30 January 2014 South Africa’s cricket selectors on Wednesday named all-rounders Wayne Parnell and Ryan Mclaren in a 15-man squad for the forthcoming three-test series against Australia, which begins at SuperSport Park in Centurion outside Pretoria on 12 February. With the great Jacques Kallis having retired from test cricket, the biggest question surrounding the Proteas’ line-up has been about how to replace him. While doing that properly is, frankly, impossible, the selectors did the expected by naming Mclaren and Parnell in the line-up.Limited test experience Parnell has previously played in three tests, while McLaren has appeared in just one match, ironically with Parnell in January 2010 at The Wanderers where Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel spearheaded South Africa to victory by an innings and 74 runs over England. McLaren boasts a superior first class record to Parnell, averaging 30.63 with the bat to Parnell’s 22.34 and 25.47 with the ball to Parnell’s 32.94. However, McLaren, at just shy of 31 years of age, is over seven years older than his fellow all-rounder. What those figures reveal very clearly is that neither man will be able to come any near to emulating Kallis with the bat. However, they may be able to match him with the ball. Three other players in the squad are in a similar class of all-rounder, with off-spinner and left-handed batsman JP Duminy offering more with the bat than the others. Robin Peterson brings the option of left-arm spin and a left-handed batsman, while Vernon Philander, the world’s number one ranked test bowler, has shown on a number of occasions that he is more than useful with a bat in his hands. ‘We’re not looking for another Jacques Kallis’ In an interview with ESPN Cricinfo’s Firdose Moonda, Proteas’ coach Russell Domingo explained: “The mental shift is going to be just as important as the statistical shift. We’re not looking for another Jacques Kallis. We’re looking for someone to step up to the plate.” Underlining the hole that Kallis has left, he added: “It’s not going to be a set strategy like we had in the past. Something’s got to give. Either we will have four seamers, no spinner or only six batters.” ‘We want to stay constant’ “We want to stay constant to the brand of cricket we have played over the last few years that has brought us such success,” Cricket South Africa selection convener Andrew Hudson said in a statement. “I believe that this squad covers all possible options we may wish to exercise, as well as the conditions we are likely to encounter.” With an eye to the future, Hudson added: “Two other players, Beuran Hendricks and Simon Harmer, will be joining the squad to assist with the preparation leading into the first test match. “They are both highly talented cricketers who will benefit from being introduced to the Proteas environment. They also possess individual skills that will assist the team with their preparation for the Australian attack we are likely to face.”SOUTH AFRICA TEST SQUAD Graeme Smith (Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras, capt), Hashim Amla (Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras), AB de Villiers (Nashua Titans), JP Duminy (Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (Nashua Titans), Dean Elgar (Chevrolet Knights), Rory Kleinveldt (Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras), Ryan McLaren (Chevrolet Knights), Morne Morkel (Nashua Titans), Wayne Parnell (Chevrolet Warriors), Alviro Petersen (bizhub Highveld Lions), Robbie Peterson (Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras), Vernon Philander (Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras), Dale Steyn (Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras), Thami Tsolekile (bizhub Highveld Lions)
Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar on Thursday said his department has not granted any permission for imposition of a ‘Swachhta Tax’ on clicking photographs in the scenic Parra village of North Goa district.Mr. Ajgaonkar told PTI that the tourism department will probe how the panchayat of Parra, which is the ancestral village of late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, was levying such a tax. The matter came to light on Wednesday after some Goa- based activists took to social media to highlight that the panchayat of Parra village, located about 9 km from Panaji, had started levying tax on clicking pictures or shooting videos in its jurisdiction. A sign board put up prominently on the main road of the village reads: “Swacchta Tax/Mission Clean Parra Tax will be levied on all film shoots and photo shoots. Tax will vary for individuals and commercials.” Taking serious note of it, Mr. Ajgaonkar said, “My department has not granted any permission for imposition of such a tax. We will inquire into this.” “If every panchayat starts imposing its own taxes like this, it would be harmful for the State’s tourism potential,” the Minister said. However, a representative of the Parra village panchayat, on condition of anonymity, said the tax was imposed as tourists leave behind lot of garbage and litter the place. “The fund raised through the tax would be used to clean the place. We don’t want to depend on the government to sanction money to keep our place clean. We are doing it through our own resources by levying the tax,” he said. Parra is one of the scenic villages located in the North Goa beach belt.
In the era of big-bang reforms and privatisation, a section of Indian bureaucracy continues to exist quietly, without making any valuable contribution to the country or its economy.Directorates, inspectorates, controllers, research stations and several other government entities, which are relics of the British and licence-permit Raj, are still in operation despite having outlived their utility. Mail Today, in the first part of its investigation series, blows the lid off these government offices feeding on the tax-payers’ money.A survey of central government ministries dealing with sectors such as agriculture, health, environment, water resources, commerce and food supplies shows that tax payers’ money continues to be spent on government offices which have no meaningful role to play anymore. Such offices are in addition to the public sector units which have become useless, as exposed by Mail Today recently.Of no consequenceThe list of redundant offices includes directorates for various crops and commodities (sugar, cotton, jute, cement, rice, tobacco, oilseeds, pulses, vanaspati etc.), National Test House, National Oilseeds and Vegetable Oils Development Board, Indian Plywood Industry Research and Training Institute, National Institute of Water Sports and Hindustan Vegetable Oil Corporation, among others.The NTH laboratory in Ghaziabad.Most of these offices handle minor regulatory roles or are just standard setting bodies or testing centres – functions which are already being carried out by fullfledged regulatory authorities. Some others produce training manuals, conduct training programmes or simply generate inconsequential reports. Most of these offices, however, occupy prime real estate and have hundreds of employees on their rolls. “Such bodies have no business to exist after they have outlived their role, purpose and utility. In the past, many committees of the government have made clear recommendations on what needs to be done with such organisations,” said former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian.advertisement’Rehabilitate staff’Some former officers are of the opinion that the cases of such offices should be taken up one by one. Former power secretary EAS Sarma said: “The fate of each institution should be decided by examining if it has become dysfunctional because it is no longer needed or because there are vested interests against its functioning.”The existence of such offices, however, is frustrating for other departments which are short of staff and loaded with pending work. “They have frozen appointments in central government offices at a time when many departments are facing a short-age of staff. Why can’t useless organisations be wound up and the staff used elsewhere,” said a senior government official.The irrelevance of some of these offices can be gauged from the fact that almost all their functions have been moved to new departments. For instance, the directorate of vanaspati, vegetable oils and fats – a wing of the department of food and public distribution – continues to exist despite all its regulatory functions being taken care of by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, set up in 2006.National Test House (NTH), set up a century ago in Kolkata as a wing of the Indian Railways for testing of products manufactured locally, is involved in functions similar to those of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). In 2002, the government decided to bring NTH under BIS, but nothing has been done till now. NTH has regional labs in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Ghaziabad, Guwahati and Jaipur. Its Ghaziabad complex is spread over 19 acres.The expenditure reforms commission had recommended in 2000 that seven crop directorates (rice, wheat, millet, sugarcane, cotton, jute and tobacco) be wound up because all they were doing was forwarding reports from states producing these commodities to the crop division in the agriculture ministry. It suggested that two other directorates – oilseeds and pulses – be merged with the agriculture ministry. The commission also saw no justification for the existence of National Oilseeds and Vegetable Oils Development Board and National Coconut Development Board. But all these boards and directorates are still functional in 2012.The Directorate of Cotton Development in Mumbai.Click here to EnlargeThe directorate of tobacco keeps promoting the industry, unmindful of the existence of a separate tobacco board to do so. The significance of government machinery to promote tobacco may also be questioned as another wing of the government, the health ministry, spends crores of rupees on the anti-tobacco campaign.The National Sugar Institute, which was set up as Imperial Institute of Sugar Technology in 1936 in Kanpur, lingers on despite sugar technology development being the mandate of at least half-a-dozen research institutes in the country. Another remnant of the ‘control and command’ economy is the development council for sugar industry.advertisement”The only option is to take a knife and start exorcising,” said Subramanian. There are many new areas where employees can be redeployed as there is shortage of staff there, he added. Sarma, though, felt if the institutions are no longer needed, the government should explore ways to rehabilitate the personnel by trying to look at the vacancies in other organisations. Otherwise, the only option is to offer voluntary retirement, he added.The ministry of water resources has multiple agencies doing peripheral work. The central soil and materials research station in the Capital is basically a soil testing outfit and is being run despite at least six other institutes handling different aspects of soil health in the country. There is no rationale behind running a water quality assessment authority when the subject is being looked into by separate pollution and groundwater boards at central and state levels. Another outfit of the ministry – national water development agency – too has a nebulous profile.”Some directorates and research stations surely need to be shut down, along with state farm corporations. If they have to do what the private sector is doing, why do we need them?” asked agriculture policy expert Devinder Sharma.