PDP-BJP coalition govt failed to address developmental aspirations of people of Jammu

Jammu Former minister and Congress leader Raman Bhalla has blamed the PDP-BJP coalition government of depriving the Jammu people of basic amenities. While addressing a huge public gathering at Shiv Nagar, Bandu Rakh, Kunjwani, Bhalla claimed that the unprecedented power and water crisis in Jammu highlights the apathy of the ruling coalition which had failed to address the issues of the people. Prominent among those present on the occasion include Sohan Singh, Sarpanch Kashmir Singh, Naib Sarpanch Satnam Singh Panch Gurnam Singh,Ghulam Farid,Rajinder Singh Lamardhar, Dr. Vijay, Sanjeev Katal, Puran chand. He said the situation in Jammu province had virtually turned out of control due to the severe shortage of drinking water and worst-ever power crisis during summer. “Despite persistent appeals to the government to ensure supply of basic amenities, no action has been taken. People are suffering, but there is no consolation from the government,” Bhalla added. He said lack of direction and political will have compounded the perception of political uncertainty in the state whereas the government should have tried to provide a hope of inclusive development, reconciliation and peace. The former Minister said the PDP-BJP government rather than engaging with aggrieved people with an aim to address their issues, had chosen to tread a path of isolation, arrogance and confrontation contradicting the promises made in the ‘Agenda of the Alliance’. He said Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution (CAPD) outlets lacked sufficient supplies and utility services were craving for maintenance. “The promise of 24×7 power supply has turned out to be a counter nightmare with unprecedented and unscheduled power cuts haunting the people of the state at the very onset of the winter season,” he said.

Addressing the women present in good number in programme, Bhalla said that the basic needs of one’s life becoming un affordable day by day due to soaring inflation. And the worst hit are the housewives, whose monthly budget has gone awry due to spiraling price hike of vegetables and fruits due to inflation.  Households in the City are finding it hard to manage their monthly budget because of skyrocketing prices, he added. Housewives in the City facing great difficulties in managing their monthly budgets and are not able to provide seasonal vegetables to their kids frequently because of higher rates.  This price rise is creating turbulence in their monthly budget. Inflation undoubtedly has an impact on the household expenditure as it affects the prices of practically all goods consumed and services availed on a daily basis – the most significant one being food. Skyrocketing rates of food articles like wheat and rice, which form the staple diet of state, have adversely affected the household budgets. Also the rates of other food articles like pulses, cooking oil, fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products have increased many folds, he added. The hardest hit is the persons who receive fixed income, usually called as the ‘middle class’. Persons who live on past savings, rent, pensions, salaries etc., suffer during these periods as their incomes remain fixed.

Bhalla said that middle class people work really hard to take care of children’s education, livelihood in the times of sickness and even old age.And this price rise is really making it quite impossible to accommodate day to day expenses.  Maintaining that a majority of students in J&K still depend on government schools, state Govt has failed working towards safeguarding the right to education of an average student. Acknowledging that the government-run schools have a lot of scope for improvement, Bhalla demanded government to work on model schools where children, especially from underprivileged background, can reap benefits with proper facilities. Senior Congress leader strongly condemned the closure of 1300 Primary Schools, mostly in Jammu region.  He particularly mentioned that Various Primary Schools closed including Primary School Mohalla Jogian, Primary School Khwaskhan, Primary School Dharap. Bhalla said that the previous UPA Government  started Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan program  to achieve 100 percent literacy rate in India, spent a huge amount to build schools at every kilometer  to establish schools to give quality education to the kids  in far- flung areas. After this the literacy ratio got a boost but now the J&K Govt seems to be sabotaging the program of Govt of India with the closure of Primary school over which BJP is a mute spectator.  The Primary schools closed played a major role in the basic education in the far flung areas. But coalition Government of BJP and PDP is deliberately sabotaging it. Despite crores of rupees funds available to build infrastructure like school buildings, kitchens, toilets and other teaching aids including teaching staff but all the infrastructure and funds utilized to build this infrastructure are going to be wasted with the closure of Govt schools.

Bhalla further said that as the city gets ready to welcome the rainy season, there are serious concerns about the lack of monsoon preparedness. Even a moderate rain causes hardship for the denizens, who have to wade through water-clogged roads and sunken residential areas. The rain that lasted only an hour on last Wednesday exposed the fact that the city is still unprepared for the monsoon. The rain led to knee-deep water in even many main roads in the city, leaving commuters in lurch. Though Jammu is
gifted with several water channels, due to the apathy of the civic authorities, most of them are clogged with plastic waste and silt. The people of Bilal Colony and Pamposh Colony and adjoining areas projected their demands which include repair of roads, lanes and drains, construction of household latrines, fresh BPL survey, repair and upgradation of existing transformers, adequate supply of ration, kerosene oil, LPG, timely disbursement of old age/widow/handicapped pension, financial assistance for construction of pacca houses etc, but Govt always lend deaf ear to their grievances. Bhalla said that Govt must convey specific instructions to all the concerned departments to put in there sincere and dedicated efforts to provide every facility to people at their doorsteps which should be top priority of the coalition government adding that every effort must be made to strengthen the developmental infrastructure in rural areas. It is the duty of the authorities to mobilize resources, provide funds for the sustenance of this class of people which cannot be denied on the ground of financial constraints. The State Government is not taking any keen interest in executing the developmental works in Jammu region where the condition of roads is worst as their renovation and repair work was not taken up in hand during last two years now. The main reason for this being that the developmental works have suffered in Kashmir valley due to unrest and the Government wants to keep the works pending in Jammu too. The Coalition Government which is making tall claims about development has failed during the last two years of its rule to restore the vital roads in the City and its outskirts, Bhalla added.

Castigating PDP-BJP coalition for pushing people to the wall, Bhalla said Jammu region has been worst hit where the government is almost missing with administrative inertia reflected in every sphere. He urged the people of Jammu province to sit up to find if they committed a grave blunder by voting for the anti-Jammu BJP and if they came to the conclusion that they did, then they must get united to get rid of the anti-Jammu PDP-BJP Raj and work for a dispensation that is exclusively of them, by them and for them. Any failure on their part at this critical juncture would further deteriorate the situation. Bhalla said that since the BJP had miserably failed to live up to the people’s expectations by pusillanimously surrendering all the Jammu based issues for the lust of power, the people of Jammu region were giving overwhelming response to the policies of Congress Party. While flaying the BJP’s policy of deceit, duplicity and double standards, Bhalla cautioned the people not to get trapped again by the rhetoric and tall pronouncements of the party and exhorted them to support and strengthen their own Congress Party which alone had the capacity and audacity to raise the voice of the people of Jammu region besides combating the anti-national elements. On the local issues of Gandhi Nagar constituency, Bhalla regretted the total neglect of the constituency with not even a single new work taken up for execution during the last more than two years. He further regretted the abandonment of all development works initiated during tenure of Congress Govt.

Former Minister expressing serious concern over law and order situation in valley said that Kashmir is on the boil once again. Be it the abysmal turnout for polls in Srinagar which were preceded by widespread violence and arson, or the now common sight of ISIS and Pakistani flags being waived in Kashmir, Kashmir in 2017 is reminiscent of the turbulent years of 1989-90. It is amply evident that the PDP-BJP government in Jammu & Kashmir has failed completely and that the BJP, other than reaping petty political gains has gained nothing by leading the government in Jammu and Kashmir. The current round of violence, coming after the lawlessness that followed last year has seriously dented the prospects of peace returning to the valley for some time. Instead of talks about tourism, infrastructure and peace, it is time to acknowledge that Kashmir is entering a phase of an era where any hope of peace in near future seems a distant reality. For all its talk of action and taking decisive steps, observers are at a loss to understand Modi government’s approach towards Kashmirs, he added.

Jammu region is experiencing frequent power as well as water crisis. For the last few days the people of Jammu region experiencing scorching heat and shortage of water supply and unscheduled power cuts has further compounded the hardships of the common people,” he added. Bhalla said that when NC-Congress government was in power, once the offices move to Srinagar and vice versa, a minister used to camp in winter/summer capital on rotational basis for redressal of the public grievances on priority and
“also to give appropriate directions to concerned departments for immediate solution of problems faced by common man”.“The present government hasn’t adopted this practice and as a result the burning issues of the people remain unattended and delayed. This speaks of indifferent attitude of this government towards the genuine problems of the people.”Taking a dig at the government, Bhalla said that since the inception of this government “there have been always crisis in all fields may it be water or power”. “We can say this is not coalition but a collision government”.“People are craving for power and drinking water facilities, especially in these months of scorching summer but the administration seems to be in deep slumber which is evident from frequent and unscheduled power cuts for hours and scarcity of drinking water in most of Jammu areas,” he added.

He also expressed his anguish over the ‘harsh’ attitude of the government towards daily wagers who were on strike since the past few months. He urged the government to intervene into their pending issues and redress them. He further said since the Aadhaar card had been termed as a bonafide document, the requirement of the same had now become all the more important. “There is a good percentage of people to whom the Aadhaar card has not been issued due to which they are facing a lot of difficulties,” he said. Accusing the BJP of indulging in ‘double speak’ on the issue of West Pakistan refugees, Bhalla said the party which had promised to provide citizenship rights to the refugees before elections was now providing meager compensation with lot of hardships. The BJP had completely surrendered before the PDP and was lacking courage to put forth the genuine problems of people of Jammu in front of the government. It was more interested in remaining in the government for the sake of enjoyment of power, Bhalla added.

Bhalla said that the perpetuation of bias by the incumbent govt by divesting Jammu region of its legitimate share in various sectors as clearly noticed during the last two years was wholly unacceptable to Congress party. He regretted that 10,000 posts of SPOs sanctioned last year by the GOI for state were all allocated to Kashmir division to the neglect of Jammu region with BJP leaders most shamelessly issuing statements that it was necessary in national interest. Likewise allocation of 57 PG seats in H&ME Deptt to Kashmir as against 13 seats for Jammu Medical Colleges was highly opprobrious. He strongly condemned the unabated regional bias in selections made by PSC and SSB for various state-level posts during the last two years. Describing the situation in Jammu as highly explosive, Bhalla  said that people of the region were feeling cheated and betrayed due to their complete neglect. He regretted that while the stone pelters of Kashmir were assured compensation and govt Jobs, the highly qualified youth of Jammu including females were left to agitate on the roads with no takers for their genuine grievances. Similar was the position in other sectors including development projects, Tourism, Health, Power etc with PDP walking away with a lion’s share and BJP left flaunting a consolation prize in the shape of few crumbs, he said. The former Minister said the menace of unemployment was rampant in the region with thousands of daily wagers and contractual employees working in PHE, PWD, PDD, etc including NYC volunteers, SPO’s, temporary teachers, MG-NREGA employees, Contractual
Lecturers, NHM and ReT teachers, etc on the roads protesting for their genuine demands related to their salaries and regularization of services. He maintained that the Jammu youth had played a pivotal role in bringing BJP to power in the State but now with their hopes having been belied, they were only feeling cheated, humiliated and betrayed for no fault of theirs. He urged upon the people to unite so as to ensure that much needed healing touch was provided to Jammu region.

Speaking on the progress of mega development projects being implemented in Jammu, Bhalla said that all the projects are moving at snail’s pace be it expansion of Jammu Airport and extension of Runway, Multi-tier Parking and Commercial Complex proposed to be constructed at General Bus Stand Jammu, development of Tawi River Front, construction of protection works, water treatment plants, development of reclaimed land into recreational areas and development of tourist facilities along the banks of the River Tawi, sewage project for Jammu city, multi-level parking facility at City Chowk Jammu, construction of New Legislative Complex, construction of barrage on River
Tawi, Jammu Ropeway Project, from Peerkho to Bahu Fort, construction of Ring Road around Jammu, from Raya Mode at Nagrota Bypass, construction of new Medical Colleges in Jammu region, four-laning of Jammu-Akhnoor road. The progress of potable water augmentation for Jammu city, formulation of Master Plan and implementation of Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme and AMRUT going on with no momentum at all. People of Jammu region are being neglected and discriminated despite repeated assurances from BJP. “The state government should honour the commitment made to the people of the equitable development of all the three regions of the state. He said BJP had assured of development of all the regions and that the differences and the alienation existing between people of Jammu and those of Kashmir Valley would be eliminated.

“In the tourism sector, Jammu got merely 20­25 per cent funds allocation and out of 13 newly identified tourist spots for development, Jammu has only four whereas rest are in Kashmir province”, he added. He said that the Tawi Lake Project in Jammu which was scheduled to be completed in March, has been extended for two years. Bhalla claimed no serious efforts are being made about the diversion of four streams carrying the city garbage in the Tawi River.”In the allotment of indoor stadiums, out of 12 indoor stadiums envisaged only three are allocated to Jammu region and nine to Kashmir province with two in Ladakh. The Congress leader said the discrimination is being faced by the people of the region in the matter of development of roads, infrastructure, irrigation, agriculture and horticulture sector. Bhalla cautioned the government of a great resentment brewing among the people of Jammu province and therefore immediate steps need to be taken for the redressal of grievance of the people. Bhalla said no appropriate strategy has been devised to create attractive assets in and around the winter capital to sustain tourist footfall. He described Jammu as a repository of rich heritage reflected in its historic temples and

Portends of brighter days ahead – Slew of initiatives mark 100 days of Yogi-raj in UP

It has been 100 eventful days since Yogi Adityanath assumed charge as the Chief Minister of the most populous state of India. This period, already being fondly referred to as Yogi-raj by his friends and well-wishers, is remarkable because of slew of initiatives taken by the new government in Uttar Pradesh, all aimed at the common man. Actions of the young Chief Minister, who took two deputy CMs in his cabinet citing his own inexperience in managing the affairs of a State, already portend brighter days ahead for the State. Though some of the major decisions have created ripples in the political community and society at large, the sheer dynamism that reflects from the actions of initial days shows that we should be prepared for more public-centric and not populist measures in the days ahead.

It has been just a little over 100 days since Yogi Adityanath Government took charge in Uttar Pradesh. Slew of important decisions and instructions aimed at good governance and better administration have become the hallmark of these initial days.

People’s welfare foremost! This seems to be the mantra working behind all decisions. With roots in BJP’s Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra (Pledge for People’s Welfare) – the manifesto that brought the party to power in the State – the State Government has given instructions to keep the salient points of the Sankalp Patra in consideration while finalizing the budget.

It is apparent that the CM means business. Instructions have been given that responsible officers are posted at all important positions and a citizen’s charter is prepared by each department for quick redressal of a citizen’s problem, and with a view to enhance the trust of the common man towards the Government.

Moving towards implementation of every promise that BJP made in its manifesto, the CM in his very first Cabinet meeting told his colleagues to take on corruption, lawlessness, casteism and the politics of appeasement and stressed forcefully that there will be no discrimination in the name of caste, religion or sex. Addressing a gathering in Gorakhpur, he said: “There will be no discrimination in name of caste, religion and sex. There will be overall development.”

In one such step, the women’s welfare department has put forth a proposal to make marriage registration mandatory for all in the State. The couples who are not registered will be deprived of benefits from Government schemes.

The Chief Minister has issued a timetable of meeting MPs and MLAs from the State. In a letter addressed to all State MPs and legislators, Adityanath said that the people of the State have voted them to power with great expectations and they have to give much of their time to their constituencies. He also mentioned that this arrangement of meeting these lawmakers has been rolled out to ensure immediate redressal of problems faced by the people and better coordination with public representatives.

Another major step taken is to scrap the manual tendering process in Government departments and replace it with online tendering and procurement systems to bring in transparency. “Manual tendering process is being scrapped from all Government departments and e-tendering and e-procurement system will be implemented,” CM Adityanath said.  Under e-procurement and e-tendering process, all work including e-registration, e-coding, tender creation, tender publication, tender purchase, submission and bid opening will be done through electronic medium.

In order to increase fertilizer capacity and create more jobs in the process, it is important that the mothballed fertilizer plants are revived. With a view to create the revival roadmap for the Gorakhpur Fertilizer Plant, the Government has taken the initial steps by approving the proposal for exemption of stamp duty for transfer of land to Hindustan Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd.

In another Citizen First initiative, instructions have been issued by the Government to observe Tehsil Diwas and Thana Diwas as Samadhan (Solution) Diwas. Instructions have been issued to senior officials of various police stations and Government departments that monthly progress of disposal of cases in SamadhanDiwas should be reviewed and apprised to respective senior officials.

Upon taking over the realms of the Government in the State, Yogi Adityanath has also cracked down on VIP culture in the State. Leading by example, the CM has said that no minister in the State will be allowed to use red beacons atop vehicles. He has also downgraded security cover of 46 VIPs and done away completely with that of 105 others.  “Those who are enjoying security cover for the sake of status symbol should be prepared to part with them,” he said.

Strengthening Law and Order

Moving ahead with execution of poll promises of BJP, the State has taken lead in banning cow slaughter and cattle smuggling. The safety of women under the governance of the young CM of Uttar Pradesh too will be the topmost priority in the future. As BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain stated in an interview: “Yogi Adityanath’s agenda is to ensure security and safety to women in Uttar Pradesh and incidents like eve-teasing, molestation, rape, etc. will not take place.”

Giving an open challenge to the anti-social elements in the State to either abide by the law or leave the State, the CM has issued instructions to run state-wide campaigns to prevent incidents of molestation, indecency, obscene exhibition and comments, towards women and girls. The Anti-Romeo Squad – a poll promise of BJP – formed to prevent sexual harassment cases has generated great headlines recently. The CM has directed the State’s top officials to chalk out clear guidelines so that there is no “unnecessary harassment” of boys and girls. The Government has also issued directives for taking quick and effective steps on incidents of harassment and acid attacks.

Instructions have been issued for taking strict action against criminals, smugglers, land mafia, etc. without any discrimination. Police have been told to get into direct communion with the common man and take cognizance of even the supposedly insignificant and minor incidents. They have been instructed to identify the potential trouble mongers and those who risk security and peace, and take proper action against them.

The CM has also instructed the Chief Secretary to make the legal process more effective, reliable and impeccable in criminal cases.

Medical and Health-Care

Giving a mammoth target to officials at the State Health Department, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed opening of 3000 generic medicine stores in the State. To be started under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jann Aushadi Pariyojana, the stores will provide generic (unbranded but equally safe versions of branded) medicines at least at 40-50% lower rates. He has also ordered that the process to achieve the target set should begin with immediate effect as this measure will ensure “availability of quality medicines at affordable prices to all.”

CM Adityanath has also ordered to make health education program compulsory in Government schools. Additionally, he has envisaged 40 yoga centres in existing Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopath hospitals in 40 districts of UP. The CM is also taking steps to create awareness for yoga among masses by ensuring greater participation in International Yoga Day (June 21), each succeeding year.

The CM is personally monitoring steps to ensure better and timely health measures for the citizens. He has given strict instructions to take steps against sex determination and female foeticide, as well as against the ill-educated physicians who at times con their patients. He recently rolled out a campaign in 38 districts to eradicate the deadly encephalitis disease that claims the lives of hundreds of children every year in Uttar Pradesh. Some 40,000 children have died of the disease in the past four decades in the region.

And as a major relief to medical aspirants, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences will be offering additional 150 MBBS seats for admission, thus taking the total number of seats to 1,990. Furthermore, 3 hospitals of Lucknow viz. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (Civil) Hospital and Balrampur Hospital, have launched online patient registration facility in a bid to reduce waiting time of patients at OPD counters and streamline the rush for out-patient consultants.

Agriculture and Farmers

Decision to increase procurement of wheat from 40 metric tons to about 80 lakh metric tons is a major step in this area. Poor farmers of the State are likely to benefit enormously through the recently announced farm loan waiver scheme.  Loans of more than 86 lakh farmers, worth about Rs. 36,000 crore, have been waived off in a major initiative. Banks have been asked to issue loan waiver certificates to the bona fide farmers after the forthcoming Budget. The maximum limit for crop loan waiver will be Rs. 1 lakh per farmer. And true to its word, the BJP Government in the State has started cracking the whip on erring sugar mill owners who have not been paying cane farmers their dues in time.

Moreover, in the next 100 days, few of the sugar mills in UP are planning to modernize their complexes by adding power cogeneration and ethanol plants.

Sugarcane Development

In the short period in which the current government has been in office, the sugar cane farmers have been paid to the tune of Rs. 21 thousand 570 crores.

Food and Supplies

The UP CM has also reviewed the working of Food and Civil Supplies Department and has said that officers should ensure that the children and beneficiaries of the public distribution system, who’s Aadhar Cards have not been made so far, are not deprived of their quota of ration.


The BJP, in its vision document for the State assembly polls had promised to end the illegal mining. In a tough measure to take on the mining mafia in UP, the Government has hiked the penalty on illegal mining by over 20 per cent and the provision for jail sentence has also been increased from six months to five years.

Turning UP into a developed State

“We will fulfil all our promises. Uttar Pradesh will be turned into a developed state. We need your support to make that happen,” these are the words of CM Yogi Adityanath in a public gathering in Gorakhpur. Many more examples of exemplary work done by the CM can be given, but for space constraint. Factually speaking, CM Yogi has started the UP innings by delivery. And he is making preparations and setting the stage to turn UP into a developed state in the near future.

By Aziz Haider

 (Article exclusively done for Outlook Magazine)

Indian embassies abroad opening new frontiers in promoting bovine meat export

AbattoirHelp of the Indian embassies located in various meat consuming countries is being sought to promote bovine meat export from India. Owing to their tireless efforts, some embassies have been instrumental in giving a big leap forward in promoting Indian bovine meat export.

As per available reports, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association (AIMLEA) are working with various Indian embassies abroad to promote meat export in a big way. Efforts include organizing Roadshows on Indian Bovine Meat and inviting deputations from foreign countries to inspect slaughter houses and abattoirs and their meat processing and quarantine control mechanisms.

In one such development, the Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of Indonesia sent an audit team to India “to inspect abattoirs and research institutions, which confirmed that India has excellent mechanism of meat processing and quarantine control. The team was informed that India has more than 50 slaughter houses which are above international standards.

As per information available, based on the report submitted by the inspection team, H.E. Mr. Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia has signed a decree allowing ‘zone-based’ meat imports in which would allow the Indonesian government to open its market for Indian bovine meat from the month of Ramadan, which has already begun.

The Ambassador of India to Indonesia H.E. Ms. Nengcha Lhouvum

The Ambassador of India to Indonesia H.E. Ms. Nengcha Lhouvum

The Indian Embassy in Jakarta is seeing this as ‘a big leap forward in promoting bovine meat’. In April this year, Indian Embassy had organized a ‘Roadshow on Indian Bovine Meat’ in Jakarta, in collaboration with APEDA and AIMLEA, which was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Indonesian meat producers/importer associations (NAMPA, APMISO, ASPIDI, APFINDO, PPSKI, GKSI, GPMT), Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), State Procurement/Logistics Agencies, private import houses and retailers, apart from the local media.

During the event, the Ambassador of India H.E. Ms. Nengcha Lhouvum, in her opening address had said that bovine meat is one of the prominent sectors which could help diversifying the exports from India that would ultimately benefit the Government and the people of Indonesia.

RoadshowOnIndianBovineMeatIt was also informed that India had been trying for market access for Indian bovine meat in Indonesia since 1999 and the recent decree signed by President of Indonesia in allowing ‘zone-based’ meat imports will go a long way in giving India a significant share in Indonesian meat market.

The Roadshow included a presentation projecting the strength of India as a consistent and quality supplier of bovine meat to Indonesia. India has a track record of 46 years in the export of de-boned and de-glanded frozen Buffalo meat to 64 countries worldwide. 100% of the meat exported from India is prepared strictly in compliance with Islamic requirements and is genuinely Halal.

APEDA and AIMLEA are committed to promote Indian meat export and assistance of other embassies of India too has been sought.


Focus on need to develop bilateral trade and enhance tourism potential between Turkey and India during TICCI’s Delhi Chapter launch

DSC07633 (1024x648)Business elite, social dignitaries and heads of several prominent business chambers in India were present when Turkish Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry launched its Delhi Chapter at a program in The Lalit, Delhi. The event saw thrust on need to develop bilateral trade and promote commercial links between the two countries. The great tourism potential of the two countries also remained subject of discussion during the event.

Turkish Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TICCI) is a business chamber under the umbrella of Tuscon which is a confederation of businessmen and industrialists of Turkey. With its 55,000 members of business people representing about 1,40,000 companies, Tuscon is the largest non-government organization in the Turkish business community. Under Tuscon umbrella there are 7 regional business federations and 212 business affiliations. In India, the first Indo-Turkish Business Association (ITBA) was established in 2005. During the last 10 years, trade between the two countries has increased from 400 US dollars to 7 million US dollars by the efforts of ITBA. TICCI, established last year, already has six branches in India at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai and during the launch of the sixth branch, the business and industrial pundits hoped to work for enhancing the present levels of trade and commerce between the two countries.

Speaking on the occasion, TICCI president Ersin Karaoglan said the main objective of TICCI is to develop bilateral trade and facilitate contacts for exports, joint ventures and alliances. He said his organization will work to promote the “Make in India” campaign to attract Turkish companies to invest in Indian manufacturing. He also said construction, medical tourism, infrastructure and automotive parts business are some of the areas that hold potential for joint ventures between Turkish and Indian companies.

DSC07624 (1024x726)Ersin Karaoglan informed that the value of commerce between the two countries was about $6billion in 2014, with the balance of trade in India’s favour. Dr. Jyotsna Suri said TICCI and FICCI shall jointly explore opportunities to develop commerce and industry in India between the two countries. She laid great emphasis on need to enhance tourism between the two countries, which will further facilitate trade growth. Elaborating on the potential and need to develop relations across all fields, DS Rawat announced Assocham will soon dedicate a desk to focus on business with Turkey.

As per information available with RNI, more than 150 Indian companies have registered businesses in Turkey in the form of joint ventures, trade and representative offices. These include Polyplex, GMR Infrastructure, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Reliance, Ispat, Aditya Birla Group, Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd, Jain Irrigation, Wipro and Dabur. The event saw several Indian companies expressing interest in joint ventures with Turkish companies.

Turkish companies having presence in India include Limak Construction, Fernas, Sarar, Soktas and Izopoli-Kingspan, and Hidromas. Kamal Faruqi, a prominent social worker from Delhi, informed RNI, that certain Turkish organizations were already doing commendable work in India in the realm of education.

DervishDanceTICCI’s launch event at the Lalit Hotel in New Delhi was attended by a number of prominent people. They included President of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) – Dr. Jyotsna Suri; President of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Alok B. Shriram; Secretary-General of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) – D.S. Rawat; former Indian ambassador to Kazakhstan and Secretary, National Foundation for Communal Harmony – Ashok Sajjanhar; President of Arya Samaj – Swami Agnivesh; Director of UN Information Center in India Kiran Mehra; Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vijay Jolly; and, TICCI Vice President Mehmet Ali Seker.

The launch of TICCI-Delhi Chapter, felicitation and speeches by guests of honours was followed by a scintillating performance by whirling dervish dancers from Turkey, which enthralled the audience.


DSC07619 (1024x768)TICCI President Ersin Karaoglan welcomed the distinguished guests and pledged greater two-way business possibilities between Turkey and India. He said the six offices of TICCI are already interacting with various Chambers and Industrial Houses in India and said there are many opportunities for investment in a country as big as India. He said Turkey has developed its infrastructure tremendously and expressed hope this expertise can be used to develop infrastructure in India. He said several Turkish companies are gearing up to invest about one trillion US dollars in India in different infrastructure projects, besides investing in education and tourism sector.

Karaoglan informed that Turkey is strategically situated as an entry point to Europe and Indian companies and industries are likely to benefit tremendously through initiating business with Turkey. He cited the similarities between India and Turkey and said both the countries are fast growing, both are secular countries, both are democratic and both have stood for peace in the world. He said TICCI will direct its efforts to pursue Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ plan.

He also talked about travel and tourism opportunities in Turkey and informed that the number of Indians going to Turkey has increased from 60,000 to 1,20,000 in previous years.

DSC07634 (912x1024)Dr. Jyotsna Suri, President FICCI who is also chairperson and managing director of Bharat Hotels which runs the luxury hotel chain The Lalit, has been vigorously promoting travel and tourism to India. She congratulated formation of TICCI and said the name TICCI was very close to FICCI. Commending the great efforts of TICCI during recent past, she said: “We, in FICCI, must learn from TICCI.”

Dr. Suri informed FICCI has been working with Istanbul for promotion of trade and economic relations between two countries. She said FICCI has organized 14 business delegations to Turkey and she herself has led one of these delegations. She expressed hope India and Turkey, in future, will continue to explore the opportunities which can help the two countries. “We have common interests and I believe there are numerous opportunities for Indians traveling to Turkey and Turkish people traveling to India,” she said. She wished the new venture huge success and hoped they will continue to work together for a long time to come.

DSC07636 (1024x1007)Mr. Alok B. Shriram, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry which was established in 1905 as a proactive and dynamic apex organization working at grass-root level and with international linkages, said PHD works for economic growth and development of nation through skilling India and contributes significantly through socio-economic development in several fields. Mr. Shriram passed his wishes to TICCI for opening the Delhi chapter and resolved PHD’s commitment towards promoting trade and economic relations between both countries in the years to come. He said PHD Chamber is committed to promote Prime Minister’s idea of ‘Make in India’ and inclusive growth for all.

Mr. Shriram said “PHD is representative of the industry through over 48,000 direct and indirect members. It has been a leading Indian chamber ever since it was established in 1905 and has mobilized interactions with over 60 worldwide chambers. Last year in 2014, PHD Chamber and Turkish Chamber signed an MoU. We will be exchanging visits of business delegations between two countries.” He talked of cultural similarities between two countries besides in art, costume and cuisine and said both countries are strategically located and can be of immense benefit to each other. “Past few years has seen great positive movement in enhancement of economic relationships between two countries,” he said but felt there is still huge scope as current trade does not even amount to 1% of the trade of two countries put together.

DSC07637 (1024x985)DS Rawat, Secretary-General Assocham said opening of TICCI office in Delhi was another feather in the cap of TICCI and Assocham and TICCI are looking forward to work together to enhance trade and commerce opportunities between two countries. Working since 1920, Assocham has in its fold more than 300 chambers and trade and trade associations and more than 4 lakh members from all over India. It has contributed significantly by playing a leading role in shaping up the trade, commerce and industrial environment of the country. Mr. Rawat said business with Turkey will serve as gateway for trade into Middle-East and also in the European mainland. He talked of engagement with Turkey in infrastructure, construction projects, defence, automobile industry, ship building, aviation and tourism. “Both countries have great history behind them and with their great diversity both countries should become favourite tourist destinations of people from the other country,” Rawat said. He also said India and Turkey are truly emerging markets and the MoU which Assocham has signed with TICCI shall be implemented in true spirit.

DSC07639 (803x1024)Kiran Mehra, Director, UN Information Centre in India wants UNIC to be interpreted as UN India Connect. Otherwise standing for United Nations Information Centre, UNIC was the first UN office to be opened in India in 1947. The Centre represents the UN Secretariat and its director is the spokesperson of the UN Secretary General.

Mrs. Mehra said the launch of Turkish India Chamber of Commerce and Industry is likely to bring together a powerful partnership between two great countries. She talked of the amazing experience she had at the Mediterranean Resorts of Turkey. She also talked of mystical motion of whirling dervishes, a dance form which was popularized by Sufi Saint Rumi. She said Sufi tradition has always been of tolerance and peace and for this UNESCO in 2007, celebrated the 800th birth anniversary of Rumi in collaboration of Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey. “India and Turkey have similar traditions and the launch of TICCI not only brings together the trade ties between two countries in commerce and industry but is sure to strengthen the ties of humanity,” she said.

DSC07642 (1024x900)Arya Samaj’s Swami Agnivesh talked of the great Sufi traditions of Turkey. He said Indians have a tradition of seeing divine in every human being. All humanity is one. He compared these lofty Indian traditions with the Sufi traditions of love and peace. He said Turkey represents a great civilization known for its educational and cultural endeavours. Rumi was a great asset to whole of humanity. He said at a time when there is so much of religious fundamentalism, the coming together of Turkey and India will be of great importance. He also said the most important thing that is common between the two countries is culture. He laid emphasis on need for more cultural exchanges but expressed satisfaction that the two countries are coming together in the field of trade and commerce. He also praised the tourism potential of Turkey and remembered his own experiences during his visit to Turkey.

DSC07644 (1018x1024)Vijay Jolly, all-India Incharge and prabhari of Tripura state and all-India Incharge and secretary of BJP’s overseas affairs committee marvelled at the representation of FICCI, PHD and Assocham at the launch of TICCI and said it was no small occasion that these apex business chambers were present together. He said launch of TICCI was a great occasion for the two great countries. He said people to people diplomacy starts by trade and industry; by joining hands and through tourism. He talked of beautiful dances of Turkey, the great cultural ethos of Turkey and said that the need of the hour was to bring the two civilizations together and work on people to people level. He said he hope the two countries will use all their energies to channelize efforts in this direction.

DSC07646 (1024x972)Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar, Secretary of National Foundation for Communal Harmony and former Ambassador of India to several countries talked of his association with Turkey and the beauty and serenity of the country. He emphasised upon the high quality infrastructure that Turkey has built, be it road and rail connectivity, stadia, buildings, etc. He said this was one area in which there are great opportunities for two countries to share their experiences. He also talked of great tourism potential between the two countries. He said though there has been an increase of tourist flow between the two countries but the present number of tourist exchange is nothing in comparison to the immense potential. He also talked of the Sufi traditions of Turkey and said since it is supposed to be the century of Asia, Turkey and India shall stand together for enhancingDSC07647 (981x1024) cooperation in all fields.

Vice President of TICCI and Founder of TICCI Mehmet Ali Seker who organized the event thanked all the speakers and valuable guests for their presence. He hoped that this would serve as a base for great business and cultural relations between the two countries. He also thanked the apex chambers viz. FICCI, PHD and Assocham and their representatives, who all have signed MoUs with TICCI, and hoped of greater and stronger ties in future.


RNI News Agency

Jobs and tourism opportunities on the anvil at Daman, Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli

Diu Fort - Majestic and Awe-inspiring

Diu Fort – Majestic and Awe-inspiring

The territory known for its Portuguese legacy, Daman, Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli (DD & DNH) looks set to harness its great tourism potential courtesy several initiatives taken by the administration. The consequent upsurge in tourism besides the new ONGC project on the anvil have potential to change the face of this region that is already bestowed with exquisite natural wonders. The change is being spearheaded by the young and hard-working bureaucrat Ashish Kundra, who has been appointed as the Administrator DD & DNH by the President of India.

The residents of DD & DNH are eagerly awaiting the commencement of gas production by India’s state-owned petroleum and gas explorer Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) off the Daman coast. In a recent development, ONGC board has approved an investment of Rs. 5,219 crore to enhance natural gas and condensate production from Tapti Daman block in the Arabian Sea. As per a letter written by ONGC to Administrator Ashish Kundra, gas production off Daman coast is expected to commence by July 2016.

Local residents are upbeat about the development and know for sure that jobs galore are coming their way. Already talk of its impact on social, cultural and economic growth has begun. “We have come a long way from the time when Portuguese interest in DD & DNH was confined to teak wood forests for ship building and as a transit point for opium supply that contribute to the revenue of the Portuguese crown,” informed an upbeat resident.

Ashish Kundra, Administrator, Daman, Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli

Ashish Kundra, Administrator, Daman, Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli

Kundra, however, is not confining his hopes merely on the ONGC gas production. He is trying to utilize his dynamism to the full by taking new initiatives and foster new tie-ups with a view to develop the tourism potential of this exquisitely beautiful region. He is also trying to reap maximum benefit for the region out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. As part of ‘Make in India’ initiative, already ‘superb response’ has been received by the industry leaders in Daman. Laws are being reframed so as to provide simplified industrial clearances in both Union Territories of Daman and DNH. And collectors have been told to take industrial investment proposals under their charge and give a regular report to the Administrator on status of clearances.

As part of the initiative, Kundra has already met representatives from a Japanese bank seeking international cooperation and inviting investment in the region. A MoU has recently been signed with the Shipping Corporation of India to float bids for Catamaran Services between Mumbai and Diu, with a possible halt at Daman. The catamaran service is expected to commence within a year, thereby opening another tourist route to the Union Territories.

daman-top-imgSeeing the great potential of the region, Kundra tried to take benefit out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s another novel scheme – the Swachh Bharat Mission – started on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, to initiate a cleanliness drive in Silvassa and several beaches along the Arabian Sea. Councilors and panchayat members from the region participated whole-heartedly in making this initiative a huge success.

The exquisite shades of Arabian Sea off the Daman Coast, the calm and serene Dudhni lake, the forts of the region known for their exclusive architecture and amazing beauty of Dudhni lake; tourism potential of the region now appears set to be harnessed. The pristine Satmalia forest and its wildlife that have fascinated the locals as well as tourists looks set to have more visitors whereas Kundra is also exploring avenues to utilize the big potential of water sport and adventure sports activities at the breathtakingly beautiful Dudhni lake.


Know the pros and cons before you go on the cloud

Cloud-ComputIt is the latest internet revolution, supposed to make life easier, through providing at-distance storage of data. The e-commerce major Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeffrey P Bezos was in India recently and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a part of exercise to evaluate the setting up of a data centre in India to tap the multi-billion-dollar cloud business opportunity. Amazon has already built new cloud data centres in various countries across the world and is now exploring India as an option. Not just Amazon, Google and Microsoft are not far behind. They too are developing data centres in several places across the world. Not to be left behind, Switzerland is talking of providing ‘safe’ cloud data centres on the lines of security that it claims to provide in banking.

What is the need to provide ‘safe’ centres, as Switzerland is talking about? Are the cloud data centres not ‘safe’ enough? Let us know what a cloud is and what are the pros and cons of being on the cloud.

If you are using the smartphone, tablet, laptop or tower, you might be aware that the photos and music or even your mails are no longer stored in its memory, but on a ‘cloud’ accessible through the web. Behind this cloud concept are huge electronic warehouses, data-treatment centres, which are implanted in various countries across the world. When you read your emails, make your tax declaration, post a photo on Facebook or even surf some files, the data and information about your interests and likes is stocked on a cloud, often without us even being informed… But is this data well-protected? Who really has access to web-users’ cloud? If Switzerland claims it is providing ‘safe’ data to corporations, we have reasons to think that the rest of data is not that ‘safe’ from the prying eyes.

While Google and the rest claim that the data that you store is protected from prying eyes, question arises what Google, Amazon, Microsoft and the rest are to gain from giving us free access to huge storage devices, the establishment and running of which costs millions of dollars on daily basis? The answer is that in today’s information age, it is the information that is most valuable. And it is this information that these companies gain free access to when they provide data storage facilities.

Recently, Great Britain told its citizens that due to enhanced threats to internal security in the wake of growing cases of terrorism they should accept that their mails and data will be readily checked by the agencies. Edward Snowden case has shown that this is already happening in the US and in few other countries.

If our own country’s agencies do the prying work, it shouldn’t be a problem considering the larger security concerns. The issue arises when the data that should remain within the boundaries of our country lands in the hands of foreign agencies. Russia, for instance, has made it a serious issue lately. With tensions brewing with the United States, and with all the web domains registered in the US, Russia is apprehensive that the US could block all its websites the day it wants. To find a remedy and safeguard its interests, Russia has already started work on creating an alternative internet system within its own country. However, the same stands true for every country in the world.

While security and privacy remain the biggest concerns of cloud computing, the counter argument is that the companies offering cloud computing services live and die by their reputations. It benefits these companies to have reliable security measures in place. Otherwise, the service would lose all its clients. It’s therefore in their interest to employ the most advanced techniques to protect their clients’ data.

This is the reason why established cloud computing vendors have gone to great lengths to promote the idea that they have the latest, most sophisticated data security systems possible as they want your business and realize that data security is a big concern; however, their credibility in this regard has suffered greatly in the wake of the recent NSA snooping scandals.

Privacy is another matter! If a client can log in from any location to access data and applications, it’s possible the client’s privacy could be compromised. Cloud computing companies will need to find ways to protect client privacy. One way is to use authentication techniques such as user names and passwords. Another is to employ an authorization format — each user can access only the data and applications relevant to his or her job.

Some questions regarding cloud computing are more philosophical. Does the user or company subscribing to the cloud computing service own the data? Does the cloud computing system, which provides the actual storage space, own it? Is it possible for a cloud computing company to deny a client access to that client’s data? Several companies, law firms and universities are debating these and other questions about the nature of cloud computing.

This is the lesson that a US professor learnt the hard way recently when he travelled to Singapore. The professor had downloaded and stored several books on the cloud from which he was supposed to give a presentation in Singapore. When he tried to access the cloud in Singapore, he learnt to his dismay that the service was not available there. His presentation got almost ruined. Not only this, he could retrieve the data as well, which got lost, as he had tried to access it from a non-service country.

In any case if your data goes missing you don’t have any chance of local or physical backup. Simply depending on cloud can let you down and there is always a risk of failure. In order to save the data only solution is downloading all cloud documents on your machines. However this is a lengthy process and every time your documents upgrades you will have to download a new copy of the application.

In the US, cloud DVRs have even started storing and playing back TV shows over the internet while the courts are yet to accept this as regular.

Another disadvantage of cloud computing is that you require constant high speed internet connection without which the service is just like lifeless body. Because you are using internet for accessing both your documents and applications, in case if you don’t have an internet connection you can’t even access your documents. Departed internet connection means no work on the cloud computing and areas where internet connections are slow and are unreliable it can affect your business. Cloud Computing simply stops working without internet connection.

Despite these disadvantages, there are a lot many advantages that Cloud Computing can boast off. In case of large corporations where it becomes necessary for the company to provide the right hardware and software to each executive, cloud computing can save a good amount by doing away with the need to purchase computers, software or software licenses for each employee. Instead of installing a suite of software for each computer, it would now be possible to load one application. That application would allow workers to log into a Web-based service which hosts all the programs the user would need for his or her job.

Moreover, local computers no longer would have to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to running applications. The network of computers that make up the cloud would handle them. Hardware and software demands on the user’s side would decrease. Cloud Computing system’s interface software would be the only thing the user’s computer would need to be able to run. It would bring hardware costs down significantly as the company’s neither won’t have to buy computers for each employee nor a set of software or software licenses for every employee. Instead, the company could pay a metered fee to a cloud computing company. This will also decrease the burden on servers and digital storage devices that need good space. Cloud computing would give these companies the option of storing data on somebody else’s hardware, thus removing the need for physical space on the front end.

Like it or not, the cloud computing is catching up and you will soon have to decide on the extent you wish to use it. Be careful when you’re choosing a cloud computing vendor that you’re not locking your business into using their proprietary applications or formats. You can’t insert a document created in another application into a Google Docs spreadsheet, for instance. Also make sure that you can add and subtract cloud computing users as necessary as your business grows or contracts.

Also, check the customer service being offered and the regions where the service work before you take a decision. Sending an email and hoping for a response within 48 hours is not an acceptable way for most of us to run a business. As New York Times puts it: “The bottom line: If you need hand-holding or if you are not comfortable trying to find advice on user forums, the cloud probably is not ideal.”

Courtesy Life Watch/RNI

After credit rating upgrading by S&P, India’s air security ranking now needs upgrading

FederalMarkets in India have shown signs of great boom after global rating agency Standard & Poor has upgraded India’s credit outlook to stable from the earlier poor. S&P has given indications that the rating could be raised further if the economy reverts to a real per capita GDP trend growth of 5.5 % per year. Until now, S&P was rating India as ‘BBB—’, the lowest in the investment grade, with a negative outlook.

Representatives of Standard & Poor’s had met Finance Ministry officials on August 12. They had informed S&P about the government’s road map to reduce fiscal deficit to 3 percent of GDP by 2016—17. They were also told that in the current fiscal, the government proposes to bring down the fiscal deficit to 4.1 percent of the GDP from 4.5 percent a year ago. With the new Modi Government’s big bang reforms, India expects fiscal breach to go lower in the near future and investments to pick up.

However, there is still an area of concern related to air safety ranking which too has been downgraded recently by the US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Experts from FAA are expected to visit India in December 2014 to review the country’s downgraded safety ranking.

The FAA had downgraded India’s safety ranking in January 2014 to Category II, finding regulatory oversight to be inadequate in a move that blocked Air India and Jet Airways from expanding to U.S. cities or collaborating with U.S. airlines. As regards to air safety ranking, India is now clubbed with countries like Ghana, Indonesia, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.

As per information provided by Les Dorr, Spokesperson, FAA, the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) had requested a reassessment to take place a little after downgrading. According to Les Dorr, lack of trained DGCA officials, the absence of documented procedures for inducting new types of aircraft, and a shortage of flight inspectors to monitor India’s growing number of airlines were cited as the chief reasons for downgrading.

DGCA is of opinion that it is now fully prepared to receive the FAA officials in the first week of December for a review. DGCA has taken several steps lately, as part of preparations. This include hiring of flight inspectors, conducting a financial audit of airlines, cracking down on errant carriers, pulling them up for training, conducting engineering checks, and stopping operators from importing aircraft until they have checked and fulfilled all the safety norms listed by FAA.

A DGCA team led by Director General Prabhat Kumar was in Washington some time back to prepare for the review and update FAA on the action taken so far. No decision could have been taken during PM Modi’s recent visit to the US as upgrading requires several physical checks as well.

Air India has about 21 weekly flights between India and the US, and Jet Airways seven, while other Indian airlines fly mostly to South East and West Asia. New airlines such as Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd.’s Vistara that are hoping to fly abroad cannot fly to the US until an upgrade, even if India relaxes its rule to let only those airlines with five years’ domestic flying experience and 20 aircraft to fly abroad. They also cannot sign commercial flying agreements with US carriers. They also have to be prepared for surprise safety checks on their aircraft by regulatory authorities.

Courtesy: www.traworld.in

Corporate Agenda in full swing, Modi Budget disappoints the underprivileged including Minorities

budget-2014What an irony that when it comes to agricultural products, hoarding and profiteering remain big concerns for the government but when it comes to the market products, the government does nothing to reduce the margins of the profits the companies make at the cost of the common people.

“Three years for the corporate, two for the RSS”, this was how I had summed up the likely Modi policy just after the election results. The first 100 days of the new government are not yet over, but the indications are that the corporate agenda is already in full swing. The latest Budget is an ample proof that the government has totally sold itself to the Corporate India, which is being repaid in multiples what it did for securing the victory for the NDA. The budget has nothing, which can reduce inflation, bridge the economic disparity and remove poverty. It has done a lot for the Corporate. After giving them the Bullet Trains and share in many railway projects, it has not only opened Defence and Insurance for FDI but has also brought the  wonderful news of one hundred smart cities to them. The excise duties on certain market products have also been reduced, which will of course boost the industry. What an irony that when it comes to agricultural products, hoarding and profiteering remain big concerns for the government but when it comes to the market products, the government does nothing to reduce the margins of the profits the companies make at the cost of the common people. If the government learns the difference between the “interests of the business as a whole” and “the interests of the businessmen”, favouring the former and not the latter, the economy will have a big boost, and the whole nation will benefit. But it favours only the business class and that too selectively, which is mostly at the expense of the consumers.

The Budget speech of the Finance Minister has been conspicuously silent on the allocation made to the Minority Ministry. In all probability, this does not mean that there is no allocation at all because that would amount to the scrapping of the ministry itself. If it continues what it was in the last budget, it is still surprising because the last budget was an interim budget for a few months. If it did not think it necessary to mention it in the speech, it speaks of his lack of sensitivity towards minorities. Even if it is in the same range as it was in the last full budget, this is pathetic. Compare the 3000 crores allocations for minorities with 50000 crore each for the SC/ST development and SC/ST welfare, and it tells you how much minorities are ignored by the successive governments. The only funds allocated for minorities are 100 crores for the ?modernization? of madrasas. This of course is the NDA plan for minorities and not the demand made by minorities.Muslims will feel concerned about this allocation because it gives an idea of how BJP government wants to impose its agenda on Muslims and their institutions. There are no announcements for any minority institutions or any programmes related to developmental activities in Muslim areas.

For last three years, I have been recurrently demanding introduction of Economic Disparity Index (General, Urban-Rural, State to State and Community to Community) so that we can know the status of different regions and communities and how the government proposes to bridge them. But no one is listening. The latest budget and the Economic Survey that preceeded it are also silent on the issue.

The indications are clear. The corporate will strangulate whatever is left in the economy for the poor.  Sooner or later, programmes like MNREGA and Food Security Act will get diluted. Health sector particularly the preventive part will remain neglected. The better days have begun to come for those who already have good days. For others days will continue to be worse than before.

* Dr Javed Jamil

Panthers condemn SBI discriminatory recruitment notification of clerical assistants; SBI calls it a non-issue as the vacancies were region-specific for Kashmir Valley/Ladakh

sbi RNI/J&K:

In a blown up issue, a local Jammu-based organization Young Panthers staged a protest demonstration at Press Club-Jammu today terming the recruitment notification of SBI as discriminatory and racial based on language and region.  It is pertinent to mention that the SBI has issued a recruitment notification for the post of 5500 clerical assistants all across India.  The notification contains a special recruitment drive for the state of Jammu and Kashmir under Chandigarh circle which categorically mentioned that candidates belonging to the state (restricting to Kashmir Valley/Ladakh only) must be proficient in reading and speaking Kashmiri or Urdu language which would be tested during the course of interview of the candidates who qualify.

Young panthers were resenting at the discrimination meted out to the youth of Jammu Province and warned the NDA led central government to direct the recruiting authorities of SBI to revoke and re-publish the notification so that the youth of Jammu could also apply for the cited posts. “It is mandatory to mention here that this notification is an insult to Dogras of Jammu Pradesh and Dogri language which has been incorporated in the 8th schedule of the Constitution and has been neglected in the notification,” said a Young Panther release.

Taking the matter seriously, Pushvinder Manhas disclosed that Vide advertisement no. CRPD/CR/2014-15/02 SBI has advertised more than 5500 vacancies nation vide where the applications are invited from “eligible Indian Citizens” for appointment as Assistants in Clerical Cadre in SBI. He said that as per the notification the candidates from all over India can apply for the advertised posts but the candidates from Jammu Province are not eligible to apply for the said vacancies which raises questions that do State Bank of India think that the people of Jammu are not “eligible Indian citizens.” Manhas even castigated that BJP led NDA has also started appeasement policy for the Kashmiri Youth and step motherly treatment towards the youth of Jammu.

RNI contacted SBI Chairman in this regard for whom it is a non-issue that is being unnecessarily blown up. Replying on behalf of the Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya, the General Manager (Central Recruitment & Promotion Department, SBI Corporate Centre, Mumbai) informed that since the vacancies existed only in the Kashmir Valley/Ladakh region, the language of the masses in that region was sought as essential. He said that had the vacancies came up in the Jammu region, Dogri would have been mentioned as one of the essential languages for recruitment. Gautam Banerjee informed that there are 5400 clerical cadre vacancies and candidates from any state are eligible to apply against vacancies of any state. “Candidates from Jammu & Kashmir can also apply against the vacancies of any state. However candidates can apply for vacancies in one state only and will have to appear for the test from an examination centre for that state. There are 107 vacancies for J&K which have been mentioned as a part of special recruitment drive for assistants in Kashmir Valley/Ladakh. Candidates selected for the state of J&K will be posted in branches/offices of the Bank in various districts of Kashmir valley / Ladakh and their minimum stay in the Valley/Ladakh will be 8 years.”

RNI News Network

Shedding previous norms, regulator DERC conducts interviews for appointment of member

DERCRNI, New Delhi:

The position of Member-DERC (Delhi Electric Regulatory Commission) was never filled through interviews. It was generally supposed to be a political appointment. But shedding all previous norms, DERC has for the first time called for applications from prospective candidates. At the time of this news going to press, interviews were being conducted at the Chief Secretary’s office in the Delhi Secretariat by a panel of 7 people. The position is expected to be filled shortly after the results to the General Elections are announced on 16th May.

These interviews for the Member – DERC are being conducted at a time when DERC is locked in various issues pertaining to power within and without the courts. The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has rejected requests by distribution arms of Reliance Infrastructure and Tata Power to immediately raise a surcharge on electricity rates by 15% to 33% from the current level of 6%-8%.

Discoms have defaulted on payments for electricity purchased from NTPC and other suppliers, saying that the regulator has not provided for adequate tariff. NTPC had threatened to cut supplies if payments are not made, but the Supreme Court directed it to continue normal supplies. The Delhi government has argued in the court that BSES companies were “inefficient” because they had defaulted, while the distribution arm of Tata Power, operating under similar conditions had paid promptly.

The three distributors in Delhi have said that they face a revenue loss, built up over years of operations, totalling more than Rs. 15000 crore. Reliance ADAG has even said that they are in this for business and they cannot continue into running financial losses. On the other hand, certain people associated with the regulatory authority DERC say that there are lot many avenues for business but the interests of the consumer stands paramount. In a statement given to the Supreme Court recently, DERC has even hinted that the CAG Audit of Discoms is necessary. Interestingly, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal has been putting up this demand since a long while.

In another hotly debated issue, DERC has said it supports Tata Power’s petition to surrender power and discontinue procurement from the government’s economically unviable gas-based stations. The petition has now been forwarded to the ministry, which will decide on framing of new power purchase agreements.

Senior officials said they had no objection to any of the discoms seeking reallocation of power, and the issue had to be examined by the Delhi government, and subsequently, the Union power ministry. The discoms have informed the power department and Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission that the electricity produced from gas-based plants was expensive and impacting the tariff. The companies have been looking for cheap power from other sources, and have so far been avoiding a tie-up with Bawana. However, the growing temperature and a surge in demand in the coming weeks may leave them with no option.

Another issue that is of extreme interest to the consumers is the continuation of subsidy as in every likelihood the electricity rates are set to be hiked in the near future once the stipulated term for present subsidy expires. The Sheila Dikshit government provided subsidy in two slabs for people whose electricity usage was limited to 400 units. When Arvind Kejriwal became the Chief Minister of Delhi, he slashed the electricity rates for consumers further.

When asked the reason for shedding the previous norm of nomination and going for interviews this time, an official in DERC, on condition of anonymity said that faced with such paramount issues on all fronts, DERC wants the best candidate as Member, whose integrity is not doubtful and who works and who further adds a fillip to the regulatory work that DERC is doing in areas of regulation.

The Member-DERC position is for five years. Already about a dozen people, some retired Government officials as well as people from private and public sector were interviewed today. Interviews will again be conducted on Wednesday.

Real News Intl. News Bureau