There was a time, before the country went broke and Narshima Rao sort of had to open India up much to the consternation of Rahul Bajaj that we used Vanaspati to cook. I really don't know how many middle-class English language newspaper reading people really use Vanaspati any more. I'm sure there are some households where the 'cheap' oil is used as well as the place where you buy your samosa's - but the general betterment of our lives since 1991 has meant that most homes use decent cooking oil. Even poor ones. So the headlines in both HT and ToI today morning puzzled me to say the least. There is a difference between cooking oil and Vanaspati and while I agree that food safety standards are next to zero in India and that eating food cooked in Vanaspati is a sure-fire way to need an angioplasty, crazy misleading headlines are dangerous to your health as well.
And there is that little story of the $10 laptop. Now it is called an extremely low-cost 'Access-cum-Computing' (I do not understand the fascination with 'cum' in product names and designations in India) device. A laptop it is not. Even if you connect this to a TV and even if you use a low-cost ARM processor in a Ti or Qualcomm chipset Rs 500 is a ridiculous price even when you do the sum of parts. Kapil Sibal should remember the lesson of the Simputer from a decade ago. What killed it? The mobile phone - investing money on a more capable mobile device or software that can run on a mobile device over next-generation 3G networks giving access to more people in rural India is far more sensible. What we have crerated is a glorified pen-drive with a Wi-Fi antenna and a really low-end processor (I hope it is a 32-bit processor). Anyway these are just my two cents.