Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bus Gang Rape- Shame of Indian Society

The Bus gang rape in Delhi has lowered the head of Delhi in shame and has figured in international Media news. At home there has been great hoopla in the Parliament, members of all political parties condemning the brutal act and demanding death penalty, ritual candle light processions and public anger in the streets and educational institutions. Social Scientists, Psychologists have demonstrated their academic skills in analysis of the reasons behind this sordid episode.

2. There have been almost similar cases of varying gravity in the Capital during the current year. But after lapse of a few days, the bubble of anger and emotions subsides and the perverse stalkers are back on business on the roads. Will this case also face the same fate?
3. While there is an express need to make the laws more stringent and Police force more effective, this alone will not help. This problem needs to be viewed in social context. The Society is rapidly turning materialistic and greed for money has sacrificed the family and moral values. Parents have no time to attend to the family except provision of comfort goods. There is no time to impart religious or moral education to the wards.

4. Simultaneously, there has been mushroom growth of pseudo religious groups where devotees go for obeisance and wishes for more money and the pseudo Gurus are motivated with the desire to amass wealth and political powers. In our pre-partition days there was a compulsory period of Moral Education in all Schools upto higher Secondary level.We have renowned Scholars & Moralists in all the religions like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Bapu Murari, Jagad Gurus Ram Dev, Swami Agnivesh to name a few who can start a movement of moral education (abandoning the political stream) to reform the rot in society as no enforcement agency like Police force who is a product of same society nor the laws, howsoever stringent can purify the rot.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Abjure Divide & Rule Policy

The Constitutional amendment Bill to provide for reservations in civil services is a dangerous proposition which will not only knock out the secular fabric of our Constitution but also sow the seeds of communal divide in the administrative services of the country. The founders of our Constitution particularly Baba Sahib Ambedkar were visionaries who laboured hard to ensure the stability, integrity and secularity of the nation and provided the framework
 2. In order to keep the interest of weaker sections of the society, provisions were made for reservations in making appointments in civil services for a period of ten years
as per the situation and traditions prevailing at that time. These reservations were linked on caste basis. After the lapse of prescribed period of ten years,however, these provisions have perpetuated and further more complicated with demands for inclusions of more Castes and not on economic considerations.
3. Almost all the political parties are playing Caste based politics and have destroyed the Secular character of the country. In the existing situation in civil services also there is an undercurrent of hostility between the general category employees and those from the reserved category. The reservations in promotions will further aggravate the situation and adversely affect performance.

                     4. When we look back towards our freedom struggle, we always blamed Britishers for the Divide & Rule policy. Are our rulers not following the same cursed policy to disintegrate the country? Why can't we take lessons from the democratic countries like USA ,Britain and other European nations where principal of equality is followed in letters and spirits. The future generations will not forgive us for these Caste based divisions.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Keep Civil Servants away from Political Games

The ugly spat between the ruling party and the opposition over the spectrum allocation is turning murkier every day with allegations and counter allegations. The Government had denied initially that there was no loss in the allocation and even if it was it was merely notional. When the skeletons tumbled out of its closset it started a vilification game against the C.A.G. Now that P.A.C has finalised its report, it has put on show a former civil servant to claim that there was much less loss than projected by CAG. It is really interesting to note that the Government is now not contesting the loss nor lack of its integrity in the deal but the amount of loss. Does it absolve it from the charges of corruption?

                               2. The other sordid part of this game is involving Civil Servants in the political games. The Bureaucracy in India was build in the frame of a stable steel structure which could withstand the influence of changes in Governments and political masters and function with honesty and integrity. It is tragic that this structure is being dismembered by political forces of the country. The Civil Servants are being politicised and corrupted with greedy offers etc. This will wreck the roots of democracy in our country and follow the Spoils system. The conduct of R.P. Singh who has levelled charges against his own boss and his alleged admission of having succumbed to pressures in signing the Report is condemnable and deserves action under the Civil Services Conduct Rules. The political parties need to keep the civil servants away from their games.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Media should act with moderation

                   The butcher of Mumbai is dead and buried now. But this news has been handled in a most unprofessional manner by the Media particularly the visual media to a frustrating level. All the TV channels started broadcasts of the news, holding group discussions about the merits and demerits of the punishment from morning till late evening. This has provided anti national forces material against our country. Kasab was a terrorists responsible for mass massacre of innocent civilians and was convicted through the due process of law of the land and awarded death penalty. In any other country particularly in the West Asian country he would have been beheaded in public without any trial and any one speaking against the sentence would have faced the same punishment.

     2. No doubt it was a news for the Media to highlight but not in the manner to indirectly lionise him and question the process of law and the punishment awarded by judiciary. It should have been a one line news as similar crimes are reported. We expect Media to act mature to exercise moderation and display maturity in their reporting of sensitive news.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bleeding Gaza

    The entire world is shocked to view the sight of bleeding and dying images of young innocent children, women and men as a result of the senseless conflict in Isreal & Gaza. It is abundantly clear that it was Hamas the terrorist wing of the international radical group which initiated the rocket firing on the Israel territory. Until then there was peace on both sides except the traditional hostility.The Isreal had to act in self defence for the security of its citizens and take retaliatory action.

                  2. The Hamas or any other organisation behind this bloody scuffle could not be unaware about its strength vis-Avis the might of Isreal and the consequences. The Hamas cannot absolve itself from the colossal loss of human lives and property their actions have caused to particularly civilians of Gaza as well as Isreal. There will be cease fire after some time but the families of innocent kins killed will bear the scars life long. The temporary ceasefire will not solve this problem unless the terrorism is routed out from the soil of earth through concerted global efforts.

Well deserved rebuke by Supreme Court

The well deserved rebuke to the Government by Supreme Court in the 2 G spectrum auction should caution it from the way it has been responding to numerous scams that have tarnished its image in the public minds. Instead of taking correctional route it is misguided by its advisers to go in for defensive mode and politicise the issues.

       2. The only purpose of the Government to partially auction the spectrum instead of the entire 122 cancelled licences as ordered by the Supreme Court was to gain browny points and ridicule the findings of the CAG. The unbecoming and satirical statements made by some Ministers against the Comptroller & Auditor General, a constitutional authority over his loss assessment in the spectrum allocation have now fallen flat on its face following the Court's comments. It will now give more fuel to the opposition to fire the Government. It is time for the Government and its Ministers to act with more maturity and use civilised language towards its adversaries and particularly incumbents of constitutional Offices.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Great Sacrilage

The shameless clashes between two groups of Sikh Prabhandak Committees at Gurudwara, Rakab Ganj, New Delhi on 8th November have shocked and shattered the believers of all faiths. The two groups freely used swords and other weapons against each other spilling blood on the holy ground. That it happened just a weak before the birthday of Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji, the founder of Sikh religion is highly deplorable and condemnable.
. The clash was the result of greed and lust to seize control of the management of Sikh holy places in Delhi which have assets worth millions. Guru Nanak Dev ji had all along preached peace, harmony, self sacrifice,renunciation and his followers proudly cite the example of "Saccha Sauda". How some vested interests have politicised the religion is for every one to see.

                              3. Unfortunately, this trend of building grand religious properties among all faiths is doing more harm than good to the human society. The believers donations at such places which should appropriately be used for social welfare of the communities become objects of greed and misuse. That is why a majority of youth in every religion are being distracted away by religious faiths and places of worship and logical explain heart as the real place of worship. It is time, therefore, to introspect whether it is necessary create disproportionate assets of wealth at temples of worship to attract evil eyes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Super Storm Sandy & Super Management

It is horrifying to watch the terrible devastation caused by super storm Sandy on the eastern coast of America. There have been fires and flooding in the residential areas, destruction of property, uprooting of trees ad power lines. There has been no power supplies for the past two days, no transport, no air and sea traffic.Life has virtually come to a stand still. People claim that this the worst calamity of the century. Nature has proved that it is mightier than the mightiest power on earth.

                 2. In the midst of this tragedy we have to learn a few lessons from the American nation which has braved the situation with utmost resilience and efficient disaster management. There is no panic among the citizens under the most difficult circumstances & no break down of law and order. Public utility agencies efficient response in restoration work, shifting of patients from Hospitals to safer places are commendable examples of display of coordination & discipline. The U.S. President has been himself monitoring the restoration efforts and these measures have greatly helped the morale of the people.
3. Let us learn a few lessons from this as to how to act in similar situations and how the Disaster Management agencies need to function.

Friday, October 26, 2012

British overtures to Narendra Modi

We seem to be giving undue and unnecessary importance to the visit of British High Commissioner to Gujarat and meeting with Narendra Modi. The British had maintained an indiscreet distance from Modi following United States refusal to refuse Visa to Modi on the pretext of human rights violation in Gujarat. It is no secret that Britain has no international standing either on political or economic level but is virtually a valet of America. It is proverbially known as a nation of shop keepers and cares only its trading interests.

2. The action of American Govt. in refusing Visa to Modi was also in bad taste and against international conventions amounting to interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country as Modi represents as head of a Indian State. A reciprocal action on the part of India would not have been tolerated by America. Is the present move thro' Britain is American strategy to mend fences viewing the political climate in India where Modi is emerging a contender for the top post in the coming elections? Our political system, in any case, gives no room to the foreign interference and it is the opinion of local people which counts and matters.

Cosmetic Changes of Desperate UPA Government

            This is with reference to the proposed reshuffle in Congress led UPA Government. This reshuffle is mainly attributed to bring Rahul Gandhi at the forefront of Governing strategies and is being cited as the second Kamraj Plan. Since this plan is coming in the ninth year of UPA rule (which can aptly be described as misrule) it is doubtful whether it will meet the eyes of people.
2.      The move is coming at the time of impending general elections in the country when the image of the ruling party has been extremely sullied following a series of scams and frauds during its regime. The churning of portfolios and induction of young leaders sponsored by Rahul Gandhi alone cannot build confidence unless the values of honesty,integrity and experience are given weightage in the proposed appointments.
3.     The undue consideration being given to Rahul Gandhi in the exercise will strengthen the charge of dynastic politics. His charm did not work in U.P.and certainly he has no magic wand to win the coming elections.
3.        During Kamraj Plan all those holding positions in the party and government were made to resign but in the current strategy. There is n Elections o move to change the President of the party and other big wigs. It is,therefore, to be seen whether the proposed cosmetic changes will bear any fruit for the Congress.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Unbecoming Behaviour of a Union Minister

The unbecoming out burst of Union Minister Salman Khushid against socialist Arvind Kejriwal challenging him to visit Farrukhabad and return therefrom displays utter frustration an sense of guilt. That Salman Khurshid who has a reputation of sauve manners and cool temperament has damaged his reputation beyond reputation by his intemperate language and aggressive Behaviour. The media probe and public perception about the dealings of his Trust leaves no one in doubt about the large scale bunglings and fraud. It would have been wiser for him to suggest that he will look into specific cases of fraud through an independent agency rather than try to cover up the misuse of funds by his agents etc. The right course for him at this stage is to resign gracefully rather than face the ignominy of a scamster.

Honesty is not the best policy any more

 After exposure of every scam in the country, demands are made for probe and investigation.There is only one question that stuck my mind "who can and will probe these ignomious deals.

  The biggest democracy of the world has been seized of 'scam a day' phenomenon in the background of deteriorating economic crisis and widening gap beteen the haves and have nots. It has reached a dangerous  social and political  levels of propriety.

 Various scams such as CWG, 2G, Adarsh Society, Salman Khurshid's NGO and Robert Vadra DLF deals have been brought to the fore. But what is the outcome except discussions in the Media.

  People have become sick  of these discussions and have acquisced to the fact that honesty is not the best policy any more. Instead of promising a proble thrust is on counter allegations against opposition. The worst sufferers in this game plan are the honest and upright bureaucrats, who find themselves between devils and deep sea and the common man who has no clue or what to do. So let us not expect too much from these sordi revelations.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Crime Capital of India

Gang rape a day, Murder every day and number of burglaries cum robberies every day is what has made the capital city of the country to be known as the crime capital of India. It is a matter of shame and shock that these obnoxious activities continue to happen unabated despite Police claims of decrease in in crime. Mere statistics cannot assure the citizens of safety and security. A serious attempt to curb these is urgently called for by associating the social scientists, NGOs and religious groups for their active support as the law enforcement agencies alone cannot wipe out this menace.

2. Whereas we need strong laws to punish the guilty and protection to the victims and harassment free treatment to the witnesses, this alone cannot solve the problem. We need to supplement these efforts by stressing more emphasis on moral education in the educational & religious institutions as well as homes. If no efforts are made to curb this growing menace in the city, some day a Phoolan Devi will emerge to take the law in her hands.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Enough Meetings with Pak- Act now

Now that the Government has been able to establish an irrefutable evidence about the origin of inflammatory SMSes from Pakistan which led to massive exodus of people of North Eastern States from metropolitan cities of India, the stereotyped reaction of Pak authorities is not a matter of surprise. The Pak interior Minister has patented his denial mode whether it was 26/11 Mumbai terrorist conspiracy or communal riots or smuggling fake currency to India. Similar response was given to America in the case of sheltering Osama Bin Laden.

2. In the light of our past experiences on similar situations one wonders as to why our Government does not see the light and is keen to hold fruitless meetings and talks with that country. We have had enough of these and now the country wants real action. Even on an auspicious Muslim holiday i.e. Eid-ul-Fitr that country has chosen to firing on the line of control in Jammu. There is no need to hold any meetings with them and the nation expects our Home Minister to cancel all proposed meetings till we make them see the reason by whatever available method so that there is peace in the region.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Forget about Votes & Act firmly with miscreants


The unfortunate exodus of people of Northern Eastern States from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and now Maharashtra following threatening SMS messages is a challenge to the democratic and secular fabric of India. One does not need an Astrologer to predict as to who could be behind this sinister move. North Eastern people are known for their peace loving nature and hard work and to link them with the recent violence viz. Bodos vs. Bangladeshi immigrants has no relevance.

2. The non-state agents of foreign powers have long been trying to fan communal divide in this country emboldened by the week kneed policies of the Government and intelligence failures. The process started with the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from their home land of generations and the Govt.s failure to act firmly. The extent of infilteration of these foreign agents and anti national groups can be gauged from the fact that the mob in Mumbai had the courage to destroy the Martyr's Memorial in Mumbai. Since Maharashtra Government has been working at snail speed as expected by the conspirators, they are spreading their wings in other States. This is a moment for the people and the Government to wake up and take courageous stepsin the interest of national integrity unmindful of the so called international reactions. The mere rhetoric statements in Parliament and elsewhere will not solve the problem without firm action.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Deal firmly with communal forces

The tragic sequence of violence in the rally organised by the so called Raza Academy and two others groups to protest against the alleged killing of Muslims in Assam appears to be an organised conspiracy to create communal tension in the country. The death of two persons and injuries to 56 policemen besides huge loss of private & public property could not be caused by a small group of protesters unless it was pre-planned.

2. It was a senseless act on the part of the organisers to hold the rally projecting the Assam riots as communal and equally irresponsible on the part of Police authorities to give permission for a communal rally. The clashes in Assam were between the native Bodos and Bangladeshi immigrants which included non-Muslims also over land holding issues. It was never a religious issue there. We have therefore, to be alert from communal forces in raising their heads against the secular traditions of the country. Is it an off shoot of the threat given by a Member of Rajya Sabha in his speech in the House? The investigating agencies need to probe this aspect as well as the intelligence failure.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Communal Terrorism in America

The tragic death of 7 innocents and gun injuries to more than two scores of worshippers at Oak Creek Gurdwara in Wisconsin State of U.S.A. demonstrates the rising wave of communal hatred in U.S.A. It is all the more alarming situation for India as there have been series of murders of Indian students in the recent past without any apparent reason except for the colour of their skin and nationality. That it is happening on the soil of a democratic country which boasts of multi racial society and is fighting terrorism throughout the globe is regrettable. The spread of communal terrorism in America is mainly facilitated by the liberal gun control policies of the authorities where it is possible to buy guns as easily as any item of groceries. Apart from this, the U.S. Authorities have not taken adequate steps to identify and protect the vulnerable categories of people and places which become easy targets of the fanatics. There have been random killings of Sikhs and Indian students and mere statements of regret cannot restore the normal lives of grieved families. It is time that U.S. Authorities should do a quick review of the situation and take steps to fight this menace before it gets out of hands.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fake Currency in the country

It is disturbing tolearn about the five fold increase in fake currency detected by the Reserve Bank of India. The actual fake currency in circulation in the country is any body's guess. The enemies of the country have waged a relentless war in sabotaging the economy of our country by this nefarious activity which is worse than the drug war. We do not know what action is being taken by the Govt. authorities to combat this undeclared war but the common man is the worst sufferer. Even ATMs are not immune from this and the innocent victims are a harassed lot. Despite best efforts, it is not possible to distinguish between the genuine notes from the fake ones as even Bank authorities fail to identify. That tentacles of this Mafia have spread even to the foreign countries is borne by the fact of two tourists having received the fake currency at Luxumbourg air port. It is a very serious matter calling for swift and effective actions to combat this menace.

Crowd Or Cause- Which is more important?

It is unfortunate to note that Media is highlighting the absence of crowds (and not cause) at the meeting of Anna Hazare at Jantar Mantar where his team members are undertaking fast unto death for the passage of strong Lokpal Bill. People are not that ungrateful as is being sought to project as to forget the lead taken by Anna in shaking the conscience of the nation against the scourge of all pervasive corruption in the country. The decrease in the number of persons attending his rally does not indicate that the level of corruption has also declined. He is fighting for a national cause which affects every citizen of the country except the corrupt. It is not possible for every citizen to be physically present at such gathering as there are number of other modes through which people are lending their support to the movement. The crowd theory is being advocated by vested interests which will not work for long time. The Media and other forums which played a major role in this movement should continue their support for this movement to eradicate corruption from the country before it is too late.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Underachiever Prime Minister

The Article published in the Time Magazine of USA describing our Prime Minister as "Underachiever" seems to have hurt our national pride particularly that of the ruling Congress party members. However, there is nothing new or untrue about these facts which are not known before.
The man in the street has been leading a frustrated life under the unbearable pressure of inflation,unemployment and extremely abysmal living conditions.On national level we are witnessing the lowest level of GDP ever witnessed before,high fiscal deficit and stagnant industrial out put. There is break down of law & order and corruption is ruling the roost. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Where is the governance in the country? The Prime Minister reputed to be an economist has lost his vision about economy and is ruling by proxy. We have no reason to feel offended about the said article of the Time Magazine as it has re-enforced the cry in the wilderness of the common man, media and the intellectuals of the country.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Drug Dealers of Dawood Ibrahim & U.S.Adminstration

The news about U.S. Department of the Treasury 'Office of Foreign Assets Control designating Chhota Shakeel and Tiger Memon as drug traffickers is more amusing than a serious punitive act. Both these criminals have been engaged in most nefarious criminal acts like murders, extortion, communal riots, terrorism besides drug peddling for the past many decades. India has been voicing its concerns about their activities in the international forums and the need to apprehend and bring them to judicial process. American establishments did precious little to do any thing in the matter although they hold a pressure leverage on Pakistan from where and under whose protection these groups operate. The present action of the U.S. Government is merely a symbolic move to appease India. They have made similar dramatic moves like announcing a bounty on the Head of Hafeez Sayeed, the kingpin of Mumbai carnage who moves about freely in the streets of Pakistan despite the aforesaid American declaration. Dawood Ibrahim, carrying Interpol warrant order roamed about freely in Dubai and celebrated his daughter's wedding in full public view. The public in India is,therefore, least impressed with the sincerity of American establishment role in aiding controlling & curbing anti-India terror groups.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

U.P. Elections reject dynastic charm

Sonia Gandhi's denial mode about the role of her son Rahul Gandhi in U.P. Debacle demonstrates the uncomfortable reluctance on the part of Congress leadership to admit its short falls in poll strategy and campaign style in U.P. Elections. It was misunderstood that personal charisma of Gandhi clan will yield maximum out put among the gullible rural masses. So the entire Gandhi family down to the grand kids were put on the stage but it failed to click into votes. Similarly the Caste & Communal cards failed to enthuse the masses.The theatrics of Rahul Gandhi in tearing into pieces the manifestoes of the opposing parties had negative impact.
                                                  2. These elections have have given many lessons not only to the Congress party but to all the political set ups in the country. It should be recognised that the present day voter is highly enlightened politically and does not succumb to sectarian or religious cards but seeks development, employment and good living conditions.

Air India Pilots hold the Government to ransom

The strike by Air India Pilots is a mess of its own creation by the Government in pampering and sticking to public undertakings like Air India and similar other commercial enterprises which have ceased to be economically viable and manageable. The nationalisation of core economic sectors was warranted during the infancy of independence and is no longer relevant at this stage. Most of these undertakings have become parasites on tax payers and their existence is not justified.

       Air India for example has survived on doles of Government and its dismal performance , productivity and most indiscipline work force needs no evidence. The frequent strikes of Pilots & Engineers has brought shame and disrepute to the nation besides immense mental agony to its passengers. Why should tax payers be forced to invest in this sinking ship? It is high time that Govt. gets itself rid of such white elephants and concentrate on its prime function I.e. Governance.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hillary Clinton's visit to Kolkata-breach of international convention

The news about Hillary Clinton, American Secretary of State's stop over in Kolkatta to discuss with West Bengal Chief Minister about foreign Direct Investment in multi brand and important international issues like Teesta water is alarming. The left is,perhaps, right in asserting that it amounts to interfering in the internal affairs of the country. If viewed from the international protocol, no nation is expected to directly holds discussions with a state Government on national or international issues. The proper course is to raise the issues with the national Government. This incident reflects poorly on our Central Government which is acting like a mute spectator. It will set a very bad precedent for the country where any foreign government will interact directly with the State Government on issues of their interest by passing the national Government at the centre. American Government is known for its arrogant Behaviour and interference in the domestic affairs of the countries. Its attitude towards India is well reflected in the recent statement of President Obama against BPOs in India.We should,therefore, strongly protest such undiplomatic overtures which are against the international code of conduct.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Let Chief of Army Staff retire with due dignity

The storm which is shaking the country these days over the COAS General V.K. Singh's public revelations about offer of bribe to him and then the leakage of letter addressed by him to the Prime Minister pointing deficiencies in the armed forces capabilities is very unfortunate and undesirable. That these incidents have happened at a time when has a few days to demit his office gives rise to suspicions about the intents and motives.However, it should not be blown out of proportion and shelved.

2. Indian Army is one of the most disciplined force in the world and has won laurels for its combative and non-combative performances both within the country as well as abroad. Gen. Singh has been part of the regime and rose to the present level by dint of his excellence in meeting the highest traditions of the force. So it will be unfair to blame him for dereliction or leakages. In fact he has lodged a complaint with the CBI for probe into the leakage of letter. It will be relevant to state that the leakages of classified materials of Govt. departments has become a routine affair which Media proudly displays as its exclusive report. What is,therefore, required is to sternly deal with those involved in this profession as it threatens the integrity and safety of the country.

3. The contents of the letter are routine as every Head of the Department presents its litany of woes citing absence of adequate budgetary support. The Government will do well to set its house in order rather than find faults with constitutional heads like CAG, COAS etc.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

No more caste based politics-only development

The election results in U.P. and other four States in the country irrespective of the winning political combinations have given the politicians a few serious lessons which they need to learn and emulate. The first and the most important lesson is that the people don't succumb to caste and religious cards. Parties like BSP and Congress who wanted to exploit the Muslims and Backwards have to bite dust as the Indian electorate has matured enough to see through these game plans and are no more gullible. Secondly, the size of the crowed at public meetings does not materalise into votes. The rhetorics and theatrics of Rahul Gandhi yielded nothing to the party's coffers. Similarly, the aggressive and abusive diatribes of Digvijay Singh & Beni Prasad instead of helping them had negative effects. BJP also should also learn lessons about its organisational structure and the public perception of its policies. No doubt the political parties will undertake their introspections but the most important factor is that public is sick of divisive politics.

2. People want to live in harmony and aspire for development to be a major international economic power. Hope UPA will reflect these experiences in the remaining two years of their rule while framing national policies,