Saturday, September 13, 2014

We don't need PM Modi's new 'smart' cities, we need to run the existing ones better

Fourteen years ago, when Bill Clinton was issued a driver’s licence in minutes by the then Chandrababu Naidu government in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, a classmate in Hyderabad immediately decided to bring my excitement and awe to a quick end.

“Don’t exult yet. Things can go wrong: the computer or the printer may not work, or the cussed clerk at the counter may just not let them work.”

This is more or less a truism of a sort, for later I discovered that a senior secretary to the Maharashtra government would just not get to read my emails. His PA with the password would be on leave, or in those days of limited sizes of the mailboxes, wouldn’t have cleaned it up. My mails would bounce back. It was exasperating to have access to technology and not use it.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Have you taken the Rice Bucket Challenge in India?

Desi Challenge for Desi Needs, Cook or buy one bucket of Rice / Biryani and feed the needy.

The whole world seems to be busy pouring buckets of ice water on themselves for spreading awareness and raising funds for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. 

But Manjulatha Kalanidhi, a 38-year-old resident of Hyderabad took inspiration from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and started the Rice Bucket Challenge to cater to needs of our country.

The challenge is simple but significant. All you have to do is donate cooked or uncooked rice to someone in need, post a picture with him or her on social networking sites and nominate four other friends to do the same.
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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Bigg Boss 8 ready to take off on 21st September 2014

Salman Khan as a dashing pilot in the new teasers of Bigg Boss 8, has increased the curiosity level of the viewers. In the promo, the Bollywood actor and Bigg Boss host promises to take the contestants, as well as the viewers, on a thrilling flight.

This year's theme will reflect in the new set of the Bigg Boss house, located in Lonavla, which has been designed to resemble a jumbo aircraft. A source says, "To elevate the excitement level, the house will be designed as the interior of an aircraft, just as last year's season seven was designed as heaven and hell." Sources further revealed that the house will also have a waiting lounge and two different sections for Economy and Business class.
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Saturday, September 06, 2014

Exclusive: 'Invisible Strings – The IB Report On NGOs'

Anti-growth. Anti-Hindu. Movement-buster. Reactionary. Corrupt. NGOs have drawn flak for one reason or the other. While there is a clear case for cleaning up the voluntary sector, nothing justifies this attempt at muffling dissent.


The Hindu nationalist. The neo-liberal. The grassroots activist. The Leftist. Everybody, it seems, has a reason to hate NGOs.
Some, like political commentator Radha Rajan who edited a collection of essays titled NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds: Anti-Nation Industry, have charged several NGOs with “de-Hinduising India” and sought to expose “the essentially anti-Hindu activism of some NGOs and activists… and their foreign sponsors, supporters and funders who have their own vested interests in keeping the Hindus in this state of powerlessness”.
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How hoarders and retailers are ripping off the govt in cigarette sales?

Every year, the Union Budget is a universal nail-biter. Members of the working class think of how much they have to shell out in taxes, companies work out how to avoid them using creative accounting techniques, the income tax department sits and thinks of new ways to ensure that you pay what you owe, and keyboard warriors go viral on social media decrying excess taxation, State spending, sops, no sops and so on.
Everybody’s woes are recorded except one group, who are consumers of a $4 billion industry — smokers, who shell out for the taxes and the production cost of cigarettes and a substantial amount in illegal profiteering, which generates thousands of crores of rupees in tax-evaded money.
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