Archive for June 9th, 2012

Sacrilege! Mihir Sharma takes on P.Sainath

9 June 2012

As he exited the Indian Express last year as its most acerbic pen, the Harvard-educated economist Mihir S. Sharma launched into “adman” Suhel Seth in a long review of the latter’s book in The Caravan.

Now, at the Business Standard as the editor of its opinion pages, Sharma trains his guns at the Magsaysay award winning rural affairs editor of The Hindu, P. Sainath, mocking his selective use of internet search engines.

The provocation: Sainath’s recent piece attacking the profligacy of the deputy chairman of the planning commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia while expecting India’s poor to subsist on subhuman amounts of money:

“The government will get away with it, because of our perennial confusion between public and personal austerity, and our jaw-dropping incompetence with simple mathematics. Consider, for example, the recent attack on Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia by one Palagummi Sainath, famously the favourite journalist of Press Council Chairman Markandey Katju.

“For a widely-read column in The Hindu, Sainath Googled previous newspaper reports that Ahluwalia had spent Rs 2 lakh a day on some of his foreign trips, and that he had spent 274 days outside the country in his seven-year tenure. (He did not mention that Mr Ahluwalia was the point-man in India’s interaction with the G-20 in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Odd, I’m sure that’s Googleable.)

“Let’s assume that that’s excessive; and that Mr Ahluwalia and his delegation should have spent half that. That comes to an excess spending of Rs 40 lakh a year. This year’s fiscal deficit is more than a million times that sum. The folly of such ‘analysis’ is matched only by the cynicism of the UPA, which thinks that responding to laughable smears with its unpersuasive attempts at ‘austerity’ will answer genuine complaints about its profligacy with public funds.”

Read the full article: Austerity abuse

Also read: Suhel Seth shows why he is such a cute tweetiya

Montek Singh Ahluwalia gets a Padma for what?

Brother, sister spar over seat on PM junket

9 June 2012

From Delhi Confidential, the gossip column of the Indian Express:

FAMILY FRACAS

The inclusion of Team Anna member, former TV anchor Shazia Ilmi, in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s media team for his trip to the Rio+20 summit in Brazil, has been the cause of much fuss in the PMO and in the MEA over the last few days.

Shazia was included in the entourage as a representative of her family-run Urdu newspaper Siasat Jadid.

But her elder brother, Aijaz Ilmi, who identifies himself as editor of the Lucknow edition, wrote to the MEA saying Shazia was now a “full-time activist” and “doesn’t represent the paper” though she was “part of the family”. He said Shazia’s nomination for the trip was done without his knowledge and must be treated as “invalid and infructuous”.

Shazia, however, counters this saying Aizaz isn’t the editor who, in turn, says: “Now it’s for the MEA to decide.”

Some decision.

Also read: Ex-Star News, ToI journos behind Team Anna

The ex-Zee News journo on Anna Hazare team

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