Category Archives: Editorial

COVID pandemic: For how long the deprived can stay at home?

Lalit Shastri

Notwithstanding the losses being suffered by Industry, trade and commerce, let’s not turn a blind eye to the fact that all cannot earn their bread staying at home. What about the daily wage earners….what about the marginalised and the deprived who work in the unorganised sector…what about those who lack even the basic modicum of economic security and have never had the saving capacity for the rainy day -forget the prolonged lockdowns… I am talking especially in terms of those who dream of upward mobility and do not figure in the BPL or the below absolute poverty list and do not qualify for ration or other state sponsored welfare subsidies….who will come to their rescue while the COVID tsunami continues to ravage and devour.

Vaccination of all will consume time, in the interim, if the prevailing situation drags on and on and those who have the constitutional authority to prevent chaos, abdicate their responsibility and allow things to drift or come up with nothing more than a knee-jerk response to the evolving situation, that’s already so much out of hand, we will be dealing not only with the ongoing COVID related medical emergency but also a socio-economic crisis and an unprecedented law and order scenario – Watch Out!

ISRO, recruitment controversy, CVC & fair investigation

Lalit Shastri

This is to draw attention to the allegation that there has been nepotism and favoritism in the recruitment of the son of Secretary Department of Space and Chairman Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as Scientist/Engineer “SC” by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), under ISRO, Department of Space.

A complaint in this matter has been lodged with the Chief Vigilance Commissioner. The CVC has communicated that the complaint has been duly examined by the Commission and having regards to the nature of the issues raised, it has been forwarded to CVO, DEPARTMENT OF SPACE for necessary action.

Further, the CVC has underscored as the Commission has sent the complaint for necessary action, it does not expect any report from the CVO of the organization concerned. The CVO is expected to scrutinize the complaint within a period of one month of receipt of the complaint from the Commission and decide if any action is required.

Hence, the obvious conclusion is that the role of the CVC in this matter ends and now the ball is entirely in the court of the CVO, DEPARTMENT OF SPACE.

The CVO, Department of Space, is a joint Secretary, reporting to the Secretary. The Confidential Report of the Joint Secretary is also written by the Secretary. Hence, there will be conflict of interest as a subordinate officer would investigate the allegation of favouritism and nepotism against a superior officer.

Moreover, a press release was also issued on Sunday 14 February 2021 by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) under DoS, ISRO) reiterating that all posts recruited in LPSC are strictly as per procedures and norms laid out by the Department. Due to this statement by LPSC while the matter is before the vigilance authority, question arises whether or not the investigation by CVO, Department of Space, into allegation of nepotism in recruitment will be free fair and without prejudice? This question is being raised in public interest and for the sake of transparency.

Postscript: Since the PMO is seized of the matter and the Department of Space is directly under the Prime Minister, it would be appropriate if a Secretary in the PMO conducts the investigation.

Lalit Shastri is Editor-in-Chief Newsroom24x7

Farmers’ protest: A case of malicious reporting

Lalit Shastri

A story by Reuters with the title “U.S. calls for dialogue to resolve India’s farmers’ protests” apparently has a tilt and agenda. It sweeps under carpet the fact that there was extreme violence perpetuated by farmers at the Red Fort on Republic Day. It would be an understatement to say: “some protesters clashed with police in the heart of the capital city following a military parade to mark Republic Day.”

It is factually wrong to say the clash was after the military parade on Republic Day. What needs to be brought on record is that the protesters had broken their written agreement with police and they had gone berserk as they breached the barricades and bulldozed the security cordon riding their tractors on the route to Red Fort, against what had been agreed upon and that too much before the time allotted to the farmers for their tractor parade. Information already available with the authorities has established that all this was part of an international conspiracy by vested interest groups.

The report in question points to multiple round of talks between the Government and farmers adding “no talks have been held since Jan 26., when some protesters clashed with police in the heart of the capital city following a military parade to mark Republic Day, and no indication has been given of when they might resume.” This gives the impression as if the Government is rigid and has closed the doors for talks at least for now but this is not the case.

The report by Reuters points to the “general support” by the US for the (Indian) government’s efforts to “improve the efficiency of India’s markets and attract greater private sector investment” as conveyed by the Embassy of US in New Delhi in a letter to the Government of India. The US has even sermonised by stating “We encourage that any differences between the parties be resolved through dialogue.” This after 11 rounds of talks the Government has had with the farmers’ representatives, who want nothing less than total abrogation of the new farm laws passed by both Houses of Parliament.

The American interference in the form of the advice for dialogue comes after the Modi Government has already announced that it is ready to put on hold the implementation of the new laws for as long as 18 months and the PM has even told the striking farmers, who have disrupted the normal life of citizens residing near the Delhi border, that he is just a phone call away. The farmers sitting on protest are adamant and have failed to respond to this gesture. Instead, they have called for a nationwide strike (Bandh) on 6 February.

In sharp contrast, check this for what could be described as objective or a balanced piece of reporting

Government should act firmly and decisively against the anti-India forces

Lalit Shastri

There is countrywide rage and anger against the Khalistanis operating from the US, Canada, England and other parts of the world, who are bent upon inciting violence and want to divide India. If the government of India fails to cancel the OCI status of known Khalistanis with immediate affect, it will be committing a grave blunder (Overseas Citizenship of India is a form of permanent residency available to people of Indian origin and their spouses which allows them to live and work in India indefinitely). 

Government of India also will have to use its economic importance and strategic position in the post-Covid world and wage a diplomatic war against the forces challenging India’s sovereignty.

India should do all to expose and isolate leaders like Rahul Gandhi.and Arvind Kejrival, along with the Leli gang (Left-Liberal gang), vested interest groups that have flourished under the Congress ecosystem, the so-called international celebrities who have joined the chorus to defame India on the issue of farmers’ protest and also the pro-Khalistan leaders in positions of power in the western world.

One is left wondering how the violent protestors in large numbers from Punjab, posing as farmers, could cross Haryana, along with those from western UP and Rajasthan, and could reach Delhi unhindered on their tractors that were specially fitted with armoured frames welded to their chassis in the front, to knock out barricades. The fallout was the Republic Day violence and mayhem in Delhi.

Every peace-loving citizen wants to know what about the arrest and prosecution of those charged of sedition. What about tracking those who mobilised resources and men to storm the Red Fort and wage a war against the Delhi Police. What about sending a strong message to countries harbouring the Khalistanis who fund terror and brazenly challenge India’s sovereignty.