Wednesday, August 29, 2018

EPFO Pension Fiasco: An Example How Bad Governance Alienate People from Government in India!

There are now millions of people in India like me who feel that the Employees' Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) coming under the administrative jurisdiction of the Ministry of Labor and Employment of India, has degraded itself to such an extent that it is better considered as a typical case of bad governance in India.
If this organization is any yardstick, it is not at all difficult to find that India as a nation has miserably failed to deliver good governance.

Governance in India had been apparently so lethargic in the past several years. It gave a golden opportunity to Shri Narendra Modi to make fervent appeals to the people of India to vote for a change to bring good governance in India.

The people fed up of insensitive bad governance, earnestly wishing dynamic good governance, responded positively. Shri Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India a couple of years ago. In about a year he will be completing his five year term as the PM of India. Most likely he would again approach the people with the same slogan of good governance!

But what happened in the past four years? Did he command to bring about good governance?

The answer is debatable. Some say yes, while several feel the other way. 

Whatever those be, I personally feel that he had missed a golden opportunity to act positively and gain the goodwill of millions of retired and working employees of India. He could have easily accomplished that by simply acting decisively in just one case which is now known as the EPFO Pension Fiasco of India. (Click this hyperlink to read the blog article to know more about it)

It was all about bringing reasonable social security to millions of working class people of India who are not beneficiaries of government pensions. It was all about implementing a scheme in the letter and spirit of a statute made by the central government some years ago. It was all about removing certain administrative misdeeds created by the government officialdom. It was an opportunity to bring about solace to millions of retired people by way of getting them their due pensions from the funds that they and their employers contributed over the years. It was nothing complicated or anything that the government could not do. It even had a Supreme Court directive to the government to act!

But unfortunately the EPFO controlled by the government of India acted in the most unexpected manner. They forgot that they are an organisation for social welfare and they are required to act for the benefit of the people covered by the scheme and not against them.

The acts done by EPFO in recent years have been most shameful and undesirable. It acted to divide the people and create enormous confusions and complications that none could ever get any justified pension benefits from it in their life time! The government of India in turn failed to intervene and resolve the complications created by its officials. The political superiors simply bent their knees before the powerful officials and in turn became supporters of the latter. They deviated from the principles of good governance and became sheepishly party to bad governance.

The issue was brought to the notice of the government of India several times from different quarters and the issue got debated in the parliament several times. Conflicting news pervaded the media from time to time making the EPFO-pensioners rejoice and weep at the same time.

Yet the government did not act to bring justice to the retired people who earnestly waited and  hoped to get  justice. They thought their once beloved PM and proponent of good governance- Narendra Modi-  would make a decisive intervention.

Unfortunately for them nothing of that sort happened.

They cursed their fate. They cursed themselves for believing good governance would come as promised.

It was nothing complicated or impossible. It was simply a matter of removing certain elements of official misdeeds and bringing administration in the right tracks. It this couldn't be done, what better we can expect from a government?

Do you know why the millions of pensioners covered under EPFO pension feel cheated by the government?

By certain acts of the parliament of India, the EPFO pension scheme got introduced way back in 1995. The act required that the employers (mostly companies in the public sector and private sector in India) contribute some amount every month, equivalent to a small percentage of the concerned employees' monthly salary to form a superannuation pension fund which would be used to provide post retirement monthly pension to the concerned employee. The EPFO was legally entrusted to act as the apex fund and pension management organization. As a mark of social commitment the central government also committed to make a nominal amount with respect of every employee.

The EPFO pension scheme, was a contributory pension scheme.

For nearly 20 years the EPFO was in the process of raising the funds. During this time it hardly paid any pension to anyone. How they did the fund raising in itself was a matter debatable. It was quite arbitrary with the active administrative support of the government from time to time. Neither the employees, nor the employers were informed of the details of the scheme. Employees and employers too were treated differently by arbitrary and unjustified administrative decisions.

An employee became eligible for getting the EPFO pension once they attain the age of 58 as per the EPFO rules. The formula for payment of pension due was made by the EPFO and was never told to the employees nor the employers during the initial 20 years.

The epfo-pension being a contributory pension is an amount that should be proportional to a persons salary and length of service. It is worked out on the basis of EPFO's capacity to pay from the funds so generated. There is no dispute on this.

Based on EPFO's calculations, a person who served more than 20 years and drawn a monthly average salary of Rs.50,000/- at the time of retirement should get a monthly pension of about Rs.12,000/- ( for clarity, I am not going to the details of actual calculations!) The pension should be lower or higher for others with lower or higher actual salaries and length of services.

But due to their own administrative goof up, the EPFO could not collect monthly contributions from several organizations to the extent as payable by the employees' actual salaries. They had set an arbitrary ceiling for the salaries of all employees from time to time starting from Rs.5000/- to the now set limit of something around Rs.15000/-

There is no logic for this. If the scheme is purely contributory, why at all there should be some arbitrary ceiling like this?

Even if it had been done earlier by some reason, what is the harm in asking the concerned employee who wish to avail the pension as per his actual salary to refund the actual payable monthly contribution with all interests? Take that and pay the employee the due pension as per the actual salary? Quite reasonable, isn't it?

Any organisation who thought of their foremost objective of social security would have agreed and did that without any hesitation.

But India's EPFO officialdom refused to do it that way. Remember, they are not covered under this pension scheme. They are the people who take hefty pensions from government's budgetary support. If government does not pay for them, they find the funds from the employees' pension fund they manage!

Remember, a government employee drawing a monthly salary of Rs.50,000/- per month gets a pension of over Rs. 25,000/- initially and the same keep on increasing every year till their death. On the other hand, the EPFO contributory pension payable on actual salary of Rs. 50,000/- per month is only about Rs.12,000/- per month (fixed). And what they now pay is only a maximum of about Rs.2400/- per month (fixed) regardless of what salary the person had at the time of retirement!

This has caused several retired employees to approach the courts in India and finally the Supreme Court of India understood the logic and instructed the EPFO to pay the pensions as per actual salaries. The EPFO is allowed to collect the due contributions in lump sum too.

No doubt the actual calculations for those retired employees in the last couple of years is quite tedious. Yet it is not anything impossible.

For example, as per the EPFO rule, I became an EPFO pensioner in 2014. If EPFO had to pay me pension as per my actual salary, I had to refund about Rs.15,00,000/- and I would become eligible for getting a pension of about Rs.33000/- per month from 2014. Since I got only a pension of about 2300/- per month so far, my pension arrears would be something a bit more than the amount I have to refund (this is just an approximation for clarity)

That simply means, the EPFO can do the calculation adjustments and pay the amounts right away, if they want to help the retirees in their old age.

But the EPFO officialdom does not think it that way. They do not believe in good governance. They do not like to go as per the Supreme Court of India directive.

What they did subsequently was more disgusting and disappointing to both the retirees and those still in employment.

And they dragged the government of India too in their disgraceful acts and set an example to show how to spoil good governance in India.

Now thousands of retired employees have moved the courts and a big fiasco has taken shape or in the making. 

The EPFO officials on their part are doing all they can do to enhance the confusions and the never ending court cases! Perhaps these officials of the government may be laughing heartily at their clever manipulations to bring such an imbroglio.

And pitifully, the political leadership seems unconcerned or clueless to act. Or they simply lack the will and vision to do anything.

If they cannot implement a simple implementable social security system in a time span of 25 years, what do we expect from the political class of India? 

Is our political luminaries capable of doing anything as they speak when not in power? 

Is the officialdom too powerful to bring our political brass to their knees when the latter is in power?

Or is it yet another case of the so called unholy nexus?

What ever it is, I have lost faith in this country's governmental system. If they cannot even do the simplest of the simple things, what they can do after all?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

കേരളത്തിനെ സങ്കടക്കടലാക്കിയ വെള്ളപ്പൊക്കത്തിനു ആര് ഉത്തരം പറയും?

[This blog article in Malayalam language is concerning the recent flood disaster that happened in Kerala in August 2018. The author here highlights the dangers of having humanly controllable spillway shutters instead of normally open spillways in the dams. The possibility of errors that might have happened in taking decisions and its execution for opening the dam shutters is also highlighted . It is felt that this flood mishap would not have been this serious had there been a better coordination between the technical and administrative wings of the state government that controlled the dam shutters. There is a need for introspection and corrective measures to avoid this kind of a situation in the future]

രണ്ടായിരത്തി പതിനെട്ടു ആഗസ്റ്റ്‌ മാസം മലയാളികള്‍ക്ക് ഒരിക്കലും മറക്കാന്‍ പറ്റാത്ത കഷ്ട നഷ്ടങ്ങള്‍ വരുത്തിയ ഒന്നായി വന്നിരിക്കുന്നു. ഇന്ന് ജീവിച്ചിരിക്കുന്ന ഒരു മലയാളിയും ഇത്രയും നാശ നഷ്ടങ്ങള്‍ വരുത്തിയ ഒരു വെള്ളപ്പൊക്ക ദുരിതം നേരിട്ടോ അല്ലാതെയോ അനുഭവിച്ചു കാണാന്‍ വഴിയില്ല.
ഇക്കഴിഞ്ഞ കുറെ ദിവസങ്ങള്‍ കേരളത്തിനു സമ്മാനിച്ചത്‌ തോരാത്ത മഴ മാത്രമല്ല, തീരാത്ത മഴക്കെടുതിയും കൂടെ ആണ്.

മഴയില്ലെങ്കില്‍ വെള്ളംകുടി മുട്ടും. മഴ കൂടിയാലും വെള്ളം കുടി മുട്ടും. അത് നമ്മള്‍ മനസ്സിലാക്കിയിരിക്കുന്നു.

എന്നാല്‍ ഈ മഴക്കെടുതിയെ വനനശീകരണം മൂലവും മറ്റും നമ്മള്‍ തന്നെ ഉണ്ടാക്കിയ കാലാവസ്ഥാ വ്യതിയാനം കാരണമെന്നു പറഞ്ഞു വെറുതെ നിസംഗതയോടെ നിന്നാല്‍ മാത്രം മതിയോ?

പ്രകൃതിയെയോ ദൈവത്തെതന്നെയോ പഴിചാരി നമുക്ക് മാറി നില്‍ക്കാമോ?

കാലാവസ്ഥാ വ്യതിയാനവും പ്രകൃതി വികൃതികളും ഒക്കെ കാലാകാലങ്ങളായി സംഭവിക്കുന്നത്‌ തന്നെ. അതൊക്കെ മാറിയും മറിഞ്ഞും ഇരിക്കും. അതില്‍ നമുക്കൊന്നും ചെയ്യാനും കഴിയില്ല.

പ്രകൃതി വികൃതികളുടെ കാരണം കാണാന്‍ നമ്മുടെ ശാസ്ത്രഞ്ജന്‍മാരെ ഏര്‍പ്പെടുത്തിയാല്‍ പലതരം അഭിപ്രായങ്ങള്‍  പറയുക സാധാരണം. എന്നാല്‍ അതുപോലെയൊന്നും എപ്പോഴും സംഭവിക്കാറില്ല. അതാണ് പ്രകൃതിയുടെ മറ്റൊരു  വികൃതി.

എന്നാല്‍ കേരളത്തെ ഇപ്പോള്‍ നടുക്കിയ മഹാപ്രളയം പ്രകൃതിയുടെ ഒരു വികൃതി തന്നെയോ? അത് നമുക്ക് ഒഴിവാക്കാമായിരുന്ന ഒന്നായിരുന്നോ?

സാമാന്യ ബുദ്ധിയില്‍ കാര്യങ്ങള്‍ വിശകലനം ചെയ്താല്‍ ഈ വന്ന ദുരന്തം ഒഴിവാക്കാന്‍ പറ്റുമായിരുന്നു എന്ന് തന്നെ ആണ് എനിക്ക് തോന്നുന്നത്.

നാല് പതിറ്റാണ്ട് കാലത്തെ എഞ്ചിനീയറിംഗ് രംഗത്ത അനുഭവ പരിചയം വച്ച് പറയുകയാണ്‌: ഈ ദുരന്തത്തിനു നിര്‍ത്താതെ പെയ്ത മഴ മാത്രമല്ല കാരണം.

അതിതീവ്ര മഴമൂലം മലയോര പ്രദേശങ്ങളില്‍ ഉരുള്‍ പൊട്ടല്‍ എന്ന ഭയാനക മണ്ണിടിയലും കുത്തൊഴുക്കും പലയിടങ്ങളിലും സംഭവിച്ചു. തീവ്ര മഴയില്‍ അത് തടയുക പലപ്പോഴും സാധ്യമല്ല. എന്നാല്‍ ഉരുള്‍ പൊട്ടല്‍ നാശം മഹാപ്രളയ നാശത്തിനു ഒപ്പം ഒരിക്കലും വരില്ല.

എന്‍റെ വിശകലനത്തില്‍ ഇപ്പോള്‍ സംഭവിച്ച വന്‍ വെള്ളപ്പൊക്കം നമ്മുടെ കൊച്ചു കേരളത്തിലെ അണക്കെട്ടുകളെ നമ്മള്‍ ഒരുവിധത്തില്‍ അല്ലെങ്കില്‍ മറ്റൊരുവിധത്തില്‍ രാഷ്ട്രീയവല്‍ക്കരിച്ചതു മൂലം വന്ന പിശകുകള്‍ കാരണം ആണ് എന്ന് വളരെ എളുപ്പത്തില്‍ മനസ്സിലാക്കാന്‍ സാധിക്കും.

മനുഷ്യനിര്‍മിതമായ കെട്ടിടങ്ങളും, റോഡുകളും, പാലങ്ങളും, ഡാമുകളും ഒക്കെ വളരെ പ്രയോജനം ചെയ്യുന്നവ തന്നെ ആണ്. എന്നാല്‍ ഇതൊക്കെയും പിഴവുകള്‍ സംഭവിക്കാവുന്നവയും ആണ്.

അണക്കെട്ടുകള്‍ അഥവാ ഡാമുകള്‍ മഴക്കാലത്തെ വലിയതോതിലുള്ള ജലപ്രവാഹത്തെ ഉയര്‍ന്ന പ്രദേശങ്ങളില്‍ കെട്ടി നിര്‍ത്തി മഴയില്ലാ സമയത്ത് ഉപയോഗിക്കുവാന്‍ സഹായിക്കുന്നു. ജലസേചനം കൃഷിഉല്‍പ്പാദനം കൂട്ടും. ജല വൈദ്യുതിയും വികസനത്തിന് അവശ്യ ഘടകം തന്നെ. അതിനുപരി ഒരു പരിധി വരെ സാധാരണ മഴക്കാലത്തെ വെള്ളപ്പൊക്കം നിയന്ത്രണ വിധേയമാക്കാനും അണക്കെട്ടുകള്‍ സഹായകരം ആകും.

എന്നാല്‍ അണക്കെട്ടുകള്‍ വളരെ സൂക്ഷ്മതയോടെ ഡിസൈന്‍ ചെയ്തു നിര്‍മിച്ചു കൃത്യതയോടെ നോക്കി നടത്തേണ്ട ഭീമന്‍ നിര്‍മ്മിതികള്‍ ആണ് എന്നതില്‍ ഒരു സംശയവും വേണ്ട. അല്ലാത്ത പക്ഷം അണക്കെട്ടുകള്‍ വന്‍ മനുഷ്യ നിര്‍മിത ദുരന്തങ്ങള്‍ക്കും കാരണം ആയേക്കാം എന്നത് ഇതിനോടകം ലോക ചരിത്രം നമ്മെ മനസ്സിലാക്കിത്തന്ന കാര്യവും ആണ്.

കൊച്ചു കേരളം അണക്കെട്ടുകളുടെ സാധ്യതകളെ പരമാവധി ചൂഷണം ചെയ്ത ഒരു പ്രദേശം ആണ്. കൂടുതല്‍ അണക്കെട്ട് സാധ്യതകള്‍ ആരായുന്ന ഭരണാധികാരികള്‍ ഉള്ള സംസ്ഥാനവും ആണ് എന്നത് മറന്നുകൂടാ.

അണക്കെട്ടുകളുടെ പ്രയോജനവും അതിലൂടെയുള്ള ചെറുതും വലുതുമായ ലാഭ മോഹവും  ചിലപ്പോള്‍ ചില അധികാരികളെയും അവരുടെ പിന്നാളന്‍മാരെയും അതിയായി വശീകരിക്കാനുള്ള സാധ്യത ഇന്ത്യയില്‍ പലയിടത്തും ഇതിനോടകം നമ്മള്‍ കണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നു.

അങ്ങനെ വരുമ്പോള്‍ അണക്കെട്ടുകള്‍ മൂലം സംഭവിക്കാവുന്ന ദുരന്തങ്ങള്‍ നമുക്ക് തള്ളിക്കളയാനും പറ്റില്ല.

ഇപ്പോള്‍ കേരളം കണ്ട മഹാപ്രളയം അങ്ങനെ ഒരു ദുരന്തം തന്നെ ആയിരുന്നു എന്നാണു എന്‍റെ വിലയിരുത്തല്‍.

ഇനി അതെങ്ങനെ എന്ന് ഒന്ന് പരിശോധിക്കാം.

എല്ലാ അണക്കെട്ടുകള്‍ക്കും ഒരു ഉന്നത ജല രേഖയുണ്ട്. അതായത് ആ അണക്കെട്ടിന്റെ ഏറ്റവും ഉയര്‍ന്ന ജല സംഭരണ ഉയരം. അതില്‍ കൂടുതല്‍ ഉയരം വെള്ളം ആ അണക്കെട്ടില്‍ സംഭരിക്കാന്‍ പാടില്ല എന്ന്  സാധാരണ ഗതിയില്‍ ആ അണക്കെട്ട് രൂപകല്‍പന ചെയ്യുന്ന എഞ്ചിനീയര്‍മാര്‍ നിഷ്കര്ഷിക്കും. അതില്‍ കൂടിയാല്‍ ഉടന്‍ അണക്കെട്ട് പൊട്ടിപ്പോകും എന്നല്ല അതിനര്‍ഥം. സാധാരണ ഗതിയില്‍ അണക്കെട്ടിന്റെ മുകളില്‍ കൂടി ജലം ഒഴുകിയാലും അണക്കെട്ടിനു ഒന്നും സംഭവിക്കാത്ത നിലയില്‍ ആയിരിക്കും അണക്കെട്ടുകള്‍ രൂപ കല്പന നടത്തിയിട്ടുള്ളത്. അങ്ങനെ ചെയ്യേണ്ടത് ദീര്‍ഘ കാലത്തെ അപകടം ഒഴിഞ്ഞ  നിലനില്‍പ്പിനും ആവശ്യം ആണ്.

എന്നാല്‍ കൂടിയ ജല രേഖയുടെ മുകളില്‍ അണക്കെട്ടില്‍ വെള്ളം പൊങ്ങുന്നത് ഒരിക്കലും ആശാസ്യം അല്ല. അങ്ങനെ വന്നാല്‍ അണക്കെട്ടിന്റെ സംഭരണി പ്രദേശത്തു കൂടുതല്‍ സ്ഥലങ്ങള്‍ വെള്ളത്തില്‍ മുങ്ങും. മാത്രമല്ല ഉദ്ദേശിക്കാത്ത തരത്തില്‍ സംഭരണി പ്രദേശത്തു മണ്ണൊലിപ്പും ഉരുള്‍പൊട്ടലും ഭൂകമ്പങ്ങളും ഒക്കെ വന്നെന്നിരിക്കും.

അപ്പോള്‍ ഒരു കാരണവശാലും ഉയര്‍ന്ന ജല സംഭരണ രേഖയുടെ മുകളില്‍ വെള്ളം പൊങ്ങാതെ നോക്കേണ്ടത് വളരെ പ്രാധാന്യം ഉള്ള ഒരു കാര്യം തന്നെ.

അതിനു ഏറ്റവും സഹായകരമായ കാര്യം അണക്കെട്ടില്‍ ഏറ്റവും ഉയര്‍ന്ന ജലവിതാനത്തിന് സമാനമായി വെള്ളം ഒഴുകി വെളിയില്‍ പോകാന്‍ ആവശ്യമായ രീതിയില്‍ ഒരു പാത്തി അല്ലെങ്കില്‍ വിയര്‍ ചാനല്‍ അണക്കെട്ടില്‍ ഉണ്ടാവുക എന്നത് തന്നെ. അതിനെ ഓവര്‍ഫ്ലോ വിയര്‍ എന്ന് പറയും. അണക്കെട്ട് സാങ്കേതിക വിദഗ്ദ്ധര്‍ ഇതിനെ പലപ്പോഴും സ്പില്‍വേ എന്നാണ് പറയാറുള്ളത്.

വൃഷ്ടി പ്രദേശത്തു എത്ര മഴ പെയ്തു അണക്കെട്ടില്‍ വെള്ളം നിറഞ്ഞു പൊങ്ങിയാലും ഓവര്‍ഫ്ലോ വിയര്‍ അഥവാ സ്പില്‍വേ ഉണ്ടെങ്കില്‍ അതിനു മുകളില്‍ അത്രയൊന്നും വെള്ളം പൊങ്ങില്ല. വെള്ളം പൊങ്ങുന്നതിന് അനുസരിച്ച് സ്പില്‍വേയില്‍  കൂടി വെള്ളം ഡാമിന് താഴെ നദിയിലേക്ക് ഒഴുകും. ഒരിക്കലും അതൊരു കുത്തൊഴുക്ക് ആവുകയില്ല. മാത്രമല്ല അങ്ങനെ സാവധാനം കവിഞ്ഞു ഒഴുകുന്ന വെള്ളം താഴെ നദീതീരങ്ങളില്‍ നാശ നഷ്ടങ്ങള്‍ ഉണ്ടാക്കുകയും ഇല്ല. ഇങ്ങനെ അണക്കെട്ടിന്റെ പലവിധമായ സേഫ്റ്റിക്ക് ഉതകും വിധം ഉണ്ടാക്കിയിരിക്കുന്ന ഓവര്‍ഫ്ലോ വിയര്‍ ഒരിക്കലും ഒരു അപകടക്കെണി ആയി മാറുകയും ഇല്ല.

സാധാരണ ഗതിയില്‍ കൂടിയ ജല നിരപ്പ് മനുഷ്യ പ്രയഗ്നം ഇല്ലാതെ തന്നെ കൂടാതെ ഇരിക്കാന്‍ ഒരു സാധാരണ ഓവര്‍ഫ്ലോ വിയര്‍ കൊണ്ട് സാധിക്കും. ഡാമിന്റെ സേഫ്റ്റി ഇതില്‍ പരിരക്ഷിക്കപ്പെടുന്നതിനു  ഇതിനെ ഏറ്റവും ലളിതമായ രൂപകല്പനയില്‍ ചെയ്യേണ്ടതും ആവശ്യം തന്നെ. ഒരു കാരണവശാലും ഓവര്‍ഫ്ലോ സേഫ്റ്റി വിയറില്‍ മനുഷ്യ പ്രയഗ്നമോ വൈദ്യുതി നിയന്ത്രണമോ ആവശ്യമുള്ള ഗേറ്റ് അല്ലെങ്കില്‍ ഷട്ടര്‍ ഉണ്ടാകാന്‍ പാടില്ല. അങ്ങനെ ചെയ്താല്‍ വെള്ളം കൂടുതല്‍ ഉയരങ്ങളിലേക്ക് പൊങ്ങുകയും ഷട്ടറുകള്‍ തുറക്കുമ്പോള്‍ അതിഭയങ്കര കുത്തൊഴുക്കോടു കൂടി ഡാമില്‍ നിന്ന് വെള്ളം താഴെ നദിയില്‍ ഒഴുകി വെള്ളപ്പൊക്ക സാദ്ധ്യത ഉയര്‍ത്തും. ഇതാണ് ഇപ്പോള്‍ കേരളത്തില്‍ സംഭവിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നത്.

അതിശയകരം എന്ന് തന്നെ പറയട്ടെ, കേരളത്തിലെ ഒട്ടു മിക്കവാറും അണക്കെട്ടുകളും ഓവര്‍ഫ്ലോ ഷട്ടറുകള്‍ ഉള്ളവ ആണ്. അതിനാല്‍ ഉയര്‍ന്ന ജല നിരപ്പ് അധികാരികളുടെ നിയന്ത്രണത്തിനു വിധേയമായി ഇരിക്കുന്നു. വെള്ളം കൂടിയ ഉയരത്തില്‍  നിന്ന് ഉയരുന്നതിന് ആനുപാതികമായി താഴെ നദിയിലേക്ക് സ്പില്‍ വേയില്‍ കൂടി പതിക്കുന്നില്ല. ഷട്ടര്‍ ഇല്ലാത്ത സ്പില്‍വേ എപ്പോഴും തുറന്നിരിക്കുന്നതാണ്. എന്നാല്‍ ഷട്ടര്‍ ഉള്ള  സ്പില്‍വേകള്‍ സാധാരണയായി അടച്ചു വച്ചിരിക്കുന്ന പതിവാണ് ഉള്ളത്. അപ്പോള്‍ ഷട്ടര്‍ അടച്ചു വച്ച്  സ്പില്‍വേയുടെ നിരപ്പിനു മുകളില്‍ അധികമായി പല അടി വെള്ളം ഉയര്‍ത്തുവാനും അണക്കെട്ടിന്റെ ജല സംഭരണശേഷി ഉയര്‍ത്തുവാനും കഴിയും. ഇത് പക്ഷേ ചെയ്യേണ്ടത് അണക്കെട്ടിനെ നിയന്ത്രിക്കുന്ന സാങ്കേതിക അധികാര കേന്ദ്രങ്ങളുടെ തീരുമാനങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് വിധേയമായിട്ട് ആയിരിക്കണം . മാത്രമല്ല, പല സന്ദര്‍ഭങ്ങളിലും അത്യധികം സാങ്കേതിക നിപുണതയും ഭരണ നിപുണതയും ഒന്നിച്ചു വേണ്ടി വരുന്ന ഒരു കാര്യവുമാണ്. വലിപ്പവും ഭാരവുമുള്ള സ്പില്‍വേ ഷട്ടറുകള്‍ അടക്കുകയും തുറക്കുകയും ചെയ്യുന്നത് ശ്രമകരമായ കാര്യമാണ്. ചിലപ്പോള്‍ ഈ യന്ത്ര സംവിധാനങ്ങള്‍ പണിമുടക്കി ഉടക്കിയെന്നുമിരിക്കും. അതിനാല്‍ ഷട്ടര്‍ ഇല്ലാത്ത ഓവര്‍ഫ്ലോ സ്പില്‍വേ വിദേശ രാജ്യങ്ങളില്‍ പല അണക്കെട്ടുകളിലും കൊടുത്തിരിക്കുന്നത് കാണാം. ഇങ്ങനെ ഒന്ന് കേരളത്തിലെ ഡാമുകളില്‍ ഇല്ല എന്ന് തന്നെ പറയാം.

അപ്പോള്‍ ഡാം ഷട്ടര്‍ നിയന്ത്രണം പലപ്പോഴും നിയന്ത്രണാതീതം ആയി പോകുന്നത് നമ്മുടെ ജനാധിപത്യ രാജ്യത്തിന്റെ ഭരണയന്ത്ര പരിമിതികള്‍ മൂലം ആണെന്ന് പറയേണ്ടി വരും . ചിലപ്പോഴൊക്കെ, ഇപ്പോള്‍ പറ്റിയ പോലെ, അത് വലിയ അപകടങ്ങളില്‍ എല്ലാവരെയും എത്തിച്ചെന്നും ഇരിക്കും.

എന്താണ് സംഭവിച്ചതെന്ന് നോക്കാം.

ഇക്കൊല്ലം നമ്മുടെ കഴിഞ്ഞ വര്‍ഷങ്ങളിലെ വരള്‍ച്ച എല്ലാം മാറ്റുന്ന തരത്തില്‍ പ്രകൃതിയും  ദൈവവും കനിഞ്ഞു നമുക്ക് മഴ തന്നു.

നമ്മുടെ നദികളില്‍ വെള്ളം കര കവിയുന്ന രീതിയില്‍ പൊങ്ങി. നമ്മുടെ എല്ലാ അണക്കെട്ടുകളും വെള്ളത്താല്‍ സമൃദ്ധമായി. വെള്ളം അണക്കെട്ടുകളുടെ ഉയര്‍ന്ന ജല വിതാനത്തിന് അടുത്തേക്ക്‌ ഉയര്‍ന്നു കൊണ്ടിരുന്നു.

മനുഷ്യ നിയന്ത്രണം ഇല്ലാത്ത ഓവര്‍ഫ്ലോ വിയറുകള്‍ ആയിരുന്നു നമ്മുടെ ഡാമുകളില്‍ എങ്കില്‍ വെള്ളം ഒരു പ്രശ്നവും ഇല്ലാതെ നദികളിലേക്ക് ഒലിച്ചു പോയേനെ. നമ്മുടെ ഡാമുകള്‍ സ്പില്‍വേ നിരപ്പില്‍ നിറഞ്ഞും നിന്നേനെ.

എന്നാല്‍ കാര്യങ്ങള്‍ അങ്ങനെ അല്ലായിരുന്നു കേരളത്തില്‍.

നമ്മുടെ ഡാമുകളുടെ ജല ഉയരം നമ്മുടെ വൈദ്യുതി കമ്പനിയുടെയും അതിനെ നിയന്ത്രിക്കുന്ന ജനപ്രതിനിധികളായ മന്ത്രിമാരുടെയും ഒക്കെ തീരുമാനങ്ങള്‍ അനുസരിച്ച് അണക്കെട്ട് ഷട്ടറുകള്‍  പ്രവര്‍ത്തിപ്പിക്കുന്ന ഉദ്യോഗസ്ഥരുടെ കൈകളില്‍ ആയിരുന്നു.

തീരുമാനങ്ങളും ഷട്ടര്‍ പൊക്കല്‍ താക്കല്‍ പരിപാടികളും മുറപോലെ നടന്നു. എന്നാല്‍ അത് മഴമൂലം വെള്ളം പൊങ്ങി നിന്ന നദികളുടെ ശേഷിക്കു മുകളില്‍ വരുന്ന കുത്തൊഴുക്ക്‌ ഉണ്ടാക്കാനുള്ള കാരണങ്ങള്‍ ആയി. തീരുമാനങ്ങള്‍ പ്രാവര്‍ത്തികമാക്കിയപ്പോള്‍  സാങ്കേതിക-ഭരണ നിപുണത കൈവിട്ടു പോയി എന്ന് കരുതണം.

കേരളത്തിന്‍റെ ഭാഗ്യദോഷം എന്നല്ലാതെ എന്ത് പറയാന്‍.

ബുദ്ധിക്കു കുഴപ്പം ഒന്നും വന്നില്ലെങ്കില്‍ ഒന്നാലോചിച്ചു നോക്കൂ. ഡാമുകളുടെ ഉയര്‍ന്ന ജല നിരപ്പ് നമുക്ക് മന്ത്രി നിയന്ത്രണത്തില്‍ വേണമോ അതോ അതില്‍ കൂടുതല്‍ ഒരു കാരണവശാലും ഉയരാതെ മനുഷ്യ നിയന്ത്രണം ഇല്ലാത്ത രീതിയില്‍ വേണമോ?

ഒരു ബക്കെറ്റ് വെള്ളം ഒന്നിച്ചു കാല്‍ച്ചുവട്ടില്‍ ഒഴിച്ചാല്‍ മണ്ണിളകി കാലില്‍ ചെളിയും മണ്ണും കയറും. അത് പതുക്കെ എടുത്തു ഒഴുക്കിയാല്‍ കാല്‍ വൃത്തിയായി കഴുകാം. രണ്ടും  ഒരു ബക്കെറ്റ് വെള്ളം തന്നെ.

കേരളത്തിനു ഇനിയും ഡാമുകളില്‍ ഉയര്‍ന്ന ജലനിരപ്പ്‌ നിയന്ത്രണം വേണ്ട എന്ന് വയ്ക്കാന്‍ നമ്മുടെ അധികാരികള്‍ മനസ്സ് വയ്ക്കണം. കുറഞ്ഞ പക്ഷം മേല്പറഞ്ഞ കാര്യങ്ങളില്‍ കഴമ്പുണ്ടോ എന്ന് തെളിഞ്ഞ ബുദ്ധിയോടെ ആലോചിച്ചെങ്കിലും നോക്കണം.

ഇന്ത്യയിലെയും വിദേശത്തെയും കാലാവസ്ഥാ പ്രവചന കേന്ദ്രങ്ങള്‍ മഴ ഇനിയെത്ര പെയ്യും എന്ന് ഒരുവിധം നന്നായി തന്നെ ഇക്കൊല്ലം പ്രവചിച്ചതാണ്. അപ്പോള്‍ സ്പില്‍വേ ലെവല്‍ വരെ ഡാമില്‍ വെള്ളം എത്തിയപ്പോഴേ സ്പില്‍വേ ഷട്ടറുകള്‍ തുറന്നു വയ്ക്കേണ്ടിയിരുന്നു. അങ്ങനെ ചെയ്യാതെ സ്പില്‍വേ ലെവെലിനു മുകളിലേക്ക് വെള്ളം ആവുന്നത്ര  ഉയര്‍ത്തി വൈദ്യുതി ഉത്‌പാദനത്തിന് ഉപയോഗപ്പെടുത്താനുള്ള  ഉത്സുകതയില്‍ വെള്ളം ഡാമുകളില്‍  ഉയര്‍ന്നു കവിഞ്ഞൊഴുകുന്ന സ്ഥിതി പെട്ടെന്ന് സംജാതമായി. അപ്പോള്‍ ഡാമുകള്‍ കവിയുകയും പൊട്ടുകയും ചെയ്യുമോ എന്ന ഭയം ഉടലെടുക്കുകയും പെട്ടെന്ന് ഷട്ടറുകള്‍ പരമാവധി ഒന്നിച്ചു തുറക്കാന്‍ തീരുമാനിക്കുകയും ചെയ്തത് മൂലം അപ്രതീക്ഷിത വെള്ളപ്പൊക്കം സംജാതമായി.  ശാസ്ത്രീയമായി അപഗ്രഥിച്ച് തീരുമാനം എടുത്തിരുന്നെങ്കില്‍ ഒരു പക്ഷേ ഈ വന്നു ഭാവിച്ച ദുരന്തം ഒഴിവാക്കാന്‍ കഴിഞ്ഞേനെ എന്നാണു എനിക്ക് തോന്നുന്നത്.

ഏതായാലും വന്നത് വന്നു. ഇനിയെങ്കിലും ഇങ്ങനെ ഒരു  ദുരന്തം ആവര്‍ത്തിക്കാതിരിക്കട്ടെ. അതിനു കഴിയുമെന്ന് തന്നെ നമുക്ക് വിശ്വസിക്കാം.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Health Insurance Policy for Senior Citizens in India:Is it a System to Rob the Hapless?

Is health insurance or the so-called medical insurance service as being provided in India now, a system for providing a justified social security to its policy holders or a system to entice and loot the hapless people in a clandestine manner?

There are several reasons for me to have this doubt in my mind. Perhaps, I am not alone  thinking this way. Anyone who has been genuinely taking medical insurance until he or she came across the misfortune of claiming the insured amount from the insurers would likely have this doubt.

Those who are very concerned of having a genuine medical insurance are the senior citizens or the people who have retired from active service. They are entering the old age phase of life where incomes and health both are in a declining trend. Perhaps they are the ones who need medical insurance the most as a measure of social security. Unfortunately, they are the least preferred by the very same medical insurance companies who have been allowed to enter in to this very 'restrictive' or 'statutorily controlled' insurance service business in the guise of covering an important aspect of social security.

The words 'restrictive' and 'statutorily controlled' are very important to be noted. The Indian political leadership across all political mindsets had been against the private players entering in to the insurance business of all types for several decades ever since India got independence. Hence the Indian government never allowed any private players in this business other than the Life Insurance Corporation and the General Insurance Corporation, the two public sector mammoths fully controlled by the government of India for almost half a century.

Why didn't they allow the private players when there existed several private insurance companies in the developed nations? None gave any fully justified answer for this. The explanation was that the Indian politicians are of the socialistic mindset deriving their political learning from the teachings of communism and socialism and capitalism was a political taboo.

But with the fall and split of the communist bloc nations led by the erstwhile USSR, we had seen a worldwide reversal of political thinking that resulted in making the hardcore communists to become apostles of capitalism and free market economy.

India had been a safe player always and therefore it remained that way even after the major changes in international politics and economic shakeups. No doubt it too moved to the capitalistic way but in a manner that confused everyone. It was the great Indian trade and business game for the political and bureaucratic opportunists to make quick personal gains. India adopted the licensed free market economic system while retaining many of the government owned businesses in an objective less manner. The government owned companies have been removed from governmental financial supports and allowed to function independently competing with their private competitors. However, the government did not ensure to give them enough freedom as that was available to their privately owned competitors.

Naturally in India, a peculiar situation arose. It was now an economy with free market objectives where both private players with greater freedom of operations functioned side by side with government owned businesses with several functional restrictions.

The efforts by various governments to come out from the controlling ownership of public sector businesses in reality did not meet any serious objections from any front except some lukewarm protests here and there. Yet, the governments have been doing the privatization process in a very arbitrary manner failing to meet their declared objectives always.

This kind of a situation allowed crony capitalism to take deep roots in the Indian soil. Several private business groups grew many folds and became bigger than several large public sectors of the past.

It has led to the development of governmental favoritism and the era of 'scams' started with corruption and inefficiency synonymous with India and all that is Indian. India ceased to become the ideal democratic nation of truth , non-violence and justice that was originally conceptualized by erstwhile world renowned Indian leaders like Mahatma Gandhi. 
The era of political opportunism with the sole purpose of personal gains began to grow in this land of Mahatma Gandhi. When political leaders became that way, the Indian bureaucracy too began to rot making it a large and complex system of government servants functioning in various styles and purposes in the most unpredictable and inconsistent manner.

Thus India has now become a unique nation in the whole world with a unique style of functioning: the Indian system of arbitrary governance. In this system any or all rules keep changing from time to time and could be interpreted according to the whims and fancies of the so called authorities!

Indian courts too became entangled in this great system of Indian governance that every now and then they kept reversing their own judgments! 

So what was the reason for the Indian politicians to oppose any private players to set up an insurance business? Why was insurance a sector that was still maintained as one with too much political and governmental controls? Is it for safeguarding the public or something else?

In my considered view, the business of insurance is a great money spinner for those who are allowed to do this business. It is like all other controlled businesses like sale of alcoholic beverages, sale of petroleum products, transport business, telecom business, etc.

The government controls in these businesses are mainly kept not only for gaining a huge revenue for the government coffers, but also for making huge ill-earned black moneys for those individuals who happen to be part of the governmental control system.

Such a system is also prone to make huge losses as well. It is like the game of gambling. In India, businesses are now routinely considered a big game of gamble. It is no more a system of doing a good service to the society availing a reasonable profit. It is a system of making landslide profits under the protection or licence of government to such times that it can.

I often wonder and ask to myself: Why do my fellow country men always be so selfish and self centered? Why are they so hesitant to extent any good to their fellow beings?

I have no answer. How can you expect goodness when evil has taken predominance for whatever reasons?

So in short, health insurance in India now is in the hands of evil doers under evil protection. But evil never has a prolonged victory. Its success is short lived.

No business that violate the fundamentals of human service and justice will sustain for long. That is a universal truth.

Evil infested men and women are clever and intelligent. They only lack wisdom! They know that evil systems can not go endlessly. But evil people, inherently are suicidal. Individually they make their lives miserable at some point of time for themselves only to be replaced by others with potential evilness!

Health insurance business, as with all other businesses, can be managed well making a win-win situation for all players, the government, the company investors, the company directors, their employees and their individual clients. There is no question of this business making any unjustifiable loss to any one, provided the business is carried forward in a justifiable and efficient manner without evil objectives.

Once they do that, it would be of great help to everyone.

But who will take the lead? Will evil control itself?

Then India would probably does not even need the so-called 'Insurance Regulatory Development Authority' the autocratic system that keeps playing a role with no character or compassion to the people.

One thing must be essentially understood in the business of insurance. Insurance is not taking individuals' money and returning a part of the lump sum at some other time of distress or need.

Insurance works on the principle of collective strength of pooling resources and the universal truth of dilution of individual distress when there are many to share the load.

Insurance companies are for doing the service of resource collection, management and re-distribution. But when they do this management with no competency and honesty then they degrade as looters and not any social security service providers. When that happens their business too would become non sustainable!

Will they ever realize this?

Health insurance is no exception. In reality all insurance business in India as of now are means of making profits for the licensed insurance companies. Vehicle insurance is a typical case. Its premiums are sky-rocketing in India every year to such an extent that people are no more interested in taking comprehensive vehicle insurance except those forced upon them by the government.

When insurance business was a state controlled one, there were only the Life Insurance Corporation and the General Insurance Corporation in India in this field. In those days, these companies owned by the government did very good service through their agents for collecting the premiums and providing the insurance documents to the people. Their premiums used to be affordable. But their 'after-sales-services' used to be extremely poor. They seldom paid the insured sums during the times of need, without harassing the insured or their heirs. This has caused these state corporations accumulating huge funds. They too tried greedily to make money but never realized the purpose of insurance-helping people while in distress!

The entry of private players were allowed to bring competition in insurance services and to curtail the public sector monopoly.

But these private companies too, unfortunately forgot their essential objective of doing affordable insurance service. No doubt, competition in insurance business enhanced. However, that competition has been during the time of collection of premium and not for the time of providing the monetary support at the time of needs.

Now all insurance companies in India, both in the public and private domains, keep doing all they can to fool the public and make as much money they can from the gullible public. The unfair practices they adopt has caused huge rise in unfair claims and consequently the insurance sector has degraded to an arena of unfair business.

When it has degraded to an unfair business area, the government brought in the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority which in turn has done more damage than any correction.

Unfair business practices are on the rise in this country. Corruption is now accepted as a way of life. 

When will we realize our follies? When will be able to eradicate our greed arising out of fear of the unknown?

Only then we can expect a society where businesses like insurance doing a helping hand to the people at large while they carry out their services without making losses.

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:


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.










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)


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!