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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

School ku polamaa? - A visit to Eureka School at Kanchipuram




It was an off-day for me and I have decided to visit the Eureka School at Kanchipuram as a volunteer. Those who read my blogs know about this “Eureka Schools”. This is the same school which I wrote about in the title “ABC Nee Vaasi ! - English is never a stumbling block for the rural kids”, where I wrote about a wonderful event performed by the students of the same Eureka School @ Kanchipuram (Vembakkam). The event was related to English and the students from the remote villages have performed extraordinarily. The event showcased the students' abilities in English in all the verticals - Reading, Speaking, Analytical, Reasoning etc., It has been exhibited in the form of game shows and competitions. That was a wonderful evening for me and a detailed post on the same can be read by clicking here.

I wanted to visit this school after witnessing that wonderful event and they had some practical assessment test on the day I wanted to visit. So what more can invite you to visit such a school than this; where I can directly interact with the students, Kids, Teachers & Parents. It is a primary school – KGs to 5th Standard.

It was an early start for the day for me, as I have to travel from Chennai to Kanchipuram.  The day started with the wonderful bus travel, and it was some local festival in temples in Kanchipuram that day it seems, the buses are fully occupied. Thus started the journey and reached the school on time. The kids welcomed & greeted with the natural smile on their face. It is quite obvious for the kids to have a fear and feel tensed, when some outsider is visiting the school. But I couldn’t see any such fear on the kids while seeing me. I see that as a good thing that the kids are not tensed, that too on their assessment day.

After sharing a brief intro with the teachers, I started visiting the labs. Yes, you heard it right – It’s Labs and not class rooms.  Remember, it’s the school for the students of KGs to 5th standard.  I was actually wondered after reading the name “Math Lab”, “English Lab” etc., that too for primary students. Frankly speaking, I came across the word Lab only during my 8th standard and have visited a laboratory only during my 11th standard. I was quite surprised to see these terms being used for the students of primary school. Those who know me, knows very well that, I never stop asking questions and doubts. This is no exception. I asked the same question to the Head Master of the school.  The reply they gave, made me feel that the school is running with a wonderful vision. They replied that, “The subjects should be experienced more than being taught. The kids should be given a practical exposure of what they have to learn and hence this concept of Labs has been incorporated in our schools”.  That’s something I am seeing as an eye-opener for me. Being a guy who studied in a city based school, I am literally surprised to this model and personally, I appreciate this way of learning.  This reminds me of a famous quote by Albert Einstein, “I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn”. The quote seems to be proved here. 

As I keep discussing with the teachers and Head Master, I have observed that the kids keep going to one room after another. There comes the next surprise for me. There is no specific class room for the students where the teachers will come and take classes. Instead, the kids will go to each lab and learn based on their time table. For example, if it is an English period, the kids will go to English Lab. It was explained that our mind will get relaxed and chose to learn a particular subject better if we are surrounded with an environment of what we wanted to learn. This reminded me of my 11th standard, where the Students of economics & Sanskrit will go the respective department to learn those subjects and the students liked learning that way. Good to see the same is being implemented in this primary school.  You can have a look at the pictures of the labs below. The atmosphere and environment plays a key role in learning something.  The below pictures tells you more.

Kids are ready for the school prayer.







Science room

Some  puzzles being pasted in front of the class rooms





Kids play area.


and some posters....








English Lab

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I was there as a volunteer to assist in practical assessment of the kids. Till my college days, I have been tested by way of written examinations which often I felt boring. But we have no other go, we have to prove ourselves by writing those exams. But what I saw in this school is extremely a different methodology. There will be a written exam, which carry some weightage. But major weightage is given to their performance in one on one assessment.  The kids never felt me as an outsider, they neither had fear nor tensed. They were just being themselves and completed their exams / assessments without any sort of fear.  Sorry for my comparison with my school days, but that is what makes me write a post about this school here.  I still remember the fear I had during my Practical examination in my 12th standard exams where an external examiner will review and ask questions in viva. I was literally shivered to face the examiner. But seeing the kids here who are not showing their fear on being examined by an outsider, that’s something we should learn to adapt.

More than that, the kids enjoy the learning methodology being followed here. Gone are the days where I blindly memorize math tables as “One one zaar one” (Without knowing that it is “One Ones are One” which I came to know only during my college days).  Here the kids learn almost everything practically. Instead of reading out the problem of “A boy has a basket of five mangoes, and he dropped one mango – How many mangoes does he have in basket now”, It is always better to demonstrate the same make it easy to learn than to make it complicated by way of a problem of two paragraphs.

I concluded my previous post of “ABC Nee Vaasi” with the speech of Mr. Balaji Sampath who is the backbone of these Eureka Schools where he mentioned that they want the Eureka schools to be the MODEL school in all the ways. After visiting one of their school, I should tell that the school is going in the right direction to be seen as a model school for all others to follow. Overall, it was a wonderful day for me where I have learnt a lot from the school and the kids. I am sure to visit the school again soon.


With Cheers,
Deepak Raghuraman

Friday, 13 May 2016

No Voter ID? Still you can vote!




It's the election time here in Tamilnadu. Each and every street is occupied by the contestants campaigning for their party. Coming Monday (16th May 2016) going to be the important day where we will be choosing our CM to rule us for the next 5 years. Election commission is doing a great job by spreading awareness about voting among the general public. Their aim is to achieve 100% voting this time. I hope, we will make it happen. 

First of all, thank you all for the response / enquiries for my post on "How to apply for Voters ID card online" in the form of comments and e-mail. I have tried my level best to reply to all your queries. Based on the queries I have received, I got to know that people are not casting their vote just because they don't have their Voters ID. This post is just to highlight the Election Commission's press release which states that, We can still vote if we don't have voters id in hand. In the absence of voters ID, we can still vote by showing any of the documents which are provided in the list below. Only condition is, your name should be there in the voters list. This post seeks to clarify the below doubts: 

1. How to find whether my name is there in the voters list or not and How to find my polling booth? 
2. What are the documents which can be showed in the absence of Voters ID card?
3. Will I be eligible to vote if I have voter ID card but belong to my old address?

Let's go one by one and I will try to explain in step wise approach along with the screenshots wherever possible, for easy understanding.

Scenario 1: How to find whether my name is there in the voters list or not and how to find my polling booth?

The basic criteria to vote is to have our name enrolled in the voter list. If its not there in the list, we can't vote. So, let's see how to find out whether our name is there in the voters list or not. 

Step-1: Click on the below link to go to the official "Tamilnadu Voters Service Portal" page.
http://electoralservicessearch.azurewebsites.net/searchbyname.aspx (or) Click here.

Step-2: On clicking the link, the page like the below screenshot will open. If you have the voter ID number with you, type it in EPIC number field. If you don't have or don't know the EPIC number, Click on "DON'T KNOW EPIC" button as shown in the below screenshot. 




Step-3: On clicking "DONT KNOW EPIC", the below window will open. Try to fill the details whatever you know. District name and Elector name is mandatory. But I would suggest to provide / fill the details whatever we know, that will make it easier to filter among thousands of data and then click SUBMIT.



Step-4: On clicking the SUBMIT button, we will get the list of names matching our fields which we entered above. Scroll through and find your name. Then click on "SELECT"



Step-5:  Then comes the last step where you will get the your voters ID details.If you know the EPIC number in the step-1, it will directly land you to this page. Scroll to find out the sub-head "POLLING STATION" which is nothing but your Polling Booth. They have also given the address of the polling booth for our easy identification. That's it. Carry any of the id proof which is listed in the next segment and vote!



Scenario - 2: What are the documents which can be showed in the absence of Voters ID card?

Once we are confirmed that our name is there in the voters list, the next thing is to search for the Voters ID card. If it is available, then well and good. We can vote by showing the voters ID at the booth. But the confusion arises when we don't have the voters ID card / if we have lost our voters ID card. Not to be worried, we can still vote by showing any of the below ID proofs at the polling booth. 

List of alternative documents that can be used for voting in the absence of Voters ID:

1. Passport
2. Driving License
3. Service Identity Cards with photograph issued to employees by Central / State government PSUs / Public limited companies
4. Passbooks with photograph issued by bank / post office
5. PAN card
6. Smart card issued by RGI under NPR
7. MNREGA job card 
8. Health insurance smart card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour
9. Pension document with photograph
10. Authenticated photo voter slip issued by the election machinery
11. Official identity cards to MPs / MLAs / MLCs.

NOTE: Overseas electors should produce their original passport only.


Kindly note that AADHAR CARD is NOT accepted
as the ID proof to cast vote.

The above 11 documents have been prescribed in the official circular issued by the Election Commission of India which can be retrieved in the below link:
http://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/current/ImpInsTN_06052016.pdf​

Scenario 3 - Will I be eligible to vote if I have voter ID card but belong to my old address?

Election commission has confirmed in their official press release that if any voter produces an Voters ID issued by the Electoral Registration Officer of another Assembly constituency, such a card would also be accepted for identification for casting vote in the polling station where the name of that elector finds place. For Eg., If Mr.X has his old residence at Mylapore and moved to Anna Nagar. He has applied for address change but haven't received his card. If his name is found in the list of Anna Nagar polling station, Mr.X can produce the voters ID of Mylapore address as a proof of his identity.

So what are you waiting for! Just go to the polling booth and cast your vote on 16th May 2016. I hope this post helped you by clarifying doubts which few of you might have come across. Share this if you feel its will be of help to your near and dears, enlighten the voters. Exercise your right to vote! 

Feel free to write to me for any clarifications. 

Cheers,
Deepak Raghuraman
innovativedeepak87@gmail.com

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Facebook ah? Be Careful da... #FacebookMemories




Those who know me surely knows how well I am obsessed with the Facebook! For me, personally this is one medium which taught so many things. I was an introvert and the facebook transformed me to a greater extent and in fact, if I have to tell one thing which made me a blogger, it should be the facebook. 

Ok, let me tell you something. This is not my usual serious post. We as a student, might have studied about BC & AD (Ki Mu & Ki Pi in tamil). This digital era have changed a person's life as Facebook'ku mun, Facebook'ku pin (Before FB & After FB). As such, I am going to share about how I was before I join facebook. 

Would you believe if I tell, I don't have a facebook account during my college days? I completed my degree in 2008 and created a facebook profile only in 2009. I am actually reluctant to facebook till I join. My brother is always ahead of me in whatever I do. He is the one whom I follow. He was the first to join facebook. When he was telling that he has joined facebook, can you guess what would be my first response? "Hey, Paathu. Be careful da. Facebook la account vachirundhavangala laam arrest pannuraangalaam" (Translated to "Be careful - If we have facebook account, we may get arrested"). It was due to my ignorance and the rumours spreading those days about facebook, made me give such an epic reply to my brother. But as always, my brother has patiently explained about what is facebook and how does it work and all. Still I was reluctant and joined facebook little later, in January of 2009. 

As every other new user of facebook profile, I started marking attendance in FB, Giving self-like for my posts, A post after returning to facebook even from a week's break, Posting pictures with funny (Which I feel as funny) captions... Thus started my journey into facebook. 






It is a great journey so far, I got connected with some good people. Got some real good friends and well-wishers. As the years pass-by, it is obvious that our friends will get married. It is always a difficult situation to attend the marriage of those facebook friends for whom we don't have any mutual friends :) We don't know anyone except the bride / groom. The way their relatives look at us, makes us feel as if "Ayyo kalyaana mandapam maari vandhuttom oh" (Have we come to a different marriage?). Till we give away the gift and take the group snap, we kept searching for someone by thinking that someone we know might join us, but it won't happen :) And when he/she introduce us to their parents that we are facebook friends - Their epic response - Chancey illa. Do I need to tell the response? Just attend a marriage and find on your own :)

These are just a few incidents which are on the lighter side of being in facebook. On the flip side, facebook has given me the much needed transformation and if I start writing about the positive impact it has created on me, it will be as lengthy as our Economics answer sheet. Will share that post soon. 

Thanks to Author Kaarthika & namma Chennai Bloggers Club for running this #Tagged contest. Tagged is the book written by the Debut Author Kaarthika, the story of which revolves around our very own facebook. If you want to pre-order the book, click here.


Sunday, 31 January 2016

How to apply for Ration Card (Family Card)


How to apply for Ration Card (Family Card)


Ration Card supposed to be the most essential government document. Be it for procuring the civil supplies at the subsidized rate or for the proof of address, the ration card plays an important role in our day to day life.

It is often regarded as a tedious job to get the ration card. But, if we approach the right authorities with the right documents, the ration card will be issued within 60 to 90 days from the date of making the application (Without spending any extra money – It won’t cost you more than Rs.100 to apply for the Ration card). Thanks to the readers who keep on requesting me to share about the process of getting the ration Card and time has come now for me to write about it. The purpose of this post is to provide simple step by step procedures on how to apply for ration card. The procedures are common for all those in TamilNadu, but wherever I share the contact address / numbers, those are applicable only for the residents of Chennai. Kindly note there is no option to apply for ration card online. We need to go through the traditional paper form mode for applying the ration card.

Before jumping on to the procedures, let us first know about the types of ration cards being issued by the civil supplies. The Ration cards issued by the TamilNadu Civil Supplies department will be of many types, but majority of them belongs to the below four categories:

1. Green Card : All Commodities Card, which are issued to those who opts for all the commodities from the ration card. ie. Rice + other essential commodities.

2. White Card : Sugar Cards, are issued to those who opts for sugar instead of Rice as in Green Card. Ie. Sugar + Other essential commodities (No Rice).

3. White Card : No Commodity Cards, are issued to those who don't want any commodities from the Public Distribution System (PDS).

4. Yellow Card : Tatkal Card issued only for the address proof.

We should choose either of the above cards based on our requirement. If we need Ration card just for the proof of address, then we can opt for TATKAL CARD (YELLOW CARD) where the card will be processed in a shorter span of time. 

ELIGIBILITY TO APPLY FOR RATION CARD:

  • The applicant and his/her family must be Indian citizens
  •  The applicant and his/her family must be living and cooking separately
  • The applicant and his/her family must be residents in Tamil Nadu.
  • The applicant or his family members must not possess any family card in any State in India
  • The applicant or any of his/her family members must not be a member in any other family card in TamilNadu
  • The applicant and members of the family must be close relatives

d
d


S    Step 1 – Download the Form: 
Download the application form from the below link:

Step 2 – Take print & Fill out the form:
Take a print of the downloaded application and fill the form.  Make sure the application is error free. Keep an eye on the spelling of your name. These small mistakes might also lead to rejection of the application form.

Step 3 – Documents to be attached:
Attach a valid Proof of Address (Make sure that the Applicant’s name & address appears in the address proofs) which can be either of the below:
  1. ·         Voter Identity Card
  2. ·         Aadhar Card
  3. ·         Property Tax in case of own house
  4. ·         Latest Electricity Bill
  5. ·         Latest Telephone Bill
  6. ·         Front Page of Bank Pass Book
  7. ·         Passport
  8. ·         Allotment orders in respect of persons residing at houses allotted by Slum Clearance Board
Along with the proof of address, the below mentioned documents to be submitted: 

1. If the application was rejected earlier, Particulars regarding earlier application for family card, including registration number and

2. A self addressed and stamped postal cover or postcard to enable the office to communicate the results to the applicant.

Step 4 – Provide Gas Connection Details in Application:
Provide details of your Gas Connection in the application form as requested. Giving below the details needs to be filled up:

a) Name of person in whose name connection is registered:
b) Oil Company (BPC / IOC / HPC)
c) LPG Consumer Number:
d) Name of the Gas Agency:
e) Number of Cylinders:

Step 5: Choose the commodities you would require:
Based on this, we will be given Green Card / White Sugar Card / White No Commodities Card / Yellow Tatkal Card. We need to choose the one from the below options in the application form:
Rice and Other Commodities (Green Card) / Additional Sugar in lieu of rice (White Card) / Don’t want any commodity (White / Yellow Card)

Step 6 – Submission of Application form:
 Once the application is filled in, the applications along with documents must be filed with Assistant Commissioner of Civil Supplies of the zone in which the applicant resides. Obtain the acknowledgement slip from the Assistant commissioner’s office after submitting the form.
Giving below the contact details of the Assistant Commissioners of all the zones in Chennai.

S.No
Zone
Address
Contact No
1
Ambattur Zone
58, M.T.H.Road, Villiwakkam Town Panchiyath Office Complex, Near Ambathkar statute, Ambattur, Chennai - 600 053
044 26250309 / 9445000156
2
Annanagar Zone
116, Poonamallee High Road, Aminjakarai, Chennai-600 084
044 24753265 / 9445000155
3
Avadi Zone
8,Krishna Menon St,Gandhi nagar Avadi, Chennai 600054
044 26375560 / 9445000403
4
Chepauk Zone
37, Nagappa Iyer St., Triplicane, Chennai-5.
044 28544934 / 9445000167
5
Chidambaranar Zone
 Moore Street Near Beach Railway Station, Chennai  600 001
044 25267603 / 9445000153
6
Mylapore Zone
 4,Venkatesa Agraharam Street, Mylapore, Chennai-4
044 24642613 / 9445000162
7
Perambur Zone
No.13 Madavaram (North)High Road, Opp: Sympsons Company, Near: Moolakadai Bus Stop, Chennai-11
044 25593050 / 9445000154
8
Royapuram Zone
9B, Somu Cheety 6th St. Chennai  600 021
044 25953285 / 9445000158
9
Saidapet Zone
92/102 Bazaar St., Opp: VGP Square, Saidapet, Chennai-15
044 24328198 / 9445000165
10
Sholinganallur Zone
147,New Kumaran Nagar, 1st Cr St, Sholinganallur, Chennai-600119
044 24502575 / 9445000167
11
St. Thomas Mount Zone
No.2, Arikari Street, Adambakkam , Chennai - 600 088
044 22604411 / 9445000163
12
T.Nagar Zone
4, Ragaviah Road, T.Nagar, Chennai-17
044 28156674 / 9445000161
13
Tambaram Zone
4, Vanilai Arasu St., Tambaram West, Chennai-45
044 22262737 / 9445000164
14
Thiruvottiyur Zone
 936, T.H.Road, Municipality Marriage Hall, Thiruvotriyur, Chennai-19
044 25992828 / 9445000159
15
Thousand Lights Zone
Vidiyothiya Main Road, Kodambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam
044 28340276 / 9445000166
16
Villivakkam Zone
New No.60, Old No.109, Perumal Koil Street, Madavethi, Villivakkam, Chennai - 600 049
044 26171451 / 9445000157

d    Step – 7: Processing &Verification:
      Once the application is submitted, it will be sent for the field verification whereby the authorized official will visit our house to ensure that the applicant satisfies the eligibility criteria as mentioned in the top of this post.  Be cautious while letting the officials in. Ask for their official ID card before letting them in.
      
      This Verification / Inspection should be initiated within 30 days from the date of application. If there is no such inspection beyond 30 days, We need to check with the Assistant commissioner in the zonal civil supplies office where you applied for the ration card (In the address mentioned above).
      
      Step – 8: Intimation of Application Status:
1.      Once, the application is found eligible for issue of a new family card, the card will be sent for printing. As soon as the printed card arrives in the office, the Assistant Commissioner will send a post card (or) a SMS to the applicant requesting him/her to collect the ration card in person with the acknowledgement slip within 15 days. The head of the family should go & collect the card. If he is not able to collect, he should send a letter authorizing any other member of the family to collect the family card on his/her behalf. Such a letter must have the signature of the other member of the family attested by the applicant. The person so authorised may collect the card after surrendering the acknowledgement slip issued at the time of submission of the application.
2.       
      In case the application is rejected, the Assistant Commissioner will send a post card / SMS to the applicant indicating the reasons for rejection within 60 days of the application date. 
       

Kindly note that, newly married couple can apply for the ration card only if they are living & using the separate kitchen from their parents who already owns ration card.

Step 1 – Remove your name from your Father’s Ration Card:
First step for a newly married couple applying for ration card is to get their names removed from their father’s ration card. For removing the name from father’s ration card, we need to visit the Ration Office (As in the addresses mentioned above) and fill in the form D-1 along with the Marriage Registration Certificate. Along with this, a written application (in white paper) by the head of the family of the existing cardholder with the below details has to be submitted:

Full address
Name
Previous address of the new member of the family
Nature of relationship with the head of the family.
Once the Assistant Commissioner is satisfied, he will issue the certificate of name removal.

Step 2 to Step 8:  Follow as in the Application for New Ration Card, except that we need to attach “NAME DELETION CERTIFICATE” which we obtained in the previous step, along with the application form.


Things to be noted:
1. Attach a copy of the ration cards where our names have been deleted / removed
2. Also obtain a copy of ration card from your neighbour / landlord of your new residence, so as to make process easier for them. It is also better to obtain a letter from the landlord stating that you are residing in the particular address.





Step 1 – Written application to be made by the head of the family & obtaining Name Deletion Certificate:
Follow the step-1 as in the Application for Ration Card of Newly Married Couple (above), except that instead of marriage certificate we need to produce the proof of reason for moving permanently to any other State.

Step 2 to Step 8:  Follow as in the Application for New Ration Card, except that we need to attach “NAME DELETION CERTIFICATE” which we obtained in the previous step, along with the application form.

Points to be noted:
1. Attach a copy of the ration cards where our names have been deleted / removed
2. Also obtain a copy of ration card from your neighbor / landlord of your new residence, so as to make process easier for them. It is also better to obtain a letter from the landlord stating that you are residing in the particular address.





Step 1 – Written application to be made by the head of the family:
In order to add a new born kid’s name to the ration card, A written application (in white paper) by the head of the family of the existing card holder with the below details has to be submitted to AC office:
Full address
Name
Nature of relationship with the head of the family.

Step 2 – Submit a copy of Birth Certificate:
Copy of Birth Certificate needs to be submitted along with the written application as in step-1.





Step 1 – Fill the Form D-1:
Form D-1 needs to be obtained from the Ration office & it should be duly filled-in.

Step 2 – Submit a copy of Death Certificate:
A copy of death certificate to be submitted along the application form as in step-1 & obtain the acknowledgement slip. Name will be removed after the officer confirms it by visiting our residence.  





If the change of address is within the same jurisdiction of the same ration shop:

Step 1 A Written application to be made from the head of the family indicating the reason for change in address and the new address, to the officer in ration shop.

Step 2 –Submit a proof of address for the new residence along with the original ration card.

If the change of address is outside the same jurisdiction of the same ration shop:

Step 1 A Written application to be made from the head of the family indicating the reason for change in address and the new address, to the officer in ration shop.

Step 2 –Submit a proof of address for the new residence along with the original ration card.

Step 3Obtain the deletion slip from your old ration shop officer. Get the card deleted from the A-Register and get a deletion slip signed by the salesman in ration shop.

Step 4 - Hand over the deletion slip with the Ration card to the AC office and get an acknowledgement slip. 





Step 1A written application to be made by the head of family indicating the reasons for applying for a duplicate family card, the ration card number and Fair Price Shop code. (Applications from any other member of the family will be rejected.)

Step 2 - Ration card number or xerox copy of the lost family card / the damaged family card and name of the fair price shop should be submitted.

Step 3 –Submit a copy for Proof of residence for the address as in the ration card


Key Points to be noted: 

1. Once the card arrives, check for the correctness of the data.

2. Since ration card supposed to be the essential document for many things, we should keep the card safe. I would suggest you to take few photo copies of the ration card (Front & Back). This will also help in case if we want to apply for the duplicate ration card.  

3. Be patient till 60 days since we make the application. Let us not disturb the officials by visiting their office every now & then to know the status. 

4. It is illegal to own more than one ration card for the people residing in the same house by using the same kitchen. 



Conclusion:

I have tried my level best to make this post easily understandable for those who want to apply for ration card. If you need any clarifications, you can just step in to your nearest Ration Shop / Assistant Commissioner (Civil Supplies) office and get it clarified, or you can comment here. I shall try to assist you with the solution for your queries. The post is based on the details as found in Tamilnadu Civil Supplies official website. In case if any of you find any errors in the content, feel free to let me know. Hope this post is helpful.

Meet you all in my next post.
Deepak Raghuraman
innovativedeepak87@gmail.com