Friday, 22 August 2014

Digital India: India's Digital Dream

Times of India reports that the cabinet has approved the ambitious Digital India programme that aims to connect all gram panchayats by broadband Internet, promote e-governance and transform India into a connected knowledge economy. The Programme, which would be implemented in a phased manner by 2019, is estimated to cost about Rs 113,000 crore, including ongoing schemes being run by the telecom department and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), as well as on new schemes "Digital India is a program to prepare India for a knowledge future," says a presentation on the program to the cabinet by DeitY. "The focus is on making technology central to enabling change". Prime Minister Narendra Modi had listed Digital India as among the top priorities for the new BJP-led central government, while delivering his maiden Independence Day speech on August 15. 

Modi is seeking to improve India'digital infrastructure. With this government Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), it is like god has spoken to Modi to spread the digital word.

SJP @DigitalAsian

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Godfather IV: The Iraqi Mob

You remember the scene in the film Godfather III where actor Al Pacino playing Michael Corleone says: "Just when I thought that I was out... they pull me back in!". Well this is a bit like America and the so-called coalition of the willing in Iraq. Just when they thought they had got out of Iraq they are now pulled back in.  They don't appear to be so willing now. Does Western intervention in countries create more problems than it solves?

Monday, 18 August 2014

Local Villager at Khashedi Ghat, Maharashtra, India - India Photo Library

Local Villager at Khashedi Ghat, Maharashtra - IdeaIndia.Com

Local Villager at Khashedi Ghat, Maharashtra, India

Copyright CooperJal Ltd 2014 All rights reserved

Side Effect of the Health Care Business

Media reports that Rob Schneider, who has known Robin Williams for many years says that the medicine he had been taking for Parkinson’s disease may be to blame. Schneider said on Twitter: "Now that we can talk about it. Robin Williams was on a drug treating the symptoms of Parkinson's. One of the SIDE-EFFECTS IS SUICIDE! (sic)".

I am am not a doctor nor do I have any medical knowledge but I have often thought that the drugs prescribed by doctors (which are pushed by drug companies) are often prescribed for convenience sake. My view is that medicine is not an exact science. How any particular medicine, or combination of medication, will affect any particular patient cannot be known exactly. As a patient gets older and gets more ailments, their doctor will prescribe a different drug for each new ailment and how this combination of drugs impacts the patient can't be predicted with great certainty. Especially in old age, doctors, I am sure, don't bother to properly investigate the patient's needs but simply prescribe whatever is convenient. Especially so-called mood stabilising drugs are prescribed probably more for convenience as opposed to proper investigation of the patient and their needs. This can sometimes mess up the patient's life and that of their family.

This is the side effect of a health care system run as a business, for the business, by the business.

SJP @DigitalAsian

Building a Better Legal System for India

Swati Deshpande writes in the Times of India that a group of lawyers want a new Bombay High Court building developed at Bandra-Kurla Complex. 

The current High Court built during British times has stood the test of time, and that too despite poor maintenance by its current owners. If you take as an example the Small Causes Court in Mumbai, which is crumbling despite having been built relatively recently, can be taken as a metaphor for the Indian legal system which is also crumbling. Buildings built in India by the British have generally stood the test of time. How will any new High Court building fare with today's builders? Will it improve India's legal system? How has the legal system fared since Independence?

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Idea of India's Independence

Idea of India's Independence - IdeaIndia.Com

India's Independence day this year will be the most optimistic for many years. Many will feel, with Modi as Prime Minister that India will now have a chance at its Tryst With Destiny. Is this optimism warranted? Is there more that is pushing India forward or more holding it back?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Taking a Ride in Sin City, Mumbai - IdeaIndia.Com

Playing Trump with Mumbai Realty

Times of India reports that American Billionaire Donald Trump plans to invest in the upcoming uber-luxury residential project in Mumbai to which he has lent his name. While the quantum of equity stake is still being negotiated, the move will mark the 68-year-old billionaire's first investment in India. After two non-starter projects in Mumbai and Bangalore, Trump's bet on India's realty sector has finally materialized with the business magnate tying up with Lodha Developers for a complex in Worli. "India is a great place to invest, especially after the elections, and this project (Trump Tower) speaks well about the prospects for the country," said Trump, adding that several Indians reside in his towers globally. Indian rules allow a foreigner to invest $5 million in a joint venture with a three-year lock-in period. Trump earns billions of dollars by licensing his name to various residential and hospitality projects across the world. Besides Lodha's Trump Tower in Worli, the chairman and president of The Trump Organization has licensed his name to a 22-storey residential complex in Pune, which is being developed by Panchshil Realty.

According to the reports Trump says that Mumbai realty prices are unbelievably low. I think Trump is trying to push up Mumbai realty prices even further to benefit his investment. How many luxury residential developments can the Mumbai realty market take? Taking Trump at his word, how will this impact the already sky high prices?

SJP @DigitalAsian

David and Goliath: How the Met Police use Informers

BBC News reports that the mother of a man whose burned body was found under a London railway arch has accused the police of covering up his death because he was an informant. Kester David's body was discovered in Broomfield Lane, Palmers Green, in 2010. His family believe he was killed for working as a police informant and have claimed police failed to look at CCTV or speak to witnesses promptly. The IPCC has urged Scotland Yard to apologise for its handling of the case. The initial investigation by Scotland Yard into Mr Kester's death concluded he committed suicide. A year later an internal investigation, led by inspector Brian Casson, found a "catalogue of errors" and a "failing in duty" as full CCTV and mobile phone records were not checked and witnesses were not interviewed. 

There has been controversy over the Met Police's use of undercover officers recently. Parliament should  also look into how the Met Police use informers. The Met Police spend millions each year on informers - see New Welfare Service by Police

The family of Kester have a David and Goliath battle to get at the truth and they will not only have to battle the Met Police.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Maharashtra Mornings

Maharashtra Mornings - IdeaIndia.Com

Lazy Mornings in Maharashtra - On the beach at Dahanu, Maharashtra, India

Hard Graft for GSK and Bitter Medicine for the Drug Industry

BBC News reports that pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is facing new claims it bribed Syrian distributors to increase sales in the country. The claims come from the Reuters news agency, which has seen an anonymous email sent to top management setting out the charges. It follows accusations of corruption in its non-prescription business in Syria, as well as bribery claims in China. GSK said it would thoroughly investigate the claims. The email, addressed to chief executive Andrew Witty and Judy Lewent, the chair of GSK's audit committee, says: "GSK has been engaging in multiple corrupt and illegal practices in conducting its pharmaceutical business in Syria."

GSK is having a tough time with these bribery allegations. It will be a bitter pill to swallow for GSK but are there such allegations against other drug companies? How drug companies promote their drugs will be under the spotlight.