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Does Sachin Tendulkar deserve a Rajya Sabha seat?

Sachin Tendulkar, Indian cricketer. 4 Test ser...

Sachin Tendulkar(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Has a seat of Rajya Sabha member been wasted because of its allocation to Sachin Tendulkar? If the nation would hear when Sachin will talk, does he really need the platform of Rajya Sabha to talk? And, if Sachin Tendulkar will be actively pursuing cricket, wouldn’t it be great injustice to the Rajya Sabha seat that has been given to him?

Vulgarity of Dispute – Indian Army vs. Govt

Vulgarity is simply the conduct of other people.

~ Oscar Wilde

The skirmishes between the Indian army chief over the age dispute, the bribe issue, then the case of leaked letter over preparedness of Indian army, and now rumors of a coup highlight disgrace at the top. I personally couldn’t have imagined such a poor state of Indian Army, let alone it’s chief, and his disgraceful treatment by our top ministers. To put things straight, we are a successful democracy because we are a free nation. This freedom cannot come without a strong defense mechanism, and our top ministers are simply throwing tons of filth on the person at the helm of affairs of the army. One such example is that of Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav.

Talking about corruption alone, it is not a closed room secret when it comes to defense deals. The noteworthy part however is its confirmation by a serving army chief. Although the timing of the news i.e. 18 months after being offered the bribe does raise some questions once can’t ignore the courage displayed by General V.K. Singh. Things have gotten murkier after a new PIL filed by some former bureaucrats challenging the appointment of Lt General Bikram Singh as the next Army chief.

It seems to me that in three instances i.e. 1) Age of General, 2) Disclosure of offered bribe, and 3) PIL by bureaucrats all point towards preventing Lt General Bikram Singh from becoming the next Army chief. Backing this stand are retired Admiral L Ramdass and former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalswamy. But if this is true, why is the government opposing these forces?

In any case, the government has dealt with issue in a pitiful manner. I personally never imagined the powerlessness of the army chief and nor did I imagine how little regard our government had for the army.

Vulgarity begins when imagination succumbs to the explicit.

~ Doris Day

Chennai Train Collision

Mamata Banerjee,IMG 0276

A major train collision near Chennai that has taken lives of 9 people (the expected figure to go up) and injuring 9 people. The accident took place when a passenger train was hit from behind by an Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) train. This is a third major train accident in a span of 2 months. It seems to me that the politics of West Bengal and Prime Ministerial ambitions of our Rail Minister (Mamata Banerjee) has resulted in a neglected Rail ministry. The sorry state of affairs of Rail safety shown in abysmal rail safety record this year is a reflection of “how cheap” is the life of an ordinary man in India.

The other two major disaster’s have been as follows

July 10, 2011 – Kalka Mail derails near Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh killing 70 people and injuring more than 300.

July 07, 2011 – A Mathura Chhapra Express train rams into a bus carrying wedding guests around 2 a.m. at an unmanned railway crossing in Thanagaon, Kanshiram Nagar district, Uttar Pradesh, killing 38 and injuring 30

I just hope this lust for power does not take precedence over safety of passengers.

Godhra verdict: 11 get death

The Gujarat High Court, established in the yea...

The Gujarat High Court

11 convicts in the Godhra train burning case were on 1st march 2011 handed down death sentence while 20 others were given life imprisonment by a special court in the 2002 Godhra incident incident.

In 2002, the coach (S-6) of the train Sabarmati Express coming from Bihar (Darbhanga) destined to Gujarat (Ahmedabad) was burned in Godhra (Gujarat) . About 58 people were burned to death, which consists of mostly Hindu Pilgrims.

This event triggered a widespread communal violence in Gujarat that resulted in deaths of about 790 to 2000 Muslims and about 254 Hindus.

In the very first police FIR after the incident, the incident was viewed as an unplanned mob fury.

But, a special investigation team (SIT) of Gujarat state police put forth an argument that the act was pre-planned by a Muslim Group. It was said by the police that they had stockpiled about 140 liters of petrol a day before the attacks had to take place and the very purpose of these attacks was to kill the Kar-Sewaks.

In 2004, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav appointed Justice U C Banerjee to investigate Godhra incident.The Railways Ministry setup a commission that reported in 2005 that the fire was an accident. The Gujarat high court ruled the formation of this inquiry commission as “illegal” and “unconstitutional”. At present, all the reports of the commission by Railways stand invalid. Moreover, the outcome of this report has been questioned by BJP as politically motivated as its findings coincide with elections.

Special judge P. R. Patel considering this case as “rarest of rare” pronounced death penalty for 11 out of the 31 convicted in the case while 20 others were sentenced to life imprisonment.

“The court looking into their active role in the conspiracy and setting afire the S6 coach of Sabarmati Express train near Godhra, gave death penalty to 11 people,” public prosecutor J. M. Panchal said.

The court also slapped punishment on them under various other sections, which will be concurrent to their life term.

The prosecution had sought death sentence for all the 31 convicts, saying that it was a heinous act.

A special fast track court convicted 31 accused in Godhra train burning case.

Another 63 people were acquitted in the Godhra train burning conspiracy.

The special fast track court was appointed by Gujarat High Court after orders from the supreme court of India.

Mint Reports

Defence counsel I. M. Munshi said the convicts will definitely appeal against the punishment awarded to them.

“It (the punishment) is very difficult to swallow. Till we get the copy of the judgement, we cannot comment much,” Munshi said.

We definitely don’t what is more difficult to swallow – The killing of innocent people or the death sentence to those killed innocents. I think its the former.

Godhra Train Burning Results

Godhra verdict: Death for 11, life term for 20 – Economy and Politics – livemint.com.

Rail Budget 2011 : The financial issues

The future growth of Indian Railways is to be increasingly subjected to the discipline of the capital market, including those overseas, even as

This time, the railway budget promised a dividend of Rs4,104.50 crore in this fiscal. It is 26% lower than Rs6,608.46 crore proposed in Mamata Banerjee’s 2010 budget.

It did this partly by cutting the back money dedicated on maintaining tracks and rolling stock.

Another feature of this budget was that it maintained the passenger fares constant. It has been the eight such year when the budget has not touched upon the passenger rates.

Moreover the freight rates too were kept constant.

Where will the money for new projects come from ?

Railways is looking to the debt market to finance its new projects especially infrastructure related projects.

Rail Budget 2011 : Economic Focus with Human Face

Mint Reports

The budget documents showed the railways had lowered the money transferred to its depreciation reserve fund by Rs1,900 crore for 2011-12 as compared with Banerjee’s projection last year. The fund is used to maintain and replace its assets.

Other than a lower transfer to the depreciation fund, Sahai said revamping the product mix during the fiscal to capitalize on the increasing magnitude of coal imports into India protected its receipts. Typically, two-thirds of receipts come from freight, primarily coal.

The Long Term issues

This year’s capital spending is to be financed partly through some of the railways’ reserve funds. These funds have seen a significant decline in net accretions over the years.

Mint Reports “In 2009-10, the last year for which final numbers are available, the aggregate closing balance of all funds fell by more than two-thirds in a single year to Rs5,032.06 crore.”

This railway budget has been silent on the big projects such as the Dedicated Freight Corridor. It has not indicated where the money for it will come and how long will it take to complete it. We discussed the case of Dedicated Freight Corridor and the concerns about Indian Railways Financial Health

Railway Budget 2011 – Dedicated Freight Corridor Project

The proposed Plan

Mint Reports, “In the budget estimates for 2011-12, the Plan outlay of Rs57,630 crore is to be met from Rs20,454 crore of market borrowings, including Rs10,000 crore of tax-free bonds.

Railways is in a position where it can no longer fund its projects through internal accruals of cash flows. The market borrowings are to funded through Indian Railways Finance Corp Ltd and it will carry an unwritten sovereign guarantee.

Railway Budget 2011- Causes for Indian Rail financial crisis

The total receipts of the railways in 2011-12 are projected at Rs1.09 trillion.

The dividend proposed is Rs6,734.72 crore.

The operating ratio (ratio of working expenses to gross earnings) is projected to improve marginally to 91.1% from around 98%.

The budget documents show that Indian railways expects to increase its contribution to the depreciation reserve fund by 23%.

Mamata going to market for money – Home – livemint.com.

Rail Budget 2011 : Economic Focus with Human Face

Mamata Banerjee,IMG 0276

Indian Railways Minster: Mamata Banerjee

Highlights of Railways Budget 2011-12

  • No hike in passenger fares
  • No hike in freight rates
  • Introduction of 9 non-stop Duronto Trains
  • Introduction of 3 Shatabdis
  • Reduction in the senior citizen age for women from 60 years to 58 years
  • Concession on senior citizens (Men above 60 years) from 30% to 40%
  • Announcement of a metro coach factory in Singur (West Bengal)
  • Announcement of Rail Industrial Park in Jelligham
  • integrated suburban network for Kolkata and 34 new services for the Kolkata metro

Her announcements for the state evoked protests from members including those from Bihar, UP and Kerala, but she appealed to them to be patient for her other announcements. Read more of this post