who really wants to piss??
Friday, August 08, 2008
Today i had the opportunity to attend a leadership presentation titled"Leadership at 20000 feet" by Capt. Raghu Raman, ceo. Mahindra SSG. Capt. Raghu was a captain with Indian army, served at Siachin glacier and has also been a part of UN peace forces in Angola. Never before in my life have i got a truer picture of leadership than what capt. Raghu gave us today. The hardships and difficulties a soldier goes through while serving in Siachin is overwhelming, our problems lose ground in front of those. These soldiers endanger their lives and bear such hardships for the meagre pay and affection that they get from the GOI and Indian citizens they protect. Capt. Raghu said that its the leader that this soldiers bear such hardships for. Its not the patriotic feeling or the pay that motivates these soldiers to endure such extremes but their love and respect for the leader of the battalion that they lay their lives for. It has been scientifically proved that a soldier who spends more than three terms serving in the siachin glacier develops some form of permanent physical or mental illness. Also 30% of the soldiers serving in Siachin are bound to die due to either the war or the nature extremes they face in the Siachin region. A large part of the remaining flock that survives develops some permanent illness. In such conditions it is the leader of the battalion who keep the spirits high and keeps the camp going. Hearing all these straight from the horse's mouth added conviction to the talk. In the extremes conditions faced by the soldiers at Siachin, the leader at times has to take tough decisions resulting in the death of one or more soldiers. Making the right decision while keeping the spirit of the team together is true leadership. Capt. Raghu was utterly motivating and made audience believe that the problems faced by them in life are nothing as compared to those faced by our jawans on border. We should be greatly thankful for all the luxuries we have in life rather than cribbing about those we don't. Cribbing takes an individual nowhere and we cease to enjoy even the few joyful moments we have in life. Capt. Raghu Raman's Profile: http://www.expressitpeople.com/20030526/people1.shtml
Sunday, May 04, 2008
According to a latest report by CAG over the implementation of Sarva Shikshya Abhiyaan (Midday Meal Scheme), the funds meant for the scheme were grossly siphoned off by the officials in charge for their personal benefits. CAG found that even petty officials owned large expensive imported cars like Skoda, grossly above what their compensation permits. Despite a consistent large annual increase in fund allocation for the scheme since its inception, the quality of food given out to students has only deteriorated. Students in various schools throughout the country have often complained of falling sick after consuming the low quality food given out under the scheme. Apart from being another incidence of taxpayers hard earned money being siphoned off by corrupt government officials, the incident brings to the forefront the apathy of our politicians towards bringing efficiency in the system. All political parties have been unanimous in consistently demanding more funds for the scheme, resulting in increased burden on taxpayers. Our super-intelligent politicians fail to understand that a more efficient Public Distribution System (PDS) will itself take care of the increased scheme requirements without mandating any increase in funds allocation in the short term. Only once the required efficiency creeps into the system, increased funds should be allocated. The only purpose the increased allocation has served is to enrich our loyal bureaucrats beyond what they already are. Increased allocation is a better populist measure and will generate more publicity for our dearest politicians than what increased efficiency can ever do for them.
Rajiv Gandhi once famously quoted that out of every 1 rupee allocated; only about 17 paisa reaches the eventual beneficiary. Today the condition is even worse. Corruption has already become a part of our culture. It’s high time our government does something about this menace before it becomes incurable. Involving private sector in public schemes is one of the methods that promise increased accountability and enhanced efficiency from our hard working bureaucrats. Infosys has been associated with the scheme in some districts in the state of Karnataka both as a logistics provider and a large sponsor of the scheme. In these districts the scheme has been a great success. The people concerned have been able to provide good quality food to school children while keeping costs extremely low even lower than the districts where the scheme has been a large failure on account of huge costs involved. This shows that effective leadership is the foremost criteria for making any scheme a success and our politicians have to show the way here to our bureaucrats. This year government fund allocation for the scheme went up from INR 7324 crores last year to INR 8000 crores this year. It was one of the few bills that found support from political parties across the board, without the efficiency of funds utilization being questioned. It’s high time our government and other politicians move up from mere populist measures to achieving efficient governance. I hope our politicians take a note of this.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
This month Time magazine for the second time in its history had a cover border other than red. It had a green border reflecting its new found focus on global warming (it has had a black border previously to mourn 9/11) . It was to signify that the magazine has gone completely green and urged its users to also go green to fight global warming. Last year Nobel Peace prize was another extension of the World’s enhanced focus on global warming. Debate on Global Warming has eclipsed the US presidential elections this year, it is topic even bigger than Terrorism. This year, US for the first time admitted to being one of the biggest culprits of global warming and is now willing to do its bit although that might mean a slow down in US growth. What does this really imply??? Is the world coming to an end because of global warming??? Well right now it isn’t....but it will if nothing is done in this regard. Looking at the volumes spoken, the huge coverage given and efforts being done throughout the world to curtail global warming, i am relieved and sure that we will win this war sooner or later. Global Warming is too large a phenomenon to ignore and a lot needs to be done even before we can reach anywhere close to curtailing it. But a start has been made. Today heavy polluting industries are highly taxed (Direct carbon tax, Carbon credits etc.) whereas low polluting industries enjoy huge tax subsidies. Consumers are more environment conscious, not averse to paying more for environment friendly products. Eco-friendly products and services are a multi-billion dollar sustainable industry whereas many polluting industries are struggling to survive. Toyota, GM, Honda etc. all have hybrid vehicles in the market, Virgin has even tested a biofuel driven aircraft and plans to use the technology commercially by 2012. Renewable energy sources like wind, hydro etc. are being used more than ever to produce clean energy. Germany has already cut its emission by 18% below its 1990 level and is working towards achieving even more efficiency. Other countries like France, UK have also enhanced their emission cutting efforts. International climate treaties like Kyoto, current food crisis have further forced world governments to take climate change seriously. We humans have always fought, no matter what the circumstances and have always emerged triumph. Looking at this determination and the current efforts being made, I am assured that although not in the short term but in the long term we are poised to win our war against global warming. All of us are obliged to do our bit to fight global warming and once done so, global warming won’t be a threat anymore. I am not playing down the dangers of global warming, the only point I am emphasizing is that collective efforts will win us the battle against global warming and world is clearly showing signs of doing that.
Monday, April 28, 2008
A lot is being said and written about food shortage in various parts of the globe. Varied reasons have been cited for this crisis depending upon one’s intuition and ideology. An environmentalist will blame global warming i.e. droughts, floods and other calamities lowering food production; a communist will point towards capitalism as the main culprit (capitalist concepts like commodity trading etc. CPM in India is one such communist party); others blame hoarding; developing countries outright put the onus on developed countries (policies like the great hike in biofuel production etc). Although all these factors are to be blamed in some way for the current food crisis, no reason can be single handedly held responsible for the same. in this fairly entertaining blame game…someone who losses out is the common man. He is unsure whom to trust...what to do...and above all how to do. I did my analysis to burst all the myths regarding the current food crisis. I hope it helps the innocent soul.
Indeed the current global warming has made people more environment conscious and governments more serious towards alternate fuels. But has it really benefited us the way it was suppose to? While renewable energy sources like wind, hydro, solar are really great non polluting energy sources, the same cannot be said about biofuels. While biofuel generated from sugarcane is indeed less polluting as compared to conventional gasoline, the same cannot be said about biofuels derived from corn, soyabean and other sources. If all environmental effects of biofuel production from corn is considered its probably more polluting than traditional gasoline. This is after one considers deforestation done to grow corn, the fertilizers consumed, water consumed and all. The initial hypothesis that biofuels will drastically cut environmental pollution was based on the assumption that no deforestation would be done for biofuels and that the corn needed would probably be grown on non cultivable land lots. Apart from the environment crisis, this new found fantasy of politicos around the world has led to drastic increase in biofuels production throughout the world. Investment in biofuels has increased from $5 billion in 1995 to $ 38 billion in 2005 and is expected to top $100 billion by 2010. Now that’s huge, greater than the GDP of most countries and 1/14 of expected Indian GDP in 2010. If was to be done on non cultivable land, it would have been great but looking at the huge profits to be made in biofuel farming, large tracts of forest land and cultivated land is being directed towards biofuel production. The amount of corn required to produce enough biofuel to fill one SUV tank is sufficient to feed one person for a year. US produced 7 billion gallons (26.5 l) of biofuel in 2007 and is targeting a production of about 60 billion gallon by 2030. Rice price has increased from $360 per metric ton in late 2007 to about $760 as on March 2008, a whopping 110% increase in a span of about 4-5 months. I have never heard of such a ROI ever in my life. High corn prices have sparked riots in Mexico city, skyrocketing flour prices have destabilized Pakistan, high inflation threatens to bring Indian government down, also food shortage in under-developed countries like Senegal have led to violence killing many. Although last tracts of farmland have been transferred towards producing biofuels, it doesn’t justify the huge increase in food prices. Only a small part of price rise can be justified as due to biofuels. The current scale of biofuel production is still small to make any significant dent in food production. But the projected biofuel production by different countries does raise an alarm as such a huge biofuel production has the potential to drastically curtail food production leading to acute food shortage throughout the world. Developed countries will anyways have surplus production but it is the developing and under-developed countries that will bear the brunt.
Australian farmers have cut rice production by as much as 97% in the last 5 years. Australia from being the largest rice exporter has today become just self sufficient in rice. Global warming has led to acute droughts in many parts of Australia forcing farmers to switch from water intensive crops like rice to not so water intensive crops like Grapes for wine production. The effects of global warming are increasingly being felt in more and more countries and have the potential to paralyze the World food production. The current Australian crisis may have a cascade effect and other countries may follow suit.
Hoarding & commodity trading:
Hoarding by itself doesn’t really have the potential to justify the steep rise in commodity prices. A hike of about 5-10 would have been justified because of hoarding. People blaming hoarding as a menace are only trying to pass the buck. Hoarding can’t justify because a trader or anyone indulging in hoarding has to eventually sell the commodity leading to decrease in prices. Also such steep increase in price requires large amounts of commodity to be hoard which again requires investment in storage facilities which very few traders in India can afford. In fact hoarding is something that amplifies the price rise but by itself doesn’t really initiate it. After a high rise in commodity prices, consumers expecting a further increase in prices begin to store grains and other food items leading to a amplified shortage of food leading to a further rise in food prices. Commodity trading may have been new to India but has existed in developed countries for hundreds of years now. Chicago commodity exchange is older than any exchange in Asia. In fact experts argue that commodity trading help in better discovery of commodity prices and help to some extent the farmer in getting a fair value for his produce. The recent demand from CPM and other quarters of the society calling for Commodity trading to be banned is completely unfounded. This demand defies logic. Just because commodity market is a capitalist concept, can we ban it???
Supply chain wastage & logistics:
As much as 10 % of total food produced in our country is lost during transport and storage. That loss if curtailed has the potential to solve all of India’s food problems. As argued before, Indian traders and retailers simply don’t have the capital and expertise required for world class storage facilities. Organized retail with its ultra modern organized supply chain and storage facilities has the potential to cut down these losses to less than 2%. Anybody listening??? Our politicians are more interested in playing the blame game, auctioning off cricket franchises and policing cheerleaders but grossly fail to focus on real issues. The current food crisis has the potential to bring down Indian GDP to shambles. Our honorable agriculture minister please make sure that all Indians have sufficient chappatis rather than blaming south Indians for eating more chappatis…!!! People are hereby welcome to put forth their opinion about the article and hereby have a healthy discussion to the benefit of all of us.
im backk!! i had started this blog for a purpose...but have grossly failed to live upto that. now after a year of its inception the blog is backk with a lot of changes..a change in the core purpose it was meant to serve. this blog doesnt belong to me..it belongs to U...its readers..!! i will put forth my ideas & opinions about some key economic issuez that affect all of us...and throw the forum open for discussion. all readers should put forth their views over the topic, any feedback is duly appreciated. the blog will occasionally also contain articles about my journey as a student in one of the most sought after B-schools in india, others are also invited to share their experiences..!! I am being greedy over here...coz i will greatly benefit from the blog..i will get valuable information about what people think over various issues..the new age thinking and all...i am open about this coz..this is a public blog, there is no discrimination between you and me..and all of us have an opportunity to equally benefit from the blog...!!!
Monday, April 23, 2007
its been a year now...no respite...cat,call center,college studies..its been killin me. is this wat we call development wher u dnt hav time for ur loved ones,no time for urself but alwayz busy tryin to outcompete some1,tryin to b more successful than wat u already are???? is it really worth it??????? finally my coll xams r over, got admission into a top b-school..but is it wat i alwyz wanted..!social issues hav alwyz touched me,i alwyz wanted to do somethin for the society but today i find d least time for somethin i wanna do d most...today life has literraly become a rat race...a race v al hate to b a part of.....but a race v al wanna win..coz its a race v jus cant afford to lose..!