Friday, October 30, 2009

Why all the fuss about IMEI Numbers?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Come November 1 many of the Cell Phone users in India won't be able to used their Cell Phones as the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has issued directive to all the service providers not to allow the cell phones without valid IMEI numbers to work. This decision is most likely to affect people owning cheap and funky Chinese made handsets which do not carry any IMEI number or carry invalid IM numbers. The TRAI's directive comes in wake of increasing internal security threats that the country is facing.

Now the question is why is so much fuss being created about IMEI and what is in the first place. IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity through which every cell phone can be uniquely identified. Now another facility available with the IMEI No is that in case of a theft of the mobile it can be made unusable by blocking it. Point to noted here is that such a facility is not available in India although it is the 3rd largest telecom market in the world with close to 480 million subscribers.

Another question is why were such mobile phones allowed to sold in the first place? Now these Chinese made handsets are openly sold across the country without the law enforcement agencies taking any action against them. Why is it that the government has woken up now when one out of four handsets in India does not bear a unique IMEI No? How does the government expect the rural population to aware of such a technical thing while buying cell phones?

If security is the only reason TRAI has taken this decision that it is laughable not because of its intent but because of the fact that the system has too many loopholes. Can the TRAI or the operators claim none of their SIM Cards are distributed before proper background check of the applicant. Will this measure be of any good in making India a more secure place. Will this curb the menace of acquiring a SIM Card in hours without any documents?

The main motive behind the descision won't be served when this is imposed. So what is the purpose of it? What is the Government doing to ensure that such phones do not find their way especially into the rural markets? The main aim of the TRAI is to create regular publicity stunts and make its presence felt. Or else it should check with the operators the quality of service, the distribution of SIM Cards and satisfaction of the customers.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

India's 4G war is already on!

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Just when India was coming on the 3G map with major Telecom operators starting to provide the service mainly in the urban areas the 4G war seems to be on. Intel the world’s largest chipmaker seems to be eyeing this future market. It is in talks with leading Indian Telecom companies like Tata Communications, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications. The broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum for 3G goes into auction in Jan '10.

If you thought Intel was moving too fast as even 3G hasn't established its foot on the ground you might just be wrong. 4G network which will be able to transmit data at around 100 MBPS speed is already undergoing test and it may be a mater of only a few years before 4G network hits the Indian market. Intel's interest in India's 4G spectrum also establishes the fact that India is likely to be one of the most lucrative Telecom markets in the world in the coming decade.

Why is 4G consider so much superior than the 3G which only a handful number of Indians has used due to its late entry into the Indian market.

  • A nominal data rate of 100 Mbit/s while the client physically moves at high speeds relative to the station, and 1 Gbit/s while client and station are in relatively fixed positions
  • A Seamless connectivity and global roaming across multiple networks
  • High quality of service for next generation multimedia support (real time audio, high speed data, HDTV video content, mobile TV

In layman's term a 4G enabled phone will truly converge the three media (telecom, television and internet) into one. The Convergence Bill of 2001 or better known as ICE (Information, Communication and Entertainment) had envisioned to achieve this long back but this never happened. With the launch of 3G all this became possible but the low bandwidth most of the users have been denied a hassle free experience.

There are however many who feel 3G and 4G may not become huge hit in India as most of the Indians use the phone mainly for calling purpose. In fact the rural population which is contributing to the growth of the mobile business in India doesn't even use the otherwise popular SMS (Short Messaging Service). It remains to be seen how much of a business success these technologies become in India after all we are country which has patronised 'Missed Calls'!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bowing down to Naxals was a wrong precedent

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The serious consequence of going into a swap deal with the Maoist came back to haunt the government faster than the security forces and the administration would have expected. Less that a week after West Bengal government releases 22 Naxal sympathisers for the release of policeman Athindranath Dutta the Naxals with the support of tribals hijacked the Delhi bound Rajdhani Express in the dense forest area of Jhargram demanding the release of their leader Chattrodhar Mahato.

The trade done by the West Bengal government was uncalled for and now the consequences are here for us to see. It was quite absurd to hear the WB Chief Minister assure no further trades would take place after Athindranath case. The Government's bowing down in front of them gave a huge moral victory to the left wing extremists who may now regularly kidnap government officials to ask for the release of their comrades.

The Left Front Government in West Bengal is in dilemma about dealing with the Naxals. While Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is firm on dealing it as a law and order problem many in his party want to approach it through socio economic means. Also the fact that Trinamool Congress is just interested in scoring political points instead of behaving as a responsible opposition is not helping the West Bengal Government.

Another major factor that Government seems to be ignoring is the ever increasing support base of the Naxals. The Rajdhani Express was hijacked by a few Naxals with the support of ordinary tribals. Now if this becomes a mass moment in the rural parts of the country it will bring down the administration to its knees. The government has to make every effort that the Naxals do not make it a mass moment with the support of the villagers across the dreaded Red Corridor which stretches from Andhra to Himachal.

The administration has to first cut the ground support that the Left wing terrorists have before taking them on. The government should stop bowing down to Naxal pressure in the near future and never get into a trade off deal with these extremists. The West Bengal government has to accept openly that it made a mistake by having a deal with the Naxals. No such deal should be allowed to take place in the future no mater what ever may be at stake.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

India finally sends a strong message to China

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The Indian Government finally took an firm decision when it cleared the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh next month sending a strong word to Beijing. China had been raising protest against the Tibetan spiritual leader's trip to the state. Red Dragon has time and again laid claims to the state of Arunachal Pradesh and thus raised objection to the Dalai Lama's visit to the state

Dalai Lama who is the face of the Tibetan moment is a thorn in the eye for the Chinese. They see him as a dissident and renegade leader who runs the Anti-China campaign for the freedom of Tibet sitting in India. The India Government granting him asylum has been a bone of contention between the two nations for the past four decades. The state run media has regularly published inflammatory news items staking claims over Arunachal Pradesh.

The announcement from the External Affairs Ministry is significant as comes on a day when Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi is attending a trilateral meeting between Russia, India, China (RIC) meeting in Bangalore. Over the last few months there have been several occasions when the Chinese foreign ministry made aggressive stance be it with sending military patrols in Ladakh or protesting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Arunachal

China has been good at playing the teasing and provoking game when it comes to dealing with India. Beijing is known to support Pakistan sponsored terrorist activities in India. But they are now having to pay the price with Islamic fundamentalism biting them in their Xixiang Province. China kept India engaged with Pakistan so that it could blackmail India on the eastern border. But now with Indian government looking towards the east China is in a state of entropy.

The Indian leadership has finally showed some grit and determination and sent a strong message to China. The government should not bow down to any pressure while dealing with India's domestic matters. China might be a superpower but India is no joke either. The Government should make sure that the strong face that it has put in front of Beijing becomes a policy and irrespective of the government and leadership. We always need to keep up a strong stance towards China.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Thackrey's Marathi Manoos card is irrelevant

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Indian democracy and its political is regularly known to touch lows. And perhaps the most recent example when Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray said that the 'Marathi Manoos' had betrayed him. The 83 year old Godfather of Maharashtra Politics who had establish his party for the cause of the sons of soil said that he won't ever trust the Marathi manoos. To sum up his anger on the Marathis he said “The Marathi manoos has ditched me.”

It is perhaps only in Indian democracy that a leader can make such a statement after loosing an election. Does he have any respect for people's mandate. Do the words 'democracy' and 'elections' mean anything to him. On what grounds does he accuse the Marathis of betraying his cause (what ever the cause he may understand). Does Marathi nationalism (he would like to read regionalism) have to start and end with Shiv Sena.

What right does Mr. Bal Thackrey have to blame the people of Maharashtra when he was unable to set his house in order. What forced him to become bias and chooses a inefficient son over a more efficient nephew as his political heir? Isn't he answerable to the people of Maharashtra on this? Mr. Thackeray should realises that there has been a sea change in the society over the years and his regionalism card is no longer an ace of spades.

There has been a pattern in the election starting with the Lok Sabha polls and across the country people are preferring to back the national level parties and do away with regionalisms. The violent Marathi manoos campaign patronised by Shiv Sena and later the MNS has cost many individuals their lives. A mandate against such breed of politics is a welcome change in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena's biggest defeat has been that it was unable to polarise people this time around.

One more factor which has been a disguise setback for the Shiv Sena has been that its coalition partner BJP has won more seats in the assembly for the first time. This means that BJP will play a larger role when it comes to heading the opposition in the house. Perhaps another signal that people prefer a national party more than a regional in Maharashtra. Mr. Thackeray should see the signs written on the walls all over Maharashtra rather than taking a dig at the Marathi people.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Is this the end for BJP?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The Congress's clean sweep in the assembly elections in three states - Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh has come as one more blow to the already demoralised BJP. The party has been reeling under a severe crisis since the Lok Sabha defeat and seems to have lost its connect with the people of this country. The biggest setback for them is perhaps Maharashtra where the people did not choose them over a two term government which had nothing to boast about going into the elections.

The big questions now arises is has the BJP lost its grip on Indian politics and its status as the biggest alternative to the Congress? The saffron brigade has been on a constant decline since the 2004 Lok Sabha polls but the party seems to have been shattered since defeat in the General Elections earlier this year. The infighting among its senior leaders is not helping its cause. BJP which was looked upon for its discipline and in-house democracy is a house in complete disarray.

The RSS which was the main ground force for the BJP also doesn't seem to be in tune with the party anymore. The election defeat has shown that BJP is slowly loosing its roots which it has spread under the leadership of Atal Behari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani. The factionalism between the Sangh and non-Sangh leaders within the BJP seems to be its biggest problem and there is a cloud of uncertainty among the leaders regarding the party's ideology.

BJP's rise in the 90s was an outcome of the people's frustration with India's grand old party the Congress turning into a corrupted, inefficient and indifferent league of leaders. BJP presented itself to the people with a cleaner and more selfless image. But over time the party turned into another Congress with its leadership failing to control the party bottom down and its name being involved with communalims, corruption and inefficiency.

If fresh blood and leadership is not injected into the party immediately, BJP will fall like Jan Sangh and Janata Dal in the past. It is very dangerous for our nation not to have an alternative to Congress as we have seen in the past how bad the grand old party can become in the absence of a strong opposition. After all a vibrant democracy thrives when there is a strong opposition to keep a check on the policies and programmes of the government.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Congress-NCP hold the Maha Fort

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The results for the three Assembly elections are out and its Congress which has made a clean sweep over BJP and the NDA coalition all over the country. While Congress victory in Arunachal Pradesh and Harayana was anticipated much before the polls, Maharashtra was the place where the entire nation had their eyes. For one this was the second largest state (by population) in India going to polls and secondly it was a state where the NDA and the UPA were head to head.

The results are finally out and the Congress-NCP alliance has defied anti-incumbency and managed to hold power for the third consecutive time. For the BJP and the Shiv Sena it was another demoralising defeat which the NDA camp is slowly getting used to. Congress and NCP managed to cross the halfway mark of 144 by a whisker grabbing 145 seats in the 288 member house. In the end the ruling coalition just about managed to return home.

It wasn't a thumbs up victory for the Congress-NCP but more of a defeat of the opposition. Considering the amount of dissent that people in rural Maharashtra had with the government BJP-Sena could have fared much better had they managed their election campaign properly. Demoralised by the Lok Sabha polls BJP seems to be a party in decline which is unable to regroup itself. Congress had gone through a similar phase post 1996 Lok Sabha defeat.

The Sena-BJP combine might like to rest blame on Raj Thackrey and the MNS but the truth NDA seems to have lost its connect with people in general. MNS making its debut in the State Assembly seems to have done well managing 13 seats. They have surely dented BJP-Sena's chances of forming a government by eating into their vote share. Many analysts are drawing the map which shows that had the estranged Thackrey brothers been together results could have been different. Had Bal Thackrey not favoured his son over his more able nephew he would have surely distributing sweets in Mumbai.

Congress has come stronger over NCP and which means the keys to the new government will be in Sonia Gandhi's hands and not in Sharad Pawar's. Congress which had stressed on the coalition to be under its terms after its performance in the Lok Sabha polls has closed the door for Mr. Pawar to blackmail it any more. A grand Maratha NCP-Sena alliance is out of the picture and Mr. Pawar will have to listen to 10 Janpath for the next five years both at the centre and the state.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Can Microsoft do it with Windows 7?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

It was just about two years ago that Microsoft built an immense hype for its latest operating system Windows Vista. Microsoft created a sense of "wow" factor surrounding its new baby. But within months the truth was out and the entire world discovered that Vista was unstable, offered less than promised security and didn't work all that well with third-party peripherals. This meant that Microsoft was pushed to the drawing board and now has now come out with Windows 7 in less than two years after the launch of Vista.

First things first this time around Microsoft is taking a more subdued approach and wants the product to speak for itself. Windows 7 could be the make or break OS for Microsoft as it faces threat from Linux, Apple and Google. The industry has changed a lot since the release of Vista. PC sales have slowed during the recession. This means that Windows 7 will have to survive in a more challenging environment than Vista. It may not see swarming sales it saw with Vista as many people will be sceptical this time.

Windows 7 is coming with a touch-screen support. It will integrate with any new touch-screen PC. This feature gives Microsoft a rare leg up on Apple, whose newly revealed Macintosh line-up doesn't include a touch-screen desktop or laptop (funny considering Apple is revolutionising the touch generation elsewhere). A new Snap feature predicts where users want to place their application windows. Windows 7 allows users to pin their favourite applications to the taskbar, similar to the Apple's Mac OSX

Windows 7 is also coming with security features in the enterprise-targeted version, such as BitLocker and BitLocker To Go, could be attractive for businesses that deal with sensitive data. Documents and storage devices can be password-protected and securely recovered. With Windows 7 Professional and up, people can use XP Mode to emulate the old operating system and run XP applications. This will be huge advantage over Vista as many applications compatible with XP didn't run on Vista.

Many feel Vista failed not because it was bad but because it was ahead of time. The hardware in most PCs around the world wasn't ready to deal with Vista which is not the case with Windows 7. The majority of businesses around the world are running an 8-year-old operating system, XP on pre-Vista computers now want to upgrade. With recession subsiding many corporates are looking forward to upgrading their PC and using the latest Operating System.

Experts who have used the Beta version of Windows 7 say it is faster, more reliable and more secure than Vista. Although the new operating system and fixed the loopholes it had with Vista it is not very different from its predecessor as both have been built on the same platform. It will be too early to predict the future of Windows 7 but one thing is sure this OS might very well decide the future of the Microsoft.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Only Eight Point Someone for the IITs?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

That might become a reality if Union Human Resource Development minister Kapil Sibbal has his way. Mr. Sibbal suggested that 80 percent cut-off will be done to ensure that students took their Class XII exams seriously. This rule will be applicable from the 2011 sessions in all the 16 premier technology institutes of the country. The bar to appear for the entrance which once stood at 50% had been raised to a minimum of 60% three years ago.

The decision has had mixed reactions in the among the teachers and the students. Whereas students are against this citing the reason that only a few will be eligible to appear for entrance exam their teachers are happy that Class XII exam will be taken more seriously by the students. One of the major factors which led to this decision was to check the growth of coaching centres, which were thriving on imparting coaching to IIT aspirants which mainly is accessible only to the elites.

The decision has both pros and cons. For one it will surely hit the lucrative coaching business in places like Kota which churn IIT cracking students like a factory. The short cut methods that these institutes use gives their candidates a high chance of cracking the exam considered one of the toughest in the world. The negative side of this is that very few students without formal coaching crack the exam and this hurts the chances of students belonging to far flung regions and those with poor socio-economic background.

But this decision will have adverse effect too. It will mean an end to the IIT dream for many students who do not secure 80% in their Class XII examination. What will be Mr. Kapil Sibbal's answer to a candidate who might have secured 78 or 79% marks in Class XII? That he is not fit for the IIT? There will be no second chance for people who might have for some reason not fared well in their school and junior college leaving examination.

With bulk of the students in India studying under State Boards which have divergence in their marking patterns how will Mr. Sibbal guarantee that only the deserving candidates make it to the IIT? What is the guarantee that different State Boards will not temper with their marking patterns to make sure more and more students make it to the IIT entrance examination? What if there is scenario where the students with 80% plus marks fail to pass the preliminary and the mains and thus fail to fill up the seats? Can percentage alone reflect the IQ of a student capable of cracking the IIT?

Mr. Sibbal and his team might have tried to cut down the ill sides of the IIT Entrance examination but this step will have more cons than pros. It will badly hit the backward regions of the country where scoring a 80% is still not common and benefit the metros where horde of students cross this mark. It will be interesting to see what impact this new rule creates, as for now it seems more bad than good to the naked eye.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Google understands no recession!

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

If you thought recession was effecting every major industry and performance think again there are certain industries which technically will thrive more in an uncertain market. Telecom and Internet are the biggest beneficiaries as panicky people make more calls and surf the internet more. Jokes apart Telecom and Internet have done relatively well in the past year when many business giants went on the verge of bankruptcy.

Leading the way has been Internet search Giant Google. The company has posted a 27 per cent jump in its third quarter (Q3) net profit. It's profit stood at 1.6 billion dollars and its revenue rose by 7 per cent in the third quarter as opposed to the mere 3 in the second quarter. CEO Eric Schmidt said that the company was planning on increasing its headcount apart from making heavy investments. To boost the confidence of the investors he also informed that the worst of the recession is over.

These figures are no mean achievement in a market scenario where many of the biggest business houses had to go their respective governments for bail outs. Google's profit also proved the fact that the Online Advertisement industry is still lucrative. The company's partner sites which share revenue through their AdSense programme earned an estimated revenue of more that 1.80 billion dollars which is a seven percent increasing from the last quarter.

This profit comes as no shock to millions of Google users across the world as the company through its constant evolution has been one of the most admired brands in the market for in the last decade. It's biggest testament perhaps lies in the fact that two of its biggest competitors Yahoo and Microsoft haven't had any such profits to boast and what's more both of them are on the part of merger to take on the California based giant.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pakistan falls victim to its own monster

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

There is a saying in the Indian culture that when you play too much with fire you are at the risk of burning your hands. The saying holds true for our neighbour Pakistan. For years Islamabad harboured the so called jehadis to first fight the Russians in Afghanistan and than create trouble in India. But now Islamabad and the entire Pakistan is having to live under constant fear of attacks by the same 'holy fighters' whom they were once proud of.

The back to back attacks on Lahore have once again proved that the Frankenstein Monster that Pakistan created is slowly moving towards controlling the entire nation. The irony is that Pakistan is probably the only nation in the world which is actively supporting terrorism at the same time facing its heat. It is not surprising for New Delhi that Pakistan still supports terror camps in the Pak occupied Kashmir and regularly backs infiltration into India.

The Pakistani army is too far stretched to make a productive counter attack against these men who quite freely roam in the streets of Pakistan. On one hand the Pakistani army is guarding the Pak-Afghan border and fighting rebels in Baluchistan. On the other hand it is being attacked in the most fortified of the places in the county and the terrorists are striking at will at their cantonments. Its obsession with India on the eastern front means that it is unable to redeploy troops to take on the terrorists.

The fundamental problem for Pakistani people and the government lies with the fact that they are obsessed with India and the Kashmir issue. Since the defeat in the 1971 war Pakistani government with the help of religious fundamentalist have intoxicated generations of young men and women to have a strong anti-India feeling which later turned into a anti-West feeling when US attacked Afghanistan after the fall of Twin Towers in 2001.

There is no easy solution for the problem in Pakistan. The culture of promoting terrorism has to be looked into seriously if Pakistan has to come out of this menace. The people of Pakistan must understand that they individually stand to gain nothing from the Kashmir issue but being obsessed about this issue might trigger the Doom's Day for them. The Pakistani government must focus on saving precious lives in Pakistan rather than taking lives of Indians by promoting a proxy war in India.


Yes!!! He Can.....Or Can He???

By: Reetasri Bhattacharjee

The day the announcement came that Barack Obama has been conferred with the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, I just gaped unbelievingly at the newspaper. It seemed so sudden and out of place. My novice notion of a person eligible for a Nobel Peace Prize had been a person who had done some substantial work for peace process in the world. US President and peace process? Doesn’t seem to go together somehow, or does it? So I did a little reading on the world opinion and here is what people have to say.

Most people that I have read up are criticizing this selection. Some say it is too early to award him when he hasn’t been in the post of the President for even a year. Just the promises of his election campaign does not make his words come true nor does it make him a prime peace-keeper. Many cynical pieces can be found on the net as reactions. The most interesting of them, as I observed, was that just a couple of days after the announcement of the prize, the US sent thousands of troops to Afghanistan to fight against Taliban. So much for the peace process!

According to Washington Post a total of 34,000 troops have been sent since Obama took office in January.
Some say it is a wrong moment to confer the award to him. He isn’t making any progress with the peace process around the world at the moment but surely has the potential to do so. In the Middle East, the Palestinians have now declared that their hopes in the new US President have "evaporated" while the Israeli Foreign Minister has openly stated that he doesn't believe peace is feasible. In Iran too amenable relationship has been stopped over the confrontation of Tehran’s nuclear plans. In Afghanistan, an example is already cited above.

US, being a super-power is always poking its nose in everyone’s matter. It believes it has the right to settle issues remotely related to it. Of course, now everyone has agreed more or less that this is the way America is surging on its super-power tag, but sometimes it becomes to much even for a critic. Obama is no less an American in taking this “super power” dream of US forward. But all interference is always in the name of PEACE. With his declaring that he is going to donate the prize money to charity, it just goes to show how “considerate” a person he is, doesn’t it?

As for us, the beares of this peace process, we can just sit and sing…YES HE CAN or may be better still…CAN HE???

This blog has been contributed by Reetasri Bhattacharjee a dear friend of mine. She is a regular blogger on blogspot and maintains the blog My Passing Moments


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

India shouldn't lend ear to Chinese protest

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The Chinese protest over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's weekend visit to Arunachal Pradesh did not come as a surprise to many. Beijing expressed dissatisfaction over Singh's trip and said Indian side should address China's serious and just concerns and not trigger disturbances in the disputed region so as to facilitate the healthy development of China-India relations. This because China doesn't recognise Arunachal Pradesh to be a part of the Indian Union.

This is the latest in a series of protest raised by China in the recent months. First Beijing had sought to block part of a loan to India from the Asian Development Bank earmarked for projects in Arunachal Pradesh as it regularly opposes any developmental work in the state. Then it had protested the visit of Dalai Lama to Arunachal as he has been leading the Tibetan freedom moment for the last four decades from the Indian soil after having sought asylum here.

The question now arises should we react to such protest made by the Chinese. The answer is a straight 'NO' as Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of the Indian Union and our Prime Minister's visit to the state should not be subject to Chinese permission. The Red Country has been protesting on every VIP visit to the state for the last six decades and its claim on India's eastern most state had led to the Sino-Indian war in 1962.

Teasing India seems to be a major strategy in the Chinese Foreign Policy. China sees India as its biggest competitor in the coming decade, and its growth lies in India's slow progress. One strategy to unsettle India is by regularly issuing it military and diplomatic threats. They are also helped by the fact that a huge chunk of the Indian population believes in Chinese economic and military might and feels India is no comparison to China.

China might be militarily and economically ahead of us at the moment but they are no fools to confront India directly. If any theory says India can't win a war versus China the same theory also says China can't win a conventional military war against India. Thus the Chinese military threat is more of psychological than in reality. Small intrusions and border violations are a part of the game in any disputed border in the world.

So Indian needs to be more assertive when dealing with China. If we believe Arunachal Pradesh to be an integral part of our country we should not lend ear to Chinese protests. China will never think about a large scale military operation against India as it will be self demolishing act if it does so. So our leaders need to strong with more resolve and not bow down to each and every protest that comes from Beijing.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

MNS might spoil Maharashtra elections

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

As Maharashtra, Harayana and Arunachal Pradesh go to polls today the eyes of the entire nation will be on the outcome of the results. The elections in these states are been watched closely as this is for the first time the NDA and the UPA are taking on each other since the Lok Sabha polls in May. Although national politics is not known to affect State Assembly Elections it will still be a reality check for UPA-II under the leadership of Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Both Harayana and Arunachal Pradesh are expected to remain in the hands of the Congress going by the pre poll sentiments among the people. Maharashtra however has enough uncertainty to attract the attention of the entire nation. Will the Congress-NCP alliance be able to retain their government? Will the BJP-Shiv Sena combine pull off a stunning victory to give the saffron brigade something to cheer about? How much of an impact will the MNS create in the polls which is rightly being called the 'Maha Elections?'

Going by the fact that people of Maharashtra have had two successive government under the Congress-NCP rule which has done very little to get itself re-elected a BJP-Shiv Sena combine was most likely to cash on it. But the thorn in the flash for the saffron brigade is the Raj Thackrey floated Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. MNS which erupted out of a family feud between the Thackreys threatens to jeopardise BJP-Shiv Sena's chances of forming a government in Mumbai.

The MNS is not expected to win many seats but might prove to be a deciding factor in more than 40% of the seats in the State Assembly. Going by the vote swings in the Lok Sabha polls MNS is expected to change the course of this election. It is expected to eat up the vote share of the BJP-Shiv Sena combine and Raj Thackrey might just deliver the political slap to his estranged cousin Uddhav and prevent uncle Bala Saheb Thackrey from running a remote control government in the State.

Although this gives some relief to the Congress-NCP alliance, their leaders are not laughing their way to the polling booths. After having not done any work for two consecutive terms they themselves are feeling the heat. Acute power shortage, farmer suicides, poor infrastructure and investors overlooking Maharashtra is giving them sleepless nights. The Congress-NCP government has certainly left Maharashtra in a worse state than it was at the time when it had taken over.

In this political mess a party like MNS might make situation worse and be a cause for a hung assembly. This in due course of time will promote horse trading and lead to further chaos. The people of Maharashtra should take a stand and vote for the government or against it rather than wasting their votes on smaller parties which in no case can form a government and thrive on a fractured mandate. MNS in no way can be a king maker but surely is scripting a hung assembly.


Monday, October 12, 2009

India confused about dealing with Naxals

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

India is no stranger to terror, be it the home grown terror in the North East or the cross border terrorism in the state of Jammu and Kashmir India has seen it all. Killings, explosion, extortion and atrocities are no longer foreign words in an Indian's life. Yet the new face of terror the 'Red Terror' as it is being called has suddenly shaken the entire nation. What was thought to be a local armed moment in the backward regions of the country is spreading like wild fire in the entire countryside and may soon hit urban India.

The alarming thing is that both the Centre and the various state governments have no concrete plans to tackle it. West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee requesting Jharkhand to act against the Naxals to complement police action against the outlawed outfits by the West Bengal police proves the poor coordination between the states. Even though more than 140 districts of the country are severely effected by this menace and another 200 partially effected we still do not have a proper task force to deal with the problem.

Red Terror was allowed to grow because the entire government thought it to be a rural problem and never really cared to take it seriously. The fall of the monarchy in Nepal and the subsequent rise of Maoist in Nepal politics was missed by our security forces. Peace in Nepal meant that the focus could be shifted to the armed struggle in India. In the last few years the attacks carried out by the Naxals have been so ferocious that our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh acknowledged it to be the single biggest threat to the nation.

There is a school of thought that Naxalism rose due to the socio-economic problem of the people in the tribal belts of the country. May be true but this armed conflict has now taken a monstrous shape. Although many Human Rights group back Red Terror being members of the civil society how on earth can they justify beheading of people in the name ideology? Or blowing up schools, electricity lines, mobile towers and than blaming the government for backwardness?

The government should draft a clear plan towards dealing with this armed moment. The Naxals should not be treated any less than thugs and bandits. Given the fact that these people do not believe in the channel of Indian democracy to table their thoughts the State should take them on with a iron fist. Naxalism is no longer a socio-economic problem but a armed moment against the people of these nation and should be dealt with firmly.


Paradoxical India

By: Reetasri Bhattacharjee

During the 16th century, the Mughals termed India as a “Golden bird” not only because it had the riches but because it had the human resources too. The mystic country has been exploited by many over centuries. Mughals, British all had laid their hands in this “Golden Bird” and exploited it too. While the former became part of the customs and lifestyle, the latter tried to change the same to their style. Through these periods of accession, India learnt and gained many things. The diversity that we so commonly speak about today is nothing but a legacy of this heritage. It should also be remembered that India as a country is an amalgamation of many former regions like the the Rajputana, Punjab, Hyderabad, Bengal, Oudh and many more such small regions that were ruled by various dynasties since time immemorial. Only after the british came to India and with theor subsequent conquer of all these small territories did the amalgamation came together. This union of various regions have led to people of different culture, religion, race come together and live in the same political embodiment.

India is till today made of people who are tied down to their culture yet battling to make a mark on the modern world. As the common cliché goes, “India is a land of paradox”. At the same time, India is an ancient civilization and a young Republic, there is stark poverty and undulating richness in the same street, there is health in one house while the neighbour is filled with illness. If one part of the country is progressing extensively in technology, the other part is still battling a quiet fight with bullocks and plough. India is an agricultural country yet today it is known for its Information Technology. The statement the “the rich gets richer here, the poor poorer” cannot be more true as it is in India. India boasts of many richest people in the world yet at the same time hesitantly admits that 42% of the population falls below the international poverty line of $1.25 per day. If we have the best human resources who gladly settle in the Silicon Valley, we also have about 40% illiterate in the country. This is India for the world. Yet it does not stop to attract people from everywhere for various reasons.

India has been making technological advancements like never before. Today, the country has a huge hub for science and health. Many significant inventions and innovations are coming out of the country’s larder and the world is taking note of all this. Very recently, India climbed a few steps in international recognition and standing when the international journal Science affirmed that images from India’s first moon mission Chandrayaan-I confirm that our only constellation has water in it. The fact that even after many missions to the moon by Russia and US, it was through an Indian satellite that particles of water was found in moon has a lot of signification for the country. India spent an estimate of Rs. 386 crore (US$ 80 million). It is a lot of money that has been spent on a mission to the outer world. Though the mission had to be called off within a year of its launch (its target was a two year revolving around the moon), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) now claims that the mission was 95% successful. Already plans for another moon mission is underway and it expected to be launched within 2013 with a projected cost of Rs. 425 crore (US$ 90 million). This only shows that a lot is being invested in this but the question that necessarily arises is whether this investment is required or not.

It is no mystery to anyone that India is still a developing country and there are many areas that need immediate attention. The health care is one such area where immediate attention is needed. As already known India is a young nation with the average age of people being below 40 years. However, India contributes to 5.6 million child death rates in a year due to malnutrition. According to UNDP Human Development Report (1997), 88% of pregnant women (age 15-49) was found to be suffering from anemia. Only one-third of Indians have access to proper sanitation. India right now is waging under the threat of Swine Flu like the rest of the world, yet no one takes notice of the fact that 700,000 Indians die each year from diarrhoea. Though the situation is improving, it remains concentrated in the urban areas where most of the specialized treatment takes place. In the rural areas, the minimum health-care facility doesn’t reach.

According to the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the UNDP, education is one basic requirement of development. However, in India, as already mentioned more than 40% are illiterate. The condition is such that even after the laucnch of schemes like the Sarva Shikya Abhiyan, the penetration of education does not seem to reach the grassroot. Even at the higher level, the Quota system and privatization of education has made the situation into more of a profitable business rather than a human development index.

In light of all these realities, the fact that India spends so much on a moon mission is sometimes unbelievable and laughable. If looked in perspective, it can be seen that India has now completely come out of its non-aligned stand and is actually fighting for a place among the “Big Nations”. Even though finding water, for example, was a big technological advancement, the question that looms over again is whether that is the requirement of the day or nor? Why cant a country like US send missions to the moon where their people are not battling for the basic requirements of life and their isn’t any abject poverty. India, at this moment need to improve the living conditions of its people rather than finding life in other planets. The debate that US is using this eagerness of India to get into the mainstream of “Big Nations” for its capitalistic goals will ever remain with having some truth in it. (it is to be noted here that though images of water on moon was found through an Indian mission, the device that recored it was a NASA product).

India needs to come out of its dual nature and face the realities of the day instead of building fantasies of the other world. It needs to solve the problem of its people first and than that of the world. Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director of Tata Group, called India the “land of paradox-a country that likes to do the most obvious thing after exhausting every possible alternative.” It seems the time is showing us just that. India

This blog has been contributed by Reetasri Bhattacharjee a dear friend of mine. She is a regular blogger on blogspot and maintains the blog My Passing Moments


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP