Thursday, May 29, 2008

More pictures of Mumbai-Pune Highway

THESE PICS ARE NOT FROM MY CAMERA: Courtesy: AMIT KULKARNI. Thank you for sending such beautiful photos. I feel like driving on these roads right away. It's a beautiful combination of natural scenery and man made road. Thanks to Nitin Gadkari of the BJP who singlehandedly completed this in a record time. This led to Vajpayee's ambitious Golden Quadrilateral idea that is continuing to transform India.


WOW!!!!!
Reminds me of Satya's song: GEELA GEELA PAANI















The best I can think of are these pics








Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A rare photograph

Often, this great intellectual and the brainy Finance Minister is seen in this outfit
The above traditional dress is his outfit whenever he presents budget, attends meetings, addresses press conferences and virtually every time (except for outside visits where he wears his suit)


This outfit is quite rare caught by any photographer. This photo was taken from Tehelka.

This was purely on a hilarious note:)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Articles on 4 year miserable rule of UPA led by Manmohan Singh

http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/may/25kk.htm

http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20080602&fname=Col+Prem+Shankar+Jha+%28F%29&sid=1

I sometimes wonder about 3 people - our PM Singh, Chidambaram, Montek Ahulwalia by asking - Were these the ones who opened the economy for reforms by taking bold initiatives? BJP out of compulsion and recognizing the fact that the approach of 1991 reforms was the best for the country chose it and changed its mindset about economics. The Congress took the approach also out of compulsion, but never did the reforms with force that would bring swift changes. If Narasimha Rao would not have supported, Dr. Singh would not have changed the country. Likewise, had Vajpayee intervened and removed Yashwant Sinha in the first few years of NDA, India would not have come on the growth trajectory.

The real problem is good people are tied up by the Left and Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi who is not letting them to function properly. In fact, it is this particular facet which Narasimha Rao handled very aptly and sidelined Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. I really appreciate Narasimha Rao for giving a free run for reforms. On the contrast, Sonia Gandhi wants to ensure that she rules even if growth is hampered. If she was interested, she would have given full liberty to the dream team of economists to function. Alas, these intellectuals are pulled on one side by Mrs. Gandhi and on the other side by Left. In between is the country's growth caught.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

S.M.Krishna's post election statement one of his statesmanship

In the dirty world of Indian politics, there are few who blossom like the lotus giving the hope that even amidst the dirt lies the beauty. S.M. Krishna of the Congress (former CM) is one such lotus.

I have been an ardent admirer of S.M. Krishna from the very day he came into office. His polite, yet tough style of functioning, involving people in solving people's problems, bringing infrastructure boom like flyovers in the city, setting up of Bangalore Agenda Task Force (which took up the task of cleaning Bangalore and bringing beauty etc), making IT in Karnataka the first in the country, giving powers to Lok Ayukta to expose corruption, etc are some of the landmark steps he took.

I wonder how Congress sidelined such an acceptable face like him. The reason is known and that is that he was an urban face and not rural one. He should have at least been asked to contest. He has proven himself as an able administrator and functioned like a CEO whose only interest was Karnataka's growth.

At least, Sonia Gandhi would have thought over this. Number of seats in Bangalore increased to 28 making Bangalore crucial for a victory. If Krishna would have been projected as the CM, entire city would have overwhelmingly voted for him. Congress did not do it. Forget this. They did not allow him to contest and not even have a say in who should be the candidates chosen. The party overrode him. This was very sad. I have seen this typical behaviour more in Congress party where the acceptable faces at the regional level get sidelined the moment some sections of the society were against him/her.

After elections, S.M. Krishna's admittance - "I am responsible for the defeat and I own responsibility. We did not work as a team" is an indication of his already known statesmanship.

Mr.Krishna, if at all you ever read this blog, let me tell you that you are the solution to the problem and not the problem at all. You require an award from citizens not just because of you made this statement (while all the other colleagues of yours were accusing each other and JD(S)), but because of the maturity, political sagacity, toughness when it comes to governance and humbleness in character you carry with you. You are a role model. There are only a few in both BJP and Congress. In state Congress, I feel you are the only one.

The statement of this kind is usually one made by seasoned and matured leaders cutting across party lines when they accept defeat. However, even more significant is his statement - " I hope they (the BJP) will have the political will to take up the issues of the state and provide good administration" is a very interesting one. He is accepting the fact that the state needs to grow and therefore the challenge is enormous. Very few leaders across political lines think of the state/nation. Krishna is definitely one of them.

These are post poll statements. Even in pre poll speeches in one of them, he said - "I and my government failed in converting Bangalore into Singapore and therefore expect that if given a chance, will make the promise a reality". It was such a candid admission. No political leader in Karnataka, of late, have I seen with such gentleman like qualities.

It is very sad that the party underestimated him. I am happy that one party got the majority. I am even happier that JD(S) is out of influence.

Look at other leaders of the Congress party - both national and state - none of them first accepted defeat. They accused each other.

While JD(S) and Congress accuse each other with JD(S) having no words on TV, it was a humiliating moment for JD(S).

Yet, something which antagonized me was after elections when BJP fell short of majority by 3 seats, Kumaraswamy said on NDTV - "Let us see if this govt runs 5 months or 5 years". This is the lowest extent to fall. The verdict being clear, he still expects he will be the king maker.

Let's hope that the high expectations are fulfilled. This is the first and the only chance BJP is going to get in Karnataka. If they fail, they will never come back. If they succeed, Karnataka is poised to become bastion of a straight contest between Congress and BJP from then on and that is good because I sincerely believe that both Congress and BJP agree on certain economic principles (if not approaches to solve social issues) and it is good for the state/nation.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bio metric PAN cards this year onwards

In order to solve the 13 lakh fraud PAN numbers and to prevent further, the Government approved the use of biometric PAN cards. The card will have iris and fingerprint to make it tamper proof. So far, in any part of the world wherever combination of both of these biometrics have been used the fraud rate is almost ZERO.

The existing users won't be forced, but the govt has advised to switch over in the citizens' interest so that no one misuses their PAN card.

The hick up though is the expense. The existing one costed Rs. 67 or something close to this figure while the biometric one will cost between Rs.200 and Rs.300. Cost is going to hinder, but I am sure people will go for it as PAN card has become very important for so many transactions ranging from purchasing cars to getting loans (all kinds). Everyday, their use as an identity is going northwards.

But biometric will go down a long way in curbing the PAN card fraud.

http://www.thehindu.com/2007/07/18/stories/2007071862291500.htm

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Himachal, Haryana, TamilNadu, Gujarat complete State WAN

Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, TamilNadu and Haryana are the 4 states in the country which have wide area network connecting all administrative offices from capital to district to taluk to panchayat level. This will enable for e-governance projects to be delivered easily.

Reference:http://himachal.us/2008/02/05/himachal-pradesh-state-wide-network-himswan-launched/4465/news/disha
http://www.egovernanceforums.com/swan/SWAN_News.aspx

The connectivity also will ensure that internet connections can be given. All the 4 states have literacy rates in the range 70-75% making it easier for utilization of such projects.

Already Himachal Pradesh being the first to have completed this has received ISO Certification from Norway for transparent and efficient system of issuing transport and driver licenses.

Electronic filing of taxes mandatory from now

It is definitely a good move. Now all corporates, professionals, partnership firms, businesses must pay their direct taxes online via their bank accounts. This is especially applicable for people whose taxes are greater than INR 50,000. Non-electronic means is no longer acceptable.

For individuals, however, it is optional.

This move will simplify the process and tax evasion will reduce.

Reference:
http://in.rediff.com/money/2008/jan/04tax.htm

Direct Deposit of pensions now on in Himachal and Madurai

One of the most corrupt cases in the country included the pension disbursement. Lakhs of government employees (retired) would travel from pillar to post for getting their hard earned pension. They would walk in the scorching heat and reach the Treasury office. The corrupt officials would never give them pension or would ask for bribe. This was the talk of the past.

Now, the entire state of Himachal Pradesh with its 80,000 odd employees will no longer have to visit the Treasury office. Their money will be directly credited to their bank accounts - localized banks which are going to act as Pension Disbursement Agencies (PDA). These banks would be nationalized banks.

This is definitely going to bring in transparency and comfort to people. Further, Himachal Pradesh govt has put the complete pension details online. So, now if an old person wants to see all his pension details like a pay stub he can do so online. If he doesn't have internet access, he can go to any cybercafe and check it. Remember, HP has 78% literacy and is one of the least corrupt states.

Here's the website.
On this website one can enter Pensioner PPO number and pension type and get the month wise pension paid. RBI has provided the software.

Following this, even Madurai has gone the same way.

Definitely, this is going to spread to other states as we Indians have a habit of looking at others and imitating them. This sort of imitation is going to be for the welfare of the people themselves.

Infact, Himachal is the first state to have wide area network upto Gram Panchayat level.

References:

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060805/himachal.htm#3

Monday, May 19, 2008

How IBM and Microsoft in Karnataka created the first e-governed panchayat

In a record of its own kind, Belandur, a village - 25 km from Bangalore city actually had become the first fully e-governed Gram Panchayat. While Burdwan (WB) has all its gram panchayats e-governed, Belandur is only one village (Gram Panchayat).

This story is old, but brings new renewed hope to every Indian that e-governance can tackle corruption very effectively. Belandur has been a striking example.

In 1998, Compusol - whose partners are IBM and Microsoft gave a computer and replaced the existing typewriters. Belandur with a literacy rate of 95% was able to quickly grasp the usage of a computer.

Jagannath, the village President worked in tandem with Compusol and Compusol developed a software in Kannada in partnership with Microsoft and IBM that completely automated all government activities. The software is a success story and today, corruption is negligible here.

This story was first highlighted in BBC News and later in all Indian journals like Frontline.

Just to give an example, as of now, villagers don't have to pay bribes to get their birth, death certificates, property details and records or even tax related information. Everything is available online and they can get it by clicking a mouse button. Jagannath also hired computer trainees to train villagers how to use. Because of high literacy people could grasp easily.
Following the computerisation of tax collection, the panchayat has
recovered huge out standings. In comparison to the old manual
system, the current system has aided in limiting corruption, and
generated a 100-fold increase in revenue for the Panchayat. In
the year 2002-03 a collection of Rs.62,89,600/- was made by way of
taxes. Before computerisation of the gram panchayat, Rs 17 lakhs
was the approximate annual revenue collection of the panchayat.
Enhanced tax collections have already been put into good use in
development initiatives. What makes this project unique is that
it is an independent initiative funded by the village development
committee (VDC).
Bellandur can boast of being the first gram panchayat that airs its committee meetings over cable television, in 20 neighbouring villages. The committee meetings have gone on air for over a year now. The former Chairman and now member, the 38-year-old dynamic Shri Jagannath Reddy, who has served nearly two terms as Chairman says that the airing of the meetings has certainly brought about more transparency and accountability into the functioning of the panchayat. Awareness building about Public Health Centre(PHCs), watershed development etc., using cable TV is envisaged by the panchayat. Finances for the entire initiative has come from within the panchayat itself.

Looking at the power of computers, children in these villages want to learn and so in schools computer training and simple usage of Microsoft Office is being taught.

See the power of transparency !! The Panchayat need not depend upon government and now with their own funds can bring in changes. This is exactly what once Mahatma Gandhi told -"The development of India must begin with Gram Swaraj".

References:
http://www.apnic.net/mailing-lists/s-asia-it/archive/2003/08/msg00018.html
http://www.stockholmchallenge.se/data/emergent_e_governance_eco
http://www.blonnet.com/2002/07/12/stories/2002071200861700.htm
http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1911/19110440.htm

Burdwan(WB) becomes the first e-governed panchayat in India

Burdwan district in West Bengal has become the first district in India to have all its gram panchayat connected via broadband for communicating with district and taluk headquarters.

Burdwan has now all gram panchayats talking to each other, discussing issues common to all panchayats and local problems, etc. Burdwan district has 78% literacy (as per 2001 census). This is going to ensure that the benefits of e-governance will reach the masses.

While inaugurating the multi-crore project, the State Minister for Information Technology Debes Das stated that the new set up has connected all the 277 gram panchayats, 31 blocks, six sub-divisions of the district with its headquarters. Through this network, all panchayats can send and receive data, voice and video. The network is expected to help daily administrative work, locally and at the state-level. The project is an expansion of the existing State Wide Area Network (SWAN), a Union government initiative under National e-Governance plan (NeGP).

According to the reports,

The multi-point connectivity between the panchayats and the respective block-offices has been achieved using wireless data transfer technology that facilitated the completion of the project, Das said.

While the Webel ISP— a project of the West Bengal Electronics Industry Development Corporation Limite— has installed this infrastructure for the wireless transmission, a Kolkata-based company has provided the software for the video conferencing purpose.

“The software used in the project is independent of the computer operating system. Also, additional connections would not require readjustment of bandwidth. This makes the project cost effective,” Das said.

Imagine if all Gram Panchayats go this way, then this grass root revolution will reduce corruption in the country to a very great extent. This is what precisely both Mahatma Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi dreamt of.

This will happen because when AP and Karnataka started e-governance, it triggered a revolution in Maharashtra, Kerala and Gujarat. Now, one success story will spread - villages spread faster than cities. In India, both good and bad news spread like wildfire.

This e-governance will reduce corruption to negligible levels.

References:
http://www.i4donline.net/news/news-details.asp?catid=6&newsid=13476
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Burdwan-is-Indias-first-egoverned-panchayat-district/270587/

Now, India becomes largest investor in EU surpassing China

In a reversal of trends, according to 2008 report, India surpasses China and Brazil in terms of investing in European Union(EU). All these years, EU has been the largest investor i.e largest source of FDI in India. Now, India surpasses China, Brazil as source of FDI into European Union.

Let's look at statistics:

Investments into EU:
2006, China invests 500 MILLION Euros, while in 2007 it is 1.5 BILLION EUROS
2006, India invests 500 MILLION Euros, while in 2007 it is 9.5 BILLION EUROS

This is a quantum jump. According to 37 member nation EU, if a country puts in FDI into EU it means that EU trusts that country very much in investor friendliness.

If the Indian investment into EU has reached in billions almost 7 times that of China, it means that EU trusts India more.

This is good news. This already follows $11 billion acquisition of Dutch steel giant Chorus by Tata.

References:
http://www.financialexpress.com/news/India-bigger-source-of-FDI-for-EU-firms-than-China/311824/
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Economy/India_big_source_of_FDI_for_EU_firms/articleshow/3054183.cms

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kalam appreciates Vajpayee for his courage of permission for Pokhran - II

Abdul Kalam today appreciated Vajpayee for his bold decision to carry out nuclear tests in 1998.

Kalam says it was a defining moment in India, very next to 1991 economic reforms.

Here's the article

Why TamilNadu e-governance STAR has reduced, but not eliminated corruption

In my previous article, I had written categorically that e-governance project in TamilNadu has reduced the corruption, but not eliminated.

Supporting this view, I found a paper in MIT Journal online.

The author Radha Vasudevan clearly states that it is beyond doubt that the efficiency of Land Registration and Revenue Department has increased, but it has failed to reform its style of functioning. She says that all such services were made system centric rather than user centric.

In such a scenario, the real problem is despite such initiatives, the first time one goes to get documents registered, there are high chances that one has to bribe the official so that it is done and no delay is caused. But, once it is put into system, it becomes easy to get it next time whenever needed. It is here that it has reduced.

However, I feel eliminating corruption is something to do with how people -both citizens and officials look at themselves. For the first time when one goes to register documents, how can automation deliver results. Manual intervention is still required before ascertaining documents are valid. Because of such mechanisms, we can never get rid of corruption. That is far too much to expect unless people change their mindsets.

Let us at least feel happy that we have reduced the number of stages and frequency of dependency on corrupt government officials.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

How e-governance is reducing corruption in TamilNadu

The only way we can drastically reduce corruption in our country is to reduce the stages of dependency of us (citizens) on government. For this, if government services are available at citizen's place, there would be very less dependency or need to go to government offices and bribe every single person from peon to the actual officer.

This e-governance which first must begin with automation of government tasks has now come a long way in TamilNadu and is increasingly becoming a role model to the entire country.

What is this? Electronics Corporation of TamilNadu Limited (ELCOT) is a state sponsored company headed by C.Umashankar, an efficient IAS officer who is credited with the achievement of making Thiruvarur taluk a fully automated e-governed place. It is the only fully computerised and automated e-governed place in India, where everything from land records to RTO or pensions are automated. Now, through automation - widows, old age people get their pensions directly credited through their bank accounts and need not visit government officers and bribe everyone. Thank you, Mr.Umashankar - I think Karnataka needs you badly. Hope that someone replicates your functioning style.


Noting this recognition, TamilNadu government asked him to lead ELCOT- a company fully owned by government, but run and managed by independent software programmers and IAS officers. Govt funds the company and company does implement all the projects. It is having full powers to implement e-governance projects.

ELCOT has completed the first phase of construction of TamilNadu State Wide Area Network (TNSWAN) along with HCL and TCS which provided the required hardware equipments and tasks ranging from digging cables to providing routers etc. The TNSWAN provides the connectivity backbone for the State over which voice, data, Internet, intranet and video conferencing services have been launched.

Now, TamilNadu has 708 points of presence (POPs) established all over the State linking the State headquarters to every district (31), taluk (395) and block headquarters (282). Offices located within POP have been given Wired and Wireless LAN connectivity.

Which means you have a connectivity of every village, taluk and block levels. With this in completion, ELCOT will deliver a host of Government to citizen services. 5440 centres of COmmon Citizen service kiosks will be developed and installed in every village.

Already 3 such kiosks have been inaugarated.

The departments/services which have almost completed computerization include: Land records, commercial taxes, registration, agriculture, food and civil supplies, health, panchayats, education, treasuries, municipalities, transport, employment, industries, social welfare, and secretariat.

Now these 5440 kioks and centers will provide G2C services - land records, registration, certificates, ration cards, electoral rolls and cards will be offered to citizens. Similarly business-to-citizen (B2C) services such as railway and bus ticketing, utility payments, online education, banking, insurance, agriculture, telemedicine etc. will also be offered through these centres.

Every such kiosk will have the first LINUX based Machines (like an ATM) developed indigenously with both English and Tamil interfaces.

Issue of land ownership certificates (Chitta extract and ‘A’ Register extract), birth/death certificates will now become easy as details can be filled either on the Internet sitting at home or going to these kiosks.

The open source softwares used are Suse Linux, Jasper Reports, JBOSS, Mozilla Thunderbird, Netbeans etc. All open source and hence has reduced the costs significantly. Consequently, ELCOT hires software programmers and trainers to teach government officials how to use and operate them.

Individual programmers working under ELCOT have developed several softwares. One of them is online property registration. Here the party which wants to register property will first enter all details of the property online, pay the registration fees, choose an appointment date and take a print out of the same. On the day given by the computer, one can go, show all documents get them registered. Yet another software developed is to issue Farmer ID cards with the help of government records and already 7 million such cards have been issued. They serve like an Identification Card. Of course, the next question would be can cloning or duplication of these cards be done? I am not too sure of this, but the step is much cleaner process than manually identifying a farmer as it exists today. I definitely am sure that hologram or some sort of anti-tempering technique will be used.

As an example of how corruption has come down drastically in the Land Revenue and Land records department is automation done in Chennai city. Now people in Chennai can go to any kiosk already set up in 20 Sub registrar office across the city or use internet at home to apply for Encumbrance Certificate (a certificate which causes delay and corruption in most states) by giving details of the property and paying the required fees. The output will be got within 5 minutes if used at a kiosk at Sub Registrar office as all land records have been computerized. Similarly, extracts of marriage certificates (if you need a certified copy), birth and death certificates, property evaluations (the kiosk contacts PostgreSql database which calculates the property value based on current market value) and several others can be got by just paying a meager Rs.15 or Rs.20. if you apply Online, the Encumbrance will be delivered to you by post only if courier charges are paid online. Similarly, the kiosk will also give you a list of government registered/licensed stamp vendors so that citizens can get the stamping done only at these authorized places so that fraud cases can reduce.

So, this way you avoid middlemen and brokers in most of the transactions. Of course, it has not eliminated corruption, it has reduced it dramatically. Now, for most part when citizens simply need documents, they need not go to Government offices, stand in lines, pay bribes at every counter. Of course, when the first time we register property or create such documents, do we have to bribe? Probably, yes, but at least once done we need not worry about getting it the next time. If the new transactions don't go into the database and as a result of which you don't get the records, then at least you will have some acknowledgment proof of transactions done. So, one can contest the claim. Hence, I feel this is not going to eliminate corruption, but definitely reduce it very much.

The first thing, however, we need to note here is the computerization of all government papers,ledgers, registers. In this direction, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Chhatisgarh are working at this. However, TamilNadu has an edge over all the other states in the country.

I thank Mr.Umashankar and TamilNadu government which has consistently supported him irrespective of DMK or AIADMK in power.

I am confident that technology, if used, in this manner can change the face of India and remove corruption which is continuing to plague the country. It's a long way to go, but if everyone starts, it will become a reality. This is sure to happen as even backward states such as Bihar have completed 20% automation of land records. This is a daunting and complex task because each state was ruled by different rulers and each state has a different land distribution and assessment method and parameters of land ownership.

References: Article 1,
Youtube video of ELCOT
Article 2 - The website of TamilNadu where forms are available for such services
Article3 - The website where request for Encumbrance certificate can be filled online

Friday, May 16, 2008

India overtakes US in Foreign Investments

In a record of sorts, India has for the first time taken over US as the second hottest destination for foreign investment. China still leads as the first one.

This record is very good. The last 3 years Chidambaram has been clearing a lot of pending FDI proposals. Now, Japan, US, Australia, France, Singapore, China have become major partners of india in trade.

It is very easy to break this record, but the government - be it Congress or BJP must keep it going and concentrate on Disinvestment - the only source of getting more money from within country and in turn helping PSU's get better management and skilled labour. It is no longer a fallacy or dream - but a proven record that if our PSU are well managed, it can overtake global companies.

Of late, Disinvestment - an idea mooted by Congress in 1996 (and which was very actively carried forward by Arun Shourie in BJP led government) has come in the limelight. In fact Arun Shourie must be given enough credit to give life to various proposals given by CII, ASSCOHAM, FICCI. He implemented them with audacity despite stiff opposition. Because of Left party pressure, this Government is cautiously taking steps in Disinvestment.

Congrats Kamal Nath and Chidambaram, for you have kept the spirit of reforms still going. Yet the pace is slow.

Now China as of 2007 has $56 billion dollar FDI while India has $20 billion. It is a record because 3.8 billion dollars were got in just one month and as compared to last year which was 5.5$ billion...It is a jump of 275%. As of 2008, India has $26 billion while China is in 60's. However what industry experts say is India is far better in the larger run because India has huge enterprenueral spirit while China leads in manufacturing spirit. China is not concentrating on technology upgradation while India is slowly doing this and will help in the long run. Also, while China concentrates on using FDI to boost its exports, India is using to develop larger corporations and business houses via mergers and acquisitions. I feel the latter would easily help reach the China way, although our industry must grow by leaps and bounds.

Here's the article confirming this.
Another article

Chidambaram has actually hiked FDI cap to 74% in telecom. Also he has increased the cap in insurance, health, 100% in real estate and construction, oil refineries (so far FDI in this sector was absent and was a major battle issue during NDA regime), titanium mining, 37 proposals in Broadcasting and print media, commodity exchanges and credit information companies.

There are 2 major sources of overtaking China in terms of FDI - FDI in retail and Disinvestment of sick PSU's. While the former is a contentious issue, the latter is an easier task to do. Apart from this infrastructure and power reforms must be given lot of importance and it is here FDI will help. Next on the cards is FDI in agro processing which will benefit farmers a lot.

Please vote out the Left is the only prayer I have. It doesn't matter w.r.t Economic reforms if there is a Congress led majority or BJP led NDA. The Left should not have a say in Government.

So, as of now India is on an upbeat as far as economic reforms are concerned!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shameful!!! Bangalore city had lowest voter turnout - 44.5%

I am feeling ashamed to say that Bangalore City had the lowest voter turnout - 44.5%. Even Bangalore rural areas saw 70-75% voter turnout. So abysmal is the turnout that I have begun to ask - Do educated people really bother about the country?

An immediate reaction to this by any reader - "Are political leaders bothered about the country?"

My answer to that is throw out the wrong person. If everyone is wrong, vote for the party which you think would do better to the state. The next reaction to this would be - "No party makes a difference. Everyone is the same".

I say - "Do we have a choice?" Can we live without a government? Can we live with hung assemblies? How can decisions be made without a government in place? Definitely, one must understand Karnataka is well placed in all indices compared to U.P, Bihar, Jharkhand. At least we have 65% literacy, better road and water compared to other states. As educated people, we need to be responsible.

Another reason cited for low turnout is - "Non-listing of voter's names". I guess every area Election Commission repeatedly made announcements where they can get their names added. Even if I assume people were right and EC was wrong, how can high turnout be possible in rural areas. This time even liquor lobby which used to trap farmers to vote has been banned strictly by EC.

Another reason cited is delimitation exercise by which new constituencies were drawn and old ones merged. Even if this were to be taken as a valid point, how is that it did not reflect in rural areas.

This is all an excuse. Have people forgotten that from now on Bangalore cannot be neglected as 28 seats are counted in the 224 seats. Earlier it was 16. Earlier this led politicians to neglect Bangalore. Now Bangalore city has a greater say. Which means people have more powers to talk about development in Bangalore.

The low turn out may cause adverse effects and make no party a clear winner in which case we are going to face far worse problems.

Nobody knows what the election outcome would be. We should not only be talking of our rights, but also perform our duties. Our foremost duty is to exercise the vote.

It is due to neglect of educated urban voter that a reforms led government of Narasimha Rao fell in 1996 and reforms led Vajpayee government fell in 2004. At least in the former case, the corruption was too high despite excellent progress. In the latter case the progress was higher than corruption. Both lost.

I still remember when 2004 Lok Sabha elections were taking place, Aaj Tak covered a family which wanted to have a picnic in Khandala on the same day. When reporters asked the person said on camera - "Holiday hai..to chutti mana rahein hai family ke saath" (It's a holiday, so celebrating with my family)...Is election day a holiday to enjoy? BJP did so much for the middle class and same with Narasimha Rao but middle class involvement in election was so less.

If this is the attitude we continue with we should stop talking about the country and its future. Stop complaining about problems.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Good move by Chidambaram - Smart Cards to be used in PDS

It is interesting to see that finally Chidambaram woke up to automate the most corrupt and inefficient Public Distribution System (PDS) in the country. In other words, now with smart cards the officers at PDS will no longer maintain book/ledgers. These ledgers were often manipulated by government officers. For example, if a ration shop is given a tonne of rice by the Govt to distribute to the public, the officers would give only half of it to people and take the rest for themselves or sell it at higher prices in private. The ledger would still have one tonne given to people. Result - corruption and no proper reach of food grains to the needy.

Now with smart cards, there is going to be a photo of the candidate on the card and the card's chip will have details of how much grains were given and when. The consumer would now say the quantity, swipes the card, the corresponding quantity of item is weighed and once done the card has the entry of the amount given. Also, the inventory information in the store is deducted.

Now, all inventories of individual stores will be connected to a central server and just by click of a mouse, any central government officer can generate reports of how much food grains has reached where and how much more is needed.

This is a transparent and efficient way to give credibility to Public Distribution System which is drowned in corruption and malpractices.

The smart card would have all details of the consumer. This has been launched on a pilot basis in Chandigarh. Within a year, it will be replicated across the country. But for this there needs to be computerisation of ration cards. This has been more or less completed in Chandigarh. So, it will be the test bed. Let us not forget - there is another aspect. The government needs to train people how they are going to use such a card. But I am sure once developed, Govt will tie up with private companies to do the same. Even illiterate people can make use of it without much hassle and so hope it's going to help.

The smart card industry is very happy about this. This was announced by Chidambaram.

Good going, Mr Chidambaram...You seem to be working very actively to solve the PDS problem. This idea was mooted by Wipro.

Here's the link for the article

Hope this is successful. It will change the PDS and will ensure 6.52 crore families from 4.89 lakh PDS outlets will get food grains.

Country's largest e-governance rural connectivity project completed

In what is known as the country's largest e-governance rural connectivity program, Airtel was roped in by Narendra Modi to connect 8500 villages via VSAT so that video conferencing can be done. This has been completed and announced by Airtel. The E-gram project of this kind is the largest completed so far at the rural level.

As per this scheme, now video conferencing can be used to educate farmers, tell them about weather patterns etc via a centralized server beamed through Satellite. Iswariya and Galkotdi Gram Panychayat had a video conferencing with Modi to test the same. It is successful. Modi has asked Airtel to connect all 18,065 villages.

Click here for the article

Modi did a good job by roping in private company so that it is done at a quick pace. Now, Haryana and Punjab have asked Airtel to do the same.

This gives Airtel a good business and at the same time villages are benefited.

Of course, the real benefit will come only when villages have electricity. Gujarat has all its villages electrified under Jyotigram scheme - a scheme already under intense appreciation by economists across the country.

Already Modi addresses statewide public grievances via broadband from several places sitting in Gandhinagar. University of Manchester has designed the same and it is called S.W.A.G.A.T (Statewide Attention of grievances by Application of Technology).

Let's hope this spreads to across all villages in India.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The needless controversy over Pokhran II

Recently, Brajesh Mishra said to press -" Weaponisation was started by Rajiv Gandhi". Congress made a hue and cry over this.

I can't understand. This is not a revealing fact, but a fact revealed by Vajpayee himself after the tests. Look at what Vajpayee said - "This is not one person's job. It is a team work. Narasimha Rao had asked me to conduct the test". Vajpayee aptly made it clear that dates for the test were decided as early as 1995, but could not happen because of US pressure and that he considered his primary responsibility to go nuclear under any cost.

Now, Congress says "Brajesh Mishra is an important man. Whatever he says there is some accountability in it." Some even said, "It was the Congress which was for nuclear test from the beginning, BJP just exploded it".

Now, I wonder why Congress is making an issue out of it. Let Congress question or debate the below points:

1) Vajpayee already has accepted and given credit to Narasimha Rao.

2) Why Congress can't understand or appreciate the fact that Vajpayee used covertness to keep the testing a secret. It is not completion of action that matters, but the way it is done. So covert was the test that even US spy satellites failed to detect. Isn't this great?

3) Congress forgets this fact above. Further, it doesn't want even to celebrate 10 years of Pokhran. This is the worst way of discrediting not just Vajpayee, but also Indira Gandhi (their party's tallest leader). Forget leaders, it is the worst way of discrediting nuclear scientists of our country.

4) If Narasimha Rao knew how deception could be done he should have gone ahead in 1996 when he asked scientists the second time.

5) Forget it...Congress leaders or any party leader can never match the broad mindedness and statesmanship of Vajpayee who stood for the country across party lines on several issues of national interest and integrity.

6) As a concluding fact, Congress has forgotten that when tests were conducted - they took so much time to come to a conclusion. Just for the sake of opposition they even forgot to initally appreciate the fact that we became nuclear. On the contrary they started making statements - "This is going to bring in arms race". In contrast both vajpayee and Advani praised Indira Gandhi when we conducted first test in 1974.

7) It is also interesting to note that Vajpayee went ahead despite confirmed economic sanctions from US as a consequence. Not only this, he convinced US to lift sanctions after their imposition. . It is here Vajpayee scores and Narasimha Rao scores for the fact that he made a very brave decision at that time.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

World's Largest Hindu Temple in New Delhi, India

This is the world Famous Akashardham Temple in New Delhi, India. It is declared as the world's largest Hindu temple by Guinness World Record. The certificate image is shown at the end. First, look at some exclusive pictures

I can't believe somebody came up with this design below in the courtyard. Everything is lotus shaped...Observe.

Built in a record 5 years time, just look below for its intricate design, almost present at every level, resembling Khajuraho or Vijayanagar kingdom architecture.





Wow!!!!!!

Look at some more external views:

The same in night time


Some more views in the temple periphery given below: But before that, the main features:
1) No structural steel was used and completed within five years by 11,000 artisans and volunteers.
2) Entirely made of Italian Carara Marble and Rajasthan's red sandstone.
3) The temple complex houses musuem, IMAX, musical fountain and large landscape gardens.




4) Area is over 86,000 sq ft and is 100 acres.
5) There are 3 main halls, of which one of them takes you on a journey of 10,000 years of Indian History in 10 minutes.
6) The hall features the world's smallest animatronic robot in the form of Ghansyham Maharaj
7) Visitors can sit in small intricately designed peacock boats that take you in an artificial river and let you see the most ancient bazaars, universities, chemical labs, bazaars, hospitals and finally future of India.
8) The Yogi Hriday Mahal whose picture is given at the beginning has small stones in water on which quotes of famous people are engraved.
9) It has the world's largest step well - Yagna Kund.
10) It has 234 ornate pillars, nine domes, over 20,000 statutes of Hindu Gods and Godesses
11) Watch the movie Mystic India that takes you on an epic journey from Ancient india to Modern India
12) The structure on all 4 sides has elephants describing the stories of our epics.



Look at this picture below. It is unbelievable
Wow!!! I wonder if the old temples of Vijayanagar and Chola kingdoms would have resurrected it will be like this....Majestic and Grand...I am happy that even today a temple like this being made is only indicative of the fact that we still have grand architects. However, it is still mysterious as to how such grand temples (Meenakshi, Kanchipuram, Thanjavur etc) were built when not many tools and machines were available. The single stone granite temple at Thanjavur is no less than a wonder. The hardest stone on the planet being cut and temple made of a single stone.

This temple is a replica in many ways of the grand times we lived in 1000's of years ago

Have a look inside:


Wow!!! Is this special visual effect or real? Observe the picture carefully. Look at the intricate design, each level is distinct and so sharp. It is just beyond the capacity of the eye to see the beauty.

Bill Clinton had visited the same temple's branch in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Clinton wrote -

"Taj Mahal is beautiful, but this is beautiful with a beautiful message".

This is not graphics...It is real...This is a real Arati and Bhajan at the temple.

I say that we still have today to our own credit the ability to recreate the magic of 1000's of years old grand colossal monuments.

Imagine, steel has been used to create some amazing structures in the world...We perhaps are those who showed the world that stone could be used to make something more dazzling than a diamond.


Below is the Guinness Certificate.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

How DRDO and Vajpayee fooled CIA and the US Govt

JAI HIND !!! This article is a tribute to all DRDO scientists and Vajpayee's statesmanship and leadership. We, as Indians are proud to celebrate 10th year of Pokhran blasts. This thrilling article explains how DRDO and Vajpayee intentionally deceived CIA satellites to ensure nuclear test went ahead unhindered in May 1998. I composed this article after collecting and analyzing several articles from websites, magazines and newspapers. This is a revealing, mind gripping saga of our achievement in joining the nuclear elite of the world.

Rarely in independent India have leaders exhibited extra-ordinary skill to show the world that we are not a poor third world country. Only 2 leaders gave a befitting reply in a befitting manner at a befitting time to international pulls, pressures and criticisms. One was Indira Gandhi and the other is Vajpayee. What Indira Gandhi did will be mentioned in the end, the article now focusses on Vajpayee.


Let's go back in TIME MACHINE. Fasten your seat belts. Get set, go!!!

It was in 1964 when China conducted the first nuclear test. Vajpayee, in Parliament said -"अनु बम्ब का जवाब अनु बम्ब से ही देना चाहिए और किसे से नहीं " i.e An answer to an atom bomb is an atom bomb, alone.

The entire Parliament clapped to these words and since then nuclearization has been foremost in Jan Sangh or BJP's party agenda. It was in 1974 at Pokhran that Indira Gandhi first conducted the first nuclear test.

Advani once said the following words, in Parliament in 1974 after India went nuclear -

"Only twice in recent years in The Motherland, has one witnessed such a mood of national elation. First, when the Indian Army entered Dacca to liberate Bangladesh, and now when India has entered the nuclear club."



It is very rare to find that main leaders across different parties agreeing to the same thing in the interest of the nation. Such was the time we lived in. One also needs to take note that Vajpayee, Advani and Indira Gandhi - all co-operated with each other and stood as one. Very rare is the fact that opposition party leaders praise so vividly at the ruling govt.

Since 1974, Rajiv Gandhi, V.P.Singh and finally Narasimha Rao secretly planned for nuclear weaponisation. Narasimha Rao, in particular, wanted India to join the world elite in even tougher terms. It was Narasimha Rao who actually went ahead with the tests in 1995. Unfortunately, CIA spy satellites detected the activity and warned India of sanctions. Now, Narasimha Rao must be appreciated because he had the guts to give a green signal with topmost priority to DRDO. He was running a minority government and any sanctions or unpopular reaction could have adversely affected Indian economy and politics. Moreover India had just then begun to get rid of economic Crisis. So, he stepped back.

In 1996, he again went ahead, but this time a team of CIA and US Diplomats personally came and gave evidences and explained that they were able to detect the same. What is not clear even for CIA till now and they refuse to reveal to public is the question whether US Ambassador Wisner in 1996 revealed technical details of spy satellites to DRDO scientists or no. Any reader at this point will only say - US can't do this at all, It's a myth. Even assuming it's a myth it's not a joke for an event that took place later when Vajpayee came to power when Indians knew how they could deceive CIA spy satellites. The top DRDO officials give certain details of what they did. I am also sure they did this in this manner only after Vajpayee gave them instructions. Otherwise no organization can do take such a big step to execute in a covert manner without the agreement of the Government. And hence in this context I appreciate Vajpayee and his team.

Later that year, Vajpayee came to power. He ordered tests to go through. But 2 days later, the Government fell. The plan stopped there. Now CTBT was signed by 149 countries. It forced India also to sign, but never did India sign. Next, Deve Gowda was the PM and what else can you expect from this politician? There was no progress,whatsoever. Even I.K.Gujral never wanted to test as he believed it was not in India's interest.

Finally, in 1998, Vajpayee Govt came to power with majority. On Mar 7th, Vajpayee was made the PM.

Around Mar 19th, Nawaz Sharif sent an international message about possibility of nuclear test by India. This was sent mainly because in all media, BJP announced that making India nuclear is their priority. But no one knew with what intensity was India really going ahead except for these few people mentioned above.

On Mar 20- just barely 13 days after being in power (This is what I call - demonstration of commitmment in making India strong in the world. He did not sit and enjoy the power. Usually everyone has a honeymoon after they come to Government, Vajpayee did not. Such a demonstration was seen earlier by Indira Gandhi and Sardar Patel), Vajpayee asked 3 people - DRDO chief Kalam, Atomic Energy Chief Chidambaram and BARC Chief Anil Kakodkar were called to South Block. The only other people present were National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, L.k. Advani and Vajpayee himself. No one else knew this secret meeting. It was strictly confidential. Vajpayee asked about preparations of a nuclear test and asked the top scientists to get into ready mode. It is a well known fact that we were ready long before, but Vajpayee wanted to cross check and confirm everything.

On April 6, 1998, Pakistan test fired GHAURI missile which has the penetration range of 1500 km (while that of India's Agni is 2500 km). Vajpayee was subdued and he now wanted something very quick. Brajesh Mishra told Vajpayee it is now the question of India's credibility.

On April 8th, 2 days after the Ghauri test firing by Pakistan, Vajpayee asked again for a secret meeting with Kalam, Chidambaram and Anil Kakodkar. He gave them "green-signal" as he was disturbed by Pakistan and Chinese help in it. Kalam writes that it was one of those happiest moments as he got to demonstrate what skills India had.

By April 27th (which was the first agreed date to conduct tests), Chidambaram had to attend his daughter's marriage. Now, in obvious terms if he was not there in his own daughter's marriage, it would have lead to suspicion. Hence the test date was postponed.

At this point I would say only one thing. Such operations are usually done in such a clandestine manner, but the fact that only selected people in the Government were informed of it and the world never knew about this is amazing. Vajpayee truly wanted to surprise the world as he knew if the world knew, it would stop him. Even the then Defense Minister, George Fernandes did not knew this.

On May 7th, The equipment was taken out of BARC(Baba Atomic Research Center), Mumbai and was flown to Jaisalmer Airport and then taken via trucks to Pokhran. By 1995-96, underground camps were made to keep such equipment. In Jodhpur, a team of handpicked scientists from DRDO and DAE held a meeting to conduct the tests in Pokhran. The President, Venkataraman Narayanan was touring Latin America. It was only he apart from the mentioned above people who were appraised of the test
preparation.

The only problem which both DRDO and Vajpayee compounded was how to trick or deceive CIA spy satellites. Vajpayee was also aware of the grave economic sanctions as a consequence of the test and the fact that CIA spy satellites hover around India. So, there was hectic discussion going on about this between these selected top officials. The top DRDO officials carefully determined the timing of satellite position over India and decided to do activity only at the time when it is not over it. One needs to understand the fact that CIA was spying so intensely was a fact known to India in 1996. It was very essential to deceive because on one side was self-pride and need to prove our capability and on the other not to bow down to the great powers in doing what we think is right. India had to bow down to such pressures in 1995 and 1996 and now no way Vajpayee wanted to be stopped and blackmailed by US.

If one goes by what CIA veteran J. Ransom Clark (25 years experience in CIA) remarked it is clear that Indian scientists knew that every 6 hours in a day the satellites were spying and it was at those times when it was not hovering around, the activity took place.

Only breaking of the fence and presence of bulldozer was the activity detected by spy satellites. This was 6 hours before the actual test took place (9:47 am on May 11th Indian Time, 00:17 in Eastern Standard Time).

Even Santhanam who was the top DRDO scientist personally in the team of Abdul Kalam also revealed in a leading magazine just a few days ago about the deception. He says

"The logic was simple: as the Pokhran range was swarming with army personnel, we decided to dress in battle fatigues so as not to raise unnecessary eyebrows. Since it was a border area, there was a high likelihood of informers in the place. Scientists in trousers would have attracted unwanted attention. Some scientists were also potbellied. The locals would not have thought them to be soldiers, who are a fit and sprightly lot. All this was done to avoid the stealthy gaze of spy satellites, particularly the American ones. Compared to the 1974 tests, we were more knowledgeable about surveillance systems. That's why we avoided any movement during the satellite hours. We normally worked at night and carried on till the small hours without any sleep. Chances of detection in the night are zero and the quality of satellite images is very bad.One month of tiring, sleepless nights paid off in the late afternoon of May 11. The earth trembled a little. As the blasts were in a shaft deep down, we couldn't feel much. I called it a bum tickle."

The above image shows the nuclear scientists clad in soldiers' outfit so that there is no suspicion by any local people (many of whom could be spies to Pakistan).

At 3:43:44.2 pm local Indian time {10:13:44.2 UCT (+/-0.32 sec; 6:13:44.2 a.m. EDT} as measured by international seismic monitors, the test took place. Kalam telephoned Vajpayee. Advani cheered along with Vajpayee and Kalam. This is no less than a Hollywood movie in which they show the President elated after seeing some acts done by his research and defense teams.


Just 2 minutes later, at 3:45 pm- Vajpayee announced to the world - "We are now a nuclear weapons country. We have the bomb". The news was so powerful that the entire world was shocked. Like a giant meteor that hit the Earth, the announcement hit the ears of everyone - domestic and international.

Later on May 13, the world was further surprised by 2 more tests and finally ceased the tests. Even this went unnoticed.

Sometimes we need to speak only when we are done. But, Vajpayee spoke on May 11th just to tell people that there is no further intention to carry out tests and tricked them further. On May 13th the final announcement was made.

Here's the link to how CIA and US policymakers reacted to the events

Here's another article explaining why CIA could not detect the tests.

Here's another one

In the last one above, there is a reaction -"They(India) clearly did things in a way that tried to rush it through"

The same article also says - "The Indians engaged in elaborate "denial and deception" of U.S. satellites and other spying in the weeks leading up to the three tests at the nuclear center near Pokhran, in the northwestern state of Rajasthan bordering Pakistan.

"We had zero warning," said an administration official close to the CIA."

Some officials reacted this way as quoted by S.S. Vasan, a scientist at IISC.


"The reasons, say officials in both Washington and New Delhi, are varied. India has its own satellite-imaging capability, which gives it an understanding of what can and can't be seen from space. It's nuclear program is kept separate from its military, which like many militaries is prone to boasting and leaking. And unlike many programs, India's is not as dependent on outside help. India has a large pool of trained nuclear scientists and electrical engineers and an industrial infrastructure capable of producing key equipment. Much U.S. intelligence on other nations' nuclear programs is derived from electronic eavesdropping on sales of equipment related to weapons development. India has prevented Western intelligence from recruiting spies in India by an aggressive program of counterintelligence that includes surveillance and even attempted recruitment of diplomats and suspected agents. "They are very, very good," said one official. "Remember, this is the same country that produced the scientists who designed the Pentium chips," added an official. "They don't need a lot of outside help. They can do it on their own."


I feel what a life will it be if we can shake the world by our actions.

These words below came from my heart in this context:
"कर्म ऐसा हो जीसके आगे दुनिया नथ मस्तक हो, सोच ऐसी हो जीससे दुनिया हील जाए, बातें ऐसी हो जीससे लोगों की नींद उड़ जाए।"
i.e Let us do such actions that the world bows in front of us, Let our thoughts shake the world, Let our words awaken the sleeping minds.

Vajpayee truly did this. Had it not been his audacity coupled with need for covertness and that DRDO could translate the same into action, we would not have been what we are today. Yet, we have miles to go.

Vajpayee did reveal in Parliament that Narasimha Rao asked him to conduct the tests. This acceptance is a testimony to the fact Vajpayee was so broad-minded when it came to India. He could have said everything was done by him. But he did accept in front of everyone and acknowledge Narasimha Rao for it even before anybody questioned it.

I thank the team of DRDO who did this wonderful act and created History. Very few moments in our country after 1947 have made us proud and gave us a confidence to stand up and match eye-to-eye in the world's eyes. This is one of them.

As I promised at the beginning, here's what Indira Gandhi did

1) When US President commented about India's inability to be self-sufficient, she took it as a challenge and then Green Revolution happened. It was a befitting reply.

2) When US questioned India's ability about space research, Indira Gandhi gave full support and funding to DRDO and we launched our first space satellite Aryabhata in 1975.

3) When US President Raegan warned India of direct consequences if India invaded Dacca, she said - "The President of one country need not tell the other what it has do in such circumstances" and very boldly she went ahead with 1971 like Goddess Kali and made Pakistan face its worst and most humiliating defeat.

4) When US sent its warships to Indian ocean to serve as a warning, Indira Gandhi asked DRDO to explode a nuclear bomb in 1974


Truly, Vajpayee and Indira Gandhi did something impossible in an ordinary man's mind..

Vande Mataram!!!

References:
http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/India/IndiaShakti.html
http://www.india-today.com/itoday/25051998/index.html
http://week.manoramaonline.com/cgi-bin/MMOnline.dll/portal/ep/contentView.do?contentId=3952208&programId=1073754953&pageTypeId=1073754893&contentType=EDITORIAL&BV_ID=@@@
http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/india/pokharan-intell.htm
http://www.india-today.com/itoday/25051998/cover.html

Why London wants Delhi Metro model replication in London?

The Delhi metro is one of the finest examples of engineering execution in post Independent India. The credibility of the firm -Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) - is in the fact that they completed this in record 3 years time while in developed countries it at least took 7 years on an average. With record breaking speed and full government support they have showcased a master piece in Indian context.

This is the interior of one of the stations...Very beautiful

This metro has underground, at-grade and elevated - all 3. By 2020, it's coverage area is going to overtake London Subway. Even London Mayor wants this to be replicated back home.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delhi_Metro)



First I had a chance to travel inside it in 2004 and later when I used Subway in NYC and Washington D.C. Metro I never felt surprised. Unlike NYC Subway which runs 24 hours Delhi Metro has operations till 11:00 pm. This anyways is not a matter as this decision was taken after careful experimentation. Anytime the need arises it will be made round the clock.



This is what London Mayor said when he visited Metro

“This is exactly the model we would want for Crossrail – big and wide trains running on really smooth surfaces. This is what we will see in London when we open crossrail in 10 years. It is just so much comfortable. Londeners should travel to Delhi if they want a preview of what Crossrail would be like.” However he said it was unlikely such tight security could ever be introduced in London. Peter Hendy, accompanying Livingstone, denied it was embarrassing that experts from London had to travel to a Third World country to see a 21st-century public transport system in operation. He said: "One of the lessons is that when we are building a modern system we should build it for growth. The Victoria line was built very cheaply. If we look at the Victoria line stations, they're already full of people. "Look at the spaciousness of this. They have four-coach trains. It's built for a doubling to eight. Crossrail will be built not only to carry the load we expect it to have in 2017 but actually for future expansion."


Several universty students(John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business,Darden School of Business, University of Virginia) and foreign ministers from Canada, US, Japan have visited Metro and travelled in it.

The fact that Discovery channel also dedicated an episode to this is indicative of the fact that we are able to develop such infrastructure at home. It is just it has be replicated across the country and state government must co-operate with it. It should not be like Bangalore case wherever there are too many hurdles. In fact Mumbai by June 2009 will see the first Phase of metro from Versova in the West to Ghatkopar in the East. As compared to Delhi, Mumbai will see an innovative way of ensuring A/c still runs at 50% efficiency even when there is power failure.



The only hurdles is the land acquisition which the State Govt must do quickly. In this Maharashtra seems to be better than Karnataka.


With clean stations, well maintained personnel and state of the art technology in place to purchase tickets, it is a world class by itself.


Other salient features of Delhi Metro:

1)No drinking, smoking allowed inside the station
2)Automated station announcements in Hindi and English
3) Automatic LED displays indicating the next station
4) Electronic glow of coming stations on the map put inside every coach on 2 sides.
5)Each coach can carry 400 passengers (In case of Mumbai it will be much more)
6) It is ventilated and air conditioned properly
7) There is closed circuit cameras everywhere and special METRO Police
8) Metro Marshals travel inside in the train in civilian dress like in airlines. This feature is found only in some Metro's in the world
9)Smart Cards, RFID Tokens and Travel Cards - 3 types of tickets



10) Vending machines to purchase tickets by cash and credit card
11) Several stations have restaurants, cafe's

12) Each station design is unique.
13) consist of four 3.2 metre wide stainless steel lightweight coaches

14) There are 3 lines - Yellow, Blue, Red (like in the US and elsewhere) and maps are put up everywhere - both in English and Hindi

15) Frequency is 3-4 minutes - Awesome!!! Like elsewhere
16) Elaborate parking spaces at every station
17) A dedicated website to know everything -timings, latest news, progress on on going phases - http://www.delhimetrorail.com/index.htm
18) It's built for 4 coaches but can be easily extended to 8 coaches.

I really thank Congress CM Sheila Dikshit who worked tiredlessly in ensuring a speedy completion of this. It has reduced pollution, travelling time very much.