in deep existential crisis..

A Journal by Sara

Navin Chawla – The Congress Election Commie!

Congress have started reaping benefits for their far-sighted thinking. They have finally managed to keep a check on fair Elections in India with their staunch supporter Navin Chawla promoted to the top post today. (Links here) And, we have many of the innumerable duties in queue which he is expected to perform for congress with utmost sanctity from now onwards.

Yesterday, the rehearsal itself went fine for Navin Chawla. He turned down a plea (2-1 in his favor) to appoint an enquiry for the case of disqualifying Sonia as MP after she accepted the Belgian award in 2006.(Links here)

A CEC says Yes, and the other two who work under him says no! And we know what’s next? Now, it is forwarded to the President of India’s table for decision. An appointment which again shows the far-sighted thinking of Congress. Now, we can all safely forget this plea.

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April 21, 2009 Posted by | Indian General Elections 2009, Issues, Policy/Strategies | Leave a comment

Google, Yahoo offers coverage for India General Elections 2009

 

Google and Yahoo, is aware of the statistics that 25 million of 45 million internet users in India are of voting age and are actively looking online for information on the elections and other related news.Yahoo has come up with a dedicated micro-site called http://in.elections.yahoo.com which offers election news coverage, schedules, online polls and discussion forums.

Google has launched www.google.co.in/loksabha2009 its version in both English and Hindi. Hindustan Times partners with Google in this initiative to organize the content.

Google are more detailed in their news, offering you a wide range of information on any constituency you click to know about. The information include number and types of votes, the candidate of each party for current and last election, the attendance percent of your MP in Parliament and the number of questions he raised in Parliament, if he evens owns a PAN card and much more to your interest.

It is heartening to note that the portals are coming up with these efforts to help and organize the content for the voters to decide. This should definitely keep us more informed about your candidates and the parties.

April 13, 2009 Posted by | Indian General Elections 2009, Politics | Leave a comment

PM says Mumbai will turn a global city

 

Manmohan Singh, for much of the hype to his stature, is no wonder slowly learning the art of politics as a toddler. I came across this piece in Rediff, MMS saying “We have invested in creating world-class public transport in Mumbai.”We want to build world-class infrastructure to make Mumbai a truly world-class city” in the wake of election ’09 campaign.

He added further, “We will build Mumbai into a truly global city. It is at that dream that the terrorists struck (but) they will never succeed but Mumbai will,” Noting that those living in Mumbai are concerned about the quality of urban life, Singh said, “Our government has launched the Urban Renewable Mission with a special focus on improving the quality of life of those who live in slums.”

PM says they have high hopes of building a truly global city out of Mumbai if they are voted to power, but they said the same, to be specific, said the same in his 2004 election speech for much applause. “When we talk of a resurgent Asia, people think of the great changes that have come about in Shanghai. I share the aspiration to transform Mumbai in the next five years in such a manner that people would forget about Shanghai and Mumbai will become a talking point,” the prime minister said in 2005. Links to his speech here (the entire article itself is worth a read)

Prime Minister, has definitely kept his words, when he said “People would forget Shanghai and Mumbai will become a (s)talking point”. Especially with dozens of events like 26/11 and other massacres. You have to read between the lines to understand a supreme intellect like our PM. Between, Did I miss a point?

Has Mumbai now changed into Shanghai?

Tell me if you know!

April 13, 2009 Posted by | Indian General Elections 2009, Infra Structure, Issues, Policy/Strategies, Politics | Leave a comment

Akamai’s Rankings of Internet Broadband Speeds and Penetration

Uhmm, I stumbled upon this piece in Rediff about the top internet speeds across the world. The list crowns South Korea as the leader of the pack with the average connection speed of 15Mbps. Bro, it is 15 Mbps, arghhh! How dumb I am all along, I never thought the connections existed beyond top speed of 5Mbps in any part of the world. But, here not even the top speed, but it is the average speed that South Korean government is dishing out to its citizens. Oh my God! A HD movie which could be downloaded in say 10 minutes, a torrent worth a huge video file in 15 minutes, a HD webcam transmitting without having to pause for ages and I can dream on for tons of possibilities. Bull crap, we might think, but in fact it is accessible just somewhere in this part of the globe. And the countries which are proud leaders in this segment are taking initiatives to bring even higher speed connectivity, including Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH). Also, mind you, the average connection speed of the globe is 1.5 Mbps.

South Korea is also ranked first in terms of higher broadband connectivity with its majority of the subscribers (69%) getting at least minimum speed above 5Mbps. But, it is understandable the success of the broadband penetration given the relatively smaller and highly denser population of South Korea.

Who else? Japan ranks second with 54% connections above 7 Mbps, Hong Kong at third with almost similar average speed of Japan, Romania fourth with 5.7 Mbps joining closely with them is Sweden at fifth position, followed by Swiss over speed of 5 Mbps, but only leading the seventh seeded Netherlands marginally. Belgium, Slovakia and Norway occupy the last three spots with an average of 4.5 Mbps.

Oops! No wonder that girls of Romania and Slovakia are regulars on webcam sites. You can’t help but admire the great benefits of such high speeds.

akamai_soi_4q08_51

I could largely see a pattern associated in this graph, which is all the nations at the top are relatively smaller in size and population. Though, that cannot be the reason for incompetency of other 203 countries in the list barring few hopeless countries we at least have 100 countries still left with .

Expectedly, India comes almost last in that 100 country with Rediff quoting that we are dismal with the average Internet connection speed of 772 Kbps. Excuse me; 772 Kbps? Average speed in India? I beg to differ with this stat, when I last heard the Internet Penetration in India hovers somewhere around 2.5% of the entire population. i.e the number of users stand somewhere around 30 million. It’s also a fact, according to the India Online 2007, that only 37% of the users come from top 10 cities. Hence, a staggering 63% of the available users are from rural households. This is contrary to my belief that 90% of the subscribers come from top cities.

Let’s first have a look at these urban Internet users. If we agree, the speeds such as 2 Mbps or more is largely consumed by the corporations and enterprises with majority of the individual users having either 256 Kbps or 512 Kbps keeping in mind the price to utilization ratio. If we consider the rural areas, they don’t even have the options of 1 or 2 Mbps connection available for them. Already the urban’s average falls between 256-512 kbps, put rural majority also into the mix, which would bring that average connection speed miserably further down even, roughly leaving us around the figure of 300-350 Kbps as an average net connection speed. Keep in mind the another horrible fact that of the 30 million subscribers said above only 2.5 million use Broadband or superior connections, which even brings my figure to its nadir somewhere around 60-80 Kbps. Refer here to the TRAI’s 2007 telecom report. I think the average Internet Speed of 772 Kbps (half of the global average Internet speed) is a far cry for us, with our hopes still rooted to the ground.

Oof! Ironically, did you know that Congress Government declared 2007 to be the “Year of Broadband”? This is one among their innumerable promises and their constant stressing on how they are pro-reform and pro-development striving government. May be they thought that India would be much better off without people having instant access to the information they seek.

At its best, India managed to inch ahead of Nigeria in Broadband penetration.

Forget about the Broadband, India stands nowhere as far as even the Internet is concerned. But that’s another story reserved for another day.

P.S: Between I checked my Broadband speed and I am jubilant enough that I get 14 Kbps more than my subscribed speed and it stands beamingly at 270 Kbps. Check for yourselves below.

net-speed-mine1


April 8, 2009 Posted by | eWorld, Information Technology, Infra Structure, International, Internet, Issues, World | 2 Comments

While at it….

Dear Flintoff,

Mate, you might be too loyal to your English cricket team, but it doesn’t mean that you take IPL as mere agency which transfer money for a little circus you engage for few weeks. No it doesn’t work that way. If you have made yourself available to this lucrative tournament, apart from the hurry to take the money home, there is also something called professional attitude you are expected to show evidence of. Certainly it doesn’t sound great when you say you are in this IPL season to pick clues about preparation techniques and the strengths and weaknesses of opposition in the T20 game and protect your English colleagues in the opposition camp.

After all, you are here in this IPL because you could never see your loyalty to English cricket board fetching even a fraction of what you might stand to get in this season.

As you said, you might need to bowl to your friend Kevin Pietersen in this tournament, and you are professionally expected to exploit his weakness and not bowl to his strengths.

I hope you would go all guns against your IPL’s opposition and set up advantage for your home team.

Yours sincerely,

Sara

April 6, 2009 Posted by | Indian Premiere League '09 | 1 Comment

The iPhone App Store – A tempting market

iPhone App Store

You can’t help but admire the potential of iPhone to unleash a fresh novel market for programmers writing application for App store. At their best, if they could cobble something together and put up a new app that could do a charm in the iPhone, yes, they could see fortune kissing them right on the head.

If there is ever an iPhone hall of fame, Mr. Nicholas’s portrait might hang next to that of Kostas Eleftheriou, a young Greek entrepreneur who lives in London. He and two friends wrote a program in seven days called iSteam, which fogs up the face of an iPhone like a bathroom mirror. They made more than $100,000 in three months.

The market that is up for taking, which actually tempts programming gurus to try their hands on, has already been catching up fast with people all over the world.

Nicholas ran up huge debts, in the recession economy, with finances tied up in every possible ways. That’s when he heard of the guy who made a quarter-million dollars in a hurry by writing a video game called Trism for the iPhone. Nicholas had a thought, sat 6 weeks in a stretch managing his work at Sun Microsystems, while putting everything he could writing an artillery game for iPhone. Result, he created iShoot, sent it for approval to Apple and the very next day it was released into the online App store. Few days gone, it was downloaded more than 2 million times.

Now it is a life changing experience for Nicholas, “That’s when he called his boss and said, ‘We need to talk,’ “And I quit my job.”

There are now more than 25,000 programs, or applications, in the iPhone App Store, many of them written by people like Mr. Nicholas.

As for Mr. Nicholas, he has sprung for a family vacation to Washington, hired a nanny and founded a company called Naughty Bits Software to keep developing iPhone programs (so far he is the only employee). “Oh, and I bought myself a new laptop,” he said. “I figured I deserved that.”

April 6, 2009 Posted by | Electronics/Products, eWorld | 1 Comment

BJP – Road to Victory?

Nearly a decade back, BJP who was in power at the centre, sensed the need of world class roads for the rapidly developing Indian economy. They drew up the National Highways Development Project with several phases of which the cost of first phase was set to Rs. 54,000 crore, world’s biggest infrastructure project then.

It aimed at linking the North, South, East and west; as well as the four metros with eight-lane world-class expressways that were expected to put India on the fast lane to growth. These were to be supplemented with same quality links and bypasses that were to be created by upgrading existing highways.

With the making of world class infrastructure in place, still NDA could not convince the voters of India, as the twists and turns of politics brought the Congress-led UPA to power and saw Manmohan Singh take oath as PM. And one of the first things that National Highways Authority of India, the government’s custodian of arterial roadways, did after the regime change was to order all skyboards redone to remove Vajpayee’s picture at a cost of about Rs 1.8 crore.

Till 2004 — and a little later — people started realizing that motoring from Delhi to Chandigarh or Jaipur; or Mumbai to Pune was a breeze. Any drive along the highways linking the four metros of Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai was bustling with construction workers.


Now, after years later, the scene on the ground is different. The activities are more sluggish — you barely see progress at sites where a bridge is being built or the road is being widened even if you cross it at a year’s gap. Nearly all flyovers and stretches of highways and roads that have been “inaugurated” or come into operation were started during the NDA regime.

Times Of India has come out with its interesting analysis on its Chennai edition dated 4th April. If you have a look at the graph below, you could see it for yourself that number of kilometers of road laid by legendary congress in its 50+ years of rule is 36,013 Kms where as the BJP has laid 31,271 Kms in just 5 years. Figures don’t lie.

Graph. Courtesy: Times Of India

If this is not a startling observation, what else would be? In terms of construction of roads, if BJP in its only term has roughly done 95% of what congress is trying to do in a whole stretch of 50 years, I could see with whom the fault lies and who has firmly put India on the road to victory in infrastructural development.

Somewhere I read recently which asked, if Pro is opposite of Con, then progress is opposite of what? Yes, I have the answer, and you?

April 5, 2009 Posted by | India, Indian General Elections 2009, Infra Structure, Issues, Policy/Strategies, Politics | Leave a comment

Recession sets new trends

 

Uhmmm! Imagine Ms. X marries Mr. Y, lives for few years, divorces later. Now she moves out to marry Mr. Z. The days roll, she finds it difficult to make ends meet, pile of bills to be paid, huge credit card statements, loss of job, kids tuition fees and other costs moving northwards, Ms. X grows weary, thinks of an alternate plan, suddenly her face lights up with an offer. The offer by, Mr. Y the old hubby to move along with them, so that he could get to live with the kids born to X&Y and in return fund the life of X&Z. X, Y &Z are happy, even the kids say proudly to folks at school, we live with our mommy and her two husbands. All the parties involved are happy with this tangle. Story ends.

Oh, I am not good at writing stories, no, not even attempted one here, but just made the names anonymous and have written the summary of an editorial from CNN.

The news item says that Ms. Nicole Thompson and her husband moves in with her x-husband due to the hardships they are facing in this economic recession.

Couple of picks from the article,

New husband says,

“We just clicked,” Thompson said. “When I tell people, ‘I’m living with my ex-wife and her husband,’ I get some really strange looks. …It’s different. It’s unusual, but it works.”

Kid says,

Seven-year-old Victoria went back to school after winter break — and after the whole team had blended under one roof — and started telling people this: ” ‘My mommy has two husbands,'” Thompson-Arce remembered. “I was like, ‘No, honey, don’t tell them that!'”

April 2, 2009 Posted by | Changing Trends, Living, Modern Trendss, Relationships | Leave a comment

IT Shows in the Agenda of BJP & Congress

 

In the term of 1999-2004, BJP rewrote the conventional portfolio to include a revamped ministry called ‘Ministry of Communications and IT’. NDA’s IT reforms took the IT & ITES sectors on an upward swing and it started realizing its potential. A refreshing journey was on course at almost the final stages of NDA rule which peaked in the succeeding government after 2004.

As we had a well endowed gentleman as Prime Minister in post-2004 rule, we took a cold shower relaxing that finally the academics has met politics and things would only emerge brighter, leaving all speculations to rest. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, as we have witnessed in the last 5 years of despotic rule.

Most of the people I engage with political debate keep undermining my statement saying that how much the Goddess of Knowledge is residing in every UPA minister’s mind, but I beg to differ with the stark contrasting reality of Congress and UPA government.

If UPA is looked upon as a knowledge powerhouse, if it is the most visionary and if it is the one which has invariably best of literates as their advisors, where is a well thought-out election manifesto, a greatest of great vision for its country India? At least a few among the innumerable ideas they have for the prosperity of Indians and to counter the economic recession and to stop the freefall of IT sector. Where are the details of it? Has congress even thought about one? Has Manmohan Singh & Co. even feel the need for it?

By absolute contrast, BJP has a document called IT Vision released by LK Advani which runs to 30 pages and is definitely a set of documented ideas practically feasible in its implementation. On the release of it, LK Advani said “A future NDA Government, if elected to office in the coming parliamentary elections, would give high priority to the realization of this vision, which would help India overcome the current economic crisis; create productive employment opportunities on a large scale; accelerate human development through vastly improved and expanded education and healthcare services; check corruption; and make India’s national security more robust.”

The highlights of the IT Vision document are as follows,

  • Multipurpose National Identity Card (MNIC) with unique Citizen Identification Number (CIN) for every Indian citizen in 3 years; to replace all other identification systems.

§  I could immediately think of the benefits this move would fetch; as one of the foremost issues on national security we face now is the lakhs of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh pouring into India. This would keep a check on it and would help identify most of them. I am also reminded of, a news I read few months back, How a chief-level officer in RAW was dismissed after they found that he is not an Indian but an illegal immigrant from Bangladesh.

§  Next benefit would be the major face lift the government offices would get especially with the first hand information on their desk and also with the disposal of strenuous paper work involved by both bureaucrats and the citizens. Efficient bureaucracy at last seems a little possibility.

§  The benefits are enormous; the cost savings that would make to the Government, the easy handling of Information in terms of Defense and Internal security measures; easy representation of Information for Police and Judiciary; easy handling for the election commission preventing fraud in electoral process, prevention of false interpretation of any information (most of the civil & corporate frauds) and it would be endless.

§  But if all information of yours is integrated, the next ominous question that strikes the mind is the security and efficiency of handling this information. BJP has to come forward with their detailed plan of how they would set to protect the information in this regard and chalk up their tight security plan.

  • 1.2 Crore (12 million) new IT-enabled jobs in rural areas.

§  Though I am unaware how they arrived at this figure, but I firmly say it has the potential, if the government reforms computer-deprived offices of its own and the other subsidies thereby setting up a huge wave of new jobs. As this domestic market is still untapped and is a sleeping giant.

  • 1 crore (10 million) students to get laptop computers at Rs 10,000. Interest-free loan for anyone unable to afford it.

§  This is a strange development unlike the India we know which throws only freebie at people and never cared about the money spent. I would say this is much better opportunity provided where I guess should benefit most of the rural students to a greatest extent.

  • National Digital Highway Development Project to create India’s Internet backbone, and Pradhan Mantri Digital Gram Sadak Yojana for last-mile access even in the remotest of villages.

§  NDA had walked the talk earlier with its famous Golden Quadrilateral project in its last term. The project with its ambition of connecting all the important highways of the country with multi-way lanes, implemented with remarkable success. Hence, it should be a safe bet to reckon that the Internet backbone would get quite a bit realistic.

  • Broadband Internet (2 Mbps) in every town and village, at cable TV prices (less than Rs 200/month).

§  I think it is too ambitious to even think of it, when the internet connection speed of even the major cities has not been ramped up to that level and the prices comparably is still large and not easily affordable.

  • All schools and colleges to have Internet-enabled education.

§  Especially, this needs to be done on a fast lane, when we think of taking our education infrastructure to world class level. It is high time we provide desktops and laptops to the students with internet enabled.

  • 100% financial inclusion through bank accounts, with e-Banking facilities, for all Indian citizens. Direct transfer of welfare funds, preferably to the woman of the house.

§  Even if right actions are initiated towards achieving this goal, if not fully completed, still that would go a long way in restructuring our citizen’s economical identity, and in establishing transparency in bureaucracy. That would see a major shift in strategies of the banks and would be an ideal launch pad for its rural penetration and its customer base.

  • Every BPL family to be given a free smart mobile phone, which can be used by even illiterate users for accessing their bank accounts.

§  This is the continuation of the above point, to provide people with access to the e-Banking through a cheap smart mobile.

  • Number of mobile subscribers to be increased from 40 crore at present to 100 crore in five years. Internet users to equal mobile subscribers. India to equal China in every IT parameter in five years.

§  Telecom is already been proved a huge potential market and it would only improve the connectivity of more people with more and more users laying hand on the device. Internet users in India are usually very small compared to the mobile subscribers and this avenue again provides a great growth opportunity.

  • Video conferencing to be made affordable and universally accessible.

§  Thorough implementation of IT reforms across India and the excellent infrastructure if built for IT & Internet would make all these easily follow suit.

§  You can see the other points below, most of them self explaining.

  • Primary Health Centre in every village to be linked to the National Telemedicine Service Network. Basic health insurance scheme for every citizen, using the IT platform. Cashless hospitalization.
  • India’s ranking in the United Nations’ Human Development Index, which is currently 128, to be improved to 50 in five years, with the long-term objective of bringing India within Top Twenty by 2020.
  • Massive expansion in the use of IT in agriculture, rural development, SMEs, retail trade, and informal and unorganised sectors of the economy.
  • National e-Governance Plan to cover every Government office from the Centre to the Panchayats. The ‘E Gram Vishwa Gram’ scheme, launched by Shri Narendra Modi in Gujarat, to be implemented nationwide.
  • Government spending to be made corruption-free. A former Prime Minister had once said, “If I put Rs. 100 in the pipeline in Delhi, only Rs. 15 reach the end beneficiary.” In contrast to Congress governments’ Leaky Pipeline, the BJP’s IT Pipeline will ensure 100% benefit to people. Those who misappropriate public funds will be punished.
  • All post offices to be converted into IT-enabled Multi-Service Outlets. All telephone booths to be upgraded to Internet kiosks.
  • Citizens will have a simple 1-800 BSNL Toll Free Number, which will be accessible 24x7x 365 days of the year, to contact their Member of Parliament.
  • Unlimited VoIP access to all
  • e-Bhasha: National Mission for Promotion of IT in Indian Languages.
  • Special focus to bring women, SC/STs, OBCs and other weaker sections of society within the ambit of IT-enabled development.
  • Use of IT for the protection of India’s priceless cultural and artistic heritage.
  • Government to standardize on ‘open standard’ and ‘open source’ software.
  • Domestic IT hardware industry to be aggressively promoted to minimize dependence on imports.
  • Domestic hosting industry to be promoted to minimize international bandwidth charges.

Finally an independent body, Digital Security Agency (DSA), to be set up for cyber warfare, cyber counter-terrorism, and cyber security of national digital assets.

April 2, 2009 Posted by | Economics, India, Indian General Elections 2009, Infra Structure, Issues, Policy/Strategies, Politics | Leave a comment