NRI: UK Ban on doctors outside EU

Extracts from the Guardian February 07 2008

      A ban on doctors from outside the EU training to become consultants in the NHS was imposed by the government yesterday in an attempt to protect the career prospects of British graduates.

      The immigration minister, Liam Byrne, said an Australian-style points system would be used to stop doctors from outside Europe entering Britain to access postgraduate medical training.

     The rule is expected to keep out up to 5,000 applicants, mainly from India and other Commonwealth countries, from 2009.The health secretary, Alan Johnson, said immediate action was needed to stop overseas doctors who are already working for the NHS from winning coveted places to train as consultants.

       His plan, which is fraught with legal difficulty, would stop about 10,000 non-European NHS doctors from applying in June for the next round of interviews for trainee posts.Their only chance of getting a foot on the ladder to become NHS consultants would come if the medical deaneries could not fill posts in unpopular specialities from the pool of European graduates.

        Non-Europeans already working in Britain would be allowed to compete for these few remaining places. The restrictions are designed to avoid a repetition of the chaos last year when nearly 28,000 applicants competed for about 15,500 training places in England. About 45% had graduated outside Europe and many unsuccessful candidates were hoping for another chance in this year’s competition. 

        A legal challenge by the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin was upheld on appeal on the grounds that health ministers did not have authority to change immigration law.

        The case will go to the House of Lords on February 20, with judgment expected in May. If the government loses, its plan to ban the non-Europeans from this year’s competition will collapse.

        Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA, said: “Our concern is that the overseas colleagues already working in the UK are being both scapegoated and sent confusing messages.

Harassment: RAW style

new-picture-4.pngEX RAW man caught up in legal wrangles

Sunetra ChoudhuryThursday, February 7, 2008 (New Delhi)

      The case of former spy Gen VK Singh came up in the district courts this week but it didn’t go far.

       He is in court because he wrote about his ex-employer, India’s external intelligence agency, RAW.

      He was charged under the Official Secrets Act, and in just the last four months, he’s had nine hearings and not a single decision.

      Gen VK Singh keeps going through the officers’ Code but he can’t find what he did wrong. He reads: ”An indicator of deterioration in moral values is propensity of senior officers to live off land, a euphemism for misusing perks.”

       He waits in his lawyer’s chamber for yet another hearing on his bail petition. In the Tis Hazari courts, four judges have already refused to take a decision and so Singh, like a million other litigants, is playing the waiting game.

      When the hearing ends, it’s another day of waiting gone to waste. The CBI doesn’t allow the media to report on his case.

      ”The matter is sub-judice, we cannot make comment,” said Chander Maini, Lawyer.

       However, Singh can comment. It’s a logjam he says, a legal system which accepts the right to information in theory but is still stuck with the Official Secrets Act that the law commission says should be repealed. Singh has been booked under the Act for writing about his time as a spy.

     ”For instance in a chapter of the book I tell them about substandard equipment that was procured. The tender has gone out to various countries, so there’s nothing classified about it,” said VK Singh, CBI accused.

      It may sound straightforward but for every judge who’s been involved, it’s not.

       In the crowded courts and judicial system, Gen VK Singh’s case seems to be lost. He’s got a future court date but his hopes of that being positive are not very high.

IC-814 hijack case: An Unfinished Task, Main culprits are free

IC-814 hijack case: An Unfinished Task Main culprits are free

       A CBI court in Patiala has sentenced all three accused in the IC-814 hijacking case of 1999 to life imprisonment.

      Abdul Latif, Yusuf Nepali and Dilip Kumar Bhujel have been charged under anti hijacking law and also for attempt to murder, conspiracy and abduction.

      But the masterminds of the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar have never been caught. Maulana Masood and two others were let off in exchange for hostages.

     Earlier, BS Lodhi, defence lawyer had said, ”Hands of judicial officers are tied when no accused is arrested or produced before the court for the purpose of trial. It is difficult for the court to pass an order against those persons who are abandoning in the case.”

     The weeklong hijack drama ended with the release of three dreaded terrorists Masood Azhar Mushtaq, Ahmed Zargar and Sheikh Ahmed Omar Saeed.

      All 189 on board were let off safely, except two, Rupen Katyal was killed by the hijackers on day one and Satnam Singh was stabbed nine times, but survived. He later left the country. Today his family believes a trial without the main hijackers is simply meaningless.

”They couldn’t get the real hijackers. They should get them. What is the point? They should be punished,” said Bawa Singh, Satnam Singh’s father.

       Masood Azhar, the most high profile of the three freed militants, floated the Jaish-e-Mohd immediately after his release. It went on to become the most dreaded terror outfit in Jammu and Kashmir.

      Eight years after the hijacking of IC 814 intelligence inputs suggest that Mulana Masood Azhar;s younger brother Ibrahim Athar, who was the principal hijacker is once again getting active, has been entrusted with the job of reenergizing and strengthen the network of Jaish-e-Mohd across the country.

       Intelligence inputs also suggest that Masood Azhar’s brother trained militants for a Jaish module in Uttar Pradesh, targeting Rahul Gandhi.

       ”Brother of Azhar Masood, who was one of the hijackers, later on played a very important role in Pakistan in fermenting militancy,” said S P Vaid, IG Police, Jammu Region.

       A verdict after eight long years for a week spent in absolute terror.

       For those who lived to tell the tale, it will be empty justice unless the main accused are brought to book.

Mumbai Scenario for Two Wheelers

Bikes account for 1/3rd of traffic cases  Viju B | TNN  

       Mumbai: It is yet unclear whether the two youths who jumped a signal on the Eastern Express highway on Tuesday met with a severe accident because of a traffic constable’s rash actions, but fact remains that lakhs of two-wheeler riders are stopped and booked on the highways and roads for not wearing helmets and driving rashly. 


       Data shows that nearly 30 percent of all traffic offences registered last year were against two wheelers. Out of the 19.47 lakh cases, around seven lakh (more than 30%) were against two wheeler riders who had committed a range of offences such as not wear helmets, drive rashly or negligently, drink and drive, cut lanes and talk on mobile phones while driving. 

   The figures on road fatalities bear this out. Of the total 632 fatal accidents which took place between January and December 2006, 79 involved two wheeler. “Around 12 percent of all the fatal accidents that took place were due to two-wheeler drivers,’’ a senior police official said. 

       Of all the two-wheeler riders booked, 3.26 lakh were caught for not wearing helmets, 7,000 for talking on mobile phones and another 10,000 for rash and drunken driving. In all, the department collected Rs 2.10 crore as fine last year.

Jan 2007-Dec 2007
Total number of cases registered agaInst 2 wheeler drivers: 7 lakh
   Total number of cases registered for driving offences: 19.47 lakh

Break-up of 2-wheeler cases

Rash driving: 3,287

Drunken driving: 7,823

Jumping signals: 53,000

Cutting lanes: 15,500

Parking violation: 2.16 lakh

Halting on zebra crossings: 3,000

Held without helmet: 3.26 lakh

Caught for talking on mobile phones: 7,000

Maharashtra: Rating of Beauracrats

Top babus flop in appraisals  Nitin Yeshwantrao | TNN  Mumbai:

     They sit in judgment over thousands of minions and hundreds of issues, but how do the mandarins of Mantralaya fare in their own performance appraisals? As many as 46 of the 56 senior bureaucrats in Mantralaya have scored less than five out of ten for the period from July to December 2007. No bureaucrat scored more than 7/10. 

        Among the 16 who got less than 3/10 are additional chief seceretary (ACS) Chandra Iyengar, who looks after public health, ACS Joyce Sankaran, higher and technical education, Amitabh Chandra, medical education, Medha Gadgil, dairy development and animal husbandary, and N Armugam, social justice department.

        Chief secretary Johny Joseph had appraised the senior bureaucrats on the basis of five key parameters—disposal of files, financial and physical achievements of development funds, recruitments, compliance of assurances made before the state legislature and responses to queries raised by the Public Accounts Committee of the state legislature and the Accountant General’s office. 

         The formula, which aims at ensuring greater accountability to the people and the legislature, could in all probability be the first-of-its-kind in the nation and could set the agenda for administrative reforms in other states.

        S K Goel (cooperatives), V K Jairath (industries), Rahul Asthana (energy), K P Bakshi (food and civil supplies), N B Patil (agriculture), A K Jain (water supply and sanitation) were those who scored less than four in the rating scale of 1/10.

      Clearly disappointed, the chief secretary has conveyed his displeasure to his administrative team and urged them to pull up their socks before the closure of the financial year.

3 ACS-level officials get worst rating

      Mumbai: In the appraisal for a period from July to December 2007, only seven department heads—Sunil Soni (reforms), V K Kanade (expenditure), V V Gaikwad (irrigation), E B Patil (command area development programme), Kshatrapati Shivaji (IT), D K Jain (rural development department) and R Gopal (Appeals) have scored between five to seven.
         Chief secretary Johny Joseph’s appraisal report indicates that the performance of three ACS-level officals—Chandra Iyengar, Joyce Sankaran, Neela Sathyanarayana (revenue)—has been dismal, with all three rated in the scale of 1-3. Three other ACS-rank officials—Chitkala Zhutshi (home), V K Agrawal (planning) and JP Dange (forest) scored up to 4\10.