INC. MP for Thiruvananthapuram. Author of 23 books. Chairman @ProfCong (AIPC). ExMinister ofState, Govt.of India. Former UnderSecretaryGeneral, UnitedNations.
23 added to My Authors
Jun 11, 2021 • 6 tweets • 2 min read
Have written to Kerala's Law Minister P.Rajeeve to consider enacting an anti-discrimination law, as promised in both our parties' manifestoes, that could be a model for the country: thehindu.com/news/national/…
India is one of the few democracies without a robust anti-discrimination law. I had introduced the Anti-Discrimination & Equality Bill, 2016, in the LS. Regrettably it was not considered by the GoI. It is clear that a State should take the first step in enacting such a law.
May 26, 2021 • 4 tweets • 2 min read
1. W/reference to allegations circulated publicly recently by a member of the ParliamentaryCommittee on IT relating to the #ManipulatedMedia issue, this is to clarify that, given theCmt's inability to meet in current circumstances, it communicates w/Ministries in writing as reqd.
2. On the subject of the Ministry of IT's contacts with @Twitter on #ManipulatedMedia, the Committee Secretariat wrote to MEITY by email on 4 & 25 May & received a detailed & comprehensive reply dated 26 May, which is being circulated to all Members for their information.
May 14, 2021 • 4 tweets • 3 min read
I am sure many friends have donated to various organisations& charitable bodies to help people cope with this #covidcrisis. But it’s been particularly satisfying to contribute to #sosiyc whose efficiency has been matched by their courage & initiative. 👏their work. #IStandWithIYC
Details of how to contribute:
Had an excellent, lengthy& detailed discussion from my sickbed with @collectortvpm@navjotk28 on the situation in Thiruvananthapuram, based on the reports i receive daily from my constituency. #Covid is still at peak levels of 4000 cases a day & over 40,000 active, 3x last year.
@collectortvpm@navjotk28 With a strict lockdown proving more effective this week, she is hopeful that cases will come down in 10-12 days. We discussed the vaccination situation & the shortage of oxygen concentrators in our local hospitals. The need to build up capacity for the long term is also evident.
Apr 14, 2021 • 5 tweets • 1 min read
1. There's understandable anger in India over the US Seventh Fleet sailing near Lakshadweep in waters that are part of our exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). However, there is nothing in UNCLOS (the Law of the Sea) that supports India’s stand on freedom of navigation through the EEZ.
2. So the Americans are essentially doing near Lakshadweep exactly what they are insisting on doing in & through the South China Sea under the same Freedom of Navigation principle (FoNoPs). The US can be accused of not respecting our sensibilities but not of breaking int'nl law.
1. I have got hold of an advance copy of @BarackObama's #APromisedLand & though i haven't read every page, I did read every bit on India flagged in the Index. Big news: There isn't much. Bigger news: in 902 pages, @narendramodi is not mentioned by name at all.
2. Huge praise for Dr ManMohan Singh who is warmly described as "wise, thoughtful, &scrupulously honest", "a man of uncommon wisdom& decency" with whom he enjoyed "a warm & productive relationship" though MMS was "cautious in foreign policy". His regard & respect shine through.
Oct 18, 2020 • 5 tweets • 2 min read
Should such reputable companies be financing hate through ads on RepulsiveTV?: Raymonds, MuthootGroup, Jio, MaxBupa, Kent, AirIndia, Star Health Insurance, Nissan, Dabur, Mahindra, Amazon, Samsung, Sony, Maruti, Nerolac, Toyota. Can they find the moral courage to be like Parle?
These are no better since they pay for news on TimesNow: Cadbury, Toyota, Hyundai, Nerolac, Birla Group, Amul, Skoda, Mercedes, Ceat, Samsung, Bluestar, HDFC, Sony, TCS. They "fund the toxicity, the hatred and bigotry, which our news channels spew 24x7": avayshukla.blogspot.com/2020/10/trps-c…
Aug 5, 2020 • 8 tweets • 3 min read
ShriRam is not the property of BJP. He is the ideal man whose image is deeply etched in the hearts&minds of millions. Gandhiji always sang his hymns& died w/"Hei Ram" on his lips. He talked about a RamRajya where all would live in peace&prosperity. Can't let His name be hijacked!
The universal appeal of Ram & SanatanDharma cannot be commandeered by those who chant either hymns or slogans. He belongs to all humanity. For Hindutva, Ram is a God to be worshipped; for Gandhiji Ram represented ideal qualities that every person should practise &seek to emulate.
Jul 30, 2020 • 10 tweets • 4 min read
There is much to welcome in what we have seen of the #NewEducationPolicy2020 announced by @DrRPNishank. A number of suggestions made by some of us seem to have been taken into account. However,the question remains why this was not brought before Parliament first for discussion.
I've advocated revision of the 1986 National Education Policy since my days in MHRD, to bring it into the 21st century. I am glad the Modi Govt has finally grasped the nettle, even if it took them six years to do so. Challenge is to ensure aspiration is matched by implementation.
Jul 22, 2020 • 4 tweets • 2 min read
1/3 Shocked to learn that Thiruvananthapuram MedicalCollege Police have registered a case against students for crowding at the entrance of StMary'sSchool, Pattom,on the day of #KEAM exam, alleging violation of #Covid19 protocols. They have demanded names& addresses. I'm outraged.
2/3 The student community &political leaders, including myself, had requested the Govt of Kerala to postpone this exam in the wake of the pandemic gripping the state. They unwisely went ahead,& several students who appeared for the exam have tested positive in the last 48 hours.
Jul 11, 2020 • 7 tweets • 2 min read
This thread deals w/the unfortunate developments in & around Poonthura, a lovely fishing village that has become the centre of a #Covid19 controversy in Thiruvananthapuram district that erupted in a most unfortunate manner yesterday & earlier today.
I condemn the unpleasant incident that occurred yesterday at Poonthura against our selfless health workers,who are risking their own lives to save others. It is our responsibility as a society to protect them&provide them a safe working environment. What happened was regrettable.
Jul 1, 2020 • 8 tweets • 3 min read
1/8 A scurrilous tweet by a BJP MOS, @VMBJP , accusing me of “lying” about donating 1 cr to the Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute for Medical Sciences in Thiruvananthapuram, prompts this detailed clarification. The grant was authorised on 30 March before GOI suspended MPLADS funds.
2/8: Given the institution's strong history of path-breaking innovation and the calibre of its scientists,I was confident that this would be successful & allocated this amount to the institute as the attachment shows.
Jun 14, 2020 • 6 tweets • 2 min read
Had a good conversation w/ @CMOKerala@vijayanPinarayi about a large number of complaints streaming in from students: university students being obliged to take exams despite major challenges,&schoolchildren asked to study online or byTV when many don't have basic facilities2do so
I have urged him to relax both sets of requirements during this unnatural #COVID19Pandemic period. Postponing exams & reducing the burden on schoolkids are essential even if it means truncating the following academic year. He has agreed to consider the issue sympathetically.
May 11, 2020 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
GOI's draft Environment Impact Assessment notification makes it easier for businesses to obtain environmental clearances. It legitimises some actions that are currently categorised as violations, eg in construction. Streamlining regulation is OK, but damaging environment is not.
The draft notification reduces the frequency of compliance reports required from project owners from once every six months to once every year. Again, that's fine only if environmental safety is assured. Have experts been asked?
Apr 23, 2020 • 10 tweets • 3 min read
Coronavirus: India gets 'faulty' testing kits from China Isn't it time we MPs ask -- Did the Govt take away our MPLADS funds to pay for faulty testing kits from China? Who is responsible for wasting public money & putting public health at risk?
1/9 Been reading the comments on this issue on social media. This thread responds, disregarding the usual whataboutery & lame refs to "70 years of @INCIndia rule" (though i didn't know Vajpayeeji had joined our party: posthumously, seeing what's happened to BJP, he well might!)
Apr 6, 2020 • 5 tweets • 2 min read
Centre's decision to cut salaries &pensions of MPs is welcome. It's a good way for us to show solidarity w/people suffering across the country. But the Ordinance ending MPLADS funds for 2 years &pooling them into a Consolidated Fund run by the CentralGovt is problematic: [contd.]
MPLADS is the only means for an MP to direct development resources to his constituency. An order to earmark all MPLAD spending for #COVID19 related measures would have been OK; I used mine to get urgently-needed #rapidtestkits & PPE to Thiruvananthapuram's health workers.[contd.]
Mar 27, 2020 • 12 tweets • 3 min read
A number of you have been asking me to recommend a list of books to read during #Lockdown, in more detail than my brief interview with @IndiaToday did earlier this week. One of you, @MihirMisra_, sent requests through a friend for ten books! So here is a thread listing ten books:
1.The Mahabharata transcreated by P. Lal
A wonderfully racy, contemporary translation of the timeless epic, melding poetry and prose and full of contemporary idiom, Prof. Lal’s is unarguably the best and most readable one-volume version of the Mahabharata.
Mar 5, 2020 • 8 tweets • 2 min read
Thanks @drharshvardhan for a comprehensive briefing to the LokSabha on India's preparedness for the coronavirus & measures undertaken so far. Here are the questions i was raising my hand to ask, but did not have a chance to: [thread follows]
(1) Can you assure the country that we are not underestimating the level of infection in India because of the shortage of diagnostic facilities? The only institute equipped to test for coronavirus is the NationalInstitute of Virology,Pune. How many samples can they test in a day?
Feb 6, 2020 • 6 tweets • 2 min read
Don’t know whether to be flattered or amused to hear my name four times in the Prime Minister’s mellifluous speech. But I was not amused that he continued to tilt at the windmills of history &reduce a solemn Constitutional occasion into an occasion for a petty political speech.
He asked why those who defend the Constitution supported Article 370. I got up to reply that was because Article 370 was in the Constitution& respect for it was part of our respect for the Constitution (&the democratic processes it provides for which were disregarded on Art.370.)
Dec 30, 2019 • 5 tweets • 2 min read
[Thread] 1. Ok, have read the views of various people who disagree w/ my pair of tweets yesterday urging that protestors should not give a communal coloration to the #CAA_NRCProtests. Many argue that the fight IS about Islam, that Muslims are fighting for their identity in India
2. I also understand the primordial place of the Kalima in the Islamic faith. "La ilaha ilallah" is unexceptionable in itself. It's the context that matters here; the phrase ‘tera mera rishta la ilaha illallah’ tends to isolate the community from others whose rishta is to India.