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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Had you missed this.............



Ranjit Sinha Is the Symptom

The malaise of corruption and influence-buying is deeply ingrained in the system
Activist and advocate Prashant Bhushan has rendered yeoman service by informing the Supreme Court of India about the goings-on at the residence of the Central Bureau ofInvestigation (CBI) director Ranjit Sinha. He added substance to his allegation that CBI’s Mr Sinha was going slow on various mega scam investigations by revealing the list of visitors to Mr Sinha’s home; and the list is truly startling. 
Key functionaries of the Anil Ambani group allegedly met Mr Sinha 50 times in 15 months. The accused in every major scam under CBI’s investigation, includingcontroversial meat-exporter and alleged hawala-dealer Moin Akhtar Qureshi, have been frequenting Mr Sinha’s home; some even thrice a day. This is gross impropriety. The Supreme Court has issued a notice to Mr Sinha even as CBI tried to gag the media. 
As an aside, we also discover the CBI chief’s maharaja-like lifestyle. The Economic Timessays he has seven cooks, 22 domestic helpers and a cobbler at his disposal, all paid by the exchequer. That the CBI director, who is lower than a joint secretary in the pecking order of government, can live like a king, tells you how our public funds are being misused. 
The sordid episode throws light on the various investigating arms of the government. The CBI director has immense power over the lives and reputations of individuals, companies and institutions in India. He can initiate, or close, investigations at will; arrest people or destroy careers without accountability, to please political masters. The income-tax and enforcement departments and the department of revenue intelligence (DRI) are equally willing handmaidens when it comes to working on political instructions. 
A slow judicial system with its propensity to remain silent about judicial corruption, as has been revealed by Justice Makrandey Katju on his blog, dissuades people from fighting back. The few, who do, often end up broken and frustrated by the system at every turn.
The misuse of government investigation agencies began almost immediately after independence but peaked under United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. We saw a decade when unbridled corruption and mind-boggling scams were allowed to flourish in the name of ‘coalition dharma’. 
The lay public may be shocked at reports about the CBI chief’s visitors, but many of us in the media have been helpless spectators of this gross corruption over the decades. Helpless because those who blithely give out details about corrupt people and practices will do nothing to stop it nor provide proof to allow publication.
• Consider some reactions that I have heard in the week that Mr Sinha was making news.
An IIM professor who conducted a training programme for senior income-tax officers was reportedly told by one attendee “some of us are losing Rs1 crore a day attending this programme.” We frequently hear from government insiders that top income-tax and police appointments, especially in Delhi and Mumbai, are auctioned. How do we prove it, when there are no whistleblowers?
• A senior RBI (Reserve Bank of India) official names a couple of bank chairmen who, he thought, were more likely candidates for CBI’s sting operation on Syndicate Bank and Bhushan Steel. He claims that one chairman was cautioned by RBI after reports about his corrupt ways escalated. He cannot say why no action was initiated against him, instead of issuing a mere word of caution. The rise in corruption at banks is in direct proportion to the ballooning of bad loans even as RBI remains a silent spectator. 
• We have been hearing about a finance ministry bureaucrat who was exceedingly rude and humiliating to bank chairmen. Rampant corruption was also one of his qualities that has attracted the PM’s attention. Is the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) only a bugbear for mid-career bureaucrats? Isn’t it curious that neither CVC nor CBI has such corrupt bureaucrats in its crosshairs?
• The Serious Frauds Office of the United Kingdom brought corruption charges against Alstom (UK) for allegedly paying a bribe of over three million euros to the Delhi Metro Rail officials in 2001 to secure a contract for a train control, signalling and telecommunications system. It reminds us of how the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) under CB Bhave wound up an investigation into the round-tripping of a massive $250 million into Reliance Communications with a consent order and no admission of guilt. Anil Ambani’s Reliance ADAG paid just Rs50 crore and managed a vague and opaque public disclosure without admission of guilt, even though the Financial Services Authority (FSA) of the UK issued a far more explicit order and also fined the UBS bankers $2 million.  
Can we expect this to change? Prime minister Narendra Modi has made several clear commitments to the people of India. “We have to create systems where there is no injustice against anybody,” he tweeted. More specifically, he promised to act as a ‘chowkidar’ (guard) who would prevent the plunder of national wealth. “I will neither take a bribe not allow anyone else to accept one,” he has said. 
We know this is easier said than done. Other than a rumour about the PM having actually asked the son of a senior leader to return a bribe, we have yet to see any change down the line, especially in regulatory and investigation agencies.  
Conflict of interest often breeds corruption. The government is working on the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013, but who really believes it will make a difference? Then there is the lapsed private member’s Bill on conflict of interest introduced in the Rajya Sabha by Dr EMS Natchiappan.  
A multi-disciplinary group of NGOs called the Alliance against Conflict of Interest (AACI) is working to resurrect and improve on it by putting together a detailed note with documented cases of how conflict breeds corruption and skews policy-making and regulation in diverse areas—from education to public health, food, safety, environment or finance. 
Transparency International, a global NGO that tracks corruption, defines ‘conflict of interest’ as “any situation where an individual or an entity, whether a government, business, media outlet or civil society organisation, is confronted with choosing between the duties and demands of their position and their own private interests.” 
In India, every position is influenced by corruption or nepotism and duty is never a consideration. This is at its worst when it comes to public servants and bureaucrats. While politicians face the ballot every five years, corrupt bureaucrats can damage the system for decades, especially when they are due to retire. 
Even the most egregious cases of conflict, where retiring bureaucrats or chairmen of nationalised banks, insurance companies or regulatory bodies have immediately accepted lucrative advisory positions or board directorships with private and foreign companies, are rarely questioned. The mandatory cooling-off period is usually invoked only as an act of revenge rather than regular discipline. 
The AACI points out how policies that decide people’s livelihoods and set standards for their food and health are set by advisory bodies/groups/committees that are riddled with conflict of interest. Powerful corporate influence is visible everywhere. This was legitimised over the past decade under the guise of public-private partnerships, such as the PHFI (Public Health Foundation of India), which also obtained huge tracts of land and funding from Union and state governments. 
Conflict of interest is just as destructive when it works in a covert fashion, where powerful corporate and vested interests influence policy-makers to engage only with NGOs under their control and influence. 
The consequence is bad law, unfair systems, more litigation and, in the worst case, public anger and protests. Suppressing any discussion on these issues in the mainstream media is another manifestation of the conflict-corruption nexus which is even harder to break.
Sucheta Dalal is the managing editor of Moneylife. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2006 for her outstanding contribution to journalism. She can be reached atsucheta@moneylife.in

thanks to Seshadri Srinivasan

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Had you missed this.............

concert No 387 - Bharatkumar

Thursday, April 3, 2014

wonderful take off


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Have You Heard About Graphene?



Technology helps the world advance. As humans it's in our nature to investigate, innovate and solve problems. This curiosity means we make things, create things and develop new technologies. You can look back thousands of years for basic examples of technology pushing civilization forward. Most people don't understand the rapid change technology has on their life...or the speed at which change occurs. ////

For example, the following are the five 'Great Ages' of human progress and their approximate duration:
Stone Age — 3.4 million years.
Bronze Age — 2,500 years.
Iron Age — 500 years.
Industrial Revolution — 80 years.
Information Revolution — 20 years.
You'll notice the length of each 'age' diminishes as technology improves. 

The computer industry calls this trend 'Moore's Law'. It dictates that computer processing power doubles every 18 months. 200 times stronger than steel...150,000 times thinner than a human hair...more flexible than a sheet of paper.

You may have heard about Graphene. If you haven't, it's a newly discovered, very special refined form of graphite. 
It's a one-atom-thick sheet of densely packed carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice. Put simply, it's a sheet of carbon atoms 150,000 times thinner than a human hair. Under a powerful microscope, it looks like chicken wire.

But what's so special about it? For starters, it's 200 times stronger than structural steel... It's extremely lightweight too... Soon, everything from bicycles and boats to aeroplanes and cars could be made out of graphene composites.

And when they are, their energy efficiency and durability could skyrocket. But that's just the beginning of what this new 'smart material' can do...Not only is it the strongest material researchers have ever tested — it's also one of the best conductors man has ever found. IBM has already created a graphene-based processor capable of executing 100 billion cycles per second. Researchers believe that in the future, a graphene credit card could store as much information as today's computers.

This one material alone could prove more revolutionary than — and soon REPLACE — plastic, Kevlar and the silicon chip. In fact, it's such a breakthrough that the first two scientists to successfully produce single-atom-thick crystals of graphene were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. And for good reason...In just two years, over 200 companies from a wide array of industries have researched the magical potential of graphene...
Scientists in the US and China are already using tiny graphene-based probes to target and identify tumours in live mice. They hope similar graphene-based particles could shuttle cancer drugs to tumours...or even kill tumour cells directly! Engineers at Northwest University, Seattle, found that specially crafted graphene electrodes could allow a lithium-ion battery — like those found in your smartphone or Toyota Prius — to charge 10 times faster and hold 10 times more power. And in 2011, chemists at Rice University, Houston, created graphene-based thin films — unlocking the secret to incredibly flexible, super-durable touch screens and solar cells that can wrap around just about anything...Samsung have already said its flexible displays should enter full-scale production later this year — and it expects to have a dozen more graphene-based products on the market within the next five.

IBM, Nokia and Apple are hot on their heels too. Touch screens...processor chips...casings...and batteries in everything from PCs and HD TVs to tablets, mobile phones and hybrids could be all made with graphene.
Smart phones so skinny and flexible you can roll them up and put them behind your ear...and so durable you can beat them with a hammer! Imagine how our world — and your life — would change if the batteries that run your iPhone...your Kindle...and your laptop held 10 TIMES more power and charged 10 TIMES faster than they do now...

This is just a taste of the cutting-edge innovations coming in of the Molecular Age......innovations that will reshape the future in the months and years ahead...and it's starting now. You're looking at a simultaneous eruption of
new-age technologies that will alter our lives on a scale not seen for 100 years.

Source: Popular science articles. For more info everyone knows what is to be done....

Friday, November 29, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Concert No 386 - M.S. Subbulakshmi



Download 01-Angarakam-Surutti.mp3
Download 02-Rama Nannu-Harikambhoji.mp3
Download 03-Sarasaksha-Kamavardhini.mp3
Download 04-Sharanam Sharanam-Sowrashtram.mp3
Download 05-Ksheenamai-Mukhari.mp3
Download 06-Gopanandana-Bhushavali.mp3
Download 07-Rave Himagiri (Swarajathi)-Thodi.mp3
Download 08-Gajavadana-Sriranjani.mp3
Download 09-Sarojadhalanetri-Shankarabharanam.mp3
Download 10-Hariharaputram-Vasantha.mp3
Download 11-Ragam Thanam Pallavi-Bhairavi.mp3
Download 12-Kannanidam-Ragamalika.mp3
Download 13-Payyadha (Padam)-Nadanamakriya.mp3
Download 14-Mudi Ondru-Ragamalika.mp3
Download 15-Nadabindu (Thiruppugazh)-Chenchurutti.mp3
Download 16-Pavamana (Mangalam)-Sowrashtram.mp3

...that someone is looking up to you now, preparing to
follow your example. Let this guide your next choice. 

We often think that we are operating in a vaccuum,
thatno one is watching us, that our actions are mostly
private. Yet what if you knew that your every thought,
word, and deed today was going to be imitated by
one who admires you?

Can you feel good about what you are demonstrating?
Wonderful. If your answer is yes, wonderful!

T.N. Rajarathinam

My diary 13th November 2013

There were anxious mails and inquiries about my health, since I did not post anything afresh for the last two months. I am sorry and I thank all the readers for their good wishes. It is this fellow below occupies my mind 24 x 7 and I am not in a position to concentrate on anything. Please pardon me. I will try to post hereafter even though not regularly, but often and also fulfill the various demands made by the readers, After mediafire let me down I have refreshed 6338 files that is nearly 50%  of original postings. I promise, I will try to make this blog active




HOPE NOW YOU WILL PARDON ME WHOLE HEARTEDLY !

Blogger Varadarajan.R said...
I can see now why you dont blog off lately. Welcome back.
November 13, 2013 at 6:52 PM
 Delete
Blogger Varadarajan.R said...
Welcome back. Now I see why you are not blogging of lately. Replacing Kuzhal and Yazhl is great.
November 13, 2013 at 6:54 PM
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