अगस्त १२, २०१६: दैनिक जागरण में आज प्रकाशित मेरा आलेख : अमरीकी राष्ट्रपति चुनाव -चयन की चुनौती
Today’s edition of The Pioneer carried my piece on Nelson Mandela: Nelson Mandela still relevant in the world.
July 18 is observed as The Nelson Mandela Day. Though Mandela is often compared with other great leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Junior, his approach widely differed from these two leaders.
Here is the link to full article: http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/nelson-mandela-still-relevant-in-this-world.html
My article: ‘DROP PEN AND PAPER. GO ONLINE’ highlighting the need for on-line examinations was published today, July 14,2015 in The Pioneer newspaper.
To read the full article please visit: http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/drop-pen-and-paper-go-online.html
June 12 was the World day against child labour.
Please read my piece published in Business Standard: Give Chhotu’s childhood back to him
According to the 2001 census, India is home to over 1.26 crore working children who are in the age group of 5 to 14 years. Just to put this into perspective, this number is higher than the entire population of Belgium!
This issue reverberated in news-papers today. Shocking revelations in an RTI query!
As Narendra Modi Govt took over the reins of free India a few months back, Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called ‘Namami Gange’ was announced by the BJP-led government with much fan fare with an initial sum of Rs 2,037 crore allocated in the Union Budget for 2014-15. Let us be aware, the issue of purification of Ganga Maa is very close to the heart of Shri Narendra Modi and I truly appreciate it.
An RTI query has some shocking revelations about a meeting held by National Mission for Clean Ganga at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi. Whopping sum of Rs 43.85 Lacs has been spent on just the aforesaid meeting!
The money spent on the meetings and accommodation of guests coming for the meeting was approximately Rs 26.7 Lacs, and on publicity it was Rs 5.1 Lacs.
The biggest shocker is the amount spent by the government on floral decorations equaling Rs 75000! Rs 2.3 Lacs were spent on miscellaneous expenses.
Is this not a DISGRACEFUL waste of tax-payer’s money and a déjà-vu of UPA’s austerity drive?
Decent roads in India that let you drive with dignity: Am I asking for too much? The road network in a city is like circulatory system of the human body that brings vitality to the life. We must understand that good roads are a prerequisite for the ‘promised’ smart cities.
This is the theme this time of my weekly column “Musings from Chicago” published in the ‘Political & Business Daily’ on October 27,2014.
RTI Assessment and Analysis Group (RaaG) and National Campaign For People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) have conducted a study on Right to Information (RTI) act. The study revealed that the Information Commissions are going easy on RTI complaints and almost 96% of the cases where there has been a delay or denial on information on RTI query have not been penalized.
On studying RTI responses from 21 information commissions, the study has found that 2.21 lac cases had been disposed of between January 2012 and November 2013. It was observed that penalty should have been imposed on 1.04 lakh cases (between January 2012 and December 2013) but only 3870 cases were penalized. Rs 5.03 crore should have been recovered from 22 states BUT only Rs 85.57 lac was recovered by 18 states.
Information commissions also have the power to award compensation to a complainant for the loss suffered. Although the number of complaints of delay or denial of information equaled to 3.89 lac, the compensation was awarded only in just 1339 cases. The amount of compensation imposed was Rs 29.68 lac but only Rs 4.07 lac was recovered.
A strong RTI act is crucial for strengthening democracy. It makes the Government more accountable and transparent and is the biggest weapon against corruption. The soft approach of information commissions will only weaken its power and defeat the very purpose of RTI act.
Well, Black money does not lie holed up in the ‘Black Hole’ that it can not be recouped! I hope we Indians -irrespective of our political affiliations and beliefs- understand this simple fact!
Is this not just a diversionary tactic to buy time to save rest of the influential tainted people?
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)has been insisting that all the names should be revealed.. AAP has published a detailed document on this issue on its website too. The reality is that there is not any law in India or treaty with any country due to which the government cannot take action against the black- money holders.
Two main reasons that raise doubts about Mr. Modi government’s intentions are:
On the double Tax Avoidance Agreement between India and Germany, the Supreme Court observed that there was no provision in the agreement that limits the disclosure of information. It also stated that the plea is unsustainable as neither an agreement can limit nor violate the principles laid down in our constitution.
An extract from the judgment: “The above clause in the relevant agreement with Germany would indicate that, contrary to the assertions of Union of India, there is no absolute bar of secrecy.Comity of nations cannot be predicated upon clauses of secrecy that could hinder constitutional proceedings such as these or criminal proceedings”.
2) The provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) are being ignored by BJP.
• India is authorized to make requisite changes in the laws of our country to deal with black money issues.
• UNCAC overrides ‘bank secrecy laws’.
• UNCAC permits us to freeze, seize and confiscate illegal money.
So, BJP should utilize powers given under UNCAC to get back the black money rather than using it as an excuse to protect the black money holders!
During assembly and Parliamentary elections, you go to cast your secret ballot at a Pooling Booth. Typically, 1000-1200 voters are assigned to one booth. Each polling booth has one Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).
When the results of elections are declared, people get to know which candidate got how many voters overall. That is for sure! But, election commission also declares the details to the tune of each EVM or Polling Booth. In other words, a candidate or party comes to know how many votes were polled in favor or against from that particular segment of voter population.
The Election Commission had recommended that the practice of declaring results at Booth level be abolished as it exposes the voters preferences to the political parties and candidates.
The Supreme Court asked the Central government yesterday while hearing a Public Interest Litigation: “Why are you sleeping over a 6 years old proposal of Election Commission to stop Booth-wise counting of votes”? The Center’s counsel replied: “The proposal has been sent to the Law Commission”.
What a lethargy pace! Our tortoise of the rabbit-tortoise story will be put to shame by the Indian government!
Abolition of declaration of results at the EVM-level is a much needed reform in our electoral democracy. Politicians with vindictive attitude exploit this information to take vengeance if voters of a particular booth(s) did not vote for him/her. Remember the incidence of Maharastra Chief Minister Ajit Pawar threatening voters in villages of Baramati Lok Sabha seat? Mr. Pawar was campaigning for his cousin Ms . Supriya Sule – a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate in the last Lok Sabha elections held a few months back.
Let us hope the wheels of Mr. Modi-led government would move faster as he won elections on the plank of ‘vikaas’!
Syria has been under civil war since more than three years. The emergence of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has further compounded the problem, thus creating a huge pool of humanity that finds itself uprooted. I look upon the problem of refugees in Syria and other parts of the world in this article which was published on September 1, 2014 in “The Political & Business Daily” newspaper.