Monday, 10 July 2017

The pox on Ramamritham (for the nth time)

Regular readers of this blog know that this blogger rather likes railing against Ramamritham. Ever so often, there has to be a post yelling at this cursed individual.

This time it is on the Department of telecom (DoT) which is a pesky nuisance that purports to regulate every aspect of  our phones and how we talk to others. Along with the child it spawned TRAI - The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, they have been busy over the last decade framing rules and procedures for everything on earth. Did you know that every phone company has to publish its prices and tariffs in a prescribed format  ? If you have seen that format, you'll know that you need a PhD in mathematics to understand it.

One result is that you have to go armed with lots of paper and proof for something as simple as getting a SIM Card. In control obsessed China, I just went to a corner shop and bought a SIM. It took me 2 minutes to do so. In India, you submit an ID proof and an address proof (of course Raramritham has written rules on which documents will be accepted for either of those proofs), then wait a while as the SIM is "activated", then you call up a number and revalidate the proofs you have submitted ........

The latest antics of Ramamritham that has got my goat is that he has ruled that all phones henceforth sold in India must have GPS. His logic ? The safety and security of women is "of utmost importance"  says this blessed specimen. If she is in danger, we can trace her whereabouts through the GPS signal !!

Really ?? Is it the business of Ramamritham to be legislating such nonsense ?  If he was really concerned about women's safety, he would be improving police coverage,  improving response time to complaints, ensuring more policewomen in the force, ensuring that cases are brought to speedy trial,  having a helpline where somebody actually answers the phone, etc etc. No. That's all too difficult to do. Instead he can indulge in his favourite activity - write a rule.

Never mind that if a woman wanted GPS on her phone to reassure her of security, she can simply go and get such a phone. No. It has to be legislated.

India has an installed base of 400 million phones that are euphemistically called "feature phones". Translation - they do not have feature such as GPS ! The cost of a phone is likely to increase by Rs 400 if GPS has to be featured in all phones.  That of course, does not bother Ramamritham.

When the industry protested, in true style Ramamritham replies - " It is reiterated that all mobile handset makers should adhere , blah blah, to implementation of GPS facility in all mobile phones sold in India from January 1 , 2018. The representation (sic) in this regard will not be entertained in future " . Beautiful.

Can all scientists stop their work on space exploration, finding a cure for cancer, sequencing the DNA, etc etc and instead concentrate single mindedly on the eradication of Ramamritham please !

PS : Ramamritham is a fictional name invented by the blogger to typify the useless, pedantic, petty and painful bureaucrat !


Deepa said...

If only Ramamritham put his brain to better use. He comes up with the weirdest ideas. And since you mentioned women's safety, have you heard of the pink autorikshaws in Maharashtra? It made my blood boil.. a stereotype to promote gender equality/safety/ or whatever...and women lauded it. Argghh!

Anyway, I read your post on 'meatlovers' (which I am notoriously). But there is hope... my husband makes delicious vegetarian meals that can make a hardcore meateater love veggies (Broccoli, brussel sprouts, pumpkins, all kinds of gourds included). All we need is an army of good cooks... the poor veggies just need a good PR team.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm ... I have no idea about the policymaking in my old country ... but, I wonder if there is also another dimension (strictly based on what you have in this post) ... which is that by mandating GPS, the government might be loading the dice against a phone company that is selling a lot of non-GPS old style mobile? That is, it is not merely Ramamritham at play, but he is a tool of a particular lobby?

BTW, Deepa, "the poor veggies just need a good PR team"???? seriously? have you seen the veggie dish spread in the old country? ;)
But, ahem, be careful with moringa ... hehehe

Ramesh, I couldn't post under my Google ID ... hence this anon route :(

Ramesh said...

Lucky you. A husband who makes delicious meals, vegetarian or otherwise ...... :)

By the way, there is also a women owned and women driven taxi service, which I always patronise when I go to Mumbai. They take anybody - men and women as passengers, but always the taxis are owned and driven by women. My two penny bit to give these hard working women a lift (pun intended).

Ramesh said...

No its not the lobbyists at work here. Its simply the response of Ramamritham to the charge , especially in Delhi, that women are unsafe and the government does nothing. You won't believe the number of rules that Ramamritham has promulgated on this matter. Banning tinted glass in vehicles, special rules on companies providing transport to women, criminal responsibility on companies if crimes happen to women employees even outside office, etc etc. This is the latest such action. He is doing everything other than the hard work of making cities and streets actually safe.

Rads said...

How is having GPS on a phone more secure? If it is for tracking whereabouts easily then doesn't it mean we're allowing criminals to track us easily too? I didn't quite understand the logic. But then again I'm just a stupid girl who doesn't have the brains to understand Ramamritham's amazing logic that it's somehow safer for a girl to travel around wearing a tag called GPS.

Deepa said...

@ANon - if the veggie dish spread was so captivating we would not be discussing the survival of veggie food. You need PR folks to reinvent and repackage, is what I meant. :D:D

Ramesh said...

Who can fathom the intricacies of the logic of Ramamritham. If you meet him, he'll give you an involved and pedantic explanation of why GPS tracking is good for women !

Anne in Salem said...

I join the blogger and others commenting in shaking my head. Perhaps Ramamritham is in cahoots with the phone company and will get a kickback from all the phones purchased in 2017 to avoid the GPS.

This is useless legislation for the safety of women, as pointed out by others. An additional reason - anyone who would cause harm to a woman will simply take her phone and dispose of it. Anyone trying to track her whereabouts once she goes missing will trace the GPS to a trash bin possibly (probably?) many km from the site of the crime or from her actual location. Useless.

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