Kalamji Birthday

Courtesy: The Hindu

ALAPPUZHA: The former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who arrived here late on Thursday night, is one who prefers to stay away from the limelight, particularly on his birthdays. And when the clock struck 12, he welcomed the 80th year of his life in his own style – very quietly, with a few close associates and then, in the unusual company of policemen.

Mr. Kalam, who spent the night at the State Guest House here, cut a cake in the presence of personal secretary R.K. Prasad, advisor V. Ponraj, a couple of former associates from his Hyderabad days, and then, the policemen who were on duty at the guest house and the guest house staff as well. The policemen, tired after the day’s work and in for a long night, were pleasantly surprised when Dr. Kalam called them into his room and gave them slices of his birthday cake. “I am entering my 80th orbit,” he told them.

Later, slipping into an informal chat with The Hindu, even as he wrote a message for another late night visitor, Dr. Kalam, looking back at the past years, said the happiest and the most important moment for him was when the technology for the Agni heat shield was used in Floor Reaction Orthosis (FRO) lightweight callipers for physically challenged people.

The other important events for him were the entry of the country into the satellite launch vehicle phase (the SLV-3 for the Rohini Satellite) in 1980; the launch of the Agni missile; and when India became a nuclear weapon State in 1998. The political system discussing his India Vision 2020 too was a significant development for him.

Pointing out that he was proud of “nature smiling” at the Research Centre Imarat in Hyderabad, hinting at the scenic environment at the centre, Dr. Kalam said he had met 9.5 million youth across the country. “I know their pains. I know their dreams too.”

And at 80, what he desires most is to see smiles on faces all over India, who he firmly believes will be a super power in no time.

Incidentally, this was the second time Mr. Kalam was in Kerala on his birthday. Last year, he spent the day in Kozhikode.


Published in: on ಅಕ್ಟೋಬರ್ 18, 2010 at 2:19 ಅಪರಾಹ್ನ  ನಿಮ್ಮ ಟಿಪ್ಪಣಿ ಬರೆಯಿರಿ  
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Hindu writeups about Journalism and Prasara Bharati

The Hindu has published two news items, one about journalism and another about Prasara Bharati. Both  are interesting. Here are just two paragaraphs from each article. The interested may click the links below to read complete articles.

Journalism must become more participative

CHENNAI: With the growing spread of the digital medium, journalism will have to become more participative by seeking and allowing responses from readers, Alan Rusbridger, Editor of The Guardian, United Kingdom, said on Saturday.

Delivering a lecture organised by The Hindu and the Asian College of Journalism on ‘The future of journalism in the digital age,’ Mr. Rusbridger referred to the debate that his paper had on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, adding that others (non-journalists) could be involved in the pre-publication processes as well.

Pointing out that journalists were not the only voices of authority, expertise and interest, Mr. Rusbridger said that in the digital age, journalism should encourage others to initiate debate or make suggestions. “Newspapers can utilise the digital records of non-journalists who happened to witness events,” he said.


Can we afford Prasar Bharati?

A ugust and September have been distracting months for the scandal-chasing media. Else somebody would at least have drawn attention to the extraordinary developments concerning Prasar Bharati. In August, the Minister for Information and Broadcasting recommended the dismissal of its Chief Executive to the Prime Minister. And in the same month, she introduced an amendment bill in Parliament that seeks in effect to ensure that all employees of the corporation will remain government servants on deemed deputation. Three milestones achieved by non-Congress governments in 1978, 1990 and 1997 have been quietly reduced to rubble.

Lal Krishna Advani mooted the idea of broadcasting autonomy in 1978, P. Upendra presided over its becoming an Act in1990, and seven years later yet another non-Congress government hastily notified the Act just before the government fell. But for all their pains, what has developed since represents neither public service broadcasting in its best sense, nor autonomy. A 38,000-employee behemoth now has its 20-plus registered employee unions, all clamouring for the Act to be withdrawn. They want Prasar Bharati to go back to being what they euphemistically call a national broadcaster so that they can go back to being proper government servants. With tax payers now footing an annual bill of Rs. 3,000 crore for the privilege of having a public service broadcaster!

Meanwhile, the Central Vigilance Commission has found colourful examples of autonomous functioning by the CEO and his colleagues, amounting to questionable financial dealings. And the board set up to oversee Prasar Bharati finds itself in a quirky position. The decisions it takes are simply not recorded by the CEO who records the minutes. A huge democracy that set out to give itself broadcasting autonomy has ended up giving one man autonomy, through the tenures of three different chairpersons. Though found guilty of presiding over highly suspicious decision-making by the CVC, the next step, that of suspension, so that an enquiry can take place, has not been taken. The leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, both former Ministers of Information and Broadcasting, should be asking why.

How did this country’s experiment with an autonomous public broadcaster come to such a sorry pass?


Drought of justice, flood of funds: P Sainath

20070921507010901Majority of the journalists like us, speak about farmers often. It has become a fashion for us. But it’s a passion for very few. There are very few journalists who practice what they preach! P Sainath is one among those very few journalists who not only speak about farmers and villages, but also live among them, speak on behalf of the farmers and fight for them.

His books and write-ups in leading news papers and magazines have compelled the respective governments to reconsider their policies and attitude towards farmers.

Now, P Sainath has written an excellent piece in The Hindu. He has exposed the Union Government and our politicians through the article.  It has exposed the plight of the farmers and the favor given by the union government to the corporate sector.

Here is just one paragraph from the article. To read it full, click the link given below.

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Take a look at the budget and the “Revenues foregone under the central tax system.” The estimate of revenues foregone from corporate revenues in 2008-09 is Rs. 68,914 crore. (http://indiabudget.nic.in/ub2009-10/statrevfor/annex12.pdf) By contrast, the NREGS covering tens of millions of impoverished human beings gets Rs. 39,100 crore in the 2009-10 budget. Remember the great loan waiver of 2008, that historic write-off of the loans of indebted farmers? Recall the editorials whining about ‘fiscal imprudence?’ That was a one-time, one-off waiver covering countless millions of farmers and was claimed to touch Rs. 70,000 crore. But over Rs. 130,000 crore (in direct taxes) has been doled out in concessions in just two budgets to a tiny gaggle of merchants hogging at the public trough. Without a whimper of protest in the media. Imagine what budget giveaways to corporates since 1991 would total. We’d be talking trillions of rupees.

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Click this link to read the full article.