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LIST OF NEWSPAPERS COVERED - Indian Institute of …iipa.org.in/www/iipalibrary/iipa/news/MAY 1-7,...

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Unruly passengers could be barred from flying for life

Aggrieved Flyers Will Have Option To Appeal Ban

Unruly behaviour on a flight -or even with airline staff on the ground -from June-end could mean a ban on flying for up to a lifetime. The aviation ministry presented the draft rules for India's first no-fly list (NFL) on Friday which puts disrup tive behaviour on board into three categories and prescribes different grounding periods for each level.

And to ensure that this provision is not misused against innocent passengers who may have been genuinely aggrieved by deficiency of service from an airline, the Centre has provided for appealing against the grounding order. However, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad's act of beating up an Air India staffer on March 23 -which led to the NFL -will not come under the purview of the proposed rules.

These proposals are in a draft civil aviation requirement (CAR) on which public comments can be sent for the next 30 days. After that, the ministry will examine them and it hopes to come out with the final rule before June 30. The first level of disrup tive behaviour includes physical gestures, verbal harassment and unruly inebriation. The next has physically abusive behaviour like pushing, kicking and includes inappropriate touching or sexual harassment. The highest level is for life-threatening behaviour, damage to aircraft operating system, physical violence such as choking, eye gouging, murderous assault, attempted or actual breach of cockpit.

A passenger charged un der first level can be grounded for up to three months; up to six months under the second level and for third level, grounding can be upwards of two years with no maximum limit (meaning up to a lifetime). For repeat offenders in the same level, the period of grounding is proposed to be doubled, aviation secretary R N Choubey said. Grounding will be in addition to airlines filing police complaints against accused with its own consequences for the unruly flyers. Delhi Police, however, is yet to act on the complaint AI filed against Gaikwad.

All airlines will need to have a panel headed by a retired districts and sessions judge with a senior official of another airline and a member of consumer or passenger associationforum as members.Airline crews will file complaints of unruly behaviour with this panel which will have to decide on whether the passenger is actually guilty of disruptive behaviour and of which level in 10 days. During these 10 days, the accused flyer will be barred from travelling on that particular airline. The no fly list will be under the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and airlines will have to inform it who all have been placed on the same.

Once this standing committee of airlines decides the case, the flyer will not travel on any flight, whether domestic or international, of that particular carrier depending on the period of grounding. However, it will not be mandatory for other Indian carriers to follow this list. Other Indian and foreign carriers can also ground a person on NFL for the same period, said Choubey .

The aviation ministry will set up an appeals panel -which will be headed by a retired high court judge with a senior airline official and a person from consumerpassenger association as member. A passenger found to be disruptive by an airline panel and grounded can appeal against the decision in this panel. However, he or she shall remain grounded pending the appeal which will also have to be decided within a fixed time frame.



Bureaucratic reshuffle: 21 babus appointed Joint Secretaries

NEW DELHI: Gujarat's Srinivas Ramaswamy Katikithala has been appointed as Joint Secretary in Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) as part of a major bureaucratic reshuffle effected today.

As many as 21 officers, nine of whom are from Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and remaining from other services, have been appointed in various central government departments here.

The appointments assume significance as members of civil services have been demanding same career growth as being enjoyed by IAS officers.

Katikithala is a 1989 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre.

He has been appointed as JS, DoPT for a period of five years, an official order said.

Senior bureaucrat Anil Srivastava, who is at present Joint Secretary in Ministry of Civil Aviation, will be Advisor, Niti Aayog.

Srivastava, a 1985 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, will hold the post up to February 14, 2019, it said.

Upma Srivastava has been appointed new JS in Civil Aviation Ministry, in Anil Srivastava's place.

Nidhi Chhibber will be Joint Secretary in Defence Ministry. Jatindra Nath Swain has been appointed JS, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

K Vinayak Rao, an officer of Indian Railway Accounts Service, has been appointed Member (Finance) in Delhi ..

Madhu Ranjan Kumar and Pramod Kumar Pathak have been appointed as JS in Department of Higher Education and Ministry of Ayush respectively.

Kamlesh Chaturvedi and P K Borthakur will be Joint Secretaries in Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, and Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.

K Rajaraman has been named JS, Department of Expenditure, Shantmanu as Development Commissioner in Ministry of Textiles and Pramod Kumar Tiwari will be JS in Department of Food and P Public Distribution, the order issued by DoPT said.

Meera Ranjan Tshering, an officer of Indian Postal Service, will be Joint Secretary and Financial Advisor, Ministry of Women and Child Development. Sarita Mittal, an officer of Central Secretariat Service, will be Joint Secretary, Department of Health Research.

Alok Saxena will be JS, Department of Health and family Welfare, D K Sekar has been appointed Additional Director General of Foreign Trade (Chennai) and Chhavi Jha will be Joint Secretary, National Commission for Women.

Jha has been appointed in place of Vandana Gupta, who has been sent back to her cadre -- Indian Post and Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service -- before completion of her tenure.

Alok Saxena will be JS, Department of Health and family Welfare, D K Sekar has been appointed Additional Director General of Foreign Trade (Chennai) and Chhavi Jha will be Joint Secretary, National Commission for Women.

Jha has been appointed in place of Vandana Gupta, who has been sent back to her cadre -- Indian Post and Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service -- before completion of her tenure.

Aastha Saxena Khatwani will be JS, Ministry of Women and Child Dev..

Aastha Saxena Khatwani will be JS, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Murugan Arumugam Inbarasu has been named Joint Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (Mumbai) and Shishir Sinha will be Deputy Director General, UIDAI.


Government pushes ahead with plan for SC/ST quota in promotions

Mahendra K Singh


A report prepared by DoPT supported quotas in promotion for SCs and STs

The report noted that 15% and 7.5% representation of SCs and STs was not achieved in several departments

SC/ST employees association held protest in Mysore

NEW DELHI: The Centre is moving ahead on the proposal to provide reservation in promotion for SC and ST employees in government jobs with a key official report saying underprivileged sections needed affirmative action.

A report prepared by the department of personnel and training (DoPT), presented to Prime MinisterNarendra Modi, supported quotas inpromotion for SCs and STs. "For equal opportunity and inclusive growth, there is need for reservation in promotion to continue in favour of SCs and STs," it said.

DoPT was asked to prepare a report following a meeting chaired by Modi in March 2016 to deal with several judicial orders against reservation in promotion on the basis of a constitution bench verdict in the M Nagraj case in 2006.

The judgment said Article 16(4A) was only an enabling provision, and not mandatory, which gave freedom to the state to provide for reservation in matters of promotion to SC and ST employees.

The 2006 order said the provision could be enforced only after conditions - "backwardness", "inadequacy of representation" and "administrative efficiency" - were met for the intended beneficiaries.

The report noted that 15% and 7.5% representation of SCs and STs was not achieved in several departments.


This is the most stupid thing that any country would do. Performance becomes secondary to vote bank politics. Azadi becomes Berbadi.dvsikka

The report, prepared in consultation with the attorney general, said SCs/STs were economically, socially and educationally far behind other social groups in important parameters of development to justify affirmative action.

The report is a step towards the Modi government's plan to deal withSupreme Courtjudgments which have made it difficult for the Centre and state governments to reserve posts for SCs/STs in promotion.

TRIBUNE, MAY 3, 2017

Only CM can transfer Class I, II officers now

Cabinet ministers divested of power to do so

The new development vests more powers in the Chief Ministers Office (CMO), which alreadywields unprecedentedpowers, which is one ofthe reasons for growing resentment among BJPlegislators and cadre

Pradeep Sharma

The Manohar Lal Khattar Government has clipped the wings of its Cabinet ministers regarding transfer of Class I and II officers. Now, the Chief Minister will be the sole authority to order transfer of these officers.

The ministers power to transfer Class I and II officers has been withdrawn. The transfer orders of Class I and II officers are to be issued only with the approval of the Chief Minister, an order of the Chief Secretary issued on May 1 said.

Earlier, the Chief Secretarys order of April 21 said, The government has decided to allow ministers to carry out transfers of Class I and II officers of their departments till May 1. Even in case of transfers ordered by the ministers, the Chief Ministers approval was required.

In fact, the order taking away ministers power to transfer gazetted officers came yesterday when their powers to transfer Class III and IV was extended till May 15.

The new development vests more powers in the Chief Ministers Office (CMO), which already wields unprecedented powers, which is one of the reasons for growing resentment among BJP legislators and cadre.

Transfers and postings of state government officials are major tools in the hands of the ministers to oblige party cadre and other influential sections of society. In fact, some of these are considered prize postings on which party leaders recommendations and ministers decision play a vital role.

Earlier, the ministers enjoyed a lot of discretion in the transfer of middle-rung Class I and II officers. However, now the ministers will have to go to the Chief Ministers Office even for recommending these transfers.


Civil services: Ironical that India continues to cling to its coloniallegacyIt is ironic that the UK reformed its civil service, but we continue to cling to our colonial legacy.

By:Hardayal Singh

The rise of PMNarendra Modiis due as much to his personal popularity as it is to the resentment of the people against the soi-disant liberal eliteboth political as well as bureaucraticwho have ruled this country since independence. There is nothing in liberalism per se which should have generated such a sharp reaction: John Stuart Mills essay On liberty has inspired thousands in this country. And liberalism itself only emphasises that the state should respect a human beings right to freedom of belief and expression; governments should function within the framework of checks and balances; the rule of law should prevail; and the sanctity of all lawful contracts should be respected.

These principles are unexceptionable and accepted by most right thinking people. Why then should Indian liberals (left liberals actually) be disliked by so many of their fellow citizens? One possible explanation could be that the rulers cut themselves off from mainstream thinking. Why this happened is a complex story.

The earliest liberals in this countrylike William Jones, the founder of the Asiatic Societycame from Britain. They respected educated Indians and were able to convince them that liberalism was not at odds with Indian beliefs. They translated ancient Indian texts, like the Bhagvad Gita, and this led to the birth of the study of Indology in western universities.

Nineteenth century reformers who followed them like Raja Rammohan Roy in Bengal remained proud Hindus. Even as they worked actively for abolition of sati, widow remarriage and other social reforms, they remained in touch with their religious and philosophical traditions. By the turn of the century Vivekanand could proclaim I am proud to belong to a religion that has taught the world both universal tolerance as well as universal acceptancewe accept all religions as true.

Even though they were brought up on diet of liberalism in their own country, the English ruling classes in India did not practice these beliefs while they lived here. For them, Indians were an inferior race; and civilising them was the white mans burden. They had a very limited briefto maintain law and order and collect revenue. Not surprisingly, between the years 1900 and 1950, the Indian economy grew at just 1% per annum.

After independence, these attitudes hardly changed. The new Nehruvian consensus which emerged after independence recognised and gave effect to some liberal principles in matters political. New chapters on fundamental rights, and a federal democratic structure were incorporated in the constitution but that was as far as Nehru allowed his liberal thinking to go. Instead, he gave effect to his love for Fabian socialism through a license-permit raj involving a complex web of rules, regulations and controls that stifled private trade and industry.

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Throughout the next thirty years the savings-investment ratios remained low; and the rate of growth of the economy averaged 3.5%. First, hesitant steps towards reform were taken in the early eighties with the removal of a few quantitative restrictions on imports and broad banding of licenses; but the real process of liberalisationreduction in the size of the fiscal deficit; decrease in import duties; and abolition industrial licensingwas carried through in the 1990s. India, thus, freed its product markets from state controls and immediately the rate of economic growth increased to 6% up to the turn of the century; thereafter, it has generally hovered between 7% and 8%.

Even seventy years after independence and a generation after economic reforms, the model of an over-developed state characterised by an unaccountable bureaucracy, vested with vast discretionary powers, continues to haunt our country. It is indeed ironic that whereas the UK reformed its civil service decades ago, we continue to cling to our colonial legacy. In fact, in its present avatar it is even more regressive than what it was during the days of the raj. The civil service now has become a cosy illiberal club. Such clubs, which in the name of liberalism protect vested interests, are also to be found in the professions, media, commerce and academia.

If PM is to maintain his connect with the masses, then he must try and deliver what the people want most. People want to see an enabling state.The state should provide basic infrastructure and should step in where markets fail or cannot function. The rest must be left to the animal spirits of the people; jobs will be created if investment takes place and industry expands, but the state must create conditions for that to happen. To be sure, this would be a truly liberal state.

Author is Former chief commissioner, Income-tax and ombudsman to the Income-tax department, Mumbai.


180 IAS officers to work as Assistant Secretaries in central government depts.

NEW DELHI: About 180 IAS officers of 2015 batch will be posted as Assistant Secretaries in different central government departments for three months, beginning July 3.

The posting is part of a unique initiative started by the central government to groom bureaucrats at the Centre before they move out to their respective state cadres.

All officers of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) are allotted cadres -- which could either be a state or group of states. The officers are supposed to start their career in their respective cadre states.

As per rules, IAS officers are eligible to come on central deputation only after completing nine years service at their respective cadres.

About 180 officers of 2015 batch will be on central deputation for 13 weeks -- July 3, 2017 to September 27, 2017, an order issued recently by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.

These officers will be designated as Assistant Secretaries during the period and will be attached to departments allotted to them, it said.

They will take over the assignment after expiry of Phase- II training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie on June 30.

The officers will be entitled for medical facilities and Central Deputation on Tenure Allowance (CDTA), which is presently 10 per cent of basic pay subject to a ceiling of Rs 4,000.

They will also be provided accommodation during the period of their central deputation.

The DoPT has earmarked about 200 posts of Section Officer's grade to accommodate these officers against the posts of Assistant Secretaries.

"The idea behind allowing these young officers to start their career from Delhi is to familiarise them with the functioning of the Union government and enable them to get themselves introduced to various functionaries and officials in the central government hierarchy,' a senior DoPT official said.



For whom the bell tolls- Partisan politics is destroying a professional army

Brijesh D. Jayal

The notion that complex issues can be conveyed by one single image is best exemplified by the English idiom - "a picture is worth a thousand words". One such picture that has created a fierce debate is that of an individual tied to the bonnet of a military vehicle. The man was reportedly being used as a human shield by security forces against stone-pelting crowds during the recent by-elections in the Srinagar constituency.

That this image has stirred emotions and generated a debate encompassing thousands of words are not surprising considering the complex situation prevailing in certain parts of Jammu and Kashmir. However, what is intriguing is the prejudiced attitude towards the army, which is being expected to perform a thankless task owing to the failure of the very institutions of our democracy and governance that, one believes, many commentators are speaking up for.

As further details have emerged, it transpires that it was not just a trigger-happy army that had caught the innocent voter, Farooq Dar, and used him as a human shield, as some psy-ops protagonists had wanted to project. A polling booth in Srinagar parliamentary constituency with around 20 officials was surrounded and being threatened by a huge mob of stone-pelters out to harm them. It was in response to their call for help that a quick reaction team led by Major Leetul Gogoi of 53 Rashtriya Rifles had responded. That Gogoi and his team successfully defused a potentially nasty conflagration and prevented harm to any individual is the reality. One would like to believe that every Indian would support this outcome and condemn the stone-pelters, whose nefarious designs were thwarted. Where, however, there are serious differences of opinion is the means adopted to achieve this favourable outcome.

Let us, for once, try and look at the unfolding scene from Gogoi's and his team's perspective. On duty as a quick reaction team, they are fully aware of the tense situation prevailing in their area of operations. Recent casualties have occurred amongst both the security forces and the civil population. The team is fully alive to the fact that the local population is hostile to their presence, even with the recent video of a security personnel being taunted, mocked and pushed around fresh in their minds. They are equally conscious that thisjawanwas lucky to have got out alive since the slightest provocation either on his part or that of an over-enthusiastic trouble-maker amongst the crowd would have cost him his life. Lynching is the word that has of late been heard, but they are aware that beheading is also in the armoury of the silent backers of some of these stone-pelters.

More than any physical protection or the firearm that each team member carries, it is their physical and moral fibre, honed through years of training and sacrifice, that has resulted in them being considered fit by their superiors to undertake difficult missions like these amongst their disaffected fellow citizens. They do not question why they and their predecessors have been employed on internal security duties, not for fleeting crises situations but for decades on end even though this is not their primary role; or why they should bear abuse and humiliation from their own people when even the highest rank within the service must treat them with dignity and respect. Most of all, they do not understand why local political leaders, whose chestnuts they are attempting to pull out of the fire, have no hesitation in casting aspersions on them and their intent, or grudging the safeguards that a national law such as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act provides to the soldiers.

Notwithstanding these and dozen such thoughts numbing their minds, they know that the professional and moral code that is second nature to them must prevail. They are conscious that they have to be able to react swiftly and correctly to life-threatening situations where their timing will decide whether they live or die. There is no time to ponder the niceties of different shades of opinion or to seek wise counsel from superiors. Morality in such situations denotes four essentials. That mission accomplishment even at the cost of one's life is paramount. That collateral damage must be minimized. That the lives and well-being of those under their command come before that of their own. And finally, the intent of action chosen must be in good faith. Judging by these, Gogoi has displayed professional leadership of a high order. Who knows, one day, even young Dar, having reflected on the events of the day, may recognize that his momentary loss of dignity actually saved the lives of many, including his own. By criticizing Gogoi and his team, we have failed not just them, but have also caused immense harm to the psyche of the armed forces of the republic of India.

One wishes that those who have rushed to form judgment would pause and reflect on what truly is happening beneath the surface in Jammu and Kashmir that, for instance, puts the likes of Gogoi and Dar in our headlines when both would be content getting on with their respective lives. Whilst many, especially political leaders, may like to erase from memory how it all began, the army as an institution can never do so as it has stoically borne the brunt of it. Not only has it faced the bullets of elements within our own people who are hostile to the country, but also the barbs of the institutions of democracy whose flames they are attempting to douse.

For Pakistan, Kashmir is both an unfinished business of Partition and a platform for rallying support for a clash of civilizations. The Pakistan army would not want the Kashmir issue resolved as it would pose a challenge to its dominance in Pakistan's policy towards India. While the seeds of the Kashmir insurgency date back to the 1970s after Pakistan's humiliating military defeat, critics of the army need reminding that the political strategy of rigging elections in 1987 and denying the people a government deserving of their support gave it a major fillip. The irony of such leaders today mouthing platitudes on behalf of the stone-pelters and for withdrawal of the AFSPA is not lost on the army. Finally, let us not close our eyes to the reality that Islamic fundamentalists are now exploiting the situation to their advantage.

There is, however, one editorial that recognizes that the army is fighting a hybrid war and states "[t]here is no argument that the Army, which is caught in a situation in which terrorists attempt to blend in with the civilian population, is fighting a difficult and unenviable battle. But the difficulties in fighting a hybrid war do not constitute a justification for the use of human shields, which is categorised as a war crime by the Geneva Conventions." It is another matter that the Geneva Conventions apply only to armed conflicts and even in this age of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, the international community has failed to reach universal agreement on the definition of terrorism. To throw the book at the Indian army is hence unfair, to say the least.

A RAND study of experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan titled "War by other Means" mentions that it is a mistake to regard counter-insurgency as just another form of warfare. "Insurgencies are movements in which opponents of established governing authorities use violence and other means to wrest the support of the population away from those authorities. Military force is but one instrument of COIN available for use in such contests, and it ought to be subordinate to a political strategy of offering the people a government deserving of their support."

The dismal vote percentage in the recent by-elections is a pointer that opponents of the established governing authorities appear to be gaining an upper hand, but save the military we appear to have no political strategy to offer to the people. Partisan politics will only strengthen the hands of inimical forces. Perennial use of the military has deeper ramifications. Perhaps the time is ripe for every political leader and party in the state to set aside personal, bipartisan or ideological considerations and face the larger challenge - that of offering the people a government deserving of their support. Hiding behind the army's apron strings and making a scapegoat of it when cornered is no more an option. It is a recipe for disaster.

So loud and one-sided has this debate become that even some army veterans appear overcome with remorse. Those not blinkered by pre-conceived liberal notions are perhaps seeing the first signs of lowering of the morale of the Indian army in the face of incessant psychological warfare mounted by a determined adversary, a warfare compounded by an under-confident polity and uninterested public. If this sounds alarmist, this is what the attorney-general told a bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and U.U. Lalit as recently as on April 20. Speaking on behalf of the army, he told the honourable bench that the soldiers could not be subjected to first information reports for carrying out anti-militancy operations in insurgency-prone areas such as Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur. He alleged that local bias in judicial inquiries conducted against the army in these regions have tarnished its image.

It was perhaps this frustration that the army chief was venting when he said that security forces in Jammu and Kashmir were facing higher casualties. He also warned the local youth against committing unfriendly acts as they would then be regarded as anti-nationals and treated as such. True to form, there were many who took umbrage at our so-called misguided youth being termed anti-national.

This writer believes that it is now time for our institutions of democracy to get real, because the message that one sees from the infamous picture is loud and clear - that is, for the sake of partisan politics a professional army is being lost. If ever the healing touch of the supreme commander of the armed forces were needed, it is now.

The author is a retired air marshal of the Indian Air Force

TRIBUNE, MAY 4, 2017

New scales for forces, few anomalies stay

The government tonight notified the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) with revised emoluments for the three armed forces, while addressing a few core anomalies and leaving out some for resolution later on.

The pending ones include non-functional upgrade (NFU), a kind of pay increase without promotion as given to civilian employees. Also on the pending list is higher military service pay (MSP) for junior commissioned officers (JCOs). They rise from the lower ranks (jawans). The 7th CPC has clubbed the MSP of JCOs and jawans at Rs 5,200. The demand is to have it at Rs 10,000 for the JCOs.

Announcing the changes, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said the issue of NFU was sub judice but added three of the demands had been accepted.

Jaitley listed these saying the pay matrix had been extended from 24 to 40 stages (allowing the pay scale to grow); the index of rationalisation of pay for Lieutenant Colonels and Colonels will be fixed at a ratio of 2.67 instead of 2.57; and pay protection for Major Generals, who on getting promoted from the rank of Brigadier used to see their pay getting reduced.

The Cabinet also approved the retention of percentage-based regime of disability pension implemented post 6th CPC, which the 7th CPC had recommended to be replaced by a slab-based system.

A slab-based system would have resulted in reduction in the amount of disability pension for existing pensioners and a reduction in the amount for future retirees. The benefit of the proposed modifications will be available with effect from January 1, 2016, that is the date of implementation of the 7th CPC recommendations.

The CPC for the forces had been held in abeyance since August when the Chiefs of the three armed services Army, IAF and Navy collectively wrote to the PM seeking redress.

Pension revision formulation

The Cabinet has approved changes to the method of revision of pension of pre-2016 pensioners and family pensioners based on suggestions made by the committee chaired by Secretary (Pensions) constituted with the approval of the Cabinet. The modified formulation of pension revision approved by the Cabinet will entail an additional benefit to the pensioners and an additional expenditure ofRs 5,031 crore for 2016-17 over and above the expenditure already incurred in revision of pension as per the second formulation based on fitment factor.



Complete assessment vital

M K Sridhar May 5 2017

Diversity is an important feature of educational institutions; as a result, accredi-tation based only on uniform criteria poses a challenge.

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (Naac) is a flagship quality assurance council for higher education in India. Established in 1994 by the University Grants Commission (UGC), it has been actively engaged in the performance evaluation and implementation of quality sustenance procedures in universities and colleges.

It has so far accredited 297 universities and 6,772 colleges as of January, 2017. It evaluates the quality performance with reference to seven criteria. They are curricular aspects; teaching-learning and evaluation; research, consultancy and extension; infrastructure and learning resources; student support and progression; governance, leadership and management; and, innovations and best practices.

They are sub-classified into 32 key aspects and 202 assessment indicators. The Naac has laid down a process and procedure for the assessment. Thus, the most significant contribution of Naac is the evolution of criterion for measuring quality as well as the development of accreditation culture among higher educational institutions.

Such a criterion has been evolved over a period of time considering international best practices and the Indian context. It is also the result of continuous and consistent review/revision of their criteria, manuals and guidelines. Some of the changes made since inception of Naac include formulation of value framework, uploading of self study report on the institutions website, videography of on-sight visit, automation of off-site process, revision of grading system and mandatory submission of annual quality assurance reports. It is learnt that Naac is in the process of review once again. Hence, it is appropriate to flag few issues.

The Naac has been following a uniform criterion for all institutions but for minor variations in weightages, key aspects and assessment indicators among the criteria and between types of institutions. This is, generally the case with many countries irrespective of the diversity of climate, conditions, constraints and challenges of educational institutions.Such a diversity is an important feature of educational institutions in India as a result of which accreditation based only on uniform criteria poses a challenge.

The availability of human and material resource is not same in all institutions. The governance mechanism of the government, aided and unaided institutions are not uniform in all regions. There is a huge variation in the fees collected from students of government and private institutions. Starting an educational institution in a remote place itself is a quality dimension.Giving admission to backward students and ensuring their success is more qualitative than placement with higher salary. Availability of teachers becomes more critical than their publications considering the remoteness and inaccessibility of institutions. Minimum infrastructure itself is a luxury for many.

Consider some of these figures which are self- explanatory. A total of 64% of colleges are unaided and only 22% belong to the government. The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of our country is 24.5% whereas it is 19.9% for the scheduled castes and 14.2% in case of scheduled tribes. Geographical variations in GER are noteworthy. The GER of Tamil Nadu is 44% and that of Bihar is 14%. Another diversity is the variations in pupil-teacher ratio. All India is 1:21 and it is 1:50+ in Delhi, Bihar and Jharkhand. The AISHE report of 2015-16 reveals that 60% of total colleges are located in rural areas.

The challenges of rural institutions are not same as that of urban counterparts. These qualitative and quantitative dimensions reveal the extent of diversity in higher education. Further, quality also depends upon promoter, process of evolution, socio-economic conditions, culture and composition of the team, community around, stakeholder support etc. There are many factors which are beyond the control of institution.

As a result, they cannot perform well in spite of their unique characteristics, which are critical for them in their context. In this way, every institution loses its score for unique characteristic feature. Then, the entire process of accreditation and assessment is incomplete. The Naac has taken a safe stand of having uniform criteria till now. This has done a great disservice to those institutions which are strong on a criterion which does not fall under the Naac framework.

Unique quality dimensions

Further, uniformity of criterion also ignores the strength, competency, uniqueness and the efforts put in over a period of time. In fact, every institution has something good or unique. By ensuring uniformity, one is belittling or even dismissing the genuine efforts put in by them. They have slogged over a period of time. Recognising their strength or competency would act as an incentive to the institution.

While advocating the issue of diversity, it is impossible for Naac to develop a framework which considers all possible unique quality dimensions of all institutions. Grading and calculating Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) will be a daunting task because of variable criteria. Accreditation and assessment becomes a very complex and complicated exercise. It can also amount to going against the international practices, which one cannot afford to in the present circumstances. At the same time, these arguments do not wish away the issue of diversity or uniqueness.

The way out is to introduce an open criterion with small weightage to start with, on which the institution has to make a choice along with developing key aspects and assessment indicators. The institution concerned has to develop its own criteria, its concept, operational measurement etc. The self-study report has to incorporate their performance during the period under review on all eight criteria (seven of Naac and one of the institution) under various key aspects and indicators.

The peer committee would examine this criterion at the time of on-site visit. Such a provision provides a genuine opportunity to the institution to showcase its unique quality dimension which differentiates them from others. This method could also add many dimensions to quality, which are India-centric beyond the imagination of the concerned.

The performance of institutions could, further, be analysed in terms of regions, duration, culture, relevance, gender etc, with the help of the data generated from such an exercise. This would augur well for the quality movement in higher education in India.(The writer is former Professor of Management, Bangalore University)


Universities to dedicate a wall to war heroes

NEW DELHI: Universities across the country from now will have a wall of heroes, a display of portraits or photographs of 21 Param Vir Chakra recipients to inspire students and inculcate feelings of nationalism. This is part of the Centres Vidya Veerta Abhiyan (Wisdom and Warrior Campaign) and was conceived by BJP leader Tarun Vijay, who calls it a humble attempt to inculcate patriotism in the students. We have reached out to 1,000 universities across the country and everyone has been very supportive. It is a positive campaign to tell the youth of the country about our real heroes, who laid down their lives for us. Nobody is above them, Vijay told ET. HRD minister Prakash Javadekar and minister of state for defence Subhash Bhamre will launch the campaign here on Tuesday. The Wall of Heroes depicting the portraits of War Warriors decorated with Param Veer Chakra for showing extraordinary courage and bravery to defend Motherland will inspire the youth and make them feel patriotic, Vijay said. To start with, we will have 100 universities that will launch the campaign and show the way forward, he added. HR course in Talent Management from XLRI XLRI Get Medical Cover of 5 Lac For Parents & Family + Tax Bene.. PolicyX Recommended By Colombia The first set of portraits is planned to be presented to VCs from various universities such as JNU, DU, Jamia, Kerala University, Mumbai University and those in Jammu and Arunachal Pradesh. Among the IITs, IITDelhi is already on board. Others, I am sure will follow, Vijay said. Vijay said the campaign was inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and aimed at creating respect among students for real heroes. He said the universities could choose whichever wall they want to have the photographs on. We have left it to them. They can display the pictures wherever it is easy for them to maintain and where they are easily seen by students and visitors. Last year, in a series of incidents in some universities, including JNU, some students were accused of taking part in antinational protests and raising antiIndia slogans. Similarly, violent clashes had broken out in Ramjas College over an invitation to JNU student Umar Khalid, one of those who had organised an event to protest against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

PIONEER, MAY 3, 2017



Haryana Information, Public Relations and Languages Minister Kavita Jain on Tuesday said that with its commitment to strengthen the education system, the State Government aspires to empower the prominent universities in the State like YMCA so that such institutes could make a significant contributions to the society.

Jain was addressing the valedictory ceremony of two-day National Conference on Advances in Mathematics and Computing (AMC-2017) organized by the YMCA University of Science and Technology, Faridabad, as part of Haryana Golden Jubilee celebrations in Faridabad.

The State Government is working towards affiliating the colleges with different Universities which would further strengthen the education system, she said.

Laying emphasis on the significance of mathematics and computer science in the 21st century, the Minister said that we could not even imagine the programmes like Digital India, Skill India and Make in India without Mathematics and Computer Sciences.

On being apprised about the problem of water logging and drainage during the rainy season in the University campus, Jain, who also holds the portfolio of Urban Local Bodies, assured that the grievances of the University would be redressed at the earliest.

In his address, YMCA Vice-Chancellor, Dinesh Kumar emphasised on the need for research in the area of Mathematics and Computing. He also stressed the importance of such conferences and with utmost gratitude to the participant for making the Conference a success.

During the two-day conference, a total six invited lectures and eight parallel technical sessions were conducted and more than 100 research and thematic papers were presented on the topics like Artificial Intelligence, Web Based Computing, Mathematical Modelling, Machine Learning, Applied Mathematics and Computing, Application of mathematics and Engineering, Cloud Computing, Wireless Networks and Security Engineering etc.

For each theme presentation, a resource person from the specialized field was called who explained the theme in detail.


UGC tightens purse strings, JNU V-C says research willsufferThe UGC also allegedly said that JNU had incurred excess expenditure from its plan grant on electricity and water.

Written byAranya Shankar

THE TUSSLE over funds between theJawaharlal NehruUniversity (JNU) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) does not seem to be ending. After students last month claimed they had not been getting their non-NET fellowships since January, JNU wrote to the UGC asking them to disburse the overdue Rs 11 crore. The UGC is learnt to have replied saying that funds being asked for were over and above the allocation under the XIIth plan grant and, therefore, could not be given.

The UGC also allegedly said that JNU had incurred excess expenditure from its plan grant on electricity and water. In response, JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar wrote to the UGC acting chairman on April 21, arguing that the money being demanded is part of the allocation and that the expenditure was unavoidable. Kumar said if funds are not to be spent from the plan grant, he would be grateful if UGC could advise him as to how to meet the expenditure.

UGC sources had told The Indian Express that the university had Rs 16 crore as block grants and fellowships could be paid from that. JNU has started paying fellowships from its balance but the issue seems to be far from over.

In his letter, Kumar refers to a previous letter from UGC joint secretary J K Tripathi. The letter states that the UGC observed there is an excess expenditure, probably under electricity and water charges, which were supposed to be met from non-plan grant. I would like to state that as mentioned in my previous letters, the non-plan no salary allocation made by UGC is only Rs 25 crore while the expenditure on electricity and water is about Rs 36 crore per year. It is obvious that the charges cannot be met from the meagre non-plan grant allocation. As a result, the university is left with no option but to delve into plan funds, Kumar said.

The letter also states the audit does not allow UGC to release Rs 11 crore over and above the allocation under the plan head XIIth plan allocation for the university was Rs 204 crore (subsequently raised to Rs 242 crore and now Rs 247 crore), of which Rs 231 crore was released. Thus, the demand for Rs 11 crore is not above the plan grant, Kumar said.

He said JNU had taken several energy conservation measures and the amount being paid on electricity is the bare minimum.

Kumar has demanded that the UGC provide adequate funds under non-plan head, arguing that failure to do so would severely impact ongoing research in the university. He demanded that JNU gets its approved allocation of Rs 247 crore in full without being penalised for expenses on water and electricity.

Kumar did not respond to questions on the letter and Registrar Pramod Kumar said he did not know about it. He said the funds being asked for by JNU are due.

TRIBUNE, MAY 3, 2017

No book sale in schools: HC

The Delhi High Court has directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to ensure that the schools affiliated to it did not indulge in commercial activities, such as selling books and uniforms on their campuses. The Bench also noted that the CBSE has recently issued a circular in this regard.

The courts directions came during the hearing of a PIL filed by social worker Sunil Pokhriyal, seeking directions to restrain schools from using their buildings to run commercial activities like selling books and uniforms.

The petition was opposed by the authorities, including CBSE, saying, The plea was not in public interest. It is his (petitioners) own interest.

On April 19, the CBSE had issued a circular and told the schools affiliated to it that education institutions are no commercial establishments and the sale of books, uniforms and stationery by them was in violation of norms. PTI

TRIBUNE, MAY 1, 2017

Now textbooks in Rajasthan schools to have a chapter on Hindu 'Deity'

Tabeenah Anjum

Congress president Sachin Pilot told DH, 'This is not for the first time the ruling party has tried to saffronise the course books. But this time it seems that the minister is trying to please Brahmin community with pretext of including a chapter on Brahmin Deity in the books.' DH file photo

Public libraries in Rajasthan will now have books on Lord Parshuram and a chapter on the Hindu Deity will be included in the moral science text books in government schools.

Education Minister Vasudev Devnani announced it after a delegation from Vipra Foundation met him on the occasion of Parshuram Jayanti.

The announcement by the Minister came as a bid to pacify the Brahmin community, who had burnt his effigies in Ajmer town, reminding him of his promise to include Lord Parshuram in school text books.

Devnani told media, "We have decided to include a chapter on the diety in moral science books and now biography books on Lord Parshuram will be made available in all public libraries. Apart from this we will include stories of Veer-Veerangana (brave men and women) of Rajasthan from the next academic session." The Minister confirmed that the books will be financed from the his own discretionary fund.

Devnani further said, "Parashuram is the symbol of pride of Brahmin community and a deity or god. His life story will help students to learn values and culture."

Minister's attempts to please Brahmin Community

The announcement came weeks after Devnani had allegedly hurt the sentiments of Brahmin community by questioning their use of suffix Pandit with their names.

Earlier Rajasthan high court served notices to Devnani in response to a petition challenging his use of the title professor without the requisite qualifications. However Devnani responded by stating a logic, "Brahmins also use Pandit title without qualification".

However the opposition Congress has accused the minister of saffronising the school curriculum in schools. Congress president Sachin Pilot told DH, "This is not for the first time the ruling party has tried to saffronise the course books. But this time it seems that the minister is trying to please Brahmin community with pretext of including a chapter on Brahmin Deity in the books."

Previous Instances

Earlier also the BJP government in Rajasthan had directed all secondary and senior secondary schools to buy a 15 volume set of books which include letters, journals, collection of writings and speeches of Late Deendayal Upadhyaya, the RSS pracharak thinker and charismatic leader of Bharatiya Jan Sangh.

The order by Jan Sanghs offshoot Bharatyiya Janata Party ruled state has run into troubled waters as the volume costs Rupees 6000 which is four times more than the annual budget sanctioned for a school to buy books. Also, the opposition party has criticized the decision by calling it a multi-crore scam and yet another effort to saffronise the education in state.


Don't make Aadhaar numbers of PhD scholars public: UGC

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked universities not to publish the Aadhaar number of PhD scholars on their websites.

The commission had directed all the universities to upload the data of their students along with their unique identification numbers.

It is informed that the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 prohibits publishing and displaying Aadhaar numbers publicly.

Therefore, you are requested not to publish or display Aadhaar numbers of scholars publicly, the UGC said in a recent directive to the universities.

BackdropThe UGCs course correction comes at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing a petition against mandatory registration of Aadhaar for various welfare schemes.

The issue has also been in focus with recent reports about Aadhaar data leak.

In June 2016, the Centre made it mandatory for students to submit their Aadhaar numbers for grant of scholarships, including fellowships, at higher education level.

Following an instruction from the Human Resource Development Ministry, the UGC directed vice chancellors to send Aadhaar numbers of students receiving scholarships under various schemes.

The higher education regulator also directed the vice chancellors to upload details about their students on their respective websites.

Later in September last year, the commission directed all universities to maintain the list of all MPhil and PhD students along with details including name, topic of research, name of supervisor and co-supervisor, date of enrolment among others.


Education reforms: Why India should not get lost in high feesissueIn the case of the IITs, the plan has been to allow them to even decide on their own fees. A Bill for reforming medical education has been proposed by NITI Aayog and that is under consideration.

In the case of the IITs, the plan has been to allow them to even decide on their own fees. A Bill for reforming medical education has been proposed by NITI Aayog and that is under consideration. (Source: Reuters)

Periodic statements on the need to prevent private schools from overcharging students, apparently oblivious to the amount the government spends on its schools or the quality of teaching there, tend to overshadow the progress being made on education reform. So, for instance, while the issue of reservations is a serious oneand the government continues to try to impose it on the IIMsthe proposal to replace the IIM Council where the government was represented by a coordinating council which will have eminent people as members (apart from the IIM directors) is a good step; dropping the President from the Visitor, with powers to recommend administrative action, is also a good move. In the case of the IITs, the plan has been to allow them to even decide on their own fees. A Bill for reforming medical education has been proposed by NITI Aayog and that is under consideration.

While many committees have recommended restructuring of UGC and AICTE, in an interview to The Times of India, education minister Prakash Javadekar has said the government is set to roll out a graded autonomy frameworkinstitutes that are graded higher would enjoy more autonomy, followed by the middle-rung ones, with the government regulating only the third rung of institutes. Also, the minister is also of the view that universities would have a limited role in regulating colleges, with institutes free to decide their curriculum, examination, and hiring of new teachers.

What this means is that while a Delhi University will be free to decide its own curriculum, within this, if a Lady Shri Ram or a Hindu Collegeboth were graded A+want to offer their own curriculum, they can do so. The grading system, of course, will take time since while there are 799 universities, 39,071 colleges, and 11,923 stand-alone institutes, the accreditation agency NAAC still has a long way to go in completing grading. Sooner, rather than later, encouraging non-government ratings also has to be a priority.

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Establishing a National Testing Agency which will ensure CBSE does not have to conduct four major entrance tests is a good ideait conducts the JEE MAINS for engineering, NEET-UG for medical, UGC-NET for entry-level teaching jobs in universities & colleges and UGC-funded research fellowships, and CTET for school-level teaching jobs. But even if CBSE were to concentrate on only schools, it doesnt helpwhile CBSE had 11 lakh students for Class XII, UP alone had 26 lakh students registered for its state board examthe result has been grade-inflation unrelated to student quality, especially in many state boards.

A good solution would be to encourage colleges/universities to opt for a national SAT-type test to decide on admissions. And, at some point, the minister has to acknowledge you cant create world-class institutions if you have a reservations policy. Without a solution to that, Indias educations-reform path will always be incomplete.


Internship rule for BTech students

New Delhi, April 30: Engineering students will from now on have to undergo a mandatory period of internship to gain practical experience, a decision prompted by industry complaints about the poor employability of BTech graduates.

Internship will be mandatory for the fresh batches that secure admission this summer, while universities will be free to prescribe internship also for the students already admitted, an All India Council of Technical Education official said.

The universities will decide the duration of the internships on the basis of the requirements of the individual courses, with the council only stipulating that the period be between a month and a semester.

The internships can be done at any time starting from the second year of the programme and must be completed before the campus placements, which usually take place in the fourth year.

It's unclear whether a student will be allowed to do his internship in a place distant from the institution, or how he would be able to attend his classes during the internship even if he is in the same city.

However, the decision on mandatory internships does not apply to the Indian Institutes of Technology and the National Institutes of Technology, over which the council has no authority.

The council on Friday signed an agreement with the internship and training platform Internshala, which will enable the students of all council-affiliated colleges find internships free of cost.

Some 40,000 employers now use Internshala, which offers more than four lakh internships every year.

"Internships will make the students industry-ready before they step out of college," council chairperson Anil Sahasrabudhe said.

"This will expose the students to the work environment, helping them hone their professional skills, including technical, managerial and communicational skills."

Human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar had told the Rajya Sabha in March that only 40 per cent of engineering graduates were employable.


TRIBUNE, MAY 2, 2017

Malpractices in elections: Political will to remove the stink missing

NITI Aayog has backed the Prime Ministers idea of simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly polls to minimise poll-mode disruption to governance. Since the move would necessitate one-time curtailment or extension of some state assemblies, the think-tank has urged the Election Commission to work out a road map with inputs from the stakeholders. The proposal has not yet excited the non-BJP parties. They continue to maintain a silence. For the present, however, electoral reforms deserve greater attention. Whether electronic voting machines can be tampered with or not needs to be settled once for all. The EC has called representatives of political parties to clear all doubts. The proposed use of voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) will hopefully repair the damage to the ECs credibility caused by political statements not backed by proof.

There are other grey areas. After suggesting to the Home Ministry to make voter bribery a cognisable offence, the EC now wants a legal power to disqualify for five years candidates charge-sheeted for bribing voters. It already has constitutional powers under Article 324 which it hesitates to use. Only recently it cancelled the RK Nagar bypoll on suspected financial inducements to voters. The use of money power in elections is common but candidates and political parties often get away with it. Right now only convicted legislators are debarred from contesting elections for six years. In politicians cases, convictions are difficult and rare. Fast-track courts to try their cases are frequently promised but resources needed to make them a reality are held back.

In a significant judgment on January 3, 2017, a seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court barred the use of religion and caste in elections. The next two months saw rampant violations of this judgment during the elections, among others, in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. The Election Commission chose to look the other way even though the Sikh high priests have imposed religious punishment on some candidates who sought a dera heads help for votes. Apparently, the will to cleanse the electoral system is lacking, both at the political and EC levels.



Cabinet approves NPA package for banks

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a set of key measures to tackle the non-performing assets (NPA) mess in the banking system.

Briefing newspersons on the key decisions, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the measures would be sent to President Pranab Mukherhee for approval.

Indications are that the measures widely expected as a new NPA resolution policy may involve amendment to the Banking Regulation Act. The amendment is being made through an ordinance route.

The Prime Ministers Office, the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India had recently arrived at a consensus on a new NPA resolution policy.

Under the agreed policy, the oversight committee (OC) will have special powers to resolve NPAs.

The RBI had set up an oversight committee under the Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A).

It was primarily tasked with overseeing the loan restructuring process in a transparent manner.

Indications are that the new policy will allow banks to take a haircut within permissible limit. A new formula to give effect to this is being put in place.

The OC will recommend the extent of haircuts that banks can take using this formula.

(This article was published on May 3, 2017)



AIIMS doctors to get self-defence training

Durgesh Nandan Jha


Starting May 15, the doctors will take self-defence classes from black belt champions in martial arts.

Two black belt champions will impart self-defence skills to interested candidates daily from 6-7pm and 7-8 pm at AIIMS.

In March, the AIIMS RDA had launched a unique protest by wearing helmets at work.

NEW DELHI: Faced with increasing violence by patients and their relatives,resident doctorsof AIIMS have decided to take steps to protect themselves. Starting May 15, the doctors will takeself-defence classesfrom black belt champions in martial arts, including taekwondo.

Dr Vijay Kumar, president of AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association, told TOI that the administration had permitted them to hold daily training classes at the hospital.

"Two black belt champions will impart self-defence skills to interested candidates daily from 6-7pm and 7-8 pm at AIIMS," Dr Kumar said. "Prevention is better than cure," he said, adding there was no point criticising lax security in the hospital or seeking justice once an attack had taken place.

Their counterparts at Lok Nayak Hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College have already undergone similar trai ning. "We were taught by Delhi Police personnel how to defend ourselves from aggressive attendants or evacuate safely in case of a dangerous situation," said Dr Yugal Karkhur, president of the RDA of Maulana Azad Medical College, to which LNH is attached. Delhi Police had heldself-defence trainingat Lok Nayak at the re quest of the hospital's chief medical officer from April 5 to 17, Dr Karkhur said.

Dr Pankaj Solanki, who heads the federation of RDA's of all Delhi hospitals, said self-defence skills were needed by all doctors. "In the past one year, there have been four instances each of violence against doctors at AIIMS and Ambedkar hospital and three each at Lok Nayak, Guru Tegh Bahadur and Acharya Bhikshu," he said.

In March, the AIIMS RDA had launched a unique protest to display solidarity with the striking doctors of Maharashtra, who were agitating on the same issue, by wearing helmets at work.

"Self-defence is only way to stay safe in this violent atmosphere. Increasing security or deploying marshals doesn't really help much," said Dr Vivek Chauksey of Lady Hardinge Medical College, referring to the decision of Ram Manohar Lohia and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya hospitals to hire marshals to deal with attendants who misbehave or force themselves inside without permission. AIIMS had also written to CISF for security -a plan that did not take off.

Meanwhile, surveys show a significant increase in incidents of violence against doctors. Nearly one in every two doctors has faced violence at public hospitals, a survey conducted at MAMC had revealed. The study covered 169 junior residents and senior residents, working mostly at Lok Nayak and G B Pant -hospitals attached to MAMC. The respondents said verbal abuse (75%) was the most common form of violence, followed by threats (51%) and physical assault (12%).


For hundreds of years (since Charaka, Sushruta and Hippocrates), patients have considered doctors as next to Gods. It is only since last few years that this equation has changed. The reasons are prob...Read MoreAam Aadmi

Dr Vinod, general secretary of MAMC's Resident Doctors' Association, told TOI that violence continues to grow despite assurances from the government.

"It is humiliating and frustrating either to be beaten up or abused for no fault. If there is overcrowding or no ICU bed is available, how is the doctor to blame?" he said, adding that entry of visitors to hospitals must be restricted.



Judiciarys limitations

Kashmir dialogue not that simple

NO matter how good or benign its intentions, the Supreme Court cannot always produce solutions to knotty problems, particularly those requiring executive expertise and handling. Lack of relevant inputs at times hampers understanding of a situation, more so, if it is Kashmir. On Friday a Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar could not resist the temptation to try a Kashmir solution even if it meant venturing beyond the judicial Lakshman Rekha. The Bench told the petitioner the J&K Bar Association that it could direct the suspension of the use of pellet guns by the security forces in the Valley for two weeks if an assurance was given that there would be no violence and stone-throwing.

No political or other grouping at the moment wields such influence in Kashmir as to end street protests or violence. None of the stakeholders are interested in talks. Even well-meaning, neutral interlocutors' efforts have born no fruit. Rejecting the J&K lawyers demand for unconditional talks with the jailed Hurriyat leaders, Attorney-General Mukul Rohtagi said, and rightly so, that it was not for the court to commence a dialogue, but for the political parties. Not just to the court, the A-G's response, reflecting in part the Centres Kashmir policy, was also a rebuff to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who had after a meeting with the PM sought a Vajpayee-like intervention and resumption of talks with the separatists.

The Supreme Court's well-intended peace efforts are a misplaced foray. It is time to recall and remind ourselves what the then Chief Justice, TS Thakur, had observed just a year ago. Dismissing on July 25, 2016, a petition seeking the apex court's direction for introducing moral education in schools, the Thakur Bench observed: It is unrealistic for the court to assume that it can provide solutions to vexed issues which involve drawing balances between conflicting dimensions that travel beyond the legal plane. Courts are concerned with issues of constitutionality and legality Every good that is perceived to be in the interest of society cannot be mandated by the court. Nor is the judicial process an answer to every social ill. Judicial overreach is not always helpful or welcome.


Perils of a tethered judiciary

Pravesh Jain

The unpleasant stand-off between the judiciary and the executive has surfaced once more. It begins with the Supreme Court collegium clearing names of Chief Justices and judges of High Courts. Headed by Jagdish Singh Khehar, the collegium is moving forward with its recommendations without waiting for the final resolution of the new memorandum of procedure (MOP).

The latest face-off is unpalatable and shocking. The government believes it has the right to reject any recommendation in matters of appointment of judges on grounds of a threat to national security without giving any explanation. The Supreme Court and many legal luminaries advocate the necessity of complete judicial independence. They insist that the judiciary should have the last say when it comes to appointment of judges.

Some of the best legal minds are also of the opinion that judicial independence lies at the heart of the concept of modern government. This theory postulates that judges must be free to act independently of those with political and economic control. The notion has its roots in the doctrine of separation of powers. It is based on the conviction that the concentration of state power in some hands could lead to tyranny. As Montesquieu said, There is no liberty, if the judiciary is not separated from the legislative and executive

However it is felt by many, and not without reason, that there are many instances where the judiciary has not been fair and just even in cases of appointment of judges. Persons with barren legal history and thin resumes have made it to the high chair of justice just because they scored more in the private minds of judges. Why just about appointment of judges, even in the appointment of senior advocates, examples of nepotism and undue favours are to be seen. While many deserving senior lawyers are not getting that distinction, many well connected ones are found flaunting their new identities with undue pride. Even many upright judges and some ex-CJIs have openly admitted the growing corruption in the judiciary and have expressed concern.

The open defiance of Justice Chelameswar in refusing to attend collegium meetings has not escaped observation. All these, as symptoms of growing disorder in the judiciary, have become not just the talk of the profession but are even part of public discourse. Maybe all these factors have weighed in with the executive in seeking to exercise more control. Hence, ever since the judiciary arrogated to itself all powers to appoint judges through a judicial coup in 1993, the executive has been trying to restore what it considers a balance. Political leaders across party lines have openly branded collegiums as an extra-constitutional system under which judges appoint judges in complete secrecy.

Though the argument of the executive is not without substance, there is much more that it has to answer for. If growing instances of corruption in the judiciary have become a matter of concern, stories of rampant corruption and periodic high-handedness by the executive have entered the belief system of billions of Indians, who have internalised this knowledge through every day hazardous experiences while dealing with an inefficient, arrogant, corrupt and self-serving bureaucracy working under protective political masters who have vested interests in the loot. So much so that it has become a matter of personal agony for helpless citizens, and their sole hope and source of relief comes in the shape of the judiciary, the ultimate savior.

The present government under Narendra Modi offers the promise of cleansing the old system. However, such hopes would fructify only when the quality, character and flavor of the new system become a part of our everyday life. The outcome may mitigate the apprehensions of citizens. But it may not be unfair to say that more than the authority of the executive, the citizens would love to see the independence of the judiciary.

The glorious history of the Indian judiciary and its remarkable show of independence, where it has stood like a rock to protect the rights of the poor and humble from the mighty, has kept alive a life of freedom and fearlessness for billions. This is the reason the judiciary could create and sustain for so long a rare sense of respect and reverence.

This is a most critical time for us. Acts of violence are being carried out openly and those with extreme thinking are entering government and assuming decision-making positions. It is a time for Indian democracy to show its maturity. And that can only happen with a great leadership vision at the top and full independence enjoyed by our judiciary.

Questioning a few not-so-righteous acts of judges and citing a few examples of corruption and nepotism may have a logical basis, but this cannot overwhelm the bold impartiality and character of a majority of our learned judges, reflected many times and in many situations. It seems highly unjustifiable even to think that our judges in collegiums will ever choose an extremist or one with terror links to the high chair of justice. I am sure many in their legal career might have professionally represented some alleged anti-socials or terrorists but to think that such people could be a threat to national security is wildly fanciful.

It is time to be a little more proactive and add strength to the justice system, thus strengthening the judicial infrastructure and rewarding fairness in the judicial system. Of the sanctioned strength of 1079, as many as 447 posts of judges are vacant in various high courts. Almost 50 per cent of the posts are vacant at Allahabad High Court, the countrys biggest, with sanctioned strength of 160. Calcutta High Court has the second highest vacancies with 37 of 72 posts lying vacant. The High Court of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with sanctioned strength of 61 has 34 posts vacant while the Punjab and Haryana High Court has 39 of the 85 posts vacant.

As courts cope with these vacancies, some very disturbing happenings are taking place. The brutal killing of an innocent dairy farmer in Alwar for transporting a cow he had bought legally, the money award for Mamata Banarjees head for being what she is and a chaotic situation in Kashmir where security forces are being manhandled by so-called separatist groups are some of these.

All these are indications that we are reaching the tipping point of intolerance and aggression. In such cases, moderation becomes a bad word and extremism of any form the order of the day. This evolution of moments of excesses may bring more disasters than one can even imagine, especially when you consider the after-effects in societies of an inter-connected world. What are needed most therefore are firm moderators who can provide checks and balances. And no one can perform that role better than an independent judiciary manned by upright judges.

In an ideal democracy, absolute independence of judiciary is a precondition. The reference to a threat to national security will put a question mark on the ability of judges in making appointments through collegiums on the one hand while on the other it will debilitate many senior advocates. Overall, it will retard the dynamic character of the judiciary. A tethered judiciary will result in India becoming the functioning anarchy that Professor Galbraith once described it as.

The writer is Chairman, Paras Foundation and can be reached at [email protected]


TRIBUNE, MAY 5, 2017

20% hike in pay for Haryana ministers

Ordinance soon on increasing pension

The Assembly passed the Haryana Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2017, to amend the Haryana Salaries and Allowances of Ministers Act, 1970.

Sushil Manav

The Haryana Assembly today passed amendment Bills to hike the salaries of Speaker, Deputy Speaker, ministers and the Leader of Opposition by 20 per cent and office allowances by 10 times with retrospective effect from April 1, 2016.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar also assured the House that the government would bring an ordinance to increase the pension of former MLAs in view of the rise in cost of living. The demand was raised by legislators Karan Singh Dalal (Congress) and Jai Parkash (Independent).

The Assembly passed the Haryana Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2017, to amend the Haryana Salaries and Allowances of Ministers Act, 1970, increasing the salary of ministers from Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 per month and the office allowance from Rs 2,000 to Rs 20,000 per month.

Under the Haryana Legislative Assembly (Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members) Amendment Bill, 2017, which was also passed unanimously, the salary of Leader of the Opposition has been increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 per month.

The Assembly also passed the Haryana Legislative Assembly Speakers and Deputy Speakers Salaries and Allowances (Amendment) Bill, 2017, to further amend the Haryana Legislative Assembly Speakers and Deputy Speakers Salaries and Allowances Act, 1975.

The salaries of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker have been increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 per month and the Office Allowances from Rs 2,000 to Rs 20,000 per month.

The salaries of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and ministers were last raised from Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 per month on September 11, 2013 during the Hooda regime.

The MLAs had received a salary hike from Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 per month on August 31, 2016, when the last monsoon session of the Assembly was on. Their constituency allowance was also doubled from Rs 30,000 to Rs 60,000 per month, office allowance from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 per month, sumptuary allowance from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 and the daily allowance from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 for a maximum of 15 days in a month.

Besides, free travelling facility for MLAs was increased from Rs 2 lakh per year to Rs 3 lakh per year.



Singular pursuit- The Modi juggernaut 2.0

Manini Chatterjee

It is perhaps in the fitness of things that the Bharatiya Janata Party president, Amit Shah, chose the land of Lord Jagannath and his famous chariot - that gave birth to the evocative English word - to unveil a new goal for the Modi juggernaut and its unflagging political journey.

It is hardly surprising that the mood at the BJP's national executive meeting held at Bhubaneswar on April 15-16 was more than a little buoyant. The party had come to power in four of the five states in the assembly elections held earlier - securing an unprecedented mandate in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and managing to cobble together governments in Manipur and Goa. The handsome performance in the Maharashtra local body elections and the unexpectedly good showing in the Odisha panchayat polls only added to the elation.

But like a stern schoolmaster who cautions his students against premature celebration when tougher examinations lie ahead, Shah exhorted his party colleagues not to be "complacent". The BJP, he conceded, was winning almost every election since it came to power in New Delhi in the summer of 2014, but that was not enough.

"We have to pledge," Shah was quoted as saying, "that the BJP should be there from the panchayats to Parliament. In every state we have to take the BJP to power. Once we achieve that, we can say that the BJP's golden era has come."

Going into specifics, the BJP chief said the party must now prepare to fight elections in not only Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka - party strongholds which face elections in 2017 - but also step up work in Kerala, West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Shah's speech at the closed-door meeting may sound like routine hyperbole that leaders indulge in to keep party spirits high. But in this case, it was more than just a pep talk; it reflected the expanded ambition of the BJP that envisages a decisive shift in its politics.

In the 400-odd rallies that Narendra Modi addressed during his relentless campaign ahead of the Lok Sabha elections three years ago, his singular theme was the need to create a "Congress- mukt" India. Since the Congress headed the incumbent United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre for two terms, the party seemed an obvious target.

But even after the Congress was reduced to a pathetic 44 seats and showed little signs of recovery, the BJP continued to chant the "Congress- mukt" mantra - revealing the deep fear and loathing the sangh parivar has always harboured towards India's once-pre-eminent political force.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's antipathy towards the Congress predates Independence, and the organization has always deplored the Congress's ideals of secularism, diversity and pluralism as the antithesis of Hindu nationalism that it sees as India's manifest destiny. The Congress's post-Independence dominance made the Jana Sangh, and later the BJP, even more hostile to the party.

But unlike its profound antipathy towards the Congress, the BJP has had an entirely different relationship with non-Congress parties - many of whom have been its allies at some point or another. These ties, too, are rooted in the party's history.

Although the Jana Sangh and the BJP always harboured the ambition of becoming the alternative to Congress, they realized early on that the only way to break the Congress's hegemony was to build alliances with other parties. The Jana Sangh first tasted power as part of the Samyukta Vidhayak Dal coalitions in several northern states in 1967 and then merged itself into the Janata Party that toppled Indira Gandhi in 1977.

The Janata Party split over what came to be known as the 'dual membership' issue when erstwhile Jana Sangh members refused to give up their allegiance to the RSS. They re-emerged as a distinct entity in the form of the BJP in 1980.

After the BJP was reduced to two seats in the 1984 general elections, the party was divided between those who wanted to become more broad-based and those who opted for a 'distinctive' identity based on an explicit advocacy of Hindutva.

The latter view won and was implemented on the ground by L.K. Advani, who took over as BJP president in 1986 and went on to embrace the Ramjanmabhoomi movement and steer the BJP on its singular course. The BJP did support the V.P. Singh-led National Front from the outside in 1990, but that arrangement fell apart when Advani embarked on his rath yatra, and the BJP's 'distinctiveness' ran afoul of the rest of the polity.

But given its rapid spread from the late 1980s, the BJP revelled in its 'splendid isolation' till it got a rude shock in 1996. Despite emerging as the single largest party in the eleventh Lok Sabha, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government lasted just 13 days and failed to win allies to make up a majority.

Two years on, the BJP shed its 'distinctiveness', put all 'contentious' issues (Ram Mandir, Article 370, Uniform Civil Code et al) on the back-burner and acquired a wide assortment of allies, ranging from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam to the National Conference, the Telugu Desam Party to the Trinamul Congress, the Indian National Lok Dal to the Janata Dal (United.)

The BJP's dependence on non-Congress parties in the states was even more critical. The party first entered government in most states by piggybacking on others: the Janata Dal in Rajasthan and Gujarat; the JD(U) in Bihar; the JD(S) in Karnataka; the BJD in Odisha; the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and the Akali Dal in Punjab. It also propped up Mayavati as chief minister three times in a bid to stay in the fractious political game of Uttar Pradesh.

Barring the Shiv Sena, and, possibly, the Akali Dal, the BJP did not share any ideological affinity with the innumerable allies it supped with over the years. The glue that kept them together was 'anti-Congressism', a common desire to break the hegemony of India's oldest party and put in place a more diverse and democratic alternative.

That may have been a mirage all along but at Bhubaneswar last fortnight, Shah formally ended the pretence. His ' panchayat to Parliament' call was a declaration of new intent: the BJP's goal is no longer just a "Congress-mukt" country but an 'Opposition-free' polity.

The BJP's victory in Uttar Pradesh by felling two regional giants may have been the turning point. Confident of vanquishing an enfeebled Congress, the BJP is now hungry for further conquests and has earmarked new enemies: TMC in Bengal, BJD in Odisha, the Left in Kerala and Tripura, the RJD in Bihar, the TRS in Telangana, and the DMK (with some help from a weakened AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu. Even ally Telugu Desam may not be safe for long.

Ideologically, Shah's "golden era" vision is in keeping with the RSS's long-held preference for uniformity over diversity, singularity over pluralism, totality over multiplicity. And, unlike the Congress, which was a coalition unto itself even at the height of its hegemony, the BJP is inherently more unitary as an entity - with the party never suffering a split in either of its avatars, and the few dissidents that dared to rebel ending up as solitary, forlorn figures.

Given the Modi-Shah combine's indefatigable zeal and the limitless resources and instruments of State at their command, their dream of total domination no longer seems outlandish - even while it threatens to smother our cacophonous, chaotic, multi-hued democracy.

TRIBUNE, MAY 3, 2017

AAP no game-changer

C.P. Bhambri

The AAP is incapable of becoming an all-India political alternative to national parties like the Congress and the BJP. High moral claims of providing a model of corruption-free, participatory government have not caught the voters' imagination.

IN 2012-13, Arvind Kejriwal and his associates announced their new creation, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as an alternative. It would oppose the completely corrupt "Congress and the BJP". The AAP leadership had also announced that if it was elected to govern, their party would provide a clean and accountable government. It would ensure maximum public participation by decentralising decision-making processes. Kejriwal had articulated his idea of an "alternative" in his published monograph Swaraj. The leadership maintained that it will never deviate from its public commitment of providing a corruption-free and accountable democratic government made during Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement in 2012. The AAP leadership never tires of stating that their party is a product of a mass movement and such leaders can never betray the voters faith. The one-time electoral victory of the Kejriwal-led AAP, when it won 67 out of 70 seats in 2015 elections of the state assembly of Delhi, made the leadership believe that the voters have recognised their party as a real alternative to the Congress and the BJP.

These self-appointed moral crusaders of politics started dreaming big. However, the voters in Punjab, Goa and Delhi in 2017 rejected the party. The AAP ended up as a local Delhi-based government. A few facts substantiate the argument that the AAP is incapable of becoming an all-India political alternative to national parties like the Congress and the BJP. High moral claims of providing a model of corruption-free, participatory government have not caught the voters' imagination.

First, a close look at the Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption and Jan Lokpal Bill movement will help to understand the reality. It is a well-known fact that the support to the Anna Hazare movement came from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ABVP, the BJP and public figures like yoga teacher Baba Ramdev. The RSS supremo admitted in 2012 that the RSS workers were actively participating in Anna's movement in their personal capacity. There was no popular upsurge and the crowd attracted by Anna Hazare primarily consisted of RSS workers and a few starry-eyed middle-class intellectuals who dreamt of a corruption-free India. Second, the Anna Hazare movement attracted a lot of public attention because of its location in the capital. It also attracted mass media, both print and audio-visual. The media projection of this movement was equated with public participation in the movement. It deserves to be clearly stated that the big business controlled and owned media, whether newspaper or television, was actively engaged in projecting the Anna-led movement.

The media owners must have consented that the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre should be shown as the rule by the corrupt so that the elected government gets delegitimised. The only beneficiary of the so-called anti-corruption movement of 2012 has been the Sangh parivar, the RSS and the BJP. Outside the Parliament, the RSS was supporting the movement and inside Parliament the BJP was pressurising the then UPA government to pass a Lokpal Bill. Under artificiall

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