This is what Team Anna is fighting for..

This document highlights the differences between the Jan LokPal Bill and Govt. LokPal Bill…the document is prepared by experts including Kiran Bedi herself..

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Bangalore Diary

Posted: June 10, 2011 in happiness
Tags: , , , ,

I have already been to Bangalore once, that was for an official trip for just a couple of days. The trip was one among the few of my official trips to South Indian cities including Hyderabad, Chennai, and Mumbai, if you count it along. I had heard a lot about Bangalore from my any-branch-B.Tech-working-in-IT friends, now it was time to experience on my own. During my this first visit, I was impressed by the Bangalore’s infrastructure, especially the Airport and the road connecting it to the main city. But, the joy of that that infrastructural eye soothing experience ended when I got stuck up in a traffic jam. The agony got intensified when I asked driver to put on some Hindi or English song to kill time, you could guess his reply to this scrimpy request of mine. Due this very short visit, I could only meet  one friend, he asked me to come to some Garuda Mall. The Garuda Mall was such a disappointment, both in terms of its food court and crowd, also it ended as soon as it started. As was accustomed to visiting Great India Palace Mall in Noida, and Delhi-NCR crowd, you know what I mean. The return journey from office to Airport was even worse, I just not only got stuck up in the traffic jam but the cab driver took some of my already-late-for-flight time for petrol refill and his own pleasure of peeing.

I got a mixed opinion from my other friends with  whom, I later discussed my Bangalore visit, though some of them were furious for not meeting or calling them. Some of them said, it takes time to settle, once you are, you would fall in love with the city. Another opinion came about the difference of being in Northern and Southern part of Bangalore. As I have been to northern part, people said southern part has more of North Indian feel to it.

Now after about one year, I have to live here in Bangalore for two months for internship. I got accommodated in IIM B for two reasons one you can get ultra-high speed internet (Indian Standard) for free and second there were others lost souls like me one the campus. Initial one week was such a pain in the arse, the toughest part was the hunt for right mode of public transport to my office, 10 KM away. I was accustomed to Delhi’s blue buses, wherein the conductors could come and call you from your home, if he could and the Delhi metro, where you can easily find a map (written both in Hindi and English) on any metro station. The nemesis for the first week was the Bus plates having inscription in Kannada, and ready-to-loot auto drivers. Sometime I wonder , when the Karnataka government is trying to promote Bangalore why not used a second language, here I would promote English as a second language because I know a mere mention of Hindi would create a political debacle. My arguments is fortified by the ever rising number of immigrants in Bangalore from other state.

However, when I got settled in the second week, the first thing about Bangalore which I fall in love with is its weather, it’s all like a one big central air condition for the whole city. I would say it’s the best metro city in India to spend your summers in. Also, the IIMB is situated at such a strategic location that you could find everything just with a kilometer to two; good food, multiplexes, malls and places to chill. The life is good in Bangalore provided you are in a good company of people, which I were in at IIMB. The factor which weigh more over other is that you could have sound peaceful sleep in the prime summer month of May without installing an AC, which I could never have experienced in Delhi. People here in Bangalore are friendly and once you know how to deal with auto-drivers; a small tip here never ask autowalas how much they will charge just tell the destination and hop in, he would automatically resort to meter. I was happy to be in Bangalore as I was staying in Kozhikode and there are no good places to have fun here in Kozhikode, were I am back again.

Now, I would agree to the friend of mine who told me, it takes some time to settle in Bangalore, but once you are settled you would love the city. I don’t know whether this statement is true for all new cities or just the Bangalore. I like Bangalore and I would  miss IIMB, KFC, Subway, McD, Purple Haze, Hyderabadi Biryani, Cinepolis, Gopalan Cinemas, M.G. Road, Church Street, and above all the city Bangalore.

Introduction

Taxes are the sources of income for the government. The entire tax regime of India is divided into two broad categories, direct tax and indirect tax. Direct taxes are those which are collected directly from the entities, both firms and individuals, by the government and it include Personal Income Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Capital Gain Tax, Dividend Distribution Tax, Wealth Tax etc. On the other Indirect Taxes are those which are collected from entities directly by the government including Customs Duty, Excise Duty, Service Tax, Value Added Tax, Securities Transaction Tax, and other taxes levied by the state.

Fiscal Consolidation: DTC and GST

The existence of multiple tax laws in Indian taxation regime makes things complex both for the entities and the government of India. In order to simplify the taxation system government has proposed two reforms namely Direct Tax Code (DTC), and Goods and Services Tax (GST). These reforms are proposed to consolidate various tax laws. The Direct Tax Code has been proposed for direct taxes to be finalized for enactment during 2011-12 and proposed to be effective from April 1, 2012. DTC proposes widening of the tax slabs and reduction of deduction and exemptions. It will also be providing stable framework for taxation of international transactions and global capital. GST has been proposed to bring the taxation of goods and services under one umbrella, which is the practice adopted by majority of the countries of the world. It has been proposed that the GST will have two components namely Central GST and State GST. The central GST will replace the taxes levied by central government such as central excise duty and service tax whereas the state GST will replace the state indirect taxes such as Value Added Tax and Stamp duties. One of the important aspects of the GST will be the seamless flow of credit across the entire supply chain and across all states under a common tax base. The credits of the goods transaction can be adjusted against the transaction of services and vice versa. The widening of direct tax slabs and capping of majority of the indirect taxes at the same rate of 10% in the Union Budget of 2011 has been step towards an era to DTC and GST.

Introduction

The Great Bengal Famine of 1943, also known as the Holocaust of India, took about 3 million Indian lives. This incident along with the food crises during 1960s stimulated the Indian Government to think seriously in the direction of food security. The Government of India wanted to increase the production of good grains, so that we would not have to depend on imports in order to meet our food requirement.

The urge for food sufficiency let to the birth of Green Revolution in India under the guidance of Dr. Norman Borlaug of Mexico and Dr. M. S. Swaminathan of India. The Green Revolution introduced high yielding variety seed in the irrigated lands of Punjab, Haryana, and West Bengal. The high yielding variety of seed requires fertilizers and pesticides so were supplemented with the same. The agriculture practices adopted as a result of Green Revolution resulted in 100% increase in the production of cereals during 1970 to 1990. During the same period, the population of India increased by 60%. Consequently, the per capita availability of cereals has increased by 30%. Such an impressive growth in the production of cereals made India self-sufficient in food grains.

However, the Green Revolution’s main focus was on the production of only two cereals wheat and rice, other food crops like millets, oil seeds, vegetables, etc. were neglected at the first place. Also, the green revolution was limited to the irrigated parts of India, despite the fact that about 75% of the land in India is rain fed. All the more, the green revolution was beneficial for the large and medium farmers who can afford the increased cost of inputs and mechanization.

Is High Yielding Really Yielding?

High yielding variety (HYV) seeds are more responsive to the three macro nutrients nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK). However, a plant requires 16 macro and 7 micro nutrients for a healthy growth. The high responsiveness of the HYV crops to NPK demands more of these nutrients, which is provided through chemical fertilizers like urea. Crops cannot take these nutrients in solid form; they are absorbed in dissolved state. Thus, HYV required seven times more water than traditional variety of seeds. More water in the plant body makes them heavier and more prone to diseases. In order to save crops from pests and diseases more and more pesticides and chemical are used. These pesticides and chemicals not only kill the harmful insects but also helping insects like butterflies, which helps in pollination.

In order to reduce the weight of the plants, and to make plants stand in the fields scientists working for the development of HYV of seeds, came up with dwarf varieties. These dwarf varieties have shorter stem. One can say that in these dwarf HYV seed the stem part is converted into fruits. Farmers use the leftover stem portion of the crops as fodder for their cattle. Now, since the fodder content is reduced, farmers now sustain lesser number of cattle on their farm produce and require other supplements for their cattle.

The HYV has increased the input cost of agriculture, due to extra cost of fertilizers, pesticides and mechanization in one hand and has deprived farmers of fodder for their cattle. So, if we just look at the overall effect on the life of a small farmer, whose life depends only on his small piece of land and the cattle, the picture is not very clear for him. The small and marginal farmers are still skeptical about the overall benefits of the HYV of crops.

Tale of small and marginal farmers

Green Revolution has shown some great results in the short run. However, if one analyzes the impact of Green Revolution in great in detail, we can see that the fertilizer requirement of the HYV seeds has increased considerable. For example, 300kg of urea is required for one hectare instead of 3kg initially. Due to excessive use of fertilizers and irrigation, the soil has become saline in many part of India. The high pH of the soil is not conducive for the germination of the seeds, in some part of India soil is reduced to the status of concrete. A recent pioneering study sponsored by three United Nations agencies (FAO, UNDP and UNEP) estimated the severity and costs of land degradation in South Asia. This study reports that the cost of degradation of the soil due to salinization is close to $1.5 billion. Also, due to excessive use of ground water for irrigation, the water in majority of the part of India has reduced to half. The chemical based farming has regarded the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the soil.

Failure of the seed in some part of India brought back the thought of the use of their traditional variety of seeds in the minds of farmers. But, farmers couldn’t find any traditional variety of seeds in the market. The entire seed market is packed with the HYV seeds. The traditional variety of seeds, which have been gained there properties over decades, by the process of adaptation and natural selection, are lost now. The traditional varieties have adapted itself to the climate and soil conditions of different areas are no more available. The failure of the crops resort farmers to try new varieties, but the skeptical about new varieties. Even Government of India has not provided any provision to safeguard against the crop failure in the proposed Seed Bill, 2010.

The economic condition of small and marginal farmers is very bad. The rising cost of inputs to agriculture coupled with soil degradation and destruction of village ecosystem has led farmers into the debt trap of moneylenders. The farmers are even prone to commit suicides. The NCRB data shows that on an average about 17,000 farmers committed suicide in India during 1997-2006. In number of suicides are high in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh and this is attributed to the failure of the Bt cotton crop in these states. The farmers committing suicides are mainly small and marginal farmers across India.

References

  1. Parikh, K.S. and Upal Ghosh (1991) “Natural Resource Accounting for Soils:  towards an Empirical Estimate of Costs of Soil Degradation in India” Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research Discussion Paper No.48.
  2. Green Revolution: Curse or blessing?; International Policy research institute. (http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/pubs/pubs/ib/ib11.pdf)
  3. Kisan Morcha for amendment to Seeds Bill, The Hindu, Wednesday, Mar 02, 2011.(http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/02/stories/2011030253880500.htm)
  4. Guillaume P. Gruère , Purvi Mehta-Bhatt , Debdatta Sengupta; Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India; IFPRI Discussion Paper 00808, October 2008.

 

 

खालीपन

Posted: January 26, 2011 in dreams, happiness, uncetainty

कुछ खालीपन है, कुछ अकेलापन भी,

शायद किसी का इंतज़ार है, पर किसका

उस रेत का जो कभी हाथ मे न टिकी

उस लहर का जो कभी तट के ऊपर न उठी

पर कब तक, आखिर कब तक

खालीपन मे अपनी गहराई हैं, आकाश की तरह

एक खाई है, पर्वत की उचाई है

आगे जाना है और जीना है, बस यही जिंदिगी है

Rajat’s Dilemma

Posted: December 9, 2010 in Business, corruption, Education, Ethics, IIM, MBA

Rajat Bhargava, Sales Manager at Shanti Steels, is looking at the purchase order issued by Theda Engineering for the past two hours. The purchase order is issed for the purchase of 24-gauge Medium Carbon Steel sheet. The purchase order was signed by the Rohan Theda, Managing Director of Theda Engineering. It was Rohan, who himself has negotiated the order over phone with Rajat. After looking at the exact specification of the order, Rajat remembered that Raghu Bhai, the Head of Engineering Department at Theda Engineering, has also contacted him couple of days back for 22-gauge High Carbon Steel sheet of same dimensions as mentioned in the purchase order he is looking at. Rajat knows that the 24-gauge Medium Carbon steel sheet can be replace a 22-gauge high carbon steel but yet the probability of failure of 24 gauge sheet MC sheet is higher than 22 gauge HC sheet, though by a very small fraction. Rajat was under the ethical dilemma that whether he authorizes the sale or inquire about the end use of the steel from Rohan.

Right after completing his management education, Rajat has joined the Shanti Steels as Sales Manager a year ago. He has been handling various big accounts of Shanti Steels and Theda Engineering was one among them. Shanti Steels and Theda Engineering have been doing business for over two decades. Rajat is in very good terms with the Rohan Theda.

About two days back Rajat has received a phone call from Raghu Bhai inquiring about 22-gauge High Carbon Steel sheet for some ship repair order, which Theda Engineering has received from a well-known shipping company. This order is important for Theda Engineering, as it will open the floor for further orders from that client. This is known that 22-gauge High Carbon Steel sheet is very specific and used particularly in ship building industry. Also, the orders for such specific steel are not very common and they are generally manufactured on demand. Raghu Bhai added that he has enquired from all the major vendors and none of them has a stock of the High Carbon steel. Also, Raghu Bhai told that the repair of the ship is urgent as it is scheduled for its voyage in a week.

Later, Rajat receive a phone call from Rohan. After exchanging pleasantries Rohan said, “Rajat, I need some 24-gauge high carbon steel sheet for an urgent repair work”. Rajat knowing that they have steel of this type available replied, “No problem, Rajat, just send across a purchase order and I will dispatch it at my earliest”. Price was not a concern as Shanti Steels and Theda Engineering already have a schedule of charges agreement for the year.

It is when Rajat saw the purchase order issued by Rohan and did a mental verification of the dimensions and quantity mentioned in the purchase order with the dimension and quantity inquired by Raghu Bhai, bells started ringing in his mind. He became skeptical about the end use of the 24-gauge Medium Carbon Steel sheets.  At lunch, Rajat shared his concerned about the purchase order to Neeraj Singhal, his boss and the Vice President of sales at Shanti Steels.  “Look, Rajat, I just don’t see where we have a problem. Rohan did not specify high carbon steel, and you are not going to charge him on high carbon steel”, said Neeraj. “We aren’t even certain that the order is for the same purpose”.

“I know all that, Neeraj,” argued Rajat. “But we both understand that the enquiries of Rohan and Raghu Bhai with the same dimensions are just not mere coincidence. It seems beyond doubt that the order is for the same ship repair work”.

“Well we both know that 24-gauge Medium Carbon Steel sheet will do a reasonable good job in that ship repair work, as far as strength and durability are concerned. Moreover, they have compensated for by using 24-gauge sheet instead of 22-gauge sheet”, argued Neeraj.”

“But, medium carbon steel not generally used for the ship repair work”, said Rajat.

“You better supply that material you have been asked for, we are in very good terms with Theda Engineering and I don’t wish to lose this account to our competitor. If you would not supply it someone else will”, Neeraj ended.

The next morning, Rajat received was summoned by Neeraj, in his office. As Rajat entered Neeraj’s office, Neeraj slid a company sales order across the desk; Rajat saw that is was a sales order for 24-gauge Medium Carbon Steel sheet to Theda Engineering. In the space for salesman’s name, Rajat saw that Neeraj has filled “Rajat Bhargava”. Rajat couldn’t control his anger and said, “I don’t want anything to do with this order. I though Theda Engineering was an ethical company, and we are doing the same thing, I am accusing them of”.

“The foremost thing you better do, Rajat is to calm down and put away your righteous superiority for a moment. You can’t make a good decision when you mind is not able to look at a bigger picture. You have been in the industry barely for a year and don’t understand how the business is done. I am in this industry for more than 20 years and I know it more than you do”, said Neeraj by calming Rajat.

When Rajat relaxed and was again in a situation of making rational thought, he said, “We both know that this steel is going to be used for the purpose which is probably is not is appropraite use. Provided there are very bleak chances of its failure, but I don’t see how we can take that chance. Don’t we have a responsibility to our customers”.

“Yes we do, Rajat, but we are not policemen, either. We are here in a business of steel and sell it up to specification. We can’t and won’t be responsible for how steel is put to end use when it is out of our floor. It may reach to the end consumer after dozens of transactions and we here cannot account for all those transactions. We have to assume, just like any other business that our suppliers and customers are knowledgeable and also act ethically. But, whether they do so it is not a duty of ours to ascertain.”

Rajat interrupted, “But we have a reason to believe that this material be used in ship repair. I think we have an obligation to follow up on that information”.

“I already told you that we are no police here, we just cannot inquire from every customer about the end user and end use of the material. Most of our customers would interpret that as an attempt to bypass them in the distribution channel. We just cannot do that.”

“In case of Theda Engineering we are selling them the steel as per the order placed by them, we are not doing any unlawful act. We are not supplying faulty materials, we are not bribing government officials, or we are not evading taxes, we are trying to do business here, this is what we do at Shanti Steels”.

Rajat still appeared to be unconvinced, Neeraj asked him, “What about the other people of this company. You are an management graduate and can find a livelihood easily. But, I have to worry about all the people of this company. Think about Khan, who drives our fork truck or Mohan who operates our furnaces. There people have worked for Shanti Steel since its inception, they probably won’t be able to find a job elsewhere. They all have families to feed. It is my duty to make sure that the furnaces of this company are on fire”.

As Rajat left Neeraj’s office, he was more confused than before. When he first entered his office, he had an intension of quitting in moral indignation, but Neeraj’s argument had made a lot of sense to him. He puts in great trust in and respect for Neeraj and value his experience a lot. But, he was still not comfortable with the decision. He was wandering whether this sale is a first blow to his fortress of ethical principle and a step towards the destination where he didn’t intend to head to?

PS: This is a work of fiction and child of my imagination. Any resemblance to any person or incident is a pure coincidence.

Music Box

Posted: September 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Music Box poses an interesting dilemma: what If your parent was guilty of a horrific crime, will you not do everything to defend that parent? Ann Talbot faces this problem when her father Michael Lazlo is being charged with war crimes during World War II in Hungary. Despite pleas from her co-workers, friends and even the prosecuting attorney (Frederic Forrest), Ann pushes on to defend her father. But as the trial progresses and the witnesses testify, Ann begins to have serious doubts as to her father’s doubts.

The most heart-breaking scene is when Ann finds out just how horrible her father truly is. When she retrieves a music box that was left in a pawn shop by a now deceased friend, she finds the proof of her father’s guilt. The look on Ann’s face says it all: her father had betrayed her and that he is truly a monster. Thought Ann has really done justice to the daughter father relation by standing by the side of her father when he is in need. But, what if father turns out to be a monster?

The film shows a dilemma of Ann to follow the path of morality and humanitarianism or to be a good daughter. Everyone one of us loves our parents, but sometimes we have to go against our own parents to establish truth and justice, that’s what the  Ann did when acted against his own father. The films shows how a killer who kills in blood can present himself as a normal citizen and kelp on telling lies to his own daughter.