Too Lazy to Vote – Think why you shouldn’t vote?

Still Think Why to Vote

Too Lazy to Vote – Think why you shouldn’t vote?

On evening when the Chief Election Commission sounded bugle for commencement of the biggest festival of Democracy, Elections, posting this picture I found on Facebook to salute the spirit of this young lady to contribute to this festival of Democracy.

Many of us come up with wired reason for ‘Not’ to vote.  I wouldn’t say I agree or disagree to all, but humbly request them to pause for a second, see the enthusiasm of your fellow countrymen & think why you shouldn’t. If the spirit of lady in picture doesn’t inspire you to vote for country, then you also have no right to say about its imperfection. 

Sharing this picture with an expectation that it would inspire someone to shed ‘laziness’ & ‘reasons’ and step up ahead to vote.

Headless Hunch : Bar-coded Currency Notes – Tracking Black Money

Black Money, as Wikipedia defines as funds earned from black market, on which income or other taxes have not been paid.  This has been favorite topic of discussion for scholars and perhaps best tool in any leader’s kitty to win popular kudos as it’s really a grey area in Indian Economy.  As there cannot be any legitimate estimates of the Black Money, it’s importance can be described from the term quoted ‘parallel economy’.

Well lot has been said on and little has been done to bring the money back from tax heavens, but that’s not much of concern for me at least.  A major concern is that, it’s still continuing and there is nothing whatsoever been done to check or restrict it from this point forward.  So leaving aside bringing back the black money, here is something, I want to suggest to ‘intellectual’ individuals – a way to track, restrict and provide deterrent to this ‘Parallel Economy’.

I had always wondered why the currency notes were having serial numbers and did lot of research over internet to identify the purpose of this serial number and could only find that the utility only restricted to give each note a unique identifier and a step ahead, a quick identification of where it was printed.  This is definitely a requirement of the currency note but it’s now old fashioned and need more out of it.  With advancement of technology, even currency notes needs to be upgraded.  Now its time to introduce bar-codes on currency notes, even a step further, Sim-card type micro-chips would be best.  However, looking at the cost factor and the purpose, I will be happy to settle with Bar-codes.  Let me explain how I intend to track black money and money laundering using these bar-coded currency notes.

Have you ever heard of website ‘Where’s George’? Well it’s wonderful concept of some hobbyists to track US currency notes.  Based on similar idea, there are lots of websites which provide such currency notes tracking. In fact, I also came across Indian Rupee website, ‘Track Gandhi’, a website developed to track Indian currency notes on lines of Where’s George.  Currently all these websites, gives you excellent statistics on where the note you are holding with you have been traveled before it reached you.  Backed by some wonderful analytical tools and intelligence, one can see which state holds how much currency and much more things, one can imagine.  Of course this all is possible through that unique serial number on the currency note.

Now let’s get back to our topic, bar-coded currency notes.  So the plan is very similar to what this websites does; only the scale of operation differs, just because we are not hobbyist but into serious business of curbing illegal money from the system. So here is what we what we do:

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Headless Hunch : Views on India Onward – Managing electricity theft menace

A wonderful initiative by IBM India to discuss the ideas of progress for India, India Onward. Posting my views on the topic of ‘Managing electricity theft menace’ as initiated by Jeby Cheiran (Link to Website)

India has world’s fifth largest installed capacity for power generation, but more than 300 million people in the country still do not have any access to electricity. One significant contributing factor to this insufficiency is the staggering network loss, exceeding 30 percent. Such a huge loss in transmission and distribution (T&D) further raises the demand and places increasing pressure on the installed capacity.

Though it is difficult to quantify the proportion of electricity theft in T&D losses, it is undoubtedly a major contributor. As a consequence, utility organizations have been running huge losses, resulting in increased power tariff for the end user.

Power theft results in a situation where all the stakeholders, including those responsible for the pilferage in the first place, get affected. While stronger vigilance and better technology can address the issue to an extent, I believe there is a greater need for awareness among people and having greater focus on building the overall infrastructure. While, citizens must have access to such an essential element of modern day life, they should not expect it for free either. What do you think?

By Jeby Cheiran
The author is Strategy Leader of IBM India/South Asia

Very well said in your last line. We, the people should not expect such essentials for free or even at discounted rates as ultimately its going to hit the pockets of someone like us only. I think not only T&D loss but the entire sector needs major reforms post its first phase of reforms initiated by segregating the generation, transmission & distribution companies.

Though I agree with all the above, I think technology is not the only solution to this problem, we need a mindset change and strong willpower both of government & people to overcome this. Today, how many times we as people have reported power theft incidents? Forget reporting, I can bet more than 80% people would also not know how to report such incidents. We need technology and digital metering up to last mile to box-in the origins of power thefts. Also, we need stricter punishments for those who get caught in scenarios of power theft.

For implementing technologies solutions, we need to think out of box to bring accountability. One of the genius enlightened me with a wonderful example in this area. For industries (major consumer of electricity), consumption of electricity can be directly proportional to output of the goods/services they manufacture/offer. These goods/services quantum which they manufacture is always reported in their excise/service tax filings. Can’t we use analytic engines on the past data available to derive this equation and monitor on monthly/quarterly basis, the electricity consumption. We can right? We just need appropriate linkages between data available with two different government agencies.

Another aspect to the mounting theft are power tariff. People generally steal things which are dearer. Political parties are sabotaging the power balance for petty political gains. Just because the agriculture forms backbone of your country doesn’t mean it should be cheap power to gain popular votes. We need strict action by State ERCs to ensure that every power is not provided below cost price. But unfortunately, State ERC boards are appointed at will & mercy of these political parties and thus they are mostly helpless to these proposals.

Lastly, we need to use technology for generating complex billing structures for rewarding those who,
– use electricity in off-peak hours
– use sanctioned loads
– use rated instruments
and punish the violators.

Yes, I agree, the road ahead is challenging in country like India, where people lacks responsibility towards society, but with strong will power of few, use to innovative thinking and applying right set of technologies, we can definitely take a step closer to achieve balanced electricity consumption.

Refer Original Thoughts & Support, please visit India Onward

A World’s View Without Glasses – Siswa Grampanchayat : A Revolution

Recently I came across an article in TOI – Sunday edition about a small village gram panchayat being run by 12 young, educated & mostly unmarried girls.  Thanks to the SAMRAS scheme being implemented by Modi’s Govt. (all secular people can read it as ‘Govt. of Gujarat’). 

I believe, that if this scheme is nationally adopted and implemented, it will bring following advantages to society as whole:

–  All politics related to women’s reservation bill will see a dead end, as this directly without reservation bring women to mainstream activities

–  Devolution of Power, an important step to panchayat raj system adopted by India in early 70’s would become a dream.

–  Young girls getting hands-on of the administrative work will give them more freedom and will help to address the evils of dowry, sati and others which are not even curbed even with all-women favoring  laws

–  Lastly but more important (& I put my male ego aside while writing this), women/girls have always better convincing power and flexibility to compromise for betterment, which is a need of hour for any form of Govt./Administration to effectively function.

I pray let someone in ‘Parliament’ think of replicating this SAMRAS model of social inclusion to entire country and kudos to the residents of Siswa village for openly embracing such a bold step at most unexpected form of government – Gram Panchayat.

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Siswa grampanchayat’s Powerpuff Girls

Soumitra Das drives to a village in Gujarat’s Anand district to meet 12 collegians who will decide the fate of 7,000 villagers for the next five years

The floral tapestry sofas arranged in a semi circle around a smoked glass coffee table that holds a bunch of fabric roses, are not enough to seat all 12 girls. Hinal Patel pulls up a couple of chairs. Twenty three-year-old Nisha Patel adjusts her georgette dupatta to sit firmly on her slight shoulders before she whips out a pen, holding it to a notepad.

It’s a Sunday panchayat meeting. Except there are no members squatting under a shady banyan. And there are no men.

Hinal, the 25-year-old sarpanch of Siswa village in Borsad town of Anand district in Gujarat, Nisha and 10 of their friends meet every weekend to debate over the nitty gritty of running the village administration. The all-girls panchayat was appointed last month as part of the Samras scheme introduced by chief minister Narendra Modi a decade ago. Under it, as many as 254 villages have entrusted their panchayats entirely to women. The goal, say government representatives, is to avoid inter-village enmity; an inescapable outcome of election politics.  

The idea has found its fans. All-women panchayats have increased from 20 in the last elections to 254. On December 29, elections were held in 10,405 villages across Gujarat, of which 2,147 opted for Samras. All members were elected unopposed. Siswa stands apart on a more interesting count. All 12 grampanchayat members are college-going girls, aged 19 to 26, excited at the thought of improving the fate of 7,000 fellow villagers. 

A year ago, Hinal says she was preoccupied with landing a well-paying job after graduating from Bengaluru’s Shree Raghvendra College of Nursing. Today, it’s the challenge of renovating the old bus stand at the far end of Siswa that’s taking up her time.

“I said an instant ‘yes’ when my father asked me if I was ready to take up the responsibility,” says Hinal, flashing a dimpled grin. Her parents Shailesh and Pravinaben Patel have served as village heads too.

For the last three terms, Siswa has been unanimously electing a woman sarpanch under Samras, says Shailesh. “Five years ago, we appointed an all-women panchayat and it worked wonderfully. Women are convincing. Villagers tend to listen to them better. This time, we decided to go a step further and appoint young, educated girls who are brimming with fresh ideas.”

The 12 girls on the final list fitted the criteria. They had to be educated, single, and belong to the same village. Twenty-year-old engineering student Radha Patel went to the same school as Hinal, and lives a two-minute drive away in an oldworld home that boasts high wooden beam ceilings. On the drive there, past a string of temples (“there are 15 in all!”), she makes it a point to mention her father, Vijay Patel, who despite being a modest farmer made sure she stuck to academics. Radha calls the opportunity a “Godsend”, leaving her overwhelmed at the thought of thousands backing her in support. It’s the primary healthcare centre that tops her list of priorities. Equipping it with new-age facilities, and setting up an educational institution that will offer Siswa’s students the option of pursuing science without having to relocate to Vidyanagar, are number one and two on her checklist.

For Nisha, working in a team is hardly a bother. The manager at a motorbike showroom heads a group of 25 staffers. “But I wasn’t sure if I’d manage to balance both. My mother was adamant. She convinced me, and I’m glad she did,” she says, sharing their latest plan of putting Siswa on the e-map with launching a website to help the community converge on a common platform. “And yes, we’d like to increase employment opportunities through gruh udyog (small scale entrepreneurship).”

In indigenous Indian fashion, the team picked the palanquin as their election symbol. “It symbolized the idea of carrying on our administrative responsibilities even if we relocate after marriage.” Ironically, the thought of wary elders inching away from the girls, hardly keen on taking empowered women home, is far from their minds. “No one is forcing them to marry us. Times have changed,” says Radha.

And for critics who point fingers at the incentivedriven scheme (the Modi government has raised the incentive for an all-women Samras panchayat controlling a village with a population of 5,000 to 15,000, to Rs 5 lakh), Siswa’s sarpanch has this to say: “When they select all-male panchayats under Samras, nobody seems to have a problem.”

Author of Article Soumitra Das

TOI original article link – Click Here

A World’s View Without Glasses – India’s Guangdong

It has been long time we have been foolishly (intelligently to gain political advantages) speaking on the Gujarat Riots and Narendra modi.  A recent article by Economist in their print edition highlights both the pros and cons of the State of Gujarat.  One thing I understand out of the article is the clear path being showed to India, on how to prosper as world powerhouse.

I will still argue with author on the some example he sighted on the ‘healing wounds’ because yes they exists but doesn’t reflect the correct sentiments… but yes they do exists and will always be there till all the politicians shed their ‘divide and rule’ policy and i fear it will never practically happen.  A suggest to read the article and post your own inferences of Gujarat and its development politics…

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