Protest may “aggravate resentment” among non-Left students and teachers beyond JNU

The security establishment fears that the arrest of student leader Kanhaiya Kumar could “aggravate resentment” among non-Left leaning students and teachers beyond Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

They also believe that with students’ organisations backed by different political parties, there is “every possibility of politicisation” of the issue.

In its report, the intelligence agencies said there is resentment among students in JNU as well as among teachers. It noted that the JNU Teachers Union has expressed its reservation to Vice Chancellor Jagdish Kumar regarding police presence in the campus.

The Vice Chancellor assured them that police would enter the campus only in an emergency and it would be conveyed to police.

“Despite, this assurance, aggressive protests and student unrest in Delhi, in particular at JNU, is apprehended, since the arrest of JNUSU president may aggravate resentment not only among Left supported student groups but also among entire students and teachers in various educational institutions,” the report said.

The report said a police personnel in plain clothes is already in “performing his duty” at the campus and he has been directed to keep watch over the situation.

“It will not be out of place to mention here that due to clash of ideologies, the possibility of dharna, demo or protest by ABVP, DSU and other students’ organisations can’t be ruled out against the backdrop of the incident (February 9), where different students organisations are backed by different political parties, there is every possibility of politicisation,” it said.

Following the incident involving a meeting on Afzal Guru, the IB also said that the ABVP is alleging that DSU and other Left student outfits are indulging in anti-national activities. On the other hand, other groups who had participated in the programme are alleging that their freedom of expression and right to protest is being curtailed.

The IB report also names 16 students, including Kumar, among those who were actively participating in the event.

The report also referred to two previous notes made on the students’ activities in the campus in which it had named Democratic Students Union (DSU), which agencies claim have links with Maoists, and Democratic Students Front (DSF), a breakaway group of SFI.

It also noted that Special Branch always keeps an eye on the activities of students, student organisations, youths and people “who have stake in JNU”.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 17, 2016)

No takers for MPs’ Aadarsh Gram!

It may be one of his pet schemes but Prime Minister Narendra Modi and almost all his ministers are among around 750 MPs who are yet to select a village for development under the second phase of ‘Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana’.

As per latest details available on the scheme’s official website, only 30 lawmakers — 24 out of 543 from Lok Sabha and six of 252 from Rajya Sabha — have chosen villages under the second phase.

Of this, seven are ministers, including Cabinet Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Tawarchand Gehlot. The other ministers who chose villages are Bandaru Dattatreya, Nirmala Sitharaman, Mukthar Abbas Naqvi, Babul Surpiyo (all BJP) and Ashok Gajapathi Raju, the lone non-BJP minister in this group so far.

While the deadline for submitting their choice of village for the second phase was January 31, 765 MPs have not given their choice. In the phase one, 499 Lok Sabha MPs and 198 Rajya Sabha MPs were part of the scheme though many of them had expressed reservation of the programme as no separate funds were earmarked for it.

It is not Modi alone who has not selected the village to be developed in the second phase. Prominent leaders like Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, L K Advani and senior ministers like Arun Jaitley, Manohar Parrikar, and M Venkaiah Naidu are yet to choose one village for the second phase.

As per the programme, the plan is to develop three villages by an MP as model villages by 2019. About 2,200 villages have to be developed in the first three phases by then.

With funds remaining an issue, the government has asked gram panchayats to “proactively tap the resources and the strengths of the private, voluntary and cooperative sectors (PVC Sector) which could help in making available relevant technologies for local adoptions and making investments / providing services for local economic development, either independently or to supplement Government efforts”.

Most of the MPs who chose villages in the second phase are BJP MPs, including Sakshi Maharaj and Nishikant Dubey. T Subbarami Reddy (Congress) and Ameth Rajan (BSP) are among other prominent MPs in the list.

With funds remaining a problem, Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal had in March last year announced that he was giving up the village he adopted under the scheme. The scheme has also invited criticism from a large section of MPs, including those from BJP, for not earmarking separate funds for the scheme and asking them to use the MPLAD fund.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 17, 2016)

Civil Aviation sector could generate 10L jobs by 2035

A growing civil aviation sector can generate at least 9.77 lakh direct and around 30 lakh indirect jobs by 2035, a study conducted for Civil Aviation Ministry has said.

In a best-case scenario, it could rise to 11.21 lakh at a time the number of passengers are likely to rise to at least 876 million, 4.6 times the volume (190.1 million) last year. The cargo volume is expected to increase to 9.16 million tonne from 2.5 million tonne at present while the aircraft movements are expected to grow at 8 per cent during 2015-35 and reach 75.6 lakh in 2035.

The findings are part of a draft report prepared by ICRA Management Consultancy Services for the Ministry, which wanted a “comprehensive” skill gap analysis and formulate a future road map for skill development in the sector.

“The industry is expected to maintain the momentum as the outlook for the Indian has been positive owing to good Indian GDP growth of 6.5 per cent, increase in the middle class population and decrease in global oil prices. The growth in the industry will lead to a significant requirement for skilled human resources,” it said.

As per projections, there would be 2.26 lakh jobs in airports, 3.17 lakh in airlines, 2.4 lakh in cargo, 1.61 lakh in ground handling and 33,000 in MRO sector in a business-as-usual scenario. In the best-case scenario, there will be 2.69 lakh jobs in airports, 3.51 lakh in airlines, 2.73 lakh in cargo, 1.92 lakh in ground handling and 36,000 in MRO sector in a business-as-usual scenario.

In further break-up, the report said India might require 39,000 pilots and co-pilots by 2035 from the existing around 5,000. The demand could rise to 13,000 by 2020 and 20,000 in 2025. Similarly, there is a need for 68,000 cabin crew in 2035 while in 2020, it could be 22,000 and 34,000 in 2025.

With the vast number of human resources that are required, the report said, the need of the hour is to have a unified vision on training.

According to the report, a National Civil Aviation Training Entity (NCATE) should be established that oversees all training related activities for the sector in the country. NCATE would work closely with the Ministry and attached organizations to formulate a unified training policy. (Article Ends)

Forecasted demand parameters- Business as usual/optimistic










Total Passengers

(in million)












(in tonnes)














Aircraft movement

(in lakh)













Source: Draft Final Report by ICRA Management Consulting Services Ltd

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 15, 2016)

MHA renews efforts to launch Emergency Call system

After scrapping the tender for setting up an emergency distress call system a month ago, the Union Home Ministry has now relaunched its efforts to put in place such a mechanism.

The Ministry has called potential bidders for a “workshop” on February 17 here to “understand industry challenges in bid participation” before publishing a new tender on setting up the ambitious National Emergency Response System’ under Nirbhaya scheme.

The Ministry had planned to set up an emergency number 112 by 2017 under the Nirbhaya Fund, named in the memory of the December 16 gangrape-murder victim of Delhi. The system was aimed at meeting the current challenges being faced by police forces in the absence of an immediate emergency response system, specifically inclined towards women issues.

The decision to have a common national emergency number came after the December 16, 2012 incident and Justice J S Verma Committee recommending such a measure.

Though a ‘Request for Proposal’ from interested parties was invited in June last year and bidding process was in progress, the Ministry decided to cancell the process after finding out that the terms and conditions mentioned in the bid papers were difficult to meet. Following this, the bidding was cancelled in mid-January.

Before cancelling the bids, the Ministry had cleared two companies L&T and Hewlett-Packard India after technical evaluations for further processes.

During the process, the Ministry had held several meetings with states on how to implement the scheme and even send out detailed guidelines.

An official analysis had then shown that the Ministry expects that the system would receive around five lakh calls per day in the first year of operation.

At present, India has three emergency services 100 (Police), 102 (Fire) and 103 (Ambulance), which was designed at the time of a regulated telecom sector with only one telecom provider across India. A number of cities have also provided additional numbers for specific emergencies and this led to “confusion” in the public about emergency contact number.

However, now the situation has changed and to avoid confusion, officials point out the need for having a single emergency call number.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 11, 2016)

Revolver, Nano, boat: Modi Ministers’ assets

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just Rs 4,700 cash in his hand, his Law Minister D Sadananda Gowda owns a gun and a revolver while Ramvilas Paswan’s wife runs a petrol pump in Delhi, according to latest declaration of assets by Ministers.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s husband Zubin owns a fibreglass boat at a time Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, a scion of Vizayanagram royal family still has a 1982 model jeep and a Nano car. Raju’s deputy Mahesh Sharma, however, has a Prado and Lancer, both high-end four-wheelers.

Though assets of all ministers as on March 31, 2015 has not been uploaded in the official website of the Prime Minister, available documents make an interesting read.


What Ministers and their families have:

Narendra Modi: Four golden rings, Rs 4,700 cash in hand

Sushma Swaraj: Volkswagen, Mercedes, jewellery worth Rs 23.79 lakh

Ramvilas Paswan: Petrol pump

Smriti Irani: Fibreglass boat, music system bought for Rs 5,430,

D Sadananda Gowda: Revolver, Gun, 140 gram gold, 4 kg silver, Prado, land Cruiser

Ashok Gajapathi Raju: 1982-model jeep, Nano car


Modi’s assets have grown to Rs 1.41 crore mainly due to appreciation of a residential property he owns in Gandhinagar. His investments include National Savings Certificates worth about Rs 5.45 lakh and life insurance policies worth Rs 1.99 lakh.

The Prime Minister also owns four gold rings weighing 45 grams and valued at Rs 1.18 lakh. He had listed Rs 1.21 lakh as its value in August 2014.

Gowda has a .32 revolver he bought in 2002 for Rs 55,000 besides a gun he bought for Rs 5,000 in 1989. While he boasts of a Prado and Land Cruiser, he also still has a mobile phone which he bought for Rs 3,500 in 2004, a CD player of Rs 4,000 and TV set Rs 8,000.

If Modi’s jewellery collection is minimal, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has gold and silver jewellery with a market value of 23.79 lakh. Earlier, she had listed that she had 987 grams of gold and 5,500 gram silver, which she had received from her family. The Swaraj family, which has Volkswagen and Mercedes,  is worth around six crore.

Irani has jewellery worth 12.36 lakh, which could be around 880 gram gold, while Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu’s family own two kg of silver pooja articles and 520 gram gold. Paswan’s wife has 700 grams of gold.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has 255 grams of gold coin while his wife has another 1170 gram gold besides 2.1 kg silver. His son also owns two kg of silver and 408 gram of gold.

Irani has also declared among others an account she holds in SBI’s Sultanpur branch jointly with a BJP leader Uma Shankar Pandey, which is listed as party fund. She also lists a music system which her family bought for Rs 5,430 as one her family’s assets.

Naidu owns not a single piece of land in his name while there are four properties in his wife’s name.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 2, 2016)

Silence in memory of Mahatma, public gives it a miss

All movement should be stopped and silence observed for two minutes from 11 AM on every January 30 – the day of Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom – but public off late is giving it a miss.

This has prompted Union Home Ministry to ask states to ensure that Martyrs’ Day, observed in the memory of those who gave their lives in the freedom struggle, is observed properly with better participation of public.

The Ministry has already shot off a letter to states noting that in the past, it has been “observed that while two minutes’ silence is observed in some offices, the general public goes about its occupation in the ordinary course, unmindful of the solemnity of the occasion”.

As per rules, silence should be observed and work and movement stopped for two minutes throughout the country at 11 AM on January 30 every year.

Irked at states not taking pro-active measures to ensure that the memory of the martyrs’ are honoured properly, it has asked the authorities to take necessary steps to ensure that there is “better public participation”.

States have been asked to contact various chambers of commerce and industry in the states to ensure proper observance by their members and affiliated companies.

In educational institutions and public sector enterprises, speeches and talks connected with the significance of the should be organised. “The theme of talks and speeches could also deal with the duty and the moral obligation of every citizen to preserve, protect and enrich the hard-earned freedom and to promote a sense of national integration and commitment to common goals and ideals,” the letter said.

On the occasion, field publicity units in states should organise programmes or show documentaries and films based on freedom movement, role of martyrs and national integration.

As per procedure, the commencement and termination of the two minutes’ silence period should be indicated by sound of siren or Army gun. Sirens should be sounded from 10:59 AM till 11 AM and after two minutes, all clear sirens should be again be sounded for one minute from 11:02 AM.

On hearing the signal, all people should stand up and observe silence. At places where no signal system is available, suitable instructions can be passed on to all concerned for observing the silence.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Jan 30, 2016)

Akali’s organised efforts resulted in rise of extremism: Pranab

Akali Dal’s organised efforts during Punjab crisis resulted in the rise of extremism and even naxalites used it to expand their influence and areas of domination, President Pranab Mukherjee writes.

In the second volume of his autobiography ‘Turbulent Years: 1980-1996’, he complains, that “sadly, Akali Dal also never took a “clear position” regarding the hijacking of their movement by separatist elements while its leaders often used “provocative language very similar to that used by the militants”.

He says Akali Dal in 1980s was not satisfied with its own Anandpur Sahib Resolution that demanded a high degree of autonomy for Punjab. In 1981, its leader Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi called for an autonomous state Khalistan.

“This proposed state of Khalistan would have its own Constitution and not be governed by the Indian Constitution. In November 1982, the foremost Akali leader, Sant Harcharan Singh Longowal, in a new elucidation of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, said that a Sikh religious state with all Punjabi-speaking people within it hould be created to preserve Sikh tradition and religion,” Mukherjee writes.

Amrik Singh, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and several others advocated the use of violence for a break-up of the Indian union and the creation of an independent Khalistan, which they claimed was a historical necessity for the Sikh youth, he says.

“Clearly, the Akali Dal was constantly changing goalposts and was not clear about whether it wanted autonomy within the Indian union or an independent state,” Mukherjee remembers.

“The Akali Dal’s organised effort to confront the government with its demands soon resulted in the rise of extremism. Both violent action as well as public incitement to violence became commonplace. Criminals, smugglers and anti-social elements took advantage of the situation and associated themselves with this movement. Even Naxalites used the crisis to expand their influence and areas of domination,” he writes.

He says the Golden Temple became a safe haven for extremists while “deliberate efforts” were made to “sow bitterness” between the Sikh community and followers of other religions.

“Had the Punjab movement been limited to the original demands of the Akali Dal, it may have found an easier resolution. But as it progressed, the establishment of an independent Khalistan emerged as its principal goal. It thus became a movement challenging India’s unity, territorial integrity and security,” he writes.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Jan 30, 2015)

%d bloggers like this: