The snobbery of intellectual writers and insensitivity of the political class comes as a shame at this defining moment in our country’s history. Let’s show some respect to this mass awakening, so essential for a vibrant democracy and a pro-active citizenry
Propagators of mass hysteria and mobocracy have one thing in common-they refuse to get out of their mindset and understand the new wave of mass participation, so essential for a vibrant democracy, that is now sweeping across the country. They have to realise that the printed word in newspapers or the debates on TV channels, are not longer bible truths for people, who have begun to examine the facts and reject untruth. This is evident from the comments on articles about the movement available through a random check on the Internet.
Clearly, the ruling political and intellectual class (at least most of it) is in disconnect with people's sentiments and the untiring efforts being made to get the government to work for the people and not for a privileged few. In fact, these privileged classes have themselves completely forgotten the fundamentals of governance in a democracy-first, information dissemination and second, participation in governance.
The movement for the Jan Lokpal Bill may be largely a campaign against corruption, but to say that most of the participants involved in this peaceful social revolution know nothing about the Bill is an insult to what is probably the biggest people's movement since Independence.
Everyone need not know every detail of the Bill like a scholar, academician or an activist would, but they have sensed that the government was trying to push down the throats of millions of people, an absolutely weak and draconian bill that would ultimately protect the corrupt. This attempt by the government to try and fool the people and numb them into submission, should have been reason enough for intellectual writers, newspaper editors and activists across the country, no matter what their differences over the alternative Jan Lokpal Bill, to unite and pull up the government over its sinister plan. Or, they ought to have tried to work out ways to strengthen the Lokpal Bill with a sense of urgency since the issue came into the public domain instead of criticisms and new drafts that have come a bit late in the day. This is no time for prolonged debates anymore-the nation is outraged; what is necessary is swift action.
The government says it requires time-an excuse that has been supported by several high-profile columnists. Don't they realize the uniqueness of the situation, when lakhs of people have come out onto the streets in the cities, towns and villages, to peacefully agitate, and many more are supporting the movement from their homes and share this spirit in their hearts. It's an extraordinary situation, when citizens in such massive numbers are demanding a quick decision. If something extraordinary came up in our day-to-day lives, say a marriage that is to be organised within 48 hours as the bridegroom has to return to his job abroad, or a lucrative project that has been awarded with a challenging deadline, what would we do? Obviously, we would work round-the-clock, if this is necessary, to complete the task. Is the government so insensitive, so callous, as to not be able to work 20 hours a day if required, to debate and reach a conclusion during the ongoing parliament session itself? It is outrageous that ministers continue to buy time when all that the protestors are peacefully and humbly saying is "please do it with immediate effect". Even Lord Meghnad Desai told a television channel that the issue could be debated and decided in 60 hours.
By criticising the movement at this defining moment in the country's history, we are encouraging the government to close its eyes and ears to the foremost demand for a strong anti-corruption law, which is unarguably the urgent need of the hour.
As a journalist who has watched Anna Hazare's crusades from close quarters, over the past two and a half decades, the government should have known that Anna never takes up an issue he does not believe in and that once he takes it up he is not known to give up easily. Also, the government should collect intelligence from among the crowds to understand that the young generation will not be victims of mobocracy or mass hysteria. They will not join a movement that they are not convinced about.
I have worked with students in Pune who have been a part of this movement and it is a pride and passion for them to be part of the process to cleanse the country of corruption, which they believe is the single biggest factor that has tarnished its image, and this is admirable. Anna might be a rustic villager and may not have studied law as Gandhiji did, but his knowledge of the laws by which our democracy functions is better than many of us who are educated. Hence, there is no dismissing him as some "instant saint" trying to play God or turn into a legend.
This is an example of a pro-active democracy and the powers that be and the celebrity columnists must see it in this new perspective, by dropping the conditioned mindset to look down on the "middle class fraternity" (one columnist had the gall of calling it the "chattering class".) It is evident that Anna Hazare's movement is cutting across many classes-whether it is the poor, the lower middle class, the upper middle class and now even the rich-are represented in the movement. It is the yearning of every Indian that corruption should be rooted out, and now. Why then are some intellectuals playing into the hands of those who sow and breed corruption?
Having said this, one must admit that the film fraternity, barring a few exceptions, has shown sensitivity to the people's sentiments and to Anna Hazare's selfless crusade. It, too, is a privileged class in that sense, but it has heard the heartbeat of millions of Indians. It only goes to prove that if your heart is in the right place, you can read the pulse of the people. Otherwise, you are simply convenient spokespersons of scamsters who are a hindrance to the tremendous movement for change that we are witnessing now.
(Vinita Deshmukh is a senior editor, author and convener of Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She can be reached at [email protected].)
Mohan Jayaraman underlines the need to maintain a good credit history record by settling repayment matters with banks and lenders on time
"One must regularly check one's credit report, especially before taking a fresh loan. Actively manage your finances, because a bad credit history may later create problems for getting a fresh loan," said Mohan Jayaraman, COO, Experian Credit Information Co of India. He was speaking at a seminar organised by Moneylife Foundation, on Understanding the Importance of Your Credit History & Credit Score.
Even today, many people are unaware about credit bureaus and the way they function. These organisations collate information on an individual's finances and assign a credit score to each person, and this consumer information is provided to banks and other financial agencies. The credit information report is an individual's loan repayment track record.
"A series of such instances have shown that customers themselves are unaware of their loan repayments and defaults, which later leads to rejections of loan applications. It is necessary for people to be more vigilant about their credit history," Mr Jayaraman said.
He stressed the importance of having a healthy credit score and how this is assigned. The Experian COO explained what constitutes a credit history and how someone can improve upon the score. Drawing from his 17 years of experience in consumer banking, half of this with ICICI, Mr Jayaraman also gave other tips to borrowers.
"If you regularly check your credit history, you could spot mistakes in case there are any, and you can contact your bank, or lender, to correct them," he said. He also busted some credit myths and clarified what is not included in a credit report.
Mr Jayaraman pointed out that different credit bureaus had different ways of evaluating credit history and assigning scores, but it depended on the banks how they used the information to grade the viability and reliability of the credit seeker.
Replying to a question, he said that the customer had no say with regard to the credit bureau the borrower wished to approach or share information with. "If you become a co-guarantor to a loan, like taking a loan together with your spouse or friends, the defaults by the other person would also affect the credit history and your credit score," Mr Jayaraman said. He underlined the need to settle all matters with banks and other lenders to ensure that the credit history is more accurate.
He said it was necessary to have a credit history record , as it would make getting a loan easier and also prevent identity theft. "Ultimately, the best thing to do is to pay up as agreed with the lender. In case there is a genuine reason for delay on repayments, talk to your bank. Most of them are ready to help, because it is not in their benefit to spoil your credit score," Mr Jayaraman said.
Nifty may continue to see an upmove to the level of 5,000
The market brushed aside early hiccups and closed with good gains for a second day in a row. A recovery in the global markets assisted the gains. The Sensex and the Nifty opened higher from Monday's highs, but the indices couldn't sustain the levels and slipped into the red, but bounced back later.
The two days of gains have cancelled out the losses of 19 August 2011 and this also indicates that we are seeing a weak upmove. As we mentioned yesterday, the Nifty was near the 4,975 level (intra-day high of 4,966). However, it couldn't sustain that level and gave up some of the gains to close up 50 points.
If the upmove is sustained, it could be a slow move up till 5,000. However, if it falls from here, it may go down to 4,750.
The market opened in the green, following the positive trend in the Asian pack in morning trade. The Nifty opened with a gap-up of 26 points at 4,925 and the Sensex resumed trade at 16,447, a gain of 105 points over its previous close. However, the market soon dipped into the red in choppy trade.
Profit booking on yesterday's gains led the indices to their intra-day lows in the first hour of trade. At the lows, the Nifty fell to 4,864 and the Sensex to 16,213. The market perked up in subsequent trade on support from IT, technology, consumer durables and capital goods sectors.
The market resumed its northward journey in the post-noon session with the indices scaling intra-day highs. At the day's high, the Nifty rose 67 points to 4,966 and the Sensex advanced 207 points to 16,549. The market pared some of the gains and was range-bound in late trading, before closing 1% higher. At the close, the Nifty was 50 points up from its previous close at 4,949 and the Sensex gained 157 points to close at 16,498.
The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was 1120:557.
Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index closed 0.95% up and the BSE Small-cap index rose 1.16%.
With the exception of the BSE PSU index (down 0.02%), all other sectoral gauges registered gains. The top gainers were BSE IT (up 3.94%), BSE TECk (up 3.17%), BSE Capital Goods (up 1.69%), BSE Consumer Durables (up 1.48%) and BSE Bankex (up 0.81%).
TCS (up 6.66%), Bajaj Auto (up 4.27%), Infosys (3.64%), BHEL (up 2.65%) and Bharti Airtel (up 1.99%) were the main gainers on the Sensex. The laggards were led by ONGC (down 2.65%), Cipla (down 2.59%), NTPC (down 2.03%), Tata Motors (down 1.02%) and Maruti Suzuki (down 0.91%).
The major gainers on the Nifty were TCS (up 7.08%), Bajaj Auto (up 4.30%), Infosys (up 3.34%), Axis Bank (up 2.94%) and BHEL (up 2.88%). The top losers were ONGC (down 2.78%), Cipla (down 2.76%), Power Grid Corporation (down 2.08%), NTPC (down 1.72%) and Ranbaxy (down 1.38%).
Markets in Asia, which were upbeat following marginal gains in US markets overnight, also ended positive. Easing of China's manufacturing output in August, indicated by the flash HSBC PMI data, also supported the gains.
The Shanghai Composite rose 1.52%, the Hang Seng advanced 1.99%, the Jakarta Composite climbed 1.06%, the KLSE Composite gained 0.69%, the Nikkei 225 and the Straits Times surged 1.22% each, the Seoul Composite jumped 3.86% and the Taiwan Weighted settled 3.25% higher.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of equities worth Rs786.32 crore on Monday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs143.44 crore.
Reliance Industries has withdrawn from an offshore oil exploration block in the Sea of Oman, according to a media report. The decision follows an exploratory drilling campaign that failed to unearth any significant prospects. The stock gained 1.14% to close at Rs765.60 on the NSE.
Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys has announced that it has commissioned a 30MW dual-fuel captive power plant and has synchronized the same with the grid. The unit is running smoothly and the load will gradually be increased. As such, the company expects stable operations at optimal load within a month. The stock fell 0.89% to Rs375.05 on the NSE.
Hindalco Industries, the metals flagship of the Aditya Birla group, plans to raise about Rs8,000 crore through a debt issue. The proceeds will be used to part fund its Aditya Aluminium refinery project and a captive power plant in Orissa. The company's shares rose 0.59% to close at Rs145.25 on the NSE.