Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wikleaks and Cloud Computing

After long time, I have found really something interesting to blog about. As we all know wikileaks after exposing several highly confidental documents now facing several attempts, specially from US enforcements agencies to stop its working. After facing several 'Service Denial' attempts, wikileaks yesterday relied on Amazon to host its sevice over its cloud.

Now what happened after that was a real unfortubate thing. Amazon simply backed off under pressure only after few hours of hosting the applicaton.

Now we talk so much about the advantages of cloud computing - less headache for customers, low cost etc etc. But what about this, provider terminating the agreement at such short notice without paying any attenion to the client's situation?

Ok, I can agree there were several serious legal issues involved, but don't you think this has set a very bad preceedence? Cloud providers sighting this incidence can back off again in future even over less important issues according to their whimsical wishes! Where will the poor application owners will stand then if they rely solely on clouds hosted by others?

That is why it is always best to have a backup strategy in place - don't dump your own IT dept, however small it may be or have multiple prividers across Geos where not all people will be worried about laws which are enforced overnight by some omnipotent country!

If you don't agree, fine , I only wish your company don't have to run from one company to other and beg for mercy so that somebody will be kind enough and provide you the cloud support :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Social Entrepreneurs in India

Social entrepreneurship is the work of a social entrepreneur. A social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change (a social venture). Whereas a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur focuses on creating social capital. Thus, the main aim of social entrepreneurship is to further social and environmental goals. However, whilst social entrepreneurs are most commonly associated with the voluntary and not-for-profit sectors, this need not necessarily be incompatible with making a profit.

Here I want to discuss about few of my favourite Indian social entrepreneurs who really bringing changes in common men's life.

Irfan Alam - Founder of Samman - It is an organization that works with cycle rickshaw pullers in parts of northerna nd eastern India. The rickshaw pullers rent aa vehicle and Samman arranges finances for them. It also enables them to use their vehicles for advertisements.

Chetan Sinha - Founder of Mann Deshi BAnk - a microfinance bank that lends, funds and teaches entreprenurial skills to rural women.

Anant Kumar - Lifespring Hospitals - a chain of maternity hospitals for lower-income group in Hyderabad and other parts of Andhra.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

India GDP Figures - A Sneak Peak

GDP Definition: This entry gives the gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year
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Quick Stat:
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GDP Growth: 6.7% (2009)
GDP per capita: $1016
GDP by sector (2008 Estimate):
Agriculture: 17.2%
Industry: 29.1%
Services: 53.7%

Inflation: 7.8% (2008 Estimate)

Labor force: 523.5 million (2008 Estimate)

GDP (purchasing power parity): $3.561 trillion (2009 est.)
$3.344 trillion (2008 est.)
$3.113 trillion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Leadership - Qualities of a Great Leader

I remember long back a presentation of Mr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who was the president of India then and Mr. Sam Palmisano, the CEO of IBM, visited IBM India and met the president at that function in Bangalore. He was asked about the qualities of a great leader, I really liked the answer of this great man who himself had pioneered many ground-breaking projects in DRDO for years.

1) A leader has to be truly a leader i.e. he needs to show the way, you can not expect to earn respect by simply telling 'this is not my job'. He should fight with his army, sometimes with more enthusiasm! Now - isn't that beautiful?

2) A leader has to be honest, he needs to set a realistic target and should not build castle in the air. In the long run all tall-talks never work.

3) He should be a good human being. Well, nobody is perfect, but if you are a nice human being it will automatically reveal your good qualities to your team. A team is always more productive when somebody think about the team members with empathy and not as a revenue earning machine.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stay The Course - Deregulation of transport fuels is a bold, welcome move

A Times of India Article (Mon, June,28)
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After an aborted attempt by the NDA regime in 2002 to deregulate fuel prices, the UPA administration has finally bitten the bullet and moved on implementing the Parikh committee recommendations. True, this is still a first step. While petrol price has now been pegged to the international market, diesel remains partly controlled and LPG and kerosene wholly so. But given the price hikes across the board and the planned deregulation of diesel that is to be implemented in phases it is a crucial one. The first beneficiaries will be state-run oil companies with under-recoveries dropping from Rs 770 billion to Rs 530 billion. But the ripple effect will, in actuality, spread far beyond that with benefits accruing to consumers in the long term. The challenge now is for the government to stand firm against the inevitable political backlash and populist demands.

Given that inflation is as much a function of perception as actual inflationary pressure, a short-term rise in prices of goods and services is perhaps inevitable. But there are several factors that could contain and counter this in the longer run. A decreased subsidy burden on the government will mean a reduced deficit and healthier public financing, exerting downward pressure on prices. And, crucially, by moving to deregulate transport fuels, the government has made competition viable. Private players unable to cope with an uneven playing field where the government mandated loss-inducing price levels, then underwrote public companies' deficits, will now have an incentive to re-enter the market. And an open market means competitive pricing and inducement for investment to bankroll both the breadth and quality of services, eventually benefiting consumers.

There are other non-quantifiable benefits as well. Exposure to price fluctuations in the international market could provide an incentive for energy efficiency and the development of alternative energy and clean technology that is lacking in the present protected economic environment. It could, in short, bring home the energy security and environmental concerns that are shaping discourse between the leading global economies today. And that is all to the good.

Questions remain, however. The government has left itself a back door of sorts by reserving the right to step in and insulate consumers if global price levels rise beyond a certain point. More specificity is needed here to prevent it from becoming an easy way out, to be employed when politically convenient. And while kitchen subsidies cannot and should not be wholly done away with for both political and socio-economic reasons, scope for price rationalisation in line with the Parikh committee recommendations remains. New Delhi has taken the crucial first step. Now it has to stay the course.

Sports Commercialism and India

Our fluent English-speaking and computer savvy population have made India world’s favorite IT-BPO destination. But IT-BPO business can accommodate only a very insignificant percentage of our entire population. India must ensure its people have more ways of productive growth than just the IT-BPO industries. More sectors which can accommodate common Indians need to take off.

One of such promising sectors is ‘Sports’ which is so far relatively neglected (except cricket) in our country. Near-absence of sports commercialism has retarded India's sporting prospects. Sports commercialism can have very powerful positive impact towards nation’s growth because it can create numerous associations between sport and commerce including huge employment opportunity (as sports volunteers, trainers etc), infrastructure development, athlete welfare, sports advertisement, conduct of big sporting events and of-course glory for the country.

What are the lessons that India should draw from the Eurozone crisis that is unfolding now?

First, fiscal deficits do indeed matter. They matter less when a country has underperformed for so long that it has big catch-up possibilities that fuel growth, and this explains why India has not suffered like some other countries. Yet the taming of fiscal deficits and inflation in 2004-09 led to sharply reduced interest rates that were crucial in making India competitive in its 9% growth phase. The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) is a crude tool, yet did indeed help cut the fiscal deficit. The FRBM target of lowering the fiscal deficit to 3% of GDP is sensible in good times, leaving scope for expanding it to 6.5% in a recession without causing a Greek tragedy.

Second, Greece and Portugal have demonstrated that fiscal deficits in countries with structural problems can send the debt/GDP ratio skyrocketing without stoking growth. India has many structural problems despite having advantages too, and so should beware fiscal excesses.

Third, Greece has shown that a monetary union is a bad idea that leads to loss of control over exchange rates. So, India must shoot down proposals for an Asian monetary union.

Is China the next bubble?

If you look at the following assessment from Sumant Sinha, that looks quite probable:

For many years China has been growing rapidly. Its stock market has been among the best performing in the world. On the back of a deliberately cheap currency policy China's exports have swamped the world. It will shortly cross Japan to become the world's second largest economy. Per capita income has almost trebled in the last 10 years. Infrastructure has boomed and the country is unrecognisable to those who revisit it after a gap of afew years. In many sectors China adds capacity in a single year equivalent to India's cumulative installed capacity. It has become the world's largest consumer of many commodities (and the world's largest polluter). By any measure, these are phenomenal achievements.

And yet uneasy lies the crown. Much of the capacity that has been created is not being used. In sector after sector, there are excess capacities. The currency cannot be kept cheap forever and when it gets to realistic levels, it will surely impact the external sector negatively. Worryingly, the response of the government to the current crisis has been a further opening of the bank lendingpigot to create even more capacities. Economic growth cannot endlessly come from capacity creation. Chinese planners understand this and are now doing their best to ensure that consumer demand manifests sufficiently to absorb all the excess capacity, being created. But if this does not happen the banking sector will be left with a huge amount of non-performing and unproductive assets. Markets will go into a tail spin, the government will be forced to step in and things could well go out of control.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Excellent Website for Current Affairs

Whether you are preparaing for your MBA final interviews or UPSC exam, good knowledge on current social, economical and political affairs always helps. Please visit the website which is daily updated, you will be amazed!

http://indiancurrentaffairs.blogspot.com/

Rajneeti Rocks

After a long wait this year, we finally got a very good thought provoking movie from Prakash Jha again! I am really amazed by Arjun Rampal's performance. To be honest, I didn't have so much expectations from him. I am a great fan of Arjun (not so much because of his acting tallent :-), but mainly because he is a die-hard KKR fan). On the contrary Ajay Devgan was not very impressive. Nana, Ranvir were extraordinary. Please read the below review from my favourite film critic, Mr Taran Adarsh.

http://reviews.moviehattan.com/2010/06/raajneeti-taran-adarsh-review-rajneeti.html