random snippets

Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.

He who hesitates is probably right.

Never do card tricks for the group you play poker with.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

To succeed in politics, it is often necessary to rise above your principles.

The difference between male and female friendship: A woman stayed out all night and the next day told her husband that she slept over at a friend’s house. He called his wife’s ten best friends and not one of them knew a thing about it. On the other hand, a man stayed out all night and the next day told his wife that he slept over at a friend’s house. She called her husband’s ten best friends and eight of them verified that he really did sleep over at their house while the other two claimed he was still there!


funny snippets

A little boy went up to his father and asked, “Dad, where did all of my intelligence come from?” His father replied, “Well, son, you must have gotten it from your mother, because I still have mine.”


Anuj’s teacher sent a note home to his Mother saying, “Anuj seems to be a very bright boy, but spends too much of his time thinking about girls.”
The Mother wrote back the next day, “If you find a solution, please advise. I have the same problem with his Father.”


emerging im-balance (borrowing-savings)

Traditionally it is expected that the households should be net savers pumping money into the banking and govt. bonds. This money in-turn is used by banks to back successful enterprises creating wealth/employment and by the govt. to create infrastructure or a ground for further growth of the nation.

The peculiar trend is emerging in India nowadays.

With the growth of easy EMI, house/car/appliances/and even foreign vacation loans, the average Indian household has become a net borrower. They have huge credit card dues (that includes me too) and loans for almost every planned and unplanned assets they own.

Look at all the IT giants and growing companies. They have hardly borrowed anything from the banking system, instead are sitting on loads of cash/reserves which they are clueless about how to deploy. Most acquisitions and expansions which you hear about nowadays are funded by cash flow/internals.

Govt. of India borrows tons of funds from the market at very high interest rates. At last glance it was paying 9% (tax free) on PPF (which roughly translates to 11% when the banks give me only 5% on savings) to pay for the huge bureaucracy and the unviable PSU.



Fiscal Deficits

Fiscal deficits are like obesity. You can see your weight rising on the scale and your clothing size increasing, but there is no sense of urgency in dealing with the problem.
-Martin Feldstein

The fiscal deficit was as high as 10% of GDP in 2001-2002 and the govt. debt is more than 85% of the GDP

The questions that come to one’s mind when these issues crop up are:
1) Should the fiscal deficits of state and centre considered together or separately are sustainable?
2) Whether these governments are solvent.
3) Whether the presence of high levels of structural fiscal deficits has constrained the usability of fiscal policy as a tool of stabilization in respect of output as well as prices;
4) Whether there is need to formulate rules and targets to stabilize debt and deficits, and how these targets should be derived; and
5) Whether fiscal deficits have crowded out private investment by putting pressure on interest rates, thereby adversely affecting growth.
6) Is the govt. issuing fresh bond to payoff for the interest incurred in servicing the old ones or it is issuing fresh bonds for infrastructure and development?


Ant and Grasshopper – New version


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.



The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

BBC, CNN, NDTV show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house.

Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticizes the Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the grasshopper.

The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the grasshopper. Opposition MP’s stage a walkout.

Left parties call for “Bharat Bandh” in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act [POTAGA]”, with effect from the beginning of the winter.

The ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government and handed over to the grasshopper in a ceremony covered by BBC,CNN and NDTV.

Bush calls it “A Triumph of justice..”.


lateral thinking

1. ————


Ans. = man overboard

2. ————


Ans. = I understand

OK?…. Got the drift? Let’s try a few now and see how you fair?

3. /r/e/a/d/i/n/g/

Ans. = reading between the lines

4. r

Ans. = cross road

5. cycle

Ans. = tricycle

6. ————


Ans. = two degrees below zero

7. ————


Ans. = neon light (knee-on-light)

8. —————

feet feet feet feet feet feet

Ans. = six feet underground

9. he’s / himself

Ans. = he’s by himself

10. ecnalg

Ans. = backward glance

11. death ….. life

Ans. = life after death


Ans. think big !!

And the last one is real fundoo ..

13. ababaaabbbbaaaabbbbababaabbaaabbbb….

Ans. long time no ‘C’ (see)


one liners

Why did God make man before he made woman? Because He didn’t want anyone telling him how!


A businessman returned to his parked car to find the headlights broken and the front end smashed. Stuck under the windshield wiper was a note which read, “I just backed into your car. The people who saw me do it are nodding in approval because they think I’m writing down my name and insurance carrier. But I’m not!”


Slums: (The Janta Colony)

Is the state the owner of ‘public’ land? Or does it hold the land in trust to be used for constitutionally appropriate purposes?

Slums, in common parlance, are settlements where the urban poor live. Epithets such as ‘squatters’ and ‘encroachers’, and attributes such as ‘illegality’ and ‘ineligibility’ characterise perceptions about the lives and habitations of slum dwellers. While casting the slum dwellers into a stereotype, dirt, criminality, pilferage and their abetment of slumlords to seize public lands for unconscionable gain, are most routinely caricatured. These are the descriptions imposed on slum dwellers by those who do not live in their midst

The other perception is that it is the area of the service providers, the migrant labor who help in building and running the city. They plan the entire construction of the city but their needs and residence was not taken into account when the city was getting constructed.

In law, a ‘slum’ is something else. A ‘slum area’ is “any area (where) buildings in that area:
(a) are in any respect unfit for human habitation; or
(b) are by reason of dilapidation, overcrowding, faulty arrangement and design of such buildings, narrowness or faulty arrangement of streets, lack of ventilation, light or sanitation facilities, or any combination of these factors, detrimental to safety, health or morals”, once it is so notified in the official gazette. The mere existence of these characteristics will not do; it has to be notified to be a slum area.

If it is unfit for human settlement then reports about the testing, repairs, stability has to be prepared with details about the dampness, natural light, fresh air/ventilation, water supply, drainage and sanitation, facility for storage, preparation and cooking of food and disposal of waste (both solid and water).

There is a Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 to deal with the slums. It has provisions for clearing the slum land and protection of the tenants. However most of the benefits and provisions are for the slums which are basically old settlement when city planning was not that popular and hence cannot be extended to modern slums which are basically encroachment on public land.

Then there is 138th report of the Law commission of India 1990 dealing with the pavement dwellers and encroachers. It provides for the re-induction of the tenant after repair, refurbishment or reconstruction of the dilapidated or dangerous structure.

Most chawls are privately held or are leased out. The owner operates them for sheer profit and is not interested in providing for the basic amenities giving rise to disease and epidemics. A friend rightly said that PG (paying guests in Bangalore are no better even though they charge 3k p.m.)

In 1990 35 million citizens lived in slums and quite often their structures were razed to the ground without offering them any alternative. The evictees include women and children who have no where to go.

It’s ironical that the urban poor have no access to Ration Card India’s PDS. What use of the scheme which caters to the poor and BPL people but not the slum dwellers. Authorities cite that these cards have repeatedly been used to get the ‘free for use’ land legalized. Net result the municipality ignores their presence rather than doing the duty of providing sanitation, water, electricity.

An interesting development in Delhi happened. MCD needed land for garbage disposal and landfills. The land in Delhi is owned by DDA and it asked for 40Lakhs per acre (market rate). The court intervened and said it was the duty for the Delhi govt. to have adequate landfills immaterial of who pays the price. Within 2 weeks such sites were identified and transferred without a single penny exchanging hands.

The ability of the govt. to make accommodation for the residents has become a function of their paying capacity. They often state lack of funds for relocation when it comes to slums, but still have sufficient funds to construct multi-storied apartments, tech parks (which they are unable to sell anyways) According to the 10th plan 90% of the urban housing shortage is due to the slums. The reasons it cited were
1) High cost of land.
2) Non availability of credit/funds.
3) Lack of implementation of the suggestion of cross-subsidization of the affluent constructions and commercial property to provide economical housing.

Demolition is used more for political motives, demonstration of state power, and are illegal in accordance to ICESER and does not serve the dream of housing for all. To fulfill the promise of enabling citizens live in security, peace and dignity, facilities must be created to provide legal security of tenure, availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure, affordability, habitability, accessibility, location and cultural adequacy for the lower income groups (bottom of the pyramid)

Even when relocation is provided for, as in the case of Delhi 2004, the allotment was as individual land instead of buildings, even though govt. clearly knows that more people can be accommodated in a building rather than individual strips of land (which by the way was little bigger than a double bed which we people sleep on) The site was 25 kms. Away for the place of employment and hence rendered them unemployed.

Eviction does not make the BPL vaporize, they just move to another site waiting for another eviction order.


Corruption … cont….

“In India I have seen business getting bankrupt resulting people losing their savings and investment and banks going bust. However I am still not able to find a business house going bankrupt.”

There are two basic levels of corruption.
a) Which the TT in the train, the babu in the office asks. This form basically leads to inconvenience and some level of frustration and is a predominant feature of public offices and govt. Privatization, better public awareness would be the best solution to it.
b) The high level corruption where the management is directly involved:
a. Tax evasion.
b. Under-reporting of income and over-stating of expenses.
c. Use of corporate/govt. funds for personal uses.
d. Asking and accepting a cut/ commission or gifts for actions which are part of your duty in office.

A govt has a written set of rules, regulation, processes and norms which makes it hard for a person to conduct them without the world knowing about you. The “right to Information bill” which the bureaucracy is trying to halt will actually help people unearth tons of skeletons in the govt. books.

I was looking at the origin of bureaucracy, and to my surprise its introduction was a welcome move in 19th century. With it came processes, standards, accountability, practices and made the officials answerable to the higher-ups. A drastic reduction of wasteful expenditure and manmani and better utilization of funds resulted. After morphing for 2 centuries India has come to a state where govt suffers because it has too much of it and pvt. Sector suffers for they do not have any.

Private sector has reached to a stage where corruption esp. the higher level one is omnipresent. Business houses are sitting on top of huge black money reserves and funds which cannot be profitably deployed because of their dubious origins. The 4 subcategory of corruption are socially acceptable in current society and they are considered a part of the perks which the management is entitled to. In case of small privately held enterprises it just results in loss for the govt, but when large corporations do it they simply rob the shareholders trust and investments.



When this name arrives, the typical image of a govt. babu. However corruption in India is more deep rooted than that and pvt. Sector is also not spared.
1) Tax evasion.
2) Under-reporting of income and over-stating of expenses.
3) Use of corporate/govt. funds for personal uses.
4) Demanding Speed money or other forms of extortion and red-tapism.
5) Asking and accepting a cut/ commission or gifts for actions which are part of your duty in office.

Regarding corruption in govt offices, I must say that in the current scenario, society has started treating “Upar ki Kamai” as a part of the legitimate income an employee is entitled to. No matter how many checks, inspectors, audits and transparency you introduce, the fertile Indian mind will always find a way out.

The punishment for the corrupt cannot be in court but by banishing them. The society has to stop electing corrupt Netas and desert corrupt people. Do not look them as rich fellows but as termites in the neighborhood.