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September 19, 2013

Restricting Engineering fees, good or bad?

Filed under: Uncategorized — neosurya @ 19:25

I heard from a friend recently that the Engineering fees in Andhra Pradesh is capped at Rs 35K per semester and no additional money may be charged by the college. This is true for other states as well. For instance, Govt of MP has a cap of around Rs 28K per semester [2]. True, most Engineering institutes are pathetic. But, this is a chicken and egg problem – engineering is a difficult practice, and good quality teaching cannot be so dirt cheap. If you pay so little, you will not get good quality.

Leading party to start common maximum program.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — neosurya @ 18:55

News has just been leaked that political parties are promising a Common MAXIMUM Program as part of their manifesto in the coming elections. The same six areas are:

  1. Maximum effort made to give excuses for all security lapses, criminal/economic violations, law and order issues. Strategies would include: Blaming non-secular, fundamentalist elements, Haranguing the media for being anti-Govt, and claiming that it is “Coalition Dharma”.
  2. Ensure maximum growth (100-200%) of Swiss bank accounts, benami foreign company holdings, and dubious land transactions. Ensure HUGE gains by allowing each and every natural resource to be stripped from the nation. For slow growth of Indian economy, please refer to Policy number 1.
  3. Complete destruction of farm labor, farm prices, and un-organized sector by promising freebies. Instill the secure thought into families that any/all work is useless, and hence none of them need to work. Enact dole out procedures which ensure all human dignity to be controlled and managed by Govt officials. If someone inquires are made about why the said freebies are not reaching the beneficiaries, point them to policy number 1.
  4. Create several, very very fast track courts, and laws that only focus on revenge, but ignore the root cause. Also create draconian laws that restrict freedom of expression. While on the subject, also arrest women for speaking their minds [1].
  5. Destroy the education system by enforcing unrealistic bureaucratic restrictions [1, 2*]. Completely destroy what is left of public sector. Introduce laws to decapitate private sector as well.
  6. Unleash an increasingly complex web of regulations, dismal infrastructure, and a completely unpredictable political environment. Thus, force all entrepreneurs, businessmen, scientists, engineers and all other professionals and productive forces of society to use all of their creative energies to barely survive.

On a serious note, the UPA-I Govt. had promised a Common Minimum Program in 2004. This was reported in major newspapers  [1], and even official Govt publications [1]. Articles were carried out in the media and even in academia [1] about the greatness of such a program. It is anybody’s guess as to how much has been achieved. The six goals of that program were:

  1. To preserve, protect and promote social harmony and to enforce the law without fear or favour to deal with all obscurantist and fundamentalist elements who seek to disturb social amity and peace.
  2. To ensure that the economy grows at least 7-8% per year in a sustained manner over a decade and more and in a manner that generates employment so that each family is assured of a safe and viable livelihood.
  3. To enhance the welfare and well-being of farmers, farm labour and workers, particularly those in the unorganised sector, and assure a secure future for their families in every respect.
  4. To fully empower women politically, educationally, economically and legally.
  5. To provide for full equality of opportunity, particularly in education and employment for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs and religious minorities.
  6. To unleash the creative energies of our entrepreneurs, businessmen, scientists, engineers and all other professionals and productive forces of society.

The UPA also made this statement:

The UPA makes a solemn pledge to the people of our country: to provide a government that is corruption-free, transparent and accountable at all times, to provide an administration that is responsible and responsive at all times.

September 5, 2013

Death by Plastic

Filed under: education — Tags: , , — neosurya @ 17:42

Imagine someone were to feed you small doses of plastic with your daily lunch. And then, over a period of a few months, you suffer from a dull ache in the stomach. The sensation grows into an agonizing pain. One day, you are unable to bear it any longer, and settle down in a quite corner, awaiting for death to relieve you of the suffering. The buffalo you see in the pictures below went through the same phenomenon.

Buffalo dead by the roadside, plastic in its stomach.

Buffalo dead by the roadside, plastic in its stomach. Not far from Aparna Sarovar near Gachibowli, Hyderabad

Buffalo with plastic in its belly

Buffalo with plastic in its belly

The head of a fully grown Buffalo, killed by the plastic in its belly.

The head of a fully grown Buffalo, killed by the plastic in its belly.

On my daily commute yesterday (4th Sept), I took a detour to ride through some of the back alleys near Aparna Sarovar. I rode past the empty HUDA layouts of Nanakramguda, past a spacious temple that was rendering a recorded Sri Suktam. Crossing a pack of dogs, I came upon a large mass of plastic by the roadside. At first sight, this would have been your friendly roadside dump; A product of the many colonies that want the convenience of a plastic lifestyle, but do not want the nuisance of its disposal. But there was a different stench coming from this pile, and the plastic was too tightly wrapped for a roadside dump. When I saw the characteristic placement of the pile, the series of ribs, and the smell of rotting flesh, I realized that this pile was different. The horns told me that it was a Buffalo, and the size of the pile meant that it had a very painful death. Going by the size, the plastic could have been easily about 40-50 kilos. And given that there was almost no skin or flesh on the bones, the death happened at least a couple of months ago.

I had known this for a very long time that Plastic kills animals (See these links: Harmful Effect of Plastic in Animals, you tube video, Plastic Bags & Animals: Making the Wild Safe for Wildlife, Pacific Ocean trash patch mystery: How many fish eat plastic?). Even sea fish, and wildlife are affected by eating trash. The toxins in plastic ultimately make it into our food chain as well. But for the first time, I was seeing the carcass of an animal that died of acute plastic poisoning. A few months ago, had vehemently asked my family to be completely plastic free. I could not get my family to comply fully, but made some partial progress. I should try harder.

September 2, 2013

New Austerity measure: Govt to shutdown Govt between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM

Filed under: India — Tags: , , — neosurya @ 11:44

In a new austerity measure, the Govt declared that all Govt departments would be shut down between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM. This closely follows an announcement by the petroleum ministry to close petrol bunks during night times [1]. The department of personnel and training (DoPT), which will be responsible for implementing this measure refused to either accept or reject this measure. One highly placed anonymous official suggested that it was being seriously considered and quoted: “Many people in the department believe that this is indeed a great step. As it is, we do not have very much to do, what with the frequent political interference in our work.”.

We were able to get a sound byte from a political representative: “A brilliant idea by the leadership. This will also solve the corruption problem permanently. It will also let us focus on the more important duty of chamchaagiri.”. The opposition quipped: “This is wholesale fraud by the Govt. It is our God given duty to disrupt the Govt proceedings, and make it impossible for the parliament to do anything. This is a conspiracy by the Govt to take away our rights. We will protest by conducting a walkout of the remaining parliamentary sessions.”.

A recently recruited junior Govt staff was asked if the decision effected him: “No problem. A few colleagues and I are planning resign service and do a startup. We are calling it “Fuel Fill”. Private sector employees will be working between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM, and will have difficulty filling petrol. Our staff will go around with 30 and 40 liter cans to fill petrol from bunks. Those who want fuel after hours can get it from us.”.

Our representatives hit the street and decided to have a live call with “common men” from the four corners of the country.

Mr Mehta from Mumbai: “Ye commodity market ke liye accha time hai. Pyaaz Rs 80 ho gayaa hai. Futures market me aag lagi hai. Govt gayi tel lene. Chal bhai, Dahisar kaa 8:18 nikal rahaa hai. Late huaa to boss bom maregaa.”

Translation: This is a great time to be in the commodities market. Onion is Rs 80 a kilo. Futures market will be set ablaze with this announcement.  Govt has gone to get fuel . To *ell with the Govt. Ok dude, I got to go. If I miss the 8:18 local train from Dahisar, the boss will shout at me.

Mr Chaudhuri from Kolkata: “Amor jaaani… Yes sab maoists ki mili bhaati ho. The true revolution will come. Didi will get justice for all.”

Translation: I/We know, the Maoists are behind all this.

A Bengaloorian over the phone: “Mr Reddy, erada taannu steel aaktivaa? Ido Yelahankaa nalli new development project sigtaayide….”

Translation: (Mr Reddy, can you get me two tons of steel rebar; there is a new development here at yelhanka. Our anchor interrupts him about the Govt shutdown.

A Bengaloorian (Turns towards camera): “Yaavude kashta illa. Everything taken care of. No Govt. No problem.”

Someone strolling the malls in Gurgaon: “Abe thand rakh. Diesel generator daa power, Private guard daa body guard, Appolo daa hospital. Itthe gal hui to Mama in UK”.

Translation: Take it easy dude. We have power from Diesel generator, private security guards, Appolo hospital, and if things get too bad, my maternal uncle is in UK and we can all go there.

====================== End of story ========================

The above is satire, and like all satire, it is also not true. But if you do realize the problems we are facing, and if you want to change something, please consider joining politics and cleaning it up: AAP or Sone Ki Chidiya.

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