Friday, February 29, 2008

Billions of Entrepreneurs

“It is somewhat embarrassing to remember the many days I walked past Machimmar Village on my way to my daily tennis games. Dressed tin tennis whites, I was blissfully oblivious to the vast disparity between my life of privilege and the poverty of the mothers I passed along the way carrying baskets of fish and squirming naked children. How preposterous it was that a poor village could coexist with Bombay’s premier real estate and that it could be only a matter of time, at least in my mind, before one of them (read Machimaar village) would have to go. Yet nearly three decades later, both Cuffe Parade and machimaar village are unchanged. While Cuffe Parade remains one of the country’s most expensive real estates, home to the rich and famous, thousands of fisherfolk still make their living by casting their nets form Machimaar village into the waters of the Arabian Sea.”

“ In 2007 I reenacted my boyhoodretired, stroll past the fishing village. Ramnath, a wizened sixty-year-old, claimed to have lived in the village for forty years, and had retired, soft of. His son still fished daily, his wife took the catch to the local market, and he helped out by cleaning and drying the fish. Although Ramnath’s family earned just Rs. 10,000 per month ($250), they managed to make ends meet. How? As part of the “informal sector” they paid no taxes, they ate what they caught, they paid no rent for their makeshift home, and they put nothing aside for a future that seemed impossible utopian to plan for given their day-to-day existence.”

“Why don’t you move away?” I asked Ramnath.
“Why would we? We have the best view in the city!” he replied. Indeed they overlooked the same seashore and cityscape as some of the best-heeled citizens of Mumbai. “And,” he added, tongue-firmly-in –cheek, “we have the Ambanis as our neighbors,.” The Ambani family is India’s first family of the nouveau riche. Its founder, Dahiubai, built a fortune in petrochemicals, and his two heirs, Mukesh and Anil, independently launched their own Ramnath we were joined by a young mother named Usha, carrying a baby on her hip. “This is a great place,” she told me. “I hope I can settle here. I’ am moving here from a coastal village in Maharashtra where things are pretty bad. I hope I can get into the dhandha.” Dhandha is Hindi for “trade” and refers to the fishing trade.”
Tarun Khanna in Billions of Entrepreneurs

South Asian Review

“The Place of Dalit Women in Dalit Aesthetics and Literature
Vijaya Singh Government College for Men, Chandigarh, India

“Dalit women have been the silent, suffering minority in the works of both upper-caste and Dalit male writer. Denied a voice, the Dalit women withers away at the margins of such literature. Dalit women are oppressed both by men from the upper caste and men from their own community. This twice-over oppression from casteism and patriarchy has not drawn enough attention from male Dalit writer. If Dalit writers accuse the upper castes of denying them a voice the same may be said of the Dalit women who have been denied voice and a presence in the concerns of the Dalit literary critic. As Susie Tharusays, “the Dalit women’s beauty and sexuality are for the Dalit man not sources of jay but of anxiety and emasculation.”

“In this paper I attempt to look at the short story collection Harum-Scarum Saar and Other Stories and the novel Sangati Events by the well-known Tamil Dalit weiter Bama. Both her books not only bring to light the plight of the Dalits, more som somen, but also introduce a playful element in Dalit Literary criticism by using laughter-as against only rage and despair of the male Dalit critics-as a weapon against the dominant Brahmanical order. If “pain and suffering” are declared by Sharan Kumar Limbale in his Toward an aesthetics of dalit literature as the basis for an aesthetics devices in the fight against caste and gender oppression. What is more, her novel Sangati Events is not about the single self, but about a community’s self and in that sense challenges the very notion of novel writing and creates a unique collective narrative. My paper will look at the growth of Dalit aesthetics and the place of Dalit women in post-independent India with special reference to Bama’s work.”

The Publication of the south Asian Literary Association in South Asian Review

History of (Bengali Muslim) Sexuality in Literary Culture
“Sexuality in Bengal Muslim literary texts came mainly in three form: religiosity, obscenity, and prohibition. In The World of Muslim Women in Colonial Bengal, Amin mentions that the Islamic discourse on sexuality had evolved from the texts written by Persian Islamic theorists like Imam Bukhari and Ghazali. According to Ghazali’s theory, women is a progressive yet “negative force capable of destroying the social order by unleashing chaose.” Man on the other hand, is a passive agent working to keep the society in order by ensuring the satisfaction of a “women’s sexual needs through the regulated and legitimate channel of marriage” (66). Bukahri’s book was about “Hadith”
(the religious instructions of the prophet) while Ghazali book dealt with the regulations of women’s sexuality. By the early nineteenth century, Bengali translation of Bukahri and Ghazali Became popular, inspiring the Bengali Muslim clerics to create a genre of conduct books for women in Bengal. Influenced by the Ghazalian theory, religious clerics and male literati stated publishing books on sexual conduct. Bengali clerics then translated the books from Urdu with the intention of enlightening Muslim women about the virtues of domesticity, chastity, piety, and submission (Amin 43).”

“In the eighteenth century, a new genre of sexual texts had already emerged, claiming expertise on ethical aspects of conjugal life. In reality, these texts were nothing but instructional manuals elaborating the various ways of consummating marriage. The texts had titles such as Rati Shastra (Love Manual), or Kama Shastra (Sex Manual), or Nikah Mangal (The Blissful Wedding). This literary tradition eventually paved the way for conduct books for Muslim women (Amin 62-67). The most popular instructional text was Ali Ahmed Arjan’s Lajjatunnesa (1897), which illustrated sexual consummation, described various sexual diseases and the remedies, and reprimanded the faithless women for spreading diseases among men. Amin rightfully comments about this text that Ahmed Arjun was “over anxious to enlighten his male readers of the pleasures of sex as well as the latent dangers therein” (63). This newly formulated genre gained its ultimate popularity in 1905 with the publication of Ashraf Ali Thanawi’s Behesti Zewar, or Heavenly Ornaments. The book, according to Barbara Metcalf, “was meant to be a complete education of a respectable Muslim girl or women” (19). Thanawi’s theory that women.”

The Publication of the South Asian Literary Association in South Asian Review


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Managing Stress

Applying the four –step approach
“One way to break out of the negative stress cycle is to take this four-step approach, which gives you a structure for dealing with stress as it occurs.

Step 1: stop. As soon as you begin to feel stress coming on, say, “Stop!” to yourself. For example, your computer freezes just as you’re trying to finish your presentation, and you feel that rush of anxiety with failure messages flooding into your mind: “The presentation will fail; I’ll be fired.” Block those messages before they can be heard by saying, “Stop!” Repeat the message two more times: “Stop! Stop!”

Step 2: breathe. The next step is to breathe. Take a deep breath, filling your diaphragm with air out. Just as the word “stop” blocks the negative thoughts from your mind, breathing overcomes the tendency to hold your breath when under stress. Focusing on breathing helps you to focus on your stress in a different way. “

Step 3: reflect. By interrupting the pattern of stress and giving yourself energy through breathing, you can now focus on the real problem, the cause of the stress. By reflecting on your stress response, you can begin to distinguish the different levels of thought and to sort out rational from irrational stress reposes. You can see the practical situation more calmly and realistically and distinguish it from the distortions of your anxiety-influenced thoughts.

Step 4: Finally, with your attention now on the practical problem itself, you can choose to find real solutions. For example, after rebooting your computer you may discover that very little material was lost, or that even without the lost material, You’ll still be able to get the information across to your audience using the old-fashioned method of talking it through. What might have seemed a disaster becomes a manageable problem that you were given the power to solve by identifying your options.”

Managing Stress

Essentials of Terrorism Concepts and Controversies

Knowing the Enemy: Intelligence
“Intelligence agencies involve themselves with collecting and analyzing information. The underlying goal is to develop an activity profile of terrorists. Data are collected from overt and covert sources and evaluated by expert intelligence analysts. This process is at the heart of counterterrorist intelligence. The outcome can range from having profiles of terrorist organization to tracking the movement of terrorists. An optimal outcome is to be able to anticipate the behavior of terrorists and thus to predict terrorist incident.”

SIGINT –Signal Intelligence
“ Intelligence collection and analysis in the modern era require the use of sophisticated technological resources. These technological resources are used primarily for the interception of electronic signals – Known as SIGINT. Signal intelligence is used for a variety of purposes, such as intercepting financial data, monitoring communications such as cell phone conversations and reading e-mail messages.

HUMINT- Human Intelligence
“Collecting human intelligence, also to as HUMINT, is often a cooperative venture is a critical component of counterterrorist intelligence gathering. Circumstances may also require covert manipulation of individuals affiliated with terrorist organizations or their support groups, with the objective of convincing them to become intelligence agents. One significant problem with finding resources for human intelligence is that most terrorist cells are made up of individuals who know each other very well. Newcomers are not openly welcomed, and those who may be potential members are usually expected to commit an act of terrorism or other crime to prove their commitment to the cause. In other words, intelligence agencies must be willing to use terrorists to catch terrorist.”

Gus Martin in Essentials of Terrorism Concepts and Controversies

Doris Lessing the Grass is Singing

“Time passed quickly, rushing upwards, as it does in those periods when the various crises that develop and ripen in each life show like hills at the end of a journey, setting a boundary to an era. As there is no limit to the amount of sleep to which the human body can be make to accustom itself, she slept hours every day, so as to hasten time, so as to swallow great gulps of it, waking always with the satisfactory knowledge that she was another few hours nearer deliverance. Indded , she was hardly awake at all, moving about what she did in a dream of hope, a hope that grew so strong as the weeks passed that she would wake in the morning with a sensation of release and excitement, as if something wonderful was going to happen that very day.”

Flamingo Modern Classic in Doris Lessing the Grass is Singing

Rapid Transformation

“Cross-functional rapid response teams, hereafter referred to simply as either cross-functional teams or rapid response teams, are the heart of the transformation effort, and their importance cannot be overemphasized. Not only do they accelerate the transformation effort, but rapid response teams also get employees throughout the company involved and increase the effectiveness of the transformation effort.”

“Traditionally, transformation efforts are organized and run by an army of external consultants that give a recommendation but leaves the organization relatively unchanged. Rapid response teams decrease the number of consultants needed and minimize the role they play in the transformation effort by calling on the company’s employees to take responsibility for their own transformation. Because they give employees a sense of ownership over the transformation, rapid response teams serve to rally employees behind the effort. Members of the teams not only identify the company’s problems by gathering and analyzing data, but they also use their analysis to develop a recommendation for the company’s future course of action.”

“Surprisingly, despite the potential impact cross –functional teams can have, many companies do not use them for either planning or implementation. Rather, they rely on outsiders to develop a recommendation and then impose this implementation proposal on executives. As fail to gather the necessary support for implementation. In both cases, the transformation effort fails because key players were not involved in the transformation process but were included only as an afterthought. Cross-functional teams remedy this problem by engaging key players from the beginning of the transformation effort to ensure that (1) they understand the final recommendation, and (2) they have or can get sufficient buy-in to implement the recommendation.”

Behnam N. Tabrizi in Rapid Transformation

Coping with Life Stress

“Accepting Responsibility

“Coping through accepting responsibility refers to the kind of behaviour where one blames himself/herself for the state of affairs. Self –criticism, self-sermonising, and lecturing to oneself are examples of this type of coping.”

“Accepting responsibility as a method of coping is different from assuming responsibility as a behavioural function. Many a times we see parents blaming themselves and their child-raring methods for the bad behaviour of the child, or a senior colleague blaming himself for equipping his junior with good social contacts, who in turn starts working against the senior. In the political field, a young man groomed well by a top political leader of a party of his own and fights election against his mentor. This is a stressful situation for the mentor. He copes with the situation by saying, “I brought this problem to myself. Who asked me to teach him all tricks of politics?”

Meena Hariharan, and Radhanath Rath in Coping with Life Stress

“Managing Environmental Risk “
“For many businesspeople, environmental management means risk management. Their primary objective is to avoid the costs that are associated with an industrial accident, a consumer boycott, or an environmental lawsuit. Fortunately, effective management of the business risk stemming from environment problems can itself be a source of competitive advantage.”

“Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries, a Canadian venture of japanese companies, has discovered that the voluntary provision of environmental goods can cost-effectively reduce long-term business risk. In 1993, the Japanese companies and their Canadian partners negotiated timber-harvesting rights on a vast tract of government-owned aspen and spruce forests in northern Alberta. The venture planned to build a conventional pulp mill that would use chlorine bleaching. It also planned to run the forests as they had always been run western Canada, where, as one forestry manager put it, “There was never a plan for forest management, and “forest planning’ just meant “fiber extraction.’ ”

“But the project ran into a buzz saw of opposition from local farmers, aboriginal residents of northern Alberta, and environmental activists form around the world. Alberta-Pacific went back to the drawing board. It returned with plans for a mill that would keep pollution levels far lower than the government required; it also developed forest management policies that would substantially reduce traditional clear-cutting. In addition, it promised to hold regular public meetings, to communicate explicitly about the environmental impact of the company’s operations, to carry out collaborative research with biologist form outside the company, and to provide recreational access to the woods.”

“The costs of these changes were modest and, in return, Alberta-Pacific improved its community relations and achieved more stable long-term cost. The changes are an insurance policy against regulatory difficulties, sour community relations, business interruption, and related cost shocks. The leaders of Alberta-Pacific have realized that their ability to operate is contingent on society’s approval, that the formal property right they posses are necessary but not sufficient for them to cut timber and run mills, and that environmental improvement can make sense as risk management devices.”

“If Alberta-Pacific had not heeded the concern of local residents an environmentalists, it likely would have been prohibited from using that land at all. And the stakes were high –the costs of raw materials were on a level on might find in Indonesia or Brazil, but the political and exchange-rage risks were far lower. The venture’s small initial investments in he environment allowed it to profit form use of the forest.”

Harvard Business Review on Green Business Strategy

When to schedule the meeting
“Some experts advise against dismissing an employee on a Friday afternoon. A dismissal notice just before a weekend may cause the person to stew over the weekend and possible ponder a lawsuit or think about returning to the office with disruptive intentions.”

“Consider scheduling a meeting on a Monday afternoon. That way, he or she has all week to start looking for another job, and you’ll minimize the impact of the dismissal notice on other employees.”

“Under some circumstances, you may want to allow time for good-byes. However, don’t let the dismissed employee mix with other workers for too long unless you can trust that he or she is not going to express extreme criticism of the action to other employees. If you do allow good-byes, identify whom the employee is allowed to meet with and for how long.”

Where to hold the meeting
“Meet with the employee in a place that keeps both of you out of plain sight, such as a windowless conference room or office, or some other space that gives you complete privacy. Also arrange for a path to and from the meeting to avoid areas that are likely to be populated by curious coworker.”

“Why so much secrecy? Keeping the meeting private shows basic respect for the affected employee. No on wants to know that his or her coworkers are overhearing or seeing what may feel like a humiliating experience.”

“Also, if other employee witness or overhear what’s going on, they may develop a” siege mentality.” That is, without much more information than glum or tense faces or voices, they may worry that they’re on misstep away from being dismissed themselves or feel protective toward the affected employee (especially if they consider him or her a friend).”

Dismissing An Employee

Indian Pharma and Life Science Industry-Legal and Tax Framework

“New drug development is knowledge intensive, time consuming, and risky. The development process could broadly be divided into two major stages namely, pre-clinical and clinical. The objective of pre-clinical studies is to come up with a molecule that is effective against the disease vector and safe in animal testing. This is the Investigational New Drug (IND) stage. This stage of investigation may take anywhere between three to five years. Pre-Clinical investigations need an assembly of multi-disciplinary activities covering design and synthesis of new chemical compounds, bio-activity screening for both in-vitro and in-vivo testing, toxicity, pharmacokinetics, metabolism etc. having established safety and efficacy in the relevant animal models the IND is administered to small population of healthy volunteers, in what is defined as Phase I of clinical trials. The purpose is to confirm safety of drugs in humans and establish a basis for progressing towards the next phase that would find out the efficacy of the drug in actual patients. The second phase, ie clinical trials, is carried out on a restricted population (numbers determined based on an approval protocol) and is used for proving efficacy in a disease category towards which the drug is targeted. The following phase of clinical trials (Phase III ) is used for statistical validation and observing the long-term effect of administering the drug on a larger set of patients.”

“The government announced amendments to the Drug Rules on 1 January, 2002 to streamline procedures for the manufacture and import of new drugs. According to the amended rules , institutions will be allowed to conduct clinical trials whether for clinical investigation of experiment, for a new drug only after obtaining permission of the DGGI. Prior to this amendment permission was mandatory only if the drug was sought to be marketed in India.”

Wolters Kluwer in Indian Pharma and Life Science Industry-Legal and Tax Framework

Creating A Business Plan

Typical structure for a business plan

Most business plans contain these component:

Cover page and table of contents
Executive summary
Business description
Business environment analysis
Industry background
Competitive analysis
Market analysis
Marketing plan
Operations plan
Management summary
Financial plan
Attachments and milestones
“Of course, not all business plans follow this model precisely. A plan may combine some elements, add new sections, and eliminate others. However, the critical information your reader need to know for a particular business must be included…

Despite variations in the structure of business plans, all basic business plans comprise descriptions of the opportunity, the context, the managers, and the financial risk and reward.”

Boston, and Massachusetts in Creating A Business Plan

Managing Conflict

“If you experience someone who is clearly behaving in a way that is out of step with whatever it might be-the values, if you’ve got a declared set of values, or some other expectation about how people do things it very important to deal with that at an individual level, to find a way of noticing with that individual what’s happening.”

“Find a way of talking about it. What is difficult about that for most people is that when you’re confronting someone in that way, however sensitively, they well quite naturally be very defensive; so it is a difficult conversation to have. For that reason, in my experience most people will duck that most of the time, because people will tend to argue and disagree with quite a lot of what’s being said.”

“One of the things that you can do to make that a better conversation is to talk about it in terms of how it leaves you feeling, and what you’re experiencing in terms of that person’s behavior, rather than in the ways we often talk about these things.”

“If we generalize and talk about the impact he or she might be having of other people, or for the effectiveness of the organization or something, then it is very easy for that person to disagree. That’s perspective and that person may agree or disagree, but if one is willing to bring it back to one’s personal experience, that’s not something that you con disagree with. If I say to you, “Look, there’s something about the way that you’re dealing with something, talking to me, relating to me, whatever is might be; and here’s the experience that that’s having for me and here’s how I feel about this. What ever you might want to say, you can’t say, you can’t really disagree with how I’ am felling.” I thing that can be quite effective.”

Managing Conflict

The Law And Practice of Tax Treaties: An Indian Perspective

5.4.2 Project office

“There is divergence of judicial thinking on whether a “project office” formed with the permission of the reserve Bank of India (RBI) constitutes a PE under Art 5(1). The Delhi Tribunal has held that a project office does not carry on a “business” at all and is merely a “support office” existing solely for the purpose of facilitating the performance of the contract; hence, it does not constitute a PE under Art 5(1), However, there exist contrary decision that a project office constitutes a PE since expenses are incurred on account of postage, telephone, telex, etc, out of rupee receipts by a project office.”

5.4.3 Supply of labour

“The AAR has held that an enterprise carries on a “business” when it engages skilled
labour to supply them to other companies requiring such labour, gets paid on the basis of certain rates per unit of labour employed and, consequently by effecting economies in the scale of wages it offers to its employees earn a margin of profit for itself. On the other hand, the Delhi Tribunal has held that a foreign enterprises providing staff is not carrying on ‘business” in State S even when if functioned as an independent contractor with full right to direct performance and had responsibility of safety or rigs.”

5.4.4 Profession

“Merely because a person happens to be professionally qualified, it cannot be said that such a person’s activity cannot be treated as carrying on of business. It is important to see how it is carried on. A professional activity can also be characterized as an activity of carrying on “business” If it is carried on like a commercial activity. Thus, where a medical practitioner does not confine himself to his conventional function of examining patients and prescribing medicines but establishes an X-ray machine for augmenting his professional work, it cannot be said that he has no profit motive in such adventure and that he is not carrying on a “business” activity.”

Rajesh Kadakia and Nisesh Modi in The Law And Practice of Tax Treaties: An Indian Perspective

Boston and Masachusetts in Understanding Finance

“Valuation. Valuation often refers to the process by which people determine the total value of a company for the purpose of selling it. This type of valuation is an uncertain science. For example, a firm that is considering acquiring another firm might rely heavily on estimates of future cash flows to come up with a value for the potential acquisition. Another firm might rely on different data. Also, a company is worth different amounts to different amounts of different parties. For instance, a small, high-tech company may valued more by a potential acquirer that want the acquired firm’s unique technology to average its other operation.”

“ Valuation also refers to the process that Wall Street investors and stock analysts use to scrutinize company’s financial statements and stock performance carefully in order to arrive at what they believe to be a realistic estimate of that company’s value. Since a share of stock denoted ownership of a part of the company, analysts are interested in knowing whether the market price of that share is a good deal, relative to the underlying value of the piece of the company the share represent.”

“Wall Street uses various means of valuation – that is, assessing a company’s financial performance in relation to its stock price.”

“The earnings per share (EPS) equal net income divided by the number the shares outstanding. This in one of the most commonly watched indicators of a company’s financial performance. If it falls it will likely the stock’s price down with it.”

“The price-to –earnings ratio (F/E) is the current price of a share of stock divided by the previous twelve months’ earning per share. It is common measure of how cheap or expensive a stock is , relative earnings.”

“Growth indicators. Growth measures can tell a great deal about financial health. A company’s growth allows it to provide increasing returns, to its shareholders and to provide opportunities for new and existing employees. The number of years over which you should measure growth will depend on the business cycle of the industry the company is in. A one-year growth figure for an oil company-an industry that typically has long business cycles-probably doesn’t tell you very much. But a strong one-year growth figure for an Internet company would be significant. Common measures of growth include sales growth , profitability growth, and growth in earnings per share.”

Boston and Masachusetts in Understanding Finance

PR. Ramesh in The Lost Hours

“I could have been 14 years old at that time. We were residing at Annanagar in Madurai, the historical city that was once set on fire by the rage in Kannagi’s eyes and was later rebuilt.”
“My elder brother Rajendran was running a road-side shop selling water-melons near the Arvind Eye Hospital when a gang came up to him and demanded money as Maamool (bribe). In the ensuing conflict, my brother was repeatedly attacked with sickles by the gang. My brother was very fortunate to survive the attack. My heart boiled with rage on hearing about the attack on my brother and as a result, the attackers were retaliated. I was put in Madurai Central Prison.”

“I was hardly aware at that time that I had actually caught the tail of tiger. A prisoner with no support inside the Prison campus is treated the same way they treat the mentally-affected persons in Yerwadi. Luckily, I wasn’t treated as shabbily as a ruffian by name ‘Marakkadai’ Murugan who was hailing from my locality and was in the prison at that time. He patronized me Other ruffians like “Karadi’ Arumugam and Karumbaalai” Ilango, close friends of Murugan, showered lot of affection on me. I viewed them as kind ‘protagonists’. As I too belonged to their category, very quickly they found a place in my heart.”

PR. Ramesh in The Lost Hours

Harvard Business Review on Managing Health Care

“Many businesses sell products that are intangible or technically complex-financial and legal services, software, and auto repair are just a few –and their customers naturally look for clues that can help explain what they don’t understand or see. In fact, in just about any organization, the clues emitted by people and things (humanics and mechanics, respectively, as introduced to the management literature by Lewis Carbone and Stephan Haeckel) tell a story to customers or potential customers. The question for managers is whether the clues tell the intended story. Mayo Clinic’s effectiveness at designing and managing evidence offers a lesson other service organizations would do well to heed: Understand the story you want to tell, and then make sure your people and your facilities provide evidence of that story to customers, day in and day out.”
Harvard Business Review on Managing Health Care

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Novel and Conventional Methods of Audit, Investigation and Fraud Detection.

“A sting operation or an investigator’s bluff or a decoy trap is a procedure of trapping a suspected perpetrator of any wrongdoing in the act. In common terms, it means laying a trap to catch a crook or thief red handed, a kind of a mouse trap. This also forms a part of some fraud detection assignments because certain frauds are otherwise difficult to prove. This aspect has also been discussed in a separate chapter. The following illustration proves this point.”

“In a trading concern dealing in chocolate and sweets having a chain of stores in all the metro cities, the management decided to have an incentive scheme to induce shoppers to visit their shops again. The scheme required shoppers to make a purchase of more then INR 1,000 to entitle them go get a 10% discount coupon for their next visit. A placard was to be prominently displayed at each of the shops to bring about awareness of the scheme. Appropriate internal controls in the form of serial control over receipt books, and discount coupons were also introduces. The auditor carried out a usual audit plan covering, sales, purchases, cash and bank transactions, salaries, and journal entries, using appropriate statistical samples. He did not notice anything untoward and the financial statements and the books of accounts seemed to be in order. The serial controls, cash totals, cash registers all tied up satisfactorily. However there was one small anomaly. In one of the metro showed an upswing in consonance with the budgets. Even the management was intrigued by this result. The auditor was asked to investigate.”

“The auditor decided to apply a field check by visiting that metro. On a personal visit, the first thing he noticed was that the placard regarding the scheme was not displayed. Obviously, shoppers could have had no other way of knowing whether such a scheme was in force unless the cashier was, as a mater of routine, informing shoppers purchasing chocolates worth INR 1,000 or more, of the discount entitlement and furnishing discount coupons. He went through all the past discount coupons encashed by customers and found that most of the shopper had visited the shop again on the same or the very next day to purchase chocolates. This was unusual because normally chocolates are not
‘stocked` and a shopper would generally buy his required quantity on the first visit itself. This led the auditor to believe that the discounts were not genuine. However, since the names and addresses of the shoppers were not available, proving any foul play was difficult. This was an ideal place to try the sting operation or an investigator’s bluff technique. He decided to test out the scheme, by planting shopper who purchased chocolate worth 2,5000. As expected, the shopper did not get the discount coupon. He was given a receipt of INR, 2,000 numbered 20026. The receipt had left the spaces relating to information of discount coupons, as well as the net payment amount blank. At the end of the day, the cashier reported his total cash sales for the day and a statement of discount coupons issued, which showed that discount coupon no 2113 had been issued against the receipt 20026. The auditor immediately confronted the cashier who confessed that he had fraudulently retained the discount coupon himself. He explained how he was caching such discount coupon himself. He explained how he was cashing such discount coupons as follows:”
Chetan Dalal in Novel and Conventional Methods of Audit, Investigation and Fraud Detection.

Risk Management in Imports/Exports in India

“It two or more items having separate classification are packed and sold in retail as a set, then the item that defines and determines the essential character of the set shall govern the classification. For example, imported pizza kits contain the following items
Heading 0406 – Cheese and curd
Tariff items 04062000 – Grated or powdered cheese, of all kinds,
Heading 1901 – Malt extract; food preparations of flour, meal, starch or malt extract.
Tariff item 19012000-Mixes and doughs for the preparation of baker’s wares of heading 1905.
Heading 1905 – Bread, pastry, cakes, biscuits and other bakers’ wares.
Tariff item 19059090-other.
Heading 2103-Sauces and preparations.
Tariff item 2103200-Tomoto ketchup and other tomato sauces.

“The pizza kits can be imported in two forms-either as an individual sets for retail sale or in bulk for resale. Individual kits are considered goods put up in sets for retail sale and are classified in accordance with Interpretative rule 3(b). the pizza base (dough) provides the kit with its essential character. If the dough is uncooked the goods are classified under Heading 1901.However if the dough is cooked or pre-cooked, the kit is classified under heading 1905.”
“However, the imported pizza kits consisting of ingredients in bulk from (which are merchandised or pre-packed in retail form) are not to be considered goods put up in sets for retail sale and are, therefore, not classifiable in accordance with Interpretative rule
3 (b). The expression “goods put up in sets for retail sale” provides for goods suitable quantities for immediate sale to the ultimate consumer.”

Wolters Kluwer in Risk Management in Imports/Exports in India

Ruminations of a Gadfly

“Looking at the outcome of economic forecasts from various sources-private business, investment bankers, commercial banks, a government agencies, and international organizations-one is not sure whether economic as a science and economist have come of age or gone out of age. Economists, with their array of econometric tools and statistical sophistry, joined in large numbers businesses and banks in the heady days of the 1970s and 1980s. They constructed models fed with well-sifted data and cranked out results by using omnipresent computers at homes and offices. The world of business and bankers basket in the sunshine of profits when the forecasters predicted, or their masters thought they predicated, the outcome of their risks activities.”

“That euphoria is over, with the downside of economies in the west getting the better of the upside of the economic smart alecs. If the economy is in bloom, as it was during the 1980s, a forecast could work in an upbeat fashion and all is then hunky-dory. If the optimistic predictions were off by a few notches, it did not matter a whit so long as the profits turned out were substantial.”

“Now, with the globalisation of markets for goods and factors, and cataclysmic changes in the social and political arena worldwide, no on knows haw events move. No pattern in their behaviour is discerned; no regularity in their sequencing is observed; the past is not replicated into either the present or the future. These changed in the social, political and economic space have upset the cocky economists whose forecasts go awry with unfailing regularity.”

Deena Khatkhate in Ruminations of a Gadfly

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Point of The Deal

“Genpact is a spin-off (still partially owned) from General Electric that delivers business and technology service to firms around the world. Genpact executives have built their brand around helping global organizations improve their revenue, cash, costs, margins, speed, and customer relationships through operational excellence. They cannot deliver those benefits however, without a close working relationship. Access to senior executives, and the ability to influence business processes a potential new customer, they have learned to ensure the client sees the point of the deal the same way they do. Otherswise, they fail.”

“V.N.Tyagarajan, executive vice president for business development (who goes by the name “Tiger”), stresses to his teams the importance of engaging the customers early in a dialogue about the point of he deal. ‘We try to understand what the customer is trying to accomplish in terms of growth, acquisitions, back-office integration of disperses business units, etc. we invest a lot of time speaking with the customer about what we think it will take to achieve significant business improvements. But if we cannot get the access we need to have these conversations, we conclude we will not be successful implementing for them and there is no point in trying to do a deal.”

Danny Ertel and Mark Gordon in The Point of The Deal

The CEO Within

“The central premise of this book is that a certain kind of person-an Inside Outsider-is usually best qualified to lead a company.”

“This argues that attention to the succession process – how a company identifies, grooms, and installs its leaders – is critically important. In other words, if you know what kind of leader you want, you must ensure that the processes you put in place will deliver that kind of leader, according to your schedule.”

“But there’s a catch: absent a deliberate intervention, the way you manage succession is likely to mirror the way you manage the rest of your company. For the best-managed companies, of course, this isn’t a problem: as we’ve seen, they tend to have outstanding succession programs and a great track record of strong leadership. But if your company is only an average performer, it’s likely to have only an average succession plan-if it has one at all.”

Joseph L. Bower in The CEO Within

The Leaders We Need

“The leaders we want are not always the leader we need. This has been true throughout history, and the result of getting the leaders people want has sometimes been the fall of nations and collapse of companies. Remember that, despite warnings from the biblical judge Samuel, the Israelites wanted a king, got one, and were sorry later. And in our time, boards of directors have hired dominating, charismatic CEOs who turned out to be costly busts. People continue to elect inept and corrupt leaders. Some of these leaders have satisfied unconscious and irrational transferential needs. The bureaucratic social character has been drown to father-figure leaders-tall, commanding, and confident. But Interactives want to be collaborators, not followers. They’d most like to join a band of brothers and sisters, and if they want a leader at all, it will be someone who’ll stay around only to provide a service for them. But just because they know what they want doesn’t guarantee they’ll get the leaders they need.”

Michael Maccoby in The Leaders We Need

Big Think Strategy

“Recently, Vodafone, the global mobile phone company, asked for help in developing Big think ideas t revamp the company’s service operations for a Western European market. The company had already achieved the highest satisfaction ratings of any mobile phone provider in this market. But it had the vision to know that wasn’t enough. How could it stay ahead of the competition and achieve the nest level of success?”

“Outside-industry benchmarking was used as part of an initiative called Project Wow! By vodafone. We performed outside industry benchmarking for three problem areas: retail stores, call centers, and customer service in general. To structure the benchmarking, my partner on the project, Professor Sunil Gupta, and I developed two distinct service models. The first was a service excellence model characterized by personalization and intimacy. The second was a creative experience model characterized by excitement and lifestyle. Using these two models, together with us the Vodafone benchmark team identified exemplary industries and companies: the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain, Singapore Airlines, and Dell’S B2B technology service site (the Premier Pages) for service excellence; W Hotel, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and geek Squad (a mobile technology service unit) for creative experience, among other.”

“The results were dozens of best practice and break-through ideas that Vodafone would never have gotten from other telecoms. From Ritz-Carlton, Vodaforn learned how powerful focused service can be, even in a call center. Dell’s premier Paged offered a model for new Internet services. Form the Geek Squad, Vodafome could create ideas for a mobile repair service.”

“These best practices were mapped creatively to Vodafone’s industry and its own customers, needs. Its new application yielded a set of bold new ideas unseen in its mobile phone market. It included a mobile squad of VIP business customers and a total revamp of the stores to make them more fun and high-tech, including live 3-D holograms amid store customers , new waiting-line management, and interactive screen outside the store.”

“Along the way, the company had to give up some cherished beliefs that had prevented it from thinking big. For example, it learned that customers do not want stores to be just selling spaces where the latest phone are displayed and customers are bombarded by service reps with tech babble. Indeed in another Vodafone project in a different market, the store service maps were simplified around a new role-that of a friend which entirely changed the way sales reps treated customer.”

“Many companies hold certain beliefs and assumptions that are rarely questioned or challenged. Those are the sacred cows of the business. To create Big Think ideas and strategies, you must challenge, even kill, those sacred cows.”

Bernd H. Schmitt in Big Think Strategy


“With so many products trying to get people’s attentions, shouting at them isn’t nearly as effective as it used to be. And once they reach the middle of the funnel, shouting hardly works at all. In analyzing this in a 2007 reports, Forrester marketing analyst Brian Haven put it this way. “The funnel has outlived its usefulness as a metaphor. Face it: marketers no longer dictate the path people take, nor do they lead the dialogue.” Once people are aware of your product, a new dynamic kicks in: People learning from each other . social technologies have revved up the word-of mouth dynamic, increasing the influence of regular people while diluting the value of traditional marketing. When we surveyed online consumer at the end of 2006, 83 percent said they trusted recommendations form friends and acquaintances, and more than half-trusted online reviews from stranger. At the same time, trust in ads continued to plummet.”

“Customers in the middle of the funnel are engaged in conversations on blogs, in discussion forums, and in social networks. Your company can participate in these places, but shouting doesn’t work. Conversations do. If your company creates a presence on a social network like Facebook, people will post comments and expect you to respond. If you put up a blog, they will comment and expect you to pay attention to those comments. These conversations require work, but they do influence people in the middle of the funnel – and not just those who comment, but those who read those comments, even if those readers never comment themselves.”

Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in Groundswell

Total Leadership

“Trust is a fragile commodity, and in stakeholder dialogue there are a few rules that have proved effective in dealing with broken trust. The first has to do with honoring perceptions. Put simply, if your or your stakeholder sees trust as broken, then it’s broken. There is no point in arguing whether the break is real. The perception of broken trust is what matters- and if the relationship is worthy saving, it must be repaired. Assume that if you have accurately identified your stakeholders, and they are indeed the most important people in each of your life domains, then repairing broken trust is a priority.”

“How do you repair broken trust? It begins with and exploration of where the break occurred, acceptance of the breach, and a sincere apology. You need to acknowledge that broken trust has and a negative impact on your relationship, and that this is a problem. Explain actions that may have led to the break, but do not justify them defensively. Help the other person see what let you to make the choice you made, but remember not to make this into an argument. The most important thing is to indicate-so that her or she understands well-your willingness to do what it takes to make the repair because the relationship to you and your future.”

Stewart D. Friedman in Total Leadership

Global Edge

“Direct and Indirect Costs of Legal Opacity”

“There is strong relationship between corruption and the eff3ectiveness of a country’s legal system. And ineffective legal system is a telltale warning sign in pricing risk for securities, trade, and investment. Lack strong legal transparency encompasses the following:

· High levels of legal complexity and even confusion with
Regard to the laws themselves and their intent.

· High level of procedural complexity, with regard to how a
Law is carried out, characterized by the following:

- Number of writing filings to get a case heard
- During of court proceeding form initial filings to finish
- Cost and requirement of legal counsel
- Need for other types of consultative advice to finish a proceeding.”
“It’s no accident that, in the past, limited intellectual property came out of France. While an attractive country and market, it takes more than decade to resolve a patent case there. By the time your patent case is settled, your product is obsolete. Creditor and minority stockholder right are also very difficult to secure in France, which retards their dept and structured finance markets and increases their relative cost of capital. Comparative legal studies have shown that civil law countries, such as France, have both the weakest investor protections and the least developed capital markets, especially as compared to common low countries.
“Refael La Porta nad his Harvard colleagues have painstakingly documented the institutional and property rights of over fifty countries. They found that the comprehensiveness of the legal rules and the quality of enforcement are key determinants in the depth and breadth of debt and equity financing, as well as in the levels of commerce achieved. Moreover, the overwhelming impact of a low-quality legal system is to distort economic and investment decisions, making the financial system more fragile and ineffective. The result is economic development failure because of restricted domestic growth opportunities, but also because of what economists call “adverse selection” – that is, the projects that are financed are more likely to ultimately fail.”

Joel Kurtzman and Glenn Yago in Global Edge

Through the Labyrinth

“Domestic Responsibilities of Women and Men”

“Women’s domestic work far exceeds that of men. Women spend more time doing house work and caring for children than men do. Typically, women are also responsible for making appointments for family members, caring for old or sick family members, and arranging children’s activities. They provide the glue that holds families together by maintaining connections with extended family, preparing celebrations for family events, sending card, visiting with neighbors, and so on.”

House work
“The best evidence concerning the time people devote to housework and other activities comes from time diary studies, in which people record what they are doing during each hour of a twenty-four-hours day. Evidence from time diaries completed by representative samples of Americans shows that women’s share of house work has declined, and men’s has increased. As figure 4-1indicates, married women devoted a shopping 34 hours per week to housekeeping in 1965, but their housework dropped to 19 hours by 2005, Over the same period, married men increased their housework from 5 to11 hours per week. Housework is now shared more equally than ever before, but for every hour that men work, women put in about 107 hours. Although there probably are many factors contributing to the decline in housework, women’s increased employment cannot be one of them because the decline was greater for women without jobs than employed women.”

Alice H. Eagly and Linda L. Carli in Through the Labyrinth

Saturday, February 23, 2008

India the emerging Giant

“Causes of Farmer Suicides”
“High and rising suicide rated among farmers have let to considerable speculation that reforms are to blame for them. Nut there is no systematic study to date that establishes this connections. Virtually all studies analyze the phenomenon at a point in time in a specific state, and look into the causes of suicide within the sample considered. Occasionally, the studies speculate about the changing environment over time, but do not connect this change to rising rates of suicide over time. One of the many difficulties in forging la link between reform and increased farmer suicides is that the upsurge has been observed only in specific regions of a handful of the states. We have relatively rich states, such as Punjab and Haryana, as well as poorer states, such as Rajasthan, Orissa, and Bihar, where male farmer suicide rated show either decline or no trend.”

“Unsurprisingly, careful studies rarely find a single cause of suicide. Deshpande (2002), who studies farmer suicides in Karnataka, makes this point forcefully. He analyzes 99 suicide cases in greater detail, both qualitatively, through extensive interviews with the friends and relatives of the victims, and quantitatively, in terms of variables such as dept, assets, corp pattern, and the cost of cultivation. In his qualitative analysi8s, Deshpande does not find a single case in which on reason accounts for the fateful event. On the average, each case has three to four reasons.”

Arvind Panagariya in India the emerging Giant


“Anyway. Cut to now.
Lazarus and I are on out way to the Tea center to meet Bearded Man. This is about the TV commercial we are going to shoot next week. Fifteen minutes into an already erratic discussion, our work lunch is interrupted by the entry of a gargoule. Walrus mouche and rotten teeth, the rolling laughter that is the trademark of the rich and famous. Everyone in the room turns to look, faces scrunch into smiles of recognition. For the next two hours, the commercial is forgotten. Story after story follows, each cleverer and more lurid than then the one before. Unlike women, loud men do not dislike other loud men. In fact, they laugh at each other’s jokes and quite adore each other.”
Amrute Patel in Kari

The Man On The Balcony The Martin Beck Series

“ He drove around Mariatorget, closely observing the small groups of youngsters in the gardens and around the kiosks. He knew that this was mostly where schoolchildren and other your people met the small-scale drug dealer every day large quantities of hashish, marijuana, prelidin and LSD were passed furtively from seller to buyer. And the buyers were getting younger and younger. Soon they would become addicts. Only the day before he had heard that schoolgirls of ten and eleven were offered shots. And there was nothing much the police could do; they just hadn’t the resources. And to make quite sure that vice was bolstered up and those who indulged in it were still further lulled into boastfulness and smug security, this fact was trumpeted out time and again by the country’s mass communication media. Anyway, he doubted whether this was a concern of the police at all. Drug-taking among young people was caused by a catastrophic philosophy which had been provoked by the prevailing system. Consequently society should be duty bound to produce an effective counterargument. One that was not based on smugness and more police officers.”

Majsjowall & Per wahloo in The Man On The Balcony The Martin Beck Series


Melinda sheridan – 6/1/00, 4.40pm
To…Daniel Westbrooke; Vince Douglas; Brett Topowlski

Right, dearies, the pre-production meeting for LOVE is at 5.00 and here are a few dos and don’ts fro She Who Has Been There Done it and Got the T-Shirt.

“Dan-Do encourage your client to refrain from suggestions apropos film crew when he clearly doesn’t know his grip from his gaffer. Don’t let him drag us into the usual endless debate on wardrobe-since all we’re taking are six lame thongs and nothing else, I don’t se that particular item on the agenda taxing us for long. Do coax him into nodding vigorously and enthusiastically during the ‘Director’s Interpretation’. Don’t allow him to raise has hand to suggest, for instance, a crane rather than a tracking shot on the opening. Our director believes his own billing as ‘the most dynamic new talent in commercials’ (Campaign passim) and will not take kindly to tips on camera craft form a marketing executive in a an M&S suit.”

“Bertt and VINCENT – Don’t snigger like schoolboys at the back of the bus when we play the casting tape. We’ve all seen breasts before – maybe not this big nor quite this numerous, but we’ve seen them, nevertheless. Do keep your hands on the table, where I can keep my eyes on them. Do pay attention when the discussion reaches the boring matter of schedules – you have a plane to catch so Saturday, and I’d very much like you to be on it. Don’t address the client directly at any time. In fact, don’t utter a squeak unless I speak to you first.”

“Now, boys, come show me the professionalism that is the Miller Shanks way. Actually, scrub that, Just BAHAVE YOURSELVES and pray that by the end of our week in the sun we have a correctly exposed film in the con, a fee well earned and a nicely tanned client. Buddha help un, Pinki the Divine would say.”

Matt Beaumont in ‘e'

Friday, February 22, 2008

Soul Search Engine till now

“See Rex, our senses are like that door in the cave. They are subtle barriers to our experience. We often think that without these senses we can never perceive anything. Not exactly true. The senses open their doors for us ever so little at a time to give us a glimpse of perception and then the doors shut and out experience remains limited. But without the doors we wouldn’t even have glimpse. Possible. Yet once we have had the glimpse and we know there is a vast reality waiting to be perceived beyond the five doors, we should neither try to force the door open nor desperately try to shut it down-all we need to do is remind ourselves that what lies outside the door is our extended being and what we just glimpsed is a vision of our true selves. We are what lies outside the five small doors. The doors are only a trigger, to know the truth we only have to remember it.”

“Veggie, thing what would happen if the doors weren’t there. We would be like a man trying to tickle himself. What a disaster! How can you tickle yourself when you know what you fingers are going to do even before they touch your skin?” Rex howled with laughter.”

“ That’s a nice one. When you are the tickler, you are the doer as well as the one who experiences. If you become aware of both states at the same time, you are enlightened. You are enlightened. You experience the nature of reality. You know there is no experience.”

“In short, for the minutest experience to occur you need a filter to shut out a part of your vast real self; you need to be just a little divorced from reality.”

“Well, it is in this sense that the world has been refereed to by some as an illusion. Whatever you experience is illusion. Experience exists when you are either the doer or the one who experiences. When you are both there is no experience.”

“In essence, Hider/finder; creation is like that Eagles’ song: “some dance to remember, some dance to forget’.”

“That’s just us. The evergreen Rex and Stegy band.”

"And they sat singing songs from a dozen lifetimes. In tongues lost in time".

Alraines in Soul Search Engine till now,

The abc of Yoga Education

“Yoga For Drug And Alcohol Dependent”
“In California threw was a center of the rehabilitation of alcohol and drug-abused children aged from about twelve to twenty two year. I went there with a doctor who used to be our student. He felt that the practices of Yoga, specifically Yoga nidra, would somehow help a person to come out of their addiction. So one day he took me there and we spoke with the different people at the helm of administration.”

“We devised a Yoga program without actually knowing what things would be beneficial, just by looking at the type of personalities and considering their nature; whether they were violent and how they might react to not having any kind of drugs, injections or medication. We considered what kind o reactions we might expect from them, what type of understanding they had about certain practices of Yoga, about Yoga itself and whether they would be willing to accept Yoga. For the initial teaching, I had to go. I would go in my orange skin, so would they accept me as a teacher or not?”

“Keeping these things in consideration we devised a plan, which initially consisted to the normal talk to encourage addicts to come out of their addiction. This was given by the doctor, Todd Mekuria, himself. He used to give an introduction that would last fifteen to thirty minutes, depending on the mood to the addicts. Then he would invite me as guest speaker, but of course I would not speak, Instead I would say, let as do some things.”

Calming practices

“We started off which practices in which we divided the whole group of children into two, on half having a violent nature and the other half a depressive nature.”

To the violent group we gave pranayama:

1. Nadi shodhan: just the simple alternate nostril breathing was given.
2. Bhramari: we asked them to imagine they were driving a car and changing gear with the pitch of the Bhramari sound.
3. Ujjayi: we asked them to touch the black of the throat with their tongue in kechari mudra, without telling them what kechari mudrawas.

After six session, which lasted about forty minutes on a daily basis, the doctors found that the addicts became very quiet, passive, in fact docile. They would listen to things, they would discuss their problems, their family matters, social conditions, the environment of situation which forced them to take drugs or alcohol. And this was after just six sessions of pranayama.”

“After the sixth session they stopped pranayama completely and we introduced the concept of willpower and Snakalpa in one session and from the second session we started with the simple practice of Yoga Nidra. We continued with the practice of Yoga Nidra for six sessions again. After doing this, the doctors noticed that these people who used to be dependent on drugs, both nicotine injections, which would create some sort of stimulation in the system, and other kinds of drugs, which they used to give, reduced their intake by 30-40% on a daily basis. Of course I don not remember the exact figures now because in happened seven years ago.”

“ The next step: in order to further enhance their mental awareness, to focus themind, to develop concentration, we started the practice of ajapa japa. We practiced ajapa japa without mantra. We used to say that they should simply observe the breath while sitting in a chair with the eyes close, the body upright and straight, and try to listen to the sound of the natural breath. The introversion used to be so powerful for those people that after the class , many used to say that they could feel and hear the blood flowing through their veins. Listening to and talking about the heartbeat is quite obvious because it is major movement within the body, but they used to talk about the flow of blood and that means that their concentration was quite intense. And their violent nature subsided; they became more accepting and understanding.”

“After the third week I had to leave so do not know what the report is now or whether they even continued with the practices. In the three-week course they had eighteen days of practice: six days each week with one day talking. During that time there was a very great change, which was felt by the practitioners and also by the people who monitored them.”

Pramahamsa Niranjanananda Sraswati in The abc of Yoga Education


“More real-world companies are establishing in-game storefronts in order to leverage a virtual-world presence to improve their real-world brand preference. This is not limited to companies simply selling goods; the service industry is blossoming online too. Real-world banks, movie makers, even advertising agencies are increasingly playing a virtual world role. However, they have competition. Metaverse entrepreneurs are cropping up in a number of Businesses. Their focus is not on leveraging the virtual world back to the physical world. Instead, they seek to take advantage of new business models such as virtual item sales. These sales –conducted for real money-are now so high that so-called gold farmers, many in China, have full-time jobs creating in-game artifact, or accumulating in-game skill/scores which can then be sold to other gamers. The first metaverse millinonire-who made one million real US Dollars – is a virtual real estate agent form China.”
Kent Wertime & Ian Fenwick in Digimarketing

Alternative Schooling in India

“Documentation is boring and statutory only if it is made so. It can become an empowering tool if teachers countrywide share with their colleagues the kinds of questions that their students as them, their attempts to answer them and the journey of each such question. If a forum for such exchanges (like a newsletter, a website or a television programme), is provided by government policy makers or even nationwide institutions, it will go long way in enthusing teachers to meet their daily challenges better equipped. Yet another advantage of such a mechanism would be the bridging of the rural-urban divide-a sad reality even I this day of the Internet and cable television. Subject experts in the renowned institutions in the city can share their knowledge with their rural counterparts, as the latter can share theirs with the urban school staff. Radio can be made better use of by the teaching commodity in bringing to the attention of the lay person the challenges faces by teacher. Phone –in to answer, will facilitate classroom discussion without burdening the teacher with the responsibility of having to know all the answers. Live broadcasts of classroom situations (on channels the devoted to enriching teachers’ expertise can be another way of learning from other innovative teachers.”

Sarojini Vittachi, Neeraj Raghavan , and Kiran Raj in Alternative Schooling in India

WTO Nagotiations on Agriculture and Developing Countries

“How Competitive Is Indian Agriculture?

“In assessing the price competitiveness of a commodity, we have to consider it separately under the importable and exportable hypotheses. A commodity may be export competitive, an efficient import substitute, or neither. A priori, in a liberalized scenario, India can expect to export commodities that belong to the first group, but not those that belong to the other groups. Although efficient import, substituted may not be able to compete internationally as exports, in normal times there would be little threat that import would displace domestic supplies in the event of liberalization. However the commodities that belong to the category would perhaps be replaced by imports on liberalization.”

“The standard practice for working out competitive advantage in trade theory is to empirically map the effective rates of protection of the relevant commodities. This captures the price competitiveness of the individual crops. For the result to be robust, these rates are estimated over a reasonable long period. If a product is competitive over long periods, it can be assumed to be competitive even if abrupt flucuations in world or domestic prices in specific years show different results.”

Anwarul Hoda & Ashok Gulati in WTO Negotiations on Agriculture and Developing Countries

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Iraq Preventing A New Generation of Conflict

“Problems Facing the National Unity Government and Their Implications.”

“Violence is only one of the conditions destabilizing Iraq and negatively impacting intercommunity relations and prospects for reconciliations. How ever, the violence both feeds and is fed by other damaging conditions. These are: (1) a shattered economy with massive unemployment, (2) the lack of a framework for effective governance and a disintegration of public service deliver, (3) rampant corruption, and (4) the absence of a genuinely national leadership able to overcome and rise above the fault lines of Iraq.”

“Thus, for example, in the oil sector, there is an inadequate framework for the overall management of the sector, there is massive leakage (theft and smuggling), no adequate policing agency to monitor the sector, and few prospects of investment in a sector desperate to repair its decaying infrastructure. The income that is derived from the oil sector (97 percent of all export earning) is spent, inter alia, on a fuel subsidey that exceeds social expenditures on health and education combined. Without an effective framwork, including a workable interpretation of the constitutional provision, it is difficult to see how this Iraqi asst can shift from being a “curse” to being a “blessing” contributing to the improvement of social conditions. The same can be said for the collapse of administrative infrastructure, not only in the governorates but also in Baghdad. As social conditions deteriorate, the impact can be felt in rising crime, emigration, intercommunity tension, and street violence.”

“These are complex and interrelated, yet urgent, areas that need to be tackled: the need to reduce violence, the need to improve social conditions, and the pressing need to find a framework for governance that can operate as a social contract between Iraq’s communities. They must all be tackled simultaneously, hopefully each contributing to gradual progress in other areas.”
Markus E. Bouillon, David M. Malone, and Ben Rowswell in Iraq Preventing A New Generation of Conflict


“Many teams that we know have found something they call a “know who” database, or expert finder, particularly useful. Hewlett-Packard was one of the first to create this kind of electronic Yellow Pages-like directory of experts inside the firm. These systems can range from simple internal search engines powered by Google to spectacularly advanced proprietary network-based systems. Postmortem team reports and elaborate explanations of how to perform tasks take time to read, and often the lessons learned are too context specific to be translated easily. Says Texaco’s John Old, a manager with many years of knowledge management experience at the oil giant: “Many companies create elaborate databases of best practice , which I find tend not to work very well-at least not as a pure database. For example somebody, discovers a nifty way of saving a million bucks and writes up a story for the ‘Best Practices’ feature in our in-house magazine. Maybe the idea will get used in exactly the same way in another country-but maybe not. Knowledge transfer occurs because the right people happen to meet. We view our databases more as indirect pointers to people than as actual ways of sharing specific ideas.”

“Old recalls a compelling know-who story to a Texaco team member who, when faced with a problem, used PeopleNet-Texaco’s expert finder-to contact someone with twenty-five years of drilling experience to help clear up the matter. “The person who needed help was confused over how to finger out the ‘pinhole’ position on the equipment that controls how far an oil well’s pump goes up and down,” Old said. The problem was that he was getting contradictory directions. Using PeopleNet, he found who could help. “What I liked most about the story was that the person with the question chose to ask the 25-yrar veteran because he had read his biography and had seen his picture on the Internet. He wrote that the more experienced person’s photograph had made him appear to be a likable guy who wouldn’t seem to mind answering a question from a stranger in the company.”

“Key takeaway? Make your expert-finding system user friendly-and your experts too. It is much easier to go straight to the people who have the experience rather than to sift through information compiled in a different context, attempting to put a square pet in an all-too –round hole. Note too that these systems-whether dedicated to know-who, to integrating knowledge and information, or to tracking and planning key tasks and responsibilities-need not be supersophisticated. Some team use simple mechanisms like blogs. The point is that, to make such a system work, participants need to be rewarded and acknowledged for taking time to update the information in the system.”

Deborah Ancona + Henrik Bresman in X-Teams

Bullies, Tyrants & Impossible People

“Taking Raises your Blood Pressure (But Listening Can Lower It)”

"Psychologist James J. Lynch, director of the Life Care Health Center and former faculty member at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is one of the first researchers to use a technology that measures patients, blood pressure, almost word by word, during conversation. What he discovered is something we have long sensed, that speaking has an identifiable, measurable effect on our bodies, specifically on our cardiovascular system. Put simply, talking tends to cause blood pressure to rise and it continues to climb until the speaker senses that he or she has been heard or understood. Sometimes, of course, that never occurs, leaving the speaker not only frustrated but with markedly increased blood pressure.”

Lynch first observed this in crying babies. Adults react just like crying babies except that we have learned to socialize without crying (most of the time). As with babies, when adults are heard (or comforted) their blood pressure tends to decrease. Lynch says, “The biggest misconception…is that talking is a mental process. You…talk with every cell in your body.”

“The bottom line is that while talking without feeling you are communicating or “getting through “ can raise blood pressure (and possible do physical harm), the converse is also true. When the relationship between talker and audience or listener is positive, it can be healing. Both parties communicate and derive a psychological as well as physical benefit.”

“Psychological circumstances can result in a variety of physical manifestations.”

“When you’re facing a truly difficult person (intimidating, powerful, unpredictable, threatening, uncooperative, pushy, etc.) your body will give you clues. Your palms may sweat, you could tense your shoulders, or you might lower your head. Frequently, you’ll move backward or retreat in a classic flight position. Or, pushed too far, you may even clench your firsts. You will literally get your back up. You’ll stick out your chin. Then you begin to move forward or attack in a classic fight position. In either case, your body is the barometer of the psychological weather.”

Ronald M. Shapiro & Mark A. Jankowski in
Bullies, Tyrants & Impossible People

The Progressive Audit

“Working As a Team”
“The concept of teams id obviously important and discussed numerous times in this book. Training the team together builds consensus, as does the presence of experienced versus nonexperienced auditors. There should be discussion on working as a team, such as dividing up audit questions, so while one auditor is asking, the other is listening and looking for fact. Auditors also corroborate and build consensus in conclusions so the resulting score and comments are representative of the team. This does not mean everyone must always agree but instead that opposing views must be discussed so the best decision will be made.”

“As the audit program matures, there are opportunities for more-focused training especially for lead auditors. This depends on the strategy of the organization and the size of the audit teams. Training can be expended to have a session specification focused on conflict resolution, team building, or questioning/listening techniques. In addition, lead auditors can serve as guided during the ISO or customer auditor to lean new techniques.”

“There is little reason to believe that when the training session is finished, the auditors will have the necessary skills to perform a good audit. Although much of the system and audit format will make sense during the review, it may be difficult to recall any details or be able to put it in perspective. This does not take away form the fact that it is still important to train this way so familiarity with the audit process occurs.”

“Auditors can take notes on key points in addition to having copies of the slides or overheads for reference. Most important is the fact that they will have the checklist in hand during the audit as a guide to follow, they will also have an experience lead auditor and eventually, experienced team members once the program becomes established. As the program expends and matures, training will expand to both teach new auditors the methodology and continue to expend the skill experienced lead auditors and team members.”

Robert Pfannerstill in The progressive Audit

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Trouble With Physics

“The Most dramatic experiments are those that overturn universally held beliefs. Some beliefs are so embedded in our thinking that they are reflected in our language. For example, we speak of the physical constants, to denote those numbers that never change. These include the most basic parameters of the laws of physics, such as the speed of light or the charge of the electron. But are these constants actually constant? Why couldn’t the speed of light change with time? And could such a change be detected?”

“In the multiverse theory discussed in chapter 11, we imagined the parameters varying over a range of different universes. But how can we observe such variations in our own? Could the constants, such as the speed of light, change over time in our universe? Some physicists have pointed out that the speed of light is measured in some system of units-that is, so many kilometer per second. How, they argue, can you distinguish the speed of light varying over time in a situation in which the units themselves vary over time?”

“To answer this question, we have to know how the units of distance and time are defined. These units are based on some physical standard, which is defined. These units are based one some physical system. At first, the standard referred to Earth: a meter was one millionth the distance from the North Pole to the equator. Now the standard are based on propertied of atoms-for example, a second is defined in terms of the vibrations of an atom cesium.”

“If you take into account how the units are defined, then the physical constants are defined as ratios. For example, the speed of light can be defined if you know the ratio between the time it takes light to cross an atom and the period of light that the atom emits. These kinds of ratios are the same in all systems of units. The ratios refer purely to physical properties of atoms, no decision about choice of units is involved in measuring them. Since the ratios are defined in terms of physical properties alone, it is meaningful to ask whether these ratios change over time or not. If they do, then there is also a change over time in the relationship between one physical property of an atom and another.”

Lee Smolin in The Trouble With Physics

World Without End

“Nuns and monks were not supposes to talk to one another casually, so she had to contrive a pretext. As it happened, there was a dog in the nave, and it had barked during the service. Dogs were always getting into the chrch and making a minor nuisance of themselves, but they were generally ignored. However, on this occasion Elizabeth left the procession to shoo the dog out. She was obliged to cross the line of monks, and timed her move so that she walked in front of Godwyn. She smiled apologetically at him and said: ‘I beg your pardon, father Prior.’ Then she lowered her voice and said: ‘Meet me in the library, s if by accident.’ She chased the dog our of the west door.”

“Intrigued, Godwyn made his way to the library and sat down to read the Rule of St Benedict. Shortly Afterwards, Elizabeth appeared and took out the Gospel of St Matthew. The nuns had built their own library, after Godwyn took over as prior, in order to improve the separation between males and females; but when they removed all their books from the monks, library, the place had been denuded, and Godwyn had reversed his decision. The nuns’ library building was now used as a schoolroom in cold weather.”

“Elizabeth sat with her back to Godwyn, so that anyone coming in would not get the impression that they were conspiring, but she was close enough for him to hear her clearly.” Something I felt I should tell you,’ she said. ‘Sister Caris doesn’t like the nuns, money being kept in the new treasury.’

Ken Follett in World Without End

Frontline Pakistan

“The war against militancy and Islamic extremism can be best fought –and won-in a liberal democracy. Musharraf’s authoritarian rule has blocked any hopes of democratic process taking root. It is very clear that the restoration of democracy in Pakistan is not a priority for Washington, because a leader in military uniform can deliver far more than a democratically elected on . An army general ruling Pakistan does not trouble the West, so long as he happens to be an effective ally in the war against terror. Washington’s backing may have given Musharraf a huge boost, but that cannot change realities at home. Anger at Musharraf’s close relationship with the US has long generated support for Islamic redials among many Pakistanis.”

“Despite the backing of the army and America, Musharraf is living on borrowed time. He has spawned a system that is a hybrid of military and civilian rule. It is certainly not a democracy. So far, the military’s backing has given the system a semblance of stability, but it is crumbling under the weight of its own contradiction. There is no succession principle in his system, which will inevitably lead to a takeover by another army general in the event that something happens to him. There is always a danger of the vacuum being filled by radical Islamists, both inside and outside the military.”

Zahid Hussain in Frontline Pakistan

Powerful Times

"Five Tracks to the Future”
“In the decade ahead, I believe that our knowledge and actions regarding the challenging state of the planet will develop along five tracks. The first track is learning, and here we are already making strong progress. Our understanding of climate patterns is evolving. We are tracking and sensing the Earth’s climate systems in ever-expending ways. We are paying attention to weather events and discovering their connections in an attempt to understand them at am more systemic level. We are observing, measuring, and assessing planetary changes as they occur. And we are modeling and simulating our planet’s climate system in increasingly sophisticated ways. But learning requires, quite literally, the ability to change our minds, necessitating an openness and spirit of inquiry that has not always characterized civic, political, and even scientific dialogue on this critical issue.”

“The second track is mitigation-in particular, a serious global effort to constrain carbon emissions. As Brain Fagan has said, “The times require us to learn the vagaries of the global climate, to study its moods, and to keep our skies relatively clear of excessive greenhouse gases with the same
Diligence, and for the same reasons, that the Mesopotamian farmers five millennia age had to learn the moods of the Euphrates and keep their irrigation canals reasonably free of silt. If they didn’t the gods grew angry.” Today, we are stumbling along this mitigation go first and how quickly to proceed. But at least we are proceeding.”

“The third track will be retrofitting-figuring out how we might continue to occupy parts of the planet even as they come under increasing pressure, which they surely will. To some extent, we have been retrofitting against nature for thousands of years, especially in the construction of coastal defenses as the sea has encroached upon inhabited areas. But the future scale of our work in this regard is without precedent, although there is hope that large-scale retrofitting can be achieved. Maldives, a country of more than 1,000 coral islands nestled in the Indian Ocean southwest of India, is the lowest –lying nation on the planet; its capital, Male, is only 3 feet above sea level. Faced with destruction by rising sea levels, the country’s president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, decided to create an entirely new island, Hulhumale, at a height of 6 feet above sea level. The project cost mor than $60 million so far and is already home to more than 1,000 people (in 2040, when the island is complete, it will be 150,000). The island was unexpectedly tested by the December 2004 tsunami; it survived with only very minimal damage while the rest of Maldives was devastated.”

“The fourth track, sadly, will be retreating, for there will be land that cannot be saved for human habitation. In some areas, the rising cost of coastal defense is prompting a policy of returning land to the sea. But in the years ahead we will be forces to leave land that has been inhabited for millennia. The 155,000 Inuit in Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and Russia face the very real prospect of the devastation of their culture, which is so intimately linked with their geography.”

“Finally, the fifth track will be transcending-imaging and preparing for radically different approaches to configuring human life on this planet, or even possibly elsewhere. We will not have to embark upon anything dramatic in the decade ahead. But we will begin to explore more creative ideas as our understanding of the deep tension between people and planet increases.”

Eamonn Kelly in Powerful Times

Heights of Madness

“ I struggled too, to grasp the role that Islam played in this army. There was something that did not fit. I knew that the Pakistan Army was not driven by religious fanaticism. Like the Indian Army, it relies on a blend of nationalism and loyalty to the unit; recruited men from the mountains and rural villages who could be inculcated with a spirit of “ours not to reason why”, and counted on officers to lead from the front. But its soldiers did not go into battle dreaming of death. An officer who thinks only of killing himself is of little use to a professional army, which needs men who are above all sane, who can remain focused and objective, who know the difference between suicide and getting killed. So, why then, did it exhort men to die in the name of Allah?”

“I asked a former Pakistan officer how he had felt about Islam in his soldiering days and he told me a story that summed up all the contradictions of an Army made up of young men obsessed with western culture who also had faith in the mysterious powers of religion. I was inclined to believe his story because he told me it in two separate meetings with great sincerity and consistency. Unlike me, he saw no need to reconcile the contradictions.”

"By lucky chance, he was outside of the bunker where he lived and slept on Siachen when a mortar hit a rock next to it. “It did not break the rock, but fragments penetrated through the thick metal sheet of the bunker,” he said. “My sleeping bag was like a chicken with feathers flying everywhere. Our eating utensils were leaking. The autobiography I was reading- of General Douglas MacArthur-was shredded to pieces. Everything was destroyed-my books; my magazines; my copy of Cosmopolitan . In the corner, lit up by the sun, was the Holy Koran. It was untouched.”

Myra MacDonald in Heights of Madness

When Professionals Have To Lead

“In professional service firms today. A players demand attention, C players look for anchors of security, and solid, B-class professionals are often overlooked and underappreciated. If the A players comprise the top 10 percent of a firm’s professionals and its C players comprise the bottom 15 percent, then, by definition, a firm’s B players comprise 70 to 75 percent of its professionals. All firms, including those in the top tier, have a large majority of B players who are often the heart and soul of the organization. Consider how much time, attention, and effort you are devoting to the great majority of your professionals –the solid middle. If your B players are mediocre. If they are high performer, your firm will be high performing. A players, comprising only 15 percent of any firm’s population, will never make up for the 70 percent in the middle, regardless of how good they are. And there will always be that 70 percent in the middle.”

“Alarmingly, PSFs that do not recognize these B players fail to maximize their considerable value. Because they are largely self-sufficient and secure about who they are and tend to be aware of their roles and responsibilities, B players typically need less care and feeding than A or C players. However, this lack of recognition of professionals who are not in the top or bottom 10 percent can seriously weaken a service firm. Par of the problem, of course, is that leaders unfairly view B players as not ambitious and unable to perform at the top level; they perceive them as lacking the drive to be stars. Everything from the popular press to admonitions from out society’s collective unconscious reinforce this stereotype. In reality, managing partners may not understand the motivation of solid contributors because B players are in fact different from the managing partners and, therefore, less understood.”
Thomas J. Delong, John J. Gabarro, and Robert J. Lees
When Professionals Have To Lead

Be Inspired Make An Informed Career Decision

“The Framework for informed Career Decision Making (FICDM) provides a logical and simple structure to complex issue involved in the process of career decision making.”

“FICDM is based on the robust principles of management strategy, i.e. your current position, where you want to go and how you will get there.”

“This book’s title ‘be Inspired’ represents the ‘Yourself’ component of the framework, and ‘Be Informed’ represents the ‘Markets’ the ‘yourself’ component symbolises emotion, and the ‘Markets’ component symbolises rationality. The coordination of the emotional (emotions develop energy) component with rationality (rationality develops logic) is likely to yield a superior decision making process and outcome.”

“In addition, the FICDM is intentionally designed and developed for the Indian condition, specifically for the eastern (collective) culture in general, where it is believed that due to the collective nature of society, ‘O Factor’s tent to play a key role in an individual’s career decision.”
Amber Ahuja in Be Inspired Make An Informed Career Decision

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Contemporary Readings in Globalization

“The infamous law which prevents Muslim girls from wearing the hijab in school and the refusal of the authorities to grant the building of urgently needed mosques are tantamount to a stranglehold on French Muslims. And since Islam is both a faith and a culture, a stranglehold on the former will inevitable suffocate the latter. That this should breed resentment and discontent is hardly surprising. The stigmatization of Islam in France means the subjugation of the vast majority of its ethnic minority communities. But it is in France’s schools and colleges, where Muslim girls are forbidden to wear headscarves in the name of secularism that a pernicious Islamophobia is fating hold. As Liz Fekete has pointed out, “In France, the paranoia about the hijab is taking on the dimension of a modern witch hunt.”

“It is the first day back to school after the summer holidays. Maslim schoolgirls, threatened with exclusion and to wear bandanas, smaller headbands which reveal more of their necks and ears. As they enter the school, the girls are scrutinized from head to toe lest they be wearing an item of clothing that breaks the non-religious dress code. A girl with a bandana is stopped by the headmaster. “It’s covering your ears,” he complains. “I want to see your ears.” He also finds fault with the girl’s dress, a fashionable sari-style item worn by many Parisian women last year. Having endured this ordeal with remarkable patience, the girl is eventually allowed to enter the school. What her state of mind must be, one can only imagine. To make matters worse, already sitting behind her desk, having entered the school without raising anyone’s eyebrow, is a non-Musli girl in a low-cut t-shirt which reveals much of her ample bosom. The treatment meted out to Muslim schoolgirl arguably represents a French variation on the notorious stop and search practices that provoked Britain’s black communities to rebel in the 1980s. And the message to your women is clear: covering your head is demeaning and antithetical to women’s rights and freedom, while displaying your body in an ostensibly sexual fashion is okay. Even the French women’s movement apparently shares this viewpoint: Muslim girl participating in a women’s march through Paris are harangued by their white “ sisters” who declare that their headscarves are “shameful.”

Scott R.Sernau in Contemporary Readings in Globalization

The Ancient Science and Art of Pranic Healing

“The author had a patient who was a habitual drinker. Based on scanning, his solar plexus chakra (energy centre) was depleted, a part of the liver was depleted and another part of it congested. He told his patient that he had a liver problem and that it should be treated as soon as possible.”

“The patient had a blood test and the medical finding showed that his liver was fine. As a result, he was hesitant to be treated. After several months, the patient had severe pain in the liver and the medical finding showed that he had hepatitis. The disease must be treated before it manifests on the visible physical body. The emphasis is on prevention. It is a lot easier and faster to heal the disease when it is still in the energy body and has not yet manifested on the visible physical body.”

“Manifestation of the disease can also be prevented by taking proper medication. In cases where the disease has manifested, healing should be applied as early as possible. The earlier pranic treatment is applied, the faster is the rate of healing. Healing becomes more difficult if the disease has developed fully since it takes more time and more pranic energy. It is important that the disease must be treated as early as possible to ensure speedy recovery.”

Master Choa Kok Sui in ‘The Ancient Science and Art of Pranic Healing’ (

The Existence of God is Self-Evident

“Individuality and spiritual oneness coexist simultaneously… Imagine there are one million computers. Each computer is an individual computer but when connected and gridded together, they function as one megacomputer.”

“The energy body of the planet Earth has a consciousness of its own. The Earth’s energy body is actually a great living planetary computer. Your energy body (and its charkas) has a consciousness of its own and is a living mini biocomputer. It is connected with the great planetary biocomputer. The task is to access the great planetary biocomputer. The whole universe has consciousness and is a great living cosmic computer…”

“Based on the principle of spiritual oneness, whatever a person does to others he does to himself… The fruits may be pleasant or unpleasant depending on the nature of the seed that was planted. This is called the Law of Karma.”

Master Choa Kok Sui in ‘The Existence of God is Self-Evident’ second edition (