A treatise in the pursuit of Purushartha

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/article3820531.ece

Rising above challenges

K. SARUMATHI

C. Kartik, the owner of Sri Chakra Lending Library in West Mamabalm.

The HinduC. Kartik, the owner of Sri Chakra Lending Library in West Mamabalm.

Kartik has turned his hobby into self-employment opportunity

Karatik is special. Special as a medical practitioner would call him and as a person who has achieved much in life. With an educational qualification which can put many to shame, his life, unlike that of others like him, has represented an uphill graph till now. With support from parents and teachers he has been able to beat his disability. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was three-years old, doctors advised Kartik’s mother, Rajalakshmi Chanderashekar, to put him in a special school.

Vidhya Sagar became his first abode, where he studied till Class X. “Kartik could not have achieved so much without the support of the school,” says his mother. He went on to finish his schooling from Lady Andal School, Chetpet. He was admitted to Loyola College where he did his under graduation in English Literature. Along with the regular course, Kartik enrolled himself into an add-on course on Media Presentation. He finished his M.A. in English and History. Studious as he is he went on to do an M.Phil in English and submitted his thesis on childhood theme in R.K. Narayan’s famous work, ‘Swami and Friends’.

Life, as Kartik would tell us, had been easy and fun-filled, with acceptance from everyone, till he had to apply for a job. On approaching organisation backed by a good education record, Kartik was turned down every time, not because he was not well qualified, but because he was different. “They only looked at my disability, not at what I could achieve. I tried every sector from BPO to journalism but no one is willing to take me. I also tried the government job meant for disabled, but was turned down. They either have a problem with my voice or my typing speed.”

Dejected after three years of job-searching, Kartik has found solace in his hobby which he has turned into a self-employment opportunity. An avid reader, Kartik has a collection of over 1,000 books, which he now lends out to others. A year ago he started a library called Sri Chakra at his home.

Books available

The library features collections of books on varied subjects such as history, literature, spiritual, children’s literature, study–related textbooks, general knowledge, competitive exam preparation books, etc. The library also has a special collection called Library of Nations, with detailed history and growth of continents. For Tamil lovers, the library offers classical works. Many of them came as presents from others.

To manage his library efficiently, Kartik also went on to get a Bachelors degree in Library and Information Science from Madras University. The membership fee for the library is Rs. 500 a year. Starting with five members, the library today has 25 patrons.

Through all ups and downs, his mother has been a rock-solid support. “I used to travel with him thrice a week to Madras Christian College, Tambaram, for M.Phil classes. My proudest moment was when Kartik went on the stage to collect his graduation certificate. People gave a standing ovation to him. Nothing can beat that feeling. I am thankful to Loyola for its support to Kartik, whenever we approached the principal with problems they were addressed immediately.”

Apart from reading, Kartik also loves chess and cricket and is a movie buff. “Vishwanathan Anand, Sachin Tendulkar and Ajit are my role models. I got a chance to meet Vishy and played a friendly match with him. I also met Sachin over dinner at Taj Coromandel and got a bat and a cap as souvenirs from him. But, my dream to meet actor Ajit has remained unfulfilled till now.”

Kartik wants to achieve a lot more. He wants to become a cricket columnist, wants to expand his library, and get a Ph.D in English, but his ultimate aim is to land a job. “I want to give back to my parents for all the sacrifices they have made for me. I want to run the library along side. Never before has my disability bothered me, but constant rejection has made me question where and when will I fit in.”

Travelling is also a major challenge for Kartik. His family is looking for sponsors for meeting transportation costs. Kartik can be reached at 98846 08795 / 91760 64755 / 81225 42365.

His library is located at No. 81/D Arihant Flats, Thambiah Road, West Mambalam. It is open from 4 to 7 p.m.

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Cauvery dispute: Yeddyurappa calls CRA order ‘unpardonable crime’, sits in dharna

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/cauvery-dispute-yeddyurappa-calls-cra-order-unpardonable-crime-sits-in-dharna/298173-37-64.html

Bangalore: Former Chief Minister and estranged BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa on Friday launched a frontal attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for issuing to Karnataka an order as Chairman of Cauvery River Authority (CRA) to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu daily “without assessment of ground reality” on water storage levels in this state.

Yeddyurappa, who began a day-long dharna in protest against the CRA order, demanded that the Prime Minister withdraw the diktat without “delaying even for a moment”. He stressed that the Prime Minister should have first sent a central team to the state to study the ground realities before issuing the order.

Yeddyurappa termed the CRA order “unpardonable crime” and “blow” to the state and said it has hurt the harmonious relations between Kannadigas and Tamils. The Prime Minister passed the order for the sole reason of “getting cooperation” from Tamil Nadu. Yeddyurappa said Singh should get the report of the central team currently touring the Cauvery basin districts today itself, and withdraw the order by this evening to “avert tomorrow’s Karnataka bandh”.

Cauvery dispute: Yeddyurappa calls CRA order 'unpardonable crime', sits in dharna

In this age, it s easy to find the storage levels in reservoirs and get all the data sitting in Delhi, he pointed out. “I have decided to stay put here itself (dharna spot) tonight”. He said tomorrow s Karnataka bandh (called by Kannada organisations in protest against release of water to Tamil Nadu) is not aimed at promoting the interest of any political parties; it’s to protect the interests of the State, farmers in Cauvery basin and drinking water needs of Bangalore.

“I don’t know what form tomorrow’s bandh will take. If there are law and order problems, the Prime Minister and the Centre will be responsible”, he said, and demanded that four Central Ministers from the State SM Krishna, M Mallikarjuna Kharge, M Veerappa Moily and KH Muniyappa take a clear stand and convince the Prime Minister to withdraw the order quickly. He said Karnataka is facing severe drought and rains have now stopped in the state, while it has commenced in Tamil Nadu.

Ma Ganga needs scientist Bhagirath! — Dhirendra Sharma

Ma Ganga needs scientist Bhagirath! — Dhirendra Sharma

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July 1, 2012
Ma Ganga needs scientist Bhagirath!

DHIRENDRA SHARMA
The pristine Ganga as seen in Uttarakhand becomes heavily polluted as it flows down the plains. Photo: K.R. Deepak

Scientific management of the glacial rivers and lakes of the Himalayas is the only way to take care of the irrigation and drinking water needs of millions of people in the Gangetic plains. There is no traditional or spiritual method available to us to meet the 21st century demands for water and power. Pouring milk and dumping bodies would not bring purity to any river.

Some religious persons have expressed concern that the Gangotri glacier is receding, and Ma Ganga would disappear like the ancient river Saraswati. In the Harappan Age of the river Saraswati, geological faults were not known. Today, with the advancement in science, we are in a position to know about the natural changes likely to occur in the future. Geological and hydrological knowledge makes it possible to manage the sustainability of natural resources. We cannot control natural forces but we can plan and prepare for their better management. With the projects under construction, we can achieve 50,000 MW hydropower within the next five years. Such a futuristic developmental policy would certainly provide jobs to thousands of unemployed youth and encourage industry, and engineers, doctors and teachers to go to the rural areas. Completion of the dams and other development projects calls for the collective will and cooperation of all political parties and the citizens.

Today, “pollution” is a looming issue and only scientific methods would restore purity of the mighty Ganga. To believe that any water would wash away your sins is not consistent with science. Nowhere in the Vedas or the Upanishads or in the dharma-shastra texts has it been said that any river can undercut the Law of Karma. The Manusmriti says that “Not by blind faith, but only by application of logical reasoning (tarka) one can know what right action (dharma) is. (yastarken anusandhate sa dharmam ved netarah).

All those dharmacharyas who are agitating and fasting for the honour of Ma Ganga are requested to consider the imperative of utilising the great potential of Himalayan water and hydropower for the benefit of the future generations.

There is an estimated 200,000 MW energy stored in the frozen icy waters of the Himalayas. Geological, hydrological and seismological studies of the glaciers have enhanced our capability to take care of Ma Ganga and provide life-saving drinking water and essential civic facilities to ever-rising populations. Apart from the polar caps of the North and South Poles, the Himalaya is the largest ice water body on Planet Earth.

The Kailash-Manasarovar, for example, is the largest ice water ocean situated at a safe height of thousands of metres above the sea level. According to a recent study of the glaciers by Prof. Stephan Harrison of Exeter University, U.K., published in Nature Geoscience, the Himalayan glaciers gained 0.11 to 0.22 metres (0.36 to 0.72 feet) per year between 1999 and 2008. Scientific studies have concluded that the small ice mass increase is indicative that the Himalayan glaciers do not follow the global trend of warming like the North and South Poles.

Today, with advanced river water management we can bridge the gap between rural and urban living. Scientific knowledge gives us the confidence for corrections and construction of water storage facilities and hydropower generation, without damaging environment.

With the scientific and technical experience gathered from dam constructions and river water management in the mountain regions of Russia, Canada, the U.S. and the northernmost region of Finland — some 200 high constructions around the world — including the great Nile (Egypt), Volga (Russia), and Missouri, (U.S.), we are in a commanding position to build strong and safe dams with sustainable development strategies in the Himalayas. The Chinese have completed more than a hundred small and big hydropower facilities with irrigation and drinking water supply in the Tibetan autonomous region.

Uttarakhand is at the crossroads of development that cannot be achieved by washing our sins in the holy river. Our saints and dharmacharyas can help the nation by reforming the age-old belief systems. Why has no saint condemned the sacrifice of innocent animals in temples? Why have they not raised their voice against the killing of female foetus? I appeal to our dharmgurus and acharyas to resist the temptation to arouse emotions against scientific development projects.

We must bridge the rural-urban divides. Due to a lack of essential civic amenities in rural sectors, doctors, teachers and engineers are not willing to work away from the cities. When there is an acute shortage of qualified and trained professionals in the social-economic and industrial sectors, when thousands of our youth are jobless, and the villagers in higher regions are facing natural fury, without food and shelter, what is the meaning of our fasting in the name of saving rivers?

Today, we are in the Knowledge Age, exploring the Moon and the Mars, the cosmos and galaxies beyond. All socio-economic, industrial, educational and professional activities are dependent on uninterrupted supply of water and power.

If the high-rise houses in New York and Chicago enjoy uninterrupted water and power supply 365 days of the year, why cannot we provide clean drinking water to our citizens? In the 21st century, it is not necessary for our mothers and sisters to go miles to collect water.

(The writer belongs to the Centre for Science Policy/Concerned Scientists & Philosophers, Dehra Dun. Email: dhiren.sharma32@gmail.com)

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/article3589252.ece?homepage=true

Paki SC disqualifies PM for failure to open Swiss moneylaundering cases

Pakistan to elect new PM as supreme court disqualifies Yousuf Raza Gilani

PTI | Jun 19, 2012, 07.02PM IST

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was today disqualified as an MP by the Supreme Court two months after he was convicted for contempt, a staggering verdict that was surprisingly accepted by the ruling-PPP which swiftly moved to select a new premier.

Capping nearly 30 months of bitter feud between the judiciary and the government, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry held that Gilani, 60, “ceased” to be the Prime Minister from April 26 this year.

Gilani was then convicted and sentenced for not obeying court orders to reopen graft charges in Switzerland against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Contrary to expectations that the PPP will back him to the hilt, the ruling party said it would abide by the verdict and set in motion the process of selecting Gilani’s successor.

Federal ministers Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Makhdoom Shahabuddin and Khursheed Shah are among those being considered for the post of premier, the sources added.

A session of the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament is likely to be convened tomorrow for the formal election of the new premier.

Today’s verdict came in response to several petitions that had challenged National Assembly speaker Fehmida Mirza’s decision not to disqualify Gilani following his conviction.

“Since no appeal was filed against this (April 26) judgment, the conviction has attained finality. Therefore, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani has become disqualified from being a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament) in terms of Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution on and from the date and time of pronouncement of the judgment of this court dated 26.04.2012 with all consequences,” the Court said.

It added, “He (Gilani) has also ceased to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan with effect from the said date and the office of the Prime Minister shall be deemed to be vacant accordingly”.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-to-elect-new-PM-as-supreme-court-disqualifies-Yousuf-Raza-Gilani/articleshow/14274073.cms

Yousuf Raza Gilani convicted in contempt case, spared jail term

PTI | Apr 26, 2012, 10.58AM IST

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday convicted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for contempt of court for refusing to revive graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and sentenced him to a symbolic “till the rising of the court”, sparing him a jail term.

During proceedings in courtroom number 4 that lasted less than 10 minutes, the seven-judge bench headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk announced the verdict and said Gilani’s sentence would last “till the rising of the court” or till the completion of the hearing.

The judges left the court immediately after announcing the verdict, effectively ending 56-year-old Gilani’s sentence.

However, legal experts were divided on whether Gilani’s conviction would lead to his disqualification. They said the court’s detailed order would provide clarity in this regard.

Emerging from the court, Gilani told the media: “We had sought justice. The decision was not appropriate”.

The maximum sentence that could have been given to Gilani in this case was six months.

Earlier, Gilani drove in a small motorcade to the Supreme Court complex, where members of his council of ministers were waiting for him.

The premier then walked towards the building flanked by his son Abdul Qadeer Gilani and interior minister Rehman Malik as his supporters showered rose petals on him.

He stopped at the door of the building and waved to his supporters before going inside. The proceedings in the packed courtroom began at around 9.30am.

After the judges entered the room, Gilani walked and stood at the rostrum with law minister Farooq Naek and his lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan.

The government put in place strict security arrangements for Gilani’s third appearance in the Supreme Court in the contempt case.

Helicopters mounted aerial surveillance were also put in place while over 2,000 security personnel were deployed in the “Red Zone” where the apex court and parliament is located.

The Supreme Court has been pushing the government to reopen cases of money laundering against President Zardari in Switzerland since December 2009, when it struck down a graft amnesty (National Reconciliation Ordinance) issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

The government has refused to act, saying the President enjoys immunity in Pakistan and abroad.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Yousuf-Raza-Gilani-convicted-in-contempt-case-spared-jail-term/articleshow/12877193.cms

Why Participatory Notes are dangerous – R. VAIDYANATHAN

http://bharatkalyan97.blogspot.in/2012/03/why-participatory-notes-are-dangerous-r.html

30.3.12

Why Participatory Notes are dangerous – R. VAIDYANATHAN

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Why Participatory Notes are dangerous

R. VAIDYANATHAN

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2007

Participatory Notes are a slap on the face of every citizen who is an investor. To invest in shares one has to fill up umpteen forms and provide proof of residence, PAN number, and so on. But for PN investors, the system is totally silent, even on basic information. Why not have confidence in the India story and realise that we can get funds with addresses without offering such anonymity, asks R. VAIDYANATHAN.

The PN system is discriminatory and seems to favour ghost investors.

Participatory Notes (PN) — a general name used for the investment by Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) through Offshore Derivative Instruments (ODIs) such as Participatory Notes, Equity-Linked Notes, Capped Return Notes and Participating Return Notes — have created a storm in the stock market, with SEBI coming out with a draft for discussion to regulate them, the RBI suggesting that they be phased out, and the Finance Minister assuring that the Government is not going to phase them out.

First things first. Let us clearly understand the fundamental issues. The PNs are a slap on the face of every citizen who is an investor. For a person to invest even in one share, several KYC (know your customer) forms have to be filled up, and PAN numbers and proof of address, etc., provided. For the PN investor the system is totally silent on even elementary information. The FIIs issue PNs to funds/companies whose identity is not known to the Indian authorities.

Hence, the PN system is blatantly discriminatory and seems to favour ghost investors. Any self-respecting market, if it discriminates at all, does so against outsiders. But we have done the unthinkable.

We should recognise and internalise the fact that funds are in search of markets, and not the other way. Given the demographic shift in the developed markets (where pension funds have to locate markets to get returns for longer periods) and the lack of huge opportunities in long-term projects, it is natural that global funds are in search of markets.

The PN route, through which a section of investors is participating in our markets, is a mystery wrapped in a puzzle, crammed inside a conundrum and delivered through a riddle. These are address-less funds that could be from dubious sources and the clamour for it is intriguing, if not outright suspicious.

Current Scenario

According to the SEBI Web site, the current position of these instruments is as follows: “Currently, 34 FIIs / Sub-accounts issue ODIs. This number was 14 in March 2004. The notional value of PNs outstanding, which was at Rs 31, 875 crore (20 per cent of Assets Under Custody of all FIIs/Sub-Accounts) in March 2004, increased to Rs 3,53,484 crore (51.6 per cent of AUC) by August 2007.

The value of outstanding ODIs, with underlying as derivatives, currently stands at Rs 1,17,071 crores, which is approximately 30 per cent of total PNs outstanding. The notional value of outstanding PNs, excluding derivatives as underlying as a percentage of AUC is 34.5 per cent at the end of August 2007.” (SEBI – Paper for Discussion on ODIs).

This implies that more than 50 per cent of the funds are flowing through this anonymous route which needs a re-think on this entire issue. This brings us to the question about who are the investors interested in Indian Papers.

Who uses the PN route?

The first category is the regular funds whose twin objectives are returns and more returns on a 21*7*365 basis. They are interested in India since the India story is very good and returns are attractive compared to developed markets. The second category is prodigal money returning. It is not a secret that a large number of politicians/bureaucrats/business-persons have accumulated wealth abroad. This has been accumulated by under-invoicing/over-invoicing, by corruption in contracts and gifts from abroad; and by not bringing in legitimate receipts.

The third category is those foreign governments/entities who would like to acquire/control Indian entities by taking them over.

The fourth category is the terror financiers who could find this route attractive and simple.

The first category does not have any reason to use the “anonymous” route since the aim is to earn returns /repatriate and benefit out of interest rate and currency value arbitrage. They enter and exit as per these calculations and are not shy about the greed for maximum returns. They pay the taxes applicable and laugh all the way to the bank with bonus incentives.

The only issue is that currently the stock market is the only route for investing while several other “unlisted” sectors, such as trade, transport, restaurants and other services are starved of funds. Maybe methods should be evolved to get these regular global funds to invest not just in the top ten shares of the stock market but in the needs of the large non-corporate or “ unlisted” segments of the economy, through NBFCs. That would ease the volatility in the market since currently large funds are chasing too few shares of the Sensex or Nifty.

No more ‘safe havens’

The second category will be enthusiastic in bringing the money back into India since the KYC (Know your Customer) norms in many so-called “safe” territories like Switzerland are becoming tougher — particularly after 9/11— and the India story is very interesting and the returns and growth prospects are very good. The Government can always think of an “Amnesty Scheme” for such “prodigal funds” in the form of “no questions asked” about the source. But, once the funds are brought in, then all the KYC norms must be followed, with minimum legal and tax hassles. After all, such amnesty schemes for the domestic black-money holders in the past have met with reasonable success. Otherwise, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) can be created which can be dollar-denominated to hold these funds at attractive rates and which are converted over a period of time to minimise the flow impact.

Harmful for companies

The third category spells danger for domestic companies since the unknown entity may be targeting the local company without its knowledge. With reasonable control they can pressure the current owners to settle with them or even try taking over.

This becomes more ominous in the context of several sovereign funds, like that of China, using the private equity companies to manage their funds which are non-transparent.

These PEs could use other vehicles to acquire on behalf of these sovereign funds and it may be possible that Chinese or West Asian sovereign funds may hold indirectly shares in Indian companies, particularly in software or oil or telecom, which are critical sectors.

The fourth category is the one to be worried about. The terror financier will be happy on two counts, namely the anonymity provided by these instruments and the domestic regulations on gifting the shares.

Also important is the issue of the sale of these PNs to entities that could be inter-connected to the original buyers.

In other words, the original buyer and to whom he sells could belong to inter-connected terror entitities, in which case the global entity could have succeeded in transferring funds to India with ease and anonymity.

It is not without basis that the National Security Advisor (NSA) has cautioned against terror-financing through the banking and stock market channels.

That is a cause for concern. Why are we insisting on the anonymity of the investor and the sources? Why not have confidence in the India story and realise that we can get funds with addresses since we have arrived on the global arena?

We should distinguish between clean global flows and dubious flows as a responsible country with a remarkable growth story.

(The author is Professor of Finance and Control, IIM-Bangalore. His views are personal and do not reflect those of his organisation.)

http://www.thehindubusinessline.in/2007/10/24/stories/2007102450800800.htm

Cattle class: native vs exotic

Kerala is feeling the ill-effects of an official policy that favoured disease-prone crossbreeds over low-maintenance native breeds.

Visitors flow in and out of Chandran Master’s compound in P. Vemballur, Thrissur, Kerala. Students, teachers, trainees in animal husbandry work and even officials walk around like it’s a public space. And in some ways, it is. People come a distance to see his 22 cows and two bulls — mostly from rare indigenous breeds. Also, the many kinds of mango, bamboo and fish he has cultivated, again species native to India. The former English teacher also boasts a classic Kathiawari horse and several native breeds of poultry. But the star attractions are the tiny Vechur — “the world’s smallest cow” — and other dwarf varieties of Kerala cattle.

The visitors’ interest also reflects a growing concern in the State about the fate of domestic breeds of cattle and other livestock. Like elsewhere, a strong emphasis on crossbred cattle that aimed at higher milk production also saw a sharp decline in native animals. There is now a serious debate on the results of that approach. Kerala’s cattle population declined by around 48 per cent between 1996 and 2007.

Changed stance

Dr. R. Vijayakumar, Director of Kerala’s Animal Husbandry Department (AHD), says the State’s new breeding policy “limits exotic [that is, non-native] germplasm to 50 per cent of cattle. We are now also propagating native breeds. We even conduct artificial insemination with the semen of native bulls.” And while the number of animals may have fallen between 1996 and 2007, “milk productivity of cows in the State rose in that period. From an average of six litres a day to 8.5 litres, even as crossbreeds came to account for 87 per cent of Kerala’s cattle.”

However, the cost of milk production is much higher with the crossbreeds. The feed requirement of native dwarf breeds like Vechur and Kasargode are very minor. Their feed-to-milk conversion is very good. The crossbreeds are high-maintenance animals and are disease-prone. “See this Vadakara Dwarf,” says Chandran Master. “I doubt I spend five to ten rupees on her feed daily. Still she gives me three to four litres. But the quality of her milk is highly prized and I could get Rs.50 a litre for it. So even in that way, the benefit is greater. There is no high standard of feed required either. Kitchen scraps and leftovers can be used. And they don’t require special sheds or anything.” He, however, does not sell milk. He does sell “very few calves each year when the numbers exceed my capacity to manage.”

Of the Vechur, he says its milk has medicinal qualities recorded by Ayurveda ages ago. In more recent times, studies at the Kerala Agricultural University have also shown the percentage of fats and total solids of the Vechur cow to be higher than that found in crossbred cows. The smaller size of the fat globules in the Vechur’s milk makes it more suitable for infants and the sick.

AHD Director R. Vijayakumar says the decline of native species had many causes. Not just the castrations of ‘non-descript’ varieties that had occurred in a much earlier period. He points to “the trend towards cash crops which brought about a decline in animal-based agriculture and to a younger generation of farmers with no time or patience for rearing large animals — they prefer smaller ruminants. And to a greater interest in crossbreeds due to their higher milk productivity.”

Hardy and healthy

But costs and maintenance are another matter. “Before I switched to local breeds in 1994,” says Chandran Master, “I had three crossbreds, including one Swiss Brown. I had to spend up to Rs.400 a day on each. The feed was very costly and over Rs.200 a day. Pellet feed, rice powder, wheat powder, oil cake, green grass, it’s endless. They would fall ill all the time and the vet was here every week, with each visit costing me Rs.150 apart from the expense of arranging a vehicle for him.”

Since making his switch: “No vet has attended my cows for 17 years. And I have not even insured a single one of them. These are hardy, healthy creatures.” And several experts do point out that India’s native cattle (Bos indicus) have evolved to cope with the climate and to “withstand diseases, parasites and calve easily without human assistance.” Scientists like Dr. Sosamma Iype, who pioneered the revival of the Vechur at KAU, also point out that these dwarf animals “have good resistance to foot and mouth disease and mastitis. Both, diseases which plague crossbred cows in Kerala. Vechur cattle also have a far lower incidence of respiratory infections.”

Most livestock owners in Kerala are either small or marginal farmers or even landless. The State has the highest percentage of crossbreeds in the country. And while its average milk yield has risen, production is far below demand. The State is not amongst the top producers in the country. Feed utilisation per litre of milk is also one of the highest in India. Critics say it’s wrong to ignore the steep fall in cattle numbers and native breeds that has hurt the State, alongside decades-old policies that made it illegal for a farmer to keep any bull without a licence for it. That licence is only granted at the level of State Director of the AHD.

Technically, Chandran Master and others are breaking the law. But surely the State has no way of knowing whether a farmer is keeping an “illegal” bull? “A hostile panchayat can make life hell for a farmer,” says one expert. “If that farmer is at odds with the ruling outfit of that panchayat, they can keep him in court for months.”

Red tape nightmare

Haritha Bhoomi (Green Earth) a journal on agriculture recently summed up the red tape involved in permissions of any kind: Say a farmer wishes to exceed the limit of six large animals and 20 head of poultry, even by a minor number. He needs clearances from the panchayat to just start the process. If you exceed the quota, you have to go to the Pollution Control Board. Depending on the size of the establishment you wish to build, you will need certificates from the District Town Planner. Perhaps even from the State Chief Town Planner. Manage to get these done and you have to prepare a technical report for the panchayat and get three or four certificates from them. Then the farmer must get clearances from the district medical officer to whom he has to submit NOCs from all residents within 100 metres of his planned farm.

On my first visit to Chandran Master’s home I had run into a Livestock Inspector (LI) from another region. Wishing to remain unnamed, he told me “On most of my visits I see the problems faced by the crossbreeds. They fall ill with the slightest change in climate. They cannot take the heat.” Chandran Master chipped in: “You cannot sleep one night peacefully. Crossbreds can’t stand ten minutes of rain. With local breeds, you don’t even need cowsheds.” The LI nodded: “If I keep a cow, it will be a Vechur.”

(PS: Following Thursday’s story in The Hindu, the Sahabaghya Vikash Abhiyan, a community-based body deeply involved in Kalahandi’s agriculture, has announced it will gift Chandran Master two calves of the rare Khariar breed. The challenge now is to transport them from western Orissa to Thrissur in Kerala.)

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/sainath/article2778130.ece?homepage=true

Harvard setting a dangerous precedent: Subramanian Swamy

FP Staff Dec 8, 2011

Subramanian Swamy has said that the decision by Harvard university to discontinue his classes is a “dangerous principle that stifles personal opinion”. Commenting on the decision on his personal twitter feed Swamy said, “I have been held accountable at Harvard for what I write in India.This means India studies’ Witzel and Eck are accountable in India. Healthy?” Witzel and Eck are professors at Harvard.

Image from ibnlive.com

At a meeting of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, faculty members voted with an “overwhelming majority” to remove two economics courses – ‘Quantitative Methods in Economics and Business’ and ‘Economic Development in India and East Asia’ – that Swamy teaches at the three-month Harvard Summer School session. In a statement after the decision was announced, the university said that the views expressed in Dr Swamy’s op-ed piece in the DNA newspaperamounted to incitement of violence instead of protected political speech,” he said.

Harvard had initially chosen to stand by Swamy in line with its declared commitment to free speech. However at Tuesday’s meeting, faculty members agreed to remove his two courses, effectively removing him from Harvard’s teaching roster. Faculty members said Swamy’s article was not a product of free speech—but of hate speech.

Swamy however remained defiant, saying that the dangerous thing Harvard has done is to make their Professors responsible for what they write anywhere in the world adding (on Twitter): “IIT/D sacked me in 1973. Four years later, I became a member of the IIT Board Governors–the very body which had sacked me!”

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/harvard-setting-a-dangerous-precedent-subramanian-swamy-150576.html