ഭരണ തുടര്‍ച്ചയുണ്ടായാല്‍ ചൈനീസ് മാതൃക, സോഷ്യല്‍ മീഡിയ രംഗം പൊളിച്ചെഴുതാന്‍. . ?

By ടി അരുണ്‍കുമാര്‍ (dailyhunt.in) [TRANSLATE]- മോദി സര്‍ക്കാറിന് 2019-ല്‍ ഭരണ തുടര്‍ച്ചയുണ്ടായാല്‍ ചൈനീസ് മാതൃകയില്‍ സോഷ്യല്‍ മീഡിയകളില്‍ നിയന്ത്രണം കൊണ്ടുവരുമെന്ന് സൂചന.

പൂര്‍ണ്ണമായും കേന്ദ്ര സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ നിയന്ത്രണത്തില്‍ ഇന്റര്‍നെറ്റ്, ഫെയ്‌സ് ബുക്ക്, വാട്‌സ് ആപ്പ് തുടങ്ങിയ സോഷ്യല്‍ മീഡിയകളെ കൊണ്ടു വരണമെന്ന നിര്‍ദ്ദേശം പ്രധാനമന്ത്രിയുടെ ഐ.ടി വിഭാഗത്തില്‍ നിന്നാണ് ഉയര്‍ന്നിരിക്കുന്നത്.

ചൈനയിലെ സോഷ്യല്‍ മീഡിയ സെന്‍സര്‍ഷിപ്പ് സ്വകാര്യ പൊതുമേഖലകളുടെ പങ്കാളിത്തത്തിലാണ് നടക്കുന്നത്, ഭരണകൂടം നിര്‍ണ്ണയിക്കുന്ന പരിധിക്കുള്ളില്‍ നിന്നുകൊണ്ട് കറങ്ങിത്തിരിയാന്‍ മാത്രമേ ഇന്റര്‍നെറ്റ് കമ്ബനികള്‍ക്ക് സാധിക്കുകയുള്ളൂ. സര്‍ക്കാറിന്റെ താളത്തിനൊത്ത് തുള്ളിയില്ലെങ്കില്‍ രാജ്യ ദ്രോഹികളെ സഹായിക്കുന്നുവെന്ന കുറ്റമാരോപിച്ച്‌ കമ്ബനി അടച്ചിടാന്‍ കഴിയും.

സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ എജന്‍സികളും, ഉദ്യോഗസ്ഥരും നല്‍കുന്ന സൂചകപദങ്ങള്‍ സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയറിലേക്ക് ഫീഡ് ചെയ്തുകൊണ്ടാണ് ഭൂരിപക്ഷം ഇന്റര്‍നെറ്റ് കമ്ബനികളും ഈ സെന്‍സറിംഗ് നടത്തുന്നത്. സൂചകപദങ്ങളില്ലാത്ത പോസ്റ്റുകള്‍ സ്വീകരിക്കപ്പെടുകയും മറ്റുള്ളവ പരിശോധനക്കു വെക്കുകയോ അല്ലെങ്കില്‍ അപ്രത്യക്ഷമാവുകയോ ചെയ്യും.

സോഷ്യല്‍ മീഡിയ നിരീക്ഷിക്കാനും അന്വേഷണഫലം മേലുദ്യോഗസ്ഥരെ അറിയിക്കാനുമായ് 20 ലക്ഷത്തോളം ഇന്റര്‍നെറ്റ് ഒപീനിയന്‍ അനലിസ്റ്റുകള്‍ രാജ്യത്ത് പ്രവര്‍ത്തിക്കുന്നുണ്ടെന്ന് 2013 ല്‍ സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ ഉടമസ്ഥതയിലുള്ള മാധ്യമങ്ങള്‍ തന്നെയാണ് റിപ്പോര്‍ട്ട് ചെയ്തത്.

സര്‍ക്കാറിനെ കുറ്റപ്പെടുത്താനുള്ള അവകാശമൊക്കെ ചൈനയില്‍ എല്ലാവര്‍ക്കുമുണ്ട്, പക്ഷെ ഒരേ ചിന്താഗതിക്കാരുമായി കൂട്ടു കൂടാനോ, ചര്‍ച്ച നടത്താനോ സാധ്യമല്ല. ‘കളക്ടീവ് ആക്ഷന്‍’ എന്നതുമായ് സാമ്യമുള്ള കൂട്ട പ്രകടനം, ബഹുജന സമ്മേളനം, ഓണ്‍ലൈന്‍ കാമ്ബയിന്‍ തുടങ്ങിയ വാക്കുകളടങ്ങിയ പോസ്റ്റുകള്‍ പുറംലോകം കാണില്ല. എന്തെങ്കിലും പരാതിയുണ്ടെങ്കില്‍ കസ്റ്റമര്‍ കെയറിലേക്ക് വിളിക്കുകയെന്ന നിര്‍ദ്ദേശമാണ് കമ്ബനികള്‍ നല്‍കുന്നത്.

ഇപ്പോഴേ പരിഷ്‌ക്കാരത്തെ കുറിച്ച്‌ പറഞ്ഞ് സോഷ്യല്‍ മീഡിയയെ എതിരാക്കുന്നത് തിരിച്ചടിയാവുമെന്ന് കണ്ട് അതീവ രഹസ്യമായാണ് ഇതുസംബന്ധമായ ഉന്നതതല ചര്‍ച്ചകള്‍ പോലും നടന്നതെന്നാണ് സൂചന.

ഓണ്‍ലൈന്‍ മാധ്യമങ്ങളെ നിയന്ത്രിക്കാന്‍ കര്‍ശന നടപടി സ്വീകരിക്കുമെന്ന കേന്ദ്ര സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ നിലപാടിന്റെ പിന്നാലെയാണ് പുതിയ ആലോചനയെന്നതും പ്രസക്തമാണ്.

കേന്ദ്രത്തിന്റെ വിലയിരുത്തലില്‍ രാജ്യത്ത് ഏറ്റവും കൂടുതല്‍ ആളുകള്‍ വിവരങ്ങള്‍ അറിയുന്നത് സോഷ്യല്‍ മീഡിയ വഴിയാണ്. മുഖ്യധാരാ പത്രങ്ങളുടെയും ചാനലുകളുടെയും പോലും ഓണ്‍ലൈന്‍ പോര്‍ട്ടലുകള്‍ക്കാണ് കൂടുതല്‍ പ്രേക്ഷകര്‍ എന്നതും കേന്ദ്രം വിലയിരുത്തുന്നു.

അത് കൊണ്ടു തന്നെ, ഏറ്റവും അധികം ജനങ്ങളെ സ്വാധീനിക്കുന്ന സോഷ്യല്‍ മീഡിയകള്‍ കേന്ദ്ര സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ നിയന്ത്രണത്തില്‍ വരണമെന്ന് ബി.ജെ.പിയിലെ ഒരു വിഭാഗവും ഇപ്പോള്‍ ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. more>

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American lessons for India

By neglecting science and public welfare, the US is losing the marathon in some respects
By Dipankar Gupta – We look up to America for a number of good reasons. But there are a few cautionary tales as well, especially in the area of public spending.

The US, however, rarely looks outside its borders, east or west, for ideas. The Midwest, the country’s navel, is where it gazes most often. This is where elections are won or lost, and where homebred culture and cars are made.

Between 2000 and 2017 there have been as many as 25 train mishaps in the US, prompting the head of Amtrak to confess that the latest crash is a “wake up call”. It took 60 years, between 1940 to 1999, for 25 train accidents to happen, but only 15 years since to clock that number.

This graphically demonstrates how rapidly public railways have declined in America. We are not starting on the subject of the 56,000 US bridges that need urgent repair. This may sound and taste like India, but we are still talking America.

According to Mark Reutter of Progressive Policy Institute, in the first 13 years after 1956, as much as 46,350 km of interstate roadways were built and, tragically, 95,600 km of rail tracks taken out. In an ironic coincidence, 1956 was also the year when Japan started planning its high speed trains.

Railways have never won state support in the US after their heydays in the 1930s and 1940s. Politicians complain that trains will never make money, so why fund them? In Europe, the calculations are very different.

For example France’s prestigious, high speed TGV train service makes regular losses but gets government money anyway because the public benefits from it.

Not only does TGV reduce travel time, its wide network has also brought booms to towns, like Lille, that had gone bust in the 1950s. China’s high speed train system is also not a financial success, but the country is going ahead with planning a 500 kmph railway system anyway. more>

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Kerala Police Harassment

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

Following is a report of an incident that occurred on Nov. 3, 2017 at the check-post on the Tripunithura mini-bypass road. Even though the conclusions are based on one incident, the issues are systemic in nature that it must be prevalent through out Kerala Police.

The problem started with the practice of stopping moving traffic and demanding breath test by blowing into a device. I object to it as I consider it unhygienic, since it can facilitate the spread of germs, viruses or worse. Usually when I object, they let me proceed without the breath test. But on Nov. 3rd they insisted. Since I did not yield, they became argumentative, rude and started using abusive language. There were about 8 police officers.

Since I continued my refusal to blow into the device, they demanded my driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance. I produced the driver’s license, copy of vehicle registration, and previous insurance. I didn’t have copy of current insurance with me. They impounded the vehicle and said it will be released when I produce current insurance document.

I requested a receipt for the vehicle so that I can go and fetch the insurance papers. No one in the police station would give me a receipt for leaving the vehicle at the station, and wanted me to wait for the Sub-inspector responsible. The waiting took about an hour, and the Sub-inspector told me that he will not give a receipt.

I left vehicle at the station, came back with the insurance document and took possession of the vehicle without further aggravation.

Here are my observations about the incident:

  1. The breath-test is being used as an instrument for harassment and creating inconvenience.
  2. Since Kerala government actively sells and promotes alcohol consumption and depends on it as a key source of tax revenue, even to pretend that breath-tests are in public interest would be laughable. And the police have no business conducting unhygienic practices on the public.

  3. Based on some of their argumentative statements, it seems the traffic patrol team does not even have rudimentary understanding of “rule of law” concepts.
  4. Use of rude and abusive language seems to be their regular behavior pattern.
  5. The patrol team had a tendency to gang-up, with different team members making up facts and relaying to others so that they have a distorted view of the situation.
  6. Impounding a vehicle for non-availability of a document is abuse of power.
  7. Not able to fulfill the request for receipt for impounded vehicle indicate that the Kerala Police procedures are archaic, without established uniform rules.
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Waste management

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

Lately, lot of attention is being devoted to clean India. However, the various programs suffer from a serious flaw. Not enough is being done to build cohesive systems for waste management. Instead, the emphasis seems to be on awareness campaigns.

Garbage, waste and pollution are an intrinsic part of a modern economy. Consequently, systems to manage waste being continuously generated by the economy need to be matched with counter-balancing systems. A systemic approach is required for tangible results — ad hoc and piecemeal solutions will not work –  For more details, please see “Waste and garbage are intrinsic part of consumer economy“.

For example, the Kochi Corporation has been toying with a waste management program for a long time. There seems an obsession with waste-to-energy idea, while garbage problems going from bad to worse. In the humid and wet Kerala situation, any waste-to-energy is a non-starter.

What is required is integrated systems for managing and disposing waste, including bio- compost, recycling and incineration. In addition, the primary responsibility for waste disposal need to rest with local governments — not with individuals. Individual actions can only be supplementary because the scope of the problem is beyond what can be achieved at a personal level. Producing real results — not publicity — require systematic effort at the government level, since clean environment is a public good.

This is the approach used by countries that have implemented successful waste management and clean environment programs. A waste management framework was developed after studying successful waste management programs implemented by Nepal, Japan and Sweden. It is available online: “A framework for clean environment“.

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Kerala is no model of development

By MA Oommen – Kerala’s social attainments, sometimes referred to as a ‘model’, brought to scholarly attention by the UN study Poverty, Unemployment and Development Policy (1975), has occupied a prominent place in development literature. It is only a post facto generalization of a historically evolved transformative experience in delivering broad-based healthcare (low infant mortality, high life expectancy, high female-male ratio etc), universal elementary education and social justice to a society once deeply divided by caste and class inequities of the worst order.

That this was achieved unsupported by high growth or industrialization has baffled the received wisdom in economics.

Kerala society is deeply fragmented on the basis of rent-seeking coalitions such as caste associations, liquor contractors, PWD contractors, quarry contractors and the like broaching opportunistic alliance with some political party or other for mutual gains. Hartals, a staple of Kerala’s everyday life, are no longer an instrument of people’s protest. It is difficult to endorse the claims of Patrick Heller (1999) and others who consider Kerala a radical social democracy. more> https://goo.gl/1pXGB9

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Modi’s move to dismantle bureaucracy, the demonic relic of the Raj, deserves a standing ovation

By Amit Kapoor – I personally believe that, despite having elected leaders, the country is under absolute control and in the clutches of the bureaucracy and bureaucratic processes.

The present-day bureaucracy reflects the age-old analysis propounded by Socrates that the strong (bureaucrats) have the advantage. Here we need to ask the question: What is the job of a civil servant? Is it to enable or control?

What I see is that processes in the country have been built to perpetuate control at all possible levels, and the bureaucrats have have ended up being the de facto rulers of the land. The advantage that the bureaucracy has is accentuated by information asymmetry that gets perpetuated through masquerading control via processes that slow things down and thereby enhance corruption.

Bureaucrats are representatives of the state and not the state in themselves. They behave as if they are the state with their arrogance and know-all attitude. These are the people who I see as the biggest folly of our democracy that none of us have thought of setting right. They have been waging war against the people of this nation by enslaving their will, destroying and stalling the pace of change and setting the the country back. more> https://goo.gl/s7PAq0

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Use the mandate

PM Modi’s political capital should be leveraged to reform Indias product markets
(indiatimes.com)Times of India – India is a country of young people and around a million of them enter the job market every month. Unless enough jobs can be found for them, the ‘new’ India will end up looking very much like the old.

In terms of employment potential, organized retail offers enormous opportunities. Instead of opening up FDI in retail in a piecemeal manner, the best way ahead is to repeal all restrictions on investment. At one stroke, it will end lobbying and the search for loopholes in the law.

India’s economy is over-regulated. Instead of safeguarding consumer interests, the focus of regulation is on creating unnecessary obstacles to business.

Dismantling this perverse structure requires government to take on powerful vested interests. In this context, recent elections assume salience as Modi has the political capital now to bring about structural changes in India’s regulatory architecture. more> https://goo.gl/dh1xIA

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Three reasons why a cashless society would be a disaster

By Amit Varma – I am a great admirer of Mahatma Gandhi, but the man had some strange views.

“Hospitals are institutions for propagating sin,” he wrote. “To study European medicine is to deepen our slavery.” He railed against the railways, saying “it is beyond dispute that they propagate evil.” He argued against lawyers, despite being one himself, saying they had “impoverished the country.”

But here’s a thing to note: despite these personal views, he never once suggested that railways, hospitals and lawyers should be banned.

There is a notion being spread these days that is as absurd as the ideas above: it is the notion that there is something wrong with using cash, and that we should head towards being a cashless society. This is nonsense. A cashless society would be a disaster for India. Here’s why.

One, a fully cashless society would mean the end of privacy. India has no privacy laws, and data protection is also a big worry — every week we hear stories of some big hacking or the other.

Two, a fully cashless society could mean the end of dissent. They could make any opponent a pauper with one keystroke, freezing your bank account while they investigate alleged misdeeds.

Three, a fully cashless society endangers freedom. Cash is empowerment. In a misogynist country like India, cashlessness would hit women the hardest.

It is a myth that an advanced society must necessarily be cashless. In Germany, a country which knows the perils of authoritarianism, more than 80% of transactions are in cash, as citizens safeguard their privacy and freedom.

Even in the US, 45% of transactions are in cash. Note that Germany and the US actually have the banking and technological infrastructure to enable cashlessness. In India, 600 million people have no bank account, and less than 20% of all Indians have a smartphone. Internet penetration is iffy, as is power. (By ‘power’, I mean electricity, not the government’s control over you.)

Trying to make India cashless is akin to putting a bullock cart in an F1 race, and whipping the driver because he’s too slow. more> https://goo.gl/jKGruY

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Corrupt climate

Black money is only a symptom of the disease of dishonesty
By Jug Suraiya – The real menace is not black money; it is what causes the creation of black money, which is corruption. How do you combat corruption?

Perhaps, our dishonesty is not gene-based but is the result of a social and cultural context in which we see our successive governments as nothing but an extension of colonial rule, thanks to the lordly distance that our netas and our babus put between themselves and us.

We inherited our political system and our bureaucracy from the British, and in exercising its power over aam admi the sarkar is often seen as being as disempowering as any foreign ruler. In which case, subverting the government by corruption might be seen as an extension of the freedom struggle.

To free ourselves from black money we need first to free ourselves from a neo-colonial mindset. A mindset which makes adversaries of the rulers and the ruled, the government and its citizens. more> https://goo.gl/wE7XFx

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Ban Bandhs

Parties have a right to protest but bandhs will only pile misery for the common man
Times of India – Political parties certainly have the right to demonstrate and protest peacefully. But this shouldn’t come at the cost of disrupting lives of common people. Parties enforcing bandhs should know that they have no right to come in the way of people who are pursuing their livelihood.

Though the effect of Monday’s (Nov 28) bandh was severe in Kerala and Tripura, parts of Odisha and Bihar, local traders in other states kept their shops open in defiance. The stoppage of a few trains in Bihar is deplorable. Such incidents result in a harrowing time for commuters.

In 1998, the Supreme Court had upheld a Kerala high court ruling banning political bandhs. But the tradition of calling for bandhs continues. If people feel strongly about an issue, they will participate willingly enough in protests. No coercion is required for this.

Bandhs do little except trample upon fundamental rights of citizens. more> https://goo.gl/A4StHb

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