July 28, 2016
My comment on FB:
True to form, the Indian bureaucracy works “efficiently” even in the Election Commission.
For three days I (and another person) tried to call these people for an appointment but no one picks up the phone. At least 15 attempts made over these days, but no one picks up ANY phone in the Election Commission!
Plus they don’t respond to any letter – or email. And they took Rs.1000 to provide us with documents (as per the rate they told us) and they never responded, never provided any document.
On Friday I’ll walk into the Commission and wait in line to meet people and ask what is going on.
We are their main client – a registered political party. And these Third World jokers don’t even pick up the phone, reply to email, or reply to letters!
July 26, 2016
Rakesh Agarwal wrote today about his astonishing experience with the passport process. All he was doing is follow the law – but what has happened is a salutary warning to those who have the ambition to engage with the Indian bureaucracy.
This also reminded me of an incident 35 years ago with the Indian police and bureaucracy. Extracts from these comments below:
I am going through a harrowing experience in having my passport reissued.
My passport was valid until August 2018 but since it had handwritten date of expiry which is no more acceptable, I applied for a new one. I wanted to apply for the new passport under Tatkal category but since I truthfully mentioned that I have an ongoing criminal case pending in a court (agitation related), I could only apply under Normal category.
A week later, on reaching the passport office at ITO and after a 3 hour wait, I was directed to go to the RK Puram office because all cases with pending criminal cases are dealt with from there. A few days later and another two hours of running around, I was told that I need an NOC from the court. The list of documents presented to me while applying said nothing of the sort. A visit to the court costing me good part of a day, another futile visit to ITO office because they said I need to go back to RK Puram and then one more visit to RK Puram – that’s what it took to submit my application.
Police came home about two weeks later. The police man pointed out that I had missing the first P from Patparganj while filling in the application form. I duly acknowledged the mistake and informed him that I would get it corrected. He went through the verification rituals of obtaining signatures from two neighbours, copies of my documents, etc. and left quietly.
A week later, online status of my application showed “police report not clear”. Thinking it was due to the criminal case, I called up the passport office only to learn that according to the police, my address was wrong. Shocked beyond belief, I spoke to the police man who had visited and he said with a straight face that I live in Atparganj and not Patparganj, so he had rejected my application. I should go back to the passport office, amend my address and the verification process will start all over again.
AND THAT, Ladies and Gentleman, is what I am going to do today. But if it is going to cost me even a single day more because of a silly mistake, it is not just the Regional Passport Officer (IFS) that will have a piece of my mind but the government of the day. After all, what should have been mine under Tatkal latest by 10th June is nowhere in sight. And my inability to visit overseas is costing me potential funding of $3 million for my business.
Several questions arise on the efficiency and efficacy of the passport issuing process:-
1. Why is NOC needed at all from a court in the case of a petty laughable criminal case? (Pseudo arm chair nationalists ‘sensitive’ to national security refrain from answering this questions)
2. Why was the requirement of NOC not mentioned in the documents advisory that was printed along with receipt upon online submission of application?
3. Why was I made to go to the ITO office when it could not deal with my application?
4. Is “you need NOC” such a special information that it can only be disseminated from the RK Puram office?
5. Why was I not told that I need to come back to the RK Puram office?
6. If my address was deemed wrong because of a silly mistake, how did the policeman reach my home?
7. Why couldn’t the policeman or the passport office correct this silly mistake?
8. Why isn’t there a provision in the online verification reporting mechanism for the police to state why they are rejecting an application?
9. Today, will they just speak to the policeman and that will be the end of the matter or will I be put through the torture of another 10 days wait? We will see.
MY COMMENT (ON THE SAME POST)
Rakesh, this is amazing but not unexpected. You’d be surprised how hard it was for me to get my address verified while joining IAS. My father was in a transferable service so I gave my uncle’s address in Delhi as our permanent address in the application (remember, the IAS process takes nearly two years from application to commencement of work, so it would have been foolish to give a temporary address. In fact, my father was transferred from Pune to Kolar Gold Fields during this period).
Delhi police came to my uncle’s house, did some checking with neighbours (how could they possibly know me?) and reported that they could not verify my address. My uncle said they were asking money.
Anyway, to sort this out my father had to personally go to the JS Personnel who was also equally stupid and demanded all kinds of affidavits and proofs (my father’s being in a senor role in a transferable civil service meant nothing to him. He could have checked that from the Defence Ministry in one minute if he wanted to). So I was the last IAS officer of my batch to be issued an appointment letter, after undergoing great additional cost and time (my father and I had to both come to Delhi by air at our cost – 1982 was a very expensive time to fly by air – and run around till this got sorted).
MY FURTHER COMMENT (FOR THIS BLOG POST)
I have been repeatedly saying that India desperately needs governance reforms. I hope those who have not yet joined SBP will do so now. Else they can expect to experience this kind of chaos all their life.
Someone wrote on Rakesh’s post:
Itoo had some similar experience while I applied for Passport in 2001 . After many months I got the appointment with the passport officer. It was late as compared to the normal time taken for the procedure but still I was happy as I didn’t paid any bribe, and was expecting that there will not be any issue with the Passport Officer. As I entered his chamber he was reading a novel, and he let me stand & wait to finish the page.he was reading. I excuse him to look into my case , and he put a question of spelling differences in the application. Finally after 3 years, In 2004 I got my Passport.
It is really horrible. My parents didn’t go to Hajj because of this very passport office because despite every documents in place passport office had delayed my father passport either deliberately or mistakenly. And my father never visited Makkah.
July 26, 2016
Within minutes of my circulating my blog post re: man eating ants to survive, two people responded, thus:
This man has been “Ex CEO Projects at Goa Minerals Pvt Ltd” (see his Linkedin profile)
And this is what he has to say:
Adivasis in Odisha and WBengal and Jharkhand eat ants and ant eggs. It is part of their regular diet. Nothing to do with Modi.
SK Kochar from New Delhi
His profile: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109882060024546052176
This is what he has to say:
I can understand that a person wearing dark glasses can only ONLY experience darkness
Have you seen ANY negativity in US or EUROOE
If not then avoid India.
It’s easy to point out a flaw in a painting
But impossible to draw a same or similar painting
Try if you can become a Modi if you take seven births
I’ve made sure that these enemies of India don’t ever receive any more emails from me. But it is clear that India is what it is because of such people. They WANT India to be poor, filthy and corrupt. They are cockroaches who thrive in filth. But even cockroaches are not mentally corrupt. These people have lost all sense of ethics, morality, integrity, sympathy, humanity.
There is a third person, Ashok Saraf . He is from Pune. His profile: https://plus.google.com/118390802717009525842
Relax, it’s not all that bad … come more often and travel especially to remote villages,
July 26, 2016
Yesterday I was waiting outside the Karol Bagh metro station for someone. I suddenly noticed an old man pressing a finger to the ground.
I was intrigued. I then saw that this man was collecting ants from the ground. He was squishing the tiny ants that were crawling about and systematically putting them in the palm of his hand. He made a decent sized pile – nearly enough to fit one table spoon. I kept looking, not clear what was going on.
Then, all of a sudden, he put the whole thing into his mouth and ate the small pile of ants.
I missed recording this since I was totally unprepared that something like this can even happen – leave alone happen in front of my eyes.
But I immediately activated my phone’s video to see what he would do next. He only caught one more ant after that and ate it (I got it on camera). He also drank something from some a small plastic bad that people had thrown on the sidewalk after consuming whatever it contained (possibly some yogurt?).
Then he walked off. He trouser was entirely tattered from the back. I realised he was a scavenger with some self respect. I had been pestered by a wide range of child beggars while I was standing there. But he had not begged.
He was self-sufficient. He ate ants.
I get a shell-shock each time I visit India. The desperate poverty of India is beyond imagination. It is beyond intolerable.
I thought whether I should run after the man and give him something to eat. But I did not. It was going to be absolutely futile. How would he eat tomorrow? The same old ants.
Someone should tell Modi and Kejriwal about this.
The ONLY way to eliminate extreme poverty in India is to fix India’s governance and policy. SBP’s policies would never have anyone in such deep and inhuman poverty.
Such incidents are probably why I’ve not yet given up on the work of bringing liberty and good governance to this god-forsaken “country” – a country which India’s criminal politicians tout as being “shining” or “mahaan” (great).
And where they are busy dividing people so they can kill each other off.
NO DEVELOPMENT FOR MY MOTHER INDIA.
Further to this post, see this: http://www.sabhlokcity.com/2016/07/the-complete-insensitivity-of-some-indians-to-the-plight-of-their-fellow-indians/
July 23, 2016
I reached Delhi early today morning – my first visit to India after two years.
Delhi inner roads are as bad as ever. Massive potholes, rundown and ramshackle walls, filth strewn around everywhere. Looks like India has absolutely no idea about what development looks like. And my good God! the smell, the stench. Spoils one’s day completely. India STINKS. The big sewer.
Even the half-capitalist China – which was far behind India at the time of India’s independence -has whipped India in the competition to succeed.
The Modi government is failing BIG TIME. By mid-2017 I can see social unrest and agitations arising across the country, as people give up hope and take to the streets.
The world has passed India by. We are seeing a country in terminal decline (even though it boasts of “great” growth rates). The administrative and political system has entirely failed. The country is moving glacially forward, at a time when the rest of the world has gone far, far ahead.
And I can report that the brain drain – or rather exodus – from India has gathered pace. Almost all my relatives’ children have left India, and others are being asked to leave. That must be happening to all children across the country.
This is the time to do or die. Fight for liberty, fight for reforms.
This is China
This is India