The secret world of Sathya Sai Baba’s Rs 40,000 cr empire

first_imgDevotees of Sri Sathya Sai Baba Assemble For Darshan at the Hill View Stadium in Puttaparthi in 2000.As India’s most famous godman, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, 84, recovers from a health scare in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, the framework for transition is already in place. The all-powerful caucus, the Sri Sathya,Devotees of Sri Sathya Sai Baba Assemble For Darshan at the Hill View Stadium in Puttaparthi in 2000.As India’s most famous godman, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, 84, recovers from a health scare in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, the framework for transition is already in place. The all-powerful caucus, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT), established in 1972 to direct the management of his gargantuan empire, will call the shots after the spiritual guru ceases to be around as its chairman.The SSSCT supervises how the functioning of the welfare entities, including educational and health facilities, are to be run and controls the purse strings of several trusts with a team of sharp auditors. But the SSSCT is tightlipped when it comes to the fabulous wealth of the Sathya Sai Baba network, estimated to add up to over a staggering Rs 40,000 crore, including movable and immovable assets in India, besides those in 165 other countries.The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences at Puttaparthi where Sathya Sai Baba is being treated.Much of it is invested in schools, colleges, hospitals and other health facilities. Donations from his six million active devotees-another 31 million are intermittent followers-pour in, adding to the already full coffers of the trusts. All donations to the sssct are exempt from tax. Besides, what keeps the money coming in is a quid pro quo between the influential among the faithful. The network helps them strike business deals and they, in turn, make a donation to the Sai Baba’s activities.The SSSCT has steadfastly refused to divulge details, covering itself under a cloak of secrecy. Such is its clout that even presidents and prime ministers, among other high and mighty, are forced to drop protocol during their visits to pay respects to the Sathya Sai Baba.advertisementSri Sathya Sai BabaLack of transparency may have fuelled speculation about the exact size of the wealth and apprehensions about funds being misused, but the SSSCT does have an elaborate system of checks and balances in place to rein in siphoning of what the devout have contributed to Sathya Sai Baba’s multifarious charities. The credit for this largely goes to two individuals: the SSSCT secretary K. Chakravarthi, a former district collector of Anantapur (Puttaparthi is part of it) who quit the IAS to work for Sathya Sai Baba, beginning as the registrar of the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning in 1981, and S.V. Giri, a former IAS officer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre who resigned as chief vigilance commissioner in 1998 to become the sixth vice-chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai University and built a network of educational institutions. They have turned the entire gamut of activities into a single mammoth non-governmental organisation.The SSSCT runs the Sathya Sai University complex, the 220-bed Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, where he was rushed when he fell ill; a world religion museum, Chaitanya Jyoti; a planetarium; a railway station; a hill view stadium; a music college; an administrative building; an airport and an indoor sports stadium in Puttaparthi. It also runs a general and specialty hospital in Bangalore, several other hospitals, including two for eye care, and a network of dispensaries. The trust has also commissioned and funded several drinking water projects, including one for 731 villages in Anantapur district, and helped in lining the sides of the Kandaleru-Poondi canal to take Krishna water to Chennai.While Prashanti Nilayam is the Sathya Sai Baba’s headquarters in Puttaparthi, Brindavan at Whitefield on the outskirts of Bangalore and Sai Shruti Ashram in Kodaikanal are the ones he goes to during summers. There are also 1,300-odd Sathya Sai Baba centres across the world which run schools, health and cultural centres. Sathya Sai Baba’s Educare programme has founded schools in 33 countries. There is also the digital radio network-Radio Sai Global Harmony. The well-entrenched Sathya Sai network will use all these facilities as his legacy to propagate his teachings.The godman has institutionalised all the activities with help from trusted professionals, including eminent jurists like ex-chief justice of India P.N. Bhagwati and, in earlier years, Supreme Court judges V.R. Krishna Iyer and V. Balakrishna Eradi, retired Andhra Pradesh High Court judge Y.V. Anjaneyulu, besides politicians of all hues and bureaucrats.With foresight, he has stalled all attempts by relatives to corner the trusts and the corpus as a family inheritance. There are nearly 200 relatives in the extended family who have opened restaurants and lodges in Puttaparthi itself or turned professional, banking on his influence and cashing in on his recommendations. The only one among them active on the SSSCT was his brother, R.V. Janakiram, until his death in 2005.advertisementAlienated, some of Sathya Sai Baba’s relatives joined atheists and other non-believers to denounce the welfare activities as well as the godman’s legendary magical powers. Janakiram’s son, R.J. Ratnakar, was inducted as a member of the SSSCT late last year but does not wield much clout. It is expected that some members of the family will, after he is gone, try and expose the odd failing in the running of some Sathya Sai institutions. On this, the opaque SSSCT has poor defence. It will perhaps have to accept a generational change in management. Differences may crop up but are expected to be sorted out as all concerned are apprehensive of the Andhra Pradesh government effecting a takeover, invoking the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959.Unquestioning faith and devotion is the hallmark of a Sathya Sai devotee. It has been ingrained so deeply in followers over the past seven decades that anyone raising doubts is spurned, if not turned away. This is why devotees will wait out the transition-after Sai Baba’s death at the age of 96-for his successor who, according to his prophecy, will come in the year 2030 from Gunaparthi village in Karnataka’s Mandya district. This is also why, after the initial pressing of panic buttons on learning he was critical, life was soon back to normal in Puttaparthi.As a collective leadership, the SSSCT may not find it a daunting task to pursue the goals set by the godman. There are funds and systems aplenty. With his devotees keeping a constant vigil against any degeneration and decay, things can go awry only if the personal whims and fancies of those managing the institutions override the larger public interest. If things do spin out of control, the Andhra Pradesh government will be forced to step in. Perspective planning has transformed the individual into an institution. All that remains is to immortalise him.last_img read more

Tabarez We wanted to play against France and Brazil

first_imgThe Uruguay manager spoke to the press after losing against France, he revealed his squad was eager to play these matches.As Uruguay just finished another international break with a Europe tour that involved matches against Brazil and France, manager Oscar Washington Tabarez spoke about the importance of these matches.In all the years that he has been able to coach the Uruguay side through the many generations of players he’s managed, the ‘Maestro’ has been able to maintain a certain level of performance that has kept Uruguay at the very top of South America’s best squads and matches like the ones they just played are the ones that help them stay there.With a new generation of players coming to replace the old guard, Tabarez needs to teach every single one of them to keep that competitive spirit alive and playing against the likes of Brazil or France is what will do the trick for them.Even if they lost against both sides, Tabarez is convinced that this experience will be just as rewarding as playing a major competition because the other squads played at the top of their game against them.📽️ Luego del encuentro ante Francia en el Stade de France por fecha FIFA, Oscar Tabárez atendió a los medios en conferencia de prensa:https://t.co/6eNjG2kPjd pic.twitter.com/nqxLQgJX1q— Selección Uruguaya (@Uruguay) November 21, 2018“We have to know which squads we came to play against in Europe, Brazil, and France. We had been waiting to play these matches for a long time, but many important players weren’t able to be here,” said Tabarez via the Uruguay Football Federation official website.“However, this experience was great so we could evaluate how the replacements of these absent players responded.”“These matches are obviously played in order to get a positive result, we couldn’t get it this time but we are not leaving empty-handed because we got many positive conclusions from both matches.”“We still have time to keep experimenting in these matches, games that will always leave a learning experience. We have a base of players and we try to adapt the game with other types of profiles.”“I’ve never enjoyed losing four matches in a row, but winning wouldn’t have meant anything either. Sometimes you learn more from defeats than from winning a game, victory can sometimes be an illusion,” he added.Neymar, BrazilNeymar can win the Ballon d’Or, says Ander Herrera Andrew Smyth – September 13, 2019 An “excited” Ander Herrera believes new Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar is a contender for the Ballon d’Or alongside Kylian Mbappe.#FRAURU | Resumen de @equipedefrance 1 – 0 @Uruguay disputado en el Stade de France por fecha FIFA: https://t.co/fd8H2WhHTC pic.twitter.com/U3MRMaMVNW— Selección Uruguaya (@Uruguay) November 20, 2018Uruguay has been able to stay afloat under Tabarez due to the manager’s keen eye for talent, he is able to spot the best players from a nation that doesn’t even surpass the 5 million inhabitants and has been able to stay as one of the best football national teams in football history.Without Tabarez, this Uruguay squad wouldn’t be able to play at the same level that many of the most powerful squads in recent history have played.Under the ‘Maestro’, this National Team was able to conquer a Copa America back in 2011 and reached the World Cup semifinal just a year before that.Even if they are not on the same level than they were a few years back, the new generation of players is just as promising as many of those players from those tournaments.The problem for Tabarez will come when both Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez decide to hang up their boots, these players are two of the best strikers in Uruguay’s recent history and they will leave a huge void in the squad after they decide to leave.But Tabarez does have that eye for talent, that has always been good enough to cover a position that one of his best players leaves.#FRAURU | [AUDIO] Luego del encuentro ante @equipedefrance, Oscar Tabárez atendió a los medios en conferencia de prensa en el Stade de France:https://t.co/HNXj3dxZ7a pic.twitter.com/F207GmCJKX— Selección Uruguaya (@Uruguay) November 20, 2018What do you think about Uruguay’s most recent level of performance in major tournaments or international friendlies? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.last_img read more

Official Medhi Benatia leaves Juventus for AlDuhail

first_imgJuventus defender Medhi Benatia has completed an €8m transfer to Qatari club Al-Duhail SC.With just six appearances in all competitions this season under his belt, Benatia made the decision to end his two and a half year stay at Juventus in favour of a move outside of Europe for the first time in his career.After reports emerged last week that Benatia had received a highly lucrative proposal from Al Duhail, Juventus confirmed on Monday that the transfer has gone through with the €8m fee to paid in two instalments within October 2019.The Serie A champions later wished their former defender the best on social media with Benatia replying with his own regards and wished them luck for next month’s first leg Champions League game at Atletico Madrid. in their last-16 tie.“Thank you all,” Benatia wrote on Twitter.“It has been an immense pleasure! I hope to be able to come to Madrid to cheer for you – this Juve deserves it.”Benatia had been at Turin since 2016 after arriving from Bayern Munich on an initial €3m loan deal before Juventus snapped him up on a permanent one for €17 a year later.In total, the Morocco captain scored five times in 59 appearances across all competitions for Juventus and leaves with two Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia crowns.Mario Mandzukic, JuventusJuventus confirm Mario Mandzukic could leave this month Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Sporting director Fabio Paratici confirmed reports that Mario Mandzukic could leave Juventus for a move to an unnamed Qatari team.The 31-year-old has also played for Marseille, Tours, Lorient, Clermont, Udinese and AS Roma.Now Benatia will turn his attention to helping Al-Duhail claim a seventh Qatar Stars League crown this season.The club are coached by Jose Mourinho’s former assistant Rui Faria and hope that a player of Benatia’s calibre and experience will prove most helpful in their bid to overhaul Al Sadd for the top spot.Currently, Faria’s side trails the league leaders by a single point after 15 games and will be back in action at home to Al-Sailya on February 5 at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha.Grazie a tutti voi 🙏🏽e stato in immenso piacere !spero di potere venire a Madrid a tifare per voi 👌🏽🤲🏽questa juve se lo merita 👌🏽— MBenatia5 (@MedhiBenatia) January 28, 2019last_img read more

State govt to interlink Artificial Intelligence application within 3 depts for humancentric

first_imgKolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government is planning to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the dissemination of human-centric data by forming a linkage between three government departments that provide direct services to the common people.”We feel that it is necessary to have a framework through which departments under the state government can be interlinked so that we can share human-centric data. A high-level meeting on how AI applications can be used in various areas related to agriculture, transportation and health was held on Monday. IIT Kharagpur will guide us and research scholars from the premier institute will be in constant touch with us so that we can establish a human-centric database combining the three departments. We are hopeful that this will create new avenues in various areas,” a senior official of Information Technology & Electronics (IT&E) department said. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataWebel Informatics Limited (WIL), the Education & Training arm of West Bengal Electronics Industry Development Corporation (WBEIDC) will take the lead in this endeavour. “We will begin with three state departments — Transport, Health and Agriculture and after getting the desired results we will proceed further,” the official said. The high-level meeting was attended by Additional Chief Secretary IT&E Debashis Sen along with key officials of Transport, Health and Agriculture department and IIT Kharagpur Director Dr Partha Pratim Chakrabarti. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateA private company — PRM Fincon at Rajarhat is working on knowledge of actual case developments of AI in Bengal. The company uses AI to analyse the risk profile of companies and thus advise investors to invest wisely. “They are working on video analytics and their laboratory level prototype is already able to use AI to analyse CCTV feeds to flag if vehicles were crossing lanes and if a two-wheeler rider is wearing a helmet or not and whether it is a soft cap or a proper hard helmet. This would be a great case to improve road safety in accordance with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s “Safe Drive, Save Life” campaign. We have asked Prithwiraj Mukherjee, CEO of the company, to explore the possibilities of developing it further and use it in curbing accidents in New Town,” the official added. IIT Kharagpur’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence that was set up in April 2018 has been applying its research in AI for solving industrial, scientific and social problems such as retail, industry 4.0 and manufacturing.last_img read more