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President Pratibha Patil recently paid a visit to Russia and Tajikistan. In a meeting between President Pratibha Patil and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, in Moscow, the issue of terrorism and strengthening economic relations figured prominently. The two leaders were in complete agreement that the world community has to respond to the terror threat, for peace and stability in the region. There was also an agreement on the potential to take the relationship forward in the economic sector especially in the context of the global financial crisis. President Patil appreciated the st ro n g s u p p o rt R u s s ia h ad extended on vital issues including nuclear energy, defence and military cooperation. Mr. Putin held that the bilateral relationship was in the interest of both countries and was defined by special trust. Russia also reiterated its support to India's stand on regional and international forums including its claim for permanent membership of the UN Security Council. It was also agreed that there was a need to intensify parliamentary interaction between the two countries, especially of young parliamentarians. It was suggested that the Inter-Parliamentary Commission which was established in 1988, should be revitalized. On the economic front while India has already finalised an investment of about $5 billion dollars in the hydrocarbon sector of Russia and looking for more opportunities in gas and petroleum projects, Russian companies are
the week that was
September 15-21 2009 Page 2
the week that was
September 15-21 2009 Page 3
President visits Russia and Tajikistan
India Russia for more cooperation against terrorism strengthening ties with geo-politically crucial Tajikistan
active in off shore oil explorations and communications in India. President Patil is the first Indian head of state to visit Tajikistan, and will be the only foreigner so far to have attended functions to mark its national day. India's interest in this tiny Central Asian Republic arises from a variety of factors. Today, this country represents a confluence of big power interests. It shares its border with China, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and is narrowly separated from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir by a small stretch of Afghan territory and in recent years it has become a strategic play ground for Russia, China and the U.S., with India joining the fray in 2001. The second at traction to Tajikistan's prime location is that it is a Muslim majority secular State with a declared interest in fighting international terrorism, religious extremism, drugs and transnational crime. Russia, from which Tajikistan separated in 1991, has a military base here and continues to mentor the state, while China has pumped money and aid into the country. T h e Ru s s ian an d Ch in es e engagements are estimated at $ 1 billion and $ 400 million respectively. For the United States, this tiny landlocked State is vital for its strategic calculations both because of rival Russian and Chinese interests here as well as being next door to extremist hotbed Afghanistan.
It is not Laloo's kurta or Sonia' saari but the latest in politician's fashion is flying economy
It started with cabinet minister Pranab Mukherji asking the MPs to cut on their travelling expenses by taking the economy class f l i g hts . T h e re we re m i xed reactions over this. A poll conducted by an English news channel stated that 38% of the MPs agreed to it, 33% disagreed while 27% felt it didn't matter to them. News media has got a new story to cover now- who is flying how? This whole issue is being presented in a way that these MPs are doing some sacrifice on their part whereas it should have been a matter of common sense! Where the 70 % of the population is surviving with Rs. 20 per day, the MPs elected by them fly business class and live in 5 star hotels. The common man is happy that at last some of the MPs are becoming sensible but no one is thinking what these people are up to. It is a well planned appeasement policy by the ruling government albeit for public good. Using the content-hungry media as a tool the strategy is being implemented in stages. The elections in three states, Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh and Haryana, are near. In UP, Congress is getting some hold and wants it to grow. They first raised the issue of Mayavati's statue building spree saying that it was all a waste of public money. Now they have got one more issue to project themselves in white. Rahul Gandhi travels at first by Delhi Metro; then, he takes Shatabdi Train that too in chair car (how kind of him!). This adds further into his media hoisted 'charismatic personality' banner. His banner goes even higher. Sonia Gandhi is fast becoming an epitome of sacrifice. The latest in her sacrifice basket is her business class. Just see how great she becomes going by the words of Pranab Mukherji. The problem is not on MPs flying or sitting in a rikshaw but the problem is the way this all is being projected. It is agreed that it will do only good to the society at large even by an iota of percentage but the motif seems adulterated. Where was this attitude when the whole nation was in recession, what the government is doing about the price rise? Will MPs flying economy class do any good to the common man? It is all an image building process just before the elections. A party's projection for the bharat ki aam janta which believes and forgets. Common man is lost in common men.
Special Lok Adalats to settle power cases
Mongolia signs civil nuclear pact with India
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj signed the civil nuclear pact along with other treaties here in New delhi on September 14. An MoU on Development of Cooperation in the field of peaceful use of radioactive minerals and nuclear energy which would enable India to look for uranium in Mongolia was also s i g n e d b y M r Ts e r e n g i i n Damdinsuren, Deputy Head of the Mongolian Atomic Energy Agency and Mr A P Joshi, Additional Secretary in the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in the presence of Dr Singh and the Mongolian President. Mongolia is believed to have a huge reserve of Uranium. After US, Russia, France, Kazakhstan and Namibia, Mongolia has become the sixth nation to sign a civil nuclear pact with India. All these treaties have been possible only after the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) lifted the ban on India before the much debated Indo-US Nuclear treaty. The NSG a group of 45 nations had imposed the ban in 1975 on India to have trade in this field. Dr. Singh also told that the two nations have also agreed on deeper cooperation in not only the field of mining but also in other areas of mutual interest like agriculture. Health, cultural exchanges, statistical matters and extension of loan were the other four fields in which the pacts were signed by the two nations. India on this occasion also declared US $ 25 million stabilization fund for Mongolia. This fund wi ll help Mongolia in mitigation of the impact of global financial crisis. Mongolian President Mr. Elbegdorj expressed gratitude towards India for providing the stabilization fund.
48 incursions in past two months and the recent firing along Sikkim border... What China is up to?
advancements against India. It has encircled southern India from the sea-side with its military bases. The huge influx of cheap electronic and synthetic goods has had a serious impact on Indian economy by killing many small textile and hand weaving industries along with electronic item manufacturers. Hundreds of tanks and more than 700 trucks, 50000 troops have been shifted from four Chinese provinces at a place just 2000 kms from Arunachal Pradesh. Recently China even dared to question India's wisdom as well as status of Arunachal Pradesh by asking India not to allow Dalai Lama to visit Tawang. It is a time when India will have to look into the matter with greater concern as China is training its guns at all the fronts. Both the nations will have to sit and chalk out a better diplomatic plan which is in the interest of both.
Stampede in MCD School
Violation of court's warning on safety norms
This thursday proved to be traumatic for the Government Senior Secondary School students and their parents in Khajuri Khas in Delhi where five girls were killed in a stampede and 35 others were injured. The injured were rushed to the GTB hospital. Six of them were critically injured. The incident has brought forth an issue of severe lack of basic amenities in government and MCD schools. The issue came to the Delhi High Court's attention in 1997. Though Section 42(r) of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act 1957 prescribed primary education as a statutory duty; its 1802 schools in 12 zones rarely comply with the safety norms. Apart from this they are bereft of drinking water, toilets, electricity, fans and desks. The school did not follow the National Building Code (NBC) of India. According to the code a school should have fire safety measures like fire extinguisher, hose reel and firefighting equipment in place but the school had none of these. The school was running in two shifts and there was gap of only 30 minutes between the two shifts. The tragedy could have easily been avoided had the school authorities put in place proper examination-time arrangements and ensured monitoring of the two batches of students. Initial reports suggest that the stampede happened when a large number of girl students rushed down a narrow staircase after some boys misbehaved with a few girls. What is more striking is that no teacher was present to control the situation. After the mishap of July 2004 in Tamil Nadu where 93 children died in a fire, Delhi became the first state to incorporate safety measures as part of its Roopantar project launched in 2008. However, there is still inadequate awareness on handling emergencies. Students in most schools have no idea about evacuation procedures during emergencies. Even teachers, who are responsible for the minors under their charge, are not trained in ensuring orderly exit from classrooms and school in an emergency. Unless all kinds of safety measures are ensured, Indian schools will remain vulnerable to such tragic mishaps. While Human Resource Minister, Kapil Sibal is eying on major reforms in education in India, this should not go overlooked.
The Sino-Indian relation is on the boil after a series of incursions in the last few months. The latest being the firing on the Sikkim border on Monday. Chinese troops fired into the Indian territory killing two ITBP jawans. Last two months, July and August, saw 48 incursions from China. Indian media reacted and reported this issue strongly. However, the central government didn't take any noticeable stance on it. Chinese foreign Ministery spokesperson rubbished these reports by saying that it is yet to hear from its Indian counterparts. The question remains why India is keeping mum on all these issues? With the recent firings China has violated the bilateral peace treaty of 1996 whereby it was agreed that both nations won't open fire whatever be the provocations. China has made several strategic Upmanyu e c o n o m i c a n d m i l i t a r y
A Special Lok Adalat was organized at the Delhi Court on Sept 12th and 13th by Power distribution company BSES in association with the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee. With an aim to enable customers or litigants to reach over an amicable on the spot settlement of power theft cases, these Lok Adalats gave relief to consumers belonging to the lower and middle-income group. The people willing to settle their power theft cases came in person or along with their advocate. Cases that are either pending in any court of law or are yet to be filed or upto Rs 1 lakh were taken up by the Lok Adalat. In order to settle these cases in the quickest possible time a total of 12 courts (BRPL 7 and BYPL 5) were set up. BSES also made special arrangements like setting up 12 help desks manned by specially trained officials to help consumers. Of these, two help desks were setup for women, senior citizens and the disabled. A similar kind of Lok Adalat was organized in March which had seen over 2300 cases getting resolved on the spot. This time efforts were made by BSES and Delhi High Court Legal Services to make these Lok Adalats paperless. A special concern was also shown this time for the environment. It was ensured that there was no physical movement of files. To sum up, it could be said that these Lok Adalats proved to be an alternative redressal mechanism which is speedy as well as cost effective. It has helped a lot in reducing the huge backlog of pending cases.
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