Why can’t women be frontline combatants?

Why can’t women be frontline combatants?

By Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi | THE HANS INDIA |    Nov 29,2018 , 11:13 PM IST      


Gender inequality has been a social issue in India from the timeworn period. Patriarchal imposts have depicted women in India as inferior to men, by which the births of girl children have been snubbed to a great extent. It is high time that every child is treated equally and given equal opportunity to grow to their full potential.
It is in the cards that the women will be inducted as sailors in the Indian Navy in non-officer cadre, while India observes Navy Day on December 4. At a naval conference held on November 2, this convivial suggestion was made by Nirmala Sitharaman, the Defence Minister of India. The Chief of the Naval Staff, Sunil Lanba, has apparently accepted the proposal of inducting women in non-officer cadre.
The navy, however, is not the only service scouting the likelihood of inducting women in the non-officer cadre. The army has also been working on a similar plan. Nevertheless, the IAF is yet to consider recruiting women below the officer rank, though, in its first, the IAF has inducted the women as fighter pilots in 2015 only. There has been a long-debated question — whether women can be frontline combatants? Truly, a profession within the armed forces is encircled by so many difficulties. 
Likewise, like any armed forces wings have distinct roles, the full range of operations undertaken by naval forces are immense. They range from high-intensity warfighting to disaster relief operations. But the women have proven that they can face any naval challenge. 
For example, the Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini entered Goa harbour on completion of a historic global circumnavigation voyage on May 21. It was a poignant moment for the Navika Sagar Parikrama team comprising of an all-women crew, who began their voyage on September 10, 2017. 
This voyage, unquestionably, has spotlighted the dynamic planning and execution capabilities of the women officers of Indian Navy. The women team members of INSV Tarini, during their voyage, had to face strong winds of more than 60 knots and very high waves of up to 7 metres. The success of this challenging voyage stretches an answer to what the women could do if deployed in combat roles.
By the same token, contrariwise, there are opinions that support a denial of combat roles to women. In her 1995 book Tailspin: Women at War in the Wake of Tailhook, Jean Zimmerman stated that there was a perception in the navy that women sailors use pregnancy to escape or avoid deployed ship duty. According to her, in 1993 the USS Cape Cod prepared to start out on a deployment cruise. Nevertheless, shortly before the scheduled departure, 25 female sailors informed being pregnant. 
Also, a 1997 study by the Navy Personnel Research and Development Center (NPRDC) found that female sailors assigned to ships experienced higher pregnancy and abortion rates than shore-based female sailors. This turns out to be another reason why there is a tiny proportion of disapproval for the deployment of women sailors. Around the world, most of the women strongly believe that the military job should be considered like any other job, despite the fact that critics have voiced concerns about women being able to do the military job. 
In India, the IAF in 2015 has taken an audacious step and inducted women as fighter pilots, which has been a successful mission. Also, the women sailors through Navika Sagar Parikrama have proven the power of women. Moreso, in modern electronic warfare, there is no traditional vanguard as such. In such a state, conceivably it is obligatory to allow women to have successful careers within the military for maintaining gender equality. Albeit surrounded by so many difficulties in the military jobs, many women still find that they thoroughly enjoy their jobs in the military while they serve the nation with zeal and dedication.  
At this juncture, enrolling women in the non-officer cadre is definitely a warm move. Gradually, the armed forces are moving in the right direction —the triforces are utilising every possible opportunity to empower women. All those relevant policy changes undertaken by the armed forces affect the women who are dedicated enough to serve  our nation. Every year, India observes Navy Day on December 4, to celebrate the achievements and contribution of the naval force to the country. This year, irrefutably, the raison d’ etre of celebrations will have the achievements of women as its focal point — not about gender; it is about their leadership, involvement, and revelation.


Why does fake news seem factual on social media?

By Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi | THE HANS INDIA |    Nov 22,2018 , 11:28 PM IST      


Social media embraced the common man with the advent of smartphones. India is the second largest market for smartphones with China being the first. In the past few years, India has seen a rapid upswing in the Internet users.
For any media to be interactive, it needs to co-exist with some sort of communication techniques. In order to make communication into an interactive dialogue, the social media turns to be one of the most successful applications of Satmass Media. Social media has become very significant because of its two precise characteristics — ubiquity and interactivity. These characteristics make the social media better-off. 
However, there is a major problem associated with it. Checking the veracity of facts on social media is not tailor-made. In traditional media, the editors have a level of control over what appears in it. However, there is no such provision in social media. 
Mark Twain once said, “A lie will fly around the whole world while the truth is getting its boots on.” This is most valid for social media. As false news is more novel than factual news, it travels more widely and faster. It is a proven fact that humans are more likely than mechanised processes to be liable for the spread of fake news. Due to this tendency of people believing the whole thing that makes rounds on social media, an underpinning of a new group of people called WebQoofs has emerged out. 
As defined, a WebQoof is a person who believes every word or information on the Internet and social media. In actual fact, it is the excessive social media agog among the netizens that make the leeway for the fraudsters to make fiction, a fact. In this background, there is a need to answer why at all fake news circulates on social media? 
Palpably, the very fact that there is no regulatory authority to verify the veracity of facts has become an advantage to the offenders. The people are lured to click on a fake message. Thus, they unknowingly give access to their private information, which is misutilised in many ways. Most of the cyber crimes have the same modus operandi. 
Online fraudsters often use celebrity rumours to target people with malicious software designed to steal their personal data. For example, in recent times, there was a fake news that made rounds on the social media, concerning the apocryphal death of Rowan Atkinson, the actor who is popularly known as Mr.Bean. This viral hoax offered itself as a video homage. 
The video link, when followed, would redirect the users to a made-up security page and allegedly prompt them to dial a specific phone number. The person who dials the number will be asked to provide his credit card information in order to purchase a so-called software fix, which will truly pierce the targeted computer with viruses.
Besides, in order to generate more revenue from online ads, many of the websites try to keep catchy and sensational headlines to latch onto the attention. Also, they do not take a step back to promote fake news. Of course, all such attempts are made very smartly so that they can retain the visitors even while misleading them.
Political propaganda is another significant issue that makes an attempt to turn the fake news into real news. Irrespective of every Tom, Dick, and Harry, almost all every politician has been a victim on the social media. At a time when political propaganda is in ready supply, and in demand, social media functions as a mechanism of dissemination. 
In a country like India, where everything that is circulated on social media becomes a gospel, things can often go out of control. Just by mere sharing of a post, the communication process is ended up. However, there is a need to follow scepticism. In many occasions, scepticism of online news serves as a microfilter. Still, our inborn prejudices allow it only to be circumvented.
At this crucial juncture, truly there is a need for more openness by the social media giants. In order to tackle the problem of fake news, greater association by them with suitably qualified associates is essential. Evidently, traditional media organisations could become major backers. No sooner they find that some fake news is circulating on the social media than they can alert the masses. They can act as the agents to assess veracity and maintain trust among the masses with their contributions, which can lead to their peaceful and democratic life.

Tolerance: A virtue that makes peace possible

Tolerance: A virtue that makes peace possible

THE HANS INDIA |    Nov 15,2018 , 10:27 PM IST      

Tolerance: A virtue that makes peace possible

Tolerance: A virtue that makes peace possible
“The highest result of education is tolerance” -Helen Keller
Today, the world celebrates the 23rd International Day for Tolerance. In this milieu, there arises a need to catch on the passkey to tolerance, while appreciating the very purpose of labelling this day as the International Day for Tolerance. 
The United Nations General Assembly, in 1996, invited member states to observe the International Day for Tolerance on November 16, every year. The activities for the day take account of both educational establishments and the extensive communities. Procreated by UNESCO, every year, the occasion is to be consecrated to a universal value — an epitome of the community of nations for centuries. This year, the United Nations is hosting a screening of videos from YouTube’s 2018 Creators for Change Impact Project. 
What is tolerance?
At a time when globalisation has brought the universe close to each other, on this befitting occasion, it becomes imperative for the renewed evaluation of what tolerance means. Besides, it can also be scanned about how societies could draw from its core meaning. 
Tolerance, truly going by definition, is respect, acceptance, and appreciation of the opulent hotchpotch of the various cultures of the world, various forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance is the virtue that makes peace possible.
In other words, tolerance implies respect for others and their opinions and beliefs, which may differ from one’s own. Conversely, intolerance is the reluctance to accept views, beliefs or behaviour that is different from one’s own. It infers a disdain for the diversity and pluralism present in society. 
Purpose and significance
Predominantly, there are three purposes of the International Day for Tolerance. The first and foremost purpose is to augment the awareness about the dangers associated with intolerance and its insinuations in upholding peace. The second purpose is to promote more tolerance worldwide as tolerance plays a critical role in promoting peace, preventing and extenuating the conflict. Finally, its purpose is to make people more tolerant and nonviolent in their daily lives.
Having many purposes, this day marks significance for the reason that it buoys us to keep up receptive. It is worth mentioning here that respect and appreciation are two of the most important qualities of tolerance. This doesn’t mean that we have to agree with each other on everything. However, it indirectly sermonises us to be considerate for other’s feelings. Tolerance is a philosophy most of us live by, which makes us recognise that education is the key to the promotion of peace. 
How to foster tolerance? 
There is a drive, unquestionably, associated with this occasion. In order to fight against intolerance, there is a prerequisite to learn about respecting and recognising the rights and beliefs of others. The only icebreaker here is — true education that promotes morals and values. Ignorance about cultural, religious and ethnic diversity present in the world can definitely lead to diffidence. With education, however, there can be a better understanding of different customs and beliefs. This ultimately paves a way for greater approval of these wide-ranging traditions. 
In the ancient system of education, moral values were a part and parcel of the educational system. As observed by many of the great philosophers, only such an educational system can work well in future that imbibes moral values among the children and youth. 
The present-day education system, nevertheless, does not take the significance of moral education into consideration. But in order to effectually indorse tolerance, there is a need to educate the youngsters about the same. Also, they should be taught about their fundamental rights and duties. Of the many stakeholders, schools become the most vital entities in educating the morals and values that ultimately leads to the development of tolerance among the youth. Tolerance is a perfect mechanism which can lead people of dissimilar heritages, cultures, and religions to get their definitive objectives of living together symphonically and peacefully.
Before wrapping up…
Beyond doubt, the concept of tolerance has long animated the world’s most powerful democracy — India. However, today, the world as a whole and India, in general, is facing so many problems due to intolerance. At this parlous time, as a global agenda, the inclusion of moral education in the academic curriculum should be considered as the socially viable solution to the insidious problem of intolerance. As mentioned in the beginning, the activities for the day take account of both educational establishments and the extensive communities. Hence, the educational institutes should re-examine to focus on moral education that imparts tolerance.
(Dr Kasturi is an Air Veteran , a mass communicator and an author of more than 10 mass media books)

Publicise Jeevan Pramaan scheme to reach all pensioners

Publicise Jeevan Pramaan scheme to reach all pensioners


Publicise Jeevan Pramaan scheme to reach all pensioners
Publicise Jeevan Pramaan scheme to reach all pensioners

The pension is an indispensable source of income after the retirement of a person. It not only ensures looking after the pensioner’s needs at the advanced stage of the life but also serves as a financial backing during an emergency. In order to continue to receive the pension, a pensioner needs to provide a life certificate at the pension drawing branch of the bank or any other pension disbursing agency.

The month of November has been considered for the submission of the life certificates, failing to which results in stoppage of pension, up until the submission of the life certificate. The very purpose of life certificate is to ensure if the pensioner is alive or not.

A life certificate is a document signed by an authorised person, who certifies that a pensioner is still alive to receive the pension. Based on the physical presence and considering an ink signed copy submitted by the pensioner, the life certificate is delivered.

Indubitably, this as a matter of course means a lot of upset for elders, who are in dire need of geriatric support. One interesting fact is — in the year 2016, Railways has claimed that it has 2, 80, 000 pensioners, who are above the age of 80 years. In addition to the age-related problems, a lot of pensioners relocate to various other places as a matter of choice or to be with their children. It makes the situation more complex when it comes to gaining access to their rightful pension amount.

However, in order to address this significant problem, as a part of the Digital India initiative, the government has taken up steps to terminate the pain of this tedious procedure. On November 10, 2014, a new initiative called Jeevan Pramaan, an Aadhar based Digital Life Certificate for Pensioners, was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Through this software program, a pensioner can submit his life certificate from any place in the world.

Beyond doubt, this digital initiative is of great advantage to the pensioners as it ensures curbing of a lot of hardship and unnecessary inconvenience. Consistent with the reply to an RTI query, in India, there are a total of 8, 20, 578 pensioners in central services — without considering the number of pensioners in Railways, Banks, Defence, Posts and Telecom / BSNL. If all the pensioners are taken in light of, there are approximately 2 crore pensioners in India.

Despite the fact that the submission of life certificate through Jeevan Pramaan is very convenient, many pensioners and their caretakers are unconscious of it. The latest statistics show that as many as 173.66 lakh pensioners have already submitted Digital Life Certificates (DLC) since 2014, out of which 80.16 lakh pensioners have submitted Digital Life Certificates since November 1, 2017.

However, considering the many numbers of pensioners in India and taking into consideration of the Digital Life Certificates obtained by the pension disbursing agencies at their doorsteps to replace the manual work, the mentioned figures accounts to a trifling fraction. The reason could be accounted mainly to the lack of awareness among the pensioners.

Secondly, the UIDAI has discontinued the use of public biometric devices. At present, they allow only Registered Biometric Devices for Aadhaar enabled Authentication. For this, UIDAI has introduced a new Aadhaar Authentication Framework. Consequently, if a pensioner needs to submit the in situ Digital Life Certificate, there arises a need for a Registered Biometric Device. Registration of biometric device itself is a herculean task.
Even after registration, the device requires timely renewal for incessant services — more so, the renewal is not a free provision. Hence, the complexity involved in the registration process would, certainly, dilute the convivial drive of the Jeevan Pramaan.

In view of the above, there is a need to fuss about Jeevan Pramaan for its reach to all pensioners. For the effective implementation of submission of DLC, awareness programmes may be taken up in collaboration with all forms of media. Also, while a person retires, he may be appraised of the Jeevan Pramaan utility.

Additionally, to make this digital initiative, a grand success, the competent authorities may contemplate about the offering of the Biometric Devices at a subsidy rate to the pensioners. Besides, those devices allocated to the pensioners may be registered permanently with UIDAI, while limiting the usage of the devices only to the pensioner and family-pensioner — to curb the unsanctioned use of the device. Thus, the aim to streamline the process of DLC while making it hassle-free could be achieved.

– Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi

Why did Donald Trump Deny India’s Invitation?

Why did Donald Trump Deny India’s Invitation?

According to the reports, Donald Trump, the US President, has subdued India’s invitation to be the chief guest during the Republic Day Parade on January 26, 2019. This incident turns out to be a most important development as this deplorable announcement has been promulgated in such a time when the consensual relations between the two countries are not at their best.

It is evident that the United States in recent times has warned India concerning the signing of the S-400 missile system deal with Russia. However, at the beginning of October 2018, during the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit, India has signed the deal for five such systems. More so, the Trump administration has been intimidating India with sanctions if it continues to buy oil from Iran. Of course, India, however, continues to import oil from Iran.

Donald Trump Not Accepted India’s Republic Day Invitation

While so many speculations have been making rounds for the Trump’s denial of India’s solicitation to be the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade, the reason cited by the Trump administration to turn down the Republic Day invite is something else. According to the US administration, Donald Trump has another insistent appointment on the same date. It is learned that Trump seemingly has scheduled his time to deliver the State of The Union (SOTU) address, whose scheduling conflicts with the Republic Day celebrations of India.

In my outlook, addressing the SOTU might not be the tangible reason for Trump’s denial. In a similar situation, when Barack Obama, the then US President, was invited for the Republic Day Parade as the Chief Guest, the date of the SOTU address was adjusted accordingly so that he could attend India’s Republic Day celebrations. The tentative schedule was somewhere between January 22, 2015, and the first week of February 2015.

In the present situation, the invitation was sent to Donald Trump, as early as in April 2018 — almost 9 months before the event’s commencement. Nevertheless, the US authorities have kept the matter pending for the final decision till the opening of 2+2 dialogue, which was held in September 2018.The 2+2 dialogue is nothing but the two appointed ministers from each country have met to deliberate issues of strategic and security interest. Of course, as scheduled, the talks took place in September 2018.

As mentioned previously, the US has imposed restrictions on two issues — the missile defense deal with Russia and the other dealt with oil imports from Iran. Surely, the US administration might have felt offended for India’s decision on missile defense deal with Russia as well as the continued oil imports from Iran. This might be the exact reason why Donald Trump has rejected India’s invitation.

Despite the fact that India has been claiming itself as a non-aligned country, India has been maintaining the harmonious relationship with Russia better than that of the US — it’s a palpable fact. As far as the defense requirements are concerned, from the time of erstwhile USSR, India has been procuring the defense equipment from them. Hence, on the part of the US administration, it is not wise to expect India to not make a missile defense deal with Russia. Also, India being a non-oil producing nation, has to obviously import the crude oil. Iran has been a long-time associate of India for procurement of crude oil. Therefore, it is also not conceivable for India to break the bilateral relationships with a country that has been supporting for the country’s needs, all of sudden — as plausibly expected by the US administration.

As a consequence, denial of India’s invitation by Trump may not be deliberated as a very serious issue, while taking the requirement of country’s defense and oil products on a note of precedence.

–   Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi

Isn’t syncretic politics the best choice for India?

Isn’t syncretic politics the best choice for India?

By Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi | THE HANS INDIA |    Oct 25,2018 , 12:40 AM IST

Isn’t syncretic politics the best choice for India?
Isn’t syncretic politics the best choice for India?

India, for fairly an extended time, has been impoverished of the best substitute, as far as political alternatives are concerned. Syncretic politics or what is also known as spectral-syncretic, which refers to politics outside the conservative left-right political gamut, would serve the best for India.

The ideologies of each and every political party have some virtues and shortcomings. As opposed to sternly following a particular political ideology, one may ascertain both vividness and faintness within most of the political parties, and aspire to grip all those hopeful features while simultaneously disowning the cynical features.

The central inkling of syncretic politics is to realise a goal of reconciliation. In order to achieve the same, the concept of syncretic politics takes political situations of a neutral stance into account and combines the components related to the left and right ideologies in an appropriate manner.

Spectral-syncretic refers to quite heterogeneous approaches because it is defined by the annulment of the two standard poles of a given simplistic political field. This approach ultimately paves a way to what is called a Third Way.

The term ‘third way’ was familiarised into the construal of American presidential politics by the political scientist Stephen Skowronek. The former U.S. President Bill Clinton, during his regime, firmly adopted and fairly redefined this style of governing. In the U.S., the ‘third way’ group supports for socially-liberal positions, while advocating a fiscally-conservative approach to public expenditure.

If we take the poll verdicts in India into consideration, it is palpable that over a period of time no political party has attained popular majority apropos the percentage of balloted votes (not taken 2014 general elections into consideration).

This point designates clearly that the voters are not inclined to any one particular political ideology. In this milieu, the thought of syncretic politics could institute a ‘Big Tent’. A ‘big tent’ or ‘catch-all party’ is a type of political party that hunts for attracting voters from dissimilar points of view and ideologies.

One such alternative is third parties, a conglomeration of many parties that oppose the major political parties within the left-right political spectrum. However, in a vast country like India, third parties are not sustainable on a national scale. The same has been proven time and again. But definitely, the third parties give an opportunity for expression of unorthodox ideas despite the fact that as a practical matter it ends up as barely anything.

It is a matter of fact that a political party that comprises persons with unreliable principles is sure to be ineffectual. Also, contrariwise, a political party that discards persons with innovative notions is ordained to perish. The major hiccup for ‘catch-all party’ politics is accurately balancing the act of isolating the conflict of ideological premises from the conflict of competing policies and programs. For an efficacious ‘Big Tent’ based on syncretic politics, there is a need to take the people and the professional organisations that represent the people who generally have ideas about government into account.

It is for the reason that they have a clear idea of what and what not is expected out of the administrating governments. Thus, the origin of syncretic political ideology rests with the people, for it is from them the rationality of policy and program is multiplied.

In the prevalent Indian set-up, there is a vast scope for any political party that adopts a syncretic political ideology. Instituting such an ideology may take place both within and outside the political parties. The press, the universities, local civic bodies, and clubs may turn out to be other potential stakeholders for contemplating such an ideology. Ideas put up with the logic of educational programs undertaken by the aforesaid stakeholders would thus form the backbone vertebra of syncretic political ideology.

Before wrapping up, it should be understood that syncretic politics is nothing but an ideal mix of both old and recent ideas inside politics. As the elections in five Indian states and 2019 general elections are looming, there is a way drawn out for the third parties amidst the jostling within the other major political parties. However, as the people are apparently looking for a change in the political approach of parties, the position ambitious political parties may contemplate about syncretic political ideology. (The author is an Air Veteran & A Mass Communicator — Author of More than 10 Mass Media Books)

71 Years of Consensual Association between Pakistan and United States

71 Years of Consensual Association between Pakistan and United States

It was on the same day in 1947 i.e. on October 20, 1947, precisely two months and six days after Pakistan’s liberation, the United States established a two-pronged bond with Pakistan. As a consequence, the United States became one of the first countries to establish a relationship with the newly born country — Pakistan. It is obvious that Pakistan allied itself with the U.S. during the Cold war era, counter to the Soviet Union.

In these 71 years of the bilateral relationship between the US and Pakistan, ostensibly, sometimes the bond looked as if it was very strong while at times it gave an impression of a frailer connexion. During Operation Cyclone in the 1980s, following the election of the left-inclined Pakistan People’s Party under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the rapport between these two nations swiftly improved and expanded.

However, the relations once again curdled after the breakdown of the Soviet Union, when the United States permitted sanctions against Pakistan by passing a revision, which was endorsed against Pakistan for its nuclear weapons program. The congealing of relations was instigated after the war with India in 1971 and zipped after India exploded a nuclear bomb in 1974.

Later, Pakistan once again presumed an important role in American geopolitical interests in the region following the attacks of September 11, 2001 (also called 9/11 attacks), and the ensuing War on Terror. As the United States termed Pakistan a major non-NATO ally in 2002, the bilateral relations were reinforced, once again.

As the time elapsed, relations began to rinse as both sides began to criticize each other as far as their strategies in the War on Terror were concerned.  The United States government frequently accused Pakistan of harboring members of the Afghan Taliban and Quetta Shura. In this background, Pakistan has alleged that the United States has hardly done anything to regulate safekeeping in eastern Afghanistan, where Pakistan’s most-wanted terrorist, Mullah Fazlullah has been believed to be thumping.

While discussing the topic of the bilateral relationship between these two countries, it becomes imperative to discuss the death of Osama bin Laden. On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden, the then head of the militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan by a United States special forces military unit. The codename of the operation was Operation Neptune Spear, which was ordered by the then United States President Barack Obama. According to administrative officials of the US, they did not share info about the raid with the government of Pakistan until the operation was successfully concluded. However, Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officials said they were also present in the operation and cited the Operation Neptune Spear as a joint operation.

One more important thing concerning the twofold affiliation between these two countries is — the United States has been involved in wide-ranging economic, social, and scientific assistance as well as vigorous military relations with Pakistan. Also, Pakistan continues to occupy a strategic position in the United States’ interests in Central and South Asia.

According to the Washington Post, American culture has profoundly pierced into Pakistan. However, the public judgment in Pakistan recurrently ranks the U.S. as one of its least favored countries and vice versa. On the word of Gallup’s annual World Affairs survey conducted recently, only 15% of Americans had a favorable view of Pakistan.

Despite the fact that there has been a bilateral relationship of changing dimensions between Pakistan and the US, maintaining 71 years of the dual bond itself is a marvel.

-Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi

Why Can’t Political Parties Put Up With Their Manifestoes?

Why Can’t Political Parties Put Up With Their Manifestoes?

Manifestoes come to be very vital for the campaigning to each and every political party. They are the most important starting places to lure the public before elections. There is no doubt that every political party carries out research work before they formulate and bring out their parties’ manifesto. The parties take into consideration, all those issues which observably fetch them a high number of votes. The entire thing revolves around the only issue — alluring the voters to get a high number of votes.

If we clearly go through the party manifestoes, almost every manifesto shows heaven in the palm. The question that arises here is whether the promises made in the party manifestoes can be really fulfilled? Maybe yes and maybe no. However, the promises made by a political party in its manifesto is not unattainable. The promises could be accomplished. Nevertheless, such an act requires not only an able leadership but also the teamwork accompanied with true spirit.

The contemporary politics are revolving around one particular leader for any given party. In my opinion, every party has good leaders and bad leaders. It is the individual and his aspirations that run the show and not the political parties they belong to. For that matter, a person with a true vision can do more justice than any political party as a whole could do. A local leader can truly do miracles by better utilizing the constitutional development funds alone. In order for the promises to have their existence, all that required is a superior plan.

We have the evidence that many leaders failed to utilize the constitutional development fund allocated to their respective constituencies. A good example of the same is Sachin Tendulkar, who failed to utilize the funds allotted to his chosen area of development. Many similar examples can be quoted in this context.

In a democratic country like India, both the ruling and opposition parties are equally important. If the ruling party is to be considered as the stuff, the opposition party should become the container. Both are equally responsible to run the show. It is not necessary that all the decisions taken by the ruling government are required to be criticized by the opposition parties, as most of the decisions could have been taken in a similar way if the same opposition party could have been in power. Similarly, all those issues countered by the opposition party may not be considered as mere criticize. A thought can be given by the ruling party whether there is any truth hidden in the matter brought out by the opposition parties.

In the present day scenario, there are only coalition governments. Such governments need to pacify every constituent party before they take any fundamental decision. In such circumstances, it is not possible for any political party to take wise decisions boldly by the major constituents as the same is occupied by some sort of hidden fear.

So much is said during the election campaigning by the politicians. However, not even a small portion of their own manifestoes is implemented by most of the political parties. All that matters is the dedication to do the things. If the political parties move with such an attitude both in letter and spirit, it is not very difficult to achieve the results sought after. Yes, political parties can abide by their manifestoes, if they adopt true ideologies. The entire thing is the matter of an intrinsic issue and not virtuously extrinsic.

–   Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi

A Need to Restrain Attacks on Politicians

A Need to Restrain Attacks on Politicians

YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, the leader of opposition of Andhra Pradesh State Assembly, has sustained insignificant hurts on October 25, 2018, after he was stabbed by an employee of the Airport at the Vishakhapatnam airport. The attacker, who has been identified as J Sriniwas Rao has mentioned himself as a big fan of YS Jagan. After the attack, the YSR Congress Party Chief was seen with blood on his left shoulder. A small and sharp blade, which is actually used in traditional bird fights was utilized to stab him.

In this seemingly preplanned attack, the attacker allegedly got into the VIP lounge to serve coffee. He then approached Jagan Mohan Reddy, who was sitting with his followers, requesting for a selfie with him. When Jagan accepted, Sriniwas allegedly conjured to take a picture and then struck him with the knife.YS jagan mohan reddy in vizag airport

Despite the fact that the wound is not deadly, this sudden happening exposed the unexpected lapses in security at the airport, where each person is vetted with metal detectors. The CISF cannot be censured fully — because — the attacker happens to be an employee of the airport run restaurant, who holds a valid security pass.

According to the police, the assailant has done it for profile-raising. There is no doubt that such attacks have become a fashion in recent times as the attackers’ ploy tends to become popular (notorious might be the exact word) without much effort as such. What the police have opined is definitely one of the most valid points.

The attack on Jagan is not the first in case. Many numbers of physical attacks have taken place in recent times — both domestic and abroad. In the pretext of having a selfie, in the past, once Pawan Kalyan was also about to get attacked by a so-called fan of him. Moreso, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal was attacked by an unidentified person during his campaigning in the Dakshinpuri area of South Delhi on April 5, 2014, prompting the former Chief Minister to cancel his roadshow abruptly. For that matter, he was attacked as many as five times in a span of one and half years. For the first time, he was attacked in November 2013. Nachiketa Vaghrekar, a self-claimed fan of Anna Hazare attacked Kejriwal with black ink.

In a similar attack that took place in March 2014, Arvind Kejriwal was again attacked by some unidentified people, who threw ink at him. The frantic people even threw eggs at the open vehicle in which Kejriwal was traveling.  Apart from ink attacks, Arvind Kejriwal has also been hooted and confronted physical attacks on multiple occasions in the past.

During the 2014 Delhi Assembly election campaign, he was attacked during his roadshow in south Delhi’s Dakshinpuri area. Jut within four days, he was attacked again during his road show in the Sultanpuri area of Delhi. He was slapped twice by an autorickshaw driver, who garlanded him. In the latest incident, Bhavna Arora, a woman, attacked Kejriwal with ink alleging an NCG scam in Delhi. Surprisingly, this incident happened after Kejriwal has assumed the power.

The intention behind giving a detailed picture of attacks on Arvind Kejriwal is just to bring out the unceasing attacks that took place on a targeted politician. Even after him becoming the Chief Minister, he was attacked once. This clearly shows the security lapses.

In view of the ongoing attacks, there arises a need for tightening of security at public places wherein there is a hidden threat. If such unfortunate incidents are not cramped, it is likely that such attacks may become an approach in style, resulting in targeted attacks on top brass of politicians and the famous cinematic figures too.

–   Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi

The Proven Disrepair of Indian Officialdom over CBI vs. CBI

The Proven Disrepair of Indian Officialdom over CBI vs. CBI

No sooner the CBI Chief Alok Verma was divested of his powers than the opposition took the staple to its advantage and started a blitz over the ruling BJP government. To counter the same, in defense, the government, said that that the orders given at the wee hours on October 23, 2018, were indispensable to maintain the institutional integrity and credibility of India’s investigation agency. The government has also expressed its commitment to safeguard CBI in not becoming a scorn as few of the officers have made it in the last few days. In the meantime, M Nageshwar Rao, the joint director, took charge of the agency and ordered a slew of transfers, including of those officers who were probing the alleged corruption charges against Rakesh Asthana.

While stealing a look into the details of this case, it could be recalled that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested an investigating officer and steered searches at its own headquarters on October 22, 2018, a week after registering a case against its second top official, Rakesh Asthana. This incident was followed by many developments that pointed to an unparalleled implosion at India’s top investigating agency — CBI. A year before, in October 2017, Asthana was appointed as CBI’s special director. He has commanded several cases such as the AgustaWestland scam, the coal scam and the probe against liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

It is worth mentioning here that in the past, he also headed a SIT to probe the 2002 Godhra Sabarmati Express burning case. Of course, there is no need to mention that he has given Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister, a clean chit in the communal violence that arose.

According to media reports, raids were also conducted at the CBI Headquarters in New Delhi even in the morning of October 24, 2018. Usually, the ED takes over the probe when a money trail is established. So, it is likely that the case will be handed over to the ED.It is not the first time that CBI has been facing criticism. None other than the Supreme Court of India, in the past, has criticized the CBI for being a caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice. This was criticized due to its extreme political meddling irrespective of which party transpired to be in power at the time.

In the past, just because of the CBI’s political insinuations, it has been exposed by former officials such as Joginder Singh and B. R. Lall as engaging in nepotism, wrongful prosecution, and corruption.

Typically, cases assigned to the CBI are highly sensitive and of national importance. It is a standard practice for state police departments to register cases under its dominion. The central government may transfer a case to the CBI if feels needed. Such is the importance bestowed on the part of the functioning of the CBI. However, if the case itself is CBI Vs. CBI — where will the case land? The ongoing CBI Vs. CBI case is something that denotes a situation of the fence eating the crop.

In the world panorama, certain things would drag the nation’s prestige to the dump yard. In my perspective, year after year the veneration that the country has in the domain of world’s vista is waning with such annoying developments.

As far as the latest available statistics are concerned, India ranked as the 81 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. I am not sure if the country has reserved its position intact in any other arena or not, but it has surely secured an unbroken rank among the most corrupted nations — India has averaged 75.57 in Corruption Rank from 1995 until 2017. These statistics itself speak about the present condition of India.

In Lall’s book, Who Owns CBI, he minutiae how investigations are manipulated and derailed. Bowing to the declarations made by Lall through his book, it could be envisaged that there is a veiled itinerary behind the midnight developments. Whatsoever the case may be — such unsolicited things as the ongoing CBI Vs. CBI case would definitely weaken the standing of the country. Indubitably, this case has proven disrepair of Indian officialdom, once again!

–   Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi