Friday, February 28, 2014

Signs of discontent !!

The modern  Indian history ,arguably, starts with the 1st war of Independence driven by the disgruntled sepoys. The ways of British Government in handling the lower rung of sepoys is said to have triggered the outbreak. After that, the dynamics of colonial India started changing and culminating with Indian Independence. After the Independence, the partition has redrawn the Indian borders and developed a enmity between the 2 nations which continues to this day. Though taken birth at the same time and adopting Democracy on both the sides, clearly, the Indian side boasts of a coup-less power at the centre till today which may not be the same case on the other side. But, few incidents in the past year have made me doubt this opinion, though only driven by the news paper reports.

Few months back, there was a column in a national news daily that 2 "un-authorized" defence troop movements towards the national capital have been observed and this sighting occurred just a day before the crucial day of hearing on a army major's case have not helped to mute the rumors of a planned coup. Though, the news report has been condemned by both the parties, recent revelations by a highly placed defence officer have brought back the doubts that were earlier put to rest. Clearly, there seems to be a mis-communication between the Government and the forces which was also evident in the first-ever accepted resignation of the Navy admiral. The track record of maintaining India as a democracy is impressive leaving few glitches and being the largest democracy of the world, India should do well to maintain a healthy relationship between it's different wings that together keep India flying through storms and peace.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Change ??

Why are we so conflicted internally? Yes, we are.. From the smallest of things to the most valuable things, we display a behavior that can only be termed "Confused" at best. It is true that India is going through a stage in it's development that could be termed as it's last mile to the zenith. It has all the resources to reach there , only that we are not ready to accept this change if it deviates from a well-trodden path of the past. If you do not believe me , look at the ubiquitous social media , which till last month or so have  been praising the AAP of it's innovative methods and today there are more than 50% of those speaking against it's effusive ways to bring governance. I am not implying even a bit that "Vigilantism" is the right way to go , but I just want to give an example of how conflicted we could be. If a change has to be witnessed , it would mandate that few of the established ways be amended  and at times, may be go over board. How else would the established maladies be rooted out ?

There are many young Indians who think it takes a miracle to change the political discourse of India , I personally feel that there have to be innovation in the methods a political party follows in it's operations , right from campaigning to funding itself.  There are some honest political parties in India before but they stopped at that , they have accepted the same old methods to operate and they were much or less failed to impress. There were some parties which started with a grand vision and also have attempted to attract the people to it's innovative methods but failed , only because India was not ready at that time. Today , there is an attempt to rebuild the political foundation of the nation. What is expected is a little patience, We have tried everything , we have chosen the right, the left , the conservative, why not this one ?

The acts of vigilantism that was reported were under the scanner for the right reasons. Being a honorable Minister, the way chosen by him was questionable while the intention was probably noble. In all, it has it's positives and negatives. But why are we judging so quickly? Give them a benefit of doubt , not once, not twice , may be 100 times?? I don't know. Change is inevitable. The setback in the recent 5-state elections have probably changed the way the Govt. responds both internally and externally. Branded to be a "Soft-state" , it was a humongous change on the part of India to react in the way it has reacted on the issue of it's diplomat's ill-treatment. The scion has also have changed his ways of approaching the people. As one of the newspaper reports there were no escape velocities or shanty beards in the approximately 1-hour speech. So, a change is definitely on the cards. But are we ready yet ?? We better be.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Entrepreneurship in India

One of the most favourable conditions that every one agrees to , for India becoming the developed nation is the demographic advantage it enjoys in the coming years. But the same people also highlight the fact that unless this opportunity is cultured into a practicality through job creation, skill enhancement  and opportunity creation, the fruits cannot be consumed. In this context, GOI has initiated some important programmes in the areas of Innovation and Education.

Innovation can be defined in the Indian context to be a new process or product which helps in making the life of any sector of population productive and fetching. Innovations start with ideas and a good idea,to be successful,should be encouraged. A recent report showing the number of papers published at various international forums confirms that Indians do not lack ideas. But unfortunately , these ideas , though of  Indians , does not benefit India as their origin takes place in foreign countries. One indisputable reason for this 'brain drain' is the lack of opportunities and encouragement in Indian context. To address this unfortunate scenario, Planning Commission of India have formed an expert group on "angel investment and early stage venture capitalism in India ". The report has been submitted by Shri.Sunil Mitra led expert committee in June 2012 and have made an extensive effort to identify and address the problems of  budding entrepreneurs in India.

The title of the report reads "Creating a Vibrant Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in India" indicating that a complete "Ecosystem" is necessary for a success in Entrepreneurship. A typical "Ecosystem" in a market like that of Indian constitutes various elements like finance, entrepreneur-friendly regulations, encouraging societal and familial conditions among others. The report enumerates the stages through which an idea travels in the Indian setting. Typically an Entrepreneur conceives an idea and with some initial investment of his own, builds a prototype of his idea. He then expands his prototype in to a small sized venture with the help pf an incubator(A type of investor). Here after, the investments have to be hefty to scale up and it is in this stage that an entrepreneur  wishes for a supporting environment.

The report identifies 5 important factors for creating a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem .viz. Catalytic government policy and regulatory framework, easy access to equity capital and debt, Established businesses as entrepreneurial hubs, culture which encourage entrepreneurship over careerism, Effective and adequate collaboration forums. To meet the above goals, a 'National Entrepreneruship Mission' is recommended on the lines of National Innovation Council. Various roles of this 'mission' are in synchronisation with the goals. Some of the roles recommended for the mission are as follows.

a.The Mission acts as a bridge between various stakeholders such as the Central and state governments, the private businesses, educational institutions etc.

b.While the general approach would be to work in an enabling and coordinating capacity,it would have the lead role in the area of driving the financing part of the ecosystem which is the most critical component.

c.It would also become the nodal point for an entrepreneurship movement and in that capacity, articulate and disseminate the view point of the entrepreneurs amongst all the stakeholders within Government and outside – a capacity that is lacking today.

d.The Mission should ideally be set up under the Prime Minister’s Office which will give it the ability to exercise adequate influence without necessarily, a statutory authority.

e.The Mission would set up appropriate mechanisms and metrics that will allow it to track its impact on the entrepreneurial eco system in the country.

The report also presents some successful case studies of Google and other organisations which have nurtured the talent of Innovation in to a business. According to the employees of Google, One week of a work month is given to them for nurturing their own passions of innovation. The social networking site of "Orkut" was supposed to be an outcome of this "Passion Week" and everyone knows how big a success that site was, for Google.

It was believed that complicated exit regulations and complex entry rules have hampered the ideas in Indian ecosystem. The report quantifies this giving accurate data about the entrepreneurial activity in India today and what would be the outcome if a vibrant ecosystem exists for Indian economy in future. The report also touches the social aspect of India by introducing the terms like "Impact Investing", which could develop both social and financial aspects of Indian economy. Indian economy had hit its zenith in the last few decades owing mainly to IT and ITES sector and this sector ran on the pillars of some tremendous entrepreneurial activity by firms like HCL,Infosys,Bharti and so on. Similar initiatives in other trailing sectors is the need of the hour for Indian economy to become stronger and all-inclusive. Like a sown seed, which requires nurturence in the form of water and manure to sustain, the Innovation policy of India need the support of Entrepreneurship Mission to bear the fruits of human development and economic prosperity.

For Full report : Refer Website of Planning Commission of India.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gloomy desperation !!

On this unbelievably quite night, With a key board hit silence around me, I slowly escape in to my sleep with the shades of desperation and hope-lessness powering down upon me. After a long struggle with the spirit of frustration, I finally gave up and with the dark light covering me trying to en gulp me in to it while I lay unguarded , partly because i know i cannot win over it and partly because i do not want to.....  But I warn you my evil self, I would wake up more stronger, more energetic, more motivated and more goal seeking and slay you upright . Behold my evil self .. the end is near and you cannot escape me.

Re-Discover your dreams !!

While going through news section, One of the headings have caught my attention and have made me retrospect of all what I wanted to become. The heading read " 57 % of Indian children DO NOT achieve their childhood dreams ". That kept me thinking , Does the figure represent only those children who have tried and not achieved their dreams or is it that anyone who have just dreamt and forgot all about that? If it is the latter, it is an expected figure. Do you think you figure out in those 57 % people ? I hope not but unfortunately many do. What could be the reason for this ? Less opportunities?? Lack of sufficient encouragement by the parents?? Poor Indian economy ?? The mindset we develop as we mature ?? These questions kept lingering in my mind. But I remember some thing my 6th class teacher once said me , "If you want to solve a difficult problem , be ready to separate them in to many little ones (and hope that they are easier)". Applying his principle , I thought to look inside before catching on to the big picture.

I could remember the days when my mother making my brother and myself sit and study without fail everyday and complete the day's home work and learn(by-heart) the day's class work. It was followed by a half an hour session of Gemini news (24 hour news channels were absent then, so the news were really interesting). What attracted me in that whole news session was their break to show their money making advertisements, but those were not my interest but the question on general knowledge they ask everyday. I could not answer even a single question. My cousin had visited us for few days that time and to my surprise he could answer each and every question accurately and I was compelled to ask "How would you know all this ??" , he simply answered "I am a civil services aspirant and these are must-know for the exam " . That day I thought I should become a civil servant. To be frank, I do not know really what a civil servant does and how to go about becoming one, but I wanted to answer the gemini news questions.

As time grew, my thought of becoming an IAS officer started losing out to hectic SSC examination pressures and later on completely masked in my attempt to get in to the Indian Institutes of Technology. I could succeed in my attempt of becoming an IIT student but my thoughts never went back to becoming an IAS officer.Only person who reminds me of my wish to become an IAS officer was my grand father but after he passed away, the idea never surfaced . My studies at IIT have shifted me far from IAS towards a highly paid job , an MBA from an Ivy-league university , to support my parents as soon as possible.

But my marriage was something which have shifted me back in to the road of becoming a civil servant. My life partner have also had a similar dream but as I did , she never deviated from her path. She was planning her career in that path and her companionship has dusted off my dream to become a civil servant and today, I am in pursuit of my dream and I am glad that I am doing it.

It so happens that you have dreamt of becoming something and meanwhile, many factors have drifted you off your trial. It is also true that these dreams may go un-discovered all through your life, but someday, when you relax over your rocking chair and look back and so happens that you remember your dream. You would feel that place of your heart empty and incomplete. It would be tough to bring about a change , particularly in yourself,but try to bare an inconvenience today and you would not regret that tomorrow.

As Mr.Abdul Kalam said "Dreaming small is a crime", so "Dream big  and follow it big time "

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tolerance - The ingredient missing in the melting pot of Indian Society.

Indian history is itself magnificient and one feature that marks its presence in this grand history is the concept of Tolerance and Endurance. This concept has been associated with India from the vedic age, continued in different forms in different religions and also has been a flag bearer in attempts of Mahatma in achieving Independence of India. But, Do you think the present Indian society has such tolerance and endurance? If mahatma comes back and see how people gets annoyed at slightest inconvenience, at the faintest criticism , he would be apalled seeing how an enduring society as India was could turn in to a country where people are restless, systems are intolerant and the leaders could not face constructive criticism. He would also want us to think about what could be done from a personal point of view and as a group together, Dont you think he does??.

Firstly, Are you convinced that people have become intolerant?? If not, Look around you. You would see people getting annoyed if their pizza is late by 5-minutes or if a child seeking alms ask their generosity when they are busy talking over their phone or if their well-wishers point out that they are following a wrong path or if the people staying in the flat above you have kept their music loud. I do not say that these things are non-irritable but the threshold of tolerating such acts have come significantly down as India developed through its hard times. But, anyone could support this behavior by saying that an average human being has become more and more busy and occupied with work or otherwise and any disturbance to his own could trigger the rage point in one, but as a society develops, so should the maturity of the people living in that society. That would help the particular group to achieve more and more by doing less and lesser. Enough about the problem, What could be a possible solution to this?

Seeking a solution for any problem should start from identifying that the problem do exist. We see the news everyday filled with protests against a person, a group, a state, a nation and even an entertainment attempt in the name of "cinema". Most of us react to these news by questioning ourselves or the people around us "When do people become so intolerant?". But, no one would go beyond that. There are many things that recently I came across which prompted me to write this piece such as -

a.Recent series of protests in Andhra pradesh against different movies based on some identities. There was an instance where a group of people - considered to be the most patient and peace-loving people - went about protesting against the actors/producer of a movie in which they claimed to have shown their community in a negative sense. Important thing here is that we do not want to judge this move by them, but what we should essentially think about is the transformation in our society and how one can help normalise this trend. The big picture !!

b.Growing number of instances where slightest criticism trigger people to indulge in voilence , including people who are supposed to maintain peace in the society.Recently, in Mumbai.

Any change should start form within. What can one do to prevent these?? The following should help.

a. Try to list out explicitly the cases in which you get irritated.
b. Think about why exactly this irritates you.
c. If a reason exists and it is an unreasonable one, Try to think over how unreasonable it is and you would slowly be able to avoid those unwanted scenarios.
d. If a reason exists and it is reasonable according to you, try to explain this to your friends and well wishers and ask them how they would respond. If they too feel the same way, Then propably your response is fine.
e. If there exists no reason. Then take a oath that you would never respond in that way if a similar situation happens again.

It is highly impossible that change would come in short term but once that occurs, it would help you keeping away from many life style disorders both mentally and physically. Once you are tolerant, your family would be and the domino effect would effect our country overall. Hope to see a tolerant India soon !! Jai Hind.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Twins that were entwined in the existence...

Yes, I am talking about those two persons who have started sharing a quasi-fitting arena happily hugging and comforting each other for about three-quarters of a year in which period they did nothing but to sleep. Finally, they had a little fight on who should be the "Big Brother" and they finally came in to an understanding that, If one wins now, then the one who have won should listen and sacrifice everything else rest of their journey and you would see how always "Rajesh" , the big brother is understanding relatively towards his younger mirror image with slight distortions. People who knows these two, would have already guessed them, Rajesh and Ramesh Vepakommas.

How did they get entwined in to the existence of a bunch of 6-7 people is what I would write today about. I first met them on the very day I met the exciting, beautiful, green IITM campus. As any newbie feels, we were all tensed and excited at the same time. I was with my father and my roommate was with his father and his isomer. I said an awkward "Hi" to start a small talk , I got a "questionable" glare and a bleak "hi??" which sounded more like a question rather than a greeting. Okay, I thought this "introduction" would have its "end" card pretty soon. But I was wrong (un) fortunately.. :) . I was a virtual wing mate in my 1st year at iit to this duo and a real wing mate in the subsequent years and those were the days that have pulled me closer to these guys and subsequently know the subtle personay traits in them.

Today, On the eve of their 26th Birthday , I toast, for being an encompassing support in distress and otherwise , for a critic they were and they will be thats essential in filling the latent drawbacks which were otherwise invisible, for being the agent of heartful of laughs that made the days at IITM feel lighter and pass on in brisk manner, to the stomach aching sarcasm, to the knowledge bank they were of intra institute and outer institute matters, to the boldness they displayed in questioning which others would have let pass without a second thought, the scientific temper they carried in judging any issue at their disposal and finally to the "Child" in them who is as plain as a clear blue sky.

Have a great birthday and glorious years to come Rajesh Vepakomma and Ramesh Vepakomma.