Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Today in the econ class when he taught about the education thing, I think I can imagine why Manmohan Singh supports reservation.
Till today a majority of institutions in India have been reputed because of 2 things -
1. Govt funding, so subsidised and therefore attracting a lot of middle class and brilliant students.
2. A better infrastructure also attracts a better faculty

For the 2nd point, only a handful can be given as examples, e.g. IITs. But for the 1st point, the league starts from Primary schools. Where I have done most of my education, I could not find a single reason why my junior college attracts so many good students (I mean I know that they were more liberal, but not academically strong). So good students of one passing batch used to influence the good students of next batch and so the reputation of the school grew. Ditto with RECs. Agreed that RECs have marginally better facilities but ultimately its the students that drive better placements and which stands as a key differentiator. Its the entry criteria to RECs is that I think makes the companies want to come to these campuses.

Let us take a hypothesis where suddenly all these colleges decide to decrease the no of seats. What does that lead us to? Obviously more better students will be forced to go to 2nd/3rd rung colleges in their areas or state colleges or private colleges. Once this starts, word of mouth spreads and you get more bright students opting for these colleges. A similar analogy can be drawn from Pune, where students stick to colleges in the city than venturing out. Economy sustatins it, and local companies make sure that students are absorbed somewhere.

With advent of orkut and other networking websites, alumni networks are gaining importance by the day. In fact in some instances these are driving the development of the institution. My school can be quoted as a good example. We have a .com website on school's name and reunions happen every year which are advertised heavily. Such networks also contribute to better development of the school and increasing awareness.

Now if we just replace that earlier hypothesis of reduction of seats to Reservations, in a long term it might just be beneficial to the society and economy in general. Not only are we creating a place for all the colleges to compete equally, we are giving a chance for the human capital to distribute much more uniformly than it is currently.

There might be counter-arguments, but all I can think of is, well macroeconomics makes you think a lot!!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

IT - Has it been really India's boon?

Motivation - As we were preparing ourselves for the Business Presentation, one of the fellow students mentioned that IT has done good to only a select few in the country. A large mass still remains untouched by the so-called IT Revolution. In fact, one went ahead and said that Mobile phones were a true revolution and not IT.

So it goes that now 50% of India's GDP comes from Services, more specifically software/hardware related services. If we say that 2-3% of India's population is doing this, so it makes up the point of motivation. Let us look at the other part of the fact. India's GDP is US$ 3.3 Trillion as I write this. Can you imagine the kind of money Services sector is pouring in? Yes people might argue with deficits and other factors, but still you end up getting a whole lot of money.

Hypothesis - Money attracts money.

Yes I mean it. And no I don't say this in any negative connotation. Let's say I am a typical s/w engineer who would otherwise have earned less than 10K per month, but thanks to booming industry I start my career anywhere from 15k to 30k per month. I need a place to live since there is a 90% chance that I did my college from a different place. As I start living and settling, I need a person to clean my house, provide me dinner (assuming lunch in the office), provide for a cup of tea and newspaper in the morning, and entertainment over the weekend. Boy, its just me, but am I proving to increase the economic value of everything I touch. And then there are my friends who are doing the same elsewhere.

The kaamwaali bai who used to earn less, now earns more with the new bunch of s/w pros starting to live in the building. Her husband works in the same building as a guard. He also earns marginally more as a result. They can safely choose to send both their kids to govt school and hope for their bright futures. Perhaps they are now also able to send some money to their ailing parents in the village from where they'd migrated a few years back.

Where am I leading this discussion? Well I think its anyone's guess that the benefits from the IT revolution have started to trickle down to every corner of society. What we need is time and patience. What we also need is the proper utilization of this money so that right talent in people is nurtured. After all the biggest lesson that we have learnt from what one of our profs calls "accidental revolution" is that there is no greater investment than the one done on human resources.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Google makes me nervous every time it gets a headline. It doesn't mean I am pro-Microsoft, its just that I wonder if any other present brand can create such a great thing. Let us see why. I first learnt of google from a very techie friend of mine in college. We had to use Linux to access net that time, and the bandwidth was low, but google was fast even those days. Slowly searching and googling became synonymous. Google worked on its image as the fastest engine that anyone can use.

Since then whatever google has touched or entered into has turned gold. And they came as innovators. Gmail, Orkut, Google Earth, Trends, Video and what not. What struck me now is that Google is now coming in with a spreadsheet software. Believe me Excel is so much into pressure, one cannot imagine, simply because of Google's credibility in the market. Meanwhile you can go to http://spreadsheets.google.com/ to get a glimpse. Looks kinda weird after excel but does same functions.

Good thing is features like wrap text and merge are easily accessible. Plus less cluttered menu makes it easier for spreadsheet operations.

A strong negative would be web based thing. Plus sharing means inviting people, rather than unrestrictive editing by all. Apart from this they should really work in aesthetics.

All in all, worth a try and by God this also has a potential!! :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Reservations - II

Caution - This can be read as a Pro-reservation blog so please don't get agitated. Just listen out and think what the other side has to say.

I got hold of the Mandal commission report's analysis by a pro-reservation person. I read it on a website and, though I am not convinced, I will try to put the other point across. BP Mandal, after doing a thorough analysis of societal structure, observed that casteism is still pretty much alive in India (esp Northern India). Therefore, he thought it just to recommend a way to make sure that the oppressed are brought on the same plane as the so called upper classes.
According to 2001 census, around 72% of Indian population lived in Rural areas. Considering this fact, and that around 50% of the Indian population is North of MP, we can imagine that this situation is not totally false. So what went awry?

Imagine this, if only Mandal commission's report was taken in a better way than just drawing lines between castes or classes, things would be lot different. Who is oppressed? A person who is denied the basic human rights. So why do we want to still maintain that difference?

I still maintain that a better implementation is to identify such people NOT on the basis of their caste, but on the basis of the fact that irrespective of being upper or lower class, they are oppressed.

I'd end with this - Mandal commission recommended a 27% reservation for backward classes that constitute 75% of the Indian population. Is this asking more or less for the oppressed?

Saturday, June 10, 2006


I had thought to be more aware than I was in Infy but it has hopelessly failed. So I would try to be terse here.
Reservations are here to stay. After a long battle fueled by the student power, a heart rendering saga came to a tragic end. And at what cost? A claim that all the impacted institutes will undergo a increase in seats. My take - Amazing. After all that globalization crap, welcome to India with populism at its peak.

Federer vs Nadal, and no point in bragging about Federer. His play against Nalbandian was visibly a topsy turvy. I said F word so many times I really got scared at one time. Thankfully, Nadal will be a good competition.

For some vague reasons, I used to think that sting operations were used by media to increase accountability in the crucial govt departments. Guess I was so grossly wrong, that I am in angst for the reason that it was a publicity stunt. Has it made any difference? Yes, and No. Yes, because it coincided with the Right to Information Act so clearly no one can say. So No...

E-governance is taking shape in India. And in what form? Its now reaching every small village in Vidarbha. Flipside - people implementing it simply cannot think the way a villager would. Advice - KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid!!