When Gandhiji was asked as to what is the greatest problem of this country, he said “the callousness of the intellectuals in this country is our curse”. Any country that neglects the healthcare and education of the people is bound to stagnate and go down the drain
“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”—Plato
Dear Chief Minister,
Congratulations on you’re becoming the chief minister of the most populous state of India. May God bless you with good health and enthusiasm to do good to your people. In fact, the latest definition of health is “enthusiasm to work and enthusiasm to be compassionate.” I know you have the enthusiasm to work, which you have demonstrated in your hard work to bring your party from the dumps back to power with clear majority to rule on your own without any coalition partner pulling the rug under your feet. It is time to celebrate. With success comes responsibility, though.
Yours is one of the poorest states of India where a large chunk of children suffer from NIDS (Nutritional Immune Deficiency Syndrome) in addition to all other problems ranging from law and order to corruption at it’s worst, thanks to all the previous dispensations. Now it is time to start with a clean slate. You have no bad political baggage on your back. You are young. You are energetic. You are educated—not because you are an engineer from Mysore University and had further education at Australia. They are minor points. The major point is that I noticed during your campaigns that you demonstrated that you are a truly educated young man. Education in the true sense is to train a human being to act “justly, skillfully and magnanimously under all circumstances of peace and war”. Elections in India have become an all out war and most of the people in the field are not educated on the above sense of the word.
I was so impressed by your campaign speeches where you stressed on development and other good things for the state and not on any unethical practices associated with Indian elections. Neither did you speak ill of your opponents, a quality I greatly admire in you. Your best was your magnanimity in sparing your opponents of any vendetta. A true victor should always be magnanimous in forgiving the vanquished. Well done and well begun. Well begun is half done. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, wrote Shakespeare. How very true? You will have your ups and owns. When you are up do not get bloated and when you are down look up to the stars in the sky even if you are in the deep ditch! If you treat triumph and disaster, the two dangerous imposters, just the same, you will have won the game; remembering at the same time that it is not winning or losing that matters but, how you have played the game that matters. Be an authentic human being and an exception to the usual run-of-the-mill Indian politician. Keep the goonda elements at an arm’s length to get back a clean image for your party cadres who are known to take the law into their own hands.
I am also proud of you that you had your basic degree from my state. I had my PG degree from the then famous University College of Medicine at KGMC. I love Lucknow so much that I keep going back often. I was feeling bad each time that I go back that old camaraderie and the culture that I had appreciated in Lucknowites has been gradually fading. Please get it back. Let us not be parochial, after all we are all one, citizens of this wonderful world. Quantum physics now tells us that we are all one energy bundle although we look different, the so called Maya or Wircklicheit as the Germans say.
Healthy nation is a wealthy nation. I have been in this business of keeping people well for well over half a century. I could give some humble suggestions to you as to how you could transform UP into a healthy state without spending tons of money, most of which goes to grease the huge machinery of corruption. You need simple few measures to get the state back on its tracks. They are:
When all the above are in place the need for expensive hospitals and drugs will come down drastically and the populace will be healthier to be more productive. Your effort must be to increase the gross domestic product (GDP), not by adding only to the coffers of the greedy industrial honchos but, adding a few more rupees to the pockets of the poor people as well. Today the poor pay for their poverty with their own lives. Please try and reverse that. This is not an impossible task if you, at your age, with all your higher education in environmental engineering, sincerely attempt to do so.
For a change give the state clean and authentic administration for the next five years. If you do that your place in politics is assured and you will be the torch bearer for a healthy change in Indian politics.
In India the governments do not do healthcare. They just stop short of illness care influenced by the rich sickness industry. The latter creates a dread of imaginary illnesses by disease mongering. They are past masters in influencing the powers-that-be to toe their line of thinking, which is nothing but the health scare system. India has a rich heritage of herbal medicines, folk medicine and many other excellent systems like Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Homeopathy, etc. We should evolve an integrated system of sickness care combing the best in these systems after duly authenticating the methods using modern scientific yardstick. This is being done now and you could get guidance in the area from the researchers. I could help you get that information.
India has the biggest load of malnourished children, a total of 67 million in all, dying at the rate of almost one thousand a week. A large proportion of them are in your state. In fact, the Indian load of malnourished children (suffering from the disease Nutritional Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the biggest, even larger than the total load of sub-Saharan Africa of 42 million. Preventing premature deaths must be our primary goal. The measures suggested above will go a long way in achieving that goal.
You might wonder as to why I have written this open letter suo motu? When Gandhiji was asked as to what is the greatest problem of this country his answer was very telling. He said “that the callousness of the intellectuals in this country is our curse”. Any country that neglects the healthcare and education of the people is bound to stagnate and go down the drain. This has been happening in India, especially in UP in the last several years. Time was when UP had some of the best educational institutions. In the early 1960s the Lucknow’s University Medical College (KGMC) was a premier medical institution selected even by the Rockefeller scheme for postgraduate training facilities. I did my MD medicine from KGMC and could vouch for its very high standards at that time. I keep going there for academic activities over the last several decades and am sad to see how that institution has been allowed to go down the drain systematically. The political set up is to blame basically as each power dispensation in Lucknow wanted its own men/women to head the institution which, incidentally led to true merit being the first casualty. Political interference in higher education, nay any education, is dangerous, to say the least.
It is a shame that India spends less than 2% of its GDP on education and health, much less than all the subsidies and exemptions. This will ruin this country. Good primary education will change the face of this country in addition to poverty alleviation through food, shelter (slum clearance for example) and employment generation. I am happy that you started off with laptops, this might be construed as bottom up method to improve education, but a beginning is a good sign in that area. We need to make our education value based. Indian education today does not produce healthy minds but aims to produce wealthy careers alone. Education must stress the basic tenets of education of training a human being to act “justly, skillfully and magnanimously”. As I had noted above you have been an exception and I hope you will make yourself a role model for the youth of your state. One day you might have to do it for the whole country as I see a bright future for you to head the dispensation at Delhi.
Take the help of well meaning intellectuals in your arena to help you with constructive ideas. Have a think tank. Nitish Kumar has done that with success. You could innovate on that. Take care to avoid sycophants around you. Kings in history who took the counsel of their sycophants only eventually got destroyed.
Let me close this letter with a positive note that I have full faith in you. You will be a THINKING chief minister who will have the good of his people at heart. Let me quote Queen Victoria when she had to take over the reins of ruling the then British Empire at the tender age of thirteen when her father died prematurely. She told the crowd after her coronation at the St Peter’s Cathedral: “I am young (so are you; not so young, though) I am immature, I do not know what ruling a large Empire means but, I do know one thing for certain: I know what is good for my people”. Chief minister Akhilesh Yadavji please learn to know what is good for your people. Good speed and good luck for your sincere efforts to change the face of UP.
“Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times”—Winston Churchill
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, Chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected])
In January, 73 Indian firms including Power Grid Corp, Adani Power and Videocon Industries raised money from overseas markets.
Indian companies garnered $2.7 billion from overseas markets in January, much lower than $4.46 billion raised in December, according to RBI. They raised over $2.7 billion through external commercial borrowings (ECBs) and foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs), showed the Reserve Bank of India data.
In January, 73 Indian firms including Power Grid Corp, Adani Power and Videocon Industries raised money from overseas markets. Five entities mopped up about $1.74 billion through the automatic route - whereby a company can raise as much as $750 million from overseas without prior RBI approval. Meanwhile, under the approval route, five companies raised around $917.69 million through ECBs.
State-owned Power Grid Corp raised $640.50 million in two tranches for its projects, while Videocon Industries garnered $178.5 million for import of capital goods.
Nuclear Power Corp of India raised $250 million for power projects and Adani Ports and SEZ raised $225 million for ports development programme through the automatic route.
Further, Adani Power garnered $150 million for various projects.
Kingfisher Airlines is facing troubled times. If you are booked to fly on of the Kingfisher flights, here is how you can avoid the agony at the airport
I’ve started from a clean slate three times over to write this piece and all because of the same reason, a new development with respect to the airline named above. As I write this, Kingfisher Airlines is suspended from the IATA’s International Clearing House (ICH), Billing and Settlement Plan and Cargo Accounts Settlement System. Early February 2012, it was suspended from the IATA’s International Clearing House and it took the airline about a week or more to get reinstated.
What has happened of late to Kingfisher Airlines?
Let me simplify these operations. The ICH is where airlines settle their bills amongst themselves. So, if Kingfisher Airlines booked you on a trip to the USA using a Kingfisher flight till London and another airline flies you from London to your destination in the USA, Kingfisher Airlines owes money to this airline for the ticket on the other airline. If Kingfisher Airlines does not pay the dues in time, your ticket might be affected by the other carrier who may choose to dishonour your ticket (since it never received a payment for it).
As a fall-out of the suspension in February, Cathay Pacific discontinued its agreement to sell tickets with Kingfisher Airlines. This meant, you could go to Hong Kong on a Kingfisher Airlines ticket, but not go further to China or another Cathay Pacific destination with the same ticket because Cathay did not want to be at risk of not receiving payments for flying passengers booked by Kingfisher Airlines.
The Billing and Settlement Plan is used by agents to book tickets on various airlines using IATA approved systems, and then pay for them in one go to IATA, which further pays all airlines individually. Not having its presence on this platform means you can no longer book Kingfisher Airlines tickets using your next door travel agent, unless, they have a direct relationship with Kingfisher Airlines. After this announcement, I called a few travel agents companies and even the ones next door, who have been unable to book Kingfisher Airlines tickets on their ticketing systems.
Also, the repercussions of its frequent cancellations are many and lead to an unpredictable travel schedule for those booked on the airline. Also, in the wake of the recent events internal to Kingfisher Airlines, it further pruned down its schedule to operate about 200 flights daily.
Here, I try and put together a few suggestions for you if you are in a situation where you have to deal with the airline, to make sure you don’t have to go through the agony at the airport.
What to do if you booked to fly with them domestically?
If you are booked on a domestic flight with Kingfisher Airlines, you should head up to its website and see if your booked flight is a part of the new schedule (as of 5 March 2012) Kingfisher Airlines is operating under as of date. You can find the schedule here: http://www.flykingfisher.com/pdf/Flight_schedule_5March2012.pdf.
Customers will usually be rebooked on a new flight if their earlier flight was cancelled. Sometimes, these schedules will not suit you. For example, if you were booked to go to Jaipur on a 6am flight and now booked on a 6pm flight instead, I hazard a guess this affects your plans materially. You should hear from the airline on email or SMS, or you can go to this page to check the status of your ticket: http://www.flykingfisher.com/plan-book/manage-booking.aspx.
If you are experiencing inconvenience with the flight details, you should call the airline and request for an earlier flight, or better still, accommodate you on another carrier which will be able to bring you to your destination in time. Kingfisher might want to still keep you on its own flights, but if you play hardball, you may be able to get it your way. If you cancel and take your refund, you are basically letting Kingfisher get away with the misery it is putting you in since the onus to buy the new ticket to your destination is on you, and ticket prices may have shot up as the travel date comes closer.
However, if everything goes hunky dory and you are in for a last minute surprise by the airline, the DGCA circular on facilities for cancellation of flights and delay in flights should come to help (http://dgca.nic.in/cars/D3M-M4.pdf). Most of the times, the airline will seek to blame the cancellation on force majeure (events beyond its control), but I don’t see how not being able to fuel their planes or paying their taxes are beyond its control since all this is a part of their day to day activity. While I will not go into all the details of a delayed or cancelled flight for now, if the airline did not inform you up to three hours prior on the delay, they are in the wrong.
What to do if you booked to fly with them internationally?
If you are booked only to fly to a destination where Kingfisher Airlines takes you, go over the same steps as stated above. However, if you are doing much more flying than just Kingfisher, I’d advise you to book your tickets with Kingfisher Airlines and the rest of the flights separately. If you can help it, leave enough time in the midst for eventualities, because if you miss your connections when booked separately, the other airline will not claim responsibility for you.
If you can’t segregate your reservations, please call up the other airline and make sure you talk to them before hand to be sure they will accept you on the flight in spite of the fact that your ticket was sold to you along with a Kingfisher Airlines ticket. If possible, take an email confirmation and keep it with you when you fly.
More importantly, if you had a choice, switch to another carrier which is providing more reliable service to your destination at this point of time, till Kingfisher Airlines can fix up its issues and get back on track.
One final thing, I normally don’t buy trip insurance which seems to be bundled by every travel website or airline website these days. However, under current circumstances, that may be a good idea given the fast changing nature of events with the airline under discussion.