Krishi Bhavan, Gate No. 6

Dateline: July 7th, 9:20 AM
Lobby of the Ministry of Rural Development, Gate No. 6, Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi.

Dear Diary:

Got here too early for my 10 AM meeting since I could not accurately estimate the time it would take me to find the place.

Immediately upon entering, stopped by security. One man in civilian clothes, apparently the receptionist, rudely commanded me to wait. He did not display the least hint of common courtesy.
Continue reading

What’s the Point of Inquiry?

Vivek Ladsariya asked me that question yesterday. It is the radio show and podcast of the Center for Inquiry. The mission statement of the Point of Inquiry says (in part):

“The purpose of Point of Inquiry is to contribute to the public understanding and appreciation of science and reason, and their applications to human conduct, and to promote skepticism of the paranormal and supernatural claims, which often benefit from no scrutiny in our overly-credulous culture.” Continue reading

Off to Delhi

The rains in Mumbai are intermittent and there is a good chance that I will be on board a flight to Delhi today for a couple of days. The Ministry of Rural Development is having a consultative meeting in Delhi on PURA (President Mr Kalam’s model) and the Secretary requested that I give my inputs on the implementation of the model.

The PURA model, in my professional opinion, is unworkable. Basic economic reasoning reveals why. However, usually in the Indian context, a contest between basic economic reason and political authority is usually decided by the majority of policy makers in favor of the authority. In time, the authority gets elevated to demigod status, statues are erected, streets and educational institutions are named after them, and school histry books tell children about their greatness. Back in reality-land, the results of the clash of reason and authority is decided in favor of basic economic principles and the implemented model fails spectacularly. But by then, the anonymous bureaucrats and policy makers are gone and cannot be held accountable; the politicians who pushed the scheme are demigods and are beyond scrutiny and reproach.

We slide a little bit closer to our destiny.

OK, I will report what happens in Delhi in a couple of days.

Through the Rains Darkly

Rain keeps falling down. Which is why, yesterday I had to spend over two hours at the Dadar railway station in Mumbai waiting for my train to Nasik. The tracks between VT station and Dadar were flooded and trains were running as much as 9 hours late. There was no place to sit in the crowded station. Finally I gave up and headed to crash for the night at a friend’s place. Today I wake up to see a rained out city. Here is a picture from around Haji Ali taken from the window of the 13th floor apartment.

Mumbai rains

The picture contrast has been enhanced and so it is difficult to make out the rain. Here is another picture which has not been fiddled with.

Rains in Mumbai

By way of contrast, here is a picture from a clear day–when you can see forever quite a distance.

On a clear day

On a brighter note, a piece of good news. The technical problem with my blog has been fixed. We are back to our regularly scheduled postings. 🙂

This Blog is Down

Well, most of the time it is simply not available and even when it is, most of the posts are not readable. Take the last bit to mean what you will. What I mean is, that if you click “More,” you get an error message. I have pointed this out to the powers that be, and they have predictably responded that they will look into the matter. But then I have heard it in the past and I am sure that I will hear it in the future as well.

In the meanwhile, my apologies to the visitors for the inconvenience. If this continues for too long, I will shift my blog platform. Pity, all the stuff that I have already written will be inaccessible. C’est la vie.