Rounding Up

I had a shared auto-rickshaw ride from point A to point B. The driver said the fare was seven rupees. I handed him a 10 rupee note and waited to be given three rupees back. He said he did not have change.

“So, what now?” I asked.

“No change,” he repeated, then added: “take three rupees back some other time.”

That ‘some other time’ is another way of saying ‘forget the three rupees.”

I had a coin of five rupees. I told the driver to take the five rupee coin and take two rupees later, but he refused this proposition. He said he did not know me; I said I did not know him either. He wanted to take three rupees more but he was not willing to take two rupees less. There was no point in arguing with the driver as he was absolutely determined to take three rupees more (and not two rupees less). Just for three rupees I was not ready to get embroiled in a fracas which would then, as it happens most of the times, turn into a fistfight.

Quite similarly, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd (MAHADISCOM) shows how much of a dictator it can be when it comes to rounding up or rounding down of prices.

My final electricity bill amount for the last month came to Rs. 346.37. MAHADISCOM rounded up the amount to Rs. 350.00. Though I paid the amount online, I still had to pay Rs. 350. I have heard of an amount being rounded up or rounded down only when the transaction happens in cash. I believe rounding up or down happens in cash transaction because of the problem people face in giving out the changes of smaller denomination. But in an electronic transaction no such problem occurs. Every time I do an electronic transaction, I pay the exact amount.

I would have still been okay had MAHADISCOM rounded up from Rs. 346.37 to Rs. 347 (though I know that it should actually be made to Rs. 346, since 37 paise is lower than 50 paise). The extra amount which MAHADISCOM charged me (without deserving) is Rs. 3.63.

There are more than 20 million people living in Mumbai (and there are more than 110 million people in Maharashtra, but let’s just consider the case of Mumbai for the present), if MAHADISCOM uses the same tactics with everyone (I know that MAHADISCOM is not the only electricity supplier in Maharashtra, so even if it has about 10 million customers), as it has used in my case, the amount (which can be called illegal amount since the money is taken away without people’s consent) runs to lakhs (if not crores) of rupees!

I am aware that MAHADISCOM rounds down the amount in some cases. My contention here, however, is to do away with rounding up or rounding down of an amount as long as the transaction happens online.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

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Sports In India

The only sport that most Indians keenly follow and watch is Cricket. This sport has become so popular that it overshadows other sports, often making the players of other sports discouraged, sad and financially weak.

While I have nothing against Cricket (and I do like watching Cricket from time to time) nor do I have any complaints with regard to the huge sum cricketers earn and the lavish lifestyle many of them live, but I don’t like the way Cricket is given so much attention, portrayed as if it is the only sport that matters, and people go so crazy about it – and proudly parrot and seem to believe what the promoters of Cricket say: Cricket is not just a sport but it’s a religion in India – while other sports (and the players) are totally disregarded. Cricket is a fine game to watch but there are also other games as fine as (if not finer than) Cricket. It will do us good if we can remember that Cricket is neither our national sport nor a game that had its origin in India. There is so much more than Cricket in India, which can be realised only if people start giving a little more attention to other sports also, only if the people in the media talked of other sports as enthusiastically as they do of Cricket.

It’s not Cricket’s fault that it is popular, and there is no harm in a sport being popular, but the public is at fault for their bias way of treating other sports, making the other sportsperson feel irrelevant.

The situation for other sports, however, is not as awful and lamentable today as it was a few years back. Other sports are slowly gaining popularity; other sportsperson now feel they are also important, however there is still a long way to go, there is so much more that needs to be done, and we the people of India must show our support for other sports (just as we do for Cricket) and for our players. Players need a cheering audience to boost their morale (not only during big events but also during the smaller ones), and cheering must be done not only for the known players but also for the ones who are not so popular but are trying their best to better themselves and excel in their field). Ministers so proudly offer fancy cars and some money to a few sportsperson only when they are able to bring some recognition to India. Players need finance and proper grooming to feel secure and confident, and that should be done from the beginning, from scratch (not just when they put India in the limelight). Players come not just from the known parts of the country but from remote areas, too, and if one were to gauge the talent of those unfamiliar sportsperson she would be surprised to find many hidden treasures.

Watch Cricket, people, no problem, but do pay some attention to others sports and cheer for all our sportsperson.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS