Funny Things to Ponder

Monday, December 2, 2013

Support price doesn't really support the needy!!

 
Every farmer says agriculture is synonymous with risk and uncertainty. Every Indian thinks that there is need for reforms and Green revolution similar to 1960's and 1990's. Every economist would say economic growth and agricultural growth are closely linked to each other in mixed economy.
The recent unfortunate death (suicide) of farmer in Karnataka and elsewhere in India who is caught in a debt trap are becoming common these days. The Government of India and respective state governments are still trying to find measures to stop these deaths from happening again.
Farmers face floods, drought, pests, disease, and a plethora of other natural disasters. The weather is their greatest adversary, something that can never be controlled by man. Weather can make or break a farmer’s fortune. It becomes the primary duty of Government to think of the welfare of farmers which would necessitate thinking of ways and means of reducing the risk in farming.
The state and central government gives heavy subsidies for sugar-cane production and allied activities. Most of the subsidy for irrigation, canal irrigation, drip irrigation and fertilizers has been cornered by sugar-cane farmers because they use more fertilizer per acre.
After acquiring a loan and investing all of their capital (borrowed and private) and labour into the sugar fields , a farmer of Karnataka must sit back and wait in front of the sugar factories to buy his/her produce. This shows that there is excess supply of produce or lack of crushing capacity from the factories.
Support price mechanism is another form of subsidy which should be curbed and the market needs a different mechanism to curtail the present crisis.

Some of the measures which government needs to take to curtail the trend of suicides are
1.         Promote crop insurance and ensure that claim to premium ratio is brought down.
Only 32 million of India’s 120 million farmers buy crop cover, 24 million of them under the just scrapped heavily subsidized government-backed scheme. The remaining seven million buy cover under schemes geared to be viable without government subsidy on claim settlement.
2.         Increase the number of factories which are under the co-operative management and to enforce measures for more transparency.
As per latest estimates, Karnataka state has 62 sugar factories out of which 24 run on co operative basis and 36 by private management. 2 sugar factories are under the public sector.
3.         The effect of the opening of insurance markets to private players in India is still to be seen in the Crop insurance sector. Encourage Private players to participate rather than making it stringent rules under IRDA
4.         Policy changes to focus on farmers rather than seed and fertilizer corporations.
A false perception of prosperity is being created in the minds of the cultivators that prompt them to take serious risks in terms of fertiliser-based cropping pattern.
5.         Karnataka Sugarcane (Regulation of Purchase and Supply) Act, 2013 is a good step. It should concentrate more on scientific pricing rather than playing the sentimental card. The board should ensure that competitive spirit is maintained and level playing field is provided to all entities in sugar market.

A heavily edited version of this post made it to the DNA newspaper letter section. 
Check out the same. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

What should be next focus area for Karnataka CM

There has been lot of controversy and discussion regarding the draft of the Anti-superstition bill which is slated to be tabled in the next Assembly session.
The Chief Minister of Karnataka should focus his interests and time on various social, economic issues plaguing the state of Karnataka. When the people of the state are developed economically, then their dependancy on quacks for medical care, praying to Plaguamma, Maramma etc kind of gods for curing ailments and other superstitions will come down on its own.

The focus for next 4 years should be :
1. Development of rural infrastructure and bridge rural-urban divide.
2. We had a good monsoon, please work on providing good 3 phase power supply till next monsoon to all people of the State irrespective of the location.
3. Nearly 60 per cent of diseases afflicting the rural population is waterborne; please revive the lakes, improve/recharge ground water table and provide clean potable water to residents of the State.
4. Political stability, a transparent governance and appointment of Lokayuktaare going to win the confidence of the people who are frustrated with the previous government.
5. Revive the traditional industries, develop 2 tier cities, decongest Bengaluru by developing new info-cities in other parts of Karnataka. Implement the Sarojini Mahisi report recommendation and ensure the people of the state get their due.
6. End all controversy surrounding the medium of education and make Kannada as compulsory first language upto 7th standard for all students irrespective of the board.
Those are the area's in which the new government should lead its energies and efforts instead of spending too much time on discussion of what superstitious and radical in today's context.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Back to the future?

We are nearing the 1990 era's in true sense. Today, our foreign reserves are just enough for 6 months and RBI has no other option than selling $ to stem the downfall or rupee. 
The time has come for another set of reforms. We are not exporting in good numbers , because our enterprises are taxed heavily right from import of raw material till export of final goods. I can see the pain of every enterprise which is subjected to multitude of pains! The MNC's coming into the Indian market wont add substantial $$$ to the exports tally, they are just encashing on domestic demand. We need more and more of Indian enterprises catering to the world segment. 

Software services could flourish for last 15+ years because of tax holiday and softer policy regime. The same is needed in manufacturing sector and removing the draconian labor laws, unwanted inspector check's, lengthy process for commercial licenses, high amount of taxes (sales, central, excise, custom, cess etc) and top of it , shrinking "employable" workforce due to mushrooming of educational institutions.

To get over this situation, we need to start working right from the roots and dont think of superficial measure of selling dollars or importing less.

1. Let the states compete with each other in building infrastructure, attracting investment and stemming up the growth and Center should stop interfering in all the programs.
2. There should be one tax slab for the entire country and states should have major share in it. The states should only pay the center for its expenses related to defense, parliamentary affairs etc. Infact, states should drive the center ; instead of pooling resources and expecting them to drive us!
3. Trade and industry norms, procedure, compliance must be simplified and paying taxes shouldn't be a burden. Reduce it to below 10% and see that people dont mind paying a bill or legitimate transactions.
4. Stop subsidies, empower people with jobs. We cant keep feeding fish to people forever, lets teach them fishing!
5. Focus on building agro industry, food processing technology and utilize the rich flora fauna to the advantage.
6. Take out the monopoly and tight central govt. control on railways, airways and shipping sectors. Let the private players operate in every sphere of transportation domain. If we want to be a Logistics hub, show it by having a open market !

Last but not the least, stop sharing info about NaMo/RG; dont expect a turnaround would happen by beating the chest for internet savvy politicans or political brigade. Start thinking ! Both of them (Congress/BJP) are not the answer or solution.

The solution starts from me and you!

Monday, May 27, 2013

why bussiness corporations should stop poking nose in policy matters?

BPAC  claims that its one of the organizations which is striving for good quality life for the people of Bengaluru. Its latest demands from one of the member of BPAC is as follows :

Bangalore’s problems are a complex tangle of issues with various civic and utility bodies and their overlapping agendas often working at cross purposes. The result is that in the past few years the city has slid into a  morass of neglect and no one knows who is responsible for what.



Ok, looks like we have a problem and we do know about it. This is a problem of Urban Management and what’s the need for that according to BPAC?

 A quick and efficacious way forward would be the appointment of a Ministry for Bangalore with the  mandate to co-ordinate and hold the various civic agencies accountable for implementation of key projects that can stop and reverse the decline of this formerly beautiful, buzzing economic engine of Karnataka and India.

There is a difference between governance and management. A new governing body doesnt translate into effective management. In our case, it adds up one more layer of bureaucracy on top of already bloated bureaucratic arms of this city.

Functional responsibilities for service provision can be obtained by adopting good responsive urban management schemes. The 13th Finance Commission has recommended that strengthening municipal finances and urban governance in India is need of the hour. It has recommended that grants to be divided into 2 parts, basic and performance. The performance grants are given if and only if the State government, implements the reforms recommended by the commission.
There are also some more recommendations which would indirectly benefit the party at central government since it wants local bodies to be more empowered and bypass the state government in certain aspects.
Fiscal federalism is the need of the hour but not at the cost of state government. Also, it’s not correct on the part of the central government efforts to make the 2nd tier redundant and empower the 3rd tier completely.

Before I jump into other parts, BPAC has been actively advocating most of revenue of Bengaluru should be spent for Bengaluru. If Bengaluru wants to become greedy and doesnt want to share its cake with other poorer cousins, then we might be forced to pay for water which we use, pay more hefty charges for waste disposal and so on. So, before someone starts thinking in that line ; let them realise that Bengaluru is earning because of collective efforts of the people of this state and not just by the people of Bengaluru. 
Let’s leave the finance, budgeting related aspects aside for a moment. 
There are four components of urban population growth - natural increase or organic growth, rural to urban migration, reclassification, and boundary changes of the existing urban centers.
Projections indicate that by 2030 that India’s urban population will be 575 million constituting over 40% of total population.  India’s Urban Awakening (2010) a McKinsey report projected that by 2030 five states viz., Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil Nadu will have more than 50% urban population and 13 cities will have more than 4 million population each. Six cities viz., Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata and Pune will have more than ten million population each.
So, Bengaluru is having lot of migration from other states which has contributed to increase in population and stress on infrastructure. Instead of building the cities and extending the boundaries, BPAC should work with government to build more secondary/ tier- II or III cities which ease the burden on Bengaluru. 

What does BPAC expect as first task?


As a first step, the Minister needs to  take up the KIG Infrastructure report and start implementing it without any delay. To ensure  that  this implementation and other developmental issues of Bangalore are being dealt with in a planned, transparent and timely way, the Minister and the Chief Minister should be advised by a Bangalore Vision Group  headed by  the likes of eminent and respected citizens like  Infosys Chairman Emeritus NR Narayana Murthy. The CM and the Bangalore Vision group must receive a quarterly report from the Minister for Bangalore and review progress on a quarterly basis.

What does KIG report talk about?
Image source : https://www.bangaloreitbt.in/docs/2013/2/KIG%202020%20Members%201.pdf
There are 2 aspects of this report. It’s prepared under the chairmanship of Shri TV Mohandas Pai. With due respects to the gentleman, I would like to know why do every ex-Infoscian have to instruct and guide the government in policy matters right from building of airport till the night life timings?
Even if we consider them to be public policy making and formulation experts, why are these private/quasi government agencies trying to manipulate their way into government policy matters?
When agencies likes BPAC is advocating so much on local governance, do you see any of these terms talking about local talent pool development, local jobs creations?
Also, why should government of Karnataka give a report to these business men (Narayana Murthy, Mohan Das Pai and so on) on such issues? Is an elected body accountable to these set of people or the people who elected them? 
Why are these corporations so much interested and trying to dictate politicians on what needs to be done and whats not? Is it going too long , then watch this video.. even though, its context is based in USA.. Its relevant very much here too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5kHACjrdEY 

Its time to take our democracy back from these corporations and corporate citizens!! 

I will talk about the 11 recommendations in follow post.  Italics text can be found in full @ https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5c2JVpNt6pDTlZzNXppMEFPenc/edit

Friday, May 24, 2013

Downloading Nudi 5

Download Nudi 5

I have been searching for Nudi 5.0 software on net and found that official website is still having the link of Nudi 4.0. 
I dont think, the government agency will update it shortly since they take their own sweet time. After some google search and finding them on few websites, finally I could land up on the actual download link 
To Download , click here 

New URL is 
http://www.kagapa.in/kannada/ thanks to comment from Techdev todo.

The installation is smooth and the download was fast too. But, one needs to have WINRAR software installed in machine to unzip the file. 

Advantages of Nudi 5

11 Kannada fonts conforming to the Unicode style
Lot more fonts available for the users
Compatibility with mobile phones

Some issues in new Nudi 5.0
Doesnt type the arkha vattu properly
Installation guide is in English??!! Cant they provide in Kannada too.. 

If you are searching for Kannada t-shirts, check out www.koolsisya.in

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Why do Kannadigas lack in entrepreneurship?

We all might have faced this q in our life time.

Why is that SP road in Bengaluru is filled with Bohara muslims, marwadi's and mostly non-Kannadiga's?
Why do most of the street side vendors selling various goods are from Tamil nadu in majority of cases? 
What do Kannadiga's do for a living apart from working as tailor, real estate agent, grocer shop owner or so on! 
Why is it so hard to find a distributor or super stockist who is a Kannadiga? 

The answer to most of these questions could be 'lack of entrepreneurship spirit' in most of Kannadiga's. 

Before you jump on to me, telling " yen ri, iddarali yenu hosadu idhe.." or " nivu helo haage navu yenu kelasa bittu haanu hoovu tarakari marabeka?"

(I am not asking all Kannadiga's to become road side vendors or set up hardware shops, but we cant ignore the fact that these people have built enterprises which do huge turnover in our supply chain and economy )
As per my observation, mostly I find 3 types of people in Kannadiga groups. I am excluding the cribber types on purpose since they add no value to our conversation. 

Do-er : This type of personality can do a task given to them in most obedient way. This kind of personality usually lands up as most trusted accountant in a marwadi shop, a manager in tamilian owned small scale industry and so on.. These people know the trade well and sometimes much better than their masters. But, they are scared to take a plunge on their own or nor ready to step out of their comfort zone. 
Most of times, the do-er is also from a lower middle/middle/upper middle class family who is happy to serve his/her master who pays him a monthly salary, take care of his needs, pays up his insurance and so on.. (yeah, most of the IT- maandi would fall into this category )


Thinker : This is one more unique kind of personality. These set of people always think that there is a super idea in their mind and they want to share this with everyone. Its somewhat similar to our budding poets reading our their latest haani kavana or storyline. 
They think that they have the next biggest thing in their mind. But.. But.. when you ask them to execute it, they take 100 steps back. 
Their innovation sphere lies in ideation and sharing the same in their circle. Once they are done with their idea, again they fall into category of Do-er and doesn't want to take the plunge to realize their idea.  

So, most of the times ; you would heard them saying 
Thinker : " Illi obba yaru adru, ondu hotel madidre chenagi irate ri.. yen vyapara agatte gotta..
Do-Er : " Howdu Saar, yaru adru obbaru madabeku Saar"  --> See how Do-er tilts towards opening a hotel
Executor : "Howdu yen Ri, bannri ondu hotel madona " 
....
I have to stop this conversation now so that I can introduce you to my next type of personality. The Executor 

Executor : These are set of people who like to convert idea's into reality. Who are interested to make things happen rather than just day-dreaming . 
Now, the next part of conversation from where we left last.

Thinker : " ee yake ri namage ee hotel tale novu yella. Heard that there is big labor problem in Bengaluru"
Do-Er : "Howdu Saar, nanu kelide iddara bagge. nivu helidu sari" --> Again, based on reaction of Thinker , the Do-Er takes a back step
Executor : "labor problem, govt. problem yella irate ri.. bannri ondu hotel madona , nivu helida haage work out aga bahudu"

Do-Er : "saar, namage yake ee chinte yella.. aaram agi kelasa idhe, madikondu hogona" --> If he follows the thinker

OR

Do-ER : " Banni Saar , try madona. nivu yenu mada beku heli " 

At this, if the executor takes a back step based on reactions of thinker ; then the whole "idea to execution " process collapses until some non-Kannadiga entrepreneur listens to this idea and starts working on it.. 

Most of times, the executor can't take the whole idea onto his own shoulders, he/she needs the support of the thinker and Do-er in proportional terms to realise the idea.  At this time, the linguistic unity is the need of the hour rather than caste based one which is presently prevalent in the Kannadiga's. 

We should not stop ourselves just because I, as a executor is a Kuruba and the Do-Er is a Gowda or so on. It rarely matters since we are coming together / we should come together as Kannadiga's rather based on our caste, region, religion and so on. 

The whole jist of my note is that , if you are a thinker ; restrict yourself to ideation and dont beat down your own business idea. If you are more of executor type, listen to various idea and go with your gut feeling. 
If you are a Do-ER category (which most of them are ;-) ) find a team of executors and join them as a support team. Dont shy away from taking a plunge since the river looks too deep or current are wild. Once we jump into water, we would learn to sail. Just make sure that you have a rope tied to your waist (a backup plan, some assets/bank balance to keep you in good shape for 2 years n so on ) before taking that plunge :-P

Remember that we learnt to talk and walk after spending 1-2 years of life looking around and learning from others. In same way, dont expect your business to start giving you fruits in first 15 days of starting it. Learn to nurture it and let it grow to stand on its own , spread its roots out and finally start bearing the fruits of your hard work, patience and perseverance. 

Last but not the least, try to get out of your comfort zone and start looking around. The world is not just about investing in shares, buying a 30X40 site, living in a match box sized apartment or sitting in USA , counting dollars to rupee conversions daily! there is much more than to it.. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

health "care".. who cares?


Recent health report released from Indian govt. has some statistics which are disturbing.. 
-->Hospitalized Indians spend on an average 58% of their total annual expenditure
-->Over 40% of hospitalized Indians borrow heavily or sell assets to cover expenses
-->Over 25% of hospitalized Indians fall below poverty line because of hospital expenses
but, the report also says that 
-->Only 10% Indians have some form of health insurance, mostly inadequate
Find the complete report here 



According to a survey done in 2011, the medical bills are more than the rate of inflation. 
http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/cost-of-health-insurance-cover-surging-in-india/1/13627.html

Doesn't Indian Government realize that Insurance is the biggest form of looting public and making them dependent on the premium based services.. 


The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had pointed out in a recent report that private hospitals were charging higher rates from patients with mediclaim policies compared with those who did not have any health insurance cover for the same treatment.
Some insurance providers have even taken off the cashless treatment policy due to inflated billing and extended stay at hospitals done for sake of insurance. Read one of the report here 
I am sure that many folks like me, would like to avoid declaring to the hospital authorities about insurance coverage since it would lead to higher/inflated bills. 



The private hospitals are making a loot year after year to please the share holders and ensure that their footprints keep expanding.. 

Lets take a look at the largest 2 companies under the medical services sector. 


Fortis Healthcare profit and loss graph


Apollo Hospital Enterprises P&L graph


Check the steep increase in the profits!! 



If you check out the Medical council website, you will be shocked to see the scale of deposits expected for starting a medical college. 

Bank deposit to provide infrastructure


The medical college/institution provides a bank guarantee in favour of the Medical Council of India from a Scheduled Commercial Bank for providing additional infrastructural facilities for each discipline as follows:
PG degree - Rs. 85 lakhs
PG diploma - Rs. 64 lakhs
Higher Specialties - Rs. 128 lakhs



No wonder that these colleges later  sell (loot) the seats to aspiring doctors at such high inflated prices to cover the legal fees and other unaccounted expenses. 
The doctor's would over-charge the patients to pay their loans and the vicious cycle continues. 


When there is pricing control authority for Drugs, why there is no price control for hospital services? 

If government is committed to increase the reach and make health care affordable, then it has to open more govt. centers, reduce deposits to start private medical colleges and if needed, come out with its own insurance schemes.. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kannada artists and their social media management

At the outset, it might look like I am taking a dig at Kannada artists. Infact, I am against few and not all of them.
Most of the net savvy artists working in Kannada entrainment sector have created a profile, page or fan group on Facebook and manage them on their own in their free time. Very few of these artists have the art of taking the feedback positive,negative alike and work on them. 

Internet-based social media make it easier for people to listen, interact, engage and collaborate with each other. We all know how important word of mouth is, and social networking is like word of mouth on opium.
As a artist or any businessman/enterprise, it’s vital to tap into and join online conversations not only about your brand, but also those about your competitors, your industry and your areas of expertise.

I rarely see any Kannada artist talking good about their industry and their competitor (there is no harm in appreciating a good work done by others). Boot-licking is a passe and it can be easily identified. So, it might have worked for you on a personal note during your back stage conversation or green room chit-chat but doing it online doesn't get you any brownie points.

Social media helps us to keep a pulse on what people are saying — good or bad — about our work, competitors and major trends. And, a artist by representing himself as a brand and a person in a positive, authentic way, should build credibility for his/her expertise and business and link to customers(audience) and prospects quickly.

Whenever there is any feedback or conversation happening in a social media, they should be

1. Naturally Curious. Being naturally curious about what everyone’s working on in your segment/industry and their impact on customers, is important. Its equally important to be critical of developments happening in the Industry which might affect the prospects remotely or strongly connected to your business, since a happy customer/audience is the need of the hour. 

If a artist intends to become have a good social media presence, he/she should hire a social media manager. A manager would tap into different areas of the business and gather appropriate information that is engaging. If the artist can't afford it, atleast he/she should learn the basics of social media management. 
There is no room for arrogance and snubbing people online. Its totally no-no!!

2. Writes conversationally. Most of these artists from Kannada industry writing messages sound like advertising. It's important to advertise but its better if done in a conversational voice. If they cant do it easily, hire someone who can write in a conversational voice. Well-crafted conversational content for social social media opens up a dialogue between business/brand and customers, and ideally, between customers themselves.
I have seen so many artists turn up on social media just before the launch of their movie or just keep pushing random updates about their shooting schedule. All these turn up like an advertising page rather than a conversational page between artist and the customers. 

When FM radio was re-launched in Bengaluru, all the radio jockey were advised to talk in singular tone so that it looks like a conversation between listener and the RJ. This mode of presentation become a instant hit when compared to usual AIR style of addressing listeners in collective manner. 

3. Understands his/her business-related goals. All content on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter profile, YouTube channel, etc., has to support your business-related goals. Which means that you should/must have an intimate understanding of the audience pulse.
So, talk to your audience , collect their reviews, work on the negative feedback, convert them into winning points and polish your skills. All these would lead to working towards your business related goals. There is no point in spending time online and adding 100 subscribers to your mailing list, FB page etc ; if it doesnt lead to revenues in long run!

4. Seeks input from others. Artists shouldn’t work in a vacuum. They need to be proactive, checking with those who know best like people working in show biz industry, performance art and front line folks in electronic and mass media. Artists are only as good as the people around them and the information they freely grab up from their surroundings. If they have to break their shackles and grow big, its important to connect with the audience. Social media is one such platform which can help in big time.

5. Respects opinion. A customer/audience needs access to all areas of your business. They are curious about your next venture, next project and so on. So you must know what’s okay to share and what can never be revealed. Even when you are sharing information related to your next project , gig , event or anything major ; be prepared for variety of opinions which are going to flow out from the customers/audiences.
If you cant take a negative feedback and possess a "when someone give a negative comment, kick it out" mentality; then you should NOT be on social media. This is going to impact your prospectous in long run! Even if there is a disagreement, agree to work upon it in next venture or just accept that its a opinon of one of your audience.

I have seen some artists who make up, good "natural" social media managers and some $uck at it.
Based on my personal experiences,the good ones are Beesu Suresha, MG Srinivas, Achyutha Kumar. I had lot of conversation with these artists on dubbing issue and even though we differ on opinion ; its always a healthy (somtimes mud throwing) debate which has never resulted in enemity.
I respect such social media management since they look at feedback as feedback and not as personal one! 

In my opinion, Pawan Kumar has used the social media to maximum advantage. His 2 new ventures , Lucia (crowd funded movie) and Hometalkies.com (Online Kannada movie portal) generated out of the user comments, discussion, blog posts and so on.
Agni Sridhar also receives the pat on back since he ensures that his posts are mixture of social issues, cinema and much more. Even Gautham Machaiah (Zee Kannada channel head) has good social media management skills.

Again on personal experiences, I can list some artists who are bad at social media management. Ex:  Deepak Thimaya, PD Satish Chandra, Pavan Wodeyar and so on.. 

These folks believe that any person who disagree with their view, doesnt like their work have no further right to comment on it. The only solution they see is to ban that person permanently from their FB profile. Such actions leads to creating unhappy customers who will ensure that they would never appreciate their work in future nor even try to check it out! 


Some artists use the FB medium just to express their views on some issues which connect to them on a personal note and use the FB medium for the rest of the time to publish event updates. Such artists can vouch to become good social media managers by invoking more of conversational type of interactions and asking their audience to become more interactive.

There are some more who use the FB medium just to post 10-50 words about their new upcoming movie, just finished shooting etc of messages! It looks like a press release posted on their FB profile.. If the artists intended to post his/her Capitol Hotel conference summary in short mode; then FB is not the place..


As customers wield more power and influence over businesses than ever before, it’s vital for artists to understand the social media phenomenon and prepare their brand/work/industry to thrive.

Through social media, massive numbers of customers are engaging in new ways with companies, artists, enterprises and each other. This is having a significant impact on businesses everywhere—whether they know it or not. 

So, connect better and perform better!