How the central government did responds to Rafale deal?

  • Former Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the prices could not be compared as the tender for 126 aircraft and the agreement for 36 aircraft had different requirements.

  • The Central government also claimed that it did not have any role in the selection of the Indian offset partner. (However, Francois Hollande, who was the President of France when the Rafale deal was signed, stated in an interview that it was the Indian government that suggested Reliance Defence Ltd. as the offset partner for the deal. And Dassault Aviation’s chief executive officer, Eric Trappier, in November 2018, said that it was his company that chose Reliance Defence).

  • Nirmala Sitharaman also said that approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security had been obtained before the signing of IGA.

Supreme Court order

In October 2018, the Supreme Court, while hearing a public interest litigation, directed the Central government to provide the pricing details of the Rafale fighter jets in a sealed cover. In December 2018, the court dismissed all the petitions seeking a probe into the alleged irregularities in the deal, and gave a clean chit to the Union government on all three aspects – the decision making, pricing and selection of Indian offset partner. However, petitioners have sought a review of the December 2018 order following which the Union government wants all review petitions dismissed by the apex court.


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What were the alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal?

Price escalation

The Congress Party alleged that the BJP-led government procured each aircraft at a much higher price than what was finalised by the UPA government.

Lack of transparency & favouritism

The party accused the Central government of promoting crony capitalism by ‘influencing’ Dassault to pick Reliance Defence as its local partner. The party demanded answers from the government on why state-run aerospace major HAL was not involved in the deal. It also alleged that Reliance Defence was formed just 12 days before the announcement of the Refale deal and that Reliance was chosen in a process that lacked transparency.

Absence of Cabinet approval

It alleged that the Modi government announced the deal without the approval from Cabinet Committee on Security. The Congress demanded a probe into the issue.

Parallel parleys

Based on documents from the Ministry of Defence, it was alleged that the Prime Minister’s Office was conducting ‘parallel negotiation’ with French officials on the fighter plane deal.


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What is background of the fighter aircraft?

The proposal for procurement of fighter jets was made in 2007 under the Congress-led UPA government. The French aircraft manufacturer, Dassault Aviation, won the contract among other bidders in 2012. The original plan was to purchase 126 planes, including 18 to be manufactured in France and delivered in flyaway condition and the rest (108) to be built in India in collaboration with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd under transfer of technology.

There were lengthy negotiations between the then UPA government and Dassault on issues of pricing and transfer of technology. The negotitations continued till early 2014, but the deal was not finalised. Meanwhile, India and France faced national elections. A change in government in India delayed the process further.

During his visit to France in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise announcement that India would purchase 36 Rafale jets (as against the earlier tender for 126) from the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation. And the deal was sealed in September 2016.

The cost of each Rafale aircraft was later revealed to be Rs. 670 crore. But the Central government did not provide the break-up of the deal, citing security concerns.


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What is Rafale aircraft?

Rafale is a twin-engine Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) designed and built by Dassault Aviation, a French firm. The fighter jets are capable of performing a wide range of combat roles.

In September 2016, India and France signed a 7.87 billion (at Rs. 59,000 crore) Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Refale multi-role fighter jets in “flyaway condition” (prepared for immediate flight). The deal also included a 50% offset clause to be executed by Dassault Aviation in partnership with Indian companies. That is, in exchange for landing the contract for the 36 fighter jets, Dassault has to invest half the value of the deal – about Rs.30,000 crores – in Indian firms. The Reliance Defence Limited has been chosen as the offset partner.

As per the IGA, deliveries were to begin 36 months from signing of the contract and Dassault has almost met the deadline.


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When was the first Rafale sent to India?

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is set to receive the first of the 3 Rafale fighter jets at a ceremony in Paris on October 8. However, the remaining of the first batch of jets will arrive in India only by April-May 2020. Meanwhile, three batches of eight IAF pilots, along with engineers and technicians, will undergo advanced training on the fighter jets in France.

In September 2016, India inked an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) with France for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of 7.87-billion (approximately Rs 59,000 crore).

Ever since, questions have been raised about the cost agreed on for the aircraft and the choice of Anil Ambani’s firm, the Reliance Defence Ltd (RDL), as the offset partner, over the experienced Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

While the Congress and other opposition parties alleged massive irregularities in the deal, the BJP-led government, which signed the agreement with France in 2016, denied the allegations. And the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to the Union government in December 2018, saying it did not find any wrongdoing in the defence deal.


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I have problems with the setting of my targets

I study in Class X. I have problems with the setting of my targets. I am not sure what to pursue after Class XII. When my friends talk about what they want to pursue, they all sound confident. But when it comes to me, I can’t tell them quite definitely what my plans are. I’m interested in both English and Biology, and I sometimes think I must pursue my career in something related to English but my parents have asked me to try NEET. What should I do?

It is very natural to have confusions when you have mixed interests. It is good to fix your target and aim to achieve it. You are in Class X and you must first decide the subjects for Class XI. After that, start focusing on whether you want a career in English or to pursue NEET. Before you decide on your career, it is very important to understand your ability, skills, personality and interests. If your confusion is between choosing English or NEET, analyse the pros and cons of a career in both. Talk to your parents with an open mind. You can also go in for a career assessment test to help you in a scientific manner, by meeting a career counsellor with your parents. Now focus on your studies and do well in your Board examinations.


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I have four best friends. Recently, I fought with one of them, and now the other three are not talking to me

I am a student of Class XI. I have four best friends. Recently, I fought with one of them, and now the other three are not talking to me. More than their silence what’s hurting me is the fact that they’re behaving as if I’ve committed a huge mistake. What should I do?

It is very sad when friends are not able to understand the cause of the fight. Friends form an important part of your life and when something goes wrong in those relationships, it will definitely disturb you. It is good that you want to take steps to resolve the issue. Before you get into it, reflect on what happened and how you feel about it. Ask yourself questions such as “What role did you play in this fight?”, “What do you want to your friend to do?” and “What could you have done differently?” Think rationally. Once you do this, you will be more prepared to resolve. And when you are ready.

  • Reach out: Tell your friend you want to talk and work things out.

  • Choose the right time: Pick a moment when both of you are ready to talk.

  • Be open: Have an open discussion. Share your feelings. Use a mild tone and avoid harsh words.

  • Apologise: Each of you can accept your mistakes and let go of what happened.

  • Work together: See what you can do to mend the situation.

  • Give it time: Be patient and give the situation and the other person time for change, and hope for the best.


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I feel so depressed when I realise that after working so hard, I have achieved nothing

I am in Class VIII. My parents are very happy with my ability to grasp any topic. I also seem to be able to learn much more than my classmates do. They all say I am different. But when it comes to examinations, I get irritated at having to answer so many questions that I leave out many questions for which I know the answers. And later, I feel so depressed when I realise that after working so hard, I have achieved nothing. Help me.

It must be very upsetting for you when you know the answers but do not write them during the examinations. From what you’ve said, it’s possible that you’re gifted. Many gifted people have specific issues in academics. Consult a clinical psychologist to help you and assess your IQ. You have to learn to handle your emotions and cope with the situation. If you get the right tips and methods to study, based on your IQ, you will be able to flourish in your endeavours. You have to be smart to achieve your goals. Focus on your strengths and do your best.


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I have a crush on a girl. My friends are aware of this and tease me

I am in Class X. I have a crush on a girl. My friends are aware of this and tease me. Due to this, I hardly talk to her personally, and I’m afraid I’ll leave her. But I don’t want to. Please tell me how I should handle this situation.

Having a crush on someone is very natural at this age. Such attractions could even be temporary. Your friends are probably teasing you for fun. Take it sportively if that girl too is okay with it. Talk to her to understand how she feels about this. Sometimes, when we overreact or are sensitive, the issue becomes larger. Stay cool. Be open with your friends about her. Try to reduce the interactions if you are not able to manage the teasing. Remember, you can always ignore the teasing. Reach out to trusted elders to talk about this. Also understand that you have other priorities in life. Don’t lose your focus on studies and regret it later.


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What is the career in the field of Political strategy?

It is said elections are fought on emotions and that they are an art. But running an election campaign is no longer just an art. With stakes getting higher in every election, campaigning has now become a science. From using social media and data mining to behavioural analysis and psychometric profiling, political parties today are leaving no stone unturned to win elections. And it’s the political strategists and consultants, working behind the scenes, who help political parties come up with winning campaigns. Political strategy and consulting firms have mushroomed across the country over the last decade and are in great demand. So if you are interested in politics and have good communication skills, you can consider the field of political strategy.

How it works

Political parties no longer lead campaigns, with strategies formulated by their loyal workers sweating it out in dusty lanes to win over voters. Today, political campaign strategists and managers have a different approach. The strategists offer end-to-end to a politician or a political party, and start work five to six months ahead of the election. They offer data services, which include poll-booth data of each constituency, historical data on how the seat has witnessed a shift in voting patterns as well as on-ground surveys to understand the concerns of the voters (from electricity or minimum support price for grains and jobs to savings, increase in food prices and at best, survival), and then create a campaign and advice the politician and ground workers to implement the same.

Required skills

  • Political acumen

  • Knowledge of how social media can be best used to boost political campaigns

  • Ability to gauge the efficacy of the campaign

  • Strong communication skills

  • Ability to come up with fresh ideas

  • Public relation skills

  • Ability to think on one’s feet


Political strategies and managers work with political strategy firms or as independent consultants. They specialise in different aspects such as press and public relations, polling, opposition research, fundraising, and a wide range of other skills to deal with the crises of a campaign.

Among these, social media has become extremely important. Political social media strategists advice and train politicians on how to interact on social media platforms. The strategists also maintain, the public relations aspect of a political campaign. Responsibilities of a political social media strategist include planning and conceptualising, designing, execution and the promotions of digital campaigns.

What to study?

A Bachelors and Masters degree in Political Science is a requisite. While Indian universities offer these degrees, universities abroad offer specialisations in campaign management.

Where: India

  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi: Masters of Arts (MA) and Master of Philosophy (M. Phil) in Political Science

  • Delhi University: BA (Hons), MA, MPhil and PhD in Political Science.

  • Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi: BA (Hons), MA and PhD in Political Science

  • St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai: MA in Public Policy

  • University of Hyderabad and Pondicherry university: Five-year integrated MA programmes in Political Science, with an option to exit with a Bachelor’s degree after three years by completing mandated number of credits


  • London School of Economics and Political Science BSc and MSc Political Science

  • Fordham University, the U.S.: MA in Elections and Campaign Management

  • University of Bournemouth, the U.K.: MA International Political Communication and MA in Political Psychology

  • University of Glasgow, the U.K.: MA (Hons) in Political Science


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Why is Mirabai famous?

Mirabai was a little late to the Bhakti movement but embraced it so fiercely and with si much devotion that her name and her poems continue to awe people even today. Mirabai, who had devoted herself to Lord Krishna from an early age, struggled for many years to be an ardent devotee to her favourite god. Her battle against society has eventual life as a wandering poet is an example of resilience and quiet strength.

Historical records don’t reveal much about the life of Mirabai (also Meera or Meerabai), the bhakti saint whose songs about Krishna continue to be sung today. Many of the stories we know of her now were pieced together from secondary literature and oral traditions.

Mirabai was born into n aristocratic Rajasthani family and it is said that her family were ardent devotees of Lord Krishna. Mirabai became one too, and her devotion was so deep that she considered herself married to her beloved god. When she was old enough, Mirabai was forcefully married to the crown prince of Mewar, and his family did not take too well to her devotion. It is also said that she refused to pray to their family goddess.

Five years into her marriage, her husband died at war. The story goes that Mirabai refused to jump into the funeral pyre of her husband, customary of Rajasthani women during her time.

In the end, Mirabai left her in-laws and became a wandering poet of the Bhakti movement. She left Mewar and travelled to places considered sacred – especially those associated with Krishna – such as Vraj (near Mathura) and Dwaraka. It is uncertain how and when she died.

Even though Mirabai was seen as a rebel and a revolutionary of her time, scholars often point out that it did not reflect in her work, because in her poems, she was always a dutiful wife to Krishna.

A legend surrounding Mirabai’s life is that Emperor Akbar heard of her and visited her in disguise. It is believed he even presented her a necklace. But the historical accuracy of this incident has been heavily contested because of the time periods they lived in.

Mirabai’s poems were often emotional and intense, especially when she wrote about being separated from Krishna.

Having taken up this bundle of suffering, this body,

How can i throw it away?

I belongs to Ranchodrai Sheth

It belongs to Shamalsha Sheth,

How can I throw it away?

The hot sand burns my feet,

The scorching wind of summer blows,

How can I throw it away?

Mira’s Lord is Giridhar Naagar,

I am longing to reach the ultimate,

How can I throw it away?



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What is the career in film making?

A director’s role

The director translates a script creatively, decides the cast, costumes, venue of shoot and chooses technicians and producers to help the director manage the entire production by looking into the operational aspects that include hiring technicians, managing locations, arranging camera rentals and so on.

According to Chowdhury, the first thing one requires to become a director is a knack for films. “You need to watch a lot of films. I started watching Hindi and Bengali cinema and then moved onto foreign films,” he says.

It is equally important to acquire knowledge of all the aspects of film making. A director has to be involved in each and every process from scripting and dialogue writing to editing. “One should be able to close one’s eyes and visualize the entire film,” says Chowdhury.

Good communication and planning skills will help in conveying thoughts and ideas clearly to the entire crew and get work done on time.

What to study?

Film making is taught as part of mass media at an undergraduate level. You can opt for special courses offered by film schools for further specializations.


Film and Television Institute of India, Pune: Three year post graduate diploma in Direction and Screenplay Writing.

Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi: Master of Arts in Mass Communication.

Satyaji Ray Film and Televiison Institute, Kolkata: Three year post graduate programme in Cinema.

Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai: Diploma in Film, Television and Digital Video Production.


Film-making is a labourious art form, requiring a lot of hard work and discipline. “Making a film is not as simple as it looks. There are many variables at play.” says Chowdhury.  “A director has to juggle all of them.”

One should be able to make last-minute changes and at the same time stick to the budget. “Sometimes while shooting it may suddenly rain and you will have to change the location or reschedule the shoot. This can cost a lot and budgeting and planning skills are important,” he adds.

Another challenge is co-ordination and understanding of people. A director has to handle actors, (which can be a tough job) hone their skills and abilities the way it’s needed in the film. This requires an understanding of people and how to motivate them to give their best.

One should be willing to constantly learn and relearn everything they know. “You are always learning. You have to stay abreast of new technology and the latest in cinema and film-making,” adds Chowdhury.

Director’s speak

Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury fell in love with cinema when he watched his first film Haathi Mere Saathi, in a quaint single-screen cinema hall at the age of 10. But it took him a long time for his dream to be fulfilled. To begin with, Chowdhury, who directed Pink, had no idead how to get started in the industry. Coming from a middle-class background, Chowdhury was the first one in his family to venture into films. “There was no one to advise me or guide me. So I used to hang around at Tollygunge Studio in Kolkata daily to see what was happening there. At that time it was the only way I could get a peek into film-making,” says Chowdhury, quickly adding that he wouldn’t recommend this to others. Slowly, he began helping out on the sets and later took on full-time work as a film-executive at a private studio. “I slogged it out at the studio for five to six years. There was very little money, but I made it a point to familiarize myself with every aspect of film production, which is essential if you want to become a director,” adds Chowdhury.

With some experience under his belt, he moved onto making telefilms for Doordarshan, and there was no looking back after that. “I got to travel a lot and became involved in the film-making process and I realised that I have stories that I want to share with people (through films),” he adds.


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Do you think it will be wise for me to enroll for an internship?

I am student of Class XI and many students in my class are doing internships. I am really interested as well but I already have too many things to do. Do you think it will be wise for me to enroll for an internship?

Internships have a lot of benefits. I understand that you are busy. It’s up to you to see if you could spend extra time on internship. Here are a few ways that internships help:

Networking: You get to meet many people in the field and that could help you in your future.

Gain hands-on experience: Internships help you gain experience in a safe and structured environment. It gives you an opportunity to explore career choices.

Career goals: Leaning is an important advantage of internship. It can help you decide if a particular career choice is a good match for your personality, lifestyle, passion and goals.

Gain self-confidence: The experience helps you be more confident in approaching your ambition in life.

Resume: It adds value to your resume. Employers usually prefer those who have had good work experience.

Skill development: Communication skills and time management skills can develop during internships.

If you can balance your studies and internship, you can take it up during your vacation. You cannot gain anything without some extra effort.


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I feel low very often and get panic attacks

I am in Class XII. I have always been a topper in my school. I want to study only in the top college in the country but I have not been able to devote much time towards the entrance preparations as my Board examinations are approaching. All my teachers and relatives have high expectations from me and I am worried I will disappoint them. My family is very supportive too, but I feel low very often and get panic attacks. How can I handle all these?

It’s good to know about your future ambitions and are doing well at school. Having a goal and working towards achieving it is very important. But your ambition should not become a concern. Expectations from a good performer are natural and when you take it in the right spirit, it will help you work better. Understand that it is difficult to control people around you but you can always control your thoughts and feelings. Worry will not help you in any way and it will only reduce your level of confidence. Prepare well for your Board examinations now, and after that, you can always prepare for your competitive examinations. Do not waste time thinking about your future. It’s good that you have supportive parents, talk to them about your concerns.


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My mom had a baby recently. It is becoming difficult for me to adjust to the new member in the family

Congratulations! It’s a great feeling to have a little sibling at home. Of course, initially you will have some feelings that disturb you on the arrival of a baby at home. Rather than feeling insecure about it, approach the situation more positively. Talk to your parents about your concerns. Discuss your feelings openly and learn to accept reality. Ensure you are given the same importance as before to help you overcome such feelings. Your sibling brother will be of great support as you grow up. Help your parents in taking care of the little one. Do not worry about what your friends tell about your sibling. He is your baby brother and you have to support him. I am sure your parents will be able to understand your feelings and support you. Enjoy your time with your sibling.


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