QGIS

A BETTER OPTION FOR SPATIAL ANALYSIS

“A geographic information system is a facility for preparing, presenting, and interpreting facts that pertain to the surface of the earth. This is a broad definition. , a considerably narrower definition, however, is more often employed. In common parlance, a geographic information system or GIS is a configuration of computer hardware and software specifically designed for the acquisition, maintenance, and use of cartographic data” (C. Dana Tomlin, 1990). Almost all human activities and decisions involve a geographic component. One cannot get away from the location issue, and understanding the geography around us and its importance, is essential to ones everyday life. Working with geographic information involves complex and difficult choices that are unique. Although much geographic information is static, the process of updating is complex and expensive. GIS is one of many information technologies that have transformed the ways geographers conduct research and contribute to society. GIS have emerged as very powerful technologies because they allow geographers to integrate their data and methods in ways that support traditional forms of geographical analysis. With GIS it is possible to map, model, query, and analyze large quantities of data all held together within a single database.

            GIS software is a vital component of an operational GIS. The key parts of any GIS software system are the user interface, the tools or functions, and the data manager. All three parts may be located on a single computer, or they may be spread over multiple machines in a departmental or an enterprise system configuration. There are different types of GIS software like desktop, Web mapping, server, virtual globes, hand held and other. Software may be licensed using a commercial or open source model. In the early days open source software products provided only rather simple, poorly engineered tools with no user support. Today there are several high-qualities, feature rich open source software products.

            The free and open source software “movement” has significantly impacted all aspects of information technology (Tiemann, 2009). We, as GIS educators, are already using many open source software packages daily and may not be aware of them. QGIS is the best GIS tool in the free and open-source software (FOSS) community. It is a user friendly Open Source Geographic Information System licensed under the GNU General Public License. Unlike traditionally expensive proprietary software, QGIS is a viable prospect for anyone with basic access to a Personal Computer. As an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation, it runs on Linux, UNIX, Mac OSX, Windows and Android. Using open source software also means you are not locked into using a particular vendor’s system that only work with their other systems.

            QGIS is widely believed as the best open source software with stunningly beautiful options for labelling objects. First of all, it is offered for free and one doesn’t require to pay at all. It is developed to be accessible to anyone and has got very fast fixes for bugs and security exploits, with very fast upgrades to new releases. it is all volunteered, from all over the world, so at any given time there are thousands of people looking at the source code to find or fix a problem with the software. Secondly QGIS offers multiple options for any given task. Unlike a proprietary software vendor, it offers support that fits our specific needs and is available when we need it.

            The QGIS Browser applications help many manage their raster, vector and GIS data. They give basic preview functions but the focus is on data access and organization. QGIS’ Composer on the other hand has the ability to create an “Atlas” built-in, and it works very well. QGIS Server provides a web map service (WMS). The WMS uses the same libraries as the desktop application. Maps and print templates created in QGIS desktop can be published as web maps simply by copying the QGIS project file into the server directory.

            QGIS aims to be an easy-to-use GIS, providing common functions and features. The initial goal was to provide a GIS data viewer. Now a day QGIS offers many common GIS functionalities provided by core features and plugins. One can view and overlay vector and raster data in different formats and projections without conversion to an internal or common format. Supported formats include:

  • Spatially-enabled PostgreSQL tables using PostGIS, vector formats supported by the installed OGR library, including ESRI shapefiles, MapInfo, SDTS and GML.
  • Raster and imagery formats supported by the installed GDAL (Geospatial Data Abstraction Library) library, such as GeoTiff, Erdas Img., ArcInfo Ascii Grid, JPEG, and PNG.
  • GRASS raster and vector data from GRASS databases (location/mapset),
  • Online spatial data served as OGC-compliant Web Map Service (WMS) or Web Feature Service (WFS).

            QGIS uses the GDAL/OGR library to read and write GIS data formats. Over 70 vector formats are supported in QGIS. Besides, in QGIS, one can create, edit, manage and export vector maps in several formats. Raster data have to be imported into GRASS to be able to edit and export them into other formats. QGIS offers the following:

  • digitizing tools for OGR supported formats and GRASS vector layer,
  • create and edit shapefiles and GRASS vector layer,
  • geocode images with the georeferencer plugin,
  • GPS tools to import and export GPX format, and convert other GPS formats to GPX or download/upload directly to a GPS unit,
  • manage vector attribute tables with the table manager plugin.

We can also perform spatial data analysis on PostgreSQL/PostGIS and other OGR supported formats using the ftools python plugin. QGIS currently offers vector analysis, sampling, geoprocessing, geometry and database management tools. One can also use the integrated GRASS tools, which include the complete GRASS functionality with more than 300 modules.

            The QGIS semi-automatic classification plugin lets you download Landsat imagery and classify them in a semi-automatic way. The Orfeo toolbox delivers a range of tools to filter process and manipulate raster data. LASTools can be integrated to handle LiDAR. The Semi-Automatic Classification Plugin also allows for the supervised classification of remote sensing images, providing tools for the download, the preprocessing and postprocessing of images. Search and download is available for ASTER, Landsat, MODIS, and Sentinel-2 images. Several algorithms are available in QGIS for the land cover classification.

Image.1. QGIS GUI with Landsat 8 Image and Processing Toolbox with a multitude of processing options to the left.

            The most important advantage of QGIS lies in its ability to adapt to our special needs with the extensible plugin architecture and libraries that can be used to create plugins. It seems to be evident that QGIS is actually more algorithm-rich than any other off-the–shelf proprietary software, at least at present. For example, SAGA has many terrain analysis algorithms built-in than does the Spatial Analyst extension in ArcMap. In ArcMap, it would often require us to essentially build the algorithms ourself as a chain of geoprocessing tools that use primitive map algebra operations. But it’s very nice to be able to calculate, for example, topographic position index (TPI) directly in QGIS via SAGA. There is another advantage for QGIS with respect to Geographic research: ESRI’s algorithms are “black-box”, in that one can’t find out exactly how some operation was done. With QGIS, we can actually read the code, so we can know exactly how some algorithm is implemented, which is important for academic integrity. The accelerating use in QGIS represents that it is the most significant open source technology adoption in GIS today.

Mr Pankajakshan.P & Dr. Richard Scaria
Assistant professors,
Government College Chittur

References

  1. Dr. Hsiang Tsou, Ming, and Smith, Jennifer. (2011), Free and Open Source Software for GIS Education, White Paper, National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence, USA.
  2. Harvey, Francis, (2008). A Primer of GIS – Fundamental Geographic and Cartographic Concepts, The Guilford Press, Newyork, ISBN -10: 1-59385-565-6.
  3. Longley, Paul A, et al. (2011), Geographic Information Systems and Science, 3rd Edition John Wiley and Sons, Inc, ISBN: 978-0-470-72144-5.
  4. Menke, Kurt. (2015), Mastering QGIS. Packt Publishing Ltd., Birmingham B3 2PB, UK, ISBN: 978-1-78439-868-2.
  5. Neteler, Markus. and Mitasaova, Helena. (2004), Open Source GIS: A GRASS GIS Approach, Second Edition, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, eBook ISBN: 1-4020-8065-4.
  6. Sherman, Gary E.(2008), Desktop GIS – Mapping the planet with Open Source Tools, The Pragmatic Bookshelf, Raleigh, ISBN -10: 1-934356-06-09.
  7. Steiniger. Stefan, and Bocher, Erwan. (2008), An overview on current free and open source desktop GIS developments, Review Article, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Vol. 23, No. 10, October 2009, 1345-1370.
  8. Thiede, Rudiger et al, (2015), QGIS Training Manual, Release 2.6, Linfiniti Consulting CC.3.
  9. Tiemann, M. (2009). How Open Source Software can Save the ICT Industry One Trillion Dollars per Year. White Paper.(http://www.opensource.org/files/OSS-2010.pdf)
  10. Tomlin, C. Dana. (1990), Geographic Information Systems and Cartographic Modeling, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13350-9273.

A Mission with Green Vision

prm_8-2

The Kerala State government has formulated Haritha Keralam Mission with the slogan – Pachayiloode Vrithiyilekku (Clean Through Green) aimed at creating a new Kerala. It is an effort to deal with some of the contemporary challenges the State is facing. The problem of solid and biodegradable waste has become grave to the extent of posing a major threat to the State. The rivers, streams and ponds which used to be abundant in water seems to be crying for water to quench their thirst. Contamination of water sources poses a big threat of the spread of infectious diseases.

Unplanned and haphazard construction activities, exploitation of nature have adversely affected living conditions. Along with toxic vegetables around, the picture of the challenges faced by environment in the State becomes clear. We will not be able to move forward on the path of development without addressing these challenges.

Since these issues are complex there is a need for a comprehensive evaluation of the present situation. The solutions will have to be worked out prioritising the problems. Local level plans are needed to implement the solutions with people’s participation. Haritha Keralam has been envisaged by the State government with the objective of carrying out this humungous task.

Governing Body

The governing body of Haritha Keralam has the Chief minister as the chairman, Ministers of departments concerned as co-chairpersons, vice chairman, Chief secretary and principal secretaries of the departments concerned as members of governing body. District mission will be headed by district panchayat president and comprise MLAs, MPs, local body presidents and grama and block panchayat presidents. In grama panchayat and municipalities the respective presidents will head the mission. Collectors will be district secretaries of district mission. Local bodies secretaries and officials concerned will be members of local bodies mission.

The Haritha Keralam Mission will specially focus and coordinate activities pertaining to cleanliness, agriculture development, irrigation, conservation of forest wealth and animal husbandry development. Haritha Keralam mission activities will be guided by the outlook of protecting and conserving State’s environment. With general objective for each sector, the programmes will have to be carried out as per the requirements of specific areas. These objectives will be attained with the help of the local administration, evaluating the problems existing in different fields and coordinating the activities of various Government departments to ensure local bodies, research centres, NGOs, provide the technical expertise, encourage innovative activities, develop new interventions and provide all the help.

The responsibilities of the Mission

The Mission will ensure valuable participation of those who contributed significantly towards Suchitwa Mission, agriculture and irrigation sectors, environment conservation, and experts from various fields. Hygiene is part of Malayalis culture and is considered as one of the important qualities of our people. But this culture is not visible when it comes to keeping our surroundings clean. Had it been the other way round, people would not have thrown garbage outside their houses.

The serious garbage problem that we are witnessing today is also the result of rapid urbanisation that is taking place in the State. According to census, only 16 per cent of the land in Kerala forms the urban sector.

However, 50 percent of State’s population resides in these urban areas. Most of the towns and urban centres have turned into waste baskets because of plastic waste, e-waste, waste generation from construction sector and the absence of effective waste treatment plants. The health problems being caused by waste dumps have now triggered a big debate among the people and this is a positive sign. While many plans are being implemented at the local level for waste treatment and management, there is an urgent need to find a solution on a wider scale.

Waste management

About 70 per cent of the waste generated during our day to day lives, comprise of food waste including vegetables, fish, meat waste and market waste. These are thrown out on the roads, backyards of hotels resulting in the increase of rat population and stray dogs. Effective methods need to be developed by coordinating the activities of the local bodies, Suchitwa Mission and NGOs to find a solution to the practice of burying and burning of plastic and toxic waste which is causing serious air pollution and soil pollution. Waste management and treatment plans will have to be worked out through such efforts.

The Mission will provide the required back up for planning and executing newer and safer models of waste management.

Water management

The water prosperity that Kerala boasted of because of 44 rivers, 50,000 ponds, 60,000 wells, lakes and innumerable streams is fast becoming a thing of the past. Many of these water sources are facing destruction or serious environmental problems. Over use of water, over exploitation of ground water, destruction of forests, unscientific utilization of land, dumping of waste in water sources and sand mining taking place in river beds are resulting in complete destruction of water sources.

Our water sources depend mainly on rainfall. However, severe climatic changes are causing serious concern. This year there was a deficit of 34 percent rainfall during south west monsoon and 69 per cent in north west which also reminds of the severe summer season ahead. We can face drought like situations only if we conserve each drop of rain water.

The Mission will take steps with the help of local bodies and departments concerned to ensure conservation and protection of water sources, rainwater storage, reuse of water, recycling of used water and other alternative measures. Water shed management schemes will be linked with agriculture and water conservation plans in suitable areas.

Agriculture Sector

One of the major responsibilities of the Mission is to develop agriculture sector in the state. While we always claim that the State’s climate is suitable for agricultural activities, for various reasons the society has strayed away from farming culture. Of the total land, only 53 per cent is being currently used for agriculture purpose because of various reasons including non availability of agricultural land, uncertainty over income from agriculture and inadequate marketing systems.

Only 12 per cent is being used for food crops. That’s the reason why Kerala has to depend on other States for rice, vegetables and fruits to a great extent. The present situation where one is forced to consume toxic vegetables and fruits coming from outside has to change. The local vegetable and fruit markets would go dry if lorries from across the border don’t come. It is a big relief that farmers, local bodies, political and social organizations together are making valiant efforts to overcome this humiliating situation.

The State needs to achieve more targets in food availability by sustaining these efforts, expanding agri activities in more areas. The farming area needs to be expanded by utilising barren land and fallow land for agriculture purposes. By encouraging organic farming we should be able to grow at least 50 per cent of our vegetable needs. Coordinated farming activities will have to be carried out considering the uniqueness of local areas and suitable climatic conditions. Efforts are needed to encourage farmers groups, kudumbasree group farming, farmers who are trying various crops, kitchen gardening, schools and vegetable farming being carried out by various other organisations. Such activities are already happening across the State to increase the vegetable and food production.

If each house is able to plant at least one vegetable and if such a mindset is created in the State,then it would go a long way in meeting our needs and the society would also be able to send out a clear message regarding good health. In this context one may ask when various local bodies, individuals and organisations are implementing waste management projects, water conservation and agriculture development projects then where is the need for a Mission?

Coordination

Kerala has completed two decades of decentralisation system. There is no doubt that despite various limitations the local bodies have turned into local administration system in the state. However, the local bodies are still facing a major challenge in the form of lack of effective coordination between various departments and local bodies, lack of coordination between the projects and schemes prepared by the local bodies and other departments. This lack of coordination is creating huge difficulty at the lower level. Haritha Kerala Mission will address the urgent need for ensuring effective coordination in production sector and set up a permanent system for development activities. To prepare the farmers and other people engaged in the field to take up measures for facing the challenges posed by climatic changes.

Haritha Keralam Mission will seek the expertise and technical support of research institutions and experts from outside the State. Steps need to be taken to reclaim the environment and ecological balance for sustainable development. The mission will explore the possibilities and various methods to achieve this target with the help of people working in these fields and local bodies.

The biggest lesson drawn by the State from decentralisation process was the meaningful people’s participation in development activities. The Mission’s mandate is to coordinate and ensure participation of agencies from the state level to local bodies with the total cooperation of the society, to face the current development challenges. The main objective of the mission is to make waste management, water conservation and expansion of farming activities part of Malayali’s psyche.

Dr. T. N. Seema
Vice Chairperson
Haritha Keralam Mission

 

The Life Blood of Kerala

Cooperative Sector

Kerala is up in arms to protect its cooperative banks by a forming a human chain from the southern to the northern tip of the state on December 29, 2016. This is to register their unrelenting dissent against the central government’s vicious and hideous attempts to destroy the ever strong cooperative banks of Kerala by portraying them as the store houses of black money.

The cooperative sector in Kerala upholds a great history of spirited people’s struggles. Trivandrum central cooperative bank which was established through the enactment of Travancore cooperative societies act, 1914 is considered to be the first cooperative bank in Kerala. Subsequent to the formation of the state in 1956 this became the Kerala State cooperative bank. The land reforms introduced by the left government in Kerala was a historic event which radically transformed the economic landscape of Kerala. Not only did it result in the destruction of the feudal relations of production but was also a phenomenal leap in improving the living conditions of the agrarian underclass. It brought about redistribution of land in favour of the ‘tiller of the soil’. However farmers who were in abject poverty thanks to the highly exploitative order that prevailed till then had no capital to invest. The cooperative banks played a critical role in ensuring cheap credit for the farmers thereby saving them from the loot of private money lenders during a period when money lending happened in the most oppressive form. The redistributed land served as collateral for borrowings from the co-operative banks.  Had it not been for the cooperative banks in Kerala the fruits of land reforms would have been long forgotten. The redistributed land would have reached back the hands of the landlords through the nefarious and highly exploitative landlord-moneylender nexus.

Small savings of the farmers which were otherwise not channelized into banks could be mobilized through the cooperative banks. These small savings which were the result of their hard labour, formed the predominant share of investments in cooperative banks. Hence an immature call to shut down cooperative banks would also mean depriving these families the product of their sweat and lifelong toil.

Today over 4000 credit cooperative societies operate in Kerala. According to NABARD, the primary credit cooperative societies in Kerala have total investments to the tune of 32,000 crores. No primary cooperative society in India can claim such a strong financial position. By mobilizing resources for rural development from the villages itself, the cooperative societies in Kerala form a role model for the rest of the country. That cooperative banks have been successfully serving its customers with no case of bankruptcies is a laudable achievement that needs to be taken note of.

Cooperative banks in Kerala has a three tier structure. Primary credit cooperative societies having members from the locality it serves forms the lowest tier. District cooperative banks which have the primary credit cooperative societies as their members form the second tier. State cooperative bank consisting of the district cooperative banks form the third tier.

The primary credit cooperative societies are not recognized by the RBI and does not come under the purview of the Banking Regulations Act, 1949. The reason for this being the fact that cooperative banks do not satisfy the minimum capital or investment requirements prescribed by the RBI. Kerala State Cooperative Bank was the only cooperative bank which has achieved the status of a scheduled bank. Urban cooperative bank engaged in the distribution of non-agricultural credit also come under the purview of the Banking Regulations Act, 1949 and hence are regulated by the RBI. However this does not mean that the primary credit cooperative societies are illegal. They come under the purview of the Kerala State Cooperative Societies Act, 1969 and is regulated by the Department of Co-operation. Every state has similar legislation with regard to the cooperative sector broadly based on the provisions laid out in the Indian Cooperative Societies Act of 1904 and 1912.  Only those societies, having shares mobilized from twenty five or more families from a particular region, are allowed to register as cooperatives societies under the state cooperative societies act. These societies are controlled and regulated by the registrar of cooperative societies who is appointed by the state government.

The general body constituted by all the members of a cooperative society is the highest decision making body of a cooperative society. The day to day activities are managed by an elected committee. The election for this governing body happens under the complete supervision of the state cooperative election commission. There cannot be anything more ridiculous and sinister than arguing that cooperative societies based on such strong democratic principles are illegal entities functioning as store houses of black money.

All cooperative societies are subject to audit every financial year under the direction of the cooperative audit director. The societies are also open to inspections by a vigilance officer having rank equivalent to that of a DYSP. This proves beyond doubt that the attempts to portray cooperative banks in bad light despite having such strong investigative mechanisms is politically motivated.

Cooperative societies ensure numerous economic and social benefits. Economic benefits include guaranteed quality services at affordable rates, ensure equitable distribution of wealth prevents proliferation of monopolies and helps in removing ‘middlemen’. More than these economic benefits the diverse and varied social benefits emanating from cooperative societies underline the importance of why they should be there. These benefits are achieved because the societies are not driven by profit but a constant drive to qualitatively improve the life of its members and the society. It is this reason which empowers a villager who is reluctant to go to other commercial banks for loans and bank transactions to approach cooperative banks for his banking needs.
. This suited up formal approach of commercial banks where one has to go through a number of form-filling and there by intimidating experience for an illiterate/semi-literate rural villager. This is in stark contrast with cooperative banks where a native villager will not feel out of place when a familiar face from his locality provides the essential warmth of friendship and trust because cooperative societies are a people’s initiative.

A 2013 Reserve Banks Study reveals the depth and breadth of cooperative banks’ popular base. The study underscores the fact that poor in Kerala depend on cooperative banks than on commercial banks for their financial needs. The study finds that the procedural delay to get loans and cumbersome processing keeps laymen away from commercial banks and thus suggests simplifying and reorienting it in such as way the banks become accessible to the poor and marginalized.

Cooperative sector in Kerala is not limited to credit societies. There is a strong presence of cooperative societies in agriculture, irrigation, marketing, processing, beedi, healthcare, hantex, handloom, kera-fed, Coir-fed, consumer-fed etc. Thus cooperative sector is a wide chain covering many aspects of social life in Kerala with the help and guidance from government. We should keep in mind that the fair price shops such as Neeti stores, Neethi gas are from cooperative sector. Most of these non-credit societies have their bank accounts with cooperative banks. If cooperative banks come to a halt then these multitudes of societies will also stop working and thus throwing the lives of lakhs of poor into distress. Thus, cooperative sector in Kerala can be considered as a popular movement touching daily lives of people.

Cooperative sector is regarded as a tool of democratic planning. The present central government is trying to dismantle cooperative sector, a legacy which was nurtured financially and guided by central and state governments.

People are hit hard due to ill-prepared Tuglaqian decision of prime minister to ban 86% of currency in circulation. Despite this grave situation cooperative banks were denied permission to exchange demonetized notes due to hidden agenda. Had they allowed cooperative banks to work normally it would have eased the suffering of people at least in states like Kerala where cooperative banks have extensive network.

We had witnessed how LDF government kept it election promise of giving social security pension at homes of the beneficiaries using cooperative banks within three months of coming to power. Disbursing 3,000 crore rupees to 37,00,000 people within a short span of time was made possible only because of the strength of cooperative banks and its extensive coverage in Kerala. Similarly, cooperative banks could have been put to use to ease the suffering of people caused by demonetization. Central government spoiled it.

Cooperative banks deposit a portion of their cash in other commercial banks. They will withdraw this deposit as per the needs of customers and demand. After demonetization, cooperative banks were under restriction from withdrawing this kind of deposit and were allowed only to withdraw a meager 24,000 rupees per week like any other individual account holder according to central government guidelines. Due to this limitation, cooperative banks couldn’t meet the demand for money and investors will panic. Many cooperative societies which had accounts in cooperative banks couldn’t withdraw money from their account and suffers. Without sufficient liquidity, their day to day operations suffer and come to a standstill. Thus, the BJP government is conniving to cripple the cooperative sector, which is the pride of Kerala, by crippling cooperative banks. Center has the responsibility to explain how blackmoney will escape if  the cooperative banks were allowed to withdraw the money they have deposited in other commercial banks and permission to exchange demonetized notes as per the norms given to other banks.

Central governments hostility towards cooperative sector is the result of its aversion to the empowerment of marginalized sections of the society; a manifestation of the discontent of dominant forces against losing their preeminence; the basic aversion even to the concept of equality. We shouldn’t forget that BJP and RSS have historical reasons to oppose cooperative sector. RSS’s first violent attack in Kerala was against Beedi workers of Kannur. They were acting as the stooges of a private company named Manglore Ganesh Beedi. Their move failed mainly because of the formation of Dinesh Beedi cooperative society.

It can be concluded from the above example that one element which stood between the RSS and its agenda of violence was the formation of cooperative sector. As mentioned earlier, savarna-feudal lords, who are the natural ally of RSS, couldn’t undermine land reforms due to the active intervention of cooperative sector. It is this detestation of RSS and BJP towards cooperative sector which at play when they got an opportunity to stretch their muscle in the form of BJP lead government at the centre.

The basic approach of cooperatives is to accelerate development through people’s cooperation in services, small scale industries and agriculture. Cooperatives can effectively intervene in the financial sector to the aforementioned end and people are most familiar with the organizational aspects of cooperatives. Strong cooperatives are present even in Western countries even during these times of globalization. Denmark is a shining example of social and economic development through cooperative excellence and our central government is at the forefront to dismantle an efficient cooperative sector. Studies have testified that in US and Europe cooperative banks have fared far better than commercial banks during the 2008 global recession.

There are around one billion people associated with cooperative sector as members, consumers, workers and partners. Almost half of the world population depends on cooperative sector for various needs. Central government’s move to undermine the one hundred eleven year old cooperative sector in India through note-ban will be fought tooth and nail. There will be apt movement to protect Kerala’s cooperative sector. The present struggle is a testimony that cooperative sector, the life blood of Kerala will be strengthened and protected.

Gopakumar T  & Aswathi Asok

 

Brief article on SCHOOLWIKI

www.schoolwiki.in

SchoolWiki was introduced by IT@School Project in 2009 as a comprehensive database of schools in the State to foster a culture of collaborative learning among students. On Nov 1st 2016, on the Kerala Piravi day (Formation day of Kerala State), the project revived SchoolWiki by collaborating 15,000 schools in the State from Class 1 to 12. SchoolWiki, which is in line with Wikipedia, has been made completely in Malayalam and features a unique content collection jointly undertaken the students, teachers, alumni, and public.

Home page of School Wiki

SchoolWiki currently features the details of entire schools in the State which can be sorted in multiple ways. The unique portal currently possesses over 30,997 articles and has over 13,000 users. By logging into SchoolWiki, schools are able to key-in and update all their basic elementary details, historical references, infrastructure data, renowned Alumni, School websites, School Map, Blogs, various clubs and forums, Class Magazines, supporting images and videos. .SchoolWiki also host various educational contents prepared by the students as well as teaching materials collaboratively developed by the teacher communities. Apart from these contents, analytical Malayalam language projects such as “School Patram – [School Newsletter]”, “Nadodi Vijnanakoshan – [Local Encylcopedia] ” and “Ente Nadu- [My Village]” would also feature in the portal. The geographical details of every school locality in the State can be made available through School Wiki.

Schoolwiki has been prepared using Wikimedia Foundation’s Wikemedia software with the goal of facilitating Collaborative content development and their sharing. The revived portal provides a host of new features including special privileges for District Admin, facility to merge old username to a new user, search articles alphabetically, facility to display pictures in Wikicomments directly in SchoolWiki, Wiki Editor, School Mapping using of Open Street Map, facility to search in Malayalam and English languages. In addition to these, the new School Wiki also has specific extensions such as prettyURL, Upload Wizard, Editcounts, Checkuser, Gadgets and Thanks. SchoolWiki has been designed in such a way that schools can register into the portal using their school codes and upload their contents in their respective space provided under their district.

Kizhisseri sub district in Malappuram District in the State becomes the 1st sub district to incorporate details of all their schools in SchoolWiki

http://schoolwiki.in/ജി.എം.യു.പി.എസ്._കിഴിശ്ശേരി

IT@School Project has provided high speed broadband internet connectivity to all schools in the State, using which schools are able to upload their details in SchoolWiki. A group of students has been identified in each school who are titled Student School IT Co-ordinator (SSITC) who with the help of School IT Co-ordinator (SITC)- a designated teacher assigned in each school for overseeing the IT activities, ensure the updations of their contents in SchoolWiki.

As part of the recent initiative of IT@School Project viz ‘Hi School Kuttikootam’ to boost the activities and interests of students in ICT enabled learning, students who are IT Clubs members would be given specific training in selected areas viz Animation and Multimedia, Hardware, Electronics, Language computing and Internet and Cyber Safety. Under language computing, specific training in SchoolWiki would be given to students. Swathanthra Malayalam Computing, a free software community and non-profit charitable society working on Malayalam language would provide support for the training in SchoolWiki.

IT@School Project has made arrangements for specific training for teachers and students for using SchoolWiki and to identify and assign district level Admins for data accuracy and modifications and to provide necessary support. Awards would also be given to those schools that make use of and maintain SchoolWiki in the most effective manner. With Schoolwiki, IT@School provides a unique opportunity to the school students and teachers to unveil the combined effort of knowledge generation and sharing. Schoolwiki would turn out to be the largest and most comprehensive Malayalam educational database over the internet.

Recent news on SchoolWiki

[1] https://goo.gl/DlVN68
[2] https://goo.gl/s7QEa3
[3] https://goo.gl/TW8KA1

K. Anvar Sadath
Executive Director
IT@School Project
9447011881

ETHICS

“Old habits die hard…” I murmured, thinking about my past. Being a 70 year old ex-High Court Judge, all that I could see before me was not the television screen adjacent to the ‘emergency alarm’ or the fruit baskets my relatives brought me or the ECG monitor embracing my life line taped to my arteries; but the nostalgic flash backs glaring back at me.

***

At the age of five, I never thought that, one day I would be lying like this on my death bed, counting the few seconds left. Cancer had mercilessly eaten off my bone marrows. Moreover who would think about anything that would happen 65 years later? All I could think about at that time was “why the battery of my dinosaur died so early”. As tears deluge my cheeks, my grandmother solaces me with a pat on my back.

“Boys do not cry. When his toy’s battery is worn out he would go to the store and buy new batteries.” There began the first lecture of ‘ethics.’

“But look grandma, I have tears. See… boys also can cry!” I murmured through the sobs. But grandma just gave me a knowing smile.  A smile I couldn’t understand.

“You always have an answer for everything, don’t you?” She gave me the smile and caught me flashing my teeth when she handed over a new set of batteries.

***

“Objection, Your Honor. There is proof for domestic violence against my client by her mother-in-law and also have witnesses.” I blurted out to the Judge.

“Hey! She is my son’s wife and I have the right to treat her as I like!” The mother-in-law shouted.

“Mrs. Dalal… In this court you shouldn’t shout at others. You will be given the chance to make a statement.” The Judge maintained order.

“Your Honor, my client was physically and mentally tortured by her mother-in-law and she demands divorce from her drunkard husband and a compensation of fifty thousand rupees for the harassment she had to face.” My client gave me smile that was in fact the sharing of her joy.

After many hours’ arguments and exhibition of evidences, the court was in favor of our plea.

“Thank you Adv. Menon. God bless you for the help! Now I can escape from my husband live with my boyfriend.” She brightened.

“Are you aware that this was my first case and you made me argue my very first case a nothing case? Your mother-in-law was never so harsh on you; in fact and you were always short tempered. Anyway you won your case; where is my cheque?“ 

“You South-Indians are always like this! Even for a small issue, you people make it seem like it would cause catastrophe to the world. You lawyers and you’re stupid ethics. Here is your cheque; keep it!” the slim Bengali woman handed over the piece of paper and brushed past me.

“What a coquette!” I grumbled under my breath. From now on, I will stick to true cases with ethics. Making a resolution in my mind, I walked over to the tea stall for a hot cup of tea to refresh my mind. The damp climate, wet with the morning rain caked my shoes in mud. I thought of my childhood when I played in the muddy water after the summer drizzle. The air smells earth just like those days. I and my dinosaur splashing on the muddy pool formed of rainwater. My grandmother came out of nowhere to pinch my earlobes and scolded “I have told you a hundred times to not play in the mud. Do you wish ringworms coming out of your ears?”

The irony hung in the air. Her nails hooked deep on my earlobes and ears hurt more than anything

That added another item in the list of Do’s and Don’ts.

Why do we have to follow all these rules? I thought as I washed myself under the shower.

***

“Aren’t you ashamed? You are fifteen and you still want that dinosaur with you when you sleep and you still want to play in the puddle. Grow up boy!” my grandmother shouted in a crescendo.

Raising a teenage boy might have been a hard job for her and if that teenager is childish like me, then her job is much more difficult.

That was another item on the list of ethics.

“You should act your age.”

***

The sip of hot tea snapped me back to present. Five years since I argued my first case. Now I am a reputed lawyer thriving to become a High Court Judge. I am studying my latest case.

“Hmm… medical ethics. A case of negligence; and interesting one. A Doctor’s negligence while performing an operation on a pregnant woman. Cord winds around baby’s abdomen and baby dies purging out vital organs. Mother and child die on delivery. A rare case.

My, my! What has the world come to?!

The hard work that I had put in to advocate for the dead woman’s family in rejecting the plea of doctor for bail was rewarded by great reputation and happiness.

***

A year later I beamed with joy when I was appointed as the High Court Judge of Mumbai. I was chaired to make decisions in cases on merciless doing beyond our imagination. Some of them used to haunt me for so many nights. Then, there were some which made me laugh for eighty years straight! And some others will leave me working out in my mind for weeks but always left me answerless. Nothing is ever locked. But sometimes the keys just don’t fit.

***

“Lawyer, Madam. I want to become a lawyer when I grow up.” “That’s great my dear boy; great ambition. My husband is also a lawyer. I hope you will be a successful lawyer as my husband. Welcome to the school. Your test schedules and results will be mailed to you. Enjoy the eleventh grade.” The vice-principal of the school remarked with a diplomatic smile.

That night falling to sleep was not easy. I wondered why children have to wait to grow up to become someone they wanted be. Why can’t a child become an accomplished person at an early age? Ambitions don’t have to be aimed towards jobs.

My grandmother entered the room to switch off the lights.

“Sleep!” she shouted.

I wondered what she would say if I share this thought of mine with her. Probably that will result in one more addition to the List of Ethics.

It didn’t surprise me when I easily passed out of college with flying colours. But what actually surprised me was the sudden death my grandmother faced the next day due to stroke. I controlled myself to not cry. I remembered the way she would have scoffed me “boys do not cry!” I made it a habit; never cry. Even when I faced cases and situations which were cathartic enough to rip my heart off its shield rib-cage, I hold on to control tears.

***

My phone buzzed.

“Hello Mr Menon. I am Mrs Dash. I want an appointment to discuss a case of domestic violence. A case by me against Mrs Dalal, my mother-in-law.”

Agreeing to Mrs Dash’s false accusation on her mother-in-law, I eyed my dinosaur, remembering the rule book of my grandma. She would never like what I am doing right now. I could even feel her snare from heaven. Or from hell?

Clutching my dinosaur, I listened to the hum of the ECG machine. My pulse rising and falling in arrhythmic beats. Like in life; every rise will have a fall. It’s another rule of life.

My whole life was surrounded by rules, laws and ethics. I realized that freedom is just a virtual hope everyone cherishes. The laws of time, money, race and gender keep everything in check.

I had always wanted to escape the rules set out for me by my grandma. Breaking free off them was my dream. Irony is that, I became a lawyer who enforces rules and laws. So maybe, I was destined be surrounded by the ‘ethics’ and rules always.

A flood of pain derailed my train of thoughts, reminding me that only a few seconds of my life remain. I inhaled a long breath to block out the numbing pain and returned to my thoughts; clutching my dinosaur to me tightly.

Pain gaining more powerful, pushed me past my breaking point. I could feel the tear globes swelling up to flood my vision. But, I willed myself to stop. The face of my grandma gave me strength.

“Old habits die hard.” I repeated as my eyes obeyed my mind’s order and started to dry up.

As ready to let go off this material world, I gave one more thought. I will be surrounded by ethics and rules again. I’ll meet my grandma soon.

Freedom does not exist; ethics make sure of that. It felt like my grandmother came in to switch off the lights like always.

“Sleep!”

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Panchami Menon

 

 

സ്വതന്ത്ര വിജ്ഞാന ജനാധിപത്യ സമൂഹത്തിലേയ്ക്കു്

ഇന്ത്യന്‍ സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ പ്രസ്ഥാനത്തിന്റെ (FSMI) രണ്ടാം അഖിലേന്ത്യാ സമ്മേളനം 2017 ജനുവരി 26 മുതല്‍ 29 വരെ ചെന്നൈയിൽ ബി എസ് അബ്ദുറെഹ്‌മാന്‍ സര്‍വ്വകലാശാലയില്‍ നടക്കുകയാണു്. സാര്‍വ്വദേശീയമായി, സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ പ്രസ്ഥാനത്തിന്റെ മുന്നേറ്റത്തിന്റെ കാല്‍ നൂറ്റാണ്ടു് പിന്നിടുന്ന വേള കൂടിയാണിത്. ഈ രംഗത്ത് വലിയ മാറ്റങ്ങള്‍ക്കു് തുടക്കം കുറിച്ച കാലഘട്ടം കൂടിയായിരുന്നു1990 കളുടെ തുടക്കം. ഇന്റര്‍നെറ്റിന്റെ അതിദ്രുത വ്യാപനം ഈ മാറ്റങ്ങൾക്ക് അടിത്തറയേകി. ധനമൂലധനം അതിന്റെ പ്രാദേശിക ബന്ധനങ്ങളില്‍ നിന്നു് വിടുതല്‍ നേടി ആഗോള വിന്യാസവും വ്യാപനവും കേന്ദ്രീകരണവും ഇതിലൂടെ സാധ്യമാക്കി. മുതലാളിത്ത ഉല്പാദനശാലകളുടെ കേന്ദ്രീകരണം ഒഴിവാക്കി തുടങ്ങി. ലാഭം കുന്നുകുട്ടാനുള്ള കമ്പോളങ്ങൾ, കുറഞ്ഞ വിലക്ക് അസംസ്കൃത പദാര്‍ത്ഥങ്ങളുടേയും തൊഴില്‍ ശേഷിയുടേയും ലഭ്യത എന്നിവ നോക്കിയും, മറുവശത്ത് തൊഴില്‍ ശേഷിയുടെ കേന്ദ്രീകരണം ഒഴിവാക്കിയും ഉല്പാദനത്തിന്റെ വിതരിത വിന്യാസം സാര്‍വ്വദേശീയ ധനമൂലധനം സുഗമമാക്കി. സോഷ്യലിസത്തിനു ചില രാജ്യങ്ങളിൽ താൽകാലികമായി ഉണ്ടായ പിന്നോട്ടി ആഗോള ധനമൂലധന കുത്തൊഴുക്കിന് രാഷ്ട്രീയ സഹായമേകി. ഇന്ത്യയില്‍ ഈ കാലഘട്ടത്തിലാണ് നവ ഉദാരവല്കരണത്തിനു് തുടക്കം കുറിച്ചത്. ഇങ്ങനെയുള്ള ഒട്ടേറെ മുതലാളിത്ത അനുകൂല മാറ്റങ്ങള്‍ക്കിടയിൽ, അവയില്‍ നിന്നു് തികച്ചും വേറിട്ട് നിന്ന ഒരു കൂട്ടായ്മയാണ് സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ പ്രസ്ഥാനം. സാമൂഹ്യ പുരോഗതിയുടെ കുതിപ്പ് ലക്ഷ്യം വെച്ചുള്ള ഒരു പറ്റം കണ്ടെത്തെലുകളുടെ സംഭാവനകളാണ് തൊണ്ണുറുകളുടെ തുടക്കത്തില്‍ ആരംഭിച്ച സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ പ്രസ്ഥാനത്തിന്റെ വിജയകരമായ മുന്നേറ്റത്തിന്റെ ചരിത്രം.

ആവശ്യമുള്ളവർക്ക് സ്വതന്ത്രമായി എടുത്ത് ഉപയോഗിക്കാവുന്ന ഗ്നൂ/ലിനക്സ് സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയറുകൾ സൃഷ്ടിക്കപ്പെട്ടു. സ്വകാര്യ ഉടമസ്ഥതയ്ക്കു് പകരം പൊതു ഉടമസ്ഥത ഈ രംഗത്തു് നിർമ്മിക്കപ്പെട്ടു. ജനറല്‍ പബ്ലിക് ലൈസന്‍സ് (GPL) എന്നപേരില്‍ പുതിയൊരു നിയമ വ്യവസ്ഥയും സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ സമൂഹം തന്നെ സൃഷ്ടിച്ച് സമൂഹത്തിന് നൽകി. ഭരണ കൂടത്തിന്റേയോ നിയമനിര്‍മ്മാണ സഭയുടേയോ പങ്കാളിത്തമില്ലാതെ സൃഷ്ടിക്കപ്പെട്ടതും കോടതികളുടെ ഇടപെടലില്ലാതെ സമൂഹം പൊതു സമ്മതപ്രകാരം നടപ്പാക്കപ്പാക്കി പോരുന്നതുമാണു് ഈ നിയമം. സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ ഉപയോഗിക്കാനും പകര്‍ത്താനും പഠിക്കാനും മാറ്റം വരുത്താനും പങ്കു് വെയ്ക്കാനും കൈമാറാനും വിലയ്ക്കു് വില്‍ക്കാനുമുള്ള അളവില്ലാത്ത സ്വാതന്ത്ര്യം അനുവദിക്കുന്ന നിയമവ്യവസ്ഥയാണതു്. സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ ഉപയോഗിച്ചുള്ള ഉപകരണങ്ങളുടെ വ്യാപനത്തിലും ഇന്റര്‍നെറ്റിന്റേയും സാമൂഹ്യ മാധ്യമങ്ങളുടേയും വികാസത്തിലും സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ നല്‍കിയ സംഭാവന അളവറ്റതാണു്. എല്ലാ ഉപകരണങ്ങളേയും ബന്ധിപ്പിച്ചു് അവയുടെ വിദൂര മാനേജ്മെന്റു് സാധ്യമാക്കുന്ന ഇന്റര്‍ നെറ്റു് ഓഫ് തിങ്ങ്സ്‘ (IoT) എന്ന സങ്കല്പം വരെ സാധ്യമാകും വിധം ശൃംഖല വിപുലമാക്കപ്പെടുകയാണു്. വിഭവങ്ങളുടെ പൊതു ഉടമസ്ഥത ഒരുക്കുന്ന മേന്മകളും സാധ്യതകളും സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ ചൂണ്ടിക്കാട്ടുന്നു.

സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ ഉപയോഗിച്ചു് സാങ്കേതിക സ്വാംശീകരണം നേടുകയാണു് വികസ്വരഅവികസിത നാടുകളടക്കം ലോകമാകെ ജനങ്ങള്‍ക്കു് വിവര സാങ്കേതിക മുന്നേറ്റം ഒരുക്കുന്ന സാധ്യതകള്‍ അനുഭവവേദ്യമാക്കുന്നതിനുള്ള മാര്‍ഗ്ഗം. നവഉദാരവല്കരണ ഘട്ടത്തില്‍ ആഗോള മൂലധനം നടപ്പാക്കുന്ന ഉല്പാദനത്തിന്റെ വിതരിത ഘടനമൂലം തൊഴിലാളി വര്‍ഗ്ഗം നേരിടുന്ന വെല്ലുവിളികള്‍ക്കുള്ള പരിഹാരവും സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ സ്വാംശീകരണവും സംഘാടനത്തിലടക്കം അതുപയോഗിച്ചുള്ള സ്വതന്ത്രമായ ശൃംഖലയുടെ വിപുലമായ ഉപയോഗവുമാണു്.

സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ രംഗത്തു് സാങ്കേതികവിദ്യ സ്വതന്ത്രമാക്കപ്പെട്ടെങ്കിലും അതിന്റെ ഉപയോഗം ഇന്നും വ്യാപകമായിട്ടില്ല. ഉപകരണങ്ങളുടെ രംഗത്തും ശൃംഖലയുടെ രംഗത്തും കുത്തക നിലനില്കുന്നു. ടെലികോം രംഗത്തു് ബിഎസ്എന്‍എല്‍ അടക്കം ഇന്ത്യന്‍ കമ്പനികളാകെ അവയ്ക്കാവശ്യമായ ഉപകരണങ്ങളും വ്യവസ്ഥകളും 87% ഇറക്കുമതി ചെയ്യുകയാണു്. ഇറക്കുമതി ചെലവിനേക്കാള്‍ വളരെ കുറഞ്ഞ നിരക്കില്‍ പൊതു കമ്പോളത്തില്‍ നിന്നു് വാങ്ങുന്ന കമ്പ്യൂട്ടറുകളില്‍ സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ സന്നിവേശിപ്പിച്ചു് പുതുതലമുറ ടെലിഫോണ്‍ എക്സ്

ചേഞ്ചുകളും മറ്റുപകരണങ്ങളും ആഭ്യന്തരമായി തന്നെ ഉല്പാദിപ്പിക്കാവുന്നതാണു്. ‘ഡിജിറ്റല്‍ ഇന്ത്യ‘, ‘മേക് ഇന്‍ ഇന്ത്യതുടങ്ങിയ മുദ്രാവാക്യങ്ങള്‍ വെറും കാപട്യങ്ങളാണു്. അവയുടെ പേരില്‍ മൂലധനത്തിന്റെ കുത്തൊഴുക്കു് അനുവദിക്കപ്പെടുക മാത്രമാണു് നടക്കുന്നതു്. സാങ്കേതിക വിദ്യ സ്വാംശീകരിക്കപ്പെടുന്നില്ല. ആഭ്യന്തരമായി ഉല്പാദനം വര്‍ദ്ധിക്കുന്നുമില്ല. ആഗോള ധനമൂലധനാധിപത്യത്തിന്റെ മേധാവിത്വം ഇന്ത്യയിലും അടിച്ചേല്പിക്കപ്പെടുകയാണു്.

അതിന്റെ ഭാഗമായി ഭരണ പരിഷ്കാരം സാധ്യമാക്കുന്ന ഇഭരണം, സ്ഥാപനഭരണം, ബാങ്കിങ്ങു് തുടങ്ങി മറ്റിതര ഇസേവനങ്ങള്‍ക്കെല്ലാം ഏറിയകൂറും നിലവില്‍ സ്വകാര്യ കുത്തക സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയറുകളാണു് വിന്യസിക്കപ്പെടുന്നതു്. ദേശീയ വിഭവം പുറത്തേയ്ക്കൊഴുകുന്നു, സാങ്കേതികാടിമത്തം സ്ഥായിയാക്കപ്പെടുന്നു. മുകളിൽ പ്രതിപാദിച്ച മേഖലകളിലൊക്കെ സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ ഉപയോഗിച്ചു് തുടങ്ങിയാല്‍ സാങ്കേതിക സ്വാംശീകരണം സാധിക്കാം. ആഭ്യന്തരമായി തൊഴില്‍ സൃഷ്ടിക്കാം. നമ്മുടെ ജനാധിപത്യാഭിനിവേശങ്ങള്‍ക്കനുസരിച്ചുള്ള ഭരണ പരിഷ്കാരം കൊണ്ടുവരാം. സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയറിലും അതുപയോഗിച്ചുള്ള ഉപകരണങ്ങളിലും തുടങ്ങി ക്രമേണ കമ്പ്യൂട്ടറിന്റെ മൈക്രോപ്രോസസറുകളും മദര്‍ബോര്‍ഡുകളും അടക്കം ഇവിടെത്തന്നെ ഉല്പാദിപ്പിച്ചു് തുടങ്ങാം.

ചൈന വിവര സാങ്കേതിക രംഗത്തു് നടത്തിയ മുന്നേറ്റം ഇന്ത്യയ്ക്കും മാതൃകയാക്കാവുന്നതാണു്. സര്‍ക്കാരിന്റെ സര്‍വ്വതോമുഖമായ പിന്തുണയാണു് ഈ രംഗത്തു് ചൈന കൈവരിച്ച നേട്ടങ്ങളുടെ അടിത്തറയായി വര്‍ത്തിച്ചതു്. സാങ്കേതിക സ്വാംശീകരണം നേരിടുന്ന പ്രശ്നം സാങ്കേതിക വിദ്യയുടെ അഭാവമോ ലഭ്യതക്കുറവോ അല്ല, മറിച്ചു് സാധ്യതകള്‍ ബോധ്യപ്പെടുന്നതിന്റേയും ഇച്ഛാശക്തിയുടേയും സംഘാടനത്തിന്റേയും സാമൂഹ്യ പിന്തുണയുടേയും കുറവു് മാത്രമാണു്. മുതലാളിത്തത്തിന്റെ അടിത്തറയായ സ്വകാര്യ സ്വത്തുടമാവകാശത്തോടും മത്സരത്തോടും സ്വകാര്യ കുത്തക സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയറിനോടുമുള്ള ആരാധനയും അവമാത്രം ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നതും സാങ്കേതികാടിമത്തത്തിനു് വഴിവെയ്ക്കുന്നു എന്നതാണു് സ്ഥിതി. പകരം പൊതു ഉടമസ്ഥതയോടും കൂട്ടായ്മയോടും പങ്കാളിത്തത്തോടും സഹകരണത്തോടും ആഭിമുഖ്യമുണ്ടായാല്‍ സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയറും സ്വതന്ത്ര വിജ്ഞാനവും ഉപയോഗിച്ചു് വൻ മുന്നേറ്റങ്ങൾ സൃഷ്ടിക്കാനാവും.

കേന്ദ്ര സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ ബോധപൂര്‍വ്വം സൃഷ്ടിച്ച നാണയ പ്രതിസന്ധി, നാണയം പിന്‍വലിക്കലിന്റെ പ്രഖ്യാപിത ലക്ഷ്യങ്ങളെ നിസാര വൽക്കരിച്ച് രാഷ്ട്രീയമതസാംസ്കാരിക രംഗത്തെന്ന പോലെ ബാങ്കിങ്ങു് രംഗത്തും ഫാസിസ്റ്റു് സമാന പ്രവണതകളുടെ കടന്നു് കയറ്റമാണു് കാണുവാൻ സാധിച്ചത്. സ്വന്തം അദ്ധ്വാന ഫലമായി നേടുന്ന പണം ഉപയോഗിക്കാനുള്ള ജനങ്ങളുടെ അവകാശം പോലും ഭരണകൂടവും റിസര്‍വ്വു് ബാങ്കും ചേർന്ന് നാളിതു് വരെ കണ്ടിട്ടില്ലാത്ത വിധം കയ്യേറുകയാണു്. ഇപ്പറഞ്ഞ മുതലാളിത്ത സ്ഥാപനങ്ങളുടെയെല്ലാം പൊതു വിശ്വാസ്യത തകര്‍ക്കപ്പെട്ടിരിക്കുന്നു. മുതലാളിത്ത കമ്പോളം തന്നെ കൂട്ടക്കുഴപ്പത്തിലായിരിക്കുന്നു. ഉള്ളവരുടെ നിക്ഷേപം പിന്‍വലിക്കാന്‍ അനുവാദമില്ലാതെ വരുമ്പോൾ, അവര്‍ തൊഴില്‍ നല്‍കുന്ന ദിവസ കൂലിക്കാരുടെ തൊഴിലും കൂലിയും അവര്‍ സാധനങ്ങള്‍ വാങ്ങുന്ന ചെറുകിട കച്ചവടക്കാരുടെ വരുമാനവും തകർത്തെറിയപ്പെടുകയാണ്. ഇതിന്റെ അലകള്‍ സമൂഹമാകെ ആഞ്ഞടിക്കുന്നു. രാജ്യത്ത് ഭരണകൂടം തന്നെ അരാജകത്വം സൃഷ്ടിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നു.

നിലവിലുള്ള നാണയ വ്യവസ്ഥതന്നെ ഇത്രയേറെ സ്വേച്ഛാപരമായി പ്രയോഗിക്കപ്പെടാമെങ്കില്‍ നാണയാധിഷ്ഠിത ഡിജിറ്റല്‍ ബാങ്കിങ്ങു് എത്രമാത്രം സ്വേച്ഛാപരമാകാം എന്നു് ഊഹിക്കാവുന്നതേയുള്ളു. നാണയ വ്യവസ്ഥയ്ക്കു് പകരം ഭാവിയില്‍ ഡിജിറ്റല്‍ നാണയങ്ങള്‍ (ബിറ്റ് കോയിന്‍ പോലുള്ളവ) നടപ്പായാല്‍ അത്തരം വ്യവസ്ഥകളിന്മേല്‍ ജനങ്ങള്‍ക്കു് യാതൊരു നിയന്ത്രണവും ഉണ്ടാവില്ല. ജനങ്ങള്‍ ഇരകള്‍ മാത്രമാകും. ശൃംഖലയുടെ കേന്ദ്രീകൃത ഘടന ഉപയോഗിച്ചു് ഭരണകൂടത്തിന്റെ വരുതിയ്ക്കു് നില്കുന്ന സമൂഹത്തെ സൃഷ്ടിക്കുകയാണു് മുതലാളിത്തത്തിന്റെ സമകാലിക തന്ത്രം.

അമേരിക്കയിലെ കാലിഫോര്‍ണിയയില്‍ കേന്ദ്രീകരിച്ചിരിക്കുന്ന ശൃംഖലാ (network) വിഭവങ്ങള്‍ (സെര്‍വ്വര്‍, വിവരസംഭരണി, മെമ്മറി ഫാം തുടങ്ങിയവ) ജനങ്ങളാകെ ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നു എന്നതാണു് നിലവില്‍ ശൃംഖലയുടെ കേന്ദ്രീകരണത്തിന്റെ അടിസ്ഥാനം. ശൃംഖലയ്ക്കു് സ്വതവേ വിതരിത ഘടനയാണുള്ളതു്. വ്യക്തിപരമായോ പ്രാദേശികമായോ സ്ഥാപനാടിസ്ഥാനത്തിലോ സൃഷ്ടിക്കുന്ന ഏതു് ഒറ്റപ്പെട്ട ശൃംഖലയായാലും അതിനെ ഇന്റര്‍നെറ്റിനോടു് ബന്ധിപ്പിച്ചാല്‍ അതു് ഇന്റര്‍നെറ്റിന്റെ ഭാഗമാണു്. അത്തരം സ്വതന്ത്ര ശൃംഖലകളില്‍ അതിന്റെ ഉടമയ്ക്കു് നിയന്ത്രണമുണ്ടാകും. ശൃംഖലയുമായി ബന്ധിപ്പിച്ചു് സാര്‍വ്വദേശീയമായി ഉപയോഗിക്കുകയും ചെയ്യാം. യഥാര്‍ത്ഥത്തില്‍ ഓരോ രാജ്യത്തും ശൃംഖലാ വിഭവങ്ങളായ റൂട്ടറുകളും പരസ്പര ബന്ധങ്ങളും സൃഷ്ടിക്കുന്നതു് തദ്ദേശീയ കമ്മ്യൂണിക്കേഷന്‍ സേവനദാതാക്കളാണു്. കാലിഫോര്‍ണിയയിലെ ആഗോള കേന്ദ്രം ആര്‍ക്കും ഒരു സേവനവും നല്‍കുന്നില്ല. ദേശീയ ശൃംഖലകളെ ബന്ധിപ്പിക്കുന്നു എന്നതു് മാത്രമാണവര്‍ ചെയ്യുന്നതു്. ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നവര്‍ പ്രാദേശിക ജനവിഭാഗമാണു്. വിഭവങ്ങളും പ്രാദേശികമാണു്. പരസ്പര ബന്ധം മാത്രം ആഗോളം. അതാണു് നിലവിലുള്ള കേന്ദ്രീകൃത ശൃംഖല. മെയില്‍ സെര്‍വ്വറുകളും വിവരസംഭരണികളും തദ്ദേശീയമായി സ്ഥാപിച്ചുപയോഗിക്കാതെ സാമ്രാജ്യത്വ കേന്ദ്രീകരണത്തിനു് നിന്നു് കൊടുക്കുന്നു എന്നതാണു് നിലവില്‍ ശൃംഖലയുടെ കേന്ദ്രീകരണ സ്വാഭാവത്തിന്റെ കാരണം.

ധനമൂലധനത്തിന്റെ ഫാസിസ്റ്റു് സമാന കടന്നാക്രമണങ്ങൾക്കുള്ള ജനകീയ മറുപടി, ജീവിതമാര്‍ഗ്ഗം നിഷേധിക്കപ്പെട്ട ദിവസക്കുലിക്കാരായ കര്‍ഷകരോടും തൊഴിലാളികളോടും, തൊഴിലാളി വര്‍ഗ്ഗമാകെ ഐക്യപ്പെടുക എന്നതാണു്. തൊഴിലാളിവര്‍ഗ്ഗ നേതൃത്വത്തില്‍, പ്രാദേശിക സ്വയംഭരണ സംവിധാനങ്ങളുമായി ഒത്തുചേർന്ന് അവയുടെ പ്രാദേശികവും ദേശീയവും സാര്‍വ്വദേശീയവുമായ സ്വതന്ത്ര ശൃംഖല കെട്ടിപ്പെടുത്തി, അവ ഉപയോഗിച്ച് ഭരണകൂടധനകാര്യ ഫാസിസത്തിന്റെ പിന്നിലെ കുത്തകകളെ നേരിടാവുന്നതാണു്. അതുമൂലം താല്കാലികമായി ഉണ്ടായേക്കാവുന്ന അസൗകര്യങ്ങൾ, ഭരണകൂടം സൃഷ്ടിക്കുന്ന അരാജകത്വവുമായി തട്ടിച്ചു നോക്കിയാൽ തുലോം നിസാരമാണ്. കാലഹരണപ്പെട്ട വ്യവസ്ഥയുടെ തകര്‍ച്ചയിലേയ്ക്കും പുതുസമൂഹ സൃഷ്ടിയിലേയ്ക്കും നയിക്കുന്ന ഉപാധിയാണു്, സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ സാധ്യമാക്കുന്ന പ്രാദേശിക സ്വയംഭരണ സമൂഹങ്ങളുടെ വിതരിത ശൃംഖല.

സാമ്പത്തിക രംഗത്തെന്നപോലെ ഭരണസാംസ്കാരിക രംഗങ്ങളിലും മുതലാളിത്തത്തിന്റെ സ്വേച്ഛാധിപത്യപരമായ മേധാവിത്വം അവസാനിപ്പിക്കാന്‍ പ്രാദേശിക സമൂഹങ്ങള്‍ സ്വന്തമായി സെര്‍വ്വറുകളും വിവര സംഭരണികളും സ്ഥാപിച്ചു് വിതരിത ശൃംഖല ഉപയോഗിക്കേണ്ടിയിരിക്കുന്നു. ധനമൂലധന മേധാവിത്വത്തിന്റെ ആഗോളവല്കരണ നയങ്ങൾക്കുള്ള ബദല്‍ പ്രാദേശിക സമൂഹങ്ങളുടെ സാര്‍വ്വദേശീയ ശൃംഖലാ ബന്ധമാണു്. സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയറും അതു് സാധ്യമാക്കുന്ന സാങ്കേതിക വിദ്യയുടെ സാമൂഹ്യ സ്വാംശീകരണവും വിതരിത ശൃംഖലയും അതിനുള്ള ഉപാധികളാണു്. കാലഹരണപ്പെട്ട മുതലാളിത്തം അടിച്ചേല്പിക്കുന്ന അന്ധവും വിഭജിതവുമായ ഡിജിറ്റല്‍ സമൂഹത്തില്‍ നിന്നു് സ്വതന്ത്ര വിജ്ഞാന ജനാധിപത്യ സമൂഹത്തിലേയ്ക്കുള്ള പ്രയാണത്തിന്റെ പാതയാണിത്.

ഈ വിഷയങ്ങള്‍ക്കൊപ്പം നാളിതുവരെ ഇന്ത്യയില്‍ സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ മേഖലയില്‍ നടന്ന പ്രവര്‍ത്തനങ്ങളുടെ വിലയിരുത്തലും, വരുംകാല പ്രവര്‍ത്തനങ്ങളുടെ ദിശ നിര്‍ണ്ണയിക്കലും ഈ ദേശീയ സമ്മേളനത്തിൽ വിഷയീഭവിക്കും. വിവിധ സ്വതന്ത്ര സോഫ്റ്റ്‌വെയര്‍ സങ്കേതങ്ങളില്‍ പഠനസ്വാംശീകരണ പ്രക്രിയകള്‍ക്കു് തുടക്കം കുറിക്കും. അവയുടെ സാധ്യതകള്‍ ചര്‍ച്ച ചെയ്യുകയും അനുഭവങ്ങള്‍ പങ്കുവെയ്ക്കപ്പെടുകയും ചെയ്യും.

ലേഖകൻ : ജോസഫ് തോമസ്  #FSMI

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