Monday, November 27, 2017

Universal Basic Income

Experts Say Universal Basic Income Would Boost US Economy by Staggering $2.5 Trillion
a $2.48 trillion increase in the nation's GDP after eight years of UBI. ....... In recent months, everyone from Elon Musk to Sir Richard Branson has come out in favor of universal basic income (UBI), a system in which every person receives a regular payment simply for being alive. ......... a “basic income” of $1,000 per month given to every adult, a “base income” of $500 per month given to every adult, and a “child allowance” of $250 per month for every child. The researchers concluded that the larger the sum, the more significant the positive economic impact. ...... the $1,000 basic income would grow the economy by 12.56 percent over the course of eight years ........ the researchers assumed that the UBI in the U.S. would be funded by increasing the federal deficit

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Demonetization: A Year Later

How India Is Moving Toward a Digital-First Economy
On November 8, 2016, India’s government did something that no other government had attempted before at the same scale: It decided to remove 86% of the country’s currency notes by value from circulation. Over the months that followed, more than 1 billion people participated in a “reboot” of the country’s financial and monetary system. .......... a threshold moment in India’s digital transformation. .......... a government payment system created in 2016 that was processing 100,000 transactions per month in October of that year, prior to the sudden demonetization. A year later, after demonetization, the same system is processing 76 million transactions per month. ........ the country’s economy is operating with $45 billion less cash than it did prior to demonization ......... the largest-scale tax reform ever implemented at a single time: the replacement of a complex web of 17 different taxes with a single Goods and Services Tax (GST). ......... in the first month after the introduction of the GST, over 1 million businesses registered with the system. In only the first few weeks after implementation, the increased transparency and digital data availability that are integral to the GST began to open up new sources of lending to small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). .......... the “India Stack.” ........ At the base of the stack — and thus at the beginning of India’s story of digital transformation — is a nationwide system of digital identity, generically termed the UID (Unique Identification) system, but more often in India referred to by its project name, Aadhaar. ........ Of the systems that have broken the 1-billion-user mark, many originated in the U.S. and are private-sector efforts — Facebook and Google being among the prominent examples. An exception is Aadhaar, which means “foundation” or “base” in a number of Indian languages, including Hindi. ........ Aadhaar is both the only non-U.S. technical system globally to have broken the 1-billion-user threshold and the only such system to have been developed by the public sector. ....... Aadhaar has the distinction of having reached 1 billion users the fastest; the services built on Aadhaar, through the interoperability that defines the India Stack have, in turn, built their own record of scale and scope. ......... India launched Aadhaar in 2009 with the then-improbable goal of giving every Indian a single digital identity in the form of a biometric authenticated 12-digit number. ....... a unique number based upon de-duplication of the applicants’ biometric information, their submitted iris scans and fingerprints. ....... the search for a “killer app” to prove the value of Aadhaar was elusive. While the ability to authenticate identity was now digital, bank accounts and payment systems were still paper-based — requiring separate and laborious Know Your Customer validation procedures that had the result of continuing to exclude a majority of people in India from accessing the benefits of banking. ........ Modi not only backed the system developed by the previous government but also dramatically increased its funding, broadened its scope, and — most important — amplified its impact. ........ Among the first actions the Modi government undertook was to launch the Pradhan Mantri Jan–Dhan Yojana (PMJDY, or Jan Dhan) financial inclusion program on August 28, 2014. On the very first day that Jan Dhan was implemented, the government created 10 million bank accounts using existing Aadhaar IDs in a paperless manner, at a fraction of the minimum previous customer acquisition costs. Since then, the government has created more than 300 million new, no-frills bank accounts. In additional to a free, zero-balance account, the Jan Dhan provides accident insurance coverage of 100,000 rupees (about US$1,500), along with an overdraft facility of 5,000 rupees (US$80) available for account holders — the point being to incentivize people to participate in the formal banking system. ......... Having a biometrically-verifiable identity number and a bank account created the potential for adding another layer to the service stack: mobile payments. With an identity to create a bank account, and a bank account to receive funds, the hundreds of millions of people eligible for the receipt of government services in India suddenly had a way to access those services digitally, from beginning to end. In India this digital infrastructure is nicknamed the “JAM” trinity, referring to innovative interlinking of Jan Dhan (low-cost bank accounts), Aadhaar (identity), and mobile numbers. The India Stack could now have four layers: an identity layer, a documents layer, a payments layer, and a transactions layer. ......... To understand the human impact of these changes, consider the plight of a mother in an Indian village who is eligible for a government subsidy to send her two daughters to school. Until less than two years ago, in order to avail herself of those funds she would have needed to fill out a form verifying her daughters’ attendance, get that form validated by the school, and bring that form to a government office. Assuming there were no impediments in the processing of the form — a big assumption — she would then have waited as the form traveled up the system to the point when a check would be issued to her in the amount of her benefits. To collect the check she would have needed to travel to a government office. If there turned out to be corruption in the office, she would have needed to produce a sum in cash equal to 15%–20% of the total amount before finally receiving the check. Then, of course, she would have needed to travel to a bank to cash the check. In the end, of the 2,000 rupees to which she was entitled, she would (in a good outcome) have received about 1,400 rupees, with the balance having gone to travel and corruption money........... If we consider this same situation using India Stack, the mother can use a tablet or smartphone to validate her identity using her Aadhaar number in the office of her daughters’ school. Her eligibility for the program is already in the system, and her Aadhaar number is now linked to the zero-balance bank account created for her under the Jan Dhan financial inclusion program. The workflow approves her request in a batch process. Within 24 to 48 hours she gets an alert on her phone that the full 2,000-rupee amount has been transferred to her bank account. ............ the India Stack is envisioned as new social infrastructure with the capacity to increase the resilience of Indian society to change, and thus to help propel India into the 21st-century digital economy. The deployment of the India Stack was one significant precondition for major structural reforms undertaken by the Modi government. This brings us back to demonetization and implementation of tax reforms. ........ The idea of accomplishing a dramatic shift in the nature of the economy with a set of suddenly implemented policies is not new. The “shock therapy” programs of the early 1990s, intended to accomplish the shift from socialist to market economies in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, were based on a similar premise. However, where those programs created an environment in which a few powerful individuals were able to appropriate vast quantities of formerly government-held assets, India’s digital shock therapy has — measurably and verifiably — accomplished the opposite: It has eliminated vast concentrations of “off-the-books” wealth, resetting the clock of development at a more equitable starting point. ........... When India underwent demonetization, the India Stack was suddenly and dramatically thrown into action. India’s own payments corporation launched the BHIM application, a digital payments platform using the Universal Payments Interface underlying the JAM trinity. BHIM became one of fastest-downloaded financial payments applications in recent history. The Universal Payments Interface system is very inclusive, such that it serves both smartphone and non-smartphone users, so every Indian can access banking and make payments digitally. .......... the Indian economy is operating with about $45 billion less cash than if demonetization had not taken place. Banks have far greater liquidity, SME lending is at an all-time high, and digital transactions have multiplied 760 times over in some cases. ......... Prior to the introduction of the GST, companies of any size in India had to keep track of no fewer than 17 different categories of taxes on sales and transactions, including state-level value-added taxes and levies on the interstate transportation of goods. On July 1, 2017, all 17 of those taxes were subsumed into one tax: the GST. ......... an opaque and irrational system that had developed over decades, and that varied across states, was replaced by a simple, transparent system applicable nationwide. ........ India is adding almost 110 million smartphone users every year, and is on the verge of launching Aadhaar-compliant devices with biometric authentication built into phones and tablets. The power of the JAM trinity will come into full force when transactions are enabled using Aadhaar and biometric authentication, creating a system that is not only cashless but cardless. Already, a new entrant into telecommunications service in India has succeeded in using the India Stack to enroll 108 million consumers in 170 days with a totally paperless, mobile-centric manner — in the process achieving customer acquisition costs of less than $1 (USD) per customer, compared with the prior industry standard of $25. ......... India’s development was inequitable and inconsistent for far too long; the country still has a long way to go. The societal challenges created by digital disruption, challenges both expected and unintended, are real. They will be addressed only with a combination of administrative humility and entrepreneurial determination. But the long-term benefits are real. The reality is that India is moving into the future at an unprecedented rate. And the path it is taking to get there is digital.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Binge Watching Two Seasons Of Quantico

Binge Watching Two Seasons Of Quantico
  • The Big News Is Priyanka
  • Too Much Reliance On Unexpected Plot Twists
  • The Setting Is A Concrete Message
  • Cultural And Gender Diversity Is Social Sci-Fi
  • Gunning For A Global Audience From The Get Go
  • TV: A Medium All Its Own
  • Wither Hollywood?
  • Season 1 Dramatic End: Well Handled
  • The Segway
  • Democracy's Propaganda?
  • What Next?
  • Season 2 Vs Season 1 Vs Season 3
  • The Trio: Alex, Shelby, Raina/Nimah
  • Critique
  • Quantico

I have binge-watched a few others as well: House Of Cards, 24, Amitabh Bachchan's Yudh. And Quantico is of comparable quality. It too is gripping. But this is not a movie on TV, it is just a different format. A marathon is not just a longer race. It is a different flavor, a different animal altogether. I can't imagine a movie Quantico. But I can imagine a gaming experience Quantico. The show relies heavily on unexpected plot twists and would be a perfect game plot.

The Big News Is Priyanka

Priyanka is a first. A Bollywood-Hollywood crossover has not happened before at this level and scale. She is a cultural phenomenon or rather a cross-cultural phenomenon. There is a reason the Alex Parrish and not the Ryan Booth character has made it to Time 100 or the Forbes 100. although both play very important roles in the show.

PC's move is borderline geopolitical. It is also a gender statement. Hollywood remains white. But TV has thrown up Quantico and several other shows where people from non-traditional backgrounds are in starring roles. But India is not just another country. It is a continent all on its own. And that's what makes PC different. That she has not broken into the LA scene with an equal splash - yet - might be a hint at the fast-changing movie making trends. Maybe the right positioning for her is global and not necessarily the US proper. Quantico Season 1 was a big hit worldwide.

Too Much Reliance On Unexpected Plot Twists

It must be the need to get the viewers to keep coming back week after week. Granted you have to get the eyeballs or you are no longer in business. Granted holding attention for 20 hours is more than 10 times as challenging as holding attention for two. But the FBI is the FBI and movies are movies. The dramatic pace has to be kept up. But I thought there was a little too much reliance on unexpected plot twists.

The Setting Is The Concrete Message

I read somewhere once one thing Robert DeNiro made a point to work on was to make sure he dressed and looked just like the character he was set to play. It was not just about the thought process and the emotion of the moment. The physicality mattered big time. The physical settings of the show's episodes and the component scenes are a major accomplishment. If the idea is to make the audience more sympathetic to the institution that is the FBI, mission accomplished. If the idea is to get the FBI to attempt and become a more culturally diverse place, message delivered. If the idea is to get the audience to step inside the FBI for a second, done and done.

Cultural Diversity Is Social Sci-Fi

There is science fiction, and then there is social science fiction. An FBI agent is a white male. Everyone knows that. That is the image. That is the bias. That is the fact. That is the stereotype. That is America's original sin. In the show trainees and instructors come in all sorts of cultural and gender flavors. That is the social sci-fi part. It has not happened yet but will happen down the line. One hopes so. I mean, if you can make a hijab or two sit comfortably on heads, that is a point to be noted.

Gunning For A Global Audience From The Get Go

Hollywood makes the majority of its money outside of America these days. PC taking the lead in Quantico has been a top Bollywood star coming to America. That gets said. But equally it has been Hollywood prying open the Indian market, the global market. There are a lot of young women around the world today who work professional jobs and spend money on entertainment, among other things. PC's face speaks to them.

TV: A Medium All Its Own

TV is not lesser than the movie theater. At least, not anymore. It is self-sufficient as a medium. Shows like Quantico celebrate that. In fact, the web is a more natural extension to TV, it's not the movie theater. I binge watched on Netflix.

Wither Hollywood?

Hollywood has its advantages in LA just like Silicon Valley is a geographical location with its advantages. Both are doing great. But just like you could launch a tech startup most places on the planet today, you can make a good movie anywhere these days.

Season 1 Dramatic End: Well Handled

As I watched the final episode of the first season, especially the final moments, I was prepared to forgive the overuse of dramatic plot twists, because the end was very well planned, and even the dramatic plot twists perhaps drive home the larger point that the FBI as an organization struggles with itself as much as it struggles with the world it finds itself in. After all, it is people on both sides of that thin membrane that separates.

One season is almost 16 hours. This material could not have been given the right treatment in a two-hour movie. This is not a mini-me version of a blockbuster movie. The movie format is small. This format is bigger.

The Segway

9/11 caught the intelligence agencies of this country napping at the wheel. They were caught not talking to each other. A major counterterrorism effort since has been about breaking down the walls and barriers, about intelligence agencies not only within but also across countries talking to each other. The segway from one season of Quantico to the next pays homage to that. The FBI and the CIA kind of talk. Agent Parrish is a human bridge. It is symbolic.

Democracy's Propaganda?

Both seasons of Quantico do a wonderful job of the viewers becoming a little bit more informed, a little bit more sympathetic to the doings of the FBI, the CIA, and the like agencies. But this is a private sector venture hinging on the size of viewership. It is democracy working. The hard questions do get asked, scenarios do get imagined in the process. Is the FBI its own worst enemy? Is the CIA its own worst enemy? Viewer discretion is advised. Democracy or no democracy, Quantico is great drama, makes for great television.

What Next?

Baywatch was a dud (not in China, though), and not Priyanka Chopra's blockbuster Hollywood debut her fans expected it to be. But Quantico is still on, there is a season 3, and PC will likely have the last laugh on bigger things. She did 50 movies in Bollywood. Many top Hollywood actors have retired before hitting that kind of number. But nothing she did in Bollywood remotely approaches her role in Quantico, her best screen persona yet. The role is the woman taking her rightful place in the most precarious of situations. Perhaps there is a corporate version of that that would be even more riveting, more global and fitting multiple screen sizes all at once, gaming included. When you have India, America, and China already in your bag, you perhaps target Russia next.

Season 2 Vs Season 1 Vs Season 3

Data shows the viewership for Season 2 has been lower than the viewership for Season 1. I can see why. The formula of relentless plot twists does not work as well for political intrigue as it does for sheer physical action. The mind starts spinning and you lose people. Also, Season 1 had the freshness of the FBI training school. I don't know yet what Season 3 is about, but if it be about physical action in the Global South (like Jason Bourne in Tangiers) the viewership could again spike. But, I must say, it was kind of nice to see a woman president.

The Trio: Alex, Shelby, Raina/Nimah

Alex, Shelby and Raina/Nimah make for a powerful trio. The Alex-Ryan pairing does a good job of showing the toll life as a FBI/CIA agent can take on one's private life. Often it is hard even for a fellow agent to understand you. But once it is firmly established as to who the more gifted partner is, it is smoother sailing. Some small roles like Simon and Harry truly stand out. Conflicted emotions make for great drama.


The writer(s) of the show obviously is better at spy action than at political intrigue and should go back to spy action. An international backdrop would be exotic now. Alex and team collaborating with foreign intelligence agencies on their territories (the narco wars in Latin America, the Middle East with the obvious terrorism angles, Pakistan, South China Sea, Korea, Kenya) would provide so much more room for unexpected plot twists. Street scenes in densely populated countries look great on camera. Fight scenes on such streets give so much more room for choreography. There are numerous movie parts, and there is a huge in your face human element.


It is a great TV show that would make for a great XBox game. You would allow gamers to let decide on multiple outcomes. There is also market for merchandise. There are women out there who would like to the Alex Parrish look, obviously. Creating multiple revenue streams might give the show a Season 4, and a Season 5, and a Season 6 perhaps. It should not be a US first release. The release ought be global. There's terrorism, there's cybercrime, there's human trafficking, there are civil wars, there are riots. Alex Parrish would shine in each such scenario. And it would be exotic to show the ground reality of law enforcement across diverse countries.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Women Wage Peace

Afghanistan, Pakistan

The key to solving the puzzle of Afghanistan is Pakistan
Why, after 14 years of American military efforts, is Afghanistan still so fragile? The country has a democratically elected government widely viewed as legitimate. Poll after poll suggests that the Taliban are unpopular. The Afghan army fights fiercely and loyally. And yet, the Taliban always come back. ......... Mansour lives part time in Quetta, the New York Times reports, “in an enclave where he and some other Taliban leaders . . . have built homes.” His predecessor, Mohammad Omar, we now know, died a while ago in Karachi. And of course, we remember that Osama bin Laden lived for many years in a compound in Abbottabad. All three of these cities are in Pakistan. ........ the insurgency against that government is shaped, aided and armed from across the border by one of the world’s most powerful armies. ...... It is fundamental, and unless it is confronted, the Taliban will never be defeated. It is an old adage that no counterinsurgency has ever succeeded when the rebels have had a haven. In this case, the rebels have a nuclear-armed sponsor. ....... Pakistan has mastered the art of pretending to help the United States while actually supporting its most deadly foes. ....... Omar has been dead for two years, while Pakistani officials have been facilitating “contacts” and “talks” with him. ..... young Pashtun jihadis schooled in radical Islam at Pakistani madrasas. (“Talib” means student.) ..... “Pakistan has always worried that the natural order of things would be for Afghanistan to come under the sway of India, the giant of the subcontinent. ....... see reality for what it is: “When you are lied to and you don’t respond, you are encouraging more lies.” ..... Pakistan is a time bomb. It ranks 43rd in the world in terms of its economy, according to the World Bank, but has the sixth-largest armed forces. It has the fastest-growing nuclear arsenal, and the most opaque. It maintains close ties with some of the world’s most brutal terrorists. By some estimates, its military consumes 26 percent of all tax receipts, while the country has 5.5 million children who don’t attend school . As long as this military and its mind-set are unchecked and unreformed, the United States will face a strategic collapse as it withdraws its forces from the region.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

The North Korea Question

Trump’s policy toward North Korea is founded on false assumptions that the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, will give up his nuclear weapons, that China can save the day and that military options are real...... a war here would be not just a regional disaster but a nuclear cataclysm. ....... the American military estimated back in 1994 that another Korean war would cause one million casualties and $1 trillion in damage. Today, with the possibility of an exchange of nuclear weapons, the toll could be far greater: One recent study suggested that if North Korea detonated nuclear weapons over Tokyo and Seoul, deaths in those two cities alone could exceed two million........ both sides are fearful of appearing weak and are trying to intimidate the other with military bluster, but that each would prefer a peaceful resolution — yet doesn’t know how to get there politically.
How about Trump and Kim holding summit talks Reagan Gorbachev style? That is better than the military option that is not even an option. This is not about political ideology. This is about avoiding nuclear catastrophe.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

भारत १५% कर सकता है

जब अमरिका बेलायत जैसे देश समृद्ध हुवे तो उस समय उनके लिए ५% तो क्या ३% भी बहुत हुवा करता था। शताब्दी लगाते थे। समय तो कोइ गिन नहीं रहा था। जब चीन ने १९९० में छलांग मारने की सोंची तो उसने १०% कर दिखाया। न कोइ रिसेशन न कुछ। दशकों तक १०% । लेकिन भारत आज ६% पर है तो सब तौबा तौबा कर रहे हैं। एक समय आएगा जब भारत १०% कर रहा होगा। लेकिन वो १०% भी कम मानो। भारत १५% कर सकता है। Complete digitization, total electrification, absolutely clean energy, total transparency.

Modi's 2019: Contested And Won Already

Monday, September 18, 2017

Skipping Traditional Infrastructure In Rwanda

Indians skipped landline phones. They went straight to mobile phones. Now looks like Rwanda is going straight to drones, skipping roads and bridges.
“Countries like Rwanda can make decisions fast and can implement new technologies in concert with new regulations fast, so we’re now in a position where the US is trying to follow Rwanda,” says Keller Rinaudo, CEO and co-founder of Zipline. “They’re not trying to catch up to US infrastructure. They’re just leapfrogging roads and trucks and motorcycles and going to a new type of infrastructure.”

In early 2018, Zipline will officially kick off the world’s largest delivery drone service in Tanzania, Rwanda’s much larger neighbor. The Tanzanian government aims to use Zipline’s delivery drones to make up to 2,000 deliveries of medical supplies per day. Those deliveries of supplies such as blood products, medicines, and snake antivenom will go to more than 1,000 hospitals and clinics serving 10 million people. An operation at this scale will dwarf anything previously attempted in the drone-delivery universe.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Priyanka Chopra's Unique Position To Influence

PC, having straddled the two biggest movie industries on the planet (by production volume and dollar volume) - Mumbai and Hollywood - is uniquely placed to influence how men and women see women.

Bruce Lee did not start out wanting to make movies. He was a martial arts innovator. But he got into movies because he figured that was the best way to reach out and teach the largest possible number of people. He was right. 

She acts, but also has her own production house. And she sure cares. 

She knows marketing Indian style, she knows marketing American style, and she knows marketing Chinese style. Her much anticipated Baywatch movie did so so in the US but earned major dollars in China.

I love to cook, time permitting. There is a secret recipe behind this chutney that I am willing to open source. The taste is an absolute delight, if you like it "hot." The top quality is it is super healthy. I also make pizza with whole wheat flour. मैदा स्वास्थ्य के लिए अच्छा नहीं होता। I make exceptionally good chicken curry, goat curry and fish curry. I make decent vegetable curries. दाल भी बहोत अच्छा बना लेते हैं। But enough bragging. चावल बनाने का अपना अलग स्टाइल है। लेकिन मेरा recommendation है रोटी खाओ। (रोटी बनाना नहीं आता) Health is supreme. Body Mass Index (BMI) ठीक रखो। Smoothie एक favorite item है। Grinder जिन्दाबाद। ये चटनी भी मुख्य रूप से Grinder में ही बना।
A post shared by Paramendra Kumar Bhagat (@paramendra) on

A post shared by Paramendra Kumar Bhagat (@paramendra) on

Gender is a social construct. Men can learn to take care of babies. Men can learn to cook. No problem. It is also about this point in time. The global economy is fast becoming a knowledge economy. Women, when given a chance, seem to have a leg up there. Many American colleges now make a point to admit enough men for gender parity even though their test scores suck.

I think there is room for a movie character who will lead the way on gender role transformation. I think there is room for a movie franchise around that character. I am thinking one movie every three to four years. A female James Bond, if you will, only she is not a government spy. She is a corporate leader on the cutting edges of technology and innovation. But movies being movies there are plenty of action scenes, sure.

मैंने एक script पर काम शुरू कर दिया है। Working draft हाथ में आ जाए तो पेश करूंगा।

A Movie Production House Big Enough For PC

I think there is room to build a company around the idea. The Internet could be the central distribution channel for the franchise.

So it is a challenge in gender role transformation, movie making (gotta use the latest in computer animation technology), as well as riding the wave of video as a medium getting mainstream online because soon gigabit will be all the rage in most parts of the world.

This is to be social science fiction. Has to feel like science fiction.

Monday, September 11, 2017

बिजली, पानी, इंटरनेट और Access To Credit

सबसे जोड़ access to credit पर होना चाहिए। जिसको अमरिका में small business sector कहा जाता है और इंडिया में जिसे informal sector कह के dismiss कर दिया जाता है, भारतके अर्थतन्त्रका सबसे महत्वपुर्ण हिस्सा वही तो है। Job creation होगा तो उसी सेक्टर में होगा नहीं तो नहीं।

आधार revolutionary चीज है। Biometric ID से रास्ते खुलते हैं। विश्वके प्रत्येक व्यक्ति तक इसे पहुँचाना होगा। छोटेमोटे प्रत्येक बिजनेसकी रजिस्ट्रेशन उतना ही आसान कर दो। प्रत्येक चायवाला लोन ले सके ऐसा कर दो। Job creation आप हो जाएगी। Small business सेक्टर को एक पांच साल का टैक्स holiday ही दे दो। नहीं तो taxman के डर से बिना कारण बहुतों रजिस्ट्रेशन ही ना करबायें। और बगैर रजिस्ट्रेशन के वो बैंकिंग सेक्टर से जुड़ सकते नहीं। Demonetization का एक बड़ा फायदा ये हुवा कि जो बहुत पैसा बैंक में न था वो अब सब बैंकों में जमा हो गया है। मोदी FDI के लिए दर दर भटक रहे थे। पुँजी घर के भितर ही पड़ा था काफी। Now the banks can lend more. उतना ही नहीं बैंको पर प्रेशर बढ़ गया है। लोगों को बिजनेस लोन नहीं देंगे तो कैसे होगा? बैंक में जमा किया गया पैसा ब्याज मांगता है।

प्रत्येक गाओं तक गीगाबिट हाई स्पीड इंटरनेट पहुँचाना --- प्रत्येक भारतीय को कॉलेज डिग्री दिलाने का इससे अच्छा इससे सस्ता तरिका क्या हो सकता है? गाओं गाओं में हाई स्पीड इंटरनेट पहुँच गया तो फिर उसके बाद किसी को सरकारी दफ्तर जाना ही क्यों?

प्रत्येक को स्वच्छ पिने का पानी मिल गया तो स्वास्थ्य के हिसाब से एक ट्रिलियन डॉलर का फायदा समझो। वो और सुबह सुबह एक घंटा योग। मैं RSS का कोई बड़ा फैन नहीं हुँ लेकिन अगर उसी बहाने सबके सब सुबह योग करने लगें तो मैं कहुँ सब ज्वाइन कर लो।

प्रत्येक चायवाला को access to credit मिला कि नहीं? उसी प्रश्न के जवाब में मोदी का भविष्य है।

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Modi's Remarkable Political Maneuvers Are Nobel Peace Prize Size

Of all the heads of state on the world stage right now, Modi is the most remarkable. He promises to be the economic Gandhi of India, the Deng Xiaoping, the Lee Kuan Yew. None of the three - the Mahatma, Deng, or Lee - had to contest elections like Modi has to. And it is not just every five or four years. In India a France size election is just round the corner all the time.In that sense India is not just the largest democracy. It is a perpetual democracy. 

The true test of political leadership is if you can get the people to make short term sacrifice for long term gain, and Modi seems to have managed to do it. His grand moves of demonetization and the GST ("good and simple tax" in his words) might have dragged the growth rate down from a high of 7.9% to a still impressive 5.7% but without demonetization and the GST perhaps India could not have aspired for a growth rate of 10% or more. Now it can. 

But Modi does not have the luxury of time. The growth rate has to now go past at least 8% before he has to go back to the people in 2019 to renew his personal mandate. 

Job creation is a major hurdle. It will happen or not in the so called informal sector. Making available credit to the chaiwalas (tea sellers) of India is what will do the trick. 

On the political front Modi seems to be defying gravity. He repeated his total sweep of Uttar Pradesh. Nitish Kumar, projected by many as his most likely rival in 2019, has instead switched sides and joined him again. This would be like if John McCain were to join the Democratic Party.

Modi's challenge is to remain Prime Minister for at least 15 more years and give India sustained double digit growth rates, and then give the country a successor who will continue on that double digit path. All electoral victories however impressive will not mean much unless that economic objective is met. So far he shows all signs he will deliver. 

In his very first year as PM Modi successfully concluded India's border dispute with Bangladesh. The dispute made the Israel Palestine land dispute look like a piece of cake. Just recently he got China to step back from potential war, or at least a skirmish. These are Nobel Peace Prize size political moves. A prize that he deserves, by the way. But it will be Gandhiesque if he does not get it. There is no telling he will not fall into the white blind spot. This is Time magazine Man Of The Decade if you ask me. 

The thorn in his side continues to be the extreme right wing of his own organization. Hindu pride is fine. But anti-Muslim intolerance is offensive. If ever the BJP ends up in disgrace, that social weakness is going to be the reason why. It is the same God both Hindus and Muslims pray to. Five blind men are touching the same elephant. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

The World Needs To Move Towards A World Government

The debate if the 21st century will continue to be an American century, or if it will become an Asian century is moot. This is not even going to be an Internet century. The Blockchain will prove bigger than the Internet, and bigger still technological trends are right around the corner. The nation state itself is about to be shown its place. It is high time the world moved towards creating a world government. One person one vote has to be the basic premise.

Third Culture Kid (TCK) Barack Obama is best positioned to be George Washington to the world. He was born to a Kenyan in Hawaii, he grew up in Indonesia as a kid, he was America's first black president, and he did a decent job of steering America after a Great Depression like economic event. His Obamacare was so well placed, the opposition party, despite having all three branches of government at its disposal, has not been able to dislodge it, despite having opposed it non stop right from its enactment.

India leads on the biometric ID front. And Narendra Modi has acquired a Deng Xiaoping, Lee Kuan Yew like stature. Add to that India's population size and history of democracy, and that puts Modi in a strong place to help architect the world government.

The world government would be a new layer of government at the very top, just like the local level, the state level, the national level. It is the roof all national governments need.

One per cent of GDP should be the tax each national government ought to pay for membership. By the time the world government is put in place, the UN and all similar world bodies ought to be subsumed by the new world government. Take that World Bank, IMF, the International Criminal Court. Three branches make sense. You would not need a separate WTO, or G7, or G20.

New York City would be the legitimate capital, it still is the most diverse city on the planet.

You could have a bicameral legislature. In the lower house, each nation would have a voting weight in direct proportion to its population. In the upper house the voting weight would be in proportion to the size of the economy. At first the two houses would elect the President of the World. But soon enough perhaps the POW could be elected directly by people all over the world voting on their smartphones.

A world with a world government will have to become a borderless world. Maybe not as step one, but soon enough. How about the magic bullet with which to double the global GDP!