Saturday, August 31, 2013

My 2 cents: PM's anguish in Rajya sabha

DR. MMS was justifiably right in blaming opposition for the chaos they created in parliament including shouting slogans like "PM Chor hai". No one whether it is the PM or anybody else sitting in such a august body would like to be called a Chor, that is broadcast nationally.

But whet did Dr. MMS do to enhance his authority or exhibit the control he had over his ministry and in the administration of the Govt. over the past years. He kept silent on many matters and only when ruckus was created to have his answers as the administrative head of the nation did he choose to make a brief speech.  Even such speeches were not so enthusiastic nor created any motivation. They were looking more like speeches out of compulsion rather than the speech of the PM.

(1) In 2011 he openly admitted his responsibility in choosing a tainted  person as CVC in the parliament. But where was the accountability. When you are responsible for a lapse, then the natural justice should be you are also accountable for it.

(2) In the 2G scam, he could have averted the current situation had he exercised due diligence and stopped the spectrum allocation or insisted on the proper control and procedure in the allocation.

(3) Coalgate situation is really pathetic. Yes, he cannot directly control the record keeper of the Govt and the concerned ministry is responsible for it. But why the ministry is in a such hopeless state that even it did not register a police case against the missing files, but required a SC direction to CBI to file a criminal FIR. A deputy secretary cousin have done this. More than anything else, the scam was during the period when he held the portfolio and so naturally, he is answerable. If not he, who else?

(4) The industry leaders cited "Policy paralysis" since the past 2-3 years and the govt did nothing great about it as it was more occupied in salvaging itself from the mammoth corruption charges levelled against besides trying to hold the forte by making the alliance partners happy. Now the industry leaders like Ratan Tata openly talking about the foreign investors loosing confidence in India and such talks cannot be pushed aside as rubbish as they are the people who engage with their counterpart abroad on a day to day basis. Their opinion reflect the true state and not political statements. We had Vodafone case of retro tax, and now Nokia threatening to pull out. 2G had its own casualties on account of the cancellation of already granted licenses. These kind of measures would have definitely shaken the investors' confidence in any country, leave alone India.

(5) It is such a pity that the Govt. shoots itself on its own foot by admitting the policies of 2009-11 had impact on the economic situation. And what did PM do? Was he helpless or did not have enough musscle power to overrule the then minister and steer the right course?

As extracted from an article that was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 8, 2005, in another context:

"There's lot more ground to cover, but let me wrap with this tough-to-transliterate kural 280 that frowns upon sham. "Mazhithalum neetalum venda ulagam pazhithadhu ozhithu vidin."
Pope translates it as, "What's the worth of shaven head or tresses long if you shun what all the world condemns as wrong?" Bharatiar would put it thus, "No balding nor tangling the hair! Abstain from condemned acts with care." "

Not speaking when you have to speak, speaking less when spoken and speaking things which were not warranted, all will land anyone in problem.

Friday, August 30, 2013

PM in Lok Sabha: Reduce appetite for Gold and consumption of Petrol

PM in Lok Sabha: Reduce appetite for Gold and consumption of Petrol

What tough measures that the Govt. has taken against (1) Jewellery shops that sells without any tax or receipts (2) Mushrooming growth of the Jewellery 'chains' across the country and with international branches?

On one hand we have invited all auto majors to the country in the name of the employment opportunities and on the other hand we talk about reduction of consumption of Petrol. 

To reduce the petrol bill, what big steps have been taken to promote public transport except in few cities. The long time taken to implement the metro and mono rail projects resulted in increase of the purchase of vehicles as people cannot wait.

Propagation should come after creating the remedy.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Trilogy of Shiva - Books by Amish

Trilogy of Shiva - Books by Amish

Just finished reading the 3 books. The Gods were once lived among humans and by their heroics they were turned into Gods - is the theory behind the books. The mythical stories you have heard through the mouths of your grand moms, from the religious discourses, read in the books have been intertwined and narrated in 3 volumes. The bad fortune Vikarmas, ill-fated Nagas with the deformity or exceptional features in the body were well imagined in a totally different way from our believes. Well narrated books and provides a good relaxation.

37° Clear
Riyadh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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Feat achieved by Tamil Nadu in Social welfare measures

Feat achieved by Tamil Nadu in Social welfare measures

I read 2 articles within a week, both praising the feat achieved by Tamil Nadu in the implementation of social welfare measures and how it can be adopted as a model by other states.

The first one is the Medical welfare measures which is said to be at a low cost on a study done globally. The analysis compares the position 25 years back and now and how dramatically the progress has been made and making available the facilities at a low cost. (

The second one is an appreciation of the "Amma canteen" where in the low cost food is provided through state sponsored canteens ( Idlis are sold at a rupee each while sambar rice and curd rice cost Rs.5 and Rs.3 a plate respectively). The appreciation comes from Nobel Laureate Dr Amarteya Sen who wants the scheme to be implemented in all the towns and villages. The state is a pioneer in the implementation of the Mid-day meals scheme which reduced the school drop out rates. Also the SHG model is well run in the state. The PDS is much better in Tamil Nadu when compared to other states and that is why the state is even reluctant to implement the new Food Security system (leave alone the political angle out of this) and both DMK and AIADMK have proposed to include the features in the FSB by way of amendments. (

But the one big irritant factor is the state run liquor shops (TASMAC), which takes away the good effects of all the social welfare measures and none of the governments, be it DMK or AIADMK could get rid of them, due to the massive funds it generates for the state's coffers. If only they exhibit the will to get rid of this in a phased manner, the Aam Aadmi will be leading a much happier life.

Saudi Arabia

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Crowd Censoring

Crowd Censoring

The screening of "Madras Cafe" a film on the events of Srilanka Vs LTTE of the 90s did not take place as originally scheduled on 23rd August. The reason was the huge protest by the tamil outfits in the state, while the rating of the film in the national media is about 4 out of 5. We have witnessed the delayed release of "Thalaivaa" by nearly 2 weeks on account of threats to the screens, which was attributed to some political movements. The story of "Vishwaroopam", and the role of religious groups in that needs no mention here. "Dam 999" was another film in the recent years that was banned in Tamilnadu by the Govt. Also if my memory serves me right a tamil film "Kuttra Pathirikai" on the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi produced inTamil nadu did not see the light of the day for similar reasons. But all these films were passed for public viewing by the Censor board under the appropriate category.

The question is - Is there a unwritten super censorship? Or the Censor board follows some outdated principles while clearing the films for viewing, without taking into account the local sensitivity or relevance?

A film not being a documentary will always try to exhibit the alternate view since the popular view has already been debated and discussed as the event happened. The freedom of the film maker is obstructed when such Crowd Censoring takes place and the general public was deprived to hear / view the other perspective of the event and the interested groups thwart any attempt to view it rationally even after decades of such happenings. This kind of denial is not good for a democracy and it is the duty of the authorities to ensure and allow screening of such films. Mob law should not be allowed to prevail as it sets wrong precedence.

35° Sunny
Riyadh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Is Congress Panicky?

Is Congress Panicky?

Did Modi react too soon on PM's speech on I-Day or Congress was shocked by such a strong criticism of the speech? For me it seems the later. The speed with which the rebutals, calling Modi names like frog, power hungry etc., is unwarranted. A bunch of senior leaders, who are known for their Modi bash descended and started protecting the image of Congress, as if they were messengers from heaven or holy angels.

On the same day there were other leaders from opposition ranks including Jaya severely criticised the UPA in their I-Day speech. No one ever took notice of that! Why? Congress has planned for containment of Modi factor in the election and thus pouncing upon him like a pack of wolfs whenever he said anything or whatever he did. In that process, they have made Modi a permanent headline matter as when they oppose Modi they get mentioned only once while Modi's name gets mentioned as many times as they criticise.

Whether Modi is a PM Material or not, can BJP provide the good governance which they are taking about or not, it is a different story. But Modi as a factor to reckon with has been established.

We also need a change. Yes, the slogan should be "We need a Change"

21° Mostly Cloudy
Karnataka, India

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2 movies in 2 days

2 movies in 2 days and in theatres after so many years. Vijay's Thalaivaa and SRK's Chennai Express. Both have lifted scenes from other tamil movies while Thalaivaa was obvious. You can find Puthiya paravai, Nayagan (baseline story), Thevar magan and Dhanush's Kolaveri. I would even say that Kamal should shelve any idea of Nayagan sequel as Thalaivaa is almost the same. Over all, the movie is average with lots is lull movements.

On the other hand, Chennai Exp. is a tamil movie made in Bollywood. Except SRK, everyone else is from Kollywood. Satyaraj plays a similar role in both the movies. Deepika overshadows SRK. Photography and locations are awesome. The Rajini pampering with a song dedicated for him and his fans little overdose. It is an appendage at the end and could have been done away with.

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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Mumbai airport - the worst one for international to domestic transfer

Mumbai airport - the worst one for international to domestic transfer.

It was a horrid time for me and Jayanthi when we landed at Mumbai airport en route to Bangalore on 2nd August morning. We travelled from Riyadh to Bangalore on 1st and 2nd of August, 2013 through Jet Airways with a transfer at Mumbai.

There can never be a stupid system like the one in Mumbai in any international airport where everyone is treated worse than cattle. Shashi tharoor was correct when he said cattle class.

In the early hours of the day many airlines land in Mumbai and especially the Jet airways counter was awful. Terminal 2B and baggage casserole was a mess. But this is a shade better when you compare the immigration. Many flights land in the wee hours with lots of connecting flights to the domestic destinations with a gap of 2 to 3 hours. But to our surprise we could find only 4 counters where the clearance was taking place. With all the yawning and morning customary, cordial wishes and 'good mornings' the queue moved at snail's pace. You loose about 45 mts to 1 hr there.

Then you move to the baggage claim area. You should pat yourself on the back, if you could find a trolly. There are airport staff but it seems it is not their duty to bring back the empty trollies back to the queue. You go out, mind it, I mean this - past the customs with your cabin luggage on and get the trolly from the streets or outside the clearance area and collect your baggage.

If they are going to call the x-ray scanning available in immigration area as pre-emptive check, God knows what they can find? Passengers slip through the check by passing the queue, even. Then you enter the death row like chamber with a width of not more 12 feet in which at least 4 queues (if they were orderly) would be moving for the domestic transfer. You are clear winner if you can pass through that area in 30 minutes and reach the next x-ray scanning. I dunno why there should be 2 scannings when I got a scanning done just 25 feet before and no other entry for anyone other than the transit passengers.

Then take the trolly and hand it over to the Jet airways staff. Here at least I could see some responsible staff taking care of you. But that's all they can do, as all the rest of the facilities are managed by the Mumbai international Airport authorities.

Move to the point where you have to board the bus for the transfer. It's no wonder I recalled the 'irumudi ayyappa bakthargal' as every one was holding the cabin baggage on their head and have to tread a dark passage of about 25 feet, in as many lines you can count. You can hear all abusive words in all indian languages there. The airport authorities knew very well that people may miss the flights if they were not transported in time, but the sense of urgency seems to be last word for them.

You would be damn lucky and pinch yourself if you could get the transfer bus within 30 minutes of waiting. At 8:30 am I was rubbing shoulders (and body with a dose of sweat on both) with the passengers, whose domestic departure was at 8:00 am though they landed at around 5:00 am.

I managed to board the bus and reach the domestic terminal at about 8:50 and heard the final call for boarding the flight to Bangalore at 9:00 am. It was just a coincidence that I could catch the flight that day.

I looked very sheepish in the flight as I was looking like coming out of a ticket counter in a theatre where the first show of a Rajini film was just released. The air hostess must have surely thought that I landed at wrong place instead of the rural bus stand. Or probably, she must be witnessing such horrified passengers daily on that schedule. The fellow traveller just took his hands off from the hand rest when my hand accidentally touched his as he was afraid of a contagious disease catching him through me. But he was looking little awkward after seeing a Longines watch in my hand.

I swore at that time that never will I travel through this connection. But alas, I have already booked the same flight with a similar connection to Chennai in September. Oh, ****.