Tag: South Asia

In Case You Were Wondering Just How Toxic the BJP Is………

It appears that the veneration of Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, is now a thing in India.

I would argue that India is further down the road to Fascism and genocide that Trump ever got, and that the opposition, though careerism and incompetence, cannot seem to do anything to stop it:

Last Sunday, in a nondescript building in the India city of Gwalior, 200 miles south of Delhi, a large crowd of men gathered. Most wore bright saffron hats and scarves, a colour evoking Hindu nationalism, and many held strands of flowers as devotional offerings.

They were there to attend the inauguration of the Godse Gyan Shala, a memorial library and “knowledge centre” dedicated to Nathuram Godse, the man who shot Mahatma Gandhi. The devotional yellow and pink flowers were laid around a black and white photograph of Godse, the centrepiece of the room.

On 30 January 1948, Godse stepped out in front of Gandhi and shot him three times at point-blank range. A fervent believer in Hindu nationalism, Godse thought Gandhi had betrayed India’s Hindus by agreeing to partition, leading to the creation of Pakistan, and by championing the rights of Muslims. In 1949, Godse was hanged for Gandhi’s murder.

In the following decades, Godse was widely decried as a terrorist and traitor, the murderer of the “father of India”. Yet, in recent years, as Hindu nationalism has moved from an extremist fringe to mainstream Indian politics – the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) has a Hindu nationalist agenda at their core – Godse’s public reputation has steadily shifted from being condemned as traitor to being venerated as a misunderstood Indian patriot.

Meanwhile, Gandhi’s vision of a secular India with equal rights for all religions has been eroded and subjugated since the BJP came to power in 2014.

“Godse did the right thing by killing Gandhi,” said Devendra Pandey, 53, national secretary of Hindu Mahasabha, the Hindu nationalist organisation behind the memorial library. He was vocal in his belief that India should be declared “a country rightfully for Hindus” and that its 200 million Muslims should move to Pakistan.

“Godse considered Gandhi as his father, so to kill him must have caused him great pain but he had a very real reason,” he said. “Godse took action because Gandhi betrayed India – this library will teach the next generation how Godse was a true nationalist martyr.”

At some point there will be a reckoning in India over the country’s embrace of bigotry and its increasingly aggressive attempts to expel and subjugate Muslim Indians.

This Won’t Hurt a Bit, I’ll Respect You in the Morning, the Check Is in the Mail

And here is the latest big lie, Indian outsourcing firm Infosys is denying that if favors cheap South Asian labor over workers available in America.

There business model is the abuse of the H1B visa program to provide cheap consultants to their US clients, and they go through contortions NOT to find qualified US workers, because they would have to pay them the prevailing wage:

Infosys has rejected the premise of a lawsuit brought by Davina Linguist, the former head of its diversity program recruiting manager program, who alleges the company prefers to hire South Asians and conducted visa fraud to replace US workers.

Filed in the East Texas District Court last week, case 4:20-CV-465, Divina Linguist vs. Infosys Limited, opens with the accusation that Infosys’ staff is 90 percent Indian as a result of a “pattern and practice of discrimination against individuals who are not Indian in the hiring, promotion, compensation, and termination.”

“Infosys managers have obstructed her efforts to increase the non-South Asian diversity of Infosys’ workforce,” the complaint alleges, adding that “Infosys retaliated against Ms. Linguist, stripping her of her title as the head of diversity recruiting (and replacing her with an individual with no relevant experience) and demoting her, among other improper conduct.”

The filing also alleges that “Infosys has gone to great lengths to obtain its primarily South Asian work force in the United States, including by engaging in visa fraud to bring South Asians (primarily Indians) into this country to replace or supplant non-South Asians and non-Indians.” The filing also mentions “bulk rejection of about 12,000 U.S. applicants for positions in favor of South Asian visa holding applicants”.

Infosys denies the allegations.

Needless to say, Mandy Rice-Davies applies.  (“Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?“)

Trump Ignored a Pogrom While He Was in India

This is not a surprise. Trump has always had affection for racist demagogue authoritarians.

Still, the fact that there was a pogrom against Muslims in Delhi while Trump was visiting is a mark of both Trump’s venal nature, and Narendra Modi’s brazen bigotry:

The violence unleashed against Muslims in Delhi by armed Hindu mobs during President Donald Trump’s visit to India is a portent and a lesson. As Trump sat down to dine with India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, on Tuesday, Hindus in the same city were beating and shooting Muslims, and Muslims were fighting back, trying to defend their homes and businesses from looters and arsonists. More than 40 people were killed—including an 85-year-old woman too frail to flee her burning home—and more than 200 people, mostly Muslims, were injured.

The Delhi police, who report directly to Home Minister Amit Shah, either stood idly by or escorted the mobs. Videos of police breaking CCTV cameras and taunting prone and bleeding Muslim men while filming them with their smartphones circulated on social media. The violence echoed that of 2002, when Modi was chief minister of Gujarat and authorities there did nothing to stem carnage that killed some 1,000 people, the majority of them Muslims. It also brought back memories of the revenge killings of at least 3,000 Sikhs in Delhi after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards in 1984.

In all these cases, mobs targeting a single religious group were allowed to run riot, unchecked by police. This is the definition of a pogrom.

This is particularly disgraceful, though the US has been very accommodating Modi’s bigotry since his ascension to PM in 2014.

If you want a good, and engaging summary of just who and what Modi is, see this John Oliver video (banned in India):

The System is Finally Working

Indian body shops are complaining because H-1B visa applications have been rejected at unprecedented rates.


The H1B visa system is SUPPOSED to companies’ need for skills that are simply unavailable nationally, but the reality is that it’s used for cheap and marginally skilled labor.

The fact that this law is actually being enforced is an unalloyed good:

Denial of work visas to employees of India’s largest IT services exporters has risen to an all-time high, according to data sourced from a US-based research foundation.

The country’s big four software services exporters — Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, HCL Technologies and Wipro — have seen around half of their work visa applications rejected in the past year as the Donald Trump administration pushed for more employment and higher wages for American workers.

The visa denial rate for TCS has gone up from 6% in FY15 to 37% during the first quarter of FY19 (October-December 2018), according to a report by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP). NFAP sourced data from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that follows a October-September financial year. 

Don’t Worry About the DPRK and Iran

Because it looks like two nuclear powers may be on a path to military conflict over Modi’s revoking Kashmir’s automomy.

From a purely selfish perspective, it makes sense for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do this, it gives him a political boost, and he legitimately wants to make sure that Muslims in India are second class citizens.

He is a bigot and a fascist a half step removed from the Hindu nationalists who assassinated Mahatma Ghandi:

India on Monday revoked the special status of Kashmir, the Himalayan region that has long been a flashpoint in ties with neighboring Pakistan, moving to grasp its only Muslim-majority region more tightly.

In the most far-reaching political move in one of the world’s most militarized regions in nearly seven decades, India said it would scrap a constitutional provision that allows the state of Jammu and Kashmir to make its own laws.

“The entire constitution will be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir,” Interior Minister Amit Shah told parliament, as opposition lawmakers voiced loud protests against the repeal.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged India and Pakistan, which also claims Kashmir, to exercise restraint. The U.S. State Department said it was closely following the events and expressed concerns over reports of detentions.


Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said the move “was in clear violation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions” in the region, according to a statement released after a telephone call with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday evening.

“As the party to this international dispute, Pakistan will exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps,” its foreign ministry said in a statement.

India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, where a nearly 30-year armed revolt has killed tens of thousands of people. Hundreds of thousands of Indian troops have been deployed to quell it.


Hours earlier the Indian government launched a security crackdown in the region, arresting local leaders, suspending telephone and internet services, and restricting public movement in the main city of Srinagar.

Local TV channels citing Press Trust of India reported that former Kashmiri chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah had been detained at a state guest house.

To quote (not) Tallyrand, this is worse than a crime, it is a mistake.

Modi’s bigotry and arrogance could end up killing hundreds of millions of people.

Triple the Development Time, and You Might Get Close

This will not fly in 4 years

India, which took 30 years to develop a lightweight fighter, the Tejas, is now promising that it will be fielding a completely new mid-size derivative of that benighted program.

They are expecting the aircraft to take flight in 2023, with initial qualification following by 2 years.

Considering the fact that this aircraft will be almost completely new, this is a Herculean task.

Given that it is India, where weapon system development proceeds at a pace that makes US defense procurement look like a hummingbird on meth, I doubt it:

Before it became the Tejas Mk. 1, India’s indigenous fighter was the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), intended to replace the MiG-21. As a final operational configuration is approved for the Tejas Mk. 1, the government’s defense technology agency is proposing a larger successor, the Medium Weight Fighter (MWF), or Tejas Mk. 2.


The MWF relates to the Tejas Mk. 1 very much as the Saab Gripen E/F does to the Gripen A/B/C/D. The Tejas Mk. 1 is an enlargement using the General Electric F414 engine in place of the F404 in its predecessor and fitted with updated electronics. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) builds the Tejas Mk. 1.

Unlike that earlier type but like all Gripens, the MWF has all-moving foreplanes just behind the cockpit, creating a close-coupled canard-delta configuration. With 22,000 lb. thrust available from the F414-INS6 engine, maximum takeoff weight is 30% greater than for the Tejas Mk. 1—17.5 metric tons (38,600 lb.) versus 13.5 metric tons, according to data that the DRDO presented at the Aero India exhibition, held in Bengaluru on Feb. 20-24. Maximum external load is almost doubled, to 6.5 metric tons from the 3.3 metric tons of the Tejas Mk. 1 and improved Mk. 1A, which use the 20,200-lb.-thrust GE F404-IN20. Weapons would include beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles and standoff precision-guided munitions.

The compound delta wing carries short-range air-to-air missiles on wingtip launch rails, rather than on pylons under the wing as on the Mk. 1, increasing span slightly to 8.5 m (28 ft.). Height also is increased slightly, to 4.86 m. The proposed aircraft will be 14.6 m long, 1.35 m longer than the Tejas Mk. 1. A Mirage-style refueling probe is fitted. Maneuver capability is increased to 9g, versus 8g for the Mk. 1A.


“The first prototype is expected to fly by the end of 2023 and we hope to get the initial certification by 2025,” says a DRDO official—though these events hinge on when and if funding is made available.

The Gripen E update involved relocating the landing gear to allow for additional fuel, structural improvements, and adding some hard points.

This is basically a completely new aircraft, with new systems, new flight control laws, and no shared structure to speak of.

This is not going to happen in the time frame described.

Kind of Like West Side Story, With Nukes

In the most ominous military confrontation between India and Pakistan since both tested nuclear weapons two decades ago, Pakistan said it shot down two Indian military aircraft over its territory Wednesday and launched strikes in Indian-controlled Kashmir, while India claimed it shot down a Pakistani fighter jet in the “aerial encounter.”

An especially volatile aspect of the confrontation was Pakistan’s capture of an Indian fighter pilot. Pakistani military officials posted a photo of him on Twitter sitting in a room, and they said he was being treated “per norms of military ethics.”

But Pakistani television showed a video of the pilot, blindfolded and apparently with blood on his face. India’s Foreign Ministry said it “strongly objected to Pakistan’s vulgar display of an injured personnel” and expected “his immediate and safe return.”

While experts warned that the clash could easily escalate out of control, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told his nation Wednesday that he wanted to avoid war with India, saying, “Let’s settle this with talks.” There was no public statement, however, by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  

I really hope that this does not get out of hand, because there are no good dance numbers involving nuclear weapons.

India: 1 — Amazon and Walmart: 0

India has significant restrictions on foreign goods entering its consumer markets, and now it has ruled that Amazon and Walmart cannot buy Indian sellers to use as a pass thru for its products:

The Indian government dealt a surprise blow on Wednesday to the e-commerce ambitions of Amazon and Walmart, effectively barring the American companies from selling products supplied by affiliated companies on their Indian shopping sites and from offering their customers special discounts or exclusive products.

If strictly interpreted, the new policies could force significant changes in the India strategies of the retail giants. Amazon might have to stop competing with independent sellers and end its offerings of proprietary products like its Echo smart speakers in India, its top emerging market.

For Walmart, which spent $16 billion this year to buy 77 percent of Flipkart, India’s leading online retailer, the new rules could hamper its strategy of selling clothing and other products under its own private brands and prevent it from using its supply-chain expertise and clout with retailers to drive down prices for Indian consumers.

Or drive wages down, and local vendors and manufacturers out out of business.

And then they use their monopsony power over the labor market to turn their workplaces into freakish hellscapes.

It’s just what they do.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India initially courted foreign companies to invest more in the country after his 2014 election victory, but his administration has turned protectionist as his party’s re-election prospects have dimmed in recent months. Mr. Modi has increasingly sought to bolster Indian firms and curb foreign ones through new policies, including one that requires foreign companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express to store all data about Indians on computers inside the country. The government has also declared its intention to impose tough new rules on the technology industry.

The new e-commerce rules seemed to be an attempt by Mr. Modi to placate small traders, who have been hurt by his tax and financial policies, ahead of national elections next May, analysts said. The changes would also help Paytm, a local payments company that operates a digital mall, and Reliance Industries, an Indian conglomerate with online retail ambitions that is controlled by Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man and a political patron of Mr. Modi.

Under Indian law, foreign-owned retailers were already barred from selling any products directly on their own e-commerce sites. In response, Amazon and Flipkart, which has long had foreign investors, set up partially owned affiliated companies to sell products like groceries, electronics and books on their sites. The arrangements gave them more control over customer service and allowed them to sell some products at prices below those offered by independent sellers.

The new policies appear to close that loophole. They also prevent the online platforms from striking deals to sell products exclusively, which they frequently do now for hot items like new phone models.

Modi is a religious bigot and a a fascist.

Amazon and Walmart are Amazon and Walmart.

My hope is not that one or the other wins, but that somehow, both sides lose.

Irony Much?

In response to aggressive Chinese actions in the Pacific and Indian oceans, Vice Presidence announces, completly unaware of the irony, that, “Empire and aggression have no place in Indo-Pacific.”

Seriously?  There has been nothing but since the East India Company became the furst trans-national firm:

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told leaders of Southeast Asian nations on Thursday that there was no place for “empire and aggression” in the Indo-Pacific region, a comment that could be interpreted as a reference to China’s rise.


The prime minister of Singapore later said that Southeast Asian countries did not want to take sides when pulled in different directions by major powers, but that one day it may have to.

Leaders at the ASEAN meetings this week heard warnings that the post-World War Two international order was in jeopardy and trade tensions between Washington and Beijing could trigger a “domino effect” of protectionist measures by other countries.

“Like you, we seek an Indo-Pacific in which all nations, large and small, can prosper and thrive – secure in our sovereignty, confident in our values, and growing stronger together,” Pence said. “We all agree that empire and aggression have no place in the Indo-Pacific.”


As Yves Smith says, “Not the Onion”

All for Reform, Unless It Costs Them Money

Following the collapse of a textile factory in Bangladesh in 2013  German fashion companies created and agreed to follow a code of conduct to prevent future disasters. 

Now that these protocols are starting to have an effect, they are bailing out of the program as fast as they can:

When a factory collapse in Bangladesh claimed the lives of hundreds of textile workers in 2013, German retailers were quick to express the need to improve working conditions in Asian sweatshops. But five years on it seems they’re much less keen to actually do anything about it.

An alliance of retailers formed in 2014 with the aim of tackling the problem is crumbling fast. In 2016, there were nearly 200 members; now it is 130. This year alone, 25 retailers either quit or were thrown out for not honoring their commitments to report on improvements made in their supply chain.

There’s a simple reason why companies are jumping ship. Talk is cheap, and the alliance is now trying to move from words to action.

Previously, members showed to what extent they met their goals in the previous year and formulated new ones. Now, they are expected to publish these so-called roadmaps in August, opening them to independent auditors who will scrutinize the submitted documents and ask tough questions. For the first time, the retailers will be measured by their achievements.

But now the alliance’s management team would consider it a success if just 30 companies published their plans.

As I have noted before, “Self-regulation is to regulation as self-importance is to importance.”

I Don’t Often Express Admiration for the Indian Justice System, But………

The recent ruling by the Indian Supreme Court saying that seeds cannot be patented is good for the Indian people, and not just because it is bad for Monsanto:

In an another legal blow to Monsanto, India’s Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the Delhi High Court’s ruling that the seed giant cannot claim patents for Bollgard and Bollgard II, its genetically modified cotton seeds, in the country.

Monsanto’s chief technology officer Robert Fraley, who just announced that he and other top executives are stepping down from the company after Bayer AG‘s multi-billion dollar takeover closes, lamented the news.


Monsanto first introduced its GM-technology in India in 1995. Today, more than 90 percent of the country’s cotton crop is genetically modified. These crops have been inserted with a pest-resistant toxin called Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt.

Citing India’s Patents Act of 1970, the Delhi High Court ruled last month that plant varieties and seeds cannot be patented, thereby rejecting Monsanto’s attempt to block its Indian licensee, Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd., from selling the seeds.

Because of the ruling, Monsanto’s claims against Nuziveedu for unpaid royalties have been waived, as its patents are now invalid under Indian law. Royalties will now be decided by the government.

Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva, who is known for her fierce activism against corporate patents on seeds, called the top court’s move a “major victory” that opens the door “to make Monsanto pay for trapping farmers in debt by extracting illegal royalties on BT cotton.”

Of the various extensions of IP, none is more concerning, and more unethical, than the expansion of patents to abrogate the rights for farmers to replant their own seeds.

I Am Not Sure If This Is “Well Done”, or WTF

The US has suspended security assistance to Pakistan because they have been paying footsie with the Taliban and the Haqqani network:

The United States announced Thursday it was suspending security assistance to Pakistan for failing to take “decisive action” against Taliban militants targeting U.S. personnel in neighboring Afghanistan.

The State Department’s declaration signaled growing frustration over Pakistan’s cooperation in fighting terrorist networks, but it was not immediately clear how much money and materiel was being withheld. The vague details suggested the primary goal was to substantiate President Donald Trump’s surprising New Year’s Day tweet that accused Pakistan of playing U.S. leaders for “fools.”

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the restrictions covered security assistance above and beyond the $255 million for Pakistani purchases of American military equipment that the administration held up in August.

Nauert said details were still being worked out on the additional funds, and referred questions to the Defense Department. Earlier Thursday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the policy on military aid was “still being formulated.”

One of the corner stones of the conventional wisdom that is the foreign policy community some times called, “The Blob,” is that Pakistan is a crucial ally in the, “War on Terror.”

I remember that Osama bin Laden lived for many years in, and was found, and killed, in the same neighborhood as the Pakistani military academy, as well as their long history of playing footsie with the Taliban, so I am inclined to think that they are a part of the problem.

Not a Surprise

The head of the Pakistani Air Force has announced that they will be shooting down drones in their airspace, including US ones:

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) chief Sohail Aman said here on Thursday that he has ordered his force to shoot down any drones, including those of the US, if they violate the country’s airspace.
The announcement was made public about two weeks after a US drone strike targeted a militant compound in Pakistan’s tribal region near the Afghan border, killing three militants.

Pakistan had always condemned drone strikes on its soil but had never said they would shoot down the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). “We will not allow anyone to violate our airspace. I have ordered PAF to shoot down drones, including those of the US, if they enter our airspace, violating the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman told an audience in Islamabad.

If he meant that US missile strikes on militant positions were a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, then these violations have been occurring since 2004. The CIA was responsible for all US drone strikes in Pakistan until November 30, 2017.

Such is the price of unilateralism.

It works, until it’s can’t

Somehow or Other, They Are Going to Get Rat F%$%Ed

The Indian pharmaceutical company Laurus Labs is planning to start selling low cost HIV drugs in the US as they come off patent:

Among the coconut plantations and beaches of South India, a factory the size of 35 football fields is preparing to churn out billions of generic pills for HIV patients and flood the U.S. market with the low-cost copycat medicines.

U.S. patents on key components for some important HIV therapies are poised to expire starting in December and Laurus Labs Ltd. — the Hyderabad, India-based company which owns the facility — is gearing up to cash in.

Laurus is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of ingredients used in anti-retrovirals, thanks to novel chemistry that delivers cheaper production costs than anyone else. Now, its chief executive officer, Satyanarayana Chava, wants to use the same strategy selling his own finished drugs in the U.S. and Europe. He predicts some generics that Laurus produces will eventually sell for 90 percent less than branded HIV drugs in the U.S., slashing expenditures for a disease that’s among the costliest for many insurers.


“The savings for U.S. payers will be so huge when these generic combination drugs are available in the U.S.,” he said in an interview at the factory outside the Southern Indian city of Visakhapatnam. Payers will save “billions of dollars,” he said.

The patent expiries are starting this month when Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s Sustiva loses protection. Gilead Sciences Inc.’s Viread follows next month. Both companies didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Would expect to see another round of evergreening, along with regulatory and judiciary road blocks to stop this.

After all, it’s only people’s lives, and the profits must be protected.

This Makes the F-35 Program Look Well Run

I am referring, of course, to India’s history with developing indigenous weapons systems.

For example, we have the now-terminated and protracted development of the Arjun tank and the INSAS rifle system, but Tejas program, has suffered through a 33+ year development program is crown jewel of this dubious crown.

And now we see more schedule slippage:

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed further delays in the country’s programme to produce the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The MoD said in a statement on 4 August that state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has delivered just four aircraft to the IAF out of 40 ordered in 2005. All these aircraft were previously scheduled to be delivered to the IAF by 2017–18.

The four aircraft so far delivered are from a batch of 20 designated for initial operational clearance (IOC), while the remaining 20 aircraft were designated for final operational clearance (FOC).

The MoD said that 12 remaining aircraft under the IOC batch are at the production stage and four more aircraft, which will be used as trainers, will be produced following necessary approvals by the MoD’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).

It added that production of the 20 FOC aircraft will also depend on clearance by the ADA, which has led the Tejas development programme for the past three decades.

This is f%$#ed up and sh%$.

The Difference Between Training and Credentialism

A recent study has shown that, “only 36% of Indian engineers can write compilable code.”

This is an indication that the Indian education system has a problem.

Even ignoring the basic question of when one should educate, and when one should just train, it appears that Indian degrees are largely about acquiring credentials.

I have noticed this trend both in the US education and employment, but it’s no surprise that this is more of an issue in India: Credentialism, or more accurately its caste system, is at its core a system of societally enforced credentials, has been in force for thousands of years:

Only 36% of software engineers in India can write compilable code based on measurements by an automated tool that is used across the world, the Indian skills assessment company Aspiring Minds says in a report.

The report is based on a sample of 36,800 from more than 500 colleges across India.

Aspiring Minds said it used the automated tool Automata which is a 60-minute test taken in a compiler integrated environment and rates candidates on programming ability, programming practices, run-time complexity and test case coverage.

It uses advanced artificial intelligence technology to automatically grade programming skills.

“We find that out of the two problems given per candidate, only 14% engineers are able to write compilable codes for both and only 22% write compilable code for exactly one problem,” the study said.
It further found that of the test subjects only 14.67% were employable by an IT services company.

When it came to writing fully functional code using the best practices for efficiency and writing, only 2.21% of the engineers studied made the grade.

I have heard this complaint for years from my IT friends, and now we have a study.

Well, This is an Interesting Take on the Problems in Indian IT

According to this report by the Indian web site Scroll.in. cheating is so endemic that many of the most prestigious schools in India are unable to do basic coding.

It appears to be the result of a toxic mix of entitlement and credentialism.

This is not to say that all Indian programmers are incompetent, though an Indian IT executive basically gave up on ⅔ of all IT grads in the country, which is a remarkably high failure rate for the elite institutions.

Reports of mass copying during school and college examinations in several states, including Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, are common. But a blog post by a computer science professor indicates that students at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, and other engineering colleges, indulge in it too.

Earlier this month, Dheeraj Sanghi, a professor at the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology-Delhi, wrote a blog post on the quality of the country’s information technology engineers, which corporate recruiters also seem to be concerned about.

In the post titled, CS education is poor because of copying, Sanghi referred to a statement by Srinivas Kandula, chief executive of information technology major Capgemeni India, at a business event in Mumbai earlier this month.

At the event, Kandula said: “I am not very pessimistic, but it is a challenging task and I tend to believe that 60-65 per cent of them [IT recruits] are just not trainable.”


Speaking to this reporter, Sanghi said: “In many colleges, even in some of the IITs but to a lesser extent, students either copy the code for a programme from the net, or one student writes it, and the others copy. The code is tested in the laboratory. If it runs – and it does – the student is awarded marks even if the lines are not original.” He added that these shortcuts are adopted as early as the first semester.


In his blog post, he recounted that he was recently part of a selection committee to recruit programmers for a government department. He found that most applicants he interviewed, including those who had “several years of experience in industry”, could not perform a variety of tasks they ought to have learnt at engineering college. “These [were] all the programmes we ask our first semester students who have never programmed before,” he wrote.


But Indian Institutes of Technology have had their fair share of cheating scandals, some of which seem to have resulted in a cover-up.

For instance, in 2011, a computer science professor at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur, was suspended for reporting a variety of irregularities at the institution, including mass cheating in examinations. It led to a court case, which is still on. With the next hearing scheduled for Friday, the professor was reluctant to talk to this reporter but his lawyer Pranav Sachdeva said that one of the charges against his client was that “he spoke to the media about it”. Sachdeva added that the IIT had “tried to impose compulsory retirement [on his client] but the Delhi Hight Court put a stop to it”.


Even though engineering colleges can easily check copying if they wanted to by failing students who did not submit original programmes, there’s perhaps a valid reason why institutes hold back. “I know of one college which tried this,” wrote Sanghi in his blog. “Every single glass [pane] in all buildings were broken by the angry students.”

Any comments from people who have been through an IT education in India, or those who have experience working with Indian IT professionals would be appreciated.

H-1B: Why a new US visa bill is causing panic in India – BBC News

The world’s smallest violin, playing just for you

Proposals from Trump and in the Congress to reform the thoroughly dysfunctional H-1B immigration program are making the outsourcing firms in India sh%$ themselves. It could not happen to a more deserving group of ratf%$#s:

A new bill introduced in the US House of Representatives proposes to limit the entry of highly-skilled workers into the country to stop companies “replacing” American workers.

Indian media organisations have described the move as a big setback to the IT industry and the Indian government has conveyed its concerns to the US administration.


Several bills and a draft executive order are attempting changes to – or curbs on – the H-1B programme.

The High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017, introduced last week in the House of Representatives by California lawmaker Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat, calls for replacing the lottery system with a preference for companies that can pay the highest salaries.

It suggests raising the effective minimum wage for an H-1B visa holder to over $130,000, more than double the current $60,000 level established in 1989. Exemptions, though allowed, are rare.

The bill says the visa programme “has allowed replacement of American workers by outsourcing companies with cheaper H-1B workers” and aims to end the “abuse” of the programme.

“My legislation refocuses the H-1B programme to its original intent – to seek out and find the best and brightest from around the world, and to supplement the US workforce with talented, highly paid, and highly skilled workers who help create jobs here in America, not replace them,” Rep Lofgren said on her website.


The proposed new legislation mainly targets companies not based in the US that bring in foreign employees on the visa quota.

The doubling of the minimum wage applies to “visa dependent employers” or companies with more than 15% of US employees on H-1B visas.

It excludes American firms such as IBM, allowing them to bring in H-1B holders at the older minimum wage, because they would have less than 15% of US employees on H-1B visas.

This effectively targets Indian outsourcing firms and the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) has described it as “discriminatory”.

The “Visa Dependent Employers” are using regulatory arbitrage and salutary neglect to extract rents at the expense of US workers and their own employees.

They can go Cheney themselves.

With the new bill targeting “visa dependant employers”, it is primarily Indian firms such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro which will be affected.

On Tuesday, stocks of Indian software exporters plunged – TCS’s shares fell 4.47%, Infosys’s declined 2% and Wipro’s 1.62%.

Good.  Their business model is a parasitic one.

This needs to end.

In Some Ways, India Is Very Much Like the Us

It appears that in response to advance notice of speeches by Indian PM Narendra Modi bars are scrambling to come up with drinking games:

India’s teetotaler Prime Minister Narendra Modi almost fueled a booze binge on New Year’s eve in the nation’s cities.

As his scheduled speech drew nearer, pubs announced Modi-themed drinking games while Indians sought solace through social media humor. The last time Modi had addressed the nation, on Nov. 8, it had ended with him canceling 86 percent of currency in circulation and unleashing chaos in a country where almost all consumer payments are made in cash.

Modi had likened the move to a bitter medicine to help cure tax evasion and graft. Many saw it differently.

“Come get a drink on us,” pub chain Social, which has 15 outlets across the nation, announced on Facebook. “If we’re going down, we’re going down together.”


Social offered a pint of beer or an alcohol shot for 31 rupees ($0.5) each time Modi uttered “mitron,” which means friends in Hindi. That compares with 85 rupees for a pint of Kingfisher beer it normally charges customers. Mobile wallet company Mobikwik — backed by Sequoia Capital — promised lucky users a 100 percent cashback.

I think that Donald Trump, another teetotaler, will be a similar inspiration for bars in the United States.

On the other hand the recent ruling by India’s Supreme Court banning overtures to religion and caste by political candidates is something unimaginable in the us.

Hell, such a ruling would effectively outlaw the Republican Party:

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that politicians cannot seek votes on the grounds of caste, creed or religion.

The landmark judgment came while the court revisited earlier judgments, including one from 1995 that equated Hindutva with Hinduism and called it a “way of life” and said a candidate was not necessarily violating the law if votes were sought on this plank.

Several petitions filed over the years have challenged the consequences of that verdict. “It is a fallacy and an error of law to proceed on the assumption that any reference to Hindutva or Hinduism in a speech makes it automatically a speech based on Hindu religion as opposed to other religions … (Hindutva and Hinduism) are used in a speech to emphasise the way of life of the Indian people and the Indian cultural ethos,” the 1995 judgment authored by Justice J.S. Verma had said.

In its decision on Monday, a seven-judge constitution bench of the court ruled that the relationship between man and God is an ‘individual choice’ and the state cannot interfere in it, Economic Times reported. It added that an election is a secular exercise, and that should be reflected in the process that is followed.

Four judges of the seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur (who retires on Tuesday) ruled that “the constitution forbids state from mixing religion with politics”, Livemint reported. While Thakur and justices Madan B. Lokur, S.A. Bobde, and L. Nageswara Rao formed the majority and hence gave the ruling, the other three judges – Adarsh Kumar Goel, U.U. Lalit and D.Y. Chandrachud – dissented and said that the matter must be left to parliament.

I have mixed emotions on this one, I tend to be absolutist on free speech issues, but the fact that this kneecaps the Indian Fascist party (BJP) is a positive outcome.