Jail for people selling bottled mineral water above the MRP

The new guideline by the central government to the Supreme Court of India states that the sale of mineral water higher than the maximum retail price (MRP) is an offence. Restaurants, hotels and multiplex owners will be fined or be jailed if they do not adhere to it.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs informed DNA that overpricing of packed water was against the Legal Metrology Act. This decision was made as an aftermath to the petition of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI). Increase in price has led to loss in income as service tax or excise duty for the government.  Ram Vilas Paswan, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister told the media that this offence would also include packed soft drinks.

CNN News 18 reports that as per section 36 of the act, people caught selling bottled water at dearer prices could be fined anything between 25, 000 to one lakh. They could also be jailed. Brands such as Bisleri, Kinley and Aquafina are known for their quality. Additionally consumers pay more money than other regular brands. This often adds to the revenue of hotels and restaurants, and does not justify the need to overcharge.  This was decided in consideration with the complaints received from the Members of Parliament, consumer organizations and general public.

Sources- News18, DNA India

Delhi hospital declares twins as dead, one found alive

Max hospital in Delhi declared premature twins as dead. They were wrapped in a polythene bag and handed over to their parents, Varsha and Ashish.

Tribune informs that police reports suggest that Varsha’s condition was serious and in her six months of pregnancy, the survival chances of the twins were bleak. She was initially at a nursing home at Paschim Vihar, and shifted to the hospital at Shalimar Bhag. She gave birth to a girl and a boy. While traveling to the crematorium to perform the last rites of both the infants, Ashish felt the boy was moving. They discovered that the infant was breathing. They immediately admitted the baby to a nursing home nearby in Pitampura.

Health Minister JP Nanda told reporters that Delhi government would look into the matter, as per instructions by the Centre. The incident will be probed and a preliminary report will be made available in three days.

NDTV mentioned that the boy has been kept on the ventilator, since critical medical care was needed. He would be kept under observation for three months. This would amount to one lakh for the first three days. It would cost 50 thousand each day on other days.  Max healthcare blamed the doctor for the blunder.

Sources- Tribune India, NDTV

 

Jaitley says Government wants betterment of all citizens

New Delhi: The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the government is committed to work for the betterment of every citizen while expressing his satisfaction over the conclusion of 10th bipartite wage negotiations between the Public Sector Banks (PSBs) and their employees.

“Our government is committed for the betterment of lives of every citizen, including government employees. The 10th bipartite settlement between PSBs and their employees reinforces the government’s commitment to better lives and working environment for the people. I am indeed happy for every bank employee on his wage hike,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post.

 

The management agreed to a 15 percent hike in wages and also to the demand for a holiday on second and fourth Saturdays, at an extra burden of Rs. 4725 crore per year. The banks would work full-day on remaining Saturdays instead of the current half day practice.

The demand by the unions was for 19 percent hike in wages and had threatened to go on a four day strike from February 25.

 

This wage revision would benefit 8.5 lakh employees in 45 banks also including a few foreign lenders and the old generation private sector banks.

 

Wage revision for PSU banks is done every five years and the revision was previously done in 2007.

It’s all about loving your country

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Movies keep the spirits high | Image source: HT

Mangal Pandey – The Rising. Chak De India! Peepli (Live). Mumbai Meri Jaan. Aarakshan. D-Day. Satyagraha. What is common among these movies? All these films are about nationalism, patriotism or highlight a social and economical issue of our country during the time period shown in the movie. Another important thing which is common about these films is that all of them were released in August; most of them during the week of 15th August.

Indians celebrate Independence Day on August, 15 every year, film makers and producers use this date to release their films during this season when the feeling of love for ones country in high.

Mangal Pandey – The Rising was released on 12th August, 2005. The movie was not without its flaws but it was one of the first in depth movie made on a lesser known freedom fighter who had an influence on both, the Indians and the British. Scenes such as the fight between an English officer and Aamir, when the former forcibly tries to molest Rani soon after the mujra and the climax of the film, when Mangal Pandey (Aamir Khan) is publicly hanged are some of the scenes which are made to make the audience feel extremely patriotic and very often successfully do so.

Chak De! India was released on 10th August, 2007. When the women’s hockey team wins the world cup; when a foreigner is hoisting the Indian flag one is spellbound and feels the love for his/her nation more than ever before.

Aarakshan was based on the reservations in India and social and political upheaval it caused in India. Though not appreciated by everyone, the movie did well in select cities and amongst select audiences.

These movies are very strategically released around Independence Day as the common Indian is exposed to patriotic messages during this season. These messages are of various kinds and are delivered in several ways. Schools are celebrating Independence Day. Politicians and political parties are sending out messages about freedom and independence. Advertisers also use diversity of our culture, patriotism as their central theme in the advertisements they make. Reality shows on TV like Indian Idol and Jhalak Dikhla Jaa also have Independence Day specials; episodes in which the contestants are made to sing and dance on patriotic songs or have the central theme of their act related to independence and freedom. As the audience is already on a high dose of patriotism, these movies do extremely well in the box office.

These films also do extremely well with the NRI audience as they are away from home and these films make them feel closer to their homeland. They feel a great sense of pride when an Indian wins in a match or defeats the British or simple celebrates Karva Chauth.

This year, there are two major releases D-Day and Satyagraha. While D-Day has already released and done well on the box, Satyagraha is yet to release.

D-Day which seems to be the desi version of Zero Dark Thirty was highly appreciated by the audience as well as the critics. However, D-Day maybe more than just being a film showing love and loyalty to the country. It would not be too wrong to call D-Day jingoistic in its script and execution. However, one could see numerous praises for the movie on twitter and facebook. According to most of the people, the movie was a “must watch”.

Satyagraha which is yet to be released (on 30th August, 2013) is about an uprising of the middle class against corruption and injustice prevalent in the system of the country today. It is about a spontaneous movement to challenge the status quo of the society.

Patriotic films in India have always told their audience about the hardships and the sacrifices of the freedom fighters and national heroes of the current times. They have inspired people time and again to do something good for their nation.

The top ten patriotic films** of the last decade in Indian cinema are:

  1. Border
  2. LOC Kargil
  3. Chak De! India
  4. Mangal Pandey – The Rising
  5. Rang De Basanti
  6. A Wednesday
  7. Lakshaya
  8. Lagaan
  9. Swades
  10. The Legend of Bhagat Singh

Gehlot being framed on Facebook: Congress

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot | Image: rediff.com

The Pradesh Congress Committee [PCC] in Rajasthan, hit back on Wednesday against the remarks made by the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP]. A day after Gehlot was accused by the BJP of buying ‘Likes’ for his official Facebook page the state department’s IT team launched a full-scale investigation into the matter.

A BJP spokesperson claimed that the chief minister’s official Facebook page ‘Apka Mukhyamantri‘ (Your Chief Minister) had 1,69,077 likes till June one and it shot up to to 2,14,639 by June 30.”This is a ‘social media scam’ involving Gehlot. Some IT companies sell fake ‘Likes’ and it is apparent with its sudden rise that unfair practice to gain popularity on Facebook was involved,” party spokesperson Jyoti Kiran said in a statement.

While the chief minister [CM] himself refrained from speaking out over the debacle, other members from his party alleged the BJP of sabotage. “The BJP is obsessed with its social media image and we are certain that it (the Likes from Istanbul) is their doing”, PCC spokesperson Archana Sharma claimed. “We suspect the BJP must have got some IT firms to do this at an attempt to frame the CM.”

Several officials who were in-charge of handling Gehlot’s Facebook account and even some of his blogs, that the sharp influx of ‘Likes’ left them surprised as well. Most of these ‘Likes’ seemed to have originated from Istanbul in Turkey. In an official statement, Lokesh Sharma, administrator of Gehlot’s official page on Facebook said, “There is no connection between the number of  ‘Likes’ and ‘People talking about this’ features.” He also said that the latter showed the number of people visiting the page and was not directly related to the Likes. “People anywhere in the world can visit the page. One need not buy likes from Istanbul to be the most talked about person.

Railway Link or Pacifier?

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi inaugurate the rail link between Banihal to Qazigund in the Kashmir valley | Image Courtesy: indiathesedays.blogspot.com
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi inaugurate the rail link between Banihal to Qazigund in the Kashmir valley | Image Courtesy: indiathesedays.blogspot.com

Kashmir is one of the country’s biggest problems. There are two other countries fighting to gain area in the region, even if it is a square kilometer. Many films were made in India constantly reminding its audience what an integral part it was and still remains till date. And yet somehow, it took our ‘beloved’ politicians over six decades after the independence to actually connect it with the rest of the country. A railway link that connects the regions between Banihal in Jammu and Baramulla in Kashmir has been inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last Tuesday, despite the militant attack against 8 soldiers in the territory. Kashmir, a 224,739 sq km region was the reason for three major wars resulting in the death of thousands of soldiers on either sides of the border. A region considered to be so important to us, has nearly waited for 66 years to have a proper commute to mainland India.

Kashmiris who have been witnesses to conflict of all forms including partition and frequent gun fire have a right to be skeptical. Going through hassle and facing the wrath from the army has been a part of their everyday routine. Yet, their needs are seldom recognized. India, of course, wants Kashmir as its element, but only as a lucrative piece of real estate.

It is high time the Kashmiris got what they deserved. The discrimination Kashmiris was clearly evident in Sonia Gandhi’s speech during the inauguration of the railway line. The entire time she was referring to the Kashmiris, she used the words “Them”, “Their” etc. and while referring to the people of India, she used the words “We”, “Our”. Here an excerpt from her speech “Even as WE do understand that there are genuine concerns, but feel that the issues can be resolved in a democratic manner through negotiation and dialogue. I want to tell the people of this state that WE understand THEIR sentiments and believe that OUR democracy has a scope that can solve THEIR problems”.

This clearly shows that although physical barriers have been removed, the mental barriers still exist.

High and mighty?

Narayan-Pargaien
Image source: tehelka.com

It’s sometimes astounding to note the unending magnitude of human stupidity and lack of common sense. It’s extremely disturbing when someone indulges in acts of this unending stupidity and brings a new level of degradation and shame to your profession. Recently a video of a reporter in Uttarakhand has gone viral on Youtube and Facebook. No, it’s not because he did a remarkable job in “reporting” the events; it is because he was unabashedly perched on the shoulders of a survivor of the floods as he gave a Piece to Camera (PTC). Watch the video here.

Narayan Pargaien has been a journalist for the past 18 years and has been with News Express for two years now. One would think a journalist gathers the sensitivity and the judgement that are expected out of a reporter after so many years. Apparently, so wasn’t the case with Pargaien as he claims to have complied with what the survivor insisted him to do, as he never received any visitors of his ‘level’.

In an interview given to News Laundry, Pargaien says that the survivor took him to his house and asked him to report the damages he had suffered. Out of gratitude and respect, he offered to carry Pargaien on his shoulders as they crossed the river, and in return he gave him Rs. 50 and some food.

Upon receiving flak for his visibly insensitive and disgraceful act and having the gall to come on TV, he defends himself by saying that the cameraman was not supposed to shoot below his shoulders and the survivor, who remains nameless, was not supposed to be in the frame. “The cameraman almost tried to sabotage my career by shooting from that distance and angle and releasing the video mocking this whole incident, and making me the villain”, he told News Laundry.

The survivor stands under the weight of the big-hearted reporter, silent and watchful, stripped off his humility under the weight of the “gratefulness” of the messiah straddling his shoulders. People like Pargaien seem to be of the opinion that people of his ‘level’ have the right to walk over everyone who is less fortunate than them. He could obviously, not get his clothes wet in the mucky river waters, because that could endanger his life, couldn’t it? He talks to the viewers, oblivious to the irony of what he is saying and the fact that he has crossed all the lines of journalistic ethics.

Have we become so coarse that in order to do our jobs we do not hesitate to affront someone else’s self-respect? While there are some people like Pushpa Chauhan who open community kitchens to feed 800 people a day, there are people like Mr. Pargaien with their complete lack of understanding or compassion who are the so-called noble professionals. Such a pity that journalists like these take journalism to an all new low.