Archive for January, 2007

SWOT MATRIX of INDIA: Analysis of Indian Social- Economic- Political- Technological conditions.

January 31, 2007

Dear Friends,  

There are few questions about our complex & unique system of India. How we can change our system thinking? How we can make a synergetic triangle: Industry-GOI- Institution for co creation of knowledgeable resources for evolution of innovations. 

Root Causes – Why Plans are not execute at the bottom? Constrains – Where are missing link?

Strategy & tactics – What is the action plans? Methods-how these actions plans execute for achieving the end Goal.

Kindly download one page colored framework of SWOT MATRIX of INDIA. URL: syenrgetic-trinangle-industry-government-instituion.docsyenrgetic-trinangle-industry-government-instituion.doc  

SW0T   ANALYSIS:

                  Industry-GOVERNMENT -institution

 STRENGTHS 

  • Highly educated , skilled ,young, capable & dynamic  human resources
  • English speaking & analytical students
  • World class business-social-spiritual –political leader, Professor, scientist, Manager-Doctor-Engineer-Civil servants etc
  • Very rich in  Natural & Living resources
  • Biodiversity & Traditional knowledge base
  • Diversity vs. Ideas-Innovation-Integration
  • Powerful spiritual strength (yoga-Ayurvada-Healing-therapy services)
  • Geographical location (whole markets are shifting toward Asian nations)
  • India Strategic position at various platforms
  • Big democracy, Big market & free media
  • Range of emerging professional champions
  • IT & Software superpower

WEAKNESSES: 

  • Lack of trained & skill work force  
  • Small supply of specialize professional
  • Lack of spirits of entrepreneurship, patriotisms and leadership skill
  • Lack of effective & execution framework
  • Lack of Indian management models
  • Lack of transparency-Trust-Responsibility
  • Lack of learning habits & Team work spirit
  • Fear of sharing knowledge & taking risk
  • Thinking win-lose   lose-win   look-outside
  • Slow absorption of Innovation & change
  • Lack of Indian management models
  • Absence of greater technology impetus
  • Unawareness: Quality-Standardization
  • Lack of Emotional-Spiritual development
  • Rush of getting high marks not Development
  • Blindly respect anything taught by elders

THREATS (Internal & external): 

  • A feeling of unstable government
  • Self centered political leadership
  • Slow & Dysfunctional judiciary and corrupt law enforcers
  • Regulation, protection and restriction
  • Mechanistic -stable-Layered-complex system
  • Corruption, Ignorance & Complacency
  • High competitive & marketing forces
  • To patent Indian intellectual property by outsider (unawareness about own research)
  • Fast change Internet-information technology& new Inventions-Technology-Innovations
  • Diversity vs. Imbalance- clashes
  • Regional-Religion-caste-culture conflicts
  • Migration of all branch to software job
  • Job seeking mind sets, not job creator
  • Unnecessary social pressure on students
  • Excessive rich & powerful mindsets

 OPPORTUNITIES 

  • Big potential market in education Sector & emerging new market Segment in services (create it)   
  • General Agreement of trade on Services
  • Research & Development capability
  • Generate intellectual property
  • Resource Building capacity
  • Competition- cost – Quality service

  • Collaboration : win-win thinking
  • Hybrid solution–balancing & blending
  • Tourism, health sector, food processing
  • Rural economy development & social transformation ( PURA model )
  • Need  modernization of infrastructure , Library and laboratory
  • Internet institute network & e-Library
  • Councilors and student advisors

Key:
India has lots of weakness but this is a space of thinking (new Ideas or new perceptions), understand it as a space of opportunities and transform into strength.  

Note: Please send your suggestions, experiences & questions for improvement of this SWOT MATRIX of India. 

Ajay Singh Niranjan ( ajay_uor@yahoo.com)

YES : Indian Style of Management -Theory ‘i’ Management

January 31, 2007

The need to have an Indian Style of Management – Arindam Chaudhuri

How often has one heard of an American organization adopting the Japanese management style to surge ahead? How often has one heard of the reverse? Probably never. However, I do remember reading somewhere that when IBM-USA was making losses while IBM-Japan was making profits, IBM-USA tried to adopt the Japanese management style to turn around. The result was increased losses.  

Predictable? Should be. It is most likely that a style that is successful in Japan would not be as successful in the US and vice versa. People are different, the cultures are different and so is the life-style. That is the reason why Japan has developed its own management style and the US its own.

Thus, when they enter into their job lives and see a management culture prevalent, which is contractual in nature with hire and fire style of management, they don’t get disturbed. In fact, this motivates them to work harder and a typical American would say, “we are tough guys and as long as we are good the company keeps us, else we go out”. The bottom line is that the fine-tuning between the cultures at home and at job works wonders and enhances productivity and motivation.

Looking at the Japanese companies one finds concepts of lifetime employment working wonders out there. A Japanese finds a bonded culture in his organisation, unlike the American contract culture. If we look into the Japanese life style and culture we would find the importance of bonds being very high. The Japanese have strong family ties and a strong sense of community.

From such an upbringing, they feel at home when they see a bonded style of management on the job. The typical Japanese would say, “I am a Honda man (and not that I work for Honda)” displaying the bond that he shares with his company. The point that gets highlighted again is that a management style, which flows out of your own culture and roots would any day, motivates your people much more than one, which is adopted from somewhere else.

The basics of “Theory ‘i’ Management”

Like Theory ‘X’ which tried to define a worker in its own manner as a mindless lazy rascal who loves shirking responsibilities and the Theory “Y” which tried to define the worker as an ambitious responsible citizen looking for the right environment to contribute constructively, Theory ‘I’ is an attempt to understand and define the Indian worker just like the Japanese had tried to do with their Theory “Z”.

In spite of India having some of the best management schools of the world and the best reservoir of skilled human talent, our organizations have not been able to do well. Amongst other reasons one of the most important reasons for the failure of Indian management has been our failure to develop an indigenous management style, which revolves around our cultural roots and upbringing.

An Indian grows up in a system, where family ties and a sense of belongingness get an absolute top priority. Coming from this environment, he gets a shock, when he sees the job environment practicing American philosophies of contractual style of management. He is not able to adjust productively to this cultural mismatch and thus, very often, fails to be as productive as his Japanese or American counterpart.

An Indian worker is perhaps looking at a system without ruthless management practices and inhuman work pressure even if the job security is a little less. Instead of the system (specially in PSU’s) giving them near 100% job security, it could give them some fear of job security, since Indians culturally like to take life easy and tend to become complacent in such situations.

While, the job security aspect could be reduced the human touch in managing them could be increased. They should be made to feel that the company cares for them through regular training programmes, family welfare schemes etc. They should be made to feel that they matter in the organization through programmes, which involve them directly or indirectly into various decision-making processes. This would increase their level of commitment for the organizations and perhaps tomorrow we would also see people telling, “I am a Bajaj man” instead of “I am working for Bajaj scooters”.

In one of my workshops Sr. Manager – Corporate Planning of NTPC, P. Purukayastha could not agree more and cited two beautiful examples. The first related to NTPC spending up to Rs. 5 crore on the medical expenses in US for one of its drivers and his wife who were affected by incurable diseases. This incident of humanity has been a motivating factor for all employees for years.

The second related to his own experience where he made flexi timing for one of his workers whose wife was ill. This not only removed the troubled look from his face but also made him one of the most motivated workers who was always ready to give more than 100% to his job once his wife became alright.

These two incidents can explain how human touch can do wonders on an average Indian psyche. I would even go up to the extent of suggesting that professional studies could be made a part of on the job training like in Japan and not that people first get trained and then wander around for jobs like in the US.

It has to be kept in mind that the Japanese without a single business school of repute have produced some of the most successful corporations in the last 50 years, while with so many reputed management schools the US has not been able to stop the entry of one after another of the Japanese organisations into the Fortune 500 list.

Again out here I might add that Mr. Purakayastha himself went through a training program after which the company, based upon the results of the test, decided to shift him from industrial relations to corporate planning which has been one of the most motivating aspects of his job.The idea that I want to suggest is that it is high time Indian companies thought sincerely about their people and developed “Indian – people friendly management” practices.

They might have some American touch or some Japanese touch but the thought essentially has to be given on what will suit the Indians. The sad part is that successful Indian managers who have developed indigenous styles of management don’t end up theoreotising their styles and propagating them through books or articles. In the US almost every semi-successful manager ends up writing a book and thus, today one does know how IBM is managed, but one doesn’t know about how an Indian corporation like, may be, the Reliance Group is managed. So, when it comes to learning management the only option is to refer to foreign books and learn foreign management styles.


The Principles of “Theory ‘i’ Management”

  • Most Indians value bonds emotions and long-term relationships.
  • Most Indians value growth opportunities and commitment.
  • Our cultural roots (of tolerance etc.) often make us complacent.
  • Lack of patriotism at a macro level leaves us aimless.


What do these principles prove?

These principles have been arrived at after a thorough research that we conducted on more than 3000 managers across the country. The managers were asked to talk about their colleagues across functions and levels. The most important revelation from this survey is about the uniqueness of today’s Indian psyche.

On one hand as expected, the first two points go on to prove our cultural values and a lot of similarities can be drawn with the Japanese value systems. On the other hand when faced with the fact that everything Indian is so cool outside India, Bhangra and Indipop find place in the US pop charts, the global IT revolution has been fuelled by homegrown geeks, in Ohio the Wright State University College of Business and Administration gets renamed after an NRI businessman, our B-school graduates are becoming global leaders, NASA has top Indian scientists, yet Indians have time and again failed to perform in India ; Indian’s like to blame it on complacency, a characteristic that they like attributing to our culture ! It seems Indian’s look for the first opportunity to become complacent; something that they are unable to become in the western world of competition and hire and fire system.

Not only this, when faced with the question about the lack of patriotic instincts and decaying values; they love to blame it on their leaders. Somebody says if our Prime Minister can be bribed Rs 1 crore by a stock broker, what’s wrong in taking bribes; somebody else says if my general manager can take a bribe from the company’s travel agent what’s wrong if I get some account through corrupt practices? One might argue that even in
Japan there is corruption.

The reality however is that in Japan corruption doesn’t touch everyday human existence the way it does in India and moreover they have a more effective judicial system, which even their presidents can’t escape. The other day I read that in Uttar Pradesh fire brigade people have started to ask for bribes before starting to put off the fire! Criminalization of daily life is to such an extent that every individual is actually being turned into a criminal.

The socio – cultural and geo-political environment in India has today resulted into a mixed breed of Indians who on one hand retain family values and a longing for emotional touch and on the other hand are complacent (given the first opportunity to be) and unashamed of being morally bankrupt.

Thus, Indians need an India centric management theory.

Macro aspects Micro aspects

 Macro aspects of Theory ‘i’ Management

 Micro aspects of “Theory ‘i’ Management

Kindly Link:http://seminars.indiatimes.com/slice/inside/theory2.htm#p

Author : Arvindam Chaudhari

**********************************************

Dear Friends,Link for understanding:

– Ajay Singh Niranjan

The Ten Challenges for Change

January 30, 2007

An exerpt from fieldbook.com for process of change. Undersatnding of these 10 challenges are very significant and meaningful for moving the change at right path.

Kindly link at : The Ten Challenges

These challenges are often sufficient to prevent growth from occurring, almost before it starts. They are consistently encountered at the early stages of significant organizational change. The capabilities to deal with them must be developed under high pressure; but in managing these challenges effectively, organizations develop capabilities much sooner than otherwise for dealing with challenges down the road. 

1.Not Enough Time:”We don’t have time for this stuff!”

2.No Help: “We’re like the blind leading the blind!”

3.Not Relevant: “Why are we doing this stuff?”

4.“Walking the Talk” – Leadership values

5.Fear and Anxiety: “This suff is —-”

6.Assessment and Measurement: “This stuff isn’t working”

7.Believers and Nonbelievers:

8.Governance: “They won’t give up the power.”

9.Diffusion: “We keep reinventig the wheel!”

10.Strategy and Purpose

Learning for a Change

January 30, 2007

What is the meaning of learning ? 

How learning is must for Innovation ?

Are we are active learner ?

How we can learn the menaing of change and execute change in the system ?

What is the corelation between learning & system thiking ?

what is the real challenges of change ? There are lots of questions which we are facing all the time about learning.

Lets read this nice article : Learning for a change at fastcomany.com.

Educationalists all over the world are troubled by the question of moral education

January 29, 2007

……And I think the teaching profession is the highest profession in the world. Though one acquires very little money out of it I think it is the greatest thing. Really I do. Really think that. It isn’t just verbal rhetorical assertion. It’s the greatest thing, because in our hands lie the whole future generation”. Krishnamurti

Question: Educationalists all over the world are troubled by the question of moral education. How can education evoke the deeper core of human decency and goodness in oneself and in others?

Kindly join Indian Teachers forum:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/India_Teachers/

-Moderators: Vikas Nagpal (IITD) & Ajay Singh Niranjan (IITR) 

Krishnamurti: The good is not the `respectable’. The respectable man can never know what is good. Most of us are respectable and therefore we do not know what it is to be good. Moral education can only come, not with the cultivation of respectability, but with the awakening of love.

But we do not know what love is. Is love something to be cultivated? Can you learn it in colleges, in schools, from teachers, from technicians, from the following of your gurus? Is devotion love? And if it is, can the man who is respectable, who is devoted, know love? Do you know what I mean by respectability? Respectability is when the mind is cultivating, when the mind is becoming virtuous.

The respectable man is the man who is struggling consciously not to be envious, the man who is following tradition, he who says, `What will people say’? Respectability will obviously never know what Truth is, what good is, because the respectable man is only concerned with himself.

It is love which brings morality. Without love there is no morality. You may be a great man, a moral man; you may be very good; you may not be envious; you may have no ambition; but if you have no love, you are not moral; you are not good, fundamentally, deeply, profoundly.

You may have all the outer trimmings of goodness; but if you have no love in the heart, there can be no moral, ethical being. Is love something to be taught in a school? Please follow all this. What is it that prevents us from loving? – If you can be taught in the school and in the house, to love, how simple it would be, would it not? Many books are written on it. You learn them and you repeat them; and you know all the symptoms of love without having love. Can love be taught? Please, Sirs, this is really an important question; please do follow it. If love cannot be taught, what are the things that are preventing love? The things of the mind, the thoughts, the jealousy, the anguish, the ideas, the pursuits, their suppressions, the motives of the mind – these may be the things that prevent love. And as we have cultivated the mind for several centuries, it may be that the mind is preventing us from loving.

So perhaps the things that you are teaching your children and the things that you are learning be the things which are at the root of the destruction of love; because you are only developing one side – the intellectual side, the so-called technical side – and that is becoming more and more important in an industrial world; other things become less and less valuable, they fade away.

If love can be taught in school through books, shown on the screen in cinemas, then it would be possible to cultivate morality. If morality is a thing of tradition, then it is quite simple; then you condition the student to be moral, to be a Communist, to be a Socialist, to think along a particular line, and say that that line is the good line, the true line; any deviation from it is immoral, ending up in concentration camps.

Is morality something to be taught – which means, can the mind be conditioned to be moral? Or is morality something that springs spontaneously, joyously, creatively? This is only possible when there is love. That love cannot exist when you cultivate your mind which is the very centre of the `me’, the `I’, the thing that is uppermost in most of us day in and day out – the `me’ that is so important, the `I’ that is everlastingly trying to fulfil, trying to be something.

And as long as that `I’ exists, do what you will, all your morality has no meaning; it is merely conformity to a pattern based on security, for your being something some day, so that you can live without any fear. Such a state is not a moral state, it is merely an imitation. The more a society is imitative, following tradition, the more deteriorating it is. It is important to see this, to find out for oneself how the self, the `me’ is perpetuating itself, how the `me’ is everlastingly thinking about virtue and trying to become virtuous and establishing laws of morality for itself and for others.

So the good man who is following the pattern of good is the respectable man; and the respectable man is not the man who knows what love is. Only the man who knows what love is is the moral man.

Source : http://www.krishnamurti-and-education.org

Meditation Found To Increase Brain Size

January 29, 2007

People who meditate grow bigger brains than those who don’t. Researchers at Harvard, Yale, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found the first evidence that meditation can alter the physical structure of our brains. Brain scans they conducted reveal that experienced meditators boasted increased thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input.

In one area of gray matter, the thickening turns out to be more pronounced in older than in younger people. That’s intriguing because those sections of the human cortex, or thinking cap, normally get thinner as we age.

 Our data suggest that meditation practice can promote cortical plasticity in adults in areas important for cognitive and emotional processing and well-being,” says Sara Lazar, leader of the study and a psychologist at Harvard Medical School. “These findings are consistent with other studies that demonstrated increased thickness of music areas in the brains of musicians, and visual and motor areas in the brains of jugglers. In other words, the structure of an adult brain can change in response to repeated practice.”

The researchers compared brain scans of 20 experienced meditators with those of 15 nonmeditators. Four of the former taught meditation or yoga, but they were not monks living in seclusion. The rest worked in careers such as law, health care, and journalism. All the participants were white. During scanning, the meditators meditated; the others just relaxed and thought about whatever they wanted.

Meditators did Buddhist “insight meditation,” which focuses on whatever is there, like noise or body sensations. It doesn’t involve “om,” other mantras, or chanting.

“The goal is to pay attention to sensory experience, rather than to your thoughts about the sensory experience,” Lazar explains. “For example, if you suddenly hear a noise, you just listen to it rather than thinking about it. If your leg falls asleep, you just notice the physical sensations. If nothing is there, you pay attention to your breathing.” Successful meditators get used to not thinking or elaborating things in their mind.

Study participants meditated an average of about 40 minutes a day. Some had been doing it for only a year, others for decades. Depth of the meditation was measured by the slowing of breathing rates. Those most deeply involved in the meditation showed the greatest changes in brain structure. “This strongly suggests,” Lazar concludes, “that the differences in brain structure were caused by the meditation, rather than that differences in brain thickness got them into meditation in the first place.”

Lazar took up meditation about 10 years ago and now practices insight meditation about three times a week. At first she was not sure it would work. But “I have definitely experienced beneficial changes,” she says. “It reduces stress [and] increases my clarity of thought and my tolerance for staying focused in difficult situations.”

Controlling random thoughts

Insight meditation can be practiced anytime, anywhere. “People who do it quickly realize that much of what goes on in their heads involves random thoughts that often have little substance,” Lazar comments. “The goal is not so much to ’empty’ your head, but to not get caught up in random thoughts that pop into consciousness.”

She uses this example: Facing an important deadline, people tend to worry about what will happen if they miss it, or if the end product will be good enough to suit the boss. You can drive yourself crazy with unproductive “what if” worry. “If, instead, you focus on the present moment, on what needs to be done and what is happening right now, then much of the feeling of stress goes away,” Lazar says. “Feelings become less obstructive and more motivational.”

The increased thickness of gray matter is not very much, 4 to 8 thousandths of an inch. “These increases are proportional to the time a person has been meditating during their lives,” Lazar notes. “This suggests that the thickness differences are acquired through extensive practice and not simply due to differences between meditators and nonmeditators.”

As small as they are, you can bet those differences are going to lead to lots more studies to find out just what is going on and how meditation might better be used to improve health and well-being, and even slow aging.

More basic questions need to be answered. What causes the increased thickness? Does meditation produce more connections between brain cells, or more blood vessels? How does increased brain thickness influence daily behavior? Does it promote increased communication between intellectual and emotional areas of the brain?

To get answers, larger studies are planned at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Harvard-affiliated facility where Lazar is a research scientist and where these first studies were done. That work included only 20 meditators and their brains were scanned only once.

“The results were very encouraging,” Lazar remarks. “But further research needs to be done using a larger number of people and testing them multiple times. We also need to examine their brains both before and after learning to meditate. Our group is currently planning to do this. Eventually, such research should reveal more about the function of the thickening; that is, how it affects emotions and knowing in terms of both awareness and judgment.”

Slowing aging?

Since this type of meditation counteracts the natural thinning of the thinking surface of the brain, could it play a role in slowing – even reversing – aging? That could really be mind-boggling in the most positive sense.

Lazar is cautious in her answer. “Our data suggest that one small bit of brain appears to have a slower rate of cortical thinning, so meditation may help slow some aspects of cognitive aging,” she agrees. “But it’s important to remember that monks and yogis suffer from the same ailments as the rest of us. They get old and die, too. However, they do claim to enjoy an increased capacity for attention and memory.”

Source: Harvard University (By William J. Cromie)

Link:http://www.sciencenewsden.com

Pratham:Educating the government

January 29, 2007

Pratham shook up the world of education in India with its path-breaking survey in 2005, and it has now released the 2006 report. The findings of this report are striking and important. In rural India, of 100 children in the age group 7-16, the survey finds that 71.3 go to a government school while 18.5 per cent go to a private school.

The share of private schools has grown sharply—by around two percentage points—over the last one year. It is believed that the shift to private schools is driven by three kinds of reasons. First, government schools have low-quality teaching. Second, government schools are mostly not English medium. Third, Dalits and Muslims are often not welcome at government schools.

Parents choose between free government schools, which are extremely well-funded, and expensive, under-funded private schools. It is important to notice that this is a survey of rural India, where a private “school” is often little more than a few benches under a tree.

Government schools are backed by the state with massive expenditures. The fact that parents choose to pay money to send a child to a private school, when they have the option of paying nothing at a government school, speaks volumes for the failure of the government education system. At all ages, more boys are sent to private schools.

In Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, UP, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Goa and Kerala, the fraction of children going to private schools exceeds 30 per cent. In other words, spending more on government schools might not be the best way for politicians to curry favour with voters.

Pratham has also done important work on measuring what children actually learn, as opposed to the enrolment rates trumpeted by the government. The picture is downright dismal. Skills that ought to be found by the 2nd standard are often achieved only by the 8th standard. This raises serious questions about the UPA’s decision to impose an education cess and spend more on Sarva Shiksha Ahibyan.

It is unjust for a government to impose taxes, and then spend only for government schools, giving citizens no choice about how their children should be educated. It would make much more sense for public expenditures to be placed under the control of parents: going to the school that parents choose, ideally with a performance-based payment linked to the test scores of the child. The education bureaucracy will not like this.

The CPI(M) excels at converting government expenditures into party funding, by recruiting party cadre as school teachers. This tactic will not work if parents are empowered. What India needs most today is a policy which puts parents back at the centre of education policy.

If reports such as this had been produced 50 years ago, and fed back into policy-making, India might not have faced mass illiteracy today, rooted as it is in badly designed public programmes like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

The biggest weakness of the Pratham report is that it only covers rural India. India’s GDP is largely made in urban India, and the problems of urban India too are important. What children learn, and the role of private schools, are equally important in urban areas since they are after all the engines of growth.

Source : 11 Jan 2007, Business Standard

Deeshaa – Transforming Rural India

January 29, 2007

Rural Infrastructure and Services Commons

RISC Schematic Presentation

The problem of the economic development of large underdeveloped economies present unique challenges that require innovative solutions. In an age of increasing specialization, there is a critical need for integration to supplement the specialization. Economies are complex, nonlinear systems and just as they cannot be adequately described by partitioning them into subsystems and analyzing them piecemeal, so also their problems cannot be addressed by partial interventions. This is because the subsystems of complex non-linear systems interact strongly with one another, and even the most carefully thought through partial solution often fails to achieve its intended goal.

The aim of RISC is to address the problems of one such complex nonlinear system — the rural Indian economy — and to outline a solution that addresses the problem of economic growth comprehensively by accomplishing a set of interlinked transitions to a more efficient equilibrium. Economic development is multi-faceted — demographic, technological, social, political, military, institutional, informational, ideological, and so on. Given binding resource constraints, the optimal solution requires the power of ideas for it to be feasible.

The RISC Paradigm

The economic development of India’s 600 million strong rural population presents formidable challenges and also great opportunities. An institutional innovation called RISC — Rural Infrastructural & Services Commons — is presented that has the potential for achieving the multi-faceted goals of sustainable economic development.

Fundamentally, the specific market failure that RISC addresses is that of coordination failure. RISC is designed to coordinate the activities of a host of entities—commercial, governmental, NGOs. It synchronizes investment decisions so as to reduce risk. It essentially acts as a catalyst that starts off a virtuous cycle of introducing efficient modern technology to improve productivity that increases incomes and thus the ability of users to pay for the services, and so on. It creates a mechanism that reduces transaction costs and therefore improves the functions of markets.

Revolutions in the information and communications technologies (ICT) have the potential to remove the barriers to information asymmetries that were impeding the working of markets that are critical for economic growth. The forces of globalization have created opportunities for the integration of rural populations in a larger marketplace than was ever available to them before.

Economic development is both the cause and consequence of urbanization. RISC achieves the urbanization of the rural population without requiring the massive and unsustainable rural-urban migration. It brings urbanization to the rural population by making available to them the full set of services and amenities that are normally available only in urban locations. It works within the constraints of limited resources by concentrating them in specific locations to obtain economies of scale, scope, and agglomeration. It helps lift the population out of a development trap by making available to them the benefits of technological advances and the increased access to global markets that globalization promises.

RISC follows the logical trend of moving away from vertically integrated institutions to one of horizontal segmentation and specialization. Thus, conceptually and operationally, a RISC has two levels: the lower one is the infrastructure level (henceforth, the I-level) which consists of power, broadband telecommunications, and the physical plant (building, water, air-conditioning, sanitation, security); and above that the user services level (henceforth, the S-level) which consists of all services that are relevant to rural economic activity such as market making, financial intermediation, education and library, health, social services, governmental services, and so on.

The I-level provides a reliable, standardized, competitively-priced infrastructure platform. This is achieved by the coordinated and cooperative actions of firms that specialize in the component activities. Co-located on the S-level are all kinds of firms that provide user services. The presence of the I-level reduces their costs and therefore the prices that the users face. Economies of scope and agglomeration are obtained by the presence of the variety of different service providers.

Given that rural populations are very poor, it is reasonable to expect that the aggregate demand of a single village for any single service will be very low. However, the aggregate demand for, say, a 100 villages for a single service could be significant. Aggregating the demand for many different kinds of services of the same 100 villages would translate into lot of services. These services would require infrastructural inputs which can be commercially and sustainably supplied. The total rural population of India can be covered by about 6,000 RISCs each servicing the needs of 100,000 people. The economies of scale are obtained by implementing a few thousand RISCs. Access to a RISC for any rural person is only a ‘bicycle commute’ away.

RISC is not an attempt at social engineering through centralized planning. Neither is it another model of Internet kiosk or telecenter. It aims to solve a problem by appealing to the profit motives of all participants, be they private sector, NGOs, or the public sector. The good that will surely come out of it can only be attributed to Adam Smith’s invisible hand.

The foundational idea upon which the proposed solution stands is that of the emergence of complex adaptive behavior from the interaction of agents following simple rules within a sufficiently rich environment. The solution provides a balance between the forces of cooperation and competition, between standardization and specialization, between private and public action, between generalization and particularization, between globalization and localization, between unity and diversity. It is an idea that is at once both blindingly obvious and fleetingly elusive.



Are you interested :Write to us for more information on RISC.

Download the concept paper on RISC.

Join the Deeshaa Community —  /www.deeshaa.org/

Talk on Entrepreneurship & Innovation

January 29, 2007

Talk on Entrepreneurship at XIMB

“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator.” With that quote from Francis Bacon (1595) I introduced the topic of “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” at the XIMB’s (Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar) conference on “Innovation and Entrepreneurship.” I was asked to give the concluding keynote talk on 13th Jan.

You might say that I am not fully qualified to talk about entrepreneurship, not having been one. At the very least you could say that I not a successful entrepreneur although I do hope the entrepreneurial venture that I am associated with (dealing with education) will be successful. For now, I am like the driver who drove around the famous surgeon so many times on his lecture circuit, that ultimately the driver was able to deliver the lecture. Having spent some time working with successful entrepreneurs, I have some second hand understanding of what goes in the making of a successful entrepreneur.

Time, as Bacon observed, innovates. Change is a fundamental feature of our universe. Without change, the universe would be sterile. That insight was arrived at around 2,500 years ago by Gautama, the Buddha. The environment changes and to the extent that we are individually powerless to hold things constant, change is ‘exogenous,’ a word much loved by economists. We also know one basic fact about the exogenous change, that it induces monotonic increase in complexity. Systems become more complex with the passage of time. The Big Bang produced a simple universe which became increasingly complex.

Moving from that big picture to the much more accessible small picture of our present rapidly changing and complex economy, the entrepreneur is generally seen as an agent who identifies change, and appropriately responds to it by exploiting change. That is my understanding of what the textbooks say about entrepreneurs. I see it as a human response to the exogenous change imposed by the fundamental nature of our world, a world where change is rapid in the direction of increasing complexity. Entrepreneurs, one can say, are organisms which are successful in adapting to change. And I believe that the mechanism for this adaptation is “innovation.”

I pondered the issue of innovation for a bit to prepare for the talk. It occurred to me that innovations which reduce the complexity of the world around us are the successful innovations. Actually, that is not quite accurate. The complexity of the world is a given. That is not reducible. What is possible is to create a better interface behind which you can hide all the complexity of the underlying world. So the innovation is in creating a front-end which helps people better manage a world which is becoming very hard to deal with without appropriate tools.

Examples? Computing hardware become faster and more complex. A series of innovations took place that helped people manage the evolving hardware: more sophisticated languages, from assembly level languages to high level languages.

Another example: airplanes evolved to be extremely complex. The innovation was the use of computers to fly them.So it seems that the most successful innovations are those that shield people from the increasing complexity of the world they live and work in.

That was the insight that I tried to convey to the group which was mostly composed of MBA students. My message was that if you want to be an entrepreneur, try figuring out an innovation which helps people manage complexity.I don’t know if I got that message across. Perhaps the message was wrong or perhaps the delivery was wrong, or both.

In any event, I did make the standard exhortations to them to think differently. There was a compelling reason (to me at least) for doing so. Earlier in the conference, I was asked to be on the panel of judges for a business plan contest.There were five plans presented and four of them involved advertising as a major part of the revenue source.

Sure, Google is immensely successful with their ad based model. So are the Yahoos and other biggies. But yet another advertising revenue based model is as exciting as last week’s warmed over pizza. Listening to the business plans was a tad bit disappointing. Where’s the substance, I kept wondering. Give people stuff that they will actually pay for and you have added some value to the world. If all you can do is to say that advertising revenues will support your model, you need to think again since Google has pretty much cornered that market. If you want to take on Google, don’t expect to win. As some guru pointed out, Google is the environment, not the competition.

After that gratuitous bit of advice, I moved back to the topic: entrepreneurship. My colleague of over three years is a very successful entrepreneur, Rajesh Jain. I have also observed closely another immensely successful entrepreneur, Vinod Khosla. Another very successful entrepreneur I have had the pleasure of knowing is Gordon Dryden, my friend in
New Zealand. Having learnt something from them, I decided that I was theoretically qualified to tell people “How to Be an Entrepreneur”:
The Five Step Program

  • Identify the problem
  • Become an expert
  • Work Hard
  • Work Hard
  • Work Hard

Identifying a problem is the first step. Care should be taken to distinguish between problems and symptoms. You are better off addressing the problem rather than futzing around with the symptoms. You have to be an expert for that.

You become an expert by learning, some of which comes from experience, and which in turn comes from trying out different things and learning from the inevitable failures. Failing fast and failing frequently is a good thing if you learn from them. But to my mind the most important thing of all is to THINK DIFFERENT.

How does one think differently? At the very least it requires a big vocabulary. Not the GRE word list, of course, but concepts. You need to understand the world from a wide variety of perspectives. And that requires at the very least reading widely outside your domain of expertise.

 For people who have a technology and business background, I would suggest history, anthropology, economics, science, literature, etc. This will help you understand and appreciate the connections that link everything around you and you will be able to figure out how to build stuff that will be useful and thus people will pay to get the stuff and you will be a successful entrepreneur.

Oh yes, the bit about working hard. Without the hard work, you’d have to be very lucky to be successful. And I believe that luck does not fully explain the most successful ones. Unfortunately, the capacity to work hard is, I think, built sometime in one’s formative years. So in a sense, your basic nature determines if you can be an entrepreneur.

What I have described above is not exactly verbatim but faithful in spirit. I ended my talk with that favorite quote from the architect Daniel Burnham (1864-1912) who said:

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.

Author : Atanu Dey            Source :http://www.deeshaa.org

Education First – Making INDIA a Knowledge Economy

January 28, 2007

It is necessary to first understand the entire “Matrix” in education. Even after 59 years of Independence, the following situation remains as far as the Human Capital Development of our country is concerned:-

  1. Drop-out rate in schools from KG to 10+2 is (including those who never attended school) 90% to 94%.  
  2. China has about 1.80 million schools, while we have in India about 1.20 million schools!
  3. The “Governance” in Government run schools is very low. In many cases teachers are absent (15% to 60% absenteeism) from schools in rural and urban schools of India and are paid full wages and perks in spite of this! Studies have shown that even the poorest of the poor rather send their children to un-aided schools where fees have to be paid and not to government run free schools. The quality of schooling of such unaided schools is higher than Government schools although the salary of Government teachers is two to three times higher than the teachers of the un-aided schools.See articles and solutions on governance at www.wakeupcall.org
  4. The existing Indian definition of Literacy (if you can write your name you are literate) needs to be amended to International Standards. This criteria is used in the census for determining the literacy rate.
  5. As per the Ministry of HRD the present illiteracy is ONLY 37% or 430 million people, while as per UNICEF and UNDP it is nearly 60% or 650 million people. China has a Literacy rate of about 93%.
  6. The first step of making India a knowledge economy is literacy and needs to be given A1 priority.
  7. The total amount spent on education is about Rs. 91,000 crores per year. 15% by the Central Govt. and 85% by the State Governments The Education Cess will collect another Rs. 7000 crores per year. This is about 3.3% of GDP. The MHRD has calculated that another Rs. 40,000 crores per year would be required only for additional requirements for Primary Education!
  8. We estimate that another Rs. 100,000 crores are required per year just to have reasonable quality of Primary and Secondary education, up to Class 10th., which is where the Central and State Governments should concentrate for the next 10 to 20 years, or till we have at least 95% Literacy and at least 80% of the population who are completing the High School stage or Class 10th.
  9. As per our estimates the total expenditure for education is nearly 8% of GDP, about 3.3% from Government and about 4.7% from private participation. This includes funding of unaided schools and colleges + bribes and capitation fees + payment for students studying abroad + tuition classes +coaching classes +private I.T. & Software training institutes. Most of this private funding is confined to urban areas where only 30% stay.
  10. About 7% to 8% of the youth who finish the 10+2 stage (pre-university) enter the17, 960 colleges of India. 70% of all graduates are B.A. or Arts graduates. Is this relevant today? Most of these so called graduates are not-employable.
  11. Of all new employment taking place nearly 60% are self employed. About New Employment – 1% is with government, 2% with the private ‘organized sector’ and 97% with the ‘unorganized sector’.
  12. Presently there is little connect between education and employment generation & quality of Life
  13. The employers associations, chambers of commerce and other business organizations are fragmented. There is no “National Common Minimum Program” for “education and training of manpower” in India. In most developed and developing countries the Chambers of Commerce (who represent the employers and business) Lead from the front.
  14. About 26 million people are added every year to the existing education system, which is like adding another Australia + Hong Kong + Singapore & UAE per year!
  15. Presently both the Central Government as well as the State Governments are running in Financial Deficits, of about 9% to 11% of GDP, so the question of additional financing for education will strain not only the existing budgets but also put pressure on other sectors, where funds are being presently allocated.
  16. “Licence Raj” runs all Higher & Technical Education in India. Let us Bench-Mark with USA, Germany and Japan, the three largest economies of the World account for nearly 50% of the world’s GDP.  Do their governments exert similar controls as we have in India? Can we learn from them? There is fierce competition between the institutions in these countries for excellence!
  17. China has about 900 Universities, while we in India have 362 Universities. USA has 3600 and Japan has 4000!
  18. In India, the fees of the courses, pay-scales to the teachers, appointment of the head of the Institution and the syllabus, are decided by the 58 or more Central and State-Government Boards of Education. Will this create innovation, excellence  and world class students?
  19. The Coaching Business is getting bigger than the Education Business, entrance examinations for the IIT’s, IIM’s and a few prestigious  management schools attract about 600,000 applications (who spend nearly Rs.2.00 lac each for pre-coaching, amounting to Rs.12,000 crores per year, for 6000 seats. These institutions spend hardly Rs.800 to Rs.1,100 crores per year, as their teaching budgets!
  20. While 75% to 85% the youth of the developed and developing world learn a skill or competence or trade between the ages of 14 to 35, by Vocational Education & training, in India it is hardly covers 3% to 4% of the population!
  21. India has about 5000 ITI’s (Ministry of Labour) and about 5000 Vocational schools (Ministry of HRD), while China has about 500,000 senior secondary vocational schools!
  22. India has 300 million able bodied unemployed between the ages of 18 to 50, but they have no skill sets and therefore not employable! Employers in India are facing a huge shortage of skilled manpower. Wages and salaries in India, of skilled manpower are going up too fast. India will not be able to take advantage of the demographic profile of its population, if the youth do not receive relevant and quality Education & Training.
  23. We have not seen any co-ordination between the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of HRD as far as VET planning on a National level, is concerned
  24. We in India have NOT still appreciated the fact that, world wide, Education is 5 times or 500% bigger than I.T. or software!
  25. India can become an Educational Hub for the world and earn US$ 100 billion per year, after 10 to 20 years! We need to start now, but remove “Licence Raj” first, as was done for business in 1991! India has 7,700 foreign students while Australia has 383,000 foreign students!
  26. Because of the “Licence Raj” in Higher and Technical Education, it is estimated that nearly 70,000 to 90,000 students leave India every year for studying abroad. At any given time these 320,000 students cost the country a foreign exchange out flow of nearly US$9.6 billion per year or nearly Rs. 45,000 crores per year, enough to build 40 IIM’s or 20 IIT’s per year. Nearly 1,20,00 students leave India every year for foreign studies.
  27. The present problem of reservation will not solve the needs and aspirations of the youth. India needs a larger number of educational Institutions, seats and higher quality in the area of Higher & Technical education. Rationing, quotas and reservation can never address the actual situation. The Central and State governments are strapped for funds even for Primary and Secondary education. The solution lies in complete decontrol of all forms of Higher & Technical education; the same way as business was delicensed in1991!
  28. Since 1947 we have tried reservation and controls in the allocation of steel, cement, colour TV’s, airline tickets, cars, scooters, etc and have failed. Only increase of supply and decontrol has finally solved these issues.

If INDIA has to become a Knowledge Economy we need to do the following:

  1. Aim for 95% to 100% Literacy in the next 10 years
  2. Decontrol and involve the management of all primary schools to the local bodies such as Panchayats, Village Groups, Municipalities and local Citizen Groups. Allow the community to manage.
  3. Consider the use and issue of “Education Coupons” for school children, so that they can choose the schools of their choice and funding from the government, which would have been dispersed for the funding of Government run schools in rural and urban India, should be paid out. See www.ccsindia.org
  4. Scrap “Licence Raj” in Higher & Technical Education, after and including class 11th, to allow innovation, creativity and excellence in Education. See www.epsfi.org
  5. Ensure that 80% to 90% of the population in the age group of 14 years to 50 years goes in for some sort of relevant Vocational Education & Training. See www.wakeupcall.org
  6. Allow starting of Enterprise Skills Education, ESD, from Class 5th to the 12th. This will teach the youth about how the real world works. Only 100 hours per year required. Nearly 60% of the workforce in India is self-employed. See www.deispune.org
  7. Start Prevocational classes from Class 8th. Have Vocational Counsellors in all Higher Seconadary Schools. Upgrade all Higher Seconadry Schools for Vocational Education & Training.
  8. Have a dynamic interaction between all stake holders, Academia-Industry-Business-R&D-Chambers of Commerce-Student bodies-Parents organizations-Civil society and NGO’s. Chambers of Commerce, who represents the employers and business, must lead from the front.
  9. Allow private finance and participation in all sectors of education, till we reach the goals as mentioned under item 8 in section one above.
  10. Allow tax breaks and incentives for private and NRI funding, for the next 20 years or till we achieve bench marks as mentioned under item 8 in section one above.

                                                 Source : i watch – Transforming India

Kindly contact me forcomplete information & details of  i watch-Transfomring India book.

Ajay Singh Niranjan ( ajay_uor@yahoo.com)

i watch www.wakeupcall.org Education 1st

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