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Shortwave radio

When Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister from 1985 to 1989, he aspired to enable India in becoming a member of the elite club of broadcasting nations such as the USA, Russia, UK, Holland, Germany and China, which has the capability of reaching far-off target audiences to propagate their national viewpoint.

These nations have the world's most powerful shortwave radio transmitters with a reach of 6,000 miles in their kitty. Rajiv Gandhi also placed orders for six state-of-the-art superpowered (500 kilowatt radiated power) shortwave transmitters.

For propagation reasons, these transmitters were located not in northern India, but in Bangalore, from where in either direction the first hop was supposed to fall in the Bay of Bengal for the Eastern beam or in the Arabian Sea for the Western beam. The first superpowered transmitter was received and installed in November, 1989, when the election results were being announced. I heard the broadcast loud and clear on my world band radio. That I could hear it 9,000 miles away meant that the first transmitter had passed its test.

Five more superpowered shortwave transmitters were installed during the tenure of Prime Minister Narsimha Rao. All these transmitters are doing well and I listen to them in my leisure time. These transmitters can be heard within the country too. Some of the services carried by these transmitters include the very popular Urdu Service and Sindhi Service of All India Radio.

Due to the invasion of satellite TV, the people in India are no longer listening to radio in their homes. But they do listen to FM in their cars. The manufacturers of car radios are not manufacturing radios with shortwave bands.

The Government of India should mandate the manufacturers to include one mediumwave and two shortwaves in the car radios. There are so many areas in India where FM is not available. In those areas, mediumwave and shortwave can be heard loud and clear. India is not utilisng its mediumwave and shortwave capabilities to the most.

Harjap Singh Aujla, New Jersey, ( USA)

Poll-time freebies

The UPA government’s historic decision to raise the subsidised gas cylinders from nine to 12 per household in a year has given birth to a host of controversies. It is being said that Rahul and Sonia Gandhi have taken over government affairs in view of the imminent Lok Sabha elections. From the Ordinance Bill on the conviction of the accused parliamentarians to the raise in the cap of LPG cylinders, it is crystal clear that the UPA government is resorting to ‘populist schemes’ to ensure its triumph in the elections.

But the socio-economic repercussions of these freebies entail an increase the fiscal deficit of the nation. Fiscal deficit is generally expressed as the percentage of the GDP and reflects the dependence of the country on external borrowings. It does not mean that subsidies should be stopped.

This sort of financial help must be streamlined along the neconomic condition of the people. We must seriously introspect what purpose these subsidies serve for nearly 20 per cent of the elite and the segment of the society that can afford to pay the prices.


LPG cap: Cong populist

What kind of a government is the UPA? The entire thinktank finalises on nine LPG cylinders, but on Rahul’s call, the number is raised to 12. The mother is jumping with excitement as if her son has managed a victory in the Lok Sabha elections. What was Rahul doing when the entire Cabinet zeroed in on nine cylinders? The same happened with the disputed ordinance and the entire party sprung into action to bring changes. “Jaise Rahulji chahtey hain.” This decision of raising the cylinder cap will facilitate blackmarketing and only help the companies and agencies. The common man won't get anything. The more the government tries to plug the leakage of revenue from the national Treasury in the name of subsidy, the more determined is Rahul Gandhi to hammer it at different places. With this decision, the Congress leader has set a benchmark in populist policies.

Deepjot S Thukral, Ambala Cantt

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