Tuesday, September 19, 2006

the ideological clash

An interesting read on the changing face vs the traditional face of the CPIM...compare wrt to the performance of the two democratically elected communist chief ministers......

From the rediff website

One party, one ideology, but two diametrically opposed action plans.

The path taken by reformist West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and conservative Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan has landed the Communist Party of India (Marxist) into a heated ideological debate.

At the heart of the debate is the crucial question: who is taking the right decisions as chief minister -- Bhattacharjee or Achuthanandan?

When the CPI-M leaders steadfastly oppose foreign direct investments in sectors such as telecom, insurance, banking and retail, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls up Bhattacharjee to tone down the Left's objections.

And Opposition leaders in Kerala always blame and ridicule Achuthanandan, asking him to look to the east -- to West Bengal -- and see how Bhattacharjee has become one of India's most reformist chief ministers.

CPI-M leaders admit the styles of the two chief ministers are entirely different and that both the states are governed according to the social milieu. "There is no clash of ideology. I think both West Bengal and Kerala chief ministers are working for the development of their states. But their mode of action may be different," says CPI-M politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai.

But how differently do Bhattacharjee and Achuthanandan rule West Bengal and Kerala, respectively?

Here is a ready reckoner on the contrasting styles of governance and the stand taken by chief ministers Bhattacharjee and Achuthanandan on key issues:

Foreign direct investment

Bhattacharjee: "Ours is an open policy. We want private capital," is his oft-repeated policy statement. "We need foreign direct investment, although that does not mean we will allow Americans to sell vegetables here," the West Bengal chief minister recently said, opposing the Manmohan Singh government's plans to allow FDI in retail.

Maybe FDI in retail is the only sector that Bhattacharjee has opposed without regard to foreign investment to his state. Bhattacharjee's cabinet ministers and other state government officials have visited several countries, including the United States and China, inviting FDI into the state in core sectors such as industry, infrastructure, IT and food-processing.

Achuthanandan: Unlike Bhattacharjee, Achuthanandan does not see much benefit in FDI inflows into his state. In fact, last month he sent a letter to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar asking him to abandon the Union government's plans to allow FDI in agriculture and plantations.

Moreover, Achuthanandan has been steadfastly supporting the Left trade unions in opposing foreign investment into most sectors. The result: Compared to other Indian states, Kerala lags behind pathetically in attracting FDI into the state.

Ban on Coca-Cola and Pepsi

Bhattacharjee: He is against banning Coke and Pepsi, in the wake of recent studies that allegedly found high levels of pesticides in colas. "The central government should take a stand and make it clear whether the products are safe or not. State governments should not impose the ban independently," Bhattacharjee said after seven states partially or fully banned the sale of Coke and Pepsi last month.

The West Bengal chief minister added: "I don't drink either, but we are not going to ban it."

Achuthanandan: He was the first chief minister in India to impose a total ban on the sale and manufacture of Pepsi and Coke in Kerala last month. In fact, in the last few years, Achuthanandan had led the anti-Coke campaign for shutting down the Coca-Cola plant at Plachimada in Kerala's Palakkad district. "We will not allow MNCs to produce colas that are injurious to people's health," Achuthanandan said.

Smart City

Achuthanandan: The Dubai Internet City wanted to set up a Smart City -- an exclusive global IT park -- on a 100-acre plot of land by investing nearly Rs 300 crore (Rs 3 billion) in Kochi in Kerala. But the man who has opposed it most is Achuthanandan.

He dubbed DIC as 'a real estate company' and re-examined the agreement that his predecessor former Congress chief minister Oommen Chandy had entered into with the Dubai government.

"There are clauses that go against Kerala's interests. So we do not want the Smart City," Achuthanandan said soon after becoming Kerala's chief minister. Now, he wants the DIC to enter into a new agreement with the Left government.

Bhattacharjee: Kerala's loss may be West Bengal's gain. Soon after news broke that the Left-led Kerala government was not interested in setting up the Smart City, Bhattacharjee sent a high-level official team, led by the West Bengal chief secretary to Dubai. West Bengal offered 400 acres of land on the outskirts of Kolkata to DIC to set up the Smart City without the difficult conditionalities that the Kerala government had proposed. The Dubai Internet City is now evaluating Bhattacharjee's proposal.

BPOs working on Independence Day

Achuthanandan: The Kerala government shut down the offices of the business process outsourcing companies that are operating in the state on Independence Day (August 15). A number of BPOs operating at Technopark in Trivandrum and at Infopark in Kochi had asked a section of employees to work on August 15 as BPOs -- mainly working on foreign projects -- need 24-hours work schedules.

Achuthanandan, however, ordered the Labour Department to issue an official order to ensure that all the BPOs are shut under the Kerala Industrial Establishments and National Holidays Act on the Independence Day.

Bhattacharjee: The West Bengal government allowed all the BPO companies to work normally on Independence Day. In fact, Bhattacharjee defended the decision saying: "Asking BPO companies to shut down will be like shutting down a power plant on a holiday."


Bhattacharjee: The West Bengal government is taking all possible steps to ensure that the state has the best infrastructure. Last year, it roped in Indonesian infrastructure company, the Salim Group, to set up investment projects: a 'health city,' a 'knowledge city,' a special economic zone, and an express highway in the state.

Bhattacharjee is also actively wooing foreign investment from the US, Italy, Russia, China, Singapore and Indonesia for IT and infrastructure development across West Bengal.

"Our position is very clear. We want private investment in West Bengal," the chief minister recently remarked.

Achuthanandan: The Achuthanandan government has not taken any steps in the last three months to attract foreign investment in infrastructure development of Kerala. In fact, Achuthanandan, while in Opposition, was in the forefront, opposing the Rs 7,000 crore (Rs 70 billion) Express Highway plan that the Congress government had announced.

Due to opposition from the Left, the Congress regime had then shelved the project. Now the very expression 'Express Highway' is anathema to Achuthanandan.

However, Kerala's industries minister says that the government is taking the rights steps for infrastructure development in the state. "We are setting up a new, public-private infrastructure development company for building roads, bridges and even airports in Kerala. Yes, foreign investment is welcome," Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem told rediff.com.


Bhattacharjee: When the Manmohan Singh government hiked the prices of petroleum products two months ago, the Left-led trade unions called for a general strike across the country. Prime Minister Singh then called up Bhattacharjee asking him to help tone down the Left's opposition to the price hike. Soon, the chief minister declared that he was against a general strike on the petrol price issue although demonstrations could take place, as in any democracy.

Once West Bengal used to be hit by frequent labour strikes. But these days, thanks to Bhattacharjee, the state rarely witnesses any strikes.

Achuthanandan: Kerala is best known for industrial strikes and Achuthanandan has not done much to erase the image. In fact, Kerala was the only state that was fully paralysed during the Left-led national strike against petrol price hike two months ago.

A trade union leader himself, Achuthanandan argues that citizens have the democratic right to protest against all the anti-people policies of the government.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Managed Anarchy

What do u do if u gets tons n tons of free time after graduating from IIMC?

Well, u either sit at home, lounge around and revel in your inner thoughts (like the majority of us) or do somethin more useful, which our dear friend Ramanan aka Krosstok has done...

He has created a comic strip on his experiences in IIMC and in general about the MBA tribe.

Check it out!


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Calcutta to Bangalore

It is in my opinion a journey that most of us shall not forget till the very end of our times, if that is, there is anything such as "our" time, which of course depends on how we fare in our time! However, there are some of us who willfully attempt to forget this transition as we tread further, in some way knowingly not looking back at the memory lane, for when it is time to assume another role in campus, being on the other side of the ominous table, we plead innocent to any sensetivity towards the souls who have spent hours sitting across us forming different answers to the same, cyclical and perpetually repeating questions that were once asked to us.

It is not within my scope at this date to discuss the merits of such voluntary and intermittent amnesia, but I hope I do not become a case-in-point one day. However, on the other side, the more inextractable piece of our existence, the layer of thought that we passed through in the two years at Joka, continues to make a consistent impact on our chosen way of life and I hope would lead us to serve the marquee our predecessors have created.

As of the present, I have proceeded to find the key differences in my lifestyle in a post-event scenario after moving to Bangalore. I still dont like to get up early, and am facilitated by my organization letting me come in just when the second lecture would start at Jokaland. In a way, the precision of the match I have found here compared with the last two years in terms of routine, though not comparable with clockwork, comes dangerously close to Bangalore traffic signals. Yes, they do have signals in Bangalore, in case you missed them!

Even as I miss the 85% water coverage, Ulsoor lake is just about making up the damage. That coupled with the will-rain-any-moment climatic structuring of my new home is holding me up against the lack of any work or play. So the primary and most heartening loss is of my closest and dear friends whom I now see through minute symbols on a virtual interface and hear through diaphragms and digital speakers.

I hope others have had better luck in making this leap from "our" world to "theirs" and also that they shall make it "our" time from "theirs". This post goes out to everyone of my batchmates living out something new, and remembering that which may never be forgotten. Hope we stay Jokaiites for all our times...


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Malli- the mohammed who went to and conquered the mountains

Prankie had asked me to put up a blog entry on Malli when he had conquered Mt everest. Silly me: was caught up right in the middle of the internship, however I tried to justify the inability to post an entry by saying that I was waiting for much bigger news from Malli. That "news" has finally arrived.

Malli has finally created a world record of conquering 7 summits (apparently it is a part of mountaineering terminology that defines 7 mountains in just two words) in the shortest span to date.

I admire him for two aspects and his physical strength is not one of those. The characteristics that I admire would be those that I probably lack in. And the first in those is his ability to pursue his dream without letting sponsorships and its nuances forming a roadblock. Personally, I might let go of a dream, if I had difficulty getting sponsorships. But Malli has persisted with his dreams and he has won. It really is "hats off" to him for his devotion to his goals.

The second characteristic is his ability to find alternatives when ever diplomacy comes across him. I heard "tales" of how he hitched a ride in a cargo plane and of deportation from an alien nation. Amazing indeed! The methodical way of thinking outside the regular norms, ability to comprehend the situation and act in the best (optimum) way, are some rarely-found traits in human beings today. I had to struggle to develop those skills to the amateur level at which they exist in me. Malli seems to have mastered those skills by now.

Mountains are no longer hurdles for this young man ...Malli, the coming days should be enjoyed to the most. It is not everyday that an IIMC-ian sets a world record (oh unless you are Malli, of course) . Truly, it is with a lot of joy that I say that at this moment "IIMC is proud of it being a part of you"

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Vijay Lancy's Article in the Economic Times

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Goodbye IIMC.... you made me what I am...

Well, its that time of my life again, when you move out of one stage and you move into another. For all practical purposes my life in IIMC and most probably as a student, it over. I remember the first time I walked into (drove into, rather) this campus. The absolute letdown of the Calcutta “city” was completely erased from my mind the moment I saw this awesome campus loom in front of my eyes.

The two years here have been eventful to say the least. Norris, my senior used to tell me that the campus grows on you. I couldn’t understand what he said and why he spent hours near the jetty. I came to IIMC to learn management; I guess I have learnt much more than that.

What all has IIMC taught me? Hmmm. Good question. It has definitely taught me to go “value adding” activities like bullshit a class of 250 students non stop for 40 mins (they call it case based discussions) or to chill out till the nth hour and sit and cram something hours (and sometimes even minutes) before the exam (sack & crack, the IIMC way !)

In the social life front (which forms a majority of my life here), I have learnt to live with people from different regions, countries and backgrounds. IIMC has taught me the advantage of team work – be in a tyre raid during the world war and u know what I am talking about. It has given me the strength to dream big and work hard to achieve it. Intaglio 2005-06 was our dream, and we made it into the most successful business school meet in India. Its also about unity. Coming from a background of students indulging in campus politics and looking for an excuse to get at each other, this institute surprised me on its capability to rally all its students together for a cause. Each and every student who has passed through the revered hallways of this institute loves and respects this place. There is no section based, region based or hostel based division and that makes it such a healthy environment for growth.

Most importantly, I think IIMC has taught me a new way of life. Its this unique mix wherein you are taught all about the cold, professional world of management on one side, and you learn to appreciate the beauty of nature and like to sit beside the lake and watch the sun set on the other side. Its about leading teams with purpose and working with deadly efficiency on one side and laying back and sleeping or just roaming around campus on the other.

All in all, I think IIMC has taught me to take the best of both worlds. It has empowered me with a strong heart and a confident spirit. It has given me friendships that I will treasure for the years to come. As I say goodbye to this great institute which has made me what I am.. all I can say is.. IIMC tujhe Salaam…

Monday, February 13, 2006

promoting PGP

Well, i just read that another famed b-school has used the leo burnett agency to promote the gospel about an executive MBA program. My humble thought that was we should also get a burnett on board...How abt THE "Mark Burnett"??

Here are a few suggestions that he would give..
1) create "survivor:pgp"... where you are dumped from a running bus into joka campus with only the shirt you wear!!!
The rules are simple, after one year of gruelling academics, if you find your name on the roll of honor , you get the coveted distinction of being called "survivor". But you are not alone, there would be at least 200 other contenders. The only communication with the outside world would be through(not email, not a mobile phone, not even posted snail mail) telepathy. Why? of course you do not have money with you to get a cab! Oh yeah, there is always the lake where you would have the bikini clad survivor contestant trying to seduce another one and "put lake" him.

2) The "apprentice: Jokaland"... Trump would fly in in his learjet, land somewhere somehow (the lakes are good for landing too). and you would have 80 of the most experienced MBA aspirants on earth doing projects for him. George and Carolyn would not be able to make it to India and so Burnett would suggest that Trump select suitable ones from the Student council (Creating a mini-episode in itself).
Projects for the apprentices would include:
a) Ensuring that company ppts meet all the WWRs

b) Contract with IBM to install biometric measures for that attendance thingy

c) Conduct the XL meet without the F word.

The last round would of course be held in the auditorium. The prize for the winner would be a PPI from ITC (since they understood that a sonar bangla dinner might cost more to ITC).

3) IIM County Chopper - These extremely challenging projects (agreed that it's not a burnett original) would culminate when you deliver a management framework that looks sexy and can growl like a real chopper! The tools (library, dc++, ipmsg) would be provided on campus, but there would always be the toughest prof on campus (paul snr) to intimidate the contestant.

4) The simple PGP life: Two of the trendiest PGP ladies would be sent out to the backward areas of calcutta to learn about the indian social structure. and yes, they would sleep on the floor, milk the cow, cook chapathis the traditional way, and earn their living by washing plates. The finale is when they get a rendezvous with lionel richie and get to stay in the Bengal Hilton (?) for a day.

That is all i could muster in the 5 minutes to class deadline before rushing out of the hostel room.

~Want Mark Burnett and his skimpily clad contestants on campus