Margshirsha 16Vik Samvat 2066. Yugabda 5111: December 1, 2009

1. FESTIVALS: Magh Snana: Magh Snan is the annual holy bathing ritual, held in the month of Magh, on the banks of Sangam at Prayag. In 2010, Magh Snana starts on Paush Poornima which falls on December 31. Important dates for taking holy dip in the confluence of holy rivers – Ganaga, Yamuna and Saraswati during Magh Snan are Paush Punima, Makar Sankranthi, Mauni Amavas, Basant Panchmi, Magh Poornima and Mahashivaratri spread over a period of 45 days. Maha Shivaratri falls on February 12, 2010. Magh Snan is not held when Kumbh Mela and Ardh Kumbh Mela take place.
2. WE OWN AYODHYA MOVEMENT, BUT NOT GOING TO APOLOGISE: RSS: Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) on November 24 owned the Ayodhya movement but refused to apologize about what happened in Ayodhya in 1992 which led to demolition of the Babri mosque.
"We fully own up the movement. We mobilize people. People should respect the sentiment of crores of people," said Ram Madhav, the RSS leader and former spokesman of the Sangh on a private channel.
"We are not going to apologize. Our agitation echoed the sentiment of the people at the time. It was a spontaneous act of anger by people," Madhav added.
3. Modi keeps wheels of tribal uplift in motion: In yet another landmark achievement, Gujarat on November 22 became the first State in the country to have an ultra-modern technical training institute dedicated for the tribal youth.
Earlier this year, Gujarat had become the first State in the country to start a climate change department in view of the increasing dangers from global warming. The All Gujarat Institute of Driving, Technical Training and Research at Gajadara village in the tribal taluka of Vaghodia in Vadodara district, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Narendra Modi on November 22.
A joint venture of the Gujarat Government and Maruti Suzuki (India) limited, the newly opened institute will provide training to tribal youth in car driving, repairs and maintenance.
Inaugurating the institute, Modi said that technically-trained and highly-skilled tribal youth can change the face of Gujarat’s tribal belt in near future. The State has plans to obtain best results of technological advances in tribal areas by equipping the tribal youth with modern technology under the ‘Vanbandhu’ scheme, the Chief Minister said. Constructed on 25 acres of land, the institute has 18 class rooms, modern workshop, laboratory and separate hostels for tribal boys and girls.
In the initial phase, the institute would train 2,250 tribal youth in a year. The Tribal Development department of the State has contributed Rs 16.35 crore for the construction of the institute.
4. ENCOURAGE USE OF MODERN TECHNOOGY- MOHAN BHAGWAT: "There is no harm in using the modern technology with changing time and needs. We need to impart the knowledge of new technology in ourown languages. The means have their own significance and they make us strong, which is need of the hour today," said Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat while inaugurating the website of Himachal Shiksha Samiti in Shimla ( during his recent visit to the state.
"We need to get and imbibe the knowledge of modern techniques. But this technique should be used by right hands. If the technique goes to the wrong hands the destruction is certain and if it is used in proper way it would benefit the whole world," Shri Bhagwat added.
Enumerating the activities of Himachal Shiksha Samiti organizing secretary of the Samiti Rajendra Kumar said the work of Vidya Bharati under the banner of Himachal Shiksha Samiti began in the state in 1980 and now there are 257 schools and 108 Samskar Kendras in all the districts of the state.
5. ANY SYMBOL OF HINDU HUMILIATION IS A NATIONAL SHAME - HINDUS ARE PROUD OF BABRI DEMOLITION: VHP :Reiterating the stand of VHP about Sri Rama Janma Bhumi at Ayodhya, Dr Pravin Togadiya, Secretary General of VHP said on November 24, "Any symbol created, built or otherwise, by any foreign invader in Akhand Bharat is a national shame. It never happens in any nation that a majority is consistently humiliated, hurt & persecuted. If it so happens anywhere then it is a national shame. A structure built by Babur cracking & destroying majority Hindus' place of worship & place of utter faith can never be glorified in Bharat. Whoever tries to do so are putting Bharat at a risk of losing again to the modern day methods of foreign invasions like Jehadi attack, economic exploitation etc. Therefore, falling of Babri is the proudest moment of Hindus in Bharat.”
Dr Togadiya further reassured, “Irrespective of political parties, governments & a limited biased people’s chatter box debates, HINDUS STAND TALL IN BHARAT & WITH VHP in the Sri Rama Janma Bhumi movement. Bharat recently saw similar Hindu unity in Rameswaram Ramsethu movement, in Amarnath movement & in Gouraksha movement. This Hindu unity will make wonders for Bharat & stand up against any odds. Hindus & VHP are ready for any sacrifice for building Sri Ram temple at the site.”
6. PRIME MINISTER INVITES BHARATIYAS WORLDWIDE TO RETURN HOME: Noting that he prefers the term "brain gain" to "reverse brain drain", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Nov 26 at Washington thanked the Bharatiya-American community for their contribution in building bridges between Bharat and the United States and invited Bharatiyas worldwide to return home. Prime Minister Singh highlighted the Five Es - economy, energy, environment, education and empowerment that forms a critical part of the "next phase" of the relationship between the two countries.
7. DALAI PRAISES BHARAT FOR STANDING UP TO CHINA: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said that he was “anxious” ahead of his Arunachal Pradesh visit and praised Bharat for standing up to China. “I was very anxious before going to Tawang”, the Dalai Lama said in an interview to a private TV channel. “I did not want things to escalate between Bharat and China”, the Tibetan leader said. Sino-Bharat relations became tense ahead of the Dalai Lama’s trip of a Tibetan monastery at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, a sprawling region Beijing claims as its own.
8. STOP EATING BEEF TO OUT EMISSIONS, SAYS JARAM: That was the suggestion mooted out by Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to major beef-consuming nations on Nov. 19 from a UN forum.
“You may laugh at it. But the solution to cut emissions is to stop eating beef. It leads to emission of methane (CH4) that is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide. But the best thing for us, India, is we are not a beef-eating nation,” he said, while speaking after the release of the United Nation’s Population Fund’s (UNFPA) report: State of World Population 2009 — Facing A Changing World: Women, Population and Climate.
Ramesh’s suggestion comes amid ever-growing concerns worldwide over livestock methane adding to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and countries like Germany and Australia discouraging its consumption.
9. HINDU-MAORI INITIATIVE LAUDED: The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has expressed appreciation of and support to the initiative taken by Hindu Council of New Zealand in building Hindu-Maori relations.
En route to attending the World Parliament of Religions in Melbourne, Australia Dr. Mihir Meghani, President of the Hindu American Foundation visited New Zealand to see part of New Zealand’s landscape and also to meet with Hindu and Maori community leaders.
Dr. Meghani met with Kaumatua John Marsh (MBE JP), Shaloh Mitchell of Ohinemutu village tours, and Natanahira Te pona, Rotorua’s Tohunga Whakairo (master carver), who sculpted a Maori carving of a "Rehua" to celebrate the journey of friendship between Hindu and Maori communities during the Rotorua Deepawali Festival recently. Dr. Guna Magesan, general secretary of Hindu Council of New Zealand, briefed the visitor how Hindu Council of New Zealand built relations with the Maori community over the years and the partnership with Maori community during recent festival.
10. BHARATIYA NAVY INDUCTS TWO WOMEN NAVIGATORS: The Bharatiya Navy scripted history on November 20 by inducting Sub-Lieutenants Seema Rani Sharma and Ambica Hooda as the first women navigators into the force. With the awarding of the 'Wings' at a passing-out ceremony at INS Garuda, Southern Naval Command, Kochi, Seema and Ambica, both 22, became the first women airborne tacticians of the Bharatiya Navy.
"I am feeling proud for I have set the course for young women to follow," Seema, hailing from Uttar Pradesh, said. "During the course, we had flown 17 sorties and each of these sorties was of three-hour duration," Seema added. Ambica said, "Still there are heights we should scale."
Sub Lt Ambica Hooda, belonging to Haryana, was also adjudged the best trainee in flying of the First Short Service Commission Observer course. They would now join different squadrons of the Navy, where they would fly Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and helicopters. Both the women officers said they were excited about their first Dornier sortie as navigators.
Seema and Ambica completed a 16-month course at the Naval Academy at Mandovi in Goa and other professional schools of the Bharatiya Navy before landing up at the Observer School at INS.
11. BJP NOT AGAINST MINORITIES, SAYS ADVANI: Senior BJP leader LK Advani on Nov 22 sought to debunk the “motivated propaganda” of calling his party anti-minority and maintained that Bharat had embraced the diversities in faith, language, customs, appearance and many things, not out of circumstantial compulsion but due to its innate assimilative nature.
At a function to mark the conclusion of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Archdiocese of Delhi, Advani said, he was a product of a Church-run school — St Patrick’s High School in Karachi, which was in undivided Bharat before Partition. “All my teachers in the school, including Father Modestine, the principal, were Christian. I am forever grateful to my teachers,” Advani said.
Though he refrained from speaking much about political issues, Advani invoked Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, founder of Bharatiya Jan Sangh (predecessor of BJP), to justify that BJP was not anti-Minority or anti-Christian.
He recalled saying in his speech at the founding conference of the BJP, “It is not without significance that we were expelled from the Janata Party on the day of crucifixion of Christ, and that we are experiencing our political rebirth in the form of the BJP on the day of resurrection of Christ.”
12. NEW-AGE TREATMENT FOR DIABETES: In January next year, Niranjan Singh (name changed) was scheduled to fly off to the United States and get his diabetic foot amputated as a last ditch effort to save himself from dying due to excessive bleeding.
Despite making all the advance travel bookings he has now called off his trip to the United States. The reason: He has found a remedy for his blood sugar closer home.
The 70-year-old retired professional has been undergoing human embryonic stem cell (HESC) treatment at a private hospital here. "The wound in my foot caused by high sugar has healed and I do not need an amputation," said Singh, who considers himself lucky to have followed a friend's advice and tried out the new-age HESC treatment available in the country.
"I am encouraged on seeing his progress," said Dr Geeta Shroff, who has applied for a patent for her HESC technique with which she has been treating Singh at Nutech Mediworld hospital,New Delhi.
The WHO estimates that there were 19.4 million persons with diabetes in Bharat in 1995 and that this number is likely to be 57.2 million in 2025.
13. INDIA TESTS NUCLEAR-CAPABLE MISSILE AFTER SUNSET: Bharat’s army tested a nuclear-capable Agni missile after sunset on November 23 for the first time to demonstrate it could be fired whenever required. The surface-to-surface Agni II missile is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to targets around 2,000 km (1,200 miles) away.
The missile was test launched from Wheeler's Island, off Bharat's east coast in Orissa state.
Its range can be increased to 3000 km (1,900 miles) by reducing the load. It is 65 feet (20 meters) long and can carry a payload of one tonne.
14. HINDU SWYAMSEVAK SANGH (HSS), USA: South East Sambhag karyakarta varg was attended by 37 karyakartas. All vibhags were represented and 15 out of 20 shakha karyakartas participated including 7 sevikas. Varg was in Atlanta.
Speaker on Campus was organized at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) on November 20th by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and Samskrita Bharati. The topic was "Introductory Sanskrit workshop" and the session was conducted by Sabitha ji,Nalini ji and Hari ji.Total Sankhya was 13. The event was hosted by Bharatiyam (Indian Students Association at UCLA).
Mananeeya Alkataiji Inamdar, Akhila Bharateeya Saha - Karyavahika of Rashtra Sevika Samiti visited bay area from 31st October to 10th November 2009 to attend Kendra KaryaKarini Mandal baithak and National Sevika Abhyas varg. Alkataiji's eight days stay was packed with baudhiks, baithaks and sneha bhojans with many kishoris, swayamsevaks and sevikas.
15. KOSHYARI ADDRESSES UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and Rajya Sabha MP Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari appealed to the world to turn to yoga for getting complete liberation from addiction. Addressing the 64th Session of United Nations General Assembly in New York on November 5, Shri Koshyari said apart from making strict laws to curb the trafficking of drugs, the addicted youth of the world ought to be inspired to take up yoga regularly and such other positive and spiritual things that could instill a new meaning to their lives. This would keep them away from drugs and also their involvement in anti-social or terrorist activities.
16. GANDHARA ART IN TALIBAN CORSSHAIRS: Archaeologists warn that the Taliban are destroying Pakistan’s ancient Gandhara heritage and rich Buddhist legacy as pilgrimage and foreign research dries up in the country’s northwest. “Militants are the enemies of culture,” said Abdul Nasir Khan, curator of Taxila Museum, one of the premier archaeological collections in Pakistan. “It is very clear that if the situation carries on like this, it will destroy our culture and will destroy our cultural heritage,” he said.
Taxila, a small town around 20 kilometres south of Islamabad, is one of Pakistan’s foremost archaeological attractions given its history as a centre of Buddhist learning from the 5th century BC to the 2nd century.
17. BHARAT TARGETS 1,000MW SOLAR POWER IN 2013: Bharat is ready to launch its Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, with plans to generate 1,000 mw of power by 2013.
The Union Cabinet is going to consider the mission document, which requires Bharat to generate 1,000 mw of solar power every year by 2013. A complete package has been proposed to propel the power sector into `solar reforms' that could lead to annual production of 20,000 mw by 2020 if phase I of the solar mission goes well. The country currently produces less than 5 mw every year.
Solar lighting systems would also be provided to 9,000 villages under existing schemes by providing soft loans which would be refinanced by the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited.
Roof-top solar power will be promoted by providing a generation based incentive for self-use as well as putting the power on to the grid.
18. BOYCOTT CHINESE GOODS: Bajrang Dal: Bajrang Dal on November, 19 wrote to all major trade associations and chambers of commerce in Delhi, asking them to boycott Chinese goods. The outfit claimed inferior and cheap Chinese goods were resulting in closure of small and cottage industries of Bharat, thereby adding to problems of unemployment. Bajrang Dal state convener Ashok Kapoor said people should stop buying Chinese goods, as the country has always shown anti-Bharat behaviour, like illegal occupation of Aksai Chin and Tibet, illegitimate claim over various parts like the Finger area of Sikkim and Tawag district of Arunachal Pradesh.
19. ‘BHARAT VERY IMPORTANT FOR DEMOCRACY’: A top Maoist leader on November 23 underlined the key role of Bharat in the democratic process of Nepal, saying it would be difficult to establish peace and democracy without good relations with New Delhi. Baburam Bhattarai, the deputy leader of the UCPN (Maoists), said even though Nepal needs a ‘balanced relation with our immediate neighbours’ Bharat and China, “We know that without good relations with Bharat, it would be difficult to establish peace and democracy in Nepal”.
The former Finance Minister said “since we have been virtually Bharat-locked, we are forced to interact more with Bharat than any other country”.
20. BHARAT NOW AMONG CHOICE DESTINATIONS FOR AMERICAN STUDENTS: Bharatiya students may be flocking in large numbers to American universities, but a new report by the Washington-based Institute of International Education reveals that Bharat and China are among the new destinations of choice for American students.
The IIE’s “Open Doors 2009” report says “a record number of US students are now studying abroad, reflecting the value of an international academic experience as preparation to live and work in a global society”. The number of Americans studying abroad increased by 8.5 per cent to 262,416 in the 2007/08 academic year, it says.
The distinguishing aspect of this two-way flow now is that American students are ‘increasingly heading to less traditional places’ such as Bharat, China, Japan, South Africa and Argentina. In earlier years, they mostly went to Europe — Britain, Italy, Spain and France.
India, China, Ireland and Austria have witnessed notable increases of about 20 per cent in terms of attracting American students, followed by Japan, Argentina, South Africa and Costa Rice with about 15 per cent each.
21. N-MILESTONE: 18th plant begins ops: Bharat's nuclear programme crossed a milestone at 12.51pm on November 24 with fifth unit of the 220 megawatt Rajasthan Atomic Power Project (Raps-5) attaining criticality.
With this, the number of operating nuclear power reactors in Bharat has gone up from 17 to 18, increasing the total atomic power generating capacity from 4,120 mw to 4,330 mw. In simple terms, attaining criticality in the jargon of the atomic scientists means the start of self-sustaining nuclear fission chain.
Nuclear Power Corporation chief engineer N Nagaich said after conducting some tests, Raps-5 will be sychronised with the state electricity grid in a month, and would be ready for commercial operations.
22. EMERGING POWERS JOIN HANDS: China, Bharat, South Africa and Brazil have united to draw the battle-lines of the Copenhagen climate summit, after their own surprise seven-hour summit skillfully staged by the Chinese leadership in Beijing on November 28.
In a pre-Copenhagen coup quietly planned by China, as it grappled with global pressure to curb emissions as the world’s biggest polluter, the four nations have clinched their own deal to counter targets from the developed world.
For Bharat and this new combine, it will be ‘non-negotiable’ under any circumstances to accept legally binding emission cuts.
This is the first attempt by developing nations to present a plan for the Copenhagen summit when the world will negotiate a global deal to curb manmade emissions that cause global warming.
23. PAK SIKH THRASHED FOR NOT CONVERTING: A Sikh advocate in Pakistan was reportedly thrashed and threatened with dire consequences recently if he did not convert to Islam, forcing his family to run for safety to a gurdwara in Hassanabdal near Rawalpindi.
While the victim, Anup Singh, was yet to regain consciousness, the incident has left the Sikh community in Pakistan rattled and insecure.
24. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors:Shri Umesh Rohatgi and Rashmiji, USA Pravaas:Dr.Shankar Tatwawadi, Sayojak Vishwa Vibhag returned to UK, Dr.Yashwant Pathak Sah Samyojak returned to USA after a 2 day ICCS meeting in Mumbai.
25. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: We want nothing more or nothing less than Hindutva; going after something ‘bigger’ would be pointless for the present. Practical wisdom lies in avoiding the two extremes of too small and too big. Even the task of awakening human values in the hearts of aggressive powers in the world possible only through a united and strong Hindu Society. – Shri Guruji.
Linguistic chauvinism is a threat to unity
Justice (Retd.) Dr M Rama Jois
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya in his last speech at Doddaballapur pointed out that when a Kannadiga or Tamilian or Maharashtrian goes to Delhi for staying there, he has an all Bharat outlook and as a citizen of Bharat he has the right to stay there and carry on any occupation or business but unfortunately when the same person comes back to Mumbai, Bengaluru or Chennai, he exhibits a narrow loyalty on the basis of so called "sons of the soil" slogan and forgets that there is only one soil called Bharat Mata and every part and particle of Bharat is sacred to all of us just as every part of one’s mother is sacred to him.
Recent controversy raised over the truthful statement of Sachin Tendulkar that Mumbai belongs to Bharat though he was a Maharashtrian, he was Bharatiya first, bylinguistic chauvinists led by Bal Thackery indicates a dangerous trend which can be ignored only at the peril to the nation.
We got rid of foreign rule and secured independence after a century long struggle during which millions of freedom fighters sacrificed their all, inspired by the burning sense of patriotism. Thereafter, we framed and gave to ourselves the Constitution. The opening words of the Preamble are very significant. They are "We the people of Bharat". This is in conformity with the declaration made in Vishnu Purana several centuries ago, to the effect that "the country which lies to the north of seas and south of Himalaya is Bharat and people of this country are Bharatiyas being the descendents of Emperor Bharat". It is this spirit of oneness that electrified and united the entire nation and enabled us to fight against and get rid of slavery. The only one slogan which inspired the entire nation has been "Bharat mata ke jai". After securing independence we framed one Constitution to obey, adopted one National Anthem to sing and one National Flag to hoist and protect. We formed linguistic provinces only for administrative convenience. By and large this feeling of nationhood is the basis of our strength and unity and feeling of fraternity among all the citizens. But unfortunately now and then weeds of linguistic chauvinism have been growing here and there which are threatening our national life.
KM Munshi, when he found such weeds growing, in his foreword to the book, History and Culture of India, bemoaned that when the country opted for linguistic states, we never imagined that they are likely to become sub-nation states, but expressed the hope that it was only a passing phase. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya in his last speech at Doddaballapur pointed out that when a Kannadiga or Tamilian or Maharashtrian goes to Delhi for staying there, he has an all India outlook and as a citizen of Bharat he has the right to stay there and carry on any occupation or business but unfortunately when the same person comes back to Mumbai, Bengaluru or Chennai, he exhibits a narrow loyalty on the basis of so called "sons of the soil" slogan and forgets that there is only one soil called Bharat Mata and every part and particle of Bharat is sacred to all of us just as every part of one’s mother is sacred to him. Therefore, Sachin Tendulkar was right when he said that Mumbai belongs to the entire nation and he was Bharatiya first though a Maharashtrian. The stand of Bal Thackery and his tribe in taking exception to it, has proved the growing of weeds of linguistic chauvinism. In fact two decades back when a statue of Shivaji was proposed to be installed at Bengaluru a few Kannada enthusiasts opposed it. But soon it was given up when many pointed out that Shivaji was a national hero of exceptional merit. Thereafter, a grand statue of Shivaji has been installed which has become a source of inspiration. Therefore, all nationalist forces irrespective of the political party to which they belong should without loss of time remove these weeds so that our nationalism grows profusely. In this behalf it is appropriate to quote what a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has said in the case of Pradeep Jain Vs. Union of India-AIR 1984 SC 1420] thus:
"We find that today the integrity of the nation is threatened by the divisive forces of regionalism, linguism and communalism and regional linguistic and communal loyalties are gaining ascendancy in national life and seeking to tear apart and destroy national integrity. We tend to forget that Bharat is one nation and we are all Bharatiyas first and Bharatiyas last. It is time we remind ourselves what the great visionary and builder of modern Bharat Jawaharlal Nehru said, "Who dies if Bharat lives; who lives if Bharat dies?". "We must realise; and this is unfortunately that many in public life tend to overlook; sometimes out of ignorance of the forces of history and sometimes deliberately with a view to promoting their self-interest, that national interest must inevitably and forever prevail over any other considerations proceeding from regional, linguistic or communal attachments". AIR 1984 SC 1420, Para-1
These words of warning by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court as above made as early as in the year 1984 should guide us to remove the weeds of linguistic chauvinism by the feeling of intense patriotism, fraternity and integrity of the nation, sub-ordinating the regional and linguistic feelings.
(The writer is Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court and former Governor of Jharkhand and Bihar and can be contacted at "Sri. Shaila", No. 870/C, 5th Block, Rajajinagar, Bengaluru.)

India key to global recovery
Shivaji Sarkar
Our economy may not be as large as that of many Western countries, but it has the capacity to ward off financial crises that afflict developed economies
Bharat has emerged as one of the most resilient economies. Whether it would be able to lead the world or not has been rocking the discussions at the Bharat Economic Summit. There are some positives and some negatives in the process.
The world is looking towards Bharat for more than one reason. Despite its close trade, business and to a large extent financial rupee-rouble alliance, the country did not succumb to the pressures created by the fall of the Soviet Union. In 1997-98, it withstood the pressures of the South-East Asian crisis with equal élan. The 2008 Lehman Brother scandal-led global recession did not hit it gravely.
The economy of the country may not be as large as that of the US or many European countries, but what surprises the international experts is its capacity to insulate against odds that hit and often devastate major economies like that of the Soviet Union or the US.
Bharat's mixed economy - Government-owned socialist ideology dictated public sector and capitalist ideology based private sector - has emerged as the greatest strength. If one dithers even a bit, the other comes to the rescue of the system. The Government is not actively involved in day-to-day functioning of industries or business but it acts as an effective benign intervener or regulator.
World Economic Forum associate director Michele Petochi on his approach to Global Redesign initiative says, "The challenge is to have a compelling approach to complex problems". This is where Bharat is expected give cue to the world's complex economic system.
Bharat has also emerged as a country that generates credible statistics unlike that of China. Bharat is beating China in the latest edition of the London-based Legatum Institute's prosperity index. Index processing data for 104 countries puts Bharat at the 45th rank and China at 75th rank. Bharat was a lowly 70th and China 54th in 2008. The index is now broad-based to include how citizens in a country feel about personal freedom, institutional maturity and mutual trust. The parameter for Bharat is increasing.
So would Bharat be able to come up again with the same kind of resilience in the latest IMF predicted mother of all meltdowns in emerging markets, a crash that would make the 2008 one look like a pigmy?
In a situation like this Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's announcement to withdraw stimulus package next year would be a help or hindrance also needs to be debated. But if the Reserve Bank of Bharat (RBB) is to be believed earlier the package is withdrawn it is good and wise for the economy. Some economists say that autonomous institutions like the RBB have helped the country take the right decisions and create the necessary resilience.
If banks did not collapse in the wake of global Lehman scandal, the credit is given to the RBB and its allied organisations like SEBI, NABARD, and NHB.
There is synchronisation in politics and economics. It is not always that the Government listens to the RBB, which decides on financial and economic consideration. The Government acts on broader parameters taking the people's aspirations into account. This has pushed Bharat below China in the Eurasia Group compiled Global Political Index. The index gives credit to tough political decisions, which a monolithic China can and Bharat cannot.
But this alone is not the impediment. Bharat has not been found to be very competitive. It has been placed 49th out of 133 countries in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index 2009-10. The country lags behind in infrastructure, health, primary education and galloping inflation and fiscal situation prevents the Government from making the much needed investment. Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia in his presentation also mentioned infrastructure as the most important constraint.
The index says that bureaucracy, over-regulation and corruption still affect the functioning of Bharatiya markets. And by global standards, the diffusion of information and communication technologies remains very low. Minister for Roads and Highways Kamal Nath accepted it in a different way saying, "We had our decade of information technology, now let's have our decade of infrastructure". -- The writer is a senior economic affairs journalist. -- The Pioneer November 18, 2009

Learn to be green from India
Sudhansu R Das
The vision of development is so blurred with greed that there is little hope of anything concrete emerging out of the soon-to-be-held climate summit in Copenhagen. Nonetheless, India has the opportunity to showcase its vibrant natural sector economy, which is the path to sustainable development.
India is divided into 20 agro-ecological regions and 60 sub-regions that support all kinds of crops. The country produces 11 per cent of the world’s vegetables and 15 per cent of its fruits. India also accounts for 10.78 per cent of the world’s flora. It has the largest variety of livestocks with 26 cattle breeds, 40 sheep breeds, 20 goat breeds and 18 types of farmed poultry birds. Plus, with a coastline measuring 850 km and 14 major rivers to boast of, India has all the basic tools for a robust economy based on the natural sector.
More than 15 crore Indians visit places of pilgrimage every year. This is the source of a host of economic activities. Travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, the health sector as a whole, as well as those trading in religious artifacts, handicrafts, etc, benefit immensely from pilgrimages For example, the Tirupathi Devasthanam in Tirumala requires more than 20 tonnes of flowers every day during the peak season.
Hundreds of forest products are available in Indian forests. To highlight how valuable this is to the Indian economy, it would be worthwhile to note that the export of natural honey and related processed products has increased from Rs 60.92 crore in 2006-07 to Rs 93.30 crore in 2007-08. According to Millennium Eco-system Assessment eco-system services sustain and fulfil human life in big way. There are altogether as many as 32 such services in the entire Himalayan region. The Export Promotion Council of Handicrafts has set an export target of Rs 25,000 crore per annum by 2010 accruing from such eco-system services. The Kalahandi region of Orissa has a well-knit natural sector economy based on tourism, forestry, agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing and craft making. More than 87 per cent of the people here grow exotic variety of paddy, maize, millets, jowar, jute, vegetables, chilli, etc.
All of this is evidence of the fact that preserving and enhancing the natural sector not only helps fight global warming and climate change but also make sound economic sense. In fact, India should lead the way in this regard and help spread the message to the rest of the world. - The Pioneer November 24, 2009