November 2006

A Tribute to the Martyr Who Stood Against Corruption

[Dubey SK]This is the third year after Satyendra Kumar Dubey was killed by unidentified assailants in the wee hours of November 27, 2003 for standing against corruption and not abetting the bribes that was given to him, on the outskirts of the holy town of Gaya City. Check out this page.

An honest and upright engineer working on one of the Golden Quadrilateral project was Satyendra Kumar Dubey. Enraged by the efforts to pull him also into the corruption scams, he also wrote to the PMO office. The letter did traverse through a number of nodes in the bureocratic chain. He recieved a number of threats from the people on whom he blew the whistles on. As the investigations were underway, he was shot dead by unidentified assailants on November 27, 2003. Let us spend two minutes of our time in silence to pray Lord Almighty to have SK Dubey’s soul rest in peace and also the corruptions to vanish from Indian soil.

The Letter that he wrote to the PMO scanned in JPG format is missing from SKDubey website. A friend of mine had the attachments in his mailbox and he forwarded me. Thanks to Irfanview, that I have combined everything (1.jpg to 10.jpg) as a single image and presented here for readers reference.

Citibank Customer Care or Corpse Care

Following an interesting development of the cancellation of a seldom used credit card, which I have described as a comment over this post, sometime two weeks back, I have called Citiphone Chennai (+914428584653 — CITIGOLD and +914428522484) and they confirmed me regarding closure of the said card and transfer of all credits, debits, rewards to my current credit card. Good. All assured and all good.

But in the progress of conversations, there were very interesting punctuated and non-sporadic miscomprehensions on part of Citiphone, as the case usually is. Here goes a humourous narration of the same.

For security reasons, the actual credit card numbers are suppressed in this blog post.

  1. I had a credit card which was issued as part of my deceased Suvidha Account, which I had sometime in 2003-04. Citibank offered an upgrade of the same to Gold Card in 2004 but as usual the maligned processes that haunt about everywhere, an useless Choice Card landed.
  2. Subsequently, a corrective process was launched and I did an out-of-turn Gold card too. Now instead of a single tracked Gold, I did have two cards. The ongoing corrective process of the bank, led the choice being upgraded to Gold sometime this year. In the melee, my current Gold did went through an upgrade process.
  3. Citiphone did not know how to link both the cards and hence I asked them to close the earlier Gold-only card and transfer the proceeds to the current upgraded card.  Wheneven I call Citibank to enquire about the GoldOnly Card, they always land up in getting the information the deceased card (which got promoted to the current upgraded set). I had to explain them about the non-linked buggy processes and to ‘train’ them in opening the card account of the other one. And this conversation with our Thikkuvay Thandavarayans.
  4. After a hectic and ardous hilarious comedy track drama, the mergers and acquisions came to a final deal. But then yesterday, I got a SMS from Citibank that “Your reissued card is being delivered through BlueDart courier”. When I called CitiPhone checking against my active card account or its immediately linked Gold Card (deceased), there were no upgradations or reissues. After playing through Step (3), they found out the older deceased card was reissued and has been despatched. While Citiphone did tell me that even if the card is recieved from BlueDart, I can simply destroy it since it is an invalid card as the card has already been closed. In effective, a virtual corpse (with a new card number embalmed) is being delivered through BlueDart. Just for the sake of processes and giving a hype of the numbers to show the number of cards issued, I think Citibank is resorting to such dead cards too.

This, I guess, is one more interesting melodrama and perhaps to reinstate the fact or affinity of Citibank in adhering to already closed cards.  So much of revenue waste and security hazards in sending useless plastic scraps which can otherwise be safely destroyed within the bank itself.

Perhaps there are some medicos in bank, who were trained in Royappettah Hospital Mortuary.

ATM Reverse PIN

Yesterday, while talking with Redhy, he told me an interesting thing. He recieved an email forward sometime back which was conveying the message that if one is confronted by a robber and forced to reveal your ATM PIN,  you can enter the PIN number in the reverse direction and the ATM would automatically dial the National Security forces typically like 911 Emergency Team in US or 100 in India.

This was the forwarded email that I recieved.

See this important message below.

I just found out that should you ever be forced to withdraw monies from an ATM machine, you can notify the police by entering your Pin # in reverse. The machine will still give you the monies you requested, but unkown to the robber, etc, the police will be immediately dispatched to help you. The broadcast stated that this method of calling the police is very seldom used because people don't know it exist, and it might mean the difference between life and death. Hopefully, none of you will have to use this, but I wanted to pass it along just in case you hadn't heard of it. Please pass it along to everyone possible.

First we dismissed the email as another scrappy flappy forward but subsequently my inner instinct advised me to launch Google Toolbar on the job to find out if something tangible is latently hiding within that. And voila! It seemed that this in fact comes under realizable and implementable technology however the negative fact is that it does not actually exist now.

They call this as ‘Reverse PIN’ or ‘Panic PIN’. When you enter the correct PIN (Personal Identification Number) in the reverse order, the ATM machine gets alerted and automatically dials the preconfigured National Security Force number to have the robber cornered.

Origin: Joseph Zhinger, a Chicago-based businessman first visualized the system (SafetyPIN (TM). It got started in 1994 and patented in 1998. Currently banks all over the world apprehend heavy investment infrastructure for this type of security setup. However, the necessity of such a system assumes paramount importance. It also assumes a great deal of coordination with Police force and they have to be in the act of crime within seconds.  Very many incidents of car hijacking ends up in ATM pin revealing and robbery. A few of the examples are:

  1. Kimberley Boyd Murder
  2. Late working employees of Bangalore are very much affected by ATM assaults.
  3. Latest Update on Deccan Chronicle in Chennai Edition (26th November 2006): Hoax Alert — ATM Theft Rise

Insisting on Quality …

With the amount of competitions in the market each service provider has to ensure that he exceeds the expectation of his customers to ensure elevated levels of customer retention and additionally to lure more customers towards them to tread further on progress paths. And in a market flavored by Oligopoly and higher degrees of competition from public sector and private entrepreneurs, customers remain the key assets for the basic survival and growth of the organization.

Each organization ensures and should ensure that if there are unresolved grievances of the customers, there should be a vested dedicated channel to where customers can vent thier grievances and they should be addressed in a timely manner. This reemphasizes the faith of the customers in the service provider. At least from India, where enterprises usher in for round-the clock service using call center strategies, there are also scores of complaints mushrooming due to laxity, lethargy and hypocrisy on section of thier shop. Each of them are trying to maintain an Escalation Department.

This post is a humble effort to compile all those and serve as a single point reference to viewers who can refer to them with ease. A business relationship survives, thrives and flourishes only where this a perfect trust and a good rapport. Trust must be from all the parties involved in the transaction. The compilation process regarding all the sources is in progress. I would keep updated regarding the various channels as comments.
To start with, I came across an innovative product offering from Standard Chartered Bank, India. Sometime last month, they have launched a product called ‘Service Assurance’ in which a customer can send in a SMS to 9980033333 and a friendly customer care would attend to the same within 24 hours. If there is no resolution reached, the bank promises to credit upto INR 100 to the customer’s account.

Similarly, Airtel Telephone and Broadband services has a service guarantee that any complaint regarding thier telephone and/or broadband services would be attended within four hours of the complaint being registered failing which an amount of INR 100 would be credited to the customer’s next month bill.

These are a few instances where these entreprises have ushered in to provide extreme customer delight to exceed thier expectations. Now, what happens when they fail? Stay tuned for more compiled information regarding various redressal channels…

The Big Brother Coming With a Whip

I don’t think all the private banks can keep going scott free charging sky rocketing prices for anything and everything fleecing the customers and skinning them. Sometime on October 16, 2006 there has been a circular to all private banks that passbooks have to be mandatorily issued to all account holders without charging them extra on the pretext of recovering any charges from the customer.

Private banks as usual have proposed a large set of points attempting to veto this proposal on a variety of grounds to ensure that thier honeymooning on the hard-earned money of consumers does not get affected.

Advantages of Passbooks:

  1. Quoting from RBI Directive, a passbook is a ready reckoner of transactions and being handy and compact, is far more convenient to the small customer than a statement of account which has some inherent difficulties, viz. need of filing, tallying of opening balance with closing balance of last statement, loss/delay in receipt of statement, etc.
  2. No longer can banks put the blame of postal service and courier services for thier lethargy in sending statements or laxity in messing up in missing the delivery of statements and surreptiously including a plethora of hidden charges of diversified flavors and colors.
  3. The financial institutions can no longer start levying insurance and similar charges transferring the funds to thier sister companies. I am typically pointing out to ICICI Bank malpractices in which scores of accounts are debited and transferred to ICICI Prudential Insurance, the sister group of ICICI Bank. I typically know of an organization in Chromepet, which just took a salary account and because of plethora of complaints had to kill off the relationship with them and get linked to another bank.
  4. Not everyone are tech-savvy. If banks have to reach rural areas then passbooks are mandatory. With thousands of security problems in Internet Banking and ATMs located in unsecure areas, passbooks are the best resilent transaction audit for the customer.
  5. [Mandatory Passbooks]

Sources (for More Information):

  1. The circular from Apex Bank.
  2. Private Banks and elusive Passbooks — Coverage on Rediff.

Lawbreakers striking to get regularlize law breaking

In Tamil there is a saying ‘Kali muthippochu‘. It means that this age, ‘Kali Yugam’ which witnesses 75% unrigheousness and 25% righteousness is reaching its peak of its glory. Check out about the four yugas from this Wikipedia page. There are two interesting trends in the past week that showcase — One from New Delhi and the other from Thirunelveli and Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu.

New Delhi is getting high up in headlines for traders demonstrating even against the unquestionable Apex Court of India. The problem is that the Apex Court and the Delhi Government want to free off residential areas from illegal commercial encroachments. But Delhi traders are protesting against this in a record-breaking fashion. It is good that the Apex Court and DDA authoritiesare firm in the garbage collection and evil-uprooting move.

The testimony from Tamil Nadu towns is that computer traders are going in strike against software vendor for the latter slapping heavy fines on the former for bundling illegal and pirated operating system along with the hardware. They were staging a two day strike on 11th and 12th towards the same. This news item was carried in  Tamil Murasu, evening daily (I think it should be on either 9th or 10th). These guys are also threatening that operating system cost needs to be lowered or they would return computer hardwares to the vendors. Interestingly, Views and Reviews has another software piracy and human reports incident that we were discussing as a one-liner sometime back. Check out this post on India Information Blackout.

I think both the incidents are heights of tragic comedy in which unrighteousness claims a lions share at the cost of righteousness. I think the authorities need to be stubborn against such unscrupulous entities in our social setup and try thier best to uproot the (d)evils.

Eradicating Malefic Effects of Cinema On Society

It is a great boon to India that Health Ministry of India, is very aggressive on different aspects in which cine industry on not to disturb the fine health of the nation and its citizens. The latest compelling move is from Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, Health Minister of India keen on bringing a blanket ban on any screening in Indian movies which has smoking in it. Perhaps the most impressive interview with him was in CNN-IBN sometime the previos week, where was very stubborn and aggressive over his AntiSmoking campaign. You can see the full-length interview between Karan Thapar and Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss in Devils’ Advocate over here.

It is really heartening that even when Karan Thapar tried to compare India ban with America (which has also not banned smoking), he just replied that he is concerned about his motherland (India). Two quotes from his interview.

Anbumani Ramadoss: Why do you say America? We are living in India. I am not bothered about America. I have to save my citizens here.


Anbumani Ramadoss: I am talking about India here.


Karan Thapar: You say that, in fact, smoking in films encourages the young to do so. In which case, how do explain the fact that with the possible limited exception of Thailand, just one country, no other country in the world has banned smoking?


Anbumani Ramadoss: Wait and see what happens in five years.

I think Health Ministry should go ahead and try to convince thier counterparts in Industry Ministry and Ministry of Finance in offsetting the revenue hitch that might be encountered due to blanket ban of smoking in Films. It is impressive that to bring this ban, they are even trying to lure Shah Rukh Khan to campaign against smoking.

Looking back at the history of Anbumani Ramadoss, he is the son of Dr. Ramadoss, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) Leader in Tamil Nadu. The credit of giving a great national cause oriented son to India goes to Dr. Ramadoss. As Thirukkural says,

Magan thanthaikatrum udavi ivan thanthai ennotran kol enum sol

The society really respects Ramadoss and looks high for the greatest national cause services that his son renders for the society. Similarly, it would be great, if other ministries like Information and Broadcasting work with them to eradicate bad scenes like glamor and obscenity. I think erring producers and cinema theaters should be ruthlessly imprisoned under ‘Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986‘.

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