Saturday, March 31, 2012

42nd Week@XIMB

42nd Week@XIMB - 25th March to 31st March, 2012

25th March - This Sunday has been devoted to assignments and presentation. I take a long nap instead of all this hectic schedules. I also talked to GM about doing PHD in public policy from any foreign university. The complex question of Distribution and Creation of the wealth always intrigued me. Merit, Network, Violence, Open Society, Distributive Justice and Reservations are few vague key words around which I want to focus my work.

To imagine a long life and planning for 20-25 years down the years is an extreme example of the unrealized luxury. Only elites can have insurance, coping strategies and resources for mitigating future risk required for such plans. There remains a deep aura of uncertainty  in the life of aam aadmi. What I felt deeply that future exists, may be for a day or week for most of the people living on the fringes. People are living from hand to mouth situation having much vulnerabilities like health, displacement and social risk. Majority of their time and wages is spent in food. Yet, they plan and save with much difficulty for marriages, festivals and fatal accidents. The vulnerability of commons is due to the wrong policies of the major institutions. The economic and social institutions are not designed by mistake but exists only for the benefit of the elite. There is a huge gap between what people want and what the government is prepared to give in the doamin of public services  and goods(education, health, clean water, sanitation). State policies have no meaning unless they consider the weakest person of the society. Salute to aam aadmi who is a portrayal of resilience and vulnerability in the same skin.

26th March - I had change in daily schedule and more behaving as an nocturnal animal. This mutation can be contributed to hot summer days of Orissa.

27th March - Convocation day. There was convocation address by Harsh Mariwala of Marico.

28th March - CID exam was a disaster. And yet, I am satisfied with my preparation level.

29th March - OM and CMIB exams were much better than previous examination. Exhaustion is approaching due to lack of long of sleep and stress.

30th March - RIM exam was tough yet viable. UDO exam was based on RLLE and bring out the writing bug in every student. The abstract concept of development and vision were flowing from the nip of the pen. The creative tension between mind and aching hand produced the answers of high creativity and innovation.

31st March - MP exam was over. Answer sheet with limited space are doing wonders for me and curbing the habit of muggers to vomit their data. Three exams more to go....

The Spirit of Invisible - Kalyan Akkipedi offers a quick peak into the heart of rural India peppered with lessons learnt from traditional healers, contemplation on co-operation between religious factions and the story of salt. Best Lines Read in the article: “Nature is unique in every region, and so are the ways to exist in synergy with it. Understanding this way of existence is knowledge. Knowledge is omnipresent in the region, but can’t be explicitly articulated. Traditions of a region preserve this knowledge in codified ways. Lifestyle in any given region evolves along these traditions. And, lifestyle interactions of a community weave cultural fabric. Therefore, each region has a unique culture. Without this uniqueness, there's no diversity.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

41st Week@XIMB

41st Week@XIMB - 18th March to 24th March, 2012

18th March - Prosperity of any nation depends on youths. Change requires individuals with grasp on realism, courage, willingness to change, and a readiness to support change, particularly among those who have the greatest means to do so. Jesuits are known for their work in education (founding schools, colleges, universities and seminaries), intellectual research, and cultural pursuits, and for their missionary efforts. Jesuit Society is producing Business and Rural Managers at XIMB. There is no shortage of highly capable and qualified students who want to work for the development of the country. Yet, the managers from XIMB all need job for waving off loan and sustaining economically after MBA education. The selection process, curriculum, quality of faculty, pedagogy and the farce called placement are all oriented towards are not creating independent minds and risk takers. The warning of Prof Cornel West is coming in mine mind: "a market-driven technocratic culture has infiltrated university life, with the narrow pursuit of academic trophies and the business of generating income from grants and business partnerships taking precedence over the fundamental responsibility of nurturing young minds." The emphasis of any university, college or school should be on fostering curiosity rather than only competitive excellence.

19th March - I was not able to see Budget 2012 today. How to read the union budget was a nice initiative from Indian government for educated citizens. I was only able to read article No green signal yet for the Yuva Kisan by M. S. Swaminathan. Commenting on the poverty line will be like muddling on the pile of deadwood. I came to conclusion now that everyone believes what they want to. So depending on one's ideology, poverty in India has reduced or increased. There are lies, damn lies and statistics. What a true statement it is !

20th March - REPP: There was very good lecture on Globalisation with focus on value chain analysis. Joseph Stiglitz and Thomas Friedman were the main writers to be read for an introductory level to understand pros and cons of this phenomenon. I came to know about new term : Risk Society what Ulrich Beck defines it as "a systematic way of dealing with hazards and insecurities induced and introduced by modernisation itself."

Analysis of any case can be done in two frame work : Predictive and Explanatory. There is no need to write summary of the text for the academia. Learning can only happen when we embrace our errors. I came to know more about Collaboration Curves through an article posted on google group.

Social science is not a leftist hobby that we can do without. Today, MBA student has no sense of the history. As per me, there should be equal focus on IQ, EQ ( Emotional Quotient), and SQ ( Social Quotient) while selecting candidate for any B school in India. There is no use of economic progress that brings prosperity to few. And for that change, it requires socio-political awareness in the business managers community.

Global Mindset is much relevant to the rural managers. It develops a healthy skepticism of market fundamentalism, growth, reforms and offers immense opportunities. With the help of the global mindset, a rural manager can recognize paradoxes and complex realities with their nature of arguments, their origins, contexts, backgrounds etc.

21st March - MP: While urban planning focus spatial plan, rural planning is based on the sectoral plan. There was good discussion spatial planning and Central Place theory. Central Place Theory is a geographical theory that seeks to explain the number, size and location of human settlements in an urban system. This reminded me of the cluster theory. Cluster are linked by commonalities and complementarities and they increase the productivity; Cluster and networks reduce the cost of economic transactions. They also give easier access of skilled workforce and offer a rich information flow environment.

22nd March - There was presentation on Haat and Xavier Vending zone in RIM class. We all are exhausted by the massive assignments and presentations with their deadlines approaching in each 24 hours.

23rd March -Confused positioning of RM program between development and corporate can be labeled on both students and faculty. Even with good educational opportunities, people have always prized opportunity over equality. There was talk of inclusion of few more subjects as an elective next year. Since students were also consider stakeholders, they were asked opinion first time in the history of RM course of XIMB. The process was not an administration initiative but a clear cut strategic plan of handful of students.

There must be choices of the stream at masters level, not the enforcement of ideas of few in administration.Ours handful of students came with good list of courses. Whole batch was included for their opinion but nothing concrete came out of their suggestions. As a community, we need to keep questioning and understand the hidden power of protest and voice. One must taking stand before the excessive power of the few imposes even larger costs on everyone else.

The protest of habitual dissenter is never taken much in consideration but that brings out discontent of the community. Unrest is, in reality, discontent. This discontent is a very useful thing for community mobilization. As long as a person is contented with his present and and behave like a frog in the well, so long is it difficult to persuade him to come out of it. Therefore it is that every reform must be preceded by discontent. I didn't see critical mass in the community who can take a stand even with their bounded rationality.

24th March - I am bunking lectures from last few days due to frustration with the assignments and quizzes. I am busy less productive. Still, I attended placement meeting called by our placement officer.

CID : It was the last lecture of Prof Banikanta Mishra. But we get only 15 minutes of his talk about values. He correctly lay emphasis on sincerity rather than brilliance. Humility appears in the person when one realize oneself lucky seeing poverty all around. He was second person after my father who lay emphasis on secularism.

He reminded me a quote of Bhagat Singh- "Merciless criticism and independent thinking are the two necessary traits of revolutionary thinking." What more can I say, listen from him only.

XIMB - Prof.Banikant Mishra - The last Lecture

Saturday, March 17, 2012

40th Week@XIMB

40th Week@XIMB - 11th March to 17th March, 2012

11th March - A reading day on MBA education :- What they don't teach you at Indian B-schools : In emphasising western theories and concepts, management education is curtailing innovation & Are you absolutely sure that you want to study an MBA? : Guest writer and IIM Ahmedabad student SG Shrinivas believes that the actual life as an MBA student is far from what is portrayed in the media, and those preparing for admissions should not base their decisions on sensational placement reports.

12th March - MP: There was discussion around fiscal decentralization with ensuring efficiency and identification of beneficiary at the ground level. Hoping to go in more details soon.

UDO: There was again discussion on Leadership qualities. XIMB values many factors such as your leadership traits, knowledge and genuine interest in course apart from past academic records. "Are leaders 'born' or 'made' ?" was the core question. The idea that leaders are born and cannot be made is a dangerous in context of India where there is tradition of dynasty politics and nepotism. The assumption of born leaders takes away focus from the development of leadership qualities. The main thrust then remains on finding innate leaders with the required qualities and hone them in a conducive ecosystem.

Yet, I like concept of the shared leadership. Its just like an extension mentor and trainee relationship to an altogether level. Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez are individuals who for one reason or another were unable to develop a shared leadership or even a team. Prof. Satish Dhawan's years as ISRO chief is a good example of leadership. Prof Dhawan's management philosophy was that when success comes in after hard work, the leader should give the credit of the success to the team members. When failure comes, the leader should absorb the failures and protect the team members.

13th March - RIM: There was discussion on community based marketing initiative and need of the ecosystem required for sustainability of the innovative product. Modern day technologies don't work for the small farmers as the repair and maintenance technology is absent from the ecosystem of the village. There was mention of a new documentary in the class.

Documentary : Tomorrow We Disappear (Trailer)


RS recommonded me video of discussion between Amartya Sen, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Prannoy Roy at Budget Battleground.

14th March - MP: There was discussion around fiscal decentralization; Backwardness of any region can be judged by PCI, Per Capita Availability of services and Per Capita Investment. There is no much support between fiscal decentralization and economic efficiency. Local government had ability of better revenue mobilization and pricing of local services. As we had already seen in the case of developing countries like India where there is insufficient percolation of benefits to the poor and socially disadvantaged sections, despite laucnh of the several poverty alleviation programmes.

As Oates (1993) explained, "the basic economic case for fiscal decentralization is the enhancement of economic efficiency: the provision of local outputs that are differentiated according to local tastes and circumstances results in higher levels of social welfare than centrally determined and more uniform levels of outputs across all jurisdictions.Although this proposition has been developed mainly in a static context (see my treatment of the "Decentralization Theorem,' 1972), the thrust of the argument should also have some validity in a dynamic setting of economic growth." Fiscal Experts have also concluded that decentralized government poses a threat to the macroeconomic stability and is incompatible with prudent fiscal management. (See Prud’homme, 1995; Tanzi, 1996). Among the fiscal experts a broad consensus has been arrived in the context of Musgrave’s trilogy of public functions, namely, allocation, redistribution, and stabilization, that the function of allocation can be assigned to lower level of governments, the other two would be more appropriate for the national government. Therefore, the macroeconomic management, particularly stabilization policy largely consider as clearly a central function (Musgrave, 1983; Oates 1972). [OP Vohra : Fiscal decentralization and devolution of financial resource]

15th March - CMIB : There were questions raised in my mind about sustainability of institutions created by projects. I never asked them in the lecture today. Even then, I had a doubt that most of the time, academician evade reality in order to fit various doctrines, instead of transcending theories in order to explain reality. The lack of pro-efficiency in philosophy and social sciences barred me from reaching any hasty conclusion.

RIM : There was discussion on Sarvodya Samiti Case Study. This case presents the situation faced by Pradip Mohanty, Coordinator of Sarvodaya Samiti, an NGO, which is involved in the production, processing, and marketing of honey. There is already diagnosis of the case provided by two IRMA professors here. Interesting point was the analysis of case through Ted London's Base of the Pyramid Impact Assessment Framework.

Guest Lecture by Rishikesha Krishnan
There was more focus on lack of innovation in the field of research and dearth of people filing patents. He strssed on the stock exchange for smaller firms for the growth of the new companies. There is no synergy of Capital, Idea and Talent required for new companies at present in India. More of his views can be captured in his TED talk :
Rishikesha Krishnan: From jugaad to systematic innovation


16th March -MP: There is shift in the public policy of the welfare states; They are moving towards rights based approach from basic needs approach. Demand Projection, Minimum Norms and Productive Area area given importance in planning with importance of both equality and efficiency.

17th March -CMIB : It was finally concluded that two programs/seminars can't generate empathy for poor. Personal belief of people are hard to change until backed by economic incentives in MBA education.

RM program in India doesn't have much heightened cultural awareness and global perspectives that rural managers need. There are still ghetto and commune of region /colleges operating within rural managers community. I can only recall importance of brotherhood from the french revolution : Any man aspires to liberty, to equality, but he can not achieve it without the assistance of other men, without fraternity...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

39th Week@XIMB

39th Week- 4th March to 10th March, 2012

3rd March - I was burnout, hence enjoyed Saturday night alone. I had applied for a live project at RMAX. Let's keep the finger crossed.

I gave a thought about the phenomenon of 'class participation' in grading system. Approximately 10-20% of overall marks in each subject are attributed to class participation. That is quite a difficult proposition for introverts until the topic of discussion is not very close to their heart. Unfortunately, I have realized that 'class participation' refers solely to speaking in class. Sometimes, 'Participation' is wrongly interpreted as saying stuff as much as you can as opposed to attentive listening and thinking. There may be less correlation between 'Best Orator' and 'Best Idea'.

4th March - Life at b-school is a complete antithesis of life at any engineering college. You have to redefine your work aesthetics and utilization of time. Its always a hectic schedule with lot of readings that require a lot of trade off . Yet, one has to always remember that only hard work and what you truly are as a person, MBA or no MBA, will carry you forward in life.

Anyways, I was not selected for live project at RMAX. President John F. Kennedy once said that a rising tide lifts all boats. But now, in the receding tide, unequipped boats will be dashed to pieces. I am not buzzing with positive energy and confidence but had enough belief in overriding hard luck one day. But, I browsed through e-Governance portal of Indian government for the live project. I studied Framework & Guidelines for Use of Social Media for Government Organisations that may useful in UDO course. The basic statement undermining government vision was - "Make all Government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets, and ensure efficiency, transparency, and reliability of such services at affordable costs to realise the basic needs of the common man".

5th March - There is always a sense of regional politics involved even in the elite B School OF India. Only few view every incident through the spectacles of politics. REPP assignment required review of an EPW article :- Lineal Spread and Radial Dissipation: Experiencing Growth in Rural India, 1993-2005 ;

6th March - Huge Discussion on NREGA. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. There is more focus on area identification than targeted beneficiaries in NREGA. Livelihood beyond agriculture is not considered in NREGA.It is also a hugely land based activity that has threatened skill based activities like weaving.

7th March - MP: Political decentralization has no meaning if there is no fiscal decentralization. To stop leakages of the funds in transfer and efficiency, there must be identification of beneficiary through a open process like social audit. As the wrong planning can further widen gap between rich and poor, as already there is skew distribution of resources. Even if the productivity and yield is increasing

8th March - Each ministry is an isolated island in the government. Hence, the narrow specialisation diminishes knowledge of the larger picture. The excess knowledge of expertise has led to less and less sync with other participants. 'Whose cost & Whose Benefits' is necessary question to be asked to see the relevance of each stakeholder in the policy making. 'Politics of Knowledge' was the new term for me.

There should be distribution of reading material constituting of the stories from rural hinterland in vernacular for rural management student. 'Social Monopoly' is one more keyword to be looked in the future.

Reading a nice article on public policy - Citizen voices, policy choices - It is clear that people across the country are driven by strong environment values. Therefore, without having a policy process that channelises their perceptions and crystallises them in policy statements, it is not possible to sequence and prioritise our environmental problems, says Videh Upadhyay.

9th March - Holi was celebrated with fun and enjoyment. There was a good article By Joseph E. Stiglitz :- Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% - Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

10th March - The feeling of low intellectual capacity is inbuilt in few of my batch-mates. The whole rural managers community is aware of such deficit of knowledge. Still, it shuns the idea of learning. The personal aspirations are quite despite the conducive environment, even XIMB is not able to change their mindset. I hope that the analytic vigor of the MBA program can make them more sincere towards their approach to studies and outbound learning. I have grown up hearing stories of heroes, which often contain privation, hardship and humiliation. There are grandiose visions of each budding rural manager, but they should not overlook complexity of the context. No dream is ever chased alone. It is necessary for community to mobilize for innovating new ideas that create value for all. Creative and critical thinking demand far more attention than natural smartness.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

38th Week@XIMB

38th Week- 26th February to 3rd March, 2012

26th February - Mid term papers of OM and CMIB were over till evening. I am trying to stop multi-tasking for achieving better concentration and productivity. Even if I do well or don't do well. I have realised that there are certain things that are important in life. I am trying to live as per them.

Patience, Curiosity and Irreverence have always remained the guiding tools for learning. Knowledge with fear in the heart is a quality to despise. Hence, I am sharpening the courage for defiance as it will ultimately led me in standing for something. If we don't take a stand for a cause in the protected academic institution, what are really our chances to face injustice bravely in real world ? Standing for something isn’t just about writing it down. It’s about believing it and living it.

27th February - IRV and REPP paper were over. Currently, the whole batch is on the verge of rapidly going to 'Tragedy of Commons' due to few free riders. Hoping to resolve the situation soon.

28th February - There was introduction of Public Policy in REPP course. Public policy is what governments choose to do or not to do. While looking at Indian government, there seems no serious accountability and willingness in translating the well-intentioned policies into tangible action. There seems no end of disinvestment process of cash cows to raise capital. It poses a very serious question : Do we need privatisation or more accountability?

In The Market System: What It Is, How It Works, and What to Make of It (2001), Lindblom eloquently quoted that - Market System is the best mechanism yet devised for creating and fostering wealth and innovation, it is not very efficient at assigning non-economic values and distributing social or economic justice.

There is an unspoken dictum in the heads of power holders that market as a mechanism is exempt from social and cultural norms and lies outside the bound of the society. Believing that for-profits in search of business will voluntarily serve the public good is naive. There is a contradiction between the motives of a private company and the societal obligations. Currently, free market is assumed as hybrid of public subsidy and private profit by a common man. NDA government by tried to serve to the economics and political benefits of a smaller strata with flawed policies and 'India Rising' slogan, they were kicked out of power soon. Even the emerging middle class supports private sector, but the resistance from everyday citizens of India can't be suppressed. Only massive state violence can override wishes of people.

Public policy schools in India

IIM Bangalore - http://hrm.iimb.ernet.in/cpp/index.html
IIPA New Delhi – http://www.iipa.ernet.in/
Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi - www.cprindia.org
National institute for Public Finance and policy - www.nipfp.org.in
NIRD, IIM A, IIMC (group PPM), MDI, ISB, Jindal Univ, BIMTECH etc. Even, XIMB listed as one of the four in Wiki:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_policy_schools

29th February - I gave a lot of thought about Rural Consumption and Production. Due to intervention of FMCG companies, there is an improvement in the life style of few people. But, that growth is related to a service sector and over a long period of time, promoting only rural consumption is a downward spiral. Without the opportunity of sustainable income, there will be emergence of huge economic inequality. There is a dire need of capacity building, making credit facilities available and effective utilization of productive assets. Information, Access and Capabilities are three key indicators to measure the strength of the any farmer. There is already increasing trend of movement of agricultural cultivators to casual labours, that is much in contradiction of the self employment policy promoted by the government. There is a clear evidence that self employed cultivator is moving into insecure and unorganized labour market. What happens now of the dream of self reliant village ?

There is need for funding into rural infrastructure and market development. There so many Agricultural Mandi's that are unreachable There is an urgent need of intensive development of cottage industries and agricultural processing units with backward and forward market linkages. The chain in supply and distribution network is highly distorted by too many middlemen. We often tend to measure supply chain efficiency without looking into value chain analysis that can measure relevance of the nod in the network. A very nice paper to understand future of rural markets is - The Future of Small Farms: New Directions for Services, Institutions and Intermediation - Colin Poulton, Andrew Dorward, Jonathan Kydd ;

Guest Lecture by Rajiv Surana

Rajeev Surana runs a consulting & professional services firm, Scinnovation Consultants Pvt. Ltd. based in Mumbai offering “idea protection to commercialisation” solutions to it’s clients consisting of Incubators, Individual Innovators, Research Institutes & SMEs. He gave a guest lecture that revolved around IP rights, Patents, trademarks and coprights with a small part deviated towards rural innovations and ideas.

1st March - REPP : There was screening of a The film provides powerful visual evidence of the enormous potential of NREGA and outlines the reforms required to help realize this potential. Order the film at this website.

NREGA Reforms: Building Rural India - Trailer


We have to remember that NREGA will not form an engine for growth by itself. It addresses inequality by state investment, not actual wealth and job creation. There is practice of rampant corruption in panchayats which has been a convenient excuse not to decentralise power and finances.

2nd March - We were told about CENDERET first time in the class. Centre for Development Research & Training [CENDERET], XIMB, was set up in October 1988 as the rural and social development wing to highlight the issues in rural and deprived sections of the society. In 1994, lot of funds remained underutilized due to lack of competent manpower. There were no NGO with sufficient capacity and human resource to take any water shed and Drought prone area project. There was capacity building exercise of NGO through 120 days training by CENDERET. There was massive preparation of 450 village plans with help of these NGOs in which 60-70% were accepted and overtaken by the government. Now all these NGOs are capable of talking project from various donor agencies to government.

3rd March - There were lecture of CMIB & CID. And the week ends on a happy note.

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This Blog is meant purely as a personal diary of a rural manager in making. It exists to record information, experiences and opinions about various issues encountered in the line of duty. Any person, institution and organization mentioned here doesn't assume any liability for its contents. This is not a deliberate attempt to defame anyone. And if you have actually read all that is written in the blog and aren't mad at me, then thanks for your time and patience !

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