Monday, December 26, 2011

"Only a thief will be afraid of investigation and police " - IAC on Lokpal Bill

PodUniversal Edition 145
India Against Corruption under the leadership of Anna Hazare has been fighting for a strong Lokpal bill to eliminate corruption in India.  Lokpal Bill is pending in Indian Parliament for more than 40 years and is not getting passed for one reason or other.  
The recent Commonwealth game scam, 2 G scam have triggered the anger of the general public and the anti-corruption movement in India has occupied the centre stage.  Even the recent Tamilnadu Assembly elections has proved the mood of the people.
Since corruption is affecting even the common man, this movement has brought together all the people across the Nation, irrespective of their age, caste, economic conditions, education, etc.
When Anna Hazare went on indefinite fast, demanding a strong Lokpal Bill during August 2011, the entire Lok Sabha assured the Nation to get a Lokpal bill passed in the winter session of 2011.  As promised, the Government of India has introduced a draft Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha on 23nd December 2011.  The draft bill is coming up for debate from 27th December 2011 in the Lok Sabha.  Meanwhile, Anna Hazare has also given a call for 'satyagraha and fast' from 27th December onwards and also to court arrest by way of 'Jail Bharo'.  Till this moment, around 70,000 youth in India have registered to go to jail, demanding a strong bill.
Even though, there are criticisms that IAC should not interfere with the functions of the Parliament, IAC is going ahead with their protest.
IAC is not happy with the present format of Lokpal Bill.  They want the investigation powers  and the Anticorruption wing of CBI to be brought under Lokpal.  
With this background, on behalf of PodUniversal, I interviewed Mr Murlidaran, an active volunteer of IAC, Chennai to share the views on behalf of IAC, as to the areas that are causing concern to them.
Please watch and listen to the podcast interview with Mr Murlidaran. (6 m 40 s).

This podcast may also be watched from the following link:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Is Anna Hazare boxed by coterie and self-centered persons?

Team Anna at Chennai on 18th Dec 2011
India Against Corruption, Chennai (IAC) had invited Anna Hazare to Chennai to address the Tamilnadu people.  After his acceptance of the invitation, Anna ji promised to visit Chennai via Bangaloru on 18th Dec, 2011.


Many people, irrespective of their state, education, religion and age started admiring Annaji for the past one year, after he took on the Central Government to bring Jan Lokpal.  Everybody, including me, started admiring his passion and will power to take on the Government.  When he was on fast during August, 2011, many of the members from India Vision Group also showed solidarity with him, by skipping one meal, sitting  at their place.  


Socially conscious people at Chennai were eager to have of glimpse of Anna Hazare, when he agreed to visit Chennai.  I have personally seen the enthusiasm level of youngsters.  Around 200 volunteers started working day and night ten days in advance to make the visit of Annaji a memorable one.   All of them spent their money out of their pocket in this process. 
Though there were lot of confusions about the visit of Annaji, these young volunteers involved themselves actively in the arrangement of venue, logistics for the meeting, media relations, arranging accommodation for Team Anna, travel arrangements, police security aspects, website and social media management, live webcasting of the event, sponsorship arrangement, publicity through posters and phamlets, etc.  All their activities were transparent and had frequent meetings within short time to ensure the proper arrangements.  I admire the involvement of around 200 young volunteers, who selflessly worked for the visit of Annaji.


Probably for the first time in Chennai, such socially relevant meeting attracted  ten thousand people at Pachayappa's College, the venue for the meeting.  Due to the efforts of media team, the entire national and regional media were present to cover the event.  While at Bangalore none of the Regional TV Channels covered live, here at Chennai, three popular Tamil channels covered the event live from the venue to reach the entire Tamilnadu population.


Then what went wrong and where?


While, Annaji has triggered the emotions of millions of youngsters across the nation, a closer look of Annaji's visit to Chennai revealed lot of hollowness and arrogance  in their top leadership.  Many people like me, who have been supporting IAC right from the beginning felt that Anna Hazare ji is more boxed by few coterie and selfish people.  Annaji, due to his age (74) not able to  do anything.  I share with you some of my first hand information.


Insulting rural leader


1.  The young volunteers team had planned to introduce Anna ji through Mr Elango, Former President of Koothappakkam Panchayat (a national award winner for creating model village).  Particularly when the regional channels were telecasting live throughout Tamilnadu and because Annaji was focussing on rural development in his speech, this gesture could have sent a right signal to all the rural Tamilnadu.  It appears, in the last minute, the top leaders of IAC at Chennai did not favour a rural man to introduce Annaji and preferrred to show their face through channels.  Mr Elango had come to the venue with his rural people.  But he was not even given the opportunity by the top leaders even to meet Annaji.


Selfish interest of a  bollywood person suppressed public interest.


2.  While Annaji had arrived at 11 AM to Chennai, he was straight taken from Airport to a preview theatre to watch a movie on Gandhi.  Though, there were requests from Chennai Team and also from Team Anna to postpone the viewing of film after meeting the press and the public, this was not allowed by the Secretary of Anna Hazareji.  It appears, the personal interest of some film producer connected with bollywood had taken precedence over Annaji's meeting with the public and press.  Chennai volunteers blame Mr Suresh, the Private Secretary of Annaji for this decision.  They say that Mr Suresh is all powerful and controls what Annaji has to do.


 Losing an opportunity to address Tamilnadu people


3.  Though, the volunteers team wanted to hold the press conference with Annaji at Chennai Press Club  immediately after his arrival, due to this film show, the press conference  was planned at 2.30 PM at the venue of the public meeting.  Though, all the national and regional channels were holding their camera for live telecast at 2.30 PM, announcement came from Team Anna that Annaji was taking rest due the earlier film show, where  he was sitting through and asked the local team to postpone the press meet to 5.30 PM, after completion of public meeting.  Since the arrangement was perfectly made in a secluded place at 2.30 PM for the  press conference, this sudden change caused lot of disappointment to the media.  Team Anna lost a great opportunity to convey their message to entire Tamilnadu live through various channels. To please a bollywood person, they sacrificed a nice opportunity to address Tamilnadu people.


Arrogant behaviour of Kiran Bedi in public


4.  Kiran Bedi who was present along with Annaji  visibly behaved in an arrogant manner with every body, including media.  She was even shouting at the cameras of the media.  While Annaji was on stage, she even had the audacity to say that India Against Corruption movement was started by her along with Arvind Kejriwal and that   Annaji joined later as third person.  Kiran Bedi's behaviour was not liked by many people in the crowd.  Even during the Press Conference held after the public meeting and also during the closed door meeting with NGOs, Kiran Bedi was dominating the entire show. The entire Tamilnadu was watching her arrogance through live telecast.  Even the questions put to Annaji was responded by her, without allowing Annaji to speak.  It gave an impression that Annaji was being used as a show piece to project the individual image of few persons.  


Lack of connectivity to the audience


5. For the first time, they are visiting southern states after the launch of IAC.  Already, people in the south, particularly in Tamilnadu have been considering this movement only as a North Indian movement.  The movement is yet to reach villages and smaller towns. During Annaji's visit, there was a great opportunity to IAC to take the message to villages, since three major Tamil Channels were telecasting live.  Though the young volunteers team had made arrangements for translation line by line from Hindi to Tamil, the top leaders of IAC on the stage did not allow the translation. 


When Annaji rose to speak, an announcement was made that there would not be a translation in Tamil.  Immediately, Annaji started talking in Hindi.  All the channels, who were telecasting, got perplexed.  One of them even stopped telecasting for want of translation, as the rural tamilnadu cannot understand Hindi.  The audience could not understand his Hindi and they became restless.  Some of them started leaving the venue.  After 20 minutes, in a hurry, an arrangement was made to get the Hindi speech translated into Tamil.  Many of the media people and the public felt that it was a sign of 'arrogance' by IAC leaders who were sitting on the stage.  Today's newspapers have also reported about this 'mess up'.


Even when Annaji was speaking, he did not do a home work.  He was speaking as if he was speaking in Maharashtra.  Probably, he did not have enough experience of addressing such massive people in the South or other states.  Team Anna, instead of thrusting their views on the public, could have done some homework on the various aspects of the states, where they are addressing.  


While talking about the second freedom movement, Annaji quoted the first freedom struggle. In that context, he started quoting only the names of North Indian freedom fighters.  Instead, he could have mentioned the names of great freedom fighters of Tamilnadu and got the claps. 


While many of the people who attended the meeting admired Annaji's passion, they disliked the behaviour  of the top leaders of IAC showing arrogance in public even before the media.


Meeting with friends of IAC


6. After the public meeting, IAC, Chennai had organised meeting with 'Friends of IAC'.  They had invited few retired top bureaucrats and some of the social workers who are doing great job silently, to interact with Annaji.  Even during that meeting, Kiran Bedi was dominating in the scene.  Even when some of the senior people were giving their views in the closed-door meeting, they were not listening properly and thrusted their views.


One Mr Balasubramanian (aged 60), a tea stall owner. who has been spearheading a movement called 'Kodambakam 2020' along with hundreds of youngsters was also one of the invitees.  A few months back, on hearing about him, Dr Abdul Kalam invited Balasubramanian to meet him.  Dr Kalam made a reference about his passion when he was visiting Sanfransisco.  Balasubramanian looks very simple.  Balasubramanian asked Annaji a question. "Annaji, today around ten thousand people have visited the public meeting of their own accord.  They are passionate people.  How do you plan to make use of them".  Though, it was addressed to Annaji, Kiran Bedi took the mike and asked him, "Sir, do you know  who is your MLA? do you know who is your MP?  If you do not know, why are you asking this question".  Mr Balasubramanian could not understand the connection between his question and Kiran Bedi's counter question.  


Being a simple man, he did not argue and sat. But he felt insulted by the behaviour of Kiran Bedi. The same simple looking person, who was invited by Dr Abdul Kalam few months back for discussion, was insulted by Kiran Bedi without even bothering to know about the background.  I am just sharing this in public, how Kiran Bedi has behaved arrogantly even with a simple looking social worker.


How volunteers react?


7.  As one of the admirers of Annaji, i felt sad by the behaviour of people around him.  I contacted few of the volunteers who were working for this event for the past many days, taking leave of absence from their office.  Even they shared lot of things.  There seems to be no representation from Chennai in the core team of IAC at national level.  Annaji made an announcement openly in the public meeting, that they were adding members from south.  There is an active volunteers team at Chennai.  They want the core team members with 'impeccable integrity' and without any 'selfish motive' to be selected in consultation with volunteers, instead of nominating one more coterie.  


Conclusion


I had a very great view on the IAC and its functions.  Annaji's visit to Chennai has shown visibly, how arrogant their top leaders, how they give scant respect for the local sentiments, how they do not want to listen to others and want others only listen to them. I also observed 'selfish interest' dominated over the 'public interest'.


I strongly feel, that Annaji is 'boxed' by few dominating leaders like Kiran Bedi, who never allowed Annaji to give answers to media.  
Millions of people  in this country have shown faith on the integrity of Annaji.   On behalf of millions of admirers of Annaji, i request IAC to debate within themselves and come out clean.  


While they preach 'transparency' to the Government, they should be more 'transparent' and show to the world.


Jai Hind

Monday, December 12, 2011

Proper energy mix only can lead to energy independence

PodUniversal Edition 144
In the recent weeks, the protesters of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project have been demanding the closure of all nuclear projects in India and to generate power through other resources. In order to understand the feasibility and suitability for Indian conditions, we had a discussion with Mr V Ponraj, Advisor to former Indian President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.  Mr Ponraj, along with Dr Kalam has visited all the Nuclear Power Stations in India and few of the major Reactors in other countries.  Mr Ponraj has been assisting Dr Abdul Kalam now, to prepare the vision documents.  We have also earlier published the 39 page report of Dr Abdul Kalam on the Indian energy status and the safety of Kudankulam projects in our Tamil blog.  
Present energy status in India
Presently India is generating around 1.50 lakh MW of Power from different sources.   Out of this, 89% of electricity is generated out of natural resources like coal (56%), water (25%), wind (5%), Solar (0.2%) and nuclear (3%).  The balance of 11% power is generated out of gas and oil.  
Future requirement
As per Goldman Sachas Report, BRIC Nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) may contribute to 49% of the world economy by 2020 from the present level of 36%.  India is growing at a rate of 9 to 10% per annum.  This development will increase the need for more electricity.  At this rate, by 2020, India may need around 4.00 lakh MW of power and by 2030, we may need 9.50 MW of power.  
Environment pollution through power generation
Presently, every year, the entire world is generating 30 billion tons of 'Greenhouse Gas', which pollutes the environment.  Of this nearly 26% is generated through electricity generation, as per IPCC report.  Such environment pollution leads to global warming and change of climate. 
Annually around 20 lakh people die in the world due to environment pollution and 1.40 lakh die due to climate changes.  This includes the death of around 5.50 lakh people annually due to the environment pollution caused by power generation. 
Green Energy
Now world over, all the countries are fighting against global warming spending more than 300 billion dollars  to protect the environment.  To the extent possible, they want to avoid power generation using the fuel like coal, gas, oil which may pollute the environment.  Even availability coal may not last long.  Hence, the concept of 'Green Energy' has become popular.  'Green energy'  means, producing electricity using the resources which may not cause pollution.  Only solar, wind and nuclear and bio-fuel  sources can generate green energy.  
Need for energy mix to achieve energy independence.
If a country can produce the electricity fully to their needs from various sources, then it is called 'energy security'.  If the same electricity is generated out of wind, solar, nuclear and bio-fuel, then it is called 'energy independence'.  We need to move from 'energy security' to 'energy independence'.  This is possible only through 'Green energy'. 
Generation of electricity in a country depends on (1) availability of resources like wind, solar, water, coal, uranium,  etc. (2) accessibility to such resources and (3) cost effective technology availability to generate electricity.  
No country can depend on a single source for generation of power for different reasons. It varies from countries to countries.  We may have plenty of resources, but technology may not be available or accessibility to such sources will not be there.  Hence, they need to tap different sources.  Hence, proper 'energy mix' is needed to be planned, basing on the above three factors and also the cost aspect.  
Efficiency of different sources
Presently solar cells have efficiency of 20% and researches are going on to increase the efficiency to 30 to 40%.  This model needs around 10 to 12 crores per MW.
Presently, the efficiency factor for wind energy is around 30% and cost is around 7 to 8 crores per MW.
Currently, the efficiency level for good coal is around 58% and involves the cost aspect of 4 to 5 crores per MW.  
The only energy source which is 100% efficient is the nuclear energy.  This involves the cost of around 6 to 7 crores per MW.
Generally, as said earlier, wind, solar, nuclear and bio-fuel are the cleanest energy sources to produce 'Green energy'.
At this present level, India can generate additionally 80,000 MW through coal, 50,000 MW through water, 55,000 MW through solar sources, 60,000 MW through wind and 50,000 MW through nuclear sources by 2030.  
Kalam-NSS Space Solar energy initiative.
While solar energy is available in the land only for 12 hours, the same energy is available all the time in the space.  This is called 'space solar energy;.  Dr Abdul Kalam has been working on this to generate electricity from space solar, which can benefit the entire world.  For this purposes, National Space Society has set up an research initiative in the name of 'Kalam-NSS Space Solar energy initiative' to research on this.  This is a long term project.  Their aim is to bring energy independence by 2030 by producing only clean/green energy.  
Podcast of Mr V Ponraj
In this context, we had a discussion with Mr V Ponraj, Advisor to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.  Please watch/listen to his interesting conversation. (10 minutes).
This can also be watched from the following link.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

How to manage the competition through 'competitive intelligence'?

After the globalisation, every company is competing with each other to secure their share of business.  Even the countries are competing with each other to get other's market.
In spite of the huge population and non-transparent communist Government, China is now competing globally with US and other European countries.  Even India is looking at China as a major competitor.
What makes China to become globally powerful?  Is it their product capability only?  The major reason for China's success is the 'competitive intelligence'.
During the recent visit to India, Prof. Muralidharan of Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Sydney in an exclusive interview for PodUniversal explained in detail about the secrets behind China's success story.  He even suggested that instead of looking at China as a competitor, India needs to develop partnership with them.
"Instead of fearing about the competition, learn from the competitors", he said.  In the conversation, he also explained the concepts of business intelligence and the competitive intelligence.  He regretted that Indian companies do not attach much importance to the competitive intelligence, to manage the competition.
He visited India recently, to conduct a workshop at Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai and we have also covered about this workshop in detail in our earlier posting.
Prof. Muralidharan can be reached at murali2000@hotmail.com
Please listen to his interview (8 minutes)
This podcast interview may also be listened form the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8eY2wWhIQA

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Fear of Koodangulam project is unfounded - Scientific facts

Dr Abdul Kalam and Mr V Ponraj
Now Koodangulam Nuclear Power station is facing crisis.  After an investment of Rs.15,000 crores and work of more than a decade, this nuclear power station is ready to produce 2000 MW of power within a month or two.  When the production is to start in a few weeks, some of the activists along with villagers have been protesting against the nuclear power station.  They have even met the Prime Minister and requested him to close down the power station.  They are creating the fear among the villagers that this nuclear power station may also generate radiation and cause death, if an earthquake or Tsunami happens in future, like Japan's Fukushima. 


With this background, on behalf of our group, I interviewed Mr V Ponraj, Advisor to Dr Abdul Kalam former President of India.  Mr Ponraj is also a well known scientist.  Mr Ponraj explains  the scientific facts about nuclear energy.  Excerpt from the interview.

Q: Villagers have fear about Koodangulam project.  They fear that the radiation may cause death, if earthquake or tsunami happens in future.  They are quoting Japan's recent Fukushima example.   What is your view?


A:  Koodangulam and Kalpakkam are in earthquake zone No 2 with lower risk of earthquake.  Nowhere in the world, earthquake zone 2 has suffered any major earthquake leading to death so far.  Japan's Fukushima is in earthquake zone 5.  Besides, the japan power plant belongs to generation 1, constructed 40 years back.  Since Earthquake and Tsunami happened simultaneously, the power plant got affected.  That power plant had the backup of only 8 hours of power supply.   Hundreds of people died only because of earthquake and tsunami.  As per the report, not even one person died out of radiation due to the Fukkushima Accident.  A wrong propaganda is being spread in India by some vested interests against Koodangulam safety quoting Fukushima. 

Koodangulam is in Earthquake zone 2, which is less prone to heavy earthquake.     The Tsunamigenic plate (Sunda ARC) is located 1500 KM Southwest away from Koodangulam.  Even if Tsunami  orginates due to severe earthquake in that Sunda ARC region , it may not have serious impact at Koodangulam since it is not located straight to that tsunamigenic plate, it is located in a very safe place in the eastern side where it is  protected by Srilanka island.  Even in the 2004 Tsunami, the impact on Koodangulam  was less.

since the direct impact can only hit Nagapattinam, it hit that location  in 2004.    It was because, 2004 Tsunami was the cause of the earthquake originated in Indonesia/Sumatra in the eastern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire – Tsunamigenic plate.  Hence there is no question of Earthquake beyond 6 Ricter scale and Tsunami happening at Koodankulam site.  These fears are unfounded.  Even if earthquake and tsunami happens the Koodankulam is built to withstand both. 

Further, the 'spent fuel', is being stored 20 feet below the earth level in a two level protected  concrete structure with 1.20 meter thick walls with a gap of 6 feet and then another wall covering that. Even assuming an earthquake of Richter scale 6 happens, it may not affect the storage of the spent fuel complex.  The spent fuel is not mixed with sea, as propagated.  No waste or spent fuel is mixed with sea. It is only the coolant water, which does not have any radiation except the 5 degree warm temperature is released to the sea, which is well within the limits of 7 degree. The research studies conducted by 7 reputed institutions have proved that there is no threat to the marine life due to this water release. 

While Japan Fukushima had only 8 hours of power supply, Koodangulam has the provision for more than 400 times of requirement of alternate power supply.  Besides, we can run the power station for many number of days with diesel also in case of emergency.  Now in India, all the nuclear power stations are in the process of getting upgraded to 3rd and 4th generation model.  

Any nuclear power station can be built in any part of the world, only after lot of clearances.  Now the rules are stringent.  Government will invest such huge sums of money, only after the approval by various scientific bodies and regulatory bodies.  

The fears of certain Koodangulam representatives are unfounded and not based on scientific views.  They can be rest assured that this power station is very very safe.

Q:  What is the present status of power stations and what are the plans for future?  

A: Presently, India  is generating only 60% of its total requirement as on today, that means we are able to produce only around 150,000 MW of power.  By 2020, India may need to generate 4 lakh MW of power.  

Of this 1.50 lakh MW production of power, India produces only 4750 MW through 20 nuclear power stations.  That means only around 2.8 percent is produced through nuclear power stations.  Rest are from thermal, hydro, wind and solar sources.  

By 2020, India plans to produce 50,000 MW under  nuclear source, 60,000 MW under  wind, 55,000 MW under  thermal, 50,000 MW under  hydro and 50,000 MW under solar sources.  India is generating power from different sources.  
To generate 1 MW of power under hydro, we need an investment of  approximately Rs.3 crores,   for thermal, we need approximately around Rs. 4 crores,  for nuclear, we need 6 to 7 crores crores; for solar, we need 12 crores and for wind, we need 7 to 8 crores.  

Nuclear power is clean and does not pollute the environment and it is carbon-dioxide CO2 free.   To put things into perspective, imagine a kilometer long train, with about 50 freight bogies, all fully laden with the most typical fossil fuel – about 10,000 tonnes of coal. The same amount of energy can be generated by amount 500 kg  of Type-1 fuel naturally occurring Uranium (contains 3.5 kg Uranium-235 fuel), enough to barely fill the boot of a small car.

We can not depend on coal endlessly.  It is found that availability of coal reserve in the world will last only for 30 years.  Power generation through hydro, solar and wind sources is highly dependent on the monsoon.    Only nuclear power can be produced endlessly.  

India has  the second largest thorium deposit in the world.  Within a decade or two, we will graduate to thorium.  Our scientists are already on the job.  That will help us to generate more power. 


Q:  How other developed countries use the nuclear energy?  Activists report that France is shutting  down their nuclear power stations for safety reasons.  Is it right?

A: The developed countries are power surplus countries. We are a power deficit country. Hence there is a lot of difference to achieve the target of total energy requirement in various available forms in india  compared to our economic growth rate of 9% to 10% for the next 10 years. 

Many of the developed countries like US, France have surplus power.  US is generating 1.50 lakh MW power through nuclear energy and it constitutes around 19% of the total power generation. 

France is generating 0.50 lakh MW power through nuclear sources.  It is 74% of their power generation.  Unlike India, France is more dependent on nuclear power.  (India has only 2.8%).  Also, they are generating surplus power. Japan generates 0.30 lakh MW nuclear power (29% of their total power generation). Germany is generating 0.5. lakh MW nuclear power (28% of their power generation).  

Germany decided to phase out nuclear power by 2022, not because of the fear out of Fukkushima accident, but they have exhausted the uranium resource. Out of 3400 tonnes of their uranium requirement, now they are able to mine only 68 tonnes, the rest is being imported.  Hence in their energy security policy, uranium import found to be not cost effective beyond 2022, rather they can very well use the other forms of energy generation from their own natural resources.   Hence every country is free to decide their own energy security requirement, india is trying to achieve energy independence through its own policy. 

You cannot ask India  to follow the models of other countries, just because they are doing differently. Every country is unique based on their economic development and growth.  The power surplus countries are growing only at 2% to 4% GDP growth rate, while India is growing at 9%,GDP growth rate in spite of the power shortage. We should not compare with other countries, as other countries have different production capacity. None of these countries are shutting down their nuclear stations for the fear of  safety reasons.

Q: How to remove the fear of villagers about the nuclear energy and radiation?

A: As I said earlier, the fear of local people are unfounded, it is created.  Nuclear energy is a clean energy without polluting the environment.

Japan suffered US bombing during world war.  That was uncontrolled nuclear energy.  But nuclear power stations are 'controlled nuclear energy'.
  
All the electronic gadgets like TV, computers, mobile phones, etc. are also generating radiation.  We have learnt to manage these radiations.  

The Government and Media should remove the fears of the local people through scientific facts and explaining them in the way they understand.  Indian scientists are of world class and highly patriotic.  They will not do anything, which can harm the nation.  Just like we go to a professional doctor and accept the suggestions prescribed by him with belief, we should also trust our  own scientists who are respected world over and leave the job to them.  

I also suggest to visit the site and go throughthe contents.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

'competitive intelligence' is essential to manage competition

One group  working on competitive strategies in the 'War  Game'.
Prof. Prakash Sai (IIT) and Prof. Murali Dharan (MGSM) looking on
Department of Management Studies (Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai) jointly with Madras Management Association and Macquarie Graduate School of Management (Macquarie University, Sydeny) organised a two-day workshop for the senior corporate executives on 'Business and Corporate Intelligence" on 28th and 29th October 2011.  

In the highly competitive world, all the companies are required to compete globally to fight for their space.  Before preparing for the competition, the companies need to spend enough time to know about their competitors also.  This is known as 'competitive intelligence'. It should be done in a legal and ethical way.  It is reported that many of the Indian Corporates do not take the 'competitive intelligence' seriously and hence they lose many good projects. China is one of the good examples of using competitive intelligence and hence, they are dominating in the world as a powerful nation. 


Probably for the first time in India (since no data is available), IIT has organised this workshop to create an awareness about 'competitive intelligence among the Indian Corporates. .


As part of the workshop, they also organised a 'War Game'.  They divided the participants into four groups.  Each group represented one major existing company viz. Infosys, TCS, Accenture and IBM.  The groups were given before hand the real profile of each company and they were also advised to collect more details about their company and their competitors through various other sources.  


An Imaginary Government e-Health project worth of 10 billion dollars, spread over 10 years was given as the project for 'bidding'.  The groups have to prepare their competitive strategies based on their strength and the competitors' strength.  


Finally, all the groups were made to present their strategies for evaluation.  The concept of 'War Game' can also be used in the training workshops.  It is reported that some of the major MNCs use this 'War Game' concept within themselves, to understand more about their competitors.  Some of their own employees will be made to represent their competitors in their 'in-house war game'. 


At this stage, I am reminded of a Thirukkural, by Saint Thiruvalluvar who wrote this following couplet 2000 years back.  This Thirukkural summarises how modern day corporates can manage the competition.


வினை வலியும் தன் வலியும் மாற்றான் வலியும் 
துணை வலியும் தூக்கிச்செயல் -  Thirukkural 471


(Before undertaking any task, weigh judiciously (1) the nature of the task on hand, (2) your own strength, (3) Competitor's strength and (4) the strength of your support team, allies and partners.)


PodUniversal Edition 142


This Thirukkural shows, how important is the 'Competitive intelligence' before undertaking any task.  Please watch 8 minutes interview on this workshop.

This video may also be watched from http://youtu.be/6eouWvA7IlM

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sabarmati Ashram, the key place where Mahatma Gandhi took historic decisions

Mahatma Gandhi's room, where he used to meet
the visitors.  Only in this room many historic decisions
relating to freedom struggle were taken

PodUniversal Edition 141
After returning from South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi  set up a Satyagraha Ashram at Kocharab at Ahamedabad on 25th May 1915.  The Ashram was then shifted to the banks of river Sabarmati on 17th June 1917.  At that time, Mahatma said,  "This is the right place for our activities to carry on the search for truth and develop fearlessness, for on one side are the iron bolts of the foreigners, and on the other the thunderbolts of Mother Nature."
As predicted by Mahatma, this place proved to be the most significant place during the freedom struggle.  Many national leaders like Pandit Nehru, Vinobha ji, Sardar Patel, Rajaji have visited this place and took historic decisions.  
Mahatma lived in this Ashram till 12th March 1930.  On that day, he started his famous Dandi Salt Satyagraha Yatra from this place with 78 freedom fighters protesting against the tax levied by British rule on Salt.  This Dandi March and the simultaneous march led by Shri Rajaji in the South were important events in ths history of Indian freedom struggle and galvanised the people.  More than 60,000 freedom fighters courted arrest and their properties were seized by the British Government.
Mahatma Gandhi decided to disband the Ashram on 22nd July 1933, as many of the freedom fighters were in Jails.  Thereafter, the local people, took the initiative of preserving the Ashram as monument.  On 10th May 1963, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated the Gandhi Museum and it was made as a National monument.  Till date, this historic place is being preserved well, in the original condition, to provide inspiration for the future generation.
When Mahatma left this Ashram on 12th March 1930 for Dandi Yatra, he vowed to return to Ashram only after India's freedom.  Unfortunately, due to partition and communal riots, Mahatma could not even participate in the Independence day celebrations at Delhi.
Since he was assasinated in 1948, he could not visit the Sabarmati Ashram again during his life time.
Sabarmati Ashram is an important place, which provided inspiration to Mahatma Gandhi to plan and initiate the freedom movement.  Every Indian citizen should visit this place atleast once in his life time.
Please watch a brief video (6 minutes) on the Sabarmati Ashram.

This video may also be viewed from
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkpcJgiU08M

Monday, August 22, 2011

Make Lokpal as Constitutional Authoiry to fight corruption

PodUniversal Edition 140
As I publish this Podcast, Anna Hazare's fast has entered 7th day and many youth in India have come on streets demanding Jan Lokpal bill to be accepted by the Government of India.  Already the Government has introduced Lokpal bill in the Parliament.  Jan Lokpal Bill provides more teeth to fight corruption.
With this background, I spoke to Mr Era Sezhiyan, a well known octogenarian Parliamentarian and Mr T S Krishna Murthy, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India to get their views on this bill.
Both of them are of the view that Lokpal is to be made as a Constitutional Authority like Supreme Court, CAG and Election Commission.  For this purpose, they suggest a constitutional amendment to be introduced in the Parliament, instead of a bill for an Act.  Also, Mr Krishna Murthy says that CVC and CBI are to be brought under Lokpal to fight corruption.
Please listen to their views in the Podcast (6 minutes).
This audio may also be listened from the following link.  If you want to download this audio, right click this link and save to your desktop as MP3 file. (5 MB) 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Many youngsters on indefinite fast at Chennai supporting JanLokpal since 16th August.

37 young professionals and students are on indefinite fast at IAC, Chennai for the fourth day in support of Jan Lokpal and Anna Hazare.  This includes ten college students who are in the age group of 18 and 19.  Yesterday (18th Aug 2011), I visited the venue where India Against Corruption volunteers were fasting at Chennai.  Besides, more than 50 persons were fasting on a relay fast.  
Screen shot of fourth day (19 August 2011) at 10 AM taken
through the live stream at www.iacchennai.org
There were hundreds of volunteers, who were shouldering various responsibilities like lie stream, taking care of people who were on fast, attending to media and VIPs, creating public awareness, etc. meticulously.  When I visited the venue on the third day morning, more than 5000 volunteers had already registered.
I spoke to few of the youngsters who were fasting from 16th August 2011 onwards, when Anna Hazare was arrested.  Even though, they were visibly looking tired because of three days continuous fast, they spoke to me energetically that they would not stop the fast, until the Government accepts the Jan Lokpal bill.
I made a podcast feature on the third day event by IAC Chennai.  I also took the interviews from these brave, patriotic, UnSung heroes.  Please watch this video. (6 minuts)
This video may also be viewed from

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Government Lokpal bill vs Jan Lok Pal bill - What are the differences?

PodUniversal Edition 138
Government of India has now introduced the Lokpal Bill 2011 in the Parliament recently in the monsoon session.  'India Against Corruption' team lead by Anna Hzare has rejected the draft of the Lokpal bill.  They have demanded a more powerful Lokpal bill to be passed by Parliament.  They have also drafted a 'Jan Lokpal bill' and circulated among the people. The Lokpal bill envisages to eradicate  the corruption and punish the corrupt people.
Now the Indian media is debating the difference between these two drafts.  Meanwhile, Anna Hazare team is planning to start an indefinite fast from 16th August 2011, to force the Government to make the Lokpal bill more meaningful.
It is quite interesting to note that under the recommendations of Administrative Reforms Commission, the first Lokpal bill was introduced in the 4th Lok Sabha in 1968.  For one or reason or other, the Lokpal bill is not passed by both the houses of Parliament, even after 43 years.  Now with the emergence of various scams like 2G, CWG, etc. this Lokpal bill assumes greater significance in India, to eradicate corruption.
There is a lot of confusion among the common men, about the real differences between the Government bill and Jan Lokpal bill.  To inorder to get the real insight,  we interviewed Dr Bhavana Upadyaya, a communication teacher and professional.  She was educated at US and was working in New Mexico University as a lecturer in communication.  She has been living in US for the past 10 years.  On hearing about the corruption issues in India, she returned to India to join the 'India Against Corruption' movement along with Anna Hazare and fight against the corruption.
In an exclusive interview to PodUniversal, she has explained the major differences between these two drafts.  Please listen to her interview by clicking play button. (7 minutes).
This interview may also be listened from
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiCRncalg2w

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cyber espionage is the greatest threat to Corporates globally

PodUniversal Edition 137
In the earlier days, Corporate espionage used to be a mild threat to successful companies.  The competitors or enemies used to follow some traditional methods of planting their people in the target company as a regular employee, verifying the dust bin, etc.
Now the with technological growth, all the corporate houses are using computers and network.  All the important data is stored in the internal server, which is also connected to the network.  Even the top companies do not follow the cyber security procedures properly.
In order to sensitise the corporates on the 'cyber security' issue,  on behalf of PodUniversal, we spoke to Mr J Prasanna, CEO, AVS Labs.  Mr Prasanna is one of the Cyber Security experts.  According to him, cyber espionage takes place through (1) Email system (2) Company Websites and (3) Internal server.  Mr Prasanna also says that every month 20 to 30 top companies in India are targetted and more than 3000 mails are being watched.  He also adds that very unfortunately, many corporates do not know even that they are being targetted.  In such circumstances, all the companies need to strengthen their 'cyber security' and train their technical professionals to counter such espionage.
Please watch this interview by clicking 'play' button. (6 m 40 sec)
This video may also be watched from the following link.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Job opportunities in healthcare 'Revenue cycle management' - Ajuba CEO exclusive

US entrepreneurs nowadays have started preferring India for setting up their business units.  Though many countries are in the race, India is the most preferred country for them, because of 'english speaking' workforce, commitment, stability of democracy and judiciary, etc. 
Mr Tony Mira, CEO, Ajuba Group
Last week, I had the opportunity of meeting Mr Tony Mira, President and CEO of MiraMed, a Michigan (USA) based company.  MiraMed owns Ajuba International in USA and Ajuba Solutions in India.  Ajuba group is a 'healthcare revenue cycle management' company.  They service 25 US based leading companies in healthcare. He was on a short visit to India. 
Revenue cycle management involves medical coding, medical billing. transaction processing, and Account Receivable (AR) follow up, etc.  Due to strict regulations in US, this job involves more level of complexities.  
According to Mr Tony Mira, around 1800 employees are working in Chennai. India is a good destination for US companies for setting up 'Revenue cycle management' outsourcing centres for healthcare.  More such business opportunities are available from all over the world, besides US, Ajuba plans to increase their workforce to 4000 by 2014.Ajuba is also rated as one of the top 25 ' Great places' to work in India. 
In an exclusive interview with me for PodUniversal, Mr Tony Mira said that there is a great career prospects  for Indian youth in this field.  The potential candidates should hold minimum of a gradulation with good spoken and written skills in English.  They should also possess good analytical skils, as the job involves complex transactions.  Since Revenye Cycle Management job involves some improved skills, the compensation is also higher than the other outsourcing companies.  In addition, the candidates get the opportunity for certification and training and developing domain expertise. 
Interested suitable candidates may also send their CV to them at careers@ajubanet.net
Please watch the interview with Mr Tony Mira (5 m 38s)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) advises all banks to follow information security norms

Cyber Society of India (CySI), a non-profit organisation formed to create cyber law/security awareness organised an one-day workshop on cyber crimes and cyber security at University of Madras premises, Chennai.  Mr N S Vishwanathan, Regional Director, Reserve Bank of India, Chennai inaugurated the workshop and also explained in brief the guidelines given by 'Gopalakrishna Commitee Report' to the banks on information security.  
Mr N Vittal (left) receives the Life Time Achievement Award
from Mr N S Vishwanathan
Mr N Vittal, Former Central Vigilance Commissioner of India was honoured with 'Life Time Achievement Award'.  Mr P W C Davidar IAS, who was earlier the IT Secretary of Government of Tamilnadu and the first Adjudicator of Tamilnadu  under Information Technology Act was also conferred with 'CySI Fellowship'.
Many experts from Reserve Bank of India, commercial banks, IT industry shared their views in the workshop on the various challenges faced by the consumers in the electronic banking and the urgent need to step up the information security.
Immediately after the inauguration, we interviewed Mr N S Vishwanathan, Regional Director, Reserve Bank of India in the corridors of the University on the 'Gopalakrishna Committee Report'.  
For the information of readers, Reserve Bank of India set up a working group in April 2010 under the chairmanship of Mr G Gopalakrishna, presently Executive Director of Reserve Bank of India to look into the various aspects of Information security and suggest guidelines to all the banks in India.  Accordingly, the Committee submitted its report to RBI, who accepted the report.  The Committee report was circulated to all the banks on 29th April 2011 for impelmentation.  The report may be downloaded by 'right clicking this link and saving to your desktop'.
This 174 page report gives more responsibility on the banks to implement information security systems and also to educate the customers on ebanking.   Please listen to the interview of Mr N S Vishwanathan, who explains the various aspects of this report in brief (5 minutes).

Please watch the photo stream of the workshop.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What is Aadhaar? How to get Unique Identification Number?

PodUniversal Edition 134
Aadhaar is a 12 digit identification number, issued by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to all the residents of India.  In the recent days, it is being talked about in the media. UIDAI has named this Unique Identification Number as 'Aadhaar', which means 'foundation' or 'base' in many Indian languages. This Aadhaar is going to be the base for many things in future, to all the residents.
Though it is being talked about in media, many people do not know about the Unique Identification Number, how it is being issued, How to get this number, etc.  In order to provide such basic information, on behalf of PodUniversal, we inerviewed Mr K K Sharma, Asst. Director General of UIDAI. You may listen to his interview by clicking 'play' button in the flash player. (8 minutes).
For more information about Aadhar, please also visit their site http://uidai.gov.in/
This interview may also listened from the following link

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Quality Circle - A two-way communication tool to resolve problems in organisations

PodUniversal Edition 133
'Quality Circle' is a tool developed by Japan in early 1980s, to involve the employees and to develop two way communication model.  Many of the Indian manufacturing Companies in India, like TVS Group, Ashok Leyland, Maruti, etc. started encouraging 'Quality Circle' in their companies even in the early 1980s.  
Quality Circle is a two-way communication tool, to identity and resolve the problems in the organisations.  The commitment and involvement of the management is higly essential in the formation of Quality Circle. Quality Circle is a small group of voluntary members coming together to identify and resolve the problems in any organisation.
Quality Circle can be formed for any purposes, where identification and resolution are needed.  Maximum number of members in the Quality Circle can be 10, to be more effective.  There will be a 'facilitator' on behalf of the management to be the bridge between the top management and the quality circle.  The members will elect a 'leader' and 'deputy leader' among themselves to coordinate the activities.
Quality Circle meetings will be held during 'office hours' only.  An organisation can have any number of Quality Circles, depending on the need.
In the first stage, management encourages the formation of 'Quality Circle' in every department, out of the volunteers.  Nobody should be compelled to be part of the Quality Circle, and it is purely voluntary, irrespective of their cadre and position.   Then the Quality Circle members will elect their leader and deputy leader.  
In the next stage, they will identity the problems in their own department and prioritise the issues.  After identification of issues and prioritisation  they will take the problems one by one for solving.  Through brain storming techniques, the group will try to find the best solution for the problems. 
V K Venkataramani
Many of the traidtional companies have been encouraging this Quality Circle concept.  It is a bottom-top approach and it involves the employees.  The new generation companies also have similar project meetings.  But in most of the cases, they are only 'top-down' approach.  The new generation companies also can try to introduce Quality Circle Concept to resolve their problems.
In an exclusive interview with PodUniversal, Mr V K Venkataramani, one of the Quality Consultants explains the concept and the step by step procedures. Please listen to his interview (5 minutes) by clicking the 'play' button in the player.

The interview also may be listened from the following link


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