Photos and Videos tagged with #indian
#Indian Government bans trucks from carrying protruding rods
- 4 days ago via site
Why is the #Indian soldier denied his right to vote? #IndianArmy #IndianNavy #IndianAirforce
By:Colonel (retd) Anil Athale
Every general election nearly 14 lakh soldiers/sailors and airmen, 9 lakh personnel of the para-military forces and their families are effectively denied their basic democratic right to vote. Why can’t the Election Commission come up with a solution for this, asks Colonel (retd) Anil Athale.
The general elections are definitely in the air! Political temperatures are already rising and many expect the general elections to take place this winter. As the elections approach, one can almost predict the news coverage! There will be the usual model code violations, media criticism on a large number of criminals in the electoral fray, stories put out by the Election Commission how it has made herculean efforts to reach the remotest corners of the country even for a mere ten voters etc!
There will also be the usual procession of political bigwigs, surrounded by SPG and ‘Black Cats’ , coming to the polling booth to cast their votes! At the end of the day, the Election Commission will pat itself on the back for having prevented booth capturing and conducted this mammoth exercise.
Forgotten in all this will be close to 14 lakh soldiers/sailors and airmen, 9 lakh personnel of the para-military forces and their families. These uniformed citizens are effectively denied their basic democratic right to vote. The nature of their job is such that most of them (including this author) have managed to vote only after retirement.
While the EC takes great pride in reaching the remotest location, does it remember the 4,000 odd soldiers on Siachen Gacier? Are the unformed citizens children of lesser God? Has any of the ‘leaders’ in Z and Z Plus category ever asked their bodyguards if they have had a chance to vote? This author conducted a straw poll of around 20 odd soldiers in Pune on April 5. Out of them only two had managed to vote since they happened to be on leave during an election. Over 90 percent said in their entire career they have never received a postal ballot.
Even if a more extensive survey is conducted, it will reveal that just over 5 percent of soldiers have ever had a chance to exercise their democratic right. This scandalous state of affairs has existed for over 65 years. Contrast this with the length to which other democracies go to ensure the soldiers exercise their right to vote. In the midst of World War II, in 1945, the British had polling booths in jungles of Burma for their soldiers to vote.
This author had raised this very issue in June 2012. The only response to this was a list of excuses and a promise to ‘look into the issue’. This article is to reiterate those arguments and again bring this issue to light well before the electoral process begins so that the Election Commission does not have excuse of lack of time to carry out the necessary reforms.
It is not that the armed forces have not brought out this issue earlier. Talking to a former adjutant general, this author was told that the excuse of the EC for its inability to send postal ballots was due to the large ballot papers with tens of names etc. We have come a long way from the ‘paper ballot’ era with the electronic voting machines the norm now. Do the same ‘logistic’ reasons hold even today? How did the British do it in 1945? How do the Americans, with worldwide spread of its soldiers and other citizens do it? Is it not time that the EC learns from the experience of other democracies and adopts ‘best practices’!
The de facto ‘dis-enfranchisement’ of soldiers (sailors, air men, para-military personnel) begins with the voter registration/electoral list revision. A soldier at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, obviously cannot be present in his home in Jhumritallaiya. So a clerk who visits his home can easily delete his name! Matters become ever more curious if his family is staying in Guwahati. Now, no Assam government official visits the separated families’ accommodation to register them as voters in Assam (though our PM had his home address in that state). So the soldier who guards the country’s borders is not a good enough ‘citizen’ to vote.
There is a simple enough solution to this problem. Every soldier’s record and his identity card have clear mention of his permanent address. This is a part of government record, verified by local police at the time of recruitment/commissioning. The EC should accept this as the proof of residence and a simple application, sent to the EC headquarters, should ensure that the soldier is registered as a voter in the constituency. Having simplified the registration process, it should be possible that the EC will have the details of the soldier voter.
With advances in IT and the pioneering role played by India in having an ‘electronic voting system’, it should be possible for the EC to send its teams to the level of brigades during the election process. Here the soldiers can come personally and vote on a machine. Brilliant former CECs like T N Seshan, James Lyndoh, S Y Qureshi, who know the system can suggest ways that this can be accomplished. The process of voting need not wait for the date of general elections, but can begin even before. Like the US, it is time we also permit ‘early voting’.
This author is well aware that this is a cry in wilderness. The political ‘caste’ is not interested in letting the soldiers vote. This further complicates their ‘vote bank’ calculations. Has anyone ever wondered why a death of a single agitator in Kashmir valley is a big deal while six CRPF men being gunned down does not evoke any reaction!
The simple answer to this is that the politico’s know that the soldiers do not vote and are nobody’s vote bank, kind of political orphans. This is a serious issue that impacts the policies and actions of the governments. From neglect of martyred soldiers to lack of national war memorial or one rank one pension issue, the approach of political caste is dictated by the fact that there is no ‘vote’ to be gained in all this.
Can all this change? Surely, it can if the only credible institution of the country, the Supreme Court takes cognisance of the fact that the procedures/practices are effectively denying voting rights to uniformed persons, sort of what happens to Dalits in some part of the country, and directs the EC to take measures to rectify it. Will the apex court take suo moto notice of this issue and ask the EC a few questions like:
How many soldiers have managed to vote in past elections?
Why can’t the procedure to register be simplified for soldier?
What stops EC from sending teams with suitable machines to record the votes of soldiers centrally and then transmit them to the respective constituencies?
Don’t the soldiers who defend democracy have a right to participate in it?
Colonel (retd) Anil Athale
- 14 days ago via site
Almost 500 #Indian workers have died during #Qatar #FIFA World Cup preparations #LiarKejriwal #BJP #NaMo #narendraModi #humanrights
More than 500 Indian migrant workers have died in Qatar since January 2012, revealing for the first time the shocking scale of death toll among those building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup.
Official figures confirmed by the Indian embassy in Doha reveal that 237 Indians working in Qatar died in 2012 and 241 in 2013. A further 24 Indians have died in January 2014.
These come after the Guardian revealed last month that 185 Nepalese workers had died in Qatar in 2013, taking the total from that country to at least 382 over two years.
Human rights groups and politicians said the figures meant Fifa could not "look the other way", and should be leading demands for Qatar to improve conditions for the estimated 1.2 million migrant workers fuelling a huge construction boom.
The figures from the Indian embassy show that 233 Indian migrants died in 2010 and 239 in 2011, taking the total over four years to 974. Since the World Cup was awarded to Qatar in December 2010, there have been 717 recorded Indian deaths.
However, the Indian embassy did not provide further details on who those individuals were, their cause of death or where they worked. But analysis of the lists of dead Nepalese workers showed that more than two-thirds died of sudden heart failure or workplace accidents.
Qatar's ministry of labour and social affairs told the Guardian: "With specific regard to these new figures, we were aware that local media had previously reported some of these headline numbers, and we are clarifying them. Clearly any one death in Qatar or anywhere else is one death too many – for the workers, for their families, but also for Qataris who welcome guest workers to our country to perform valuable jobs. We are working to understand the causes of these deaths – as these statistics could include a range of circumstances including natural causes, and road safety incidents, as well as a smaller number of workplace incidents."
Nicholas McGeehan, a Gulf researcher for Human Rights Watch, said: "These figures for Indian deaths are a horrendous confirmation that it isn't just Nepalese workers who are dying in Qatar."
Jim Murphy, the shadow international development secretary, said: "Preparations for the 2022 World Cup cannot go on like this – the trickle of worrying reports from the construction sites of Qatar has become a torrent.
"Some of the practices we know are taking place in Qatar amount to forced labour, and there are widespread concerns that the death toll could reach well into the thousands if nothing is done."
Last week, a hearing at the European parliament heard from human rights groups, Fifa and other interested parties after a resolution was passed last year calling for action on the issue as construction of 2022 World Cup venues begins in earnest.
Despite the Qatar 2022 organising committee implementing a new charter relating to construction on its stadiums and the ministry of labour highlighting an expanded inspection programme, human rights groups and trade unions have repeated their call for structural change in the face of hundreds of deaths.
In November, Amnesty warned in a damning report that workers were enduring 12-hour days in sweltering conditions and living in squalid, overcrowded accommodation.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has warned that up to 4,000 workers may die before a ball is kicked in 2022 without meaningful reform of the kafala system, which ties workers to their employers, and stringent control of the myriad construction companies and subcontractors involved.
The ITUC, which has campaigned consistently for better rights for migrant workers across the Gulf, has called the publication of the charter a sham because it does not deal with structural problems created by the kafala system..
Many workers arrive in Qatar already heavily in debt, having paid huge sums to middle men to secure contracts in the fast growing Gulf state.
A senior executive at one of Qatar's largest banks told a conference in Bahrain last month that the Gulf state would spend £123bn on infrastructure projects in the next four years alone. The hosting of the World Cup is an integral part of Qatar's unprecedented 2030 National Vision building project.
There are an estimated 1.2 million migrant workers in Qatar. Those from India make up 22% of the total, with a similar proportion from Pakistan. Around 16% are from Nepal, 13% from Iran, 11% from the Philippines, 8% from Egypt and 8% from Sri Lanka.
The Qatar World Cup organisers believe that by holding their own contractors to higher standards they can create momentum for change and that improved rights for workers could be one legacy benefit of hosting the tournament.
The ministry of foreign affairs has also emphasised that it is stepping up efforts to hold contractors to existing labour laws, sanctioning 2,000 companies in 2013 and a further 500 in January 2014 alone.
The statement from the Qatari ministry of labour and social affairs added: "Where any liability is found to rest with employers, the ministry …and Qatari law authorities will pursue these cases through the relevant legal channels. We have increased the number of trained labour inspectors by 25%, and continue to hire new inspectors, with over 11,500 random spot-checks of workplaces carried out in the past three months.
This, in order to enforce our existing labour laws, with the aim of the prevention of any further workplace incidents."
Law firm DLA Piper has been engaged to prepare a report on all issues surrounding Qatar's use of migrant labour, which is expected to be published next month.
But human rights groups have maintained that Qatar must prove it is serious about reforming its labour laws. Amnesty's James Lynch, who wrote last year's report, called on the Qatari and Indian authorities to provide more detail on the circumstances of the deaths.
"This issue is not restricted to one country of origin," said Lynch. "It is critical that the Qatari government works urgently with the governments of migrant workers' countries of origin to investigate the main causes of migrant workers' deaths and develops a transparent plan to address these, particularly where deaths relate to industrial accidents, work conditions and access to healthcare."
Fifa has asked Qatar to provide evidence of meaningful progress in reforming labour law but the president of world football's governing body, Sepp Blatter, has said its status as hosts is not under threat.
Murphy, who will travel to Nepal and Qatar in the coming weeks, said: "Fifa cannot simply look the other way. Football's governing body should be leading demands for change, not dragging its feet."
- 21 days ago via site
101st #Indian #Science #Congress: Just walk a kilometre and charge your smartphone
Just walk for a kilometre and you can produce enough power to charge your mobile or laptop! Developed by Subhranshu Banerjee - a 8th standard student from Odisha - this innovative answer to energy woes is one among many solutions to India’s problems that children have presented at the 101st Indian Science Congress here.
Subhranshu, a student of ODM Public School at Bhubaneswar, has developed a system that is fitted in a shoe wherein if a person walks for one kilometre, he or she can produce enough power to charge batteries of their mobiles, laptops and other gadgets.
“My concept is based on usage of piezo cell. This cell has to be fitted in a shoe’s sole and is connected with a battery. Whenever a person will walk, this cell will produce power which will be stored in the battery,” Subhranshu told dna.
“At present, if a person wears this shoe and walks one kilometre, then he or she can produce enough power that can charge battery of a smartphone and in few cases laptops too,” he said.
It took Subhranshu around six months to complete his project and it costs Rs100 if price of the shoe is excluded. He is trying to rope in shoe manufactures to commercialise his product and is also preparing to introduce it in his school with help of the school authorities.
Subhranshu explained that he got this idea while he was thinking of routine energy woes in our lives as so many times gadgets stop working when there is no power.
Another student, who was keenly looking at Subhranshu’s project, said not only this would solve power woes for people who are on the move but will also improve health of people as they would walk more.
- 35 days ago via site
Best-selling #Indian small #cars fail crash tests: 10-point cheat-sheet
The Tata Nano, billed as the world's cheapest car, and four other India's top-selling small cars have failed their first independent crash tests, a global safety group New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) revealed on Friday. Small vehicles are the biggest segment of the price-sensitive Indian car market, which is coveted by global brands and domestic manufacturers as working-class consumers upgrade from two- to four-wheelers.
HERE’S 10-POINT CHEAT-SHEET TO THIS BIG STORY:
The five entry-level vehicles -- including India's best-selling small car the Suzuki-Maruti Alto 800, as well as the Ford Figo, the Hyundai i10 and the Volkswagen Polo -- scored no stars out of five for protection. The NCAP said the five vehicles it tested accounted for about 20 percent of all new cars sold in India annually.
The tests saw the basic models, all without airbags, driven at 64 kilometres an hour (40 miles) into a block simulating a head-on collision. NCAP also tested the cars in a crash simulation according to United Nations standards -- a frontal collision at the slightly slower speed of 56 kilometres an hour -- and none of them passed.
All would leave the driver facing life-threatening injuries. (Made-in-India cars crash tested for the first time)
The NCAP tested only the basic models of the cars in question and it said the Figo and Polo would provide much better protection if fitted with airbags, which were an optional extra. But the Nano, the i10 and the Alto had "inadequate" structures that meant that even air bags would "not be effective in reducing the risk of serious injury".
The results are an indictment of the auto industry in India, which lacks adequate safety standards, said David Ward, head of the London car-safety watchdog Global NCAP, which performed the crash tests. India has some of the deadliest roads in the world. Drivers should be "educated and protected by regulation, but that's not happening in India," said Mr Ward.
The models tested were bought locally and any exports from Hyundai, Ford and Volkswagen, which have factories in India, would be subject to safety regulations in their final market.
The Tata Nano was the brainchild of the former boss of the Tata conglomerate Ratan Tata who wanted a cheap car for the masses. But it has flopped since its launch in 2009, partly due to poor marketing.
Tata has said it would like to export the Nano but has previously raised safety problems as an impediment. Today it said, "Tata Motors sees safety as a priority, and is going to closely review the results of the Global NCAP test, before drawing any conclusions vis-a-vis its product strategy. However, all its cars do meet all Indian safety regulations as mandated by the government, at this time."
As a result of the tests, Volkswagen has withdrawn its Polo model without airbags. In a statement the company said, "We have decided to have front dual airbags as standard on the Polo, as our continuing commitment to safer and better driving."
Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Ford India have also issued statements saying their cars meet Indian safety regulations.
Official Link -- http://www.globalncap.org/crash-tests-show-indias-cars-are-unsafe/
- 40 days ago via site
#Indian Army sees red over its personnel chatting on #Chinese apps
The Indian army has raised the alarm over use of chat and social media apps on smartphones by its personnel and warned them that WeChat could be used by China for snooping.
In a top secret internal communication to all military commanders, the Director General of Military Operations has asked all army personnel and their family members to restrict use of mobile applications, whose servers are hosted outside India, as it can lead to “inadvertent loss of sensitive information”.
Referring to the telecom regulation in China, the note, which has been accessed by dna, says, “Every internet company and telecom operator in China, both foreign and domestic, is held legally liable for all content shared through their platforms.”
The note assumes significance in the light of Centre’s policy to promote domestic manufacturers of telecom products as it is worried that foreign suppliers of telecom equipment, especially Chinese, might indulge in cyber espionage during a crisis or war.
“Applications like WeChat, Weibo and QQ are Chinese equivalent of WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook messaging applications and pose ‘potent threat’ in the light of Chinese internet and telecom regulation,” the note says, pointing out that WeChat is developed by Tencent Holdings, China. The application is available on all popular mobile platforms including Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows and Symbian.
The app was initially launched as Weixin in China in January 2011 and rebranded as WeChat in April 2012. It is being promoted in India through gaming site Ibibo, in which Tencent holds a stake.
“Its rich features have made WeChat an instant hit globally, its location sharing and cloud based back-up of contacts, information etc on Chinese Servers pose potent threats especially to military users,”the note claims.
It also cited a study conducted by University of California, which discovered in April 2013 that the code of WeChat, ‘though intended to be private, was left public’. It further points out that security vulnerabilities, which expose private information allow outsiders to fraudulently post messaging from other people’s accounts, were discovered.
“In January 2013, it was revealed that WeChat’s international messages were being censored too. This clearly indicates that all data, even of Indian users, shared through WeChat may be monitored or regulated by Chinese authorities,” the army’s internal note says.
The army claims that the location-sharing feature of the app may be fraudulently used to track and target people, especially those working in defence, scientific, industrial research or other government sectors.
When contacted WeChat for reaction, they declined to comment on the issue.
“This may lead to determination of exact physical location and pattern of movement of person or group. The tracked location may also permeate to related social sites, applications which may become permanent and searchable,”the note states.
- 48 days ago via site