February 27, 2012

Why Nilekani's UID will be very effective

There are many things that are significant about the report of the task force studying a unified payment infrastructure that uses the Unique ID, or Aadhaar, but perhaps the most notable is its timing.

It has been presented to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee just as the Budget season is at its height. This is indicative of the direction in which Mr Mukherjee must go in order to control the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA’s) politically sensitive but fiscally damaging welfare spending.

Cost savings must come from somewhere, and improvements in the efficiency of transfers are the best long-term method to save costs. The report, which was drafted by a committee headed by Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), was meant to study possible methods to route payments under various government schemes to beneficiaries through direct cash transfers.

What the committee, which included the secretaries of most of the relevant ministries, has eventually produced is a comprehensive road map for transforming how payments are made. But even more than that, it is a guide to how India’s state can radically alter its interaction with its citizens.

The report suggests that a vast network of micro-ATMs, or automated teller machines, be set up across the country using the business correspondent model. The million-strong army of business correspondents will have to be subsidised by the government in order to make the transactions profitable and extend the network sufficiently.

Once in place, however, the presence of network externalities should incentivise and enable the use of bank accounts and post office accounts by many more recipients of government money — whether it be kerosene users or beneficiaries of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).

More than that, all payments or receipts of the government of sums greater than Rs 1,000 should be made electronically, which will greatly increase transparency and accountability. Micro-ATMs are already being piloted in Jharkhand by the UIDAI for NREGS payments; their effectiveness will need further independent evaluation, as Mr Mukherjee emphasised, but the principle appears sound.

The Aadhaar project has always, and perhaps unjustly, been surrounded by controversy. It has been attacked by an odd, opportunistic coalition of libertarians and security hawks for being both insufficiently intrusive (in not validating citizenship and addresses) and excessively intrusive (for creating a biometric database of residents).

Yet it remains the only possibility open to UPA-II to turn its woeful term around, to restore and revive old institutions and create a few new and effective ones. Reworking transfer payments to be directly paid into an individual’s bank account will not just reduce leakage, but also increase the chances of accountability for corruption.

It will also broaden financial inclusion, the first step towards creating an entrepreneurial society and one where the securities of modern insurance are more widely available. But most of all, it will help convert Indians’ interactions with their state away from one of supplication – of hoping that promised benefits and support will arrive if the paperwork is in order – to a more modern notion of citizenship.

Source: Business Standard

February 26, 2012

What is Lakshmi Mittal and Vanisha Mittal's salary?

London: Lakshmi Mittal, the Chairman and CEO of the world's largest steel-maker ArcelorMittal, took home a salary of $1.74 million in 2011, a hike of over 5% over his 2010 pay cheque.

His daughter Vanisha Mittal Bhatia, also received a pay hike in 2011 as her compensation increased from $172,000 to $174,000, as per the company's annual report. The report, however, did not mention the compensation given to son Aditya Mittal.

Lakshmi Mittal, whose annual compensation has risen from $1.65 million in 2010, is the highest paid member of ArcelorMittal's board and is way ahead of the second best paid director Lewis B Kaden who received $264,000 in compensation in 2011.

Interestingly, Lewis B Kaden's salary remained unchanged in 2011, while the pay package for all other directors rose.

Narayanan Vaghul, is the third best paid board member of ArcelorMittal, with a compensation of $220,000, followed by Antoine Spillmann ($213,000), Wilbur L Ross, Jr ($194,000), Jeannot Kreck ($187,000), HRH Prince Guillaume de Luxembourg ($186,000), Suzanne P Nimocks ($179,000), Vanisha Mittal Bhatia ($174,000), Bruno Lafont ($126,000).

Francois Pinault's compensation for the year 2011 stood at just $11,000 as he has resigned on January 25, 2011.

The total compensation paid in 2011 to members of ArcelorMittal's senior management (including Lakshmi N Mittal in his capacity as CEO) was $16.2 million in base salary (including certain allowances paid in cash, such as allowances relating to car, petrol, lunch and financial services), the annual report said.

Further, ArcelorMittal gave $17.2 million in short-term performance-related variable pay consisting of a bonus linked to 2010 results.

"The bonus linked to 2010 results was paid fully in cash, unlike the bonus linked to the 2009 results which was paid partly in 2009 and partly in 2010, and partly in cash and partly in shared-based compensation," the company said.

The base salaries were increased by an average percentage of 2.7% (promotions not included) effective April 2011, while the base salary of the CEO was increased by 3% effective from April 2011.

In 2011, $1.5 million was accrued by ArcelorMittal to provide pension benefits to its senior management.

No loans or advances to ArcelorMittal's senior management were made during 2011, and no such loans or advances were outstanding as of December 31, 2011, the annual report said.

February 25, 2012

TV presenter Jill Martin struggles to contain herself in print bikini

The point of wearing camouflage is to hide, but Jill Martin must not have gotten the memo.

The Today show correspondent's body was on full display today on a Miami, Florida beach.

The 35-year-old TV presenter was almost popping out of her tiny, green and black camouflage bikini top.

A well-placed necklace dangled onto her chest, drawing even more attention to the skimpy article of clothing.

She looked happy as she frolicked in the surf and soaked up some sun.

She later covered up in a blue Jeremy Lin jersey, proving that she's in on the Linsanity craze.


The blonde bombshell has been busy while in the sultry Southern city.

She cheered on her former employer, the Miami Heat, and spoke about Miami bathing suit trends on the Today show.

She also plans on making the most of her time away from New York by attending the Miami Food and Wine Festival.

While away from home, she has been very active on Twitter.

She cleared up one very pressing question while away, and gently informed a reader that she's (almost) all au naturel.

Martin told one fan: 'I don't have extensions! My hair :)'.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Queen Victoria married John Brown, her Scottish groom, and bore him a secret daughter

As the Queen advances indefatigably into the year-long festivities for her Diamond Jubilee, thoughts inevitably turn to the last British sovereign who survived to celebrate 60 years on the throne.

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 marked the refulgent patriotic zenith of the British Empire. Standing less than 5ft tall, but nevertheless a towering colossus throughout the world, the iconic Queen Empress gave her name to an age that produced an empire measuring some 40 million square kilometres, with 387 million subjects.

It was an age characterised by extreme sexual repression, strait-laced morality and invincible ignorance. Victoria flatly refused to allow her government to legislate against lesbianism, not because she approved of it, but because she regarded it as a physical impossibility.

The old lady, whose best-known utterance was ‘We are not amused’, went to her grave labelled as the ultimate prude.

But now an astonishing article, published this month in The Oldie magazine, seeks to explode this greatest of all royal myths.

It claims that after the untimely death of her husband, Albert, the Prince Consort, Victoria sought sexual solace with her uncouth, arrogant and heavy-drinking Highland ghillie, John Brown. It further alleges that the Queen secretly married Brown in a clandestine ceremony and then bore him a child.

The Queen with her uncouth, arrogant and heavy-drinking
Highland ghillie, John Brown who she secretly married 
The 82-year-old historian, John Julius (2nd Viscount) Norwich, son of the legendary society beauty Lady Diana Cooper, is cited as a source for this story.

Lord Norwich, it appears, remembers his friend, the late historian Sir Steven Runciman, telling him that while he was researching in the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, he chanced upon the marriage certificate of Queen Victoria and John Brown.

Runciman was a pre-eminent expert on the Crusades and the Byzantine Empire. According to this very tall tale, he showed the certificate to the late Queen Mother.

Without a word, she was said to have taken the document and burned it — so that it could never cause any damage to the image of the Royal Family. Runciman also revealed that he knew Queen Victoria’s great-grandson, the painter Prince Henry of Hesse, who was confronted at one of his post-war exhibitions in New York by an elderly lady who announced: ‘I think we are related.’

She proceeded to confide that her name was Jean Brown and that she was the daughter of Queen Victoria and John Brown.

‘Presumably she had been shipped across to America at a very early age and had lain doggo for more than 80 years,’ concluded Lord Norwich, who surprisingly does not appear to find it at all strange that this lady, who might have earned a small fortune from her alleged antecedents, then obligingly went back to lying doggo and was never heard of again.

How much if any, of this ought  we to believe? The first thing to say  is that The Oldie’s story is very, very old indeed.

Rumours of this supposed liaison, marriage and pregnancy have been around for almost 150 years. In some of the numerous permutations of what clearly started out as republican and anti-monarchist propaganda, there was not just one secret child, but three.

An alleged ‘son’ of the Queen by Brown died in Paris as a 90-year-old recluse. And a second ‘daughter’, Louise Brown, was also ‘sent to live in Paris’, where, according to John Stuart, who was formerly employed by the royal bankers, Coutts & Co., she was sent £250, ‘paid once a quarter’.

Stuart added: ‘The money was debited in the account marked “His Royal Highness Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales”.

‘At the time I thought she must have been one of King Edward VII’s children from the wrong side of the blanket,’ he said — and indeed, she well may have been. ‘But what could have happened was that the King ordered the payments to continue after his death in 1910, to prevent a scandal involving his mother.’

But if that were the case, would Edward VII, a serial adulterer, who ordered all his private papers, and those of his long-suffering wife, Queen Alexandra, to be destroyed after their deaths, have been careless enough to leave a document lying around in the Royal Archives proving that his mother made a scandalous m├ęsalliance with a foul-mouthed Highland drunkard?

Then we have to consider the reliability of the original source of  this story.

Albeit a respected historian, Sir Steven Runciman was one of the Queen Mother’s ‘knitting circle’ of elderly gay bachelors — a notorious eccentric and supremely mischievous.

One of his earlier pranks was to drip burning candle-wax onto the bald patch of the outraged Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, who was seated below him. While studying at Cambridge, he was one of Cecil Beaton’s first models, who photographed him with a budgerigar on his finger.

A friend of the Soviet spy Guy Burgess — never a recommendation of trustworthiness — Runciman dabbled in the occult, read Tarot cards for the King of Egypt and confessed in old age that he fancied the idea of marrying an elderly Spanish duchess so that he might become known as a ‘dowager duke’.

Lord Norwich evidently regards him as a credible witness. I have to confess that I do not.

Burning documents was not in the Queen Mother’s nature. Though it may be true that some of her more outspoken comments were concealed from the public — a 1940 letter in which she referred to her despised sister-in-law, the Duchess of Windsor, as ‘the lowest of the low’, vanished from circulation for a time — such censorship came from hands other than her own.

In old age, she blithely left an earth-shaking correspondence between herself and Diana, Princess of Wales, discussing her break-up from Prince Charles, lying around in a chaise-longue, a fire-stool and plastic bags. It was Princess Margaret who took it upon herself, in her mother’s absence, to destroy the inflammatory cache.

But there is one aspect of the outrageous claims about Queen Victoria that has undeniable truth.Possibly as a result of some hormonal imbalance, Queen Victoria possessed a voracious sexual appetite bordering on nymphomania.

Her chosen husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg, was a sensitive and somewhat effeminate 18-year-old virgin when Victoria surveyed his shapely legs in sexy skin-tight breeches.

Suspected of latent homosexuality, Albert, on being asked why he  had never sown his wild oats with women, replied: ‘That species of vice disgusts me.’

But the Queen, three months his senior, was determined to marry him, and proposed after a courtship of only four days.

From their marriage night onwards, Victoria was the sexual aggressor and pursuer of the two. So appalled and unnerved did Albert become by his wife’s daily and nightly onslaughts that he took to cowering behind the locked door of his bedroom.

The frustrated Victoria, in  pursuit of her conjugal rights, hammered on it loudly from outside, screaming in German: ‘Open this door! I am the Queen!’

After years of being a royal breeding stud, Albert was forced to invent and install a bedside switch to activate mechanical locks on the bedroom door so that their nine children, all still minors, would not come in and catch their parents in flagrante.

After the birth of their youngest child, Princess Beatrice, in 1857, Victoria’s doctor, Sir James Reid, gave her a stern warning against attempting any further pregnancies. The 38-year-old Queen was devastated. She had described her sex life with Albert as ‘heavenly love-making’. ‘Oh Sir James!’ she wailed. ‘Am I not to have any more fun in bed?’

When four years later, Albert succumbed to typhoid fever at the age of only 42, he was no longer the slim, attractive Adonis of his youth, but fat, bald and prematurely middle-aged. Courtiers speculated that the sexual athletics imposed upon him by his wife had worn him out both in body and spirit.

When, to combat Victoria’s deepening melancholia, John Brown was brought south from his post as Albert’s ghillie at Balmoral to become her personal groom at Osborne, her house on the Isle of Wight, he immediately adopted a bullying and familiar manner with her that astonished courtiers and caused the Queen’s daughters to refer to him as ‘Mama’s lover’.

He encouraged her to drink whisky with him. Begg’s Best was their preferred tipple. She was soon referring to the hirsute Highlander as ‘fascinating Johnny Brown’, and the shocked Foreign Secretary, the Earl of Derby, recorded that they slept in adjoining rooms ‘contrary to etiquette and even decency’. The first anti-Brown propaganda, claiming that he was the Queen’s ‘morganatic husband’ (married but with the stipulation that he would have no claim on any title), appeared in pamphlets circulated by the Scottish socialist republican nationalist Alexander Robertson.

The story of the Queen’s alleged marriage also surfaced in the late 19th-century diaries of the Liberal politician Lewis Harcourt, which claimed that one of the Queen’s chaplains, the Reverend Norman Macleod, had made a deathbed confession, repenting his action in presiding over Victoria’s marriage to Brown.

But this proved to be the merest hearsay. Harcourt was only nine years old at the time of Macleod’s death.

Victoria began to address Brown as ‘Darling’ in her letters to him, and it was claimed that during a trip to Loch Ordie, ‘Hochmagandy’ — the old Scottish word for sexual intercourse — had taken place.

But suggestions that a child was born nine months later in Switzerland are untenable. Victoria was already aged 46 by the time that Brown attained his ascendancy. A pregnancy at that age in Victorian times was unthinkable and also extremely dangerous.

A medical examination of Queen Victoria’s body after her death revealed that for some years she had suffered a ventral hernia, which had damaged the walls of the abdomen, and a prolapse of the uterus, which would have made sexual intercourse not only uncomfortable but difficult, and child-bearing out of the question.

Victoria’s secretary, Sir Henry Ponsonby, commented that Brown was ‘certainly a favourite, but he is only a servant and nothing more — and what I suppose began as a joke has been perverted into a libel’.

But the republican Press  now referred to Victoria as ‘Mrs Brown’, and later, after her  elevation as Empress of India,  as ‘the Empress Brown’.

It was only Brown’s courageous action in foiling an assassination attempt on the Queen in 1872 that changed public opinion, converted him into a national hero and restored Victoria to popularity.

After Brown’s death in 1883 from a severe form of the skin complaint erysipelas, at the age of 56, Victoria showed that her appetite for masculine attention had not diminished.

In 1887, she replaced Brown with a low-caste, uneducated and exploitative Indian, Abdul Karim, whom she called ‘The Munshi’.

He rose from waiting on  her at table to become her ‘Indian Secretary’.

She gave him three houses: a cottage at Windsor, a bungalow on the Isle of Wight and a lovely house at Balmoral, all of which he filled with his penniless Indian relations at the British taxpayer’s expense.

On Victoria’s own death in 1901, at the age of 81, she was buried with Prince Albert’s dressing-gown and a plaster-cast of his hand, a lock of John Brown’s hair, a photograph of Brown clasped in her hand, several of his letters and a ring belonging to his mother.

There is a pathos and a poignancy about Victoria’s desperate dependence on the burly and bullying Brown. It highlights, more than anything else in her long reign, the daunting and unbearable loneliness of sovereignty.

Like Victoria, our Queen also came to the throne young, and has had a loyal and steadfast husband to support her.

The fact that she has coped with more strength and better judgment with the pressures of what her mother called ‘the great and lonely station to which she has been called’, is a measure of the respect and affection in which she is held, and with which this year’s Diamond Jubilee is being celebrated by the nation.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Danielle Lineker's peek-a-boob dress exposes her breast

Danielle Lineker, 32, is known for her love of fashion. But her glamorous gown got the better of her as it revealed a little too much.

The wife of former England footballer Gary Lineker arrived at the Prince's Trust Invest in Futures dinner at the Savoy Hotel wearing a spectacular floor-length gown.

But her efforts to wear some hidden support were thwarted as the secret bra could be seen through the gown's sheer sides.

The Welsh model arrived at the fundraising event with her husband Gary Lineker in the stunning nude coloured gown.

She looked bronzed in the strapless creation, but her make-up although flawless seemed a little too pale.

In 2010 Danielle spoke about using fake tan and revealed she gets her friends to help her to apply it in the areas she can't reach.

She said: 'I have a spray tan before a holiday, but if I can't get to the salon I use...a DIY spray tan.'

'I get a friend to spray areas I can't reach.'

Also at the event was Cheryl Cole, 29, who dazzled in a floor-length Grecian style white dress.

Danielle stepped out in the stunning gown weeks after George Clooney's squeeze Stacey Keibler wore it.

It has also been seen on former Disney starlet Vanessa Hudgens.

www.dailymail.co.uk

Little Punjab: A squalid camp of homeless, hopeless migrants whose dream of a new life went sour

Dawn is breaking over Heathrow airport and, nearby, it’s time to get up and look for work.

Just above where everyone is sleeping, the traffic has already started to thunder along the M4, sending vibrations through to the ground underneath.

It’s cold down here on the concrete slabs. There are empty cans of strong lager kicking around the floor, and the living areas, if you can call them such, are filthier than a third-world slum.

This is Little Punjab, a squalid community of illegal immigrants, the homeless, the jobless and the hopeless. They call them the Bridge Men of Heston, a community sleeping rough beneath a motorway flyover.

More than 30 of them can often be found here, in full view of pedestrians and traffic on the road that passes under the bridge, and less than 20 yards from the nearest houses.


It’s a breathtaking snapshot of what happens when dreams of forging a better life in Britain turn sour. But perhaps more remarkable is the fact that many of those in Little Punjab have been here for nearly two years, without being compelled to leave, and relying mostly on charity and goodwill to stay.

And although some do make the 5am trek to join a daily roadside lottery in the hope of being picked by passing tradesmen for casual work, most seem content to spend the day sleeping on sodden bedding or passing the time in cold, disgustingly dirty lethargy.

With some irony, countless government ministers must have passed unknowingly within feet of the Bridge Men on their way to meetings and summits via Heathrow. Maybe one item on their agenda would have been to discuss sending more aid to India – when, here in Little Punjab, they would quite literally have been on top of the problems at home.

Yesterday I visited the encampment, where the M4 crosses a busy thoroughfare between Heston and Southall. By mid morning it looked as if only a few were still around – but beneath the damp sheets and sleeping bags I could occasionally see movement from those who had settled down the night before and not yet emerged.

Mehtab (his name means ‘light of the moon’) told me these were the ‘drunks and drug men’ who simply stayed in Little Punjab all day, stirring only when kindly passers-by delivered food and water, or when yobs hurled missiles and abuse from cars.


He said he had gone to look for work in the morning but was not selected from the hopefuls who congregate in a car park near Southall’s landmark Sikh temple.

He claims he was tricked into coming to Britain with the prospect of work two years ago – only to discover that his papers were as false as the promises that were made to him back home. Now he had no paperwork, passport or visa – and therefore no hope of work.

A young man in a bobble hat, who said he was a Sikh from Punjab, was in a similar plight. In between taking calls on his mobile phone, he told me he was ‘an un-legal’, not able to claim benefits or get legitimate employment.

So why stay? ‘Because soon someone will have to do something for us,’ he told me. ‘If they don’t give us papers, we have no chance.’

As he spoke, another Bridge Man urinated against the railings in full view of people waiting at a bus stop across the road.

The toilet area is a short trek away in some scrubland, but the ground is thick with excrement and rotting litter, so rank that even the foxes steer clear of it at night. Bathroom facilities beneath the bridge consist of a bottle of anti-bacterial hand-wash strung up on a fence. I accidentally trod on a hidden hand as I went to use it – with so little reaction from its owner that it could have belonged to a corpse.

The police, the UK Border Agency and local authorities have long been aware of the Bridge Men of Little Punjab, which takes its nickname from Southall, widely known as Britain’s Little India.

A community leader I spoke to yesterday said the UK government and Indian High Commission was ‘well aware of the problem’, but added: ‘Everyone seems to have gone to sleep. No one does anything about it. If they are here legally, help them. If they are not, then help them to get back.’

Another said: ‘This is one of the most advanced countries in the world – yet people are left to live in inhuman conditions on its doorstep.’ Although most Bridge Men are thought to be illegal immigrants, some are known to have come to Britain legally with visas which have since expired.

One arrived more than a decade ago as a teenager but lost his job and fell out with his family. Now his home is a sleeping bag.

Some find food at the Sikh temple, which provides meals for up to 1,000 needy people a day. Others simply wander the streets.

One neighbour, who has lived in the area for more than half a century and can see the bridge from her window, complained to Heston Residents’ Association about piles of rubbish building up around the site, and regularly sees young men ‘moping around half drunk’, as she put it.

‘I sometimes wonder if there’s anywhere else in the civilised world where this would be allowed to happen,’ she said.

‘I asked the council what they were going to do about it. They said they had delivered a letter translated into Punjabi about a voluntary repatriation scheme. Surprise, surprise – it doesn’t seem to have done the trick.’

www.dailymail.co.uk

February 22, 2012

Meet the world's famous wife beaters

We all know how bad domestic violence is and most of the parts in the world it is considered very bad, but when it happens to a common middle class family it is not Breaking news. 


But when a celebrity husband/boyfriend breaks the teeth of her wife it surely becomes Breaking News, we present you a list of 8 such wife-beaters in which some of them have paid the price of  this crime while some are paying and some are happily married to each other even after the violence they have created.


We also know that girls are crazy for celebrities and they will do anything in order to marry a celebrity but after reading this surely the girls will give that thought of marriage a second thought…

Nicolas Cage

The Ghost Rider star Nicolas Cage got arrested off-recently for allegedly shoving his wife Alice Kim in an inebriated state. He was arrested on the grounds of Domestic abuse.

Mazhar

Zeenat Aman – the sex siren of 70s had one of the most violent relations a bollywood celebrity ever had, she used to get beaten up by her husband Mazhar for no reason and this ultimately led to her divorce with him.

Raja Chaudhary

One of TV’s favorite bahu’s and Bigg Boss 4 winner Shweta Tiwari has been of the worst sufferers of domestic violence. Her then husband Raja Chaudhary used to hit her like a punching bag and abuse her like a dog. She later files a complaint against him and divorced him later on.

Chris Brown

The most infamous brawl ever to happen was the brawl between Chris Brown and Rihanna, whre Rihanna was on the receiving end and got beaten up like it was fight beween two guys, Chris hit Rihanna like anything and her face was completely swollen, he was arrested and was sued by Rihanna, he publicly came and apologized for his wrong-doings, but sometimes somethings can never be forgooten Chris. Scars can go but what about mental scars.

Rahul Mahajan

He is the serial wife-beater, his first wife divorced him because of domestic violence and then Rahul Mahajan’s second wife Dimpy Ganguly walked out of his home and cried to the media that Rahul physically abuses her. Dimpy said that Rahul Mahajan used to abuse her up every alternate day.

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson was better well known as great actor but he broke his wife teeth and broke all the records that he broke at the Box-office. He was arrested for assault on his ex-wife Oksana Grigorieva and still is facing the trial.

Charlie Sheen

He is the Bad boy of Hollywood and he has done many bad things in his life but one of the worst things he ever did was he shot his wife Kelly Preston in the arm. Believe it this happened in 1990 and Sheen face d trial.

Nick Carter

The socialite and Hotel heiress Paris Hilton was also one of the celebrities who have faced domestic abuse. Her then boyfriend, Boy Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys punched on her pretty face and she displayed her face for the Paparazzi. But Nick denied this.
Girls are you still interested or have you changed your mind…

35% of British adults still go to bed with teddy

Stuffed toys help grown-ups de-stress and relax, research suggests

They've been keeping children happy for years and are a godsend for many parents when trying to keep their little ones quiet.

But it would seem it is not just youngsters who appreciate the soothing benefits of the teddy bear - it still occupies a special place in the hearts of many grown-ups too.

Research has revealed that 35 per cent of adults in Britain have admitted they still sleep with a teddy bear to help them de-stress and sleep at night.

A total of 6,000 Britons were surveyed by hotel chain Travelodge to learn more about the country's fascination with the teddy bear.

The company said its staff had tried to reunite more than 75,000 forgotten bears left behind in its 452 hotels in England -- and found many were not owned by children.

A quarter of men who took part in the survey admitted to taking their teddy bear away on business, with many saying it reminds them of home and helps get them fall asleep when they cuddle it.

The average teddy in Britain is 27 years old, with about 50 per cent of British adults saying they still had a bear from their childhood, the survey found.

Fourteen per cent of married men said they hid their teddy when friends or family come to visit, while a tenth of unmarried men surveyed in England admitted to putting their bears away when their girlfriend stayed over.

Fifteen per cent of men and 10 per cent of women admitted treating their teddy like their best friend, sharing intimate secrets with their bear.

And according to 26 per cent of male respondents, it is quite acceptable to have a bear regardless of your age, the survey said.

Daily Mail

'Gay killer' Colin Ireland who tortured homosexual men to death dies in jail

A former soldier who was told he would never be released from jail after being convicted of torturing gay men to death almost 20 years ago has died in jail.

Colin Ireland, 57, is presumed to have died from natural causes in the healthcare centre of Wakefield Prison in West Yorkshire this morning, a Prison Service spokeswoman said.

One of Britain's worst serial killers, Ireland admitted attacking and killing five gay men he met in London pubs in 1993.

Known as the 'gay slayer', he reportedly posed as a homosexual to be taken to each of his victims' homes, where he tortured and murdered them after making a New Year's resolution in 1993 to become a serial killer.

But Ireland, who terrorised London's gay community, was caught later the same year when CCTV footage showed him with his last victim.

He was given a whole-life tariff in 1993.

In May 2007, a report by the independent Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Group found that the Metropolitan Police inquiry was 'hampered by a lack of knowledge of the gay scene in London and the special culture of S&M bondage'.

According to a Real Crime documentary on the serial killer, the unemployed drifter killed five people in just over three months, including four in just 15 days.

He would meet men at The Coleherne pub in Fulham, pose as a homosexual to be invited back to their homes, and then torture and kill them following sex games.

Speaking to police about his first victim, 45-year-old West End theatre director Peter Walker on March 8, Ireland said: 'I think it was something triggered in me some time before. I felt that if I was approached there was a likelihood I would kill.

We went in a cab to his flat in Battersea. I put on a pair of gloves on the way. My intentions were different to his.'

An avid reader of true crime books and FBI manuals, he would reportedly clean up the murder scene and stay with the body until the morning, to avoid attracting attention by leaving in the middle of the night.

He also demanded money and left with the victim's credit cards, a pattern he repeated in successive murders.

When he thought his first murder had gone unnoticed, Ireland, then of Southend, rang both the Samaritans and The Sun newspaper to tell them what he had done as he sought to achieve his resolution to become famous for being a serial killer.

He went on to kill 37-year-old librarian Christopher Dunn on May 28; Perry Bradley III, the 35-year-old son of a US Congressman on June 4; and Andrew Collier, 33, on June 7, along with his pet cat.

Ireland told police: 'I couldn't stop myself.

'It was building up. I was on an almost sort of rollercoaster kind of thing.'

He added: 'I was probably 60 per cent, 70 per cent quite a reasonable human being most of the time, but there is that side of my character that is negative, it's quite cold and calculating.'

Before killing his fifth victim, 41-year-old Emanual Spiteri on June 12, Ireland called police four times to ask why they had not linked the four murders, telling them he had killed them all.

'I set out to see, because I read a lot of books on serial killers and indeed, you know, I wondered if it could possibly be done and actually got away with it,' he said.

Asked why he targeted homosexuals, he told officers they 'keep their mouths shut and don't tell the police things'.

He was caught when, having visited police to explain away his sighting on CCTV with Mr Spiteri, his fingerprint was subsequently matched to one found at the man's flat. He admitted all five murders.

Ireland was born on March 16 1954 in a former work house in Kent to a 17-year-old mother, who was abandoned by his father, according to the documentary.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: 'Colin Ireland died in HMP Wakefield's healthcare centre today at 9.20am. He is presumed to have died from natural causes; a post-mortem will follow.

'As with all deaths in custody, the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation.'

Daily Mail

February 21, 2012

Focus on game, not milestone: Shastri to Tendulkar

Brisbane: Former India skipper Ravi Shastri wants senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar to stay true to his game and "forget about the milestone" as the wait for his landmark 100th international century continues.

Dismissing notions that Tendulkar was out of form despite a modest average of 32 in seven international matches this Australian summer, Shastri urged the batsman to continue attacking the bowlers.

"If he just keeps the tempo going and forgets about the milestone, just treat the bowling on merit, he'll be fine," Shastri was quoted as saying by the 'Sydney Morning Herald'.

Shastri detected a change in the batsman's tactics in the Melbourne and Sydney Tests, when he passed 50 with ease only to tighten up because of the situation.

"Two balls to go before stumps he was extra cautious in the last 10 minutes of play at the MCG. That means he changed his game from the way he was playing till he reached 70 and that brought about his downfall.

"Michael Clarke to get one to turn and take the outside edge? On another day he would have attacked Clarke. It's just the kind of dismissals we've seen with Tendulkar. Again, it's approaching the milestone."

The man who was at the other end when the iconic batsman blasted a century as an 18-year-old at the SCG in 1992, felt Tendulkar was playing as well as any other player during the Test series.

"If you saw him batting in the first two Test matches, he was batting as well as any player from either side, if not better. It's just a case of the timing of his dismissal.

"I believe at times he's come close to a milestone ... he goes into a shell and plays differently as opposed to when he starts an innings. If he carries on in that fashion and maintains the tempo and forgets about the hundred, it will come," Shastri said.

Expectations and interest over his impending 100th ton have been on the rise in the past few months.

"Indians are statistically obsessed whether you like it or not, and this is a milestone which no one else has achieved," Shastri, who is part of the commentary team for the Australia tour, said.

"People used to talk in our era about people getting 100 first-class hundreds as a big achievement. This is 100 international hundreds, it's no joke. And I doubt anyone will achieve it in a long, long time so they will wait for this."

Shastri said there's no question the weight of expectations is weighing Tendulkar down.

"That's the weight of expectation from the people of India, Australia. Anywhere he goes, the talk is of the 100th hundred. And he's human. He might not show it, he might not want to admit it, but let's face it, he's a human being and he would be feeling it from inside."

Dentists dish up Priyanka Chopra's smile

Madhuri Dixit's smile, which stole millions of hearts in the 1990s, may no longer be a hit. Priyanka Chopra pearlies are in-her smile, that shows only teeth and not the gums, is all the rage. And orthodontists in the city are regularly doing a Priyanka on young and to-be married girls.

Women, mostly in the marriageable age bracket, are visiting clinics to design their smiles before they start meeting prospective grooms, and sometimes, before attending important social functions.

Dentists in the city get 200-300 cases every year, where people-mostly women-prefer to undergo one or the other kind of cosmetic dental surgery.

Dr Shraddha Bahirwani, aesthetic dentist, Manipal Hospital, says: "Girls, especially those of marriageable age, aspiring models and air-hostesses are conscious about their smile. They want it to be perfect, and aesthetic dentistry provides them an option to 'design' their smile according to their face."

February 20, 2012

Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri Ltd bags 2 prestigious awards for retail excellence

Mumbai: Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri Limited a well-known and trusted jewellery retailer in India has bagged two awards for retail excellence under the categories of Best Impactful Retail Design & Visual Merchandising and Innovative Retail Concept of the Year.

The awards were given to the company at the Asia Retail Congress held in the city recently.

Mr. Shrikant Zaveri, TBZ’s Chairman and Managing Director said, “Today’s customers are highly discerning. Fashion trends are also rapidly evolving and hence it is very important to be up-to-date with market trends. We at Tribhovandas Bhimiji Zaveri constantly strive to be ahead of the market and aim to achieve customer-satisfaction.”

“We are honoured to receive these two prestigious awards—they are a further testimony to our vision of providing the quality products to our customers,” Mr. Zaveri added

The Mumbai-headquartered jewellery chain strives to be a leading jewellery brand and attempts to come up with new designs with craftsmanship which has endeared itself to many customers

TBZ has a l45-year old legacy of jewellery business and aspires to develop its goodwill. TBZ, besides bringing in trust and legacy, also offers customers a wide array of products befitting the ensuing festive celebration and joy. The jewellery that will be on offer also aims to meet their aspirations through its elegance, style and modernity.
Mr. Zaveri said “the company’s existence for decades signifies the trust reposed in the company which deals in products which are as precious as gold and precious stones jewellery, precious both in terms of value and emotion.”

The company has a track-record as far as winning accolades are concerned—in January this year, the company was conferred the GJF’s National Jewellery Award for the Best Advertising Campaign of the Year – Print. TBZ’s wedding campaign won the Gems & Jewellery awards given by the All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF).

Mr. R K Nagarkar, TBZ’s Chief Executive Officer said “TBZ’s name is associated with trust and we offer customers a wide array of products. Our aim is to meet customers’ aspirations through elegance, style and modernity of our products. ”

TBZ Ltd. presently has 14 showrooms in nine cities across five states.

February 18, 2012

Hyundai Eon Review: The best in class!

First instance of action in the cut throat low end entry level car segment is almost a revolution with Hyundai throwing style, substance, space, performance and fuel efficiency to take on the Alto league. Adil Jal Darukhanawala gets behind the wheel of the stunning Eon which he reckons is the modern day 21st century 800!

It is close to 14 years to the day when Hyundai opened its innings in India with a tall boy smallie to present not just its first car in the India market but also to present the first major challenge to Maruti Suzuki’s domination of the peoples’ car segment.

Both Hyundai and Santro were unknown names in the Indian market but with some nifty marketing backed by sound engineering and design, the quirkily styled Santro helped establish the product and the brand in the minds of the Indian motorist.


Fast forward to the present and Hyundai is now an established and genuine number two car maker in the country, having a varied portfolio which still features the Santro as its entry level offering. Though long in the tooth and having seen two to three upgrades over its existence to date, the Korean car maker realised that it needed to dip into the segment dominated by the Suzuki Alto with an all-new car and try and take a slice of this pie.

So far the Alto has been a runaway success for Maruti Suzuki, and deservedly so, given its make-up, reliability, performance and pricing. What is surprising is the fact that it took so long for other car makers to see the Alto carve out such a strong and wholesome niche and then try and address it with a rival of their own.

Now with development time for an all-new product taking three years at the very least from concept sketch to production, one must hand it to Hyundai for having seen this earlier than others and developed an all-new, India-specific automobile which is the best way to describe what is a unique price-specific product needed for the entry level segment in India.

Brings us straight to discussing the price point of the new vehicle which should be on or about the Rs 2.5-lakh ex-showroom sticker tag for the base Alto. Hyundai would have worked out what it had to do with a brand new modern design to try and engineer it not just to the pricing of the Alto but more importantly, allow it to deliver more in terms of style, occupant space, performance, fuel efficiency than the established segment leader.

Thus was born Project HA, which saw not just Hyundai’s design and development centre at Namyang in Korea do most of the work, but the fact that Hyundai’s Hyderabad-based R&D centre also pitched in massively to firm up a product which is fresh and appealing and also meets most requirements in this class of small car in India.

The pictures here are of the exact production version of the Hyundai Eon, as the Project HA offering it will be known as when it is unveiled in India in the coming month. The writing is clear: the new Hyundai is a stunner with substance to boot, as I discovered during the course of an exclusive half an hour session driving this small Hyundai at the firm’s Namyang test track.

In one fell swoop Hyundai seems to have re-written a new chapter for entry level small cars and it is here in the Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3.0 lakh space, where most entry level buyers are to be found searching for their first spanking new automobile. While the Tata Nano may be cheaper, the Indian consumer is looking at better value, more substance and style rather than just focus on pricing. And in this era where every detail counts, the Eon should be the one which could ignite an all-new and more meaningful race in this segment.

The Eon is built on a completely new platform which has no bearing on the ones used before, either for the Santro or the svelte i10. What clearly denotes the Eon is its stylish exterior with hints of Hyundai’s fluidic design language showing. It is no secret that trying to style a small package is much more difficult than a larger sized hatch or saloon.

But with the Eon, the Hyundai design team has really pulled out all the stops and emerged with a package that is fresh, contemporary and appealing. Casey Hyun, the Australian-born Korean who headed the design team, was clear in his mind that style was as important as the interior detailing needed to prepare a product which had to stand the test of time in a class which would see newer competition arrive sooner rather than later.

The overall stance of the car replete with its hexagonal-corporate face and those swept back headlights running almost all the way back, to the rakish A-pillar, is thoroughly modern and with the large air dam in front plus the slickly valanced bonnet character lines, the Eon stands out strongly. Given the fact that its overall length is just 3495mm, the Eon in profile is easy on the eye as against the Santro which shocked to make its imprint on motorists’ minds. The easily flowing glazed surfaces plus the milled wheel arches along with curvy character lines (at the waist level and lower down on the door sills) impart a level of design flair which normally isn’t prevalent in this class of car.

Design and style haven’t compromised what remains one of the key attributes punters look forward to in this class of car: usable occupant space. The packaging engineers have come up with a winner in this area, with class leading head, elbow and leg room, front and rear. I managed to spend quite some time getting my colleagues to move and slide front seats back and forth as I switched from front to rear seats.

And this perfunctory course did suggest that the Eon would be impressive in its space efficiency and comfort. A quick comparison with the Alto is in order here and the figures tell their own story. The Alto measures 3620mm front to rear, while the Eon’s overall length is slightly shorter at 3495mm. However, the real story emerges when you factor in the 2380mm wheelbase of the Eon, which is 20mm longer than that of the Alto and the cabin just starts building up from there on.

Clever design of the dashboard, optimising the H-points for the occupants plus also proper thought on entry and egress helped liberate more space in the interior. If that wasn’t all, the seats impressed as did the width and the height, both these being dimensionally larger than that of the Alto (1550mm width and 1500mm height for the Eon as against 1495mm and 1460mm for the Alto). So much for the occupants but the Eon also caught the eye in another department, a substantially larger boot space to gobble up 215 litres of luggage.

The interior of the Eon is funky and appealing and the dashboard with its swathe of curves and slashes highlights this to the hilt. The central stack with air con and audio system switches, the instrument binnacle (with the large diameter speedo dominating) right in view of the driver’s forward line of vision and the nicely configured ergonomics are other details which highlight what Hyundai has done to move the game along in this class of car.
The level of fine tuning the interior can be gauged by the fact that Casey Hyun’s team ordered no less than 31 different makes of branded mineral water from India in various sized bottles to determine the positioning of no less than seven to eight bottle holders dotted all around the cabin.

On to the drivetrain which is now so very critical in this day and age of high fuel prices. Many would have forgiven Hyundai were it to have adapted the 1.0-litre mill from the Santro and tweaked it for the times but Hyundai opted to do things differently and created a whole new engine and transmission pack for the Eon.

The engine is an all-new 814cc sohc three-cylinder one (actually based on the i10’s IRDE four-cylinder mill with one cylinder deleted), which is compact and takes up minimum space under the hood – also a design cue to the ample cabin space! This three-pot motor develops 56PS (at 5500rpm) and 75Nm of torque (produced at 4000rpm), figures which are ample to move a full complement of four and their luggage briskly and without blowing a hole in their wallets.

It also of course betters the Alto’s three-pot 800cc motor in the process (47PS and 62Nm). Hyundai’s Arvind Saxena said that apart from all other attributes mentioned above and the price of course, the Eon would set the new standard in class for fuel efficiency. Judging by the way the five-speed gearbox (based on the unit employed on the Santro but with a few modifications added in for better shifting and engagement) delivered seamless forward thrust while swapping from cog to cog and matching the torque peaks on each upward shift, first impression of the driveability was pretty impressive.

Being on a straight stretch of runway with a billiards-table smooth surface would make any car feel good. But what I felt when I did my couple of runs in the Eon at the Namyang R&D test track was the fact that the car’s wide footprint (wide track 1386mm front and 1368mm rear plus 2380mm wheelbase) made for a very stable and planted ride.

The torquey delivery – relative to its engine size of course – did say much for the lugging power of the small motor but what was impressive was the firm yet pliant ride. Hyundai hasn’t skimped much on the underpinnings with MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam rear axle working with gas-charged shock absorbers.

Throw in electrically assisted rack and pinion steering gear, a front discs / rear drums brake set-up and 13-inch wheels shod with 155/70-R13 rubber, and the Eon makes for a compelling package in the smallest as well as the most important category of car in this country. Factor in its kerb weight in the region of 725 to 772kg depending on the variant (there will be three at launch) and the Eon is set to be the new standard bearer in the small car segment in the country.

Hyundai will have an early mover advantage in this class because market leader Maruti Suzuki isn’t exactly lagging behind with development for its own new offering in the Alto league. And the signs are that there should be some more new entrants joining the fray from other OEMs.

Just like the premium hatchback category has hogged much of the automotive limelight in recent years, and with justifiable reason, expect action to be heightened in the entry level category once Hyundai unveils the Eon some time in mid-October. A new dawn beckons for the 800s but this time it is Hyundai and not Maruti Suzuki which is setting the pace.

Review of Renault Pulse by BS Motoring

Srinivas Krishnan of BS Motoring checks out Renault’s small car for India - The Pulse

What makes a Renault? If you ask me, I will say funky French styling, quirky ergonomics, weird names and sporty driving appeal. If you ask Carlos Ghosn, he will probably say “Nissan.” (Check price of Renault Pulse)

Surely the chairman of the Renault-Nissan Alliance (le cost killer, one of the most influential names in the automotive business, the industry’s great white hope, Japanese manga character), won’t say that, but it’s the truth. Look at the car in the pictures — it may be called the Renault Pulse, but anyone with a remote interest in cars will know it’s a Nissan Micra. So does that make it a Renault?

Certainly not. And this is the outcome of Ghosn’s much-touted frugal engineering concept. Take a Micra, get the Renault Design Centre in Mumbai to change the front end, add new tail-lamps, revise the interior plastic colour a bit, slap on a few of those lozenge-shaped logos, and bingo, you have Renault’s first small car for India. This is the result of a strategy that involves getting relevant cars to the market in the shortest possible time and with the least amount of money. In simpler terms, it’s a short cut.

Okay, now platform sharing is not a new thing. The finest exponent of the art is of course the Volkswagen Group. Just a small example will suffice: Skoda Rapid and VW Vento or even Skoda Fabia and VW Polo. Twins but not virtually identical — there’s been some effort to differentiate between the two for the customer. But with the Pulse and the Micra, this effort is missing. And that’s exactly what my crib is.

It’s not that the Alliance is new to the concept of platform sharing — for instance, the Nissan X-Trail and the Renault Koleos have lots of stuff in common, but both vehicles have their own identity.

However, with these hatchbacks, there seems to be no effort to differentiate the two. And when the price of the Pulse will be announced at the Auto Expo in January — which will be slightly more than the Micra’s price — you fear that these two partners will end up cannibalising each other’s sales instead of eating into the competition’s market share.

Let’s hope the Alliance doesn’t do the same thing with the Renault equivalent of the Nissan Sunny.


Enough already, let’s get closer to the Pulse now. As mentioned earlier, my idea of the elements that are characteristic of a Renault don’t apply to this car. Let’s start with the design. The styling is not funky — though the Renault Design Centre has manage to pull it off, given the tight brief, it does look forced.

That’s because the rounded architecture of the car is closely identified with the Micra across three generations. While that is left unchanged, the addition of that grille and tail-lamps is a mere modification.

The Pulse does turn heads on Mumbai roads, but that could be its novelty rather than its styling.

Ergonomics. The French have a different sense of placing different controls inside a car — for instance, you will take time to get used to the positioning of various switches and controls in the Renault Fluence. These quirks are absent in the Micra, so obviously they aren’t present in the Pulse either — I’ll have to admit that’s not a bad thing as the Micra is intelligently designed. The packaging of the car is such that it liberates plenty of head room for passengers and there is adequate leg room and boot space too.

The quality of plastics is not exceptional but it’s nothing to complain about either. The seats are supportive and the car is quite liveable inside with the storage slots and ergonomics on offer. But the badge-engineering bit has been pushed to its limit. Nothing has changed on the inside of the car from the Micra, not the customer interface bits, not even the door locks. I am glad the steering boss at least wears the Renault lozenge! Like with the Micra, the Pulse is equipped quite well. It has the engine start/stop button, smart key, electrically adjustable external rear-view mirrors with auto-fold, automatic climate control, alloy wheels etc. In the Pulse you get front airbags and ABS with EBD.

As for the weird French names, well, even those do not apply to the Pulse! And because there are no mechanical changes to the Pulse vis-a-vis the Micra, it is no different to drive either.

Powering the Pulse is — you guessed it — the same 1.5 turbodiesel that is used in a big bunch of the Alliance cars including the Micra and the Sunny. The 8-valve SOHC four-cylinder 1461cc motor is good for 63 bhp at 4,000 rpm and 16.3 kg of torque at 2,000 rpm and it powers the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. The engine is a strong performing unit that delivers power smoothly. And it has a penchant to sip diesel — it is frugal enough to offer 12.6 kilometres to the litre in peak Mumbai traffic, of course with the AC running. The engine is a bit noisy on the outside, but superb insulation has translated to a car that manages to keep the vibrations and noise outside the passenger cabin.

Combined with the light kerb weight of the car — a little over 1,000 kilos in this top-spec version — the engine is completely unstressed and performs effortlessly. It makes the Pulse reasonably quick; we estimate it can do the 0 to 60 kmph run in 6 seconds and make it to 100 kmph from standstill in 16 seconds.

The strongest aspect of this engine is the delivery of torque, which paired with good gearing, makes it driveable in city conditions with barely any torque steer. On the highway, it is competent, holding cruising speeds of over 100 to 120 kmph. Also, because of the way the power is delivered, overtaking is accomplished easily. The gearshift is positive and it engages well but it’s not a snappy, quick-shifting gearbox that would be seen in a sporty Renault.

The steering is tuned for ease of driving in city conditions, so it feels light despite the nose-heavy diesel and it tightens up appreciably at higher speeds. And the turning circle is also terrific. When it comes to the car’s driving dynamics, its strongest point is the ride quality.

For a small car, it offers a mature ride, soaking in bumps and potholes well and not letting much of it through to the passengers, and consequently not tossing you about. High-profile 175/60 R15 Bridgestones support the suspension well, contributing to its comfortable ride.

The feel from the brake pedal is slightly wooden — you don’t realise when the brakes (ventilated discs at front, drum at the rear) are biting, but be assured that they do. As for handling, though you can chuck this car around to a certain degree, the Pulse is not comfortable doing it. It does not feel one with the driver and trying to straighten the bends is only awarded with stifled yawns.

That’s again because the Nissan Micra is a practical, family-oriented car — it is like a sensible appliance. It has no sporty aspersions, which I would expect should not be the case with Renault. With the kind of investment the French manufacturer has poured into motorsport, you’d expect some rub-off on the passenger cars, wouldn’t you?

So what do I make out of this car? It is a sensible buy for a family looking for a decently specced hatchback that is frugal in nature and friendly to drive. But so is the Micra. So why would you buy a Pulse instead? I don’t know, ask Ghosn.

(Source)

Price of Renault Pulse

Renault is one of the first car manufacturers to launch a model at the Auto Expo complete with pricing. Other manufacturers have been shying away from declaring prices and most launches have really only been unveilings.

The Renault Pulse, essentially a rebadged Micra will be available at the following prices:

Mid RxL variant - Rs 5.77 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi

Top-end RxZ variant - Rs 6.25 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi

The top-end variant comes with dual front airbags, speed sensing door lock and 2+2 years/80,000 km warranty. (Read review of Renault Pulse)

The Micra diesel comes priced between Rs 5.72 lakh and 6.17 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi. This means the Renault Pulse is priced only marginally higher than the Micra, which could mean the two will eat into each other's market shares.

Renault also showcased the Duster SUV at the Auto Expo, however no prices were announced. 

Price of new Maruti Dzire: A review by Zigwheels

With a boot just 145mm longer than the current Swift, the new Dzire has been resurrected with a quirky yet queer design. Priced between Rs 4.79 Lakh to 6.54 Lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the petrol version and Rs 5.80 to 7.09 Lakh for the diesel version, this betrunked three box sedan now also features a dual tone dashboard, integrated stereo (higher variants) and a host of safety equipment

As a competitor in a bare bones entry level sedan market, the Maruti Suzuki Dzire was built for the clear purpose of being a cost effective mass market three box passenger car. And having sold over 3.3 lakh units till date in the domestic market, it’s safe to say the vehicle did what was expected of it.

With the arrival of the new Swift model in 2011, it was only a matter of time before MSIL got busy with carving out the look for its next generation Swift Dzire.


With a boot just 145 mm longer than the current generation Swift hatch, the new Dzire has now been launched with a refreshed look and feel.

Restricted to 3995mm in length to take advantage of the lower excise duty advantage for cars under the 4,000mm mark, the boot on the new Swift Dzire has been compromisingly reworked, but still offers a healthy 316 litres of trunk space.

Performance and fuel efficiency figures on the new face-lifted or rather boot deflected sedan has certainly gotten better with both the petrol and diesel models.

The K12M VVT petrol engine powered model delivers 87PS of power @ 6000rpm and a decent 114Nm of torque @ 4000 rpm. But is now capable of going from 0-100kmh in just 12.6 seconds, and offers a company claimed fuel efficiency of 19.1 kmpl.

The acclaimed 1.3litre DDiS engine will continue to power the diesel version generating 75PS of power @ 4000rpm and a solid 190Nm of torque @ 2000rpm.


Going by the reputation of this engine, a forward sprint of 0-100kmh in just 14.8 seconds and a company claimed efficiency figure of 23.4kmpl shouldn’t be too far from the data that our rigorous Road Test (Read : First Drive) of the car will eventually fetch us.

For added convenience to city dwellers, MSIL has also introduced a four speed automatic transmission with the petrol engine model for now. Hopes are however that this mechanism is extended to the diesel version as well in the future.

Cosmetic upgrades on the new car are also quite apparent with the inclusion of an all new dual tone dashboard, an integrated stereo on higher models and climate control air conditioning.


Safety on the new Maruti Swift Dzire is one of the most noteworthy improvements with a host of safety features such as front dual SRS airbags, ELR seatbelts, ABS, Brake Assist, EBD and an Engine Drag Control system all now part of the this reworked next gen D’zire package (Read : Special Coverage).

Priced between Rs 4.79 Lakh to 6.54 Lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the petrol version and Rs 5.80 to 7.09 Lakh for the diesel version the new Swift D’zire will go head to head against the likes of the Tata Indigo CS, and continue to compete against the Toyota Etios and Mahindra Verito.

If one were to go by the new D’zire’s on paper credentials, it could very well prolong its long standing success in this segment in the years to come.


VARIANT WISE PRICING FOR THE NEW MARUTI SWIFT DZIRE :

PETROL
DIESEL
LXi: Rs 4.79*  Lakh
LDi: Rs 5.80* Lakh
Vxi: 5.32* Lakh
VDi: Rs 6.31* Lakh
Zxi 6.19* Lakh
ZDi: 7.09* Lakh
Auto: Rs 6.54* Lakh


*All prices are ex-showroom Delhi