N Jagadeesan, Vishnu Vinod lead race to replace KL Rahul at RCB

IPL 2017

N Jagadeesan, Vishnu Vinod lead race to replace KL Rahul at RCB

Manuja Veerappa • Last updated on Mon, 03 Apr, 2017, 06:56 AM

Jagadeesan has been making giant strides. © Cricbuzz

On their day off, Royal Challengers Bangalore overseas bowlers turned out in good numbers during the trials to find a replacement for injured top-order batsman KL Rahul.

With the 24-year-old local boy, who kept wickets as well in the previous season, unavailable for the entire duration of the Indian Premier League, RCB are looking for an uncapped Indian player.

Four domestic players – Karnataka batsman Pavan Deshpande, N Jagadeesan of Tamil Nadu, Kerala’s Vishnu Vinod and Prashant Chopra from Himachal Pradesh attended the trials under the watchful eyes of coach Daniel Vettori. While Jagadeesan and Vinod are regular wicketkeepers who can bat too, Prashant is an occasional ‘keeper. Deshpande has had a good run this season and is a proven hard-hitting left-hand batsman and a handy off-spinner. He showcased glimpses of his power-hitting against English bowler Tymal Mills.

With AB de Villiers pulling out of the final of the Momentum One-Day Cup – South Africa’s domestic 50-over competition with a back injury, RCB have the option of having Kedar Jadhav or Australia’s Travis Head to keep wickets. The 32-year-old Indian , however, hasn’t kept wickets for a while but has called on to bowl his offbreaks occasionally.

In such a scenario, Jagadeesan and Vinod may fancy their chances of making the cut. Both are proven talents on the domestic circuit both with the bat and behind the stumps. The RCB think-tank probably wanted to test the four youngsters’ ability to handle international bowlers and had Shane Watson, Tymal Mills and Adam Milne bowl to them apart from the regular net bowlers.

Meanwhile, skipper Virat Kohli, who has been ruled out of RCB’s first few games owing to a shoulder injury, joined his teammates in Bengaluru on Sunday (April 2) evening. South African AB de Villiers, who is likely to lead in Kohli’s absence, was expected to arrive late on Sunday night.

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Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports

Source: http://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/93740/n-jagadeesan-vishnu-vinod-lead-race-to-replace-kl-rahul-at-rcb

Imagine the slash and burn cricket of Naga Mirchis vs Guntur Chillies 😜

The Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket season is about to commence, just as the Indian Political League steps back after a hectic election spell. Considering the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) has lost a lot of lolly to the ICC in recent weeks, here is a suggestion for Indian cricket honchos to expand the game beyond IPL format to states, cities, suburbs, and even mohallas, so it can recoup the losses and generate more revenues.

To do this, administrators can tap into India’s vast geo-socio-political milieu, encouraging formation of new cricket teams with new paradigms. Just eight or ten IPL teams duking it out won’t do. There is enough competitive fire and animus in India to have many such leagues and myriad teams, giving voice (and cricket) to every section of the population. This will dissipate a lot of energy and anger that is otherwise expressed through rioting, arson, hartal, stone-throwing etc.

For instance, the recent agitation in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for retaining traditions such as Jallikattu and Kambala (a buffalo race) should have engendered teams called Tamil Nadu Jollycats and Karnataka Comeballers to play each other to determine which is better. Similarly, we could have ethnicity- and linguistic-based teams and match-ups such as Kashmiri Stonethrowers v Telengana Hungerstrikers, Malayali Malingers v Naga Naysayers etc. They could even be political outfit based, bringing into play teams such as Hurriyat Harriers facing off Dravida Dominoes.

There can also be separate metropolitan based leagues representing the defining characteristic of each city – for e.g., Bangalore TrafficJammers v Delhi Polluters, Mumbai Slumdwellers v Chennai Self-Immolators etc. Tier Two and Tier Three cities and towns can also jump into the fray (and aim for promotion to the big league) after contests between the likes of Mysore Retirees v Pune Pensioners. For that matter, even satellite cities and suburbia can get in on the action with games between the likes of Gurgaon Pretenders v Noida Nobodies. Hill Stations could line up the likes of Khandala Loafers v Kodai Romeos.

Teams could also be formed on the basis of geographical food preferences (UP Doodhwalas v Punjab Lassiwalas, Bengal Mithaiwalas v Rajasthani Halwais etc). Small towns boasting of geography specific specialties could throw up teams (Ratnagiri Alphonsos, Nagpur Oranges, Naga Mirchis, Darjeeling Teas, Malabar Peppers, Guntur Chillies, Tezpur Litchis, Nanjangud Bananas, Allahabadi Surkhas, Bikaneri Bhujias) that would bring spice and flavor to the league. Imagine the slash and burn cricket between two hot teams like Naga Mirchis v Guntur Chillies.

When all is said and done, we will have huge revenues and lasting enmity. We can then get ready for a transcontinental showdown between Indian Friends and Australian Fiends.
Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports

Source: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ruminations/let-1000-leagues-bloom-imagine-the-slash-and-burn-cricket-of-naga-mirchis-vs-guntur-chillies-f0-9f-98-9c/?utm_source=Popup&utm_medium=Old&utm_campaign=TOIHP

Tests got their mojo back: In the absence of India-Pakistan cricket, contests with Australia have acquired dramatic importance

It’s been a week since India beat Australia in the final Test at Dharamshala but the excitement still lingers. I’ve been jogging my memory ceaselessly and can’t think of many series as competitive and pulsating, climaxing in the most enthralling Indian season ever.

With 10 wins from 13 Tests (and only one defeat) against four different opponents, this has easily been India’s best performance at home. Impressive as this seems, it is the sheer quality of cricket played by Virat Kohli and Co that was riveting.

True, playing on home pitches is an advantage. But this can easily be squandered by complacency, cockiness or – especially in a long season – dwindling consistency. There is also the flip side to playing at home, often disregarded, which is the pressure of expectation. Former Australia captain Steve Waugh said somewhere recently that he always preferred overseas tours as the distractions were far lesser. Where the Indian team is concerned, pressure from fans is manifold, given the manic following for cricket.

In any case, home support and friendly pitches are no guarantee to success: In the last full home season in 2012-13, for instance, England won 2-1 after losing the first Test. Lose focus, lose series.

There were also other challenges confronting the Indian team. For instance, the entire season was played against the backdrop of the turmoil in BCCI vis-à-vis the Justice Lodha panel recommendations. To believe that players are inured from fractious off-field developments is a one-dimensional view of how sport is played. They do feel the tugs and pulls of controversies. The effort to blank such things from the mind can be daunting.

Through all this, India played with admirable focus. That talent in Indian cricket is deep and widespread – despite misgivings about how the sport is administered in the country – was evident from how even newbies and rookies rose to the occasion.

Collectively, this effort played out a superb script as the season wore on. The team enhanced its lead at the top of the ICC rankings in great style, and in the process gave Test cricket in India the kiss of life.

The challenge of winning overseas looms now, as captain Virat Kohli admitted. India’s record in away Tests over the last decade-odd is dismal but this season gave hope that things might be changing.

Players like KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav appear to have come of age in the five-day format. Yadav’s success in particular is most encouraging as India have lacked a wicket-taking fast bowler since Zaheer Khan’s heydays. Yadav, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and a fully fit Mohammed Shami make a daunting pace quartet. It is reasonable to believe too that Ashwin and Jadeja have gained from experience and will be more effective overseas now.

Essentially, though, it is about the changed mindset of players. There is a chutzpah, positivity and optimism that separate this team from any in the past. This seems derived from the personality of the captain. Kohli’s energy, passion and desire to win is infectious. He has been able to instil intensity of performance, sustained aggression and an unrelenting quest for success which works even in his absence as evidenced.

This captured the imagination of cricket fans even as opponents were vanquished. Crowds for all 13 Tests, if not quite like in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, were huge by contemporary standards. Dwindling spectatorship for Tests in recent years in India was contrasted by the phenomenal success of the Indian Premier League in the last decade. This season showed that the five-day format’s appeal is still intact.

The charm of the five-day format remains unparalleled when teams play skilfully, hard and uncompromisingly as witnessed in the series against Australia, without doubt the high point of the season.

The obvious comparison is with the 2001 series, also against Australia. India had come from behind then too to win the rubber, immortalised by the magical turnaround effected by VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Harbhajan Singh in the second Test in Kolkata. The calibre of the Australian side in 2001 was much higher of course. The Aussies were world champions then and boasted several stellar players. Steve Smith, on the other hand, led a young team with a wobbly track record and must be lauded for running India so close.

In the absence of India-Pakistan cricket ties, India’s contests with Australia have acquired an importance that is invaluable for the game, and a competitive edge that provokes bitter, high-strung contests. Inevitably, this will throw up volatile situations every now and then. But if these are managed competently by authority and players themselves, the problem can easily be defused without compromising on the intensity of cricket played.

I believe ICC match referee Chris Broad erred in not even reprimanding Smith for his self-confessed ‘brain fade’ moment in the second Test. This stoked acrimony between the two teams, fuelled further by some ill-conceived remarks from Cricket Australia and BCCI.

Happily, it all ended well. Smith was contrite in his post-series statements, accepting that he had let emotions ‘slip’ a bit in the series. Kohli, after impetuously ‘unfriending’ the Aussies, clarified that this was not directed against them all, only ‘one or two’.

The ethos of competitive sport is one-upmanship, no quarter given or asked. But this should not extend to bitter aftertaste. Grace in defeat and magnanimity in victory may be old world virtues but enhance sport, as they do life.
Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports

Source: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-edit-page/tests-got-their-mojo-back-in-the-absence-of-india-pakistan-cricket-contests-with-australia-have-acquired-dramatic-importance/?utm_source=Popup&utm_medium=Old&utm_campaign=TOIHP

India is not a racist country, no, it is not!

The niftiest thing about racism in India is that in the mind of its practitioners, it doesn’t exist. Racism in India, that is. Communalism, communism, vegetarianism, hooliganism, casteism, crony capitalism and Mughal-e-Ism, yes. But racism? Not in this country.

How can it, since we have, since the dawn of pre-post-colonialism and other malapropisms, been the victims, and, as far as nationalism goes, been glorious ‘tryst with destiny’ victors against it.

For Indians, who at least don’t ‘look Chinese’, it is that horrid thing that gets Indians beaten up in Australia, Sikhs mistaken for West Asian Islamists in the US, construction workers and maids in the Gulf leading miserable lives, and the Mahatma thrown off the train at Pietermaritzburg.

And in those rare cases when the Indian is actually not the victim, racism is what US President Donald Trump supporters ‘do’ against Mexicans, swathes of the US practised before Jay ‘Success is the Biggest Revenge’ Z became one of America’s B R Ambedkars, and why Nelson Mandela became famous for being the Indian Gandhi. (More on the Mahatma a bit later.)

Last Monday, four Nigerians — Nigerians being from a country in Africa, the way Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was shot dead in a racist attack in Kansas in February, was from the Asian country of India — were brutally attacked in Greater Noida by a mob. The mob had morphed from a reported group of angry protesters who believed that a Class 12 (Indian) boy died of a drug overdose from drugs allegedly supplied by his Nigerian neighbours.

It is important to note that the four Nigerians beaten up on Monday — or the fifth Nigerian attacked in another part of Greater Noida on Wednesday —and a fifth were detained but released after the police found no evidence against them. Perhaps the mob and the cops can be forgiven, since it is really, really hard for Brown people to differentiate between Black Africans going about their own business and Black Africans peddling drugs. After all, when did another kind of -ism stop enough people from believing that Pakistan actor Fawad Khan also had a hand in the attack on the Indian Army headquarters in Uri, Kashmir?

Since last week’s racist attacks, much has been aired about the traditional Indian prejudice against dark skin, with the usual examples of marriage adverts putting a premium on fair skin and ‘whitening’ creams trotted out. That is, indeed, a prejudice, and a deeply embarrassing one. But not fundamentally different from the ‘traditional aesthetic’ bias for large breasts or — among the ‘hipster’ crowd — big beards.

Racism is both more toxic and, ironically, easier to stamp out. It is more toxic because it not only harbours a prejudice that is cooked in vats of noxious stereotypes, but it’s also regularly acted upon. Racist action can take the form of, as cited by Monday’s victims, name-calling and taunts, restricted entry and inflated prices to more violent forms.

South African social scientist Ashwin Desai and historian Goolam Vahed in their 2015 book, The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire, extensively collate Gandhiji’s own writing in the period in which the future Father of Another Nation lived in South Africa between 1893 and 1914.

In this startling work of scholarship, the writers quote passages where Gandhi had described Black Africans as “savage”, “raw” and living a life of “indolence and nakedness” and making a case through campaigns of being “treated differently” from the indigenous Black population.

So, the bull must be caught by the horns if racism in India is to be tackled with a little more seriousness than via parliamentary condemnation and tut-tuts about creating a bump in India-Africa trade, happy post-colonial ties and other pleasant things between the people of the ‘Great Continent’ and of the ‘Great Subcontinent’. Or rather, the bull must be caught by the horns and put before the cart: by cracking down on racist crime when it takes place in Mother India.

As Monday’s attacks — and countless other anecdotal evidence that goes beyond ‘Africans’ and includes fellow Indians from the northeastern part of the country — point to once again, the functionaries of law and order find these ‘crimes’ to be nothing but ‘incidents’ in a country where you don’t either have to be ‘kaalu’ or a ‘chinky’ to face a lynch mob. And ‘incidents’, as we all know, get taken as seriously as a prospective paying guest with a name that can be so hard to pronounce.
Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports

Source: http://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/Undertheinfluence/india-is-not-a-racist-country-no-it-is-not/?utm_source=Popup&utm_medium=Old&utm_campaign=TOIHP

‘Undertaking detailed analysis’: Patients report eye inflammation, Intas recalls its drug batch

Representational image. Representational image.

With some patients reporting inflammation in their eyes due to Intas Pharmaceuticals’ drug Razumab, the company has advised the doctors to not use any drug of this particular batch. It has also recalled this batch from the market to undergo internal testing at its quality control (QC) lab.

“Intas is aware of few incidences of post injection inflammation reported pertaining to this specific batch, the reported incidences are well within the limits, which were managed by usual anti-inflammatory treatment. We are extremely conscious of our product quality and are undertaking a detailed analysis of the same. Since patient’s safety is paramount to us, hence till the time the analysis is completed, we have advised the doctors to avoid using the product from this specific batch,” Intas Pharmaceuticals’ spokesperson told The Indian Express.

According to an email sent by Raja Narayanan, secretary, Vitreo Retina Society – India (VRSI), to its members, the company has “advised not use Razumab injection of batch number 18020020”. The VRSI has total 750 ophthalmologists as its members spread across the country. “VRSI is gathering more facts on the situation. It is advised that all members be alert and exercise abundance of precaution with other batches of Razumab also,” Narayanan added in his email. In its preliminary report, the VRSI stated that

Intas has recalled all vials of this batch for internal testing at company’s QC lab.

This is the second time VRSI has reported the adverse reactions of Razumab. It first reported the adverse reactions in 2015, just two months after the brand was launched by Intas Pharmaceuticals. Consequently, Intas had curtailed the distribution of Razumab then. Ranibizumab is the name of the molecule; Intas Pharmaceuticals and Novartis sell them in the Indian market under the brand name Razumab and Lucentis, respectively. Lucentis is the market leader and is available for approximately Rs 75000 per 1 ml injection at a retail chemist.

In 2015, Intas became the first company globally to launch biosimilar version of Ranibizumab. According to retailers, Razumab is available at around 25 per cent lower price in the country. Meanwhile, Naryanan told The Indian Express that as a standard procedure, Intas Pharma has withdrawn this particular batch of Razumab that has caused adverse reactions in some patients.

Intas Pharmaceuticals’ spokesperson told The Indian Express: “It is a known fact that, few patients getting such intravitreal injections are likely to experience such inflammation, as also reported in published data and pack insert of innovator Ranibizumab (mentioned as 18 per cent of patients). The reported incidences are well within the limits.”

In people with a certain type of eye disease, new blood vessels grow under the retina where they leak blood and fluid. This is known as the “wet form” of macular degeneration. Ranibizumab is used to treat wet age-related macular degeneration. This molecule is also used to treat swelling in the retina caused by diabetes or by a blockage in the blood vessels.

The VRSI had issued a primary alert on March 18 after first incidents of intraocular (middle layer of the eye) inflammation were reported, after which it did a preliminary investigation. In preliminary investigation, it found that “total 11 eyes from 5 centers” have reported this inflammation.

“Batch (180200)20 was released from factory on February 28. Intas had released 824 vials of Razumab to stockists. 435 vials were purchased by various doctors/hospitals. 182 out of those 435 were used on patients. The first reports of inflammation were received on March 9. As soon as the first events were reported to Intas, the company gave two samples each for clinical testing to two VRSI members. Both reported inflammation after the first injection itself. Intas advised us to stop use of batch 20,” the preliminary report stated.

“Total 11 eyes from 5 centers out of 182 injections have officially reported inflammation. All patients were treated with topical steroids and some with oral steroids. Intas has recalled all vials of batch 20 and is undergoing internal testing in their QC lab. Other batches have not been reported to cause inflammation. Intas will share the QC report with VRSI in the next three days, “ the preliminary report of VRSI added.

Intas Pharmaceuticals’ spokesperson told The Indian Express: “Intas markets Razumab for debilitating eye complications of diabetes like diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy where no other alternatives exist. We market it as social responsibility to alleviate sufferings of such patients of our country. As a responsible organization, we continuously strive to update the medical experts on the scientific aspects of our products and expected adverse events.”

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Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/business/companies/undertaking-detailed-analysis-patients-report-eye-inflammation-intas-recalls-its-drug-batch-4596914/

The Indian Express

Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal raised a point about the 12 famous Rajya Sabha MPs who almost never grace the house with their presence. These include Sachin Tendulkar, actors Rekha and Rupa Ganguly, and Mary Kom. “If they have no interest they should resign, others will come,” said Agarwal, to the Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien. (The Indian Express, March 31). This issue has been reported several times, notably four months ago, when only 23 MPs showed up on a working day when a minimum of 25 out of 245 members are required to start proceedings.

It is worth noting that besides the immense prestige of being a Member of Parliament in the world’s largest democracy, these nominated candidates are very generously compensated. They get housing in central Delhi, 34 single air journeys for free anywhere within India, access to clubs, cars and medical allowances, not counting far more undefined areas of benefit, like proximity to some of the most powerful individuals in India. This is by virtue of being exceptional stars in their own chosen fields. The Rajya Sabha MP status for people in the arts is seen as a retirement reward after a distinguished career. Even if they don’t have the wherewithal to change legislation and remain mute spectators during proceedings, it’s not too much to expect them to show up occasionally in Parliament.

After all, could it happen that Tendulkar wouldn’t have gone to a stadium if he was scheduled to play cricket? According to reports, actor Mithun Chakraborty has attended Parliament for three days in two years. If a commitment has been made, disregarding it so completely is patently disrespectful to the House. Somewhere, it sends the message that celebrity is such an important idea, maybe even more so than running the nation.

Celebrities occupying different rungs on the scale of idolatry — the Twitter world, or Big Boss, TV and movie stars, or dotcom millionaires — are without a doubt the biggest influencers for young Indians. The professional making it to the business pages of newspapers has far greater capital among the youth than what a politician or religious leader can muster up. One may wonder if a PR-contrived lifestyle, conveying the right amount of melodrama via Instagram and Facebook justifies such adulation, but contemporary celebs receive a far more flattering reception than their counterparts holding government office. But the movie star MPs in any case fill our magazines and news feed for their wardrobes and their colourful personas. Let the hallowed halls of Parliament be reserved for people who are 100 per cent committed to treating politics like the serious business it is.

In the West, the stars who are in a position to make a real difference to public opinion take their roles seriously and are able to affect change. Leonardo DiCaprio brought the focus to climate change while Bono drew attention to famine in Africa. When Shah Rukh Khan says that the show Koffee with Karan has become boring because people are scared to say anything controversial since the atmosphere in India has changed, it should lead to a more thoughtful debate. These successful, alternate voices, hopefully immune to the murkier issues that arise with power are more important than ever, when political parties seem so radical and polarised. In these times, just to question the hand that feeds you is a big responsibility.

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/celebrity-absence-parliament-rajya-sabha-4596860/

Over The Barrel: Democrat’s dilemma

Subrata Dhar Subrata Dhar

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “a government big enough to give you everything you want is also strong enough to take away everything you have “. Seen through a contemporary India-centric lens , this statement could read, “people want a strong government for development and stability but not so strong as to compromise their civil liberties”. They want a government that will invigorate the economy and clear the tangled undergrowth of corruption, petty bureaucracy and institutional decay but not one that will threaten their constitutional rights. Their democratic dilemma is how to get the former without risking the likelihood of the latter. Two recent events made me reflect on this dilemma. One, the UP elections and two the passage of the enemy property bill. I have a personal interest in the latter which I will explain below.

The UP elections have given the public what they want. A strong leader, PM Modi bestrides the Indian polity like a colossus. He owes much, of course, to the organisational genius and political acumen of Amit Shah but it is because of the clarity of his message, the charisma of his oratory and the perceived strength of his leadership, more so than any other factor, including the ideology of the party, that the BJP is in power in the Centre and in 14 of the 28 states accounting for almost 60 per cent of the population. It is because of him that no bookmaker will bet against a BJP-led victory in 2019.

The PM is in a rare position today. He has the mandate to implement the raft of economic policies required to achieve what Vijay Joshi in his excellent book, India’s Long Road: The Search for Prosperity has called “high quality growth” but which hitherto have gathered dust because of “tit for tat” coalition politics and vested interests: Policies such as administrative overhaul to strengthen the government’s delivery system particularly with regard to health and education services; second generation reforms of the “factor” (that is, land , labour and capital), markets to enhance investment and employment and disinvestment from loss-making public sector enterprises. He also has the opportunity to bring India into pole economic position by exploiting the uncertainties of Donald Trump’s economic nationalism, Brexit, the French and German elections and the relative slowdown of the Chinese economy. The PM can, in short, afford to look beyond the five-year electoral cycle and take decisions that eight years hence in the final year of his second term or 13 years on as he contemplates retirement, he can reflect upon and say “these were the right things to have done . India is better for them.” He can afford to be a statesman .

That said, hubris can and does lead to nemesis. Indira Gandhi paid a heavy price for ignoring this forewarning. She did not accept the verdict of the high court invalidating her election in June 1975 and imposed instead a state of Emergency. Two years on, an unforgiving electorate summarily turfed her out of power. Analogies should not be overstretched but I was reminded of that decision during the passage of the Enemy Property Act a few weeks back . Here, I need to make my disclaimer . The person most affected by this act is my brother-in-law (my sister’s husband) Sulaiman Khan, son of the erstwhile Raja of Mahmudabad.

Sulaiman’s father was a Pakistan national when the India-Pak war broke out in 1965 . His property in India was accordingly sequestered under the Defence of India act 1962 and thereafter under the Enemy Property Act 1968. In 1973, Sulaiman’s father died and Sulaiman , his only son and an Indian citizen , asked for the return of his property. The government demurred and Sulaiman went to court . His claim was upheld first by the civil court, then by the Bombay High Court and finally in 2005 by the Supreme Court. All courts accepted that the act under which the property was acquired was transient in application; that Sulaiman was the rightful heir and that he was entitled to his property. The SC wrote “the respondent who was born in India and his Indian citizenship not being in question cannot by any stretch of imagination be held to be enemy or enemy subject.” .

Early last year , the government issued an ordinance nullifying, retroactively, the Supreme Court decision . The ordinance was not ratified by Parliament and lapsed. Over the next 12 months , the government issued the ordinance an unprecedented four times. So unprecedented that the President of India himself commented that executive ordinances must not be used to bypass legislative sanction. Last month through a parliamentary sleight of hand and just a few days before the ordinance was due to lapse for the fifth time, the government managed to pass the bill. It did so by tabling the bill unexpectedly and at a time the opposition MPs were sparsely present in the House.

I will not comment on the legality of the government’s actions — I presume the courts will consider it in due course — but I will say three things. One, as a family member, it was painful to hear the government ministers imply in the public forum of Parliament that Sulaiman and his nuclear family were deemed “enemies” of the state in perpetuity because Sulaiman’s father had in 1957, 10 years after Independence, gone to Pakistan. They were saying this about someone who has been forever an Indian citizen; who was twice elected to the UP assembly with electoral majorities that few have secured, who has a masterful knowledge of the Vedas and Hindu philosophy and whose claims have been upheld by every level of the judiciary over 30 years of litigation . Second, the government has , in enacting the bill, taken away all that Sulaiman has and here I am not talking about only property. It has taken away his patrimony of citizenship. Third ,the bill has been passed in a manner that brings into sharp relief the prescience of Jefferson’s forewarning and the acuteness of the democrat’s dilemma .

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/over-the-barrel-democrats-dilemma-prime-minister-narendra-modi-uttar-pradesh-assembly-election-4596878/

India Open Super Series 2017: PV Sindhu crowned Miss India 2017, beats Carolina Marin in final

PV Sindhu beat Carolina Marin 21-19, 21-16 in the final to record her fourth win over the Spaniard in nine matches. PTI PV Sindhu beat Carolina Marin 21-19, 21-16 in the final to record her fourth win over the Spaniard in nine matches. PTI

This will not quite make up for the disappointment of the Rio Olympics final, but will do nicely for now. PV Sindhu was threatening to take over the mantle of India’s shuttle queen for some time now, and over this week, under the most intense pressure, on home turf, the tall girl from Hyderabad ticked all the boxes. In the quarterfinal, she prevailed over Saina Nehwal, who strode like a colossus in Indian badminton for a decade, and on Sunday, put it across her Rio tormentor Carolina Marin — both in straight games.

The baton was well and truly passed on when Marin’s smash hit the net for a 21-19, 21-16 verdict. It is only Sindhu’s second Super Series title, after the China Open triumph late last year, but coming at the beginning of the year with several big tournaments to come, it is one of her most significant triumphs. There were four other finals at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open on Sunday, but there was no doubt for whom the Siri Fort Sports Complex was bursting at the seams. Every available vantage point was taken, with the organisers too catching the mood. A dancing troupe performed on the court with ‘Jai Ho’ blaring from the public address system.

With such a frenzy cultivated, defeat was not an option. And Sindhu did not disappoint. Even the announcement of the arrival of sports minister Vijay Goel at a critical juncture in the match did not distract her. The significance of the occasion could be gauged from the fact that chief national coach Pullela Gopichand was sitting right behind his protégé, along with the specialist singles coach Indonesian Mulyo Handoyo, for the only time in the tournament.

Despite beating Sindhu in the gold medal match in Rio, Marin enjoys great support in India. She was cheered throughout the week, but as Sindhu arrived on court for the final, the noise almost brought the roof down. Both players knew what was at stake. For Sindhu, a chance to become the leading light in contemporary Indian badminton, and for Marin, who has fallen off the pace in recent times, an opportunity to clinch her first title since the Olympics.

Both shuttlers felt the pressure in the early going, but it was Sindhu who was dictating play. She was the more aggressive player on court, with hard smashes at Marin’s body, drives into the corners and deft net play complemented by panther-like speed while going for the kill. The crowd was living every moment of the 47-minute contest. Whenever Marin succeeded in stringing a few points together, one could sense an anxiety in the stands. A Sindhu point, subsequently, brought out a roar of relief.

The first game was a nip-and-tuck affair. After Marin ate into an early 6-1 lead Sindhu had, there were never more than three points between them. Most points were being decided by errors. The Spaniard caught up at 17-all and even led 19-18. It is there that the match turned. Sindhu restored parity with a kill at the net after a smash. Marin helped her out when, out of anxiety, she hit her own kill wide. A smash at the body sealed the opener, prompting a big fist pump.

Sindhu kept her foot on the pedal at the start of the second game, running up a 4-0 lead in the blink of an eye. Though Marin continued to eat into the margin, she could never get back on level terms thereafter.

Mind games

The two are good friends off court, and even shared some relaxed moments after the match. It did not prevent them, however, from indulging in some mind games on court. Both players were taking their time between points, wandering around the court, and were spoken to by the chair umpire on more than one occasion. For such a significant victory of her career, it was quite an understated celebration from Sindhu. She raised her arms, turned to all corners of the arena, before running towards ‘Gopi sir.’ It, maybe, shows her growing confidence and maturity as she knows it should be the start of bigger things to come.

“It is a very important Super Series tournament, at home and at the start of the year. I was fighting for every point and am very happy at how I played throughout the tournament,” the Indian star said. Marin was left to rue mistakes at crucial stages of the final, but was impressed with the improvement in Sindhu’s game since Rio. “Errors at the end of the first game hurt me badly. I played well here, but every player is improving by the day, and it is small things that make the difference.” The Spaniard is confident her title drought will end soon. “I am getting better after injury. The confidence is coming back and I am motivated to keep fighting hard,” the Olympic champion said.

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/badminton/india-open-super-series-2017-pv-sindhu-crowned-miss-india-2017-beats-carolina-marin-in-final-4596895/

Everyone needs to fill in for Andre Russell’s absence: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir leads KKR in IPL. (Source: Express Photo) Gautam Gambhir leads KKR in IPL. (Source: Express Photo)

Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will be missing their key all-rounder Andre Russell but skipper Gautam Gambhir wants his team to treat the Jamaican’s absence as an “opportunity in bold letters” during the upcoming Indian Premier League.

The flamboyant Russell has been handed a one-year ban for violating anti-doping whereabouts regulations and KKR now have England’s Chris Woakes as a like-for-like replacement picked from the auctions.

“There are two ways to look at such situations in life. Either we can see Russell’s absence as a challenge or look at it as an opportunity in bold letters. I as an individual, and KKR as a group, are looking it as an opportunity,” Gambhir told PTI during an interview.

Asked if Woakes could fill in for Russell as a batsman, Gambhir gave an interesting answer.

“Maybe a combination of Manish Pandey’s batting and Ankit Rajput’s bowling can get us what Russell did. Not only Woakes but the entire team can try to fill-in for Russell and for that you don’t necessarily need an all-rounder. May be some other pair can do this,” said Gambhir.

The seasoned opener doesn’t believe that it helps brooding when one is a leader.

“I better be looking at glass half full,” he said.

Gambhir reckons that the core Indian group of batsmen like Manish Pandey, Surya Kumar Yadav and Robin Uthappa will have to take more responsibility on a relaid Eden track where pacers will have more advantage.

“From a track that used to favour spinners, it now has good deal of pace and bounce in it. With that as a background, batting has to be top-class. The rival team fast bowlers will come hard at us and we have to be ready for that.”

Talking about pace on Eden Gardens track, New Zealander Trent Boult’s presence would certainly add variety to KKR’s bowling season.

“We had left-arm pacemen in Jaydev Unadkat and Pradeep Sangwan in the past and understand the value of this skill that Boult brings in. Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajput and Woakes. We have all bases covered when it comes to fast bowling.”

Sunil Narine used to be a mystery spinner and strike bowler for KKR before he had to remodel his bowling action due to allegations of chucking.

But the former India ODI captain insists that Narine is still a force to reckon with despite adjusting to his new action.

“I think we start judging people a little too soon. You can’t expect a golfer, who has changed his swing to be the same force from day one on the greens. I have changed my stance (to open chested) and it’s been close to two years now and I am still settling with it. Give Sunil some time and some space and he will show you his wares again.”

On the personal front, the milestone of becoming the first franchise captain to win a hat-trick of IPL titles beckons Gambhir.

“The pressure is normal. We have to win and if we do we will create history by being the first franchisee to win IPL three times. In that sense you can say there is pressure,” he said.

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/ipl-2017-10/everyone-needs-to-fill-in-for-andre-russells-absence-gautam-gambhir-4596610/

Year after assurance, govt yet to move on request to ban 37 ‘harmful drugs’

The drugs could be injected into the middle ear, from which they would diffuse across a membrane into the inner ear. )Source: Thinkstock Images) The drugs could be injected into the middle ear, from which they would diffuse across a membrane into the inner ear. )Source: Thinkstock Images)

OVER 16 months after the secretary, Department of Health Research (DHR), Soumya Swaminathan, wrote to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) and senior health ministry officials with a request to ban 37 drugs that she termed “very harmful”, these drugs continue to be freely available in the market. The DCGI had acted on Swaminathan’s email, which was sent on November 12, 2015, seven days later with a suggestion to the health ministry that a committee should be formed to look into this “complex” matter. But the ministry, in response to an RTI filed by The Indian Express, has stated that no such panel had been formed till January 27, 2017.

The 37 fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) listed by Swaminathan in her email are commonly used antibiotics. For example, one drug listed by Swaminathan is Cefpodoxime + Clavulanate, which is used to treat diseases like pharyngitis, urinary tract infection, gonorrhea and pneumonia.

When contacted, Swaminathan, who is also the director-general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), told The Indian Express: “The DCGI has to take further action. ICMR can only bring to their notice. In fact, they had taken action on many FDCs but much more is needed on irrational combinations. The pharma companies should cooperate.”

According to IMS Health, a global market research company, this drug is sold by more than 70 companies — including Sun Pharma, Pfizer, Wockhardt, Mankind Pharma, Alkem Laboratories, Lupin, Zydus Cadila, Glenmark Pharma, Cipla and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories — in India under different brand names.

In her 2015 email, Swaminathan had stated: ‘’I am attaching a list of irrational antibiotic combinations that need to be banned. The list has been prepared by a group of ID physicians from the Clinical Infectious Disease Society of India (CIDSCON). I agree with them that these are very harmful and will spur additional antibiotic resistance in the community. I hope some action can be taken by DCGI. Am happy to assist in any way possible.’’

This email was sent to B P Sharma, the then health secretary; G N Singh, DCGI, who heads the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO); K L Sharma, joint secretary, health ministry; Jagdish Prasad, director-general of Health Services (DGHS) and S Venkatesh, director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). None of these officials responded to queries sent by The Indian Express seeking comment.

The present health secretary C K Mishra also did not respond to queries sent by The Indian Express. Sun Pharma, Glenmark Pharma and Cipla said they are not aware of Swaminathan’s email and therefore can’t comment on it.

A Pfizer spokesperson told The Indian Express: “We currently market two out of these combinations listed by you and have not been informed of any concerns on either of these. We place utmost emphasis on patient safety and will continue to remain committed to ensuring the safety and quality of our medicines.”

Wockhardt, Mankind Pharma, Alkem Laboratories, Lupin, Zydus Cadila and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories did not respond to requests by The Indian Express seeking comment.

On November 19, 2015, G N Singh, DCGI, wrote a note to the health ministry, stating: “Considering the complexity involved in the issue, examination of each of the antibiotic combinations included in the list forwarded by secretary (DHR) needs to be examined separately considering all aspects of safety, efficacy and present status.”

Singh proposed that a committee of experts under the chairmanship of Swaminathan, comprising experts from institutes like All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, “may be constituted for detailed examination and recommendations”.

Singh stated that the proposed committee’s recommendations will enable top health ministry body Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) “to take final decisions through deliberation”.

On January 27, 2017, the health ministry told The Indian Express — in response to an application filed under Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 — that no such committee “has been constituted so far by this ministry to examine 37 antibiotic combinations”.

The ministry stated that “three irrational antibiotic combinations (Cefixime + Azithromycin, Ofloxacin + Ornidazole Suspension, and Metronidazole + Norfloxacin) out of 37 mentioned in e-mail of Dr Soumya Swaminathan were banned by the Government vide notifications dated 10.3.2016. However, the Delhi High Court has struck down the said notifications.”

These three drugs were part of the 344 FDCs that were banned on March 10, 2016, by the central government on the recommendation of committee formed under the chairmanship of Professor C K Kokate. This committee, which studied the irrationality of various FDCs, recommended the ban on 344 of them, citing the rising “antibiotic resistance” in the country as one of the reasons. Antibiotic resistance is the ability of a microorganism, which is causing the disease, to withstand the effects of an antibiotic medicine.

On December 1, 2016, Delhi High Court struck down the ban stating that the government had acted in a “haphazard manner”. This January, The Indian Express had also asked the health ministry if there was any committee or any other government department that is currently examining the issue of banning 37 drugs mentioned in Swaminathan’s email. The ministry replied that it has “no such information”.

CIDSCON and Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA) did not reply to the queries sent by The Indian Express.

The Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) declined to answer queries on behalf of member-companies. D G Shah, secretary-general, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), told The Indian Express: “We are not aware of any communication from the government specific to these 37 FDCs. Some general notices have been put on the website of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and the ministry of health & family welfare about the FDCs from time to time.”

Swaminathan’s email stated that these 37 specific drugs “will spur additional antibiotic resistance in the community”.

On February 1 this year, the DCGI wrote a letter to associations of doctors and pharmacists on the subject of “rational use of antibiotics for limiting antimicrobial resistance”.

The DCGI stated in the letter: “Antibiotic resistance is the result of environmental and behavioural causes. Indiscriminate prescription of antibiotics and laxity of enforcement laws are the main causes of antimicrobial resistance. This may be due to injudicious use of antibiotics in hospitals as well as in private practice apart from easy availability of prescription drugs in the country. In this regard, it is requested that you may kindly sensitise your members by raising awareness for rational use of antibiotics so as to curb antimicrobial resistance in the interest of patient safety.”

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/year-after-assurance-govt-yet-to-move-on-request-to-ban-37-harmful-drugs-4597024/