Citizens' Issues
Karnataka lawmakers vote themselves hefty pay hike
Lawmakers in Karnataka on Monday unanimously approved a bill that revised their salaries and perks by a whopping 50 percent from fiscal 2015-16.
 
When Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra moved the bill in the legislative assembly here for increasing salaries and various allowances of the lawmakers, none of the legislators belonging to the ruling Congress or opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dak-Secular opposed it.
 
The bill, which was moved after the budget proposals for 2015-16 were approved, has increased their salary to Rs.25,000 per month from Rs.20,000.
 
Though the salary hike is only Rs.5,000, cumulative allowances and reimbursements have been increased by a whopping Rs.50,000 per month to Rs.140,000 per month from Rs.90,000.
 
Phone allowance has gone up by Rs.5,000 to Rs.20,000 per month from Rs.15,000.
 
Similarly, constituency allowance has been hiked by Rs.25,000 to Rs.40,000 from Rs.15,000 and travel allowance in the constituency by Rs.15,000 to Rs.40,000 from Rs.25,000.
 
Daily allowance within the state has been doubled to Rs.2,000 per day from Rs.1,000 and to Rs.2,500 per day from Rs.1,500 if outside the state.
 
The lawmakers will also get hotel allowance of Rs.5,000 per day outside the state hereafter.
 
Railway travel allowance has been, however, retained at Rs.2 lakh per annum.
 
Pension for former lawmakers has also been increased by Rs.15,000 to Rs.40,000 per month from Rs.25,000.

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COMMENTS

selvaraj kalimuthu

2 years ago

This type of salary increment is unethical and the law makers should be considered in line with NGO,thus they should not get the salary but the allowance are allowed for the public service .

We need to bring in a system which will fix the salary for the law makers across the state and central govts and should be governed by the which controls the law makers expenses.

Can Internet be allowed to spell death for the unborn girl child?
For the first time in so many decades, a prime minister has recognised the problem from the ramparts of the Red Fort and has asked the doctors not to fill their coffers by killing the unborn girl child
 
The low and declining sex ratio in the country is no longer a subject matter of debate or doubt. The child (0-6 years) sex ratio has declined from 962 in 1981 to 945 in 1991, 927 in 2001 and to 918 in 2011. If we had the same sex ratio in 2011 as in 1981 we would have had 3.9 million more girls. This is the number of girl children that have been eliminated. The danger is real and present and needs urgent response.
 
It is no longer a secret that medical mercenaries determine the sex of the foetus and disclose it to the parents. They do so for profit and in violation of the law. An estimated 500,000 to 600,000 girl children are eliminated by sex-selective abortions every year through nearly twice the number of sonographies - making it a million rupee industry.
 
Lucrative profit margins have made MNCs actively aid and abet this "crime for profit" - whether it is the suppliers of ultrasound machines or those facilitating advertisements on the internet or through search engines. The problem continues unabated.
 
But today we are at the cusp of an opportunity. For the first time in so many decades, a prime minister has recognised the problem from the ramparts of the Red Fort and has asked the doctors not to fill their coffers by killing the unborn girl child. He went a step further in Panipat on January 22 and asked the people whether they would like to eat their bread with the very hands that were soiled with the blood of the unborn girl child. How much more forthright can a prime minister be?
 
And it has not just been rhetoric. On January 22 the prime minister himself launched the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save the Daughter, Educate her) as a flagship campaign from Panipat in Haryana, challenging the problem at its very epicenter. It is both a bold gamble and an unprecedented opportunity.
 
But let us pause and see how Internet search engines are faring in this battle. Under the law, advertisements offering sex determination services are prohibited in India. While the advertisements in print and television have practically disappeared due to the intervention of courts, the internet has become a source of vigorous promotion of sex selection. Various search engines have become equal opportunity offenders by simultaneously targeting different segments of Indian society. For the elite, they target advertisements from clinics in Bangkok and Dubai as also Cyprus, Britain and the US. For the middle class, ordering of online kits has been made easier by providing easy access to various links from trillions of internet pages. For the astrologically inclined there is a vast treasure of mantras, suitable tithis (dates) and the like, not to speak of the Chinese gender charts and ovulation advice et al.
 
The Supreme Court of India, responding to a PIL filed in February 2000, took a number of pro-active measures and issued appropriate directions to the authorities concerned . But the issue of Internet advertisements had, until quite recently, remained intractable - mostly due to the complex and technical nature of the operation of the net.
Unlike print or electronic media where advertisements are viewed by the entire public, the Internet facilitates direct targeting of only interested persons. Thus there is no public outrage caused when individuals in their private space access information and services and commit the crime of sex selection.
 
While the response of the ministries concerned had earlier been less decisive on the technical and legal aspects of the issue, the IT and health ministries have in a couple of recent hearings taken a clear and firm stand against the Internet giants. To some extent, this was also facilitated by the recent developments in the US and Europe, where these search engine giants have complied with the directions of various courts to disallow certain contents violative of local laws.
The game becomes different when these companies face Indian courts. One of the companies had initially argued that the Indian courts have no jurisdiction since their servers were located in the US. Interestingly, some of the search engine companies have stated before the US Congress that they are bound by the local laws of the destination countries.
 
Yet, we find these giants dragging their feet in following the directions of the Supreme Court in India - for instance, its order of December 4, 2014. One finds some of the offending advertisements not being removed from the net. On January 28, a two-judge bench gave unambiguous directions to Google, Yahoo and Microsoft that they "shall not advertise or sponsor any advertisement" that violates the law.
 
What should we do next? Remain vigilant and check the violations on the net and then file contempt petitions before the Supreme Court with concrete evidence through printouts and details of the route followed on the net to reach the advertisements. The violations of Supreme Court orders amount to contempt - nothing more, nothing less. We must therefore bring each contempt to the notice of the court. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty - in the present crisis, it is the price of survival itself!
 
But is that the only way to be explored? No. These Internet giants also understand the language of markets and profits. After all they abet violation of the law because of profits, However, the profits of these companies come from their subscriber base. So, they sure will understand the language of consumer boycott. Imagine what will happen if civil society, college and school going girls and boys and conscientious users start putting these search engines on notice that they will discontinue using their search engines if they do not stop aiding and abetting the foeticide service providers. The search engines will surely see reason. They must be told that they have enough avenues of making money. Abetting the elimination of millions of girl children is the least honourable among these.
 
The Fourth Battle of Panipat has begun. These net giants, and we, their consumers, have to decide whether they stand with the daughters of India or stand against them. Let us fire the first salvo.

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COMMENTS

Dileep Kamat

2 years ago

The Doctors as Mercinaries are willing to go to any extent to make money and our educated elite are willing to pay any amount to get rid of their own girl child ! This is hight of commercialisation of our society .

nginx

2 years ago

There is a popular saying, 'do not shoot the messenger'. It is very apt in this case. Search engines are nothing but messengers in this case. Its not the job of the messenger to decide what message to deliver or not to deliver. Instead target those who post & promote these ads. Doing anything else would simply be skirting around the real issue.

If you truly believe in the freedom of the press and the Internet in general, then you should understand that asking Search engines to filter search results is tantamount to censorship and such advocacy can forever ruin the freedom & openness of the Internet.

Governments all over the world hate Search engines and the Internet in general because its a source of knowledge and information that they still cannot fully control and we all know information is what gives power to the masses.

I expected better from a responsible foundation like Moneylife.

Lee Kuan Yew and the Asian miracle
Lee's leadership was able to raise the standard of living of Singaporeans from a Third World country to a First World one within a generation
 
On March 23, 2015 Lee Kuan Yew breathed his last. Lee was one of the tallest leaders in the past century, not only in Asia but elsewhere. His call for Asian values and an Asian model of capitalism had an impact on rising China. For a country of Singapore’s size, its achievements over the past 50 years have been nothing short of exemplary.
 
Lee’s influence on the history of economic development in the Asian region is profound. His leadership was able to raise the standard of living of Singaporeans from a Third World country to a First World one within a generation. William Gibson labeled his model of economic prosperity with a tight authoritarian rule as Disneyland with the Death Penalty. His tight curbs with respect to free speech and media and a strong sense of duty as opposed to freedom essentially went against the traditional Western thinking on liberty and capitalism
 
With a per capita GDP close to $500 in 1965, Lee took the challenge upon himself to improve governance and the standard of living of people in his country. It shows his true test of leadership that he transformed Singapore’s without possessing any significant natural resources. During the initial years, the focus was on improving public infrastructure, drawing investments and building housing for residents. Lee was able to raise the per capita GDP’s considerably to $14,000 in 1991, a middle-income country by the time he retired as prime minister. Lee managed to pull off an economic miracle as he realized that the country had distinct positives.
 
First, were its hard working, multicultural and disciplined people. The country leveraged them during the period and grew to become a truly competitive economy. Singapore also saw a large influx of migrant workers that came from the nearby economies for a better aspirational life. Second was its strategic location with respect to economic geography. Singapore had a port that became the busiest during the 1980s, as this had been a main port on the Europe-Far East shipping route. It has been extremely important trading port ever since. 
 
Another positive was the ability of Singapore to foster clusters with international support and collaboration. The country leveraged and modernized its strong clusters in various domains most importantly petrochemicals (with its biggest refining complex at that time), financial services, transportation, and communication. The country also believed in trust and cooperation with neighbors. The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) formed in 1967 aimed at accelerating the export-led model of economic growth and social progress. 
 
The period of Lee’s prime ministership also saw him suing opposition leaders for defamation and causing some of their bankruptcies. In addition, conventional wisdom was turned on its head when Lee was able to prove that governments are not essentially economically inefficient. Evidence of it was that the government-owned companies were the largest employer by the time Lee vacated his office and accounted for astounding 20 percent of Singapore’s GDP. 
 
Post the 1990s Lee became a ‘senior minister’ in the cabinet and in 2004 became a ‘minister mentor’ but his influence on Singapore and the city state’s rise continued. Lee resigned in 2011 from the government at the age of 87. The country in 2013 had a per capita GDP of $55,000 - better than most of the developed nations. The city-state has been ranked 1st by the Ease of Doing Business Report 2015 by the World Bank group and the 2nd by the Global Competitiveness Report 2014-15 of the World Economic Forum. 
 
Lee’s greatness is that his influence was not just restricted to the domestic sphere, but he was considered to be a great geopolitical strategist. The most prominent of his impact can be seen in the recent Chinese economy. The period post the rise of Deng in China in 1978 has his strong influence. Deng was visibly impressed with Singapore. He is quoted as having said: "Singapore’s social order is good. Its leaders exert strict management. We should learn from their experience, and we should do a better job than they do." 
 
There is much in this India - not necessarily on social order but essentially on nurturing talent, providing better governance, boosting international relations and improving India’s economic performance. 

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