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Wednesday, 19 April 2017 06:32

Whose skills and what development

The government must be credited to have brought alive the phrase ‘skill development’ on an unprecedented scale. It seems to have become the latest bandwagon on which all wish to climb on to. So be it.However, like in many things in public life it appears to be akin to ‘old wine in a new bottle’. As the knowledgeable know, this usually creates cracks in the bottle. More to the point skill has been made synonymous with downstream livelihood focusing on domains like drivers, plumbers, electricians and more. There is nothing wrong with that. All country communities need this kind of skill formation.The trouble is elsewhere in at least 3 manners.Talk of skill development in India has been on since independence. ITIs are a chain of institutions across the country, so well known that many confuse them with IITs. However the pace of growth and requirements have been so large that not even World Bank grants were able to breed vibrancy into ITIs or polytechnics to either make them world class institutions or indeed make them the seed bed of certain type of employment. The more successful of polytechnics e.g. Allahabad Polytechnics or Institute of Rural Technology have their hand so…
Wednesday, 19 April 2017 06:22

A track record of professionalism

Any group, community or for that matter even a nation moves on the basis of collective good sense and a sense of balanced maturity. No set of statutes, rules or regulations can be all pervasive and comprehensive enough to cover all eventualities and possibilities. It is there the quality of response to the problems of the day, issues which need responding to and how the future gets handled, that is critical. The unwritten practices contribute hugely in shaping of things and processes. Taking stock of the national scene, there are areas which evoke confidence and there are areas which clearly need improvement. Free India has shown its capacity to deliver by the successful green revolution; the chain of vibrant industries; the institutions of all India importance in the field of medicine, technology, management, general education and more. It is not only the public sector which has proved its metal but also the enterprise of individuals and the private sector which have blossomed forth. The number of business houses which transited into independent India and the number of Business houses which sprouted in Independent India are a testimony to the talent and enterprise of the nation. The indicative references, selective as…
Wednesday, 19 April 2017 06:20

Shaping Education

The national policy on education, since the day of independence, has gone through various acts of commission and omission.Indeed for anything to be called a ‘policy’ it has to be formally so stated by an agency which is charged with the responsibility of framing the same. No policy can be by default. This is not the best place to get into a chronological narrative of the approach of the Indian parliament or indeed the Indian government to ‘education policy’.However education is something on which a large number of people have some opinion. Therefore it is not surprising, that so many committees and commissions have been appointed on the subject. Further, like in many domains, in the field of education, also, our post-independence institutions have had a huge shadow of British institutions. To begin with we created a University Grants Commission perhaps for no better reason than that Britain had such a Commission. Imitation is the best flattery. However it is dangerous when it happens in the domain of knowledge management.The result of this kind of institutional frame work is not only worrisome but also pernicious. The distribution of funds on education got hugely eschewed.It will be useful to remind ourselves…
Wednesday, 19 April 2017 06:19

Lessons of neighbourhood

The Asian countries have many commonalities. Pan Asia there is a great belief in the values of the family system. It transcends geographies and ethnicity. The list can be long. There are similarly common problems.There is a problem of terrorism in many parts of Asia including China, India, Middle East, South East Asia. Notwithstanding these constraints some countries have their lenses clear and others are still groping their way.One of the common problems of Asia is the population. Consider the following figure. India has approximately 1225 million people. China has approximately 1343 million. It is estimated that India adds 28 million people every year. China is adding only 17 million. Like in many things else India’s population policy predates china. However, by present estimates we will overtake China, in population, by 2045. The crises of monsoon, irrigation and agriculture are not autonomous variables .There are other variables also. The present government is talking much of elimination black money and expanding revenue collection. That is how it should be.The facts of the case are: less than 3% of India’s population actually pays taxes. It is estimated that less than 6% of India’s population are PAN card holders. By another estimate 93%…
2016 of the Gregorian calendar has just concluded. India , officially, as per Nehruvian dictat, follows the Saka era. In my limited interface with the government, over the years, I have never received any letter from the government even mentioning the optional Saka era.A vast majority of the country follows the Vikram era. This era is largely lost upon the political and social elite of the country which is, predominantly, anchored, in the ‘western’ tradition. The corporate world is also, largely, dominated by this class. There too the Gregorian calendar is the popular framework of working.The New Year is celebrated by a large part of the elite of this country as January 1. The immediate preceding week having the celebration of Christmas makes it largely blocked for much serious business activity.This is not a rhetorical observation. It has implications on search for identity and quarantining one’s place in the global system. Consider the period of Ramazan as a factor in the Middle East. The world knows that these are special days and factors in the office timings while dealing with them. Examples can be multiplied. However the bald truth remains that the Gregorian calendar does dominate the business cycle in…
Friday, 18 September 2015 10:35

IGNORE POLITICAL GOSSIP, TALK DEVELOPMENT

All that India seems to discuss passionately is politics and power games. Focus must be on the real issues There is something strange about the public discourse in India, where much time is spent on political discussions and little time given to alternative models of development. When this writer raised this issue with a group of researchers and academics, he was told that this was because India was a resource-scarce country. This writer did not know what to make of the response because India is not a ‘resource scarce’ nation. Consider energy — so long as the sun shines on any patch of land, India cannot have a resource-scarce experience. So far as water is concerned, the number of Indian rivers is so large that it is enough to provide adequate water with planning. This is not without even taking the oceans into consideration. Twenty years ago, Singapore was fully dependent on Malaysia for its water needs. Today, it meets three-fourths of its drinking water demand on its own. Through desalination, Singapore has almost eliminated its dependence on others for potable water. Kerala, with a coastline that is 640km long and whose depth rarely exceeds more than 66km at any…
Friday, 18 September 2015 10:30

MORE THAN A MANTRA IS NEEDED FOR RESULTS

The state claims to have trained thousands of people. But without fixed measureable standards, that means little We live in the era of mantras. People claim to have developed mantras even for ‘leadership’! Initially,mantras were supposed to be the distillation of years of meditation and experimentation, and to use a modern parlance, established ‘thought leaderships’. Now, references to mantras have become a part of sloganeering. This also serves a purpose. It keeps the issue alive. This can be said for the phrase, ‘Skilling India’. Everyone is on to it. Nothing wrong with that but there is, however, a problem of over-exposure. Then there are other problems that follow. Too much of noise with little output becomes counter-productive. Couple this up with an almost endemic of sorts prone ness to hyper-sensitivity. The confusion is confounded. In a special address to the annual general meeting of a constituent unit of a national body, this writer made a passing remark on the skill deficiency of many branch managers of banks. He highlighted the need to raise their level of diligence in handling codes, processing procedures, changing rules, regulations in interfaces with banking products and, above all, making legible entries where computers were not…
Friday, 18 September 2015 10:10

FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE LOSING THEIR SHEEN

The banking system has to get together and take a professional look at its future directions of growth It is no news that gold is losing its glitter. However, it may be news that gold prices are likely to decline further. Strong selling of gold in China, and institutional investors and the prospect of higher interest rates from the US, will further have a negative impact on the price of gold. Prices of gold plunged to its lowest level in five years between July 24 and July 25. The price of the precious metal was $1,090 per troy ounce. Expectations are that by the end of this year, it may be around $1,000 per troy ounce. The trend is obvious: Pull out money from gold and invest in the US Government paper. With such fundamental seismic movements, the financial world will clearly throw up a serial turbulence. The age-old problem of lack of intermediary institutions such as banks in countries such as India will multiply. The columns of newspapers will be talking about the turbulence in banks such as the Syndicate Bank or the Union Bank of India. They are not the only banks in this category. However, just to…
Friday, 18 September 2015 10:05

TOWARDS MORE ROBUST FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

What one needs is a firm approach to management with an understanding of the structure and capabilities of the people The gross non-performing assets of the Indian banking system are estimated to be at 4.5 per cent of the total loans. At the same time, the Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency of India Limited has estimated that bad loans of the Government banks stand at 5.1 percent. On March 30, the Reserve Bank of India allowed banks to use upto 50 per cent of their counter-cyclical buffer to provide for the NPAs. This was up by 17 per cent of the prevailing practices. The counter-cyclical buffer itself was an outcome of the financial crises of 2008. Meanwhile, the economy itself is in the grip of a strange man-made situation: On matters of acquisition of land, availability of fuel, getting environmental approval etc. When this is capped with poor credit evaluation procedures, the cup of misery overflows. Of course, the Government has progressively infused higher capital in some of the public sector banks. Many a time this has been un-correlated to the budgetary allocation. The inefficiency of some of the public sector undertakings not to take this seriously is because…
It is important to realize that in the management area theories are not as universal as they are projected to be. There is always a heavy overlay of the context and personalities. That India itself has so many different levels of socio-economic development contributes to the huge diversity of management applications. This diversity is more complex and has larger overtones than imagined. In the last 10 year the Central Government spent so much of its time, energy and resources \"celebrating diversity\" that many people felt a compulsive need to be different, so that they can be counted. The results are for all to see. A back lash seems imminent. That would be equally complicating. Be that as it may, this business of creating centrally served, controlled and modulated models of software to channelize work, reporting systems and more, will only further avoidable `universalization`. Of course software can be adapted to local and organizational needs. Unfortunately many organizations do not have the necessary skills to do so. This is particularly relevant to software of organizational structures, work ethos and organizational roles. Our cultural variables often determine the extent and mode of communication. Studying them would reveal insights on what makes an…
Monday, 18 May 2015 09:02

Feedback without prejudice

The basic definition of Homo Sapiens includes many anthropological features. The details of this are widely known, accepted and do not necessarily bear repetition. One of them is the ability to \`think\`. Thinking is basic to judgment and the judgment is basic to decision making. The Homo sapien is widely accepted have the ability of both, open ended thinking and closed ended thinking. That is essential for creativity, decision making and growth. In all these cases feedback is a pre requisite. Feedback, itself, has some pre requisite. Many times feedback can go as wrong as it can go right. Being able to give helpful feedback and receive helpful feedback, without prejudice, is essential for personal and professional growth. What is said below may be helpful in organizing feedback. Feedback in the absence of mutual trust can be a risky proposition. It can make people defensive and the outcome can be quite unexpected. The reason is simple. We all have a positive self-image. We welcome appreciation and abjure criticism. It is not enough to give correct feedback it is also necessary to give feedback in an acceptable manner. \\\"Satyam bruyat priyam bruyat,na bruyat satyampriyam\\\" This Sanskrit dictum can be translated \\\"Speak…
As the Kachir Gaaw case shows, functional, not just fashionable, delivery mechanisms need to be in place We live in the electronics era. Perhaps, the first major penetration of this medium in office work happened when the electronic typewriter replaced the manual one. It revolutionised office functioning. The standards changed, the work measurement changed and work life was never quite the same. The character of employment in the offices evolved and one was either pushed up or pushed out. The Indian corporate work situation began experiencing this change from the early 1980s and in the last three decades and a half since then, the movement has considerably widened and depend. There is a greater and increasing push to put everything online. The speed is such that few are pausing to consider if, beyond the road maps, the delivery vehicles are operational. The delivery vehicles not only need to be fashioned but they need to be functional. The urge to keep up with this fashion is so intense that everything and anything must be moved onto the electronic media. In such an environment, it is natural that even admit cards will be issued online. Newspaper reports have it, that in a…
If you attend a Convention/Conference/Seminar/Summit or any other get together of that category to have a binge with somebody else paying for you/make contacts for your business/get away from office work,you need proceed no further in reading this text. If however you do not wish to attend for any reason,including wanting to multiply your 'private time' and you have to explain to someone what happened in the convention then reading on will be profitable: 1.Key concepts(take aways) from the Convention:Innovation;entrepreneurship;out of the box thinking;management of self;working for the poor,destitute and under privileged;equity;social justice;virtues of ex-repatriates;wonders of the western culture of discipline,reliability;teamwork;how good British,French,German,Australian,Chinese,Japanese,US universities are;gender equality;empowerment of women;empowerment of the weaker communities;need for good availability of utilities such as power,water,housing;need for good governance;terrible condition of the roads;how corruption is eating into the vitals of the society;women's safety;eliminating child abuse;easy and low cost access to justice;education reform;having updated laws The chances are that the list covers nearly everything that was said at the Conference and more.The next Conference will say the same thing and so it goes on. 2.Key speakers:They will be people from the ruling political dispensation; bureaucrats who are known to matter in power circles;businessman and industrialists who are…
It is being argued in increasing numbers that India stands on the brink of an economic breakthrough. A growing young population, the demographic dividend, public-private partnerships working successfully, a vibrant economic environment, it is being argued is great cocktail. If we get it right, India would make it to the developed world, if we slip, it is difficult to see the possibility of another chance in our lifetime. The critical interplay of enterprise, finance and resources put together with optimal technology mix is a desiderata. Even so the role of systems, governance, quality, value engineering, productivity cannot be underestimated. However, a confident and intelligent India seems to be getting it right.What is a bigger challenge is harnessing it for a just, inclusive and sustainable development. The right use of resources will clearly result in the creation of wealth-some temporary hiccups notwithstanding.The right management of the development process shall give us an India that we can be proud of. Enterprise, the anomalous initiative of the original genius; the need for achievement embedded in the psyche of her people is the necessary condition for development . Entrepreneurship the driver of economic progress ,we need to ensure systems and processes that enable collective…