Thursday, September 25, 2008

Went to see movie 'Wednesday' on Sunday Matinee show in PVR Juhu.
Surprise, Surprise !! In the crowd of some 150 people, Elderly and Senior Citizens outnumbered youth by 3:1. Quite a few Senior Citizens were being helped by their Children and Grand Children.

Car Thefts in Mumbai

News item that Mumbai Police have decided to take Car Thefts seriously will gladden Car Owners in Mumbai. Following illustrates the state affairs prevailing in Mumbai before Ahmadabad Blasts where cars stolen from Mumbai were used.

A friend's old Maruti 1000 was stolen from the bylanes of Santacruze-west last year. He went to nearest Police Station to register his complaint. They noted his Car Number.He was told to come after few days and to look for his car in Mumbai as it may be abondoned after using it for some illegal activities. May be his car was stolen for Joyride by college students. If he filed complaint then if found, he will have to recover it through court after due legal process.

After a week, when his car was not found, his complaint was registered. For 3-4 months nothing happened. Then one day he received a call from Police that his car was found abandoned in Parla-East. He was asked to identify his car.

When he saw his car, he was shocked !!. It was apperent that car was involved in a major accident and was damaged extensively. It must have been an accident where someone must have been injured and matter reported to Police. But Police had no info regarding the accident.

From this it is easy to understand why terrorist can strike wherever and whenever they choose. There is systemic failure at all level,primarily due to corruption. You can get Fake Birth Certificate of municipal Corporation, Ration card, by bribing concerned Inspector/Officer.There are agents who will do this for you. This can be used to make Car Driving Licence( One of the easiest thing to do in Mumbai),PAN card, Voters ID. Now how far away are you from getting Passport? If you have Immigration Officers dancing with Bar Girls in Lonavala, its easy to enter and leave India even when Look out notice is iisued. No wonder there are 25 Million illegal (!) Bangladeshis in India and according to IB they pose major threat to our Security. Is it surprising that we have highest number of Terrorist attacks after war torn Iraq ?.

When Cancer has spread so much and nation is in final stage,do you think we can save our country from Terrorists?---PK

Friday, September 19, 2008

Prepared to Fight Terror

Had gone for late night show in Versova Multiplex. Famous Music Composer/ Singer/Reality show Judge/Actor and now Star had also come to see movie. He was provided Security by Govt.. A Sub Inspector accompanied the star, like Mary's Lamb. Star was strolling in the Foyer, in deep conversation with friend. S.I. was following them, keeping a respectable distance.

Experts lament that we do not have sufficient number of Security personnel to tackle terrorist attacks. Our intelligence gathering is poor. After targeting Delhi, it is feared that now Mumbai will be the next target and we are using fully trained person to provide protection to a star. Govt. can ask and authorize Private Agencies to provide armed Bodygaurds to famous people. Hollywood stars have their own Security.

What about morale of the Sub Inspector? After taking training and with ambition to do exemplary work in Police force, he is posted to follow a star and provide protection !!. Is he enjoying his work or is bored and disillusionised?.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

VP Nominee Gov.Palin

It's R.N.C. time in US and after managing Storm Gustav successfuly, Party has turned its attention to RNC. They want to make it as Vibrant and successful as DNC to energize voters. Gov. Palin's speech was hard hitting and effective.Unlike Bush and Mccain, Palin can wow the crowd and can get standing ovation. she is one very effective speaker.

All through the week Democrats attacked her for lack of experience. Their concern is that she is Heartbeat away from Presidency and she can not be effective President in case McCain kicks the Bucket during Presidency.

Now this is mean and absurd. Agreed, at 70 McCain is older than any other Presidential Nominee.But that doesnt mean that he may die in next 4-8 yrs. India had Prime Ministers who were older than Senator McCain when they took office.

It's absurd to talk about Gov. Palin's inexpirience cause Democratic Nominee Senator Obama has no leadership experience at all. As Rudy Giuliani said in his speech, Obama's experience amounts to total 3 years as Junior Senator from Illinois. He doesnt have great record as Senator.( Forget all the spin after his nomination).

Gov. Palin is Pro life. She has a son with Downs Syndrome and she did not terminate the pregnancy deciding to have the child, who may require life long support from her. Her unmarried daughter is 5 months Pregnant and She has decided to keep the baby. If she is ready to face challenges for her beliefs and convictions then it shows her strength and determination. What more can one ask from Politicians.? Contrast this with what happened during Trust vote in Indian Parliament.--- PK

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kashmir Crisis

In May 2008, Kashmir Valley was peaceful.Thousands of tourists were visiting Kashmir. Peace with Elections just few months away lulled everyone to believe that now Kashmir had turned the corner and will join mainstream like all other states with periodic hiccup and all. In May a perfectly logical order was passed by the State Cabinet. Order transfered temporarily, 40 hectors of forest land near Shri Amarnath Cave to build Pre -Fabricated structure to house Pilgrims during 2 months of Yatra. This was not communicated properly to people of J & K by Congress Govt. Separatist, marginalized and loosing support in the valley, grabbed this opportunity and started misinformation campaign. Both Govt. at Center and State were inept. Separatist could convince Vally that Governor had plan to settle Hindus in the alloted land and change the Demography of the region!!. How absurd is this!!!. Center or State Govt. could not resettle 'Ethnically cleansed' Kashmiri Pandits in the valley for 20 yrs and Pandits are living in most inhuman conditions in refugee(!) camps in Jammu. Can anyone believe that this Govt. can change demography in Vally in favour of Hindus?
Agitation started in Kashmir and PDP and NC joined it so as not to loose support in Kashmir. As usual, when faced with opposition and threat from separatist, Congress Govt. gave in and revoked the order to appease separatist. This changed the complexion of this agitation. Jammu region felt betrayed and started agitation against revocation order. And unexpectedly this agitation was as widespread and violent as agitation in Kashmir. For the first time there was ' Intifada' in Jammu. Protestors throwing stones at security forces, Curfew orders couldn't be implemented, Govt. property destroyed, roads blocked and burning of cars, tyres everywhere. In Jammu, Kashmiri & Congress leaders faced peoples wrath.Their houses and property destroyed. They were physically assaulted. Jammu's only demand-non negotiable- is to revoke the order and allot land to shrine Board.

Journalists,TV anchors like Padmashri Barkha,Rajdeep and Karan Thaper et al had multiple programs, where leaders from all political parties in India and Kashmir, Separatists like Mirwaiz,Lone,Mehbooba and Mallik and S.A.S.S. leaders have participated. There is 'grave' danger. Kashmir is angry and agitation is led & fueled by teenagers. So called Children of Conflict. Jammu is also very angry and there also non political teenagers are leading the agitation, employing the same tactics used by agitators in Kashmir. Everyone blames Central and State Govt. for it's inept handling of the crisis when it started.Everyone wants Center to hold talk immediately.Everyone is shocked at the way PMO and Govt. is procrastinating. But the problem is What should PMO & Govt. talk at these meetings?

Strong agitation in Jammu has left Govt. with almost no options. Kashmiri leaders wont agree to give land to SASB. So Jammu will continue their agitation. Blocking of Srinagar Highway may have fueled the separatist movt. in Kashmir but it has also shown what is in store for Kashmir if Jammu is not with them. Mujaffarabad road is option but it has its own consequences.Even Pakistan is not very happy with the idea. Earlier Kashmiri leaders could threaten to cede from India and could wrest any concession from Delhi. Unfortunately this time giving more sops to Kashmir wont stop agitation in Jammu, rather it will fuel it further as Jammu can charge Delhi for appeasing secessionist and favoring them over 'Nationalist' Jammu. So no one is able to answer 'what next?'. Even Azadi will not come in month or two. Azad Kashmir as viable state will be subject matter for another post. Kashmiri leaders are not fools. They have milked this 'Azadi' demand for last 20 yrs and have done exceedingly well for the state. This year Indian Tax payers will pay Rs. 11510 Crore to state or Rs. 11510 to each Kashmiri to shout Anti Indian slogan and burn Indian Tricolor !!!. Unfortunately this time they picked up a wrong issue to demand Azadi and even they don't know how to wriggle out of this.
Lets hope that atleast now matter will be finally settled once for all. Either this way or that.---PK

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why this Double Standard ?

Last week in Orissa, VHP leader Swami Lakshmananand Saraswati was shot dead in his Ashram. Four other followers of the swami were also killed in the attack. Initial report that Maoist had attacked the Ashram and killed the swami was put out by local administration. But it has emerged that it was preplanned attack carried out by Christian group whose Religious Conversions were opposed by late Swami who had informed state Govt. time and again about threat to his life from these Christian groups.

As was expected, VHP called for the State Bandh which turned violent and mobs attacked Churches,Christian run Edu. Institutes and orphanages and Christian homes. This was widely and repeatedly reported on National T.V. and media.

Why such double standard? Compare this to murder of Graham Stein.All hell broke loose when Christian Missionary was burned alive in 1999 in Orissa. But when Hindu Saint is killed then there is deadly silence!!. Are all Christian Missionaries saints? History doesnt support this. They are ruthless killers when they are spreading Catholicism. American Indian Civilization in N.America, Inca Civilization in S. America, all local Tribal Civilizations in Africa, N.E.India and S. E.Asia were wiped off by Christian Missionaries with the help of the European rulers. In Asia they were in violent conflict with Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists and couldnt make much headway. One of the reason for 1857 Mutiny was fear of religious conversion of Muslims and Hindus to Christianity.

So murders and atrocities committed by Christian groups are kosher and any retaliatory action by VHP or Hindu group- should be highlighted and condemned in strongest terms on TV and Media. Ethenic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits is not even mentioned in press.(It is called exodus of Pandits from Valley!!) This double standard against Hindus has led to simmering discontent among Hindus and its erupts in inhuman acts of violence as witnessed in Gujarat and Orrissa. It becomes much more difficult to rein in attackers by the saner element of Hindu community. India must be the only nation where religious majority is pilloried day in and day out for its religious beliefs and practices. Even in U.S. Catholic issues like Abortion are major presidential Election issues and Candidates vie for support from conservative Christian religious groups and Church. Orthodox Christian/Muslim/Jewish beliefs and practices are no better than their Hindu counterpart. Hindus are slowly developing siege mentality and if majority Hindu community becomes intolerant of other religious groups then it will be disaster for India. ----PK

Will there be change?

Relative was arriving from San Fransisco by Jet Airways. Scheduled arrival time was 8.45 am. As Typhoon was expected to hit Hongkong I phoned Mumbai airport for ETA. Jet Airways informed me that flight was arriving before time and ETA was 7.05 am!!. I rushed to the Airport. Arrival monitor on Mumbai Airport was displaying ETA for the flight as 8.45 am / on time. Flight landed at 7.05 am ,passengers started coming out at 7.45 am but Airport arrival Monitor did not indicate that flight has landed. Why we cant manage such simple things on International Airport is beyond my understanding. Railways under our Lalu Prasad is doing better job of providing real time info.---PK

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Road Travel travails

On long Independence day weekend,our group had planned to spend the weekend in Daman. A friend has just bought Beachfront Bunglow in Moti Daman. Daman,a former Portugese colony's fame as a travel destination rests on fact that it is surrounded on three side by Dry Gujrat state. Fourth side is Sea but unlike Goa,Daman Beach is rocky where most of the Hotels are. Beach in Moti Daman is Sandy but sand is Blackish and beach is dirty.So swimming is not very popular on Daman beaches. Like Goa, Booze is really cheap but there are no shacks.

Trouble with all the weekend gateaways around Mumbai is travel time to & from destination.Khandala and Lonavala are now easy to reach thanks to Expressway. But road to Daman,Selvassa,Manor -Mumbai-Amdavad highway,is bad between Mumbai & Manor. Its part of Golden Quadrilatral but Congress Govts.have never paid any attention to Roads. Though Daman is Just 130 Kms from Borivli,travel time is usually 4hrs or so. Return journey is especially bad in Sirsad-Vasai belt and traffic jams stretching for 3-4 kms and lasting some 2-3 hrs is common. That's why no one likes to travel by road to Gujrat. People from South Gujrat, start in the morning to catch midnight International flights from Mumbai airport!!.This is going on for years but there is no improvement in road up to Maharastra border. On Gujrat side roads are good and express ways are built between main cities.

Regular travellers start very early from Mumbai,to avoid traffic. But when one is on vacation then why should one get up at ungodly hour? So as expected we were caught up in traffic upto Manor. It took us some 3 hrs to reach Manor. Everyone is so tired that Kamat Restaurant is God sent for Mind,mood,stomach and Bladder!!. Traveling in U.S.-esp. road travel is such a pleasure. One can take regular halts and can expect good restaurants and restrooms there. In India even upscale restaurants have stinking,dirty restrooms. While returning we were in traffic jam near Sirsad for almost 2 hrs. Male members relieved themselves on the roadside in full view of everyone. For Ladies , traveling by road must be a nightmare. When you reach home on Sunday evening, entire fun of weekend vacation has gone up in smoke. Unfortunately there are no alternatives to this situation and in years to come it's going to worsen. You have any suggestions?----PK

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

News item in I.E.(here), that Railways will provide real time info to passengers-both on station as well as in trains-about the exact time of arrival is heartening news. This is very useful service provided by Railways and one should congratulate Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav for many such traveler friendly steps taken by him. This facility will be boon for passengers on train. It's common sight to see passengers with heavy luggage standing for long time in Passage of train ,not knowing when the train will reach the station. Families rushing through passage with Bags have woken up many passengers at night. Its really annoying to know that such basic services are grudgingly provided. Hopefully Railways will provide many more such services to make journey comfortable and enjoyable.--PK

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Made in China Doctors

News report(here) that there are more than 6000 Indian Students learning Medicine in China left me wondering about our Higher Education Policy. Though there is great mismatch between demand and available seats in all branches of higher education, Govt. stubbornly refuses to increase number of seats there. In Medicine this mismatch is much more pronounced. China,Russia and other countries have taken advantage of this situation. If only we can increase the seats and make them paying seats,so as to pay for the upkeep of Hospital set up in rural area,we can solve our problem of providing Medical facility in rural area. China & Russia with its language problem cant provide better education than Indian Medical college. Colleges in South India are charging hefty sums to students from US. Unfortunately Govt. gives permission only to trusts managed by Politicians of party in power in that state.Many state govts. have completely ignored setting up of Private colleges.Anybody with good track record of running degree college should be able to start college for higher education. In less than decade we will get rid of the shortfall in supply and everyone will be able to pursue and get degree in field of his choice.----PK

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Govt. Offices

Yesterday I went to UTI-ISL office in JVPD Mumbai to get PAN application form. Its in very small passage( where one can barely stand) in the rear portion of UTI building.Its not painted or plastered for very long time. There is no protection from rain, no roof over the open space in front of it.Long queue of people, to submit their application, struggle in vain to protect their original documents from rain. After that I went to UTI office located in front portion.Its nice big A.C. office but almost empty. UTI-ISL never thought of shifting their PAN card office to better premises. I had blogged about Marriage registrar's office in MHADA bldg. near Bandra Kurla complex here. Recently I heard that it has been shifted to premises that is worst than the earlier one. Cooperative courts in Contractor Bldg. at Bellard Estate-a Heritage bldg.owned by Shapoorji Pallonji- were in very sorry state.Fortunately it has been given new paint and new Men's Restroom, improving its air quality. Moment you enter a Bank's premises you know whether it branch of Nationalised Bank or Private Bank-not HSBC or Citibank- Indian organisation owned HDFC or ICICI Bank. RTO offices in Mumbai are in Tin shades with no provision for Publics or staff's comfort. Even if the office is good to start with, its never maintained properly. RTI act should be used to know how these Govt. offices are planned and maintained. Is it the poor mindset of our Babus? But then they are IAS officers and many secretaries have IIM's as their Alma mater.!! May be its part of our " Incredible India"

Monday, June 30, 2008

Spain's Victory in Euro 2008

Finally Spain won the title after 44 long years. From the group stage they played attacking,attractive football and their game in 2nd half against Russia in QF was one of the best game of the tournament. When two Giants meet in final, game is often scrappy and played in midfield with very few attacking moves, but yesterday's final was pulsating,attacking game and Spain was the better team.
The only goal scored by Torres indicated that it was Spain's day and luck was on their side. The goal came from nowhere. It was a simple forward pass( and not defence splitting as claimed) from Xavi which was pursued by Torres,Lahm had ball shielded from Torres,Lahm saw Goal keeper rushing forward and was sure that he will collect the ball so he slowed down a little to avoid crashing into GK. Lehman saw that Lahm has ball sheilded from Torres and was slow in sliding to collect the ball. Torres who did not reduce his speed overtook Lahm and was just a step ahead and chipped the ball over Lehman. Ball glided and slipped in the net almost like in slow motion. Even Spanish players did not realize that goal would materialize.
Hindi Commentary on ESPN was very irritating and two hours of this verbal diarrhoea will give headache to listener.Why Indian commentators feel that they have to constantly talk and describe everything is difficult to understand. They are fit for commentary on Radio. Thank God for Super Sport 3 channel which was broadcasting with English commentary.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Crime Scene investigation

One thing which is very clear in Arushi Murder case is that Indian Police force has lost Art of Solving Murder cases. In time gone by Mumbai Police had reputation of Scotland Yard of East, but handling of Murder weapon by Investigating Officer in Pramod Mahajan case shows that it has reached the nadir. It seems that Officers are less interested in solving crimes and more interested in giving info to News channels. News channels have super sleuths who are Armchair detective. No wonder accused confess to crimes cuase they cant bear more 3rd degree treatment and then retract the confession in court! Our conviction rate is so poor. I find it funny that after week or two CBI is brought in,as if they can do wonders when initial investigations are shoddy and sufficient evidence is not collected from crime scene on the first day. With the passage of time,trail goes cold and evidence is hard to come by. Worst is appointment of Commission headed by retired judge to investigate.They are most ill equipped to solve the crime.Judge cant do the work of good detective. Nanavati Comm. is still investigating after 5 yrs. When we see pro gramme like CSI/Forensic Detectives /seconds to disaster, we realize that use of modern methods of investigations will yield better results and rate of conviction will go up. But unfortunately our Police force is not trained nor there is special Homicide /CSI squads to investigate. Only Terrorist attacks are investigated properly and results are there to see.


Returning to India after a vacation in US,always brings same feeling i used to get on 1st day of school after summer vacation. I shudder at the thoughts of same routine to be followed for next 10 months, heat and congestion, noise and people all around-jostling,pushing,treading on your toes. Moment you touch down at Mumbai airport ordeal begins. After long,grueling, sleepless non stop flight,when one is awake for almost 30 hrs, one has to walk down a long corridor with heavy stroller bag, to Immigration.Luckily immigration check is fast but then one has to wait for luggage to arrive.It took 45 mts to get luggage and then to take it through customs screening is pain- lift 4-22kg.bags, put them on belt, retrieve them on other side and put them back on trolley, walk long distance to get out of terminal to meet people who have come to receive . To get to your car, walk with your heavy trolley over uneven road with potholes- balancing the bags, and if you get stuck in a pothole then need help to lift the trolley out. Car park is dimly lit and these days it is overcrowded and very difficult to take the car out to the exit. Honking all the while!In US one hardly ever hear honking. In all it took some 2 frustrating hrs from the time of landing to get out of the airport! But i have experienced the same situation for so many years. whats new.It is this "India shining"/"India on the March" thats the reason for frustration. This talk of making Mumbai like Shanghai increases your expectations. You know the Mumbai you left 2 months ago and in just 2 months things are not going to change but when one returns from abroad expectations are raised and one feels that our airport would be like Singapore/Hongkong airport and as user friendly. When you realize that nothing has changed, then frustration creeps in. It takes some 2-3 months to overcome this videshlag. Then i get used to it and switch off my car engine when i am caught up in gridlock at busy junction, increase volume of Red FM-Lage Raho.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Heartbreaks Anymore?

Was listening to CD of Mukesh's songs. My all time favorite songs from bygone era. Suddenly I realised that we no longer have such sad,melancholic ,depressing songs in our movies anymore. Failure in love does not result in Heartbreaks. May be youth today have other avenues to overcome this. Or is it that todays generation is more practical and less foolishly romantic?.--PK

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Abscence of Level Playing field in Battle of Religious Conversion

This front page article in Mumbai Mirror reinforces my arguments regarding, why Christian missionaries have unfair advantage over their Hindu counterpart(here). Funds received by Christian Missionaries can be utilised for setting up Hospitals,School and colleges and support to weaker sections, tribals and dalits.State or Union Govt has no control on these funds. They can be then motivated to convert to Christianity. Hindu temples Trusts receiving crores in donations from Hindu devotees, have to give money at the dictate of the State govt to organisations controlled by Politicians. Nothing is spent to set up Schools,Hospitals etc. as done by Christian Missionaries.Besides there is no Transparency and Hindu Temple Trusts have donated money to propagate other religion's causes. In such situation how can anyone propagate Hindu religion?.--PK

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Russel Peters take on India

Last week Russel Peters made his maiden appearance on Jay Leno's 'Tonight Show'. He started off with his Stand up act. As he had visited India some times ago,he chose his visit to India as theme. He described his experience when he got off the plane in Mumbai and the joke was on smell of 'SHIT'. When will they come off this stupid joke? At least those who have visited Mumbai recently should be more aware.Is it that these stereotype jokes are acceptable in US?. Compared to Jay Leno, Russel's act appeared to be wash out. I think he needs good writers in his team.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

This Economics I can't understand

Come February and Newspapers are full of predictions on Taxes,especially direct taxes in Budget to be presented on 28 Feb. There are wish lists from various organizations requesting Tax sops to particular industry. Leftist would like increased tax on Rich and Tax benefits to Low income groups. This year there is tremendous increase in Tax collection.Advance Income Tax is all time high. This is considered as result of Low Tax regime brought about by our present PM, who was Finance Minister in 1991. Before 91 we were paying very high I.Tax which resulted in Parallel Economy called 'Black Money' which was bigger than official Economy. With reduction in I.Tax rate, increased vigilance and Computerisation, more and more people are declaring their true income. These days it is advantageous to declare Income, Pay Tax and Invest which will recover Tax paid in just 2yrs. Another punitive Tax was Death Duty/Wealth Tax etc. With removal of these taxes,Tax compliance is better and Peoples' savings/spendings have increased which is reflected in booming Economy.
In USA this is Presidential Election year. Now in final phase debates and focus of Candidates will be on Economy which is threatening to go into recession. Some economists fear that it will be similar to great Depression of 1930. Everyone agrees that Americans-both Govt. and Individuals- spend more than their Income and hence run up great deficit which requires periodic recessions to prevent Great Depression of Economy. Many blame Republican Presidents'-Regan & Bush- Tax Cuts and Supply side policies for this.
But this is what I fail to understand. Today US Income Tax starts with 15% at Income level of $0 to $27K. One has to file return for Monthly Income of $750.-for Self Employed $400/Yr..There is no Tax exemption limit like we have (Rs. 100K). The Death Duty has resulted in Failure of many small to medium businesses in US as they were asset rich but cash poor. President Bush has advocated marginal reduction in Income Tax-from 15% to 10% in lowest bracket and removal of Death Duty. Why this is considered as disastrous for US economy but same proposals when applied to Indian Tax laws were considered as boon to economy is beyond my understanding. When I watch Suze Orman show on CNBC-TV18, I find it appalling that people with 4-8K take home pay /month have hardly any savings to fall back on. Savings earn just 3-4% Interest(Taxable) on Deposits ,many have huge credit card debts.They cant pay back debts of $10-15K and have to file Bankruptcy which increases their interest on all loans. For families belonging to sub 100K/yr in earnings life is tough,they have high debts,pay high interest, can hardly save anything and saving fetch so little interest that there is no incentive to save. Govt. collects Tax from these marginal earners and spends huge amount on Iraq misadventures and exploring space. This finally ends up in Periodic recessions in US which has effect on all the economies of the world. What is the solution? Only God Knows as no two economists agree on given solution.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Doctor's Dilemma

An email from Dr. Ashok Sinha of Agartala, Tripura is doing rounds among Medical Fraternity. I feel that this particular mail requires wider public exposure than read by only Doctors.

' The recent controversy regarding the village posting of doctors has put the medical community on one side and the whole world on the other side. I remember, 35 years ago, when I was selected for medical college I went to one of my elderly aunts to seek her blessing. She was not very happy about the issue, no, she was not jealous, but she expressed her anxiety very eloquently. "You are such a nice boy, but now you'll become a bad man". That, I think, sums up the attitude of the society towards the doctors. The problem possibly lies with the doctors. They work for money, they do not bother about the society, they can kill female fetuses for a few bucks more, and they can refuse treatment for want of money; they are not up-to-date with knowledge, they do unnecessary tests to get a share of the booty. Most of the complaints are probably true. I have seen ultra-sonologists giving shamelessly false report to assist another shameless gynecologist in going for an unnecessary surgery, and I have seen many more un-parliamentary linen that I should not wash in public. All are true and more. My worry is about the ways the society is trying to go about solving the problem. The society is trying to find a solution without assistance from doctors. It was the same when the consumer protection act came. Most of the sane doctors protested, some insane ones also did. No one listened to us. I remember having told one gathering of legal experts, that they were putting the patients from the frying pan to fire; from doctors clutches to lawyers. I asked them, why did they want consumer protection act for the medical community, to improve services or getting compensation, or did they want just to teach a lesson! I assured them none of these would be possible. People refuse to learn from history. Has the road accident compensation policy improved the quality of drivers? It has only raised the insurance rates and probably helped the family of the dead. If consumer protection act implementation for medical community was intended for compensation, it was good, but if it was meant to improve services, it was useless. People gave us funny looks, thought we were `so bad'. Now the great thinkers of the nation are again at it. They want doctors to go to villages, and because the anti-social doctors do not want to go to villages, they'll have to be forced. I am surprised at the cerebral quality of the people who rake up such ideas. Has any one tried to find out why doctors are not interested in going to the villages! Is it only money! By the way, one of the lowest paid employees in India is a junior doctor. As a junior doctor I was paid a princely sum of Rs. 225/- PM, while the ward boys were paid Rs 400/-. Their duty was 8 hrs, mine 24 hrs; they had one weekly holiday, I had none. They had time for lunch; I did not. I survived because the `sisters' were real sisters; I shared their food. If the barber failed to turn up, I had to `prepare' the patient for surgery; the ward boy would not even have a nightmare of doing it. If the ward boy were absent I had to `ensure' that the patient reached the OT on time, riding on the trolley, guess who pushed it through the corridors of the hospital! But I tell you; I enjoyed my stay as a house surgeon. I am still proud of what I did. Because that was when I learned. That was what prepared me for the future. That is where I learnt how to give a painless suture, how to tackle a violent patient, how to tackle grief. I do not think a Lal Bahadur Institute trained babu will ever understand that, they do not have the training. Look at the position of medical education today. MBBS is a five and a half years course. Already the longest course in the country. But an MBBS degree is truly nothing today. At one time an MBBS degree was equivalent to an M Sc degree. One could become a lecturer after MBBS, could do a Ph D, or D Sc after MBBS. But no more, now MBBS is equivalent to B Sc. MD was a doctoral degree, Doctor of Medicine, now a postgraduate degree, a three years postgraduate degree. A two years postgraduate diploma is not equivalent to M Sc. Even the MCI is trying its best to degrade the status of medical degrees. I invite the society to understand the problem first. Force should come as the last option, not the first. Today an MBBS degree holder is a pariah in society, to be accepted by the people he has to have a postgraduate qualification. `Only MBBS', or `simple MBBS', or worse `plain MBBS' are terms we hear often, but do not understand the agony of it all. MBBS entrance is one of the toughest in the country, but let me introduce you to a tougher entrance, the PG entrance. The number of seats for PG is one third of the total MBBS seats, so in any case two thirds of the MBBS shall remain `plain and simple'. This cutthroat competition has prompted the students to treat MBBS degree as a qualifying benchmark for PG entrance tests. They prepare for the test rather than trying to become doctors. This one entrance test would make or break their career. It is better to be a simple B Sc then to remain a simple MBBS. There are instances where MBBS students are paying smaller hospitals to get internship certificate without going to the hospital so that they can utilize the time studying. What is the result? They do not become a `doctor' after MBBS; they remain students. One third of them get into PG, two- thirds fail. No, not because they are stupid, because the know-all government has put a rationing in the number of seats for PG. Imagine the fate of these students, they are plain MBBS, did not spend time learning during internship, now they are out in the open, no respect, no knowledge, official quacks. This is the most serious wastage of trained manpower the country is facing today, all because of our policy makers. Who is responsible? There was one know-all TV talk show, which said if you cannot become a doctor in five years, you could never be. So cerebral! These are the people who control the society, God help us. One does not become a `doctor' immediately after passing MBBS; it takes at least 2-3 yrs of fulltime work under supervision to be able to work independently. That was what house jobs were. Earlier house jobs were compulsory before MD entrance. After 2 house jobs if one did not get in to PG one could still practice. Now house job has no PG entrance value. Practicing medicine without a House job does not prepare a doctor well. Is there a solution to the problems in villages? It is there, if our great parliamentarians bother to listen to us. By the way I have a few more proposals. I want to make it compulsory for the parliamentarians to stay in a village for one year as MP and fulfill all promises made during election campaign otherwise their Membership would be cancelled. Make it compulsory for IIM graduates to stay in a village for one year to work for betterment of rural finances, before they get their degree. I want High Court judges to stay in villages at least 2 months a year to help solve the pending cases in the villages to be eligible for promotion to Supreme Court. I want the IAS officer to be posted in a village for one year before they are confirmed in their jobs.They can all stay in the excellent accomodation provided in the villages for the doctors. Sounds funny? Who started the jokes! Here is what I suggest. The entire medical course needs to be revamped. Instead of hundreds of confusing degrees there should be one degree, MD. It should be a nine years integrated course, equivalent in status to a Ph D. All students, after four years, would get a provisional registration to work as doctors under supervision. They would select their specialty at this juncture, depending on the merit and other government policies of the time. Even a surgeon would be MD. All the diploma courses would be abolished. There would be specialties in family practice, clinical medicine, hospital based internists, surgeons, ophthalmologists, and all other specialties that we have today. One year out of this course will be a village posting where they can learn the problems of the villages and unlearn some hi-tech solutions to simple problems. There would never be a shortfall of doctors in villages, happy doctors and not frustrated ones. I do not think there would even be a murmur of protest from anywhere. No forcible "Cultural Revolutionary" tactics would be needed. The GPs that we get would be trained ones, not untrained ones as we get now. How does a patient differentiate between a physician MD and a general practitioner MD. The same way they do now, between MDs in Medicine, pharmacology, biochemistry and pathology. In any case, government can recognize certain associations, memberships of which can be made compulsory. (For example, MD, Member of Indian College of Pharmacology, or MD Indian College of Surgeons.). This way every doctor that comes out of the college would have some special skills, and have worked independently for at the least 4 years before being released to the society. There is no wastage of doctors as `simple MBBS'. The super-specialties should be limited to a few, the brightest ones. There should be no further confusing degree like M Ch, DM. The super-specialists would be offered fellowships of the college, e.g. MD, Fellow of the Indian College of Cardiac Surgeons, equivalent to postdoctoral degree, D Sc. By the way this does not solve the problem of the bad guys in the profession as mentioned in paragraph two of this article. I'll share a bitter truth with you. The patients are as much responsible for this situation as the doctors. The ratio of good doctors and bad doctors is exactly the same as the ratio of good guys and bad guys in the society, not more, not less. There is something very wrong in the way patients select their doctors. Name and fame does not depend on skill, knowledge and sincerity. Sound business tactics, sometimes not so ethical, makes one doctor more popular than the other. This article is aimed at sensible people who want a solution, not revenge. The next doctor could be your son; the next patient could be your son. '

Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Year Juhu Molestation

Reading Posts on Juhu Molestation here, and here .i wonder why Sexual Molestation in Public is treated so differently than other crimes. Saksi's suggestion for women to be safe in crowded public places is perceived as 'Blaming the Victim' for the sad, harrowing incident. But when you keep your car unlocked and someone steals your bag, or get mugged in deserted street at night in Crime infested area,or your chain is snatched/pocket is picked in suburban train, part of the blame will be yours. You cant blank it, you cant say that i will not take precaution to be safe, but perpetrator of the crime has to improve and change his mindset. If that were possible then there would be no crime in this world.There will be sexual offenders in any society. Molesting,Raping,taking women as sex slaves after defeating enemy is historical. Major wars are fought on such issues. If anyone thinks that this will be erased from the mind of the males and they will behave, than it's Utopian dream. Being drunk is more dangerous than being high on drug. Alcohol removes the moral and behavioral control that we have acquired by good upbringing. A drink too many makes you reckless and one takes more risks. Even when one is with friends, its better not to allow anyone to cross that limit.In spite of taking all these precautions, there will be cases of sexual offense, but that will be unfortunate.Time and better upbringing will reduce it but wont eliminate it altogether.---PK

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Old Family Planning Fraud in New Bottle

TOI reports that Govt. has announced 'Incentive' scheme to spur acceptance of Vasectomy operation. Those who undergo Vasectomy operation will be paid Rs. 1200/-,'Motivator' will receive Rs 150/- and even surgeon will be paid incentive. Govt. hopes that this will help make Vasectomy more acceptable. Of course women undergoing Tubectomy operation will also be paid similar amount as incentive.
This news brought memory of those good(?) old days when Vasectomy had pride of Place in Family Planning Program. During Emergency Scion of Gandhi family and heir apparent Sanjay had taken up Vasectomy as part of his 5 point program. Teachers,Govt. officials, Police and all those who were in power were given Vasectomy operation targets and they HAD to fulfill the target. Result of this misplaced zeal was forced Vasectomies. Police and other Govt. functionaries rounded up people and forced them to undergo Vasectomy,even those who were not eligible for operation.Surgeons aware of this state of affairs simply gave incision on Scrotal skin and did not Tie/cut the Vas. Ofcourse he was paid off to do this.Incentive money was shared by the staff of Family Planning Dept. I remember people arriving by train from U.P./Bihar etc were rounded off and forced to undergo Vasectomy at V.T. station. After emergency was lifted, Vasectomy program was severely criticized and was held responsible for defeat of Indira Gandhi.
As Vasectomy operation virtually disappeared from the scene, incentive program was introduced. But by this time FP staff had learned the trick. As a person who had worked in the dept. then, I can confidently say that more than 95% of the cases done between 1980 -86 were fake cases.we used to call then as 'D' cases. Everyone including driver/cleaner of the Mobile Vasectomy Van of BMC had share of this loot. In city like Mumbai, Patient could never be traced if address given was in slum. Each center had a team of 'Motivators' who would bring patients for Vasectomy. Everyday 5-6 cases were done. Same people would come again n again for operation and all forms were duly filled and money distributed.Biggest problem was to give names to the patient.Here Marathi newspapers would come handy and Names were lifted from Navakal,Sakal etc. Injections,syringes,Gauze, Cotton and other material was pilfered. There was scramble to get posting at centers doing cases and on Mobile Vasectomy Vans. Vasectomy operation figures improved dramatically. There were cases which were not eligible for Vasectomy, age more than 40 yrs or spouse had undergone tubectomy etc. but those were the days of Dr. Datta Samant led Mill Strike. Many Striking Mill worker opted to get operated to get Rs. 800/-as incentive money.In 1983 this was good amount. Unemployed youth,migrant workers, teenage streetchildren were lured by Motivators to undergo Vasectomy operation. Obviously this FP program couldn't make any dent in burgeonig population. When in 1986 ,incentive program was stopped, number of Vasectomies dropped precipitously and now it is just few thousand cases.
Fate of this program is not going to be different.Crores of Rupees ,badly needed to provide Health care to poor will be diverted and siphoned off. May be this is a pay off to political party worker in Pre Election year. As it is even Female Tubectomy program is not picking up. There should be rethink on Permanant Method like Tubectomy/Vasectomy. Their acceptance is very low these days. Couples prefer to use Temporary methods like Condoms,IUCD or Pill and Emergency contraceptive pill. In case of failure Medical Termination is preferred.This new incentive scheme is invitation to fraud and new generation of FP worker will be initiated into this fraud and will stop promoting temporary methods as well. ---PK