Monday, February 27, 2006

My wish list for Budget

So Budget is in the air.Anone who is patient enough to follow indian Newspapers daily must have read by now dozens of Budget wishlist by people.So here is one by me also:

There is always very little for ordinary persons. why the FM has time only to meet industry associations before and after the budget, and not ordinary persons. If he did, i would like to ask him why people should pay income tax at all. People have to increasingly make their own arrangements for health, security and pension, while their tax money goes to fund the bureaucracy.

2.I also wonder how the FM is quick to borrow concepts such as Fringe Benefit Tax and Value-Added Tax from the developed world, but won’t borrow the Social Security concept to provide a safety net to honest tax payers who have a substantial chunk of their income lopped off by the FM and then continue to fork out substantial chunks for municipal and state levies and duties.

3.Ordinary people are tired of the government gouging more taxes from honest taxpayers instead of cracking down on corruption in the tax collection machinery and to improve realisation from lucrative cash generating professions and businesses such as doctors, lawyers, restaurants and jewellers. They also expect this to happen without offering carrots to dishonest persons in the form of amnesty schemes.

4. i am also sick of reading reports like so much corore spent on this development head in this village.Stop this.When you are spending 100's of crores on a scheme.Spend a few lakhs,create a website with photgraphs of all tangible assets created,clear map to that palce,view of that place before and after construction and photos of people using that facility.
I know this can also be manipulated,but here things can be cross checked and we can get rid of at least a few ghost schools or ponds or hospitals.

5. Make it clear to govt employees of all PSUs that he have no locus standi to worry about gain and loss of Nation as long as they are promised job security.So that Bigger banks can be created to take on with private banks and Govt can come out of Airlines Bussiness in which it very wrongly enterd in the firt place by Pt Nehru by taking a well functioning Air India from JRD Tata.

6. It is really astonishing that after writing so many financial softwares and managing big Finance companies we Indains are not yet able to create a national Databse for all taxable transactions.Connecting Share market,banks,IT department,ports and real property market is very far fetched thing;As tihngs stand today if you relocate from one part of country to another IT department doesn't have any peerto peer connection between different zones to check yor past records.

7. In all the technical education institutes and management institutes ( there are some 10 lakh students in this category).Make it compulsory to quote PAn no of your parents while depositing fees or disclose your source of money(such as loan etc.)

8. Same thing for all going abroad or buying consumer durables more than worth 1 lakh.

9.For god's sake impose tax on big agriculturists.Don't use this income to fend your revenue deficit but create irrigation infrastructure from this money by creating a separate fund.

Friday, February 24, 2006

A whistleblower from page 3 community

From Indian Express:

Home > Columns
The cowards we worship
Jessica Lall’s murder is the murder of everything we thought we had become

Suhel Seth On that fateful night about seven years ago, a girl was shot dead in front of 400 people: men and women who are the ones society often hails and fetes. For their intelligence and their achievement. For their sense of fair-play and for their ability to distinguish between right and wrong. How horribly wrong we all were.

Jessica Lall’s murder was a heinous crime, but it nestled within the domain of crime. The acquittal of her murderers is a sin against humanity: the judge who delivered the verdict, the police force which could not prove the crime, the public prosecutor who could not get a conviction and, more importantly, each one of us will sleep a little less lightly. The acquittal is a testimony of the fact that in this country, the rich and the powerful get away with anything they wish to.

The case dragged on for seven years. Innumerable man-hours have gone down the drain and all we have at the end is a battery of smirking lawyers who managed to win an acquittal for their clients. What happens if they too suffer one day at the hands of insensitive yet powerful louts? Because that is what we have become. Louts who have not a care in the world and who believe that escapism is the way to duck accountability. The judgment is symptomatic of what ails our judicial system and it underlines that the time has indeed come to reform our judicial system and processes: to ensure that witnesses cannot turn away, because when they become hostile they help in letting a murderer off the hook, put him back on the streets.

Two of the accused have fathers who play roles in public life. Our ire should equally be directed at them. Manu Sharma’s father cannot be allowed to be in the Congress party and occupy a ministerial office in Haryana when his own son has been charged with such a serious crime. I know people will say he was not proven guilty. But this is exactly the point. Do we wish the India of tomorrow to run only on the strength (or apparent weakness) of its judicial system or has the time come for some serious introspection?

The vice president of a multinational bank mows down a guard in Mumbai and when caught, asks the ubiquitous question: ‘‘Do you know who I am?’’ Of course, we do and this is the response that society needs to deliver. We need to put men like Manu Sharma and his ilk on a shame-and-shun list. These are people who need to be ostracised. But will that happen? I am afraid not. And only because we are essentially a nation that is slowly feeding on a diet of cowardice.

We are scared all the time. We are scared to rock the boat, we are scared of the establishment, we are scared of the eventual social fallout and we are scared that we might suffer. So in our selfishness it is fine to allow the 75-year-old father of Jessica Lall to weep himself to death every time he is awake. Only because we must not suffer — either now or in the future. This speaks volumes of the value-erosion that we are slowly witnessing. An erosion that is happening only because very few Indians today have the courage to stand up and be counted on things that matter. So we will mourn an illegal demolition, we will shout against power cuts and excessive electricity bills, we will raise our voice against the Bangaru Laxman type of corruption, but when it comes to real issues affecting real people, we will turn away.

Jessica Lall had many friends. But only when she was alive. Her colleague at the bar, Shayan Munshi, also turned hostile. Corporate leaders, who had just arrived at Tamarind Court post a CII event, preach governance and ethics and yet none of them had the personal courage to own up to a crime they must have seen. There were senior police officers who, besides being transferred out of the state, have done nothing else. No one in the establishment has been brought to book and that is the real tragedy.

The police blames the citizen, the judiciary blames the law, the citizen blames lawlessness — each stakeholder sacrificing his or her responsibility and in the process creating an even stronger wimp land out of India. And like we forgot the BMW case and Priyadarshini Matoo or, for that matter, Nitish Katara and several other such cases, we will forget Jessica too. And like those who died in the Uphaar tragedy only to be grieved by their families alone, in Jessica’s case too, we will see a habitual forgetfulness set in that will make no one cringe.

This, to my mind, is the real fallout of a flawed system. Can we do anything about it? I believe we can. This paper has shown that courage in journalism is a powerful weapon: it is a powerful influence, it can shape opinions. Shape them so that they are stubborn enough to stand up to the pressures of the rich, the powerful and the insensitive. I guess, once again, the time has come for us to seriously examine the Jessica Lall case not as the murder of a hapless girl who refused drinks to some louts but instead as a murder of everything that we thought we had become. A nation at the cutting edge of knowledge; a nation that reeked of quiet confidence and a value system that we were slowly coming to embrace.

Jessica’s father is not the only man who weeps today. All of India must. Only because if we don’t shed tears and express anger and disgust, we will slowly be co-opted by a system which is wretched and corrupt.

With due apologies to Shakespeare, there is something seriously rotten in the state of India. And this time the blame lies not in our stars but in ourselves.

The writer is CEO of Equus Redcell Advertising

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A nation without identity : interesting news

Kabul objects to Pakistani missile names

KABUL, Feb 22: Afghanistan formally complained to Pakistan for naming its ballistic missiles and other weapons after historic Afghan heroes, a minister said here on Wednesday.

Afghan Information Minister Makhdom Raheen said that Kabul had recently sent a letter through its foreign ministry to Pakistan over the use of names of Afghan nation’s heroes, including Mohammed Ghauri, a 12th-century conqueror who ruled what is now Afghanistan and invaded areas in what is now India and Pakistan several times.

A series of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles is named after Ghauri, including a 1,500-kilometre-range nuclear-capable weapon.

“We asked them (Pakistan) not to use the names of great elders of Afghanistan on weapons of mass destruction or other war equipment,” Mr Raheen said. “These great elders played a major part in building national solidarity and in transferring science and knowledge from the homeland across southwest Asia.”

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam refused to comment or say whether it had received such a letter.

Afghanistan is also complaining about Pakistan’s use of the name of Ahmad Shah Abdali, an 18th century king who founded the powerful Durrani dynasty, on a weapon that Raheen did not identify. Abdali laid the foundations for the Pashtun tribal rule in Afghanistan.

Mr Raheen said Pakistan was welcome to use the names but only for peaceful things like memorials, monuments, conference rooms and historical places. —

This is a news item from Pakistan's most prominent English Daily DAWN.
It puts Pakistani establishment and intelligentsia( if there is any0 in a kind of identity crisis. Right from its inception pakistanis have tried their utmost to negate their Indian or Hindu past and have always tried to associate themselves with western Asia.
When India put names of Prithvi,Agni,Akash etc to its missiles Pakistan was faced with a delimma as to what name should be given to their missiles procured from China and N Korea. So instead of noticing that in Indain case these names were of leemnts of nature according to Vedas and not based on Medieval King Prithviraj Chouhan( This is impossible to name our monuments on names of Pratap,shivaji or PrithviRaj in this secular country), they chose to give their missiles name of Mohammad Ghouri and Ghajnavi who plundered today's Pakistan with more ferocity than Today's India.

Even British Royal Family doesn't deny its German roots ,though they are 1000 yrs old,But Pakistani History starts from the attack of Mohammad Bin Kasim on sindh in 7th century which resulted in large scale plunder, rape and atrocities. But all these things pale in front of Light Of Isalm which he brought to infidels!!.
A good study in this case would be to visit some sites on Paksitan History and have a hearty laugh.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Out of sight , Out of mind

Well some people may brand me as pessimistic but I think there are some trends in India's socail, cultural and political environment going on which needs to be discussed more than what they are being currently,like

1. Science education and teir-2 technical education
All this rush to IT and ITES and Call Centre and software has no doubt brought a boom for engineers and engineering colleges but loser has been Science Education.First of all no one goes for B Sc or M Sc and those who go don't pursue science as careers. I still remember in 89-90 there used to be huge demand for admission into science courses of prestigious colleges as seats in engg and medical were very few. But now a days all major science colleges of my city has same enrollment levels as 90s and moreover while no of engineering colleges has become almost 10 times ,those of science colleges is almost stagnant.
A natural corrollary of this is decrease in quality of science teachers for schools and colleges as well researches in various labs and organisations. Moreover whatever little reserach was being done at science college labarotaries has now come to almost naught.

Similar is the case of ITIs or polytechnics. Our local youth has so musch technical aptitude can be realised be seeing how TV mechanic or automobile mechanic operates.Though not having any degrees they are able to come up with ingineous solutions to products having parts from MNCs. A major reason for lack of goodsalary in manufacturing sector is lack of good technical supervisers as a result of which engineers have to do job of technicians(viz operating and maintenance) instead of doing designing or R&D.

Monday, February 13, 2006

MPLAD : what is the fuss

MPLAD as it stands is Member of Parliament's Local Area development Fund and was introduced by PV Narsimharao's minority govt. in 1993 to keep opposition as well as ruling MPs who could not become minister in good humour. the whole premise was that which developments works to be taken in which constituency is solely decided by excutive under guidance from legilature that means from governing party.So there are chances of an opposition MP being sidelined in whole process and he can't justify his election to his people.This problem was particulary acute in 60's when it was a foregone conclusion that Congree forms the govt at centre and states , oppostion MPs did have a hard time to convince their voters to vote for them. or consider a state with a constituency with predominance of particular relgious,ethnic or linguistic group.Now three are high chances that some purticualr political party will have its sway here no matter what happens on larger political scene ,so it migt happen that this area is neglected in development. e.g. leh in J&K or belgaum in Karnataka really have this kind of problem.
Mechanism was that the MP will suggest schemes and DM will implement.Obviously they had to be socially important or durable asset creating schemes.Inital amount was 1 crore per MP which was later increased to 2crore. State govts. started their own version of this scheme later and it became a popular scheme.
But in recent times there has been many controversy associated with this scheme starting with MPs demanding money to sanction a particular project and an election commissioner getting money for his trusts.
Another accusation was that many MPs were not using the money or just sanctioning lot of useless projects just before election or end of financial yr.

While no one can deny that there are some really basic flaws in the structure and exeution of schem but scrapping it altogether is no soltution at all.
Its just like you have a system with some problems then instead of tryingto solve them scrap the system.This is plain escapism.
Yesterday one of my friend told me that Khushwant Singh has suggested that we should ban all the religious processions because they lead to social tension and in some cases to riots.
Now come on.U ca nalways regulate things.Decide the timing,route,no of people ,volume level in a procession but banning them outright is escapism.
For MPLADs I guess following things can be suggested:
1. Create a national level website listing all MPs and schems they have prposedand schems implemnted so far with all accounts or photos.
2.People will have idea that how this money is being used in different parts of country and there should be provision for people to suggest their MPS what actually they want.They can also have a kind of online poll thing.
3. For the timing donation to NGOs or clubs etc should br banned or reduced to 20 or 30 percent of the total outlay.
4.Next thing could be that you could club the sum total and have a committe of Local MP,MLA and municipal member to decide on scheme.There r fair chances that they will be from different parties ,so more scrutiny.
5.Each DM should publish the list of works done in loacl papers once a year.I tihnk insted of spending money in printing tenders which no noe reads all the action taken reports on govt schemes should be published in newspapers.For tenders u can have websites as anyone fillnig a tender is sufficiently rich to have internet access.

Ultimately transparency and better vigilance by public and media are two ways in which we can derive maximum benefit of this schem but scrapping it will mean losing a golden opportunity for equitable development and amicable relationships between varios stakeholders.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Historical serials on Indian Television

Just trying to recollect few things from yesteryears,
1.The best and most exhaustive one was obviousl Bharat ek Khoj with title song having verses from rigved and a great cast.It is must for everone interested in Indian history.
2.Next serial I remmeber is the sword of Tipu Sultan which became famous for on set fire in which Sanjay khan was badly hurt.
3.Sanjay Khan came up with another one The Great maratha based on life of Mahadji Sindhia .It largely went un noticed.
4.Mriganayni based on tribal wife of Mansing of Gwalior.
5.Chanakya based on Mudrarakshas a 3rd century drama.
6. Mrityunjay life story of karn.Though it is mythical rather than historical but it was based on a single book of same title by Shivaji Karanth.
7.Great women of India series : Amrapali, Urvashi and Rani Lakshmibai.
8.Series called Main Delhi hoon by Raj babbar(Horrible).
9.swarajnama by Girish karnad on 50 yrs of independence.
10. Sankraman a socio economic history of independent india once again by Syam benegal.
11. Akbar the great by Akbar Khan.
12. Some series on Hoysala Kings ( i don't remember exactly).
13. One series on some famous dancer in Peshwa's court(Archana Joglekar) and her clashes with a learned scholar of the court.
14.Devi Choudharani (Famous revolutionary of bengal).
15. One series on Kunwar jagdish Singh.
16. One series on early life of Morarji Desai.
17. One series on Radhakant Deb (who discovered Mt Everest).
18. One series on Munda and Santhal uprisings in Bihar during 19th century.
19. A series called Swaraj based on exploits of Hinduatan Republic Association.
20. A series on Paramveer Chakra awardees.
21. One series on Maharana pratap.
22. A series on Shivaji (stopped midway).

I am not including Ramayna or Mahabharat here becoz they r not strictly historical.
Similarly fictional accounts like alif lailla, Hatim tai, Chandrakanta or Vikram Baital though are based on old books but are essentially fictional works.

I feel that this series is kind of exhaustive becoz now a days no chaneel is going to telecast such serials.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

kyon rang de basanti!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rang de basanti
Great Hype , high expectations but a few blunders.
1.The well in jalianwala bag was dry i.e. why women jumped in it,but this movie shows it contained water.In film GANDHI it was shown dry ,research is to be done properly.
2.kaakori train robbery occured in Night not in day as shown,also one elder man was killed when he was trying to raise alarm.Moreover there were a lot people involved not just four or five. tv serial on doordarshan captured all these things very correctly.
3.Durga Bhabi nevre went lahore nor was she involved with sanders murder case,she was active in UP
3.pilots bringing Ajay's dead body are boy like. is unimaginable to beat a peaceful procession of a mertyr like that in the herat of delhi.
5.similarly,attack on AIR is unrealistic.
6.Why did they show Atul Kulkarni smking after getting disillusioned.Does it mean that not smoking is communal or fundamentalist.
7.No reason is given for estrangement of siddharth with his father