Minority Status for Jains

Last week there was a news of Central government clearing the long pending request of Jains being given the minority status. There were few people from the Jain samaj who had gone and met Mr. Rahul Gandhi about this and then he put forward his positive view on this to the central government.

Minority status is not new for the Jains since they already enjoy this in few states like Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra but now it will be pan India.

Basic advantages will be –
*Operation of schools and colleges with full management and administrative rights.
*Reserve 50% seats for students of Jain community.
*Interest free loans and scholarships for students for higher education.

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Polio free India – a great Hat-trick !!

It feels really great to know India completed three years yesterday as a Polio free country. A great achievement for a country which has had many battles with this severe disease. It is a like a great win for all the people at different levels and organisations who have been contributors for this noble cause of eradicating polio from our country and I congratulate all with great happiness.

I was a member of one of Rotary Club of South Mumbai and had a great opportunity to work towards this cause in my own small way. Rotary organisation has been very dedicated in this cause world over including India. I also feel very happy for all volunteers who have been regularly coming to my house offering polio drops for my toddler son. They come without fail and do their jobs very efficiently.

Its a great feeling and we all should try and keep up the good work.

3 cheers for 3 years and coming many more years for Polio free India.


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Unbundled Fares for Airlines in India.

The Indian Aviation sector is on track to get a big change after the The Minister for Civil Aviation Mr. Ajit Singh has decided to permit scheduled airlines to unbundle certain services and to charge fees for these services separately.

As per the press release last evening, the aviation regulator has allowed the following services to be charged for separately:

  • Preferential seating
  • Meal/snack/drink charges (except drinking water)
  • Charge for using Airlines’ lounges
  • Check in baggage charges
  • Sports equipment carriage
  • Musical instrument carriage
  • Fee for special declaration of valuable baggage

The above list will be reviewed after 6 months. The ministry expects the fares to get corrected with this step but honestly the way things are I guess the prices will go up with this as the airlines will use these as add on benefits or privileges over and above the existing  fares.

The guidelines have been set in place to ensure airlines don’t take passengers for a ride, and this includes that airlines will need to notify these charges in advance and not club them with the base ticket automatically, rather ask the customer to choose what they want.

I hope this step goes in the right direction and proves beneficial for all customers in the end.

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Curious Case of Indian Railways.

It so happened that last month my uncle and aunty, both senior citizens in their mid-sixties , had to travel from Jaipur to Kolkata by train for which they had booked tickets well in advance by a couple of months via IRCTC website but it was in WL – waiting list ( like most of the times ). Till last day they were not sure on the confirmation of their tickets which did happen on their date and day of travel. When they reached the train and checked it was an unpleasant surprise because both of them got upper berths and obviously with their age it was not going to be easy or rather possible for them to climb up and travel. They started their journey sitting on the lower berths and waiting for the lower berth holders to arrive so they request and swap seats. Jaipur to Kolkata is 26hours approximately by train and by no means its a easy journey especially if you dont have comfortable berths or seats. After a while they did get 1 lower berth after requesting a youngster but the second berth could not be swapped and my aunty was forced to climb up and travel with lot of discomfort I am sure.

The main thing is the way the ticketing system works here.  There must be some way out where you can avoid this kind of discomfort to senior citizens. I feel in first place itself they should not have been allotted upper berths when they had specially mentioned themselves as senior citizens. I am sure lot of people might have gone through this trouble or faced such situations but I don’t whether this will be noticed or solved in near future.

Please do share if you or people known to you have faced such situations.

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Show soft copy of plane tickets to enter into Airports.

Bureau of Civil Aviation Security ( BCAS ) has issued a new orders which allows passengers to show your e-tickets on your smartphones or in an electronic format at the entry point to airport security and get access to the airport with effect from January 1, 2013. Many newspapers and sites have reported this though I have not tried this personally. Since past few months airlines had started taking charge of rs. 50 which increased to rs. 100 for this service of printing out tickets at the airport counters. In a way this is a good news atleast to passengers who use smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.

IRCTC has had this service from quite some time where they just want passengers to carry the message or email of ticket confirmation in soft copy but identity proof is a must for travel.

Please do share if any one experiences this facility at any airport.

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