Month: May 2011

Sheila Dikshit and sanitary napkins

Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has said that Delhi government will distribute free sanitary napkins to school girls. May be the money she and her colleagues made during the run-up to Commonwealth Games has run out and other sources have dried up and sanitary napkins contract is a way to make money.

Sanitary napkins are not a necessity. Till few decades back women did not use sanitary napkins. Around 70% of women in India do not use sanitary napkins. It is not the job of the state to provide sanitary napkins. After sanitary napkins it may be the case of free distribution of fairness creams, talcum powders, lipsticks, scents, perfumes and such things.

Sheila Dikshit has shown no concern about the safety of women in Delhi. Some years back a female journalist was murdered during night and Sheila Dikshit said that it was adventurous for a girl to go out at night. She did not talk about making Delhi safe for women at all times. She did not say law and order in Delhi is under the jurisdiction of Union Home Ministry and the Union Home Ministry should do more to make Delhi a safe place.

After Commonwealth Games, the central government had appointed Shunglu Committee which submitted reports. The government acted swiftly after the first report which was against Prasar Bharati CEO B. S. Lalli. After that Shunglu Committee submitted reports against Sheila Dikshit, Tejendra Khanna and others but the government did not act against them. Union Home Ministry sent a report to Delhi government to get its reply. As expected Delhi government has refuted charges. Suresh Kalmadi said he was responsible for 1,600 crore rupees spent by IOA on Commonwealth Games and Delhi government spent 16,000 crore rupees. Suresh Kalmadi is in jail. Nothing has happened to Sheila Dikshit. Suresh Kalmadi was unpopular for the mess he made it. Sheila Dikshit was popular for the efforts she made to rescue the games. But that is a separate issue.

Club over country

There is a feeling that cricketers prefer club over country. Gautam Gambhir playing IPL matches when he had an injury and opting out of West Indies tour is one instance. As Dean Jones put it was a choice between 11 crores for IPL and 2 crores for West Indies tour. It is said that as per contract Gautam Gambhir would have got the full amount of 11 crores for IPL if he had played five matches. He did not have to play other matches. However the contract could have something in fine print that required Gautam Gambhir to play all matches to get the full amount. When Sri Lanka wanted its players to return early for practice for England tour they were told that payments to players will be held up. Lasit Malinga retired from Test cricket instead of giving up IPL.

BCCI owns IPL. Franchisees pay money to BCCI and players. They want to recover their money. Franchisees drop players whom they do not want. BCCI wants money and does not care about players getting medals for country and did not send a team to Asian Games.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh are not in ODI team for West Indies tour and some of them will miss Tests. Zaheer Khan did not ask for rest. BCCI has rested him. Some feel India is sending its B team to West Indies.

Making a choice between club and country is limited to few players. For those who have played many Tests and ODIs and are sure of their place in the team it does not mean much playing for the country. Players who are tired are given rest. Some players are in ODI team but not in Test team and vice versa. Players who play both formats ask for rest. Players who play one format don’t ask for rest. Players of ODI team are also in T20 team.

If players get more money for playing for the country than playing for club they will opt for country.

Cricketers play for money and they are not hesitant about it. When the team won the world cup, BCCI gave one crore rupees each to players. BCCI was not obliged to give. But cricketers demanded five crore rupees each which was a surprise. The demand was justified by senior cricketers saying that only top players benefit and future is uncertain. When everyone is given the same amount it is wrong to say only top players benefit. All know future is uncertain. BCCI again gave one crore rupees each to players.

Cricketers today make more money than ever before. Besides money from cricket they make money from endorsement of various products. If a cricketer is presented with the choice of receiving Padma Shree from the president of India or earning one crore rupees by shooting for an ad film and he chooses to do the ad film there is nothing strange about it.

TRPs for IPL 4 were lower than any previous edition. If franchisees find IPL a loss-making venture they will not pay huge sums to cricketers and the problem of choosing between club and country will disappear.

ITBP Bill and Maharashtra

Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has sent a bill for Rs.10.87 crores to Maharashtra government for providing security to Ajmal Kasab for the period from 28 March 2009 to 30 September 2010. Maharashtra government says it does not have the money and has discontinued ITBP protection to Ajmal Kasab.

There was no need to deploy 200 men to guard Ajmal Kasab. The trial was inside the jail. There were other expenses that were unnecessary like constructing a hospital ward for him at the cost of 2 crore rupees which was not used and a tunnel at the cost of 50 lakh rupees which was rarely used.

Ajmal Kasab is a convict sentenced to death and should be treated like other convicts sentenced to death. His appeal is pending in the High Court. After that he may appeal to the Supreme Court and send mercy petition to the president. The cost of keeping him alive upto that time is estimated to be 40 crore rupees.

What happens to the money Maharashtra gets from various taxes? Compared to the tax collection Maharashtra makes 10.87 crores is a small amount and it is laughable that Maharashtra is unable to pay that amount. Law and order is a state subject and Maharashtra should pay the amount. It is not right to refuse payment on the ground that Ajmal Kasab is the responsibility of the whole country and international community is watching us. Ajmal Kasab is not a prisoner of war. We need not worry about international community. Many things happen in the world and international community does nothing.

In future ITBP should raise bills on a monthly basis. That will save them lot of trouble. It is not known why they do not raise bills on a monthly basis. They should also send the bill for the period from 1 October 2010 to the date they discontinued in May 2011 soon to Maharashtra.

Railway Protection Force (RPF) must learn a lesson from what happened to ITBP and raise a bill for Mamata Banerjee’s security with effect from 20/5/2011, the day she became chief minister of West Bengal and took about 80 personnel from RPF for her personal security. RPF is for railways and not meant to provide security to a chief minister.