Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

India’s education mess

Today I saw a full two page ad in the national newspaper from Byju, the online student’s coaching startup. A full two pages about their free conselling session at home. This is despite the fact that their ads were recently blocked by ASCI in January this year for un-substantiated claims.
The Indian education system is a collage of contradictions. Its surprising that the world's largest democracy does not have a stable, self-sustaining system of eduction which can cater to the needs of millions of youngsters seeking education in the country. Successive governments have tried to 'reform' the education scene, whatever that means, but every time they have attempted so, something else has been broken. I  have been reading all kinds of news relating to India's education these past months, and they remind me of the hurdle I myself had to go through to reach where I am today.

These are the weeks of student winners, it is the time when various education institutions in the country announce the results of the 'toppers' in their examinations. It starts with the central government's CBSE announcing the names of students who scored highest in each of India's 29 states. There are two sets of exams, for 10th and 12th grades. I never understood why the 10th grades are so important, seeing that it is the 12 th grade marks which act as the qualifier for college admissions.

But wait, these are just central board. Every state has their own 'board' of education, and have students enrolled for 10th and 12th grade exams. And with 29 states, that is a lot of student toppers ! And then there is one more private, central school education board called ICSE, but no one seems to care about them.
Admissions to India's public colleges are based on the marks students score in these 'board exams'. Arts, science and language colleges setup a cut-off mark as the minimum marks required to gain admissions to their subsidized education courses. But simply scoring these minimum marks does not automatically guarantee admission, frequently parents arrange 'recommendation letters' from ministers and high profile officers and even religious heads as additional assurance. colleges also arrange for their own admission tests inorder to screen candidates. And some of those screening test are the toughest to crack in this country. 

The two streams of education most sought after after 12th grade education are Engineering and Medical courses. Students who pass out of these courses are trained engineers and doctors. And because of the demand and the overwhelming population of students applying,  the central and state governments have been organizing these 'entrance tests' at central and state level. Objective style reasoning tests with negative marks help screen the best of the best of millions of science graduates attempting to gain entrance to subsidized education. And there are so few seats up for grabs that there is immense competition.  For instance, only 4 of the 100 candidates attempting The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medicine will win a seat. It is a little better for engineering seats, but that is only because there are more seats available.

And so, when the results of these entrance exams are announced, the toppers are again celebrated in the media. There are long interviews of the students, with their families and teachers, to understand how they cracked the system. And what are their tips and tricks to similar students who are attempting these tests in the future. Hell, some even appear on national TV, speaking about their experiences and giving out advise. Probably no other country parade their top scorers in TV like India does. In India, toppers are celebrities !

But again, these are the subsidized education seats we are talking about. The mafia in the private colleges are at an entirely different level. Education has turned to business in India, and if you don't have the wits to get a seat, you can definitely buy one. This is where the picture starts to turn bleak. Anticipating huge number of students who will not be able to clear the national tests, private colleges have mushroomed across the country, offering the same courses for a much higher price. In a way, private education is for the rich, but not academically gifted. The fees being charged at some of these institutes is so high that in recent years, majority of the seats remain unfilled.
Recently there was a directive to shut down as many as 150 colleges across India how had less than 50% of their seats filled. Just let that sink in.

Instead of trying and subsidising these additional seats in some way for the poorer students, the government simply wants to shut them down. Amazing governance.

But no test, repeat, no other is as tough and prestigious to crack as the Indian Civil Service exams. IAS exams. These are not education courses, but actual jobs people are applying for. Candidates need to have college degrees, and have to study additional subjects which are not covered by their college education. The civil services exam has among the lowest success rates among competitive examinations in the world, with a success percentage of less than .1 percent. Less than .1 percent of the applicants will land a job. Only one in every 10 candidate succeeds in the first attempt. There are people attempting upto 6 times, and some candidates can keep on trying until age 37 ! 
And as always, the IAS toppers are the media's favourites. The sheer prestige and security of the jobs means that anybody IAS topper is seen as the hardest, most hard-working and able minded of students. I think the assumption is that they will never have to face any problem in their life from that point onwards. They have cracked the system. Now they can sit back and reap the benefits, while the rest of us fight it out among ourselves.

The tale of getting into the civil services is one of hard work and dogged perseverance. That’s why it is all the more baffling how the Indian bureaucracy, which comprises such hard-working and committed people, earned the disrepute of running what is considered an inefficient government machinery.
They say history is written only by the winners. And this is in fact , true. Nobody talks about the trials and tribualations of the losers. Those who put in whatever they could, but failed to clear the system. Despite all these ‘free seats’ or subsidized seats, millions of students fail to get a chance to pursue their choice of education in this country. India also has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, one student kills self about every hour in the country. 

Yet, no one talks about them. They are just the collateral of having a skewed public education system, one which relies on intense competition. It is a broken system, and somehow the authorities have managed to make it even worse everytime they try to change something. I had it much better and easier 15 years ago. The future generations are going to have to struggle very hard to just maintain the pace.

It is case of textbook Darwinism: survival of the super-ultra-mega smartest.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

India’s middle class has no spare money to spend

I love reading the economist, when I get the time, that is. Too bad they don’t cover India very often. But when they do publish something, they offer a new perspective to look at things. An outsider’s prespective. So I was a little surprised when they published not one, but two different articles about the Indian economy in January this year. Revealing and thought provoking, the articles where like migthy sucker punches. What was even more hilarious was the war-of-dumb-words going on in the comments section of both those articles. Patriotic Indians debating both sides by offering proof citing other media articles. I resisted the temptation to join the cockfight. Pretty hard to do when the articles were spot on.Before we proceed, please read these articles on how the magazine works internationally, and why their writers are anonymous.The two new articles about India basically say that the Indian middle class has no spare money to spend on world-class luxuries, as they are getting poorer and poorer. And the whole idea that India is the fastest growing economy and the next place for international brands to set shop is a sham. Something I had long suspected. Most international brands like Apple , Amazon and Google have already learnt this truth, and others are catching on. The articles then go to explain as to how this happened and why the trend still continues.
Why is the middle class of the economy important ? These would be the people whose income is increasing and are more likely to purchase more products and services, specially from new gen companies , probably international markets. The upper class can be considered saturated, they might have already purchased luxuries. And the lower class, well, they can’t be sold.Go over to wikipedia’s article and sort the list of countries according to income classes. India has the lowest percentage of middle and upper class.imageimageOther points which stood out.imageimageimage

Ouch !The truth can be distilled out easily, even after becoming the world’s fastest growing economy, Indians do not have the purchasing power that their counterparts in other developing or developed countries have. Indians are spending, but they only buy the cheapest options in every category. Not because they are saving the rest, but because that is all that they can afford. Indian customers buy the cheapest chines manufactured phones and tvs, instead of those fancy western brands. They buy made in India apparel and eat at low cost restuarants, instead of shopping from international brands and eating at international fast food chains. If a middle class family’s bread earner gets a promotion or comes to any extra wealth, they would rather invest that money in better healthcare or save it in a long term account , instead of purchasing non-essentials for the family. They see every expenditure as a liability, and every opportunity to save as a chance to grow. This is not the kind of market which would upgrade their smartphones every few months, or would eat at a five star restuarant to celebrate occasions.But we have known this for years. This is the very defnition of the Indian middle class. Spend only on needs, not on greeds.Some other eye openers: Apple made 0.7% of its global revenues in India in the year to March 2017.Facebook, though it has 241m users in India, probably the most in the world in one country, registered revenues of just $51m in the same period.Google is growing more slowly in India than in the rest of the world.Despite two decades of investment McDonald’s has hardly any more joints in India than in Poland or Taiwan.Starbucks says it has big plans for India but has opened about one new coffee shop a month over the past two years, bringing its total to around 100—on a par with Utah or the United Arab Emirates. A new Starbucks opens in China every 15 hours, adding to 3,000 already operating.Inditex, Zara’s parent firm, has 46 clothes shops in India, fewer than in Ireland, Lithuania or Kazakhstan.Hindustan Unilever, which purveys sachets of shampoo for just a few rupees, has seen virtually no sales growth in dollar terms since 2012.Even after years of enticing customers with heavily discounted wares, perhaps 50m online shoppers are active in India—roughly, the richest 5-10% of the population.India is now the fourth largest auto market, having overtaken Germany, but 80% of those sales was to Indian company Maruthi, which makes the cheapest, or most affordable vehicles in the country. So in terms of money, this is still among the cheapest markets.  International brands have not succeeded in India.Even for someone in the top 10% of Indian earners, an annual Netflix subscription can cost over a week’s income.Apple ads may plaster Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, but for only one in ten Indians would the latest iPhone represent less than half a year’s salary.On and on..The reason for this downward spiral are many. First is the bureacracy. Or should I say bureacrazy.Another is the informal industry. 93% of Indians work in the informal sector, earning less than 10 dollars a day.Then there is the education, or lack of. image
So, whats the takeaway. The illusion is wearing off. Soon international brands will realize that the only way they can cater to this dissiappearing market is to offer localized, cheaper and affordable options. They may get the market in term of units sold.But not for value earned.x


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Nature’s fury continues









Whats outrageous is that idiots at the MET department still insist on calling these ‘pre-monsoon’ showers !


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Dust Storms now


For anyone still looking for proof of climate change : Today a freak dust storm killed more than 100 people in India.



Sunday, March 25, 2018

Poor Chidu’s airport coffee


Woke up to this absurd trending news on Indian media. This is what happened.



It seems former finance minister P Chidambaram was ‘horrified’ when asked to pay 135 rs for a cup of tea-bag tea. The irony here is the fact that this guy was finance minister for more than 10 years, and he never once questioned or was aware of the over-inflation at Indian airports. Clearly, he has never paid for something like this from his own pocket the entire time he was in government.

This begs the question, if the finance minister was not aware of this, what else was the government sleeping on ? Everything is expensive on the air side of Indian airports. I have seen even foreigners refusing to pay the exhorbitant price and walking away. I have also seen business travellers asking for a receipt for the meal, obvioulsy to claim it back from their employers.

Its a different story outside India. Here in Australia, there is a range of restuarants and snack counters on the airside of the airport, and nothing is priced more than what they charge on the streets. It is simply cheaper to eat at the airport, than to buy food on the plane.

Anyway, he asked for twitter’s response. He got more than he asked for.

Friday, March 23, 2018

India’s GST is so complex, its a joke


And that is not my opinion, it is of the World Bank.  Their annual India development report paints a fuzzy greyish image of India’s  financial governance, not too patronizing, but not too harsh either. Here is the graph:



Its very weird seeing India featuring on the wrong side of the graph, while all the developed countries have a lower rate !!

The World Bank’ report provides that 49 countries employ single tax slab of GST, 28 countries use dual tax slab of GST, 5 nations including India apply four non-zero slabs of GST and rest of the countries (in list of 115 countries) enforce four or more slabs of GST. It was detected that as a consequence of the GST, firms are forced to bear increased administrative costs at a burdensome rate and the snail process of tax refund caused the firms to lock up the working capital.

The reason for high compliance costs is the prevalence of multiple tax rates mandating the firms the necessity to classify inputs and outputs based on the applicable tax rate.

Unfortunately, its already too late. They cannot make the system easier by adding more rules. Moroever , it is now a matter of political pride for the incumbent government to maintain the new rates system.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Welcome to the Mobocracy


If the current affairs are going to stay, we will have soon lose our status as the world’s largest democracy. It was subtle at first, but its definitely getting worser every day. There is a new form of government in force today, one which its citizens can threaten, and hold ransom. Doesn’t matter what the law says, or the constituion mandates, it is the mob which is control. More of a threatocracy or mobocracy.

On on the eve of republic day this year, the news which greets Indians is that of utter chaos.



So background. There is a terrible film-maker who has steadily made stupid , boring movies shot on elaborate soundstages. Having running our of original thought years ago, he now picks up historical stories from the country, and adds his own twist to them. I slept through his last 4 movies. Even when they were on DVD ! His movies should definitely be banned, but not for the reasons currently trending on news.

Even after the supreme court stated that states cannot interfere, there are now violent protests in those states. And the states are not doing anything to stop it. Theatre owners are scared shit to run the movie. Fearing mob backlash.

All this for what is actually a snorefest of a movie.

This is not the first time the mob has held the state ransom. This exact thing happened last year. On 25 August 2017, widespread rioting in northern India broke out after guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the religious leader of Dera Sacha Sauda, was convicted of rape. At least 41 people were killed,authorities had suspended internet services for 48 hours and Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code was imposed.


The world is watching us slowly destroying ourselves into chaos. What a time to live in.

Happy Republic day.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Throwback to the Satyam scandal


Remember 2009 ? Me vaguely. This was when smartphones were still only for the filthily rich, in countries with very high wireless speeds, orkut was the facebook of the time, and flipkart still sold only books. The tech industry in India was hit by a huge scandal that year. One of the more prestigious software services firm revealed that they have been cooking their account books for years, and was actually in massive loss. The Satyam scam was at the same time shocking and unbelievable, because the company had a rags to riches story and aleady has branches in many foreign countries and hundreds of clients. And I think it was also shameful, because the name ‘Satyam’ in hindi/telugu/(insert any south Indian language here) means ‘Truth’. Talk of punctured balloons.

I remember the day when the scam was revealed, mostly by SMSes and rapidly forwarded e-mails. Most of the engineers on the floor I think did not see the seriousness of the scandal, and were actually looking for a way to cash in on this in the stock market. You see, when the truth about the scandal was made public, shareholders began dumping Satyam stocks. Like garbage. People on my floor (looking at you, Ankit !) had plans to buy Satyam shares when I hit rock bottom, confident that the issue would be resolved in a few days and would pick up soon. Time enough to make some money !


Remember , this was all happening during the last recession. Engineers employed by Satyam began looking for jobs frantically, flooding jobsites with their resumes. Most were even willing to take a paycut just to move to a better job. Some took drastic steps. Even today people are hesitant to admit they worked for Satyam.

Anyway, I divert. The big question everyone was asking how come such a huge financial scam was hiddden. Surely there were multiple people in a co-ordinated cover up. Satyam’s books were audited by the …ahem…prestigious PriceWaterCoopers. Apparently they were auditing only the physical books the Chairman had specially cooked for them, instead of actually double checking with the banks.

Had this been any other country, the courts would have dealt out something in a matter of few days. Maximum a few months. But nobody is in a hurry in India. The court battles began running marathons, and justice was delayed. This week, more than 9 years after the scam, Indian courts have banned PriceWater from auditing any listed Indian company for two years, effectively affecting their direct revenue. This was in addition to who knows all the fines they will be charged.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has barred Price Waterhouse from auditing any listed company in India for a period of two years for its alleged role in the Satyam scam.The regulator had also directed the auditing firm to disgorge 13.09 crore along with 12% interest per annum since January 2009.In 2010, SEBI issued a show-cause notice to Price Waterhouse, among many other entities, after it emerged that the accounts of Satyam were falsified and inflated.

I was thanking my good fortune. When I was a fresh graduate looking for an IT job, I had attended a Satyam job fair in Kochin, Kerala, a few years prior. I had cleared all the rounds and was rejected by their HR-asshole in the last moment. Some of my juniors got through though. Had they selected me, I would have taken the offer and stayed employed with them in 2009, when all hell broke loose.

PWC had a nice run all these years. Meanwhile the chairman was pronounced guilty only in 2015, and Satyam was taken over by Mahindra’s software division in 2012.

When I joined there a few years ago in Bangalore, I could notice the older Satyam logo at multiple places in the campus. An old logo on a building was removed but grafitti remained. On stickers on old furniture and computer systems.

Its a scandalous past everybody just wants to forget. But the cases will still continue in Indian courts…

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Turbulent year


A few more hours to go, and hopefully it will all end. It has been another turbulent, problematic year. I would say 2017 was another year of dirty politics. The news was constantly littered with nations threatening nations, people protesting, and revolts. More Indians will harmed or killed in the name of religion, or just for being women. The joke of GST played out hurting businesses.  Natural disasters hurt the country, which as usual, was unprepared.

But personally the biggest impact I directly saw was the loss in jobs in Indian information technology industry. India’s $160 billion IT industry laid off more than 56,000 employees this year. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys, two of India’s largest IT companies and once leaders in job creation, reduced their headcounts for the first time ever. Around 6,000 Indian employees at Cognizant reportedly lost their jobs to automation. Mumbai-based Tech Mahindra implemented a cost optimisation plan of increasing automation and reducing manpower. It turned ugly in July when the firm made headlines over a controversial audio clip that featured an HR personnel purportedly coercing an employee into quitting by 10am the next day, or risk being fired.

Donald Trump’s arrival at the White House only made matters worse for India.The criteria for computer programmers to apply for the H-1B visa became tougher. In March 2017, the US government stalled the premium processing of this visa category.

The trepidation is unlikely to end anytime soon. By next year, automation will put nearly 70% of the roles in the Indian IT workforce at risk, according to analysts.

Indian IT companies have known for years that the party will end at some point. But instead of preparing early , they are now left to pickup morsels to continue.  After years of job creation in developing economies ,developed economies will be creating jobs for their own citizens in the foreseeable future,

Friday, December 15, 2017

Everyone forgot what happened today


Today is December 16. Five years ago, on Dec. 16, 2012, Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old physiotherapist intern living in New Delhi, was headed home after watching the movie Life of Pi with a male friend. They got on a bus. Six males were on board, including the driver.

In the moving bus, all six assaulted the couple. Singh was gang-raped, and her friend beaten severely. She died days later.

I checked the news today, and there are absolutely no articles on Indian media about the anniversary of this incident. Everyone forgot.

The only article I did find, was in the US. On NPR. Unbelievable.

Read this fantastic piece about a physcologists attempt to study the mind of convicted rapists.

This line stood out

But she did say she saw a pattern of "cognitive distortion" — they had created their own version of the crime that allowed them to justify their actions.Most convicted rapists presented themselves as nonrepentant and attempted to justify their crimes


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

As long predicted, now tax on Bitcoin


The taxmen are coming. For your Bitcoins. Saw this on Indian media today. Indian Income Tax officials have begun raiding bitcoin exchanges across the country.  Multiple teams of tax sleuths yesterday, investigating virtual currency Bitcoin's investors and transactions, conducted raids at nine cryptocurrency exchanges in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kochi, Hapur and Gurugram.



Bitcoin was created as a virtual currency not under the control of any government. But now it seems that definition no longer holds. Exchanges operating in bitcoin will be expected to pay tax just like any other company. And their customers too.

But I think the anonymous miners are still …well, safe. Wondering how they will be taxed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Does quikr , olx work ?


After all the buying online, it was finally time to sell something online for me. I was moving, and wanted to dispose off some things second hand , which were in fairly good condition. Being in the tech city, it was obvious the answer was online. So I installed apps of the two top reselling apps in ‘demand’. And tried my hand on trying to make a little profit instead of giving things away for free.

Well, it did not work. Some did. But mostly not. Instead of what I thought were  intelligent, careful buyers who would ask questions about what I was selling, I was greeted by a horde of deal jumping numbskulls with quick fingers. The only question they asked were: can you reduce the price to zero ? Something very low. You get the point. I had success selling a steel cupboard when I reduced the price to 50% of what I had paid originally. But for everything else, the buyer wanted the product for free. Even when I asked them to come over and inspect the goods to check its quality , to justify my asking price, they flatly refused. All they were doing were judging the quality of the goods on sale looking at the picture. And thats it.

This poses a problem. What you sell must be in good condition, or it will be returned. But if it is in very good condition, you wont get a good price for it. So basically, you can only sell off things in good condition for throw away prices. Basically its a market to dispose of good things at near zero prices.

Some years ago I was building a top CRM product for eBay. You know, the online auction company ? The site which started the whole online auction and marketplace business, now left for dust. I could see production data were customers were debating the quality of items sold. Some customers had clearly been cheaten, sellers sold a box of bricks packaged as UPS batteries and electronics. But there were also lots of complaints of ‘bad condition’ and ‘poor quality’ in them. In most cases, eBay policy meant reversing the sale, and they were loosing money taking care of the logistics expenses. Thankfully I was not a case agent, I was just building the CRM system for the agents. But I could see that they had a lot of work cut out for them, even with all the automation we built for them.

Sites like quikr and olx are quick ways to dispose off your good condition stuff you no longer need. But for dirt cheap prices. Don’t expect to make money off them, specially after their sale commissions.

Well, coming back to my problem, I found success somewhere else. Another new second hand furniture service called gozefo. These guys buy your funiture and appliaces, refurbish and sell them. They will still offer you less, but before arriving at the final price, they send an agent over to inspect the goods. The technician verifiies the goods are in good condition and then quotes a value. They take away the goods in 24 hours, and sell it refurbished via their online marketplace.

Its a much better service, if you want to talk some more sane buyers.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Media is powerless


While growing up, we were taught at school that journalism is one of the most important & powerful career choices open to us. Because it takes an army of truth-reporters to breakdown the days news so that it can be understood by the common man. He who wields the pen, the pen is migthier than sword pen, has more power than the forces. Or so were were told. So it is disheartening to see how journalism and media are losing the war. Politiicians, corrupt or otherwise, are growing in power and are in control of the narrative, and media has no other option but to report as mute spectators.

I first came to notice this about 2 years ago, when assaults against reporters were reported in the Indian media. Any paper critical of the party in power or government, would be served defamation cases. Then the free and fair media were denied permission to report from courts etc. Then it became clear that the people who read thorough researched journalism did not vote,  and those who voted, did not read. Every big decision of the governement was criticized, clinically, by supportive facts and figures. But people failed to take notice. And nothing changed.

Demonitization was critcized, but to no avail.

The ill affects of GST were predicted. But no one cared. And the economy fell anyway.

Communal clashes were widely reported. But what changed ?

Rising crime against women were reported. But the crime only grew.


Although I speak of Indian media, it is a similiar story everywhere else. The biggest dumbstruck moment in 2016 was when no US-media could predict a Trump victory. All their prediction models and alaytics failed. In the US, its painful to see virtually every channel and talk show criticizing the administrations actions, yet not being able to keep them in check.

Late night shows in US have to demean themselves by making fun of….the first lady ! . Because they are…helpless ? There are numerous jokes about the first lady trying escape. There are jokes about ties (suit ties, not russian ties), hair and makeup, and food choices (fried chicken) even fat shaming (Chris Christie) and age shaming (Mitch McConell looks like a tortoise) representatives. Yes, they do report the news, but why do they have to bow so low themselves ?

Of course they can get away with these acts because they have absolute freedom of speech. Something we can only dream of here.  Its much worse this side. Journalists are now relegated to tweet reporters, busy reporting what is happening on social media. Everybody on twitter is angry anyway, so they just report their anger. This post go these many retweets…etc etc.


Now they have started reporting on a new financial law, using which failing banks can take away citizens hard-earned money. Something tells me the law will be passed anyway, with no one having power to oppose it.

Low standards of journalism could be another reason why subscriptions of newspapers have also decreased.

Why pay for nonsense ?

With no power, comes no responsibility …, right ?


Friday, November 3, 2017

India’s data science conundrum


Came across a nice article attempting to burst the myth of data science jobs, supposedly the coolest new job trend. Every day I get at least 2 e-mails from companies advertising data science courses which enables candidates to get data science jobs. Turns out, they are eventually paid the same salary which programmers working in traditional languages get. Maybe a little more. But the median is the same.

This is primarily because most of India’s data scientists only know how to use the tools, but do not possess the solid foundation in math and statistics to grow in the field.








And some of the these data-scientists are also jobless.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bollywood is stuck

It has occurred to me over the years, I now watch less and less bollywood movies. The bollywood flavor of love stories is now irritating  and tediously repetitive. Its nice to see others come to the same point.

Watch how CBE breaks down the typical bollywood movie, and why its always just a fantasy, never realistic.

Friday, June 9, 2017

India’s 4G speeds a third of global average

How fast is 4G again ?

India ranks at 74 in a list of 75 countries ranked according to average 4G speed

Regardless of the flood of deep discounts and attractive data packages telecom operators have been offering in recent months to retain their subscriber base, 4G internet speed in India, a crucial parameter of user experience, continues to be dismal, a new survey has found.

At an average data speed of 5.14 Mbps, 4G speed in India ranks three time below the global average and just a notch above the average global 3G speed. Ranked at 74 among 75 countries surveyed, India’s 4G speed was found much slower compared to other countries, including Pakistan and Sri Lanka and faster than only Costa Rica which ranks at the bottom.

According to the Open Signal report, Pakistan recorded average data speeds of 11.71 Mbps. The countries on top of 4G internet speeds include Singapore and South Korea, with download speeds of about 40 Mbps.

In Costa Rica and India, the drop in average data speeds was attributed to the abrupt increase in number of 4G users in the country.

The report also ranks countries in order of 4G network availability in the world and India fared better in this particular list, making it to the 15th position, globally. Between September 2016 and March 2017, there has been an 82 percent surge in 4G internet availability, largely on the back of Reliance Jio's entry into the telecom sector last year.

India has some of the slowest LTE speeds in the world, the report said. In fact, the report goes on to underline a pattern of drop in 4G network speeds in the country, recording a fall of over one per cent over the past six months.

These findings come in stark contrast to the figures released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). The telecom regulator had earlier said that Reliance Jio topped the ch

art in 4G network speed for the month of April with an all-time high download speed of 19.12 megabit per second.

4G Speed Comparison
051015202530354045504G Speed (Mbps)SingaporeSouth KoreaHungaryNorwayNetherlandsLuxembourgCroatiaNew ZealandBulgariaAustraliaDenmarkLithuaniaCanadaSerbiaBelgiumItalySpainUnited Arab EmiratesAustriaLatviaSlovakiaTaiwanGreeceSwedenBruneiRomaniaTurkeySwitzerlandFinlandLebanonJapanCzech RepublicEcuadorFranceOmanDominican RepublicIrelandEstoniaUnited KingdomMexicoSloveniaPortugalPeruTunisiaGermanySouth AfricaBrazilColombiaChileIsraelPanamaPolandMoroccoQatarKazakhstanRussian FederationHong KongJordanUnited States of AmericaGeorgiaMalaysiaGuatemalaKuwaitCambodiaThailandPakistanArgentinaBahrainSri LankaIranPhilippinesSaudi ArabiaIndonesiaIndiaCosta Rica

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Aadhar is not progress


Read an impressive post on Mozilla’s Open policy  blog about why India’s Aadhaar is a step backward in citizen rights. The central problem in this context is clearly spelt out:

This is all possible because India currently does not have any comprehensive national law protecting personal security through privacy. India’s Attorney General has recently cast doubt on whether a right to privacy exists in arguments before the Supreme Court, and has not addressed how individual citizens can enjoy personal security without privacy.

The problem is compounded by the fact that is not that difficult to procure a fake Aadhaar card in the country, one of the most corrupted in the world.


So while honest citizens will be forced to provide proof of identity to receive government services, illegals and criminals will continue to feed off the system.

Monday, May 15, 2017

India still in denial of WannaCry


The second wave of the wannacry ransomeware attack is in full swing this week. Computers in 150 countries have been affected, specially China. But the Indian government , like always, has chosen to go to denial mode. Government and media are reporting that the threat is minimal, and systems are not affected. Reality is that lakhs of systems were already affected.

Just check the real time tracking of this attack.



Crude reality is that due to mass use of pirated software in India, reports of attacks will go unreported.  Meanwhile, ransomware incidents were reported from Kerala, Kolkata and Andhra Pradesh. However, no corporate office or institution came forward fearing that their brand image will take a hit if the news of their computers being infected goes public. The real impact of cyber attack in India can be only assessed later this week. The government too tried to dispel rumours about banking telecom or aviation being hit by the outbreak


Monday, March 27, 2017

HCL wants to create its own zombie engineers


I was shocked to read this , HCL is going to train high school graduates into low paying programmer jobs, and these people will never be able to leave their company, because they do not have an engineering degree.

Also they salary the new high schoolers will start with, will be lesser than what entree level engineers currently earn at HCL.