Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The 'India' Model for Development!!

Everyone is talking about the 'Gujarat' model of development. No body is talking about 'Andhra Pradesh' model of development, or 'West Bengal' model of development, or 'Delhi' model of development! Why? If, the other states are really super developed, why is no chief minister across the country stressing on his/her state's development like Narendra Modi is doing? Of course, one did recently. But, I am sure she would have had a good laugh at her residence after the speech!!
Positive or negative. Everyone is talking about the Gujarat model. Kudos to the guy who is successful in making people talk about his state!! Most of the talk is negative and I am sure it is only because the present Gujarat Chief Minister belongs to the BJP! What if he is from congress?? Probably he would have been.....you can fill the blank. He would have become the central finance minister, defence minister. No, never the Prime Minster. In the present government, that seat is reserved only for 'The Family'!!

But seriously, we have got some states doing really well. While Gujarat is a forerunner in terms of GDP, setting up of industries and makes best use of its vast sea shore, (longest in India right!) there is Kerala which is well known for its high literacy rate, high birth expectancy, institutional delivery and high sex ratio. These are the routine areas which are talked about. People say there is too much of a corporate involvement in Gujarat and of course many are concerned about the safety of people in Gujarat too. I am not an expert but I did few searches and found the following. There are few things in which Gujarat is far better than states like Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and why, even Kerala too!!

Rank(out of 28 states)
State Gujarat Kerala Andhra Pradesh West Bengal
Crime Rate
Women Safety
Riots Rate
Safe Drinking Water

Also, the percentage of unemployed people is the least in Gujarat. These facts reveal that Gujarat is not only a rich place but also a safe place to live in too. One has to remember that government plays a big role in ensuring safety in a state!

Disclaimer: This data is based on reports of various institutions like National Crime Records, Ministry of Statistics, India Census Report, Planning Commission, Ministry of Human Resource Development and I have no say in mistakes!!

The above data is not about the economy of Gujarat. There is enough propaganda that it is highly ranked even among developed countries, sometimes beating few developed nations too!! If you want, you can happily say that it is due to the reason that Gujaratis are for long, "business-minded" and hence the good economy. No problem, but the above table is about the government!
Advertising only the good things in his state and promising to make up for failures has made Narendra Modi popular. Nothing else. He is also making statements about what he is good at: talking about economy! This is apart from the fact that Gujarat, if not ranking high, is doing well in all fields. be it, agriculture, dairy products, industries, shipping, trade, education, technology or business! 

This article is not an attempt to brainwash people with some facts carefully picked from some blah blah sources for my convenience. I wanted to know and tell what is so special about the so called Gujarat model that so many are against it most importantly, a brilliant economist and Nobel prize winner, Amartya Sen!! The thing is this. We need a merger of the good of all the states and shape up a nice inspiring 'India' model for development!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

5 Things to Watch out for this IPL!!

The election fever is already in its peaks with AK-47s guarding polling booths and AK-49s contesting!! A thousand miles west of this, in the desert region of Dubai and Abu Dhabi , the Indian Premier League (IPL) has kicked off! 47 days of cricket fever has begun. There are few things to watch out for this season. Six of them are below.

1. IPL under Sunil Gavaskar
With the IPL under strong scrutiny after the unfortunate spot fixing and betting disasters last year and with the Supreme court ordering Sunil Gavaskar to head IPL, it is quite interesting to see what this cricketing legend has in store this time to keep things in order. That too, the IPL is this time going on in the United Arab Emirates, the hub of fixers. With the fixing event of 2000 not washed off memories, players and officials have to be careful.

2. Sehwag and Yuvraj
These two excellent players were part of the 2003 ICC ODI world cup team which reached the finals, winning team of 2007 T20 and 2011 ODI world cups. Now, they are running a bad phase especially with Viru not able to perform well in the local events and Yuvi spoiling India's winning chances in the T20 world cup recently! All hopes that these two do well! After all 14 crore Indian rupees is a lot!!

3. Player's Hairstyle
From Dale Steyn to Ajinkhya Rahane, from James Faulkner to Stuart Binny, most of the players have sported a stupid hairstyle, the one M S Dhoni started in the last year's Champions League. While it might look good for few cricketers, if every one follows this style, it looks like an army going for march past

4. Archana Vijaya and Shibani Dandekar
Last year we missed the superb anchors of IPL-5, Archana Vijaya and Shibani Dandekar. Some other two did the anchoring. Karishma Kotak I guess! May be they were fashionable enough, I do not know, but definitely they were not good anchors. Also, the song has changed from the hilarious jumping japaang. However, the new song, C'mon Bulawa Aaya Hai is not bad either. Collars up guys!

5. Cheer Leaders
IPL is in the Arab countries!! What about cheer leaders?? They are dancing with clothes fully on! Bell bottom pants, full hand shirts, they look like yesteryear Telugu hero N.T.Rama Rao trying to dance, in old telugu movies. Thank God they were not asked to dance with Bhurkas! If my guess is not wrong, the cheer leaders will be waiting for that day more than audience when IPL returns to India so they can dance with lighter weight on them!!

I am expecting a cloud burst this May 16 when many things happen in India! As far as IPL is concerned, it is still cricket we have to be interested in and players should be careful to keep that cricketing spirit alive!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A "Unique" way to fool yourself!!

The government of India some time back, ordered every citizen of its to link their bank details and the household cooking gas booking details to their Aadhar card. The Unique IDentification Authority of India was truly to its name a unique step towards progress, every citizen of the country gets a unique UID(Unique Identification Number) which can be used, 'Anywhere, Anytime.' It is the baby of one of the founding fathers of the Infosys corporation, Nandan Nilekani. The Aadhar card was issued first to Ranjana Sonawane in the Tembhli village in Maharashtra. UID was advertised as a solution to the increasing number of ID proofs like the Permanent Account Number, Voter ID, Ration Card etc.. Good. A great initiative. But it did not go that way. It is a big flop. Lots of money wasted.

Once I turned 18, I started applying for the huge list of ID cards one could possibly carry in this country. First of them was the Aadhar card(okay, one need not turn 18 to be eligible for this!). Next, I applied for my passport. Fresh from collecting my Aadhar, my UID, well I am unique in one way atleast, I wanted to keep Aadhar as a birth proof for passport. But the person at the passport office simply tossed the photocopy of mine with a unique number in the bin (unique again!!) and said that Aadhar would not be accepted. I had to run around cyber cafeterias to get a print out of my birth certificate! No nation in the world could trust that card as an ID proof. I thought it was just the beginning and that things would change. I was wrong.
A year later probably, I went to the bank to apply for my Automatic Teller Machine magnetic card (yeah, the ATM card!) With hopes high, I again took a copy of my Aadhar card only to be taken to a frustrated Probationary officer who said that it doesn't work. However, since I have an account in the bank for which I put a copy of my passport as ID proof, I was saved. I was given an ATM card. Aadhar card could not get me an ATM card! It was just a piece of paper with my face staring out of it!!
One common reason people gave about its rejection at every place like the above two was that Aadhar was flop because of too many fake ones. The government is not doing its duty in issuing the card properly to Indians.

Trying to estimate a little about the amount of money lost due to Aadhar, one can talk about the total number of paid leaves a person took in the country to go to Aadhar issuing center. My father himself took three paid leaves. About five million people might have done the same! All the crores pumped into Aadhar are just a waste. This benefitted none, (including Ranjana Sonawane, the first person to be issued an Aadhar card!) except maybe a handful of greedy people!

Gas bookings and bank details were interlinked using Aadhar. The number of subsidised gas cylinders were cut down to 9 from 12 per year. Each booking was monitored. One had to pay 1000 thousand rupees per cylinder at purchase and the subsidised money were reimbursed later. Why all this head ache? No one new. Maybe that is the reason why the link is cut off now. Gas cylinder bookings are no longer associated with Aadhar. Flop again!! For long, people could not use this UID to get daily rations especially the defense people had a lot of problems with this UID!! Now the latest news is, Aadhar can not be used as a voter ID card too! Thus, successfully, all the promises made vanish into thin smoke.
Now, Nandan Nilekani is contesting in the Loksabha polls from South Bangalore constituency supporting the same government who flopped his idea. By the way below are few uses of the Aadhar.
It has some uses after all!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sometimes, it happens!...but this ain't sometime!!

~"Kohli is on song. Looks like no one can stop him!!"..."Apparently, his team mate can!"
~"Royal Challengers Bengaluru, Yuvi ko OLX pe bhej de!!"
These are few of the responses received after the wonderful show Yuvraj Singh has put up in today's match. He successfully put a halt to the well paced Indian innings. Lasith Malinga during the presentation ceremony would have silently thanked Yuvraj for his priceless contribution to Sri Lanka. Be ready to not see Yuvraj for sometime from now. Or maybe, not much at all in those blues. Maybe, fans can be satisfied with IPL appearances. It is very hard for the team or for fans to hold responsible one person for the loss but it is inevitable. And watch out for the stone rain!!
Roar silenced!!

Agreed, cricket is a team event and the entire blame or praise goes to everyone. But, you have to consider the work of your team mates. The pain it would be for the bowlers to defend a mere 131. The debate is not about whether Yuvraj should retire now or if Dhoni should have sent Yuvraj at that position when there was Raina who is in very good form. The question is, could some one who won for the country three cricket world cups, can not score a single of every ball he faced atleast in the death overs!!?? Now, every finger points towards Yuvraj Singh blaming him for the world cup loss. The brain which tells that finger to point at this person does not care to remember that this was the guy who played the most crucial role in India's second ODI world cup win exactly three years back.

Loss of form happens sometimes. It is unfortunate. We just have to move on. It happens sometimes. But this is not under that category, "sometimes." This is "onetime." This is a once in two years chance and this is the finals of the ICC cricket world cup for God's sake!! I have seen Indians celebrating the wicket of Murali Vijay on 12 November 2013, the day when the Master Blaster, Sachin Tendulkar came out to bat for the last time at the Wankhede. They went berserk when an Indian was out. Cricket fans in India went even more berserk when Yuvraj got out after he could not even dispatch a full toss to six!!

Honestly, this is not how you reward your country which is full hopes. Forget the country, this is not at all the way one treats his team mate who has been playing every match, winning them for the county and one who was so keen on having Yuvraj on his side during IPL. Sad part is Virat Kohli is left in tears both after the 2012 and 2014 world cups!! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Centralised Banking system!!

The pleasure of putting up this post comes after having a first class experience of seeing a group, which when asked which organisation is the central bank in India! They replied, 'CBI'! The banking system in our country is little funny(though frankly, I do not know how it is in other countries!) There is a central bank controlling all the banks. Every bank reports to the RBI. Further, there are umbrellas under which different banks are placed. There are commercials like ICICI,HDFC etc., cooperatives like NABARD.

Getting into the history of banking, in Indian mythology, there is an extremely successful moneylender and banker called Kuber who does not even exempt God from paying back debts. Even from Vedic times(no idea when exactly to define this!!), there were trades and exchanges, those of gold and currency too. Ever since, Indians, with their huge saving mindset, kept saving and banks came to good use for us! Even in the time of kings and empires, all the money transactions and trades were to be reported to a central power, called the kosadhikari, the treasurer. The colonial times saw banks as fundraisers for wars. The presidency banks, Bank of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, which came together to be called the Imperial Bank of India, were used especially for this purpose.

For few years, the Imperial Bank acted as the central bank to which all the banks had to report and which would monitor all the activities of any bank. There were banks like Bank of Baroda, Bank of Allahabad, Canara Bank, Indian Bank etc..Subsequently, after achieving independence, a clear system was designed in banking. The Reserve Bank of India, formed in 1935 took the place of the central bank. Most of the banks were formed as part of the Swadesi movement. All these banks were nationalised in 1969. This ensured a lot of revenue for the government. But later, after globalisation and liberalisation, many private enterprises came up. Whoever it is, they have to abide by RBI rules and report to it.

This kind of banking actually helps people. It is reachable to the poorest of the poor and to those in any corner of the country too! One just have to know they can reach it. So, the central bank of the country is the Reserve Bank of India and not the Central Bureau of Investigation!!