Friday, December 18, 2009

Indian's view of Human Rights

"Every citizen in the country has a right to live with dignity;".

This is taken from as a statement from President of India. Nothing new in it. But, the president stating this means, the country's administration should take it seriously.

Clean air, potable water, a shelter to stay, hygiene facilities - are all very basic rights the Government should guarantee for a new born. I think India has provided these to some extent though corruption is wide spread. This area is acknowledged by everybody and slowly India is improving. However, I feel Indian citizens do ignore about other human rights.

It is also the right of a human being to have level playing field. It starts from basic education. Rich poor divide will never pass. However, a poor kid and rich kid must be able to get education at same knowledge level. Rich kids in air conditioned class rooms with projector and the poor kids sitting under fan-less classrooms with blackboard & chalk is acceptable. But, what is not acceptable is the knowledge level provided to the kid. There are talks about uniform syllabus for all schools, but the fundamental point is missed here. It is not syllabus that is the problem. It is the lack of skills or lack of exercising the skills in Government schools is the problem. Right to get educated well is not taken so seriously here and the vast majority just ignores this.

Another area that people just accept are the intrusions in various forms. Until Do Not Disturb (DND) is mandated by the Government the telecom companies simply ignored our cries to stop marketing calls and SMS. What is more disturbing is that many people did not find it as a violation of rights of an individual.

Another area is regarding competitive practices of conglomerates. It is quite common to see a movie being promoted in the TV channel for far lesser cost among group companies. If an external party goes for same level of promotion, the order may not be taken at all or it may be at exorbitant cost. There doesn't seem to be any law to regulate this. In developed world, this would very well be considered anti competitive practice. This again I see as violation of human rights to go ahead and succeed in business ambitions. But, many consider this not as a violation at all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Some pleasantness with Indian Government Services

Looking up needle in the haystack is difficult; In case we do find that needle, it boosts our positive spirit. There are some good experiences with Govt services among the haystack of bad experiences.

I dreaded transferring Ration Card from my native to the current residential location. When we went to the Civil Supplies office, the experience was contrary to the expectations. We just made two trips to the office. Once to submit and the next time to collect. They gave a small slip with the Ashoka seal, signature & the due date clearly written. On that due date, the work is done. No touts, no "something", not any unnecessary trips. I can say, I was shocked for having done that so easily!

Getting a driving license was so easy as well. Nothing extra was paid and no intermediaries. The inspector really evaluated the driving skill and within half a day got the license. There was one police man took a 30min session about traffic rules in a class room kind of setup. Simply amazed.

Recently there was some public nuisance in our area. We called patrol police at 100. Can you believe? The police came in 10min and the problem was immediately solved.

I have been postponing my visit to Passport office. Reached a stage that I can't postpone it any more. After the recent arrest of some officials, there appears to be some change. Everything seems to go in some order though chaos and heated arguments plenty. Dogs walk freely into the building, they climb stairs and walk through the rooms they like, unmindful of the higher breed - the human beings. The worst thing is that the security guy doesn't yell at the dog but yells at people! There are severe problems related to over crowding, lack of space, under staffing and the complex process involved in proving your address and your nationality. However, the work got done in one visit and within half a day.

I have received tax refunds promptly so for!

There are countless bad experiences people can share based on their experiences, especially when India is downgraded from 72 to 84 or 85 in the corruption index by Transparency International. Sometimes bad experiences are "easier" than good experiences. Anyways, Change is possible but it requires time and collective action from people. Achievable! I WANT to believe that!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Indira Nooyi

The following is from Indira Nooyi's biography.
"Friends in the United States convinced her that she should apply for admission, and Nooyi mailed her application off without really thinking it would be successful. She was not only admitted but was also offered financial aid. Despite societal pressures, Nooyi's parents got on board with her plans. "It was unheard of for a good, conservative, south Indian Brahmin girl to do this," she told Murray. "It would make her an absolutely unmarriageable commodity after that."

Indira Nooyi passes on a opinion that it was hard to be educated being born in a Brahmin family. I only wonder whether any other sect (BC, MBC, SC, ST) offered much better choice than a Brahmin family for a woman to be more educated in her era (She was born in 1955) !!