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Editorials | Article | Middle | Oped | Reflections

EDITORIALS

Maya in the soup
SC sees through CBI’s game
T
HE Supreme Court has rightly rejected the “clean chit” given by the CBI to former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati, the main accused in the Rs 175-crore Taj Corridor case. 

Oh! My GDP
FM cries—like common man

F
inance Minister
P. Chidambaram has accused the cartel of oil producing countries of robbing 1 per cent of India’s GDP. The Finance Minister’s anguish is understandable. Just like the common man hard pressed to spend more on oil, Mr Chidambaram too is forced to divert more resources to meet the rising oil import bill.

Shia Nikahnama
A small step forward to help women
M
arriages
are solemnised not to end in divorce, yet broken marriages are a reality. In such situations invariably women have been the main sufferers irrespective of the community to which they belong.



 

 

EARLIER STORIES

Dam of discord
November 27, 2006
Career in the military
November 26, 2006
SC snubs Modi
November 25, 2006
Hu’s advice
November 24, 2006
India, China move forward
November 23, 2006
Blasting peace
November 22, 2006
Tackling the big fish
November 21, 2006
Neglected lot
November 20, 2006
Scope of judiciary
November 19, 2006
The Senate nod
November 18, 2006
Fighting terrorism together
November 17, 2006
No diplomacy this
November 16, 2006
Cut oil prices
November 15, 2006


ARTICLE

Growth is not for all
Rural India being kept in a different basket
by Jayshree Sengupta
I
NDIA is almost entering the high growth trajectory of China at 10 per cent GDP growth, and every one is talking about India becoming one of the major economic powers in the world. All those who are directly getting benefit from high growth and a booming stock market are happy and extolling the virtues of economic reforms and the “market”. 

MIDDLE

Balcony babbler
by K. Rajbir Deswal

A
naysa
sits smug in her grandpa’s lap. It is an everyday affair when the duo watches the early morning activities, from the balcony of their flat. She is just the mum-mum-pup-pup age but is a keen observer of things, taking place down below.

OPED

Rise in rail traffic, fall in staff strength
by V. Krishna Ananth 

N
ews
of an accident involving an improvised auto-rickshaw carrying 17 persons and an EMU train at an unmanned level crossing near Villupuram in Tamil Nadu recently was flashed on TV screens and the front page of newspapers in the state.

Beauty industry looks abroad
by Alana Semuels

N
onita Kalra
remembers the frustration of shopping for cosmetics on the streets of Mumbai, India, a decade ago, when three or four local companies sold a few basic products.

Delhi Durbar
Women officers move up
T
HE government is trying to give challenging assignments to capable women officers. The Ministry of External Affairs has decided to post Nirupma Rao to Beijing to head the Indian mission there.


 REFLECTIONS

 

 

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Maya in the soup
SC sees through CBI’s game

THE Supreme Court has rightly rejected the “clean chit” given by the CBI to former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati, the main accused in the Rs 175-crore Taj Corridor case. The Bench consisting of Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice S.H. Kapadia has examined the Investigating Officer’s view that there was “sufficient evidence” to prosecute Ms Mayawati for her involvement in the corruption scam when she was the Chief Minister three years ago. Ever since the scandal came to limelight, Ms Mayawati has been trying every stratagem to delay the probe against her and hoodwink the law. Almost two years ago, the CBI — on the basis of Attorney-General Milon Banerjee’s astounding opinion — closed the corruption case against her. Subsequently, the Supreme Court sought the opinion of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on the CBI’s peremptory decision.

The CVC recommended Ms Mayawati’s prosecution as she rode roughshod over established norms and took no action when funds were released to the contractors without due clearance of the Taj Corridor project. Work started without proper project reports and environmental assessment. It continued till the monitoring committee brought the matter to the Supreme Court’s notice which directed stoppage of the work. The CVC also sought action against all other officials involved in the scam.

The apex court has now asked the CBI Special Judge in Lucknow to examine the entire material as well as the Investigating Officer’s report to form an opinion whether charge-sheet should be filed against Ms Mayawati to launch prosecution. The ends of justice will be met only if the former Chief Minister and all those involved in the scam were brought to book expeditiously. It is only because of political pressure that Ms Mayawati could circumvent the law and subvert justice all along. In this context, both the UPA and the NDA governments are equally responsible as both wanted her support. The apex court judgement holds out one lesson. It is only when big fish like Ms Mayawati are brought to book that the rule of law will triumph and a modicum of probity and rectitude in public life restored.

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Oh! My GDP
FM cries—like common man

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has accused the cartel of oil producing countries of robbing 1 per cent of India’s GDP. The Finance Minister’s anguish is understandable. Just like the common man hard pressed to spend more on oil, Mr Chidambaram too is forced to divert more resources to meet the rising oil import bill. But the common man has to pay not only for the spiral in the global oil prices, but also more taxes on oil to the Central and state governments. Even the future generations will pay for today’s subsidised oil consumption as the government has raised Rs 28,000 crore through oil bonds.

There is limited scope for price manipulation because the non-OPEC oil producers account for 60 per cent of the total output. Mr Chidambaram says the oil price has come down from $78 a barrel to $58 without any change in demand and supply. Speculation, no doubt, plays a role in deciding oil prices, but there are other factors. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) does resort to production cuts to keep up prices. Some analysts see the price rise a result of demand-supply mismatch. The fast-growing economies of China and India, Western commentators say, have pushed up the demand for oil. Political instability and eruption of violence in certain oil producing countries too have contributed to the oil price rise. The US geo-politics in the Gulf also influences the prices.

What is reassuring is there are enough oil resources in the world. Additional investments are being made to enhance the existing production capacities. These will show results in a couple of years. Analysts who were predicting the oil prices to touch $100 a barrel are lying low now. The major oil consumers — the US, China, India, Japan and South Korea — have joined hands to take on the oil producers’ lobby. While the country should prepare for price fluctuations, the Finance Minister of an emerging economic power should not sound too unreasonable or alarmist. He has to come out with a correct response to the situation, rather than just blaming others for it. 

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Shia Nikahnama
A small step forward to help women

Marriages are solemnised not to end in divorce, yet broken marriages are a reality. In such situations invariably women have been the main sufferers irrespective of the community to which they belong. The Model Nikahnama given out by the All-India Shia Personal Law Board in Mumbai on Sunday is a welcome attempt to end the plight of Shia women. The board claims that the latest document, to be signed by the bride and the bridegroom at the time of their marriage, is an improvement over the Model Nikahnama issued last year by the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), which has representatives from both sects among the Muslims --- the Shias and the Sunnis. Whatever the claims, the new Nikahnama is another alternative available to the Muslim men and women tying the marital knot.

The new Nikahnama, however, is a voluntary document to be adopted at the time of entering into a sacred contract to live together as man and wife. If any of its clauses are violated either of the two parties can go in for divorce. The Shia Board’s Nikahanama has more clauses than the one issued by the AIMPLB, but it may not be acceptable to the entire Shia Muslim community. This is because of the politics of domination within the clergy. The decision of the Shia Board to get its Nikahnama approved by Iraq’s top religious leader, Ayatullah Sistani, highly respected among the community in India, too, cannot be without reason.

Factional Shia politics aside, the use of the Nikahnama, with clearly defined terms and conditions, to prevent the exploitation of women is an interesting development. It is good that the Shia Board’s Nikahnama, like that issued by the AIMPLB, has stressed the point that if men have the right to divorce, women, too, have the right to go in for divorce when they find that this is the only honourable course left for them. But it seems there is not enough to debar the practice of instant triple talaq, which has caused more harm to Muslim women than any other thing. There is a need for a sustained drive from within the community to fight this practice to ensure a dignified life for women.

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Thought for the day

Several excuses are always less convincing than one. Several excuses are always less convincing than one. — Aldous Huxley

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Growth is not for all
Rural India being kept in a different basket
by Jayshree Sengupta

INDIA is almost entering the high growth trajectory of China at 10 per cent GDP growth, and every one is talking about India becoming one of the major economic powers in the world. All those who are directly getting benefit from high growth and a booming stock market are happy and extolling the virtues of economic reforms and the “market”. But for the bottom 30 per cent of the population, a sizeable number — 300 million — nothing much has changed since India got into its higher growth path of 8 to 9 per cent per annum. They are only experiencing growth passively (like passive smokers) through a higher degree of pollution, costlier basic goods and living space and fewer well-paid jobs.

More jobs ought to have been available with an 8 to 9 per cent growth rate, but they haven’t mainly because most of the poor are in the villages and the rural economy has been stagnant. About 70 per cent of the population is in India’s 6 million villages and 68 per cent is dependent on agriculture. While the service sector is increasingly important for the Indian economy, contributing 50 per cent of the GDP, and manufacturing growth too has been rising at 11.3 per cent, it is agriculture that is the main source of livelihood for the bulk of the population. Only higher agricultural growth could have provided more jobs, but it has been stagnant which has not been the case in China.

The organised manufacturing sector could have absorbed the growing number of job-seekers but employment in this sector has also not been expanding rapidly. The service sector has been able to take in only a few thousands at a time who are English-speaking and computer-literate. On the whole, it is the slow absorption of labour in the manufacturing industry that has led to the swelling number of the jobless.

How did this happen? Industrial restructuring that took place after the economic reforms led to the shedding of labour and replacing labour by machines in order to increase the efficiency of production, minimise expenditure on training and raise productivity. All these were achieved by adopting less labour- intensive production techniques.

In fact, industry has been able to circumvent the labour laws and managed to shed labour with more VRS, higher severance pay packets and retraining of retrenched labour. This could be termed as “reform by stealth”. There is empirical evidence pointing to the fact that the “inflexible labour laws” did not pose much of a problem to the industry while it was restructuring.

Basically, it is low agricultural productivity that has affected the rural economy adversely and this has been due to the lack of adequate rural infrastructure in many parts of the country and a consistent fall in public investment in agriculture. Combine it with the fall in public expenditure on health and education and we have a large section of the population becoming pauperised because of increasing expenditure on health and private education. Unpaid loans accumulated with farmers, specially loans for costly medical treatment in the absence of adequate public health facilities and for digging deeper wells in rain-fed regions. When wells did not yield water, farmers’ suicides increased.

The rural youth, as a contrast to their BPO counterparts, are ill equipped for jobs in the service industry in general as it requires the basic ability to communicate in English. The poor school infrastructure that continues even today has made millions of village youth drop out of schools. Their search for jobs is usually unfruitful and they, in their frustration and anger, are joining various rebellious movements. The influence of the Naxalite movement in 162 districts and the violence evident in 90 districts is a clear example of disgruntled and disillusioned youth who are unable to find suitable jobs in the market.

Inequalities of income have also widened. In 2004, while the top 20 per cent of the population — about 200 million people — was earning above Rs.20,000 per household, the bottom 20 per cent earned only a little above Rs 4000 a month. The last 10 per cent earned only a little above Rs 3500 per month which is a pittance for a family of five. Recent data would show a worsening of the inequality situation.

Since the economic reforms began, the top 20 per cent have also benefited from tax reforms which has meant lower and lower taxes. The politicians in power have favoured the corporate sector and today the top echelon of society comprise of top bureaucrats, politicians, business magnates and executives. India’s corporate sector has been flourishing in recent years and corporate executives according to The Economist, London, are the highest paid in the world because of high-monetary compensation and a lower cost of living. But they are only a few thousands in number and are busy job hopping for higher and higher pay.

All this money is visible in the expenditure pattern of the new-rich who can afford the lifestyle of American millionaires. The well-heeled middle class also has a large disposable income and can afford cars, white goods and holidays. India has become an important centre for the sale of western luxury goods, and internationally famous companies are appointing brand ambassadors for astronomical sums.

But unless the festering underbelly is also focused upon, there will be dangers for the people living in fancy houses. They will have to have more guards and less freedom of movement because, like in Brazil, the slums on the fringe of the city will contain dangerous elements who can kill indiscriminately and snatch jewellery from women.

After all, how can any city have the growth of slums and skyscrapers side by side as in Mumbai, without problems? Unless the government increases and prioritises its expenditure on infrastructure — building more roads and irrigation systems — rural India will not be participating in the high growth process. Unless state governments see to it that health care is improved substantially and education is not only accessible to all but is of good quality, there can never be a stable back-up to a buoyant and rising India.

There is little time for waiting for public-private partnership in achieving the goals in infrastructure, education , health, housing and drinking water availability.

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Balcony babbler
by K. Rajbir Deswal

Anaysa sits smug in her grandpa’s lap. It is an everyday affair when the duo watches the early morning activities, from the balcony of their flat. She is just the mum-mum-pup-pup age but is a keen observer of things, taking place down below.

The oldie keeps telling the little one, “Look look, there is the kabariwala. He buys old newspapers.” The grandpa then tells her about the newspaperman, “Look, there comes the hawker who hits the newspaper roll on our windowpanes. Stupid.” She babbles mum-pup again.

Every morning the grandpa introduces different people to the little one—his bundle of joy. Now is the turn of the milkman, who is “never tired of mixing water in the milk he sells. Cheat of the first order. Should be hanged!” The puck throws a fulsome smile as if making fun of Dadu’s disgust.

“And that gardener—the maali—he too sells the flowers to the florist in the market, depriving us all of a beautiful sight in front of us. Be-iman.” The little elfin flashes an impish smile probably as an approval. All this goes on till she grows to become a chatterbox.

Two years later.

It’s evening time. The kabariwala is on the door “to collect grandpa’s books”. Closely followed by him turns up the milkman, with a container of milk for getting his product tested, in a laboratory. Mom-Dad are surprised. Taken aback. Bewildered.

“But who told you Dad’s books are for sale? And who told you that the milk you supply is unfit to drink?” They asked when the maali too shows up, with a bouquet, and grinning. Then is the turn of the hawker to put up his presence “to settle accounts since you don’t want any newspapers from tomorrow onwards.” “But who the hell told all of you all this nonsense?” Dad and Mom question them.

“Forgive us sir, but it was Gudia Rani!” They said with one voice. “From the balcony, she demanded of me to come in the evening and take away all her grandpa’s books,” said the kabariwala. “And she shouted to tell me you didn’t need newspapers from the next day,” said the hawker. “She almost called me a cheat and what not, hey Bhagwan, accusing that I dishonestly sold water and not milk,” complained the milkman; while the gardener said, he too heard something like “Be-iman! Paaji! Chor!”

As if all this had not been enough for a mystery that needed to be solved forthwith, the neighbours too chimed in and protested, “Anaysa announced from the balcony, there was strike in the schools today that is why our children missed their classes.”

Mom-Dad looked nonplussed and into each other’s eyes. They burst into a peel of laughter. Just then they saw Anaysa walk in. She was holding Grandpa’s walking stick as if helping him take his steps the right way. Seeing the assembly of so many complainants, the little Anaysa ran in and hid herself behind the curtain. When told of her gremlin goofup, Grandpa lifted her in his arms and tossed, saying,” You Shaitan.!”.

Could this be possible! Well, if yes, I’d love to be called stupid, cheat, be-iman, chor, paaji, and all that babble swear.

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Rise in rail traffic, fall in staff strength
by V. Krishna Ananth 

News of an accident involving an improvised auto-rickshaw carrying 17 persons and an EMU train at an unmanned level crossing near Villupuram in Tamil Nadu recently was flashed on TV screens and the front page of newspapers in the state.

And a couple of days later, we learnt that seven more farmers committed suicide in Vidharbha in Maharashtra, taking the total number of such suicides in that region to a whopping1045 since June 2005.

Both these tragic incidents may appear unrelated on the face of it. But then, if only we think about it, there is a connection between the two. The connection is in the realm of state policies.

Seventeen people would not have died if the Railways had done something to do away with this category called unmanned level crossings. It is not as if all the level crossings in India are unmanned.

We have level crossings where a railway worker would ensure that road traffic is brought to a halt when a train crosses the path by closing the gate.

We do have technology, put in place in many other level-crossing gates where the train is signalled to proceed only when the gates are locked and secured that way. And these are done without any men there but through a technology that ensures that the green light is on only after the gates close.

While the business of automatic interlocking signal system is indeed an expensive proposition and is hence viable only on routes where the traffic intensity is high, the good old mechanism of employing gatemen in level crossings has been in vogue in the Railways for long. It involves employing class IV workers working at each of these level crossings.

While the exact number of such unmanned level crossings across the railway system cannot be ascertained as such (the Railways have stopped posting such data), it certainly will add up to several thousands.

And records show that around 1,000 mishaps occur every year in these unmanned level crossings. There is no data available on the number of lives lost in such accidents. In other words, it is necessary that the Railways do something to prevent such accidents.

This is not impossible. It is not as if it requires huge investments. All that is needed is to convert all these unmanned level crossings into manned level crossings. Simple economic logic would lead us to agree that such men, when gainfully employed, will not think of committing suicide or end up resorting to criminal acts against the state and society.

But then, the strategy of the Railways, as spelt out in the status paper presented before Parliament in 2002, is to construct rail overbridges in order to prevent accidents at unmanned level crossings.

The paper does not mention the enormous costs involved in this strategy and the fact that this would mean a long wait for ordinary people. It will take several years before level crossings are replaced by rail overbridges given the state of railway finances and also considering that it is not possible to attract private players and foreign investors in such projects! In other words, we will end up reading news about such tragic deaths for several years to come.

The trouble is that the most important concern for the railway administration, particularly in the era of neo-liberalism is to cut down on staff. In the decade between 1991 and 2001, for instance, the Railways effected a staff reduction of 2.62 lakh.

From a little more than 18 lakh in 1991, the staff strength in the Railways came down to 15.45 lakh in 2001. And a Railway Board circular to the various Zonal Railways in 2000 called for an annual reduction of one per cent in the operational departments and a 0.5 per cent in non-operational departments. The aim is to bring down the staff strength to 11.8 lakh by 2010. In other words, a further reduction by 4.5 lakh!

This has been happening at a time when new zones and divisions were created splitting the existing ones (to serve the partisan concerns of railway ministers) and also when rail traffic has increased considerably due to the introduction of new trains.

This means overuse of the available manpower, particularly those in the operational departments. The drivers, guards, station masters and other operational staff will end up having to work more. This certainly will have its impact on their ability to steer clear of accidents.

While the Railways’ share of freight movement has not increased in the same proportion as it should have due to the increase in quantum of trade and manufacture during the same period due to competition from the road transport, we do see that the Railways has registered a profit. It also means that the Railways can afford to employ more people, at least in the class IV categories.

Apart from preventing accidents in level crossings, this could mean that a few thousand men across the country who have been denied even primary education and hence could not dream of a career in the booming IT sector are gainfully employed.

And this could mean that their children do not suffer the same fate but manage to go to school and end up with the ability to read and write even if they do not turn into management wizards.

The least that can be achieved is that they will not be forced into committing suicides when their life is ruined by a bad monsoon, floods, high cost of pesticides and fertilizer and indeed the debts they incur because of all this.

Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav will do a lot of good by altering the strategy that Mr Nitish Kumar, as Railway Minister, had thought of in 2002 — to eliminate unmanned level crossings by building rail overbridges. And employ a few thousand gatekeepers there instead.

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Beauty industry looks abroad
by Alana Semuels

Nonita Kalra remembers the frustration of shopping for cosmetics on the streets of Mumbai, India, a decade ago, when three or four local companies sold a few basic products.

Today, the executive editor of the Indian edition of the fashion magazine Elle can buy top-end brands such as Shiseido, Givenchy and La Prairie in her hometown.

And she's not the only one in India who has become fashion-conscious.

``If red lips are in internationally, you will find it (in India),'' Kalra said. ``If tights and shirt dresses are the uniform on the streets of New York, they will certainly make an appearance in Mumbai.''

These changes are a boon for global beauty companies, which are aggressively pursuing India, China and other developing countries to tap new markets. Cosmetics giant L'Oreal, which launched its first anti-wrinkle product in the Indian market in 1996, now sells a variety of products such as hair dye and skin moisturizer to men and women whose incomes are growing as India's middle class explodes. Sales of facial makeup in India have grown from $2.3 million in 1997 to $14 million in 2005, and sales of hair-care products have increased from $700,000 to $19.3 million in the same period, according to research concern Euromonitor.

Beauty companies see ripe markets in other countries as well. Brazil has more than 1 million Avon Products Inc. representatives, an army that dwarfs the country's 287,200 active-duty soldiers. Six months after Avon received a license to begin direct selling in China in March, more than 236,000 people registered with the government to be representatives.

Some of the expansion is a matter of survival for the $200-billion beauty industry, which has seen demand stagnate in the U.S. and Europe. Although Revlon Inc.'s sales in the U.S. and Canada declined 3.9 percent in 2004, its international sales increased 8 percent. Avon's revenue for North America fell 1 percent in 2005, while revenue in Latin America grew 28 percent. L'Oreal's growth last year in the ``rest of the world'' category, at 17.2 percent, more than doubled that of North America.

Some critics say the companies often market heavily to edge out local brands and export a Western ideal of beauty.

The companies and their supporters say they're allowing people around the world to use products that had been unattainable in the past while empowering women from small villages and booming cities with employment opportunities and a way to look and feel good.

In India and China, where hundreds of millions of people each live on less than $1 a day, beauty products can cost a pretty penny. In China, basic moisturizers cost about $3.20, but Avon's Anew Alternative Intensive Whitening Treatment is priced at almost $45. That's about 10 percent of what it costs to feed a family in rural China in a year, according to the Washington, D.C.-based International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council.

An Indian woman interested in Hindustan Lever's 200-milliliter bottle of Sunsilk Colour Shine shampoo could purchase it for about $4.40 -- almost 1 percent of the $497 that the average person in India spends each year on personal items, according to Economist Intelligence Unit. Avon's moisturizers range from $1 to about $20.

Women in emerging markets who are independent and live on their own -- a relatively new demographic -- are the company's main target.

Promoting Western notions of beauty riles many critics.

``In Sri Lanka or Sacramento, girls see the same imagery,'' said Jess Weiner, an activist who writes an advice column and corresponds with teens around the world. Ads for beauty products usually feature a girl with white skin, straight hair and a thin waist, he said, and girls around the world internalize that image.

The companies say that their advertisements now reflect local images. In 2003, a television advertisement in India featured a father who complained about his daughter because she was jobless and dark-skinned. She surprised him by using skin whitener made by Hindustan Lever, a subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch company, which transformed her into an eligible beauty. The Indian government banned that and other ads by the company, which presented scenarios in which women became more successful by whitening their skin.

By arrangement with LA Times-Washington Post

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Delhi Durbar
Women officers move up

THE government is trying to give challenging assignments to capable women officers. The Ministry of External Affairs has decided to post Nirupma Rao to Beijing to head the Indian mission there.

In another move, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, ICCR Chairman Karan Singh and High Commissioner in the United Kingdom Kamlesh Sharma have agreed on one name to head the Nehru Centre in London. Ms Monika Kapil Mohta of the 1986 IFS batch is the unanimous choice.

Runaway success

It was a pleasant surprise for the organisers during the release of a book on Indian foreign policy which has been produced by the Foreign Service Institute. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee released the book at a crowded function at a five-star hotel.

The turnout was unexpectedly big as almost 63 Ambassadors and head of foreign missions out of the list of 80 diplomat invitees arrived. The Capital’s page 3 people also landed there. Mr Mukherjee obviously seemed pleased with the function.

Laudable security

All those who move in sensitive places experience security checks and often have to live with the rude behaviour of security personnel. Whether they are from the Delhi Police or the para-military forces, frisking by them is often not a very pleasant experience.

But the other day during the release of a commemorative stamp on the 125th anniversary of The Tribune, the watch and ward staff of Parliament ensured that an hour-long function not only went off smoothly but also became a pleasure as they had a solution to every problem. Over 150 guests passed through the high security zone without a hitch.

AICC reshuffle?

Congressmen are a worried lot these days. They ask everyone when the long awaited AICC reshuffle is going to take place. But there seems to be no word from Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

A senior Congress leader was heard saying that the Congress was performing its historic responsibility of strengthening the opposition parties by its inaction. If the Congress weakens, then the Opposition has to benefit, said the leader.

Soaring hotel tariff

Even though Aero India 2007 is still almost three months away, the participants in the country’s largest ever air show being organised by FICCI and Farnborough Exhibitions face problems of hotel bookings. Due to the heavy demand for rooms space, the hotels have hiked their room tariffs. Some of the hotels charge as much as $ 900 per night for a room.

Contributed by S. Satyanarayanan, Rajeev Sharma, R. Suryamurthy and Girja Shankar Kaura

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Wise is he, who is contented and easily satisfied. Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways. Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful. Not proud and demanding in nature.
— The Buddha

And when they encounter those who believe, they say, “We believe.” But when they are alone with their obsessions, they say, “We are in fact with you; we were only joking.”
— The Koran

You must give what will cost you something...then your gift becomes a sacrifice, which will have value before God. Any sacrifice is useful it is done out of love.
— Mother Teresa

There is a great deal of truth to the idea that you will eventually become what you eat.
— Mahatma Gandhi

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