Dr Rajiv Bahl was on Friday appointed as Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Secretary of the Department of Health Research for a period of three years.
Bahl is currently the Head of Research on Maternal, Newborn Child and Adolescent Health cum-Newborn Unit Head, Department of Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health and Ageing, at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.
"The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Dr Rajiv Bahl...To the post of Director General, ICMR-cum-Secretary Department of Health Research for a period of three years, with effect from the date of assumption of charge of the post or until further orders, whichever is earlier," according to an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training.
His predecessor, Dr Balram Bhargava's extended tenure as Director General of ICMR and Secretary of the Department of Health Research ended in July.
Slamming interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi over the National Herald case, former Union minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy accused the Gandhi family of being involved in money laundering.
Speaking exclusively with IANS, Swamy said that a jail term is certain for both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on charges of money laundering in connection with the National Herald case.
Delving on a wide range of issues, Swamy talked about Ram Setu, and expressed concerns over the country's current economic condition, among others.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Q: The National Herald case has created quite a stir in the nation's political circles. You were the one to raise the issue first. What's the matter all about and how did it violate the law?
A: I raised the issue for the first time in 2012 at a press conference, and later went to the court in this connection in 2013. The Gandhi family had appealed against the case filed by me even in the Supreme Court, only to taste disappointment. The Patiala House Courts had observed that according to the case filed by me, irregularities indeed happened and a trial should be conducted.
Since the matter pertained to financial offense, they were released on bail... and from there, everything began. Hearings were being held and many papers and documents also came out.
I had sought some other documents as well as per the procedures, which was opposed by Congress. However, I finally got my hands on them after approaching the higher courts. Later, it came to my notice that there were some income tax-related frauds as well. A probe into the matter eventually found them guilty. Since the matter was challenged, it is now in the Supreme Court.
Q: On what basis did you say that irregularities took place?
A: Sonia and Rahul Gandhi had founded a firm named 'Young Indian Limited' for which the paid-up capital was only Rs 5 lakh. That firm had offered Congress a loan of Rs 50 lakh so that on the basis of that loan amount, the responsibilities for Associated Journal Limited could be transferred to Young Indian Limited. That's how, by offering just Rs 50 lakh, they acquired the company that published the National Herald newspaper. However, the value of the company at that time, including the building and other assets, was around Rs 5,000 crore.
Q: But even as you're claiming that they went on to take over a firm worth Rs 5,000 crore for consideration of just Rs 50 lakh, the Congress, including Rahul Gandhi, has been coming up with allegations against the BJP-led government...
A: Their allegations are totally incorrect. I had written to the government in 2014 after the BJP came to power that the case should be probed by the Enforcement Directorate.
I had written to the government back then that Rs 1 crore was taken from a fake Kolkata-based firm -- Dotex, whi was involved in hawala transactions and money laundering, and from that amount, Rs 50 lakh was utilised to take over Associated Journal Limited. I had also written to the ED that Dotex was already under scanner for its suspicious activities.
Later, I came to know that Congress had issued cheques to Dotex from Switzerland-based banks, and Dotex had converted those currencies into INR and 'paid' Congress... this is a clear instance of money laundering and it comes under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Q: So you mean to say that Congress and its higher-ups are linked to hawala traders?
A: Of course... they received money from foreign banks about which I had apprised the government as well.
Q: What do you think would be the outcome of the National Herald case?
A: On the basis of all the facts available in this case, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others would certainly be jailed. If the BJP government stays in power, they will surely be imprisoned. But in case Congress comes into power, nothing can be said... but even then, I would continue taking the matter to the courts.
Q: Your plea on Supreme Court's call to declare Ram Setu a national heritage would be taken up for hearing soon. Why you had to knock the court's door on the matter and what do you expect from the court now?
A: I filed two petitions in the Madras High Court in 2007. Later I went to the Supreme Court. On the basis of my plea, the Supreme Court refused to give a nod to the plans for breaking/splitting the Ram Setu for the Sethusamudram Project. I have been involved in the process to get Ram Setu declared a national heritage site for a long time.
My efforts got a major boost after the BJP came to power. Eventually, I approached the Supreme Court with an appeal to declare Ram Setu a national heritage, and that the government is given the responsibility to preserve, maintain and conserve it.
The court has already issued notice to the government on the issue, and I expect a positive outcome following the hearing scheduled to take place next week.
Q: You have also been vocal on social media about the current economic condition of the nation...
A: As far as the question of economy and the country's economic condition is concerned, I need to say that the government's economic policies are totally wrong. The Finance Minister is unable to manage things... and the officials are simply trying to defend themselves.
However, the truth is that the economy is currently under a massive crisis, and it could implode at any moment. I have been constantly writing to the Prime Minister regarding this serious issue.
Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda has said that Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's comment on President Droupadi Murmu establishes that the Congress ideology is anti-tribal and its love and affection for the community is only a drama.
In an interview with IANS, Munda said that Chowdhury's comments show the Congress thinking about the tribals even after 75 years of Independence and they are not ready to accept a tribal in a top position, especially the President.
Munda said that Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi must apologise to President Murmu and the nation for the insulting remark of Chowdhury.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: What would you say about the Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha's remark about President Murmu?
A: It is derogatory, insulting and shows the Congress mentality and thinking about the tribal community. Being a senior leader, Chowdhury must not use such insulting words against a person holding the top constitutional post of the country. One should not disrespect the dignity of an office due to personal hatred for a particular community.
When the country is celebrating 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', for the first time a woman from a tribal community got the opportunity to hold the office of President of India. Congress is not able to accept a tribal woman in the office of President.
The Congress party's love for tribal people all these years since independence is a drama, actually Congress ideology is anti-tribal.
Q: Chowdhury said that it was a "slip of tongue".
A: Chowdhury's comment is not a "slip of tongue"... it was a deliberate use of a word to insult a tribal woman. He repeated the word after saying it once and what we saw was not a slip of tongue. He must have thought before speaking and repeating the insulting words.
Q: Why is the BJP opposing Chowdhury's apology to President Murmu instead of public apology?
A: Did he insult the President in private or in a closed room? No, he insulted the President in full public view, therefore he must apologize to the President in front of the nation.
Q: Congress is saying they are not against the tribal community, so there is no question of disrespecting them?
A: If the Congress is claiming love and respect for the tribals then why did they field a candidate against Murmu ji. Why did they campaign against her? The Congress party and its leaders continuously targeted Murmu ji since the day she was announced as the NDA Presidential candidate.
Congress leaders called her a 'puppet', a 'symbol of evil' and many others. Their hatred continued even after she was elected to the office of President. Chowdhury's comment is not only insulting but also demeaning to the rich tribal legacy President Murmu represents and to the poor who rise through hard work.
Q: Why is the BJP pressing for an apology from Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi?
A: She is whole and sole of the Congress party and nothing happens in the party without her approval. If she really disagrees with Chowdhury's comment then she must come forward and apologise to the nation saying the Congress party does not endorse such a comment against the office of President and the tribal community of this country.
President-designate of India Droupadi S. Murmu is not new to records and several are already to her credit in a dizzying political career spanning barely a quarter century, zooming from a Municipal Councillor in 1997 to the country's First Citizen in 2022, for which she will take the oath on Monday (July 25).
With this, Murmu will be the first tribal, second woman, post Pratibha Patil (2007-2012), and the latest President with a teaching background after Dr. S. Radhakrishnan (1962-1967), Dr Zakir Hussain (1967-69), Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma (1992-1997), K.R. Narayanan (1997-2002), and Pranab Mukherjee (2012-17), ascending to the country's highest office.
A stern disciplinarian, as acknowledged by her daughter Itishree Ganesh Hembram, her teaching experience may prove handy - brooking no nonsense from errant politicians, but without wielding the proverbial cane!
At 64, Murmu will be the youngest-ever President, pipping the record-holder, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (1977-1982), who also took office at 64, by a couple of months.
As Murmu prepares to enter the majestic Presidential Palace, her thoughts would stray to her humble beginnings in the small village of Uparbeda, Odisha, where she is born in a Santhal tribe family, and had two brothers -- Bhagat (deceased) and Taranisen, who is now her close aide.
A brilliant student, she later went on to become the first graduate from the tribal hamlet where once her father Biranchi Tudu and grandfather Narayan Tudu lorded as 'Sardars' (head-men).
While leaving her primary school, the headmaster mechanically asked what she planned to do in life, the little Droupadi innocently replied, "public service", but five decades later, he realised that she had fulfilled her childhood ambition.
After her schooling, uncle, Kartik Charan Majhi, a former MLA and Minister (1967), took her to Bhubaneswar to enable her complete her higher education, and graduated as a B.A. (1979) from the Rama Devi Women's College.
That year, she secured a clerical job in the Odisha government and worked there for several years and meanwhile, got married to a Bank of India employee, Shyam Charan Murmu, who lived in Pahadpur, around 10 km from Uparbeda.
Their first child, a daughter died aged three, devastating the young couple, who later had two sons -- Lakshman and Sipun, and a daughter Itishree, though whom the Murmu family later established a "Maharashtra connect".
Murmu soon quit her government job to care for the family but took up teaching as honorary Assistant Professor at Sri Aurobindo Integral & Educational Research, in Rairangpur.
In the early 1990s, she was noticed by some senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders as a rare, educated, working tribal woman and cajoled her to take up public service.
In 1997, the BJP fielded Murmu for the Rairangpur Municipal Council elections and she was elected as a Councillor - green-signalling her spiralling political career.
The greenhorn councillor took her job seriously, people were taken aback to see Murmu leading from the front, hands-on on the roads, solving civic problems and other basic issues, when most elected representatives notoriously "vanish" post-polls!
Three years later, in 2000, she became a BJP MLA, repeated the feat in 2004 and also served as a Minister of State for five years handling various portfolios, and in 2015 became the first woman-ever from Odisha to be appointed Governor of Jharkhand.
The trail-blazer route from 2000-2015 had many pitfalls, her elder son Lakshman died in 2009, she lost her second son Sipun in an accident in 2013, and her husband Shyam Charan passed away due to a heart attack in 2014, leaving her shattered.
"After her first son's death, she veered to religion and meditation with the Brahma Kumaris, and craved inner solace to calm her distressed soul. It helped -- upon Sipun's demise, Droupadiji even urged people not to visit as 'mourners' but as 'guests', and remained composed despite the major personal tragedies," said Odisha BJP Vice-President Sukeshi Oram.
A prominent tribal leader herself, Oram remembers how they met regularly at various BJP events, shared accommodation, travelled together, but she barely displayed any trace of the emotional scars of the huge personal calamities she had endured.
"She behaved at ease with everyone, rarely getting flustered... But whenever she could, she would immerse in spiritual activities and meditation, and even today is up very early in the morning for it," said Oram.
Later, Murmu founded the 'Shyam, Lakshman, Sipur Memorial Residential School for Tribal Girls' in her erstwhile family home and has donated most of her ancestral assets, according to Oram.
In 2008, Murmu travelled to Pune to "see off" Itishree who would pursue a 3-year Post Graduate Diploma in Management, specialising in Human Resources and International Management, from the Suryadatta Institute of Management & Mass Communication (SIMMC), and is now a manager with UCO Bank.
"Madam Murmu had come to drop off her daughter like other parents, they were very friendly with everybody... Itishree beti lived in the campus hostel, was a bright student who mingled with all," said SIMMC Director Prof. Sanjay Chordiya.
In 2006, Murmu turned a vegetarian, and now relishes only Satvik food, enjoys cooking and on special occasions, she would drop in at the Ranchi Raj Bhavan kitchen to guide the chefs to include a dash of Odisha cuisine for the VIPs.
Murmu loves to drape Santhal tribal sarees, but is equally at ease in other styles, a family member revealed how she has asked them to take around a dozen (sarees) with them to New Delhi, as she will take the oath in her traditional attire on Monday.
With public consciousness uppermost in her mind since her school days, Murmu has donated blood over 100 times and planted 1,000 saplings in different places, displaying her eco-friendly streak.
Inaugurating her five-year sojourn on a sweet note, Murmu has specially ordered a good quantity of "arisa pitha", a rice-jaggery-cardamom-ghee-sesame preparation, to tickle VVIP palates!
American actor Richard Gere on Wednesday cut cake in Dharamsala to mark the occasion of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama's 87th birthday and said "once in a millennium, maybe in two millennia, such a person, such a human being as the Dalai Lama emerges and he is a Tibetan".
The birthday was celebrated at the Tsuglagkhang temple, the main Buddhist temple close to His Holiness official palace at McLeodganj, where Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur took part virtually as the chief guest.
Making a clear-cut departure from the policies of the successive governments of 'making distance' of sorts from the Tibetan spiritual leader by extending greetings to him for the second consecutive time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his greetings.
In a tweet, the Prime Minister wrote: "Conveyed 87th birthday greetings to His Holiness the @DalaiLama over phone earlier today. We pray for his long life and good health."
Beijing regards the Dalai Lama, who is based in the northern Indian hill town Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, as a "separatist". It is sensitive to him meeting international leaders, attending official functions or visiting places at the invitation of the Indian government.
Thousands of Tibetan exiles and foreigners on Wednesday morning joined in the birthday celebrations of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who inaugurated the Dalai Lama Library and Archive here.
Large crowds began to assemble since morning at the Tsuglagkhang temple for the birthday celebrations.
The Dalai Lama, revered by the Tibetans as a 'living god', attended the prayers held at the hilltop temple.
The special guest, Richard Gere, also spoke to the gathering amidst the presence of Penpa Tsering, the Sikyong or head of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), by saying, "Tibetans, you should be proud" since "once, not in a lifetime, once in a millennium, maybe in two millennia, such a person, such a human being as the Dalai Lama emerges and he is a Tibetan".
"His Holiness is not going to be here forever, he is going to leave this body at some point, therefore, we can't rely on the Dalai Lama to carry all of us. We have to carry each other, and it's going to happen soon enough that that reality hits us. It's up to the Tibetan people to carry the weight of your freedom, the weight of your truth, the weight of your possibilities, and the weight of your vision."
"Hence in that context of knowing, we all have to step up," said the actor, while recollecting his first visit to Dharamsala 40 years before as well as his experiences during the conferment of Noble Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1989 where His Holiness talked about the mankind's responsibilities towards the earth and its environment.
The 87th birthday celebration at the Tibetan main temple also saw a wide variety of folk dance performances from various communities.
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu were among the political leaders who greeted the Dalai Lama.
Puri described the Dalai Lama as a "long standing friend of India" and the "Bodhisattva of Compassion", and said in a tweet, "His quest for world peace & non-violence is an inspiration for humanity."
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who virtually attended the celebration as chief guest, lauded His Holiness' contributions in making Dharamsala known to the wide world through preservation of Tibetan religion and cultural heritage in the host state.
The guests of the event jointly cut the ceremonial cake after the chief guest's address.
Acknowledging the celebration of the birthday with the Dalai Lama and the inaugural of the new Dalai Lama Library and Archive prior to the official ceremony, CTA President Penpa Tsering highlighted the inability to celebrate His Holiness' birthday inside Tibet despite Tibetan in Tibet's wishes due to unabated restrictions by the Chinese government.
Born on July 6, 1935, at Taktser hamlet in northeastern Tibet, the Dalai Lama was recognised at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.
He fled Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959, basing his government-in-exile here that never won recognition from any country.
India is home to around 100,000 Tibetans.
Doctors’ Day is celebrated on different dates across the world, which is an interesting fact. The date varies by country, depending on the commemorative event used to mark the day. The special day is observed on July 1 in India and it’s organised by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) annually. The first time this day was established was in 1991 and ever since annually, National Doctors' Day is celebrated across the country. The day also coincides with the birth and death anniversary of the physician and second chief minister of West Bengal, Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy.
International Doctors Day: In 1953, the Pan American Medical Confederation agreed to commemorate December 3rd as “International Doctors’ Day” as a tribute to all medical professionals, in memory of the Cuban doctor Carlos J. Finlay, who discovered that Aedes aegypti was the transmitter of Yellow Fever. The theme of National Doctors Day 2022 is ''Family Doctors on the Front Line''. The theme is dedicated to doctors and healthcare workers who have unquestioningly and selflessly assisted us and our families in our dire need of help. For several years, the government and non-government healthcare organisation have celebrated National Doctors’ Day to raise awareness of the contributions of doctors. It is truly said, "God cannot be seen, but the contextual profile of God can be seen in the faces of doctors who save us and help us live better lives."
Tribute to Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy (BC Roy)
Doctor’s Day honors Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, a renowned doctor and West Bengal's second chief minister, whose birthday and death anniversary fall on the same day. Doctors’ Day is celebrated not only to honor Dr Roy, but also to recognise everyone in the medical field for their indefatigable efforts and dedication to patients.
Major Contributions: Dr BC Roy MRCP FRCS (1 July 1882 – 1 July 1962) was not only a dedicated physician but also an educationist, philanthropist, freedom fighter and statesman who served as Chief Minister of West Bengal from 1948 until his death in 1962. He is often considered the maker of modern West Bengal due to his key role in the founding of several institutions and the cities Durgapur, Kalyani, Bidhannagar, and Ashoknagar. He is one of the few people in history to have become both a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and a Member of the Royal College of Physicians. In India. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour on 4 February 1961.
Birth and Education: Dr Roy was born on 1 July 1882 to a Bengali family in Bankipore in Patna, where he studied at Patna Collegiate School in 1897, and obtained his I.A. degree from Presidency College, Calcutta. He completed his undergraduate studies at Patna College, where he obtained a B.A. degree with honours in mathematics. After graduating with his bachelor's degree, he applied to undertake postgraduate studies at the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology and at the Calcutta Medical College. His application was accepted by both institutions and he chose to attend the latter to study (June 1901) to study at Calcutta Medical College. While at medical school, came upon an inscription that read, "Whatever thy hands find to do, do it with thy might These words became a lifelong source of inspiration for him. Further, with a plan to enroll at St Bartholomew's Hospital, he left for Britain in February 1909. Being an Asian student he got admission to the Course only after 30 admission requests. He completed his studies in two years and three months, and in May 1911 became a member of the Royal College of Physicians and a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons simultaneously. He returned back to India in 1911 for a medical Job in India and Contribution to Medical Education: After his return, Dr Roy joined the Provincial Health Service. He exhibited immense dedication and hard work and would serve as a nurse when necessary. In his free time, he practiced privately, charging a nominal fee. He taught at the Calcutta Medical College, and later at the Campbell Medical School (now NRS Medical College) and the Carmichael Medical College (now R.G. Kar Medical College).
He made contributions to the organisation of medical education. He played an important role in the establishment of the Jadavpur T.B. Hospital, Chittaranjan Seva Sadan, Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital, Victoria Institution (college), and Chittaranjan Cancer Hospital. In 1926, the Chittaranjan Seva Sadan for women and children was opened in by Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy In 1942, when Dr Roy was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta fearing Japanese invasion, he acquired air-raid shelters for schools and college students to have their classes in, and provided relief for students, teachers and employees alike. In recognition of his overall efforts, the Doctorate of Science was conferred upon him in 1944.
Important Quote in Lucknow University (Lucknow): Dr Roy believed the youth of India would determine the future of the nation. He felt the youth must not take part in strikes and fasts but should study and commit themselves to social work. While delivering the Convocation Address at the University of Lucknow on 15 December 1956, Dr. Roy said: My young friends, you are soldiers in the battle of freedom-freedom from want, fear, ignorance, frustration and helplessness. By a dint of hard work for the country, rendered in a spirit of selfless service, may you march ahead with hope and courage...Firm Belief in Healthy Body: Dr Roy believed that Swaraj (the call to action for India's freedom) would remain a dream unless the people were healthy and strong in mind and body.
Relations with Mahatama Gandhi: Dr. Roy was both Gandhiji's friend and doctor. When Gandhiji was undertaking a fast in Parnakutivin, Poona in 1933, Dr. Roy attended to him, Gandhiji refused to take medicine on the grounds it was not made in India. Gandhiji asked Dr. Roy, "Why should I take your treatment? Do you treat four hundred million of my countrymen free?" Dr. Roy replied, "No Gandhiji, I could not treat all patients free. But I came... not to treat Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, but to treat "him" who to me represents the four hundred million people of my country." Gandhiji relented and took the medicine. Entry into Politics and his contributions: In 1925, Roy began his political career. He ran for elections from the Barrackpore Constituency as an independent candidate for the Bengal Legislative Council and defeated the "Grand Old Man of Bengal," Surendranath Banerjee. Though an independent, Roy voted with the Swaraj Party (the Parliamentary wing of the Congress in the 1920s). As early as 1925, Roy tabled a resolution recommending a study of the causes of pollution in Hoogly and suggested measures to prevent pollution in the future.
Roy was elected to the All India Congress Committee in 1928. Roy efficiently conducted Civil Disobedience in Bengal in 1929. This prompted Pandit Motilal Nehru to nominate him Member of the Working Committee (CWC) in 1930. The CWC was declared an unlawful assembly by Ruling Britishers and Dr. Roy along with other members of the committee was arrested on 26 August 1930 and detained at Alipore Central Jail. During the Dandi March in 1931, many members of the Calcutta Corporation were imprisoned. Congress requested Roy to remain out of prison and discharge the duties of the Corporation. He served as the Alderman of the Corporation from 1930–31 and as the Mayor of Calcutta from 1931 to 1933. Under him, the Corporation made leaps in the expansion of free education, free medical aid, better roads, improved lighting, and water supply. He was responsible for setting up a framework for dispensing grant-in-aid to hospitals and charitable dispensaries.
A stint as Chief Minister of Bengal: The Congress Party proposed Roy's name for Chief Minister of Bengal. Roy wanted to devote himself to his profession. On Gandhiji's advice, however, Roy accepted the position and took office on 23 January 1948. Bengal at the time had been torn by communal violence, shortage of food, unemployment and a large flow of refugees in the wake of the creation of East Pakistan. Roy brought unity and discipline among the party ranks. He then systematically and calmly began to work on the immense task in front of him. Within three years law and order were returned to Bengal without compromising the dignity and status of his administration. One of his famous Quotes as Chief Minister of Bengal: We have the ability and if, with faith in our future, we exert ourselves with determination, nothing, I am sure, no obstacles, however formidable or insurmountable they may appear at present, can stop our progress... (if we) all work unitedly, keeping our vision clear and with a firm grasp of our problems. The government of India decorated Dr. BC Roy with Bharat Ratna on 4 February 1961 for his immense contribution to the nation.
Death: On 1 July 1962, his 80th birthday, after treating his morning patients and discharging affairs of the State, he took a copy of the "Brahmo Geet" and sang a piece from it. 11 hours later Roy died. After he died, his house was converted into a nursing home named after his mother, Aghorkamini Devi. He had also constituted a trust for his properties at Patna to carry out social service, with eminent nationalist Ganga Sharan Singh (Sinha) being its first trustee The B.C. Roy National Award was instituted in 1962 in Roy's memory and has been awarded annually since 1976. The award recognizes excellent contributions in the areas of medicine, politics, science, philosophy, literature and arts. The Dr. B.C. Roy Memorial Library and Reading Room for Children in the Children's Book Trust, New Delhi, was opened in 1967. Today, his private papers are part of the Archives at the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, at Teen Murti House, Delhi
Prof Dr Vivek Gupta, MD,DM,FACC,FESC,FSCAI,FAPSIC,FEAPCI,FIEIC,FCSI,FICC,FIC (France)
Senior Interventional Cardiologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi and Chairman Indo European Course on Revascularization (IECR), Chairman Indo European and American Conclaves
Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, the billionaire realtor and industrialist, and Chairman Emeritus of the venerable Shapoorji Pallonji Group, passed away at his home here late last night, official sources said here on Tuesday.
He was 93 and is survived by his sons Shapoorji and Cyrus P. Mistry -- latter who was in the limelight for the huge corporate tussle with the Tata Group a few years ago, and two daughters, Laila and Aloo -- the latter wedded to Noel Tata, half-brother of Ratan Tata.
The Shapoorji Pallonji Group is renowned in the realty and engineering sectors and constructed several landmark buildings like the RBI headquarters, SBI, HSBC, Grindlay Bank, Hongkong & Shanghai Bank and others in south Mumbai, besides other major infrastructure projects.
The Group had also produced the iconic Hindi film, K. Asif's 'Mughal-E-Azam' (1960), then the most expensive one and till date it reigns among the top popular movies of Bollywood.
The Union Minister for Culture, Tourism & Development Of North Eastern Region (DoNER) also held the Congress responsible for every problem in the country, and said that Sonia Gandhi has "no right" to criticise the BJP.
In an interview with IANS, the BJP leader and MP from Telangana expressed his views on a range of topics, including the party's foundation day, Vikas Yatra and prospects of BJP's expansion in south Indian states, among others.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Q: What's your take on the message that Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave to the party cadres on BJP's Foundation Day?
A: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken about the concerns of crores of workers and people of the country... Under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, the NDA government is working in 18 states. In the coming days, our goal is to make India a world leader again.
We have to make the country powerful by eliminating poverty and unemployment. For this, he (Prime Minister Modi) called upon all the workers to work together. He has asked the people of the country to stay away from family or individual-centric political parties because such parties have no principle and can do anything for power.
Q: BJP's journey started with only two Lok Sabha seats and today you have coalition governments in 18 states, with 301 MPs in the Lok Sabha. For the first time, the party's tally in the Rajya Sabha has crossed 100. How do you see this journey of 42 years?
A: When our journey started with just two seats, people made fun of us but we kept working hard under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani. Our workers worked hard, and sacrificed relentlessly.
Now, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, we have become the world's largest party. Today, the BJP is the number one party in the Lok Sabha as well as in the Rajya Sabha. We have governments in maximum number of states. The BJP is at the forefront in terms of number of SC, ST and women MLAs and MPs. Finally, a nationalist government is in power which is working in the interest of the country.
Q: The BJP is yet to make its presence felt in a big way in the south. Amit Shah has said on many occasions that the golden age of BJP is yet to come. What are the party's views in terms of expansion in south India?
A: You are right... At present we have government in two southern states -- Karnataka and Puducherry. In the coming days, we are going to form government in Telangana as well. The BJP will also emerge stronger in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, as people are angry with family and individual-centric parties in these states.
Q: Sonia Gandhi is criticising your government, alleging that the BJP is working on a divisive agenda. Your take...
A: Sonia Gandhi has no right to criticise the BJP on this issue. It is the Congress that has divided the country in the name of religion, caste, language and financial status. Whatever problems the country has today, the Congress is responsible for them.
Veteran Nepal diplomat Shankar Sharma, the former Ambassador to the US, has been appointed as the new Ambassador to India.
President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Sunday appointed Sharma to the key post and he will take up his assignment soon.
The post in New Delhi was vacant after Sher Bahadur Deuba government recalled as many as 12 ambassadors including from India. Former minister Nilamber Acharya was the Ambassador until the time of recall.
Sharma brings extensive experience in government, international institutions, and economic research.
Before joining the National Planning Commission as a member in 1997, he worked as a Senior Economic Advisor, in the Ministry of Finance, as a Senior Economist in the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, and a Fellow in the East-West Center, Hawaii.
He also served as a Professor of Economics in the Centre for Economic Development and Administration, Tribhuvan University.
As a high level development planner in Nepal, Sharma provided leadership for national planning, policy guidance, program development and monitoring as Vice Chairman. He worked as policy advisor for many national and international organisations like the World Energy Council Committee, the Millenium Development Goal Assessment of the Asia Pacific Region, UNESCAP, Bangkok, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme.
The Centre on Monday announced the appointment of Madhabi Puri Buch as the new Chairperson of the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
"The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Smt Madhabi Puri Buch, former Whole Time Member, SEBI, to the post of Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India," an official notification said.
This is the first time that a woman and a person from the private sector have been chosen for the top post at the SEBI.
The appointment would be initially for three years from the date of assumption of post or until further orders, which is earlier, the notification added.
Buch will replace Ajay Tyagi whose term ends on Monday.
Those who are unable to handle the affairs of the party, cant's run the affairs of the state, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said in an exclusive conversation with IANS, referring to the state of the Congress in the Himalayan state.
Here are excerpts from the exclusive interview.
Q. Are you coming back to power in Uttarakhand?
A. Absolutely, there is no problem anywhere. This time we have given the slogan '60 paar'.
Q. Do you think you have a tough fight with Harish Rawat of the Congress?
A. There is no fight at all. We are not competing with anyone this time. Those who are unable to handle the affairs of their party, i.e, Congress, how will they handle Uttarakhand? The people will not allow them to do that.
Q. So who are you considering as the biggest challenge?
A. There is no challenge from any quarter. The Congress is divided into different factions - so many groups vying for supremacy. Rawat ji has won only one election since 1999. He was defeated twice. Now, where is the fight with the man who lost two elections while being the Chief Minister? And the Aam Aadmi Party has no mass base here. That's why we said, we will cross 60 seats this time.
Q. So there is no anti incumbency factor?
A. Our party works in the interest of the people. Our aim is the welfare of the last person of the state. Working more, talking less is our mantra. So when everyone is happy with the government then where is the anti incumbency factor. You can check the latest survey, we are ahead.
Q. Are you under pressure so far as ticket distribution is concerned?
A. Well there is a process. Whatever fits right with the circumstances, will happen. Everyone plays his part with full faith in the organizational structure of our party. So there is no pressure of any kind.
Q. On which issues are you contesting the election?
A. The issues are of development, and they have only misled people. With the help from the Centre, public welfare schemes worth Rs 1 lakh crore are going on in the state -- from the Char Dham project to the development of rail network in the mountains. I have visited all parts of the state, and I have seen, people are giving us lot of support and the work Modi ji has done -- these are our issues.
Q. Are you ready for the digital campaign that has been asked by the Election Commission?
A. Yes, we are ready. Our campaign is going on. We had two Vijay Sankalp Yatras. Modi ji has had four programs here, Home Minister ji has had two programs, Nadda ji has had four, Rajnath ji has had four, all the leaders have visited Uttarakhand. I myself have visited all assembly constituencies. All festivals have been communicated. As for digital campaigning is concerned, we have always been ready for that.
Q. Will Dhami become the next Chief Minister?
A. How can I tell about myself, our party works in a democratic way, here there is no family rule.
Q. Is it Dhami vs Rawat or BJP vs Congress?
A. At this point in time, there is only BJP, we have no competition with anyone.
Q. In between, the rebels keep troubling the party, what about them?
A. That is not a problem, all are united. The BJP family is big, small things keep happening. You must have seen, a few days ago, many Congress leaders were resigning. We don't have that situation at our party.
Q. Do you really BJP will cross sixty this time?
A. Yes absolutely.
Q. Your tenure has been short, what have been your achievements during this period?
A. There have been many achievements. We have taken more than 500 decisions -- we started Mukhyamantri Vatsalya Yojana, launched Chief Minister Mahalaxmi Yojana, Chief Minister Self Employment Scheme, relief packages to all the people, laid foundation stones for various projects, in tourism, in the cultural sector. Apart from that, the honorarium of the Mangal Dal, the village head, anganwadi workers has been increased.
Q. Do you think the people of Uttarakhand are satisfied with your work?
A. Absolutely, you should find out yourself. About 90 percent of people want BJP back.
Q. Government keeps changing here -- BJP, Congress every five years...
A. After Modi ji became the Prime Minister, the history of the whole country has been changing. This time history will change here also.
Report filed by Prakhar Prakash Misra from Dehradun, U.K.