Friday, 20 February 2009

Story of an Aircraft Carrier

Just as approaching weekend and I am trying to catch on to the news today seems to be a day of shocks. Just before demoting the office previous Govt had signed a deal with Russia for an Aircraft Carrier(AC). This was an old ‘war horse’ of Russian Navy to be refurbished and delivered to India.

This is the same AC which was probably left grounded after catching a fire while it was still in active duty. At the time of signing the deal in 2004 it was signed at $900 mn (Certain articles say that it was signed at $1.5 mn including everything)

Curiously this ship was launched in 1982 and commissioned in 1987 (That’s when it made its longest journey) and then in 1992 it was put for repairs (probably never completed testimony to turmoil that Russia went through during that phase)

Then as it can only happen in Govt dealings first came the news that it can not be delivered on time then came that it can not be delivered at agreed cost.

So there were frantic negotiations and some article is papers carried that negotiations did go to the highest level. The deal was done again at an increased cost of $2.2 bn. This was even after ‘India adopted a tough posture’ on dilly dallying by Russia. It was said that Initially they had asked for an cost escalation of $2bn.

In between the Director General of the shipyard that is fitting the ship, retired probably contributing to further delays

Now comes the news that Russia is demanding another $700 mn thus making the total cost as around $3bn.

India also has program to build its own indigenous Aircraft Carrier which it started in 2003 (co-incidentally this too was started by previous Govt in 2003 but then they decided to purchase one probably to fillin for the time that ours will take to build duely accounting for the time over runs which is so common in our indigenous programs).

Conceived well over a decade ago, the IAC project has been dogged by several technical problems even after the government finally sanctioned Rs 3,261 crore for it in January 2003

A price tag of $3bn which India will probably end up paying for acquiring the Russian Ship roughly amounts to around 14000-15000 Cr Rupees which could be good enough for almost four indigenous ACs (even if we amount for cost over runs that is bound to happen our own ships would still be cheaper and not as old as this 20 year old junk might turn out to be).

I wish the left were still part of the Govt. Probably they could have used some of their 'influence' in settling the deal of the AC without more turns & dips .. :)

Disclaimer: This is typically constructed based on news paper reports. I do not claim any authenticity of the any of the details mentioned here


While many of us are quibbling over PCC or no PCC down south another shocker comes along(check this link to read). If they are indeed true then they are shocking crimes against women.

None of the religious orders seem to be free from its share of Rasputins. Even seemingly educated individuals with convent-educated background are not totally immune to it.

To leave you with a really bad taste let me ask this, why it seems to me that the channels who were so keen on reporting everything on Mangalore not really keen on picking this up (sorry for being cynical).

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Will NIA be any different from CBI ..

As I read this news related to a reply by The Home Minister in Lok Shabha, to a common person like me it appears that NIA is probably going to be same as CBI

Just as a co-incidence NIA is also under central Home Ministry (as CBI)

Even as he reiterated that NIA would take up terror cases referred to it by the state governments and only exercise its suo motu powers under exceptional circumstances

NIA will work on cases referred to it by State Govt (as CBI .. gradually it may become a tool to cool off the political hot potato’s in the state as it usually happens in the cases referred to CBI)

To a query whether Naxal attacks would be investigated by NIA as well, Mr Chidambaram said it may not be so with most extremism-related cases as the agency was expected to take over only the gravest offences.

So one of the biggest slow death crimes faced by big part of our country will still remain out of the ambits of any central agency and will still get entrusted to state Police & CIDs who hardly have resources or equipments to tackle such organized crimes. They will continue to be treated as local problems rather than getting a unified view.

What probably no one is keen to put in public domain is what was identified as missing link in so many existing agencies that actually necessitated formation of another agency.

Other countries have created unified commands and better mechanism to decipher the information received from so many different links and put them in use.

Probably we can put on bets that in its current Avatar it will turn out to be yet another something very similar to CBI.

Afterthought: it will probably turn out to be another place to reward 'chosen' officers as i fear in the name of secrecy the NIA budget will remain unaccountable (out of the preview of general audits .. albeit small amount of 10 cr as allocated in this year's budget compared to what we have for RAW which runs into 1000 crs) and by definition NIA (as suggested by our HM) remains a reactive agency. I thought one of the key things came out from Mumbai attack was that we need 'pro-active' monitoring and decoding all the information coming out from various sources.. So probably its creation was again just to shift public focus and make them feel as if Govt is doing something.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

The color is Pink!!

After reading about the pink chaddi campaign just out of curiosity I did a google on pink and what it means.

Some of the results were eye opener for me.

Till around 1930 pink was used to be associated with boys and blue was with girls. Somewhere around that time it was reversed.

The NAZIs in their concentration camps used a pink triangle to identify homosexuals.

Wiki says that “Pinko is a derogatory term for a person regarded as sympathetic to Communism, though not necessarily a Communist Party member.’

Again a link in wiki on political colours is interesting read

Reading through the wiki on political colours there are some interesting observations

Pink was supposed to be a mixture of Red and white.

Red is traditional colour of socialism and even communism; see Red flag.”

White has been linked to pacifism (as in the surrender flag)”.
“…. Historically, it was associated with support for absolutist monarchists …”

At another place a website selling gems advices that
“pink is the color of universal love. Pink is a quiet color. Lovers of beauty favor pink. A pink carnation means "I will never forget you".”
Put some pink in your life when you want:
calm feelings
to neutralize disorder
acceptance, contentment

also “Pink is the sweet side of red.” “While red stirs up passion and action, studies have shown that large amounts of pink can create physical weakness in people.” Although I doubt authenticity of any such studies.

In the current situation Pink is very very important for lot of people.

For Mutalik it means far bigger fame and name than he thought would come to his way when Mangalore happened (he must be blessing the chaddi campaigners).

For chaddi campaigners a nice way to sway (or divide) opinion in urban class and put majority of people in a classic dilemma .. people who does not sympathize with Mutalik but are also not keen to go to their nearest pub (to assert their right or expression to freedom).

Many others who do not like the way this whole issue is portrayed as fight for woman rights vs oppressive society as probably it’s a simple law-n-order issue which is blown out of proportion for various vested interests.

Many Indian villagers (specially women) would be bemused (if they ever hear this whole thing) as they are still not in a stage to associate any of the main characters associated with this
Pubs: hardly have any … they have different maniac in the name of ‘desi’
Ram sene : probably they would be happy that now their ‘addicted’ family members or husbands might stop visiting nearest ‘adda’
Pink: they are still trying to meet their demands of basic clothing to be worried with different colours and its combination.

News channels .. surely this whole thing makes a great news and also makes easier discussion point rather than discussing heavy duty stuff like terror or current economic situations .. which requires qualified(and informative) debate.

The Govt: as the media and opinion makers(10000+ who have joined the campain and those who have not joined by have a (for or against) opinion do play a wider role of shaping opinions) are pre-occupied by this seemingly 'big debate' so the Govt can breath easy as this has taken the attention away from their response(or lack of it) on Mumbai 26/11. Surely they can take it easy till the next blast happens and it again comes back to centre stage.

Cong: they can again raise the issue as how bad those people are and if they come to power they will ban pubs (thus a ban on your expression of freedom). remember its an election year.

For me Pink still signifies ‘pink slips’ which I am very much afraid off !!

Disclaimers: some of the google searches may or may not appear in your search (if you really do them).

Friday, 6 February 2009

Pub Bharo!!!

I read two different news in last few days and curiously Government has two totally different positions on them.

I guess its not even 100 years back when our prominent leaders asked fellow country men & women to ‘Jail bharo aandolan’. The ‘Jail bharo’ was for the independence of our country.

In last sixty years of independence we have made tremendous progress.

... of course all of us are educated…
... of course have access to ‘best in the world’ health system…
... of course can lead our life the way we want to …
... of course can go, work and settle in any part of our country as we wish…
... of course can follow any religion (or decide not to) as we wish ….
... of course can vote without any fear and prejudice …
... of course can marry anyone we want to…
... of course have access to ‘best in class’ roads to all corners of our country …
... of course all our country men and women have means for a basic livelihood …
... of course we all have 24 hours un-interupted electricity and of course they are coming out of mainly nuclear power plants (kalavati is certainly is very happy) …
... of course we have not heard of any farmer suicide for as long as one can remember ...

But then still most of us are shying away from pubs .. that really has annoyed one of our ministers (who is touted as the 'only' shining light by some) and she had to call for ‘pub bharo aandolan’ as this is the last act which will surely elevate us to a status of developed world.

...of course in last sixty years we have successfully got rid of the ‘deprived world’ tag but yet to cover the distance to the nearest pubs to really stamp our credentials as a ‘developed world’...

What is amazing is that same minister (or the same govt) has no official or un-official response to this news

... of course for developed world pubs are more important and who cares for trivial other things!!!