Appointed Chief Election Commissioner In July 2017, is in office till January 2018.

Former Election Commissioner and former Chief Secretary, Gujarat (2010-2013).

Was appointed Election Commissioner in May 2015, is a 1975 Batch IAS officer.

It is said he maintains low profile and largely had remained non-controversial before becoming the CEC.

The Opposition is alleging him of working on the government’s behest after delayed announcement of the Gujarat election last year.

He was also accused of bias by Arvind Kejriwal in ‘offices of profit case of 21 AAP MLAs.


Appointed ED Director in October 2016, was due to retire in August 2017 but got extension in February last year following a Supreme Court order. He was given a fixed tenure of two years to make it compliant with the CVC Act and accordingly, he will retire in October 2018.

Before it, he was ED Special Director and was holding additional charge of ED Chief.

He is a 1984 Batch IPS officer.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has accused the ED of abusing power on direction of the Modi Government – ED is probing Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis Case.


Former Delhi Police Commissioner, appointed CBI director in January 2017.

From AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories) Cadre.

Before it, Verma had never worked in the CBI, so his appointment was a departure from norms.

The Supreme Court guidelines say the person heading the CBI should have prior CBI experience.

The Government cited his experience in vigilance behind his appointment as the CBI Director.

Congress didn’t support his appointment – The Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge Said “Selection must be made according to law, merit and seniority.”

The three-member panel that selected him included Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and Mallikarjun Kharge.

Congress was supporting RK Dutta, a senior official from the Ministry of home affairs, saying Dutta had over 17 years of CBI experience.


KV Chowdary was appointed CVC in June 2015, for a term of four years.

He is a former Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, 1978 Batch.

Former Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chief, Chowdary’s appointment by the Modi Government was again departure from established norms.

Before Chowdary, all other CVCs, since its inception in 1964, were IAS officers.

His appointment was criticised by Ram Jethmalani and Prashant Bhushan – they raised the point that he lacked credentials for the job

Bhushan wrote a letter to PM Narendra Modi where he alleged that Chowdary had visited former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha while the 2G probe was on. All such visits to Sinha by various people during the 2G probe were considered suspicious by the top court.

Bhushan further alleged that Chowdary’s investigation into 2G related tax evasion cases gave clean chit to all, unlike the progresses made by agencies like CBI and ED in other 2G cases.

Bhushan also alleged that Chowdary himself was under suspicion in a stock scam.

Jethmalani also wrote a letter to Modi alleging that Chowdary was totally unfit for the job – he also alleged that Chowdary was involved in a stock scam.




The article originally appeared on India Today. 

Just a day after Donald Trump and Xi Jinping phone conversation over North Korea, China has strongly objected to a US led meeting in Canada’s Vancouver that called for strict implementation of sanctions imposed on North Korea.

Calling the meeting illegal and a Cold War vestige, a spokesperson of China’s Foreign Office said, “It will only drive a wedge among the international community and undermine the concerted efforts to seek proper settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.”

The US and Canada hosted Vancouver Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula on 16th January. The meeting was aimed at “the Complete, Verifiable, and Irreversible Denuclearization of North Korea”, as the US State Department summed it.

Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, said the purpose of the meetings was to improve the effectiveness of the maximum pressure campaign and combat North Korea’s attempts to evade sanctions.

China raised objections over meeting and its participants, the 20 countries of the United Nations Command (UNC) that supported South Korea during the 1950s Korea War, “We all know that the so-called UN Command, as a product of the Cold War era, has long lost its relevance. As initiators of the meeting, the US and Canada co-hosted the meeting under the banner of the so-called UN Command sending states. That is Cold War mentality pure and simple.”

The meeting that excluded China and Russia was attended by 20 nations including the US, Canada, South Korea, Japan, France, Britain, the Philippines, Sweden and Australia and none of them had any trade relation with North Korea last year.

China argued that when no major parties of the Korean peninsula issue were present in the meeting, expecting any solution through it was a futile exercise, questioning the ‘legality and representativeness’ of the meeting.

China also countered the tough message of the military option that the US led meeting sent to North Korea. China’s Foreign Office said on the move, “Only through dialogue, equally addressing the reasonable concerns of all parties, can a way to an effective and peaceful resolution be found.”

Tillerson had warned that the ultimate responsibility for producing a new future lies with North Korea and it can only be achieved by abandoning its current path of pursuing missile and nuclear weapons technologies.

But if the North doesn’t do so and diplomacy fails, it may trigger military confrontation, “We have to recognize that the threat is growing and that if North Korea does not choose the pathway of engagement, discussion, negotiation then they themselves will trigger an option,” Tillerson had added.

The daylong meeting concluded with a joint announcement that a nuclear-armed North Korea was not acceptable and if the country desired a future, it must follow the path of complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization.

In spite of the international sanctions against its missile and nuclear weapons programme, North Korea successfully test fired many missiles last year including nuclear capable inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and detonated a hydrogen bomb as well.

The country has now declared itself a nuclear power, threatening the world with its recent military advances and its acts like firing missiles over Japan or threatening the US military base at Guam in the Pacific, coupled with its no holds barred war rhetoric, have escalated the tension like never before.



Article originally on India Today:

After a brief hiatus, North Korea has resumed its verbal assault against US President Donald Trump. And the country’s latest jibe at the US President tells the world that his acts are like ‘spasms of a lunatic’.

The trigger behind the latest outburst was Donald Trump’s ‘nuclear button’ tweet on 3rd January. In his typical fashion to exact fire and fury against North Korea through his tweets, Trump hit back on North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s claims that the later had a nuclear button on his table and the whole America was in the striking range of his nuclear missiles.

Adding humiliating and stinging words for Kim Jong-un’s and his predecessors’ rule, calling it a depleted and food starved regime, Trump asserted that he, too, had a nuclear button which really worked, and in fact was a much bigger and more powerful one than Kim Jong-un’s.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times’. Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a nuclear button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my button works!

– Donald Trump on Twitter

Though it took two weeks for North Korea to hit back, probably due to the recent thaw in ties with South Korea and the North’s participation in the Winter Olympics in the South next month, the verbal retort from the country was equally humiliating and stinging, mocking Trump on a scale that could match the buzz created by his tweet a fortnight ago.

A commentary in North Korea’s state-run publication Rodong Sinmun called Trump’s ‘bigger nuclear button’ tweet warning a bluff, ‘just a spasm of a lunatic frightened by the might of North Korea,’ by a person who has the habit and making reckless remarks, “Recently, Trump who is crazy about the hostile policy toward North Korea, has once again stunned the world by twitting that he has a ‘big and strong nuclear button.’ After these reckless remarks were twitted, they have become the target of scoff and criticism.”

Using choicest of words for him, like North Korea has been doing all along, the commentary added, “The spasm of Trump in the New Year reflects the desperate mental state of a loser who failed to check the vigorous advance of the army and people of the DPRK.” Trump’s mental health has been a favourite theme in North Korea’s anti-America propaganda and the country has used terms like ‘psychopath and mentally deranged dotard’.

And like the country has done in past, time and again, alleging Trump of escalating tension and ratcheting up war rhetoric, the commentary further said that the tweet, in fact, revealed who wants peace and who wants a nuclear war, “Experts on the Korean issue said that it is not fitting for the president to put the dangerous and serious issue like a nuclear war on twitter and it is an irresponsible behaviour leading the situation to the brink of a war.”

Trump, in fact, was widely panned after this ‘nuclear button’ tweet. Critics said the tweet would needlessly provoke North Korea at a time when the North had declared itself a nuclear power and the possibility of a nuclear war was more real than ever.

Also, after persistent demand from different quarters, Twitter, in fact, had to issue clarification that Trump’s tweet did not violate rules against abusive behaviour.


Tension between North Korea and the US has heightened to unprecedented levels since Donald Trump became US President last year.

Trump has been an advocate of adopting tough measures against the North, a rogue nation that is seen as a terror sponsor and nuclear proliferator.

Last year’s successful inter-continental ballistic missile and nuclear tests by the North only added to it.

Comments like ‘North Koreans will be met with fire and fury this world has never seen before’ or ‘the rocket-man or madman, Trump’s inventions for Kim Jong-un, will be tested like never before’ are common.

The North, in response, has its own range of words for Trump like ‘a gangster fond of playing with fire’, ‘unprecedented rude nonsense’, ‘frightened dog’, ‘psychopath’, ‘mentally deranged dotard’ or the latest one, ‘spasms of a lunatic’.







OFDI: RS 1,42,754 CRORE / $22.3 BILLION



Earlier this week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan released a statement after US President Donald Trump cancelled his London visit due next month. He claimed the real reason that forced Donald Trump to cancel the visit is – he is very unpopular in his country.

Khan said Donald Trump finally got the message that he was not welcome in London after many Londoners ran campaigns to say ‘no to Donald Trump’ for pursuing a divisive agenda and asserted that ‘in case Trump visited London, he would, without doubt, meet by mass protests.

Earlier, Trump had tweeted to let the world know that he was cancelling his London visit. The reason he cited was his distaste about the Barack Obama Administration decision of selling the existing embassy building, best located and finest embassy in London, for peanuts and shifting it to an off location, and that too, for a cost of $1.2 Billion.

But as Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted, Trump is quite unpopular in Britain. Last year, he had to cancel his state visit to Britain on British Prime Minister Theresa May’s invitation as he feared he was too unpopular in Britain, something that Khan highlighted in the message he tweeted, ‘what a mistake it was for Theresa May to rush and extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place’.

Trump’s Britain state visit was scheduled for June last year but it was postponed for October after fears of backlash over Trump’s controversial travel ban targeting seven Muslim majority nations, a report in The Sun said. Many British MPs had then snubbed Trump and protests were planned. “In June it was said the trip was being postponed again until people support him coming to the UK,” the report further added.

According to The Guardian, he even called Theresa May to inform her that he did not want to come to Britain if there were large-scale protests and he was postponing his state visit to the UK “until the British public supports him coming.” And with this cancellation, it can be said that Trump still fears that Britishers don’t like him.

Also, Trump misrepresented facts to make his point here. He tweeted that the decision to shift the London Embassy was taken by the Obama Administration but the fact is, the process to shift the US Embassy was initiated by the government of George Bush, in October 2008, another report by The Guardian said.

The Obama Administration finalized the deal and the amount was certainly not in peanuts. The US Embassy building at Mayfair, London was sold for £500m ($684 Million today). Barack Obama won the US Presidential Election in November 2008 and his government was inaugurated in January 2009.








USA – 4460000
Saudi Arabia – 3255864
Malaysia – 2975000
UAE – 2803751
Myanmar – 2008690
UK – 1825000
Sri Lanka – 1614000
South Africa – 1560000
Canada – 1016185
Kuwait – 919354
Mauritius – 894500
Oman – 783959
Qatar – 697500
Singapore – 650000
Nepal – 600000
Trinidad & Tobago – 556800
Australia – 496000
France – 456470
Bahrain – 316175
Fiji – 315198
Guyana – 297793
Netherlands – 235000
New Zealand – 200000
Italy – 197301
Thailand – 195000
Germany – 169602
Suriname – 154471
Philippines – 120000
Indonesia – 107500


NRI: An Indian citizen who is ordinarily residing outside India and holds an Indian Passport

PIO: A person who or whose any of ancestors was an Indian national and who is presently holding another country’s citizenship/nationality i.e. he/she is holding foreign passport

Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Cardholder: A person registered as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Cardholder under section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955


NRI: He/she is an Indian Citizen

PIO: As per section 5(1)(a) & 5(1)(c) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, he/she has to be ordinarily resident in India for a period of 7 years before making an application for registration.

OCI Cardholder: As per section 5(1)(g) of the Citizenship Act,1955, a person registered as an OCI cardholder for 5 years and who is ordinarily resident in India for twelve months before making an application for registration is eligible for grant of Indian citizenship.

Trends in International Migrant Stock – conducted by UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

16 Million: India (Largest diaspora population in the world)
12 Million: Mexico



76 Million: Asia
75 Million: Europe

Countries with largest number of international migrants: Asia (11 countries), Europe (6 countries), Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Northern America (1 each).

*Data from Government of and United Nations resources



The article originally appeared on India Today. 

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that entire Pakistan is feeling betrayed over recent statements from the US questioning Pakistan’s credibility and commitment in the war against terror and the unanimous national response denouncing the US stand was a reflection of that.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, Pakistan Armed Forces media wing, General Bajwa conveyed the prevailing sentiment in Pakistan to General Joseph L Votel, Commander, US Central Command (CENTCOM) during a phone call last week. CENTCOM’s area of responsibility includes 20 nations, from Northeast Africa across the Middle East to Central and South Asia including Afghanistan and Iraq.

General Bajwa said Pakistan will not seek resumption of US aid and will continue with counter terrorism efforts on its own but his country did expect an honourable recognition of its contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in fight against terrorism.

General Bajwa also reiterated the routine Pakistani allegation that US was making it a scapegoat to hide its own failures in Afghanistan.

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor @OfficialDGISPR
Comd USCENTCOM & a US Senator telephoned COAS to discuss security coop post POTUS tweet. “Entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed on trivialising our decade old cooperation. We won’t ask for restoration of financial assistance but honourable recognition of our contributions”, COAS.
4:16 PM – 12 Jan 2018

After US President Donald Trump’s declaration of no more US aid to Pakistan and the subsequent follow up steps and statements from the US Administration calling Pakistan a liar, a deceitful country that employs terror as state policy, there has been a rush of reactions from the Pakistani leadership, both military and civilian.

They say they don’t need US aid and in fact, have spent multiple times of the US aid in the ongoing war against terrorism. They have started alleging that the US has been an ally who has always betrayed. The Pakistani leadership also sees an Indian hand in all this and warns the US from giving India a prominent role in Afghanistan. Pakistan has also suspended intelligence and military cooperation with the US.

The US, on the contrary, feels betrayed by Pakistan’s double-dealings and treachery.

On many occasions, Donald Trump and his government’s senior ministers and officials have spoken openly against Pakistan that how it backstabs the US by harbouring the terror groups that harm US and other coalition forces in Afghanistan. The US has also described Pakistan a safe haven for terrorists in its official records including the Country Report on Terrorism and the Narendra Modi – Donald Trump Joint Statement last year.

Apart from economic and military aid, the US also reimburses Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund for its expenditure incurred on action against terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. But of late, it has started withholding the Fund, alleging that Pakistan has not taken any concrete action against these terror groups.

The US frustration was summed up in the New Year Day tweet by Trump where he slammed Pakistan for giving safe haven to terrorists the US hunts in Afghanistan in spite of receiving more than $33 Billion in US aid over the last 15 years. He then declared that Pakistan would not receive any more US aid.

Following Trump’s tweet, US has withheld $255 Million military financial package to Pakistan for fiscal year 2016 and $900 Million Coalition Support Fund for 2017, the White House has formally asked the country to do more against terror and a US senator is bringing bill to stop all aid to Pakistan and move has been endorsed by Trump.



The article originally appeared on India Today. 

Pakistan has raised objections over India’s satellite launch scheduled for tomorrow. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is scheduled to launch 31 satellites on 12 January from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota and began the 28-hour countdown today at 5:29 AM.

During his weekly briefing, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal warned India of using satellites for military purposes as it could destabilize balance of power in the region.

“All space technologies, including earth observation satellites, are inherently dual use and can be employed for both civilian and military purposes and therefore it is essential that such pursuits are not directed towards a build-up of destabilizing military capabilities, which can negatively impact the regional strategic stability,” a release from Pakistan’s Foreign Office said.

There are only three Indian satellites among the 31 satellites that ISRO is launching tomorrow at 9:29 AM, under its first mission in 2018, PSLV-C40/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Mission. 28 other satellites are from six other nations, i.e., Canada, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, UK and USA.

The three Indian satellites include the 710 kg Cartosat-2 Series Satellite for earth observation, a micro satellite in 100 kg class, Microsat, and a 5 kg nano satellite, Indian Nano Satellite IC. Both, micro and nano satellites, have been built as co-passenger payloads.

The Cartosat-2 satellite being launched this time is seventh in the series of remote sensing satellites and data obtained from it will be used in services like cartographic applications, Geographical Information System (GIS) applications, Land Information System (LIS) applications, coastal land-use regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps and change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features.

Tomorrow’s launch event is the 42nd flight of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, India’s main space launch vehicle. ISRO defines PSLV as its reliable and versatile workhorse, that, apart from carrying out 39 consecutively successful missions so far, has also launched successfully the Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and the Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013. In 2017 alone, ISRO placed over 130 satellites into orbit.

The PSLV’s first failure came last year, during 39th mission on August 31, when it failed to deliver India’s eight navigation satellite, the IRNSS-1H, as the heat shield tip which houses the satellite did not open.



The article originally appeared on India Today.

Natural disasters cost the United States $306 billion in 2017 says the country’s scientific agency National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), making it the costliest year for natural disasters in US history.

2017 has been a year of extreme weather events in the US, including hurricanes, wildfires, floods, tornadoes, drought and freezes and the wildfire season is expected to continue in 2018 as well.

The assessment released by NOAA for 2017 says the US experienced 16 weather and climate disasters, with each of them costing more than $1 billion.

The disasters included 1 freeze, 1 drought (affected multiple areas), 1 wildfire (affected multiple areas), 2 floods, 3 major hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Maria) and 8 severe storms and took at least 362 lives.

Following graphic shows natural disasters that cost the US 16 billion dollars. (Photo courtesy: NOAA)

The ongoing wildfire season in many western US states has caused dozens of wildfires in the country and their smoke has been visible from the space. They so far have cost $18 billion in damages.

This satellite image shows the wildfires that took place in US in 2017. (Photocourtesy: NASA)

But the three hurricanes cost the US most in damages, totalling around $265 billion with Hurricane Harvey becoming the costliest hurricane in US history in terms of the destruction it wreaked.

Hurricane Harvey lashed many states of the US in August, caused widespread flooding and displaced thousands.

NOAA estimates say the hurricane cost $125 billion, $17 billion more than the cost of estimated damage by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that had inundated 80 per cent of New Orleans.

Hurricane Maria that made landfall in September cost US $90 billion, becoming the third costliest hurricane in US history.

Hurricane Irma, that just followed Hurricane Harvey, cost the US $50 billion, the fifth costliest in US history of natural disasters, the NOAA assessment says.

Like 2017, the 2005 hurricane season including Katrina had left huge destruction behind killing over 1,000 people.

Information from the US National Hurricane Centre shows Dennis, Cindy, Ophelia, Rita, Wilma were other hurricanes of the season that cost US $211.2 billion.

But the deadliest hurricane season in US history has been 1,900 when Galveston killed 8,000 people and caused damage worth $104.3 billion.

Since then, advances made in predicting hurricanes and in fact, other weather phenomenon, have been able to reduce loss of lives to a greater extent as evident from the 2017 hurricane season, which though caused second most widespread damage in US history, the human cost was limited to 103 deaths.



The article originally appeared on India Today on 5 January.

A Republican US Senator has said that he would soon introduce a bill to end US aid to Pakistan.

Rand Paul who represents Kentucky in the US Senate posted a video on Twitter and YouTube in which he said Pakistan had always back-stabbed the United States and should not receive even a penny of US taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

He says the US should not give even one penny to countries like Pakistan, that burn the American flag and chant death to America.

He asserts that countries like Pakistan that stonewall access to information in fighting terrorism don’t deserve American money and goes on to appeal, “I say we should stop now sending the hard-earned tax dollars to Pakistan. We have sent Pakistan over $33 Billion since 2002. What did we get for it?”

Highlighting Pakistan’s double-dealings and treachery, he further says, “Pakistan didn’t help us even in finding Osama bin Laden even though he was living in one of their cities for years. Then they jailed the informant who helped us get bin Laden. They have allowed suspected terrorist to operate from their country. Some say Pakistani intelligence agents actually aid and abate terrorists. It is wrong.”

Citing US President Donald Trump’s New Year Day announcement a breakthrough, that enough was enough and no more aid to Pakistan as the country had only lied and deceived America in the name of helping in the war on terror in spite of receiving $33 Billion of US aid in last 15 years, Rand says he is going to introduce a bill in coming days to end aid to Pakistan.

“President Trump has publicly called to end their aid, and is currently holding up over $200 million of it. I want to end all of it and I am introducing a bill to do just that in coming days”, he added.

He says his bill intends to take the money that would have gone to Pakistan and put it in an infrastructure fund to build roads and bridges back at home.

In another video message posted on YouTube that shows people in Pakistan burning Indian, American and Israeli flags and demonstrating against Donald Trump, Senator Paul asks some tough questions.

He says the continued US gesture makes no sense, “What I find particularly troubling is, US continues to give money to Pakistan over a billion dollar of taxpayers’ money, to a country that imprisons the gentleman, the physician who helped us get Osama bin Laden” and concludes that as Pakistan only understands negotiation from strength so he is proposing a vote on ending aid to the country.

Senator Rand Paul has been fighting to end US aid to countries like Pakistan and in fact came up with a bill to stop US aid to the Palestinian authority in 2015. And the time seems opportune this time as both, Pakistan and Palestine, are on Donald Trump’s radar.

President Trump has threatened to stop US aid to Palestine as well.

After Trump’s New Year Day shocker, his administration has, in fact, increased pressure on Pakistan manifold and the message is clear, shape in or shape out.

First America withheld a scheduled $255 million military financial assistance to Pakistan the same day Trump tweeted his intent. Then White House came with a statement asking Pakistan to do more in the war on terror.

Yesterday it sent Pakistan a list of 27 Haqqani Network terrorists and demanded action against them by 15 January and shortly before Rand Paul’s video message, in another decisive blow to Pakistan, announced that it was suspending all military, technological and financial assistance to Pakistan till it shows proof that it has taken decisive action against terrorists.