Thursday, January 27, 2011

We'll be back soon

Watch this space (more details at this post).

Happy Republic Day 2011 from the NF team.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Report from The Second Never Forget Pune Chapter Meet

The Second Never Forget Pune Chapter Meet

Saturday, 28th March 2009

Venue: The Corinthians Club, Pune

Minutes of the Meeting

Attendees:

Special Guests: Anupam Saraph, Ranjit Gadgil, Col. Chaudhary, Col. Nadkarni, Monika Trivedi, Prof. Krishnayya

Volunteers: Salil Bijur, Major Sathe, Dinesh Hukumani, Anurag Jain, Anupama TD, Aboli Salvi, Aman Zaidi

The CIO of Pune, Mr. Anupam Saraph spoke first. He offered a wealth of ideas on what synergies exist & on what the way forward could possibly be. Here are some of the points he made:

§ Data: It’s easy for someone to discredit even verified data. One may discredit the source or produce another report from another source that claims different things/data/facts/figures.

§ Invite Political Parties & ER’s to upload the data themselves.

§ There is cost-saving in this for the Political Parties.

§ Use a Wiki model. (While Never Forget does exactly that, Mr. Saraph had other important things to point out):

a) Let ALL sources be quoted

b) Let the Wiki editors/volunteers take a call among themselves (assuming they will be from/working on one constituency, it may be easier for them to come to an informed decision/agreement, after sufficient thrashing out of the sources & the data?)

§ The Wiki model is “Of the People, By the People, For the People”!

§ Collaborate & Share data between both sites. Seek to function under one umbrella, sharing resources, yet maintaining the individual identities of the different initiatives.

§ Need “Jaagore” type of sponsorship to spread the word.

§ In response to Salil’s question: There is no clash between Never Forget and Beyond Voting as NF focuses on “Evaluatable Promises”, while BV focuses on “Continued Development”.

§ Create a page on Wikipedia on all sites with similar focus (eg. neverforget.in, ciopune.in, praja.org, beyondvoting.in, empoweringindia.org, punecorporation.org) Salil volunteered to complete this.

Mr. Ranjit Gadgil of Janwani, Door-Step (& Lead India) fame spoke next. He began by pointing out that:

§ If we Indians believe in the Democratic process, we should embrace it in its totality. He gave the examples of India’s poor being represented by smaller political outfits, resulting in the rights of these poor being protected; as opposed to the totalitarian regime in China where the poor don’t have a voice. (He gave quite a few examples which can be replicated in detail later for those who are interested.)

§ He also pointed out, that a candidate with a criminal record is of less worry, than the electorate that elects such candidates! He also added that the electorate is powerful enough to oust even an Indira Gandhi when it wants to. And replace anyone if it is unsatisfied.

§ He pointed out that our politicians, contrary to popular belief, by virtue of our system, are not totally unaccountable. They have to face elections every 5 years. That one fact may not do enough, but it does make them accountable to a certain degree. The greater problem lies with the Executive, our babus, who do not have to stand for re-election at all. They have the security of a Govt. job.

§ He stressed on the need for “Evaluation of the PMC by Citizens”. And hopefully get the Legislature to pass a law implemented for this.

Col. Chaudhari of the Nagrik Chetna Manch gave a presentation about the purpose & more importantly the achivements of his organization.

Salil Bijur & Anurag Jain gave an update on the translation of the PMC Commissioners Budget Speeches to source data on Mr. Kalmadi’s promises. Salil also gave a presentation on Mohalla Committees.

Major Sathe’s presentation focused on the irregularities in freedom fighter pensions & the plight of war martyr’s families.

Dinesh Hukumani related an inspring story about how he got into the Armed Forces as a young boy despite tremendous challenges. He drove home the point of keeping a positive outlook & perseverance.

Krishna Aradhi was unable to attend on account of ill health, but he sent a note which was read out in the Meet. He is busy working hard on data around the UPA Govt.’s promises (& on his exams).

Aboli Salvi, our new volunteer, suggested that a PowerPoint be put together to recruit volunteers in offices. She is willing to share the PowerPoint in her office & recruit people to the Never Forget cause. Aman takes on the responsibility of coming up with the PowerPoint.

Anurag Jain, probably our youngest volunteer, came up with the idea of Never Forget T-shirts. The idea was met with much enthusiasm. Aboli offered to use her experience for a good cause & work on the design. Dinesh volunteered to get a quote for the T-shirts from his contacts. Suggestions to try & get stores (big or small retailers/chains) to stock & sell the T-shirts were well received. This was hailed by all as a good way to not only create awareness but also to raise some funds for the NF initiative.

Suggestions on areas to focus on:

§ Follow up articles in the media.

§ Check MPLADS spend. The CAG audits this. If MP is being evaluated, the MPLADS too should be.

§ With recession, there is bench strength in the IT/ITES sector. Contact HR heads in theses organizations to get volunteers to key in data (or more?). (Mr. Saraph has already got cracking on this on his recent trip to Delhi)

Responsibility Matrix:

#

Task

Responsibility

Due by

Status

1.

Create Wiki page on all initiatives with similar objectives as Never Forget

Salil


Animesh has done it on the google groups site .

2.

Continue to collect data on Pune Lok Sabha seat

Never Forget Pune Volunteers


Ongoing

3.

Translate data available above from Marathi to English

Salil, Anurag others.


Ongoing

4.

Recruit volunteers from Offices. Prepare ppt to share in Offices.

Aboli

Aman


Not started

5.

Sell Never Forget T-shirts to generate interest & publicity.

- Finalize Design

- Get manufacturing quote

- Aboli Salvi

- Dinesh Hukumani


Animesh has a contact that does this over the web. Can evaluate that option too. Any updates from the others.


Special Thanks to our kind sponsors The Corinthians Club of the Nyati Group & their General Manager Mr. Arun Arora for making it all possible.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Calling Web Application Developers - Something YOU can do for NeverForget

Dear web-oriented members of the NeverForget Team.

As a results of discussions I have had with some of you over the past weeks, I now firmly believe that the website, which is the face of this initiative, is not very useful without data being there for the readers to see.

That said, the data won't be available until we are able to properly utilize the energies, times, and skills of our visitors and team-members.

Therefore, from from an "enabling" perspective, my first priority is to get a system running which will enable rapid collaboration to work on bite-sized tasks. The three responses we got to the help-us-translate-in-marathi request posted yesterday are a testament to the fact that such a system will be very useful.

To that end, I give to you, this new term:

Acton: act-on
n. Fundamental unit of action :)

The idea is to post actons on a system, and allow people to _easily_ search and volunteer for them. One constraint will be that each acton has an _upper limit_ on how much time it is expected to take. (e.g., 5 minutes for googling the status of Tamil as a classical language is great, while 1 month for collecting all the data on the UPAs promises is too large a grain, and needs to be broken down into a set of related actons).

The interesting part is, this problem is not unique to NeverForget, but is indeed faced by all voluntary organizations, where people want to contribute, but are not sure what the best use of their (limited) time is. Therefore, I have created a project on google code at http://code.google.com/p/sanjhachoolha , where we also have contributors not directly involved with Never Forget. I have also uploaded proposed screenshots of the application, which we have chosen to christen "sanjha choolha". Krishnakanth (LA) and Kunal (Bangalore) have already joined in to start this effort.

From the project website:

+++

Introduction

Sanjha Choolha : sān-jhā choo-lhā

n. A communal kitchen popular in the villages of Punjab

If you have worked in non-profits, you would have also felt that there are times when we cannot properly utilize the manpower available in enthusiastic volunteers. Sanjha Choolha aims to be a system to solve this fundamental problem.

+++

So dear web-application developers on this list, please visit the project site to know more about what the next steps are, and what skills are needed. If all goes well, we should be able to complete this piece of the puzzle in the next few weeks.

of course, comments and feedback are most welcome.

best wishes,
Animesh
Team Never Forget

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Know Marathi? Help in tracking promises by Suresh Kalmadi, MP from Pune

Hi All,

We have collected documentary evidence (in Marathi) substantiating the claims/promises in 2004-2009 manifesto of Suresh Kalmadi, sitting MP from Pune. These will be scanned and put up on the NeverForget gallery shortly. While our enthusiastic Pune volunteers Salil and Anurag have translated some the relevant sections of the docs from Marathi to English, we need more translating resources...so ALL you marathi literate friends kindly pitch in.

best wishes,
The NeverForget Team
P.S. Email anupama @ neverforget.in for more info/questions/volunteering

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Second Never Forget Pune Chapter Meet Saturday, 28th March,2009

[join this event on facebook here]

Dear ALL,

Apologies for the delay in forwarding the Agenda for tomorrows meet. See you all tomorrow!!!


The Second Never Forget Pune Chapter Meet
Saturday, 28th March,2009
3.00pm to 6.30pm
The Corinthian, NIBM



3.00 pm to 3.15 pm : Registration, Welcome ,Short Introduction to Never Forget for the benefit of guests and new comers by Aman Zaidi

3.15 pm to 3.30 pm : Presentation by Mr. Anupam Saraph, CIO-Pune after a brief introduction

3.30 pm to 3.45 pm : Discussion

3.45 pm to 4.00 pm: Presentation by Mr. Ranjit Gadgil, founder Janwani after a brief introduction

4.00 pm to 4.15 pm: Discussion

4.15 pm to 4.30 pm: Presentation by Col. Chaudhary of Nagrik Chetna Manch

4.30 pm to 4.45 pm: Tea Break

4.45 pm to 5.00 pm : Update/Presentation by Salil Bijur

5.00 pm to 5.15 pm: Update/Presentation by Uday Sathe

5.15 pm to 5.30 pm: Update/Presentation by Dinesh Hukumani

5.30 pm to 5.45 pm : Update/Presentation by Krishna Aradhi

5.45 pm to 5.55 pm : Update/Presentation Anurag Jain

5.55 pm to 6.20 pm: Open Discussion about Election Watch, Collaboration,Strategize

6..20 pm to 6.30 pm: Closing remarks

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mumbai Meet of NeverForget: March 28

[facebook event at this page. Please RSVP]

Hello NF-ians,

here are the final details for the first ever Mumbai Meet of Never Forget volunteers.

Date: 28th March 2009. (Saturday)

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Venue: Juhu Beach, next to Birla Garden. (Enter the lane next to erstwhile Tulip Star Hotel, and just next to Birla house on the right side, right at the beach, is Birla Garden.)

Directions: Coming from Western Railway local route, get down at Vile Parle Station, and take an auto-rickshaw for Tulip Star Hotel or Prithvi Theatre or more famously, Amitabh Bachchan's bungalow Jalsa. The lane mentioned is just across the traffic signal from Jalsa.

Agenda:

1. Formal opening of Mumbai Chapter, discussing and formulating NF plans vis-a-vis Mumbai.

2. Sharing lessons from Pune Chapter and general evolution of NF's idea.

3. Making volunteer teams from Mumbai for:

a) Data collection. (Manifestos and other evaluatable promises)

b) Data verification. (Using RTI, or simple journalism tools, or through contacts in media or other NGOs or even political circles)

*(DF govt's Maharashtra Manifesto is with us already and that could be a good starting point for this exercise.)


c) Data uploading, formatting, analytical articles.

d) Long term vision. (Collecting manifestos from all the candidates for the forthcoming elections, so as to start creating a database for the next term. Of course, only the candidates who go on to be elected remain in our database with their 'promises'.)

e) Following up and making contacts with other organizations and media for constant feeds and info sharing.

f) Media team, for publicizing the idea of NF through blogs, newspaper articles, and other relevant avenues.

4. Finalizing processes regarding timelines, constant updates, and regular meetings.

Please mark your schedulers, and confirm your attendance. The agenda items are not closed yet, so more ideas are welcome. Volunteers, enthusiasts from outside Mumbai are also welcome. Call me for any further queries or suggestions.

Hope to see a good turnout.

- Varun

NF Volunteer

Cell: 09324787632

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Celebrating One Month of Never Forget

Dear all,
One month ago, on Jan 26 2009, the never forget initiative was launched. In the past one month, we have had over 4000 site visitors, over 150 members in our facebook group, and most importantly, over 90 members in the team of volunteers. Not a bad start in my opinion :-).


As part of the celebrations of the first monthiversary, we have the following new developments to report:

1. The blog has a new look, and it now looks just like the main website :). Thanks to Krishnakanth for modifying the blogger template. His account of the process is here.
2. There is an _upcoming events_ section in the left navbar at the website now, and we have a volunteer meeting coming up in Pune on the 28th of Feb.
3. We were covered in today's edition of "Intellient Pune".
4. We are now in possession of the complete official manifesto of Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, the MP of Pune, provided by none other than his own staff!

And now, as always, is a set of options of what YOU can do to celebrate this event :). If not today, then how about during the weekend?

1. Create a page like Ajay has - listing his thoughts and plans. Amazing stuff in my opinion.
2. Go through the list of promises in Mr. Kalmadi's manifesto, and help us tabulate them.
3. Help us collect the complete list of MPs and MLAs in the country. I am sure there are websites with the info. We just need to make a clean spreadsheet out of it.
4. Spread the word about the site. Blog about it [again :-) ].
5. Pledge to take charge of your city/constituency. See the list for current leads.
6. Feel free to add to this list :)

cheers,
Animesh

Intelligent and in Pune!

Today's Intelligent Pune covered our initiative, just in time for the upcoming volunteer meet in Pune!

A special thanks to Vinita Deshmukh, editor of the Pune weekly and an activist, who not only published the write up but gave us some sound bytes of advice!




The first Never Forget Pune Chapter Meet

The first ever offline volunteers meet of the Never Forget initiative is scheduled on Saturday, the 28th February 2009, in Pune.

The Taj Blue Diamond, Pune has kindly agreed to sponsor the venue for the meet. The timing will 11am -2pm with a tea break in between.

Readers/volunteers who are in Pune or will be in Pune on the 28th, and have yet not confirmed their participation,please do so ASAP at anupama@neverforget.in or aman@neverforget.in. Alternately you can confirm your participation by responding to this post with your name and email address/telephone number.

So those of you who have not yet registered to volunteer, NOW is the time! :-)

The agenda of the meet would be rapport building,brainstorming and allocation of responsibilities for volunteers.

So people, what are you waiting for ! No time to waste!!