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Rational Expectations

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In all the din created by the plethora of exit polls, a very important aspect of the current round of elections has been missed: all voting will be done through electronic voting machines, and once the actual process of counting is begun, it will take just 4-6 hours to declare the results of the entire country of over a billion people!
Contrast this with the well-publicised faults with the outdated system of punching holes in ballot papers that cost Al Gore his election in the US, and you realise just how far India's progressed in terms of using technology. But it's not just in the election process where there's a big change happening, even areas not normally associated with high technology are coming up with ambitious computerisation projects that are changing the lives of millions. At a conference on large e-governance projects organised by consulting firm SKOCH, railway ministry officials made a presentation on some of their plans, and some of them were truly amazing. Did you know that the reservation system performs reservations for 6,75,000 seats and berths every day (during peak season this goes up to around a million), and that the system responds to any reservation transaction from anywhere in the country within two seconds, 365 days a year, with a 99 per cent uptime? Indeed, with a major effort on the website, you can now book your tickets on the Net and, very soon, even download your ticket details onto your printer at home/office, and just walk into the train with this and some form of ID like a driver's license! A presentation by customs officials at the same conference was even more impressive. At 23 customs offices across the country, the official said, you can file your documents online, and figure out the status of your approvals even before your cargo hits the country's shores

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