Answers to Vocabulary building (2)

April 30, 2014 at 2:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vocabulary exercise for students (2) …

Fill up the blanks by choosing the right word from the list given at the end.

1. You hatch a conspiracy.

2. You douse a flame.

3. You sound an alarm.

4. You tip a hotel waiter.

5. You cut a deal.

6. You echo a sentiment.

7. You skirt an inconvenient question.

8. A pilot, sensing danger aborted a take-off.

9. Angry members of the parliament pilloried a minister.

10. As captain, you field a team.

11. You signal your readiness to negotiate.

12. You sing someone’s praise.

13. You skin a chicken.

14. A widow bemoaned her fate.

15. You laud your son for his high score in test.



Vocabulary exercise for students (2)

April 29, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vocabulary exercise for students (2)

Fill up the blanks by choosing the right word from the list given at the end.

1. You —— a conspiracy.

2. You —— a flame.

3. You ——- an alarm.

4. You —- a hotel waiter.

5. You —– a deal.

6. You ——- a sentiment.

7. You —- an inconvenient question.

8. A pilot, sensing danger —— a take-off.

9. Angry members of the parliament —- a minister.

10. As captain, you —– a team.

11. You —— your readiness to negotiate.

12. You ——– someone’s praise.

13. You ——– a chicken.

14. A widow ——– her fate.

15. You ——- your son for his high score in test.

List of words ….. Skirt, Bemoan, Laud, Abort, Skin, Sound, Cut, Echo, Hatch, Sing, Signal, Douse, Field, Pillory, Tip
Answers will be posted tomorrow.


April 29, 2014 at 5:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Answers to Vocabulary exercise.

1. You reinforce a wall.

2. You bolster the defense.

3. You support a cause.

4. You bulldoze an illegal building.

5. You fix a computer glitch.

6. You scrap an old cycle.

7. You combat corruption.

8. You eradicate malaria.

9. You extend a loan.

10. You redeem a promise.

11. You break someone’s heart.

12. You counter the rival’s argument.

13. You botch a rumour.

14. You lend a shoulder to some one’s noble effort.

15. You staunch the flow of blood from a wound.


Vocabulary exercise for students.

April 28, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Interesting word learning exercise for school students ….

Fill in the blanks by selecting the right word from the list of words given at the end of this exercise.

1. You ——— a wall.

2. You —– the defense.

3. You ——– a cause.

4. You ——– an illegal building.

5. You ——– a computer glitch.

6. You ——– an old cycle.

7. You ——— corruption.

8. You ———- malaria.

9. You ——— a loan.

10. You ——– a promise.

11. You ——- someone’s heart.

12. You ——– the rival’s argument.

13. You ——– a rumour.

14. You ——– to some one’s noble effort.

15. You ——– the flow of blood from a wound.

Word list …. Break, Redeem, Bolster, Reinforce, Extend, Bulldoze, Botch, Counter, Lend a shoulder, Staunch, Support, Fix, Scrap, Counter, Eradicate

[Answers will be posted tomorrow.]

CBSE Class X WORK BOOK — Prize-winning model letter

April 27, 2014 at 4:31 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Work Book Page 6  — C.3

E-mail to Harsh

As I had told you earlier, the frenzied electoral duel between Modi and Arvind Kejriwal in Varanashi was proving to be irresistible for me in the last few weeks. Being a student of Journalism, I found the call of this ancient city hard to ignore. So, I came here yesterday from Delhi, to see first-hand, how the David-Goliath face-off was taking shape in the heat and dust of the oldest ‘living city’ on earth.

On the advice of my host here, I went with his teen age son to the ghat for a early morning boat-ride. What I saw there was simply mind-blowing. In the tranquility of dawn, so much life was teeming. The boatman was a jovial guy. He promised to show us around places that others generally don’t get to see. Our boatman boastfully declared how this river ganga has sustained life since time immemorial. He rowed his boat a little down the river to show the many mango groves that line the river bank. Using our binoculars, we could see the luscious mangoes hanging from their branches. In this rather remote part of the river bank, we spotted the Ashrams of a few ascetics standing amid the vast golden sand beaches. The boatman, who doubled up as our guide, told us that the ramshackle Ashrams have existed there for centuries defying the floods and the ravages of Nature. Atop these huts, we could see prayer flags perched, perhaps underscoring the undying spirit of the Sadhus living there.

We took a U-turn and headed back to the ghat. Now, we got to see many more boats full of devotees sitting with their hands folded in reverence to Mother Ganga. There were several western tourists too standing on the steps on the bank, clicking pictures of the landscape they could never get to see in their own lands. They all appeared intrigued and flummoxed to see the chanting, the Homas, the ash-smeared Sadhus, and the hordes of bathers taking their holy dips. For us, the feverish rituals were not as baffling as the cloud of spirituality that seemed to have descended on this tiny, timeless place. The only discordant note was the presence of a few security men in their fatigues with Kalashnikovs slung from their shoulders.

We returned, very hesitantly, from this famed ghat that means so much to our Hindu faith. We promised to Mother Ganges that we will soon return to her. Our boatman was beaming with smile after we tipped him generously. He gave us his cell phone number so that we could call him when we come again. Cell phone and the ascetics – what a mix of the modern and the ancient, we reflected!

Harsh, please come here with your old parents. You will partly pay back the loan you owe them for bringing you to earth.

Kind regards,

BIRTH by A. J. Cronin –Summary and explanation

April 22, 2014 at 8:29 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Understanding and enjoying …..


by A.J. Cronin

Note to the readerAs you read the story, you might come across portions of sentences written in metaphoric way. These might pose problem in your understanding them. These portions have been underlined and are immediately followed by their meanings typed in red in small fonts.

Introduction to story .. In this excerpt from The Citadel, Andrew Manson, newly out of medical school, has just begun his medical practice as an assistant to Dr Edward Page in the small Welsh mining town of Blaenelly. As he is returning from a disappointing evening with Christine, the girl he loves, he is met by Joe Morgan. Joe and his wife, who have been married nearly twenty years, are expecting their first child.

  The story …

THOUGH it was nearly midnight when Andrew reached Bryngower, he found Joe Morgan waiting for him, walking up and down with short steps between the closed surgery and the entrance to the house. At the sight of him the burly driller’s face expressed relief. [In other words, Joe’s face lit up.]

“Eh, Doctor, I’m glad to see you. I been back and forward here this last hour. The missus wants ye — before time, too.”

If you want to read further, click here.


India’s General Elections 2014 — decoded for young learners

April 19, 2014 at 10:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An important milestone in the history of Indian Democracy

                                                   Written by Sheethal G. Raju

Amid a cacophony of criticisms, innuendoes and searing sarcasms  during its five years in power, the Congress-led UPA government in India has managed to complete its full term at the center. Finally, the much-awaited elections have come. India is gripped with ‘election fervor’. A whopping eight billion citizens will exercise their franchise — their fundamental right — to elect a new government will to shape their life and vision for the next five years. It is going to be the biggest voting event in world history.

Indian democracy, through its sheer size, towers over other democracies in the rest of the world. Other democratic nations do conduct elections, but in a scale a lot smaller than the Indian election. The sheer size of the electorate, and the mammoth administrative mobilization done for the smooth conduct of the elections make it a mind-boggling event. The curtains come down on this frenzied period of electioneering only after the final results are officially announced.

Arguably, the year 2014 will mark a watershed in the history of democracy. Even in far away parts of the world, the most detached and indifferent citizen with no interest in the ballot box can not but feel inquisitive about India’s jaw-droppingly enormous elections. Even the cynics of India and its ‘flawed’ elections concede this. The elections arouse universal interest for the following three reasons.

a: The staggering numbers
The first phase of election kicked off on Monday April 7. There are in all nine phases and the ninth phase will be held on May 12. The results are due on May 16. On the very first day of polling, more than 110 million voters were to cast their votes. This number is almost double the population of the United Kingdom, and a little over the entire population of Russia.

This number is just a part of the whole scene. The total eligible voters number a whopping 815 million! The seemingly daunting task of conducting this election lies on the shoulders of the Election Commission of India [ECI]. The logistical and law and order challenges explain why the election is staggered over nine phases. To cope with the huge increase in eligible voters, the ECI has increased the number of polling stations from 830,000 in 2009 to 930,000. In the politically important and ethnically volatile state of Uttar Pradesh that sends most number of MPs (80) to the parliament, conducting the election presents the most formidable challenge. Mobilization of civil and paramilitary personnel and other administrative measures cost the exchequer a staggering Rs.3.7 billion.

Given the security and other logistical problems involved in this complex process, the government could not hold the famous Indian Premier League [IPL] T-20 matches on its home turf as its schedule clashed with that of the elections. The elections pin down 11 million personnel leaving nothing for other main events. Providing security for the IPL matches was considered unrealistic. This is why the IPL matches had to be shifted out of India – to the UAE.

b: It is an election of ‘firsts’
Demographic composition of today’s electorate of India is strikingly different from what it was a decade ago. Approximately, 75 million of the 100 million new voters in the voters’ list are 18 to 20-year olds. The candidates are aware of this fact, and are chalking out innovative digital plans to woo the young population.

Another interesting feature is that the ECI, for the first time, has empowered the non-resident Indians (NRIs) to vote. Another major twist this time is the inclusion of the new option “None of the above” (NOTA) in the Electronic Voting Machine [EVM].

c: Technology is the new buzzword.
India is fast becoming a tech-savvy country. It is not just the campaigning which has gone digital this time, but the ECI too has made a technological leap forward from the 2009 general elections. The ECI had launched the COMET [Communication Plan for Election], an online monitoring system to supervise the general elections in 2009 general elections. The ECI is extending it this time too with some improvements.

It is a coded SMS-based alert system which aims at creating the database of mobile phone numbers of around 1.1 million government officials deployed for the general elections. The officials on poll-duty could be easily traced at the click of the mouse. Important information like staff reaching the polling station, mock poll conducted, start of polling, voting percentages every two hours, number of voters in queue after voting time was over, and whether the poll party reached safely can be easily tracked on real-time basis. Thus, the ECI has put its shoulder to the wheel in ensuring hassle-free, smooth and fair elections.

Voters are now more connected and urbanized than before. In this regard, this election breaks new ground quite visibly. The traditional campaign rallies seem to be losing their appeal. The leaders are reaching out to the urban electorate differently. Volunteer mobilization and micro-targeting of particular groups are the flavor of the day among campaign strategists. The methods, quite akin to Obama-style campaigning have been adopted by many political parties. Digital campaigning is clearly proving to be a very potent tool. Social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and instant messaging like WhatsApp are being extensively used for campaigning. Narendra Modi, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and the charismatic yet controversial personality leads the way with 3.66 million followers on Twitter.

The Election Commission of India (ECI)

Although India’s political life has been marred by rampant corruption and poor governance, the election process has remained free from the cancerous degradation of public life. The conduct of election mostly has managed to be a free and a fair process. The entire process is hawkishly overseen by the Election Commission of India [ECI]. The ECI is a permanent constitutional body. The constitution has vested in it the supreme power to control and co-ordinate the entire process.

India is a founding member of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Stockholm, Sweden. In this capacity, the Commission is making every effort to broaden the horizon of electoral management and administration.

To preempt frauds and curb use of money and muscle power in canvassing, a slew of strict new measures have been added to the earlier dos and don’ts of the Model Code of Conduct that the ECI implements scrupulously. The ECI enforces this Code with unforgiving assiduousness.

The present political scene …

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance [UPA] has been battling unprecedented anti-incumbency factor. The two terms of the Congress-led UPA at the center between 2004-14 unraveled huge corruption scandals like the 2G scam, CWG, Adarsh Housing and defense procurement pay-offs. Though the first term of the UPA (2004-09) saw a good economic growth [a little over 8% GDP], the second term (2009-14) has been inexorable journey downhill. Bad governance, corruption and arrogance of the top leadership have sullied the government’s face. The GDP growth rate has plummeted to less than half of that in the first term (UPA 1). The government has done little to contain the spirally inflation.

To add to these woes, three other major factors have cost the Congress party dearly. Firstly, what initially started off as a localized social movement against corruption gradually morphed to a political party. This was the birth of the Aam Aadmi Party [AAP]. The jus demand of Anna Hazare, the highly revered social activist, and strident crusader against corruption to introduce the Jan Lokpall pill was treated with utter dismissiveness by the government. This contributed to the disgust and disenchantment of the public against the government.

Secondly, in the last assembly elections in Delhi, the ruling Congress party was decimated not by its principal opposition BJP, but by a new entrant into politics, the fledgling AAP!

It was a crushing and very humiliating blow to the Congress party.
Thirdly, the bifurcation of the state of Andhra Pradesh came as a highly mismanaged political step for the Congress leadership. The reorganization was ill-timed and proved to be a painful imbroglio for Congress. The resulting uncertainty made the Congress highly un-popular in both parts of the state.
In the last few days, the shocking revelations made by the former media advisor to the Prime Minister, Sanjay Bharu, in his book “The Accidental Prime Minister” has come as a huge blow to the Congress party. It has shown how Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh willingly played second fiddle to Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Congress party in matters of government. Close on the heels of this book, another book ‘Crusader or the Conspirator’ authored by the former coal secretary P. C. Parakh takes the infamous coal scam right to the door of Dr. Singh. These revelations have ruined the image of the Congress Party before the electorate. The public is waiting for an opportunity to show the door to the Congress party.

As always in the past, this election is a clash between two national parties, the Congress party, the 128-year-old organization now under the control of the powerful Gandhi dynasty, and its rival pro-Hindu opposition, the Bhartiya Janata Party [BJP]. Queering the pitch are the dozen or so regional parties headed by their ambitious supremos. However, so far, things have unfolded in such a manner that the elections appear to be a direct fight between Rahul Gandhi, the Nehru-Gandhi scion of the Congress party, and Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, a self-made politician with a somewhat controversial past.

The various pre-poll surveys conducted by media houses have almost written-off Congress and shown BJP to be gaining ground. This has fueled optimism in the BJP camp. It is a unique opportunity for Narendra Modi to fulfill his prime ministerial dreams.

The BJP, mired by internal dissensions, has so far managed to pose a united front backing its leader Modi for the prime minister’s chair. Modi has been described as a Hindu fanatic and India’s most divisive politician by so many of his detractors. However, as the three-time Chief Minister of prosperous Gujarat, he has a proven track- record. Additionally, he has won the support of the top echelons of RSS, the right-wing Hindu organization. Scores of young Indians pining for a change of guard at the center have lined up to cheer Modi. They hail him as a clean and efficient administrator who symbolizes good governance. This apart, he enjoys good relationship with the country’s top industrialists. A selected few of them fund his campaign generously.

Modi, clearly, is riding the waves now. The Muslims, who bore the brunt of the 2002 pogrom in Gujrat, seem to be re-thinking their staunch opposition to Modi. He has to take them on board, if he wants to succeed now and, later, as the prime minister of the country.

The regional parties have traditionally played a decisive role in Indian post-election sceneraio. The Lok Sabha has 543 seats. For a single party to form the government, it has to reach the minimum of 272. The BJP, can’t win this many seats on its own. So, it has to befriend the smaller regional parties to cross the half-way mark. Such a route of cobbling a coalition has yielded undesirable results in the past.

The Aam Aadmi Party, after its spectacular performance in Delhi, has fielded the highest number of candidates after the Congress and the BJP. The party chief, Arvind Kejriwal, contests against Narendra Modi in the politically important Varanashi constituency in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. This state sends the most number of MPs (80) to the parliament. AAP grips the imagination of the people by its staunch anti-corruption stand and its blunt rustic appeal, but is weakened by lack of financial and organizational resources. Most importantly, the people perceive AAP as immature to rule this vast country.

Conclusion …
The elections in India are being closely monitored by the west and its neighbours. For this gigantic democracy trying to turn a new leaf in its political history, the elections are a very important marker. If India gets a good government, it will do its aspiring millions a lot of good. A prosperous and vibrant India will drive global growth too. Everything, however, has to wait till May 16, 2014 – the day the EVMs churn out the numbers.

Whaling — The scourge that needs to be curbed

April 17, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


                                       Written by Sunita Pati and Sheethal G. Raju

Whaling means organized hunting of whales from the seas for commercial gains. Today, one of the most pressing worldwide environmental concern is unbridled whaling. Whales are giant and very powerful animals. They live in deep seas like the Pacific Ocean. One single whale’s weight is as large as that of five elephants put together. Sadly, human beings use their superior brain for killing whales rampantly. Lure for the profit accruing from trade in whale meat, oil and bones has spurred whaling to such a frenzy that this species is now pushed to the verge of extinction. Consequences of dwindling whale population for marine ecology is easy to comprehend.

In many countries such as Canada, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Saint Vincent, the Grenadines, South Korea, and the United States, whale meat is a delicacy. The demand for whale meat in these countries is insatiable.

Seeing the profit in whale meat business, many countries have stepped up their whaling expeditions, and have made it a round-the-year activity. The lucrative business of whaling has attracted many MNCs, who have invested heavily in modern technology to catch and kill whales in increasing numbers. This is what is giving sleepless nights to the environmentalists.

The hunters go to the sea with their highly-equipped powerful boats. These boats have giant machines to hook, pull and lift the strangulated whale on board. With the help of machines, the whalers fling harpoons with a bit of meat attached to it to a long distance. Whales are not aware of this dangerous bait as the hunters stay at a good distance from their prey. When the whales swallow the meat, they get hooked to the harpoon. From then on, there is no escape. The whale struggles to free itself using its gigantic energy, but to no avail. The harpoon proves unforgiving. The hunters use the power of their machine to drag the whale to their ship. The more the whale is pulled, the more excruciating the pain it suffers. It wobbles, turns, flings itself violently in a desperate bid to disentangle itself from the harpoon. The fight of the whale with the embedded harpoon makes the giant mammal bleed profusely. It grunts, cursing its predator as it is pulled and lifted on board the whaling ship. The crew, ready with their electric saws, pounce on the half-dead animal and begin slicing off its body parts with no remorse. Without bating an eyelid, and with no pity, they dismember the giant animal with astounding alacrity. The whaling ship’s deck gets drenched with the fresh blood of the dying whale. Within minutes, the giant whale, the king of the seas till an hour ago, gets reduced to a few cartoons of sliced meat ready for being stored inside the ship’s freezer. The whole operation presents a sight of ghastly cruelty. It shows how human beings can turn on other creatures on earth in pursuit of food without any sense of guilt.

One, who witnesses the extremely cruel process of hunting of whales in sea, can easily be too shaken to eat its meat further. It causes revulsion in the minds of many people who get to see the operation in films and in TV. The process of smothering the huge mammal lacerates one’s soul. One’s heart is swamped with revulsion at seeing such brutality. Destroying a mighty mammal in its own habitat is a very upsetting and unforgivable attack on Nature. It is one of the most ghastly crimes committed on our biosphere.

Whales are the most important animal for the health of ocean ecology. The giant marine animal eats many unwanted and harmful species of the ocean. By doing this, whales help to regulate and stabilize the marine food chain. It is the bedrock of the marine life ecology system. By destroying whales, we surely destabilize the ocean biology. Whale hunting leads to a ruinous effect on the environment.

Whaling is not a new phenomenon. It has been going on since very early times after humans realized its use as edible meat. Whales were killed even as early as the 16th century. But, the hunting of whales increased rapidly in many western countries in the 20th century. Soon, it became a well-organized commercial activity. Profits soared as whale meat became popular. Interest in commercial whaling increased sharply, much to the detriment of ocean environment.

Whale meat is delicious, abundant, and is a commercially profitable commodity. It is used for making oil, fertilizer, perfume, shampoo, soap, gelatin, margarine. Japan is the tiny country with a gargantuan appetite for whale meat. It is considered a part of their cultural heritage. Whale meat was cheap during the Japanese civil war. Gradually, its price rose. Presently, it is an expensive delicacy. Japanese children are served whale meat dishes in their school lunch. Eating whale meat spurs whaling and thus, brings wealth to the MNCs engaged in this trade. More consumption means more business, and hence more revenue to the country which fosters this trade.

Australia is one of the powerful countries which strongly opposes whaling on conservation grounds. In 2010, Australia had filed a case against Japan in the International Court of Justice. It argued that Japan’s whaling wasn’t being used for scientific purposes as claimed by the latter.

Since then, Australia has clashed repeatedly with Japan over illegal whaling. In a recent judgment, the International Court of Justice has ruled that Japan’s whaling, apparently, for scientific purposes in the Southern Ocean, is illegal. Presiding Judge Peter Tomka said the court had got 12 votes to four to ban Japanese whaling in Antarctica.

The court was informed that Japan had caught some 3,600 minke whales in the last few years. But, the whaling done exclusively for scientific research was a miniscule part of this huge catch. Japan has consistently tried to hide its illegal whaling under the garb of scientific research. Before the ICC, Japan argued that the case was an attempt by Australia to impose its cultural standards on Japan. Japan argued that the case is similar to the Hindus demanding an international ban on killing cows.

The judge was not impressed by the Japanese plea. He has ordered Japan to stop the illegal trade of whaling in Antarctica. The court will also take severe action against the other two whaling nations — Norway and Iceland for their rejecting the provisions of the IWC. These countries had, so far, gone about their illegal business with a brazen defiance of world opinion. These two countries have been castigated by the Court for not setting a good example.

Whale is an invaluable gift of nature. It represents the wonders and intrigues of the seas. Uncontrolled whaling has depleted the number of whales in the ocean. Whale watching and various other recreational activities have brought in billions of dollars to the countries who nurture whales in their seas. Conservation of whale is a boon to economy. So, in order to preserve this priceless gift of Nature, whale meat lovers should try hard to exclude this meat from their menu. They have to rein in their ravenous appetite for whale meat. They can switch to other types of meat to satiate their taste buds. This will be a very small sacrifice for a great cause.


Human Values and Professional Ethics — A short introduction

April 4, 2014 at 10:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Human Values and Professional Ethics (A short introduction)

God has made humans as a combination of vices and virtues. To live harmoniously in the society, one must strive to cause as less inconvenience to others as possible. On the contrary, practicing honesty, altruism, tolerance, hard work, compassion, forgiveness and patriotism makes a man’s existence meaningful, congenial, and worthy of praise. Avarice, deceitfulness, intolerance, cruelty, and vengefulness make a man’s life miserable. Not only does he disgrace himself, he imperils the society he lives in.

History is replete with instances where men and women of poor birth, with no education and inheritance, no mentor and no benefactor have brought light, happiness and hope to the human race. Santh Kabir, Madame Curie, Robert Baden Powell, Hellen Keller, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi are some of these individuals whose contribution to human well being will remain indelible in the sands of time.

On the other hand, there are vile persons like Pol Pot, Hitler, Bernard Madoff, Bruce Reynolds, Gengis Khan, King Prithviraj Chouhan etc. who brought immense misery, ill luck and penury and death to the people around them. Nearly a million died in the Second World War, thanks to Hitler’s misplaced patriotism. One fifth of Cambodians perished in labour camps just because Pol Pot wanted to implement a weird vision of egalitarian society. Bernard Madoff’s greed wiped out the life-long savings of millions of un-suspecting investors and Geghis Khan’s military conquests spilled innocent human blood in humungous proportions.

Why do the human beings, blessed with conscience and intelligence, suffer such bouts of intense misery? The reason is simple. Some wicked members of the society lack human values and professional ethics, and lead the gullible masses the wrong way.

Why moral values and professional ethics are so important. It is because they rein in a person’s demonic tendencies. A person of high morals and ethical values is much less likely to be swayed by the worldly temptations. Anchored to his conscience, he can keep away from degrading tendencies and live an upright life.

Twenty first century has brought comforts and luxuries to common people. Higher income and receding spiritualism have resulted in people craving for more and more material pleasures. They strive to acquire these through means fair or foul. People gripped by such yearning for un-deserved pleasures resort grievously wrong means. This is why we see such soaring corruption in every walk of life. People take bribe, commit fraudulent acts to acquire ill-gotten wealth. Consequently, honest hard working folks feel disillusioned with society. Either they rebel or just bear the injustice with a feeling of hurt and anger.

Curiously, people who are well-off and have no great need of income resort to immoral means with great enthusiasm. There are unethical doctors who needlessly scare patients to make them go for expensive treatments. There are judges who alter their judgments by taking hefty bribes. There are parliamentarians, police personnel, trade union leaders and politicians who willingly fall prey to the lure of monetary gains to tilt in favour of hideous elements in society.

The cumulative effect of such moral turpitude is devastating for the society. Governance suffers as bureaucrats gang up with corrupt politicians to siphon off public funds. As a result, the poor masses, who desperately need government intervention, are deprived of the benefits of a benign government.

Immorality and unethical behavior affects the private sector too. We see large MNCs collapsing because their owners turned on them. The Italian diary giant Parmalat and the American power utility company Enron are two good examples of individual greed of the owners overtaking their sense of responsibility. The respected Barings Bank collapsed because a rogue bank official by the name Nick Lesson indulged in highly illegal trading in derivatives.

The scourge of attack on women’s safety and decency which rocks India every day is a manifestation of the onslaught of lust over a person’s moral moorings. This explains why onlookers and bystanders rarely come to the rescue of an accident victim in the streets, or a victim of molestation crying out for help. The corrosion to the moral fibre of the society due to plummeting ethical and moral values has been quite severe. There appears to be no check on this creeping cancer.

What lacerates the soul of conscientious persons is the depravity seen in the fields of athletics, sports, clinical research conducted by drug companies, intrusive intelligence gathering by states, whaling, and baby food manufacturing. Unethical practices have embellished all these noble aspects of human life. Sports persons take to performance-enhancing drugs to win medals in global events. ‘Doping’ as it called today has reached scandalous proportions despite vigorous efforts to curb it. Ben Johnson in 100 meters sprint, Neil Armstrong in Tour de France, Ashwini Akunji of India caught in 400 meters race event, Anna Alminova of Russia in middle distance running are some of the infamous sports persons who fell from grace due to their failed drug test results. They brought disrepute to themselves, to their country and to the sports they specialize in. Unethical mindset lured them to drugs, although they knew the severe consequences of being detected.

Clinical research conducted by giant phrama companies is an area riddled with malpractices. The findings of drug trials are often severely misreported to favour the company making the new drug. As a result, the efficacy of a drug in treating an ailment is wrongfully over-stated and its harmful side effects are mischievously under-reported. The drugs get regulatory approval and released to the market, affecting the health of millions unsuspecting patients who consume them. This malaise has brought great harm to the healthcare sector. Why it happens? The greed of the companies making the drug masks their moral and ethical senses.

The way governments steal personal data and invade the privacy of common law-abiding individuals by electronic snooping has shaken the world to its very foundation. Assange of Weakileaks and the later Snowden revelations have brought to light the extent governments misuse their power to undermine people’s right to privacy.

In 2006, the Sanlu Group of China was found to be making and marketing spurious baby milk that caused death and life-long impairment to scores of new-borns in China. It was a scandal that tore the hearts of the Chinese mothers. What made Sanlu make such milk? Lure of profit and a utter disregard for ethical practices of the company executives was at the root of this scandal.

 The utterly cruel and environmentally ruinous practice of Whaling, continuing despite severe worldwide protests, is a case of human morality being numbed by the penchant for profits at the cost of mother earth.

Like this the list of moral and ethical lapses that besmirches human existence goes on and on. The duel between conscience and inside devil continues. Sadly, the scale appears to be tipped in favour of sin rather than virtue.

In conclusion, we can say that the time has come for the society to look inwards and refocus on resurrecting moral values and professional ethics. If this does not happen, the slide towards immorality will continue till it devours the human race. A society without ethics and morality is like a rudderless ship drifting inexorably towards a dangerous whirlpool.

Contributed by Ansuman Tripathy B.A, M.F.C, LLB



April 3, 2014 at 5:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Festering Discord over Drug Patents

India’s pharmaceutical industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last three decades. As a result, it has emerged as world’s third largest producer of drugs in terms of volume. The country is well-set to grow into an industry of $25 billion in 2016 from the current turnover of $12 billion. According to Brand India Equity Foundation, the Indian pharmaceutical market is likely to register a compound annual growth rate (CGAR) of 14-17 percent during the period 2012-16. It is quite heartening to note that the pharma sector is out-performing most other sectors in achieving consistently high growth. India is now among the top five pharmaceutical emerging markets of the world.

India’s exports of generic drugs have also been growing at a very impressive rate of 24% per year for the last four years. In 2012-13, India’s pharmaceutical exports stood at $14.7 billion. More than half of it went to highly-regulated western markets. This speaks volumes about the efficiency of the Indian pharma sector in terms of quality and pricing.

The Supply Annual Report of UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) recognized India as the world’s largest supplier of generics. In developing countries, it is rendering yeoman service by facilitating affordable access of poor patients to life-saving medicines. Due to the ability of the Indian pharma companies to produce drugs at economical rates, the cost of HIV/AIDS treatment has gone down to $400 per year from $12,000 – a spectacular contribution to global healthcare.

However, India’s rise as a pharma hub has created a backlash. The western drug companies, whose market share India has eaten into, are up in arms against Indian pharmaceutical companies. The western interests have targeted the particular Indian companies that have spearheaded the country’s export efforts. In the last couple of years, the western pharma giants have left no stones unturned to undermine India’s ascent in this high-tech field.

One accusation that the western companies and their governments have made against India is over infringement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). The U.S., sadly, has led the charge against India. The American companies seethe in anger on seeing India producing and selling critical life-saving medicines at rates well below their selling price. The western opposition has come despite the fact that India’s foray into global medicines market does not violate existing treaty commitments. The American tirade against India’s pharma companies, therefore, requires a robust and principled response from New Delhi.

The American drug lobby’s pressure appears to hijack the economic policy dialogue between the U.S. and India. The celebrated Columbia University Professor , Mr. Arvind Panagariya has spoken about the looming danger from the American drug lobby that has considerable clout over U.S. government policy makers.

In going for production of drugs covered by U.S. patents, the Indian companies have relied on the leeway allowed under the existing Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. This recourse to the flexibility allowed by the TRIPS agreement by Indian pharma entities has annoyed the American companies most. Now they have gone on an overdrive to pressure the U.S. Trade Representative into designating India as a “priority foreign country” in its 2014 Special 301 Report, due on April 30.
Technically, such an innocuous classification severely impacts India’s reputation. It amounts to India being declared as one among the worst offenders of IPRs. Quite dangerously, this might pave the way for the U.S. government to impose punitive trade sanctions such as withdrawal of tariff preferences for Indian exports.

India must do whatever it can to prevent such a calamity. As a retaliatory measure, India could impose anti-dumping duties or tariff hikes on U.S. imports.

This festering crisis has a long history going back to 1994. At the Uruguay Round of trade talks that year, India tooth and nail opposed the American proposal to clamp severe anti-IPR violation regime to protect its own companies who invest heavily in R&D and innovation. India could not stand up to U.S. pressure, but succeeded in resisting, in a limited way, U.S. attempts to have a 20-year product patent on medicines and chemicals. India managed to win some concessions by having certain flexibilities incorporated in the TRIPS agreement.

In the year 2005, India brought its own domestic laws relating to patent protection. Since then, India has used the flexibilities allowed under the Uruguay Round only on just two occasions. In March 2012, it issued a compulsory licence to an Indian drug manufacturer to produce a cancer drug whose patent was then held by the German company Bayer. Bayer’s price was very high making the drug unaffordable to poor cancer patients in India, Africa and elsewhere. This Indian move infuriated Bayer.

Under another provision of the IPR agreement of Uruguay Round, countries can deny a patent to a drug that involves only incremental innovation over an existing drug. Using this as the basis, in April 2013, the Supreme Court of India upheld the 2006 decision of the Indian patent office pertaining to Novartis. This Swiss multinational company, Novartis, had demanded patent on a drug that involved only incremental innovation. The Supreme Court verdict disallowing patent protection to Novartis caused an international furore.

The possibility of other drug companies located in different countries emulating the bold Indian stand against blind patent protection has riled global pharma giants.

India has many options open. Technically, it has not violated any treaty obligation. Therefore, India can challenge any prospective action by the U.S. by approaching the WTO. WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism has a fair record of impartiality.

One need to keep in mind that India has been implored by its own people and quite a few developed countries to bring healthcare to the top of its development agenda. So, the moral scale tips in favour of India.

Contributed by Ansuman Tripathy


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