Thursday, September 30, 2004

Pappu Yadav parties; jail warden loses job.

After all, when did a 'politician' last suffer the consequences of his/her action? So, nothing new in this Rediff news.

We have another 'deadline' for that broadband policy.

"The much-awaited broadband policy is expected by October, union minister for communications and information technology Dayanidhi Maran indicated."

From The Financial Express.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

More on the Left's own 'foreign experts'.

As the Rediff article says: "Left leaders are continuing to protest against the inclusion of World Bank and ADB representatives in the Planning Commission. But they have so far kept quiet on their own economists' continuing active links with foreign consultants and donor agencies."

Broadband at Rs 500 a month is nothing new.

Broadband at Rs 500 a month is nothing new.

Tata Indicom offers broadband at Rs 500 a month with an abysmally low data transfer limit of 250 MB. But, it's supposed to be 512 Kbps.

So, how will MTNL/BSNL's broadband offering at Rs 500 per month for a minimum 256 Kbps be better? For starters, I hope they keep a decent data transfer limit when they start in January 2005.

The usual small print says that taxes will be extra on these monthly costs. So, add a minimum of 10.2% as service tax.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Who are the 14 that the Left thinks will hijack the Planning Commission?

Well, 13 of the 14 are Indians. Too bad that the Left thinks this country is no better than a banana republic.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The power to influence decisions, without responsibility for the end result.

I like what TN Ninan writes in Business Standard.
"...When invited to join the government and become part of the coalition, the Left parties refused. Now we know why. They want the power to influence decisions, without taking responsibility for the end result (which is why the Left Front government in West Bengal does many of the things that the Left parties will not allow in New Delhi). ..."

Tax sops to aid broadband to come up in next Budget.

The Economic Times gives us hope that we may be lucky after all!
"...The minister for communication and information technology, Dayanidhi Maran, had called on finance minister P Chidambaram last week to take up the issue. Sources said Mr Maran, who called on the Prime Minister soon after, might have taken up the issue with him as well. The Prime Minister heads the committee on infrastructure.

The Committee on Infrastructure has on its agenda universal availability of broadband services, greater internet spread and a reliable rural telecom network as three of the six objectives notified. Sources said that with Trai’s recommendations also taking the same line, it would be difficult for Mr Chidambaram to ignore them completely. ..."

Foreigners voting in US elections.

Jonathan Freedland argues in The Hindu (via the Guardian) that US policy now affects every citizen on the planet. So we should all have a say in who gets to the White House.
"... Anyone who doubts it need only look at the last four years. The war against Iraq, the introduction of the new doctrine of pre-emption, the direct challenge to multilateral institutions — chances are, not one of these world-changing developments would have happened under a President Al Gore. It is no exaggeration to say that the actions of a few hundred voters in Florida changed the world.

So perhaps it is time to make a modest proposal. If everyone in the world will be affected by this election, should not everyone in the world have a vote?..."
It doesn't sound all that illogical anymore.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Job guarantee: Bengal says Objection, Comrades.

Are Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury in the same party as West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta? Looks like things are different in the state.
"...The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government has reason to be wary—its experience with a similar unemployment assistance scheme has been abysmal. ..."
I guess when you are in government, you are more responsible.

The Minister proposes, DOT disposes.

The Minister, Mr Maran, extols the virtues of broadband and what it can do, while addressing the APT Ministerial Conference on Broadband and ICT development, 1-2 July, 2004, Bangkok, Thailand.
"...Internet and Broadband access are widely recognised as catalysts for economic and social development of the country. Not only will these contribute to economic growth but would also enable the development of a vast pool of skilled manpower, far beyond the conventional training channels. ..."
But, the DOT believes otherwise as outlined in The Financial Express.
"...According to a senior government official, most of Trai recommendations on broadband were being turned down by DoT mainly due to threat caused to the national security. ..."

"Broadband sops are heavy burden on the government exchequer."

The Business Standard has a story "Broadband players unlikely to get sops":
"...“The Finance Ministry is unlikely to allow these benefits to broadband providers, as this will put a heavy burden on the government exchequer,” a senior Department of Telecommunications (DoT) official told Business Standard. ..."
So, what's this "heavy burden"? This is the figure that the story gives:
"... These fiscal sops, if implemented, will result in a Rs 200-crore revenue loss to the government."
Is this a joke?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Just 15 out of 415 experts: meet the 'foreign hand' that makes Left shiver.

Learn how 3.6% members can 'overwhelm' the remaining 96.4% from an article in The Indian Express.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Perhaps Mr Yechury can answer this.

Mr Yechury is dead against 'outsiders' advising the Planning Commission. Wonder how he explains this from!
"...Just as a practical consensus has evolved among almost all bourgeois parties, national and regional, over the new economic and industrial policies, with even the CPI(M)-led state governments complying with it, a similar agreement has also begun to crystalise around the new agricultural policy. And if anybody needed a shocking proof of this emerging consensus, once again it is supplied by the Left Front government of West Bengal which has commissioned the American consultancy firm McKinsey for formulating the policy blueprint for what the CPI(M) calls ‘consolidation of the Left Front’s gains in the field of agriculture’."
Bold letters only for emphasis.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Broadband policy in a week.

That's what the minister says, as per The Telegraph.
"...Maran said, “I expect the broadband to be finally out within next week. A few clarifications that were needed by a few government departments and the department of telecom have been answered. ..."

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Modern day dohas, with apologies to Sant Kabir.

Chuppi jo sadhli aapne, ab kaise chup karaye?
Ulat gayi jo duniya sari, ab sab phire paglaye.

Uma ko kya aayo warrant, tiranga liyo laharaye.
Mandir se jo bhookh na mitai, ab jhande pai bahkaye.

Dekho kaisi gajab ki hai Uma ki tirangi maya.
Jhandewalan ki building pai, woh jhanda kabhi na laharaya!

Shikhandi tohe koi kahe, 'paltu' bulaye koi aur.
'Roll-back' to wohi kare, Atal ko gari sunayo na koi aur.

Pardhan mantri ke peeche kaun, aap se jaane kaun zyada?
Peechhe sarsanghchalak, bagal mein Advani, ban gayo Modi ka pyada.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Much hullaballoo over nothing.

Karnataka government releases Uma Bharti. Why did the state government have to go through this charade in the first place?

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Rs 1,500-crore Defaulting Employer Guarantee Scheme.

Wonder what Sitaram Yechury and others of his ilk have to say about this news story in The Indian Express.
"...Last month, Ola [Sis Ram Ola, Labour Minister, Government of India] showed Central Provident Fund Commissioner Ajai Singh the door for suggesting that India’s pension and PF system was in need of urgent surgery. Since then, to prove that the system is in good shape, Ola has hinted that EPFO may pay a higher interest rate to provident fund members than the 8.5 per cent that has been proposed. For this, he hopes to mop up the arrears that defaulters (like HEC) owe EPFO.

When EPFO last sat down to do its sums, it calculated that errant employers had defaulted on paying a total of at least Rs 1,511 crore towards their employees’ PF. Of this, in 2003, PSUs alone owed Rs 608 crore.

Considering that when these sums were done, HEC’s default had been calculated at just Rs 20 crore, that amount has grown.

Contrary to the minister’s stand, the EPFO does not pretend that it will be able to recover most of this money. ..."
After all, PSUs are their favourites.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

UPA spells out plan for infrastructure: Net & rural telecom.

The Indian Express has some information on that Indian broadband dream.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Museum of Communism!

Check out the online Museum of Communism.