For them, impossible is nothing
Usha Albuquerque

WHEN deadly terrorists struck the bustling city of Mumbai bombing buildings, opening fire in public places, setting ablaze luxury hotels and taking innocent people hostage, the country turned to the only force that could contain the extremely dangerous intruders — the highly professional Black Cat commandos. The Bombay Police had fought hard and bravely but had neither the ammunition nor the training to deal with the heavily armed terrorists. With stealth, efficiency and commando strategy, the special forces called in from Delhi not only risked their lives to save many others in Operation Black Tornado, but also won a big place in our hearts and minds.

The guntoting intimidating Black Cat commandos have been around for the last couple of years providing security to our national leaders and high ranking officials. They were the ones called in when Akshardham and Parliament were attacked. But it was the hard-fought, 72-hour battle facing blazing fires, militants armed to the teeth, and a hostage situation that our admiration soared for the men in black. But who are these heroes?

Calling all valiant young men: The security and integrity of the country is under threat like never before and requires your dedication. The commandos fixed appointments for the Mumbai terrorists of 26/11 with God. If you, too, are inspired by their courage and expertise, join them, now!

NSG successes

Apart from the recent Mumbai terror attacks, the NSG since its inception has been involved in several high-profile operations.

Operations Black Thunder I & II: NSG commandos stormed the Golden Temple twice in 1986 and 1988 to flush out militants.

Operation Ashwamedh: Commandos stormed a hijacked Indian Airlines Boeing 737 with 141 passengers onboard at Amritsar airport in 1994, killed the hijacker and rescued all hostages.

Akshardham Temple: NSG ended the siege by terrorists and rescued 50 people trapped in the temple in 2002.

The elite force has been involved in several operations undertaken in J&K, which range from rescue in hostage situations to conducting pro-active strikes against militants.

The National Security Guards (NSG) is a Special Response Unit set up in 1984 as a Federal Contingency Deployment Force within the structure of the Indian Armed Forces to tackle anti-hijack operations, rescue operations and to provide tough support to the Central Para Military Forces in dealing with anti-terrorist activities in whatever shape they may take place in the country. The primary role of this force is to combat terrorism in whatever form it may assume and in areas where activity of terrorists assumes serious proportions and the state police and other central police forces are unable to cope with the situation. The NSG is a force specially equipped and trained to deal with specific situations and is, therefore, used only in exceptional situations.

All in a day’s work

THIS paramilitary wing of the Indian Armed Forces — also known as Black Cats because of the black nomex overalls and balaclavas or assault helmets they wear — was initially entrusted with tasks such as neutralising specific terrorist threats, engaging terrorists or suspected terrorists in a specific situations so as to neutralise them, handling hijack situations involving piracy in the air and or land, and rescue of hostages in kidnap situations.

Over the years, with security threats increasing, NSG roles have included protecting high-risk VVIPs in India, conducting anti-sabotage checks at venues of public gatherings and performing Sky Marshal duties in domestic and international flights, bomb-detection and disposal and data collection on bomb explosions.

The NSG has been modelled on the pattern of the SAS of the UK and GSG-9 of Germany. It is a task-oriented force and has two complementary elements in the form of the Special Action Group (SAG) comprising Army personnel and the Special Ranger Groups (SRG), comprising personnel drawn from the central paramilitary forces / state police force.

There is also the NSG Bomb Data Centre that possesses expertise in detecting and defusing IEDs and explosives. Several times, its bomb disposal units have been detailed for post-blast investigations at different places.

Making the cut

ANYBODY cannot join this exclusive force. It is a highly competitive selection and only those who possess the necessary skills and mental and physical fitness are selected into this elite corps. All personnel are on deputation from the Indian Armed Forces and other paramilitary forces. Those selected are provided the necessary training in counter terrorist operations and counter hijacking.

Candidates looking to join this elite force will need to first join the defence services or the police and paramilitary services. You can then apply for selection to any of the special forces. The tenure with the NSG is normally around two to three years, so that there is a continual rotation of young and physically fit personnel in this special force.

The Classroom

THE basic training lasts 90 days and those who complete the entire course successfully are inducted into the NSG and given further specialised training. Physical fitness and microscopic marksmanship are sought to be raised with intensive training to hone razor-edge sharpness and preparedness to deal with any call of duty, anywhere, and at any time with surgical precision. The training also develops physical and mental agility to handle unarmed combat, defensive and evasive driving skills and awareness about IEDs and booby traps.

Physical activity is an important part of the training, and provides the impetus to greater agility and proficiency as well as helps the commando control mental tension and avoid stress. Those incapable of handling such stress are rejected. Every commando also learns to swim.

In addition, the NSG Training Centre at Manesar outside Delhi, provides world class training in bomb disposal, VIP security, specialist driving, counter terrorism and counter hijacking to state police personnel, members of central forces and security forces of foreign counties. The commandos also receive training at Bhaba Atomic Research Centre to combat situations arising out of nuclear, biological and chemical threats.

Now is the time

NEVER before in modern times has the country needed highly trained Special Forces like NSG capable of responding to any mission for making a breakthrough in a crisis situation. The vastness of the country, existing security scenario, development of industries, increase in air traffic within and across borders etc have generated an increasing requirement for greater and faster response from the NSG in their duties or in reaching a trouble spot. After the Mumbai attack, there is now a plan to have NSG units in many more parts of the country, so that the response time can be minimised.

There were many special forces that worked together to protect the country from the savage attacks of last fortnight, including special Marine Commandos (Marcos) from the Navy, Garud, the commando force of the Air Force, paratroopers from the army and other paramilitary forces, each bringing to bear special skills, training and the use of sophisticated equipment to tackle the lethal intruders.

The security and integrity of the country is under threat today and requires the dedication of valiant men. So if you are inspired by their courage and expertise, you too can join the men in black.

Fascinating as it may look, the Black Cats perform an excruciatingly tough job that requires a fit body and an extremely robust and dedicated mind. Go on, just do it for your country!

(The writer is a noted career expert)

Photos by Agencies



Career Hotline
Sorry, you don’t have a choice
Pervin Malhotra

Pervin Malhotra

Q. I am a student of degree third year but I failed to qualify in two subjects for which I have to spend one more year that will be a waste. Meanwhile, I would like to go for my postgraduation. Is there any such provision in universities that provides PG course while pursuing graduation?

— Mandakini Garg

A. Although we did have a few such courses for mature students earlier, we don’t have any such programmes in our education system currently. Coincidentally, at a recent meeting, the UGC has actually proposed such a programme, although it is yet to come into force.

Students who have not completed their degree courses can get admission to PG programmes through lateral entry under the Community College Scheme. All that the students need to do is to undergo a bridge course — to enhance their level of competence to that of a PG student. Once they clear the course, they can join the PG courses. Community colleges may be launched on the lines of those in the US, Australia and Canada. These institutes will impart three-year degree programmes in various subjects with a provision for awarding diploma at the end of each year. If the student discontinues in the first year of the degree course, s/he can be awarded a one-year diploma. Similarly, those who complete the second year will get a two-year diploma certificate.

However, this is still a proposal and will take a while before it is approved by the MHRD. So, I would personally suggest you complete your bachelor’s degree. And, if you look at it, one year is not such a long time in the entire scheme of things.

Want to be a commando? Join the forces first

Q. I am good at studies but I want to do something adventurous in life. Please tell me something about NSG and how I can become a Black Cat Commando?

— Ranveer Singh Chawla

A. It’s amazing how hundreds of adventurous young people like you have written in to ask how they can join this elite federal contingency force and become Black Cat commandos, as these daredevils are popularly called. Further proof: 53, 90,000 searches on Google for NSG at last count! So here’s what I’ve dug out for you… (Do see the main story on page one)

The National Security Guard is an elite commando organisation that is equipped to counter terrorism in all its facets in any part of our country. This world-class, 24 year-old force has rendered tremendous service to the nation time and again. Who has not marveled at NSG’s most recent accomplishment — the superb alacrity with which its crack team handled the Mumbai terror attacks with such amazing precision, swiftness and valour had us glued to our TV screens in sheer awe and gratitude.

Never before has the country needed such a highly trained special force like the NSG black cats. The vastness of the country, existing security scenario, proliferation of industry, increase in air traffic, extremism and terror within and across borders have generated an increasing requirement for responding to crisis situations.

The centre also provides specialised training on the various aspects listed above for the defence and police organisations – in India and abroad. Details: home.htm

The NSG Bomb Data Centre possesses hi-tech expertise in detecting and defusing IEDs and explosives and conducting post-blast investigations etc. Though primarily raised as a Quick Reaction Contingency Force to deal with anti-hijacking, hostage rescue and combating terrorist activities, NSG also provides protection to high risk VIPs and dignitaries, specialist VIP Driving (defensive & evasive), anti sabotage checks and sky marshal duties in domestic and international flights. Like its symbol, the Sudarshan Chakra, the NSG is always ready with its razor sharp edge and preparedness to deal with any call of duty, anywhere, any time with surgical precision striving for Sarvatra, Sarvottam, Suraksha.

The NSG has several feathers in its cap. The West Indies and the International Cricket Control Board requested that an NSG contingent be sent for bomb detection and disposal tasks at various stadia for the Cricket World Cup 2007. NSG Commandos also provided foolproof security to the dignitaries during the SAARC Summit held in Delhi. The exacting standards of physical toughness bagged the Gold Cup for the NSG team in the Tenth International Combat Team Conference and Competition in Germany under extremely trying conditions. Sadly, NSG does not recruit cadets directly. Personnel ranging from officers to JCOs and sub-inspectors are nominated from the Central Police Organisation and the Indian Army and sent on deputation for a period of three-five years to the NSG after which they revert to their parent cadre. They have to undergo and successfully complete a highly intensive three-month training programme at the NSG Training Centre, Manesar, to qualify for serving in this crack force.

NSG commandos are also trained at the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre to combat the situations arising out of nuclear, biological and chemical threats.

Gateway to success

Q. Can you please guide me in preparing for the GATE exam? Is coaching necessary?

— Ashita Chugh

A. The GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) consists of a single, three-hour objective-type paper with questions relating to engineering skills and the field of specialisation. Instead of the usual 85 questions totalling 150 marks, GATE ‘09 will have only 60 questions totalling 100 marks. There is a 1/3 rd mark penalty for wrong answers.

If necessary, you can opt for some good postal or classroom coaching but it is not mandatory. There aren’t very many good institutes that offer coaching in GATE. If there is no reputed and tested coaching class in your vicinity, just go through the syllabus in the GATE brochure, gather all your B.Tech textbooks and cover all the topics instead. Make sure you are thorough in your engineering and mathematics concepts (graduation-level).

Since you haven’t mentioned your specific field, all I can offer you by way of advice is to try solving as many mathematical problems as possible to acquire speed and accuracy. And while you’re at it, do get hold of some of the previous years’ question papers to familiarise yourself with the pattern and level of difficulty involved.

Also try to form a study group with other people who are interested in appearing for GATE. That would be really helpful. For the syllabus, sample paper, and other details, please log on to: gate. You can submit your forms online.

Go on, become a son of the soil

Q. From where I can do M.Sc agriculture through correspondence? Please advise.

— Tejeswar Jamwal

A. The Yashwantrao Chawan Maharashtra Open Univ at Nashik offers M.Sc agriculture. The eligibility is a B.Sc in agriculture along with work experience of five years. It also offers a PG diploma in agri business management, the eligibility for which is a foundation in agriculture of YCMOU or a two-year diploma in agriculture from any university. For more details, log in to

IGNOU (with GO-FAU) also offers M.Sc in agri-economics & business and M.Sc agri-ecology. More details are available on the websites,

This column appears weekly. Please send in your queries, preferably on a postcard, along with your full name, complete address and academic qualifications to:

Editor, Jobs and Careers, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160030, or at careers



Evolution of Personality

Achieving a pleasant & well-rounded persona is a never-ending process & needs continuous inputs, writes C.K. SARDANA

HOW does one keep fit? Through continuous input of right food, activity, rest and a cheerful disposition. And how does one keep oneself up-to-date and updated at any point of time? Through continuous inputs of right and focused reading, viewing and listening.

Continuous inputs are, therefore, vital for physical and mental fitness — sine qua non for an impressive personality. Personality Development (PD) can’t, however, be achieved by taking a few capsules and or injections. Unfortunately, scientists across the globe have not been able to develop medicines for PD! Even then, PD can surely be achieved through continuous inputs of the right type and the right mixture or else one may not succeed. Let me illustrate:

A well-dressed, beautiful and pleasing lady with a high academic record was one among ten candidates in a group discussion with a time limit of ten minutes. Throughout the 10-minute duration, she kept looking at the fellow candidates as they spoke. Soon, time was up and she didn’t utter a word. The result – she failed despite her impressive figure and academic record. She had not cared to develop her personality.

Back to our subject: There are two main aspects of PD – behavioural and physical. I have deliberately sequenced them so. While, physical part is what God has given to us by way of our colour and general facial looks — notwithstanding colour and cosmetic make-up in beauty parlours — behavioural part is what we make of it. What impresses more is the behavioural part – what we say, how we say, how do we listen and our overall presentation. US President–elect Barack Obama impressed the voters in US to such an extent that they voted him to be their President. An example worth emulation by all those aspiring to go up in life.

Befriend books

READING is the first essential for a well-rounded personality. Apart from continuously enhancing subject knowledge, we must read biographies and autobiographies of and by successful people and not of those who have failed in life. Such books tell us the story of their success. As we read through, we must keep pondering and saying to ourselves ‘I should also follow his (writer’s) footsteps, develop myself and be ahead of others’. There is plenty of ‘food for thought and action’ in such books.

Three highly readable books come to my mind. They are: Many Worlds Revisited by K.P.S. Menon, Beyond the Last Blue Mountain – A life of J.R.D. Tata by R.M. Lala, and Leading from the Front – from Army to Corporate World by Col S.P. Wahi. These are ‘must reads’ for all those – young and old, honchos and subordinates– aspiring to further develop their personality.

Be a good listener

LISTENING is very important for personality development. Whether we listen to the radio or watch television or participate in a seminar or conference, it tells us many things worth emulation. Apart from body language and mode of delivery, we get value addition through information and opinions contained in those interactions. In the process, we become more and even better informed and also a repository of sound opinions, which, in turn, helps develop our personality.

Lok Sabha TV Channel, NDTV and other channels telecast discussions among knowledgeable persons on current topics. In other words, knowledgeable people come straight to our drawing room (courtesy TV) and interact among themselves while we are watching them and listening to them at ease and peace. What more facility do we need to further develop our personality! Anchorpersons like Mrinal Pande, Pranjoy Guha Thakurta, Barkha Dutt, Karan Thapar, Nalini Singh, Rajat Sharma and others interview top people in their programme. It is up to us to take advantage of such readily available programmes.

Be communicative

NOTWITHSTANDING one’s brilliant academic record, ability to effectively communicate is very essential for getting selected, making a mark in an interview for promotion, and or succeeding in an interaction within or outside the organisation, say, with customers, clients, vendors, institutions. One’s knowledge and views gathered through continuous inputs, as above, must be communicated rightly to the other person(s).

Communication skills, therefore, need to be mastered through interaction, first, among one’s peers and then with seniors. An effective communicator has to be an attentive listener because that gives the other person satisfaction of having been listened. One must always agree to disagree is a time-tested ‘funda’ for successful communication. Apart from gain in information and views, one also gets time to ponder in one’s own mind what and how to say or respond so that the other person agrees to the former’s viewpoint or stand. There lies the secret of our success.

(The writer is a PR professional and faculty at Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism & Communication, Bhopal)



IIM students think beyond big pay cheques

THE IIM-Lucknow student community, in association with Tata group, announced the launch of their International Business conclave - Manfest 2009 with the opening of their online portal, This edition of Manfest is woven around the theme ‘Sustainable Development – Fuelling the Future’, which finds much of its relevance in today’s world wherein there is a heightened awareness of bolstering current growth while reinforcing future prospects.

The launch of Manfest 2009 was followed by the launch of its first flagship event –‘Treatise: The International Thought Challenge’. Treatise, now in its third edition, is an online debate. The event is open to students from all backgrounds pursuing an undergraduate or postgraduate course anywhere in the world. Apart from this, the event has also been made open for corporates.

Says Ruchika Agrawal, Manfest Core Committee Member, “We believe that anyone, irrespective of their age or background, can be a driver of change. Treatise this year will be in line with our theme to stress on the fact that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not just a buzzword, but a profit centre in itself.”

Manfest is also to launch a CSR initiative in association with CII, which would comprise a CSR conclave, a social award and a marathon, the proceeds of which will be donated to CRY. Says Vineet Khanna, Manfest coordinator, “The aim of the CSR initiative is to lay a foundation from where we can work towards building a sustainable model through which we, the students of IIM-Lucknow, are able to make a contribution to society at large.” Manfest 2009 will be held from January 16–18 at the IIM-Lucknow campus. For more details, visit — TNS



Food for thought
Long talks may impair memory

STRUGGLING to remember the name of the flower with thorns that’s your girlfriend’s favourite? Well, for all you know it could have something to do with your long talks with her – and the others — over the cellphone!

In the study involving rat models, researchers from the Division of Neurosurgery, Lund University, in Sweden had found that microwave radiation from cell phones could have an adverse impact on memory by affecting the so-called blood-brain barrier. This barrier protects the brain by preventing substances circulating in the blood from penetrating into the brain tissue and damaging nerve cells.

Lead researcher Henrietta Nittby found that rats exposed to mobile phone radiation for two hours a week for more than a year showed poorer results on a memory test. The memory test consisted of releasing the rats in a box with four objects mounted in it. In another study conducted by Leif Salford have previously found that albumin, a protein that function as a transport molecule in the blood, leaks into brain tissue when laboratory animals are exposed to mobile phone radiation. The research team also found certain nerve damage in the form of damaged nerve cells in the cerebral cortex and in the hippocampus, the memory center of the brain. The next step for researchers is to try to understand why this happens and whether it can be prevented. Till then, use a fixed line whenever possible. — ANI

A little wine & a healthier heart

ATTENDING an office dinner and can’t be caught dead without a drink? Dump the vodka, whiskeys and beer for a glass of wine. Researchers have found that moderate wine intake may be the way to a healthier heart, as it is associated with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids which protects the vital organ. Omega-3 fatty acids — mainly derived from fish — are considered as protective against coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death, thus their high blood concentration is definitely good for our health, the study said. The study suggests wine does better than other alcoholic drinks. This effect could be ascribed to compounds other than alcohol itself, representing a key to understanding the mechanism lying behind heart protection in moderate wine drinkers.

Some 1,604 individuals from southwest London in England, Limburg in Belgium and Abruzzo in Italy underwent a comprehensive medical exam, including a one-year recall food frequency questionnaire to assess their dietary intake, alcohol consumption included. They found that moderate alcohol drinking acts like a ‘trigger’, boosting the amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Another advantage: the office hottie might find you charming and sophisticated! — IANS



Get the raise you deserve

Asking for a pay raise is neither easy nor guaranteed, especially in current times. R.C SHARMA lists some guidelines that can better your chances

THESE are troubled time. Businesses have slowed down and downsized and pink slips are getting commoner, but you have worked in the same position for a few years and your salary just doesn’t sound attractive enough. You need a salary raise – even the boss had promised to reward you when you performed exceedingly well.

Asking and getting a raise was never easy and no difficult than it is currently. If the company is downsizing, most employees don’t want to be the person rocking the boat and viewed as unsympathetic to the needs of the business. So, the question is how to go about it?

Before asking for a pay raise, it’s important to know that many companies don’t grant pay raises to most employees except during employee-review cycles. If you work for one of these companies and you ask for an “out-of-cycle” pay raise or more than the industry standard for your position, your chances for success are likely to be slim.

Most employees just keep waiting for their chance to ask for a salary increase. Before asking for a raise, it’s a good idea to exhibit loyalty to the company – not that is isn’t at other times! Get noticed, bustle around for a week or two and increase your output, contribute actively and highly to company meetings and try to show that you are an asset to the company. It is a good idea to drop a hint in advance so that you don’t take your boss completely by surprise. It’s a much better idea to prove that you “deserve” a pay raise, by emphasising your value to the company. Documenting your accomplishments is a good way to do that.

For starters, review and re-examine the rank you currently hold, do your homework about colleagues and company results, then find an appropriate moment and follow these tips…

Review your present work

YOUR present position dictates the path for a prospective raise. The post can vary from that of a freshly appointed just-out-of-college youngster to a part-time employee or an experienced hand. If you have just passed out from college/university, your chances of getting a raise are very limited as compared to that of an experienced hand. In case, you are working part-time, the employer may not consider you for a raise until you are in a full-time position.

If you have joined recently, then wait for sometime – at least for a year or two before approaching your boss for an increment.

If you have already spent a few years at your work place and have got one increment, then go ahead and put up your case for another one. A good knowledge of your area of work would also weigh in your favour. If you think, you are not yet adequately trained, then equip yourself with more knowledge or skills.

Learn what others earn

TRY to ascertain how much emoluments other employees in your office are drawing. Do this tactfully and also enquire from the employment office. This information will help determine the amount of raise you should seek. A word of caution: Do not compare your salary with those handling similar responsibility by name before the boss. It simply implies you doubt his decision.

A meeting is likely to be more effective than a letter asking for a pay raise. A letter is inflexible, one-way communication, making it easier for your boss to say no. A meeting is a flexible, two-way communication that will allow you to present your case as required and overcome objections on the spot. However, a letter will allow you to organise your thoughts, accomplishments and such before presenting them. So, you might consider a combination of the two.

Make out a strong case

Follow the chain of command when asking for a pay raise. For example, if your immediate boss is a supervisor, don’t go over your boss’s head to the department manager. Instead, approach your immediate boss first and let him or her tell you the next step.

Fix your meeting at least a week in advance, and tell him/her that you intend to discuss your status in the company. Prepare a list of all the convincing points for a salary hike. It is a good idea to list your achievements and the experience you have. If your boss is not convinced, then submit him the list of the projects undertaken successfully by you.

Observe your boss keenly. If he/she appears not to be having a good day, then postpone your meeting for another occasion.

The best time to ask for a raise is just after you have submitted a report or assignment. If praise is not customary in your office, then at least make sure that your boss appears to be in a jovial mood at the time of your meeting.

Your boss is the best judge of your work. If he gives a definite “no”, do not press him to favour you. Instead, work diligently, to make your case for a raise stronger.

Prepare for the worst

YOU think you deserve a pay hike and have presented a strong case, but, your boss may think otherwise. Be prepared for a negative answer — don’t get emotional, maintain your composure. Think twice about threatening to quit if you don’t get a pay raise. It rarely works. No matter how valuable you think you are to the company, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are indispensable. If you feel that you deserve better, then probably it is time to move on. Weigh your options and decide upon the path you want to take. Work hard and you will definitely get what you are worth!



Educational institutions under scanner
S.C. Dhall

THE Income Tax department has increased scrutiny of educational institutions following its own report that said educational institutions, among various sectors, had indulged in huge tax evasion in the last fiscal.

Educational institutional enjoying tax benefits are under the income tax scanner following allegations that they indulge in malpractices, thus duping the exchequer. During the last fiscal, the department detected an overall tax evasion of over Rs 3,400 crore by various sectors, including educational institutions.

Section 10(23C) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, provides that the income received by educational societies that exist solely for educational purposes and not for the purposes of profit, shall not be subject to tax. The department exempts educational trusts and institutions enjoying tax benefits under the Act. Education, by definition, is considered a charitable act. Some institutions divert the money and thereby rob the exchequer of its legitimate tax. Apart from donation money, which generally remains unaccounted, some institutions levy captitation fee, establishment and other charges from students major share of the funds thus diverted for commercial use and private enterprises of the institute.

Coaching institutions, placement agencies, air services institutions and even foreign educational institutions are also under the scanner. The IT department has already done surveys in Delhi, Indore, Ghaziabad, Noida, Pune, Hyderabad and Chandigarh where thousands enroll for a seat in prestigious institutions ever year.



If you don’t educate here, pay tax

NON-PROFIT foreign educational institutions with branch offices in India can claim tax exemption only if they impart education here. The Supreme Court has clarified that the non-profit tag of such institutions has to be tested against India activities and not the calculation of income over expenditure to decide whether they are qualified for tax exemption.

If the applicant wants exemption under section 10(23C)(VI) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, it has to impart education in India and only then it would be entitled to claim initial approval under that section. The apex court passed the verdict deciding an appeal of the American Hotel and Lodging Association Educational Institute, a non-profit organisation set up in the US that was granted tax exemption as an educational institute there. The appellant had a branch office in India, mainly to comply with its obligations under various agreements with the Government of India (ministry of tourism).

The branch office would collect data from educational institutions and individuals wishing to take a course in the field of hospitality and fees for the required course material, which was remitted to the USA. After collection of data and fees, its head office sends course materials, examination papers etc. to the branch in India for onward transmission to the actual user. The cost of running the branch office was deducted from amounts remitted to the head office.



The mouse turns 40!

ONE computer device could be called as being most ‘in touch’ with humans — the mouse — which recently celebrated it’s 40th birth anniversary. The first computer mouse, developed four deca-des ago, was a little wooden box with a single red button on top and a wire hanging from the back, because of which it was likened to a rodent.

And while computers have transformed from big white boxes to cool, flat-screens and laptops, the mouse has, more or less, stayed the same. But, its designer, Douglas Engelbart, is not a rich man giving orders in a huge IT firm. The 83-year-old American, who worked on the mouse at California’s Stanford Research Institute, never got any royalties because the patent expired before it became a must-have.

It was in 1981 that Xerox included a mouse with their Star computer system, followed by Apple, which offered one with their Macintosh system, a few years later. And then Microsoft made it the standard device for navigating their Windows system.

With more and more innovations — like a second, third and fifth button — the mouse today has bid adieu to the rubber trackball to be replaced by more accurate infrared technology. Now, many devices are cordless too, doing away with the reason they were called a mouse to begin with.

However, Apple’s innovative touch screen technology on its iPhone and iPod Touch gadgets might just send the mouse into oblivion. It’s highly likely that the mouse will be in use in 40 years! — ANI



Post-26/11, firms tighten verification process
S.C. Dhall

AMIDST unconfirmed reports that some employees of Hotel Taj could have colluded with terrorists, companies have started stepped up employee verification procedures, especially for sensitive positions. Now, candidates who have got themselves verified are likely to stand a better chance of landing a job.

Companies have almost decided to make it mandatory to run police verification and identity checks before allowing new joinees. Apart from the routine education and previous employment record check, companies have now started verifying the permanent addresses of new recruits. Before the Mumbai incident, companies did not feel the need to spend money on additional checks, especially for lower categories of employees and temporary and security staff. Genuineness of documents made available is definitely a concern.

Meanwhile, companies across all sectors are laying unprecedented focus on preventing entry of unauthorised men or material into campuses and offices. Other steps include a vigil on people’s movements across projects, daily training to security personnel and evacuation drills under the supervision of retired army officials.



Laser printers pollute office air

IF you thought the laser printer in your office was totally harmless, here is news. A team of German and Australian researchers has unearthed evidence that laser printers release chemical particulates into the air.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Wilhelm Klauditz Institute (WKI) in Braunschweig say that they found these evidence while investigating whether laser printers release pathogenic toner dust into the ambient air, what kind of particles could the printers really emit and in what quantities. Numerous reports in the past have suggested that laser printers release hardly any particles of toner into the air, say researchers.

“But what some printers do emit are ultra-fine particles made of volatile organic-chemical substances,” says WKI head of department Prof. Dr Tunga Salthammer. “One essential property of these ultra-fine particles is their volatility, which indicates that we are not looking at toner dust,” the researcher adds. — ANI