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EDITORIALS

Guaranteed jobs
Guard against pitfalls
T
HE National Rural Employment Guarantee Act has come into force with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, launching it at Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday. It is one of the most ambitious programmes ever launched in the country.

Flights of despair
Air passengers have their rights too
M
OST agitators measure their strike on two yardsticks. One, how much disruption they have caused; and, two, how much trauma they have inflicted on the public. The strike by the airport employees has not really brought flights to a standstill.


EARLIER STORIES

Pay panel pill
February 3, 2006
Scope for diplomacy
February2, 2006
Airport blackmail
February1, 2006
Delayed IT refunds
January 31, 2006
Cabinet Mark II
January 30, 2006
Serious journalism must remain part of democratic dharma
January 29, 2006
Crisis continues
January 28, 2006
Go ahead with N-deal
January 26, 2006
Go home, Buta
January 25, 2006
Return of Raja Bhaiya
January 24, 2006
Speaker has no other choice
January 23, 2006
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
Lessons in education
Sex scores over history
I
T is a curious reflection on our priorities and values that academia and authorities are more preoccupied with the introduction of sex education than the dumbing down of history textbooks.
ARTICLE

Mess in Nagaland
NSCN runs the state by proxy
by Maj. Gen Ashok K Mehta
T
HE nine-year-long ceasefire in Nagaland between the main separatist group NSCN (IM) and the Central Government expired on January 31. An influential leader of the group, RH Reising, recently said that there was no point merely extending the truce without finding a permanent solution to their demand for a Greater Nagaland which encompasses Naga-inhabited territories in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

MIDDLE

My father’s last testament
by Inder Vidya Vachaspati
W
E the two sons of Swami Shraddhanand were in the first batch of students when Gurukul Kangri was established by our father. There was still one year for our graduation. One early morning at about 4 a.m., an attendant woke us up, as our father wanted us to come to his room immediately.

OPED

DOCUMENT
Poverty among women underestimated
The following is excerpted from the United Nations report “The World’s Women 2005: Progress in Statistics.”
I
T is generally recognized that poverty is a multidimensional phenomena. Nevertheless, in the measurement of poverty, priority is given to its economic dimension. The primary sources of national poverty statistics are, consequently, income and expenditure data collected through household surveys; those data are used as indirect measures of access to opportunities and resources by household members.

Lotus blooms as son rises in Karnataka
by Jangveer Singh
T
HE father and the son were the cynosure of all eyes during the week-long political drama in Karnataka. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and his son HD Kumaraswamy provided all the sound bytes, besides seeming to be masters of the situation.

Defence notes
India, Russia may sign defence deal
by Girja Shankar Kaura
R
USSIA has said that it is in advanced negotiations with India on a $ 10 billion deal to provide the country with an anti-missile and fool-proof air defence system encompassing the whole geographical area.

From the pages of


 REFLECTIONS

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Guaranteed jobs
Guard against pitfalls

THE National Rural Employment Guarantee Act has come into force with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, launching it at Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday. It is one of the most ambitious programmes ever launched in the country. Under the Act, villagers in select districts in the country have acquired the legal right to demand employment for a minimum of 100 days in a year. If the government fails to provide work in 15 days, they can claim unemployment allowance. In the first phase, 200 districts are to be covered. Hoshiarpur in Punjab, Sirsa and Mohindergarh in Haryana and Chamba and Sirmaur in Himachal Pradesh are the immediate beneficiaries in this region. It is a well thought-out assault by the UPA government on rural poverty, disease and indebtedness.

If the Act is implemented in right earnest, some of the least developed districts can have road connectivity, school buildings, water supply and other assets beneficial for the community at large. Besides, the availability of work at the local level will reduce the exodus of rural people to the urban areas. Cities are already expanding haphazardly and precious resources are spent on containing the pressure on urban amenities. The need to control migration from villages becomes imperative. Moreover, the financial empowerment of villagers will push the demand for products, which, in turn, will boost industrial production.

To ensure that benefits envisaged under the Act reach the needy, concerted effort is required, both at the Central and state levels. Government machinery is notorious for leakages, which obviously need to be plugged so that public faith in the delivery system is restored. This calls for the creation of a foolproof and periodic monitoring system and a sound grievance redressal mechanism. The Centre is aware of the challenges ahead: to match outlays and outcomes and create productive assets. The political leadership at the state level, too, should rise to the occasion. The states have as much stake in its success as the Centre has and they should, therefore, join hands to make the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act a success and thereby make a dent in rural joblessness.

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Flights of despair
Air passengers have their rights too

MOST agitators measure their strike on two yardsticks. One, how much disruption they have caused; and, two, how much trauma they have inflicted on the public. The strike by the airport employees has not really brought flights to a standstill. So, they cannot claim a grand success on that count. As regards harassing the air passengers, the strike has been an unqualified triumph. Only those who just cannot avoid flying have been daring to go to an airport these days and they are being made to pay a heavy price for this helplessness. Even the aged and the infirm are stopped way outside the airport by the picketing employees and made to go on a long march, with their luggage in tow. Inside the airports, things are worse than what they normally are. There are stinking toilets. Trolleys are not to be found. Announcements about arrival and departures of flights are scarce. In short, the employees are excelling themselves in what they have been doing to passengers even on normal days.

It is their fundamental right to protest but doing so in such a disruptive way, they have lost whatever little public sympathy they had. While they are exercising their right, should not they be alive to the fact that the passengers also have certain rights? They will have to agree that the Indian airports are in a shabby state and are badly in need of upgradation. They have to ask themselves whether they are not blocking the national progress by hindering such a crying need.

Since they have not been amenable to reasonable thinking, the government has to stand firm before their violent assault and go ahead with the proposed restructuring. Any buckling under pressure will derail not only airport modernisation but also upgradation in other sectors. What is needed is a display of patience by the public also. If it bears with the inconvenience a wee bit longer without cursing the government for a “confrontational” attitude, the militant employees can perhaps turn a little less destructive. 

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Lessons in education
Sex scores over history

IT is a curious reflection on our priorities and values that academia and authorities are more preoccupied with the introduction of sex education than the dumbing down of history textbooks. Thus we are witness to a situation where, on the one side, there is intense, “intellectual” debate over sex education: At what age and in which class its introduction would be appropriate? Should there be exams or grading on the subject? Or, should it be an exam-less subject so that students are not overburdened? On the other side, there is a session of the Indian History Congress at Santiniketan attended by some 1400 historians grappling with the contentious issue of how and how much history should be included in the curriculum, and what should be the content of the textbooks prepared by the NCERT. This has barely caused a ripple.

The debate over NCERT’s history textbooks, unfortunately, has been reduced to merely detoxification of the saffronised textbooks. True, it is necessary for the textual tracts to be cleansed of saffron strains. But that is not the end of the matter, as assumed by the present dispensation at the NCERT, which is accused of “trivialising” history in the name of reducing information. Serious elements of history in their true perspective cannot be eliminated merely to make it “interesting” with the addition of inconsequential facts. History is not about sound bytes and eyeball snagging. Nor does it admit of an approach where the texts of Romila Thapar, Bipan Chandra and Arjun Dev are replaced by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre’s Freedom at Midnight or Gita Mehta’s Raj. The latter are eminently readable but not history for schools.

The syllabus should be designed in a way that students grasp history in its many dimensions and not in the form of television scripts. Those who speak of history adding to the burden may pause to ponder why they keep harping on introduction of more and newer subjects from sex and religion to environment and human rights.

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Thought for the day

Always put yourself in the other’s shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person too.

— Anonymous

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Mess in Nagaland
NSCN runs the state by proxy
by Maj. Gen Ashok K Mehta

THE nine-year-long ceasefire in Nagaland between the main separatist group NSCN (IM) and the Central Government expired on January 31. An influential leader of the group, RH Reising, recently said that there was no point merely extending the truce without finding a permanent solution to their demand for a Greater Nagaland which encompasses Naga-inhabited territories in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The two sides have held dozens of rounds of talks for ending South Asia’s oldest insurgency called the mother of all insurgencies in the Northeast which has claimed more than 20,000 lives since the early 1950s.

Thanks to a set of eight soft ground rules of the CFA (cease fire agreement), the NSCN (IM) has made huge political, military and financial capital during this period. While some senior Army officers are recommending calling the NSCN (IM)’s bluff, others are pleading caution and calling for saving the CFA that has yielded a peace dividend. Overseas Affairs Minister Oscar Fernandes is to hold talks with NSCN (IM) leaders in Bangkok to prolong the CFA. The last round of talks was held in October.

In some ways, the situation in Nagaland is analogous to LTTE’s in Sri Lanka and the Maoists in Nepal. These militant groups control large tracts of territory and run a parallel government. But in the case of Nagaland, the NSCN (IM) actually runs the state government by proxy and being the oldest and most powerful insurgent group in the region, has the power to destabilise other state governments in the Northeast especially Assam and Manipur. It wields enormous influence over ULFA in Assam and lays claim to land in North Cachar in Assam, Tirap in Arunachal and the four hill districts of Manipur. Further, it has marginalised the rival Khaplang faction of the NSCN owing to its preferential treatment by the state and the CFA monitoring team. It has taken full advantage from loopholes in the CFA though of late, security forces have begun backing the Khaplang faction to dilute IM’s preponderance.

Due to its reach in the North Cachar Hills, it periodically foments trouble between the Karbi and Dimasa tribes in the area. The long arm of the NSCN (IM) reaches Nepal as well. It is known to have trained a select group of Maoists for Rs 5 lakh per trainee. Every contract, legislation and edict of the government has to have its stamp of approval. All the traditional institutions of Nagaland, like the Council of Village Elders, students federations, human rights groups and Mothers’ Fronts have been subverted. It has the power to destabilise the Northeast given its bases in Bangladesh and Burma and the fact that it trains most of the insurgent groups in the region. There are reports that it has links with Al-Qaeda.

The ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) is a grouping of five parties which includes BJP, JDU, Independents and the Nagaland People’s Front. DAN has 44 seats in a House of 60 and the Congress with the remaining seats, is in the Opposition. Not surprisingly, the NSCN (K) is it’s key sympathiser. DAN came to power on the shoulders of the NSCN (IM) and it is the latter that runs the state and government but without any accountability.

In talks with the NSCN (IM), negotiators must try to plug the existing loopholes in the CFA. The 6000 NSCN (IM) rebels are meant to be confined in designated camps but only 1000 have obliged. The rest is a floating population indulging in extortions, forced recruitment and eliminating the rival Khaplang group. These are precisely some of the snags in the CFA in Sri Lanka which are likely to be addressed any day now. The NSCN (IM) has a fighting strength of around 6000 with 3000 AK rifles. The NSCN (K) has roughly 2500 fighters and 1600 AK Rifles. The latter have been under pressure from the Burmese Army. It is believed that a brigade from Burma’s Northern Division launched an offensive last month against Khaplang camps inside Burma. The NSCN (K) has a separate CFA with Delhi signed in 2001.

It is from Nagaland that the Indian Army learnt its basics about counterinsurgency. At present there are two brigades of Assam Rifles, a BSF battalion and three CRPF battalions, deployed in an integrated counter insurgency grid. This division-sized force will be in the vanguard in the event of any military showdown with the NSCN (IM). Army formations are earmarked to be inducted in such a contingency.

Given the green signal, security forces will sweep down on NSCN (IM) hideouts in a series of short and swift operations probably supported by the Khaplang group. In the past, the NSCN (IM) has taken casualties but outside Nagaland, in the so-called Greater Nagaland area, which is not covered by the CFA. As far as the Army is concerned, for the present discretion appears to be the better part of valour.

The predominant and saner view is that negotiations must continue and the CFA not abrogated. The demand for Greater Nagaland is fraught with political and constitutional difficulties. Of the two IM leaders, Isaak Chishi Swu and Thungelang Muivah, it is the latter who has to be mellowed. He is from the Tangkhul tribe in Ukhrul district of Manipur. The military command and leadership of the NSCN (IM) is in the hands of the Tangkhuls which is resented by the Naga tribes. If one day he is to be the Chief Minister of Nagaland, at least Ukhrul - one of the four Naga inhabited hill districts of Manipur claimed by NSCN (IM) - would have to be joined to Nagaland.

In 2001, the Greater Nagaland issue sparked off protracted and violent protests in Manipur. The freewheeling CFA and open-ended negotiations by bureaucrats has allowed the NSCN (IM) to expand its political demands from a position of strength. Let this not repeat itself with ULFA in Assam or elsewhere in the country, for a CFA is not an end in itself. On Republic Day, the Governor of Assam, Lt Gen Ajay Singh, who was the first to lead protracted operations against ULFA in the early 1990s has warned that a ceasefire has been utilised in the past by ULFA to strengthen its outfit. The other lesson for the North East is that while MoD and Military Operations Army Headquarters are in charge of operations, decision making rests with the MHA. For more effective coordination between the two, a core group is required to be established. Similarly, the North East Council (NEC) requires to prove its efficacy and coordinate development with security. For the moment, the ball is in Oscar 
Fernandes’s court.

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My father’s last testament
by Inder Vidya Vachaspati

WE the two sons of Swami Shraddhanand were in the first batch of students when Gurukul Kangri was established by our father. There was still one year for our graduation. One early morning at about 4 a.m., an attendant woke us up, as our father wanted us to come to his room immediately. We also learnt from the attendant that our father did not have a wink of sleep all night as he was strolling restlessly in his room and also jotting down certain notes.

As both of us entered his room, he was still strolling with his forearms resting at his back, as was his wont. There was a certain peaceful glow on his face. He looked at us and sat on his chair. He pulled out a foolscap page written in his own handwriting from the drawer and placed this paper before us and said: “Both of you should read it carefully and if you agree with what I have written in this document, please put your signatures on it”.

The document read as follows: “I, Swami Shraddhanand, had devoted all my life to the cause of Vedic Dharma. I am a follower of Swami Dayanand and as ordained by him, I have established this Gurukul Kangri to propagate the Vedic concept of real education so that a new breed of young men infused with Vedic culture and patriotism can come out of the portals of this Gurukul. I have spent all my strength for this noble cause but now I have a feeling that my attempt has been half-hearted, as I have not given away everything that I possess for the cause, which is so dear to me. I still own a bungalow at Jalandhar, which is not a hereditary property as I have built it with my own earnings. The attachment that I have with this property should not be there. So, by signing this document of relinquishment, I donate this kothi, the only property left with me, to Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Punjab, for the cause of Gurukul”.

When I and my brother had gone through the document, father asked us whether we had no objection in being signatories to his document as otherwise both of us would have inherited this property. In this context, let me say that sometime earlier, he had drafted his will wherein both of us were to share this property in equal parts. With this deed of relinquishment, we had agreed to forgo our right even on this last property to our father.

Both of us immediately signed the document. At this point, Swamiji said: “It is your free choice to withdraw from signing if you do not feel like losing this property as there is no other asset with me that will come to you by inheritance”. Both of us gave our total consent for it and left his room while he was deeply engrossed in his thoughts.

The annual function of the Gurukul was to take place the next day. The pandal was brimming with enthusiastic Arya Samajists who had come from far and near to participate in the annual function. An elaborate yagya was being performed. After it was over, Swamiji went straight to the podium and in his impressive and impassioned voice spoke as follows:

“I must share with you the turmoil of my conscience when I thought that I have not offered ‘purnahuti’ (total sacrifice) as I still had kept with me a property which now I have donated to the cause of the Gurukul which is so dear to me and by God’s grace I’m light-hearted standing before you and have a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.”

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DOCUMENT
Poverty among women underestimated

The following is excerpted from the United Nations report “The World’s Women 2005: Progress in Statistics.”
I
T is generally recognized that poverty is a multidimensional phenomena. Nevertheless, in the measurement of poverty, priority is given to its economic dimension. The primary sources of national poverty statistics are, consequently, income and expenditure data collected through household surveys; those data are used as indirect measures of access to opportunities and resources by household members.

Reliance on such data, however, has proved inadequate for capturing differences in poverty among women and men since it focuses on poverty estimates for households rather than on those for individuals. Such estimates do not readily show sex differences in patterns of distribution of food, income and the like, nor do they reveal the experience of poverty by individual women and men within households.

In addition, poverty statistics based on income and expenditure data do not assign an economic value to unpaid domestic work or to care giving activities that are most often performed by women. Failure to value those unremunerated activities introduces significant bias in poverty statistics and may lead to underestimating the level of poverty experienced by women and by single-parent households, especially those headed by women.

The underestimation can occur for two key reasons: first, unpaid domestic work and care giving activities performed by women in dual parent households are an economic asset not readily available to single parent households who may instead need to purchase those services from the market. Second, the unremunerated activities also have a direct effect on women’s time, limiting their ability to participate in other activities, including wage employment, education and training, and leisure.

However, despite the limitations, data collected through household surveys can be and have been used to provide preliminary evidence of the extent to which women may be at a greater risk of experiencing poverty as compared with men. Examples include the work carried out by the Women and Development Unit of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), which analysed survey data from countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Although differences in poverty among women and men can at times be demonstrated using information available through standard household surveys, there is a need for new concepts, instruments and methodologies designed specifically to measure those differences. For instance, the concept of “time poverty” has been advanced as an alternative approach that captures both the social and economic dimensions of poverty. It can be analysed on the basis of data from time-use surveys that show how women and men apportion their time between various income-earning and other tasks. Since 1995, at least 67 countries or areas have conducted a time-use survey. However, time-use surveys are not yet widely conducted by countries around the world.

Women’s participation in the informal sector is an important coping strategy for households in poverty, and in that regard the work of the Delhi Group on Informal Sector Statistics is of particular interest. At its sixth meeting, the Group specifically considered the linkages of informal sector statistics with income and expenditure and poverty statistics. The Group’s 2004-2005 work programme included identification, definition and development of a core set of indicators on informal sector and informal employment in line with the importance placed on informal employment by the Task Force on Education and Gender Equality of the United Nations Millennium Project.

All over the world, women and men spend the major portion of their lives working. Some of the work may be paid and some may be unpaid. The conditions under which women work, and women’s access to employment and productive resources, can differ considerably from those of men.

As observed in the Beijing Platform for Action, almost everywhere, women are now working more outside the home, but there has not been a parallel lightening of their responsibility for unremunerated work in the household and community. For women in paid work, obstacles remain that hinder them from achieving their potential, and women are poorly represented in economic decision-making, as well as in certain occupations and sectors. Unemployment and underemployment are serious problems in many countries, especially for women.

Where formal employment opportunities are not accessible, women often seek livelihoods for themselves and their dependants in the informal sector, some becoming self employed or owners of small-scale enterprises. According to the Millennium Development Goals, strategies to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women include advocating women’s empowerment in employment. Countries are also called on to develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth and to ensure that girls are given the same opportunities as boys.

To address those concerns, Governments require information on the economically active population, employment, unemployment, occupations, status in employment, wages and related statistics. For effective gender-sensitive planning and evaluation, the data should be generated and disseminated by sex, age and other socio-economic variables as needed.

Statistics on the economically active, employed and unemployed populations, and on the distribution of those populations by occupation and by status in employment (i.e. whether employers, own-account workers, employees or contributing family workers), are already collected regularly in many countries, mainly through labour force surveys. These data are also collected in population censuses.

On the basis of what has been reported to the international organizations, it is apparent that the worldwide availability of statistics on economic activity, employment and unemployment is far from satisfactory, with slightly more than half of all countries providing data by sex and only roughly a third of all countries doing so with fair regularity.

The lack of data has received particular attention in recent years as a result of the monitoring and reporting requirements of the Millennium Development Goals. One positive aspect is that when economically active population, employment and unemployment data are provided, they are almost always disaggregated by sex.

In general, labour force surveys and establishment surveys capture the more formal types of economic activity better than the non-formal types of economic activity. As a result, the economic activities of women are often under-reported. The production of goods and services for household consumption is done by women more than by men.

Although included in the United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA), work of this nature is often under recorded. It is believed that women also perform most of the unremunerated domestic and community work that are not part of the SNA and a significant part of the activities in the informal sector of the economy, which tend to be underreported in official statistics.

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Lotus blooms as son rises in Karnataka
by Jangveer Singh

THE father and the son were the cynosure of all eyes during the week-long political drama in Karnataka. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and his son HD Kumaraswamy provided all the sound bytes, besides seeming to be masters of the situation.

In the end the Chief Ministership of Karnataka was on offer to Kumaraswamy aged 46, while Mr Gowda seemed to be opting for an honourable exile after resigning from the Presidentship of the Janata Dal (Secular).

However, it is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has gained the most even if it is going to play the second fiddle to the JD(S) group led by Kumaraswamy. Courting a disgruntled son, who wanted power for himself, and installing him as Chief Minister is a small price to pay for ridding the party of the pariah status it had earned for itself in the state.

Despite being the single largest party after the last assembly elections, the BJP had to sit in the opposition because Mr HD Deve Gowda did not want to be seen to be aligning with it. The JD(S) chose to go with the Congress which is its bitter rival at the grassroots level as both vie for the same vote bank.

During the last 20 months the Gowda senior gave vent to his anger against the Congress on many an occasion but did not take the final step — withdrawing support to the government.

Probably due to these exhortations, the Congress did not take the latest threat with the seriousness it required. Mr Gowda indicated he would withdraw support to the Congress in case it partnered with his old friend-turned foe Siddaramaiah, who has formed his own party after being thrown out of the JD(S) in the zilla parishads. The Congress refused to agree to the demand due to its resounding success in the panchayat elections compared to the dismal performance of the JD(S).

It was here the Congress miscalculated. It reasoned it had only to reckon with mid-term elections in case Mr Gowda withdrew support to it. Its leaders even expressed readiness for a mid-term poll after the success in the panchayat elections. It did not reckon with the daring of Mr Kumaraswamy, who had been in touch with BJP leaders for quite some time.

Once Mr Kumaraswamy took a decision it was difficult to go back even on the express wish of his father, even if the plea was for real and not a political drama for the sake of the cameras as well as the Left parties.

The BJP in this way has opened its account in the South for the first time. It also has, again for the first time, an opportunity to win wider acceptance in the state. The timing is also fortuitous for the party with assembly elections due in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry in April. BJP party workers in the South are likely to be upbeat after the turn of events in Karnataka.

The party is also going all out to change its image in the South. Senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu, who was responsible for the trouble shooting in Karnataka recently, made this clear saying “we will change the image of our party from the Hindi- Hindu one to include South India and development”. Mr Naidu has already drafted a common minimum programme for Karnataka in league with Mr Kumaraswamy which will be “pro-development, pro-poor and pro-farmers”.

And finally the BJP may have the last laugh in Karnataka at the expense of the JD(S). Right now it has an almost exclusive base amongst the Lingayat community. The Congress and the JD(S) vie for the other dominant Vokkaliga community as well as the backward and Dalit vote.

In case the BJP is able to spread its base amongst the other communities during its period of governance, the state may well be heading for just two fronts in future — one led by the Congress and the other by the BJP. Mr Kumaraswamy and his JD(S) may well play the second fiddle to any of them.
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Defence notes
India, Russia may sign defence deal
by Girja Shankar Kaura

RUSSIA has said that it is in advanced negotiations with India on a $ 10 billion deal to provide the country with an anti-missile and fool-proof air defence system encompassing the whole geographical area.

The Russians have demonstrated the effectiveness of the system to the Indians and the system on offer will encompass coverage of the entire country plus regional grids.

The Russians, who have been here at the Defexpo 2006, with the idea to showcase their products to meet the onslaught of the Americans, claimed that their system was far more sophisticated than the American Patriots PAC-3 system, which Washington is looking at putting on offer to India.

Russia, incidentally, has also made an offer to India for upgrading the country’s Pechora air defence system, which is based on the old Russian technology of SAM-6 and SAM 7.

W2M telecom satellite

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been selected to partner the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company (EADS) to build a telecommunication satellite called W2M for Eutelsat Communications.

The final contract in this regard will be signed later this month during the forthcoming visit of French President Jacques Chirac to India.

EADS officials, who are participating in the Defexpo 2006 here, said that the new industrial partnership—combining the expertise of EADS Astrium and ISRO—will deliver W2M to Eutelsat in 26 months for launch in the second quarter of 2008.

The W2M will operate typically 26 transponders in KU-band and up to 32 depending on operational modes for a designed operational lifetime of 15 years.

The new satellite is designed to provide additional security for customers and can be deployed at a number of orbital positions.

Eurocopter eyes India

Eurocopter, the world’s largest helicopter manufacturer, has ambitious business plans for the Indian market. It is looking at selling helicopters to industrial and private players.

As part of its plans the company is looking at setting up a subsidiary in India. The company officials said that the business focus in India would be to decisively increase the sales through successful industrial deployment.

For the purpose, the company is participating not only in a tender for light helicopters called LORH but is also looking at long-term industrial cooperation with the Indian aerospace industry.

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From the pages of

November 5, 1924

Spinning franchise

The question whether the spinning franchise should take the place of the existing four-anna franchise was considered at great length at the recent U.P. Conference. The number of amendments moved as well as the trend of many of the speeches made showed clearly that so far from being a unifying factor, as the Mahatma seems to believe it would be, his proposal has created a sharp division in the ranks of our public men. Two of the several amendments suggested, as we have ourselves done, that the spinning franchise should not take the place of, but should merely be an alternative to, the existing franchise, while a third came to much the same thing in as much as it proposed to “replace four annas by 2,000 yards of yarn which may have been spun anywhere inside or outside India by an Indian,” — a proposal, by the way, which would defeat the very purpose of the Mahatma’s suggestion.

One remark made by the mover of the last amendment, though not new, is one which goes to the root of the whole matter. “The membership of the Congress which in 1921 was about a crore,” he said, “had already dwindled to about five lakh”. What an irony of fate that a proposal of which this is sure to be one of the immediate consequences should have been brought forward about the very time when the need for extending the Congress is the sorest and by the very man who feels the imperativeness of this need more than any one else!

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Only the toad under the barrow knows where it pinches him.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Do not blame others for your faults. Your own evil deeds are to blame. I reaped what I sowed. Why then cast blame on others?

—Guru Nanak

A blasphemer will burn in the fire of hell.

— Guru Nanak

Though immobile, the spirit traverses great distances in the time and space.

—The Upanishads

The sons of the king may be versed in many arts. They may be loved, admired and respected by their subjects. But the son they would prefer to have rule over them, is the one they respect for his wisdom and kindness.

—The Mahabharata

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