Why Yakub Memon's execution won't be miscarriage of justice.

Sudhanshu MittalThe 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, was the first ever terrorist attack in the world where RDX was used on such a large scale after World War II. The horrific terrorist crime took away 257 innocent lives, injured 713 people and destroyed property worth Rs 27 crore. It was an attack against our nation, orchestrated by a group of terrorists who decided to create anarchy with the active help of our desperate adversary, Pakistan. The Memon brothers executed the plan, from assembling a team, procuring the arms and ammunitions, imparting training for handling the explosives to finally planting the detonators at the chosen spots in different vehicles. 

It was an elaborate operation carried out by a set of professional mercenaries who decided to kill the very same people with whom they had shared their lives since childhood, they decided to maim the very society that they were a successful part of, till yesterday.
Let me state emphatically that Yakub Memon and the others who were arrested by the investigative agencies have been given a fair trial. The case has gone to the highest court of the land. The Supreme Court bench of Justices P Sathasivam and BS Chauhan has stated – “ We are satisfied that the prosecution has established all the charges leveled against Yakub and the designated court, after analyzing all the material including oral and documentary evidence and the independent witnesses, rightly convicted him.”
The court has convicted Yakub Memon and sentenced him to death. We have to respect the judgment delivered by the judiciary. We have an independent and a credible judiciary and the verdict of the court is supreme.
Some eminent people are questioning the judgement of the court by stating that Yakub is not a conspirator. This is an extremely irrational and a mischievous attempt to undermine the process of law. Another misleading argument being put forward is that India was a signatory to an international commitment to abolish death penalty and hence death penalty could not be imposed in India.
One more story that has gained considerable attention in the media is the letter written by B Raman. I would like to know, what is the authenticity of this letter? Nowhere in the letter has it been mentioned that there was a deal or a quid pro quo with the convict. Had there been a deal, Yakub was free to bring it up in the court. He never mentioned anything on these lines. The letter, it is claimed was written in 2007 but has been published a few days ago, more than 2 years after the passing away of the RAW officer. This only creates confusion, and I see it as an attempt to cast doubts on the integrity of our investigative agencies by vested interests.
Also, I wish to tell Mr.Asaddudin Owaisi not to create divisions between the Hindus and Muslims. The need of the hour is to remind the youth that terrorism is a serious problem and it only brings death and destruction. He should refrain from polarizing the situation for electoral benefits by misleading people.
Around one thousand innocent families were shattered by the actions of these terrorists. The sufferings of these families can never be compensated for. These victims have waited 22 years for justice, knowing clearly that the key conspirators, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon may never be caught. The victims will never have complete closure.
Let us not forget that this was a devastating strike against our nation. It was a monstrous, most reprehensible and an extremely violent crime against a peace- loving society. We congratulate our investigative agencies and the judiciary for doing a great job by taking this case to its logical conclusion.


Delhi Budget

Sudhanshu MittalI was looking forward to the Budget proposals with great anticipation. It was one more opportunity to confirm the reputation that Arvind Kejriwal had earned for himself. The Chief Minister of Delhi is known for making big promises, and the budget was once again, an occasion to live up to such credentials.

Let me be very categorical, the citizens of Delhi had voted with great hope and expectation that the AAP leadership would bring about serious change in governance, to improve the living conditions in the city. The budget proposals only add to the hope without giving any clarity on the measures that need to be taken to achieve the desired results.

The key point here is the tax collection target for the current fiscal. The target for the current fiscal is 30 percent higher than the tax collected in the last fiscal. Let me inform you that the growth in tax collection in the previous fiscal was only 2.64 percent.

The question that arises is, how prudent is it to plan the expenditure on a growth figure which has not happened even once in the last 4 years? The economists and financial experts opine that there is hardly any change in the economic scenario to suggest that a growth of this magnitude can happen this year.

Delhi needs better educational and health facilities but the hike in expenditure that is proposed, can be met only if the growth in revenue is achieved. The consensus is that Delhi is moving towards a fiscal deficit.

Delhi does not need big announcements but a plan to solve the problems faced by the citizens. Does the Arvind Kejriwal government have the capability to effectively implement the various measures they have proposed in the budget? This is the question that experts are asking. It is a valid concern as experience shows that the chief minister had to run to the terrace to save himself from his own people when he held the so-called Janta Durbar.

The hike in entertainment tax and luxury tax has only hurt the feelings of the aam aadmi of Delhi. The cost of consumption will go up for everyone. Also, the increase in VAT will be inflationary as it will increase the cost of petrol and diesel leading to an increase in prices of essential goods and services. The 50 crore allocation to provide free Wi Fi across the city does not seem sufficient. Delhi has a very big and an active user base, I have my doubts if the government intends to offer anything meaningful for the citizens who have believed such a promise.

A very revealing characteristic of this government is the amount it has allocated for its publicity. Only a publicity-hungry politician, who always wants to remain in the news and has no scruples about misusing the taxpayers’ hard- earned money for personal glory, can come up with such a suggestion. I am appalled at the audacity of this government to propose such a misuse of public money when the poor people of Delhi are struggling to meet the basic needs for survival.

I am sure people in the city will track the developments and regularly remind the elected representatives of their promises. Delhi needs a very focused governance to solve the day to day problems being faced by the hard working people who have given such a massive mandate to AAP. They want to see the leaders amidst themselves solving the problems rather than watching them on television making tall claims and new announcements.


Lighting lives through innovative technology solutions

Sudhanshu MittalI came across a very interesting and thought provoking piece of information on newswires and several online news platforms today which can have significant impact on improving the lives of millions of poor and the marginalised in India.

In a research presented at a conference in San Jose, US, , the IBM India researchers have come up with a unique idea of using discarded laptop batteries to power lights, fans and even mobile phone chargers. The research was led by Vikas Chandan, a gentleman who works with IBM’s Smarter Energy Group in Bengaluru.
As I tried to find out more about this simple yet brilliant solution that could bring light to millions of the poor of the country, I was able to find a very well written piece where Chandan himself has explained the journey to reach this solution and discussed a variety of opportunities that could be created . I am reproducing here the complete article aptly titled ‘Powering communities with discarded laptop batteries’. Here is the article by Vikas Chandan (Click here):
“Located right across Bangalore’s Ramaiah College is Chill and Grill, a fast-food joint that is an easy jaunt for students as well as young working professionals who work in the area. The piping hot evening snacks such as wraps and samosas attracts large crowds. And business has been growing for Lalit, 39, who has been running the eatery for more than five years. While business is good, he’s had a persistent worry – the frequent power outages in the neighborhood. He cannot afford inverters or diesel generators to provide back up power, and sans an alternate, business stops until the lights come back on.
Even I go to Chill and Grill with my team, Harshad Khadilkar, Zainul Charbiwala and Deva Seetharam, and Rajesh Kunnath and Deepak Ramakumar, and colleagues from our hardware partner, RadioStudio. We had an idea for Lalit.
By using discarded laptop batteries, we created a device that could power lights, fans and mobile phone chargers. The specific prototype we built was able to provide around 20 Watt-hours of energy. In other words, it can power a 5W DC light bulb for about four hours before running out of charge.

The device, targeted at the Bottom of the Pyramid market (a country’s poorest socio-economic group) made famous by the late management guru,C.K.Prahlad, would be particularly useful for rural or semi-urban populations of developing countries like India – and for those like Lalit, who cannot afford to buy high-end power backup options such as inverters or diesel generators. For example, in villages which only get a few hours of power every day, the device could be charged when power is available through a community charging center. It can then be used to run devices during nights when power might not be available, such as lights for children to study. Road-side vendors, who might not have access to power from the grid, could also charge needed devices before leaving home in the morning, and use them at their shops at night.

The prototype of the device was built with help from RadioStudio. It took four steps:

  • Source laptop battery packs through organized electronic waste (e-waste) collectors
  • Disassemble the packs to extract individual cells that could still deliver power
  • Connect re-usable cells together to build a refurbished battery pack
  • Build a box that contains a charging circuit for the pack of refurbished batteries, converters, and other electronics to power the external devices such as lights and fans.

We estimate the bill of material for the device to be about Rs1000 (about $US16.50) each, when compared to conventional backup solutions such as inverters and diesel generators which usually cost upwards of Rs 10,000 (about $US165). The pricing includes the enclosure, electronics, DC fan and an LED light.
Having installed the device at Chill and Grill, we found that it was able to provide about four hours of backup power when the batteries were fully charged.
Our team also believes that several variants of the device are possible depending on economic and technical feasibility, such as inclusion of a mechanical battery rack instead of a small battery pack; a low battery cut-off indicator; dead battery cell indicators; and the use of other types of battery packs such as cellphone batteries. And we’re also exploring solar energy charging.

The device attempts to mitigate the environmental and economic issues associated with e-waste by providing a means to re-use discarded batteries. In particular, if this technology is adopted commercially at a large scale, it can incentivize organized collection of e-waste. A large chunk of e-waste collection in India is still handled by the informal sector consisting of local garbage dealers or kabariwallas, which is currently unregulated and poses safety and environmental problems.

The device offers potential business opportunity for companies engaged in rural and semi-urban electrification missions. It doesn’t require much capital investment and is easy to build. It also provides a cleaner and potentially cheaper alternative than burning kerosene lamps, and is also compact, light weight, and portable. Most importantly, the device can power homes and communities at the “bottom of the pyramid” for whom access to reliable power is still a challenge.

Back at Chill and Grill, Lalit has been happy with the amount of light he can get from his device. My team is confident that the device will be made commercially available and widely adopted."

Policy paralysis ended in 2014, New growth story to begin in 2015

Sudhanshu MittalAs we enter the year 2015, India is sitting on the threshold of a major growth trajectory, courtesy credibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the way he is leading from the front on the twin fronts of governance and development. From “Make in India” to “Skill India”, the NDA government has launched a host of porgrammes to end the policy paralysis which we suffered under the UPA’s misrule.

Even the BJP’s detractors now agreee that the extraordinary level of energy and strong commitment demonstrated by the Prime Minister through his action-oriented approach are proving to be major catalysts for the turnaround of the economy. Fired by the passion for building a strong, propserous and equitable society, the Prime Minister and his colleagues have been working overtime to achieve the targets. The BJP’s emphatic victories in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Haryana and its brilliant performace in Jammu and Kashmir demonstrates the huge support of the people of the country for the performance of the Modi government.

One of the biggest achievements in the year 2014 for our country has been the “Change in work culture” brought single handedly by the Prime Minister as he has geared up the massive administrative structure of the country towards welfare of the common man. After a long time we have witnessed a significant increase in productivity of the Parliament despite attempts by the Opposition to disrupt the proceedings.

The commitment towards carrying out the much needed reforms was displayed by the ordinances promulgated after the Opposition tried to stall those legislations in the winter session of the parliament, which are likely to fuel India’s economic growth.

Whether it was Prime Minister’s US visit or the country’s fearless and nationalistic stand in climate change summit and World Trade Organisation, we witnessed a resurgent and confident India in 2014. Rarely has India displayed such confidence in the past at the global stage which it did under the leadership of Sh. Narendra Modi. All major international rating agencies have improved India’s ratings over the last six months leading to increasing inflow of foreign investments. The global business community is queuing up to make India their most preferred destination. The growth in the core industries is looking up, inflation has been tamed bringing much awaited relief to the common man and the time-bound implementation of programmes have become the hallmark of all government departments.

In 2015, we are going to witness many more aspects of the “New India” story which started unfolding after May 16, 2014 when BJP won a historic majority in Lok Sabha on its own. The intentions and the directions of this government are clear and their policies are focused on realising the dream of taking India to the top. Let us all join together hands to realise this dream and make year 2015 a milsestone in India’s journey towards becoming a role model for the rest of the world.

सरकार की प्रभावी नीतियों से मिला भारतीय अर्थव्यवस्था को नया जीवन

Sudhanshu Mittalमई 2014 में अभूतपूर्व जनादेश के साथ केंद्र में सत्तारूढ़ भाजपा नीत एनडीए सरकार ने प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेंद्र मोदी के नेतृत्व में जो अथक प्रयास किए हैं उनका फल सामने आ रहा है। यूपीए के दस साल के शासनकाल में मरणासन्न हो चुकी अर्थव्यवस्था को इतने कम समय में ही श्री मोदी और उनकी टीम ने एक सुनियोजित ढंग से जिस प्रकार जीवंत किया है वह अपने आप में एक उदाहरण है।

पिछले छः महीने के मोदी सरकार के कार्यकाल में सेंसेक्स के स्तर में लगभग 18 प्रतिशत का उछाल आया है। मंहगाई की बात करें तो यह इस समय पिछले दो साल के अब तक के न्यूनतम स्तर पर है। निवेशकों का भारत पर भरोसा बढ़ रहा है। प्रत्यक्ष विदेशी निवेश की दर में यूपीए के शासन काल की तुलना में ढाई से तीन गुना वृद्धि दर्ज की गई है। इस साल मई से सितंबर तक हर महीने लगभग साढ़े तीन अरब डाॅलर का प्रत्यक्ष विदेशी निवेश भारत में आया है। क्रेडिट रेटिंग के मामले में भी भारत की साख मजबूत हुई है। जब एनडीए की सरकार ने सत्ता संभाली थी तो उससे पूर्व स्टैंडर्ड एंड पुअर जैसी अंतर्राष्ट्रीय एजेंसी ने हमे नकारात्मक रेटिंग दी थी, अब इसी एजेंसी ने इस रेटिंग को सुधारा है। यूपीए के समय हमारी जीडीपी विकास दर पांच फीसदी से नीचे चली गई थी लेकिन इस वित्तीय वर्ष की पहली तिमाही में मोदी सरकार के प्रयासों के कारण जीडीपी विकास दर में सुधार शुरू हुआ और यह 5.7 प्रतिशत पर पहुंच गई।

अगस्त 2014 से लेकर अब तक सात बार पेट्रोल की कीमतें कम की गईं हैं, पिछले एक महीने में तीन बार डीजल की कीमतों में कटौती की जा चुकी है। रसोई गैस के सिलेंडर की कीमत में हाल ही में सीधे 113 रुपए की भारी कटौती की गई है। रसोई गैस की कीमत अब पिछले तीन साल में न्यूनतम स्तर पर पहुंच चुकी है। स्टील, बिजली, कोयला, रिफाइनरी उत्पाद सहित आठ प्रमुख औद्योगिक सेक्टरों में विकास दर अक्टूबर में बढ़कर 6.3 प्रतिशत हो गई है।

इन आंकड़ों से स्पष्ट है कि भारतीय अर्थव्यवस्था में एक सकारात्मक बदलाव आरंभ हो चुका है। यह साफ है कि मौजूदा सरकार की नीतियों और नीयत में पूरा सामंजस्य है जिसके कारण ही इतने कम समय में इतना बड़ा परिवर्तन संभव हो पाया है।