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April 2007- Newspaper Watch
Indian Newspaper Watch for month of  April 2007. For current newspaper watch, view homepage

30th April 2007

Faking special

‘India’s drug giants, often cited as global success story in making cheap drugs- as well as their foreign rivals don’t want to talk openly about fake drugs problem for fear that their own brands get bad publicity. They point fingers at the government, which in, turn points fingers straight back at the drug industry. …Nobody is sure of the extent of India’s fake drugs industry, but what is for sure that the country neither has the enforcement resources nor, as it increasing appears, the political or corporate will to stop such practices..’. Mint, in a special report reveals it all - “Fake drug industry operates openly”. Surely, playing with the lives of a billion people- unhindered, unregulated - is a classic example of rampant corrpution in a country that has just joined the elite trillion dollar economy club. A must to read to understand how Indian fake drugs have flourished due to loopholes in government policy.

29th April 2007
 
Risky

After the arrest of Member of Parliament for allegedly trying to smuggle people abroad, the issue of human trafficking has caught the fancy of newspapers. Indian Express has devoted two pages to the “the biggest story- Flight out of Punjab” while Times of India has carried a special report on one full page. The Asian Age reports that every year thousands of young Punjabi villagers risk everything to get to the West. But why do they that? Why can’t they live happily in India? Jasbir Singh, a marginal farmer explains- “ There is no future in farming here. I have lived hand to mouth all my life. And even though my eldest son was a graduate, he couldn’t get a job. So I sold off part of my land & told my sons to scout around”. Reasons such as Unemployment, rising prices, drudgery of tilling depleted land cannot be ignored. (Indian Express). Why are educated youth not getting jobs? Has the Indian government taken any remedial measure for them to get jobs in India? Not really, but on the other hand, the retirement age of teachers has been raised from 62 to 65 years and further, if no suitable candidate is found, retired teachers of the age 65-70 years will be called back on the job. Result? An increase in woes of educated unemployed youth. Did the policy makers forget that the average age in India is 62 years? How can teachers of higher educational institutions accept an increase in their retirement age, while their students are unemployed and frustrated. Any hope? Thankfully, the Parliamentary Committee of Human Resource Development Ministry has expressed its displeasure on increasing the retirement age (Daink Bhaskar, Hindustan). 


 28th April 2007

Matter of Rejoice?
 
A statistical milestone has been crossed- India has became a trillion dollar economy. The recent strengthening of Rupee against Dollar helped it make this leap. Great, what’s the editorial take on this? Editorial in Tribune entitled –“India Grows” points out “whenever a milestone is crossed in this country, there appears on the street hordes of spoilsports who point out to all that is wrong and come out with poverty figures as a proof of backwardness. They see only problems instead of challenges and achievements.” The editorial ends by quoting an economist of a industrial Group-‘ We are a nation of one billion people, a $1 trillion economy, a $1,000.00 per capita income. That is the way we should think’(Tribune). How can an economist rejoice on per capita income? How about measuring income inequalities through Gini coefficient, is it steadily rising or falling? The hard hitting editorial in the Hindi daily, Amar Ujala entitled “ Grandeur of poor country” has focused on India’s dismal performance in Human Development Indicators and questions-“ how long can we hide from these facts, which have become bone of contention, even after sixty years of planned development. Even today, one third of population earns on an average Rs. 50 and 80 per cent population earns Rs. 100 or less. This is the reason why fifty percent of world’s hungry are in India…and even the rich Indians are suffering”. The point to ponder here is whether the rate of economic growth is an end in itself. Who are its beneficiaries and at what cost? How important is the notion of sustainable development? Any rational critical analysis opens up new vistas of improvement & should not be seen as an attempt to spoil the celebration party of a few. Happy rejoicing?

27th April 2007
 
King goes to US

Mango is the King of all fruits in India and after 18 long years, Indian mangoes will be allowed in United States after strict irradiation treatment to match the phytosanitation requirement of the US quarantine authority. (Hindustan Times). This news has been carried by most newspapers along with photographs of the US Ambassador to India enjoying Indian mango in New Delhi. Earlier, the import of Indian mangoes was stalled as it was felt they contained excessive pesticides. But there is no explicit word whether the level of pesticides in Indian mangoes has come down to a safer level or not? Surely, even Indians should not be allowed to eat pesticide ridden mangoes. But then, why focus only on mangoes, why not all edibles? After the big tamasha over pesticides in popular soft drinks, the pesticide story has not made any headway. Are pesticides a way of life, integrated in the foodchain - here?

Head on?

Two important components of a vibrant democracy – legislature and judiciary seem to be moving closer to a show-down. The members of Parliament (Lok Sabha) across all party lines questioned judiciary for putting on hold 27 per cent reservation of seats based on caste in the higher educational institutions. Though the speaker of the Lok Sabha in Parliament stopped the Members of Parliament from attacking the judiciary, he did not mince words while delivering a public lecture (Tribune, Economic Times) and was of the view that there has been ‘umpteen’ cases where judiciary had intervened in matter entirely within the domain of executive and also warned of ‘serious implications”(Hindustan Times). Is India, following neighbour’s footsteps?

26th April 2007

A Remedy?

An article -“Produce and Perish: How India is failing its farmers” by three men from the World Bank, naturally increases expectations of reading a comprehensive analysis in the Times of India. The title of the article doesn’t suggest that the focus will be on Indian horticulture and international trade, which really is. True, that there is fragmented supply chain, less stringent quality standards, protectionist trade practices but this is not all that ails Indian farmers. The Tribune reports that Indian State of Punjab, the pioneer in green revolution, is heading for self destruction due to excessive use of from water for agriculture. Why? There are about 1.2 million tube wells, mostly operating on free electricity to irrigate water guzzling crop- paddy. Now what was the logic of growing paddy in Punjab- a semi arid area? Why should State Government provide free electricity to farmers? The net result? Of the 137 development blocks, 103 are over exploited, 5 in critical stage, 4 in semi critical stage while 25 in safe zone. But safe zone is not really safe as mostly subsoil water is unfit for drinking and irrigation. Free power leading to indiscriminate use of groundwater for growing paddy, but why? Mr. Ernest Stern, the Managing Director of the World Bank, while giving an upbeat assessment on India’s prospects in 1994, was not so upbeat on the issue of subsidies. ”Everybody likes cheap power and cheap food. Politicians, not just in India but in every country, tend to promise cheap things “. Apart from budgetary implications, the adverse impact of these subsidies on the delicate balance of the eco - system has been ignored for long. The need of the hour – revamp in ongoing green revolution, cropping pattern, State government policies, that too urgently to save the Indian farmers from self destruction.


25th April 2007

Exclusively Green
 
India is known for its passion for cricket. What about Rugby passion in India? Nope, not heard! Anyways, about 1,000 trees in the Delhi University are about to disappear to make way for rugby field for forthcoming Commonwealth Games in 2010. According to the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University (where environment science is also taught) -“ Of course some trees have to be sacrificed for development, but I hope it’s not a large number of trees”. Is this development sustainable? No. Any talk about planting more trees by University authorities? No. The HindustanTimes Exclusive on its front page has exposed the callous action by the University of great repute. Though permission from forest department to axe trees has not been taken as yet, deep fissures have been made in the bark of many trees, which some experts feel will kill them anyway. This has been substantiated by photographs of wounded tree, death marking on trees. Now, how to educate the educators?
 
24th April 2007

Impact

Last week, Amar Ujala had published the woes of Lt. Chauhan, a whistle blower in the Indian army on its front page with prominence. The result? The Indian Defense Minister has met Lt. Chauhan & promised justice. A Major in the Indian Army Headquarters has thanked the paper for publishing because of which the Lt. is close to getting justice. Hindustan Times had carried a report about death of patient due to collapsing of his bed. Impact: the government has ordered a probe. The same paper had carried a report about faulty meters in autos. Result? The Delhi traffic police launched a special drive against erring autos and has prosecuted 204 drivers. Any Wish? Yes, only one. More space should be allocated to such reports vis-à-vis page three events. Impact- surely, this country will become a better place. 

23rd April 2007

Immature voters?
 
“My worry is that the voter is succumbing to appeals made in name of jaat (caste) and dharma (religion), and not assessing the merits & demerits of the candidates: Kuldeep Nayar (Asian Age). Yes, caste & religion are often exploited to gain votes during elections. But how far will it succeed, this time around? Indian Express reports that in Varanasi, electricity, roads and water are key issues in present State elections & not caste. It claims that during election time, in cities and towns across the country, the largest issue will revolve around the development and breakdown of civic infrastructures. According to one businessman - “ There is no power and roads are bad. We are fed up with the political system. The question is who do we hold responsible for the mess. Political parties must have a definite plan”. Surely a healthy sign for the largest democracy of the World. Hopefully, majority of voters will also vote for development & not for caste and religion.
 
22nd April 2007
 
Lost: Sustainable Development
 
Two decades ago, there was a lot of talk about the Report of the Brundtland Commission - Our Common Future. But the much cited defination of sustainable development -“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Our Common Future) has not seen any significant change in policies of countries. Yes, this year global warming has brought some focus on climate change - “2006 was the hottest year during last 100 years” (Tribune).The newspapers have carried features, articles, reports, cartoons, advertisements, pictures on the occasion of World Earth Day. But do we really care? "At present there is no regulation about green house emission in India, so how can the industry be pushed to do an inventory of their emissions"--asks the head of the CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development (Times of India). Now Indian don’t want small cars but bigger ones, a demonstrative status symbol (Amar Ujala). It seems that in the quest for higher growth figure, consumption race coupled with show-off, the notion of sustainable development has totally lost its meaning. We can’t coexist with earth and others who live in - “As development Vs environment debate rages, replantation comes under clout” (Times of India). “ Tigers go missing from Ranthambore national park when everyone’s watching (Indian Express), “King (lion) is on the brink” (Hindu), “A leonine tragedy” (Pioneer). But some school children participated in Marathon race and Awareness rally on the earth day (Amar Ujala). If only elders would think about their future, everyday of the year is Earth Day. The urgent need for Sustainable Development has been expressed in the best possible manner in an advertisement that has come up in Dainik Bhaskar by the same group entitled –“Will” which mentions that I am leaving behind earth for my kids, which I left no opportunity to destroy…
 
21st April 2007

Best Investigation of the Weekend- “Benarasi silks, made in China” (Weekend, Business Standard) With the so much talk about the welfare of minorities in India, the state of silk weavers - majority muslims, in Benaras is pathetic. It is said that these weavers came to Benaras from Arab countries during the time of King Ashoka. But today, “Benaras is full of former weavers who ply rickshaws, row boats, run tea stalls-doing whatever they can to fend off starvation and bankruptcy”.Geetanjal spent three days in Benares to understand why the city’s famous handwoven silk industry was in doldrums. “I realise with a pang that the Benarasi sari bust has sounded a death knell to not only the livelihood of thousands of weavers, it has also caused the beautiful gossamer silks for which the area has been known for the past few centuries, to virtually disappear from the local markets. What a shame.” True, but the local District Commissioner’s version should also have been recorded for complete understanding of the problem.
 

20th April 2007

Nuclear Round-off

With the country reeling under power shortages, nuclear power has gained attention of the policy makers. The news - India is leading in the world in building nuclear plants should not come as a surprise. However the historic nuclear deal between US & India is running into serious difficulties. (Dainik Jagran, Business Standard). The US government has said that it was disappointed with the ‘pace’ and ‘seriousness’ of the nuclear negotiations with India (Economic Times). In responding to the question about the delay in finalising the agreement, the White House Spokesman has stated that the Bush administration is working very hard with the Indian Government to get the US-India civilian nuclear deal completed. (National Herald). While on the other hand Russia has starting building world’s first floating nuclear power stations, which will also supply power to desolate regions and energy hungry economies of Asia. However the programme director of Greenpeace has called it scary as this is basically going to be floating atomic bomb (National Herald).
 
19th April 2007

Wheaty tale

The Indian Government buys wheat from farmers through Food Corporation of India (FCI). Last year’s low purchase had forced India to import 5.5mt of wheat at a very high price. This year too the procurement is going at a slow pace in the State of Haryana & Punjab. The reason? According to FCI Chairman- due to late harvest in some regions, moisture content in grain was high and time was needed for it to dry up (Mint). Whereas the farmers & commission agents allege the there was not enough space left to dump fresh wheat stock arrival in the market and as a result the peasants have held back their produce. But the Union Minister of Agriculture had a different version- “ the delay was due to farmer’s strategy to maximise profits by separating straw from wheat” (Tribune). Anyways, the FCI chief feels that the wheat purchase plan is on track (Mint). Any competition from private sector procurement like last year? 

18th April 2007
 
Cartoon watch
 
Today, it seems to be a mixed bag - Elections (Asian Age, Hindustan Times), Cricket (Punjab Kesai, Times of India), Promising Leader (Economic Times), Music lessons (Times of India), Rahul Gandhi (Hindu, Indian Express), Assult on Star News (Dainik Bhaskar), Control (Indian Express), CD (Pioneer), Obscenity (Hindustan). The cartoon in Tribune has featured a small child sitting next to a board which states-“Help! give me school!” but the Human Resource Development Minister is instead giving him reservation quota for higher education, quite in line with yesterday’s newspaper watch. Away from domestic centric topics, the Cartoon in Amar Ujala has taken on Farmers in Pakistan. However no Indian cartoon has appeared in Dainik Jagran, Mint and MetroNow.
 
17th April 2007

Challenge
 
“A qualitative improvement in the content and processes of basic education, in order to make them more responsive to the learning needs of individual and the development needs of different socio-economic sectors continues to be a major challenge.” (Planning Commission of India). What kind of challenge? Amar Ujala has carried the findings of survey of schools that reveal glaring deficiencies in basic infrastructure such as more than 50 per cent classrooms have no blackboard. The same paper has also reported that in the State of Haryana, 150,000 kids are away from school & if the figure of child labour is added, it reaches 0.7 million. It would be worth to remember that Operation Blackboard scheme was started by the Indian Government in 1987-88, with the aim to improve classroom environment but even after almost two decade the gross deficiencies remain. “In Bihar, 20 million kids go to school without books” (Punjab Kesai), “Staff Shortages hit schools” (Tribune). Daink Bhasker has reported on front page about a school in which majority of children have been failing in class eight exams since last three years. This has eventually angered the villagers who locked the school and demanded the change of school staff. Villagers:“When kids don’t pass, what’s the need of sending them to school”? It appears that policy makers are too busy with higher education and schools are a neglected lot. 

16th April 2007
 
Reform
 
“Government should completely get out of banks, insurance companies and mutual funds...why should the government hold stake in these institutions.... Public sector banks are at least 25 years behind global standards”. (Percy Mistry, former Chairman of Committee on making Mumbai an International Financial Centre. Indian Express).Yes, private sector banks love the huge Indian Middle class, and not to forget the elite. And many customers view banking with them as a status symbol. But lets not forget the rural folk in the village as more than 70 per cent of Indian’s population lives in rural areas. What's the spread of much acclaimed private sector banks of the Financial Capital of India- Mumbai? Only 4 per cent of the total bank branches in rural India belonged to other scheduled banks (includes private sector banks). While majority of the rural bank branches belonged to the the nationalised banks and the regional rural banks, from the data of March 2002. Some private sector banks have been talking about spreading wings to rural areas, but, how far would they fly in? Perhaps, it's too early to judge. And what about the rate of lending to agricultural sector, would it be higher than the nationalised government controlled banks? Social objectives take a backseat here. Now who is behind! Where?
 
15th April 07

Open Secret

Yes, the dismal performance of the Indian Cricket team in the World Cup tournament is searching for excuses. Sachin Tendulkar, India's once upon a time, best batsman in the Indian team, was recently in news for his outburst against then coach of the Indian team- Greg Chappel. But it didnt go well with the authorities and the BCCI issued show cause notice to him. It appears from newspapers that Sachin has send his reply. But did he apologise? Yes, according to Tribune -" Ace Batsman Sachin Tendular has apologised to the BCCI for his outburst against the former coach Greg Chappel after a discussion with Board President Sharad Pawar". But not according to other newspapers-"Tendulkar replies, but no apology" (Asian Age), "Sachin sends reply to board, no apology" (Amar Ujala), "Sachin sends reply to Board, no apologies" (Daink Jagran), "Sachin has said no apology in the reply sent to the Board" (Hindustan). Anyways, Sachin is sorry or not - is an open secret? 


14th April 2007

Dear Editor

Indian Readers are indeed not passive and have expressed their feelings on variety of topics, courtesy - 'Dear Editor'. The reservation policy seems to be a favourite one. Other topics include- climate change, government spending, railway, cinema, population & poverty, BJP, minority, National Anthem row, judiciary, cricket, communal CD, Rahul Gandhi, traffic violations, vote, women, Pakistan and many more. Week's "Special letter" in Hindi daily, Hindustan calls readers to look after management of libraries and gets gift coupon for books worth Rs. 500. Moreover, Hindustan's - Chaupal or 'assembly place in village' has published reader's opinion on current topic. Today, readers have responded to-"whether the currrent drive to improve traffic system by the traffic police is for the betterment of public?" Indian Express has also published "Letter of the Week" which questions-" Is 'Indian Express' sure of its liberal instincts? Or is it being opportunistic". While Mint has judged best letter of the week which has showered praise on the paper - "..Thanks to Mint and Lounge, I did very well in the group discussion and personal interview rounds, and also got into my dream institute. Thanks for being the wind beneathe my wings". This letter gets gift set worth Rs. 3,595. Do letter to editor offer any positive critical view on the content of the paper? Yes, Amar Ujala's reader has raised question on the quality of Hindi used by the Hindi Daily, as it contains 30 per cent English, 40 per cent Urdu and only 30 per cent Hindi. While a reader of MetroNow has cautioned the paper-"..you may lose perspective readership if pronographic pictures are printed regularly..". 

13th April 2007

Import The Cabinet Commitee of Economic Affairs has approved import of 1.5 million tonnes of pulse to check inflation. In-house research reveals that the gross area under pulse cultivation in India has declined from 24.7 (1990-91) to 22.4 million hectares (2005-06). The per capita net availability of pulse per day (grams) has also declined to nearly half in 2005 as compared to 1951. Given a shortfall of 3.2 million tonnes of pulses, the decision to import is not surprising. "Now, pulse import to fight prices" (Tribune), " Import of pulses to check price"(Hindustan Times), "To curb inflation, 15 lakh ton pulses from abroad" (Dainik Jagran). While Pioneer has reported on page 5 that -"Centre to import fertiliser to meet shortage, price rise". But the text of the report talks about decision by Centre to import 1.5 metric tonne of pulses to meet the shortage of pulses and rein in the souring prices and to reopen eight fertiliser plants. Where is the decision to import fertilier? Still searching the text! 

12th April 2007
 
Arrangement

Yes, its same old power shortage in the powerful capital city of India. Hindustan Times has described the state of Delhi on its front page in one go-"It's hot, dark and getting worse". Recently an agreement has been signed by discom with Himachal Pradesh to get about 200 MW of power in April and May at a expensive rate (Hindustan Times). But 'power-hungry' Delhi would be supplying 200 MW to Mumbai and things could soon change for the worst. (Times of India). Now that's Generous! but at whose cost? Unsustainable Image The Union Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs has conceded that "The government (Indian) does not have enough money for social development programmes but has sanctioned Rs. 70 billion for hosting commonwealth Games just to improve India's image internationally" (MetroNow, Hindustan). Quite an expensive image building excercise for a developing country! Yes, the state of man on the street will remain the same, irrespective of the glamour of the Game. Meanwhile, citizens of Delhi have submitted petition to President, Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Delhi to protect Delhi's only river-Yamuna from proposed Commonwealth Games village (Hindu).

11th April 2007

Power reform

Yes, summer has arrived and subsequently power shortages, due to which - " Demand for inverters to increase by 20-25%"(Asian Age). The power sector in India is charaterised by high losses in Transmission & Distribution which have risen from 24.8 per cent in 1997-98 to 30.9 per cent in 1999-2000 (Economic Survey). How to tackle this massive loss? "Curbing power theft a lost cause in Faribabad" (Tribune), but not all is lost. The power theft will be curbed with the help from school children in various villages who will participate in Public Awareness rally on 23rd of this month in Faridabad (district in Haryana). The children will carry banners about power theft & also raise slogans against power theft (DainikJagran, Tribune). Will this drive be effective? Social activist have challenged the Power Department to launch a drive against power theft by big consumers, which was done in organised manner involving certain officials & employees. While spokesperson for All Haryana Power Corporation Workers Union claims that such drives is an attempt to divert attention from main problem.- policies of the department (Tribune). In such sever heat, kids will bear the heatstroke for power, while elders take a backseat?
 
10th April 2007

Children
 
The National Study on Child Abuse has brought into light very disturbing fact - two of every three child in India have faced some form of abuse. This news has been carried by almost all newspapers with striking headings like - "Delhi tops child abuse chart (Statesman), "Two of every 3 children physically abused" (Hindu), "Home-outside, no where are children safe" (Dainik Jagran), "Girls wants to be boys" (Hindustan Times), "over 53% children face sexual abuse: survey" (Times of India). The study has made recommendation for the formation of legistation that will address all forms of abuse. Is it sufficient? It would be pertinent to remember that though there is a ban on child labour in India, its implementation is far from satisfactory. This has been reminded by Statesman-" Child Labour ban still 'on paper', MetroNow- " We've forgotten child labour is not allowed" and Amar Ujala-" very difficult to save childhood".

1857 Rally Route?

The Express Newsline, supplement of Indian Express on page two has carried a report " Traffic Police to start 1857 rally drill". The rally is being held to commemorate 150th year of 'war of independence' and thousands are expected to participate. The report elaborates on the route of the rally that will start from Meerut to Delhi on May 7 and reach Delhi on 10th May 07. The rehersals for the May 10 rally are set to begin in a week. A map entitled 'Rally Route' accompanies the report. However the map does not tally with the rally details given in the text of the report. The map shows roads, flyovers (that are still under construction) near the Delhi Airport with 'proposed underpass' highlighted in red colour. This area is no-where in the rally route. Which way to go for the rally? 

9th April 2007
 
Cartoon Watch

Election is overwheming the favaorite topic of the cartoons today- Hindustan, Indian Express,Pioneer, Times of India,Hindu. While cartoons in Punjab Kesari & Dainik Bhaskar are focused on cricket. The cartoon in Tribune is focused over the confusion on the name of the captain- Rahul - its Rahul Dravid not Rahul Gandhi.The best Indian political cartoon of the day is in Hindustan Times on a special page focused on Uttar Pradesh Election -"Votegiri 2007' which shows leaders of political parties literally pulling the common man (voter) for votes- "Which way will this go?". However no Indian cartoon has appeared in Mint, Asian Age, Dainik Jagran, MetroNow and Amar Ujala. 

8th April 2007

Revolt of 1857

"Fettered Freedom" (Asian Age) did some straight speaking about 150th year of revolt of 1857- "...there is no money in 1857 and the media, whether print or electronic, continues to ignore this most traumatic experince". But today, some space has been devoted by a few newspaper to revolt of 1857. "Punjab-Haryana also witnessed revolt by masses" (Dainik Jagran), "In Jhansi, a heroic legacy endures" (Times of India), "Mangal Pande's heritage trapped over two districts"(Hindustan). Amar Ujala and Hindustan have devoted one full page each to Mangal Pande. The point to ponder- is the revolt of 1857 ignored by Indian media? If yes, to what extent & why? 

7th April 2007
 
High
 
Political Advertisements are on a high, while cartoons have become a new weapon of political battle in the State elections in Uttar Pradesh (Asian Age). In addition, the issue whether a popular actor has received money for doing ads for the ruling political party in Uttar Pradesh is also heating up (AmarUjala, MetroNow, Asian Age). View of the Day: Seema Mustafa has expressed hard hitting views in an article that has appeared on the editorial page of Asian Age - "No right to information" which claims that unlike America which allows media easy access to information, in India, the reverse is true."Indian politicians and bureaucrats have trained themselves to hide the truth....". To substantiate, she has cited examples of recently held SAARC summit and US-Indian civilian nuclear energy deal. 

6th April 07
 
New Launch The 17th Edition of Hindi Newspaper- Amar Ujala has been launched in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. The paper first started its journey on 18 April 1948 from Agra (Amar Ujala).While the Jagran Group, of Dainik Jagran fame has diversified its interests and has launched 'Mantra' -F.M Radio from the city of Karnal in the State of Haryana. (Dainik Jagran).

Educational Contrast
 
Pioneer reports that in Raipur, Madhya Pradesh, during Social Science exam, a student answered-" Akabar fought against the Britons in 1857 and got the Taj Mahal erected in remembrance of his beloved". Given this standard of education, it's not surprising that "students resort to 'emotional blackmail' to pass exams" (Pioneer). While on the other hand, a twelve year old girl committed suicide as her parents (both work as laborers) were unable to pay her fees and buy her books. (Hindustan, Dainik Jagran). They must have sent their only child to a private school with lot of dreams but ... yes, poverty hurts here. What about infrastructure in schools? For last thirty one years, students of a school, which is funded by Director of Education in Delhi, are studying in tented structure without basic facilities. The Division Bench of Chief Justice - M.K Sharma & Justice S. Khanna has said it all-" How can the authorities be so insensitive to children?" (MetroNow). While on the other hand it is alleged that grant of Rupees one lakh has been made for a non-existent school in Punjab (Tribune). 


5th April 2007

SEZ woes
 
As the empowered Group of Ministers in Delhi meets today on Special Economic Zones (SEZs), the anti-SEZ protests in Gurgaon, closer to Delhi, is brewing. "Gurgaon is moving towards Nandigram" (Dainik Bhaskar), "Situation can become like Nandigram"(Dainik Jagran), " Arbitrary Land acquisition will not be allowed: Kuldeep" (Dainik Bhaskar), "Hunger strike against SEZ" (Pioneer), "Gurgaon's SEZ gets political touch (Times of India), "Bishnoi adds weight to Gurgaon SEZ stir" (Hindustan Times), "Land acquisition will not be allowed" (Amar Ujala) "Will become Nandigram if SEZ builds: Kuldeep" (Hindustan). The State of Haryana had acquired land from the farmers for Public Good and plans to transfer it to Reliance Industries for SEZ. How many acres of land have been acquired? According to Pioneer, Hindustan Times, Hindustan, Dainik Bhaskar, the State has acquired 1,700 acres of land while according to Times of India its 1,395 acres of land. Which figure is correct? 

4th April 2007

SAARC

The 14th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit is on in Delhi and many papers have carried reports about it on their front page -- "Indian shows way to SAARC" (Hindustan), "Indian will open market for neighbours" (Dainik Jagran), "New high for SAARC due to India's generosity" (Punjab Kesari), "Duty Free access for LDCs: India"(Tribune), "India to allow duty-free access to some SAARC nations" (Hindu), "The market will be without any duty" (Dainik Bhaskar), "Trade and travel key, says PM, eases visas, SAARC duty regime" (Indian Express). Asian Age has devoted two pages exclusively for SAARC Summit. While Statements of Foreign Minister of Pakistan, who is here to attend the SAARC Summit, on J & K have appeared on the on the front page of Pioneer & Asian Age. However Hindustan Times, Times of India, Mint, Economic Times did not devote any space on their front page to SAARC Summit.
 
What's in the name

Everyday, the supplement of Times of India - 'Delhi Times' carries reports on page three events. Today, " The colour of Banaras is.." reports about performance of a classical vocalist (with her photograph), which was enjoyed by the audience. But the name of the classical singer - 'Savita Devi' is incorrectly mentioned as 'Sitara Devi'. The same mistake has been repeated in the caption of photograph of Savita Devi- "On Song: Sitara Devi'. It would be worth to note that Sitara Devi had earned great fame in classical dance- Kathak while Savita Devi is a renowned classical singer. But some would say- what's in the name after all! 

 3rd April 2007

Rolling: Blame ball

The Great Blame Drama for India's quick exit from the World Cup Cricket is on. The media too has not been spared. According to the coach of the Indian Cricket team-Greg Chappel-" I fought for the youth. The senior players fought against it and the Chairman (of selection committee) went with them out of fear of media..." The coach went further and declared that seniors operated like 'mafia' (Asian Age). Yes, the "Row between coach and seniors looms large" (Hindu). Will the coach resign - is a big question. According to the reporting in Tribune, Hindu, Asian Age- he won't. But going by the report carried by Dainik Bhaskar on its front page, the coach has decided to quit his post. Now which way will the blame ball roll, is anyone's guess.


True Gandhians
 
Near Delhi, the rural folk, majority of them women, blocked the busy National Highway number eight (Delhi-Jaipur) for nearly one & half hours to protest against setting up of liquor shop in Manesar village between school & market as the liquor shop had become a assembly place for anti-social elements and women were not able to come out of their houses (Hindustan). They demanded that the liquor shop should be shifted two Kms from the village. The traffic jam resulted in fruits as the officers assured that their demand will be met. This incidence has been reported with prominence with photograph by Dainik Bhaskar, Dainik Jagran, Hindustan (all Hindi papers) in their Gurgaon supplement. Dainik Bhaskar has carried an eye-opener report that temporary liquor shops have opened in every small street of the same village, even small grocery/pan shops are selling local liquor, the result is evident- even small children aged twelve years are becoming alcoholics. The women of Manesar may not be fully aware, but they have somehow followed the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi-" Prohibition should begin by preventing any new shop from being licensed, and closing some that are in danger of becoming a nuisance to the public. ...I would punish anyone found drunk though not disorderly (in legal sense) in streets or other places with a substantial fine or alternatively with indeterminate imprisonment to end when the erring one has earned his or her keep" (Harijan. 31/7/1937). The journey has just begun?


2nd April 2007
 
Election Campaign

Election campaigns by political parties are on full swing in Delhi for the municipal polls. Hindustan has devoted one full page on Delhi MCD election - "War of Town Hall", Electioneering hits the heights"(Tribune) but "Glamour missing from civic body elections" (Hindu). The Chief Minister of Delhi has started campaigning by addressing two public rallies on Sunday (Pioneer), "Sheila hits the campaign trail" (HindustanTimes). However according to Indian Express -"BJP all smiles as Sheila stays off campaign" with no reference to the campaign by Chief Minister of Delhi on Sunday. Cartoon Watch The Indian Team has departed from the Cricket World Cup competition but fascination of Indian cartoonists with cricket is still intact, quite evident from cartoons in Dainik Bhaskar, Punjab Kesai and Pioneer. While others have focused on Kashmir (Hindu), Quota & Backward castes (Times of India), Gujarat (Indian Express), West Bengal (Tribune), Uttar Pradesh Jail (Hindustan). However no Indian Political Cartoon has appeared in Mint, Hindustan Times, MetroNow, Dainik Jagran, Economic Times, Asian Age. 


1st April 2007

Sunday Supplement Watch

The Sunday supplements are refreshing change from the routine. What was the focus of the front page of these supplements? Punjab Kesai and Dainik Jagran have focused on cinema, Amar Ujala on Media & Children, Asian Age on Columbian Singer- Shakira, Times of India on male stripper and Hindustan on Bodybuilding, Pioneer in Newest terror on Information Highway. The Eye opener Cover Story in Tribune on Migrant Labours- "Locked Homes, Empty Schools" which lists in detail the hardships by migrating families, is excerpted from a book. While the Indian Express has focused on the Youth of Kashmir - "Just another day in Kashmir", yes indeed an interesting report -far away from the Quick-make reports, to read on a lazy sunny afternoon.