Travel Tips for the Backpacker on a Limited Budget in India

You don’t have to travel to India in luxury. In fact, many times the best way to see India is by attending free events, staying at hostels and eating at inexpensive restaurants the locals recommend. When traveling through India, there are endless cheap and free options when planning your itinerary. Here, we’ve laid out our top travel tips and cheap ideas for backpackers traveling throughout India.While there are many budget hotels in India, hostels may still be the cheapest route. Hostels are safe, clean and although you usually have to share a bedroom with up to six others, they are like minded travelers like yourself. In exchange, you stay in a comfortable bed for a very cheap rate at roughly Rs 100 (2 USD). Some hostels can even work out an arrangement with you, for example, a free week’s stay in exchange for housekeeping or dish washing help. Whether you’re staying in Bombay, Goa or New Delhi, there are a number of cheap accommodations for you that are available year round.Eating cheaply in India is easy to do. India has plenty of affordable alternatives to the high end restaurants such street food snacks. Eating cheap in India has become a trend on the rise, when backpackers living on a budget for extended stays in and around Asia became popular. If you come to India during the off peak travel season, you will find hotel and restaurants prices to be lower. A dollar can be stretched quite a ways in India, if you’re OK with eating rice and dhal quite often. South India is known for its thali – aka – all you can eat meal – for as little as Rs 25-30 (50 cents USD). North India’s meals tend to be a bit more expensive, but by sticking to vegetarian meals you can save a bit of money as opposed to meat dishes which will always run a little higher.India is a great country to explore, especially when it comes to seeing historical sites and cultural districts. There is an unlimited assortment of fascinating things to do, and whether you’re a solo backpacker or traveling with your family, India is full of free activities to keep your budget in check. First, take advantage of the many annual festivals throughout the year. Watch in amazement at the men forming themselves into a human pyramid on Krishna Janmashtami or see 50,000 camels come together at the town of Pushcar for the annual camel fair. Temples are a big part of Indian culture and also bring about plenty of cheap entertainment and discussion for travelers. There are many to see, including the Haji Ali mosque in Mumbai or the Galta Monkey Temple in Jaipur. If you need a day to relax from the sightseeing and people watching, spend the day at one of India’s many beaches. It’s free, it’s relaxing and it’s beautiful. What’s better than that?

5 Reasons To Invest In The Real Estate Market

If you have always wanted to become a real estate investor, now is the perfect time to achieve your dream. Today’s economic conditions and housing market are suitable for long term and profitable investments, so get the most out of your savings by investing in the housing market.If you are wondering about the benefits of housing investments based on the current market trends, here are five reasons why this is a good option.
Good Long-Term Returns: For people who are willing to improve their investment and work on it to increase its value and sell it at a later date, real estate can be a good bargain. Buy an old property, refurbish it, and sell it again at a good price to gain a profit. You can also rent your property if you want a continuous flow of cash.
The Economy is Improving: The economy is finally rising from its recessive state. As it improves, people who had to foreclose on their homes will once again be looking for prospective house and properties to buy. Thus, an investor will have plenty of prospective buyers to sell his home to, once the has renovations are completed.
Endless Opportunities: Investors are provided with boundless opportunities, as there are always people who are willing to sell their homes. Whether it is due to foreclosure or other reasons, many people are quick to sell to an investor. On the other hands, many buyers are ready and willing to purchase homes for their families. Regardless of economic and market conditions, the housing market never comes to a complete standstill.
Tax-Free Profits from Rental Properties: Many real estate investors use their savings to buy rental properties that they can rent to tenants at favorable rates. The rent money received from tenants is exempt from taxes; thus, it is a purely accounted as your profitable income.
An Asset: If you do not have any existing monetary assets, then choosing real estate is a good idea. No matter how much the economy might fall, you will always be able to encash your property as an asset to get money in a time of need.
Considering the above reasons, the time is now for becoming a real estate investor.However, when searching for investment property, always consider multiple options, make sure you have the money to fund your investment, and create a backup plan in case your investment faces any major issues over time.

Making Changes in Your Lifestyle

In order to start changing our lives, we need to have motivation. We can do it because we are eager to look better during the summer. Or we can do it because we don’t like the pale image that we see in the mirror and want to change something.

Getting a healthy and upbeat lifestyle is important when it comes to living a great life. This means more than simply reducing the daily intake of calories or choosing the stairs instead of the elevator. Having an improved lifestyle also means doing more physical activity, but also focusing on the spiritual and social development.

But what are the advantages brought up by a healthy life?

Let’s start with a cheaper care, less injuries or illnesses, fewer visits to the doctor, preserving a job and the relations with the employer. But this is not all. A better lifestyle can also reduce tension, stress, extra weight, as well as improve the general well-being. It can better one’s self-respect and reduce the risks of diseases, helping in pre-existing conditions like diabetes, asthma or hypertension.

It’s not hard to have a healthy style of life. You just have to be motivated and to want to change the old habits into good ones. Further on, you can discover a list of great tips that can work for anyone:

  1. Understand that a long-lasting change needs time and commitment. This means that you will have to take your time and discover your inner resources that can help you have great results.
  2. In order to have a great and healthy lifestyle, you have to start eating healthier, since diet is essential in one’s life. Eating permanent junk food or including alcohol into one’s diet can really mess up the body.
  3. Exercising is just as important. Elevating your heart rate is an essential thing to do regularly. Combined with strength exercises, it can do wonders. Ordinary exercises like push-ups, pull-ups or squats can have great effects on the body. You can also join a gym if other types of exercises don’t interest you.
  4. Give up at your nasty habits. Drinking, smoking or drugs can do a lot of damage to your body. You are the one who has to take care of your body, so try to eliminate all the things that harm your organism.
  5. Take Get time for yourself. Laugh often and loud. Stress can make you very depressed and can really kill you. It weakens the immune system and makes you look and feel sick. Take time to relax, go on vacations and take care of your soul.
  6. Start by creating a better lifestyle. If you really want to change, you have to make an effort. Lots of people need to understand that cleansing is an extremely important step in getting a better lifestyle. This means eliminating all toxins, modifying food habits and learning how to improve your life.

9 Video Sites to Upload Video

Video is great for getting your message across, whether it is a sales message, a tutorial, a movie trailer etc. The new media revolution has seen online video take centre stage.

Here are 9 great video sites for hosting your video content.

1) YouTube

The world’s premier video site – untouchable in terms of traffic and popularity. Recognised globally as the video site of choice. Millions of videos are uploaded each week onto the site and there is no sign of this slowing down. Expect massive traffic from YouTube if you host a video that has valuable content.

2) Flickr

You may be thinking this site is just for photos, well think again. You can now post video to the site also, although only 90 seconds worth. This could be enough for a sales message as people don’t always want to watch a video that goes on and on. As a basic member you can post 2 videos a month. Pro members get to post unlimited videos each month. The beauty of this site is that it has a huge subscriber base and you will be able to take advantage of all that potential traffic.

3) Vimeo

Vimeo tends to house more creative style videos and can be seen as a kind of arty video site. You won’t find many wedding, baby or dog type videos on here. Vimeo allows you to share your video to groups or channels. Another great feature is a video school that helps you to create better videos. A basic member has a weekly upload capacity set at 500mbs, but a pro account will be higher at 5gbs and unlimited HD uploads.


This site tends to prefer video in episode type format and encourages people to post regularly. Content must be of a high standard. Blip distributes through the major video platforms such as YouTube so you will have little trouble maximizing exposure. The site will support uploads of 1gb and a pro account will offer even more features. You are also able to sign up for an advertising account and the revenue is split 50/50. You can use the dashboard to plan out your web series as well as use analytics.

5) Veoh

What’s great about this site is that the video you upload can be of any size. Short clips as well as full length movies are common here. Because of the unrestricted video size, this site has attracted many great quality films and clips. The interface is also clever enough to make uploading a video a joy. If you don’t want video size restrictions then Veoh could be the video site for you.

6) DailyMotion

Videos of different lengths, organised by category are popular here. You will find a lot of amateur material, but the site generally is heavy on the promotion of professional quality video. The site is community based and you are encouraged to add others to your contacts and supply feedback. Video storage capacity is limited to less than 150 mb and clips should be less than 20 mins each. High definition video is only available to pro accounts.

7) Viddler

This site is more suited to business and companies. There is not so much in the way of amateur looking content here. You are allowed to distribute videos to iTunes, use analytics, customize the video player as well as add comments to videos. There is even an ad network that enables you to monetize your video.

8) Metacafe

Founded in 2002 in Tel Aviv, this site focuses on short form entertainment and gets more than 40 million unique viewers each month. It has exclusive technology that helps it expose the most entertaining content. Also it rewards the creators of video for their best work.

9) yFrog

You may be familiar with this site for its photo sharing facilities for Twitter, but did you know it also supports video? It allows you to upload a video and post to Twitter all from the same place. yFrog is really a site that blends well with social media so your video stands a good chance of mass exposure.

Smart Work Centers Change How We Work And Live

The traditional work space has already undergone changes due to technology. Communications between employer and staff take place via computer, Skype, webinars and phone conferences on a boardroom basis. Freelancers, telecommuters and individuals that work contractually have used these methods to decrease the amount of time involved in assignments and increase production time. Individuals spend less time on basic necessities such as travel and these self-disciplined workers are able to contribute in a timely effective manner. Elder professionals can also take advantage of telecommuting as in cases of disability and decreased mobility. Smart work centers can prolong the age that elder workers are able to contribute to their employers. So how does smart work centers fit into the already active telecommuting schedule of independent contractors and salaried workers? A smart work center provides teleconferencing and supervision of workers individually and caters to the needs of every individual by providing company benefits that are exempt under normal circumstances to independent contractors with social services such as childcare services. In this way smart work centers operate as community centers by facilitating recreational and personal needs.Convenience is provided by smart work centers for the employer who will have more access to employees visually and at all times. Smart work centers also lower the cost of the traditional brick and mortar building since they can be used on assignment whenever employees are available to work.Companies are able to benefit from having their in house workers and out of house workers co-habit the same workspace and co-work together. Both teams are able to compare and share information more quickly breaking down walls of distance and experience. Whether you find employment virtually or traditionally salaried workers like telecommuters benefit by receiving flexible work schedules, the fusion of work life and home life and accessibility to work facilities that are near their home communities.Will smart work centers foster a community mindset to work or will the employees and contractors continue to use their individual talents, creativity and skill and employers retain employee satisfaction in the virtual world? One of the reasons why workers enjoy what they do is because of what they are able to accomplish and be rewarded for on an individual level as well as on the company level. Regardless of benefit smart work centers are no substitute for the person of employer, manager or supervisor knowing their workers personally and learning what motivates them. Interacting with workers outside of the television or computer screen will always take precedence over impersonal methods of communication and work.

Health and Fitness Success – 7 Easy Tips

Two weeks ago today I dramatically pushed back the limits of my running. In one morning I went from a best distance of 12km in an hour and fifteen minutes (done on a treadmill in my gym), to running 12 miles round a Welsh lake, at a better pace than I have done in the gym, and without stopping.To achieve this is used several personal development techniques. How did I do this, and how can you use these same techniques to achieve your exercise goal?Inspiring Health and FitnessKeeping me going was my overall inspiring health and fitness goal. This goal is to run the Flora London Marathon 2007. I realized if I could not run the 12 miles, how could I run 26? I also realized that if I could achieve this leap in distance then the marathon should be mine. It was my desire to cross the line next April that kept me going every step of the way. Besides, twice round the lake would be a marathon! If I could do one lap, surely I could do two laps?To Do: You need to have a health and fitness goal that is achievable, but sufficiently high to excite and stretch you.Mentoring and EncouragementOne of the biggest things that helped me to achieve this breakthrough was the encouragement and advice of an experienced marathon runner (my mentor for the run). But above all my mentor ran every step of the way with me. Having someone tell you that you can do something that you previously thought impossible, and the person telling you this being qualified to do so is very powerful. You have no excuse for not pushing your boundaries. When this person then goes every step of the way with you, advising and encouraging you it is even more powerful. Having a mentor can be one of the most powerful tools for personal development you can use.To Do: Find someone who is qualified to take you one step further towards you health and fitness goal, and ask them to take that step with you.Score KeepingI kept score at regular intervals along the run by checking my heart rate on my heart rate monitor. One of my aims was to run the distance within a set heart rate range. I congratulated myself every time my watch showed I was within that range. In this way I was scoring myself to achieve a regular pace. I am glad to say I got a perfect score by the finish line.To Do: Decide on a way to score yourself, and stick to it. Celebrate every time you win!.Goal Setting and RewardsThroughout the run I kept setting goals such as “get to the castle” or “make it to the dam” or near the end I was saying “just to the next lamppost.” In this way I broke the 12 miles down into manageable chunks, and would celebrate each time I achieved my goal. I also had the overriding goals of running all the way (no walking or stopping) and setting a good pace, all of which I achieved.To Do: Break you next exercise session into tiny goals, and reward yourself every time you achieve these mini goals.DistractionRunning for 2 hours and 10 minutes was just as much a mental challenge as physical. My mind was full of doubts and my body full of aches, and part of it was just plain boring. So how did I cope? One way was by distracting myself. I remembered wonderful holidays, focused on a particular lamb or tree that I was running towards, or visualized the Power of Intention falling from the sky and filling me with great energy and endurance. Anything to take my mind off how I felt and how much more there was to go.To Do: Plan in advance to remember something exciting, and remember it in vivid detail.Power of IntentionI have been listening to at CD set in my car called The Power of Intention by Wayne W Dyer. The CDs talk of us being made out of and part of a universal energy. That universal energy is always available for us to use. I am still not quite sure what to make of this yet, but while running I called upon this energy to fill me. I finished, so it worked didn’t it? Perhaps, but at the very least it worked as a mental distraction.To Do: Find a cassette or CD to listen to that will give you a more positive outlook for your activity.Peer PressureFrom deciding to do the run on the Friday, to actually doing it on the Sunday, I made sure I told every one of the 55 people I was camping with that weekend, that I would “run the lake.” This set up a huge amount of peer pressure for me. If I failed the run I would painfully and publicly fail BIG. This created a powerful incentive for me to succeed in the run. Also as a result of succeeding the run after telling everyone, a lot of respect was generated which translated into a large number of sponsorships for the charity I am running for St Ann’s Hospice.To Do: Increase peer pressure on yourself by telling everyone what you plan to do, and ask them to check up on you later to make sure you have done it.As you can see I was able to use many personal development techniques in order to take me from the initial challenge to run the lake, to actually running it and running it well. Without the use of the above techniques I would have been less likely to finish. The techniques dramatically increased my chance of success, and I’ll continue to use them till I cross that London Marathon finish line (and beyond). Make sure you use these techniques too.

Digital Photography Tips – Using Your Camera’s Built-in Exposure Controls

One thing that both newcomers to digital photography and even more experienced photographers find most challenging is getting the correct exposure for their digital photos. One of the great things about digital photography is that we can use PhotoShop and other photo editing software to make corrections after the digital photo has already been taken, but it’s certainly better to get the exposure right to begin with.Most people take their digital camera out of the box, make sure the exposure setting is on automatic and never change it. However, using all the settings on your camera is not really that complicated. It just takes a little information and some practice. Here are some tips for taking more control over your digital photos.First, decide what you want to emphasize in your photo. That’s the object or area of the photo where you want the exposure most correct. Are you taking a digital photo of a child against a dark background? Do you want to be sure the child’s face or clothing is correctly exposed, or do you want to emphasize what’s in the background?Second, choose whether you want the camera to decide on the exposure, or whether you want to make some or all of the decisions about exposure yourself. Most modern digital cameras give you a choice of exposure modes, including so-called programs. For example, there might be a stylized symbol of a mountain for landscape photographs or a profile of a runner for action photos.If you select one of these modes, the camera can then use one of its internal programs to make decisions about shutter speed and camera lens aperture. The camera will select the settings the manufacturer has decided is best, on average, for these kinds of photos. The problem is, you may not be in an average situation for your landscape or action photo. If so, it’s time to get into a more lands-on mode, and take more control over how your digital photos will look.In addition to auto exposure, nearly all digital cameras come with settings for aperture priority, shutter priority and manual modes. The aperture setting determines how large the opening is in the lens that lets the light through. The shutter speed is how long the lens stays open. The larger the aperture, the more light comes through, so if the aperture increases (more light), the shutter speed must also decrease (open a shorter period of time) to make a correct exposure. If you select the aperture priority mode and set the aperture you want, the camera will select the correct shutter speed. If you select the shutter priority mode and set the shutter speed you want, the camera will select the aperture to compensate.Manual mode gives you total creative control. How to use manual mode is covered in another article in this series. Just remember the best part of digital photography is, if the photo didn’t come out like you wanted, you can always try again.

How an Auto Insurance Agent Can Help?

Is it possible to find out cheap auto insurance premium? How can an insurance agent help in getting a discounted deal for auto insurance?It is abundantly clear that the insurance premium quotes for the new teenage drivers are extremely high than the usual premium amounts offered for other drivers whose ages are above 25 years. The statistics says that the accident rate is more with the teen age drivers due to the careless and rash driving practices.Do not get worried, if you do a good internet search you can always find some excellent tips to reduce the auto insurance premium. You have to spend little much of your precious time to identify a perfect insurance provider who offers you much discount on the premium amount.To find out a cheap auto insurance premium for teens, you can always get the assistance of an online auto insurance agent. He will absolutely help you to locate one of the providers who can offer you good insurance with fewer premiums. When you select auto insurance agent, make sure that you are dealing with a reputed and reliable agent. You have to do some home work before approaching the agent.Many people have some apprehensions in approaching an agent. I can tell you that this is an unwarranted fear. The support and discount you get in formalizing the auto insurance quote will be formidable and you will gain much more worth than what you pay him. If you go directly to the insurance service provider just means that you are giving more benefits to the company. For example when you gain $50, why can’t you give $5 to the agent who facilitates you to get the maximum discount? Or you just want to surrender all the $50 to the insurance company?The auto insurance agents have lots and lots of experience in dealing with almost all insurance service providers. They know in and out of the auto insurance sector. They can lead you to the tricks and tips of getting the best deal in auto insurance. They can explain you the advantages and disadvantages of each and every auto insurance companies. The information he is sharing with you will be highly price worthy.Auto insurance agents will do everything for you. Starting from getting the insurance quotes to finalizing the quotes. You have to tell them your requirements and the personal details. They have to be provided with the vehicle details such as the age of the vehicle you own, the registration and tax details, the models and power of the vehicle and many such vehicle related aspects. That’s all the agent will take all other issues. You will be getting the policy confirmation within few hours.The agents will be highly helpful in the post insurance period as well. In the case of an accident and if you raise the insurance claim, you may have to approach the insurance with all details and documents. Auto insurance agents can help you very much in this situation.So with all the above benefits, why can’t you approach a reliable auto insurance agent to get cheap auto insurance quotes?

Automotive Advertising Agencies Shift Online Marketing to Social Networking and Individual Vehicles

The market shift from brick and mortar dealerships to virtual online showrooms has been confirmed with 93% of car shoppers turning to the Internet Super Highway vs. their neighborhood auto dealership or local car row to shop for a new or used vehicle. Of equal interest to auto dealers who have shifted their automotive advertising dollars to the Internet to follow their customers there is that automotive advertising agencies have confirmed that online car shoppers are often using the search engines to look for a specific vehicle, not an auto dealership. As a result, automotive advertising agencies have shifted their online messages to match the consumer’s request for information in more of a pull/push marketing strategy to promote their inventory using local search words and meta tags attached to individual videos of their vehicles vs. the old school push/pull methods that focused on delivering an auto dealer marketing message designed to drive customers directly to the dealers’ website.The role of the real world auto dealership is maturing into an experience center to test drive vehicles, take delivery — for now — and service the vehicles during their life cycle. Newly developed virtual world auto dealerships are also taking on a new role in the retail auto industry with new technologies that are crashing through the glass wall that used to limit what could be accomplished on the World Wide Web.Marketing tools using SEO and SEM techniques tied to individual vehicle videos linked to micro-sites with specialized information is more transparent and relevant than driving internet shoppers to a home page on an auto dealer’s website that requires further actions by the customer to drill down to what they need — information on a vehicle that they are interested in purchasing. Online shoppers are less often looking for an auto dealer than they are looking for a vehicle so why not cut to the chase and take them there directly? Google and other search engines have recognized the value of video and more targeted vehicle focused search results with index able vehicle videos taking a priority position over conventional postings and websites with similar local search criteria.Once a shopper has landed on a vehicle why would an auto dealer want to drive them to an email, a phone call or any similar disconnect in the process directing them to their real or virtual showroom when new technology can answer all of the customer’s questions directly from the video player using integrated online transaction tools? Live two way video customer interaction platforms, like Argistics AutoTransaXion, and third party resources like Car Fax reports coupled with the ability to deliver credit applications, payment calculators and even a complete buyers order — real time — with CRM/DMS integration allowing a comprehensive desking tool for the auto dealer to push/pull all related information needed to actually sell the vehicle online and the required forms for the customer to buy it suggest that there is no longer a need to take the customer back up the sales funnel to the auto dealer’s website.Comprehensive auto dealership websites are no longer the best — or at least the only — place for automotive advertising agencies to drive online customers to. Auto dealers who wish to survive in the growing virtual world on the Internet must be more focused on internet based tools and techniques that allow them to do it the customer’s way. They must provide online car shoppers with all of the information that they need to find and purchase the vehicle they want without having to fit the auto dealers’ selling processes based on an old and dated adversarial negotiation processes in either their real or virtual showroom where customers perceive that auto dealers will try to sell them something that they don’t want for more than they can afford?Many vendor applications are currently available and being used by automotive advertising agencies to accomplish all of the above. AutoNation, for example, has recently announced their shift to centralized online transactions using Argistics AutoTransaXion’s customer interaction platform with their two way video transaction capabilities and Sonic Automotive has proven out the role of video to enhance conversions using SiSTer Technologies Video CarLot. Similar announcements by OEM and other technology vendors to the auto industry are expected to be released during the upcoming 2010 NADA Convention in Orlando Florida. As a result, the role of the brick and mortar dealership and their online marketing messages promoting the auto dealership vs. satisfying the needs of the to the consumer must change — and they will because they already are.Similarly, the role of social networking for automotive advertising agencies anxious to monetize this new consumer driven media is also being accelerated by new technologies and automotive advertising vendor applications. Efforts by automotive advertising agencies to market directly to consumers through social media, B2C, have matured to more successful consumer driven marketing messages. New inventory driven third party websites like apply new technologies that develop word of mouth, W.O.M., and customer to customer recommendations, C2C, which promise to be the preferred method of selling vehicles online in the foreseeable future.Simply put, automotive advertising agencies must deliver customers the information that they want when, how and where they want it. All of these issues are addressed through the use of the Internet and new technologies that market vehicles over auto dealers, video vs. copy and recommendations from online friends vs. a self serving auto dealer trying to sell themselves vs. serving the needs of their potential customers.

Reservation in Higher Education and Jobs- Divide and Rule Strategy

Introduction:”Reservation in Higher Education and Jobs in Private Sector”…Yes or No? There has been lot of debate on this subject across the country. People are agitating…people are on hunger strike; Students have different views…professionals have different views. As per the interview with Cabinet Minister, (Human Resourse Development) Mr. Arjun Singh…on CNN-IBN, he is not willing to accept any facts and fingers. In short, after the interview he looks like a confused person…might be an effect of his age. Lets start from the very beginning, on the 27th of June 1961 Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru (First Prime Minister of India) wrote to the Chief Ministers: I dislike any kind of reservations. If we go in for any kind of reservations on communal and caste basis, we will swamp the bright and able people and remain second rate or third rate. The moment we encourage the second rate, we are lost. And then he adds pointedly: This way lies not only folly, but also disaster.Lets have a look at some other figures…”Learning from Past Experiences”…NSSO, which is a government appointed body, has actually in its research in 1999 – which is the most latest research shown – that 23.5 per cent of all university seats are already with the OBCs. And that is just 8.5 per cent less than what the NSSO believes is the OBC share of the population. So, for a difference of 8 per cent, would reservations be the right way of making up the difference? A study done by the IITs themselves shows that 50 per cent of the IIT seats for the SCs and STs remain vacant and for the remaining 50 per cent, 25 per cent are the candidates, who even after six years fail to get their degrees. So, clearly, in their case, reservations are not working. Parliamentary Committee on the welfare for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes says that “looking at the Delhi University, between 1995 and 2000, just half the seats for under-graduates at the Scheduled Castes level and just one-third of the seats for under-graduates at the Scheduled Tribes level were filled. All the others went empty, unfilled.”Sukhdev Thorat, the Chairman of the UGC. He points out that today, at higher education levels – that is all universities, IITs and IIMs – there is already a 1.2 lakh vacancy number. 40 per cent of these are in teaching staff, which the IIT faculty themselves point out that they have shortages of up to 30 per cent.Fifty years after the reservations were made, statistics show, according to The Hindustan Times, that overall in India, only 16 per cent of the places in higher education are occupied by SCs and STs. The quota is 22.5 per cent, which means that only two-thirds of the quota is occupied. One third is going waste, it is being denied to other people.In short, reservations mean that a lesser-qualified candidate gets preference over a more qualified candidate, solely because in this case, he or she happens to be an OBC. In other words, the upper castes are being penalized for being upper caste.Why Quota? Why Reservations? Will this help “underprivileged” communities to come at par with others? I don’t think so. If the foundation is not strong…one cannot make strong building on it. If you really want to bring everyone on same platform…strengthen the Primary Education; Improve the course material; provide teachers at that level and make people strong enough to compete with each other…provide the platform for institutes and corporates to choose the best.Mandal Commission…A regretful step…First Major Step towards reservation and quota system…beginning of caste based politics…1) The Mandal Commission was officially called Second backward Classes Commission.2) It derives its name from parliamentarian BP Mandal, who chaired the Commission.3) The Mandal Commission was constituted by the Morarji Desai government in 1978 to consider action politics for backward classes, aimed at redressing caste discrimination.4) The Commission Report was submitted in Dec 1980. It sought reservation for 27 per cent of all services and public sector undertakings under the central government and 27 per cent of all admissions to institutions of higher education for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).5) The percentage was over and above the existing 22.5 per cent reservation for SCs/STs.6) In Aug 1990, the then Prime Minister VP Singh assured its implementation in government jobs.7) It led to widespread protests, which finally led to his resignation.8) There were many self-immolations attempts, including that of Rajeev Goswami, a DU student.9) In 1993, the Supreme Court upheld 27 per cent reservation for OBCs.10) But it was subject to the exclusion of socially advanced persons/sections from amongst the OBCs.11) Children of Class I officers with income of Re one lakh were also excluded.12) The exclusion-income limit was revised to Rs 2.5 lakh in 2004.13) The reservation came into effect in Sept 1993 after the recommendations were accepted.14) In Aug 2005, the SC abolished all caste-based reservations in unaided private colleges.15) On Dec 2005, the Lok Sabha passed the 104th Constitution Amendment Act 2005, rolling back the SC judgement.16) The new clause allowed reservations for SC/ST and OBCs in private unaided educational institutions.17) The latest controversy erupted over the government’s proposal to introduce 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in central government-funded higher educational institutes like IITs and IIMs.Earlier Mandal Commission identified 11 indicators for providing reservation and quota is higher education. They were:SocialCastes/classes considered as socially backward by others.Castes/classes which mainly depend on manual labour for their livelihood.Castes/classes where the percentage of married women below 17 is 25% above the state average in rural areas and 10% in urban areas; and that of married men is 10% and 5% above the state average in rural and urban areas respectively.Castes/classes where participation of females in work is at least 25% above the state average.EducationalCastes/classes where the number of children in the age group of 5 to 15 years who never attended school is at least 25% above the state average.Castes/classes where the rate of student drop-out in the age group of 5-15 years is at least 25% above the state average.Castes/classes amongst whom the proportion of matriculates is at least 25% below the state averageEconomicCastes/classes where the average value of family assets is at least 25% below the state average.Castes/classes where the number of families living in kachcha houses is at least 25 % above the state average.Castes/classes where the source of drinking water is beyond half a kilometer for more than 50% of the households.Castes/classes where the number of the house-holds having taken a consumption loan is at least 25% above the state average.We have seen even during those years that “Reservation” is just not acceptable. Even if after Close to 60 yrs of Independence (we will be celebrating our Diamond jubilee year of Independence between 15th August 2006-15th August 2007), we are saying that we have not done anything to bring up the social status of people then we are just nullifying all the achievements. Had this been done 5 yrs or 10 yrs after the independence…it would have been acceptable but not after 55 yrs of independence.ConclusionNeed is to improve the standard of education at “Primary Level”, make people competent enough to fight in “Open Competition” and not to reserve the seats or provide any type of quota. The vociferous protest against reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and the growing unease about reservations for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes reflects the sharp conflicts which are erupting in Indian society over the distribution of a limited number of Government jobs and educational resources. It should be noted that the vocal opposition to the reservations for OBCs goes hand in hand with a more disguised resentment against reservation for the scheduled castes and tribes. One has only to recall to the Gujarat anti-reservation movement of 1981 and the recent December, 1989 U.P. agitation against the Parliament extending the reservation of seats in legislatures for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes for another ten years.The movement against reservations in the present Indian context is definitely retrograde and objectively serves the interests of those who seek to preserve the dominance of the upper castes. The plea against reservations is advanced on the basis of equality of opportunity and merit. In an unequal society like India, where scheduled castes, tribes and shudras (the bulk of whom are the OBCs) have been discriminated against in choice of occupation, social mobility and control over the means of production, all talk of equality, without taking into account this reality, reduces equality to the concept of formal equality.As for merit, it is perfectly possible in India to discriminate in recruitment and promotions, on the basis of caste prejudices or preferences, militating against merit. Further, merit, as the Mandal Commission and a host of other commissions and Supreme Court judgments have pointed out, must be seen in the context of achieving real equality of opportunities, social environment and compensatory discrimination to ensure social justice.I sum up my feeling through the lines of following poem by Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) about accumulation of State power by the targeting of specific groups one at a time captures the slippery slope of the law very well:First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.Before I conclude, here are views of Mr. Sam Pitroda (Chairman, National Knowledge Commission), on reservation in Higher Education and Jobs:There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the quota system as long as it is applied judiciously and at the right levels. It cannot become a blanket solution for all time to come. It is my considered position to reject labels on the basis of anyone’s birth. It is an outdated, antiquated thinking to keep talking about caste based disadvantages. The first step for me is to reject all such labels in the 21st century and focus on equality for youth. In my case, hard work, good education and focus on technology helped me a great deal to overcome any disadvantages that I had because of what people still obsessively describe as caste.Technology gave me an equal footing for everything I have done in my life and career. I have said this before. Technology is a great leveler, second only to death. I have always negotiated challenges on the basis of my whatever little intrinsic merit quality and perseverance. I have never taken the route of quota or reservations. I hope this shows that it is possible.What we need is to create opportunities for everyone of equal merit to have proper access. On this subject there are many views and many sentiments. At times people look at this in terms of black and white while there are many shades of gray.Proper primary education is the key to building a sound foundation for higher education in the university. I wish we focus on this first. I also believe that every child must have opportunity for good education without worrying about caste or income levels. If the student is qualified we must find funding to support them in colleges. It is time to go beyond labels that stigmatize an entire group of people. I believe now in the early part of the 21st century we should make fundamental changes in the way we approach the concept of education, employment, equality and empowerment. But the point is it is time for a whole new approach in the 21st century. We cannot build the nation in the 21st century with the 19th century mindset.Looking forward to your comments and opinionReference:Newspapers: The Times of India;Hindustan TimesNews Channels: Star News; CNN-IBN