Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I think the ayes have it, ayes have it..



Yes Madam Speaker.. have the AYES finally given the nation something?

The whole scene looked comical while Meira Kumar went on and on.

Neverthless, after years and years (42 long years) of deliberation, finally a version of the Lokpal bill has seen light and I would like to believe that it is an achievement for the nation.

While many still berate Anna Hazare, let me continue to think that he played a major role. He created the situation and the whole nation was to forced join the discussion. While many supported him, many others were forced to look into Lokpal, if it was only to disagree. The mass support that Anna managed to get did make every political party, including the ruling party, nervous. The nation was forced to think deeply about the corruption that existed in our nation; not just within the politicians or the bureaucracy but within each one of us.

The current bill may be weak but it is here finally and well meaning governments can bring in appropriate amendments to strengthen it, in the future.

Our PM said the following:


"We have, therefore, proposed a process of appointment of the CBI Director which involves the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India or his nominee and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. None should have doubts about the integrity of this process. As far as the issue of CBI functioning under the Lokpal is concerned, my government believes that this would create an executive structure outside Parliament which is accountable to none. This is anathema to sound constitutional principles," the prime minister said.

Yes dear Prime Minister. .the nation trusted you the most when the present UPA was elected to power but why did one see the worst corruption happen under it.

Were you never in charge of the government?

And do you know the ways your esteemed ministers have come up with, to fight corruption? By blocking social networks so that no news of further corruption shall reach the masses. Is this the only result of  discussions with our neighbouring countries where similar restrictions already exist?

You also said the following:

All systems of governance must be based on trust. It is the people's trust that we in Government reflect and protect. Rampant distrust of all authority imperils the foundations of democracy. Our polity with its enormous size and diversity can only be held together when we put our faith and trust in institutions that we have carefully built over the years," said Dr. Singh in his speech made inside the Lok Sabha today.

Yet, when CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) came up with the figures of corruption, it was your minister who undermined this 150 year old institution.
Kapil Sibal, the minister for telecommunication has stated that the CAG had presented an erroneous report on the 2G spectrum and that the total losses incurred by the treasury was only Rs.99,000 crores.
It is the same way even CBI has been undermined over the years by the corrupt in your government.

"In the course of this debate, the bureaucracy has been at the receiving end. While I agree that public functionaries must be above board and that delinquents must be dealt with expeditiously and decisively, I must express my deep appreciation for many a public servant who have shown exemplary integrity in discharging their functions in an environment of distrust. I don't think all public functionaries need to be painted with the same brush just as all politicians should not be presumed to be corrupt," said Dr. Singh
No dear Prime Minister, we do not think that this nation is devoid of individuals with integrity and honesty. In fact, it was the collective conscience of the nation that made you the Prime Minister. (They trusted in your honesty) But  unfortunately, those with integrity and honesty are being ridiculed and many lost faith even in you.

Anyway, I managed to get an idea of the the Lokpal that has been passed, from newstrackindia.com and it is as follows:

Amid all oppositions, let’s have a look at some of the silent features of the Cabinet-approved Lokpal Bill for the creation of an anti-graft ombudsman with Constitutional status.




•Citing Lokpal and Lokayukta as autonomous and independent bodies of investigation and prosecution, the Bill has underlined a uniform vigilance and anti-corruption road map for both Centre and States.


•Lokpal will consist of a Chairperson and a maximum of eight Members of which fifty percent shall be judicial Members. At the same time, fifty per cent of members will be from amongst SC, ST, OBCs, Minorities and Women.
•All members including the Chairperson shall be selected by a Selection Committee that consists of Prime Minister, Speaker of Loksabha, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court Judge nominated by CJI and eminent jurist to be nominated by the President of India.


Lokpal jurisdiction


•Prime Minister to be brought under the purview of the Lokpal with subject matter exclusions and specific process for handling complaints against the Prime Minister. Lokpal cannot hold any inquiry against the Prime Minister in allegations relate to: international relations, external and internal security of the country, public order, atomic energy and space.


•Besides, any decision of Lokpal to initiate preliminary inquiry or investigation against the Prime Minister shall be taken only by the Full Bench with a majority of 3/4th. Such proceedings shall be held in camera.


•Lokpal to investigate corruption cases against all categories of public servants including Group ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ & ‘D’ officers and employees of Government. On complaints referred to CVC by Lokpal, CVC will send its report of PE in respect of Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ officers back to Lokpal for further decision. With respect to Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ employees, CVC will proceed further in exercise of its own powers under the CVC Act subject to reporting and review by Lokpal.


•All entities receiving donations from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of Rs. 10 lakhs per year are brought under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.


•Lokpal will not be able to initiate inquiry suo moto.


•No prior sanction shall be required for launching prosecution in cases enquired by Lokpal or initiated on the direction and with the approval of Lokpal.


•A high powered Committee chaired by the Prime Minister with leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and Chief Justice of India as members, will recommend selection of the Director, CBI.


•Provisions for confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while prosecution is pending.


•Lokpal to be final appellate authority on all decisions by public authorities relating to provision of public services and redressal of grievances containing findings of corruption.


•Lokpal to have power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them.


In addition, the Bill has set timelines for both investigation and prosecution of cases. It has also proposed to enhance punishment under Prevention of Corruption Act. Maximum punishment is set from 7 years to 10 years and minimum is shaped from 6 months to 2 years.


While preliminary enquiry is outlined to be completed in three months which is extendable by three months, investigation is set for six months (extendable by six months) and for trial the proposed time period is planned for one year which is also extendable by one year.
Let us all hope that something good shall come out of this...

Source:http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/lokpal-bill-look-beyond-politics-in-fight-against-graft-urges-pm-manmohan-singh/articleshow/11273672.cms
http://www.cag.gov.in/
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/LokpalBillUPAwinsonelosesone/892877/
http://www.firstpost.com/politics/live-parliament-gets-underway-lokpal-debate-to-begin-shortly-166366.html/2

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rules of Life


Found this brilliant piece in FB and wanted to know if it was truly authored by Bill Gates, especially since one knows that he was not so fond of Harward and had dropped out. But then he was a brilliant student; if not, Harward would not have admitted him. And, not all can become a Bill Gates.



Anyway, the full text is as below and About.com says the following:


As frequently happens when texts are repeatedly copied and forwarded over time, something written by one person has come to be attributed to another. Here, the displaced text is a pared-down version of an op-ed piece by education reformer Charles J. Sykes, best known as the author of Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good about Themselves, but Can't Read, Write, or Add. The op-ed was originally published in the San Diego Union-Tribune in September 1996. It began making the email rounds under Bill Gates' name in February 2000, and has continued to do so ever since.


Forwarded-by: Daniel Rogers rogersd@nanaimo.island.net

Some rules kids won't learn in school

Text By Charles J. Sykes

Printed in San Diego Union Tribune

September 19, 1996


Unfortunately, there are some things that children should be learning in school, but don't. Not all of them have to do with academics. As a modest back-to-school offering, here are some basic rules that may not have found their way into the standard curriculum.



Rule No. 1: Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager uses the phrase, "It's not fair" 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realized Rule No. 1.


Rule No. 2: The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It'll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain it's not fair. (See Rule No. 1)


Rule No. 3: Sorry, you won't make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won't be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn't have a Gap label.


Rule No. 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait 'til you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he's not going to ask you how you feel about it.


Rule No. 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grand-parents had a different word of burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren't embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.


Rule No. 6: It's not your parents' fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of "It's my life," and "You're not the boss of me," and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it's on your dime. Don't whine about it, or you'll sound like a baby boomer.


Rule No. 7: Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.


Rule No. 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn't. In some schools, they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone's feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life. (See Rule No. 1, Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 4)


Rule No. 9: Life is not divided into semesters, and you don't get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don't get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While we're at it, very few jobs are interesting in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization. (See Rule No. 1 and Rule No. 2.)


Rule No. 10: Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.


Rule No. 11: Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.


Rule No. 12: Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you're out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That's what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for "expressing yourself" with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.


Rule No. 13: You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven't seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.


Rule No. 14: Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now.

You're welcome.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is Tamilnadu in Pakistan?

An exasperated voice came from the TV in the living room while I was in the bedroom all warm and cozy since it is now winter here in Kuwait.

It must be from a participant in one of discussions held by a Malayalam TV channel and the subject being Mullaperiyar dam, I continued listening from the bedroom.

This Keralite’s frustration came from the fact that the government at the center has failed so far to bring TN and Kerala together for a discussion. He continued to tell the audience that if this is the state of affairs within two states in India, then how in world they are sorting affairs between India and Pakistan!

Yesterday, Kerala felt more tremors and so far within the last 9 months there have been more than 20 such tremors. Since they have been within Richter scale 4, one may just listen to the expert and conclude that nothing will happen. But these frequent tremors are a source of concern for the Keralites since it is something new. Is it pointing to a bigger earth quake in the future? Can the 100 year old dam withstand the frequent temors? How long should one wait in fear?

Do take a look at the SEISMICITY MAP given by the the Indian Meteorological Department:


Over the years, panic has spread among people of four districts of Kerala around the dam following cracks in the structure and repeated earthquakes in the region recently.

Instead of heeding to this genuine cry from the Keralites, the TN government has decided to play down this fear and is more interested in distributing pamphlets (in Kerala too) and giving speeches saying that Kerala is unnecessarily whipping up fear and is going to deprive water to the farmers in TN. Of course this can create panic in TN since many villages depend upon this water for their sustenance and it is very easy for them to turn hostile. And hostile they have turned and have wrecked shops, hotels and business establishments in TN owned by Keralites. Yesterday more than 4000 villagers marched to the Kumily border to avenge the killers of Tamil Workers in Kerala. But no such workers have been killed and shall be killed and this I know for sure. I grew up around this place; a beautiful place called Peerumade which continues to me the most beautiful place on earth.  The tea estate that I grew up has many from TN and they have been working there since many years. The Tamilians living in this area own land, shops and are present in all walks of the society and have assimilated well. The Keralites find no reason to harm them since they very well know that they are equally concerned about the state of the dam.

The entire state has only one slogan "Safety for Kerala and Water for Tamil Nadu".

It is time the TN government reigned in the villagers and explain them the fact that if this dam breaks, then there will no water for them for many years to come.

Instead, the CM of TN has written to the center that if Mullaperiyar dam breaks, Idukki dam will hold the water!


Referring to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s contention in her letter to the Prime Minister that Idukki dam could contain the waters if the Mullaperiyar dam broke, Mr. Chandy said this was a virtual admission by Tamil Nadu that the dam was weak.

How callous and inhuman can she be?

By this letter she is willing to brush away the life and property of those living in the vicinity of this dam.

Don’t they have any value?

And what if Iddukki dam fails to hold this water and everything that will come rushing into it?

I think only God can save a few Indians living in the south of India...

Edited to add the following:

Have seen many appealing passionately for those in the animal kingdom, if not for the humans. They must have their reasons especially after living in this world managed by humans… the following is for such activists.


The Periyar National Park in Thekkady, a Protected area of Kerala, is located around the dam’s reservoir, the 26 km2 (10 sq mi) Periyar lake. 62 different kinds of mammals have been recorded in Periyar, including many threatened ones. Periyar is a highly protected tiger reserve and elephant reserve. There are an estimated 53 tigers (2010) in the reserve. Tourists come here to view the Indian elephants in their natural habitat. The elephant number around 900 to 1000 individuals. Other mammals found here include gaur, Bison, sambar (horse deer), barking deer, mouse deer, Dholes (Indian wild dogs), mongoose,foxesand leopards. Also inhabiting the park, though rarely seen, are the elusive Nilgiri tahr. Four species of primates are found at Periyar – the rare lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri Langur, the commonlangur, and the Bonnet Macaque. According to a report by the Kerala Forest Research Institute, the protected area surrounding the dam and reservoir is classified as a biodiversity hot spot.

The above was taken from a site petitioning to save the dam….Yes.. please save the dam before it breaks by reducing the water level, while taking steps to construct a new dam which will continue to provide water to Tamilandu.


http://calicutnet.com/articles/gopinath/mullaperiyar/mullaperiyar.htm

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn!


What is wrong with these people? Why can't they talk about something else?

Dam, dam , dam, dam dam.. damn!

The above lines may go through the minds of anyone else, but not a single Keralite, even if he now resides in the North Pole.

Frankly speaking, I have never seen Kerala united in such a manner!

The unity is such that it has even scared the wits out of the various political parties in the state. What relevance will they have now? It might have been quite a revelation too, to know that the Keralites can unite, without prodding, prompting, feeding (Biriyani & Toddy) and to hold placards either to march or go hungry.

In Kerala, one will find a bunch of supporters for any Tom, Dick or Harry… be it a dictator, a lousy world leader, a pop star, etc. etc. There will always be a few Keralites/Mallus ready to disagree on any damn subject on this earth. And mind you, they do come up with their own reasons for the same; you can either take it or leave it. [If this author (of the blog!) too comes up in your mind, you are right on spot :) ]

But never ever in the history of Kerala, has one seen such a strong unity.

Even if the mallu stopped sowing, he lost no sleep while spending more money to tuck into his favourite rice and veggies. Even if he stopped keeping a hen’s coop in his own house, he had no problem getting his chicken at a higher price from elsewhere. All he wanted was some peace (and a few more hartals too), while he let his otherwise lousy patience be tested to the utmost, when waiting for his turn of his favourite brand.

What made the complacent Malayalee wake up from his/her slumber and unite with one voice?


Well, the matter of fact is that Keralites were literally jolted. Although the Richter scale thankfully did not move up far enough to throw him out of his comfortable bed, it was enough to make him lose his sleep. The latest one was at 13 kms East of Erattupetta (Kottayam) - richter scale 3.2 on 25th Nov 11, while the earlier one was at Kallar near Idukki (3.1) on 18th Nov 11.

http://www.asc-india.org/recent.htm
http://earthquake.itgo.com/today.htm

If a statement like the following in “Incredible Kerala” website was earlier read with pride, it is now read with nothing but pure horror in his mind.

“The Mullaperiyar Dam built across the river Periyar with Surki mix before 121 years, still exist as a wonder to the tourists.”

Surkhi is a mix of lime, sand, clay(or brick powder) and jaggery (sarkara) used as cement for joining building blocks.


And there is not just one dam, but many that has the destructive potential to change the entire history of Kerala and even Tamilnadu.

And now, when a few from the state of Tamil Nadu says that this dam should not be built or the water level not reduced, then it is not the same Malayalee who is now turning his head to respond.

He may have said nothing when they asked for water earlier; for he very well knew that it was for the vegetable and rice that may appear in own table. But now you are asking him to give up his very existence! Do you think he shall ?

P.S. Let me also add that there are many from the state of Tamil Nadu too, who have joined the Keralites in support.




The above is the combined effort of a Tamilian and a Keralite and I have taken in from Facebook

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTkk7LGXypg  A documentary by C-Dit on the issue of Mullaperiyar Dam. A "must see" for keralites and tamilians.

 
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-11-29/kochi/30454339_1_mullaperiyar-dam-bursts-dam-flood
 
http://www.indiansinkuwait.com/iikForum/threadView.aspx?ID=80149


http://geofizika-journal.gfz.hr/Vol_09/Singh.pdf

There is also a news that Tamil Nadu has allocated in their budget almost 100 crores and this is being used over the years to shut the mouths of the Kerala politicians...http://marunadanmalayalee.com/mminnerpage.aspx?newsid=63454 .. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

A tribute..

Yesterday, I read with much sadness that one of my favourite blogger has left this world.

I have never met her, although she is known to one of my relations who teaches in the same college that she worked.

Always wanted to friend her in Facebook.. but was not sure if she would accept.

She wrote brilliantly; her mastery of the English language was there to see in every blog entry. A courageous blogger who could take the bull by the horn. Always looked forward to her jottings; sometimes to disagree.

She also wrote separately about her fight with cancer. I salute her indomitable spirit.

Rest in peace dear soul. You shall be missed terribly by many of us.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gender Gap - revisited

While I grapple with the fact that more than a year has passed since I wrote the post on Gender Gap, (yes the days are flying too fast), let me also say that there is nothing much to say about the current one since India has only moved a rank down.


But let me post the Gender Gap Evolution 2006-2011 to show that India was doing better in year 2006. Not sure if it was due to lack of data, but the fact remains that in Year 2011, India is 22 from bottom (135 countries).



The complete list can be seen at WEF Website, but you can have an idea where India stands if you look at those countries just above and below India.

Mexico


Indonesia

Azerbaijan

Senegal

Cyprus

El Salvador

Mauritius

Tajikistan

Malaysia

Japan

Kenya

Belize

Maldives

Cambodia

United Arab Emirates

Suriname

Kuwait

Zambia

Korea, Rep.

Tunisia

Fiji

Bahrain

Qatar

Guatemala

India

Mauritania

Burkina Faso

Ethiopia

Jordan

Lebanon

Cameroon

Nigeria

Algeria

Turkey

Egypt

Syria

Iran, Islamic Rep.

Nepal

Oman

Benin

Morocco

Côte d’Ivoire

Saudi Arabia

Mali

Pakistan

Chad

Yemen


If you have some time, then do take a look at the interesting discussion at redif (comment section) on the same subject.

And today, we also read that MM Sing and Sonia ranks among the 20 most powerful – courtesy Forbes. Sonia is also one among top 10 richest politicians in the world.

A powerful woman in India but no power to the Indian women!

But then among the “powerful”, we see the following too…. :)


D-Company leader Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, "organized crime figure (is) suspected of involvement in both the 1993 and 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai" was ranked 57th, a notch behind Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence chief, Ahmed Shuja Pasha, while Pakistan army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, was ranked 34th.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The aliens that live amongst us..


They dress, walk, eat, sleep and do everything just like the humans; yet they are not human.

And they cannot be Gods (though they believe and act so), for they do not live forever; they die like a common man.

But they have a unique name – politicians.

They may live in India, but no law can touch them. And in case it does, they get out in a jiffy. If the luxury in the jails is not good enough, they quickly seek hospitals. The more alien they are, the rarer would be their ailment; which makes it impossible to lead them out of the hospitals, unless they are told that they are freed from jail. They are quick to send petition in case their alien status is not recognized by the mere mortals.

Kerala row over release of Pillai

The moment the UDF government came to power, Pillai was allowed parole for almost 45 days citing the illness of his wife. And once the parole was over, he was forced to go back to jail. Thereafter he was admitted to a private hospital after he fell ill following a different kind of disease. Though CPM leaders opposed his parole and his admission into the private hospital, the UDF government ignored the protests. Now the UDF Government has taken a decision to release him.

Gali Petitions For Special Status in Jail

 Publish Date:Nov 1, 2011

The duo on Monday filed a petition in the CBI court seeking a special class prisoner status for them in the jail in accordance with Rule 730 of the AP Prisons Rules 1979.

Amar Singh seeks court's nod to go abroad for treatment

Press Trust of India

New Delhi: Two days after being discharged from hospital, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh, an accused in the 2008 cash-for-vote scam case, has moved a Delhi court seeking its permission to go abroad for treatment of his kidney ailment.


In an application to Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, Singh said he had been undergoing treatment at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital following his kidney transplant and he needed to go there for regular check-up.

They may park millions abroad , but when caught, their names shall not be uttered. Even the media is scared to blurt them out.
Summons have also been issued to three Members of Parliament (MPs) from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala to appear for questioning at the Delhi office of I-T department's recently-set up Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI). The MPs would be asked to explain the source of funds in the Geneva accounts.


Yesterday, when an alien in the Finance Ministry was asked for the names of these great Members of Parliament; the lowly humans were informed that they do not have such privilege and hence to shut up.

Pranab Rules Out Disclosing Names Of MPs Having Foreign Funds



India TV Correspondent [ Updated 01 Nov 2011, 12:59:41 ]
The persons who are being summoned for offshore funds by the Income Tax department include three MPs, one each from UP, Kerala and Haryana, and an industrialist based in Mumbai.
The industrialist during questioning had admitted to having family accounts in HSBC Geneva with deposits totalling more than Rs 800 crore. One of the three MPs has Rs 200 crore in overseas accounts, the Times of India report said.

 What shall one do with these aliens?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The nest that should not fail…


It was a few months back that the local and national media was abuzz with the Kerala real estate fraud. As usual, the buzz died in its infancy and those who lost money continued to suffer. Although the main builder in news was 'Apple-A-Day', there were many more that were either intentionally cheating their clients or got caught up in this frenzy and went down.







"It's for realising the dream of owning a house in one's native place that NRIs like me invested over Rs. 45 lakh each in the project. But even after 5 years, nothing has been completed," said R P Abdul Hameed, a victim.

It was during this time that one of Hubby’s friends in his late 30’s was admitted in the hospital due to a mild heart attack. In fact, Hubby was totally unaware of it until this friend called him and told him about it. This friend used to come home mostly during the weekends to chat with Hubby and to exchange movies that they download over the net. He seemed to be a perfectly healthy chap and used to tell us that he walked daily and was maintaining his health thus. But when this heart attack came up unexpectedly, I did mention to Hubby that it could be because of some shock; maybe the real estate fraud? Finally he came after a long trip to Kerala where he got a thorough check up and medical advice. We broached the subject of the fraud and then it came tumbling out. Yes, even he is one of the victim. But though he did not say that this is the reason for the attack, I continue to suspect so. This builder is a famous cine artist in Kerala and hence our friend had no reason to suspect him, but the apartment complex was not completed even after 4 years. And more over, the construction has now been completely stopped in the original place and the reason the builder is giving is some union/labour issue. The investors are being promised of the project at a different location but not the money they invested. This friend is yet to sign the new contract.

Here in Kuwait, the builders from India make their yearly visit with the aid of a few sponsors (mainly private banks) and catch the willing clients. 


I am sure there are many more such victims here in Kuwait itself and most of them are keeping quiet out of shame or since they feel that it is a lost cause. But is it really so? A colleague’s friend faced the same problem but since the victims united and filed a case in the consumer court, the builder was forced to complete the project and also pay compensation for the lost time. The financial compensation was calculated by the rent amount for the said period.


But as seen on the facebook group for “apple a day” victims, they seem to be still grappling with it. The latest news is that the builders have been granted bail.

In Kuwait, there are hundreds of associations but I am yet to see even one for such reasons. Today the local online portal for Indians too, mentions about the “usefulness” of these associations.



I think associations can be put to use very well and one way could be a resident association comprising of the future tenants, from the start of the project itself. Something similar seems to be a success and you can see it for yourself here.


In GVK’s words,


We have common concerns, and there is much that can be done if we discuss issues, share info. and come up with ideas that could make life and living on OMR a shade better than we now find it.

Taken from one of the blog post…


Mantri, good or bad, it's my money, its my HOME and I will do whatever it takes along with the help of all our neighbours to make this place a good, up-class and liveable place. That is the mantra for the residents who have moved in till now and that is what was decided even in our last meeting.


Anyway, now that people are more cautious about real estate, something else seems to be on the horizon; the kuries. While the kuries have been in Kerala since ages and some may be indeed trustworthy, the frequent, pesky, senseless advertisements on TV seems to be pointing towards yet another scam/fraud waiting to unfold for the Keralites.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Please join them..

Wow!

If you lock up businessmen, will investment come: Law Minister.....

This minister has the nerve to say that the judiciary should take heed of the "political economy"  before doing their job!



If his concern is genuine, then it is time he joined these businessmen in jail so as to give them good company and the nation a big favour.

But is this not an offense in itself?

Is he not abusing his power?

Source: indianexpress.com

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In response to a comment

Below post is in response to the comment by Uptake...since the comment section was not giving me the space...

...thanks for the link.. Was nodding my head throughout the article since she has written it all very well….everything which I could not express myself. But I wonder if your statement that Indian women never discuss spirituality can be generalized. I think they do. And maybe not often, because of the general tolerance that Indians have towards every religion.

Now, the below may not have been the reason or answer for you posting the link.. but still let me.



I have placed in italics the statements that I borrowed from her article.


 

Christianity - Indian Christianity : In search of the Christ within



Ironically, inculturation was the basic nature of Indian Christianity long before the West entered. Christianity here is believed to have been introduced in AD 52. This is when Thomas the Apostle came to Malankara, Kerala (a southern Indian State). Thomas converted many caste Hindus and established a church that, in every way save religious, was Indian.



 I come from a family whose forefathers are not recent converts and even if many want to do away with St. Thomas landing, they could not have been converted during the British times or the Portuguese. Many Hindu traditions which existed in the Church / marriage rituals continue even today. Things like getting the horoscope done continues even now among a section of Christians. This is maybe because there was a void after St. Thomas left and the Christians may have turned back to the Hindu way of life while preserving the belief in Christ or they never left the Hindu way of life from the beginning but incorporated Christianity within Hinduism.

During our recent vacation, we visited a church at Thiruvithancode in the Kanyakumari district of Tamilnadu state, which is believed to be one of  7 and a half church (arappally in Malayalam language) that was built by St. Thomas. Though the visit was not a pilgrimage, but in search of the grave of Hubby's Father's brother who is buried there...once we reached there it created much interest in me especially since I found the structure very simple and in the style of a Hindu temple. We were told that there were no idols of Christ or Mary in the old building (it was placed much later) but just a simple building with an object in stone for the baptism ritual plus another object in stone to wash one’s feet before entering. Except for the roof, the structure has not undergone modification.
The Church
The structure for baptism ritual


To wash the feet


Image of Christ



Why this hue and cry over conversions then? The answer lies in the pluralistic nature of Indian Christianity. Even as mainstream Catholic churches are pulling back, Indian Christianity is being influenced by the Pentecostal believers who originated in the USA. (but in Kerala there was always a section of Christians who never entirely rejected the Hindu/Indian way of life and was always proud of their Hindu roots)





Going under names such as Born Again Christians, they practice a form of Christianity that identifies knowledge of God solely within the Biblical context. In contrast, inculturation focuses the discourse within the Christian body, not outside it.




Where Jesus meets Brahman



I was Indian whether or not a Christian. I have always loved Indian culture and tradition. I am inspired by our holistic way of life with its reverence for nature and values which emphasize giving, serving, and self-realization. They are so wise that I subscribe to them without hesitation. And for the past few years, I have moved towards a life that is Indian at the core: in values, attitudes and philosophy.  (here I do not understand how just being a Christian she did possess those values and hence had to move towards it)



I never felt that my roots militated against my Christianity. I find most of Christ's teachings resonating in the Hindu texts. And his own rejection of organized faith (he drove the moneychangers out of the temple) convinces me that He would not want me to remain swaddled by an inherited faith.





Christ not only drove the moneychangers but we read that the ones who sought ardently or lead the crowd for his crucifixion, were the leaders of the Church that existed during his time. Though I am moving away from the topic, let me say that the same happens even today in Christianity. The present Church leaders have moved away from the simple teachings of Christ and in turn may have left an entire generation and the onlookers too in confusion  :) Maybe this explains why this lady had to move towards the core values, that Christ taught in a very simple manner.






As for me, just like some Hindus, I now do not depend on organized religion or rituals. Let me once again borrow her words to explain my religion or spirituality or whatever one wants to call it..





"I fell in love with Jesus Christ. I became (am) a Christian because I found him fantastic." At the living heart of the faith is the person of Jesus Christ—a towering figure of love, compassion, and wisdom. How does one remain unmoved by his preference for the poor, the prostitute and the publican? How to remain unchanged by his injunction to love the other enough to turn the other cheek?






Hope I made some sense to you :)..

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shocking...

Disgusting!

The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), the country’s premier technical intelligence agency set up after the Kargil intrusion, is already under the scanner of the Supreme Court for a slew of alleged irregularities. The latest is a shocking case of officials using secret service funds to illegally film their women colleagues in the toilet.


This happened three years ago but has surfaced only now. It’s been learnt that some women staffers who worked in NTRO’s temporary office in Hauz Khas in New Delhi, complained about a spycam fixed in their toilet with the feed from the camera being accessed by a computer manned by the agency’s counter-intelligence and security unit.
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/officials-at-intel-agency-filmed-women-colleagues-in-toilet/849534/0


The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) is a premier apex scientific organization under the National Security Advisor in the Prime Minister's Office, India.[1] It was set up in 2004.[2] It also includes National Institute of Cryptology Research and Development (NICRD), which is first of its kind in Asia. [3]


The organization does hi-tech surveillance jobs, including satellite monitoring, terrestrial monitoring, internet monitoring, considered vital for the national security apparatus.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Technical_Research_Organisation


And we thought these officers were appointed to protect out country.

Was there none to monitor them?

How do they select these candidates?

Sad indeed!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Watch Singham

Let me understand the term Public Company.

It is a legal entity created by a government to undertake commercial activities on behalf of an owner government. Their legal status varies from being a part of government into stock companies with a state as a regular stockholder. There is no standard definition of a government-owned corporation (GOC) or state-owned enterprise (SOE), although the two terms can be used interchangeably. The defining characteristics are that they have a distinct legal form and they are established to operate in commercial affairs. While they may also have public policy objectives, GOCs should be differentiated from other forms of government agencies or state entities established to pursue purely non-financial objectives that have no need or goal of satisfying the shareholders with return on their investment through price increase or dividends

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/government-corporation#ixzz1YDmIos6J


In India, a government-owned corporation is termed as a public sector undertaking (PSU). This term is used to refer to companies in which the government (either the federal Union Government or the many state or territorial governments, or both) own a majority (51 percent or more) of the company equity. Some examples include:
Since I am more interested about the Oil Companies, let me look at India's star performer.

Indian Oil Corporation:

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. is India's largest company by sales with a turnover of Rs. 3,28,744 crore ($ 68,837 million) and profit of Rs. 7445.48 crore ($ 1,719 million) for the year 2010-11.

IndianOil is the highest ranked Indian company in the latest Fortune ‘Global 500’ listings, ranked at the 98th position. IndianOil's vision is driven by a group of dynamic leaders who have made it a name to reckon with.

In this section, read about IndianOil’s business and its spread across the country & abroad. You can also know about IndianOil's current financial performance, special initiatives and recognitions & awards that have come its way.
collage
Updated on July 11, 2011
  • IndianOil breaks into Top 100 of Fortune Global listing, ranked 98th
  • IndianOil: One of ‘The Best Companies to Work For’
                                  
This is just one of our petroleum companies, and as an Indian, I should be really proud of it's performance by only looking at the profit it churns out year after year. And this holds true for every other state owned oil companies and so also the two private oil companies: Reliance and Essar.

And what are they doing with this profit? Oh yes.. they pay dividends. And how do they make this profit? Mostly by the sale of petroleum products. Who buys them? The Indian populace. One should remember that not every Indian directly purchases these oil products but every Indian is unfortunately linked with the same since every commodity he purchases is connected to Oil one way or the other. Hence when the oil prices increase it is the 70% of India's population who is yet again squeezed. As of 2005, according to World Bank statistics, 75.6% of the population lived on less than $2 a day (PPP), while 41.6% of the population was living below the new international poverty line of $1.25 (PPP) per day.

Last year when we went for our vacation, I clearly remember that the petrol price was around IRS 55/- and this year? IRS 68/- ! Figure out the increase in price.

Yes, last year the price of crude oil was USD 74 (avg) in September while this year USD 86. But what I do not understand is how in the world were these oil companies making profit year after year even when the price stood at an average of USD 85/- ? And what are they doing with this profit? Yet even this time they blame lack of profit for the price increase.

The year before last, Reliance opened their petrol bunks all over Kerala but was soon forced to close due to lack of profit. And then the government gave up their the right of control over oil prices and now those petrol bunks are back in business. Figure out how.

While listening to our policy makers and politicians, I understand that they have no intention in doing anything to solve the present crisis.

And why should they, when we read that just like these companies even they have been churning out profit year after year!

"The average asset value of a minister in the current ministry is Rs.10,63,55,097 (Rs.10.6 crore). In 2009, the average asset value of a minister was Rs.7.3 crore. The current ministers, on an average, are Rs.3.3 crore richer than in 2009," the report said."

On the other hand, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's assets have grown by 107 percent, even though he has not mentioned three residential flats owned by him and his wife.



And hence what shall the the Indian citizens do....
 
Watch the movie Singham!

 
 
Invoke your imagination and your "favourite" politician/policy maker  to mind. Try to enjoy the result. 

But do forget that this movie is made by Reliance... and that over the years the Indian masses have been conditioned to vent their frustration by watching movies.





Monday, August 29, 2011

Ente Keralam....

Getting back to blogging did not look easy after the vacation. Though every day the blog beckoned me, I somehow managed to evade this space, but here I am now!

And one should not blame me since as soon as I got back from vacation, it was Anna Hazare who got all my attention. May God bless this man and all who worked with him. He gave our nation a choice and showed that power can still rest with the common man. The battle is not won yet, but it is a good start. And while looking at the rest of the world facing unrest, a small fear did gnaw at me, specially since there were many calling this a undemocratic and foolish way of handling issues (my foot!)  but thankfully peace was maintained. What happened in London was shocking too. A nation that claims to be culturally and democratically much advanced than the rest of world, failed somehow.

This vacation was as hectic as any other and the days flew fast. Except for a brief trip to Kanyakumari, the entire time was spent in Kerala since we had a bit of house renovation going on. It dragged through the entire holiday and more! The rain was one culprit and so also the frequent power failure due to the heavy rains. In between we did manage a trip to Cochin and two trips to Trivandrum and from Trivandrum to Kanyakumari.

If there is one thing that I remember most about this vacation, it would be the food. I think there was no respite given to the stomach anytime. Since we were mostly at home there was always fresh food and lots of fresh fish.

It was on our way to Cochin that we stopped at Avees Puttu House at Onnamkara– Kuttanadu. The Appam and curry was too good! On our way back we tried the tiger prawns and faced the same predicament that Mr. Bean faced. Heard the distinct sound… crunch, crunch.. but there was no other way to enjoy it!

A day at Kanyakumari was the most relaxing of all. The hotel that we booked online and with absolutely no clue turned out to be a good choice. The gentle and cool sea breeze was all that was needed to soothe you. The entire staff and also the food was too good.


A few photos that were clicked.









At Kanyakumari....



The sunrise at Kanyakumari..






At Sparsa....







Spent most of the time looking at this scene.... from the level of the water in the river, one would have an idea of the rain that fell overnight.


 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It is time...

It is time for another...




 VACATION .....




nd from the net world too, unless net and time permits me.....

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hair extension


No, I was not looking for it myself since I still have enough on my head to satisfy my ego, unlike my Hubby, who is forever threatening that he will be taking the service of one of those hair fixers like Gulf Gate etc. Have also noticed that he is very quick in spotting those who have them too :).  Maybe, we shall both take their service together someday!

Anyway, it was the weekend and the children having gone to India to give company to their grandmother, I had nothing much to do and was switching channels. It is when I saw a short documentary on Luxe.tv about hair extensions in expensive saloons in Europe.

Watched many beautiful ladies getting their hair fixed but what got my attention was when the scene shifted to India. Rows of people are sitting down to shear their heads and hearing this lady with her shorn head say that she has offered her hair to Lord Murugan, I assumed the temple is that of South India.

So have you always known where all this hair is going? There were bundles and bundles of hair stacked in the corner.

I knew it was being used in India too, since I remember seeing those small buns of hair that some ladies tucked inside their hair and also hair extensions too, but not until I watched this programme on TV did I realize that hair mostly offered to God for various reasons in India is the main source (China is also another source) in expensive saloons across the world.

This discarded hair becomes very expensive once it has been treated and sorted out into different length, color, texture etc.



To know the extent of it, you can have a look at the snap shot of the same. The hair can be of length from 5 to 80 inches and the color can be black, brown, grey and also white.


But, towards the end of the programme, this business guy from India did admit that business is not going to be good in the near future since the current generation does not believe in these kinds of offerings to God.

Yes, they may soon run out of hair and I wonder what these ladies shall do then?
Hair salons regularly charge anywhere from $500 to $3000 and quality clip-in human hair extensions range from $200 to $400. Last year alone the human hair extension market was worth over 300 million dollars.

Source:
http://www.rajimpex.com/product-selector-tool.htm
http://www.hairextensions.com/home.php?cat=5

Friday, June 17, 2011

The cost of being the richest...

“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.”


Have always thought that the following building was ugly.



It may be the world’s priciest private residence owned by the world’s fifth richest man and it may have started when Mrs. Nita Ambani was relaxing at a spa at the Mandarin Hotel, New York, and when the Asian interiors struck her, she inquired about the designer.
Source:therichtimes.com


But now we know for sure that this building shall stand as the ugliest image of corruption in India. It was indeed at the cost of millions of Indians who have been enduring the vagaries and the blatant disregard of a few, who managed to be at the helm of this business of corruption.

Source: www.panoramio.com by joelnewell

And sadly, those who suffer shall continue to do so for many more years to come.




The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has come down hard on Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), suggesting the company grossly overstated its development costs in India's largest gas field, possibly causing "significant" financial losses to the exchequer.

As the production-sharing contract involves profit-sharing with the government, a higher capital expenditure results in the profit being lower for the government than it would be otherwise, which the CAG has explained in its 200-page June 7 report to the petroleum ministry.

The CAG report has revealed severe irregularities and violations on part of private operators and government departments and ministries.

Source: Hindustantimes.com

And while reading certain news, one is made to believe that these super rich are magnanimous/benevolent since they are investing their “hard earned” money in India.

Ambani Invests $16.9 Billion In The Heart Of India



But then life shall go on and one should only wait for the next increase in fuel price. One can also wait for the other brother to come up with his idea of a home.

Barely weeks after Mukesh Ambani moved out of Sea Wind, the family’s joint home, into his own 27-story tower that has been billed as the world’s most expensive private residence, comes the news that younger brother Anil is planning to construct his own palace in the sky.

Source: Forbes.com

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jyotirmoy Dey

India has been ranked 13th by CPJ or the Committee to Protect Journalists.

CPJ’s Impunity Index calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country's population. For this index, CPJ examined journalist murders that occurred between January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2010, and that remain unsolved. Only those nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on this index.

CPJ defines murder as a deliberate attack against a specific journalist in relation to the victim’s work. Murders make up more than 70 percent of work-related deaths among journalists, according to CPJ research. This index does not include cases of journalists killed in combat or while carrying out dangerous assignments such as coverage of street protests.

Source: cpj.org

While it is understandable when Iraq tops the list, should India be in the list at all?

If we take a look at the countries that have taken a place in this list, it is imperative that we ask ourselves why India is in this list. Except for Brazil, all the rest of the countries are/were facing turmoil due to various reasons.


Statistical Table
Unsolved journalist murders per 1 million inhabitants for 2001-2010. Only nations with five or more unsolved cases are included. Cases are considered unsolved when no convictions have been obtained.


Source: cpj.org

Yet again it shows how government after government has indulged in corruption. We also saw the 4th pillar of democracy (Media) being drawn into the vortex of corruption.

But now with the latest killing of senior Mumbai journalist Jyotirmoy Dey, should one wonder if majority of them are playing it safe?

This killing shocked the nation but will his killers be brought to justice?


Source: www.dailypioneer.com


Today I read that the journalists have begun a fast for CBI probe and I pray they persist until the culprits are arrested.This deserves the utmost support from every citizen too. The 4th pillar may have had lapses but when our nation does get journalists who put their life in danger just so as to expose the corrupt forces, then every citizen ought to join this fight. It deserves the same support that Anna Hazare is being given.

Dey had also met home minister R R Patil in May and submitted the state Anti-Corruption Bureau's adverse report on Mahabole. The officer was investigated after allegations that he helped Dawood's sister Haseena Parkar in an extortion case registered against her. This happened after Akela was booked under the Official Secrets Act for his story on the poor condition of the armoury where the Railways' weapons are stored. It was alleged that Mahabole had instigated the arrest.


Without a strong media, we shall never be able to root out the menace of corruption that is strangling the nation’s growth and threatening its stability.

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