Wednesday, 8 November 2017

NComputing can slash your IT costs by 50 Percent

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Did you know that you are using less than 10% of the resources of your Pan the rest of it is wasted? Well, through this note, we would like to share with you a solution that taps into the unused resources of your PC and distributes it across multiple users.

This is the power of NComputing, a shared computing solution provider, which allows you to distribute the power of your PC across users – up to 100 workstations. This not only lowers the acquisition and deployment costs of computers in your organization, it also makes the infrastructure easily manageable and drastically reduces the maintenance and electricity costs.

NComputing offers unique benefits that include:
  • Run up to 100 workstations with just 1 PC/Server
  • Reduce acquisition costs by 50%, maintenance costs by 75%
  • Reduce electricity costs by 90%, thereby reducing the TCO
  • Plug and Play solution that allows quick deployment
  • Enhanced data security
  • Saves considerable amount of workspace
We have implemented this solution across verticals in 140+ countries with 20+ million users and 7000 customers. Per IDC report, NComputing is ranked No. 1 in the Desktop Virtualization provider in India. We would be happy to share some of our success stories of customers that may be similar to your organization.

Right now, we are taking appointments to have a call (Payal
+91991009050), where we can explain this solution. We can follow that up with a demonstration at your office for you and your team.

Monday, 9 October 2017

The Many Ways You’re Being Watched

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Why You Need Online Privacy Protection with Privacy Guardian

In the age of constant connectivity, online privacy and secure browsing are no longer merely nice to have; they are mandatory. Anti-malware software safeguards your PC from harm, but today you also need online protection for you, personally.

What You Do Online Isn’t Private

Block access to your sensitive online data, device info and browsing habits with Privacy Guardian™
Companies and individuals can acquire enormous amounts of very specific information about you--your “digital fingerprint”--based on what you do on the internet, and much of this data can be used against you in various ways. Here are a few of them.
Ads following you. Following you, in fact, all the way into your email inbox. Why do ads for products you’ve just browsed follow you around the internet, appearing in banners and sidebars on the pages you visit? This technology that spies on your browsing and shopping habits to place ads in front of you all too often also leads to harassing spam emails as well.

Without online privacy software, when you see an ad, the ad sees you--and can track you. This is unsettling and annoying, especially once you’ve made a purchase and are no longer interested in ads for the product. After all, once you’ve purchased a big-ticket item such as a mattress, refrigerator or vacuum cleaner, you are effectively removed you from the market for that product for many years. Why put up with constant badgering to re-purchase the very item you already bought?

Price discrimination. If an online retailer obtains data indicating you are shopping from a computer located in a wealthy neighborhood, it could mark up the prices you see on its website.

As far back as the summer of 2015, at the annual meeting of the lobbying group the International Air Transport Association one executive called it inevitable that airlines would soon start using personal data to charge some passengers more than others; indeed, this has since come to pass. This deceitful practice is now being deployed by airlines, hotels, insurance companies and more.
Compromised consumer reputation. Credit bureaus are regulated to ensure that people don’t have incorrect credit information spread about them, but there is no such oversight in the online marketplace. Imagine being denied credit because a company has secretly collected data that suggests you are an irresponsible shopper.

Your data for sale. Congress overturned F.C.C. rules requiring broadband providers to get your permission before collecting data on your online activities and selling it to advertisers. Without these restrictions, ISPs are sure to become even more aggressive with data collection.
Unsecure websites. Another threat to online privacy is third-party hackers who can get between you and your point of purchase, potentially stealing your credit card info or other data. This occurs most frequently when you visit unsecure websites that use an unencrypted connection to exchange data with your computer.

In many browsers, a small letter “i” in a circle in the address bar lets you know the page you are visiting may put your personal information at risk; a red alert triangle or full-page warning may appear when a site is determined to be outright malicious or otherwise dangerous. Look for a padlock icon and a URL that starts with “https://” to confirm you are visiting a site with a secure connection. However, there is nothing about even supposedly secure sites that can put an end to the collection of your data through sophisticated fingerprint-based tracking techniques.

Enter Privacy Guardian™

Privacy Guardian is online privacy software that helps ensure anonymous web browsing, keeps your search history private, thwarts digital profile-building or “fingerprinting” based on your habits, enhances identity theft protection and stops ad-trackers from following and targeting you.

Unlike inferior cookies-based tracking blockers focused only on ads, Privacy Guardian focuses on fingerprint-based tracking by studying the behaviors of known fingerprinting scripts and scrambling the data they rely upon to gain sensitive information about you.

How much data is unprotected? Without Privacy Guardian, you may be astonished to learn just how much information about you is attainable from your internet usage. By protecting your digital fingerprint, Privacy Guardian enhances online identity theft protection and helps prevent companies and individuals from gathering your:

Internet Activity
  • Online searches
  • Videos watched
  • Websites visited
Online Purchases
  • Medicines
  • Vehicles
  • Vacation habits
Financial Data
  • Income
  • Credit score
  • Debt and loans
Personal Information
  • Age, gender, ethnicity
  • Political party
  • Marital/child status
The ramifications of giving away personal information of such breadth and scope are alarming to contemplate. Block access to your sensitive online data, device info and habits. Protect your private life with Privacy Guardian.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Indian food safety watchdog FSSAI itself needs inspection

FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) is a watchdog for implementing food safety in India. This post is regarding their business of collecting money in the name of registration fee and license fee from all the food vendors throughout the length and breadth of the country. What it does faithfully is collecting 100 Rs per year registration from all the food vendors below 12 lakh turnover and Rs.2000 license per year from above 12 lakh turnover.

Look at the pricing structure wherein License/Certificate Modification is charged the same price as the new application itself! Corrupt food inspectors ensure there is 100 percent compliance.

In my case a 72-year-old gentleman from Durgapur came to my Burdwan office asking to help in FSSAI licensing. He in turn brought the documents from a sweet shop. Both of them understand little about online application which is now mandatory by FSSAI. After paying 2000 Rs license fee for one year, the gentleman discovered that he had submitted me a wrong name for the sweet shop. With no way to edit the name once submitted, I requested assistance from their help desk after finding their toll free no. dead. The ticket raised dated 21 September, 2017 is still open (

There is a sense of terror as their online procedure is not understood by the masses and look at the state of their customer service with tollfree no. and online helpdesk non responsive. Remember, this government came to power on the promise of removing corruption and enforcing accountability on its bureaucratic workforce that draws disproportionately higher salary than their private counterparts. In a typical offline FSSAI office where after filling the online application one needs to submit physically attached documents, one will find a clerk who is sitting there to find fault and threaten to complete the online application from a nearby internet cafe from where he/she going to receive a referral commission.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Malware: What happens after my PC is infected?

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The top challenge to web security, according to the cybersecurity firm Cyren, is the use of multiple devices, which create numerous entry points for malware to enter your life. Our desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones all present added risk in today's gadget universe.

The mobility of these devices, plus the too-often unsecured nature of networks at restaurants, coffee shops and airports provides a perfect storm for cybercrime. And the "market," black as it is, shows it: nearly one million new malware threats are released every day.

Malevolent actors are getting faster and smarter by the second, making it more essential than ever for Windows users to protect their PCs with the best, most up-to-date antivirus software they can find. But what happens when a computer is already infected? To understand how insidiously malware can work, it helps to look at two common types that aren't even technically viruses: trojans and spyware.


Trojans are programs that appear to be useful, but they intentionally run destructive functions. Unlike viruses, trojans are not designed to make copies of themselves and spread to other users, but trojans can carry viruses and other malware within them.

Trojans can come from web downloads or email attachments, and it's all too easy to be tricked into installing one because it looks like it will serve a beneficial purpose. Trojans can even attach themselves to legitimate apps.

The effects of trojans can range from persistently annoying to permanently devastating. Users have reported everything from the constant display of ads, to the theft of their banking information, to the destruction of every file on their computer.


Spyware is tracking software that silently installs itself on your computer, monitors (or even controls) your internet activity, and then sends private information about you back to its creator. Spyware programs are commonly used for annoying, constant targeted advertising but can also be deployed for criminal identity theft. Either way, they compromise privacy and overburden your PC with needlessly running background programs that can grind PC function to a halt.

And consider what can happen beyond performance drain, for example with this new intelligent spyware recently discovered by Cyren, as described in its quarterly threat report:

"JS/IFrame.VJ.gen is a form of spyware launched in August 2015. It is found on compromised WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla pages containing injected JavaScript. The infection starts when a user visits a compromised site. The simplified JavaScript code contains an iframe that redirects to a malicious server location. Additional JavaScript is loaded, which then gathers information such as the operating system, timestamp, timezone, and existence of certain legitimate applications like Adobe Flash Player. The collected information is sent back to the original server and a series of redirects to fake sites follow, that look identical to or closely resemble Flash upgrade sites, Google Chrome plugins, or other fake application sites. Once on these fake sites, the victim is encouraged to download spyware or potentially unwanted applications (PUA) that pretend to be real applications."

Warning signs

A slow and unstable computer is one of the most common signs of a trojan or spyware infection. If your PC suddenly takes a lot more time to open programs or begins to crash frequently, it may be infected. Other signs include:
  • Pop-up windows appearing constantly
  • A change to your Chrome, Edge or Firefox homepage
  • Frequent website redirects after typing your intended destination into the browser
  • New and unwanted toolbars appear in your browser
  • New and unwanted icons appear in your PC system tray

What to do
If you think you may have a virus, spyware, worm, keylogger, trojan or other type of malware, consider calling iolo technologies' Premium Services (iPS) for a consultation with a tech expert. They can personally walk you through effective actions that will diagnose and hopefully remove the threat. This includes even re-installing Windows in the event the worst happens. iPS technicians can:
  • Remove destructive or annoying pop-ups, toolbars and plug-ins
  • Ferret out hidden malware including spyware and "malvertising"
  • Optimize needlessly sluggish internet connections
  • Diagnose software conflicts and errors to speed up your PC
  • Install or re-install Windows security patches and hardware driver updates

iolo technologies | PC Tune-Up Software Experts

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The new communitarian movement: What makes it so popular since 1990s

Continuing Erosion-Cum-Disintegration of Moral Order since 1960s

Statistics reveals that proportion of nuclear families in US had decreased from 42 percent in 1960 to 26 percent in 1990; rate of divorce doubled while rates of illegitimacy rose from 21 per 1000 births in 1960 to 42 in 1989. These, according to communitarian leaders, speak amply of gradual erosion-cum-disintegration of moral order in society during the period. Ordinary people find it hard to understand what family stands for; where a child stands in responsibility of parents. This has impacted family, building block of any society, the most. Renewed stress on communitarian movement from the 1990s targets rectifying such crises from families.

US Society during 1950s Marked by High Degree of Moral Suasion

Amitai Etzioni, renowned socialist and influential in making communitarian movement popular, did a study of communitarian trends in US dividing it under distinct time phases. He observes that US society during 1950s was marked by high degree of moral suasion. He recalls a fact that it was compulsory for college students to take a number of prescribed classes, which in his word ‘reflected unabashedly’ dominant set of values. Coercion, according to Etzioni, may be good at times but can be destructive if applied too generously. In Etzioni's view, low autonomy is not always a bad thing.

Emotional Crisis Because of Too Much Freedom and Dwindling Influence of Religion

At a time when most states do not prohibit abortion and are neutral on homosexual behavior, there is an emotional crisis on part of new-age citizens because of too much freedom. In pursuit of being secular, there is little motivation to adhere to strict lifestyle other than legal rulings by state. A vacuum is felt created in personal life because of failure to adhere to any strict norm of living, be it under banner of religion or any other moral philosophy. Amitai Etzioni observes that while the essence of 1950s was deep sense of obligation, 1960s to 1980s saw growing temptation to eschew from social responsibilities. One main reason cited is dwindling influence of religion in personal life.

Rise of Counter-Feminists

When it comes to laying foundation of a good family, women naturally takes center stage. Feminism has been a vocal movement over past decades which liberated women of many restrictions. Despite this, there are issues such as pregnancy that cannot be addressed in terms of equal rights for men and women. Huge success for women-rights activists through legal rulings led to so called counter-feminists such as Phyllis Schlafly fighting for against its excesses. The aim is to instill some form of order in family and justice for children who are victims of neglect due to divorce, indifference etc. This movement by counter feminists is often labeled as communitarian conservatism.

Nation One Large Community on Which Welfare Depends

According to communitarian leaders Maurice Mullard and Paul Spicker, revival of institutions of family, neighborhood, and community would once again lay foundation of a vibrant communal atmosphere. David Miller, another communitarian leader, opines that nation is one large community on which welfare of its people depends. This is in sharp contrast to so-called individualism of America.

Channel to Reform While Remaining Neutral on Religion

Elsewhere and in the western countries, there has also been a rise in religious fundamentalism. As a result, there is compulsion on part of policy makers to be neutral on religion while promoting good ethics. In a secular setup, only way to bring all people together and make them agree to adhere to good moral behavior is through channels that are religiously neutral. Communitarian movement promises one such powerful channel.

Future Possibility of Community-Based Social Work in International Context

After judging communitarian movement today and Labor’s distinct ways to project United Kingdom as welfare state, many predict a future possibility of community-based social work in an international context. Community as a basis for social work has attracted renewed interest with popularization of this movement. Community is seen as a point of care and support as well as conflict and discrimination. If one stretches concept of community, it can be all embracing from welfare of a single family to whole nation. The movement has suggestions on ways to improve family life, tackle feminist issues, protect rights of children, rights of mentally and physically challenged, and so on.

No Thin Line of Difference Between Justified Coercion by Communitarian Leaders and Excessive Coercion

There is, however, no thin line of difference between justified coercion bycommunitarian leaders like Etzioni and excessive coercion. It is feared that if parents and teachers start taking too proactive role in bringing children, the very interest might be counterproductive. It may curtail individual freedom of a child to grow and thrive in realistic ways. Western people are after all known and appreciated for being independent-minded. Experiences of close community in many Asian countries show how rigid their family and society became over time. There was little room for flexibility and society was intolerant to other religion or culture. There were few rights for women, who were exploited in the name of maintaining good family. Children were brainwashed to follow tradition.

Amish Community Model: Against for Diversity?

One concept of community as perceived by ordinary laymen is depicted through Amish community in the movie ‘The Witness,’ directed by Peter Weir, 20th Century Fox. The Amish have their ancestral roots to Switzerland of the 18th century. They live in close group and avoid strangers. Farming is their main source of sustenance. As Christians, they believe they should live as brethren, that their faith is distinct from State, and that they are committed to live peacefully. They live a simple life and wear modest clothes. Sunday evening ‘sing’ is attended by all teenagers. Men do outside work like farming while women do household work. Amish believe that their faith calls for good work. Children receive education in Amish schools. In the movie, they are seen taking care of each other. People in this water-tight community do not like police. They do not follow rules of any other community because they see their own rules well and sufficient. If this is one perception of community, it is only natural to have some form of skepticism while examining if communitarian movement can adequately recognize, support, and promote moral and cultural diversity. After all, it is one thing to recognize, support, and promote moral and cultural values, which, as we could see, is found in plenty in the Amish community model; and other, when question of diversity comes in. The same in Amish community model is found to be against for diversity.

Imposing Strict Guidelines May Backfire

One of the goals of communitarian leaders is to form an ideology where people adopt moral ethics in their day-to-day life without religious discourse. But any guideline which call in adopting good ethics may ultimately take a form of religion; even in a way of extreme religion which does not recognize any religion, as we see in case of socialism and communism in many countries empirically. If communitarian movement gets huge popularity, it is doubtful whether it can resist that trend.

Risk of Dictatorship When Intermixed with Politics and Economics

Giving importance to individual satisfaction and personal autonomy is important; otherwise, there will be tendency on part of communitarian leaders to dictate their own philosophy, which at some point, might restrict society to exercise diversity in thoughts, religion, and everything which such communitarian leaders will not be comfortable with. Empirically, this is found true with erstwhile USSR, which was formed on huge hopes of founding a big community where community goals will take precedence over individual interests. Over time, it ruthlessly sanctioned practice of religion and any philosophy which stood against its perception of ideal community. When intermixed with politics and economics, this has been a problem with traditional communitarian movements. Gradually, focus shifts on dictating ordinary people in community.

Communitarian Movement Overlaps with Other Initiatives in Society

The communitarian movement often overlaps with other initiatives in society such as welfare and applied ethics. Philosophers such as Tony Fitzpatrick have explored how ethical theories can be relevant to social policy in a welfare community. The economic concept of welfare state is not new. The same age-old concept of welfare state is approached by many philosophers in community setup, making a case for good family and increased happiness for all its members. This, however, makes its doctrine rather some form of wishful thinking than few practical things that can be done and delivered. While communitarian leaders address feminist issues keeping it under context of a good family, others like Johanna Brenner argue that they must be set in political and economic context.

Good Community: Gimmick to Woo Voters?

For many political leaders, talking about good community is just a gimmick to win audience and gain votes. We see in United Kingdom that this has become a battleground for political parties. It is important to discern facts from rhetoric without which this term can be open to lose interpretation and not help serve any meaningful community reform. For instance, the following Blair’s speech appears in its tone yet another of likes that he was used to while building a case for going to war in Iraq: At the heart of my beliefs is the idea of community. I don’t just mean the villages, towns and cities in which we live. I mean that our fulfillment as individuals lies in a decent society of others. My argument to you today is that the renewal of community is the answer to the challenges of a changing world.

Independent Standing Contested and Accused of Being Non-Inclusive

Whether communitarian movement has any independent standing or it is just a repeat of basic moral lessons that children have been taught during their primary classes over the years can be open to debate. What we see as examples of good community in Scotland, Wales, and Norway cited by communitarian leaders is perhaps result of refinement on part of citizens through a long history that started with the renaissance. The fact that these countries give asylum to political refugees may also be because of vested interests. If a state gives incentive to so-called ‘good people’ in community, it will obviously indirectly penalize those who do not match its version of definition. It could be predicted to be non-inclusive because anyone who will not be seen ‘good’ in this model will be left out of its benefits. Also, many of the notions put forward by communitarian leaders are fuzzy and cannot be taken without a grain of salt. For instance, intense obsession of Etzioni with US society before 1950s and sarcasm for decades that follow till 1990s appears to be a personal way of viewing things that old days were good days. The fact of the matter is that over the years US society has become more open, more diverse, and more receptive to new culture. If communitarian leaders have objection to that, then this may be because of some form of nostalgia: returning to old days where Church visit was an integral part of living. Communitarian leaders are not comfortable with mainstream economic culture of too much stress on individualism and Spencerism. They usually suggest a middle path. But this is nothing new.

Inspiring for Good Family and Good Community; Citizen Journalism Should Stop the Movement Taking Conservative Route

The new communitarian movement perhaps seeks to moderate aspirations of extreme socialists and prods those who are too individualistic in their personal life to take a family and community approach. By putting stress on moral responsibility of each individual, it appears that goal of current communitarian movement is to address some of excesses of human behavior which has made personal, family, and social life of modern citizens miserable in qualitative terms. There is no doubt that communitarian movement has become popular over the last decade or so. Right now, the movement broadly is not geared on changing any political structure. Repeated association of western philosophers like John Mcmurray and Christian socialism with this movement does, however, raise concern whether it is just that limited in scope or crossing its limit. Will it be another western crusade to revive its past culture which has been threatened by influx of mass arrival of immigrants over the years? This may be an exaggerated fear today. So long as it induces people for good moral behavior, there is little to be intimidated. Right now, it appears that communitarian movement is actually serving to make a case for good family and good community under a secular setup. New-age citizen journalism and disinterested scrutiny should stop the movement taking any conservative route that makes it vulnerable to faults like the one evident from the erstwhile USSR experience.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The role of Income Tax Department of India and how effectively it played its role during and after demonetization

Direct taxes are computed directly on the income of a person, rates depending on the level of income. These include income tax, real property tax, personal property tax, taxes on assets. It’s charged to individuals, co-operative societies, firms, companies, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), trusts and any artificial judicial person. The Income Tax Department or IT Department is a government body monitoring the income tax collection by the Government of India.

Central Board of Direct Taxes is a judicial body formed under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963 dealing with the collection of direct taxes. As an arm of CBDT, Income tax department is responsible for
following direct taxation acts passed by Parliament of India.

The income tax department has the power to inspect books of accounts, carry search operations if it suspects a case of tax avoidance or tax evasion.

In the context of the demonetization of the two high denomination currencies (500 Rs and 1000 Rs) on November 8, 2016, the Income Tax department issued hundreds of notices under section 133 (6) of the Income Tax Act for explaining the source of money deposited from individuals and firms who deposited large amounts of scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 100 currency notes. This was part of the vigil to check instances of tax evasions, money laundering and black money The IT department also carried out operations against real estate players, bullion traders and suspected hawala operatives to stop illegal use of the old currency with raids like the one on a cooperative bank in Mangalore where it was detected that five societies exchanged with a local cooperative bank account in Mangalore currency amounting to Rs eight crore.

The IT department asked NGOs availing tax exemptions about their cash balances as on November 8. These were to check suspected black money in old currency paving to be converted white under the head charitable contributions or donations.

According to a PTI report dated December 22, 2016, the raids carried out by the IT department uncovered Rs 3,185 crore of undisclosed income since demonetization. New notes worth Rs 86 crore (mostly 2000 Rs denomination) were seized by the Income Tax department. The department conducted 677 searches, survey and inquiry operations, issued more than 3,100 notices to various entities on charges of tax evasion and hawala-like dealings, seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 428 crore, referred over 220 cases to CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe other financial crimes.

According to a research report by Wharton dated January 5, 2017, Wharton Emeritus professor of management Jitendra Singh opined that while it is too early to assess the impact of November 8, 2016, demonetization, the move raised long-term questions. “What will have been gained from this step, and at what cost and mostly borne by whom?” he asked, suggesting rival political parties protesting against demonetization could “broaden their tactical agenda to harm or even derail the GST implementation.”

There were so many senior citizens, housewives, small traders and businessmen finding it difficult exchanging their current 500 Rs/1000 Rs note. It was an attack on their right to lead a peaceful life. In the short run, we have seen liquidity crunch, which was termed by pro-government camp equivalent to labor pain painful in the short term but good for the long term.

As the media reported daily of currency crunch faced by the ordinary citizens throughout the length and breadth of the country with many deaths because of stress standing in the queue, it was appearing that PM Narendra Modi had caught the wrath of masses. What infuriated most was the people with the right connections could access crores of rupees in the new currency. The credibility of the banking industry was at stake with a number of instances of banking personnel from bank managers to security guards involved in hoarding new currency notes. Prof.  Jitendra Singh said in the January 5 report that it remained to be seen how the negative sentiment against demonetization could hurt the BJP and its allies in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh in February-March.  Now, the news from the election held 11 February to 8 March in 7 phases is that the BJP won the three-quarter majority of 325 seats. In other words, it negated the claim of public unrest against the demonetization and that the demonetization drive went well with the general public despite claims of unrest from the media.

It appears that there is widespread tax evasion and tax avoidance still happening. For  instance, while collection of direct taxes nearly doubled from 3.7 lakh crore rupees in 2009-10 to 7.4 lakh crore rupees in 2015-16, its share as a percentage of total taxes has dropped by 10 percentage points over the same time.  Residents of Gujarat (a highly industrialized state) and Tamil Nadu appear to pay a lot less tax when compared to the economic clout the state enjoys. While the state of Karnataka with a state GDP of 7.02 made contribution of Rs 60,595 crores in direct taxes for the fiscal year 2014-15 and Delhi with GDP of 4.51 made contribution of Rs 91,247 crores, the corresponding figures of Gujarat are GDP 7.66, direct taxes Rs 35,912 and Tamil Nadu 9.76 GDP and direct taxes Rs 44,732. This is not good news for those who volunteer direct taxes as a means to address income inequity.

Initiatives by the Income Tax department to reward loyal income taxpayers with certificates  - "bronze" category, paying income tax in the range of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh a year, between Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh silver category, between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore, gold category -  is a  step in the due direction. Income tax department plays a role in helping equitable distribution of wealth. As we progress towards a more responsible society, it is expected that more and more people will disclose their true income and wealth thereby building a foundation for a just society.  In order to simplify the tax system, the Direct Taxes Code or DTC was proposed in 2009 to replace the existing Indian Income Tax Act of 1961. However, the present regime has decided to abandon as it feels that the objectives of DTC are well taken care with the present integration.

The demonetization exercise can be hailed for trying to put a check on counterfeit currency given how our neighboring country Pakistan was utilizing the same for funding terrorist groups. Also laudable is an attempt to move towards a cashless society. However, it is foolish to ban a prevailing currency just because of a suspicion that many individuals are holding the same unaccounted. Those guys who are holding now will do the same with the new 500 Rs and 2000 Rs. This step is an acknowledgment by the system of its inefficiency to detect the so-called black money when it is generated in the first place. Also, drive towards a cashless society should be a gradual process with individuals having the right to exercise their choice of transacting in cash or not. As a 75-year-old if I am comfortable with cash, why should the government dictate me to open a new bank account and embrace the cashless way of living?

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Yash Raj Chopra: Reading between lines

Yash  Raj Chopra (September 27, 1932 - October 21, 2012) had of the both worlds, action movies (1975 Deewar) and romantic movies (1976 Kabhi Kabhie), at the same time. Born in Lahore (now in Pakistan), he was a witness to horrors of partition (reflected in 1961 Dharmaputra) and the growth story (albeit chaotic) that India recorded since.

Deewar portrays what it meant growing in a city that was fast getting divided between ultrarich and impoverished.

Kabhi Kabhie released just one year later in 1976 focuses on the lifestyle of a group of educated urban people amid hits and misses in love and relationships. The movie propels audience to get proper education and be liberal. Kabhi Kabhie in that sense appears to be solution of Yashji for agony of masses in a system that was at least democratic despite corruption. The same is somewhat true for 1988 Vijay which salutes entrepreneurship.

While economic environment in India improved somewhat only from the 1990s after adoption of globalization and open economy, it appears at first look that Yashji became somewhat indifferent to day-to-day hardships faced by ordinary Indians in towns and villages ahead of time! Or maybe, that was intentional: one of the purposes of Indian movies during the 1970s and 1980s was to make ordinary people forget their pain by taking them to the world of dream.

Yash Chopra is credited for experimenting with romantic movies, Silsila (1981), Chandni (1989), Dil To Pagal Ha (1997), Veer-Zaara (2004), which indirectly reduced the culture of violence from Bollywood movies. Darr (1993), however, was the brainchild of a creative mind gone fugitive.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Remembering Nazia Hassan

The song ‘Aap Jaisa Koi’ by Pakistani singer Nazia Hassan (April 3, 1965 – August 13, 2000) in Hindi movie Qurbani (1980) made barely fifteen-year-old Nazia an object of curiosity throughout Pakistan, India, and South Asia

The above song, also included in Nazia’s debut album ‘Disco Deewane’ (1981), for the first time introduced pop music in Bollywood delighting audience as far as Brazil, Russia, and West Indies.

Nazia Hassan, beautiful, young, and popular, was married with Ishtiaq Baig, a rich Pakistani businessman, on March 30, 1995. Nazia stopped singing after marriage and gave birth to son Arez on April 7, 1997. It appears that Nazia was badly affected because of conflict of interest between brother (Zohaib) and mother (Munizeh Basir) on one side and rich husband. Nazia died of lung cancer on August 13, 2000.

Nazia was facing a lot of issues with her marriage which she reportedly said ‘became another cancer.’ Similar fates have befallen other actresses like Parveen Babi (April 4, 1949 — January 20, 2005), Zeenat Aman (date of birth: November 19, 1951), and Reena Roy (date of birth: January 7, 1957) in this part of continent in the past. This is a pointer to the fact that a young and beautiful woman, even celebrity in her own right, remains vulnerable and could not expect guarantee of a secure marriage.

In many ways, Nazia’s life can be compared with Diana (July 1, 1961 — August 31, 1997), Princess of Wales. Both were beautiful and died young, and each one’s life had an intense sadness. Like Diana, Nazia too loved charity and worked for many projects including helping children on behalf of the United Nations.