News - Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar


Feb 16, 2014

Real cost of corruption - One aspect.

There are several news articles speaking of road accidents in India. It is indeed a big problem. The latest report that Indian cars failed crash tests is making news. May be Indian government will mandate these tests as well. Wonderful so far.

There is also an extended discussion on stricter enforcement of laws, clampdown on drunk driving and so on. All this is good. But have we thought of the genesys of rash driving? I am sure majority of these same drunk, careless, arrogant, out-of-control drivers have a valid driving licence. Where does that licence come from? How is it given? Here is a quick process summary of obtaining a driving licence.

Option 1)
A. Go to local RTO office.
B. Appear and pass the learner's licence test where your knowledge of rules are tested.
C. Learn the vehicle and appear for driving test.
D. Get a licence.


Option 2)
Till some years ago, go to one of the many thousands of driving school with your address and identity proof.
(Even today, after the computerised learner's licence test, do the above.)

Naturally, majority people take option 2. It is convenient. The test is a breeze. A few feet ahead, a few feet in reverse, voila you have a licence. You feel happy! Happiness is good for health...but perhaps not in this case.


How would you like to learn that the doctor treating someone near to you was a quack and responsible for deteriorating health of the patient? Is this not similar albeit in a different context?

Read this article from The New York Times on the FDA worry on Indian Pharma. The article says India exports about 40 percent of over-the-counter & generic medicines in the US. And what does India do about ensuring that the quality served to this largest consumer base is good and as per, if not better than, the standards? Make no mistake, we are not a banana republic. We have drug regulatory body called CDSCO, but as an industry have Indian Pharma companies tried to enforce those regulations in spirit? Or are we the happy driver with the freshly issued driving license? We will drive until we run over someone by the pavement?

And our regulatory body will continue to look away as long as the authorities that be keep saying this is the industry that brings in USD 15 Billion (INR 90000 Crores) a year. This looking away implies economic profit to those benefiting from it and penalizing companies that are voluntarily ensuring compliance to the FDA standards.

But the heavy cost that India pays as the damage to its image is something that cannot be measured easily - the factors to be measured are the penalties, lossof market share, loss of licenses. These are to the corporation, also to be added are the costs of additional scrutiny, loss of jobs, increase in social issues in those areas due to these issues, decrease in confidence on Indian industry as a whole. That is the real cost of corruption.

Jan 1, 2014

Le Carre's Smiley and the other trilogy.

The reading this year comprised mainly of fiction books. Couple of trilogies and a few other novels.

This year I completed the Karla Trilogy from John Le Carre after reading the Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People. While Honourable Schoolboy was a good book, I thought Smiley's People was fantastic.
As fantastic as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Indeed the best book I have read in years.

I loved the insanity in the cunning that Smiley and Karla create against each other. I loved the fact that Smiley acknowledges that he and Karla are no more than each other's alter ago. Most of it, I loved the climax. Never expected it to be so stunning. Never was it so predictable either.

John Le Carre sits in an overlap of fiction thriller writer who imagines a lot about the espionage world and a literary master who knows the people about whom he writes. What a treat!

The other trilogy was the very readable Shiva Trilogy. I enjoyed Immortals of Meluha, the first part very much. The other two were alright. What impressed me was the amazing imagination shown by the debutante author Amish.Writing sure is a difficult art, writing with so much imagination on a topic which is so well known to Indians, is much more difficult. Amish stands out. And I hope we get to see movies made from his books. And I hope that the movie has good production values....

Oct 6, 2013

The backseat post

As the shadows moved ahead, Benedict really wanted to step out of the car. But as he thought of the next steps, he could not forget a ceramic figurine in the backseat of his car.

What should he do now?

Oct 5, 2013

Tom Clancy - Books and Movies

Tom Clancy, the blockbuster novelist, died a couple of days ago.

I have read quite a few of his books, enjoyed some, but got bored by most. However, when the same book is recreated on the big cinema screen, the results were thoroughly enjoyable.

I have loved every movie that was based on Clancy's book. Patriot Games, The Hunt for Red October, Sum of All Fears.... all of them.

I often thought that Clancy wrote with a focus on cinematic adaptation. There are also several PC games based on his books, I am sure they are a big hit in the world of gaming.

I think what is special about Clancy's books are the immense technical detailing in the plot. Unlike say Forsyth or Le Carre, Clancy gave details about the machines, guns, computer networks, algorithms and everything around that. This possibly was a great script for any movie.

I think we will all miss Clancy either for his books or for the movies or for the games. Rest in Peace.

Sep 28, 2013

Book Review - The Hounourable Schoolboy

Another densely written novel from John Le Carre, another treat to read and another heart wrenching story of a vocation made glamorous by the likes of James Bond, Ethan Hunt and others.

The schoolboy Jerry does go miles to create ruffles and surprise negations of the higher plots and he does takes thick in the jungles of far east. This book is once again a trademark John Le Carre, where the machinations of the powers that are are displayed shamelessly and quite caustically.

Smiley has returned as the head of intelligence. His task cut out to create a bridge with the Cousins or the CIA. His old fashioned investigators Connie and Di Salis find a clue in far east. Smiley decides to lure out a Karla operative out of China.

Much like he got out Haydon, there is a definite similarity here. The only difference is Jerry is far too audacious to toe the line like say a Guillam or a Esterhase for that matter. The story wades through various locations, takes us places with opium traders, rogue pilots and others.

Folks who have read Tinker Tailor, will find this reading equally demanding and worth while. And oh what a brilliant movie this would make.

As someone who loves Forsyth, for I started with his masterpieces early in my teens, the climax is far too often heartbreaking in the case Le Carre. I will still accept his writings and continue to read them for that's what makes the man different from others.

Now on to Smiley's People! Need to finish that before the movie is out.


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