Sunday, October 13, 2019

Demographic Dangers


Political Heads of States and Countries are not the greatest of visionaries. This is probably because their terms are limited and therefore their vision is also limited from the campaign stage to another 10-15 years of their rule. I might make a rare exception of the Founding Fathers of the US who created a Constitution that has stood the test of over 200 years. In particular, their 1st Amendment on free speech/religion does not allow Congress to abrogate or amend it in any manner. PM Narendra Modi frequently talks about “Demographic Dividend”. In the 12 years that he was CM of Gujarat, I do not recall him using the term. It is only after becoming PM that some economist probably hammered that term into his head and he frequently quotes it as an economic advantage.

Technically, Demographic Dividend (DD) represents the growing population in the productively employable category – that is from age 15 to 65, According to population statistics India will “enjoy” a DD till the year 2037 as its population grows. But, as always, statistics don’t tell the whole story and are often deceptive. India’s population addition in the DD category is made up of quite a large uneducated, unskilled and unemployable number. In previous articles I have pointed out that the highest growth in this population is the Muslim and poor category which grows uncontrolled. For the first time in the last 5+ years of his PMship Modi made a comment about the urgent need for population control in his I-Day speech this year. However, in the last 30 years or so no one has acted on the need to control population. There is no DD in India, there is only Demographic Danger. And, predictably, the GOI is wilfully blind to it. But for political reasons (and to some extent realistic reasons) Modi continues to tout DD as an advantage of India to the world:
It’s a bit boring to repeat that both Gandhi-Nehru were visionless and had no prudence at the time of Independence. Their greed for power and legacy created a state that did not fully exchange populations at Partition. Their ill-conceived notion of everybody on earth living in peace like Jesus was among the most stupid mistakes of Political Heads in recent history. It is proof that Political Heads are not great visionaries. When Alexander Graham Bell invented the phone, around 1876, he presented one to the President who didn’t know what to do with it. It took 50 years since its invention for the US President to formally start using the phone. Although political Heads tried to keep it under wraps, they made the world wait for around 30-40 years to catch up to the Internet. The US Govt wanted the internet system as a tool for its Army alone. When a population is continuously under social strife, there is no silly DD to it. A cursory on why US doesn’t have to brag about DD can be seen in the consumption patterns:
The Indian condom market is likely to reach $180Mn by 2022 while the US market has already reached $814Mn in 2017. I would have thought India would use more condoms if population was a stress. US Auto sales in 2017 was 18Mn units, while India is under 3Mn a year. Cola consumption is an average of 44 bottles per capita in India on 2015 while in the US it is 1496 bottles. Although, I have no regrets if the Cola consumption in India goes down and becomes zero. It is nothing but sugary poison that stunts the brains. Need to remember that the US population is less than one-third of India or 10 crores more than UP. It’s not production alone but high consumption that drives the economy. And high consumption results only if your demography can be productively employed with disposable incomes. This is where India fails and it is a problem indeed.

Much of the youth (under age 35 as Modi claims) is unproductive and shows no signs of enterprise and depends on govt doles. The political lout Azam Khan even says “Muslims produce more children because they are unemployed”. The eternal beggary of Muslim leaders like Asad Owaisi is that because they produce more, the govt should do everything for them while they will grow their population. This is an extract from his speech in 2015:
 
The radical lout Owaisi claims “injustice” has been done to Muslims. What injustice exactly? Did the govt produce your kids? Did the govt stop you from educating yourselves properly instead of at “terror-preaching Madrassas”? Why would I employ someone from a Madrassa who comes in with nothing but “Rock-N-Roll Quranic knowledge”? A vast number of Muslim leaders constantly bat for Pakistan and anti-India forces. Any measure that leads to progress they first check if its compatible with their religion. They slaughter and cook at home is not a problem but they want all outlets to sell Halal food. Much of their youth’s favourite hobby is rioting, breaking temples and national monuments.

Owaisi’s ghetto in Hyderabad is a “Muslim island”. Hindus have to live by their rules, cannot celebrate festivals, cannot ring temple bells and no law enforcement has any jurisdiction. Owaisi wants to turn much of India into similar ghettos like his Hyderabad island. In this recent speech for Maharashtra elections he explains what “Demographic Dividend” really means for the Muslims (Video 2.17 mins):
Asad Owaisi wants secularism to go to hell. He further screams that for 70 years Muslims have suffered in India. Who the hell asked you to stay here in the first place when you created Pakistan for yourself? And why don’t these eternal-whining Muslims go to their Paradise? And Owaisi further whines that he wants around 40 MPs so that they could save terrorists like Yakub Memon. Not one single moron of this lot of Muslim leaders says – “If we had 40 MPs, we will take India to greater heights, improve the condition of Muslims, of all poor and jobs for everyone”. The first thought of this filthy moron is that he will save terrorists if they had 40 MPs. This is why, they are simply INCOMPATIBLE with the idea of democracy and their population growth is a DANGER and not a DIVIDEND.

This radical Owaisi is not even saying we will bring back certain rights for Muslims like Triple Talaq, right to father-daughter marriage or Right to sex with goats and donkeys or Right to steal cows. All that he wants with 40 MPs is to save terrorists. And these laughable clowns are Muslim leaders who actually subjugate ordinary Muslims and keep them in poverty and joblessness forever. They cannot think of one good innovative idea for India but only play victim, dance for Pakistan and indulge in Jihad and grab territories and create ghettos. There is a serious danger from this demographic nonsense. Many parts in India are now a “No-go, No-live” areas for Hindus and others. There is mortal danger as the incident in Murshidabad on Dussehra, where a family was slaughtered brutally, shows:
 
Not one single Hindu festival passes without attacks from Muslims or Christians. In the left pic above, Christians object to a Hindu procession as it is “Christian territory”. Almost as if Jesus came down, planted a Cross and claimed “This is private property under our Management”. These ridiculous behavioural patterns come from intolerant louts which India and Hindus and, particularly Modi, is ignoring at a great damage to his own slogan of “Sabka Vikas”. There will be only so much progress when many areas have become “Terroritories”. In recent Hindu festivals, Hindus have been attacked at multiple places and in some cases even murdered:
There are hundreds of wanton murders of Hindus in Bengal right from the CPM rule to the last 8 years of Jihadidi Mamata’s rule. Not one case is under prosecution and hardly anyone has been convicted. The simple goal of Islamists is to increase their ghettos and then drive out or wipe out Hindus from that ghetto. To top that, there are criminals like Rajdeep Sardesai and some idiotic factchecker like Boom that claim the Murshidabad slaughter has nothing to do with politics or religion:
 
The Murshidabad cops claim they still don’t know who the killers are. They have no suspects and no arrests have been made. So, how in hell is some corrupt cop peddling nonsense of “no politics, no religion” angle without any basis? The simple answer is, when the victim is Muslim this whole ISI gang will shout “lynching, lynching” and in case of many Hindu victims, they will desperately try to whitewash the crime and sanitise it as “no big deal”. This is the serious outcome of “Demographic Damage”. It is not that they don’t like Modi, these filthy criminals don’t like anything Hindu and that’s the source of their crimes. And what is it about Madrassas that ModiSarkar so want to reform actually teach kids? Nothing but Jihad, wipe out Hindus, drive out Hindus and the quest for an Islamic State (video: 2.19 mins):
 
Every Hindu festival celebration is attacked by Muslim groups. And why should we shy away from saying “Muslim groups”? The govt and media cowards will keep chanting “some members of minority group” and this is the greatest nonsense being heaped on this country to cover for criminals that consistently attack Hindus. Even though Gujarat is relatively peaceful, there are still regular attacks on Rath Yatras, Ganesh Visarjans, Durga Puja processions in ghettos of Baroda, Dahod or Godhra. Because these incidents are smaller in nature, they don’t face a “Gujarat-2002” type retaliation by Hindus and media too ignores it. Here’s another score by “members of minority community” at Tonk, Rajasthan over Durga Puja celebrations:
But I can warn that a major flare up cannot be averted if this is allowed to continue by cowards in the State or Central govts. Hardly a couple of days had passed since the horrendous Murshidabad slaughter than another gruesome incident of 3 more Hindus being killed in Bengal was reported:
 
Govts don’t seem to learn from the Kashmir tragedy. Thirty years of terrorism and still continuing. Violent driving out of Hindus – their girls and women raped, houses burned, men murdered openly on the streets. All this to turn Kashmir into a huge Muslim ghetto. They have mostly succeeded. And there are hundreds of Mini-Kashmirs being plotted and executed in many states in India. Some of these plots are already succeeding. PM Modi has to realise SERIOUSLY, that Demographic Dividend is mostly with ONLY Hindu economic activity and productivity. And much of that is destroyed by spend on violence and doles for the useless and unproductive.

It is not me, if you want proof, all you have to do is listen to Jihadini Barkha Dutt who justified the violent driving out of Hindus from Kashmir by stating it’s because those Hindus were economically well off. China successfully benefited from its DD because it keeps the Jihadis isolated and controlled from mainstream economy as they contribute nothing to their economy other than nuisance. There is no Demographic Dividend in India – What we truly have is a “Demographic Danger” and PM Modi and his govt should not be deluded by some FAKE DD.


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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Online Travel Tricks


I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking – why is this site suddenly talking about travels and online travel tricks. Well, sometimes it’s nice to take a break and take a diversion – like a short vacation to a leisure destination or a heritage destination. Besides, PM Narendra Modi, on I-Day, urged Indians to visit at least 15 tourist destinations by 2022. And while at Houston, he also asked NRIs and Indian-Americans to bring along 5 non-Indian families on a trip to India:
So, when the PM makes the call, it is our duty that we all go on a vacation. At least those who can afford it should do so. Frankly, I have already been doing this job for years as I make at least 10 trips a year and use hotels. But those who aren’t – to complete 15 tourist destinations, they will have to make 4 trips per year in the remaining three and a half years till 2022 or, they will have to make 1 long trip that covers 15 destinations. It’s not a pain at all, most of us would love to go on a trip to new places or a pilgrimage to heritage destinations we haven’t been to before. A word of caution: The PM’s words are not to be mistaken for people going from Mumbai or Delhi to their “Des” in Samastipur or Dindigul to visit their families on their annual visits. That will not count as tourism.

Since all this came to my mind, it is also my job to put in a word of caution on associated scams with online travel bookings. And that’s the main reason to write this. Scams are a topic of interest to this site. Indian tourism classifies seasons into two. April to September is “Off season” and October to March is “Peak season’. Although, there are summer vacations in schools and courts, so families take vacations to visit relatives or hill stations. Others like celebrities, Bollywoodias, lawyers, judges and Rahul Gandhi go to the playgrounds of Europe where the climate is cooler during our summers.  The first step in travel is obviously ticket booking for transport – Bus, Rail or Air. Here, we aren’t going to talk about Corporate travels as they have their regular systems and hotels for travel and even rate-contracts. We will be talking about individual and family travel, which the industry refers to as “FIT” (Free individual traveller).

Govt bus-fares don’t fluctuate by seasons but private operators might hike their fares a bit depending on the demand. Train fares are also stable except for the “Dynamic fare” element in the AC cabins of some trains like Rajdhani and other Superfast trains. Airfares are a bit hard to predict and there is no pattern in their rates. Contrary to what you might think, the early bird doesn’t always get the worm in air bookings. Here’s a sample on airfares from Mumbai to Chennai and back:
Normally, airfares are higher if the date of travel is very close. However, in the above case the travel for September 27-30 return ticket is cheaper than the same travel for November 14-16. Airfares also go up excessively if there is a major event at the destination. For instance, fares to Delhi around the weeks leading to I-Day or R-Day will be dramatically high. Similarly, travel to major luxury tourist spots in Diwali season or year-end or to Goa during their February carnival will go up substantially. Since our PM’s call does not fall under “Emergency” travel, one must start planning at least a month before the travel and keep watching the fares for at least a week and then book when comfortable that fares will not fluctuate much in the remaining days.

Don’t rely on some travel-agent. He will probably want a higher fare as it increases his commission too. But the biggest trick in travelling is not the transport fares – it is the hotels. Rail and Air travel are regulated by the Govt. but there is absolutely no regulation for the hotel industry and online bookings. It’s an open “Swayamwar’. Their tricks are so coordinated that only an expert traveller can decipher their games and the manner in which they fool customers. The inexperienced one will invariably lose money if he books hotel rooms without learning their tricks. Let me take you through some of the trickery involved in this business. To provide samples for this, I took screenshots of some destinations for hotel booking. Let’s start with one of my favourite places – Udaipur. A Google search for Udaipur hotels produces some hotels like these:
There’s a hotel called Justa Inn for which Google showed two properties and rates. When I actually clicked the Rajputana link, it took me to MakeMyTrip which showed a lower rate of 2497/- as against 3933/- in the Google result. Mind you, when you further click on the 2497/- they might some taxes and fees or 2497/- may be “all-inclusive” as it often is. The travel dates I gave were September-30 to October 1, which is pretty close. But choose more nights instead of one night stay and the results are not very encouraging:
MMT shows rates from 3146 to 3186 for 2 nights and 4 nights. The next best rate is GoIbibo. In all the results, you will always find MMT and GoIbibo as the first or second lowest rates. It’s magic. Given this, what fools on earth would offer rates 5000+ or 7000+ for the same property and the same dates? That then is the question on what these travel sites are doing to the public. Are they in cahoots like a cartel to present you extremely high rates for the same property, same dates so that the two big players can be quickly chosen? Do the two big players pass on commission to the “decoys” who compel you to choose them by those putting up prohibitive rates? Let’s see some more.

So, I looked up the same property (Justa) in Gurgaon as they have properties in various locations. The Google search and their “view more rates” page showed up these rates for Gurgaon:
 
 Once again, MMT and GoIbibo are the best rates and others are priced around 1000/- more than them. How is it possible to play the game for the same hotel, same dates, same rooms with such a big difference in rates? Some of the ones with higher-rates may be just “parking plots” to divert business. But I have good news too. When I click on the link and go to MMT for dates within the range shown in the above image, I get a price that is dramatically lower for the same property:
 
But I haven’t got lucky. When I click on the 1876/- and try to make a booking, the final rate shown is 2974/. The 2974/- has some taxes and fees but when they show the 1876/- they often don’t mention “taxes extra” or “fees apply” – no such warning. The first thing is to get you at their door. In the next step they will almost compel you to buy. But when you see 2974/- you will end up searching again. And MMT will put up a caution when you try to leave the page with a pop-up “If you leave this page, this offer may not be available again”. At least they have some sense of humour in fooling you. Surprisingly, the 2974/- is for a night on October 1. But if you check for one night for September 27, there will be a dramatic fall in the price:
And all of them show the original, inflated price as some 5075/- and in some cases even over 12000/- for the same property. They are all fishing for “Bakras”. An unfortunate NRI or a traveller with extra money will usually fall for these tricks and pay a lot more than necessary. The other thing that travellers should be aware of is that both MMT and GoIbibo are the same company – they merged in 2018. But when it comes to online booking, they act like “Salma-Sabrina” of hotel bookings:
 
How do they do it? Firstly, when you visit them, they track your IP address. Each time you search with them, they will give you almost identical results as the previous search. How do you beat this? Here are some simple tips:

# Unless there is an emergency, for leisure trips wait till the last 3-4 days to book a hotel online. When the hotel rooms threaten to go empty, the rates fall dramatically. So, the best chance is to book only 3-4 days before. However, if it’s a peak festival season make a prudent decision as rates will not alter dramatically.
# When you are closer to your travel dates, clear the history from your laptop and mobile and all cookies. This will give you the latest rates which will normally be lower than what you saw before.
# If you have multiple mobiles, check the rates from each mobile as you get closer to the date of travel. DO NOT give your mobile number or email ID while merely searching as they will tempt you stating “Unlock Special Offer” by registering your email ID or mobile phone. That’s just a silly trap to fool you. And these sites are like “Strip-dancers’ that will keep tempting you with ads that show more reduced rates for the same property on sites that use Google Ads:
These price-games and trickery are mostly in the medium to higher end hotels. Sometimes the minor rate difference can also be for “With” or “Without Breakfast” inclusion. If you go through OYO rooms for budget hotels, they have hotels ranging from 500 to 5000 a night and more. The lower end rooms don’t fluctuate in rates all that much and are more stable. Lastly, take the images of the hotel rooms with a pinch of salt. Photography also uses trickery that can be deceptive. Some travellers also put up pics of their hotel experience, check on those too. Many online sites have a “Pay at hotel” option without a change in rates. If that is available, take that option and don’t pay in advance. Most OYO rooms have this option. Just for fun, if you wonder where that Justa Inn rate will end up 2 days before your travel – I predict around 1800, all-inclusive, if it’s not peak season or some festive days.

We cannot expect the PM to regulate the hotel industry. It’s “Buyers Beware” business. But the Tourism minister should surely take note of these online tricksters where online hotel booking is concerned. And online booking will still be cheaper because if you land up a hotel without a booking, then the same hotel is likely to charge 25-30% more than the online rate. In any case, India is a vast country with thousands of great places to visit. One lifetime won’t be enough but make the most of it if and when you can. 


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