Right to Information
PM Modi's wife Jashodaben files RTI for info on her security cover

Jashodaben also expressed unhappiness over current security set-up, where her guards travel in government vehicles like car, while despite being a PM's wife she has to travel in public transport


Prime Minister Narendra Modi's wife Jashodaben has filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with Mehsana police to seek clarity on security cover given to her. Jashodaben also wants to know what she is entitled to.


Mehsana Superintendent of Police (SP) JR Mothalia said that Jashodaben wants to know what her rights are as PM's wife as far as the security aspect is concerned.


"Today, she came to our office and filed an RTI to know about her rights as PM's wife with regard to security cover. We will give our written reply to her in stipulated time," said Mothalia.


Jashodaben lives with her brother Ashok Modi at Unjha town of Mehsana district. After Modi was sworn-in as PM, she has been given security by Mehasana police.


"We have deployed ten of our policemen, including armed guards, for her security. They work in two shifts, five each in one shift." said Police Inspector of Mehsana Special Operations Group (SOG) JS Chavda.


In her application, Jashodaben sought several documents from the police department related to her security cover given as per the protocol, including the certified copy of actual order passed by government about providing security.


She also wanted to know the laws and related provisions in Indian Constitution about security cover given to a PM's wife.


She asked the government to explain the definition of protocol and sought details about what is included under it and what other benefits she is entitled for as per that protocol.


She also expressed unhappiness about the current security set-up, where her guards travel in government vehicles like car, while despite being a PM's wife she has to travel in public transport.


Jashodaben noted that late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was killed by her own bodyguards and that she felt scared of her guards. She asked the government to make it compulsory for each guard to produce copy of deployment order.


Can old airlines weather the storm?

The 5/20 rule is almost 10 years old and the airline scene in the country has undergone enormous change. Revised rules are on the anvil!


The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), formed some eight years ago in 2006, had Air India, Jet Airways, IndiGo Air, SpiceJet and Go Air as its members. It recently, lost its founder-member in Air India. The Federation had resisted the issue of licences to Air Asia and Tata SIA by protests to the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). And when the issue of 5/20 rule was talked about, they made a hue and cry that this should not be waived and that all new airlines must complete five years of domestic service before being allowed to fly on international routes, provided they have a fleet of 20 aircraft, "as per rules" in force.


That was the rule then. Now it might change. Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju has not succumbed to this pressure by the Federation and had stated that 5/20 rule does not exist in any country across the world!


Now the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has released a white paper, which says "there is no logic in the policy (rule) of government that required airlines to operate local service for five years and have a fleet of 20 aircraft before being allowed to fly to foreign destinations".


The 5/20 rule is almost 10 years old and the airline scene in the country has undergone enormous change. A few more airlines have joined the scene to make air travel economic through competitive fares, though most of them, except for IndiGo Air, are at a loss. Air Asia had shown initial profits in most sectors, however, their just announced quarterly accounts show a loss.


It may be recalled that both Air Asia and Vistara (Tata SIA Airlines) had attempted to join the Federation of Indian Airlines but had not received any response. But with the exit of Air India, a founding member of FIA, the Federation may have to rethink on its membership policy as new entrants like Air Costa and Zav Airlines may watch the situation before deciding their course of action.


Who knows as to whether these new airlines may be forced to form an association of their own unless the Federation comes to its senses and takes a realistic approach to make a unified stand in dealing with DGCA and the Civil Aviation Ministry.


Due to the fall in international oil prices, ATF (jet fuel) rate has gone down by 7.3%.


There is a fair chance that this may go down further, should the oil prices continue to fall.


Recently, there have been unconfirmed market rumours about SpiceJet being in the process of obtaining a foreign partner and that due to serious restructuring they were also reducing some flights in some sectors. It enjoys 17.3% of the Indian market share.


The white paper released by the Assocham also suggests that it may be good idea to have Air India going public and obtaining a foreign partner.


Ashok Gajapathi Raju, the Civil Aviation Minister is also not averse to the idea of going public in other areas as well, such as the operations of Airport Authority of India (AAI), chopper service of Pawan Hans Helicoper service besides Air India, and listing the shares in the stock exchange.


These changes are bound to make a huge difference to the civil aviation scene.


(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)



Shankar Subramaniam

2 years ago

the open secret about 5-20 was to stop Indigo from flying out , and was used by Jet air to stop it using its political connections



In Reply to Shankar Subramaniam 2 years ago

Jet is largely responsible from stifling the aviation sector in India.


2 years ago

I like this idea of Air -India roping in a foreign partner.We certainly don't need to fund Air -India.

Kathak legend Sitara Devi passes away in Mumbai

Sitara Devi was honoured with the Legends of India Lifetime Achievement Award 2011 for her contribution to the classical dance genre for over six decades


Kathak queen Sitara Devi died at a hospital in Mumbai Tuesday. She was 94.


Born in 1920 in Kolkata, Sitara Devi drew from the themes, poetry and choreography collected by her father in her choreographies. She also got inspired from the environment around her — whether it is a town or a village.


The characters around her came live in her dance. “By training, I am just a ‘kathakar’ of Krishna—leela (tales of Krishna),” the danseuse used to say.


Kathak, which literally means ‘katha’, is a narrative drama which evolved out of the Krishna temples of hinterland to scale the pinnacle of glory in the Muslim courts.


Sitara Devi’s roots were inextricably woven to the tradition of ‘kathakars’, the early Kathak dancers.


She was born as Dhannolakshmi to a family of Brahmin ’kathakar’ Sukhdev Maharaj and chose school and dance over an early wedding, as was the norm of the 1920s.


Her father, a Vaishnavite Brahmin scholar and Kathak exponent, sent her to a local school where she impressed her teachers and the local media with her performance in a dance drama, “Savitri Satyavan“.


When her father learnt of it, he re-christened her as Sitara or the star and placed her under the care of her older sister for kathak training.


By the time Sitara Devi turned 11, the family moved to Mumbai, where she impressed Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore with a three-hour solo recital.


Tagore offered her a shawl and Rs50 which Sitara Devi refused and sought his blessings instead to become a great dancer.


Over the next six decades, she became a Kathak legend and was a pioneering force in bringing the genre to Bollywood.


Sitara Devi married director K Asif of Mughal-e-Azam fame and then Pratap Barot. She was a vital force who stood for zest and vigour in Indian dance.


She was honoured with the Legends of India Lifetime Achievement Award 2011 for her contribution to the classical dance genre for over six decades.


In his condolence message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled her rich contribution to Kathak.


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