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Sunday, January 30, 2011

AMUL : Story of INDIA

The value of national ‘ownership’ in development of involving 2.8 million milk producers with AMUL separates itself from other success stories . Dr. Kurien on Rural Development ---

A large proportion of rural livelihoods in India are at the mercy of the law of diminishing marginal returns from land. This has led to the bleak phenomena of rural-urban migration, casualisation of urban labour and feminisation of agricultural labour etc. with the net effect of extremely insecure rural livelihoods. A successful rural development programme must help rural people stay on voluntarily and profitably in the villages. Cooperative dairy development on the Amul Pattern has been instrumental in securing rural livelihoods in many parts of India through income generation, agricultural diversification, risk distribution, female empowerment and assured employment.

Employment generation in India has seen a spurt even through the much vaunted Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) organizations and Information Technology (IT) setups. However, one must never forget that these activities suffer from the inherent disadvantage of working under business cycles. Further, the underpinning of these businesses is cheap and skilled manpower that is both highly mobile as well as susceptible to replication by other nations. Thus, even were outsourcing and information technology to reach our rural poor, they can never offer our country a sustainable competitive advantage, leaving us vulnerable to massive disruption should the business move on to other countries where skilled labor is less costly. On the other hand, the underpinning of a successful cooperative dairy business is comprised of farmers who have a collective consciousness and a shared vision towards the domain centrality of milk and the need for cooperation in dairying. Neither they nor their milch animals can be relocated or replicated in the short or medium term by any other nation. I therefore put forward my case that cooperative dairying on the Amul Pattern forms a source of assured employment and a sustainable basis of competitive advantage for India. Here, I quote Dr. William Lewis of Mckinsey Global Institute from his book 'The Power of Productivity': 'Hours worked producing milk in India are equivalent to 45 million full-time employees. That means dairy in India has more employment than any other sector in any economy in the World'.

Friday, January 28, 2011

WikiLeaks on Corporate Corruption

Corporate corruption comes in many forms. The number of employees and turnover of some corporations exceeds the population and GDP of some nation states. When comparing countries, after observations of population size and GDP, it is usual to compare the system of government, the major power groupings and the civic freedoms available to their populations. Such comparisons can also be illuminating in the case of corporations.
Considering the largest corporations as analogous to a nation state reveals the following properties:

1. The right to vote does not exist except for share holders (analogous to land owners) and even there voting power is in proportion to ownership.
2. All power issues from a central committee.
3. There is no balancing division of power. There is no fourth estate. There are no juries and innocence is not presumed.
4. Failure to submit to any order may result in instant exile.
5. There is no freedom of speech.
6. There is no right of association. Even romance between men and women is often forbidden without approval.
7. The economy is centrally planned.
8. There is pervasive surveillance of movement and electronic communication.
9. The society is heavily regulated, to the degree many employees are told when, where and how many times a day they can go to the toilet.
10. There is little transparency and something like the Freedom of Information Act is unimaginable.
11. Internal opposition groups, such as unions, are blackbanned, surveilled and/or marginalized whenever and wherever possible.

While having a GDP and population comparable to Belgium, Denmark or New Zealand, many of these multi-national corporations have nothing like their quality of civic freedoms and protections. This is even more striking when the regional civic laws the company operates under are weak (such as in West Papua, many African states or even South Korea); there, the character of these corporate tyrannies is unregulated by their civilizing surroundings.

Through governmental corruption, political influence, or manipulation of the judicial system, abusive corporations are able to gain control over the defining element of government the sole right to deploy coercive force.

Just like a country, a corrupt or unethical corporation is a menace to all inside and outside it. Corporations will behave more ethically if the world is watching closely. WikiLeaks has exposed unethical plans and behaviour in corporations and this as resulted in recompense or other forms of justice forms of justice for victims.

Source - WikiLeaks

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ten Issues - 10

1- Let a thousand heretics bloom : Liberal education is a sustained and controlled matter, where practicality is directly related to searching analyses and the fecundity of thought processes. Sadly, the flag-bearers of a new India have no clue about such a pedigree of liberalism.

2- A Case of Conscience: Shiv Viswanathan writes to Manmohan Singh on the conviction of Binayak Sen.

3- Our phony economy By Jonathan Rowe : From testimony delivered March 12 before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Interstate Commerce. Rowe is codirector of West Marin Commons, a community-organizing group, in California.

4- Lecture to the memory of Alfred Nobel, December 11, 1974 by Friedrich August von Hayek. The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1974 was awarded jointly to Gunnar Myrdal and Friedrich August von Hayek "for their pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and for their penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena"

5- K. Sudarshan, RSS Ideology and Scandalous Statements By Ram Puniyani.

6- NEW POVERTY LINE: A CRITIQUE By Prof. H.S.Shylendra, Institute of Rural Management, Anand.

7- IRMA may expand focus to include small-town economy – Prof Vivek Bhandari, Director of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand tells that the institute is planning to expand in a big way this year – this includes new centers and schools as well as large-scale expansions along the country.

8- A Physicist Solves the City : Geoffrey West, has worked for decades as a physicist at Stanford University and Los Alamos National Laboratory. And so West set out to solve the City. As he points out, this is an intellectual problem with immense practical implications.

9- PESA, Left-Wing Extremism and Governance: Concerns and Challenges in India’s Tribal Districts. [pdf]

10- Rural India :Different Meaning to Different People. A discussion paper (pdf)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Slice of life

What value does reason and tolerance have in a country that is rapidly on a downward spiral towards a social and political abyss? There was an angle of blasphemy in cold blooded murder of Salmaan Taseer at Pakistan recently. Sheer madness in the name of religion is going on and each justified by the religious schools. Targeted killings are unleashed for extermination of opposing voice of minorities and liberals. A book containing contradictory statement is quoted each time by both moderates and extremists. Still, there is nothing wrong with the book. I am tired of violence and its reflexive cynicism. And people giving solutions ask for more Islamic laws, its a limit of suicidal reaction. There is complete resignation of mind and triumph of brute force in Pakistan.

This kind of ideology hides in the cover of 'sacred' in our societies. Most of the time, it remains dormant but resurfaces at the slightest of issues and destruct the soft fabric of the entire tolerant culture. I always remember the words of E.P. Thompson : "We must never become wholly dependent upon established institutions: publishing houses, commercial media, universities, foundations (...) we must occupy some territory which is, without qualification, our own; our own journals, our own theoretical and practical centers: places where no one works for grades or for tenure but for the transformation of society (...) "

That is exactly a blasphemer/rebel does, occupy a place in the society not prescribed to one by the power setup. Requirement of affiliation and acceptance in the mainstream can compromise the voice of reason very easily. There is either wiping out of reasonable and genuine individuals due to other people’s extreme and twisted tendencies.
Life is amazing that we live unfazed and unmoved with so much of emotional tycoon surrounding us by a thin sheet of beliefs. These beliefs makes us more rigid and rigid as the passing day. And, the term normal is labeled to present state of affairs. A person grow like a bonsai in locked and traditional societies, not able to provide relief of its shades to others. The world can be amazing when you are slightly strange; To be wise, fair and correct in practical life is a way towards certainty. A little iota of madness, love or idealism is needed for pulling/pushing the society to the peaceful future.

Neither is any point in existing as a part of ocean only nor as a single water droplet. One should exist as an ocean drop with retaining one's singularity and uniqueness. It reminds of a Buddhist parable: “How will you stop a drop of water from ever drying up?” and the answer is “By throwing it into the ocean.”

Understanding human behavior and accepting it with all its limitation can solve the problem. There is no need for artificial concept of God to explain our nature. Roaming in the zone of transcendentalism can be obtained by walking on the path of love.

As Immanuel Kant famously remarked, "from the crooked timber of humanity no truly straight thing can be made." But, in the words of philosopher, Denis Dutton, " It is not . . . that no beautiful carving or piece of furniture can be produced from twisted wood; it is rather that whatever is finally created will only endure if it takes into account the grain, texture, natural joints, knotholes, strengths and weaknesses of the original material."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Making learning fun

Problem arrives in a society when educated people have got a world view that is completely disconnected from reality due to their education. These individuals are manufactured in most of the universities in India. The curriculum enforces a particular world view on it’s students instead of helping the students to gather information from real world, analyze them and understand how or why something happens. That is why a good teacher comes into the role for each scholar.

Administration: It is one thing to not have choices and make the best of what is available in India. But to be at top institutes, i.e. at the shores of a virtual ocean of choices and not to utilize those choices is tragic. To provide a successful framework for dialogue, you need specific places where people can discuss and argue with one another, meet and exchange ideas. To facilitate not only basic infrastructure but an positive environment by showing dynamism in bureaucratic work makes an administration cheer worthy.

Teaching : Creativity cannot be taught but it can be killed off by the system. Creativity feeds off on stuff that can indeed be taught in the institution. A professor is very much like an entrepreneur. Unlike research labs where the research problems a scientists is to work on may be guided by the problems facing the government or the industry, the research agenda for a professor is largely unconstrained and left to the imagination, creativity, and passion of the individual. Economist Avinash Dixit is praised for his teaching style as he illustrate key concepts with tales from films, books, and real life.

Dani Rodrik, professor of international political economy at Harvard, says Dixit was the best classroom teacher he ever had—he never treated anything as silly or obvious. “No matter how stupid a question seemed, he would stop, raise his hand to his chin, narrow his eyes, and think a long time about it, while the rest of us in the classroom would roll our eyes at the stupidity of the questioner,” said Rodrik. “Then he would say, “Ah, I see what you have in mind . . . ,” and he would roll out an answer to a deep and interesting question the student had no idea he had asked.”

“What makes him special,” says former student Kala Krishna, now an economics professor at Penn State, “is that more than anyone else I know, he sees economics as an inescapable part of life: from books, movies, negotiating with a taxi driver—everything has economic content. He truly loves economics, and you can see how much he is enjoying himself doing it.” [Source]

Research: To execute the research agenda, professor has to build a team of researchers from across the nation, industries, and students, who will become tomorrow’s expert, get trained in the process. Quite often, they end up working with the best minds in the respective disciplines. Funding is usually available at high levels to support the procurement of resources and supporting students who will work on the research projects.

Talent Myth: Talent compromise of the essence, existence of emptiness and qualities that are missing. The talent myth assumes that people make organizations smart. More often than not, it's the other way around. Are smart people overrated? at New Yorker will navigate in this topic.

We have to ask a very important question to us. "How does a community progress?" The answer lies in the dreams pf youth - "It is taken forward by idealists who want to serve others…”. Only a teacher can help them by arming them with  the tools of understandings to achieve and even surpass their dreams. An idealist will not create followers but create and nourish more like oneself. Let the people take charge of their lives, as they know best about their needs in each situations.


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