Vaisakh Shukla 10 Vik Samvat 2069. Yugabda 5114: May 1, 2012

1.  FESTIVALS:  Maharana Pratap Jayanti, the third day of Jyeshtha Shukla paksha, falls on May 24 this year. The legendary Maharana Pratap was a true patriot who initiated the first war of independence.  Maharana was born in 1540 in Kumbhalgarh in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan to Maharana Udai Singh II and Rani Jeevant Kanwar. Maharana Pratap never accepted Akbar as ruler of Bharat, and fought him all his life. Akbar first tried diplomacy to win over Maharana Pratap but was unsuccessful. Pratap maintained that he had no intention to fight with Akbar but he could not bow down to Akbar and accept him as his suzerainty. Battle of Haldighati between Maharana Pratap and Akbar and story of ‘Chetak’ – Pratap’s horse is a legend  in the history. Maharana Pratap has gained amazing respect and honour as he is seen as an epitome of valor, heroism, pride, patriotism and the spirit of independence.     
2. MISSILE WOMAN TESSY THOMAS: Following the successful launch of Agni-V, Bharat’s long-range inter-continental ballistic missile, chief scientist, Project Agni-V, Tessy Thomas who is now called as Agni Putrie conquered the handicap of being a village girl to become the first women heading the missile project. She enabled Bharat to join the elite missile club of the US, Russia, France and China, on April 19 morning at Odisha.
Tessy Thomas, a native of Alappuzha, and the DRDO team have successfully test fired Agni series IV and V. After the launch, Tessy said that where there is will, there is a way. She said that the determination and strong will of the team was the secret behind the successful launch of the Agni series.
Tessy who belongs to the Thaiparambil family of Thathampilly, close to Alappuzha town did her schooling at the St Joseph’s Girls HS. Tessy, the 48-year-old had always interest for science and mathematics from school days and used to get engrossed into rocket launches.
She entered into the world of missiles after she was picked as one of 10 youngsters for a DRDO programme in 1985. She was one of the favourite pupils of former President APJ Abdul Kalam known as the missile man of Bharat.
3. ‘GILGIT LOTUS SUTRA’  IN  BRAND NEW PRINTS: The National Archives of India has published copies of what scholars have termed “indisputably the oldest manuscript in Bharat”, the Buddhist Lotus Sutra, after months spent on a restoration of the original pages, inscribed in Brahmi on birch bark at some time in the fifth or sixth century. Experts say the document, found in 1931 by young cattle grazers in the caves of Gilgit in Kashmir, is from a circular chamber in a Buddhist stupa.
The publication, made possible because of an association with Japan’s Institue of Oriental Philosophy and the Soka Gokkai Institute, has meant 250 copies being sent to Bharat and free access to scholars interested in studying it. Buddhist expert Prof Lokesh Chandra, who played a key role in getting the National Archives and the Japanese into the tieup, calls it “the glory of Bharat — the Lotus Sutra has deep pan-Asian significance for a more meaningful study of all, Sanskrit, Chinese, Korean and Japanese languages and literature.” Dr Daisaku Ikeda of the Saka Gokkai International terms this “(by) no means a mere relic of a past culture... it represents an unlimited philosophy of hope, a philosophy of happiness, a philosophy of peace.”
National Archives asst. director Jaya Ravindran says, “They had arrived utterly disintegrated, we have helped recondition them and took care of it. We are lucky that birch bark was used as it is natural and far more resilient than paper.”
4. ‘ALL WEATHER’ SURVEILLANCE SATELLITE LAUNCHED SUCCESSFULLY: Bharat has successfully launched a satellite that will dramatically boost the country's ability to view detailed images of the earth. K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, described the launch as a victory for Bharat. The satellite is called RISAT-1, which stands for "radar imaging satellite." Unlike previous imaging satellites launched by Bharat, which collect a picture of the ground using optical cameras, RISAT 1 bounces microwave signals off the Earth.   
Dr. Ajay Lele, a researcher at New Delhi's Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, said the satellite sensor will be able to obtain clear images no matter what is happening below. Such all-weather capability is significant in Bharat, which experiences an annual monsoon season during which heavy cloud cover can impair the usefulness of optical satellite imagery.  
"Previously we used to have only the cloud picture, just image alone. This gives additional parameters. All will be used for our weather forecast for the coming years," said T. K. Alex, director, ISRO.  
5. CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI: A VISIONARY AND GUIDING LIGHT’:  “The vision, thoughts and administrative acumen of Shivaji Maharaj have inspired many generations of our countrymen. Even during present times the thoughts of Shivaji are  worth emulating for each one of us,” said Shri Mohanrao Bhagwat Ji, SarSanghchalak of RSS while launching the book “Shivaji & Suraj” authored by Anil Madhav Dave, a Rajya Sabha member at Delhi on April29.
Anil Dave, also a Swayam Sevak of the RSS said his book is a result of in-depth research and objective analysis of historical facts. “Shivaji was a meticulous planner who planned everything in great detail. His acumen in military strategy is well known across the world, but he had great insight in administrative and financial matters as well,” Shri Dave said.
Also present at the function were Shri Suresh Prabhu, former union Minister, Shri LK Advani, Shri Suresh ji Soni – sahsarkaryavaha of RSS and others.  
6. HINDUS PLANT 1000 TREES AT NDAKAINI DAM IN KENYA: 1000 Trees were planted by volunteers from the Hindu Religious and Service Center (HRSC) at the Ndakaini dam in Gatanga District.  The Ndakaini Dam is one of the main sources of Nairobi’s tapped water and is an important strategic landmark in the nation.  It is managed by the Nairobi Water Company.  It catches the water run-off from the Aberdare Mountains, stores it, treats it and slowly releases it year-round for use by Nairobi residents.
After the tree-planting exercise on April 22, done by fifty enthusiastic volunteers from Nairobi, there was a short baraza where Mr. Njoroge- the Chief Human Resource Office of the Nairobi Water Company, in his address on-behalf of the MD of the company, thanked the Hindu Community for planting trees at the site since 2005.  He pointed out the first site where trees have already bloomed to full-size.  The HRSC has planted 50,000 trees since 2005 in sites across Kenya with 16,000 of these planted at Ndakaini.   On behalf of the HRSC, the Hindu Council of Kenya and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Dr. Minesh Shah, convenor of the Tree Planting Committee, re-iterated the Hindu Community’s commitment to play a positive role for the nation.
7. VIF RESOURCE AND RESEARCH CENTRE AND LIBRARY: Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi has now got a Resource Research Centre and Library which was inaugurated by the former Chief Justice of Bharat Justice J S Verma on April 27. Suresh Neotia, Chairman, Neotia Foundation, which has funded the library, presided over the proceedings. The library has been planned as a fully digitized one and will provide access to numerous ancient books from all over the world. One of such rare books is ‘India in Greece – Or Truth in Mythology’, which besides containing the sources of the Hellenic race, the colonisation of Egypt and Palestine, the wars of the Grand Lama, and the Bud'histic propaganda in Greece, really make us understand two points. One is Bharat is the source of all ancient civilizations of the world. Second is that there was no Aryan invasion from outside. Aryans only moved out from Bharat in olden days to colonize most of the areas in Asia and Europe.
8. SPREAD THE RASHTRAMANTRA OF NANAJI ALL OVER THE COUNTRY: “The Rashtramantra given by Rashtrarishi Nanaji Deshmukh that ‘I am not for myself but for my own people and those are my own people who are neglected and underprivileged’ can change the picture of the entire nation. This mantra should be spread all over the country,” said noted Ramkatha Vachak Morari Bapu addressing a gathering of Deendayal Research Institute (DRI) workers at Rammanohar Lohia Auditorium in Chitrakoot on March 23. Earlier, Dr Nandita Pathak highlighted some of the activities carried out by the DRI. She specifically mentioned the 1045 km Swavlamban Abhiyan padyatra conducted some years back under the leadership of Nanaji to raise the feeling of self-reliance among villagers.
Morari Bapu said he had high regards for Nanaji and whenever he met Nanaji he realised the great work done by him. He said the organisation which has spiritual feelings makes tremendous success. He said Nanaji might have departed, but his internal spiritualism is still in Chitrakoot. “The Rashtramantra given by him will play a key role in transforming the life of rural Bharat. The torch of rural uplift that Nanaji lighted from here will make our villages self-reliant,” he said.
9. I NEED TO SEE MUCH GREATER ROLE OF INDIA IN THE FAMILY OF NATIONS: BAN KI-MOON: For someone, who regards himself as a member of the Bharatiya family, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon took advantage of a few quiet minutes to talk about global politics, in an exclusive conversation with Indrani Bagchi in Mumbai, after two days of official appointments.
What were the highlights of your talks with the Indian leadership over the past couple of days?
India is an important member state of the UN across the spectrum of all UN objectives. We discussed peace, security and human rights. This is my third visit to India. I had good and constructive meetings with PM, foreign minister,
Sonia Gandhi, Meira Kumar and health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. I appreciated Indian government's strong support for the UN, their cooperation and commitment to peace and security as the third largest troop contributing country to UN peacekeeping operations. Another purpose for my visit is to share with the international community the success stories in public health.
I was very impressed while visiting
Cama Hospital and Grant Medical College. What really impressed me was that the Indian government and the local state authorities in Maharashtra provide access to all vulnerable health coverage for poor people, many living below the poverty line. And this is paid for by the government. This is remarkable. I have seen the facilities, I saw many mothers and children and their faces full of hope and satisfaction. I highly commended PM Manmohan Singh's visionary policy commitment to raise public health budget to 2.5% of the GDP. India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. As India grows, its GDP will grow. That means public health budget will grow and this is a good sign. I am here to shine a global spotlight on this success story.
Do you see India's permanent membership to a reformed UN Security Council happening anytime soon?
Yes that was one of the topics we discussed. I am fully aware of the long-standing aspirations of the Indian government to serve in better and stronger positions as permanent member of the Security Council. There are some common views among members that Security Council should be reformed in a representative, democratic and transparent manner. They are still trying to find out modalities where all the member states can have a common view. These are very important issues which are still being discussed.
10. LAKSHMI MITTAL RETAINS CROWN AS BRITAIN’S RICHEST MAN: The three top places in Britain’s rich List were dominated by foreign-born magnates with a base in Britain who earned their fortunes from resource-based industries such as minerals, steel and oil, at a time when most Britons’ earnings and savings were squeezed by inflation and low interest rates. Lakshmi Mittal retained his crown as Britain’s richest man despite losing almost a quarter of his wealth over the past year following a fall in the share value of his ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker. The Bharatiya-born businessman saw his personal worth slide by £4.8 billion to £12.7 billion, but that was still enough to keep him narrowly on top of the list. Uzbek-born billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who owns around 30% of London soccer club Arsenal, was again in second place and close behind Mittal with a fortune of £12.3 billion. Russian investor Roman Abramovich, who owns rival London club Chelsea, is the third  with a personal value of £9.5 billion, down from £10.3 billion last year.
11. DALVEER BHANDARI ELECTED AS ICJ JUDGE: Bharat’s nominee, Justice Dalveer Bhandari, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, has been elected to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).    He secured 122 votes in the United Nations General Assembly against 58 for his Filipino rival, Syed Akbaruddin. Bhadari takes the place of Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh of Jordan who resigned from the Asia-Pacific region seat at the end of 2011. An eminent legal luminary, Bhandari will serve the remainder of the term 2012-18.  The 64-year-old Justice Bhandari has variegated experience in international law and is well-versed with the working of the UN. Established in June 1945 by the charter of the United Nations, in The Hague, Netherlands, ICJ's role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorised United Nations organs and specialised agencies.
12. GUJARAT GOES GREEN: A multi-benefit pilot project generating one-MW electricity from solar panels atop the Narmada branch canal was dedicated to the nation by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on, April 24. Under the project, set up jointly on an experimental basis by the State-owned Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) and the Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited, solar panels have been fitted over a 750-metre stretch on the Sanand-Kadi Narmada branch canal to generate 16 lakh units of clean electricity annually. As the canal will remain covered, it is estimated that the project will prevent evaporation of 90 lakh litres of water annually. Mr. Modi said the pilot project would put Gujarat and Bharat on the world energy map, and it would also be a major contribution to the humanity in the field of clean energy and solving the problem of both water and power shortages.
13. VIVEKANAND JAYANTI AT MELBOURNE: Sewa International celebrated Vivekanand Jayanti as Harmony Day with a formal launch of Yoga Centre for seniors in Melbourne. Besides other eminent personalities it was addressed by Mrs.Roz.Blades, Cr.Ex-Mayor of Dandenong Council who is the inspirer of the project and  Mr. Vasan Srinivasan, President of FIAV.
The program also had demonstration of Yoga by Shri Kanwal Bhagat. The Yoga center is proposed to be named as Chintaman Datar Yoga Centre for seniors. Shri Chitamni Datar was a continuous source of support for many decades to the for Hindu society in Melbourne and was actively associated with Sewa International.
14. RSS CONGRATULATES AGNI V SCIENTISTS: RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi has congratulated the Bharatiya scientists for the successful launch of Agni V. In a statement issued on April 21 from Mumbai by the RSS Akhil Bharatiya Prachara Pramukh Dr Manmohan Vaidya Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi said, “Bharatiya scientific community in general and the team of Bharatiya  scientists in particular, who led successful launch of Agni V, deserve hearty congratulations for their remarkable achievement. The launch of Agni V has empowered the Bharatiya Armed forces and made the nation proud.”
15. YOGA IS KEY TO PROLONGING MY MANCHESTER UNITED CAREER: RYAN GIGGS, the Welsh football player, has said that practising yoga has kept him in the game for so long and added that he would still love to play another 100 games for Manchester United. Ryan Giggs, who is chasing his 13th Premier League title, said that he had had to change the way he thinks on the pitch but that he is still "living the dream".
"The yoga has definitely helped me," the 38-year-old said. "It helps me train every day because it gives me the flexibility and the strength not only to play the game but to train as well.”I rarely miss a training session even [if I do] a little less than the younger players I still go out and train. [When you get to my age] you have to change the way of thinking. I was a quick player when I was younger, now I am not so quick. [You have to] use your experience, use your intelligence on the pitch, to adapt your game and change your game, as I have done."
16. MP CABINET CLEARS FREE PILGRIMAGE FOR SENIOR CITIZENS: Setting a new benchmark in religious populism, the BJP government on April 19  announced that it would pay for the pilgrimage of at least one lakh senior citizens every year. Under the scheme, called Mukhyamantri Teertha-Darshan Yojana, the senior citizens will be allowed to take attendants, whose expenses will be covered as well. Madhya Pradesh is the only state that subsidises travel to holy places in Pakistan (Nankana Saheb shrine and Hinglaj Mata temple), China (Mansarovar), Cambodia (Angkor Vat) and Sri Lanka (Sita Mandir and Ashok Vatika).
17. NIA OFFERED Rs 1 CRORE TO NAME RSS LEADERS: Two accused in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case, in separate petitions before courts in Bhopal and Ajmer, have alleged that officials of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) offered them Rs 1 crore each and asked them to name three senior RSS functionaries in the murder of RSS activist Sunil Joshi. The alleged offer came during their questioning by the NIA officials in connection with the Sunil Joshi murder case, according to their petitions. 
The petitions filed before the special courts in Ajmer and Bhopal alleged that the NIA officials questioned the two — Mukesh Vasani and Raj Singh alias Harshad — at Ajmer prison from April 16 to April 19.
18. PAY HONORARIUM TO HINDU PRIESTS, NOT TO JUST IMAMS: VHP In a protest Meeting held at College Square in Kolkata on April 20, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said, it would launch a campaign in West Bengal demanding monthly honorariums to Hindu priests and unemployed youth to protest against the Mamata Banerjee-led government’s decision to pay honorariums of Rs.2, 500 to imams. As part of the campaign named ‘Amakeo 2500 taka Dao’ (‘give me Rs.2, 500 too’), signatures of unemployed youth and priests would be taken, said VHP International Working President, Dr Pravinbhai Togadia. “It is time Mamata Banerjee to stop playing the politics of community appeasement. If the imams can get money, what wrong have the priests done? They should also be paid,” he said. Veteran Monk of Bharat Sevashram Sangha, Swami Pradiptananda and other Hindu leaders also addressed the meeting.
19. STATES SHOULD HAVE EFFECTIVE LOKAYUKTAS: ANNA HAZARE: While the fight for an effective Jan Lokpal Bill was on, it was time for the States to strive to bring in strong Lokayuktas, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare said April 25 in Mumbai. Mr. Hazare was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with Republican Party of India (Athavale) leader Ramdas Athavale, at the latter's residence in Mumbai. We have prepared a draft for Lokayuktas. The States should deliberate upon it, make changes, so that we have effective Lokayuktas,” Mr. Hazare said.
20. GRASS WITH GANDHI'S BLOOD SELLS FOR 10,000 POUNDS: A pinch of soil and blood-stained blades of grass from the place where Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 sold for 10,000 pounds at an auction in London on April 27 that also saw many other Gandhi memorabilia going under the hammer. While his iconic round-rimmed glasses sold for 34,000 pounds, the 'charkha' or the spinning wheel realised 26,000 pounds.
21. BHARAT SARKAR SHOULD DO AWAY WITH THE PRACTICE OF POLITICIZING PILGRIMAGE: SC Frowning over the practice of politicians and bureaucrats travelling on Hajj pilgrimage at government subsidy, the Supreme Court April 16 told the Centre that these “goodwill delegations” need to be scrapped to ensure that only genuine pilgrims are benefited. The apex court made the observation after Vahanvati and Centre’s counsel Harris Beran told the bench that these goodwill delegations are sent to Hajj every year to promote the country’s image as is being done by other countries. The bench pointed out that the practice of sending goodwill delegations was started by Bharat in 1967 after the Bharat-Pak war as the neighboring state used the pilgrimage to launch anti-India campaign. “This necessity is no longer there. We will gradually reduce it to four or five and then scrap it altogether,” the bench said.
22. NURSE WITH IDEAS: It was a typical struggle by Doctors while trying to reach an area between brain and spine during surgery that began Nirmal’s tryst with odontoidectomy, the medical name for the surgical procedure. Nirmal Thakur, a nurse in OT , after 11 years and over 500 surgeries has an international patent in her name — for designing the monopolar cautery point, a simple innovation from used surgical materials, that has made life simpler for neurosurgeons at the institute. The innovation has been published in the Indian Journal of Neurosurgery’s March 2012 issue. “I have done about 600 procedures till now with the instrument. It is a very useful tool for transoral surgeries,” Dr Sarat Chandra Professor in AIIMs said. ( Indian Express April 29, 2012 )
23. MUSLIM BODY TO OPPOSE MARRIAGE REGISTRATION: Riled by the decision to make the registration of marriages mandatory, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is set for a showdown with the Centre. The general body meeting of the apex Muslim body, to be held soon, is expected to be stormy with the clergy ready to tear into the "insidious designs to infringe the Shariat rules". AIMPLB member Zafaryab Jilani said in Lucknw, the board had made its reservations on the issue clear three years ago when the proposal was first floated. A committee headed by Maulana Ibrahim Rasool Ilyasi had conducted a survey of all states and presented a report to then law minister Veerappa Moily.
24. CENTRE GOVT SHIES FROM NAMING RAMA SETHU, NATIONAL MONUMENT: The central government on April 19 shied from taking any stand on the plea by Janta party president Subramanium Swamy that the mythological Rama Sethu in the Palk Strait be declared a national monument. An apex court bench of Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Anil R.Dave recorded that the central government does not intend to file its response to the petition of Swamy.
25. HIMACHAL TO DROP CHARGES AGAINST KARMAPA OGYEN TRINLEY DORJE:  In a relief to Tibetan religious leader Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the Himachal Pradesh government has decided to drop his name from the chargesheet in the foreign and Bharatiya Currency recovery case.
26-year-old Karmapa was charged under section 120-B for conspiracy along with nine others who were charged under different sections of IPC including 419 (punishment for cheating by personation), 420 (cheating) and 467 (forgery of valuable security), in the challan filed by police in a Una Court.
The government, in exercise of its power under section 321 (withdrawal of prosecution) of CrPC, decided to delete the name of Karmapa from the chargesheet after getting the matter examined by the Home and Law departments.
Karmapa, the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu School - one of the four sects of Tibetan Buddhism, joined Dalai Lama, in exile in 2000.
26. THIS JHARKHAND FARMER SPENT 14 YEARS DIGGING A 'POND': A farmer from Vishnu Pur of Kurua village, Sukhjora Panchayat of Jharkhand, Shyamal Chaudhary, requested the Block Development Officer to have a pond dug that would fulfil the irrigation requirements of the fields. The BDO denied. A determined Shyamal took it as  as a challenge and started digging a pond on his own land. When Shyamal, a Class Eight dropout, started out, many people taunted him. He simply ignored them and started digging the pond in 1997.  After fourteen years of continuous hard work, he not only created a pond but gifted it to the community that was going through hard times in the absence of irrigation related facilities. The pond, 100x100 metres long and 22 feet deep, now benefits numerous villages in the vicinity: Kuruvaa, Petsar, Margadi,Beltikari, Vishnupur and Baiganthara to name a few. 
27. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Saumitra Gokhale, samyojak Vishwa Vibhag returned to USA after finishing his tour to Netherlands and UK. Shri Ravikumar, sah samyojak will return Bharat after his tour to Singapore, HongKong, Thailand and South Korea. Visitors: Pardeep Singh Chahal – Calgary, Canada
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in our own mind. – Swami Vivekanand.


Sachin Tendulkar may be able to hit the ball out of the park on the cricket field. But will he be able to dazzle with his pyrotechnics in Parliament? We can only wait and watch. Yes, his nomination has generated a great deal of interest. And it would be premature to say that the great batsman
will be too busy with his cricket commitments to actually add value to the House. With his attention to detail and meticulousness, we can only hope that he will do the groundwork he needs to before scoring a few in the House. But his nomination - the first active sportsperson to be nominated to the House - raises several valid doubts about the utility of inducting celebrities into the House.
It would also be interesting to see what film star Rekha, another nominee, brings to the table. This is because in the past there have been several celebrities who did not cover themselves in glory despite being given this high office to which they could have made signal contributions. They seemed to have preferred to pursue their vocations over the conduct of their duties in the House. The nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar, accepted the seat and didn't turn up in the House even once for the entire term. Some film stars treated this honour with scant regard as did Dhar-mendra and Govinda. Some celebrities did show up but did not make the mark expected of them. But some might argue that a few swallows do not a summer make. There is no doubt that Mr Tend-ulkar is eminently qualified to raise the issue of sportspersons in India. He could push for greater attention to training and facilities for neglected sports. And we can be rest assured that he is not loo-king for power and pelf by becoming an MP, he has all that and then some. The purpose of a nomination to the Rajya Sabha is to primarily draw on the experience and expertise of people who have excelled in their fields and add value to debates of national and international importance. But if a person is otherwise preoccupied - as Mr Tendulkar appears to be at the moment - he will not live up to the expectations of those who think that his greatness as a cricketer will translate automatically to the political arena.
Of course, to point fingers at the lack of contribution from some of the past nominated members is to risk the criticism of the conduct of some elected members past and present in the Lok Sabha. Many who have been sent to the Lok Sabha on the hopes and dreams of their constituents have either been silent or disruptive during their tenures. Many turn up for the proceedings without having done any homework, some try to the play to the galleries and still others promote vested interests. But it would add insult to injury if celebrities are nominated solely for their celebrity value. The whole exercise then loses its prestige and sheen. At a time when young people - in a very young nation - are becoming disillusioned with politics, it is imperative that the choice of Rajya Sabha candidates does not instil more cynicism. – (Editorial, Hindustan Times April 27, 2012.)

Chief economic adviser has kick-started a necessary debate on stalled reform

The ruckus about the remarks made by chief economic adviser
Kaushik Basu, to the effect that major economic reforms are stalled till the next general elections, may just have had a positive fallout. Basu had expressed what was hitherto articulated only behind closed doors or from unofficial quarters: the perception of a policy lockdown and its harmful effect on the economy, with growth down and prices shooting up. But the flurry of statements released by opposition leaders and government representatives since then, and the part retraction of his view by Basu, suggest that the message is finally getting through to the political class. If the debate has pushed the government to reaffirm its appetite for reforms, this is all to the good. What remains now is to walk the talk. 
Finance minister
Pranab Mukherjee touted some moves in recent months - such as measures to encourage foreign investments including in infrastructure, steps to ease credit flows for priority areas and ongoing initiatives in both direct and indirect taxes - as proof of the government's commitment to reforms. But a more substantial reform agenda is called for if the government is to tackle some of the more immediate problems, such as persistent inflationary pressures and the rising current account deficit, and to boost growth closer to double digit levels. 
RBI has already pointed out that further space for monetary action to tackle the price rise is limited given continued increase in government spending and large borrowings made to finance it. A major breakthrough on the price front also requires that the government move forward on retail reform. Only greater competition in retail trade will bring down trade margins and help slow down price increases.
Another set of measures that should be on top of the reform agenda is bringing down the fiscal deficit to levels promised in the budget estimates by pruning subsidies on oil, fertiliser and foodgrains. Amendments must also be made to the legislations on pension, banking and insurance. Hopes of a positive outcome have improved considerably with the BJP, the main opposition, making some conciliatory gestures for pushing through the pension Bill; and the chairman of the empowered committee on state finance ministers expressing optimism about rolling out the goods and services tax by early next year. If only a crisis brings on reforms in the Indian system, so be it. That crisis is upon us, and the political class must take heed.—( Editorial Times of India, April 24, 2012.)
Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi

Recent events have brought the Siachen dispute back in focus. These are the April 7 avalanche, which resulted in the tragic loss of 127 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians; the hyped luncheon meeting of our PM with Pak President Zardari on April 8; and the statement of General Kayani, the Pak Army Chief, on April 18 that the dispute needs to be resolved. Unfortunately, emotions predominate in all these events.
The facts first, In 1963, Pakistan had unilaterally, and illegally, conceded the Shaksgam area, north of Siachen, to China. In 1984, when the Pakistani Army was about to secure the area, the Indian Army pre-emptively occupied the Saltoro Ridge, which runs parallel to the length of the Siachen Glacier on its west. It has been called the Actual Ground Position Line since then. The Pakistani Army made many attempts to throw us back, but all such attacks were repulsed. Having failed militarily, Pakistan decided that negotiations were a more pragmatic option.
In 1999, the Pakistani army’s attempt to secure Kargil was essentially to cut off our supply routes to Ladakh and secure Siachen. However, our troops again saved the day.
Let me now demolish some shibboleths bandied about by those bent on getting the Indian Army to vacate the area. First, the contention that Siachen and Saltoro have no value is patently wrong, as the area has great strategic importance at two levels. If the Saltoro had not been occupied by our troops, Pakistan from the west and China from the east would have long since linked up, with the strategic Karakoram Range and Pass under their control. It is only our occupation which has driven a wedge between the two. It would be a monumental folly if we now vacate these positions.
The second factor is the Shaksgam Valley. By our control of Saltoro and Siachen, we retain the option of negotiating with China over the Shaksgam Valley. The Pakistani stance that India is the aggressor, and should vacate the area, is a travesty of truth, as what our troops did in April 1984 was occupy our own areas; no border or line was crossed.
Third, unnecessary casualties are being incurred by both sides on account of the treacherous terrain and climate.
We seem to have fallen for the Pakistani ploy of looking at Siachen as a separate issue, unrelated to the LoC, when de facto it is an extension of the LoC. Pakistan’s compulsion must not translate into a sellout by India, for it will be an unmitigated disaster. After all, the trust deficit remains. Pakistan has taken no action on India’s concerns, like stopping support to Jihadi insurgents, punishing the guilty of the Mumbai mayhem and the sheltering of criminals such as Hafiz Saeed and others. (Hindusthan Times, April 21, 2012)