Sunday, August 30, 2009


The HSBC bank, one of the leading foreign bank and a major player in the credit card market has sent a special message to its card holders, that W.e.f 15-sep-09, a cash payment charge of Rs 100/ will be levied at its branches and drop boxes. This is nothing but fleecing the customers who make prompt payment on their card out standings. Banks are supposed to accept cash payment without any charges particularly with regard to any amount due to them. What is the rationale behind levying such charges? What kind of banking is this? Whether levying of charges this nature has the necessary approval of the Regulatory body, namely RBI. Will the bank or the RBI clarify the matter for the benefit of the general public?


The whole of last week, the media, both – electronic and print were busy in discussing what happened during the late forties which are of relevance to current burning problems. The focus should be on how to build a better India for the future generation. How to build better roads, good infrastructure, providing quality education to all, availability of potable drinking water in very home, affordable quality health service. What are the plans are up-liftment of the poor, drown trodden and the underprivileged. We have Naxals, Terrorists problem. How to combat them?

It appears that too many news channels are chasing too few news and hence unimportant and irrelevant topics are exhibited.


In the article ‘Needed Most: A strong Opposition’ the views expressed and assessment made by Mr. M J Akbar is appropriate. The main opposition party BJP is severely hit by “Jaswant swine flu”. The credibility of its leaders and the party is at new low. As the president of the party Mr. Rajnath Singh has failed miserably. Second rung leaders do not take him seriously. His influence and authority is limited to the state of Uttar Pradesh. The Left which is in power in West Bengal and Kerala are likely to fare very badly in the coming assembly elections because of their out dated ideology and lack of understanding of the nitty-gritty of the fast developing, ever changing dynamics of the economy. The much talked Third front is non-existent. Yadavs are lost somewhere in the middle and fighting for their own surrvial, leave alone building the party at national level. Regional parties are losing their sheen. Mr. Rahul Gandhi is re-building the party from grass root level. The young voters who decide the fate of 2014 parliament elections are likely to give a massive mandate to Congress by default.


The well-known Hirnandani group’s fraudulent way of wealth creation was exposed by Mumbai Mirror in its lead article on 23-08-09. Having obtained the land from the poor farmers/government at concessional rate under the Powai Area Development Scheme, the group instead of building the affordable housing complex as agreed built sprawling high end housing complex in violation of agreed terms. The MMRDA which probed the irregularities had imposed a penalty of Rs 1993 crores, taking into the prevailing market price. The Maharastra government instead of recovering the penalty in full, has taken a decision to reduce the penalty on builder from the above amount to Rs 218 crore thus helping the builder to save Rs 1777 crore. The state government needs to explain to the public why so much concession was accorded to the wealthiest of the wealthiest. The government should collect the penalty in full and utilize the amount for various welfare programmes particularly those who lost the land in and around erstwhile Powai village

Saturday, August 29, 2009


BJP’s tallest leader Mr. L K Advani’s days in national politics are appears to be over, because of Kandhahar episode. Mr. Advani has consistently denied any knowledge of release of three hard core terrorists and the then external affairs minister accompanying the terrorists to Kandahar for release of hostages on board of AI flight. Even during the election campaign in 2008 he categorically denied any knowledge of the entire proceedings related to the hijack. The Cabinet committee on security barring Mr. Vajpayee who handled the Kandhahar crisis have confirmed that Advani was in know of things relating to release of terrorists. Mr. Advani should explain to the Nation what made him to lie consistently on this issue. His reputation as a credible leader has taken severe beating. For decades I admired Mr. Advani for his leadership qualities and for his frankness. Likewise millions of followers and admirers have lost faith in him. It is the reputation that matters in public life, particularly for tall leaders like him. It is time that the BJP leadership acknowledges the waning charisma of Advani and accepts his resignation from all positions. Credible young leaders should take over the reins of the party.


Sunday, August 23, 2009


The ever increasing vehicular traffic in the city is a challenging task for the MUMBAI TRAFFIC POLICE (MTP) to manage. Traffic management is a very complex job and 85% of the traffic problems are directly related to proper infrastructure and good roads. MTP can not do much here. However by strict enforcement of certain traffic rules by MTP and with active cooperation from MMRDA, life can be made little easier for the commuters. Here are some suggestions;

A. Restriction on movement of heavy motor vehicles (HMV). Ban entry of HMVs between 6.00am to 10.00pm. (Other than BMC and GOVT vehicles).
B. Ban parking of all types vehicles on small and narrow roads.
C. Deploy adequate police personnel at important roads/junctions and circles for monitoring traffic movement.
D. Build mini flyovers -- using ‘magic box’ technology at major roads, cross roads and junctions for signal free movement of vehicles. The above concept has been successfully implemented in the city of Bangalore in various locations including on the International air port road.
E. Encourage car owners to go for car pooling. This not only reduces the traffic congestions but also saves on energy.
F. Increase the frequency of Hi-tech buses to lure frequent four wheeler users.
G. Regulate pavement/street vendors by preventing them from blocking the roads during peak hours.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Mr. Gurcharan Das views on the warring Ambani brothers over the pricing of gas lacks conviction on what is right and ethical.( Times of India 16-08-09) The elder brother, at the time of separation has agreed to supply the gas to his younger brother and to the NTPC at a specified rate. While agreeing to that rate at that time Mr. Mukesh must have made his home work and agreed to the price which is more than the cost price. If the terms of the agreement provides for revision of the prices even before the supply of one mmbtu, his company has every right to revise the prices. If not he should supply the gas at previously agreed price. Just because the current market price is higher than the agreed price the agreement can’t be breached. It is not about money but it is about business ethics, integrity, trasperency and trust. Satyam collapsed for not adhering to the above. Had Ambani brothers not separated I don’t think Mukesh would have taken the same decision of increase in prices to his group companies. By supplying gas at a lower rate, apart from his brother, the major beneficiaries are fertilizer producers and power plants who will pass on the benefits to the public at large.


The views of Mr. Dileep Padgaonkar on ‘What the PM Should Tell Us’ (TOI 15-08-09) has no reasoning. The whole country is aware that Dr. Singh is heading a coalition government consisting of various parties of different ideologies. The PM had no role in selection of his team, as this is done by the respective alliance partners. Even, within the Congress, he had very little say in selection. The alliance partners have their own method selecting the ministerial candidates (other than merits) keeping in mind the vote bank and local politics of their respective states. Under such circumstances it is very difficult to manage them toe on his lines, since their commitment and accountability is to their party leader and not to the PM. This is one of draw back of coalition set ups. The handling of H1 N1 swine flu by the Union health ministry has been extremely good contrary to the views as expressed in the article. We are a very huge country, with vast majority being un-educated and living abject poverty. It is ridiculous to compare ourselves with U S or U K in combating the deadly menace. Even the W H O has lauded the efforts of India in fighting the H1 N1 virus. What Mr. Sharad power can do for the failure of monsoon? He did indicate as early as in June that this year monsoon may be below the normal level. The Center is repeatedly making statements that in spite failed monsoon, there is enough food grains available in the country. Under the circumstances Dr. Singh has done well.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


The article by Mr. N Raghuraman on the subject matter was interesting. (DNA 15-08-09).What Mumbai Municipal Corporation could not enforce hygiene, has been to some extent, enforced by the micro-organisms. But that is the wrong way of getting the desired results. A world class city like Mumbai needs better sanitary waste management system particularly in the slum dominated areas. It is a challenge and herricullan task for the establishment. The government should take the help of charitable organizations who have proven track record for social cause. Millions of people, from all part of India, are coming to the city every year in search of greener pastures. Proper infrastructure is to be built for waste management and for pollution control. Citizens are to be continuously educated on personal hygiene.


This has reference to the news report of opening of the 4th tower of silence at Malabar Hill which was closed for almost 35 years because of the objection raised by the near by residents of an apartment. The Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) which manages the towers of silence should re- think on opening of the same and introspect whether such cemeteries are required in the modern day life style and changed circumstances.(Due respect to the religious sentiments of Parsi community). The existing belief of placing the dead bodies in the said towers is centuries old. Any religious belief can be reviewed keeping in mind the hygiene factors and public sentiments especially of the people living around such towers. Even some of the Sub-castes among Hindus have changed the age old belief of burying the bodies and have opted for electric cremation. This is a very sensitive issue which no can force on the community for changing their belief. However it is time that the opinion makers in the community should introspect and effect the necessary modification.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


The Maharastra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is worried that the sea link usage is only around 40% and it is yet to achieve the break-even. The investments made in this kind of mega projects are huge. And because of undue delay in implementing the project, for various reasons, the cost has gone up many folds. The gestation period for projects of this nature are usually is very long. Hence, it is not proper to expect the venture to break even from the day one. The present toll of Rs 50 for one way usage is on the very high side which is acting as a deterrent for some people to use this route. The MSRDC should reduce the toll to Rs 30.00 to enable more people to use the route which will increase the revenues. This move will further reduce the traffic congestion in the adjoining areas. More over the sea-link has been built for the benefit of general public and even if MSRDC loses money for some period it should not worry too much about it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


The submission of fourth dossier to PAK government by India is an exercise in futile. Even if we submit one hundred dossiers, PAK government will not take any action against the perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai terrorists attack. How can one expect the establishment in PAK to take action against the attackers since the attack itself was done with the tacit understanding of the ISI and the Military. Immediately after the attack the PAK government stoutly denied the role any militant organaisation that are sheltered in their soil. It took more than six months for them to just acknowledge the involvement of terrorist out-fits based in PAK. PAK is a land of no action against terrorists.


The Center should immediately sack Mr. Buta Singh, chairman of National SC/ST commission, for involvement of his son in the bribery case, till the investigation is complete in all respect. In spite of his son being confessed to heinous act Mr. Buta Singh stoutly denies the same. He even questions the credibility of the premier investigation agency of the country. Being a seasoned politician and being an ex-home minister at the Center he knows very well how the CBI functions. Apart from involvement of his son in the bribery case, the investigating agency has also recovered three un-licensed fire arms from the residence of Buta Singh, in New Delhi. The continuance of Mr. Buta Singh, as chair man will hamper the investigation.Dr. Man Mohan Singh who is known for his honesty and integrity should sack Mr. Buta immediately; otherwise his reputation will take a beating.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


The proposed one day suspension of domestic flights (strike) by private air lines on 18-08-09 to press for their demand of lower taxes and reduced air port charges deserves no sympathy neither from neither the public nor from the government. With the greed to make more money the private air line operators acquired/made commitments to acquire more airplanes than required by the country. This un-wanted large scale expansion of air line business without realistic study of the growing demand of passenger traffic and solely depending on the rosy projections provided by the air craft manufacturers has led to the present position. In spite of collecting thousands of crores of ‘free money’ (IPO) and borrowing heavily from the banks and financial institutions, the private air line operatators not able to manage their business in a viable manner, it appears some thing basically wrong with their business model and their perception about the air line business. They have failed miserably in their business venture because of their greed. The owners of these air lines are financially very sound and they should find some ways to come out of the problem without seeking government assistance. Under no circumstances the government should dole out assistance to private air line operatators lest the very purpose of opening of the air line business to private sector is defeated. Instead the government should utilize the same funds (notional) to provide assistance to millions of SME entrepreneurs who are in dire straits because of slow down in the economy.