place from where the freedom struggle started.

NGO representatives at the public meet said that companies play crucial role in deciding the fate of the area and government support for it. Organisations from Kutch, Veraval and Vadodara narrated cases of chemical units, cement plants and pharma units that have been given privileges by the state government. Activists narrated case of struggle against Nirma plant in Mahuva where people demanding closure of the plant to save water resources were sent back by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi from Gandhinagar.

Arvind Kejriwal, RTI activist, said that when people talk about third world war over water, he sees civil war in India over land. "We have seen struggle over land going on in many parts of the country and I believe that it would be a case of civil unrest in the future if timely action is not taken," he said.

Activists told him about RTI, and the killing of activists like Amit Jethava and immolation of Jabbardan Gadhavi. A book on Gadhavi's struggle and subsequent findings of his case was released by Hazare and his associates on the occasion.

Swami Agnivesh said that while propaganda is all out about Vibrant Gujarat outside the state, the real picture could be known only after coming here. "It's an unequal development that does not benefit all. We will approach the government officials on the issues discussed and will demand an explanation," he said.

Hundreds came to meet Anna at Sardarbaug in the evening where he held his public meeting. In his meet, Anna appealed to youth to become strength of the nation. He also warned government to take action to implement Lokpal bill.

"If the bill is not implemented from August 15, I will again start my fight from Jantar Mantar," he said to the gathering.

Hazare now sees 'ghotala' in Gandhi's Gujarat TNN | May 27, 2011

Hazare now sees 'ghotala' in Gandhi's Gujarat

AHMEDABAD: Anna Hazare, who had praised chief minister Narendra Modi for development in Gujarat over a month ago, targeted him for corruption during hi two-day visit to the city.

Hazare urged Modi to appoint a Lok Ayukta which has been missing for more than a decade and said, "I am surprised at the real picture of Gujarat after coming here. In Gandhi's land, people are talking of rampant corruption and favouritism. One lady told me about deaths due to hooch".

The anti-graft crusader added how liquor flows more freely than milk in Gandhi's Gujarat where a prohibition law is in force. After hearing representations from civil society, he remarked, "yahan pe to ghotala hi ghotala hai (here everything smacks of corruption). Hazare, a member of the Jan Lok Pal Bill drafting team, said Gujarat should empower gram sabhas to clear land acquisition, as was the case in Maharashtra. Taking credit for the ministers and politicians sent packing after corruption charges in 2G and other scams, Hazare said, "I have taken six wickets and there are many more to go".

"Everybody says Anna tum aage chalo hum tumhare saath hai. When I look back, I find no one. The fight against corruption is not one man's fight and people will have to be ready to sacrifice everything for the cause," he said, urging the youth to flood state jails by participating in the movement.

He said people have to participate in the decision-making process as voter is raja and more powerful than the state machinery. Hazare's praise for Modi last month had fuelled a controversy and was also criticised by his own followers. Hazare later clarified that he was opposed to communalism. Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal, other members of the Jan Lok Pal bill drafting panel, were with Hazare on his Gujarat visit.

David Headley first trained by Lashkar, then ISI Agencies-May 27, 2011

Dissatisfied with the military and espionage training received by Mumbai attacks accused David Coleman Headley from the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Pakistan's spy agency ISI gave him special coaching in surveillance tactics before 26/11.

Headley names Pak Navy man in 26/11 plot
CHICAGO: Dissatisfied with the military and espionage training received by Mumbai attacks accused David Coleman Headley from the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Pakistan's spy agency ISI gave him special coaching in surveillance tactics before 26/11.

The training was given by Major Iqbal, Headley's ISI handler, on the streets and in a two-storey safe house in Lahore near the airport, the 50-year-old said.

"ISI did provide me (espionage) training," Headley told a Chicago court as he was grilled by defence attorney Charles Swift who's trying to prove Headley's friend and co-accused, businessman Tahawwur Rana, was in the dark about the Lashkar operative's terror role.

Headley told the court that when he met Major Iqbal in 2006, he was told Lashkar's training was "very elementary" and "not very good". So Major Iqbal, who was identified by Headley as Chaudhery Khan, decided to personally coach him. It was a double-storey house with a small compound outside in a residential neighbourhood, Headley described.

In answer to repeated questions on Thursday, Headley said he did not know the full name of Major Iqbal, but was sure he was from the ISI. Although Headley never saw Major Iqbal in military uniform, he came to meet him several times in a military jeep and his subordinates had military designations, he said.

He was introduced as Major Iqbal to him.

Headley said he never went to the ISI headquarters and added that he was introduced to Major Iqbal by military personnel.

The disclosures are part of the testimony of Headley, who has pleaded guilty, and cements India's charges that elements of ISI were involved in the 26/11 attack. Delhi's fears are being corroborated by information given by federal prosecutors in the documents to the court, which have been unsealed.

The ISI and Major Iqbal were particularly motivated by the fact that he was born in the US. As an American national, he would be able to conceal his real identity in India, they felt.

"They (ISI and Major Iqbal) wanted me to have a business so as to have the ability to have a long-term stay in India. In discussion with them I suggested it to take the help of Dr Rana's (Tahawwur Rana) business to get this objective," he said.

According to the new documents, Headley began attending terror training camps of the Lashkar in February 2002. By December 2003, Headley had attended five separate courses, and had been trained in, among other things, Lashkar's philosophy, the use of weapons and grenades, combat tactics, survival skills and counter-surveillance methods.

After completing several camps, Headley became acquainted with senior Lashkar member Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, who was responsible for Lashkar's military operations and one of the brains behind 26/11.

Mamata Mukherjee's victory in West Bengal elections becomes case study in brand positioning and packaging-27 May, 2011

Mamata Mukherjee's(isn't it Banerjee) victory in West Bengal elections becomes case study in brand positioning and packaging

Mamata Banerjee's super brand
KOLKATA: If Mamata Banerjee was a brand, her core team its marketers, and voters of West Bengal its consumers, the entire package - from positioning to performance - would make for a striking case study in marketing journals.

It's a brand that has seen its ups and downs, right from the day - January 1, 1998 - when the then 43-year-old firebrand broke away from the Congress to launch the Trinamool Congress. A couple of weeks ago, Brand Mamata hit a high when citizens of West Bengal bought her carefully-crafted proposition and paved the way for her appointment as West Bengal's newest chief minister.

To use an analogy from the world of fast-moving consumer goods, the street-fighting competitor who previously could never enter the main stream had succeeded in unseating the long-standing leader-in this case the communists who were deeply entrenched in the state for 34 years but whose shelf life was near over.

It's a heady marketing mix that saw the party using many of the traditional Ps of marketing-product, people, placement. The product lent itself to another P that might have eventually tilted the scale in Mamata's favour: Packaging.

That's in sharp contrast to J Jayalalithaa's winning strategy in Tamil Nadu: She relied heavily on the Ps of price and promotion by promising freebies like fans and laptops to voters.

"Much like a seasoned marketer, Mamata packaged herself and her state successfully," says brand expert Harish Bijoor. Brand Mamata had many avatars and she positioned herself according to the demands of the electoral market.

A few years ago, she resembled a bit player battling to stay relevant. "Like a struggling FMCG brand, Mamata first used the plank of rebellion during the Singur and Nandigram crises to garner eyeballs. Closer to elections, she successfully repackaged herself as an underdog and a saviour of a regressive Bengal," the CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

Packaging, however, work only up to a point. After that, consumers need to see a value proposition in the brand if they are to believe in it. Celebrity quizmaster Derek O' Brien says, "If Mamata Banerjee is considered as a brand, the core value would be her struggle to meet people's aspirations."

O'Brien, who joined team Trinamool in 2004, provided Mamata's campaign with a credible voice that people could empathise with. Others like theatre personality Bratya Basu and artist Shuvaprasanna lent added power to that voice.

O'Brien says that one major reason for Mamata' success has been her unwavering focus of her value proposition over the years. "Be it Chota Angaria or Nanoor, Nandigram or Singur, the core value of the brand-struggle for existence-has remained intact. Over time she managed to convince more and more people and that eventually led to her victory at the elections," he says.

Strains of Obama's presidential campaign of 2008 can be found in Mamata's communication to voters: Both focused on change.

Shibaji Panja, who crafted the promotional campaign, says, "The core communication revolved around two most popular brands of Bengal - poriborton (change) and Ma, Maati, Manush (Mother, Motherland and the People)." Compare that to Obama's campaign slogan "Change we can believe in".

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The ground realities for the poor Burmese remain the same after Democracy in Nov 2010.Burmese continues fleeing to Northeast India-May 25, 2011

Officially Burma (Myanmar or Brahmadesh) may have transformed into a democracy after the 2010 November general election, but the ground realities for the poor Burmese remain the same. And the outcome is the continuous fleeing of Burmese to neighbouring India, Bangladesh and Thailand. If the earlier exodus was of pro-democracy political activists, now more and more common Burmese are leaving the poverty stricken country.

For India, the burden of refugees primarily from Chin State of Burma is carried by Mizoram. With its around10 lakh population, the Burma and Bangladesh bordering Indian State gives shelter to nearly 80,000 migrants. Leaving aside two thousand Burmese recognized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and staying in New Delhi, the rest arescattered in Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur.

"The people outside Burma start believing that the country has changed after the polls. But in reality, the election was fought and won by mostly the military men. So even after the military brand State Peace and Development Council, which ruled Burma for decades, is dissolved and the Parliaments are functioning, the common people are suffering a lot," said a Burmese youth, now staying in Indian bordering town Saiha.

The youth, who migrated from Chin to Mizoram few months back for a better life and presently working as a daily labour, also added that there are serious crisis of food in Chin State after the phenomena of bamboo flowering last year. The Burmese government in Nay Pie Taw remains reluctant for the relief and rehabilitation of Chin people.

"When some parts of Mizoram also faced the bamboo flowering in early 2010, there were constant flow of relief from New Delhi and also international aid agencies. But for our people in Chin, neither the government initiated to send relief nor it allowed the outside aid agencies to serve the people in distress," asserted the educated youth, who wanted anonymity, during an interview with this writer at Aizawl recently.

Pu Kim, a Burmese political activist who is recognized by the UNHCR and now based in New Delhi, argues that the so-called change of Burma for democratization is useless, as the military clout remains powerful and the judiciary has still no jurisdiction over the armed forces in the country.

"Many historic political events may take place in Burma in the last few months including the November election, release of pro-democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, running Parliament sessions at Nay Pie Taw and the demolition of the SPDC, but these changes are seemingly not adequate for the people and hence many of them have fled the country," commented Mr Kim, while speaking to this writer from New Delhi.

Facing the situation, the Mizoram government also finds it difficult to deal the migrants from Burma. As India does not have a refugee policy, it often emerges as a major challenge for both the authority and the civil society groups in a situation like that of Mizoram.

For the Chin people, Mizoram emerges as a place of their choice, as both Chin and Mizos share similar religious identity and food habits. Moreover they are almost look alike and Mizo people in general embrace the Chin as their brother and sisters. But in some occasions, when few Chin youths were found involving in petty crimes, the majority Mizo civil society groups get irritated. Even the most influential Young Mizo Association had warned the Chin people to leave Mizoram as they were polluting the Mizo society.

The resentment of Mizo civil society had compelled a senior Burmese political leader to tender apology in front of the people of Mizoram. Addressing a consultation meeting on the 'implication and consequences of regime change in Burma' after the November 2010 elections at Aizawl on May 6, Dr Tint Swe, a former Burmese MP seek apology for all anti-social activities carried out by a section of Chin people.

The senior member of National League for Democracy (led by Suu Kyi), Dr Tint Swe also claimed that the recently concluded election in Burma has not brought any changes to the common people and they are still ruled by the same group of military under the camouflage of a democratic regime. Hence he urged the government of India and the citizens of Northeast to continue supporting the Burmese peoples' struggle for real democracy.

Organized by Burma Centre Delhi in collaboration with Chin Human Rights Organizations, Aizawl and Grassroot Development Network, Mizoram and hosted by Zo Indigenous Forum the consultation meeting wasattended by various civil society groups, journalists and activists of the region.

Addressing the gathering, Vanlal Ngaia, Chairman of Mizoram Committee for Democracy in Burma reiterated that the regime change in Burma does not seem to bring any change in the condition of pro-democracy activists and general people of Burma.

"The only change we have seen is the military uniform into civil dresses. Therefore people preferring for democracy around the world should work persistently for full restoration of true democracy in Burma," he added.

Dr. Alana Golmei, advocacy coordinator of BCD also urged the people of Northeast to have a closer people to people contact and work together for peace and human rights in the region and Burma. She further said that both the Burma polls and its 2008 Constitution were criticized and condemned by the UN, the EU and Burmese pro-democracy campaigners for adopting undemocratic norms and rejection of democratic principles and human rights. So, she added, no change is taking place in Burma after the technically new and elected government as the human rights
situation in Burma remains the worst.

"The people of Mizoram have a deep relation with Burma as our Chin brother and sisters live there. My understanding is that Mizo, Chin and Kuki are the same people with same religious and linguistic identity. That is why we feel pain when our Chin brothers face problem and suffer under the regime of Burma," commented Muanpuia Punte, vice-president of Northeast Students Organization.

He also added that both the Burma polls and its 2008 Constitution were criticized and condemned by the UN, the EU and Burmese pro-democracy campaigners for adopting undemocratic norms and rejection of democratic principles and human rights.

Burma democracy group wants India’s actionto advocate for stability and peace, fraternity and justice in the region,”

Burma democracy group wants India’s action

Dimapur, May 25 (MExN): An organization working for Human Rights in Myanmar, Burma Centre Delhi, on May 24 submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh to advocate restoration of peace, justice and Human Rights in Myanmar (Burma) and in the region.
“The people of Burma need a world’s largest democracy like India to advocate for stability and peace, fraternity and justice in the region,” the memorandum stated. The PM is also asked to ‘engage’ the Burmese government and Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic groups. The failure to address the legitimate rights and aspirations of Burma’s ethnic groups is a root cause of instability and dictatorship in the country, the BCD stated. “As we stand for peace, justice and Human Rights for Burma, we anticipate your kind response and prompt action in the above mentioned petition,” the organization added.
The organization made statements on recent historic political events in the military-ruled country such as the 2008 Nargis Constitution, November 2010 Elections, release of Burmese democracy movement leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, convention of Nay Pyi Taw Parliament and demolition of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and installation of the New Regime “the military controlled civilian uniform type.” “Though from various sources inside and outside Burma it has been reported that the country is changing, but in reality that exactly is not happening in the so-called democratic set-up,” the BCD said in a statement today.
The Government of India is also requested to allow UNHCR to establish an office in Mizoram or elsewhere in the India’s northeast region, proper impact assessment of all development projects; ensure all future Indian investments in Burma are free and fair; support the Burmese peoples’ struggle for democracy and applying the principle of “non- refoulment.”
A resolution was adopted during a consultation on ‘regime change in Burma: Post 2010 Elections and its Consequences.’ The event was held on May 6, 2010 in Mizoram between democracy and Human Rights advocates, activists, civil society organizations and journalists from Northeast India with its main efforts to come together to discuss for development and restoration of peace and democracy in the region.

15 new CBFC members appointed-Theatre artist Amal Allana have been 1of them for a term of 3 yrs says unneccessarily potraylal of sex in filmsare wrong

15 new CBFC members appointed

New Delhi, May 26 (PTI)

Renowned theatre artist Amal Allana, noted scriptwriter Anjum Rajabali and filmmaker Shaji N Karun have been appointed members of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for a term of three years.

Among the members who have made it to the panel are eminent film critics like Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN, Subhra (rpt) Subhra Gupta from 'The Indian Express', Pankaj Vohra from 'Hindustan Times' and columnist Anees Jung, an official release said here today.
Noted filmmaker and actor Pankaj Sharma and Bengali film director Harnath Chakraborty are the other members from the film fraternity who have been appointed as new members.
Besides Amal Allana, the list has a few famous theatre artistes like Arundhati Nag and M K Raina.

Telecaster Nikhil Alva, journalist and poetess Mamang Dai, author Dipesh Mehta and Ira Bhaskar -- a professor of Cinema Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University -- have also made it to the panel.

Earlier this year, noted Bharatnatyam dancer Leela Samson had been appointed Chairperson of the CBFC, while noted Delhi- based lawyer Lalit Bhasin had been made Chairperson of the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.

Samson, who is also a choreographer, instructor and writer, is also the Chairperson of Sangeet Natak Akademi. She succeeded veteran actress Sharmila Tagore.

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The first woman icon of Bengali stage, says National School of Drama (NSD) president Amal Allana.Women on stage still suffer bias:

The stigma surrounding stage actresses still persists in middle class Indian society, 147 years after the birth of Nati Binodini, the first woman icon

Women on stage still suffer bias: Amal Allana

Thu, Mar 11 2010 10:37 IST |

New Delhi, March 11

The stigma surrounding stage actresses still persists in middle class Indian society, 147 years after the birth of Nati Binodini, the first woman icon of Bengali stage, says National School of Drama (NSD) president Amal Allana.

She staged her multi-lingual play, "Nati Binodini", as part of the ongoing South Asian Women's Theatre Festival here.

"I don't think the basic mindset will change. If I went to a prostitute and brought her to play Nati Binodini on stage, people would not accept it even today," Allana, 63, told IANS in an interview.

"After all, we belong to the middle class and are still unable to digest the idea. Hence it was difficult for 19th century Bengal to accept Binodini in society. The stigma, in a way, still persists even after 147 years."

Binodini, born in one of Kolkata's red light areas in 1863, was sent to courtesan Gangabai to learn music as a child. At 12, she joined the Great National Theatre and was tutored by Girish Ghosh. Her career ended after 12 years in 1887 at the Star Theatre. She enacted 90 characters in 80 plays. Binodini wrote two accounts of her life and died in Kolkata in 1941.

Allana said Binodini felt betrayed because the "chief patron of the theatre with whom she lived refused to name it after her".

Binodini had sacrificed much and drained her personal resources for the project. "Her life was one of suffering and discrimination. She was constantly hounded by the pain that she was not part of respectable society and thoughts of death," Allana said.

"Look at the way Binodini's mentor Girish Ghosh treated her. She became the muse of his dream to build the National Theatre. But he refused to write the foreword to her autobiography because it contained controversial details about the patrons - who forced her to sell her body," Allana said pointing out the "bias against professional actresses".

"Ghosh, ironically, paid glowing tribute to her in her account of her professional life - 'My Life As An Actress'. Ghosh, on whom Binodini became dependent, left her abruptly after she played Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and was blessed by Ramakrishna Paramhans. Binodini was barred from attending Ghosh's funeral."

"Writing the autobiography 'Amar Katha' (The Story of My Life) must have been difficult for her because it is so intense. It is so hard to tell the truth. Binodini came to the stage at 12 and by 23, she was out," the NSD president said.

Allana's play looks at the life of the actress in a mood of stylised self-introspection. An old Binodini, who awaits death alone along the banks of the Ganges in Kolkata after having given up the stage - steps out of her 1913 controversial autobiography.

Binodini splits into her five alter egos - like the witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth - to analyse different aspects of her life: her aspirations to be the "moon of Kolkata's star theatre", the different characters she brought to life, her trauma of being denied a berth in the genteel women society, her sexual exploitation at the hands of her patrons - who kept professional group theatre going - and her relationship with mentor Girish Ghosh.

The tri-lingual play in Hindi, Bengali and English is operatic and somewhat larger than life.

"I have used components from Shakespeare because Shakespeare was coming to Calcutta stage for the first time in the 19th century. Girish Ghosh was influenced by Shakespeare and I wanted to keep the ethos through the music and culture of 'babus' (rich men), Binodini's patrons. Most of the 'babus' were very English in nature," Allana said.

Allana, who used a blend of Western classical music and Bengali songs for the play, said she "retained some of the original original score".

"I read 'Amar Katha' in English 15 years ago. It was a long story and lay latent in my mind. I asked Swaroopa Ghosh, a member of my cast, to translate the original into English. I am not a Bengali, but I wanted to know about her life as an actress.

"Devising and scripting the play took one and a half years. There was so much of Kalighat happening in the play. So I tried to infuse it with Krishna consciousness in the end, giving Binodini a detachment with which she could question the events in her life," Allana said.

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at

Indian theatre has its roots in the Vedic times, but today it is fighting for survival and needs industry status to make it commercially viable

Industry status must for Indian theatre: Amal Allana

By Maitreyee Boruah, Bangalore, Nov 3 : Indian theatre has its roots in the Vedic times, but today it is fighting for survival and needs industry status to make it commercially viable, says acclaimed stage director Amal Allana.

"Theatre as an art form in India has its roots during the Vedic period. But in spite of such a long period of existence, theatre persons are still fighting to make theatre commercially viable," Allana, chairperson of the Delhi-based National School of Drama(NSD), told IANS in an interview here.

"Theatre cannot survive in isolation. The status of an industry will help theatre persons work in a coordinated manner for the growth and development of theatre," Allana, 61, said on the sidelines of a 10-day theatre festival at Ranga Shankara, a theatre facility in Bangalore.

The festival celebrating the Nataka Mandali or company theatre tradition began Friday with "Nati Binodini", a play directed by Allana on the struggle of the mid-19th century actress Binodini in Kolkata.

The 100-minute play in Hindi was staged by Theatre and Television Associates. The story brings into focus how Indian women in every stage of their lives have to fight a tough battle to fulfil their ambition.

"The play set in the mid-19th century is still relevant. The position of Indian women has not changed much since that time," stated Allana, who is the daughter of theatre legend Ebrahim Alkazi and has till date directed 50 acclaimed plays.

On the television and film industry being a major threat to theatre, Allana said all hurdles would be sorted out once theatre got the industry tag.

"Theatre has to be made commercially viable for its survival. Although thousands of theatre troupes are working hard and staging plays in India, they are suffering from financial penury," she rued.

"Be it Manipur, West Bengal or Karnataka, India has some of the most talented theatre troupes producing world class plays. But there is no financial backing for them. The government has to pitch in to bail out theatre from its financial bankruptcy," she added.

Lauding the support extended by several corporate houses, Allana said since its inception theatre had survived because of royal patronage. "Corporate houses coming out and helping theatre troupes in recent times is a welcome sign. Hope more such support comes our way," she said.

For instance, the Ranga Shankara theatre festival is being supported by cellular phone company Vodafone.

"Contemporary theatre is working under terrible conditions. We need to find a solution soon," Allana said.

On her stewardship of the NSD, she said "We at the NSD have various plans to bring some elementary changes in the way theatre across the country operates. Hope we achieve all our goals," said Allana, who won the Sangeet Natak Akademi award for direction in 1998.

Some of the well-known productions executed by Allana along with her husband Nissar are "Aadhe Adhure", "The Exception and the Rule", "Hayavadana", "Khamosh Adalat Jari Hai", "Birjis Qadar Ka Kunba", "Ashadh Ka Ek Din", "Mahabhoj", "King Lear", "Himmat Mai" and "Begum Barve".

In 1990, Allana received a Ford Foundation Fellowship to research the contemporary theatre movement in India.

(Maitreyee Boruah can be contacted at


Headley bought red 'bracelets' as Hindu disguise for attackers /David Coleman Headley gives details on how ISI nurtured him-27 May, 2011

Headley bought red 'bracelets' as Hindu disguise for attackers

David Coleman Headley gives details on how ISI nurtured him(so now Pakistan can not deny allegation of helping terrorism specially against India...VT)

NEW DELHI: Fresh disclosures made by David Coleman Headley during his testimony against co-accused Tahawwur Hussain Rana throw new light on the role of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence handler Major Iqbal and other non-commissioned officers of ISI in training and conditioning the Pakistani-American for espionage ahead of the Mumbai terror strikes.

On the third day of the 26/11 trial underway in a Chicago court, Headley testified that after Major Iqbal was introduced to him as an ISI officer in 2006, he had received detailed training from him as well as other non-commissioned officers in the ISI in spotting and assessing people, recognising Indian military insignia and movements, dead drops and pick up points and clandestine photography.

Headley said that he was first connected to Major Iqbal through another Major Sameer Ali of the Khyber regimental center. Headley said although he had never seen Major Iqbal in military uniform, he came to meet him several times in a military jeep and his subordinates had military designations.

The decisive evidence of ISI's role in the Mumbai attacks that has come up during the Rana trial is being seen by the Indian security establishment as a vindication of their claims about the Pakistani state agencies' involvement in the 26/11 conspiracy. Underlining this, Indian ambassador to the US Meera Shankar -- who called on Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in the capital to discuss the agenda for his meeting with US Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano on Friday -- said: "The Rana trial is going on and Headley is the key witness. The revelations coming out from the trial are shedding new light on the full details of the (26/11) conspiracy."

Incidentally, MHA is hoping that Napolitano will informally share the evidence and exhibits put up before the Chicago court, when she sits across the table with Chidambaram.

The two sides will discuss issues of mutual interest, including coastal security, mega city policing, countering illicit financing and trans-national crime, cyber security, accessing and sharing of data relating to terrorism , transfer of counter-terrorism and homeland security equipment to each other, capacity building and mutual assistance in investigations including in the Mumbai terror attacks. In Chicago, Headley, despite repeated questioning by defence attorney Charles Swift, said that he did not know the full name of Major Iqbal. He however said he was sure that Major Iqbal was from the ISI.

Defense attorney Swift asked Headley, "Did ISI provide you training," to which Headley replied in the affirmative. Headley said that Major Iqbal was not satisfied with the notes taken by him during his training by the Lashker-e-Taiba. Iqbal thought the notes were "not good enough," Headley told the jury.

"So Major Iqbal had me instructed. Iqbal did some of the instruction himself and some by non-commissioned officers (NCOs), Headley said adding that he received training from Major Iqbal in a two-storey safehouse in a residential area close to the Lahore airport.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lokpal will be a Giant Leap for Democracy-‘it will be a small first step, but it is a giant leap for Indian democracy!’-26/5/11

Rajeev Chandrasekhar is a Member of Parliament in the Upper house of Indian parliament (Rajya Sabha). Rajeev represents Karnataka state and Bangalore Urban district.

Lokpal will be a Giant Leap for Democracy

That the long slumbering Indian is waking up to the reality of what our democracy has become is becoming obvious - the chatter about the disgraceful decline of governance and Politics in our country is loud and reaching everywhere.

Hacker: Are you saying that winking at corruption is government policy?

Sir Humphrey: No, no, Minister! It could never be government policy. That is unthinkable! It’s only government practice.

This exchange between the fictional British Prime Minister and his Cabinet Secretary from the TV series ‘Yes Prime Minister’ pretty much sums up the state of governance in our country.

And, it is not funny. It’s tragic and corruption has seeped into the very nervous system of the republic, and make no mistake - every Indian attempting to lead a normal life and raise and provide for a family is paying the cost of this corruption.

The groundswell of public support for the amendments to the Lokpal Bill has clearly established that ordinary Indians want a recast of their democracy and governance.

While democracy is supposed to create a representative form of governance and a government of the people and for the people - the influence of money and other inducements combined with low participation of the educated is distorting this so called representative democracy.

Today, the voters’ mandate is easily violated by political parties purchasing majority in the Parliament and government priorities are subverted by paying for such majority. The nexus of big money from big business and politics is the real driver of this distortion. The influence of business on government and politics is almost unfettered and unchallenged because there are almost no government institutions that are capable, willing or interested in challenging this capture of Government. This is compounded by the almost complete failure to the most part of Indian media - the so called fourth pillar of the Indian democracy.

That’s why the demand for Lokpal and Lokayukta institutions is essentially a cry for a watchdog on behalf of the citizens for whom the government is supposed to exist - in the absence of any other. The Lokpal will be a super cop - not the best way to address malfeasance in government but unfortunately the only option left for us.

The campaign to have a citizen-oriented Lokpal institution has achieved an important breakthrough, but the hard yards begin now.

This is essentially a historic renegotiation of rights and obligations between the government and the citizen - a long overdue one that is critical to put India back on the path of a democracy that our founding fathers envisioned. Governments and Politicians have to be moved to a role of ‘public servants and public service’ from the current ‘ruling elite’ mindset. The Lokpal Bill will be the catalyst and prime mover for this change.

To have a credible and effective Lokpal, it is vital that the provisions of the Lokpal Bill are beyond reproach and practical.

To begin with, transparency and public participation in redrafting of the Bill is absolutely necessary. The leaders of the redrafting campaign have rightly demanded broadcast of the meetings of the redrafting committee. In the interest of transparency and for enhancing citizens’ participation in the process, the proceedings of the Lokpal committee meetings must be telecast live on Lok Sabha TV. The redrafting is going to be a tug of war between the natural reluctance of a political/bureaucratic system that thrives only in hazy non transparent world versus the increasingly strident and uncompromising demand by citizens for transparency and honesty.

To start with, the issue of suo motu investigative and prosecution powers with the Lokpal is vital. There could be threshold evidence criteria that could need to be produced before this power is exercised to prevent ad hoc use of this very important power. I have no doubt the political and bureaucratic class will kick and scream and oppose this tooth and nail and invent all kinds of excuses for it. But this suo moto power will either make or break the success of the Lokpal.

Next, Lokpal as an institution must supersede and/or subsume all existing anti-corruption institutions like CVC. Because if not, there will be classic obfuscation by forum shopping i.e., Lokpal can’t investigate it because CVC is ’seized’ of the matter or ‘CBI is investigating it’! Only the Supreme Court should be able to intervene/adjudicate on Lokpal’s decisions and findings.

Further, all bureaucrats and MPs/cabinet will be covered by the Lokpal, i.e., there will no immunity for anyone either using Parliament as a cover or Government. This is critical as well to ensure the long arm of the fight for probity reaches everyone including Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers.

The issue of appointment of Lokpal is an important one - given the powers that will vest in it and the truth about an institution only being as good as the people in it. The Lokpal institution is a representative of the people and must be legally mandated to function in the most transparent and disclosure driven manner - with use of public hearings and video and other broadcasts and transcripts to involve the people fully in its efforts. The appointment of Lokpals should be by a Supreme Court monitored committee of Indians with a track record of work against corruption and for probity in Government. The five year term is excessive and terms should be of 30 months and no more than two terms should be permitted. The second term should be allowed only under exceptional defined circumstances.

The proposed structure of 10 members and a chairperson also looks good. The proposal that they will be working in benches of three or four on each matter would add both efficiency and credibility to the functioning of Lok Pal.

However, there are some aspects of the amendments to the Bill that need to be reviewed.

The proposal to have a panel of a minimum of 4 lawyers should be improved to create a concept of a special prosecutor. Lokpal should be able to bring in outside counsel in areas of sophisticated financial crimes and graft where normal criminal or civil lawyers may not be enough.

Let’s be clear, the demand for a Lokpal bill by the Indian citizen who is waking up from his hibernation is only a first tentative step to rebuilding our democracy. But this first step needs to be taken, and to paraphrase Neil Armstrong as he stepped on the moon - ‘it will be a small first step, but it is a giant leap for Indian democracy!’

IIT-JEE results: Super-30's score: 24/30-May 25, 2011(good wishes n congratulations...VT)

IIT-JEE results: Super-30's score: 24/30

Super-30's score: 24/30
Super-30 magic: The "achievers" include Dharmapal Yadav, son of a truck driver; Abhishek Ujjwal, son of a milk vendor; Amit Kaji, son of a marginal farmer; Arjun Singh, son of a grade IV railman; Jatinder Singh, son of a ‘chaat-wallah'; Priyanka Sharma, daughter of a cellphone mechanic; Pravin Kumar Ray, son of an Army clerk; Shubham, son of a schoolteacher and fatherless Ayush Agrawal whose mother and sister eke out a living by giving tuitions in Varanasi. (PTI Photo)
PATNA: Notwithstanding attempts to scandalize Bihar's famous Super-30, the noble initiative under which 30 poor IIT aspirants are coached free of cost by state's maths wizard Anand Kumar and his team every year, shone again with 24 of the students cracking the JEE this year.

The "achievers" include Dharmapal Yadav, son of a truck driver; Abhishek Ujjwal, son of a milk vendor; Amit Kaji, son of a marginal farmer; Arjun Singh, son of a grade IV railman; Jatinder Singh, son of a 'chaat-wallah'; Priyanka Sharma, daughter of a cellphone mechanic; Pravin Kumar Ray, son of an Army clerk; Shubham, son of a schoolteacher and fatherless Ayush Agrawal whose mother and sister eke out a living by giving tuitions in Varanasi.

With this, the total number of Super-30 students in IITs goes up to 236. Set up in 2002, Super-30 is an educational initiative under which 30 meritorious students belonging to economically backward sections are selected and provided free food and lodging and coached for a year to take what is feared by many as one of the country's toughest written tests.

In 2003, 18 of the 30 students came out with flying colours while the number of successful candidates went up to 22 the next year. In 2005, 26 of the Super-30 students made it to IITs while 28 each got through the exam in 2006 and 2007. Anand and his team experienced magic moments from 2008 to 2010 with all their 30 students making it to the list of successful candidates every year.

As Anand earned fame across the globe, certain quarters accused Super-30 of faking success and dared Anand to release the list of students prior to the declaration of the results. Anand obliged his zealous and jealous critics and released the list of students along with their roll numbers to the media three days before the results were out on Wednesday. "Super-30's success is for the world to see," Anand told TOI and modestly credited the "show" to the hard work of his students.

For Dharmapal, it's like a dream come true. The 18-year-old from obscure Rashalpur village in Vaishali district had been facing fierce odds ever since his father met with an accident four years ago. "We were caught in a vicious debt trap as we spent heavily on my father's medicare. I reared a cow and sold milk and cowdung to help my family survive," said Dharmapal, who has ranked 1307 in the OBC category.

Cellphone mechanic's daughter Priyanka travelled all the way from Ludhiana to join the Super-30. "My kinsmen were apprehensive about my safety in Bihar. But it was a safe, and successful, stay," she said as she gave a chuckle of delight.

Though a tad disappointed at the failure of six students, Anand attributed it to high cut-off. "In a first in the history of IITJEE, the cut-off was 229 this year. It was only 190 last year," he said and added that all his students would have made it had the cut-off been even 216 marks.

Kalmadi sidelined OC officials who tried to blow whistle on scam-May 26, 2011

Kalmadi sidelined OC officials who tried to blow whistle on scam.

(good now people know about how people stop who try to correct system when neccessary...!!...VT)

NEW DELHI: Sacked Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee (OC) chief Suresh Kalmadi not only had a "disregard" for transparency while granting the TSR contract for CWG 2010, he had also sidelined two OC officials for opposing the "fraudulent" manner in which the contract was awarded to a Swiss firm.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, in its chargesheet, has alleged that ex-OC secretary-general Lalit Bhanot, Kalmadi's confidante and co-accused, had also overlooked the rules and conspired to favour Swiss Timing.

Surjit Lal, one of the accused, had cited that the ministry of sports had approved the eligibility criteria for the TSR bidders. However, investigations have "revealed that there was no approval of the government in respect of criteria or contents for eligibility," the chargesheet said. It also added that the sports ministry "never accorded" an approval for awarding TSR contract to Swiss Timing on a single-vendor basis.

Kalmadi also "bent" rules and "overlooked" the objections raised by two OC members — Vijay Kumar Gautam and Sujit Panigrahi — to grant the contract to the Swiss company, causing a loss of over Rs 95 crore to the exchequer. Gautam and Panigrahi are also the two key prosecution witnesses named in the chargsheet.

The central probe agency has alleged that Gautam and Panigrahi were divested of their powers, and shunted out after they opposed the tendering process. "In order to suppress continuous opposition of Gautam and Panigrahi to the conspiracy of the accused OC officials, Gautam was divested of the supervision of technology Functional Area and Suresh Kalmadi had entrusted the work to his confidant and co-conspirator V K Verma," the charge sheet said.
"At the same time Sandeep Arya, who had earlier in September 2009 been suddenly appointed consultant on the direction of Kalmadi, was appointed the ADG over Panigrahi," it said.

Vijay Kumar Gautam, COO of OC financial committee (OCFC), who was the overall supervisory officer of Technology Functional Area (FA), had opposed the "fraudulent manipulations" in the request for proposals (RFP) by Kalmadi and his associates to favour Swiss Timing. Consequently, he was subsequently relieved of all his responsibilities. Sujit Panigrahi, ADG (technology), was forced to resign in January, 2010.

Govt cracks whip on 'obscene' deo ads -(great step,it really needed such gestures are sickening..VT)

Govt cracks whip on 'obscene' deo ads

NEW DELHI: The government has cracked down on "obscene" deodorant advertisements directing advertisers to modify them or take them off air. The I&B ministry has asked the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to take action and submit a report within five days.

The move comes after the ministry received complaints regarding deodorant advertisements of various brands. Citing about seven instances where advertisements were found to be violating the advertising code, the ministry in its order said, "These ads appear indecent, vulgar and suggestive and hence appear to violate rule 7(8) of the Advertising Code."

The advertisements were also found violating the Cable Television Networks Rules that says, "...the cable operator shall ensure that the portrayal of the female form, in the programmes carried in his cable service, is tasteful and aesthetic, and is within the well established norms of good taste and decency."