Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Soft Bomb !

Best Blog Tips
All of us in some way or the other played part in this explosion! This time around the noise is and will be played on demand, inside our minds, without causing any damage to the ears. The eyes, sometimes hands and the wallets all the times will be playing the instrumental role in making these explosions happen one after the other, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad but most importantly at will. This bomb has the ability to influence far more people in ways beyond imagination of the creator, the diffuser and the consumer. Yes, you read it correctly, there exist consumers who are more willing then ever to consume this explosion, so that they can create their own.

At any given point, so many people are working on their bombs and so many explosions are taking place that, some bombs despite potential, fail to create the craters or sometimes the moment you and me decide to make an explosion of our own, create our craters and enjoy our own Popcorn Happiness somebody else will create a bigger, wider or deeper crater with different shades. And so the people who were planning to fall into your and mine craters will instead be lured to the newly created friendly neighbourhood crater and after a while, your soft bomb and crater will be forgotten as if it never existed. But dont worry, every explosion no matter how small or insignificant it ever was, it will will always exist, forever before you yourself or the guy on who's land you made that explosion chooses to fill it up with sand and stones.

Some wise man will plant saplings out of explosion. These saplings will quickly grow into fruit bearing trees. Fruits for you and me to consume and enjoy, but once again this time around, things wont be same as before. The tree will indeed bear fruits, but unlimited number of people will be able to eat and enjoy these fruits for as long as they want.

The interesting aspect is the same bomb which created crater in my mind can give birth to a sapling in your mind !!

What have you created today ?

Image source- Google.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Moore's Law and the Big Battle

Best Blog Tips

30 years ago, nobody ever imagined any company can ever touch IBM. 15 ago nobody ever dreamt any internet technology company can ever bypass Microsoft. Bill Gates still is the richest man in the world. All sorts of conspiracy theories popped up how Microsoft was acquiring companies, breaching privacy and doing anything under the sun to kill the competition.

Microsoft changed the way we interacted with the machine. What was used for only cutting edge research slowly started gaining popularity and entered into offices and homes from the Windows.

For a short while,

Yahoo posed threat to Microsoft, but it never became a serious contender and always remained at nu
mber 2 or 3 position in Email and Search market. Towards the turn of the century two computer scientists launched a company which survived the Y2K (remember !!), the boom and the burst and went on to become the most
indispensable thing on earth we know today as Google !!

And so for a major part of the first decade of 21st century we saw a battle between 2 heros (and sometimes 2-3 side kicks), which immensely benefited the consumers in the process.

What analysts used to predict, fear, loath, love but still write about IBM->t;Microsoft
(sometimes Yahoo) now turned their focus on the seemingly invincible Google.

While Google kept on acquiring 100s of companies a year, a few critical ones in the list were Picasa, Android, Blogger and Youtube but in the process went on to be perceived this ->

Google empowered individuals with information, about anything, everything, anytime and anywhere. It turned my tiny 1 MB mailbox into literally unlimited sized. Rest as we know is history..

So, everyone thought this is it! Google know everything about everybody and nothing, absolutely nothing can beat Google. But as always, nobody can stop an Idea who's time has come !

Perhaps its time for Google to run a Google search to search for new ideas !

To cut the long story short, we saw some new players emerging out of nowhere, once again surprising everybody and proving analysts wrong. This time around not one but 2 new kids on the block took the world by storm.
The story was and still being rewritten. The information is not just about journals or articles, now the information is about us, in flesh. What we Like, whom we went school with, our family, kids, birthdays and trips. Now the media has become a tool to remain connected with our loved ones. Now, no matter where we are, we need not worry about being lonely. We need not cross the road to say hello to our friends, now we can get a close view of whats happening in the lives of those who matter to us without even having a word with them for a whole year. Our life's story is being re-created, not just by us but by others who know, like or hate us. We like it or not but its happening and it has once again changed the way we interact, look at things, situations, think and even our acts, knowingly or unknowingly. One can remain connected and informed without spending loads of money with the help of fancy mobile handsets first or second hand.

This new found power has already toppled few governments and few others are on the verge of falling down. The power which you and me never had, the power of information and the power of influencing anything and everything.

Every time the Challengers have won, every time the challengers were outrightly ridiculed and outrightly rejected by media, competitors and the masses. Most interestingly the timelines have started shrinking IBM enjoyed the numero uno crown for almost 30 years, while Microsoft ruled the market for almost 15 years, Google had its time for nearly 7-8 years before Facebook stole the hot seat recently. Interestingly the timelines are reducing to almost half. Every time an Apprentice takes on a Sorcerer, the toddler apprentice wins hands down.

As predicted by Moore's Law the computing power doubles in every two years and so the creators, the developers gets a lot more space and speed to play with. So can we expect something big in next 1 year now? A great idea can change the we perceive ourselves and everything around us, but how many times in our lifetime and precisely when the next time. We can feel about it but can never predict how and when the next time.

Image source- Google.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How much our MP's' earn, REVEALED !!

Best Blog Tips

Grammar Disclaimer: The As's' above was meant for the members and not the parliament!

PS: This post is not intended to ridicule the parliamentarian. I fully agree with GB Shaw on this one - Democracy is a device that ensures that we shall be governed no better than we deserve.

I sincerely hope after reading this analysis many more of us will be genuinely encouraged to join the politics as a full time career.

All the below data is available on Sarkari website . Though some numbers can be discussed, while some might think I over estimated, others might feel I underestimated, so I tried to remain reasonably conservative as much possible. In the analysis below, we are not even considering the indirect expenditures and benefits which MPs get such as security for self and family, subsidized grocery and almost everything else required to live a good healthy life from government canteens inside the parliament and other government canteens. We are also not analyzing the in kind benefits which our MPs tend to get during the festive seasons in the name of personal or party accounts, which causes their assets to grow 5-10 times within few years of coming into power. Such articles published in 2008, 2009 and 2011 can be read at leisure, to analyze the exponential rise in the total assets of those ruling us.

So from the table above as we can see, the conservative CTC (Cost to the Country) of an MP is close to Rs.35 Lakhs ($70k), excluding the cost of maintaining security guards, the cost of life long pension, insurance, sarkari vehicle etc. On an average 190 sessions of Parliament takes place in a year, so I have assumed that MPs in order to claim their Daily Allowance will attend all the sessions. Similarly the constituency allowance and the office allowance (which is meant to buy office stationery etc) will also be going invariably into the pocket. Pen, Mobile phones, grocery items, admissions to the local good schools and colleges, free gifts on all the festivals celebrated by any religion, in addition to birthday, marriage anniversary gifts etc are some vanila perks which are not even considered illegal by most of the laws in India, which MPs can enjoy.

So while government wants BMC to go on a strike to implement 6th Pay Commission on one hand, on the other hand they want to lower the line so as to reduce the number of people below poverty line (and thus reduce the funds/schemes for them) on another, on third hand (if it exists) they want 42 years to pass a Lokpal bill, but when it comes to their own salaries, the bill was created and passed by themselves quiet easily without much discussions.

They already earn highest of the monies, still I would suggest let's give them another 100% hike every 5 years based on performance, so that they make more money than any other member of parliamenterain in the world can ever imagine, so that the best of the breeds and the best of the talents would want to enter the politics not just for public service but for their own personal, short term, immediate gains and focus time and energies on things which they are supposed to be doing, so that we can proudly agree to GB Shaw.

Image source - Google

Monday, September 19, 2011

Vacuum and Race for the top job in New Delhi !!

Best Blog Tips

4 years after, the position is still vacant, open almost pleading to be filled. The recent world cup victory and the Anna Hazare movement did gave platform to some hardworking and committed individuals to give us, the mortal countrymen some sense of direction.

I strongly felt and still thinks the same that its time our honest and learned PM should step down now.

Well then the question remains if not Dr.Singh than who else ?

Is it lack of my knowledge or a truth, but if its a truth, even if partial one, how it can be partially true even? We are talking about 1.2 billion, i.e 1200000000 people ! Ok, you might argue, with the same number of people, we barely managed 1 Gold in Olympics in past 50 years (remember the guy !?), but lets park that thought aside for the time being and focus on the VACUUM for the TOP JOB !

What qualities are we looking for? Track record of performance, integrity, national appeal (which is a combination of various factors), ability to take strong/necessary/timely decisions despite differences, ambiguity. Are we asking for too much?

We are and will remain proud of our cultural diversity, but is this vacuum caused by nurturing too much of diversity without much unity for far too long ! Are we mistaking ego for proud and cultural idiosyncrasy as the only way to promote our identity?

Some say - Politics is the art of compromise ! But how much is too much? For how long ca
n we allow a leader hide his inabilities behind the compromise called as coalition ? And by the way who decides how much of the compromise is sufficient? And we think we are a democracy !!

Its a no brainer that Congress failed miserably to rediscover itself outside the shadow of Gandhi family. I really doubt how much Jairam Ramesh or Manishankar Aiyyar really appreciate the crown prince, but like Pranab Mukherji or Sharad Pawar, they know that they dont fair well on the criteria we discussed above and will not be considered seriously for the top job. So they are left with no option but praise, persuade, defend and promote the desi royal family.

The opposition has shown equal bankruptcy of ideas. They have not been able to gather momentum on their own in past 7 years and how can they hope to without trying, without doing significant ever. No matter what they say and speak but we the people can read the real intentions behind the 3 day Air conditioned glamorous fast using our own money. Even the proposed Rath Yatra is irrelevant, out of context, desperate attempt to gain some short l
ived publicity so as to get some banners which they can enamor for rest of their lives.

The Entertainment field (which includes media, sports and arts) has been a
better performing section comparatively. We have had several internationally recognized icons, who are good at heart and has also gained mass appeal especially in past 20 years. Unlike west, Indian Entertainment industry is still in its infancy. We might have to wait for some more years before we get our own versions of Rupert Murdoch or Donald Trump. Not that I adore everything West does, but a mature entertainment industry will increase the options for us and we like options ain't it.

Coming to my favorite segment, the Industry. Here we have lot more to look upon to. Real hardworking, self made people, who created empires out of nothing, not just generating employment and revenue but nurturing lot of ideas, hope, aspirations, and dreams. Leaders from industry has been playing decisive role in policy making of not just India but any nation which ever existed anywhere. I believe Business is the next most important thing after gravity for a life form called as the humans !

The failures (partial or total) of the three above gave birth to a fourth section. The sector which represents Mangomen. Surprisingly it existed for quiet a long time now, but we Indians took 60 years to realize the significance and power of this section, i.e the Civil society. Please don't think for an iota of second that the picture below represents the Civil society completely. For that matter none of the pictures used in this article represents that section exclusively. Coming back to the Civil Society, The first half of 20th century the world got busy in testing the power it got from the advancement of science and technology. After World War II, we gained independence and we the civil society got busy in recreating
all that was destroyed. In the process we became consumers, unintentionally self obsessed and indifferent towards anything which was not affecting us that particular day. Some of us however chose to rebel and fought with the governments we elected and quiet surprisingly for us. Ironical isn't it ! We heard them speaking but never cared to listen attentively. Anyways, better late than never. Some of these commoners went on to achieve uncommon feats, shook our conscious, faced hardships but kept on working for our benefit, relentlessly. These are not common people any more. They gained the respect and most importantly our time and attention which they always deserved. All of us the 'Argumentative Indians' had opinions about the other 3 sections discussed above, but somehow our opinions rarely mannered. But now this newly emerged forth section, empowered by technology, armed with information and public support can very well become our bridge to the rest. Once again I am not even suggesting that we should stop thinking and acting altogether but we need to unite, we need to channelize so as to make sure that things happen for us, the way we like, the day we want.

So, while the race is on but the vacuum is clearly visible. My short list for the top job would be Dr.Jayprakash Narayan, Rahul Gandhi, Arun Jaitley, Dr.Narayan Murthy. What's yours?

Image sources - via Google. Collages -thyself !

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Water Bulb !

Best Blog Tips

An amazing idea, which can light up millions of houses across the world. Something very simple and very basic but powerful and innovative.

I have seen houses (including my own rented house in early childhood) where some kind of light is required even in the day time. Its because Either the House is not constructed properly (my case) or too much of congestion in the neighbourhood preventing the sunlight to enter. To make matter worse especially for the Urban poor living in slums, the electricity connection is either not available at all or its kind of illegal, hence unreliable and unsafe.

During our childhood, I used to read Hindi Comics in which if somebody gets some really crack-nut kind of idea, it was depicted by a Bulb. And yes, the bulb it is, this time in real life !

A Water Bulb !

An amazing concept to harness the energy using two of the most powerful elements in nature - Water and Sun. The idea is so simple that sometimes I wonder how come nobody thought it before in past 2000 years! But as they say, better late than never. So as you can see for yourself in the video below how it works -

Pretty simple, isnt it !

These water bulbs can be used only during the day light. Unlike Solar cells, the Water bulbs cant store and reuse energy at some other time and place. Some of us might not like these water bulbs from aesthetic point of view but I think its a least cause of concern. If not fitted properly these water bulbs can cause water leakages during the rainy season. But since these Water Bulbs are easy to install, maintain and practically of zero cost, the advantages far outweighs the minor disadvantages and limitations.

This bulb was originally developed by some students at MIT has been successfully implemented in Philippines by eco-Entrepreneur IIlac Diaz under the aptly named project - A Liter of Light !

The Hidden Advantages - lack of proper lighting inside the house has far reaching affects not only on the ambiance but psychology of those living in lowly illuminated houses. Absence of light encourages rodents and mosquitoes and other insects, which we might consider a trivial issues. But the mere presence and sounds made by all these Life forms (who by the way also have equal right to live) can be haunting and depressing at times. The darkness inside the houses can also lead to random accidents thus adding to agony and pain.

By implementing this solution at a large scale, government and private operators engaged in Transmission & Distribution of electricity can save a lot, thus directly adding to their bottomline. A zero carbon foot print ensure that no further damage is caused to environment unlike all other sources of electricity.

Sometimes the solutions to most challenging problems lies in thinking simple and that what Water Bulb is all about. Incredible, Innovative, Impelling !

Friday, September 16, 2011

Free Willy Criticism !!

Best Blog Tips
In my previous post, I tried to address some of the queries of those opposing Lokpal. I dont oppose the idea of opposing somebody, opposing some philosophy, discussing things out, criticizing someone to death, but we should be fair, we should be logical and should not commit the same mistakes for which we are accusing the other person. So here I am trying to address some more concerns primarily about romance and philosophy.

Highway or My Way- A popular misconception amongst the elite freewill thinkers who strongly believe that team IAC proposed Lokpal bill as per their dreams, whims and fancies and so they are killing the free will. I am not sure if they are aware of public consultations, debates, online referendums, meetings organized by team IAC across India between Nov 2010 and Apr 2011. I am not sure if they have analyzed it or not but the draft of Janlokpal bill as prepared by team IAC changed a lot between Nov 2010 to Apr 2011 and again between Apr 2011 to Aug 2011 as per suggestions made by several sections of the society, including government committee on Lokpal bill.

Before romanticizing with words such as free will and independent choices, we must understand that if there are problems with laws, provisions in constitution (none of which are sacrosanct by the way), they can be rectified, overcome by amending the laws, constitution.

Team IAC Against Political Class- I think we also need to distinguish between Cause and Effects.Team IAC was never against Politicians or government of the day. I am not sure whether you read about several letters and requests made by team IAC to government, including opposition parties before Ape 2011 to come meet, discuss about the Lokpal. After 16th of August the situation become Lokpal versus Politicians because of the actions and deeds of the ruling party, which nobody thought of/imagined before.

There was a clear lack of Political will, which made sure that Lokpal bill is never passed for 40 years and also made sure that the draft of Lokpal be made so weak that even after negotiations Lokpal will still be reasonably weak. And it is these acts which made the movement against Politicians (in addition to everybody's individual experiences with Politicians at personal, professional, theoretical levels)

Nothing/Everything will Happen- Those who are supporting Lokpal cause it will eradicate all corruption are simplifying the issues and so are those who are opposing stating that it will not achieve anything at all.

I think most of those opposing Lokpal bill are either opposing Anna as a person, or methods or team Anna or the recklessness of the crowd which was present in all the rallies, but which they are confusingly projecting as opposing Lokpal. In addition to imminent and obvious possible positive effects of Lokpal, we discussed about other indirect, long term and equally important benefits of Lokpal earlier in this post.

Yet Another Army of Bureaucrats- Yes, I agree that we need to simply the way we are governed and the way decisions are taken on our behalf. But we need to understand that India is a very unique country, a very unique democracy. I dont want to repeat the rhetoric about our cultural diversity here either, because all of us are well aware of it. So while, we need to simplify things, but we also need proper systems and agencies at all the levels (Panchayats, Block, Ward, City, Constituency, District, State, Nation). People are confusing this complicated political structure with structure of Lokpal. Infact the structure as proposed by team IAC is fairly simple and without much confusing hierarchies and conflict of roles and hay-wired responsibilities. As of now all these agencies working at various level are governed by different laws, most of them are left at sole discretion of politicians and hence are abused time and again. So they use this confusion to complicate the facts and make sure to sabotage investigations and hide truth.

So it is all the more important to have an agency which investigates and monitors all these agencies uniformly to avoid any confusion and give people many more chances to create confusion and get away easily after committing crimes.

Draconian Lokpal- Instead of worrying about draconian crimes and corruption, people are worried about the Lokpal before it started functioning fearing that the Lokpal will be a draconian agency which will rule this country with stick and nobody will be able to do anything about it. Perhaps the solution as provided by team IAC version of Lokpal will make the body a bit too large and with greater power and hierarchies comes bureaucracy and corruption slowly, silently from the back door.

However we have seen how swiftly our politicians resign taking responsibility for x,y,z go on holidays for a year and pop up again in some other state, some other bit obscure role. Sometimes or infact most of the times an issue has chains from the district, state to central government level,everybody from MP, MLA, SP, CM to Cabinet Ministers, everybody is involved. SO while on one hand decentralization of power is required, on another hand provisions must be made, so that the highes and the mighties cant easily dupe the laws, the Lokpals.

So, we must review the fine print, understand the bigger picture before unleashing our freewilly criticism before opening up a third, fourth or fifth front so as to appear different, grab attention and thus intentionally or unintentionally weaken this movement of the people, by the people and for the people so that the sanctity remains, the democracy remains and the fruits of progress and development can reach down the pyramid.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A day Apart ?

Best Blog Tips

Once it was just another date.
A date, a history, misery,mistry,
A tragedy, some even consider it a conspiracy,
For few it brought sorrows and pain,
While some corporates stands to gain.

A War on Terror !
Or a War and Terror?
Lost blood on both sides,
Of the same color !
If Love can overcome hate,
Then why hate the hater?

Can we forget,
Can they?
I blame them,
And dont expect the same!
Neither I will take the first step.
Nor will they.

Cant we give peace a chance?
Tolerate differences?
Respect freedom,
Shed prejudices.

Cant we not stop,
Hiding behind a date,
And come forward
For open discussions.

Once it used to be,
Just another date,
But not any more.
Once Ten and Eleven were,
A day apart, but,
Not any more.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cute Bitto, the Politician !

Best Blog Tips
Mom to Bittu (3 year kid)- Bittuuu, where's the ice-cream your dad bought yesterday ?
Bittu - I dont know mom !!

Sonia to Kalmadi - SK where are $10 billion we gave you to spend on Common Wealth Games?
Kalmadi - I dont know mam !!

Mom to Bittu- Bittuuuuu, have you done your homework today?
Bittu (is playing outside, so over hears)- Yes mom, yesterday itself !!

Public to PM - Sir, have you passed the Lokpal bill yet?
PM-Yes, yesterday itself! I mean yesterday we had a meeting with Sonia ji, she said she will do something about it.

Mom to Bittu- wake up Bittu, its time to go to school !
Bittu - I cant, I will be having headache today, I mean I am having stomach ache today.

HC to Amar Singh- Sir, its time to go to jail via court!
Amar Singh - I cant, I will be having dementia (sh%t, Kalmadi), I mean I am unwell, confined to bed.

Mom to Bittu- Bittu ...
Bittu-It was not my mistake, you know my friend Sonu, he was pinching me from the back, so I slapped him!
Mom- But Bittu, I was about to ask why you got so low marks in the maths test! And by the way, is this Sonu a boy or a girl?

Journalist - Sir, why..
PM- no, no I was just following my coalition dharma !
Journalist -But sir, I was about to ask why have you sent Amar Singh with money to BJP MPs!

Bittu- Mom, Sonu is a girl, I told you last time also about her!
Mom - Ok Bittu, you have so many friends, I cant remember all of them.

PM- this time we will fight with them !
We the People- Oh, ok sir, we trust you again this time as well, because we cant remember your previous 179 promises in past 7 years and 2 months and 37 days!!

Bittu grows a young and smart now and starts receiving some missed calls now!

Mom - Bittu do you have a Girl friend?
Bittu - Noooooooo wayy mom ! None..Not at all !

We the people - Honorable Politician sir. Do you have a Swiss bank account ?
Politicians - well, you know the answer now :)

To be continued !!

Friday, September 09, 2011

The Great Indian Police Constable

Best Blog Tips

A huge and diverse country as India requires equally huge and diverse set of Police forces. Fortunately we do have diverse Police forces ( State Plice, CRPF, Railways Police, RAF, CID) but the size and ultimately the effectiveness of Police for the Mango Man is really questionable.

An official statement from our government, which can be read here is certainly not very encouraging. So as per this statement, we have 142 Police personnel per 100,000 of population. Please be ware that this is the sanctioned Police force. The actual statistics are much disappointing. As can be read in this another sarkari report, the actual figures are almost 30% lower across categories ( Police/Population, Police/Area). So we the mango man actually have roughly 100 mango policemen per 100,000 mangoes.

Unfortunately our dear state governments are least bothered about addressing this issue, infact they are trying their best to make the matters worse. Its an open secret that most of the Police constables in any district are on duty at the official, private residents of respective MLA, MP, Ward President. Some of them are busy purchasing vegetables free of cost for the senior police officers or perhaps picking and dropping the kids of other wealthy politicians and powerful bureaucrats, round the clock. So it is safe to assume that hardly 30-40 mango policemen are ultimately made available for 100,000 of we the mangoes.

So even if you don't understand the Special Theory of Relativity, dont worry, I am sure you can easily understand and comprehend how effective will our mango police be.

Let us try to guess the reason behind, 30% shortfall in the mango police force. Eureka, its all about the money, mango honey !!

A mango police constable gets anywhere between Rs.3000 to Rs.9000 ( after 5-8 years of experience) officially, legally. Dont trust me, read for yourself the pay scale for Constables and other officials at the CBI website here You might also like to read the advertisement of Uttaranchal Police or Kerala Police. These constables are hardly 10th pass and are given some basic training. Maids in my small town of Ajmer in Rajasthan charge anywhere between Rs.600-Rs.1000 per month for 1-1.5hrs of work per day. These maids are working in 6-8 houses at a time and cumulatively are able to earn Rs.6000- Rs.8000 per month.

So, with an average salary of Rs.5000 per month, how high morale will a constable have? He knows that even after working for another 10 years his salary might be still around Rs.10000 and adjusting to inflation his salary might actually decrease with time. So naturally these constables and head constables would like to make some decent money for themselves and for their families and will be inclined towards getting into arguments on street so as to make an additional of Rs.50-Rs.100 per day. Forget the high profile cases, how many cases of thefts, minor crimes are actually solved ever in India? They dont get performance related bonuses, they get recognition, they don't even get proper training to combat the smart crooks and bloody terrorists loaded with modern arms and ammunition.

Let us assume that some of Police Constables are really exceptional and genuinely intent to work for the betterment of society and country. But time and again they are being deputed to buy grocery for some minister's wife or for providing special protection to late night birthday party of rich kid. While puppeting around our mango Police Constable looses his self-respect and slowly unwillingly falls in the trap.

So, How can they be motivated to work for the mango people and tackle crime proactively? Instead they are literally pushed to the wall and start focusing their time and energies on collecting ransom money from road side hawkers and small shopkeepers.

To make matters worse, these mango Policemen don't even get weekly offs or annual paid vacations. They are woken up at wee hours to accompany the 'baba' to airport or pickup some high profile guest of a local vip.

I am not trying to justify the corrupt activities our mango police gets indulged into, but we all know that no strong laws will be of any good unless law enforcement and monitoring agencies are vigilant, effective, motivated and really care about their neighbourhood and city in general. No doubts that India has some of the very well trained, educated and qualified IPS officers and at senior level the quality of Police officers is really at par with world, but we the mango people come across and interact with constables and the general perception about India Police is created as a result of these interactions only. As statistics reveal there's no money, career progress, learning and growth opportunities (the reasons for which most of us work) for a constable and so definitely not many will be interested to become one.

The IB, CBI, NIA, CID can only reach a very small percentage of people and unless our sophisticated and high profile agencies learn to use the and not just abuse the Police machinery to monitor and gather intelligence the criminals will live and die in peace. They know that by merely giving Rs.500 a new passport, ration card or a new license and hence a new identity can be attained and with some money and political protection Police or any other agency will not be able to take any significant action against them. We cant expect to combat terrorism and gather information about cross border crimes without gathering information at fringes. We must involve the Police in issues pertaining national importance.

While researching a bit for this post, I came across a elaborate and fantastic report report prepared by Dr.Jay Prakash's Loksatta team. Several individuals have previously attempted for this cause and Human Rights Law Network too has done a fantastic job it this report.

So, who's stopping the reforms. A sitter of a question indeed, no-one and everyone. If you will ask this question with any of the state government, they will tell how important these reforms are but they are not getting support from opposition or central government and similar lame excuses will be given by central government, the prime one would - police is a state matter! The Political parties will loose the discretionary power, the protection, the aura and hence all the money they make by running illicit businesses in the backyard of their party headquarter, if they bring in these Police Reforms on table. Hence they make sure to form committees, generate reports after reports and blame lack of 'Political Will' behind all their failures to implement these much needed reforms.

I strongly believe that if Comprehensive Police reforms are implemented our democracy will be strengthened to a very large extent, crime and terrorism will fall sharply and if we complement the Police Reforms with Janlokpal, Judiciary reforms, India can definitely get rid of corruption in our lifetimes! Its high time we understand that if we want to live in safety, we must safeguard the interest of guardians of our safety and security !!


Image source- BBC

Monday, September 05, 2011

Conquering the Qatar Visa woes !!

Best Blog Tips
Well this post is kind of putting down my experiences of getting in and out of Qatar and getting in UAE, legally of course :)

This post would be most useful if you are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Phillipines. Being India, I can describe the procedures I had to follow back in India, but it is safe to assume almost anybody from any of the above mentioned countries will have to undergo similar processes and similar hardships.

Visa Processes - fairly easy, if you got an offer from government/state run companies such as Saudi Aramco, Qatar Petroleum, ADNOC etc. So, in case you are the chosen one, you may neglect the rest of the post. For the lesser mortals, the processes is as under -

1. The Visa - If you are an engineer or professional with more than 5 years of work exp you might be given an 'Employment visa' aka 'Work visa' before you leave from India. However some smaller companies dont play as per the book (in order to save some upfront cost, reduce risk) issue Visit/Business visa and some even issue a Tourist visa. The authorities are fairly aware of these tactics and dont care much. But going by the books you are not allowed to work, if you are on Tourist visa or Visit visa. Unfortunately lot of companies have been exploiting their employees by hiding behind this aspect. E.g Company issues you a tourist or visit visa and makes you work for 1-3 month and then they don't pay you adequate salary or other benefits which they always promised and then they ask you to go back to your country. In such case you cant file a case against them, because legally you are not entitled for a local salary or other benefits if you are on a visit or tourist visa. So be extremely careful of this aspect.

2. Visa Categories - this aspect is slightly weird in Middle East. E.g in Qatar they might issue a visa for technician if you are a Commerce graduate ( non engineer). For MBAs and senior experiences professionals they issue ' Professional' visa in some cases and Technician visa in some other and even 'Engineer visa' if your undergrad was Engineering. In UAE, things are more sane and they offer visa based on designation such as Sales Manager, Project Manager, HR Manager etc but once again they have some unwritten strange rules such as you cant be given HR Manager visa without MBA or you cant get Sales Manager visa without being Engineer/MBA.

3. How does it matter - the Visa categories will matter when you apply for Credit card, bank loan for car or housing or personal loans. Things get murky if you are planning to go from one GCC country to another. E.g if you are on 'Technician visa' in Qatar, you cant get a visa on arrival for UAE, but if you are on 'Engineer visa' in Qatar, you can get a visa on arrival for UAE provided you Qatar visa is valid for at least 6 months from the date of travel to UAE.

4. Visa for family- Similarly you can apply for Visit visa/ residence visa for your family only if your monthly income is above QR.5000/5000 Dhms and you are on a decent visa ( Engineer, Doctor, Manager etc). Family visit/residence visa is not granted at all if you are on Technician, Plumber, Labour, Driver visa. Now a days, in some cases (there's no rule, so depending on the mood the Immigration Officer), the visit visa for Parents can be denied if the age of any of your parents is above 60 years. Its almost impossible to get a family visa for distant relatives such as cousins, niece etc.

5. Document Attestation - You need to attest the original degree (and not a color photo copy) from Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, followed by Embassy of the country in which you are planning to work in Delhi/Mumbai. In some cases the Immigration officers also insist on getting the Degree further 'stamped' by Ministry of External Affairs (MOEA) in the country in which you are planning to work. Which implies either your employer or some agent has to get this thing done. Usually MOEA attestation is not mandatory, but if you have time and resources get it done. You never want to take chances with Arabic mood swings. The warning here is - if your degree is only in regional language, you need to get it translated in English and get both the original and translation attested.

6. Attestation Requirements for Family -The marriage certificate has to be attested as mentioned in step 5 above. Sometimes. they may insist on the stamp of Indian embassy in the applicants country of residence on both original and translated certificate. Translation once again if it's in regional language.

7. Work Visa Ban - quiet strangely, if you resign from Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi, Oman and some areas of UAE you will be banned form working there for another 6 months to 2 years. For past 5 years the Gulf Cooperation Council has been talking about abolishing these laws, but no developments yet, barring the Free Zones in UAE, i.e. if you work in Free zone, you can smoothly take up a new job anywhere else in UAE without worrying about ban!

8. Communication issues - if your company PRO (btw, PRO is the only person allowed to go to the government offices and apply for work visas on behalf of companies) is not very proactive and updated you can face reasonable delays, unforeseen circumstances especially if you visit the MOI (Ministry of Interior) alone. All the government officials working in MOI are strictly locals and they dont prefer to/want to/knows to communicate in any language other than Arabic (unless you are Westerner/White skin).

Typing Centers - At least in Qatar and UAE all the visa related forms are available only in Arabic. So you need to go to typing centers located in close proximity of MOI office. So if you are not accompanied by your PRO or someone capable of reading/writing Arabic.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Shayad Daag Achhey Hain !!

Best Blog Tips
This time, we dont need to rely on Saridon or Disprin to address the hangover of this recently concluded India Against Corruption movement or should we say recently halted movement.

Without getting into argument about whether Anna is today's Gandhi or his follower, or trying to analyze who contributed more to this nation Arundhati Roy or Arvind Kejriwal or whether Nandan Nilekani was right in outright rejection of this movement, terming it as inane, whether end justifies means, whether Om Puri was right in calling more than 50% of politicians useless, whether laws can be made on street, whether Civil society movements can substitute Parliamentary democracy or whether existence of Parliamentary democracy implies civil society should restrict its participation to voting and sending request letters to their elected representatives only, whether or not 90% of people who participated in the rallies knew anything about the movement or whether 1000s of volunteers who are paid for participating in pre-election rallies know anything about the election agenda of the respective parties, whether Irom Sharmila thought through before calling Anna movement artificial or whether media should be blamed for not giving her sufficient coverage or whether team IAC rightly harnessed the power of media, without trying to find what was the main reason behind reasonable success of this movement, whether it was simplicity of the man or the accumulated frustration about the worsening situation, about the inability to do anything meaningful, about the inability to get things done without getting harassed, let us look at some good, positive key takeaways for all of us.


Perhaps we were getting too cozy and comfortable with all this system of giving and taking. Slowly what started as uncomfortable reality became a habit, a indispensable part of our life and culture to some extent. It's almost very easy to miss the forest for the tree. We have been so used to maximizing the short term benefits ( by saving few minutes, few 100 Rs. etc.), that we forgot to review, assess and understand the disease which each and all of us were nurturing. The first step towards solving any problem is to acknowledge its existence. We cant bury our heads in the sand for rest of our lives and behave as if nothing happened. This movement raised a loud shout, in the heads of we the public and we and them the polity. Now, we are confronted and now we should not try to escape. This realization, this first step towards catharsis will have far reaching impact beyond any of us ever imagined.


Availability of information has changed the dynamics of game overnight in the favour of we the people. The way team IAC and several other social activists, several other real life heros came forward and got the appreciation they always deserved by masses. I am not in favour of blindly following these new found heros but somehow I hope and I believe that these old stalwarts will not let us down. Most importantly these new youth icons will encourage several others like you, me and us to take the road less traveled by.

Positive Outlook

We grew up in a society in which everybody believed that nothing will happen. We saw, we resisted a bit and soon we became party to it. Nobody ever imagined that things can change, perhaps because many of us lot of individual efforts to bring change, went invain to a large extent. At the expense of over simplifying the matter, I strongly believe that IAC movement has bolstered the confidence and developed a bit of positive outlook in all/most of us that, if we try properly, things can change.

I am sure this movement will inspire a lot of us to bring in the positive change in our locality, vicinity, in ourselves, our families AT LEAST in the short term. We have started believing in an age old adage - if we believe we can !

Front foot

This movement bought we the people, perhaps middle class people a bit more to the front foot. I think it is safe to assume that a huge chunk of middle class interact with state much less as compared to someone living in village near or below poverty line. This can be attributed to poor/mediocre services provided by government agencies (barring very few) and ability or should I say desire of middle class to move up the value chain. The participation has increased and though they may like it or not, but the factors based on which we the people will vote, will undergo a sea change in years ahead. So, stop taking us for granted and start working for what you are paid.

Back foot

Though most of politicians are writing things off stating that few lakhs of people were on street and its not a big deal. Manishankar Aiyyar and several other eminent politicians went on camera stating that we go out and meet several millions of people during election campaign ! I think they realized that they can no longer afford to neglect the middle class just because they do not vote frequently and religiously. In the back of their mind, the politicians in both ruling and opposition parties know that this movement resonated with millions and millions of people who might have not come on street this time but CAN come out when called properly.

Proactive Participation

I am sure, many more of us will take the proactive approach now or in near future in whatever ways possible to bring in the change we always wanted, we always observed during our overseas trips. If 1000s of us start taking baby steps in the right direction, soon we can have the giant leap which we always dreamed of for our family, our neighborhood, our cities and our country.

Shayad Daag Achhey Hain !!

Because we like to consume chocolates and intend to take bath and wash our clothes frequently, Indian and Multinational companies put up advertisements on TV channels and the rate of these ads is determined by the popularity of a particular program, which is mathematically conveyed as TRP. But this time the matter was beyond TRP ratings indeed. Right from day one when the movement started to even now, when the movement is temporarily on hold, government has tried its best to malign the team IAC in one way or another.The more they tried to throw mud on IAC team, the more news media houses got, more and more we the people got angry, more we came to know about the inability of you the elected representatives to do something constructive, in addition to sleeping in or bunking Parliament sessions altogether !

I am not sure if they are aware of this or not, but let me make this clear dear Parliamentarians we have been reading newspapers, watching channels for decades now, recently we have started blogging and now we are on the streets.

The credit goes to the political class and their relentless efforts to blemish the image of team IAC, magar Daag lagane se kuch achha hota hai to, shayad...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

An Unheard Land Scam in Textile Ministry !!

Best Blog Tips
A report from Comptroller and Auditor General of India is available free of cost without filing any Right to Information. Surprisingly this issue was never discussed in Media or any steps were taken against the culprits. Instead some recommendations were made, to avoid these mistakes. The whole report can be downloaded from the Official Government of India Website.

I think as a country we are so used to and perhaps immune to scams in the range of few Billions of Dollars that scam worth Rs.800-900 crs are not even worth MEDIA time and attention.

A mere glance at first two pages reveal that a Loss of Rs.493 Crs due to Absence of Minimum Assured returns. To put it simply the Textile Ministry sold the land which belonged to government at a price much below the expected or open market price.

Most interestingly defect in Tender Documents resulted in loss of Rs.185 Crs. To put it simply the government bodies have not provided sufficient information in the Tender documents, which in turn would have reduced the chances of some bidders who were not having the insider information about the land and hence the Tender was prepared in such a manner that only few parties could have won this tender in any case. On Page 147, one can read the further details that ' By Mistake' some areas which was never intended for sale was included (though not clearly stated) in the Tender. So, to put it simply those who had insider information knew that they will get a much larger chunk of land than what other bidders might assume.

All of this simply implies that somebody purchased the land at a steep discount and will use this land to convert into Mall or some Residential Complex in near future. Needless to say, during construction of such Mall or Housing society several more laws will be broken and ultimately the hard-working, tax-paying Mango Man like Me and You will spend our huge chunks of our Salary, which we earn after toiling day and night mostly in private sector and perhaps most of us will repay these loans for a significant portion of our life and a huge chunk of our life will be invested in planning to repay these loans.
And now government, some elite social activists, some intelligent foreign educated bureaucrats and politicians, reporters and international prize winning writers says that we should not take things in our hands. We should respect the Parliament, the democracy, we should not demean the Political class. On the contrary I think, unless each and every such reports, such scams are bought into limelight, discussed and the pressure is kept on them to take action and resolve the matters, under close microscopic scrutiny, THEY WONT BUDGE, SHOULD WE ?