Wednesday, May 26, 2010

pm trade council meet

op industrialists and businessmen are at

By Delhi correspondent

Rattan Tata, Mukesh Ambani, Sunil Mittal, Anil Ambani
and Chanda Kochchar with other top industrialists and 
businessmen have arrived at 7 Race Course Road to attend
the Prime Minister's  Trade advisory Council meeting
being presided over by the Prime Minister.

Senior Union Minsters and secretaries to Government of India
are present at the Meeting.It began at 430 pm is expected to go upto
6 pm.


The Trade and Economic Relations Committee

Constituted on 3rd May 2005, the Trade & Economic Relations Committee is an institutional mechanism for evolving the extent, scope and operational parameters of our economic relations with other countries in a coordinated and synchronized manner.
The Committee is serviced by the Prime Minister’s Office, which may obtain assistance as required from any Ministry/Department/Agency of Government.
The composition of the Trade and Economic Relations Committee is as follows:-  
(a)       Prime Minister                   -           Chairman
(b)       Finance Minister
(c)       Commerce & Industry Minister
(d)       External Affairs Minister
(e)       Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission
(f)        Chairman, Economic Advisory Council
(g)       Chairman, National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council
(h)       National Security Adviser
(i)        Principal Secretary to PM    -          Convenor
The Secretaries of the Departments of Economic Affairs, Revenue, Commerce, Industrial Policy & Promotion as well as Secretary, Planning Commission and Foreign Secretary, are permanent invitees to the meetings of the Committee.
The Chairman may invite any other Minister/Officer to any meeting of the Committee depending upon the context.
The Committee would engage in the following tasks:
(a)   Suggest mechanisms for promoting economic cooperation through various arrangements such as Joint Study Groups, Task Forces, Negotiating Teams, etc.
(b)   Suggest the extent and scope of economic engagement with the identified countries.
(c)   Commission studies which would be valuable inputs in arriving at suitable decisions.
(d)   Examine proposals for economic coordination between India and the identified countries.
The Committee has held thirteen meetings till date, in which the following issues have been discussed:
1.      India’s engagement in regional trading arrangements
2.      Investments, both into the country and by India abroad
3.      Economic relations with the US, with special emphasis on the Small
        and Medium Enterprises sector
4.      Economic relations with the EU
5.      Free Trade Agreement between India and the Gulf Cooperation
6.      India’s economic engagement with Bangladesh and Pakistan, esp in
         the context of textile trade
7.      India’s economic engagement with Korea
8.      Status of negotiations in the WTO
9.      Progress on South Asian Free Trade Area
 10.     Economic Engagement with BIMSTEC
 11.     Proposed Framework Agreement with SACU
 12.     Proposed Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership
          Agreement (CECPA) and progress on PTA with Mauritius
 13.     Recommendations of the India-Israel Joint Study Group        
 14.     Progress on India- ASEAN FTA
 15.     Proposed JSG between India and Russia        
 16.     Proposed areas of Trade Cooperation among India, Brazil and 
        South Africa  
 17.     CECA between India and Indonesia
 18.     Unilateral Tariff Preference Scheme for LDCs
 19.     Setting up of a National Center for International Trade Policy
 20.     Progress on India- Chile PTA
 21.     Progress on India- Mercosur PTA   
 22.     Constitution of a JWG to study the feasibility of a comprehensive
           FTA among SACU, India and MERCOSUR
 23.     Issues relating to India-Japan Joint Study Group
 24.     Open skies agreement with ASEAN
 25.     Trade and Economic Framework between India and Australia
 26.     Issues relating to India-EU High Level Trade Group     
 27.     Progress on Indo- US economic dialogue
 28.     Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement ( CEPA)  with 
          Republic of Korea
 29.    Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement ( CEPA )with 
 30.    India- Thailand Free Trade Agreement
 31.    Negotiations under ASEAN – India Free Trade Agreement
 32.    Finalization of Joint Task Force Report for Regional Trading  
          Arrangement with China
 33.    Constitution of a JSG between India- European Free Trade 
 34.    Setting up a Joint Task Force based on India- Russia Joint Study 
          Group Report
 35.     Adoption of India - Malaysia Joint Study Group Report
 36.     Progress on the GCC- India FTA negotiations and Economic 
          Relations with Saudi Arabia in particular


Saturday, May 22, 2010

air crash due to criminal negligence of authorities?

22 May 2010      


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Contrary to Air India pilots being blamed for the tragic Boeing aircraft crash at Mangalore early Saturday morning that killed over 150, a Bangalore-based NGO asserted that it was no accident but result of a criminal negligence of authorities in not adhering to applicable norms and standard in building the second runway at the airport.

The Environment Support Group (ESG) that had twice moved PILs (public interest litigations) before the Karnataka High Court in 1997 and 2002, along with Vimana Nildana Vistharana Virodhi Samithi (Local Communities Alliance Against Airport Expansion), Bajpe, accused the authorities of ignoring even the Supreme Court ruling on their appeal in February 2003 to strictly follow the norms in building the runway.

It blamed the officials at the highest level in the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Airports Authority of India (AAI), Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Karnataka Government for building the second runway despite it not meeting standards for emergencies during landings and takeoffs when air crashes are most likely to happen.

The NGO pointed out that this is a second major mishap at the Mangalore airport in over a decade, the first plane luckily not tipping over into the valley. On board in that fortunate flight was Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily.

To ensure such tragedies do not recur, the NGO demanded a judicial inquiry into the "causative factors" of the crash, so as to probe the absolute lack of conformation with basic runway design standards and emergency approach measures. It said such a probe is also necessary because India today is frenetically building airports all over, and for all sorts of flaky reasons, neglecting safety measures.

The second runway construction began in 2004 and it was commissioned in May 2006. The expansion of the airport was carried out to enable flight movements of wide-bodied aircraft such as Airbus A-320.

The NGO claims it repeatedly pleaded with the authorities even before the construction began that the proposal violates the standards prescribed for runway design as laid down by DGCA, National Building Code of India and Ministry of Civil Aviation. Further, considering that the airport was proposed for international flights, a case was also made that the second runway could not conform with International Civil Aviation Authority standards due to terrain limitations.

"No one in authority cared to listen to our fervent pleas. This even when we demonstrated through a variety of representations that the site chosen for expansion at Bajpe was surrounded by deep valleys on three sides of the runway and did not provide for emergency landing areas as required," the NGO said in a statement circulated on Internet. Its PILs in the Karnataka High Court also highlighted that the airport also did not meet the basic requirement to have emergency approach roads with a kilometre on all sides.

"It is truly sad that because of the failure of key decision makers at the highest levels so many innocent lives have been lost. It is quite possible that many lives were lost as emergency rescue teams could not access the crash site due to the difficult terrain (a valley) for over a hour after the incident, even though it was proximal to the site," the NGO said.

It said the authorities could have chosen better alternate site but they "proceeded obstinately to expand the airport yielding to pressures from business, real estate and hotel lobbies who benefited immensely from an airport at Bajpe and politicians keen to make the expansion a part of their legacy overlooked all concerns." Authorities could have easily explored alternate sites within Bajpe itself or even in Padubidri, between Mangalore and Udupi, it said.

The NGO recalled that it had approached Airport Authority of India chairman Dr Naseem Zaidi in March 2004, pleading to comply with the Supreme Court directions as the second runway on the site would jeopardise passenger safety, put local communities to risk....," but it got no response.



22 May 2010



From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday visited the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) headquarters here to finetune its strategy in the context of the latest pattern of the Maoist attacks.

He also took stock of the deployment of the CRPF jawans across the country, particularly in the Maoists-affected areas,  the Home Ministry officials said. They said he quizzed the central force top brass on the basis of the the probe by former BSF chief E N Rammohan into the April 6 Dantewala massacre that left 76 CRPF men dead.

He also told them that Rammohan found fault with both the CRPF commanders and the Chhattisgarh Police officers in planning the operations. While CRPF's DIG Nalin Prabhat and two other officers have been shunted out of Chhattisgarh for their alleged lapses, the Home Ministry has also sought action by the State Government against the Bastar IG T J Longkumer and Dantewada Superintendent of Police Amresh Mishra.

"We have recommended that action should be taken against Longkumer and Mishra as there were lapses on their part too resulting in the tragic massacre," a Home Ministry official said. Longkumer is a 1991 batch IPS officer while Mishra belongs to 2005 batch.

The CRPF personnel killed on that day had virtually become sitting ducks for the Naxals after they had violated every standard operating procedure which included not taking help of villagers and never resting at any place for more than four hours, the Rammohan report said.



22 May 2010



By R Rajagopalan

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is understood to have given yet another extension of six month to 62-year old Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, scuttling prospects of Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla (59), a Gujarat cadre IAS officer of 1973 batch.

Chandrasekhar, who is serving the UPA government since June 2007 as the Cabinet Secretary, is already on a year's extension that was to expire on June 12. Sources said the Prime Minister has just cleared his file.

Officially, the new extension to him up to December is attributed to the major responsibility of monitoring the Rs 30,000-crore expenditure on the Commonwealth Games that are slated in October.

Insiders, however, say the exercise is intended to pave way for Pulok Chatterjee, a Gandhi family loyalist and a 1974 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, to directly take over as the Cabinet Secretary. Chatterjee, who is presently a World Bank executive director in Washington, was here in March to explore his prospects.

Sources said all the remaining 1972 batch IAS officers will be retired by the time Pulok gets the posting to head the Indian bureaucracy while those from the 1973 batch like Ashok Chawla will not be in the Government of India to create a problem of supersession of the seniors.

Pulok served in the PMO during the first term of Dr Manmohan Singh as the PM, first as additional secretary and then as special secretary before moving to the World Bank where his tenure ends in November 2011. He was earlier secretary to Sonia Gandhi during her tenure as the leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

While in the PMO, he was holding the dual post as secretary in the National Advisory Council (NAC) that was headed by Sonia Gandhi until she quit to escape disqualification and got re-elected. Even after her exit, he continued in the NAC post besides serving the PMO for another two years before letting it die down.

He is close confidant of both Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh and as such his absence is felt in both 10 Janpath and 7 Race Course. Pulok came close to the Gandhi family while serving late Rajiv Gandhi and as such he enjoys confidentiality of both Sonia Gandhi as well as her children for the past two decades.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Prakash Karat speaks out
Why celebrations when Prices to soar in another two months
By Delhi correspondent
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has become more vulnerable as it completes the first year of its second incarnation, Marxist leader Prakash Karat said Wednesday.
The general secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) also said that the UPA government's biggest failure was to control rising food prices for which he blamed official policies.

"Politically, the striking outcome of the first year of the UPA government is its increasing vulnerability," Karat said in an article in the party organ "People's Democracy".

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government took office May 22 last year.

Karat said that in May 2009, when the UPA won the election but failed to get a majority in the Lok Sabha, the Congress leadership became complacent with the unilateral declaration of support by parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).

"By the end of the first year that complacency has been shattered. During the last budget session, the Congress had to adopt the tactic of bargain and striking deals to garner support from amongst these parties," he said.

Karat accused the government of failing to tackle the relentless price rise of essential commodities, particularly food items.

"This has been the biggest cause for people's suffering in the past year. For the poor, it has meant less food and more hunger and malnutrition," he said.

He added that this was the outcome of the government's decision to pursue neo-liberal economic policies.

"Food items and other essential commodities are traded and speculated in the market in a big way. The forward trading system is the playground for big trading companies and corporates.

"The government is in the least interested in curbing these interests who are making huge profits," he said. 


p chidambaram shifts stand due to congress pressure on maoists says BJP

BJP blasts Union Home Minister

  Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Bharatiya Janata Party has consistently maintained that the need of the hour is to have a multi-pronged approach to tackle the problem of Left Wing extremism.   The Party had made a comment yesterday that internal contradictions of the UPA which  are weakening this battle against Maoism.  The Home Minister has now made  a statement that it is primarily the responsibility of the States to tackle Naxalism.  The Centre’s job is to provide all types of assistance to the State Governments.
Has the Home Minister changed his stand 
    On 17th May, 2010 the Home Minister gave an interview to a private channel NDTV 24/7.  In the interview he made the following comments: - 
P.Chidambaram – It was always a two pronged policy but I concede that some discussion in the recent weeks may have weakened one of the two pronge.
Barkha Dutt  -- The security pronge ? 
P.Chidambaram – Well, yes …………………
Barkha Dutt --   Lets talk about specifics , for example, air support. i am not saying air power.  ………
P.Chidambaram  -  I can only implement the mandate given to me.  Now I  believe that the collective wisdom is better than the individual judgement.  
Barkha Dutt – but you want air support with air operations.  
P.Chidambaram – The security forces and the Chief Ministers want air support.  Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh and Orissa  have all asked for air support.  They are men on the ground. 
Barkha Dutt : Why can’t you convince your Government ? 
P.Chidambaram--  I will try.
P.Chidambaram --  That I argued before the CCS and I got a limited mandate.  I have no quarrel.  As I have said before, the collective wisdom of the Cabinet Committee is better than an individual judgement.  And I am implementing  the Cabinet Committee mandate.  ….  
Barkha Dutt   --  Are you unhappy with the limited nature of the mandate ? 
P.Chidambaram – Well,  I took to the Cabinet Committee a case for a larger mandate.  I was given a limited mandate.   ………………………..   
    Throughout the interview there was no question or discussion with regard to the fact that whether it is the primary responsibility of he Centre or the States to tackle Left Wing extremism.  When these internal contradictions were highlighted by the BJP, the Home Minister on 18th May, 2010 made a statement stating --  
“As far as the mandate of the Government in tackling naxalism is concerned, what I meant was that the Centre is here to provide all types of assistance to the State Governments whether it is providing additional para-military forces or other logistical support but ultimately the State Governments have the primary responsibility to fight Naxalism.” 
    Obviously, on 17th May 2010 he Home Minister was clear that  a larger mandate in terms of air support is  required in order to have an effective battle against the Maoists.  Faced with the internal contradictions and lack of support within the government he now takes a safer position that the context of a ‘limited mandate’ only meant that the States must tackle Maoism and the Central government will only play a supportive role.  This itself is a seious issue.  The enthusiasm to lead the battle against Maoists now seems to have diluted.  
Has the Centre no Constitutional Responsibility in the matter of tackling Maoist issue? 
    The political line advocated by some Congress leaders appears to be that the Centre need not be very vocal or proactive in the battle against Maoism.  It is primarily the responsibility of the States.  Such statements have repeatedly been made by Congress leaders.  Till recently the Home Minister appeared to be proactive on this issue.  He is now hiding behind the logic of the responsibility to tackle Maoism primarily being the responsibility of the States  with Centre only playing a supportive role.  Maintenance of public order (which also includes law and order) and police functions are the responsibility of the State under our constitutional scheme.  The defence of India, protection of national sovereignty, deployment of para-military forces or armed forces are exclusively the responsibility of the Centre.    The extent to which  the proportions that Left Wing extremism have acquired  in recent years isfrightening.   It is an armed rebellion intended to overawe and overthrow a legally elected government.  It is intended to destroy India’s parliamentary democracy and the constitutional order that prevails in India.n  Private arms manufacturing  units have been set up.  Taxes are being  collected by the unauthorized.  Thousands of innocents have lost their lives.  Control over territories of the country is shifting from the civil administration to the Maoist.  Is it the Congress party’s policy that this is exclusively a law and order problem.  When does ‘law and order’ transgress into a threat to India’s integrity, sovereignty, defence of India and an attempt to overawe and overthrow a constitutional order and legally elected government.  Is it the Congress party’s opinion that none of these situations exist on the ground?  If each one of them does exist, in such an eventuality the Centre cannot abdicate its responsibility and hide behind Naxalism being a mere ‘law and order’ problem itself and a State subject  
    The Govrnment headed by late Shri Rajiv Gandhi had legislated TADA.  The legislative power of the Parliament was challenged on the ground that terrorism and  insurgency  are law and order and public order issues and therefore exclusively  within the domain of the States.  The then Congress governments headed byShri  Rajiv Gandhi and Shri  Narasimha Rao correctly took the position that a law and order problem can easily  transgress into the destabilization of the Nation and overthrowing of the government established by law.    These would constitute a threat to the defence, integrity and sovereignty of India.  This position was categorically accepted by the Supreme Court in Kartar Singh vs. State of Punjab 1994 (3) SCC 569 (relevant paras attached).  
    Tackling extremism of this kind is both a law and order problem as also an assault on the integrity, sovereignty, constitutional order and defence of India.  The Centre and the States must tackle this problem through a joint strategy.  The dilution of the original position by the Home Minister that the words ‘limited mandate’ mean that it is primarily the responsibility of the States and the Centre can only give logistical support is neither politically nor constitutionally correct. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

maosits getting support from softline of sonia and digvijay says BJP

18 May 2010


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Advancing hard line against Maoists out to destroy democracy through violence, the Bhartiya Janata Party on Tuesday came down heavily on Congress President Sonia Gandhi advocating a soft line towards them in the party mouthpiece Sandesh and almost asked the Prime Minister to trash her line.

The non-government UPA and Congress leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Digvijay Singh are accountable only to their party and the BJP wants the last word from the Prime Minister who is accountable to Parliament and the nation, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Arun Jaitley told a press conference here.

Asked about Digvijay Singh appealing to the Maoists to come into the main stream and participate in the democratic process, Jaitley quipped that nobody will have objection if he succeeds but the fact is that they are indulging in violence and abhor democratic practices.

He asked Dr Manmohan Singh to stand up and make the government's stand clear on the fight against the rebels as otherwise the debate on first development of the Maoists-infested areas or security measures weakens the fight. What development can take place until the government restores law and order in these areas to allow the civil administration to function, he asked.

He said: "The time has come for the prime minister to end this debate (between the hard and soft lines)” and declare an all-out war and desist from any steps that weaken this war. He said there are no two opinions on development of the backward areas and the multi-pronged approach but “even for developmental activities you must be able to enter that area and re-establish civilian rule.”

Asked if the BJP favour the use of military might against the Maoists, Jaitley said it will go by the decision of the security agencies on use of military for air surveillance or any other purpose.

Stressing that no steps be taken that weaken the war against Maoists who have increasing influence in many areas in many states, Jaitley stressed that "half battle" cannot succeed as seen from India's Home Minister posing himself as weak and crippled after the Maoists killed 35 people by blowing up a bus in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh Monday evening.

Jaitley said P Chidambaram looked like an injured martyr and disheartened home minister on TV Monday night, crying that he has "limited mandate" as that amounts to saying that the security apparatus has to fight the Maoists with one hand tied.

Asked if the BJP government in the state should not be responsible for massacres after massacres in Chhattisgarh, Jaitley shot back that the issue is not limited to a law and order problem for which the state is responsible as a consensus from day one has been that it is an issue of the sovereignty of the country that is under attack and requires both Centre and states to fight it.

He said there is a larger national consensus backed by all major opposition parties to go all out against the Maoists to fail their design of establishing an ideological dictatorship in the country but that resolve is weakened by the internal squabbles within the ruling party, treating the Maoists as misguided ideologists.


jayalalitha in kalahasti temple

‘Tired’ Jaya prays at Srikalahasti temple


Srikalahasti: AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa on Monday offered prayers to Lord Vayulingeshwara in Srikalahasti and performed Rudrabhishekam. 
    What’s interesting is Jaya has trodden the path which few politicians take. “Visiting Srikalahasti temple is believed to be unlucky for politicians. However, she has not only offered prayers but has also performed abhishekam for 25 minutes,” a temple insider said. It’s common knowledge that leaders like N Chandrababu Naidu, late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and others always make it a point to visit Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala but shy away from making a trip to Srikalahasti. “The belief among the leaders is their political careers would be doomed if Lord Shiva opens his third eye,” a temple priest averred. 
    While Naidu has never visited the temple, YSR visited Srikalahasti but avoided offering prayers. 
    Accompanied by her close 
aide Sasikala, party MLA Vijay Kumar and a few local AIADMK leaders, Jaya spent one hour and 15 minutes at the temple. 
    Jaya arrived in a special chopper at a private engineering college at 9.45 am. Sources said she even took part in ‘Sani dosha nivarana puja’ at the temple. But throughout her whirlwind visit, the AIADMK supremo looked extremely exhausted and weak as Sasikala kept helping her move around. 
    “We were informed that she was not doing well. We carried 
some medical kits in case of an emergency. Even her aides carried a chair around so that she could sit and relax during the rituals,” a temple staffer said. It is learnt that doctors carried ‘O’ group blood sachets along with them. She also presented silk vastrams (robes) to Lord Vinayaka and Subramanya Swamy. 
    Earlier, there was a near stampede-like situation at the Dhwajastambham inside the sanctum sanctorum when devotees jostled with one another to catch a glimpse of Jaya. 
    Police and temple security staff could not control the surging crowds. Later, temple board chief Shantaram J Pawar and temple executive officer P Sriramachandra Murthy offered her prasadams and ‘seshavastrams’.

DIVINE INTERVENTION: AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa offers prayers at the Srikalahasti temple on Monday

Thursday, May 13, 2010

khushboo joins DMK

cine actor khushuboo
joins DMK
may be elected to Rajya Sabha

by r rajagopalan

Khushuboo cine heroine of tamil movies
sprang a surprise to join the DMK ruling
party of tamil nadu.

Kanimozhi daughter of Karunanidhi was the
brain behind bringing Khushuboo to DMK

Keeping the Tamil nadu elections to the assembly
is also kept as a trump card for
Khushuboo to join DMK

An popular actor, Khushuboo was in the Jaya TV
as a conductor of a popular programme.
And Jaya TV trp was too high than the SUN TV
and Kalaigyar TV

Khushuboo joining DMK is a major coup by
DMK leadership.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

vice president ansari does it


By R Rajagopalan

NEW DELHI: The Rajya Sabha will go digital in a move set in motion to eliminate huge wastage of paper in the day-to-day functioning of the House.

Yet another brainchild of the 73-year old Chairman M Hamid Ansari stems from his concern over tonnes of paper used. Documents will be supplied in paper format to only those MPs who insist so while those opting for everything in digital format will get special incentives.

Ansari, a retired Indian Foreign Service (IFS) cadre officer, wants Parliament to set an example before the nation to reduce use of the limited available natural resources in whatever possible ways, more so when the modern technologies are accessible to all stakeholders in this digital era. He envisages a drastic cut-down in paper use to save forests.

With that goal in mind, he set up on Tuesday a 9-member committee headed by Rajya Sabha Secretary N.C. Joshi to undertake a comprehensive and scientific study to evolve a suitable mechanism to ensure that usage of paper is minimised to the extent possible. The committee has been tasked to give its report before the start of Parliament's monsoon session in July.

OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE: This is not the first initiative of Ansari to make optimum use of digital technologies to enhance an all-round efficiency. In the winter session of 2009, he started a highly-useful mega digitisation project of making all Rajya Sabha debates accessible on Internet to people across the world.

The unique feature of the project is the use of the open source software for the first time to save huge public exchequer's money spent on the Microsoft and other copyright software. Already part-operationalised and running smoothly, the project will prove to be a treasure house for those keen to understand functioning of the Indian democracy.

The refurbished website of the Rajya Sabha is yet another initiative of the chairman that has already bagged the "Gold Icon" award instituted by the government to promote noteworthy e-governance initiatives in India.

The committee constituted to reduce use of paper in the Rajya Sabha consists of National Informatice Centre (NIC) technical director N S Arneja, Dr Nirmal Kumar Azad, director in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Sanjeev Kumar, director in Department of Administrative Reforms, Ghanshyam Goel, additional director general of Press Information Bureau (PIB) and four Rajya Sabha secretariat officials, namely P Gopalakrishnan, Mrs Vandana Garg, Dr D B Singh and Mukul Pande.

Its recommendations will be placed before the Committee on Providing Computer Equipment to members of the Rajya Sabha for approval and implementation.

TERMS OF REFERENCE: A 9-point charter given to the committee as its terms of reference include compilation of a list of printed documents supplied to MPs by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat and the Union Ministries and to identify the documents whose supply can be dispensed with by making them available digitally and their supply in the printed format to only those MPs making a specific request.

Other terms of reference are:

-- Supply of documents in CD/DVD format;

--  Feasibility of sending the list of business, Parliamentary bulletins and synopsis through e-mail to all Members as soon as they get uploaded on the websites;

-- Mechanism to cut down number of copies required from ministries for laying on the table of the House and for circulation to the MPs in printed, cyclostyled or photocopy format. The committee may inter alia recommend the minimum number of copies that will be required in paper format, and how and where the digital copy of these documents will be made available;

-- Reduction in the number of copies in paper form of both Starred and Unstarred questions for use in the Secretariat and for supply to the Members and Media;

-- Other ways and means to reduce use of paper in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat;

-- A scheme for giving incentives to MPs who opt for supply of Parliamentary papers in digital format only;

-- Any other recommendations concerned with or incidental to reduction in paper use..


evm and malfunctions electronic voting machines

You may like to read the following Blog at the following link:

The text is also pasted here. Please post your comments on the website.

Who says Indian EVMs are failsafe? (PART 2) EVMs ‘manipulated’ in Orissa

In April-May elections to India’s lower house of parliament last year,
Orissa went to polls on April 16 and 20.

Voting was delayed in a number of polling stations across the state due to
faulty EVMs raising suspicions among voters and rival political parties.
Supporters of the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged that
the EVMs did not record votes in favour of their candidates and
irrespective of whichever candidate button they pressed, the votes were
being recorded in favour of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate only.
Suspecting foul play, voters became so agitated that they clashed with
polling officials at some places.

A report published on the website Orissa Matters captures the situation.
Opposition parties including the Congress and the BJP and many common
voters in Orissa felt that the electronic voting machines have been
tampered with in the state.

“Second and final phase of voting in Orissa is witnessing voters’ wrath
against polling officers in most of the booths as till now, i.e. noon, the
Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are not working. In the first phase of
election on April 16, EVM problems had affected voting in many booths.
Voters had taken that to be technical defects. Many voters had gone back
from the booths and the day’s last information from the Chief Election
Officer had put the polling percentage at 52.6%. But on April 17, the
percentage was finally placed at 65.9%. This enhancement was attributed to
casting of votes beyond the voting time as that was allowed to compensate
time lost due to defect in EVMs. This high rise in voting numbers was
looked at askance in certain quarters, even though general public had
accepted it as normal.

…….many people suspect that the EVMs are tampered with. The EVMs… carry
certificate of faultlessness on the basis of meticulous testing. They
should not have shown such defects in normal condition; but they may
develop defect only if tampered with, suggest techno-academics that we

No wonder, voters in a Cuttack booth have manhandled the polling staff
suspecting tampering of the EVMs. Apolitical intellectuals feel that there
should be credible inquiry over non-functioning of the EVMs in such massive

 Congress party’s Allegations

 For a change, in Orissa, it was the turn of the Congress party to make
serious allegations against the manipulation of EVMs by the ruling Biju
Janata Dal (BJD).

 After his party’s disastrous performance in the state of Orissa in 2009
polls – in both the assembly and parliament elections held simultaneously
in the state –   Ghulam Nabi Azad, present Union Health minister and
Congress party’s general secretary in charge of Orissa in a press
conference on June 18, 2009 alleged, “EVMs were manipulated during the poll
which resulted in the defeat of many Congress candidates.” (IANS)

 The Congress party had its own reasons to be suspicious. It performed
disastrously in Orissa polls. A nationally resurgent Congress party had
suffered a loss of eight percentage points in votes in Orissa and
registered the lowest ever vote share of 32.8 per cent in Lok Sabha polls.

Congress files Election petition

The Congress party leaders were so enraged with the election outcome that
some of its state leaders filed an election petition in the Orissa High
Court making the startling allegations:

 “In express violation…, the agency in charge of conducting the state
election for reasons best known to them procured 80,000 EVMs through Idcol
Software Limited, which is a Government of Orissa undertaking and a group
of hand picked, tainted officers were kept in its controlling and managing
positions at the behest of Sri Pyarimohan Mohapatra during the relevant
period on order to complete the process for EVM procurement. The
trustworthiness of these EVMs were never tested nor demonstrated.”

The Congress party’s state leaders had hinted that the state-government
owned EVMs were used to manipulate polls in Orissa. Not just that, the
petition further alleged that the EVMs allotted to several polling stations
were unauthorisedly changed and new EVMs were used in their place. The
petition had listed details of all polling stations where such unannounced
changes were made.

The EVM problems and allegations of EVM tampering in Orissa are indeed
serious. There has not been any enquiry of any kind by the Election
Commission of India. For the Election Commission of India, which has
boundless faith in EVMs, such colossal failures and widespread complaints
don’t seem to matter at all.

If you have any suggestions/ comments, you can write to me at

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      The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has constituted a Committee headed by Dr. Amit Mitra, Secretary General FICCI to review existing Television Rating Point (TRP) system in India and suggest measures to bring in place an effective mechanism for a transparent TRP system in the country. 
      The Committee has been constituted in the backdrop of deficiencies in the present system of generation of Television Rating Points (TRPs) in India given its possible impact on the programming content of TV channels.  The mandate of the Committee is expected to address issues related to accuracy, accountability, transparency and objectivity in the generation of TRPs. It is also expected to examine as to how misleading TRPs may not only impact broadcasters and advertisers but more importantly the viewing public. The Committee shall evolve its own methodology to ensure widest possible consultation on the issue.  It will also take into account the recommendations of TRAI, the Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT, other judicial pronouncements and international best practices to arrive at their recommendations.
      The Terms of Reference of the Committee are comprehensive and cover a range of issues related to the subject. Some of the key issues expected to be examined include; the viability of the TRP system in portraying the demographic profile of the viewership in the context of viewing habits and sample size and coverage area including rural segments of the country and regions such as J&K and North-east.  The Committee shall also look into viewership of all distribution platforms including Terrestrial, Cable, DTH & IPTV. It shall study issues related to adequate transparency in selection of sample homes for placing people’s meters and current disclosure norms adopted by the rating agencies inhibiting desirable transparency in generation of TRP ratings including current audit system. Apart from these issues, the Committee shall examine whether an industry-led body like BARC, as recommended by TRAI, is the most appropriate mechanism to create TRPs without the existing deficiencies. One of the issues proposed to be studied in the feasibility  of setting up, as an alternative, an institutional mechanism through legislation to either generate TRP ratings directly or work as an accreditation/standardization body while leaving the work of generation of TRPs to private players.

      The Committee will have the following Members :
      i) Dr. Amit Mitra, Secretary General, FICCI         -Chairman.
      ii) Shri Rajiv Mehrotra, Managing Trustee, PSBT  -Member
      iii) Ms. Neeraja Choudhary, Eminent Journalist  -Member
    1. Director, Indian Institute of  Management,  -Member
      Ahmedabad or his Nominee                                        
    v) Director, Indian Statistical     -Member
          Institute, Kolkata or his Nominee  
      vi) Shri D.S. Mathur, Retired Secretary to GOI  -Member
    1. Joint Secretary (Broadcasting), Ministry of
      Information & Broadcasting         -Member Secretary
      The Committee will submit its report within three months from the date of its first meeting.



By Delhi bureau

Anil Ambani today called on the  
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh 
at 7 Race Course Road discussed for half an
hour  about  further course of action in the gas allocation
issue. Speculation is that there shall be an
effort from the political leadership for an
amicable settlement between the two brothers
on the gas pricing.

Wednesdays are fixed for Anil Ambani to visit
New Delhi corridors of power. The appointment schedule
would be hopping from South Block to North Block and
to Rashtrapathi Bhavan to Udyog and Sashtri Bhavans.
Where Anil Ambani would update himself with the
on goings in power centre.

Senior functionaries of two ambani companies are to 
work out the Implementation of  the ruling of the apex 
court.  A view in the corridors of power is that by this week
end there shall be a meeting between
the officials of Anil Ambani and Mukesh Ambani
companies. There shall be a stage set for the
meeting between the brothers.

Leaders of UPA are also keen to bring 
a solution to the gas pricing.and end the
brothers differences.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010


11 May 2010





From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will present report to the "aam aadmi" (common man) on the UPA government's successful completion of six years on May 24 by holding a mega press conference at the Vigyan Bhawan here.

The event will be connected live to six metropolis through video conference system to enable the Prime Minister take questions from journalists in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Lucknow. The Press Information Bureau (PIB) and Ministry of External Affairs' XP Division are also arranging video facility to enable journalists ask questions from the foreign capitals.

Senior ministers will also be present on the occasion. Dr Harish Khare, the information adviser to PM, shall conduct the show. According to him, 250 TV news channels and 1500 accredited correspondents of the print media will be accommodated in the Vigyan Bhawan to join the commemoration of the sixth anniversary of the UPA regime.

A drill is going on in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for the past one month to collect all the details of the success stories of the ministries from the secretaries for making them part of the PM's presentation to the nation.

The same day on May 24, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will be hosting a reception in the evening to the MPs of Congress and UPA allies. The Hotel Ashok is the tentative venue, while the final decision will be taken with the PMO's consent, the Congress sources said.

They said the AICC has already sent out a circular to the presidents of the state units of the Congress to organise functions in the respective state capitals highlighting achievements of the UPA during its six years in office.


Saturday, May 8, 2010


8 May 2010


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Ignoring the Home Ministry's threat only two days ago to book anyone supporting the Maoists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act with jail for 10 years, former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi is trying to bring the activists backing the CPI(Maoist) movement on one forum by organising a conference in Delhi.

Taking further Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh's campaign that police action can never solve the Maoist issue, Jogi wants the leaders of the tribal areas and the pro-Maoist intellectuals and NGOs to attend the conference to prepare a charter of demands of the tribals that the government should meet and involve the Maoists activist in the tribal areas in meeting these demands.

Jogi, who is a senior Congress leader and himself a tribal, has recently shifted his base from Raipur to Delhi and wants to gain relevance in the capital by organising the conference. He was once the Congress face in Delhi as the party's spokesman but lost prominence after losing the Chhattisgarh government to the BJP and his activities too became limited because of an accident that made him confined to a wheelchair for life time.

He is trying to rope in Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi in the exercise he is contemplating to involve the Maoists in development instead of hounding them out from the tribal areas. He has written to Gandhi to inaugurate the conference, pointing out that the Maoists do resort to violence but they are also doing good work in remote areas that the government failed to perform.

A clever guy, Jogi has not fixed any date as yet for the conference pending Rahul Gandhi's consent to inaugurate it as he thinks such a consent itself will give a legitimacy to his effort in the Congress and not bring him in any clash with Home Minister P Chidambaram alike Digvijay Singh who too wanted rapid development in the tribal areas instead of bloodshed in the police action. Pending Gandhi's consent, he is keeping his plans of holding the conference under wraps as sources close to him say he may even drop it if he gets a negative response.




By delhi correspondent

Centre permits Parvati mother of LTTE V Prabhakaran
to take medical treatement in Chennai- She may come on 
Tuesday - mostly by next week- to Chennai for one month stay.

She has been given conditional permission 

She will have 30 days stay, confined only to the Hospital
She will report to the local police station house officer
She will not indulge in any anti Indian activities during her stay.

A temporary visa has been permitted - she will be given this
in Malaysia on Monday.

On Friday late evening, the Centre told Indian mission  
in Kuala Lumpur to ask Parvati to apply for temporary visa.
and the process will begin with that.

Top sources told this correspondent, that there is a Look our Circular
in the name of Parvati since 2002. That was not relaxed, When she arrived
in Chennai, it was Tamil Nadu Government told Intelligence Bureau not
to allow her into tamil nadu.

When the entire opposition in Parliament made this as a political
issue, the UPA2 Govt waited for lok sabha session to be over.

Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary wrote to Union Home Secretary 
on april 29, that the state has no objection in the visit of Parvati
further to this, relaxation of Parvati  visa was considered at the highest level
in UPA2. 



for publication on Monday May 10, 2010

R Rajagopalan
Sonia Gandhi has finalised members of National Advisory Committee
being sent to Cabinet Secretariat for issuing orders. Sonia discussed
the list with the Prime Minister and with Pranab Mukherjee. Monday
afternoon the orders being issued.
On Thursday when Rajya Sabha began its session, 
AIADMK MP  Dr V Maitreyan shown a pen drive and audio casstte 
containing a conversation between Nira Radia and A Raja.
on portfolio allocations. Chairman objected to this mis-behaviour for 
exhibiting pen drives irresponsible behaviour. Stop this. But V Maitreyan 
continued to do. SInce Thursday is a PM roaster duty day in Rajya Sabha
many Congress MPs were present. Maitreyan asked PM do you want
to heart this tape. And are you the real Prime Minister. Did you decide
the portfolio or a PR agency woman.  CPM, BJP and others supported
while Congress objected. Dismuiss Raja was the slogan by AIADMK MPs
and they walked out. They came to Central Hall. It is a booster for those
MPs who received a congratulatory phone call from Jayalalitha from Chennai.
all of them were too happy- to say "Nandri (thanks in Tamil)  Amma"
Jaya watched the proceedings of live telecast of  Rajya Sabha
After a communication from Cabinet Secretary about the upkeep of web site
of the Department/Ministry, now an incentive has been proposed. To judge
the best web site and reward for maintaining it.

there are 450 web sites maintained by the NIC concerning Government of India
and its departments headquartered in New Delhi. The best web site
has now been categorised.  For instance Vice President of India
Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and Department of Company Affairs
Ministries of Commerce, Telecom. A new software has since been
introduced by NIC. which provides quick transaltion into 85 foreign languages
including Italiana and Spanish of the contents of  the web site 

By November 2010, the high power committee headed by Cabinet Secretary
shall judge the best maintained Govt web site. A price of Rs one lakh is being
proposed as reward to the web manager of the concerned site.
Politically success story as Prime Minister put it
in a recent official meeting  "e-tharakki" is a major achievement of 
successive Governments NDA and UPA 
DMK at one point of time, decided to suspend MK Alagiri for his
stand that he would contest for the post of Chief Minister
when new MLAs are elected. Also he would contest for 
the post of President of DMK when General Council holds elections.
Disciplinary notice was drafted. MK Alagiri was told about it.
that was the trump card Father used against Son to silence him
And that made MK Alagiri to attend Cabient meets, Parliament
and everyday for three hours he sits in Sashtri Bhavan.
If Alagir was suspended, then MPs and MLAs would desert him
He has to have a hold on the brother Stalin, and that hold is
none else than Fertiliser Ministry.  Now MK Alagiri has begun
to learn English pronounciations. But much more interesting is
in Central Hall in front of many DMK MPs, he asked the canteen bearer
AAJ KI KHAANA MENU KYA HAI. That broken hindi words
wondered many senior MPs to know the quick memorising power
of Alagiri. Reply was that he keeps few words written inTamil and keeps
it his shirt packet.Takes out and puts it back after he said aaj ki khaana
menu kya hai
Law makers are also law breakers. If you do not attend
the Parliament continuously 60 sittings, the MP would lose the
membership. To avoid this there is a clause, to write a leave letter.
to the presiding officer.

For instance Dasari Narayana Rao a Rajya Sabha MP is unhappy over
his removal from the Council of Ministers. Since then he is sulking
not attending Rajya Sabha. He wrote to Chairman Rajya Sabha
seeking leave of absence, as he was undergoing medical treatment
in Hyderabad. The Rajya Sabha agreed to give him leave for 30 days.

But in Lok Sabha the case is different.
Dr Balram chairman of committee on absense of members from the 
sittings of the house presented his report to Lok Sabha, 
Ten MPs abstained from the sittings, They wrote to the 
committee seeking exemptions. there are three columns 
names of the members , period for which  leave was applied, 
reasons thereof, 

Kameshwar Baitha was detained in the jail for 33 days hence 
he was given leave of absence.
Ganjam Babar sought leave for 15 days as his son was 
getting married.
Yashwant SInha was busy electioneering for 20 days 
he was granted leave
Shivraj Adalrao Patil applied leave for 17 days as he was 
on a private visit to foreign country.
Kabir Suman (Trinamool MP who 
was actively helping Maoists )
self ilness and was granted leave for 20 days.

Balram Kashyap illness for 46 days

Shibu Soren 33 days leave as he was ill. Period for 
which leave is sought November 19, 2009 to December 12, 2009
and again 23 days from Feb 22, 2010 to March 23, 2010
 in total he got exemption for 56 days.
He voted with the Govt on money bill also as MP. 
He is a chief minister

K Chandrasekhar Rao applied for 56 days leave, 
and committee agreed to give him leave.
Period for which leave is sought is much more 
interesting. He was on a fast for separate telangana
Nove 19,2009 to Dece 21, 2009
and Feb 22, 2010 to March 16,2010