Friday, May 30, 2008

You can't help idiots

Many horrible things that happen in India are blamed on illiteracy prevailing. But sometime one feels that that these happen because some people are just idiots. See this news item. Here is a couple who is doing these bizarre things.
A British couple, who travelled to India for fertility treatment, abandoned their twin babies in the UK because they wanted a male child.

The mother aged 59 and father, 72, conceived in India with fertility treatment and dumped their twin babies in a British hospital after finding out they were girls.

Now somebody please tell me, what will you blame this on. To top it off they want to do it again.
The report said the husband also wanted to know how soon it would be before his wife was fit enough to fly out again for further IVF in the hope of getting a boy to continue the family name.

Why do they want to continue the family name that they themselves are actively working to destroy.

Monday, May 26, 2008

India's Oil Crisis

Every country in the world is facing oil crisis. In India is is particular severe because it is has become unnecessary political tool in the hands of communists. I think the problem can be solved and it is really not as severe as it has been made out to be. I did some calculation and I believe there is a small group of "poor" people that probably need to be subsidized while others are unnecessarily reaping the benefit of this subsidy.

Diesel is subsidized more than petrol in India while all the Mercedes and many other brands of luxury cars run on diesel. I think this needs to be stopped right away. Also anybody who can afford a luxury car or a luxury taxi needs to pay for real fuel charges and in case of luxury taxi services these charges need to be passed on to end customers.

So here is my plan. The fuel prices should be set at realistically market price levels and specific mechanisms should be designed to provide subsidy to needy sections. For example, farmers running tractors (not the guy using tractor to pull equipment on airport) can have a set quota of diesel that is subsidized on a daily basis. Similarly assuming that auto rickshaws may be used by poorer sections of society, direct subsidy can be given to these. This can be administered through automated systems like credit/debit cards.

Better still, everybody who wants discounted fuel should be asked to get a PAN card (this seems to be most systematic identification system that we seem to have today) irrespective of them filing returns. Once you use subsidized fuel, you should not be allowed to purchase a car. The logic being that if you can afford the car, you better afford the fuel.

If the so called middle class wants to vote the government out of power, so be it. They have to pay for what they use. Currently, just because this section is capable of making more noise, they are heard about many sections of society which are more needy. I did not hear so much noise even when thousands of farmers were committing sucides.

Karnataka Elections and role of BSP

So the election results for Karnataka assembly were kind of as predicted as well as surprising. BJP finally got almost a majority and they probably would peacefully run a government for next five years. But most of the analysts on TV were (without looking at the data) saying that congress lost because of BSP. So I thought that let me see if the data supports that fact. Here is a table of constituencies where congress's loss margin was less than the vote that BSP got. For simplicity I am assuming that if BSP was not the spoilsport and all the vote would have gone to congress they would have won. Here is the data

S No.Constituency NoConstituency NameVotes to CongressVotes polled to BSPVotes of WinnerVictory Margin

So there seems to be some merit to the logic that there is a significant number of seats that could have gone the congress way if all the vote that BSP got would have got transferred to congress. But this is only half the story. So I collected the same data for BJP and here are the results.

S No.Constituency NoConstituency NameVotes to BJPVotes polled to BSPVotes of WinnerVictory Margin
449Bidar South3078321907320541271
653Raichur Rural290978499344325335

And the result and the damage is very similar, Now one can not really make a call on whom does BSP vote go to if the BSP was not contesting the election and I would think that it is more likely to get transferred in the ratio of the votes that were otherwise polled to each of the parties. A similar analysis for JDS also shows following

S No.Constituency NoConstituency NameVotes to BJPVotes polled to BSPVotes of WinnerVictory Margin
253Raichur Rural325558499344321877

Another eight such constituencies. Now in each of these datasets the party in question (i.e. Congress, BJP, BSP) is not necessarily the second party, in some cases it may be third.

One thing is certain, BSP got significant percentage of votes in certain seats and definitely impacted the result of election but I would not really believe that it has impacted one party more than the other.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Banks and killing machine (again)

Back in 2007 I blogged about how banks have turned themselves into killing machines. It seems they have not really learnt. See here. This is what courts have to say.
We deem it appropriate to remind the banks and other financial institutions that we live in a civilised country and are governed by the rule of law," a bench comprising Justices Tarun Chatterjee and Dalveer Bhandari said.

Maybe they really need to be punished before they will learn, just the threats of punishment are not enough.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Manohar Dairy, Bhopal

After a gap of around 5 years I went back to Manohar Dairy restaurant in Bhopal. The place has been spruced up and the food quality is still as impeccable as before.
The restaurant is near Bhopal Railway station and I have always found North Indian snacks really good there. Things like Chole Bhature, Samosa, Alu Tikki etc. are really good. After reaching there after such a long time I realized that one does not really need a thousand rupees to have a decent meal.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

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The dumb mainstream media again

So I am watching the television and one of the 24hrs news channel announces
Abhishek and aishwarya have become bollywood's hottest couple

No I don't understand who measured the temperature of this couple?

Monday, May 5, 2008

China mounts cyber attacks on Indian sites

So china is doing cyber attacks on Indian sites. Now a days almost every country is doing that. That seems to be part of their geo political strategy.
According to senior government officials, these attacks are not isolated incidents of something so generic or basic as "hacking" â?? they are far more sophisticated and complete â?? and there is a method behind the madness.

Publicly, senior government officials, when questioned, take refuge under the argument that "hacking" is a routine activity and happens from many areas around the world. But privately, they acknowledge that the cyber warfare threat from China is more real than from other countries.

The core of the assault is that the Chinese are constantly scanning and mapping Indiaâ??s official networks. This gives them a very good idea of not only the content but also of how to disable the networks or distract them during a conflict.

This, officials say, is Chinaâ??s way of gaining "an asymmetrical advantage" over a potential adversary.

Now It is very hard to stop hacking but it is not difficult to make sure that no damage is done and at the same time it is also not hard to mis-guide hackers into believing that they have been successful. I am sure there is enough skill within India to be able to do that. I only hope that government is leveraging every tool and resource at its option to achieve that.