Opinion | While we were not looking, India won some battles

A call from a political party scare-mongered me into checking if my name had indeed been struck off the election list. A visit to the Election Commission site for Delhi told me that all it needed was an SMS to check if my name is on the list—I message at 7738299899, write EPIC space my voter ID number. Thirty seconds later, I get a confirmation that my name is there and it gives me the booth address where I will vote.

After the sheer delight at this super smooth process, I remember that I had got my Provident Fund (PF) balance on SMS too. Also, the passport and visa processes is mostly all automated and keeps us well-informed about the progress of the process. So I began to count what else works in India. We know and are vocally critical about what does not. So what works? Well, the metro network where it exists, as it does in Delhi, is superb. Do we hear of strikes or regular breakdowns in the cities in India they operate in? We don’t. Travel to Europe and see what breakdown of such services means. France especially is constantly on strike.

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Loans (and more) that ride on your digital exhaust

Have you tried firing your koora wali (garbage collector)? Or move to another presswalla (guy who irons clothes in the neighbourhood) in the same locality? Most Indian cities (may not be true of the relatively new gated bubbles of Indian suburbia) have a system where there is an informal ‘right’ of a person or a family to a certain set of houses for some informal services. And usually, it is not so easy to replace them, because they ‘own’ the right to service it. In a way it is their ‘asset’.

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