General


Till a few years ago both US and India had beautiful interfaces to people from State Administration. In US, it was called ‘Voice of the People’ and in India it was called CpGrams (Centralized Public Grievances) aka PGPortal. Ever since Obama quit the office and Trump took over, the Voice of the People was taken down.

However starting January, PgPortal has got a beautiful facelift. Unlike the previous version of anonymous posting and need to copy paste the grievances now everything is tracked and consolidated with a username and password. Technologywise it is powered by ASP.NET MVC.

A few suggestions and bug reports we shared to Department of Administrative Reforms regarding the new Pgportal as below.

  1. ARNPG/E/2018/00033:  The new version of PgPortal seems to be untested and buggy. 1) During grievance posting if security code mismatches it is erasing all the values forcing the user to re type all the message. 2) Posting a second grievance in a single session it throws a server error and logs out.
  2. ARNPG/E/2018/00122  Dear Team, While I take a moment to appreciate the PgPortal team of NIC for the good revamp and overhaul there are a few things which have been remainining untested and is an irritant to the user. For example, after registering a grievance there is a home button and clicking that goes to AspxError page Not Found http://pgportal.gov.in/Error/NotFound?aspxerrorpath=/DashBoard (Status: Acknowledged)
    3) ARNPG/E/2018/00123 The newly launched version of PgPortal has a major user experience issue. If the security code (aka) captcha is wrong entire form is wiped and an error message is shown Error Please enter valid security code. The previous version of PgPortal elegantly managed this condition because the validations were done through Ajax Calls. Kindly have a developer to fix this issue at once.

    4) ARNPG/E/2018/00124 Dear Team, The newly launched PgPortal has a major user experience issue. The phone number field has autoinserted spaces (trailing) as a a result on submission the following message is shown Please enter no more than 12 characters. I believe since you are using aspnet mvc the developer can trim the space when data binding the value from the controller to the view. Additionally when you correct the values by backspacing in this field and when there is a single trailing space an ambigous error messagelike Please enter valid Phone Number is shown. Kindly have a developer to correct these issues asap
    5) ARNPG/E/2018/00137 Team, The new version of CpGrams is blocking the following characters which causes issues in posting readable grievance text. 1) Hyphen is blocked 2) Apostrophe character (single quote) is blocked We are getting error message like below when the grievance contains these characters Alphabet AZ, az, number 09 and special characters Can you ensure that these characters are whitelisted and grievances with these characters are allowed to be posted in CpGrams.
    6) ARNPG/E/2018/00138 Cpgrams Team, Even though there are a few characters which are allowed in grievance not all whitelisted characters are actually allowed. For example even copy pasting the error message in full blocks the grievances from being posted. Alphabet AZ, az, number 09 and special characters () only are allowed in grievance description. I would like you to take this up with your development team and fix the issues at the earliest. Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan
    7) ARNPG/E/2018/00143 Team, I observed one issue in CpgRams. On Session Timeout when it logs out it is going to an error page. Please find screenshot enclosed. Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan
    8)  ARNPG/E/2018/00145 Kindly let me know how to import the Older CpGrams (posted in the previous version of PgPortal without login) using same email address and mobile number into the new PgPortal Desk?
    9)  ARNPG/E/2018/00146 I have signed up on a defunct profile with phone number like 9194454078 (hoping that it still uses 91 94454 07856). This account is incomplete and you would not find any grievances lodged there. Is there a way to close that account? It may be unnecessarily hoarding space on CpGrams server. Dont disturb my current account with login 9445407856  (Funky Response that they are not able to address this issue now and is a limitation of the application)
    10) ARNPG/E/2018/00177  To Press Council of India _______________________ Hello Team, The newspaper Dinamani has been carrying a denigratory and defamatory post on Andal (saint sage poet) particularly in this tamil month of Margazhi when Andal sacred composition called Thiruppavai is recited with much reverence. The denigratory thoughts were aired by Vairamuthu during his rally in Rajapalayam Tamil Nadu. The newspaper has carried the content without any editing hurting the religious sentiments of billions worldwide. URL: A complaint as below has been registered with Ministry of Home Affairs against Vairamuthu who is a recipient of multiple Padma awards. (Was redirected to post the same to Ministry of Information Broadcasting)
    11) DARPG/E/2018/00390 Dear Team, I found a weird change in the new version of PgPortal with reference to Notifications. 1) Email, which can take more text has been compressed and there is no URL where we can check the status. The URL has been removed in the new notification message. 2) SMS, which takes less text has been elongated and hence older mobile phones attempt to update the same message multiple times and at times message gets split into multiple ones. I hope you take this up with the notification team and fix the same. Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan
    12) DARPG/E/2018/00616 A recent update to PgPortal CpGrams is blocking the question mark in Grievance Description textbox. A question mark is required at times when a query is raised to the service provider/department/ministry. Kindly get this character included in the Allowed List.
    13) DARPG/E/2018/00618 When you post a new grievance for the past few days, PgPortal is intermittently failing with this error message Invalid Method Description: Unable to process request for URL http://pgportal.gov.in/NewGrievance/Lodge
    14) DARPG/E/2018/00619 We need a feature in CpGrams that when a grievance is closed there should be an option to reopen it (at least for a few days) before it permanently disposed. This would ensure malpractices by operators surreptitiously closing the grievances with stupid comments.
    15) DARPG/E/2018/00620 Starting this year I observed that grievances posted to Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances were coded as ARNPG unlike its predecessor DARPG but again since today I am seeing DARPG. Are there two codes or was it changed
    16) DARPG/E/2018/00710 DARPG Team, When I click Edit Profile it is going to https://pgportal.gov.in/Error page and session is getting lost and I am logged out. I am not able to edit my profile. Kindly help… Thanks and Regards, Deepak
    17) DARPG/E/2018/01340 Dear Sir/Madam, Need this as a critical requirement. Many times I have seen CpGrams operators in various ministries are just closing the grievances with flimsy reasons. In those case we need an option to REOPEN the grievance and possibly with an option to ESCALATE the situation to their superiors. Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan
    18) DARPG/E/2018/01359 N Srinivasa Rao (Financial Services — Banking Division) is repeatedly closing multiple CpGrams in his department with flimsy reasons. See dEabd/e/2017/01497
    19) DARPG/E/2018/01373 Dear Sir/Madam, Can you help me with the guidance on how to find the list of clarifications/reminders I submitted for the particular grievance Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan
    20) DARPG/E/2018/02105 Dear Team, In the recent version of CpGrams the sorting by Closing Date of the Grievance is not working. It is a show stopper issue. It sorts in an uncertain fashion. Kindly get the issue taken to the web development team and have it fixed asap. Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan
    21) DARPG/E/2018/02263 Dear Team, When the departments or ministries upload a PDF document in the new version of CpGrams we are not able to open it. It always says Failed to open PDF document. Kindly help how to read the PDF documents that are sent as a response to the petitions or grievances submitted. Thanks and Regards, Deepak Vasudevan

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Considering the plight of passengers struggling to move between CMBT Omni Bus Stand and CMBT Terminus we sent a petition to MTC Bus asking if they could arrange for shuttles between these termini. They have clarified that there are time bound services between these points and could be leveraged by passengers. The response is shared here for the benefit of everyone.

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Around eight years back the athiest party of DMK made Pongal as Tamil New Year which was a great setback for the Hindu culture. Thankfully, Jayalalitha led AIADMK government has reversed and voided the ordinance four years back.

But till now, Kalaignar TV is involving in false propaganda during Pongal festivals calling it as New year. Furthermore, Hindu festivals are called as ‘holidays’ in their channel whereas they are called by festival names for non-Hindu observations

Petition sent to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting via MOIAB/E/2016/00252 on 2nd February 2016

The so-called state-of-the-art banking enterprises still clinging to obsolete technology (components)
 
I have been observing the tall claims of two private banking entrepreneurs in India (ICICI Bank and Citibank India) who seemed to having tall claims on the state of the art banking style but when closely analysed their internet banking modules suffers from serious flaws. I have personally reported them to their customer care which just ‘acknowledges’ the feedback but it had been more than twenty four months now (on the average) with no improvements on the horizon.
 
  1. ICICI Bank Infinity Logout still uses defunct Web Browser object and gives Scripting Errors: When you are logged on to the Internet banking module of ICICI Bank (called Infinity) and after completing the transaction when you logout, you would for sure encounter weird scripting errors because of the now obsolete Web Browser control. You can see the following code in the view source of the page which reveals the bad programming practice used by their development team and also use of old unsupported code:

    <OBJECT ID=”WB” WIDTH=0 HEIGHT=0 CLASSID=”CLSID:8856F961-340A-11D0-A96B-00C04FD705A2″>
      </OBJECT>
    <SCRIPT LANGUAGE=”JavaScript1.2″>
    <!–
    function winload()
    {
    if(navigator.appName==”Microsoft Internet Explorer”)
    {
    var BrowserVerStr =navigator.appVersion;
    parts = BrowserVerStr.split(“;”);
    var preBrowVer = parts[1]
    var BVNum=parseFloat((preBrowVer.substring(5,preBrowVer.length)))
    if (BVNum >= 5.5)
    {
    WB.ExecWB(45,2)
    }
    else
    {
    window.close()
    }
    }
    }
    //–>
    </SCRIPT>

  2. Every page in Infinity gives a warning like ‘This page contains secure and insecure items’ warning page, which is rather very irritating when one seriously is involved in a banking transaction. There hasn’t been any visible effort by the bank to correct the same too.
  3. Citibank Online seems to be nurturing an aspiration to make internet banking as difficult as possible for the user. You have to logon using a big debit or credit card number. Only a few days now, they have started to bring the concept of storing a nickname for the number and that too as a cookie in the computer. So if you use five to six computers to logon to Citibank Online, you would need to setup the nickname in five to six computers. You also end up effectively in divulging your debit/credit card numbers to multiple systems and the fiscal peril increases its wings and dimensions when you are using a shared computer from a library or an internet kiosk. Standard Chartered was using this workaround long time back but now they have migrated it to a friendly username rather than beguile numbers for logon process.
  4. All these internet banking applications also have something called timeouts. Even if you are typing a long message to customercare, the timer still keeps ticking and half away through the message the clock would alarm and signout of the application, if you aren’t careful. Not sure, what is causing them to monitor keystrokes within the application and have the timer automatically renewed.

I just thought I would share these observations with other readers so that people can be careful whilst dealing with these buggy internet applications.

Sri, Sri Sri, Sri Sri Sri, …

The salutation Sri is used in a very religious term in India. It is similar to Mr. in English. For information on this salutation, I would suggest this link from Wikipedia.

Quoting from Wikipedia, “Sri/Shri is often used as a respectful affix to the names of celebrated or revered persons. It is not gender-specific, but the assumption that it is gender-specific has resulted in the title of Shrimati (abbreviated Smt) for women”.


Now comes the real discussion.  Of late, many people seem to be using and applying multiple SRI before their names or before the name of thier Guruji. I know of the Kalki Bhagavan of Nemam Temple near Chennai was using the prefix like ‘Sri Sri Kalki Bhagavan’ till sometime back. I am not sure whether they still cling on to this prefix usage.Today, near Kamarajapuram bus stand, I saw a van of Sri Muralidhara Swamiji. I haven’t observed even Guruji’s official trust also using Sri Sri but this van was saying Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji. I have reported this issue to Madhuramurali and let me keep posted if any responses come back that way.

Readers: What do you feel? Share your thoughts too…

Airtel Chennai launches easy automated account related services for postpaid

It was a pleasant surprise yesterday morning to recieve an SMS from Airtel (my cellular operator) that a new service for checking account balance, payment history etc has been activated. We just need to enter *121# and press the call key. Airtel responds with the menu options. Next you need to select the Answer key and in the textbox that pops up, enter the choice number. Currently the available choices are Unbilled Amount, Payment History, Request Status etc.

Sometime back, they have introduced SMS-based service where you send a text message like UNB (for Unbilled Amount) to 121. You can send a message like Help to get the full list of commands that are supported.

The # command already exists for Prepaid but for Postpaid it is a great tool for us to keep our calls in control. However, still the postpaid data gets updated only after 24 hours. 😦 🙂

I feel both these Service Code and Text messaging commands would be greatly useful since we can now avoid wasting our time with customercare who are nonchalant to our queries.

StandardChartered Rocks

I had been using the payroll associated account with Standard Chartered while was at C S  Software, my previous organization. After resigning from C S Software, I actually transitioned the state of account from the corporate payroll status to a normal accounts. Santosh was actually reluctant to emulate that action since it was a private bank and might levy all sorts of gibberish charges and hence chose to close it. I closed-and-opened a normal savings account. I think it was a wiser decision.

Rather than sticking with all sorts of shit private banks like ICICI and HDFC (the booty banks), I think this stands distinct. I admit that there are quite a few charges for a few services but not all of them comes for free. When it is like free, the service quality is compromised.

After a while, for the past two months, my ATM card was not working in Standard Chartered. SCB was believing it should be ATM PIN issue not matching up and hence was considering reissue twice. Then they did  a detailed diagnosis and found that the card is defective. The request was taken on Wednesday. All associated records with ATM flew in as couriers right even in three days. Last week, there Standard Chartered Personal loan pranksters were playing fun through the forenoon. As I also forwarded a report along with this request, that stopped too. Rather the bank staff who address got intimidated by the representatives’ behavior. My guess was those staff should be hailing or inheriting ICICI behavior. 🙂

In short, Standard Chartered Bank — a wiser bank for a long term financial investments and decisions. It was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) (Gangadharan Manari) who chose the corporate accounts with Standard Chartered and hence I would like to sincerely credit thanks to him for getting us all with a good wiser bank to bank with. Thank you, Manari.

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