Revolutionising Awareness

How to save Awareness

Posts Tagged ‘Manmohan Singh’

Indian activist to launch public fast as government relents

Posted by Admin on August 18, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/india-activist-allowed-fast-15-days-000649292.html

 By Paul de Bendern | Reuters – 18 mins ago

A supporter of Anna Hazare wearing a handcuff holds a portrait of Hazare as he attends a protest against corruption in Hyderabad

A supporter of veteran Indian social activist Anna Hazare wearing a handcuff holds a portrait of Hazare as he attends a protest against corruption in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad August 18, 2011. REUTERS/Krishnendu Halder

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India‘s beleaguered government caved in to popular fury over corruption on Wednesday after thousands protested across the country, granting permission for a self-styled Ghandian crusader to stage a 15-day hunger strike in public.

Anna Hazare was arrested on Tuesday, hours ahead of a planned fast to demand tougher laws against the graft that plagues Indian society from top to bottom.

But the jailing of the 74-year-old campaigner sparked nationwide protests and put Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s government on a backfoot, forcing it to relent.

“Anna wishes to congratulate everyone as we have started a great momentum for this fight against corruption,” said Arvind Kejriwal, a social activist and close aid of Hazare.

“He wants all of us to continue in this peaceful and calm way of protest,” Kejriwal told reporters.

The Congress party-led government, facing one of the most serious protest movements since the 1970s, at first agreed to release Hazare, but he refused to leave the high-security Tihar jail until he won the right to lead an anti-corruption protest.

Crowds by the jail erupted in joy at news of the deal, reached early on Thursday, shouting “I am Anna” and “We are with you,” singing, playing guitars and waving the Indian flag.

Hazare is expected to postpone his public fast until Friday because the Ramlila Maidan grounds in central Delhi are not ready to host massive crowds, his advisers told reporters.

A medical team is on standby to monitor Hazare’s health as he has already begun his fast in jail and a sharp deterioration could further worsen the crisis for the government.

“It’s an indefinite fast, not a fast-unto-death. He will be there as long as he can sustain it,” said Kiran Bedi, a former senior police officer and a member of Anna’s protest team. Earlier the hunger strike had been billed as a fast-until-death.

The protests across cities in India, helped spread by social networks, have not only rocked the ruling Congress party, they have sent shockwaves through the political class.

Students, lawyers, teachers, business executives, IT workers and civil servants have taken to the streets in New Delhi and both cities and remote villages stretching down to the southern end of the country.

“The movement has meant politicians realize that they cannot fudge these issues or ignore public opinion any longer,” said Vinod Mehta, editor of the weekly Outlook magazine.

“It has succeeded in concentrating the minds of politicians across the political spectrum on one issue for the first time.”

A weak political opposition means that the government should still survive the crisis, but it could further dim the prospect for economic reforms that have already been held back by policy paralysis and a raft of corruption scandals.

SOCIAL NETWORK REVOLUTION

One Facebook page for Hazare has almost 280,000 followers, while the India Against Corruption page on Facebook has more than 312,000 followers where links and messages of support are posted. Several Twitter accounts have been set up by supporters to send out messages of where and when protest and fast.

An online page petitioning for the freedom of Hazare and India of corruption had signed up almost 170,000 people within 24 hours.

The country’s 24-7 news networks, competing to dig up the latest corruption scandal, have also played a vital role in whipping up the Hazare story.

A NATION FED UP WITH CORRUPTION

Many have criticized Hazare for taking the government hostage over his demand for a specific bill to give more teeth to investigating and punishing graft in high office. But few take issue with his crusade against the scourge of corruption.

The urban middle class, who have prospered since the economy was opened up in the early 1990s, is fed up with the rampant corruption that they encounter, whether it be getting a driving license or buying a flat. The soaring cost of living has also exacerbated the situation.

Hazare’s arrest, followed by the brief arrests of about 2,600 followers in the capital alone on Tuesday, shocked a nation with strong memories of Gandhi’s independence battles against colonial rule with fasts and non-violent protests.

INDIA’S NEW GENERATION

Thousands of mostly young people held peaceful candle-light vigils through Wednesday night, from the capital Delhi to the IT hub of Hyderabad and the financial capital, Mumbai.

Many of the crowd were young, with rucksacks on their backs, some with their faces painted. Others were older, decked out in outfits as worn by the bespectacled Hazare, with his trademark white cap and kurta, a long-time social activist who is often compared to independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.

Demonstrations are part of daily life in the towns and cities of India, a country of 1.2 billion people made up of a myriad of castes, religions and classes. But spontaneous and widespread protests are rare and the scale of this week’s outpouring of public fury has taken the government by surprise.

Singh, 78, who is widely criticized as out of touch, dismissed the fast by Hazare as “totally misconceived” and undermining the parliamentary democracy.

Hazare became the unlikely thorn in the side of the ruling coalition when he went on hunger strike in April. He called off that fast after the government promised to introduce a bill creating an anti-corruption ombudsman.

The so-called Lokpal legislation was presented in early August, but activists slammed the draft version as toothless because the prime minister and judges were exempt from probes.

Over the past year an increasing number of company executives, opposition politicians, judges and ministers have been brought down by corruption. Still, Transparency International rates India in 87 place on the most corruption countries according to a 2010 survey.

(Additional reporting by Annie Banerji, Arup Roychoudhury and Matthias Williams; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and John Chalmers)

Posted in India Forgotten | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Indian anti-graft activist arrested as protests spread

Posted by Admin on August 16, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/veteran-indian-activist-detained-ahead-mass-fast-054711574.html

By Paul de Bendern and Alistair Scrutton | Reuters – 58 mins ago

Veteran Indian social activist Anna Hazare waves from a car after being detained by police in New Delhi

Veteran Indian social activist Anna Hazare waves from a car after being detained by police in New Delhi August 16, 2011. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Police arrested India‘s leading anti-corruption campaigner on Tuesday, just hours before he was due to begin a fast to the death, as the beleaguered government cracked down on a self-styled Gandhian activist agitating for a new “freedom” struggle.

At least 1,200 followers of the 74-year-old Anna Hazare were also detained, signaling a hardline stance from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against anti-government protests, a gamble that risks a wider backlash against the ruling Congress party.

Dressed in his trademark white shirt, white cap and spectacles in the style of independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, Hazare was driven away in a car by plainclothes police, waving to hundreds of supporters outside his residence in New Delhi.

His followers later said he had begun his fast.

“The second freedom struggle has started … This is a fight for change,” Hazare said in a pre-recorded message broadcast on YouTube. “The protests should not stop. The time has come for no jail in the country to have a free space.”

In a country where the memory of Gandhi’s independence battles against colonial rule with fasts and non-violent protests is embedded in the national consciousness, the crackdown shocked many Indians.

It also comes as Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi is in the United States being treated for an undisclosed condition.

The question for many is whether Hazare and his movement will grow across the fast-urbanizing nation of 1.2 billion people whose middle class is fed up with constant bribes, poor services and unaccountable leaders.

In a worrying sign for a government facing crucial state elections next year, local media reported spontaneous protests against the crackdown across India. Dozens of Hazare supporters were also arrested in Mumbai, according to local media.

“If the government stops protests or not, what it can’t stop is the anger, which ultimately means bad news for Congress when people go to the polls,” said M.J. Akbar, an editor at news magazine India Today.

The country’s interior minister said Hazare and six other protest leaders had been placed under “preventative arrest” to ensure they did not carry out a threat to protest.

“Protest is welcome, but it must be carried out under reasonable conditions,” Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told a news conference.

“A MURDER OF DEMOCRACY”

Hazare has become a serious challenge to the authority of the government in its second term as it reels from a string of corruption scandals and a perception that it is out of touch with millions of Indians hit by near-double-digit inflation.

Both houses of parliament were adjourned for the day after the opposition protested at the arrests of Hazare and his key aides, further undermining the chances that reform bills — seen as crucial for Asia’s third-largest economy — will be passed.

Acting Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi called a top-level emergency meeting with senior cabinet ministers to discuss the escalating crisis.

“This is murder of democracy by the government within the House and outside the House,” said Arun Jaitley, a senior leader of the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The scandals, including a telecoms bribery scam that may have cost the government $39 billion, has smothered Singh’s reform agenda, dented investor confidence and distracted parliament just as the $1.6 trillion economy is being hit by inflation and higher interest rates.

Those arrested included Kiran Bedi, one of India’s first female police officers and a widely respected figure for her anti-graft drive. She tweeted from detention that she had refused an offer of bail.

Police denied Hazare permission on Monday to fast near a cricket stadium because he had refused to end his fast in three days and ensure no more than 5,000 people took part.

Opposition figures likened the crackdown to the 1975 “Emergency” when then-prime minister Indira Gandhi arrested thousands of opposition members to stay in power.

A HARDENING STANCE

Singh and his Congress party have hardened their stance against Hazare in recent days, fearing that these protests could spiral.

“When you have a crowd of 10,000 people, can anyone guarantee there will be no disruption? … The police is doing its duty. We should allow them to do it,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told CNN-IBN television.

The prime minister used his Independence Day speech on Monday to criticize Hazare, and Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said Hazare was surrounded by “armchair fascists, overground Maoists, closet anarchists.”

Hazare rose to fame for lifting his village in western state of Maharashtra out of grinding poverty. His social activism has forced out senior government officials and helped create the right to information act for citizens.

It is unclear whether the tactics will backfire and spark further protests. They could also help the image of a prime minister criticized as weak and indecisive. A previous crackdown this year on a fasting yoga guru successfully broke up his anti-corruption protests.

Hazare became the unlikely thorn in the side of the Congress-led coalition when he first went on a hunger strike in April to successfully win concessions from the government.

Tapping into a groundswell of discontent over corruption scandals in Singh’s government, Hazare lobbied for a parliamentary bill creating a special ombudsman to bring crooked politicians, bureaucrats and judges to book.

Hazare called off that fast after the government promised to introduce the bill into parliament. The legislation was presented in early August, but activists slammed the draft version as toothless, prompting Hazare to renew his campaign.

Under the current bill, the prime minister and judges would be exempt from probes.

(Additional reporting by Arup Roychoudhury, Matthias Williams and Annie Banerji; Editing by John Chalmers)

Posted in India Forgotten | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

War looms as UPA, Anna harden positions

Posted by Admin on June 9, 2011

http://in.news.yahoo.com/blogs/boxpopuli/war-looms-upa-anna-harden-positions-073523746.html

By Ramakrishna S R | Box Populi – Wed, Jun 8, 2011

Everyone knows Anna Hazare has been demanding a stringent law against corruption, but his day-long fast at Raghat today is not for that cause. He is actually protesting the government’s violent midnight raid that scuttled Baba Ramdev‘s hunger strike last week-end.

The action at Delhi‘s Ramlila Grounds, where Ramdev was holding a fast against black money, has left 71 injured. With no place to go in the middle of the night, some found shelter in a gurudwara. The government’s high-handedness has triggered criticism from across the political spectrum. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has defended the swoop, saying it was unfortunate but unavoidable. The National Human Rights Commission isn’t impressed, and has called for reports from the central and Delhi governments.

Last night, Times Now showed a 51-year woman in hospital, paralysed after being thrashed at Ramdev’s pandal. Raj Bala is a citizen like any other, but concerned enough to take part in a movement against black money. She now lies in a hospital ICU on ventilator support. Doctors describe her condition as critical.

The government isn’t winning any hearts by terrorising peaceful demonstrators. Even the Supreme Court was shocked by the midnight raid. It has taken suo moto notice, and ordered the government to explain the forceful eviction. People across the country are asking the same question: Why did the police assault a group of women and children deep in slumber? The police, meanwhile, have seized CCTV footage of their action from Ramlila Grounds. Why, you ask? Ramdev believes they are trying to destroy evidence of their atrocities.

Two more developments add to the repression the UPA government is unleashing: (a) it is busy digging up dirt on Ramdev’s close aide Balakrishna; and (b) prominent Congress leaders are tarring Anna Hazare with the communalism brush, describing him as a mask of the RSS and Sangh Parivar. If Balakrishna were a Nepali citizen who possessed illegal arms, as the government is now letting it be known, why didn’t the police act all these years? And if Anna Hazare were a mask for hateful rightist groups, why are the government’s senior-most leaders sitting down with him and discussing a new law?

Given the predominance of the tri-colour at Anna Hazare’s meetings and saffron at Ramdev’s meetings, many had assumed they were aligned to the Congress and the BJP respectively, but the equations aren’t turning out that simple. Anna Hazare is a Gandhian and Ramdev a yoga guru and TV celebrity. Despite their dissimilar moorings, they feel they are fighting the same battle, and have affirmed faith in each other.

That makes life that much more difficult for the Congress. It will now have to take on the combined forces of Anna Hazare and Ramdev.  It looks like the Congress is already panicking. It has already let Digvijay Singh loose on Ramdev, letting him call the baba names, and tried to stop Anna Hazare from demonstrating today at Jantar Mantar. With a flip-flop Congress turning vengeful and going after anti-corruption activists, Anna Hazare and Ramdev are bound to close ranks and prepare for a bigger battle.

Ramdev is continuing his fast in Haridwar, and has asked his followers to stop their hunger strike for the time being. The Delhi police had transported him to the pilgrim town after evicting him from Ramlila Grounds. They have also barred him from entering Delhi for 15 days. All of which suggests the action will hot up in the last week of June, whe Ramdev resumes his campaign in the capital. The civil society group led by Anna Hazare is bound to come up with a more aggressive plan of action if the government continues to treat them shabbily.

Meanwhile, the US, which has spoken out against Tiananmen Square and Tahrir Square, clearly sees India as capable of handing its protests in a democratic manner. It has described the government action against Ramdev an internal Indian matter.

Posted in India Forgotten | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Jairam Ramesh assures safety measures for Jaitapur nuclear plant

Posted by Admin on March 16, 2011

Nuclear power plant.

A Nuclear Reactor Facility

http://in.news.yahoo.com/jairam-ramesh-assures-safety-measures-jaitapur-nuclear-plant-20110315-034846-077.html

By ANI | ANI – Tue, Mar 15, 2011 4:18 PM IST

New Delhi, Mar 15 (ANI): In the wake of a nuclear crisis in Japan, Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, on Tuesday promised that additional safeguards would be put in place before giving environmental clearance to the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP) in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.

Addressing the conclave on ‘Business and Climate Change’ here, Ramesh said the government would closely look into the safety systems and designing details of the project.

“Well, yesterday, the Prime Minister has made a detailed statement in the Parliament. I know the nuclear power corporation is re-looking on its safety systems, re-looking at design,” said Ramesh.

“This appropriately is a subject that has to be dealt with by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and based on the technical reviews that the NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited) does, we will certainly be in touch with them, and if additional safeguards have to be built in as part of the environmental clearance, we will certainly look at it,” he added.

Assuring the country that its atomic power generators were safe, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday said an immediate technical review of India’s atomic plants has been ordered to check if they can withstand the impact of large natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes.

Making a statement in Parliament on the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Dr. Singh said: “The Department of Atomic Energy and its agencies, including the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) have been instructed to undertake an immediate technical review of all safety systems of our nuclear power plants, particularly with a view to ensuring that they would be able to withstand the impact of large natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes.”

The Prime Minister further said Indian nuclear plants have, in the past, met safety standards during major natural calamities like the Gujarat earthquake in January 26, 2002 and the December 2004 tsunami.

Dr. Singh informed that India was in constant touch with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Japanese Atomic Industrial Forum and the World Association of Nuclear Operators.

The Jaitapur project would be built in collaboration with French firm Areva. The project has run into rough weather, as residents of the region argue that it would harm the local environment and put people at risk.

Japan’s nuclear crisis has taken a turn for the worse with nuclear radiation being detected in Tokyo, which is 250 kilometres southwest of a Japanese quake-stricken atomic power plant.

Japan’s Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant had exploded on Saturday, a day after a massive earthquake damaged the facility’s cooling system. The plant’s cooling system was damaged in Friday’s quake. (ANI)

Posted in India Forgotten | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Highlights of measures announced to control prices

Posted by Admin on January 16, 2011

Cut onion

Most widely used vegetable in the World

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/Highlights-measures-announced-ians-2445394061.html

Indo Asian News Service, On Friday 14 January 2011, 2:59 AM

New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) The government Thursday announced a slew of measures to control prices of essential commodities. Following are the highlights:

— State-run National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) and apex federation of consumer cooperatives, NCCF, to sell onions at Rs.35 per kg

— Stringent action against hoarders and black marketers. Cartelisation by large traders to be dealt with strictly dealt

Import and export of all essential commodities to be reviewed on a regular basis

— State units to intensify purchases of essential commodities, particularly edible oils and pulses, for distribution through their retail network

— Existing schemes for subsidised distribution of edible oils and pulses to be continued

Exports of edible oils and pulses, as well as non-basmati rice to remain banned

— Committee of Secretaries under the Cabinet Secretary to review the prices situation with individual states

— An inter-ministerial Group set up under the Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance to review the overall inflation situation

— State Governments to be urged to consider waiving mandi tax, octroi and other local levies to bring down prices further

— A scheme to support the state governments in the setting up of farmers’ mandis and mobile bazaars and to improve the functioning of civil supplies corporations and cooperatives

— Awareness campaigns to make people aware of cheaper alternatives to pulses like yellow peas with a view to influence consumption pattern in favour of such alternatives

— Involve Residents’ Welfare Associations and self-help groups in distribution of essential commodities to address local shortages and ensure that supplies reach the households with least intermediation cost

— Investments to be encouraged in supply chains including provisions for cold storages

— Storage capacities to be increased to stock last years bumper Kharif crop

Posted in India Forgotten | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

India, Russia to mull market opening pact; target $20 bn trade

Posted by Admin on December 21, 2010

http://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/article965649.ece?homepage=true

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma talks with Russian Federation's Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov during the India- Russia Forum on Trade and Investments in New Delhi on Monday.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma talks with Russian Federation‘s Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov during the India– Russia Forum on Trade and Investments in New Delhi on Monday.

 

Committed to strengthening economic ties at the highest level, India and Russia on Tuesday agreed to consider a comprehensive agreement in this regard and push bilateral trade to USD 20 billion by 2015.

The two key members of the fast-rising BRIC (Brazil-Russia-India-China) economies recognised potential for mutual investment in the private sectors and viewed bilateral energy cooperation as a key component of their strategic partnership.

A joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev here, said the two sides “agreed to continue their efforts to achieve the strategic target of bilateral trade volume of USD 20 billion by 2015…

“Both sides agreed to consider the possibility of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) taking into account the implementation of the agreements on constituting the customs union between Russia, Kazakhastan and Belarus…,” it said.

The bilateral trade in 2009-10 stood at USD 4.54 billion and the two nations aspire to step it up more than four-fold in the next five years.

India is in the process of dismantling duty barrires through trade pacts with several countries and blocs like Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and European Union.

Such pacts are already under implmentation with ASEAN, Singapore and South Korea.

Russia, as a major energy producing country and India as a big consumer, viewed energy cooperation “as an important pillar of the strategic partnership“.

They also reviewed the ongoing efforts to establish joint cooperation ventures between Indian and Russian companies in the oil and gas sector.

It was agreed that the inter-governmental agreement on cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector signed during the Summit, must serve as a legal mechanism.

This is to expedite governmental clearances on both sides to facilitate the creation and operation of joint ventures.

They would promote specific projects including upstream and downstream activities in India, Russia and third countries.

The two leaders noted that the conclusion of the agreement on simplification of visa procedures would help enhance contacts between the business communities of the two countries.

Posted in India Forgotten, Press Releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: