I am deeply anguished and pained to know that some individuals abused Arshdeep Singh, a budding Cricketer after the India-Pakistan Cricket Match. The young left-arm seamer has been facing the wrath ever since he dropped Pakistan batter Asif Ali in the 18th over of India’s match against Pakistan on Sunday. The trolling went up several notches as Pakistan went on to beat India in that match despite Arshdeep brilliant last over.

While the entire cricket fraternity took strong exception to the deplorable behaviour meted out to Arshdeep Singh on social media, there are still some out there, calling themselves Indian cricket fans, who continue to target the young pacer for his miss. Arshdeep had to endure heavy trolling for his dropped catch on social media, but he also found support from every quarter following the Pakistan game. Even skipper Rohit Sharma backed the left-arm pacer and talked about him at length during the post-match briefing after the Sri Lanka game praising him for his mental fortitude and confidence.

The trolling went up to the extent of Arshdeep Singh being called a Khalistani. It’s bigotry at its worst and speaks about the mindset of certain elements who neither have respect for their fellow Indian nor possess any sportsman spirit. Sports need to be treated purely as a sport and nothing more or less, whether it is between two neighbouring nations or any other countries.

A Catch was also missed by Kohli in the same match, but no one is talking about it. Doesn’t it show obstinate or unreasonable attachment to a belief, opinion, or faction; in particular, prejudice against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group or perhaps belonging to Sikh community. Are the Sikhs not loyal to their motherland! History abounds with incidents showing their loyalty, valour and sacrifices for the motherland.

 It makes one believe that Sikhs have to constantly go on proving their loyalty to their country which standard perhaps doesn’t apply to others irrespective of their misdeeds.

We all have to be sober enough and to internalise that it is only a sports event and not a battle between two neighbouring countries. It will be for the good of one and all if a sports event remains at that instead of turning the cricket field into a battlefield. Such people who try to create hysteria about it are not doing any good either to the sport or their country. Such elements are making the people turn away from watching sports events which may create unnecessary controversies totally unrelated to the game. What we witness after an India-Pakistan Cricket Match is that the people of the country losing the game go into depression and keep on mourning the loss. This is more so in the case of Pakistan and in comparison, the people in India, though feeling disturbed still maintain their balance and don’t go overboard.  If a game of Cricket between the two countries is to be taken to such a level of emotionalism, it would be better not to organize such ties as it will only increase the bitterness between the people of these two countries.

I truly hope that they will be sane and refrain from acting in such an irrational manner!



Groundwater resources are the lifeline of Indian agriculture and key to meeting the drinking water needs of a 1.35 billion strong population. It is a hidden treasure under our feet that can’t be seen but is of utmost importance in our lives.  India is the largest extractor of groundwater resources. With increasing population and to meet the growing demands of water, groundwater extraction over the years has adversely affected the water regime in many parts of the country.  

This has led to over-exploitation in several regions resulting in concomitant issues such as falling water tables. The critical state of groundwater resources in several regions is further exacerbated by rising anthropogenic contamination. However, on the flip side, there are several regions with under-exploitation of groundwater resources and scope for further development. This makes groundwater management a unique challenge that requires evidence-based interventions.

Accordingly, the working  group for the XII plan on ‘Sustainable GroundWater Management’ highlighted the need for a comprehensive mapping of India’s aquifers or groundwater bearing horizons that would form the cornerstone of developing any groundwater management programme. 

Also, scientific planning is undertaken for development of ground water under different hydrogeological situations and to evolve effective management practices with involvement of the community for better groundwater governance.  

Consequently, the Ministry of Water Resources (Present Jal Shakti ministry) launched the National Aquifer Mapping and Management programme (NAQUIM) in 2012.

NAQUIM is the world’s largest programme for aquifer management, to support the effective management of groundwater resources in the country. It is focused on the scientific delineation of aquifers, mapping them, and multidisciplinary studies to quantify and  evaluate issues to develop a viable water management strategy.  

Aquifer mapping will enable robust groundwater management plans at the appropriate scale, and also devise and implement those plans for this common-pool resource.

NAQUIM is a pioneer programme for the scientific management of aquifers, where a large amount of data is being collected and analyzed. The 3-D aquifer models generated based on NAQUIM studies provide new information for more accurate assessment and management of groundwater resources.  Aquifer maps and management plans developed under this programme are backed by rigorous field surveys by the professional hydrogeologists of the Central Ground Water Board. Apart from this, variegated fields of geological, geophysical, hydrological and multiple water quality surveys are followed for preparation of aquifer maps. 

The concept of NAQUIM is not merely mapping, but reaching the goal – that of ground water management through community participation. The management plans are subject to a three-tier review including a review by a National Level Expert Committee (NLEC) before finalization. Potential areas for artificial recharge, suitable structures that can be constructed for harvesting water are indicated in the plans. Out of the total geographical area of nearly 33 lakh km2 of the entire country, an area of around 25 lakh kmhas been identified to be covered under the NAQUIM programme in phases. 

More than 88% of the mappable area has already been covered under the aquifer mapping programme and the remaining area will be covered by March 2023. The programme provides the foundation for our community to scientifically manage and use our precious groundwater resources responsibly.

To facilitate effective dissemination of NAQUIM outputs, these outputs are being regularly shared with the state Government at various levels. Further, to improve outreach, Public Interaction Programmes (PIP) are being organized in different parts in which direct stakeholders participate.

Similarly, under the aegis of Rajiv Gandhi National Ground Water Training and Research Institute, Raipur, block level (tier III) training is also organized in which groundwater issues and water conservation-related aspects are imparted to direct groundwater users.  

The studies completed so far have provided several new insights into groundwater scenarios and management alternatives. Evidence-based management interventions including supply and demand-side measures are recommended for containing over-exploitation in stressed aquifers.

Alternative contaminant-safe aquifers have been delineated in many areas, where groundwater contaminations have been reported. The studies show that large aquifer systems can be recharged in an integrated manner improving groundwater availability for irrigation over extensive areas.

While recharge augmentations have so far been the major tool of groundwater management in the country, NAQUIM studies have brought out that demand-side management has a more pronounced effect on improving groundwater scenario in comparison to supply-side interventions.

The scientific outputs of NAQUIM help in clear understanding of the occurrence of groundwater, how the water bearing formations are extending horizontally and vertically beneath the surface, quantification of water bearing capacity of different rocks and understanding of quality of groundwater in different horizons.

This detailed understanding of the precious natural resource that exists beneath the surface and is hidden from our eyes will help the administrators for better planning in their districts and states.  Currently, the Ministry of Jal Shakti is planning to take up NAQUIM studies on a finer scale to handle specific localized issues. 

These studies will focus on the critical areas facing groundwater issues and accordingly aim to provide pin-pointed solutions for the problems.  Areas to be covered under this new phase of NAQUIM will be prioritized based on the extent of groundwater stress, groundwater contamination, and other critical issues.

In the long run and considering its noteworthy significance, NAQUIM will help in achieving drinking water security, improved irrigation facility and sustainability in water resources development in large parts of rural India, and many parts of urban India as well.

This way NAQUIM Programme aims to revolutionise the entire groundwater scenario of the country and will help in achieving sustainable management of the precious groundwater resources by bringing forth an accurate and comprehensive micro-level picture of groundwater in India.



Punjabi is the fourth-most widely spoken language at home in Canada while the number of those using other Indian tongues has risen steeply. The data was revealed in a new data based on the 2021 Census by the Canadian government.

India’s one of the largest circulated English daily Hindustan Times reported this.

Canada’s two official languages, English and French, remain the two spoken most predominantly at home, followed by Mandarin and Punjabi, according to details issued by the Statistics Canada or StatCan, the country’s data agency.

However, the growth of Punjabi speakers has been sharper than that for Mandarin. Between 2016 and 2021, the number of Punjabi speakers increased by 49 per cent to 520,000, while those for Mandarin rose by a more moderate 15 per cent to 531,000.

Punjabi Canadian number is nearly 9.5 lakh who are 2.5 percent of country’s total population as per the census of 2021. Their place of origin is the Punjab state of India and Pakistan as well.

They first arrived in Canada during the late 1800to work in forest industry and sawmills, particularly in the western province of British Columbia. Now-a-days large Punjabi population lives in the cities of Vancouver and Toronto.

Other Indian languages are also flourishing in Canada. The number of those speaking Hindi escalated by 66 per cent to 92,000, while those using Gujarati were at the same figure but increased by a comparatively lower 43 per cent. Also on the list is Malayalam, which saw its usage rising by 129 per cent to 35,000 speakers.

“The rapid growth in the number of speakers of certain languages is mostly due to immigration,” a release from StatCan said. It added that 20 percent of permanent residents who arrived in Canada from May 2016 to December 2020 were born in India.

Overall, the number of Canadians who speak predominantly a non-official language at home rose 16.0 per cent since 2016, from 4.0 million to 4.6 million.

“Despite the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on arrivals to the country, immigration has continued to enrich Canada’s linguistic diversity,” the release said.

English is the main language spoken in Canada, with its users going up to 75.5 percent in 2021 from 74.8 percent five years earlier. The other official language, French, though is losing users, down from 22.2 percent to 21.4 percent.

The number of those adept at both official languages remained fixed at 18 per cent. This, of course, refers to the people conversant in an official language.



On July 26 2022, the Lok Sabha passed Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the same is currently pending passage in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha last week on July 18 by Union Law Minister, Kiren Rijiju.

The aforementioned Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022 seeks to amend Section 1(3) as well as insert  new Section 3A in the Principal Act viz. Family Courts Act, 1984 for validation of certain actions i.e. to grant retrospective statutory sanctity or in other words to duly legalize certain  Family Courts as already functioning in the State of Himachal Pradesh with effect from 15 February 2019 and in the State of Nagaland with effect from 12 September 2008 since at that point of time (dates) i.e. when such Family Courts were established in both the above States, the mandatory Notification in the Official Gazette was not issued (published) by the Central Government for bringing that Act (i.e. 1984 Act) into force in both the  above  States which is however mandatory under Section 1(3) of Family Courts Act, 1984.

Amidst all this, I have written to President of India, Prime Minister, Union Law Minister and Secretary, Department of Justice( DoJ), Govt of India (which is the nodal department for implementation of Family Courts Act, 1984 across the country) pointing out why the State of Punjab has not been considered for inclusion in the Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022 too.

Although the Central Government (DoJ) vide issuance of a Gazette Notification  dated 128th December 2012 appointed 1st January 2013 as the date on which  Family Courts Act, 1984 shall come into force in the State of Punjab under Section 1(3) of 1984 Act.

Nevertheless certain Family Courts were very much functioning in the State of Punjab before such date i.e. before January 1, 2013 since the Central Government released funds under Plan and Non-Plan for meeting recurring expenditure on Family Courts including to the State of Punjab during the year 2003-04. This information was provided to him in a RTI reply by DoJ in the month of Jan, 2017. 

I mentioned in the letter that even the Governor (read State Government) of Punjab  by exercising powers conferred by section 23 of Family Courts Act, 1984 and after consultation with Punjab and Haryana High Court also framed Punjab Family Courts Rules, 2010  to regulate the working of the Family Courts in the State of Punjab and such Rules also came into effect in the State of Punjab with effect from 15 March, 2010. 

Now the moot but significant legal point which arises is that when the Act viz. Family Courts Act, 1984 was itself not in force in the State of Punjab before 1 January 2013, then how the State Government on 15 March 2010 itself framed Punjab Family Courts Rules, 2010 by exercising powers conferred by section 23 of Family Courts Act, 1984.

It is suggested to take due and prompt cognizance in this regard and wisely  consider inclusion of  State of Punjab in Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022, currently pending for passage in the Rajya Sabha after being passed by the Lok Sabha. 

Pertinent that few days back, the Advocate has also filed a RTI with the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) in the Department of Justice seeking complete information in this regard, the reply to which is keenly awaited.



Recently on July 14, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Secretariat issued a Notification which mentions an Order as signed by Banwarilal Purohit, Governor of Punjab dated July 13, 2022, which states that in exercise of the powers conferred upon him by virtue of sub-clause (a) of clause (2) of Article 174 of Constitution of India, he hereby prorogues the second (budget) session of 16th Punjab Vidhan Sabha which was adjourned sine-die at the conclusion of its sitting held on 30th June 2022.

Although the above Notification is yet to be published in Punjab Government Gazette but it has been uploaded and currently available on the official website of Punjab Assembly. 

Three months back on 16th April 2022, the Punjab Governor signed a similar sort of Order i.e. under Article 174(2)(a) of Constitution of India wherein he prorogued the first session of 16th Punjab Vidhan Sabha which was adjourned sine-die at the conclusion of its sitting held on 1st April 2022. The aforesaid signed Order was published in Punjab Government Gazette  two days later on 18 April 2022 by Vidhan Sabha Secretariat.

Meanwhile, an Advocate at Punjab and Haryana High Court, Hemant Kumar, has  written to the  Governor of Punjab, Speaker of Punjab Assembly, Chief Minister, Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Chief Secretary etc. raising objection over the aforementioned Notifications  issued by Punjab Vidhan Sabha Secretariat which mentions  Order(s) as signed by the State Governor pertaining to prorogation  since in such duly notified/published Order(s) it is being erroneously mentioned that the Governor hereby prorogues the respective Session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha because actually (read constitutionally) it is not the Session but rather the House which is to be  prorogued by the Governor under Article 174 (2)(a) of Constitution of India.

The Advocate explained that prorogation means formal discontinuance of sittings of the House by the State Governor by issuing an Order under Article 174 (2)(a) of Constitution of India that is different from adjourning the House sine-dine, which however is ordered by the Speaker at the conclusion of all the Sittings of the House.

Although the House is summoned and prorogued by the Governor under Article 174(1) and Article 174(2)(a) of Constitution of India respectively, in reality such summoning and prorogation is actually decided by the ruling executive ( read the leader of the House i.e. the Chief Minister) and recommended to the Governor from time to time, hence if such an error is occurring in the Orders pertaining to prorogation of Punjab Assembly as mentioned hereinbefore, it is not the Governor but rather the concerned senior officers of the State Government including of Parliamentary Affairs Department who should be held responsible for the faux pas/gaffe. 

Even when both Houses of Parliament viz. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are adjourned sine-dine by the Speaker and Chairperson of the House respectively, thereafter the President of India in exercise of the powers conferred upon him under Article 85(2)(a) of Constitution of India prorogues the both Houses viz. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha  and not the  Session(s) of both Houses. Similar is the situation in all other States in the country including the neighbouring State of Haryana.



A working group constituted by the Reserve Bank of India in 2019 noted that traditional agricultural farmers have better access to credit than livestock and dairy farmers. As 75% livestock farmers are marginal farmers with 2-4 animals, access to credit continues to be a major challenge in India’s animal husbandry and dairying sectors. The RBI report observed that allied activities (livestock, forestry, and fisheries) receive only 10% of the total agricultural credit while they contribute 40% of the agricultural output.

A major challenge for livestock farmers emanates from the fact that the census defines a farmer based on his landholding. Consequently, it is difficult for farmers without registered land records to avail credit. To remedy the situation, the Government has come up with a series of measures to enhance credit availability and debt financing for farmers and entrepreneurs in the livestock and dairy sector.

Only 41% of small & marginal farmers are covered by public & private sector banks, and that leaves the vast majority vulnerable in the face of usurious moneylenders. So, to remedy the situation, the first significant measure in this context came about in 2019 when the Kisan Credit Card facility was extended to farmers in the livestock sector.

KCC provides for interest subvention of 2% to banks and Prompt Repayment Incentive of 3% is given to farmers on Short Term Loan for agriculture and allied activities up toRs. 3 lakh which makes the effective rate of interest on such loans at 4%.Importantly, KCCcan play an important role in empowering rural women as approximately 70% livestock farmers are women, the majority of whom struggle to access credit due to absence of collateral.

Additionally, the RBI report highlighted the fact that certain states receive more Agri-credit than their Agri-GDP, implying that credit may be diverted for non-agricultural reasons. It thus underscores the issue of regional inequity, as states in the central, eastern, and north-eastern areas received very little Agri-credit as a percentage of their agricultural GDP.

In this context, the government came up with a slew of measures attempting to empower the network of cooperatives beginning with a scheme providing for 4% interest subvention on working capital loan to support Dairy Cooperatives and Farmer Producer Organizations during the COVID lockdown under which Rs. 333 crores have been released to the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to leverage working capital loan of Rs. 24,000 crore.

Further, dairy farmers struggle from challenges brought about on account of unreliable electricity supply. Consequently, over 3 percent of milk produced gets wasted. To remedy this, the Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Scheme was announced with the objective of providing loan assistance to Dairy Cooperatives and Farmer Producer Organisations across the country. DIDF seeks to upgrade the entire dairy value chain in the country by incentivising projects focused on infrastructure development.

In the past few decades, the private sector has played a formidable role in the dairy processing infrastructure. Currently, there is a processing infrastructure gap of about 120-130 MMT, which translates into an investment potential of approximately ₹20,000 crore.

If the infrastructure needs for milk processing and distribution are included, then the overall potential investment opportunity is to the tune of Rs. 1,40,000 crore across the dairy value chain. Considering this, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying has come up with a flagship scheme for private companies and entrepreneurs in the form of the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) to provide interest subvention on loan for setting up of processing units related to dairy products, meat products, and animal feed. Credit guarantee is an important risk mitigating tool which provides cushion to the lender for lending to MSMEs.

Hence, a credit guarantee fund of Rs 750 crores has been established to provide guaranteed coverage for AHIDF loans up to 25% of the principal loan made available to the borrower. To plug the deficiencies in the value chain, the AHIDF has been revised to extend the scheme to infrastructure related to breed improvement technology, vaccine manufacturing and waste to wealth.

Some of the prime challenges facing our livestock sector pertains to the low productivity levels and lack of affordable quality feed and fodder. Hence, to extend support to farmers in this area, new initiatives have been announced for providing capital subsidy to entrepreneurs towards breed multiplication farms related to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, pig and commercial backyard poultry hatcheries. Similarly, a 50% capital subsidy scheme is also being implemented for those rural fodder entrepreneurs who are looking for an opportunity to set up facilities related to affordable quality feed supply to livestock farmers. Such programmes of capital subsidy and interest subvention can ensure easy availability of bank loans to livestock farmers.

To boost credit availability, earmarking of term loan for banking institutions under ground level credit targets for livestock related activities was announced in the budget of 2021. Based on 192% achievement of 2021-22 targets, similar earmarking has also been done both for term loan and working capital loan for 2022-23. All such recent measures taken by the Government are thus enhancing credit availability in the livestock sector which in turn would result in a multiplier effect towards entrepreneurship development and wealth creation in rural India.

(All views expressed are personal)



For many years rather decades, the Vice-President  of India (VPI) is the ex-officio Chancellor of coveted Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh. Apart from PU, the VPI also holds Chancellorship of certain other Central varsities across the country. But now an interesting but significant question has  been raised if he can legally (read constitutionally) hold that post ? 

I have filed a RTI plea with Vice President of India Secretariat seeking complete information quoting Article 64 of Constitution of India which clearly stipulates that the Vice-President shall be ex-officio Chairman of the Council of States and shall not hold any other office of profit. 

There is no statutory sanctity to Vice-President of India being Chancellor of PU since Section 9 of Panjab University Act, 1947 mentions that the Chancellor of the University shall be appointed by the Central Government by Notification in the Gazette of India. The Advocate is unable to trace the ibid requisite Notification as issued by the Centre appointing (or designating) the Vice-President of India as Chancellor of PU. 

Since there is no explicit and comprehensive law on Office of Profit in our country, hence this term continues to be vague till date.  Of course there have been various judicial pronouncements on the subject delivered by various High Courts and Supreme Court of India from time to time but nevertheless the grey area remains. 

As far as Members of Parliament (MPs) are concerned,  it is specifically provided in Article 102(1)(a) of Constitution of India that a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as and for being a member of either House of Parliament if he holds any Office of Profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State other than an office declared by Parliament by law not to disqualify its holder. 

In pursuance of the above, a law viz. Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959 has been enacted by Parliament which has been amended several times in last six decades and which specifies explicit names and designations of certain offices both under the Government of India as well as Government of different States in the country holding of whom by MPs would not disqualify them as Members of Parliament.

 However, since Vice-President of India is not a member of either House of Parliament, hence apart from Rajya Sabha Chairperson, any other Office of Profit, if held by him, cannot be exempted by Parliament by law  by including the same in the abovementioned 1959 Act, Even otherwise, Parliament cannot do so by enacting any other Act since Article 64 does not permits it to do so. 

Be that as it may, one more interesting point that as far as Article 52 relating to President of India and Article 153 pertaining to Governor of State is concerned, there is no mention in any of the ibid Article that both these constitutional functionaries cannot hold any (other) Office of Profit apart from being President or Governor, as the case may be. 

Pertinent that under Central Universities Act, 2009 the President is the Visitor of all Universities established under the ibid Act in the country as well as certain other Universities established by Parliament under separate enactments across the country. As far as Governor of a State is concerned, he is ex-officio Chancellor of all State (Government) Universities in the State established by various laws enacted by concerned State Legislature apart from being Visitor as regards all Private Universities established in the State.



Punjab govt new advocate general  appointment may go in a rough weather as the newly nominated (yet to get appointment letter) Vinod Ghai, is presently a counsel of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) working president and former Food and Civil Supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, against whom the matter concerning alleged “irregularities” to the tune of Rs 2000 crore in grain-lifting tenders, is being probed by Vigilance Bureau of Punjab.

He is also a counsel of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmit Ram Rahim,in a case to dispense with his physical presence and production before a court in connection with a sacrilege-related matter.

Ghai is going to be the second AG, Punjab in AAP’s four month old government in Punjab. In the last ten months, four advocate generals have been changed by successive state governments. After Atul Nanda’s exit, the Channi government appointed APS Deol as the AG Punjab in September, 2021. A little more than a month after his appointment as the state’s top officer, Punjab’s Advocate-General APS Deol tendered his resignation to CM Charanjit Singh Channi.  Then, DS Patwalia was appointed in quick succession on November 19, 2021 and resigned on March 11, 2022. After Atul Nanda’s exit, Anmol Rattan Sidhu is the only AG who completed his four months tenure.

In Bharat Bhushan Ashu’s case, the Vigilance Bureau is probing the case after representatives of small contractors of labour and transport submitted a complaint in this regard. In the above case former advocate general, Punjab Anmol Rattan Singh Sidhu represented the Punjab government and newly appointed AG Punjab Vinod Ghai represented Bharat Bhushan Ashu. Along with Vinod Ghai, Kanika Ahuja and Tarun Seth, has sought that if an FIR is registered against Bharat Bhushan Ashu, he shall not be arrested unless a prior advance notice of atleast seven days is given to him from the date of registration of FIR.

Ashu has submitted in the petition that he took over as Cabinet Minister in 2018, a new policy for procuring of food grains (mainly wheat and paddy) through its Food Procuring Agencies and Food Corporation of India, on behalf of Government of India from various purchase centres or mandis, situated in Punjab was made and the same was approved by the then Punjab Cabinet.

Punjab New Advocate General appointment may run into controversy. Ghai is a counsel of controversial Dera head Gurmit Ram Rahim. In the 2017 violence case after Gurmit Ram Rahim conviction, Vinod Ghai represented Dera in the Punjab and Haryana high court. In Dera chief case, Vinod Ghai had objected to Ram Rahim’s appearance before a trial court in Punjab in connection with a sacrilege case.

Vinod Ghai is also a counsel of former Punjab DGP Sumedh Saini in which Saini was booked under FIR No.77 dated 06.05.2020 registered under Sections 364, 201,344, 330, 219, 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 at Police Station City Mataur, District S.A.S. Nagar (Mohali) to which Section 302 of the IPC was added later on regarding SLP No.4336 of 2020 titled Sumedh Singh Saini Vs. State of Punjab.

Vinod Ghai is also a counsel of Shagunpreet Singh, controversial manager of Sidhu Moosewala. Ghai, while representing the petitioner, contended that Shagunpreet Singh never absconded from India and had gone to Australia to meet his friends. But the court denied him bail.

The son of noted criminal lawyer, late RS Ghai, 62-year-old Vinod Ghai is a practicing at Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh since 1989. With specialization in criminal law and designated as a senior advocate since 2012, he is an expert in murder cases. Ghai has argued maximum bail applications and murder appeals in Punjab and Haryana High Court with success.

Earlier, in congress regime, DS Patwalia appointment had been stalled as his elder brother Paramjit Singh Patwalia remained Assistant Solicitor General from 2014 for three years in BJP led NDA government.  Due to this Congress high command raised objections and stalled his appointment as AG Punjab.



When the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was launched in 2016 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, our greatest challenge then was reaching the last woman standing in the queue in remotest recesses of the country with LPG cylinders.

With a dedicated workforce and tremendous political will, the success of PMUY and the significant impact it had on lives of the most vulnerable has given me confidence that we will be able to undertake the challenging task of implementing the new National Education Policy 2020 that envisages sweeping changes in the sector making our students more equipped to face the challenges of 21st century knowledge economy.

India is one of the youngest countries with more than 50 percent population below 30 years. The benefit of a potential demographic dividend is obvious. But this potential will not remain with us forever. And nor is the translation to a dividend an automatic process. It needs concerted efforts and policy interventions. In fact, some experts suggest that India would be an aging society by 2050, with nearly 20 percent population above 60 years.

Assuming this is true, a simple calculation indicates that we have about a little more than two decades to tap fully into the potential of the youth, or what Prime Minister Modi refers to as the Amrit Kaal, the 25-years leading up to the 100 years of independence. Hence, we cannot have an incremental approach but an overhauling of the system to cater to the needs and aspirations of various categories of our youth.

NEP 2020 is one such transformation in our nation’s journey. In the words of Prime Minister Modi, NEP 2020 will serve as the foundation of an Atma Nirbhar Bharat, a self-reliant India. NEP restructures our education ecosystem at all stages from pre-primary to higher education, also reconfiguring it with a skills and research ecosystem. It stands on the four principles of access, quality, equity and affordability.

NEP aims to enhance the gross enrolment ratio in higher education to 50 percent by 2035 from the current level of 27.1 percent instituting the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI)—a single regulatory body in place of the University Grants Commission (UGC). It will ensure that regulation, accreditation, funding, and academic standard-setting are performed by

independent and empowered bodies. Some of the many progressive recommendations that the NEP makes are experiential learning at all stages, innovative and activity-based pedagogies, multiple entry/exit options in higher education, multidisciplinary education and establishing an academic bank of credit. There is also much emphasis on internationalization of education and study in India programs with corresponding policy reforms to accommodate these sweeping changes.

While NEP stands for an aspirational education system of the 21st century, it also recognizes immediate challenges. It calls for urgently ensuring that every student attain foundational literacy and numeracy by Grade 3. The national mission on foundational literacy and numeracy called NIPUN Bharat has been launched so that every child in the country attains foundational literacy and numeracy in Grade 3 by 2026-27.

It calls for governments at all levels to ensure that the medium of instruction upto at least Grade 5 be in the mother tongue/local language for smoothing the process of learning for children. Our government also focuses on local languages in higher education. This is because the Union government considers all languages as national languages. More than 200 technical books in local languages at the undergraduate level and for diploma courses have recently been launched. Government is consciously trying to promote textbooks including in engineering, medical and legal disciplines in local and official languages. Efforts are being made to make entrance examinations also available in all major languages. At present, engineering and medical entrance exams are conducted in 13 languages to ensure that English doesn’t become a hurdle in access to quality education.

Teachers shape the future of our nation. We need to restore the high respect and status of the profession to inspire and motivate our teachers. Our government is focusing on providing opportunities for self-improvement and continuous professional development. Not only in school education, but the faculty of our colleges and universities shall learn about the latest technologies and innovations and different forms of pedagogies. We are building world-class centers of teacher training across the country. The current budget has also made provisions for digital teachers allocating Rs 6 crores for the purpose.

The last two years have been unprecedented owing to a pandemic running into its third year consequently disrupting social life as well as unexpected geopolitical events. However, the only positive part is that such times give birth to innovations. If we look around, the spirit of our youth to innovate has only increased. There are a number of innovative models that came up during the peak of COVID-19 aftermath in our educational institutes. Based on the principle that global-standard technology is a great equalizer and enabler, the Union budget made provisions for 200 new TV channels for education dissemination, allocating about Rs 930 crores in five years.

The world is at the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution. While we may have missed the first two and tried catching up with the third, we need to ensure that we are leading in the fourth one. Emergent technologies like AI, robotics and automation throw up ample opportunities as well as challenges, also because scores of traditional jobs may fade away.

But it will also bring roles more adapted to a new division of labour between humans, machines, and algorithms. Hence, the window of opportunity to reskill and upskill workers has become shorter, and one must act in the here and now, also ensuring that such initiatives are made at scale to train the vast chunk of the youth.

The 21st century is a century of knowledge. India is one of the oldest civilizations and a knowledge society has a natural advantage to become a ‘captain’ in navigating emerging economies towards a prosperous future. I believe after the Constitution, the NEP 2020 is one document which has been shaped after multiple levels of deliberations, discussions, and participatory dialogues across the country. Similar to the Constitution, the NEP 2020 will lead us out of decades of dilemma and doubt and inculcate a deep-rooted pride in being Indian in thought, spirit, intellect, and deeds. It integrates students, teachers, parents and society for holistic development and achieving their full human potential.

Our youth aspires for work as not just job-seekers but job-creators as well. If we can provide them quality knowledge and skills of today, we will be able to bring India as a Vishwa Guru our freedom fighters dreamt of. The NEP 2020 is designed to do just that. This will be our contribution to nation-building as we mark 75 years of our independence.



On 26th July every year, Kargil Vijay Diwas commemorates the Indian victory in Kargil in 1999 when Indian armed forces evicted the Pakistan Army personnel who had sneaked in and occupied mountain peaks on our territory. It celebrates the bravery of Indian soldiers who prevailed against all odds, and at a great cost. 527 officers and men laid down their lives to protect the territorial integrity of our country in Kargil. They made the nation proud. We salute them.

Kargil conflict was technically not a war, but it was no less than a war, in any respect, least of all in bravery displayed by our soldiers and young leaders. Kargil is a district in Ladakh, with remarkable scenic beauty. The Line of Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan runs through the mountainous and rugged terrain of Kargil. The altitude of these snow-covered mountains ranges from 11000 to 18000 feet.

Why did Pakistan try to occupy the inhospitable snow-covered mountain peaks in Kargil? First, we must understand what happened at the Siachen glacier, to the west of Kargil, over a decade earlier. In the eighties, Indian and Pakistan Armies confronted each other at the Siachen glacier. It was my Battalion that executed the highest attack in the world and captured Pakistan Quaid post at 21153 feet, which was later renamed Bana Top, in honour of Honorary Captain Bana Singh, PVC whose section finally assaulted the post. Stung by this loss, three months later the Special Services Group of Pakistan launched a riposte, which was successfully beaten back. It was launched by their commander, Brig Parvez Musharraf.

He was smarting from that defeat and planned Kargil intrusions when he became Army Chief, initially without political consent. By occupying these mountain peaks, he hoped to cut off the road leading from Srinagar to Leh and Siachen.

In 1999, Pakistan sent soldiers across the LoC in Kargil, in areas lightly held by both sides during winters. This happened when the then PM Vajpayee travelled to Lahore in a bus to take the peace process forward. It was a deception at the national level. We were stabbed in the back.

As a conflict, it was rare, if not unique, that it was not allowed to escalate into a full-blown war by responsible behaviour on India’s part, and unparalleled bravery displayed by our soldiers. Not only was the war limited to the LoC, but it was also localised to Kargil. How was that achieved? Indian Army and Indian Air Force did not cross the LoC, although it would have made operational sense to cut off the enemy forces from their logistic bases by launching operations across the LoC. Our fighter aircrafts could have caused heavy damage to their operational and logistic infrastructure from across the LoC.


Why was it important to retain the sanctity of the LoC after Pakistan had violated it themselves? It was perhaps the only time when two nuclear Nations had gone to war, and the world was watching with bated breath. India displayed its restraint so as to prevent the conflict from going out of proportion. However, this came at a cost. The soldiers had to launch frontal attacks to evict the enemy from the mountain peaks, and all assaults were uphill, making our task much more difficult and riskier.

It was India’s first televised war. On the one hand, the country watched the progress of operations in real time and on the other, it witnessed the human side of war – the supreme sacrifices made by officers and soldiers, the heart-breaking sight of their families, the outpouring of the nationalistic sentiment at the funerals.

When Capt Vikram Batra returned victorious after recapturing a mountain peak, he famously said, “Yeh Dil Maange more…”. He fired up the imagination of the youth, indeed the whole nation. And he laid down his life in the next attack which he led from the front. He was only twenty-four. So were many others – they were all in their early twenties. And they led seasoned soldiers who were ten, some even twenty years older than them.

As a Commanding Officer, I received a telegram from an officer of my unit, who had been boarded out on medical grounds. He wanted to rejoin the battalion to fight the enemy during the war. While there is no provision for such participation, it shows his patriotism, bravery and enthusiasm to participate in combat at grave risk to his life. Such instances abound in our country, and make us proud as Indians.

Kargil conflict also ushered in military reforms. The Kargil Review Committee under K Subrahmanyam recommended many changes to structures and processes. Mr LK Advani led the Group of Ministers and Arun Singh Task Force went into details and Tri-Services structures like HQ Integrated Defence Staff, Andaman & Nicobar Command and Strategic Forces were raised. The government also appointed a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in 2020.

Kargil conflict was unique in many ways, as we have just seen. But the one thing that stands out is the bravery of the soldiers and the young leaders leading from the front. They are all drawn from the youth of India, from rural and urban areas.

The youth who don’t want to make a career in the armed forces, but are filled up with patriotic spirit, can still serve for lesser durations through short service commission or Agnipath. You need not make military service your career to serve the country. You can also serve the country by doing what you do, to the best of your abilities. And if you want to show your respect to a soldier, be a good citizen – a citizen worth dying for. Jai Hind.

(Views of the writer are personal)