gfiles magazine

April 17, 2013

My Take

My Take ...
In the last 15 years since Sheila Dikshit took over, Delhi has undergone a metamorphosis. The influx from Bangladesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh has changed the dynamics of India’s capital pushing the original inhabitants of urban and rural Delhi to the margins. Delhi no more belongs only to Punjabis, Jats and Gujjars.
The moment you step into Delhi it looks like a megapolis of flyovers, high rises and chaotic traffic. It is emerging as another Mumbai where small-time mafia play footsie with the political elite to grab a pie in illegal constructions, land grabbing, drug supplies and crime syndicates. The building mafia is ruling the roost in all the 70 assembly constituencies of Delhi.
Dikshit has groomed East Delhi obviously for her prince charming Sandeep Dikshit and has been forced to splurge on South Delhi due to the overwhelming presence of the ruling class there. She has turned a blind eye to North, Central and West Delhi, forcing a large electorate to live in inhuman conditions. There is simmering tension in these regions denied development.
Delhi is being kicked around like an orphan, with neither the central nor state government prepared to take responsibility for the mess they have created in the last 60 years. There has been no systematic development plan to decongest the city or provide for the teeming millions who have made it their home in the last few decades. The mushrooming of jhuggi clusters is a sad reflection on the state of affairs.
The Centre has created a mirage in the name of Delhi Assembly by not conceding to it administrative control over land and police. It has consistently ignored Delhi’ites’ clamour for full statehood causing further disillusionment with the ruling clique...Read More

When Delhi Sneezes, India Catches Cold

Curtain Raiser - Delhi Election 2013
When Delhi Sneezes, India Catches Cold
As Delhi prepares for yet another electoral battle in November 2013— gfiles brings to you first-hand accounts, behind the scene analyses and information on what’s happening or likely to happen for informed and best decision-making. As the first off the mark, this means sticking one’s neck out and answering questions like, why so much emphasis on Delhi elections? Why is Delhi important? Like it or not, the answer is simple – Delhi is the heart, soul and brain of India – a mini-India where people, religions, cultures and languages converge. What they think and how they behave gives an idea about the mind of India. It is a signature of what India thinks and how it may behave.
delhi is changing — for good or worse. It has changed a lot from the time Suchita Kriplani was the first and lone woman representing Delhi in Lok Sabha under Nehru to today with Sheila Dikshit being the longest serving woman Chief Minister of India. She has been in power since 1998.         
Delhi has given equal chance to the Congress, Lok Dal, Jana Sangh or the BJP to rule over it. As of now all seven Lok Sabha, all three Rajya Sabha and 61 per cent i.e. 43 of 70 Assembly and 29 per cent i.e. 78 of 272 municipal corporation seats are with Congress party. BJP does not have any representation in Parliament but has 33 per cent, i.e. 23 Assembly seats and 51 per cent i.e. 138 seats in the municipal corporation.
Delhites, it seems, don’t like wasting their vote on an inconsequential or lightweight person or party that has no say or cannot make their voice heard. This is heart-breaking news for independents and deserving candidates who fail to impress voters about their position of strength. Delhi voters are very pragmatic, aware and conscious of their vote and want to be represented by the right candidate and in the right manner...Read More

Chandni Chowk

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A repeat for Prahlad Singh Sawhney, who has more or less retained his support base, may still be the best bet for Congress.
The BJP will have to look for a strong candidate as Praveen Khandelwal, its nominee in the last elections, is not actively involved in local politics.
chandni Chowk, which once treasured the heritage called Shahjahanabad, is in the shambles today, with builders and encroachers ruling the roost. The constituency extends from Golcha Cinema to MajnuKaTilla in the north. The old havelis, built by nobles and rich businessmen, are either in a dilapidated condition or are giving way to haphazard multi-storied pigeon holes. Major heritage buildings in the constituency include Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Old Delhi Railway Station. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the police and other authorities are simply looking away or collecting bribes as the builder mafia is raising eyesores to mint money...Read More


Current BJP MLA Sunil Kumar Vaidya has lost much of the support base he enjoyed during 2008. The saffron party, thus, would better look for a new candidate.
The same goes for the Congress, whose last candidate, local Councillor AnjanaParcha has limited pockets of influence.
In case the Congress needs to gauge the mood of aamaadmi, its core constituents who were responsible for taking the party to power in 2004, it should visit Trilokpuri, an Assembly constituency comprising of three dozen resettlement blocks – Kotla village, a few DDA pockets of MayurVihar and New Ashok Nagar, a lower middle class settlement separated from Trilokpuri by Hindon River.
The constituency, which includes around half a lakh class IV employees (mainly sweepers) of different municipal bodies of the national capital, is seething with anger that the Congress has disowned it and allowed the inflation to skyrocket forcing the common man to turn into a bootlegger, drug peddler, gambler and petty thief who decamps with vehicles’ petrol and public taps in the dark of night. Though over half of the people of the Assembly constituency are not satisfied with the performance of sitting BJP MLA Sunil Kumar Vaidya, the anger over price rise and stupendous increase in power and water tariffs overrides the sentiment...Read More

Ambedkar Nagar

The Congress is in real danger of losing Ambedkar Nagar unless it replaces ChaudharyPrem Singh, its old warhorse.
People in the constituency look at BJP Councillor Khushi Ram, who humbled Prem Singh’s son Pramod in municipality polls last year, as the best bet to wrest the seat.
ambedkar Nagar, the assembly constituency comprising Khanpur village, Madangir, Dakshinpuri, Sainik Farms, seven sectors of PushpVihar and a host of unauthorised colonies near Khanpur, has been synonymous with octogenarian ChaudharyPrem Singh. Right from 1958 when he first made it to Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to 2008 when he returned to serve his fourth consecutive term as MLA, this two-time Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) President and former Speaker of Delhi Assembly has represented the constituency nine times without ever losing at the hustings.
But this looks set to change as this reserved constituency where a large number out of around 1.35 lakh voters belong to the lower middle class is grappling with inflation, absence of basic amenities, traffic jams and poor connectivity. The latter is despite the area being the site of the national capital’s first BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System), which connects Ambed-kar Nagar to Moolchand set to complete five years with the current term of Delhi Assembly...Read More


With the incumbent, Balram Singh Tanwar, facing allegations of land grabbing, the Congress will be better placed to look for a replacement.
Brahm Singh Tanwar continues to have largest following among the saffron locals despite having lost the last two assembly elections.
Welcome to Chhatarpur, the land of mafias. Mining mafia, land mafia, contractor mafia, farmhouse mafia, forest mafia and religious mafia – you name it and the assembly constituency, with an over 1.5 lakh-strong-electorate the majority of which belongs to the Gurjar community, is home to all of them.
Though quarrying stands banned in the Bhatti Mines area and an afforestation programme is underway, villagers in the twin hamlets of Bhatti Kalan and Bhatti Khurd vouch that it goes on unabated behind in at least half-a-dozen farm houses under the patronage of local politicians and the police, with the administration turning a blind eye. “The nephew of a ruling politician is actively involved,” says Subhash Chand Tanwar, an estate agent in Bhatti Khurd village...Read More

RK Puram

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Sitting MLA BarkhaShukla Singh may be the best candidate to fight off the rising anger against the Sheila DikshitGovernment over inflation.
The BJP cadre is divided between Councillors Radheshyam Sharma and Anil Sharma.
in RK Puram, the Assembly constituency which replicates India’s diversity, two-time Congress MLA BarkhaShukla Singh is fighting against inflation and failure of Delhi Government to check the extraordinary rise in power and water tariffs.
Here people are more or less satisfied with Singh’s performance but the moment you mention Sheila Dikshit Government to them, the mood is different. There is a huge undercurrent of resentment against the Delhi Government which may turn into a wave before the Assembly polls and pour cold water on prospects of Singh...Read More

Model Town

Congress is set to lose Model Town if it retains Kunwar Karan Singh as its candidate. He has become very unpopular in the area.
BJP may not have too many options but to repeat BholaNathVij who lost to Singh in 2008.
want to see how money power eats into the democratic rights of the electorate and denies development to them, come to LalBagh, the largest slum of the Model Town constituency of Delhi State Assembly. 
Huts looking like match boxes, cramped lanes flooded with sewerage, clogged and stinking drains, no drinking water, piles of garbage and children defecating in the open beside the railway tracks is what you see in LalBagh, a settlement housing over a lakh people sandwiched between Azadpur railway station and the Ring Road, which connects Delhi Assembly to Jahangirpuri. When people demand basic amenities from their elected representatives, more often than not the retort is “note leteho tau vote dete ho. Ab development ki baat kyon karte ho? (You get paid for your votes. Why should you talk of development now?)” Residents openly admit having taken Rs 100 to Rs 200 for each vote from the candidates through their small-time slum leaders and do not see any wrong in it. “Taking money for votes is no big deal. They have not done us a big favour. We cannot survive for life on Rs 100 to Rs 200. Can we?” asks Seema, a housewife in the slum...Read More


There are allegations that Ch. Mateen Ahmed is taking his electorate for granted. The Congress would be better off with a new candidate.
BJP will have the best chance if it fields Maujpur Councillor Sanjay Jain who enjoys a considerable following in the Muslim community.
seelampur, considered a Congress citadel for long, is witnessing undercurrents of dissent against Mateen Ahmed, who has represented the constituency since 1998. Posters have sprung up in all parts of the middle-class colony alleging that Ahmad was taking the constituents for granted. Signed by one ShakirHussain, President of Haq Society, the posters exhort the electorate to vote Ahmad out.
One also comes across hordes of Muslim youth who are prepared to back Sanjay Singh, BJP Councillor from Maujpur ward. There are others who are egging Abdul Rehman, husband of Aasma, an independent MCD Councillor from ChauhanBangar (ward no. 249), to take on Ahmad...Read More


No cause for alarm for Congress as current MLA Devendra Yadav looks set to stage a comeback.
BJP would be best served if it looks for a candidate from among the Yadavs as well as the migrants.
baDli looks like the backyard of houses where one dumps garbage and hides cattle and not-so-essential wares. Tucked behind a large sanitary landfill, the assembly constituency, surrounding National Highway 1 literally stinks whenever the breeze blows northwards. Poor sanitation, polluted drinking water and poor connectivity are the major problems that locals face.
Being home to godowns where traders of Naya Bazar stock their food grains, lentils and other stuff, the constituency witnesses frequent traffic snarls as large trucks queue up to unload here. Siraspur, Libaspur and Samaipur villages, and Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar and Sarup Nagar, face the brunt of the traffic snarls...Read More


The BJP need not look beyond current MLA Anil Jha, who seems to have become favourite of the constituency.
Congress’ candidate in the previous elections Shabnam Riyaz does not stand much of a chance. BSP probable Pushpraj may trump her yet again.
the issue of unauthorised colonies, which was supposed to fetch votes to the Sheila Dikshit Government in Delhi, has surprisingly aided her opponent the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kirari assembly constituency.
As you walk through over a 100 unapproved colonies (over 55 figure in the list of colonies hitherto approved by the Delhi Government), you come across boards lauding the efforts of sitting BJP MLA Anil Jha ‘Vats’ in getting concrete cement laid out on the streets and roads. The streets and roads have become the biggest advertisement for Jha in seeking a return to Delhi Assembly in the State polls slated for later this year...Read More


Congress’ Jaswant Singh Rana has lost most of his sheen in the last five years. The party may stand a better chance with a new face.
The BJP faces a problem of plenty, with NeeldamanKhatri, husband of Councillor Kesh Rani, Councillor Mohan Bharadwaj and former Councillor Raj Karan Khatri also in the race.
narela Assembly constituency has number of firsts to its credit. It is number one in the list of 70 constituencies of Delhi state assembly and it houses the largest foodgrain market of Asia.
However on infrastructure front, Narela, one of the largest constituencies of Delhi, undoubtedly figures somewhere at the bottom of the ladder as it fails miserably when it comes to civic amenities like roads, drinking water and drainage. The story of around 2.25 lakh voters reeks of political indifference. Be it the ruling Congress or the BJP, which enjoys majority in the MCD, Narela seems to hardly exist on their agenda...Read More 


Congress’ Nand Kishore Sehrawat has become persona non grata  even in his own village, Baprola. It will be better for the party to look for a new face.
BJP’s Krishan Gahlaut stands a much better chance this time around, but the BJP will have to ensure that party rebel Mahendra Yadav does not contest.
In Vikaspuri, one of the largest constituencies of Delhi, it is a double whammy that awaits Sheila Dikshit-led Congress. Not only is people’s anger over inflation and water and electricity tariffs at a tipping point but Congress MLA Nand Kishore Sehrawat’s popularity looks to have plummeted to an all-time low with the electorate even in his backyard (Baprola village) not prepared to hand him a second term.
“He has not kept any of the promises he made in the run up to 2008 polls. The chaupal has not been constructed. The sewers are not connected and are overflowing. The village pond is still incomplete even two years after its foundation stone was laid. There is no hospital. Sehrawat has even taken the local dispensary to his house,” fumes Jairam Solanki, a resident of Baprola. ..Read More


ict for change agriculture
Farm Radio
One of the three categories of low-power FM under India’s community radio policy is farm radio. Success stories, however, are few and apart – these need to be replicated on a wider scale because farm radio can be a powerful tool for agricultural extension and rural development.
by Abhilaksh Likhi
an essential prerequisite for improving the livelihood and increasing the income of small farmers and the rural poor in developing countries is raising their productivity. This is critical for three reasons: fostering agriculture–based growth, enhancing household food security and alleviating poverty. Some factors that restrain the enhancement of smallholder productivity include poor soil, unpredictable rainfall, and little access to financial services and infrastructure. There is also the lack of information about market prices, crop varieties, production techniques and disease control strategies. Similarly, lack of timely information about weather and pest outbreaks are also critical to press into action services that can help poor farmers.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly becoming central to mitigation of the factors that lead to the physical isolation of smallholders and thus impose high information costs on them. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations include making available the benefits of ICTs to the poorest...Read More 

Justice delayed, or justice buried

law pending cases
Justice delayed, or justice buried
Speedy justice, which is a fundamental right, has been reduced to the level of classified dispensation
by Rakesh Bhatnagar
A couple of years ago, Supreme Court Justice BS Chauhan, as the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court, had created ripples as he warned that with the current pace of dispensation, it would take at least 300 years to dispose of the whopping backlog of 3 crore cases. His intent was to alert the law makers, judiciary and executive of the impending danger which might hit the country due to the accelerating pace of pendency of cases. It is estimated at least one member of a family is involved some kind of a court case. It may be pointed out that even when the BJP-ruled NDA was governing the country, the then law minister, Arun Jaitley, would offer the same figure of pendency of cases, but he hastened to set up about 1,700 fast track courts, which had been able to tackle the backlog problem to some extent, as they resolved 30 lakh legal disputes pending for decades in different courts in the country.
Be that it was, the fast track courts have been abandoned for want of financial support and paucity of judges to man them. What’s come into being instead are the so-called fast track courts manned by designated judges, who are directed by the respective high courts to dispose of specific cases such as rape or violence against women. Speedy justice, which is a fundamental right, has been reduced to the level of classified dispensation disregarding the adage that justice delayed is justice denied or even justice hurried is justice buried...Read More

Security chinks

security cyber laws
Security chinks
The concept of security proofing of economic policies right at the time of formulation does not exist in the country’s governance framework. Now there is a sudden urgency…
by Naresh Minocha
it is a classical case of endless fretting after letting the genie out of the bottle. The country is going through a pattern of desperate and belated search for security solutions. The search invariably begins after implementation of each liberalisation policy, whose underlying goal is to facilitate globalisation of the Indian economy.
Since the beginning of big-bang reforms in mid-1991, the Government has followed with a vengeance its policy of discriminating against domestic manufacture through steep import duty cuts and relatively lower reductions in excise duty. It also added salt to the wounds of the manufacturing sector by encouraging duty-free or concessional-duty imports from certain countries as a diplomatic initiative...Read More

A foreign policy fiasco!

sri lanka m g devasahayam
A foreign policy fiasco!
India’s dithering has enabled Sri Lanka to suggest support for the Sinhalese, instead of bothering about the minority 12 per cent Tamils from South India
india’s foreign policy seems to have reached dismal depths. What it has achieved in Sri Lanka is a mass pogrom and virtual genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils, near-total alienation between Tamil Nadu and Delhi, handing the island to Chinese hegemony and facing the daily ignominy of hundreds of Tamil Nadu fishermen either shot at, arrested or beaten up by the Sri Lankan Navy!
As to the pogrom, President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared soon after the bloody carnage of Sri Lankan Tamils ended in May 2009: “We fought India’s war”.
Now the President’s brother and man-Friday, Gothabhaya Rajapaksa, explains how this was done: “….the President went out of his way to keep New Delhi briefed on developments at all times. In addition a special bilateral committee was set up at the highest level, including then Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and myself as Defence Secretary from the Sri Lankan side, and former National Security Advisor MK Narayanan, then Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and then Defence Secretary Vijay Singh on the Indian side. This troika had continuous discussions and ensured that any sensitive issues were dealt with as soon as they arose.”(Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka, March 25)...Read More

What's Mossad's game plan in India?

mossad security
Best friend or trouble-creator No 1
What's Mossad's game plan in India?
Even PMs and Presidents don't stand a chance against conspirators, hired assassins and back-stabbers in the world of deceit and deception.  Indira Gandhi was killed by her own body Guards, Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a lady packaged as a human bomb, Premadasa too was done to death by a suicide bomber. But after many things- like demolition of Babri masjid- started happening following Mossad's entry in India- India has reasons to ask whether Mossad is really its best friend or trouble-creator No 1?
by Neeraj Mahajan
PV Narasimha Rao established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992, on the advice of Chandraswami-a Mossad supporter and sort of VIP in Rao's official residence. Nehru onwards every PM was against Mossad. Indira and Rajiv- strongly opposed Mossad. As a result Israel and South Africa were the only places on earth where Indian passport was not allowed. This was so till Rao became PM after Rajiv's assassination.
Mossad meaning "Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations", Aman (military intelligence) and Shin Bet (internal security) form the triangle of treacherous intelligence agencies under Israeli Prime Minister. Their goal is espionage, subversion and destabilization to protect Israeli and Jewish interest. Expert in disguise, deceit and deception - Mossad's ethos favors ‘deception in clandestine operations and war'. It uses psychological operations, mind control, bluff, flattery, fear, reasoning, slander, threat, coercion, or antagonizes and makes people uneasy. Bogus propaganda, eavesdropping, sabotage and betrayal - are just a few tools, it cultivates, buys, kidnaps, tortures and intimidates opponents, plants stories on journalists and remote-controls politicians and decision makers in government and private sector. It can go to any extent -- even eliminate political leaders...Read More

Thorn among roses

digging it out
real estate investor protection
Thorn among roses
The Rose Valley Group, with its interests in hospitality, films, amusement parks and finance, is already under the SEBI lens but continues to operate unabashedly
byAnil Tyagi
This is the story of how a national resource has been systematically looted by vested interests. It also documents how, as part of a larger conspiracy, a private company was able to squander Rs 2,816.24 crore belonging to the poor in the name of selling land and farm houses in West Bengal that did not exist, not even in their own brochures. It is a scam being perpetrated by the infamous ‘Rose Valley Group’ for almost a decade now, involving thousands of crores of money earned by small investors.
Gfiles has compiled a comprehensive record of how the Kolkata-based Rose Valley Group of Companies systematically plundered the poor man, publishing false claims to give a home to the common man. What is sad is that this loot has taken place in full public view, despite complaints and protest notes based on public documents and actions having been filed, the promoters and directors of the Rose Valley Group are yet to be held accountable...Read More

Hope and despair in Sri Lanka

sri lanka ll mehrotra
Hope and despair in Sri Lanka
All the major players seeking to resolve the Sinhala-Tamil imbroglio in the 1990s became victims to the violence. Despite differences, all were dedicated to preserving Sri Lanka’s unity and sovereignty.
wELL before my arrival in Sri Lanka in 1989, the challenge posed by Tamil militancy had assumed very serious dimensions. To meet this, President J R Jayewardene ordered his military chief to stamp out terrorism in the northern and eastern provinces in all its forms. The brutal suppression of Jaffna Tamils under the emergency and the destruction of the Jaffna library in 1981 rendered the Tamil United Liberation Front’s moderate style of politics under Amirthalingam untenable in the eyes of his own constituents. Members of parliament from TULF declined to take oath for the sovereignty, unity and integrity of Sri Lanka as required under the constitution after their election. President Jayewardene’s tough policy concerning the Sri Lankan Tamils thus proved counterproductive. It gave a fillip to militancy rather than eliminated it.
As Tamil massacres followed and stringent measures were imposed such as cutting off food and medical supplies to the heartland of Sri Lankan Tamils, they took refuge in India in large numbers. India intervened with airdropping of humanitarian supplies in the area only to be branded by the Sri Lankan government as an aggressor. As a consequence, relations between the two countries touched a nadir. Ultimately negotiations between President Jayewardene and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi resulted in a peace agreement on 29 July 1987 with the objective of resolving Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict and to take care of India’s security concerns...Read More

Anti-Congress, non-BJP coalition?

analysis shubhabrata bhattacharya
Anti-Congress, non-BJP coalition?
The scenario of the sum total of the seats won by the Congress and BJP falling short of the halfway mark of 272 has not emerged in the coalition era so far
march 17, 2013, is perhaps a watershed day in the march to the next general elections. That day, Bihar supremo Nitish Kumar held a mammoth rally in Delhi’s Ramlila grounds to flex his political muscle and highlight the cause of treating Bihar as a special state for development.
There are nearly 40 lakh migrants from Bihar who live in the NCR region; Nitish successfully showed the role he can play in tilting the scale both in the forthcoming Assembly elections in New Delhi as well as his position vis-a-vis the 2014 (or earlier) post-general election political scenario. He had dinner at the home of his distinguished JP movement comrade, Arun Jaitley, that evening.
The intrinsic message of his triumphant trip to New Delhi was his statement that the time has come for the formation of an ‘anti-Congress, non-BJP’ regime” in New Delhi. Read carefully, his call was to revive the anti-Congressism of the grand alliance days.
Importance of the political formations sans the two major parties is evident: they have polled half of the total votes in the seven general elections since 1989. In the last two polls, in 2004 and in 2009, the Congress had 26.2 per cent and 28,6 per cent of the vote share while the BJP polled 21.7 per cent and 18.8 per cent, respectively...Read More

‘Offset deals have higher & invisible corruption’

mark pyman director, transparency international
Offset deals have higher & invisible corruption’
Everyone agrees that defence deals should be clean and clear. Director, Transparency International UK, Mark Payman, is one of the world’s leading authorities on defence corruption, having studied different shades of the problem in 129 defence companies and 82 governments and countries. In this telephonic interview from London with Neeraj Mahajan, Payman outlines the limitations of the offsets programme that has been implemented by several countries, including India. Excerpts:
Is money always the motivation or there are other incentives in a defence deal? 
That is a tricky question. I will say that in a large number of cases we have seen that money is the motivator. The only exception is where you are seeking to straighten the political alignment between countries or its people. Then you are no longer in the sphere of corruption, you are in the sphere of political calculations. I think there is one other area, which is very relevant to India, in that is most of these defence deals are clubbed with what is called an offsets programme. Offsets programmes carry high width because they are usually less carefully examined. That is the first problem and the second problem is that they usually comprise of a package of different investments by the company, often as many as 50 or 100 investments. Often, these have little to do with the defence contract. They can be a hotel contract or any other investment. And the opportunity of paying someone back or corrupting someone is actually much higher in such programmes than it is through the main contract. There have been a number of deals in recent years where bribes have been passed through the offset contracts and not through the main contract. I think that is what is happening in India as well because you have high offset requirements and therefore big opportunities for corrupt transactions...Read More

‘English Vinglish’

civil service amitabh thakur
‘English Vinglish’
Whether one likes it or not, the fact remains that English remains the
predominantly used language of Indian bureaucracy
the recent amendment in the Civil Services Examination pattern made a lot of news, particularly as regards the presence of English language as a compulsory paper in the Mains examinations. Many important political figures vehemently opposed it, resulting in the Government reconsidering its decision and withdrawing its notification. Currently, certain amendments are going on in the examination scheme but this process has once again brought to the fore the language problem that concerns our Nation and its relationship with civil services.
Civil services in India, as they exist today, are generally considered to be the legacy of the British rule. The English created a vast bureaucracy of the kind that was possibly not in existence before them. Right from the officers of the Indian Civil Service (ICS) at the top to the low-paid junior Indian servants, this lot formed almost a separate class of its own. So much was the clout, importance and relevance of these Civil Services that they remained an important issue in the charter of the Indian National Congress, Muslim League and other prominent Indian political and social movements...Read More

The Department of Love

humour m k kaw
The Department of Love
A one-act play
Mr Haanji, Deputy Secretary
Mr Gobind Ram, Peon
Mr Jhinkoo Ram, Secretary
Mrs Dada, Joint Secretary
Mr Ayaram, Under Secretary
Mr Gayaram, Under Secretary
Chief Minister
Chief Secretary
CPI (M) Minister
A Minister
Young Man
Young Woman
Peon Jarnail Singh
District Love Officer
Head Clerk
(A room in the Secretariat. Officers are seated here and there)
Mr Haanji, Deputy Secretary: All right, all right! Let us have silence for a while. The Chief Minister is making an important announcement.
Gobind Ram, please put on the TV.
(Gobind Ram adjusts the knobs)
TV: (first some static. Then the CM’s voice). Finally, I come to an important matter. As you all know, for the last fortnight, Swami Brahmachari has been on a fast unto death. He led an agitation in order to provide the fundamental right of love to the masses.
Mrs Dada (sarcastically): Brahmachari, my foot! We all know what sort of Brahmachari he is!
(Enter Mr Jhinkoo Ram, Secretary. They all stand up.)
Mr Jhinkoo Ram:You were saying something, Mrs Dada?
Mrs Dada (unfazed): We were listening to a telecast by the CM. I said we all know what sort of a celibate Swami Brahmachari is.
Mr Jhinkoo Ram (smiling, because he is the Financial Adviser): He is a bachelor all right.
Mrs Dada (smiling): That does not make him a celibate automatically.
Mr Jhinkoo Ram: Now, now, Mrs Dada!…Read More

Religion is not faith, but belief

religion sadhguru
Religion is not faith, but belief
what is the role of faith? How do we cultivate it? How necessary is it on the spiritual path? These are questions in many minds.
Unfortunately, people have begun to regard religion as faith. Religion is just a set of beliefs. Faith has nothing to do with belief. Faith can propel you from one dimension to another without your having to traverse the road. It empowers you to take a big leap from here to there. Right now for most people, faith is about making deals with the Divine:
“Dear God, I will put ten thousand rupees into this project; I must get ten crore rupees.”  You try to make a deal like this with anyone else and he’ll dismiss you! But you think the creator is such an idiot that he will fall for such a deal. This is not devotion. This is deception. This means fundamentally all prayer is coming either out of greed or fear. This is simple basic survival. Every creature on the planet handles its own survival, but only human beings, supposedly the most intelligent of all species, route their survival through heaven!...Read More

Tale of three nawabs

cricket biography
Tale of three nawabs
by Rajendra Bajpai
this is not a biography of the Nawab of Pataudi but a tale of three nawabs – Mansur Ali Khan, his father, Iftikhar, both Oxford Blues, and Saif Ali Khan, the actor and now the Nawab of Pataudi.
Iftikhar played for both Oxford and India at a time when cricket politics was dominated by nawabs, princes and moneyed zamindars; Mansur came in when politics was still rife but in the hands of politicians and other moneybags.
Wadhwaney, who knew Mansur well and had met Iftikhar once or twice, traces the son’s cricket career in detail and examines his batting style, which was extraordinary, considering he had only one good eye but that did not prevent him from making elegant strokes. Mansur was agile on the field and kept his good eye focused on the ball until he got hold of it...Read More

Passion for learning

t r kakkar
Passion for learning
He is the only person who has worn four uniforms in his professional life, missing the chance to wear the fifth by a whisker.
do you know of a police commissioner, who has rubbed shoulders with three Prime Ministers, who rejected Sanjay Gandhi’s offer of a foreign posting; and who arrested a Chief Minister and an underworld don, not having any property in Delhi upon retirement? That is Tilak Raj Kakkar, a bureaucrat no politician could bend. Within a week of retiring as Secretary, Internal Security, he was out on the streets looking for a job? His new job, besides enabling him to buy a house, a car and other luxuries, provided him with the satisfaction of managing many education institutions, something he always wanted to do having not attended college himself.
He is the only person who has worn four uniforms in his professional life, missing the chance to wear the fifth by a whisker. As the youngest of three children of a well-to-do forest officer in frontier Pakistan, life was initially a bed of roses. But partition changed all that; his father and mother died in quick succession; poverty, pain and hunger became essential companions in the refugee camp that they moved into. This continued till his eldest brother managed to find a low-paid job and with it a ramshackle place to stay in Delhi Police lines. One of his early memories is of playing as a half-naked urchin with the children of other policemen. Hunger taught him many lessons in life, the most important being that ‘greed is bad. There is no need to be impatient. You will get what is due to you, sooner or later’....Read More

Haryana: Awaiting a competent PS the way
Haryana: Awaiting a competent PS
It was a tough decision for Bhupinder Singh Hooda to appoint a new Principal Secretary as the incumbent, Chhatar Singh, a 1980 batch IAS officer, was supposed to retire on March 31. And, it is probably because of this that the Chief Minister decided to extend Mr Chhatar Singh’s term by three more months. What the extension means is that the race for this coveted post has heated up. According to sources, there are four contenders for the slot. Leading them is the suave, sincere and hardworking Ashok Lavasa, a 1980 batch IAS officer, currently Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry of Power. However, there are reports that he not keen on joining Hooda’s ranks as he is likely to be made a Secretary in the Central Government next year. Number two in the race is Yudhvir Singh Malik, a 1983 IAS officer, currently Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce. Hindering his appointment is the fact that he is a Jat, the community to which Hooda belongs. The third in the queue is S S Dhillon, a 1984 batch IAS officer, who holds charge as Principal Secretary, Town and Country Planning and Urban Estate. The last in fray is another IAS officer of the 1985 batch, K K Khandelwal, currently Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and Principal Secretary, Information and Public Relations. Khandelwal is considered to be close to Hooda. He has served for seven years in the CM’s secretariat. Compounding matters, however, is the influence that the builder lobby exerts. Yet another player in the decision-making process is Vinod Sharma, a close pal of the CM, an industrialist and a fast-emerging media tycoon. It is learnt that Vinod’s opinion matters most in the selection and removal of officers. So wait and watch for Hooda to make his move in picking the right kind of officer...Read More

Non-corporate affairs ministry? the way
Non-corporate affairs ministry?
call it a case of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing. But, the ways of our Government are mysterious, with one set of officials hell bent upon killing the ambitious investor education programme that was started with much fanfare through a wide network of Investor Associations empanelled with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the Securities Exchange Board of India. As a result, today the entire funding for the programme is now distributed to various industry-sponsored organisations and professional institutions having no direct contact with the investors while investor associations are being shooed away. A case in point is of an investor association that worked on a MCA-sponsored project way back in 2009. On completion of the project, the body submitted a duly compiled report with a statement of accounts, enclosing all original bills and required certificates for release of funds. But submission of a project report does not necessarily mean release of funds as this association found out. Mr B P Bimal, Under Secretary in the Ministry, sat on the report for years together despite several written reminders. Waking up one afternoon, he informed the concerned investor association that the original file had gone missing and they would have to resubmit the same. Assuming his contention to be true, the association complied only to see Mr Bimal sit down once again on the file. After a considerable lapse of time, when an official of the association called upon Mr Bimal to remind him of the release of funds, he was curtly told that the wheels of change take time to move and he should “not disturb me in this regard, otherwise the payment will never get released”. Such delays are not limited to one investor association alone; many sulking bodies are refusing to take up new projects at the grassroots level due to the uncalled-for behaviour of junior officials. Will the Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Naved Masood, take any action or will all complaints be consigned to the dustbin?...Read More

Let us connect the way
Let us connect
do you think that our bureaucrats are shy by nature? No, they are very extrovert and vibrant, but they love to remain in their cocoons. It is the emergence of social media that is motivating them to connect with the world. For today’s bureaucrats, it is tempting to be in touch and enjoy the appreciation and applause they get whenever they are active and participative. It is this new breed that is utilising the social media to interact with old friends and classmates. Our Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao, Amitabh Kant, Srivasta Krishna, Alex Paul Menon, Hardeep Puri, Additional Secretary (Agriculture) Dalip Singh, Ashok Lavasa, and many more IAS, IPS and IRS service officers are active on this media. Ashok Lavasa, Additional Secretary (Power), writes on his Facebook page: “Tennis turns me on, rafting reinvigorates me, trekking makes me feel that I am still alive, swimming is a rebirth, photography is a vocation, writing is second nature and music stirs my soul”. Similarly, Navtej Sarna, an IFS officer, says on his Facebook page, “there was a writer named Chinua Achebe, in whose company the prison walls fell down - Nelson Mandela”. Even the legendary Yogendra Narain, former Secretary General of the Rajya Sabha, is now connected to the new medium. While we welcome their getting on to the social media bandwagon, it is important that these bureaucrats should also connect with common masses as the aam aadmi still feels that contacting our bureaucrats is a Herculean task...Read More