Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Will They ?

Economic Times ( 16 Jan 2017 ) carries a report with following headline :


" Think Young , Take Risks : PM's Message to Senior Bureaucrats "

PM Narendra Modi exhorted top bureaucrats on Friday to bring back the enthusiasm of their first five years in service, take as many RISKS and  EXPERIMENT  with NEW IDEAS because they will never find a more receptive government than his on this score. 

Modi, who kept quiet through hours of presentation by groups of secretaries on 10 sectors, summed up the process with a decision that none of these groups would be disbanded at least for a year. 

He is also believed to have told the cabinet secretary to  DRAW UP A FRAMEWORK for implementing some of these suggestions in a time bound manner.

“He told us that many of you-...when you go back and see what you accomplished in your first five years...you are surprised that you actually did something like that. I want you to get that

The PM , according to the official, was clear that his government will back any new idea or experiment

“He (the PM) told us that officers can take all such risks under his government,” said an official present at the meeting. 



In absence of a institutionalized mechanism / established process , to protect the honest bureaucrats  , which officer would risk " experimenting " ?

Who would want to risk an inquiry by CVC / PAC / CAG / Lok Pal etc , for having taken " risks " of a bold decision , where there is no precedence / past practice ?

Which officer would want to stick out his neck , if it is going to be chopped off because his " honest mistake " resulted in a loss of crores of rupees to the exchequer ?

How do we change the attitude ? : I cannot make a " mistake " if I do not take a decision

Dear Narendrabhai :

While welcoming your exhortation to officers , I urge you to put into place , the procedure suggested in my following earlier emails :

That is the only way to ensure that the honest officers do not hesitate to decide

To  Err  is  Human    { 20  June  2014  }

{ http://myblogepage.blogspot.in/2014/06/to-err-is-human.html }

Policy  Paralysis  can  be  Avoided  {  26  Aug  2016  }

{  http://myblogepage.blogspot.in/2016/08/policy-paralysis-can-be-avoided.html  }


18  Jan  2017

www.hemenparekh.in / blogs

Monday, 16 January 2017

If Wishes can get Wings !

With Union Budget around the corner, Media ( newspapers / tv channels / web sites ) are vying with each other to bring out all kinds of  POLLS / SURVEYS , with regard to what citizens wish for in the budget

There is no doubt, Shri Jaiteley-ji must have been briefed re these polls

Now , it is possible that he might ask his Ministerial Colleagues and Secretaries :

 Have you any ideas how we can accommodate people's wishes , as expressed in ,

  " LocalCircles Citizen Budget 2017 "  [ Economic Times / 13 Jan 2017 ]  ?

I hope some of the suggestions sent to them in my following emails , will find a place in the Budget ( even if in some diluted manner ! ) :



People's Wish : Reduce Income Tax to increase consumer spending  ( 49 % respondents )

My Email       : A  Solicited  Opinion ? ............ [  22  Nov  2016  ]

{ http://myblogepage.blogspot.in/2016/11/a-solicited-opinion.html }



People's Wish : Increase the minimum income to be taxed  ( 55 % respondents )

My Email        : Create Wealth to Create Jobs........ [  26 Feb 2014  ]

{  http://myblogepage.blogspot.in/2014/02/create-wealth-to-create-jobs.html  }



People's  Wish : Drop exemptions and reduce the Income Tax Rate  ( 59 % respondents )

My Email : A Case for ZERO personal income tax........ [  11 Nov 2014  ]

{  http://myblogepage.blogspot.in/2014/11/a-case-for-zero-personal-income-tax.html  }



People's Wish  :  Invest in improving infrastructure at existing Govt Hospitals ( 40 % )

My  Email       :   Health-care through Mobile ? ................. [  24  Nov  2016  ]

{  http://myblogepage.blogspot.in/2016/11/health-care-through-mobile.html  }



People's Wish :  Aggressively fund Public Transport System ( 36 % )

My Email       :  Public Transport as a Solution ......... [  15  Feb  2016  ]

{  http://myblogepage.blogspot.in/2016/02/public-transport-as-solution.html  }



People's Wish  :  Should Govt extend start up benefits to all Startups / SMEs less than 5
                         year old ?   (  64  %  )

My Email        :  Start Ups need  Wooing ? ........... [  25  June  2016  ]

{  http://myblogepage.blogspot.in/2016/06/start-ups-need-wooing.html  }



People's Wish  :  Which sector should get top allocation in 2017-18 ?

                        Agriculture ( 43 % )   /   Manufacturing  ( 40 % )

My  Email      :  Automation is Inescapable  ...................... [ 30  Nov  2016  ]

{  http://myblogepage.blogspot.in/2016/11/automation-is-inescapable.html  }


People's Wish  :  What should be the top focus area ?  

                        Improving Safety  ( 47 % )

My  Email       :  A  Case  of  Misplaced  Priority  ............. [  20  Nov  2016  ]

{  http://myblogepage.blogspot.in/2016/11/a-case-of-misplaced-priority.html  }

Dear Shri Jaitley-ji :

For announcing the reforms suggested in my E Mails , you will NOT be violating any " Moral Code of Conduct " !


17  Jan  2017

www.hemenparekh.in / blogs

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Cards Vs Mobile Wallets

The battle lines are drawn

Ever since demonetization announcement of 08 Nov , the all-consuming debate is :

"  In the end , who will win ?  Credit-Debit cards  or  Mobile Wallets  ? "

In the past few days , following reports / statements / statistics , have appeared in News papers / Social Media / TV channels :


BILL  GATES ( TOI / 19 Nov 2016 )

" The US is not as digitized as Kenya is or Tanzania . I use credit card sometime. I use the cell phone quite a bit now but it's still a mixed thing and you know it is expected that the plastic card will go away in US in the next 4-5 years and then it will be just your cell phone "

According to sources privy to the meeting, Gates told Minister of IT , Ravi Shankar Prasad that  smart phones are better instruments than plastic cards and payment banks are more sustainable approach for financial transactions

AMITABH KANT ( CEO - NITI Aayog ) [ ET / 11 Jan 2017 ]

" Cards would lose their relevance as Indians will make transactions using just their thumbs through Aadhar-enabled apps on merchant phones connected to biometric readers "

SHARAD SHARMA ( co-founder , iSPIRT ) [ ET / 11 Jan 2017 ]

"  UPI transactions will exceed debit card transactions in a matter of months

BHIM is one of 30 such apps available today . It is one of the MOST LIMITED apps in terms of functionality . In terms of smoothness , it is well designed . But it is meant to be a REFERENCE app

Even as millions throng the mobile app and feature phone function, competitors ( including traditional banks ), have to exceed this THRESHOLD or BENCHMARK. Even if some banks don't, they and their customers are not losing out because they are on the UPI platform

By April , I expect  almost 150 apps, including those by traditional banks

In India, digital companies complain about TWO FACTOR authentication . But with every added layer of authentication, the system reduces security risks. This is India-first by accident because elsewhere , the incumbents are very strong : VISA and MasterCard in the US, or Alipay in China

UPI is the SMTP of payments , and BHIM is only the shape of things to come "

DEWANG NARELLA ( CEO , Atom ) [ ET / 11 Jan 2017 ]

"  One of the reasons for for the faster adoption of cards is the better user-experience

PoS terminals can complete a transaction within 8 seconds and give customers a frictionless experience . Unless the new forms of technology can offer faster check-out experience, I do not see mass adoption of emerging payment solutions

Banks are in the process of installing 1 million terminals by March "

T R RAMCHANDRAN ( Group Country Manager, VISA ) [ ET / 11 Jan 2017 ]

"  Much of India still needs to be convinced about digital payments

Digital payments make only 5 % of the current personal consumption expenditure in India . This is not a zero-sum market, where if someone does one transaction more, someone else will do one transaction less . We should be focused on displacing cash "


"  It should be left to the consumers to choose their mode of transaction . It's the consumer who will decide which solution to use . When we in the public and the private sector start making pronouncements, we don't have knowledge of what consumers want " 

SAKET MODI ( Co-founder , Lucideus Tech )

"  If a mobile wallet has ONE FACTOR authentication ( you need to login and transact and just key in the password ),

and , credit card has TWO FACTOR ( swipe plus password ),

BHIM has THREE FACTOR authentication

What made WhatsApp so popular was that the user ID was the phne number.

 Similarly, the user ID is the basis to authenticate with the bank

The THIRD FACTOR is the four digit UPI PIN, which only the user knows. Even if it is possible to replicate the SIM card or a phone gets lost, transactions cannot be done unless the PIN is known "

A P HOTA ( MD and CEO , NPCI )

" In our country of a billion mobile phone connections ( active connections could be around 800 million ) , nearly two-thirds of mobile phones are simply feature phones without data connectivity . We have built USSD-based mobile payment system with 51 participating banks. BHIM integrated USSD infrastructure with UPI "

BUSINESS LINE ( 13 Jan 2017 )

After initial response, demand for EESL's PoS machines turns tepid . Procurement tender may be scrapped if entities that evinced interest do not respond

This is the largest tender for PoS machines in the world ( 10 lakh ) and EESL's success in this tender would mean virtually doubling the number of PoS machines in the country.

India , at present, has 14 lakh PoS machines , of which only 50,000 are mobile

HINDUSTAN  TIMES ( 16 Jan 2017 )

 @   PoS transactions as a % of total Card transactions...... 22 %

@   No of PoS terminals per million people ( 2015 )............ 693 ( 45000 in Australia )

*  ARUNA SUNDARARAJAN ( Secretary , MeiT ) [ Hindustan Times / 16 Jan 2017 ]

"  We are looking at a lot of new technologies that enable cashless transactions with less investment on infrastructure

We are also looking at enabling digital payments with the use of VOICE BASED and NFC-based technology. 

The Centre is in talks with technology providers that can enable a mobile phone to become a MOBILE POINT-OF-SALE ( mPoS )

We are in talks with new companies like mPayGo , ToneTag and other start ups "

NEERAJ TANDON ( Co-founder and CEO, mPayGo )

"  All that merchants need to have is a smart phone and a Net connection to process card payments "

KUMAR ABHISHEK ( Founder , ToneTag )

"  The major concern for the Government is that only 20 % of the entire cell phone-using population in India has smart phones

With ToneTag, in case of smart phones, the transfer is done by a single touch using SOUND WAVES

In feature phones, users need to dial a toll-free number, and the payment instruction is carried out through interactive VOICE RESPONSE "


As to , " WHO WILL  WIN ? " , find my own assessment at  :

    {  http://myblogepage.blogspot.in/2016/11/rip-credit-card.html  }

*   When BHIM is here, can ARJUN be far away ?    


    {  http://myblogepage.blogspot.in/2016/12/when-bhim-is-here-can-arjun-be-far-away.html  }   




 16  Jan  2017


www.hemenparekh.in / blogs



Thursday, 12 January 2017

Where Angels Fear to Tread !

Hindustan Times ( 12 Jan 2017 ) carries following report :

The income tax department has started a crackdown on “suspicious” bank lockers after searches and raids revealed that these were being used to stash illegal cash and jewellery.

Tax officials were seeking details of lockers operated multiple times, especially in co-operative banks

 “Benami bank lockers are being monitored to check ownership as these have been used for illegal activities and hoarding illegal cash and wealth,” a government official said.

“However, it must be reiterated that it is aimed at addressing the black money issue and there will be no sealing of bank lockers, as we have already said.”

A benami or ghost, locker is operated by someone other than the person in whose name it is issued. There have been instances when a holder has agreed to keep cash or jewellery for a family member, an acquaintance or even a senior at work.

Most of the “suspicious” lockers, so far, have been reported from smaller towns, though such abuse couldn’t be ruled out in the cities as well, sources said.

Research, real-time information from multiple sources and information collected during raids helped them zero in on such accounts, sources in the department said.

Tax sleuths also don’t rule out the possibility of city residents using lockers in small towns to escape scrutiny. Several banks offer locker services to customers who do not hold accounts with them.


In the eyes of IT department , what makes a locker , a  SUSPICIOUS  locker ?

Apparently , the following criteria :

*  Location in a co-operative bank branch in a small town
*  Acquired after 08 Nov 2016 ( even without having a savings account )
*  Owned by a person living in a far off city
*  Operated frequently

I am sure , there are millions of lockers which may " satisfy " the above mentioned criteria and it would require , not only a MASSIVE collection of DATA , but also an Artificial Intelligence based software to conclude ( with a HIGH PROBABILITY ) that a given locker can be classified as SUSPICIOUS . Not an easy job !

And , even after all this , that DATA and AI software , cannot tell IT department ANYTHING about accumulation of Rs 2000 ( NEW ) notes in those lockers ( the BLACK MONEY that IT department is after ! )

In case of a KYC bank account , a bank manager can tell the IT department exactly ,

*  Amount of money in that account , at any time
*  What amounts were withdrawn / deposited and when ( and in Rs 2000 notes )

But , in case of a Locker , bank manager has absolutely NO CLUE as to its content !

Should IT department " raid " those  lockers based on nothing more concrete / positive than a mere SUSPICION ?

Would not such indiscriminate raids harass many honest locker-owners and hurt their reputation in the eyes of their community ?

Over the years , we have heard of " IT raids " being carried out on homes / offices of prominent / rich persons , where CASH to the tune of CRORES of rupees have been seized

We also know that nothing has come out of these raids and those matters have been " amicably settled " !

I believe IT department has embarked on something which is not only foolhardy but atrocious , to say the least

Only yesterday, Supreme Court threw out a case against our PM by saying :

" A mere entry in a computer ( CM , Gujarat ) cannot constitute sufficient evidence to launch an inquiry "

Then , how could mere " Suspicion " be enough to raid a locker ?

Could IT / ED  have a " FOOL-PROOF " method to convince the courts , why they chose to raid a particular locker ?

Sure !

All that the Government / RBI has to do is to embed all high denomination notes with a RFID sensor

Since RFID chips would announce their presence through internet , it would be a simple matter for IT / ED to set up a Technology Platform ( IndiaStack ? ), to zero-in, locate any locker  anywhere in India , containing Rs 2000 notes , aggregating ( say ) , Rs 1 CRORE

When those high denomination notes start shouting ( 24*7 ) ,

{  http://myblogepage.blogspot.in/2016/08/help-please-rescue-me.html  }

both , the BLACK MONEY and the CORRUPTION , will get eliminated , PERMANENTLY !

However , instead of embedding RFID chip, what is more likely to happen is the removal of Mahatma Gandhi's photo from those notes . You know why !


13  Jan  2017

www.hemenparekh.in / blogs

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

We are not bribing the Voters !

On 01 Jan , Election Commission announced poll schedule for 5 States , and set in motion Model Code of Conduct

A day later ( or earlier ? ) , NDA government announced that Union Budget will be introduced in Lok Sabha on 01 Feb ( 3 days before Goa polls begin )

Two days later , 16 opposition parties , led by Congress , appealed the EC to tell the government , to postpone the Budget , till after state elections get over

Reason ?

" Suppose NDA government announces freebies / goodies in the budget , targeted to " bribe " the voters to vote in favor of BJP ! How can they introduce Budget AFTER coming into force , the Model Code of Conduct ?


Don't BJP know the following ?

On 22 Feb 2014 , following Supreme Court directives , the Election Commission , revised , " Model Code of Conduct " , containing guidelines on what kind of poll promises , political parties can incorporate in their poll manifestos


*   Parties shall make only those promises which are possible to be fulfilled

*   It is expected that manifestos also reflect the rationale for the promises
     and broadly indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirements for it

*   Party in power shall stop advertizing for publicity of achievements "

Now , look at the Poll Manifesto which Congress released yesterday for Punjab polls :

" The manifesto promises

*   loan waiver and free power to farmers, 

*   a stipend of 2,500 per month for unemployed youth,

*   free smart mobile phones for youth, 

*   free textbooks for all children,

*   free houses to homeless dalits / SCs / OBCs and 


If elected, Capt. Amarinder Singh said his government will create,

*   25 lakh jobs within the next five years,

*   crack down on drugs and corruption, 

*   introduce a new industrial policy, and 

*   end the VIP culture, while 

*   bringing in sweeping economic reforms and

*   total transparency in governance. "

Congress is telling the EC :

"  You see , how honestly our Manifesto abides by the Model Code of Conduct ? "

Apparently , India happens to be a country where politicians can still ( after 68 years ) , fool ALL the people, ALL the time !

Or , at least think so  !

We will know in Feb / March !


11  Jan  2017

www.hemenparekh.in / blogs