It becomes difficult when applied; it gets preached and is rarely implemented and yet the word balance is a crucial imperative of life. To be fair to all of us guilty of not walking the talk let it be said that more often than not it's the means to a balance that get's so complicated.
One example that really sits up is the new initiative to register all cell phone users. One has to sympathise with the cell phone providers. May the good Lord help them as they attempt to register some 12 million users. Till they were forced to put nose to the ground the service providers had argued that the move would stunt the phenomenal growth of the industry. But one can foresee two other major hurdles that merit some thought.
Firstly the majority of people in the country have no photo id as such. Passports are limited as are driving licenses and the citizen still doesn't have a national id card. In the face of such a reality how does the move succeed?
Then we have the commercial venture: the hired phone. Unlike public call booths and licenced vendors public phones are simply outlets who charge a hefty 20% premium for a cell-to-cell call. In all likelihood the business is illegal but the convenience particularly to rural people has overridden the concern. All well and good but in such cases where they may be genuine owners, how on earth do the service providers get the identity of the user? After all, no one needs to verify identity to make a call.
Talking of balance, there appears to be two additional requirements to the registration. One is that the registration form needs to be filled up in the presence of an authorised representative of the service provider. Ahm..yes but what happens to someone who can't because of not being schooled? The second is about thumb printing. It does tickle to think that this was once looked down upon as being a sign of illiteracy. Or is it that the format of literacy has itself changed?
(The writer is a free lance journalist, television news caster and corporate executive)