23 nov 2015


The Hindu: November 24, 2015

 Pressing for free speech


On November 16, a day marked as National Press Day, three newspapers made a statement in that cause by publishing blank spaces on their editorial pages. They were protesting against a notice served by the Assam Rifles to the editors of newspapers in Nagaland, warning them on coverage of the banned National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Khaplang). The editors were told they could be violating the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967. This expression of defiance draws attention to the problems faced by the press in places described as conflict zones, trapped as mediapersons are between the state armed with the law to enforce varying degrees of censorship, and militant groups who use all methods of intimidation to have their versions published. In its defence, the Assam Rifles has drawn attention to a clause in the UAPA, under which the press can be made accountable in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of the country. The editors, however, contest the Assam Rifles' remit in asking them to refrain from carrying press releases of banned groups such as the NSCN (K). Such crucial technicalities apart, the diktat begs the larger question about both the freedom of expression and the independence of the press. What are — or, should be — the red lines in safeguarding free speech and fair reportage, critical to holding power to account?

The Press Council of India (PCI), often described as a toothless tiger, has taken suo motu note of the case and served notices to the paramilitary force and the State government. The PCI has the power to review any development likely to restrict the supply and dissemination of news of public interest and importance. The Nagaland government and the Assam Rifles's reaction, and the PCI's next move thereupon, will be instructive for the case at hand. Every effort should be made to check the authorities' use of the law to curb reportage and opinion just because it challenges their line. It is far too common to use the pretext of safeguarding the sovereignty of India merely to hush legitimate critiques of governments and, equally, the security forces. There also needs to be a more broad-based appraisal of other ways and means by which freedom of the press is sought to be fettered, and what remedial measures there should be. For instance, government advertisements are often denied to 'unfriendly' publications. putting them at an unfair material disadvantage. The Press Council, for its part, appears to be shedding its image of an ageing tiger — from directing the Maharashtra government to withdraw its circular on the Sedition Act, to asking the Delhi government to do the same. On the "blank editorial" protest by Morung Express, Nagaland Page and Eastern Mirror, the Council must expand its investigation to the instruments of intimidation, passive and aggressive, that are utilised by state and non-state actors alike to both censor and get a favourable press.


·        de·fi·ance अनादर

Open resistance; bold disobedience.


·        re·mit नियन्त्रण या प्रभाव के बाहर

Cancel or refrain from exacting or inflicting (a debt or punishment).


·        re·frain परहेज करना

Stop oneself from doing something.


·        dik·tat   एक आदेश जिसकी आग्या होनी चाहिए 

An order or decree imposed by someone in power without popular consent.


·        re·port·age सूचना देना

The reporting of news, for the press and the broadcast media.


·        dis·sem·i·na·tion  फैलाव

The act of spreading something, especially information, widely; circulation.


·        Curb नियंत्रण रखना


·        Hush चुप रहना

Make (someone) be quiet or stop talking.


·        fet·ter श्रंखला , अटकाना

Restrain with chains or manacles, typically around the ankles


·        in·tim·i·da·tion धमकी 

The action of intimidating someone, or the state of being intimidated.



The Hindu: November 24, 2015

The India Story, in word & deed


On his visit to Kuala Lumpur to attend the ASEAN-India summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in familiar form, pitching India as an investment destination to the East Asian countries. Taking credit for turning the Indian economy around since his government "took office 18 months ago", Mr. Modi outlined his plans for economic reform, which he said was a "way station on the long journey" to the transformation of India. He also offered specific opportunities to ASEAN countries on investing in infrastructure in India, particularly in Metro Rail systems, housing, road, rail and waterways. While Mr. Modi's oratory skills are powerful, it is time to wonder whether his audience, only too eager to invest in India last year, is still listening as keenly to his message. A year after they called India an 'emerging tiger' too, the narrative has shifted. To begin with, several of the promises Mr. Modi gave at the ASEAN-India summit are reiterations of promises he had made a year ago, and many are beginning to wonder if some of them, like the promise of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) legislation, can be kept, given his relations with the Opposition in Parliament. Mr. Modi has been keen to emphasise that a liberalised IPR patents regime is just around the corner, more in line with what the U.S. and the EU countries have been demanding, but it is unclear if this would militate against India's Patents Act that is in line with the TRIPS agreement. Finally, many of the commitments he has given, like the plan for a mammoth increase in renewable energy to 175GW, will require at least $200-$300 billion in funds and debt payments, which are yet to be clearly sourced. The Prime Minister's well-honed pitch now needs some pace on the ground, so that the reality begins to match the rosy picture he has been painting.

While he is quite right to quote recent endorsements from the IMF, the World Bank, and even The Economist magazine, the Prime Minister must acknowledge that India is not as full of promise for fund managers, some of whom are already turning conservative on the India market, that exports have declined for the past ten months, and there is a decrease in the growth of domestic demand, particularly rural demand. Meanwhile, even as India "acts East" in order to sew up the India-ASEAN FTA on services and investments, ASEAN countries are themselves "looking East" much more, with the launch of the Trans-Pacific Partnership with the U.S., that India is not a part of. It is also time to note that the global narrative has changed as well, with the OECD now revising its world GDP outlook on the back of what it calls a "dramatic global trade slowdown", especially in emerging markets. At a time like this, it is important that India shifts its focus from marketing to delivery, and shores up its image as a credible market and investment destination, where its word is matched by deed


·        pitch आवाज 

Throw (the ball) for the batter to try to hit.


·        or·a·to·ry  वक्तृत्व कला

addressing an audience formally (usually a long and rhetorical address and often pompous)


·        Reiterations  दोहराव 

(reiteration) reduplication: the act of repeating over and again (or an instance thereof)


·        mam·moth  महाकाय

A large extinct elephant of the Pleistocene epoch, typically hairy with a sloping back and long curved tusks.


·        en·dorse·ment  अनुमोदन 

An act of giving one's public approval or support to someone or something.


·        sew up ठीक ठाक होना

. To complete successfully:




Business Standard

Hopes from Paris

The revelation by the World Meteorological Organisation that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a record high in 2014 for the 30th year in a row is yet another indication of the ineffectiveness of the present global efforts to contain climate change. But what is truly worrisome is the grim fact that the action proposed to be taken by different countries during the next 20 to 30 years is also insufficient to keep global warming within the internationally agreed limit of two degrees Celsius. This is clear from the intended nationally determined contributions, or INDCs, declared by over 160 countries prior to the forthcoming 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at Paris from November 30 to December 11. Even if the countries fulfil their promises, the global average temperature may still rise by between 2.7 degrees Celsius and four degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Fresh evidence from recent scientific studies shows that a two-degree Celsius surge in temperature would submerge land at present occupied by some 280 million people while a rise of four degrees Celsius would inundate areas currently home to about 600 million people - including densely populated deltas in South Asia. Little wonder, therefore, that many countries, notably small island nations, want the global warming threshold to be revised to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Given these unnerving portents, many industrialised countries' unwillingness to do more to mitigate global warming deserves condemnation. Too few of their INDCs set meaningful targets for climate action. Strangely enough, they are wavering even in contributing the pledged amounts to the Green Fund mooted at the Copenhagen summit in 2009 to assist poor nations to switch to clean technologies. The Fund, aimed at raising $100 billion a year by 2020, has only $5.83 billion in its kitty, against the promised amount of $10.2 billion. The US has already expressed its inability to provide the pledged $3 billion by December. Nor did the European Union's finance ministers, who met recently, spell out a firm roadmap for delivering their share to the Fund. With carbon trading to generate finance for climate action having already collapsed and the Green Fund a virtual non-starter, there is at present hardly any meaningful mechanism in place to enable developing countries to play a worthwhile role in global climate action.

Nevertheless, it is still possible that the leaders of 190-odd countries, who will assemble at Paris for COP-21, may come to some kind of an agreement just to avoid another fiasco. But the accord is unlikely to be perfect. It may also not be binding in nature. Unfortunately, most countries are against even an external review or monitoring of their implementation of the declared INDCs. The Obama administration in the US understandably prefers an accord that can be enforced through an executive order rather than putting it before a hostile Senate. Besides, some key issues, including that of fairness and equity, are yet to be resolved satisfactorily. For this, the developed nations would have to acknowledge their historic responsibilities and agree to take climate mitigation obligations accordingly. In any case, a positive outcome at Paris would indeed be an achievement, even if it does not match the pacts signed at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and Kyoto in 1997. What is important is that that it should not meet the same fate as the earlier accords, which generally failed to achieve their stated goal.


·        rev·e·la·tion  प्रकटीकरण 

A surprising and previously unknown fact, especially one that is made known in a dramatic way.


·        con·cen·tra·tion जमाव

The action or power of focusing one's attention or mental effort.


·        Grim  कठोर

Forbidding or uninviting


·        in·un·date(flood)  बाढ़ लाना

Overwhelm (someone) with things or people to be dealt with.


·        un·nerve कमजोर करना

Make (someone) lose courage or confidence.


por·tent पूर्वलक्षण

A sign or warning that something, especially something momentous or calamitous, is likely to happen.


·        wa·ver लड़खड़ाना

Shake with a quivering motion.


·        Moot  विवादास्पद

Raise (a question or topic) for discussion; suggest (an idea or possibility).


·        fi·as·co असफलता

A thing that is a complete failure, especially in a ludicrous or humiliating way.



Indian Express

Kirchnerismo ends

Mauricio Macri's victory in Argentina's first-ever presidential run-off ends 12 years of Kirchnerismo (Kirchnerism). Kirchnerismo, the late Nestor Kirchner and his widow Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's own version of Peronism — Argentina's entrenched populism — had rescued Argentina from its 2001-02 meltdown and a $100 billion debt default, but had long outlived its utility. Under outgoing President Cristina Kirchner — constitutionally barred from a third consecutive term — the economy was brought to its knees, with a second debt default last year and a humiliating ban on Argentina from borrowing on international capital markets. The state exercised greater control on the economy, imposed high taxes on agricultural exports and used the money to fund populist programmes. Coupled with currency and capital controls, this left the economy in a shambles, with economists putting the real inflation figure at close to 26 per cent against the official 14 per cent.

The electorate appears to have decided that it's time for a more sweeping change than voting in Kirchner's handpicked successor Daniel Scioli. Macri's party Cambiemos (Let's Change) promised big reforms, reorienting the economy towards the market and scrapping currency controls. But, given that he inherits an economy set to contract next year, a high budget deficit and foreign debt, Macri will have his task cut out. Nor will it be politically easy to cut welfare and sundry state spending.

At the start of World War I, Argentina was among the world's richest countries — ahead of France and Germany. A century of military coups and populism have brought things to a pass where neighbouring Chile and Uruguay are far richer today. And once poor Brazil is a global power. Rebuilding the Argentinian nation is a job beyond one presidential term, but Macri must give it his best shot.


·        Peronism

Peronism, or Justicialism, is an Argentine political movement based on the thought of former President Juan Domingo Perón and his second wife, Eva Perón. The party, the Justicialist Party, derived its name from the Spanish words for "social justice


·        en·trench मजबूत स्थिति बनाना

Establish (an attitude, habit, or belief) so firmly that change is very difficult or unlikely


·        Bar बाधित

Fasten (something, especially a door or window) with a bar or bars.


·        hu·mil·i·at·ing अपमानजनक

Causing someone to feel ashamed and foolish by injuring their dignity and self-respect.


·        sham·bles गड़बड़

A state of total disorder


The Guardian

view on the defence review: making ends meet in troubled times

Defence is a moving target. The invariable aim is the security of the state and the protection of citizens, but circumstances, resources and threats change in such a way as to make any precise calibration of what is needed truly difficult. Add in the long development cycles of modern weaponry, the vested interests of the defence industry, budgetary panics, and the shifts in the public mood which can constrain the use of military force, and the wonder is not so much that we get it wrong but that we sometimes get it right. In Britain we certainly got it wrong in 2010 when we stripped out things we then belatedly realised we still needed, like maritime reconnaissance and some of our air squadrons – and then along came Russian penetration missions in or near our airspace, and we found it a strain to register our disapproval of these incursions in the usual way. We gave up our carrier capacity for a period of years, and cut manpower in all three services but especially in the navy and air force. All this diminished our strength: the Falklands and Iraq missions would not be remotely possible today.

Five years later the time has come for another strategic defence review. David Cameron presented it on Monday as if it was an innovatory response to the dangers of Isis in the Middle East and Russian assertiveness in eastern Europe. As a politician he can hardly be blamed for putting that slant on it. But in fact this review is not at all revolutionary. It proposes more investment in cyber defences, special forces, counter-terrorism work, all obvious responses to recent threats and all already to some extent under way. It seeks to restore some of the conventional capacities unwisely removed in 2010, and it emphasises the need for mobile and flexible forces ready to go where needed at short notice.

But, although given the catchy name of "strike brigades" the idea is not really new, involves no extra soldiers, and while there is some new equipment, this was already in the pipeline. Such rapid reaction units would be appropriate in several conceivable situations, for deployment in African states threatened by jihadi insurgency, for signalling resolve to Russia in eastern Europe by judicious rotation without upping the overall ante too much, and, controversially, for use in the Middle East should it ever come to that again.

In all such hypothetical cases, Britain would certainly not be acting alone. British defence policy has long been tailored to fit into that of the United States and more recently there has been strong bilateral cooperation with France. But while it falls beyond Mr Cameron's national remit, it is worth saying that the commitment of the US to the defence of Europe is not what it used to be and that Europe continues to attend to its collective security, as far as conventional forces go, in its usual lackadaisical manner.

In some contrast, cooperation in intelligence, policing, counter-terrorism, and joint diplomacy, as over the Iranian nuclear programme, seems to be improving. Mr Cameron mentioned some of the remaining gaps in such cooperation. His support for President François Hollande's military and diplomatic campaign after the Paris massacres, whatever the specific merits, should point the way toward more systematic cooperation between European countries. There is no need to revive the once vexed question of European defence versus Nato defence. Both structures are now rather weak. Arguing about architecture if the bricks are not there is not worthwhile.

The overarching question about spending on hard military power is whether it takes resources away from other, equally or more important, ways of protecting our societies. In the British case, while spending on intelligence is obviously up, we are running down a diplomatic service that costs a fraction of what the armed forces cost, and we are thinking of cuts in policing which could be damaging to counter-terrorism work, although that is debatable.

The most fundamental issue of all is whether the maintenance of a nuclear deterrent is compatible with a balanced security and defence policy for a country like Britain. The ballooning costs of Trident, revealed on Monday in the Commons by Mr Cameron, could in the end soak up an even larger percentage of the defence budget than previously estimated. Nobody is saying that all this money, if released, would go to the conventional military budget, or to the other areas, like diplomacy, also important for our security. But even some of it would ease the hard choices that lie ahead.


·        cal·i·bra·tion जांच करना

The action or process of calibrating an instrument or experimental readings


·        weap·on·ry   हथियारों का जखीरा

Weapons regarded collectively.


·        vest·ed  अधिकार प्राप्त

Secured in the possession of or assigned to a person.


·        pan·ic आतंक

Sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior.


·        con·strain बलपूर्वक रोकना

Severely restrict the scope, extent, or activity of.


·        re·con·nais·sance  किसी स्थान का सैनिक सर्वेक्षण

Military observation of a region to locate an enemy or ascertain strategic features.


·        squad·ron  वायुसेना की टुकड़ी

An operational unit in an air force consisting of two or more flights of aircraft and the personnel required to fly them.


·        in·cur·sion छापा

An invasion or attack, especially a sudden or brief one.


·        Up

Do something abruptly or boldly.


·        an·te मूल्य 

A stake put up by a player in poker and similar games before receiving cards.


·        re·mit  नियन्त्रण या प्रभाव के बाहर

Cancel or refrain from exacting or inflicting (a debt or punishment).


·        mas·sa·cre सामूहिक हत्या

An indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of people.


·        re·vive फिर से ताज़ा करना



·        o·ver·arch·ing अति महत्वपूर्ण

Forming an arch over something.


·        tri·dent  त्रिशूल

A three-pronged spear, especially as an attribute of Poseidon (Neptune) or Britannia.



The Dawn'

Religious extremism in Jhelum

THE modus operandi was a distressingly familiar one — an allegation of blasphemy, incitement by local mosques, and a frenzied mob venting its rage on the impugned individuals/community.

However, the government's response to events in Jhelum last week could well determine whether this country is indeed making a break from a past replete with condemnable instances of violence in the name of faith.

The incident in question began to unfold on Friday evening when workers at an Ahmadi-owned factory in the city alleged that pages from the Quran were being desecrated on its premises.

Announcements made from area mosques further inflamed passions, and a mob — including people from surrounding villages — stormed the factory, setting it on fire.

The next day, an Ahmadi place of worship in nearby Kala Gojran was ransacked by crowds who, after throwing its contents out in the street and torching them, proceeded to occupy the building in the name of converting it into a mosque.

That no one lost their life in the violence is extremely fortunate, and probably due in large measure to attempts by the administration to get people out of harm's way as well as the fact that the army moved quickly to quell the rioting in this garrison town.

Meanwhile, cases have been filed against around 80 alleged attackers under the Anti Terrorism Act.

However, what happens next is crucial. In post-National Action Plan Pakistan, with its avowals of dismantling the infrastructure of religious extremism that is the recruiting ground for ideologically inspired militancy against which the country is at war, Jhelum is no less than a test case.

It is a test case because it pushes the boundaries of what many Pakistanis consider religious intolerance: the target is a community against which religious discrimination in this country is not just socially entrenched, but also deeply institutionalised — and even celebrated as a virtue in certain quarters.

Are there going to be exceptions to action against all forms of religious persecution? Is not an attack on a place of worship — any place of worship — an attack on the fundamental rights of that community to freedom of religion?

It also bears asking why mosques in Jhelum chose to incite violence at this juncture when the state has been clamping down on hate speech — one of NAP's 20 points — which has a proven record of instigating murder particularly when delivered from the pulpit.

Cases have been filed against a number of clerics on this charge; some have even been sentenced to prison for several years. In the present instance as well, the full force of the law must be brought to bear against the individuals concerned.

A majority community must use its strength not to oppress minorities — for that is only evidence of its own moral frailty — but to guarantee their inalienable right to live with dignity as equal citizens.


·        modus operandi  कार्य प्रणाली

>a particular way or method of doing something.


·        blas·phe·my  ईश्वर निन्दा 

The act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.


·        fren·zied  क्रोधित

Wildly excited or uncontrolled.


·        Vent जाने देना

Give free expression to (a strong emotion).


·        Rage क्रोध 

Violent, uncontrollable anger.


·        im·pugn वाद-विवाद करना

Dispute the truth, validity, or honesty of (a statement or motive); call into question.


·        re·plete भरपूर

Filled or well-supplied with something.


·        des·e·crate अपमान करना

Treat (a sacred place or thing) with violent disrespect; violate.


·        ran·sack लूटना

Go hurriedly through (a place) stealing things and causing damage.


·        Torch  जला देना

Set fire to.


·        Quell   शांत करना

Put an end to


·        gar·ri·son रक्षा के लिए किले में सेना नियत करना

The troops stationed in a fortress or town to defend it.


·        Avowals घोषणा-पत्र

(avowal) a statement asserting the existence or the truth of something


·        dis·man·tle  टुकड़े टुकड़े करना

Take (a machine or structure) to pieces.


·        en·trench  मजबूत स्थिति बनाना



·        vir·tue  सद्गुण 

Behavior showing high moral standards.


·        per·se·cu·tion  अत्याचार

Hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs.


·        junc·ture उचित समय

A particular point in events or time.


·        pul·pit मंच 

A raised platform or lectern in a church or chapel from which the preacher delivers a sermon



·        frail·ty   कमज़ोरी

The condition of being weak and delicate.


·        in·al·ien·a·ble   जो अलग किया जा सके

Unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor



Nov 24 2015 : The Times of India (Ahmedabad)

Toilet Trouble

NSSO survey shows mere construction of toilets is not enough ­ they must be usable too

Over one crore toilets have been built as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's showpiece clean-India campaign Swachh Bharat Abhiyan since it was launched on October 2 last year. That is certainly good going. But unfortunately , a survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) has found that not even half of these were being used. In rural areas many households with newly-minted lavatories were still going to the fields.What's more, a lot of the toilets were being used to store grains or as general storage space, which makes the whole initiative a travesty .

Eradication of open defecation is one of the core objectives of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which aims to build 12 crore toilets in rural India at a projected cost of Rs 1.96 lakh crore by 2019.However, as the NSSO survey shows, the mission has clearly not been thought through. In the race for reaching the toilet construction target the Centre, in tandem with state governments and corporate social responsibility programmes, has often neglected to ensure key facilities such as adequate water supply and maintenance. If it's a choice between dirty , unusable toilets and open fields, one cannot hope to spark behavioural change and persuade villagers to choose the former over the latter.

The government has been reluctant to publish the NSSO's report, no doubt because it reflects poorly on the advance of Swachh Bharat. But instead of playing it down, the government should use the data to recalibrate its initiative. Essentially, it should focus not just on sprouting toilets all over the countryside, but on making them usable. Infrastructure is good. Infrastructure that can be put to its intended use is even better.


·        lav·a·to·ry   हाथ मुंह धोने का कमरा

A room or compartment with a toilet and washbasin; a bathroom.


·        trav·es·ty   उपहास का विषय बनाना

A false, absurd, or distorted representation of something.


tandem एक के पीछे एक की क्रमबद्धता 

A bicycle with seats and pedals for two riders, one behind the other.


·        Sprout विकसित होना

(of a plant) put forth shoots


Nov 24 2015 : The Economic Times (Mumbai)

CCTNS' Slow Death a Daylight Crime

Rethink the project from bottom up, fund it

The Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), a project launched in 2009 to link up the country's police stations for electronic collection, storage and sharing of information and yet to be fully formed, is gasping for breath. This is a crying shame. The clumsily named project was allocated an initial sum of ` . 2,000 crore, to be given to state governments to develop their systems. Fund utilisation has been patchy at best, and after this year's experiment of letting the central scheme lapse and placing the onus on the states to fund the project out of their higher devolutions from the Finance Commission award, simply collapsed. Several vendors are owed hundreds of crores by state governments.

As a consequence, a convicted rapist in Uttar Pradesh can obtain a character certificate from Delhi, whose local police stations fail to find anything adverse about him in their records. Intelligence arising from seemingly disparate developments in different parts of the country will continue to elude police and intel ligence agencies, even as terrorists merrily plot their next attack on the country . This failure to create an intel ligent data network is a damning in dictment of not just India's prepared ness in this era of blurred boundaries of internal and external security but also of all the glib talk of a Digital India. Offer twice the salary of a secretary to the government to bright PhDs in computer sciences and design a data mining system that is secure and supremely capable of gathering the big picture from police data as they are recorded, social media, intelligence agency inputs and metadata generated by assorted cyber chatter.

The plaint about different states' incompatible police data systems is quaint. Today , the challenge is to glean intelligence from all sorts of unstructured data, including the nascent and growing Internet of Things, not to create one standardised database across the country . Such a project has to be led and funded by the Centre and cannot be allowed to fall through the cracks between central ministries or between the Centre and the states.

·        Gasp  सांस लेना

Inhale suddenly with the mouth open, out of pain or astonishment.


·        Clumsily अधूरेपन से

Done without care or finesse, often hurriedly or awkwardly.

·        O·nus  भार , दायित्व 

Used to refer to something that is one's duty or responsibility.


·        Dis·pa·rate  भिन्न

Essentially different in kind; not allowing comparison.


·        E·lude चालाकी से बच निकलना

Evade or escape from (a danger, enemy, or pursuer), typically in a skillful or cunning way.


·        Damn·ing घातक

(of a circumstance or piece of evidence) strongly suggesting guilt or error.


·        Quaint अजीब

Attractively unusual or old-fashioned




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