Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hum Honge Kamyab - PM

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has emphasized that India’s foreign policy should be an extension of our enlightened national interests. The biggest challenges which the country faced were the removal of poverty, disease and ignorance. The removal of poverty and emancipation of our people should be given the pride of place in India’s foreign policy. India’s diplomatic efforts should be geared to removing obstacles which stand in the way of achieving these objectives. Particular attention needed to be paid to ensuring food security, the management of water resources, energy security and overcoming technology denial regimes.

Addressing the Conference of Indian Heads of Missions organized by the Ministry of External Affairs yesterday, Prime Minister noted that globalization had come to stay, and interdependence among nations was today a fact of life. The implication of this was that the destinies of nations were increasingly interlinked. India was a country that was not well endowed with natural resources on a per capita basis, and therefore India would have to be a major trading nation of the world. Indian diplomacy should be geared to ensuring an open and transparent multilateral trading system, and to overcoming barriers to Indian trade.

The Prime Minister referred to the international security environment, and said that threats such as terrorism and piracy required a well thought out strategy. India sought peace and stability in its neighbourhood. The situation was however worrisome. Non-state actors were practicing terrorism aided and abetted by state establishments. The Mumbai terrorist attacks were an attack on India’s ambitions to emerge as an economic power. India would not accept a situation where terrorism is used as an instrument to cripple India’s economy or the values it stands for.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister said that India was destined to become a major economic and knowledge power which was at peace with itself. India’s diplomatic efforts should be geared in this direction and reflect the aspirations of its people.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ratan Tata proves - Yes We Can!

Yes, we can!
Ratan Tata has proved it. The reopening of the Taj Mahal Hotel is a fitting tribute to martyrs of Mumbai Terror attacks as much as a fitting reply to terrorists who planned to blow up the Taj.

Here are some quotable quotes from Ratan Tata himself. Truly inspiring:

• We can be hurt, but we will never fall

• We have decided that we will now look at anti-terrorism or protection of our assets and our people ourselves and we will try to create a deterrent. We will not try to create heroes who will engage in the enemy but to try and find as many invisible...

• We cannot be knocked down -- this is a memorable day and a tribute to those who saved many lives.

• There is still much work to do, but we are all determined to rebuild the Taj brick by brick until it outshines even its former glories.

• This (the reopen9ng of Taj M ahal hotel) "would send an even stronger message, not just for the Taj but for the community of Mumbai that we can be hurt but we cannot be knocked down.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Beware of online lottery traps, warns RBI

The Reserve Bank of India has advised members of public not to fall prey to
fictitious offers for release of cheap funds claimed to have been remitted by overseas entities to banks in India / Reserve Bank of India. Members of public should also not make any remittance towards participation in such schemes/offers from unknown entities.

Describing the typical modality of such offers, the Reserve Bank of India
stated that certain foreign entities / individuals, including Indian residents acting as representatives of such entities / individuals, make offers through letters / emails,etc., of huge money in foreign currency to resident individuals / entities (including schools / hospitals), on the pretext of helping them in their business / ventures in India. Once the contact is established, the offer is followed by a request seeking details of bank account of the Individuals / Indian entity and asking some amount to be remitted to them as initial deposit / commission so that the offer money could be transferred. Likewise, references have been also received in the Reserve Bank in the recent past from individuals / authorised dealers seeking approvals / clarifications for effecting remittances in foreign currency towards commission / fees for receiving prizes won in overseas lottery schemes etc.

It has also come to the notice of the Reserve Bank that certain overseas organisations have been advising individuals / companies / trusts in India that huge sums of money for disbursal of loans in India at cheap rates has been kept in an account with the Reserve Bank and the funds would be released after approval from the Reserve Bank. To substantiate their claims, even copies of certificate / deposit receipts purported to have been issued by the Reserve Bank are produced by such operators.

The Reserve Bank of India has today clarified that remittance in any form
towards participation in lottery schemes is prohibited under Foreign Exchange
Management Act, 1999. Further, these restrictions are also applicable to remittances
for participation in lottery-like schemes functioning under different names, such as,
money circulation scheme or remittances for the purpose of securing prize money /
awards, etc. The Reserve Bank of India has further clarified that it does not maintain any account in the name of individuals / companies / trusts in India to hold funds for disbursal.

Enough of Much much!! What next?

Post Mumbai terror, hundreds of thousands of people participated in a peace march to the Gateway to express their anger and aguish on Wednesday evening.
The questions that arise now are:
• What next?
• Will all these people who participated in this march go for voting?
• Will they start the process of getting registered as voters, if they are not voters?
• Will they question candidates at various for a like AGNI?
• Will they insist for a social audit of the elected reps?
• Will they seek quarterly reports from each MP/MLA/Corporator like investors get reports of listed companies?
• Will they ask for electoral reforms to suggest a minimum qualification for those who govern us?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Life after death begins with a post mortem!

Mumbai has been attacked. It was a war on India. Like it happened during the Bombay bomb blasts, we will discuss this too for some time, exchange ideas and forget about it. Will we forget?

Life after death starts with a post mortem. Let’s do that. To my mind, few stray thoughts occur.

• The media coverage and the hoopla raised over the attacks clearly expose the divide in Mumbai – South Mumbai versus the rest.
• Why did e very one ignore the attacks on VT (CST) for a very, very long time, until Taj was “liberated”?
• Why weren’t the channels showing live from JJ and other hospitals?
• Why weren’t OB vans parked at VT to gauge the sense of mood of the so-called common man, the commuter?
• Why didn’t Barkha Dutt do a “we the people” programe at CST as she had people shouting at the government at the Gateway?
• Why have all us forgotten the fact that Gateway was built in honour of the British King’s landing in Mumbai, where as CST (then VT) is the commonman’s hub?
• The various news paper pages are also full of stories of the elite and socialites suffering as though Mumbai begins and ends with them. Where are the stories of emotions of the kin of those shot dead at CST?
• Why, and why, there are no candle light processions and meetings at CST?

Until, we shake ourselves out of this bias (could be inadvertent!), we will not see and change taking place. And please don’t expect other to change.

The change that you want must begin with you! (Yes, that’s was Mahatma Gandhi’s thought)