Sunday, January 22, 2012

That's all, Your honour!: Jan.15-21

1. " The problem, sources say, is that the logical order of the UID project has been back to front. " That line pretty much sums up the dire state in which the UID project is in right now. The parliamentary standing committee has recently rejected the UID bill - which effectively means the UID is defunct right now. And now they are fighting over who should be collecting biometric data! It was also strange to note that this extremely sensitive biometric data collection is being done by private agencies! And only now does the government realise the mess it is in. The Home Minister now wants to know who will be collecting this biometric data - and he has taken this matter to the Prime Minister. Our Prime Minister, as always will be clueless on this topic. We can be rest assured that the file will either gather dust in PMO or will be sent back with obscure recommendations. The UID project was started with a lot of hype and was also marketted as the solution to many evils in our society! And today, it's fate hangs in balance because of an inept government which was confused on the order of implementation! 

2. And we now discuss yet another monumental goof up by this UPA government. The army chief, General V.K.Singh, has approached the Supreme Court of India, challenging the government's order that his date of birth was in 1950 and not in 1951. Briefly, the controversy is this - "The General, when applying for admission to the NDA, has stated, incorrectly, that his YoB is 1950, when it should be written as 1951. This is a matter of record. 

Now, his matriculation certificate clearly states his YoB as 1951. This should have been taken into record in the Army, after due verification. Perhaps, also with an explanation from the officer. 

What has apparently happened is that in one Branch of the Army, the Military’s Secretary’s (MS) Branch, the YoB is recorded as 1950, in the other, the Adjutant General’s (AG) Branch, it is recorded as 1951. There has no reconciliation between these two Branches. The MS Branch is responsible for processing all matters regarding promotions/postings. The AG’s Branch is responsible for all other matters on Personnel Administration, ie Recruiting, Pay, Pensions, Welfare, etc "

This article on Centre Right India captures all sides of the arguments. The above summary has also been picked up from an excellent comment in the same blog. So essentially, every single document other that UPSC form shows 1951 as the year of birth. As per the article on CRI, the issue again came to the fore in 2006. In 2008, the general (then Lt. General) was asked to accept 1950 as his year of birth and was given 24 hours to comply. The UPA government knew all along that this controversy was brewing. Yet, it choose to do nothing. As with all crises, it chose to wait and watch. And then it continued to watch as this boiled into a bigger controversy. The general has apparently told the government that he is ready to retire in May, but the government has to accept 1951 as his year of birth. As always, the controversy brews. I guess there is no need to tell the kind of impact this whole thing will have on the morale of the Army. Amidst all this, defence minister, A.K.Anthony feels "sorry and sad" it seems! 

3. Campaigning for elections in 5 states has picked up full steam. All parties are busy with candidate selections, campaign planning etc. English media is busy talking about Rahul Gandhi and BJP for most of the time. Very little time is being devoted to SP and BSP in UP. No time is being devoted on these channels for elections in other states. If you watch them, you'd be shocked to know that 4 other states are going to elections along with UP! Accusations of nepotism are flying thick in Punjab. There have been cartoons that say "Congress family wants votes to oust Akali family :D". Manipur seems to be going the congress way, given the disarray in the opposition there. Goa's government seems to be mired in real estate corruption deals, so for now looks like it's going to be ousted. Anyways, for now, let's just wait and watch the campaigning by all parties. If possible, we will discuss more on these elections in another blogpost later. 

4. Jaipur Literary festival. Essentially this "festival" is a conglomeration of various authors from around India and the world. All of them come together and discuss/talk issues. Salman Rushdie was invited to come too. As always, Deoband demanded that he not be allowed. The Congress party, in tune with its muslim appeasement policy, immediately advises Salman rushdie not to come. He doesn't come. Deoband hailed it as a "victory for democracy". And to protest against this whole mindless objection, some authors read from his banned book "The Satanic Verses". Now since the book is banned, it is illegal to have a copy of that book and more so, to read from it in a public forum! So one of the reader, tweets saying "On advice, I have left India". This is the pathetic state in which the government handled this whole issue. 

5. And to end on a fully lighter note. Pakistan finds itself in a crisis again. Nothing new in that. The Army is unhappy with the government. The government is unhappy with the Army. The Supreme Court even summoned the Prime Minister. And the drama continues to play out repeatedly. No reprieve in sight for this self-made crisis! That's all, your honour! 


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