Saturday, May 19, 2018

Reduce elections- save public money

Indian media are possessed with  three things Cricket, Cinema and Corruption. Wherever money comes in to play  corruption is bound to be there.

Corruption in systems can be addressed through legal course of action. But when the very basis of  governance is entrenched with corruption, the remedy is difficult through legal course.

One way is to modify the system so that scope for corruption becomes less and and less.

Fathers of our Indian constitution had good confidence in the citizens who were expected to be patriots. Probably they least expected that the very representatives of people would stoop to the level of ' horse trading'.

Once again we see it in Karnataka, a hung Assembly after the recent elections. The Party with highest elected members is unable to form a government because it falls short of absolute majority.

The opposition is bent upon preventing it to form the government.They are ready to form 'unholy' alliances. Politicians who were slinging mud on each other a few days before  the election are ready to become 'friends' after the results came.

Everyone knows that this kind of opportunistic friendship won't last. Soon 'President's Rule' will come in effect, a question of few month's time. This means bureaucrats will run the administration.

Attitude of these politicians reflect least respect for people's mandate.  The president of a party -which lost deposit in nearly 140 constituents- aspires and manipulates the system to become the Chief Minister of Karnataka.

Satish Acharya's todays cartoon in Star of Mysore aptly reflects the ground reality.

This is not the first time nor going to be the end of this problem. Public money is squandered in conducting elections because of absence of commitment by the representatives.

 It is going to recur again again at both state level and National level.  The logical remedy for this is, all elected members accept the People's mandate and allow a minority government to run its course while the opposition gives issue based support.

That is not going to happen, for seat of Power is for tapping the source of money, NOT  working for Public Welfare

In that case a remedy has to be worked out through constitutional amendment which  strikes off this 'number game' but reflects the spirit of people mandate.

What kind of amendment is required ?

1) Always the political party with highest representatives will form the government.

2) If they do not enjoy absolute majority they have to seek referendum To continue or Not to continue at the end of half term. 

3) All public servants  like IAS, IPS IFS  Senior officers and  Heads of Departments of different government departments ( in short all gazetted officials)  will participate in an online electronic voting to decide the fate of the minority government.  It is an inexpensive way of seeking opinion from citizens in responsible positions without any election expenses. Similar to Corporates seeking  online-consent   from share holders  for Board Resolutions during AGM 

4) The minority government will be able to implement all programs subject to certain restrictions  with regard to launching mega projects ( like bullet train ).

At national level, the elected members of all state assembly will give their choice (continue or not to continue) for the Central Government to function in addition to public servants.

In other words, the first two and half years no party can  move a 'no confidence motion'  against the ruling party.

If the mandate of referendum  is in favour  of the  government  then for one more year no party can move a ' No Confidence Motion'.  That means a fair opportunity is given to the largest party for a period of two and half to three and half years to demonstrate their  efficacy of governance 

If the referendum goes against the ruling party, then the Governor will request the ruling party to demonstrate the confidence of the Assembly for continuation of their governance.

This will reduce the election expenses on the exchequer and unruly behavior of vested groups of different political wings.

But, who is to bell the cat,  I mean the politicians ?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

No licence for Charging Stations. What about GST ?

Two years back I wrote in this blog regarding technical as well commercial feasibility of  Solar Charging Stations.

Good news is that now the government has come out with clarification that such Charging Stations do not require any licence.

Ordering 10000 EV cars do not promote usage of electric vehicles.

As pointed out in the presentation, the government should concentrate on promoting  EV two wheelers  with easy charging facility.  It is the two wheeler population causing maximum drain on the petroleum exchequer.

It is not going to be easy to surmount the lobby of present two wheeler manufacturers as well as Oil companies  who stand to lose their business. 

How long will it take ?  Do not know;  we can go on creating confusion statutory requirements like 
safety of installation,  GST for selling electricity etc giving a long rope for the lobbying segments to give excuses for delaying the implementation.

Do not be surprised if it takes another five years with the speed with which Govt works :))

The sad part is our industrialists are not adapting to  technological changes owing to the fear  of unfavourable ROI ( return on investment).

Hence a plan for smooth transition should be worked out. Otherwise, one day a disruptive strategy will be put forth by somebody -like Jio 4G- others would fall in line.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Hoysala Pillars-mystery solved

A solution is outlined in this post for the Hoysala Temple Pillar mystery.

The mystery is, how 900 years back, the builders could employ machining technology to carve out stone pillars having more than 10 to 12 feet high, weighing several tonnes.

For more details watch this video.   

The solution is not that difficult to figure out  once we realize that our ancestors were very resourceful in using animal power like oxen, horses and not to forget elephants for various purposes. Traditionally  oxen and horses were used in agriculture and drawing carts  while elephants were used to shift heavy logs and boulders in various construction activities undertaken by the kings or temples.

The kind of stones in Hoysala Culture belt is known as soft stones or soap stone. It is easy to work with chisel and hammer and not as hard as granite rocks.
If you are familiar with village ghani -used for oil extraction -you will understand that what I have figured out is nothing but an extension of that.  In the oil extractor the animal tied to the grinding -wooden-mortar goes around the expeller unit squeezing the oil seed between bowl and mortar.

What the engineers of ancient times have done is  to attach solid chisels to a frame that rotates around the stone pillar. The frame is rotated using animal power like elephants because to cut a stone needs lot of power.  As already elephants should have been there to move around the pillars or rocks during temple construction, it is logical to think that most probably they must of utilized elephants as source of power in carving out the delicate machining of the pillars.

( click on the figure to enlarge to view and read the details) 

Imagine what a grand sight it would have been, tens or hundreds of elephants simultaneously working in the complex and the amount of food for them being arranged !! 

What a magnificent scale the operations should have been ! This  kind of creativity could not have been possible but for peace prevailing in the kingdom. Essentially the civilization was at its peak in every respect, be it arts, literature or engineering.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Aadhar link to Mobile through OTP

In my last Post  I had expressed severe reservation of failure of biometric recognition in Aadhar. Now it is well confirmed that UIDAI  has come down to relax the requirement to OTP confirmation for linking the cell phone. No need to visit the store or biometry as per the latest notification. It is messaged through their twitter handle

Why Decemebr 1st ?  Why not with immediate effect ?  May be some technical glitch to set right!

How many SIM cards can be linked with one Aadhar card?

However the basic question which I raised remains " what is the purpose of biometry if it is going to fail in important  identifications or implementation?  How to make it more reliable and fail-safe ? These are the questions UIDAI ask themselves to offer better service to the nation.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Aadhar verification failing while linking mobile phones

One of the major claims of achievements of both governments (NaMo and Manmohan ) is the successful implementation of Aadhar card with its unique biometric tracking.

This is considered fool-proof  unlike Election ID cards where manipulation was rampant.

Anything has to stand the test of time before big claims are made. In case of Aadhar card it seems to be premature.

I can share my experience (five case studies) with regard to biometric verification. 

Case 1.  Self - BSNL -Bangalore - After the failure to get verification from any of the right hand fingers, the left thumb matched. My Aadhar got linked with my mobile -success

Case 2. A friend  65 years old. Same BSNL  office- None of the fingers in both hands could tally with Aadhar data base

Case 3.  His wife  58 years - Same as her husband , none of the finger prints could be tallied. 

They were sent back with an advice to visit Aadhar Kendra to update their biometric profile and they have time till end of December 2017

Case 4. Airtel , Bangalore.  My father, age 85.  Struggled for fifteen minutes. The  staff taking pity at the super senior citizen did not give their trials by repeatedly requesting him to place his finger in different orientations and finally managed to get one finger authenticated. Success due to the patience of the staff.

Case 5. Vodafone , Mysore, wife's mother age 80.  Spent nearly half an hour each at two different centres but could not get verified. She too was advised to visit Mysore-One Service Centre of Govt of Karnataka and update  the biometric profile. Subsequently  when visited the Mysore-One Kendra they informed that it is of no use and refused to carry out the update.

They advised that retina (or iris) verification is dependable as the finger prints are bound to differ due to skin wear and tear over a period of time.  The question is who is to tell the government. Meanwhile SMS keeps pouring in for linking the cell phone with Aadhar otherwise face disconnection.

It is only the tip of iceberg.  Imagine the  wastage of man hours involved in various mobile centres and millions struggling to get their mobiles linked to Aadhar.

The service person at Vodafone  said there is time till February. Good, the deadline  has been moved from Decemeber to February 2018. 

I understand that they are making  Aadhar Card  mandatory for school children also.  If adults themselves find it difficult how do one expect growing children to have matching biometrics  in the years to come?

Where is it going wrong? Is it in the sensitivity of sensors used or the training of staff  and how quickly it can be resolved ? 

If efficient governance is desired these are the questions to be urgently addressed. Otherwise Aadhar cards also will face natural death like Election ID cards.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Time that Home Appliances are made available in DC, too.

This Post is somewhat  a  sequel to  my earlier one in Novemeber 2016.

I made certain improvements for better data collection and utilization of electricity generated from my 2 KW roof top PV panels.

1) Extended the connection to Ground Floor with a change over switch and requested the tenents to use solar energy from morning  8 am to 5 pm everyday.  This had improved the average generation from 6.5 kwh per day 8.5 kwh  due to live consumption.

2) I attached a separate energy meter and measured the actual consumption. I wanted to know whether what is being generated is fully utilized or lost something due to inefficiency.

This is where I had a shock to find that only just about 55 %-60% of the generation is accounted in useful work. A closer watch helped me to understand that 25 to 30 % is lost in the MPPT inverter which goes on converting DC to AC  or AC to DC back and forth.

My search through internet revealed that each time  when this conversion takes place, there is a loss of 12 %. To put it simply  1) Solar to Inverter ( DC to AC)- 12% 2) Inverter to Battery ( AC to DC) -12% and  again Battery to Inverter ( DC to AC) another 12% ie  about 36% . This may vary with type of electical load, time of utilization, temperature etc.

Just see the values I recorded recently below :

What is shown in the red color is the consumption by the inverter for every kwh (or units) it deliverd. This is pretty constant showing that we are losing  0.41 kwh for every kwh used.  That is HUGE !!

What I understand is that, it is inevitable if we continue to use  230V AC home appliances. Best way  to reduce this loss is, to use appliances that run on Direct Current (DC).

Incidentally the DC appliance needs lesser energy compared to AC appliance to do the same job. For example  a 60 watt, AC ceiling  fan  can be replaced by  27 watts DC ceiling fan. This is attributed to better torque delivery by DC machines.
An interesting study at NIIT Trichy,  published in Dec 2016, showed that to operate a home wet grinder of same capacity, the DC motor needed lesser energy as compared to conventional AC motor.  This in turn reduced the number of Solar panels from 12 to 6 !!   They found similar trend with a dough making machine also.  IIT ( Madras) too taking efforts to promote the concept of Direct Current utiliztion in micro grids  to reduce the conversion losses.   

For a wider acceptance of solar roof top electricity generation, thus, the home appliances need to be made available by the OEMs ( Original Equipment Manufacturers). This also reduces the size of solar panels and overall investment to a great extent. This should dawn on the Policy Makers.

Now, Government  should step in - like they did to promote LED bulbs- through some subsidies or tax incentives to develop and promote DC appliances including refrigerators and air conditioners. This will pave way to decentralize energy generation towards self sustaining economic model.
I am sure in a few years this will become a reality and hence  I can do More with my investment than what I originally thought !!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Beware of Photoshop(ed) ADs

So much of confusion is created in the consumers' mind with the modern technological tools and many make believe stories are created everyday.

I came across this comparative photos 'Before & After' as part of anecdotal claim to make your teeth white and prevention of yellowing.

While I have no opinion about the product per se, what prompted me to write this post was they are trying to convince the reader using a digital manipulation technique.
It is very easy to see  both the pictures are identical  except for the color of the teeth. Compare the areas of red line on the left with that of right. 

If the product has taken some time to work ( ~ one month, if I recollect correctly) they cannot be identical with respect to light, angle of picture shot etc. 

Those who practice digital art know that it is very easy to change colors with a click of your mouse. It is no magic that the yellow becomes white or even any other color you wish.

Many whatsapp photos are also sent viral by this digital image manipulation. You can see a five headed cobra  or a big temple on a high rise boulder sitting in the lake etc. Whenever you see some unbelievable picture, look for smudge marks around the areas or color patch-up. These may not be visible in a smaller resolution pictures. If we magnify the same in picture editor it will show up. 

I only hope this manipulators don't have time to read this kind of posts. Otherwise in future they become smarter even to get trapped like this :))