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Its time of elections. For those who vote and even for those who prefer to abstain, there is always a clear stand about who should be the nation’s next Prime Minister. I recieved a mail, in this context, Just posting here.

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I have been witnessing a spate of  ‘feel good’ propaganda films of Congress on TV these days, transporting me back to the golden ‘Shining India’ times. The publicists have very cleverly used rural background in nearly all these advertisements. I have deep roots in my village and firmly believe that unless rural economies improve and people have decent incomes and dignified life, people will keep streaming into cities and all cities will slowly become mass slums – with people leading dog like lives in these slums.  

General Elections 2009 umennetFrom this point of view NREG scheme is welcome. But, unfortunately it has become like all socialist schemes – a money making racket for the middle men, mostly belonging to ruling parties. You just have to read Jean Drez’s interview in TOI to understand what I mean. Thus, all the hard earned money of citizens like me has been sent down the village nullahs by this government to garner votes. Just as farmer loan waivers have only benefited their big fat farmer friends and not those who are actually starving to death and giving up their lives. The numbers are mind numbing. It is ironic that the government which came up through the funeral pyres of unfortunate farmers couldnt reduce, let alone stop these suicidal deaths. 

But, for the present, let me speak as an urban citizen as most of the politicians take urban voters for granted, though they collect all legal and illegal money for official and unofficial purposes from cities. 

Mr. P. Chidambaram, who has been the FM for nearly the whole term and talks down to anybody who doubts his superior knowledge and intellect has done his best to nearly halt the liberalization process initiated by Mr. Manmohan Singh  in his earlier avataar, as a person possessed, to  undo whatever he had done as the yes man of socialist parasites during great 5 year planning eras. NDA had taken the momentum forward and took some bold steps in a very graded and planned manner to unshackle the economy  with stable policies. Thus, we saw an unprecedented growth trajectory, which Indian economy had never seen under Nehru rate of growth, taking our economy to a new orbit.   

This government of ‘aam aadmi’ has made the taxation system incomprehensible again By increasing the scope of service tax and TDS to include more and more ‘aam aadmi’ in the net and  empowering more and more ‘babus’.  

Just take an example – one first charges service tax then the payee deducts TDS. Then, one adjusts service charges that one paid against the service charges one charged!  We have FBT to penalize the companies who work harder and have people on the street to sell more and work harder. We also have various kinds of surcharges and cess to compound the confusion further. Thus, more and more paper work has helped auditors and babus, but not the ‘aam aadmi’ who sweats it out to earn is daily bread. Privileged classes like Doctors and Lawyers don’t fall into this spreading out of net. As an esteemed lawyer, he knows best why they shouldnt be brought into the net. 

Ofcourse, he has a soft corner for his rich friends, so periodically he allows them voluntary disclosures so they can sleep well. No such luck for poor salaried class. The driblets of concessions he gets in basic income tax are more than offset by reduction in savings incentives. Yes, our FM is smart! All the talk of less paper work for common man is a cruel joke on him/her. The attack is from both sides – income as well as expense. Our intelligent FM believed that Indians save too much and don’t gamble on things like stock markets – the Gods of modern economies – so incentives on all kinds of savings has been reduced. Ceilings on housing loan deductions have been reduced. In the process, we have also squeezed the infrastructure based savings through housing finance etc. Idea is to discourage savings and drain them on consumerist life style, the bane of western civilization. We haven’t learnt the lessons of history that real growth comes from real savings. Now, having been hit by recession, the truth may dawn on us, but at what cost?  

In return for all this pain, what have I got? Infrastructure? I think, I will die counting pot holes, dug up roads, horrible roads, drainage system, poor conveyance options. My power bills have gone up, thanks to ‘privatization’ without accountability. May be my kids will enjoy the fruits of this painful crawling growth, may be my grand sons/daughters? Highways stopped expanding. I wonder where is my petrol cess going? All trains seem to lead to Bihar where nobody pays for them. I still have to go through a loopy root to Bangalore taking 25 hours though the direct and shorter link is available. May be the bus operators offer good incentives to our rulers for not paying attention to this region. I still take 17 hours to go to Hyderabad while buses running on such poor highways take only 13 hours! I have no fast connections between Mumbai and Chennai. I am told that many of these are still single track routes. I sincerely believe that Railway ministry should be rotational so the whole of India benefits. 

Yes, air travel has grown multifold, courtesy a few brave men like Capt. Gopinath. From our government we have received two dozen foundation stones in the last month of its existence, so the sauve Civil Aviation minister and his generations to come will see his name plastered all over India. I think, after Nehru Gandhi family, his name would appear in maximum numbers all over India! But, till things improve, I will suffer with poor infrastructure  and always take a flight with prayers on my lips for safe landing. 

The lack of fiscal discipline and disincentive on savings, lack of infrastructure has magnified the impact of global recession much more than it should have. Had this government been prudent and carried on the good work already done by earlier govt., our economy may not have been in the shape that it is today. Here we have a government that likes to pat itself on its back for reaping the fruits of past government but eager to shrug off the failures on global trends! 

And now my honest and well meaning PM, who couldnt control his FM or put some simple home truths to him wishes me to vote for him. What for? To preside another term of anarchy of a cabinet where each minister is on his own trip and country is left at the mercy of such a cabal? 

Ratan Sharda (rnsharda@gmail.com)
29th March, 2009

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This mail was sent to me by:

Mr Sandeep Singh (sandeepconsultant@gmail.com)
Author: Business of Freedom- an initative for school of Indian Management
www.swastiks.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: umennet does not support/recommend any party that is contesting for the Indian General Elections, 2009. We are providing a platform for general public to interact the public and help them take an informed decision. It is upto an individual to vote for a party/candidate at his own discretion.

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Nano is the biggest Launch this year. All the auto experts in the world were waiting eagerly for the launch of, world’s cheapest car which costs less than $2000!!! Finally it is launched and it is up to the expectations. But as per our Indian tradition, there are people opposing it. Here are few points which have been said against NANO, and its answers

Its Too small: Yes, it is Small, but Spacious. Tata Engineers have built a small car, which looks like a toy, but it still has 20% more space than Maruti 800!! The back seats can easily accommodate 2 persons, without them being uncomfortable. The front of Tata nano has a space of around 80 Lts, which can be increased to 500 Ltr, by folding the back seats. Tata Nano is taller than Santro Zing, making it easy for tall persons also to sit easily.

Its not safe: Tata Nano is not made of fiber or other light material as Reva. Its a normal CAR. Its made of sheet metal, with a strong framing inside. It is as strong as any other car. yes, It lacks ABS & Air bags ( to be provided in future versions), but it still is safer than 3-4 people travelling on a bike.

Its cheap so compromization in Standards : Wrong. Tata has been known for their strict standard adherence. Tata Nano has been built up to standards and no compromise has been made.

It will cause pollution – Again Wrong!! Nano’s emission norms are Euro-4 ready. where as most other vehicles in India are just Euro-3!!

Tata Nano umennet

So, how come Tata can build such a car for such a low budget?? here’s the answer:

1 – The engine of car is rear mounted. So there is no load on front wheels which makes it easy to maneuver. so no need of power steering.

 2 – Base model of Nano has no AC, No power windows

3 – Engineering, Nano Engineers has designed Nano with some specialties to save money on  production. For e.g., the Rack & Pinion system for steering is generally in 2 parts, but Tata Engineers made it 1 unit so that the assembly time & money is reduced.

All these points add to make Nano the cheapest car in the world!!!

And lastly,

 

1 – Its a Dream Car!! –  yeah!! in India every family dreams of having an four wheeler. We cant negelct this dream by giving excuses of traffic! Its the Govt.’s duty to have more wider roads, and proper traffic managing.

2 – We dont say a word, when long, wide, costly cars ( taking up space of 2 small cars) are allowed in India, costing from  few lakhs to some crores (Hyundai i10 to Rolls Royce), but you cant digest a car which is affordable by most of the Indians. 

3 – Now a days, parking is a big problem. parking Smaller car means small parking area.

4 – Can you imagine, if Nano is replaced with all the taxis & autos, It can be more comfortable, cheap n safe. Tata are going to launch CNG and even battery operated Nano. Its much more safer for kids, makes city beautiful, The foriegners coming to India will feel good about India. 

5 – last but not least, We should be proud of India being the first country to produce our very own “The peoples’ Car”. Which every car manufacturer has always dreamt since years!!!

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Is an ambitious, dare-devil, high-flier youth breed a figment of our imaginations? Or a hope we harbor to console ourselves that the world will be handed over safely into better, more able hands? The conditions are all facilitating and the opportunities galore! The world is our oyster and together we can….or can we?!

MTV roadies umennetIf the latest shown through Reality TV was to offer us a window into what the next generations have in store for us, I believe we could be in for a rude shock! Either  channels look for the kind who should not be permitted to breed, let alone be aided in the process of getting them together and finding perfect matches! Or then… THIS IS IT!!! This is what the crux of India’s youth consists of…. Badly brought-up, selfish brats of low intellect who have zero sense of loyalty or integrity.

To begin with, I strongly feel that INDIANS CANNOT DO REALITY. It just doesn’t fit the frame. We’re too conscious, with no wit and atrocious senses of humour. That’s a fact. When a camera is put in front of us, all these qualities assume gigantic proportions and due to insecurity woven into the very fabric of our beings, the result is anything but candid. To further develop on the idea, Reality shows involving typical Indian youth is even more unbearable… I have nothing against any TV channel but the fact that shows such as Splitsvilla and Roadies originate from the similar shed, is hard to miss. Yes, it’s the same TG…agreed. But what are we trying to project to the  impressionable lot?

  • That’s it’s quite alright to live your life oblivious of any social or civic responsibilities?
  • That I can cheat and lie as long as no one finds out. Even if they do, it’s their bad luck?
  • That I can get fame and money by being a total B*&^% ?!
  • I don’t need to have respect for ANYONE, let alone any elders. When I’m rich and famous, none of this will matter in any case!!
  • That abusive language sounds cool and peer pressure is to be bowed down to?
  • I have no family that matter.  The friends I make because of this show are those who will be by my side throughout!
You get the drift, I’m sure.

The dismay according to me however is manifold. Primarily, I worry about the motivation that lures the youth into aspiring to be associated with these programs. I have managed to sit through a few episodes in which starry eyed juveniles claim that it is their dream to be on “so and so…” program. How does a platform where you will be subjected to embarrassing and aggravating situations appear as a dream to you? Where are those ambitions that aim to lead with innovative yet honest ways? 
This reminds me of one episode which I must mention here, no names, no references but more real than reality itself… The teams were offered laxatives after a heavy loaded meal. Post consumption, anyone who could not ‘hold it in’, would get out and let his/her team down. The rest is up to you to imagine… I know that the brainstorming department of this particular episode, must have been mighty pleased with itself, but how is this of interest or entertainment to anyone….I fail to understand. And what is it a test of? The most constipated bowels?? I don’t get it! Maybe I am getting too old…
Another aspect is that of the viewer – It’s the youth who watch of course (right on target with the TG) but why? Some think that they’re so much better that the idiots on TV and so are highly amused! Others are just like them and so can identify totally. The shows, mind you, don’t really require any qualifications except a good face and or body for camera. They also tend to make special efforts to select those who possess the power to aggravate the viewer the most!

mtv-spitsvilla-umennetOverall, my worry however is the tendency of our society to take part in and then watch these shows, week after week. According to me, they encourage ‘wrong’ and validate it. As Indians, we are known to put one another down and revel in another’s defeat but the behavior being displayed in these programs takes disgust to the next level. I’m sure the families of the participants cannot be watching and encouraging their children, and if they are, God help us all! As such are the families from which those that can go to the extent of murder in the name of ragging originate. 

With a youth potential of almost 50% of our total population, there are some important questions we should be asking apart from which of Satan’s creations will win this week’s episode!
It’s not the show concepts that are faulty, it’s more the bi-products and after effects that need to be given due attention to….as the TRP’s keep rising….!!! 
Note: This write-up has been authored by Barkha Prabhakar, who is a Guest Author at Umennet.wordpress.com.

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Shahrukh Khan has been requested to host Indian version of “The Moment of Truth”. Shahrukh Khan is not new to TV, He has his association with TV, since the days of Fauji, Circus, Dusra Kewal. This is also not the first time Shahrukh is hosting any TV show. Earlier he has hosted “Kaun Banega Crorepati” & “Kya Aap Paanchvi Paas Se Tez Hain”. But This time, the game show is quite different one, and doesn’t involve general knowledge questions or questions from school syllabus.

the moment of truthThe Moment of Truth, hosted by Emmy nominated, Mark Walberg,  has been a bold show in the real sense. The host asks contestants a series of 21 questions for the chance to win half a million dollars.

Whats new in that??? Here comes the answer –

The questions are based on the contestants’ personal life. This is the only game show where participants know both the questions and the answers before they begin to play. Prior to playing, participants are strapped to a lie detector and asked a series of questions by a polygraph expert, who records their answers. At any time, between the polygraph and the televised game, participants can change their answers or walk away from the competition.

To win, participants have to answer either yes or no to the questions asked. The questions are easier when the stakes are low  but as the prize amount increases, they will be challenged to face the questions which they might normally answer a lie. Some questions are dangerously revealing as participants reveal the answers in front of spouses, relatives and friends, hanging on every word. If the contestant answers honestly, according to the lie detector results, he has to face the next question. However, if the answer is false (as as per the lie detector) or a refusal is made to answer a question after it has been asked, the game ends.

The difficulty and the nature of question (in personal front) increases with every question asked. To this date no one has reached the last question. Sometimes as a surprise, the contestant’s friend, relative or ex-partner also join in to ask questions. During & after the show, sometimes, contestants (or their relatives) break in to tears, or even break relationships.

Wonderhow serious the show question-answer can be?/ Here is an example –

Contestant Lauren Cleri admitted to committing adultery and that she believes she is meant to be married to an ex-boyfriend instead of her husband..The latter was a replacement question after Lauren’s sister hit the button to keep her from answering the question of whether she’d leave her husband if the same ex-boyfriend (who was present to read this question and the replacement question to her) wanted her back. She won $100,000 and went on to play for $200,000, but lost everything on the question, “Do you think you’re a good person?” She answered “Yes,” which, according to the polygraph, was revealed to be false. In May 2008, Frank Cleri filed for divorce.

Considering the Indian scenario, where such personal openness is still a taboo, it would be interesting to watch how the game is setup for Shahrukh Khan - the Moment of TruthIndians. And the contestants, will they be ready to face such questions? and even if everything is OK, how will they deal with the protests against the show or its pattern.

But When  Roadies, Big Boss & MTV Splitsvilla can be accepted in India, This too can be accepted. and it has more than one reasons to be accepted. We Indians crave to peep in to others lives. And what better than people themselves accepting this openly.

Any which ways, this game is sure to raise money as well as some eyebrows too!!

And the Indian version of “The Moment of Truth” can be called – “Sach ka Pal” or “Dil Sachcha aur Chehra Jhootha” or may be following the tradition of “K- Series” it can be “Kuch Pal Sach Ke”!!

Any more suggesstions? Whats your opinion?

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indian-currency-1-trillion_26
Presenting the interim Budget for 2009-10 in Lok Sabha, acting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee claimed in Parliament on Monday that every effort has been made to fulfil promises made to the common man.
The Highlights are as follows:
  • India remains second-fastest growing economy in the world
  • Economy expected to grow 7.1 percent this fiscal
  • Need to make economic growth inclusive
  • Government spent Rs.70,000 (Rs.700 billion) crore on 37 infrastructure projects in 2008-09
  • Under public-private partnership (PPP), 54 central infrastructure projects approved 
  • Total expenditure of PPP projects estimated at Rs.67,700 crore (Rs.677 billion) 
  • India Infrastructure Finance Company to raise Rs.10,000 crore (Rs.100 billion) by end-March 
  • India has weathered inflation crisis, but no room for complacency 
  • Country’s agriculture outlook is encouraging 
  • Focussed attention to agriculture 
  • Plan allocation for farm sector hiked 300 percent in past five years 
  • Three-fold increase in short-term agriculture credit to Rs.250,000 crore (Rs.2,500 billion) 
  • Farm debt worth Rs.65,300 crore (Rs.653 billion) waived 
  • Government will continue to provide additional subsidy to farmers
  •  Corpus of Rural Infrastructure Development Fund hiked to Rs.14,000 crore (Rs.140 billion) from Rs.5,500 crore (Rs.55 billion) 
  • Outlay for higher education hiked 900 percent for 11th Five Year Plan 
  • Country’s social security net will be strengthened 
  • Record foreign direct investment of $32.4 billion attracted 
  • Global economic situation not encouraging 
  • Extraordinary situation merits extraordinary measures 
  • Need to consider additional fiscal measures in regular budget 
  • Financial sector reforms need to be accelerated 
  • In past three years, India grew by average of over 9 percent 
  • Per capita income expanded by 4.7 percent per annum 
  • Fiscal deficit was brought down from 4.5 percent to 2.7 percent 
  • Revenue deficit was cut from 3.6 percent to 1.1 percent 
  • Exports increased 26.4 percent per annum 
  • Foreign trade increased from 27.3 percent to 35.5 percent
  •  Tax to gross domestic product ratio expanded by 9.2 to 12.5 percent 
  • Agriculture grew by 3.7 percent per annum

More details here.

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Guys, There has been a regular buzz on Social Media. Its start, its implications, its effects, aftermaths etc etc. One recent example is the Mumbai Group on facebook (I am one of the administrators!!).

The recent attacks in mumbai raised many eyebrows having questions, anger, anguish, concerns, complains . . . they found a platform in the Mumbai Group. There was a leap in the members from mere 200 to 1300+ members in just 4-5 days.

social-networks

People started commenting, posting, debating, sharing pictures, videos etc. And this is just an example, how social media impacts general public.

But on a serious note, Social Media is being used by the Corporate Giants, Organizations, Celebreties, Entertainment Industry & even Media!! I being a social media enthusiast too, have some questions.

Is Social media just having a profile in Facebook/Orkut, sharing pictures using flickr, uploading videos on youtube, chatting with friends? No, Social media is much much more than these. Having these queries, I approached to Bhanu, my dear friend & colleague, who was most willingly ready to answer my queries.

My next post will be an Interview with Mr. K Bhanuprakash on some serious topics related to Social Media. (Will be posted as soon as I recieve the answers).

His brief Introduction:

K BhanuprakashK. Bhanuprakash, having an experience of more than 8 years, heads the Digital/Interactive team of Hanmer MS&L, India. Started as an Entrepreneur (owned Web-Multmedia Agency), He shifted to Corp Comm, and presently handling the Online presence and promotion of some Major clients which Include MNC’s, Lifestyle giants and even celebrities!! He is Social media enthusiast, with spending a major chunk of his time in learning and implementing the ideas and strategies. He is also in to serious singing and hoping for a big break soon. He and his wife live in Thane, Mumbai. You can also follow him in Twitter & Facebook.

And now the winning thing!!

You can win cool T-Shirt while clearing your doubts by asking questions!!

If you have any questions, doubts, queries which you want to get answered, most welcome. Just post your questions in the comment box, and I will get those answered. And the reader asking a question which would be Mind Boggling, Unique, and makes us (me and Bhanu) to have a brainstorming session to answer, will have a chance to win a cool Tshirt with a design of your choice, Courtesy Inkfruit (Thanks Priyanka!!)

logo-copy

Inkfruit is a place for people to submit, discover and buy amazing custom t-shirt designs by artists from around the world. Based around an ongoing t-shirt design contest, all of the designs on Inkfruit have been submitted by community members. Inkfruit is headquartered in Bombay, India. It was launched in early December 2007. And using the social media, Inkfruit is also present on Facebook, Orkut & Blog. They have a special affiliate program in which you can have inkfruit online shop placed on your site, or Inkfruit ad banner on your site or blog and EARN too!!!!

Important:
This Contest is open for Indian residents Only.
Please ask questions about Social Media (Indian scenario would be appreciated) . Questions on other topics would not be considered.
Please mention your email carefully, because winner(s) will be contacted by email.
The contest closes on
Dec 16th and winners will be announced on Dec 18th.

And lastly, If we get some really good questions, we can have two winners!!

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