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Monday, February 13, 2006




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Business and Economy

  • The SemIndia fabrication project to come up in Andhra Pradesh is likely to see Government of India equity participation speculated to be 26% of the project. The USD 3.3 billion project went to Hyderabad after Bangalore and Chennai lost out. While the issue with Bangalore was crumbling infrastructure and Governmental incompetence, the reasons for Chennai is not very clear. Communication and Information & Technology Minister Dayanidhi Maran says that he did not get "co-operation" from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Jayalalithaa, who is from a rival political party, says that Maran played politics. SemIndia wanted 1,200 acres of "free land," subsidized power, and abundant supply of water.

  • The Indian tourism sector growing at an impressive rate and now makes up 5.83% of the revenue. According to National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), the India economy is now at USD 14 billion employing 8.27% of the workforce or 38.6 million people. With these numbers, India ranks 8th in the world in terms of earnings and 3rd in terms of employment. In 2005, 4 million people traveled to India and 2006 is expected to see 5 million and 6.2 million Indians traveled out of India. By 2010, the number of tourists leaving the country is expected to cross 15 million making India second only to China. Domestic tourism also grew from 309 million in 2003 to 368 million in 2004. Over half a billion Indians are expected to travel within India. More than half of those Indians are expected to be from rural areas demonstrating that increasing disposable income is being generated in rural India.

  • Increasing populations, depleting water tables due to free electricity from states to farmers, and irregular power has created a large unorganized market for water. With an estimated market size of Rs. 50 billion, water costs anywhere from Rs. 3 per hour to Rs. 45 per hour. Water tankers supply water at Rs. 200-400 for 8,000 liters. Most of those who sell water are landlords with large holdings, politicians, and rich farmers and the recipients are usually small farmers, hotels, apartment complexes, and commercial buyers. While in the case of minerals, the Constitution clearly says that the state owns the water; it is ambiguous on who owns water-- the state or those who find water underground and able to pump it out. Maharashtra has already passed Water Resources Regulatory Act 2005 that would require water sellers to seek the state's permission. Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh have also enacted a law with regulatory mechanisms to control indiscriminate use of ground water. But none of these laws or Federal policy deals with waterways, rivers, lakes, and ponds that span state boundaries. There are also differences in how states see water, their laws to regulate it, and how the implement them.

Democracy, Politics and Judiciary

  • Mafia don and Rashtriya Janata Dal Member of Parliament Mohammed Shahabuddin are increasingly isolated even within his own party as more evidence of his terrorist links emerges. Some of the Kashmiri students studying in his Siwan Dental College enticed him to travel to Kupwara in Jammu & Kashmir. These students later turned out to be Hizb-ul-Mujahideen sleeper units. Refusing to accept the charges or responsibility, he said "If former Prime Minister Chandrasekhar can have dealings with an international arms dealer what is the problem if I have good relations with Dawood Ibrahim?" Ibrahim is the most wanted man in India in connection with the Mumbai blasts and on going terrorist activities in India. Shahabuddin says he does not know Ibrahim and is only making a point. Many people see Shahabuddin as the poster boy of corrupt criminal politicians and his party Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal as the most corrupt party in India, which is the most dysfunctional state of Bihar. 

Terrorism, Defense and Security

  • The Defense Ministry has invited the Tata Group, Israel's El Bit, and Britain's BAE Systems to upgrade 155mm 39 caliber Bofors howitzer guns by the end of the year for USD 400 million. The upgraded gun will have a longer range and take 45 caliber shells. The Defense Ministry has been increasingly sourcing work to private sector. Recently, it awarded a Rs. 500 million contract to the Tata Group and Larsen and Tubro to develop the launcher, fire control systems, and guidance electronics for its Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher.


  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that Iran would pull out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if the West forced it to limit its nuclear program. Known for his controversial and hard-line views, Ahmadinejad also repeated his earlier assertion that the Nazis never killed the Jewish people and the real holocaust was being committed on Iran and Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of people turned out to celebrate the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted then King Shah Pallahavi and saw the American Consulate being taken hostage with all diplomatic personnel. The US never reconciled to this event and considers Iran as one of the countries in the "axis of evil." Apart from disparaging statements from Ahmadinejad on Jews, Iran has in recent years taken several steps that would further the suspicion. Iran bought nuclear weapons technology and hid it from the International Atomic Energy Agency, unilaterally abrogated the Paris Agreement that froze its nuclear program and resumed enrichment at Ishafan and Natanz, and called for the destruction of Israel. Russia and China with large trade and oil interests in Iran are advocating restraint but the West is arguing that Iran is being increasingly belligerent and escalating tensions. Russian produced a plan that would allow Iran to jointly enrich uranium in a joint venture in Russia. All countries have supported this proposal but rejected by Iran.


Hot Topics

Foreign Investment in India

Tourism in India

Water Management in India

Defense Issues

Election in Nepal

Iran Nuclear Issue

Hamas victory in Palestinian Elections

Bird Flu virus

Featured Analyses

The Saga of the Jemaah Islamiah

Indonesia has continuously been embarrassed by the terror acts of a handful of terrorists from the Jemaah Islamiah (JI), a group with definite Indonesian origins and made up mostly by members of Indonesian nationality.

Will Kashmir go the way of Aceh?
A Cry for Help
Watch the Dragon
Cage This "Tiger"
Dalits in India
Was Jinnah a Secularist?
Burying the Howitzer?
Smoking Out Smoking

Featured Edits

India everywhere, govt nowhere
China’s fast breeders
Americans and anti-Americanism
IPO Scam: Time to examine systemic issues
Wanted leaders with vision
Supremely Erroneous Zones
Howzzat for charm?
South Indian Inscriptions

Ancient Indian dynasties documented their administration, significant developments, grants, and milestones as inscriptions in temples. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has documented these inscriptions from 1886. These pages contain inscriptions from Pallava, Chola, Pandya, Western Chalukya, Eastern Chalukya, Rashtrakuta, Hoyasala, Vijayanagara, Vishnukundin, Kakatiya, Reddi, Vaidumba, Chinda, Eastern Ganga, Gajapathi, Kalchurya, Qutb-Shahi of Golkonda, and Moghul,  dynasties.

  • With thousands of opposition party workers in jail, the country under a strike called by Maoist terrorists, and large sections of population staying away, Nepal concluded its controversial mayoral polls. The international community has been severely critical of this exercise. India and Japan questioning its credibility when the opposition was in jail, the UK called it "meaningless," and the US described it as "a hollow attempt to legitimize power." King Gnanendra’s administration hit back hard on such criticism as insolence and asked them not interfere in the internal affairs of a "sovereign country." It accused the countries of double standards when it comes to dealing with democracy and terrorism. As expected, the pro-Gnanendra Rashtriya Prajatantra Party won 25 of the 58 mayoral seats. Meanwhile, Maoists terrorists have abducted workers of Indian company subsidiaries demanding the release of their captured colleagues. While they have release 21 hostages, the increased abduction of labor of Indian companies is seriously affecting Indian interests.

  • Editorial: The Nepal Stalemate

  • Editorial: Iran's Nuclear Program


  • Israeli Ambassador to India David Danielli said that India could make a substantial contribution to peace with Palestinians because it maintained good relations with both sides. However, he reiterated the message from Tel Aviv that Israel will not negotiate with Hamas, the victor of recent elections in the Palestinian Territories, without it first renouncing violence and also accepting Israel's right to exist. Hamas is under severe economic pressure from the world community to accept a more peaceful role. To reinforce their demands, they have suspended their aid. Hamas has refused to be coerced into accepting Israel. Russia has joined the West and Israel demanding that Hamas walk away from violence.

  • Nigerian officials are desperately trying to contain the spread of the dreaded H5N1 avian flu virus that has resulted in the culling of several hundred poultry in Kano, a large trading city with millions of people. However, efforts to contain the virus to Kano may be futile as Kastina, a city 170 kilometers north of Kano, reported an outbreak. If the outbreak in Kastina were confirmed, all four states of Nigeria would have been infected. For the first time within the European Union, Greece and Italy separately confirmed incidents of virus.

  • Editorial: Hamas's victory in Palestinian Territories

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