Indian Politics & Corruption and possible solution

I was fortunate to have spent 14hrs with economist Atanu Dey on our journey to watch Great Solar Eclipse 2017. I got some interesting stories about India. Most of those stories are what we already hear from our known contacts. I will generalize some of them as follows.

Story 1: My friend has a transport company. He tells me that in order to get profit they have to transport some 40 tons per trip but the maximum they are allowed will be 25tons. So how do they do it? They just pay around 40k per month per each vehicle and no one will ever catch them and fine them.

Story 2: I wanted to travel from Pune to Mumbai. I go to that taxi stand and many people will be calling you to offer for the taxi. Once I bargained the trip for 1400 and get into one taxi. It happens that the one I bargained is not the driver. He is some middle man. He pays 1000 to the driver and keeps 400. We get to know that it takes around 500 for the gas/petrol and the driver can get around 500 for the trip. So why he paid 400 for the other person?

We know many of those corruption stories. After we listen to them we all used to feel that, those people are corrupt. Actually I think they have to do what they are doing in order to stay in job or to pay off the bribe they had to pay for getting the job. Every penny collected from the last man is split and distributed back to the top. Normal Citizen -> Police Constable -> SI -> SP -> DIG -> Home Minister -> Chief Minister -> Party President

We may not believe that every one in the system are corrupt. But if you apply basic economics we can easily derive these. Why will some govt employees agree to stay in jobs which does not fetch any bribes while some of their colleagues are making lot of money in bribes?

They don’t. The one who got the opportunity got it after paying lot of hefty bribe himself to be in that position. And that so on. That economic principle applies to every cycle there. Even the top people have to do it because it costs that much to get elected to power.

So because we make it so hard for a person without money to get elected, they need money and they have to recover it back.

I am in US now. So how is system in US works? in US there is no such corruption at the lowest level. It may be at the lobbyist levels and it is all public. No one is taking bribes here. So that is the difference?

The single biggest difference I find is that you don’t need permission to do most of the things here. For example if you want to build a house, there will be some regulations. But there is no permission required. You just follow those regulations and build what ever you want. Some one will come and will check it and give his approval. And even if he/she does not approve, they can not do anything. They can just report it back, and you can fight it in the court. They have to show that you did things against the regulations. Till then nothing happens. You keep doing your business.

I think removing all permission system in India and replace them with regulations is the best solution to reduce corruption. To keep the system running, they have to enhance the courts and need to speedup the justice system. So they will do it. And I think that is the solution.

I want a website where there will be all kinds of these problems(corruption stories) listed, and we explore the possible solutions to each of them. If any one is interested in such a site or if such a site already exists let me know.

Why I wont stand for forced national anthem playing

First of all I am not a Patriot. I have clarified this long back here. And that is the reason I said “Indian National Anthem” not “Our”.

Here are some questions for those  who can actually think. (others: sorry I give up).

Consider you born in current Pakistan. So you will also be having your own national anthem. Right? And if they decided to play it in before the start of movies, you will stand up. Right?

If Yes: So for you it just does not matter that is being played, it just matters on where you are born. What about after your 25th year you went to China, And you married a Chinese partner. Now your national anthem is some thing different. So now you will feel pride for that song and land. Now after another 10 years, you came to India and you liked the place. You became Indian citizen. Now your pride and respect will be for this new song. Right?

If Yes: Now imagine that China and Pakistan has declared war on India, and war is going on in some controlled part of North East. Not a full war, but like Kargil. But due to some issue you are struck in China, and you are in some Chinese movie theater and their national anthem is being played. Will you stand up? And feel pride for Chinese song?

If Yes: Then you are just a robot without any of your own thoughts or you are just a coward who is just afraid what others will think and do to you.

NOW I am not a robot. And I am not a coward.

If No to any of the above, then you got to explain to me why not. How it is different than feeling pride and respect for one country vs 3 countries?

For those of you who feel pride for your country, can you explain why? What actually is pride? How many of you felt pride for India making nuclear weapons?(I did at that time, I know I was stupid then).  Just imagine that you are born in some other enemy state, (if there is one). Would you feel proud too? No. So all your reactions are based on something that is uncontrolled by you. Like your color, sex, religion and place of birth. People should feel proud only when they actually thought and did something for which they are happy for. I don’t think being born in India is what I thought of doing myself. It was just an accident, and I don’t have to feel proud for accidents.

Trump! Trump! Trump! WTF!

I thought of avoiding this subject till now. But due to increased presure while seeing FB posts, I was forced to respond.

Here is my question for those opposing Trump.

Why are you opposing Trump when he is actually delivering what he has promised in election manifesto? We all know him before election itself, what kind of person he is, and we all know what he will do if elected. But still you guys have elected him. If not you, may be your friends or other people in your country. So if you have anything to say, it is with those people who voted him. Also more than that you need to talk about those who did not even go to vote.

Some source tells me that they are more people did not vote than those who voted for Trump or Clinton. Also you need to question the system of election where some one can become president with this much opposition.

So stop talking about him or what he is doing. First talk about what made him come there, and how you want it to be fixed.

Charity should be voluntary, not coerced

[This is shame less copy of of the post by Atanu Dey. In this article ‘I’ means Atanu Dey. I do fully support this view.]

All actions of a just society should be principles-based. One of the primary guiding principles of a just society is that coercion is kept at a minimum. That is, people should be free of coercion from others, including the government. Certainly, a case can be made for why there will have to be some coercion — but that has to be reserved for matters that are essential for the functioning of society. For these matters, government coercion is justified for raising revenues required for funding certain activities. Examples of such matters are policing (to maintain law and order) and the provisioning of collective goods such as public access roads or sanitation, etc. Aside from those limited exemptions, coercion is not justified.

Coercion is absolutely verboten in the case of charity. Using force to extract revenues to fund charity leads to the absurd result of the means frustrating the end. What’s worse, it is immoral and unethical.

Of all the things that a bad government does is to coerce people into paying for charity that they would not support had they not been threatened with violence. It is not the job of the government to decide on behalf of the citizens who should pay how much for what charity. When the government arrogates to itself the right which properly belongs to the individual to decide how much to give to whom by way of charity, it robs the individual not just of the money but also of his dignity and freedom of choice.

I came to know that PM Shri Modi has awarded scholarships to some selected children. I am certain that it was very good of him to be generous with his money. It’s his money and he has a right to give it to whomever he wishes. But in case Shri Modi was handing out Indian taxpayers’ money, that is problematic. That decision is not his to make. There are alternate mechanisms. For instance, he could have appealed to Indians that they voluntarily support a fund for the said scholarships. That would not have involved coercion and the threat of violence (imprisonment for non-payment of taxes.)

Perhaps I am over-reaching here, though I don’t think so, but I feel that one of the reasons for India’s disastrous lack of prosperity is that Indian leaders are not all that concerned with principles-based actions. It is shameful.

I have argued the case for why the government should not be involved in charity of any sort in a piece “Whose money is it anyway?” Excerpt:

Of all the pernicious things that a government does, arguably the worst is when the government gets into the business of charity. That’s the kind that Mr Bunce took exception to. If politicians and bureaucrats want to support charity, they should do that with their own money, not the public’s money. They are free to contribute as much as they wish of their own money, and they should extend that freedom to everybody else. Let people decide how much they want to spend and on which charity.

I can honestly claim that I contribute to charity regularly. Why? Because I am moved by empathy and compassion towards my fellow beings. I not only receive the joy of giving without expectations of return, I also derive psychic satisfaction by exercising the freedom of deciding on whom or what I spend my money. I wish I had more money so that I could give more of it away. A favorite quote from Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet goes, “All you have shall some day be given; Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors.”

When the government takes my tax money to spend on what it considers charity, it deprives me of my freedom to give freely, it deprives me of the joy of giving, and takes away a responsibility from me that I treasure. What is worse, when I forced to do something, I resent it even if that something is something that I would have otherwise voluntarily done.

When the government taxes me to do charity, it is to me morally and functionally equivalent to someone putting a gun to my head and robbing me to help a poor person. Regardless of what the money is going to be used for, robbery is immoral and unethical.

Enough said.

No special status for A.P please..

Some of my friends have asked me to sign a petition to PM for granting special status to A.P. This is my reply to them..

Mr PM and FM, please do not grant any special status to A.P. Not only for A.P such status should not be granted to any state. All these special requests are normally asked to create economic incentive for businesses to start in particular region. But the thing people don’t normally understand is that it is not just about the will of PM. Number of businesses in the country do not grow because of any such activity. They just move from one place to another. So by giving such status to any state, we are actually harming some other states near by. Well that is the reason such status is not given yet.

It is like farmers asking for subsidy. We give money from our total tax collections to some specific people. Take from some one and give to some one.

Why should other states allow it? If AP is backwards why no other chief minister raised that issue till now? Why did they not choose proper leaders for their region till now?

Why did they concentrated all the development in Hyderabad and leave the rest of the state with nothing?

Also there are much better and healthy ways to attract business. Why not make the state a corruption free first? That will make very easy for businesses to start and run. They will prefer a corruption free state than a corrupted state. How come CBN did not launch the corruption help line like Kejriwal did?

Also asking special status is not our right. It is like begging other states. I am not sure why do you want to do that?

If we believed BJP to give it as if it is their own Party fund, it is our problem. It just does not give us any more rights.

Anyway, this is my view. Feel free to disagree and share your views on why I am wrong. Happy to learn…

Political Party Management System

We have started building a software called PPMS (Political Party Management System). This is developed on our Ecgine Platform.

The purpose of this software is to take advantage of technology to create a transparent environment for party members to work together. We want to embrace complete openness in the party and also in the development of this system.

We have hosted the project at GitHub

Issue tracking, Wiki and every other feature provided by GitHub will be used. We need lot of support and contributions from every one interested.

This software can be used freely by any political party in any country. We will provide complete free license to Ecgine servers and even willing to host the servers in our (Ecgine) cloud infrastructure for free.

Fork it and lets discuss what features you need and how we can add it into the system.

Building Web/Mobile application For a Political Party

I have been associated with Loksatta Party for long time. And I will continue to be. The goal of any Political Party should be “helping citizens” get the best from the government. As of now all political parties are being run like a 18th century organizations.

I believe that only way to address the needs of current generation is to use technology to the maximum. When I say technology I don’t mean a Twitter or Facebook account. They are marketing platforms. Not Organizational tools.

For that reason I wanted to build a software that can be used by any political party for its internal organization. Goal is to have the software that will address every aspect of the internal organization functions.

On high level features of the software are the following..

  • Allow people to Register as Members.
  • Allow members to see all internal events.
  • Support for complete paper less operations. (Voting, Meetings, Discussions, Q&A, Interviews, Press Releases etc)
  • Support for complete online operations where physical presence is not needed.
  • Transparent budgeting and financial information.
  • Multi Lingual Support and Translation Infrastructure.
  • Assigning and tracking responsibility of every activity
  • Record, Analyze anything and everything

Well, I know what you are thinking… How can I do all this? That is where I need your help. Don’t worry I don’t need you to write code with me.  I think I can do all the coding… actually I don’t need to. Using our new Ecgine Platform we can do all this without coding. It includes all mobile apps also. Everything can be done without any coding. And I will do the the architecture. (may be you can help me there too.)

What I need from you is the specification. What do you want? What kind of features? We need to remember that this is about going 100% online. So you have to think that anything is possible. So if anything is possible, what do you need.

This is not just for Loksatta Party. I want to give this software for free to any political party. So even if you belong to TDP or BJP or any other party you can help me. I believe it will lead to better politics and so better governance.

I am not a patriot

According to Google “Patriot” means “A person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.”

I got this question myself when Obama is talking about if Snowden is patriot or not. And the answer is “NO”. I am not a patriot and I don’t want any one to mistake me to be a patriot.

First of all I don’t see country as a person. Country is not a person. Government is not a person. Government is set a of people. And I judge people, not the country. So I don’t defend my country or any country for that matter in anything. I do defend policies if they are good, no mater if they are about my country or some other country.

People say things like “I am proud to be an Indian”. For me, no. Sorry. I am not proud to be an Indian, and I don’t want anyone to tag me as Indian. For that matter I don’t want anyone to tag me as belonging to any race, location or culture. I am an human being and want to live as one.

I pay my taxes according to the rules of place where I am. I have social responsibility towards other people. I do play my part in that.

Who is responsible?

I think we are all responsible for the worst things that are happening.

We never cared about who is going to be elected, we never spent single rupee in trying to get the right candidate to be elected, we always tried to escape our mistakes by paying bribes. We never shouted for wrong things that are happening, we never cared for the poor ourself. We never questioned any MLA or MP of the laws they created. We never questions them when they transferred any sincere police officer. We are busy in buying new homes and new cars. Never cared about the person coming from village to city.

We want complete protection no matter how we dress ourself. We don’t want anyone to touch us even if we walk naked on the road. We want to travel on A/C cars and we don’t want road side people to comment us. We shout at people for not protecting our properties.

When did we question the education we are getting? Where is any moral education?

When we are ourself ignoring our own responsibilities, how can we demand any thing better from the people we elected, or anything better from the people employed by those who are elected by us?

Remember, we are responsible. And it starts with your VOTE.

Where is Rambabu?

I have just watched the recently released Telugu movie “Camera man Ganga tho Rambabu(CGR)” after I was told that it is good and mostly a hit.  I have seen some bits of it in YouTube and even expected the movie to be good.

Here is a quick review from my side.

Songs: Except one all are worst.

Direction: 3/10

Story: 4/10

Acting: 2/10 (Excluding Hero)

Message: 8/10 (Very good)

The message from the movie is clear. Hero questions the people, why not get up and fight. Do take a step, even you alone do what is needed.

I am assuming that many people like the movie.

  • But what did we learn?
  • How many of us who have seen the move and posted in facebook did anything to change the state of the state/country?
  • We have time to watch movies by standing in queue, and don’t have time to support a leader or question a wrong leader?
  • We are willing to stand in queue and do every shit thing they ask us to to get a US visa, but we never did anything of that sort for the state or country?

Don’t tell me you and me can not do anything, if we can go jobs, write programs, do lot of many other things, then we can do anything. We can do if we decide to do.

We are happy to discuss movies, jobs, salaries, technologies but we don’t discuss each others opinions about a political issue or social issue. When did any one of you discuss about your views on a political party within your family? When did we question which party our family members support and why? Where is Rambabu in us?

Come join Loksatta Party and help us build better tomorrow.

My Resolution: I am going to question every one, my family, my friends, my relatives and my colleagues. If I see you posting something on FB related to politics, corruption, social problems then I am going to question what your views are, which party you are supporting and why? If you do not know the answers, then find them. If you don’t want me to ask you, then remove me from your friend list.