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You should cultivate sense of insensitivity to be in politics, says Wipro founder Azim Premji

Premji, whose company’s CSR arm, the Azim Premji Foundation, is already involved in primary education in backward areas among others, said that despite having large-scale projects the intended effect cannot be reached at micro-levels owing to dependency on executing agencies.
File Photo

IT czar Azim Premji on Saturday said one should cultivate a sense of insensitivity to be in politics.”Why am I not in politics? Because I think it would have killed me in a couple of years… you should cultivate a sense of insensitivity to be in politics,” said Premji.The Wipro’s billionaire founder, who has given away almost half of his stake holding in the company to philanthropy, was responding to a question from the audience here at the Indian Institute of Management’s first global alumni conclave and leadership summit ‘IIMBUE’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On lack of skillful and talented people with philanthropic attitude in politics, he said, “One would definitely encourage talented people to join government and to join politics, the issue is do they have a mental make-up for it?””Certainly they should be encouraged. How do you raise the standard of politics and the standard of governance unless you manage with the right people,” said Premji, who was in conversation with Biocon head and Chairperson of the Board of governors-IIMB Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw on the topic ‘The business of philanthropy’.Responding to a query on the challenges he encountered while giving away money for philanthropy, the business tycoon said, “I think the biggest challenge that we face is the size of the problem, the scope of the problem, the depth of the problem.”Premji, whose company’s CSR arm, the Azim Premji Foundation, is already involved in primary education in backward areas among others, said that despite having large-scale projects the intended effect cannot be reached at micro-levels owing to dependency on executing agencies.”… you are just penetrating a small proportion of the whole scenario, of the problem. That is very frustrating because you just don’t have bandwidth. You may still have the money, you don’t have the bandwidth,” he said.”Second thing is you do rely on government machinery in terms of the work we do, like education. We have to depend on them very significantly, but it is in the slowness of the change… ,” Premji added.Asked for his thoughts on the two per cent CSR mandate, he said, “in principle, I don’t like mandate. So, I would object to a two per cent mandate, but now that’s made accompli, it has become a statutory law.””I think what is good is they have left it up to the governance committee of the company to decide the priority of usage of those funds, all one can wish for is that companies utilise those funds honestly and don’t substitute their own personal charity with company funds. Let us see how it works out… ,” he added.

Radwanska wins classic to set up Kvitova final | Reuters

SINGAPORE Agnieszka Radwanska rallied past an exhausted Garbine Muguruza to book a maiden appearance in the WTA Finals title match with a 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5 victory over the Spaniard in a classic encounter on Saturday.

The Pole used all her guile and defensive skills to see off the powerful 22-year-old, setting up a showdown against Petra Kvitova, who stunned Maria Sharapova 6-3 7-6(3) in the second semi-final.

“I didn’t know I could come back after that first set,” world number six Radwanska said in a courtside interview.

“It was a great match from the beginning to the end, lots of ups and downs, so many rallies and a lot of running. I am just so glad I could win,” added the Pole, who secured a first final berth at the season-ending event in her seventh appearance.

The first set was a slow burner that turned into a thriller once both women had settled into a rhythm and the longer the contest progressed, the stronger Radwanska became against an opponent who is also playing the doubles event in Singapore.

Radwanska worked her way into the contest after the fast-starting Spaniard wavered, reeling off four straight games and looking likely to ride the momentum to a one-set lead before Muguruza came storming back to force a tiebreak.

The Pole raced to a 3-0 lead but Muguruza recovered to surge ahead with some trademark aggressive groundstrokes and sealed the opener on her second set point when Radwanska found the net at the end of a brilliant rally.

Muguruza greeted the decisive point with a fist pump and a roar but her play at the start of the second set belied her positive body language as Radwanska forced a plethora of errors to race to a 4-0 lead that she never looked like relinquishing.

A mini revival mid-set brought Muguruza to within one game but Radwanska pulled away again and levelled the contest with her third break of the set.

The exertions of her first WTA Finals were now clearly visible on Muguruza, yet somehow she found the energy to rally from 4-1 down in the third set and put the contest back on a knife-edge before Radwanska finally got a decisive break in the 12th game.


The second semi-final pitted two former WTA Finals champions against each other and while it was shorter than the first match, Kvitova’s stunning comeback from 5-1 down in the second set was equally as absorbing.

Kvitova and Sharapova, two of the strongest servers on the Tour, traded early breaks before settling into a baseline battle until the Czech edged ahead in the seventh game of the opening set.

The world number five could sniff blood and broke again in the ninth game to take a surprise lead against a player who had won all three of her round-robin ties despite arriving in Singapore short of matches after a long injury layoff.

Kvitova, however, is prone to bouts of erratic play and the confidence she exuded in the opener was replaced by uncertainty as Sharapova, who has added greater variety to her game as she has grown older, raced 4-0 ahead.

The Russian somehow contrived to hand back the double break advantage, even wasting a set point at 5-2, as Kvitova rediscovered her top form to reel off five straight games and force a tiebreak.

The 2011 champion was now in full control, setting up three match points with a booming serve down the middle and when Sharapova sent a forehand sailing over the baseline, Kvitova had completed the most remarkable of second-set turnarounds.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

dna must read: From latest in Bihar polls to White House on civil nuclear deal with Pakistan

1) Live Updates: Bihar polls | Second phase of voting begins in six Maoist-hit districtsThe battle for Bihar enters into its second phase on Friday with voters set to decide the fate of 456 candidates in 32 constituencies spread over six Naxal-hit districts, posing a big challenge to security forces.The districts are Kaimur, Rohtas, Arwal, Jehanabad, Aurangabad and Gaya. After the completion of the first phase of polling in 49 seats, the second phase saw NDA sharpening attack on the grand secular alliance in the backdrop of a sting video that purportedly showed a minister accepting Rs 4 lakh bribe. Read More<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2) Before breaking silence on Dadri, PM had conveyed angst over incident at J&K AssemblyEven before Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence on the Dadri killing, he had expressed his concern over the BJP members’ behaviour in Jammu and Kashmir assembly to a state party leader. Modi is understood to have expressed his anguish over BJP members beating up an independent MLA for holding a beef party. Read More3) White House virtually rules out possibility of civil nuclear deal with PakistanThe prospect of a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan being talked about in the public domain is quite unlikely, the White House said on Thursday, but acknowledged that the US is in talks with Islamabad on issues related to nuclear safety and security. Read More4) Someone who just kept trying and never gave up, that is my legacy: Zaheer KhanIt was tougher than I thought, and that sums up my press release as well. For any cricketer, it is the toughest decision you have to make. You always think that one last push is there. Especially with me, knowing that Zak is Back can happen, I thought that I can give that push. Somewhere during the training as I was preparing for the season I realised that it is the right time to walk away from international cricket. This is how the whole process happened. What happened post that was a discussion with people and letting them know that this is what is going on in my mind. Read more5) Sena, BJP call truce to week-long war of wordsIn a drama of insults, war of words followed by hectic parleys on Wednesday, the BJP and Shiv Sena Cabinet colleagues including Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis decided call a truce. The BJP meeting of elected representatives, office bearers and ministers held on Thursday decided against discussing strained relations with its alliance partner the Shiv Sena. Read more

Over Rs 17 crore cash, 1 lakh litre liquor seized in poll-bound Bihar

The other seizures made by various agencies include 827.91 kg of ganja, 8.248 kg gold and 1.05 lakh litres of liquor worth Rs 98.96 lakh.

The first phase of polling in Bihar was held on October 12 and the second phase is to be held on October 15.
File Photo
More than Rs 17 crore in cash, over 800 kg of ganja, one lakh litre of liquor and over 8 kg of gold have been seized by authorities in poll-bound Bihar so far as part of Election Commission’s drive to curb attempts to influence voters.EC sources said that till Wednesday, Rs 17.17 crore cash was seized. The other seizures made by various agencies include 827.91 kg of ganja, 8.248 kg gold and 1.05 lakh litres of liquor worth Rs 98.96 lakh. Cash and such commodities, it is believed, are used to influence voters.Candidates in Bihar have been asked to open a separate bank account and incur their poll-related expenses from it, to ensure greater transparency and ease of monitoring of election expenses.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The investigation directorate of the Income Tax department has been asked to open air intelligence units at airports of the state and also to gather intelligence and take necessary action against movement of large sums of money in the state.Bihar Assembly polls are being held in five phases. While the first phase was completed on Monday, the second phase is on Friday. The third phase will be held on October 28, the penultimate phase on November 1 and last one on November 5.Counting of votes will take place on November 8.

Paramilitary forces move for area domination of crucial second phase polls

About 14 of the 31 constituencies spread across districts of Bhabua, also known as Kaimur, Gaya, Aurangabad, and Rohtas also called Sasaram in the second phase are considered to be heavily Maoism affected.

Heaving a sigh of relief on completion of first phase consisting of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected constituencies the Election Commission has now focused all its efforts on the second phase that again has several Maoist affected assembly constituencies going to polls on October 16.About 14 of the 31 constituencies spread across districts of Bhabua, also known as Kaimur, Gaya, Aurangabad, and Rohtas also called Sasaram in the second phase are considered to be heavily Maoism affected.For the first time, the security forces are using camera fitted drones and helicopter surveillance for an effective area domination control. These also have the capability of thermal imaging for night surveillance. The arrangement seemed to have worked well, sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A helicopter air ambulance has also been deployed for speedy evacuation to tackle any eventuality if times of an exigency.”This is the second and last crucial phase of elections as far as LWE violence is concerned. The rest of the three phases will be relatively much easier to manage. The plan to conduct elections in LWE affected districts in first two phases were made deliberately to get the security forces over from the fatigue at the earliest. The carefully put security arrangements seem to have been worked,” said a senior official overseeing the security arrangements in Bihar.After completion of the first phase, about 55,000 paramilitary forces personnel have been sent for redeployment around the sensitive polling stations than run into thousands in LWE affected constituencies. Besides, quick reaction teams (QRTs) of CAPFs have been positioned in sensitive areas and special road opening parties (ROPs) have been deployed for making access easy to polling stations located in Maoist affected areas.Like the first phase every polling station will be manned by fully equipped central armed police personnel, the official added. The Election Commission has deployed 31 general observers, 6 police observers and 10 expenditure observers for free and fair conduct of polls in the second phase.

Leopard kills cow on college campus in Coimbatore

In the second such incident in two days in the district, a leopard killed a cow on the premises of the government arts college in Valparai area on Monday, police said.

Representational Image

Getty Images
In the second such incident in two days in the district, a leopard killed a cow on the premises of the government arts college in Valparai area on Monday, police said.The cow was grazing in the campus when the leopard sprang up from behind a thick bush, attacked and partly ate it. It later went back to the nearby jungle, they said.On Sunday, a three-year-old calf grazing near the house of an estate worker had been killed by the leopard.

Crucial IIT council meet may recommend hike in student fee

Currently, after the first stage, JEE(Main), 1.5 lakh students are selected for the second stage of the selection process, that is JEE Advance.

A crucial meeting of the IIT council– the apex government-nominated body of the 16 IITs– on October 6 could discuss a proposal to increase the quota of students appearing for JEE Advance from 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh and recovering of running expenses of institute through student fee.Currently, after the first stage, JEE(Main), 1.5 lakh students are selected for the second stage of the selection process, that is JEE Advance. The meeting in Mumbai would be held within a week of the NIT council meeting on October 1 where the government had decided to constitute a core committee to evaluate a proposal to hold a single entrance test for both IITs as well as NITs.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The IIT council at Mumbai could deliberate on adopting a funding mechanism where the government will appreciably enhance investments in capital assets, labs etc but the bulk of the running expenses would be met by the students. According to sources, this could potentially raise the tuition fee, though the increase would be met by 100 per cent interest free student loan. IITs charge Rs 90,000 from the students annually.The model has already been accepted by the NITs. These institute charge Rs 70,000 annually and with the implementation of the funding mechanism, the fee could double, said an NIT director. On the agenda would be increasing the number of students appearing for JEE Advance from 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh from 2016 onwards. “The number of seats available at the IITs has increased considerably as new IITs have also come into existence.”But, over the past three years, only 1.5 lakh students could make it to the IIT-JEE (advanced) examination. We wanted to ensure that more students could take the competitive examination as seats have remained vacant even this year,” said an IIT director.IITs, on the other hand, are mulling holding a single entrance test by reverting back to the old format as the existing format is proving to be “cumbersome” and “time consuming”.

When it comes to Vedic texts, separate learnings for humanity from illogical, unscientific practices

It is an irony of our times that we want modern medicines to pass several stages of tests and layers of trials before accepting them, but have unwavering faith in many ancient rituals and remedies just because they have been mentioned in our sacred texts.

Consider our belief in a variety of yajnas mentioned in the Vedic literature. Our texts are full of claims that several powerful kings were blessed with more power, territory and wealth, and their queens with children after performing a horse sacrifice (Ashwamedha Yajna) — an elaborate ritual that also involved the chief wife’s cohabitation with a slain stallion.

The horse sacrifice is now rarely performed, but many other Vedic rituals are still popular. Several people perform Mahamrityunjaya Yajna to beat illness and seek long lives for themselves and family members, believing that fumes from herbs used in the ritual have healing powers. During times of drought, yajnas propitiating the rain god Indra are common sight in many north Indian states.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

And then there are prayers and rituals that are supposed to silence enemies and sort out problems. Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, for example, regularly visits a shrine in Datia, where she locks herself up for several days to pursue prayer and sacred rituals.

But, do these rituals actually work? Did the Ashwamedha Yajna actually make queens more fertile? Can yajnas cure illness, slay enemies or generate dark clouds and force them to pour down on parched land?

If the recommendations of a panel formed by the Central government are implemented, we may soon find out. The Second Sanskrit Commission, a 13-member panel set up by the UPA-II for suggesting measures for promoting our ancient culture and reviving Sanskrit, has recommended that scientific labs be set up to test the efficacy and power of Vedic rituals.

According to The Indian Express, the panel has made several other recommendations, including a four-language formula for school education, making Sanskrit compulsory for students from classes VI to X.

It is a misconception that making Sanskrit mandatory can make it popular. Until a few years ago, it was part of every school curriculum, including convent schools in north India. But, it disappeared from classrooms because students didn’t find it of any practical use: It was neither spoken in public, nor was it part of popular culture. Cramming it like parrots did not guarantee future employment either, unless a student’s ambition was limited to teaching Sanskrit or becoming a priest in temples, or at weddings and funerals.

While the efficacy of the new set of ideas for reviving Sanskrit without finding too many practical uses for it can be put up for academic scrutiny, it is the proposal for subjecting our ancient wisdom to scientific tests that should be welcome. It is an excellent suggestion for separating myths from facts, superstition from scientific logic and blind faith from verifiable formulas.

The biggest problem with much of our ancient wisdom and rituals is that it has never been subjected to rigorous scientific scrutiny. Much of what passes off as Vedic knowledge is either mythology — we had Pushpak Vimans, our ancestors were capable of plastic surgery, queens could summon gods with mantras for conceiving — or is too  fantastic to believe — just reciting mantras can prolong life or gaumutra has rare healing qualities.

The incredulity inspired by such untested (even laughable) claims gets magnified because of our blind faith in hokum like astrology, palmistry and vaastu shastra that is often presented to the world as wisdom bequeathed by our ancestors.

But, there may indeed be a lot in our texts that can be of great benefit to humanity. The real challenge is to separate it from the unscientific, illogical and far-fetched ideas that masquerade as Vedic practices and knowledge.

The Narendra Modi government will do a huge favour to our ancient texts by accepting the suggestion for testing the power of our rituals in labs. Like a proverbial yajna, it will purify them by cleansing them of superstition, irrationality and blind bhakti.

Despite PM Modi’s pitch, here’s why India will only get a permanent UNSC seat in 2020-25

Prime Minister Narendra Modi did well to make a strong pitch for a permanent seat for India in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), but he should know that at the global level, it is real power that matters. His pitch is fine, but he will reach his goal only by demonstrating real power. And in the 21st century, power boils down essentially to economic power. Mere population size is not good enough to ensure a seat at the high table (excluding powerless talk shops like the G-20 or G-8).

So here’s my prediction: India will get its permanent seat on the UNSC somewhere between 2020 and 2025 — the earlier date if we grow at rates above 8 percent on an average, and the latter date if we grow slower (which seems likely). So if Modi were to get a second term in 2019, he might well be there to celebrate India’s final arrival at the global power table.

It is, of course, true that the current permanent membership of the UNSC — the US, Russia, France, UK and China — represents the power structure as it existed at the end of the Second World War. In fact, power was actually divided up based on which side you were on, and not necessarily economic power. The Permanent Five of the UNSC were the victors in the war, and they initially included the puny Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China and excluded the Communist-overrun mainland China which had a superior claim to representing the nation. The defeated nations were specifically excluded from this power structure. India, then an un-free country, was excluded because Britain was its then ruler.

PM Modi during his UN speech. PTI

PM Modi during his UN speech. PTI

One myth about Jawaharlal Nehru throwing away India’s chance for a permanent seat needs to understood in its full nuance (read this paper here). It is being argued that Nehru declined the US’s offer to replace China with India on the UNSC in 1950, but the rejection was not entirely without reason. While Nehru clearly was a poor student of realpolitik — as was later demonstrated in how he lost the China War of 1962 — his policy should also be seen as an extension of his efforts to stay equidistant from the two superpowers in the emerging Cold War. Moreover, there was also his genuine belief that replacing China in the UNSC would have made it a permanent enemy of India.

That Nehru was wrong on both counts stands proven today by the continued underlying hostility of China towards Indian interests, but that would be hindsight. It would, however, not be fair to presume that he willingly compromised India’s interests on the altar of pure morality. The truth is India in the 1950s got feelers from both the US, and the then USSR for permanent membership of the UNSC, but we were simply not powerful enough to deserve the seat on the basis of genuine military or economic power. We had only moral clout, and it was not enough.

That is changing now, but not fast enough. In a post-Cold War world, which is rapidly slipping again into local hot wars, including proxy wars that were characteristic of the Cold War period, the power balance is changing again with China replacing Russia as the pole opposite the US.

In this new structure, if India has to stake a claim to permanent membership, it has to singlemindedly focus on economic growth, with concomitant military might.

As things stand today, India is a middling power economically, with a national GDP of around $2 trillion. All the current permanent members of the UNSC, barring Russia, are bigger than India economically, with the US at $17.4 trillion, China at $10.3 trillion, the UK at $2.9 trillion, and France at $2.8 trillion (all figures from the World Bank for 2014). After the breakup of the USSR, the rump Russian Federation has fallen below India at $1.8 trillion. It is the only one deserving of replacement right now, but that won’t happen for Russia is a nuclear power.

On the other hand, three big global players — Germany, Japan and Brazil — with economies bigger than India’s at $3.8 trillion, $4.6 trillion, and $2.3 trillion respectively, have an even better claim than India to be permanent members. Logically, Germany and Japan should have been in the UNSC even earlier, but they were the defeated powers in World War II. Later, when Germany and Japan rose again as peaceful nations, China’s opposition to Japan stymied their entry. India’s entry now will face a similar Chinese blackball as long as India remains an emerging power, struggling with a weak currency and a $2 trillion economy.

The unstated threshold for entry will thus be $4 to 5 trillion. Getting there will take India around 10 years at the current 7 to 8 percent potential annual growth rate, which is what looks feasible at this point of time, given internal quarrels over economic reforms. India will become a $3 trillion economy in five years, and a $4 to 4.5 trillion economy in 10. That means the world will be unable to deny an entry to us somewhere between 2020 and 2025.

The reason for this is simple: While it is technically possible for India’s enemies to keep us out now and even in the future (any one of the Permanent Five can keep us out by wielding the veto), when we are a $4-5 trillion economy, Germany and Japan are $5-6 trillion and Brazil around $3.5-4 trillion, the group can force a decision as it will collectively be bigger than the US or China right now in terms of economic clout. A $18-20 trillion bloc will get its way.

Just as a $10 trillion Chinese economy can create its own global lending bank to rival the World Bank, as a $4-5 trillion economy, India along with today’s midi powers will be in a position to demand its rights or threaten to create its own rival power structure. This is why China would like to slow us down by constantly getting Pakistan to trip us up. and Pakistani terrorism aimed at India has China’s tacit support for the same reason.

Funny as this may sound, the fact is India’s entry into the UNSC depends on overturning the results of the Second World War. It is only when the former Axis powers — Germany and Japan — grow to rival the current Big Two of the UNSC in terms of economic power that India can get permanent membership.

Netaji may have backed the wrong horses in the last global war, but history has a weird way of proving him right.

Subramanian Swamy is non-committal about being JNU VC, but is he ineligible anyway?

News outlets and social media have been abuzz of late over reports that BJP leader Subramanian Swamy is being considered for appointment to the post of vice-chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi.

Swamy has reacted to the reports, saying that there is no question of him considering taking up the job unless he is allowed to ‘rusticate anti-national students.’

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

In strongly-worded remarks, Swamy has also tweeted that the institute needs an ‘Anti-Narcotics Bureau’ office and called for the arrest of ‘Naxals’ and jehadis’ in the university.

However, it turns out that the controversial politician is not eligible for the post under the present law in the first place.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Act, 1966, under which the institution was set up, lays down an age limit of 70 years for the post of Vice Chancellor.

Section 3(4) of the Second Schedule to the Act says, “The Vice-Chancellor shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office or until he attains the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier, and shall, on the expiration of his term of office be ineligible for reappointment to
that office.”

Swamy, however, is 76-years-old right now.

The BJP leader has courted controversy on several over provocative remarks. He has been reported as saying that all Indians are ‘scientifically’ Hindus (see The Times of India report here), homosexuality is a ‘genetic disorder‘ and that non-Hindus should be allowed to vote only if they declare that their ancestors were Hindus.

Subsequently, Harvard University had removed two courses taught by Swamy, describing his views as ‘reprehensible.’

These were his tweets this morning after reports said that he was in the running for the post of JNU VC:

dna Must Read at 6: Top five stories of the hour

Here are some of the top stories on at 6 pm.

dna Must Reads

Here are some of the top stories on at 6 pm:1) Rajdeep Sardesai not only gets slammed by Devendra Fadnavis in open letter, but also by TwitterDays after senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai wrote a open letter to CM Devendra Fadnavis criticising the recent meat ban and transfer of Mumbai CP Rakesh Maria, the BJP politician replied to him slamming his ‘biased’ views. While this could be the first time a major politician replied civilly to criticism, Twitteratis, majority of those supporting the BJP took the opportunity to bash Sardesai and led the hashtag ​#DevendraSlapsRajdeep totrend. Read more here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2) Microsoft releases Office 2016: Better collaboration and a host of new cross-platform featuresMicrosoft’s competition to Google’s web-based document and collaboration tools is now available–Office 2016 for Windows, with its slew of new features aimed a Web-based collaboration is aimed at bringing new document creation and sharing capabilities to both end consumers and businesses. Read the full report here.3) Watch Europe’s refugee crisis and Syria situation being explainedAn info-graphic video by channel ‘In a Nutshell – Kruzgesagt’ very succinctly explains why Syria is reeling under civil war and what Europe’s refugee crisis is all about. The video begins by explaining why Europe is experiencing the highest influx of migrants since 1945, the Second World War. From the al-Assad rule to the atrocities of the Islamic State, the video tries to put the modern history of Syria simplistically down to the current state of the middle east. Watch here.4) Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt going to do movie together! Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt, who would be seen alongside Shah Rukh Khan in Karan Johar’s upcoming film, says working with the superstar would be a great learning opportunity for her. Johar has announced his next home production with Alia and SRK to be helmed by Gauri Shinde of “English Vinglish” fame. Get to know more here.5) Beef ban sours relations of BJP and PDPThe issue of beef ban in Jammu and Kashmir has created a divide between the ruling coalition partners, with PDP saying the prohibition cannot be accepted while the BJP is pressing for strict implementation of the 150-year prohibitory rule. PDP said consumption of beef will continue to be allowed in the state notwithstanding the directive of the High Court for implementing a ban even as BJP said the sentiments of Hindus should be respected in the larger national interest without any provocation. Read more here.

Election Commission to issue notification for second phase of Bihar polls today

The Election Commission of India (ECI) will issue a notification for the second phase of assembly elections in Bihar on Monday.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) will issue a notification for the second phase of assembly elections in Bihar on Monday. Voting of this phase will be held on October 16 in 32 constituencies out of 243 assembly seats. Last day of nomination paper is 28th September. Scrutiny will be on next day 29th September.Candidates can withdraw their nomination paper till 1st October. Polls to the 243-seat Bihar Assembly will be held in five phases between the 12th of next month and the 5th of November. The counting of votes will take place on November 8.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The term of the current Assembly expires on 29th November.

Bihar polls 2015: BJP announces third list of 11 candidates

The BJP had yesterday evening announced the second list of 99 candidates for the Bihar polls.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday announced the third list of 11 candidates for the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections. The BJP had yesterday evening announced the second list of 99 candidates for the Bihar polls.The names of the candidates were decided during the BJP Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting held at the party headquarters yesterday. The BJP, which is contesting on 160 seats in the elections, had earlier this week released the first list of 43 candidates.Elections for the 243-member Bihar Assembly will be held in five phases between October 12 and November 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8. The term of the current Bihar Assembly comes to an end on November 29. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

PM Modi writes to Ban ki-moon, urges UN to send stern message against terrorism

“The United Nations must be made more effective for dealing with the new security challenges. The United Nations was born out of the ashes of the Second World War when conflict was an inter-state phenomenon. “However, we are now living in an era when non-state military actors are a major factor,” Modi said in a veiled reference to threats posed to India from Pakistan.

File Picture

The historic 70th year of the UN must be used to send an “unambiguous message” of “zero tolerance against terrorism”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, citing the threats posed by “non-state military actors”, in a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon.”The United Nations must be made more effective for dealing with the new security challenges. The United Nations was born out of the ashes of the Second World War when conflict was an inter-state phenomenon. “However, we are now living in an era when non-state military actors are a major factor,” Modi said in a veiled reference to threats posed to India from Pakistan. He also called for the adoption of a comprehensive convention against international terrorism this year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The letter dated July 4 was made available by India’s Permanent Mission to the UN during a press briefing in UN on Thursday. Modi arrives at the world body’s headquarters in about a week to address the high-level Sustainable Development Summit on September 25. In the letter, Modi said terrorism and violent, intolerant extremism did not exist earlier as a primary threat to nations and societies at large.”Indeed, with expanded geographical spread, vast resources and new instruments to spread its ideology and draw recruits, the menace of terrorism and extremism has acquired a new dimension that requires a comprehensive global strategy. “We must use this historic year to jointly send an unambiguous message of zero tolerance against terrorism.”An important step in this direction would be adopting the Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism at the United Nations this year,” the Indian leader writes in the letter. Modi said for 70 years the world has remained a “better place” because of the UN but the world has changed dramatically since 1945.”Threats to peace and security have become more complex, unpredictable and undefined. In many ways, our lives are becoming globalised, but fault-lines around our identities are growing,” he said. Modi underscores that his purpose in writing the letter to the UN Chief is to “remind ourselves that we need to seize this moment to rethink how the multilateral system can be made more inclusive, more effective and, ultimately, better fit for the purpose it was conceived.”The 70th anniversary year of the world body is a landmark when member states should ask if the United Nations is adequately equipped to deal with the times they live in.

Big blow if OROP for ex-servicemen opting VRS denied: Retd Gen Satbir Singh

“We want a clarification on the VRS issue, if they still don’t accept, then it is a big blow to the forces,” he added.

The OROP protest to continue until all their demands are met,

Following the declaration of the acceptance of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) on Saturday, Major General (retd.) Satbir Singh said that the war veterans were not fully satisfied with it. “We thank the government that they decided to implement OROP, but they have accepted one of our points, and rejected six points. We are not fully satisfied,” said Major General (retd.) Satbir Singh.Government has said that the people opting for voluntary retirement would not fall under OROP. “We want a clarification on the VRS issue, if they still don’t accept, then it is a big blow to the forces,” added Major General (retd.) Satbir Singh. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Talking about the committee that the government would deploy for the implementation of the OROP, Major General (retd.) Satbir Singh said, “We reject one member committee, we want five members of which three would be veterans, one serving servicemen and one would be the choice of the government or the defence minister.”There should be three conditions that the committee must follow. First, the committee would follow the definition of One Rank One Pension in letter and spirit. It should be a pre condition to the scheme. Second being, no defence personnel of a higher rank would receive lower pension than his junior. And the last being, as soon as the pay commission changes, the veterans’ pension would also change,” added Major General (retd.) Satbir Singh.OROP will be implemented from July 1, 2014, the base year would be 2013.

India criticises UN Develpment Programme for ignoring developing countries

India has criticised the UN Development Programme for ignoring concerns of developing countries, saying “deliberate neglect” by the UN body towards views of developing nations does not augur well for the future of the implementation of the 2030 development agenda.

India has criticised the UN Development Programme for ignoring concerns of developing countries, saying “deliberate neglect” by the UN body towards views of developing nations does not augur well for the future of the implementation of the 2030 development agenda.”The way in which UNDP, which remains primarily a development agency, has chosen to ignore the concerns of its primary constituents, i.e. developing countries, does not augur well for the future of the implementation of the Agenda 2030,” Counsellor in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Prakash Gupta said at the Second Regular Session of the Executive Board of UNDP here on Tuesday. He said developing countries look up to UNDP with immense hope and aspirations to make sure that their common development objectives are fulfilled.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This continuing, consistent and deliberate neglect by UNDP Management towards views of developing countries is not leading to a desirable situation and needs to be addressed sooner than later. “We hope that UNDP will take necessary steps to ensure that its increasing perception of being against developing country interests is corrected at the earliest,” he added. Gupta said that since the last year’s June Session in Geneva, the Group of 77 and China has sent three official submissions to the UNDP and not one of the requests has been acted upon.”It is therefore most unfortunate that even on the question of scheduling sessions in Geneva, another issue that could well have been decided in the previous Board, or even this one, the Group is being forced to move for a decision in the UN General Assembly later next week,” he said. He said India along with G-77 has been requesting for deletion of just three indicators from a set of 100 in the integrated Results and Resources Framework since the last one year, but while thirty others have been pruned by UNDP Management, those three remain un-altered.He said for India, and for the entire developing world, the vision for the future cannot but have the eradication of poverty as its overarching goal. “We are gratified that there has been no compromise on the ambition of the Agenda 2030 either. Its fulfilment, in our view, can allow poverty to be eradicated within the span of a single generation,” he said.

U.S. gold jewellery imports post slowest second-quarter growth since 2012 | Reuters

NEW YORK U.S. gold jewellery imports rose in the second quarter at the slowest rate in nearly three years, Thomson Reuters GFMS calculations showed on Tuesday, while imports of silver jewellery notched their biggest jump in more than a year.

The jump in silver came on low prices and a strong dollar, said Erica Rannestad, senior analyst of precious metals demand at the GFMS metals analysts team in Thomson Reuters, in Chicago.

U.S. imports of gold jewellery rose 9 percent to 14,792 kilograms (475,573 troy ounces) in the second quarter and in June were up 3 percent from a year ago, rising to 4,205 kg.

“Indian gold jewellery imports rose a healthy 9.5 percent, bucking the trend among the top three import partners,” Rannestad said in an email, noting that imports from China and Italy fell.

India is the biggest source of U.S. gold jewellery imports.

Gold prices fell 12 percent in the second quarter from the same period a year ago, largely accounting for the drop in jewellery store sales in terms of value, Rannestad said.

Bullion prices XAU= tumbled 6.6 percent in July, the weakest monthly performance in more than two years.

Second-quarter silver jewellery imports rose by 11 percent to 393,073 kg but they fell 3 percent in June from a year ago.

“The decline in silver prices is making for an increasingly price-competitive global market, and it is becoming more difficult for higher-cost players to maintain market share,” she said.

Imports from Thailand, the biggest supplier of silver jewellery to the United States and one of the lowest cost jewellery manufacturers, made up 46.3 percent of silver jewellery imports in the second quarter. This is the highest share on record, Rannestad said.

U.S. platinum jewellery imports surged by 39 percent in the second quarter as prices fell to six-year lows.

(Reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by David Gregorio)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

De-saffronise Sanskrit before pitching it to world: Panel

The commission was set up in 2013 under the UPA 2 regime by the then HRD Minister Pallam Raju.


File Photo
To take Sanskrit to the world and make it a popular academic paper, Second Sanskrit Commission in its report has recommended, that the language should shed its communal and religious colour. The report goes on to say that Sanskrit needs to be read as a language with academic interest and should castaway the ‘ism’ factor attached to it. The commission has submitted its report to the Human Resource Development Ministry about ten days ago. The commission was set up in 2013 under the UPA 2 regime by the then HRD Minister Pallam Raju. It is headed by Professor Satya Vrat Shastri whose link with the Congress party dates back to the Indian Emergency Era. The commission that got on to business only last year had sought for one year extension from the current government. The request was turned down by the ministry.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “The BJP would have wanted its own person to chair the commission. But replacing the chairman would have caused embarrassment to the government. The government wanted Shastri to finish his task at the earliest. The report is now with the ministry and the government is in a better position to draw its own plan,” explained a senior professor. The report emphasizes on a makeover of the language by bringing Sanskrit at par with other mainstream courses. The committee recommends that Sanskrit should not be taught in isolation. “Sanskrit does not promote obscurantism and is not devoid of scientific temper. The language is deeply connected with other disciplines and should be studied in totality,” said a member of the committee. The committee is of the view to apply Jawaharlal Nehru University’s model of weaving Sanskrit with other disciplines. “Substantial portions of the ancient Indian History cannot be read without reading Sanskrit texts. At JNU a Sanskrit faculty member with History background teaches with History department. Relevant portions from Sanskrit should be taught in mathematics, political science, law, music and sociology,” added a member. The approach they say will not only help students of other discipline develop interest and understanding of Sanskrit, but will also help in creating more research base and job opportunities. Currently with no lucrative career options available for a student of Sanskrit, at college and university level, it is being read only by students who fail to get admission in other disciplines. “A student of Sanskrit ends up becoming a teacher of Sanskrit. Currently the discipline has nothing more to offer to the new generation. We have recommended the need to have job oriented courses for Sanskrit students,” added the member. The commission has also proposed that the students and scholars should possess a working knowledge of English. The commission in its report has recommended framing inter disciplinary post graduate diploma course like Indian Theatre, Yoga and Meditation, Vedic Mathematics, Temple Management, Public Policy and Administration, Astrology and Vastu Vigyan. The commission is of the view that identifying the relevance and importance of Sanskrit in these courses will open new job avenues for Sanskrit students. Creating infrastructure for research projects, convergence of Shastric and modern Sanskrit, revival of the gurukuls and other traditional learning centers which currently lack the basic infrastructure and forming an expert committee of scholars to work on academic programs have also been recommended by the committee. Picking up strings from the first Sanskrit Commission report of 1956-57 that insisted on setting up one Sanskrit university in each state, the second commission highlights the need for developing a Sanskrit Studies Department in each university and Advanced Centres of Sanskrit Studies. The report also discusses the need to have better interaction of Sanskrit with academic world. The report has been prepared after several rounds of consultations with stake holders. “We had sent a questionnaire to about 2500 individuals and academic institutions. The report has been prepared basis the feedback received. We have made our submission to the ministry,” said Professor Shastri.

Fire damages portions of heritage New Market complex in Kolkata

This is the second such fire in the same area in just four months.

A fire broke out in the heritage New Market complex in the heart of the city on Thursday damaging several shops. The fire broke out at around 8.56 PM in the flower market in the old section of the prestigious New Market, senior officers of the state Fire Services Department said. After one and half hours of fire fighting, the flames were doused. 17 fire tenders were pressed into service to bring the blaze under control, the officers said. The shopkeepers helped the firemen to open shutters of unused stores to bring the fire under control. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There were no reports of any casualty or injuries to any person and the cause behind the fire was yet to be ascertained, they added. This is the second such fire in the same area in just four months.Additional inputs from Pooja Mehta

‘Goodbyes should be short, really short’: Missile Man’s advisor documents Kalam’s last moments

Indians reacted with shock and sadness on learning that former President APJ Abdul Kalam had passed away while giving a speech at IIM-Shillong. Bharat Ratna, President, scientist and author, Kalam had taken on many roles during his lifetime and everyone had something that they remembered fondly about him.

But even as Twitter and Facebook was flooded with quotes and other memories, an innocuous post by Srijan Pal Singh was perhaps the most insightful into the last days of the former president. Singh, an adviser to Kalam, was on the stage with him in Shillong when he collapsed and was taken to hospital. In a touching post, he documented his memories and interactions with Kalam over the past few weeks. Here are the highlights:

Kalam meets the guard who was part of his convoy. Image courtesy: Facebook/ Srijan Pal SinghKalam meets the guard who was part of his convoy. Image courtesy: Facebook/ Srijan Pal Singh

Kalam meets the guard who was part of his convoy. Image courtesy: Facebook/ Srijan Pal Singh

What Kalam spoke about on the way to Shillong

Singh wrote of what Kalam spoke of during his trip to Shillong and not surprisingly it was all about national issues. Singh’s post says that Kalam was very worried about the loss of life in the terror strike in Gurdaspur and said “it seems the man made forces are as big a threat to the livability of earth as pollution”. The former president was also of the view that mankind may have to leave earth in 30 years and advised Singh that the future generation needed to take better care of it.

He was also worried about Parliament’s functioning for the last few days.

“I have seen two different governments in my tenure. I have seen more after that. This disruption just keeps happening. It is not right. I really need to find out a way to ensure that the parliament works on developmental politics,” Kalam had said earlier, according to Singh.

In what some would say was a typical Kalam-like plan, the former scientist said he would like to give a surprise assignment for the students of IIM-Shillong at the end of his speech. Kalam said he would ask them for innovative ways to make Parliament more productive.

“Then, after a while he returned on it. ‘But how can ask them to give solutions if I don’t have any myself’.” the former president noted, according to Singh.

‘Sir aapke liye toh 6 ghante bhi khade rahenge’

Even on his last trip, Kalam showed why he was a beloved president.

“We were in a convoy of 6-7 cars. Dr. Kalam and I were in the second car. Ahead us was an open gypsy with three soldiers in it. Two of them were sitting on either side and one lean guy was standing atop, holding his gun. One hour into the road journey, Dr. Kalam said, ‘Why is he standing? He will get tired. This is like punishment. Can you ask a wireless message to (be) given that he may sit?'” Singh wrote.

Singh said he tried to convince Kalam that the guard had probably been instructed to stand for better security but the former president wouldn’t relent. They tried to signal him to sit down and even through radio message but they were unsuccessful.

“Finally, realizing there is little we can do – he told me, ‘I want to meet him and thank him’. Later, when we landed in IIM Shillong, I went inquiring through security people and got hold of the standing guy. I took him inside and Dr. Kalam greeted him. He shook his hand, said thank you buddy. ‘Are you tired? Would you like something to eat? I am sorry you had to stand so long because of me’. The young lean guard, draped in black cloth, was surprised at the treatment. He lost words, just said, ‘Sir, aapke liye to 6 ghante bhi khade rahenge‘(for you I would stand even for six hours),” Singh noted.

The last moments

Singh said that Kalam was characteristically enthusiastic about the lecture and never wanted to keep students waiting.

“I quickly set up his mike, briefed on final lecture and took position on the computers. As I pinned his mike, he smiled and said, ‘Funny guy! Are you doing well?’

“‘Funny guy’, when said by Kalam could mean a variety of things, depending on the tone and your own assessment. It could mean, you have done well, you have messed up something, you should listen to him or just that you have been plain naïve or he was just being jovial. Over six years I had learnt to interpret Funny Guy like the back of my palm. This time it was the last case,” he wrote.

“‘Funny guy! Are you doing well?’ he said. I smiled back, ‘Yes’. Those were the last words he said. Two minutes into the speech, sitting behind him, I heard a long pause after completing one sentence. I looked at him, he fell down,” Singh wrote.

Singh said that they picked up the former President and tried to revive him.

“His hands clenched, curled onto my finger. There was stillness on his face and those wise eyes were motionlessly radiating wisdom. He never said a word. He did not show pain, only purpose was visible. In five minutes we were in the nearest hospital. In another few minutes the they indicated the missile man had flown away, forever. I touched his feet, one last time,” Singh wrote.

What Kalam wanted to be remembered for

Singh spoke about a discussion he had with Kalam some time ago about what they would want to be remembered for.

“‘First you tell me, what will you like to be remembered for? President, Scientist, Writer, Missile man, India 2020, Target 3 billion…. What?’ I thought I had made the question easier by giving options, but he sprang on me a surprise. ‘Teacher'”, he said.

Singh said that Kalam while discussing his friends, the former president had said that children should take care of their elders but it wasn’t taking place always.

‘He paused and said, ‘Two things. Elders must also do. Never leave wealth at your deathbed – that leaves a fighting family. Second, one is blessed is one can die working, standing tall without any long drawn ailing. Goodbyes should be short, really short’,” he noted.

Here’s the full Facebook post:

What I will be remembered for.. my memory of the last day with the great Kalam sir…It has been eight hours since we…

Posted by Srijan Pal Singh on Monday, July 27, 2015

What makes Delhi residents wheeze, choke and die of dirty air?

The country immediately needs an aggressive roadmap for clean fuel and vehicle technology.
BB Yadav
It is good that deadly air pollution in Delhi has become national headline. But it is bad that we are failing to deal with it and find answers that are commensurate with the scale of the problem. It is time to understand what we have done and the actions we need to take urgently and decisively. Otherwise, next winter—barely five months away—will be even more severe and hazardous. While foreigners can choose not to live in polluted Delhi, most of us do not have that option. Let’s also be clear that home air purifiers and filters are not the solution even if the rich in the city believe that they can shut their houses and clean their own private air.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Some 16 years ago, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) issued an advertisement: “Roll down the window of your bullet-proof car, Mr. Prime Minister. The security threat is not the gun, it is the air of Delhi.” This was the time when the air of Delhi was full of black smoke, fuel and emission standards were virtually non-existent and motorisation was just beginning to take off. The agenda for action—also listed by CSE in the public notice—was to advance the roadmap for fuel-emission standards; restrict diesel vehicles and make the transition to a much cleaner fuel, compressed natural gas (CNG). Not anymore. Since 2007 pollution has risen to dangerously toxic levels. This winter, the level of PM 2.5—tiny particles emitted from vehicles that can go deep into the lungs and enter the blood stream—remained three-four times higher than the safety standard. In fact, in November, December and January, air was classified as “severely polluted” for over 65% of the days. According to the government’s own air quality index, this meant pollution was so bad that it could cause “respiratory effects even on healthy people”. It is unsafe to breathe. This is what we must realise. So, what has happened to make Delhi residents, once again, wheeze, choke and die because of dirty air? In the past decade, since the introduction of CNG, some things have changed. First, there has been an explosion of personal vehicles—near 100% increase in registration in Delhi alone. So, even as each car has become cleaner because of tighter emission standards and better quality of fuel, the number has increased exponentially. The net result on pollution is the same. Second, while in 2000 diesel cars were only 4% of the total sales, this increased to 50% by mid-2000. Each diesel car is legally allowed to emit four to seven times more than the petrol variant. Pollution is inevitable. Third, the bypass road, ordered by the Supreme Court in 2004, was not built. So, some 50,000 trucks using dirty fuel and even dirtier technology transit the city. One new source of pollution has made an entry. Post mid-2000, Punjab and Haryana directed the farmers to delay paddy transplantation to reduce groundwater usage in peak summer. Now, the farmers have no time to prepare the field between harvesting paddy and growing wheat, so they burn the straw. In October and November, just as winter inversion is settling in, smoke from this fire makes its way to the already polluted airshed of Delhi. The country immediately needs an aggressive roadmap for clean fuel and vehicle technology. This is not acceptable to powerful vehicle manufacturers. Even as the oil companies have started the supply of cleaner fuel across north India since April 1, the car companies have succeeded in getting an extension for supply of clean vehicles from the surface transport ministry. Now, the same car companies are busy arguing that they should continue to have the licence to pollute. They want 8-10 years to move to the cleaner vehicle technology Europe uses today. These companies need to understand that we have all run out of time and air to breathe. The other steps are equally urgent, from monitoring air quality to smog alerts, so that we know when it is advisable to take precautions because of bad air. But most critical is the need to massively augment our public transportation systems, from bus and metro to footpaths and cycle tracks, so that we can take a bus and then cross the road or just walk. We also need car restraints. Parking rates and fines for illegal parking need to be increased and then enforced. Today we have a handful of cranes and a sprinkling of traffic police to stop illegal parking. This cannot go on.
(The views expressed in the above article are of noted environmentalist and political activist Sunita Narain, who is associated with the Centre for Science and Environment.)

Myanmar operation: Blindly following the Doval doctrine can make India most dangerous place on Earth

The use of force or military intervention –held in abeyance since the end of the Second Gulf War-is back in interstate relations. This is demonstrated eloquently by the resort to what can be termed as ‘hot pursuit’ by the elite corps of the Indian Army.

An elite commando group entered Myanmar territory and eliminated scores of militants. A militant attack on Indian troops in Manipur a few days ago apparently provoked the attack inside Myanmar. Coincidentally, the United States has overcome its reluctance to military intervene against the ISIS and has established a military base in Iraq. These two cases are purely coincidental but suggest that force as an instrument in statecraft is back in international relations. Historically, the use of force in international relations is hedged and qualified.

National Security Advisor. AFPNational Security Advisor. AFP

National Security Advisor. AFP

The United Nations Charter expressly forbids the use of force in interstate relations. Sovereignty is held to be a cardinal maxim that cannot be violated. This ‘rule’ was breached by the United States after 11 September when the country’s homeland was attacked. The United States retaliated by attacking Iraq, deposing Saddam and occupying the country. The United States over rode International law and went to war under the rubric of pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is legitimated when a state has intelligence regarding the intentions of another (hostile) state and when an attack is imminent.

The Myanmar hot pursuit appears to have taken a leaf from the United States’ pre-emptive doctrine and attacked militant outfits in Myanmar in defiance of sovereignty and it could be said even international law. The state has gone further and asserted that the Myanmar operation was not an isolated one; it would hold in the future too against hostile states and groups.

What can be inferred and extrapolated from this activism by the Indian state?

First, it would appear, India is not reluctant over the projection of force across borders. The architect of this activism, if press reports are to be believed is Ajit Doval, the National Security Advisor to the government. This means that India’s National Security doctrine has undergone a radical shift and departure. It has shifted gears from being reactive to aggressive. The approach meshes and gels with India’s aspirations for regional hegemony.

Second, at the risk of repetition, it means that force is once again de rigeur in international relations. However, the major insight appears to be that regional hegemons or aspirational regional hegemons will take it upon themselves to settle conflicts and disputes within the ambit of their respective regions. This would be a departure from past practice of taking recourse to pleading with or seeking help from global powers for dispute settlement or conflict resolution. In this sense, force and power projection become the locus around which states settle or arbiter their conflicts and from a broader perspective and canvas accrues from United States’ relative decline and even quasi isolationism.

The third point that flows from this is the ‘security dilemma’ and the attendant arms races become prominent again. The security dilemma is a spiral that accrues when one state’s attempts to maximize security and power induces the other state or states to do the same. Arms racing are a natural concomitant to the security dilemma. The world or at least the South Asian region is then back to square one. The region now risks being a heavily militarized region with potential implications for the alliance system(s) in the region.

All this suggests a bleak future for the subcontinent. But the major consequences will be between archrivals India and Pakistan. Will the Doval doctrine and the signaling inherent in it make Pakistan cower?

Unlikely is the answer. The Pakistani state is primed for conflict with India. And toward this end, Pakistan to gain parity with India has acquired nuclear weapons. This neutralizes India’s superiority in conventional forces and leads to a deterrence paradigm between the two countries. So India is unlikely to replicate the Myanmar experience with Pakistan unless it wants to disturb and throw out of kilter the deterrence balance that holds. Disturbing this would axiomatically lead to a nuclear conflagration in the region-a prospect that rationality suggests both countries should shy away from. The statements emanating from the Indian state’s defence establishment then are in the nature of rhetoric and posturing.

Or , in the least, one would hope that it is mere posturing. If , however, there is more to the statements other than signaling, there are reasons for despair. The subcontinent will fall victim to a more militarized rivalry and could well become the ‘most dangerous place on the earth’. This is a condition that serves none and should be averted. Prudence then dictates that sobriety and a sense of proportion informs inter state relations both in the subcontinent and the world at large.

Facebook opens platform to developers

On Monday, Facebook opened its platform for developers days after several partners in India pulled out fearing concerns that it had violated net neutrality concerns. While internet activists said that the project violated the principles of ‘net neutrality’ by favouring some websites free overs others, founder Mark Zuckerberg said that it was impossible to have a free internet.”It costs tens of billions of dollars every year to run the internet, and no operator could afford this if everything were free,” he said in a video released on the website.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>, now available in Colombia, Guatemala, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Philippines, Indonesia, and Ghana besides India, was released here with the help of Reliance. Reliance subscribers till now would have been able to access partner websites free of cost. By making it an open platform, any developer will be able to register if it completes three important criteria.The first criteria is that the website should not require high-bandwidth. “Services should not use VoIP, video, file transfer, high resolution photos, or high volume of photos,” read the guidelines. Second, these websites should be available on smartphones with milited capability. “Websites must be properly integrated with to allow zero rating and therefore can’t require JavaScript or SSL/TLS/HTTPS and must meet these technical guidelines,” said the rules. The third criteria is that the website should allow for more people to be on the internet. “Services should encourage the exploration of the broader internet wherever possible,” said the rules.

Congress organisational elections announced; Rahul crowning may be deferred till Oct-Nov

Congress organisational polls that would have culminated into elevation of Rahul Gandhi as next president have been deferred till second half of October-November. The All India Congress Committee (AICC) members who elect the new party president will be elected by August 15 in the first phase and by October 15 in the second phase and as such election to the post of party president will take place only after this process is completed.

Congress organisational polls that would have culminated into elevation of Rahul Gandhi as next president have been deferred till second half of October-November. The All India Congress Committee (AICC) members who elect the new party president will be elected by August 15 in the first phase and by October 15 in the second phase and as such election to the post of party president will take place only after this process is completed. Though the announcement is silent on dates for the president’s election as also on the plenary session in which the new members of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) are to be elected, the publication of membership lists will now be completed on July 5 for first phase and July 24 for second phase. Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala are among the states covered in the first phase while the second phase includes the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. The elections for the first phase will be completed in just 21 days from July 10 to 31 and the second phase will begin from July 28. In the first phase, the booth committee elections will be held from July 10 to 15, block committees from July 16 to 20, DCC office-bearers and executives from July 20 to 25, and the PCC president, vice-president, treasurer and executive as also AICC members from July 26 to 31. The state returning officers are to issue identity cards to AICC members by August 15. In case of the second phase, the booth committee elections will be held from July 28 to August 14, block committees from August 20 to 31, DCCs from September 1 to 15, and PCC office-bearers and executives as also AICC members from September 21 to 30. The AICC members are to be issued the identity cards by October 15. Meanwhile, the Congress on Thursday faulted the BJP government in Haryana for “premature” release of audit report against Robert Vadra, husband of Priyanka, on land deal. Congress party dubbed the report as “half truths, innuendos and insinuations.” Its chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said the government deliberately did not reply to the queries by the Principal Accountant General to put the incontrovertible facts on record and tabled the interim report in the Assembly with an intention to harm.

Tamil Nadu: One more leopard trapped in Kodanad

Udhagamandalam (TN): A male leopard was today found trapped in a cage placed by forest personnel in Kodanad Estate near here after villagers reported sighting of wild cat.

Representational image. AFP.Representational image. AFP.

Representational image. AFP.

Acting on information by the villagers about the movement of leopard some weeks ago, the forest officials had kept four cages, including one in the estate, about 45 km from here.

This is the second leopard to be caught in the last fortnight in the area. A leopard was trapped some 15 days ago, forest department sources said.

The 4-year old leopard was released into deep forest, they added.