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Showing posts from August, 2011
Timely Vaccination Can Protect Precious Little Lives from Vaccine-preventable Diseases—Save a Child, Save a Life, and Save a Dream.

India's Foreign Policy - Enlightened Self-interest

The ongoing anti-corruption movement has generated lot of discussions, debates, diverse opinions and huge media coverage. People are expressing their opinion on a critical issue of national interest more openly and on a public platform. We should hope that whatever happens now, will only strengthen Indian democracy. We will have much more clarity after a few days. Positive results on the domestic front, may also enhance Indian's influence on global affairs in the long run. 

Meanwhile, let's shift our focus on India's foreign policy. Powered by the economic and financial reforms, development of the IT sector and high growth rate, India  has been successful in changing the perception of the international community over the last few decades. India's approach at international level has also witnessed a strategic shift. Just a few decades back, arrival of each foreign dignitary was highlighted by the media. These days, only a passing reference is made to such visits with …

Trickle Down Effect

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Corruption is deep-rooted and spread across all levels of governance. Will the creation of a strong Lokpal in itself eradicate corruption? Will creation of additional layers of inspection and stronger laws in themselves eradicate corruption? Perhaps, No. But strong laws and a strong overseeing agency at the highest level may have trickle down effect at lower levels of governance. Is compensation announced for farmers paid on time? Do all those injured in railway accidents get prompt compensation?
Are complaints made to the civic agencies acted upon without much delay? Is our present education and judicial system free of corruption. Are complaints made to the Police acted upon immediately? The answer for the above and many other similar questions is most often No. The need for a stronger anti-corruption mechanism has to be assessed in the context of the above reality. 
While Team Anna's tough stand on passing of their version of the Lokpal may seem unjust at first instance, we mus…

Will Team India Resurrect the Lost Pride

Just a few months back, Indians were on the streets celebrating the Cricket World Cup victory. The growing fear of recession, rising food grain prices, a massive anti-corruption campaign and lackluster performance by Team India in the ongoing test series has put cricket on the back seat. The hosts have completely dominated the test series and dislodged India from the number one ranking in test matches. With rain obstructing the first day's play of the final test, it remains to be seen whether RP Singh and Ishant Sharma are able to break through the in-form and highly spirited English defense. And even if they, top four Indian batsmen have to fire to resurrect some of the lost pride.

Cautious Optimism

It was Anna all over India over the last two days and still continues to be so. The massive support for the 74 year old Kisan Baburao Hazare popularly known as Anna Hazare attracted attention of the entire world. Earlier the government (or the Delhi Police as they claim), which arrested Anna on Tuesday morning had to back down amid protests across the country and order his release. However, Anna agreed to come out of Jail only after authorities granted permission to fast at the famous Ramlila Maidan for 15 days. Many question his stand on the Lokpal bill issue, and Parliament's power to frame laws is not questionable. But Anna's real achievement has been the awakening of the Indian citizen. The signs of change, which I wrote about on Independence Day was at full display over the last few days. Thousands of citizens participated in a candle light march at India Gate demonstrating their support to fight against corruption. As I write, people are organizing protests across the c…

Different Rules, Avoidable blunder

Strange it may seem, but that is the reality we are living in. When political parties call for bandhs, they don't worry about the inconvenience caused to the public. And when an activist calls for a peaceful fast for a cause, which he believes to be significant, government or concerned authorities cite possible law and problem as reason to deny permission. Many do not agree with all of Team Anna's demands. Parliament is supreme and no one is questioning that. However, it's the government's attitude, which is a cause for concern. The Parliament did not function and Ministers conducted an hour long press conference justifying their action. Ask a lay man and the answer would be: "Whatever happened was avoidable."

65th Indian Independence Day and the Signs of Change

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As we Indians Celebrate the 65th Independence Day, we have much to be proud of the country's achievements. We are certainly more privileged than citizens of other countries in the sub-continent. We have been fairly successful in capitalizing the opportunities and adjusting to the changes in global dynamics. Over the last few decades, we have made rapid strides in several spheres.

This Independence Day assumes special significance in the context of the massive campaign against corruption. The change was visible in the Prime Minister's speech, which did not contain any reference to the Nehru's and the Gandhi's. Corruption is deep-rooted. Corruption has been one of the topics of essays in school exams for decades, and continues to be one. What has changed though, is the belief among people that 'change is possible'. While people may differ on the forms of protests and the mechanism of dealing with corruption, the awakening of the Indian citizen assumes tremendous …

Tribute

Over 30 years before Yahoo! revolutionized the way people communicate, the song Yahoo! sung by Mohd. Rafi created a flutter in the hearts of Indians. Perhaps, no other actor could have left such an impression and done justice to the song as the irresistible Shammi Kapoor. His unique style was a refreshing change for the Indian Cinema. We will never find another Shammi Kapoor, but he will stay on for ever in our hearts.

Repond to Art through Art

What causes people in a Democracy like India to be intolerant of diverse opinions. Why do they oppose films on important issues. Film makers and those opposing (non-political) it, both have valid points. Perhaps, the problem lies with the inability of those governing the country to resolve important issues. Governments must act promptly and resolve sensitive issues before they take a mammoth shape. On the other hand, we as citizens of the country must exercise restraint. If we don't agree on the views expressed in a film, why can't we respond to that through another film. We must learn to respond to Art through Art.

We are Better Different

We meet so many people in our daily routine. We connect with some, ignore others. We find similarities with some, and find some others awkward. We cherish the qualities of some, and criticize those of others. I mean to say, we meet people with attitudes, opinions, preferences, tastes, foibles and temperaments very different from ours. But ever wonder, that's what makes this world interesting. Life would have been so boring, if we all had shared the same characteristics.

Recession Blues

Shares have tumbled down over the last few days, following S&P's downgrade. Quite rightly, people fear another recession, similar to that which engulfed the world after the U.S Subprime lending crisis in 2008. 
However, stock markets do not always react logically, and many a times, the reactions are sentimental.  India has its own set of advantages. The country has the demographic advantage of younger population and has a large domestic market. Unlike other countries, India’s growth in the recent years has been primarily driven by the service economy, wherein cities have played a vital role. The future success story of India depends to a large extent on the growth of small towns and cities, which have limitless potential for investment.
So, we at India do not need to worry. But prudence lies in caution.

Indo-Pak Dialogue

Talks or no talks, engage or disengage, war or no war, dialogue or no-dialogue, Kargil or 26/11, Kashmir or infiltration, nuclear test or bus service, military rule or elected government, Dawood or Hafeez, cricket or no cricket, Indo-Pak relations are always a news. 
An attack leads to war rhetoric, a meeting of diplomats results in euphoria. 
News that sells, attracts public attention. The world looks on. Bizarrely, the result remains the same. Indira and Zulfikar, Rajiv and Benazir, Atal and Musharraf, Manmohan and Gilani. Two steps forward and 4 steps backward. India says ISI, Pakistan says RAW. New Delhi remains in dilemma and juggles between handling domestic pressure and its urge to be considered a responsible state in the global dynamics.
64 years after partition, 40 years after the last Indo-Pak war, 12 years after the Kargil war, 10 years after Parliament attack and Agra Summit, 32 months after 26/11, as the two foreign secretaries put it, we are still exploring each other.

Chhattisgarh - From a different Lens

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In the recent years, Chhattisgarh has caught the attention of the national media for a series of naxal attacks in the Dantewada district of the state. Here's a look at some of the positive developments in the state. Carved out of Madhya Pradesh in 2000, the state is now one of the fastest growing states of the country. More than 70% of the households are electrified. Last year, Mphasis opened a new Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) center at Raipur, the state capital. We can hope for further growth of BPO services in the state.
Bhilai, the  knowledge capital of the state is known for its regular contribution to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). The town has witnessed emergence of many private schools and engineering colleges. The government has also set up a technical university in the town, which is set to further promote educational activity in the region. Similar developments are taking place in the state Capital, Raipur. The state is set to contribute substantially…