World Radio Day celebrated on February 13

13 February is observed annually as World Radio Day by the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), since their international broadcasting services were established on this day. This is to bring to the forefront the significance of the medium in the personal lives of people. This year UNESCO aims to celebrate the role of radio in sports.

UNESCO has suggested various strategies to promote sports. It wants to invite local sporting teams from clubs and schools to play. Introduce more women broadcasters for sports and cover more women based sporting events. Facilitate talk shows based on sports and script a radio drama or documentary that caters to sports. Organize on air and on ground activities along with advertisers for the goodwill of sports and compose music that sings the glory of sports.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been an avid promoter of Radio through his programme, “Mann Ki Baath”. He wished all those who are associated with it. This includes those who work in the industry and all the listeners. He looks forward to it being used to educate, discover and entertain people.

Radio might be referred to as a humble cousin in the media industry, but in the recent part this has seen a surge in listeners, creativity and revenue. It is cost effective and provides a voice to people. Such a concept is seen through community radio, a platform wherein people from communities come together to discuss about cultural practices and issues that are relevant to their community.

All India Radio is a huge radio broadcasting enterprise in the world. It has radio stations, covering 92% of India and 99% of total population. Programmes are aired in 23 languages and 146 dialects.

Radio is a humble medium with a huge potential. This needs to be both understood and tapped.

When power gags the Press: A reflection on the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case

Gagging was a term prominent during the times when British ruled India. Then came Congress leader Indira Gandhi’s time who also gagged the press. Last year in November, this term came to the surface yet again with the CBI Court disallowing the press to report a case.

This is the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. On November 29, 2017; following an application by advocate Wahab Khan, a ban was put on media (print, electronic and social) to report this case, though they could attend the proceeding.

Courts generally allow such in-camera i.e. private proceedings only if there is a rape case or a case concerning national security. But in this case according to  the order by Special Judge S.J. Sharma, “The publication may create security problem for the accused persons, prosecution witnesses, the defence team and the prosecutor as well.”

Principles generally followed by court have been compromised, in this case.

Following the gagging, nine journalists filed a petition against the order. Journalists from reputed media organisations like The Wire, Dailyo, Scroll, The Free Press Journal, etc. stood before the SC in solidarity.

But the damage has already been done.

In August last year when Inspector General of Gujarat DG Vanzara and IPS officer Dinesh MN were absolved from the charges. While from December, 19 of the eyewitnesses have either retracted their statements or denied stating anything, according to a report by The Indian Express.

The case has been witnessing a fall since the BJP came to power. First there were changes in the judges, then Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabbudin Sheikh withdraw the petition challenging discharge of Amit Shah, and then the recent developments from 2017.

The case is complicated because of many reasons. One, because it concerns encounter killing of an alleged terrorist and extortionist mafia Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kausar Bi and Sheikh’s close aide Tulsiram Prajapati. Two, Sohrabuddin according to the Gujarat and Rajasthan Police wanted to kill the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi. Three, one of the accused in the case is the then, Minister of Home for Gujarat and now, ruling party chairman Amit Shah.

The lopsided and strange episodes in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case has raised a question about not just media freedom but also about the meaning of justice in our country.

Sources: The Indian Express, Scroll, The Wire


India’s 1 per cent holds 73 per cent of the country’s wealth

In a show of worsening income inequality, a new survey proved that the richest 1 per cent in India cornered 73% of the wealth generated in the country. Additionally, the survey, released by the international rights group Oxfam, concluded that the wealth of 67 crore Indians, making up the population’s poorest, rose by just 1 per cent.

The global situation is even grimmer, where 82 per cent of the wealth generated worldwide went to the 1 percent, while 3.7 billon people, accounting for the poorest half, saw zero increase in their wealth. Last year, however, India’s richest 1 per cent held 58% of the country’s total wealth, higher than the global 50.This annual Oxfam survey is discussed in detail at the World Economic Forum Annual meeting, under the topic of rising income and gender inequality.

According to this year’s survey, the wealth of the richest 1 per cent in India increased by over 20.9 lakh crore during 2017.”2017 saw an unprecedented increase in the number of billionaires, at a rate of one every two days. Billionaire wealth has risen by an average of 13 per cent a year since 2010 — six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2 per cent,” it said.

Talking of gender, the survey showed that women workers often find themselves at the bottom, and that nine out of 10 billionaires are men.

Sources: The Wire, Business Today

India beats Pakistan in the Blind Cricket Tournament final

Blind Cricket World Cup: India Beat Arch-Rivals Pakistan
Image Source: Twitter

India retained the Blind Cricket World Cup after beating rival Pakistan by two wickets in the final match played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium  in UAE on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

Pakistan scored 308 runs at the loss of eight wickets in 40 overs, after they were sent to bat first by India, who won the toss.

Post the victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the team for their achievement through his twitter handle, “Congratulations to our cricket team for winning the 2018 Blind Cricket World Cup! They make the nation proud and inspire every Indian with their game as well as phenomenal attitude. True champions!”

Pakistan made it to the final after defeating Sri Lanka by 156 runs while India beat Bangladesh by seven wickets to book their place in the final. India has remained unbeaten in this tournament. Deepak Malik and Rambir took two wickets for the country, while Sunil Ramesh snapped one. Pakistan reached the 200-run mark in 27 overs after losing five wickets.

ICC CEO David Richardson along with former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas and former Indian wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani had been invited by the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council to witness the final.

Sources: NDTV Sports, Times of India 

Moshe, survivor of 26/11, arrives in Mumbai after 9 years Holtzberg, the Israeli child who survived the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, arrived in Mumbai today, to visit the Nairman House in the city.

This is Moshe’s first visit to the city since his parents were gunned down by the terrorist during the siege at the Nairman House by ten terrorists in November 2008.

On his first day in the city, the 11-year-old boy first visited Taj Mahal hotel and then proceeded towards the Nairman House.  He was accompanied by his grandparents. More than 100 Indian and Israeli security personnel were deployed for the visit.

Moshe along with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will inaugurate a memorial dedicated to the victims of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks at Nairman House on January 18. The memorial is expected to be partially complete by the 10th anniversary of the attack.

According to Moshe’s grandfather Shimon Rosenberg, Mose will fly back to Israel with Israeli Prime Minister on January 19.

The visit comes six months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Israel where he met the young boy and extended an open invitation.

INS Kalvari and the Birth of Indian Submarines

On December 8 this year, President Ram Nath Kovind awarded President’s color, the highest honour to a military unit, to the Submarine Arm of the Indian Naval Services. But it was back in 1956 that the origin of submarine arm began.

Eight years post independence Pakistan was building its military might. United States announced to transfer naval support to Pakistan by supplying One Cruise, Four Destroyers and some Submarines. Looking at the growing closeness of Pakistan with the US and China, Indian Navy recognised the need to develop anti-submarine equipments and a strong warfare resilience against the neighbouring powers Pakistan and China.

Indian Navy established Torpedo and Anti-submarine School and Tactical School focussed more on theoretical knowledge, but lacked practical training. INS planned to setup a submarine trained cadre of 38 Officers and 65 Sailors. In 1961, the first batch of this cadre was thus sent to Britain for practical training under the Royal Navy.

In 1965, Russia offered to supply India with four submarines, one submarine depot, two lady ship tanks and five patrol boats. From 1967, the four submarines, INS Kalvari, Karanj, Khanderi and Kursura, started arriving at the Indian shore. INS Kalvari, the first one, was commissioned in December 1967. Till 1990, India had a total of 17 submarines.

By November 2017, the count of submarines with Indian Navy has dipped down to 14 – nine Sindhughosh class (diesel electric powered), four Shishumar class (diesel electric powered) and one Arihant class (nuclear powered) submarine. With the commissioning and reincarnation of INS Kalvari on December 14 this year, we now have a strength of 15 submarines, short of 2 submarines by 1990 count.

Project 75 and Project 75I of the Indian Navy is aimed to improve the naval strength of the country by commissioning 12 more submarines. Six submarines made under Project 75 would be made in collaboration with a French company. While the next six submarines under Project 75I would be made indigenously.

INS Kalvari, the first Scorpene class submarine for the country, is the first submarines under Project 75. These are being made by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilder Limited in partnership with French company M/S Naval Group.

The submarine is one step forward for the country’s armed forces. One, because it comes with state-of-the-art Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System that allows it to remain undetected underwater for 21 days. This makes it even more efficient than nuclear-powered submarines. Two, it comes with Exocet anti-ship missile, manufactured by M/s Naval Group, which is the best technology available to the world. This missile is an advantage because it remains undetected till it reaches the target.

This anti submarine warfare is also a way ahead for Make in India programme since it is being produced in India with aide of an Indian company. And also because of technological support of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation).

DRDO has developed Varunastra, a torpedo with range of 40 kms, for Kalvari to enable launch attack. Alongwith this DRDO has also developed an Advanced Indigenous Distress SONAR System for Submarines (AIDSSS). The organisation is also developing indigenous AIP system for the country.

Project 75 is not a mere horse trade for Indian Navy. But it is an attempt at strengthening the naval warfare of the country. Raveen Janu, Associate Fellow at Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) calls submarines the ultimate stealth weapons. “Despite advances in sonar technology over the decades, detecting, tracking and targeting submarines remains extremely difficult, particularly in the Indian Ocean where the salinity of the seas and the presence of thermal zones of variable water temperature, make submarine detection extremely difficult,” he shares on the official website of CLAWS. Technological novice is a priority today.

INS Sindhushastra being the last submarine inducted by the Indian Navy in 2000, the development of anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare has become a requisite for India.

Modi concludes Gujarat campaign with ‘Vikas’ narrative, flies from Sabarmati in a seaplane

With the second phase of Gujarat Elections due on December 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded the election campaign by visiting the Ambaji Mandir in Banaskantha district via a seaplane. The single-engine Quest Kodiak airplane, that Modi travelled through on December 12, is the first seaplane in India.

The flight that became the ultimate show of ‘vikas’ narrative of Modi government’s policies took around 36 minutes to reach Dharoi dam from Sabarmati riverfront. Operation of amphibian planes is part of central government’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) that is meant to boost connectivity with the unserved/underserved regions of the country in an affordable manner.

Like previous campaigns of the Prime Minister in Mehsana, Vadodara, and Panchmahal, where he talked about various dvelopment initiatives like Mudra Yojana and Startup India, Banaskantha visit also became a show of development agenda of the BJP government.

Flying over the Sabarmati though was the second option for the BJP after Gujarat Police disallowed the party to hold election rally in Ahmedabad, citing undue traffic jams. Both Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi were supposed to hold rallies in different parts of the city.

On his official twitter handle, PM posted, “Seaplane services can also be helpful during times of medical emergencies. Those needing even quicker access to medical care and those living in remote areas stand to gain a lot.”

Sources- NDTV, Financial Express