Daily Archives: October 24, 2011

A pilgrim spends Rs 16,000 while govt spends Rs 73,000 for his Haj

http://tinyurl.com/3zonfyr

Haj pilgrims at Ahmedabad airport

By Japan K Pathak, 24 October, 2011

While Haj yatra is on and 6,000 Haj yatris are in process to leave for Haj from Ahmedabad airport, following details about Haj yatra and central government’s spending on Haj yatra are interesting. In this article, there’s also a comparison between the figures of central government’s spending for Haj yatra and for Kailash Mansarovar yatra.

In March 2011, in reply to a question asked by Lok Sabha member Shri Setti Raju alias Devappa Anna about budgetary provisions made and utilized by the Government on pilgrimage to Haj, Kailash Mansarovar and other religious places during the last three years and the current year, central External affairs minister Paramjit Kaur Gulshan replied: “The Government of India makes exhaustive arrangements to facilitate the pilgrims going to Saudi Arabia through the Haj Committee of India and facilitates provision of accommodation and other logistical support for them.”

She further said, “Doctors, Nurses and other paramedical staff, Coordinators, Assistant Haj Officers, Haj Assistants and Khadim-ul-Hujjaj are sent from India on short-term deputation to Saudi Arabia. A hospital in Makkah and branch offices – cum – dispensaries in Makkah and Madina are set up for Haj pilgrims.”

She added, “the Haj Committee of India is providing to the pilgrims information regarding confirmation of their seats, travel documents, transportation, etc. For Haj-2010, two more embarkation points viz Bhopal and Goa were added to the already existing 19 embarkation points spread across the country. With effect from Haj – 2010, seats are being allotted on confirmed basis to those applicants who have been rejected continuously for last three years in Qurrah.It is the constant endeavor of the Government to keep making improvements in the arrangements made for the Haj pilgrims and provide them with better facilities after taking into account the feedback received from all concerned.”

The minister gave following detail about central government’s expenses for Haj.

Financial Year

Budgetary Provision

Expenditure on Haj

(excluding subsidy)

2007-08 Rs. 27 .01 crores Rs. 32.30 crore
2008-09 Rs. 34. 56 crores Rs. 32.82 crore
2009-10 Rs. 37.82 crores Rs. 30.49 crore
2010-11 (till February 2011) Rs. 41.89 crores Rs. 28.86 crore

However the figures presented above do not cover the subsidy expenses.

The detail of subsidy figures is actually available from another answer given to Lok Sabha MP Radhey Mohan Singh, by minister of overseas Indian affairs and civil aviation Shri Vayalar Ravi on 9 March, 2011.

The minister stated: “Ministry of Civil Aviation makes arrangements for air travel of pilgrims proceeding for Haj through Haj Committee of India. For Haj 2008 and 2009, each adult pilgrim paid Rs.12000/- as fare and Rs.16000/- for Haj 2010 for Haj Charter Flight. The balance cost of operating Haj Charter Flights was borne by the Government. State-wise figures of cost are not maintained. The provisional total cost (including Service Tax) and per pilgrim cost borne by the Government for last three years is as under”

Year – 2007 – Total Cost borne by Government Rs. 476.74 crore. Per pilgrim cost Rs. 43,340
Year – 2008 – Total Cost borne by Government Rs. 894.77 crore. Per pilgrim cost Rs. 73,526
Year – 2009 – Total Cost borne by Government Rs. 689.91 crore. Per pilgrim cost Rs. 57,430

The minister added that for Haj 2010, the Government has so far(means till March 2011) released an amount of Rs.580/- crores towards cost of travel of 1,26,191 pilgrims.

The minister also added: “out of the total airfare, a nominal amount of fare is collected from the Haj pilgrims to make Haj Yatra more affordable. The pilgrims are carried from/to 21 embarkation points in India. This year, except from Srinagar and Patna which had technical constraints, the pilgrims were carried by direct flights. Specific provisions like facilities to be provided to pilgrims before and after boarding of flights, on cancellation/delay of flights, baggage etc. are provided in the MOU signed with the airlines. Assistance of various kinds are also made available during their stay in Saudi Arabia.”

This clearly means that while government spent Rs 73,526 for Haj yatra of each Indian Muslim(in 2008) selected by Haj committee, that Muslim individual on Haj on his own had to spend only Rs 16,000!!

In October 7 this year the Union cabinet approved the following for the Haj 2011 operations:

i) Number of Haj Pilgrims to be covered under the Government subsidy scheme for Haj 2011 to be facilited by the Haj Committee of India is 1,25,000.

ii) Fare to be charged from each of the pilgrims for Haj 2011 is Rs.16,000.

iii) Haj flights would be operated from 21 embarkation points during Haj 2011.

iv) Ex-post facto approval has been given for increasing the number of pilgrims to 1,26,191 for Haj 2010.

A related press release said: “Ministry of Civil Aviation is entrusted with the responsibility of making air travel arrangements for Haj pilgrims proceeding for Haj through the Haj Committee of India. For Haj 2011, Ministry of Civil Aviation has selected the airlines for undertaking Haj Charter flights through sealed tender process. Since only designated airlines of India and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) are permitted to carry Haj pilgrims from India to Saudi Arabia, the designated airlines of both the countries were issued the tender notice, Saudi Arabian Airlines and National Air Services (NAS), the two designated airlines of Saudi Arabia emerged L1 for 13 and 8 embarkation points respectively. MoUs have been signed with these airlines for carrying the Haj Pilgrims. The pilgrims would be carried from India to Jeddah/Madina during 29.9.2011 and 31.10.2011 and from Jeddah/Madina to India during 10.11.2011 and 10.12.2011.”

The release further stated: “the number of Haj pilgrims going through the Haj Committee of India is decided by the Ministry of External Affairs which is the nodal Ministry for Haj matters. The cost of air travel of pilgrims undertaking Haj through Haj Committee of India is borne partly by the pilgrims and partly subsidized by the Government of India. The cost/fare to be charged from pilgrims is decided by the Cabinet and collected by the Haj Committee of India and paid to the Government/airlines and the balance cost is borne by the Government, for which a budgetary provision is made in the annual budget of Ministry of Civil Aviation. The number of pilgrims to be covered under this scheme and the number of embarkation points in India from which these pilgrims would board the flights is also decided by the Cabinet every year.”

And spending for Kailash Mansarovar yatra

Now coming back to Lok Sabha MP Shri Setti Raju alias Devappa Anna’s question about Kailash Mansarovar yatra. Following is the table of central government’s expenses for Kailash Mansarovar yatra.

Year Budgetary Allocation Utilization
2007-08 Rs. 97 lakhs Rs. 97 lakhs
2008-09 Rs. 46 lakhs Rs. 43 lakhs
2009-10 Rs. 71 lakhs Rs. 69 lakhs
2010-11 Rs. 95 lakhs Rs. 93.50 lakhs

The minister while giving reply about Kailash Mansarovar yatra and central government’s spending for it stated: Government of India has constantly been improving the facilities in India for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra. Government of India has also been regularly interacting with the Government of China for improvement of facilities in China at the holy sites of Mount Kailash and Manasarovar Lake.

Conclusion

This entire piece of article shows that while for Kailash Mansarovar yatra, the government of India spends less than one crore per year, the same government spends 28-30 crore for Haj yatris as other than subsidy expenses and 476-690 crore as subsidy every year! What a person on ground gets from this has to be checked. If Rs 16,000 is just one-way, then Haji pays Rs 32,000 for air fare, but even then the govt spends upto Rs 73,000 for that pilgrim on air fare. Another thing is that govt should have spine to stop funding yatras whether it is Kailash Mansarovar or Haj. Question has already been raised in parliament time and again that why Sikhs are not funded for their Pakistan yatra and Christians for their middle east pilgrim tour!

Wikileaks suspends operations, cites lack of funds

Claims that an illegal ‘financial blockade’ crushes efforts to raise funds

By Jaikumar Vijayan
October 24, 2011 12:54 PM ET

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Computerworld – Whistleblower Web site Wikileaks today announced that it has temporarily suspended operations due to financial constraints.

In a brief note posted on its site, Wikileaks blamed an “unlawful financial blockade” by several U.S. financial services companies for its situation. It also urged supporters to donate to its cause.

“We are forced to temporarily suspend publishing whilst we secure our economic survival,” Wikileaks said in the post. “We cannot allow giant U.S. finance companies to decide how the whole world votes with its pocket. Our battles are costly. We need your support to fight back.”

Wikileaks claims that it has been the target of “aggressive retaliation” from several groups for publishing tens of thousands of classified U.S. State Department cables starting last November.

The whistleblower site has accused Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union of severely curtailing its ability to receive donations and process payments from supporters around the world.

The blockade, as Wikileaks terms it, has been going on since December 2010 and has “destroyed 95% of our revenue,” Wikileaks said. The site has been forced to run on cash reserves for the past 11 months, it added.

The site claims that the actions by the financial services companies are politically motivated and designed to push Wikileaks out of existence.

A chart on its website shows that donations to Wikileaks have virtually flat-lined since January, 2011, after peaking a month earlier.

“The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency,” Wikileaks lamented.

The move to shutter the site at least temporarily is not surprising.

Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange, have been under tremendous pressure since the site began posting nearly a quarter of a million leaked State Department cables last November.

Soon after the site began publishing the documents, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and others terminated services to Wikileaks, citing terms of service violations.

Both MasterCard Europe and Visa Europe face complaints that the move to terminate the services violates European Union antitrust laws.

Wikileaks has also commenced what it calls as pre-litigation action against the financial services companies in several countries including Denmark, Belgium, United Kingdom and the U.S.

Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at Twitter@jaivijayan, or subscribe to Jaikumar’s RSS feed Vijayan RSS. His e-mail address isjvijayan@computerworld.com.

NATO Prepares Global War – Russian and Chinese Military on Highest Alert

http://nsnbc.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/nato-prepares-global-war-russian-and-chinese-military-on-highest-alert/

Posted on October 24, 2011 by nsnbc

At the International Security Conference (ISC) in Munich, 2007, Vladimir Putin warned western leaders, that the unprecedented aggressive expansion of NATO has brought the world more close to a third world war than it has ever been before. This stern warning came years before NATO´s aggression against Libya and it´s undeclared war in Syria and Pakistan. Following the recent deployment of US troops to Uganda, and military threats directed against Pakistan, the armed forces of NATO, Russia and China have never been as close to open and all out conflict as today. A recent and sobering report of the Russian Intelligence Service FSB, details the fact that the USA and NATO are currently planning and actively preparing for all out war on all continents. After the recent meeting between Russian P.M. Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Huan Jintao, both Russian and Chinese military forces have been placed on highest alert.             By Dr. Christof Lehmann

The speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 43rd International Security Conference in Munich in 2007, and Putin´s statement, that the aggressive expansionism of NATO has brought the world more close to a third world war than it has ever been before, was sobering in 2007. That an all out conflict has been prevented until now however, is not based on the fact that NATO has changed it´s aggressive policy of military expansionism. Putin´s speech from 2007 was sobering then, and few understood it´s full implications. The developments of recent months, however, are eliciting the urgent need to stop a cycle of aggression that can only be described as megalomaniacs insanity.

Since the middle of September 2011 Russian politicians at Russia´s State Duma began discussing that NATO must significantly reduce it´s military footprint in the former Soviet Republics. By early October, those calls had developed into demands that Russia should assert it´s interests in the former Soviet republics, and especially in the South. Since the discontinuation of the USSR, and NATO´s war on Afghanistan, it has significantly increased it´s military footprint in Russian and Chinese neighbor states such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and not least in Georgia. The fact that Russian and NATO troops came into open armed conflict when Georgi attacked Ossetia, and not least the US backed armed insurgency in Chechnya are eliciting the fact that Russia is increasingly threatened. A clear response by Vladimir Putin to the State Duma´s demands for policy changes came on 3 October, after Putin had received the sobering Intelligence Report, that warned of US and NATO preparations of a global war. On 3 October, only days before his meeting with Jintao, Putin announced his plans for a Eurasian Union.

When Russia´s Prime Minister, and most likely winner of the next presidential elections, Vladimir Putin, met Chinese President Huan Jintao on 12 October, the official narrative elicited mutually beneficial friendship and treaties, trade and other relations. The most important reason for the sudden visit however, did not make the headlines. Before leaving for Beijing, Putin received a sobering report from the Russian Intelligence Service FSB. The FSB report to Vladimir Putin supported reports from the Chinese Intelligence Service and China´s Ministry of State Security, MSS, which were among other based on intelligence received via the former Blackwater operative Brian Underwood. Underwood is currently held in the US on charges of espionage. According to reliable sources, China has attempted to warn Russia of US and NATO plans to initiate a global armed conflict. This conflict has reportedly moved from the drawing board to an activation stage.

According to both Chinese and Russian Intelligence Sources, the US and NATO plans include among other, the deliberate implosion of the US- and EU Economies, destroying the worlds financial systems, and the launching of a massive conventional war throughout North America, Africa and Asia, as well as the Middle East. The war plans include the release of biological warfare agents designed to kill millions if not billions of people. The NATO strategists rely on their ability to sue for peace when the coming conflict is at it´s highest, to call for the establishment of a “New World Order” under the pretext of preventing the destruction of the planet and civilization as we know it. One of the preparatory stages was reportedly doctrinal and strategy changes wherein the training of it´s soldiers shifted from counter insurgency to more conventional warfare and tank on tank battles.

The FSB Report states that the activation of the conflict is to be expected sooner rather than later, since the US and NATO have pre-deployed 2000  M1 Abrams Battle Tanks in Iraq, and another 2000 in Afghanistan. In the area between the Middle East and Asia, tens of thousands of other armored vehicles are deployed. The FSB evaluates the situation as so threatening, that it explains in it´s report, that the only thing needed to activate the war plan is a call for the full mobilization of 1.5 Million US Reserves. Their activation can come at moments notice, and needs no further authorization by the US Congress.

The US plans for global dominance date back to as early as 1998 and the “Project for a New American Century, PNAC. One of the think tanks members, former US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, warned in September 2001, that if the war fails to significantly alter the worlds geopolitical map, the US will not achieve it´s aim to become the worlds only ad dominant superpower.

The war on Iraq was not only based on co-opting it´s oil. One of the main driving factors behind the decision to topple the Iraqi government was, that Iraq had begun trading the nations oil in Euro and not US-Dollar. The driving factors behind the aggression against Libya was the fact that Libya blocked for the development of the Mediterranean Alliance, lobbied for the establishment of a Pan-African, gold backed currency, and that it had supported the now ousted Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast in his attempt to get Ivory Coast out of the CFA agreement. The CFA is a French Controlled currency used in eight African states, and France´s control over the CFA is one of the major supports of the French economy. The only country that so far has succeeded to withdraw from the US Dollar is Iran, that ended all trade of oil in US-Dollars in 2009. One of the reasons why Iran has not yet been attacked may be the fact that it has acquired a number of X-55 missiles with nuclear capabilities from the Ukraine. Russian Intelligence analysts how ever, generally perceive it as extremely unlikely that Ukraine did not deliver the nuclear warheads together with the missiles. Another reason why Iran has not yet been attacked may be it´s current support of NATO´s narrative of a popular revolution in Libya. Why precisely Iran is playing this dangerous diplomatic game is puzzling many analysts. It may be that Iran, knowing about the US and NATO war plans, would perceive the tying down of NATO forces in Northern Africa as a short lived insurance policy that can buy much needed time to prepare a defense against an anticipated attack.

Both China and Russia are outraged by NATO´s unprecedented abuse of UNSC Resolution 1973 and NATO´s war on Libya. Both the Russian and the Chinese veto of a resolution on Syria must be seen within the context of Russian and Chinese awareness of US and NATO plans to initiate a global war. The fact that the highest US Representative to the UN Susan Rice left the Security Counsel meeting in protest after the veto is not a sign of diplomacy being the modus for solving problems of global security either.

Recently the government of India agreed to let 20.000 Chinese troops to enter the Indian administrated part of Kashmirto counter the expected US and NATO aggression. Afghanistan has is signaling that it would be fighting along side Pakistan in case Pakistan would be attacked by the USA or NATO. Both China, Russia, Pakistan and Afghanistan discussed pressing security matters at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on 15 October. Most likely, the US and NATO preparations of an all out confrontation with Russia and China have been a central point of consideration in meetings behind the scenes. When the Russian Military was ordered on high alert, Vladimir Putin reportedly instructed high ranking military personnel to “Prepare for Armageddon“.

If the clock was 5 minutes to midnight in 2007, what time is it today. And will the people live up to their responsibility as citizens, to stop criminal governments. Failure to do so, may be failure to save ones own life and civilization as we know it.It is in deed high time that peace loving people throughout the world begin protesting against the mass murder that is planned against them, and support initiatives like those of former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Tun Mahatir Muhammad, to criminalize war.

Christof Lehmann


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