Posts Tagged ‘India’

Frugal engineering for India’s Mars mission

November 6, 2013

India has been struggling to bridge the gap to more developed nations without necessarily having to follow exactly the same path as that followed by other nations. Especially to achieve the development objectives in less time than it has taken those who did it first. Doing more with less is the name of the game and “Frugal engineering” (or “frugal innovation”) is defining a new paradigm for development.

There may perhaps not be any better example of the dictum that necessity is the mother of invention than can be found in India. Whether it is a refrigerator, ECG device or an automobile, Indian engineers have brought innovative products to market by designing them outside-in. …….

It may seem a contradiction, but some infrastructure gaps in India have positively affected Indian innovation: they have forced entrepreneurs and companies to adopt technologies that make relying on existing infrastructure (creaking and unreliable as it is in many ways) simply irrelevant. Indian engineers have invented a battery-powered, ultra-low-cost refrigerator resistant to power cuts; an automatic teller machine for rural areas; and even a flour mill powered by a scooter. People in the West, with its constant access to electricity, have little motivation to pursue such innovations. The Indian mobile phone industry is the poster child for leapfrogging over infrastructural constraints. A limited fixed-line infrastructure created an opportunity for mobile phones to reach many more people. Mobile telephony is also relatively cheap, sharable, and easily repaired. And thus, a new frontier of global innovation opened in India. …… 

The Indian mission to Mars which launched yesterday is another example of frugal engineering at work.

Hindustan Times:

India’s successful Mangalyaan launch is as much a financial accomplishment as a technical milestone. The entire Mars mission has cost the Indian Space Research Organisation a mere around Rs. 450 crore ($75 million) and took 15 months to put together. Much of the Martian price tag is for ground stations and relay upgrades that will be used for other Isro projects. The actual satellite costs a mere $25 million ( Rs. 153 crore), says Pallav Bagla of Science magazine. Comparison: Nasa’s similar MAVEN Mars project will cost 10 times more and will take three times longer.

Isro is widely cited as an example of “frugal engineering” …..  A US state department scientific adviser once said that Isro had reduced satellite assembly costs to a tenth of Nasa’s.

Isro’s accomplishments are remarkable given its tiny budget: $700 million ( Rs. 4,270 crore) in 2012-13. Despite a space programme whose financial base is the ninth largest, India is generally rated the world’s number six space power.

Of this, only 7% is allotted for planetary exploration. Isro’s prime directive has and continues to be the finding of technical means to support socio-economic goals such as education, medicine, water and disaster management.

Isro also defrays government support through a commercial arm, Antrix. Through the sale of satellite imagery, satellite launches and so on, Antrix earned a pre-tax Rs. 2 billion in 2010 alone. …..

India conducts joint military exercises with Russia and with China

November 5, 2013

I suppose there is no better way to follow Sun Tzu’s advice to “know your enemy” than to conduct joint military exercise with potential enemies.

  • “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” 
  • “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” 
  • “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” 
     Sun Tzu

There are many potential scenarios which could involve armed conflict between India and China but fewer which would involve conflict between India and Russia. Scenarios in which India cooperates with Russia or China in some military adventures are also not impossible. “Terrorists” make for good common enemies. China would love to label the Dalai Lama as a “terrorist” but this would be unthinkable in India. India labels some “rebel” groups in the North east as “terrorists” but the Chinese prefer to stay on the fence. Both India and Russia dislike “terrorists” in Afghanistan but may not see entirely eye-to-eye on who is a “terrorist” and who is a “freedom fighter”.

Of course Russia is a major equipment supplier to the Indian military and exercises with the Russian military using similar equipment could be of great benefit for India. I suspect the military exercises with China have far greater political and intelligence objectives – for both participants – than the development of any protocols for military cooperation.

The Russian exercise was carried out at the end of last month as part of the Indra series (Indra 13). This was the sixth exercise since 2005.

Desert Storm: Tanks, helicopters and troops practice the art of war in Bikaner during ‘live fire’ Indian-Russian military exercise

25 October 2013 | UPDATED: 00:12 GMT, 26 October 2013
Elite detachments of the Russian and Indian armies concluded combat activities of ‘Indra-13’ exercise on Friday.

The exercises were conducted in the midst of references about raids of the type ‘which got Osama’ in a terrain ‘not dissimilar to that in Afghanistan’.  Held in the semi-desert conditions in Rajasthan’s Mahajan Field Firing Range, the combat exercise witnessed the participation of an array of armoured and mechanised forces. 

Storming the sand: The Indra-13 exercise in Rajasthan saw live firing by T-72 tanks

Storming the sand: The Indra-13 exercise in Rajasthan saw live firing by T-72 tanks – Daily Mail

Operating for the last seven days, both the armies jointly plotted taking control of rebel-held territories, neutralising leaders and destruction of camps in a ‘newly born nation torn apart by strife’.

Towards this, live firing was carried out by T-72 tanks, BMP infantry combat vehicles, attack helicopters and other small arms. 

Both sides pitched a complement of 250 officers and men each in which the Russians were represented by their 11 Airborne Battalion and Indians by 6 Independent Armoured Brigade. 

Despite the exercise focussing on armoured and mechanised warfare, the Russians came without any such assets, under a pre-decided arrangement. 

They were then provided Indian equipment to use for the exercise. …….

The military equipment supplied by Russia to India is, I expect, a shade less advanced than their own equipment in performance and in specifications. Which could explain why the Russians did not bring their own – more advanced – equipment to India for the exercise. Or perhaps I am being too cynical?

There was serious border tension between India and China  earlier this year with incursions by both into the other’s claimed territory. And so the 10 day military exercise just starting in China is the first in 5 years and has more significance (real and symbolic) than usual.

With focus on terrorism, India-China begin joint military drills

November 6, 2013

India and China on Tuesday began a 10-day joint military drill on counterterrorism — the first such exercise between the neighbours in five years — in southwestern China, with around 300 soldiers from both countries taking part in exercises aimed at boosting trust between the militaries.

The drills began on Tuesday morning in Miaoergang, a town southwest of Chengdu — the provincial capital of the western Sichuan province — with displays of Kungfu by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) contingent and the Gatka martial art, from Punjab, by Indian soldiers. Soldiers also conducted weapons displays with the objective of allowing the other side to become more familiar with the characteristics of weaponry used across the border.

Over the next 10 days, the two contingents — comprising around 160 soldiers each, according to Indian officials, from the 16 Sikh Light Infantry and the 1st Battalion Infantry division of the PLA — will conduct counter-terrorism drills involving tactical hand signals, arrest and escort, hostage rescue, joint attacks and “a comprehensive anti-terror combat drill”, the Chinese State-run Xinhua news agency said.

The drills — the first held in five years — take place only a week after both countries signed a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) to expand confidence-building measures.

Chengdu is the headquarters of one of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) seven Military Area Commands (MACs). The Chengdu MAC holds responsibility for the entire Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), as well as the middle and eastern sections of the border with India.

The drills, analysts say, are more symbolic than substantial: the counterterrorism drills are nowhere near as comprehensive as a full-fledged exercise between two armies. The larger objective is to expand confidence and trust between two militaries, which are often grappling with tensions along the border.

At the same time, the 10-day counterterrorism drill has been seen as being particularly significant in China for two reasons. For one, the exercise follows the recent signing of the BDCA during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit in late October.

Also, the issue of terrorism has come under renewed attention in China in recent days, after last week’s incident in Tiananmen Square where a jeep carrying three Uighurs from the Muslim-majority Xinjiang region drove into a crowd, killing two tourists and injuring 40 others. ….. 

Lt. Gen. Vinod Bhatia, leader of the Indian Army observer group, speaks at the inauguration of the India-China joint military drill on counterterrorism at Miaoergang, near Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province on Tuesday. Photo courtesy: PIB

Lt. Gen. Vinod Bhatia, leader of the Indian Army observer group, speaks at the inauguration of the India-China joint military drill on counterterrorism at Miaoergang, near Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province on Tuesday. Photo courtesy: PIB

Shubh Diwali

November 2, 2013

It is that time of year again. Diwali is celebrated this year on 2nd November in the South and on 3rd November in North India.

For Indians and the Indian diaspora it is the biggest festival of the year. For the children, the excitement is unbearable and the anticipation is sublime.

A time for Presents. New clothes. Lights. Fireworks. Nuts. Sweets galore. And for the young men (mainly) there a session of teen patte (three-card brag) with a modicum of alcohol through the night. And the whiff of bhang is not unkown.

If there was any religious significance to the day it has long since gone (though it may still seem faintly religious on the surface). It is also the time for corporate gift giving in a very big way. Suppliers to customers. Petitioners to politicians. Litigants to the legal fraternity. Tenants to landlords. Patients to their doctors. Giving thanks in advance (call it relationship building to be kind or you could call it a form of social bribery) for the year to come.

But within the family or feudal unit it is different. Here there are new clothes, sweets and money and presents. From parents to children, From the head of the family to the servants. From the zamindars to the tenant farmers. From the masters to the serfs. At every household the local artisans and service providers will call to receive their baksheesh. The newspaper guy, the electrician, the plumber, the carpenter, the cable guy, the vegetable hawker and even the beat policeman. (And you can be sure that the receivers compare notes about the generosity of the various households).

You may give little if you cannot afford more, but to refuse to give baksheesh is most unseemly and beyond the pale.

But it is generally a time of goodwill  – and I reckon the goodwill level is about 10% higher than the long -term average. (Which of course begs the question as to when the goodwill is lower than average?).

A Happy Diwali to you all.


India Unlimited in Sweden

October 25, 2013

Banashri Bose Harrison

“Swedes are well-travelled, they are well-educated. They really have no excuse to know so little about India,”  – India’s ambassador Banashri Bose Harrison.

And so the Indian Embassy is organising India Unlimited to create a platform with the objective of promoting better economic relations and connecting the peoples of India and Sweden.

The intention is to connect to a broad Swedish public by showcasing Indian food, art, philosophy, culture and design capabilities through film screenings, music and dance
performances, literature evenings, fashion shows, art exhibitions and, specially, children & youth-friendly cultural programs and to present the diversity of India for travel & tourism.

The program for the next few weeks includes

31st October 2013 – Fusion-concert by a 9 member troupe from India led by legendary violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam at Berwaldhallen. Tickets are now available at
3rd November 2013 – A tribute to Ravi Shankar, Stallet/Stockholm, 14:00 – 18:00. Read more at and buy your tickets at
November 2013 – “India-Your cup of Tea” Business Seminar with tea tasting
Further events including  an India Unlimited Week  next year (21-27 April 2014) are being planned. 

In India religion is more destructive than natural “disasters”

October 14, 2013

The headlines tell the tale.

Religion and caste and all that follows from them are more debilitating in Modern India than any “natural disaster”.

It is time to do away with the majority of temples and mosques and churches and shrines – and it would not be wrong to replace them with toilets!

1. 113 dead in Madhya Pradesh temple stampede, toll likely to rise

Hindustan Times  – ‎12 minutes ago‎
At least 113 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a stampede on a crowded bridge across Sindh river leading to Ratangarh temple in Datia district of northern Madhya Pradesh on Sunday.

2. Death toll rises to 21, floods affect thousands in Odisha

Firstpost  – ‎7 minutes ago‎
The death toll due to pre and post cyclone Phailin devastations has gone up to 21. One more death was reported late Sunday night, a senior government official told IANS. “The latest death took place in Balasore, where two people were drowning in flood …

3. Sexual assault case: Asaram to be taken to Ahmedabad today

IBNLive  – ‎1 hour ago‎
Jodhpur: Self-styled godman Asaram will be brought to Ahmedabad on Monday for questioning in another sexual assault case. The Jodhpur court has given permission to the Gujarat police to take him in custody for interrogation in the case filed by two sisters …

4. UP govt suspends senior IAS officer Mishra  – ‎12 hours ago‎
Lucknow: A day after his transfer, senior IAS officer Sarvesh Chandra Mishra was today suspended and a departmental probe initiated against him over a controversial letter convening a meeting to discuss “reconstruction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya on lines …

5. No untouchability in politics, says Pawar

Indian Express  – ‎1 hour ago‎
NCP chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, speaking at a programme organised by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari’s Purti Group here on Saturday, said “there should be no untouchability in social and political spheres of life”.

Phailin came and Phailin went: Alarmists and Warmists disappointed

October 13, 2013

Cyclone Phaelin came and it has now gone.

The Greens around the world are somewhat disappointed that many thousands have not died.

It was a very severe cyclone when it hit (windspeed 200km/h) but it did not reach the classification as a Super Cyclone (>220km/h windspeed).

It was a massive evacuation and that itself was somethiing of an achievement. More than 600,000 (and maybe as many as 1 million) moved or were moved out of harms way. 7 are known to have died in cyclone related events (falling trees in the main). Damage reports have yet to be assessed. Some fishermen are known to be stranded. The military is mobilised and stands ready for rescue and rehabilitation.

The Indian Meteorological community got it about right. But there were those who predicted that it would not only be a Super Cyclone at 220km/h but would be a Super Dooper Cyclone with winds up to 315km/h.

The US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Friday said Phailin is now expected to break the Indian Ocean intensity record set by the 1999 Cyclone in which at least 9,000 people were killed in Odisha.

Alarmists started criticising the preparations and the evacuations and suggested it would be worse than 1999 where at least 15,000 (unofficially 45,000) died. The Global Warmists at Huffington Post almost seemed to want the loss of life to be as high as possible so that they could blame Global warming (but note that they manage to blame any untoward weather event on Global Warming)

India should rename this meaningless obfuscation and call attention to global warming immediately. .. The anthropogenic global warming caused by accumulation of greenhouse gases is making the oceans warmer, which in turn is causing more frequent and more intense cyclones/hurricanes and floods.

Needless to say the Environ-Mentalists at Greenpeace were also hoping for a major disaster

Intense and destructive storms are likely to occur more frequently as global warming intensifies, Greenpeace said Saturday. “Such intense and destructive storms are likely to become more frequent in the future as global warming intensifies.  India member Biswajit Mohanty. According to the organisation, cyclone Phailin which is expected to hit the coastal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh is likely to be the strongest such to affect India in 14 years, since the 1999 Odisha cyclone.

The Green Brigade conveniently forget that a Super Cyclone is generated in the Bay of Bengal every 10-20 years. It is a natural phenomenon known for at least the last 200 years. The super Cyclone of 1970 killed over 500,000 people. And the lessons learned since 1999, the major evacuation and the other preparations made seem to have achieved their objective and minimised the loss of life.

It was a severe storm and has surely caused some significant damage. But it is something which happens regularly and not anything unprecedented. It was not a Super Cyclone.

And it was nowhere near the major disaster that Alarmists, Greenpeace, Global Warmists and Environ-Mentalists were hoping for.

Cyclone Phailin will test Indian preparedness

October 12, 2013


Saturday 12th, 6:30pm Indian Standard Time: Landfall is expected at any time now. So far some 600,000 people have been evacuated or have moved out of harms way. It has been the largest evacuation in India for 23 years.


The Bay of Bengal is no stranger to severe weather and severe cyclonic storms occur almost annually. However super cyclones (corresponding to an Atlantic Category 5 Hurricane) occur every 10 -20 years. Fatalities (direct and indirect by subsequent disease) have been huge in this heavily populated area. Super cyclones are defined as having wind speeds in excess of 220km/h and the current Cyclone Phailin is on the edge of that level with winds currently at about 210km/h. The Indian Meteorological Depratment expects the wind speeds to stay at the 210-220 km/h level.

ToI: Foreign agencies claimed Indian authorities are underestimating Phailin, quoting London-based Tropical Storm and US Navy’s joint typhoon warning centre as forecasting winds up to 315 kmph. Indian agencies, however, said wind speeds are much lower.

Super or Severe Cyclone Phailin is expected to make landfall this evening (about 6pm local time Saturday 12th October) somewhere along the Odisha coast. Warnings have been issued and about 200,000 have been asked to evacuate their coastal homes. Relief personnel and police are on alert. The Army has been deployed in some areas. Some 200 tourists have been assisted to leave the area and tourist bookings have been cancelled for upto a week.

Large improvements in the early warning and relief infrastructure have taken place since the catastrophic death toll in the super cyclone of November 1970. But Cyclone Phailin could be the biggest test for Indian preparedness since 1999.

Major super cyclones the region have been:

The projected path of Tropical Cyclone Phailin towards India as of 11:30 a.m. ET on Oct. 10, 2013.

Yahoo News: Experts say that the enormous and powerful storm, with maximum sustained winds of more than 160 mph (260 km/h), will bring a “catastrophic” storm surge, the water that a storm’s winds push in front of it and that inundate a coastline as the storm makes landfall, said Hal Needham, a climatologist at Louisiana State University. The storm surge is expected to reach heights of 20 feet (6 meters), Needham told LiveScience. The storm is likely to be “as bad or worse” than a cyclone that followed a similar trajectory in 1999, called Odisha cyclone for the area it hit.

Times of India: Touching wind speeds of 210-220 km an hour, Cyclone Phailin is set to hit the Odisha coast between Paradip and Kalingapatnam with full fury on Saturday evening, whipping up a storm surge up to 10 feet above the tide level posing a threat to low-lying villages.

Anticipating the cyclone’s fury, the state government began Odisha’s biggest ever evacuation of shifting more than three lakh (300,000) people out of harm’s way as chief minister Naveen Patnaik promised there would be zero casualties. The evacuation is expected to be complete by Saturday morning.

Met sources said the cyclone’s exact landfall is likely to be around the popular beach destination of Gopalpur and coastal Odisha as well as inland areas are expected to receive heavy rainfall likely to last till Sunday.

Although the Met is not categorizing Phailin as a “super cyclone” as it is yet to cross the 220 kmph barrier, there is little doubt that Odisha was bracing for a battering with the storm reported just 400 km south east of Gopalpur at 9pm on Friday. ….

….. Ganjam district is likely to be worst-hit. Other coastal districts falling within 75 km radius of the eye of the storm would also be impacted. “The exact landfall destination of the cyclone can be known once it comes nearly 200 km from the coast. Phailin’s movement however indicates that the situation would not be like the 1999 super cyclone during which the storm lay stationery over the coastal areas for nearly 24 hours and caused a sea surge of about 30 ft. This time 10 ft high wave is expected. More so, the expected landfall area being hilly, the impact of the cyclone would be less and weaken quickly,” IMD Bhubaneswar centre director Sarat Sahu said.

Not leaving anything to chance, the state government began evacuating people from coastal districts of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapada. Those who refused to leave their homes were forcibly taken to safer places. “There are 247 cyclone shelters and 10,000 concrete schools identified to house the villagers. We want to complete the evacuation by Saturday morning, particularly in Ganjam district which is likely to bear the brunt of the cyclone,” special relief commissioner P K Mohapatra said.

The central government has dispatched 10 helicopters, four Cheetah helicopters and two MI-17 and AN-32 planes to help the state government in rescue and relief operations. The government’s measures notwithstanding, thousands of people from the coastal region were rushing to railway stations and bus stops to escape the cyclone.

Finally! Toilets before temples says Modi

October 3, 2013

Narendra Modi may have announced his candidature a little early but he knows what needs to be done. Paradoxically, in spite of his image as a Hindu Nationalist and the support he has from the RSS, he may actually have the clout to break the stranglehold that religious mores and nonsense has on development in India. Certainly, judging from his track record in Gujarat, the RSS and the VHP may find Modi rather too hot to handle if he becomes Prime Minister.

In my estimation at least half – and maybe 90% – of the roadside shrines and mosques and temples that spring up at the slightest provocation are eyesores, worthless structures and illegal occupation of land. They usually have more to do with real estate politics than any religious intention. Nearly all new “religious” structures have a motive other than religion. But nobody dares to demolish them. Anything smelling of religious intolerance brings all the cowardice possible to the fore.

This appeal to urban India by Narendra Modi is quite clever. The same message has been put forward by others and they have immediately been opposed by the shirt-sleeve religious sentiments of the RSS and the VHP. But they will not dare oppose Modi. The appeal may not go down quite so well in rural India – but it may not carry many negatives.

DNA: Speaking at a function organised here for the youth, Modi said he dared to say so even though his image as a Hindutva leader did not allow him.

Build toilets first and temples later, said Hindutva icon and BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

Speaking at a function organised here for the youth, Modi said he dared to say so even though his image as a Hindutva leader did not allow him.

“I am known to be a Hindutva leader. My image does not permit to say so, but I dare to say. My real thought is– Pehle shauchalaya, phir devalaya’ (toilets first,  temples later),” he said.

The Gujarat Chief Minister’s comment could well stoke a controversy from within his party and sister organisations, which are keen to rake up the “temple issue” again ahead of next general elections.

A similar comment on toilets from Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh that the country needs more toilets than temples had stirred a row with a large number of women organisations and NGOs protesting against the remark.

Touting the slogan of development that could take the country on the path of speedy progress, Modi said lakhs of rupees were spent on temples in villages, but there were no toilets there.

Invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s thoughts, he lamented that it was ironic that women in the country had to go in the open for easing themselves in the absence of toilets.

Modi said it was the quality of a real leader to have the strength to handle all problems and lead the way forward.

He said that for good governance and speedy progress, it was necessary for planners to focus on outlay, outcome and social audit.


2013 monsoon begins withdrawal across India – Bumper crops after a “good” monsoon year

September 30, 2013

The official 4 month monsoon season ends today and the rains will withdraw across India over the next 3 months. Though monsoon statistics are usually focused on the 4 months from June to September, many parts of the country get significant rainfall during the withdrawal. For example the South-East coast will get significant rainfall during December. The entire monsoon cycle lasts about 7 months and the withdrawal has started. Over the 4 months rainfall has been 5% higher than the long term average and this would class this monsoon as a good monsoon.

Conventional wisdom has it that a “good” monsoon year adds 2% or more to GDP growth while a “bad” monsoon (>15% less than the long term average) can reduce the GDP growth by over 2%. Many industries are directly affected by agricultural growth. Not only fertlisers and pesticides but even farm vehicles and equipment. A good monsoon even impacts consumer goods which the rural population are waiting to get their hands on. With the slowdown in the economy many in the now lame-duck government are hoping for a monsoon boost without any action on their part and in time for the benefits to show before the general election next year. In any event, the monsoon or divine intervention cannot be blamed by ineffective politicians seeking reelection. But there is little doubt that a good monsoon has an enormous “feel-good” effect.

The monsoon is now withdrawing – perhaps a week or so behind its normal schedule (which means that some precipitation will continue to occur in Central India after the official season is over).

Withdrawal of 2013 monsoon September 30th source IMD

Withdrawal of 2013 monsoon September 30th source IMD

Crop yields are expected to be at record levels after this good monsoon.

Reuters: Grains production this summer is likely to be just short of an all-time high, according to a preliminary government forecast on Tuesday, leaving plenty for exports and helping to boost growth and trim inflation ahead of elections due by May. A heavy monsoon has ensured bumper harvests even though rice output could be lower than last year as rains were patchy over the rice-growing areas of some eastern states. The monsoon waters 55 percent of farmland without irrigation.

“Growth in agriculture … will rebound this year because rains are good,” Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told reporters as he announced the output forecast, which is usually conservative. “Today’s estimates are the first projections for 2013/14 and invariably we have seen that final estimates are 5-10 percent higher than the first estimate,” Pawar said.

Total output of summer-sown grains is likely to be 129.3 million tonnes in the current crop year from July, Farm Commissioner J.S. Sandhu said on Tuesday, just below the record 131.3 million tonnes of 2011/12 and up 0.9 percent on last year. Bumper output should mean India can continue exporting crops such as cotton, corn, rice and sugar.

Output of oilseeds, which could trim India’s imports of edible oils, should rise around 15 percent. Production of lentils – another foodstuff that India imports – should be up 3.2 percent.

Rice production is seen at 92.3 million tonnes against 92.8 million tonnes in the previous year. That marginal fall in rice output is not a great concern as India’s stocks are 21 million tonnes, more than double its target for September 1.

The government is relying on a bumper harvest to push agricultural growth and help the wider economy, as well as provide ample supplies of rice and wheat to support food subsidy programmes and cool double-digit food inflation. …… 

India may have gone Digital but the bricks and mortar are lagging behind

September 25, 2013

India has leap-frogged into the digital age in a big way.

But the only problem (and it is a debilitating affliction) is that bricks and mortar cannot be dispensed with.  Just hopping over the steps of building up the infrastructure does not help even if mobile and wireless services are as widespread as they are.

indian farmer and mobile

indian farmer and mobile

As I noted during the boom,

You cannot eat e-food and carry your goods down an electronic highway or use an e-house to keep out the rain. Old fashioned roads and rails and bridges and buildings cannot be replaced by a virtual world.

But the mobile penetration into rural India is extremely high. There may be no good roads to reach the villages and some may have little access to electricity but they all have their mobiles phones.

India Mobile Landscape (IML) 2013 study.

…… the field survey was conducted between May and mid-July 2013 covering 109 urban centres and 196 villages in all the 28 states and 3 union territories in India.

“It (the survey) covered 80 of the 88 regions as classified by the National Sample Survey Organisation under the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation. The study sample represents 94.8 per cent of the Indian population and 96.1 per cent of the total Indian households,” he said. Meanwhile, as per the data revealed by sectoral regulator TRAI, there are total 87.33 crore (873.3 million) mobile subscribers in the country. Of this, 73.14 crore (731.4 million) customers were found to be active on a particular date in June. The cumulative revenue of telecom service providers was Rs 54,284 crore (542.8 million) in the January-March quarter as per TRAI data.

There are 55.48 crore (554.8 million) actual mobile users in the country and 14.32 crore (143.2 million) internet users, according to a study by research firm Juxt.

…” More than 29.8 crore, (298 million) about 54 per cent, of these device owners are in rural areas as compared to 25.6 crore (256 million) in cities and towns,” Juxt co-founder Mrutyunjay told PTI. There are total 77.39 crore (773,9 million) functional SIMs with validity but only 64.34 (643.4 million) SIMs are being used by (the) 55.48 crore (554.8 million) mobile devices owners, the study report said.

Read more at:

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