Monday, November 28, 2011

Are Protests and Satyagraha Constitutional?

Taken from

We have the right to protest peacefully. But it’s not about whether we have the right or not. It’s about are we using that right wisely. (You have the freedom of speech but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to blast Eminem using a loudspeaker at 2am in a residential district.)

As Ambedkar said while introducing the Constitution in November 1949, once the Constitution came into force, we should avoid all non-constitutional methods like protests and satyagraha, for they are the grammar of anarchy. If two persons go on fasts until death for two opposing reasons, we cannot decide the issue by allowing one person to die first.

Fast until death is political blackmail. It is a form of theatre engaged in to coerce the government into doing something that the agitators want. Whatever may be the cause, a single person cannot be allowed to dictate laws to the whole nation.

Another note from the same

Mahatma Gandhi used civil disobedience against laws imposed on India by the British government. Indians had no say in how the laws were made and how they were implemented. Indians could not repeal laws we didn’t want. Civil disobedience was justified in this context.

Gandhi also used it to coerce Indian nationalist leaders too, including Ambedkar and the Indian National Congress, into accepting his views. Whatever might be the wisdom of Gandhi’s intentions, this was undemocratic and created a culture of ‘high command’ that lives on to this day. Fasting was not justified in this context. This part of Gandhi receives little attention in the dominant narrative of Indian history.

Dr.Ambedkar on this issue. -

If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fact, what must we do? The first thing in my judgement we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mindless Railway Department - Changes in Tatkal

When Lalu Prasad Yadav was the railway minister, everybody used to praise him. I could never understand why, everyone was praising, because he had not done anything. Everything that people boasts about him were done in the Vajpayee government itself (including online reservation, tatkal etc.). One reason might be, after he became the railway minister, the profits increased a lot. After Mamatha Banerjee became the railway minister, and started destroying the railways, I realized how great Lalu Prasad Yadav was.

When everybody has decided to destroy the system, and if one does not do anything and sits idle, then he/she is considered as the person who has done real development in that system. [I am not sarcastic about this.]

I can never understand the government's policy on Tatkal tickets. They say that, they are coming up with policies to reduce the misuse of Tatkal tickets. Now, they have reduced the time duration for Tatkal tickets to one day, and changed few other things like, in one ticket, one can book only for four people, and the identification details have to be provided at the time of booking e-ticket.

The simple way to reduce the misuse is, increasing the price for Tatkal. If they make the price as double or triple to the normal ticket, then the misuse would be reduced automatically. If somebody needs to travel so urgently, then they should pay more. They cannot pay less and travel like others who booked 2 months before. [By the way, there is emergency quota to cater the emergency needs, and Tatkal quota need not be linked with that.]

There are two reasons for any black market. One is insufficient supply and another is, price is significantly lower than what the consumer can pay. If the system is in this state, then it is very difficult to remove the black market, without increasing the supply or price. If the railway department increases the price, then the black market would reduce, and it increases their revenue, by which they can improve the services of the passengers.

India is developing at night, when all the politicians are sleeping.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When do we get time to clean our code mess?

When do we get time to clean our code base?

This was the question asked by one of my colleagues to the Executive Vice President in the all hands meeting.

The Executive VP heard it like code mess (and another VP corrected it). He said something like, come up with a plan with the manager and the director, and he would consider that etc.

The following are my thoughts on the same.

Before asking the time for cleaning up the code base, I have few questions.

Did you write clean code yesterday?
Are you writing clean code today?
Will you be writing clean code tomorrow?

If the answer is No, then there is no point in asking extra time to clean up the code base. If we are not going to write clean code in our every day tasks, and asking separate time to clean the code base, there is absolutely no use, and it is just waste of the time, resources and money. First we should concentrate on writing clean code everyday, and then we should think of cleaning the existing code.

In any business, it is of no use to spend some extra time to clean some code base, unless we are 100% sure that, the code need to be changed soon with short dead lines, and also before that, we will not get any feature which requires re-writing of that. If the code is going to be re-written soon, then there is use of cleaning it now. We can directly re-write it later on. Whenever we get the change request in a component, at that time, we can try to fix the design/code of that component. Only, if we are sure that, the time that is given to those change requests is not enough with the existing design, we should fix the design now. Otherwise, there may be no use of cleaning it now.

If we are modifying a component, then the modified design should be in such a way that, all the parts that you are touching and it's integration with other parts would become very clean after that. If you are writing code, not only the exact parts that you are touching, but, all surrounding parts of the code also should be cleaned.

If you are changing a method as part of a bug fix, then may be you should look at the entire method and it's usage, and see whether you can rewrite the method in a very efficient way. If you are adding a method in a class, may be, you should look at redesigning of few methods, so that, the class would become clean.

Whenever any developer changes any code, if they look at the high level picture, and modify the code/design accordingly rather than just implementing that feature alone without bothering anything else, then within couple of months/years (depending on the size of the project), the entire code base becomes very clean.

Generally, no business person would give dedicated time to clean the code, unless, they are 100% sure that, the code would be maintained a lot and will not be re-written. They may also give time, if they have deep pockets. If they have deep pockets, probably, you can ask for salary raise first.

Courtesy: Shawn Smith (Who has shown me the difference between fixing a bug by a developer and a Distinguished Engineer. If he fixes a bug, then only another distinguished engineer can fix in such a clean way).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy on Deficit Budget in Andhra

The following is the speech of Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy (then Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra) on 1st Feb 1956 in Andhra assembly.

Separate Telangana supporters are saying, Telangana has surplus budget. They are saying, their revenue would reduce, if it merges to Andhra. It does not make any sense. Can we say that, any state in India has surplus budget? In all the states, we have so many problems. We don't have enough education, health facilities or roads. When the country is backward in all the fields, it is a mistake to say that, we have surplus budget.

Without doing any work and without providing any facilities to the people, keeping Rs.4 crore surplus is not at all an achievement. I am proud that, Andhra is in deficit. We are doing many things which even Madras state is also not doing. Since, we started many schools and colleges without thinking about the revenue and income, we are in deficit budget. We are getting lot of revenue from electricity and if we don't start these schools and colleges, we would have lot of surplus budget. Hyderabad is not starting any schools or colleges and that's why, it is in surplus budget.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Deficit Budget - Surplus Budget

One state has surplus budget and another state has deficit budget. By this, can we say that the first state is better than the second state?

There are two organizations of equal size. One is having huge profit, and another is having minimum profits. Can we say that, the first company is better than the second company?

Except those who understand the economics, many people think that, the first state or organization is better than the second state or organization.

For any state or organization, the way to check the health of the economy is not, whether the budget is deficit or surplus, or the organization is in profits or losses. One should see the growth and the investments that it had made which can give good returns. If the state or organization has invested in fields which can give very good returns, then even if it has deficit budget/less profit, it would be better than the other state or organization which has surplus budget/more profit, but has not invested anywhere. A good entrepreneur will never keep surplus budget or profits. They will always invest that money somewhere else for better returns in the future.

Amazon is a very good example of an organization which has less profits, but economically good. They never work to meet the present quarter's results, and never meet the expectations of the Wall Street. They work only for the long run and invest significantly for the long term business. Because of that, their profits are small. It is not the company to invest to get short term gains. But, if anybody is looking for long term gains, it is one of the best companies.

During the formation of Andhra Pradesh, the Andhra state had deficit budget, and Telangana state had surplus budget. By showing that, people of Telangana always criticize Andhra people that, Andhra people robbed Telangana. They had huge money and Andhra depended on them. If we look little deep in that, it would be clear that, Andhra had invested in much better way and Telangana did not invest properly.

The growth of a state mainly depends on the education of the people and infrastructure in the state. If a state invests in education and infrastructure for the state even by getting loan, that would always give very good returns. Even if they have huge debts and is in deficit budget, still that state would be considered as having strong economy.

At the time of formation of Andhra Pradesh, the education level of Andhra is way higher than the education level of Telangana. [I think, this may be the only one which everyone unanimously agree including Telangana and Andhra People.] That's the reason why, Telangana people felt that, they would lose their jobs, because, they cannot compete with Andhra people. That's why, they brought Gentlemen Agreement, and many other bills, so that, Telangana people are secure.

At the time of formation of Andhra Pradesh, many areas of Andhra had electricity, and that was one of the biggest revenue generator for the state government. Whereas in Telangana, only 7 towns and 11 villages had electricity in 1957. The agriculture in Andhra was way ahead than the agriculture in Telangana. In Andhra, people were using the electricity for agriculture, whereas that was not the case in Telangana. The infrastructure is very less in Telanagana when compared to Andhra.

Andhra had invested money in Education and infrastructure a lot and that's why, it was in deficit budget. Whereas, in Telangana, they kept all their money without investing anywhere. That's why, they had surplus budget. It does not mean that, Telangana is richer than Andhra. If both are kept as two separate states, Andhra would have been many times superior to Telananga. Unfortunately, they are asking to separate the state, after significant investment flew to Telangana from Andhra.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Kiran Bedi - Manipulation of Bills

Kiran Bedi has been criticized that, she has charged more than her travel expenses. She claims that, she used that money to fund her NGO, and is using the money appropriately. She feels, whatever she has done is ethical. Whether it is legal or illegal depends on many factors, and it is not possible to tell without looking into all the details.

After this dispute, she said, she would be ready to get the maximum punishment, including capital punishment, if required. She says, the Jan Lokpal Bill should not be linked with this, and it must be passed.

I am unhappy that, even with these disputes, she has not realized the problems that present government employees/politicians are facing, by doing things which are ethical, but not legal. There are many policies which restrict the general public in doing their basic things. When the government employees bypass those rules to provide better service to the general public, which are ethical but not legal, they are accused of being corrupt. She is fighting to eradicate corruption absolutely everywhere. It means, if anyone is going to do any illegal thing, they would be arrested and imprisoned including those who have done ethically correct.

I hope she realizes it pretty soon that, first the policies have to be changed so that, those which are ethical would be made legal, and then we should bring strong laws to control the corruption. Without changing those policies, if we bring strong laws to eradicate corruption, then most of the people would be in jail only.