Thursday, 14 December 2017

Media's servility to Modi

  • Three decades ago, state broadcaster Doordarshan was ridiculed and condemned by the press for behaving like ‘Rajiv Darshan.’
    At the time, there was no other TV channel in India, the number of TV sets in the country was very limited. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was ridiculed by the opposition and the press for projecting himself so much.
  • Now, nearly 80% of the population has access to TV. There are nearly a thousand TV channels. News channels alone are nearly 300 in all languages.
  • On all these channels, there is incessant Modi Darshan. All his speeches are televised live and repeated 24×7. All radio channels are under a sort of obligation to air his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ every month and his speeches in Parliament or elsewhere. 
  • The print media too has begun to crawl before this ubiquitous (and narcissistic) self-proclaimed messiah. This nationwide media omnipresence of the Prime Minister has not generated criticism like it did at the time of ‘Rajiv Darshan’ in the late eighties.
  • Columnists in the press and commentators on the shouting panels in TV debates, ring-mastered by the equally narcissist anchors, have not questioned this obscene personality cult. 
  • The same self-styled educated urban intelligentsia was so vociferously critical of Rajiv and before that of Indira Gandhi for the promotion of such a cult, which they argued, “distorted” and “destabilised” democracy. Their liberal sensibilities expressed deep revulsion and concern for India’s democratic ethos then.
  • These people surrendered their sensibilities to the powers and feel absolutely comfortable in this multi-media driven glorification of the personality of the Prime Minister Modi. 
  • With the exceptions like Ram Jethmalani, Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, and a few others, there are hardly any resistance to this media-led authoritarianism from the political, cultural, or intellectual class. They have failed the people and democracy.
  • A kind of passive resistance is building up. More and more people feel these days that there is nothing they learn from news broadcasts. They are getting fed up with the panel discussions, as they neither grasp what the debate is about, nor who is saying what. 
  • Many normal viewers stopped watching news channels or debates. They get their news on their mobile phones and varied commentary on social media where they can interact on the net.
  • There is also concern expressed in newspapers’ editorial that readership is becoming indifferent and unresponsive from the young and also from the old or middle-aged. There is a sharp decline in news magazine circulation. 
  • It is ironic that the media-communication revolution gave rise to information illiteracy among the educated. This is a wake-up call for the traditional press and TV media as their audience has become the whistle-blower.
  • If Indian media becomes more and more servile towards Modi, it will lose whatever viewership they are left with.

Sound minds of India expect miracles 
by electing educationally and morally illiterate to power.

While urban middle classes in 1980's were connected to rural India and urban poor and were socially conscious people, today's urban middle classes live in complete disconnection to rural India and urban poor and are fundamentally selfish. Therefore, they rally behind Modi as long as his decisions doesn't pinch them. Today's media's servility is characterized by its selfishness and business interests protection rather than any principles. There are no Ramnath Goenka's in media business now a days.

BJP heading for rude shock in Gujarat

  • Yogendra Yadav, a leader of the political organisation Swaraj Abhiyan with nearly two decades of experience as a psephologist, had based his projections on the data collected in three surveys since August by CSDS-ABP. He said the results if the Gujarat polls could be subdivided between urban, semi-urban, and rural areas.
  • The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could be in for a rude shock in the Gujarat Assembly elections, said noted political scientist Yogendra Yadav on Wednesday — a day before the last phase of voting in the state.
  • In a tweet, Yadav said the BJP was “on a solid wicket” in the 39 urban seats. “It can’t lose more than 10 seats [in urban areas].” In semi-urban areas, where it now has 36 seats, it might lose half. Yadav forecast that the BJP faced a “steady downhill” in the 98 rural seats, where it had trailed the Congress in 2012 Assembly polls, and could now face a rout.
  • He told this newspaper that he was no longer in the business of election forecasting. But, given the very loud silence (around election forecast and coverage), and in the larger public interest, someone needed to say it.”
  • He said it seemed to him that all observers — journalists, pollsters and other analysts — were sitting with evidence that pointed in one direction. “For various reasons, they were not putting all that evidence together, which pointed to the most obvious conclusion. That is why I decided to put it in the public domain.”
The fact that PM Modi addressed 34 rallies, like CM of Gujarat, and 40 central ministers and innumerable number of BJP leaders from other states are also camping in Gujarat indicates nervousness of BJP. In his rallies Modi neither talked about development nor his achievements as Prime Minister. He spent most time in abusing Congress. In his abuses he spared no one in the opposition but failed to highlight what action he has taken to book these culprits, if they were so. He stooped to such a low, even BJP leaders were amused at his self character assassination. With almost all segments of societies against him due to agrarian distress, demonetisation, GST, joblessness, inflation etc there is noway BJP will win just with support urban elite & middle class who lives in disconnect with rural India and enjoyed benefits of his misrule. Rahul Gandhi with his acumenship and in company of 3 Gujarati young turks provided alternative leadership to ventilate their anti incumbency anger. Media, by becoming another 'Modi Bhakt' has done a great disservice not only to nation but also to Modi & BJP.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Artificial Intelligence, Automation & Jobs

  • Cars that drive themselves, machines that read X-rays, and algorithms that respond to customer service inquiries are all manifestations of automation. These technologies increase productivity and improve our lives, their use will substitute for some work activities humans currently perform has sparked much public concern.
  • Technology destroys jobs, but not work. Automation adoption could be a powerful productivity booster.
  • More than 60% of occupations have at least 30% of constituent work activities that could be automated. Less than 5% of occupations can be fully automated. It will also create new occupations that do not exist today, much as technologies of the past have done.
  • About 15% of work activities could get automated by 2030. Advanced economies would get more effected by automation reflecting higher wage rates and thus economic incentives to automate.
  • Even with automation, the demand for work and workers could increase as economies grow fueled by productivity growth. Rising incomes and consumption in developing countries, increasing health care for aging societies, investment in infrastructure and energy etc will create demand for work that could offset the displacement of workers. Additional investments in infrastructure and construction could be needed to reduce the risk of job shortages in advanced economies.
  • By 2030, 75 million to 375 million workers (3 to 14% of the global workforce) will need to switch occupational categories. Displaced workers are unlikely to get jobs if idle for more than an year. If their transition to new jobs is slow, unemployment could rise and dampen wage growth.
  • All workers will need to adapt increasingly capable machines which require higher educational attainment, spending more time on activities that require social and emotional skills, creativity, high-level cognitive capabilities and other skills relatively hard to automate.
  • Automation will enable growth of high wage jobs in advanced economies while middle-wage jobs might decline. Automation will spur growth of middle wage jobs in emerging economies mostly in construction and service sectors which further boost the emerging middle class.
  • The benefits of automation will be vast but addressing worker transitions is imperative by business and political leaders. Economies that are not expanding do not generate job growth. Mid career job training and worker redeployment will become essential. The priority is strengthening transition and income support for workers caught in the crosscurrents of automation.
  • This job gained could more than offset the jobs lost to automation only if businesses and governments seize opportunities to boost job creation and for labor markets to function well.
  • Technical feasibility of automation is important, other factors such as cost of developing and deploying automation solutions for specific uses in the workplace, the labor market dynamics, the benefits of automation beyond labor substitution, and regulatory and social acceptance will influence the pace and extent of automation adoption.
  • In the US, the agricultural share of total employment declined from 60% in 1850 to less than 5% percent by 1970, while manufacturing fell from 26% of total US employment in 1960 to below 10% today. China’s one third workforce moved out of agriculture between 1990 and 2015. Yet overall employment grew. Such shifts can have painful consequences for some workers during the transition period that could be eased only after policy reforms.
  • Robust aggregate demand and economic growth are essential for job creation. New technologies have raised productivity growth, enabling firms to lower prices for consumers or pay higher wages. This stimulates demand across the economy, boosting job creation.
  • Rising productivity is usually accompanied by employment growth thus creating demand for goods and services across the economy. 
  • Productivity growth enabled by technology has reduced the average hours worked per week. Across advanced economies, the length of the average work-week has fallen by nearly 50% since the early 1900's.
  • Although the historical record is largely reassuring, some people worry that automation today will be more disruptive than in the past. If technological advances are adopted rapidly, the rate of worker displacement could be faster. If many sectors adopt automation simultaneously, the percentage of the workforce affected by it could be higher.
  • Automation will have a lesser effect on jobs that involve managing people, applying expertise, and those involving social interactions, where machines are unable to match human performance for now.
  • Jobs in unpredictable environments such as gardeners, plumbers, or providers of child and elder care will also see less automation by 2030, because they are difficult to automate technically and also command lower wages, which makes automation a less attractive business proposition.
  • Automation displacing labor is clearly visible but it is difficult to envision all the new jobs that will be created as most new jobs are created indirectly and spread across different sectors and geographies.
  • Global consumption grows as incomes rise and consumers spend more and their spending patterns also shift, creating more jobs in the countries where the income is generated, but also in economies that export to those countries. 
  • People aged above 65 years could grow by 300 million, by 2030, and their spending will increase on health care and other personal services. This will create significant demand for doctors, nurses, health technicians, home health aides, personal care aides and nursing assistants but reduces demand for pediatricians and primary school teachers. 
  • Jobs related to developing and deploying new technologies may also grow. Overall spending on technology could increase by more than 50% between 2015 and 2030. The number of people employed in these occupations is small but they are high-wage occupations.
  • Rising incomes also create demand for more and higher quality buildings. Both factors could create new demand, mainly in the construction sector. These jobs include architects, engineers, carpenters and other skilled tradespeople, as well as construction workers, machinery operators and other jobs with lower skill requirements.
  • Advanced economies may also see employment declines in occupations that are most susceptible to automation. These include office clerks, office assistants, finance and accounting, customer interaction jobs, cashiers, food service workers, and a wide range of jobs carried out in predictable settings, such as assembly line workers, dishwashers, food preparation workers, drivers, and agricultural and other equipment operators. Helping individuals transition from the declining occupations to growing ones will be a large scale challenge.
  • The changes in occupational growth or decline imply that a very large number of people may need to shift occupational categories and learn new skills in the years ahead. The challenge in advanced economies will be to retrain mid career workers. There are few precedents in which societies have successfully retrained such large numbers of people. Frictions in the labor markets including cultural norms regarding gender stereotypes in work and geographic mismatches between workers and jobs could also impede the transition.
  • Between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world. However people will need to find their way into these jobs. Of them, 75 to 375 million may need to switch occupational categories and learn new skills. 
  • China faces the largest number of workers needing to switch occupations if automation is adopted rapidly. For advanced economies the share is much higher - up to one-third of the 2030 workforce in the US and Germany, and nearly half in Japan.
  • History suggests that over time, labor markets adjust to changes in demand for workers from technological disruptions, although at times with depressed real wages.
  • With sufficient economic growth, innovation, and investment, there can be enough new job creation to offset the impact of automation, although in some advanced economies additional investments will be needed to reduce the risk of job shortages.
  • Future jobs lost and jobs gained vary by country, with the largest disruptions expected in advanced economies.
  • Higher wages make the business case for automation adoption stronger. Some economists worry about “premature deindustrialization” in developing countries due to automation.
  • Economic growth is essential for job creation. Economies that are stagnant or growing slowly create few new jobs. Countries with stronger economic and productivity growth and innovation will be expected to experience more new labor demand.
  • Countries with a rapidly-growing workforce, such as India, may enjoy a “demographic dividend” that boosts GDP growth, if young people are employed. Countries with a declining workforce need automation to offset their shrinking labor supply, while countries with growing work forces have greater job creation challenges.
  • India, a fast-growing developing country with modest potential for automation over the next 15 years due low wage rates. Most occupational categories are projected to grow reflecting its potential for strong economic expansion. However, India’s labor force is expected to grow by 138 million people by 2030, or about 30%. Employing these new entrants in formal sector jobs will require job creation on a much larger scale than in the past. Automation will make this challenge more difficult; some fear “jobless growth.” However analysis suggests that India can create enough new jobs to offset automation and employ new entrants, if it undertakes the investments.
  • China and Mexico have higher wages than India, and so are likely to see more automation. Mexico’s projected rate of future economic expansion is more modest. Like the United States and Japan, Mexico could benefit from the job creation in new occupations and activities to make full use of its workforce.
With inputs from:

In coming years 'Automation' in many predictable activities is inevitable in India, its immediate impact on our 4 million IT work force is tremendous. 65% of existing IT employees are not re-trainable and will end up losing their jobs sooner or later. To over come impact of automation it is necessary to retrain our workforce but also create new jobs. But our track record in new job creation is dismally low. Today our economy is facing 'jobless growth' which is neither sustainable nor desirable. Due to Automation, job losses would be local where as new job creation would be any where in the world. New investments, infrastructure spending and construction requires higher budgets otherwise widespread unemployment is imminent. Unless agriculture is made remunerative and vibrant, migration of rural labour to urban localities in search of livelihoods will continue unabated and is destructive for our economic progress. Vibrant economies will easily adjust and derive benefits of 'Automation' but struggling economies like India will see painful disruption and deindustrialisation.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Modi's bizarreness unlimited

  • Modi should explain to nation why BJP's winning Gujarat elections is that important that made him sacrifice all decencies of a gentleman and PM in particular?
  • What material he has with him to charge former PM, former Vice President and many others as traitors and conspirators against the nation?
  • Having leveled the charge why legal action is not initiated against them for prosecution as per laws of the land?
  • India's image stands diminished in the world with Prime Minister Modi's behavior during this election campaign.
  • Indians definitely deserve a better Prime Minister.
  • Finally, Modi's nonsensical utterances is reflection of BJP losing election even before polling to Congress after 22 years of rule or misrule, of which 14 years by Modi himself.
  • No one should be allowed to talk nonsense and get away with out facing consequences no matter how much big one might be.
  • Gujaratis will teach Modi a bitter lesson of his life to behave and stop fooling people all the times.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Modi's vitriolic in Gujarat campaign

Manmohan Singh's statement

  • In Gujarat electoral campaign, while Modi seems to be sweating a lot to avoid any possibility of a humiliating defeat, Rahul Gandhi was at ease in engaging people, delivering speeches and taking decisions indicating his confidence of sure victory. 
  • While there is no mention of  much publicized "Gujarat Vikas" in Modi's speeches, Rahul was at ease raising several people's issues like demonetization, GST, unemployment and so on.  
  • In order to leave no stone upturned to win, Modi forgot that he is PM of he nation and began to resort to unconnected issues and bombarding with low level allegations incompatible to his status. He stooped to unimaginable lows that even ardent BJP & Modi fans were amused with contempt at his vitriolic.
  • Whether Congress win or lose, this tough fight is sure to change BJP's future course of policy decisions in the light of several state elections in 2018 and general election in 2019.
  • The arrogant and dictatorial attitudes of Modi are likely to soften and and also make him face internal dissent and desertions arising out of distress in economy, agriculture, unemployment, etc.
  • In any case Gujarat elections and Rahul Gandhi were able to ground Modi and make see him the realities on the ground and to go forward with caution at least here after.

Having lost almost every election since 2014, Rahul Gandhi has very little to lose but resurgent and winning Congress will destroy Modi's evil grip on BJP. This coupled with financial distress will change the direction of financial reforms especially with several state elections in 2018 and general election in 2019. India has lost enough with evil Modi and it is time to dump him out. Time and again non Congress parties have squandered opportunity and proved that Congress is superior to them. Modi has so far proved to be worst of all PM's bettering only VP Singh. Rahul Gandhi with is back ground and good mannerisms proved to be a gentlemen while Modi is best at his street language. Young Rahul Gandhi is better for the nation rather than old & spiteful Modi.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Modi government spends Rs. 3,755 crores on publicity

  • The Modi government spent a whopping Rs.3,755 crore on its publicity in three-and-a-half years till October this year, reply to an RTI query revealed on Friday. The expenditure on advertisements from April 2014 to October 2017 on electronic and print media and outdoor publicity is Rs.3,754 crores according to the reply given by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. The application was filed by Greater Noida-based social activist Ramveer Tanwar.
  • Together with all states, the sum total advertising expenditure could easily exceed Rs.10,000 crores mark, which India can't really afford.
  • In 2016, an RTI query filed by Tanwar had revealed that the Centre spent over ₹1,100 crore between June 1, 2014 and August 31, 2016, on advertisements featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  The expenditure was only for television, internet and other electronic media only. The expenditure on outdoor and print advertisements was extra.
  • The Central government, the reply says, spent over Rs.1,656 crore on electronic media advertisements, including community radio, digital cinema, Internet, SMS and television. In the print media, the government spent more than Rs.1,698 crore. Outdoor advertisements, which include hoardings, posters, booklets and calendars, accounted for over Rs.399 crore, the reply reveals.
  • UPA government had announced austerity measures, but it spent about Rs 2,048 crore in advertising and publicity of its schemes over a period of three years, averaging about Rs 55 crore every month. In the run-up to the 2014 general elections, the Congress-led government spent Rs 380 crore in just one month i.e. March 2014. Information accessed through RTI by Mumbai-based Anil Galgali reveals that the UPA spent Rs 2,048 crore in 37 months. In 37 months, Rs 1,318 crore was spent on print media whereas Rs 729 crore was spent on TV, social media, radio, digital cinema and other communication. With Lok Sabha polls nearing, the UPA government spent over Rs 379.53 crore in March 2014, of which Rs 250 crore was spent on print media and Rs 128 crore on electronic media, internet and social media. A significant, but not entire, amount of government publicity funds are spent by DAVP. Sources said it was safe to assume that far more had been spent by the earlier government on publicity than revealed.
  • The magnitude of the expense can be gauged from the fact that it takes Rs 1,750 crore to set up an IIT and about Rs 1,000 crore to establish an IIM in the country.
  • The government’s allocation for “pollution abatement” in the last three years was only Rs. 56.8 crore.
  • Needless to say that about 40-50% of the advertising amounts is either corruption or wastage of money.

While government advertising for its functioning and for communicating government schemes benefiting targeted lower classes is OK, political advertising is sheer wastage. This wastage must stop and advertising budget must be restricted to 20% of the present levels i.e. not more than Rs.20 crores per month. Any other spending indirectly not reflecting from budget - from PSU funds, contractor funding, pooling donations etc must be expressly prohibited and is nothing but corruption with quid pro arrangements and consequential losses to nation are immense. No one need to spend their money for government advertising, under any circumstances.

Abraham Lincoln’s advice to lawyers

Abraham Lincoln, who famously served as America’s sixteenth President during the Civil War, was for most of his life prior to the presidency a lawyer. He was moderately successful, but certainly would not have been one of the “celebrity” lawyers of today. His average fee was between $5 and $20. The highest fee he ever charged was $5,000, which, though substantial for the time, was not common for him. But his success was notable enough to induce various people to ask him for his advice on not only becoming a lawyer, but the practice of law. His answers epitomize the typically homespun, and common sense way in which Lincoln famously expressed himself, even as President.  Baked into his answers was a healthy dose of life wisdom which anyone intent on a successful career could benefit from.

Lincoln’s summary of the “best practices” to which lawyers should adhere for their realistic appraisal of human nature, and the art of virtue. They are reproduced here:

I am not an accomplished lawyer. I find quite as much material for a lecture, in those points wherein I have failed, as in those wherein I have been moderately successful.

The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man, of every calling, is diligence. Leave nothing for to-morrow, which can be done to-day. Never let your correspondence fall behind. Whatever piece of business you have in hand, before stopping, do all the labor pertaining to it which can then be done. When you bring a common-law suit, if you have the facts for doing so, write the declaration at once. If a law point be involved, examine the books, and note the authority you rely on, upon the declaration itself, where you are sure to find it when wanted. The same of defenses and pleas. In business not likely to be litigated—ordinary collection cases, foreclosures, partitions, and the like—make all examinations of titles, and note them, and even draft orders and decrees in advance. This course has a triple advantage; it avoids omissions and neglect, save your labor, when once done; performs the labor out of court when you have leisure, rather than in court, when you have not. Extemporaneous speaking should be practiced and cultivated. It is the lawyer’s avenue to the public. However able and faithful he may be in other respects, people are slow to bring him business, if he cannot make a speech. And yet there is not a more fatal error to young lawyers, than relying too much on speech-making. If anyone, upon his rare powers of speaking, shall claim exemption from the drudgery of the law, his case is a failure in advance.

Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser—in fees, and expenses, and waste of time. As a peace-maker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.

Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this. Who can be more nearly a fiend than he who habitually overhauls the Register of deeds, in search of defects in titles, whereon to stir up strife, and put money in his pocket? A moral tone ought to be infused into the profession, which should drive such men out of it.

The matter of fees is important far beyond the mere question of bread and butter involved. Properly attended to fuller justice is done to both lawyer and client. An exorbitant fee should never be claimed. As a general rule, never take your whole fee in advance, nor any more than a small retainer. When fully paid beforehand, you are more than a common mortal if you can feel the same interest in the case, as if something was still in prospect for you, as well as for your client. And when you lack interest in the case, the job will very likely lack skill and diligence in the performance. Settle the amount of fee, and take a note in advance. Then you will feel that you are working for something, and you are sure to do your work faithfully and well. Never sell a fee-note—at least, not before the consideration service is to be performed. It leads to negligence and dishonesty—negligence, by losing interest in the case, and dishonesty in refusing to refund, when you have allowed the consideration to fail.

There is a vague popular belief that lawyers are necessarily dishonest. I say vague, because when we consider to what extent confidence, and honors are reposed in, and conferred upon lawyers by the people, it appears improbable that their impression of dishonesty is very distinct and vivid. Yet the impression, is common—almost universal. Let no young man, choosing the law for a calling, for a moment yield to this popular belief. Resolve to be honest at all events; and if, in your own judgment, you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation, rather than one in the choosing of which you do, in advance, consent to be a knave. 
If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself, the thing is more than half done already. It is but a small matter whether you read with anybody or not. I did not read with anyone. Get the books, and read and study them till you understand them in their principal features; and that is the main thing…The books, and your capacity for understanding them, are just the same in all places…Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.

If you wish to be a lawyer, attach no consequence to the place you are in, or the person you are with; but get books, sit down anywhere, and go to reading for yourself. That will make a lawyer of you quicker than any other way.

Yours of the 24th, asking “the best mode of obtaining a thorough knowledge of the law” is received. The mode is very simple, though laborious, and tedious. It is only to get the books, and read, and study them carefully. Begin with Blackstone’s Commentaries, and after reading it carefully through, say twice, take up Chitty’s Pleading, Greenleaf’s Evidence, and Story’s Equity etc. in succession. Work, work, work, is the main thing.

In law it is good policy to never plead what you need not, lest you oblige yourself to prove what you can not. Reflect on this well before you proceed.

As to fees, it is impossible to establish a rule that will apply in all, or even a great many cases. We believe we are never accused of being very unreasonable in this particular, and we would always be easily satisfied, provided we could see the money—but whatever fees we earn at a distance, if not paid before, we have noticed we never hear of after the work is done. We therefore, are growing a little sensitive on that point.