Mumbai has become a living example of how terrorists can come at their will, kill hundreds of innocents, destroy property worth hundreds of crores, instill a state of perpetual fear in those who manage to survive and thereby blatantly spit on the face of Indian sovereignty, time and again. And the best that we can do is offer condolences for the aggrieved, and wait for the next blast to happen. No doubt, we have attained a state of shameless vulnerability and have almost epitomised it. And that is the reason why since the last few years, the incidence of terror attacks has not only seen an unprecedented surge, but has become increasingly blatant, gory and on the face. It is as if a blast or two a year has almost become an annual ritual. And every such blast also blows away into pieces the resolve that our government had taken during the previous attack – calling it a bold step against terror. And the saga continues...

The matter of the fact is that today, not only do we lack political will and stringent comprehensive laws to counter terrorism, our law enforcement agencies don’t even have a proper clue about the same. So much so, the terrorists are better versed about the loopholes in the existing anti-terror laws and abuse it to the hilt. And why shouldn’t they – not only are our laws old and crying to be updated, but they are also laden with loopholes. In spite of trapping the actual culprits, these laws have been used more to settle political and personal scores. Take for instance the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act, better known as POTA, which was used by law enforcement agencies more to arrest people who were innocent rather than actual terrorists. The abuse and misuse of the law was so rampant that the law, for sometime, had to be repealed. For the uninitiated, this law was on the lines of UK’s Prevention of Terrorism Act and America’s PATRIOT Act. However, unlike our law, their laws strengthened the anti-terror operations and aided the counter-terrorism cell. 

The same can be reiterated for the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which, in spite of providing huge strength to counter insurgency operations, failed to reap any fruitful results; on the contrary, the act was seen being abused by police officers in the north-east region of the nation. The next in line is the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act of 1987 (TADA). This anti-terrorist law allowed police to prosecute criminals who have testified to their crime. Out of more than 50,000 people detained under TADA (by 1992, after which the law was invoked on only a few occasions), only 0.80 per cent were actually convicted. The new modification made in these laws post 26/11, and introduction of section 43A has, rather than making the law comprehensive, given more power to police forces. Every time we bring a new law assuming in good faith that the police or the army will use it for the right reasons, we see them misusing the same laws with impunity. Each of these laws, therefore, should come with stringent punishments meted out for their misuse as well.   Read More....

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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My heart goes out for Mumbaikars! They face the worst of crisis time and again, despite being in the midst of plenty. Mumbai is our industrial capital and India’s richest live there. People come to Mumbai from all parts of India with dreams in their eyes to strike it big. Not that all of those dreams come true – 40% live in the slums of Mumbai. Yet, many strike it big and dreams do get fulfilled. More importantly, everyone is on the move and working hard – rich or poor. It’s in their culture. But then, from blasts to water clogging, issues just keep testing them and trying to slow them down – the latest one being their unending month-long water crisis, which is hitting everyone in the city, rich or poor.

In the biggest and swankiest of buildings, there is hardly any water and people are now going to work very often without taking bath. Water comes from tankers and that too for a few hours only. The whole day, taps have no water. Tankers too are not easily available and there are offices where the lavatories haven’t had water for a week and are stinking! Overall, the situation is very bad. The lakes nearby from where water can be obtained are at near empty levels with hardly any water that can be taken out. And now, if the monsoon is delayed by even a week, the city will be facing its biggest challenge ever... Of course, the fact that now all society water tanks have high lead content thanks to the tankers – which themselves are high in lead content – doesn’t make things easier. With water coming to its lowest level around Mumbai, finding clean water has become near impossible. Needless to say, there will be a significant rise in health related problems cropping up soon.

As usual, the government sits and gapes and is always caught unawares. Every year during rains, water floods the streets – people die. Still, the condition of the roads doesn’t become better. There is no process of seeing to it that one year down the line, the same issues don’t crop up. That doesn’t happen. It’s the same with water. Millions of litres of water are wasted because of leaks and theft s. Rain water harvesting is not something that has ever been encouraged or has any public awareness. The situation looks quite helpless. People are somehow managing, but the worse could just be round the corner. In Australia, where drought is common in the biggest of cities, the water conservation drive is so huge. But such drives in India are hardly there.     Read More....

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