Thursday, December 24, 2009

Full marks to Rajdeep Sardesai for the Editor's Guild statement. Under his leadership the Guild has taken a stand bolder than any it has taken in the past and that too on the awful subject of paid news.
Congratulations are due to him for that. At the same time, he also needs to look into how IBN-Lokmat, a channel of which Lokmat newspaper group is partner, functioned during the elections. It would further raise his credibility if the cleanup begins right there.
Editors Guild of India




The Editors Guild of India is deeply shocked and seriously concerned at the increasing number of reports detailing the pernicious practice of publishing “paid news'” by some newspapers and television channels, especially during recent elections. The Guild, at its Annual General Meeting held on December 22, 2009 has strongly condemned this practice which whittles the foundations of Indian journalism and calls upon all editors in the country to desist from publishing any form of advertisement which masquerade as news.

The Guild noted that it had always stood for publication of news which is in public interest; news which has been gathered due to the professional efforts of journalists; and news which is not influenced by malice, bias, favouritism or monetary influence. The Guild recognises that news media in print and electronic form, has a genuine right to publish and broadcast advertisements on all issues, subject to the voluntary Advertising Standards Council code and the News Broadcasting Standards Code.

It is imperative that news organisations have to clearly distinguish between news and advertisements with full and proper disclosure norms, so that no reader and viewer is tricked by any subterfuge of advertisements published and broadcast in the same format, language and style of news. It is disturbing that this “paid news” practice is also being used by companies, organisations and individuals, apart from political parties.

The Guild further deplores the practice of “private treaties” where news organisations accept free equity in unlisted companies in lieu of promoting these companies through news columns and television news programmes. The news organisations should disclose their commercial and equity interests in such companies to the readers and viewers in a transparent manner.

The Guild decries the unsavoury and unacceptable practice of some political parties and candidates offering payment for “news packages” to news media and its representatives to publish and telecast eulogising and misleading news reports on the political parties. Both the media organisations and editors who indulge in it, and the customers who offer payment for such “paid news” are guilty of undermining the free and fair press, for which every citizen of India is entitled to. Such irresponsible acts by a few media organisations and journalists is discrediting the entire media of the country, which has a glorious tradition of safeguarding democratic rights and exposing all kinds of injustices and inequities. Editors and journalists have been at the vanguard of the movement for creation of a just society, both during the days of colonial rule and Independent India. The ugly phenomenon of “paid news” will be a blot on the country's democratic fabric.

The Guild calls upon publishers, editors and journalists of media organisations to unitedly fight this creeping menace of commercialisation and bartering of self respect of the media. During the coming months, the Guild will join hands with other media organisations to sensitize the media and civil society, including political parties and the Election Commission, on the need to eliminate this unacceptable practice.

The Guild will be shortly unveiling an initiative to encourage transparency regarding “paid news” and “private treaties.” We appeal to all stakeholders to join us in pushing for a clean, transparent media.

Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai, President of the Guild announced the formation of an Ethics Committee headed by Mr. T N Ninan, Editor in Chief, Business Standard. The members are Mr. B G Varghese, Editor & columnist; Mr. Sumit Chakravarty, Editor, Mainstream and Ms. Madhu Kishwar, Editor, Manushi.

Rajdeep Sardesai S Sachidananda Murthy Rohit Bansal

President Secretary General Treasurer

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Speak up for Vidarbha, regional party urges Gadkari-VJAS

Speak up for Vidarbha, regional party urges Gadkari

Indo Asian News Service

Last Updated: December 19,2009 16:44:06

Mumbai, Dec 19 (IANS) On the day Nitin Gadkari took over as the new president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a regional party in Vidarbha Saturday urged him to take up the cause of statehood for the region, failing which he would not be allowed to move freely on his home turf.

The missive to Gadkari - who hails from Nagpur in the heart of Vidarbha - was contained in a statement from Kishor Tiwari, the chief of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti that is agitating for the new state to be carved out of Maharashtra.

Tiwari said that both the BJP and its predecessor the Jan Sangh had raised the demand for Vidarbha, while Gadkari had written a book in 2003 on the injustice meted out to the region.

'However, when the National Democratic Alliance led by the BJP formed new states (Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh), Vidarbha was listed on the top but was deleted due to opposition from your ally the Shiv Sena,' Tiwari pointed out.

He added that though the state unit of the BJP is supporting the Vidarbha demand, Gadkari has remained silent over it, raising suspicions over the party's stand on the issue.

'As the new president of BJP, the people of Vidarbha, your home region, need your clear stand on the issue,' Tiwari urged.

Tiwari urged Gadkari to remember his commitment and take up the cause, failing which the people of Vidarbha would not allow him to move around his home region.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nitin GadKari :Home People wants “Separate Vidarbha” as BJP’s National Agenda

Nitin GadKari :Home People wants “Separate Vidarbha” as BJP’s National Agenda

Nagpur-19th December-2009

“It has been the long pending demand of small state “vidarbha” of old Jansangh and then BJP and you wrote a book on vidarbha backlog and injustice to vidarbha in 2003 but when NDA Govt. formed three new states the ‘vidarbha’ was listed on the top was deleted only due opposition of your maharashtra alliance Shivsena .now a days your maharashtra unit is supporting separate ‘Vidarbha’ but your salient since the new small controversy started has kept us suspecting the national BJP stand on separate “ Vidarbha” . when vidarbha more than 22 thousands farmers committed suicides since 1997 and more than 6 million tribal families are malnourish hence more than 60% population of vidarbha is in despair and gloom and the region has been known as farm suicide capital of India and as National President vidarbha people needs your clear stand on the issue and announcement of agitation for the formation of “Vidarbha”, kishor tiwari of Vidarbha Jan andolan Samiti informed today in press note.

VJAS has drawn Gadkari attention toward the last wish of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar who said that to make all round development of the region Maharashtra should be bifurcated into three separate states should be open for public referendum of vidarbha people.

"With Telangana setting the ball rolling, demand for Vidharbha state too has got the momentum. Now as political parties and some intellectuals are opposing the formation of Vidarbha State ,the public referendum on this issue will certainly throw light on the facts regarding injustice done to the region in last 50 years ,Maharashtra leadership has treated this region like colony and now slaves should be allowed to take their decision where they want the freedom or not” Kishor Tiwari of VJAS said today.

VJAS has remained Gadkari the words of his books on the backlog of irrigation that “Vidarbha region have always been discriminated against by the other parts of the state. Government is least bothered to take care of this area. In fact, it has never looked beyond Mumbai, Pune, Baramati, Thane and Nashik.

Million of tribal families are malnourish and dying due to starvation and million of distressed farmers are daily committing suicides is result of Vidarbha's backwardness and this has happened due to complete apathy of western Maharashtra leadership as region was deprived of big ticket investments and irrigation facilities.

There is no jobs for youngsters who have to migrate to cities like Pune and Mumbai in search of job opportunities. It is time the people of this region realized the raw deal meted out to them and raised their voice against the injustice. Statehood was the only solution to develop the region. He said the region was rich in natural resources, national parks, diverse culture and people with a passion for life. It is this wealth that prevented Vidarbha from gaining statehood because leaders of Maharashtra wanted control over people of vidarbha .

In a letter to BJP Leader before taking the charge of national leadership to recall his commitment of vidarbha as a echo very emotional sentiments of vidarbha masses ,Tiwari said.


Saturday, December 12, 2009


Experts rubbish Rane's proposal to ban liquor-TIMES OF INDIA

Printed from

Experts rubbish Rane's proposal to ban liquor

minister Narayan Rane's demand that there be a complete ban of sale and purchase of liquor in the six suicide-prone districts of Vidarbha-Amravati, Akola, Yavatmal, Buldhana and Washim-has stirred a hornet's nest. There was uproar in the state assembly on Friday with the Shiv Sena-BJP legislators squatting in the well of the House and demanding that Rane apologise to the farmers of Vidarbha.

While farmers activists and senior politicians from Vidarbha have expressed their resentment over Rane's proposal, the revenue minister seems to have found an unlikely ally in chief minister Ashok Chavan. Observing that there is substance Rane's contention, Chavan on Friday said that he would discuss the proposal with members of the Opposition.

Condemning Rane's proposal, farmers' leader Kishore Tiwari said, "Farmers didn't commit suicide after consuming liquor. The main reason why they took the drastic step was the complete failure of their crops. They were unable to repay their loans,'' Tiwari said.

An analysis done by the local administration lists nine primary reasons for farmers' suicides. "Our survey has revealed that 37.18% farmers committed suicide due to financial crisis, 3.10% because of poor crops, 6.71% due to ill health and less than 3.75% owing to liquor consumption,'' a senior official said.

A senior excise official said it would not be possible to enforce a complete ban on sale and purchase of liquor as suggested by Rane. "We are not going into merits or demerits of Rane's suggestion, but it is not possible to implement the same,'' a senior excise official said.

The official pointed out that when Andhra Pradesh and Haryana had imposed a similar ban, there was a failure on the part of the administration to implement the order in letter and spirit. "As a result, the two state governments had no option, but to withdraw the order," he added. "If we want to implement the ban, we would have to seal the borders of these districts, which is not possible,'' he said.

The excise official recalled that despite a complete ban in Wardha and Gadchiroli districts, there were reports that liquor is available in these two districts. "We have been making efforts to enforce the ban, but with no success. If at all a ban has to be imposed, it should be across the country,'' he said.

If the ban is implemented, there wont be any adverse effect on revenue generation as the six districts don't contribute much, the official added. "From the Vidarbha region, we get well over Rs 800 crore per year. Of this, maximum amount comes from Nagpur city and district. If the ban comes into force, we don't see an adverse impact on state's financial situation,'' he added.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

-Vidarbha Farmers Suicides-Rane misleading the Nation-TARUAN BHARAT

Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti called the proposal ridiculous.The government has to acknowledge that suicides are the result of a serious economic crisis.By reducing it to excessive alcohol consumption, the government is mocking at the issue, he said.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Four More vidarbha Farmers Suicides -Hindustan Times.

Four Vidarbha farmers commit suicide

Four farmers committed suicide in the last 48 hours because of mounting debts and crop failure.

Sanjay Deshmukh, collector of Yavatmal district, said that he was told about one farmer in the district reportedly committing suicide because of agrarian crisis.

Mohan Jadhav, a leader of farmers' pressure group, claimed that nine farmers have killed themselves this month because of the agrarian crisis in the region. The figure was 64 in November.

"A total of 914 Vidarbha farmers have committed suicide this year," he said.

Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti accused the ruling party of siphoning off money meant for the relief packages.

He said the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the state legislature alleged that hardly 5 per cent of 13.48 lakh distressed farmers in suicide-prone districts of Vidarbha were given aid to increase agricultural production under the relief package for farmers announced by the government.

The PAC report that was tabled in the legislature exposed the government's claim of effective implementation of relief packages for farmers. The report also brings to fore the lack of initiative on government's part in addressing the issue of agrarian crisis in Vidarbha with a focussed approach.

The committee found 72 cases of delay in extending aid to the kin of farmers who committed suicide. But no action was taken even after two or three years.

The PAC report was critical of the government for not making monetary provision for four heads: publicity of ban on unauthorised money lending, promotion of agriculture-based industries, joint farming of cotton and farmers' helpline

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Apathy toward the Vidarbha Farmers: PAC confirms CAG report of Massive Corruption and Irregularities

Apathy toward the Vidarbha Farmers: PAC confirms CAG report of Massive Corruption and Irregularities

Nagpur-6TH DECEMBER 2009

on 1st July 2006 ,Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan singh declared Rs.3750 crore relief package to dying vidarbha cotton farmers that was aimed to address two basic hardships of these distressed farmers one is mounting debt and other is complete dependence on rain fed farming in dry land vidarbha as due to crop failure more than 96% cotton farmers were at default with banks and more than 98% farmers are dry land farmers not having assured water supply under any type irrigation facility hence Rs. 2500 crore where assigned for crating irrigation facilities in west vidarbha and Rs. 800 crore where given to banks as amount of interest on the overdue debt of cotton farmers of west vidarbha ,this was aimed to restore institutional credit to farmers to stop their exploitation from private money lenders and these so called relief were declared for the distressed farmers to stop their suicides and to reduce despair and gloom in the region but after it’s evolution after three and half year as per the 15th report of Public accounts committee (PAC) tabled in Maharashtra legislative assembly on 11th November by PAC chairman BJP MLA Girish Bapat from Pune has pointed out that the massive corruption in the in Rs.3750/- Prime Minister Relief Package for distressed vidarbha farmers resulted in it’s failure and also suggested very stern action under Indian penal code against all erring officers involved in the implementation of relief packages announced to stop farmers suicides in western vidarbha,

Public accounts committee (PAC) was asked to submit recommendation and ATR on the fact finding report investigated by director of relief package based in Amaravati ,constituted after the CAG has given shocking submission that in prime minister relief package to stop west vidarbha’s farmers suicides has been failed to serve it’s basic purpose and complete apathy of Maharashtra administration and institutionalized corruption forcing the complete failure of relief packages at all the fronts Kishore tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS), informed today

Here are Details of CAG Report


THE CAG report finds a serious problem with the micro-irrigation and assured irrigation projects worth over Rs 2300 crore in the packages.
The PM package has a component of Rs 2177 crore to create irrigation potential for 1.6 lakh hectares in six suicide-prone districts. Of this, Rs 2085.38 crore was to fund eight major, nine medium and 65 minor irrigation projects as grant from the Centre.
However, the Government of India revised in December 2006 the eligibility criteria for funding. According to the revised criteria, if the state government fails to comply with the agreed date of
completion, the amount released would be treated as loan and recovered as per usual terms of central loan recovery.
The CAG report states that the possibility of completion of projects within the stipulated time is remote. "This presents the risk of Rs 2085.38 crore (or 56 per cent of total package amount) becoming loan instead of grant

While there is much brouhaha over the Shylockian moneylenders exploiting the beleaguered farmers in Vidarbha, the CAG's performance audit of the farmers' packages finds cooperative and nationalized banks are no different. Castigating the cooperative and nationalized banks for levying huge interests on crop loans, the CAG report found that the nationalized and cooperative banks not only levied interest more than the principle amount to the tune of Rs 29 crore, but also wrongly claimed it in waiver in six affected districts.
For instance, the seven branches of district central cooperative (DCC) bank test-checked by the surveyors had levied an interest of Rs 5.13 crore as against principal of Rs 3.19 crore, resulting in excess claim of Rs 1.94 crore.That's not all. The CAG found that the DCC banks and rural cooperative societies charged an interest at the rate of 17 per cent per annum instead of 14 in over four lakh accounts involving principal amount of Rs 514.64 crore. This resulted in excess claim of interest at three per cent per annum. The penal interest of three per cent per annum works out to Rs 15.44 crore, it says.
Importantly, the CAG says farmers did not benefit from interest waiver. For, their incomes did not augment in any way. The state government had in its Rs 1075-crore package in 2005 December waived interest on crop loans up to Rs 25,000 taken by farmers of six districts from all DCC, national and rural banks. The government only
considered outstanding loans as on November 30, 2005. These were to be rescheduled at 9 per cent interest repayable in three equal annual installments with a two-year moratorium period. The moratorium period ended with the 2007 fiscal year.

The PM package had waived interest on all agricultural loans overdue as on June 2006 and reschedule the loans. Banks claimed a total interest waiver of Rs 824.99 crore, with the state's share being Rs 356 crore. However, as the CAG report says, the banks extended crop loans to only 4.84 lakh farmers out of a total 17.64-lakh farmers in the six most affected districts.So only about 35 per cent farmers got
institutional credit, when the proposal was to reschedule the loans of 9.29 lakh cases (about 60 per cent), which had an outstanding principal amount of Rs 1369.85 crore. The CAG says fresh crop loan disbursement actually dipped to 637.88
crore in 2007 from Rs 9.29 crore in 2006, when the PM, Dr Manmohan Singh, announced the package in Nagpur. The CAG report curiously quotes the Principle Secretary, Cooperation,as having replied to the query pertaining to decline in the number of fresh loan cases that 1,92,745 borrowers were landless farm workers who did not require any crop loan, 26,400 borrowers had died, 25,129 farmers had sold their land (in that year), 21,125 had left villages and 30,715 did not require any loan. The 62,807 cases were marred by disputes of lack of essential documents while in 85,975 cases the farmers had long-term loans. The CAG has objected to the fact that the government should not have waived the interest on the loans outstanding on the nearly two-lakh landless labourers.
Furthermore, the CAG report states that the government's ban on illegal money lending did not stand before the high court. The money-lending act may be reexamined in the light of decisions by High Court, it has recommended.

The over Rs 5000-crore special relief packages for Vidarbha farmers
announced by the chief minister and prime minister in 2005 and 2006 have flopped.
As the CAG's performance audit of farmers' packages finds that not only were the packages tardy in implementation, but also mindless in conceptualization an "inconsistent with local needs." Result: The money did not help mitigate the gargantuan agrarian crisis or even reduce farmers' suicides.In CAG's evaluation, "the possibility that agrarian distress essentially caused by un-remunerative agriculture would start rising again in the closing years of the package (2008-09)." It warns that distress could increase significantly after the expiry of the moratorium on loan recovery. The return on investment (RoI) of a typical cotton farmer, the CAG found, was a shocking minus two per cent before the implementation of packages. Which meant a farmer was in losses the day he went for sowing of seeds. It shot up to seven per cent in the first year of the package, and then dwindled to five per cent in the second and two per cent in the third year.
Effectively, a farmer is in losses all through the package-implementation years -– a reflection of which would be seen in 2008-09 when moratorium ends.
That, say sources, is the real face of the crisis – the pathetic income standards, if one compares these income standards with the rest of the state.
"Farmers' suicides shot up dramatically even when the two packages were in vogue," says the report, which was tabled before the state legislature on April 27,2008 just hours before the end of its budget session.


Public Accounts Committee (PAC) reports massive corruption in Rs.3750/- crore Prime Minister Relief Package

The 15th report of Public accounts committee (PAC) tabled in Maharashtra legislative assembly on 11th November by PAC chairman BJP MLA Girish Bapat from Pune has pointed out that the massive corruption in the in Rs.3750/- Prime Minister Relief Package for distressed vidarbha farmers resulted in it’s failure and also suggested very stern action under Indian penal code against all erring officers involved in the implementation of relief packages announced to stop farmers suicides in western vidarbha,

.The 15th report of Public accounts committee (PAC) has blamed irrigation department ,agriculture department and co-operative banks for siphoning out thousands crore by the complete understanding of concern ministers and executives in the top end of govt. in Mantralaya.some of officers who was involved in irregularities and corruption of thousand crore has taken voluntary retirement from state Govt. service with due consent of concern minister .all contract or supply order of relief work and materials was fabricated and most of the money was diverted to the ministers, contractors and officers even after PAC asked for immediate action till date there is no action against the officers or the banks ,PAC report added.

The 15th report of Public accounts committee (PAC) has expressed shock and displeasure over the extreme apathy of executive to provide ex-gratis aid to kin of deceased farmers .In some cases bribe was demanded from kin of deceased farmers who committed suicide to make illegible for the aid .this is sheer apathy and indicates inefficient functionary in administration , Public accounts committee (PAC) said in the report.

Public accounts committee (PAC) has asked Govt. to arrange for the detail probe in all cases of irregularities and malpractices in relief packages and in providing ex-gratia and to take stringent action against those already found guilty.ATR should be submitted to Public accounts committee (PAC),it recommended. Public accounts committee (PAC) has asked for Action Taken Report (ATR) to be submitted in winter session of legislative assembly starting from 8th December in Nagpur.

Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS),farmers advocacy group who have already lodged complaints against on going massive corruption in farmers relief packages ,now urged Govt. to tale stern action against all concern ministers and officers involved in the corruption, Kishore tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS), informed today.

Please arrange to release this press note

Thanking you,

Yours Faith Fully

Kishor tiwari


Vidarbha jan andolan samiti