Monday, March 31, 2008

Each one is special...

Each one of these pieces is special. They have all hit me and stayed in the heart ever since. They are repeated often, and perhaps have appeared earlier on this blog.
IMHO, each of these pieces captures an important idea in 2 lines or less.
What do you think? Which one do you like? I like the last one best.
Don’t dismiss a good idea simply because you don’t like the source.
You miss 100% of the shots you never take.

मुन्ह की बात सुने हर कोई,
दिल के दर्द को जाने कौन
आवाज़ो के बाज़ारों में
खामोशी पहचाने कौन

मेरे हाथों की चाहो तो तलाशी ले लो
मेरे हाथों में लकीरों के सिवा कुछ भी नही..

भूखे बच्चों की तस्सली के लिये
मा ने फिर पानी पकाया देर तक

कहने वालों का कुछ नही जाता
सहने वाले कमाल करते हैं
कौन ढूंढे जवाब दर्दों के
लोग तो बस सवाल करते हैं

पत्थर हमारे सेहन में आये खुशी हुई,
ग़म तो गया कोई हमें जानता नही.

अब मैं राशन की कतारों में नज़र आता हूँ
अपने खेतों से बिछडने की सज़ा पाता हूं

इतनी महंगाई कि बाज़ार से कुछ लाता हूं
अपने बच्चों में उसे बांटते शर्माता हूँ

देख कर मुल्कों की सरहदें
पंछी उडते रहते हैं
इधर भी इंसान रहते हैं
उधर भी इंसान रहते हैं

खुद को पढती हूं छोड देती हू
एक वर्क़ रोज़ मोड देती हूं

हमें अपने सभी बेसुध करें करते ही चले जायें
मगर सुधियां उमर भर साथ रहने को उतारू हैं

सभी सुख दूर से गुज़रें गुज़रते ही चले जायें
मग़र पीडा उमर भर साथ रहने को उतारू है

तुम्हे मिलें तो इत्तला करना,
सब सुख हुए फरार हमारे

एक अंगूठे ही के कारण
चुकते नही उधार हमारे

दुख की नगरी कौन सी नगरी,
आंसूं की क्या ज़ात
सारे तारे दूर के तारे,
सब के छोटे हाथ..

सब का खुशी से फासला बस एक कदम है
हर घर में बस एक ही कमरा कम है
कुछ तुम्हारे लिये पल्कों में छिपा रखा है
देख लो, और न देखो तो शिकायत भी नहीं

मां मां कह बुलाती आयी थी,
वह मिटटी हाथ में लायी थी,
कुछ मिट्टी खा कर आयी थी,
कुछ मुझे खिलाने लायी थी..

Thursday, March 27, 2008

BarCamp returns to Mumbai again - Third Edition – 29 March at IIT Bombay

BarCamp Mumbai 2 was a big hit with over 200 attendees and a day full of discussions on many interesting topics and ideas. BarCamp Mumbai 3 is now on the cards for 29th March at School of Management at IIT Mumbai. In the true spirit of BarCamp it's an open platform which anyone can make her own. Anyone can participate, anyone can speak, agenda is drawn collectively at the start and any topic is welcome as long as you have others interested as well.

This time the infrastructure has been extended in view of the overwhelming participation last time. The venue can accommodate around 400 people. In addition, the open spaces within the building will have mattresses which can be used by groups of people to discuss or to just take a break.

This edition will also host a BlogCamp which will have people talk about all things blog and also other aspects of social media and marketing. There is also FireTalk where you can talk about your idea and exhort like minded people to join you – it can be a cool app or a full scale business plan. The people gathered thus prepare a broader blueprint offline and then present it to larger audience later in the day.

Come and make this your own BarCamp. Over a 100 people have already registered.
Register your participation for free at the wiki:
Register your topic at the wiki:

Tittle Sponsorer of Barcamp Mumbai3 is Sun Microsystem & Associate Sponsorer is Directi.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Your problem is, you think like a man and feel like a woman.

What's wrong with that?

Everything. A woman can process multiple inputs at the same time and can think much better than men. A man can keep his emotions under control, but they are a woman's undoing. You should think like a woman and feel like a man.


What do you think? :-)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Agricultural Sector Reform

Without going into the details of why, here is what I propose:
1. There should be no control price on procurement.

2. There should be no subsidies on inputs. All inputs must be governed by market prices. i.e., Fertiliser Corporation of India must continue to supply fertilizer, but it must be forced to cut its own costs to stay price competitive.
3. Food Corporation of India(FCI) must be forced to compete with other market players to procure at market prices. Minimum Support Price must be the least amount at which a sale can happen in a government regulated market.
4. There should be public-private partnership to create a chain of warehouses. The pricing mechanism should be such that the farmer does not pay for the storage – the procurer pays. What this means is that the longer a produce is in the warehouse, the more the bill of the procurer. This will transfer the pressure of selling from the farmer to the buyer. Also, since the farmer does not stand to gain anything by keeping the produce for long in the warehouse, and in fact loses liquidity and negotiation advantage, he will also be interested in reaching an early deal, but will not be under pressure to do so.

5. Once the procurement has been completed by the FCI(Food Corporation of India), the produce must be transferred to a central nodal distribution agency, which could be a part of FCI. There have to be 2 parallel distribution mechanisms – one for perishable primary produce like fruits and vegetables, and the other for staples and cereals.

6. The distribution is done at subsidized prices. The Govt. of India, along with the states, bears the differential between procurement prices and distribution prices. The more the demand-supply gap in a state, the more its burden of subsidizing.

7. Not every citizen should be expected to have a ration card. A ration card should be authorisation to get produce from the subsidized PDS. For identity proof, the voter ID card or an alternative for minors should be used.

8. Any leakage is the responsibility of FCI’s distribution wing, and the respective governments.

9. Until there is stabilisation of logistics on the ground, all speculative acitivity in these commodities should be made illegal.

What this arrangement will hopefully do:1. Stop the starvation deaths of farmers.
2. Introduce corporatisation of agriculture that goes a step beyond contract farming.
3. Plug the multiple infusion of subsidy and introduce a single injection point of money form the government to the food distribution mechanism of India. This hopefully means less corruption, or at least all corruption concentrated at one point. This also means more accountability of the nodal agency and an ability to place the blame where it should lie.
4. Make available both perishable farm produce and staples at a less price to the BPL citizens of India. Currently, the public distribution system (PDS) only takes care of staples.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Remember elementary Maths? We started with an equation that went:

CP – Cost Price
P – Profit
SP - Sales Price.

Now, assume a section where "SP is less than CP" i.e., cost of production is higher than the selling price . Assume further that this "SP less than CP" is not because of market dynamics, but because of government regulations.

That means, that the equation now looks like this:
CP + -(P) = SP
-(P) obviously refers to the continual, unending loss being made by the sector.

However, to correct this situation, the government does this:
CP = CP1 + S.CP1 - Actual cost borne by the producer.
S – Subsidies.
i.e., we will provide part of your expenditure, such that you do not suffer a loss.
In this, the assumption is that, at least, S is provided to the extent where CP1 becomes less than SP. (i.e., the producer's cost is less than the controlled selling price)

Flawed Assumption #1: "CP1 less than SP. "

Suppose further that the amount of S as per the government’s books is XXXXX, but the amount that actually gets disbursed as S is XXX. i.e.,

CP = CP1+ XXXXX – in the books of the state.

CP = CP1 + XXX for the producers.

Axiom – CP1 must rise to the extent that S is reduced, because the cost of production is not impacted by the availability of subsidies. If the state does not bear the cost, the producer must.

The government fixes SP on the basis of equation 1 above. (CP = CP1 + XXXXX) but the farmer has to bear CP to a much higher extent.

Therefore, no matter what the quantum of S, because of the inherent flaw in the process of calculation, the government will never find out the exact S required, and will also, never be able to fix a SP such that the producer suffers no loss.

That, imho, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the main problems with the Indian agriculture sector.

And if that stupidly drafted post made no sense, all one is trying to say is that control prices in agriculture go against a very basic principle of economics, where a producer must get returns for his efforts.

Monday, March 03, 2008

2 improbabilities

What is the probability of 2 improbable events happening on the same day? What is the probability of their happening within 15 minutes of each other?

On Feb 29, we took Ishaan out for his first picnic. To the Qutub Minaar and the verdant gardens of the Mehrauli archeological park. We realised that Ishaan has outgrown his bassinet without telling us. We found out when he made a rather successful effort to jump out of it, about 2 feet above the ground, and head on. Thankfully, he was held mid air and there was no head injury.
Consequently, the bassinet was used as a luggage holder and held my purse and the camcoder. On the way out, and while loading the car, we realised that the camcoder was not in the bassinet. Frantic searches by me and the maid yielded zero results. The maid said that was predictable in a city like Delhi. Who will find a Sony camcoder in a small, fit in your palm cover and not take it? I was forced to agree.
However, as a last ditch resort, i went to the main gate and asked if anyone has submitted a camcoder.

Improbable event #1:The police personnel standing at the gate said immediately that he has the camcoder and that i should come to the PCR van and take it.
Incredulous, I walked into the small cabin that the PCR team had, thinking in my mind of the police case, and formalities that are bound to follow. Not to mention having to go through this alone.
He had the camcoder all right. "Someone gave it to us from the road."!! In Delhi??? No formalites, no harassment, just your stuff back in your hands.

Improbable Event # 2: I came back to my purse, took out a note and handed it to him. He looked at it and said "This is not necessary. This is our job." I insisted and left it there. Outside, in the van, a lady officer sees me with my purse and says "Why did you pay anything? They have a salary too. You should not have paid." And she had a genuine, warm smile on her face!

Thank you, Delhi Police!!
And Thank you, to the person who brought the camcoder to the PCR van.