The controversy surrounding National Herald case has reached the Parliament, leading to logjam for the fourth consecutive day. As citizens, we needn’t be worried about the non-functioning of the Parliament because we should have grown comfortable with it over the year. If we haven’t, then we aren’t tolerant enough.
National Herald was a newspaper set up by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938 and closed down in 2008 due to financial crisis. Jawaharlal Nehru was an early editor of the newspaper and until his appointment as Prime Minister was Chairman of Herald’s Board of Directors.
At the time of closing, the newspaper was in debt of Rs 90 crore.
After closing down of National Herald: Associated Journals Limited(AJL), a public limited company, which published the National Herald became a real estate firm with buildings in New Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai and Bhopal. In November 2010, AJL with both its assets and liabilities was taken over by a newly floated company called Young India Limited. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi both have shares of 38% in Young India Limited(YIL) and the remaining shares held by Congressmen Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Sam Pitroda and Suman Dubey. Congress party gave Young India Limited Rs 90.25 crore interest-free loan to YIL to acquire AJL and wrote off the loan given to AJL as unrecoverable in subsequent years.
What are the allegations of Subramanian Swamy? 1. In 2012, Subramanian Swamy filed a complaint before the trial court alleging that the owners of Young India limited were involved in cheating and breach of trust in the acquistion of AJL by YIL. 2. Subramanian Swamy alleged that they did all that to acquire defunct National Herald and so the AJL which is worth Rs. 2000 crore now. 3. He alleged that YIL paid just Rs. 50 Lakh to own entire share equity of AJL. 4. He also alleges that the fund given by Congress to Young India was illegal because under the Income Tax Act, no political organisation can have financial transactions with a third party.
What Has The Trial Court Said In The Case So Far?
Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha has summoned Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other four owners to appear before the court on 19th December. The court observed that Young India acquired AJL with an intention to convert public money to personal use and all the accused were part of it.
Where Does Congress Stand?
Congress has refuted all the claims and said that YIL was created with an aim of charity and that the said case is “politically motivated”.
In The Video Below, Dr. Subramanian Swamy Explains His Version:
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.