The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared the name of Anil Kumar Sinha as the new CBI chief
The Indian government Tuesday night appointed senior officer Anil Kumar Sinha as the new Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He succeeds Ranjit Sinha who retired in a glare of controversy, with the Supreme Court directing him to recuse from 2G spectrum scam case probe.
Sinha, a 1979 batch IPS officer of the Bihar cadre, was the Special Director in CBI.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared the name of Anil Kumar Sinha who was among the candidates shortlisted by the search committee earlier this evening.
The term of Sinha will be for two years from the date he takes charge, an official notification said.
Earlier in the day, Modi held discussions with the Chief Justice of India and leader of the main Opposition in Lok Sabha on selecting a new CBI head.
The panel discussed the names of about 40 officers shortlisted by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), sources said.
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Airbags don’t even address the least of India’s road safety issues
There have been extensive media reports, recently, about cars, like the Datsun GO and Maruti Swift sold in India and other models like the VW Polo, in the past. Almost all of these were certified unsafe because they did not have airbags and, therefore, failed the crash tests conducted. Whether these reports have impacted sales or improved safety is another issue.
What this has resulted in for sure, though, is a diktat that, from October 2015 all cars will be fitted with at least two airbags. Seen in isolation, this is a commendable step, long overdue and cannot be faulted. It is also probably the easiest way out, by saddling the consumer with added costs, which may not work anyway, unless the basic habit of wearing seatbelts is inculcated.
An airbag that activates itself, if the driver or passenger in the seat is not wearing a seatbelt, is more dangerous than a gun fired at close range. An airbag that activates itself due to an inherent fault is even more dangerous. An airbag that does not activate itself when required lulls people into a false sense of security. And an airbag, activated or not, is an additional expense which needs to be factored in with the realisation that disconnecting an airbag is as simple as removing a fuse, in many cases.
However, to avoid missing the woods for the trees, the fact remains that many other safety-related issues on Indian roads remain unresolved. Here is a list of a few of them and notes on why they are not going to be addressed in a cogent manner in the near future:
1) The biggest danger to all stakeholders on Indian roads has to be the vast variety of ‘authorities’, from the ministry downwards, who are involved in the truckloads of documentation that only increases their income, both dry and wet, and ability to breed corruption, while totally destroying whatever little headway road safety legislation tries to make. I have been visiting regional transport offices (RTOs) all over the country from 1974 onwards, when I first turned 18, and can confidently say that corruption has outgrown the cost of living in the intervening years. This, to be truthful, is the biggest reason for lack of safety on our roads.
2) The second biggest danger to road-users has to be the flawed system of road design, engineering, construction and implementation all over India. Barring exceptions like the roads built by the Border Roads Organisation and some specific new roads, pretty much every other kilometre of roads, highways, bridges and tarmacs in India adds to worsening road safety to a point where it is increasingly safer to use trains or airplanes.
3) The third element in the issue of lack of road safety has to be the people out on the roads, who are supposed to be keeping an eye on issues impacting road safety. Instead of ensuring that roads are safer, they are increasingly busy in checking whether motor vehicles are carrying valid PUC (pollution under control) certificates or insurance certificates—issues that can easily be checked using modern technology. In 40 years of driving, for example, I have yet to be checked even once for whether or not the brakes in my motor vehicle are working.
4) The fourth important factor is the lack of equity on our roads. Some road-users, especially people from those segments of society who are supposed to govern the country and keep it safe for citizens, are of the opinion that they are above the laws pertaining to road safety and are, therefore, exempted from any form of adherence to laws on the road.
This is also the segment which is growing the fastest and also driving the biggest cars on our roads, as well as getting away with murder.
I do not expect any of these real reasons for lack of road safety to be addressed in the near future. What I do foresee, however, is that the ‘system’, as we know it, will come down even harder on the middle-class; a whole new bunch of documents will need to be carried and displayed at every small barrier in town.
Roads in India will only be safer when they become an electoral issue impacting the swing. We are some distance away from that, for now.
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)