SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI

 

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
O P I N I O N S

Editorials | Article | Middle | Oped | Reflections

EDITORIALS

Fighting terrorism together 
Mechanism is not enough
I
ndia and Pakistan have moved a step forward towards implementing the out-of-box idea of having a joint anti-terrorism mechanism as agreed upon at Havana. During their two-day meeting in New Delhi as part of the composite dialogue the two sides finalised the shape of the mechanism, which will function at the Additional Secretary level.

Attack most foul
Minorities must be protected
I
T is a matter of national shame that the poisonous weed of religious intolerance, which has already brought to India the ignominy of Graham Staines murder, is taking roots at the unlikeliest of places. Who would have thought that a Christian preacher would be thrashed in a relatively peaceful place like Yamunanagar in Haryana? While the priest, Mr A.M. Samuel, President of the N-W Region of Indian Pentacostal Church of God, and others say that they were there only to propagate the name of Jesus and to hold prayers,



 

 

EARLIER STORIES

No diplomacy this
November 16, 2006
Cut oil prices
November 15, 2006
Danger ahead
November 14, 2006
Sufis and saints
November 13, 2006
Army and human rights
November 12, 2006
Congress in two minds
November 11, 2006
Casualty of Iraq war
November 10, 2006
A weakened Bush
November 9, 2006
Confrontation won’t do
November 8, 2006
Death for Saddam
November 7, 2006
FDI and security
November 6, 2006
New Act will check violence on women, says Renuka
November 5, 2006


Divided on pension fund
Buddha may spread enlightenment
P
ro-reform Marxist and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has reportedly agreed to persuade fellow comrades to stop their strident opposition to the long-pending pension Bill after a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday. While the Left leaders are divided on the pension reforms, it is the trade unions which do not want the government to pass on pension funds to public or private financial institutions for investment in stock markets.
ARTICLE

Back on the brink
Time running out for Bangladesh
by Inder Malhotra
A
S was only to be expected, Bangladesh is well and truly back on the brink. Mercifully, after four days of a total blockade of the country’s major cities, with concomitant violence, there is a second spell of reprieve. Sheikh Hasina Wajed, leader of the 14-party opposition alliance, has again suspended the massive agitation, but only up to Sunday.

MIDDLE

Little women
by Chetna Keer Banerjee
Never measure a person’s height neck down, always neck up. These words reverberating through the Leisure Valley acquired a particular resonance for me as I sat listening raptly to management guru and motivator Shiv Khera on a near-nippy November evening recently.

OPED

Healthy option
Insurance for all should be the goal
by Rajesh Kumar Aggarwal
I
NDIA currently spends around 1.1 percent of GDP on health while the individual States spent around 5-7 percent of their allocations on health and related activities. While some states like Goa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat spent more than the allocated amount, other states like Karnataka, Orissa, Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal¸ and Assam spent less than their allocations during the past decade.

Campuses reel under attacks in Iraq
by Sudarsan Raghavan
B
AGHDAD, Iraq - Over the past six months, Professor Amir Hassan’s world has been shrinking. Two colleagues were assassinated, one with his family. Another was kidnapped. Two received death threats, forcing one to flee to Jordan. And since September, six other senior members of his political science department at Baghdad University have left Iraq.

Delhi Durbar
Alliance games in UP
The jigsaw puzzle of alliances in Uttar Pradesh now appears to be falling into place. With the CPI deciding to ally with the V.P. Singh led Jan Morcha, it is now almost certain that the CPI (M) would continue its alliance with the Samajwadi party led by Mulayam Singh Yadav.

  • Tough ride

  • AIIMS solidarity

 REFLECTIONS

 

Top








 

Fighting terrorism together 
Mechanism is not enough

India and Pakistan have moved a step forward towards implementing the out-of-box idea of having a joint anti-terrorism mechanism as agreed upon at Havana. During their two-day meeting in New Delhi as part of the composite dialogue the two sides finalised the shape of the mechanism, which will function at the Additional Secretary level. This is in accordance with the arrangement for the same purpose India has made with some other countries also. It is a welcome development as it signifies the unending search for finding a way to effectively deal with the most serious threat to peace and stability in the region. India has been a victim of terrorism emanating from Pakistan for a long time. No part of India has been safe from the menace. It has spread its tentacles all over the country, far beyond Jammu and Kashmir.

The joint arrangement for fighting terrorism will provide yet another opportunity to Pakistan to prove its sincerity in this respect. Its record so far has been simply poor. Despite having promised that any territory under the control of Pakistan will not be allowed to be used by terrorists, they continue to take innocent lives in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere in India. Terrorist outfits, even those officially banned in Pakistan, remain engaged in destructive activities with their infrastructure, including the communication network, intact. Pakistan needs to neutralise them to send across a clear message that terrorism on any pretext can no longer be tolerated anywhere by Islamabad.

Whatever Pakistan does on the terrorism front will help expand the peace constituency on both sides of the Indo-Pak divide. Since the problem has its roots in Pakistan it has greater responsibility to ensure that terrorists are unable to destroy the joint mechanism. Islamabad must come down heavily on such elements so that there is no trace of what has come to be known as the terrorist industry. Only then can we prevent horrifying incidents like the recent train bomb blasts in Mumbai or militant strikes in Delhi, Varanasi and other places. This can also ensure smooth progress of the peace process, which requires a lot to be done to take it to its logical conclusion. In any case, terrorism and talks cannot go together.

Top

 

Attack most foul
Minorities must be protected

IT is a matter of national shame that the poisonous weed of religious intolerance, which has already brought to India the ignominy of Graham Staines murder, is taking roots at the unlikeliest of places. Who would have thought that a Christian preacher would be thrashed in a relatively peaceful place like Yamunanagar in Haryana? While the priest, Mr A.M. Samuel, President of the N-W Region of Indian Pentacostal Church of God, and others say that they were there only to propagate the name of Jesus and to hold prayers, the angry mob allegedly consisting of BJP and Bajrang Dal activists insists that they were trying to convert Hindus to Christianity. Even if it is conceded, for arguments’ sake, that such indeed was the motive of the congregation, still nobody had the right to take the law into his own hands.

What is all the more galling is the fact that the troublemakers were accompanied by a large number of local residents who do not owe allegiance to any militant organisation or group. Apparently, their feelings had been aroused with the help of vicious propaganda. That is highly disturbing. Only recently, 30 Hindu activists were arrested in Mohali for reportedly protesting against a programme being organised by the local church. Two months ago, an equally ugly incident had taken place at Loreto Convent in Lucknow. Such instances can by multiplied if one goes a little further back in time.

The situation demands that the police has to remain alert against the mischief-makers who are always keen to tread on minority rights. It should now immediately swing into action and bring the guilty to book. Only then would the apprehensions of the minorities be assuaged. Community leaders also need to ensure that the venom of religious hatred is not allowed to be spread. Fanaticism has no place in a plural and multi-cultural country like India. 

Top

 

Divided on pension fund
Buddha may spread enlightenment

Pro-reform Marxist and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has reportedly agreed to persuade fellow comrades to stop their strident opposition to the long-pending pension Bill after a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday. While the Left leaders are divided on the pension reforms, it is the trade unions which do not want the government to pass on pension funds to public or private financial institutions for investment in stock markets. They want the government to assure the employees guaranteed returns on their contribution. This is something unacceptable to the UPA government.

The government floated a new pension scheme in 1995 under which the employees joining service after January 1, 2004, are required to contribute 10 per cent of their salary to a pension corpus with the government making a matching contribution. The corpus has now accumulated more than Rs 500 crore. The corpus is yet to be invested and the government is getting no returns. The Prime Minister and the Finance Minister are keen to push the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill in Parliament, but their efforts to bring the adamant Left to their point of view have not succeeded yet.

The leftist concerns are valid to an extent. Given the volatility and numerous instances of fraud and price manipulation in the stock markets, such fears are natural. The UTI fiasco is still fresh in public memory. It is also true that the financial system is much better managed now as the past few years have demonstrated. While investments in stocks usually give better returns over the years, indications are only a part of the pension funds will be invested in equities and the rest will be parked in safer avenues like government securities and the debt market. The growing popularity of mutual funds shows people are not averse to taking risks.

Top

 

Thought for the day

Marriage is a wonderful invention; but, then again, so is a bicycle repair kit. 
— Billy Connolly

Top

 

Back on the brink
Time running out for Bangladesh
by Inder Malhotra

AS was only to be expected, Bangladesh is well and truly back on the brink. Mercifully, after four days of a total blockade of the country’s major cities, with concomitant violence, there is a second spell of reprieve. Sheikh Hasina Wajed, leader of the 14-party opposition alliance, has again suspended the massive agitation, but only up to Sunday. The interim regime — perceived to be a partisan of the outgoing Prime Minister, Begum Khaleda Zia, and her Bangladesh National Party (BNP) — has limited time therefore to arrive at a compromise with the Opposition. Alternatively, the country is in for a disaster of frightening dimensions.

Of the Opposition’s 11 demands, the critically important is that the interim set-up should be credibly neutral and, to this end, must remove the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr. M. A. Aziz, who is notoriously pro-BNP and under whose auspices a free and fair election is considered virtually impossible. Serious questions have arisen also about the impartiality of the President, Mr. Iajuddin Ahmed, who has, most unusually and in violation of the constitution, made himself the head of the interim regime charged with the task of holding elections that are free and fair and seen to be so in January.

What has dismayed all those anxious to maintain the integrity of the poll is that Mr. Aziz has dug his heels in and refused to resign, despite requests to do so from eminent Bangladeshis. The last military ruler, General Ershad, has also joined the cry, that “Aziz must go”. The three other members of the Election Commission have indicated, however, that they would resign, if required. Begum Zia insists that the interim government cannot sack the CEC.

Neither the gravity nor the irony of the Bangladesh crisis could be greater. The two mainstream parties, the Awami League and the BNP —- because of the their intense rivalry, multiplied manifold by the implacable personal hatred of Begum Zia and Sheikh Hasina of each other —- had practically rendered the Bangladeshi democracy dysfunctional.

Since neither party, when in power, could be relied upon to hold impartial elections, the system of a neutral interim regime during three months before every general election was introduced in 1996. Had the established norms for the installation of the interim government been followed, there would have been no trouble. But, for reasons best known to him and allegedly at the behest of Begum Zia, President Ahmed appointed himself as his own Prime Minister as well as “Principal Adviser”. This has led to the collapse of the corrective device itself, especially because the President hasn’t said a word yet on the CEC’s removal, which is the key issue. Mr. Aziz goes on thumbing his nose at his critics.

To make matters worse, the President has developed delusions of grandeur. The bedrock of the Bangladeshi democracy, for all its failings, is that it is a parliamentary democracy. He is reported to have remarked that the country was now under a “presidential system”. Come to think of it, he is not off the mark. For, the titular head of state, for the first time since the ushering in of civilian rule, combines in himself the offices of the republic’s President, Prime Minister, and Minister of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Home. He is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

Even this cannot explain, however, his reckless and potentially explosive decision, to call out the army “in aid of civilian authority”. The draft orders for this purpose had been kept ready by the outgoing Zia government. Later, however, the dangerous decision was rescinded.

This surely was a silver lining in an extremely dark cloud but almost the entire Bangladesh knew that it was the army’s refusal to do the “dirty work”, not prudence on the part of President Ahmed, that caused the reversal of the unwise resolve. According to the best available information, the Bangladesh army, happy to rule the country in the past, is now divided on the issue. To be sure, there are adherents of both the mainstream parties in its ranks. But, according to reliable sources, younger officers of the rank of colonel and below are insisting on professionalism, uncontaminated by political partisanship.

Apparently, this feeling began to gather strength when Begum Zia appointed a person of her choice as Chief of the Army Staff by superseding seven generals. Curiously, she later wanted to replace him before the end of his tenure. But resistance from within the army made her desist. The high salaries Bangladeshi officers and men have been getting as members of UN peacekeeping missions are also a powerful incentive for professionalism.

However, the withdrawal of the order for the army’s deployment is not enough. Sheikh Hasina has made it clear that the suspended siege of all major towns would be resumed on Monday with full vigour if her demands, especially that for the removal of Mr. Aziz and reconstitution of the Election Commission, were not accepted. Bangladesh is thus sitting on a powder keg. The “doctored” electoral rolls prepared by the CEC are severely under attack.

The one hopeful development in Bangladesh that has nothing to do with the interim set-up is the split in the BNP and the formation by the dissenters of the Liberal Democratic Party. The LDP leaders had held prominent positions in the BNP but had been steadily sidelined. They were also appalled by Begum Zia’s alliance with, and encouragement of, the Islamic extremists and pro-Pakistani elements as well as the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

After its statement last month, reaffirming that India had “vital stakes” in the stability, democracy and prosperity of Bangladesh, New Delhi has been silent on the subject. Most of the Indian media, barring that in Kolkata, has been strangely uninterested in so important a neighbour. But the United States Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Mr. Richard Boucher, on a visit to Dhaka, stated categorically that the election in Bangladesh must be “credibly free and fair, without any military intervention and with the participation of all political parties”.

Evidently, he knows that denial of free and fair elections or the creating of conditions in which the 14-party opposition alliance is constrained to boycott the poll would lead to utter chaos in Bangladesh, with ramifications for the entire region. The responsibility to avert this catastrophe is that of President Iajuddin Ahmed.

Top

 

Little women
by Chetna Keer Banerjee

Never measure a person’s height neck down, always neck up.

These words reverberating through the Leisure Valley acquired a particular resonance for me as I sat listening raptly to management guru and motivator Shiv Khera on a near-nippy November evening recently.

As he dished out pearls of wisdom and tales of inspiration from the stage, my own thoughts turned to the people who’ve inspired me at some stage of life or the other. And yes, strangely, many of them didn’t “measure much neck down”, but have been held in high esteem nonetheless.

Back in school, there was the petite Ms Roy, a committed custodian of the English language and great guardian of spelling and syntax. To her, among others, I owe whatever grounding in grammar that I have. But how to roll my R’s was not the only lesson I learnt from her.

Her sparkling wit always lighted up our English classes just as a grin forever brightened her face. Her smile never flickered into dimness, not even when she was plunged into an abyss of dark despair after her husband was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease.

That was close to our board exams and her appearances became irregular. But whenever she did show up in class, a smile never failed to crinkle her eyes, furrowing deeper the dark circles she’d acquired from many a sleepless night. And that certainly was the real lesson this tiny teacher unwittingly taught us: of smiling stoicism in the face of adversity.

Then there was another little woman in the school who stood high in our estimation. The short and svelte geography teacher, Ms Sharma. This tutor of maps and geological contours did much to put our school on the fashion map of the local teaching fraternity back then. Given the panache with which she used to carry her backless cholis and chiffons then, she could give our lanky Sushmitas and Aishwaryas a tip or two today.

That her height, or rather the lack of it, didn’t stop her from rising to the exalted status of a style icon can be judged from the fact that each time she walked the corridor on her signature stilettoes, she left a trail of giggly and gauche girls mimicking her gait in this makeshift catwalk.

And that she later went on to become the First Lady of the forces when her husband was made Chief of Army Staff only put her on a higher pedestal.

A much later source of inspiration came my way in the form of, yes, a woman again and a little one at that: Mrs Sathe, my diminutive music teacher.

To me, nothing sums up this Maharashtrian’s stature better than the fact that when she was leaving City Beautiful in the nineties, after giving it the gift of melody for over a decade, her house was an endless swell of visitors pouring in to bid adieu.

Going by the yardstick Shiv Khera advocated, that certainly was some measure of this lady. A little woman who stood tall even though she could herself barely stand, crippled by debilitating arthritis.

Top

 

Healthy option
Insurance for all should be the goal
by Rajesh Kumar Aggarwal

INDIA currently spends around 1.1 percent of GDP on health while the individual States spent around 5-7 percent of their allocations on health and related activities. While some states like Goa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat spent more than the allocated amount, other states like Karnataka, Orissa, Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal¸ and Assam spent less than their allocations during the past decade.

The extent of under-spending was more in some states like Punjab. Money is spent mostly on non-revenue items such as salary and pensions of staff.

The National Health Policy 2002 encouraged the setting up of private insurance instruments for increasing the scope of the coverage of the secondary and tertiary sector, under private health insurance packages. The policy notes that due to the large number of poor in the country, it would be difficult to conceive of an exclusive government mechanism to provide health services to this category.

It has sometimes been felt that a social health insurance scheme, funded by the Government, and with service delivery through the private sector, would be the appropriate solution. The administrative and financial implications of such an initiative are still unknown. As a first step, this policy envisaged the introduction of a pilot scheme in a limited number of representative districts, to determine the administrative features of such an arrangement, as also the requirement of resources for it.

It was felt that the results obtained from these pilot projects would provide material on which a future public health policy can be based. Even after five years since the National Health Policy 2002 was adopted, we have not seen any substantial progress in this regard.

It is now on record that a single hospitalised episode, according to certain estimates, takes an average of 58 percent of the individual's annual income. Four out of ten persons have to borrow money or sell pre-existing assets to cover hospitalisation expenditure and a substantial number of individuals end up below the poverty line even after a single hospitalised episode.

Health insurance, through government or private sources, is therefore a dire necessity. Health insurance may be defined as any arrangement that helps to defer, delay, reduce or avoid payment for health care expenditure incurred by individuals and households. India has an array of schemes that come under the purview of this definition. These are Employees State Insurance Scheme (ESIS), Central Government Health Services (CGHS), employer managed facilities such as re-imbursement of actual medical expenses, voluntary insurance through public/private companies and some schemes promoted by the NGOs/Voluntary Sector.

The coverage of health insurance is abysmally low with only about 10 per cent of individuals having some form of health coverage. Moreover, health insurance is being opted for more by men, particularly the middle aged, than women. The share of health insurance in non-life business is only eight percent at present.

Health insurance products currently available through general insurance companies in India are grossly inadequate. There are only two products available, i.e. mediclaim and mediguard. Mediclaim insurance covers medical and surgical expenses incurred for in-patient treatment in hospitals and nursing homes and covers cost of medicines, hospital accommodation, nursing expenses, surgeon's fees and other related expenditure. They only cover protection against new diseases and not against pre-existing diseases. The mediguard insurance policy covers pre-existing diseases from the 4th year of running/continuous claim-free period.

Premium for mediclaim varies between Rs. 1,236-3,250 per lakh of rupees depending upon the age of the person. On careful scrutiny of both these policies, one finds that there are many lacunas in these policies. First of all, all illnesses do not warrant hospitalisation but may involve substantial cost of treatment. Why should health insurance apply only to hospitalisation?

These are several other issues in these policy documents as well, regarding rationalisation of premiums, treatment for diseases that crop up in the first year of policy and the like.

All of us will agree that we need insurance policies in India, which are viable both from the insurance company point of view and also from the individual's point of view. We need health insurance policies that cater to both out-door as well as in-door patients’ needs. We need health policies which cover both pre-existing and subsequently acquired diseases.

Another problem associated with the health insurance products is their non-flexibility. The products currently offered are not customer friendly and there is a dire necessity to introduce health insurance products commensurate with the requirements of different segments of the population. Health and non-health insurance products need not be regulated in the same way.

Policy planners should always keep in mind that health insurance is more of a social good than a private good. Therefore, special efforts should be made by the Insurance Regulatory Development Agency (IRDA) to promote these products and devise ways through community involvement or through the involvement of voluntary sector to promote these products. Above all, such insurance policies should also have a soft corner for the poor and the downtrodden that cannot afford two square meals, what to talk of paying premiums for health insurance policies

The writer is Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, Chandigarh

Top

 

Campuses reel under attacks in Iraq
by Sudarsan Raghavan

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Over the past six months, Professor Amir Hassan’s world has been shrinking. Two colleagues were assassinated, one with his family. Another was kidnapped. Two received death threats, forcing one to flee to Jordan. And since September, six other senior members of his political science department at Baghdad University have left Iraq.

Now, Hassan, a slim, carefully groomed man with a snowy mustache and owlish glasses, expects his world to condense even more. “We are living in the killing stage,” Hassan said, seated behind a neat desk in a spare, dimly lit office. “We know that our chance of dying is now greater than our chance of staying alive.”

The emotions unleashed by one of the biggest mass kidnappings since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion reverberated across Iraq on Wednesday, splitting the cabinet along sectarian lines and spawning a heated dispute over how many men were abducted.

But the most profound effect of what many Iraqis view as a national calamity was felt in university halls and campuses. Here, the abductions highlighted the plight of academics and an educational system besieged by sectarian tensions, lawlessness and government ineffectiveness.

“What happened in Baghdad yesterday was a catastrophe that could destroy the entire educational process,” said Fikret Mahmoud Omar, an instructor at a technical college in the northern city of Kirkuk. “It shows that the process in Iraq is on the verge of collapse and confirms that terrorists and militias are the ones who are in control of events.”

By late Wednesday night, it was still unclear how many Iraqis remained captive after Tuesday’s brazen daylight raid on a Ministry of Higher Education building in Baghdad’s upscale Karrada neighborhood.

About 80 gunmen, dressed in blue police commando uniforms and driving police vehicles with no license plates, handcuffed, blindfolded and carried off male employees and visitors. They locked women in rooms before driving away in their official-looking convoy.

Less than 24 hours later, captives were being freed, an unusual development in a nation where kidnap victims are often held for months or killed. A Ministry of Higher Education spokesman, Bilal al-Khatib, said about 70 of as many as 150 kidnap victims had been released.

But Ali al-Dabbagh, a spokesman for the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said about 40 had been freed and only a few remained captive. Higher Education Minister Abed Thiyab, a prominent Sunni Muslim, declared he would suspend his “membership in the Maliki government until all hostages are released.”

Even as politicians bickered, they voiced a common belief that the assault could have serious repercussions in educational institutions across the country. Already, Khatib said, at least 160 professors have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion and more than 1,500 have fled the country, part of the growing exodus of middle-class professionals. Hassan, the professor, said he believes the kidnappers targeted the agency Tuesday because it granted scholarships to Iraqi professors and students applying to study abroad.

On Wednesday, al-Maliki visited Baghdad University, one of Iraq’s most prestigious academic institutions, to show his commitment to bolstering security and stopping sectarian strife.

Addressing students and professors, he described the kidnappers as “worse than extremists” and said the attack was a product of militia rivalries. Although no group has asserted responsibility, many people say they believe Shiite Muslim militias--especially the Mahdi Army, linked to cleric and political kingmaker Moqtada al-Sadr--were behind the abductions. Shiite groups have staged previous mass kidnappings and are widely believed to have infiltrated Iraq’s security forces.

“We will chase those who did this ugly criminal act,” al-Maliki promised.

But his audience was more interested about his plans for Iraq’s universities. Several students and professors stood up to ask him questions about how he would shield them from the chaos infecting Iraq. Al-Maliki said he would ban pictures, leaflets, placards or other politically inspired materials from campuses “because the universities shall remain outside partisan politics or sectarian affiliation.” He also promised that the government would “allocate funds to support students” and that professors and students would be protected.

By arrangement with LA Times-Washington Post

Top

 

Delhi Durbar
Alliance games in UP

The jigsaw puzzle of alliances in Uttar Pradesh now appears to be falling into place. With the CPI deciding to ally with the V.P. Singh led Jan Morcha, it is now almost certain that the CPI (M) would continue its alliance with the Samajwadi party led by Mulayam Singh Yadav. However, the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD could play spoil sport after the party’s defeat in the recently concluded by-elections in Bihar. A fuming Lalu had warned that the SP would have to pay for marring its electoral prospects.

In the queue for a share of the UP vote pie are the BJP and the BSP which in recent times have emerged as a considerable force in the state. For the Congress, it would be a fight a retain its base in the cow belt. A senior CPM leader said efforts would be made to minimise the split in the secular votes.

Tough ride

Stung by the latest round of criticism over its numerous failures, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), found an apt platform in the Defence Finance and Economics seminar to put forth their side of the story. Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister and DRDO chief M. Natarajan pointed out that though less than five per cent of the country’s budget was set aside for defence research, 95 per cent of the talk on India’s defence drawbacks was about the alleged failures of the DRDO.

He also made comparisions between the Arjun tank and the country’s first car with an indigenous engine brought out by the Tatas. He said while the first version of the tank was tested a decade ago, the car came out just a few years ago. But the car is universally considered a success amongst its users, while the Arjun...

AIIMS solidarity

The AIIMSSONIANS of America (AOA), a thousand-doctor strong alumni association of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in America, found a unique way of expressing solidarity with the AIIMS Director P Venugopal.

AOA President Narayan Verma along with another active member Vinay Chaudhary decided to set up a Convention Hall fund raising committee at the 24th Annual Convention. The moment the setting up of the committee was announced, funds for construction of a modern and well-equipped convention hall at the AIIMS campus started flowing in and within a day a sum of $219,025 was collected. The AOA has a target of collecting $300,000. At the same time, the AOA also expressed concern over the politicisation of the AIIMS and the erosion of the institute’s autonomy

Contributed by R Suryamurthy, Girja Shankar Kaura, and 
Satish Misra

Top

 

Skill cannot be developed by mere wishing. The warrior has to practice constantly. He must think about his goal all the time. He must concentrate to exclusion of all else. —The Mahabharata

Those who are strong willed, self-disciplined, moderate in all actions, faithful and controlled can withstand tempests like a rock steady mountain.
—The Buddha

The world is destroyed through strife and regrets the errors it has committed.
— Guru Nanak

Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |