One of the Non-Government Organisations (NGO) that I have been highly impressed with is Akshay Patra, which has its headquarters in Bengaluru ( earlier known as Bangalore) in India. Their byline, “Unlimited Food for Education” reflects what they do to serve society. This program seeks to realize the vision that “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.” Continue reading
Some of us Old Lawrencians, alumni of The Lawrence School, Lovedale have hit upon an exciting idea. To write an informal history of the School. Of course, there have been books about the School before. “Never Give In: A History of One Hundred and Twenty Five Years of The Lawrence School, Lovedale” by Hugh and Colleen Gantzer, published in 1984 and Max Cocker’s reminiscences in “Lawrence Memorial Royal Military School, Lovedale: A Personal Account” published in 1988, come readily to mind. We plan to do something different.
When we think of searching for information on the internet our first choice invariably is Google. These days, the word ” Google” has become a verb with people asking you to ” google it”. Guess what? There’s much more to Google than this. More people chose Google as the Most Sought After Employer too as per a report from the professional networking site, LinkedIn.
Interested as I am in keeping an eye on trends in the corporate world, here are a few published items which caught my attention:-
- Increased collaboration between the CFO and the CHRO is a must for organisations to succeed in present times. Rising costs of labour and the scarcity of talent are but two of the reasons why this has become crucial. This piece from EY gives fresh insight.
- Satisfied employees make a huge difference to the bottom lines of organisations. What makes companies like Google feature year after year in the list of organisations which are most sought after. Here is why Google is named “India’s Best Company To Work For” in 2013.
- Sharad Verma, Senior HR Director at SunGard Global Technology submits his assessment of the trends for HR in 2014 in SHRM.
As the world around us becomes increasingly competitive, the only way to survive is to learn from the best. A study of the trends mentioned above could help keep us on track to stay abreast.
It is the ambition of many of India’s youth to seek admission to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology. For the average aspirant, the numbers are stacked against him. I don’t have the figures readily available for this year but find that in 2013 over 1.4 million students attempted the JEE. Ultimately, just 9647 of them will get admission as that’s the number of seats in the undergraduate programs in the IITs. There is no denying that passing out of the IITs definitely give you a good start to your career and often considerably improve the economic and social position of your family. Continue reading
Yesterday, we saw the Chief of India’s Naval Staff hand in his resignation which was promptly accepted. Admiral D K Joshi submitted his resignation taking moral responsibility for the criticism against the performance of the Indian Navy over the last year. The Indian Navy, as you know, came in for a certain amount of flak after a series of accidents big and small. The sinking of the INS Sindhurakshak following a dockside explosion in August 2013 was shocking and this was followed by the recent accident involving the INS Sindhuratna. Continue reading
Whenever a person of Indian origin makes the headlines in the United States, people in India tend to get very excited. I guess we take a vicarious pleasure in watching his/her achievements and feel proud that “one of us” has got to where he has. A recent story, of course, is that of 46-year-old Satya Nadella, who was appointed CEO of that powerhouse Microsoft yesterday.
Usually I don’t blog about politics but I am making an exception today as for the last month or so, the AAP ( Aam Aadmi Party) has been the centre of attraction in India after their most praise worthy performance in the Assembly elections in Delhi. As the name suggests the Aam Aadmi Party (as I understand it) seeks to represent the common man and largely came out of the phenomenal anti-corruption movement that caught India’s imagination under the leadership of Anna Hazare.
Some members of the erstwhile “Team Anna” went into active politics like Arvind Kejriwal and they formed the AAP. I must mention here that during the agitation led by Anna Hazare, I admired Kejriwal for his ability to connect with people and bring greater vigour to the movement. Shouldn’t I then be rejoicing that the AAP has formed a Government in prestigious Delhi? Here are the reasons for my disappointment:
1. I expected new standards of political conduct from AAP when they said they would do things differently. It was shocking to see them form the Government in Delhi when they accepted the outside support from the party they abused the most as being corrupt, the Congress party. I don’t think their explanation that the people of Delhi asked them to form a Government is a good one. On the contrary, it sets a dangerous precedent because in real life important decisions cannot be taken only because a large number of people support it by sending SMS. What was the alternative? If they were as principled as they claimed to be, and I expected them to be, they should have opted for a re-election. I believe they may actually have got more than 28 seats if they had adopted this course. Anyway, they didn’t and what followed disappointed me even more.
2. Their political decision as regards water and electricity smack of short-term expediency. To say they exempted a section of people from paying bills because they had not done so at their behest is most dangerous as a trend.
3. I am disappointed that their whole anti-corruption plank stands exposed as till date they have not taken steps to initiate any action against those like former Chief Minister Shiela Dixit who was roundly abused by them day in and day out. At one time Kejriwal said he had 300 + pages of proof of her corruption, now they are asking the BJP to provide evidence. Their website Pol Khol also no longer has mention of Shiela Dixit’s corruption.
4. Lakhs of people are said to have joined the AAP. Here’s where it becomes essential for them to have made a framework of their national policies on a variety of important issues such as defence, economics, internal security , health, education etc. They have been in power for less than a month, but they became a party formally over a year ago. This gap had led to controversies with Prashant Bhushan’s stand on nuclear power and referendum in Jammu & Kashmir.
5. While more eminent people like Meera Sanyal, Capt. Gopinath and Mallika Sarabhai have joined the party, this raises the question of who is an aam aadmi? These are very well off, to put it mildly and hardly qualify for being the typical aam aadmi in a literal sense. If you go by the earlier understanding that the aam aadmi was someone who was not the big bad, corrupt morally weak politician, this no longer holds true as they have joined a political party and have become politicians themselves. It is now emerging to be a left of centre party.
6. Controversies regarding U turns in decision-making , be it about Kejriwal’s accommodation or about Janata Durbars are not exactly adding to my confidence of the maturity of its leaders. I believe they tend to oversimplify things. Kejriwal said there was not much difference between the number of rooms in his current apartment and the new one he planned to take up. He forgot to take location into account, there being a world of difference between his current location in Ghaziabad and the apartment in question in a posh area of Delhi.
The next few months will be very crucial for the AAP. They have made it clear that the Congress is not a factor in the General Elections in 2014. How they will perform is anybody’s guess. They may shine, they may fall but as of today, these are some reasons why they haven’t got me on board the AAP band wagon.
This is one book I would definitely put on my reading list. The story of Jeff Bezos and Amazon, one of the companies that have changed the way the world shops. Today with revenues of $ 61 billion Amazon has everything you would want to shop for.
“The Everything Store” by Brad Stone, published by Little, Brown and Company looks to be a very interesting biography of a company that “placed one of the first and largest bets on the Internet and forever changed the way we shop and read. ”