More on ALS Ice bucket

Apparently the challenge orginally involved either accepting the challenge OR donating but then it cleverly metamorphosed to accepting the challenge AND donating. So originally, those who doused themselves were essentially saving themselves the mandatory $100 donation, which would’nt really have caught on as it would have lacked the “good cause” bit because c’mon, how many times one is going to be interested in seeing someone pouring himself with ice cold water inorder to avoid making a donation. 

There were celebrities offcourse who jumped into the bandwagon fanning the social media blaze that it has become. Ben Affleck, Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey. India saw the likes of Akshay Kumar, Abhishek Bacchan.

HBS has this on the latest social media fad. 

The ALS Association has received $31.5 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period (July 29 to August 20) last year.

This remarkable increase in their fundraising potential is largely due to the snowball effect of cause marketing coupled with a social medial fad. Celebrities are jumping in on the action.

Phew! I believe the donation number is much higher now. 

Come to think of it, for a country like India, TB, HIV AIDS, Malaria, Dengue are much much bigger challenges than ALS (a degenerative disease affecting the brain) for which even estimates of its occurence doesnt exist. ToI has this . Continued celebrity support is more welcome for real issues facing our country. 


Auto Fare hike, again !!!

That lousy feeling again when costs seem to go up incessantly despite stagnant salaries. Had blogged about this last year here They (the auto rajas of Mumbai) are at it again after the Bombay HC allowed a hike in taxi/auto fares from yesterday on the condition that the meters should be recalibrated first. 

Minimum Distance (Kms) 1.6
Minimum Fare (Rs) 17
Per Km fare for minimum distance (Rs)  10.63
Every Subsequent km (Rs) 11.33
Avg overall per km fare  (Rs) 10.98
Waiting charge per minute (Re)  1
Avg. no. of new fares per day 35
Avg distance per new fare per day 3.75
Avg waiting time per new fare per day 3
TARIFF 1440.80
REVENUES per day (Rs) 1545.80
Cost of a new autorickshaw (Loan @ 13%) 160000
EMI per km 1.13
Fuel Cost Per km 1.77
Maintainance & Repairs Per km 0.51
Insurance 0.08
Miscellaneous  0.63
EXPENSES per day (Rs) 524.93
INCOME per day (Rs) 1020.86
INCOME per month 30625.9

Fuel costs are pretty much the same. Essentially, a 10% pay hike for the auto wallahs. Fair enough, but where is the service. I think it would have been better had the HC inserted a clause which would have benefitted the consumers immensely, i.e. 0% refusals. Without that, the common man once again seems to have been short changed. 

Whatever happened to NiKu

NiKu was the poster boy of development (ofcourse after a certain Mr. NaMo) firing on all cylinders in his home state. After the hopelessness of Lalu rule, he was the light (and still is) at the end of the tunnel for Bihar. But then just when the general elections were round the corner he strangely severed ties with his ally, the BJP after “realising” after 15 odd years that BJP’s “communal agenda” wasnt acceptable. Incidentally, it was in Bihar that the elections were fought and the government was formed under the NDA. Severing ties with the long term ally really didnt make any sense. However, he seems to have fallen prey to the tired election arithmatic which was dismantled by Mr. Namo and the BJP in the recently concluded elections. He hoped that the minorities along the backwards and his development work would help him win comfortably. 

However, the inevitable happened, he lost badly to the BJP in Bihar. The traditional BJP voter base and even the traditional non BJP supporters (backwards and minorities) seemed to have voted for the BJP enmasse.

But all is certainly not lost since the assembly elections are still some time away in Bihar. However, he has gone ahead and aligned himself with Lalu,obstensibly to thwart “communal forces”. In process, he has alienated the voter who would still be haunted by the misrule of the Lalu government.

Mayawati today has rejected SP’s call of an alignment in UP to thwart “communal forces”. She too had faced a similar fate in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections with her party drawing a blank. Whatever happened to the dynamic, forward looking, champion of Bihari development Niku.

The gorilla growls..

In one of our earlier posts spoke about the disruptive force of the entry of giants such as Amazon and Reliance in their respective fields would have. Flipkart’s recent round of fund raising led (or so we believe as it came right after Flipkart financing deal) to Amazon announcing $ 2 billion India investment plans.

Amazon’s investment plans reflects the confidence that Bezos has in the Indian market, pegged at $ 13 billion and set to double every 2-3 years. 

With losses plaguing everyone, it is really about how deep are the pockets for the incumbents. Amazon, with quarterly sales of ~ $ 20 billion, is a behemoth and since its entry in June last year in India it has introduced same day delivery, launced an ad blitz and offered heavy discounts and unless Flipkart continues to innovate and yeah continue to raise funds, it runs the risk of being streamrolled by Amazon. 

So it wasnt the “inner voice” after all..

It was pretty much known earlier too that it was definitely no “inner voice” that led Sonia Gandhi to refuse the PM ship that evening in 2004, right after her party, Congress, had smashed BJP, stunning pretty much everyone in the process and rode to power. 

Now, Natwar Singh, erstwhile Gandhi family loyalist, in his book (everybody seems to be writing a book these days and to Congresss’ chagrin, they are at the receiving ends of most), claims that it was Rahul Gandhi’s veto that led to Sonia declining the PM chair and installing Manmohan Singh, in her place. 

Swagato Ganguly has this in todays ToI.