Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quick Guide to Do Not Disturb Registry #DND #TRAI #India

As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) regulation, mobile consumers will be freed from unwarranted calls and SMS from 27th Sept 2011.

This was long overdue - but now has come into effect. Accordingly, the Do Not Disturb registry has been renamed to National Consumer Preference Register. Every telemarker needs to register itself with TRAI (Check registered telemarketers in your district here). Click here to know more about the changes.

Now consumers can choose to block all calls-SMS or choose which calls-SMS they wish to receive. Further, one can change his/her preferences after 7 days compared to 3 months earlier.

People who have already added themselves to DND will be automatically treated to have blocked ALL calls and SMS.

To know your current status, go here and enter your number.

Here is a quick guide to update your preferences via SMS:

You can register your preference(s) for commercial communications by sending an SMS to 1909.

Basically, there are 7 categories of registered telemarketers:

1. Banking/Insurance/Financial products/credit cards, 

2. Real Estate, 

3. Education, 

4. Health, 

5. Consumer goods and automobiles,

6. Communication/Broadcasting/Entertainment/IT, 

7. Tourism and Leisure.

To partially block, you need to simply send an SMS to 1909 in following format:

START <number of desired category from above>

For example, to receive calls/SMS from Banks and Credit Cards, send following SMS to 1909 -

    START 1

    You can also send the SMS in following format for multiple categories -

      START 1,3,4

      To block everything (which is not recommended), send following SMS to 1909 -

        START 0 

        Remember that START 0 supercedes all other options.

        Also, remember that the shipment information about items from an eCommerce website are included in category no. 5 i.e. Consumer goods and automobiles. So you may want to receive SMS from this category.

        What happens after one sends the SMS?

        Basically, you will receive an SMS about confirming the options you have selected. Once you confirm that by sending a confirmation SMS, your preference will be registered and you will get an SMS with a registration number (keep it safe, you may need it).

        START x STOP

        You can similarly, use STOP to opt put of the whole blocking thing (if you are ok with all the calls and SMS). Just replace START with STOP in above instructions to bring this into effect.

        Saturday, September 24, 2011

        Economics of Happiness [Must Read] #Economy #Capitalism

        Stumbled upon this nice piece by Jeffrey Sachs as he thinks this is an apt time to -

        ....reconsider the basic sources of happiness in our economic life. The relentless pursuit of higher income is leading to unprecedented inequality and anxiety, rather than to greater happiness and life satisfaction. 

        He goes on to present conclusions drawn by a gathering of experts in Thimphu - the happiness capital of world.

        Third, happiness is achieved through a balanced approach to life by both individuals and societies. As individuals, we are unhappy if we are denied our basic material needs, but we are also unhappy if the pursuit of higher incomes replaces our focus on family, friends, community, compassion, and maintaining internal balance. As a society, it is one thing to organize economic policies to keep living standards on the rise, but quite another to subordinate all of society’s values to the pursuit of profit.

        Yet politics in the US has increasingly allowed corporate profits to dominate all other aspirations: fairness, justice, trust, physical and mental health, and environmental sustainability. Corporate campaign contributions increasingly undermine the democratic process, with the blessing of the US Supreme Court.

        Read the article here.

        Monday, September 19, 2011

        Amazing Idea from Korea! A Must see... [Video]

        These stores are operated by Homeplus a Korean retailer. According to Wikipedia, Home plus is jointly owned by Samsung and Tesco (a British company) with 113 branches throughout South Korea.

        Will these be successful in India?

        A top comment on the Youtube page of the video may indicate what may happen in India - 

        Idea: instead of wasting time scanning the products, visit the online shop of a supermarket website while you're on the train. It's better than a whole crowd standing in front of those walls, punching??? with their elbows just to take pics...

        Tuesday, September 6, 2011

        What's the Job of Government?

        A must read article. Reminded me how the food crisis debate ended up in lobbying for FDI in retail sector. Read to know how govt is failing in the basic job - judicial allocation of resources. 

        Some excerpts - 

        In recent years, the financial markets have discovered the huge opportunities presented by agricultural commodities. The consequences are devastating, as speculators drive up food prices and plunge millions of people into poverty. But investors care little about the effects of their deals in the real world.

        The problem is particularly glaring in Ethiopia, a country whose name is associated with starvation for many people. Even though 5.7 million Ethiopians are dependent on international food aid, the government sells or leases large tracts of fertile land to foreign investors. They, in turn, export most of the food they produce to other countries. Since 2007, the Ethiopian government has approved 815 foreign-funded agricultural projects. Saudi firms, multinational agricultural companies and British pension funds act as investors. Some 3.6 million hectares of land are up for grabs, much of it in the Gambela region, the proposed site of a national park. Now virgin forest is being cleared to produce food for other countries. Fifty kilometers (31 miles) outside the capital Addis Ababa, Jittu Horticulture, a subsidiary of a Spanish agricultural group, produces 180,000 kilograms (396,000 pounds) of vegetables a week. The produce is exported to the Middle East, supplying multinational oil companies and five-star hotels in Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. "We bring foreign currency into the country, enabling the government to buy wheat for the hungry," Dutch manager Jans Brins told the Berlin daily newspaper Tagesspiegel. "It's the government's responsibility to feed people who are unable to buy anything for themselves."

        According to the UN assessment, what is needed is a reorientation toward a system of agriculture driven by small farmers who grow their crops at the local level, using both sustainable and environmentally compatible methods. The authors argue that through investment, these farmers must be given access to seeds, infrastructure, knowledge and markets -- and thus the opportunity to feed themselves and others. In their view, this is the only way to preserve the natural basis of feeding human beings and fight world hunger.

        The original article - Speculating with Lives: How Global Investors Make Money Out of Hunger