INDIA FIRST A MEASURE OF GST UNDER TRIAL THE DILEMMA OF DELHI

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1 IF RNI REGD NO. ORIENG/2004/13647 VOLUME 14, ISSUE 10 FORTNIGHTLY INDIA FIRST S P E A K S Y O U R M I N D 16 JULY 2018 ` 30 GOODWILL HUNTING From raising health coverage for women to hearing out his state s farmers, Naveen Patnaik is making all the right moves UNDER TRIAL While the mysteriously protracted case of his wife Sunanda Pushkar s death has returned to haunt Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, it implicates at present the system more than anything or anybody else A MEASURE OF GST A year after its implementation, how has the Modi government's Goods and Services Tax served the nation so far? NATIONAL SHAME India has challenged a poll ranking it the most dangerous country in the world for women, but the battle of perception has been lost THE DILEMMA OF DELHI What good has come of the Supreme Court ruling over the power tussle between the AAP administration and the BJP-led Centre in the national capital?

2 CUTTACK : CANTONMENT ROAD, OPPOSITE DCP OFFICE PHONE : / / BHUBANESWAR : LALCHND MARKET COMPLEX, UNIT - III PHONE : / 16 / 17 / 18 BHUBANESWAR - BIJU PATNAIK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

3 FROM THE EDITOR S DESK Only if our political parties were focused on the public s well-being more than their own electoral goals, India could be a much better place A QUESTION OF INTENTION By SUNJOY HANS Editor-in-Chief Upon the completion of a year since the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was implemented by the Narendra Modi government as the biggest economic reform since the end of the Raj, there was much national discourse over how and whether the much-vaunted new tax regime had delivered the goods. The BJP-led NDA government and the Congress-led Opposition took their respective expected stands, but public opinion over the subject was varied. While the big fish of Indian industry gave an overall thumbs-up, smalltime traders seemed to be a little less positive what with their fair share of misgivings and grievances pertaining to the GST regime. As far as expert opinion was concerned, financial gurus and economists continued to be divided down the middle over whether the Modi administration s version of the GST was indeed the one that could turn around the economy by making taxation a more transparent and less onerous affair for smooth functioning of businesses even as generating more revenue for the nation. However, there were very few who questioned the government s positive intentions behind the introduction of the GST. However, according to many political observers, the same could not be said of a few other issues that have made news of late. Take the long-drawn-out power tussle between the Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP-led Centre, for instance, which seems to be never-ending. The drama accompanying the nine-day-long dharna of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers at the Lieutenant General s office had finally seemed to end with the capital s bureaucrats calling off their unofficial strike against the AAP ministers last month. Only, it did not. Despite a Supreme Court ruling in its favour this month (detailed in the cover package), the Kejriwal government continues to squabble with the Centre over control of New Delhi s bureaucrats, while many developmental projects and schemes remain halted all at the expense of the city s residents, for no fault of theirs Similarly prolonged has been the Sunanda Pushkar death case. Many experts in the media have wondered whether it actually took our investigative authorities four years to come to the conclusion that her husband, senior Congress parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor, had a role to play in her untimely and unfortunately mysterious demise or could Tharoor be a victim of a political witch-hunt timed with to the 2019 general elections. The latter option, some say, can under no circumstance be ruled out given that there seemed to be little to no progress made on the case which has come to be defined (or undone, rather) by contradictory probe findings since its inception for well over the past three years. Meanwhile, it has been six years to the Nirbhaya gang-rape case, and the perpetrators have only now been sent to the gallows thanks to yet another commendable ruling by the Supreme Court but the country continues to see a disturbingly high incidence of crime against its women. Only if our political parties were focused on the public s well-being more than their own electoral goals, India could be a much better place. n 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 3

4 INDIA FIRST S P E A K S Y O U R M I N D CONTENTS Editor-in-Chief Sunjoy Hans [ Consulting Editor Pankaj Kumar Associate Editor Siddhartha Tripathy Principal Correspondent Prakash Mehta Bhubaneswar Correspondent Anup Patnaik Senior Special Correspondent Kabita Dash General Manager Bimal Ku. Bhanjdeo Legal Advisors Yasobant Das Orissa Correspondent H.K. Rath (Bapun) Delhi Correspondent Samita Chaudhary Special Correspondents Tarun Khanduja, Ashok Mehta Production Head Debabrata Mishra Assistant Art Director Prabhakar Hota General Manager Finance Niranjan Das Owned by Sri Jagannath Publications Pvt. Ltd. 4th Floor, Lalchand Market Complex, Unit-III, Station square, Bhubaneswar Editorial Office 4th Floor, Lalchand Market Complex, Unit-III, Station square, Bhubaneswar 08 COVER STORY A MEASURE OF GST A year after its implementation, how has the Modi government's Goods and Services Tax served the nation so far? 30 COMING UNDONE The Punjab chapter of Aam Aadmi Party is in a POLITICS shambles, and the party only has itself to blame 32 PUNJAB AMARINDER S BIG HEADACHE Punjab s drug problem of old has reared up its ugly head once again, leaving the ruling Congress party and its chief minister much to answer for Marketing & Sales Office 190, Pratap Nagar, Mayur Vihar, Phase - 1 Delhi Printed at Batra Art Press, A-41, Naraina Industrial Area, New Delhi All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited. Printed and published by Sunjoy Hans on behalf of the Sri Jagannath Publications Pvt. Ltd. RNI Regd No. ORIENG/2004/13647 Volume 14, Issue 10, 16 July 2018, Fortnightly 33 KASHMIR THE MILLS ARE CHURNING Rumours could be harbingers of real news yet again in the Valley 34 ADVENTURE NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH How teenager Shivangi took girl power to new heights with her conquest of the Everest 4 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

5 In a nutshell Bitter Tweet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was viciously trolled on Twitter recently over the controversy in connection with passports issued to an interfaith couple from Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow. The minister received offensive tweets for helping the Hindu-Muslim couple and taking action against an official who allegedly harassed them. While Swaraj responded to the abuse with utmost grace and dignity, it was surprising to see only two leaders from her party coming forward to support her. What is even more surprising is that only recently many in the BJP had shown sympathy when a Congress Jab from Jaipur Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually began the BJP's poll campaign in Rajasthan and took a dig at the Congress, calling it a "bailgadi" because several of its leaders and former ministers were out on bail. Modi was on a day-long visit to Jaipur to inaugurate several infrastructure projects worth over Rs 2,100 crore in Rajasthan and address the beneficiaries of various welfare schemes of the central and state governments in Rajasthan that faces assembly elections later this year. Launching a scathing attack on the Congress, the Prime Minister said the work being done now by the BJP in the state and at the Centre could have been done earlier. "You are aware of the intention of the previous governments. It is because of their intentions, the people are now calling the Congress a 'bail gadi'. Many senior Congress leaders and former ministers are out on bail," Modi said at a public meeting. n spokesperson s daughter was being threatened on social media. Apart from Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, no other leader from the BJP has come forward to show solidarity with Swaraj. On the other hand, many opposition leaders such as Mamata Bannerjee, Ram Vilas Paswan and Naveen Patnaik have condemned the trolls and spoken in her favour. n Debutante Duo Rumour has it that Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad's daughterin-law Aishwarya Rai, wife of his elder son Tej Pratap Yadav, is all set to enter politics in Bihar. There is speculation that Aishwarya will be fielded from Saran in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Her father has represented an Assembly seat in Saran district in the Bihar assembly for over two decades. It has been two decades when Lalu's school dropout wife Rabri Devi joined politics, followed by her two brothers Sadhu and Subhash Yadav. Lalu's eldest daughter Misa Bharti and his sons Tej Pratap and Tejashwi also joined politics formally in 2014 and Lalu Prasad is currently out on bail for medical treatment after his conviction in fodder scam cases. Another debut is on the cards as Tej Pratap 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 5

6 recently unveiled the poster of his debut movie "Rudra - The Avtar" via his Twitter handle. This is first time Tej Pratap, 29, is acting in a Hindi film as a hero. Earlier, he had acted in a Bhojpuri film. n Testing Times In a bid to tackle the drug menace in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh recently ordered mandatory dope test of all government employees, including police personnel, from the time of their recruitment through every stage of their service. The CM has directed the Chief Secretary to work out the modalities and have the necessary notification issued in this regard. The Congress government in Punjab is being questioned by the opposition parties for not doing enough to eradicate the drugs menace in Punjab. However, Leader of Opposition (LoP) and senior AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira has questioned the recent order. In a letter to Amarinder, Khaira questioned the logic behind the dope test order and said that crores of rupees would be wasted in the entire exercise which would divert the attention from the core problem of drug abuse in Punjab. n Flying into a Row The Odisha government has raised questions over the air travel bills of newly-appointed Governor Professor Ganeshi Lal and sought details on the issue. The General Administration department has sought an explanation over the Governor's visit to Sirsa, Haryana, via New Delhi and back to Bhubaneswar from June by using a jet aircraft and a helicopter. In a letter written to the Special Secretary to the Governor on July 4, Deputy Secretary in the General Administration department Indira Behera asked for the reason for hiring the two aerial vehicles. As per the invoices of M/s Pinnacle Air Pvt Limited mentioned in the letter, the cost of hiring the aircraft has been estimated at Rs lakh. Similarly, an amount of Rs 5 lakh has been incurred for the Governor's visit to Sirsa from New Delhi in a chopper on June 10. n A Divided House Congress President Rahul Gandhi met party leaders from West Bengal recently amid divisions in the state unit over allying with the Left or Trinamool Congress for the Lok Sabha polls next year and reports that some more party MLAs could defect to the ruling Trinamool. Informed sources said 41 leaders from the state, including MLAs, MPs, former MPs and chiefs of frontal organisations, met Gandhi and expressed their opinions. While a sizeable section of the party, which includes Chowdhary and Dasmunsi, favours joining hands with the Left parties, there are also leaders who feel that allying with Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool will be more beneficial for the Congress. The Congress leadership is expected to take a long-term view of its prospects before taking a final decision on allying with the Left or the Trinamool. Congress has seen defections to the Trinamool and there are reports that some more party MLAs could join it later this month. n 6 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

7 POLITICALLY INCORRECT A fortnightly update on the faux pas of the movers and shakers of Indian politics There is a wave of happiness in Tripura and you should also enjoy this wave. You should also be happy. Look at my face... I am so happy Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb's reaction to a question on mob attacks in Assam The status of minority [for Muslims] should be withdrawn... A two-child policy should be there to control their population. The money collected from taxpayers should not be spent [only] on them, it should instead be utilised for the welfare of all poor and needy people Former Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia Christians were 'angrez', hence they didn't join in the Indian freedom struggle. India was not freed by a Hindu or a Muslim, we fought as one for our Independence Mumbai Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Gopal Shetty 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 7

8 Cover Story A MEASURE OF GST A year after its implementation, how has the Modi government's Goods and Services Tax served the nation so far? As the beginning of this month marked the first anniversary of the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), national opinion appeared to be divided over whether this supposedly biggest economic reform since Independence was a good idea. The Narendra Modi government clearly sought to reaffirm that it was. On the morning of July 1, Prime Minister Modi projected a jubilant mood. "I congratulate the people of India on the special occasion of GST completing one year. A vibrant example of cooperative federalism and a 'Team India' spirit, GST has brought a positive change in the Indian economy. #GSTForNewIndia," he tweeted, before sharing a poster titled "One Year of GST" which listed down the achievements of the One Nation, One Tax regime. "GST has brought growth, simplicity 8 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

9 and transparency. It is boosting formalisation, enhancing productivity, furthering 'Ease of Doing Business', benefitting small and medium enterprises," Modi wrote alongside the poster. Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal followed suit. "(I) Congratulate the nation on completion of one year of GST -- the most transformative tax reform in India ever. One Nation, One Tax and One Market due to GST has led to economic growth, simplicity for people and transparency in the economy," he tweeted, presenting his own take on GST benefits for India. Even President Ram Nath Kovind enunciated how the GST s implementation has made India a more tax-compliant society and easier to conduct business in. The President suggested that the new tax regime has helped India achieve many goals including creation of a common national platform for registration, duty payments, filing of returns and refund of taxes. SCARY PICTURE While the ruling regime was patting itself on the back over its GST decision, the Opposition was just as scathing in its criticism of the same. "It remains Grossly Scary Tax' for millions of traders, shopkeepers & businessmen. No wonder GST's more popular description is Gabbar Singh Tax' than Genuine and Simple Tax' that it was meant to be," said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala on Twitter. "A 'Single Tax GST', as promised, remains a pipe dream'. Multiple returns, multiple rules and multiple tax slabs have made the life of an ordinary trader nightmarish," he added. Surjewala said: "To determine GST itself is frightening. Steps- 1. Every taxpayer has to search a Code Book' running into 438 pages with 18,036 categories 2. Out of 7 tax slabs, applicable slab has to be found 3. Add all state cesses 4. Add supply chain incentives 5. Calculate GST." "Even after one year, only GSTR-1 form exists. Government failed to notify GSTR-2 and GSTR-3. Till that happens, bills won't match and refund would remain a nightmare. "Also, GSTR-3B is a temporary form. How can government continue to stretch it at all?" he asked. The Congress leader also said: "Out of 111 lakh registered businesses under GST, not more then 50 per cent have been able to file GST returns." "Ambiguity, complication, deficiency of IT infrastructure remains a major challenge. GST collections remain at an average of 90K crore against the target of 1.25K crore per month," he tweeted. On the occasion of the anniversary Finance Minister and Congress leader P. Chidambaram told the media: "The design, structure, infrastructure backbone, rate or rates and implementation of GST were so flawed that GST has become a bad word among business persons, traders, exporters and common citizens." He said the only section that appeared to be happy about the GST was the tax administration that had acquired extraordinary powers that frighten the average business person and the common citizen. "Beginning with the GST Constitution Amendment Bill, every step taken by the BJP government with regard to the GST was deeply flawed. "The truth is that GST was thrust upon an unprepared nation," he said, adding that the tax administrators were untrained. "It is an undeniable fact that GST has not yet had a positive impact on economic growth," the Congress leader said. BIG THUMBS-UP However, India Inc. did not quite seem to agree with that perspective. Releasing a survey of over 200 businesses, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said that 83 per cent of respondents saw the new indirect tax regime a step in the right direction and 65 percent are satisfied with its overall implementation, despite some teething problems. "A year into the implementation of GST, there is great optimism among businesses about the impact of GST on the economy. Satisfaction was high 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 9

10 across the spectrum on GST implementation issues as well," a CII statement read. GST implementation led to increased efficiency for businesses by reducing their transportation time, on account of absence of state barriers, the report said. "GST has had a moderating impact on retail price inflation, which may have risen to higher level without the new tax regime," CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said in the statement. One-third of the survey respondents witnessed a downward movement in the wholesale prices of their supplies, while nearly 30 percent saw a fall in the retail prices of supplies. A majority of respondents witnessed no change in their supply prices. "The survey also indicates a positive impact of GST on employment as well as on the demand for goods and services. Given that it is the biggest tax reform of independent India, one must compliment the government on its efficient and transparent administration despite some 'teething problems'," Banerjee said. On product coverage under GST, a majority of 87 per cent of respondents said the products manufactured by them have been listed or classified under GST, and were largely satisfied with the tax rates and the exemptions provided on the supply of goods and services. According to the report, many businesses reported satisfaction with the process for payment of taxes and interest under the GST and felt that the maintenance of records is also simpler. Respondents also showed a high level of comfort with the provisions on valuation. "The survey has confirmed the fact that filing of returns and payment of tax is much easier and simpler under the new regime, as also the maintenance of records," Banerjee said. RETAIL DETAIL Regarding demand, 78 per cent of the respondents witnessed either an increase, or no change, in the demand for goods post-gst implementation, while the same figure was 90 per cent for services. The survey was based on responses from over 200 firms of different sizes, with 46 per cent having an annual turnover of over Rs 100 crore, 29 per cent with a turnover between Rs 5 crore to Rs 100 crore, 11 percent have a turnover of between Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 5 crore and 13 per cent are with a turnover of less than Rs 1.5 crore. Many businesses across the country expressed in the media their satisfaction with, and greater hopes from, the GST regime. "GST is one of the momentous reforms in the Indian taxation system as it has played a transformative role by making its structure simpler," said Arvind Mediratta, Chief Executive of Metro Cash & Carry India a US$35-billion German self-service wholesaler, which entered India 15 years ago and operates 25 distribution centres across the country, including in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi from Bengaluru. "The new tax regime has given an impetus to our sector through an increase in input tax credit on capital goods and services, which streamlined inter-state logistics movement, eliminated checkpoints and helped businesses reach a larger market base," Mediratta said. Despite initial glitches and delays due to mismatch of the technology platform between the vendor and its stakeholders, he said the new regime had rationalised the tax rates to four slabs and ensured compliance at every stage of the transaction. "We have been educating and engaging our trade partners and grocery owners to align their businesses with the policies to make them GST-complaint. We began a GST helpline and set up kiosks before its roll out," he said. The government's interventions to ease transition challenges, introduction of the composition scheme, simplifying the complex procedure to file returns and extending return-filing deadlines benefited the traders, he said, noting a "positive sentiment" among Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) towards GST as compared to six months ago. OVERALL BENEFITS Many stakeholders from the SMEs seemed to hold a similar view. "As to the SMEs, it has been a story of overall benefit -- which can be ascribed to the wider availability of input tax credit. As GST procedures are getting easier, there is a surge in the economic demand. It is true that, initially, SMEs faced problems with GST compliance, which is essentially technology driven, and had to make certain modifications in their systems," CII Eastern Region's Chairperson and Founder & Managing Director, Ortel Communications, Jagi Mangat Panda said. Tejas Goenka, Executive Director at the business software provider and qualified GSP (GST Suvidha Provider), Tally Solutions, noted: "Billing on GST 10 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

11 Cabinet Ministers from Kerala and Goa - Thomas Isaac (right) and Mauvin Godinho (left) respectively, during a panel discussion on 'GST Decoded 1 Year On', in New Delhi. (from Day One) and movement of stock were the early worries. Once these settled, there was requirement of filing three returns a month, which was stressful," said. According to taxpayers, Goenka pointed out, the continuous monitoring of their monthly transactions to ensure that "there is no activity which has escaped the ambit of compliance" has been "a matter of concern". "As time passed, things eased for them with a more convenient return filing mandate every month. As it stands, things seem to have settled on the ground and after the initial bumpy ride, businesses are beginning to see the benefits of GST and thriving under it," Goenka said. The major challenge has been in respect of "filing of complex returns and the GST portal-related technical issues". With the deferment of GSTR 2 and the planning of new return filing model, things were a lot better. "But a number of businesses in the unorganised sector have problems revamping their technological structure to capture all the activities, which are to be reported in the GST return," Panda added. Besides, there was a problem of incorrect and incomplete data uploaded by the SME segment originally in the returns. "The awareness regarding the process of correction has been lacking. The government has tried to clarify such matters with the issue of relevant circular," said Shubham Khaitan, Partner, S. Khaitan & Associates. "Lack of timely disposal of refunds has impacted the cash flow for exporters of both goods and service. SME segment exporters have been affected due to the blockage of working capital. Matching of input tax credit between GSTR 2A and GSTR 3B is a hurdle, too," Khaitan said. REALTY CHECKS SMEs are receiving notices against the said matching of invoices, of which the legal validity is itself in question, said Khaitan, who is also Member, Economic Affairs and Taxation Subcommittee of CII Eastern Region. "However, over the last few months the government has taken cognisance of the concern related to input tax credit. We are hoping that the proposed simplified return filing system is implemented at the earliest. Under this system, input tax credit is made available to the buyer on accepting the invoices uploaded by the supplier," Tally Solutions' Goenka said. This along with just a single return a month will greatly ease the compliance burden on SMEs and make it easier for them to comply, he said. After almost a year of implementation of GST, a number of small businesses, which were not quite used to paying taxes earlier, are now covered under the ambit of GST. "As a result, the smaller segment, which is getting a lot more organised than ever, are benefiting with the greater input tax credit availability, notwithstanding some issues regarding compliance-related complexities," Panda concluded. Stakeholders from the real estate sector having already suffered from the after-effects of the two jolts of demonetisation and the Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) were a little more worried about some persisting problems accompanying the big-bang reform, although they were still optimistic about the GST s long-term benefits. Some developers revealed that the sector has somewhat overcome these setbacks, but they are hopeful of a brighter future. A major problem the real estate market is facing is that of a higher tax rate on under-construction projects per cent -- compared to the previous service tax of five per cent. However, the effective tax rate comes down to 12 per cent 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 11

12 as a rebate of one-third is given as land abatement. "The segment, which is really struggling, is the under-construction one in the medium or luxury range, which has the maximum supply available in the market right now," said Ankit Kansal, MD of 360 Realtors, a consultancy firm. "People started waiting for completion certificates or occupancy certificates before moving into these projects, because nobody wanted to pay 12 per cent over and above the cost of the project," he added. GST is not levied on ready-to-move-in properties and hence customers wait for the completion certificate to avoid paying the tax. According to realty group EKTA World's Chairman Ashok Mohanani, the tax percentage was set "much higher than what was anticipated". The higher tax rate created a setback for both endusers and investors, Mohanani said. The affordable housing segment, however, received a breather after the government in January slashed the effective tax rate on houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana that provides credit-linked subsidy scheme of up to 8 per cent. Although, a section of the market is content and says the affordable segment has grown since, some developers feel it should be slashed to the previous level of five per cent. Another issue that should be addressed, developers feel, is that of land abatement. The government gives a concession of one-third of the 18 per cent tax on a project, as land prices do not attract GST. However, realty players say the consideration that cost of land amounts to 33 per cent or one third of the total cost of project could be a flawed generalisation as land prices vary from place to place. "Even though rebate is availed, the ratio is very low, thus making the flats expensive," said Dhaval Ajmera, Director of Ajmera Group. According to House of Hiranandani's Chairman and Managing Director, Surendra Hiranandani, the land cost in the major metropolitan cities of the country is "almost per cent of the total costs", way higher than the government's take of 33 per cent. 'VERY AMBIGUOUS' A solution to this problem, said Ankur Dhawan, the Chief Investment Officer of PropTiger.com, is to either bring land under GST or reduce GST for highpriced properties. Knight Frank India's Executive Director for north, Mudassir Zaidi, said the other impact of GST was that it brought about a change in the manner in which home-buyers dealt with the developers. GST brought in a concept of Input Tax Credit, that the developers can set off and they are supposed to pass on the benefit to the consumers. "However, projects which were incomplete where they could not set-off earlier taxes like VAT (Value Added Tax) and service tax, etc., were not able to give input tax credit. Thus the most impacted projects were the ones that were incomplete and did not have an OC (Occupancy Certificate)," Zaidi said. Kansal from 360 Realtors said there is no clear-cut method to pass on this benefit of the input tax credit to the customers. "It has become very ambiguous. While one developer was giving a six per cent input rebate to the consumer, another gave four per cent," he said, adding: "So, it's completely discretionary on the developer what he thinks or his finance team thinks." According to PropTiger.com's Dhawan, many developers have not yet passed the full benefit of input tax credit to customers, eventually increasing the cost for buyers. "Stamp duty" or the "registration cost" is another thorn in the side for the sector and property market players believe it should either be included in GST or abolished for good. Surender Singh, Director of GLS Group, said: "Stamp duty should be abolished, which is around 6-8 per cent on total consideration." L.Badri Narayanan, Partner at a Delhibased law firm, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan, was of the opinion that, "the complex issues of joint development, slum rehabilitation schemes, transfer of development rights, free supplies, can- Congress workers stage a demonstration against Goods and Services Tax (GST) on completion of one year of implementation of the tax in Amritsar. 12 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

13 Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia addresses at ASSOCHAM National Conclave on GST in New Delhi. cellation cases among others continue to make GST a challenge for the sector". The property sector was severely hit after the implementation of GST, but now market participants feel it has somewhat revived. "There is a slight improvement in the market, but not up to the mark and it is very difficult to say that the real estate market is going to improve in the near future years," Singh said. Despite all the shortcomings, developers believe that in the long run the disruptive tax regime would be positive for the market, with the previously unorganised segment now getting streamlined. GST deserves its share of credit, along with RERA. The most notable positive impact of GST on the sector actually has been the "non-implementation of GST" on readyto-move-in properties, keeping it tax-free and in turn leading to rise in sales. "The new tax system has brought in transparency to the end-user, therefore people have accepted it whole-heartedly," said Elan Group's Director, Ravish Kapoor, adding that it has brought a paradigm shift in the overall realty fraternity by bringing in accountability in all transactions. Anshuman Magazine, Chairman, India and South East Asia, CBRE, said as the sector gets more streamlined due to GST and other reforms like RERA, the investor and consumer sentiment should further boost the ecosystem in future. That there were teething troubles and dissatisfactory results under the GST regime was also manifested in some parts of the country in the form of protests and surveys. One of them was in Ghaziabad, where local traders held a protest march early this month and demanded changes in the new tax collection regime. Holding their march under the banner of Udyog Vyapar Mandal, the traders also submitted to the District Magistrate a memorandum addressed to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. GROUND TRUTHS The memorandum demanded rectification of what they called the "discrepancies" in the new system. Leader of the traders, Gopi Chand, said that the new tax regime should be simplified and certain changes introduced. He also demanded that under the limit under the Samadhan Yojana (GST composition scheme) should be increased. According to some recent polls conducted by LocalCircles, a citizen engagement platform, to ascertain the impact of the GST regime on the lives of people in the last one year, only 21 per cent of the over 32,000 people surveyed from a total of 215 districts of India said that their monthly household grocery bills had reduced after the GST implementation while 63 per cent disagreed on this count. Only 28 percent of the respondents agreed that the cost of eating at a restaurant had come down after GST implementation, while 57 per cent did not. Only 15 per cent consumers felt that businesses were passing the benefits of Input Tax Credit under the GST regime to them. With revenue collection under the GST last month crossing Rs 95,000 crore, appreciably higher than the average monthly collection of Rs 89,885 crore during the period, the government can rest assured of increasing stabilisation of the new tax regime. Many financial gurus are of the opinion that it might be too early to fairly assess the merits and demerits of the current version of the GST. There is also wide agreement among economists that the sooner and better the Modi-led BJP government finetunes the new tax regime to weed away the teething troubles of the commoners of the Indian Industry and agricultural community, the more it can boost the national economy and its own prospects ahead of the coming general elections. n 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 13

14 Cover Story UNDER TRIAL While the mysteriously protracted case of his wife Sunanda Pushkar s death has returned to haunt Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, it implicates at present the system more than anything or anybody else 14 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

15 Prodigious scholar. Former United Nations top diplomat. Prolific author. Popular parliamentarian. Articulate-to-a-fault intellectual. Wife killer? That question mark has been hanging over the head of Congress party s Shashi Tharoor like a Damoclean sword for the past four and a half years. But that perhaps says more about the dark realities of this country than the man. It was way back on 17 January 2014, when Sunanda Pushkar, Tharoor s wife, breathed her last at the Leela Palace hotel at the posh diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri in New Delhi. It was Tharoor who reportedly discovered that first and informed the Delhi police, after which her body was sent for a postmortem. While the initial reports pointed to the possibility of suicide, the later ones strongly suggested that Pushkar had died of unnatural causes. While the autopsy report from a team of doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) indicated that Pushkar could have died of a drug overdose or probably even alcohol, it also revealed that she had injury marks on her body. And while the Subdivisional Magistrate ordered further investigation to determine the cause of her death, Pushkar was cremated in South Delhi just four days after her death. As the cause of her death remained a mystery, speculation over it was rife not least thanks to the circumstances surrounding it. Just two days before her death, Pushkar had published screenshots of some intimate messages supposedly sent from Pakistani journalist Mehar Tarar to Tharoor s Twitter account. While Pushkar had promptly tweeted her strong disapproval of what she claimed to be Tarar s inappropriate overtures, she soon retracted her stand saying she did not want to go public about the issue in an election year. Tharoor had also soon posted on his Facebook account a joint message from the couple stating they were happily married and Pushkar had been hospitalised on account of being ill and in need of rest. TWISTED TALES Apart from that Twitter incident, a couple of developments that took place a few months after her death added to the mystery. On July 1 that year, AIIMS forensic department head Sudhir Gupta claimed that he was pressured into giving an inaccurate report on Pushkar s autopsy. A few months later, on October 10, the medical team examining her case concluded that she had died of poisoning. That these contradictory findings and claims came after the 2014 elections that saw power changing hands at the Centre was not lost on many political and media observers. However, allegations from Pushkar s domestic help during the police probe that the couple often fought before her death and that Pushkar had threatened to expose Tharoor appeared to undermine Tharoor s claim of innocence. UNTIMELY TIMED To his credit, though, Tharoor had cooperated actively with the Delhi Police throughout the course of its criminal investigation and nothing had come out of it to implicate the Congress politician in Pushkar s death case. Until May 14 this year barely a year before the next general elections when Delhi Police filed charges in the death of Pushkar and named Tharoor as one of the accused. The charges were filed in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections of husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty and abetment of suicide. The chargesheet mentioned that the body of Pushkar bore "scuffle marks" when it was found in the luxury hotel room. "These (marks) seem to have been caused due to scuffle between Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor and her husband Shashi Tharoor as per the statement of their personal attendant Narain Singh. However, this fact is being examined further." Tharoor was charged under Sections 306 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code that deal with abetment to suicide and subjecting a woman to cruelty by her Congress MP Shashi Tharoor arrives to appear before Patiala House Courts in connection with the Sunanda Pushkar death case, in New Delhi. 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 15

16 husband or his relative respectively, which entail a jail term that may extend up to 10 years. Delhi Police Chief Spokesperson Deependra Pathak said the chargesheet was filed in the case on the basis of medico-legal and forensic evidence analysed during investigation as well as the opinion of experts regarding Pushkar's death, which was investigated by a Special Investigation Team of South District police. The Congress, however, said that there "could be no more falsehood about this charge except that a conspiratorial BJP leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were seeking revenge against Tharoor by using the Delhi Police which, he said, was a willing tool to subserve BJP's political agenda". BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy said that all witnesses and documents in the case were destroyed during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule by the "corrupt" police. "Under Section 301 CrPC and also via JK International judgment of SC, I am entitled to assist the prosecutor in the Sunanda unnatural death case," he tweeted. WITCHHUNTED? Congress leader Randeep Surjewala told the media that top BJP leaders had "conspired against Tharoor" and accused him of murdering his wife while the chargesheet filed by Delhi Police was for abetment of suicide. Surjewala dubbed these charges "baseless" and a conspiracy by the BJP leaders who "hounded, prosecuted and maligned" Tharoor. He said that the BJP continued to leak unfounded evidence so that a media trial going on for a year-and-a-half against Tharoor could continue. The Congress leader questioned the police investigation, saying how could it be called a suicide too when there were no suicide note or witnesses. "We will not be cowed down, we will not bow. We have full faith in the justice system," he added. The chargesheet says that the brothers and son of Pushkar made "no allegations against anyone". According to it, there was no evidence of Pushkar's murder but she may have been driven to suicide as she had not been eating or even leaving her room days before her death. Tharoor took to Twitter in his defence, saying he had taken note of the filing of this "preposterous chargesheet". He said he intended to "contest it vigorously". "No one who knew Sunanda believes she would ever commit suicide, let alone abetment on my part." He said if that was the conclusion arrived at after four plus years of investigation it "does not speak well of the methods or motivations of Delhi Police". In October 2017, Tharoor said, a law officer made a statement in the Delhi High Court that they have not found anything against anyone "and now in six months they say that I have abetted a suicide". GRIM DIAGNOSIS Meanwhile, Sudhir Gupta, the AIIMS doctor who headed the medical board conducting the autopsy, stated that the filing of chargesheet was delayed by four years during which a lot of evidence was destroyed. He said: "From the beginning I had said the death was due to poisioning. We said it was due to alphrax poisoning...and could also be mixed poisoning and there were injuries on the body. So, it is not a natural death and not even accidental. FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US) also confirmed the same thing. So, the only option left was either suicide or homicide, which was to be investigated by the police." He said he had been saying "from the first day" that it could be either suicide or homicide. Blaming the Police for shoddy investigation, Gupta said: "A lot of evidence has been destroyed, even Delhi Police destroyed evidence. So they had to do something on the basis of the evidence they had. It is not a one-man show in Delhi Police. It's a many-man show." He reiterated that Delhi Police took four years to file the chargesheet and delayed a lot. "I have been saying from the beginning that it has been a shoddy investigation. It does not take so much of time. You call that shoddy. Isn't it?" he said. Asked how police changed the case from murder to suicide, Gupta said: "You should ask the police about it. Earlier, they did not accept my report, but ultimately they had to include my report in the chargesheet. The chargesheet they filed is based on my report. He said even the FBI had endorsed the AIIMS report of poisoning as the cause of death, adding that Tharoor being charged at least proved that there was some "criminality" in the case. 16 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

17 Media personnel outside Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's residence in New Delhi. "They are charging him for abetment of suicide. At least, he has been charged for criminality. In the beginning they (police) were saying it was a natural death." Gupta said the police had to prove it in the court now. "It is their duty. It is open in the court. The police can be criticised there (for the investigation). It's not my role to investigate." The AIIMS medical board in its second opinion in 2014 had listed poisonous substances such as thallium, polonium-210, nerium oleander, snake bites, photolabile poisons and heroin, which were said to be either undetectable or difficult to detect at Indian laboratories. Pushkar's viscera samples were sent to the FBI lab in Washington DC, United States, to determine the poison that may have killed her. The FBI had endorsed the AIIMS report stating poisoning as the cause of Pushkar's death. Gupta had earlier alleged that he was asked by then AIIMS Director M.C. Mishra to prepare a post-mortem examination report of Pushkar, stating her death was "natural". Mishra had filed an affidavit with the Delhi High Court to remove Gupta from his post. On the evening of that day, the Congress in Kerala (Tharoor s home state) cried foul over the chargesheet filed by Delhi Police against Tharoor in the suicide case of his wife. State Congress President M.M. Hassan said that the development was nothing but settling of political scores against Tharoor. "This shows the Centre's fascist attitude and is a clear case of vindictiveness for criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government. We have seen that all those who attacked the Centre have been taken to task in the past, including members of the intelligentsia, politicians, and journalists. But the people know who and what Tharoor is," said Hassan. PARTY LINES However, not surprisingly, Kerala s BJP General Secretary M.T. Ramesh said that Tharoor should quit from the Lok Sabha after the filing of the chargesheet on abetment to suicide and subjecting wife to cruelty. "Since the UPA government was in power when the incident took place, Tharoor managed to get away which helped him tamper with evidence. He should now quit. Or else, the Congress should ask him to quit," said Ramesh. Ten days later, the Pushkar death case was transferred to a special fast-track court. At a hearing there on May 28, Delhi Police justified its charges against Tharoor by producing an from Pushkar to Tharoor where she had expressed her desire to die. Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal that there was sufficient evidence to proceed against Tharoor and requested the court to accept the charge-sheet and issue summons to the Lok Sabha member as an accused in the case. DIGGING UP The prosecutor informed the court that Pushkar was depressed and, in an , written on 8 January 2014 to Tharoor, she had expressed her desire to die. "I have no will to live. All I pray for is death," prosecutor Shrivastava read out the relevant line of the written by Pushkar to Tharoor. He told the court that Pushkar's mail and messages in social media had been taken as dying declaration. Shrivastava also informed the court that Tharoor as a husband ignored 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 17

18 Former Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor and his late wife Sunanda Pushkar during an event. Sunanda when she was taking pills to overcome depression. Instead they had frequent fights, the prosecutor said citing witnesses' statement to substantiate allegations levelled against the Congress leader. The police also disclosed that Tharoor ignored her calls and disconnected them. He told the court the Tharoors married in October Two days prior to Pushkar's death, heated arguments were exchanged between them on a flight from Thiruvananthapuram to Delhi. The fight continued at the Delhi airport, the police said. After hearing the submission, the court set June 5 to deliver its order on accepting the charge-sheet against Tharoor. As the date arrived, Tharoor was summoned by the court as it took cognisance of the police chargesheet and found sufficient grounds to proceed against him. Magistrate Vishal also issued notice to the prosecution for a written reply on the application of BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, who had been carrying on a campaign in the case, for conducting the prosecution. Meanwhile, Tharoor said in a statement that he found the charges against him preposterous and baseless, the product of a malicious and vindictive campaign against him. "I will continue to vigorously contest these charges and maintain my steadfast conviction that ultimately truth will prevail through the judicial system that we have privileged to have in our country," he said. However, Tharoor did receive an anticipatory bail on that day itself. Additional Sessions Judge Arvind Kumar allowed his anticipatory bail plea asking him to furnish a personal and surety bond of Rs 1 lakh. The court also directed Tharoor to neither tamper with evidence nor try to influence the witnesses. The court has also asked him not to leave the country without permission. INTERIM RELIEF "There is nothing on record to suggest that accused has tried to influence any witnesses or tamper with evidence. Contrarily he has joined the investigation as and when called," judge Kumar said. "There is no allegation that he has not co-operated with the investigating agency. Further apprehension of the prosecution that accused may flee from justice and may attempt to shift to foreign country is also without any basis." The court observed that the leader was not arrested although the case was registered on January and more than three and a half years had already passed. Two days after he was granted anticipatory bail, Tharoor was given regular bail by a city court. Tharoor personally appeared before Magistrate Vishal at the Patiala House Courts following summons issued against him last month. When Tharoor's counsel moved a plea seeking regular bail, the court said that there was no requirement for filing it as he was already granted anticipatory bail by a sessions court on Thursday. The magisterial court accepted his bail bonds. The court then listed the matter for further hearing on July 26 directing Delhi Police to supply copy of charge sheet and other documents to the Congress leader. Meanwhile, Tharoor opposed the application of BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, who has been carrying on a campaign in the case, for conducting the prosecution. Tharoor's counsel told the court that Swamy has no locus to contest the case. Many political and media observers have noted that Swamy s interest in contesting the Pushkar death case is only symptomatic of a bigger problem the politicisation of everything in this country. Just as the AIIMS forensic department head Sudhir Gupta suggested or the Additional Sessions Judge Arvind Kumar pointed out, the Sundanda Pushkar death case should have been long resolved by now. There is no telling yet whether Tharoor is guilty by any means in this case. But there can be no denying that the system that allows the continuation of such unnecessarily and inexplicably unresolved cases for years on end most certainly is. n 18 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

19 Cover Story NATIONAL SHAME India has challenged a poll ranking it the most dangerous country in the world for women, but the battle of perception has been lost When a recent survey conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation ranked India the worst country for women s safety, many in India and abroad received the news with shock and surprise. That a global poll ranked India worse than war-torn Afghanistan, Syria and even Saudi Arabia is a new entry in the country s hall of shame. Even though the results of the survey have been hotly contested, India has enough reasons to worry. Being a bad country for women s safety is bad enough, not being the worst is nothing to gloat about when crimes against women are on the rise across the nation. Seven years ago, the Thompson poll had ranked India fourth, with Afghanistan on top of the list. Critics of the survey find it hard to fathom how 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 19

20 countries like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, known for granting very few rights to women, have performed better than India in The poll surveyed 548 experts on six different indices - healthcare, discrimination, cultural traditions, sexual and non-sexual violence, and human trafficking. They were first asked to name the five most dangerous countries from the list of 193 United Nations member states. And then they were asked to name the worst country in each of the above categories. India topped three - cultural traditions, sexual violence and human trafficking. Activists in the country believe the poll is an indicator of increasing violence against women which the government needs to seriously consider. The activists made the observation even though the Centre dismissed the poll. Official crime statistics for 2016 shows a woman was raped every 13 minutes; six women were gang-raped every day; a bride was murdered for dowry every 69 minutes; and 19 women were attacked with acid every month. Government data shows reported cases of crimes against women in India The survey has brought out something which we have been asking for long, rejecting or dismissing is not a solution. Crime against women does very much exist in India. What we need to look for is solution to such problems. The report is an indicator of how the world is looking at us rose by 83% between 2007 and 2016, when there were four cases of rape reported every hour. "However, there is no evidence to say that violence against women in India is decreasing. It is a volatile situation prevailing in India, there is insecurity among women regarding safety," Indu Agnihotri, Director, Centre for Women's Development Studies said during a press conference at the Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC). Mariam Dhawale, General Secretary, All India Democratic Women's Association, stated that violence against women is now an accepted norm in India and lack of proper implementation of the law is further enhancing this. "During election campaigns we never hear any political leader taking up the topic of violence against women. It has been existing for a long but in last few years it has increased, it has turned into a right to abuse women," she added. Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi mentioned that women's issues need to be looked beyond politics and seeking a solution to end violence against women is required immediately. "The survey has brought out something which we have been asking for long, rejecting or dismissing is not a solution. Crime against women does very much exist in India. What we need to look for is solution to such problems. The report is an indicator of how the world is looking at us," she said. Congress President Rahul Gandhi found ammunition in the results of poll and took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Gandhi said that while Modi frequently posts yoga videos, such reports were a shame for the country. "While our PM tiptoes around his garden making yoga videos, India leads Afghanistan, Syria and Saudi Arabia in rape and violence against women. What a shame for our country!" Gandhi tweeted, tagging a report based on the Thompson survey. According to the foundation, while GO FIGURE Official crime statistics for 2016 shows a woman was raped every 13 minutes; six women were gang-raped every day; a bride was murdered for dowry every 69 minutes; and 19 women were attacked with acid every month. India topped the list, Afghanistan and Syria, which have been ravaged by war, came second and third, Somalia was fourth, while Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were ranked fifth and sixth. The only western nation to feature in the list of 10 was the United States, which ranked 10th. The poll was criticised across the globe because it relies heavily on the opinion and verdict of 548 experts instead of data on ground. These experts include academics, policymakers, journalists and those working in healthcare or other development sectors. The nationalities of all the experts is not known and how well each country is represented is also being questioned. 20 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

21 The poll itself states that of 759 experts contacted, only 548 replied -- no other information about them is available. When contacted by the BBC, Sanjay Kumar, director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), one of India's top independent research organisations, said this "lack of transparency" was extremely worrying. "How were these people chosen? What is the gender divide? Where are they from? This is very important to know, but there is no information available on it," he said. India s National Commission for Women has also rejected the findings of the poll, saying that countries depriving women of basic rights had fared better than India in the poll. While crimes against women seem to be on the rise in India, public awareness and outrage has also driven more cases to be reported. The Ministry of Women and Child Development said in a statement that using "an opinion poll to peg India as the most dangerous country for women is clearly an effort to malign the nation and draw attention away from real improvements seen in recent years". "Reuters has used a flawed methodology to arrive at this claim. The ranking is based on a perception poll based on responses to simply six questions. The results are not derived from any kind of data and are solely based on inherently subjective opinions However, the ministry had rejected the report stating that the poll was conducted in scientific way and the methodology used was incorrect. The government dismissed the Thomson Reuters Foundation report, saying that it is based on an opinion poll, rather than data. "Reuters has used a flawed methodology to arrive at this claim. The ranking is based on a perception poll based on responses to simply six questions. The results are not derived from any kind of data and are solely based on inherently subjective opinions," said the Women and Child Development Ministry in a statement. "Further, the poll has been conducted with 548 respondents, which have been defined by Reuters as 'experts focused on women's issues'. However, information on their designation, credentials, country of expertise or qualifications is not available thus reliability is an issue," it added. The ministry also raised questions on the methodology given by the organisation which also includes 'policymakers' as one of the respondents, saying no information or opinion has been sought from it regarding this poll. According to the poll, out of 548 global experts on women's issues, 43 are based in India who were asked questions relating to risks faced by women in six areas: healthcare, access to economic resources and discrimination, customary practices, sexual violence, nonsexual violence, and human trafficking. India came out worst overall, and specifically worst for women in human trafficking, sexual violence and in relation to cultural, religious and tribal traditions. Minister of Law, Justice and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad, while addressing an Indian Professionals Forum (IPF) summit at Asia House in London recently, said any issue of women s safety is unfortunate and joint efforts are needed to address this social problem. Prasad also strongly refuted the recent survey. The minister pointed out that the report had spoken to just women in India out of a population of an estimated 1.3 billion. Let us not single out any country. Any problem of women s safety is unfortunate. It is a social problem we have to work together to address these issues, he said. We have taken steps and in the case of rape, we changed the law to bring in capital punishment [in cases involving minors], he added. While some argue that the recent poll detracts from the progress India and its women has made over the years, others believe more needs to be done for women s safety in India, the world s largest functioning democracy. If the country continues to turn a blind eye to such polls, this culture of violence against women will only flourish. When you create an accepted perception of violence in society, you create a culture of rape. When you say we are better than Syria or Saudi Arabia, you set your standards incredibly low. It is time India stopped competing with the worst countries for women and started looking at the best to learn. n 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 21

22 Cover Story THE DILEMMA OF DELHI What good has come of the Supreme Court ruling over the power tussle between the AAP administration and the BJP-led Centre in the national capital? 22 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

23 When the nine-day-long, drama-laden dharna of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his three cabinet ministers at the residential office of Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal drew to a conclusion last month with the national capital s mandarins calling off their unofficial boycott of meetings with ministers of the Aam Aadmi Party government, some optimistic political commentators were hopeful that the clash between the Kejriwal government and the BJP-led Centre would finally no longer happen at the expense of the city s well-being. However, there were not many of them. Certainly not anyone from within the AAP leadership. Within a fortnight of Kejriwal and his fasting ministers checking out of Raj Bhavan, the party kicked off a public campaign this month supporting the cause of Delhi s statehood in earnest. On July 3 the AAP marked the first day of the campaign, titled Delhi Maange Apna Haq (Delhi demands its right), by opening the first Andolan Kendra (campaign centre). The party s grand plan was to open 3,000 such centres, visit 10 lakh households to seek their signatures on a letter from their CM seeking full statehood for their city, and then send off the signed copies to the Prime Minister s Office. Just as before, the AAP has maintained that statehood is imperative to speed up the pace of Delhi s development. Kejriwal and Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia have reiterated publicly on numerous occasions that once Delhi becomes a state, its administrative machinery will become accountable to the elected representatives of the people, just as in other states of the country. APEX LEG-UP The party has made some big promises as well. Delhi Rural Development Minister Gopal Rai recently assured that even the longstanding problems of unemployment and housing in the city could be resolved. "If Delhi is granted full statehood, we can guarantee a house to every resident and jobs to at least 80 per cent of them," he said. According to many political observers, the AAP s continued push for Delhi s statehood stood justified after the series of events that transpired early this month. On July 4 the AAP government got a major boost in its power struggle with the LG s office (and through that, the BJP government at the Centre) over the capital's administrative control and governance in the form of nothing less than a Supreme Court ruling. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the real powers of governance in Delhi rested with its elected representatives and their opinion and decisions ought to be respected. The ruling overturned an earlier Delhi High Court verdict which had declared the Lt Governor as the head of the Delhi administration, triggering an ugly war between the Centre and the AAP. The court said the Lt Governor, appointed by the central government, was bound by the aid and advice of the Ministers of the city government in all areas except land, police and public order or where he refers the matter to the President citing difference of opinion. "Real authority to take decisions lie in the elected government. This is the meaning of 'aid and advice'. Titular head has to act in accordance with aid and advice," Justice D.Y. Chandrachud observed. Chief Justice Misra, also speaking for Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, wrote that the Lt. Governor was not vested with any independent decision-making powers and cannot act in a "mechanical manner without due application of mind" in referring decisions of the government citing differences. Every "trivial difference of opinion" between the Lt Governor and the city government, he said, could not be referred to President for a decision. "In this context, even in case of differences of opinion, the Lt Governor and the NCT government should act with constitutional morality and trust for each other." Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has been leading the campaign seeking more powers for his government, hailed the court verdict as "a big victory for the people of Delhi, a big victory for democracy". His deputy Manish Sisodia called the ruling a "landmark judgment" that has ensured that the Delhi government "will not have to send their files to Lt Governor for approval. "Now work will not be stalled. Powers are restored back to Delhi. This verdict stands against the whimsicality of the LG. I thank the Supreme Court." And as celebrations erupted at the AAP office, Sisodia said that the power to transfer and post officers would now on rest with the Delhi government. But that was not going to come as easy as ABC. OVER SERVICES On July 5 a new power tussle broke out, with the AAP government claiming that the powers to transfer or post officers lay with it and a Union minister asserting that AAP s powers were subservient to the Central government what with Delhi being a Union Territory. The new controversy, which arose hours after the apex court's verdict the day before, assumed serious proportions when Delhi's Chief Secretary (Services) refused to issue an order that the Council of Ministers in Delhi would decide on departmental transfers and postings. The AAP government asked the officers to respect the Supreme Court order, saying disobeying it amounted to contempt of court and would invite serious consequences. "All officers should re- 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 23

24 spect and obey SC order. Open defiance of SC order shall invite serious consequences. It will be in no one's interest," Kejriwal tweeted in the evening. Earlier, in a four-page letter written to Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Kejriwal said that after the Supreme Court judgment, the executive powers related to "services" lie with the elected government and not with the Lt Governor or Central government. "The Central government or the LG have executive powers only on three subjects. On all other subjects, executive powers lie with the Council of Ministers. Therefore, executive power related to 'services' lie with the council members," the letter said. The Chief Secretary cited a 2015 notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs as the reason for rejection, saying it has not been specifically quashed. Calling this "contempt of court", Kejriwal said: "The said notification becomes infructuous in the light of clear orders of the Supreme Court. The judgment of court has been effective the moment it was pronounced. "If the files related to services are placed before the LG and he acts on them, it would clearly amount to contempt of Supreme Court in the light of its judgment." Seeking support from the LG for the development of Delhi, Kejriwal said that he plans to "issue orders to all functionaries" and in case of any contrary views, "the Cabinet Ministers are ready to come over for a discussion". Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who directed its services department to issue the order, said the refusal by senior bureaucrats to comply with Supreme Court ruling amounted to contempt of court. IN CONTEMPT Sisodia said the government was now seeking legal opinion on the matter. "The Chief Secretary has written to me saying the services department will not abide by the court's order. This will also create problems for the officers if they do not abide by the order. If the LG, even after the court's order, insists to see the service department file, then that is a contempt of court," he said. The AAP leader said that after the Supreme Court order, the central government had no control over the service department in the capital. "But even then, the officers are saying that the (Home Ministry's earlier) orders have not been quashed and that's why they will not comply with the Supreme Court's orders. If the apex court orders AAP leaders Nagendra Sharma, Rahul Mehra along with advocates show victory sign after a Supreme Court Constitution Bench unanimously ruled in favour of the Arvind Kejriwal government. something, then there is no scope of not abiding by it," he said. "If the orders of a court, that too the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court, are openly violated, then the country would go into a state of chaos. Where will be the law then?" Sisodia asked. He said the centre, the LG or the officers may not like the court order but they will have to abide by it. The AAP government went aggressive after Union Minister Arun Jaitley rejected claims by AAP on the powers of the Delhi government. In a Facebook post, Jaitley also noted that the apex court held categorically that Delhi cannot compare itself on par with other states and, therefore, any presumption that the administrative control of the UT cadre of services has been decided in favour of Delhi government would be wholly erroneous. Jaitley said the judgement elaborates at length the constitutional philosophy behind the Constitution and reaffirms precisely the text of what the Constitution says. "It does not add to the powers of the state government or the central government nor does it in any way dilute the same. It emphasizes the importance of elected state government but Delhi being a Union Territory makes its powers subservient to the central government," he added. The tug of war between the AAP and the Centre got more intense the next day. Kejriwal cleared three back-to-back Delhi projects previously awaiting the Centres decision but the AAPs fight for the administrative control of the capital seemed far from over amid allegations that the BJP government was defying Supreme Court ruling on who rules the city. PUSHING AHEAD The already stressed ties between the AAP and Lt. Governor Anil Baijal strained further after Kejriwal and Sisodia met him seeking his cooperation in Delhi's development and good governance. The Chief Minister alleged that Baijal openly refused to agree that Services Department was under the control of the elected government because a 2015 central Home Ministry order had not been quashed by the Supreme Court in its July 4 ruling that said the central representative was constitutionally bound to listen to the Delhi cabinet. "This is for the first time in the history of India that the Central government has openly refused to accept a Supreme Court ruling. If it becomes a precedent, 24 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

25 there will be anarchy," Kejriwal told reporters. He said the Central government's intransigent attitude in keeping the Services Department under its control had caused delay in Delhi's development projects because "they (the BJP) for their political gains will want us to fail as we are their rivals and have to face elections". "You have Services but you did not fill the post of Director, Education. How can we bring reforms in education if there are so many vacancies? Had Services been with us, we would have appointed a new official 15 days ahead to ensure efficiency." Baijal, in his remarks on the contentious issue, said the Home Ministry in its 21 May 2015 notification, which has been upheld by the Delhi High Court, ruled that the elected government will have no executive powers on Services. The Lt. Governor said he told the Chief Minister and his deputy that in the wake of the judgment of the Supreme Court constitutional bench, the Home Ministry had advised his office that its earlier notification remained valid as nine appeals including the one relating to Services shall be taken up by the regular bench of the apex court separately. The Chief Minister said despite Lt. Governor's inflexibility, his government would continue making efforts to expedite development and welfare projects stalled so far. "Within the powers that we have after the SC order, I have asked officials to expedite projects. The Lt. Governor told us there is no need to send these files to "They are saying they are ready for the files and concurrence part of the order, but will not accept the Services order. This is not done, either apply for the order fully or not at all. You cannot accept the order as per your wish" Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal accused Lt. Governor Anil Baijal and the MHA of misinterpreting the Supreme Court Order (him). You can go ahead with the projects," Kejriwal said. The struggle to gain control over bureaucrats notwithstanding, Kejriwal was on an announcement spree on Friday to clear held up projects. He first approved the doorstep delivery of rations in the morning, over-ruling "all objections" the Central government had raised through its representative. The city government also cleared two major pending projects completion of a signature bridge and two new academic blocks in the Delhi Technological University (DTU). After missing multiple deadlines due to inadequate funds, the iconic bridge in Wazirabad will open to public in October, Kejriwal said. The technical university proposal relates to the construction of five buildings two academic blocks of 10 storeys each and three hostel blocks of 13 storeys each at DTU, Shahabad Daulatpur, Bawana Road at an estimated cost of approximately Rs 292 crore. Kejriwal said the work of installing CCTV cameras would be put on the fast track after he "directed the Public Works Department (PWD) Secretary to place the proposal" at a cabinet meeting on July 10. This was the fourth decision -- after doorstep delivery of ration, construction of the bridge and construction of two more administrative blocks in DTU -- by the Delhi government after the Supreme Court vested it executive powers. On July 7 Kejriwal declared that developmental works in the national capital would be "speeded up" and he would ensure that funds were sanctioned, within a fortnight, for roads and drains in all the unauthorised colonies. Stating that development of the unauthorised colonies was one of the prime agenda of the elected government, the Delhi Chief Minister claimed that it had been delayed due to the interference of the Lt Governor. Later in the day, Kejriwal said the Supreme Court's July 4 order had made it clear that his government had the power to transfer or post bureaucrats and if the Centre, represented by the Lt. Governor, was in any confusion they should approach the apex court. On being asked if he would go to court over the Services issue, he told the media that "the Lt. Governor and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) are the one having confusion and they should approach the Court. We do not have any confusion". Kejriwal said that the two Lt. Governor Anil Baijal and the MHA were interpreting the Supreme Court's order "in a strange way". "They are saying they are ready for the files and concurrence part of the order, but will not accept the Services order. This is not done, either apply for the order fully or not at all. You cannot ac- 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 25

26 Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia with AAP leaders Ashutosh and Sanjay Singh during a press conference in New Delhi. cept the order as per your wish," he said. Kejriwal also said that "on one hand, the MHA is saying they are not interfering in the works of the Lt. Governor, but they themselves in a statement released said they have asked the Lt. Governor to wait for the Supreme Court's order on Services." "The court has said apart from three matters (police, land and public order), all the powers will be with the Delhi government, including the Services. The judgement is a law now, they are not following it. It is contempt of the court," he added. STATE OR NOT While this new impasse between the Kejriwal government and the Centre continues, so does the debate over the desirability of statehood for Delhi. Former Lok Sabha Secretary General, P.D.T. Achary, recently said that the statehood demand was genuine and legitimate, especially when "the rift between the Centre and state government is so high". "The present situation is unacceptable. The major question is what sort of administration Delhi wants. There should be special arrangements. Some thought has to go into this," he said, adding that the interest of the central government should also be taken into consideration. However, Subrata Mukherjee, a political analyst who taught at Delhi University, noted that the statehood issue had been articulated by many parties but had never been fulfilled and there was no apparent demand for it among the people. He was of the view that there was confusion due to multiplicity of authorities in Delhi and statehood could further complicate the issue. "I feel it is not required. Delhi enjoys special powers. People don't really want Delhi to be a full state. They want services and till the time they are being served, they are happy," he said. He said AAP had done well in health, education and they should keep doing good work with the powers they have. "Statehood is not desirable." Narender Kumar, Professor, Centre for Political Studies at Jawahar Lal Nehru University, said most capital cities in the world have structures similar to that of Delhi's. "I feel statehood is not required and would not be appropriate but there should be more powers with the Delhi government," he said. He noted that the demand for statehood had not been met when the same party was in power in Delhi and at the Centre and "now it is all the more difficult". Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit pointed out that Delhi would suffer more if the Lt Governor and the Delhi government did not work together or remained in conflict. She said that the Supreme Court ruling clipping the Lt Governor's powers was a mere reiteration of the fact that the Delhi government's powers cannot be compared with other states and she advocated more cooperation between the city government and Lt Governor Anil Baijal. "The Supreme Court has given a clear judgment But whether a subject comes under the Lt Governor or the city government, Delhi will suffer if they do not work together or are in conflict," she said. "You have to find a way as even the Congress was in power in Delhi for 15 years and never had a conflict (with Lt Governor). In cases of conflict, we used to resolve it amongst ourselves. Sometimes the government and sometimes the LG used to step back," she said. Dixit recalled that her 15-year-tenure saw governments led by the BJP and Congress at the Centre. "Things were not always as I wished them to be. I too faced issues, but instead of running to the public with all that (complaints), I tried to find solutions. We cannot stop all other work and sit with an issue. We worked and had a rapport with both the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and with the Manmohan Singh government," she said. Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said that after the SC judgement neither party should have any excuse to obstruct other's work and the Kejriwal government should start focusing on the city's development. "If the apex court judgment is followed in true letter and spirit, a lot can be achieved. Now, nobody has the excuse (to obstruct work)," Maken said. While things have clearly not panned out as desired after the SC ruling, many political pundits have hoped that the judgement has at least placed enough spotlight on the politically driven power tussle between the Modi government and the Kejriwal government to expose their accountability or lack thereof towards the well-being of New Delhi and its denizens. n 26 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

27 Provash Ranjan Biswas, a batch IOFS officer, has been appointed as Director in the Department of Economic Affairs. He is scheduled to hold the post for a period of five years. His batchmate Kalu Ram Meena, who has been appointed to the post of Director in the Department of Agriculture Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, will also serve a similar tenure. Rajesh Raypa, a 2000-batch IOFS officer, has been appointed as Director, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). He will serve a five-year tenure at the post. Santosh Kumar Singh, a 1996-batch IOFS officer, has been appointed as Deputy Development Commissioner (Director-level) in the Office of Development Commissioner (Handlooms) under the Ministry of Textiles. Kapil Chaudhary, a 2002-batch IOFS officer, has been appointed as Director in Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation. He is scheduled to serve the post for a period of five years. Rajnish Kumar, a 1998-batch IRSME officer, has been appointed as Director in the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of HRD. Pranjol Chandra, a 2001-batch IRSME officer, has been appointed to the post of Director in the Ministry of Civil Aviation. He is scheduled to serve a five-year tenure. Ms Sampa Saha, a 1992-batch ITS officer, has been appointed as Director in the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) for a five-year period. BATCH MATCH The ACC has also redesignated a few Deputy Secretary-level posts as Director Ruchin Gupta ones, involving officers from the 2004 batch. Sreekanth T, an IAS officer from Uttarakhand batch, is now Director in the Bureaucratic Buzz DIRECTORS CUT Abhay Kumar Ministry of Home Affairs. Ruchin Gupta, an IRS C&CE officer, is now Director in the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy. Samar Nanda an IRS C&CE officer, is now Director in MSME. Abhay Kumar, an IRS C&CE officer, is now Director in Department of Atomic Energy. Kedar Prasad Burande, an IDES officer, is now Director in the Department of Defence. DEPUTY DUTY Renu Yadav, a 2005-batch IRPS officer, has been appointed as Deputy Secretary in the Department of Land Resources. Yadav will serve a five-year term at the post. Vishal Pratap Singh, a 2008-batch IRS Garima Bhatnagar C&CE officer, has been appointed to the post of Deputy Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs. Singh s tenure will be for a period of four years.. BITE OF BIG APPLE Garima Bhatnagar, a 1994-batch IPS officer from Uttarakhand cadre, has received cadre clearance for a two-year foreign assignment as Chief Mission Management & Support Section in Department of Peace Keeping Operations in United Nations (New York). TRAINING SESSION Ms Smita Sarangi, a 2008-batch IAS officer from Nagaland cadre, has been appointed as Deputy Secretary, Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT). She will serve the post for a tenure of four years FLOATING HOME Ms Saroj Punhani, a 1984-batch IA&AS officer currently serving as Secretary (JS level) at the National Commission for Minority Educational Institution (NCMEI) under the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of HRD has been prematurely repatriated. n 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 27

28 Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been making some clever political moves ahead of the elections. Taking a leaf out of his father Biju Patnaik s book, Naveen recently enhanced health coverage for women under the Biju Swaysta Yojana from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh. This followed a request from a tribal woman from Malkangiri who wanted government to accord priority to women s health. On June 12, Naveen had announced the Biju Swastya Kalayan Yojana health assurance scheme that is set to benefit 70 lakh people. Beneficiaries get Rs 5 lakh for treatment under the scheme at government hospitals, including subcenters to district health hospitals. The coverage includes free medicines as well. The Biju Janata Dal boss s decision was instant following a video interaction with people in districts on Ama Gaon, Aam Vikash scheme of the government. The chief minister said: Today, I had discussion with eight districts on the Ama Gaon, Aam Vikash Yojana. A lady from the Malkangiri district, called Mamata, said we should enhance Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana coverage for women from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh. I have taken note of this suggestion and it will be enhanced from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh. With this women and mothers will be immensely benefited. During the meeting with the Malkangiri people, sources said, Naveen patiently heard from Mamata Madhi who hails from the Maoist-infested Kalimela block of the district. She said there are many issues linked to women. Chief Minister has done many things for the cause of women, which includes 50 per cent reservation for women and involving them in developmental work. While Mission Shakti benefits many families, health coverage is a major issue. A senior government official in Malkangiri, who was present during the interaction, said, Chief minister was taking stock of the Ama Gaon, Aam Vikash Yojana through videoconferencing between am and am. Mamata was supposed to give vote of thanks to the chief minister. Suddenly, she raised the health issue and chief minister listened with rapt attention. Within 15 minutes, we came to know that the chief minister has announced enhancement of health coverage. We are pleasantly surprised. Malkangiri officials said that Mamta, a tribal girl had last year completed her graduation. She is an active member of the Biju Yuva Bahini and works dedicatedly for the development of tribal com- State Goodwill Hunting From raising health coverage for women to hearing out his state s farmers, Naveen Patnaik is making all the right moves Saroj Mishra 28 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

29 munity. A former minister, who had worked with Biju Babu, saw in Naveen s act the echoes of his father who had instantly hiked the daily wages of labourers in the state from Rs 11 to Rs 25 on the request of a woman labourer. He was on a tour to Patna tehsil of Keonjhar district. He noticed a group of tribal women walking along the road carrying their children. He went straight to them and inquired about their plight. Biju Babu asked one of them what they wanted from him. The woman asked her to hike the minimum wages. Biju Babu returned to Bhubaneswar and enhanced the wages from Rs 11 to Rs 25 despite the opposition from a section of people, recalled the leader. While this move has endeared Naveen to women he has also been trying to woo the state s large farming community. In what is being seen as an attempt to win back the confidence of farmers, chief minister Naveen Patnaik has been meeting them in batches on a daily basis and telling them about his government s initiatives for the overall welfare of the farming community. Last year the state government had come under fire following the death of a number of farmers. The issue of minimum support price (MSP) for different farm products has also been haunting the government. The exercise of chief minister meeting farmers began from April 20. So far Naveeen has met more than 250 leading farmers from five blocks Bahalda, Anandapur, Baragada, Athamallick and Paralakhemundi. The chief minister will meet 50 leading farmers from each of the 314 blocks of the state. The farmers meeting Naveen are being selected by agricultural extension officers at the block level. At least two farmers from each gram panchayat will be part of the delegations, said an official. Women farmers, too, are being included in the delegations. The Institute of Management on Agricultural Extension (IMAGE) has been entrusted with the task of bringing the farmers to Bhubaneswar where they are being educated about various government initiatives in the field of agriculture. A senior IMAGE official said, After the farmers arrive here we take them to our classrooms and make them aware of various schemes in agricultural, horticulture and other allied sectors. After a session with us we take them to Orissa University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT) and organise field visits to give them the exposure. He said that following field visits, the farmers meet the chief minister who communicates with them directly and tries to know about their problems while telling them about his government s initiatives aimed at their welfare. The officer added that from July 4 onwards IMAGE will bring farmers delegations from two blocks at a time for educative sessions and meetings with the Chief Minister. Describing farmers meeting with the Chief Minister as a clever move ahead of the general elections, sources said that they will act as Naveen s foot soldiers in taking forward the message of good governance which has been one of the focus areas of the government and is likely to be a major election plank of the ruling BJD. A farmer from Parlakhemundi, who met the Chief Minister in Bhubaneswar, said: We used to see him on television. But seeing him in person was an entirely different experience. He asked us many questions relating to agriculture. Besides what we learnt about agriculture in Bhubaneswar will stand us in good stead. If the Chief Minister has sought to keep farmers in focus, his rival BJP is not lagging behind. Three central minister were recently in Bhubaneswar for a twoday Agri-entrepreneurship conclave that was attended by nearly 1,000 farmers across the state. However, Naveen s initiative is likely to impress the farmers much more and they are certain to be plumping for his party once again in n 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 29

30 For a political party that was taking a serious shot at coming to power in Punjab less than two years ago, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) appears to have gone wayward. Despite the electorate in Punjab reposing trust in the party by making it the principal opposition in the first ever assembly polls that it contested in Feb- Politics COMING UNDONE The Punjab chapter of Aam Aadmi Party is in a shambles, and the party only has itself to blame ruary last year, the party leadership in Punjab and in Delhi have brought it to a new political low with a series of flipflops and self-goals. The AAP, which has 20 seats in the 117-member state assembly, relegated the formidable political alliance of the Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP to a humiliating third slot but is fast losing its vote bank in the state. In recent by-elections, be it for Lok Sabha or assembly seats, the AAP candidates have not only fared badly but had to face humiliation by even losing their security deposits. In the Shahkot assembly seat bypoll last month, the AAP candidate got a mere 1,900 votes. Each one of the top leaders in the AAP Punjab unit is on its own journey while the Delhi leadership of the party, including AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab in-charge Manish Sisodia, show wariness, indifference and even suspicion about the Punjab leaders. Senior AAP leader and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira is known to shoot off his mouth on every matter. His recent comments justifying the 'Referendum 2020' propped up by foreign-based radical elements who are demanding a separate Sikh homeland, or Khalistan, has sparked a new controversy for him and the AAP. Khaira, a former Congressman, has left the party embarrassed on earlier occasions as well. Just about two years back, the AAP was riding high on popularity in Punjab and many believed it was all set to form its first full-fledged state government. That was not to be. Kejriwal and his core group of leaders seem to have lost interest in Punjab affairs for now. Kejriwal's apology to senior Akali Dal leader and former cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia earlier this year, which happened without even consulting the Punjab leadership of the party, led to resignations within the party with the cadres on the ground feeling disappointed. AAP Punjab unit president and MP Bhagwant Mann, who has had his own string of controversies earlier, and copresident Aman Arora, resigned from their posts after Kejriwal's sudden apology. Kejriwal and other AAP leaders, in the run-up to the 2017 assembly polls, had openly accused Majithia of patronising the drugs mafia in Punjab. They even called him a "drug lord". When Majithia went to court in a defamation case against the AAP leadership, the Delhi leaders chickened out and Kejriwal wrote an apology letter to Majithia. Offering apologies and doing voluntary service (kar seva) to atone for political sins is nothing new for AAP leaders. The 'Youth Manifesto' of AAP, released before the assembly polls, carried a photograph of 'Harmandir Sahib', the holiest and most revered Sikh shrine of Sikh religion, with an image of a broom, the AAP's party symbol. This led to a religious uproar in Sikh dominated Punjab. Kejriwal and other leaders washed utensils at the Golden Temple complex to "atone" for the political and religious faus pax. AAP leader Ashish Khetan compared the same manifesto to religious scriptures like Granth Sahib, the Bible and the Gita. The AAP had to again seek forgiveness for this. The AAP's stand on sharing of river waters varies in Delhi and Punjab, leaving the party embarrassed at times. The electorate in Punjab, which gave four seats to AAP (out of 13 Lok Sabha seats), has been left disappointed. Two of the AAP MPs continue to be suspended from the party for the past three years. If AAP is to revive its position in Punjab, its leadership in Punjab and in Delhi would have to take drastic steps to stop the erosion of its base. Otherwise, the party would end up being a one-time wonder. n 30 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

31 With over 20 million tourists visiting per year, this port city a UNESCO World Heritage Site produces approximately 27,000 tonnes of urban waste per year. Most of the solid waste here, the country's first "eco-city" known for its pagodas, temples, ancient wells and tombs was once finding its way into the ocean, streams and landfills, threatening the environment and the health of communities. Now, household and tourism industry waste is sorted into three categories recyclable, biodegradable and persistent and disposed of under a pilot evolved by UN agencies with the involvement of locals, mainly women. Result: Scientific waste disposal is not only enhancing community income and employment, but is also addressing local environmental and climate challenges while at the same time taking into account business interests. Home to a harmonious blend of Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese influences, Hoi An is located about 30 km south of the coastal city of Da Nang in Quang Nam province. The credit of setting up the long-term waste management system that fosters sustainable development goes to a Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme, which came into existence in Hoi An in It basically aims at innovation and advocacy. With the support of GEF, a financial mechanism for several environmental conventions, a women's union piloted the project named "Socialisation of solid waste management in Hoi An". The project not only aimed to collect, segregate and dispose of the waste but also gave ample opportunity to poor local women to earn from it, a GEF spokesperson said. Biodegradable waste is composted at the household level and then used by local farmers for sustainable agriculture. Plastic, metal, and other recyclable waste is collected and sold to recycling facilities, while persistent waste is disposed of by the local government. A revolving credit scheme gave loans to members of the groups and allowed the waste management programme to become viable. Minh Hang, an octogenarian woman living in Hoi An, whose population density is six times higher than the national average, says the waste management programme helps her family get jobs. She told through an interpreter: "My entire family depends solely on waste collection and its disposal... it helps us earn a livelihood and also saves the en- International DOUBLE BENEFITS Vietnam has set an example for others in the way it is managing its waste while helping its women earn a living vironment." According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the Hoi An eco-town development, which is funded under the UN's One Plan Fund, envisions active participation by people's committees to implement green industry practices in small and medium enterprises, particularly those in the tourism, crafts and related sectors. The local civic authorities were advised to arrange solid waste collection plans and promote gardening in the city by involving business houses. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) President Achim Steiner, who is the Vice-Chair of United Nations Sustainable Development Group, said: "I think it takes the (local) leadership first. The private sector needs to be prepared to lead in this (in finding solutions to climate change) field also." "It (private sector) can't be a passive player and they can't wait for the government to solve the problem. So the first thing we in the UN family, not only in the UNDP, is to look for the leaders in the private sector because they are part of the change that we are calling for." Steiner, who was in Da Nang recently to meet with senior government leaders of Vietnam and attend the sixth GEF Assembly, was informally interacting with reporters there. A passionate advocate of the Sustainable Development Goals, Steiner was categorical in saying that together with the private sector "we develop platforms on the issues of climate change". "The private sector is a key factor in allowing the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to succeed," he said, adding, "So, engaging the financial sector is going to be a key priority." "Environment change is still pacing our capacity to respond by far. Emissions are not coming down enough. So is the global footprint of our consumption. We have produced more plastic in the last 13 years than in the entire human history. And you see the exponential impacts on the planet." "We are still confronting this. There is enormous need for transformational change. And this in the backdrop in which national and international cooperation of multilateralism acting together and acting in solidarity to one another (is required)," he said. Since 1998, GEF's Small Grants Programme has supported more than 150 projects in Vietnam. The programme supports communities to demonstrate, deploy and transfer innovative tools and approaches for managing harmful chemicals and waste. n 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 31

32 Punjab AMARINDER S BIG HEADACHE Punjab s drug problem of old has reared up its ugly head once again, leaving the ruling Congress party and its chief minister much to answer for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi once caused a stir by claiming over 70 per cent Punjab's youth were addicted to drugs. The party, which returned to power in March last year, had used every political trick to highlight the rampant drug abuse in the state during the campaign for the assembly polls. The issue has now returned to haunt its leaders. With over 30 deaths linked to drug abuse being reported in June from different parts of Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is facing an onslaught from the opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for his government's failure to curb the menace. Before coming to power, Amarinder Singh had, in December 2015, publicly taken a religious pledge by holding a copy of the "Gutka Sahib", a Sikh holy book, and saying that if he came to power, he would wipe out the scourge of drugs from Punjab within four weeks. His Congress government is now over 15 months old, and has clearly failed to contain the drug menace. Faced with criticism and pressure from the opposition, Amarinder hurriedly called a special meeting of his cabinet recently to address the issue. However, other than making statements and claims, and passing the buck to the central government by suggesting stronger laws against drug peddlers and smugglers, the Amarinder government has failed to do enough to contain the drug problem, say opposition leaders. Be it heroin or "Chitta" (a white powder drug), other lifestyle chemical drugs and opium, the supply chain has not been broken in Punjab despite the government s claim that there has been a crackdown on those dealing in drugs. The Chief Minister has, however, gone on record to claim that thousands of people linked to the drugs trade had been arrested. "The intensive action plan unfolded and executed by us during the last year has resulted in arrest of 18,977 drug peddlers and treatment of more than two lakh drug victims," Amarinder said. In a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently, the Chief Minister pointed out that the existing Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, provides for death penalty for certain offences if these are committed for a second time. "This means that a person can indulge in these nefarious activities and get away at least once, causing substantial damage to the youth and the society," Amarinder pointed out, adding that a harsher penalty for first-time offenders in drugs could be a deterrent to those indulging in this illegal activity. For over two decades, the unholy nexus of the drug peddlers and smugglers with police officials and politicians has been alleged but it has not been broken. The Congress and AAP leaders used to accuse an Akali Dal minister of being involved in the drugs racket. The drug trade in Punjab has also been linked to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and other countries. Leader of Opposition and AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira is not impressed by the statements being issued by the Amarinder government. "The government is not doing anything concrete at the ground level. None of the so-called big fish in the drug trade have been arrested so far," Khaira pointed out. The government started on a positive note last year by setting up a Special Task Force (STF) to deal with the drugs menace. A year down the line, the STF finds its wings clipped, and its chief, senior police officer Harpreet Singh Sidhu, is not being allowed to use his powers to get to the bottom of the drug trade. n 32 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

33 There is a new twist to Kashmir's political tale indicating that perhaps, once again, rumours could be travelling ahead of the real news in Jammu and Kashmir. The political grapevine is once again agog that a "democratic government" would soon be formed in the state by expedient politicians resorting to the most undemocratic means of horse trading. What has fuelled the rumour mill this time is the growing dissatisfaction within the Peoples Democratic Party (DPP) headed by former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. At least three of PDP's 28 MLAs in the 87-member state assembly have revolted against Mehbooba Mufti. Influential Shia leader and former minister Imran Ansari, his uncle Abid Ansari, and Abbas Wani have accused Mehbooba Mufti of running the PDP as a fiefdom. Imran accused Mehbooba of creating dynastic rule by bringing her brother, Tasaduq Mufti, as a minister and handing over all the affairs of governance to her relatives and cronies. Ironically, Imran and his uncle stayed put in the PDP till it lost power in the state. Former Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta's remarks gave credibility to reports that some deep churning was taking place in the state's political cauldron. "We are working on something and you will come to know of this soon," Gupta's words to media within days of the BJP withdrawing from the PDP-BJP ruling alliance were initially not taken seriously. The recent visit of BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav and his meeting with senior party leaders, in addition to Sajad Gani Lone of the Peoples Conference, finally stirred the hornet's nest. Sajad's party has two MLAs and he has been supporting the BJP. This had earned him a ministerial berth in the previous government out of the BJP's quota in the coalition. Madhav's visit was followed by reports that the PDP had approached the Congress for cobbling up a new ruling alliance in the state. Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad denied these reports, saying that the Congress has an all-weather friend in the regional National Conference (NC) headed by Farooq Abdullah and there was no question of aligning with the PDP. Mehbooba Mufti also denied any knowledge about her probable meeting Kashmir THE MILLS ARE CHURNING Rumours could be harbingers of real news yet again in the Valley with Sonia Gandhi as reported by a section of the media. While news reports and rumours about possible permutations and combinations between the PDP, the Congress and the NC are still doing the rounds, another political bombshell has hit the state. Reports of disgruntled MLAs from the PDP, the Congress and the NC breaking loose from their parties to support a BJP-led government are the latest addition to the media fever here. Horse trading is nothing new in the state. In 1984, a democratically-elected government headed by Farooq Abdullah was brought down by his brother-in-law, G.M. Shah. Shah became Chief Minister by engineering defections in the NC and with outside support of the Congress. The political upheaval was widely believed to have the blessings of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who had been insulted by some NC supporters during her public rally in Srinagar city. It is common knowledge in Kashmir that Jagmohan was brought in as the state governor by Gandhi so that Abdullah was ousted through defections within the NC. After exactly 34 years, the political rumour mill suggests that the same experiment is being tried once again with the blessings of the Centre. The 1984 coup was staged by engineering defections within just the NC. If rumours are to be believed, the reported horse trading would this time spare no major political party in the state. Rumours suggest defections to create a BJP-headed government would affect the Congress, the PDP and the NC as a minimum of 44 MLAs are needed to stake claim to power. At present, the PDP has 28, BJP 25, NC 15, Congress 12 and others seven seats in the 87-member assembly that was put into suspended animation by Governor N.N. Vohra after he imposed governor's rule. It is precisely because of the danger of horse trading that NC Vice President and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been demanding the dissolution of the state assembly, a chorus now joined by Mehbooba Mufti as well. Rumours may be dismissed as a mere figment of someone's imagination under normal circumstances. But not in Kashmir's topsy-turvy politics. It was initially just a rumour that his government was being toppled, which Farooq Abdullah brushed aside in 1984 till he got a letter from Governor Jagmohan that he was no longer the Chief Minister. n 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 33

34 On May 15 this year, a teenaged girl from Haryana embarked on the very challenging task of climbing Mount Everest from the Nepal side. But having dropped her radio transceiver during the trek, she couldn't inform anyone about her whereabouts. With no one able to contact her, there was hushed speculation that 16-yearold Shivangi Pathak might have lost her life in one of the world's toughest mountain terrains. After a tense 10 hours, a great piece of news came down the mountain and, later, her family in Hisar got to know about her epic triumph she had become the youngest Indian woman to scale the highest peak of the Himalayas. "We were extremely worried about her safety. Our whole family kept praying for hours for her safety without eating or drinking," Shivangi's mother Aarti Pathak, 42, said. "It was after a really long ordeal that we got to know that not only was our girl safe, but that she had also scaled the summit. I cannot describe in words what it felt like to hear this news. We are so proud of her. She achieved what she was determined to," the mother said. Now a recognisable celebrity across India, the journey of this go-getter girl to this huge accomplishment began with a joke made by her mother. "We got to hear of an Everest summiter (Mamta Sodha) being appointed as a Deputy Superintendent of Police. I jokingly told Shivangi to do something as big so she gets a similar job," Aarti said. Later, Shivangi saw some videos on Arunima Sinha, the first Indian amputee to climb the peak. Inspired by her, Shivangi, in November 2016, decided to climb the Everest. She trained herself for just over a year to prepare for the challenge. The trainer she approached initially criticised her for being "too stylish" with her hair. "She asked me if I have come to the ground or for a fashion walk. I was fat, and had long hair then," Shivangi recalled. "It hurt. I thought that maybe I am dreaming too big." What seemed too big then eventually became a reality with her hard work and dedication. She got her hair cut short and toiled to get in shape. Weighing 65 kgs two years back when she decided to climb the summit, she now weighs only 48 kgs. "I started shaping myself according to the requirements of the sport. I got my hair cut very short, started training under the same trainer, Rinku Pannu. She is my guru. She encouraged me to Adventure NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH How teenager Shivangi took girl power to new heights with her conquest of the Everest do it. I am immensely grateful to her," Shivangi said. "It is pretty funny that because I had short hair, girls who came to the ground started hitting on me thinking of me to be a boy," she laughed. The training session went on for six to seven hours every day. Shivangi didn't attend school and dedicated all her time preparing to climb the Everest. One training session included a 10- km run, weight lifting, rope -skipping. She was made to run with a backpack of 20 kgs on her shoulders. 34 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

35 "At times, she would tie ankle weights and run. When tired, she put them on her wrist," said her 27-year-old trainer. One day during her training, she suddenly woke up from her sleep around pm as she was yet to jump rope 200 times. "I had promised my trainer that day that I would do it 5,000 times but I couldn't complete. So, I woke up in between to do it before midnight," said the summiter. Pannu exclaimed, "Look at her dedication!" On April 1, she landed in Nepal from where she trekked up to the base camp where she reached by April 5. This was followed by over two weeks of acclimatisation. Finally, on May 10, she began her "Everest Mission", as she called it. "The route was full of stones and pebbles, and it was very slippery. There were many struggles. A storm hit the range a day before I reached the summit," Shivangi said, adding that she had to constantly motivate herself to overcome all hurdles. "Ice on the way was very hard. It wouldn't break. Stepping on it would make us slip. There was also a day when I fell sick due to the weather conditions, but I refused to give up," she said. She was accompanied by a Nepalese guide, Ang Temba Sherpa, who was with her throughout the journey. "My guide was like god for me in that journey -- he treated me like a younger sister, didn't let me miss my family. He was with me through all ups and downs," she explained. On May 15, at 8.21 am, she made it. "The first person on my mind was my mother. I desperately wanted to embrace her at that moment. I was so happy I made her proud." Hoisting the national flag at the highest peak of the Himalayas was "a great feeling" for her. "It was a moment of pride for me. This achievement turned out to be an inspiration for many girls in Haryana and in the country," she said. "I feel girls can do anything. They can go anywhere. They just have to make up their mind and have faith and determination towards what they want," she added. She urged girls' parents to "encourage and support" them in their goals and never let them feel they are less than the boys. "My parents were the biggest support and that is why I know how important it is for a girl to have her parents standing by her in her decisions," she added. Her next target is to climb to the highest summits of the rest of the continents before she turns 18. "Seven summits before 18," she said. Pannu (her coach) said that this was going to be a cakewalk for her. "She has climbed the highest in the world, reaching the highest of the other six continents won't be tough." "She is a girl of ambition. She made so many sacrifices. She never complained even when she was made to slog, gave up on all her food delights, lost weight, made herself physically fit. I have confidence in her. She can do it, she will," Pannu said. n 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 35

36 Environment Future Washing Ashore in Kerala The number of climate refugees is climbing in the southern state as rising seawater nibbles away at its coastline Sixty five-year-old Maria sits at the doorstep of her demolished house. The only thing that remains is a wall attached to the door. Every morning, she comes "home" and sits there till the evening, ruminating over her memories from the time when she and her family had started to build their new house. "My family and I lived in this house just for two years. One night there was an announcement for us to go to a relief camp as the sea was rough. When we returned the next morning the house was ruined by the waves. We were heartbroken," she lamented. Maria lives in the coastal area of Valiyathura in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. As per official records, 110 families have lost their houses in Valiyathura alone because of coastal erosion and rough seas. Another 100 homes have been damaged in the nearby fishing villages of Poonthura, Panathura and Bimapalli, all over the past five years. About 200 fishermen families are living in different government schools, which function as temporary relief camps. Three or four families live in a single classroom, sleeping on floor and cooking inside the same room. Many of them go to the shoreline regularly in the mornings, to see the remains of their houses. "We are living in this school for the last five years. My child does not know how to live in a house, he was born here. We had a three-bedroom house there in the first row of houses on the shore," said one of the refugees, Mini, tearfully. Alphine from Valiyathura, has had sleepless nights as she fears losing her home to the eroding shoreline. Ten years ago, when her house was built, it was more than 550 metres from the shoreline. Now, it is hardly three metres away. "Cracks have already appeared in the doors and windows. We have packed our things and are prepared to run away anytime from here," she said. In Valiyathura, the most affected coastline of the district, three rows of houses near the sea have been devastated. Another three rows about a 100 houses are under severe threat. Like in the case of Alphine's house, most of these already have cracks. Sanghumugham is one of the most popular beaches in the district. The sea wall here is completely broken and the beach has been eroded in this southwest monsoon, which began in June. "There are two types of erosion: cyclic and progressive. One need not worry about cyclic erosion as erosion during the rough season gets balanced by accretion during the calm season in a year. Progressive erosion is the one that has to be addressed as it is continuous. The reason for progressive erosion needs to [be] assured through scientific studies and appropriate corrective measures can then be taken," D. Ilangovan, senior principal scientist at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), told Mongabay-India. The erosion in Valiyathura, Poonthura and Panathura of Thiruvananthapuram 36 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

37 seems to be progressive as the beach was not restored. But in Shangumugham the erosion is cyclic and the beach gets restored after the rough season. Constructing sea walls has been Kerala's main defence against the drastic erosion. However, it proved to be a failure and experts opine that these walls can in fact have an adverse effect. Sea walls are structures built between water and land areas, usually along the coastline to protect waves from hitting the shore and prevent soil erosion. Of the 590-kilometre stretch of Kerala's coastline, 310 kilometres has sea walls. K. V. Thomas, former scientist at the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS) told Mongabay-India that sea wall construction is, on the contrary, one of the reasons that causes erosion. According to him, erosion during monsoon is common, but after the rains the beach doesn't get reinstated because of the sea wall. The sediments that are washed away don't come back, he claimed. He analysed why Valiyathura and "We are living in this school for the last five years. My child does not know how to live in a house, he was born here. We had a three-bedroom house there in the first row of houses on the shore Mini, one of the many from coastal Thiruvananthapuram who have lost their houses to the sea Shangumugham were the most affected beaches. "Both Valiyathura and Shangumugham beaches lie in between a gap of sea walls. The Valiyathura shoreline exists in between two sea walls that end on its south side and another sea wall had started from other side where the people lived in between. So it caused an elevation of water level in the gap. That is how we lost hundreds of houses in Valiyathura," he said. Cyclone Ockhi of 2017 is also believed to have worsened the situation. "This year the erosion was severe compared to previous years, because the damage that happened during Ockhi could not be repaired due to continued depressions in the sea after the cyclone," Thomas said. "We have around 590 kilometres of coastline, I don't think sea wall construction produces the desired effect. Sea walls and breakwaters are not scientific solutions. Putting a barrier in the coast will destroy the ecosystem. It will deepen the sea," said Oommen V. Oommen, former chairman of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board. Oommen affirmed that natural protection is the only way out. "We need to plant trees and plants in the coastal areas that protect our beaches. Only natural remedies can solve the issue, not manmade constructions. Coastal vegetation as well as mangrove plantations can hold the sand in the shore," he said. n 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 37

38 Yoga guru Ramdev's "swadeshi" mobile messaging app "Kimbho", that appeared briefly a few weeks ago claiming to take on the behemoth WhatsApp, has turned out to be a poorly crafted business idea. Patanjali, that posted a turnover of Rs 10,561 crore (US$1.6 billion) in the financial year 2017, has been retracting its statements since the launch first asking people to download the app from Google Play Store, then blaming extremely high traffic for its sudden death, later claiming it was just a one-day test and now asking for two more months for its relaunch. The app disappeared from Google Play Store within a day of its launch on May 31 over security and performance concerns, leaving the country's tech industry in a bit of a shock. If you visit Google Play Store today, you will find at least a dozen fake versions of "Kimbho" which is a Sanskrit word and means "How are you?" or "What's new?" in the form of messaging app, TV, Status and what not. The lingering question is: What was the haste to launch an app, touted as a challenge to Facebook-owned WhatsApp that has over two billion users globally and 200 million in India? Famous French security researcher, who goes by the name of Elliot Alderson, called "Kimbho" a security disaster on Twitter. is a joke, next time before making press statements, hire competent developers... If it is not clear, for the moment don't install this app," Anderson tweeted. In general course, if it is a Beta launch or a pilot run with a select group of users, the app runs for few weeks, the R&D team refines the product, the IT people plug the security loopholes, check the traffic control systems, apply scalable Cloud-based data management solutions and only then would the company push for a full-fledged launch. "A messaging app like WhatsApp was built and sold to Facebook at the cost of US$19 billion whereas the swadeshi Kimbho's launcher Patanjali, with total net worth of nearly US$2.5 billion, has zero contribution on IT solutions; hence the initiative had to flop in the first place," said Anoop Mishra, one of the nation's leading social media experts. To run a world-class messaging app like WhatsApp requires top-of-the-line IT infrastructure. "You need a team of Open Source experts, Cloud and content delivery network (CDN) experts, data engineers, an in-house team of core developers, API developers, user interface (UI) develop- Business Kimbho Fiasco Why Patanjali's answer to Whatsapp ended with a whimper ers, in-house testing team and user data simulation team. "You also need an outsourced hacking team which keeps finding the loopholes in the existing system which was completely missing in 'Kimbho' which was a poorly scripted app," Mishra contended. Apart from the technical and programming infrastructure, a good messaging app requires industry-best third-party tools and scalable Cloud hosting servers to handle and respond to real-time database queries of millions of users so that the app survives the inbound traffic. To build and run a word-class messaging app requires huge investment of time, tech expertise and money and eventually needs 10 times more investment for handling servers, security issues and data breaches, Mishra noted. According to Saket Modi, CEO and Co-Founder of cyber security firm Lucideus, companies nowadays are looking at products that are secure by design. "Companies are moving from agile DevOps to agile DevSecOps, where security is now being thought of from the development phase itself," Modi noted. Lucideus was responsible for security assessments for apps such as BHIM, Whats App for Payments and Google Tez. According to Faisal Kawoosa, Head, New Initiatives, CyberMedia Research (CMR), it will not be easy for "Kimbho" to create a space dominated by WhatsApp by just being "Swadeshi". "The initial reviews are full of issues and concerns," Kawoosa said. "Kimbho" should ideally have seen a soft launch without any comparison with WhatsApp building on the momentum while deploying scalable, agile and secure Cloud-based solutions to make it run. Building a world-class app perhaps needs much more effort than making toiletries or food products. n 38 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

39 Movie Review 'Hanuman v/s Mahiravan': An untold chapter from the epic Troy Ribeiro Director: Ezhil Vendan; Voice Cast: Rajesh Jolly, Viral Shah, Ganesh Divekar, Sweta Pradhan, Mayur Vyas, Parminder Ghumman, Shailendra Pandey, Nandkishore Pandey; Rating: **1/2 There have been numerous stories that glorify Hanuman's devotion and love for Lord Rama. In fact there is an image that has Lord Rama and his brother Lakshman seated on Hanuman's shoulders. This image originates from this story, which among the few, is one of the untold stories from the Ramayan. And as the title suggests, this animated film is about Hanuman's confrontation with Mahiravana, the son of sage Vishrava and and the brother of Ravana, the king of Lanka. The screenplay by Narayanan Vaidyanatan, sticks to the source material, which is according to the scriptures. During the battle between Lord Ram and Ravana, when Ravana's son Indrajit is killed, Ravana summons his brother Mahiravana to wreak havoc over Ram's army. Mahiravana, a sorcerer and King of Patala or the netherworld, promises to help. Ram and his entourage are wary that some mishap can take place on a particular fateful night that could bring harm to Ram and Lakshman. Hanuman is put on guard to ensure that no one enters the enclosure where the two brothers are relaxing. Mahiravana makes many attempts and is unsuccessful. Then finally, Mahiravana enters the enclosure disguised as Ram's ally Vibhishan and kidnaps the sleeping duo. When the real Vibhishan comes to visit Ram, Hanuman realises what happened, torn with guilt and grief and on the advice of Vibhishan, he sets out to Patala to rescue Ram and Lakshman before Mahiravan sacrifices them. How Hanuman enters the netherworld and rescues the brothers from the clutches of Mahiravan, forms the crux of the tale. While the story is interesting, the plot with Hanuman's antics drags in parts and this gets tedious for a while. Technically, the film is astutely mounted and rendered in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and English with ace voice artistes that lend their voices and bring the characters to life. This review is based on the Hindi version. The animation and 3D effects of the film certainly match international standards. Each frame is intricate and beautifully designed, but the colour palette is subdued, stark and not very appealing. The music and background score elevates the viewing experience. Overall, with an onslaught of brilliant, racy and colourful animation films from international markets, this film may not hold the attention and fascinate young minds. n 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 39

40 Bollywood I have guardian angels: Aditi Rao Hydari Nivedita Actress Aditi Rao Hydari, who received acclaim for her brief yet evocative role as Mehrunissa in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's epic drama "Padmaavat", says that dreams do come true if they are guided by right intention. She also feels that she has guardian angels as she is currently living her dreams. "I think every film and every experience helps you grow and learn, I would say Mani Ratnam's film and 'Padmaavar' made me believe that if you have a dream and your intentions are guided by that dream then it does come true," Aditi said. She continued: "They are legendary directors and for me with no backing to be living that dream has been so fulfilling (that) I feel blessed... I do know that it makes a difference to ones career to have experiences like these and I am grateful for them. I am convinced I have guardian angels." Aditi was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of designer Abhinav Mishra's latest fall 2018 collection "Phiroza" on Saturday evening. The collection is an amalgamation of heritage and contemporary fashion, reflecting designer's mission to create clothes for the young globally inclined Indian women, who are in tune with the international sensibilities of fashion and style while being honest to their own ethnic aesthetic. The actress who found the collection "really pretty, regal and elaborate", looked like a royalty in a creation made by the designer. The outfit was named Mehrunissa after her character in "Padmaavat". When asked if she feels that she has finally arrived in Bollywood just like she is known for her fashion sense, she said: "I don't even think like that, these things are for others to say. I'd rather put my energy and love into my work, the people I love and living and loving every second of my life." "I don't like to shout about myself from the roof tops. Firstly a director and the whole team has made it happen for me, secondly there is so much noise, why shout above the chaos?... I'd rather keep that energy for when I'm in front of the camera." So which roles are closest to her heart? "I loved playing Leela in Mani sir's love story ( 'Kaatru Veliyidai' ). It was an epic and fraught love story...i've loved playing Mehrunissa, I felt lucky to have been picked to play such a beautiful person...and my most recent 'Sammohanam'in Telugu which is a huge success and still playing in theaters... "I always wanted to do a films like 'My Week with Marilyn', 'Notting Hill' and 'Roman Holiday' so I jumped at this opportunity" The actress says that she likes roles that have character. "They (heroines) can be feminine, vulnerable but also are strong and fearless. I am drawn to characters like these. I think we have to be the change we want so as girls in the industry, we are pushing for the change and I hope industries all over India push for this change... not just us girls! Women are an integral part of any story real or reel," she said. Aditi is currently shooting Mani Ratnam's next film along with a film set in space directed by Sankalp Reddy. "I'm trying to do pan Indian work. I want to keep working with the best story tellers and directors., they inspire me, they have made me and taught me whatever I know," said the actress. n 40 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

41 Hollywood Jennifer Lawrence won't go method Actress Jennifer Lawrence says she was mortified when director Francis Lawrence urged her to keep the Russian accent she adopted for her role as ballerina-turned-spy in "Red Sparrow" outside of filming because she knew her friends would not be impressed. "For two weeks before the movie, Francis would say, 'You should talk in the accent at home. Stay in the accent and talk to your friends in the accent'. I said, 'Francis, I don't have those kinds of friends. They would never call me again'," Lawrence told Star magazine. Lawrence spent several months working on the accent and though it was tough, it was an essential part of her preparations, reports femalefirst.co.uk. She said: "I had never done a foreign accent before so I spent four months before the movie figuring out what kind of dialect she would have. Once you get there and you have the costume on, you become the character and it's easier." The Oscar-winning actress also struggled with the dance training she had to do and the experience left her amazed that people choose to put them through so much "mental and physical discipline". n Kim Kardashian visits women's prison Reality television star Kim Kardashian West met and interacted with prisoners. Kim visited the California Institution for Women in Corona Friday with a few bodyguards and first toured the grounds and living quarters, reports tmz.com. Then, she met 15 women to get a picture of what their day-to-day lives are like behind bars, how they feel about it and what their hopes, plans and anxieties are once they are released. According to tmz.com, Kim was there for several hours, and her trip is part of her mission to create a programme for women to help them adjust to real life once they get out of prison. The "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" star played a crucial role in the release of imprisoned grandmother Alice Marie Johnson last month. Kim is only continuing her efforts towards prison reform. n 16 JULY 2018 INDIA FIRST 41

42 Book Review The war machine and its complex course Vikas Datta Title: Tanks: 100 Years of Evolution; Author: Richard Ogorkiewicz; Publisher: Osprey Publishing; Pages: 392; Price: Rs 499 Their looming profile and bristling armaments make them the most easily identifiable piece of military hardware. But tanks, which represent a watershed in the age-old military technology contest between offensive and defensive capacities and mobile and static weaponry, are at their best only when their key attributes are in sync. Their entire story, which dates from much before they first trundled on to the battlefield in World War I -- as this book shows -- hinges on the development and interplay of these attributes: Mobility, protection, firepower and communication. Experts, however, differ on these attributes' relative importance. As an anecdote goes, a tank officer recalled that, in his training, there were three modules: Driving, where they were told that immobile tanks were of no use; radio, where they were told that lack of communication made tanks useless; and gunnery, where they learnt that without firepower, tanks were essentially a 50-tonne portable radio. But as Richard Ogorkiewicz recounts here, the development, modification and testing of these attributes not only underlines the evolution of tanks but also of human ingenuity and technology -- and stubbornness to change. Concentrating on mobility, firepower and protection, he presents a "comprehensive account of the worldwide evolution and employment of tanks from their inception to the present day". And while this is a story that Ogorkiewicz is well qualified to tell, as one of the foremost civilian experts on tanks, he adds a number of interesting nuggets. Say, the role of major car-makers -- Rolls- Royce, Fiat, Daimler, Renault, etc., in the evolution of armoured military vehicles, and unexpected countries with roles in tanks' history. Also a long-time independent member of several scientific advisory committees of the British Defence Ministry, the author notes that while tanks' military importance and general interest have led to a number of books on them (including three authoritative works by him): "There is much more to be said about them, not only because of the more recent developments or because of tanks' worldwide proliferation but also because of the misconceptions about their origins and other developments." He kicks off on this mission by revisiting conventional history of self-propelled, armoured military vehicles, whose origins, we learn, go back further than we thought to the year of Napoleon's birth (1769) -- though this particular venture by a French military engineer got nowhere, nor did the brief revival of interest in the mid-19th century. Ogorkiewicz shows how the course only began via development of armoured cars in various European armies in the early 20th century -- with Italy taking an early lead here. He then charts the development, the false starts and piecemeal attempts that marked tanks in World War I, before going on to how they faced another problem postwar, when even the victors (save France) reduced the inventories while traditionalist high commands disparaged their contribution or ruled out their independent use. Recounting how tanks made a comeback courtesy some visionary and dedicated British military theorists -- along with the mistakes the country's military leadership made and their consequences in the next World War -- he takes up developments in this field in other major powers: France, the US, Italy, the Soviet Union and Germany, as well as in Poland, Sweden and Japan. A chapter on development of strategic use of tanks offers a thoughtful prelude to an armoured battle view of the Second World War. Ogorkiewicz then deals with the changed battlefield after the Second World War, and how tanks survived the onslaught of hand-held -- and then more sophisticated -- anti-tank weapons. Apart from the five dominant tank powers -- the US, the Soviet Union, Britain, France and Germany -- he also takes a look at other countries which tried, including Switzerland, Israel and Argentina. Asian countries, especially China, Pakistan and India, get their own section, in which he makes an incisive summary of Indian armoured forces' developments, shortcomings and achievements, before offering his assessment of the future and some technical appendices. Though not a book for the casual reader due to its wealth of technical detail, it gives an expansive look not only at tanks, but the transforming paradigms of war-fighting, which changed from soldiers walking or riding to find and engage the enemy to long-ranging, combined-arms operations. Military buffs, this is for you. n 42 INDIA FIRST 16 JULY 2018

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