- Samuel Kubani/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
- Pratibha Patil has faced criticism over the large number of foreign visits. Here, Ms. Patil, left, is seen with the Austrian Chancellor during her visit to Austria in 2011.
“Five years ago, when I was elected, I had the feeling that the president doesn’t have much to do. I’ve realized, though, that this is not a rubber-stamp position,” India’s President Pratibha Devisingh Patil said in a recent interview with The Hindu newspaper, just few weeks before she retires from the post on July 24.
As the first woman president and resident of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of India’s head of state, Pratibha Patil will, by now, be all too familiar with the more mundane aspects of the job: opening Parliament’s sessions; approving the appointment of state governors; taking the salute as head of India’s armed forces.
These events rarely make the news because they are set pieces, repeated by whoever holds the office. However, Ms. Patil has made her fair share of news, both favorable and unfavorable, during her five-year term in office.
Foreign Trips: Ms. Patil faced widespread criticism over the large number of foreign visits.
According to reports in the Indian media, citing response to Right to Information requests, Ms. Patil undertook “12 foreign trips, covering 22 countries across four continents and spending 79 days abroad,” which cost the public exchequer two billion rupees ($36 million), exceeding the record of all her predecessors. Former President A.P.J Abdul Kalam undertook seven trips to 17 countries during his five-year tenure.
Ms. Patil dismissed any idea that this constituted excessive travel or a waste of money, saying the visits were undertaken at the government’s request to promote India’s relations abroad.
Retirement Home: Ms. Patil was at the center of a controversy over plans to build a retirement home for her on land owned by the defense ministry in the western city of Pune. After objections were raised by an ex-servicemen’s organization that claimed the land was meant for the rehabilitation of war widows, she decided to forgo the house.
Mercy Petitions: Ms. Patil has come under sharp criticism for the number of mercy petitions from death-row inmates that she has looked upon positively. During her five-year term, she commuted death sentence in 19 cases, rejected petitions of three and 10 are pending, according to the president’s office.
In a press release issued last week by her office, Ms. Patil denied being on a clemency spree. “She discharged her constitutional obligation on the aid and advice of the home ministry without doling out generosity or acting to the contrary,” the press release said.
Women Rights: Ms. Patil has said “there is simply no way our nation can progress if its women population is left behind.” In 2008, Ms. Patil constituted a panel of governors to study how women were living in different states on the basis of which the Indian government established the National Mission for the Empowerment of Women to work for women’s welfare.
She has also set up several committees to survey gender equality and the status of women.
Agricultural Growth: Ms. Patil has stressed the need for more investment in agricultural research so that new technologies can be developed to increase profitability. She formed a panel of governors to recommend measures for enhancing the productivity, sustainability and competitiveness of India’s agricultural sector.
“My government will make efforts to realize the farming potential of rain-fed and dry land areas by ensuring healthy participation by all stakeholders and convergence of various government sponsored programs,” she said during her address to Parliament address earlier this year. Activists feel it is important to have a regulatory mechanism in place to settle disputes between farmers and private firms and to encourage use of modern technology for revival of the agricultural sector.
Overall, some political observers figured that is a respectable, if not electrifying tally of the good and bad which inevitably accompanies a figure in the public eye.
Subhash C. Kashyap, a historian and former officer of the Lok Sabha, says that Ms. Patil’s term in office was not exactly outstanding but “she steered clear of political controversies.”
“As a president, there were no crisis situations where she had to take a decision,” he said. “On the personal front, she cannot be held responsible for expenses on the trips abroad since they are decided by the government.”
Others felt she could have done more with the post.
“She appeared more as a ritualistic figure. She wasn’t assertive and remained more or less reticent on a variety of issues in public arena,” said Asha Sarangi, professor of political science at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Unlike former President Kalam, a space scientist who was popularly known as the “People’s President” as he bridged the gap between high office and the masses, Ms. Patil “was not much of a public persona,” Ms. Sarangi said, adding: “She could have done a little more.”
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Dollar cost averaging is an investment technique where you regularly buy a fixed dollar amount of a particular investment, on a regular schedule, regardless of its price.
Dollar cost averaging can be employed in purchasing just about any investment, though it is commonly used in purchasing stocks and mutual funds. It is also called Constant Dollar Plan.
We all know that the stock market goes up, and the stock market goes down. when to ‘jump in’ can be a difficult guess. A lot of people loose sleep over crazy market gyrations. This is why dollar cost averaging makes sense.
Let’s say you make regular monthly payments into your retirement plan. Or, make monthly payments to yourself, in the form of savings. If you are investing in mutual funds for example, purchasing that fund at a monthly interval, is cost averaging. Regardless of what the stock market is doing, you will buy more shares if the market is low and less shares if the market is high. Over time, you are buying an average, and this helps smooth out the fluctuations of the market.
For example, if you make a $100 per month investment in a mutual fund. In January, the share price was $25, so you were able to buy 4 shares. In February, the share price was $33, so you were able to buy 3 shares. Then in March, the share price was $20, allowing you to buy 5 shares. Over the three months, you purchased a total of 12 shares for an average price of $25 each.
There is an old adage, that you can never time the stock market – in other words, the hope that you buy when market is low and sell when the market is high. Dollar cost averaging is a great strategy that helps your investment grow without having to worry about market timing.
Want to read more? http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-use-the-dollarcost-averaging-formula-on-the.html
April is National Financial Literacy Month, Talkin’ Money’s favorite month! To celebrate the importance of being financially literate, we’re going to post financial literacy tips every day.