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My success story will inspire comman man: Narayana Murthy

12 Jun

A self-proclaimed common man who created uncommon wealth for shareholders, employees and the founders got a warm farewell at the 30th annual general meeting of Infosys. N R Narayana Murthy on Saturday chaired the AGM for the last time as he hangs up his boots in August at Infosys — his “middle child”. 

Addressing shareholders, among whom sat people with just 15 shares and those with lakhs, Murthy said: “I am an average person with many below-average attributes…. My little story should be a confidence-booster for every average person in the world (so) that he or she can make a difference, at least in a small way, to this world.” 

Such typical humility apart, what’s incontestable is the fact that Murthy will go down as the architect of one of the biggest wealth-creation stories inIndia. Infosys employees, through stock options, have benefited to the extent of Rs 50,000 crore as the company has distributed 27% of its equity among them. The dividend distributed among the shareholders amounts to Rs 11,623 crore. The market capitalisation of Infosys, with 4.5 lakh shareholders, has annually grown at a compounded rate of 50% since 1994, making it India’s second most valued technology company. 

Watched by his newlywed son Rohan, daughter-in-law Lakshmi, wife Sudha and the families of other founders and senior executives, Murthy said turning 30 — Infosys is in its 30th year of operations — is a good time to reflect and look ahead. Thirty is also a time to break new ground. 

The company, which announced four new members to its board — V Balakrishnan, Ashok Vemuri, BG Srinivas and Anne Fudge — is positioning itself for a new version: Infosys 3.0. Murthy said: “The crucial things we have to do are: be firm in pursuing our values, recognize our weaknesses, embrace meritocracy, be open-minded about learning from people better than us, learn from our mistakes and not repeat them, be humble, honest and courteous, be firm in taking quick decisions.” 

“The Infosys journey has been an integral part of my life. My colleagues say Infosys is an inseparable part of me, and I am an inseparable part of Infosys. I have been a No. 1 actor in every major decision taken in this company so far. I have rejoiced in every milestone of the company.” He admitted: “It is not easy for me to deliver my last address at this forum. As I speak, a mosaic of images from the past whizz through my mind. The list seems endless, and it would be difficult to narrate them all. The day we assembled in my tiny apartment in Mumbai to decide that respect from every shareholder was the most valuable thing for us, was momentous.

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Baba Ramdev not mature enough to lead: Anna Hazare

11 Jun

A day after he declared his campaign would have no truck with Ramdev’s call to arms, social crusader Anna Hazare on Friday said the yoga guru was “not mature enough to lead a social movement as he does not have expertise other than yoga”. 

In an interview, Hazare said: “To get involved in social work, one needs to be alert about many things and Baba is yet to learn it. Baba has the habit of taking decisions unilaterally.”

After news came in that Ramdev, who has been on an indefinite fast at Haridwar, was shifted to hospital, Hazare urged the government to open a dialogue with him on “humanitarian grounds”. Hazare said Ramdev had a right to protest against the government as it was a legitimate right of an individual in a democracy. 

Hazare who is pressing the union government for enacting the Jan Lokpal Bill before August 15, explained why he distancing himself from Ramdev. “In our agitation, we discuss the developments with other activists, share ideas, welcome suggestions before taking a decision. This is the way to run any campaign or agitation. Baba’s thought process is not like us, hence there are some shortcomings in his way of protest which has benefited the government.” But he acknowledged their target was the same.

Meanwhile, a group of Ramdev’s followers from Pune visited Ralegan Siddhi on Friday morning to extend their support to Hazare’s campaign. The followers said that though Baba was their spiritual guru, they did not agree with his call to arms in the fight against corruption and they would join Hazare’s protest.

Why IPL-IV Wasn’t A Hit

10 Jun

Didn’t Cricket’s T20 format advertise itself as one modelled to ensure a nail-biting finish with the climax stretching to the last ball/last over? Perhaps why, it has stuck to the script for the last three IPL editions and doled out quite a few exciting contests and helped in promoting both the league and the format. What worked in its interest was that the quality of players didn’t seem to affect the outcome or more importantly the excitement of the game.

 

Unfortunately though, that didn’t seem to have been the case in the recently concluded fourth edition, which hasn’t only quashed any such definite notions about the format, but has also thwarted most of the appeal that the previous seasons had gathered. It’s alarming to note that for every one close encounter this season, there have been thrice as many one-sided affairs. This is simply anti-T20 policy. So, what has led to such a drastic change in IPL’s basic character? The obvious reason seems to be the thinning of domestic/international talent and hence the decline in quality. The player pool hasn’t swelled but the numbers of participating teams have. Let’s take a closer look.

 

Overseas recruits

 

The induction of foreign recruits in each team was not only to give the league an international touch but also to get top quality cricketers on board. It was only fair to assume that these foreign recruits would, every now and then, win the game on their own. Since only 4 overseas players were allowed in the playing XI, it was imperative to get quality cricketers on board.

 

But with the International commitments clashing with the IPL and the political stand-off (in case of Pakistani cricketers), top cricketers from at least three strong cricketing nations – Australia, England and Pakistan have stayed away this season. While there were still quite a few brilliant cricketers around, there were a lot of second string international recruits too.

 

Most teams played at least one overseas player to make up the numbers despite knowing that the player isn’t a match winner. Otherwise why would you see the likes of Mitchell Marsh, Nathan Rimmington, Mathew Wade, Davy Jacobs, Stephen O’Keefe etc playing in the IPL? I don’t mean to offend anyone but aren’t these guys just good domestic cricketers in their respective countries? Would you play them if you had International cricketers to choose from? More importantly replacing an Indian domestic player with an International ‘domestic’ player is never going to raise the standard.

 

Indian recruits

 

There’s been a lot of talk about the paucity of good Indian talent and the thinning of the existing talent (because of the increase in teams) leading to the decline in the quality. But are we really seeing things as they are or there’s more to it than what meets the eye?

 

Here’re a few Indian cricketers who impressed in the domestic circuit—Varun Aaron, the guy from Jharkhand, who bowled the fastest ball by an Indian. Pawan Suyal, a young left-arm seam bowler from Delhi who caught everyone’s eye in the domestic circuit. Sumit Narwal, arguably the best all-rounder in the domestic circuit this season. Pankaj Singh, the highest wicket-taker in the first-class season. Deepak Chahar, another young prodigy who took the world by storm on his debut. Abhinav Mukund, the left-hander from Tamil Nadu scored heavily for his team and South Zone.

 

These cricketers and many others like them were picked up by the IPL franchisees on the back of their domestic performances. But unfortunately these guys didn’t enough chances to showcase their skill in the IPL.

 

No, I’m not blaming the franchisees for not giving them an opportunity, since the IPL may not be about providing a platform, but winning the contests. I am only underlining the fact that certain players were stuck in a team that didn’t have a place for them in the XI. While there was a plethora of fast bowlers in Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI struggled to find decent Indian fast bowlers. Pune Warriors and CSK could easily spare a few unused batsmen which teams like DD and Kochi could have happily utilized.

 

When there’s an obvious scarcity, it’s unfair to hoard talent. How about having a window of trading during the IPL season to replenish the resources, for doing it after the season is a tad too late? Also, it’s imperative to ensure the availability of International players from stronger nations else we would have to entertain the thought of playing 5 overseas players instead of the existing four.

Tender Hearts International School kids join Anna Hazare’s campaign

8 Jun

Tender Hearts School students joined the nation-wide campaign launched by social activists Anna Hazare for a strong Lokpal Bill, in Patna.


Fast hasn’t ended, they wanted to kill me: Baba Ramdev

6 Jun

Hours after being bundled out ofDelhi, Baba Ramdev targeted Congress presidentSonia Gandhi and government, alleging that his peaceful agitation was treated with unprecedented ‘barbarism’ and vowed to continue his ‘satyagraha’ against corruption

Reaching his ashram here after the midnight crackdown at his protest site in Ramlila ground in the national capital, a visibly shaken yoga guru alleged that there was a conspiracy to kill him and a “threat” was given to him during a meeting with senior ministers. 

Wearing a white ladies suit instead of his trademark saffron robes , Ramdev accused the government of not being serious about discussing issues of corruption and black money stashed abroad and alleged that government negotiator Kapil Sibal had cheated him through “scheming and cunning” attitude. 

“The barbarism and atrocities inflicted by police on one lakh people crossed all limits and even women and children were not spared…They dragged and beat them up,” he said. 

Attacking Sonia while talking about last night’s developments, Ramdev said “She is running the government by remote-control. She is daughter-in-law of this country… she does not love the mothers and sisters of this country.” 

“If anything happens to me, Sonia and Congress government will be responsible…The government, especially the Congress, do not want to see me alive as my movement can expose their black deeds,” he said. 

However, asked if he feels Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was responsible for the incident, he merely said “the ministers said they are coming on behalf of the PM”. 

Ramdev rejected the government’s charge that he misused the permission given to him for a yoga camp at the ground, saying his agitation was also part of yogic elements. 
Narrating to his followers how he tried to escape the “brutalities” at Ramlila by wearing a women’s attire after the midnight swoop by police, Ramdev at times seemed nearing tears as he alleged that he was nearly strangulated with his scarf by the policemen. “I asked them, do you want to kill me?”

He claimed there was firing during the crackdown and several workers are in ICU. Ramdev said he has not called off his agitation but did not specify where he would continue it. 

Ramdev said “black day” will be observed peacefully across the country today and tomorrow against the police action which he termed as a “blot on democracy”. 

He also alleged that there was a conspiracy to arrest him and “eliminate” him in an encounter. 

“They were ready to unleash another Jallianwala Bagh. We were pressurised to give the letter (about ending the fast by June 6). We were told the otherwise we will have to suffer the consequences,” the yoga guru claimed. 

Asked about allegations raised against him by Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh, he termed them as “baseless and irresponsible”. 

“I am serving the people for 20 years. If people give donation to me that is the fruit of their labour, not black money,” he said. 

On accusations of RSS remote-controlling his agitation, he said his campaign had got support from various quarters including TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu. 

“What is the problem if someone supports us? They (government) should rather answer why all these happened,” he said when persistently asked about Sangh Parivar backing.

Headley was in touch with Pakistan officials, terrorists

25 May

The revelation by prosecution’s star witness on the second day of the trial of his one time friend, Pakistan-born Canadian Tahawwur Rana in a Chicago court, has put Islamabad squarely in the dock, adding fuel to demands for stopping US aid to an unreliable ally in the fight against terrorism.

The issue has further strained US relationship with Pakistan amid mounting pressure from Congress to reduce foreign aid since the May 2 US raid on Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, just outside the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

Federal prosecutors Tuesday also established Rana and Headley’s long-time friendship with the consul general for Pakistan in Chicago. All three men attended the same top military school in Pakistan.

US-born son of a Pakistani father and an American mother, Headley had changed his given name of Daood Gilani in 2006 to scout targets for the Mumbai attack without arousing suspicion.

Giving vivid details of the terror plot he enlisted Rana to help carry out, Headley said he was recruited by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed to take part in the plot to attack Mumbai.

Describing his last several months in Mumbai, Headley said he received the final orders from his handler from Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), a man known only as Major Iqbal — which he said provided help to the terrorists.

Major Iqbal was apparently upset that the Mumbai airport was not being considered as a possible target by the attackers, according to Headley’s testimony.

Iqbal wanted Headley to scout the Indian Naval Air Station in Mumbai as well. “He was really keen on that,” Headley testified.

Headley said he was asked to conduct surveillance and mark on his GPS the location of the Chabad house, a Jewish community centre in Mumbai.

Headley said that Major Iqbal was interested in attacking the Chabad House since Iqbal believed it was allegedly a front for the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service.

Headley said that the Chabad house was difficult to locate since it was at the end of a narrow alley, where his GPS could not receive a signal.

He described how he received instructions to shoot surveillance films for the attackers to help them plan their routes.

Headley also testified that he purchased traditional colourful bracelets worn by young boys and men in Mumbai so that the attackers would blend in.

In September 2008, Headley said that the planners for the attacks decided they would use what Headley called a “stronghold option” to barricade themselves in the hotels and fight to the death instead of trying to escape from Mumbai.

Headley testified about Abu Qahafa, one of the planners of the attack: “Abu Qahafa said if they knew they would leave, they would not fight as well.”

It was during this time that it was decided the terrorist gunmen would use Indian cell phones to communicate with each other and their handlers.

(Sources – http://www.deccanherald.com/content/163917/headley-touch-pakistan-officials-terrorists.html)

Barack Obama discusses Osama operation with PM Manmohan Singh

10 May

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama spoke over the phone on Monday night and discussed the American operation that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in Pakistan and also talked about the situation in the region.

A PMO spokesman said Singh and Obama also discussed further growth and development of Indo-US relations. “It was a warm conversation which covered wide-ranging subjects,” he said.

A statement issued by White House in Washington said Obama spoke to Singh to discuss the “successful American action against Osama bin Laden.” However, it did not give further details.

This is the first conversation between the two leaders since the killing of Osama on May 2 in a raid by US Special Forces in the garrison city of Abbottabad.

The White House statement said the two leaders also reviewed progress in implementing the initiatives launched during Obama’s November 2010 visit to India.

“The two leaders re-affirmed their commitment to building a global, strategic partnership, including defence cooperation, and looked forward to the upcoming meetings of the Strategic Dialogue, the Homeland Security Dialogue, the Joint Space Working Group and the High-Technology Cooperation Group,” the statement said.

The two leaders also discussed global and regional issues of mutual concern.

Singh had termed bin Laden’s killing as “a significant step forward” and asked the international community and Pakistan in particular to work comprehensively to end the activities of all terror groups.

The Prime Minister had hoped that bin Laden’s elimination would deal a “decisive blow” to al Qaeda and other terrorist groups”.

Osama protected by ISI elements: report

5 May

An influential American daily today claimed that there are signs that slain Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden was being protected by some elements of the Pakistan’s notorious spy agency ISI.

“There’s no doubt he (Bin Laden) was protected by some in the ISI,” an unnamed European official was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal.

It said US and European intelligence officials believe active or retired Pakistani military or intelligence officials provided some measure of aid to Al Qaeda leader Bin Laden, allowing him to stay hidden in a large compound just a mile from an elite military academy in Abbottabad.

Helping the effort will be the cache of computers, storage drives and other materials taken from Bin Laden’s residence, the daily said.

It said two senior US officials and a high-level European military-intelligence official, who have direct working knowledge of Pakistan’s military intelligence agency ISI, say similar elements linked to the ISI have aided other Pakistan-based terror groups, the Haqqani militant network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

However, according to one intelligence official, who has extensive experience in Pakistan, the ISI would have responded immediately when the compound came under attack if it had been his protector.

According to the Journal, US officials say they have evidence that the Haqqani network, a militant group based in Pakistan’s mountainous North Waziristan region, receives material support from the ISI in executing attacks against US and NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

Lashkar-e-Taiba carried out a deadly 2008 assault in Mumbai.

A similar statement was made by Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in an interview to the Dawn newspaper last month.

Bin Laden was shot dead in a pre-dawn helicopter-borne secret US operation in Abbottabad near Islamabad, raising questions whether the establishment knowingly harboured him.

Both the White House and the CIA have said that they are looking into the possibility of support infrastructure that Bin Laden enjoyed from the establishment at his hideout.

In classified briefings with top lawmakers, senior national security officials, said they were looking for evidence that elements within the ISI and the army played a direct or indirect role in protecting the Al Qaeda leader.

(Sources – http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/osama-protected-by-isi-elements-report/134087/on)

Don’t malign our mission, rein in colleagues: Anna Hazare to Sonia Gandhi

19 Apr

Social activist Anna Hazare on Monday wrote to Congress President Sonia Gandhi on the “smear” campaign launched against civil society members of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill and asked her to advise her “colleagues” not to try to derail the process of drafting of law.

 In a two-page letter to Gandhi, he complained against a party General Secretary, apparently Digvijay Singh who has been attacking his campaign, of making many statements which were “factually wrong” and asked her whether she approved them.

 He also refereed to an unnamed minister, who is part of the the ten-member joint committee on the bill, and charged him with making false statements that the civil society representatives have “succumbed” to government’s pressure and “diluted” the law.

 As the war over the alleged fake CD involving eminent lawyer and panel co-chair Shanti Bhushan intensified, he said “the developments of the last few days have been a cause for concern.

“It seems that the corrupt forces in the country have united to derail the process of drafting an effective anti-corruption law through the joint committee. Together we have to defeat their designs,” Hazare said.

 He said one of their strategies is to “smear the reputations” of civil society members in the committee.

 “Whereas I am of the view that the people working for public must be subjected to public scrutiny, however, when blatantly false accusations are made, fabricated CDs are planted, then one feels that the purpose is not an honest public scrutiny but to tarnish reputations.

“They have not even spared me, even though I have lived a simple life following on the path of truth. However, I am happy that despite all their efforts, the vested interests could not dig out anything of substance. This has only raised the reputations of civil society members in the eyes of public,” he said.

 The Gandhian said smear campaign of vested interests seemed to be back firing and people could see through what was happening.

 He warned that the country was in “no mood” to wait any longer to have a strong anti-corruption law and expressed fears about the consequences if the process was “derailed” as people were “very agitated”.

 Hazare wondered what would be the outcome if the government nominees in the committee were subjected to “similar scrutiny or witch hunt”.


Rahul working towards ending corruption: Anna Hazare

17 Apr

Social activist Anna Hazare on Sunday (April 16) reacted to Rahul Gandhi’s comment on how the AICC General Secretary was silently and continuously working to rid the system of corruption. 

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi Anna said, “I feel that the youth should work towards the progress of our country. I do not feel that Rahul would have pointed towards me while making that statement. It is good that he is working towards ending corruption.” 

Acknowledging the menace of corruption, the Gandhi scion had said that he has continuously been working against corruption. Rahul said that he has been trying to improve the rotten system rather than just complaining about it and shifting the onus on officials. 

Rahul Gandhi said, “I spend a lot of my waking hours thinking and working to improve what I see as a rotten system. The difference is that I cannot get away simply with writing letters and complaining as you can. I am faced with reality of changing things which requires much more than the periodic release of emotion.

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