Archive for the ‘Getting to the deep end’ Category
In the light of good monsoon and expectation of increased credit demand and in order to boost agricultural production, the farmers need to be supported through Cooperative Banks, which purvey credit at their doorstep, to enable them to scale up their agricultural operation.
The approval will ensure increased availability of short term crop loans to farmers through Cooperative banks at reduced rate of interest.
- How much electric power will it require to run?
- Does it require 3 phase or single phase electricity?
- What is the minimum quantity needed to get decent output?
- How many people are needed to get the design output?
- How much floor space does it require?
- Does it require an elevator to load grains into the machine?
- How many times do the grains need to be processed before we get desired quality output?
There are four parameters to quantify this:
- hulling efficiency: how many unhulled grains come through in 100 grains of the output after one pass through the huller.
- rice recovery percentage: weight of the rice fraction in the output as a percentage of input material.
- grain shattering percentage: the weight of the shattered grains in the output as a percentage of the input material
- through put / capacity: What is the maximum quantity of input grains it can process in an hour?
- bran loss & damage to bran estimation: how white are the millet rice kernels in the output? And what is the estimate on the extent of damage to the bran layer?
So yesterday’s Deccan Herald B’luru edition had an Ad – Two full pages. See the attached image. I am christening it the Facebook for Free Basics or the #FB4FB campaign.
So FB sees enough coming about from FB that they are not just using their own platform to sell FB. Well, if the ISPs and TSPs are going to make money, why leave out famous English dailies in leading newspaper markets of the country! Spread the wealth? Trickle down economics? Psst: If you don’t write anything bad about FB in your editorial pages or news reports, there will be more goodies for you !!
Anyway, let me do a point by point re-interpretation of the 10 claims in the Ad:
#FB4FB : Free Basics is open to any carrier. Any mobile operator can join us in connecting India.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : Free Basics is open to any carrier. Any mobile operator can join us in connecting India … to the websites that have conform to _our_ standards i.e. _our_ preferences and _our_ limitations.
#FB4FB : We do not charge anything for Free Basics. Period.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : We do not charge anything for Free Basics. Period. … But we will only let you see the content that our ‘friends’ offer.
#FB4FB : We do not pay for the data consumed in Free Basics. Operators participate because the program has proven to bring more people online. Free Basics has brought new people on to mobile networks on average over 50% faster since launching the service.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : We do not pay for the data consumed in Free Basics. Operators participate because the program has had the cash registers ringing ! see -6- below.
#FB4FB : Any developer or publisher can have their content on Free Basics. There are technical specs openly published here: some url. and we have never rejected an app or publisher who has met these technical specs
#WhatFBreallyMeans : Any one who meets our technical specs (and our service agreement) is in. Otherwise you are out.
#FB4FB : Nearly 800 developers have signed their support for Free Basics.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : We have managed to find 800 developers out of the few lakh content generators that are out there on the internet. And oh ! these ‘nearly 800’ have only signed their support, we are not sure if their content is on FB yet.
#FB4FB : It is not a walled garden: In India, 40% of people who have come online through FB are paying for data and accessing the full internet within the first 30 days. In the same time period, 8 times more people are paying than staying on just the free services.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : It is a great deal for the telecom service prodviders ! We have a saying in FB, data wins arguments. Look at the numbers. Look how much more money you can make, if you are a TSP/ISP.
#FB4FB : Free Basics is growing and popular in 36 other countries, which have welcomed the program with open arms and seen the enormous benefits it has brought.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : Gimme a break ok, there are 36 other countries who have accepted what we are offering without questioning us. Why do you ask so many questions? Let us just save the poor souls by getting them to access the FB world !!
#FB4FB : In a recent representative poll, 86% of Indians supported Free Basics by Facebook, and the idea that everyone deserves access to free basic internet services
#WhatFBreallyMeans : Internet.org was too distinct, it stood out by itself. So we had a crack team work on it and we changed the name to FB. After all when we are trying to sell a platform, it has to (a) appear ubiquitous (Free Basics internet service is nothing but free basic internet service) and (b) have the same acronym as our primary product ! 🙂
#FB4FB : In the past several days 3.2 million people have petitioned the TRAI in support of Free Basics.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : We set up a ‘send a petition’ page on FB that gave people a single big blue button to click reading ‘send email’. No cancel, no small or big ‘x’ to close the pop up screen anywhere. Simplicity, no choices. he! he! he! he! gotcha !!
#FB4FB : There are no ads in the version of Facebook on Free Basics. Facebook produces no revenue. We are doing this to connect India and the benefits to do so are clear.
#WhatFBreallyMeans : FB does not make money on FB. But our partners do. see -6- above. And FB is saving the world, it is connecting India to the FB world! what more can you ask of us!!
I have major concerns about this whole Unique Identification Number project, recently in the news in India, on three grounds :
- who is doing it?
- which problem are they trying to fix? and
- how will the proposed solution solve the stated problem?
Who is doing it?
As I posted in the comments section on Ashwin’s article at India Together, the primary issue I have with the UIDA is that is an “Authority”. One that is not directly accountable to the people.
The establishment of more and more ‘Authorities’ is very unnerving. Cities are no longer governed by elected representatives, services like water, sewage, electricity are being either contracted to fully private entities or carted out as PPPs. In spite of CAG reports that indicate that these entities are as corrupt and inefficient as the govt., we seem to be heading towards creating more such bodies to decide on a bigger slice of the ever shrinking pie of resources.
Technological solutions to governance issues are like pain killers, good till you are popping the pills. Good governance can be realized and sustained only through an aware and participative citizenry.
Which problem are they trying to fix?
According to media reports, the objectives of having a UID range from national security to govt. programs to law enforcement to access to medical records to ‘having a homogenized identification’ – something that doesn’t show one’s caste, class, religion, region, etc. The last reason being the most disturbing. It will take ages before we have a citizenry that is aware and participates in civic issues. So we might as well use technology to show that we are trying to ensure citizen rights. Especially when we are talking about contracts worth thousands of crores !
How will the proposed solution solve the stated problem?
Almost every one going ga-ga on this seem to think the challenge is purely technological and that this challenge can be easily overcome by The Great Indian IT Prowess. Well, storing a billion numbers and running a few lakh simultaneous compare operations is only one part of the challenge. One needs to look at (if and) how this solution would reach a jawan patrolling in Kashmir, or a ration shop contractor in a village in rural India let alone the lakhs of other places where we use identification.
As I see it, like the interlinking of rivers, this is yet another mega-mega project that is intended to show that we are fixing the problem. The lack of an informed and public debate on this and the structures being used do not reflect well on our much proclaimed democratic ethoes. Running after such solutions, we are loosing focus of the problem and the root causes will lie unaddressed that much longer.
http://mnic.nic.in/ is the under construction web site of the agency set up to translate the UIDAI’s UID to a card. The wikipedia page on this has some background information though it is more than a year old.
More than a thousand representatives from movements and struggles from across the country converged to Jan Mantar for a two day dharna. Objections and concerns about the amendments being introduced to the Land Acquistion Act (1894) and the draft Rehabilitation & Resettlement Bill were presented by the movements from more than 15 states. Eminent citizen and activists like Kuldip Nayyar, Jst. Rajender Sachar, among others shared their concerns about the government’s (in)actions and intentions in trying to table these bills without any public debate or consultation.
The primary demands of the dharna were:
Abolish the Land Acquisition Act of British Legacy
Issue a White paper on Land Acquisition, Displacement and Rehabilitation for the last 60 years
Shelve the two Bills and hold a national consultation on the NAC approved draft along with the displaced people and the people’s organizations and
Institute a Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee for the discussion on the two Acts
The Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill was introduced by the UPA government in the last session of their previous term; however, while it was passed in the Lok Sabha, it could not go through a vote in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill endorses the view that ‘private’ purpose, implying corporate and private commercial interests, is synonymous with ‘public’ purpose. The Bill in its current form negates the process of consultation that began with the National Advisory Council (NAC) and people’s movements, where a comprehensive Development Policy was drafted, keeping in mind concerns of the people.
Speakers underlined that the interlinked nature of the two subjects, land acquisition and Rehabilitation & Resettlement was the basis on which the comprehensive Development Policy was drafted in a people centric manner following the consultations at the National Advisory Council. Voices from across the country opposed the plan to (re)introduce these two bills as regressive steps.
A people’s parliament, जन संसद, was organized on the second day of the dharna. People from different places presented their arguments on the idea of comprehensive development, land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement. Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar presided over a session of the Jan Sansad and expressed his continued support to people’s struggles for justice. Speaking from experiences of the havoc wrecked by various projects undertaken in the name of development, the shameless non compliance of current norms for land acquisition and rehabilitation was laid out in stark detail. The dharna ended with a crescendo of slogan decrying the government’s anti people action and a symbolic throwing of the draft bills in water.
If it was a normal year, end of July is the time when the rains are just starting up in Sitapur. This year, the rains had started by late May and a steady downpour had resulted in flooded fields and swamped paths around the district. When we reached Sitapur in the last week of July, people were fairly certain that the worst was yet to come, given that the real monsoon months were coming up. Bracing for worse conditions is a coping mechanism that most of us employ and we felt that this might be the case here.
As days rolled on, we realized that indeed the rains were continuing at a steady pace. By 14th July there were reports of flooding in low lying villages and by the 18th parts of Kunwarapur, and some of the other villages that we had visited frequently during our stay earlier in the year, were under water.
Most houses in this part of the land are built of mud and straw roof. They might have one room with a mud roof on wooden rafters within which they store their grains and other valuables. There are some houses with brick walls, but most of these have mud roof on wooden rafters as well. Only a few houses are built of brick & mortar and have concrete roofs. The straw roofs are quite resilient against rain and as long as the water flows off they hold out pretty well. The mud walls though are a different story. One could see lots of grass and small plants growing on the top of the walls. And one by one, the walls began to melt and collapse under the persistent rains even in villages where there was no standing water. Soon, the reports of houses and villages flooding seemed to be far outpaced by reports of collapsed walls, caved in roofs and lost grains.
The day we arrived in Sitapur, Umesh Pandey, a local Bharatiya Kisan Union leader offered to drop us in Mishrikh. He is a local politician with a good sense of humor and a fairly good vocabulory. While driving along the state highway we had noticed that the fields on either side were flooded and very few fields had any standing crops. When asked if the rains this time around was normal, he said, “Bhaisaab, is baar jo ho raha hein, woh barish nahi, prakrutik aatank hein!” (“Dear sir, what we are seeing this year is not rain but nature’s terror”). After about a month in the region and after seeing the lost crops, collapsed walls, lost grains, widespread ill health, severly affected cattle, and a few lost lives, his words seem so true.