Sunday, October 31, 2010

Don't play firecrackers

Every year during Diwali, crores of rupees are burned in the name playing firecrackers. Burning firecrackers emit sulphur dioxide, which is a poisonous gas. and a major pollutant. It also leaves in atmosphere harmful metals compounds of chromium and lead. Huge quantity of litter is left on the ground, that takes days to clean. In manufacturing firecrackers, mostly children below 14 years are employed. Every year, hundreds of people die of burns and fires created by the firecrackers. All this for a few moments of thrill. Is that really worth ? Think !!  

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Helmet for an Oath


 
                 The traffic in Pune is unmanageable. The roads and their maintenance is poor. The traffic monitoring and control is also bad. The number of accidents on the road is on the rise. The majority of the deaths due to accidents are due to serious head injuries. Keeping that in mind, few months back, the traffic police made it compulsory for all two-wheeler riders to wear helmet. Surprisingly the common citizen opposed it. Yeh Punekar hain bhaiya ! The local politicians were not far behind. They supported the opposition looking at the general public opinion. So, the rule remains only in the book and followed only in breach.

                 Sharad Bapat,  an innovative techie from Pune has started a website and there is an offer. He wants citizens to come forward and take an oath to wear helmet and the techie rewards them with Rs 500/-. It pays partially towards the cost of the headgear. What an idea !

                 We see ministers, judges taking oath while taking the charge of new office. The witness in the court of law is also required to take an oath. Why oath ?

                  I think an oath puts a moral binding on the individual. It is a verbal commitment. In fact, following a commitment depends on one’s value system, verbal or written notwithstanding.

                  Initially though  some citizens, especially youngsters, will be attracted by the money offer but later the oath shall put a moral binding on them. Even if 50% follow the oath, it will be good.

                  Thus from every angle, this is a welcome initiative and Sh Sharad Bapat deserves both cheers and congratulations. 

This is what Sh Sharad Bapat has to say:

“It will be a win-win situation. Interested parties will get their advertisements, our stickers will bear their name, they will be on our website and most importantly, people will wear helmets”


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Sunday, October 17, 2010

सी मो ल्लंघन


सी मो ल्लंघन
यं दा  विजया  दशमीला  करा  सी मो ल्लंघन
माणसा  माणसा त  भेद  कर णाऱ्या  प्र थां चे
स न्मान  करुनी सर्व मायबोलींचे,  मराठी सम
ओलां डू नी  सीमा  प्रान्तांच्या, मुक्त भ्रमण करुया
भारत  भूमि  असे  माय अपुली
सर्व देशवासी असती बांधव अपुले
जयहिंद 
 
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rescue Indian farmers

The role of micro finance companies offering loans to the poor has come under the lens even as a farmer, under pressure to repay his debt, committed suicide in Nizamabad district on Wednesday. In Guntur, a woman attempted to end her life, as she was upset over her humiliation by MFI (micro finance institution) agents. And in yet another case, two members of a self-help group were booked in Srikakalum over the suicide of a woman on Tuesday.

Private micro finance institutions' (MFIs) vision of "eradicating poverty" is far removed from reality, say finance experts. They say MFIs are no better than moneylenders, who lend to the poor at a higher rate of interest, or almost the same as a moneylender, and turn this into a profitable venture. Banks, which are meant to reach out to the rural poor but choose to fund MFIs instead, have only contributed to the debt crisis the poor are facing in Andhra. 
 
The controversy sparked by suicides and harassment of the rural poor by micro finance institutions has the Self-Employed Women's Association (Sewa) founder and Ramon Magsaysay award winner Ela Bhatt worried. But some of the steps being proposed by CM K Rosaiah to check the MFIs like limiting the interest rates charged by the MFIs to 8% and make as non-bailable offences the employment of coercion and unethical practices to recover loans from the rural poor appear to be far from reality.

"The MFIs are charging an interest rate of up to 50% at present. And they themselves are taking loans from banks at more than 11.5%. How can the state persuade RBI to ensure that MFI interest rates for loans be restricted to 8%? Secondly, the unlawful practices resorted to by the MFIs can be dealt with by the existing sections of IPC. The government should work out effective steps instead of making such populist assertions," said a micro finance expert.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Is the UIDAI database vulnerable?


Assigning a unique number to every citizen (or resident) is definitely a good effort. The UID can be put many useful applications. The legal provisions of heavy fine and life imprisonment, if implemented properly, are enough to deter the miscreants. However it is the responsibility of the Head: UIDAI, Nandan Nilekani and the Government to clarify and put to rest all doubts regarding the safety and probable misuse of huge personal data collected by UIDAI.


Why is the UID criticized by some people?

The main criticism of the UID is based on privacy concerns. The project is criticized because, unlike Western countries, India is not known for stringent data protection laws and the opposing group fears data theft and selling of the vital information to a third party by corrupt officials. Apart from this, they argue, it's an individual's right to protect his or her privacy from any unlawful interference, even by the state. Article 21 of the Constitution, the Hindu Marriage Act, the Copyright Act, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and the Code of Criminal Procedure all place some form of restrictions on the release of personal information.

Is it mandatory or voluntary?

Considering privacy concerns, UIDAI has kept provision of voluntary registration at enrolment camps to obtain the number. Critics, however, argue that once the programme gets linked to welfare programmes, the PDS system and availing of various services, it will lose its true voluntary nature. Hence, it's also important to have stringent laws to prevent denial of service in such situations.
   

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Independent Professional: Experienced educator and management consultant for engineering educational institutions, researcher, trainer, technical consultant on sustainable technologies, related to cement manufacturing and characterisation, using industrial and agricultural wastes in cement and concrete, durability of concrete and fuel cell power.