Illegal immigrants pose threat to India’s integrity-Swapan Dasgupta

Illegal immigrants pose threat to India’s integrity

By Swapan Dasgupta

One of the most touching stories I read recently in the British press centred on the kindness and modesty of former British Prime Minister Clement Atlee. Till last week, few were aware that the understated Labour Party leader had sponsored a Jewish woman and her children and facilitated their asylum from Germany, then under the grip of Hitler’s virulent anti-Semitism. He hosted the family in his home for four months and never spoke about it, even when it was politically rewarding to do so. His was part of the unspoken kindness that we often encounter from strangers, especially in foreign lands.

Image result for illegal bangladeshi immigrants in indiaThe issue of refugees is touchy and emotive. Historians have unearthed the enormous difficulties that Jews, intent on fleeing from certain persecution, deportation and, eventually, murder in the Nazi-controlled parts of Europe in the 1930s and 1940s faced formidable obstacles trying to get out and find sanctuary. Britain was said to be very inhospitable but, yet, some 80,000 Jewish refugees did manage to secure asylum in that country till the outbreak of the War. If Britain was said to be mean-spirited, the US was no better. Although some Jewish notables such as Albert Einstein made America their home, draconian immigration rules resulted in only 21,000 refugees from Europe making their way across the Atlantic between 1934 and 1943. Although people remember the stellar role played by individuals such as Eleanor Roosevelt in getting persecuted Jews over to the US, the state as a whole was unsympathetic — this despite the fact that the US was by no means an overcrowded land.

I invoke the story of Atlee for an obvious reason. After the details of the Holocaust came to be widely known, the post-1945 attitude to refugees has veered between extreme humanitarianism and pragmatism, both compassionate and hard-headed. Germany, for understandable reasons, has been the most welcoming — a reason why its compassion has also been the most misused. Sweden too has an impressive record, while the Britain has always found a place for notables who found themselves on the wrong side of the political divide in their host countries. Sri Lankan Tamils, Iranians, Vietnamese and Afghans have benefited from the humanitarianism of the West.

However, as most people now agree, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision in 2015 to allow nearly a million refugees from Syria, Iraq, North Africa, not to mention those from Afghanistan and Pakistan who joined the bandwagon, was a step too far. Apart from encouraging others to somehow get to Europe, knowing they wouldn’t be turned back, it has changed the debate over refugees and, by implication, immigration.

Today, Europe is in the throes of a virulent anti-refugee backlash that has destabilised politics in Germany, Italy and all the Scandinavian countries. In another corner of the world, Australia has clamped down on those who are seen to jump the queue for entry to a country that still encourages immigration. Some countries such as Poland and Hungary have flatly defied European Union directives and closed their doors to all refugees.

This debate is not inconsequential for India. As an independent country, India began its innings by having to cope with some seven million people displaced in two wings of the country. Since then, there have been influx of smaller numbers of Indians from Burma, Tibetans from China, not to mention the uninterrupted trickle of Bengali Hindus from East Pakistan/Bangladesh — an influx that peaked during the 1971 crisis and war. On top of that there has been a steady flow of illegal migrants into West Bengal and Assam, and most of them can’t be called refugees by any stretch of the imagination. In the 1980s, Assam witnessed a massive ‘anti-foreigner’ movement whose political after-effects still linger.

In the past year, India finally chose to enough is enough. The demands to accommodate Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in India has been met with a flat refusal by India. New Delhi has instead focussed its attention on trying to create conditions within the Rakhine province of Myanmar that would allow the refugees to go come from the makeshift camps in Bangladesh. Although some Rohingyas have managed to enter India illegally courtesy some local patronage in West Bengal, their numbers are small. However, India’s refusal to assume responsibility for another lot of refugees has incensed the NGOs and professional liberals who maintain this is against the traditions of sanctuary extended by Indian society over the ages — the example of Parsis and Jews.

At one level the issue is about overcrowding but more important it is about the devastating impact of demographic change. Tripura is a State when refugee immigration has transformed a province dominated by tribal people into a Bengali-majority province. In Assam, there are many districts bordering Bangladesh where the indigenous Assamese people have been turned into a minority. Today, Assamese-speakers within Assam are for the first time in a minority. In West Bengal, the religious demography of border districts has altered dramatically and created communal tension.

India is among the few countries that has a refugee problem but no statutory guidelines for refugees. Ad-hocism, discretionary approaches and cynical vote bank politics has created absolute mayhem in eastern India. It is time to take stock before the situation becomes explosive. Today, in many places, the very integrity of Indians are being threatened by the growing clout of non-Indian illegal immigrants, a minority of whom are refugees. We are also witnessing a systematic easing out of the religious minorities from Bangladesh — a process that has nothing to do with the official policies of the Sheikh Hasina Government.

These are issues that are certain to come to the surface after the dust from the Assembly elections settle down after December 11. The question is: Should India’s approach be guided by mushy emotionalism or a hard-nosed acknowledgment of national interests? This column is an early warning of an impending storm.

– 25 November 2018 | The Pioneer


India’s only Army Air Defence College in Gopalpur-Tazeen Qureshy

Into the Heart of India’s only and most advanced Army Air Defence (AAD) College in Gopalpur (Brahmapur), Odisha

Written by Tazeen Qureshy and Edited by Shruti Singhal

It’s a sunny weekday afternoon, and the road leading to the famous Gopalpur sea beach in Odisha is bustling with activity. Shopkeepers are wrapping up last-minute sales to break for lunch while some of the others are making way to their homes.

Amid the hustle, a bus takes a left diversion, and all the activities cease into oblivion. After another right turn come two entry points, which are paths leading to a different world altogether.

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‘Trespassers will also be trained,’ the signboard reads. You read that right! Trained, not prosecuted.

The signboard is a metaphor for the rigorous training and discipline inside India’s only and most advanced Army Air Defence (AAD) College.

One of the youngest corps of Army, the Army Air Defence Corps bifurcated from the Regiment of Artillery 25 years ago. Spread over 2,700 acres, the institution boasts of modern facilities, equipment and weapons.

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The AAD College has around 3,000 recruits. It is a popular training hub for all the AD warriors from Air Force, Navy, CRPF and CISF personnel. Around 100 are recruited from the Officers Academy. The College also receives foreign officers from 20 Asian and African countries including Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Mozambique and Rwanda.

The training period is divided into physical and advanced training modules. While the former can take up to 19 weeks, weapon training takes at least 45 weeks.

“When we get trainees, the first task is to improve their endurance, strength and confidence. We undertake physical training activities like vertical rope, horizontal rope, toe touch beam, shuttle race and other body exercises. At the end of each day’s training, the trainees are made to play any game for five minutes as a recreation,” says an instructor posted at Gopalpur Military Station.

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Weapon training is more sophisticated. From Russian-made 9mm Carbine guns to the latest 5.56 mm Light Machine guns, the Air Defence (AD) Warriors are provided in-depth training. The AAD also has radar control weapons including ZU 23mm guns and L 70 guns, to combat aerial threats.

As the sun sets, the dark skies suddenly roar with thunders and erupt into beams of light, striking a target, barely visible to the naked eye. The logo of the AAD has the Sanskrit wordsRelated image ‘Akashe Shatrun Jehi’, which means “no enemy can dare venture into our skies”.

“The ultimate test of any personnel is defeating enemies. So, we focus a lot on firing. The ZU 23mm has a firing range of 2.5 km, while the L 70 gun has a range of 3.5 km,” says Major General PS Bhatia, Deputy Commandant, AAD College.

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Both day and night firing is possible with the weapon system. With these state of art facilities already in place, the AAD is now up for further modernisation. “Day and night firing are completely different. In day-time firing, the target is in front, while at night, the radar controls most firing. The Indian army is equipped to use both,” says Major General Bhatia. “Air-borne threats have changed over the years. We are transforming the technology at AAD. MRSAM

(Medium Range Surface to Air Missile) have been inducted in defence forces through a joint venture with Israel. Our teams will be sent to Israel, and a new facility will be built at this Army AD College in Gopalpur,” says Lieutenant General A P Singh, Commandant, AAD

Image result for Army Air Defence College in OdishaWhile the military station is generally out-of-bounds, it was recently open to media interaction, to display its strength.

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“Most people are not aware of this AAD College and its training. We want people to know they are safe, with us around. Apart from what we do (combat training), we are directly engaged in service when there are natural calamities like cyclones or civil unrest. All we want to say is that the AD warriors are ready, should there be any requirement,” concludes Major General PS Bhatia.

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Central Industrial Security Force personnel have started training at Army Air Defence College and Centre in Gopalpur (Brahmapur)

(Written by Tazeen Qureshy and Edited by Shruti Singhal)

Watch how Army Air Defence College is moving towards modernisation

May 8, 2018


Sabarimala: Rights, ecology, righteousness – Sandhya Jain

Sabarimala: Rights, ecology, righteousness

By- Sandhya Jain

Concerted attempts by mischievous non-believers to defile the Sabarimala precincts and undermine its hallowed traditions highlight the urgent necessity to recover Hindu temples from Government control and uphold dharmaas understood and practised by believers. With each passing day, it is becoming obvious that the majority decision of the Supreme Court, while it has to be respected, does not do justice to the faithful. Justice can be done only by recognising the Ayyappa Swami panth as a religious denomination, or Section thereof, under Article 26 of the Constitution. The shrine can then manage its affairs in peace.

Sabarimala: Rights, ecology, righteousnessThe State-run Travancore Devaswom Board has denied the Mala Araya tribe its traditional rights at Sabarimala, which were always respected by the Pandalam royals and Thazhamon Thantri family. These include the right to light the Makaravilakku (perform arti at a temple in Ponnambalamedu, not open to the public); bathe the deity with forest honey (abhishekam); and enjoy puja rights at sub-shrines, like the Karimala temple along the way.

Sabarimala’s major customs, including 41-day vrat and restriction (not ban) on women in a specific age group, derive from tribal culture and traditions. The Akhila Thiruvithamkoor Mala Araya Mahasabha plans to approach the apex court to protect its age-old customs under the Forest Rights Act. The community, which claims to have established the shrine before it came under the control of the Pandalam royal family, also plans to file a review petition against the verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the hill shrine after the State Government refused to do so.

The Communist regime’s eagerness to facilitate entry of women from the hitherto barred age group, even as review petitions are pending before the Supreme Court, was intended to humiliate the faithful. As genuine devotees gathered for the pilgrimage when the shrine opened on October 17, they encountered unseemly attempts by ineligible persons to gatecrash the temple. Mercifully, the temple closed without violation five days later.

In a major provocation on October 19, a team lead by a tearful inspector-general S Sreejith escorted Rehana Fatima (of Kiss of Love campaign fame), and Kavitha Jakkal, a reporter from Mojo TV, Hyderabad, to the shrine gates. They were forced to return after being recognised by devotees, despite wearing bulletproof jackets and helmets given by the police (a possible violation of the Police Act). Later, Mary Sweety also returned midway after being challenged by vigilant bhaktas.

Related imageRealising that the State Government may have bitten off more than it can chew, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran urged activists not to make the holy precincts a place to prove their strength and lambasted the police for escorting the women without verifying their credentials. Sabarimala is a huge revenue earner and the State could lose crores if Tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru, backed by Pandalam palace, closes the sanctum for purification if the temple is defiled. Just five decades ago, barely 5,000 pilgrims managed the arduous 61-km trek to the temple; now four crore come in the winter season alone as new roads have shortened the route.

An ideal solution would be to close the shrine for a decade and allow passions to cool down. Simultaneously, the degraded ecology of the Western Ghats could recover, especially after the recent floods, the worst Kerala has faced in decades. The 777 sq km Periyar Tiger Reserve, where the shrine is located, hosts 20 tigers, elephants, and other wildlife. Even after the floods receded, there were torrential rains in Sabarimala, and no one has taken stock of how the wildlife fared.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority is concerned that the rising numbers of devotees disturb the area’s fragile ecology. Virtually nothing has been done to implement the Sabarimala Master Plan of 2007. A review by the Kerala Government and Devaswom Board on October 9, 2018, found evidence of deforestation and major deviations from the plan. At Nilakkal base camp, trees were cut to make parking areas, while driver shelters, dormitories and hotels have been built, disregarding master plan specifications.

At the next stop along the sacred Pamba, several buildings have been constructed within 50-metre radius of the river, including a Government hospital. The green zone in front of the hospital has become a parking lot. The bio-toilets are inadequate; sewage treatment plant dysfunctional, and untreated faecal waste is being dumped into the river. The tree cover at Sannidhanam is less than 20 per cent, as opposed to 50 per cent recommended in the master plan.

A study by two expert teams has warned of landslips and tremors at the holy hillock due to extensive concrete flooring at the Sannidhanam, but the Devaswom Board is continuing construction works at Pamba and Sabarimala. While ordinary devotees merely desire clean and hygienic lodgings, a holy dip in a clean river, the Government and Board invariably start preparations at the eleventh hour and fail to serve the pilgrims.

Shops are auctioned at high rates at Pamba, Sannidhanam and along the route, and pilgrims are fleeced by traders even though many voluntary and religious bodies are willing to provide free food and beverages to devotees. Experts say pilgrims do not need multi-storey complexes, they need temporary shelters with proper sanitation and drinking water, which do not disturb the ecology of the sacred grove. The State Government is responsible for preserving wildlife and protecting rivers from environmental degradation under Article 48A of the Constitution. Under the Water Act 1974 (Section 24, 25), polluting river water is a punishable offence. But Pamba is being contaminated under the aegis of Government agencies, with impunity.

In 2005, thanks to the intervention of influential persons such as TKA Nair, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Environment and Forests transferred 12.65 hectares of reserve land for Sabarimala’s Rs 1,000-crore development plan, which was approved by the Supreme Court. Environmentalists lament that the Devaswom Board has made Sabarimala a concrete jungle and commercial township. Less than 12 per cent of shrine land is used for public purposes; the rest comprises hotels, shops and guesthouses. The shrine stands in the low altitude evergreen stretch which is the Western Ghats’ biodiversity hotspot. Yet over 20 per cent of forest cover has disappeared in the past two decades. The Supreme Court should scrutinise this ecological desecration rather than Ayyappa Swami’s rites of pilgrimage.

 (The writer is Senior Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library; the views expressed are personal)

Source Link-–rights–ecology–righteousness.html

Me-Too Movement: Support survivors and end sexual violence is the message -Dr. Shubhra Parmar

Me-Too Movement: Support survivors and end sexual violence is the message

By-Dr. Shubhra Parmar 

Me-Too movement is a way of expression to express one’s personal views. The Me-Too movement is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault by men targeting women. Me-Too movement is gaining momentum in India. This movement is the silence breaker, consciousness riser about rights, dignity and economic existence without sexual misconduct, sexual harassment & assault and exploitation in work places. Through this movement women are demanding men’s dignified behaviour with women and women would like to change the mentality of the men. It is the positive and progressive step towards liberal and transparent society.

Whatever is going on these days in India is the result of courage that women collectively brought together to express themselves. This Me-Too movement brought the fourth wave of feminist movement in India, where women are using electronic media to express their views openly without fear.  It gives a better opportunity for women to speak up about frustration, emotional distress, hidden fears, psychological upsets, internal agony and unimaginable horrifying stories.

There are many stories related with ‘speak out’ movement which are revealing and unfolding the truth. It should not be stop here. It will definitely spread out in a big way and change the conservative and patriarchal mentality of the society.

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Nowadays, sexual harassment is not only limited to works place but it spread out in local centers, Facebook, Instagram, social networking sites and work places etc. Since last few years we have got so many laws, amendments, acts are there, for example Vishakha Guidelines, Sexual Harassment of women at work place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal ) Act, 2013, but Me-Too movement is most effective and prompt movement, method and tool for spontaneous, easy, effective response for sexual harassment allegation and its clarification. This movement created a difference between theory and practice. After this movement the perception and action-reaction of the women and other people in the society have changed a lot. This movement revolutionized all the people, places, media, journalism, academics, and modelling-fashion & film industry.

Till now only the educated class, urban class women connects themselves with this movement. There is lack of representation in illiterate groups, Labour class, women farmers, minority groups and marginalized section of society. They are still feeling aloof from this kind of revolution. This movement should be used as a medium and platform through which the justification and clarification should come from both the genders.

Even the males should come forward and give their justification of their’ innocence’. Otherwise people should think that they are genuinely guilty in so and so case. Every woman should support the movement in every possible way and come forward to give and gain strength to another woman. So that this world will become a beautiful place to live in for every women in contemporary society.

The role, support and decision of the Indian judiciary system, police, politicians and women NGOs, National Commission for women and Ministry of women and child development will always matter a lot in this context.

This Me-Too movement created challenges for women too.On one side the movement has generated praise and other way criticism. It gives way towards support from women to women and women with men working together for change in future. It proved a powerful movement because it gives a thought for men and women to re- examine our behaviour, thought patterns and treatment given to each other.

(The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Bhagini Nivedita College, University of Delhi)

Judgment on Section 497 of IPC- Dr.Shubhra Parmar

Judgment on Section 497 of IPC: Towards a Progressive Society

 By- Dr.Shubhra Parmar

About the Judgment

The Supreme Court of India has given new interpretation of section 497 of IPC on historic day of 27 September 2018 and declared section 497 of IPC as unconstitutional. The monumental judgement in the history of India has been given by the five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and consisting of Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. The recent judgement of Supreme Court has overturned last three judgements related with section 497 of IPC. According to the new ruling adultery regarding the male is not a crime.

Indian Perception

Our Indian society in the world is recognised by our Indian  values, tradition, culture and customs. Marriage is one of the important culture of Indian society. The new ruling creates a threat for marriage. The society, feelings, emotions, ideologies related with sexuality and sexual desires are changing these days due to pressures and complexities of life. The new relationships among the indivImage result for section 497 of ipcidual in the society will create complexities, expectation and confusions. These problems and challenges of life is  diluting the strength of husband-wife’s trust and companionship. It is a kind of marriage reversal concept. It will badly and negatively effects our children and parents. It will finish the nourishment and nutrition of family very soon. It will lead to emotional, mental and physical unnecessary stress and insecurity for both the partners. Sometimes these other relationships creates disturbances and  an emotional blackmailing with lots of negative consequences. Section 497 declares adultery is not a crime but adultery was a ground for divorce under section 13(1) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1956. I think at this level Indian society need more reforms and amendment in this regards for further improvements in the relationship issues because these days India is going through transitional phase.

Indian Society Towards Gender Neutral Laws

This new judgement is just a initial step towards a revolutionary transformation, progressive and developed society.  This ruling is emerging with western values of individuality, individual freedom, liberty and giving decision making right in sexual relations. The society welcomes the new ruling on section 497 of IPC. The brings justice, freedom, liberty and equality between male and female in the society. The new judgment creating space for the new definition of morality, humanity, dignity and equality to women. This explores the new possibility of gender neutral laws in India which will give a chance to people for more open, tolerant and transparent society.


If we analyse it completely we can say that somewhere it lead to mental- emotional peace and sexual satisfaction for the individual. People will become more open and truthful. Till date, in Indian society women do not have any right to speak out her desire. Women have never spoken and expressed themselves till date, but now they have the power of expression with legitimacy. Every individual has a perception and choice for sexual desire and right to choose a partner. Now it does not matter that the person is male or female. If suppose many people are genuinely truthful to their wife so they will and those who are not till date they will never be truthful to anybody in any relationship. So by this way we can say that nature of a particular person will not change, whether the law is there or not. While looking through the judgment we need to study the practical aspect and future implication of the matter. This ruling may lead to more transparent and long term positive relationships among the individuals. This ruling also helps out in changing the patriarchal mindset of the dominant males in the society. Women will no more considered as the  property status for men. It will also bring revolutionary change on dependency of women on men and develop the culture of independent decision making  practice of Indian women.

(Writer is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Bhagini Nivedita College, University of Delhi, Delhi)

Ayushman Bharat; Ride the healthcare wave -Gauri Chhabra

Ride the healthcare wave

By Gauri Chhabra

Recently launched Ayushman Bharat scheme seems to be one of the most aspiring and pioneering steps in healthcare, not only in India but across the world. While commenting on the scheme Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers and Parliamentary Affairs, Ananth Kumar said that the scheme has the potential to “turn India into the largest pharma manufacturer of the world in about three years. There is no doubt that for successful implementation this scheme requires intervention in various spheres like management, delivery channels, healthcare investments etc. This step will undoubtedly, create a new spiral of jobs in pharmaceutical sciences that fringe on drug development, research, quality, clinical trials and management using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Emerging career options

Working for a pharmaceutical company is one of the more obvious options open to pharma graduates, but it also offers a huge variety of career paths. Particularly within global companies there are opportunities to explore new areas of expertise, develop strong business skills, and travel and work globally. You may be required to develop products as a Business Manager.

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Regulatory affairs

With Ayushman Bharat, the government needs to create a robust regulatory framework keeping in mind the interest of all stakeholders. This would increase scope of careers in Regulatory affairs. The work involves ensuring that a company and its products meet government regulations. A skilled Regulatory Affairs Officer can be the difference between an effective product reaching the market or not. Regulatory professionals are expected to know the ins and outs of the medical marketplace, and to understand how changing regulations will impact their industry. There is a growing need for qualified professionals who see regulatory oversight not as something that blocks progress but rather an opportunity to help bring more safe, affordable and efficient innovations to market.

Business development officer

With more and more pharma companies coming up with affordable drugs, the need for professionals to market these is going to peak. The best people for selling the benefits of a product are often those with the deepest understanding of how it works. For complex products developed and manufactured using pharmaceutical or chemical science, there is often a need for sales and marketing representatives able to talk with authority about the science behind the product.You can team up your degree in pharma sciences with an MBA to fit into this role.

Product developer/formulator

Product development scientists work in a variety of industries, including food, biotechnology, pharmaceutical science, and medical device manufacturing. They are typically based in the lab, developing new foods, drugs, and medical technologies or researching and developing ways to enhance existing products. They typically possess a bachelor’s degree, but a PG degree may be required for advancement.

Medicinal chemist

Medicinal chemistry is an inter-disciplinary science, drawing graduates from a range of different fields. A career in this area usually involves working on the development and testing of potentially therapeutic compounds. This might be within a company that is developing new products, for a research facility exploring new compounds, or at a regulatory agency testing pharmaceuticals for compliance. Medicinal Chemists can often find themselves working closely with Regulatory Affairs, both in the private and public sectors.

Patent attorney

Pharmaceuticals are big business. It’s not all about research; to be successfully taken to market, new discoveries need to be commercialised and a company’s intellectual property has to be protected. That’s where a patent attorney comes in. In the pharmaceutical sector, they will often come from a pharmaceutical sciences background. A patent attorney will, typically, work for a specialist consultancy, advising a range of clients within their field of specialisation.

Medical science liaison

The Medical Science Liaison (MSL) is a specific role within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and other health-care industries. An MSL typically has advanced scientific and academic credentials, including a doctorate degree in life sciences. A medical science liaison usually concentrates on a specific therapeutic area, such as Oncology or Hematology, and works for a company developing pharmaceutical products for that therapeutic area.

Their primary purpose is to establish and maintain peer-to-peer relationships with leading physicians and opinion leaders at major academic institutions and clinics. They help ensure that products are utilised effectively and serve as resources for both the medical community and their internal colleagues.

Medicine adviser

For graduates with a desire to work in the the field of social advancement, one career path is to work with an International Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO), like the World Health Organisation (WHO). With a goal to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world, WHO staff work side by side with governments and other partners to ensure the highest attainable level of health for all people. As a Medicines Adviser, a pharmaceutical science graduate is able to be part of an important humanitarian mission and play a part in improving lives around the world.

Science writer

Completing any science-based degree requires you to learn how to write well about different scientific concepts and communicate your ideas and observations clearly. For some graduates, these skills can be the foundation of a career as a science writer.

Science writers research, write and edit scientific news, articles and features. If they work in the media, they can write for business, trade and professional publications, specialist scientific and technical journals, and the general media. If they work for non-media organisations, it is usually in a communications or marketing role, explaining scientific research to a professional or lay audience through articles, press releases and other written content.

Biomedical researcher

Biomedical researchers investigate how the human body works with the aim of finding new ways to improve health. Usually based in a laboratory, you will conduct experiments and clinical tests and record and report on the findings. In general, biomedical researchers within a university will tend to focus on improving tools and techniques, studying healthy biological processes and the causes and progress of diseases. It can be an extremely rewarding career path to follow, as the discoveries that you contribute can have a measurable and lasting impact on society.

In addition to research labs within universities, a pharmaceutical science qualification can also lead to a career in biochemical research within the private sector. This path would often take a graduate into the pharmaceutical industry, where their research focus would be on generating and evaluating possible treatments for diseases and medical conditions.One of the biggest advantages to a private sector research role is the resources available. Private sector labs are usually developing high value products that generate considerable income for the company. This means they can invest in state of the art facilities and equipment for their employees.

Due to the commercial nature of the job, private sector biomedical researchers don’t always enjoy the same autonomy as their academic counterparts.

The road ahead

With Ayushmaan Bharat, the future of pharmaceutical sciences is very positive. While the scheme would initially cover 10 crore poor families as per the socio-economic census of 2011, it will in the coming days also benefit the lower middle-class, middle-class and upper-middle class by way of jobs in the medical sector as new hospitals will open in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. The number of beneficiaries of the scheme would be almost equal to the combined population of USA, Mexico and Canada or of the European Union.

Thus, if you wish to explore this once-in-a-lifetime tectonic shift, tune in to a career in pharmaceutical sciences.

Quality assurance

The three As of Ayushman Bharat also hinge heavily on quality. The whole idea is to make healthcare affordable to the masses with no compromise on quality. This necessitates a systems-based career, often focused on designing, implementing and managing new systems for the manufacturing process. And it can be an extremely satisfying. By ensuring the quality of the products being produced, you are making an important contribution to your employer’s reputation and commercial success. With the continual development of superfoods, non-animal protein alternatives, dietary supplements and new therapeutic remedies, and the rise of new regulatory systems to cope.

Clinical research associates

Any new pharma product needs to go through clinical trials to ensure its safety and efficacy. As a Clinical Research Associate, you will use your experience in running experiments, gathering data and documenting the results during clinical trials. The typical employers for this role include Clinical Research Organisations (“CROs”), pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies or, less frequently, hospitals and universities. However there are many more responsibilities. For example, every trial is overseen by an ethics committee that ensures it is conducted in an ethical manner. A clinical research associate will need to liaise with this committee and keep them informed of how the trial is progressing. Depending on the trial, there can also be a high level of contact with trial participants, so good interpersonal communication skills can be valuable.

Scope for new skills

Careers in the pharmaceutical sciences till now required a strong interest in mathematics, biology, and the scientific process with a sharp focus on a specific phase of the drug-development cycle — research, testing, or manufacturing. With Ayushman Bharat, healthcare system will focus increasingly on the availability, authenticity and affordability of drugs without compromising on quality. Therefore, a candidate wishing to pursue pharma sciences would also need to develop a consumer focus with an error-free and efficient patient care using the latest technologies such as AI and ML to minimise TAT (TurnAround Time).

Institute scape

  • University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chandigarh
  • Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Manipal
  • Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi
  • Poona College of Pharmacy, Pune
  • Institute of Pharmacy, Nirma University, Ahmedabad
  • Bombay College of Pharmacy, Mumbai
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi
  • Amrita School of Pharmacy, Kochi

The green state of mind-Narendra Modi

The green state of mind

The world needs to shift to a paradigm of environmental philosophy that is anchored in environmental consciousness rather than merely government regulations. India can be at the forefront of change.

By Narendra Modi   

Yesterday, the United Nations honoured me with the ‘Champions of the Earth Award’. While I was extremely humbled at receiving this honour, I do feel that this award is not for an individual. Instead, it is a recognition of Indian culture and values, which have always placed emphasis on living in harmony with Mother Nature.

It was a proud moment for every Indian to see India’s proactive role in mitigating climate change being acknowledged and appreciated by the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres and Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of the UNEP.

Human beings and nature have a very special relationship. Mother Nature has nurtured and nourished us. The first civilisations were established on the banks of rivers. Societies that live in harmony with nature flourish and prosper.

Narendra Modi, PM Modi receives award, Modi UN award, swachh bharat, Champions of the Earth Awards, Antonio Guterres, Narendra Modi on climate change, Emmanuel Macron, India news, Indian express newsToday human society stands at an important crossroads. The path that we take hereon will not only determine our well being but also that of the generations who will inhabit our planet after us. The imbalances between our greed and necessities have led to grave ecological imbalances. We can either accept this, go ahead with things as if it is business as usual, or we can take corrective actions.

Three things will determine how we as a society can bring a positive change.

The first is internal consciousness. For that, there is no better place to look than our glorious past. Respect for nature is at the core of India’s traditions. The Atharvaveda contains the Prithvi Sukta, which contains unparalleled knowledge about nature and the environment. It is beautifully written in the Atharvaveda, “यस्यां समुद्र उत सिन्धुरापो यस्यामन्नं कृष्टयः संबभूवुः । यस्यामिदं जिन्वति प्राणदेजत्सा नो भूमिः पूर्वपेये दधातु ॥३॥ ” It means: Salutations to Mother Earth. In Her is woven together Ocean and River Waters; in Her is contained Food which She manifests when ploughed; In Her indeed is alive all Lives; May She bestow us with that Life.

The ancients write about the Panch Tatvas — Prithvi (Earth), Vayu (Air), Jal (Water), Agni (Fire), Akash (Sky) — and how our life systems are based on the harmonious functioning of these elements. The elements of nature are manifestations of divinity.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote extensively on the environment and even practised a lifestyle where compassion towards the environment was essential. He propounded the Doctrine of Trusteeship, which places the onus on us, the present generation, to ensure that our coming generations inherit a clean planet. He called for sustainable consumption so that the world does not face a resource crunch.

Leading lifestyles that are harmonious and sustainable are a part of our ethos. Once we realise how we are flagbearers of a rich tradition, it will automatically have a positive impact on our actions.

The second aspect is public awareness. We need to talk, write, debate, discuss and deliberate as much as possible on questions relating to the environment. At the same time, it is vital to encourage research and innovation on subjects relating to the environment. This is when more people will know about the pressing challenges of our times and ways to mitigate them.

When we as a society are aware of our strong links with environmental conservation and talk about it regularly, we will automatically be proactive in working towards a sustainable environment. That is why I will put proactiveness as the third facet of bringing a positive change.

In this context, I am delighted to state that the 130 crore people of India are proactive and at the forefront of working towards a cleaner and greener environment.

We see this proactiveness in the Swachh Bharat Mission, which is directly linked to a sustainable future. With the blessings of the people of India, over 85 million households now have access to toilets for the first time. Over 400 million Indians no longer have to defecate in the open. Sanitation coverage is up from 39 per cent to 95 per cent. These are landmark efforts in the quest of reducing the strain on our natural surroundings.

We see this proactiveness in the success of the Ujjwala Yojana, which has significantly reduced indoor air pollution due to unhealthy cooking practices that were causing respiratory diseases. Till date, over five crore Ujjwala connections have been distributed, thus ensuring a better and cleaner life for the women and their families.

India is moving at a quick pace in cleaning its rivers. The Ganga, which is India’s lifeline, had become polluted in several parts. The Namami Gange Mission is changing this historical wrong. Emphasis is being given to proper treatment of sewage.

At the core of our urban development initiatives such as AMRUT and the Smart Cities Mission is the need to balance urban growth with environmental care. The over 13 crore soil health cards distributed to farmers are helping them make informed decisions that will boost their productivity and improve the health of our land, which helps the coming generations.

We have integrated the objectives of Skill India in the environment sector and launched schemes including the Green Skill Development Programme for skilling about 7 million youth in environment, forestry, wildlife and climate change sectors by 2021. This will go a long way towards creating numerous opportunities for skilled jobs and entrepreneurships in the environment sector.

Our country is devoting unparalleled attention to new and renewable sources of energy. Over the last four years, this sector has become more accessible and affordable.

The Ujala Yojana has led to the distribution of nearly 31 crore LED bulbs. The costs of LED bulbs have reduced and so have the electricity bills and the C emissions.

India’s proactiveness is seen internationally. It makes me proud that India remained at the forefront of the COP-21 negotiations in Paris in 2015. In March 2018, world leaders of several countries converged in New Delhi to mark the start of the International Solar Alliance, an endeavour to harness the rich potential of solar energy and bring together all nations that are blessed with solar power.

While the world is talking about climate change, the call for climate justice has also reverberated from India. Climate justice is about safeguarding the rights and interests of the poor and marginalised sections of society, who are often the biggest sufferers from the menace of climate change.

As I have written earlier, our actions today will have an impact on human civilisation much beyond our time. It is upto us to take on the mantle of global responsibility towards a sustainable future. The world needs to shift to a paradigm of environmental philosophy that is anchored in environmental consciousness rather than merely government regulations. I would like to compliment all those individuals and organisations who are working assiduously in this direction. They have become the harbingers of a monumental change in our society. I assure them all possible support from the government in their pursuits. Together, we will create a clean environment that will be the cornerstone of human empowerment.

(The writer is Prime Minister of India)

-October 4, 2018, New Delhi

A glimpse of the new, liberal RSS -A Surya Prakash

A glimpse of the new, liberal RSS

By-A Surya Prakash

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s ( RSS ) unprecedented outreach effort via well-planned and executed lecture series by its Sarsanghchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, before an invited cosmopolitan audience in the Capital should dispel much of the apprehensions that have been voiced about this organisation for many decades.

Having attended this event and heard Bhagwat as he touched upon a wide range of issues and chose to take the RSS’ opponents head on, I would say that his thoughts on core issues that are central to our democratic existence, like secularism, pluralism, diversity, rights of religious minorities, gay rights, the central ideas in our Constitution, the National Flag and the National Anthem, would have left most of the Sangh’s detractors speechless. Much of what has been said to condemn the RSS and to debunk the genuinely secular aspirations of the majority of citizens, was, to use a cricketing phrase, smacked out of the boundary and the stadium by the RSS chief.

Related imageWhile these assertions constitute the most significant outcome of this lecture series, what Bhagwat had to say about Guru Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts, clearly points to the Sangh’s harmony with India’s democracy, diversity and liberal values. Although Guru Golwalkar, the second Sarsanghchalak of the RSS, saw Muslims, Christians and Communists as internal enemies, Bhagwat signaled that the RSS had decidedly chosen to move away from Golwalkar’s postulates. He said some things are said in a certain context. The RSS had now come out with a publication that had Golwalkar’s thoughts which were relevant at all times (Sadaa kaal ke liye upyukt vichaar) — this means that Golwalkar’s views on minorities, which are in conflict with India’s contemporary reality, have been edited out. Bhagwat said the RSS is not hidebound and that, as ordained by its founder, Dr Hedgewar, it had a duty to adapt itself to the changing times.

Here is a quick run down on the key issues he touched upon.

On the Constitution: Bhagwat spoke of the RSS’ unequivocal acceptance of and adherence to the Constitution of India. The Constitution represents national consensus. It is the duty of every citizen to respect and follow the Constitution. It had been drafted by persons of great calibre who took into account a variety of factors specific to Bharat. Everything was thought-through and every word was weighed before its incorporation and this includes the Directive Principles of State Policy and the Fundamental Rights. “It is our consensus. We believe we must all be bound by it.”

Talking about the Preamble, he specifically mentioned the reference to fraternity, dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation. Fraternity encapsulated the idea of Vividhata Mein Ekta (Unity in Diversity). The thought of taking everyone along, which is embedded in the Constitution, makes it a liberal document espousing universal values. That is what Hindutva is about. The RSS supremo’s categorical remarks regarding the efficacy of the Constitution should silence those who believe that the Sangh is anti-Constitution.

On diversity: One of the oft-repeated accusations against the Sangh Parivar is that it is a Hindu communal organisation and that it abhors diversity. Bhagwat’s well-articulated position on this issue is probably the RSS’ first serious effort at the national level to challenge its accusers. He told his audience that diversity is a matter of celebration. One should not fear diversity. On the other hand, we must celebrate and respect diversity. This is what Hindutva is all about. “My welfare depends on the welfare of all, this is Hindutva.” For the RSS, no one is an outsider (paraay). The effort is to unite everybody (Sampoorn samaj ko jodna hai). We must work towards a society that is devoid of divisions (bhed rahit samaj).

On the fear among Muslims vis-à-vis the RSS: Bhagwat invited Muslims to come to RSS programmes and institutions, and see the RSS from inside and get a first-hand feel of what the organisation stands for. A memorable quote from the lecture series was that Hindutva does not mean there is no place for Muslims. “The day it is said so, it will not be Hindutva any more.”

On mob lynching: Mob lynching and such other acts of violence in the name of cow protection is an offence and is unacceptable. At the same time, one must also raise one’s voice in regard to cow smuggling because the Constitution accords cow protection.

On gay rights: They (LGBTQ community) are a part of society. They should not feel isolated.

On the Uniform Civil Code: Bhagwat said that the RSS believed in ‘one nation, one law’. But at the same time, one must be aware of how diverse society is. Even among Hindus, there is so much diversity in these matters. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that there is no conflict on this issue.

On building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya:  A grand temple must be built at that site. Lord Ram represents Bharatiya maryada. He was even called the Imam-e-Hind. There was a temple at that site before. It is a matter of faith for crores of people. The matter should not have dragged on so long. The temple should be built and when it comes up, “a big reason for tension between Hindus and Muslims will end.”

On reservations: The RSS supports all Constitutional provisions relating to reservations. Those who derive benefit from reservations must take a call on the continuance or otherwise of the policy of reservations. There is no problem in regard to reservations. The problem lies in the politics around reservation. Further, the law to protect Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes must be strictly enforced. It must also be ensured that the law is not misused.

As can be seen from these responses, except for the Ayodhya issue, much of what he said should be acceptable to individuals across the political spectrum. Interestingly, he told the packed hall that he was not there to either convert or convince anyone about the core ideals of the RSS. He was there only to convey and extend an open invitation to whoever was  interested to visit the Sangh and its Shakhas, and make their own assessment of what went on there. This is indeed the moment of truth. The Nehruvians and Marxists, who have viewed the RSS with utmost suspicion, must pick up the gauntlet and see the RSS from within and make their own assessment of what this organisation is all about. In other words, they too need to revisit their bunch of thoughts.

(The writer is Chairman, Prasar Bharati)

Courtesy: The Pioneer

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The one who reached out to China: On Atal Bihari Vajpayee- Sudheendra Kulkarni

The one who reached out to China: On Atal Bihari Vajpayee

By- Sudheendra Kulkarni

India-China relations have come a long way from the period of enmity and bitterness that followed the 1962 war. True, they have not returned to the cheery days of Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai, but the maturity with which the leaders of both countries handled the Doklam crisis last year shows that the ties between New Delhi and Beijing are now based on a sound realisation that neither can ignore, much less antagonise, the other. Rather, comprehensive mutual cooperation between India and China is increasingly being seen as an imperative for peace, stability and progress in Asia and the world.

Change in attitude

In this evolution of India-China ties, one leader who made a seminal contribution was Atal Bihari Vajpayee. A politician in the non-dogmatic mould, Vajpayee was open to learning the lessons of history and, thus, revising his own views from the standpoint of India’s national interests. As a swayamsevak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Vajpayee’s views on Pakistan and China in the 1950s were quite negative. However, by the time he became the Minister of External Affairs in the Morarji Desai government, and particularly when he served as Prime Minister, Vajpayee was a changed man. He had come to firmly believe that for India to emerge as a major global power, it must normalise relations with Pakistan (which meant finding a permanent and amicable solution to the Kashmir dispute) and comprehensively improve relations with China (which meant resolving the vexed border problem in the spirit of mutual compromise).

Vajpayee’s visit to China in February 1979 ended the chill created by the 1962 war. It was the first high-level political contact between the two countries after 17 long years. His ice-breaking meeting with Deng Xiaoping, then China’s paramount leader, started a new chapter in India-China relations that has continued till date.

In a tribute to Deng on his birth centenary in 2004, Vajpayee recalled: “I have pleasant memories of my meeting with Deng Xiaoping. The unfortunate military conflict in 1962, caused by the border dispute, had left a scar on the centuries-old affinity between the two great nations of Asia and the world. I called on him in the Great Hall of People in February 1979. I must say that the genuine warmth with which Deng Xiaoping received me — I too reciprocated that warmth in equal measure — helped in overcoming the psychological barrier and looking forward with optimism to a positive new chapter in our bilateral relations.”

Deng told Vajpayee: “We do have some issues on which we are far apart. We should put those on the side for the moment and do some actual work to improve the climate to go about the problem. Our two countries are the two most populous countries in the world, and we are both Asian countries. How can we not be friends?”

The creative solution that Vajpayee and Deng discussed to resolve the vexed border dispute was, in a nutshell, this: Do not let normalisation of bilateral relations become a hostage to the resolution of the border dispute. Develop bilateral relations in an all-round manner. Simultaneously, try to resolve the border dispute through dialogue and by ruling out the use of force to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

In December 1982, when a delegation from the Indian Council of Social Sciences Research called on him in Beijing, Deng referred to his meeting with Vajpayee and reiterated his pragmatic view on the border problem: “When I met your former foreign minister in 1979, I put forward a ‘package solution’ to the problem. If both countries make some concessions, it will be settled… The problem between China and India is not a serious one… The problem we have is simply about the border. Both countries should make an effort to restore the friendship that existed between them in the 1950s. As long as we go about it in a reasonable way, I think it will be easy for us to settle our border question. Because this question has a long history, you have to take into account the feelings of your people, and we also have to take into account the feelings of our people. But if the two sides agree to the ‘package solution’, they should be able to convince their people.”

The next major milestone in India-China rapprochement was Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to China in December 1988. Deng told Gandhi, “Welcome… my young friend. Starting with your visit, we will restore our relations as friends. There was unpleasantness at each other. Let’s forget it. We should look forward. Do you agree with me?” Gandhi responded: “Yes.”

A different China

Vajpayee’s visit to China in June 2003, when I had the honour of accompanying him, witnessed a big breakthrough in bilateral relations. The China he saw this time was very different from what he had seen in 1979. Nowhere was this difference more striking than in the Shanghai skyline. Vajpayee and his delegation went on a boat ride along River Huangpu and what we saw on Pudong district, facing the historic Bund on the other side of the river, were glistening skyscrapers.

During this visit, India recognised for the first time that the “Tibet Autonomous Region is an integral part of the People’s Republic of China”. Some foreign policy experts, including some serving diplomats, were not in favour of this recognition. They felt it would prevent India from using the “Tibet Card” against China. But the realist in Vajpayee was convinced that his decision, apart from being in line with the unchangeable situation on the ground, was a helpful step towards improving bilateral relations. On its part, the Chinese side recognised Sikkim as a State of the Indian Union. The visit also saw an important breakthrough in trade relations — bilateral trade started rising rapidly thereafter.

An important upshot of the visit was the decision to fast-track the talks on the border dispute by initiating the framework of Special Representatives of the two Prime Ministers driving the dialogue. Accordingly, Vajpayee’s trusted National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra and China’s State Councillor Dai Bingguo were appointed as the two special representatives. Vajpayee and Premier Wen Jiabao also agreed that the joint work on the clarification of the LAC should continue smoothly, which helped in maintaining peace along the LAC. After Vajpayee’s demise, Wen Jiabao sent a heartfelt condolence, calling Vajpayee an “outstanding politician”.

I met Mr. Dai in Beijing last year. He said, “Mr. Vajpayee was a leader with a vision and strategic thinking. He did not want the past to determine the present. He started a new era of cooperation in India-China relations. He had an open mind on the border issue and wanted it to be resolved soon on the basis of give-and-take. I was very hopeful about making progress.” He added: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs to the same party as Mr. Vajpayee. He has an opportunity to become a New Vajpayee.” How true!

Sudheendra Kulkarni was a close aide of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Prime Minister’s Office between 1998 and 2004

Courtesy- The Hindu

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Congress Party’s Falsehood on Rafale – Arun Jaitley

15 Questions that Expose Congress Party’s Falsehood on Rafale

By – Arun Jaitley

Why these questions?

Considering the security environment around India, the highest standards of defence preparedness are required. After the Kargil experience, the Armed Forces and the Raksha Mantralaya were of the opinion that combat ability of the Indian Air Force to strike at targets needs to be radically improved.  This need was first recorded by the Raksha Mantralaya in the year 2001.

Considerations of the national security demanded that the IAF has the best available aircraft with the appropriate weaponry loaded on it. In principle approval for acceptance of necessity of procurement of 126 replacement aircrafts was recorded by the Raksha Mantri way back on 1st June, 2001.  After the UPA Government came into power, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for procurement of 126 medium multi-role combat aircrafts.  An aircraft without weaponry is of little use in a war.  It is only a flying instrument.  It adds to the combat strength of the forces only when it is loaded with the requisite weaponry, which enables it to strike targets.  The UPA Government issued a request for proposal on 28th August, 2007 and found two vendors, viz., M/s Dassault Aviation and M/s EADS to be compliant to the RFP requirements.  It took the UPA five more years to commence the negotiations and in January, 2012 the Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC) determined Dassault Aviation to be L1.

For reasons best known to the UPA Government, on 27th June, 2012, the deal was directed to be re-examined, which effectively meant that the entire eleven-year exercise was abandoned and the process was to be undertaken afresh.  India’s squadron strength was depleting because of age.  This slow and casual approach of the UPA Government seriously compromised national security requirements.

The NDA approach

On 10th April, 2015, the Government of India and the French Government issued a joint statement where India decided to procure 36 Rafale aircrafts from the French Government on terms better than the ones conveyed by Dassault in the L1 bid of 2007.  The same was approved by the DAC on 13th May, 2015 and finally the agreement, after a detailed procedure, was signed on 23rd September, 2016.

The false campaign

A false campaign based on untruth has been launched by the Congress Party casting a cloud on the Inter-Governmental agreement.  The principal arguments of this campaign are the following:

(i)  The NDA Government paid higher price than what the UPA would have paid if the deal would have completed on the basis of the 2007 offer of Dassault.

(ii) Proper procedures such as negotiations by the Contract Negotiation Committee and approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) were not obtained.

(iii) A private industrialist in India was favoured and the interest of public sector undertaking was compromised.

Each one of the above issues raised is based on complete falsehood.  It is expected from national political parties and its responsible leaders to keep themselves informed of the basic facts before they enter a public discourse on defence transactions.  The Congress Party and its leader, Shri Rahul Gandhi, are guilty on three counts:

(i)  The UPA delayed the deal by over a decade and seriously compromised national security.

(ii) Every fact that Shri Rahul Gandhi and the Congress Party has spoken on pricing and procedure are completely false.

(iii) Its effort of raising these issues is to further delay a defence procurement so that India’s defence preparedness further suffers.

The questions

            I have, therefore, decided to ask the following questions to the Congress Party and its President.  Needless to say that if replies are received in the public space or even if there is an issue diversion and no reply is received, I would be constrained to come out with further specific facts which establish truth as a victim of Shri Rahul Gandhi and his party merely peddling his falsehoods.  Needless to say that I am constrained by the secrecy clause, which exists in the Contract and whatever I ask or respond to would be constrained by that limitation.  My question to Shri Rahul Gandhi and his Party are as follows:

On Delay

(1)   The UPA was a Government which suffered from a decision- making paralysis.  Do you agree that the delay of over one decade was only on account of the incompetence and indecisiveness of the UPA Government?

(2)   Did this delay seriously compromise national security?  Is not the medium multi-role combat aircraft required by our forces to identify and strike at targets particularly when two of our neighbours have already enhanced their strength in this area?

(3)  Was this delay and eventual abatement of the purchase by the UPA based on collateral considerations as had been witnessed in earlier transactions such as the purchase of the 155 mm Bofors gun?

Unsure of facts

(4)  How is it that Shri Rahul Gandhi quoted a price of Rs.700 crores per aircraft in Delhi and Karnataka in April and May this year?  In Parliament, he reduced it to Rs.520 crore per aircraft, in Raipur he increased it to Rs.540 crores; in Jaipur he used the two figures – Rs.520 crores and Rs.540 crores in the same speech.  In Hyderabad, he invented a new price of Rs.526 crores.  Truth has only one version, falsehood has many.  Are these allegations being made without any familiarity with the facts of the Rafale purchase?

(5)  Is Mr. Gandhi or the Congress Party aware of price comparison?  Is Mr. Gandhi aware of the aircraft price, which was quoted in 2007 in the L1 bid?  Is he aware that there was an escalation clause, which by 2015 when the NDA struck the price deal, would have further escalated the price?  Would not the escalation clause have continued to escalate the price till each of the aircraft was supplied?  Have the significant exchange rate variations between Rupee and Euro during the same period been considered?

(6)  Is he aware of the fact that if the basic aircraft price on which UPA was to purchase the aircraft along with the escalation clause is compared at the price with the better terms on which the NDA Government signed the deal.  The basic aircraft price itself is 9% cheaper under the NDA than it was under the UPA?

(7) Can Shri Rahul Gandhi deny that when the add-ons such as India-specific adaptations, weaponry, etc. are installed on the basic aircraft, the UPA price, which was mentioned in the 2007 L1 offer, would be at least 20% costlier than the more favourable price negotiated by the NDA?

(8)  Can Shri Rahul Gandhi and the Congress Party deny if the total contract cost, that is, basic aircraft plus add-ons, including weaponry, etc., Indian adaptations plus future supplies and maintenance are all added, the NDA terms become far more favourable than the 2007 L1 offer?

Role of private industries

(9)  Can Shri Rahul Gandhi and the Congress deny that the Government of India has no contract whatsoever with any private industry in relation with the Rafale aircraft supplies?  In fact, 36 of the Rafale aircraft with their Indian adaptations are going to be sent to India and there is no manufacturing of these 36 aircrafts in India.

(10)  Any Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) under the offset policy of the UPA can select any number of Indian partners, both from the private sector and the public sector, for offset supplies?  This has nothing to do with the Government of India and, therefore, any private industry having benefitted from the Government of India is a complete lie.  Can Shri Gandhi and his Party deny this?

On procedure

(11)  Are Shri Gandhi and his Party aware of the fact that there are two ways of acquiring a defence equipment, i.e., either by competitive bidding or by an Inter-Governmental Agreement?

(12) Can Mr. Gandhi and his Party deny that the UPA Government in 2007 itself had shortlisted the Rafale as technically- acceptable and L1 in price competition?

(13) Can Shri Gandhi and his Party deny that considering the urgency of the defence requirement, the Government of India and the French Government agreed to execute the supply of 36 Rafale aircrafts at terms better than the 2007 offer of the UPA?

(14)  Can it be denied that both the Price Negotiation Committee and the Contract Negotiation Committee negotiated for 14 months before concluding the deal?

(15) Can it be denied that before the deal was executed, the Cabinet Committee on Security approved the transaction?

I am asking the above questions and I hope Shri Rahul Gandhi and the Congress Party would respond immediately.

(Writer is Union Finance Minister, GoI)