August 13, 2013

News Roundup on Independence Day Eve

So what's making the news around the middle of August 2013?

Here's a random summary.

The staggering corruption being committed by the Gandhi family in general and Robert Vadra in particular is back in the news as Mr. Khemka's official response to the Haryana government has turned up in the media.

Here's a news round-up of all articles related to Robert Vadra.

Clearly, officers like Mr. Khemka deserve much appreciation from the Government for his extraordinary career of exceptional uprightness. What about a National Award such as a Padma Sri or Padma Bhusan? Clearly, if cricketers and other worthies can be so awarded, it'd not be out of place to confer honest officers with such awards.

The funny thing is, even as I write this, I have the feeling as if I am writing some 'satire' and do not 'actually' mean what I say. You know what I mean? The way corruption is rampant in this country, and the way the IAS officers mostly 'game' the system to make their fair share of 'loot,' to suggest that someone is actually honest and should be therefore honored, seems kind of unbelievable or pointless or self-defeating.

Perhaps it would have been better if Mr. Khemka had simply chosen to be like most other pliant civil servants who quietly 'serve' their political masters and partake in the loot.

The other IAS officer who has been making the news is from Noida. Durga Shakti Nagpal has been suspended by the UP government of Akhilesh Yadav 'reportedly' because she broke the walls of a mosque but mostly likely because she caused a spanner in the works of the sand mafia.

Well, the entire area neighboring Delhi, the entire National Capital Region is speedily being turned into a concrete jungle and there is MONEY to be made in that project and enterprising politicians /bureaucrats/ builders in Haryana and UP are doing exactly that. I guess, the soaring price of land near metropolitan areas is not even limited to Delhi. I guess that must be true near every state capital; be it Bangalore, Chennai, Bhubaneswar or Amritsar.

As India's population rapidly nears 1,500 million, perhaps half of them will be packed into crowded cities with almost inhuman living standards. As you sow, so you reap, as the saying goes. A strange future of a grotesquely urbanized India seems to await Indians.

On a completely unrelated note, Elon Musk's HyperLoop project details are out.

By some coincidence, both INS Vikrant, India's first indigenous aircraft carrier and INS Arihant, India's first indigenous-ly built nuclear powered attack submarine happen to be in the news simultaneously. Of course, both are a few years away from being fully part of the Indian Navy. Even ISRO is keeping busy with a slew of launches this year. So far this year, the INSAT launch via Arianespace has been a success as also the indigenous PSLV launch. It will be interesting to see if the next launch, coming up on August 19, is going to be a success. This one is going to be a launch of the GLSV with India's home-made cryogenic engine.

The Snowden saga continues in that Obama continues to amaze with a breathtaking display of expert lying but then we should have become 'wary' when he laughed so innocently during that WHCA dinner a day before the bin Laden raid was to occur when the bin Laden joke was made. The guy is an Oscar-class actor.

Of course, two days from now will be another Independence Day for India and Manmohan Singh will surely do a 'fine' job of showing how not to do oratory.

Then in September he will make the annual pilgrimage to New York City. Just ponder for a moment how no prime minister, president, king, emir and so on from all the poor and developing nations of the world never miss a chance to go on that annual junket.

However much Ahmedinajad may have inveigled against the United States, even he too loved the Big Apple too much apparently to miss out on the free trip at the taxpayer's expense. In India's case of course, there is that fine airplane which will carry you on that long 'uninterrupted and un-interrupt-able' trip to NYC. Then there will be a fine suite booked in that fine New York Hotel .... Waldorf Astoria.

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