Commercialising Surrogacy

News4u- Feature Desk- By Veera Chaturvedi-The government has at last woken up to the fast growing cases of surrogacy in India. After banning commercial surrogacy, they are finalising a legislation to allow surrogacy only to childless Indian couples. After that the court would ponder over other issues relating to surrogacy, like the parental right over the surrogate child.

All over the world the Royal moms, refrained from feeding their babies for fear of losing their body curves. In such cases some lady ,mostly of the serving class, was engaged to feed the baby while her own child subsisted on cow’s milk. The poor woman accepted the work for it meant good money as well as respect in the Royal family.She was called Dhai Ma. We have the enthralling tale of Panna Dhai who sacrifised her own son to save the prince she had been feeding since birth. The point to be noted is that these Dhai mas were emotionally attached to the children they mothered.This love was accepted by the society.
However, the present generation has gone a step further,world over. Its not always the curse of being unable to bear a child but the unwillingness to go through the travails of child birth and losing one’s figure that has escalated the number of couples opting for a surrogate mother to bear a child for them.

Moreover with most of the women working in offices and outside their homes, this trend took up speed. Foreigners found an easy womb to fulfill their wishes with pockets jingling with money. Money became the important force to lure poor women of India to offer themselves as ‘Kiraye ki kokh’. Even actors like Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan added children to their family without their delicate wives going through the pangs of childbirth. In other words it has become a fashion to add children to one’s family by hiring a womb. It is just like buying a beautiful artifact to add to the home decor.

People argue that this has given many poor families a chance to earn a substantial amount of money and change their fortunes. Still human mind is not a machine and a woman’s womb cannot be treated like a nursery where seeds are planted to grow up in plants and sold to the needy. Sometime some where the mother’s mind is bound to feel a bonding with the infant she had borne for full nine months. Its not aginst human nature. In the ourse of time such a child could also like to know who had given birth to him and fed with her own blood.

The government has taken a good decision to ban commercialisation of surrogacy. The rich nations have always taken advantage of our poverty. After the flesh trade, surrogacy is going the same way with middlemen appearing here and there. Lets stop this insensitive use of women. However for a childless couple, with no other options, the laws can be relaxed.

Commercialising Surrogacy

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

ख़ामोश है दरवाज़ा ( A Memoir - in Hindi )

News4u-Features Desk- गुलाबी शहर जयपुर की जानी मानी मिर्ज़ा इस्माइल रोड पर पांच बत्ती से आगे स्टेशन की ओर जाती सड़क पर कुछ दायें सड़क एक रास्ता सा बना देती है भीतर की तरफ़ । वहीँ खड़ा है एक लम्बा चौड़ा दरवाज़ा जो अपनी ख़ामोशी कभी नहीं तोड़ता । उसमे एक छोटी सी खिड़की भी है पर वह भी चुप-चाप आने जाने वालों को देखती भर रहती है ।

साल में न जाने कितनी आँखें सिर्फ इस दरवाज़े को देखने के लिए ही इधर का रुख करती हैं, लेकिन कोई दस्तक नहीं देता । अंदर का सच सबके भीतर मेहफ़ूज़ है , उसे छेड़े क्यों?

मैं आज उसी दरवाज़े के बहर खड़ी हूँ । न खुले दरवाज़ा , मैं तो सब कुछ आर-पार देख पा रही हूँ। ऊंचा पूरा गुलतुर्रा लाल फूलों से लदा है, बेचारा अमरूद उसकी छाओं में पनप नहीं पाता पर फल बराबर देता है । ये और बात है कि ये फल कभी पक नहीं पाते । शैतान बच्चों की पूरी जमात उनपर निगाह लगाये रहती है ।
गुलतुरे की छाया में आराम से सोया हरे कालीन सा लॉन और उसके किनारे किनारे लगे फूलों के पौधे और उधर अशोक का ऊंचा दरख़्त साथ में दो बहनो सी बतयाती मौलश्री , अपनी जगह वहीँ हैं । दरवाज़े के पास अंदर सभी कमरों पर चिक पड़ी है । भाई लोग पढ़ें या क्रिकेट की चर्चा करें किसी को पता नहीं चलता । हाँ, जब वे बाहर आकर क्रिकेट खेलते या पतंग उड़ाने छत पर जाते तो एक शोर से सारा घर जाग उठता ।

बोगनविलिया और पीले फूलों वाले कनेर के साथ ही हम सब बड़े हुए। एक ओर फूलों से भरा आँचल बिछाये बैठी बेला की लतर रात भर महकती , सुबह सवेरे लुट जाती । सुबह शाम चिकों के पीछे कमरों से घंटी बजने और दबे दबे सुर में आरती का स्वर उभरता और शाम रात में ढल जाती ।

गर्मी में आँगन में बिछी ढेरों चारपाइयां और उनपर लेटी चाचियाँ, ताइयां , भाभियाँ , बहने और बच्चे - कहीं लोरिया , कहीं कहानियां तो कहीं आंसू और शिकायतें । सब हवा में आज तक घुली मिली हैं ।

पढाई वाले कमरे में लड़कियों की खुस-फुस , उनकी हसीं एक अनुशासन पसंद आवाज़ के डर से कहीं दुबक जाती । क्रिकेट कमेंटरी सुनने की चाहत लिए कान या बिनाका गीत माला के प्रेमी भी इसी आवाज़ से सहम बत्ती बंद कर कोने में छिप जाते ।

ताउजी की आवाज़ पर पर्दा करने वाली भाभियाँ , चाचाओं और भाइयों की आवाज़ पर काम के लिए दौड़ पड़ने वाली लड़कियां , लम्बी चौड़ी रसोई में चूल्हे के सामने पसीने में नहाईं भाभियाँ और चाचियाँ , उन सब की चूड़ियों की खनक , आपस की चुहलबाज़ियाँ इस दरवाज़े के पीछे आज तक गूंजती हैं ।

“बस आगई !” का शोर सुबह से कई बार घर मैं गूंजता । लाल रिबन के फूल बनाये छोटी छोटी लडकियां , हरे लाल स्कर्ट में कुछ बड़ी और फिर सलवार कमीज में सजी कुछ और बड़ी लड़कियों के लिए बसें बार बार सड़क पर रूकती , दरवाज़ा देखता रहता ।

लम्बी चौड़ी छत से लटकती रंग बिरंगी साड़ियों की कतार , धुप खाते अचार , बड़ियां और आलू पापड़ के आस पास टहलती लड़कियां , इतनी बातें उनकी कि खत्म ही ना हों कभी । और फिर इसी छत पर बारात का स्वागत भोज , दूसरी छत पर से गालियां गाती घर की महिलाएं और कान लगाकर मज़ा लेते बाराती और घराती । सिल्क के कुर्तों में सजे घर के सभी मर्द बारात की ख़ातिर में माहिर होते ।

कहते हैं आवाज़ें कभी मरती नहीं , हवाओं में सुरक्षित रहती हैं । मेरे आँगन में हर बरस गर्मी में लम्बें चौड़े आँगन में सजे मंडप से गूंजती मुरादाबाद वाले पंडित के मंत्रोच्चार कानों में अभी भी उत्तर आतें हैं ।

हाँ दरवाज़े के पीछे और भी बहुत कुछ है । एक नौकर जो नौकर कम , चौकीदार ज़्यादा है । एक बड़ा सा कमरा जिसे साहब का कमरा कहते थे और जो वाकई कुछ राजसी सा लगता था । इसके अलावा मेरी माँ की दमें से भारी साँसे , बड़ चाची के हाथ का मुसलसल हिलता पंखा , दादी का मंद स्वर में गीता पाठ और बड़े हंडे की चाय , जिसके बिना ज़िन्दगी बदमज़ा होजाती ।

दरवाज़ा खामोश है पर मैं उसमें बोलती आवाज़ों को सुन सकती हूँ जब चाहूँ तभी ।

वीरा चतुर्वेदी

By : Veera Chaturvedi
Veera Chaturvedi is a renowned author . She has many books to her credit. She is a freelancer you can find more of her articles on http://ipen-veera.blogspot.in/


ख़ामोश है दरवाज़ा

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

CANCUN - A dream I saw with open eyes

News4u-Travel Desk- After about 36 hrs of back breaking air travel, I a tlast landed at Cancun. Checking into a hotel, I tried in vain to grab a few winks. However the jet lag kept me awake as I kept thinking of the excitement in store for me.

With the first glimmer of the morning light I got up, dressed and went outside. The hotel itself was standing on a lagoon with crystal clear water caressing it from all sides.

Yes, Cancun is the blessed child of mother nature, There are white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, small hotels and expansive resorts. Its a rare combination of nature and man made luxuries for those who love to enjoy life and yet thirst for some peace of mind.

My mind was full of the Mayan Civilization, I had read so much about. Since the Mayan Calendar became the most talked about news item, I had been craving to have look of it at close quarters.UNFCC gave me a rare chance to be in Cancun and there I was charmed by whatever I saw.

cancun

Situated on the coast of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Cancun rests along the shores of the turquoise blue Caribbean. This south east Mexican site was specifically designed to be one of the worlds most vibrant tourists destinations.

With an endless variety of activities and amenities, surrounded by lush extensive natural reserves Cancun is heaven for the tourists. A visit to Cancun is the perfect opportunity to experience the wonders of nature, ranging from exploring jungles to the world’s second largest barrier reef.

Cancun, with its almost 5000 archeological sites,overwhelms you with the history of ancient Mayans. An ancient culture whose influence is felt and revered even to this day.

I felt very close to the people of Cancun. The most surprising thing I experienced there was that no body looked at me as a stranger , a foreigner. May be because Mayan culture and civilization seems to be just an extension of the Indian Civilization. The temples, the painted murals with mythology woven into them, the Mayan trinkets, pots and pans,the knowledge of astronomy, mathematics and inspite of all these, an attraction towards the black magic, felt so familiar that I became one with the hustle and bustle of the Cancun.

From Cancun one can visit some of the greatest ruins in the world such as ‘Chitchin Itza’, recently named as one of the new seven wonders of the world. Then there is Tulum, just a drive away.

Along the shores of Cancun a multitude of water sports and other recreational activities await the tourists. Adding to this natural setting is a world class infrastructure including over 25 marinas and water sports, manned by expert guides and professional operators.

Deep sea diving, wind surfing, para -sailing and catamarans are some of the sports that make Cancun much sought after destination for tourists. The Cancun beaches invite you to walk through the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve beneath the watchful eyes of Macaws, Loucans and flamingos.

The streets of Cancun are no less attractive with 2000 shops, boutiques and stores with merchandise ranging from local artisan craft to haute couture. For your tired body there are spas equipped with most modern facilities.

The Golf Courses of Cancun are a treat to the sports lover, bringing in this game’s greatest names to the superb links. For those who love to dance there are discos with world renowned musical acts that take the stage in Cancun’s lively bars.
There are hotels, big as well as small to cater to the needs of the tourists with breath taking views of the water, now tranquil and now lashing at the shores.

I loved Cancun’s multifaceted persona. Yes, Cancun is alive and kicking even when you are lost in deep sleep. Its a dream which I saw with my eyes open. I lived that dream for a full week taking away its memories for as long as I live.

AMIT

CANCUN

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Suzhou: China’s Venice of the East

News4u-Travel Desk- It is called China’s Venice of the East for its beautiful waterways and enchanting gardens and is fast emering as one of most popular tourist destinations in China.
A part of Jiangsu province, Suzhou has a cultural history of over 2,500 years. Located nearly 1,400 km south of Beijing, the enchanting city, with a mix of the tradition and modern, boasts of more than 300 rivers and lakes and 20,000 waterways. Most waterways are found in the old parts of the city where one can travel on wooden boats through crowded communities that retain their old-style living and are yet sensitive to tourist requirements.

Restaurants, with local food and modern snacks, line up on both sides of the waterways for those who may desire a break and a leisurely snack or meal. On the shores are some of the oldest teahouses in this area where Chinese tea is served in the traditional way — with dry fruits.

Unlike the metropolitan areas of Suzhou, these houses are single-storey structures. Everywhere, men and women enjoy the afternoon sun in open air cafes and teahouses along the waterways.

Restaurants boast of authentic Suzhou cuisine which are relatively light in taste. The fish platter gives out a lotus leaf fragrance. One can enjoy stuffed dumplings made of glutinous rice powder with froth-free beer.

“Not only the cuisine but even the lifestyle here is different from many other towns and cities. Leisure is the keyword here,” said a resident, Zhou Xian, to a visiting media correspondent.

Music lovers can visit the ” China Kunqu Opera” museum in the old city. It has more than 100 opera-related cultural relics including the original manuscripts of some of the best known Chinese opera.

A few kilometres away one comes across Taihu - China’s third largest freshwater lake. The lake has two man-made islands, whose main attractions are water games and luxurious boats.

Among Suzhou’s best of gardens is the “Humble Administrator’s Garden” on the northeast street. It is the largest classical garden in Suzhou and one of the four famous gardens of China.

The entire garden stands around streams and ponds. The architecture is that of Ming dynasty. In 1997, Unesco listed it a world cultural heritage site.

The garden’s major attraction is a small canopy, from where the original owner could view things from different sides during different seasons.

The dense trees have been planted in a specific pattern to block the sun during summer and add radiance to the hills and ponds during winter.

Then there is “The Lingering Garden”, over 400 years old and possessing one of the largest “lake rock” among all the gardens of China.

Suzhou is where the classical treatise, “The Art of War”, was written by Sun Zi Bin Fa (commonly known as Sun Tzu).

However, it is the art of preserving and showcasing the cultural heritage of “Wu culture” which has made this ancient city a must see not only for domestic but an increasing number of foreign tourists including many from India.IANS

Suzhou: China’s Venice of the East

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

हमसुख़न (उर्दू शायरी )

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Author-  humsukhan-scc.blogspot.com

मुझे अपने ज़प्त पे नाज़ था सरे बज़्म रात ये क्या हुआ ,
मेरी आँख कैसे छलक गई मुझे रंज है ये बुरा हुआ I
जो नज़र बचा के गुज़र गए मेरे सामने से अभी अभी ,
ये मेरे ही शहर के लोग थे , मेरे घर से घर है मिला हुआ I

मेरी ज़िंदगी के चराग़ का ये मिज़ाज कोई नया नहीं ,
अभी रौशनी अभी तीरगी, न जल हुआ न बुझा हुआ I

मुझे जो भी दुश्मने जां मिला वो ही पुख्ताकारे जफ़ा मिला ,
न किसी की ज़र्ब गलत पड़ी न किसी का तीर खता हुआ I

मुझे आप क्यों न समझ सके, कभी अपने दिल से भी पूछिये ,
मेरी दास्ताने हयात का तो वर्क़ वर्क़ है खुला हुआ I

मुझे हमसफ़र भी मिला कोई तो शिकस्ताहाल मेरी तरह ,
कहीं मंज़िलों का थका हुआ, कहीं रास्ते में लुटा हुआ I

मुझे इक गली में पड़ा हुआ किसी बदनसीब का ख़त मिला ,
कहीं ख़ूने दिल से लिखा हुआ, कहीं आंसुओं से मिटा हुआ ,

हमें अपने घर से चले हुए सरे राह उम्र गुज़र गई ,
कोई जुस्तजू का सिला मिला, ना सफ़र का हक़ अदा हुआ I

Courtesy- —-humsukhan-scc.blogspot.com


Arun Jaitley Flags off Relief Material to Nepal

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Ecotourism destinations

News4u-Travel desk-  When it comes to environmentally friendly tourism, certain locales come to mind immediately. Vietnam, Kenya, Cameroon… the classics. But as the ecotourism movement gains momentum, additional destinations are joining the roster. Here is a roundup of a few of the rising stars of the ecotourism scene.

Dubai
Notwithstanding its reputation for opulence and excess, the emirate was recommended by National Geographic as an emerging ecotourism destination. Visitors interested in sustainable tourism can head to Dubai`s nature reserve or take a day trip into the desert with indigenous guides.

Kerala, India

Kerala

 

 

A growing number of ecotourists are heading to this state in southwest India to take in its dozens of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves and other protected areas. “God`s own country” is the slogan of this region, which is investing in responsible tourism as a sustainable and responsible form of economic development.

 

 

 

 

Bhutan

Bhutan

 

 

In this South Asian nation, respect for local customs and for nature has been established by the government as a matter of national importance. The majority of ecotourism opportunities in Bhutan fall within the luxury travel category and are targeted at high-end clients. And for good reason: each visitor must pay a daily tax of $250, which goes directly towards the preservation of the landlocked country, which is located between India and China, to the east of the Himalayas.

 

 

 

 

Myanmar

Mynmar

 

 

Little by little, the country is opening up to international tourism, offering exceptional opportunities for environmentally conscious tourists looking to interact with local populations. On a hike departing from Kengtung, within the famed Golden Triangle, tourists can come into contact with villagers from the Palaung, Akha, Lahu, Lisu and Khun tribes.

AFP


Dubai

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Bali, a place for sea lovers and ancient temples

News4u-Travel Desk- Bali: Are you a sea urchin who wants to soak in the sun in a serene ambience? Do you also fancy ancient temples and the fascinating stories around it? Then a visit to the island of Bali in Indonesia - a predominantly Hindu enclave in a country with the world`s largest Muslim population - will more than quench your thirst.

Bali`s undulating landscape is a real treat for the eyes as well as the soul. Bali is an Indonesian province where 84 percent of the population is Hindu followed by Muslims and Christians. It has tropical weather conditions and July-August are considered the best months to visit.

The picturesque city of Nusa Dua, 40 km from Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali, points to the aesthetic sense of the its planners. The city is dotted with huge lush green parks. Statues of various Hindu mythological figures and sculptures of dancing women and various tropical animals and birds are spread across the city.

During the religious festivals, the Balinese people dress up the sculptures. Even temples put umbrellas over the heads of the statues.

The people are soft-spoken, friendly and religious. They start their day by offering flowers and fruits to the gods, a common scene across the island.

“Tourists come from across the world. Many people from the West come just to enjoy the sea,” a tour guide said.

People also throng Bali for the beautiful ancient temples; the place is also known as “The island of thousand temples.”

A visit to Uluwatu Temple will sweep you off your feet. Located on the edge of a cliff overlooking the blue sea, it has a therapeutic effect on visitors. Constructed in the 11th century, it is one of the nine directional temples meant to protect Bali from evil spirits. It is a ritual to wrap a cloth around the waist while entering.

But one needs to be cautious about the monkeys in the temple premises! They are present in huge numbers and at times give tourists a tough time.

There is also an amphitheatre-like structure within the premises where Hindu mythological plays are performed in the evening.

Bali is also known for its handicrafts like batik works on dress material, wooden crafted objects, showpieces made of shells, leather goods made of snakeskin, various utility items made of wood and cane and traditional musical instruments crafted out of coconut shells, wood and cane.

One needs plenty of rupiahs to purchase this stuff. With the inflation rate steep, $100 will fetch you 1,135,000 to 1,140,000 rupiah depending on the day`s exchange rate. And, any beautiful object one will lay one`s hands on will cost not less than 75,000 rupiah.

Nusa Dua is a serene and private location with lots of upmarket hotels, but to get a hang of the night life in the city one must go to Kuta. Life starts there after 10 p.m. Here one can find lots of reasonable accommodation and open restaurants. Kuta has innumerable night clubs and the hookah crowd flocks the place.

Beaches in Bali are a hot spot for swimming, surfing and sunbathing. Since the mercury never dips substantially in this zone, one can travel light.

Bali caters to the beach spirit of both the rich and bagpackers alike.

How to reach:

* From India, travel through Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia), Singapore (Singapore Airlines and others) or Bangkok (Thai Airlines). Thence, fly by carriers like Air Asia, Lion and others to Denpasar.

Flight time from New Delhi to Kuala Lumpur/Singapore: 5 hours 30 minutes.

Flight time from Kuala Lumpur/Singapore to Denpasar - less than 3 hours.

* Accommodation: Ranges from Rs.3,000 to Rs.50,000 ($47-$792) per night.

For the really high end traveller, there is the Bulgari hotel, one of only two in the world, where a room costs Rs.150,000 ($2,380) a night.

* A meal for four in a mid-range restaurant will cost Rs.2,000 ($31) without alcohol.

* Cuisine to watch out for: Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice), Mie Goreng (fried noodles), Opor Ayam (Chicken curry), Tuna Sambal Matah (Seared Tuna with raw Sambal), Sambal Udang (Prawns in spicy sambal sauce) and Beef Rendang. IANS


Bali, a place for sea lovers and ancient temples

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Junk food consumption leads to diseases

News4u-Features Desk- Junk food is taking a toll on people’s lives these days and with changing lifestyle people tend to prefer it more.

A programme in the capital was organised to raise awareness about the harmful effects of junk food.

In today’s fast paced lifestyle, junk food has entered the diet of not only people in urban areas but in villages too consumption of junk food is rising.

A programme involving health experts and consumer rights activists was organised in New Delhi on harmful effects of junk food.

The experts blamed misleading advertising for the increase in consumption of junk food.

Daily consumption of junk food can affect health and lead to various diseases.

Panel discussions on the topic “Junk Food & Health - A Wake Up Call” was organised by Consumers India and it highlighted the view point of consumers.

Junk food is high in carbohydrates, fat and sugar content.

It usually includes fried food like burger, chips, pizza, chocolates among others.

The number of obese patients has grown significantly in the last ten years due to junk food.

Junk food

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Vadra Land Deal : Probe panel formed

News4u-News Desk- In what may come as a major setback for Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, the BJP Government in Haryana has appointed a one-man Commission of Inquiry to probe the issues concerning the grant of licenses for developing commercial colonies by the Department of Town and Country Planning to some entities in Sector 83, Gurgaon.

Justice S.N. Dhingra, a retired judge of the Delhi High Court, would head the Commission of Inquiry

An official spokesman of the state government said that the Commission would also probe their subsequent transfer or disposal, allegations of private enrichment, ineligibility of beneficiaries under the rules, and other connected matters.

Issues concerning public importance related to the grant of licenses and alleged illegalities have come to the notice of the state government.

The Commission will submit its report to the state government as soon as possible, but not later than six months from the date of its first sitting.

The Commission shall make an inquiry and give its findings and recommendations with respect to the following matters, namely: - the circumstances under which license(s) for development of commercial colonies were granted to some entities in sector 83, Gurgaon; whether the said entities were eligible for grant of license(s) as per the applicable laws, rules, circulars, notifications, guidelines etc. prevalent in the state of Haryana including in the Department of Town and Country Planning, Haryana; whether the transfer of licenses by the original licencee within a short period of time to other entities was violative of law, rules, circulars, notifications and/or guidelines etc.; and whether the Town and Country Planning Department had contemplated the transactions that had taken place before or after the grant of license, particularly with reference to the loss of revenue to government; to recommend measure(s) which may be adopted to meet the ends of justice, particularly with a view to take corrective action to prevent loss of revenue to the public exchequer and also prevention of undue private enrichment at the cost of the public exchequer in such cases in the future; to consider such other matters, including, complaints given by different individuals, magazines, political parties and also the Comptroller and Auditor General reports etc. on the subject; to give findings and recommendations to meet the ends of justice, particularly relating to allegations of criminal conspiracy, criminal misconduct and undue private enrichment, if any and the role of public servants and private individuals therein; and to recommend remedial measures, for systemic improvement, with a view to prevent loss of revenue to the public exchequer and undue private enrichment in future.

The inquiry by the Commission shall be in regard to complaints or allegations that may be made before the Commission by any individual, group of individuals, entity or association in such form, as may be specified by the Commission. (ANI)

India Flag

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

The new U.S. office politics: funding your boss’s political causes

News4u-News Desk- It wasn’t long ago that politics, like religious affiliation or sexual orientation, was a taboo topic in the American workplace. Political beliefs were considered a private affair - off limits to the boss.

But today employers are increasingly approaching workers to fundraise, lobby and campaign in ways they never have before, according to a Reuters analysis of FEC filings and data compiled by the Business Industry Political Action Committee. The Washington trade group, which has offices across the street from the White House, helps firms such as Wal-Mart[WMTST.UL], Halliburton and Lockheed Martin mobilise employees on policy issues important to the companies.

BIPAC is working with top U.S. companies on a massive employee voter registration drive in September in preparation for the 2016 Presidential election.

For years it was unions and trade associations that were the politically powerful workplace players, operating political action committees (PACs) that raised millions of dollars to support their preferred candidates. But since a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed for unlimited political spending by corporations, the number of companies engaged in this sort of activity - be it nudging employees to write letters, donate, campaign or vote - has risen 45 percent to 7,317, according to BIPAC’s internal research, seen by Reuters.

The new approach to workplace giving is called “E2E,” or employer-to-employee outreach. These PACs donate to both Democrats and Republicans, depending upon who supports policies and issues favourable to the business interests of the corporation.

“When you compare the amount of money the Wal-Marts and McDonald’s and their employees have, compared to even the largest American unions, it’s peanuts and watermelons,” said Phil Smith, spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America.

Employees at the nation’s top firms are contributing more money than ever before to company PACs controlled by CEOs and senior management, according to April 2015 quarterly fundraising and spending documents disclosed to the U.S. election regulator, the Federal Election Commission.

An analysis of FEC filings of 122 of the top company PACs shows employees raised a median 25 percent more in the first quarter of 2015 versus the same period four years ago. For the PACs analysed, the median amount of contributions collected was $130,842.

PARKING SPACE INCENTIVES

To encourage this sort of donation, some companies are attaching perks to the giving.

BP, for example, says employees who donate at least 2.5 percent of their salary to the company PAC get choice parking spots in the company lot. At Wal-Mart, the company gives employees who donate to the company PAC a two-for-one match to Wal-Mart’s in-house charity for associates in need.

A BP spokesman said federal law permitted “recognition gifts” such as preferred parking. Wal-Mart said it only asks salaried employees to give, not hourly ones, and that workers are free to stipulate whether their contributions go to Democratic or Republican candidates.

At companies that depend heavily on government contracts, the giving is especially high. For example, employees of Honeywell International, a major manufacturer of aircraft electronics, gave more than $1 million in the first quarter of 2015 - up 52 percent since the same period in 2011.

Honeywell, along with Lockheed Martin, BP and Halliburton, says its employee contributions are 100 percent voluntary and legal and that no pressure is put on employees to become more politically active.

“Honeywell’s PAC supports those who support policies that are good for our business and help to create jobs in the United States,” company spokesman Rob Ferris said.

EMPLOYEES’ DONATIONS SOARING

This sharp increase in political donations by employees is fuelling concerns among some campaign finance watchdogs, ahead of the November 2016 elections, that workers may feel pressure to donate to candidates they do not support or to lobby on issues they don’t agree with.

“What I worry about is the inherently coercive nature of these workplace situations,” Democratic FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said.

“Let’s say an employer decides to throw corporate resources behind a candidate and sets up a phone bank, asking employees to get on the phone to get people to support candidate Jones. It’s very hard to say no to your employer. It puts the employee, especially the low-level employee, in a very difficult position.”

Weintraub and FEC Chairwoman Ann Ravel, also a Democrat, said they were not allowed to comment on any cases before the commission that may be related to this issue.

The top Republican on the FEC, Lee Goodman, did not echo his Democratic colleagues’ concerns and noted in an email that the law prohibits employers from coercing employees to make political contributions.

Supporters of the employer-to-employee outreach say that it performs an important civic function by educating workers and turning them into active political participants. BIPAC says its research shows that many workers rate their employers as more credible information sources about politics than political parties, labour unions or the news media.

“If it’s done right, there’s nothing illegal about it,” said Greg Casey, president of BIPAC. Some 89 percent of the candidates its PAC supports are Republicans.

PFIZER EMPLOYEES’ EMAIL BLAST

The practise drew mixed reviews among a dozen employees at five companies interviewed by Reuters.

“The legislators that would support the company are absolutely the ones I would never support,” said one global director at Pfizer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

An email sent to staff in April noted that Pfizer’s employees had sent more than 8,000 emails to politicians about healthcare and patent legislation favourable to Pfizer.

The Chairwoman of Pfizer’s employee PAC, Sally Susman, said that, “while strictly voluntary, we encourage colleagues to raise voices on behalf of the patients we serve on important issues.”

Some companies go further. Before the 2012 presidential election, Koch Industries sent its employees a voter packet informing them which candidates, including Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the company supported, as well as an editorial knocking President Barack Obama. Campaign finance reformers said at the time that Koch’s actions crossed the line, while Koch Industries defended its actions as “nothing unusual” and the type of thing unions did all the time.

Some employees allege they have suffered retribution as a result of not supporting a CEO’s politics.

At Ohio-based Murray Energy, a coal mining company, plant shift forewoman Jean Cochenour said in a 2014 lawsuit that she was fired in retribution for not responding to letters she received from the company’s CEO, Robert Murray, that began: “Dear Jean: The coal industry and our jobs are being destroyed by President Barack Obama. Our only hope to stop them is by electing friends of coal.”

The letters, samples of which were included in the pending lawsuit, identified the Republican candidates employees should donate to, and vote for, like New Hampshire Senate hopeful Scott Brown. Murray requested employees make a $200 donation to each candidate and included a self-addressed envelope for the donations, according to court documents.

Cochenour also alleged that managers were required to donate at least 1 percent of their salaries to Murray’s candidates. And vendors and suppliers were also required to give - lest they lose the company’s business.

In an emailed response to these allegations, Murray Energy spokesperson Gary Broadbent said Robert Murray never knows who gives to his personal fundraisers. He called Cochenour’s statements “blatantly false and totally concocted.”

There are, of course, limits to what money can buy. Of the four Senate candidates Murray asked employees to support in the 2014 mid-term election, all lost.Reuters


The new U.S. office politics: funding your boss’s political causes

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter