My top technology prediction for next decade..

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I would say this decade (2001 to 2010) saw some great technology innovation which made common man life much easier. If some one had asked me in year 1998 whether ATM, mobile technology, online banking etc would be used by common man or people of developing nation, I would have had my own doubts at that point of time.

Moving on, what are going to be such technological advance by turn of next decade, I mean by 2020, would be used by a common man without costing a fortune?. To be within the reach of a common man's budget, the technology has to be mass produced or mass used in case of services, may be in millions.

The top of my list is smart phone. Feature enrichment or the next generation happens every six months, the next one which is due is the video phone. By this time, we are in 2020, this device might even have features toward personal identification (touch screen combined with thumb impression scanner), enabler in bank transaction & credit cards.

The last two years saw growth towards 'Cloud' computing. It is predicted that, there is bound to be a decrease in IT asset ownership in the next few years and it would be pay per usage or Saas (software as service) licence. Similar to Cloud computing, IT services could well be 'remotely' driven. 90's was a time when software services were provided as "Onsite", 2000's was based on "Offshore" services and the decades towards 2020 can be remotely driven, which means project team can be located across geographies with server at a different location.

In next few years, key boards could well become history, touch screen would be the answer for key boards. We would also see common usage of tablet PC with touch screen key board. The paper based magazine and newspaper might lose it sheen in circulation due to reduction in advertisement and cost involved in physical distribution. Advertisement would become more online and may become more related to the topic viewed.

TV and Laptop could be integrated. Also, alternative energy like solar, wind power energy devices would be on increase.

Interestingly, as I step into my 3rd year of blogging, I am just pondering whether I would be in a position to review my prediction through my blog in 2019 :-) ...

Good luck and a very happy new year to all!

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Small is beautiful -- E-commerce way! - Part 2

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I had earlier written about innovative E-commerce ventures Part 1. I now thought of providing few other innovative ventures which I came across.

Food court at Home: In fact, few years before couple of my colleagues, discussed about this e-commerce venture, a website which can provide detailed listing about restaurants in a particular city like Bangalore or Chennai and even we went ahead discussing about a door delivery process by collecting at the restaurant and making a door delivery. But, unfortunately, we never went ahead with implementation plan. So when I found Foodiebay, it was our thoughts into action, which was a clear reflection of "future belongs to whom, dare to do things". The concept was quite good, it has list of most of the restaurants in a cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Calcutta & Pune along with Menu details and review provided by customers. Outlook business had also carried out an article about Foodiebay.

Deals for you:

Normally, if you open our new papers daily morning, you will find, small bit of advertisement papers, illegally inserted in new paper about various deals. Since news paper advertisement are often costly the sellers resort to these type of advertisement. Instead of this, the sellers can think about advertising their deals at snap deals. From seller perspective, it has a clear advantage that its saves printing cost, distribution cost and on top of it would save trees being cut and for the customer logging into the site would help them to know about the deals happening around the city. This would also avoid unneccessary "bit" advertisement inserts into news papers.

The venture on cinema ticket booking looked impressive as well.

With penetration of broadband and usage of Internet on increase, such innovative venture are bound to grow. With India offering huge market due to its population, no more one need to look at developed countries to promote innovative ventures or offerings.
There might still be more such innovative e-commerce site, which I might missed and I wish to bring it across in my blog, if it catches my attention.
Great work and good luck to the innovators !

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Telecommute OR WFH being promoted...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I had written about "WFH" (Work from Home) or telecommute Way of life few days back.

It was interesting to see department of transportation promoting 'telecommute' or WFH at connecticut, US. They have an exclusive website towards telecommute. The website provides details as how to get the same started from employer, employee perspective and the benefits, challenges.

As I had indicated in my post on Way of life, its matter of time before India IT company promotes the same. May be, they has to build up a suitable process towards successful implementation.

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Let's contribute prize money to Akshya Patra.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

As part of indiblogger (network of bloggers) social network, I came across a note about blog contest towards Akshya Patra foundation which feed poor children. On going through the contest details, couple of thoughts cropped up in my mind and hence thought of sharing it.

  • The 2 contest winner along with partner, will be flown to Jaipur on all expenses paid trip for a weekend. As a rough estimate this would be Rs 1,00,000 as prize money, so if at all I win the contest, I wish to pledge this prize money to Akshya Patra themselves, this would enable them to feed 1000's of more children. Providing two square meals a day is more satisfying than visiting Jaipur as a tourist. Like minded bloggers might take the same oath like me and may wish to promote this post, if they like my thought.

  • The other one being, Akshaya Tritiya day symbolises with Akshaya Patra, according to hindu mythology Akshya Patra refers to a vessels which keep producing food when you keep giving. So this ideally means, on Akshaya Tritiya day, one have to offer help or offer food or give to others towards prosperity, however this has been completed twisted for the benefit of the sellers. Now, there is a trend in India, that on Akshaya Tritiya day one has to buy towards prosperity, which sounds crazy to me.

Last, but not the least Akshaya Patra foundation will feed 50 children for each valid blog post, the thought of this made me write a post on Akshaya Patra. You may also wish to contribute to Akshaya Patra by going through the link as well.

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Way of life .....

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I was recollecting as how a normal weekday would start about a decade ago, would wake up at 6.30 AM, take a walk and get ready to office and leave to office by 9.00 AM, it would take about 45 minutes to travel to my office, park my vehicle and then complete my register signing formalities and by the time I get to my desk and start my work it would have taken about an hour since I left home. On my way back home it takes about one hour to be get back home from office. But in the last 10 years, traffic has increased by leaps and bounds and travel time has increased to more than one hour, if I had been to travel to same office place. Well, the situation has changed now.......

I no more travel to office on certain days, in fact, my main office is in different city and I live in a different city, I go to office whenever its a absolute necessity ... well, I am talking about WFH...WFH!!?!!..., whats that?. For people in IT industry, it quite common, WFH means 'working from home'. If you are wondering how is that possible?... hold on and read through....

I still remember the early days of Internet about a decade back, when browsing speed of 64 kbps, but still cost of Internet bills would be in range of Rs 3000. Apart from slow browsing at most you can do check yahoo mail, which take few minutes to open up. Compared to that, now I got 2 mbps speed at home for just about Rs 1,500 and have VPN (virtual private network), which allows me to access office network. Due to this speed, I do not find difference in work, whether I at home or office. I can really plan my work, no more impacted by traffic jam and fear of getting late each and every day. My work productivity has really increased, not just because I save my travel time, but also the frustration one is bound to get , when you drive through Indian road. All these was possible due to Internet, it has been a real boon.

Coffee break, lunch breaks are short, so on an average, I save about 3~4 hours a day, on days when I work from home, added to this with IP telephony, mobile phone & teleconference and I am reachable anytime to my peers, project members, client & to my managers and I can do the same as well. As personal social responsibility, I not burning fuel on day's, when I 'WFH' , by not using vehicle, thereby saving myself on fuel cost and foreign exchange reserve for the country.

Internet has changed the way of life, geographical location is not a constraint any more, client can work across the globe, the project team can be at stationed at different locations and so can be the hardware server location, still one can work or operate a virtual office through Internet and get the work planned and executed.

Sincerity, commitment on part of employee and trust on part of employers would be required for virtual office to succeed. With 3G phone on the way, virtual office are bound to succeed further.

Before, I sign off on this topic, in the last one decade, in India the real estate prices has gone up by more than 4~5 times and in the same time Internet speed has gone up by 20 times for the same cost paid about decade ago. Due to Internet and 3G, we are well on the way to use virtual office through which, improved productivity and quite a big cost saving can be acheived, since real estate based office cost a fortune these days in India.

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Salaried class investment.

As we approach, the final quarter in the financial year, investment proof are to be produced. I used to ponder over, the reason behind asking for some of the investment declaration and associated proof required for them, always felt it can be made much more simpler.

  • There is no proof required for conveyance allowance of Rs 800/- per month, total deduct able being Rs 9600/- per year, whereas medical expenses up to Rs 15,000 is are considered reimbursable and we need to collect, save & produce bills otherwise its taxable. Any human being is bound get some kind of ailment from time to time, I do not find a reason to produce bills towards reimbursement, can medical expenses also be made as allowance upto limit of Rs 15,000?. At least, I can avoid collecting, producing bills and submitting them for verification.

  • The other one is use of food coupons per months such as Sodexo or ticket restaurant. Lets consider the amount of efforts that goes in towards this exemption, printing of these coupons, the distribution, usage of it and coupons getting converted into cash by food retail outlets, finally used coupons are turned useless and coupon paper re-cycled again. Instead of these food coupons, can it not be made as a allowance for deduction? At least by doing it government can save some trees used for printing these coupons.

  • I tried a google search "home loan exemption", the results were all related India, as far as I am aware of only India has this exemption. Home loan exemption seems to benefit builders more than salaried class.

Interestingly, most of the developed countries have exemption, if there are dependents on the salary individual, like unemployed spouse or children, however one may not find such exemption in India.

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Why not AC compartment in suburb train?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Well, its my first blog article on Chennai, which is more related to railway infrastructure

I happened to travel through Chennai MRTS from Velachery to light house today. Some of my thoughts which flashed on my mind, on which I do not have answers.

  • Why are most of the station from Velachery to Beach remain in-complete, can we not plan for smaller station, if there is going to be an estimated budget overrun and then keep expanding?.
  • I found places dirty and waste dumped all around, can it not be maintained. Don't say the public will not pay for cleanliness, in last couple of years, number of National highway roads has become express ways, which are very nicely maintained and road users pay for the same, like Chennai - Bangalore highways. If it can be done for Road, why not for railways.
  • We see Volvo buses on Chennai, Bangalore road on similar line can a coach not be made A/C on the MRTS train with higher charges collected for the same.

In general Indian railways need to think and raise the bar on service offerings, when national highways is doing it in infrastructure development, why not railways? .

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Rebalancing Global Economy.

While browsing through some of the economy blogs, I hit upon this link, which details about rebalancing global economy

The above link also offer free ebook and hence, nice to go through it when you find time. Some interesting points I found out, while reading it...

The US, with a population of around 300 million people, less than 5% of the world’s population –up until the crisis-was consuming more than20% of the world’s output. China, with about 20% of the world’s population was consuming somewhere between 2-3%.

US currency has to devalue against most of the G-20 currencies, except Australia and South Africa OR G20 currencies have to appreciate against USD. Highest appreciation required from China, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, India currencies against USD.

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Why invest in Gold......

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I hit upon this website.

It interested me, as it was inline with my earlier post, which appeared in

The only difference is in India, real estate price had continued to increase and looks to be heading beyond the reach of a common man with decent earnings. So, as far as India is concerned, high prices in real estate, also make gold more attractive, as you can decide the quantum of investment as per one's wish.

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Small is beautiful -- E-commerce way!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Small is beautiful" the famous book written by E.F. Schumacher in 1970's, not very sure whether this can be applicable after 3 decade are not, but interestingly, within India, we do have some E-commerce based start up, which was made name in matter of 3 to 4 years times.

These start-up are born from innovative ideas from young techies, who found the need for it. Most of these start up came into existence post 2005, when Internet broadband penetration into India started growing high. Most of them, started as home based office. In India real estate prices in the last 10 years have moved 4 times, so it had been a wise decision for these start up to opt for virtual office and as well as use web as their market place.

These start up had been started by techies, after quiting their well paid job in IT industry . This shows that one need not look beyond India in software services sector, its well on its way to become a self sustaining industry for a small entreprenuer, who has the right attitude and in sight.

I thought of exploring series of E-commerce site which are quite innovative developed entirely for Indian market, the first one being,

Bus ticket booking : If you a looking for bus ticket booking then look out for redbus. Started by Phanindra Sama around 2005, due to the need he had felt on his holiday as he could not get home. If I am right around this time, one would have started using Indian railway ticketing system with a fear in back of my mind whether my transaction would successfully go through, interesting Phanindra Sama, felt the need to a bus ticketing system in 2005.

It really impressive the turn over would reach Rs 150 Crores this year and have about 250 people working at 10 office. I read with interest the interview about his venture in rediff.

The other E-commerce venture which impressed me is apartment management software, which can be classified as SAas (Oh!... yes, you can call this as Software - as - service for free) .

Apartment Management Software: The concept of apartment is not new in India, since 80's the concept was known in metro cities of India. However apartment complex of 100 plus flats had become very common post 2005. There has always been challenges is running an apartment efficiently. Communication, issue management, vendor management, networking had always been challenge for bigger apartments. The apartment management software effectively tackles the problem through their software solution.

In India, you will find rosy advertisement of proving a paradise from real estate builders to promote huge apartment complex, but I don't feel importance is given towards maintenance of these huge complex during their later years. Builders, run the show for one or two years collecting maintenance amount in advance, beyond this, mostly the apartment complex are handed over to the association and this is where these software solution provide transparency and management of apartment in effective way!.

Common floor, justmyneighbour and apartment adda are some of the website which provide effective apartment management solution. The amazing story of commonfloor and the way it was started appeared in outlook business.

Few other such venture impressed me, will be writing about the same next time...Till then, welcome readers opinion.

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Currency Exchange wars ! ! ! !?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

As per a recent article in the leading news paper, "Global imbalance" is the cause for economic crisis. The US is running huge trade deficits whereas country such as China due to its vast exports across the globe had generated trade surplus.

The surplus money had found its way into US and since the interest rate was low, it inflated the real estate prices, shares and asset and finally the bubble burst. This rather, I would say as one dimension of economic problem. How was China able to achieve this surplus? Is it because China being technologically superior compared to other nation like US?

I believe one of the root causes of the problem is the currency exchange rate. There are accusations that China is undervaluing its currency to increase its export and remain competitive, on other hand US Dollars, Euro and Japanese Yen are strong compared to Chinese and Indian currencies, but unfortunately the job losses seems to be maximum at in the countries where currencies are stronger. Also, the economy is still in bad shape in developed countries.

Ideally, if a country’s economy is in bad shape, then, I believe the currency exchange rate should depreciate. This, I believe is logical, any kind of asset like real estate, share market takes a beating when a country faces economic crisis. If the currency is strong, this is bound the multiply the problem, as import will look cheap compared to domestic production. At same time, can US think about depreciating its USD against other world currencies? May be not, since USD is considered as Global reserve currency in the world, the moment there are indication that US would devalue its currency, it might result in a catastrophe, particularly with most of the countries across the world still holding USD as their foreign exchange reserve, they might end up selling USD for other safer investments. Euro and Yen is also considered as foreign reserve currency though at a distant second. This is one of the reasons, as why developed countries might not be in position to depreciate its currencies.

Why does import look attractive when currency is strong? With 1$, one could get much higher value commodity/service in countries like India , China compared to what the money can buy in US, UK or Japan, naturally any business man would like a source his goods or service from that part of the world.

Even in one’s house, if one look around you would only see international brand electronic products, hence with world becoming flat and small , due to faster information exchange , easier air travel , GATT/WTO agreements any commodity particularly consumer electronics, which has price tag above $100 and less than 10 kgs in weight (call it 100/10 rule? - had earlier written in my blog on similar lines) has to mass produced and entire world is the market and if the manufacturer concentrate a particular region, then the manufacturer could become extinct or acquired due to competition. Hence, product manufacturer has to optimize all categories of cost; this would naturally lead to locating manufacturing plants and jobs in low cost countries.

In my opinion, when there are job losses and the economy is showing shunted growth, and if the country currency is strong it might end up in creating multiple problems.

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Needs Vs Wants - Avoid getting materialistic

Saturday, October 9, 2010

World is turning out too materialistic, with many plastic card (credit cards) or finance option available it’s very easy to spend money. What’s not so easy to spend money wisely?

Knowing the difference between “wants” and “needs” is an important part of learning to manage money.

Wants are nice to have but not essential, eating out, buying a new fancy gadget.

Needs are the essential or the basic needs for survival, like shelter, food and cloth.

But, we have evolved over a period of time, in 70 or early 80’s if you had visited an Indian house, refrigerator was want. But, post 80’s it has become a need. Take a case, of mobile phone, it was a want even to an executive in late 90’s, however it matter of 4 to 5 years it have become a need to an executive at the same level as compared to late 90’s.

The list is endless…. One can add so many and further fancy advertisements in news papers, TV channels and peer pressure makes the wants turned into a need, which makes one to seek finance option and look out for use of “future money” option. By future money, I meant easy equated monthly installment option.

Its better one asks the basic question to himself “ Do I want it? or do I need it?” You might be surprised, many items would turn out to be your wants. Future money usage or credit might be a good option to finance your needs and not your wants. Again, if you are taking up an equated monthly installment option, at any point of time let is not be more than 30% of your total monthly income.

Though, there is no hard and fast rule, you may even go flat out that 100% of monthly income can go for equated monthly installment (EMI), it depend on what stage of you are in your life or higher percentage of equated monthly installment, may be OK for a month or two. But in long run for years together, its wise to ensure that equated monthly installment(EMI) content does not go beyond 30% of your monthly take home pay. This will also make you feel that you are in control of your debt content.

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Can credit card be made safe, please...!!??..

Saturday, September 25, 2010

There has been quite a lot of instance of misuse of credit card, in spite of it one is not sure about the security measure taken by the bank.

Credit card is a flexible instrument and very handy in the sense that, one need not carry cash in the valet. But safety is always a question mark in one mind when used merchant outlets or when you lose it.

Merchant outlet's
There is always an apprehension when card is taken out of sight for swiping it in the machine. 'Skimming' of credit card are possible, meaning illegally copying of information from the magnetic strip of a credit card. Once fraudster have skimmed your card, they can create a fake or ‘cloned’ card with your details on it. The fraudster is then able to run up charges on your account.

Loss of card
The other one, if Credit card is lost it might take few hours before you call the call centre to block your card, by that time the fraudster can make purchases. One of my friend in a matter of two hours, since he lost the card his credit card was swiped at two merchant outlet and he lost about Rs 35,000.

Can this not be prevented?.
Can the banks not provide a pin for credit card swipe as well, just like Debit card? I don't think there will be any challenge in providing such simple measure, which will go a long way in providing peace of mind to credit card user.

Will the banks think over?

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USD vs GOLD - Who is winning?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The last two decades, the heavy weight battle is gaining momentum, the trend shows its between USD Vs Gold, particularly when compared with India currency.

The early ninties, India had balance of payment crisis, which made them to pleadge gold to IMF for a loan. I still remember, the exchange rate of US Dollars was in the range of INR 20 per dollar and we used to fill motorcycle tank at Rs 20 per litre and 1 gram of 22 carat gold was in the range of 200~250 INR. The early nineties was the time, when talk of globalization started and India started opening up its market. The telecommunication started picking up, the snail mail OR postal mail gave way to Fax mode of instant communication.

If one looks at the chart, the gold prices in US Dollars from 1985 till about 2002, it was relatively stable. It had been in the range of 200 US Dollars to 400 US Dollars per ounce (10 to 14 USD per gram). This had been the period when US Dollars was considered precious, every country wanted to boast its foriegn reserve currency in USD and interestingly this also made US Dollars to claim high which kept gold rate in check. In the period of 1990 to year 2002, USD had appreciated almost 2.5 times, from about 18 INR in 1990 to about 48 INR per dollar in 2002.

Following period of 2002 to till date US Dollars has been losing stream and more or less a cooling off period for USD. Again, this is when the other heavy weight commodity like gold started gathering stream and winning the price war against USD. Its was about 10~14 USD per gram even in 2000, now its has claimed to be at all time high of about 40~42 US dollars per gram.

For a common man in India, he does not invest in US Dollars, so he is not really bothered about US Dollars flactuation but he does invest in gold and real estate. Question in any Indian mind is will gold prices reduce or stabilize in near future? looking at the trend it does not look so, with the world reserve currency - US Dollars seems to have lost out the race. Not only individuals, but even country governments consider gold as the safe bet, now. So till a time, there is an alternative to gold, where money can be parked as reserve currency, the "Gold" should be winning, the price war.

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Inspiring story of self made entreprenuer.....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Read this on Rediff, simple and straight. Its all about taking up the challenges or stumbling blocks into stepping stone towards the goal.

Inspiring story of a self made entreprenuer

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Smart mobile phone...A look into the future.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Clearly this device cannot be described through text blogging. The feature I wish my smart phone had !, not just one feature but it has many....

Presenting to you, the future technology smart phone (click on link) . For best results, have your microphone handy.

When I found this phone in the net, I was amazed by its features and wanted to look at the manufacturer who has made it possible, however, to my surprise I found it to be an advertisement strategy.

Nevertheless, its worth the effort by the place Navo scotia, Canada. A great concept selling by Navo Scotia... I saw the wonderful phone presentation, which took me into the future, which was beyond imagination and looking for the day when such phone becomes a reality, well looking also for a day when I can visit Navo Scotia, Canada too.

Truly Amazing...Good luck Navo Scotia, Canada.

Maybe, as indicated by Navo Scotia, one day in the future this might become a reality. I am sure many design specialist of phone manufacturers would have been thought provoked by this phone.

Once this kind of phones becomes a reality, there is no language barrier for me towards travelling across the globe with language constraint, I would be carrying language translator with me and making presentation without looking for a projector. Interesting, shaver, harmonia & coffee brewing is possible.

I still remember the late 90's when mobile phone where introduced, only calling was its feature. Slowly camera, radio FM were added and then came internet browsing & emailing, GPS. Hmmm..., would like to see the next generation phone with language translator, projector, shaver, coffee brewer and harmonia... May be to this list of features, wish to add feature such as a car remote key or door remote key, all that is needed is the electronic lock circuit should identifiy the PIN or passcode sent by mobile phone and the mobile number itself and when both matches with lock preset values, then the lock would open, this means, one can open the door from anywhere across the globe and allow his or her house to be accessible to his relatives and friends.... interesting is in't?.......... and wait, why not it be linked up as an identity tag?.... instead of wearing a corporate identity tag as a garland around the neck.

All these might be classified as wants for a person like me now, however once manufacturers introduces these unique features, they will certainly turn out to be a need for a mobile phone user.

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Go Green...... Sun is the answer

Friday, August 27, 2010

Each decade, brings in a new technology which revolutionise the way world works. Clearly the last decade, I would say belongs to Telecommunications. Internet and mobile telephony in the last decade, clearly changed the way business is done, the words like Back office, call centre, BPO, Outsourcing was unheard till late 90's. More, importantly all these made India more stronger and this made other countries to upon India with envy. Now, let's look at realitistic way of a technology which can change the world we live,

So.,, what next, whats going to be next revolution? has telecommunication reached in saturation?. May or may be not, there might be a slow down telecommunication sector. Is there going to be a high growth sector?. The one technology, which is yet to be completely tapped is green energy, the tapping of solar energy is still at a very nascent stage. Probably the reason for this is all developed countries like US, UK or Japan does not have sunshine all round the world and this might be one of the reason that world do not look at Solar energy is a great way!.

For country like India, which sunshine almost all round the year, it could be one great opportunity to harness this energy and lead in the front. In India solar energy is tapped in a small way for street lighting and water heating. When solar energy is can produce electricity, why not it be used for vehicles like motorcycles,cars and buses. This technology is already is already there, the University of Michigan had demonstrated a solar power car. If one has to think about a situation in India, where 90% of vehicles are solar powered, will India not be a best country to live in, with no pollution and more importantly saving billion of dollars year or year due to huge import bill of petroleum, which can hopefully be used for other infrastructure projects.
For a common man, he may not worry about fuel price hike.

View of solar powered car
Just not the vehicles alone, electricity to houses can be through solar energy. I have a weird thinking, we all know electricity is produced from one state is transmitted to another state within India. Through similar means, if solar energy is used to generate electricity and if there is going to be a way to store and transmit to a different place, if this can lead to export of electricity produced by solar, India would be at its best with sunshine all around the year and could well be on its way to be a pretty rich country in the world.

The solar powers seems to be limitless, I was amazed to read in wiki about, a solar-powered aircraft in Switzerland completed a 26-hour test flight starting at 7 a.m. on 8 July, 2010 which ended at 9 a.m. the next day. The plane was flown to a height of nearly 28,000 feet (8,500 meters) by Andre Borschberg. During the evening, the plane slowly descended to an altitude of 4,500 feet (1,500 meters), where it remained for the rest of the night using battery power. An hour before dawn, the plane still had six hours of flying time left in its solar-fueled batteries.

Once the cost of solar panel reduces and so is the size of panel, it can create wonders, where ever electricity or battery power have been put to used.

In the coming years one has to tap the green energy... and Sun seems to be the answer, will Indian Government and Indian entreprenuers wake up and make up the best of this opportunity?.

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Compulsive spending.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Any economy is bound to grow, if there is increase in spending by the citizens rather then saving. But, over spending can create a dent in the financial health of an individual.

Recently, came about the following article in a blog .
and thought worth sharing, its about the "so called" special days, the fathers day, mothers day, valentine day, womens day and I believe there is even Ice cream day and our own Akshya tritiya, which is more towards making people to spend.

To add a point on Akshaya Tritiya,

i) It was unknown about a decade back, so did the people not prosper without buying gold on Akshaya Tritiya in previous generation?.

ii) Akshaya Tritiya symbolises with Akshaya Patra, which is a vessels which keep producing food when you keep giving. So this ideally means one have to offer help or offer food or give to others towards prosperity, however this has been completed twisted for the benefit of the seller.

The second article is about compulsive spending , both articles are almost in line with my thought on "4 debt traps to avoid" which I had posted on July 5Th.

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4 Common Debt trap to avoid

Monday, July 5, 2010

About a decade back, getting a loan had its own challenge. One has to visit bank a number of time and provide all the needed document/security before getting a loan, this has changed drastically in the last 10 years.

Most of us would get a call almost on a daily basis about loans & credit card from Banks. Its easy to get loans these days, but you need to ensure you have sufficient fund flow with you before taking up debt route to finance your needs.

Like a business man one have to effectively uses Loan (Debt) and his own funds(equity). High content of loan can get you easily trapped to the path of Bankruptcy. Lets see some of the common used loan facility.

Credit cards : A nice financial instrument, if effectively used and can be a financial killer if abused. No longer does one need to carry cash his wallet and ensure its security, if effectively used one get 45 days credit. Further these days, one get life time free card. Just paying minimum due would take you to the debt trap, plan to pay at the end of your credit period, if you feel due to commitment you would not be able to pay its better to postpone purchase unless its a necessity. Its not a wise, to pay credit card dues through a loan, unless its available at your disposal for almost negligible interest rate, if not Zero.

Home loan: The concept of Home loan has changed drastically in the last 8 to 10 years, now one can get home loans without visiting banks. Few years back, the Equated Monthly installment (EMI) was almost equivalent to the rent paid for an accommodation, hence it was wise to own house, since at the end of loan tenure the house or apartment becomes your property. The same is not true now adays, in the most cases rent is almost 1/3rd of the EMI, in case if you have opted by 85% financing through loan.

With sky rocketed property price in the last few years, one has to also take into account depreciation, if he opts for a flat. This being the case, if one calculates the total capital outflow till the end of the loan tenure vs the flat appreciated value, the total capital outflow might end up higher at the end of the loan tenure.

One might also end up paying more interest rate as compared to tax benefit available. Its better to keep home EMI 30 to 40% of the take home pay and take up decision after some home work is done.

Consumer loan: Any consumer product can be procured through loan, more particularly the vehicle loans. Considering the fact, consumer products have highest depreciation, its better to look at your needs rather than looking at the luxuries, while opting for this loan.

Personal loan:: Personal loan does not have any tax rebate and interest rate of quite high, these loan has to be used only if case of emergency. Personal loan & credit card loan are the first one which need to paid off as soon as money becomes available. The interest rate is much higher than home loan

Always keep a check on the cash outflow on regular basis and ensure some saving in form of the alternative investment is made on a monthly basis. Also, it imperative at any point of time the total of all your EMI is not beyond 50% of your take home monthly income. Though there is no hard or fast rule, its easier to save money at early age(between 20~30 years) than at a later stage(40 + years) of your life due to commitment one gets. Remember, unlike developed countries, India does not offer social security to its citizen during sunset years.

Pay check might increase over the years, but so is inflation and commitment over the years. Hence, one need to work according to a some financial plan.

Remember these days, the credit default information are updated into the database maintained by Credit information Bureau (India) Limited cibil . Hence, better not get into a debt trap, which can prove much expensive.

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Alternative Reserve Currency

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Recently, read an article about Global reserve system - A Asian perspective by Asian Development bank

This seems to be in line with my thoughts, as why a weaker currency countries will continue to grow as compared to stronger currency like USD or Euro.

In the article, according to Barry Eichengreen, after World War II, when the United States accounted for the majority of the industrial production of the non-Soviet world, it made sense that the dollar was the principal unit in which exporters and importers invoiced and settled their trade, in which international loans were extended, and in which central banks held their reserves. But this situation makes less sense today when the US accounts for only some 20 per cent of the combined output of countries engaged in international transactions. Because habits die hard, the dollar continues to play a disproportionately important role. But simply because this is true today does not mean that it will be true tomorrow. Countries that trade with and borrow from the euro area will increasingly seek to hold euros as reserves. Countries that trade with and borrow from the People’s Republic of China will similarly seek to hold renminbi, if not today then in the not-too-distant future.

Somewhere, I read 18th century belonged to France/Germany, 19th to Great Britain, 20th to USA and 21st to Asia. Well, if you consider BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India & China) only Brazil, is away from others geographically. If RIC (Russia, India & China) can form a trilateral ally, then undoubtedly 21st century can belong to Asia.

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Is it Home or Farm house?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In a leading new paper in the property section there are pages and pages of advertisement about upcoming real estate property projects.

Interestingly, majority of these upcoming apartment are miles away from city even in most cases, its kilometres away from main highway. Was wondering as whether these property are to be considered as Home or Farm house for short stay?.

Even within city, when there are so much infrastructure woes, what would be in store for residents staying in such far away place?.

In developed countries, even if residential settlement are quite far away from the city, the general infrastructure will be in place, before the government provides approval for residential settlement. In India its reverse, one would find residential settlement which costs a fortune and the pricing comparable to a developed country, unfortunately you may not find the even the basic infrastructure, once you step out of these upcoming residential complex.

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Is Film industry business model up for a change?

Friday, June 25, 2010

With big budgeted movies in Bollywood failing in box office, I was wondering, is it time to rethink on film business model?.

If one looks a film industry couple decades back, film was the only entertainment for the public. TV was not a big entertainer, color TV was just venturing in and public had to content with Doordarshan, hence public did not have much options and added to it unlike now, film tickets which are are sold at Rs 150~200 plus, the film tickets were priced at about Rs 20 earlier. Naturally, people were inclined to visit theatres for entertainment.

If you look at a situation now, for family to watch a movies, a family of 4 might have to spend about Rs 1000 which includes ticket, car parking and some munching. Nowadays, TV has all features of a home theatre & a fine print DVD are available at cheaper price. Off course, one has to stop movie piracy, which is not an easy job, to me its something like asking a person to come to bank to withdraw money and to avoid using ATM.

Why not the film industry look at producing what the customer wants? I meant, can a film producer produce a short movie for 1 hour and sell it in a DVD format priced at Rs 100. There are DVD/CD copy protection encryption software, which can prevent copying and more over if it priced at Rs 100, further its may not worth the effort for coping low priced media illegally. Producer can think of getting corporate sponsorship, just like India TV serials and for sure for these movie story value and entertainment is important, rather than hero, heroine or songs or 3 unnecessary fight. Further, I don't think distribution is a challenge for DVD formatted movies, when pre-paid sim card can be sold in a small shop, why not these DVD. There need to be some marketing effort and the producers can look at some innovations, like using blogger.

If film industry want to attract public to theaters the better option is to produce movies like 'Avatar' which might not have the same visual effect when watched on TV, in which case definitely public will opt for theater.

Well, with real estate pricing having gone up by 200~400% over the last few years, the business viability of theater itself can be a question mark.

Quite recently, one of my colleague told about this funny short movie, hope you would enjoy it too, particularly if you understand Tamil. This has all the ingredient of what I was thinking about short movie and may be the producer has not sold it commercially, as embed code was available in youtube & their website.

Jakkuboys - The Movie from Scube Productions on Vimeo.

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IBM to Launch COE at 75 engineering colleges

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

IBM has announced that it will be establishing 75 new Centers of Excellence (CoE) at engineering colleges across 60 cities in India. Last year also the vendor had set- up over 75 such CoEs across the country. Spread across 20 states these new CoEs will be selected from the top 300 engineering colleges in India.

The IBM CoEs are aimed at creating a platform for the development of software skills among the students and to offer them an opportunity to acquire new skill sets around IBM software. Apart from providing training, certification and software which is free of charge to these colleges, IBM plans to take the CoEs to the next logical level of converting them into Incubation Centers, to bolster software skills and ensure industry-ready professionals.

IBM is looking to bring its Global Entrepreneurship Initiative (GEI) to some of these colleges. This initiative has produced around 10,000 certified candidates from the various CoEs. The number is expected to increase by 6000 certified candidates in 2010.

To me this looks to be a great intiative and an untapped sector which could produce wonders. Normally, the student would be enthusiatic to learn and can be much innovative particularly during the final year project and this could turn out to be a win-win situation between colleges and industry at a low cost. In West, most of the innovation orginates from college due to institute and industry collobaration, unfortunately, so far, this has been the missing link in India.

This will also pave way to building up entreprenuership culture. Will other corporates follow this trend?

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How much is your networth?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I read an article in online magazine about individual financial health, looked very sensible hence sharing the same with the readers

Keep also in mind, some amount of money need to be kept as contigency for emergency. The amount of money kept aside as contigency can vary according to age, if you are at the start of the your career and employed, then probably 2~3 month should be enough, as you are bound to be flexible and adaptable. If you are in 40's 6~12 month of expenses have to kept aside and if you are in 50's 1~3 years. However, there is no specific formula on contigency, only thought is that when you are young, not much of responsibilities and hence can roam the world but as we get more mature adaptability & learning skills diminishes though we might gain wisdom over the years.

Further, this amount need to be kept on the liabilities side for better calculation of the net worth.

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Game called 'Globalization' - Part2

Friday, June 11, 2010

This post is in continuation of my earlier post, If you have not read my earlier post you can read the same here

Indian Economy was in a pretty bad shape in early 90's, many public sector promoted post independence turned loss making one . This is primarily because since India was a closed economy, the companies had not bother much to improve them self on the technology front and were more complacent. I still remember those days, when people use to wait for 7 years after booking a Bajaj scooter or pay a premium to get through alternative means, get a land line was even more worse, the wait was endless. Well, "it was owner pride, neighbours envy", whenever a home had Bajaj scooter, TV and phone. Since it was considered as a luxury, as pay scales was almost 1/10 of what people used to get these days.

In early 90's , Indian Government was facing the balance of payment crisis and with high debt in place, it had to pledge gold to IMF towards loans, this was been the starting point towards globalization. Terms were put in place towards Economic reforms, which called for liberalization of foreign companies to make investment and operate in India to facilitate their operation import custom duty were reduced across the board starting in 90's. This paved the way to foreign companies to start operation in India. Indian companies were either acquired and went out of operation, there were more companies which went out of operation rather been acquired. There were lot more pain particularly when companies go out of operation as the promoter lost their money, employee lost their job and Bank started accumulating the non performing assets. So I would say 90's was the pain period for India, though there was growth, in some form or other.

Apart from technology, it was money power which made Indian made companies to vanish. The cost of capital in developed economy was much cheaper as compared to India, the bank interest rates where in the range of 18% to 21%, whereas foreign grown companies can get this capital with interest rate of less than 5 %. Naturally, very few Indian companies associated with strong capital and a good product mix where able to compete with foreign operated companies. The early nineties was a transition period and off course India did grow with foreign investment brought inside India. As India progressed into the later part of 90's, US were looking for severe shortage of people towards the computer hence came the H1 visa and this was followed by outsourcing activity to Offshore as cost cutting measure, so called optimization of cost.

At the same time, if you look at the high end FMCG market we had multi national companies operating, Indian companies vanished and so was the slogan 'BE INDIAN, BUY INDIAN'. From 2005, onwards, foreign invested companies found operating in India and elsewhere in the developing economies more competitive as compared to their operation in developed countries. Interestingly, there were statement from developed economies like 'We want to create jobs in Buffalo, rather than Bangalore', we need to see whether this really takes off, as the developed economies are under severe stress now.

Well, the world is getting flatter and small, with telecommunication facilities, faster transport it does not matter whether goods and services are offered from a developed nation or from under developed nation. As long as prices are competitive and the consumer is in position to get comparable quality and features, they would naturally opt for the best. Ultimately, Darwin theory holds good " Survival of the fittest".

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Lets preserve the assets for the future

Sunday, June 6, 2010

As a school going kid in 1970~80's in city I never dreamt, one day, I need to buy water by paying cash. The independent houses those days had well or a bore well water were available in less than 30 feet depth. With population explosion, wells dried up and so even the bore well, people were at look out for alternative which led to water tanker business initiative by some enterprising people.

Take a look at this video clipping.

Frightening is isn't it?, though we might not be fish, we can't live without water for more than a day!. Pure water & Pure air are the real assets.

Need for water in metro increased by leaps and bound due mushrooming of apartment in later 1990's & 2000's and now, most of the apartments are dependent on water tanker for even normal usage like bathing, washing. Each one of us has social responsibility to conserve water, its beyond one imagination as what would be situation to our children or grand children in 20 years from now as already the water tanker are fetching water 20 km from suburbs of the city. With city boundary itself growing with more exploitation of ground water, do the water feeds go beyond 50 KM from city in the years to come?. Surprisingly, most of us think about creating materialistic assets for future generation and but unfortunately, we seem to neglect water conservation.

Apart from water, we are responsible for polluting the environment. As per state pollution control boards, the air pollution is beyond the reasonable means, particularly CO in the central business districts of most of the Indian cities. The main reason is CO emission from vehicles.

Conserve: Water and Petroleum needs to be conserved by all possible means. I meant petroleum, as it main cause for air pollution. For petroleum, every one thinks about using bicycle, bus or car pooling to office. The new concept, which is catching up in the IT sector is 'WFH' - work from home. With Internet, communication becoming cheaper and faster these days, IT sector people has the option to 'work from home'. With IT sector employer, who now adays play important role in corporate social responsibility need to look at the option and promote 'work from home' culture effectively for its employee. This will go a long way for employees to avoid using vehicles to reach office, thereby reduce pollution and save foreign exchange drain for India as well.

Similarly, water, which need to be considered precious apart from conserving, it is one which can recycled. One can think of using bath, kitchen outlet water to gardens, this would be the simple and most effective to "Go-Green". I also believe conserving water is quite common sense. Countries like Dubai, Singapore still prosper without much of natural resource. Monsoon rain in cities like Mumbai and Chennai pours and streets get mostly flooded, but unfortunately rain water on the street get drained into the sea.... whom to blame and a thought to ponder over?. If there not a effective water to store it?

The next paramount issue is, pollution emission from petroleum vehicles, there are also indication petroleum product will get totally depleted in 20~30 years, is there an alternative?. I believe, both problems can be effectively addressed through solar energy, when solar power panel can be put use for generating electricity the same can be used for electric vehicles as well. India does have its own manufacturer electric car in form of 'Reva', interestingly Mahindra have invested recently in Reva Electric Car Co Ltd., we need to see more such initiate from auto manufacturers towards discovery of such environment friendly vehicles. India is fortunate enough to have sunshine all through the year and some how, I feel we sometime keep missing the opportunity to effectively harness solar energy .

I believe an individual role in conservation, recycle or discover of the previous assets I had mentioned is very limited, it has to be an united movement from the society for result. Our forefather showed the direction for unity like 'Quit India movement' or 'Be Indian, Buy Indian'. Similar movement has to happen toward preserving these assets, before its becomes too late.

The initiative for this post is blogadda contest drive on conserve, recycle, discover towards world environment day on June 5 in partnership with Pring00

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Project Management Methodology - licence

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Project Management Methodology licence from available on request.

I have few project managment methodolgy licence available to my blog reader for free, in case if you are into project management and interested to have this licence please get in touch with me along with details.

Only condition is that let me know the best project management site/ blog from your standpoint, which is informative. If I do like it as well, mail across the licence details.

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Wee(a)kend get aways!

When one thinks about weekend get aways, normally what come to one mind is malls or the theme park.

In the last few years the mall culture has grown leaps and bounds in all metros. Yes, offcourse, its nice to get all your shopping done, get into a movie theatre and finally get across to food court to choose from multi cuisine joint. Well, it looks sweet for one day outing. Unfortunately the reality seems to be different.

As you drive towards enterance of the mall, the first surprise that greets you will be " Sir, only valet parking available". The immediate thought comes to your mind would be, is there any valuables in the car and will my car be safe?, with little hesitation you hand over the key to mall agent and he provides you with parking slip, which normally has a clause which states, " we are not responsible for any loss or damage to the car". As you get into the mall, car safety is always at the back of the mind.

If you getting into the food court during lunch or dinner, you should be counting your luck to have a peaceful meal. The first objective would be to get a table, well, it would be a musical chair and you got to use your logistics mind, meaning look at a table where the occupants are about to finish (foods stock on table to be depleted!) and once you get the table you feel you have achieved the mission. Don't forget to leave your friend or family member at the table, before look out for food.

The next mission would be to bring foods stock on the table and for sure all the famous food joint outlet would be crowded, the counter service boys would be acting as though they are the "king" and don't be surprised, if you find a wall hanging which states "Customer is the King". Finally, you get some food, which looks "yummy" and get back to your table, start having your food, you will now have two more surprises waiting. One, the food is semi cooked and not tasty and you already having another set of people waiting and staring at you, thinking, when you would get lost from the table.

Its now time to get into the parking lot, you hand over the car token to mall agent to fetch your car, the first attempt , they will search for keys and if successful, they will search for the car and you end up waiting about 30 minutes. "Hurray", that would be the feeling when you sight your car and finally as you drive out of the mall, you would be stopped and you hear a voice " Rs 100" for parking, well a good way to end the wee(a)k end.

As you start driving back home, you realise, it would have been much more peaceful at home with just a cup of curd rice. Hmmm... habit die hard, after few days of monotony, you are ready for the next visit to the mall.

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Phishing fraud in India on Increase !??!!.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

There has been spate of phishing email received in my inbox, in the recent past.

With high rate of internet proliferation and online bank usage, these phishing email are also on increase, Gartner had reported about 3.6 billion USD lost in a year due to phishing. Considering this, I am wondering how knowledgeable is the Indian public is dealing with phishing email and how efficient are our cyber laws dealing with such frauds.

In the last two months, I had received phishing emails appearing to have been sent from ICICI Bank, UTI Bank, Punjab National Bank, asking me to validate my bank account for some reasons or the other, which might look very genuine. Interestingly, even the From: address of the email is almost similar to Bank address and any one can get easily deceived by mistaking it to be an authenticated address.

Take a look at phishing email for ICICI:

The from address is stated to have been sent from domain. I still do not understand how easy it is to affix a particular registered domain address in the outgoing emails.

Take a look at the UTI phishing email:

There is a link asking you to click for your account verfication, the visible email link will be a some bank address to deceive you, but the page take you to different page which fraudster has programmed to 'phish' his victim. If you look at the webaddress of these link (indicated by Red circle-just above the tool bar), its not the actual bank link, its fraudster own link, it take one to the bank look like log in page. If a users enters his actual user id and password, fraudster would have the actual user id and password (Phished). Once fraudster has the user id and password he can use it for transacting out the victim money to a different bank account.

Though Bank have been educating the user about Phishing, stating that they never ask for users access details, but not sure how much it reached the public. Further, if user access has been phished and money siphoned off, I do not have much clue on the course of action to be taken by the victim?. Also, how strong are the cyber laws in India and for any investigation to happen the investigation agencies has to tech savvy to understand the technicalities behind the fraud.

Lastly, if you feel that, this article has some value in preventing the phishing, I would suggest forwarding the article link to your friends.

I welcome reader's thoughts on this.

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Illusions of life

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I happen to read a short article, which briefly describes the materialistic world we are living in,

A group of educated people, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor.

Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said:
""If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and were eyeing each other's cups.

Now if life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change. Some times, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it.""

Don't let the cups drive you... Enjoy the coffee ..... ......... .. I mean Life.

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Game called 'Globalization' - Part 1

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The other day, I watching a Business TV program with group of elite people and one of the comments was that, "though people feared about globalization right from start in 90's it has done more good to India and we continue to grow in the GDP". I am trying to find answer for this, Is it true that globalization brought more benefit to India ? was it true the transition to globalization smooth with any pain ?.

My thoughts went back to 80's & 90's, hmm... brings back the nostalgic memories of those days...

As a school going kid I still remember slogan in back of the city buses or in public transport vehicles, which were normally, "BE INDIAN, BUY INDIAN" , well it looks like this slogan was the first victim of globalization in late 80' or early 90's. I don't remember seeing this slogan in from early 90's onward.

I tried to recollect the consumer brand in the Indian house hold in 80's and 90's, I could remember following brands .

Car - Ambassador, Primier Padmini.
Two wheelers - Bajaj, Lambretta, Jawa, Enfield.
Fridge - Allwyn, Kelvinator.
TV - Solidaire, BPL, Dynora, Onida, Videocon(still present).
Soft drinks - Gold spot, Limca (still present).
Phone - ITI.

It looked like, we were truly standing by the slogan of those days "BE INDIAN, BUY INDIAN", as they were mainly Indian promoted companies, so what happened to those companies which manufactured these products in the last one or two decade?

I do understand those days Indian economy was a closed economy the import tariff was very huge and hence the Indian consumer had to contend with what was offered by the manufacturers. Since my father was into business, I still remember the difficulties he used to face if he had to start an industry/business or if he had to import any component from abroad.

Globalization were unheard till early 90's, India was more contended with what it produced. So when did the game of globalization start?.

Well, will continue it in my next edition :-)...

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We are not Greece OR US.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

There seems to be no respite from Economic woes the world is facing these days.

US economic downturn was followed by Bankruptcy filling by quite a few corporates then came Dubai international corporate crisis and now Greece seems to have got into the economic mess. Its pointed out huge Budget deficit and maturity payment of Government bonds seems to be the main issue.

Can a similar situation happen to Indian Economy?. As there are lot of similarities between India and Greece has higher budget deficit (approx 7% of GDP), external debt, large scale tax evasion so the common question will be whether India would got into a similar situation. Most likely not,

Greece is part of European union and hence it does not have its currency and has only Euro, so naturally, it will not be in position to devalue its currency on its own will. The European Union and IMF and in the process of bailing out Greece with funding arrangement, but not without imposing certain conditions.

As Greece situation is similar to other European countries like Spain, France, Ireland or Portugal can the European Union depreciate the Euro? It may be a solution to depreciate Euro, but Euro is considered as reserve currency and however far behind USD as reserve currency and so if it tries to depreciate it might even lead to a collapse, if the Government holding Euro tries to en cash it to a different currency.

Similarly, for US though it has its own currency, it difficult for it to think about depreciating its value in cause of a crisis, this is due to the fact 70% of the reserve currency is in form of USD. Hence, a slightest indication might result in problem for USD exchange rate.

Considering all, the options looks to be limited, Greece and European countries has work towards not only bringing down its Fiscal deficit but also look at the ways to improve its balance of trade in the future. This mean Greece has to cut government expenditure including imposing additional taxation.

The same situation may not arise for India , as India has it own currency, it can devalue as needed, on top of it INR is never considered as Reserve currently. Hence, India can print money and devalue on its own. More importantly more than just export, India remittance by expatriate is a quite significant amount compared to any other country with only China being better. Hmmm.... benefit of brain drain !!!?!....

Having a stronger currency has its own peril...these days weaker currency seems to suit the world better this has been the case of India, China and other developing countries.

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Project Management tool - A Review

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I came across an opportunity to review a project management tool from
Project management has evolved over the years, these days a good project management tool would play a vital role in success of the project. I particularly feel, these tool should be easy to use and further project management tool should not be make the project manager to unlearn what he has learnt and re-learn a new tool. Most of the project managers are comfortable with Microsoft products like project & office, hence to be successful, PM tools should offer easy integration to MS products.

Now coming to this product, this software is offered as SaaS( Software as a service), Gartner has predicted 9% of total software sales would be SaaS by 2012, hence the product should be scalable in terms of nil installation requirement and effective global support.

Any software tool, require some kind of hand holding or a training and hence when I wanted to try it out, I was looking for a manual to assist me. However, I went ahead with registration process (free for 30 days!). Finally when I logged in, my experience was different.

The most impressive part was the task scheduling and more importantly its compatible with MS projects. If you are having your plan in MS projects then you can very easily import into the website and same is the case of export.

Project managers always faces challenges in showing the MS project plan to team member for any discussion, particularly when team members are distributed across multiple locations and normally the project members would not have MS projects license. With you can effective overcome the same and more interestingly the looks and feel of task scheduling is almost similar to MS project, so as a project manager one would not miss out MS projects comfort. Project team member can log on into the site and look out for task scheduling and the task assigned to them.

The project related parameters are placed in a easily understandable GUI form as menu on the top. If a Project manager has the choice and if effectively used, this tool can be used as single source of truth for all Project manager needs. On top of it, project dashboard feature adds value to the product.

I felt some improvement on the product would make it top class and I understand from their product support team, that they are on their way towards adding some of the features.

Altogether the product looked promising to me!

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One page proposal

I came across this clipping today in the web, looks interesting might be applicable in day to day business.

I feel, its particular important when you are making the first short meeting with your customer so sell your thoughts (whether its product, project, job prospects)

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Is India inching towards hyperinflation.??*!!?....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I was just browsing the web today, got across an article which was mentioning about inflation of 14 to 15% in Jan 2010.

Couple of years before, there use to be regular report in the newspaper of inflation week on week basis and inflation were in range of 5~8%. Somehow, this is not being reported these days.

Last two years, inflation has been on the raise again, commodities and real estate have been on raise again, but clearly getting away from the reach of normal decent earning of a person.

The main cause of these inflation is a massive and rapid increase in the amount of money that is not supported by a corresponding growth in the output of goods and services. This could result in an imbalance between the supply and demand for the money (including currency and bank deposits), accompanied by a complete loss of confidence in the money. The inflation can be considered as a hyperinflation once the inflation gets beyond 20%.

I believe such inflation could also cause, hoarding of commodities as people hoarding commodities get higher return in a shorter time without any additional effort, disparity in distribution of wealth across the general public, with rich becoming more rich and poor becoming more poor.

India has claimed to have been least affected by recession, however the side effects pumping more money into the system to overcome the recession seems to have triggered inflation, so unless Indian government brings in better control mechanism, we might be having challenges in the near future.

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The future of mobile computing....

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Without any doubt India have been the leaders in IT services segment, but there has always been a dearth of IT product development. Though there may be some on OEM or high end technology product, there have not been much from India in FMCITP sector- Fast moving consumer IT product.... just like FMCG :-).

Notion Ink's Tablet Adam device seems to be the answer. The company is founded by group of young IIT-ian ( Bravo !!! no brain drain) and based out in Hyberabad, India. To me this seems to be a device for future mobile computing, Will it compete with iPads?.

The feature of using the device in a normal outside environment light looks good. This device seems to be endorsing my view on my earlier post on "the future of publishing" posted few weeks before.

Found this posting on youtube about Adam tablet

Is iPads or Adam's tablet device set to become innovation of this decade?!!.. just like mobile & internet of the last decade?

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Funding your property investment

Saturday, April 24, 2010

With foriegn banks finding its ways into India soil, finding capital for your investment is geting much easier now adays when compared to decade back. Whether you are looking to buy TV or vehicle or property there are plenty of option, if you can show some your fund flow for the last six month.

By Fund flow, I mean, monthly salary or business returns. More than salary or business return the financiers might also look for monthly average excess in your bank account, so that they can judge whether you would be in position to service his loans.

Earlier, people made a modest living, would never go for a loan for investing in vehicle or even for apartment. This was the case about 15 years back. Bank used to provide loans for housing only upto 15%, the rest 85% should have come from home purchaser. The general thought was property like home was almost a dead investment. Real estate was never a priority sector lending for nationalized bank, it was small industry & agriculture which were the priority sector lending for the bank. However, it looks to me that both the sectors have been overlooked these days and home loans have taken higher precedance.

When financing the small industry, banks used to look for the Debt (loan amount) : Equity (owners capital) ratio, normally they considered this ratio to be around 3:1, which mean if investment is 30 lakhs, owner should have brought in 10 lakhs. Going by the same thought, this can be applied for purchasing a house as well. For example for a 30 lakhs property, it better 10 lakhs (approx 30%) is brought in as your contribution. The more your contribution, the safer you feel and more the debt content could mean inviting trouble.

Finally, my two cents on this topic particularly on property transaction, are to look at the trend in last 15 years are so, year on year basis, if the increase has been 10 to 15% then its a safe bet to invest, had the rise been steep like 100 or 200% there would be some correction. The correction could even be the pricing stabilizing without raising further, meaning whether you purchase now or 4 to 5 years down the line, there may not be much variation.

Further one has to keep in mind, that unlike west, India does not guarantee social security for its citizen during sunset years and hence better do some home work before taking debt route for financing your property investment.

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US - India Partnership: It Matters

Friday, April 2, 2010

When I came to know about a the blog contest on "US - India Partnership", more than just participation, I thought its need of the hour to foster a strong relation, otherwise I believe its a missed opportunity for ever. Frankly, this partnership should have emerged long back, but didn't.

If one looks at history about couple of decade back or prior 1990's relationship where not so great or harmonious as they should have been, they are so many reason to it like snail paced communication erstwhile USSR was a superpower and considered closer ally to India, politically and distance wise.
Radical changes started happening the Indian economy from early 90's,, when India opened its doors and made liberation by doing away the 'licence Raj' and making it easier to start or operate business. Almost at the same, time information technology was growing leaps and bounds. Since information technology required manpower, US trusted largest Indian skilled force due to its maths, science skill which was required for programming and the English speaking skills, this was just a beginning, but now India has made its mark clearly in the world economy and further there are prediction that India would become a "Super Power" in the near future and there are vision dreams ignited by former President and eminent Scientist Dr. A.B.J Abdul Kalam to take India as a developed nation by 2020.

Economy, Trade and investment:
Its a known fact that US is a developed economy with huge market potential due to sheer size on the other hand India is an emerging economy with huge market potential due to size of population, and continuing to have economic growth at the rate of 6%.

US had all along inclined towards capitalism, however last couple of years has not be so good for US and other developed economies, sub prime crisis followed by few companies filling bankruptcy petitions triggered economic crisis which had resulted in job losses and shunted growth of US economy. US went on to identify the problem and announced a TARP (Troubled asset relief program) funding to the tune of 700 Billion US$ in the year 2008 to bail out particularly financial companies. With such a magnitude of money pumped into the system, its natural for any country, not to let its citizen suffer or the money to move out of US shore and hence US seems to be inclined towards a protectionist mode and had its policy and procedure in place to stem the job loses. Job loses are painful, but at same time US should also look at the , business viability of US enterprises, with the current prevailing market condition even mid sized technology company with more than thousands of employees cannot just operate in isolation at US alone, to make it viable, it it has to try out various options, due to low cost skilled workforce, one of the option is to have some work based out of India or low cost countries. If these US business tries to run operate within US only, it could very well turn out to be economically not viable.

Also, if one looks at the top technology companies operating out of US, apart from US their next largest operation would most likely be in India, this bring out the fact, partnership has clearly matured. This shows, the business acumen of US business and this I believe is mutually beneficial for India in the form of employment and for Indian economy as well. Moreover, if a business is looking at 24 hours of operation, than having operation in India is beneficial since when US sleeps, India is at work.

There are prediction that next round of innovation like Yahoo, Google is bound to happen from BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India & China) countries. US and India can work together in bring out the innovations, US and India are the largest democratic countries and off course India has the largest English speaking country among the BRIC countries. The Indian skills, attitude to work is tried and without hesitation has been proved the best, hence a combined effort between US & India can go a long way to produce innovative products in the technology front in this ever changing global market front. Such collaborative effort would be mutually beneficial.

Due to streamlining of the procedures and substantial liberalization has been done since 1990, there are substantial investment in US from India as well. India and the US have do have multi faceted relations ranging from political, strategic to economic and commercial. USA is the largest investing country in India in terms of approvals, actual inflows, and portfolio investment

FDI investment in India from US have been on the increase as Indian embassy site and so is the India investment in US according to same site . According to bloombergutv website , India is emerging as the second fastest investor in US. Further, it has been reported that, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland , had provided with $19 million in tax credit to TCS for expanding its operations in the Cincinnati suburb of Milford. This will allow the Indian tech company to ramp up its head count from 300 to 1000 and majority of them expected to be people from US.

The India-US partnership, has vast potential for expansion of cooperation in key areas ranging from agriculture, education, infrastructure development, energy to space, nuclear & defence, and Medical 'outsourcing'. By Medical 'outsourcing' I mean, with Obama administration, coming out with new medical bill, which will cover insurance for more people, probably US can look at the option of utilizing Indian medical facility, which can be cost effective.

Fight against terrorism:
Recently, I read an article in news site (courtesy Rediff) which quoted Timothy J Roemer, United States Ambassador to India that, Terrorism, the common enemy of India, US.
I also believe this is where India and US has to work in tandem if they want to achieve success against war of terrorism.

US had the first impact of terrorism by 2001 (9/11), whereas India has been target of terrorism for the last two decade and to me it seems the cooperation on war of terrorism is more at the talks level between two countries and not able see a real collaboration in tackling terrorism. There is no iota of doubt in any one mind about US determination in fighting terrorism, but it need to go all out to fix it, its something like fixing number of holes in drain tank. There is no point fixing some of the hole in the tank and leaving the other holes of drain tank open and trying out a different strategy in fixing the hole, it only going to prolong the leak and if strategy does not work the leak is going to continue instead get into the root cause and fix it.

Roemer, further added that, the bilateral strategic partnership between the two countries was the strongest ever and they were working at an 'unprecedented level' on counter terrorism and regional security along with various other issues.

To me, if India had got the required support from US, terrorism would have almost been wiped out from India by now.

Friendship: Some of the events in the post did boast the outlooks of friendship between two countries, it ideally started with Clinton period, in year 2000 he was on a 5 day state visit to India, further push was given by Bush administration, which was followed up by visit of Secretary of state Mrs Hillary Clinton in year 2009. Privately, Bill Gates through his foundation is focusing on betterment of AIDS Victims.

Its time to put words into actions one of the suggestion towards fostering relationship, is to form a high power committee comprising of eminent people drawn from business, social welfare, global economics, defence etc. The high power committee should periodically meet to discuss and plan for the future relation and cooperation between two countries and make unified recommendation to US-Indian leaders from time to time, to act upon.

The world's two largest democracies can work together on global issues like climate change and in facilitating a global economic recovery and also apart from countering terrorism, building an cohesive atmosphere for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and establishing a stable balance of power in Asia.

'Partnership' has a slightly different meaning when compared to relationship or friendship, its an association of two parties which has mutually benefits to each other. In any partnership the expectation may vary and for the partnership to work both the parties have to discuss and come to an understanding on all subjects of interest for both countries. Yes, if this partnership can blossom well, it would not only benefit both the countries but also the other countries as well.

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