Friday, March 2, 2018

Paytm: Why I Will Quit Using This e-Wallet Service w.e.f March 2018?

Paytm has been a revolutionary IT services start up company in India founded by a young Indian engineer, Vijay Sekhar Sharma, in 2010. Starting services for mobile recharges online, the company has migrated step by step to an e-market place. Its potential has been too attractive that global e-commerce giants like Jack Ma's Alibaba has reportedly invested heavily in this Indian start up venture.

I have been a Paytm user for the last about 2 years and I have found the Paytm android App a very useful e-payment facility for making small payments for mobile post paid recharges, movie ticket booking, railway ticket online payments, etc. Adding money to the e-wallet of Paytm has also been hassle free unlike many other e-wallets that came later.

Whatever the money making model of Paytm, it has been quite beneficial to its young founder, that he made huge money in a short span of time catapulting him to the  Forbe's List of  global billionaires . Money naturally brings power and Paytm founder is also reportedly one of the very powerful persons in India as of now.

An year ago, when the Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi declared his partial demonetization drive, Paytm was reportedly told as one of the main beneficiaries of the move as the move was to give high boost to e-wallet services.

In the beginning, common people like me, never understood the process of operating e-wallets and payments through e-wallets. Though Paytm had been advertising heavily for making payments to small time purchases using its mobile App, people like me hardly found any retailer actually accepting payments through it even in a highly literate and urbanized state like Kerala, where I live now.

Being a senior citizen with a technical background who has always been trying to keep pace with the developments  in the digital world, I consider myself quite competent to adapt to the developments that keep happening in the digital space. Yet I have been finding my self slipping out of it every now and then. So, it is not difficult for me to gauge the discomfort of the large number of old and not so literate people on account of the forceful growth of digital systems around them.

Using digital systems for entertainment and personal communication is one thing they may like, but using digital systems for financial transactions and other such things where lot of security aspects are involved is another thing altogether. 

And when the government too acts like a novice and comes up with stupid rules and regulations every now and then, people of India feel like running away and hiding in the deep woods!

e-Wallets have not yet become very popular in India. If I understood it as a user point of view, the e-wallet market place is just trying to establish their foot prints and trying to make people comfortable with its use.

Now comes the stupid governmental regulation. The India government regulators recently mandated that all e-wallet services to fulfill KYC (Know-Your-Customer) norms immediately. No e-walleting is possible later than 1st March 2018 if KYC norms are not fulfilled!

Utter stupidity, isn't it?

I know that most people will not be able to tell whether it is something stupid or not immediately as they have not even tried using e-wallets.

But the e-wallet company people might be cursing the Indian government regulators for sure!

Now let us see how they are going to do it and the process as seen from the customer side as well.

I will elaborate my own experience.

My Paytm App in mobile had been enticing me to stock  up to Rs.20000/- in my Paytm e-wallet by sending me notifications to that effect earlier. But during the last one year or so, when I had been a user of it, I hardly find any opportunity to make payments through it for my retail shops and suppliers, except perhaps the mobile companies. So I never kept more than Rs. 1000 in my e-wallet.

Yesterday, when I wanted to recharge one of my mobile phones and I wanted to transfer Rs.1000 to my Paytm wallet from bank using my debit card as usual. Then the Paytm App, as forced by the India government, wanted me to to fulfill the KYC norm through it. It asked me to enter my Aadhaar number, which I did.

Immediately the App collected my details from the Aadhaar data base elsewhere and displayed my address. It prompted me to click OK if it's right, which I did.

The next message literally shocked me. It said to click the convenient time for the company officials to visit me to verify my original Aadhar card or other such original government ID proofs like passport, driving licence, Pan card etc. I laughed to myself at this stupidity of this company. It is quite a common sense to realize that it is not possible for any one to do such a thing!

So when I clicked the time, the next notification promptly appeared. It said that they do not have any facility for such verification in my place and alternatively advised me to visit any customer service center for making it happen.

Both me and they both know that it is not going to happen for most of their current registered users for the time being.

Paytm had been claiming that they have over 240 million registered users in India. But knowledgeable sources put that figure somewhere around 54 million only.

In any case, the new stupid regulation of government of India is going to make that figure dropped to something substantially low in a day!

As a customer, I have decided not to have Paytm any more. I can live without it.

On the other hand, a still bigger player like Amazon too wanted me to fulfill the KYC norm as per the government directive. It wanted me to give my Aadhaar which I gave. And immediately they declared me KYC fulfilled. They did not want to see my card physically and to get a photo copy of the same as it used to be earlier with the banks!

This clearly indicates some undeclared and fishy things that goes behind the scenes. And such things are known to happen always. And that is what makes or kills commerce and commercial organizations in India. Let us not call it corruption. The common people are too common to know all these that goes behind the corridors of power!

Is it reflecting yet another stupidity in the digital administration in India?

Whether yes or no, I feel saying good bye to this kind of digital India. It is much better that way.

Who is trying to make us all stupid?

Stupidity or super intelligence? 

Who knows?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What to Do When Your Windows 8.1 Pro Pre-Installed OS Licence Expires for Your Laptop?

Recently I faced with a problem with my laptop. Every now and then when I booted my laptop (it's a couple of years old Toshiba Satellite Pro with Intel Core Duo processor inside) a blue labelled message began to appear which read like this:

"YOUR WINDOWS LICENCE IS SOON TO GET EXPIRED, 
PLEASE ACTIVATE IT !"

I am not a computer expert. I had purchased my laptop with pre-installed operating system. I never knew that the the operating system producer, Microsoft in this case, had placed a limited licensed product inside my laptop, without which my computer is quite useless. To my understanding, a laptop machine with pre-loaded software should mean software too to keep working together with the hardware to the end.

Anyway the message from the OS producer indicated that it is not the case. Some detailed study on the topic revealed the following to me:

The manufacturer of the pre-loaded laptop should have used a unique OS with a unique licence key and should have provided me those too. I remember the retailer giving me some CDs telling them as the backup OS and other software tools.

I never had an opportunity to use those in my past couple of years and now those delicate items are not traceable any more!

Even it those are available, the OS company now says that the license is over. I have to get new license, perhaps by paying some money to Microsoft. But how? I have to use my present computer to do that and what if the whole process fails in between? Whom I would contact for help in case I fail?

The present world of computers for everyone, including home users like me and the working professionals in the various business organizations is quite complex. It is the combined product of the intelligent works of millions of people over decades across the globe!

Every one knows some aspects of computers now, but none could be an expert of everything.

For solving the problems, one may have to look for solutions also from the data that exist in the linked computers of the internet!

And it is an art! If you know it, well and good. If you don't well, start the game from the beginning by say, getting a new computer!

Computer savvy youngster might find solutions for such problems much faster. But that may not be the situation for ordinary old users like me!

Yet I did some data mining and tried out fixing the problem myself. And it worked!

Now let me share that procedure with those of you who might land in to such a problem now or later!

Now the following is the procedure that you can try if you face with the problem mentioned above to fix it, just as I did it successfully:

If you use a smart phone, find this blog page with your smartphone browser and keep it opened for you to refer to the procedure steps. Else you may write down the procedure first lest you forget it once you start trying it on your laptop. Alternatively you may take a picture of the procedure using your smart phone and keep the picture opened for your ready reference.

PROCEDURE

1.START YOUR LAPTOP AND EXIT FROM ALL USUAL APPS THAT YOU USE

2. OPEN 'TASK MANAGER' BY PRESSING CONTROL+ALT+DELETE TOGETHER

3. IN THE TASK MANAGER WINDOW, FIND WINDOWS EXPLORER PROCESS

4. RIGHT CLICK WINDOWS EXPLORER AND FIND AND SELECT 'RESTART'

5. HERE YOU FIND THE PROCESS HAS RESTARTED

6. WAIT FOR A MINUTE AND THEN CLOSE THE TASK MANAGER WINDOW

7. THEN GO TO THE START MENU ICON AT THE BOTTOM LEFT

8. RIGHT CLICK THE START MENU ICON AND SELECT Command Prompt (Admin)

9. CLICK  Yes to get into DOS Window ( uac) prompt in black screen

10. Type the command: slmgr -rearm at the place the curser blinks and press ENTER

( Note that there is a space between slmgr and -rearm ; do not forget to place the minus sign (-) not underscore (_) before rearm)

11. NOW RESTART YOUR COMPUTER / LAPTOP AS USUAL


If your computer is with Windows 8.1 Pro OS using 32 bit configuration, your problem should get fixed by this method.

I am sharing this as I could fix the problem by this method.

But a word of caution. You cannot be fully sure whether it works because of the possibility of several complex factors inherent to computer systems. Try your luck yourself if you dare.

Good luck! 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Digital Administration in India: Pockets of Great Stupidity and Pockets of Wisdom!

In this blog article, I would be highlighting a contemporary aspect of developing India in the field of digital administration.

India's leap into the field of digital work space was rather late. Yet, India is presently one of the largest supplier of digital workers in the world. The majority of young Indian work force gain their incomes from computer related works in one way or the other. The numbers of Indian engineering graduates directly engaged in computer software coding and programming either within the country or abroad are also very large now. 

But when it comes to core computer hardware technology, Indian contribution is pretty low. India keeps importing computer and communication hardware from abroad. Manufacturing of computers in India essentially means assembling of hardware components obtained from developed nations! India is yet to make her footprint as a technology developer! Indian space is not-yet-so-good for original technological ideas to take root and grow!  


Indian political administration being with all the vices of democracy had not been very supportive of using advanced technologies such as computers for the general purpose of the masses from the very beginning. India's political leadership started realizing the potential benefits of computerization and digital economy only from the 1990's after the foreign dollar paying companies from the USA began recruiting technically qualified Indians in large numbers for filling up the massive shortage of lower level digital work force to offset the so-called Y2K problem.
Indian Political Leaders!
The large demand for engineering graduates from India to do digital works of the computer enabled fields  gave rise to the large scale mushrooming of engineering colleges from a few scores to over 10000 and the growth of digital work contracting companies  in a matter of just over a decade, in India.

Perhaps one of the main reasons for the advancement of digital economy related growth within India was the poor knowledge of Indian bureaucrats and political bosses about the digital economy business! Their lack of knowledge in the initial years prevented them from interfering with the natural growth of digital economy in the country. Indian politicians and bureaucrats were good in extracting money from conventional businesses in liquor trade, road transport, real estate, etc with their typical road blocking administrative techniques, but were yet to understand the business processes of the digital world! 

Gradually the wings of the government machinery began to learn about computers and computer aided communication technologies and their potentials in money making.

So they stepped in to grab their share of the digital economy cake directly and indirectly causing huge interference in the smooth growth of demand based digital economy in India. 

Then followed the era of various scams in India- the telecom 2G scam and the scams related with education and the like arising out of the imposition of draconian administrative controls and involvement in the smooth growth of legitimate businesses.

All these money scandals or scams kept happening in India due to the gradual success that unscrupulous democratic leaders got in diluting the efficacy of the bureaucracy. The former did it by promoting bureaucrats and technocrats who were good sycophants rather than good in character and competence, to key positions in the government! 

In all these, we also see pockets of human stupidity concurrently moving along with human genius!

And my intention is only a mild effort to create a little bit awareness among those who care for reading this blog, about the likelihood of human follies and stupidities that go hand in hand with human achievements, wisdom and genius.

And that happens because, we humans are not a homogeneous group of individuals with equitable physical and mind capacities- we are with varying degrees of perfection or imperfection. 

We are with varying levels of wisdom and stupidity!

And hence we reflect great achievements and great stupidities at the same time and that situation has not changed so far. Perhaps we need to progress to many generations ahead to reduce the ratio of foolishness to wisdom in our individual and group activity matrix.

When we look to our world as a whole, we see the uneven distribution of human stupidity and wisdom and its effect reflecting marked uneven distribution of  human development indices.

Though late, the Indian government was realizing the potential of digital economy. Apparently, lack of technological knowledge among the policy makers and the bureaucracy also caused them making great follies while they began planning big to make use of the great potential of computers!  

Prioritization of digitization or use of computers for all possible human activity for taking advantage of the great potential of computers is indeed a wise administrative decision.

But implementing it unwisely would make a wise decision appear as foolish or stupid!

When things move as a mixture of wisdom and stupidity, clever fellows (intelligent people with no character) get success in reaping selfish gains for them abundantly, though for short duration!

The acts of stupidities coupled with the acts of characterless people  enhance human sufferings and the nation as a whole gets affected adversely. 

India is a typical example of that at present!

For example let us consider a scenario like this. Suppose a group of wise and intelligent governmental advisers who know much about computers and digitization, keep advising  the governmental decision makers about the need for fast implementation of digitization in the country for reaping its benefits, there is always a possibility of some stupid decision or law making when the decision makers are not with the level of knowledge in this field as their advisers. When there are stupid fellows in the governmental decision making system, unscrupulous, characterless but clever fellows within the system get good chances for making good fortunes for them as well.

When that happens, the nation will get  faultily  implemented digital infrastructure and digital governance!

In India, digital governance acts done by the government in a stupid haste with regard to money transactions, income tax return filing, goods and services tax administration, electronic voting etc are typical examples of stupidity arising out of pretty high levels of ignorance in the area of computerized  administration coupled with corruption in certain pockets.

No doubt, computerized administration can do wonders and the decision to adopt that policy is not any stupidity. Stupidity here is the level of misunderstanding or inferior awareness about the human effort, competency and time that are required for its successful implementation.

Is it not stupidity when the government desires that all its citizens who earn taxable incomes to pay taxes, keep accounts , file income tax returns and monitor their taxation interactions with the tax authorities only in a computerized manner. But this desire becomes absurd stupidity when the government declares it as implemented ignoring the ground realities, causing great hardships to the citizens and also causing great damages to the governmental systems as well. How can you declare a nation fully digital when the same nation has not achieved full basic literacy even?

Is it wise to assume that an illiterate person would not have income tax payable income? Is it wise to assume that all income tax payers find computers too convenient for all their tax payments, return filing and record keeping? If not, is it wise to have a tax payment system fully computerized?

When the individuals in the top decision making levels are themselves computer illiterates, there is all possibility that they leave everything to the hired system analysts and programmers for making the digital systems and processes as required for the digital administration. Faulty systems get introduced which need frequent changes. Frequent changes in an administrative system cause the people to lose confidence in the government! It is not a good thing for the nation.

The current problems related to e-governance of income tax, Goods and Serives Tax (GST) all reflect faulty implementation of digital governance.

Similar faults could be seen in the implementation of bio-metric citizen identity system called Aadhaar, e-voting, etc as being implemented by the governmental departments and organizations.

While some banks have implemented extremely reliable and good e-banking systems, some others, especially in the government sector are limping with faulty systems.

Some Indian private companies have very good e-management systems while several others are still with faulty systems.

All systems are as a result of peoples' effort, after all. When the individual capacities of the people with regard to knowledge and wisdom are widely varying from person to person, extreme care is needed to build organizations of people for  tapping the potential of the individuals for collective good.

That is where good leadership matters!