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EDITORIAL

Hashim Qreshi has a view point

In a sense Hashim Qureshi of Srinagar and not Sardar Qayum Khan of Muzaffarabad should be given the sobriquet of Mujahid-e-awwal. At the tender age of 16, Hashim made an adventure of hijacking an Indian aircraft to Pakistan. People in our State generally know Hashim as a hijacker but very few, who can be counted on finger tips, know what he had to suffer at the hands of Pakistan authorities. After going through fire and brimstone in Pakistan for more than a decade, he had to seek asylum in a European country for a long time before he decided to return to his native land. The life story of Hashim Qureshi is an open book for all those Kashmiri youth who were lured to terrorist training camps in PoK to receive training and unleash terror when back in Kashmir. Forty-two years after that event, the chastened, introspective and pragmatist Hashim Qureshi, fully knowledgeable on Pakistan's intentions in Kashmir, turned a political and social activist forcefully advocating the creed of non-violence as the only recommendable methodology for attaining political goals. He denounced gun culture that has taken precious lives of Kashmiri youth in an uneven armed conflict with the Indian State; he rejected stone pelting by the youth and disagreed with the leadership that gave calls for recurrent strikes and shutdowns arguing that it shattered our fragile economy while who were already faced with numerous hardships. He strongly advocated sensitizing of world opinion in favour of a negotiated settlement of Kashmir issue. He scripted two books Unveiling of the Truth and Kashmir: Undeniable Truth in which he not only told the bitter truth but also clarified his thoughts on present,. ....more

Can India turn corner again on economic front

Brij Bhardwaj

Can Dr Manmohan Singh do his old magic again and take India on the growth path making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world. If the target of nine per cent GDP growth announced by him is achieved it could happen, but the leaders of industry, economists as well as political class in general are highly skeptical about this happening as many of them feel that the current economic situation is worse than 2008 when India had to ship gold abroad to avoid defaulting on its international obligations. . ...more

Counterfeiting and piracy

Orchie Bandyopadhyay

A recent study conducted by Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy indicates that the global value of counterfeit and pirated goods, currently $650 billion, is likely to more than double by 2015. In recent years, the range of counterfeit goods has expanded significantly and no industry has been spared. . .. .. ...more

Petrol price hike

Yudhvir Sethi

On completion of UPA Government's three years in power, it made a historical hike in the price of petrol and gave the country a gift, particularly to the poor and middle class. This hike is definitely going to paralyze the already-burdened people. It is nothing but adding fuel to the fire. If the Government is serious about dealing with the problem of rising international crude prices, it should recover the money looted by those involved in . ....more

EDITORIAL

Hashim Qreshi has a view point

In a sense Hashim Qureshi of Srinagar and not Sardar Qayum Khan of Muzaffarabad should be given the sobriquet of Mujahid-e-awwal. At the tender age of 16, Hashim made an adventure of hijacking an Indian aircraft to Pakistan. People in our State generally know Hashim as a hijacker but very few, who can be counted on finger tips, know what he had to suffer at the hands of Pakistan authorities. After going through fire and brimstone in Pakistan for more than a decade, he had to seek asylum in a European country for a long time before he decided to return to his native land. The life story of Hashim Qureshi is an open book for all those Kashmiri youth who were lured to terrorist training camps in PoK to receive training and unleash terror when back in Kashmir. Forty-two years after that event, the chastened, introspective and pragmatist Hashim Qureshi, fully knowledgeable on Pakistan's intentions in Kashmir, turned a political and social activist forcefully advocating the creed of non-violence as the only recommendable methodology for attaining political goals. He denounced gun culture that has taken precious lives of Kashmiri youth in an uneven armed conflict with the Indian State; he rejected stone pelting by the youth and disagreed with the leadership that gave calls for recurrent strikes and shutdowns arguing that it shattered our fragile economy while who were already faced with numerous hardships. He strongly advocated sensitizing of world opinion in favour of a negotiated settlement of Kashmir issue. He scripted two books Unveiling of the Truth and Kashmir: Undeniable Truth in which he not only told the bitter truth but also clarified his thoughts on present, past and future of Kashmir. These are an eye opener to all those who are blindly pursuing pro-Pak agenda in Kashmir.
While Kashmir Liberation Front was in the formative process in London and other places in Europe, Hashim fell out with some of its frontline activists after finding them not amenable to KLF's independent agenda. He protested against instrumentation that would make Kashmiri youth fodder for the guns of Indian security forces. He called it anti-Kashmiris and totally unethical to stimulate pro-Pak tendency while maintaining the slogan of azaadi as a mask. He knew how dangerous this could be for Kashmiris and, therefore, distanced himself from them and formed Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party in 1994 in Nepal, which stands for unified, secular and independent State of Jammu and Kashmir. Hashim stands out conspicuously as the only political thinker in Kashmir who candidly and courageously tells pro-Pak emotionalist among sections of Kashmiris what a dangerous course they are pursuing for their future generations. He has been stressing on it even at a time when militancy was at its peak and gun culture was neither deplored not discouraged by the separatist leadership.
Hashim Qureshi has lamented vandalizing of State's national resources like forests, mineral wealth, water resources, horticulture, agriculture and tourist sectors and subjecting these to general loot by the authorities and vested interests. Obviously this has earned him many adversaries not only in the political arena but also among local bureaucratic segment that finds its interests threatened by his outspoken and critical writings.
Hashim, in his usual loud and unambiguous words, expressed himself on a number of sensitive issues which might not find favour either with the separatists or with the political class in the state. Arguing that the UN Resolution of 5 February 1949 was un-implementable, he asserted that Pakistan had not withdrawn its forces from part of J&K under its control including Gilgit and Baltistan which would have obliged India to reduce its military presence considerably in the part of the state under its control and then concentrated administrative authority in Srinagar. He asked if Pakistan would be ready to vacate the parts under its control and would China return the areas in Aksaichin? If that was not going to happen, how then could the UN Resolutions become implementable?
Hashim Qureshi has raised many questions about Kashmir separatist leadership's method of conducting the Hurriyat (freedom) movement. He asks if the destination of the two factions is almost same, viz. secession from India and accession to Pakistan, why then do they work in a divided manner. How can any separatist conglomerate comprising 23 groups and further subdivided into equal number making 46 groups in all, attain success without unity of thought and action? He asks if the people of the State in exercise of their will decide in favour of State remaining with India, what will happen to the six decade long separatist movement and what will be its response to those families who sacrificed thousands of their dear ones for the cause. He argues that secession from one country and accession to another is not freedom but certainly it is changing the masters. It means that we have to remain slaves if not of one country but of other country. Was this the purpose of Kashmiris making enormous sacrifices of their youth? Hashim Qureshi asserted that there are elements who want to divide the state along religious, regional, ethnic and linguistic lines. This means nothing but disaster and if this was allowed it would mean that we will be thrusting into enormous destruction the entire sub-continent. Hashim said that the days of creating states along any of these lines were over and while the world was coming closer as a global village, we would be moving in opposite direction which is irrational, unnatural and destructive.
Hashim Qureshi said that a call was given for the people on both sides of the dividing line to participate in a get together on 1o June at Keran where Kishen Ganga River divides the valley, He emphasized that while leaders of the two countries were regularly meeting and talking and while they both recommend people to people interaction, the proposed get together at Keran would be an occasion to send a message across the world that people of the original State of Jammu and Kashmir including Gilgit and Baltistan reject any proposal of division of the State whether at present or in future on religious, ethnic or linguistic basis.
In final analysis it seems very sensible that the Indian Sate should involve such elements in a constructive dialogue as attach importance to rational, human and universal values and should not be in a misunderstanding that religion-based leadership can deliver.

Can India turn corner again on economic front

Brij Bhardwaj

Can Dr Manmohan Singh do his old magic again and take India on the growth path making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world. If the target of nine per cent GDP growth announced by him is achieved it could happen, but the leaders of industry, economists as well as political class in general are highly skeptical about this happening as many of them feel that the current economic situation is worse than 2008 when India had to ship gold abroad to avoid defaulting on its international obligations.
The group of industrialists interviewed by media are pessimistic about the outlook which remains very gloomy. The growth rate has fallen to 5.8 per cent in last quarter, the most optimistic forecast is 6.4 per cent growth in the year while others are of the view that it would not be above six per cent. This is closer to Hindu rate of growth achieved in eighties instead of the rate achieved in last eight years. The other parameters are also gloomy.
For instance inflation is running at 8.8 per cent, fiscal deficit is 5’9 per cent and rupee is valued against dollar at Rs 55 and above against Rs. 45 a year back. Global indicators are no better with U.S economy struggling to avoid sinking into decline. Euro faces a threat with Greece threatening to walk out of European Union and Spain and Italy needing urgent help to remain afloat. Under the circumstances challenges facing India are formidable.
In his earlier role Dr Singh reversed the trend by going for economic reforms which opened up the Indian economy, brought in foreign investment, reduced taxes and import duties. India today also needs second generation of economic reforms, but the million dollar question is if the present Government has the political will and stamina to go for them. We need multi foreign investment in brand trade to give better returns to farmers, better storage facilities to avoid wastage. We need reforms in insurance sector, banking sector and above all curtailment of rising bill of subsidies on account of petroleum products and foodgrains.
Prime Minister has done well by suggesting an investment of one trillion dollars in infrastructure in next five years to build new airports, roads, improve power supply through partnership with private sector as Government does not have enough resources to undertake the same on its own. Will this be enough. We also need to create favourable climate for bringing in foreign investment. If big investment projects have to wait for years to get official clearances it will not make India a favourable destination for investment.
Demands from industry side are simple. Lower the bank rate, continuous hikes in interest rates has not checked inflation but has led to slow down of industry by making credit more expensive forcing Indian companies to look to international market for credit which has become a major burden with falling value of Indian rupee. If we want high growth we need to lower rates of interest. In the hope that the Reserve Bank of India will be taking a call on interest rates soon, the stock exchanges are rising again after a long time. The indicators from world markets like softening of crude prices in particular and commodities in general have also improved the market sentiment. This could be described as the right time to take initiative if the UPA in its second term wants to shed the label of a lame duck Government which is suffering from paralysis of action. This view has gained currency in political circles, among bureaucrats and general public. The public perception has also suffered because of series of scams involving huge sums.
The problem with UPA during its second term has been that it has allowed the allies to bully them and dictate the agenda. The manner in which West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has acted as opposition within UPA and has made it impossible to move as far as the economic agenda is concerned. This has not changed and unless Prime Minister is prepared to break the shackles there is no chance of any economic turnaround.
During the first term Dr Singh had been able to push for Indo-U.S nuclear deal despite threat from Left parties. The million dollar question is will Prime Minister display the same courage and determination this time also by going ahead with the economics agenda. Here are as many as ten States including States like Assam are keen to introduce Foreign investment in multi brand trade. If a some States are keen to keep foreign investment out of their States they have the right to do so but States which want investment in building up infrastructure like cold storages to help the farmers to get better price for their produce and should be allowed to do so.
The present regime in which a small minority is dictating terms to majority must end otherwise there is no hope for economic turnaround or India attainting a growth rate of nine per cent as indicated by Prime Minister.

Counterfeiting and piracy

Orchie Bandyopadhyay


A recent study conducted by Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy indicates that the global value of counterfeit and pirated goods, currently $650 billion, is likely to more than double by 2015. In recent years, the range of counterfeit goods has expanded significantly and no industry has been spared. While damage to rights holders may be obvious, consumers can be just as seriously affected, as counterfeit goods may cause physical illness, injury or even death. Unsurprisingly, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation has named counterfeiting ‘the crime of the 21st century’.
According to Rahul Sethi, a partner at Ranjan Narula Associates, and a member of the International Trademark Association’s Anti-counterfeiting Committee, India is not new to counterfeiting. In 2005, the European Union reported that India was the world’s largest supplier of fake drugs, responsible for 75% of counterfeit medicines globally. About 38% of medicines supplied in Government hospitals in India are said to be counterfeit, and 40% of all drugs sold in Indian markets spurious. Those involved include not only organised crime syndicates, rogue pharmaceutical companies, corrupt local and national officials and terrorist organisations, but also medical professionals, such as pharmacists and physicians.
A bane of poor countries in particular, manufacture, distribution and storage of counterfeit drugs and medicines are not always known and are seldom reported. The production of counterfeit pharmaceuticals can be as simple as producing alternative packaging materials using a laser printer or as complicated as the production of the original product.
In India, the manufacturers can be loosely grouped into three categories: unlicensed manufacturers who operate out of small cottage factories, licensed manufacturers who secretly make fake drugs alongside their legitimate products, and importers who bring in drugs from China and then fraudulently repackage them.
Counterfeiters may produce licensed pharmaceuticals by day and knock-offs by night. One case in point involved a pharmaceutical company in Gurgaon, Haryana. When the Food and Drug Administration confronted the owner with evidence of the counterfeit goods, he disavowed all knowledge of the products except for one: a tablet containing a new generation antibiotic ciprofloxacin. Upon testing at the state and central drug laboratories, it was found that the pill contained no ciprofloxacin at all, and the company’s manufacturing license was revoked.
District drugs control officer, Rakesh Dahiya, said that though they had been picking up different drug samples from the manufacturer, Chem Pharma, it was the first time their samples failed in the mandatory tests. “We had some preliminary reports indicating that the manufacturer was involved in making fake drugs. Finally, when we received the confirmed report, we picked up samples of Cipro Floxacin and found that the absence of some salts from the antibiotic made it of no use to the patients,” Dahiya added.
As far as pharmaceuticals are concerned, Dr Naresh Gupta of Maulana Azad Medical College, says, “For the poorest consumers, the choice may be between questionable medicine and no medicine at all. The ultimate solution to this dilemma is ensure that they are never forced to make this choice, and that life-saving medication is available to all. Until this is possible, vigorous law enforcement is essential to protect the most vulnerable of consumers.”
However, it isn’t all bad news. Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has put in place a mechanism to define counterfeit medical products. The set of definitions of sub-standard, spurious, falsely labelled, falsified and counterfeit products will be globally accepted and help to bring about uniformity in identifying such drugs, without interrupting worldwide supplies.
Carrying the same harmful potential, albeit on a relatively modest scale, are the spurious rubber products, like the “O” rubber rings used in domestic pressure cookers. A similar enterprise can be found engaged in the manufacture of adulterated cosmetics.
In India, a market where Unilever is the largest fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) player, there are over 113 look-alike of its leading fairness cream, Fair & Lovely, available. Vicks, Axe, Ariel, Parachute, Johnson’s Baby Powder, Clinic Plus, Dove, Lux, Colgate, Pears, Fair & lovely, Coldarin are just a few of the brands that are affected by pass-offs and counterfeits. Pass-offs are look-alike products that resemble the original products, mainly through misspelling of the trademark. For example, Sunslik instead of Sunsilk, Clemic Plus or Climic Plus or Cosmic Plus instead of Clinic Plus, Collegiate for Colgate, Vips Rub or Vives Rub as a pass-off for Vicks Vaporub.
The devil in the lack of authenticity is also present in textile manufacture. It seems nothing escapes the hawk-eye scrutiny of counterfeiters when they think of how to prosper in their nefarious trade. Considering that the imitated version of a high-priced item would fetch more money than the spurious variety of a low-priced one, the counterfeiters are very resourceful in making them.
Globalization is regarded by some people as giving rise to counterfeit products. With a view to cut costs and to increase production, reputed manufacturers outsource their production processes elsewhere with lower standards of labour laws and environmental regulations. Such local producers see no reason to stick to the standards after meeting their commitments and flood the markets with shoddy replicas of reputed brands.
This is very true of some consumer items, especially very expensive or desirable brands as also of merchandise that are easy to reproduce cheaply. Such manufacturers of spurious goods either attempt to deceive the consumer into thinking they are purchasing a legitimate item, or convince the consumer that they could deceive others with the imitation.
FICCI has also said that illicit trade in cigarettes in India is one of the highest in the world. High excise duty on cigarettes has resulted in the growth of contraband trade of the product with the total market estimated to reach Rs 1,900 crore in 2012, up nearly 12 per cent from the previous year, according to industry estimates. In 2010-11, the size of contraband cigarettes market in India was around Rs 1,700 crore. According to industry players, 17 billion cigarette sticks are smuggled into the country every year, making India the sixth highest consumer of smuggled cigarettes in the world. "Smuggled and contraband cigarettes are becoming a bigger and bigger problem in India. There are lot of illegal cigarettes, which are smuggled from outside India and even counterfeit products are also sold in huge quantity," an official working with a cigarettes company said. When asked about the factors behind the increase in illegal trade of the product, he said, "Extreme high excise duty and VAT rate on cigarettes in India make smuggling a particularly attractive proportion."

Petrol price hike

Yudhvir Sethi

On completion of UPA Government's three years in power, it made a historical hike in the price of petrol and gave the country a gift, particularly to the poor and middle class. This hike is definitely going to paralyze the already-burdened people. It is nothing but adding fuel to the fire. If the Government is serious about dealing with the problem of rising international crude prices, it should recover the money looted by those involved in multi-crore scams .Impact of this price hike will also have effect on our day to day expenses because inflation figure is bound to go up and with it prices of goods and services will obviously go up. Petrol hike directly or indirectly affects the major sectors like transportation ,textiles. Auto, FMCG etc, for manufacturing and transportation. This affects the prices of daily essential commodities which are transported on a daily basis. Banking sector is also expected to suffer due to high inflation level.
While RBI is still battling rising inflation, it now has the tough task of managing inflation in the light of increased petrol prices. The RBI has to implement strict monetary policy that will directly affect the banks. Our expenses increase every year, be it for household purposes, branded goods or tuition fees for children, considering the price index data for last several years, a simple fixed return will not be sufficient to supercede the effect of inflation and counter the effect of price rise. In general , higher food prices had a more severe impact on poverty because poor households spend more than half of their incomes on food and only a tenth on fuel. These ups and downs push more people into poverty and worsening the situation of those already poor. This has obviously sent shock waves to the common man who is trying hard to make both ends meet in an inflationary environment. Inflation affects only the low wages or fixed salaried middle class families as compared to higher wages salaried class. But today this standard of living is increasingly precarious. The existing middle class is squeezed and many of those striving to attain the middle-class standard find it persistently out of remit will bring no negative impact on Govt employees as their DAs will be increase accordingly. Rich and corrupt people are least bothered about it. Business class like auto-rickshaw drivers shall transfer the burden to common people so they are also safe. Common people if doing business shall also pass the burden to customers. The community that suffers the most are the private sector employees whose salary remains fixed for a specific period. They have to wait for their next increment and the poor segment of the society can face the price hike or inflation problem as they have little resources to manage their daily affairs
The prices of pulses and edible oils have risen over 20 per cent in the last one year and the price hike of petrol could have been avoided by taking prompt economic action, and by taking concerted efforts including reducing central taxes on oil, controlling rupee depreciation and reduction in oil companies profits. The repeated hike in prices of petrol is an act of cruelty on the people as it will hit the income of poor and middle class in a big way which in turn would further slow down the economic growth.



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