Thursday, June 26, 2008

Do Non Resident Indians involve in Nation building?

PodUniversal - Edition 39

In the recent years, lot of educated youngsters migrate to United States and Europe for better prospects. There are two type of Non Resident Indians (1) people who are living there even prior to 1991 and (2) people who migrate to foreign countries post 1991.

During 1990 when India was facing acute financial and political crisis, during Prime Minister Chandrasekar's period, gold reserve was pledged to meet the day to day balance of payment. At that time, fearing collapse of Indian economy, many Non Resident Indians repatriated their investments from the Indian Banks to their living country. At that time, it added further financial strain and crisis to India. Rajiv Gandhi assassination lead to further political crisis. During 1991, Narasimha Rao took over as Prime Minister and with the help of Dr Manmohan Singh (then Finance Minister and present Prime Minister) liberated the Indian economy.

Economic liberalisation opened up our economy and lot of opportunities. Indian economy started booming. Lot of educated youngsters started moving to US and Europe for better prospects. Now the young Indians have started building up the Image of the country across the globe. What was considered by developed countries as the 'land of snake charmers and beggars' is now being seen as 'technology savvy country'.

In this background, few questions arise in our mind: (1) What is the attitude of NRIs towards the development of India (2) How far, they will raise to the occasion, if another crisis is faced by India (3) What is the role of NRIs in developing the Nation.

Sudarshan Venkatraman, Chairman, Zylog Systems LimitedWith these questions, we approached Mr Sudarshan Venkatraman, Chairman of Zylog Systems Limited, an Indian Multinational Company for his views. He has been operating the business in many countries. He belongs to the 'post 1991 group of NRI'. He has been taking active interest silently in various social welfare activities, particularly towards education of dalit and downtrodden children. You can listen to his views by clicking to play (13 minutes)

The interview may also be listened from the following link

If you want to download in mp3 format, right click this link and save to your desktop (12 mp)

Monday, June 23, 2008

How to select University courses - Tips to parents and students

PodUniversal - Edition 38

Now this an admission season. The parents of the students who have completed 12th standard are in a confused mood. There is a notion amongst the parents and students that only Engineering Courses in Information Technology are best suited for future prospects. Arts and Science courses are not preferred. Is the hype of IT Engineering courses a 'myth' or 'reality'?
Prof. R Radhakrishnan, Vice Chancellor, Anna University, Coimbatore
On 22nd June, 2008, we telephonically interviewed Prof. R Radhakrishnan, Vice Chancellor of Anna University, Coimbatore to clarify on these points and to guide the parents and students. Anna University is one of the leading technical Universities in India with more than 100 affiliated engineering colleges. This podcast interview will be useful for the students who are seeking admission in University courses and also pursing various education in different colleges in India.

Prof. Radhakrishnan suggests that a minimum basic degree with computer skills are sufficient to get placement and to develop future.prospects. He even goes to suggest that students with 10th standard qualification can also learn the skills that are needed by the industry and can go for jobs. Then they can earn more qualifications through distance education. He also says that students should improve the English language communication skills.

Prof. Radhakrishnan suggests that after completing the Schooling, the students should (1) self evaluate themselves and find out their interest with the help of their parents and teachers and (2) identify the field of education, based on the interest.

Please listen to his interview by clicking to play (17 minutes) - Gist is given below for convenience.

The interview may also be listened from the following link

If you want to download the interview in mp3 format, right click this link and save to desktop (16mb)

Gist of the interview by Prof. R Radhakrishnan

1. Hype for in IT related engineering courses has been created more by the industry. People relate the IT and ITES related jobs only to the engineering subjects. Hence, people want to admit their children in engineering education.

2. In many Universities, B.Sc courses are also offered in computer related subjects. Currently, no education is complete without computer skills.

3. There are enough job opportunities for all. Even a student with 10th standard qualification with good academic record and communication skills can acquire the skills needed by the industry. After getting into the job, he can acquire more qualifications.

4. Information Technology is integral part of all the subject.

5. Presently, we do not have proper counselling system to help the students.

6. After completing 12th Standard, students from South India, prefer to pursue in Engineering and Medicine; Students from North India prefer Arts and Science.

7. After completing the Schooling, the students should (1) self evaluate themselves and find out their interest with the help of their parents and teachers and (2) identify the field of education, based on the interest.

8. Even if they pursue Arts and Science courses, they can go for MBA. Even engineering students go for 'diversified education' and go for MBA courses. Now 'Integrated or Inter-disciplinary approach' is taking place.

7. Last year 1,00,000 engineering seats were allotted by the authorities in 300 colleges / deemed universities in Tamilnadu. Out of this 75% went to IT and IT related courses. Only 25% were allotted for other engineering courses like Civil, Mechanical courses. Out of 75,000 students, how many would get jobs? There will be a tough competition. But competition in the other 25% like civil, mechanical engineering courses are less. There are more employment opportunities for these subjects.

8. Industries want only basic degree and minimum computer knowledge. The students should choose good educational institutions.

9. Bio Technology and Nano Technology have great future in the next 10 years.

10. Industry is insisting on soft skills. They insist on 'English language communication skills'

11. We fail in arriving at the level of language communication knowledge of the students. At the end of the course only, we realise that they lack in language skills. In Anna University, Coimbatore, we have started assessing the newly joined students for their language skills and they are graded accordingly. We are going to support them for improving their language skills, to suit the International standards.

12. I advise the students not to be carried away by the trends or hype. They should choose any branch whether engineering or arts and science. Also improve the computer skills. Definitely they will get the job. They should also think as to how they would contribute to the Nation. Whichever course, they choose, they can contribute to the Nation.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Unsung Heroes - Young Helping Minds

Kalam Nagappan, Poornima, Sathiyan and Ponmudi, Trustees of Young Helping MindsPodUniversal - Edition 35

Many times, the elders blame the younger generation including students for their behaviour and changes they bring about. But seldom we recognise them for their silent contribution to the society.

Nagappan, Sathiyan and a dozen young students used to celebrate their birth day parties in hotels and enjoy the dinner. Suddenly four years back, Nagappan and his friends decided not to spend lavishly the money for their birthdays in the hotels and instead pool the money to help poor students. A physically disabled junior student hailing from a very poor family was the first beneficiary of their gesture. They paid his college fees.

The smile on the face of the poor disabled boy motivated Nagappan and others to mobilise more number of students, who can contribute around 20 to 25 rupees every month. All the amount so collected were pooled for supporting more such poor and disabled students for their education., by way of fees, books, etc.

The encouragement given by the fellow students made Nagappan and Sathiyan to form a trust in the name of 'Young Helping Minds' and they registered the trust deed with authorities and also with Income Tax Department. They have around 250 students / young people contributing their small share towards the noble cause of educating the poor and disabled children. Presently, they support 35 such students for their education.

Inspired by Dr Abdul Kalam, Nagappan also changed his name as 'Kalam' Nagappan. They want to increase the contributors to 1000 and to increase the beneficiaries to 100 by 2010. Nagappan, Sathiyan, Poornima and Ponmudi, the trustees of this Young Helping Minds met me last Sunday.

I asked them : "Now you are all students. You are happily involving yourself in the social activities. Some of you have completed and now working in companies. What would happen if you all get married and enter the family life?" Without hesitation or even blinking of the eye, they responded together, "We will look only for like minded partners".

When they sought an appointment with me to meet, I was happy that i was going to motivate them further. Finally, after having had three hours of discussion, I ended up in getting myself motivated by these young boys and girls. I saw them off from my office with all hope that India's future is in the safe hands.

They can be contacted at
Their website

I also recorded their interview in podcast. Please listen to the podcast by clicking to play. (8 mts)

The podcast may also be listened from the following link

If you want to download the podcast in mp3 format: - Right click this link and save to your desktop

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Protecting youth from HIV / AIDS - A special interview

Surya Rao receiving Padma Shree Award from President of India
PodUniversal Edition 34

Dr K. Surya Rao of Vishakapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) was honoured by President of India during May 2008 with Padma Shree Award. The Award was given to him for his contribution in the research activities of HIV / AIDS and for creating awarenss.

In and exclusive interview with K. Srinivasan, Editor of PodUniversal, Dr Surya Rao speaks about the present situation of impact of HIV / AIDS in India and also gives suggestions to protect from this killer virus.

Please click to listen to his interview (11 m 45 s)

You can also listen this interview from this link

To download this interview in mp3 format - Right click this link and save to your desktop (10.7 mb)

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