Climate change & our beloved ACs

When considering the impact of climate change, it’s crucial to recognize its diverse consequences beyond just rising temperatures and melting ice caps. One significant aspect is the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, as seen in Delhi’s recent record-high temperature of 49 degrees Celsius.

During a recent trip to Assam, I experienced a stark contrast in weather conditions. While Assam offered a pleasant 23-degree climate, returning to Delhi’s scorching heat prompted a reliance on air conditioning (AC) for comfort. This reliance isn’t unique to me but is shared by many in our society.

However, the irony is evident. Our reliance on ACs, while providing immediate relief, contributes to the overall rise in temperatures, exacerbating climate change. This reliance has created what some might call an “AC bubble,” where we seek refuge from outdoor conditions in artificially cooled environments, be it in cars, homes, planes, or hotels.

This lifestyle has potential health implications, especially when transitioning from cool indoor temperatures to the extreme heat outside. It’s a stark reminder of the need for adaptability in the face of climate change. While large-scale measures are essential for mitigating climate change’s effects, we must also adapt to the current realities.

The widespread use of ACs in India is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. This necessitates a responsible approach to their usage to minimize adverse effects. Simple steps like maintaining AC settings at 26 degrees Celsius and allowing time for the body to adjust to outdoor temperatures can contribute to a more sustainable use of these technologies.

e-Learning in Primary Education – An Indian Perspective

The Annual Status of Education Report (2016) highlights persistently low learning levels in India, with only 13% of grade 2 children able to read from their textbooks. Quality education remains a pressing concern, attributed to various factors like infrastructure, teacher availability, pedagogy, and gender biases.

Among these challenges, the student-teacher ratio stands out as a critical factor impacting educational quality. In many areas, a single teacher handles multiple classes, becoming a norm rather than an exception. This situation is exacerbated by disparities between urban and rural education, where urban students often excel globally while rural counterparts lack basic facilities.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) emerge as a potential solution to bridge this gap. India’s strong presence in the global telecom sector, offering quality internet at affordable rates, makes it conducive for leveraging ICTs in education.

In the past, popular cartoon characters like ‘Tom and Jerry’ were prevalent among urban children. Today, Indian characters like ‘Chhota Bheem’ and ‘Doraemon’ have not only gained widespread popularity but also become integral to children’s lives. This shift reflects the evolving landscape of childhood learning experiences.

Small things behind a great website

Effective communication is essential for showcasing achievements and encouraging their replication, as my boss once emphasized. Websites play a pivotal role in this by providing a global platform for organizations to communicate their work and impact effectively. The language used on the website should be simple, universal, and free from technical jargon to cater to diverse audiences, including potential donors, job seekers, and general web users. This clarity should extend to key pages like “About Us,” “Focus Area,” and “The Team.”

It’s crucial to clearly articulate the organization’s program areas, vision, and core strengths on the website. Additionally, maintaining a distinction between program areas and projects helps both external audiences and internal stakeholders understand the organizational structure and focus. Intuitive design is now favored over complex navigation, ensuring that essential information is prominently displayed on the homepage and facilitating social media collaboration.

Managing email IDs listed on the website is often overlooked but critical. Regular maintenance, redirection to relevant personnel, and spam cleaning are necessary to ensure effective communication channels. The design and content of the website should reflect the organization’s ethos and purpose, whether it’s showcasing research papers, advocacy campaigns, or other initiatives.

Accessible contact information, including mailing addresses, should be prominently featured. Social networking integration should be balanced and strategically utilized for communication and engagement. Platforms like SlideShare, YouTube, and social media channels can amplify the organization’s reach.

“The Team” page is invaluable for providing insights into the organization’s human capital. Keeping it updated with team members’ information and photographs enhances transparency and trust. During website migrations or updates, thorough content preservation and external reviews are vital to maintain functionality and relevance.

Ultimately, the website should prioritize user experience and clear communication, recognizing that it’s a gateway for external audiences to engage with the organization’s work efficiently.


Navigating the realm of mobile-based survey projects often leads to unexpected challenges, especially when searching for the perfect Android phone. Our quest for a device with satellite GPS, Indic language support, and a generous screen size at a competitive price was met with a whirlwind of experiences across various brands.

The journey began with visits to renowned shops, including those in New Delhi’s bustling Nehru Place. Despite our efforts, the ideal combination of features seemed elusive, much like Drupedi’s search for perfection in multiple suitors. It was during these moments of disappointment that the importance of documenting our experiences dawned upon us, hoping to guide others in similar quests.

We opted for practicality over luxury, steering away from high-end brands like Samsung due to budget constraints. Previous success with Micromax in a similar project led us to explore their offerings again. However, battery issues and unavailability of replacements in the market cast shadows of doubt.

Our attention turned to Karbon, where a lengthy conversation with customer care revealed promising possibilities. Yet, the actual hunt for a device with both GPS reliability and language support proved more challenging than anticipated. The intricate dance between technical promises and practical limitations left us grappling for solutions.

A turning point arrived near a Karbon store, where a glance at other brands unveiled hidden gems. Samsung’s diverse range impressed with its comprehensive features, albeit slightly above our intended budget. However, a serendipitous encounter with HTC offered a compromise—multilingual support and true GPS functionality within our financial reach.

This journey taught us valuable lessons about the complexities of mobile technology and the importance of adaptability. While the ideal device remained elusive, each brand revealed unique strengths and limitations, shaping our understanding of the mobile landscape for survey projects.

In conclusion, the search for the perfect Android device for surveys is a nuanced exploration, blending technical specifications with practical considerations. Our experiences underscore the importance of flexibility, research, and persistence in navigating the dynamic world of mobile technology.

Reaching out to the Mud Hut

Technology has always opened new ways and means of making life easy. It has its impact on almost all the sectors of life and the economy, but the major concern is about its easy reach and accessibility to the common people. Technology should focus on the effective and efficient delivery of basic needs of food, water and shelter.

In the past decades, information technology has undergone substantive improvements, which are crosscutting through different sectors. Though it is a great success so far as the technology is concerned, but at the same time it has only addressed the more urban setting. The impact is more visible at the apex of most initiatives and not the grassroots.

Information and communication technology (ICT) is one of the several, major, new technologies, which are having an impact on the socio-economic system, especially in the developing countries. The ways in which people, organizations and governments deal with ICTs and understand their current impact is an important issue for its effective utilization. If the emerging technology is not able to address the fundamental problem (which is the basic amenities of the common man), there is much to be lost, than won. In a developing country, this is one of the basic problem areas, which leads to a digital divide rather than the creation of a digital bridge.

Unlike other technologies the Information Technology is not addressing the problem at its grassroots level but is acting more as a catalyst. ICT is facilitating to promote and disseminate ways to be able to cope with the more basic issues and problems.

In order to address the basic needs of the rural people of a developing country like India, the following need to be addressed.

Resources and infrastructure

There is a great potential for ICT in rural development, and in a country like India the rural people and even the middle income groups face resource constraints. These constraints should be bridged through initiatives from the voluntary sector and through active community participation. In this age of corporate social responsibility, more and more corporate houses should get involved in addressing this issue.


Connectivity is a major issue for the application of ICT in development so far as rural India is concerned. Many villages in India still do not have access even to functional telephone lines. The quality of the lines reaching other villages is not efficient enough to transmit data. The disturbance in the telephone lines is a major bottleneck in communication. At the same time, the process of getting the telephone lines is extremely tedious due to lack of proper infrastructure and access to information. There are some other technologies available, which make life easy in such situations, like the VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal). A VSAT is capable of supporting Internet, data, LAN and voice/fax communications. This technology is useful for geographically dispersed areas and in places where proper infrastructure is still not well established.

Connectivity increases business options in two directions – mainly from rural to urban and vice versa. The corporate sector in India has understood this concept and is aiming at the large market potential and is laying fiber optics network in different parts of India and, very soon, the connectivity would no more be a problem for the implementation of ICT for development.

Customization of information for the specific user group

Implementation of technology needs inputs from the entire geographical spread of the Indian sub-continent, which has inherent differences – ranging from the disparities in the economic conditions of the households to the availability of the natural resources. This allows for an efficient customization of generically available information. Today, we find many sites provide ideas about setting up of micro enterprises for sustainable agriculture, but needs area specific customization so as to provide value for the common people at the grassroots. In the Indian subcontinent where diversity is immense and at all scales, customization of content plays a major role in ICT for development. Information packaging should be driven by the user demand.

Multilingual feature

In a developing country like India, it seems to be impossible to address the rural masses without having an interface in the language they understand, which creates the need for a multilingual interface.

“Multilingual Systems” refer to computer programs, which permit user interaction with the computer in more than one language. Typically, a multilingual system permits the user to interact with computers in their own mother tongue. Such a system will have a far reaching impact in our country, where English is not spoken or understood by majority of the people living in areas away from urban environments.

Delivering information throughout the world requires a particular multilingual attention as far as software is concerned but considering human factor is also a must because the software system can not handle the grammar as well as the language. Therefore, a good management of multilingual system capitalizes on both the human factor and the translation tools.


Information being the key to empowerment, it is vital to adopt all the above said measures to empower our rural folk who form the weakest link of the chain called India.

WSIS calls for a safe digital world for children

In today’s digital age, safeguarding children online has become a paramount concern that demands urgent global attention. The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) recently underscored the critical need for creating a safe digital environment for our future generations.

While Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has revolutionized development, it has also brought forth new challenges, particularly concerning children’s safety. Issues like child pornography, escalating violence in digital games, and growing behavioral addiction to computers highlight the pressing need for action.

Recognizing this, global initiatives like the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Child Online Protection (COP) initiative have been launched. COP aims to develop comprehensive guidelines involving governments, industries, parents, educators, and children to combat online threats effectively. Collaborative efforts, such as Microsoft and the Canadian Government’s tool to track objectionable content online, exemplify proactive measures being taken.

ITU Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré, emphasized the transnational nature of this issue, urging stakeholders to prioritize children’s welfare and the future’s integrity over political divides.

Hear the ITU Secretary-General’s message

Harnessing the power of ICT responsibly requires heightened awareness and multi-stakeholder partnerships. Effective regulation at national and international levels is essential to ensure a safer online environment for children worldwide.

In conclusion, the imperative to protect children online is a shared responsibility that necessitates concerted global action, awareness, and regulatory frameworks aligned with the best interests of our future generations.

Cyber Security: A must for ICT for Development

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are driving a transformative revolution across societies, profoundly impacting how we connect and communicate. As these technologies empower individuals and communities, it’s crucial to address the security and privacy dimensions of ICTs, a global concern highlighted at the WSIS Forum 2009.

The rapid speed and expansive reach of ICTs are harnessed by malicious actors to perpetrate cyber threats, ranging from viruses and malware to misinformation, fraud, theft, and forgery. This cyber landscape poses significant challenges, including the rise of organized cybercrime facilitated by the internet’s anonymity and accessibility.

Addressing these challenges requires international cooperation and strategic measures. The Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA), initiated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in partnership with governments and international organizations, is a pivotal platform aimed at combating cyber threats comprehensively.

The GCA is built upon five strategic pillars:
1. Legal Measures
2. Technical and Procedural Measures
3. Organizational Structures
4. Capacity Building
5. International Cooperation

As ICTs continue to evolve, cybersecurity remains a critical aspect of technological advancement. Collaborative efforts across stakeholders at the global level are imperative to mitigate cyber risks effectively and ensure a secure digital future for all.

In conclusion, cybersecurity is integral to the responsible deployment and utilization of ICTs, and concerted actions guided by the GCA’s principles are vital for fostering a safe and resilient digital ecosystem.

A Thought on Climate Change

Climate Change stands as one of humanity’s greatest challenges, distinguished by its pervasive global impact and the unpredictable magnitude of its consequences. It presents a formidable challenge that demands a collective and sustained effort across all levels of society, both for our present and future generations.

The evolution of our modern world has been intertwined with the cycles of climate change; indeed, the Earth possesses a remarkable ability to absorb carbon emissions into its oceans over time.

Various perspectives exist regarding the acceleration of climate change by human activities, leading to a complex matrix of causes, impacts, and scenarios that often blur clarity with confusion.

Amidst these debates, the tangible challenges posed by changing climates are undeniably affecting human societies worldwide. Urgent adaptation measures are imperative, spanning from individual actions to national and global strategies. Adaptation must be an ongoing process, mirroring the continuous evolution of our climate.

Governments, civil society organizations, corporations, and research institutions are mobilizing efforts to address this pressing issue. A collaborative approach, fostering cooperation and synergy across sectors, is paramount in confronting the multifaceted challenges of climate change.

As a global issue of paramount importance, climate change necessitates open-minded negotiations and proactive measures for the well-being of our planet and its inhabitants, urging us to act before it’s too late.

The 18th Day

On the 18th day of the Mahabharata War, amidst the exhaustion of battle, Duryodhana (दुर्योधन) sought solace by the tranquil Padma Sarobar, the Lotus Pond. Meanwhile, the Pandavas (पाण्डव) eagerly aimed to conclude the devastating conflict by confronting its root cause.

Approaching the padma sarovar, Bhim’s voice thundered, chastising Duryodhana for evading the warrior’s path. Duryodhana emerged from his retreat, inviting the Pandavas to engage in combat. In response, Yudhisthira, the eldest Pandava, proposed a challenge: Duryodhana could fight any one of them, and if victorious, he would concede defeat and relinquish the kingdom of Hastinapur.

Gazing at Yudhisthira, Duryodhana’s countenance reflected a mix of frustration and confidence. He quipped, “What use is kingship to me now? I’ve lost my ninety-nine brothers, my loyal sibling Dushasan, my dearest friend Karan, and my uncle (Mama) Sakuni, who once fueled my ambitions. Without them, wealth and power hold little meaning. Even victory would ring hollow.”

This narrative holds a profound truth about life’s essence. Success and failure derive significance from the bonds we share. In their absence, achievements lose their luster.

Reflecting on companionship, I recall a friend who rarely initiates contact. Yet, an inner impulse always nudges me to reach out, eager to share my experiences.

I pondered over this inclination and realized its roots in shared history. This friend was my college roommate; we spent three formative years dreaming of a brighter future in the hostel corridors. Our connection transcends expectations or impressions—it’s rooted in shared memories.

Life’s true richness lies in companionship. Cheers to meaningful connections!

Bridging the GAP using mobile phone

In today’s world, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become integral to development, fostering innovation and enabling effective communication on various fronts. Whether it’s enhancing governance or advocating for social causes, ICTs have left a profound impact, transcending geographical boundaries and making local issues resonate globally.

Recent events like the Arab Spring, London riots, and anti-corruption movements in India showcase how ICTs amplify public interests, sparking widespread discussions and actions worldwide.

Internet penetration, especially in developing countries like India, has seen remarkable growth since the late nineties, significantly improving people’s lives in urban areas. From booking travel tickets to accessing services like matrimony portals and educational resources on Google, the internet has become an indispensable part of daily routines.

The introduction of mobile phones to the masses further revolutionized communication, thanks to conducive government policies and market opening initiatives. This era brought optimism about empowering marginalized communities through ICTs and enhancing service delivery.

The convergence of mobile and internet technologies has sparked numerous debates among intellectuals about its potential. However, the challenge lies in developing and customizing web-mobile applications, especially in resource-constrained settings. For instance, a Civil Society Organization in a remote area may struggle to create mobile apps for social awareness or climate change education due to technical limitations.

But there’s hope on the horizon. Android, an open-source operating system for mobile devices, is breaking barriers by offering a user-friendly development framework. Its quality control measures make it accessible even for less-expensive mobile phones, democratizing access to technology.

One notable example is the use of Android applications in monitoring sanitation behavior in rural India. GPS-enabled Android devices collect data on sanitation practices, including behavioral insights, photos, and location details, which are then transmitted to a central server via GPRS. Even without network connectivity, data is stored locally for future synchronization.

This innovative approach significantly reduces the time gap between data collection and actionable insights, unlike traditional research methods that often face delays in data processing and analysis. It’s a testament to how well-engineered technology can drive meaningful development outcomes.

In conclusion, leveraging mobile technology, particularly Android frameworks, holds immense potential to bridge gaps and drive positive change, making development initiatives more effective and accessible to all.

Good morning … Tatkal

The sound of the doorbell, signaling the arrival of our maid, marked the start of a bustling morning. The realization dawned upon me that we needed to book railway tickets for my in-laws using the Tatkal service. With a sense of urgency, I roused my wife from bed, and together, we embarked on this unique adventure.

The chilly winter morning in Delhi added an extra layer of complexity to our journey. Navigating the city’s streets in an auto rickshaw, we encountered the familiar reluctance of drivers to use the meter, citing seasonal adjustments. The frosty air nipped at our noses as we braved the open auto rickshaw ride, a testament to the trials of winter travel.

Arriving at the Sarojini Nagar railway booking counter, our hopes were high as we observed a short queue of only three women ahead of us. Little did we anticipate the unforeseen requirement of a photocopy of the passenger’s identity card, a detail that caught us off guard.

Despite our initial setback, we returned home determined to find a solution. Attempts to book tickets online faced technical hurdles, reflecting the challenges of modern connectivity. A trip to an internet cafe revealed the changing landscape of internet accessibility, with cafes transforming into diverse establishments over the years.

After navigating through technical glitches and time constraints, we finally secured the Tatkal tickets, a triumph amidst adversity. Reflecting on the journey, I realized the importance of perseverance and adaptability in overcoming challenges, both in travel and life.

This experience served as a reminder of the ever-evolving nature of technology and the resilience required to navigate its intricacies. Through moments of frustration and perseverance, we emerged victorious, ready to embark on the next chapter of our journey.

Gold plating in project management

In today’s knowledge-based economy, innovation stands as a crucial driver for gaining a competitive edge. It encompasses out-of-the-box thinking, the fusion of existing attributes, and a culture of experimentation. However, while innovation is essential for building excellent institutions and ensuring sustained business growth, it must be managed strategically to avoid potential pitfalls, including the phenomenon known as gold plating.

Gold plating refers to the practice of adding unnecessary features or functionalities to a project beyond its original scope. While this may seem beneficial on the surface, it can lead to several challenges, including scope creep, increased project costs, and compromised project timelines. Let’s delve into two real-world cases to understand the implications of gold plating in project management.

Case I: E-Governance Portal Development

Imagine a scenario where a team is tasked with developing an e-Governance portal, including a Content Management System (CMS) and a dynamic website. As the project nears completion and prepares for a security audit, a team member proposes an additional feature to capture IP addresses for location-based analytics. The idea seems promising and is enthusiastically embraced by stakeholders.

However, during the security audit, it is discovered that the module dealing with IP address capture introduces significant vulnerabilities, leading to a lengthy process of addressing security concerns and delaying the project’s completion. This situation highlights the risks associated with incorporating functionalities outside the project’s defined scope without thorough analysis and consideration of potential repercussions.

Key Takeaways:

  • Innovation must align with project objectives and scope to avoid unintended consequences.
  • Thorough risk assessment and impact analysis are essential before integrating new features into a project.

Case II: Impact Study on Organic Cotton Farmers

In another scenario, a research project aims to study the impact of funding on the living conditions of organic cotton farmers. During fieldwork in Kalahandi, Orissa, the team collects extensive video footage showcasing various aspects of the cotton farming process. The final report includes edited videos highlighting the positive aspects of organic farming and its impact.

However, upon submission, the project sponsor requests clarification on the certification of the ginning process shown in the video. This unexpected requirement, not specified in the project’s terms, leads to delays as the team seeks validation from a certified engineer. The additional effort to meet this request impacts project timelines and payment processing.

Key Takeaways:

  • Adhering to project scope prevents unnecessary delays and ensures alignment with stakeholder expectations.
  • Communication and clarity regarding project deliverables are crucial to avoid last-minute modifications and gold plating.

In both cases, the allure of innovation must be balanced with a pragmatic approach to project management. While innovation drives progress, it must not overshadow the primary objectives, timelines, and budget constraints outlined in the project scope. Effective project management involves making informed decisions, prioritizing deliverables, and avoiding the temptation of gold plating to ensure successful project outcomes.