Change

The attack of WannaCry Ransomware (that happened a few months ago, globally), followed by the illicit hacking of social media account of the vice-president of Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, has seemingly instigated a wave of change in Andhra Pradesh’s online data management system, to fight the cyber crimes there are.

For the same, Andhra Pradesh has become the first in Asia, to introduce the Blockchain technology in the wake of demonetization, to prevent its people’s wealth and all the sensitive information online. The Chief Minister, Sri Chandrababu Naidu, has always been supportive of the “go-cashless” drive and has been doing his best to take Narendra Modi’s dream of “making India cashless” ahead.

The Blockchain Technology has already been introduced in a few departments in Andhra Pradesh to keep all its data secure. This technology stores all the transactions in a publicly centralized digital ledger that can solve the problem of online data manipulations without having a third party involved to check for the same. Blockchain technology assures safe mode for payments, banking and data storage, for the users.

Blockchain Tech.

Furthermore, Chandrababu Naidu has also announced the launch of an app called “AP Purse” that will facilitate simplistic online-payment-making methods for the people of Andhra Pradesh. CM Chandrababu Naidu, for his peerless initiatives, had been appointed the head for a committee of five Chief Ministers on Demonetization, by the Finance Minister of India, Mr. Arun Jaitley.

The most iconic superstar in its fraternity, the handcrafted sports car, Dodge Viper, which carried a massive 8.4 liter V10 engine and drove like a thirsty vamp, will no longer be produced after August 31st 2017, as confirmed by the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, on an official notice.

The car has been hand assembled for the past 25 years, at a facility at Detroit that will also be sealed for good. Although the end is nigh, the reason has not been made official, but according to the carbuzz.com, it is being believed that the car doesn’t fit in the new occupant-ejection airbag requirements. As avoidable as it might sound, it is difficult, apparently, for the makers to fit airbags into the small pit of the car and thus, selling Dodge Viper will be deemed illegal after 2017, unless the manufacturers make the design radically different.

However, the orders placed through the “one of one program”, will be built till the 31st of August for people who wish to own this one of a kind, soon-to-be historic piece.

Every car fanatic’s dream – The Dodge Viper.
Image courtesy: Motor Trend

What is culture?

Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. Culture can be defined as a combination of beliefs, values and attitudes that is shared amongst a population of people.

What is creativity?

Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then doing.

A culture and creativity must come hand in hand. Creativity of a person should not be suppressed in the name of culture. Cultural tightness of a society affects creativity. Instead culture must be a platform for a person to bring out his creativity.

In our society if women are to come out of their house, there are still certain restrictions for them. A woman is not allowed to choose certain fields even though she has talent in that field. Why can’t a woman choose fields​ like wildlife photography, night photography and journalism. Why do we still have restrictions in this society? Because the society restricts them not to step out of the house late at night.

Women are generally asked to follow certain restrictions. The woman who has skill in night photography should remain dumb without expressing her skills and creativity. Why should the woman who has these talents remain dumb because she was born in this culture?

A culture is just a custom that has been brought into​ this society to discipline ourselves and to correct us while we move in wrong path. But that culture should not be a restriction or barrier to bring out our creativity. An individual is free to express his creativity in this society.

At the same time, we have a custom that Hindu women must wear bhindi. Some women wear and some don’t. The society alienates the women who doesn’t wear a bhindi. A culture is a concept. To accept the concept or not depends on the mindset​ of an individual. It is their choice; the society need not play a role here. The women who wears a bhindi does the same things as those who don’t wear a bhindi. They do achieve, in this society.

A custom cannot determine who we are or how we have to be? It is an individual’s interest. Introverts don’t show themselves up in parties or celebrations. They don’t like to talk to the people whom they don’t know. But the society wants them to. Isn’t it like forcing?  We shouldn’t force someone to do something​ if they have no interest. If introverts want to mingle with others they will do it on their own. There is no need to force them to do something.

Still this custom exists in India, women are married at the age of 18. It is approved by our law that a woman can be married at the age of 18. But think what knowledge she would have acquired at that age. She wouldn’t have got proper education at that age. How will she express her identity to the world? It is like totally suppressing one’s creativity, talent, knowledge etc,. in the name of culture. Is it applicable? It sounds like utter nonsense. A culture should guide a person but it shouldn’t control them by suppressing them to express their own talents and creativity.

A culture must be something that should enhance our creativity. Our life in this world belongs to us not to the society. Culture must not stop a person in expressing his creativity. When culture and creativity go together many achievements can be done. A culture must be free from gender, caste, religion etc,. and creativity of a person is something unique. It should not be restricted in the name of culture.

 

India is a land of exotic diversity – from its culture to its topography. In every corner of the country, one witnesses a different type of weather and land form, a different race of people and a variety of cultures, languages, religious beliefs and eating habits. As the 1.3 billion people of the seventh-largest country in the world take pride in saying, there is unity in our diversity. One similarity that runs through the different cultures and races of every part of India is the economic inequality among its people. The richest 1% own 58% of the nation’s total wealth, leaving behind 23% of the Indian population impoverished. If this was not problem enough, the rich and powerful exploit the poor in every way possible and the poor in India face all kinds of hardships on a daily basis- from food insecurity and lack of healthcare, to illiteracy, unemployment and a total lack of general facilities. Despite the technological and economic development taking place in urban areas of India, the condition of the poor continues to deteriorate.


Over the years 2011 to 2015, Indian NGOs received $7 billion worth of foreign funding.

With these provisions being made, we see no improvement in the developing state of the Indian population. So, the question that arises is:  where does the funding really go? What are the NGOs really up to?

In 2015, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs cancelled the licences of 10,000 NGOs. Why?

The reasons were:

  • “Not filling returns
  • Misutilisation of funds
  • Accepting funds for prohibited activities, which include funding legal costs of bail
  • Writ petitions of NGOs in India and their activists
  • Undisclosed payment of salaries by foreign NGOs to foreign activists”

This is what those 10,000 NGOs had been up to. But these were just the reported cases. Like the 95% of unreported rape cases in India, NGO fraudulence also goes majorly unreported.

A submission of few documents and not more than ₹3000 is al it takes for an NGO registration in India. Once registered, NGOs are licensed to acquire foreign funding by submitting their development model. With the process being so easy, there’s an NGO sprouting up in every nook and cranny of the country. These NGOs, though, aren’t open with the sole aim of service to the society and/or its upliftment, they have some hidden aims too. The not-for-profit organizations take illegal profit shares from the funds provided to them for human welfare. With the funds which are to be used to provide basic nutrition and clean drinking water for underprivileged people, corrupt NGO heads and members fulfill their own profligacy.

A country cannot grow with efforts made by one person alone, it can only grow with efforts made by all, in the right direction and with the same motive. Here comes a crucial aspect which should be considered, What is the role of NGOs? NGOs are meant for filling the gaps between government and citizens. Indian Government, even after 67 years of independence, has not been able to reach ground level reality; the facts above justify it. NGOs came into existence so that more underprivileged people could be reached out. So, the role of NGOs was to help the government in taking remedial measures, but NGO establishment has now become a business. In this business, donation and funding is taken from different sources and instead of putting it to humanitarian causes, the people running NGOs pocket it for their benefits.

The un-secular nature of the NGO was discussed in a report from 2014, titled, “Hindu nationalism in the United States: A Report on Non-Profit Groups”.

A number of Indian NGOs had been officially blacklisted and their licenses had been cancelled, cutting off their foreign funding.

In the 2015-16 fiscal, Christian NGOs Ayana Charitable Trust, Believers Church India and World Vision India received the highest foreign funding. Ayana Charitable Trust, based in Kerala, is reportedly just the name under which the Texas-based NGO, Gospel for Asia, funds projects in India. The NGO, headed by the Keralite K.P. Yohannan, has two lawsuits of racketeering and fraud filed against it by former Arkansas donors. Gospel for Asia is also a prominent donor to Believers Church, whose temporal and spiritual head is K.P. Yohannan himself, and which owns billions of dollars in assets and claims over 2 million members. Most ventures in Yohannan’s religious empire are for profit. Param Shakthi Peeth, an NGO run by Sadhvi Rithambara, a Hindu political activist and a member of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and RSS, was the second-highest recipient of foreign funding in 2015-16.

Despite the allegations, devotees keep on donating to these organisations. As some of the NGOs are run by religious institutions, people believe that they’d be genuinely working for the greater good. When religion comes into the picture, people turn a blind eye to what may as well be full-fledged corruption and injustice. Because of this, the corruption does not stop, it continues and exploits the resources for the poor in its wake.

There are NGOs which genuinely work, or aim to work, for the betterment of society. But because of the frequent fraudulence in the NGO world, their work is doubted as well.

With licenses and funding being continually issued to reportedly corrupt organisations, development or positive change cannot be expected to be witnessed. The underprivileged will be left to face the brunt of it, like they always have, despite so much money being put towards their upliftment.

Noble profession, people say its teaching. Is it actually so? ‘Teachers are next to god’, is written in the notebook of every 4th to 5th grade student. But for once try to draw a picture of a teacher on a paper, you will either make a woman dressed in an old sari with specs or an old man with a dull shirt and pants with specs again. A noble profession means the highest of all, most respected and most dedicating. Teaching is said so because they create all other professionals. All professionals went to a teacher to learn.

We grow to become successful person, we learn and we achieve what we aim. But who makes us this capable? It is the teacher who filled our mind with the knowledge of world. Teacher, a word that’s heard and instantly brings to life a thousand memories in your head. So, when was the last time you saw your teacher, did you speak to him? Or wish him, or asked about his well being? Or you choose to just pass like you did not know that old person walking by you?

Schools have become more of a business firm than a sacred place to gain education. Needless to say, we cannot compare the standards of a private school teacher with that of a public one.  Private schools charges heavy fees and lot of extra curriculum activities which requires more human resource and more teachers, but they don’t want to compromise with the profit earned by the school, as a result, they pay a lower salary compared to the amount of work done by the teachers. In government schools, the pay is comparatively lower but with a few facilities such as lunch and residential quarters (only in some places). However, the principals and managing directors are involved in the race of making their schools number one and compete with the international level focusing on the outer image and avoiding the inner important factors such as education and talented teachers. Shockingly, the pay scale in some places is comparatively lower than the fresher’s pay in call centers​!

Teachers dedicate their whole life teaching and preparing the future of the nation and what do they get in return? Pay is not the only issue the changing time has changed the values of society too. Students today have gone more shameless and with the support of their “rich” parents they now easily harass teachers. With the introduction of RTE ACT, 2009 teachers have become more helpless, as they cannot beat a child on his or her violent behavior.


Their identification is at stake at times! Just try to think of the last time you saw someone calling their teacher to any successful event like promotion, you mostly call your friends and families to celebrate, what about the person who made you this capable. Why to call a celebrity whom you don’t know, rather send an invite to the teacher who would be very proud to see you on your own? Its not about the events, its about the recognition of efforts put in by the teacher in making who you are.

Teachers in many countries are given much respect. In Germany, teachers get the highest apy and when the chancellor was questioned, Angela Merkel replied, “how can i compare you to those who taught you?” But in a country where teachers are seen and supposed to be treated like god, the condition is in contrast.

Let’s give them the respect that they deserve!

‘My son will be an engineer’. Familiar words, aren’t they? The sentence could have been for a daughter, doctor or lawyer but the essence is same.

For a long time, these three major career options (science, commerce and arts) ruled the education sector but over the past few decades the pattern has gone through a little change. The increase in awareness among the students has lead to an overall evolution in the field of profession. Today students are selecting those careers which they think suits them the best. But has it really changed, or it needs to be worked on?

To start with somewhere, our education system also lacks the required freedom for a child to ‘grow’ and ‘learn’. The subjects are classified in three narrow categories- arts, commerce and science. And while choosing the career for themselves, Are student wise enough to make a sensible and informed decision for themselves? Because the study one get till, +2, are the basic concepts of board disciplines.

Where the mind of student got stuck after +2?

  • Most of the youth join graduation and then decides what they really want from life resulting in delay of a professional journey and unemployment which is not fruitful for a developing economy like India.
  • If we think about 10 years ago, hardly anyone had guts to stand in front of their parents and ask that they want to be a chef or singer or anything else apart from the three major professions. The reason here was lack of knowledge. Nobody knew back then the possibilities of opportunities apart from what was already established in the society and parents in India are highly protective for their child so, how can they let their child experiment with his new career opportunity.

Why has our society changed in choosing the right option?

But over a period of time, the society has accepted the change and even parents act supportive of their children’s decision and encourage them to challenge their limits.

  • Overcrowding in the regular professional fields has lead to a cut throat competition which will have only few winners and many losers,
  • The passion of a youngster for his work which slowly and gradually, youth is realizing.
  • The availability of right education and information.

Globalization which has lead to that needed exposure to the world has changed the view of youngsters. They can now see what is happening and how it is done in other countries and that is how they make their own opportunities. Internet is available in the hands of every youth today and it has worked wonder for them. It has introduced with many new practical profession that has changed the view of seeing the profession as work but to see it as something you like to do and have a passion for.

For instance, no one ever imagined that someone’s passion for art can make him a professional ‘tattoo designer’ or someone’s love for fitness can make him a ‘trainer’. Earning while enjoying your work is the biggest motivation for any employee and that is where they find success.

Mehvish Mustaq

Another stereotype that has been changed over the year is the believe that women cannot work and even if they do, they are only good for some profession such as teaching and doctoring. But over the years, this thought has also evolved. From women working in the corporate world (Amrita Gangotra-Airtel, Meena Ganesh-Tesco hindustan services and a long list) at renounced position to women working and succeeding in offbeat career options (Mary Kom-boxing, Mehvish Mustaq-app developer) they have changed how society looks at them.

When from selecting a coffee to selecting a dress, we have ample of choice then why not we have variety while selecting our career choice. The children today should be free to decide what they want and follow their passion sooner or later they will make a great career out of it. This evolution has caused a legendary change and why not. If we do what we love and get paid for it, it won’t be seen as a work and will never be a burden!

The Himalayas, a pristine and majestic sight. Millions of people marvel at the beauty of the imposing mountain ranges. It has great cultural and personal significance to many. It is the location for religious pilgrimages attracting large crowds. Others want to personally experience the magnificent sight they have only seen from a distance. For some the Himalayas represent a personal challenge to overcome by scaling its heights.

The Himalayas has been the “wall” for India since it’s creation by nature. The Himalayas are a carbon sink, serving to absorb a large portion of the carbon dioxide that we emit. Furthermore, it is home to rich biodiversity, in fact the eastern Himalayas are a global biodiversity hotspot. The Himalayan region is the reason that there is copious rainfall in the Ganga-Brahmaputra region. If the Himalayas were wiped out, that region would actually be a desert. The glaciers from the region spans eight countries and are the source of drinking water, hydroelectric power and irrigation for about 1.5 billion people. Suffice to say, if the Himalayas were affected, it would damage billions of people!

Causes of Destruction

This previously unspoiled region is now starting to slowly degrade. The main culprits for this damage are:

Pollution and Solid waste:

The air pollution caused by an increase in vehicle traffic, and the pollution caused by local sewage dumping are polluting the landscape. The solid waste dumping caused by developing infrastructure and meeting tourism demands are making the area vulnerable.

Hydroelectric power projects:

There are more than 400 hydroelectric power dams planned in the Himalayas in a power grab between India and China. These dams weaken the stability of the slopes causing landslides and eventually flashfloods. They also use tunnel drilling to change the water course. This encourages soil erosion and will lead to flashfloods.

Excessive dam construction in the region

Urbanization for tourism demands:

The booming tourist industry has caused a need for lodgings, which has led to a mass construction of buildings haphazardly without conforming to the environmental laws. The debris from the construction blocks vital areas, causing flash floods and damaging the ecology.

Infrastructure developments:

Infrastructural developments such as for military and tourism purposes have led to construction of roads and railways. It causes instability and ruins the habitats of animals and the sacred biodiversity of the area.

Cultural/Pilgrimage Tourism:

Hordes of people visit the Himalayas for pilgrimages and when they do so, there aren’t adequate measures made for waste disposal and transport. So this human traffic leads to erratic waste disposal and destroys what was once pristine.

A blind trust!

Deforestation:

India has had rife deforestation throughout the country, and the Himalayas have not escaped this fate. The trees and vegetation has been cut down for lumber and to clear it for the infrastructural development. It has destroyed habitats and local biodiversity. We may have lost too much to ever get back.

Climate Change/Global Warming:

Climate change is perhaps one of the most damaging reasons for the degradation of the Himalayan region. It has caused melting glaciers, ice caps and it has led to overflowing lakes. Soon it will lead to water scarcity because we will no longer be able to depend on water flowing from the Himalayas. This has also affected the fauna of the region. Animals that are used to colder weather have had to move further up the mountains and when they don’t find food and other resources they are struggling to survive.

Photo of Kedarnath temple during Uttarakhand flood

Being a Part of the Solution

However of course, there are steps we can take to slow down this process and hopefully eventually reverse the effects if it isn’t too late. Like:

  1. Banning plastic usage in the region.
  2. Enlisting the tourists and pilgrims to work in conservation efforts as a part of their trip. It will help reverse the effects they have been causing.
  3. Changing the way garbage is disposed in the area.
  4. Halting the deforestation schemes and bringing the entire region under environmental protection.
  5. All tourism in the area should shift into following eco-tourism guidelines.
  6. Whenever lodgings are built, encourage bamboo and log huts, because they won’t spoil the integrity of the land with cement and other unfriendly materials.

But the most important contribution from our side to the wall would be: Don’t Turn a Blind Eye

There are no adequate words to describe the importance or destruction of this region. The landscapes and territories that we take for granted, may no longer exist for our perusal. We can continue to turn a blind eye to the damage we have caused. But we will only realize the extent of our loss when what we cherished is gone. So, let’s work, before it’s too late!

The Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launched a scheme, Tele-law service.

Tele-Law is aimed at facilitating delivery of legal advice through an expert panel of lawyers – stationed at the State Legal Services Authorities(SLSA).

The project would connect lawyers with clients through video conferencing facilities at Common Service Centre.  Additionally law school clinics, District legal service authorities, voluntary service providers and Non-government organisations working on legal aid and empowerment can also be connected through CSC’s anywhere and anytime in order to strengthen access to justice for the marginalised communities.

The project would be launched across 1800 panchayats in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar,North Eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir.

A trained Para Legal Volunteer will be available in a CSC for ten days in a month under the scheme. This scheme comes as a continuation to the Access to Justice Project for Marginalised Persons which is being implemented by department of Justice and United Nation Development Programme.

There has been a lot of buzz about wearables such a Google Glass, Apple’s iWatch and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

Wearable computing devices let users to go hands-free, there are lot of ways they could be useful at work. Sporting a pair of smartglasses, staring at a blank wall and using hand gestures to superimpose data on 3D image of an airport could help visualise a set of chain reactions​ likely to be triggered in an emergency. Such a representation of data can help crisis handlers better manage a situation.

SITA lab, a facility dedicated to strategic research to drive innovation in the air transport sector, is working on swift boarding using smart glasses from Vuzix and Google Glass. The SWIFT boarding with Smart glasses project involves providing agents in boarding area with smart glasses with built-in camera, scanner and head up display, which can be used to securely verify passport and boarding pass information for faster bording.

Microsoft HoloLens, a pair of smartglasses is a self contained holographic computer enabling users to engage with digital content. It runs on Windows 10 and enables the blending of physical and digital worlds in ways that were previously impossible.

Data such as passenger real time location, aircraft position, gate information, flight status information, security wait times and retail dwell times can be supplied between Airport management software and HoloLens data. This information merged with 3D real time views can help to forsee the impact a flight delay could have on all subsequent flights as well as to predict the rush of passengers.

To make Wearable technology, a reality in the airport of the future, the passenger and document processing times using the technology wil have  to be optimised.

We need to learn how to interact in the new environment. In the same way that we moved from computers to smart phones and voice recognition, now we can  go beyond the screen.

How would you feel when you are paid for doing nothing, that too free? Would you like to work on that extra Sunday? May be, not!

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a social guarantee that is given by the government or any social institution to every individual irrespective of their status, work, education etc, It is a form of social security to all the citizens or residents of the country. It will be given to every individual as an unconditional income. This income will help them to satisfy their basic needs.

Why Universal Basic Income?

It cuts off the inequality between the rich and the poor. This scheme helps to reduce the poverty status in our country. Most of the rural Indians aren’t able to satisfy their basic needs with the earned income, so, when they have the surety of getting fixed pre-determined income source, they will start spending on something more “luxurious”.

Women can act independently in a scoiety with UBI. Independency in terms of financial and pscyological. This income will help every woman to identify themselves in the society.

This will also work as a financial support to the social entrepreneurs who are dependent on funds or loans. This can make them stand on their own, without risking their lives on funds and loans.

Crimes like robbery, thefts, etc happen just because people don’t have enough money to satisfy their daily needs. When they receive this basic income assurance, cases of robbery and thefts will be reduced. By the use of this scheme, the term unemployment can be abolished.

A pilot survey was held in Madhya Pradesh, West Delhi and Maharashtra to check how this scheme works, result showed that people did work hard to promote their economic status.

These “goodies” of the scheme might justify its implementation in a country, but remember India is a home to 1.2 billion democractic people. Can anyone give surety that this state will remain throughout? A big question! So, Why say no to UBI?

So to enable this scheme in India, the government must withdraw all the other income sources granted to citizens as free allowance like subsidies and pensions etc. This is because this scheme will be a costly affair in India. So, feasibility of this scheme in India can be questioned.

Then, comes to the pscyological reason, why would you want to work, when you are paid for doing nothing? It may make people lethargic, especially in the rural India, where people live to satisfy their basic needs.

Do you feel that this money will reach the person correctly? No assurance! No one can guarantee this because of the corrupted political system in our country. Only half the amount of basic income will be received by the person, the remaining will not. So what is the use of allotting an allowance to those who are not in need?

Moreover, our country is hugely populated. It is not like any foreign country with less population where they can provide a basic income to their people. Even if we manage this situation another problem arises – there will be an increase in burden on government for payment and in turn, prices of petrol, diesel, groceries etc.will increase, which will be taken from our income. Doesn’t it sound like giving our income to ourselves in the name of free allowance or basic income?

Universal basic income is essential to our country to eradicate the poverty. It is good if the incomes  reaches the needy correctly without any corruption. Even if people get the income they must not stop themselves from working. Everyone must make use of this money only to promote themselves but not to hinder their growth. If we try to elevate ourselves with the use of this money, surely no one can stop the elevation of our country.