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It’s time to motivate our scientists

There is no need to feel disheartened, hurdles pave
the way to success, we will soon touch the Moon
Though we might not have attained the outcome we were expecting from Chandrayaan-2, yet we must not call this campaign an unsuccessful one. Chandrayaan-2 covered a distance of about 3.80 lakh kilometres after starting its journey from the Earth on 22 July. As Vikram began the 15-minute autonomous descent, which the scientists termed as “15 minutes of terror”, it overcame a major hurdle of what is called as the rough braking phase. But then Vikram deviated from its trajectory at 2.1 kilometres from lunar surface and lost contact with the ground station shortly thereafter! I totally agree with the Prime Minister that the journey of Chandrayaan-2 was extraordinary. It was simply spectacular!
I have seen our scientists working at ISRO. I had an opportunity to interact with them. I have full faith in our scientists and with that confidence I can say that we will touch the Moon soon.
Our scientists always dream of doing something new. They are passionate about doing something new, so technical problems do not bother them, and therefore, they start looking for solutions with fresh enthusiasm. Similar will be the case this time too. Soon, they will be executing a new mission.
An example of how strong the resolve of our scientists is can be gauged from their association with this Chandrayaan-2 mission. It was going to be a joint collaborative mission between India and Russia. In 2007, ISRO signed a contract with Russia and it was decided that a lander and rover would be sent to the south pole of the Moon where no country has been able to soft-land its spacecraft. The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved this ambitious mission in 2008.
In this mission, we were going to get a lander from Russia. It is not known why Russia kept postponing the issue of lander and in 2016 it flatly refused to give lander.
Our scientists took it as a challenge and decided to develop our own lander. In a span of only two years, they pulled off this miracle! This lander (Vikram), named after Vikram Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space programme, is completely Indian. A tribute to our own scientists!
How courageous our scientists are was amply proved when it was decided to prepare the launch site. At the time, Dr Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai were moving around looking for a place best suited for the launch site. Eventually they reached Thumba, a fishermen’s village near Trivandrum. Thumba is near Magnetic Equator so it was selected. The problem was that a very old church existed in that area. Vikram Sarabhai sought help from politicians and officials, but everyone said it is not possible to remove the church. So one day Sarabhai went to Bishop Peter Bernard Pereira of the church and apprised him of his plans. The Bishop did not immediately respond but invited him to the Sunday prayer meeting! Sarabhai reached there on Sunday. Bishop Peter Bernard Pereira told the laity present in the prayer meeting that there is a famous scientist here with me who wants this place from us for space research. Science brings the truth to the fore and helps to improve human life. I try to bring peace in the minds of people through religion. This means that what I am doing or Vikram Sarabhai is doing is the same. Sarabhai has assured me that a new church will be built in 6 months. Are we ready to give them this house of God, my house and your house? A voice came from among the congregation- Amen!
It is evident that it was Vikram Sarabhai’s effort that led to Thumba being developed as a launch site. On 21 November 1963, India launched a sounding rocket, which marked the beginning of the Indian space programme.
What I mean to say is that our scientists have great self-confidence and courage. Their sharpness is amazing. Problems do not disappoint them and they get down to their work with renewed power, renewed energy. NASA has also praised our scientists. I believe the scientists will succeed this time. The orbiter has also detected Vikram and scientists are trying to establish contact with it. I would like to praise Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who embraced ISRO chairman K Sivan, understood his emotions, his anguish and comforted him. That was an emotional moment. This emotional conduct of the Prime Minister touched people. The Prime Minister has encouraged scientists by his gesture. All of us should cheer up the ISRO scientists. We should stand by our scientists. Our scientists will continue to pull off miracles!
Vijay Darda
Lokmat Media

Paryushan Parva

First create atmosphere for wealth creators!

Jobs are declining ceaselessly due to economic slowdown and unemployment is at 45-year high
In my column last week, I had briefly referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement in relation to ‘wealth creator’. I had written that the wealth creators, that is the wealth generating industrialists, must be treated with respect. However, I had also mentioned that our government agencies not only look at them with suspicion but also treat them as if they are criminals. My opinion is very clear that this attitude towards those generating employment has damaged our economy. The situation is not going to improve until and unless we adopt an attitude of cooperation towards those who create jobs.
The NITI Aayog deputy chairman Rajiv Kumar has also admitted that this is the most serious economic crisis in 70 years.
The condition of automobile sector is sordid indeed. Thousands of people have lost their jobs. The Indian Textile Association has even published an advertisement that many jobs will be lost in near future. Thousands of jobs are under threat in the biscuit major Parle G. The rupee is losing its sheen every day due to recession. Statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveal that the unemployment rate is at a 45-year high. Statistics show that the unemployment rate of men is 6.2 per cent and that of women is 5.7 per cent. A little more analysis of the data shows that 7.8 per cent of the youth in cities are unemployed while in villages, this figure is 5.3 per cent. The government has been claiming that the rate of economic growth is fast. So the natural question is, where are the jobs? And why are they being lost?
I am not an economist but as a vigilant journalist and politician, I keep an eye on the serious issues of the country and the world. When the former chief economic advisor Arvind Subramaniam says that the economic growth rate is being exaggerated, it gives rise to questions.
Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan too has cast doubts on the economic growth figures. I do not want to go into data analysis, but I know that high interest rates applied to keep inflation under check created problems for business. Our government and the RBI realised this quite late. When the economy faltered, RBI cut interest rates for the third time this year. I would like to say one more thing that the RBI cuts interest rates but its benefit does not reach the common man. The banks take advantage of this. However, the government is not tightening the screws on them.
There is no dearth of people who analyse the data critically for the sake of economy, but I feel that there is a need to understand the matter in a very practical way and solve the problems. Actually we do not have positivity for industries here. There is no ‘ease of doing business’. That is, there is no environment in which you can work easily. While this time is very good for India, the whole of France is in a mess. Strikes have become the order of the day. France has industries like oil, automobile, heavy industries, cosmetic, defence and fashion but the condition is not good. I keep talking to many industrialists. They want to come to India but they want a good atmosphere here. They want to give preference to India more than China, but they want the ‘ease of doing business’. For this, our bureaucracy will have to change its attitude.
If industries don’t come from abroad, there will be no investment in the country and there will be no favourable environment either. Under these circumstances, where will employment come from?
Where will the money be generated for the country? How will the poverty end if there is no wealth? We have to consider these questions seriously. We have to change our policies. It is my considered opinion that there should be economic development of the workers. They should get all the facilities but the trend of ruining industries by raising the banner of strike in the name of the workers should be stopped strictly. After all, no employer sacks any worker just for the sake of it! Every industrialist needs skilled and diligent workforce. If the environment is good for the industries, the workers will also progress; they will also develop and grow. And yes, strict laws should be formulated for the industrialists who exploit workers. They should be punished severely but why disturb those who are doing good work?
Along with this, we must also change our work culture.
I have seen in Japan that people come on duty 20 minutes before schedule, warm themselves up and reach their place of duty three minutes before time. This is why such a small country is so advanced! If we want to be the best in the world, we will have to worship capital and labour. Bureaucracy will have to become collaborative.
Vijay Darda
Lokmat Media

O Lord of Wisdom, grant Congress power to reinvent

The party which once epitomised India has fallen by the wayside today and it is also hamstrung by lack of passion for rejuvenation
The Ganesh festival brings a new energy every year. It is not only a festival of devotion but is also the symbol of social harmony. This is the reason why Ganesh idols are installed at every household. The joyous shouts of ‘Ganpati Bappa’ continue to resonate throughout the 10 days of the festival. Devotees also worship as per their depth of reverence and financial strength and seek the blessings of Ganeshji.
My only wish is that the whole country becomes happy, the society becomes full of pious ideas, everyone should get work, no one should die of hunger and none should succumb for want of medical treatment. There should be harmony in the society and let there be brotherhood.
Let’s all celebrate Ganeshotsav together and call out with love - ‘Ganapati Bappa Morya..!’ Let there be a shower of affection in which ego drowns and the walls of differences collapse. Let anger melt away. Hatred should be buried forever and ‘I’ be replaced with ‘we’.
I also have a wish that the democracy of this country flourishes. But when I see the condition of the main Opposition party Congress, there are apprehensions in my mind. How will a democracy flourish without Opposition?
That is why I am making a humble request to Lord Ganesh to give this old political party of the country much needed intelligence to find a way out of its present plight. May Lord give it the power so that it can think about standing in the political arena again. Congress is not only a political party but an idea; it is the soul of the country. Just as the soul does not die, the thoughts do not die too. Once, the common man of this country had faith only in Congress. The party had its roots in every village. Wearing Congress’ cap was considered a matter of pride, but now there is no trace of the cap.
In other words, the leaders of Congress became so engrossed in denigrating each other in their own party that they forgot the fact that the time was changing. Before anyone could realise, the party became emasculated and ill.
Now just look at the condition in Maharashtra itself! Election dates have not been announced, but state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has released the ‘horse of Ashwamedha’ in a triumphant manner. He has already announced that his government is coming back to power again. The 'Maha Janadesh Yatra' is pulling the crowds and they don’t have to gather the crowds as the people themselves are turning out in large numbers. I am not even talking about the BJP. I am only talking about Devendra Fadnavis, who is single-handedly touring the length and breadth of the state as its helmsman. He has also maintained alliance with the Shiv Sena with great solicitude and friendship. He knows how to achieve power, and take people into confidence. He knows how to get into the hearts of the people, so if he says that he is returning to power, there is no bravado in it. He is exuding confidence about returning to power. Shiv Sena has also strengthened itself. Aditya Thackeray has started emerging as the star leader of his party. People are getting attracted towards him. This ensured that Uddhav Thackeray did not have to exert himself and hit the streets.
In terms of power, I see a contest between BJP and Shiv Sena.
On the contrary, when I look at the Congress, I feel depressed. I don’t understand why the party has become dormant. Where are the leaders of Congress? Don’t Congress leaders ever think of how to rein in the galloping horse of BJP’s Ashwamedha? They lack passion. I can state categorically that the Congress has never been so weak as it appears today.
If there is no enthusiasm among the senior leaders of the party, where will the enthusiasm in the workers come from? I am feeling terribly worried while writing this, but the truth is that there is a lack of understanding within the Congress. That is why I am urging Lord Ganesh that he should grant wisdom to the Congress party, confer it with the power of ideas, the power to understand the country afresh so that the Congress rises again in not only Maharashtra but the whole country. So that people start believing in Congress again!
I am not only looking at the weakness of the Congress from the perspective of the party but also from the perspective of the need of the country. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru used to say that strong opposition is very important for democracy. That is why he used to respect people like Ram Manohar Lohia, Madhu Limaye and Atal Bihari Vajpayee wholeheartedly. He considered the voices of criticism as a medium of ideological well-being. Today the situation has reversed. That is why the role of Congress in strengthening democracy can prove to be crucial. Apart from Congress, no other party has the power to play the role of a meaningful alternative. So, you also pray to Lord Ganesh for the Congress. Celebrate the Ganesh festival with great pomp and gaiety and strengthen social harmony. Many congratulations to you and your entire family for Ganeshotsav.

Before I conclude
The ‘Paryushan Parva’ of the Jain community is nearing conclusion. During this very holy period, forgiveness is sought from 84 lakh creatures through spiritual practice. I too apologise to all of you on this occasion. If I have inadvertently committed any mistake and hurt your feelings, then I am sorry. I seek your forgiveness from the bottom of my heart. There is no greater weapon than forgiveness.
Vijay Darda
Lokmat Media

P V Sindhu's next goal is Tokyo!

P V Sindhu's next goal is Tokyo! Just one day after she brought accolades to India, I had a warm & wonderful meeting with PV Sindhu. I congratulated her for winning gold following her stunning victory against Japan's Nozomi Okuhara at the BWF World Championships held at Basel in Switzerland on Sunday. She spoke exclusively to LOKMAT about her journey & her half an hour meeting with Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi ji. She narrated how the PM spoke about Indian philosophy, culture and a variety of topics concerning national interest. The prime minister had just returned from abroad, had visited late Shri Arun Jaitley's family and had a very busy day. Despite a long hectic travel and busy day he was still fresh and pleasant, she said. Also I greeted Sindhu's coach Pullela Gopichand ji, who was present during our conversation.