Sunday, April 26, 2009

Indian Spaceship Chandrayaan Launch

Chandrayaan Launch, originally uploaded by Celina Gogoi.

Indian Spaceship Chandrayaan Launch

Chandrayaan on Launch Pad

Earth's picture shot by Chandrayaan

PSLV Chandrayaan on its way to launchpad

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Introducing India on the eve of General Election 2009

The Republic of India has a parliamentary system of democracy, with the President of India as the titular head and the Prime Minister as the executive head.

India, the seventh largest country by geographical area and the second most populous country, is also the most populous democracy in the world. It has the world's twelfth largest economy, and it is the fourth largest in purchasing power and one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

‘Unity in diversity’, is the pet phrase to explain the extreme situations in India chosen by many writers. Yes, India boasts of the more billionaires than most countries in the lists published by Forbes. On the sidelines extreme poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition coexist. The percentage of underfed children is higher than that in sub-Saharan Africa.

India has a pluralistic, multilingual and multiethnic society. India has an average literacy rate of 64.8%. The State of Kerala has the highest literacy rate (91%) and Bihar has the lowest (47%).

India has an estimated population of 1.17 billion, about 17% of the world population, the world's second most populous country. Approximately 70% of Indians live in rural areas. The rest of the people live in large cities such as Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi, Kolkata (Calcutta), Chennai (Madras), Bengaluru (Bangalore), Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, and smaller cities and towns.

Hindi, the language spoken by the largest number of people, is the official language of India. English, which is used in business and administration, has the status of a 'subsidiary official language' and the medium of higher education.

Four major world religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism) originated in India. Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam arrived in the first millennium CE. The Indian population is constituted by Hindu (80.5%), Muslims (13.4%), Christians (2.3%), Sikhs (1.9%), Buddhists (0.8%), Jains (0.4%), Jews, Zoroastrians, Baháís and others. Tribal people constitute 8.1% of the population.

The Indian Parliament is bicameral, consisting of Rajya Sabha (House of States, the upper house) and Lok Sabha (House of People, the lower house).

Rajya Sabha has 245 members, each member serving six year terms, and one-third of the members completing their terms every two years. Most Rajya Sabha members are elected indirectly by the State legislatures and the legislatures of the Union Territories.

Lok Sabha has a strength of 545 members, 543 of whom are directly elected by people for five year terms. Two Lok Sabha members are nominated by the President of India to represent the Anglo-Indian community, if the President is of the opinion that they do not have adequate representation.

The executive branch of the government consists of the President, Vice President, and the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. Any minister holding a portfolio must be a member of the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. The executive is subordinate to the legislature and the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers are directly responsible to Lok Sabha.

India consists of 28 States and seven Union Territories. All States, and the Union Territories of Puducherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, have elected legislatures and governments.

The 28 Indian States are Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, and West Bengal.

The 7 Union Territories are Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, National Capital Territory of Delhi, and Puducherry.

Politics in the States have been dominated by political parties including the Indian National Congress (INC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (CPI), and various regional parties.

In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, United Progressive Alliance (UPA), a coalition of various parties lead by INC won the largest number of Lok Sabha seats and formed a government with the support of leftist parties and others who oppose BJP.

For the 2009 general elections, about 714 million eligible voters shall exercise their franchise to elect their representatives to Lok Sabha from 828,804 polling centers on 16, 23 and 30 April, and on 7 and 13 May, 2009.

The first phase of the country's general elections on Thursday, despite disruption caused by Maoist rebels, was comparatively peaceful, as the Indian media and The Election Commission of India reported. The commission said that average turnout across all areas that voted in the first phase was between 58% and 62%.

Results are due on 16 May and a new parliament must be in place by 2 June 2009.

Indian Parliament Elections 2009

The first phase of the 2009 Lok Sabha (Lower House or the People’s House of the Indian Parliament) elections recorded 58% to 62% voter turnout, the Election Commission said on Thursday in New Delhi.

A poll panel official said that the voting percentage ranged from a low 46 percent in Bihar in North India to a high 86 in Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea. The north-eastern Indian state of Nagaland, bordering Myanmar (former Burma), also witnessed a high turnout of 84%.

"By and large the elections were peaceful. Overall poll percentage was between 58 to 62 percent. Considering the complexities and difficulties, the elections were largely peaceful," Deputy Election Commissioner R Balakrishnan said in New Delhi after the first day's polls. He added there were incidents of violence blamed on Maoists in some states, like Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand, that left 19 people dead, including nine civilians and 10 policemen. Many more people were reported injured.

Maoists had called for poll boycott in some states and warned that they would chop off the hands of those who went to vote. Balakrishnan said the five-phase elections were arranged keeping in mind the problems and challenges. He said 71 polling stations witnessed Maoist violence, while 86 saw "various types of disturbances". 76,000 polling stations faced Maoist threat, he said.

Among the states that witnessed high polling percentages were Lakshadweep (86%), Nagaland (84%), Manipur (68%), Andhra Pradesh (65%), Orissa (63%), Arunachal Pradesh (62%), Meghalaya (65%), Assam (62%), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (62%), Kerala (60%) and Mizoram (52%). According to Balakrishnan there could be slight change in the figure in Uttar Pradesh for which he put the tentative figure between 48% and 50%.

In Jammu & Kashmir, the turnout was 48%, while in Maharashtra it was 54%. Jammu & Kashmir elections were peaceful and the voting percentage jumped from 44.9% in 2004 to 48% in 2009.

Poll violence-hit Chhattisgarh had 51%, Jharkhand 50% and Bihar 46%. Kandhamal district in Orissa, which had witnessed large scale communal violence last year, recorded about 65% voting, the poll panel said.

Seven Indian States, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, were free of incidents of violence, Balakrishnan added.

Flag Mast on a truck - election time in India

During elections in India, anything is very ordinary, including the flag on full mast perched on a fast fleeing truck, the scene in Chennai-Bangalore Highway and shot from a moving car and through raised window.

Shashi Tharoor at the polls

Shashi at the polls, originally uploaded by Al Jazeera English.

Shashi Tharoor, the former top UN official and now the big hope for the Congress party in Kerala, is swarmed by media after voting.

Rahul Gandhi addresses his supporters in Talwandi

, originally uploaded by amritnatt.

Instructions for voting through electronic voting machines

Instructions, originally uploaded by Vemana.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and other Congress leaders

A woman voter shows her inked thumb after voting in Varanasi

Proof of voting, originally uploaded by Al Jazeera English.

A woman voter shows her inked thumb after voting in Varanasi, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, during the first of India's five-phase general elections.

The hoarding of Manmohan Singh in Kerala

Manmohan Singh election campaign hoarding
Manmohanji is in town, originally uploaded by dannybirchall.

Communism is live and kicking in Kerala

Election Poster of Kerala LDF candidate Dr. Manoj and Che

Watery Che, originally uploaded by dannybirchall.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Software and tools for effective mobile marketing

With the rapid development of mobile phone technology, and the widespread and deep penetration of mobile phones among the masses, especially the younger generation, its growth rate has surpassed that of even internet. This huge popularity of cellphones has drawn the attention of advertising and marketing experts to marketing through mobile phones right from the beginning of 2000s.

What makes mobile marketing so important is the fact that cellphones are the cheapest media, user-friendly and the most interactive two-way media that generates instant buyer response. The leads used for marketing using shortcodes are user-generated and hence spam-free, unlike email marketing campaigns.

One of the leading developers of mobile marketing solutions and tools that suit small businesses, as well as large international business corporations, is Cellit Mobile Marketing, leveraging the power of mobile marketing, including text messaging, WAP and voice, with their user-friendly and simple web tools.

Cellit, a member of the Mobile Marketing Association, is headquartered in Chicago with sales and support office in Phoenix. Cellit has ready-to-use systems and tools for smaller clients and fully customized software solutions for larger clients, who have more demanding needs. Some of the world class mobile marketing services/ tools developed and offered by Cellit include Cellit Studio, House4Cell, CouponZap and many more.

The founders of Cellit are highly experienced professionals, with decades of experience in Real Estate, Marketing, technology and software and systems development for mobile marketing campaigns, real estate business and others. They have developed a powerful tool, House4Cell, for Real Estate agents.

House4Cell is an easy-to-use tool that helps real estate agents to send property information directly to a homebuyer’s cell phone, including the property’s pricing, square footage, photos, etc. When mobile phone users text a short 1-word code found on the real estate sign to a special phone number, instantly they receive property info, photos, and an option to receive additional information via e-mail or fax. Simultaneously, the real estate agents also receive a text message with the contact info of the homebuyer so that they can contact them to finalize the deal.

Another powerful mobile marketing tool from Cellit is CouponZap, a tool for mobile campaigns for restaurants, bars, nightclubs, etc. It is quite affordable with low monthly fees and allows them to send their advertising and marketing campaigns to the cell phones of a wide spectrum of users. They can also create their own custom mobile coupon campaigns, appointment reminders and text alerts. The system also allows effective tracking of the campaigns so that they can how successful is their current advertising and plan for the next for better results and to increase their businesses.