Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Filled Under:

3 dec 2015

prepared by Ashok Shama

The Hindu

Dark clouds & a silver lining





Making extensive preparations for rare, extreme situations is neither easy nor economical. Both the Tamil Nadu administration and the residents of Chennai and its neighbouring districts were not ready for the relentless spells of rain after the North-East monsoon set in, flooding homes and offices, roads and malls. Ordinarily, the worry for Chennai is a weak monsoon with deficit rainfall that leaves little water for drinking purposes and irrigation. But, over the last 30 days, the government and the people were dealing with the ill-effects of an unusually active monsoon that seemed intent on overcompensating for the deficit years with record rainfall. Even as the city returned to some sort of normalcy after one torrential downpour, it had to contend with another spell of rain. Displacement, traffic jams, power cuts, rising prices, and scarcity of food, the woes just would not end for the people of Chennai. The situation was especially bad for those in the relatively new residential areas in the suburbs where, in recent years, real estate growth was given priority over planned development. Also, more than the amount of rainfall, Chennai was hit badly by the overflow of water from reservoirs and breaches in lakes and tanks, and the flooding of water channels that were already choked with silt and refuse. With an unprecedented discharge of water, Chennai's rivers have shown no respect for the bridges and the roads, effectively cutting off people and places on one bank with the people and places on the other bank. With bus and suburban railway services becoming inoperable, Chennai had to rely heavily on the new Metro line and the Mass Rapid Transit System.



But the rains were not all about doom and gloom. The government did remarkably well in rescue and relief efforts, quickly requisitioning the deployment of the armed forces to evacuate people in flooded areas and engaging in elaborate rehabilitation work. In the end, even Opposition leaders readily praised the relief measures taken up in challenging circumstances. The distress brought about by the rain also revealed the remarkable strength and character of the people in the city and the affected districts, with NGOs supplementing the efforts of the government, and public- spirited individuals taking up relief work, spending time and resources in reaching out to those left stranded. The Hindu is privileged to be a part of these efforts. Social networks were full of messages offering help or information on where help would be available. Malls and private schools and colleges too opened their doors to the flood victims. A radio taxi service provider, under criticism for failing to arrange cabs, offered free boat services. Clearly, the civic solidarity was in evidence everywhere, with volunteers helping to ferry the aged and the sick, and distribute food packets and warm clothes. Without a doubt, this has been the silver lining in the dark clouds over Chennai over the last few weeks. The lessons learnt during this extended disaster should result in a hard look at existing policies on urban planning, and a short-term revamp of the inadequacies in the civic infrastructure of urban areas.

 

ex·ten·sive  बहुत बड़ा

Covering or affecting a large area

 

re·lent·less करुणा रहित

Oppressively constant; incessant.

 

Spell आकर्षण,  अवधि 

A short period.

 

in·tent  उद्देश्य

Intention or purpose.

 

o·ver·com·pen·sate

Take excessive measures in attempting to correct or make amends for an error, weakness, or problem.

 

tor·ren·tial  घनघोर

(of rain) falling rapidly and in copious quantities.

 

down·pour  मूसलाधार बारिश

A heavy rainfall.

 

con·tend दावे के साथ कहना

Struggle to surmount (a difficulty or danger)

 

scar·ci·ty  अभाव 

The state of being scarce or in short supply; shortage.

 

Woe उल्लंघन ,  दुःख 

Great sorrow or distress.

 

Breach अतिक्रमण, उल्लंघन 

An act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct.

 

choked  सांस रुकने की स्थिति

un·prec·e·dent·ed  बेमिसाल

Never done or known before.

 

Doom दुर्भाग्य 

Death, destruction, or some other terrible fate.

 

Gloom निराशा 

Partial or total darkness.

 

e·vac·u·ate खाली कराना

Remove (someone) from a place of danger to a safe place.

 

en·gage नियुक्त करना

Occupy, attract, or involve (someone's interest or attention).

 

e·lab·o·rate सविस्तार

Involving many carefully arranged parts or details; detailed and complicated in design and planning.

 

Rehabilitation  पुनर्वास कार्यक्रम

The restoration of someone to a useful place in society

 

read·i·ly सरलता से

Without hesitation or reluctance; willingly.

 

strand·ed फँसा हुआ

(of a boat, sailor, or sea creature) left aground on a shore.

 

 

priv·i·leged  गौरवान्वित

Having special rights, advantages, or immunities.

 

sol·i·dar·i·ty एकता 

Unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.

 

fer·ry एक स्थान से दूसरे स्थान पहुँचाना

A boat or ship for conveying passengers and goods, especially over a relatively short distance and as a regular service.

 

silver lining in the dark clouds  काले बादलों में उम्मीद की किरण

 

Meaning: Every cloud has a silver lining means that you should never feel hopeless because difficult times always lead to better days. Difficult times are like dark cloudsthat pass overhead and block the sun.

 

re·vamp पुनर्निर्माण करना

Give new and improved form, structure, or appearance to.

 

 

The Hindu

On hold and accommodative



The central message of Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan's latest decision to leave interest rates unchanged, and stress that the monetary stance remains "accommodative", is that neither an economic recovery nor inflation trends are entrenched enough at the moment for more decisive action. That the signs are far from reassuring on both the key fronts that inform the central bank's policy rationale is abundantly evident from the data on hand. External demand continues to remain weak — with global growth and trade becalmed by an anaemic Euro area, a slowing China and a U.S. economy coping with an accumulation of inventory, year-low consumer confidence and a strengthening dollar. On the domestic front, while early results from the RBI's survey of order books, inventories and capacity utilisation point to an uptick in new manufacturing orders in the second quarter, other indicators, especially from the sizeable rural economy, are far from reassuring. Consumption demand in the villages and smaller towns in agrarian heartlands has been weakened by two consecutive deficient monsoons, and the overall outlook for agricultural growth, as a result of deficient rains, appears at best moderate. The latest Nikkei's Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, compiled by Markit, independently buttresses the central bank's concern over the sustainability of the recovery as it shows demand and output continued to soften in November to damp manufacturing growth to the slowest pace in 25 months.



Data on the prices front is equally unnerving. Retail inflation as measured by the consumer price index accelerated for the third successive month in October, pushed up by a sharp increase in food costs. Initial indications of rabi sowing, coupled with low reservoir levels, also squarely laid the onus on astute supply management by the government to help minimise any shortfall in winter crop output and the resultant risk to prices. And taking a benign oil price environment for granted, given the potential for geopolitical shocks from the volatile Middle East, has its own inherent hazards. More significantly, the RBI has for the moment opted to trust the government's commitment to its fiscal consolidation goals in its calculus of the inflationary impact of the Seventh Pay Commission's proposals. Voluntary budgetary restraint, the central bank believes, will offset the impact on aggregate demand from higher wages and rents. That this assumption is only partly predicated on good faith is evident in the comment in the policy statement that the implementation of the pay panel's recommendations will "be a factor in the Reserve Bank's future deliberations". Dr. Rajan has his task cut out as he focusses on unclogging the monetary transmission pipeline at banks. With only about half of the 125 basis points cut in the policy rate conveyed to borrowers, the RBI is racing to ensure that a clean-up of lenders' balance sheets can help free up funds toward productive credit flows. For now though, it will be a vigilant watch at the RBI.

 

Stance उद्देश्य 

The way in which someone stands, especially when deliberately adopted (as in baseball, golf, and other sports); a person's posture

 

Accommodative  समायोजित

Accommodating: helpful in bringing about a harmonious adaptation; "the warden was always accommodating in allowing visitors in"; "made a special effort to be accommodating"

 

en·trench  मजबूत स्थिति बनाना

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

 

re·as·sure फिर से दृढ़ करना

Say or do something to remove the doubts and fears of someone.

 

ra·tion·ale  मूलाधार 

A set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action or a particular belief

 

a·bun·dant·ly अधिक मात्रा में

In large quantities; plentifully

 

ev·i·dent  प्रत्यक्ष

Plain or obvious; clearly seen or understood.

 

a·ne·mic  जोशरहित

Suffering from anemia.

 

be·calm शांत हो जाना

Leave (a sailing vessel) unable to move through lack of wind.

 

 

ac·cu·mu·la·tion  ढेर लगना

The acquisition or gradual gathering of something.

 

a·grar·i·an  कृषि-संबंधी

Of or relating to cultivated land or the cultivation of land.

 

com·pile  इकट्ठा करना

Produce (something, especially a list, report, or book) by assembling information collected from other sources.

 

but·tress चापलूसी करना

A projecting support of stone or brick built against a wall.

 

un·nerve कमजोर करना

Make (someone) lose courage or confidence.

 

res·er·voir जलाशय (

A large natural or artificial lake used as a source of water supply.

 

o·nus दायित्व 

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

 

as·tute कुशाग्र-बुद्धि

Having or showing an ability to accurately assess situations or people and turn this to one's advantage.

 

in·fla·tion·ar·y  मुद्रास्फीति

Of, characterized by, or tending to cause monetary inflation.

 

vol·un·tar·y  स्वैच्छिक

Done, given, or acting of one's own free will.

 

re·straint  अवरोध 

A measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control or within limits.

 

off·set कमी पूरी होना या करना

A consideration or amount that diminishes or balances the effect of a contrary one.

 

de·lib·er·a·tion विचार-विमर्श

Long and careful consideration or discussion.

 

vig·i·lant एहतियाती

Keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.

 

 

Business Standard

Food safety regulator must follow global practices



The indication by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) that it would reintroduce the system of pre-launch product approvals by issuing new regulations has dealt a blow to the food processing sector. This issue was deemed to have been settled after the Supreme Court upheld a Bombay High Court verdict that the system of product approvals introduced by the FSSAI through advisories was arbitrary and illegal. However, the uncertainty and confusion over this issue resurfaced with the FSSAI declaring that even while respecting the court's decree over its advisories, it will come up with new regulations to revive the approval procedure. This has turned prospective investors - both domestic and foreign - wary of committing resources in this sector. For the first time in several years, the festival season hardly saw the launch of any fresh food product, variant of an existing product or a new health food or food supplement despite over 700 such products being in the pipeline. The industry bodies are once again knocking at the doors of the government to get the FSSAI's intended move quashed.



India's food regulation law, the FSSAI Act of 2006, in fact does not require a new product to be formally approved by the regulator if its ingredients are as per the law - the generally accepted global practice. The industry maintains that the regulator cannot bring back the product approval system unless the law is amended. Even the food processing ministry feels that some of the recent actions of the FSSAI, including those against Nestle India's Maggi noodles, created a "fear psychosis" in the industry, killing innovation. There have been allegations of harassment of companies by FSSAI officials on trivial grounds. Objections are often raised to the quality of the products without getting them tested at recognised laboratories. Thus, the basic objective of the FSSAI Act of putting in place a transparent and scientific system of food safety seems to have been belied.



This does not bode well for a sector that, after a prolonged period of infancy, had begun to grow at over eight per cent a year. Food processing not only adds value to, and prolongs the shelf life of, farm produce, but it helps reduce the huge wastage of perishable products like fruits and vegetables, estimated at anywhere between 20 and 40 per cent. The FSSAI has already finalised 12,000 standards for food ingredients and additives, which are in harmony with the globally recognised Codex norms. It should also follow the global convention of allowing the industry to self-certify compliance with these standards. Such a system would end the need for cumbersome product-by-product approval, which takes years to complete. The FSSAI could monitor adherence to these standards by getting randomly selected samples tested in a non-controversial manner at accredited laboratories. The ultimate objective, after all, is to ensure that consumers get food products and health supplements that are good in quality, safe to consume, and varied in nature. Adventurism by the regulator is in the interest of neither the industry nor consumers.

 

in·di·ca·tion  निशान 

A sign or piece of information that indicates something.

 

Deem  विचारना

Regard or consider in a specified way.

 

ar·bi·trar·y  एकपक्षीय

Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system

 

il·le·gal  ग़ैरक़ानूनी

Contrary to or forbidden by law, especially criminal law.

 

de·cree आदेश 

An official order issued by a legal authority.

 

re·vive  दोबारा प्रचलित करना

Restore to life or consciousness.

 

war·y  खबरदार

Feeling or showing caution about possible dangers or problems.

 

Quash अमान्य घोषित करना

Reject or void, especially by legal procedure.

 

in·gre·di·ent घटक 

Any of the foods or substances that are combined to make a particular dish.

 

a·mend  संशोधन करना

Make minor changes in (a text) in order to make it fairer, more accurate, or more up-to-date.

 

psy·cho·sis पागलपन 

A severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.

 

al·le·ga·tion आरोप

A claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof.

 

triv·i·al  तुच्छ

Of little value or importance.

 

be·lie  झूठा साबित करना

(of an appearance) fail to give a true notion or impression of (something); disguise or contradict.

 

bode शकुन बताना

 

pro·longed  दीर्घकालीन

Continuing for a long time or longer than usual; lengthy.

 

 

in·fan·cy प्रारंभिक अवस्था

The state or period of early childhood or babyhood.

 

cum·ber·some जटिल

Large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry or use; unwieldy.

 

ac·cred·it विश्वास करना

Give credit (to someone) for.

 

ad·ven·tur·ism  जोखिम भरा अनुभव

The willingness to take risks in business or politics (especially in the context of foreign policy); actions, tactics, or attitudes regarded as daring or reckless.

 

 

Indian Express

Making a beginning



After months in which it has seemed that the BJP-led government and its opposition would meet only shrilly in TV studios or in do-or-die face-offs in the state electoral arenas, they came together in Parliament, to discuss and debate the large issues. In the Constitution Day debate and almost simultaneously in the discussion on intolerance in both Houses, MPs across party lines spoke of what it is that makes up the constitutional legacy and whether the space for a plurality of views is diminishing in the country. This conversation on the floor of the House is rare and welcome. True, it did not reflect a belated awakening of the deliberative spirit. It was made possible, arguably, by a strategic blunting of the political confrontation because of the setback suffered by the ruling party in Bihar, coupled with the pressing imperative for the government to get the Opposition on board to pass crucial legislation. Even so, it brought Parliament alive. But the day after, there is a question: Did the intolerance debate that has convulsed the nation outside Parliament over the last many months, gain in depth and direction for being held inside it?

Not really. For the most part, it was made up of both sides accusing each other of the greater intolerance. Every question raised by the Opposition on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on the recent murders of rationalists, or the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri, or the insensitive remarks of his ministers and MPs, was met with the BJP and allies' whataboutery. What about the forced exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits, or the 1984 killings of Sikhs in the national capital, or the Emergency? Did the Congress not preside over these episodes of intolerance, and where's the evidence of things going worse on the Modi government's watch? The ruling party even posed as the victim. Hasn't the BJP as a party, and Modi as a leader, faced the worst intolerance, asked Home Minister Rajnath Singh, deftly leading the debate into a dead-end.

It is possible to salvage some cues and openings, though, from the discussion, and for that the greater responsibility will lie with those in power. Rajnath Singh expressed willingness to talk to the writers and artists who have returned their awards to protest the growing climate of intolerance — he could now go a step further and issue an invitation to the protesters, to hear out their grievance and join a dialogue. Both government and opposition would also profit from rewinding to TMC MP Sugata Bose's reflective intervention in the Lok Sabha. Intolerance is bad, said Bose, but is tolerance good enough? He proposed "cultural intimacy" as a higher value to aspire for in a nation of diverse communities and spoke of "constitutional morality" as a sentiment that needs to be constantly cultivated and learnt — not just by citizens but also the government.

 

Shrill  तीक्ष्ण

(of a voice or sound) high-pitched and piercing.

 

a·re·na अखाड़ा,

A level area surrounded by seats for spectators, in which sports, entertainments, and other public events are held.

 

di·min·ish  कम होना

Make or become less.

 

a·wak·en·ing जागरण 

An act or moment of becoming suddenly aware of something.

 

de·lib·er·a·tive विचारशील

Relating to or intended for consideration or discussion.

 

Blunt मन्द करना

Make or become less sharp.

 

set·back असफलता

A reversal or check in progress.

 

im·per·a·tive आदेशक 

Of vital importance; crucial.

 

con·vulse हिला देना

(of a person) suffer violent involuntary contraction of the muscles, producing contortion of the body or limbs

 

Lynch बेकायदा मार डालना

(of a mob) kill (someone), especially by hanging, for an alleged offense with or without a legal trial.

 

whataboutery

The fallacy of relative privation is an informal fallacy which attempts to suggest that the opponent's argument should be ignored because there are more important problems in the world - despite the fact that these issues are often completely unrelated to the subject under discussion. 

 

ex·o·dus निष्क्रमण 

A mass departure of people, especially emigrants.

 

pre·side  सभापति बनना

Be in the position of authority in a meeting or gathering.

 

Deftly फुरतीला

Dexterously: दक्षतापूर्वक

 with dexterity; in a dexterous manner; "dextrously he untied the knots"

 

dead-end  गतिरोध 

 

sal·vage  रक्षा करना

Rescue (a wrecked or disabled ship or its cargo) from loss at sea.

 

in·ti·ma·cy घनिष्ठ मित्रता

Close familiarity or friendship; closeness.

 

 

The Guardian

view on Labour's European campaign: vital message at a vital time



For British party politics, the all-consuming story of the day will be of parliamentary divisions over Syria. Yet, without seeking to minimise that argument in any way, Syria is emphatically not the only defining issue facing Britain. It may not even be the main one. In barely two weeks' time, David Cameron goes to Brussels to try to hammer out a deal on the EU demands he enumerated at Chatham House in November. That deal, assuming there is one, will underpin the UK referendum on Europe, which may take place as soon as next summer. As decisions of importance go, that EU referendum takes a lot of beating.



That's why today's launch of the Labour party's campaign for the UK to remain in the EU could ultimately be the most significant thing that Jeremy Corbyn's embattled party does this week. Mr Corbyn, as it happens, played no direct part in the launch. Instead that task was undertaken by the former home secretary Alan Johnson, whose new campaign video embodies the kind of middle Britain, bread-and-butter approach to politics that Mr Corbyn tends to avoid. In Labour's campaign, the question of EU membership is framed in terms of what's best for families, and defending prosperity and security. There are more elevated reasons why Britain should remain in the EU, but this is a bedrock part of the case. It is classic Labour stuff, classically expressed.



There is a lot more to this than the reminder, encouraging though it is, that Labour hasn't entirely lost its collective groove. The campaign to stay in the EU needs a strong and consistent Labour voice. In the absence of a principled pro-EU approach from the Conservative party, which is chronically divided over the issue, and with the eclipse of the pro-European Liberal Democrats, it falls to Labour, as it was always going to do, to provide the political perspective and direction that Britain needs over the issue. Labour learned in Scotland that an all-party campaign risks being framed by its enemies as an establishment conspiracy against the people. So a partisan move like this matters a lot, especially among English voters.



Putting fresh legs into the drive for Britain to remain in the EU has rarely seemed more urgent, especially after the underwhelming business-dominated launch of Britain Stronger in Europe in October and with a referendum maybe only seven months away. Recent opinion polls have shown the public still in favour of EU membership, but not by much. With the political mood recently soured by migration and terrorism, the importance of a campaign that promotes jobs and the economy, rights at work and international cooperation on issues from crime to climate change is an important push-back. In a week when a plurality of British voters said they favoured an EU standing army, it cannot be said that the mood over the EU lacks pro-European positives. But with the Tory party paralysed on Europe, Labour's campaign is a vital message at a vital time.

 

em·phat·i·cal·ly  प्रभावपूर्ण तरीके से

In a forceful way.

 

bare·ly नाममात्र को

Only just; almost not.

 

 

un·der·pin  नया आधार लगाना

Support (a building or other structure) from below by laying a solid foundation below ground level or by substituting stronger for weaker materials.

 

Beat आघात

Strike (a person or an animal) repeatedly and violently so as to hurt or injure them, usually with an implement such as a club or whip.

 

em·bat·tled शत्रुओं से घिरा हुआ

(of a place or people) involved in or prepared for war, especially because surrounded by enemy forces.

 

em·bod·y सम्मिलित करना

Be an expression of or give a tangible or visible form to (an idea, quality, or feeling).

 

el·e·vat·ed  ऊँचा

Situated or placed higher than the surrounding area.

 

bed·rock part मूल सिद्धान्त 

Solid rock underlying loose deposits such as soil or alluvium

 

Stuff माल 

Matter, material, articles, or activities of a specified or indeterminate kind that are being referred to, indicated, or implied.

 

Groove  नाली करना

A long, narrow cut or depression, especially one made to guide motion or receive a corresponding ridge.

 

e·clipse  ग्रहण लगाना

An obscuring of the light from one celestial body by the passage of another between it and the observer or between it and its source of illumination.

 

par·ti·san पक्षपाती

A strong supporter of a party, cause, or person.

 

un·der·whelm  विह्वल होना

Fail to impress or make a positive impact on (someone); disappoint.

 

 par·a·lyze  शक्तिहीन करना

Cause (a person or part of the body) to become partly or wholly incapable of movement.

 

 

The Dawn

Unforeseen revenue measures



IN just about the span of one week, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has already offered us two different reasons why the new revenue measures just approved by the government are necessary.



Last week, while speaking before the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, he said the government was concerned about the trend of rising imports of luxury items and wanted to dissuade these.



He added that the State Bank of Pakistan had also expressed concern at the rising import bill. Rising imports of non-essential luxury items was, in his opinion, a damaging trend and needed to be brought under control.



Then on Tuesday, speaking to reporters after inaugurating a language and computer lab at an educational facility, he added another reason. The new revenue measures were required, he said, because of additional costs from Operation Zarb-i-Azb and the rehabilitation of internally displaced persons due to military operations.



The costs of the military operation have been an issue in the fiscal accounts for one year now, at least. Mr Dar has been speaking about extra budgetary expenditures for Operation Zarb-i-Azb since at least January, and in a handout issued in May, as well as a presentation before a Senate Standing Committee, the finance ministry had said that Rs136bn will be required in the new fiscal year to begin on July 1, 2015, for the military operation and the rehabilitation of displaced persons.



The breakdown given at the time did not fully add up. The handout had said that Rs45bn will be required for operational expenses, and Rs33bn for rehabilitation and reconstruction, which adds up to Rs78bn. It was not clear at the time where the Rs136bn figure came from.



In any case, the IMF granted a raise in the fiscal deficit target equal to 0.3pc of GDP to meet what it called "security related expenditures".



Those numbers were programmed into the budget. Then in the eighth review of the Fund facility, the report for which was released in September, the government reported overshooting its fiscal deficit target by Rs102bn for the quarter under review, adding that the federal government took measures to contain its expenditures "despite unforeseen expenditures of PRs 53 billion on account of Zarb-i-Azb military operations, hosting of Temporarily Displaced People (TDPs)" and flood-related costs.



This is a very large amount, especially given that it is "unforeseen". In the same letter of intent the government also says "[w]e stand ready to take additional revenue measures to attain our budget deficit target of 4.3 percent of GDP (excluding grants) in FY2015/16 (including an adjustor of 0.3 percent of GDP for critical one-off spending)".



Given that we now have two different explanations in the public domain about what necessitated these extra revenue measures, perhaps the finance minister can do something to help us agree on which one reflects the true picture

 

Span फैलाव 

The full extent of something from end to end; the amount of space that something covers.

 

dis·suade विपरीत परामर्श देना

Persuade (someone) not to take a particular course of action.

 

in·au·gu·rate  शुभारंभ करना

Begin or introduce (a system, policy, or period).

 

Rehabilitation  पूर्वदशा स्थिति, पुनरूद्धार

The restoration of someone to a useful place in society

 

break·down खराबी 

A mechanical failure.

 

hand·out वितरण करना

Something given free to a needy person or organization.

 

 

Dec 03 2015 : The Times of India (Ahmedabad)

Missed Call





Digital India will not succeed if India's ICT access continues to be so low

The ICT Development Index of the International Telecommuni cation Union, which measures countries on their level of information, communication and technology (ICT) access, has ranked India at 131out of 167 countries. Among the Bri(ii)cs it comes last ­ behind Iran and Indonesia. What's more, only 18% of India's population have access to the net as against 43.4% of the global population.

The data do not augur well for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India programme. The cornerstone of the programme is internet connectivity and breaking the digital divide between town and country . But with internet penetration continuing to be dismal, that task seems daunting. Again, since 90% of internet users in India access it through their mobile handsets, efficient mobile con nectivity is crucial to the success of Digital India. Unfortunately , despite the huge proli feration of mobile telephony in the country according to Trai, India's total mobile subscriber base stands at 980.81 million ­ the quality of network connectivity leaves a lot to be desired.

 

Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has declared that he does not wish to be known as "call drop minister". An excellent sentiment, no doubt. But for mobile connectivity to improve, both government and industry have to adopt the right measures. While telcos need to invest in better infrastructure, government must release more spectrum at competitive prices. Indian telcos command a fraction of the spectrum that global ones do, which is one reason for the high incidence of call drops here. Spectrum sharing and trading must be allowed to add to the spectrum pool. Otherwise we will continue to languish at the bottom of the global ICT heap and Digital India will remain a distant dream.

 

au·gur  शकुन बताने वाला

(of an event or circumstance) portend a good or bad outcome.

 

cor·ner·stone आधार 

A stone that forms the base of a corner of a building, joining two walls.

 

pen·e·tra·tion प्रवेश 

The action or process of making a way through or into something.

 

dis·mal निराशाजनक

Depressing; dreary.

 

daunt·ing  हतोत्साही, चुनौतीपूर्ण

Seeming difficult to deal with in anticipation; intimidating.

 

lan·guish  दुर्बल

(of a person or other living thing) lose or lack vitality; grow weak or feeble.

 

Heap ढेर 

An untidy collection of things piled up haphazardly.

 

 

Dec 03 2015 : The Economic Times (Mumbai)

Zuckerberg Invests In A Better World





There is something undeniably unnatural in amassing wealth only to voluntarily give almost all of it away to strangers. The level of unnaturalness is only increased when the amount, worth 99% of the person's total shares in his own company , amounts to a neat pile of $45 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced making such an act of char ity in order to "leave the world a better place" for his newly born daughter and "all children". This is, in effect, taking the perfectly normal desire to use one's wealth to better the lives of one's loved ones to its logical extreme: using money to make the world in which they will grow up and live in a better place.

As a role model for 21st century entrepreneurship, Zucker berg sends out a powerful message for other high net worth individuals to emu late. More cynical (and perhaps less wealthy) observers will cite Zuckerberg's act of redistributing his considerable wealth--as they do with other philan thropists such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates--to be yet another act of cannin ness to be associated with one of Silicon Valley's most success ful protagonists. They are right. But only to the extent that the Facebook founder is not doling out his money in a fit of com mune-istic `I'm tired of material things' zeal but to make mate rial comforts more widely accessible to people lacking them.



Sure, nothing makes for a better brand endorsement than the face of Facebook being `unnaturally' generous. But the end re sult is Zuckerberg's wealth reaching people who need what money can provide and that they lack. For this breaking away from the herd, his announcement is to be lauded. It is part of a grander plan with one pivotal idea behind it that both individ uals and states should heed: to share wealth, one must first create, and then keep creating, it.

 

Undeniably v अविवादित रूप से

To an undeniable degree or in an undeniable manner; "she is undeniably the most gifted student in the class"

 

un·nat·u·ral अप्राकृतिक

Contrary to the ordinary course of nature; abnormal.

 

a·mass  जमा करना

Gather together or accumulate (a large amount or number of valuable material or things) over a period of time

 

cyn·i·cal चिड़चिड़ापन

Believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity.

 

Emulate अनुसरण करना

 

pro·tag·o·nist समर्थक 

The leading character or one of the major characters in a drama, movie, novel, or other fictional text.

 

gen·er·ous  दरियादिल

(of a person) showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected.

 

Herd  झुंड में जाना

A large group of animals, especially hoofed mammals, that live, feed, or migrate together or are kept together as livestock.

 

Laud प्रशंसा

Praise (a person or their achievements) highly, especially in a public context.

 

piv·ot·al आधारभूत

Of crucial importance in relation to the development or success of something else

 

Heed  ख्याल करना

Pay attention to; take notice of.

 

 

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