Have you ever tried to call 1961 on your mobile phone? This is the short hand notation of 1800 180 1961 (the call center of Aaykar Sampark Kendra ASK Helpline). All cellphone operators would connect to the same without any issues except Vodafone India. I had reported this to Vodafone on friday through their social media on September 4. Some one called me and confirmed that it is not just my Vodafone number but a lot of numbers are affected as they confirmed it. The issue has been escalated by them. At least till this point of writing the issue remained unresolved by Vodafone and still in progress.

So if you need to call ASK Helpline meanwhile you may need an alternate cellphone network or a landline to call the same.

The biggest issue with at least the private telephone operators in India is activating unnecessary VAS (Value Added Services) to your phone number without consumer consent. Fortunately, a few months back TRAI has intervened in this issue and has formulated a simple method to deactivate the VAS on our numbers.

Send STOP to 155223 and the telephone operator would respond with a list of VAS that your number is subscribed to. You can then individually choose and stop each of the service by responding to that message.

Also TRAI’s recent amendment has the following important governance:

  1. The activation of VAS has to be followed by a reply confirmation by the operator and a third party.
  2. If an unnecessary VAS was found active and reported by the consumer, the pertinent charges be refunded back to the customer and VAS deactivated within 24 hours.

If you are still facing issues with your telephone operator you can lodge a complaint against your operator to http://pgportal.gov.in/

Have you ever tried to call a US number through AT&T Collect Call service from India. AT&T has a short code for India 000117. When we call this number it lands onto AT&T call center. Then we can use our long distance calling card to dial a USA number from India. Or if the number is collect-call enabled we can have an operator to connect the call. Here are my experiences with calling this short code.

June 2014: Airtel (Maharashtra and Goa) was charging for this service even though it was toll-free. After repeated escalations they stopped charging on this number.

July 2014: BSNL (Maharashtra and Goa) does not support this option. It says the number does not exist. Adding to the woes the customer service for 1503 was not functional then. The only option is MIS.BSNL and they take three days only to respond they do not know about this number. After escalating it to their higherups they fixed it after four weeks.

March 2014: BSNL (Chennai) had a similar issue. I am surprised by the attitude of this network. If a network issue is solved on one region, can’t they propagate it across the switches. Why do they expect the customer repeat for each of their networks?

And another trick is that with BSNL, this number is not directly dial-able now. You ought to have ISD facility activated. I am not sure how it is going to work for postpaid because for postpaid BSNL charges 2000 rupees security deposit for ISD. For prepaid, send a SMS ‘ACT ISD’ to 53733. Wait for a confirmation and after a few moments once the confirmation comes you can dial this number.

A strongful administrative control on healthcare in India like HIPAA and FDA in US is definitely missing. At least I have a bunch of incidents in the recent past which are coming up as succinct examples.

  1. In Talwade, Pune, a pharmacy called ‘Subhada Pharmacy’ is habituated to sell drugs beyond expiry date and refusing to issue proper receipts. When challenged the shopkeeper refuses to service the request itself.
  2. Vasan Eye Care does the initial eye checks but refuses to release the reports and forces to agree to unnecessary surgical procedures. The doctors are unavailable to comment directly but only the attenders on the waiting hall are dealing on these.
  3. Of late there was a high hue and cry regarding medicines with manufacturing date of 2016 released out in the market (in 2015 itself)

  4. When it comes to using a health insurance in hospital, there is a separate inflated bill vis-a-vis when you want to pay directly with your own funds. This unholy nexus operates with an unscrupulous collusion with the anti-socials.

The next time you have a law enforcement issue be it a mobile missing, an eve-teasing or a traffic problem, you are not left in a lurch. NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) has come out with an innovative pan-india program called CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network). The implementation by each state police might be varying. For example, for Tamil Nadu police it is as-easy as visiting the URL http://www.tnpolice.gov.in/CCTNSNICSDC/ComplaintRegistrationPage?7 and submitting the report. The commissionarate then takes the burden of locating the most closest law enforcement to take up the cause and advocate appropriate steps for redressal of the same.

Some of the available categories are:

1) OTHERS (பிற குற்றங்கள்)
2) ATTEMPT TO COMMIT CRIME (குற்றம் நிகழத்த முயற்சி)
3) CHARGING EXORBITANT INTEREST (அளவு கடந்த வட்டி வசூலித்தல்)
5) COUNTERFEITING OF CURRENCY (கள்ள நாணயம் தயாரித்தல்)
6) CRIMINAL INTIMIDATION (குற்றமுறு மிரட்டுதல்)
7) CRIMINAL TRESPASS (குற்றமுறு அச்சுறுத்தல்)
8) CYBER CRIMES (இணையதள குற்றங்கள்)
9) DACOITY (கூட்டுக் கொள்ளை)
10) DOCUMENT MISSING (காணாமல் போன ஆவணம்)
11) EMBEZZLEMENT (பணமோசடி)
12) EVE TEASING (கேலி செய்தல்)
13) EXTORTION (அச்சுறுத்திப் பறித்தல்)
14) FORGERY (பொய் ஆவணம் புனைதல் )
15) HURT (உடல் ஊறு)
16) IMPERSONATION (ஆள் மாறாட்டம்)
17) INCITEMENT (தூண்டுதல்)
18) JUVENILE DELINQUENCY (இளமை தீச்செயல்)
19) KIDNAPPING (ஆட்கடத்தல்)
20) LAND GRABBING (நில அபகரிப்பு)
21) MISAPPROPRIATION (கையாடல் / பணம் கையாடல்)
22) MISCHIEF (தீங்கு)
23) MISSING PERSONS (காணாமல் போன ஆட்கள்)
24) MOBILE MISSING (காணாமல் போன கைபேசி)
25) MURDER (கொலை)
26) NON BANKING FINANCIAL INSTITUTION CASES (தனியார் நிதிநிறுவன வழக்குகள்)
27) NUISANCE (தொல்லை)
28) OFFENCES AGAINST RELIGION & PUBLIC WORSHIP (மத வழிபாட்டுதலங்களுக்கெதிரான குற்றங்கள்)
29) OFFENCES AGAINST STATE (அரசுக்கு எதிரான குற்றங்கள்)
30) OFFENCES RELATING TO MARRIAGE (திருமணம் சார் குற்றங்கள்)
31) POLITICAL OFFENCE (அரசியல் குற்றங்கள்)
32) QUARREL / ALTERCATIONS (வாய்தகராறு)
33) RAGGING (வன்சீண்டல்)
34) RAPE (கற்பழிப்பு)
35) ROBBERY (கொள்ளை)
36) STOLEN PROPERTY (திருட்டுச் சொத்து)
37) THEFT (திருட்டு)
38) TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS (போக்குவரத்து விதி மீறுகை)
39) VEHICLE MISSING (காணாமல் போன வாகனம்)
40) WOMEN HARASSMENT (பெண் சீண்டல்)
41) WRONGFUL CONFINEMENT (சட்ட விரோதமாக அடைத்து வைத்தல்)

Unlike olden days when registering a police complaint itself was a big headache and individual police stations refuse to oblige on our requests to register complaints, this system makes an elegant way to register the report. However there exists a few issues in the system.

  1. For a number of complaints, as this writer, has experienced, the cops are reluctant to work on it at the down-level police stations — asking for a request to be given like ‘Explanation obtained. No action required’, ‘Got update from police that action has been taken. No response required’. And a couple of days after that the complaints gets closed without a proper history update.
  2. The complaint numbers and their histories are maintained for very short periods or at least the status checking is kind of difficult for older records. The writer is trying to pursue this issue with pertinent authorities and would keep you posted on the same.
  3. In an attempt to fast-close the complaint, you may be bugged by the local police station for an ‘in-person’ inquiry even though it does not matter. They are not still in  the era of e-Resolutions.

I hope police commissionarate looks into these shortcomings of the system and addresses them too.

Of late, India has witnessed the most gruesome incident in its capital city and which elects itself to be called with a new term in English because the words ‘barbaric’, ‘bestial’ and ‘uncivilized’ are rather very dilute. Despite its worst nature and challenging the security of our female fraternity, it is unfortunate that our ‘doll’ prime minister still continues on his hallmarked status of being dumb.  Worse yet, the dedicated ministry for the welfare of women has not expressed even a word condemning this incident.

Even before the ignition of this incident could die down, Tamil Nadu witnessed another parallel incident a few days back involving murder of teen girl after  foiled rape attempt. Check out the news here.

I have shared my view on how should we deal with the offenders in this case on a social media website which I would like to share it out here:


As part of animal welfare initiatives after witnessing a weird cruelty to animals in one of its main street which also shook a few newspapers in 2010 January, a report was registered with Madurai Corporation. Last week I had an opportunity to talk to the activist and he had currently moved to Villupuram. He pulled out the status number and told me that the status is kind of lost because the website is not able to get it. When you enter the status number (mdu1567) into the status, it again reloads the page and asks to enter details for a fresh complaint.

Either the Madurai Mayorial office or the web developers were unavailable to comment as of this time of writing.


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