Saturday, March 19, 2016

Happy Holi! And Doing the Right Thing!

Water Scarcity as defined by Wikipedia is:
Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet water needs within a region. It affects every continent and around 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of every year. More than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water.
Scarcity is reaching disastrous proportions. I too am guilty of wasting water. Starting today, I will be careful about it. Will also have a waterless Holi! Happy Holi and may we all be grateful!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, Scheming in the Right Direction!

We've been hearing advertisements on radio about Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna last few days. Interesting to note about it is 6.5% p.a. subsidy on interest for home loans of less than Rs. 6 lakhs.

Home Loan

The scheme mentions this as:
The current rate of housing loan in India is at 10.50 per cent.  If someone buys a property currently on a loan of Rs 6 lakh for a tenure of 15 years today, he/she would have to pay an EMI of Rs 6,632 per month currently.  However, with 6.5 per cent subsidy under the scheme, the beneficiary would have to pay just Rs 4,050 per month as EMI.  Thus, there is a significant reduction of Rs 2,000 in the EMI itself.
 This is interesting on multiple grounds. Economically a no-brainer, it prevents bloating an unnecessary leveraging of the economy and support micro-spending.

But from a policy perspective it is a level of spending based subsidy. So, the subsidy goes to the right set of people irrespective of caste, creed or religion. Objective policy making. Think, if this gets extrapolated to the current reservation debates! Will it not be a wow for our country?

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Freedom from Nothing! Anupam Kher at Telegraph National Debate 2016

I was forwarded this video of Anupam Kher at the Telegraph National Debate a few days back!

I saw upto four minutes of the video and then shut it off! For I felt Mr. Kher was doing what he does best, playing to the gallery! Mr. Kher, immense respect for you, but here's why I stopped viewing your video:

  1. You were personally in accusing your co-panelist, Retd. Justice Ganguly. That's not done! Debates are to put forward your views. Not get personal.
  2. You didn't have your facts right. '84 emergency! Nope. If a person of public stature does not have this fact right, how can I hope for researched views?
  3. JNU Matter - the matter you referred to is sub-judice. None of us can pass a judgement on that. Plus being abreast with current affairs is important. Independent forensic labs said that the tapes are doctored.
That's when I decided to stop viewing the video. At four minutes and a few seconds. Found it beyond amusing!

You know, my problem is not with you as an individual. My problem is with all of us, Indians. We've started getting the mentality of either you are with us else you are against us. We've become too myopic, too blind! We need to start asking, questioning and tolerating (sic!) difference of opinion.

I quote words of Guru Rabindranath Tagore that we all learnt in junior school:
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it's way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action.
In to that heaven of freedom, my father, 

Good Moon-ing, Mallya

Guys, Mr. Mallya would have long flown over the cuckoo's nest (in one of his private jets maybe)! Happy hunting! Mr. Mallya just mooned us all!

Can't do anything but laugh at ourselves!

Here's what I read in the papers this morning, Banks ask SC to prevent Mallya from leaving India. Further, the article says, the Supreme Court is expected to take up the matter today!

Me thinks: Yes, Sir, Dear Banks. Mr. Mallya will definitely wait for the matter to be heard by the Supreme Court (sic).
मल्ल्या हुआ फुर्र। ..... बैंकों को मिला ठेंगा !
Dear Banks, please get practical. You reacted to the Diageo cash offering. You should have acted long back. What about all the personal property and multi-firms sitting on assets!? Those should have been liquidated long back! Atleast, for nothing else, pay-up dues of employees. So much for our strict labour laws.

What we need is good corporate governance in our country! Good discipline. Bank mandate along with revenue targets should be proper evaluation and stricter enforcements.

We Indian, should be better Indians. Not only in personal life, but businesses and corporate life too! Lets use our brains and bring in discipline. We've got lots of the former, but the latter is a precursor to success!

God bless us! :-)

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

COO in Managed Security Business

Isn't it interesting when technology complements traditional businesses? There's significant value to be unlocked. Private security services is one area where technology can bring great value addition. That is one of the business focus areas we are working on.

I am looking for a COO / Partner to lead our foray into Managed Security services. Will be great to meet people with the following skills:

  1. Have a a background at head-of-department level in managing security for companies / SOHO / residential businesses. Retired defence personnel with a gazetted officer post equivalent to a Major or higher will be a good fit too.
  2. Atleast 20 years experience.
  3. Most important will be sharing a common vision of making a scalable business out of managed security.
  4. Technology savvy. Will need to understand usage of technology tools and business applications for a holistic security strategy.
  5. Preferably based in Baroda or Ahmedabad.
The COO will be responsible for overall function, developing and executing the business strategy to be a leader in managed security services. 

Please spread the word. You could email me at ujwal [at] phonon [dot] in.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Exemplary Governance in Public Enterprise!

An example of exemplary governance in Public Enterprise is the Hon. Minister of Railways, Suresh Prabhu, bringing customer centricity in the passenger division. Many a news articles have come about their being instant responses from the minister himself or the railways responding to customer tweets. One such was the coverage by the Economic Times. Another recent article on the team behind Twitter response at Indian is at the Better India.

One off or reality is a question an ever skeptic would ask. Here's my experience. Last week, I was on my return journey back to Baroda by 12955 BCT-JP Gangaur Express. And there was a minor inconvenience - no running water in my coach. I sent a tweet to @RailMinIndia with my concern. Here's what happened then.
Twitter Conversation with RailMinIndia
My Twitter Conversation with IR!

  1. In about 10 minutes, I got a tweet from @RailMinIndia that the matter was directed to relevant DRM office and some senior twitter handle in the Mechanical division of IR (maybe the coaching division).
  2. In about 15 minutes from my tweet, I get a tweet back from a concerned officer, Senior Divisional Mechanical Engineer (SrDME-BCT), saying what, a. regretting the inconvenience b. giving prompt solution and c. soliciting my confirmation of matter resolution. 
  3. In about 20 minutes from my tweet the train reached Surat, the coach was watered, and I overheard the coach attendant speak to some senior people over a mobile phone of the matter being resolved. 
Wow! World Class! That's all there is to it. Customer is King, that's something that we are taught in business schools and companies strive for those. Turning around the biggest employer in the world to be so customer centric, and that too, in a public service enterprise (mind you, railways main charter is not for commercial gain, but for transport) is nothing short of revolutionary. 

An excellent case study in top-down management, setting priorities right and bringing customer centricity. @SureshPrabhu Sir, corporate sector can learn a lot about customer service from IR today! Kudos, IR machinery from the twitter back-room of IR to individual Indian Railways staff on ground! You are showing your class!