Saturday, June 30, 2007

Low Cost Small Cars - Impending Urban Chaos

Well the infrastructure and traffic situation in India is quite bad. Thats not a revelation. But what could possibly make the situation worse?

A Rs 1 lakh car could bring the cities to its kneels. When we look around wherever Traffic situation is bad, invariably one can find a sea of cars. Now add an ocean to it, and you have a perfect recipe for chaos. Indian Roads are not equipped to handle this kind of traffic.

Tata's are not alone in this low-cost car race (A picture of Tata's 1-lakh car). Here are other contenders:


  • Would a car that competes with Two-Wheelers be safe, and reliable? Cars like Maruti-800, wouldn't even be allowed in many countries of the world - for precisely that reason.
  • In Japan, which cannot afford to put more cars on roads (for lack of space - and not artificially missing infrastructure) - cars are manufactured largely for export. Should we not learn from them?
  • A situation similar to Airlines industry is unfolding. Lots of Airlines but decaying Airports - Lots of Cars but Pot-holed one-lane mis-managed roads. (Time Magazine Reports: Altitude Sickness - India's Airlines tied down by crumbling airport infrastructure.)
  • Tata's or car-buyer's are not to be blamed in anyway. It is the governance that has failed the people. Responsibility for Urban Planning, Roads, Public Transport - does lie with people who sit on positions of Authority and Power.

Infrastructure and Reliable Public Transport is what this country is crying for.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Situation of the Disabled in India

So, an Airline refused to fly a wheel-chair bound Cerebral Palsy Patient. While the exact circumstances of this are not clear. What probably happened is (based on news reports again):
  • The patient was not escorted or accompanied by anyone.
  • The patient could not coherently answer the queries by Airline Staff.
  • The Airlines could not find either a medical certificate of fit-to-fly or the person did not seem fit to fly to them.
  • For the above reasons the passenger was not allowed to fly.

Next, the media ran the story as follows (with questions):

Perhaps valid questions. BUT, What is this about singling out Airlines? Do we have the answers to the following question?

  • What facilities exist in Railways for Disabled People? Infact close to NONE.
  • Are our City Taxi's, Auto's, other forms of Public Transport equipped to handle the disabled? Forget that, do we even have laws around them.
  • Can a disabled person even hope to get into a Film Theatre and watch a movie with ease?
  • See the conditions of Public Hospitals across the country - and see what they are equipped with to deal with the disabled? These are the institutions where MOST disabled people in India will go to seek help.
  • Can someone show us even a SINGLE passenger bus anywhere in INDIA, which is equipped to lift disabled people into the Bus (easily seen in Buses plying in America)?
  • The list can go on... this is just to give an idea.. and throw up the question:

Why is Media, and bleeding heart NGOs - not seen raising the above questions? Whats special about Airlines? Far far more disabled people will travel by trains and buses than airlines. There are 70 Million Disabled in India (a number larger than population of most countries of the world). Lets keep things in right perspective.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I am grateful to Sonia...

Those are the words from Ms Pratibha Patil - all set (formalities pending) to become the next President of India. Much is being said about UPA having selected a woman for this post and what it means for India.

But - what a downfall this is...
  • If a Presidential Candidate openly expresses gratefulness to the leader of a Political Party - what message does it send about the post of President? Will such a leader be able to act in a non-biased manner in times of crisis.
  • I don't care if the President is a woman, or a man, or a minority or a majority. We need people who merit such a position - not someone whose primary merit being touted is being a woman, and a congress loyalist!
  • Polls after Polls have consistently shown that Indians wanted Mr Abdul Kalam to continue as President of India for another term. But this is completely ignored by the Politicians.
  • Sonia Gandhi has the Prime Minister of her choice, and now a proper rubber stamp President in the making. Will such a candidate maintain the high standards set by her predecessor. Unlikely.

Why didn't it occur to UPA to field her as their first candidate of choice? Barkha Dutt answers: "The answer is simple — it’s because Pratibha Patil’s accomplishments were never considered good enough by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to make her their first choice, or even second, or third, or fourth or fifth. She’s now being billed by the Congress as a person of impeccable qualities."

Friday, June 08, 2007

0 Gold, 0 Silver, 0 Bronze

The title reflects the medals tally of India at 2008 Beijing Olympics. Perhaps there will be a bronze, but not very much better. That is the medals tally of 1/5th of Humanity. Some statistics:

At the Athens 2004 Olympics
  • India won 0 Gold, 1 Silver, 0 Bronze. [India Area: 1.25 Million Sq. Miles]
  • Jamaica won 2 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze [Jamaica Area: 4,111 Sq. Miles]
  • Medals Per Million Population - for - Bahamas - 6.3091 [Bahamas Population: 273,000]
  • Medals Per Million Population - for - India - 0.0009 [India Population: 1 Billion]
    Read On...

The proud Indian Olympic Association - Website - is very much like the association itself. High on self-congratulation - very low on results. Check out the Chinese Olympic Committee website.

And who is the Sports Minister of India?

  • Mani Shankar Aiyar - is at loggerheads with other sports organizations over organizing Commonwealth Games and bidding for other games.
  • It was reported that he was given this ministry - as it was important to induct him as a Cabinet Minister - and no other portfolio was available. That tells you the disdain with which Sports Ministry is treated and functions.
  • Did not have much to say about India's dismal performance in Doha Asiads where a very large contingent was sent.

Sports Administrations across India are largely headed - no not by Sports Administrators - but Politicians - Sharad Pawar, Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, Lalu Prasad, Suresh Kalmadi and its likes...

Given the shining facts above - there is not much hope for a better medals hunt at the next Olympics.

Not so random thought: China is likely to topple USA from Number 1 Position in Medals Tally at the Beijing Olympics.