Sunday, March 22, 2009

Government of India...please don't make us shameful

The government has done it again. They have forced the sporting authorities to rework their strategy and move out a signature event, the IPL, out of the country. While it may make eminent business sense for Lalit Modi & co to swear by the words, 'the show must go on', this move is also a reflection of the appalling state of affairs in Indian security. Now, I am no expert in security, but its truly unjustified to move a truly Indian-based event to a foreign nation and leave the cricketing public gasping for breath on television.

Yes, there are the fair claims of the country's general election being greater than any sporting event. There are also justified claims for prioritising national security over everything else. But what I have serious problems with is the utter arrogance towards the average citizen. Ok, the government may tell Lalit Modi and his franchise owners, that they are rich enough anyway, and don't need the IPL to fill their coffers. But, for the average citizen in the country who generally struggles to make a living, this concept of unadulterated, fantastic, action-packed entertainment (that was such a great marketing success as well), will now only have to be enjoyed on television.

I just wish the government did a little more about security. There are countries I know which make it mandatory for every citizen to work in the army for 2 years, as soon as he turns 16 years old. I wonder if such a system can ever come to India and, even if it does, if it will create that much-needed lift and drive to serve in the Indian armed forces.

Its all load balancing at the end of the day. We need sports; the politicians need their seats. While businessmen are smart enough to find avenues and alternatives to serve their cause, the Indian public is always left with a set of either corrupt,, or inept, or unwilling, or crime-tarnished individual seats, who hold the powerful seats in New Delhi. I just wish we had a better choice of candidates to elect from when we go to vote. Granted, everyone should vote and make their statement; but, if the very choices on the voting table are between corrupt, inept or unwilling folks, then, I wonder what the solution is.

I am disturbed at this ridiculous development today. High time the armed forces were positioned as super-premium careers, rather than a punishment in extreme conditions for the average Indian. Maybe, we should set up a legal or constitutional qualification that ALL ministers in the central and state government should have served for 2 years in the Indian army, that too at the border (near Pakistan), before they qualify to contest an election!

Public sector bank with FM radio in its office!

When I first heard it, I thought it was the sound emanating from the pocket radio of some high net worth individual who was visiting the bank. But, the audio sound persisted even after I noticed this individual (who I thought had a radio), finished his transactions and left the branch. It turned out to be an FM radio, with one of my favourite radio jockeys in 94.3 on air, that was actually owned and being played by the bank! That's when I realised that I was sitting in a completely revamped model of customer service, in India's most famous public sector bank. And it felt good to see them change with the times so well.

That was the new age of public sector banking right in front of my eyes - swanky office, air conditioned, fantastically user-friendly counters, friendly staff, highly computerized, good interiors, nice ambience and excellent service to boot.

And with FM radio, it sure is a catchy way of getting the generation next to bank with them!