Lavanya Selvaraj's Blog

Archive for May 2010

Apple Computers
Ad slogans: Think different.
Apple Macintosh. The computer for the rest of us.
The Power to Be Your Best.
Macintosh. It Does More. It Costs Less. It’s that Simple.

IBM (International Business Machines) Computers
Slogans: I think, therefore IBM.
IBM. Computers help people help people.
Solutions for a small planet.

Acer (range of computers, notebooks, monitors…)
Advertising slogans: Empowering People.
Acer. We hear you.

Compaq Computers
Taglines: Compaq. Inspiration technology.
Has it changed your life yet?
For the next generation of big businesses.

Dell Computers
Slogans: Dell. Purely You.
Dell. Uniquely You.
Easy as Dell.
Be direct.

NEC Computers and semiconductors
Advertising slogans: NEC. Empowered by Innovation.
See, hear and feel the difference.

Toshiba brand
Slogans: In Touch With Tomorrow – corporate
Choose freedom (The Computer Systems Division of Toshiba Singapore)
Take Toshiba, Take the World.

Fujitsu Siemens Computers
Advertising slogan: Fujitsu Siemens. We make sure.

Gateway Computers & Home Electronics brand – Laptops, Notebooks, LCD Plasma TV, Computer Monitors, Desktops
Marketing slogans: Technology you can trust.
Gateway. A better way.

HP – Hewlett-Packard
Advertising slogan: HP. Invent.

Maxdata hardware
Advertising slogan: Maxdata. Real hard ware.

Mecer, South African computer brand
Motto: Mecer. Experience IT.

Intel microprocessors
Slogans: Great computing starts with Intel inside. (Intel Core_ 2 Duo)
Intel inside.

IBM ThinkPad notebooks
Tagline: ThinkPad. Where do you do your best thinking?


Shah Faisal, a doctor by profession, has topped the UPSC exam this year. He tells Abhishek Ghosh what it takes to clear the prestigious civil services exam in the first attempt.

Ihad to turn water to cheese, says Shah Faisal, who is the first person from Jammu and Kashmir to come first in the UPSC exam. Faisal, who completed his MBBS only last year, insists that he became a doctor by default. And yet his is a story of passion finding its path.  Growing up in a village in Sogam, Kupwara, he says that he lacked the exposure that big city kids have, so he drifted into the medical profession. “In Srinagar, there is a craze about the medical profession and my father also wanted me to become a doctor, so I willingly complied,” he adds.

It was during his stint in MBBS that he met Dr Abdul Ghani Mir — an IPS officer. More interactions ensued, and the drifting, freewheeler had found his calling. “You are always affected by your surroundings. The abject poverty around me and harsh living conditions had made me restless. When I met Dr Mir, it was as if I had found the key to the door. It was a eureka moment for me. I knew if I qualify for this I could contribute to society in a massive way,” he says breathlessly. “We used to have long discussions on every subject under the sun and it helped shape my world-view, it widened my horizons and gave me a purpose.”
After completing his MBBS degree, Faisal had just two months before the prelims. “I completely immersed myself in studies, shut out the rest of the world. I realised I had only two months to realise a long-cherished dream.” As it happened May 17, 2009, the date of the prelims exam was also his birthday.

After he cleared his prelims, he was even more fired up and came to Delhi and joined the Jamia Hamdard Study Circle. “There, too, I continued with my hermitical ways, losing myself in course books and only listening to music — sufi, Kashmiri folk and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are his favourites — to unwind. I didn’t step out much, kept a hawk eye on current affairs, reading newspapers, periodicals and books to keep myself updated.” But aren’t MBBS and IAS two very separate fields of study. “Yes, but both involve serving society, though the course content may be different. Also, I have benefited immensely from days when I studied in the medical college. We were required to study for long hours and under a lot of stress,” he says, adding, “so I was already familiar with the studying conditions for the civil services’ exam.”

Faisal, who has several interests — reading poetry of Faiz, Iqbal and Rumi, learning French, reading psychology — had public administration and Urdu literature as his subjects. What in his view is an essential ingredient for any IAS aspirant? “Passion for knowledge and a desire to serve society,” he says. “You need to have a voracious appetite for garnering knowledge; you must be tremendously interested in the goings-on of the world around you, as you try and make sense of it and have an itch to create a better society than how you found it,” he says. “Also a sense of deep faith on one’s abilities helps. Some IAS aspirants give themselves five years to compete, while I always thought it could be done in the first year itself,” he adds.

He is deeply grateful to his late father, who inculcated in him the value of knowledge and learning from an early age, while his mother has been with him through thick and thin. “Both of them have been instrumental in me becoming the person I am today.” In the future, Faisal wants to become a district magistrate but is not particular about the state where he would want to be posted, however Kashmir holds a special place in his heart.


1. Wal-Mart Stores

Rank: 1 (Previous rank: 2)
CEO: Michael T. Duke
Compare tool: Wal-Mart vs. Top 10
The mega-retailer knocked Exxon Mobil out of the top slot to rule the Fortune 500 again this year. Wal-Mart managed to lift revenues, on top of a big increase in 2008, by attracting bargain-hungry customers from competitors with remodeled stores and inexpensive private-label goods, offering everything from frozen pizza to patio furniture in one stop. A single trip also meant less spending on gas. Result: Profits surged a whopping 7% to $14.3 billion.

2. Exxon Mobile

Rank: 2 (Previous rank: 1)
CEO: Rex W. Tillerson
Compare tool: Exxon Mobil vs. Top 10
The oil giant made a big bet on the domestic natural gas market late last year buying Texas-based XTO Energy for $41 billion. But refining and exploration remain its backbone. The company drilled 45 new wells last year and hit pay dirt on nearly two-thirds of them. Other big projects: new ventures in Qatar, the Black Sea, and Kazakhstan, including the giant Kashagan field located offshore in the Caspian Sea. With operations in nearly every corner of the planet, Exxon always seems to get a seat at the table when big projects arise. Maybe size does matter. –Peter Newcomb

3. Chevron

Rank: 3 (Previous rank: 3)
CEO: John S. Watson
Compare tool: Chevron vs. Top 10
With prices for crude oil and natural gas off sharply from their recent highs, revenue at the oil giant tumbled 37%, from $265 billion to $167 billion. The good news: Production of oil and gas jumped 7%, thanks in part to a 57% success rate on its exploratory drilling. But another pitfall looms: Chevron has a heavy exposure to high-acid crude, particularly its deep-water projects in the U.K. If the government forces it to start processing the high-cost oil, Chevron may opt to cede its drilling rights, a move that would result in a sizeable charge against earnings. –P.N.

4. General Electric

Rank: 4 (Previous rank: 5)
CEO: Jeffrey R. Immelt
Compare tool: General Electric vs. Top 10
The house that Jack built ended 2009 by selling a controlling stake in its NBC Universal entertainment unit to Comcast, a deal that valued the new entity at $37 billion. Investors largely shrugged off the deal, but as concerns over its finance unit begin to fade — and talk of a dividend increase start to heat up — GE stock lately has been on a tear. GE chief Jeffrey Immelt hopes to keep the momentum going. He’s investing $6 billion to develop new medical products and technologies, and is making big bets on green technologies, from fuel-efficient turbines to “thin film” solar panels. –P.N.

5. Bank of America Corp.

Rank: 5 (Previous rank: 11)
CEO: Brian T. Moynihan
Compare tool: Bank of America Corp. vs. Top 10
Say this about Bank of America chief Brian Moynihan: He certainly knows how to talk the talk. In his letter to shareholders, Moynihan went out of his way to thank U.S. taxpayers for making $45 billion in TARP funds available. He also described how he is working closely with “policy leaders” on financial reform. Whether he can walk the walk — i.e., turn around BofA’s fortunes — is another matter. While the company did repay its TARP loan in December, it is still sitting on billions of dollars of vulnerable residential and commercial mortgage debt — one reason the company spent 8,000 words discussing risk in its annual report. –P.N.

6. ConocoPhillips

Rank: 6 (Previous rank: 4)
CEO: James J. Mulva
Compare tool: ConocoPhillips vs. Top 10
When Warren Buffett said he was “dead wrong” to invest in ConocoPhillips, Conoco chief James Mulva must have taken note. The Texas-based oil company — the nation’s third largest — has been going to great lengths trying to shore up its balance sheet by selling assets, reducing debt, and reining in capital spending. In March, Conoco said it would sell half of its 20% stake in Lukoil, a move that could raise $5 billion. Other potential sales: the company’s 9% stake in its oil sands venture Syncrude and its 50% ownership in the Flying J truck stop chain. –P.N.

7. AT&T

Rank: 7 (Previous rank: 8  )
CEO: Randall L. Stephenson
Compare tool: AT&T vs. Top 10
Ahh, the glamorous life of AT&T: best friends with Steve Jobs, exclusive rights to the iPhone (for now) and carrier of choice on the iPad. So why, with everything going for it, did the stock miss a huge rally? In the year ending April 1, Apple soared 109% and the S&P 500 rose 41%. AT&T? Down 2%. The problem is growth, or lack thereof: little in its saturated wireless business and a decline in landlines, which still accounts for 25% of sales. Unless its high-speed Internet business takes off or the iPad drives new wireless growth, the beatings by Wall Street will continue. –Michael Copeland

8. Ford Motor

Rank: 8 (Previous rank: 7)
CEO: Alan R. Mulally
Compare tool: Ford Motor vs. Top 10
In March, Ford completed its exit from the luxury car market by selling Volvo to China’s Geely Automobile for $1.6 billion. Although the sale represents a sharp loss — the company paid $6 billion for the Swedish automaker eleven years ago — Ford posted an annual profit of $2.7 billion in 2009, its first profitable year since 2005. Assisted by the “Cash for Clunkers” program (not to mention Toyota’s accelerator woes), Ford recaptured its position as the nation’s largest carmaker in February. Which is why Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally can now look abroad, including big markets like India, where it recently introduced the compact Figo. –P.N.

9. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Rank: 9 (Previous rank: 16)
CEO: James Dimon
Compare tool: J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. vs. Top 10
CEO Jamie Dimon, who’s been hailed as one of the banking industry’s top leaders, called J.P. Morgan’s annual results “mediocre.” The industry must beg to differ. J.P. Morgan’s revenue jumped in 2009 and profits more than doubled. It’s the latest proof that J.P. Morgan was the country’s strongest bank through the financial crisis. Last year it raised capital for businesses when others couldn’t; it was the top merger and acquisitions advisor; and it never posted a quarterly loss. –Scott Cendrowski

10. Hewlett-Packard

Rank: 10 (Previous rank: 9)
CEO: Mark V. Hurd
Compare tool: Hewlett-Packard vs. Top 10
As the biggest technology company by sales, HP now competes with every other IT shop that offers one-stop shopping for corporate buyers and consumers alike. IBM remains HP’s biggest foe on the services front, while Oracle’s purchase of server-maker Sun challenged HP on corporate hardware. The company’s pending acquisition of networking-gear manufacturer 3Com puts this Silicon Valley pioneer in the crosshairs of Cisco. Printers once accounted for the biggest chunk of HP’s profits, but with size comes diversity: Services, software and computers are all making healthy bottom-line contributions now too. –Adam Lashinsky

11. Berkshire Hathaway

Rank: 11 (Previous rank: 13)
CEO: Warren E. Buffett
Compare tool: Berkshire Hathaway vs. Top 10
If Warren Buffett has lost a step, it didn’t show in 2009. Berkshire rolled up its gaudiest net-worth gain ever and arranged its biggest deal, a $26 billion purchase of railroad Burlington Northern that was completed in 2010. The company also announced a stock split that brings Berkshire ownership within reach for those reluctant to plunk down thousands of dollars for a single share. Skeptics complain Buffett has drifted from his value-seeking discipline, but the stock is up 23% this year. Maybe that’s why fans spend so much time debating who might eventually fill his rather large shoes. –Colin Barr

12. Citigroup

Rank: 12 (Previous rank: 12)
CEO: Vikram S. Pandit
Compare tool: Citigroup vs. Top 10
The sickest of the major banks is finally getting healthier. In 2009, Citigroup split itself in two — a good bank and a bad bank — in its effort to sell off more than $500 billion in toxic assets. After passing a government stress test, Citi officially paid back TARP funds to the U.S. Government in 2009. Still, a $25 billion bounce from last year’s losses couldn’t move Citi into the black. It lost $1.6 billion during the year because of consumer credit losses and costs to repay TARP. –S.C.

13. Verizon Communications

Rank: 13 (Previous rank: 17)
CEO: Ivan G. Seidenberg
Compare tool: Verizon Communications vs. Top 10
Like chief rival, AT&T, Verizon also missed this year’s stock market rally. In the year period ending April 1, Verizon’s stock was down almost 4% while the S&P 500 rose 41%. In the same period, Verizon partner Motorola came back from the dead with Droid and was up 52%. Not even the chorus of rumors saying Verizon will get an iPhone has helped. For all the nifty devices Verizon is stocking, what it can’t buy is growth. Analysts project an average annual earnings growth rate of just 5% over the next few years. That’s nothing to phone home about. –M.C.

14. McKesson

Rank: 14 (Previous rank: 15)
CEO: John H. Hammergren
Compare tool: McKesson vs. Top 10
In March, McKesson finally washed its hands of a decade-old accounting scandal when former CEO Charles McCall was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Maybe that will help people refocus on the company’s impressive fundamentals. With revenues of more than $100 billion, McKesson generates far more top line than its cooler corporate neighbors in Silicon Valley. The company’s strong performance during the recession recently prompted Standard & Poor’s to upgrade the company’s rating. Best known as the nation’s largest distributor of pharmaceuticals — the company processes some 4.5 million items a day — McKesson is making inroads on others fronts, digitizing patient records and developing after-hours prescription machines. –P.N.

15. General Motors

Rank: 15 (Previous rank: 6)
CEO: Edward E. Whitacre Jr.
Compare tool: General Motors vs. Top 10
2009 was a tornado for the 101-year-old automaker. There were three CEOs, four divested car brands, and a bankruptcy reorganization that left American taxpayers as its largest shareholders. Don’t forget 2,300 eliminated dealers, 10 closed plants, and 21,000 layoffs. The world’s second-largest automaker is now run by CEO Ed Whitacre and CFO Christopher P. Liddell, neither of whom have previous auto experience. Liddell says GM has a “reasonable chance” of making a profit in 2010, expects to pay back the remaining $5.6 billion in government loans by June, and plans a public stock offering “as soon as it makes sense.” –Alex Taylor III

16. American International Group

Get Quote: AIG Financials: Latest Results Rank: 16 (Previous rank: 245)
CEO: Robert Benmosche
Compare tool: American International Group vs. Top 10
The good news: AIG chief Robert Benmosche is making good on his promise to repay $180 billion in government bailout money. The company sold two insurance operations earlier this year for $50 billion, most of which will go to repaying its debt to the government. The bad news: AIG lost $11 billion last year. Then there’s the company’s ugly balance sheet — $140 billion in debt, $150 billion worth of credit default swaps — its numerous legal entanglements, government investigations, and inability to hold onto key executives. It all makes AIG stock, which has gyrated wildly in the past year, better to ogle that own. –P.N.

17. Cardinal Health

Rank: 17 (Previous rank: 18)
CEO: George S. Barrett
Compare tool: Cardinal Health vs. Top 10
Even a company with ultra-slim margins can churn out a billion-dollar profit — if it sells nearly $1 billion worth of stuff, that is. Drug distributor Cardinal Health simplified itself in 2009 by spinning off its higher-end clinical and medical products group, now CareFusion. As a result, the company boosted its stock price and narrowed its focus. It also has a new CEO, drug-industry veteran George Barrett, who helped Cardinal move beyond embarrassing earnings re-statements in past years. –Adam Lashinsky

18. CVS Caremark

Rank: 18 (Previous rank: 19)
CEO: Thomas M. Ryan
Compare tool: CVS Caremark vs. Top 10
If you picked up a prescription last year, chances are you interacted with at least one of the two sides of CVS Caremark, the drugstore chain cum pharmacy benefits manager (PBM). The company’s retail side operates 7,000 stores, and its PBM handled 660 million prescriptions in 2009. CVS Caremark increased sales and profits last year — but its growth, while steady, wasn’t uniform. Caremark has struggled since the 2007 merger, losing $4.8 billion worth of 2010 contracts last year. Investors will be watching to see whether the PBM’s new president, Per Lofberg, can execute a turnaround — and whether investigations by the FTC and a multistate task force cause trouble for the health-care giant. –Mina Kimes

19. Wells Fargo

Rank: 19 (Previous rank: 41)
CEO: John G. Stumpf
Compare tool: Wells Fargo vs. Top 10
Wells Fargo sold more mortgages than any other bank in 2009. As consumers reacted to record-low interest rates, earnings rose more than four-fold as sales doubled. The bank posted a profit in all four quarters. But analysts were most excited about Wells Fargo’s purchase of Wachovia. The deal was expected to burden Wells with a huge portfolio of shaky adjustable-rate mortgages, but Wachovia proved to be a shrewd pickup. Wells Fargo gained 15 million customers, and after writing down Wachovia’s bad loans, merger costs will be a third less than expected.–S.C.

20. International Business Machines

Rank: 20 (Previous rank: 14)
CEO: Samuel J. Palmisano
Compare tool: International Business Machines vs. Top 10
Sales at Big Blue were down – as was its Fortune 500 ranking – but that doesn’t mean it was an entirely bad year. Earnings and cash flow were stronger than ever despite the recession, thanks to a continued focus on selling high-margin software and services that are designed to help businesses save money and find customers. Another sign of a solid 2009: Two of the most powerful enterprise technology companies in Silicon Valley, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle, regularly singled out IBM as a chief rival. Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but vilification is a close second. –Jon Fortt

Fortune 100 Companies

Rank Company Revenues
($ millions)
($ millions)
1 Wal-Mart Stores 408,214.0 14,335.0
2 Exxon Mobil 284,650.0 19,280.0
3 Chevron 163,527.0 10,483.0
4 General Electric 156,779.0 11,025.0
5 Bank of America Corp. 150,450.0 6,276.0
6 ConocoPhillips 139,515.0 4,858.0
7 AT&T 123,018.0 12,535.0
8 Ford Motor 118,308.0 2,717.0
9 J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. 115,632.0 11,728.0
10 Hewlett-Packard 114,552.0 7,660.0
11 Berkshire Hathaway 112,493.0 8,055.0
12 Citigroup 108,785.0 -1,606.0
13 Verizon Communications 107,808.0 3,651.0
14 McKesson 106,632.0 823.0
15 General Motors 104,589.0 N.A.
16 American International Group 103,189.0 -10,949.0
17 Cardinal Health 99,612.9 1,151.6
18 CVS Caremark 98,729.0 3,696.0
19 Wells Fargo 98,636.0 12,275.0
20 International Business Machines 95,758.0 13,425.0
21 UnitedHealth Group 87,138.0 3,822.0
22 Procter & Gamble 79,697.0 13,436.0
23 Kroger 76,733.2 70.0
24 AmerisourceBergen 71,789.0 503.4
25 Costco Wholesale 71,422.0 1,086.0
26 Valero Energy 70,035.0 -1,982.0
27 Archer Daniels Midland 69,207.0 1,707.0
28 Boeing 68,281.0 1,312.0
29 Home Depot 66,176.0 2,661.0
30 Target 65,357.0 2,488.0
31 WellPoint 65,028.1 4,745.9
32 Walgreen 63,335.0 2,006.0
33 Johnson & Johnson 61,897.0 12,266.0
34 State Farm Insurance Cos. 61,479.6 766.7
35 Medco Health Solutions 59,804.2 1,280.3
36 Microsoft 58,437.0 14,569.0
37 United Technologies 52,920.0 3,829.0
38 Dell 52,902.0 1,433.0
39 Goldman Sachs Group 51,673.0 13,385.0
40 Pfizer 50,009.0 8,635.0
41 Marathon Oil 49,403.0 1,463.0
42 Lowe’s 47,220.0 1,783.0
43 United Parcel Service 45,297.0 2,152.0
44 Lockheed Martin 45,189.0 3,024.0
45 Best Buy 45,015.0 1,003.0
46 Dow Chemical 44,945.0 648.0
47 Supervalu 44,564.0 -2,855.0
48 Sears Holdings 44,043.0 235.0
49 International Assets Holding 43,604.4 27.6
50 PepsiCo 43,232.0 5,946.0
51 MetLife 41,098.0 -2,246.0
52 Safeway 40,850.7 -1,097.5
53 Kraft Foods 40,386.0 3,021.0
54 Freddie Mac 37,614.0 -21,553.0
55 Sysco 36,853.3 1,055.9
56 Apple 36,537.0 5,704.0
57 Walt Disney 36,149.0 3,307.0
58 Cisco Systems 36,117.0 6,134.0
59 Comcast 35,756.0 3,638.0
60 FedEx 35,497.0 98.0
61 Northrop Grumman 35,291.0 1,686.0
62 Intel 35,127.0 4,369.0
63 Aetna 34,764.1 1,276.5
64 New York Life Insurance 34,014.3 682.7
65 Prudential Financial 32,688.0 3,124.0
66 Caterpillar 32,396.0 895.0
67 Sprint Nextel 32,260.0 -2,436.0
68 Allstate 32,013.0 854.0
69 General Dynamics 31,981.0 2,394.0
70 Morgan Stanley 31,515.0 1,346.0
71 Liberty Mutual Insurance Group 31,094.0 1,023.0
72 Coca-Cola 30,990.0 6,824.0
73 Humana 30,960.4 1,039.7
74 Honeywell International 30,908.0 2,153.0
75 Abbott Laboratories 30,764.7 5,745.8
76 News Corp. 30,423.0 -3,378.0
77 HCA 30,052.0 1,054.0
78 Sunoco 29,630.0 -329.0
79 Hess 29,569.0 740.0
80 Ingram Micro 29,515.4 202.1
81 Fannie Mae 29,065.0 -71,969.0
82 Time Warner 28,842.0 2,468.0
83 Johnson Controls 28,497.0 -338.0
84 Delta Air Lines 28,063.0 -1,237.0
85 Merck 27,428.3 12,901.3
86 DuPont 27,328.0 1,755.0
87 Tyson Foods 27,165.0 -537.0
88 American Express 26,730.0 2,130.0
89 Rite Aid 26,289.5 -2,915.4
90 TIAA-CREF 26,278.0 -459.1
91 CHS 25,729.9 381.4
92 Enterprise GP Holdings 25,510.9 204.1
93 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance 25,423.6 -115.1
94 Philip Morris International 25,035.0 6,342.0
95 Raytheon 24,881.0 1,935.0
96 Express Scripts 24,748.9 827.6
97 Hartford Financial Services 24,701.0 -887.0
98 Travelers Cos. 24,680.0 3,622.0
99 Publix Super Markets 24,515.0 1,161.4
100 24,509.0 902.0

For the 50 most admired companies overall, FORTUNE’s survey asked businesspeople to vote for the companies that they admired most, from any industry.
Rank Company
1 Google
2 Apple
3 Berkshire Hathaway
4 Johnson & Johnson
6 Procter & Gamble
7 Toyota Motor
8 Goldman Sachs Group
9 Wal-Mart Stores
10 Coca-Cola
11 Microsoft
12 Southwest Airlines
13 FedEx
14 McDonald’s
15 IBM
16 General Electric
17 3M
18 J.P. Morgan Chase
19 Walt Disney
20 Cisco Systems
21 Costco Wholesale
22* BMW
22* Target
24 Nike
25 PepsiCo
26 Starbucks
27 Singapore Airlines
28 Exxon Mobil
29 American Express
30 Nordstrom
31 Intel
32 Hewlett-Packard
33 UPS
34 Nestlé
35 Caterpillar
36 Honda Motor
37 Best Buy
38 Sony
39 Wells Fargo
40 eBay
41 Nokia
42 Samsung Electronics
43 Deere
44 L’Oréal
45 AT&T
46 Lowe’s
47 General Mills
48 Marriott International
49 DuPont
50 Volkswagen

Having proved to be a sensitive issue for nearly a decade now, the Women’s Reservation Bill 2010 has been instrumental in instigating heated arguments in Parliament and outside. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the historic women’s reservation bill as a “giant step” towards the empowerment of women and a “celebration of our womanhood.”

The supporters of the Bill say that it is a vital requirement for active political participation of women. It is expected to lead to gender equality in Parliament, thereby empowering women as a whole. This would help them fight the abuse, discrimination, and inequality they suffer from.
But others disagree. One of the main arguments about women’s reservation in India has been that it would only help women of elitist groups gain political power, with the fate of the poor and deprived sections remaining the same. The Bill has been opposed by political parties from economically backward classes. Also it is being perceived by some as a discrimination against men.

Discrimination of Women

What exactly is this Bill which has caused uproar in the country in the last few days? Why is this Bill so controversial? For this, understanding the role of women for the past few centuries is imminent.

Women have always been subject to stricter sexual laws and moral standards. Subjugation of women does not cater to religious barriers with each religion being guilty of rules for looking down on women. As far as the Ten Commandments are concerned, a wife is one among a man’s possessions. The holy texts of almost every religion enshrine the subjugation of women.

Christianity does not allow a woman to become a priest. They were also expected to remain subservient to men at home. Biological differences between men and women are used to condone the act of forcing them into different social roles which limit and shape their attitudes and behaviour. Every religion has its own rationale to justify their actions. From religious dogmas to sophisticated pseudo-scientific theories, each religion has put forward its own reasons for subjugation of women. Today’s woman should be allowed to break the barriers surrounding her gender and emerge victorious with full respect for her personality, creativity and dignity.

History of the Women’s Reservation Bill

The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on September 12, 1996. The legislation proposed to reserve 33.3 percent seats in Parliament and state legislatures for women. This bill was first initiated by the H D Deve Gowda-led United Front government. Since then, the Parliament has witnessed this issue being raised several times but lack of political consensus failed to take the bill further.
The Bill proposes reservation for women at each level of legislative decision-making, starting with the Lok Sabha, down to state and local legislatures. If the Bill is passed, one-third of the total available seats would be reserved for women in national, state, or local governments.
In continuation of the existing provisions already mandating reservations for scheduled caste and scheduled tribes, one-third of such SC and ST candidates must be women.

Already panchayat elections have allowed a reservation of 33.3 % seats for women. A million women are being elected to the panchayats in the country, every five years. This is the largest mobilization of women in public life in the world.

Right from the beginning Lalu Prasad Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party have been the main political forces opposed to the Bill in its present form and want a quota within quota for women from backward classes.

The former says the Bill ‘would deny adequate representation to other sections of society.’ He encourages 10 to 15 percent reservation for women. Lalu’s contention is that his party is not opposed to women’s reservation, but that the case of Dalits, backward classes, Muslims and other religious minorities should not be overlooked.

Mulayam favours making it mandatory for political parties to give 10 percent of election tickets to women. He believes that if inadequacy of representation is the issue, then reservation should be given for Muslim women too considering the fact that there are only two in the present Lok Sabha. His contention is that if 33.3 per cent reservation for women is added to the already existing 22.5 percent for scheduled castes and tribes, more than 55 per cent of seats in Parliament would be reserved. He believes that this would not be fair to other sections of the population.

Antagonists of the bill believe that through reservation women are perpetuating unequal status for themselves. But protagonists of the Bill argue that provision of reservation for women is only for 15 years. The idea of reservation is to create a level playing field so that women can raise their share in politics and society and then, look for equal status.

The Bill had been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, and Personnel, which gave its report in December 2009. It recommended passage of the Bill in its present form and suggested that the issue should not be left to the discretion of political parties.

The Bill was cleared by the central government on February 25, 2010. This involved an elaborate procedure by the Constitution. Thus, even if the Rajya Sabha passed the bill its real impact will be felt only when it passes through the Lok Sabha.

On 8th March 2010, the Rajya Sabha passed the historic Women’s Reservation Bill by the Congress, BJP, Left and many other parties which had joined hands in furthering this issue. Leaders of all political parties, including Arun Jaitley, Jayanthi Natarajan, Sitaram Yechury, Brinda Karat and others made a statement on the bill and extended their support to the bill.

The Women’s Reservation Bill will have to be tabled in Lok Sabha. Once approved by both houses, it will be sent for Presidential consent and then become a law, giving 33% reservation to women in Parliament and State Assemblies. The reservation will remain in place for 15 years and then be extended, if necessary.

For now the government seems to have decided not to table the Constitution amendment bill, in the Lok Sabha till the last week of the Budget session ending on May 7. No date has been worked out to bring the bill to the Lok Sabha.

But political parties have started preparing themselves for the eventuality of having more women in the decision-making positions. The Congress which took a lead role in passing of the bill in the Rajya Sabha, has decided to strengthen the State Mahila Congress to groom more leaders from its ranks. The women wing of the party has been asked to take part in more programmes and organise agitations in rural areas on issues affecting the common people.

The BJP has also decided to promote its women leaders in a more effective manner. Alternative women leaders in assembly constituencies having women voters will be promoted so that they can be made candidates in the next elections. Besides, women are likely to be given appointments in state-owned corporations to give them experience in administration.

On May 1 1886 @ chicago, a rally was conducted by Albert Pearsons with motto ” 8  hours work, 8 hours recreation & 8 hours rest ” until that time, labourers worked 10 – 16 hrs per day.

The rally  became successful and accepted by various corporates and Government.  So, thats MAY DAY.

Plz Avoid Child Labour.


All Date is always ripe to do Good

May 2010
« Apr   Sep »

Blog Stats

  • 39,669 hits

Twitter Tweets

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Top Rated

Top Clicks

  • None