Citizens' Issues
Social networking accounts for 1 in every 5 minutes spent online

Use of social networks is not limited to just young people. People aged 55 or more have emerged as the fastest growing age segment in social networking says comScore

Social networking is the most popular online activity worldwide accounting for nearly 1 in every 5 minutes spent online in October 2011, and reaches 82% percent of the world’s Internet population, representing 1.2 billion users across the globe, says comScore.

“Regardless of the geography, social networks are weaving themselves ever more intricately into the fabric of the digital experience, opening a world of new opportunity for business and technology,” said Linda Boland Abraham, comScore CMO and EVP of global development.

Time spent on social networking sites gained ground during this time by taking share predominantly from web-based email and instant messengers, reflecting its emergence as another primary communication channel for users. Unmistakably, it has evolved over the years to become an integral part of the global online experience, in many ways both mirroring and augmenting the offline social experience, comScore said.

According to a report ‘It’s a Social World: Top 10 Need-to-Knows About Social Networking and Where It’s Headed’, the widespread adoption of social networking highlights the global appeal of this online activity. Of the 43 markets individually reported by comScore, 41 markets saw at least 85% of their respective online populations visit social networking sites in October 2011, it said.

Facebook has also become an important part of the online community. According to the report, during October, Facebook reached more than half (55%) of the world’s global audience and accounted for one in every seven minutes spent online and three in every four social networking minutes.

Even microblogging sites, like Twitter are not far behind. In recent years, microblogging has emerged as a disruptive new force in social networking on a global scale. In October, Twitter reached one in 10 Internet users worldwide, growing 59% in the past year. Other popular microblogging destinations seeing rapid adoption include Chinese site Sina Weibo, with its audience growing 181% in the past year to rank as the tenth largest social network in October. Tumblr, which ranked twelfth worldwide in audience size, grew 172% in the past year, the comScore report said.

Use of social networks is not limited to just young people, people aged 55 and more have become the fastest growing age segment in social networking. During October, young users aged between 15 and 24 remained the highly engaged segment spending eight hours per visitor. On the other hand, the penetration of social networks among people aged 55 and more increased nearly 10 percentage points since July 2010 to 80% in October 2011.
Analysis of the most highly engaged global social networking markets revealed that Israel led all countries with visitors spending an average of more than 11 hours on social networking sites during the month. Argentina ranked second at 10.7 hours, followed by Russia (10.4 hours) and Turkey (10.2 hours). The US, at 6.9 hours per person, did not even rank within the top ten countries for social networking engagement.
From July 2010 to October 2011, 15-24 year olds saw the largest decline in their use of instant messengers and email, outpacing overall declines in average time spent on these categories across other age groups. Simultaneously, 15-24 year olds also saw the biggest increase in average time spent on social networking. To date, this demographic shows the highest average engagement with social networking worldwide. The data collectively suggests that much of the communication going on between 15-24 year olds happens via social networks. As this generation matures, carrying these highly social behaviours into the future, it is possible that social networking, or its natural successor, could become the most important communication channel across all age groups, the comScore report concluded.  



Air India: First case for Lokpal?

The report of the CAG, presented to Parliament a few months ago said “this (the decision to purchase 68 aircraft at a cost of Rs50,000 crore) was a recipe for disaster and should have raised alarm signals in the ministry of civil aviation, Public Investment Board and the Planning Commission"

It has been seven years since India’s aviation icon was metaphorically shot down in mid-flight. And the Maharaja it still lying crash-landed, his glorious moustache stuck in muck and legs kicking feebly in the air.

The first job that Ajit Singh, the new civil aviation minister, will have to take up is to get Air India flying high again, supported by a sound financial position.
Equally important, Mr Singh will have to identify those responsible, from minister to joint secretary, for sabotage of Air India. He has to make sure cases are filed against these people, charging them with anti-national activity and destruction of national property, amongst other things.

The prime accused stands out: he is Praful Patel, who was civil aviation minister in 2004.

Mr Patel maneuvered himself into post of civil aviation minister using the clout of his mentor Sharad Pawar. The fact that, till he became minister, he was a director of Jet Airways is a clear pointer to why he got himself into this particular ministry. What about the concept of conflict of interest? That’s only for credulously innocent and straight-forward people.

Prime minister Manmohan Singh could, to give him the benefit of doubt, only watch helplessly and get all of Mr Patel’s decisions rubber-stamped by the Cabinet.

Mr Patel set about his task quickly. Four months after taking over, he chaired a meeting to discuss Air India’s expansion plan to buy 28 aircraft to replace the ageing Jumbos. Mr Patel’s diktat at the meeting was that Air India would buy not 28 aircraft but 68—at a stupendous cost of Rs50,000 crore.

The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), presented to Parliament a few months ago said “this was a recipe for disaster and should have raised alarm signals in the ministry of civil aviation, Public Investment Board and the Planning Commission".

The inflated purchase order was not backed by either a viable revenue plan or expansion of routes. Indian Airlines, too, was asked to revisit its proposal to buy 43 aircraft but it refused.

On 5 August 2004, the minutes of the meeting were sent to V Thulasidas, then CMD Air India by an under-secretary in the ministry called K K Padmanabhan. The minutes ordered that "Air India should revisit the proposal of aircraft purchase and submit a fresh project proposal to the government at the earliest which could include the revised requirements." Mr Thulasidas agreed to revise the proposal despite strong opposition from V Subramaniam, additional secretary and financial adviser of the ministry.

The entire acquisition (for both Air India and Indian Airlines) was to be funded through debt (to be repaid through revenue generation), except for a relatively small equity infusion of Rs325 crore for Indian Airlines.

Mr Patel's controversial decision was rubber-stamped by a committee of secretaries and a group of ministers. Air India is still saddled with debt of more than Rs40,000 crore and an estimated loss of around Rs7,000 crore. Till the 2003-2004 fiscal, AI was making a profit of around Rs105 crore.

The CAG report said the aircraft acquisition through debt "contributed predominantly" to the airline's massive debt liability, which stood at Rs38,423 crore as on 31st March last year. CAG also called the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines "ill-timed" and said that "the financial case for the merger was not adequately validated prior to the merger".

Having done his dirty work, Mr Patel moved on to the industries ministry. Air India was left to sink in the mud till a few months ago when a rescue plan was mooted. Bankers and bureaucrats are running round and around trying to save Air India.

In 1985, when Rajiv Gandhi came to power, he appointed rookie P Chidambaram as deputy minister for textiles. Within a week he was moved to the home ministry in a junior post.

It was reported that Mr Chidambaram had told Rajiv Gandhi that his family owned a few textile mills and there would be conflict of interest if he stayed on in the textiles ministry. Mr Chidambaram was an honest young man then.



Babubhai Vaghela

6 years ago

Prime Accused Praful Patel be put behind bar fast for huge loss to Nation.
Read Reminder to Prime Minister on ATR - Rajya Sabha Committee Report on Merger of Air India - Indian Airlines into NACIL -The committee firmly believes that the one and only way of overcoming the problem is to change the often irrational and...!topic/right-to-information-act-2005/1Aguht0VFg8
This can be done by UPA without even Lokpal.

Sanjay Shirodkar

6 years ago

Golden chance to sue dirty nexus of politician - bureaucrats - corporate (agents). Its time to close the chapters of Hand and Clock.


6 years ago

Absolutely correct observation.The main culprit is Praful Patel.Any standard four boy can tell that a loan of 50,000/- with interest @12%(conservative estimate)will result in bankruptsy if earning per annum is 4-5 thousand.Wonder how all those who passed the purchase plan did not think of this ?Did everyone ,or atleast most of them,got a share of the pie ?Or were they sleeping when this was discussed ?


6 years ago

Each and every word you have written is perfectly right Mr.R Vijayaraghavan..

But If we are ruled by a deaf and dump who is guided by looters...what to do ?

Let us prey the God to die early from this bullshit country...

Shadi Katyal

6 years ago

The question to ask is what will Lok Pal do in this case and whom will this court investigate.
The facts are there that while Air India for decades had been running dry and on losses, no one has the guts to cut down the union power of all employees. It is a joke in the aviation trade that only nation with maximum employees and yet neither any productivity nor any respect for the passenger is Air India.80% of businessmen prefer and travel with foreign carriers because of lack of any service and rude treatment.
The inquiry will be a white wash for the nation.
Sooner or later it will have to either sell it or close down. It is dead horse and thus Lok Pal wnats to prove its power


6 years ago

It is not Manmohans fault that Congress party has cobbled UPA with self-serving parties like the NCP and Trinamool Congress. The Govt is now like a sieve - leaking from every pore!

Rambabu Shastri

6 years ago

The Lokpal, if and when it is passed and implemented, will lead to just one consequence... the international exchange of bribes. This has already started and very few rich businesses or politicians will exchange large sums within India, in the indian currency. Lobbying for FDI in retail has already cost Walmart Rs. 52 crores and everyone knows who pocketed it. That is the only way syndicates like political parties can fund their existence.

Lastly, the master strategists in the Congress managed to add reservation and also a few other unwanted items to the Lokpal draft and have ensured it does not pass. They have also ensured that it will not come to vote due to this very reason and they will now expect that the fallout of not passing it will not affect their election results when elections do happen.

K B Patil

6 years ago

Everyone know that when an airline or any business for that matter, is struggling to stay afloat, it will prepare an expansion plan which is within its limits. Expansion is done only when a business is roaring. Mr. Praful Patel comes from a savvy business family which does a roaring business in beedis. When his business is struggling to stay afloat, will Mr. Patel go in for an expansion costing an amount which is quite capable of sinking the business?

All politically aware Indians know that our politicians, when ordering payments to an ordinary Indian who loses his life in a train accident or fire etc., can barely think of a sum larger than Rs. 1 or 2 lakhs. But, when it comes to doing business (like the Air India order), they can only think in terms of thousands of crores. We all know the potential for mischief present in such large orders. Most politicians have lost all pretensions of morality. They will do their best to kill the Lokpal bill.



In Reply to K B Patil 6 years ago

The right place for Mr. Patel is right ext to Raja. What is the ceck and balance in the system that such follies are not perpetuated.

Onion prices continue to fall, increasing losses for farmers

Onion prices for traders have fallen to Rs600 per quintal on Wednesday from Rs1,200 per quintal earlier this month however there is little change in retail prices

Exactly a year after it made consumers to cry, onion prices are now causing losses to farmers. Last December, amidst the high festivities of Christmas and New Year, onions made the consumers to cry with prices touching as high as Rs80 per kg, while this year farmers are reeling under the losses due to the crashing prices. Experts and traders are warning of further downtrend in onion prices.
At Lasalgaon near Nasik, which is the country’s largest onion producing region, prices in the wholesale market have to fallen to Rs400-Rs500 per quintal due to excess production and storage. High export prices have also resulted in poor off take by the traders.

In Mumbai market, the modal prices (rate at which traders buy) of onion have fallen to Rs600 per quintal on Wednesday from Rs1,200 per quintal earlier this month. Meanwhile, the prices of onions from Karnataka have also drastically fallen.

However, there is little change in the retail prices of onions at Vashi retail market, near Mumbai. Onions are being sold at Rs12-Rs14 per kg, compared with Rs14-Rs16 a kilo last week.
“The cost of production for a quintal of onion comes at around Rs300-Rs400 while the current price is Rs400-Rs500 per quintal. At this price the farmers cannot even expect to recover their costs and this makes it impossible to sustain the business. We want the government to immediately take corrective measures to safe guard the interest of the onion growers,” said RP Gupta, director of National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF).

 For 2011-12, the onion production so far, according to NHRDF, is estimated at 150 lakh metric tonne, an increase of 4-5% compared to last year.

Experts demand that the lowering export prices could boost demand for Indian onions in international market. “The minimum export price should be brought down to $150 per metric tonne from $250 per metric tonne,” says Mr Gupta.

A Vashi-based trader told Moneylife that, “Governments, both the state and union, should immediately intervene to help the farmers who are bearing losses on the crop. It should also reduce the minimum export price. Even if there is excess production, people continue to shell out higher price in the retail market.”


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