Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Innovation in government: India and Estonia

A number of countries are creating digital identities for their citizens, in part to improve the delivery of public services. India and Estonia are leading the pack.

Creating a 'coalition of the positive' in India: An interview with Nandan Nilekani
The chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India explains how documenting the existence of every living resident will change the country.
Eric Braverman and Mary Kuntz

When Nandan Nilekani assumed the chairmanship of the Unique Identification Authority of India, in 2009, he knew he was taking on a monumental task—to document the existence of every living resident of the country. Nilekani is leading the development of a national database that assigns a unique identification number to each of India's more than one billion residents. A cofounder and former CEO of outsourcing giant Infosys, Nilekani was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time magazine in 2006 and 2009. In May 2012, he spoke with McKinsey's Eric Braverman and Mary Kuntz in New York about the rewards and challenges of launching this ambitious nationwide ID program, which could have a tremendous impact but has also engendered controversy.
McKinsey: Enrollment in the ID program began in September 2010, and today more than 200 million Indians are in it. Why have so many people enrolled?
Nandan Nilekani: Well, identity rights are very important for participation in the formal economy. Having a document that proves your identity is the basis for owning property. It's the basis for getting basic entitlements or pensions or scholarships. It's the basis for travel. India is becoming more of a migrant society—people are moving from villages to cities, from north to south, from central to coastal India. And when they move, they have to prove to the local establishments who they are, or else they can't open a bank account, buy a mobile connection, or get a job.
The West has fairly well-developed ID systems. In India, we have around 25 million births a year, but as recognized in the UNICEF report,1 many births are unregistered and there is no equivalent of a Social Security number, like in the United States. Thus many Indians don't have any document that proves their existence vis-á-vis the state government. That's the basic problem we're trying to solve. But the game-changing dimension of our ID platform is that it's digital.
McKinsey: What impact has the program had on India's government?
Nandan Nilekani: It will have a huge impact on public-service delivery and, in turn, on residents' satisfaction with the way government works. The platform we created is an open API,2 so other entities—say, banks and telecom companies—can embed our APIs to verify someone's identity before that person withdraws money or buys a SIM card for a mobile phone. So, for example, if a person is entitled to a pension, all the government has to do is say, "Send this amount to this ID number." That ID number translates into a bank account, and the money gets credited to the account. The government doesn't even have to know where the bank account is. Residents will be empowered because they'll be able to access public services from anywhere. We can authenticate a person online, so services can be delivered online, via mobile phones, or at physical service-delivery locations.
McKinsey: Bringing banks and telcos into such a consortium has raised concerns about privacy and civil liberties. How are you addressing those concerns?
Nandan Nilekani: We used a lot of design principles to make the ID system as privacy enabled as possible. For example, the information we collect from individuals is very simple: just the name, address, date of birth, and gender, with e-mail addresses and phone numbers optional. We also have biometric data, but we use this only to prevent duplication (to make sure a person gets only one unique ID number) and also for authentication. We don't share people's data with banks; the banks' data aren't shared with the ID system. So whether a person is withdrawing 100 rupees or 1,000 rupees is known only to the bank. You can think of it as a federated architecture, where each player knows only his or her part of the activity.
McKinsey: What does it take for a federated architecture such as this to work?
Nandan Nilekani: There are two big components to our system: the enrollment system and the authentication system. The enrollment system is a distributable, scalable architecture; we have our technology platform running in about 27,000 locations. The enrollment data are encrypted and then sent to our database for issuing unique ID numbers, so that requires massive back-end computing facilities. The authentication system, however, is cloud based. An authentication request—from a bank, for instance—would come over the mobile network. We verify that person's identity, and we send the answer back.
McKinsey: It sounds like "big data" plays a role in making this work.
Nandan Nilekani: You can't manage 27,000 enrollment stations, around 50,000 operators, and a million enrollments a day without big data. At any given point, we can say how many people enrolled, where they enrolled, how long each biometric capture took, how many retries the operator had to do per enrollee. We have that level of granularity in our performance data analytics so we can distinguish good operators from bad operators—which is important because we pay them based on how many people they enroll. Big data is crucial to performance management.
Also, we intend to publish our enrollment data after it has been made anonymous. If somebody wants to analyze enrollments by state, gender, or age, they can just download our data, which is machine readable. You can find out, for example, that a particular region is underserved, because the number of authentication requests from there is low. As the system matures, there'll be more of this type of analysis. And again, it's a balance between enabling such analysis and protecting privacy.
McKinsey: How will you measure the progress of the ID program? In two years, what will you be looking for to declare it a success?
Nandan Nilekani: You're asking me to make forward-looking statements, something I avoided at my old job. But I'll make one now—our goal is to have at least half a billion people on the system by 2014, which will make this one of the world's largest online ID infrastructures. That's one metric of success.
A second measure of success is to have two or three major applications of this ID infrastructure. The government can use it for electronic benefits transfer—that is, to pay out entitlements, pensions, and other benefits. The government can also use the system for subsidy transfers. Half of the $60 billion the Indian government spends on benefits and entitlements is for subsidies on food, fuel, and fertilizer. The government is looking into converting those subsidies into cash transfers—at least in the case of fertilizer and fuel—as opposed to offering the products at lower prices.
McKinsey: You mentioned your old job. What are some lessons for making major change happen that you have drawn from your experience as an entrepreneur?
Nandan Nilekani: One is the need for speed in implementation—the bias for action. Another is the ability, which is crucial in business, to recognize gaps and niches in the market.
But one area where the public sector is very different from the private sector is the amount of time you have to spend on consensus building and stakeholder navigation. In the private sector, you're answerable to your management, your board, investors, maybe financial analysts. In the public sector, the number of stakeholders is much larger—the federal government, state and city governments, the media, activists, the public—and they often have different agendas and ideologies. Navigating all this, while preserving the integrity of your approach, requires a lot of negotiation.
McKinsey: You've encountered opposition from certain interests. How have you dealt with that?
Nandan Nilekani: Obviously, a transformational change like this will meet resistance from certain groups. To overcome barriers, what we try to do is, first of all, to make the people our champions. The people who enroll in the system become the voice of the system. Part of our strategy is to link the ID to benefits because, fundamentally, the ID is optional. So we're taking a benefits-oriented approach—for example, if there's an immunization program that requires an ID, then all the children required will get the ID. Another part of our strategy has to do with speed of execution. We launched the platform in 14 months, and as you mentioned we've already enrolled 200 million people. A third thing is that we've tried to create a "coalition of the positive." A lot of people now have a stake in the success of this project. Banks and telcos, for example, have an interest in helping us make it work.
McKinsey: Other countries are experimenting with digital-ID programs and are trying to scale them. What advice can you give these countries?
Nandan Nilekani: They should have a scalable architecture right from the beginning. We could scale to 27,000 enrollment stations in one year because we built an entire ecosystem—there was a software platform, a hardware platform, a training platform for operators. We had many partners so that the load would get shared. We did a lot of things architecturally to drive scale.
But what's equally important is that we expect to see a lot more innovation because of the platform's open API. That's the best way to do this: the government builds the platform but makes it open so that individual creativity and entrepreneurship can build more solutions.
Ultimately, what we'd like to accomplish in this role is to create a thriving application ecosystem around the platform. Over the next few years, we'd like to see more apps developed by both the public and private sectors—and the fact that so many people are enrolled in the system will, we hope, spur more developers to build applications. We want to create a virtuous cycle between applications and enrollment. We also want to make sure that there's a sustainable organization that can continue to deliver on the promise of this transformational project.
E-government in Estonia
An innovative platform gives residents easy access to both public and private services—and could be a model for other countries.
Elana Berkowitz and Blaise Warren
Challenge: After gaining independence from the Soviet Union, in 1991, Estonia, one of the smallest nations in Europe, was left with little public infrastructure and virtually no commercial activity. It needed to build high-functioning government services for its residents and the fledgling private sector.
Emerging solution: Estonia's government doubled down on technology, investing aggressively in efforts to bring services and citizens online. In 2003, it launched the first version of its e-government portal (, which offered secure online access to a handful of government services. Today, Estonia's 1.3 million residents can use electronic ID cards to vote, pay taxes, and access more than 160 services online, from unemployment benefits to property registration. Private-sector entities, such as banks and telecommunications companies, also offer services through the state portal—and thus have an incentive to invest in maintaining the infrastructure backbone. More than 90 percent of the country's people now have electronic ID cards, and every day approximately 10,000 users visit the portal.
In Estonia's capital, Tallinn, the spire of St. Olaf's Church towers over a walled city of cobblestone streets and buildings dating back 800 years. Tallinn's medieval center belies Estonia's technological sophistication: the country has one of the world's highest rates of Internet connectivity—more than 75 percent overall and nearly 100 percent for people 35 or younger. It also boasts one of the world's most advanced and comprehensive e-government systems. The state portal makes the public's interactions with and participation in government faster, more convenient, and less expensive.
Government services and beyond
Most residents of Estonia have e-ID cards that enable access to the state portal. Users swipe them through a reader (now pre-installed on all new computers or available separately for less than €10) and confirm their identity with a personal identification number. Through the portal, residents can perform an ever-expanding range of tasks: apply for unemployment benefits, file for parental leave, access notary services, pay taxes (94 percent of taxes are declared online), and register new companies.
Last but not least, they can vote: Estonia is, to date, the only nation where citizens can cast online ballots in every type of election, from local to parliamentary. When Estonia held the world's first binding election3 using Internet voting, in 2005, a mere 2 percent of voters cast ballots online; in the 2011 parliamentary election, that number rose to nearly 25 percent. The cost of each online vote is just half that of a paper vote, even factoring in the initial capital investment in the system.
The state portal's offerings aren't limited to government-provided services; Estonians can also use the system to connect with private-sector entities, such as banks, telecom providers, and energy companies. When banks in Estonia realized that the government-designed e-ID authentication system was more secure than alternatives, they began requiring customers to use government e-IDs when transferring large amounts of money. Today, customers can log into their bank accounts directly from the state portal. They can also claim loyalty rewards at the local cinema, purchase bus tickets, pay electricity and phone bills, and renew medical prescriptions. A private educational foundation has even developed, within the state portal, a Web site called e-School, which parents, students, and teachers can use to access grades and assignments.
Lessons learned
A number of national governments—including those of Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, as well as a handful of Middle Eastern countries—have launched or are planning to launch e-ID card programs. None of them are as far along the path as Estonia. Other countries expanding their programs can take inspiration from how it overcame some foundational challenges.
Building the user base quickly. Because the system would require an upfront investment of approximately €50 million to €100 million, the government knew it needed a critical mass of users—quickly. When the portal first launched, its services were limited. Indrek Vimberg, managing director of the Estonian Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Demo Center, jokes that at first, "all you could do with the e-ID cards was scrape flies off your window." To attract users, the government offered a 30 percent discount on public transportation to people who registered with the e-ID system. The number of e-ID cardholders increased 213 percent in 12 months.
Creating a technological platform that provides for low-cost expansion. The government wanted to develop a system that could incorporate innovative applications, not in existence at the time of launch, from the public and private sectors safely and at low cost. The solution: X-Road, a secure data-access platform that connects existing databases, allowing users to access data seamlessly from different sources. X-Road does not require building new databases or integrating existing ones into a master database. Rather, all the data remain separate—each government agency maintains its own, in the original format, on its own servers. (A list of the queries users have put to the system is the only data X-Road itself maintains.) X-Road can also link to the databases of private companies, thus allowing e-ID cardholders to access both private data (such as their personal bank accounts) and government records (such as their tax returns) through one interface. Since the government allows companies to use its authentication technology to verify the identities of their customers, many more services can be built on the e-ID platform. That will substantially increase the user base.
X-Road's decentralized architecture has two benefits. First, it reduces the likelihood of a damaging cyberattack—in fact, a 2007 attempt to disrupt the services of Estonia's central government resulted in nothing more than very brief downtime; the government's portal and databases all remained stable. Second, connecting information to the X-Road system isn't prohibitively expensive. According to Andrus Aaslaid, counselor to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication (in the Department of State Information Systems), the country's state portal costs approximately €50 million a year.
Addressing privacy concerns. Estonia had to ensure that residents understood and were comfortable with how and where their data were being used. It supplemented its e-government systems architecture with an audit function and legislation to enable Estonians to control their privacy and the use of their personal data. Every Estonian can review the full history of inquiries about him or her, including police-, banking-, and health-related inquiries. If a user does not recognize or approve of an inquiry, he or she can file a complaint with Estonia's Information Services Agency. These internal controls have worked: in 2009, a police officer was suspended for inappropriately accessing public records.
Estonia's residents can opt out of making their data accessible. A user's health records, for example, are by default available for viewing by all licensed doctors, so they can look across a large patient database for common conditions and treatments. But patients can block access to their electronic medical records. This kind of system, Estonia's government believes, has significant benefits, but it may not be tenable in countries that put greater emphasis on personal privacy rights.
Siim Raie, director of the Office of the President of the Republic, explains Estonia's e-government leadership by noting that "In so many things, we had to start from scratch—so we were free to make big choices." Indeed, Estonia's e-government platform has made great strides in connecting public agencies, private citizens, and commerce. It will continue to evolve: for example, the country recently expanded the e-ID system to include a mobile ID service accessible through smartphones equipped with SIM cards. More innovations will be coming soon. Liia Hanni, program director of the E-Governance Academy and a former member of Estonia's parliament, says that "In Estonia, we can add e to almost every affair of life."
source :
About the Authors
Creating a 'coalition of the positive' in India: An interview with Nandan Nilekani
Eric Braverman is a principal in McKinsey's Washington, DC, office; Mary Kuntz is an external contributing editor for McKinsey.

E-government in Estonia
Elana Berkowitz and Blaise Warren are consultants in McKinsey's Washington, DC, office.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The five hallmarks of respected achievers

The Five Hallmarks of Highly Respected Achievers

I've been working on a research project for a few weeks that involves identifying the characteristics that describe highly driven, achievement-oriented people who are also among the most well-respected in any organization. The intersection between drive and respect is an important one, because we all know people who are highly driven but think nothing of running others over along the way. And, we know examples of people who are respected but stagnant.

What follows is a taste of things to come, but here are a few initial thoughts on what makes respected achievers different.

1. Tempered Tenacity

Respected achievers are incredibly tenacious. They do not allow obstacles to stop them, at least not for long, chiefly because they've trained their thinking to immediately seek out other ways of reaching a goal. To a tenaciously driven person, there is never just one way to get there, and no one will convince them otherwise.  However, the sort of achiever we're talking about also keeps the well-being of others in mind, and if one of those alternate routes will result in unnecessarily harming someone else, then that route isn't an option, period. To the respected achiever, it doesn't have to be, because they know there are other ways to get where they want to go even if it takes longer to get there.

2. Consistent Commitment

Another hallmark of respected achievers is that they do what they say they'll do. They don't spin out an elaborate vision, get others to buy into it, and then run off to the next big idea because it has sparked their interest more than the first. While nurturing multiple visions is fine (assuming they are manageable), the respected achiever sets a high standard for her/himself that what they commit to do on a project, they fully intend to do and will make every reasonable effort to make it happen. Granted, failure or unforeseen circumstances are always a possibility, but those are the exceptions. The respected achievers' standard of following through is consistently maintained whether or not adversity materializes, and others know that when they collaborate with a respected achiever it won't be a waste of their time.

3. Soulful Pragmatism

Respected achievers are typically pragmatists – they focus on what works. If one approach isn't panning out, they either figure out how to tweak it in subtle or significant ways, or they abandon it altogether and adopt a different approach. Their focus is on outcomes. But, implementing a pragmatic approach without being mindful of how changes will affect others isn't commendable, it's cruel. Respected achievers know this, so they balance an outcome-focus with a situational awareness of the adjustments required by others, and they work with them to make those adjustments. Again, this may build a little more time into the process, but respected achievers don't value outcomes above peoples' lives if there is any possibility of creating a mutually beneficial arrangement. And if there is not, they take it as a personal goal to help others transition into roles that will benefit them.

4. Strategic Resolution

Just like anyone else, respected achievers can become negative when things aren't going well, and just like all of us, they may vent now and again about how crappy a situation is.  What they do not do, however, is drop anchor in that negative place and allow their negativity to feed itself and eventually seep into the perspectives of those around them. Instead, they experience the pain, recognize that whatever caused it (business or personal) is now part of their repertoire of experience, and then they resolve to strategically move on.  In this case, strategy refers to a guiding set of action steps to push forward – and, it also refers to decisions about what not to do.  Strategy is choice, and resolving into a strategic mindset to pull out of a negative place requires making hard choices. Respected achievers are seen by others as those willing to make those choices, and that carries tremendous weight in any organization.

5. Responsibility Ownership 

One less-than-admirable trait of many driven people is that they're good at figuring out how to avoid taking responsibility for what went wrong. If that means throwing someone under the proverbial bus, so be it. Better him than me. But the respected achiever sees things differently in a couple of ways. First, if something went wrong due to a mistake made by the team, the respected achiever owns responsibility whether or not other team members do the same. Why? Because teams are essentially organizations structured to accomplish specific goals, and if those goals aren't reached, then the team (not any one person) owns the blame, because the team (not any one person) was given the responsibility to succeed. Respected achievers own their role on the team instead of trying to explain why their responsibility should be less than that of the others'.  Second, respected achievers are intuitively reciprocal people – they treat others in the manner they wish to be treated. Their embodiment of the "Golden Rule" is not situational; it's a consistently applied maxim that guides their behavior.

How to connect with people

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you." - Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

I don't care what your goals, industry or interests are, there's no getting around it: Personal relationships run the world. But why is it that some people seem to build instant rapport with most anyone they come across, while others are left with a network of one?

  Over the past few years, I've conducted a study of exactly what sets these people apart. Turns out, the results are more simple, and more powerful, than you'd think. And they led me to interactions and connections with world-class CEOs, best-selling authors, professional athletes and other seemingly untouchable folks, including Tony Robbins and Warren Buffett.

Regardless of status or fame, people are people. And the 7 pillars of making a connection with another person are always the same — whether applied to your next-door neighbor, one of the world's biggest celebrities or even the cute girl sitting at the bar:

  1. Be genuine. The only connections that work will be the ones that you truly care about; the world will see through anything short of that. If you don't have a genuine interest in the person with whom you're trying to connect, then stop trying.
  2. Provide massive help. Even the biggest and most powerful people in the world have something they'd like help with. Too many people never reach out to those above them due to the fear that they wouldn't be able to offer anything in return. But you have more to offer than you realize: write an article or blog post about them, share their project with your community, offer to spread their message through a video interview with them. Give real thought to who you could connect them with to benefit their goals. If it turns out you can't be that helpful, the gesture alone will stand out.
  3. Pay ridiculous attention. It's nearly impossible to genuinely offer help if you don't pay attention — I mean real attention, not just to what business they started or what sport they like! Do your research by reading blog posts, books and articles about the connection beforehand. Learn about their backgrounds and passions. Invest genuine time in learning what really matters to them and how you can help.
  4. Connect with people close to them. Most job openings are filled through networking and referrals, and making connections is no different. You automatically arrive with credibility when referred to someone you want to meet by a mutual friend. For example, I recently wanted to meet a best-selling author, and it turned out we had the same personal trainer. In reality, that fact means nothing, but in the world of social dynamics, it's gold! Spend more time connecting with your current network of friends and colleagues and see where it leads.
  5. Persistence wins most battles. If you can't get a direct referral, simply click send on that email or leave a message after the beep. But do not stop there, as most the world tends to. The first attempt is just the very beginning. Realize that the first try may get you nowhere, but the fifth or the tenth tries are the ones that start to yield results. An unreturned email or voicemail doesn't mean they don't want to connect with you. It's your job to be persistent! I sometimes get hundreds of requests in a day from readers who want to connect, but only about 2 percent ever follow up. Don't be in a hurry, but don't be invisible either.
  6. Make real friends. Think about how you've made the friends you have. That's all this is. You only make friends with people you genuinely want in your life. The same rule should go for bigger-name connections. Don't over-think it. Be human, be helpful and most humans will happily be human in return, regardless of who they are.
  7. Remain unforgettable. All of the above are simple — yet sadly underused — ways of standing out. Send birthday cards. Mail your favorite book with a signed personal note from you on the inside flap. Send them your family Christmas card. Be genuinely helpful. You'd be surprised how the simplest things actually never get done. Being memorable isn't as hard as some think!

It all comes back to helping others. If you spent 100 percent of your waking hours thinking about how you can help absolutely everyone you come in contact with — from the woman who makes your latte, to the top authority in your industry — you will find everything else tends to take care of itself. The world will suddenly be in your corner.

source :

Friday, June 22, 2012

Useful resources for Civil services

Please find Environment-and-Ecology-Notes from IAS-OUR-DREAM 

Please find Economy-Notes from IAS-OUR-DREAM

Please find Polity-Notes from IAS-OUR-DREAM

Please find Geography-Notes from IAS-OUR-DREAM - a repository of news, articles and views from a Left perspective on the internet. Besides carrying contemporary, analytical and objective articles, Pragoti also offers a forum to debate, discuss and propagate views from the Left. - IAS our dream blog can be reached from this link.You will find lot of info. on Civils

weekly-current-affairs-E magazine

Inspiring Success stories from Sakshi

Inline image 1 Helping poor students

Inspire sponsors, uplift talented poor students and empower them to bring visible change and transform society through Brilliant Brains

Every EDUCATED, Well established, Financially sound person must sponsor at least one deserving Talented Poor student for 4 years graduation course.  In return every sponsored student should sponsor 2 more deserving talented poor students after graduation and getting a job. 

This chain should become stronger and longer and make the country a better place to live.
You can appear in this website in 2 ways.
  1. Sponsor a TALENTED POOR student who is not your blood relation, for higher education .
  2. Be a deserving TALENTED POOR student who meets the criteria.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Young, optimistic and motivated IAS officers are changing the way bureaucracy works

Mayur maheshwari, The soft-spoken district collector of Badaun in Uttar Pradesh is trying to eradicate manual scavenging. Photo by Arvind jain


The establishment sometimes is used as dirty word.

—Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to IAS probationers in 2008

It is 10 a.m. in Bundi in Rajasthan, a few kilometres from Kota, India's sports training capital where temperatures soar above 47 degrees Celsius routinely. At Bundi, too, the heat is unbearable. The landscape is barren brown, giving no sign that Bundi had a bumper wheat harvest this year. The roads are narrow. Famed for the fort that Rudyard Kipling described as "men built for themselves in uneasy dreams", Bundi is far away from the touristy Jaipur area.
Behind the court of the district magistrate is the collectorate, a colonial building with numerous white columns. Arti Dogra, the district collector, is in office. Sitting behind a mammoth desk with two phones, a computer and a big-screen television showing the news on mute, she neatly fits the image of the IAS officer. The only thing missing is the towel on the chair. At age 33, Dogra is at the start of her career.
She is listening intently to an agitated man who witnessed the gruesome murder of a chicken. "There are feathers outside my house,'' he says. "My wife and I are traumatised." Dogra assures him that she will take action. She immediately calls up an officer to ensure that the lane on which the man lives is cleaned. She then castigates the official in charge of ensuring that meat shops operate with a licence.
It is a typical day in the life of Dogra. "We get woken up at 6 a.m. if a hand-pump isn't working," she says laughing. The night before, it was a cow that kept her awake. Like in most parts of India, a dead cow is a serious issue here. From her incessantly ringing cellphone, it is apparent that Dogra is accessible, a word rarely associated with IAS officers. 

Welcome to 21st century India, where collectors are important people, but not gods you worship from a distance. They may still have the best house in the district, all the trappings of the office, and a big car with a chauffeur and many minions. But there has been a perceptible change in the way they conduct business. "We realise we are not rulers," says Mayur Maheshwari, the soft-spoken district collector of Badaun in Uttar Pradesh. "We are facilitators. We're there only because the system needs us. If a tap runs dry, I can't say it isn't my job to fix it."
Maheshwari and Dogra represent the new face of the Indian bureaucracy. Young, both of them chose their careers casting aside more profitable options. They are what the Prime Minister described as "agents of change". Dogra knew she could not go down the IIM path. "All my friends were doing that, but I knew I just couldn't," she says.
Maheshwari left his job at Reliance in Mumbai to study for the IAS. "There was no job satisfaction after some time," he says. Ashutosh A.T. Pednekar of Goa, however, always wanted to join the IAS. Posted in Alwar, the 34-year-old is literally reinventing the wheel by improving the public transport system. 

Things have changed a lot in the bureaucratic space. The average age of IAS aspirants has gone up. "The country is different," says G.K. Pillai, a former home secretary who was never considered a typical babu. "[IAS officers] used to distribute kerosene and cement. There was a quota for two-wheelers. In a way, the challenges are much more now. We didn't, for example, have 24x7 scrutiny with television channels. If a collector went missing, it would take weeks sometimes to find out."

For years, khadi-clad politicians and babus in safari suits have been the stuff of Hindi movie villains. But the changing work ethic of IAS officers has changed the way they are portrayed on screen. In Shanghai, the latest from acclaimed director Dibakar Banerjee, an activist is killed. It is Krishnan, a suited-up IAS officer played by Abhay Deol, who finally gets 'justice' for the killing. For once, the babu is portrayed as a good guy. It helps that the recent kidnapping of Alex Paul Menon, the collector of Sukma district in Chhattisgarh, has brought to light the best of babudom.
The Indian bureaucrat is often associated with red tape, inefficiency and corruption in a way that the Indian Premier League finds itself embroiled in controversy. Babu bashing is so routine that even the PM, on Civil Services Day on April 21, talked about introspection. "There is a growing perception, right or wrong, that the moral fibre of our civil servants and public servants in general, is not as strong as it used to be some decades ago, and that our civil servants are now more likely to succumb to extraneous pressures in their work. These perceptions might be exaggerated but I do think that there is a grain of truth in them," he said.

However, idealistic and enthusiastic IAS officers are certainly making a difference. Take the case of Ajit Joshi, deputy commissioner of Jhajjar, a conservative town near Gurgaon trapped between urban and rural India. Jhajjar's sex ratio is one of the lowest in the country, and he is working hard to bring about a change.
Joshi might seem like a textbook IAS officer: he has a towel on his chair and will keep you waiting for hours. But, like many of his peers, he is trying to ensure change through technology. To battle the skewed sex ratio (774 girls per 1,000 boys up to age 6) he has installed what Aamir Khan has now made famous with his television show Satyamev Jayate—'the silent observer', a device installed on sonography machines to keep track of patient records and curb illegal sex determination tests. Joshi, however, has gone a step ahead and installed an 'active tracker', an advanced version of the silent observer. "We get to know how many times the machine has been used," says an official. "We also get an idea of where the probe was done, and whether it was used for sex determination."
For officers like Joshi, technology helps in creating better systems. In Badaun, Maheshwari and his wife, Ritu, started Arogyam, a model health project that has been recognised by the UN. It uses SMSes to inform people when their child is due for inoculation.
In Bundi, a few kilometres from the collector's office is a government dispensary. The building is small and cramped, and there is no electricity. But, for the village, which has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country, the dispensary is a lifeline.
Close to it is the home of Mamta, a slim 20-year-old with a baby bump that is barely visible. On one of the walls is a circle with a dot with 'HRP' written across it. "The mark identifies that this woman is in the high risk category," says Dogra. "The villagers then know that when she goes into labour, they have to look out. Also, it makes the family a little more aware about her needs."
It also helps the auxiliary nurse midwife, Mamta's first link to the district health scheme, identify women who need special attention. "The doctor also knows that he has to keep a watch on them," says Dogra.
Every day, the ANM sends an SMS with details like the number of people she visited and the number of children she vaccinated. The data is fed into a centralised server. "If there is a maternal death, it sends an alert to the chief medical officer and me," says Dogra. "We then rush in a team to do a verbal autopsy to understand why this has happened. The ANM has to report this within four days. Otherwise, she could face action."
Mamta's sister-in-law—she is one of the three bahus and there are more children than adults—was also an HRP. Close to her home are three other houses marked HRP. One woman has high blood pressure, because of which she had lost her first child. Her neighbour, who is 35, is expecting for the third time. She is hoping for a boy this time. "I would love to get an operation to get my tubes tied, but my husband wants a boy," she smiles shyly.
Sterilisation of men is still unheard of in these parts. The ANM, however, has managed to convince about 100 men to go through the procedure. "Sterilising one man is equivalent to 10 women," she says.
In Rajasthan, women are still considered expendable. Says Dogra: "I was asleep at home when this woman in labour came to my house at 7.30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. She wanted me to tell the doctors to help her." The doctors had refused to treat the severely anaemic women, who needed blood. "Her mother-in-law had forbidden her sons to donate blood, because it would make them weak," says Dogra. "Even though we have a system to provide free blood, the blood given has to be replaced. The woman had no one to help her. The implication was clear: if she died, another would replace her."
The incident spurred her into action. It also made Dogra, who had studied in an all-girls boarding school and the Delhi's elite Lady Shriram College for Women, aware of how deep gender discrimination was in rural areas. "I had never been to a village before I entered the service,'' she says.
With her privileged roots, Dogra constitutes a minority among today's IAS entrants, most of whom come from small towns. Maheshwari of Meerut is one of the faces of this change. He was ranked sixth in the IAS exams. He is a legend in UP, where boys aspiring to be IAS officers speak of him with awe.
In the same league as Maheshwari is Shruti Singh, the first collector of the newly-created Bemetara district in Chhattisgarh. She had worked as a lecturer in Lucknow and had got into the state civil service before she finally cracked the IAS exam. Married with an 18-month-old child—her husband tries to come over every weekend from Lucknow—she is the face of government in an area that is incredibly poor. "Most migrations to cities happen from here,'' she says.
Her first job was to send officers to remote villages to solve problems. "It was tough to get them to go out in this heat to remote areas,'' she says. "But you have to motivate people."
Many young officers are trying to take governance to doorsteps. Dogra, organises ratri chaupal (evening meetings) every Monday and Friday. Maheshwari and Singh travel to survey villages. Vineel Krishna, who was kidnapped by the Maoists last year when he was district collector of Malkangiri in Orissa, is now secretary to Rural Affairs Minister Jairam Ramesh. He believes that it is not right to expect your subordinates to go out without you doing it yourself.
Remote areas are not the only ones with their problems. Big cities like Bangalore have their own share of obstacles. Salma Fahim, the first Muslim woman IAS officer from Karnataka, has to battle more than just perception in her job as project director at Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society. She is also joint commissioner (welfare) at the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike.

"Challenges vary not only with the geographical region where you are working, but with every post you occupy," she says. "In BBMP, dealing with the local elected representatives is a huge challenge. Putting systems in place is a challenge. Wading your way through red tape is a challenge. Team building is a challenge. Getting demotivated staff to work is a challenge! If one can get past these struggles, at least we can hope to deliver on what is mandated from us."

It is their attitude that separates many young IAS officers from their senior colleagues. The system, they acknowledge, is flawed. Yet, it is about making a difference. "Getting into the IAS is just the first step," says Pratyaya Amrit, an officer who received the Prime Minister's award for public administration last year. He is credited with rescuing the Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam (BRPNN), the public construction corporation that was in the red. "The first day I walked in, I was taken aback," says Amrit. "My room didn't even have curtains. But you can't expect creature comforts when people don't even get salaries." During his seven-year tenure, the corporation built a record 700 bridges. 

That these IAS officers were able to make a difference even when corruption and bureaucratic delays hindered their progress is what makes their achievement big. "I could easily not do anything," says Maheshwari, who is trying to eradicate manual scavenging in Badaun. In the three months he has been in office, he has managed to demolish 20,000 dry toilets in the district. "Had I not done it, no one would have questioned me. But the point is that I couldn't bear it. It has no place in civilised society," he says.
He also conducted a survey of what people wanted. "The problem is that you may want a horse, but the government is only giving you a cow. What, then, is the point? We've always been target-driven. But to find a solution, we have to go beyond."
But it is not easy to go beyond. And success is difficult to measure. Maheshwari has a tiny barometer to measure his success. Every day he wants to help 10 people. "It is a small number; but when we were trainees, we were told that if we could ensure that five people had their work completed in 24 hours, it was good. For example, if a man came in saying he didn't get his pension, could I ensure that it would be delivered to him the next day so he need not come back? It seems easy, but it isn't. I have doubled that number," he says.
For Dogra, it is a little less obvious. "I remember going to a village where an old man complained to me about his sons not treating him well. Without thinking, I spoke to the sons, and told them to look after their father," she says.
A few months later, she was in another village when an old man came up to her, handed her flowers and then walked away. "I kept yelling at him, asking him to tell me his problem. Then I sent someone after him, to ask what the matter was, since we're so used to getting complaints. It was the same man. His sons look after him now."

The canvas of the collector is vast. As Pillai says, it may be watered down since his days, but you could still do a lot. "I may not always be able to provide a solution to their problems or answers to the uncomfortable questions they raise," says Salma about reaching out to AIDS patients. "But the fact that they consider me worthy of sharing their joys and sorrows is what I feel is my success."

source :

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Importance of Attitude

There was a man who made living selling balloons at a fair. He had all colors of balloons Including red, yellow, green. Whenever business was slow, he would release a helium filled balloons into the air and when the children saw it go up, they all wanted to buy one. They would come up to him, buy a balloon and his sales would go up again. He continues this process all day. One day, he felt something tugging his jacket. He turned around and saw a little boy who asked," If you release a black balloon, would that also fly?" Moved by the boy's concern, the man replied with empathy." Son, it is not the Color of the balloon, it is what inside that makes it go up."

The same thing applies to our lives. It is what is inside that counts. The thing inside of us that makes is go up is our attitude.

Greece Exit from Eurozone- Implications on Indian and World Economy”

Mrunal's New article on UPSC: "[Economy] What If Greece Exits from Eurozone? Implications on Indian and World Economy" plus 1 more

Past few weeks, media is talking about Greece's possible exit from Eurozone and its impact on India. Before going into Greece's possible Exit from EU, let's once again start from the beginning.
  1. How does Government finance its operations?
  2. What is Sovereign Debt?
  3. Then what is Sovereign Debt Crisis?
  4. What is a government bond?
  5. What is a bond market?
  6. Why do bond markets matter?
  7. Borrowing beyond the Aukaat
  8. Why is Greece such a messed up Economy?
  9. TimeLine of Events
  10. January 2010
  11. February 2012: The Auserity Bill
  12. May 2012: Elections in Greece
  13. What's the EU Exit Rumor?
  14. What're the consequences IF Greece Exits Eurozone?
  15. Lines at the Banks
  16. Loan Default by Greece
  17. Meltdown
  18. Businesshouses go Bankrupt
  19. Sovereign Debt Crisis for Weak Eurozone Nations
  20. Good for US and Japan
  21. Political Turmoil in Europe
  22. Recession in Europe
  23. Why Greece Exit =Trouble for India?
  24. Food for thought

How does a Government finance its operations?

  1. What is Sir Creek Boundary?
  2. What is Harami Nala?
  3. Why is Sir Creek in news?
  4. Pakistani Claim
  5. Indian Claim
  6. History
  7. Solution
  8. Conclusion

What is Sir Creek Boundary?

Sir Creek is a 96-km strip of water that is disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands. The creek, which opens into the Arabian Sea, divides the Kutch region of Gujarat and the Sindh province of Pakistan.

What is Harami Nala?

Harami Nala is a marshy, sluggish and shallow water channel, spread over 500 sq km in Kutch, in the Sir Creek region, where both Indian and Pakistani fishermen sail to catch the prized variety of fishes, and at times get caught by the Costal guards of either country and spend years in Jail.

Why is Sir Creek in news?

On 19th June 2012, India and Pakistan failed
Source : mrunals blog

Forex Market Basics

Forex market  is the biggest market of the world which has a daily turnover of 4 trillion $. It is also known as FX in short term. In Forex market currencies of different countries are exchanged for the purpose of trading. There are 3 layers of Forex market in India. Normally RBI works like a regulator.


a. RBI (The regulator)

b.Bank to Bank (also called interbank rate transaction)

c. Bank to customer (also called merchant rate transaction)


A customer can never directly buy or sell foreign currency. This work is done with the help of bank. Whenever the customer need to buy or sell the currency, he goes to bank and do the same.


1. So Interpretation is always done with respect to the banker's point of view, suppose X wants to purchase $, we won't say he wants to buy $, we would rather use the wording Bank is selling $ or vice-versa.


2. There are always two market rates which are named as Bid/ Ask where Bid is the buying rate,ask is the selling rate.


3. Market always sell at higher rate and buys at low rate. And the convention of the market is to buy at lower rate and sell at higher rate.


4. Suppose 1$ = INR 40.99/01 we will read the same as Bid is 40.99 and ask rate is 41.01


5. There  are two types of quotes are in foreign exchange first is Direct quote and second is  Indirect quote.


6. Direct quote means where price comes first and commodity comes next. Like Rs.20 per pen, here price is Rs.20 and Pen is commodity. And the same is done with foreign currency  Rs.56 per $ means direct quote for US$ in India. So in shortest words Direct quote can be defined as No Of units of home currency per one unit of foreign currency.


Suppose in London we have sterling pound as home currency and  $ will be foreign currency. So  1 $= .2 sterling pound will be called as direct quote.


Indirect quote = it will be vice-versa , here commodity will come first and price will come next. Let's take the same example   1 $ = 1/56 doller  this will be indirect quote. So Indirect quote is 1/direct quote.


7. Direct  quote will be called as American  and the indirect quote will be called as European  term across the globe.


8. The difference between bid and ask is called as Spread suppose Rs 44-49 is the quote given . So spread will be  Rs.4. The more stable the market will be, lesser will be the difference  between the spread.


9. Cross rate:- when we are faced with such kinds of rates which don't involve the exact quote of what we want.  A cross rate is a rate which doesn't involve the home currency.




One quote is SGD/INR =0.045. Another quote is euro/INR= 0.02.

Ascertain the quote for SGD in terms of Euro.


Answer :- Here we can't calculate Euro/SGD easily. So if we want we can calculate it with:


Euro/SGD =  Euro/INR *INR/SGD = 0.02* 1/0.045  = 0.444


10. Exchange rate in forex market can be brought under 2 heads:-


a. Spot market:- where settlement is made on second working day. Suppose a transaction take place on Friday,  then Saturday and Sunday are holidays. So it means  settlement day is Monday.


b. Future market:- Forwards rate is the rate fixed  today for a future date. Suppose 1$ = 55/56. And the bank fixes the date on ending of march as  58/59. So even if the $ falls to 50/52.  The bank will still buy the $ at 58 not 50.


11. We say $ was 45/46, a year before and now its 54/55 per Rs. So we need to measure how much $ increase and how much the value Of RS.  Fall. We do the same with appreciation and depreciation formula.


12. (Forward rate –spot rate)/Spot rate *12/months *100 .This formula is used in case of direct quote.  And we can calculate the appreciation or depreciation of  the currency.


13.(Spot rate-forward rate)/forward*12/m*100. This formula is used in case of indirect quote. And the percentage increase in doller doesn't mean the RS.will also be decrease in the same ratio. So we calculate the same with required formulas.


14. Swap points = Forward Rate-Spot rate


15. Forward Premium and discount  




1 month swap points











We will just focus on one thing, if the swap ask >swap Bid then we will add. As we had done in second example  where swap point increased from 10 to 20.


If the same don't happen we will subtract the digits like we has done in 1st example.




Employment News Weekly Updates

Job Highlights (16 June - 22 June 2012)

1. Railway Recruitment Boards invite applications for 12042 post of Technicians. Last Date: 16.07.2012.

2. Canara Bank requires 2000 Probationary Clerks. Closing Date for online Registration : 01.07.2012.

3. Corporation Bank requires 1550 Single Window Operators (Clerks). Last Date for one Registration: 26.06.2012.

4. United Bank of India needs 751 Single Window Operators 'A' (In Clerical Cadre). Last Date for online Registration : 22.06.2012.

5. Footwear Design & Development Institute, Noda invites applications for 105 non-academic posts. Last Date : 30 days after publication.

6. Ordnance Factory, Dehu Road, Pune requires 82 Boiler, Attendant, Fitter, Machinist, Turner, Examiner etc. Last Date: 21 days after publication.

7. Public Service Commission, Uttar Pradesh invites applications for 79 various posts. Last Date: 16.07.2012.

8. Indian Navy invites online applications from unmarried Male candidates for enrolment as Sailors for Artificer Apprentice (AA)-133 Batch. Last Date: 06.07.2012.

9. Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur requires 7 Deputy Registrars Medical Officers ad Assistant Physical Education Officer. Last Date: 06.07.2012.

Source: Employment news

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Arvind Kejriwal - an ex-Indian Revenue Service (IRS)

Team Anna: 10 things you may like to know about ex-IRS officer Arvind Kejriwal

ONE of Team Anna Hazare's key aides, Arvind Kejriwal, was an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer who worked as Additional Commissioner of Income Tax in Delhi before opting for a quiet exit of his high profile government job. A crusader for stringent anti-corruption laws in India now, Kejriwal once met Mother Teresa in Kolkata and worked for her for two months. He started his NGO Parivartan informally even when he was in the Income-Tax department. Here are 10 things you may like to know about Kejriwal, a Ramon Magsaysay Award winner and a confidante of Anna Hazare.

1. Hailing from Haryana, 43 year-old Kejriwal is an engineer from IIT-Kharagpur.
2. Worked for the Tata Group before joining Indian Revenue Service in 1995.
3. Before leaving the Tata and joining the IRS, he met Mother Teresa who asked him to work at Kalighat in Kolkata. Kejriwal worked for Mother Teresa for two months.
Spot Kejriwal: IRS officers of 1995 batch 
4. He also traveled inside Bodoland of Assam when militancy was at its peak.
5. Kejriwal thought he would be a misfit in the IRS service, but did not leave the job immediately.
6. Started his NGO Parivartan informally even when he was an Income Tax officer. Received Rs 50,000 donation from his relatives to begin the process. The idea was to appeal people that "don't pay bribe in the tax department, get your work done through Parivartan".
7. Won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership in 2006.
8. Played a key role in lobbying for the Right To Information Act passed.
9. Kejriwal's wife Sunita is also an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer. They have two children.
10. He lives at Kaushambi in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh. It's just at the outskirts of Delhi.

Channelize your energy for success

Dear Aspirants,

It has come to the notice of ITCSA that rumors are being spread by some unknown persons that Sadhu Narasimha Reddy IRS or any other members are having interest in some coaching centres, Hence it is once again clarified that  Sadhu Narasimha Reddy IRS or any other members of ITCSA are NOT having any financial or any other interest in any coaching centre..It is only a social service being provided by the members but not for any consideration..We request you to kindly put your energies & time on the one and only Civil Service..

All the best


Donation of blood is a sign of kindness and care for the fellow human beings. There is no gift more valuable than a gift of blood as it is actually a gift of life for the person who receives it. is an online edge for bringing mutually giving blood donors and patients who needs blood in India.

You can go to the nearest government approved blood center which is based on voluntary non/remunerated blood donation and make your significant contribution to saving life of a patient by donating blood. Your contribution is extremely valuable to us. is an organization that maintains the details of donors from various places and display their details who need blood

What is:
  • An organization that maintains the database of donors.
  • Collects blood samples from various donors and register their names.
  • Create awareness among the people about blood donation.
  • Then you must rest and relax for a few minutes with a light snack and something refreshing to drink. Some snacks and juice will be provided.
  • Blood will be separated into components within eight hours of donation.
  • The blood will then be taken to the laboratory for testing.
  • Once found safe, it will be kept in special storage and released when required.
  • The blood is now ready to be taken to the hospital, to save lives.
  • What not is:
  • Its not a commercial organization that collects funds.
  • Its not an organization that stores blood as in blood bank. It is not a blood bank.
  • The blood is now ready to be taken to the hospital, to save lives
  • Contact

    University Post Graduate College

    Godavarikhani, Karimnagar.


    Friday, June 15, 2012

    How to deal With Cervical Pain

    Dealing With Cervical Pain  
    Simple Home Remedies For Dealing With Cervical Pain 
    Cervical spondylosis is one of the most painful chronic conditions that affects a large number of people. Caused due to the wear and tear of the discs and the vertebrae in the spine, cervical spondylosis is an ailment that generally affects people over forty. If you are suffering from cervical pain, then finding out means and ways of dealing with the pain is necessary since it often interferes with your regular lifestyle and daily routine. In most cases, a combination of self-care practices and professional therapy may often yield good results. 

    The tips below will not only help you deal with, but prevent cervical pain. 

    Maintain Good Posture: Bad posture can not only trigger cervical pain, it can make existing pain worse. So make sure that you always pay attention to posture no matter where you are and what you are doing. The head, neck and spine should always be in a straight line whether you are sitting at your desk, standing or walking. When you are lifting, lift with your spine straight and knees bent. It is absolutely essential to make sure your work station at the office is ergonomically sound and promotes good posture.

    Try Cervical Traction: Cervical traction does not necessarily require hooking yourself up to a traction machine. Gentle traction, like that from stretching or yoga exercises can give your spine a gentle pull, promote blood flow and ease up pressure on cervical disks. Such exercises should be made a part of your daily routine and practiced religiously to ease and avoid cervical pain.

    Relax: Stress is a major contributor to cervical pain, and research shows that muscles over work in the case of a stressed mind. Getting rid of stress will help you get rid of cervical pain fast. Try de-stressing techniques like deep breathing and yoga or pick up a hobby that helps you de-stress. Just resting with an empty, peaceful mind can often provide you with great relief from cervical pain.

    Keep Your Neck Mobile: When you are in the midst of a cervical flare-up, then you may need to rest for a couple of days or so. However, the best way of preventing cervical pain is to keep the neck as mobile as possible so that it does not stiffen up. Gently keep moving your neck left, right and up every couple of hours. 

    Take Painkillers If Required: When you are in the middle of a cervical attack, you might need to take over the counter painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen to help reduce the inflammation. You might need stronger painkillers in case your cervical pain is very severe. However, always consult your doctor about what will be the right medication for you and always keep it handy to be taken as soon as cervical pain starts.

    Stretch: Stretching exercises are quite effective in relieving neck and shoulder pain and should be tried as soon as your doctor gives permission. In many cases, your doctor may ask you to do the exercises during a cervical flare-up itself, in order to relieve the pain. Ask your physical therapist or doctor to tell you about stretching exercises that you should do and when you should do them. Make sure that whatever the time, you stretch your neck only when it has first been warmed up through a hot pack or a warm bath. 

    Use Hot Or Cold Treatments: In the case of cervical spondylosis, you can use either hot or cold treatments depending upon which one you like more since they will both relieve pain. Most doctors recommend a hot water bottle or heating pad to be applied to the neck for around twenty minutes at a time. Give a break of 40 minutes before you apply another hot or cold pack.

    Exercise: Exercising helps increase the flow of oxygen and blood to the neck and the spine, and thus helps in keeping the spine healthy and nourished. An exercise program that includes a combination of aerobic and strength training exercises can help in easing and controlling neck pain in the long run. Ask your physiotherapist or doctor for the right kind of exercises that will help you deal with cervical pain.

    Diligently following the tips given above can help you avoid cervical pain to a great extent. However, if they do not get the desired results, or if your condition deteriorates in spite of following them, then see a doctor immediately as your cervical spondylosis might require instant medical intervention. 

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012




    Release of list of provisionally qualified candidates for appearing for Main Examination.

    How to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

    Save Yourself From Carpal Tunnel Syndrome  
    We hear the words 'Carpal Tunnel Syndrome' more and more nowadays as people spend too much time on their computers, laptops and texting or mailing on their mobile phones. CTS is a common lifestyle ailment affecting millions of Indians every year, and taking proper precautions is mandatory for everyone who wants to avoid it.

    What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome refers to a condition where there is pain, tingling or numbness in the hands or the fingers caused because of an inflammation of the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a narrow, rigid channel of bone and ligaments situated at the base of the hand. When this tunnel becomes inflamed, it compresses the median nerve, which comes from the spine and passes through this narrow tunnel. Since the median nerve controls the impulses in the palm, thumb and the first three fingers, compression of this nerve ends up causing pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness in the fingers, hand, wrist and even the arm.

    What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
    The most common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome nowadays is spending time at the computer or any other keyboard in a manner that puts repetitive stress on the wrists. However, this is not the only factor that leads to CTS. It can be caused by any kind of repetitive stress on the wrist like that caused by knitting, sewing, needlepoint, regular use of vibrating tools, constant driving, and golf or racquet sports. Trauma or injury to the wrist may also lead to CTS. In some cases, one may suffer from passive CTS because of fluid retention, obesity, hypothyroidism, diabetes, smoking, work stress, mechanical problems of the wrist joint, arthritis or pregnancy.

    How Can One Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can become a lifelong or chronic condition or it may become serious enough to require surgery if it is not treated well in time. Since it can be easily avoided, the best way of saving oneself from CTS and its related complications is to incorporate workplace and lifestyle changes that will prevent it. 

    Exercise: Regular exercise that involves stretching is one of the best ways of preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. There are many yoga asanas that increase blood circulation to the carpal tunnel, thus preventing swelling. A number of exercises that are specially formulated for the wrists and the arms can be found online.

    Get An Ergonomically Designed Workstation: Your workstation should promote a healthy posture where your spine is straight and your feet touch the ground comfortably. Your keyboard should be such that your arms remain at the same level or slightly higher than your wrists. The wrist and arm should always form a straight line. 

    Be Good To Your Hands: Instead of putting too much stress on one hand, keep switching hands when working as much as possible so as to evenly distribute stress. Also, do not hold objects too tightly and use the strength of your whole hands, and not just your fingers, when holding things.

    Always Maintain Correct Posture: Slouching can permanently damage your spine, neck and shoulders, leading to arm and wrist pain. Always sit or stand as if there is an imaginary thread pulling your head straight up from the ground.

    Take Regular Breaks: If you are involved in an activity where you need to put constant stress on the wrist, then taking regular breaks is necessary to let your wrist rest and for normal circulation to take place.

    Raise Your Hands: Raising your hands above your head at least two to three times a day for a few minutes will let accumulated fluids in your wrists move out of the area. Since these fluids may cause increased pressure in the carpal tunnel, this simple exercise can save you from wrist and arm pain. 

    Keep Your Hands Warm: People who constantly have cold hands are more likely to suffer from CTS. If you normally have cold hands, then wear fingerless gloves to warm up your hands and improve the circulation in your wrist and hands.

    Take Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is associated with nerve function, and most people with CTS are found to be deficient in this vitamin. Many people often get immense relief from CTS simply with the administration of B6. You can ask your doctor about the right amount of B6 to take in order to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. 

    Remember that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, though extremely prevalent, is also easily preventable. Following the precautions given above will not only help you avoid CTS, but also keep your hands healthy and happy in the long run.