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EDITORIAL

Why stand "fingers crossed"?

In his address to the Parliament on Motion of Thanks, the Prime Minister made a short but meaningful comment about Jammu and Kashmir. He believes situation in the Valley has improved in recent months but could not anticipate what it would be during the coming summer. In this context he said that he sat with "fingers crossed." Intelligence reports gathered from various sources do not paint a bright picture of normalcy and peace in the valley in coming summer. Maybe the Prime Minister's guarded comment emanates from the bulk of available intelligence reports. Kashmir watchers think that turmoil in the Middle East can have its impact on Kashmir where separatists and secessionists have been stoking flames of unrest and turmoil since a long time. The chief of the opposition party lost no time in invoking the spirit of Cairo mobs to guide and inspire hooligans . . .......more

Agitating physiotherapists

It is the 97th day of trained but unemployed physiotherapists of the State that they are agitating for employment. The Government has turned a deaf ear to their problem. It has refused to talk to them and understand their problem or tell them its compulsions. Instead of handling the problem from humanistic standpoint the Government has adopted not only a hostile but actually a vengeful attitude. Lathi charge and brutal handling of the agitating physiotherapists is blatant violation of human rights, it is inexcusable. The Government has to find avenues and opportunities to absorb the trained unemployed therapists. This problem has to be tackled and use of force is not the way it can be solved. ......more

Don't fear FII inflows

By Dr Bharat Jhunjhunwala

Ant matter before the Finance Minister in this budget is that of foreign investment. Foreign investment comes in two ways. Foreign companies often establish factories in India. They remit monies for this purpose. This is called Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) because the investment . ...more

Cherish past, aspire for future

By Dheeraj Jandial

Asked to comment on as to why India has lacked behind the so called developed nations in cracking inventions and discoveries, Nobel Laureate Sir. C.V. Raman remarked, "I would like to tell the young men and women before me not to lose hope and courage. . . ...more

Perspectives of Indian tourism

By Dr. Pragya Khanna

In India, tourism has experienced sustained growth and diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors over the decades, thus contributing to a large extent to the National Income and generating huge employment opportunities.
India is famous for its generous treatment to all visitors, its visitor-friendly traditions, diverse life styles, cultural legacy, architectural heritage and colorful fairs and festivals hold abiding attractions for the tourists. The other attractions include beautiful beaches, forests, wild life and landscapes for eco-tourism; snow, river and mountain peaks for adventure tourism; technological p
..more

EDITORIAL

Why stand "fingers crossed"?

In his address to the Parliament on Motion of Thanks, the Prime Minister made a short but meaningful comment about Jammu and Kashmir. He believes situation in the Valley has improved in recent months but could not anticipate what it would be during the coming summer. In this context he said that he sat with "fingers crossed." Intelligence reports gathered from various sources do not paint a bright picture of normalcy and peace in the valley in coming summer. Maybe the Prime Minister's guarded comment emanates from the bulk of available intelligence reports. Kashmir watchers think that turmoil in the Middle East can have its impact on Kashmir where separatists and secessionists have been stoking flames of unrest and turmoil since a long time. The chief of the opposition party lost no time in invoking the spirit of Cairo mobs to guide and inspire hooligans in Kashmir. Ever since the inflammable events in Tahrir Square happened, PDP has been doling out covert threats of mass mobilization in Kashmir. It excludes Jammu and Ladakh regions. It has given a call for Friday rally. Reports are that authorities are mindful of any unprovoked but sudden turmoil shaping in the valley as a result of anti-Indian elements using the example of Middle East situation. If the Prime Minister sits with "crossed fingers" on this count, he needs to re-think his reaction. A mass rally of whatever contours, is nothing new in Kashmir. For groups like stone throwers of summer 2010, it is a hobby or a profession. They live by this pastime. People have to be told that autocrats, despots and tyrants against whom their masses have revolted in the Middle East were glued to power without people's mandate. They did not come through democratic process and, therefore, did not enjoy the legitimacy of ruling over their people. The uprisings in Arab world are for granting political, civil and human rights of the masses of people. These are not for replacing the existing arrangement by theocratic one. What justification will the rallies in Kashmir have when their sponsors were very much in power; they had come to power through democratic process? Now that they are out of power, they are dreaming for Cairo-like mass mobilization. Is it not opportunism? Is it not betrayal of trust which their constituencies placed in them? Voters did not vote them to foment turmoil, incite people and drag Kashmir to the brink of disaster. It is against like of these elements that entire Arab world has woken up and is in turmoil. Look how the tyrants ruling over them have brought out tanks, gun ships, machine guns, rocket and other lethal weapons to decimate the people struggling for democracy. And the pro-Gaddafi troops that have unleashed brute force on masses are manned by Pakistani Army contingents whom Islamabad has lent to the tyrant for his personal protection just as to some more despots in the Arab world and the Gulf. It is amusing that a political party that previously came to power through democratic arrangement is now attacking the same arrangement just because it was not returned to power after elections. There is no need for the Prime Minister to cross fingers. The Government has successfully dealt with such exigencies in the past and it can manage more in future if need arises. Who have been adversely affected by the summer-long strike and shut down agenda of the Hurriyat in 2010? It is the ordinary labourer, petty shop-keeper, school and college student, a taxi diver, a houseboat keeper and a small scale contractor. These are all categories of poor and economically weaker sections of society. A repetition of this syndrome means bringing untold suffering to millions of members of weaker sections of society. For more than forty long years the people of the State carried out a struggle against autocratic rule. This struggle was for ushering in the rule of the people. The leaders of that movement succeeded in their mission only when they received support form the masses of people. When autocracy has been ousted, people's constitution framed and implemented, democratic process allowed to flow freely, elections held at scheduled intervals and legal governments formed, when people's representatives debate and pass laws by which the state is to be ruled, when press is free and judiciary is functioning independently, what rationale is there for any party to call for protest rallies and anti-government movement? What rationale is there to invoke Cairo-type mass mobilization? Kashmir politicians who are covertly inciting people to stage protests like those in Egypt or Tunisia or Yemen or now Libya should ask the protestors there what the objective of their movement is. Their answer will open their eyes. The Prime Minister has no need to be pusillanimous; he is expressing his misplaced diffidence by saying he sits crossed fingers. It is a sign of weakness. Mr. Prime Minister, you are much more powerful than you imagine because you are functioning through the force of world's most humane constitution.

Agitating physiotherapists

It is the 97th day of trained but unemployed physiotherapists of the State that they are agitating for employment. The Government has turned a deaf ear to their problem. It has refused to talk to them and understand their problem or tell them its compulsions. Instead of handling the problem from humanistic standpoint the Government has adopted not only a hostile but actually a vengeful attitude. Lathi charge and brutal handling of the agitating physiotherapists is blatant violation of human rights, it is inexcusable. The Government has to find avenues and opportunities to absorb the trained unemployed therapists. This problem has to be tackled and use of force is not the way it can be solved. Theirs is not the first example of unemployed trained and educated youth demanding employment. Those agitators were not lathi-charged and brutalized. Why this unbecoming treatment of these agitators. There are many NGOs in Jammu who claim to be protecting human rights. None of them has come forward to plead the case of human rights violation of these agitators. We hope the Government will give up the path of confrontation and reconcile to the fact that unemployed youth have to be provided with means of subsistence.

Don't fear FII inflows

By Dr Bharat Jhunjhunwala

Ant matter before the Finance Minister in this budget is that of foreign investment. Foreign investment comes in two ways. Foreign companies often establish factories in India. They remit monies for this purpose. This is called Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) because the investment is made directly by the principal. Control over the Indian factory rests with the foreign principal. The foreign principal decides what goods will be produced, at what price they will be sold, whether the manager will be an Indian or an expatriate, whether the profits will be reinvested or repatriated to the foreign headquarters, etc. The other way in which foreign investment comes is through Indian share markets. These investors are called Foreign Institutional Investors (FII). They earn by buying and selling shares when the prices are low and high respectively. They also earn some monies by the way of dividends. The control over the company in which money is invested remains with the Indian owners.
The inflow of FDI was large previously. An amount of $164 billion has been invested in India in the 10 years ending at March 2010. FII inflows were less in comparison. Only $70 billion FII had been received in that same period. The situation has changed dramatically since April 2010. FDI of only $15 billion has been received till October last year. FII inflows were nearly three times at $51 billion. This indicates that foreign investors preferred FDI previously and have now shifted their preference to FII.
Analysts are expressing concern on this change. The main apprehension is that FII money can reverse suddenly and cause a collapse in our share markets and devaluation of our currency as has happened in 2008. But it is necessary to understand the overall advantages and disadvantages of the two types of investments in order to take a position on this matter.
First issue is regarding efficiency of production. FDI comes with advanced technologies. Foreign companies start making advanced products in the country. As a result domestic manufacturers are forced to upgrade their technologies. For example, only Ambassador and Fiat cars were manufactured in the country till the eighties. These cars gave an average of 12-13 kilometers per litre. Production of Maruti-Suzuki cars started in the country in 1985. This car gave an average of 18-19 km. This forced Indian manufacturers to make fuel efficient engines. Today the 'made in India' Indica is giving an average of 22-23 km. The entire domestic automobile industry has been forced to technologically upgrade because of the coming of FDI. A similar technological upgradation would have taken place from opening of imports, however. FDI has not come in a big way in many industries like paper, textile and sugar yet these industries have attained global competitiveness. Reason is that imports have been opened. Indian industries were forced to upgrade in order to compete with cheap imported goods. FII also helps in technological upgradation of Indian companies. They get easy access to capital and are able to establish modern factories. Thus FDI, foreign trade and FII-all help in technological upgradation.
It must be admitted that certain technologies are patented by foreign companies. These technologies can be available to us only through FDI. But such technologies are limited in number hence FDI may be preferred only in those selected industries.
The impact of FDI and FII on employment is also similar. Employment is generated in same measure whether foreign principal establishes a factory in India or an Indian businessman establishes the same factory with capital received from FIIs.
There is a difference in the impact of FDI and FII in other aspects. First difference is in the depth of integration with the Indian economy. Foreign investors have a spontaneous tendency to employ foreign managers and engineers and also use imported components and raw materials. Maruti Suzuki, for example, imported many components from Japan for nearly two decades. Car parts dealers tell that often 'duplicate' Indian made parts are of better quality than original imported ones. The tendency of Indian businessmen, on the other hand, is more towards using Indian personnel and components as being done by Tata Motors in the manufacture of Indica and Nano cars. Thus, FDI is more like oil on water while FII has a deeper impact on the Indian economy.
Second difference is in profit repatriation. The objective of both-FDI as well as FII-is to remit profits to their foreign headquarters. This remittance is made of dividends and capital gains. Both FDI and FII remit dividends. Difference is that FII remittance simultaneously leads to increased payment of dividends to domestic shareholders. Say a FII bought shares of Tata Motors. The Company was able to establish a new factory with this money and pay higher dividends. The domestic investors who bought shares of Tata Motors also benefitted from this higher payout. FII, therefore, leads to greater spread of income in the country.
FII has one major disadvantage. FIIs can quickly sell their shareholdings and cause a collapse of our share markets as happened in 2008 when the Sensex was driven down from nearly 21k to 8k. The consequent remittances of proceeds also lead to a collapse of our currency. The rupee declined from 40 to 50 in the wake of this exit. The collapse of the share markets should not worry us much. Such losses are in the nature of speculation and speculators should be ready to bear consequences of the same. The decline of our currency can be managed. The Reserve Bank of India should build greater foreign exchange reserves to meet such a situation. The money remitted by exiting FIIs can be made up by bringing back part of these reserves. There is no reason to fear FII for this reason.
Increase in FII and decrease in FDI is welcome because it signals the strength of Indian businesses. We should take the precautionary measure of building suitable foreign exchange reserves to prevent a collapse of our currency in the event of FII selloff. Let us see what the Finance Minister thinks of the matter.

Cherish past, aspire for future

By Dheeraj Jandial

Asked to comment on as to why India has lacked behind the so called developed nations in cracking inventions and discoveries, Nobel Laureate Sir. C.V. Raman remarked, "I would like to tell the young men and women before me not to lose hope and courage. Success can only come to you by courageous devotion to the task lying in front of you and there is nothing worth in this world that can come without the sweat of our brow. I can assert without fear of contradiction that the quality of the Indian mind is equal to the quality of any Teutonic, Nordic or Anglo-Saxon mind. What we lack is perhaps courage, what we lack is perhaps driving force which takes one anywhere. We have, I think, developed an inferiority complex. I think what is needed in India today is the destruction of that defeatist spirit. We need a spirit of victory, a spirit that will carry us to our rightful place under the sun, a spirit which will recognize that we, as inheritors of a proud civilization, are entitled to a rightful place on this planet. If that indomitable spirit were to arise, nothing can hold us from achieving our rightful destiny".
These wisdom words of Sir C.V. Raman hold its relevance even today, when the country is celebrating 26th National Science Day on February 28 to mark the path breaking discovery of Raman Effect. The event commemorated in honour of Sir C.V. Raman for his legacy and discovery of Raman effect on February 28, 1928, has persistently been debating for cultivating scientific temper amongst youth.
It was on February 28, 1928, through his experiments on the scattering of light, that the great Indian Physicist Sir C.V. Raman discovered the 'Raman Effect', while working in the laboratory of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science at Kolkatta. It was instantly clear that this discovery was important one, as it gave further proof of the quantum nature of light. Raman spectroscopy came to be based on this phenomenon, and Ernest Rutherford referred to it in his presidential address to the Royal Society in 1929. Raman Effect therefore confirmed that the light is made up of particles known as 'photons'. This discovery greatly helped in the study of the molecular and crystal structure of different substances. The application and significance of the Raman Effect becomes clear from the number of papers published within a period of one-and-half years after discovery. By August 1929, a bibliography of over 150 papers was there on various aspects of it.
THE RAMAN EFFECT: Raman received the Nobel Prize in 1930 for his work on diffusion of light. The most simple explanation of this phenomenon is in the observance of Rainbow. We are delighted by the rainbow. We see in it the shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet (VIBGYOR). The white ray of the sun includes all these colours. When a beam of sunlight is passed through a glass prism a patch of these colour brands are seen. This is called spectrum. Spectral lines in it are characteristic of the light passing through the prism. A beam that causes a single spectral line is said to be monochromatic. When a beam of light passes through a transparent substance the beam is scattered. Raman spent a long time in the study of scattered light. On Februray 28, 1928 he observed two low-intensity spectral lines corresponding to the incident mono-chromatic light. Years of his labour bore fruit and Raman was able to discover what was lying hidden in nature. On 16th March, 1928, Raman announced the new phenomenon discovered by him to the world. It attracted the attention of researchers all over the world and it became famous as the 'Raman Effect'.
On the increasing relevance of Raman Effect Former President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and country's missile man, asserted that Raman Effect has impacted every field of science. Its role in spectroscopy, medical diagnostics and material characterization had been phenomenal.
RAMAN AND CAREER: Born to R. Chadrasekhara Iyer and Parvati Ammal in 1888 at Thriuvanaikaval, near Tiruchirappalli, Madras Presidency, Venkata Raman was the second of their eight children. His father was a lecturer in Mathematics and Physics, so he grew up in an academic atmosphere. Raman entered Presidency College, Chennai in 1902. In 1904, he gained his B.Sc. winning the first place and gold medal in physics. In 1907, he gained his M.Sc., obtained the highest distinctions and joined the Indian Finance Department as an Assistant Accountant General. In 1917, Raman resigned from his government service and continued doing research at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkatta. It is worth noting here for the youth of today, Raman when he discovered in 1928 the Effect bearing his name, his formal education was only a M.Sc. in physics.
NATIONAL SCIENCE DAY: A DELAYED INITIATIVE : In 1986 the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC- also known as Rashtriya Vigyan Evam Prodoyogiki Sanchar Parishad) asked the Government of India to designate February 28 as National Science Day, an event which is now celebrated all over the country in schools, colleges, universities and other academic and research institutions. The objectives mooted for commemorating the event is to provide an opportunity to bring issues of science on to centre stage, besides highlighting the contributions of science to human kind in domains of disease eradication, energy production, space exploration, environmental issues, information technology, et al.
Merely christening February 28 as National Science Day cannot be a tribute to the Bharat Ratna C.V. Raman (1954) for 'It is through Science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover'. Perhaps, the great German Physicist Max Born was apt that 'Science is not formal logic-it needs the free play of the mind in as great a degree as any other creative art. It is true that this is a gift which can hardly be taught, but its growth can be encouraged in those who already posses it' It is in this direction that the National Science Day must yearn for!

Perspectives of Indian tourism

By Dr. Pragya Khanna

In India, tourism has experienced sustained growth and diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors over the decades, thus contributing to a large extent to the National Income and generating huge employment opportunities.
India is famous for its generous treatment to all visitors, its visitor-friendly traditions, diverse life styles, cultural legacy, architectural heritage and colorful fairs and festivals hold abiding attractions for the tourists. The other attractions include beautiful beaches, forests, wild life and landscapes for eco-tourism; snow, river and mountain peaks for adventure tourism; technological parks and science museums for science tourism; centers of pilgrimage for spiritual tourism; heritage, trains and hotels for heritage tourism. Yoga, Ayurveda and natural health resorts and hill stations also attract tourists. The Indian handicrafts particularly jewellery, carpets, leather goods, ivory and brass work are the main shopping items of foreign tourists.
In the state of J&K which has sprawling mountains, stretches of valleys, lakes, pilgrimage sites, handicraft etc. a lot of initiatives have been taken by the Government to boost tourism.
On one hand tourism helps preserve several places which are of historical importance by declaring them as heritage sites, conserving the natural habitats of many endangered species, creating various means of transports, health care facilities, sports centers, in addition to the hotels and high-end restaurants that cater to the needs of visitors. In addition, tourism industry can also help promote peace and stability in developing country like India by providing jobs, generating income, diversifying the economy, protecting the environment and promoting cross-cultural awareness.
On the other hand, the tourism industry lays some serious adverse effects on the environment. Increased transport and construction activities lead to large scale deforestation and destabilization of natural landforms, whereas better tourist flow leads to increase in solid waste dumping as well as depletion of water and fuel resources. Surge of tourists to ecologically sensitive areas results in destruction of rare and endangered species mostly due to trampling, killing and disturbance of breeding habitats. Noise pollution from vehicles and public address systems, water pollution, vehicular emissions, untreated sewage, etc. also have direct effects on bio-diversity, environment and general contour of tourist spots.
In mountain areas of the Himalayas and Darjeeling, the trekking tourists produce a huge quantity of waste. Tourists on expedition leave behind their trash, oxygen cylinders and even camping equipment. Such practices degrade the environment mainly in remote areas because they have few garbage collection or disposal facilities. Erection of hotels, recreation and other facilities often leads to increased sewage pollution. Wastewater has polluted seas and lakes surrounding tourist attractions thus causing a great deal of damage to flora and fauna.
The most important example that can be cited here is of the greatest impact on the sensitive mountain environment in the Karakoram Mountains between India and Pakistan in Kashmir where the result of the ongoing military conflict has led to human waste and trash accumulation on the glaciers. Such garbage does not degrade in cold and frozen places. Abandoned military equipment and fuel spills also contribute to the problem.
Some steps that must be taken to protect mountain ecosystems, particularly the Himalayas like trash should be separated into material that can be destroyed by fire, bio-degradable materials that can be buried such as vegetable and fruit waste, and materials that must be transported out of the mountains to an appropriate site for disposal such as metal cans and glass. Human waste can be properly disposed of in an earthen pit of adequate depth, but this is a problem on glaciers. Tourists would not want to visit areas that have been heavily impacted by improper disposal of trash and human waste. Deforestation leads to soil erosion which can be quite severe given the steep topography of these areas.
The solution to the problem lies in promoting ecotourism. Ecotourism plainly means tourism tied with the idea of protecting the environment. It promotes traveling to natural spots rather than commercial attractions, using cleaner means of sightseeing such as bicycles and walking, and doing activities that have negligible impact on the environment. Ecotourism aims at reducing the need to assert land and develop infrastructure for tourists. It focuses on exploiting what is already present to draw tourists in.
India is a beautiful and exotic country with colorful traditions and centuries of history. However, the country can be difficult to maneuver for a tourist visiting India. A great deal of India's infrastructure has not been restructured since the British left in 1947, so transportation and facilities, while accessible, have yet to be modernized. If India wants to establish itself as an unyielding travel destination and augment tourism, government and big business companies should take steps to make the country more cordial to foreign travelers. Public restroom facilities, even if existing, are inadequately maintained. Often the only sanitary services available are at big luxury hotels. India needs to improve its public services and promote basic hygiene if it wants to appeal to the foreign tourist.
Though India also has widespread railway coordination, however, due to overcrowding and poor maintenance, trains are often so crowded that people sit on the roofs of moving trains or hang out the windows. We should be aware of the different types of tourists that may want to visit India like ecotourists, historians or those seeking meditative retreats. India should take advantage of the inquisitiveness of foreign tourists with Indian culture, including yoga, Ayurvedic medicine, Hinduism and meditation, and market itself accordingly.
Tourism can sometimes lead to tension, hostility, and distrust between the tourists and the local communities when there is no respect and appreciation for each other's culture and way of life. This further leads to violence and other crimes committed against the tourists. Our Government is trying hard to curb this menace, but it requires an effort on part of every individual.
Moreover, since tourism is a multi-dimensional industry, it would be essential that all sections of the Central and State governments, private sector and voluntary organizations become active partners in the endeavor to accomplish sustainable growth in tourism if our country is to become a world player in the tourism industry.
Atithi Devo Bhava!

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