Thursday, July 22, 2010

Crimes and Criminal Bureau of Investigation - CBI

A BJP minister in Gujarat Government has been called by CBI for questioning related to an encounter death of a known criminal.CBI or the Criminal Bureau of Investigation, is an independent organization, manned by highly qualified [ and highly paid ] officers from IPS and other cadres.It is tasked with investigating very serious crimes and ensuring prosecution of the criminals involved in such serious crimes.Since the times of Mrs Indira Gandhi, CBI and such central organizations are being used by the ruling party at the Center to settle the political scores.Case of BJP minster sited above is one such instant. It is now clear that more and more politicians from more and more political parties will deploy all such organizations to settle political scores.Mrs Mayavati is doing this in UP,CPM did this in West Bengal for many years.Janata Party did this to Mrs Indira Gandhi in 1977.NDA did this to Lalu & Lalu returned the compliments, when he was in power.This will go on for a while, till we have new breed of leaders, with better vision, wisdom and maturity.

Till such time, it is the duty of the officers manning organizations like CBI,RAW,IB,IAS,IFS,IPS,UPSC, Railway Board, Election Commission, TRAI,Judicial Commission etc to uphold the law of the land.They are under oath to do that.They are being paid from the taxes that people pay.They are accountable to people.And history.There are thousands of men and women who are occupying positions of power in various government organizations.In times such as these, in times of moral degradations like these,people , that is more than 110 crore people can only appeal to these men and women to,

[1] Uphold our constitution upon which you have taken oath,

[2] Uphold the law of the land. Ignore consequences, no matter how serious they are

[3] Do not allow political interference, whatever may be the benefits or losses [ They can only transfer you !]

[4] Be honest - majority of our people don't earn one tenth of what you do

[5] Learn to ignore media, current political events and local politicians

[6] Remember 110 crore souls ,when in doubt.Act in a manner, that will bring them closer to the freedom that our forefathers have won for us,Freedom that is becoming so illusive.

In the time of political uncertainties and chaos, it is the steel frame that has to hold the entire structure.

Posted on 31.7.2010.

As per Retired IPS, Mr Joginder Singh [ in Organiser - 1st August issue],present strength of CBI is 5900, with 30% posts lying vacant on any given day.Rulers ! why don't you fill up these posts?

In the Delhi courts alone CBI's record is as follows,

Total pending cases - 1389.

Cases pending in six special CBI courts - 927.

Out of these, 171 cases are pending for more than 8 years,

51 cases for more than 15 years and

39 cases for more than 20 years !

In 119 cases , CBI has failed to frame the charges !!

As of year 2006,CBI had 6414 cases pending.

Out of these 2300 cases are pending for more than 8 years

and 198 cases are pending for more than 20 years !

This is CBI for us,the people.While ruling party is busy implicating people from opposition , it is the duty of all the MP's to monitor the CBI's performance by asking relevant questions in the house.

Media, instead of reporting so called sensational cases [ like that of the arrest of Amit Shah], should also inform the public about the inefficiencies and incompetence of CBI and the type of vested interests that it is serving.


Since these postings, CBI has done some good work, eg, arresting Kalmadi,Raja, Kani and many others.But where is the independence that is expected of it? It operates under the Home Ministry.Now it seems that the home minister himself is under cloud. Of 2G scam ! what can CBI do? It must continue to get at the bottom of this terrible scam, irrespective of the consequences.CBI should remember that nothing can happen to an honest officer, save his/her transfer.

CBI also should refuse to accept highly politicised cases from the states.Eg case of Arushi murder or case of murder of a girl in UP recently.In fact, time has come for CBI to announce that it will not investigate cases of suspecious deaths, murders etc.Why? There are and should be other investigative agencies for such cases.CBI should focus only and only on cases of huge corruption and large economic offences, so that these can be prevented and also the loot can be recovered.This is also time for CBI to fill up all its vacant positions with good officers.There are reports in the media that government of the day is deliberately keeping CBI under staffed.This is with a view to delay the investigations.CBI Director should put his foot down on such delaying tactics.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Poverty,Politics and PDS

Only 40 % of our agricultural land is irrigated.Yet we have emerged as one of the largest producers of Wheat,Rice,Oil seeds,Cotton, Sugar, Tea, Coffee,Fruits & Vegetables in the world.We are the largest producers of Milk, Eggs & Paultry.We are the fifth largest producers of Fish.When we achieve 100 % irrigation for our farm lands, we will able to feed entire Asia! But with all these bounties, we are unable to feed our poor.We are unable to deliver these bounties to the needy at reasonable prices.This should be treated as one of the greatest tragedies of our times, next only to World wars,Bombing of Hiroshima- Nagasaki,Holocaust,Genocides in Kambodia and Darfur...

We operate the largest Public Distribution System[ PDS] in the world.Unfortunately, it is also the most inefficient, most corrupt and most wasteful of such systems in the world.By government's own admission, it [ the government] spends Rs 3.65 to deliver goods worth one rupee to its citizens.

As Chairperson of UPA II, Mrs Sonia Gandhi has advised the Central Government to enact a " Food Security Law".Under this law, every poor house hold or family living Below Poverty Line[ BPL] is to be given 35 Kgs of food grain per month at Rs 3 per Kg. The Law, when enacted will be implemented through the aforesaid PDS ! Under PDS there is no hope for our poor or for our farmers or even for our honest grain dealers.

Though severely handicapped by the administration and monsoons, our farmers have taken us to the pinnacles of glory as described above.Our middle classes , also helped the nation emerge as an IT power house in the last two decades of 20th century.This IT revolution was set in motion by Mrs Sonia Gandhi's late husband Mr Rajiv Gandhi.It is tragic that the present government headed by Mr Sonia Gandhi's party has not examined the use of IT to service our poor.Large number of experts and economists have warned the government of the disaster that awaits it, if it tries to do anything via PDS. Instead, Information Technology [ IT] should be deployed to effect direct cash transfers to our poor.We have about 6 crore house holds, identified as BPL.It is not difficult to register these house holds with the banks and carry out monthly transfer of cash to their accounts.To make them more effective, such accounts should be opened and operated by the mother of the family. There is no reason to believe that our poor will not use such cash to buy the food grains etc from open markets. Such system will eliminate all middlemen.Will eliminate waste of food grains in transit & need for wasteful storage of food grains. This is not a hare brained scheme.Mr Chandra Babu Naidu of TDP promised this in his last election manifesto in Andhra Pradesh.With Mr Nandan Nilekani in the government, with Infy, TCS,Wipro and all, it is the easiest way to lift our poor from centuries old hunger and deprivation.It is also the cheapest way ! Dr Manmohan Singh is an economist.He should know better.

If we fail to deploy our IT skills to service our poor, history will not forget us.IT is not an elitist concept.It is a powerful new way to conduct our public affairs.

Read today's newspaper reports.61000 tones of food grains are rotting in Punjab and Haryana alone! Instead of feeding our poor, FCI [ Food Corporation Of India],PDS and Civil Supply ministries are determined to destroy us.I want to know the expenditure for salaries and perquisites for FCI employees.It will be several hundred crores per year.And look what they are doing.Their minister says, nation does not have enough storage capacities for food grains.Read following post.

Following information is recently furnished by the government in reply to an RTI quarry.
1.Between 1997 & 2007, 1.63 lakhMT of wheat,6.33lakhMT of rice, 2.2lakhMT of paddy and 1.11lakhMT of corn were destroyed due to poor storage.96 Lakh MT & 1.6 crore MT of food grains have been destroyed in 2008 & 2009 respectively due to poor storage.
Against Mr Sharad Pawar's contention that FCI lacks adequate storage capacities,RTI reply states that it is more than enough.Here is how.

Nation wide storage capacity - aprox 256.64 lakh tons - Capacity utilized -218.35 lakh tons

Zone wise utilization - Actual utilization v/s installed capacity

West - 32.29 lakh tons v/s 43.30lakh tons
East - 17.11 lakh tons v/s 23.99 lakh tons
North East - 3.5 lakh tons v/s 4.48 lakh tons
North - 11.22 lakh tons v/s 127.48 lakh tons [ see the surplus storage capacity]
South - 54.24 lakh tons v/s 57.39 lakh tons.
These facts furnished by the government itself fly in the faces of all those who are paid by the public to ensure proper storage and distribution of food grains.

I have obtained these figures from a vernacular Gujarati daily- Gujarat Samachar.They have published a full page story on the matter of national importance and national shame.Also published are the Supreme court directives to FCI to ensure zero wastage of food grains.

Congress party,CBI and media are busy celebrating, prosecuting and reporting arrest of a minister belonging to opposition party.

This is the state of our nation - Farmers produce food, government buys it, but can't deliver it to poor.Ruling party instead of addressing these issues,misuses CBI.So called national media,instead of highlighting such glaring lapses of the government, expends their energies in reporting such frivolous incidents.

Urban renewal and slum clearance

Surat Municipal Corporation [SMC] has achieved an important mile stone today, 20th of July 2010.Northern bank of river Tapi has been cleared of the last slum pocket.This comprised of nearly 3000 dwellings at Bapunagar in Adajan. Most of these slums were erected on government land and hence unauthorized. Yet, all of them have been given alternate houses of their own.At different locations.Since last 10 years, Central government has been allocating funds under JNURM for such urban improvement projects.SMC, though ruled by BJP, has made good use of these funds to provide houses to the urban poor.

As a citizen of Surat, I am only aware of what SMC has done in this field.[It has plans of zero slum city by end of 2010].It has constructed more than 20,000 houses and shifted most of the city's slum dwellers to these houses.Funds have come from the Center [ JNURM], State and SMC's own resources.How many other cities have attempted this? if yes, what is the outcome?

If Surat could do this, it should be possible for Mumbai, Delhi,Kolkota and host of other cities.Bombay is now more famous as Slumbay, since every second city dweller in Mumbai is forced to live in a slum, which is likely to be unauthorized. Delhi is our heritage since the time of lord Krishna , when it was Hastinapur, seat of Kuru Panchals. River Yamuna flows through Delhi.This holy river has been turned in to an open sewer by modern rulers of Delhi.Time for citizens of our capital to attempt and remove all slums from the banks of Yamuna and clean up the river.For Delhi, funds should not be a problem.In fact, it is not for any people centric project anywhere in the country.

Mumbai's case is different.More than 5 million Mumbaikars live in slums.People keep hearing about Dharavi, where some projects have been taken up.What about other slums? vast tracts of open waste lands are available north of Dahisar.These should be developed as alternate housing zones for the slum dwellers.JNURM will not be adequate for this.What is the way out? [a] Shift Aarey colony out of Mumbai and auction off this land to developers for constructing 100 story self contained towers,[b] Shift IIT Powai along sea board near Vasai and auction off this land to the highest bidder,[c] Auction off Raj Bhavan at Malabar hill [ yes!] and shift Governor's residence to Nagpur.[d] Allow the house of Godrej to shift all its manufacturing activities out of Mumbai and grant permission to them to turn entire Godrej land at Vikhroli in to a huge housing complex with buildings reserved for slum dwellers [e] Enact laws that encourage people to invest in houses for leasing them out.This measure is needed to provide leased houses to new comers......List can go on.

As a nation, we no longer suffer from the resource crunch.Need is to have a vision, political will and administrative accumen.People living in urban India await all of these.Surat Municipal Corporation appears to be an exception.May it become a rule !

Friday, July 16, 2010

India Pakistan Dialogue

Our External Affairs minister, Mr S M Krishna has been snubbed by his Pakistani counter part, after the conclusion of the Talks in Islamabad.
There is growing opinion in India, that this is not the right time for Talks with Pakistan.Reasons.
1. Pakistan is fighting her own battle of survival,
2.Her foreign policies are guided by USA,Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries,
3.She is dependent on USA and the West and rich Arab countries for economic aid
4. The political regime in power has not wrested adequate power from Army & ISI to set the agenda for changes in foreign policies,
5.Pakistan's ruling elites are unable to reconcile to the fact that no government in Delhi will be able to give any concession to any one on Jammu & Kashmir.
6. Pakistani Generals and ISI are confident, that they will be able to install a Pakistani centric, Taliban led government in Kabul after withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan, post 2011.After 2011, Pakistani army,ISI and Jihadi organizations hope to divert entire Jihad and all Jihadis to Kashmir.This is the reason why they are behaving so arrogantly with us.

It will be better, if India awaits the outcome [if it takes place] of the withdrawal of the US & NATO from Afghanistan, before evolving a long term foreign policy of dealing with Pakistan.
As for J & K, India needs to repeat for all concerned that J & K is beyond negotiations.That will give us two immediate advantages.
1. Agitators in the streets of Srinagar will get the message that they can't get very far with those stones,bandhs and hartals.
2. Americans will know that India will go this far and no further. Especially when we Indians were thrown out of the room in London while discussing Afghanistan.With more than $ 280 billions of foreign exchange reserves, we should be able to tell the Americans and the West a thing or two about our national interests.

To convey the strong message to Pakistan and to the world , we should declare that we are not talking to the separatists in J & K and not withdrawing armed forces till there is complete peace in the valley.
After this, officials handling Pakistan affairs in MEA should go on along vacation.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Roads to prosperity

All our small and big road projects are in doldrums.They suffer from inactions and delays.None of those in the government can say that he/she does not know how to go about this job.Mr Kamal Nath, present Central minister for Highways was given this job with lot of hope, as he is considered one of those more dynamic ministers.He too is unable to deliver what he promised[ 20KMs of highways per day].During NDA regime, Prime Minster's rural road project was launched to connect ALL our villages with all weather roads.When UPA took over, they lauded this project and promised to take it forward.But very little has happened on this front.

National Highway Authority has been created to expedite High way construction.It should be made accountable to the Parliament and not to any ministry for better results.We have PWD and CPWD since the time of British rule.These departments are responsible for all construction activities undertaken by the Central & State governments.Over the decades, these departments have become slothful, corrupt and incompetent.Time has come to close them down! All employees should be given VRS.What is the alternative? We have Engineers India Limited - EIL, a PSU.EIL should be converted in to a Public Trust of national engineers.It should be granted full autonomy and should be made responsible for all construction projects, including construction of roads.Engineers who were given VRS from PWD/CPWD can be hired by EIL on contract , if found competent.
For maintenance of roads across the country,local co operatives should be formed. These co operatives should be manned by local civil engineers and technicians.Such co operatives should be given contracts for maintenance of select stretches of roads in their areas.

As more and more Indians travel abroad, more and more of them find that most of the countries,small and big or rich and poor have better roads than India.We have failed miserably on this front.Time to scream ! that we deserve better from those whom we elect and from those whom we pay as per sixth or nth pay commission.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Indian Railways being run by DE RAILWAY minister !!

Ms Mamata Banerjee, our Railway minister, spends most of her time in Kolkota, West Bengal.

Indian railways commenced their journey way back in 1850.It is now one of the largest railway networks in the world, carrying millions of tons of materials and millions of passengers, daily.We are not self sufficient in oil.And hence can't rely on road transport in future.Railways offer a very clean, green and economic mode of transport.Since we have more than century old expertise in running railways, we can manage it very well.Governments all over the world have realised the importance of railways as future means of mass transport and are working to expand their railway networks.

But here we have a minister who even does not attend cabinet meetings,let alone meetings related to her own ministry.We should de link our railways from politics and turn it in to an autonomous corporation accountable to Parliament.Such a self regulating, autonomous body will be able to develop and implement plans for future.It will also be able to operate it for benefits of all.This is not a very difficult task, as we already have a Railway Board, whichis supposed to be autonomous.What is needed is a simple statutory mandate to this board to, [a] Transform it in to a public utility organisation of the future [b] Take professionals on the board [c] Have a vision, mission and goals, [d] Publish outcomes, every year, after these have been approved by the Parliament....


Attack on Sufi shrine in Pakistan

Terrorists attacked a sufi shrine in Lahore Pakistan yesterday.37 innocents have been killed, many more wounded.Terrorists are targeting Shias, Ahamedias,Sufis... They also attack schools where muslim girls study.Is it not the time for all muslims to ask Talibans,the following questions?

1. What kind of Islamic state they want to establish in Pakistan,Afghanistan,Iraq and elsewhere?
2. What will be the status of Shias, Sunnis, Ahmedias, Khojas,Sufis, Christians,Hindus and other non muslim communities in such an Islamic state?
3.All nation states have standing armies.Can they fight such armies? If they can not, will they go on killing innocents till such armies " surrendered" to them?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

blogging for a 63 year old man

... tried and failed on facebook to really put the points across so on to the blogosphere!! Look out for more updates here.