Review of Gun Laws in US

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Arjun Ganguly, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

As we see so often people dying in US over shootout related incidents, it is now apparant that the government should look into the existing gun laws more closely. The current week saw a Virginia gunman who shot dead two former colleagues on live TV. The gunman had also loaded his getaway car with a bag containing a second gun, a few magazines and ammunition. He also had a to-do list with him.

A document later came to light, obtained by the Guardian, which apparently showed that Flanagan(the gunman) had been told to seek medical help by his bosses. The advice was given by the then news director of the station. It was sent to senior colleagues and Flanagan after his co-workers had complained about his behaviour. It details how Flanagan was warned over “lashing out” and for using “harsh language” and “aggressive body language” while working as a reporter. Even after that he was given the opportunity to carry live firearms and ammunition.

This obviously is not an isolated incident. We see these incidents cropping in US, where every now and then a few are injured or killed. Last march saw a car chase between US police and an armed kidnapping suspect in South Los Angeles, which was aired by the local television stations. It ended in a violent and dramatic scene – with the suspect leaving his vehicle and engaging in a shootout with officers.

Gun politics as such is a controversial area of American politics that is primarily defined by the actions of two groups: gun control and gun rights activists. These groups often disagree on the interpretation of laws and court cases related to firearms as well as about the effects of gun control on crime and public safety. Gun laws in the United States regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition. State laws (and the laws of Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories) vary considerably.

In light of such incidents, the US government should review and re assess the gun laws that are currently in place. Nothing can be more important than human lives and all laws of the land should be based around this simple yet thoughtful fact.

References

http://www.rt.com

Wikipidia

http://www.express.co.uk

India to face massive power surplus

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
TULSIDAS DUBEY-EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


 

India may be heading for a huge surplus of generation capacity because 300 million people who don’t have access to electricity also don’t have means to buy power.

The government said it intends to expand power generation capacity about three-fold to 800 gigawatts by 2030 and to fuel this, it is targeting coal production of 1.5 billion tonnes a year by 2020.
At present, a large chunk of this population is using energy, say kerosene, and are incurring a cost in procuring them. If power becomes available, they can stop using kerosene for lighting lamps and use electricity instead.
Even with adequate availability of power, distribution companies may not be keen on supplying electricity at the current tariffs.

“At present, a large number of beleaguered utilities tries to restrict supply of power for areas where selling electricity is a loss-making proposition,” As per  India Ratings & Research.
They do not have the financial capability to supply power to match the demand in view of losses on supply of power.
Power utilities would need the support of the state governments if cheap power has to be supplied to a loss-making consumer category. However, officials from the Indian Energy Exchange, a platform for power trading, said people without access to electricity would buy power if it was made available to them.

Source:

1.Economic Time

2. India Ratings & Research publication at internet.

 

Smart Cities Competition: The Smart India Movement

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Saurav Thakur, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

The Smart Cities Mission is an innovative and new initiative by the Government of India to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens. Smart Cities focus on their most pressing needs and on the greatest opportunities to improve lives. They tap a range of approaches – digital and information technologies, urban planning best practices, public-private partnerships, and policy change – to make a difference. They always put people first.

In the approach to the Smart Cities Mission, the objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions. The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities. The Smart Cities Mission is meant to set examples that can be replicated both within and outside the Smart City, catalysing the creation of similar Smart Cities in various regions and parts of the country.

Cities to be part of the Narendra Modi government’s ambitious smart city project will be picked by a competition. And the criteria would be how well they have implemented some of the Prime Minister’s campaigns ‘including the Swacch Bharat and Make in India’. This policy of smart city was announced 31st of march this year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to build 100 smart cities across the country has indicated that the other parameters could be infrastructure, quality of life, and citizen-centric services. This project is meant to be public Public-Private Partnership, for which the Union government expects collaboration from US, France, Singapore and Japan. The cost of this project would be around 7060 crore.

The smart cities project was necessitated by the country’s burgeoning population, which is expected to become more than double by 2050 – from the current 377 million to 843 million.
According to the secretary of the Urban Development Ministry, Shankar Aggarwal to accommodate this massive urbanisation, India needs to find ways to improve the quality of life of citizens.

On 27th August government announced the names of 98 towns and cities chosen for its Smart Cities project after a nationwide “competition” between states. Of those chosen for the project, 24 are capital cities, 24 are business hubs and 18 are cultural centres. Cities like Patna, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram and Shimla have failed to make the cut in round one.

The winners include Lucknow ,Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Baroda in Gujarat, Greater Mumbai, Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai in Tamil Nadu, and Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur in Bihar.Uttar Pradesh gets the maximum number of cities with Kanpur, Allahabad, Rampur, Agra and Aligarh also being selected. Navi Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Thane also make the cut from Maharashtra.North-eastern towns and cities like Guwahati, Kohima, Imphal, Aizawl, Shillong, and Agartala have also been chosen.

The judgment Proposals from state was based on service levels, existing infrastructure and track record of each state to determine how realistic its execution is. The top winning cities will be financed this year and the rest of the cities will be asked to get their act together, focus on deficiencies and prepare for Round 2 of the competition. In the next five years, Rs. 3 lakh crore will be spent in developing the towns to provide world class infrastructure, sustainable environment and smart solutions

Reference :
http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/kaun-banega-smart-city-winners-of-nationwide-competition-to-be-announced-today-1211434?utm_source=ndtv&utm_medium=top-stories-widget&utm_campaign=story-3-http%3a%2f%2fwww.ndtv.com%2findia-news%2fkaun-banega-smart-city-winners-of-nationwide-competition-to-be-announced-today-1211434
http://www.business-standard.com

Gun Control Act in the US and its repercussions.

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Ashes Roy, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

In an astounding turn of events, two journalists were shot dead by an unidentified gun man, while reporting live for a local channel at Roanoke, Virginia. While the motive behind the killing remains unknown at the time of writing this post, but this brings back the much debated topic of the Gun Control Act of the United States into the limelight and its repercussions.

Gun control act and the politics behind it, has been a major headache for the lawmakers of the US Senate. It originates from the second amendment of the US constitution, where it states that :

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

A research poll by Rasmussen Reports in 2013 claimed that 65 percentage of Americans believe that the second amendment gives them the right to posses a weapon, for the purpose of self defence, against tyranny. This again originates from a different school of thought where it’s proclaimed that holding arms is the last measure against the government supported tyranny. The logic holds back to the days when a colonial America was under the rule of Great Britain and gave birth to the concept of civil war and gaining independence. Various gun rights supporters champion this cause by citing the example of the holocaust victims of the third reich. Being unarmed due to the gun control act regulated by Nazi Germany, the unfortunate victims were unable to provide resistance during the second world war. This theory is one of the most opinionated thoughts of the gun right supporters, the others being self defence.

On the other hand, there have been numerous incidents which include shootout at schools, movie theatres ,suicides where many innocents have been killed by gun wielding assailants who turned out to be people of the same strata, compared to radical terrorists. The advocates of the gun control act argue that a free-for-all firearm ownership increases this fear among the society where nobody feels safe. The logic of self defence is belittled by the fact that now when everyone holds a gun, none of them will be willing to believe that they are safe from one another, knowing that the other person holds a gun as well. Other than the above incidents, there has been many assassination attempts on the US Presidents, of which the most famous victims are Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy. These incidents gave birth to the National Firearm Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968 which regulates the firearm industry and the firearm owners.

Of late, this debate between gun control supporters and the gun rights supporters has turned into a major fiasco as none of the parties believe the interpretation of law is correct when it comes to holding a firearm. They argue that a law abiding citizen will feel safe holding a firearm where as the same firearm held by an anti-social shall make the society an unsafe place to live. It’s an important decision that needs to be made by the people of the United States that whether they want to live in a society where every single person suspects the person standing next to him or they want to live in a society free from gun toting madcaps. And whatever the people decide, let that become the law.

Ref –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_the_United_States#Public_policy_arguments

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_control

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/virginia-shooting-ricky-gervais-slams-us-gun-laws-after-two-journalists-are-killed-in-live-broadcast-10473375.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/gun_control/65_see_gun_rights_as_protection_against_tyranny

Attack of the Drones

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Tathagata Mukherjee, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

Are you a Star Wars saga fan? If yes, then you’ll find a lot of excitement in the upcoming days. Well, I am not exactly talking about the upcoming flick in December 2015 but focusing more on real time experiences we are going to have. The creativity of human brain has always been centuries ahead, most of which reflects in the movies/tv shows we watch but at the same time there are a lot of innovations which are going on 24×7 round the globe of which we may not be that much aware.

Now, we all must be aware of what aviation industry has produced in the area of unmanned flights, yes..Drones!! Drones have changed the world of military tactics and strategies round the globe and we all know they are gonna be fully utilized in coming days as well (remember that Indian Air Force drone in Interstellar which Mathew Mcconaughey caught and then carried in his truck..).  But my focus here will be on the non-military drones which has created some news in the given era. The commercial drones, which are now readily available over the internet to be bought and used by consumers.

Time.com had published an article on April 3 2015 named ‘This is How Drones Work’ which actually explained very nicely about how these non-military drones operate and what are various technical challenges involved in their operations. The views are given by public relations manager of DJI, which claim to be the world leader in Aerial Drones and Quadcopters used for photography and filming.

However now we are much beyond just photography or filming for drone usage. Sectors like Logistics, Medical, Oil and Gas, Power Generation, Hospitality and Tourism, Construction, Railways, Media and many more have already started utilizing drones in various ways to increase their efficiency and benefit the outcomes. For instance Shell uses drones in some of Europe’s largest energy plants, and is rolling them out in oil and gas facilities in hard-to-reach places (like tall towers or the underside of an offshore oil rig) because it is safer, and more efficient, than sending people (per Techworld.com, Jul 03 2015 article named ‘Nine uses of Drones in UK Business’).

Amazon.com announced in 2013 that they would start delivering orders weighing less than 5 lbs. using drones. The program called ‘Amazon Prime Air’ would deliver good not just within 30 minutes of ordering but also they would give a feature which would make the drones deliver directly to the user’s phone’s GPS address. Crazy huh!! However Amazon is not the first company to do this, DHL is already doing this in UK and in the US the first legal drone delivery was done by the firm ‘Flirtey’, who delivered medical supplies in Virginia, as reported by Fortune.com on 17 July 2015. By the way, Amazon and Google are working together to make this a success story in US but they are yet to get the final approval from FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in US due to aviation regulations set.

Now here comes the challenge, what drones are capable of if given complete freedom, spying, breaching your privacy? Imagine that you are taking a nice afternoon nap in you balcony and you find that some freaking flying thing is filming you..a baseball bat close by can be very handy! In India, recently 2 employees of Housing.com were detained as they were found clicking pictures of some building in Chembur for their website by operating drones as per Indianexpress.com on July 9 2015. The South African cricket team too faced something same when they were in Bangladesh recently and used drones for recording their practice sessions.

So the regulatory bodies have a big role to play here but sooner or later we would see that the skies are filled with flying objects busy with their respective activities. So its not just Obi wan Kenobi who can have the flying object for young Luke to practice with. Brace yourselves, I feel the Force is strong with this one.

Ode to Gulzar, the Maestro on his birthday !!!

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Anjali Ghosh, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
_____________________________
Poet of an extraordinary finesse, an accomplished filmmaker and an ace lyricist, Gulzar is a versatile talent India is proud to have. Known for writing stories weaved with sensibilities and emotions, Gulzar has delivered some of the most cherished and memorable songs for films and serials.

Sampooran Singh Kalra, known popularly by his pen name Gulzar was born on 18th August in Jhelum districtin British India, whose family moved to India after partition. He started his career as a songwriter with the music director S D Barman for the movie Bandini (1963) for which Gulzar wrote the song “Mora Gora Ang Layle”, sung by Lata Mangeshkar.

Let us explore why Gulzar’s songs are very close to our heart. When we hear “Humne Dekhi Hai Un Aankhon Ki Mehekti Khushboo” or “Aapki ankhon mein kuch, mehke huey se raaz hai” we fall in love with the Shayeri. Over the years, one of his USPs has been the expression of complex ideas in the simplest of words. In his words, the confession of love becomes “Aajkal paon zameen par nahi padte mere” the chore of house-hunting becomes “Do deewaane ish sheher mein” the grief over a relationship-gone-sour is” Mera kuch saaman tumhaare paas pada hai– all simply written yet heart penetrating. When you listen to “Ae Zindagi, Gale Laga Le” from Sadma, the bonding between the autistic girl lady and his saviour becomes live to the onlooker. “Do Naina Ek Kahany.” is essentially a lullaby from Masoom, but Gulzar’s words beautifully depict the mother’s turmoil without taking away from the feel of a song. The song “Tujhse naaraaz nahi zindagi, hairaan hoon main” from the same film  is the beautiful depiction of Infidelity in marriage and the dilemma associated with it.“ Meri Jaan, Mujhe Jaan Na Kaho” from film Anubhav so simply captures the banter between a husband and wife who are trying very hard to rekindle their marriage.  If Gulzar has written emotional odes to love, he’s also penned “Kajra Re” the mother of item numbers in Hindi Films but that was also sprinkled with his poetic fineness. If he’s made the Oscar-winning Jai Ho with AR Rahman, he’s also written for a Yo Yo Honey Singh single (Horn OK Please) in Dedh Ishqiya (2014), proving that he can read the pulse of every generation. His latest Dum ghut-ta hai in Drishyam creates a mood that grips you.

Gulzar’s most special role has remained till date as a lyricist. He has worked, as a lyricist, with the most talented people of the Bollywood like: R.D. Burman, A.R. Rahman, S.D Burman, Maden Mohan. Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Rajesh Roshan, Shankar Jaikishan, Salil Chowdhary, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, etc. Other than Mirza Ghalib, he has worked on other television series like Tahreer Munshi Premchand Ki and has written the lyrics for serials of Doorsarshan like: Jungle Book, Hello Zindagi, Potli Baba ki, etc. He had written dialogues for many children’s series on the television, like: Alice in Wonderland, Guchche, Potli Baba Ki, etc. Also, when recently Indian and Pakistani media houses combined to start a peace campaign called Aman ki Asha, then Gulzar was asked to write the anthem. He came up with a beautiful compilation of words called Nazar Main Rehte Ho. It was musically composed by Shankar Mahadevan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Gulaz has also worked very closely with the Ghazal Maestro of Indiam Jagjit Singh and worked on his albums like Marasim, Koi Baat Chale, etc.

The drama of human relationships is Gulzar’s playground. He understands the intricacies and complexities of love, the anguish of separation and poignancy of longing. Gulzar makes you visualise the situation whenever you listen to his songs which has helped him stay relevant for five decades in the film business. Gulzar’s Golden touch can make any song safely stored in our heart.

Wish you happy birthday, Gulzar Sahab !!!

Ref:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulzar

Rs 15,000 crore has been saved on LPG subsidy

“The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.”
Atish Sreemany, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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While addressing the nation on its 69th Independence Day, Prime Minister Norendra Modi said  “We corrected the system and Rs 15,000 crore, which was stolen every year in the name of gas subsidy, has been saved” . LPG subsidy payout from the Union Budget in 2014-15 was Rs 40,591 crore against a Rs 52,231 crore in 2013-14, a saving of Rs 11,640 crore.

This move has many dimensions:

  • This has been achieved since the government started transferring cooking gas subsidy directly into consumers’ accounts. It is direct cash benefit transfer to consumers. Since the launch of the scheme, now named PAHAL, domestic LPG all over the country is sold at market price. Households get cash subsidy in their bank accounts to make good the difference between old subsidised rates and the market price.
  • It took advantage of bank accounts opened under Jan Dhan Scheme and Aadhaar numbers to give subsidy straight to consumers. It also enables consumers or at least one bank account per family.
  • The move helped to stop black-marketing of subsidised cooking gas. The amount was stolen every year in the name of gas subsidy and by implementing the process it has been corrected.
  • This process cuts diversion to segments such as restaurants and other commercial establishments enabling the subsidy to the right segment
  • Around 20 lakh people have also voluntarily given up LPG subsidy. Middle class families and teachers are among the people who have left subsidy; the savings amount to about Rs 320 crore.

This step increased awareness of LPG subsidy which was enjoyed by consumers earlier as well but was not well acknowledged, it is a direct tangible benefit to Indian population. ‘Give it up’ campaign helps to widen the reach of fuel. It is a lesson to government on subsidiary issues which is much debated topics over the years, same process can be followed for different segments.

The New Avatar of Google – Sundar Pichai.

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Anupam Bera, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

On 11th August 2015, The Telegraph reported that “ Google has a new boss – and he is Chennai born, IIT Kharagpur-educated Sundar Pichai”. Pichai was announced as the next CEO of Google, the largest subsidiary of Alphabet on 10 August 2015, after previously being appointed Product Chief by current CEO Larry Page on 24 October 2014.

Some other Indians at the helm of big companies like Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo), Lakshmi Mittal (ArcelorMittal), Ivan Menezes (Diageo), Rakesh Kapoor (Reckitt Benckiser), Ajay Banga (Mastercard International), Rajeev Suri (Nokia), Piyush Gupta (DBS Group Holdings), Sanjay Mehrotra (SanDisk), Sanjay Jha (Global Foundries), Francisco Dsouza (Cognizant), Shantanu Narayen (Adobe), and now Sundar Pichai has joined an elite league of Indian origin persons holding top posts at global corporations with his crowning as the new CEO of Google.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted early on the day: “ Congratulations Sundar Pichai. My best wishes for the new role at Google”. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, was the first to congratulate Pichai. Nadella tweeted on Pichai’s elevation at the company, writing in the micro-blogging site “Congrats @sundarpichai well deserved.”

Pichai was born in Madras (now Chennai), Tamil Nadu, India in 1972 to Tamil parents Lakshmi & Regunatha Pichai. He completed his Class X at Jawahar Vidyalaya School located in Ashok Nagar, Chennai, and completed Class XII from Vana Vani School located in the IIT campus, Chennai. After studying metallurgy engineering at IIT Kharagpur, he moved to the US and attained a MS degree from Stanford as well as a MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Pichai, 43, had joined Google in 2004, where he led the product management and innovation efforts for a suite of Google’s client software products, including Google Chrome and Chrome OS, as well as being largely responsible for Google Drive. On 13 March 2013, he was promoted to also oversee Android, the operating system that runs 78 per cent of the smartphones around the world.

Pichai’s achievement has made all the aspiring Indians very proud. He has proved that with hard work and dedication one can achieve one’s dreams.

Sania Mirza recommended for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Arjun Ganguly, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

I always wandered why is India good only in cricket and not in any other outdoor game. It had always been disappointing to see India perform at the Olympics. I always was of the opinion that we as Indians should show little more interest in other games like football, tennis, boxing etc. Although we may not or rather will not see
immediate results but it may ensure that future generations would be inclined towards many outdoor games apart from just cricket.

The good news is change is in the air nowadays. With Sania Mirza creating history by becoming the first female player from the country to win a women’s doubles Grand Slam title, partnering with Switzerland’s Martina Hingis, I would like to believe there is more to come from her. After all she is only 28 years old. Currently ranked
world number one in women’s doubles, Sania became only the second tennis player to be recommended for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna after a Sports Ministry appointed selection panel named her for the top sporting award of the country. In 2005, Time magazine named Mirza one of the ‘50 Heroes of Asia’. In March 2012, the Economic Times included her in a list of ‘33 Women Who Made India proud’. I am sure many youngsters will be elated and motivated by looking up to her and all the many laurels she won for India(including recently, the gold and bronze at Asian Games in Incheon, in 2014).

The current year also saw Vijender Singh turing to professional boxing by bidding adieu to his amateur career. Vijender, also a previous recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award—India’s highest sporting honour, had done India proud on many many occasions. He is credited with winning the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, the first ever Olympic medal for an Indian boxer. Later on he went on to become the top-ranked boxer in the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) annual list(middleweight category). At 29 years of age, and turning professional( which by the way ruled him out of 2016 Olympics as he no longer remains eligible to represent India) I have very high hopes on him making India proud again on many occasions.

Lets just hope these are no isolated developments and actually inspires India’s youth to look to many different games in the coming future. For a country to be strong we would the youth to be strong first. As Swami Vivekananda had famously said – You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through the study of the Gita.

References

http://www.rediff.com/sports/report/khel-ratna-recommendation-most-amazing-news-sania/20150811.htm