Local GOP leaders laud McCarthy

first_imgLANCASTER – Several Lancaster Republican leaders are supporting Assembly Republican leader Kevin McCarthy to replace Bill Thomas in the 22nd District congressional seat representing the northern Antelope Valley. State Sen. George Runner; his wife, Assemblywoman Sharon Runner; Lancaster Mayor Frank Roberts and Lancaster Planning Commission Chairman Ron Smith all endorsed McCarthy, a former aide to Thomas. “He has just done a tremendous job of upholding our Republican principals in the Legislature,” said Sharon Runner, who was elected to the Assembly at the same time as McCarthy in 2002. “I think it’s a good opportunity for us to have somebody we can get on the cell phone and he’ll be responsive.” Roberts said: “He shares the ideals of those of us in the Antelope Valley who vote Republican.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventMcCarthy’s opponents in the June 6 Republican primary for the 22nd District seat are California City accountant David Evans and Bakersfield attorney Steve Nichols. The Republican winner faces Democrat Sharon Beery of Arroyo Grande in November. The four Lancaster Republicans appeared with McCarthy on Friday at an informal press conference outside the Antelope Valley Women’s Conference at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. With them was Patricia McKeon, whose husband, U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, represents the neighboring congressional district that includes the southern Antelope Valley. The 22nd District stretches from Paso Robles to Ridgecrest and includes Edwards Air Force Base and parts of Lancaster. It has been represented for more than a quarter-century by Thomas, a Bakersfield Republican who announced last month he would not seek a 15th term. McCarthy said he is familiar with the Antelope Valley from 15 years working for Thomas. “I spent many years down here and a lot of time and made a lot of good friends,” McCarthy said. McCarthy said his priorities include boosting the economy, keeping taxes low and securing America’s borders. Asked his position on what to do with the 11 million illegal immigrants estimated to be living in the U.S., he said: “I don’t believe in rewarding illegal behavior.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

ARE YOU DECLAN FROM DONEGAL? AND HAVE YOU LOST YOUR WALLET?

first_imgA WOMAN who found a wallet in Dublin reckons it belongs to someone from Donegal – and has no idea how to trace him.Karen Maverez has contacted Donegal Daily – and from the contents has worked out the owner of it:* Is from Donegal * Is called Declan*Works as an IT consultant in DublinIf that is YOU…email us to info@donegaldaily.com and we’ll reunite you with your wallet.  ARE YOU DECLAN FROM DONEGAL? AND HAVE YOU LOST YOUR WALLET? was last modified: February 19th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Declandonegalwalletlast_img read more

City eyes reusing water

first_imgLANCASTER – By summer, as much as 500,000 gallons of water a day that has gone down Lancaster’s drains and toilets could be irrigating ballfields and other city landscaping. Plans are moving forward with a $2.2 million project to irrigate city landscaping using recycled water from the Lancaster Reclamation Plant. The treated water would meet state standards as clean enough to swim in, though not to drink. “We’re making good progress with it,” said Randy Williams, Lancaster’s director of public works. “We have made major progress with the design for the first segment, which will travel along Division Street.” Lancaster officials hope by spring to lay a 24-inch diameter pipeline that connects to a sewage treatment plant pipeline at Avenue E and runs 4.5 miles down Division Street to Lancaster Boulevard. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Lateral pipelines up to 12-inch in diameter would branch off this main line to serve specific users. Lancaster officials originally had planned for a 16-inch diameter pipeline, but went with a bigger pipe at the request of Los Angeles County officials, who envision other places to use the water will be found. “The region has embraced the idea of a region-wide system,” Williams said. “The county will connect with the Division Street project.” Plans for the project are being reviewed by the state Department of Health Services. The city has been told the plans are acceptable and are awaiting a confirmation letter, said Steve Dassler, city engineer and assistant public works director. Tentatively, city staffers expect to be able to award a construction contract in February, Dassler said. In the near term, the recycled water would be used for irrigating the baseball complex the city is developing at the former Antelope Valley Fairgrounds and for watering a cemetery and school fields, as well as for controlling dust at the Lancaster Landfill. In the long term, recycled water could be used for irrigation of median strips and other landscaped areas, dust control for construction areas, and irrigation for the landscaping of new home and commercial developments. At first, the water to be carried by the pipeline will be so-called tertiary treated effluent from a Los Angeles County Sanitation District 14 plant that now sends water into the lakes at Apollo Park. The sanitation district expects to be able to provide additional treated effluent from a research treatment project that should be ready next fall. “Between the two sources, we could make 1.5 million gallons a day available for their needs,” said Charles Boehmke, head of the sanitation district’s planning department. Eventually, the city could use as much as 5 million gallons a day of recycled water. Jim Skeen, (661) 267-5743 james.skeen@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Will Google Chrome OS Bring Us the Mythical GDrive?

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Picasa, unlike Docs, is a combination of desktop software and a web service. The service’s Web Albums feature is more like flickr, a place where photos are shared either publicly or privately with friends and family. However, it’s the desktop software that provides the organizational and editing tools needed to manage your photo library. Integrating Picasa into Google Docs now would only be a partially complete user experience – you still need the desktop software component to access all the functionality the service provides. Maybe Google is waiting to provide that complete experience via Chrome OS? It’s not that far-fetched. Picasa is already available in a Linux version (and Chrome OS will sit on a Linux kernel). But perhaps what really has us hopeful was one extra word in the Google Chrome OS announcement: “…most of the user experience takes place on the web.”Most? Maybe Chrome OS will let you manage your photos via desktop software that integrates with a web service and is accessible via your Google Docs interface? Will that interface then be “GDrive?” GDrive Needs Music…Or Does It? If you can’t save your tunes online to your cloud storage drive, then you don’t really have any cloud storage drive worth using, do you? Even if Google Docs added in Picasa, we’d still be looking at an incomplete GDrive solution if we didn’t have access to our music. For GDrive to become the true “hard drive in the sky” it needs to accommodate other sorts of files besides just documents and photos. It would make sense if Google leveraged their existing partnership with Amazon, who provides the music store on the T-Mobile G1 and the myTouch 3G, phones running Google’s mobile phone OS called Android. With Amazon’s online interface, you can already browse, listen to samples, and buy MP3s via the web. The question is, will Chrome OS integrate some sort of music store for letting you buy music (maybe via Amazon) from your computer? And if so, will you be able to download and save those files to the hard drive of the computer itself? Or will Google come up with some revolutionary new “music in the cloud” service that lets you accumulate an online library of songs available at any time for streaming from your computer? Or then again, does Chrome OS even need an iTunes alternative in order to compete? Maybe they will simply offer a web app like Pandora. There have been no hints as to what direction Google will go with this or if they will ignore users’ need for music altogether in the new OS.But like this author’s sister recently said after being told about Chrome OS: “why would I want a computer that couldn’t run iTunes?”We hope Google will keep that in mind.GDrive and Video? Would a true GDrive solution offer a way for users to store video files, too? It almost seems redundant to have an online storage system for video since Google also owns the giant video sharing portal that is YouTube. Still, you couldn’t really have a cloud storage system that restricted you to storing only documents and photos and call it “GDrive.” But integrating the supposed GDrive with YouTube – especially via Chrome OS – could be tough. Today, videos still need to be on your computer’s hard drive for editing purposes. And, of course, uploading a file from your computer is how you get them online to sites like YouTube. Althouugh GDrive could easily include a way for you to view your online files at YouTube, getting them there via Chrome OS would be more difficult. However, if Chrome OS allowed you to save files on its hard drive, then the YouTube uploader built into Chrome could simply know to look in that particular video storage location when you go to publish them online. Making this a seamless experience for the end user would be the challenge. Again, there are no hints as to Google’s plans in this department, but it would seem odd if Chrome OS didn’t attempt to integrate one of Google’s top properties deep into its system. What Else?Although this article is just pure speculation, we think that if we ever see GDrive revealed, there’s a chance that it would occur when it’s introduced as a part of Chrome OS. What do you think? Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… sarah perez Tags:#Google#web Last week, Google announced some interface changes to their Google Docs service that are designed to make finding your files easier. The changes are relatively minor – the “shared with” list has gone away, there’s a new “Sharing” menu, and you now have the ability to save your searches – but that hasn’t stopped some bloggers from theorizing that the shiny new UI is bringing us one step closer to the often theorized, yet never realized, “Google Drive” service, aka “your hard drive in the cloud.”Although we know this service exists in some form as an internal tool, Google has yet to release a version for public use. But with the latest announcements about the new Chrome operating system, we wonder: will Google Drive finally become a reality thanks to Chrome OS?Hints of GDriveIn January of this year, blogger Brian Ussery discovered an interesting tidbit of information tucked into a file used by Google Pack, the bundle of tools that Google thinks computer users need to set up a new machine. The file contained a reference to a product called GDrive, described as an “online file backup and storage” system:“GDrive provides reliable storage for all of your files, including photos, music and documents. GDrive allows you to access your files from anywhere, anytime, and from any device – be it from your desktop, web browser or cellular phone.”Of course, the blogosphere immediately went crazy over this information, sure that this time Google Drive was about to become a reality. And yet, like all the times before, nothing happened. GDrive didn’t launch, Google didn’t release any announcement, and disappointed bloggers everywhere moved on…again. Still, the hope for a true GDrive system just won’t die. It very well may be one of the blogosphere’s longest-running rumors. And now, with the recent announcement of Google’s new Chrome Operating System, an OS where “web-based applications will automatically work,” we wonder: will the mythical GDrive be included with the OS?GDrive Needs Picasa IntegrationFrom what we already know, Google has somewhat integrated Picasa into the backend of Google Docs, but, for whatever reason, they have not yet switched this on. To see what we mean, visit this link: http://docs.google.com/#photos. You’ll be taken to Google Docs where a message will appear “No Photos.” In other words, Picasa image search works in Google Docs, but there’s nothing for it to search until the two services are fully integrated. But this functionality was discovered nearly a year ago. What’s the holdup? 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Is Facebook Now a Better Video Distribution Source Than YouTube?

first_imgFacebook just declared war on YouTube. What does that mean for filmmakers and the future of video distribution?Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, then you probably heard the news that Facebook will soon begin running its advertising pilot program for video content. In this program, Facebook, much like YouTube, will pay content creators 55% of the ad revenue they receive. However, they will only be rolling out this program for select partners initially.If the new program is a success, Facebook will begin rolling out ad revenue support to independent creators by years end. Does all of this do anything for you and your career as a filmmaker?Facebook as a Distribution PlatformFacebook is a great tool for advertising your film projects, but using it as a distribution platform for those productions just doesn’t seem to be the best option. YouTube and Vimeo have established themselves as the best possible options for filmmakers. YouTube has ad revenue, similar to Facebook, and Vimeo has a VOD service that pays its content providers.Here is a video from Bloomberg where they discuss exactly why Facebook is making this move.The main argument against Facebook is that most people go to the social media giant for reasons other than video. However, for an indie production company, adding Facebook to your line of distribution platforms like YouTube and Vimeo could realistically only increase revenue streams. For instance, if you develop your production company’s Facebook page, it becomes a destination. You can then link to your other revenue sources, as well as house your content on that page. So, you are again expanding your audience not limiting it.Facebook videos are big business, as videos on Facebook reach into the billions, in terms of views per day. That’s huge. Granted, most of that content is either “home movies” or content taken from another source. But with an install base like this, filmmakers would be foolish to limit themselves and not utilize Facebook as an added revenue stream.Utilize All Tools at Your DisposalOur business can be a difficult nut to crack, and the only way to successfully survive it is to be as diverse and adaptable as possible. This is especially true for filmmakers, because, let’s face it, folks… film studios aren’t beating down our doors trying to sign us to multi-picture deals.It is left to us to find a way to keep our dream and passion alive. With that in mind, we should never scoff at a potential distribution source and added revenue stream. We should embrace it and diversify ourselves. So, if and when things open up for independent content providers, we need to add Facebook to the list of tools at our disposal.So, back to our original question. Is Facebook a better distribution source than YouTube? While you could theoretically use Facebook as your social media hub in conjunction with your website, I would rather look at Facebook as just another way to add a revenue stream that wasn’t there before. Want more content on film and social media? Then check out these articles from PremiumBeat.How to Properly Export Video for Facebook5 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting ‘Staff Picked’ by Vimeo5 Underrated Ways to Promote YouTube VideosWhat are your thoughts on the Facebook news? If it opens up to independent contributors, do you plan to utilize it? Let us know in the comments below!last_img read more

Useless ministries for increased vote bank

first_imgOctober 1985. Venue: Cabinet Secretariat. In the chair: Cabinet Secretary P.K. Kaul. You could call it a meeting on downsizing government. You could even dub it one more attempt at introspection as 55 secretaries of the Government of India presented their ideas on what the Government should do or not,October 1985. Venue: Cabinet Secretariat. In the chair: Cabinet Secretary P.K. Kaul. You could call it a meeting on downsizing government. You could even dub it one more attempt at introspection as 55 secretaries of the Government of India presented their ideas on what the Government should do or not do. Amidst the gab fest, one thought received a lot of attention. Since most of the controls on steel and coal had been withdrawn, should these ministries exist? The question was debated, but never really answered. Since the exercise 22 years ago, inspired by Rajiv Gandhi’s legendary impatience with sloth, the number of secretaries to the Government of India has ballooned to 84, the size of the Union Council of Ministers has nearly doubled from 42 to 79, including 35 Cabinet ministers and seven ministers of state with independent charge. Add 40 ministers of state, who, by their own admission, have little or no work and you get a perspective of the umbrella of patronage. And yes, the Ministry of Steel continues to exist with a staff of 402 despite the fact that steel was fully decontrolled in January 1992.Steel, though, is not the only ministry that defies logic or rationale for existence. At least 20 ministries in the Government of India have no business to exist but have been kept alive by successive regimes to park sections of the vote bank that enable them to stay in power. As alliances are formed, vote banks are exchanged- some would say auctioned-for portfolios. The team is on auto-select depending on the exigencies of alliance politics. Take the formation and the shuffles of the UPA for instance. It isn’t the UPA chairperson or the prime minister but the DMK chief who decides who will drive the critical programme of the highways project or who will replace Dayanidhi Maran as IT and telecom minister. So was the case with the NDA. Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray recalled Suresh Prabhu as minister for power and replaced him with Anant Gite, who was his choice and not that of the then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.advertisementIndeed, the UPA takes the cake. It has created new ministries not just to accommodate the allies but also people who it believes would enhance its relevance. So it split the Ministry of HRD and created ministries like Minority Affairs and Women and Child Development; separated mines from coal; and made a distinction between power and non-conventional energy.The irony is that while creating more parking slots may have helped the parties come to power, the lack of delivery fuels the multiplier effect of incumbency. Every general election sees roughly half the sitting MPs trounced. The trend is worsening if the elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are any indication. Sure the regional parties have reason to rejoice as they carve a niche for themselves in the cake of power. The tragedy is that both the Congress and the BJP-electorally irrelevant in over 200 Lok Sabha seats-seem to be seized of neither the ferment nor the reason for the rising anti-incumbency.This, when the reason is staring at them. Multi-layering and the creation of a plethora of departments have killed accountability and thus delivery. In January 2007, the Finance Ministry, in a confidential note to other ministries, observed that 13 critical ministries had spent less than a third of the budget allocation or just Rs 16,237 crore of an outlay of Rs 59,743 crore. While 40 departments managed to spend only half the allocation of Rs 2,52,594 crore. Year after year, almost all ministries fail to spend a major chunk of their allocation. Yet budget allocations are rising in almost all departments. Plan and non-plan expenditure has trebled between 1997 and 2007-08, from Rs 2,35,245 crore to Rs 6,80,520 crore, which is nearly a sixth of the GDP. This is done by creating new schemes at the Centre in areas that are primarily the concern of the states. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the backward areas development fund and the proposed dole to workers in the unorganised sector are all cut from the same fabric of political expediency. Thanks to this, a new situation has emerged. The district collector now receives funds directly from the Centre even as he reports to the state government. Ergo there is neither delivery nor accountability. Consider this-the Centre spends Rs 3.65 to provide subsidised foodgrain worth Re 1 to a person living below poverty line.The crux of the matter is that departments and ministries are created not on economic or administrative logic but political arithmetic. “The multiplicity of ministries creates layers and nothing is quite delivered,” says Bimal Jalan, MP and former governor of the Reserve Bank of India. As Jalan points out, such is the multi-layering that if one wants to improve sports facilities for women in rural areas it is not one but seven ministries (Rural Development, Social Justice, Sports, Youth Affairs, Finance, Women and Child Welfare and Panchayati Raj besides the Planning Commission) who will be involved. In a seminal paper on administrative reforms, S.R. Maheshwari says, “The number of departments in the Government of India grew from three (Public, Secret, and Revenue) in 1774 to eight in 1833. It then expanded to 10 in 1919 and 18 in 1947. No other country has such a large retinue of ministers.”advertisementArun Shourie, BJP MP and former minister, says, “Accommodation of politicians leads to accumulation of babus.” In 1948, the number of secretaries to the Government of India was 19 and that of IAS officers 143. The expansion has also imposed a huge cost-as high as 2 per cent in terms of GDP growth-on the economy. Today there are 134 IAS officers just at secretarylevel postings, while the number of IAS officers posted in the Central Government is 820. First there is a directorate, then it is upgraded to a department and then to a ministry. And even after the ministry is disbanded-like in the case of disinvestment-the department stays.True. In a developing economy there are new areas that require government attention. C. Rangarajan, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council and former governor of RBI, points out, “There is a need to create new focus areas and retire old positions which have lost relevance.” As he says: “If there is a sunrise sector, there should also be sunsets.” But that hasn’t been the case with India. It is not that the problem has not been studied or discussed. Between 1947 and 2007, no less than 30 committees and commissions have studied the issue. In fact the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) of 1966 had clearly advocated smaller governments. Neither that nor any other report was implemented, and as with the church, sin and evangelism continue to co-exist.By allowing the multi-layered system to continue, political parties face not just a collapse of governance but also their own future. As India turns 60, it is time for some ministries to be retired, the concept of minister of state buried and funding of line ministries critical to social development relocated to the states. In 1947 we made our tryst with destiny. It’s time we made a tryst with the future.Drought of IdeasMINISTRY OF AGRICULTUREStaff: 11,711Wages and allowances: Rs 191.25 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 9,362.21 croreRATIONALE: To formulate and implement national policies and programmes aimed at achieving agricultural growth through optimum utilisation of land, water and plant resources; formulate overall cooperative policy, oversee research and maintain statistics.REALITY CHECK: Production of grains and pulses is stagnant for over a decade, productivity is down, almost 20,000 farmers commit suicide every year. There has been no breakthrough in seeds or yield since the Green Revolution and agriculture is unviable. The Centre’s defence is that the problem lies with the states.advertisementIndeed everything under agriculture-agricultural education and research, protection against pests, prevention of plant diseases and improvement of cattle stock-is listed as a state subject in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. So what is the big idea of hosting an army of people in Krishi Bhavan? Agriculture, which is India’s largest private sector enterprise, supports 56 per cent of the working population while delivering 19 per cent of the GDP.Too many people are dependent on a crashing enterprise. The Indian farmer is growing less on a shrinking holding, spending more for inputs for an income that is not only falling but has to be shared with a growing number of dependents. Yet there has been no attempt to restructure the sector. India needs to go in for manpower-intensive, value-added crops. Postland reforms, with land holdings at less than two hectare per capita, it cannot adopt scale-neutral methods. The situation calls for drastic action, not the usual mix of incrementalism and pious sermons. Yet the focus is on more committees. At least six committees have studied credit to farmers, four have studied use of genetically modified seeds, three have studied investment in irrigation, but there has been no action on the ground. But that has not prevented every minister from expanding the ministry. Established in 1871, the ministry has gone through 48 avataars. It deserves moksha.Caught in Quota WarpMINISTRY OF HRD (DEPARTMENT OF SCHOOL EDUCATION AND LITERACY)Staff: 424Wages and allowances: Rs 7.01 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 23,142.22 crRATIONALE: Universalisation of elementary education, that is, to promote education and adult literacy at primary and secondary school levels.REALITY CHECK: The omnibus ministry created by Rajiv Gandhi by merging Education, Culture, Women and Child, Sports and Youth Welfare has been dismantled into as many ministries, negating any logic of efficiency and delivery that he might have desired. While Culture and Women and Child Development can claim to have some legitimacy for existence, Education is as much a state subject as federal, especially school education and adult literacy. You could argue that primary education in some states requires a push from the Centre, but its report card is stained with failure. In government, spend is never equal to the result. At HRD, even the spend is inefficient. This year, for instance, the department was left with Rs 1,453.76 crore under Elementary Education and Literacy as on February 28.Even under the Education Guarantee Scheme, it achieved only 52 per cent of its target of 47.7 lakh enrolments. The two elaborate schemes launched by the HRD Ministry-the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the Mid-day Meal scheme-have so far remained peripheral in developing these sectors, as implementation is in the hand of the states.Tamil Nadu has successfully experimented with the Mid-day Meal Scheme, leading to a healthy growth from the 1960s onwards, while Central funding for primary education has resulted in a colossal waste in most states, as they tend to underutilise and experiment with the funds. Adult literacy, as the Kerala experiment has shown, is best left to the states. If the HRD must involve itself in policy, it should only be at the higher education level, although after the quota imbroglio, that too is open to debate. It would be best if the ministry focused on opening up higher education. That would force all states to sit up and design their school syllabi to suit the needs of a modern economy.Poor ShowMINISTRY OF HOUSING AND URBAN POVERTY ALLEVIATIONStaff: 139Wages and allowances: Rs 2.59 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 509.75 croreRATIONALE: To shape the policies and programmes of the country as a whole, allocate resources, provide finances through national financial institutions for housing and urban development.REALITY CHECK: Poverty alleviation should be the focus of all policies. This ministry was designed to provide affordable urban housing and create jobs. If the mushrooming of slums or the absence of a framework to create jobs is any indicator, the ministry has failed miserably.Created on October 16, 1999, merged in 2000, and re-formed on May 27, 2004, this ministry, like many others, exists as an instrument of political accommodation. All matters pertaining to housing and urban development are assigned to states and by the 74th Amendment to the Constitution, to urban local bodies. The constitutional and legal authority of the Centre is limited to Delhi and the Union territories. Even if one were to argue the case for Central intervention, neither the structure of governance nor the ministry’s performance would justify it. The Centre can draw up policy, but as long as implementation is with the states, results cannot be guaranteed. The number of urban poor was estimated at 80.7 million by a National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) study in 2004 and housing shortage at 24.71 million units in March 2007.The joke is, the ministry estimates only 42 million of the 285 million urban dwellers live in slums. As for poverty alleviation, it has the Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana. The ministry told Parliament that allocation had been hiked from Rs 160 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 344 crore in 2007-08. That is Rs 43 per urban poor per year. To get a sense of the magnitude of work, consider these statistics: the ministry told Parliament that it assisted just 469 urban poor in Delhi in three years-133 in 2003-04, 181 in 2004-05 and 149 in 2005-06. Perhaps it couldn’t find poverty in Delhi.Urban DecayMINISTRY OF URBAN DEVELOPMENTStaff: 26,535Wages and allowances: Rs 453.83 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 3,814.52 croreRATIONALE: To promote urban growth, transport and housing.REALITY CHECK: Since this is largely a state subject, there is little justification for such a large edifice. This ministry is directly in conflict with the modern urban development mantra, which requires plans to be drawn up in concert with civil society.According to the 2001 Census, India has a population of 1,027 million, of which around 28 per cent or 285 million live in urban areas. To start with, given the overwhelming vote power of rural constituencies, urban development has never been the focus of any government. Add to this the profusion of agencies and entities and you have urban India in a shambles, be it the quality of sanitation, utilities or infrastructure. By the end of the decade, urban India is estimated to deliver two-thirds of the GDP, but little has been achieved through Central intervention. As with other ministries, the Urban Development Ministry can at best preach to state governments.India needs to renew its old cities and develop at least 50 cities like Chandigarh to enable the population to spread out. This requires funds- Rs 1,20,536 crore just in the next seven years -and a plan where local bodies have a say. Yes, the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission is a good idea, but it is in conflict with the idea of decentralised development. The unique model that Dharavi in Mumbai is looking at for regeneration may or may not work in the slums of Delhi. The onus of developing new cities and satellite townships should be on the state governments.Megawatt FailureMINISTRY OF NEW AND RENEWABLE ENERGYStaff: 378Wages and allowances: Rs 17.31 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 632.9 croreRATIONALE: To promote alternative sources of energy and non-fossil fuel energy systems ranging from solar to biogas.REALITY CHECK: At best it can be a section under the Ministry of Power, where alternative sources can be factored into overall power management. The generation of ideas and new systems is best left to the Ministry of Science and Technology.Its performance can only be termed as dismal. Consider this: India has a potential to generate 47,000 MW through wind energy, whereas installed capacity is barely 1,870 MW. Obviously capital costs for renewable energy generation systems are high, the technology is still evolving and perhaps the risks are high too. Yet, it is difficult to defend the performance of the ministry. Indeed while India has the potential of generating 1,83,000 MW across the spectrum of alternative or renewable energy systems-ranging from wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, small hydro, biomass, cogeneration, geothermal, tidal, urban and industrial wastes-total installed capacity achieved (till March 2007) is an abysmal 10,406 MW. This is despite the fact that renewable energy was identified as a resource as early as in 1981, when the Commission for Additional Energy Sources was created (the ministry itself came into being in 1992). However, despite a compelling case for its propagation, the ministry has not been able to promote the idea.This is despite a plethora of incentives being dished out. A host of fiscal incentives are available to both manufacturers and users of renewable energy systems, which include 100 per cent accelerated depreciation for tax purposes in the first year of installation of systems, exemption from excise duty on manufacture of most finished products, low import tariff on capital equipment and components, soft loans, five-year tax holiday for generation projects, etc. Obviously, the ministry’s existence as a solo entity has not enabled or improved performance. Modern energy management requires a holistic approach and standalone entities have no place in this structure.The RelicMINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTINGStaff: 6,908Wages and allowances: Rs 102.51 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 1,681.84 crRATIONALE: To enable free flow of information besides disseminating knowledge and entertainment to all sections of the society, while balancing commercial needs and public interest. It is also the apex body for formulating rules and regulation relating to information and broadcasting, press and films.REALITY CHECK: For almost 30 years now, successive governments have threatened and promised to disband this relic of control raj. Doordarshan and AIR can continue to work under Prasar Bharati.In the Soviet era, for years Czechoslovakians did not know Martina Navratilova was the best woman tennis player ever. For them, Hana Mandlikova reigned in the tennis world. Complete control over all access to information was something the Soviets cherished. India was not far behind. For confirmation of Indira Gandhi’s murder, we had to depend on BBC. I&B ministers notoriously spiked films-our only source of entertainment- for their own entertainment. What is this ministry doing in the era of the Internet, 24-hour news channels and FM radio? Well, besides running a Song & Drama division, it has been devising newer ways of retaining control to suspend that fashion channel, block news on radio or simply politicise film festivals.The Coalition BandwagonClick here to EnlargeThe Government didn’t have a clue that private enterprise had devised ways to connect people to the world of satellite TV. But as soon as the system was in place, it found reason to impose new controls. Do we really need this nanny? Isn’t Prasar Bharati capable of monitoring news? Why should a ministry exist simply to give licences to new entrepreneurs- something that can be done by a board? And then throttle entrepreneurship by insisting on free feed for its channels in the name of national service? DD and AIR can function without state control, as briefly experimented during the NDA regime. The posse of officers parked in Shastri Bhavan can be put to better use in running community radios. Let market forces decide what’s news and how information is broadcast or printed.Alchemy of PoliticsMINISTRY OF CHEMICALS & FERTILISERSStaff: 316+348Wages and allowances: Rs 8.16 cr+Rs 7.23 crTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 22,789 croreRATIONALE: To enable India to play a leading role in the global market; formulate and implement policies to achieve growth of these sectors; ensure mass availability, at reasonable prices, of quality pharmaceuticals.REALITY CHECK: The ministry has had no real role in the march of the pharmaceutical and chemical sector. Theglobal acquisitions have been fuelled by private enterprise. In fertilisers, capacity addition has been poor, with just one plant added in 2005. Worse, nine urea plants, with a combined capacity of over 24 lakh tonne, are closed. Imports, meanwhile, are rising.India is the third largest producer and consumer of fertilisers in the world, with an installed capacity of 12.25 million tonne of nitrogenous and 5.5 million tonne of phosphatic fertilisers. Till August 24, 1992, all fertilisers were covered by controls. Since then, the government has put them under the Essential Commodities Act. While phosphate and potassic fertilisers were decontrolled in 1992, others in the ammonium group were decontrolled in June 1994. Currently anyone is free to import diammonium phosphate and sell it anywhere in India. As per Industrial Policy Resolution dated July 24, 1991, no licence is required for setting up fertiliser plants. However, since the MRP of fertilisers is statutorily fixed or indicated, fertiliser manufacturers are compensated by way of subsidy or concession, for the difference between the cost of production and the MRP. But because new plants entail costs, approval of the Government is required for fertiliser projects. That’s backdoor licence raj for you.Meanwhile, petrochemicals are suffering because there is no clear policy enabling substitution of costly metals with cheaper polymers. Use of plastics in thrust areas like agricultural implements, water supply and management, home construction, consumer electronics and durables, has brought down costs and enabled growth in the sector. But against a global average of 25 kg, per capita consumption of polymers in India is barely 4 kg. In the pharmaceutical sector, the only debate is that of the pricing of essential drugs. With global acquisitions, Indian companies will have not just scale but also access to the latest in drugs. All that is needed is a price regulation system that is best monitored by the Ministry of Health.Thread BareMINISTRY OF TEXTILESStaff: 4,824Wages and allowances: Rs 94.18 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 3,136.68 croreRATIONALE: To oversee policy formulation, planning, development, export promotion and trade regulation of textiles. It is responsible for making raw materials available to both large mills and handlooms. It also coordinates the activities of Textile Research Associations.REALITY CHECK: The industry may be the largest employer in the economy, but there is no role for the Government. One of the boom areas, it is completely open to investment and is licence-free.India ruled the textile world before it was colonised by the British. There may have been the regal support of the maharajas, but textile was always a private enterprise. Perhaps in the post-Independence era, the ministry would have made sense since the sector needed to be nurtured back to health after the debilitating impact of British rule. But it didn’t make sense to Jawaharlal Nehru, so there was no Textiles Ministry in the first Cabinet. Indeed, for three decades after Independence, successive governments didn’t see any need for a Ministry of Textiles. It was only in 1976 that the Department of Textiles was created under the Commerce Ministry, only to be merged into the Department of Industry a year later. An independent ministry was created only on November 15, 1985. Since then it has expanded to include nine PSUs, two institutes, development boards for silk, jute and wool, and nine textile research associations, besides export promotion councils. Recently, it has also added textile/garment parks.The ministry has the dubious distinction of spending less than its allocation through the entire Tenth Plan. Successive ideas like the Apparel Park for Export Schemes and the Textile Centre Infrastructure Development Scheme have failed and the Standing Committee of Parliament for the ministry recommended that instead of loading the sector with a plethora of half-baked schemes, a few effective and well-planned ones should be devised-to assist the industry, to achieve the desired growth of the sector and to make it globally competitive.Rusting AwayMINISTRY OF STEELStaff: 406Wages and allowances: Rs 9.39 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 150 croreRATIONALE: To coordinate and plan the growth and development of the steel industry; formulate policies on pricing, distribution and imports; and development of input industries.REALITY CHECK: Steel was one of the first sectors to be decontrolled in the first wave of Manmohanomics. As early as in January 1992, the Government of India disbanded all the controls that shackled the steel industry. That the ministry exists 15 years later is testimony to the power of pelf and patronage.To get a sense of the size of babudom in a ministry that has been shorn of controls, consider the administrative set-up of the Steel Ministry, headed by a minister assisted by a secretary, an additional secretary and a financial adviser, three joint secretaries, a chief controller of accounts, an economic adviser of the rank of joint secretary, four directors, two deputy secretaries and 13 under-secretaries besides other officers.What is ironic is that despite the disbanding of control, the ministry claims to oversee policies on production, pricing, distribution, imports and exports of steel. In its professed aims, first priority is accorded to “providing single-window clearance for large projects, to be followed by statutory clearances by the concerned ministries”. That mega projects like that of the Tatas (who have projects totalling 27 million tonne lined up in the sector), Korean major Posco and Mittal-Arcelor have been struggling for clearances for over three years gives you a sense of this make-believe situation. With the private sector taking the lead in creating capacity, the ministry must be disbanded without further delay.Colossal WasteMINISTRY OF FOOD PROCESSING INDUSTRIESStaff: 296Wages and allowances: Rs 7.91 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 258.3 croreRATIONALE: To develop a strong food processing sector, with a view to creating increased job opportunities in rural areas; enable farmers to reap benefits from modern technology and create surplus for exports.REALITY CHECK: Nearly two decades after the formation of the ministry in 1988, just 2.2 per cent of the fruits and vegetables produced are processed. Produce worth Rs 58,000 crore-the income of two crore people-is wasted every year for want of processing facilities.Nothing really validates the redundancy of the ministry better. It was only in 2005, that is, 17 years after the formation of the ministry, that the Government finally came out with an Act to oversee investments in the sector. But that too hasn’t delivered the farmers from their wretched existence. When conceptualised, the ministry was supposed to empower the farm sector by enabling the farmer to get remunerative prices for his labour by allowing for warehousing, processing and marketing of produce. It is no secret that the ministry cannot deliver the goods on its own.Fact is, everything or anything that the ministry may want to do is subject to the approval of three other ministries-Agriculture, Food and Health. Even after the passing of the Food Processing Act in 2005, the ministry is unable to attract investments because its policies cannot deliver in isolation. Sure the sector is open to investments, but that is not enough. Food processing the world over has taken off on the back of retail and the establishment of a logistics chain. Curiously, that critical function and its reform are vested with the Commerce Ministry. If food processing has to develop and if farmers are to get their due, it is imperative that the Government gets its act together on incentivising investments in logistics and freeing retail. It doesn’t need a Food Processing Ministry.Fabian ShowcaseMINISTRY OF INDUSTRYStaff: 3,376Wages and allowances: Rs 65.18 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 613.44 croreRATIONALE: To facilitate investment and technology and monitor industrial development. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, established in 1995, was reconstituted in 2000 with the merger of the Department of Industrial Development.REALITY CHECK: In the last two years, Indian companies have gone abroad and acquired companies worth over $25 billion. FDI last year was over $15 billion. Sixteen years after the end of Licence Raj, do we really need a separate ministry for facilitating investment?Bigger By DecadeClick here to EnlargeThe original thinking behind the ministry was direct intervention in the process of industrialisation of backward areas. But after the Industrial Policy of 1991, this role is not possible and industrialisation of backward areas is largely left to state governments. There are, for instance, 26 noindustry districts in the country, but the ministry can do precious little about these. The rationale for the existence of this ministry beyond the issue of politics is to promote industrial development and employment growth. And what is preventing this? A number of studies have been done by the ministry, academics and industry chambers on the bottlenecks hindering investment, implementation of projects and employment growth. All of them point to the plethora of laws regulating projects in various sectors, cumbersome procedures prescribed under various rules and regulations, inadequate transparency and multiplicity of agencies in approvals. Even in its aim of making manufacturing competitive-it costs Rs 100 to make a product made in China for Rs 75-the ministry can do little as the problem of an inverted tax structure can only be fixed by the Ministry of Finance.Sure with India Everywhere and high-profile campaigns, the ministry has attracted investor interest in India, leading to higher FDI. But its ability to push projects or clearances is limited. In a coalition regime it can only promote a concept thus far. More importantly, a large part of the clearances for major projects is now at the state government level.Precious LittleMINISTRY OF MINESStaff: 13,316Wages and allowances: Rs 210.03 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 389.7 croreRATIONALE: Survey and exploration of all minerals (other than natural gas and petroleum), mining and metallurgy of nonferrous metals and administration of the Mines and Minerals Act, 1957, in respect of all mines and minerals, other than coal, natural gas and petroleum.REALITY CHECK: In the federal structure of India, the states are the owners of minerals located within their boundaries and thus the authority on clearances for mining concessions. A ministry just for issuing concessions for minerals in India’s territorial waters is not justified.India is endowed with significant mineral resources. It produces 89 minerals, out of which four are fuel minerals, 11 metallic, 52 non-metallic and 22 minor minerals. Eighty-five per cent of these are mined by PSUs.The Geological Survey of India has mapped an area of approximately 3.146 million sq km, or 94 per cent of the area of India. So we know what we have, where it is and who owns it. Hundred per cent foreign direct investment is permissible for exploration and exploitation of all non-fuel and non-atomic minerals, including gold and silver. FDI up to 74 per cent is permitted in precious stones and diamonds. But it isn’t as if there is a rush of investors at Shastri Bhavan. Nor is there any great buzz amongst investors about the opportunity in India.That is because the system is layered with controls. An application for mining concession by Tata Steel in 2004 is among the 93 approvals pending with the ministry. Its track record in resource utilisation is pathetic. Despite allocations being halved from Rs 8,344.5 crore to Rs 4,485.28 crore, total expenditure during the first four years of the Tenth Plan was Rs 2,042.95 crore, or less than 50 per cent of the revised plan outlay. To enable speedier clearances, it is best to de-layer the system. States should be responsible for mines in their territory and the Centre could institute a regulatory authority for clearances.Self GoalMINISTRY OF YOUTH & SPORTS AFFAIRSStaff: 192Wages and allowances: Rs 65.18 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 613.44 croreRATIONALE: To harness the potential of the youth of the country and involve them in nation-building; create facilities and promote capacity building for broad-basing sports.REALITY CHECK: Promotion of sports is primarily the responsibility of the national sports federations. The ministry’s role is that of an exchequer. And considering that half the populace is under 20 years of age, the need for a Ministry of Youth Affairs is debatable.Click here to EnlargeThe Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports was initially set up as the Department of Sports in 1982 at the time of organisation of the IX Asian Games in Delhi. It was rechristened Department of Youth Affairs and Sports during the celebration of the International Youth Year in 1985, and came to be a ministry only on May 27, 2000. But beyond its role in organising the Asian Games and now its looming presence in the confusion preceding the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the ministry has little to show for its existence. Especially if you go by India’s Olympics medals tally since 1984, which is a grand total of three. Promotion of sports may be the responsibility of federations, but the ministry, which may itself be a victim of cross-party political linkages of sports administrators, cannot escape the fact that it has failed to bring slack federations in line. With a shoestring budget-which is gobbled up by canny federation experts for promoting dubious coaching camps and overseas junkets-there is little the ministry can do even in terms of capacity creation other than support bids for major events.As for its role in promoting youth activities, the Standing Committee of Parliament has criticised the ministry’s inability to achieve desired results and for “injudiciously” launching new schemes, not allocating funds for old ones and underutilising allocations. Clearly the unspent balances of various schemes indicate that the very idea of the ministry is out of tune with modern times.Number CrunchMINISTRY OF STATISTICS AND PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATIONStaff: 7,883Wages and allowances: Rs 131.27 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 1,853.54 croreRATIONALE: To act as an apex organisation for timely dissemination of reliable statistics consistent with international standards; ensure efficient use of resources through monitoring of projects.REALITY CHECK: In most countries the collection and dissemination of statistical information is done by a commission and programme implementation is part of the key result area of the ministries. Why should it be any different in India?Consider the administrative set-up of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. The ministry is charged with the responsibility of periodically giving a statistical picture of India. The numbers themselves are collected and disseminated by three different organisations: the National Statistical Commission, the Central Statistical Organisation and the NSSO. Together, they provide different sets of statistics on different facets of the economy and the nation, at different times. But somehow the mandarins use all or a combination of some data to make sense of where the nation is headed. When you consider that the Government already has 35 Cabinet-rank ministers and seven ministers of state with independent charge heading over 45 ministries, you wonder why we would need someone just to oversee statistics. Isn’t this better done by the ministries themselves? After all, the Reserve Bank of India or the Securities and Exchange Board of India do a splendid job on their own.The Department of Programme Implementation is an even more mystifying entity. Apparently it monitors the performance of critical projects. Of the 350 government projects across ministries costing Rs 100 crore and more, 148 are delayed, entailing a cost escalation of 40 per cent. Now the question is: can it do anything about it? Obviously not. So would it not be better to ask ministries to submit a report to Parliament every session? It would at least make the other ministries accountable.Without a JobMINISTRY OF LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENTStaff: 9,067Wages and allowances: Rs 169.48 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 1,633.48 croreRATIONALE: To devise policy and legislation for labour concerning health, safety and welfare of workers; compile statistics; oversee labour courts and tribunals.REALITY CHECK: Barely 5 per cent of the working population of 459 million enjoys the patronage of this ministry. The rest are outside the purview of the laws the Labour Ministry ostensibly implements. Fact is it can do little as long as the powers to change labour laws are vested in state governments.Click here to EnlargeEvery statistic on labour paints a depressing picture of the inability of the ministry to reform the laws. The NSSO recently revealed that 17 per cent of the labour force in rural areas and 45 per cent in urban areas were not usually employed. Worse, the unemployment rate among the educated (secondary school and above) was higher than that among those whose education level was lower. The inability of the ministry to tune the laws to the needs of a modern economy has delivered these numbers. It could act as the motivator and get states to amend laws so that more jobs could be created. But successive ministers are unconvinced. Even where it can make a difference, say in promoting skills training, the ministry has been a miserable failure.Last year, the Government announced that 500 ITIs in the country would be converted into centres of excellence. A FICCI survey reveals that in a majority of ITIs, unutilised seats are as high as 35 per cent. Obviously because the courses offered are not worth the time and anyway “a disproportionately large amount of funds” was allocated to salaries. Despite this, the ministry has been resisting a joint initiative of the Ministry of Finance and Commerce Ministry to allow industry chambers to adopt these ITIs. It claims to look after the health of workers, but reality is shocking. Employees depend on ESI hospitals, where 14,800 posts are vacant, including 1,500 of doctors. As for the courts and tribunals, they need to be housed in the Law Ministry.Public DisinterestMINISTRY OF HEAVY INDUSTRIES AND PUBLIC ENTERPRISESStaff: 436Wages and allowances: Rs 8.34 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 920.73 croreRATIONALE: To administer 48 Central PSUs and assist them in their effort to improve capacity utilisation and profitability, besides generating resources for them to become competitive.REALITY CHECK: Nehru’s temples of modern India are nearly in ruins because politicians preyed on it. PSEs need to be made autonomous. If corporatised and listed with widespread public holdings, they can emerge as competitive forces and deliver returns.The road to hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. During the Third Lok Sabha, the Estimates Committee observed “the absence of any organisation in the Government to provide policy and overall guidance to the Central Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs)” and stressed the need for setting up a centralised coordinating unit which could also make continuous appraisal of the performance of public enterprises. In their wisdom, the government of the day and the ministers created the ministry. Nothing in the performance record indicates that the existence of a ministry has helped the PSEs. Worse, despite sermons on autonomy, the Government is unwilling to even appoint independent directors who could question the actions of the minister. Minister for Heavy Industries Santosh Mohan Dev told the Rajya Sabha on May 15 that in 2005-06, 58 of the 225 Central PSEs were making losses. The cumulative loss of the 107 lossmaking CPSUs between 2001-2003 was Rs 30,437 crore. Worse, for 10 central PSEs there was no information available.Forget outstanding loans, the CAG reveals that outstanding interest from 33 PSUs, till March 2006, amounted to Rs 13,761.4 crore. Loans were outstanding since 1978-79. PSUs need to be afforded true autonomy. Every report, every statistic on the subject only justifies the dismantling of this ministry. Yes, there is a role for public sector industries, particularly utilities, but we don’t need a ministry for it. For a truly public character, PSEs need to be housed in a special purpose vehicle accountable to Parliament.Mere TokenismMINISTRY OF MINORITY AFFAIRSStaff: 250Wages and allowances: Rs 5.15 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 512.83 croreRATIONALE: Overall policy, planning, coordination, evaluation and review of the regulatory and developmental programmes of the minority communities; driving policy initiatives for minorities in consultation with other ministries and state governments.REALITY CHECK: The fact that the Government of India could do without a ministry for minority affairs for 57 years is perhaps the best argument against the formation, existence and continuation of this ministry. Its creation under the UPA is also testimony to the tokenism being practised by the Congress and its allies.Sure there is a dire need to ensure delivery of resources to the economically backward groups in the country. This could range from creation of policies that enhance education, enable employment and afford a shot at entrepreneurship. All of these are really in the domain of the respective ministries, from education to health to finance, which are in any case supposed to ensure that the weak get the first charge of the resources. Assuming that this was not happening, is the Ministry of Minority Affairs empowered to deliver? Indeed there is little evidence of the ministry having even made its presence felt even in the debate following the findings of the Sachar Committee on the educational and employment status of Muslims in India.The ministry was charged with the implementation of programmes for uplifting the minorities. But the Ministry of External Affairs refused to part with the Haj Committee, and the HRD Ministry refused to part with minority institutions. Eventually, the ministry was asked to oversee the implementation of the 15-point programme-ranging from improvement of educational institutions and scholarships to promoting entrepreneurship and acting on communal harmony. The irony is that all these functions are carried out by eight other ministries. The Ministry of Minority Affairs-which has expanded its staff strength from 159 in 2004 to 250 now-is merely a spectator.No PrecipitationMINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCESStaff: 13,076Wages and allowances: Rs 218.3 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 871.76 croreRATIONALE: To formulate general policy on water resources development, conservation and technical assistance to states; oversee the regulation and development of inter-state rivers.REALITY CHECK: Water is a national resource. Its management, though, is largely a state subject in the federal structure. Barring inter-state disputes, the responsibility for everything from irrigation to water supply lies with state governments, municipal corporations, local bodies and panchayats.You could argue that given the enormity of the water crisis, it is necessary to have a Central ministry to create policy and monitor implementation. But the track record of the Water Resources Ministry doesn’t inspire confidence. The crux of the matter is that water management, or rather mismanagement, involves nine ministries-Water Resources, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Urban Development, Food, Agriculture, Health, Power and Environment-and consensus is an elusive goal. So nothing quite gets done. Nearly 60 years after Independence, over two-thirds of the cultivable land continues to be vulnerable to the vagaries of the monsoon. A recent report reveals that 159 major projects, 251 medium-scale projects and 94 renovation works have been pending since the 1960s. In fact, for nearly three decades the ministry has failed to come to a conclusion whether inter-linking of rivers across India is a good idea or not.A Small WorldClick here to EnlargeIn reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on the inadequate irrigation facilities, Minister for Water Resources Saifuddin Soz said, “Irrigation being a state subject, projects are conceived, planned and implemented by the state governments as per their own priority.” As early as in 1919, irrigation was deemed a provincial subject and the responsibility of the Government of India was confined to advice. In other words, there is little the Centre can do beyond coaxing the states. The much-vaunted Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, for instance, is a classic carrot-andstick scheme where states are “rewarded” for better performance in completing irrigation projects. The same is the case with drinking water supply. Barely a third of the rural populace has access to water on tap. A study of 12 major cities revealed that the shortfall in water supply is 4,000 million litre a day, which is what Mumbai needs every day, or in volume terms, water enough to fill 4 lakh big water tankers.Even in terms of resolving inter-state watersharing conflicts, the record is hardly satisfactory. The track record of the Eradi Commission set up for resolving disputes between Punjab and Haryana in 1985, or the annual flare-up of the Cauvery dispute, is testimony to the powerlessness of the Centre. The hard fact is that the administrative control and responsibility for development of water rests with state governments-be it irrigation projects, drinking water supply or even hydro power, which is the responsibility of state electricity boards. Sure the Ministry of Water Resources does a splendid job in terms of collating national data, scenario reports and evangelism. But does every evangelist need a ministry?Small ChangeMINISTRY OF AGRO AND RURAL INDUSTRIES AND SMALL SCALE INDUSTRIESStaff: 2,934Wages and allowances: Rs 45.38 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 1,785.04 croreRATIONALE: To design policies and schemes and monitor their implementation for the growth of small and micro enterprises; oversee promotion of traditional, village and khadi enterprises.REALITY CHECK: The small scale sector is an enclave created to encourage entrepreneurship and employment via tax arbitrage. Be that as it may, the presence of a ministry for SSI or creation of one for agro industry has done little for the sectors.In September 2001, the Ministry of Agro and Rural Industries was created in recognition of the fact that long-term growth depends on tapping the potential of the farm sector. What would this ministry do that those of agriculture, rural development, Panchayati Raj or food processing are not doing? On the face of it, it would generate employment in rural areas, develop entrepreneurial skill, achieve rural industrialisation and facilitate credit. Now isn’t that what is being done by the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, six Centrally sponsored schemes on self employment and the Finance Ministry?Rural industry is promoted by the Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) through the Khadi and Village Industries Commission and the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Yojana (PMRY), instead of being run by the Ministry for Rural Development. Assistance to rural entrepreneurs under REGP has gone up from Rs 265 crore to Rs 320 crore. Under PMRY, the states could use only Rs 16.82 crore out of the Rs 20.48 crore released in 2005-06. The picture is not very different in the more SSI sector, which accounts for 39 per cent of the manufacturing output and 34 per cent of exports, delivering Rs 4,76,201 crore to the GDP. In what can only happen in India, the ministry has revealed to Parliament that of the 123 lakh units, over 104 lakh units are unregistered. And despite the ministry’s efforts, net bank credit has gone down from 17.5 per cent to 8.1 per cent. With such a track record, the two ministries deserve to be shut down post-haste. In a modern economy, it is size that delivers economies and market share.Fossilled in TimeMINISTRY OF COALStaff: 437Wages and allowances: Rs 6.99 croreTotal plan and non-plan expenditure: Rs 288 croreRATIONALE: To determine policies and strategies for exploration and development of coal and lignite reserves; run public sector units who monopolise coal output in India.REALITY CHECK: India is projected to import about 44 million tonne of coal this year, despite the fact that the country is sitting on indicated reserves of a whopping 252 billion tonne and proven reserves of 95 billion tonne.Thanks to the combined efforts of the ministry and the public sector units, coal production has “improved” from 70 million tonne at the time of nationalisation in 1973 to 343.37 million tonne in 2005-06. In 2006-07, it has risen to 361 million tonne, an improvement of 5.2 per cent. India, incidentally, is among the foremost producers of coal, having begun mining as early as 1774. At the time of Independence, India’s output was 30 million tonne. But that was due to private sector involvement.Ironically the CIL Board sees opportunity in rising imports and has sent a proposal to form a whollyowned subsidiary of CIL called Coal Videsh, a la ONGC Videsh, to invest abroad. In fact CIL officers visited Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa to explore possibilities of acquiring stakes in operating mines and green-field coal blocks. Any attempt to involve the private sector-beyond the concessions for captive use by private steel and power plants-has been repeatedly thwarted. A Bill to amend the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act to further open up the coal sector is pending in the Rajya Sabha from April 2000.last_img read more

Rain postpones Federer, Nadal and Djokovic matches in Rome

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:44Djokovic wins Laureus Sportsman of Year Award02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport View comments Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Bucks finish with a flourish, rally to beat Raptors in East Finals game 1 Also, top-ranked Naomi Osaka was to play Dominika Cibulkova.But consistent rain at the Foro Italico wiped out the entire day and evening sessions.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsBetter weather is forecast for Thursday and Friday. MOST READ The central court is covered as all the matches are temporarily suspended due to the rain at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Riccardo Antimiani/ANSA via AP)ROME — Play at the Italian Open has been wiped out by rain, meaning Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will have to wait until Thursday to play their opening matches at the clay-court tournament.Federer was slated to meet Joao Sousa on Wednesday, eight-time Rome champion Nadal was scheduled to play Jeremy Chardy and Djokovic was up against Denis Shapovalov.ADVERTISEMENT ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess LATEST STORIES DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Duterte wants probe of SEA Games messlast_img read more

Ventriculoperitoneal shunt- discharge

first_imgAlternate NamesShunt – ventriculoperitoneal – discharge; VP shunt – discharge; Shunt revision – dischargeWhen Your Child Was in the HospitalYour child has hydrocephalus and needed a shunt placed to drain excess fluid and relieve pressure in the brain. This buildup of brain and spinal cord fluid (cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF) and pressure causes the brain tissue to press (become compressed) against the skull. Too much pressure or pressure that is present too long can damage the brain tissue.Your child had an incision behind their ear and a small hole drilled through the skull. A small incision or cut was also made in the belly. A valve was placed underneath the skin behind the ear. One catheter was placed into the brain to bring the fluid to the valve. Another catheter was connected to the valve and threaded underneath the skin down into your childs belly.What to Expect at HomeAny stitches or staples that you can see will be taken out in about 7 – 14 days.All parts of the shunt are underneath the skin. At first, the area at the top of the shunt may be raised up underneath the skin. As the swelling goes away and your childs hair grows back, there will be a small raised area about the size of a quarter that is usually not noticeable.Self-care Do not shower or shampoo your child?s head until their stitches and staples have been taken out. Give your child a sponge bath instead. The wound should not soak in water at all until the skin is completely healed.advertisementDo not push on the part of the shunt that you can feel or see underneath your child?s skin behind the ear.Your child should be able to eat their normal diet when they go home.Your child should be able to do most activities.If you have a baby, handle your baby the way you would normally. It is okay to bounce your baby.Older children can perform most regular activities. Talk with your doctor about contact sports.Most of the time, your child may sleep in any position. Ask your doctor or nurse.Your child may have some pain when they go home. Children under 4 years old may take acetaminophen (Tylenol). Children age 4 and older may be prescribed stronger pain medicines, if needed.When to Call the Doctor The major problems to watch for are an infected shunt and a blocked shunt.Call your child?s doctor if your child has:Confusion or seems less awareFever of 101 F or higherPain in the belly that does not go awayStiff neck or headacheNo appetite or is not eating wellVeins on the head or scalp that look larger than they used toProblems in schoolPoor development or has lost a developmental skill previously attainedBecome more cranky or irritableRedness, swelling, bleeding, or increased discharge from the incisionVomiting that does not go awaySleep problems or is more sleepy than usualHigh-pitched cryBeen looking more paleA head that is growing largerBulging or tenderness in the soft spot at the top of the headSwelling around the valve or around the tube going from the valve to their bellyA seizureReferencesEtilogical categories of neurological disease. In: Goetz CG, ed. Textbook of Clinical Neurology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 28.Kinsman SL, Johnston MV. Congential anomalies of the central nervous system. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 585.Review Date:8/20/2012Reviewed By:Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Inc.last_img read more

FIFA World Cup 2018: Stats of the Day – Day 14

first_imgAdvertisement AdvertisementThe former French defender, Laurent Blanc.Greetings readers! We bring to you today’s edition of FIFA’s “Stats of the Day” feature. Read about all the interesting trivia associated with your favourite footballers and teams right here.Here is an excerpt of FIFA’s “Stats of the Day”: 1958 – France overpower Germany FR 6-3 in the match for third place with help from four goals by Just Fontaine. The French forward finishes the tournament as the top scorer with 13 goals, which remains the highest individual tally netted in a single edition of the FIFA World Cup.1994 – Two records are set during Russia’s 6-1 win over Cameroon. Firstly, Russia’s Oleg Salenko bags five goals, the most by any player in a single FIFA World Cup match. In addition, Cameroon’s Roger Milla becomes the oldest goalscorer at a FIFA World Cup at the age of 42 years and 39 days.1998 – France’s Laurent Blanc fires the first golden goal in FIFA World Cup history, in the 114th minute of a round-of-16 match against Paraguay.To read more click here: FIFA Stats of the Day: June 28 Read also: Football: Italian giants face European Football ban for one year.Football: Portuguese right back Joao Cancelo signs for the Old Lady.last_img read more