Newspaper Watch (India) for the month of July 2009. For latest newspaper watch, view homepage
31 July 09
Concern of Day
The delay in completion of around 50% of governmental projects (423 delayed projects) is worth whopping Rs. 4500 billion. This amount could have fed 300 million people for 5 months (Asian Age). Why talk about feeding people, stock market is booming and all seems to be well. Really? The same page in the same newspaper also reports that 1 in 4 Indians goes hungry. The lead report by Atul Pataria in Aaj Samaj screams - “ One starvation death in Delhi”. Hold heart, Mithun, a six year old child of a homeless migrant, who came (landless labourer) from Uttar Pradesh a month ago with family, died in his mother’s arms, below a flyover in Delhi. It is shame that heartless power capital did not even pay any heed to the cries of the grieving family. However, none of the leading newspapers have carried this shocking news. Yes, food is life and precious to the mainstreet- 77% of total population land up in the category of poor & vulnerable. But their lives, issues and concern seldom dominate the mainstream media. Dhirendra Pundir & Ashish Mehrishi, in an exclusive, report that 4 lakh tons of imported dal (pulse) are rotting at the ports, while the price in the domestic market are sky-rocking. They don‘t mince words- “government’s sloth and mismanagement and total apathy have led to nearly four lakh tons of pulses being left to rot at ports and warehouses across the country…Why is the government hiding the truth? If the dal is not coming into the local market, then whose pockets are being lines?…”(Mail Today).
Claim of Day
The Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who is retiring next month, has slammed the Comptroller and Auditor-General's observations on the escalating price of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov In its recent report, the CAG had expressed concern on the escalating price of the second hand aircraft carrier…."It can be seen that the Indian Navy was acquiring a second-hand refitted aircraft carrier that had half the life span left and was 60 percent more expensive than a new one,'' the CAG had observed.. Refusing to react directly on the report, Mehta said if an aircraft carrier was available for $2 billion, he was willing to sign a cheque right away (New Indian Express).
30 July 2009
Statistics of Day
Only 54.1 per cent of India's children are fully immunised. The other half -- this includes the 11.3 per cent who never received any form of vaccination -- run the risk of disease as they have failed to complete even the basic immunisation schedule. The Health Minister attributed it to high dropout rates --- families don't complete doses as per schedule -- and poor access to health care. As per the data, Uttar Pradesh has the lowest figure with only 31.1% fully immunised children. Meghalaya (34.3%), Tripura and Madhya Pradesh (38.5%) and Bihar (41.4%) are the other concern states(Indian Express)
Concern of Day
The supreme Court of India has expressed concern over the "falling professional norms among lawyers". Take a clue- “The bitter truth is that the facts of the case are manifestation of the general erosion of the professional values among lawyers at all levels. We find today lawyers indulging in practices that would have appalled their predecessors in the profession barely two or three decades ago..We find that even some highly successful lawyers seem to live by their own rules of conduct..We find lawyers indulging in practices that would have appalled their predecessors in the profession barely two or three decades ago.
29 July 2009
Newsmaker of Day
Aditya Bakshi, 29 year old merchant navy officer has launched comic book series on the Kargil war heroes to make the new generations aware of ‘real life sacrifices’. “Comics are an important part of every child’s growth. As kids, we idolized fictional characters from comic books. I want the next generation to be inspired by real hero who have sacrificed comforts and even their lives to protect us”. (Mid-Day).
The much awaited Monsoon has finally arrived in Delhi, giving relief from blazing summer heat. But everyone is happy with water logged roads, endless traffic jams. Supplement of Asian Age highlights- “Post-Deluge Chaos; 2 die”. The front page of Hindustan Times asks- “Why Delhi can’t fix its floodgates”. Times of India calls Delhi -“Orphan City” and asks “Do we deserve this? A pool on NH8, Roads turn into craters, A brush with death”. Take a clue from a photograph on the front page in Hindustan- “This no swimming pool but is a road Mr” .
Cartoon of Day
Financial Chronicle features two men reading newspapers on recession & reality boast from FM. One tells other- “Before rebuilding make sure greed in America is really contained”.
28 July 2008
The Rajya Sabha has demanded that a regulator be set up to keep television channels under control. Why? Increasing obscenity and vulgarity in TV programmes was against the cultural ethos of the country. The Minister of Information & broadcasting, Ambika Soni told the House that she agreed with their views and her ministry had already begun talks with broadcasters for creation of an independent regulator which will have on board members from the media community, civil society and Secretary I&B besides a few ministry officials as ex officio members - "I am a woman, a mother and a grandmother and I am as concerned about these issues as all members to see that the values that we grew up with do not get eroded. There is, however, a strong sensitivity in the media about any kind of government control. I have held three rounds of talks with the self regulatory bodies NBA, IBF, ASCI and were discussing ways of creating an independent regulator". Point to ponder- what about Bollywood movies like Kambakht Ishq, is it suitable for family viewing?
Most crucially, as governments around the world struggle to lower their dependence on fossil fuels responsible for pumping millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we must also recognise the part played by our diet. The FAO has found that global livestock production constitutes 18 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions….“In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, going vegetarian clearly is the most attractive opportunity,” says Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change…Perhaps the next time we sit down to dinner, we should think about what we are doing. Not just to the animals, but to the planet too. It may be a long and winding road to a green future. But there’s only one way to go. (Ambika Hiranandani, Salman Shaheen & Roland Miller McCall. What we eat will determine how green the future is. Times of India)
COP-15 is expected to arrive at suitable amendments to the Kyoto Protocol for the industrialised countries (the 40 Annex-1 countries of the Protocol that include 13 economies in transition) to undertake new emission reduction targets beyond the first commitment period of 2008-2012.….However, the goal of 50 per cent reduction in current global emissions by 2050 will not suffice to limit global warming to 2 degrees. …The Annex-1 countries should, therefore, cut their emissions by 93.3 per cent by 2050...The implication of the MEF statement, which India has signed, is as much a cap on India’s emissions as the proposal by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the 2007 Heiligendamm G8 Summit that India’s PCE will not exceed that of industrialised countries at any point of time — the ‘Singh Convergence Principle (SCP)’. Interestingly, that never generated any controversy even though it can constrain India’s emissions more severely….The G8 declaration, however, does not specify any mid-term target. The accompanying ‘Political Declaration’ by the G5, issued a day earlier, however, demanded a 40 per cent cut by developed nations by 2020.…Both the SCP and the present stand at G8/MEF (which, however, lacks the reciprocity of the SCP) only imply the desirable goal of committing India to a low carbon growth path. But they are far from being legally binding and their implications for Copenhagen will depend on how developing countries are able to force developed countries to keep their side of the bargain. (R. Ramachandran. Climate change and the Indian stand. Hindu)
Concern of Day
Most newspapers report that house in which Mahatma Gandhi lived in Johannesburg for three years has been put on sale by its owner. Further, so far the house has no takers. Kirti Menon, a great-granddaughter of Gandhi, has launched an initiative to get locals to buy the house. Point to ponder- forget the house, what about Mahatma Gandhi’s principles?
Cartoon of Day
The effect of monsoon in Mumbai is fully visible in the cartoon carried by Nai Duniya which shows a man on his bike stranded under rain water (quite literally!) reading a newspaper with news -”Submarine For national security”. Guess what he is saying- “Invention of Nano submarine should take place for security of national citizens”.
Statistics of Day
Vinodhini reports that despite 2277 violation in 2008-09 of the child labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, not a singly conviction has been achieved as of date. (Asian Age). Point to ponder- according to 2001 census there were 12.6 million child labour in the country, but only 2277 violations on book, and no conviction? Is this the solution to tackle the menace of child labour?
27 July 2009
Teena Thacker informs about employment of child labour under acclaimed National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in the state of Rajasthan. The children mostly fall in the age group of 9-17 years, and are mostly school dropouts. They use their parents' job cards, as it pays better with less hours than migrating to Gujarat as usual for employment in Bt cotton fields. (Indian Express). Point to ponder- why did these children drop out and how they were allowed to work under a government scheme? Newsmaker of Day
A twenty five year old house maker, Divya, 25, a BCA graduate of Gobi Arts College, has achieved the rare feat by producing miniature handwritten copy of Mahatma Gandhiji's autobiography `Sathya Sothanai'. Writing the 4,120-page book on 3cm x 5cm paper in one month’s time is no joke. She says that after her marriage 10 months ago to Suresh of Karur, she was most of the time alone in house with Suresh busy with his automobile spare-parts shop.( New Indian Express)
Concern of Day
Asian Age has carried an agency (IANS) news report entitled- “Resort at Andamans endangering tribe”. It relies on a foreign newspaper report and informs that a hotel is coming up by Chennai based Barefoot at Andaman Island which could endanger Jarawa tribals due to its proximity to the Jarawa reserve. Why construct resort so close to Jarawa tribals, where even the beach is of poor quality? “..so that high-spending visitors can have the thrill of seeing Jarawa”. A human safari park in the making? According to Nick Meo--”..the influx of tourists poses a potentially deadly danger for the 320 surviving Jarawa”(Telegraph.UK). Barefoot had bought the plot from Bangladeshi settlers and begun construction when the administration moved court and, after losing in the lower courts, appealed in the high court. The government argued the resort “encroaches on the 5km-long buffer zone where no trade and tourism activities are allowed”. However on July 2, Calcutta High Court’s circuit bench in Port Blair ruled in favour of Barefoot. The administration plans to approach the Supreme Court, sources said. (Telegraph. Calcutta 8/7/09). Why bother? “Evidence from around the world is that isolated tribal peoples have little or no immunity against diseases like flu and measles, and it is certain that the more contact there is between the tribe and tourists that diseases will devastate them," says Grig. "It's not unusual for 50% or more of a population to die soon after contact. One epidemic can lead to severe depression, alcohol abuse, dependency and even suicide. (Guardian. Are we here just for your amusement? 25/7/09). Grig is not off the mark. The Jarawas who at first lived in the region to the South of Port Balir were friendly to the first settlers in the Andamans in 1790. On the foundation of the second settlement “the Jarawas owing to their decimation by disease introduced by Blair’s men had been ousted by the Aka-Bea-da tribe (Census Report. 1931). They resented the partiality shown by the settlers to the latter as well as clearing of the jungle land near Port Blair which they regarded as part of their sacred home-land. Not surprising, they made their first raid on settlement in 1872 and since then “scarcely a year passes without raids being made by them on settlement (duing pre independence). The number of Jarawas drastically declined from 600 in 1858 to 50 in 1951. Point to ponder- why is this serious issue has not been taken up by the leading newspapers of the capital?
Opps: Uncle to Brother
Tribune has carried a photograph on page 4, which shows people paying tributes to the photograph of Ch Sehaj Ram, freedom fighter who was jailed twice during freedom movement with Ajit Singh, uncle of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, noted freedom fighter. However the caption under the photograph has changed the relationship- “….Ajit Singh, brother of Shaheed Bhagat Singh”.
Statistics of Day
As many as 18 of 26 MPs, falling in the age group of 25-35 years, have not asked even a single question in the 15th Lok Sabha. (No questions from many young MPs, show LS records. Indian Express)
Statistics as per NFHS-III reveal that 83.3% rural kids & 57% of married women are anaemic in the state of Haryana. (Over 80pc rural kids anaemic: Survey. Tribune)
26 July 2009
According to the Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan declaration of assets by judges should be excluded from the purview of the Right to Information Act (New Indian Express). While Times of India reports that Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan has said that details of assets declared by the judges should be out of bounds for the media and the provisions of the RTI Act. DNA on its front page has raised concern over fate of Judge Assets Bill, expected to be tabled in the Lok Sabha next week. “US Supreme Court judge declare their assets to the public, but our judges believe they needn’t…”. Point to ponder- What’s happened to the tall talks about transparency though RTI Act? Advertisement Watch
Wish for a bride or groom, Sunday is the best day to scan newspapers for lots & lots of matrimonial advertisements. The self ad of Sunday Times matrimonial (informing about advertising rates) comes with punch line- “Marriages are made in Heaven”. It goes on to explain- “ In a thousand different ways, god guides us though our lives. Who we marry, is all up to him. But there’s nothing to stop us from lending Him a hand”. The New Indian Express has taken the task to explain about Groom & Bride! Take a look-
“A bride is like the Earth- no jewellery necessary to heightened her loveliness”.
“Grooms- A man doesn’t know what real happiness means until he is married”.
Classified section of matrimonial advertisements is also the best place to view the deep caste segmentation of the Indian society- Jat, Ahluwalia, Saini, Arora, Khatri, Kashatriya, Manglik, Khatri, Brahmin,vanish,Aggrawal…But hang on, thanks to the ever rising food prices (specially pulses), marriage considerations are also changing! Take a clue from a cartoon in Punjab Kesari, which features an astrologer (holding a horoscope), telling the father of the bride- “Yajman, the boy belongs to very prosperous family- dal (Pulse) is cooked everyday in their home. Take the name of God and get the agree for the alliance”. Reason- news in newspaper shouts- “The price of pulse touching the sky..”. Not surprising, Aaj Samaj carries 8 interesting cartoons and one caricature on full one page. Topic relates to the woes of mainstreet- ever increasing prices of dal (pulse). Point to ponder- What will have to already high malnutrition stats? No prizes for guessing it right.
25 July 2009
Why broadcasters need to consider an independent regulatory authority
..But that sense of disquiet is deepened by the black-and-white nature of debate on content of television broadcasts…These episodes reveal, as was highlighted during the real-time coverage of the Mumbai attack in November, the absence of a mechanism whereby questions on content and broadcasts can be raised, lead to wider consultations and -- if need be -- yield regulation….In a democracy as transparent as India has striven to be, there can be no case for the government to have powers to summarily ban or censor content -- it is illiberal and has too much potential for backroom quid pro quos. Yet, clearly the default position cannot be absence of any scrutiny…The government and the industry need to find ways to create a space separate from their turfs where these questions can be raised, debated, and perhaps acted upon….Both government and industry must consider clearing such a space in this country, the one by ceding immense powers of censorship and the other by opening itself to responsive regulation. (Indian Express)Don’t modify in unseemly haste
…Much greater research and pilot testing will be necessary before GM crops can be declared completely safe for human consumption….The question is: will the government be able to put in place a regulatory and labeling regime to ensure that consumers know what they are consuming? It is unclear what the impact of the cultivation of GM crops will have on existing landraces and strains. There is a possibility that if the regulatory regime is weak and proper precautions aren't taken to segregate GM crops from others, native strains will be adversely affected. This could, in fact, end up imperilling food security.…But for the moment health and safety are the most crucial questions -- and as long as there is public skepticism about the pro-industry bias of the two expert committees, the political establishment must proceed with far greater caution. (New Indian Express)A forgotten US anniversary
Even while the United States was celebrating the 40th anniversary of hoisting its flag on the moon, another anniversary passed away almost unnoticed…July 24, 2009, is not only the 40th anniversary of the day Apollo 11 returned to Earth. July 24 is also the 35th anniversary of the day the US Supreme Court rejected Nixon’s claim of executive privilege and ruled that tape-recordings of White House conversations be handed over to the Senate committee. President Nixon resigned within days. Today, the USA proudly remembers the lunar landing of July 1969. Little attention is focused on the fact that that “one giant leap for mankind” was accomplished during the tenure of America’s 37th president, Nixon. It’s a bit like the dark side of the moon(Economic Times).
24 July 2009
Editorial in Tribune has focused on politics of climate change. Take a look- “The US must appreciate that India has not been evading its own responsibility in controlling carbon emissions.…the developed world must pay a price for its misdemeanours by ensuring financial flows and technology transfers to the developing countries, for climate mitigation. Left to themselves, the less-developed nations will not be able to meet the high costs that this entails. As the time for the crucial December summit on climate change in Copenhagen draws near, the US and other rich nations must accept this liability in ample measure.”Media Watch
The other day there was a seminar in Delhi about the allegations that during the Lok Sabha elections both the print and electronic media not only took money from political parties and candidates, but also extorted as much as they could. Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal, who inaugurated the session, contended that “they” knew how stories were planted and paid for. Several journalists also admitted that a lot of money changed hands during the election campaign…It came as a shock to me when I did not find even a word about the seminar or Sibal’s allegation in newspapers or television. Obviously, we are all naked together...I must admit that I found journalists in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had more gumption than people in our media… When we slanted news and accepted money for putting across a particular point of view during the recent Lok Sabha elections, we were not truthful and fell from the professional standards expected in a democratic structure.…After reading newspapers or watching TV channels I feel as if a new version of the Emergency is starting to unfold where truth has become a relative term and there is nothing left like values….Take newspapers and TV channels today. They avoid debates on issues. They present a point of view of their own or of the vested interests. They deny a voice to those who do not tally with their bias or prejudice. In fact they are the most undemocratic species talking in the name of democracy. (Kuldip Nayar. Noted Veteran Journalist. Ads for news: Practice can dent image of some channels, papers Tribune)
But even in this age of speed obsession, there is one Cronkite legacy that must stand the test of time if journalism is to survive: credibility quotient. That’s where perhaps Indian journalists-channel editors, and I dare say newspapers editors -are in danger of losing the plot….One of those core values is the fierce independence of the journalist which is now in danger of being assaulted by the intoxicating scent of power on the one hand, and blinkered ideology on the other. The politician wants the newsmen to be a supplicant, the ideologue wants hum to be a propagandist…(Rajdeep Sardesai. Editor-in-chief IBN Network. Credibility matters. Hindustan Times)
23 July 2009
..from the viewpoint of its own citizenry, India has every reason to refuse mitigation commitments for some decades to come. It also has a good moral case. Rich countries have been responsible for more than 70% of the emissions between 1850 and 2000. India’s contribution to emissions during these same years was a paltry 2%. ..If environment were to be viewed as a common resource, which it is, almost any principle of moral philosophy would say that developed countries must bring their emissions down very substantially before they demand similar reductions from the poor countries. The fact that they have emitted a lot in the past and they continue to do so today ought to give them rights to less, not more, future emissions than the poor countries. .At Copenhagen, India should clearly indicate to the US that it would not sign an unjust and inequitable treaty permitting trade sanctions against other countries; that it would challenge any attempt at enforcing such sanctions against non-signatories in the WTO dispute settlement body; and that if necessary it would exercise its right to retaliate in WTO-legal fashion. (Arvind Panagariya. Economic Times)Concern of Day
An advertisement by Ministry of Agriculture has appeared in many newspapers with a punch line- “NFSM brings prosperity to farmers by helping them improve pulse productivity”. But is the soaring pulse price due to low pulse productivity or certain amount of speculation, mis-matched agricultural policy has played a part? Sanjeeb Mukherjee has put the statistics straight- “The aggregate production shortage of pulses, year on year, is just 0.1 million tonne (mt): in 2007-09, India produced 14.76 mt, which has slipped to 14.66 mt this year. But that small fluctuation is enough to send retail prices of pulses soaring by at least 18% for chana in just three months. The price of arhar, the favourite legume of urban and rural India, is up by a whopping 53% in the same period in Delhi markets”. (Financial Express). Meena Menon reports that malnutrition is a byword in the forested hills of Melghat region inhabited mostly by Korku adivasis. Will people like them be able to afford pulse in their meal?
22 July 2009
Statistics of Day
Indian Express informs that final estimates for agricultural production of last year released by the Agriculture Ministry put foodgrain production at a record 233.88 million tonnes. However, while the massive hike in the minimum support price of wheat and paddy during the last few years helped record foodgrain production, this has come at the expense of some other major crops like pulses, coarse cereals, sugarcane, cotton, groundnut, soyabean.
Climate Watch Dr. R.K Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC has not minced words in expressing his disappointment over the outcome of recently held G-8 summit as “G8 had clearly ignored taking any concrete action to accomplish its new goal of limiting climate change…They pledged deep cuts (in emissions), but they were not specific about what those cuts will be..”(Tribune). Editorial of Day
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill that has been hanging fire for several years has moved one step closer to becoming a law…But its implementation will require a serious drive that no child is denied his or her right as also access to education. So far, India’s track record on providing education to its poor masses has been extremely poor…Surveys have found that many primary schools do not have proper buildings and several operate from one room. In the given situation where many schools lack basic facilities, ensuring a school in every child’s neighbourhood will be a tall order…Millions of children who are being denied education cannot be allowed to suffer. The law must not remain on paper or a promise (Tribune).
21 July 2009
A cartoon in Financial Chronicle features Hillary Clinton on emission cuts- “Isn’t it an overambitious move to get into our league of polluting nations? “Amitabh Sinha reports that India is learnt to be seeking a "bilateral arrangement" with the United States on issues of financing and technology transfers that can serve as a model for an agreement between developed and developing countries ahead of the all-important Copenhagen summit in December. India has been arguing that developing countries cannot be expected to undertake any mitigation efforts in the absence of adequate transfer of finance and enabling technology from developed countries. .But with Washington taking an active interest in looking for a breakthrough in the stalled climate-change talks, India is of the view that it's possible for the two countries to reach some sort of "bilateral" arrangement under which the US can be persuaded to make some commitments on technology transfers (Indian Express).
Madras High Court has rejected a plea from Union Minister A Raja to restrain Tamil bi-weekly Junior Vikatan from publishing any news item defaming him or carrying the photographs of his family members in its issues. Justice K Chandru, who rejected the plea, also imposed Rs 10,000 cost on Raja for filing the applications. The judge observed that the people of India were entitled to know the public activities of any person, who held a public office. "Any attempt to stifle or fetter the criticisms will amount to political censorship and the Supreme Court has held such attempts as insidious and objectionable.'' It was also held that what a person holding public office does within the four walls in his house does not totally remain the private matter (New Indian Express).
20 July 2009
Most newspapers have carried a shocking news that a young educated working women was burned to death by her educated husband & in-laws due to dowry demands in the capital city of India. The young woman managed to call the police on 100 for help, while she was burning. When the police reached the spot, Deepika was charred in her room while her in laws were standing outside. Point to ponder- If this is state of educated, what’s the real value of an educational degree anyway? If this is end result of a love marriage, how to trust loved ones anyway?
Climate change has come again to the front page of many newspapers, thanks to the visit of US Secretary of State to India. Take a clue from few front page headlines -
Consensus on ‘fair’ climate change pact (Tribune)
Scope for green partnership: Hillary (Hindu)
US raises climate pitch, India firm (Asian Age)
Jairam, Clinton differ on climate (Free Press Journal)
Hillary seeks to put India at ease (DNA)
Emission caps just don’t cut ice with India, Jairam tells Hillary (Times of India)
Despite the media hype created by Hillary’s visit, the Indian Minister of Environment, Jairam Ramesh, has asserted that India would not accept legally binding commitments to cut down emissions. The photograph carried on front page of the same newspaper reveals the standoff between Hillary & Jairam. Nevertheless, the cartoon in DNA features teacher Hillary (holding a stick in her hand) teaching good old Manmohan Singh ( dressed as a child)!
Editorial Of Day
The state apparatus in India regards access to information as a privilege is known. What this culture has done to the mental processes of those who man the ramparts against citizen access is not so often dwelt on. It ought to be, for that might make reform more focused, more motivated. ….It is a telling commentary on that decent man, Manmohan Singh's five-year stewardship of the state, that its essential anti answerable culture remains so intact. There was never any question here of hindrance to reform from the Left or the Right or any of the other standard excuses. The same culture is prevalent in all state governments; try and find how easy it is to get the records of your corner ration shop or motor licensing office. This culture needs sustained citizen attack (New Indian Express).
19 July 2009
A few public sector banks have remembered the major path breaking event - nationalization of banks in India. The ad of United Bank of India has appeared in financial newspapers ( Financial Express, Economic Times, Business Standard). The ad celebrates 40 years of bank nationalization by “Re-dedicating ourselves to the service of the nation”. How? “111 MSME/Education/Housing loans & 11111 Kisan (farmer) credit cards to be distributed though United Bank Kisan Credit Camps”. What is so special about 111?Bank of India too has published two ads in the same paper. However, there is marked absence of any such advertisement by the largest public sector bank in India. Moreover, no ads have appeared in Hindi newspapers such as Aaj Samaj, Nai Duniya, Dainik Bhaskar (Bhilwara edition), Rajasthan Patrika (Bhilwara edition), Hindustan. Point to ponder- Main street Indian farmer (Kisan) reads financial newspapers in English? And no prizes for getting it right!
We, along with other developed countries, have contributed significantly to the problem that we face with climate change... We are hoping that a great country like India will not make the same mistakes..There is no inherent contradiction between poverty eradication and moving toward a low-carbon economy... We believe India is innovative and entrepreneurial enough to figure out how to deal with climate change while continuing to lift people out of poverty and develop at a rapid rate (Hillary Clinton. Mumbai)
18 July 2009
Newsmaker of Day
The front page of Hindustan Times carries a photograph of Renu Gora, reigning national boxing champion in 70 Kg category serving tea to officials at country’s premier sports institute in India. This is not all, after serving tea was over, she washed cups and utensils in the kitchen. Sanjeev Garg does not mince words- “Man’s World Country’s premier sports institute in Patiala makes its girl students double as servants…”. Point to ponder- Despite all tall talks about Commonwealth Games in Indian next year, is this the way to treat women sports achievers? Why was Renu not offered the job which was promised way back in 2006 after she won the bronze medal in international boxing championship?
Over 40% of the rural respondents of a major RTI Survey said that they had faced harassment and threats from officials while filing an application under Right to Information Act. Further, about 50% pf the rural PIOs did not have a copy of the RTI Act readily available with them(Times of India).
Obvious of Day
Minister of State for Environment and Forests has conceded that Ganga and Yamuna are no cleaner today than they were two decades ago, though the government is spending huge amounts of money on clean-up action plans.
In a marked shift from the previous position it had adopted, the information and broadcasting ministry (I&B) now seems to have warmed up to the idea of opening up foreign direct investment (FDI) in news print media further up to 49% from the current 26%. Reason- "The times have changed drastically since the beginning of last year. The print sector, along with other corporate sectors has been hit by the unprecedented economic crisis. The ad revenues of smaller and mid-sized publications have suffered a lot”. Last year also saw the government allowing 100% FDI in facsimile edition of foreign magazines and newspapers.(Financial Express).
17 July 2009
…Mahatma Gandhi's legacy is supposed to be common to all of India, and not to Gujarat alone, even if he was born there. And to narrow the Mahatma's revered memory only to the most hypocritical ban on liquor, which is openly defied under the very eyes of the law, is to do the great soul great injustice. Had he been around, the Mahatma himself would not have approved of the charade being enacted in his name. Of course, in competitive politics, neither the Congress nor the BJP would take the lead in ending this hoax of a ban on the sale of liquor in Gujarat. It is here civil society can make a useful contribution. Leading citizens unattached with any particular group should press the two main parties to abandon the 50-plus year farce in the name of Gandhi. Besides periodic hooch tragedies, the Gujarat Government loses nearly Rs.3,000 crore annually in foregone revenue due to prohibition….Eminent citizens from various walks of life in Gujarat and outside should mount pressure on both the BJP and the Congress to scrap prohibition, a thought which in all certainty must have crossed the minds of most politicians even if they were loath to express it freely for fear of being dubbed un-Gandhian. (Editorial. Free Press Journal). Point to ponder- What would have been Bapu’s take on this one?
View of Day
…You may not be aware that 99.9 per cent of edible GMOs are designed to contain toxic pesticides whose effect on the human body and the environment are not known…No government anywhere has asked a company to do more than 90-day tests on GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). It’s unbelievable that such tests are considered adequate for food that is given to babies and old people. Most companies also keep their test data secret, especially blood analyses of animals fed on GMOs. This is not science; we are still living in the Middle Ages. No tests have ever been conducted by companies of the pesticides associated with GMOs on human cells.…I believe that the world is headed for the biggest health crisis ever because of the lack of transparency. It will make the financial crisis seem like a blip….(Gilles-Eric Seralini. Business Standard)
16 July 2009
Editorial of Day
The debate on genetically modified crops is so prone to being hijacked by pseudoscience, alarmism and overstatement that delays have been built into the delivery to Indian farmers of new seeds that farmers in other countries take for granted.…But the debate on GM crops needs to be reclaimed from the extremes of the critics convinced of technology’s Frankenstein properties and its votaries who believe transgenic crops are the unambiguous answer to every distress of the farmer and the consumer. Our experience with Bt cotton shows that cropping patterns do not adhere to such abstractions...The case for hastening Bt trials without compromising safety checks is not driven by a desire to catch up with agricultural economies like those in the US, China or Argentina (where the acreage under GM cultivation has grown rapidly). It is instead to give the farmer more options. (Indian Express)
View of Day
The use of gadgets has revolutionised lives but it has also created a new peril to human health and the environment India is witnessing an explosive consumption of electronic goods and is becoming a major destination for manufacturing these goods. It has also been short-listed by the US and European countries to dump their e-waste. Over 50,000 tonnes of e-waste comes into India every year under the pretext of charity and donation…. Even among the medical fraternity, it seems there is an amazing lack of awareness about the health hazards of e-waste. So even if the symptoms are present, doctors may not recognise it as the impact of e-waste. The time has come for India to wake up to the alarm bells that are ringing loud and clear.(Gopalji Malviya and M Priyamvadha . New Indian Express)
The lead report in Times of India reads- "Negotiators protest climate flip". Nitin Sethi reports that India's endorsement of the climate declaration in Italy has split its top climate negotiators and they have expressed their dissent in strong words- "body blow to everything that we (Indian officials) have fought for". However Nitin Desai has different views. Take a look- "India must be proactive in ensuring a successful outcome at Copenhagen as that is in our national interest…There are two key stumbling blocks: the adequacy of the commitments on emission reductions by the US and Kyoto Protocol members and the provision of finance and technology to developing countries for participating in the global mitigation effort….Nobody is expecting China, India and the other large developing countries to take on commitments in the form of emission caps in the immediate commitment period to 2020. But they expect Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) from them..." (Nitin Desai. Business Standard)
15 July 2009
Most newspapers report that series of letters and postcards signed by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were sold in a auction held in London. The buyers of Gandhi letters were two non resident Indians while the buyer of Jawaharlal Nehru letters was unknown. Point to ponder- who were the owners and recipients of auction money?
After facing stiff opposition from environment ministry, the proposal to introduce genetically modified (GM) food in India had run into trouble with Planning Commission as well. In the first public positioning by the government, the highest planning body had shown the red light to GM technology in food crops (Times of India. 14/6/09). However today, the front page of the same newspaper informs that the government has announced that it plans to introduce genetically modified (GM) food — tomato, brinjal and cauliflower — in the country within the next three years. This is the first time the agriculture ministry has promised to introduce GM food crops. Point to ponder- what about food safety of GM veggies?
View of Day
..In our country, two-thirds of the population are involved in agriculture and food production. Our small farmers produce food for the country. But today they themselves are in distress….Ironically, half of the hungry people of the world today are food producers. This is directly related to the capital intensive, chemical intensive way of food production introduced as the Green Revolution and the second Green Revolution. This forces farmers to get into debt to buy costly inputs and indebted farmers must sell what they produce to pay back the debt. The suicides too are linked to the same process of indebtedness. The solution to the hunger of producer communities is to shift to low-cost sustainable agriculture production based on principles of agro ecology…But the government’s policies are biased in favour of the corporate sector. The proposal to shift from the PDS system to the food stamp or food voucher systems arises from this bias….The time-tested PDS is both a food procurement and food distribution system. Dismantling PDS and substituting it with food vouchers will erode the food sovereignty of producers, abandon them to the vagaries of the market and finally destroy their livelihoods. Adding 650 million rural people to the displaced and hungry will create a hunger problem no government and no market can solve. (Vandana Shiva. Asian Age). Point to ponder- not a word about GM crops, effects of climate change, effectiveness of food vouchers in light of high food inflation & possible misuse.
14 July 2009
India has trashed the G8 resolution against sale of nuclear enrichment and reprocessing technology to countries that had not signed the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), saying it didn’t matter (New Indian Express). However the same newspaper has prominently carried extracts of a letter to editor from J V V Murthy, Coimbatore- “….. That the G8 has blocked full nuclear trade with India strengthens the already held belief that Manmohan Singh sold India’s interests while going out of the way to sign the Indo-US nuclear deal. Our leaders have neither the sagacity nor the guts to stand up against arm-twisting. They are totally failing India…”
Editorial of Day
Generations of journalists all over the world have come to accept this bit of CW, especially after scribes Woodward and Bernstein of The Washington Post brought down 35 years ago the then President Richard Nixon by their investigative journalism which linked the White House with an attempted burglary of the Democratic National Committee office in Washington...In the wake of recent developments, The Washington Post is coming across not so much as a bastion of journalistic integrity and a free press but quite the reverse. Chris McGreal of The Guardian records that The Post has just abandoned an offer to sell lobbyists and business interests access to Obama administration officials and policy makers for $25,000 at a time (dinner included) after an uproar in the paper's newsroom over a promise that its journalists would be part of the package….."Perhaps the Woodwards and Bernsteins of today could book an expose titled "All the Publisher's men" (Economic Times).
13 July 2009
Are advertisements a bailout remedy for recession hit companies? Take a clue from Economic Times, according to its analysis (250 public listed firms), companies that splurged on advertising during economic slowdown last year reported much higher revenue and profit growth compared to those that cut their ad budgets. Point to ponder- Is this just an attribution error?
Coverage of Day
The collapse of an under construction Delhi metro bridge has been covered by all newspapers on their front page. However the most comprehensive coverage has been given by Nai Duniya, Hindi newspapers (Delhi edition). Newsmaker of Day
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s actions have “changed tens of millions of lives for the better”, Time magazine has said. Further “... he won the vote and then a sweeping victory in India’s general elections this year. It is not Singh’s speeches that win him followers; it’s the fact that first as Finance Minister and since 2004 as Prime Minister, he has led India through a series of radical economic reforms that have made the world’s largest democracy also one of its fastest-growing economies — and protected the poor too.”
12 July 2009
N. Ravi quotes the Indian Prime Minister- “India will do its bit to control emissions”(Hindu). The front page of Times of India informs that “India blinks on emission caps”. According to Nitin Sethi- “The biggest compromise at MEF was to accept that all countries would work to reduce emissions in order to let global temperatures rise more than 2° C above pre-industrialized levels”. However, according to Morten Andersen -“….Some spectators have been disappointed that China and India, both projected to contribute heavily to future greenhouse gas emissions, did not show any will to take on reduction targets as they attended the G8 session…According to EUobserver.com G8 summit host, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, insists that China and India will need to be persuaded..”
Solution of Day
What's the solution to the ever increasing Indian population? Take a clue from Minister of Health and Family Welfare-"In olden days people had no other entertainment but sex, which is why they produced so many children. Today, TV is the biggest source of entertainment. Hence, it is important that there is electricity in every village so that people watch TV till late in the night… Don't think I am saying this in a lighter vein. I am serious. When light will reach (villages), 80 per cent of population growth can be reduced through TV" (DNA).
11 July 2009
There seems to be no clear cut consensus on the outcome of G8 & G5 summit- success or failure? The editorial of Asian Age feels that G8, G5 summit in L’ Aquila has arguably been the most productive gathering since the process was initiated at Heiligendamm in Germany two years ago”’. The editorial of Hindu shouts- “Act on climate, now’. This editorial takes on G8 as well as India. Take a look- “If climate change is the unprecedented challenge the world faces, the declaration at the G8 summit in L’ Aquila. Italy just won’t do….To everyone’s dismay leaders of the major economies have no firm plan for emissions to peak before 2020 and decline thereafter. The target date of 2050 for reduction of greenhouse gases is too remote…It is high time India abandoned its stance as a climate laggard….Only strong and convincing actions at home can win India support for its proposals at Copenhagen.” While the editorial of Nai Duniya, entitled- “ Facing Bullying” is extremely critical of the role of the G8 countries. The editorial is not happy with the pressure put on India to sign the Non proliferation Treaty. It ends- “The need is to stop playing deceptive games on issues like Climate change or Nuclear Non proliferation and agree on treaty, signed at United Nations & implemented by all countries. Nevertheless, Obama & Sarkozy’s expressions while looking at back of junior female delegate has taken front page space in Times of India (Obama assesses the Bottonline), Asian Age (Fighting Depression at G-8). Here there is no doubt!View of Day
…The big talk that India is being taken to Bharat is empty because not even half of the villages in the country have electricity and those which have do not get it for days. Water is a long haul away. Doctors and teachers are becoming a rare sight in rural areas, although the claims made by the centre and the states about providing education and health facilities are increasing day by day….the ever-growing dilemma is where has the additional money earned or earmarked by the government gone?..Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi said that only 15 per cent of the allocations got to the people for whom they were meant. The proliferation has gone up. No amount of effort, if exerted, has made little difference. The 15 per cent appears to have got reduced to 12 per cent and the share of the poor is decreasing constantly….The entire system is reeking with corruption.
The clerical staff, the gazetted officers and political masters runs the administration without caring about the complaints made by the common man. The government machinery does not work until you grease it and it has to be done at every step. It is easy to say that those who offer graft are equally to blame. But their problem is that they cannot go ahead without bribing the horde of babus…..I am still seeking the answer—Where does the government money go” (Kuldip Nayar. Tribune).
10 July 2009
What is the net result of much proclaimed group meetings on climate change, source Indian newspapers? President Barack Obama & Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in one frame, has made it to the front page of Nai Duniya. The paper also reports “Agreement reached on climate change between G-8 & G-5”. However the lead report on the front page of Tribune informs - “G8 non-committal on emission targets”. While Asian Age has carried on front page- “G-8, G-5 agree to agree”. And according to Hindu- “G8 and G5 leaders work for early agreement on trade”. Point to ponder- Was this meeting a success or a failure? Editorial of Day
In India. law has been regarded as a respected profession. …The incidence in which group of lawyers beat up a judge in Delhi’s Rohini court is extremely sad and shameful….Many unpleasant incidents have taken place in lower courts of Delhi & elsewhere, but this attack on judge as criminal gang is a serious matter. …(Nai Duniya)News of Day
The government has said that a comprehensive Whistleblowers Protection Bill would be brought soon as part of its policy of ‘zero tolerance’ to curb corruption in the bureaucracy. (Times of India).
9 July 2009
Concern of Day
How healthy is the judiciary of the largest democracy of the world? Take a clue from shocking incident that took place in the capital city of India, where a judge was physically beaten-up in the court room by a group of lawyers. The reason- he had made an inquiry about a fictitious petition and had threatened to take action against the lawyer for providing wrong information in the court. The enraged lawyer went out and came back with group of lawyers who then acted as hooligans. The additional District Court judge, who presides over family court hearing matrimonial cases, was made to stand against the wall and was slapped and beaten by lawyers. These lawyers did not spare the court staff. The judges have decided to meet the chief justice of Delhi High court to apprise of “insecurity felt by judicial officers” and demand “remedial measures” for their safety and security. (Hindustan Times. Hindustan. Front page. Mail Today). Yesterday, it was reported that Lawyers of district courts in the capital have decided to abstain from work on Thursday as a mark of token against imposition of service tax on law firms. According to Chairman of Bar Council of Delhi-“The government seems to be labouring under the impression that advocate’s profession is a commercial activity. The fact is that the profession of law is most noble and pious profession to advance promotion of administration of justice”. (Hindu). Point to Ponder- This is not the first time that lawyers have turned hooligans, can a common man really hope get justice through such lawyers? Why not open law to foreign competition and give the main street a choice? Climate Watch
Attempts to forge a global consensus to battle climate change suffered a serious setback as developed countries tried to wriggle out of any short -term commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and instead demanded the developing economies like India and China accept emission reduction target. (Times of India. Front page). While Asian Age on its front page has highlighted that Indian PM to stress for funds flows for poorer nations.
A print advisement by Burger King in Spain showed an image of the Hindu goddess seated atop a meat sandwich and other foodstuffs with punch line- “A snack that’s sacred”. The ad has landed in trouble as US based Hindu groups has asked for its immediate withdrawal and apology (Asian Age).
Soma Das reports that year 2008 has proved to the year of the “TV channel boom’ with maximum number of TV channels getting green signal from the government. Of the total 294 TV channels granted license, over one fourth of them have got permission to beam in 2008 only.
8 July 2009
Concern of Day
Residents of Fatehpuria locked a primary school in support of their long lasting demand of upgrading their school to middle level. According to the village head- “ The children have to cover a distance of 10 kilometers to Rania to continue their education after fifth standard. They have to face a lot of difficulty as drivers of Haryana Roadways refused to take school children”. The editorial of same newspaper demands more money for education. Take a look- “…The plan budget outlay for higher education has been increased by Rs. 20 billion…The allocation of extra Rs. 20 billion should be a beginning to spend more on education. The aim should be to ensure that not a single child - boy or girl- is denied the right to education to the level of his or her competence. A 21st century India cannot be built on the basis of ignorance” Point to ponder- why should the government spend money on higher education anyway and instead concentrate on school & adult education?
The Indian Prime Minister has made a “far reaching point in an article, which has been highlighted by Hindustan Times on page 11- “..The structure of the UN Security Council must evolve to become a true representative of the global community because the G-8 , G8+G5 and G20 can’t handle the world’s problems….”.
7 July 2009
It is raining cartoons on the front page of several newspapers, thanks to the annual budget. Eenadu - the largest circulated daily in Andhra Pradesh - features the finance minister as gentle giant while Dainik Jagran, Navshakti, Punjab Kesari see him as a magician. Loksatta, newspaper in Marathi has featured the FM as an engineer undertaking political engineering. Punjab Kesari carries interesting cartoons on the budget which makes it an outright winner of the day.
6 July 2009
Cartoon of Day
Three cartoonists, one page, result- 6 interesting cartoons/caricatures on Rail Budget in Aaj Samaj. Not surprising, Railway Minister is in the lead.
5 July 2009
It’s raining cartoons and caricatures on the front page of newspapers. Thanks to the presentation of Rail Budget. The focus seems more on Mamta Banerjee as the railway minister, which is even reflected in some headlines:
Didi (elder sister) doles out Mamta (Rashtriya Sahara)
Rail under Mamta’s wings (Dainik Jagran)
Mamta works her magic (Statesman)
Track magic woman (Hindustan Times)
Didi’s big bong budget (Times of India)
Janta Banerjee’s budget (Dainik Bhaskar)
Didi’s train on beaten track (Mail Today)
Hindustan has carried the best rail budget caricatures on its front page in traditional Kalighat painting style. The caricatures of Prime Minister and the railway minister are unique! While the state of former railway minister abode the train is self explanatory.
3 July 2009
View of Day
Rajiv Dogra , former Indian ambassador, has penned down “The Tom and Jerry show” in New Indian Express. Nope, not the classic cartoons show but views on Indo-Pak relations where he feels India is Tom and Pakistan is Jerry! Take a look- “The history of our bilateral relationship with Pakistan is littered with their unfulfilled promises where Islamabad plays the cunning mouse and New Delhi the hapless cat Bhutto had come to the Shimla Summit forlorn and weighed down by a disaster…..The more irreverent liken the relation- I ship, if at all it can be called that, to the cartoon series about the cat and mouse game, with India playing the part of the hapless Tom, the cat, and Pakistan that of the cunning Jerry, the mouse. Almost invariably, Jerry comes up the trumps having successfully put Tom through ever-new forms of torture and agony…”. Point to ponder- what efforts did Rajiv Dogra make as a diplomat to put an end to so called Tom & Jerry show?
Concern of Day
Economic Survey is out and most newspapers have given space for the highlights of the survey. However, for reasons best known, copy of Economic Survey is not available to the main street in bookstores. Last year, too it was available after weeks from formal release. Point to ponder- Why should the main street be deprived of the source report and be forced to read between the lines through newspapers?
2 July 2009
Newsmaker of Day
An alternative power source proves to be a windfall, yes, take a clue from C. M Subramaniam, a farmer from the State of Tamil Nadu. Fed up with erratic power supply & corruption, he has erected a windmill on top of his house. The remarkable thing is that he has build the entire design & executed the same and now it powers two tube lights, a table fan, a mobile charger in his house. His total investment= Rs, 20,000. But the poor farmer has no money to patent his invention (Hindu). Point to ponder- Can anyone help him out, before the much awaited Copenhagen Summit?
Editorial of Day
The editorial of Financial Express has focused on end use of proceeds from disinterment in public sector enterprises. Take a clue- “We don’t know as yet when the government will provide a plan to divest equity in public sector enterprises. Maybe it will happen in the Budget. Maybe it won’t. …There seems to be much confusion about how the money should be spent. …It may not even make much sense to use it as investment in infrastructure. There is actually only a single use any revenue from disinvestment should be used for—retiring government debt. A one-time revenue gain will then, in effect, yield a return over successive years...A reduction in the overall level of debt will obviously cut the yearly expenditure and help bridge deficits on the fiscal account.… A disinvestment programme that yields Rs 1 lakh crore (Rs. 1000 billion) for the government can be used to retire almost a third of the central government’s outstanding debt.…”. Was the aim of disinvestment only to get rid of public debt? Nope, the disinvestment Commission had clearly spelled out - “The disinvestment process needs to be delinked from the short term budgetary compulsions. Proceeds from disinvestment should be placed separately in a Disinvestment Fund which may be used to (a) restructure PSUs, wherever necessary, prior to disinvestment (b) fund Voluntary retirement scheme for surplus employees in PSUs (c) fund social infrastructure projects (d) retire public debt. This would create greater public awareness of the justification for disinvestment and the perception that the sale of assets of PSUs will lead to tangible social benefits. This would induce understanding and support for the disinterment programme.…”(Disinvestment Commission.1999).
1 July 2009
India has made it clear that it would not accept any emission reduction target or allow climate change to be part of World Trade Organization negotiations. The Minister for environment & forest, Jairam Ramesh said that India would not ‘negotiate or renegotiate’ the UN framework on Climate Change but will” renegotiate “the emission reduction target which the developed nations have to take at the climate change meet in Copenhagen. (Asian Age).
Statistics of Day
As the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukerjee must be giving final touches to the annual budget to be presented this month, he has a uphill task to meet the expectations. According to latest BLP (below poverty line) survey headed by Supreme Court appointed Food Commissioner N.C Saxena, half of India’s population is living under Poverty Line (Times of India). New schemes in the budget coming? How far will they be effective, with massive leakages remain unchecked?
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