SARCAJC

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June 2009 Newspaper Watch

Newspaper Watch (India) for the month of June 2009. For latest newspaper watch, view homepage

30 June 2009

Climate Watch

Nitin Sethi asks- “Should the industrialized world be allowed to put an import tax on goods from India because it has ‘high carbon content’? Why ask? A Bill has been passed by the US house of representatives that demands Additional tariffs on goods from countries that do not take on commitments to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. According to Nitin, EU & other developed countries have been threatening such a carbon bases tariff on exports, the noise from the west on this issue has been seen mostly as the rich nations using the issue as a bargaining chip.(Times of India. Page 7).This news has not been carried by majority of Hindi newspapers.

Cartoon of Day

Though the monsoon has not fully spread across the country, its effect is pre-reflected in Cartoon in Nai Duniya which shows smiling politician under umbrella held by his associate (to save him from downpour), who tells him-“Sir, you are understanding wrong, he is not dancing, may be asking for help”. They both are looking at a distressed man on the roof top of a hut (submerged in water due to continuous rain) with both hands up. But the place can’t be Delhi! The cartoon in Mail Today features the angry chief Minister of Delhi threatening a black colored cloud - “RAIN…or I’ll privatise monsoon!” Naturally the black cloud is sad (but not scared)!

Newsmaker of Day

Setting an example for other to follow, the Chief Minister of Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda ordered to switch off the air conditioner of his committee room when he entered to preside over a meeting to review the power situation in the State. “I have ordered other not to use air conditioners, Therefore, I should myself first follow these instructions as these equally apply on me” (Hindu).

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29 June 2008

Monsoon Watch

According to the prediction of the Indian Meteorological Department, it seems India will witness precipitation of 854 mm, the lowest in last 4 years. Monsoon delay has made public sector banks, with an agricultural loan target of Rs 3250 billion in 2009-10, a worried lot, as they fear the monsoon failure could trigger farm loan defaults. But according to the government, there is no drought-like situation in the country (New Indian Express). The main street is reeling under water crisis, with water protests taking on to the street. An opportunity to mint money? Vivek Sinha reports from Singapore that multinationals want a piece of the water business in India, provided the government comes out with a clear policy on investment in the sector (Financial Chronicle). Point to ponder- privatization of water on cards? How will 77 per cent of Indians (800 million+) who are poor and vulnerable, pay for higher water charges? Free Press Journal reports that due to drought for the fourth successive year and fed up of the government's apathy to their woes, thousands of farmers of Chhattarpur block in Jharkhand's Palamau district have launched a signature campaign seeking "mercy killing" from President Pratibha Patil.Power Watch

There is no recession in wasteful unproductive expenditure, what energy efficiency? Thanks to Right to Information Act, it has become public that Rashtrapati Bhavan,Parliament and the prime minister’s official residence — have together spent about Rs 140 million toward electricity bill last year. Parliament paid Rs 62.5 million toward electricity bill during 2008. Whereas, the bill of Rashtrapati Bhavan was Rs 67 million followed by Rs 5 million spent by the prime minister’s residence from January-December 2008 . That’s not all, electricity bills of Rashtrapati Bhavan and the prime minister’s office in 2008 were the highest in the past three years. Delhi Government has placed advertisements in leading newspapers -“For an unprecedented situation, an appeal to citizens of Delhi- Save Power Generate Power”. The ad lists several measures of energy conservation which also includes- use only one air conditioners in house, use coolers in place of air conditioners. But the Delhi government has yet to ban use of air conditioners, like neighboring State Government of Haryana and Punjab. Point to ponder- will this appeal exclude Rashtrapati Bhavan (President‘s palatial abode), Parliament and the prime minister’s official residence, offices of Delhi Government, as they are source of real power?

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28 June 2009

Newspaper of Day

Loksatta, daily in Marathi, from Mumbai, is the clear winner. The newspaper claims- ‘it is famous in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad and Delhi’. The price of the Sunday edition is Rs. 5 and contains 20 pages. The strength of the newspaper lies in features- which revolve around history of Old Marathi Magazine called Srishti Gyan, creativity of a Dalit woman poet, Maharashtrian tradition of procession on Palki, nostalgic bollywood, travelogue, philosophy Q & detailed answers, kid’s section. One full page of satire makes enjoyable reading- a tale of Abkar-birbal in today’s context, parody of lawani & poems, jokes, comic conversation. “Don Phoo” by Tambi Durai contains extracts from newspapers in 2020 that include- Ten-10 World Cup in which strong teams are from China, America, Japan. France & Russia, Prime Minister Rahul Gandhi has become father of future Prime Minister, launch of book of poems by Aditya Thakre in English”. One of his poems reads-

“Oh Uncle, U are the one
Who divided Maharashtra
The line is invisible
But I can see it
Let me be erasure
Underline will disappear
…Oh Uncle!”

Best form of national integration, Tambi Durai writes in Marathi but signes in Tamil.

Statistics of Day

Subodh Verma argues that one of the biggest problem faced by the country’s 500 million strong workforce is that a safety net to cover loss of jobs or livelihoods still seems to be below the government’s radar. Reason- Indians spends just over 1% of its GDP on social welfare schemes, which leaves out majority of unorganized sector. Subodh quotes ILO report, according to which India could provide basic social security to all its citizens if every Indian spend Rs. 139 per month. Sounds good, but take a look at the other side. About 92 per cent of Indian workforce (about 457 million) work in the unorganized sector, mostly in deplorable condition (Times of India).

Take a clue from Arjun Sengupta Report, according to which there were 836 million or 77% of India’s population were living below Rs. 20 a day and constitutes most of India’s informal economy. Moreover 79 % of the informal or unorganized workers belonged to this group without any legal protection of their jobs, living in abject poverty. Is it fair to expect these poor & vulnerable people to pay Rs. 139 per month? How about imposing progressive social security tax on people who earn more than 5 lakh per annum, and it goes higher for higher earners? Second, suppose, one gets adequate resources to fund dole, how to tackle the massive leakages? How about getting high food prices in control and universal public health for all- in next 365 days!

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27 June 2009

Concern of Day

With the country suffering the scarcity of water, Neha Lalchandani reports that major part of shortage in Delhi is man-made. Guess the magnitude of waste (transmission & distribution losses) - whopping 45 per cent! Take clue from the affidavit by Urban Development ministry in the court- “…recognizes the problem as not of availability but of effective management…all the water supplies does not actually reach the people… around 70% of the Delhi’s population consume less than 5% of the total water supply while 3% of its population receives more than 11% of Delhi Jal Board’s supply…”(Times of India). In addition, Neha also informs that the power capital lacks reservoirs, so even the rain water will also go waste. During peak monsoon, Delhi receives about 40,000 MGD of water, but storage capacity is mere 700MGM. So, what’s the solution? Take a clue from Suresh Dharur who reports that scheme to supply bottled mineral water for all villages in Andhra Pradesh will be launched on India’s Independence Day, August 15.“What we are supplying now is only piped water, which is not exactly potable and safe. We can take it up as a challenge and supply safe drinking water by setting up these bottling units,” the Chief Minister said (Tribune). Point to ponder- Is this a sustainable solution to resolve water problem?

Editorial of Day

…The media has been a crucial catalyst in the greening of public opinion. Conventionally the media is supposed to be preoccupied with national interest, but changing the agenda on climate change is an example of how media can reach out across national boundaries to foster global interest. For coordinated international action, the media may be an indispensable tool for consciousness raising. This newspaper is a good example of the media spilling over national boundaries. …it’s no accident that the Times of India devotes significant space to environmental issues…(Times of India)

Cartoon of Day
 
IT gaint- Infosys will bid for the ambitious unique identification card project, which a state-run authority would initiate under the chairmanship of its former co-chairman Nandan M. Nilekani. (Indian Express). Now that’s big business to not-so- healthy Indian IT Industry - over Rs 1500 billion. How well is this scheme received by public? The front page of Nai Duniya has carried cartoon, in which one man tells the other- “…And what needs to be done to get a VIP number”. The other man is reading newspaper, which reports that every citizen will get a unique identity number. Point to ponder- Is an advanced I.D card sufficient to check massive leakages? Is it just a bail-out for IT industry?
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26 June 2009

Weather watch

There are numerous reports in newspapers that under the shadow of water and electricity shortages, people are earnestly hoping for monsoons to arrive. The most touching photograph has been carried on the front page of Aaj Samaj- “Earth has dried”. It features three small kids walking on totally dry broken soil in Mathura (Uttar Pradesh) with one goat. One kid is carrying a earthen pot. Best part is that all three kid are smiling despite the heat. The editorial of Hindustan Times preaches- “don’t fret about the monsoon. Be worried about India’s overall water solution”. The heat has attracted the eye of the cartoons in many newspapers. The news is that Punjab government has directed to all government offices to desist for using air conditioners. Tribune reports that a random survey of offices revealed that ACs were indeed off, but most of the time this was because of power outrages rather that the government’s fiat and officials opted to stay away from offices on different pretext. Views of Day

Within hours of India’s defeat in the T20 World Cup, headlines on some television channels were screaming: should Mahendra Singh Dhoni be sacked? Just 24 hours earlier, Dhoni was the captain who could do no wrong. But round-the-clock news TV needs a target, an enemy figure to be the hate object of the day.…One simply doesn’t want to be identified with the growing tribe of television-bashers, those who watch the box with near-manic intent night and day and then proceed to pour undiluted scorn on the medium….Here, perhaps, lies the greatest content challenge for modern-day news television: how do we attract a viewer without taking extreme positions on every issue? Is there no place for the intelligent middle ground, or must every story draw a hysterical response for it to be seen as ‘effective’ television?…(Rajdeep Sardesai. Editor-in-Chief, IBN Network. Hindustan Times).
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25 June 2009

School Voucher

There seems to be some degree of urgency to reform education in India. The Yashpal Committee of higher education has made its recommendations public, which includes inviting top 200 universities from abroad to set up shop in India (Financial Express). There is also proposal in the pipeline that students will be given school voucher so he/can have a choice On paper all is wonderful, but it leaves many unsolved issues on the wall. First, the aim of any private enterprise is to earn profit which contrasts with government educational enterprise. Will cash-tight private foreign universities open shops in India on no- profit, no loss basis? To expect private player to function on social grounds is naïve. Second, relates to school vouchers. School vouchers are grants for eligible students paid for by taxpayers to subsidize tuition at private schools. Remember, experience of US suggest that private schools will have complete discretion over whom they admit to their schools, and will be free to choose or reject any student applicant with vouchers just as they may reject applicants not using tax-funded grants. The editorial of Economic Times has taken school voucher scheme very positively- “..One supposed expert says education is an area of market failure, so the state must make provision. This simply shows how illiterate supposed experts are. Education for all is not a market product at all — it is a non-market service to be provided by the government. Unfortunately this is an area of massive government failure. The answer lies in a private-public partnership through school vouchers usable in private or government schools….The education establishment says many private schools are of poor quality. True, but government schools can often be worse. So the choice should be made by parents.…..Vouchers provide real choice only if private schools exist within walking distance of localities. So vouchers are most relevant in urban areas, and irrelevant in remote tribal or hill areas. (Editorial. Economic Times).

Before passing such value judgments, why not cross check on the effectiveness of these school vouchers, anyway? Take a clue from experience of USA, where slightly less than 3% of students whose education was funded with public money attended private schools in the District of Columbia. According to U.S. Department of Education the remaining 97.6% of the district's public schoolchildren attend schools that overwhelmingly are underperforming. President Barack Obama has taken the decision that students currently enrolled in the voucher program will continue to receive federal funding until they graduate, but no additional students will be allowed to enter it Reason- A high quality public education is not just the right of a few children; it should be guaranteed to all schoolchildren. Washington's voucher program doesn't do that. It is an act of educational "steam control" an escape hatch that helps a few kids get out of the city's troubled system while leaving many others to await promised reforms.(USA Today. 12/5/09). At home, take a clue from Hemali Chhapia, who reports that 1100 quota seats reserved (on basis of castes) have not been filled in prestigious IITs. Why? ‘there weren’t enough qualified candidates’ to fill up the reserved seats”(Times of India).

Obama’s position on school voucher is not new. On 20 February last year, his campaign issued a statement headlined, "Response to Misleading Reports Concerning Senator Obama's Position on Vouchers" that said, "Senator Obama has always been a critic of vouchers." The statement went on, "Throughout his career, he has voted against voucher proposals and voiced concern for siphoning off resources from our public schools." It noted that Mr. Obama's education agenda "does not include vouchers, in any shape or form." Hillary Clinton had also expressed a strong response, saying she opposes vouchers because they hurt public schools and could also open up the possibility of using taxpayer dollars to finance dangerous schools including training grounds for"jihad." Point to ponder- why is India considering taking on the the failed school voucher scheme? Why not reform government schools and aim for high quality education to all schoolchildren?

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24 June 2009

Water watch

In last twenty five years the efforts to clean river Yamuna, costing exchequers whopping Rs. 20 billion, has gone down the drain. The chief minister of Delhi has honestly conceded that Yamuna Action Plan 1 & II were complete failures in cleaning polluted river Yamuna. She has not minced words- “…It is a matter of shame that Yamuna has been reduced to a condition worse than a drain…..It will take at least 7-8 years to get a grip on this problem…”. (Hindustan Times). Nai Duniya & Asian Age have stressed that Yamuna will not be cleaned before the Common Wealth Games 2010. While the heading of report in Times of India reads- Yamuna no better than drain and that of Hindu reads- Yamuna cleaning to take seven-eight years. Meanwhile, a temporary bus depot being planned on the Yamuna riverbed close to the Commonwealth Games Village has met with stiff resistance from certain environment groups (Times of India). Editorial of Day

..Ideally, the law should be the same for the commoners as well as the well-heeled. In reality, the law-abiding are harassed, while the influential law-breakers get their way…. Crime flourishes only when punishment is denied or delayed. The administrative, police and judicial system must respect the innocent and proceed against the guilty without pressure from politicians or influence of the moneybags (Tribune)

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23 June 2009

Water Watch

Monsoon delayed and the unbearable heat, like it or not, the results are on the platter. The cartoons in Mid-day feature closed water park and 50% off on Umbrellas (valid till the rains arrive!). Nevertheless, people are trying to invoke rain god by taking out funeral procession of live person, wedding of frogs, recitation hymns dedicated to rain God Indra, wedding of donkeys. Even Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh performed Som Yagna to get blessing of good rain. (Mail Today). And the large photograph on front page of Financial Express, showing women ploughing a field to please rain gods at Kharakahuni village in Allahabad, while looking at the sky, has a lot to say. Will these efforts attract good monsoon? The real value of water is being felt in Rajasthan where water is as previous as gold. Anand Chaudhary reports that here lifeline water is being divided on caste & religious lines in the State of Rajasthan and scarce water is also being traded, for every 20 buckets borrowed, 5 buckets is the interest (Nai Duniya). Narayan Bareth reports that Rajasthan farmers threaten water stir (Asian Age). What about quality of water? Sushil Manav reports that residents of almost all villages and major towns of Sirsa District in state of Haryana are forced to drink contaminated water (Tribune). The good news is that animals at the Delhi Zoo will no longer remain thirsty due to installation of 40 water tanks of 1000 litre capacity each, though the zoo staff continues to face water shortages (Hindustan). But the elephant at bank of river Yamuna is not fortunate enough to get water for taking bath. (Aaj Samaj. Front Page). With common man already facing the double digit inflation (Economic Times), what if monsoon fails this time? But the monsoon have already failed to large extent. Satyen Mohapatra reports that India has received less than half of the normal rainfall so far (Hindustan Times). Yes, “without water everything is meaningless”. Even the enticing growth rate, which the World Bank has projected! Point to ponder- will you now stop using air-conditioners, luxury cars, perfumes for the next good monsoon? Corruption Watch

Fraudulent and corrupt practices are expected to swallow a whopping $500 billion out of $5 trillion stimulus funding by governments worldwide. According to global risk consultancy Kroll’s latest edition of Global Fraud Report, government stimulus funding worldwide aggregating $5 trillion has introduced new opportunities for fraud and corruption worldwide.(Financial Chronicle). How to check massive leakages- whistle blowers? Varinder Walia reports that Additional Superintendent engineer of Punjab State Electricity Board was attacked as he had launched drive against power theft in Punjab (Tribune). Now, who will try to put an end to poisonous Ghee which is playing havoc with public health? An expose by Headlines Today revealed that animal fat. Crushed animal bones, palm oil, essence, and hazardous chemicals are bring used to make ghee we consume everyday (Mail Today). Point to ponder- Where is the much awaited law to protect the whistle blowers?

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22 June 2009

Statistics of Day

The poor in Delhi have nearly doubled to 2.2 million from 1.1 million during (2004-05 to 2004-05) (Asian Age)

Delhites duped of Rs. 2 billion this year. 3000 complaints of white collar crime. Police say stock market lows triggered the 62 per cent jump in cases (Hindustan Times).

RTI of DayAvishek Dastidar reports that an RTI applicant asked the Delhi Jal Board (government authority responsible for treating sewerage) that how much sewage is flowing into the Yamuna in Delhi to make it the dirtiest river in the country? The answer- “The answer is not available with us”. (Hindustan Times).Women Insecure

The front page of Navbharat Times reports of two attacks on different women (one on bus, one on the bus stop). The shocking thing about these incidents is that though there was many people around, none came to the rescue of these helpless girls. When Indian boys are attacked in Australia, everyone seems to raise a flag of racism, but why silent here?

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21 June 2009

Newspaper of Day

The newly launched Dainik Jagran (National Edition) is winner of the day. The paper continues to remain ad-less (apart from one self-ad), cartoon-less and devoid of page-three reports, but is rich in terms of contents in its 16 pages at a price of three rupees. Take a clue from heading of a few news reports:

Here people after drinking water die.

Uranium in Punjab’s wheat, milk and dal.

Canals are quenching thirst of only one third of farms in Uttar Pradesh.

Gardener has made village self reliant.

28,000 posts not filled even in six years.

Villages transform barren land into fertile by voluntary work.Newsmaker of Day

Age is no barrier in desire for more knowledge. Prem Kumar, 90 year old man from Jaipur has applied for admission in regular Masters course from Rajasthan University. He already holds degree of MBA and MPhil. (Dainik Bhaskar, Rashtriya Sahara).
Cartoon of Day
Aaj Samaj has devoted one page, exclusively to five cartoons about Hot Summer with the heading -”During this heat red-yellow ”.

Advertisement Watch

The Government of West Bengal has placed advertisements in various leading newspapers in Delhi with punch line- “For the people To serve the people”. Is the reason for the ad‘s appearance- “Left front Govt. 33 years” or the march of security forces to win back control of Lalbarh (in West Bengal) from the Maoists? Subrata Nagchoudhary tracks both sides of the battle in Indian Express and Times of India too has devoted one page to this 'special' stand-off.

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20 June 2009

Advertisement Watch

Four days ago, SARCAJC had pointed that dubious but luring classified advertisements about investments promising high returns, continue to make appearance in leading newspapers. Today, Delhi Police has placed advertisement in leading newspapers with punch line- “Beware of companies promising big returns on your investment”. The ad warns- “Do not get lured by such ads” and also carries a check list.

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19 June 2009

Statistics of Day

The big cartoon in Hindustan Times on Inflation is titled - “What zero inflation will do to India….”. Take a look at the heading of reports on inflation in various newspapers:

Inflation -1.6%, but prices high (Asian Age)

Inflation strays into negative zone (Hindu)

Inflation in sub zero zone; govt unfazed (Financial Express)

No inflation for the first time in 30 years (Hindustan Times)

Inflation negative for 1st time in 30 years (Times of India)

After 30 years inflation falls below zero to -1.6% (DNA)

Inflation turns negative (Free Press Journal)

Inflation falls into negative territory after three decades (Business Standard)

After 30 years inflation rate under zero (Aaj Samaj)

The front page cartoon in Nai Duniya shows a politician reading a newspaper, which contains news that inflation is below zero for the first time in last 30 years. A poor beggar comments- “You please get us Dal-Roti at five year old rate”. If zero inflation is a good news, why is the beggar not happy? Concern about deflation? Nope! Take a clue from Aaj Samaj- “Inflation rate has reached below zero this will not affect the plate of common man as food prices are increasing day-by-day…”. Vrishti Beniwal is spot on to question -“Economy goes into negative inflation. So what?” (Financial Chronicle). This is not all, many newspapers report that main street will have to pay more for the basic services such as transport, water, electricity as the government needs money to complete various projects for Commonwealth Games 2010. Vrishti points out- “..no one knows where the consumer prices are today, simply because the government does not compile retail prices as frequently as it does wholesale prices..”. But will this hike,not shoot up the already upward food prices? Concern of Day

Sanjeeb Mukherjee reports that water level in most reservoirs in the country have reached critical levels. (Financial Express. Front page) Point to ponder- What if monsoon fails this time? Declaration of Day

Is ethics not an integral part of real journalism? The front page of The Economic Times declares- “….. All our staffers—editors, reporters, researchers, anchors, and those on our news and production desks—have signed a new code of financial conduct. They make quarterly disclosures of all their investments to the editor and the management. In addition, investments in stocks must be held for a minimum of three months, day trading is banned and journalists are not allowed to invest in companies and sectors they cover...” Point to ponder- How would one enforce this code of conduct? Here employees have been asked to signed the new code of conduct, but not their near & dear ones!

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18 June 2008

Cartoon Watch

Variety is the flavour today. The cartoon in Virat Vaibhav on the front page, features a policeman telling a politician- “Sir, what can we do…..Media is giving coverage to loot of lakh-two lakh”. While the toon in Deshbandu show a man talking on mobile- “Now your voice can be heard clear clear!!! What’s to great about this? The man has climbed the telephone pole of BSNL (Public sector organisation, landline phone provider) for that! Keep guesing, who's the service provider for the mobile phone! Swine Flu has stayed, even in the cartoon scene. The toon in Dainik Bhaskar shows a man is happy in reading a newspaper (containing news about Swine Flu). Reason? “Suddenly I feel that I am lucky as none of my relatives is an NRI”. But cartoonist of DNA has also taken on defeat of Indian cricket team in T20. The cartoons shows group of people returning home at Indian airport, wearing masks. The doctor tells airport employee- “Difficult to say whether it is an upsurge in swine flu cases or Indian cricketers are returning home”. Others have focused on variety. The toon in Indian Express focused on Mumbai terror attack. The cartoon in Financial Chronicle takes on monsoon. Any cartoon with international flavour? Cartoon in Rajasthan Patrika features one fly telling another- “America thinks everyone is a fly”. Further, a cartoon in Mumbai Mirror shows an Indian politician reaching out for scissors to cut red ribbon. The onlookers are saying- “after inauguration the terror, Naxal and Swine Flu wards, it’s his fourth one in this hospital- Aussie ward”. Cartoon in Mid Day shows a man watching TV news. He says “what “when he hears on TV - “The bad news is …one more Indian student thrashed in Australia”. But when he hears on TV- “But the good news is, it was by another Indian student, from a different community!”, the man says “Oh! That’s a relief!”. No cartoon has appeared in Rashtriya Sahara, Navbharat Times, Navbharat Times, Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, Free Press Journal.

Launch of Day

Dainik Jagran, Newspaper in Hindi has launched its National Edition, which is definitely comprehensive and has more to read (in terms of contents) than its Delhi Edition. This newspaper contains no cartoon, no advertisement apart from a self-ad which comes with a punch line- “ Newspaper for those who are responsible for the country”.
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17 June 2009

Water Watch

The water saga is long and sad. Not so long ago, world water development report of the United Nations had categorised India among the worst countries for poor quality of water, as well as their ability and commitment to improve the situation (Hindu. 3/3/2003). Three years later, bench of Supreme Court of India cited the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General for the year ending March 2000, said that though over Rs. 900 crore had been spent on implementation of the Ganga Action Plan, launched by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1985, the quality of the water, instead of improving, had deteriorated. Industrial pollution, instead of coming down, had increased manifold. The States concerned had diverted the funds for other purposes. Earlier, amicus curiae Krishan Mahajan told the Court that Rs. 900 crore of public funds had gone down the drain and the quality of the water had deteriorated to the extent of making it unfit for human consumption. (Hindu. 14/10/06). Now, the new Minister of Environment & Forests has conceded- “We have spent over Rs1,000 crore on the cleaning of the Ganga over the last 20 years and it doesn’t appear to be any cleaner. If you take all of India, less than 20% of sewage gets treated. And in a city like Delhi, where you have the capacity, it is not being utilized. The biggest problem of river cleaning is that we have spread our resources too thin….We need to bring in more resources…”(Mint 5/6/09). But is the problem related only to resources, what about the Big black hole (read leakages)?

According toeditorial of Financial Express- “…things are clearly rotten in the state of water. And everything points to how they are set to become worse..Top of the plank is the need to improve rate-setting and fee collection. Most people in the national capital pay for less than 50% of the water they consume (not counting the ones that don’t pay anything), while 40% of the country’s water does not generate any revenue at all….(Editorial. Financial Express). Point to ponder- is lifeline water a profit generating commodity anyway and how about providing at least adequate clean drinking water to the main street instead?
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16 June 2009

Advertisement Watch

The Delhi police has placed educative advertisements informing common man about the precautions to be taken while purchasing property. The eye catchy punch line reads- “Your dream for a home should not become a life long nightmare”. Bhuvan Bhagga rightly points that fraudsters play on people’s desire to make a quick buck and Delhi has distinction of most reported white collar crimes in India. Bhuvan counts the recently reported major frauds- land cons, jewel thieves, chit funds, jobs & visas, fake IDs. What’s the reason for spread- “who’s afraid of the law? Cheats get bail in a month” (Mail Today). Not surprising, dubious but luring classified advertisements continue to make appearance in leading newspapers. Take a look at a few:

Invest and earn 10% profit monthly with money refund after 2 months min. investment Rs. 1000.…..(Times of India).

Beat recession by investing in Crude Oil, shipping etc. Earn weekly not monthly…..(Times of India)

I am a successful B’ness women within 2 month with latest B’ness opportnty frm America, want to…(Times of India).

Cartoon of Day

The cartoon in Times of India features Columbus standing at sea port. Guess what he is telling folks- “I was going to set sail and discover America by accident, but I’ve cancelled the trip because of swine flue pandemic.”

Environment watch

Public health has gone for a spin. Take a clue from report by Prabhjot Singh in Tribune. “Consumers in Punjab are perhaps not aware of their rising intake of carcinogenic elements in the “healthy diet”..use of toxic water for irrigation purposes makes crops absorb chemicals..there is a belt in Malwa where a number of villages irrigate their fields with blackened water that stinks industrial effluents…The villagers apprehend that whatever they produce may not be fit for human consumption. ‘That is why we sell off whole of our produce and buy our requirements from safe areas’..”. Point to ponder- what about health of those who buy their contaminated produce? Closer to Delhi, "Over 200 acres near Hindon river on G.T road have lost 6,000 trees in the last 3 years…continued dumping and burning of garbage and disposal of sewage water into the lush green forest area continues unabated. What is worst…no legal action against the officials concerned, another 30,000 trees…are endangered now…”. (Hindustan Times).

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15 June 2009

Concern of Day

The WHO had declared the global spread of swine flu — influenza A(H1N1) — to be a pandemic. Director-general Margaret Chan confirmed on 11th June that the organisation had raised the virus's threat level to phase six. She had pointed that developing countries with poor health infrastructure, and whose populations often have high levels of underlying diseases, risk being hit hardest. The first vaccine will not start flowing until September. According to Nature, the biggest challenge lies ahead as the developing nations in the southern hemisphere enter their flu season. What's the scene in India? According to Hindustan Times “… though it is spreading quickly, the lethality of the 21st century’s first pandemic seems to be decreasing. Given that influenza normally kills as many as half a million people every year, the H1N1’s present death toll of 141 is negligible…It is noteworthy that there have been no confirmed deaths in five of the world’s seven continents, including Asia…” (12/6/09). Hang on, the cartoon in Asian Age sums up the effect of Swine flu- a surprised Indian guy from USA is coming out from an Indian airport- “Strange! Nobody came to the airport to receive me!”. Anurag Kuma Sinha, the first suspected swine flu patient, who came to India from America on 19 April, to Delhi has been given clear chit of no swine flu. Relieved, he recollects his harrowing experience in Mid Day. A must to read. Most newspapers have carried updates on swine flu on their front page. Take a look at the headlines-

Swine flu hits 20, fear grips many (DNA)

6 more flu cases, tally rises to 23 (Times of India)

3 more cases of flu (Navbhart Times)

Swine flu getting uncontrollable (Dainik Jagran)

Worry over children return from America with symptoms of swine flu (Nai Duniya)

6 cases of Swine flu confirmed in a day, total at 23 (New Indian Express)

Swine Flu to US returned students (Hindustan)

3 more infected with Swine Flu (Aaj Samaj)

Swine Flu comes to Punjab (Tribune)

Three more test positive for swine flu (Hindu)

Flu spreads, 6 more cases across India (Asian Age)

Back from NASA with swine flu (Hindustan Times)

However, news of swine flu has not appeared on front page of Business Bhaskar, Economic Times (Hindi & English edition), Dainik Bhaskar, Financial Express.

Advertisement Watch

In ‘Grassroot Dairy’, Rajeev Ranjan Sinha looks at a money making business- institutes that mint money out of failed students for getting them a pass certificate!. He calls is making money by counting waves. The economics is straight, if 50 failed students join, the pure profit is clear Rs 500,000. (Business Bhaskar). Yes, ethics is a lost word here. And no prizes for guessing how valid is the pass certificate in the real world? Nevertheless, such dubious classified advertisements continue to make an appearance in predominately Hindi newspapers:

In this year 10th-12th (open) pass guaranteed, graduation, post graduation in one year. Solution to every problem of education...(Dainik Jagran)

Save year full guarantee for pass 10th, 12th in three months along with desired direct B.A.B.Com/MA...(Dainik Jagran)

Tenth…in 2009 graduation in one year...(Dainik Jagran)

From CBSE/UP board fail/compartment students guaranteed pass 10th, 12th graduation in one year...(Punjab Kesari)

Fail, compartment students definitely pass this year 2009, 10th , 12th..(Hindustan)

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14 June 2009

Advertisement Watch

The white collar crime involving duping innocent, ignorant common man is on the rise. Beware, take a clue from the following luring classified advertisements :

Keeping investment safe, earn 10% monthly return and also get bank guarantee. Earn till five lakh per month..(Dainik Jagran)

Golden opportunity to earn money get pant shirt or ladies suit or watch in only 480/- and earn 1 lakh in one year...(Dainik Jagran).

Golden opportunity all people invest 300 rupees and by easy work earn profits of lakhs. profit yours, loss ours. Do meet...(Hindustan)

A person with vision can do wonder. Unique buss. Oppt high earn. No prev. knowledge reqd. Call if u have courage to be rich...(Times of India)

Invest 24000/- get 2800/- per month for 12 months..(Amar Ujala)

Get associated with..and fulfill your dreams invest only 2600/- and/to 4 lakhs and income 60000 to 6 lakhs advance cheque and agreement. Facility of bank guarantee..(Amar Ujala)

No loss in game and there is no business as game, immediate high gain in less investment less time..(Punjab Kesari)

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13 June 2009

Concern of Day

India has 17 million child workers, the highest in the world, despite laws to eradicate this system, said Society for Integrated Rural Development (SIRD) director Jeeva, adding that the government has failed to taken any decisive measure to curb it..(New Indian Express). Take a clue from Vijay Kumar Singh, who reports on the front page of Rashtriya Sahara that kids aged 8 years are working in this hot summer to earn Rs. 13 per day in Campereganj for the Indian Railways!Misuse of Day

Manish Tiwari reports in Hindustan Times (pg 9) that information under RTI Act has revealed blatant misuse crores (1 crore=10 million) of rupees of public donations to Punjab’s Chief Minister’s relief (Punjab) for office expenses, foreign tours, press clubs, bar association, medical treatment, diwali help, sports club etc. Wasn't this not a front page striking news? Nevertheless, what is shocking is that this misuse of public fund has been going on for the last 25 years by successive chief ministers. Now, take a look at the remedial action- official reply to another RTI application claims that records have been destroyed in fire! Point to ponder- Isn’t it time for accountability of misuse of public money and also to bring officials, who claim to have destroyed official records, to book? Cartoon Watch

Saga of railway ministers is one of the muses of cartoonists today. Mamta banerjee, new railway minister is holding a newspaper, which contains news that her party has declare war on Left, when a small boys asks her - “Your job is to convert Bengal’s unmanned crossings to muscle manned crossings?" (Indian Express). What about the former Railway Minister? Jansatta carries a cartoon which shows him telling his supporters- “Now you too will also take ticket”. The news in background reads- “Free Rail pass for former railway minister and 3 supporters will be cancelled”. Hindustan shows Lalu walking, while holding “Lifelong Pass”. Guess what he’s saying- “ It is written in trains - Railways is your property!!! Cartoons on infighting in BJP have appeared in Asian Age, Hindustan Times and Punjab Kesari. Surprisingly, of the scanned newspapers, only Times of India has carried two cartoon on Swine Flu. The front page of Aaj Samaj features five caricatures centres on ‘ism’’ -Swatism, terrorism, regionalism, racism and naxalism. What about international topics? The cartoon in Nai Duniya has a minister reading newspaper which contains news that China is selling fake medicines by writing ‘Made in India’. An official tells him-”They are competing with us in every field. …even in fake medicines!”. The cartoon in Mail Today looks into Obama’s invitation to Manmohan Singh. Other cartoons in newspapers have covered a variety of topics- Layoffs in IT (Asian Age), deemed university & Arjun Singh (Mail Today), bank not listening to Finance Minister to cut rates (Dainik Bhaskar), nepotism-getting job (Times of India). However, no cartoon have appeared in Navbharat Times, Rashtriya Sahara, Tribune, Business Bhaskar.

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12 June 2009

Media Watch

The ministry of Information and Broadcasting is readying a slew of tax proposals to sustain growth in the media and entertainment sector. At a meeting with a media delegation, the Minister reportedly assured them that the Ministry would look into slashing the 20 per cent Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) on media to 5 per cent and the hiked rate of advertisements will remain in place for another three months. Newspaper owners had urged the Ministry that the revised rates, valid till 30 June 2009, be extended. (Indian Express).Newsmaker of Day

Pushra Banu, former child labour, has completed her Class XII scoring 994/1200 from a private school in Tirupur to join Angel Engineering College. “After I was rescued, I was put at Jaivabai Higher Secondary School where I cleared my Class XII. On merit, I got BE (computer science and engineering) at the engineering college. However, my parents through sponsors are mobilising funds for my college fees. Things would materialise,” she hoped. (M Rafi Ahmed. New Indian Express). Point to ponder- why Pushra is not getting a merit-com-need based scholarship? Special of Day

Chetan Chauhan reports that India-US joint project ($40 million) in five Indian states was launched in 2005 (ended 2008) to improve livelihood of 80,000 child laboures in 10-14 years by inducing them into transitional educational centres and upgrade their skills. Sounds good on paper but what about net result? The kids are back to square on- dirty landfill sites. Take a clue from child worker- “…I was promised Rs. 100 per month for attending school regularly…but the money did not come”. What about education? “…these schools gave us nothing. Neither education to our children nor money promised” revealed Ashifa Begum, mother of two child worker.(Hindustan Times). Point to ponder- is checking the ever growing leakages in delivery system, a priority?

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11 June 2009

Media Watch

...While the role of TV channels in covering the attacks came in for much criticism in the aftermath of the carnage, The Indian Express has found that Central and state authorities grappled with the problem from the first morning itself...Even the News Broadcasters’ Association (NBA) — a group of news channels — shot off an advisory to heads and editors of 30 news channels and 14 broadcasters on the morning of November 27.It called for restraint, expressly mentioning that the coverage should in no way interfere with security operations or endanger lives of those involved. But as events over the next 48 hours showed, there were obvious cases of this advisory — and that issued by the Government- being breached by channels…Journalists who had gathered outside the Taj were given printed circulars is sued by the state Government through the Colaba Police Station, the local police station, asking them to stay away from the site to avoid injuries and to prevent the operations from being compromised. Hardly any reporter even accepted them from the hapless police constables distributing the circulars. And those who did, just laughed and threw them away.…(Raghvendra Rao, Anubhuti Vishnoi, Swatee Kher, Indian Express).

Women Insecure

Rashme Sehgal reports the recent statistics by National Crime Record Bureau. And yes, Delhi is the most unsafe city in India for women (Asian Age. 11/6/2009). Astil Jolly reports on the same page that police has busted a major human trafficking racket where young girls belonging to poor families were abducted and were sold to buyers in Rajasthan.

Student Watch

It’s not easy being a student just out of the safe environment of school and also take rational decisions when foreign universities invite though luring presentations in educational exhibitions and attractive brochures. Take a clue from Vinay Verma from Sydney - “Australian universities are not entirely blameless…. Some agents lure students by showing them pictures of lavish universities like Monash and Melbourne. On arriving, the students find Universities are nothing more than two rented rooms. These students are then exploited by unscrupulous landlords charging exorbitant rents. They end up in suburbs…they take up menial jobs at night to make their ends meet. Thus becoming vulnerable targets for predatory groups….The Indian students are also ashamed and embarrassed; their parents have spend a fortune, so they keep quiet and suffer in silence….(DNA). The cartoon in the same newspaper shows a badly hurt Indian student on a wheel chair being brought through arrivals in airport. He tells the airport attendant helping with wheelchair- “I chose foreign Univ over Indian ones to avoid ragging”. Similarly, a cartoon in Times of India shows a family watching on TV, an injured Indian student in a hospital in Australia, the father tells the obvious- “So much money he has to shell out in Australia- both as a student and now as a patient”. Things are not very bright for students in newly deemed Universities in India. Mail Today carries a cartoon, which features “Doomed student” under a lamp-post, where a banner is hanging “Deemed University”. The cartoon in Asian Age features bogus educational instructions inviting student “Your future is safe. My dear-- we’re a deemed university!”.
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10 June 2009

Effect of Day

The Health Minister of State of Punjab has stated that her ministry will concentrate on checking adulteration of milk and its related products this month and it has done away with limited edition targeted sampling in favour of regular drives against food adulterators. The ministry has proposed to recruit three food inspectors in major districts (Tribune). Two days back, SARCAJC had raised question in Newspaper Watch that " why such lackadaisical approach of authorities towards food safety & public health?". Point to ponder- are steps taken by the ministry sufficient? Take a clue from editorial of the same newspaper- “…small wonder then one rarely hears of conviction of a milk or food adulterator, let alone the award of much deserved death sentence. There are officials keen on nailing the offenders but feel handicapped in the absence of sufficient legal backing….”.

Quotes of Day

…I am convinced that education, health and environment protection are the means through which we can help our people improve quality of their living. But all this requires resources and money does not grow on trees….since our saving rate is as high as 35%, if all of us work together, we can achieve a growth rate of 8-9% , even if the world economy does not do well…(Dr. Manmohan Singh. Prime Minister of India. Financial Express, front page).

In this race for economic strengths, for faster and higher growth rates, we seem to have created a world with tremendous inequalities as also apathy for nature’s endowments.
It is obvious that somewhere the world has gone terribly wrong in perusing its growth objectives (YC Deveshwar. Chairman ITC. Hindustan Times. Page 23).

Newsmaker of Day

Kapil Bhatt informs that Rajbala, resident of small village in Rajathan has passed eight standard in first division. Big deal? Yeap, its indeed an achievement as she is the first girl in small village of Surpur and adjourning villages (among 5000 residents) in district Alwar to compete studies till eight standard. Point to ponder- high time to give priority to female middle & secondary education? Taking a clue from PM about need for resources, shouldn't government totally move out of higher education (disinvest) and invest that money in elementary, middle and secondary education?

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9 June 2009

Advertisement of Day

The Punch line of this ad cautions- “Don’t get tempted by misleading ADS”. It goes on to address would-be-student about misleading educational advertisements appearing in newspapers- “You may be duped of your parent’s hard -earned money!” . The ad also gives check list ‘before you apply’. And guess, who is the advertiser of this informative ad- Delhi Police. Point to ponder- why do newspapers accept such misleading ads for publication anyway?

Concern of Day

Concerned over reports of some Indian students in Australia retaliating in the wake of spate of attacks on them, Government on Tuesday asked them to exercise restraint. "I would like to urge the Indian students to be patient and show restraint. They have gone there (Australia) for higher studies. They should concentrate on that rather than retaliate," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told reporters outside Parliament House on Tuesday. (Deccan Herald).

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8 June 2009

Investigation of Day

Prabhjot Singh cautions that the milk we drink (even in airtight pouch) might be synthetic. “The Statewide survey carried out by The Tribune revealed easy availability of synthetic milk across Punjab, Interesting, the health authorities have not been able to uncover any clandestine milk producing unit this summer. …”.Singh suggests to ‘Guard Yourself’ though taste, feel, colour after heating, pH value. Point to ponder- If this true for all dairy products too, how to Guard Ourselves? Why such lackadaisical approach of authorities towards food safety & public health? Analysis: Front Page of Indian Newspapers

Major topic that dominated the front page of Indian Newspaper today was Crime (30%), followed by Corruption (15%) and international news (12%).Cartoon Watch

The Cartoon of the Day

in Nai Duniya shows rough, tough armed Australian Boy walking, while two Indian boys are hiding but looking at him, one tells the other -”It seems in quest to educate us, here the government forget to educate own children”. No cartoon has appeared in Dainik Jagran, Tribune, Navbharat Times, Amar Ujala, Rashtriya Sahara, Business Standard (Hindi Edition), Business Bhaskar. The topic of women reservation Bill was winner today, with cartoonists choosing it in Asian Age, Indian Express, Mid Day. Take a look at full details:

Attack on Indian students in Australia (Nai Duniya, Mid Day)

Plan of 100 Days (Hindustan, Punjab Kesari)

Corruption (Aaj Samaj, Times of India)

Cricket on TV (Times of India)

Maharashtra CM & protected vests (Mid Day)

Beggar on Congress-one man one post (Times of India)

Bully Sensex & FM (Hindu)

FM feeding Economy (Hindustan Times)

Thinking outside cubicle (Economic Times)

College admission (Loksatta)

Article by adviser on loss of BJP (Jansatta)

Offline chat in cyber café (Hindu Business Line)

Cyber Security Plan of US (Financial Express)

Uncle Sam wooing Muslim (Mail Today)

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7 June 2009

Newsmaker Watch

Mohammed Iqbal brings readers closer to a Kukki, ordinary grocer from Bundi city, who has an eye for antiques and archaeological sites. Kukki’s relentless quest in last two decade has led to discovery of an ancient civilisation in the Haduti region in State of Rajasthan. Though a eighth standard drop out, Om Prakash Sharma alias Kukki has also discovered as many as 55 sites of rock paintings belonging to Mesolithic Chalcolothic age and copper age tools. Kukki has extensively read all available literature on archeology to compare his work with that done in the world. Has Kukki’s selfless efforts showered with recognition? Nope- “My discoveries are second to none at the global level, While researchers in the Western in the Western countries instantly win laurels, I am still longing to get recognition of my heard work after two decades.” (Hindu, page 5)

Environment Watch

After a lot of advertisement fanfare on World Environment Day in most newspapers, Tribune reports that even after 25 years, 400 MTs of lethal chemical waste left behind by the Union Carbide Corporation as reminder of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, continues to lie at the defunct premises & pollute the groundwater. It is extremely shocking that during long 25 years, according to the report, no one (government of India & Madhya Pradesh, Army and Madhya Pradesh High Court) have been able to find a way to discharge the waste safely.

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6 June 2009

Editorial Watch

Most editorials of leading newspapers have focused on American President’s speech at Cairo. Some newspapers in Hindi have also taken in the Indian perspective. Take a look:

It is already clear that President Barack Hussein Obama’s address to the Muslim world has gone some way towards correcting the widespread perception that the United States government is “anti-Muslim.”…What is crucial is ending the indulgence Washington continues to show towards a state that believes at its core that international law, the elementary principles of justice, and the rules of peaceable conduct just do not apply to it (Hindu).

The message by President Barack Obama in Cairo University in Egypt will be remembered as important step in improvement in relations with the Muslim world. However it will be rash to analyse its results and even Obama has remarked that one can’t remove the distrust which has been prevailing over years, by one speech….(Rashtriya Sahara).

It would be an exaggeration to describe Thursday’s speech at Cairo University by US President Barack Hussein Obama — the second name has found particular mention in Arab media’s coverage of the event — as “an absolute triumph”, as has been done by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi….Yet, it merits reiteration that Mr Obama has taken a good first step. We must now await follow-up action (Pioneer).

It is pleasant that to improve relations with the Muslim world, American President Barack Obama is taking initiative with new ideas. However, it is difficult to say how far will his speech at Cairo will affect, the Muslim world, but it is sure that that his words cannot be ignored…If America has found India to be unsafe, it should also know that it is in danger from nowhere, apart from Pakistan. (Dainik Jagran).

President Barack Obama's latest oratorical masterpiece is the speech he delivered in Cairo, addressing, as we were told, the Muslim world. It was quintessential Obama, high on rhetoric, symbolism and inspiring phrases. But it also packed much substance and, in some ways, marks a paradigm shift in US foreign policy…Expect no miracles overnight, but if even some of the tensions between parts of the Muslim world and America were lessened during Obama's tenure, it would have benefited the entire world. (Times of India).

It cannot be denied that on Thursday at Cairo University, in front of invited audience, American President Barack Obama’s address to the Muslim World is important initiative. …If seen from Indian perspective, is this not strange that he forget even to mention India where second largest Muslim population resides with Hindu majority. He forgot to give credit to India’s strong secular traditions….(Nai Duniya).

Words rarely fail US President Barack Obama. In what could be the most significant speech of his presidency so far, Mr.Obama reached out to the Muslim world in his carefully crafted address at Cairo University in Egypt….But it is not just words that the world is looking for. Mr. Obama has to follow up his speech with concrete action…(Mail Today)

Words trip off US President Barack Obama’s tongue and mesmerise audiences. The US leader’s soaring rhetoric has been noted in all countries from the day he stepped into the presidential campaign last year, and probably the world hasn’t yet had enough of it. This is one reason why the response to his speeches continues to be unfailingly warm…(Asian Age).

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5 June 2009

Headline Watch

The 100 days plan of the new government, revealed by the President of India, indicates optimism of better things to come. Take a look at the headlines of few newspapers:

Prez chants good governance, innovative mantra (Economic Times)

Soon for poor rice-wheat at Rs. 3 Kg (Rashtriya Sahara)

Women reservation in 100 days (Nai Duniya)

Govt plans Rs. 50Kcr (500 billion) food-for-poor law (Asian Age)

100 Day action plan (Punjab Kesari)

Reform high on government agenda (Navbhart Times)

Now, its reform with aam aadmi (DNA)

Patil places women’s empowerment in ‘very urgent’ mode, says govt will take

steps within 100 days to give women quota in Parliament (New Indian Express)

Recession not for long (Dainik Bhaskar)

UPA’s food bill: 50,000 cr (Times of India)

Govt puts women on top (Pioneer)

President unveils rice-to-riches plan (Hindustan Times).

President unveils pro-poor agenda (Hindu)

India will reshape ties with Pakistan: Prez (Tribune)

Women reservation in 100 days (Nai Duniya)

Centre plots a quota coup for women politicos (Mail Today)

Government gets ready for transformation in 100 days (Hindustan)

Child Welfare

Sangeetha Neeraja reports that 13-yr-old child labourer from Orissa has managed to escape from his tormentor boss “ Rs 15,000 was given to my mother. We don’t want to go to Gujarat for work. Our mother alone wants us to go because she needs the money. For the last two years, I was not paid any money. I was only provided with food... If I tell you who my employer is, I will be killed”. According to Sangeetha- “Everyday one or two cases of child trafficking are reported in the city and harrowing stories of child abuse are on rise.
Editorial of Day The manner in which ‘progress’ can be detrimental to the interests of women is evident from the attempted murder of female foetuses despite legal obstacles. Again, it is the well-off families that opt for this particular form of crime. What these harrowing incidents demonstrate is a vicious mentality, which is seemingly devoid of normal human sentiments. For such people, it is but one step from the killing of an unborn child to the killing of a bride who is unable to satisfy the greed for money.…The campaigns against the giving and taking of dowries are more often than not desultory affairs confined to activists, whose messages are like water off a duck’s back where the ‘respectable’ families are concerned...(New Indian Express). Advertisement Watch

The large sized governmental advertisements did manage to remind readers about the World Environment Day. The ad by Organising Committee of Commonwealth Games 2009, features Shera holding a sapling with accompanying punch line- “Delhi will proudly host the FIRST EVER Green Commonwealth Games in 2010”. It goes on to list ‘green initiatives that have already began”.

Hang on, there is no mention to clean the heavily polluted river Yamuna, the lifeline of Delhi. Rivers are not Green? It’s not just Yamuna in danger, D.S Kunwar reports in Times of India that in quest for electricity generation, the source of Ganges, Alaknanda is drying up & is now down to a tickle. Is this sustainable development? The effective ad by the transport department of Delhi comes with a positive punch line- “Together, let’s make Delhi’s air quality better” and also lists measure taken by government and also practical measures that can be taken by citizens. Leading Newspaper like Hindustan Times also claims it is GREEN, but not in an ad! The paper visually shows through illustrations its green journey -“Pulp to paper” and that 95 percent of newsprint used last year was recycled. Is this ’green’ recycling exclusive for Hindustan Times or other newspapers in India also followed the same Green path?

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4 June 2009

Corruption Watch

Results of two surveys have appeared on the page nine of Hindustan Times, which are anything but satisfactory for the largest democracy of the world. Chetan Chauhan reports that according to Global Corruption Barometer, our leaders are most corrupt in the country. The finding is striking- “Indian political parties and their representatives are most corrupt in the country…”. The survey found that corruption hits poor the hardest. Indians below the poverty line paid bribes amounting to whopping 9 billion every year to avail basic and need based services. Next to this report is one which comes with head inline- “…and bureaucracy rated worst in Asia”. Times of India has carried this news on its front page with the heading - “India’s Babus worst in Asia”. Its starts off- “Citizens who find the thought of dealing with India’s babudom a nightmarish prospect have reason to feel vindicated. The “country’s suffocating bureaucracy” has been ranked the least efficient by a business survey of 12 Asian economies, which said working with India’s civil servants was a “slow and painful” process…”. One could always turn back and raise questions about credibility of these surveys, but the fact of matter is that corruption is rampant in India, which adversely affects effective governance and more so the welfare of the main street. Take a clue from AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi (seen by many as future PM) who had recently raised his concern that mismanagement of central funds continued to be a major bane in the implementation of the central development and welfare schemes for a long time and claimed ‘only 10 paise out of Rs. 100 reaches beneficiaries even now’. "My father Rajiv Gandhi used to say that only ten paise out of Rs. One reached genuine people, but I say that the needy people still get 10 paise out of Rs. 100 under the central development and welfare schemes," he told a public meeting (Daily Excelsior.26/4/09). Right to Information Act 2005, is seen by the main street as tool to expose corruption, but lot of more work needs to be accomplished. Hopefully, some more concert anti-corruption steps will be taken by the new government, including streamlining existing grievance redressal mechanism and protecting the whistle blower.
 
Election Watch

The Election Commissioner has revealed that members of a political party bribed army officers in Punjab in a blatant bid to rig postal ballots during last month's general elections in India. "We realised that the commanding officers of these forces were being approached by a political party and they were being bribed. And these soldiers had been told to just say 'yes sir.' "There is no other word in their dictionary. So if a commanding officer says 'just vote for this man', all the soldiers will vote for that man," Quraishi said, answering a question about whether India -- like Britain -- faced problems with postal ballot fraud.(Free press journal). However why didn’t Election Commissioner S.Y.Quraishi identify the name of the political party and the action taken by the election commission against the political party?

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3 May 2009

Election Watch
 
The recent elections have demonstrated all over again that media has little effect on how people vote. After the results were declared, catching almost everyone on the wrong foot, there was at least the honest acknowledgment by the media, the psephologists and the politicians themselves that they had guessed wrong. Even then some ascribed the swing to the mood of the youth, others termed it a vote against the regional parties. But they may be wrong all over again….Going by that scale of judgment, there were two simple priorities for the people — stability and security….In opting for stability and security they have also delivered an equally simple but subtle message that they now want quick and firm decision-making from their leaders….Infrastructure is inadequate, and wherever it exists it is far short of international standards. Similarly inadequate is the state of hospitals, schools and colleges, and so is the case with basic amenities like clean drinkable water. In sum, we lack the basic facilities that are necessary to make our transition from a developing to a developed country. (Rajiv Dogra. New Indian Express).

Women Insecurity

..Unfortunately, cases of harassment, torture and burning of brides due to dowry demands are on the rise everywhere. Punjab has the dubious distinction of having one dowry death every week and 55 deaths every year….Criminal system is so slow and inefficient that 98 per cent of cases end up in acquittal. It is indeed imperative that all possible steps be taken to ensure that women have their rightful place in society….(Editorial. Tribune)

…Dowry-related deaths are a shameful reality in this county, and the numbers have been rising. Thought the practice was banned in 1961 in the Dowry Prohibition Act, according to the Naional Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there were about 8000 dowry deaths in 2007 alone. Indian law on dowry is strict-some even call it draconian….Study estimates that the actual number of dowry-related deaths might be as much as six times higher than NCRB figures suggest….It’s not news that Indian women are often not accorded the respect and care they are entitled to, whether as children or as adults…(Editorial. Times of India).

Environment Watch

Sudhanshu Mishra reports that more than 20 kids have died in town of Sanganer (town known for its block prints) after drinking contaminated water, situated at the outskirts of capital city of Rajasthan. Reason, industrial waste from dyeing and block printing units have tuned the underground water toxic and killed the kids who drank it (Mail Today).On the other hand, Nitin Sethi reports that India during first day of negotiations at Bonn has lodged complaint as the climate text favours the rich. (Times of India).
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2 June 2009

Women Insecure

A young educated women was beaten up and then hanged to death by husband over dowry in Gurgaon. This barbaric incidence came to light when four year old son of the deceased narrated the sequence of events. This news has been carried by most leading newspapers. Incidentally, newspapers have also carried the observation of Hon. Justice Markandey Katju of the Supreme Court of India, which reflects the status of hundresd of women in India-“…In India hundreds of innocent women are being burnt to death. It is an uncivilized act. How can we do it? We should hang such persons…You have burned to death a women by pouring kerosene. How can you do such a barbaric act? You should be hanged for the crime….” (Hindu. 2/6/09). Indeed, all crime against women deserve the most severe punishment. Punjab Kesari (Panipat Edition) has also carried the observation of Hon. Justice Markandey Katju on its front page, but the borderless advertisement of a mobile phone company has decreased the intensity of observation of Hon. Justice Katju.

Lifeline Water

Seema Burman informs that today marks the beginning of ‘Ganga Dussehra’, which is celebrated as the day river Ganga descended on earth (Hindustan Times). Take a look at the news related to water in various newspapers, which shout for effective water management.

Saugar Sengupta reports in Pioneer that water everywhere in Sunderbans, but not a drop to drink. According to Aurangzeb Naqshbandi the Central government has come to rescue and has sanctioned Rs. 100 million to the state government to provide safe drinking water to affected people (Hindustan Times). However, it will be too late for Nine-year-old Sandeepa Gharami, who survived Cyclone Aila, but succumbed in its aftermath. Indian Express reports she received no medical care and severe outbreak of enteric diseases have emerged on the battered islands of Sunderban. “A couple of quacks were selling saline water for Rs70 a bottle, charging extra for administering the fluid…

A man who identified himself as Gopinath Mondal told this paper he has been treating 25-30 patients every day. “I am an allopathy practitioner but I have no degree,” he said. “Enteric diseases are breaking out all around.” The Express found the tiny, one-room Lahiripur sub-primary health centre locked. The government-appointed sebika (nurse) could not be traced…”
To curb various health related problems and scarcity of water in hundreds of villages in north Raipur, elected representatives of various local bodies….are up against the State Government officials and industrialists and have threatened to take direct action.(Shivanand Shukla. Pioneer).

For the first time in the State, a municipal body in Sehore , 40 Kms from Bhopal, is all set to issue water cards to residents to ensure rationing and equitable distribution of precious liquid. Sehore gets municipal water once in four days…water is supplied once in a week in Dewas and the adjourning town of Ujjain..”(Anil Dubey. Hindustan Times).

Limbdi taluka, one of the driest villages of Gujarat’s parched Surendranagar district, water is so scarce that they guard it with their lives. If women and children keep a watch over the small village pond with its meager amount of potable water, at night, the men not only lock up their wells but sleep over the wooden lids as well, to ensure nobody tries breaking in and stealing water (Parimal Dabhi. Indian Express)

Kosi waters, which devastated large tracts of north Bihar last August, have receded, but for the people living in the region, the disaster continues as it has over the years….For the 1.2 million people living on the banks of the river, access to basic healthcare is a far cry…( Baljeet Kumar. Pioneer).

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1 June 2009

Concern of Day

The Indian newspapers have raised concern over attack of Indian students in Australia.

The Professor has minced no words- “It’s time for the opening of the Indian mind over higher education. The recent attacks on Indian students in Australia have raised another question. Why is it that nearly a lakh of our students are now enrolled in Australia (and many more in the US), contributing billions of dollars to their economies, and living on their sufferance? For a country that puffs up its chest at the idea that its upward mobility is powered by intellectual capital, these statistics should be cause for introspection. Why is India so lamentably incompetent at providing young people a quality education?…(Indian Express). Is it just education that lures, or better quality of life (read immigration)? Why do many young Indians dream of immigrating to the developed world like Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada? Take a clue from an old saying that makes round among the youth- ‘brain drain is better than brain in drain’. To them, immigration is seen as an escape from high corruption, nepotism, non existent health care & social security system in India. But this brain drain has not been a worry for long. Take a clue from India's Consul General in San Francisco, B.S. Prakash- “…Brain drain is not a phrase that one hears frequently these days, not in India and not in the West. It is not that the number of students or young professionals who leave India has come down. On the contrary, in 2005 the number of Indian students joining universities in the United States reached an all time high at over 80,000....The answer lies in the changing dynamics domestically and globally. And it is a dynamics that is as yet unfolding…it is important to realise that it is an increasingly shrinking world, especially for the "brains"; what we need is a more sophisticated understanding of the national-international dynamics at work, at the workplace. (Hindu. 2/11/2006).