Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An urgent message

Appeal for details of the properties of Freedom Fighters  Confiscated by British Rulars--Another Great effort by Prof. MJS Waraich
ਪ੍ਰੋਫੈਸਰ ਵੜੈਚ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਸੰਪਾਦਿਤ ਪੁਸਤਕ 
N. K. Jeet
Advocate Malwinder Singh Waraich, who has written a number of books about the Indian freedom struggle, has filed a writ petition No. 1336 of 2011 titled “Malwinder Singh Waraich Versus State of Punjab & Others” in the Punjab & Haryana High Court Chandigarh, demanding compensation/return of property for those freedom fighters, whose lands and other properties were confiscated by the British Govt for their participation in Indian freedom struggle.
On this petition the High Court has directed Punjab Govt to prepare a list of all those freedom fighters, whose lands and other properties were confiscated by the British Govt.   

We know the Govt machinery is not going to take up this job in right earnest.
Therefore, we appeal to all of you to cooperate with Sh. Waraich, by culling out the information from books and meeting with the families of freedom fighters in the areas around us.
You are most welcome to send this information through E-Mail on the following address: N. K. Jeet
Mob. 94175-07363

ਕਈ ਭੇਦ ਖੋਹਲਦੀ ਹੈ ਬਾਬਾ ਹਰੀ ਸਿੰਘ ਉਸਮਾਨ ਦੀ ਡਾਇਰੀ

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ludhiana went on strike

Workers marched with flags and banners in all corners
Various sections of workers and employees of industries, Khet Mazdoors, Construction workers, Hosiery workers, Banks, LIC, BSNL, Transport, Power Sector, Anagnwadi, Asha workers and workers working in other government and semi government sectors in Ludhiana went on strike today on a call given by the All Central Trade Unions  and several National Federations of Employees for a nationwide strike on 28thFebruary 2012 against the anti people, anti workers and anti employees policies of the central and state governments. 

After stopping work in their respective organizations in all the corners of Ludhiana the workers marched with flags and banners and raising slogans of their demands and gathered outside the office of Deputy Commissioner at Mini Secretariat in a big number. 

Addressing the massive rally state leaders Com Inderjit Singh Grewal-President CTU, S. Swaran Singh–Central Committee member INTUC and Com Om Parkash Mehta-Senior Vice President AITUC said that  the call for the strike has been given to demand revision of minimum wages for the workers as Rs. 10,000-00 per month, filling up of all vacant posts on regular basis and not on contract basis, revised provident fund and bonus to all workers without any pre conditions, increase in gratuity rates, pension to all workers/employees, compulsory registration of trade unions within 45 days of filing registration papers, creation of social security fund for the workers in un organized sector as per recommendations of the permanent Parliamentary committee and implementation of labour laws as per ILO convention 87 and 98.
The speakers decried that as a result of neo liberal economic policies pursued at the diktat of World Bank, IMF and WTO our country has witnessed jobless growth as a result of which the condition of toiling masses in India has become miserable. Unprecedented rise in prices of essential commodities has led to rampant malnutrition. This has been made worse due to rise in unemployment. There is total denial of even present stipulated minimum wages not only by the private but also by the public sector units. 
Others who addressed the rally include  Comrades Dharm Paul Maur, Vijay Kumar, Kewal Krishan and  Gurnam Sidhu of AITUC, Shri Nageshwar, Gurbax Rai, Jia Lal Gautam and Bhagirath Paliwal of BMS, Comrades Jatinder Pal and Jagdish Chand, Com Tarsem Jodhan, Com Subhash Rani from CITU, Comrades Paramjit Singh, Daljeet Singh, Mohan Lal Paswan and Raja Ram of CTU, Shri Gujit Singh Jagpal, S K Tiwari, Kaur Chand and Jagmel Singh Khera of INTUC, Com Naresh Gaur- Secretary Bank Employees Federation, Com Gulzar Goria-Gen Secretary Khet Mazdoor Sabha Punjab, Com Kewal Singh Banwait and Com.Ramesh Rattan.
In their address they took a serious note of the fact that despite raising these demands by the workers for a long time, the government under the pressure of corporate sector is ignoring the demands of the workers which has led to flouting of labour laws with impunity not only by the private but also by the public sector. There is no provision for social security to the unorganized workers. Govt. has failed to curb the rising prices and solve the problem of unemployment causing serious effect on the lives of toiling masses.
Rally expressed satisfaction that it is for the first time that all trade unions have united on one platform on these demands. The leaders warned that if even now the government does not pay heed to the demands and condition of workers, they would be forced to launch more militant struggle in future.  

BKU(Ekta) Bharti Kisan Union Ekta also staged a dharna opposite Mini Secretariat Ludhiana. Speakers raised the issues like Gobindpura and explained the anti farmer policies of Punjab Govt. Rural villages labourer Daarshan Koohli, Hardev Singh Sandhu, Mohinder Singh Seeno, Nirmal Singh Bhamaal, Baldev Singh Rasoolpur, Comrade Kuldeep Singh, Avtar Singh  Taari, Sudagar Singh Ghudani, Tarlochan Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Harbans Singh Lohat Badhi also addressed the BKU rally.   
Other unions:Harjinder Singh from Molder and Steel Workers Union, Romesh Kumar from Hosiery workers union, Malkeet singh from Mazdoor unions Khanna, Samrala area also participated with their supporters.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ms. Luo Mei, in New Delhi

Shri Ajay Maken meeting Ms. Luo Mei
The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Ajay Maken meeting the Secretary, Secretariat, Central Committee, Communist Youth League of China Ms. Luo Mei, in New Delhi on February 27, 2012. [PIB photo]   

Ms. Nandita Das addressing a press conference

A day long Children’s Film Festival on Tagore
The Chairperson, Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI), Ms. Nandita Das addressing a press conference on the occasion of a day long Children’s Film Festival on Tagore, as part of the 150th Birth anniversary celebrations of Tagore, at Nandan, Kolkata on February 27, 2012. The Director, Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Shri Anup Motilal and the Chief Executive Officer of CFSI, Shri Sushovan Banerjee are also seen. [PIB photo] 27-February-2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Aim now to Eliminate

Measles Related Child Deaths and Neonatal TetanusAzad 
The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad delivering the valedictory address at the conclusion of two-day Polio Summit 2012, in New Delhi on February 26, 2012. [PIB photo] 26-February-2012
Special Focus on 207 Distts Recording low Routine Immunization Coverage 

The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that learnings and lessons from the Polio programme could prove to be extremely useful in accomplishing the tasks of elimination of measles related child deaths and neonatal tetanus in India. Shri Azad however emphasised that continued vigil, effective emergency preparedness and response needs to be maintained as we cannot afford to let our guards now on polio virus. Addressing the valedictory session of the two-day Polio Summit 2012, Shri Azad reaffirmed commitment to funding the Polio program fully with domestic funding and willing to lend all possible support for global eradication of polio. He recalled that Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh at the inaugural yesterday said that Government of India stands committed to increasing public investment in health. 

Shri Azad informed the gathering that President of the Republic of India, who launches the annual National Pulse Polio round, has conveyed her personal greetings and commendation on the historic public health milestone that has been achieved with WHO’s decision to take India off the list of countries with active endemic wild poliovirus transmission, 

The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister said “strengthening routine immunization is an imperative if we wish to sustain our gains in polio and guard ourselves against both distant and international importations. Thus 2012 has been declared the year of the intensification of Routine Immunization. We intend to accelerate routine immunization activities from 1st April itself through special immunization drives, with a special focus on 207 districts recording low routine immunization coverage”. Shri Azad added that 26 million mothers and children have already been registered under the web enabled mother and child tracking system set up by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The system generates weekly work plans for the Auxiliary Nurse Midwives through SMS. Alerts are also sent to the beneficiaries to remind them of the date of the due health services. Shri Azad urged Rotary International, WHO, UNICEF, CDC, Gates Foundation, GAVI and other partners to now work to provide impetus to routine immunization and synergize polio eradication and Routine Immunization strategies. He informed that in 14 States where coverage is less than 80 percent, introduction of second dose of measles has been started. Our target is to cover more than 130 million children under this campaign. 

The two-day Summit emphasised perseverance, innovation and accountability as the hallmarks of India’s polio programme. Shri Azad said he would look forward to another polio summit after January, 2014 when, hopefully, India would be declared Polio Free. 26-February-2012 17:38 IST

"Calypso 2102" Held at Christian Dental College

An energy packed evening of dance competition
Ludhiana, 26th Feb, 2012 (Shalu Arora and Rector Kathuria) The Student’s council of Christian Dental College, CMC Ludhiana organized ‘CALYPSO 2012’, a cultural and sports interclass competition. The historic ‘Lady Willingdon Hall’ played host to the inauguration of this year’s competition which started on 13th February 2012 with the ‘anthakshari’ competition which was won by the 4th years. The two weeks witnessed both students and faculty pitted against each other, taking part in a variety of sports, games, literary competition and music and dance. The last 3 days of the two week long event saw participants showcasing their musical talent belting out popular contemporary and classical Hindi songs  in ‘Raag’ and English songs in ‘Juke Box’.  The extravaganza was brought to a fitting finale with ‘To the beat’ an energy packed evening of dance competition. 

The prizes for the competitions were distributed by Dr.Rajender Gyani, Chairman, Christian Medical College Ludhiana Society and Executive committee member, Dr.Ajit Singh. Dr.Abi Thomas, Principal, Christian Dental College in his closing remarks congratulated all the participants and acknowledged the encouragement and support of Dr.Abraham G Thomas, Director, and the entire administration of Christian Medical College and Hospital. The overall championship this year was won by the faculty then the interns and in the third place were the third year BDS students.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Virtual Labs Project Launched

A collection of ninety-one virtual laboratories
The Union Minister for Human Resource Development and Communications and Information Technology, Shri Kapil Sibal launching the Virtual Labs under National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), in New Delhi on February 23, 2012. (PIB photo23-February-2012
The  Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Government of India today launched Virtual Labs—a collection of ninety-one virtual laboratories containing hundreds of experiments in nine disciplines of science and engineering. As part of Ministry of Human Resource Development(MHRD)’s National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), Virtual Labs is part of a comprehensive undertaking to provide easily accessible and high quality education throughout India.

Virtual Labs’ primary focus is to provide graduate and undergraduate college and university students with the ability to perform their required laboratory experiments using only the World Wide Web, a standard computer, and an Internet connection. Virtual Labs allow students to practice and better learn the science and engineering behind the experiments that they are required to perform. Virtual Labs also allows the sharing of costly equipment across the country, and in very rural areas, students will be able to perform experiments that they would not otherwise be able to access.

Nearly 300 department heads, faculty, and staff representing 152 institutions have been trained across India. Over 20 Nodal Centres have been created, institutions who have expressed their interest to champion Virtual Labs in their organisations and geographical areas.

The Pilot Phase of the Virtual Labs project started in April 2009.  During this phase, approximately twenty labs were developed as proof of concept.  The Main Phase began in April 2010.  So far, over 80 Virtual Labs have been developed, and are undergoing field trials in various parts of the country.

Two types of virtual labs have been developed under this project. In the Simulation Based Virtual Labs the experiments are modeled using mathematical equations.  The simulations are carried out remotely at a high-end server, and the results are communicated to the student over the internet.  Simulation based Virtual Labs are scalable and can cater to a large number of simultaneous users.

Using the Remote Triggered Virtual Labs the actual experiments are triggered remotely.  The output of the experiment (being conducted remotely) is communicated back to the student over the internet.  This class of Virtual Labs gives the student the output of real-time experiments.  Typically, time-slots are booked before conducting such experiments.

All Virtual Labs can be accessed through a common website: . At the user end, a PC and broadband connectivity enables the user to access Virtual Labs.

These Virtual Labs will be very useful for Engineering College Students who do not have access to good lab-facilities, High-school students, whose inquisitiveness will be triggered, possibly motivating them to take up higher-studies, Researchers in different institutes who can collaborate / share equipment and engineering colleges, who can benefit from the content and related teaching resources.
Currently 85 Virtual Labs have been developed comprising of 769 experiments. Trainings and workshops have been held all over India to disseminate knowledge of these Virtual Labs. Future efforts will involve development of virtual labs in different subjects and wide dissemination of this knowledge.

A Collaborative Platform for Development of Virtual Labs has been created that assists the faculty with authoring and maintaining Virtual Labs. The platform hosts over 825 experiments developed by many of the partner institutions. The Collaborative Platform provides the server side architecture for ensuring that virtual labs run securely, can effectively serve thousands of students simultaneously, and reserve time slots for experiments that require scheduling. The Collaborative Platform also provides tools to help teachers monitor their students’ progress and make changes to the instructional material.

Student interest in Virtual Labs has also been enthusiastic. The Virtual Labs site ( has had 233,570 site visits and 1,034,443 page visits in just the last 6 months. There are over 4500 registered users from 134 countries and handles around 100GB of traffic per month with visitors from India, United States, Malaysia, Philippines, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, Pakistan and so on.

With the launch of Virtual Labs Indian students will have easy access to an encyclopedia of science and engineering knowledge presented in a way that is engaging, immersive, and enjoyable. Virtual Labs will allow students to explore, discover, and learn wherever they are and at their convenience.

List of Virtual Labs that are ready
A.        Electronics & Communications      
·         Virtual Advanced Lab for Interactive Design and Test in Electronics
·         Virtual Microwave Laboratory
·         Wireless Lab
·         Engineering Electro-magnetics Laboratory
·         Queuing Networks Modelling Lab
·         Hybrid electronics Lab
·         RF microwave characterization Lab
·         Transducer and instrumentation virtual lab
·         Electronic design using DSP,FPGA,CPLD and Micro controllers through simulation and direct access of the hardware
·         Digital Electronic Circuits Laboratory
·         Digital Signal Processing Laboratory
·         Fading Channels and Mobile Communications
·         Basic Electronics
·         Systems, communication and control laboratory
·         Speech Signal Processing Laboratory
·         Digital VLSI Design Virtual lab
·         Signals and Systems Laboratory
·         Electromagnetic Theory
·         Virtual Electric Circuits
B.        Computer Science & Engineering      
·         Problem Solving
·         FPGA & Embedded systems lab
·         Computer Architecture & organization
·         Advanced Network Technologies
·         Software Engineering
·         Data Structures
·         Computer Programming
·         Data Mining
·         Databases
·         Computer Organization
·         VLSI
·         Digital Logic Design
·         Speech Signal Processing
·         Mobile Robotics
·         Computer Graphics
·         Image Processing
·         Pattern Recognition
·         Artificial Neural Networks
·         Virtual Advanced VLSI Lab
·         Cryptography Lab

C.        Electrical Engineering      

·         Sensors Modeling & Simulation
·         Industrial Automation Laboratory
·         PLC
·         Analog Signals, Network and Measurement Laboratory
·         Real Time Embedded Systems Laboratory
·         Electrical Machines Laboratory
·         Creative Design, Prototyping & Experiential Simulation Lab
·         Ergonomics Lab for Assessing Physical Aspects of Design
·         Virtual English and Communication
·         Virtual Anthropology Lab

D.        Mechanical Engineering
·         Metal Forming Lab
·         Vibration and Acoustics
·         Micromachining laboratory
·         Kinematics & Dynamics of Mechanisms
·         Mine Automation and Virtual Reality

E.         Chemical Engineering     
·         Process control, reaction engineering and unit operations lab
·         Chemical Engineering
·         Simulation of Control of Magnetic Levitation System
·         Virtual Lab for Mass Transfer

F.         Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering   
·         Bioreactor Modeling & Simulation lab
·         Biomedical and Signal processing Laboratory
·         Virtual Proteomics Laboratory
·         Neurophysiology (pilot)
·         Neuron Simulation Lab (pilot)
·         Biochemistry Virtual Lab I
·         Biochemistry Virtual Lab II
·         Population Ecology I
·         Population Ecology II
·         Immunology Virtual Lab I
·         Immunology Virtual Lab II
·         Microbiology Virtual Lab I
·         Microbiology Virtual Lab II
·         Molecular biology Virtual Lab I
·         Molecular biology Virtual Lab II
·         Cell biology Virtual Lab I
·         Cell biology Virtual Lab II

G.        Civil Engineering
·         Strength of Materials Lab
·         Fluid Mechanics Lab
·         Soil Mechanics Lab
·         Basic Structural Analysis Lab
·         Surveying Lab

H.        Physical Sciences     
·         Physical sciences
·         Virtual Advanced Mechanics Lab
·         Virtual Optics Lab
·         Virtual Electricity & Magnetism Lab
·         Virtual Heat & Thermodynamics Lab
·         Virtual Modern Physics Lab
·         Virtual Harmonic Motion and Waves Lab

I.          Chemical Sciences      
·         Analytical Lab
·         Virtual Chemistry Lab
·         Virtual Lab in “Charge and Particle size Determination in Colloidal Systems”
·         Virtual Lab in “Absorption Spectroscopy”
·         Virtual Lab in “CD Spectroscopy”
·         Physics of Biomolecules
·         Physical chemistry lab
·         Physical Chemistry
·         Organic Chemistry
·         Inorganic Chemistry
                                                                                        23-February-2012 16:43 IST

Launch of the Virtual Labs

National Mission on Education
The Union Minister for Human Resource Development and Communications and Information Technology, Shri Kapil Sibal addressing at the launch of the Virtual Labs under National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), in New Delhi on February 23, 2012. The Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Dr. (Smt.) D. Purandeswari and the Principal Director General (M&C), Press Information Bureau, Smt. Neelam Kapur are also seen. [PIB photo] 

Attacks on Journalist​s

Press Council chief serves dismissal notice on CM
22.2. 2012

Shri Prithviraj Chavan,
Chief Minister of Maharashtra,

Dear Chief Minister,

A delegation of eight journalists from Maharashtra met me today and apprised me of a large number of physical attacks on journalists/media houses in the State of Maharashtra including the recent one on Times of India building in Mumbai allegedly by Shiv Sena people.

I was informed that in the last ten years well over 800 journalists were physically attacked, while in the last two and half years
213 journalists were attacked by political workers and anti-social elements. More shocking was the day light – murder of veteran journalist J.Dey.

In this connection I had written two letters to you but there was no response from your side to either of them. Did I not even deserve the courtesy of a reply?

Freedom of the Press is a guaranteed Constitutional right under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution, and it is the duty of the Press Council of India to uphold the freedom of the press in view of section 13 of the Press Council Act.

It is the duty of the State Government to maintain law and order in the State, but it seems to me that your Government is neither able to maintain law and order nor prevent attacks on journalists, which seriously imperils freedom of the press.

You are, therefore, requested to now show cause why I should not recommend to the President of India to dismiss your State Government under Article 356 of the Constitution since your Government apparently seems to have failed to uphold the Constitution as it has failed to uphold the freedom of the press under Article 19 (1) (a).

Please give a reply to this letter within three weeks from today after which I will take such action as is fit in the circumstances.

Yours sincerely,
(Markandey Katju)
Related articles
Press freedom violation: Katju to send teams to states

Haert with art

Art technology used to cure the heart diseases
In the current era where heart disease has touched epidemic proportions in India according to WHO - there is something to cheer about. Just simple tests and lifestyle changes and regular exercise can dramatically reduce the chances of suffering from a heart attack.

At a recently concluded free cardiac camp in Jagraon conducted by Dr Harinder Singh Bedi – head of Cardio Vascular & Thoracic Surgery at the Christian Medical College & Hospital in Ludhiana – some very positive findings have come up. At the camp which was inaugurated by Baba Ghalla Singh ji of Nanaksar   - himself a cured patient of Dr HS Bedi - a comprehensive cardiac checkup was performed on over 250 patients of Jagraon and the surrounding villages. Free consultations by super-specialists, free tests and medications would be given. A special test for vascular disease – The ABI test – was done for all patients where indicated. For the first time ever – a very high tech tool – the i-stat – which is available in CMC & H was used to screen all people . Dr Bedi explained that in this test just a drop of blood is used give about 15 parameters to judge a person’s health. It was found that people who exercised regularly or performed yoga had their hearts in good shape, and had cholesterol levels and blood pressure under control  . Dr Bedi was very encouraged with these findings for they suggest that a simple regimen of exercise, prudent diet, weight control and regular checkups could indeed keep the hearts of Punjabis in good shape. He stressed that the aim of preventive medicine was – ‘The hearts of Punjabis should not just tick – they should beat strongly’.

Interestingly similar reports have been found worldwide. Currently around one in five menopausal women die from heart disease. But according to new research by exercise scientists at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), this shocking statistic could be reversed if women took just 30 minutes to exercise, 5 days a week. Similarly a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that walking briskly for half an hour cut the risk of premature death in men and women by 44 percent.

There is some confusion about the type and intensity of exercise required. For cardiovascular fitness, you need to do a minimum of 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week, working hard enough that you break a sweat or are mildly out of breath. If you work out on a treadmill you should walk at a speed of at least four miles per hour on a level. If it’s on an incline, you can go a little more slowly.

Punjabis have a genetic predisposition to heart disease. You can’t do anything about your genes just yet—but you can lower that risk through lifestyle changes. Diet, yoga, exercise, regular physical checkups—all of these can help. Diabetes and high blood pressure can be detected and kept under control. It is time that we invested in our health and fitness now to ensure a real quality of life in later years – just as we plan a financial pension plan for our future. So, strap on your sneakers and start striding in the park – said Dr Bedi .

Aim for a target heart rate during exercise.  Make monitoring your heart rate an integral part of your workout routine. It's a safer, more effective way to exercise, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

Here's how to calculate your target heart rate range:

-Estimate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. 

- Determine your lower-limit exercise heart rate: multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.6.

- Calculate your upper-limit exercise heart rate: multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.9.

For most people, working out at the lower end of the heart rate range for a longer time is better than exercising at the higher end for a shorter period.

Dr Abraham G Thomas – Director of CMC & H – said that the outreach programmes were an integral and important part of the basic philosophy of CMC so that medical care could reach one and all in this region.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

CPI strongly crticised the move to withdraw vehicles

Shashi Kant is fighting the drug mafia
The Communist Party of India Distt. Ludhiana unit strongly crticised the move to withdraw vehicles from Mr.Shashi Kant–DGP (Prisons). Mr.Shashi Kant who is fighting the drug mafia with all firmness had recently said that he has been receiving threats as he had exposed nexus between the drug mafia and some higher ups. The drug menace is ruining the youth of our state. Any one fighting against them from any quarter needs to be supported fully in all manner by the government. It is unfortunate that Mr.Kant has been asked to surrender his vehicles.  This appears to be a clear signal to warn not only him but to all those speaking  against drug menace to give up their fight.
Com Kartar Singh Bowani – Secretary CPI Distt. Ludhiana, Com Ramesh Rattan – City Secretary, Dr.Arun Mitra – Asstt. Secretary and Com Dharam Pal Maur – CPI Contestant from Ludhiana West Assembly Constituency have appealed to the Chief Minister of Punjab to intervene immediately and restore confidence of Mr.Shashi Kant DGP (Prisons) in his pursuit against the drug menace who needs to be encouraged at this moment.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

End Death Calls for Saudi Poet and Blogger

Fatwa against Twitter: ‘Real Muslims’ avoid it-Paul  Mutter
The National reports that the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has “issued a fatwa against Twitter, demanding that ‘real Muslims’ avoid it, calling it a ‘platform for trading accusations and for promoting lies’.”
The pretext for this condemnation of social media is the case of the Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari, who was extradited from Malaysia to the Kingdom after tweeting about the Prophet Muhammad in a manner that the religious authorities deemed blasphemous. If the Saudis wish to make an example, he will be facing blasphemy charges, and possibly death, rather than a lesser (though still absurd) sentencing that would end in him paying a fine. There’s also talk of taking action against anyone who retweeted his messages.

But considering that thousands of Twitter users called attention to Kashgari’s tweets, literally demanding his head, it’s ironic that the Grand Mufti says Muslims should stay off Twitter, since clearly, many salafis are using, and policing it.

And, as The National notes, it’s even more ironic that the Grand Mufti’s issuing a ban since Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the King’s nephew and reputedly the richest man in Saudi Arabia, purchased 3.6% of Twitter’s stock for US$300 million this past December.

The fact that the Grand Mufti wants Twitter gone while a prince wants to buy its shares up nicely illustrates the uneasy dual monarchy that has defined clerical-royal relationship since the 18th century. The monarchy set up in 1923 is actually a dual monarchy because the royal family must maintain the approval of the Wahhabi ulema to rule, and there are those who question this “right” - one of the first crises of the Saudi state occured when the monarchy and ulema, fearing the Ikhwan tribal militias who had won control of the Hejaz for them, turned on the militiamen. The House of Saud procured the British machine guns, the clergy produced a justificatory edict for the crackdown.

As Toby C. Jones notes, “the ulema’s support for the regime is not unconditional. They remain controversial, provocative and confrontational.” Oil wealth and investment portfolios allow Saudi princes to study at Sandhurst and hobnob with French socialites, but they also subsidize the religious-dominated educational system and the social welfare net, which the Saudis have been working to expand in the wake of the Arab Spring, that help hold society together on the al-Sauds’ behalf. “The rebel in you” Kashgari refers to with respect to the Prophet Muhammad is precisely the sort of Islamic value that the Saudi status quo cannot handle — hence the sharp responses from the government against anyone urging reform, including Salafis and secularists. The Sahwas — former Islamist radicals who have become “partners” of the establishment — are the closest thing to a political opposition Saudi Arabia has, their presence is limited by the government and they must be careful not to push too far in the Islamist direction that Osama bin Laden fell in with. One promiment Sahwa spiritual leader has argued in the past that “sovereignty belongs to God alone,” which is indeed “a challenge both to the idea that Saudi citizens should enjoy more participation in governance as well as to the royal family itself.”

Hamza Kashgari’s case is one of free speech. The religious establishment, wanting to remain the arbiter of social norms in the Kingdom and hold onto the power it has accrued, is hoping to denigrate a medium that they fear because of its prominent — though exaggerated — role in the “Arab Spring.” They can’t reconcile themselves to globe-spanning electronic mediums that might lead their congregations to start thinking thought crimes. A chilling message has been sent already through the extradition from Malaysia; it will depend on the royal family if the intended message stops with a fine, or with Kashgari’s execution. (Courtesy: 
 Kracktivist )


Monday, February 20, 2012

Shri G.K. Vasan releasing a Book

The Union Minister for Shipping, Shri G.K. Vasan releasing a Book of Abstract “Meeting the Challenges of the Coastal Environment”, at the five day Eighth International Conference on Coastal and Port Engineering in Developing Countries (PIANC - COPEDEC VIII), in Chennai on February 19, 2012. [PIB photo]   20-February-2012

PM’s address

The Golden Jubilee of Indian Agricultural Research Institute
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh presents the IARI Merit Award to Ms. Patil Tejaswini Balasaheb, at the Golden Jubilee Convocation of the Post Graduate School of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, in New Delhi on February 20, 2012. The Director, IARI, Dr. H.S. Gupta is also seen. [PIB photo]   20-February-2012
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh addressed the Golden Jubilee of Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Delhi today. Following is the text of Prime Minister’s at address on the occasion:-

“I am delighted to participate in the Golden Jubilee convocation of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute. I congratulate all those students who are receiving their degrees today, particularly those who are being recognized for their outstanding achievements. I wish them all the very best in their future pursuits. 

Our government has always recognised that a prosperous, productive and sustainable farm economy is the corner stone of equitable and inclusive growth of our country. We have therefore pursued policies to bring about a comprehensive reform and revitalisation of our agrarian economy. 

We have adopted a multi-pronged strategy to improve returns to farming and step up investment in rural infrastructure. Our flagship programme Bharat Nirman has focussed on increasing investment in rural roads, rural electrification, irrigation, rural housing and rural communications. Over the past seven years we have engineered a shift in the terms of trade in favour of agriculture by raising significantly support and procurement prices. We financed a massive debt write off for indebted farmers of our country. We launched the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme which is both a safety net for the poor and also a powerful instrument for undertaking works that will enhance land productivity. We launched the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and the Rainfed Areas Development Programme. 

These policies have begun to pay off. We have reached new plateaus in foodgrain production. Food production at the end of the 11th Plan will exceed 250 million tonnes, an all time record. Our pulse production, at 18 million tonnes, is well about the previous barrier of 15 million tonnes. We are producing today more milk, more fruits, more vegetables, more sugarcane, more oilseeds and more cotton than ever before. Last year production of vegetables went up by 9.57% and nearly 2 million tonnes of cold storage capacity was created. 

It now looks as if agricultural growth is likely to be about 3.5% per annum during the 11th Five Year Plan which is much better than in the 10th Five Year Plan. This is a commendable achievement but we must improve upon it in the Twelfth Plan to reach 4 percent growth or even higher. This will call for very determined effort on the part of both the central government and the state governments ranging over many areas including investment in irrigation, investment in watershed management, provision of credit, provision of marketing support etc. One of the key elements in that effort must be the contribution of agricultural research and I would like to use this opportunity to focus on this area. 

I am aware that at any given time there is a gap between the yield per hectare that is observed in the field and the yields that can be achieved under ideal farming conditions. That difference is quite substantial at present and it represents the failure of the system to exploit the yield potential which our scientists have given us. In the short run it is the job of the administration to close this gap and our agricultural strategy must give high priority to this effort. This is not the job of research scientists but it does involve close collaboration between our scientific and technical manpower and the administration on the ground. We must do better in this area than we have done thus far. 

One of our major concerns has been the worry that our extension services system is no longer sufficiently robust. The First Green Revolution was carried out on the back of an effective rural extension and research infrastructure. The joining of hands between panchayats, rural agricultural staff, agricultural scientists and district level officials created the foundation of a robust extension services system. The Indian Agricultural Research Institute and state level institutions were very much a part of this system. 

We need now to revitalise this infrastructure of support at the district level. The Krishi Vigyan Kendras which now cover virtually the entirelength and breadth of the country and Agricultural Technology Management Agencies (ATMA) have to play a major role in this process of revitalization and transformation of extension network. 

Looking beyond the application of known technology, our farm economy needs much greater injection of science and a knowledge-based approach to increasing incomes and productivity. Both land and water are limited and it is vital that we make progress in agricultural technology which raises land productivity while also allowing a significant reduction in water use per unit of agricultural output. We need to develop varieties which can ensure high yield while economising on water and are also capable of withstanding water stress. This is as true of crop production as for livestock. We need to develop improved breeds which can flourish in our agro climatic conditions and do not require high value inputs which our farmers cannot afford. 

This depends critically upon the health and vitality of our agricultural research system, centring on the ICAR system and state agricultural universities. We owe a great deal to our scientists for what we have achieved in the past. It is due to the dedicated work of our agricultural scientists that we were able to overcome those constraints. I am very happy that Dr. M.S. Swaminathan the father of the Green Revolution in our country is very much present here. But we should not rest on our laurels. We have a long way to go down this road if we want to assure our farmers of prosperity from the fruits of the land they till. 

The National Agricultural Research System needs to be further strengthened to meet the challenges of the years ahead. One requirement of this is the adequacy of financial resources. Our Government is committed to raising R&D spending as a whole to at least 2% of the GDP by the end of the XII Plan from the current level of about 1%. Given the importance that agriculture has in achieving our national goals, we have to ensure that a significant proportion of increased R&D spending is directed to agriculture and related activities.

Resources are only one part of the solution. I also feel our agricultural research system needs to look inward to see whether it is keeping up with developments globally. We had established two Committees to examine the system and make recommendations on how to strengthen it. One of these Committees was headed by Dr Mashelkar and the other by Dr Swaminathan. We need to review the implementation of the recommendations of these committees to see whether all the recommendations they made have been implemented in letter and spirit. 

I am particularly keen to ensure that research funding is based on clearly defined research goals which are linked to achieving productivity increases in the field. This calls for a system which focuses on basic research at one end but also encourages a spectrum of activity translating basic research to the development of varieties that meet the needs of our farmers given the circumstances in which they have to operate and their resource constraints.

While the public sector needs to take the lead we also need much greater private sector investment and involvement in agriculture, particularly in R&D. Indeed, it is unlikely that the goal of 2% of GDP in research can be achieved unless a significant part of this is financed by the private sector. Further, greater integration of the agricultural, industrial and Science and Technology sectors of our economy alone can yield large productivity gains based on new innovations and technologies. 

We need to promote structured public private partnerships, to foster better synergy among institutions and disciplines. However, for this to happen on an adequate scale, we need to expand the mode of scientific research by funding not just institutions but also research platforms that cut across institutions. Individual researchers and research groups, whether in the National Agricultural Research System, universities, CSIR, scientific establishments or the private sector, should be enabled to form platforms for joint research in key priority areas. These should be funded subject to quality peer review. I am therefore happy that the Indian Council of Agricultural Research has proposed some extra mural funding along these lines in the XIIth Plan. 

The institutionalization of an intellectual property rights regime is important for this to happen. Not only must our scientists be rewarded for their innovative work, but an effective IPR regime will also facilitate research partnerships on the basis of sharing of costs and benefits in the larger interest of our economy and society at large. For example, the public sector has invested in a very large collection of genetic material which is of value to private seed producers. Commercial arrangements could be worked out for use of such knowledge, whose proceeds could be ploughed back into scientific research for public good. 

In this context, we must never forget that linkage with farming communities is vital to enhance the efficiency and productivity of our agricultural research system. This would help to blend modern science with traditional knowledge and make the system more responsive to the felt needs of our farmers. 

Special attention needs to be paid to the role of women in the farm sector. Women have historically been the source of much traditional knowledge. Thus special efforts have to be made to make the entire R&D chain more gender sensitive and give priority to technological options that reduce the drudgery of women working on the farm.

As we go forward, we have to keep in mind not only the increase in demand for food but the changing composition of that demand. It is estimated that we would need an addition of nearly 50 million tonnes of food grains in the next 10 years to meet domestic demand. Increased production of foodgrains is certainly an important plank of food security and our efforts to rid the country of the scourge of malnutrition. 

But proper nutrition also requires a balanced diet. We would need to produce more fruits & vegetables and protein rich products such as milk, eggs, fish and meat. The demand for these products is expected to grow substantially with rising incomes and changing dietary habits and preferences. Therefore we have to pursue a multi-pronged strategy which seeks to boost productivity and production through product-specific interventions. 

I have already mentioned the need to deal with the threat of climate change. Climate change and rising demand for commercial energy are expected to have a significant impact on agriculture in India. Rise in energy demand and continued dependence on fossil-fuel based energy will lead to higher costs of cultivation and also lead to increased carbon emissions. 

I am happy to learn that IARI has recently set up a new Centre for Environment Science and Climate Resilient Agriculture to address these issues. 

I was a student, like many of you here, in the difficult years of the 1940s and 1950s. Times have changed and we have overcome the fears that plagued our nation at that time. But your generation faces even bigger challenges. We achieved higher agricultural productivity through means that used water very intensively and relied heavily on chemical inputs. And we did not have a looming concern on climate change. Your generation has to tackle all these tasks. Fortunately our economy is now much stronger and we are in a position to support research much more than was the case earlier. I assure you that we will do our bit. The glorious history of institutions such as the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, and the quality of the young minds being trained in it today shows that we have the intellectual and institutional capacity to overcome all challenges. I wish each one of you well in your chosen careers and I have no doubt that you will make a major contribution to creating the new green revolution in the years that lie ahead. May your path be blessed.” [PIB] 20-February-2012 11:40 IST ***

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nationwide strike on 28th February 2012

All trade unions have united on one platform
An urgent meeting under the chairmanship of Com D P Maur
To plan the strategy for implementing  a call given by the Central Trade Unions to organize a nationwide strike by the trade unions on 28th February 2012 the local units of AITUC, INTUC, CITU, BMS, and CTU held a meeting under the chairmanship of Com D P Maur.  
The call for the nationwide strike has been given to demand revision of minimum wages for the workers as Rs. 10,000-00 per month, filling up of all vacant posts on regular basis and not on contract basis, provident fund and bonus to all workers without any pre conditions, increase in gratuity rates, pension to all workers/employees, compulsory registration of trade unions within 45 days of filing registration papers, implementations of labour laws as per ILO convention 87 and 98.
The meeting was attended by Shri  Swaran Singh, Shj. Jagpal , Shri Deen Bahadur from  INTUC, Comrades Jatinder Pal, Subeg Singh and Jagdish Rai from CITU, Comrades O P Mehta, Subhash Chander and Kewal Krishan of AITUC, Mr Nageshwar, Bhagirath Paliwal and JiaLal Gautam of BMS, Com Paramjit Singh, Ram Lal and Raja Ram of CTU. Meeting took a serious note of the fact that despite raising these demands by the workers for a long time, the government under the pressure of corporate sector is ignoring the demands of the workers which has led to flouting of labour laws with impunity not only by the private but also by the public sector. There is no provision for social security to the unorganized workers. Govt. has failed to curb the rising prices and solve the problem of unemployment causing serious effect on the lives of toiling masses.   Meeting expressed satisfaction that it is for the first time that all trade unions have united on one platform on these demands. Meeting   decided to hold meetings at various places to create awareness among workers about these demands and their rights and to oraganise them for the upcoming strike.

Expansion for Community Radio in the 12th Plan

I and B Ministry to Consider New Strategies to Support 
First National Community Radio Awards Announced
The Second National Community Radio Sammelan commenced today with the objective of carving out a new roadmap for mainstreaming Community Radio as an effective outreach tool for community empowerment. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has organised the three day sammelan  from 18th February to 20th February 2012 in association with Commonwealth Educational Media centre for Asia (CEMCA).
            Speaking at the inaugural function, Minister of State, Dr S Jagathrakrakshakan said, community radio stations provided a platform to people to create their individual and collective identities. As a medium of communication, it empowered the masses and gave them a sense of belonging. The need of the hour is to connect the aspirations of the people to the information highway and thereby bridge the digital divide. Community radio not only bridged the divide, it very effectively facilitated the growth of peoples’ empowerment in the far and remote corners of the country.
      Also,  speaking earlier on the occasion, Secretary I&B,Shri Uday Kumar Varma outlined the roadmap for the  growth of the community radio movement in the 12th Five year plan. It was necessary to target the uncovered areas in the country coupled with a cost effective and operational business model. Secretary called upon the participants to avoid delays in  operationalising the licences  in view of the scarcity and squatting over spectrum . For the movement to reach a sizeable target it was critical to be innovative,  encourage out of the box thinking and learn from the best practices. A critical factor determining the growth of the movement was the need to focus on cost effective technology and research. Secretary mentioned that the ministry had submitted a proposal to the planning Commission regarding state funding in the next five year plan. For being an effective dissemination tool it was necessary to position the relevance of the medium in disaster management.
To encourage better programming and competition among Community Radio Stations, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has also instituted National Community Radio Awards in following 5 categories. The awards were given away by the Minister of state, Dr S Jagathrakrakshakan.
i)                 Thematic  Award    
ii)               Community Engagement Award 
iii)             Promoting Local Culture Award 
iv)             Most Creative/Innovative Programme Content Award
v)               Sustainability Model Award 

The National Community Radio Awards in the identified categories have been given to the following for their remarkable efforts and performance :
A)    Thematic Award Category
1.       Radio Namaskar, Konark
2.      CMS CR, Gomati Nagar
3.      Radio Active CR, Bangalore 
B)     Community engagement award category 
1.      Radio Namaskar, Konark
2.      CR Benzigar, Kollam
3.      Kalpakam CR, Kalpakam 
C)     Promoting Local Culture Award category 
1.      Radio 7, Jaipur
2.      Radio Sarang, Mangalore
3.      Gurgoan Awaaz, Gurgaon 
D)    Most Creative /Innovative  Programme content award
1.      PGP CR, Namakkal
2.      Rudino CR, Ahmedabad
3.      Radio JU, Kolkata 
E)     Sustainability model award
1.      Radio Mewat
Community Radio is one of the thrust areas for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.  Ministry has so far issued 363 permissions to set up Community Radio Stations in the country. Out of this, 126 stations have become operational while others are in the pipeline.
This Sammelan has brought together more than 150 stakeholders including Community Radio operators, UN partners, activists, Government departments and experts from various countries like USA, UK, Australia and South Africa.
In the last two years, Ministry has taken several initiatives to strengthen the Community Radio movement in India. Permission process for the CR applications has been fast tracked through better coordination with stakeholder Ministries. People can also now apply online and track the status of their applications at This has brought about transparency and accountability in the system. A Facilitation Centre has also been opened up in the Ministry with a toll-free phone number (            1800116422      ) where people can call up for any information relating to Community Radio. Due to these initiatives the number of permissions issued by the Ministry for setting up Community Radio Stations has increased from 186 to 363 and number of operational CRS has increased from 64 to 126 in the last two years.
Ministry of I&B has been organizing awareness and capacity building Workshops all over the country from 2007 onwards to create awareness about Community Radio Policy. Around 32 Workshops have been organized so far. These Workshops have proved to be useful not only to spread awareness but also build capacities of the NGOs and other organizations to operate Community Radio Stations in an effective manner. 
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has partnered with Ek Duniya Anek Aaawaz (EDAA) which is an audio content exchange platform for Community Radio Stations, to have a separate micro-site on EDAA for the coverage of the 2nd National Community Radio Sammelan on new media platforms.

Proceedings of the sessions will be updated on EDAA's Facebook and Twitter accounts, which will be instantly available on EDAA home page itself. After the session, reports would be filed immediately on development news portal of OneWorld South Asia at Video bytes from the dignitaries, panellists and CR Stations would be uploaded on YouTube.

EK duniya anEK awaaz (EdAA) i.e One World, Many Voices is a web based open content exchange platform for community radio broadcasters. The platform enables the CR stations and other content producers to share their audio content and other resources, thus facilitating meaningful utilisation of resources breaking geographical boundries. This site is operated by OneWorld Asia, an NGO. EDAA is designed to handle content exchange and consists of over 350 registered users with a content base of more than 900 usable audio clips from different regions across South Asia in around 9 different languages including Hindi, Nepali, Sinhalese, English, Tamil, Kannada, and Oriya which are categorised under 27 themes pertaining to social development.
Some of the important links where the Sammelan coverage would be available are;