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Thursday 9 February 2012

Corruption is the common character of the Two party parliamentary System!Performance review: Babus cannot take job security for granted anymore!

Corruption is the common character of the Two party parliamentary System!Performance review: Babus cannot take job security for granted anymore!

Now Marans face money laundering charges!An illegal gratification of Rs 550 crore was reportedly accepted through Dayanidhi's brother Kalanidhi in the garb of share premium invested in M/S Sun Direct TV by Maxis Communication, owned by Malaysian tycoon T Anantha Krishnan.

Karnataka ministers watching porn in Assembly resign!Anna Hazare wants 3 Karnataka ministers to be removed!

Congress trying to divide Muslims on quota issue: Mayawati

Kerala sex scandal: Five get 10 years jail term

Bengal debt burden can be more, hints Mamata Banerjee!Mamata Banerjee's 'Personal Assistant' arrested

Foreign investor sentiments will not be affected in the long term, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said Wednesday in the context of the recent Suprme Court verdict on telecom licences, even as Bahrain-based Batelco announced its exit from India.

Indian Holocaust My Father`s Life and


Palash Biswas

Politics: Stories, Bytes & Controversies
I apologise for all scams of UPA, govt's policy paralysis: Yashwant Sinha
Judge Saini has ruled that there was no material on record to show that Chidambaram was acting in a mala fide way in fixing the price of spectrum.
Is auction the only way to allocate spectrum?
The process of spectrum allocation should be handled carefully as it will have a bearing on the new spectrum to be allocated and also on the price of additional spectrum.
'Facebook is a surveillance engine, not friend'
Facebook mistreats users. It collects data from people and admits it. It also collects data which isn't admitted, says Stallman, Free Software Foundation.

ed, 08 Feb 2012 12:52:48 GMT

Peaceful start to UP elections, 62 per cent turnout

Lucknow: The crucial Uttar Pradesh elections, which will have a bearing on the national political arena, kicked off Wednesday with the first of seven phases seeing millions peacefully exercising their franchise on a day that had started off cold and damp but warmed up later.

At close of day 5 p.m., officials said an estimated 62 percent of the 1.7 crore had voted in 55 of 403 assembly constituencies in the sprawling state, also India's most populous, where Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is bidding for a second consecutive term.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) is looking to stymie her chances and the Congress-Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are hoping to make a considerable electoral dent.
Election day dawned cold and damp with many voters preferring to stay indoors. But voting picked up pace as the sun shone and the temperature rose.
By afternoon, long queues were seen outside polling booths in constituencies in the state's eastern part. As the day drew to a close, more and more people came out of their homes.

Corruption is the common character of the Two party parliamentary System!

Marans face money laundering charges!In connection with the 2G spectrum issue, there is another trouble for Maran brothers. The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money laundering case against former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanidhi in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation case.

An illegal gratification of Rs 550 crore was reportedly accepted through Dayanidhi's brother Kalanidhi in the garb of share premium invested in M/S Sun Direct TV by Maxis Communication, owned by Malaysian tycoon T Anantha Krishnan.

Meanwhile,Three BJP ministers in Karnataka, including a women's affairs minister, resigned on Wednesday after being caught watching pornography on a mobile phone during a session in the state parliament.Anna Hazare today demanded the three BJP ministers who were caught watching porn inside Karnataka Assembly be dismissed from the House.

On the other hand, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Personal Assistant (PA) was arrested for allegedly cheating people promising contracts in Indian Railways. Don't be shocked. Read on for more details.

The woman identified as Seema Malhotra, has been earning money by bluffing people claiming she was the PA of the chief minister.

Citing a complaint by a man, who accused Seema of cheating him with promise to allocate some crucial contracts in railways, Kolkata police arrested the woman.

According to police sources, the woman has a criminal record and this was not the first time she was being held.

Foreign investor sentiments will not be affected in the long term, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said Wednesday in the context of the recent Suprme Court verdict on telecom licences, even as Bahrain-based Batelco announced its exit from India.

Asked if the existing scenario following the Supreme Court verdict cancelling 122 telecom licences will harm investments, Sibal replied that short-term investor sentiments may be affected but in the long term they would remain bullish on the Indian market.

"If you talk about long term, no! In short term, yes! People are interested in India and they will come to India," Sibal said at an event being held here.

The development comes as the recent Supreme Court verdict cancelling 122 telecom licences claimed its first casualty. Bahrain-based Batelco Wednesday announced its exit from India, selling its stake in mobile firm STel.

STel, which had acquired licences to operate in six circles including Odisha, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh, is a joint venture between Batelco and Sky City Foundation, owned by former Aircel promoter and serial entrepreneur C. Sivasankaran.

The agreed time frame for completion of the stake sale is by the end of October 2012.

The Supreme Court has given all the affected firms four months to shut shop and asked the government to auction the freed spectrum.

Another telecom operator which has also hinted at exiting India business, Uninor's parent firm Telenor has, however, said it would fight for its rights.

Uninor's case has also been taken up at a diplomatic level by Norway. The country's IT minister Tuesday met Communications Minister Kapil Sibal.

When asked if Russian Communications Minister Igor Shchyogolev has sought an appointment with him, Sibal said: "So far, no appointment has been sought."

Shchyogolev is reported to visit India to express the country's concern over its investments in the Indian firm,Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL).

SSTL, a joint venture between Russia's Sistema and India's Shyam Group, which provides its services under the MTS brand name, has also said that it reserves the right to protect its interests by using all available judicial remedies and was mulling the option of filing a review petition in the apex court.

Sistema holds a 56.68 per cent stake in the venture, while the Russian government holds 17.14 per cent and the Shyam Group of India has another 23.98 per cent. The remaining 2.2 is publicly owned.

An impressive 62 to 64% turnout was today registered in the first phase of Assembly elections in 55 seats in Uttar Pradesh where stakes are high for Mayawati's ruling BSPwhich is facing a tough challenge from Congress, BJP and SP.
After an initial lull due to rain, polling picked up quickly around midday as the skies cleared with 62-64% of the 1.7 crore-strong electorate casting ballot on an incident-free day, Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said.
Wednesday's polling was spread over 10 districts -- Sitapur, Barabanki,Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Gonda,Siddharth Nagar and Basti and held under tight security.
The first phase of elections for the 403-member assembly will decide the fate of two ministers, 31 MLAs and 15 former ministers. There are in all 796 men, 65 women and one eunuch in the fray.
Long queues of voters were seen at polling booths in several areas in late afternoon. "The biggest problem was that of rain in the initial hours, but later the response from the electorate was good," Sinha said.
Amidst complaints of EVM malfunctioning, a lower turnout was registered inBahraich district, while in Sitapur people boycotted polling in Gularia village in Misrikh assembly seat to protest lack of development, officials said.
In Gonda, nearly 800 voters boycotted poll process at booth number 34 inMehnaun assembly seat to protest shifting of the polling station three kilometres away from the village.
The remaining phases of polling will be held on February 11, 15, 19, 23, 28 and March 3. Counting of votes will take place on March 6.

In a statement, Hazare said political parties were full of such people and these leaders are "dirtying the sacred temples -- Parliament and state assemblies -- of our democracy".

His reaction came following the resignation of Cooperation MinisterLaxman Savadi and Women and Child Development Minister CC Patil to quit while Minister for Ports, Science and Technology Krishna Palemar was axed for allegedly providing the blue film to them.

"Today, parties are competing with each other in giving tickets to such people. Parties are full of such people. They are dirtying Parliament and state Assemblies. The future of the country is not safe in their hands.

"They (ministers) have to be removed from Assembly as they have insulted the Assembly. They have insulted the Constitution. They should be send tojail," Hazare said.

Three Karnataka ministers - Lakshman Savdi, C C Patil and Krishna B Palemar - have resigned following allegations of watching porn clips in the legislative assembly.Times of India reports:

It took just few minutes for the top BJP leaders, chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda, state BJP chief K S Eshwarappa and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to decide, who met early on Wednesday morning to seek resignations from the trio. The copies of their resignations have been forwarded to the governor for acceptance. While Savdi was holding cooperation portfolio, Patil was woman and child development minister. Palemar was entrusted with ports and environment responsibilities.
Savdi and Patil were caught allegedly watching porn film clips on the former's cell phone on the floor in the legislative assembly. The ministers were caught in the act even as the House was in the middle of the heated debate on the recent hoisting of Pakistan flag in Sindagi in Bijapur district. Close up shots of the ministers watching blue films were beamed on television channels in the evening and sparked off a furore. The television visuals showed both the minister sitting next to each other, gazing into Savdi's hand set and having a banter. This is for the first time that the Karnataka assembly is rocked by such a scandal. Savdi claimed that clips were forward by Palemar. Palemar, who had to pay a price for allegedly providing the blue film clippings to Savadi, said he was contemplating legal course over the issue, according to a PTI report.
Speaking on behalf of the party, Yeddyurappa said the ministers have voluntarily tendered resignation on moral grounds and none of the party leaders including Nitin Gadkari had any role to play. "Inquiry will be conducted and soon truth will be out," Yeddyurappa said. Sources said that the party had decided last night itself to take their resignation, but was awaiting for Yeddyurappa to come back from tour of Bidar. All the three ministers are staunch followers of Yeddyurappa and were pitching for his comeback as the chief minister.

Opposition leader Siddaramaiah not only sought his resignation, but also urged the Speaker not to allow Savdi, Patil and Palemar to attend the assembly. Speaker K G Bopaiah has convened an emergency meeting of business advisory committee (BAC) involving leaders of ruling and opposition to discuss the conduct of the members.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered two money laundering cases against former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanidhi on Wednesday in the multi-crore 2G licence scam.

The case, registered under the under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, also names Ralph Marshal of the Maxis Group.

The case states that Maxis made the Rs 550 crore investment in Sun TV and Sun DTH in return for a stake in Sivashankaran-owned Aircel. Reportedly, the process of granting 2G licence to Aircel was kept pending till an agreement was signed between Maxis and promoters of Aircel for ownership change in respect to these companies.

The case also refers to charges of excess spectrum hoarding by Bharti Cellular, Vodafone Essar, Hutchison Max and Sterling Cellular.

It accuses former telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh and DoT official JR Gupta of giving spectrum to the telecom companies at below-market price.

The CBI has, meanwhile, said it will send Letter Rogatory to the Malaysian Government for permission to interrogate T Anantha Krishnan.

BJP today targeted Prime MinisterManmohan Singh on the state of the Indian economy, saying the world renowned economist has been making tall claims about the growth rate despite the figure falling below 7 per cent.

Describing Singh as one of the most brilliant economists which the country could have seen as a Prime Minister, BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy sought to know from him why GDP growth has come down to 6.9 per cent.

"There are reports that GDP growth stands at 6.9 per cent and this in itself is a disaster. It is below 7 per cent though the Prime Minister has all these five years been saying it will be 9 per cent in the 11th Plan period," Rudy said.

He maintained that sectors like manufacturing, mining and construction have come down.

"Industrial sector has come down from 20 per cent of GDP while agriculture has come down to 2.5 per cent from 7 per cent. Can the Prime Minister explain why there is a complete fiasco on the economy front. Why is government caught in such a situation?" Rudy said.

Stating that Singh, who has studied at Oxford and Harvard universities, and served as RBI governor as well as former Finance Minister, Rudy wondered why the economy was still in such a shape despite such a person being the PM.

BJP insisted that despite such a scenario, the Prime Minister still maintains that GDP growth in the 12th Plan will be 9 per cent. The party was referring to a statement made by Singh to the media that 9 per cent growth rate is feasible in the 12th Plan if we take some "difficult decisions".

"BJP is shocked and amazed at this claim.... We will raise this question in Parliament in the forthcoming budget session and ask who is responsible," Rudy said.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is all set to file money laundering charges against former telecom and textile minister Dayanidhi Maran, his businessman brother Kalanidhi and Malaysian billionaire and promoter of Maxis Communications T Ananda Krishna in connection with the Aircel-Maxis deal.

The ED will file an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) under which the probe agency can initiate proceedings of attachment of properties acquired through proceeds of crime and file a separate charge sheet also.

The ECIR will also name Maxis Communications director Ralph Marshall and three companies — Sun Direct TV Private Limited, Astro All Asia Networks and Maxis Communications — as accused in the case.

Entrepreneur C Sivasankaran has alleged that Dayanidhi Maran as telecom minister between 2004 and 2007 delayed grant of licence to Aircel in seven circles with the intention to force its exit from the business by constricting its business environment. However, when Malaysia-based Maxis group bought Aircel, its all applications for licences and other approvals were accepted.

The ECIR will allege that Sivasankaran repeatedly requested for appointments with Maran in 2005 for addressing his grievances, but he declined to meet him.

However, after the change of ownership, Astro All Asia Networks Plc (related company of Maxis Communications) invested in Dayanidhi's brother Kalanidhi Maran's company, Sun Direct TV Private Limited, at a premium of around Rs550 crore.

The CBI is also investigating the Aircel-Maxis deal under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The ED probe is going to focus on assets acquired through proceeds of crime in the case.

News channels broadcast footage showing Karnataka state Minister for Cooperation Laxman Savadi sharing a porn clip with his colleague C.C. Patil, the minister for women and child development, while sitting in the state assembly.

The owner of the phone, state Minister for Ports, Science and Technology Krishna Palemar, also quit.

"We are requesting the honourable Speaker of the House to conduct an inquiry and we'll come out with a clean chit," Patil said, denying that they were deliberately looking at porn.

The three men said they did not want to cause any embarrassment to the BJP, which rules the state and is in opposition at national level.

There has been outrage over the incident in India not just from rights activists and right-wing Hindu groups, but also from the ruling Congress party which called for the assembly to be dissolved.

"We live in a country where there already is this social mindset that women are disposable commodities and are seen as transferable properties," Renuka Chowdhary, a former federal minister for women's development and a member of the Congress Party.

"It really is troubling that the people who are in positions of power and have the responsibility to change things actually have the same mindset and are busy watching porn," she told CNN-IBN news channel.

Girls and women in largely patriarchal India face a barrage of threats including rape, dowry-related murder, forced marriage, domestic violence, honour killings and human trafficking.

Kerala sex scandal: Five get 10 years jail term
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Five persons have been sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment by a special CBI court for their involvement in the sensational Kiliroor sex scandal of 2004 in which a minor girl was sexually exploited.

The CBI court here also imposed a fine of Rs one lakh on the convicts -- Praveen, Manoj, Latha Nair, Binu alias Kochumon, Prasanth -- which will be given to the victim's parents.

CBI investigation revealed that the minor girl was enticed by the accused with an offer of acting in television serials. She was taken to various places and gang raped.

Consequently, she became pregnant and delivered a baby girl on August 15, 2004 in Medical College Hospital, Kottayam.

During the post delivery treatment, she suffered from sub-acute intestinal obstruction for which she underwent laparoscopy and two laparotamies. During further treatment, she was affected by septicaemia and died on November 13, 2004.

The CBI had registered a case on January 27, 2005. "After completion of the investigation, a charge sheet was filed before the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ernakulam on June 8, 2006 against nine accused -- Omanakutty, Praveen, Manoj, Latha, Binu, Prasanth, Somanathan, Abdul Lathif and V R Devadas," a CBI spokesperson said in a release today.

Later, the cases were transferred to Special Court for CBI cases, Thiruvananthapuram.

The case against Lathif and Devadas was split up as the charge against them was only under Section 212 of the Indian Penal Code (habouring accused Latha Nair) and is continuing. Another accused Omanakutty was taken as approver, the official said.

The trial court convicted the five accused and acquitted Somanathan.

Congress trying to divide Muslims on quota issue: Mayawati

Uttar Pradesh Chief MinisterMayawati today charged the Congress with hatching a conspiracy to divide the Muslim community in the name of reservation.

Addressing election meetings, the BSP supremo attacked Congress, saying it has never been the well-wisher of Muslims and is, therefore, trying to "instigate and misguide" them on the issue of reservation.

"In reality, Congress is trying to use Muslims as vote bank," she said, charging the party with pursuing divide and rule policy and discriminating against all sections of the society.

She said BSP was in favour of reservation to Muslims on the basis of their economic condition and had initiated several schemes for their welfare. Similarly, the BSP has started schemes for the poor among upper castes, she said.

Lashing out at the Centre, she said though it did not provide package to Uttar Pradesh, it gave special package to other states.

Branding Congress as an "anti-development and pro-corruption" party, Mayawati told the voters that she had fielded people with clean image while showing the door to those tainted.

Performance review: Babus cannot take job security for granted anymore

Simantik Dowerah Feb 8, 2012
#Bureaucracy #HowThisWorks #Job Security
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The government is wielding the stick against top babus, finally. According to new rules cleared by the Centre, officials of the all-India services will be subjected to two performance reviews — once, after they finish 15 years in service and again, after they complete 50 years of age. If they are found inefficient they will be retired from service. The government can also review the service record of any officer at any point and decide to show him the door.
Good move but long delayed. It is likely to make senior officials insecure, which is certainly not as bad as it sounds. It will make them more serious about their work. If they don't perform, taking the security offered by the government job for granted, they know the sword of Democles is hanging over their heads. Actually, instead of 15 years, the Centre should have fixed the first review at 10 years. Earlier, the performance of officials were appraised after they completed 30 years in service.
Vice President, Mohd. Hamid Ansari interacting with the IAS Probationers Batch -2010, in New Delhi on 11 February 2011. Image courtesy PIB
The move would have help weed out officers disinterested in their jobs.
As one article here had argued earlier, all evils in the bureaucracy boils down to one crucial issue: security. A government job is secure. Once one is in, there is hardly a chance of one getting thrown out. Performance is hardly demanded, efficiency is rarely encouraged and the person concerned knows these don't matter. It is not easy to throw out a government official on grounds of incompetence. That is where all the problems begin.
The blanket of security makes the bureaucrats irresponsible and apathetic to the jobs they handle. It also breeds corruption. Performance reviews and the fear of dismissal from service would change that to some extent. There's a flip side to it too — it might make officials jittery and thus encourage attrition. But it is worth taking the risk. The competent lot will never be nervous about matters of job security.
However, it is a small step towards making the bureaucracy more efficient. The process should start much earlier. For example, the entry tests should be more purposeful, not like regular high school examinations. It should test the intelligence of the candidate rather than his profoundness in any particular subject or subjects. Secondly, the training process should be orientated towards inculcating administrative and management skills in the officials.
Better still, create an institution imparting full-time courses for future officials. This will ensure that people who are really passionate about the civil service get into it. Most of the inefficiency is the result of lack of true liking for the job. A time-bound course would help identify and eliminate people who are in it out of compulsion. Moreover, it would create good, trained officers who would not take long to catch the nuances of their jobs.
What the country needs now is smart and effective people acting as the bridge between the government and the masses, not people lording over files. They should be successful service delivery agents instead of perennial black holes where everything disappears. Any experiment in this direction is welcome. The steel frame of governance has rotted and corroded deep within. It needs to be revived.
The review system is good but it needs to be full-proof, with enough safeguards for the competent officials. It is possible that a combination of the minister and the immediate boss of such officials could play havoc with their careers. But this problem could be sorted out in due course. Let's take the first step first.

Bengal debt burden can be more, hints Mamata Banerjee
KRISHNAGAR (WB): The debt burden bequeathed by the erstwhile Left Front government in West Bengal could be more than Rs 2.3 lakh crore, Chief MinisterMamata Banerjee today hinted.

''The debt of Rs 2.3 lakh crore is to our knowledge only, but the amount can be more, which we do not know, as many papers are missing,'' Mamata said while launching some local trains here in Nadia district.

Painting a grim picture of the state's finances in which the government was left with only six paise from every rupee it earns to fund development, she said the government had to shell out Rs 22,000 crore a year as interest and part of the principal as well by way of debt servicing.

She said the present government was carrying the load of "sins" committed by the previous government. Accusing the Left Front of leaving a crippling economy and infrastructure, Banerjee asserted, "What they (LF government) could not do in 34 years, we will do in four years and that is my target."

The chief minister assured that her government was working hard to create ten lakh jobs within five years. "In the last eight months the present government has already created 2.75 lakh jobs," she claimed.

She also voiced her opposition to bandhs and blockades on railway tracks and roads. "We have to ensure that nothing disrupts the progress of Bengal. In the name of road and train track blockades attempts are being made to disrupt development," she said.

Banerjee said that a number of rail projects involving crores of rupees would come up in West Bengal in the coming years generating a huge employment.
The running battle between Congress and Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal government intensified on Wednesday with the AICC declaring that the Centre has released Rs 23,695 crore to the state, dismissing as a "complete error" state Finance Minister Amit Mitra's statement that not a paisa has been received.

Besides, Rs 6754 crore worth of proposals from West Bengal stand approved by the Empowered Committee in the Planning Commission, party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said in a statement quoting facts and figures obtained from Union Finance Ministry.
"From May 20, 2011, to February 6, 2012, alone, since Dr Mitra became Finance Minister, approximately Rs 23,695 crore has been disbursed/released by the Centre to West Bengal", he said.
The facts and figures "demonstrate not only the complete error of West Bengal Finance Minister's statement but also show that there appears to be a deliberate attempt to understate and suppress central assistance to West Bengal. What may be the reason for this strange attitude is anybody's guess," he said.
The reference was apparently to the strained relations between the two parties, sharing power in the state and at the Centre, on a variety of issues, including FDI in retail, Lokpal Bill and Teesta water-sharing.
Singhvi recalled that the state Finance Minister had dubbed as "untrue" his statement earlier this week that the Centre had approved assistance of about Rs 8750 crores to the state. "I had talked only about allocation/approvals, not disbursals."
"It is true that I am not an economist but that is not important. What is important is that an eminent economist and Finance Minister of WB did not know these figures or did not care to find them out or did not want to talk about them when he issued a blanket refutation of my comment, saying that not a paisa had been received by him from the central government", Singhvi said.

Mamata admits: State lagging in NREGS implementation

Express news service : Kolkata, Wed Feb 08 2012, 04:49 hrs

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday admitted that the state was lagging behind in implementing the rural employment gurantee scheme and quickly added that the performance has, however, improved in the last three months.
Banerjee, who visited Nadia district and held a meeting with administrative officials to review the Centrally-sponsored and state funded welfare schemes, said: "Earlier, beneficiaries of the scheme used to get wages long after doing the job under MNREGS. But the present government, through discussion with banks, is giving wages to the beneficiaries on the day of work. As a result, the performance has improved in providing jobs under the scheme."
Meanwhile, she announced setting up of two new municipalities - Tehatta and Haringhata- in Nadia and showered sops to the region. According to her, the government is planning to set up tourist hub to promote places like Nabadwip, Mayapur and Palasi. Also there is a plan to set up water bottling plant in the district.
The government wants to upgrade 48 primary and 40 secondary schools in Nadia. Two polytechnic colleges for women will also come up in the district.
Banerjee expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the CPM controlled Nadia Jila Parishad but ruled out possibility of dissolving it before next panchayat poll. The CPM had dissolved many panchayats much before election but the present government will not do so, she said.
The chief minister has also expressed concern over the state of NH-4 in some places and said she has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue. She said the state's performance in Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yogana was not up to the mark but hoped that it would be better in the coming months. Banerjee said her party has come to the power in the middle of the year and not too much time was available. Every body knows what the past government had done, she said, adding, the Block Development officers have been asked to monitor work under the scheme.

Development high on taskmaster CM's agenda

Saibal Sen, TNN | Feb 8, 2012, 02.58AM IST
KRISHNAGAR: She was the tough taskmaster, as always. She wielded sticks and dangled carrots to get work done. Some got the stick and some were lauded for their good work. She pulled up top district officials, asked them to increase mobility, expressed unhappiness over the functioning of Benfed, pace of rural electrification and 100-day work scheme. It all happened in Nadia, during the chief minister's one-day district tour on Tuesday.
Come what may, development work in the districts will not be hampered, said Mamata Banerjee. She also made it clear that she is against dissolving any zilla parishad, indicating, those run by the opposition will continue to serve their full term. The chief minister spent the whole day at Krishnagar - the district headquarters. It was the last leg of her tour to South Bengal districts. (By February 10, she will complete visiting all districts, barring Murshidabad, she said.)
Mamata held a three-hour-long closed-door meeting with district officials. She was happy to know that the administration has already procured 2,500 tonne more rice than what they did during the same time last year. She was told that the procurement could have been better had Benfed worked properly. The CM was furious. "Why? Are they sleeping? How can a government-run body behave like this? We will blacklist them if they continue like this. Shantanu (an officer in CMO), please ensure that the cooperative department is represented in meetings hereafter. Take it up with them and let me know the reasons immediately," she said.
Mamata told the district officials at the onset that she is not happy either with the pace of rural electrification in the district. At this, Nadia DM Abhinav Chandra informed her that the pace is picking up and they've already reached the halfway mark. "Ma'am, the issue was lack of coordination. Now we have committees at all three levels - starting from panchayats. This has solved the problems. We hope to meet 85% of the target by the end of this fiscal," he said. The chief minister appreciated it and said, "Why 85%? Why not 100%?" Then she asked: "How many pending applications of electricity connections do you have?" It's 75,000, she was told. Of them, 15,000 has been processed. "Form a task force to speed up the process. There might be several reasons behind the delay, politics being one of them, I have been told," Mamata said.
Mamata told the officials: "You must increase mobility. And I tell this to everybody - right from the DM to the BDOs, and from the SP to the police officers. Dieting is not the only way to be in shape."
She also urged the district administration to improve the healthcare facilities, urged transport minister Madan Mitra to introduce more buses, asked municipal affairs secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay to accord Tehatta and Haringhata the status of municipalities. She has already written and talked to the Prime Minister for improving the condition of NH-34.
"The repair work needs to be completed fast and the encroachments have to be removed. But there is little we can do on our own for it is up to the NHAI to do that," she said.
During her trip to Nadia, the chief minister stressed on minority development and education. She urged the district administration to expedite the sample survey on minorities and asked them to include the Muslim burial grounds renovation under the 100-day work scheme. She was happy when told that Nadia has a "phenomenal rise of 200%" in providing certificates to SC/STs. "I feel you should award the performers," she told the DM, adding, "And blacklist those who can't."
She also urged the district administration to build a detailed roadmap to put Nadia in the state's tourism map. Later, emerging out of the meeting, she told reporters that the district has to better its MGNREGA performance. I also suggested to reopen the Dhubulia hospital on a PPP model".

Colour of poriborton? TMC to use MP funds only to paint Kolkata blue

TNN | Feb 8, 2012, 04.14AM IST
KOLKATA: Kolkata may be crying for better hospitals and roads, but Trinamool Congress MPs representing the city will now spend their allotted development funds only on beautification. This directive came from Kolkata South MP Subrata Bakshi and was circulated among party councillors on Tuesday, leaving many of them fumbling for words.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation is already on a frenzied drive to paint Kolkata blue - because chief minister Mamata Banerjee has decided to make it the city's theme colour. Even trees on Red Road have been painted in enamel blue colour. Now, under Bakshi's new rules, if you paint your house blue and white, you could win yourself a rebate on property tax.

These guidelines will soon be issued by the city's civic brass, Bakshi told Trinamool councilors at the KMC headquarters on Tuesday. An MP gets Rs 6 crore a year for development projects. Bakshi has already told councilors in his constituency (that was vacated by Mamata) to submit beautification projects. The list of such plans will be sent to Kolkata South MP and the beautification work will start after the necessary modifications, said a Trinamool councillor who attended the meeting.

The new guidelines unequivocally say that central funds allotted to an MP for area development will instead be used for beautification.

This includes laying pavements with designer tiles, sprucing up parks and painting flyovers, bus shelters, bridges, lamp-posts and just about everything blue.

A section of Trinamool councillors expressed surprise over Bakshi's proposal to use MPLAD funds for beautification.

"We have potholed roads, and poor sewerage and water supply systems. MP grants were meant to be used for slum development, repair of school buildings and other development purposes," said a councillor.

The mayor confirmed to TOI that such a proposal had come from the south Kolkata MP and was under consideration. Bakshi, however, did not comment on this issue. He said he had come to meet councillors at KMC to discuss development.

How TV cameras captured BJP ministers watching porn!

Allowing TV channels to cover the legislature proceedings from the visitors' gallery cost the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government inKarnataka dear, as their video cameras caught its two ministers watching porn in the assembly.

The state legislature secretariat, which for security reasons banned video and photo journalists from covering the proceedings from the margins of the house, however, allowed them to record the current 10-day session from the visitors' gallery on the first floor of the Vidhan Soudha.

Video journalists of two-three Kannada news channels, covering the proceedings from a vantage point in the gallery, noticed ministers LaxmanSavadi and CC Patil glued to a mobile handset and zoomed their cameras to focus on what they were viewing.

A close look and replay of the video footage showed the duo sitting together and watching sleaze on a mobile handset belonging to fellow minister JKrishna Palemar. All three have now quiting their ministerial positions.
Use of cell phones is prohibited in the state legislature when the assembly and the council are in session. Mobile jammers inside in the monolithic building, however, have not been working due to a snag that remained unattended for weeks by the secretariat staff.

According to reports in the local media, the porn clipping, called 'Abik', is a mobile phone movie (3GPP imported file) of four minute, 12 seconds.

Parts of the remaining footage, beamed later by local and national channels throughout the night, were blurred.
The video clip has been in circulation in Hubli-Dharwad, about 480 km fromBangalore, over the last couple of months.

Savadi, a BJP lawmaker from Athni constituency in Belgaum district, about 500 km from here, was minister for cooperation and agriculture marketing and Patil, another ruling party lawmaker from Nargund segment in Gadagdistrict, was minister for women and child development.

Incidentally, Palemar's mobile phone -- which Savadi and Patil used for alleged porn viewing -- also had a video clipping of the rave party held late on Saturday (February 4) on St Mary's Island at Malpe off the state's west coast, which too showed foreign tourists, including hippies having drinks, drugs and indulging in obscene acts.

Ironically, the rave party on the island near Udupi, about 400 km from here, was sponsored by the state government for promoting tourism in the coastal region.

BJP having all kinds of entertainment: Kapil Sibal on porn row

The porn clip controversy in Karnataka Assembly led Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal to take a dig at BJP on Wednesday saying the party is having "all the entertainment".

Sibal went a step further saying the BJP should look inwards before preaching morality, as the saffron party sought to take credit for setting an example of high moral standards and probity in public life by asking the three ministers involved in the sleaze in Karnataka to resign.

"Nowadays it appears that some of the BJP people are having all kinds of entertainment. Sometimes it is political entertainment. Sometimes it is entertainment of another sort," he told reporters in Delhi evoking peals of laughter.
Sibal also said the BJP, which "waxes eloquent on the issue of morality", will find the answers if they really look at their own members of the legislative assembly.

Echoing Sibal's sentiments, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said the porn controversy showed the "hiatus" between preaching and practiceby the Opposition party.

"From corruption to pornography they have the entire spectrum and range available in BJP in Karnataka. This shows the hiatus between preaching and practice by BJP," party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.

Minister for Cooperation Laxman Savadi, Minister for Women and Child Development CC Patil and Minister for Ports and Science and Technology Krishna Palemar announced their decision to quit after a meeting with top leaders, saying they don't want the party and the government to face further embarrassment.

"The BJP high command took the decision of asking the three ministers, against whom the allegations were made, to submit their resignation," BJPleader Dhananjay Kumar told reporters.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamywhile criticising the BJP for 'delaying' action against the three ministers accused it of promoting a new culture of "Baarah Khoon Maaf" (12 murders pardoned) culture to save its 'wobbly' government.

"The BJP Government in the state is promoting and abetting the new culture of "Baaraah Khoon Maaf", where it does not pronounce their leaders or ministers guilty until they have been found guilty in eleven cases," he said inBangalore.

Sex Video : Three Karnataka Ministers Resign, Face Enquiry

Daijiworld Media Network – Bangalore (SP)
Bangalore, Feb 8: Assembly sessions are convened to do serious business aimed at attaining progress of the state and attending to the welfare of the people. But, three ministers in the state government were seen watching vulgar dances and sex scenes in mobile phone. Their behaviour was recorded by television cameras, and the ministers, who tried to claim that they had never done so, had to resign today morning after the high command stepped in and blew the whistle.

Laxman Savadi, CC Patil and Krishna Palemar
Ministers, Laxman Savadi, C C Patil, and Krishna Palemar, resigned today after they were told in no uncertain terms by the national leaders that their action was not fit of their approval. The high command, it appears, is in a hurry not to allow the party's image to suffer further because of this episode.
The incident occurred when opposition leader, Siddaramaiah, was taking the government to task for failing to take proper action in the case of hoisting of Pakistani flag at Sidhagi, and was deriding Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for its role in this episode, when the incident occurred. Chief Minister, Sadananda Gowda, and minister, Suresh Kumar, who is also the leader of the house, were not present when the incident occurred.
When BJP ministers and MLAs joined together to pounce upon Siddaramaiah and deride him for passing strong comments against the party regime, when minister for cooperation, Laxman Savadi, and minister for child and women welfare, C C Patil, continued to be busy watching the mobile, as if they were unconcerned about the proceedings of the house. Savadi had hidden the mobile phone inside a file and was watching the scenes, and C C Patil, who was seated by his side, was seen peeping into the mobile frequently to enjoy what was going on.
Immediately television channels beamed the scenes, an outrage against ministers swept across the state. A call for Athani bandh was given. Athavni is the constituency represented by Laxman Savadi. The opposition leaders also jumped into action, criticizing the ministers vociferously for their immoral act, and demanding their resignations. It is understood that national president of BJP, Nitin Gadkari, passed on instructions for the resignations of these ministers.
The party had also come under criticism a day earlier for allowing rave party at St Mary's Island off Malpe near Udupi in the name of cultural festival aimed at attracting tourists.
All the three ministers claimed that they had done nothing wrong, but were resigning in order to save the party from blushes, as the media and opposition parties are engaged in slanderous campaign against them. They requested Chioef Minister, Sadananda Gowda, state president of BJP, K S Eshwarappa, and leaders, Basavaraja Bommai and Jagadish Shettar, to accept their resignations. They have also appealed to the assembly speaker to conduct an inquiry into the incident, and expressed confidence of coming out clean.
Savadi said that minister Krishna Palemar, who received a MMS relating to a rape which happened in a foreign country, handed over to him. He said the scene depicted raping of a Muslim lady by four youth, and murdering her later. The police and public together catch hold of the guilty and hang them in the scene, he said. He said there was no mistake in watching the scene, as it looked like the ones which occurred at Udupi. He said he is not that dumb watch blue film when the assembly was in session. He however, feigned ignorance about details about the sender or website from which the scene was downloaded.
In the meanwhile, Palemar said the mobile does not belong to him. He asserted that his mobile phone never receives any scenes explained above. He also said he had never discussed about the happenings in St Mary's Island with Laxman Savadi as claimed by the latter during his press conference at his home. He   said he was under pressure not to resign, but had volunteered to leave, to ensure that his party does not feel awkward in this case.
All the three ministers sent in their resignations by fax to the speaker and Chief Minister.
In the past, there had been incidents in which legislators were warned against using mobile phones inside the house.
It will be interesting to watch the fall out of this incident on the state government and BJP as a whole in the state, as Sangh Parivar is expected to intervene in the matter.
The Chief Minister, speaking to press persons, informed that three of his ministers have resigned voluntarily without being under any pressure, as they apprehended that the opposition will use the above incident as a political weapon. He said he is forwarding the resignations to the Governor for acceptance. He added that the ministers are confident of coming out unscathed, and that they had clarified to him that they had resigned on moral grounds.
K S Eshwarappa termed the resignations as unfortunate, and expressed confidence that the ministers will be able to prove themselves right.

Now, Manifesto by India Against Corruption

Faisal Fareed
Daijiworld Media Network - LucknowLucknow, Feb 5: With assembly elections round the corner, and for building pressure on political parties over various issues, now India Against Corruption (IAC), Uttar Pradesh, too has come up with its own 'manifesto'.
Called the 'Janta Manifesto', it incorporates a number of demands along with a strong Lokpal and Lokayukt.
In the manifesto, the IAC also demanded waiving off taxes from food, cloth, education, medicines, energy and agriculture, bringing back black money stashed in foreign banks, and so on.
Activist of IAC, UP, Akhilesh Saxena said that they have introduced this manifesto after assessing the manifestos of political parties. We have raised the demands of the people in it, which should be accepted by every political parties contesting in upcoming assembly elections.
"We will take this to public and will carry out a signature campaign on it by the people in a number of districts of the state. We will ask people that if candidates comes to ask vote from them then they should ask them to promise fulfilment of these demands," he added.
Hitting on the unemployment rate of youths in the state, IAC also demanded job opportunities and 'Unemployment Allowance' for the unemployed.
"Youths in large number are still unemployed in the state which shows the failure of the state government. If they cannot arrange jobs for them what are they doing for the people of the state. They should also give 'Unemployment Allowance' to them as per their qualifications ranging between Rs 5000 to Rs 20,000," said Akhilesh.
He said there are several amenities which people use in their daily life or need, including food, cloth, education, medicines, electricity and agriculture but due to increased inflation they are not able get them properly. "We have mentioned in it that taxes from these items should be waived off so that common people could get them easily," he added.
IAC also demanded speedy trials in judiciary, wherein every case should be disposed off within a period of one year.
"We will be organising a massive conference by the end of March for building pressure on the state government for the implementation ofthese demands. We will also send this manifesto, after it is signed by the people, to political parties and their candidates and to some of the higher authorities too," said another IAC activist, Himanshu Bharat.

ji, Feb 6: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seem to be all set to flex her political arm ahead of the Mar 3 Goa Assembly elections 2012. She has laid out her vision to convert the beach state of Goa into a Hong Kong style 'financial district'. The matter was highlighted when Mamata released the election manifesto of the Trinamool Congress ahead of the Mar 3 Goa polls. The manifesto mentioned that the party wanted to convert the beach state into a.....

WB govt has created about 5 lakh jobs: Mamata

Saturday, February 4, 2012,17:30 [IST]
Howrah (WB), Feb 4: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today claimed that her government had created about five lakh jobs till date in the state. "We have created about five lakh jobs in the state. Around 2.75 lakh in the government and the rest (of them) in the private sector after coming to power," Banerjee said while laying the foundation stone of the foundry park at Howlibagan, about 35 km from here in Howrah district. She said alleged that the.....
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Companies cooking books to procure higher loans: Taxman to RBI

'RBI should act on bad practices by banks, corporates'


"The investigative wing of the income tax department has urged the RBI to look into this disturbing trend and consider guidelines for increased checks and balances at a recent meeting of the REIC", said one of the two individuals cited above.

REIC's or regional economic intelligence committees fall under the Finance Ministry and have been constituted for co-ordinating work amongst various enforcement and investigative agencies dealing with economic offences at a regional level.

"Bogus billing is a rampant practice aimed at inflated turnovers and the income tax department claims that some banks are approving loans to companies based on inflated turnovers, without verifying the sudden spike in revenues. The tax department claims banks are not raising an alarm in the absence of defaults by the companies", added an individual privy to the discussions.

The income tax department's concerns were fuelled after it detected alleged bogus billing by companies during recent raids in the real estate and textile sectors, sources added.
Wed, 08 Feb 2012 17:27:29 GMT

BJP's moral halo is fading rapidly

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) must be ruing coming to power in Karnataka and holding up the state as a gateway to rule south India. In the last four years, the party has been facing a series of scandals centred around money, land and sex.

Worse is the shallow stand taken by the state and central BJP leaders when their embers are caught flouting rules and indulging in illegal deals and other corruption scandals.
In the latest, the party had little option but to ask three ministers -- Laxman Savadi, C.C. Patil and J. Krishna Palemar -- to resign. Savadi and Patil were found watching porn clip in the assembly Tuesday on the cell phone of Palemar.
The explanation that followed show the BJP is either confused because it cannot take the moral high ground or it believes that inanities will fool the people.
The party high command did not ask for the resignations. The ministers quit on their own, claimed Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, his predecessor and scam-hit B.S. Yeddyurappa and the state BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa.
The reason the three leaders gave for the resignations was like bolting the stable after the horses have fled.
"The three did not want to embarrass the government or the party," the leaders explained, as if the very act of watching a porn clip in the house had not already stripped the party of all its pretensions that it was the only one to be guided by moral force.

Indian bureaucracy rated worst in Asia

Jan 11, 2012
#Asia #Bureaucracy #HowThisWorks #Indian Bureaucracy
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Singapore: Indian bureaucracy is the worst in Asia with a 9.21 rating out of 10, according to a report by a prestigious consulting firm based in Singapore.
India fared worst than Vietnam (rated at 8.54), Indonesia (8.37), Philippines (7.57) and China (7.11), said the report released today by Hong Kong-based Political & Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd.
Singapore remained the best with a rating of 2.25, followed by Hong Kong (3.53), Thailand (5.25) Taiwan (5.57), Japan (5.77), South Korea (5.87) and Malaysia (5.89).
The report said India's inefficient bureaucracy was largely responsible for most of the biggest complaints that business executive have about the country.
The complaints included inadequate infrastructure and corruption, where officials were willing to accept under-the-table payments and companies were tempted to pay to overcome bureaucratic inertia and gain government favours, the report claimed.
The report also highlighted onerous and fickle tax, environmental and other regulations that could make business in India "so frustrating and expensive". AFP
The report also highlighted onerous and fickle tax, environmental and other regulations that could make business in India "so frustrating and expensive".
It said dealing with the courts in India was an unattractive option for companies, and it would be best for them to avoid it.
Bureaucrats were rarely held accountable for wrong decisions and it would be extremely difficult to challenge them when there were disagreements, it said.
"This gives them (bureaucrats) terrific powers and could be one of the main reasons why average Indians as well as existing and would-be foreign investors perceive India's bureaucrats as negatively as they do," said the report.
But there were plus points when India was compared to countries within the economic development group.
In the 2011-12 Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum, India ranked behind China but ahead of Russia and Brazil for the burden of government regulations as well as for the burden of customs procedures.
India was also second to Brazil but well ahead of China and Russia for the quality of regulation and supervision of the securities exchange, said the report.
India was also better than Brazil, Russia and China as the fastest place to set up a new business and to deal with construction permits, and was the second fastest place to deal with export and import procedures, the report said.

Palash Biswas
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