Parag Ingle, an 8th standard student of Loyola High School is in comatose state since 1 February 2013 after receiving a bullet injury during NCC firing practice session. His father, Devendra Ingle, is still running around to get justice and answers from authorities
Parag Ingle, an 8th standard from Pune's prestigious Loyola High School, received a bullet on his forehead. Amod Ghanekar, one of the junior officers of National Cadet Corps (NCC), fired with the 0.22 rifle during a firing training class on NCC grounds, grievously injuring Parag, who continues to be in a comatose condition, 19 months after the tragic incident that occurred on 1 February 2013. Devendra Ingle, Parag’s father, after running from pillar to post to get justice and answers from authorities, has filed applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
What’s shocking is that, the culprit, Amod Ghanekar has been seeking legal intervention ever since, pleading innocent and asking for discharge of cases against him terming the incident as accident and not deliberate attempt. After the Districts & Sessions Court rejected his appeal in February 2014, Ghanekar went to the Bombay High Court. It is only on Monday, 22 September 2014, that the Bombay High Court dismissed his appeal and has given a green signal for conducting necessary investigations against him. A good 19 months have gone by and police investigations have virtually come to a halt due to this Court case. The NCC headquarter too is mum over this episode to the media as well as to an internal inquiry, if any, conducted.
Devendra Ingle, Parag’s father, an engineer working in the Pune Municipal Corporation, besides suffering the trauma of seeing his son in a distressing condition and the entire family helplessly playing the role of mere attendants to him at the Command Hospital is aghast. He is agonised about the injustice in terms of keeping him totally in the dark about the chronology of the untoward incident. Also, there is little action against Ghanekar, who has been suspended from the Zilla Parishad (he was deputed as a teacher to the Loyola School). Ghanekar is roaming free.
(Parag Ingle, before and after the incident)
Devendra Ingle, says “Since this incident is so tragic and my son is battling for life, I needed to know as to what action has been taken against the other NCC officers who were present at the spot on that fateful day and who permitted Ghanekar to illegally handle the pistol and fire. How exactly did the incident took place and when will Ghanekar receive appropriate punishment? All these times, attempts have been made to protect Ghanekar by stating that my child suddenly got up and therefore he received the bullet, despite the fact that there is evidence, which shows that Ghanekar had no authority to handle the pistol. The first six months passed by as we, as a family, were too traumatised to even find out what happened. Thereafter, I was aghast at the manner in which Ghanekar went to Court to relieve himself of the crime and the way authorities were least interested in investigating the case.”
Finally, after all attempts to get answers from NCC and Loyola school authorities failed, Ingle filed an RTI application last week to Additional Directorate General of Army Education, New Delhi seeking the following information:
“On 1 February 2013, at NCC Headquarters, Pune, my son NCC Cadet Mast. Parag Devendra Ingle was gravely injured when he was shot with Five bullets by a .22 Rifle. He is still unconscious. I would like to get all the information and papers regarding the action taken by the Army on all the Army Officers and In-charge person connected to this incident. I would also like to know the nature of punishment was given to the person responsible for this incident.’’
While an innocent child is in an unconscious state since the last 19 months, Ingle says that he is helpless that despite evidence against him, the authorities are sluggish in their action. As per eye witnesses, about 46 boys of Std VIII and Std IX of Loyola’s High school were asked by NCC instructor Amod Ghanekar to position themselves on the ground for firing. He stood behind them with a .22 rifle to give a demonstration. Just when Ghanekar fired a round, Parag got up suddenly and turned back. He got hit in the forehead from a close range. Ever since, Parag lost consciousness. While rules do not permit anyone to fire from behind, Ghanekar as the junior officer of NCC is not even permitted to handle a pistol and fire.
As per the Deccan Gymkhana Police Station report: “without having any revolver license or having any authority to conduct firing, Amod Ghanekar stood behind the boys, handled the .22 rifle in an irresponsible manner, loaded and despite the knowledge that it would be grievous or fatal if any student suddenly got up, he fired. A bullet hit Parag on his forehead and he was grievously injured. Thus, it is an attempt to kill, by Ghanekar.”
Following queries, which were asked by the Deccan Gymkhana Police Station to the senior official of the NCC and the replies the police got also point out to the illegal handling of the pistol by Ghanekar:
Deccan Gymkhana Police Station to Col Officer Commanding, Maharashtra Signal Co. NCC, Col Rajesh Khosla:
Q: Does Amod Ghanekar, as ANO have the authority to handle the revolver and fire at the firing range on NCC grounds?
Ans: ANO (Associate NCC Officer) AA Ghanekar is not authorized to fire during the firing practice of the cadets on the range…He is responsible for training and discipline of his cadets as per para 25 of NCC Act & Rules 1984 refers)
Q: Does Ghanekar have the right to himself fire from the revolver while the firing practice session is underway?
Ans: Every person on the range is expected to follow the laid down drills. AA Ghanekar has broken the range discipline and is responsible for his own action being the senior most on the range
Q. What are the responsibilities of Ghanekar?
Ans. Responsibility of ANO Amod Ghanekar : 1) enrolment of NCC cadets from his school; documentation of NCC cadets; Issuing them uniform; Training of NCC cadets placed under his command
Devendra Ingle said, “While the replies by Col Khosla clearly point out to Ghanekar’s dereliction of duty, when I requested NCC Director Brig Naresh Kumar on 12th June for permission to inspect the firing range and to know exactly the sequence of events that led to my son’s tragedy, I was denied permission and was instead asked as to why I need to find out.”
When Ingle sought permission from the Deccan Gymkhana police station to give him permission and show him how the incident took place, the police inspector sent him a letter on 27 June 2013, warning him that if he entered the premises, they will slap him with Section 149 of the IPC that prohibits unlawful assembly. “All I want is that officials should explain me the tragic incident from the site,” he says.
Devendra Ingle has sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) but no one’s paying any heed to his request. He compares Parag’s case to that of Pakistan’s 16 year old Malala Yousafzai, stating that she recovered as she was rushed abroad for surgery and adds, “the doctors at the Command Hospital have been very kind and concerned. I would like to have the status report of my child, which I can email to doctors abroad and check out if any advanced surgery can be done. Parag continues to respond to our talk and moves his fingers and toes at times.”
Generally, it has been apathy by every authority to dismiss this case as an accident. Ingle needs help and guidance from RTI experts to get sufficient information of his child’s health and to put pressure on authorities to take action against not only Ghanekar but every other officer involved directly or indirectly in this incident. ``Only then, my trauma will slightly decrease,’’ he say.
Do write to Moneylife in the 'comments' below or email to [email protected] as to what RTI applications should Devendra Ingle file to get justice and information from authorities.
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)
China government organisations are asked to implement new measures as soon as possible to arm "Made in China" with advanced technology and equipment, encouraging more competitive products with high added value
The Chinese government has launched a "Made in China" campaign with a host of tax concessions. This launch coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" pitch.
China will encourage high-tech imports, research and development (R&D) to upgrade 'Made in China', a decision by the Chinese central government said.
Under the new campaign China will use tax breaks to encourage enterprises to upgrade their equipment and increase R&D efforts to improve the manufacturing industry.
Companies that bought new R&D equipment and facilities after 1st January or possess minor fixed assets will have taxes reduced based on value, the Cabinet, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, has decided.
Imported high-tech equipment will also enjoy tax deductions in aviation, bio-medicine production, manufacturing of railway and ships, electronics production including computer and telecommunications, instrument production and those used in making IT products and software, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The new decision coincides with the global launch of Modi's 'Make in India' campaign today.
The Indian Embassy, Consulates in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hong Kong held special investment promotion events showcasing the 'Make in India' campaign.
China's new move aims to prompt technical improvement of companies, especially innovation of small and medium-sized enterprises, which in the last three decades propelled it to become world's second largest economy and made it a powerhouse of the manufacturing industry.
The cabinet asked government organisations to implement the new measures as soon as possible to arm "Made in China" with advanced technology and equipment, encouraging more competitive products with high added value, the report said.
China's manufacturing sector, a key driver of its economic growth, is regarded highly competitive in the global market.
Analysts believe the measures will not only start a new round of innovation but also spur fixed asset investment, and, in the bigger picture, contribute to stabilising economic growth.
India is ranked 134 out of 189 in the ease of doing business rankings of the World Bank. The PM's desire would require huge shifts at the Central, State, Judiciary, Regulatory and Executive levels. Can he achieve it all in three years?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the Make In India campaign. His target audience was primarily Indian businessmen, who have themselves been apprehensive about investing in India. While we court foreign direct investment (FDI) and foreign institutional investment (FII), the business environment in India is so poor that the Prime Minister has to push Indian businessmen to invest here. The only places in the world, where a businessman is worse off than India are either war-ravaged nations or those which are currently involved in civil conflicts.
India is ranked 134 out of 189 in the ease of doing business rankings of the World Bank. The West Bank and Gaza are at 138. Some of the countries that do better than us in these rankings include Ethiopia (125), Uganda (132), Bangladesh (130), Pakistan (110), Nepal (105) and even Vietnam (99).
The Prime Minister, in his speech to the Make In India audience stated that he wished to take India higher in the Ease-of-Doing-Business Index. When the World Bank Chairman Jim Yong Kim visited India in July, he had said that if Gujarat were to be taken as a separate entity, for the sake of evaluation, and then it would be among the top 50 in the rankings. So PM Modi wants India to break into top 50 in three years. Is this feasible?
To better understand what is involved in pushing India up these rankings, take a closer look at what constitutes the score in these rankings. What determines the final rank for a country is based on: (India's rank in parenthesis out of 189 nations)
1. Starting a Business (179)
2. Dealing with Construction Permits (182)
3. Getting Electricity (111)
4. Registering Property (92)
5. Getting Credit (28)
6. Protecting Investors (34)
7. Paying Taxes (158)
8. Trading Across Borders (132)
9. Enforcing Contracts (186)
10. Resolving Insolvency (121)
If the two factors 5 and 6 above are excluded, India's ranks on the rest leaves a little too much to be desired. Problem is, Modi can do little about the 8 factors where India’s ranking is pathetic.
Starting a Business: Depending on the industry, starting a business requires procedures to be completed with both Central and State agencies and departments. In India, starting a business requires an average of 27 days, to complete 12 required procedures (according to World Bank estimates). This, as any businessman will tell you, is an understatement, because it does not account for the great Red Tape that needs to be negotiated for even the simplest approvals. The government is said to be working on the issue of permissions.
With most registrations online and providing single-window clearances, starting a business could get a little simpler. But a number of State-level permits are needed too, what will happen to these? Modi has no control over them.
Paying Taxes: An Indian businessman suffers an average of 33 tax payments a year. While the South Asian average is also at 33, the OECD average is 12. The sheer number of taxes goes beyond suffocation and harassment. Moneylife has written before about how India's tax system is built to encourage harassment and extortion by officials and bureaucrats. There is no change in this.
Trade Across Borders: On one hand, India is ranked 132 on this and the PM has expressed that he wants to focus on trade, but on the other hand India voted against the WTO agreement at the last minute, which could have achieved better cross border trade. Reducing the number of clearances and documentations needed for export and import is the need of the hour. The Commerce Ministry is seriously looking to improve this. No steps taken so far
No Control of the Centre: Now we come to the hardest part, factors where the Centre has little to zero control. Registering Property (92), Getting Electricity (111) and Construction Permits (182) rest almost completely with State departments and agencies. It is difficult to conceive how the PM and the Centre propose to deal with these problems for businessmen and investors. Then we may come to the final thorn in the businessman's side, India's much-respected yet absolutely inaccessible judicial system.
On Enforcing Contracts, which is possibly the foundation of a business environment, India ranks 186 out of 189 countries. The time taken to get a hearing and then an award or decision in the courts and tribunals in India, is beyond measure. It has come to a point where property related and civil disputes are now being fought with only the interim order in view, because the final award is too far ahead in the future to even consider. The final measure that the Index deals with is Resolving Insolvency, which again leads in many cases to the doors of Indian courts.
Out of the factors listed and discussed above, improving scores on each of these counts would mean working at Centre, State, Judiciary, Regulatory and Executive levels. What this means is that even if the centre were to work with a clear objective in mind and with a concerted push, there are still too many factors outside the Centre's control that would still need act as impediments.
It is important to understand that while huge companies hog the media landscape, around 80% of the economy and jobs are centred on Small and Medium Enterprises. The biggest beneficiaries of every slight improvement in the business environment will exponentially improve their productivity and addition to the economy. It is difficult if not impossible to imagine how the Centre will be able to deliver a serious bump in India's rank from 134, forget breaking among the top 50.
By the way, if India were to break into the top 50, who will have to be better? How about India being better than Spain (52), Italy (65) and China (96) (all lie between India and the top 50)? Is it likely that India will have better courts, state organs, laws and efficiencies than EU nations and China? Even if it is, it is doubtful that such a sea change may come about in the next three years.