Mountains of dusty and dog eared files and papers in government offices are all set to become things of the past thanks to the ambitious digitilalization project in the state Yes, Kerala is all set to become the first fully digital State in the country, which will add further impetus in delivering efficient and transparent services apart from making the Kerala offices paperless and super organized.
In the ambitious e-governance project that will be taken up in an year, every citizen would be given an email id based on the UID Adhar and all government transactions and applications would be through e-mail. In addition, all panchayats will have 4G connectivity with optical fibre broadband. In the first phase, Palakkad, Kannur, Kottayam and Malappuram districts will be included in this innovative e- district project, which will be followed by the rest of the 10 districts in the state.
The project, which will be completed by March 31st next year will provide all the certificates online.In addition, the infamous red taped files in the Secretariat would also move towards digital mode by March 31. The IDEAS file tracking system will enable the ordinary people to access information and to track files without having to depend on Right to Information Act. All the contracts above Rs.25 lakh in government departments and public sector undertakings would come under the e-tendering system. It is envisaged that by March 2014, the estimates, administrative sanction, technical sanction, tenders, bills and payments in the Public Works Department,would be on electronic mode.
The digitalisation process will also simplify various procedures like corrections in the SSLC book, visa, applications for higher studies and other relevant documents. This futuristic digitilization process will bring respite to the citizens in accessing the information they need without making countless visits to the various departments and greasing the palm of the officials to get the files approved!
Gone are the days when people used to stand in serpentine lines to remit the payments of their phone or electricity bills. Many a time, customers find it difficult to reach their work places on time after these errands as the staff in the counters fail to turn up at the dot of time! Now the users can pay their bills, get the bill details and payment date details through their mobile phones as the M-governance is being extended to more services like Kerala Water Authority, Kerala State Electricity Board and Kerala State Financial Corporation. Already, the motor vehicles department is using this mobile alert based information service where the users can access the details of the vehicle if the registration number is known.
However, the role of M-governance will not replace the existing system but will act as a supplement to e-governance to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas. In addition, a range of facilities including the complaint registration system at Kerala Women’s Commission, helpline and information system for Sabarimala pilgrims bus timings of KSRTC, mobile ticket reservation at Kerala State Film Development Corporation theatres and timber auction alerts at Forest Department have also been introduced. As Kerala moves a step closer to paperless transactions with these smart services, booking your movie ticket or paying the electricity bills have become as simple as a few clicks! Well, that is what we all call smart living!
Here you have another version from my male colleagues who prefer slim belles- Here is what I have for lean women- a compilation of responses from them.
Angelina Jolie, Katrina, Kareena, Priyanka Chopra, Shilpa Shetty or for that matter take any leading film star today- and there is one thing in common -they are all thin. And yes, there is Kerala’s very own Kavya Madhavan who saw a steep decrease in her fan-base once she put on weight (Of course people still love her for her acting skills and her beautiful face but definitely her figure does not receive much appreciation today).
One guy cited: Thin women can become models if they want to and if they don’t want to, can look like one and win complements. What’s even better; looking thin gives an impression that you work-out (even if you have not been) and live a healthy lifestyle.
Men love thin women and women themselves like being thin. So being thin obviously means that you can enjoy advising fat women who come up to you for advices on how to lose weight.
Ha, another guy had a funny fact: No lift-man will ever refuse to accommodate you on a lift. After all you are just a few extra kilos.
You can manage to sit in a small space in a crowded bus or train.And getting seats on our Indian buses and trains is definitely not child’s play.
“They can also be easily accommodated at the rear of my bike” said another guy.
Hmm, another soft comment: No one will ever corner you asking ‘Please donate blood’. And no one will ever refuse to donate you blood in case you are in need.
This is interesting : Women are known for multi-tasking. Being thin allows you to move faster and get things done. One minute you are downstairs attending your son, and the next minute you are back in the kitchen. Needless to say you can fit into a small kitchen and do the chores easily.
A guy with a sportive mind stated: Thin women excel in sports and can play any game of their choice.
The mention of ‘Full-figured’ girls and the guys panic, thinking its an expensive affair. He will have to afford her gym, quality and quantity of food and fetch clothes of her unique sizes”. Ok, point taken.
Unlike girls who struggle a lot to lose weight (because not only guys, majority of girls do not like looking fat), thin girls can be free from gym sessions, and fitness regimes, get to relax and spend their time hogging food.
Ah, thats a point from the group: Miniskirts, shorts, nice and cut-hot trends, capris and bikinis – thin girls look the best in them! Another benefit, yes you can save a lot of money when you get to sew two sets of dress from a single piece of cloth.
All, from the group had the same view: They like their ladies to be in shape and look young and thin women always look younger than their age. With many men working out to have an athletic body today, a slim women will always be their favorite. Guys love to carry their slim women in their arm, and every time he does that it ignites romance. So the chances of lifting becomes a daily affair, and the women obviously loves it. One of my male colleagues was of the opinion that women put on weight after marriage so he wanted to keep that trouble post-marriage, so for the time being he would prefer a slim girl.
All this said, be it fat or thin, women are always beautiful the way they are!
A shouting competition- In all probability, you might not have heard anything like this before in Kerala!! The brain child of Sholto, our boss from the UK, who wanted to try it out as a small experiment to find out why Kerala ladies almost always talk in muffled tones, this interesting shout out competition was held in our office at Karma Kerala. The ladies and the gents teams were drawn up and everything was well set for a high decibel shout and screech. The winning team would have been the one that made the maximum sound.
Obviously the all girls team of 17 was not a match for the men’s team and the ladies were clearly outclassed in the first round of the shouting competition. In the second round in a hotly fought contest 15 ladies shouted their lungs out as loud as they could against a truncated men’s team of just 5 and even then, the men won by a clear edge. When a combined round of both men and women was done, the sound tapered as it reached the female side. In this melee, a few anxious faces did came out from the adjacent buildings to see what it was all about.
At the end of it all, it was concluded that the women in Kerala have chosen to be soft spoken and quiet due to an array of social and cultural factors when they are outside the comfort zones of their homes. However, I feel that to measure the real power of the female vocal chords, one might have to step into their homes unexpectedly when all the male voices of the house will be drowned in the clamor of the females:). Share your views on this interesting topic !
Travelling in some of Kochi‘s private buses is a daunting experience for me and for other commuters who are concerned about time. In the morning, reaching office on time is a concern for all those who work in a well administered office. In the evening, most people hurry back home, especially women, before it gets dark. If you are staying in a hostel, you’ll have to meet the deadline of time before the gate closes. And even private buses in Cochin are also concerned about punching in time at the punching stations.
But it happens mostly in the evening when you want to hurry back home. If you have got into a bus which moves like it is taking you for a sightseeing in the city. Here you end up getting mad. Some buses move at such a snail’s pace, that we can even take a nap. I have counted seconds and minutes from the time I got in to reach my stop. The time I took to reach from Janatha(Vyttila) via south to Kacheripady was an hour!! And this happened despite the traffic blocks at Panampilly Nagar and South over bridge. I wanted to ask the driver if he was learning the driving or taking us for a sightseeing and then I curse myself for getting into this bus.
Some buses go slow until they reach the punching station at Menaka, but once they punched out they rush for life. Most people, who like me feel that time is very valuable, are happy to travel in fast riding private buses. If once I got stuck in such bus, I’ll be careful not to step into that bus again.
Although, the traffic rules says “Speed Thrills but Kills”, these snail-buses are sometimes beyond tolerance.
This afternoon on my way home for lunch I was pleasantly surprised when I waved towards an autorickshaw. Out popped a smiling face, bindi and all wearing Khaki uniform over her kurta-salwar. I was immediately curious about her life as an auto driver in Kochi and she assured me things were going very well!
Meet Sumitra, part of a growing band of women foraying into male bastions in Kochi. She owns her own autorickshaw and has been cruising the streets for over a month now. And the best part is that she lives close to our Karmakerala office. Sumitra’s husband owns a goods carrier autorickshaw which is called a petti-auto in Kerala. Great to see women out earning their living in petrol filling stations, mall parking lots and driving autoricks for hire.
Catch Sumitra during the day on Kochi roads, she heads home by 6 PM. I hope to run into her again as I dash in and out of the office.
Shyama, my colleague, wants me to write out a post…..
Now, what shall I write? Confusion indeed…
It’s been cloudy since yesterday, with rains lashing out now and then. It’s a relief, from the scorching summer heat, but I’m feeling terribly sleepy. If given a chance, I’d simply shirk work and go have a nice sleep….Oh, no! I need to earn by bread n’ butter, nay, my Kanji and Curry. So better sit on and write on, after all I am paid to write….
I suddenly remember that the Kerala State Government had yesterday declared 2010 as the ‘Coir Year’. I ask Shyama if I may write about that. Pat comes the reply, over Skype, “Cottage industry, indigenous industry… wah bhai wah!”. Yes indeed. It’s good that the government has decided to announce the year as ‘ Coir Year’ and also has taken the initiative to launch various schemes aimed at uplifting people engaged in the coir industry.
Well, I happen to hail from the Thiruvananthapuram district. There are places near my hometown Varkala where dwell people who are part of the coir industry. But I feel the number of such people are dwindling, with more of our people looking out for making big money with not-so-indigenous methods.
Well, big money is no crime, if it’s not made in an illicit manner. But it’s sad to see indigenous industries going the wrong way. Anyway, kudos to the State Govt for taking the initiative and also for thinking of raising the pay given to coir workers from Rs. 100 per day to Rs 150 per day.
But, is that what I want to write about?
I look out and see vehicles ply on the road. It rained just half an hour ago; in fact it’s drizzling even now. My thoughts wander a bit….
The monsoons are supposed to arrive in a week’s time.
It’s this monsoon, known in Malayalam as the Edava paathi, especially as it comes almost by mid-Edavam (Edavam being a month in the Malayalam calendar), that’s made use of by farmers all over Kerala.
It’s this monsoon, the South West Monsoon that solves water-scarcity related problems and fills up wells, ponds, rivers etc.
It’s this monsoon that used to drench school kids on school re-opening day.
Hey, Did I say ‘used to’. Yes indeed! It no longer comes with that kind of precision, lament many of my friends. I too tend to agree. There was a time when the monsoon would unfailingly greet school kids walking past fields and through narrow village roads.
As a school-boy, when I used to visit Kerala during my summer vacations in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, I used to enjoy seeing this, sitting in my grandfather’s shop, which used to be there by the side of paddy fields and from where I could catch the sight of a school by the road, almost half a kilometre away.
The school is there. But alas, the shop is not there. Many of the paddy fields too are not there. My grandfather is no more. And no more can I see those many sights that characterised the Edava Paathi. But still, Edava Paathi has its own beauty, its own charm in Kerala.
But I wonder how many of our people are pondering as to whether they would be able to till their fields and sow the seeds or not. Paddy fields are vanishing all around us. Why bother? We get rice, brought in from the other states!!
And what if the paddy fields and marshes disappearing is affecting the water-table? It’s going to affect the next generation only! And we can get mineral water, sold to us at Rs 10 or Rs 15 per litre. (Am sad indeed as I happen to drink well water, unprocessed and unboiled, even now when I visit my home-town, where the well is real deep and the water still pure, unpolluted and cool. But in Ernakulam, I am forced to shell out money and buy mineral water or else get the insipid water from the taps and boil it and gulp it down, to quench my thirst. It cools off the body, but not the mind!)
Hey…I am digressing! Better not…Shyama is our editor. She is also officiating as the team leader for our bunch of writers at Karmakerala. If she is vexed at me, all hell will break loose. She can put in a word against me with our bosses Thejal, Mark and Sholto. Oh no, Shyama is my friend….
God bless you, Shyama! But God knows, God only knows perhaps that I am damn tired…can’t write, er, type out one more line….
Will wind up with this…for today!!!
Another day of hartal has passed, as usual hitting the normal life of the Indian Citizens especially the people of Kerala. It was a dawn to dusk hartal called by the Left parties and its allies against the Centre’s economic policies. This time the hartal activists turned out to block trains at major places of Kerala, which badly hit the rail traffic adding more disruption to the normal life. Here the Court orders and rules has no value and, the Kerala Govt. which supported the Hartal gained nothing from it. It is only the people of the state who suffered and who will continue to suffer if the hartal activists continue to be like this.
It was in 2004 may 29th, The High Court full bench ordered the Govt to make sure that Hartals should not hit the normal life and, if necessary the Govt. can seek the assistance of army to ensure this. What people saw yesterday was a complete negligence of these orders. The hartal activists stopped private vehicles, stoned a few and attacked even Ambulances and people who came to work at banks and post offices. This time hartal activists concentrated more at stopping rail traffic, and they supplied food for the supporters in front of the travellers who were hungry and thirsty inside the blocked trains.
At the same time there were single protests against hartal saying the hartals creates bad reputation to the country. For the past years the hartals did nothing good to the people of country, but helped the vested interests of the major political parties and they gained nothing for the people if they say it is all for people.
Have your say about hartals. Do hartals do any good to the people?
Photo Courtesy: The Hindu
From being a tourist destination to an information technology hotspot, Kerala takes up new ideas for a better state. The Kerala government released a coffee table book known as the ‘IT@Kerala – The Smart State”.
The 160-page book, is launched by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan charting Kerala’s march from being God’s Own Country to the hottest investment destination in the IT sector.
The book features Kerala’s IT infrastructure, industry and its journey of becoming a smart state with resourceful professionals. Also highlighting the strengths and growth potential of IT in Kerala along with the testimonials of top IT companies, thus giving a complete description of infrastructure facilities laid down for the IT industry.
IT Principal Secretary Ajay Kumar said about the book that it is an insight to potential investors about the various opportunities and conducive environment Kerala has in offer.
Listing all the major tourist destinations, the lush valleys, misty hills, sunny beaches and dozens of cultural spectacles, food, and ayurveda that engage business with pleasure. The facilities available with easier connectivity through road, rail and air transport in the state, are all noted down in the book.
Presently there are more than 30,000 IT professionals working in the state which include top notch companies of varying size and shape.
Lola (a pug) is officially our chief entertainment officer. She certainly does no work but mobs around the office saying hello to each and everybody and exploring under every desk. When a comfortable chair becomes available she takes the opportunity to undertake some desk time, except in her case she droops her eyes, rests her head and falls fast asleep.