When Car Loans are cheaper than Education Loans….

No no, I have not gone wonky…

I am still the same, slightly silly, slightly off the track, slightly philosophical and slightly…well….may be wonky. What to do, I am what I am…

Enough about me, read on…

There is an old saying….it goes something like this…

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

Let me paraphrase it for the benefit of this article and to make my point….

Give a man some easy money and he will enjoy it till money lasts, teach a man how to make money and he will enjoy a lifetime….

I am sure, my dear readers, you will agree that the shortest, cleanest and best path to make a man self-sufficient, financially and otherwise, is to get him solid education.

Now, let’s face it, in the modern world education costs money, especially tertiary education which enables a person to develop skills and knowledge which enables him to make money and earn a decent living.

Let’s also face it that, in countries like India, there is so much poverty (still) and “good” tertiary education is so expensive that a lower middle and poor class (still the majority of India) cannot afford to send their kids for good quality Tertiary education. The uncontrolled growth of private educational institutions has made the situation worst.

So, what do you do if either your child is brilliant or you want to get them higher education so that he/she can lead the family out of the circle of poverty….

Unfortunately, there is only one major option….take a loan.

Have you ever tried doing that or have you known any person who tried doing that….

The number of criteria, the number of requirements, the number of documents, and the number of securities that one has to produce is like nobody’s business. And then on top of it, even if the bank agrees to give you a loan, the interest rates/EMI are killing.

Now, compare the education loan to getting a car loan, low-interest rate, very low or close to zero down payment, few years income tax records, an earning statement (of a much lower value) and voila….you have the loan….

Imagine, knowingly, we are feeding fish to men and not making our best efforts to teach him how to fish…

And all the above is happening in the know of the Government and RBI.

Sad isn’t it…

So, one day I decided to talk to my banker friends to understand why? I got a unanimous answer…

The default rate in Education Loans is high. Not because the student runs away but more so because many of them don’t get jobs which enable them to pay the EMI and over and above allows them to live a comfortable life.

Valid Financial Logic.

However, this, in my opinion, is not just a financial issue. This is a social and developmental issue.

Our Govt. comes up with zillions of welfare schemes, they subsidize agriculture, cooking gas, they make cheap housing (and the list goes on), they even write-off loans but all these are nothing more than giving fish to the hungry.

Education, on the other hand, teaches people how to fish but, for some reason, Govts. don’t care….

They will not make banks subsidise, give low-interest benefits, write off loans why? Because it is not a vote catcher.

The bane of democracy is that everything is about the next elections….

Also, I guess the other reason is that the fear politicians have that if most of the population gets educated they will start asking questions and demanding their rights…something no politician wants to be on the receiving end of.

In short, giving fish helps in the next elections, teaching how to catch doesn’t…

Sad……but true….

Till a time comes when the situation is reversed, we have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that…

The Car Loans will be cheaper than Education Loans….

As always, please do give your thoughts and comments and if you like this article, please do like, share and subscribe to my blog…

Until next time, stay safe…

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The Third World War has begun — Naicha Dominates! Rest of the Hearth struggling…

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction and any resemblance with any reality is purely coincidental. Any resemblance to any person, country, or incident is purely a matter of chance. The writer is not responsible for it.

Bored Stiff, you should be, I am for sure. Sitting at home, twiddling our thumbs. After all for how long can we watch TV, work our laptops, sleep, wake up, and eat. Beyond a point, life is beginning to become a blur.

To pass your time, let me tell you a story (as stories go, this is a flight of imagination), it will help you pass your time and also give you some food for thought…..So, wear your wing of imagination….here goes….

· Year: 2518

· Location: A planet located in a galaxy near the Andromeda galaxy.

· Planet Characteristics: Mostly water, rest fertile land, inhabited by millions of species. Dominated by one species called Sapiens. They have an organ called the brain. Brain depending upon how it is used can do a lot of good or come up with most devious of schemes.

Niacha, is looking for any means to dominate the planet. It comes up with an amazing plan and strategy. It starts what can be called the Third World War. Third, because Sapiens have already fought 2 of them earlier.

The Third War, which started around December of 2517, seems to have started the same way the 2nd world war did. Like the country (Hermany) run by the evil dictator in World War 2, Naicha is making tremendous headways in the world. It has brought the entire world to its knees.

It’s recently developed; state of the art weapon called Novid 16 has effectively paralysed the world.

In particular, its arch enemies the allies (Dunite and Western part of Europa) is struggling to keep pace with the fighting. As per the latest information received the numbers of injured (sick) have crossed a million mark and killed in action (dead) more than 100,000.

By any standards of warfare, this is tremendous success within 5 months of the start of a war.

In fact, not even in the 2nd world war (the biggest war Sapines ever fought) these numbers of causalities had not happened in first 5–6 months of the war.

This weapon was first tested by Naicha in its city of Broohan. While most of the weapons of war do not succeed in their initial tests and require lots of improvements before they become battle-worthy, in this case, the weapon showed tremendous results in Broohan.

The test was conducted with such expertise that no other town in Naicha were impacted.

Truly with these tests, Naicheese Department of Warfare has shown that they have arrived.

Once these tests were successful, Naicheese war machine swung into action. Quietly Novid 16 was shipped to countries all over the world, primarily Western Europa and Dunited via people to people contact via tourists (you could call them human carrier pigeons)-brilliant use of a very old method of warfare except pigeon being replaced by Humans.

The beauty or deviousness of this weapon is that it starts very slowly and surreptitiously, makes it base in 1 then 2, 4, 8 and so on till one day the enemy realises that huge part of its population has been impacted.

Naicha, in spreading this weapon globally, also understood the dynamics of politics and politicians in Democratic countries.

They knew that before any drastic action is taken by any country; a lot of time will be wasted in debates, discussion, points, and counterpoints.

Wasted time, the most important parameter, to ensure maximum damage to the opponent.

Wasted that will enable Novid 16 to spread uncontrolled.

And what a brilliant strategy……within 5 months the whole world is reeling under the onslaught of a weapon of mass destruction. No one has any answer except social distancing and lockdown.

Some people still believe that the kill ratio of this virus is not higher than common flu hence why panic, sooner or later it will go away….

How naïve they are….

Finally, when most of the nations of planet Hearth woke up and realised the extent of damage the virus can cause, it was too late to stop its spread naturally. So, they came up with another plan. Plan which they thought is a very smart move but in reality, they were walking into a trap.

This was anticipated by the leaders of Naicha and they wanted it to happen. The people of Hearth were unleashing a weapon upon themselves….

Shutting down of their economy…

How do you ensure social distancing, don’t allow people to come out. And how does one do that? Shut down offices, factories and all other such areas. What do these areas do under normal circumstances, they keep the economy of a country going, they contribute to the GDP, they produce goods, they employ people, they pay salaries, and they make a country grow.

So what happens when you shut them down…….?? !! You are encouraging yourself to commit suicide….

And now, came the third and most hidden weapon of this war…..

Hearth was reeling under the virus and economic shutdown. Sapiens were suffering. They needed the basics for survival. Basics like Food and Medicine.

Naicha’s brain trust had already foreseen this. They were beautifully positioned to provide this to the citizens of Hearth.

In fact, they were one of the largest exporters of bulk drugs and drug intermediaries in the world. Countries above them were too busy fighting with the virus and managing the adversity of the economic impact. In fact, Naicha’s arch natural enemy Ndia imports close to 2/3rd of its drug intermediaries from Naicha, according to some estimates, even the pharma manufacturing units are operating at less than half their capacity due to large scale exodus of their labour.

In case all the above is confusing you a bit, let me summarise it for you:

· Naicha develops a virus which damages but does not kill (because if it kills all the impacted, there will be fear of retaliation from the majorly impacted countries).

· Tests it on its population, find it to meet the objectives

· Releases it on to the world specially countries which are its biggest foes via unsuspecting tourists etc.

· As expected the countries react by shutting down their economic engine to prevent human to human contact

· They now need more product and services to keep things going

· Naicha is the largest producers of medicine intermediaries, masks, food items.

· The same enemy countries come on its door asking for items required for their survival.

· Naicha establishes itself as the Supreme Power of the World.

The third world war is over….done and dusted…in less than a year….the world has changed, the power structures have changed….the leader to the free world has been toppled…..forever…

Some leaders of the Sapiens did not believe in it. They questioned this premise.

A meeting of all-powerful nations of the world is called. The topic being…Are there any options left for the western world? For the Free world? Is there a counter-strategy?

They come up with a counter-strategy….

· Once again, use the lesson from the 2nd World War — Retreat, Consolidate, re-strategize, prepare, then counterattack (remember D Day invasion) and then take the war back into the enemy territory. Let’s translate this to the current situation…

· Do whatever you have to do to last out this crisis. Beg, borrow and steal. Do lockdown, research on vaccines, control the pandemic

· When the country starts to come back on its feet to revive your economy, take the following drastic steps (all is fair in love and war):

o Make a law in your own country that no business registered in your country can have any manufacturing plant or facility in Naicha

o In source everything.

o Move all supply chains back into your own country

o The above will ensure the following:

§ Unemployment will go down; people will have jobs, income. This will also fuel demand (the oxygen of any economy).

§ Naicha’s economy, largely dependent on exports will suffer badly. Their internal demand is not enough to sustain the size of their economy.

§ In other words, ostracise Naicha economically (after all today’s wars are fought more economically than by conventional means).

· Does this mean the end of globalization? Not really.

· Earlier there used to be blocks of countries which had similar ideologies, aligned political interests and they used to work together to achieve the common objectives. Do cross border globalization within those symmetrical political blocks. At least, hopefully, no one will play games. They gave these trade blocks a name…. “Common Globalised Block (CGB)”.

Gradually, Hearth is limping back to normal. The Hearth Order has been restored. Free World has won. Naicha has been left licking their wounds.

Hope you liked this story….hope you were able to pass sometime…..even if I could keep you entertained for 5–7 minutes, I am happy.

If you like this, please hit the fan/like button, give comments and please please share as much as you can….

Till then, Ta Ta….

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental

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What if Human Beings suddenly disappeared from the face of this earth?

Think COVID 19, think Corona Virus

Don’t worry I am not at all suggesting that if COVID 19 kills every human being on this earth what will happen.

I am going to talk about some thought experiments and how they are being validated these days.

Let me give you a bit of background first.

While surfing YouTube (yes, I do that), I came across something called “Thought Experiments”. In simple language, it means that you imagine something happening and then using your understanding of Science try to imagine what will happen. Well, it’s not exactly science (theoretical or experimental) but it’s not exactly science fiction either. It kind of sits in-between.

The thought experiments were as follows “What if Human Beings suddenly disappeared from this earth? Suddenly, as in, at the snap of a finger.

It’s a very interesting premise and a very intriguing one.

According to these experiments, the following will happen all over the world:

· In a few hours power will go off

· In a few months and years, grass and other forest elements will start appearing in the cities. Buildings and every other thing that we have built with cement concrete will start to collapse

· Animals will start taking over what were our cities

· Sea will start teeming with fishes, whales and other sea creatures which humans had forced into disappearance

· In a few decades, cities would have completely disappeared, forests would have appeared everywhere, animals and other endangered species would have made a comeback

· Levels of CO2 would have reduced back to the normal, ozone layer would have replenished itself

· Air and Water pollution would have disappeared.

· Rivers would again start carrying nutrients; Air would be clean and invigorating.

· In not more than 1000 years or so no evidence will be left that there ever was a species called “Humans” ever existed.

· The EARTH and MOTHER NATURE would have HEALED itself completely.

Phew, scary or exhilarating…..it will depend on your perspective.

I leave you with your feelings…

Now, since, I had mentioned above this has nothing to do with Corona Virus, why I am telling you this.

Simple, picture this…due to this virus most of the world is under lockdown. In other words, most of the humans have been instructed to stay inside their homes to the extent possible. It is expected to contain the spread of the Virus.

What has it done, it has made the “Humans suddenly disappear from this world” of course, not literally, they have been contained in their homes and more importantly not going out and doing the activities they would normally do.

Streets are empty, offices are closed, shops are closed, restaurants and hotels are closed, no tourism, no flights, no nothing.

What is the result? Let me share some things from where I live, I am sure if you try to find out you will find similar patterns in your location also:

1. Pollution levels are down from the “usual” of 300+ AQI, to the new “usual” of 50 to 75 AQI.

2. Weather, which used to hot, humid and dirty, is now mild summer, dry and clean air.

3. By this time the flowers in the garden used to dry out, this year, they are still just about beginning to dry out

4. Our major rivers which had become heavily polluted have suddenly, in just 1 month, are beginning to have clear shining water (not fully clean yet but moving in the right direction).

5. We never used to hear Birds chirping on trees, now they are chirping and making lovely sounds throughout the day…

The world is beginning to heal itself.

It is once again (leaving aside the Corona scare) beginning to get back to where it was before Humans first appeared on the earth and specifically before the industrial era.

And this has happened in just one month of Humans “disappearing”.

Some of the things may have happened even faster than what was predicted in the thought experiments.

Why I am sharing this with you?

Simple, we still have time.

No one is stronger than Mother Nature.

When a mother sees that its Children are not going in the right direction, it shows them the consequences of their actions and cautions them.

Mother Earth or Nature as some would like to call it, have shown its Children (Humans) a small teaser, behave and you still have time. You will get all the riches of life back to you.

Become selfish as an individual, as a nation, as a block of nation and see what will happen to you.

Have you noticed, despite all the efforts of our best doctors, scientists and so on, we are struggling to control this virus.

Imagine if this virus was more virulent, could kill people in days, had a mortality rate of 50 % plus what will happen.

Some people talk about saving the earth, let’s be clear, nothing will happen to Earth.

Earth will continue to what it is. As these thought experiments and COVID 19 pandemic has shown, Earth will become even more beautiful and serene.

This beautiful blue planet, Human’s only known and possible habitat will get back its forests, greenery, clean air, the ozone layer, clear nice fresh water…..with only one difference…

There will be no Humans, only all other species…

Do you want that to happen?

Think…

As always, you have been a great help in spreading these messages to lots of people, please do like, clap, share to as many people as possible

So that

We can send a message to the powers that be in each of our respective countries to put some brakes on the uncontrolled ambitions of Humans.

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ECONOMIC SPYING — NEED OF THE HOUR

…Is the heading sounding a bit odd to you?

…Are you wondering why suddenly this?

…Are you also a bit confused about what in this God’s earth is “economic” spying? And why is it so important or even relevant?

If the answer to even one of the questions is “Yes”, then you are the right person to read this article.

As always, let’s begin from the beginning…

You all must have been following the news lately, thanks to Covid 19, even the most uninterested people have started following the news.

You must have also noticed a lot of news items on various countries like Germany, Spain, US, India etc. have put various kinds of, for lack of a better word, embargos on allowing Chinese companies to operate / invest in their country “freely” without increasing the “watch” on them.

Countries, like the US, which were traditionally big buyers or who used to source from China have also decided to move their bases away from China to various other countries.

Let’s think, what has prompted them to do that. Here are some reasons:

1. Due to this pandemic, doubt has crept in the mind of Countries that:

a. This virus was lab-created and has been used to bring down the economies of many countries to their knees since that enables China to become the economic superpower that it wants to be.

b. What has angered Governments is that all this has been done at the expense of their countrymen by making them sick, seriously ill and even dead.

c. It has been done by pushing down their industry, making job losses happen and making their people suffer

2. As the leaders of the countries decided to take tough action and to that purpose dug deeper into what is going on in their own country they realised that, where ever possible, China has intruded silently either directly or indirectly in their countries (by investing in their companies, by becoming a part of their supply chains etc.).

3. The most dangerous of these intrusions has been the whole area of Information Technology, Hardware, Software and Mobile Technology.

a. In case of Hardware, Chips, which are at the core of any Hardware, are programmable. One can surreptitiously, put programs in the chip which can steal data from the machine or mobile and then quietly (without the user knowing) can transfer the data/information back to parent companies in China.

b. The other area where a lot of dangerous practices were discovered is this whole are of Apps used in cell phones and laptops etc. They were known to be transferring data back to the huge databases of the companies in China.

c. The third area which has come to the fore is 5 G Technology. While initially, the whole world was excited about this new development but soon people realised that one of the Chinese companies (a leading player) may be using this technology to capture countries complete mobile networks and via that the Financial and Defence Systems also.

d. All the above has set the alarm bells ringing in many countries all over the world.

e. Now, before going forward let me tell why is this capturing of data by a company so dangerous. The reason is that according to the Chinese system, all the data that a company has is accessible to the Chinese Govt. In other words, all of the countries, people data, Govt. data, Financial date and if one is not careful classified defence information is available to the Chinese Govt.

I am sure by now, you would have got the perspective on the topic of my article.

Now, let’s move to the topic…”Economic Spying — Need of the Hour”…

Whenever one thinks of spying (thanks to James Bond movies, Cold War, CIA, Mossad etc.) we think of fast cars, transmitters, bullets, assassinations etc. destroying the enemy resources, installations etc. While the usefulness of that cannot be denied in the low-intensity warfare, however, the time has now come to add one more branch and definition to the business of spying…for simplicities sake, we can call it Economic Spying.

What is Economic Spying?

· Identifying, understanding and destroying the path of Terror Finance. As we all know to carry out a terror attack, one needs Explosives, Men, Equipment etc. what is the common factor to do all the above, Money. Let’s think further, what do you need to run a terror organization like Al Qaida? Again, money. In other words, without money Terror cannot happen. Terror Organizations like any organizations need to raise money, move it to the right place, store it and spend it. They have to do all this without anything coming out in the open. To do all these things they use different methods, sources, tactics etc. It is so complex that it is not easy to make this happen.

· It is said that the third war will not be fought by weapons but by money or in other words, it will be Economic Warfare. What does this mean? Simple, read my preamble again, what China has done is that it has (thru its companies) invested heavily in other countries and thru its technology have dug itself deep inside countries the world over. How does it help China? It has access to data, information, ability to influence Government Policies, and impact the public opinion of the country from INSIDE. When someone attacks a country from OUTSIDE its borders, the whole country rises to the challenge, supports its armed forces, and develops a strong opinion against the aggressor country. But, what happens when a country quietly comes INSIDE the enemy country, starts controlling its resources, starts influencing public opinion using very effective but dumb tools like social media, and impacting its economic assets (if it is still not very clear, think termite, think virus…they eat from inside) then the DANGER is even bigger than straight-on warfare. Using Economic means, one could control the enemy countries economy and then when the right time comes, win the war against the enemy country by pulling the plug on the economy and using the traditional military at the same time. In military language, you could call it, the pincer movement.

While I could go on but, I am sure by now, you would have gotten a sense of what I mean by what I am calling as Economic Spying.

Every country, now, needs to have full-fledged organization (almost as big as CIA, Mossad, RAW etc. of the world) who eat, live Economic Spying.

The job of such organizations should be to chase money, money movement, money utilization, from outside the country, within the country, within organizations and also link them to the actions taken by organizations, directly, indirectly, openly, quietly, decipher patterns and judge the DANGERS and ELIMINATE them as quickly as spying agencies do.

It is now strongly believed that if we really want to end Terrorism, cutting the money source is THE MOST POTENT weapon. Turn the money tap off and the organised terror ends.

Similarly, prevent other countries to get inside your own country via Economic or Technical route for wrong reasons and you have effectively eliminated the risk of losing the third world war…the economic war.

Hence my topic….

Economic Spying — Need of the Hour

As always (and I must thank so many of you who have regularly started supporting my blog), please like, clap, share and comment.

Till next time….stay safe, stay blessed, stay happy and healthy.

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