Archive for May, 2014

Data and Analytics – some thoughts on consulting

May 31, 2014

On this technical blog, I have not been very regular now-a-days primarily due to the other writing engagements on artha SAstra and on Medium.

Yesterday, I have been asked to address a group of analytic enthusiasts in an interactive session arranged by NMIMS at Bangalore on a theme “Visualize to Stratagise”. Having spent around three hours several topics on Analytics and specifically on Visual Analytics were discussed.

I thought of writing on two aspects of Analytics which I have seen in past few months on this post to give a little food for thought to those who are consulting on Analytics.

Let “data” speak.
Few weeks back one of my customers had a complaint on database. Customer said, we have allocated a large amount of storage to the database and in one month time all the space was consumed. As per the customer’s IT department at the maximum of 30K business transactions were only performed by a user group of 50 on the application which is supported by this database. So, they have concluded there is something wrong on the database and hence an escalation to me to look into it.

I have suspected some interfacing schema that could be storing the CLOB/BLOB type data and there could be missing cleanup and asked my DBA to give me a tablespace growth trend. The growth is on the transaction schema and across multiple transaction tables in that schema. I have ruled out some abnormal allocation on a single object with this observation.

We thought of running a simple analytics on the transaction data to see the created user on those transactions to verify if someone has run any migration script that could have got a huge amount of data into transaction tables or some other human error.

For our surprise we have seen 1100 active users who have created 600,000+ transactions in the database. All through the different times and most regular working day, working hour pattern. No nightly batch or migration user created the data. We went ahead with a detailed analytics on the data which has mapped all the users across geography of the country of operation.

We created a simple drill down visualization of the data and submitted to business and IT groups at the customer with a conclusion that the data indeed valid and created by their users and there is no problem with the system.

So, the data spoke for itself and the customer’s business team said to the IT team that they have started using the system across the country for the last month and all the users were updating transactions on this system. This fact the IT team was not aware of. IT team is still thinking it is running pilot mode with one location and 50 users.

Let the data speak. Let it show itself to those who need it for decision making.Democratize the data.

The second point which came up evidently yesterday was

“If you torture your data long enough, it will confess anything”
Do not try to prove the known hypothesis with the help of data. It is not the purpose of analytics. With data and statistics you can possibly infer anything. Any bias towards a specific result will defeat the purpose of analytics.

So, let the data with its modern visualization ability be an unbiased representative which shows the recorded history of the business with all its deficiencies, with all its recording errors and all possible quality problems; in the process of decision making and strategising….. 

Hope I made clear my two points while consulting on Analytics….

Concluding dharmasthIyam – Some remarks

May 27, 2014

In past nine posts, I have given an overview of 19 chapters of dharmasthIyam. In the last and concluding chapter 20 of dharmasthIyam, cANakya deals with three topics.

1. dyUtam – related to the gambling
2. samAhvayam – related to betting and
3. prakIrNakAni – miscellaneous and important remarks related to judges

The superintendent of gambling should get all the gambling activities happen in one designated place. Anyone carrying out the gambling in any other place should be fined. It is important to have designated gambling place as it would work like a place where the people with undisclosed incomes flock together over there!

When disputes arise related to dyUtam between the winner and looser should be first dealt by the superintendent of the gambling house. The gambling house takes 5% on the winning money as fees. Regularly the gambling dice etc., should be checked and replaced by the adhyaksha.

On the disputes related to the betting or challenges between individuals to be treated as per the rules in “sAhasa” or applying force.

In prakIrNakam, cANakya describes some important points while dealing with disputes of civil or criminal nature and finally concludes:

“disputes related to religious institutions (dEva), priests (brAhmaNa), saints (tapasvi), women (strI), children (bAla), elderly (vRddha), one’s in distress (vyAdhitAnAm) and those who are helpless (anAdhAnAm) should be handled by judges even if they do not approach the court and should not be dismissed on the pretext of place and time constraints.”

“On account of excellence in learning (vidya), intellect (buddhi), valour (paurusha), noble birth (abhijana), and noble deeds (karmAtiSaya) people should be respected”

“Judges with an impartial view towards all beings (note: not only humans!) look into the matters without deceit; are worthy of trust and beloved by people” 

With this 50th post to this blog, we reach the end of third book of artha SAstra called dharmasthIyam. A total of 77 chapters are covered till now.

Deriving code related to criminal procedures

May 20, 2014

Deriving code related to criminal procedures

In dharmasthIyam we have seen all the civil procedures till the last post. General rules regarding validity of transactions, marriage, inheritance, real estate, loans, services and products related dispute handling is covered in the past posts.

Next three chapters deals with the guidelines to the judges in dealing with the offences involving criminal behavior.

cANakya names them as follows:

Chapter 17 – sAhasam – Using force. If a party uses force to take away anything from its owner it is called sAhasam.

Chapter 18 – vAk pArushyam – verbal injury. Causing injury to someone using words. Threatening comes under this category.

Chapter 19 – daNDa pArushyam – physical injury. Causing harm by touching or holding physically, injuring people, animals, plants or any other property comes under this topic.

In artha SAstra, we often see a punishment called “pUrva sAhasa danDa”, which roughly means, the situation where one of the subject is about to use force to get his “desire” fulfilled in a transaction. Just before the criminality enters the society a fine (monitory or punishment otherwise) to be imposed by the state leadership to control the crime.

When someone uses force on acquiring other’s property when the owner is present, it is called sAhasam or robbery. Same is done in the absence of the owner, it is called theft. Denying theft, after committing theft will attract higher punishment. 

One who causes another to commit an act of force shall attract double punishment to the original crime.

Defaming anyone showing a physical defect, race, color, gender, origin country etc., should attract fine of three paNas. Vilifying someone who is blind or one eyed etc., as “having beautiful eyes” etc., shall attract double the amount (six paNas) as fine. When this kind of mocking happens towards higher social order / superiors will attract double the fine. Calling a brahmaNa as a “low brahmaNa” or a trader as a “low trader” or calling some one from a country of gAndhara as “low gandhAra” shall attract fine as well.

A person deserves gradually increasing fines for defaming his own country or village, his own caste or occupation, defaming Gods attract highest punishment.

Touching, menacing and striking constitute physical injury.

While some teachers hold an old injury is not a valid case, cANakya holds however old the crime is, the accused should be tried and punished based on the evidence. Evidence is crucial in all cases.

All the damages caused should be compensated by the offenders. Even the damages to the animals, trees, plants shall attract punishment.

Any damages caused to the public properties and common properties shall also be considered while giving the judgement in the cases of crime involving damage and physical injury.

Thus we reach the end of 19th chapter, covering legal guidelines relating to criminal behavior.

General observation related to selling and buying things

May 17, 2014

Having dealt with the “services” in the past post, let us have a look at few guidelines related to the disputes relating to the selling and buying.

cANakya deals with the following topics in chapter 15 and 16 of the dharmasthIyam. 

vikrIta-krItAnuSayaH is chapter 15.

If the seller is not delivering or giving the goods to the buyer within the agreed duration fine is imposed. For a trader the time to deliver is one day, for agriculturist it is 3 days, for cow heard it is 5 days and for the goods made by mixed professions it is 7 days.

If the sold items are found defective (hence not delivered) or lost in a calamity (like fire accident or theft) or sold for an unreasonable price due to some problem on seller’s side it will not attract a fine.

A bench of judges should make sure there is no loss for both the seller and buyer in the disputes related to the sale of things.

Chapter 16 deals with few topics.
dattasyAnapAkarma – Promising a gift and not giving it. This has to be dealt as per the rules of loan. So promising to give something is equavalant to taking loan from the other party.

asvAmivikrayaH – selling of the goods not owned. Methods of dealing with disputes arising from this kind of transactions are described.

sva-svAmi sambandhaH – Relation between the items and the owner. Some interesting aspects are discussed here. Any unclaimed items that were lost should be kept for a period of 45 days by the officer and no one claims them after that period it belongs to the King. If King is unable to recover the lost things from the thieves, King should replace those items on his own expense to the owner.

 Anyone who has renounced the world and roams around as sannyasi, then sannyasi can’t claim ownership of any property. But when they commit any offence (criminal in nature) they should be treated just as any other subject and get the same punishment as any regular citizen.

King should restrict those who are just acting like sannyasis and not doing anything without real renouncement. If the King is not being strict in this matter, the dharma itself covered by adharma, works against the King. 

This brings us to the end of 16th chapter covering the guidelines in dealing with disputes related to civil matters! 

Laws concerning servants, labourers, workers and contractors

May 8, 2014

Chapters 13 and 14 deals with the laws concerning workers. I could see at least four types of employment contracts in these chapters.

1. Servants – They have no specific role or responsibility. Once a person becomes a major he can choose to “pledge” oneself for a period or “sell’ for the whole life time to a master. Master pays a lump sum upfront in this arrangement. In this kind of arrangement there are exceptions when the ‘dAsa‘ is freed from serving the master. For example if the servant is asked to do very menial things like picking up a corpse, dung and urine etc., the pledge is freed. As per the agreement when the money is paid back the pledge is released. The children of the one who sells himself are not considered servants. They are regular citizens only.

2. Skilled labourers: People like carpenters etc., and doctors, nurses, consultants etc., who are employed temporarily for a specific period to be paid as per the agreement. Disputes relate the payment of wages need to be resolved as per the witness in such cases.

3. Labour union (sangha-bhRta) : A group of people who come together and do a specific work for agriculture etc., In these cases the union decides the wages for the services they provide and the job is given to the union and certain union laws are observed in such arrangements.

4. Turnkey projects: A work contracted out to an external organization. It is like carrying out work on behalf.

In any of the cases, if the worker is unable to work due to ill health etc., some amount of wage is paid. If employer was not able to get the work done in stipulated amount of time agreed due to lack of raw material etc., in such cases also employer is supposed to pay to the employee full wage.

In all the cases when the employer fails to pay or when the employee fails to deliver disputes arise. All these disputes need to dealt diligently by the judges based on the witness close to the arrangement under dispute. 

Thus we reach the end of 14th chapter of dharmasthIyam deals with the arrangements related to “services” industry considering both sides of a service provider and the consumer’s interests. 

Of lending and depositing

May 5, 2014

Having dealt with the overview, general rules of transactions, marriages, division of inheritance and real estate; this post tries to give some highlights on two chapters of dharmasthIyam. 

Chapter 11 – RNa dAnam – relating to lending money
Chapter 12 – aupanithikam – concerning deposits including pledge

cANakya defines maximum percentage of interests for each type of loan. 1.25% per month is the allowed limit on the interest. For business the rates can go up to 5%, 10% and 20% depending on types of trade.

The loan transaction between wife and husband, father and son and brothers are invalid. They can’t approach a court to settle disputes.

Wife is generally not a joint litigant in case of loans taken by the husband. There are exceptions to the rule. When wife takes loans while the husband on long trip abroad, husband is responsible to repay.

Wife’s brother, friend, dependent, the giver and taker of the loan can’t be the witness in case of disputes.

Depositing money with others for an interest follows the same rules as lending money. But when items are pledged there are specific rules related to them.

Chapter 12 also deals with the disputes related to the money clearing agencies (like modern day banks and olden day Hundi systems etc., )

As with every other matter, several fines for different kinds of situations in the dispute are prescribed in these chapters.

These two chapters give critical view into the matters related to money lending, depositing and resolving disputes arising from them.

అక్షయ తృతీయ

May 2, 2014

योगानन्दकरी रिपुक्षयकरी धर्मार्थनिष्ठाकरी
चन्द्रार्कानलबासमान लहरी त्रैलोक्यरक्षाकरी
सर्वैश्वर्यसमस्तवाञ्छितकरी काशीपुराधीश्वरी
भिक्षां देहि कृपावलम्बनकरी मातान्नपूर्णेश्वरी

yOgAnanda karI ripu-kshya karI dharma-artha-nishThA karI
candrArkAnala bhAsamAna laharI trailOkya rakshA karI
sarvaiSvarya samasta vAnCita karI kASI-purA-dhISvari
bhikshAM dEhi kRpAvalambana karI mAtA annapUrNESvarI

యోగానంద కరీ రిపుక్షయ కరీ ధర్మఅర్థనిష్ఠా కరీ
చంద్రార్కానల భాసమాన లహరీ త్రైలోక్య రక్షా కరీ
సర్వైశ్వర్య సమస్త వాంఛిత కరీ కాశీపురాధీశ్వరీ
భిక్షాం దేహి కృపావలంబన కరీ మాతా అన్నపూర్ణేశ్వరీ

— ఆది శంకరుల  అన్నపూర్ణాష్టకం నుంచి 
— Akshya tRtIya today.

Let the goddess bestow whatever that is infinite to those infinite souls individually and collectively.

yOgAnanada is the ultimate bliss. The six internal enemies of kAma krOdha etc should be reduced by her grace only. One should establish in the dharma-artha firmly. This firm resolve in righteousness and meaninful prosperity is bestowed by her only. All illuminitation from the Sun, Moon and Fire is her only. Protection of all the three frames of existence namely waking, dreaming and deep-sleep are from her only. All the lordship, ownership over things and all the fulfillment of desires is bestowed by her only. She is the lord of the “pura” of kASi which is effulgence. I beg her only who gives everything for my living. 

తాలిమి – The quality of sages

May 1, 2014

తాలిమి మనకును ధర్మము తాలిమి మూలంబు మనకు ధన్యత్వమునం
దాలిమి గలదని ఈశుండేలించును బ్రహ్మ పదము నెల్లన్ మనలన్

— శ్రీ మదాంధ్ర భాగవతము, నవమ స్కంధము లో జమదగ్ని తన కుమారుడైన రామునికి చెప్పిన మాట
— పరశురామ జయంతి సందర్భంగా…

tālimi – తాలిమి
1. Gentleness.
2. Endurance, patience, steadfastness. ఓర్పు.
3. Fortitude. ధైర్యము.
tAlimi is our nature. tAlimi is the root of our achievement.
Only due to this tAlimi the lord gives us the lordship over his highest abode. 
So be gentle, steadfast and courageous (all the three qualities put together is tAlimi
Today is the paraSurAma jayanti