Digitally Efficient India

digital technologiy

Digital Technologies have elevated India’s position in the globe. Although the image and position have gone up, there is a big social vacuum. The social vacuum in harnessing the digital technology has been increasing. Instead of shouting slogans about digital empowerment, real empowerment must be ushered in. The previous government’s ambitions and plans must be realised.

Time will fly fast. The Union government under the Prime Minister Modi who is used to fix timeline and ensure mission accomplishment can realise the goal of digitally developed India. Now no stone should be left unturned in this mission.

Honorable Union Minister for Communications, Ravi Shankar Prasad writes in The Times of India on 2 February 2015

President Barack Obama’s just concluded historic visit to India has laid the foundation for a relationship of hope and promise between India and the US. Among other areas, i believe this relationship has immense potential in the field of ICT and digital connectivity. Already 60% of India’s IT exports, worth $50 billion, cater to the US market. US companies, many of which already have backend operations in India, have continually expressed interest in expanding.

Digital India, a flagship programme, conceived within 100 days of the Modi government assuming office, has the potential to propel digital connectivity to new heights and reinforce Indo-US ties.

What is Digital India? It is an obligation we owe to India and a gift which we must offer to posterity. It aims to tap and channelise the vast potential of India’s fondness for technology, coupled with soaring aspirations of a young India. Digital India is designed to bridge the divide between the digital haves and digital have-nots, between the poor and the affluent, rural and urban, literate and illiterate, employed and unemployed, and between the empowered and the disempowered.

Digital India weaves together a large number of ideas and thoughts into a single comprehensive vision. This vision is centred on three key areas: creation of digital infrastructure, delivery of governance and services on demand, and digital empowerment of citizens. It includes the ambitious programme National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN), aiming to link India’s 2.5 lakh gram panchayats through over 70,000 km of high speed optic fibre in the next three years – thereby enabling over 600 million Indians to harness the benefits of modern communication. NOFN has to be executed with the active partnership of state governments.

I recently inaugurated our country’s first high speed rural broadband network in Idukki district of Kerala. If 900 million mobile phones and 300 million internet connectivity can spring up in India without active government patronage, imagine what a far reaching impact a government backed programme would have if executed in a mission mode.

A noteworthy feature of Digital India is that it is envisaged as a national non-discriminatory infrastructure available to all categories of service providers for wholesale bandwidth. Telcos, ISPs, virtual network operators and cable TV providers can all plug into this network for offering next generation services to citizens.

Indians keenly observe the arrival of a technology and once they recognise its worth, they adopt it with enthusiasm. Digital India is designed to empower Indians with the power of technology.

Digital India architecture would compel change in governance processes for delivery of services. Along with the need for faster and timely service delivery, it is important to ensure that benefits of development reach each and every citizen of the country in equal measure. I believe that broadband access to all will open a new world of economic opportunities for rural Indians in areas such as e-commerce, outsourcing and back offices, marketing of agricultural products and traditional handicrafts, amongst others.

Domestically, India consumes up to $100 billion in electronics every year, most of which are imported, including products like mobile phones, computers, SIM cards, smart cards, set top boxes, LED lights, cameras, televisions, medical electronics and the massive electronic segment in defence manufacturing. There is a need for manufacturing electronics in India for the growing Indian market. Government has announced the Make in India programme, which complements Digital India by encouraging local and foreign manufacturers to manufacture in India – for the domestic market and for exports.

Foreign companies should not restrict themselves to back office operations but instead look to manufacturing their high-end products in India. Make in India has conveyed to the companies that this scheme is more than a slogan – it is a commitment. Government is backing the Make in India proposal with financial incentives. Catering to the necessity of expanding the talent pool of IT professionals the Cabinet has already approved setting up an Electronics Development Fund to encourage innovation, research and startups.

Backing up this innovation is the government’s programme DISHA, which focuses on the critical aspect of digital literacy so that even the poorest Indian can participate and contribute to this digital expansion. Floodgates of possibilities will open for the self-employed as well as small and medium enterprises.

I imagine a scenario where gardeners, plumbers, drivers, shopkeepers, tutors, tailors can all find new markets through their mobile phones.

We are in the process of finalising a policy on setting up BPOs in small and mofussil towns which will leverage digital connectivity and digital literacy to encourage employment and foster entrepreneurship.

Empowered citizens will have the power to make choices, to save time, lower their costs, add convenience to their days and improve their health.

The potential payoffs through this revolution can certainly be measured in numbers – connections, devices, subscribers, downloads and so on – but the improvement in the quality of life of every Indian is the real change our government wants to bring. This task is enormous, challenges are onerous yet we shall overcome, as India after May 2014 is a different country.

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Menu of India for Obama

barack-obama-michelle-obama-india-dance-110710jpg-b5d25129c47d6839American President Barack Obama will be landing in New Delhi in next few hours. This is a historic visit because for the first time in the history of American history, its President will be staying outdoor out of the American soil for more than two hours. It is also significant for the new bilateral trade, military, scientific and human development co-operation between the two nations.
Although this trip of Obama is much hyped one needs to explore in deep and detail to describe the future relations between the two vital democracies of the world. Many analysts and self styled foreign policy experts may offer wide range of menu for the decision makers. But the following can be considered for the forward movement of India and USA.
1. Work out a genuine model of bilateral co-operation
2. Keep national and global interests in mind
3. Stop issuing threats of kicking out Indian immigrants from USA
4. Ensure the ecological safety in framing development policies
5. Stop spying Indian government and citizens
6. Exchange the best of human resources
7. Help India to grow for the universal development
8. Agree to end terrorism
9. Rein in Pakistan to weed out terrorists from its soil. Take India along in this mission
10. Give the best of everything and take the best of India
Krishna Srivatsa writes in The Times of India on 23 January 2015
What happens when the world’s biggest democracy and the world’s most powerful democracy come together? Is the resultant embrace genuine bonhomie or the squeeze of death? As President Obama touches down on India there are several things Prime Minister Modi can ask for, and better still hope to get at least some of.
India’s overall strategy vis-a-vis the United States must change a little. India needs to get out of its British roots, where we believe if something is given to one country or one group, then another country or group becomes automatically eligible for it. The US instead is a tale of Washington’s fabled ‘K Street’, home to all the major lobbyists and advocacy groups of America whose complex interplay determines the final vector of forces.
Thus India needs to step up to the table and articulate what it wants, for that’s the way the US system responds. A potent example of that is how over the years Nasscom has engaged powerful lobbying firms to liaise with the US administration on visas and other issues, with reasonably good success till the recent immigration problems cropped up.
For business visitors from India, immigration queues in American airports are often a nightmare. The US has offered advance immigration facilities in Abu Dhabi and it would be convenient if the same can be extended to Mumbai and Bangalore — helping frequent flyers from the corporate and especially IT sectors a great deal. The US offered it to other countries such as Ireland in the past and India can easily seek and secure this benefit.
That apart establishment of a US consulate in Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley, will be a good signal to an industry which sends thousands to the US every year.
Second, recent research by the Peterson Institute of International Economics argues that the economic value of Indian migrants in America is close to $50 billion per annum, significantly higher compared to US imports of services of $19 billion and goods of $41 billion. To leverage the complete value of Indian immigrants in America the proposed ‘totalisation agreement’ — which will essentially help those who spend their working lives across the two countries by protecting their benefits and removing legal obstacles from receiving them in another country — needs to be fast tracked.
Third, US goods and services trade with India touched $100 billion in 2013-14 with India being America’s 18th largest goods export market and 10th largest goods import market. Whereas the US is India’s second largest export market after EU. In general, the US has been less open than is believed and needs to liberalise its trade regime more.
Government of India statistics show that between 2000-13, US equity inflows were just 6% of $314,902 million total FDI inflow into India. While there is talk of bilateral investment and trade treaties what must be borne in mind is, if we go ahead, the US will almost certainly ask for opening up FDI in multi-brand retail (which India should agree to, although this comes with serious political implications), tougher environment and labour standards (which it would be ill-advised to agree to), elimination of various tariffs on consumer goods, stronger enforcement of intellectual property rights, foreign ownership of retail banks/professional services firms and so on.
India might not be ready to do all these just yet, perhaps these are still a few years away. It would be too premature to expect India to sign the kind of carbon emissions capping treaty that the US signed with China last year (though it might be realistic to expect India to support the proposed climate change deal, which the US has been pushing).
In which case, the moot question is should we be discussing new trade or investment treaties at all?
Fourth, Obama and Kerry have raised the ante significantly with their anti-offshoring rhetoric. Investment is as much a matter of sentiment as it is of economic fundamentals. Obama and Kerry can’t keep saying ‘We are getting Bangalore-d’ if US companies are to deepen economic ties with India. If Obama finds it difficult to approve of offshoring to India he should at least remain silent, instead of making it the new four-letter word in Indo-US economic relations.
The logic of markets should be allowed to dictate the decisions of individual US companies vis-a-vis India, not political or other artificial quotas buttressed by negative sentiment emanating out of America’s highest offices.
The two countries should also break the old impasse over Indian laws that makes equipment suppliers liable for accidents at nuclear plants. Globally the burden is usually on plant operators; the absence of this in India has negatively impacted US companies from entering the nuclear power sector despite landmark civil nuclear agreements signed a decade ago.
India and the US have been dating each other for some time now, despite irritants and alternate suitors. Two decades after economic reforms, India has now firmly put away its leanings towards Russia and the erstwhile socialist bloc. The time is ripe for a durable relationship between India and the US. Both sides need each other more than before. This embrace can’t be fatal but has to be friendly, for each side to benefit the other.

France: The Latest Terror Victim

150107134311-restricted-18-paris-shooting-0107-super-169Terrorists are crossing boundaries. They have established a transnational network. With hi-tech weapons in hand, terrorists can strike any part of the world as per their choice. No part of the world has immunity over terrorists today. From the perennial terror spots like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, Pakistan to recent terror attacks in Canada, Australia, France, terrorists are playing at their will. If we allow them to energise the world will be darkened soon.
Instead of playing the political games the world leaders must get united to weed out the terrorists from the world soil. If they are reluctant to combat terrorism immediately then the entire world will be doomed by terrorists. Better to act now than to regret later.
Times of India writes on 7 January 2015
There is only one way to describe the bloody assault on the offices of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, which took 12 innocent lives. This was a barbaric atrocity, a cold-blooded murder that no amount of grievance, religious or otherwise, can justify. This is not just an assault on an irreverent magazine but a challenge to the idea of free expression itself — a freedom that lies at the heart of democracy. The murderers who killed journalists and cartoonists in Paris on Wednesday were aiming to kill more than just the people they were shooting at. They aimed to silence dissent itself and the individual’s right to question, which is central to all modern democracies, including ours.
Charlie Hebdo’s office was fire-bombed three years ago for lampooning shariah law. But the cut and thrust of its rapier wit extended to every religion, not just to Islam. Of course not everyone agreed with its editorial policies. But you don’t have to agree with a magazine to defend its right to publish. There are many ways to legitimately express anger at an editorial opinion that may offend one’s own deeply held sensibilities — protest, approach a court of law, stop reading that publication. Murdering writers as a way to stop the conversation and to deter other writers is beyond the pale. It was designed to strike fear in the hearts of those who oppose and to create a kind of self-censorship. Condemn it unequivocally and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Every civilised society has its own red lines over free speech. In India, for example, while the Constitution’s Article 19 guarantees freedom of expression, its Clause 2 also puts reasonable legal restrictions on it. France has its own liberal definition of the limits of free speech and while this can be debated what cannot be challenged is the fundamental right of all citizens to express themselves within the law. Using violence to silence satire and dissent is unacceptable.
Wednesday’s terrorist attack is a brutal attempt at intimidation by religious and political fundamentalists that must be resisted. It is in line with the Iranian fatwa on Salman Rushdie for his book Satanic Verses and recent cyber-warfare by the North Koreans after an unflattering film about their leader Kim Jong Un. No modern society can allow such violence in its midst and it must be pushed back.

Chinese Threats and India’s Bits

WH May 2011 (101)

India’s  tackling of the Chinese threats are in tits and bits. Like handling the Chinese fishing nets in Cochin, strategy spin masters of our national security are totally callous. From Sri Lanka to Somalia, from Pakistan to Peru, Chinese are stitching an international network against India. They know well that India is a big challenger to Chinese supremacy in the coming days.

For India it is not enough knowing what the Chinese are up against it. But checkmating their moves and eliminating the collaborations in the early stage will steady India’s growth.

If India fails to wake up to the growing Chinese interests around the world, it will have to pay heavily in the future. This is a very delicate issue to be managed. Pushing overt action against the Chinese and its new friends will permanently damage India’s growth. For instance, over drive of relationship with USA will put India against Russia – the longest ally. Quickly they will turn to China. Imagine the situation where Russia, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Gulf countries, African nations in the Chinese kitty!

Time for real strategies and realisation of those strategies in quick time.

Nayan Chanda writes in The Times of India.
The Silk Road, a romantic name that evokes images of camel caravans laden with luxuries wending their way through picturesque mountains and steppes, is back in the news. In its latest avatar, the Silk Road is a Chinese strategic initiative comprising an infrastructure bank and a slew of road, high-speed rail, pipelines, ports and fibre-optic cables projects. Recently unveiled by President Xi Jinping, its ambition is to tie Central Asia and Europe with the Silk Road Economic Belt and expand its trade and strategic reach in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean all the way to East Africa with the help of Maritime Silk Road.
If the Chinese vision is realised it could transform the country’s relationship with its neighbours giving it an unassailable position in all of Asia including the Indian Ocean. Surprisingly India has signed up to be a co-founder of the infrastructure bank to fund the project. Before jumping on the ‘New’ Silk Road caravan, India would do well to examine where it is headed.
Despite the comfortingly familiar old name, what China is seeking to achieve with its 21st century version bears no resemblance to the historic connector. Some two millennia ago, road networks were used by foreign traders to buy items like silk, precious stones and sell Buddhist icons and paraphernalia to China. A subsequent seaborne trade route (dubbed the ‘Maritime Silk Road’) came to be the dominant connection between southern China and the Mediterranean, with a network of Southeast Asian and Indian ports in between.
Remarkably, while China supplied the goods, it was Central Asian traders, as well as Arabs, Persians, Indians and Malays, who played the central role in the old Silk Road. In the New Silk Road of Xi Jinping’s imagination, China will not only sell its domestically produced cornucopia but will also create pathways to move goods and even manufacture them in partner countries. Instead of the world coming to China as in the past, China will now be going out to the world, building naval and resupply facilities along the ocean route. Although strategic aspect of the proactive policy is never mentioned Chinese scholars in Beijing privately explained that the New Silk Road is China’s response to what it views as US-led encirclement effort through its ‘Asia pivot’ and Trans-Pacific Partnership project.
The proposed $40 billion Silk Road Fund will finance construction of railroads, pipelines and roadways that will link China with three continents over land and sea. A proposed canal across the Isthmus of Kra in Thailand could provide a faster link between South China Sea and Indian Ocean. A state-owned Chinese company is building a deep-water container port and industrial park in Malaysia. China has already taken over from India a $500-million airport development in Maldives, considered an integral part of the Maritime Silk Road. President Xi recently inaugurated one of the most ambitious of China’s recent projects — $1.4 billion Colombo port city.
Economic factors behind China’s plans for ambitious opening to the world are easy to understand. With its greying population making labour expensive and adding to social welfare costs, and with lacklustre demand from western markets, China’s economic growth has plateaued. Closer integration with regional neighbours would dramatically expand the mainland’s potential market for goods and services. Meanwhile, relocating China’s old, polluting and labour-intensive industries to neighbouring countries would allow it to invest its mounting dollar reserves in alternative energies and meet its emissions reduction targets.
Unmentioned in the Silk Road projects, but seemingly an integral part of the outward push, is setting up facilities for China’s power projection: a reported special transmission centre in southern Balochistan to communicate with submerged submarines; an aircraft maintenance facility near Chinese-aided Hambantota port in Sri Lanka. The recent appearance of Chinese submarines in Sri Lanka gave a peek into the steel that lies under the so-called Maritime Silk Road.
While promoting the New Silk Road China has not said what the rules of the road it envisages are. Given China’s refusal to accept the UN Convention on Law of the Sea to define its territorial claims in South China Sea, the maritime passages would likely be governed by Chinese law. One can expect the Chinese navy to take over responsibility for protecting the new maritime Silk Road, as the Mongol army did for the Central Asian Silk Road in the 14th century. China’s latest project is unlikely to be as smooth as its name might suggest.

Act now or regret later,Mr.P.M Modi!

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Dear Prime Minister Modi Saheb,

Even your enemies admire your vision, talk, hard work, punctuality and body language. But your Parivar members are spoiling all your good name by going against your vision. On the one side, you are talking about inclusive growth with total dynamism. On the other side, RSS, VHP, Bajarang Dal, Rama Sena, ABVP and other organisations of your ideology are propagating exclusive growth for Hindus. Is this possible? It is high time that you control these troublemakers and ensure a peaceful India. It is not the question of talent here. The Prime Ministership is all about right action at the right time.

Those who are extremely capable but failed to act were forgotten even by the history. Remember, the Godhra violence one and half decades ago. You may not be directly involved. But you were made an untouchable by the entire world for such a long period because of your failure to act against the perpetrators of a huge crime against the humanity. Whether Hindu or Muslim, punish them for crime. Never segregate criminals on the basis of race or religion or caste or gender. Immediate punishment is the only solution for persistent problems like communal violence. If you do your duty neutrally you are bound win election after election.

This is not only your problem. Remember, Dr.Manmohan Singh your predecessor? He is the most educated and experienced politician turned bureaucrat. Because of his failure to check corruption and act against those criminals costed his reputation and his party the vast power to rule India.

If you want to settle permanently in the hearts and minds of Indians, you must act now. Act against those who violate the constitution, rules, regulations and laws of the land. Remember the advice given by Lord.Krishna to Arjuna!

Sagarika Ghosh writes in The Times of India on 10 December 2014

After the assertion that astrology makes a pygmy of other sciences, that khap panchayats protect us against social evils, we now have the suggestion that the Bhagwad Gita must be recognised as the ‘rashtriya granth’ or National Scripture. To transform the Gita into a statist government textbook when its mysteries or rahasyas have enthralled every individual in richly varied ways is an injustice to its philosophy.

If the government indeed needs a National Book, why not the Constitution which in its progressive ideals should be the blueprint for a modern India? Yet BJP, in its aggressive defence of Sanskrit, Vedic science, palmistry, astrology and the authenticity of the epics, seems set on a collision course with modernity itself.

BJP has a problem with the modern. While the PM promises a globalised future, the HRD minister attempts to banish the teaching of German and impose Sanskrit. While the PM announces Make in India, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch says it prefers ‘Made by Indians’. During polls BJP reached out to the youth voter, but now Sangh outfits are the main moral policemen on youth, opposing love and kissing as anti ‘Indian culture’. This Sanskrit imposing, khap panchayat upholding mindset runs counter to the thumping youthful mandate for a forward-looking India.

ICHR head Y S Rao says we need to accept the epics as ‘true’ accounts to roll back the evil influence of Leftist Macaulayputras who saw them as myths. Should 21st century scholars try to prove the Mahabharata really happened? Or should they instead dignify the Ramayana and Mahabharata (which 70s’ Leftists failed to do) by modern interpretation?

Sanskrit in its time was a language of prestige and excellence. As a tribute to Sanskrit why not encourage linguistic excellence in modern global languages instead of trying to resurrect the Gupta Age by government diktat? Imposing Sanskrit on one hand and winning elections through the verbal violence of Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti on the other, hardly bolsters the cause of linguistic excellence among youth.

Narendra Modi’s indebtedness to the Sangh for the victory of 2014 is clear: intensive Sangh mobilisation made possible the massive win. No wonder Modi is perhaps bound to let the Sangh have its say on education and society. But has not RSS, having made Modi the figurehead of its triumphal car, not willy nilly, also accepted the need for its own personal transformation? If you anoint an individual who stands for business-friendly economics, how can you oppose free market reforms? If you anoint a youth idol, how can you crack down on kissing?

The task of a modern reform-oriented government is to strengthen institutions so that rule of law and transparency is established. Keeping investors and markets in suspense on what the PM will say in one speech after another is rather old-fashioned strategy. The policy-announcements-by-speeches tactic is a reflection of the tightrope that Modi walks on where to draw the line with the Sangh.

The Sangh view of modernity is needlessly jaundiced. Modernity need not mean only half-naked licentious youth, Leftist history and MNC-dominated economy. Every woman BJP member who is not a sadhvi today drips sindoor and mangalsutra as if battle-ready to fight globalisation. Yet the T-shirt clad wrestler champions, the Fogat sisters from rural Haryana probably keep alive the boldly modernist spirit of the Upanishadic Gargi more than the heavily veiled sati savitris who only uphold Victorian morality in Indian costume.

When even the Vatican is re-examining its teachings on gay marriage, why does the BJP-Sangh see tradition as fixed in stone? A new mandate deserves a new rethink. It’s time the BJP-Sangh, which now politically leads the country, also led the country in a comprehensive social and intellectual rethink. Vatican II was the Catholic Church’s collective introspection on how to deal with the modern age. The Sangh needs a Hindu Vatican II.

BJP as a right-wing party must fashion a modern conservatism based on thought through positions on the economy, modern education, gender justice, inter-religious marriage, youth morality and Hindu-Muslim relations. The social agenda is too important to leave to loonies who attack lovers, modern women and Muslims as part of a so-called ‘traditional’ mission.

Conquering the communal demon is central to BJP achieving modernity. As long as Sadhvi Jyoti remains a vote catcher BJP cannot achieve a modernist image. Indeed Modi’s central dilemma at the moment is where to draw the line between the Sangh worldview and a modern political BJP. A modern BJP should locate its right-wing identity in economics, not in religion.

Whether it likes it or not, the BJP-Sangh now needs to embrace a more substantive modernity beyond the smartphone-Vedic science combination. Modi won because he answered a cry for change and must balance the pulls of the Sangh by enlivening tradition with bumper doses of modernity. Don’t see Sans-krit as frozen Vedic glory; instead imbibe its spirit of excellence. Don’t get lost in proving the ‘trueness’ of the Mahabha-rata, instead as a tribute to it, throw open the world of books instead of thought poli-cing and book burning on campus. Don’t defend astrology as the best science, instead ensure every child has access to quality teaching, so modern India can replicate the golden era of mathematics.

Do the ancients a favour by imbibing their readiness to change and innovate, don’t destroy them by making them enemies of progress.

KISS IS NOT INDIAN!

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With technological advancements, world is becoming fast in exchanging cultures. Traditional societies like India are the worst victims in this battle of cultural exchange. Indians were not kissers in the past. No idea why the Indian society was reluctant to kiss. An indepth investigation shows that the ancient Indian society had evolved certain code of conduct in both personal and public lives. The epics, smaller religious scriptures, Swamis, Babas, priests and other socially conscious people were preaching the ill effects of certain habits which goes against the health of the society. Due to this restraint, the Indian community was able to evolve social rules which were very advanced.

For the past 5000 years there was a highly active social and religious organisations in the Indian society which were doing a remarkable job. Those organisations have discouraged or prohibited certain activities like kissing. This was not due to moralism but because of the health consequences. Now a research from Netherlands says that a kiss of 10 seconds between partners can transfer 80 million bacteria.

Indians were scientifically advanced which was couched in spiritualism. Better to understand and live according to the Indian traditions and customs!

Times of India reports on 17 November 2014

A long intimate kiss has now been found to do more that make your blood race. Scientists have found that a 10 second kiss leads to the transfer of as many as 80 million bacteria between partners.

Partners who kiss each other at least nine times a day end up sharing billions of bacteria thereby ending up with a similar community of oral bacteria. Bacteria in the human mouth play a vital role – from helping us digest food to synthesizing nutrients and preventing disease.

Humans have in them an ecosystem of more than 100 trillion microorganisms that thrive inside us – popularly called the microbiome. It is shaped by genetics, diet and age, but also the individuals with whom we interact. With the mouth playing host to more than 700 varieties of bacteria, the oral microbiota also appear to be influenced by those closest to us.

Researchers from Netherlands studied 21 couples, asking them to fill out questionnaires on their kissing behaviour including their average intimate kiss frequency. They then took swab samples to investigate the composition of their oral microbiota on the tongue and in their saliva. The results showed that when couples intimately kiss at relatively high frequencies their salivary microbiota become similar. On average it was found that at least nine intimate kisses per day led to couples having significantly shared salivary microbiota.

In a controlled kissing experiment to quantify the transfer of bacteria, a member of each of the couples had a probiotic drink containing specific varieties of bacteria including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. After an intimate kiss, the researchers found that the quantity of probiotic bacteria in the receiver’s saliva rose threefold and calculated that in total 80 million bacteria would have been transferred during a 10 second kiss.

The study also suggests an important role for other mechanisms that select oral microbiota, resulting from a shared lifestyle, dietary and personal care habits, and this is especially the case for microbiota on the tongue. The researchers found that while tongue microbiota were more similar among partners than unrelated individuals, their similarity did not change with more frequent kissing, in contrast to the findings on the saliva microbiota.

Commenting on the kissing questionnaire results, the researchers say that an interesting but separate finding was that 74% of the men reported higher intimate kiss frequencies than the women of the same couple. This resulted in a reported average of ten kisses per day from the males, twice that of the female reported average of five per day.

Lead author Remco Kort said “Intimate kissing involving full tongue contact and saliva exchange appears to be courtship behaviour unique to humans and is common in over 90% of known cultures. Interestingly, the current explanations for the function of intimate kissing in humans include an important role for the microbiota present in the oral cavity, although to our knowledge, the exact effects of intimate kissing on the oral microbiota have never been studied. We wanted to find out the extent to which partners share their oral microbiota and it turns out, the more a couple kiss, the more similar they are”.

Sri Lanka: The New Axis of Anti-India Terrorism

arun selvarajanEx Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was foresighted. Unfortunately her followers in the Congress party and her family members didn’t have her vision especially in matters concerning Sri Lanka. Knowing fully well that Sri Lanka cannot be a genuine friend of India, she promoted the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). This strategic thought of Indira Gandhi was completely supported by then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu  M.G.Ramachandran. Keeping the CM of Tamil Nadu in the right side of Sri Lanka drive of Indian government is the most essential part of P.M. Two tenures of UPA government led by Dr.Manmohan Singh had given away all the gains secured in Sri Lanka in the past. His government had surrendered India to Rajapaksa. Now it is extremely difficult to redeem the Indian prestige. More than the prestige, it is the question of India’s national security. Clever Rajapaksa is collaborating with China and Pakistan. Anti-Indian terror groups are getting the state patronage in Sri Lanka. This is the worst ever nightmare which India never imagined.

All the other three sides of India are surrounded by terror groups. Only on the southern front, India was relatively better off. There was no terror groups operating against India in the southern side. But this deficiency was clearly smelt by the Pakistani force. In order to trouble on all four fronts, Pakistan has established a wide network of anti-Indian group in Sri Lanka. The arrest of Arun Selvarajan on 10 September 2014 by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Chennai clearly points out to the worst Indian blunder in the southern front. He is a Sri Lankan national and a former member of LTTE. After the fall of LTTE, Arun Selvarajan has become an easy prey for global terror network. Sensing his valuable link, Pakistan had tracked him and handed over him a massive assignment of striking India.His Tamil origin and Hindu identity have given him the vital advantages. In the guise of an event manager, Arun Selvarajan was operating from Chennai since 2009. After establishing his identity as the event manager he gained access to important people and places in Chennai. It seems that he took photos and videos of vital installations like Kalpakkam Nuclear Plant. Along with Arun Selvarajan few other Sri Lanka youth who speak Tamil are given the list of targets like defence establishments, foreign consulates, ports, airports and nuclear plants. They would take pictures/videos of those places and send the data by email to Colombo based handlers.
Although Arun Selvarajan was arrested under various IPC sections and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, there are many more Arun Selvarajans operating in India especially in Chennai. Before it becomes a worst tragedy these anti-Indian terror squad promoted by Pakistan through Sri Lanka needs to be nailed.
Thameem Ansari was arrested near Tiruchi in September 2012. On the pretext of making a documentary, Ansari took sensitive footage of important places like airport, temples etc.
Mohammed Zakir Hussain, a Sri Lankan Tamil was arrested after he allegedly conducted a reconnaissance mission as part of a conspiracy to attack foreign missions in southern India.
Amir Zubair Siddiqui, the alleged mastermind was Counsellor (Visa) at the Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka when suspects claimed they were working for him. Investigators think that he engaged people to gather data on specific targets in India at the behest of Pakistan’s ISI. They now want to go to Sri Lanka to gather more information about the network
Now it is crystal clear that Rajapaksa government cannot be trusted. Indian government must establish a parallel network to track down the anti-Indian terror networks operating from the Sri Lankan soil. They must crushed then and there. A 24×7 active intelligence network must be alerted in South India to filter out the anti-Indian terror groups. From the arrival in airports, seaports and coastal areas, a vigilant Indian establishment can avoid massive terror attacks on its soil. Never dependent on the Sri Lankan government. India will lose all its wealth if this blunder is committed!

Contradictory Trends in the Development of Indian Education

One side, government schools are getting closed due to the shortage of students. On the other side, government is pumping in huge resources into the education sector. This is because of the very late realization of the government that education is the life-line of nation’s development. A government which succumbs to the pressures from different quarters is extremely dangerous for the public welfare and its very existence itself.. From eighties till 2007, state investment into the education sector was steadily declining. This was due to the multiple reasons. Primarily more than fifty percent of the Indian income was going into the interest payments. In the period of license permit raj, all the vital stakeholders were hand in glove and completely ignored the significance of education. In this merry go round, there were no genuine advisors for the government to develop the education system. In comparison, the Nehru era was instrumental in establishing the world renowned institutions like AIIMS, IITs, IIMS, ISRO, RECS (now NITs). Such visionaries who planned and aided the path breaking education system were missing in the post 80s. It was the greedy private business houses in tandem with the power brokers who dominated the scene.

Rajiv Gandhi was giving a lonely voice to develop the information technology. The I.T education brought glory and put the nation in the eyes of the world. But the rest of the education sector was left ailing. The dream projects of Rajiv Gandhi such as Navodaya Vidyalayas did not take off as desired. Operation Blackboard, adult literacy programs evoked some responses but not sizeable. This may be because of the state leaders who lacked vision to develop the education. In the post Mandal phase, emergence of OBC leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad Yadav in the Hindi heartland gave identity to subaltern communities but not adequate education. They conveniently ignored the development of basic education. Identity politics combined with all round corruption completely paralyzed the growth of crucial phase of national development.

From the unproductive debates about the necessity of basic education versus higher education to the privatization of education more than two decades of precious time was wasted. Vested interests were compelling the governments of various periods from post eighties to keep away from the education.  It is to the credit of governments in the past three decades that the voices of vested interests were not fully followed. Had it implemented the advices of the vested interests, India could have lost completely  in the global development race. 

The success of Indians in fixing the Y2K bug, literary breakthroughs through Booker Prize wins; strong footprints in NASA, dominance in Microsoft and other software mammoths compelled the world to celebrate the Indian talents. When the world was singing the Indian talent tunes, Indian government could not afford to just watch the show. It jumped into the bandwagon of Indian talent jubilation. The UPA government appointed the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) under Sam Pitroda to unleash the human capital. On the recommendations of the NKC, Central University, AIIMS, IIT, IIM and IIIT  are established in each state. Now enormous funds are pouring in but the quality has been conveniently compromised.

The Indian education has passed through community driven to commercialized to now aggressive state funded stages. In all these stages, quality has been conveniently compromised. Education without quality is like body without life. Immediate surgery is needed to save the education. If it is not done now then India may see its vitality vanishing in the world stage sooner or later.  It is not one surgery, but three crucial ones. First, the debate about private or state controlled education must end. It is both state and private driven state. Government cannot exploit the private education players with the help of constitution and legal actions. The private players must get reasonable payments for their services. Now it is either too high or too low. This arbitrariness must go.  Second, corruption must end. With high corruption from head to toe, Indian education cannot achieve its purpose. Third, the habit of quality compromise has to go. 

Government should be for the people not for profits

There is a hue and cry over governmental efforts to help the poor people in the country. The unstoppable tears of the so called “tax payers” over the state sponsored welfare schemes are nothing but their arrogance and ignorance. Arrogance because they feel that their hard earned money paid in the form of taxes is going to lazy people as freebies. Ignorance because they think that development can happen with 25% of the population below the poverty line. The same category of people employs poor citizens in their homes and factories without adequate payment. If all the rich and mighty people employ the poor ones with minimum wages, India will be poverty free nation. But one can watch such people going nonstop in the 24×7 television channels over the sickness of poverty in the country. Look at Vijay Mallaya, who owes Rs.9000 crore to Public Sector Banks over his failed Kingfisher airlines. Despite his billion dollar yacht buying and enjoyments, he refuses to pay the basic salary for Kingfisher airline employees. Some of them have committed suicide due to the inability to meet the basic needs of their families.

Lakhs of shareholders who invested their life savings in private companies don’t even get their principal amount. The companies can show the poor global economic scenario and escape the investors questioning. One day they can run away without much trouble. Shardha Chit scam in the eastern part of the country is one of the prime examples. Sahara group is another case in this category. In these cases, the judiciary had acted brilliantly and ordered the arrests of its owners. Thousand other companies have escaped without paying their investors.  

Governments are supposed to be the harbinger of development for everyone. If the scale is tilted towards the rich, it is the government’s duty to bring it to the level of equality. Alas! That never happens! Governments are run for the rich by the erstwhile poor people. Once into the seat of power even the poorest of the poor can forget about the social cause. That is the reason why India’s majority of the lower bottom is still in the same position despite seven decades of post independent growth.

There is another class of people which is always louder against subsidies. They think that subsiding diesel, fertilizers, cooking gas is a horrendous crime committed by the government. They want the Public Sector Oil Companies to sell petroleum products at the market rate. Everyone knows that the market priced Reliance petroleum closed its shop because of high costs. Exorbitant prices of essential fuel will push up the food prices. In the end it will complete destroy the basic structures of the society. According to a report by Moneycontrol.com, the Government of India spends only $60 billion dollars on subsidies. On the contrary there is $14 trillion of black money stashed abroad. From where, this uncountable black money came from?

 

It is desirable to leave the industrial growth to the business class. But one must understand the history behind it. When the private sector refused to enter into industrial development in remote areas, government was compelled to start its own companies. People who argue against the Government’s presence in industrial development must read the “Bombay Plan” to understand the reluctance of business class to venture into the industrial growth way back in 40s.

Government must not abandon its duty of protecting its poor citizens. In this mission it should differentiate between the needy and greedy. It is high time that a targeted distribution of the welfare schemes is done. Those who are poor must be identified and all support mechanisms must be given. No point in announcing schemes which finally end up as scams. Will the Modi government eliminate poverty in reality?

Modi’s Cabinet: A guess

Narendra-Modi-Cabinet-2014-if-BJP-comes-to-PowerCabinet formation is a highly complex task. Narendra Modi has the most difficult job at hand. In realizing his promises to the people, the Modi government must have corruption free and efficient people in the cabinet. But some of the big wigs cannot be dropped. They should be given vital portfolios and must be kept under constant watch. Regional, religious, gender and caste representations are must to balance the social equation. L.K.Advani can be kept for Rshastrapathi bhavan. M.M.Joshi can be accommodated at the moment as HRD minister as there is a big lack of such a person now in NDA. Yashwant Sinha for external affairs is also in the same category. These senior citizens of the party may find it difficult to function as the new guards will command the complete control over the government. Nevertheless they cannot be ignored at the moment. Uma Bharathi, Vinay Katiyar, must be put in for organization work because they never like to stay at one place permanently. The role of Harshavardhan is little shaky because of his prime position in the Delhi state. Otherwise he can be taken as the health minister. Maneka Gandhi would like to see his son Feroze Varun Gandhi to be in the cabinet. In case, she wants a position, women and child development can be given. Environment & forests which is the dear most for Maneka will face obstacles if such an extreme eco savior occupies the post. Old guards like Kalyan Singh must be dispatched as governors. There should not be any place for bureaucratic people like Arun Shourie, Subramaniam Swamy and Ram Jethmalani. If Modi wants these best friends of him to be given some honour, they must be accommodated as advisors but not as ministers. Najma Heptatullah can be the speaker. In case M.M.Joshi is accommodated as the speaker, Dr.Najma can be inducted as the HRD minister. The following list of cabinet ministers is mostly from the BJP.  Some of the NDA allies need to be accommodated for which some from BJP may have vacate their space. There must be a serious of pruning of some unwanted ministries like disinvestment, minority affairs etc. This will pay way for the minimum government and maximum governance. A regular meeting to check the performance of the cabinet must be held. If Modi performs well and meet the expectations of his voters then NDA will be here for a longer stay.

S.No Portfolio Candidate    
1 Finance Arun Jaitely
2 Home Rajnath Singh
3 External Affairs Yashwant Sinha or Ravi Shankar Prasad
4 Defence Sushma Swaraj or Gopinath Munde
5 HRD M.M.Joshi or Dr.Najma Hepatullah
6 Law & Company Affairs S.S.Ahulwalia
7 Commerce Piyush Goyal
8 Civil Aviation Shahnawaz Hussain
9 Railways Amit Shah
10 Social Justice & Empowerment Mukthar Abbas Naqvi
11 Women & Child development Sumitra Mahajan or Maneka Gandhi
12 Youth & sports Anurag Thakur or Kirti Azad
13 Road & surface transport B.C.Khanduri
14 Mines/Coal Balbir Punj
15 Petroleum & Natural gas Prakash Javedkar
 
16 Power Ananth Kumar
17 Water                 Resources Bijoya Chakravarthy
18 Rural Development O.Rajagopal
19 Agriculture Harsimrat Kaur
20 Health C.P.Thakur or Harshavardhan
21 I&B Shatrughan Sinha
22 Science & Technology Rao Inderjith Singh
23 North East P.A.Sangama

24. Environment & Forests              Nirmala Sitharaman

25Textiles                                              Purandeswari

26Steel                                                   Ram Naik

27Telecom                                             Nitin Gadkari

28Culture & tourism                          Smriti Irani

29Parliamentary Affairs                  Ravi Shankar Prasad or Chandan Mitra

30Tribal Affairs                                  Jual Oram or Tapir Gao

31Urban Development                     Rajiv Pratap Rudy

32Industries & PSUs                         Bangaru Datreya or Kirti Azad

33Shipping                                            Pon.Radhakrishnan

34Overseas Indians                           Hemamalini

 

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