Friday, December 16, 2011

Arrest Warrant against Mukesh Ambani

Arrest Warrant against Mukesh Ambani!

Of all the things, a consumer court in Kerala has put out an arrest warrant against Mukesh Ambani. He is to be produced in court on the 15 Feb 2012.

The arrest warrant is because his company - Reliance Infocomm - failed to honour the penalty imposed on it. The Thirissur Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum had in 2010 asked Reliance Infocomm to pay the complainant, M. Joseph, Rs. 24000 and interest for five years.

The petitioner approached the court once again in March 2011, when the company failed to give him his awarded compensation for more than one year.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Serious Allegations of Senior Ministers - S. M. Krishna and P. Chidambaram

More cases against senior ministers in the Government of India is putting the government in compromising situation. 

The present UPA-Government at the centre is already in a storm, especially after the way it has gone out of the way to victimize and punish those who are fight for strong anti-corruption and anti-black-money measures.

An FIR has been filed against S. M. Krishna, the external affairs minister of India, while P. Chidambaram is in the dock after Subramanian Swamy has been allowed by the CBI court to prove his claim of the current Home Minister and the then Finance Minister's involvement in the 2G scam.

A case has been registered in Karnataka against S. M. Krishna over the illegal mining during the period when he was Chief Minister.

The music being faced by P. Chidambaram is multi-faceted. It is alleged that he was an equal partner in the crime that A. Raja allegedly committed in the allotment of 2G spectrum. 

Subramanian Swamy has also move the Supreme Court in which he has sought to a probe into the role of P. Chidambaram. Letters have also surfaced, from the finance ministry, that have raised doubts over the role of the then Finance Minister. 

In a separate case, a court in Tamil Nadu is hearing a petition that has challenged P. Chidambaram election to the Lok Sabha in 2009.

The other high profile politicians who are facing criminal proceedings and/or investigations include Sukh Ram, A. Raja, Dayanidhi Maran, Narendra Modi, B. S. Yeddyurappa, Madhu Koda

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Intentions behind the censorship controversy of Kapil Sibal

I seriously doubt Kapil Sibal's intentions in wanting to censor the content on social networking sites.

I feel, the government wants to try and control backlash from the people when Anna Hazare launches his next round of protest against the government on the issue of Jan-Lokpal.

After all, it appears that the standing committee will be presenting a draft that will go against he "sentiment of the parliament" that had accepted in principle the points raised by Anna Hazare and his Jan Lokpal Bill. I feel, that he thinks a controversy of this kind will distract the people frequenting these sites.

We shall know the truth by this time tomorrow, when Abhishek Singhvi will have presented the report of the standing committee before the house.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Arrogance v/s Humility

Today, arrogance has become a way of life, isn't it.

When I was young my parents used to teach me that...

  • One must be polite and humble. 
  • There is no harm in accepting an error, as long as we learn from it and do not repeat it.
  • We were taught not to back-answer our elders.
But, today I find these teachings are very much out of vogue. People who live on these principles are considered fools. Sometimes it is out right humiliating when a no-good youngster who does not even know what he is talking of - tries to arrogantly show off how much or must I say how little he/she knows.

The same also applies the other way round; it applies to the elders too.

Today, I feel folks are ashamed of saying they made a mistake. They are ashamed of admitting that someone smaller than them - it could be in age or it could be in stature - knows better than they themselves do.

I am sound a little old fashioned, but, I sometimes loose my temper when I see things going out of hand.

Where has all the humility gone?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dharam Devanand

Dharam Dev Anand, the legendary film star of Bollywood, better known as Devanand passed away today on 04-12-2011. Born on 26 September 1923, he was 88 years old.

He died due to heart attack at a hospital in London.

Some of his noteworthy films include... Afsar, Humsafar, Kalapani, Guide, Hum Dono, Jewel Thief.

The death of this versatile artist - Actor, Director, Producer - marks the end of an era in India's film world.

May his soul rest in peace.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Capitalism!! The Profit Culture

After the fall of the communists in the 80s, there was nobody to question America's capitalist philosophy. Everybody was convinced that the American way of dealing with life and managing economics was the best. But now after almost 25 years we are forced to reconsider.

The financial crisis that the world is in has proven that capitalism has its own downside. 

Superpowers - countries that were believed to be infallible - are feeling the heat. The great union that brought the European countries together under one umbrella (European Union) is on the verge of collapsing. They are desperately looking for a way out. 

People are out on the streets protesting against the corporate culture. They are complaining that billions and trillions of dollars have been spent in trying to save the very entities and policies that responsible for the crisis, especially when corporate honchos are still getting the huge paychecks and fat bonuses.

People are protesting against the stock markets that has given rise to the profit culture. They are accusing corporate managements of compromising the social fabric that binds the masses together in order the present good earnings. This insensitive and irresponsible behavior of the corporates has made the rich even richer and the poor even poorer.

The world will have to learn someday - that extreme of anything is bad. 

Extreme communism was not good. The fall of USSR has demonstrated this. 
Even extreme capitalism is also bad. The current global financial crisis has proven this. 

A healthy midway path has to be drawn. Something that can filter out the bad things and adapt the good things from both philosophies.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sarpanch of Ralegan Siddhi to meet Rahul Gandhi - Something went wrong!

Positive signs were emerging during the course of the week when news got out that Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary of Congress Party wanted to meet the Sarpanch of Ralegan Siddhi, but then something once again went wrong. Apparently the Congress has once again shown that it cannot be trusted.

It seemed that it was the beginning of a new era. It appeared that, Rahul Gandhi the General Secretary of the Congress party had taken initiative and the air was being cleared for more fruitful talks on the Lokpal Bill. After all so much mistrust has crept in between the Congress-led rulers of India and Team Anna over the last few months.

But, then something went awlfully wrong. When Jaisingh Mapari, the Sarpanch of Ralegan Siddhi, reached Delhi, he was denied the change to meet Rahul Gandhi. The whole thing once again ended in a big fiasco.

A Congress MP P. T. Thomas who had apparently got the whole act together simply apologized saying that there was some communication gap.

“We feel cheated. Mr. Thomas was in constant touch with us till we reached New Delhi. But after that he told us that he hadn’t promised anything. Today we were told by Rahul Gandhi’s office that there was no appointment. Mr. Thomas has misled us. We never wanted to meet Rahul Gandhi. It was Mr. Thomas who took the initiative after visiting Ralegan Siddhi in August.” said Jaisingh Mapari

On the other hand, P. T. Thomas is saying that the “I told them to send me a letter in this regard, and that I would forward it to Mr. Gandhi’s office. When I received their letter and sent it to Mr. Gandhi, I was told that a meeting will be scheduled at the soonest possible time. However, there was a communication gap and my PA came under the impression that a meeting would be scheduled on October 18, and he informed Mr. Mapari. It is a case of miscommunication and I apologise for it.”

Faced with the two conflicting versions and given the track record of how the Congress has back-tracked on some many issues in the past some time - I feel that I am inclined to believe Jaisingh Mapari's version.

It is surprising how the Congress is managing such goof-ups with such regularity..

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Formula One is coming to India - Finally!

Finally - Formula One is coming to India.

30th October 2011! India will host the first Formula One race at New Delhi's Buddh International Circuit.

The event managers in India are busy preparing the new Buddh International Circuit - where these formula ones are expected to roar from Friday the 28th. The event has been named 2011 Formula 1 Airtel Grand Prix of India.

The race promises to change the way Indians view the motor racing events.

Bharti Airtel is the official sponsor for the event.

Sahara, which is the sponsor of the Indian Cricket Team, has also decided to take a dip. It is once again entering through the team sponsorship route. It has been reported that the company is taking a small stake in Vijay Mallya's Force India Formula1 Team.

Let us see how things span out. I am sure the event will be as exciting as it is reputed to be.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Anna Hazare takes the Congress Party head-on

Anna Hazare's anti-corruption campaign has started becoming an anti-Congress campaign.

Anna had earlier said that he will campaign against the Congress Party in the forthcoming elections if it does not bring in the Jan-Lokpal Bill during the winter session of the parliament.

It seems that he has started a precursor to this in the Hisar parliamentary polls.

It is reported that Anna's aides have left for Hisar with a CD, that has a 10 minute video of Anna's appeal asking the voters to ensure and support only the candidate who is willing to support the Jan Lokpal Bill when and if it is tabled in the parliament during the winter session.

The non-violent anti-corruption crusader Anna is not willing to sit back and trust the Congress party to keep up promises. He apparently feels it necessary to keep up the pressure on the Government, after all as he says he feels cheated by the way the Congress led UPA government has reacted to his anti-corruption campaign right from its beginning.

Judging by the way the people had come out to support Anna's anti-corruption movement in the country,  I feel that the Congress should not take Anna's request for Jan-Lokpal Bill casually. It is time for the nations oldest party to get into damage control mode and take steps to win back public support, after all  it has lost a lot of credibility in the last few months.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Long-live Bapu!

Lage Raho Munnabhai, a film by Raju Hirani - in which a local gangster gets the chance to learn in detail about Mahatma Gandhi. The film acted as a prelude and simply brought back Gandhi-giri into our lives.

Next came Anna Hazare's fast in 2011. The current generation got a first hand taste of Bapu's style of non-violent protest and experienced the power of hunger strike. When Anna Hazare fasted first at Jantar-Mantar and then at Ramlila Maidan, he repeatedly reminded the people not to take to violence. The government had to bow before this Gandhian protestor both times.

Both - Raju Hirani and Anna Hazare - have brought back into our lives the power of Bapu's ideology.

Today is Bapu's 142nd birth anniversary.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Jan-Lokpal Bill - Everyone has won

The strength of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement can be truly classified as a victory for democracy. The government, the parliament, the constitution, Team Anna and mainly the common man - everybody won.

Yesterday's rejoicing at India Gate in the evening. The crowd that had gathered, showed the level of involvement of the common man with the issue. Just the knowledge that the government has agreed to include the points raised by the Jan-Lokpal Bill in its final bill was enough to bring the people out on the streets.

The Signal
The mass gathering at India Gate and reports of rejoicing from other parts of the country on 28-August-2011 is a clear signal of how dear this issue is to the common.

It is clear signal to the politicians that this is a golden opportunity for them to ensure their seat in the next parliament. They will have to come all out in the open and maintain a consistent and visible pressure on the government to speed up the process underway at the Standing Committee and pass the bill at the earliest.

Swami Agnivesh
Where everyone has won, there is one face that has lost credibility.

A revealing video shown on several news channels where Swami Agnivesh is seen talking someone named Kapil. He appears to be referring to Team Anna as a mad elephant. The content of the discussion was enough to brand him a traitor.

Now, Swami Agnivesh can give all the justification he wants and the accusation may not stand in the court of law, but the common man does not need any more proof.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Anna Hazare agitation

The anti-graft agitation led by Anna Hazare has reached a crucial stage. The fast of the 74-year ex-Army man has entered into its 12th day. According to the doctors overseeing his health he is weakening by the hour. He could be declared critically ill if he his fast is not broken soon.

Looking into the gravity of the situation the government has brought the topic for discussion in the parliament and members of parliament have started discussing the points raised in both the houses - Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha - and they seem to agree (some conditionally) on all the issues raised by Anna Hazare and his team.

Now, it is the afternoon of 27th August 2008 and by the looks of the way things are moving in Parliament, if there is voting and the parliament votes in line with Annaji's expectations, today could be the last day of his fast, though the agitation is likely to continue until the bill is actually enacted.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why the government is not approving the Jan-Lokpal Bill?

What is Jan-Lokpal Bill?
Jan Lokpal - Anna Hazare and his team claims that this will the strongest deterrent so far for anyone indulging in corruption in India.

In fact, Manmohan Singh's UPA led government at Delhi appears to be ready to risk its rule in Delhi to ensure that Jan-Lokpal bill does not see the light of day. One wonders why, I asked this question to many of my acquaintances, and below is the answer I liked best, and I quote.....

How can anybody be accepted to approve a bill
that can send him to prison?
and I feel this chap is right.

It is a common belief most politicians in our country are corrupt. How else can they afford to spend crores on their election campaign for each election after election? Most of the politicians who are being asked to pass the jan-lokpal bill in parliament will be prime candidates for investigation.

In other words, an effective Lokpal Bill will mean a prison sentence for most of our politicians - and this is one thing they are not going to approve.

So once again... what is Jan-Lokpal Bill?
Jan Lokpal - A bill that the UPA led government is his trying hard to derail.
Jan Lokpal - A bill that even the opposition parties are not willing to support in its present form.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hats of to the team of Anna Hazare

The team of Anna Hazare that has planned the hunger strike campaign deserves a mention.

Hats of to them. I would certainly like to know more about them.
Anna's team has been several steps ahead of the government, so far.

The check-up by Dr. Trehan by the Team of Anna on the night of 17 August 2011 was brilliant strategy. The health of Anna Hazare, was the major factor that the government could have used to deploy force against the campaign. This has been beautifully countered by Team Anna by getting their own doctor to check him up before the government doctors could get to him. The doctor brought in to do this job - Dr. Trehan - is a highly reputed one and someone his government counterparts won't counter very easily.

The government that was basking in the success they enjoyed in crushing the Baba Ramdeo anti-corruption protest has been completely humbled by the Anna Hazare and his team.

Senior Ministers in the Central Government and veteran politicians from the Congress party, Kapil Sibal, P. Chidambaram, Ambika Soni and Manish Tiwari, who have been the face of the government in its attempt to crush Anna's campaign, have repeatedly put the government to shame during the last 3 days, with their statements and arrogance.

Well it is not their mistake, up to now they just had not faced a true crusader who has no personal political ambitions.

When people like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Kisan Baburao Hazare raise their voices the nation listens - it is about time our politicians understand this.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh let me down!

I was elated when Dr. Manmohan Singh became Prime Minister of India. He had entered the high office with a reputation of integrity and honesty. I had felt that he will do something to address the core problems of the country. I really had very high expectations.

But, today I am disappointed. He has failed the nation - and failed badly.

Here are some his main failures - as I see them.
  • The size of the financial irregularities (scams) in the government just makes the common man dizzy - and what does the government do - it tries to defend the accused. The scams of the present government are in thousands of crores. 
  • Smaller scams to the tune of 10/20 crores have stopped surprising us.
  • It took the Supreme Courts intervention to make the government do something in the Hasan Ali, 2G and CWG scams. No action has yet been taken against Sheila Dixit who has been named in the latest CAG report.
  • The government has done nothing to find out the names of the account holders in Swiss Bank. One wonders what is the hidden motive for this inaction. I think the government will act after a year or so - once some significant people have withdrawn all their monies and closed their accounts. 
  • He and his government have done little, almost nothing, to fight the menace of corruption. In fact, it supported corruption by taking stern action against those who have raised their voices against it. 
  • The midnight by the police against Baba Ramdeo and his followers, which include women and children - is a shameful example of the extent to which the government can go.
  • The most recent example is the action against the peaceful protest by Anna Hazare. The crusader against corruption is not being allowed to exercise his right to protest in the manner permitted by the constitution.
  • To top it all, Dr. Manmohan Singh stood up in parliament on 17 August 2011 and tried to justify the arrest of social activist Anna Hazare. Is he so naive to believe that the common man will accept his argument.
  • Dr. Manmohan Singh and his team has failed even on his home turf - economics. The top economist of the country has not been able to control inflation - the cost of living for the common man has gone up multifold during the regime of the current government. 
  • He and his government talk of food for all, but in reality, but are they serious? If yes, then why is so much foodgrains not being distributed instead of being kept in the open to rot. 
  • In the regime of the current goverment, the rich have become richer and the poor are getting all the freebies and facilities. 
  • The common man has become the biggest sufferer.
It is not surprising that the common man has taken to the streets behind Anna Hazare. Anna has become the new symbol of hope.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Anna Hazare - the crusade against corruption

Rallies, hunger strikes and other forms of peaceful protest against government policies is the constitutional right of every Indian. These along with non-cooperation were the very weapons that Mahatma Gandhi had used successfully against the Britishers.

Is it not the government's job to ensure a good and corruption-free administration for the betterment of its citizens? But, strangely  the Government of India is using its power to stop those who are fighting against corruption.

Now, it has arrested Anna Hazare for wanting to sit on hunger strike in protest against the government's attitude on the Lokpal Bill issue. Earlier, it swooped on Baba Ramdeo's hunger strike in the middle of the night, where the peaceful demonstrators were sleeping. Television news channels have shown the cops using force - lathi charge and tear gas - to evict the protesters.

Does it not appear that the government is using its might to protect the corrupt?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The phenomenon of corruption in India

Now-a-days, corruption is the hottest issue on the top of every news source, be it television, papers or the net. Government officials are being caught with red-handed accepting bribes and / or amassing wealth beyond their known means of income.

Most claim that corruption is on the rise, but I do not agree with this. I think that the exposure of corruption is on the rise. People, specially those placed in high government offices, who indulge in corrupt practises are being exposed at a very high rate.

Suddenly, it appears that the saying that nobody is above the law may actually have some substance it in. People who were once considered above the law are being sent to jusdicial custody - this includes even cabinet ministers, top bureaucrats and film stars.

Still I feel one thing is lacking - and that is conviction. The rate at which the convictions are coming in is very slow or almost negligible. I am not on expert on the legal system, but still I can say that something is amiss. We are unable to convict and execute known criminals merely on technicalities.

Celebrity criminals who have been convicted by lower courts are roaming free. The world is still waiting for the punishment of the 26/11 criminal who was caught on the fateful day to be executed. So many government personnel who have been trapped by the investigating agencies are out on bail awaiting their turn to be tried in courts.

The government really needs to address the issue on a war-footing. One must realize if the rate of convictions go up, it will also act as a deterent for people indulging in criminal activities.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Inflation inflation inflation - Result of a failed government

The government is falling out of favor with the common man, and why not. The government seems to care only about the very poor and the very rich.

There is not a single policy in the government's arsenal that works for the common man and now to beat it all, the roof breaking inflation. Prices of everything that impacts the basic living of the common man has just shot up.
  • Petrol gone up and going up twice a month.
  • Onions at more than Rs 60/- per kg are out of reach of the average man.
  • Eggs, clothes, vegetables you name it and you will find that the prices have at least doubled in the last couple of years.
What is the government doing to control the prices? Hmmm... Let's see.

The leaders - PM, FM, AM, HM, EM et al conducted meetings - that end without conclusion.

They have encouraged corrupt practices by not taking any action against even the apparently corrupt like the CWG organizers, Madhu Koda et al who inflate simple projects and gobble up crores of public money.

Last but not the least, the government has brought in futures trading of commodities on the bourses. Futures trading allows traders and investors who have nothing to do with consumption of the commodity to decide its price. The investor just puts in a fraction of the amount and blocks the price. These guys just sit in their AC offices in some posh locality in front of their trading consoles and keep hoping the commodities that they have bid for increases.

Above all, the government has encouraged the rich corporate houses in their act of profiteering while on the other hand it takes action on small traders accusing them of hoarding...
  • Cement sold by Raymonds was at Rs 75 to 80 per bag is now at more than Rs. 200 bag after the company was taken over by a MNC - has the cost of raw material and electricity shot up so much?
  • Corn-flakes used to available in the market for Rs. 10/- to 12/- per kg, but recently an MNC has come into the market offering the corn-flakes for more than Rs. 80/-. What is the level of profiteering?
  • MNCs are offering products with hi-fi price-tags for items which are available in the Indian market for a fraction of the price.
  • The same medical tablet is available in the market right from Rs. 2/- to Rs.20/-. What is the level of profiteering?
There a host of just examples of profiteering based inflation of prices of commodities.
    Mind you the common man has started to realize this. If the government does not show definite performance it will reflect in their votes.