Identifying Your Identity!

Posted: March 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

There are moments of truth in one’s life when your are involuntarily willing to sneak deep into your heart to look up for a definitive reason for your existence.Yes ,that moment when you choose to reason your identity,question your beingness or justify your existence.This defining moment is a manifestation of realization of one’s shortcomings,lapses,backslidings or failure to up oneself commensurate with one’s expectations.

People are in a mad rush to wear brands which are socially-accepted and universally-applauded without even bothering about their personal obsession for it.People wish to standardize themselves in accordance with society’s definitions and universal acceptance.Little do they realize that every DNA is distinct and so is everyone’s definition and rationale behind their being.People scramble to bracket themselves within a specific domain so as to evade academic ostracism.You just winded up with the 10th Boards and what next!Of course, you join the science bandwagon ,if not science,you are worthless in India,after all,you have to earn a decent living! Arts stream is for those who can afford to air their USELESS political,social,economic,cultural opinions while sipping their evening tea.Post 12th exams,you are bound to get hooked to that E-word (males) or the D-word (females),if i am not mistaken.Most of you who would be reading this article must have had underwent an academic turmoil in a similar fashion and yes,i am one of those souls.

People forget that everyone is special and distinct in his own way(Remember TZP’s Nikumb Sir,who proved it!).But,very few of them actually identify that spark and work on how to intensify its glow.Most of them are busy extinguishing that flicker ,leave alone flaming it.People good at writing end up checking transformer oil in factories,some good at designing find themselves playing with lives inside the OT(Operation theater),others adept in culinary art are found managing mundane managerial affairs.Where are we going? Infact,we tend to board a bus to doom which promises a heavenly journey.The need is to obsessively find out a passion in our lives.Because,you need to be hooked to one such mania in your life because it pushes you to breach benchmarks and scale new highs.

Find out your own definition bro.You are unique and so should your destiny be.

CHEERS!

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Reversing the Headwinds!

Posted: September 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Open-mindedness is a  gateway to hold negotiations with violent,obstructive and parochial mindset.Broadening the mental horizons helps in fighting the evil embedded in our system and making way for innovativeness,tranquility and social peace.However,the doors of openness crumble whenever diminuitive illogical parameters viz-caste,creed,culture,sex,religion make their sweeping entries into our lives.Making openness the basic constituent of our lives require social willingness coupled with illuminated minds.Using bricks of openness,we can expect to build edifice of socially-satiable and economically-sustainable societies.
The most triggering aspect of narrow-mindedness in our society is attributed to clouds of prejudices hovering over us.Self-styled godmen,proclaiming to be God-sent messengers dupe people by laying claim to their supernatural powers to cure diseases.People in rural hinterlands,and even in urban pockets get deceived by these monsters.And then one fine day,you find these so called ‘God-sent messengers’ perpetrating crimes against the humanity.How ironic! The basic disease gripping Indians is that their minds have been captivated by these pranksters.No amount of preaching and literacy can bring about an amendment to their mindset unless and untill their hearts are purified and filtered of all the impurities.Next,caste preferences characterise different spheres of our social life and we find people being discriminated and abused on the basis of caste lines.Caste-based politics is not a new concept in hindi heartlands where caste is being used as a bait to win political games.Caste-influenced wars have become a norm for many villages and rural pockets.This concept is so deeply entrenched that people in those regions are identified by the caste they are affiliated to.Therefore,they are entitled to services in accordance with their heirarchy in social precedence table.It has often been perceived that rural community often preaches ethos of casteism,but the fact is that educated sections are even staunch propounders.Infact,this basic ingredient lies in our DNA and therefore appears difficult to remove these evils in one stroke.It is important to give refuge to emotions,practices,cultures of every caste and live in unison without any tad of disturbance if society is expected to be inclusive.People should start accepting each caste without any biases and thus accept their sentiments and emotions without any discrimination.Even the greats like B R Ambedkar and A P J Abdul Kalam have been victims of indifferent behavior.

Souring of interpersonal relations is often a function of prejudices on the lines of caste,creed,culture and religion.Such interpersonal relations between people can be balanced with the help of makeover of their hearts.Abinitio,It may be difficult to fructify,but the results would be worth cherishing in the long run.

Rapes have disgraced our Indian society and is a result of moral corruptness and damage of conscience among people.The 16th December infamous incident became a watershed moment  when entire India took on to streets to express solidarity for the rape victim and demand sweeping changes in the criminal judicial system.However,the sad  and regrettable truth is that even after Criminal Amendment Bill(2013) became a reality with stringent provisions for perpetrators,rapes continued to dominate Indian landscape.The solution to this menace doesn’t lie only in strengthening criminal judicial system,but also in amending the thinking process of men and how they perceive women.Children should be imbibed with teachings of expressing equality to feminine gender and men should be culturally mentored to not perceive women as objects to be used.Such sermonising can deliver changes galore and people could be expected to not transgress moral boundaries.

The quantum of commotion that the religious preferences create is difficult to gauge in literal terms.History is testament to the fact that how religion can do damage to national integration and peace process.Post-independence of India from the shackles of the Britishers,India was submerged in ocean of blood and mayhem.The Britishers played divisive politics to make way for religious disturbances and therby laying down robust foundations for a bloody war between Hindus and Muslims,whose memories are still afresh.Even when Britishers ruled India,they sensed religious inequalities in Indian society and made Hindus and Muslims confront each other which helped them to plunder India easily.The 2001-Godhra riots of Gujarat is yet another tragic reminder of the level of disturbances India can be witness to.People continue to be rejected on the grounds of religion in various spheres,which is totally unacceptable constitutionally.

Pakistan has been a traditional foe of India since the bifurcation of India way back in 1947.Both the nations have fought incessantly to get hold of Kashmir in their territory.Recently,the disturbance across the LOC  has been intensified in the backdrop of ceasefire violations .And this disturbance has spanned 6 decades and still the result is elusive and conclusive results can’t be even expected unless we shun the path of war and violence and instead switch to peaceful negotiations.Acknowledging the fact that India’s neighbours can’t be changed,we must try to end the strife through peaceful compromises.Considering the immense loss of humanity in these unholy inhuman wars,people from both the sides should sit across the table and sort out the issue peacefully.The point I want to drive home is that there is a need to change the hearts of people across both the borders by cultural and religious assimilation.

Bringing a change in heart is the essence of insightful and bright minds where servitude,violence and torture has no scope. A prejudice-free heart can bring wonders  to one’s personal relation with peers,international relations with neighbours and improve social atmosphere within communities.However,bringing a turn-around in thinking process is not possible spontaneously,especially when people have subscribed to narrow-mindedness religiously.So,let us unite to refurbish our heart,where a wonderful,open mind resides.
Afterall,when open hearts collaborate with open minds,headwinds can be expected to reverse.

A New You!

Posted: December 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

How many of us hope for a spring in the winter of our life?How many of us desperately wait for the present to terminate  to give way for the ensuing future?How many of us fantasize being a futurist and prophet? You shouldn’t shy away from giving an affirmative answer…There would be many of us,who wear the same clothes.We wait for something NEW always,as our mind-box generally forbids to acknowledge the essence of OLD.But,do you know what pushes you to be slave of your mind-box? Let us try to unravel the true origin of such a mental attitude….

Why do we wait for something NEW?

Mental set-up is a consequence of circumstances we have been subjected to over a period of time. Let us corroborate this aspect under two heads..

Firstly,where such a mental make-up is a product of our inappropriate and unexpected behavioural attitude.Secondly,it is an outcome of forced nature of work we have been thrusted upon.

Expecting a change is not a new aspect for those elements,who derive gratification in assuming that things will roll out easily ahead,no matter how intensely they might have been mired in problems in the present.As it is said,planning without execution amounts to delusion.For such people,virtual-landscape is the best place to take refuge to.Practicality looses its essence in their lives and they love to cling to –‘I will,I shall,I could’ insead of ‘I am,I can’.Present phase has no meaning in their lives and they wish to fantasize about future phase.As a consequence,he/she forgets to appreciate the grandness of the present phase.Of course,you will not agree that hoping for something  better at the cost of damaging the present is by no way prudent action.These elements hope for a miraculous escape from reality to unfounded landscape boasting of magnificence.As the old adage sermons that present actions lay the foundation for a bright future,it is expected to cash in on today to make way for tomorrow.However,people tend to shift from this idea and wait for their so-called deadly phase of life to terminate before embarking on their so-called desirable path.This course of thinking forces mind to switch to a different phase where it tends to believe right things wrong and wrong things right.That is why NEW is eagerly awaited by such souls.

 

Secondly,we elaborate the different category who develops such a psychological-set up of expecting something new everytime.These people have been victims of their  decisions thrusted upon them either by design or by default.When wrong decisions are taken in guise of being sound and healthy despite of having minimal flair for it,consequences are damaging.So,it is less difficult to imagine that mental behaviour inclines towards a different direction where there is relentless pursuit of a change-   something NEW.However,the brownie-point is that the person is very much present in his ‘present’.For such souls,present may not be so inspiring,happening,but,still,that phase is dear to him.Slowly and steadily,he tends to enjoy his turbulence and negative thoughts get sidelined.But,somewhere at the back of mind,there is an extensive search for a change.However,these souls are most likely to switch on to their desirable paths ,unlike those elements who don’t indulge in engineering their imagination.

 

Which category do you belong to?Which mental set –up do you own?Which NEW are you rummaging for? You might have been answered.

 

NEW will never be NEW until there is a NEW you that cashes in on the NEW.

 

CHEERS!

Competition,in literary sense refers to a situation wherein people or organisations compete with each other to acquire something which not everyone can be party to.Competition encompasses the notion of race among entities to have a stronghold over a considerable share of goods and services in market.If we rewind to the bygone era,monopolization was the norm of the market.Times,when cellular operations were rolled in India,people had to bow down before the demands of telecom monopolizers.People had to wait indefinitely to procure cellular connections.They had to meekly accept exorbitant tariffs and other unacceptable charges and rentals.Once the market was flooded with ubiquitous cellular brands,rates were slashed and economical and reliable connections were promised to the customers in light of increased competition between cellular operators for widening their customer base.Initially,market was monopolized and a single brand enjoyed the air of non-competition.Later on,when cellular networks mushroomed,that particular brand had to deliberately slash their rates and refine their services in wake of uneasiness due to increased competition.This kind of development helped in enrichment and refinement of services rendered by entities which in turn benefited the consumer community by helping them to get entitled to affordable and user-friendly utilities.In another recent instance,Competition Commission of India(CCI)  has levelled cartelisation charges on major cement  companies.The cement majors have been accused of deliberately curtailing the production of cement and selling the product at inflated price.The overall bearing on consumers included buying the products at higher price as well as being left with limited or no choice to choose the product.Here the consumers were plagued by bowing down before their unreasonable  and inordinate demands.Moreover,this kind of development may also take a heavy toll on economy as major infrastructure projects may be stalled because of cement paucity in the market.This aspect may further pave way for inclement investment climate in our country ,thus possessing potential to take the economic graph to a new low.The effect of competition has exemplary implications in almost every field of operation.Competition lays down firm foundations for social and economic benefits for all the stakeholders.In simple words,competitiveness serves as a catalyst to introduce excellence on almost all fronts.

 

Healthy competition is a prerequisite of a robust economy.It ensures that providers of service are up to date,efficient and productive and the users are entitled to services of impeccable class.It is imperative to keep an eye on adverse practices and procedures affecting consumer’s interests explicitly or implicitly.Competition advocates creation of entities which aims at  delivering ceaseless,hassle-free,quality and affordable goods and services.It creates a positive value among users of services.Effective competition paves way for economic efficiency and creation of a market which is responsive to consumer preferences.This factor of being responsive to consumer preferences was missing in days of yore.Due to lack of effective contenders,market converted into a monopolized one where interests of customers used to take backseat.Market sans competition promotes mediocrity,inefficiency and averageness whereas competition-filled atmosphere gives birth to meritocracy,efficiency and excellence.Markets without competition create an ambience where companies continue providing sub-standard items at exorbitant prices.To add to the woes,end-products become scarce as producer’s interest to produce goods at a faster rate wanes due to the missing ‘competitive’element.This situation opens the gate of inflation where supply is deliberately restricted to facilitate a hike in maximum retail price,thus affecting economy’s health.Inflation further influences bank rates which needs to be kept high to tackle inflationary pressures,thus constricting lending capacity of investors.This in turn may lead to a disastrous situation of stagflation,where growth is stalled and inflation continues to soar.Absence of options amongst the users serves as a morale-booster for the companies to exploit the consumers by delivering sub-standard goods at exorbitant rates.They continue with their perpetual policy of duping the users by offering inefficient and unhealthy goods and services.The positive implications of competition can be derived from the post LPG(Liberalization-Privatization-Globalization) era in 1991 when restrictions on market entry were lifted.Also,privatization surged and globalization was conceptualized.Liberalization served as a potent tool to end the long-time monopoly of few market players as a result of foray of entities to offer quality products at slashed rates.Privatization gave a tough fight to state –run agencies by offering refined services at lightening speed,unlike the monopolized ones which offered degraded services at snail’s pace.Globalization refers to a spurt in international interactions and thereby exchanging ideas and values and therby contributing to consumer satisfaction.It helps in receiving access to world-class effective technologies and thereby incessantly honing their craft.Competition leads to conserving interests of small-scale and not so much influential investors in market.Many a times,it has been observed that top-notch agencies with deep pockets intend to create monopoly by offering seemingly quality products at low rates and there by hampering interests of  small investors.This leads to uneven growth of economy where every stakeholder is not equally benefited and consumer’s interests also witness exponential plunge.Competition intends to provide a level playing field for all the stakeholders where no single entity takes refuge of unscrupulous means for colossal gains.One of the prime consequences of competition includes equitable sharing of economic resources to ensure that no one is benefitted unequally at any point of time.Taking a cue from the recent controversial 2G spectrum case,we found that 2G spectrum licences were  granted arbitrarily to telecom operators on throw away prices.As per the set norms,it was decided to disburse the scarce licences via auction route.However,this policy was blatantly breached and thereby led to a set of telecom operators having possession of scarce spectrum licences at inappropriate prices.This in turn may lead to a situation where a set of operators may solely influence market prices on their own whims and wishes.However,the spectrum scam was sniffed and it has been directed to grant the licences again through auctioning route at the earliest by the Supreme Court.In another instance,arbitrary allocation of coal blocks had cost the exchequer Rs1.80 lakhs crores according to a leaked draft report of CAG( Comptroller and Auditor General Of India).Taking refuge to non-auctioning route had cost the state-treasury loose huge amount of money which has been detrimental for the  health of the Indian economy.Lack of competition culture in various sectors had led to downgrading of services.For instance,power sector is facing the music due to restricted participation of private entities.Coal India Limited holds the sole preserve to venture into the power sector as a result of which India has been facing power crunch due to limitations on production front.Being an energy-starved nation is a reflection of a degrading economy.Many other reforms aimed at introducing competition and thus boosting the sagging economy are either facing political blockades or put into cold storage.Policies aimed at allowing FDI(Foreign Direct Investment) in aviation,banking,insurance are hanging fire which in turn has been putting economy in shambles.Effective competition ensures rendering of best in class services at affordable rates.This paves way for effective cut in prices affecting production of goods and services.Here,efficiency is introduced by the use of cost-effective technologies.The cost of production is slashed down, thereby passing its effect on its selling price.As the selling price is cut down ,consumers are benefitted by getting access to quality-products at reasonable rates.In this way,entities are coerced to hunt for economical avenues for manufacturing items.Competition creates an atmosphere where efficiency along with usage of economical technologies assumes importance of exceptional proportions.Nowadays,it has been observed that companies are inclined towards the idea of according higher share of importance to the development of Research and Development(R&D) unit.R&D cell keeps on updating its knowledge skills to evolve economical and sustainable technologies to be employed in production process.In this way,companies take refuge of innovative,durable,reliable solutions.This has been highly called for in this era of stiff competition where cost-effective products receive an edge.Competition advocates judicious utilization of economic resources.Fair and strong competition leads to tapping the potential of a country to the hilt and thus putting country on global economic map.

 

On the socio-economic front,competition casts upon a magical spell.Competition brings forth the advantage of influencing socio-economic lives in ubiquitous ways.Socio-economic development is measured in terms of spiralling GDP growth rate,intensifying literacy rates and employment levels and introducing equality among one and all.

We will touch upon each of the implications in greater details.Competition brings forth the idea of being efficient,albeit not compromising on quality.Consumers are always inclined towards the idea of consuming economically-viable and user-friendly products.Competition coerces the producers to be on their toes so as to produce universally-acclaimed products at financially-feasible price.This develops a race among stakeholders to be aware of the best practices available and harness them to the hilt.This generates the need among the producers to be literate enough so that they are not duped while incorporating efficient techniques to ensure minimum input and maximum output.Moreover,it also makes sure that the consumer fraternity be fully aware of minimum,compulsory literary aspects so as to ensure that they donot pay more than the obvious.Competition brings awareness so as to ensure that the whole society is aware of the basic tenets of consumption and production cost so that it benefits both the consumption and production community.

Competition lays the foundation for equality among stakeholders in society.Competition leads to providing equal opportunities to all the producers  thus dismissing the notion of monopoly.Each and every contender,no matter they are rich or poor  avails an opportunity to showcase their products in markets.Each and every contender vie for the promotion of their  product to obtain a glorious stature through a transparent and unbiased channel.More importantly,the consumers are also not subjected to inequality in terms of prices of commodities.Consumers become a party to efficient products at universally-accepted prices.

Competition effectively sows the seeds of  employment opportunity in the society.As a result of this feature,more and more contenders come forth to compete with their peers by portraying business skills in the market.Effective competition sets the bait for the prospective stakeholders to participate in  business activities according to their interests and skills.As it is pre-ascertained that competition removes any duping  or monopoly from the market,more and more competitors vie for top slot in the market which in turn surges competition in market.This eventually leads to ascension in employment levels in the market by ensuring participation of ever burgeoning community in this sector.

Other less tangible factors that validates socio-economic development includes personal dignity,freedom of association and extent of participation in civil society.Throwing light on above parameters of socio-economic development as a result of competition,it is very clear that we witness considerable participation by the populace as a result of unbiased,regulated and transparent atmosphere.This installs a sense of self-respect,dignity in stakeholders by being a part of their independent business activities in the society.Competition celebrates the idea of people coming in front to associate themselves with activities without an iota of harm or fear.Competition scripts the message of masses working together with the spirit of togetherness,competitiveness to deliver outputs of enviable standards.

 

It is clearly evident that competition accords social and economic edge to the stakeholders,community people and nation at large.Environment sans competition may amount to a condition devoid of characteristics of excellence,probity and transparency.Introducing competition element is the prime necessity in today’s scenario to create benchmarks of excellence.The merits of competition is very well evidenced by the fact that it showers ubiquitous advantages in two primary areas-social and economic domain which are primary yardsticks of measuring overall development.

 Cheers!

In a country where millions return to their bed sans their square meals a day is extremely embarrassing.After 60 years of liberty from the shackles of the Britishers,the problem of self-sufficiency in foodgrains is looming large.We claim to have registered 8 percent GDP and even promise to reach new highs in ensuing years.But,there is no point in bragging about such figures if millions fail to get their due share of food at the end of day.Every accomplishment is futile without addressing the core issue of food-security to the hilt.In light of such a dim scenario,a proposal to distribute foodgrains at subsidized rates is a welcome step.The much ambitious flagship program aimed at weeding out food-problem –‘Food security Bill’  comes as a breather for many destitutes which is slated to provide legal entitlements of cheaper foodgrains to 63.5 percent of population.The program is envisaged to cover 70 percent of rural populace and 50 percent of urban households.It is expected to dole out rice,wheat and cereals at Rs.3,2,1 respectively to targeted groups.Obviously,successful implementation of the program would entail huge deepening of holes in Government exchequer.This would provide an extra burden of $12 billion and is sure to overrun fiscal deficit.Moreover,proper monitoring of the exercise is the debate of the hour.Just rolling out the bill without a proper tab on its functioning will lead us nowhere.A proper grounding needs to be done before putting the bill into actual implementation mode.

Initially,the food security bill is expected to become operational on the creaky figures provided by PDS.One of the preliminary problems include identification of genuine beneficiaries.Large chunk of needy persons are excluded on grounds of their inability to produce proofs of their destitution.Moreover,many persons having access to basic resources are entitiled to such benefits.It is essentially to arrest those errors in identifying the beneficiaries.The system of universal exclusion applicable in states of Kerala and Andra Pradesh have reaped heavy dividends.People covered under universal exclusion can be automatically excluded on grounds of their social and economic status.The principle of exclusion against inclusion seems to be a viable option.The results of caste-economic census are still awaited upon which the actual list of beneficiaries will be prepared.It must be ensured on the part of enumerators to carry on their duties more swiftly and make available the figures so as to prepare the roll list of beneficiaries.

Secondly,the Public Distribution System(PDS) ,which is a flagship establishment of the Government of India is expected to function in a more efficient manner.It will not be an overstatement to declare that PDS was on the verge of breakdown in many states,but,the better part of the picture is that we have got to see revamped version of the PDS in many areas comprising Tamil Nadu,Harayana,Andra Pradesh,Kerala.On the contrast,states like Bihar,Jharkhand where PDS reforms have barely begun.

Apart from expanding coverage and lowering issue prices,many states have embarked on other major PDS reforms viz de-privatisation of fair price shops,door step delivery of foodgrains,computerization of records and host of transparency and accountability measures.Much depends on political value of the PDS.It would be tragedy if the proposed Food Security Bill undermines instead of consolidating the functioning of the PDS.There is a real danger of this happening not only because of the Government’s obsession of ‘targeting’,but also because of the illusion that cash alternative may be a better option.

Illiteracy remains one of the most disturbing trend in our society.Lack of basic education is one of the potential causes of failure of effective culmination of welfare-oriented programs.States like Himachal Pradesh and Kerala are armoured by educated youths and thus ensure no dupes them.The shops have good storage facilities,electronic weighing machines and list of entitlements entitled to APL,BPL or antyodaya card holders.People in these states endorse proper functioning of PDS system as they receive their due share of benefits timely.Aware and alert citizenry and timely inspections make sure that corrupt officials donot run away unpunished and scot-free.On the contrary,people in Uttar Pradesh where illiteracy is rampant witnesses a brutal fate.Untimely distribution of foodgrains,seizure of ration cards in name of early doling continues to be a common norm.The people are even unaware of their basic rights and fear to raise their voice against the administration.They donot know that they are entitled to unemployement allowance in case of promise of employment within 15 days of registration(in case of MNREGA) remains unfulfilled.People complain about the impropriety on part of officials and how the whole episode remains unknown to the outside world.So,the seeds of education needs to sowed in these areas to empower these people so that they can rise to their own cause.

Another option running in the mind of policy makers is to replace the PDS system with an alternative cash transfer.Though economic experts assert that cash transfers put beneficiaries at a higher indifference curve than subsiding the food prices,but first hand interactions with villagers speak a different story.The people vehemently oppose the idea of introduction of cash transfers in lieu of subsidized foodgrains.They endorse their unwillingness to cash transfers citing issues like presence of markets and banks in far flung areas,chances of frittering away of money for futile purposes,unhealthy experience regarding bank payments(in case of NREGA).other fears clouding the minds include uncertain price climate,investment of extra time on travelling and obtaining cash from banks,thereby reducing employability time and fear of unhealthy spending culture.Many of them are votary of the idea that ,with cash transfers coming into play,spending on food grains would be decided on day to day basis(taking into account high prices) after taking other expenses into account.PDS system is a life line for those living on edge of subsistence.They assert that money may evaporate in a day or two but food remains for the entire period.Moreover,in states like Chattisgarh,Kerala,Himachal Pradesh,where people are already satisfied with the idea of food subsidy,then why any  second thought on cash transfer.

More options in the store include introduction of coupon system.The project was flagged off by the Nitish Kumar Government in Bihar and aimed to empower village men and arrest blackmarketing.Under coupon system,the dealers are expected to distribute 12 coupons(1 for every month) in the month of may-june to  the BPL families.When the BPL families returned those coupons for food grains,the dealers are expected to get the next lot of grains on submission of coupon to the administration and the cycle continues.However,it proved to be a major failure on various fronts.There are fair chances that district managers and godown operators may not release food grains to dealers and dealers diverting the grains to markets to earn profits.In most of the cases,more coupons are collected in exchange of entitlements for less food grains.Fair chances of doling out less than the sanctioned amount of food grains persists.The district officials collude with godown managers and indulge in loot game.

Large scale reforms need to be implemented to revamp the entire PDS system.In tune with attaching greater importance with the introduction of much ambitious Food Security Bill,it is mandatory to strengthen the channels for distributing food grains.Besides provision of grains,idea of providing lentils(dal) and cooking gas should be in pipeline.Computerisation of records,steamlining of ‘Door step delivery’,redesigning of ratio cards,regular inspections and monitoring,active redressal mechanism,opening of extension counters in remote areas are among slew of measures intended to rejig the PDS system.Wheat component should be compensated with rice as it remains to be a staple food for most of the villagers.The problem of including all the beneficiaries continues to be a humungous task before the administration.As for ‘cash transfer vs food subsidy’,it is quite premature to deliberate over it.At present,Lot of grounding needs to be done to realize the dream of hunger-free India.

CHEERS!

It will not be exaggerating to say that Indian society and its social values are accorded a holy status.Our people have incessantly bragged its superiority over other contemporary cultures.Societal norms of the Indian culture are considered to be a benchmark and people from foreign lands are expected to take a cue from us.Infact,someone asked to define the word’Heaven’,the answer was perfect with the combination of American salary,British home,Chinese food and Indian culture.On the contrary,the worst of these cultures in form of Indian salary,Chinese home,British food and American culture would fit the definition of the word ‘hell’.The fact remains that Indian family values are worth emulating ,atleast cultural ethos are best in its zenre.

However,in midst of all these extolments,we need to shift our focus on the ingrained attitudes that have started eroding the basics of our societal values.Let me try to deviate your attention towards those unhealthy stereotypical  and orthodox notions that is defying the sanctity of so called ‘Great’ Indian family system. The accepted idea of having a son is growing prevalence. It would not be an overstatement to declare that urban people are more fascinated towards the idea of having a male child as compared to their rural counterparts.The notion received strength in China,following single-child norm. Daughters and daughter-in laws are often pushed for male children who would grow up to be helping hand for the family.Those having first female child resort to pre-natal tests and sex-selection techniques to ascertain the birth of a son.There is a seldom reverse sex-selection technique followed i.e. couples having first male child donot go in for sex selection to have a baby girl as their second child.Such practices result in skewed sex ratio and thereby disturbing male-female balance.

Another misery taking a heavy toll on Indian social system is the widespread norm of dowry.The culture of dowry draws its origin from past when family members of the girl child used to present gifts to the bridegroom.However,today,dowry has taken its monstrous form to gratify monetary thirst of the bridegroom’s family.Such norms assume significance in people having low esteem,a sense of inferiority complex or unplanned lifestyle.To cash in on the dowry dividends,caste marriages are stressed and inter-caste and inter-religion marriages often looked down upon.Women have always been tagged as weaker sections in the society,either socially  or economically.The search for perfect bride calls for the girl to be submissive and meek,who would serve their in laws without any murmurs.Non-working girls are given preference over employed counterparts as the former are supposed to make a good homemaker.There is a prejudice against educated,smart and quick-tounged brides as they are more likely to confront the wrongs.However,such kind of marriages rarely last as they are embedded in defective foundations.

Girls are often discouraged to take up their higher studies and instead indulge in household chores.The people are votary of the idea that an educated girl would make it difficult for the family to find a suitable groom for her.Moreover,educated girls are more likely to breach the traditional norms and propagate their own views.

Parochial social notions, narrow religious acceptances and limited education are responsible for blinkered mindset that engenders wrong notions about family and culture.Indeed,universal and liberal education needs to be imbibed to supplement and reinforce our family values.Family values form asub-culture.Ours is a patriarchal and male-chauvinist society.Any attempt to weaken this notion is strongly criticized.The people,irrespective of their gender decome defenders of this widely-accepted idea.Those schooled in patriarchal values will resent more rights for the women as it will threaten the existence of archaic and conventional values.Liberal values are perceived to be a threat to age-old ideas and will help in making way for empowerment of females.Parents often conspire against their children to prove their false points.Women are never given free hands to decide the matters concerning them.The khap panchayats,a popular feature of villages of North India,particularly in Punjab and Haryana goes on to the extent of crucifying sons and daughters in name of purifying their castes.People are opposed to the idea of marrying within same gotras and those defying set norms meet fatal end.Therefore,mother-in  laws look out for submissive brides,who attend to their orders without any ifs or buts.The brides are coerced to act in a subdued manner and their activities are always under the scanner.The parents play gimmicks and policy of divide and rule to create differences within the family and finally leveling the charges on brides.In old age,the parents are not involved in any kind of cerebral activity.Therefore,they feel socially outcast and neglected and anxiety to seek attentionmay lead to breaks and cracks in family. The khap panchayats,a popular feature of villages of North India,particularly in Punjab and Haryana goes on to the extent of crucifying sons and daughters in name of purifying their castes.People are opposed to the idea of marrying within same gotras and those defying set norms meet fatal end.It is surpriding to note that even people sitting at the apex of governance are not exempted from such kind of practices and traditions.Of late,the marriage of an IAS and an IFS officer was cancelled in the village,following a directive from khap panchayat that stated such kind of inter-caste marriage would set precedents for others and they would never allow to spread filth in society.

Such kind of one-upmanship may lead to blatant tortures of the females,often resulting in physical and mental abuse,often resulting in dowry harassment cases under 498A act of Indian Penal Code(IPC). Here,it is not surprising to quote that several deaths are reported dueto end result of relentless physical tortures in name of insufficient dowry.It is quite damning to note that such kind of stereotypical attitudes have crept into  our social-behaviour books.

However,it will take some time to correct these faultlines and erase the set mindset among the folks to bring a rejig in society.Universal education may prove to be a powerful instrument to instill the ideas of liberty and values of modern Indianfamily.Education will empower young minds to think in a more liberal manner and deviate them away narrow considerations.We may hope that gen X will be geared to counter these damaging effects of society in a more bold and convincing manner.The need of hour is to establish foundations to promote humane attitudes that is germane and central to the idea of modern,liberal society.We must join our hands in unison to uphold the sanctity of the “The great Indian Society”.

 

CHEERS!

Tracing the roots

Since Inception,India has scaled zooming heights in almost all areas of human concern.Unprecedented revolutions in industrial and commercial domain,agricultural sector,breadth of scientific endeavours are a testimony to the country’s majestic development.Imposing official figures in areas of electricity generation,literacy level,food grain  and steel production is a clear testament to India’s relentless efforts to compete itself with developed economies.A sizeable Indian populace is bracketed in the community,who consider  themselves to a part of global elite.We have myriad of reasons to smile and scientists and technocrats need to take a fair share for elevating India to the “emulating” standards.However,the other side of development coin is not fairly smooth.Even after decades of liberty,life of millions continue to be mired in agony and torture.Astonishing 400 millions still continue to live below the poverty line and many others donont have access to drinking water,sanitation,in short,struggle hard to eke out  a decent livelihood.

The Contemporary Trend

Many planners and decision makers in our country are unwilling to share the aspirations of the downtrodden sections and initiate a revolutionary step to wipe out their sorry state of affairs.Few of them are dithering over implementation of sincere approaches following interventions from higher authorities.In this direction,I wish to recall the words of the father of nation.

“Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him.”

These talismanic words by Mahatma Gandhi inspire us to render selfless service and stand above personal interests.

Pervading poverty,insatiable living standards,sorry state of farmers clearly points out the flaws in our policies which have failed to address pressing issues.It is this vicious cycle that our policies and plans have nurtured ,or atleast not to break.More and more number of people have been bypassed by so called”development process”.Moreover,to add to the woes,our scientists have chosen not to oppose the traditional system of working and mutely accept the doom.

The pressing Reasons

The relevance of science regarding  resolving issues of critical importance is loosing essence.The pure scientific attitude has taken a nose dive and received a serious setback.Science is forwarding its steps towards doors of doom.We have been at a loss to chart out a comprehensive plan to redress the pressing issues which grapples the common populace.Our policies have been traditionally old and fail to march with contemporary trends.Citizen-participation in formulation of a viable policy remains a distant thought.Absence of empowerment to the people at grass root level distances them from deliberating thought-provoking ideas.Also,national priorities need to be accorded to issues of scientific relevance.In specific terms,most of our policies are ascribed on over-reliance on imaginary goals,which is not pertinent to the ground  conditions such as arbitarily chosen growth rate for agricultural,industrial and national development.Our policy makers have been at loss to leverage our resources in the best interests of countrymen.Underutilization of resources  and haphazard planning without any clear and practical vision has intensified the dichotomy between poor and rich.Moreover,to add to woes,the science community has accepted its minuscule role and established its impotent character.

Science progressing towards the door of doom.

Science has acquired a poor status in our country and the very fabric of science has become fragile.Sadly,people foray into the science arena by default and not by design.Peope failing to carve out a niche in any field finally take refuge of science.Science education at college level is no more considered socially desirable.To add to the list,practical aspects have lost its essence and more stress is accorded to theoretical part.

Let me divert your attention to the reasons which ails Indian science.Most of the work going on in our laboratories are insensitive to meeting contemporary challenges.Moreover,poor infrastructure,bureaucratic red tape,traditional functioning of science institutions have faded the image of indian science.Our heirarchical and autocratic working methodology has incessantly discouraged the younger scientists in actualizing their potential.While,the  younger scientists cannot look beyond the strings of zeroes attached behind their salary,lucrative foreign tours and perk,the older ones are busy climbing up the professional ladder and ensuring post-retirement pastures.Lack of adequate funding,poor R&D advancements,lack of ground-researches have contributed to shabby image of science.Unquestionably,the quantum of researches going on in the name of science is very shallow and preliminary and touches only peripheral aspects without bringing about any deep structural amendments.The hosts of evaluations and review committees is all a façade and an attempt to blind comon man.Inability to break traditional norm of working and age-old format of constricting the entry of private players in contributing their share to indian science is something India is paying dearly for.Priorities accorded for national development needs a rejig  so as to accommodate the developments of both poor and the rich.Another highlighting reason for plight of science is lack of linkages between innovations,productions and marketing.An effective mechanism should be instituted to facilitate early and effective promotion of products in market.A large scale restructuring is a pre requisite for addressing the contemporary concerns.The problem of academic,industrial and institutional laboratory works can only be addressed by fundamental changes in their mandates,stated objectives,personnel policies,infrastructural endowments and result orientation.The immediate job of science is to address the burning issue of poverty and simultaneously brandishing India’s competitive image globally.Indian scientists have not been able to define their objectives in clear terms and thereby failed to trod ahead.Science should mould itself in a robust manner to ensure rendering quality services to thesociety and to give life to this statement,scientists need to work relentlessly in pursuance of goals.

Science & Technology-an overview.

 

Science,as per the dictionary,entails systematic and structured knowledge which could be documented through series of explanations and experiments.Technology incorporates pragmatic application of science fundamentals in areas having huge social bearing.Science &Technology in conjoined format can help explore new avenues and hence reap social benefits of monumental proportions.Of late,myriad of approaches have come to fore promising exceptional results in the offing.But,most of them are short lived and finally illustrates its impotent nature.Recognising short-lived nature of methodologies,sustainable approaches need to be explored.Sustainable approach includes exploration of an effective mechanism that would ensure its lasting effect without compromising environmental issues.The need of the hour demands embarking upon host of techniques which would help in realising a revolution having a lasting impact.

Obligations of Science.

In a country where millions fail to eke out a decent living,the science community needs to channelize its prowess to endow endowments of impressive proportions.We need to identify emerging issues,chalk out alternative approaches to allow flowering of sustainable livelihoods.

A robust scientific institutional framework,which is insulted from any interventions will facilitate the realization of sustainable livelihoods.While export orientation and internationalism is imperative for strenthening of science & technology fabric,we also need to feedback from people at ground level.This would facilitate in rendering first hand information from the ground-level populace and thereby chalking out plans sensitive to their needs.Our methodology of working  should be time specific  i.e. short-term and long-term goals.Issues like enhancing public-delivery mechanism,equitable  resource-allocation to all sections should be bracketed within short term goals and issues pertaining to poverty removal,keeping a tab on population growth and averting resource depletion comes under long term goals.

We need to arise above minute personal interests and work in concert with all departments to sanction national interests.Also,it is imperative to think beyond traditional and irrelevant dichotomies such as-private versus public,traditional versus modern,basic research versus applied  to pave way for sustainable livelihoods on a sustained basis.

Magnificient implications of S&T.

Broad scale developments depend upon the leverage of scientific  prowess in a holistic manner.The basic obligation of science is to pave way for creation of sustainable livelihoods.Funding science for social development remains to be a major investment for developed econmies of the world.We need to strenthen the research and development wing for developing more prosperous  discoveries in the field of science.A condusive environment should endorse investment-culture for research and development in science-intensive areas viz-space technology,electronics,defence,pharmaceuticals.An unrestrained investment into R&D sector can reap rich dividends.The government is commited to spend  1% of GNP to science,but,majority of the funds are earmarked for areas like-pilot projects,training workforce and demonstrations and has meagre effect on the lives of people at the grass root level.We allocate 1000 times as much money for researches of interest to rich and affluent sections aswe do for problems of general people. Our science policies are aimed at accentuating the disparities between haves and have nots  and counters the very principle of social justice and equity. Funding for society i.e. ensuring better standards of health,education and well being is socially rewarding.One such investment includes in the direction of scientific research.Poor funding in this arena has handicapped the success of this sector.

The role of Science &Technology is momentous  in almost all quarters of society.Today,infact,every aspect of our life has been revolutionised by introducing science and technology.Not a single domain is untouched by its magical implications.

Let me tour you through contemporary complications in which India is mired in.Not to mention,Poverty dominates the list.Following that,pervading unemployment is a cause of concern.Of late,India endorsed ‘National Manufacturing Policy(MNP)’ which would enhance  manufacturing sector’s share in GDP to 25 percent and pave way for creation of 100 million jobs by 2020.The proposed MNP envisages for creation of sustainable livelihoods and technological value addition which would have economic multiplier effect.The policy encourages infrastructure development on public private partnership(PPP),which would pave way for creation of reliable assets.

Next goal is to push India’s growth rate into double digit territory which is continously hovering around 7-8%.Of late,India’s growth rate was plagued following sovereign debt crisis in Europe and rupee’s falling exchange rate.Despite RBI’s (India’s central bank) ongoing rate hiking spree for 13times since March,2010,Inflation continues to be above comfort zone and thereby hurting common man’s expenditure sentiments.Some of the eye-cathing reasons for our sorry state is inefficient industrial structures  involving high capital costs and long gestation periods.Technology is specially designed to curtail labour options and thereby adding  to unemployment figures.Large scale operations like-steel manufacturing plants,oil refining units,automobile manufacturers generally use mechanized units to develop their products.Even if full costs of processes and resources used in manufacturing  goods and delivering products is taken  into account and no subsidies for energy,transportation, financial and other services are withdrawn,even small scale industries can prove to be a roaring success.Small micro-enterprises (SME) forms the backbone of Indian economy.Small micro-enterprises(SME) which claims 60 per cent of industrial production and 65 per cent of industrial production are facing a slow death dueto inadequate funding and lack of proper marketing access.Recently,the internet giant ‘Google’ offered free internet space for emerging SMEs so as to facilitate better promotion of products.The SMEs are quite small,unregulated and disorganised sector which invites environmental and societal grave implications.These sectors cannot be expected to do expected results sans technological and managerial prowess.For enterprises to be profitable and sustainable on a long term basis,robust marketing and production facilities need to be institued.These small scale industries can be given shape with meagre investment ranging from 20,000 INR to 10 laks INR.Moreover,this would lead to creation of large number of job opportunities which would add to the income of rural populace,thereby enhancing their purchasing power capacity.The best part is that its gestation period is less and profits can be expected in shorter time.

Let us first enlist areas where science and technology can bestow benefits on a sustainable basis.The areas identified by the Governement of India where science and technology may prove beneficial for the development of country includes drinking water for household use,decentralised electricity generation,security technology,bio-farming techniques,farming technology,women-technology parks,rural-developmet parks,technological interventions for elderly and aged and advancements in sericulture ,horticulture and the list goes on an endless note.The governement has approved national bamboo mission application(NBMA) which has developed and demonstrated a vast array of technologies and applications.The mission evisages to provide economic and social benefits by facilitating the creation of millions of jobs,building up of bamboo resources and marketing technology and thereby helping millions sail across the the psychological poverty line.In the 11th year plans,the Government has laid enough emphasis on chalking out impact-making schemes for water conservation,nutritional security,local and regional  resource utilization

About 70 per cent of Indian population depends on farming to eke out a living.In a country,where majority of populace banks upon agriculture to earn their bread,a thought about revolutionising the   farming isector assumes importance.Our agriculture is plagued by series of impediments.Well,the after-effects are quite evident from the fact that our farmers fail to prove their prowess in terms of produce.If we count on the recent figures,rice production in China amounts to 6000 tonnes per hectare whereas Indian counterparts register a dismal 3000 tonnes per hectare of land.Difference of allmost same quantum is visible if we compare wheat production figures of France and India.What is that which ensures our ruining our farming sector,despite have vast swathes of cultivable land?

Well,the problem is that we fail to effectively introduce technological aspects ,which would  have hitherto claimed wonders.Mechanization of agriculture is one aspect where we need to invest our attention.Talking about introduction of technological aspects,we need to give a serious thought to that.Recently,a paddy-planter was introduced by the Government of India with an aim of zooming the agriculture produce by investing less amount of efforts.The issue of effective water management assumes significance in water-strapped era.Unaccounted use of water in farming needs to be controlled.One initiative in this regard is introducing”Drip technology”,which entails use of pipes,valves to water the roots of plants on drop by drop basis.This would help plants receive water and simultaneously ensure its judicious use.In an era,where doors of secrecy are breaking down,an aware citizenry can register sizeable benefits to their names.                Proper  harnessing of technological benefits can prove effective in this direction.Early,timely and first hand information regarding actual prices of agriculture produce may help farmers from getting duped by middlemen.Technological advances,which would facilitate their communication with traders may serve as a stimulus for upgrading their social-living standards.Global-environment degradation has also been an issue which has caught the attention of think-tanks all over the world.In agriculture,several fertilizers containing ammonium sulphideafter usage prove disastrous ,owing to presence of toxic contents.We need to encourage the usage of “Bio-manures” which would help salvage our already degraded environment without compromising on healthy crop growth.

At local level,we need new forms of institutions that are capable of fulfilling social objectives in a business-way.The country’s largest dairy conglomerate ‘AMUL’ is a handsome example in this direction,which boasts of ensuring bread to many.Private entities  must foray into unconventional areas as apart of corporate social responsibilty(CSR) as well as models based on public-private partnership (PPP) should be floated.Pilot projects based on PPP models will have a vision for rendering social benefits without compromising on personal gains of private players.A full scale commitment is needed to place science development of sustainable technologies at the centre of country’s agenda.A two-way dialogue process needs to be initiated between government representatives and common populace to collate datas/figures/information at ground level and thereby charting out sustainable mechanism to support sustainable livelihoods.In essence,an attempt should be made to develop an autonomous institution ,comprising of local units and capable of taking care of geographically and topically relevant societal problems.Theconcept could be modelled after CSIR,which has national and regional laboratories.However,its mode of working and structure and format would be entirely different from CSIR.Moreover,these institutions should aim at researching into areas apart from prototype-type,laboratory based R&D,thereby, exploring avenues to solve ground level issues pragmatically.Its capacity to attract best talents and maximum financial assistance depends on applying right mix of basic and applied research and freeing the organization from bureaucratic and political hurdles.Taking its mandate and scope,these organizations will have an impressive impact of millions of starving lives.

New contracts between science and society can work wonders.To ensure  that science rises to glorious heights,some of the highlighting measures include enhancing education standards at primary and secondary level to facilitate capacity building,weeding out bureaucratic tape in clearances of proposals,real assessment of requirements of ground-level people and thereby promoting conducive ambience for sychronising scientific benefits with societal benefits to the hilt.

Our prime focus should be aimed at working in concert with all agencies and evolve sustainable assets which would serve as a thing beyond forever.

CHEERS!