Does age 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐬 Intelligence?

Being Intelligent doesn’t mean that the beliefs a person has, will reflect his/ her intelligence. Moreover, Belief is independent of Intelligence. Intelligence may or may not lead people to be more or less believers in weird things. But it might enable people to better defend beliefs in weird things that they started believing in for reasons other than intelligence. This is what I can infer from the recent statement of Mr. Satyapal singh on Theory of evolution and its validity.

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we can believe in something without thinking but we should not believe in Just anything after thinking, i.e. using our own intelligence. we need to think to believe. For that matter, it is primarily intelligence that separates us from the apes and other species of animals.
Therefore, we need to have a sound method to validate our own beliefs periodically. We  need to challenge, contradict and debate these beliefs and present evidences in support of our beliefs. But in absence of such method, these irrational, untested weird beliefs somewhat sink deeper into our ideology, the core of what we believe about life and such fundamental issues. Perhaps that is how dogma evolves! and even seemingly intelligent people fall for it. A belief becomes a dogma or set of conclusions that never gets questioned or not allowed to question. Further, this founded irrationality or dogma takes shape of an ideology/ belief that becomes immune to change.
When such individuals accumulate further knowledge, their ideology and theory becomes ever more well-founded. They develop a sort of confirmation bias as they only refer and/or read what they have come to believe in not the other side. They don’t indulge in open debates, they keep seeing the world from their age old lenses no matter how novel the new information is. This leads to stagnation of intelligence – a dark age.
Thousands of year ago there was a different India. Much liberal, much diverse and much open to new ideas. This was the age where the intelligent Indian had methods to debate and discuss their belief. Sadly we have lost that tradition. not just the tradition i.e process, we have also lost the method i.e. technique. If the oldies and conservatives want to review anything from ancient India they should revive that tradition of debate and discussion.
At present, there is a lot of fear and misunderstanding among the Indians. Fear particularly caused by caste and religion. Sadly there is absolutely no way to dispell this fear because none of the leaders is using his/her intelligence, rather they indulge in glorifying the past as it is without discussing the processes involved. Their arguments stink with ideologies shaped by dogma rather than their intelligence as a result mostly their age fails to represent wisdom.
This trend is worrisome, dangerous and disastrous. Particularly in the context of 21st century’s rapidly changing and rapidly evolving societies. Particularly in politics and governance, we cannot expect such leaders to design policies for the future generation, they are bound to drag us into their version of past. We need to be cognizant of the fact that ignorance and superstition can spread if they gain too much currency, and this can lead to both personal and political disasters. The only way out can be shaped by clear thinking. We need to defend and educate about the art of argumentation, questioning and clear thinking, that will be a real tribute to our ancestors, and a testimony to a fact that we humans are really intelligent beings!

Education sector : What has changed?

[Updated : January 2018]

In India, the Education is treated as a noble occupation on ‘no-profit-no-loss’ basis. This fact is reiterated by the Hon. Supreme court in various Judgments. Thus, those who establish and manage any educational institutions are not expected to indulge in profiteering or commercialize this noble activity. With respective to this objective, the court did not give complete freedom to the educational institutions in respect of right to admit the students and also with regard to fixation of fee.

But all is not well in education. The education sector is treated as noble occupation so as to prevent any concentration of knowledge, and keep opportunity to education open to all. But the reality is far different and there is obvious concentration of knowledge. The rural, urban divide has widen further. Further, In India we politicize everything, and education is not exception to it. Education that was suppose to liberate our mind, well we have corrupted the tool itself.

Rather than going philosophical in the beginning let me present some facts based on few dimensions ranging from basic literacy to academic research and job market. In 2009 I wrote my first post on this topic – 14 facts about Indian education system and a remedy Today I am going to revisit the topic, raise some questions and update the data.

1. Basic Literacy – Quality Vs Quantity

FACT: In India, a person aged 7 years and above who can both read and write with understanding in any language is considered as literate. This puts Indian literacy at 74.04%.

Is this sense of literacy good enough?

According to ASER report, in 2016 a quarter of all children in standard 8 in rural India were unable to real standard 2 level text and unable to solve a 3 digit by 1 digit division problem.

In 2017, ASER assessed age group of 14 to 18. They found that  About 25% of this age group still cannot read basic text fluently in their own language.  More than half struggle with division (3 digit by 1 digit) problems. Only 43% were able to do such problems correctly.
(source)

#ASER report takes sample from rural India, the statistics for Urban area will be different. sadly i did not come across any NGO who has published report on it.

2.  Teaching quality 

FACT: As on March 2016, 5 lakh sanctioned teaching posts are vacant country-wide. (source)

Even with the right to education, The quality of school education hasn’t improved. A recent study found that in rural north India on an average day, there is no teaching activity in about half” of the primary schools.

Interpretation: 

In the age of specialization, paradoxically, even today there is no formal training for the technical education teachers! While the teachers in schools and colleges once in while goes on strike to get their entitled monthly pays! leading to serious consequences like delays in results. (source)

No wonder hardly anyone aspires to be a teacher and it is viewed as one of the last resorts of ’employment’. Teaching should be an activity filled with passion, devotion and creativity sadly today it is filled with apathy, ignorance and business as usual sense.

3. Enrollment in education

Gross Enrollment Ratios: it means Proportion of students enroll for higher education after passing from a lower level. i.e. How many students enroll for 11th after passing 10th and so on.

The GER at elementary school level is about 97% which subsequently reduces to 25% till the child reaches higher education.

(GER) at the Secondary (Classes IX-X) and Senior Secondary (Classes XI- XII) levels are 62.7% and 35.9%, respectively leading to a combined GER for Class IX-XII at a considerably low 49.3% . (source) I.e. About 1/2 drops out.

In 2009, Just one out of nine children finishing school joined a college. In 2017 the ratio has improved to 25.2%. i.e. one in 4 student in looking forward to take a degree/ diploma course.

In 2016-17, the (GER) for Higher Education in India has increased to 25.2% according to a report released by Ministry of Human resource development. Tamil Nadu tops in country with 46.9 per cent gross enrollment ratio. Thus in terms of quantity we have leaped forward.

 4. Investment on Education.

According to census 2011 data, About 28% of Indian population falls in the age bracket of 0-14. And 41% of India’s population is below the age of 20.

Unfortunately, the government spending on Education is on decline since 2013-14. It was 4.57% in 2013-14, it declined to 3.65% in 2016-17. With Inflation of 5-6% in account, The spending has declined in real terms as well.

Although, It will be unjust to blame a government of developing country out-rightly as the resources are scarce and government has to trade-off certain priorities. But how can you justify trade-off in education? after all its people that must matter the most and democracy explicitly asks for informed opinion, thus making education a topmost priority. How an informed opinion will be shaped if the mind is unable to process the information?

5. The plethora of Institution

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According to government data, India has whopping 38498 colleges!

As per   (THE) World University Rankings 2018, None of Indian colleges made into the top 250 institutes. And only IISC Bangalore and IIT Mumbai made into the top 500 institutes.

How many of these colleges are learning from the premiere institute? or try to establish any point of contact/ experience exchange? answer mostly is none, because of arrogance of university administration who are in love with their age old rules and bureaucracy and don’t allow such ‘defiance’. However, today thanks to internet students can indulge in such defiance, provided information is available on the web and someone to guide them in accessing such information.

(Feel free to read the university act and AICTE act to feel the rigidity of these institutions in terms of learning methods)

6. Quality of education : Output/ Outcome

About a decade ago, ASSCoM-McKinsey study showed that only one out of Ten Indian students with degrees in humanities and one out of four engineering graduates are employable.

There are about 6,214 engineering and technology institutions which are enrolling 2.9 million students. In 2016-17 Aspiring Minds, conducted an employability-focused study based on 150,000 engineering students who graduated in 2013. They find that As many as 97 per cent of graduating engineers were looking for jobs either in software engineering or core engineering.

However, only 3 per cent had suitable skills to be employed in software or product market, and only 7 per cent were able to handle core engineering tasks.

Why would an IT company hire this burden when IT sector itself is facing tough times? clearly there is a need of mind-shift. The administration at universities and colleges need to take cognizance of the fact that – the college curriculum is outdated and new learning opportunities are available at MOOCs such as coursera.org and udemy.com. But that altruist behavior of going one step beyond prescribed job duty is largely lacking in our culture.

7. Pupil- Teacher ratio

Pupil-qualified teacher ratio :Average number of pupils per qualified teacher at a given level of education. less students per teacher implies better teacher-student interaction, a mentoring role which is hardly executed by the teacher.

According to The All India Council for Technical Education the ratio should be 20:1 i.e. one teacher per 20 students. This ratio till last year  (2016-17) was 15 students per one teacher. (The AISHE report indicates this ratio at an average of 22!)
The The University Grant Commission has recommended this ratio for Under Graduate programmes  1:15 in the media and mass communication departments, while the ratio should be 1:30 for social sciences and 1:25 for the science stream.

The regulators – UGC and AICTE don’t talk in same ratios, while reality indicates a different ratio all together. I hope you can see the chaos!

What is the significance? The most significant question in this regard is – What is the UTILITY of maintaining this ratio and does college administration knows it? do they train their teachers? every parent need to ask this question to the principle before admitting their child to a college. (sum up point no. 5 and 6, and relate with this point.)

8. Quality of education : Input.

On an average most Indian universities revise their curricula only once in five to 10 years but even then they get defeated in both letter and spirit. The disconnect is glaring in engineering and technical courses where teachers never undergoes any formal training regarding teaching. Even if a teacher learns such skill, he is bound by rigid curriculum designed by university and AICTE.

Fortunately, and finally there is a ray of hope. As per news, AICTE chairman is mulling over introducing the social sciences and humanities in the technical education. This is a much welcome step, however, who is going to teach it and how it will be taught? that question remains unanswered.

We need the students to learn the art of reasoning and argumentation. There is a chance of bringing synergy among the erstwhile ignored social sciences, humanities and the binary technical education.

9. Syndicate of education mafia.

Over-regulation by the government and a multiplicity of agencies have seen higher education stagnate and corruption become institutionalized.

FACT: In India, 77.8% Colleges are privately managed and  20.1% of the Colleges are having enrollment less than 100 and only 4.1% Colleges have enrollment more than 3000.

(source – The AISHE report 2016-17, page no. 6)

The institutions which have less than 30 percent enrollment for five consecutive year will be asked to stop their operation from 2018. Accordingly, AICTE is going to shut down 300 Engineering colleges and another 500 are under scanner of Ministry of human resource and development.

How this unplanned mushrooming of engineering colleges developed?

There is a sophisticated cartel operational in Indian education sector. The level of corruption has also touched even the higher judiciary. There is a case in supreme court related with Prasad Education Trust’s medical college. In the CBI inquiry, it is revealed that even highest judiciary is also involved in this bribery case.

years After the dismantling the corrupt institution – Medical council of India, that looked after medical education in India, The government and medical fraternity is yet to resolve the impasse. As of 2018, Restructuring the Medical Council of India to eliminate corruption NITI Aayog have proposed replacing the compromised MCI with a new National Medical Commission (NMC), outlined in a draft Bill known as the National Medical Commission Bill of 2016. (source)

At least Healthcare should be a sensitive issue in India, but the apathy towards the regulation of this sector shows how low the government evaluates human life in India.

10. Ray of Hope : MOOCs.

Distance enrollment constitute 11.45% of the total enrollment in higher education, of which 55% are female students.  However, these courses lack vitality of a full time course mainly due to lack of direct guidance or dialogue from qualified teacher. The distance educations need to go online MOOC mode.

Online education industry will be a $1.96 billion industry by 2021 according to a research conducted by KPMG, along with with insights from Google search.

The government is considering to allow 15% universities to offer online degrees. These courses/ degrees will be of non technical nature (excluding engineering and medical). Universities accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and rated A+ will be allowed to offer such courses. The rules in that regard will be notified by first quarter of 2018.

Apart from these formal channels, emerging MOOCs in India are Byju’s that focuses on academic learning while websites like neostencil, talentsprint focuses on competitive exams.

11. Education and value of life.

India has one of the world’s highest suicide rates for youth aged 15 to 29, according to a 2012 Lancet report, which illustrated the need for urgent interventions.

According to National Crime Records Bureau, 2403, 2646 and 2413 suicides were committed due to failure in examination in the country during 2014-2016. This should be a shocking revelation. However, even today most of the colleges don’t have any professional psychiatric to council the students. Further, the teachers themselves lack any understanding of millennial psyche.

The colleges of humanities and that of Technical education need to conduct workshops together to share their field of knowledge. This exchange will create win-win situation, the technical students will learn about complexities of life, while the Humanities students will learn about scientific thinking, positivism and practical aspect of technology. Who knows perhaps we will get out Durkheim analyzing stress and depression in our youth.

12. Education abroad

An HSBC report, ‘Value of Education, Higher and Higher’, shows the number of Indian parents wanting their children to study abroad has jumped from 47% in 2016 to 62% in 2017. (link)
While. Indian higher education budget is of Rs 30,000 cr;  Indian students spend Rs 44,000 cr in just US. (link)

Indian students now spend $7 billion to go abroad and study in foreign universities because of the poor quality of education at home. Yet the government drags  it feet over permitting foreign universities to set up shop in India. Where in same cost we can successfully implement and run around 10 more IITs.

But this doesn’t concern current Indian government as it has put on hold the plan to let in foreign universities. Rather, it is going to focus on building domestic world class universities! (source)

13. Status of Research and Development : Beyond academics into future.

  • A national survey on the status of research and development in the country has shown that the gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) has more than tripled from Rs. 24,117 crore to Rs. 85,326 crore in the decade from 2004-05 to 2014-15. and it crossed the Rs. One lakh crore mark in 2016-17 reaching up to Rs. 1,04,864 crore.
  • The Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy, 2013 envisages increasing R&D expenditure (from current level of 0.88%) to 2% of GDP with enhanced participation of private sector through policy and reform processes. But India is stuck to the level of 0.88%  since past few years.
  • Government participation in R & D is around 55% which is highest compared to mere 7% in UK and 37% in mexico. Though India topped the list with regard to the government’s participation in R&D, it hit the bottom in terms of participation of institutions of higher education.
  • The share of institutions of higher education in R&D in the other countries varied from 7% in China to 40 % in Canada, as compared to India’s a mere 4%.
  • 81.3% of R&D expenditures incurred by central government sources came from just eight major scientific agencies :
  1. Defence Research and Development Organisation  – 37.8%
  2. Department of Space (16.6%),
  3. Department of Atomic Energy (11.6%),
  4. Indian Council of Agricultural Research (11.4 %),
  5. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (9.5%),
  6. Department of Science and Technology (7.7%),
  7. Department of Biotechnology (2.9%)
  8. Indian Council of Medical Research (2.4%)

During 2015-16 46,904 patents were filed. Out of them, 28 per cent or 13,066 were filed by Indian residents. As per WIPO report 2016, India is ranked 10th in terms of resident patent filing activity.

Implication : The government is largest contributor to R & D but with the government funds comes government red tapes! This is also restricted by trade off that government needs to make such as expenditure on a moon mission 2018 and expenditure on weather forecast system. There is a need of increasing private participation in R & D.

The wisdom or aspiration often flows from R & D, the quality of research further motivates students and other aspirants to endeavor into a field of knowledge. For this to happen, there is need of establishing dialogue. Unfortunately this perspective is not widely shared among University administration. Its like modern caste system – An IITan will get R n D exposure while the Mumbai university student will stay with dead syllabus.

14. Education and Jobs – the conclusion.

More than half of the country’s population is young i.e. Up to 30 years of age. Almost 18% per cent of them or 31,50,31,984 are between the ages of 18 and 24. If they are equipped with both knowledge and skills, they could drive India’s entrepreneurial and Competitive spirit and make it into global power.

Implication : keeping that in view The government of India has appointed Dr. Kasturirangan committee to frame the New Education Policy (NEP) that will be operational from 2020. it will be critical to focus on teachers and teacher education to ensure quality education. Also, any education policy henceforth must establish a rapport with future rather than romantic relation with past. Educators need to stimulate intellectual debates and reestablish the argumentative traditions of ancient India, perhaps the only worth quality to inherit from the past.

The present government has established ministry of skills to stimulate and promote skills based education instead of illusion of having an engineering degree. The skill based training coupled with government’s focus on manufacturing sector can create more jobs for youth. However, at present jobs are not visible as expected and India is going through a paradoxical phase – Jobless growth.


Summing up :  Education, Health and basic policing should be the fundamental utility and backbones of a developing society. Sadly not only they are overburdened in India, they are on verge of breakdown. This collapse will not make any immediate sound, it will be silent collapse which will eventually destroy the youth and then the society as whole. To prevent this, a prompt corrective action is needed.

In the wake of globalization and network governance, it is high time that government must wake-up to the reality that education has been commercialized a long ago. Perhaps government knows it, after all who owns these plethora of mushrooming colleges? pinpointing the problem is equally hard to finding solution to the mess of education sector in our country.

But one day it will change. Slowly and incrementally, as people will start demanding what they deserve. The regulators will use their authority in right spirit like the recent crackdown on deemed universities. We are a democratic country and as George Bernard Shaw has pointed out, Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.” if we think we deserve better, we need to raise such issue more often, only then change is possible.

Till then, our education sector is dead, like John snow. Lots of hopes, aspirations and potential but dead and not going anywhere and ”Melisandre” is not in north yet to resurrect it.
(Ps: you need to know Game of thrones to understand analogy)

Does and Don’t of Trading

There are some basic tips while trading the equities.

  1. Of course you are doing this to earn profit, but like profit, loss is also an aspect of trading. Have courage to accept the little losses so as to capitalize on the opportunity cost.
  2. Patience are always rewarded in share market. So don’t rush to sell a non moving value stock of course unless you need the money immediately or you have spotted a growth stock.
  3. Opportunity cost – This one is actually from economics or management, it is the loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. Choosing a stock is bit of difficult and after choosing one, if it fails to move and the left alternative starts to move, don’t switch your investment just for that reason. Else you will lose both momentum buses. Have patience. (This one behavior will discipline your decision making memory muscle which will also help you in your life)
  4. Don’t trade based on the SMS blindly, even if it is from your broker. And absolutely do not act on unknown tips. In any case Always check the graph of such stocks.
  5. Don’t chase frenzy momentum, else you will end up buying at high price and suffer loss. Don’t be sad if you miss one bus, there are plenty more look for them. You must check why that stock is running and invest accordingly.
  6. There is something called as support and resistance to a stock, that is a falling stock don’t fall below certain levels. Even if it comes down to such levels it bounces back to some upper level where it faces resistance. You need to check if a stock is stuck in this range. Identifying these patters is part of technical analysis and we are going to see this in next article.
    Eg. Asian Paints, Idea these are stuck stocks. Asian paints have upper resistance at 1200 and support at 1100. Same for idea, Resistance at 110-115 levels and support at 75. Wait for breakout, check 200 days moving average. (as of 10/01/2018)
  7. DON’T invest in such range bound stock without a confirm big news such as merger or big contract award.
  8. Historically The market has some seasonal favorite sectors, and times of Buy
    such as Agriculture and allied activities, railways related stocks during budget, strong buying of a growth stock before quarterly results, seed stocks during monsoon – you get the idea its about what will be sold the most.
    Also, In India some sectors are evergreen due to their demands – sectors like consumer goods, FMCG, Housing and NBFC. The 1.2 Billion Indians are going to consume no matter what share market says. So You can buy such good stocks. But you will have to be patient! as these sectors have already rallied a lot.
  9. Bonus, Buyback, Dividend and splits
    The stocks that announces bonus share, Share buyback, dividend, and split usually rally. keep checking this link
    http://www.moneycontrol.com/stocks/marketinfo/bonus/index.php
    Bonus share: means the company gives some shares free to its investors. Recently mahindra and mahindra issued 1:1 Share. This reduces share price and thus increases liquidity.
    Share buy back : Its when a company buys back the issued shares, this reduces share supply as a result the investors get better price to their shares.
    Stock Split : usually The stocks are issued on face value 10 and then whatever extra price the final stock gets is called as premium. In stock split they dilute the stock price to increase liquidity.
    Dividend : When company shares its profit and reward the investors.

    In all of above cases the stock moves upwards. If you buy sooner you will most certainly get some profit. Never miss the The bonus shares of good stock, they are worth investing it. Dividend, not so much because soon after issuing dividend the share fall by some level.
  10. Averaging – If you believe that you have purchased some value or growth stock and it is making some loss, then you need to buy more stocks into your holding. This averages your buy price. Many people fail to do this and suffer huge loss or wait too long.
    Eg. Before the big pharma sector fall, Sun pharma was trading at about 700 level, and then it fell to 470, not in one day but over few trading days. If someone had that  stock at 700 level and added more 10 or 20 stocks at 470 then the average price would have become = (7000 + 9400)/30 = 546. Sun pharma after 3-4 months bounced back upto 595, thus this person would have made profit. You will learn these judgement by experience. This often works for quality stocks.
  11. When you trade, the market experts talk about support levels. You need to keep an eye on these levels. I am talking about the Nifty supports. Eg. Currently the market is at 10600+ for this support is at 10550. Also, the budget is scheduled for February 2018 and till then nifty target is 10700. These targets are determined by the technical analysts. You dont need to do that analysis the CNBC TV18 experts will let you know.
  12. In earlier article, I talked about buying a stock on correction. But some growth stocks never stop to correct. They just run and run. There is inherent risk in entering such stocks. There are always outliers stocks and trends and you just need to be cautious. Eg. HEG, Asian Granito etc. The only valid tip is If you already owns such stock, if they are value plus growth stocks, then add them more.
  13. There is something called as futures. Its the real money making thing. You will hear about nifty future and future of some stock. Futures are about speculating the future price of a stock or value of NIFTY index itself. By knowing the futures you can know where your holding stock can go. Notice, future prices are not real future but just a speculation. This is not a compulsory info. if you don’t understand this or know it, its all right. Just spend some time in morning at 8.30 or in noon at around 2.30 to check market pulse on CNBC TV18.
  14. Finally, Don’t forget to book profit when your targets are met. Don’t be greedy. You can repurchase a stock. But have some vision in trading. Planning is essential in finance market.

You will learn more as you will trade with support of some technical some fundamental analysis and some tips from trade experts. I know that in short duration I gave too many terms and stuff, but as you will start facing the market you will get use to them. Share market gives a vantage point about economy. I wish more and more people enter into the market and understand the real nature and spirit of capitalism.

They need to know what really brings food on their table, something much much relevant to daily life. Instead on talking about mundane and rhetoric discussions on religion and past, The youth need to develop this outlook to look at the glorious future that India can have if we let our economy grow properly. We all are going to benefit from this prosperity.

Another idea is to give an perspective about economic thinking and rationality, something beyond the usual emotional thinking that we are accomplished to. Be money wise and adopt economic thinking in your daily life, this will transform your aptitude towards life and you will make better decisions.

Share this series of article if you find it useful, If you know better source than this information, please share that here too. If you are still skeptical about trading and/or don’t have times to trade, don’t feel disappointed. you can still benefit from the share market. You can invest via mutual funds. The next series of article will be on Mutual funds. I will upload it soon.

Here is a summary of your Journey to trading,

  1. Basics of Shares,
  2. Equity Related terminologies
  3. Some technical stuff that you must know
  4. Some cautions and introduction to trading platform
  5. Some does and don’t of trading. You are here.

Thank you.

Happy Mothers (a) day Or its everyday?

Will mothers day a week a month or a year will be enough to express what she means for us?
and moreover, the person for whom such event might be held, do they really want it? Honestly i dont think so. The whole idea that there is need of a separate day to show ‘yes you exist mom n i love you’ is hollow. The same applies to valentines day and all other days that tries to capture something that should be expressed in subtle daily routine lives may be even without words and through gestures of emotions.

And What that can be? May be a listening ear even when she is giving redundant instructions. Accepting her love even when it makes you momma’s boy, without being embarrassed about it. praising her food preparation no matter how it is. (Besides mostly it is the best) spending some time from our busy life to talk with her n not let her feel lonley. Taking her side once a while when she is complaining and even when she is being unreasonable. And most of all accepting her as she is without complain… because thats what she did for and with us. And there is much more to it.

And thats about unconditional love. It never demands, it only gives… it gives to see growth of beloved person and be part of it. But Do we give her that space?

We love our mother because what she did for us was a tough job. We cannot even think about getting into those shoes – its just exhausting. But she does it – even today with a content smile on her face. The love that she shows doesn’t change even today.
But what about us? Are we the same?

Sure one can give a day in calendar to celebrate this all. But without that emotional acknowledgement such selfies and words will be hollow. Mere pictures n stuff i.e. material rewards can never mean what we truly mean to our mothers. But sure every day awareness while dealing with her can make that change. That can be a powerful language and expression to express gratitude in spirit, even if ‘happy mothers day’ those letters are missing.

We need a symbolic day n way to tell our feelings to our mothers. But thats what mom tried to do for us every single day. Only her ways of care are more different and many of them makes us feel “embarrassing” in social life. How had it is to keep aside our ego and just make her feel accepted? Its actually not. But then one day act is always an easy way out that can never be equated to her efforts yet we rejoice it and even she does because all that matters for is our happiness. Which is true love.

But why this discussion in first place? Usually A day dedicated like this is to mark some ideas and ideals. But thanks to western commercial culture, they have made these days just another economic activity. And they cannot be blamed. Even the ancient indian culture had these symbols… various festivals that call for buying certain stuff just to accelerate demand and churn economic activities and keep markey going.

The saddening fact of life is no one thinks about the flip side. The cultural hegemony from west and subtle westernization. We dont need to copy, we have better ways of doing things and we must be seen doing them. Sometimes even in the language of silence and care.

what TRAI and government missed in internet governance

First, While the document talks about OTTs and TSP, the document is not clear if TSP includes all wired broadband service providers. In the chapter 2 it does introduces wired connection as way of connecting to the internet but subsequent reference to TSP points toward the wireless and call providing telecoms. If those references of TSP included the wired broadband service providers then the limitation of bandwidth doesn’t make sense. Also, language of the article appears to be slightly in favor of TSPs rather than the public, which is not desirable.

Second, The document also tries to fix this with a simple solution with imposing limitations instead of digging the root of this issue of bandwidth use. Why user hogs the bandwidth, download copyright content? Do they have other cost effective option? The answer is no. the softwares are too expensive for general user and not easily accessible. The Indian universities don’t have ties with software firms so as to provide the essential softwares to students at lower costs. There is no gateway for students to purchase these software since many Indian lacks access to credit cards. As a result they resort to pirated content which then threaten their security. But government is silent about that serious breach of security.

The end users download movies and songs because they are available on demand. The DVDs are like junk, why would a user carry such bulk with him all the times when memory media are available at such cheap costs? The industry needs to innovate for this and come up with better ways in reaching the end users. Netflix was such innovation, which enabled user to see movies on demand.

Apart from this, there is again issue of accessibility. Many towns and even district places still lack multiplex and good cinema halls to enjoy the movies. The movie industry is no at all concern in broadening its reach in that sense and is more interested in metros. If a user don’t have access to these movies offline, then he chooses it online. India don’t have any Netflix like facility, so download it a cheap and easy way out. The same goes for songs, but only with recent OTT apps people are choosing their ways of listening the songs. Isn’t that good for copyright material?

Third, as India is a soft country, the laws are never strictly or not at all implemented. There is no deterrence for it. Neither any attempts are made to make the illegal copyright material legal. (Microsoft is going to offer upgrade to windows 10 legally even if underlying os is illegal, ofcouse the user will be asked to pay for windows 10 but that will be at lower cost. They did same with windows 8 at launch; an Applaudable move.) With no incentive to use copyright material, the user chose easy way out – pirated contents.

Fourth, The OTTs are also causing innovation of loneliness, distance from real people and pushing the youth into virtual identities. There are no measures from govt. to sensitize the youth on this issue. India faces serious shortage of psychiatrists to help the students. Nor govt have chain of volunteers who have access into collages to communicate with students.

This issue of OTT was raised when the big money making TSP saw a huge market in the form of users. And it’s understandable that TRAI picked this issues in that context but government has bigger roles to play towards citizen. Sadly it is not doing enough on the tough fronts of ethics integrity and morality.

Fifth, and government cannot miss out the imbalances that will set as domino effect as the corner stone of Internet i.e. net neutrality is removed.

Eg. if it charges skype like ARCEP of france, and asks that the operator must meet certain obligations as they are in the business of providing electronic communications. Which will lead to charging the skype. Skype will charge the users, users will ask for QoS since they are paying for the service, the TSP on other hand won’t be able to maintain the QoS (as they are failing to do even today due to infrastructure constrains) this will lead to even more clashes. Also, if skype or hangouts like apps are charged, they are sponsored by internet giants like google and Microsoft, which can afford to subsidies their apps. Thus new entry into the internet telephony will be challenging. It will create imbalance on the web for innovations.

Inshort, this way is going to open more conflicts leading to disturbance in internet ecosystem. It is responsibility of the government to ensure certain standards of life. The UN has already accepted internet as fundamental right for general public. Thus, its necessary for the government to secure this right in greater public interest.

TRAI On Regulatory Framework for OTT services: the jargon.

on 27th March, 2015 telecom regulatory authority of India came up with a document to collect suggestions and opinion from general public on  Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services. The OTTs are nothing but the apps that we use on daily basis.(link for the document)

The telecom operators i.e. the agents from whom we get out internet are looking to charge these apps as they are using the infrastructure but are not paying. Just like Google is making a lot of money via online advertisement but it is not paying anything to the internet provider who provided them the medium. (the analogy given by Telecom service providers is – In normal life a person may use a government constructed road and pay tax to the government so that they can build more such roads.) but Internet is not like that, since the user who access such OTTs or website, already pays to the internet service provider a subscription fees! yet the operators are turning every stone to make sure they find some way to find a new revenue stream from this mushrooming online apps. and that greedy approach is threatening something very precious related with the internet – the Net Neutrality.

What is net neutrality? (source)
Net neutrality is a principle that says Internet service providers should treat all traffic on their networks equally. That means companies like Comcast Corp or Bharti Airtel in Indian context should not block or slow down access to any website or content on the Web – for instance, to benefit their own services over those of competitors.

TRAI itself acknowledges this in its document.

“Net neutrality (NN) is generally construed to mean that TSPs must treat all internet traffic on an equal basis, no matter its type or origin of content or means used to transmit packets. All points in a network should be able to connect to all other points in the network and service providers should be able to deliver traffic from one point to another seamlessly, without any differentiation on speed, access or price. The principle simply means that all internet traffic should be treated equally.”

why its so important? net neutrality makes sure that internet remains a inclusive and equality based platform. people get to express themselves in most democratic manner. without this neutrality, the Internet service provider can reduce, or even prevent a user from accessing certain content (audio, video) on the internet. Further, it can also lead to breaking the Internet into many streams of Internet, i.e. diving the subscribers base so that few web sites, apps and content will be available at better speed to few people giving them an advantage. In short, with net neutrality gone, it will be a chaos on the web with monopoly and oligarchy of the internet services. The users have much to lose and so the new start ups, which are anyways threatened by giants like Google and facebook.

where it began?

the document says, The move to Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology’s all-IP architecture will further facilitate this delinking of delivery of services from the underlying network. thus the ISP are losing control over the OTTs as in how they using the bandwidth. (isnt that a proof that the entire net architectures are structured with net neutrality as a corner stone!)

there is much to the debate. but my intention is this post is to present what govt. of India is saying in this regard. the Jargon they have introduced to deal with this issue and how it is important for general public to understand it. The terminologies are in order as they have appeared in the document.

Telecom service providers (TSP)

(TSP also acts as an Internet

Service Provider (ISP) providing last mile connectivity and bandwidth)

They are the operators offering fixed and mobile telephony. They are basically our wireless internet service providers.

BSNL, Bhartil Airtel, Tikona etc. they are all Telecom service providers in India.

over-the-top (OTT) OTT refers to applications and services which are accessible over the internet. The OTTs use operators’ networks infrastructure offering internet access services to reach to the end user.

This includes all popular apps like Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, Chat On, Snapchat, Instagram etc.

The document then catagorises these OTTs as 3 types,

1.   Messaging and voice services (skype etc.)

2.   Application eco-systems (twitter etc.)

3.   Video audio content (youtube etc.)

Value Added Service (VAS) The traditional insanely costly ways to share media like

MMS. In short value added services are all other services offered by Telecom service providers (TSP) apart from call and SMS and user has to pay for it separately as its value addition to basic calling and SMS.

Zero-rating service (like airtel one) A silent killer for net neutrality.

zero-rating strategy is one where operators offer unlimited access to certain online services – typically social media sites,

music streaming or online television.

but For how long? No one is clear about it. With how many operators? and To how many OTTs? these questions are unanswered.

So if airtel and flipkart strikes a deal, then flipkart will pay to airtel and airtel will give priority to flipkart, resulting in better service and access to flipkart to airtel customers. (this is one scenario, there can be many such malpractices or cartel)

This will be detrimental to new startups and competition. It will lead to filtering of content as per convenience to the TSP and OTT! User will be manipulated.

Fair Usage policy

 

means reviewing the data usage of each subscriber and limiting the plan speed of specific customers who are using excessive network bandwidth.

So if you are using youtube more, then eventually your speed for internet will slow down as there will demand by other for bandwidth.

data caps

 

Bandwidth caps/data caps require monitoring traffic volume and throttling data or charging for extra volume for a customer once a pre-defined data cap is reached.

Like BSNL home 800 plan offers first 6GB at 1Mbps speed after which speed reduces to 512Kbps.

In Toll boothing

 

different services offered to the users are priced differently.

Means if you are using youtube, there will be separate charge. differential pricing for VoIP calls and normal internet usage by Airtel in India is one such example of toll boothing. (this is a clear violation of net neutrality)

accumulation of Universal Service

Obligation Fund (USOF)

Basically, BSNL is thus duty bound to provide service in rural India, it’s not doing any favor!

to provide universal access to telecom services, i.e., focus on providing telecom services to rural and remote areas at affordable and reasonable prices.

And honestly, BSNL has wasted that fund.

besides today we have innovative solutions like facebooks internet.org microsoft white wifi and google lagoon fo internet access.

This fund should have been used better. Rather government should be open now considering advancement of technology.

VoIP voice over internet protocol VoIP is a protocol based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) that allows calls on Internet. Its basic framework for all internet telephony and used in skype and viber like OTTs. SIP and VoIP have their own security management procedure which does allow the government of TSP to intercept or tap communication.
Big Data analytics

 

Big data is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. Aim is to find out patterns in users behavior and choices. Thus it is used to extract information so It can be used for carrying out marketing activities.
Application Service

Providers (ASPs)

The applications driving the internet. All browsers and now OTTs.
Content and Application Providers (CAPs)

 

Content and service providers (CASP)

Same as ASPs but they are mostly new startups but in the document CAPs is used to generalize OTT and ASP.

As mentioned above, the CASP means all that is consuming the bandwidth of TSP. this term is used where large bandwidth use is referred to.

Communications Service Providers (CSPs)

 

All regulatory/ licensing requirements including lawful interception and

security of the network will be ensured if OTT players are classified as CSP.

These are the services that enable voice and video calling.

Application Service

Providers (ASPs).

(don’t confuse with earlier ASP, here ASP is in context of CSP. The TRAI is looking to distinguish the OTTs based on use.)

which either add value to the basic telecom services or can be provided as standalone application services through the telecom network. Apps like twitter and times of India app.
toll-booth system

a proposed data management technique –

whereby different services are priced differently depending on agreements.
‘Zero-rating’

another proposed data management technique.

where they can provide preferential access to certain defined sites.

Eg. Airtel zero, facebooks internet.org

Bulk User of Telecom Services (BuTS) In this option the TSPs can treat an OTT as a bulk user of their telecom services based on amount of bandwidth it will use.

basically with BuTS the OTTs will pay the network provider to use its infrastructure and the user will also pay for the internet service. eventually the OTT may charge the user and user will end up paying both OTT and TSP!

Our Culture, Us and mutual evolution – part 1

The documentary ‘India’s daughter‘ created much uproar in social media particularly on subject that it was an attempt to defame India. This was not the first time that such claim was made. previously i had a discussion on facebook when Aasaram bapu were arrested on rape charges. in both cases and many more cases the issue raised was – how west is trying to defame Indian culture. whether or not such events were an attack on Indian culture, one must accept that such events sure call for introspection, and there is nothing ever wrong in introspection and own improvement. this is my attempt to introspect few aspects of such traditions, cultural norms and our evolution. How we got here from a glorious civilization to today into a globalized world.

Every story builds upon a context – a prologue. without understanding that background, that chronology of events it’s impossible to feel that story. without feeling the story we cannot entirely relate such story. Such context is crucial Especially when we talk about something profound and old as culture. Our culture represents accumulated wisdom of our ancestors and we need to understand events that lead to formation of those traditions and norms. without understanding and feeling the context of that time, when our ancestors adopted certain norms i.e. their context, we cannot understand if those norms are relevant today. we can follow them, but just as a burden from past which is certainly not fruitful to us.

The necessity for our time is to find and understand that ‘relevance’ aspect to our current life so as to focus our energy and find meaning in our life. However, as Culture is deeply related with pride, many oppose change to old traditions or even such discussion. my request is to read this article with an open mind, i am sure that you wont feel offended but at the end you will find some more meaning in creating new ones with own understanding and efforts.

The understanding of culture mainly comes from our society, our parents and our upbringing. since we learn and experience them in our daily life since our childhood we never question them and accept them as they are, which is infarct needed for any child. However with intellectual growth one needs to question and understand the roots of those norms so as to have relevance of those norms to own life. Much can be said about such traditions and norms, but here i want to point out few such aspects beginning with ‘the distances’ and its impact on our lives.

The collective culture of East Asia and Indian subcontinent is based on high power distance (HPD) while the western individualist culture is based on low power distance (LPD). In HPD we respect authority we don’t talk directly, we don’t confront elders, and we don’t challenge the norm. In HPD we don’t behave assertively and accommodate our opinion as per groups’ opinion – we care for stability and acceptability. We don’t even agree to disagree; we keep those things in mind. As personal liberty is limited it hurts creativity and new ideas, but that maintains stability and continuity.

On the other hand, the LPD is about personal liberty, here age doesn’t matter ideas and views matters more. People don’t fear authority they respect authority because they understand need of hierarchy. They openly disagree with their bosses and elder if they are wrong but they discuss their opinion assertively. In case of conflict they even ‘agree to disagree’ and leave the discussion. It supports creativity but the newness threatens stability.

Following these norms, the Indian society has developed these distances in its social relations – the hierarchies in society and thus caste system, patriarchy – status of wife vis-a-vis her husband, student teacher relation father son relation etc. these 2 features dominates many of the social norms. the distances and such norms have created a stable and in a way rigid society which is not really open to change or reluctant in accepting different cultural norms. (ofcourse, today in globalized world things are changing rapidly)

how does it impact our life today – The peculiar thing happening with our generation is our societies are changing faster than ever, thanks to science and technology. The changes are faster than progress of culture as it has been. We are shifting our habits towards more leisure without realizing it.

The ancient Indian collectivist culture is seriously clashing with the western culture based on individualism. The individualism brings with it qualities like rationality, scientific approach, liberty and with that it gives freedom to question the believe system. While our culture emphasizes on family over individual, our values are more irrational, based on norms, restricted freedom (with restrictions one is limited to explore and that gives security to established system)

the clashes begin when We try to accommodate the change in our habits at the speed of ideas as they are germinate in our mind. we see movies and we try to bring that lifestyle, internet is bringing diverse cultures even closer. The young generation has harnessed this adaptability. and this young dynamic generation has adapted this because they were exposed to this ‘change’ culture since their childhood. As a human being we like to explore new things and thus the young ones are good with this new ideas, but also more impatient. this new generation is more flexible than their parents but also less willing to work harder and persist. They get easily bored and change their moods rapidly.

This is much unlike with respect to our parents’ generation which is a status-qua generation, which loves stability, order and have patience to see things getting settle. Their habit for status qua comes from their upbringing – as when they were child they lived a life of scarcity and had to share what limited resources they had with their siblings which one can see by counting their aunts and uncles! such is not case with current young generation, where they belong to a culture of abundance. they get what they want well before even they desire it! so basically, out parents generation knew about their equilibrium, but what about current generation? what they know about where they are going? and why we care for that equilibrium?

culture evolving from need of stability –

Culture itself is a way to find stability in life. The cultural norms brings predictability and familiarity in life. this likeness for predictability comes from evolution. As law of nature every specie loves equilibrium or stability. We seek stability and loves to stay their till the situation becomes extreme. we do this to avoid uncertainty as stability brings familiarity which intern brings certainty and makes us secure which is must for survival, and survival is all that matters in nature. Thus based on this stability and basic understanding about its grammar we were able to use and develop our intelligence.

We end up becoming intelligent species since we were able to overcome the basic duties of gathering food and shelter, we also learned to use tools to get things going. Eventually we got time to explore the world, we started using our brains, that’s how it grew and we end up being human beings of today (the organs used more often tends to develop more or ‘evolve’). Of course while exploring one needs safety of other needs which was accomplished with above mentioned stability (i.e. food and shelter). That means stability and free time to explore is fundamental for thinking differently and grows. But no matter how much we grow we need social support to be happy; Love them, hate them but we can’t live without them!

Human being like most other animal is a social animal and loves to be in company of other people. Even the introverts need people to share their feelings. So to live with harmony and bring certainty in life (as mentioned earlier) few elders came up with spontaneous rules for society. Later those rules became laws and subsequently established norms. To remain in that society it became then ritual to accept those norms which later became identity of certain society – a learned behavior of certain society i.e. culture.

sadly, over a time people forgot why these laws where created to mitigate which uncertainty, and they kept following the norm as culture even when the uncertainty was gone! But since creativity was limited, people knew no other better way to replace existing one and besides it was ancient wisdom and we must respect our elders, who is going to challenge their authority? A dissident was threatened with ostracizing from society. It was against basics of stability instinct so they kept following it even when it was hurting. Such continuity was also in interest of then powerful few in the society who used those norms as a means of dominance.

when norms became problem –

It’s also worth noticing that a problem never appears as package of problem. It first exists as phenomenon, it keeps on happening until one fine day when we notice that phenomenon is hurting us and that there can be/ should be other way out. we then consult others (we need social support) and then with collective experience declare certain phenomenon as problem and look for solution. but still for some people it may not be problem because they don’t experience as we do or they fail to feel what or how we feel about a phenomenon. it’s all about perception and open mind.

As a human being we are supposed to be learned animal, it adds to our intelligence and growth. But history has shown this that many of us exhibits stubbornly unlearning traits. Another crucial surprising trait we show is, we are more ignorant towards the most fundamental things of life and we resist that fundamental thing. (ignoring mother’s advice and realizing its significance later!)

just like We often complain of weak memory but the fact about memory is neurons that fire together wire together – repetition and relating with previous experiences is the key here but we resist repetition and keep crying. Exercise is must for healthy life – we resist it. Infact we don’t even realize the sensation of breathing! The reason we do so is first, affinity for stability (if it’s not broken, it’s no problem) accept the things as they are. That is how we tend to accept the culture without doubting it – as if it’s in our genes.

But creativity is also hidden in these fundamental things we just need to find it.

Quite a lot evolutionary context! it was needed and it will all make sense in 2nd part here.