Thursday, July 30, 2009

No more board games please!

Pictionary.. I am sure those who have played it will smile at the very mention of the name! I never knew that I will start liking the game sooo much! Me and darshit have tried our hands on many board games including Scrabble, Chess, Mastermind, and some we do not even remember now! And I never laughed like mad in any of these games. But Pictionary is different. If there is nothing so funny about the guess, I will still be rolling in the aisles watching darshit draw :) Ah..What a drawer he is!!!

Actually this board game is not so cheap to end up in our house especially when we already have board games piled up in one corner! But thanks to Aricent :) Darshit received some gift vouchers and the very next moment we started planning our next expenditure! For a change, me and darshit were in Crossword that evening. Ah.. I just love book shops especially Crossword. The ambience.. the pile of books.. the mild instrumental music.. and not to forget.. the recliners!! Whoa! A real stress buster! But wait!!! Where is darshit??! How can I forget.. he hates books! I found him in the games section choosing one more BIG board game. Anyways.. I had handpicked two books and was quite happy with my selection. Darshit took some time as he actually read through the rules of those big board games. Finally he zeroed in on Pictionary! He wanted to buy it! Oh Come on.. Not one more board game! I was not in mood to pour in from our pockets but two brand new non-pirated books + Pictionary! We came out holding a book and Pictionary!! I was not so happy.. obviously I wanted to buy both the books..leave aside whether I get time to read it or not.. but I love to increase the size of my book's stack!

But here I was, playing Pictionary without having my dinner and got completely involved into the game. Each guess was such a fun.. my god! I still remember when darshit had to describe me "stool". Dont ask me what did he draw and what all I guessed!!! But this game was absolutely worth the money rather worth the sacrifice of a book!

First time, I realized the importance of the expressions! I almost died explaining word "Air" by drawing! You doubt? Try out yourself. But I am sure whenever I play this game, I am going to thank god for giving me speech, expressions, good drawing skill and yes, a very funny drawing sense to Darshit :P

PS: And yeah.. do let me know ur fav Pictionary word. I have already started building my pictionary word stack ;-)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CWG 2010: The Changing Face of Delhi!

Parkinson's Law says "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." A little twist from my side, I say "Work shrinks so as to fit the time left for its completion." You agree? Ofcourse! And by this time you must be even nodding if you are a software engineer :P

Ok... I know you are now wondering! Why am I comparing my derivation of Parkinson's law with CommonWealth Games 2010 (CWG)??? I say keep reading on :)

CWG is scheduled from 3rd October to 14th October 2010. Our country has won the opportunity to host this event by defeating Canada by 46 votes to 22 at the CGF General Assembly held in Montego Bay in November 2003. And since then, India is very busy making all arrangements for this esteemed event.

1) Funds have been allocated for 2,500 new DTC buses that will hit the roads before March next year. Also 15 new Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus depots would come up before 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG).

In a scenario where the number of vehicles in Delhi was set to cross the 60 lakh mark, the move to encourage public transport would go a long way in easing congestion.

2) The city may soon get six new Delhi Metro corridors.

3) The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) has advocated to the government a five year tax holiday for all hotels (including the five star hotels) to boost up their capacity expansion ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games

4) Government will now create cycle tracks within a 2 Km radius of all Commonwealth Games venues.

5) Delhi Metro has decided to procure 300 air-conditioned feeder buses in its effort to provide hassle-free and comfortable ride to spectators on their way to 2010 Games venues.

6) Power ministry has asked providers of cable TV, internet and telephone services to remove overhanging wires.

7) The FRI has been entrusted with the job by the Delhi government to make the city look beautiful during the games. India has already declared it will host the first ever green Commonwealth Games (CWG) in 2010.

8) A dedicated electricity grid is to be set up for 2010 commonwealth games by BSES, one of the two private power distribution firms in the national capital.

9) By 2010 Commonwealth Games, Delhi roads will get over 70 foot over bridges (FOB) for safe passage of pedestrians, the most vulnerable road users. If approved by the Delhi government, the next set of FOBs will have user-friendly features like lifts/escalators and ramps.

10) The public works department (PWD), the major road owning agency, has drawn up a map for micro-surfacing of all stretches which were laid or resurfaced barely two years ago. Roads which were resurfaced five or six years would be redeveloped using three technologies PWD sources said.

11) Ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Delhi Government has decided to start phasing out of Blueline (often called as blood lines by Delhites) buses from July onwards by replacing them with modern buses over a period of next five months.

12) Work on the much-awaited Heritage Circuit linking the three World Heritage Sites Red Fort, Humayun Tomb and the Qutub Minar, in the city has started as part of the efforts to showcase Delhi magnificent past during the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

13) The Delhi government Thursday decided to construct a dedicated flyover, the longest in Delhi, to connect Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main venue of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and the Games Village located 5 km away.

And many more things..

Right now I can not compare our presentation of the games with other countries' presentation but I can say with surety that this event will bring boom to tourism, aviation, hospitality industries and will create jobs for many local people in India.

But at the same time, I would say that we should not compromise the quality of work as we did in the Phase II of Metro and suffered. I just hope this was the first and last mistake which taught us that no work can be complete without its quality checks!!

However we are trying to squeeze the work to fit in the stipulated timeline and if we come out as winners, Delhi will resurface with a new fresh look and with booming industries which otherwise would have taken years together!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Union Budget '09 - An effort to bring Bharat and India together!

The message is loud and clear. This budget is essentially a rural development-oriented budget. To make it very clear, it is NOT ONLY rural development oriented. It is an attempt to marginalize the rural-urban divide in India. Atleast I feel so. Do you wonder why?

There is a special focus this time to make sure that Bharat as a whole progresses towards a developed country and not only the urbanized-glitzy India.

Government plans to provide Rs 2000 crore for rural housing.

Banking facilities to be provided in remote areas in coming 3 years time frame.

Also adding handloom clusters in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

PM's Adarsh Gram Yojana gets the impetus with Rs. 100 cr funding.

Indira Awaas Yojana outlay increasted by 63%. Bharat Nirman outlab also raised by 59%.

Food security to provide rice, wheeat at Rs. 3 a Kg to poor.

Special fund of Rs. 4000 cr from Rural Infra Dev fund to provide cheap loans to MSME.

Rajiv Gandhi, former prime minister of India, had once estimated that less than 15 paise out of every rupee meant for the poor actually reached them because of leakages in the delivery system. Twenty years later, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee announced initiatives that would remove the intermediaries in the supply chain and deliver subsidies directly to the intended beneficiaries.

Mukherjee’s Budget further underlined the government’s move towards disintermediation with huge thrusts in key social sector programmes such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), Food Security Act, National Rural Livelihood Mission, women’s self help groups (SHGs) and the education loan subsidy scheme, focusing largely on rural India.

A mention of Decontrol of oil prices is another mega-reform.

More importantly, a 45-day limit on coming out with a “new” tax code,which should put a bridle to the finance ministers who are always ready to fiddle with tax rates, not to mention the plethora of cess, surcharges and other taxes bordering on the fringe.

Foreign investors often complain that our indirect tax structure is multilayered and complex with over half a dozen levies. Therefore GST is on schedule for April 2010, a national-level Goods and Services Tax (GST) that should be shared between the Centre and the States. Another step to mega-reform.

I know we all are mean and selfish. But we are not left out. Fringe Benefit Tax is abolished. Income tax exemption limit is increased. 10% surcharge in Direct Taxes scrapped.

And I must admire the re-consideration of service tax imposed on lawyers which was self-indulgently exempted by previous FM is now again introduced which implies individual law consultation will not to attract service tax.

And since I cannot include each and every detail of this budget, you can view this link which gives a extremely good picture of the budget.

Now after reading this, I am sure many questions will be raised on fiscal deficit which is up by 0.1% from 6.7% to 6.8%. BUT do you really expect it to be brought down in the recession years? How? By raising taxes which will give even less revenues? Or by lowering expenditures so that you get even lesser growth? Its upto you to decide!

I know this is not the dream budget but I really dont expect a dream budget which is never fullfilled but just shows a dreamy picture!! I feel this is realistic and well thought of budget which should be able to deliver what it has proposed!