Saturday, November 29, 2008

Can we do something ???

After lakhs of blog posts and countless reams of paper on the terror attack, i thought for a moment if its necessary for me reiterate the same thing which a lot of people must have already written about. Then me and a few friends were exchanging mails about the brazen attack and if anyone can save the country now. I will present here the exact text of the mail exchange. What Ravi (a BHUMI colleague) and i wrote as part of those mails.

Every word that ravi wrote fits the today's middle class indian to the T. I am reproducing the mail exchange in the blog because this is something we all need to refelct on and look at things a little more differently. Probably some self refelction of sorts. I added my two cents adding some political colour to the dicussion.

Ravi wrote ,

"I can understand how you might have felt. I was also going thru moments of anger but recovered soon enough. I am going to go on a mini rant here. pls bear with me.

There is a saying "Things sometimes have to get worse before they get better". Extending that logic, teror has struck ppl who are very high on the ladder of social power and they have seen thru direct experience the impacts of terrorism. I am hopeful this experience may make them reflect on how they have contributed to the problem. We need better quality lives for ppl who are disenfranchised. What we see is a manifestation of their frustration. may be if i were to go thru the pain of poverty, i might have taken up arms even earlier.

I kept wondering what have i done, what is my contribution to this. my answer was i kept silent all the time when the police torture muslim youth in the name of interrogation. i've kept silent and not questioned the govt. i've allowed the system to earn the power thru my silence and resignation. how can i complain now.

this makes me humble. we have a dualistic situation here: we are both pwerless and powerful. i cannot fix this, thinking that i can is being egoistic. at the same time, i can do a whole lot on a personal front. society starts from the individual and if i firstly cannot be at peace and balanced, how can i expect others to be balanced and how can i come up with any meaningful action. action borne out of imbalance is bound to cause greated imbalance.

such incidents are opportunities to rally people into a talking circle for reflection and action. it calls for skilled facilitation. if we can all look with a critical eye, that may change us in ways we dont imagine. but r we even ready to drop our prejudices, our anger and old way of thinking ? how can u blame pakistan or taliban or al qaeda when all that they r doing is taking advantage of our internal lack of unity. they've identified the weak points in the system and leveraging them. in being rude to the boy/girl who works in my house, haven't i made him feel inferior, haven't i oppressed him and wouldn't that oppression grow to this sort of terror. there is a lot we need to relook. we treat our servants as though they are not humans. how will we like if we are given instructions the way we give to our own servants. i'm blamming myself here not anyone.

so with humility, i want to look within and work on my self. i hope to remind myself that there are no easy answers to these questions and this reminds of a beautiful poem that i read on questions :

"Try to love the questions themselves, as if they were lock rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don´t search for the answer, which couldn´t be given to you now, because you wouldn´t be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer"

Thank you for listening to my rant."

Then i replied....


You have wonderfully summarized what every middle class indian should feel like at this point in time. I would also add an other dimension to this whole saga which i think is specific to India and its polity.

The issue here us with the system( we constitute the system) and the leaders. The rot has been created over 60 years and it will take time if we are to clear the mess and even start trying to make amends.

More so, i believe the main culprit is the congress and its pseudo secular stands on various issues in the last 60 years. Be it 1947, be it 1985 or uniform civil code or any such thing. People might have different opinions, but even for the rise of the BJP, congress is the reason. With its gandhi tag name, they have ruined this country and the wounds are now showing up.

We live in very dangerous times and its only becoming worse by the day. There is an identity crisis brewing up both within the majority and the minority sections. With the fear of seclusion and being targeted for no mistake of theirs, the minority now wants to show its identity. You see educated professionals donning the beard in a bid to protect and show their identity (not that its something wrong, but its on the rise). Minority feels they are being targeted and being made scape goats. This will only give rise to ghettoizing and further exclusion.

The majority feels their identity is under threat in their own country and they are being sidelined in their own country. So here starts the vicious circle.

I am usually a very emotional person, tears automatically flow out of my eyes. All yesterday it continued with every second of footage i watched. But beyond that, the sense of despair does not engulf me, because i have seen enough. I know its coming and its becoming brazen and open by the day.

Its time to look at ourselves, our leaders and possibly the root cause. Till the pseudo seculars and their policies remain, the fundamentalists (on both sides of the religious divide) of this world will have enough to feed on and they will only make hay while the sun shines. I always said and still maintain that the rise of the BJP is the sin of the congress and its only because the majority feels that their religion and their identity is under threat in their own country.

God will certainly save us, only if we take some initial steps. Time for some self reflection before doing anything else...

May all the souls who lost lives fighting those sinister minds in the last 3 days rest in peace "

And i also feel with rising international pressure (from US, Britain, Israel)because of the death of their citizens, to have a better system to tackle terror, there might be some change in the policies. Its unfortunate that a disaster of this magnitude and some foreign nations should trigger a policy shift and our ways to deal with terrorism. But better late than never.

Hope those of you who read this blog will do some self reflection.....


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Productivity Analysis of APSIC !!!

Below is the productivity analysis of the APSIC (Andhra Pradesh State Information Commission) done by a fellow RTI Activist and a good friend 'C J Karira'.

The analysis only reinforces everything that i earlier wrote in the blog about the APSIC's working and that its a sheer waste of money. Its time we do something about the commission and its working. To quote another dear friend and RTI activist Umesh "Its getting depressing by the day"

Read my earlier post
Read more about my report on the commission's working

Download the analysis from here..

(Please Download the pdf onto a local drive and then open. There's a download option on the sky drive)

Abbreviations expanded on a friend's suggestion:

IC: Information Commissioner
CIC: Chief Information Commissioner / Central Information Commission
PIO: Public Information officer
SIC: State Information Commission
APSIC : Andhra Pradesh State Information Commission

" Productivity analysis of the APSIC"

The period covered is since the inception of the Commission (November 2005) till 31 August 2008.

The expenses data ONLY includes Salaries/HRA/Vehicle allowances. It does not include establishment expenses, rents, utilities, etc. Nor does it include the depreciation on fixed assets. These will be incorprated as and when available.


1. Although the Commission had a total of 569 days available, the days of actually conducting a hearing ranged from 61 (IC K Sudhakar Rao) to 122 (IC A Subba Rao)
2. On an average, the APSIC conducted hearings only on 19% of the days the office was attended by CIC/IC - that is to say hearings were conducted on only 1 out of 5 days when attending office. The figure anged from a lowest of 1 out of 8 days to 1 out of 4 days.
3. The number of days the CIC/IC's actually attended office is obviously incorrect or probably misunderstood by the PIO. As per newspaper reports, the CIC and IC's are regularly touring the Districts, attending Conferences, etc. Toose days definitely cannot be counted as days when they attended office. They might have been on "official" work but they definitely did not step into the APSIC office.
4. For the days when hearings were held by CIC or the IC's, the average number of hearings ranged from 0.8 per day (IC Dileep Reddy) to 4.9 per day (CIC C D Arha) - with a overall average of 2.3 per day for the Commission as a whole.
5. It must be remembered that as per various analysis done previously, the APSIC has a a 50 to 60% rejection rate at the "admission" stage - that is at least 50% of the second appeals and complaints are rejected on admission due to procedural lapses. - This is as per our report
If one takes into account the minimum rejection rate of 50%, the average reduces to 0.38 to 2.44 hearings per day with an average of 1.14 per day for the whole Commission !
6. As far as cost per decision is concerned, the costs ONLY include Salaries/HRA/Vehicle Allowance for all the staff of the Commission. There is no inclusion of establishment expenses, running expenses, terminal benefits, other benefits like medical, depreciation of fixed assets, interest costs, etc.
7. The average cost per decision ranges from Rs. 1009 (for the CIC) to Rs. 6782 (for IC Dileep Reddy) with an overall average of Rs. 4882 for the commission.
However, if one factors in the rejection rate of 50%, the average cost per decision is Rs. 9765

Based on information available on other websites of SIC's and CIC, it can be estimated that Salary/HRA/Vehicle allowance are about 50% of the total expenses. If the same criteria is used for the APSIC and the total expenses factored in, the average cost of each decision works out to Rs. 19,530.00 !

At last weeks closing price , each decision is worth aproximately 15 Gms of 24 Carat Gold ! "

Use RTI !!!

Jai Hind