Pathankot Attack : A chink in our armour

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Saurav Prakash, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


It all began with the winter chill when the entire country was wrapped in quilts and blankets. We already had two trending topics for discussion for the season. For those who are wondering, this is what we Indians love to do during our free time. We are elated to talk, to express and to enact like we are no less than an expert to present our opinions about myriad topics. This winter had already been occupied with talks related to the experimentation with an odd-even rule which had kept all other discussions about the winter chill at bay. However, our financial masters were more concerned about the falling market or the so ‘famously’ called charisma of ‘The Dalal Street‘.

While we being busy in our affairs, there were a few who were working extremely hard towards a precarious task – to protect us from all the known and unknown threats due to unkempt circumstances. Be it a winter chill, or an arid storm, or being flooded with hefty rains, no snow was permitted to evade from their claws. But, the chilling winter was looking for an opportunity to breach those walls and covet fear in those who were holding a dove with a white rose.

It was around 3:30 IST in the morning of a day past the new year celebrations when all hell broke loose upon this country. Our airforce was under attack from the group whom few termed as misguided young individuals while other called them as erratic, cold terrorists and infamously known as Jaish-e-Mohammad. Hence, to move outside these jargons, it was our time to act, to retaliate, to show ourselves, to show others that we are capable of handling our affairs, and, that no external threat has been able to breach us in the past and no one will be ever allowed to breach our defenses now. So, under the given circumstances, this incident was a shock to the nation, our nation, which pledges to advocate peace, a nation whose roots lies in spreading peace and a nation where we always stand for peace.

The attack which lasted more than 17 hrs. resulted in a few casualties. Our country lost a few good, fine young men keeping us perplexed again that will they ever stop, asking ourselves why they advocate war at the cost of peace and harmony. That young dove was caged again and the talks of peace were disrupted with the tremors of war.

Our country has already bled a lot by these random acts of terrorism, but, we are still not ready to give in to what we have preserved from our past. Our leaders, our values have always given us the courage and the reasons to fight for peace and no amount of terror can ever lessen our beliefs or mutilate our efforts in this regard.

India is a multi-ethnic, multicultural economy where all castes and creed, communities and societies have co-existed together, sustained together and bonded together. So, a message needs to be given to those who are trying to divide us that our past has given us the direction that how courageously we have kept on sailing together and amidst all the adversities we will continue to coexist together. We are still the fittest proponents of peace and as stated by Darwin — ‘it is the fittest who survives’.

Thank You!

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India: An Emerging Solar Power

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post

Pratikshit Gupta, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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The Madhya Pradesh Government has inked a pact with International Financial Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group to set up a solar energy plant with a capacity of 750 MW. The power plant is set to be the world’s largest single site solar energy plant and will be set up in Gurh tehsil of Rewa district spreading over an area of 1,500 hectares at an estimated cost of Rs 4,500 crore.

Successful implementation of the power project will help in moving a step forward towards realizing the goal of 100GW solar power by 2022. The current government had revised the target of 22GW set by the previous government citing dramatic decline in the solar power cost from Rs. 20 to Rs. 5.5 and the price further declining.

There have been many other developments which also help in moving towards the goal of 100GW solar energy. Investments have been pouring in from across the globe for projects in India. The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) recently announced that the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the newly-founded BRICS development bank will provide $500 million each for development of rooftop solar power projects in the country.

India is expected to add 2000MW solar capacity in January-March with the help major projects in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

However, Investors feel that the tariff being aggressive and taking into account a whole host of operating and policy risks in India There is a fear that some of the developers looking at investing in India may be put off by the Indian market due to the unviable tariffs and returns. Questions are also being raised about the sustainability of such low rates— whether the firms would compromise on quality or returns.

India, being a tropical country, has a huge potential to develop in solar energy. Also with the signing of Paris Deal in December last year, India can show the way forward to other countries and strengthen its stand on the reduction of fossil fuel and promote clean energy.

Can India become a developed nation?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Mayank Goel, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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The definition of developed nation always has a vagueness and debate hovering around it. While from the perspective of an investor developed nation is the one which possess advance economic structure such as capital access, regulations, monetary stability while from the perspective of an economist a developed nation is the one exhibiting high level of GDP, GNP, per capita income, robust tertiary and quaternary sector and from the perspective of a social advocate a developed nation is the one which has high levels of Human Development Index and low level of poverty. Developed nation can’t be characterized by a single definition; IMF identifies 37 nations to be developed, World Bank identifies 74 countries to be advanced or developed while OECD considers its 34 members to be developed.
Let’s not hung up upon arbitrary definitions the whole concept of developed nation is relative in nature i.e. how matured and evolved a nation stands with respect to others. One needs to look into the chronology of nations which have crossed the barrier to become developed. Nations such as United Kingdom, Netherlands had amassed substantial wealth during the colonial expansion by leveraging upon the wave of industrial revolution and are growing at a very sluggish rate post industrialization era, other first world countries such as United states have greased their economy over a long period of time reaping from every era, firstly as an supplier of raw materials to British empire and Ottoman empire, then as one of the centre of capitalism and industrialization then as centre of technological leader, countries such as Israel , Taiwan, Japan have become developed in pursuit of their existential challenges and shaping their economies in most robust way as an feedback to external threats and stimulus. But the major turning point in history of world was World War II which implicitly drew the line between the nations. On one side there were those riding the wave of rejuvenation and on other hand there were those who were marinating in their blissful ignorance.
Economy of India has a history of perpetual down beating starting from colonial exploitation then License raj, emergency. Hysteric from more than 250 years of colonial exploitation it was only in 1991 that India finally embraced the globalization after 44 years of independence and economy started rolling from its slumber.

Albeit the Nominal GDP of India being $2.3 Trillion standing at rank 7th in the world, the huge population base of 1.2 billion makes per capita GDP come down to $1808 at a dismal rank of 131st in world. Almost all the advanced or developed economies of the world share a common characteristic i.e. their economies cater to a relatively very small domestic population. Now if we focus upon demographics of India there are around 502 million labor force as of 2014 estimates of which 49% are engaged in agriculture sector, 20% in industrial manufacturing, 31% in services and contrastingly the contribution of these sectors is 17% by agriculture, 26% by industry and 57% by services. Evidently agriculture sector being the least productive and engaging 250 million labor force needs the most of revamping. If we compare some of developed economies all of them have minimal dependence on agriculture for employment. All major developed economies like US has only 0.7% labor force in agriculture sector, Germany has 0.9% labor force in agriculture, Japan with only 3.9% have minimalistic agriculture dependence and major labor force employed in service sector with moderate and robust manufacturing sector.
Now from the experience of major developed economies the countries which maintained to cross the barrier of being developed is by enabling its entrepreneurs, who in turn create employment for others. Silicon Valley in US, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Sony and Mitsubishi in Japan, Daimler, SAP and Siemens in Germany are empirical examples. Same can be corroborated from the ratio of contribution of service sector in GDP and percentage of labor employed in service sector. Ironically according to latest World Bank report India ranks 132 in ease of doing business among 185 economies.
Looking back at economy of India the major retarding factor for Indian economy has been long dependence on agriculture. Simple mathematics here that If we need 250 million people raising farms for 1200 million peoples than either food prices should sore up or farmers remain in poverty. But if 50 million are engaged in agriculture then their earnings will grow up by 5x times without changing the price of agro products. But where these 200 million will go? For that we need National level skill development. Government of India’s latest adventure with ‘Make in India’ campaign may look however promising but for a strong building a strong foundation is fundamental. With only 2.3 per cent of the workforce in India trained in formal skill compared to 68 per cent in the UK, 75 per cent in Germany, 52 per cent in the US, 80 per cent in Japan and 96 per cent in South Korea. A technologically-illiterate people, the logic goes, will remain at best technology-consumers but not active participators.
Tantamount to development of economy is human capital. Composite statistic of life expectancy, education and per capita income indicators which is called as Human Development Index (HDI) accounts the people-centered policies in addition to national income. While Norway tops the list of HDI with 0.944 HDI for year 2014 all the developed countries fills the top echelons of the list and India sits at end of deck with 135th rank. Major benefactors of HDI are life expectancy at birth, mean and gross years of schooling and per capita GNP. India faring equally dismal in all factors owning to inefficient education system, incapable health and sanitation system, huge population. As of 2011, enrollment rates are 58% for pre-primary, 93% for primary, 69% for secondary, and 25% for tertiary education. Despite the high overall enrollment rate for primary education, among rural children of age 10, half could not read at a basic level, over 60% were unable to do division, and half dropped out by the age 14. Indian government allocated 1.58% of GDP currently to Healthcare in contrast to global median of 5%.
One devastating problem which is plaguing the growth of India for always is shoddy infrastructure- power, electricity, roads, railways, ports, airways, public health, education institutions all are in continuous abysmal state of despair. India has 11 major ports, which are managed by the Port Trust of India. Five of these ports are on the east coast of India and six are on the west coast. These ports handle 82% of cargo and are operating beyond their capacity. India has a road network of over 4,689,842 kilometers of which only 54% is paved. Example of South Korea is illustrious enough to emphasize the importance of infrastructure development which brought it from one of the poorest economy in 1960’s to world 11th in 2014.
Undoubtedly recent endeavors by Government of India such as GST bill, Land reform bill, Make in India are quintessential to revamp the economic structure and reinstate the lost faith in economy after perpetual down beating but all these economic reforms highlight only one facet of being developed country. A country without its population feeling an upliftment in its standard of living and happiness cannot claim to be developed only on macroeconomics indicators as it is the peoples who define economy not vice versa. In a long road towards being developed there has to be a felt sense of upliftment in quality of living. Be it access to power and energy, education, healthcare, opportunity to work, regulations, civil rights etc all these are intertwined and organic to development. There is a urgent need to dismantle the rigid system of bottleneck regulations and multiple clearances for aspiring entrepreneurs to breath in and prosper, reforming the agriculture sector with more productive and rewarding technological revamp and leverage upon huge human capital by establishing more goal oriented skill development institutions.

References-
http://mospi.nic.in/nscr/infs.htm
http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/table-1-human-development-index-and-its-components
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/in.html
http://www.sixsmart.com/SSPapers/psw8.htm
South Korea: One of the World’s Great Success Stories Heads to the Polls

Pathankot Attack: Can India afford to be lenient against terrorism?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Abhishek Barui, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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The year 2016 started with yet another terrorist attack on Indian soil, and this time on a heavily guarded and strategically important location. The Air Force Station in Pathankot was attacked in the early hours of January the 2nd, resulting in the death of 7 brave soldiers. The United Jihad Council claimed the responsibility of the attack. The attack was seen as an attempt to disrupt the Indo-Pakistan peace process and was followed by the usual press releases. But can India afford to keep quiet this time around?

This was one in a series of highly coordinated terrorist attacks carried out by the Pakistan backed Islamic Terrorist Outfits targeting the important locations in India. The Governments, past and present, have always promised stern retaliation against these organizations but has always limited itself to only bureaucratic discussions with Pakistan, asking them to take appropriate actions against the masterminds of these attacks. These measures have not yet bore the fruits that India expects. Pakistan, under immense international pressure, has continued to back these outfits to carry out the attacks. Multiple terrorist camps operate in the Pakistan occupied part of Kashmir with support from ISI, the Pakistani intelligence agency.

It is high time for India take serious actions against these terrorist organizations. Though a full-fledged war with Pakistan is not an option, surgical strikes must be carried out in PoK to destroy the terrorist training camps. The security forces in the border must be increased in the border to try and seal it off, as most of these terrorists enter Indian soil after crossing the 3323 km long Indo-Pak border. The Government must also create more pressure on Pakistan to detain the leaders of these extremist organisations.

Only through some of these firm measures can India expect to stop these frequent attacks and make its citizens feel secure.

Sky is the limit

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Prakash Bansal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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There was once a time in the cricketing world when a score of 300+ was implicitly considered to be a victory for the batting team. Many a times, the opponent team, while chasing such targets collapsed like a pack of cards succumbing to the pressure created by such total.

In the recently concluded ODI series between India and Australia, this trend seems to fade away. In almost every inning 300+ runs were scored. To everyone’s surprise these totals were easily chased down by the opponents too. The fact that out of the 6 centuries scored by the Indian batsmen only one came in the winning cause, shows us the amount of runs scored in the series. It also depicts the change in the mindset of players who believe that everything can be chased down.

A lot many factors can be attributed to this change. One is the improvements in the technology over time. The quality of bats used by the players is much better now. The modified rules, like two new balls being deployed also has a role to play in. Also the biggest factor that I see is that with the advent of T20 cricket no score can be called safe now. We have players like Yuvraj who had hit 12 balls 50, Rohit Sharma scoring 264 in an ODI. It seems that the upper limit has been pushed to a higher value.

People speculate whether the famous records of Sachin Tendulkar can be broken or not. Well, I believe that with the sort of cricket being played, not even a single record is safe. With the likes of Kohli, De Villiers, Gayle who can break any record on their day, there is actually no limit on what can happen.

Startup India Standup India-A New Beginning

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Prabhat Choudhary, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Recently, Indian government launched Startup India Standup India campaign in order to create a new ecosystem for nurturing entrepreneurship and startups in India. Some of the few initiatives taken are tax exemption, 80% reduction in patent registration fee, new scheme to provide  IPR protection and Rs 10,000 crore corpus fund to support startups. It is good to see government is not only targeting students from premier institutes like IIMs, IITs and NITs but also wants to ingrain entrepreneurial culture in young students by launching innovation programs for school students.

Success of Startup India Standup India campaign is very crucial for India. Its success will open doors for young talented entrepreneurs and will give them a chance to succeed. Its success will help to reduce unemployment and poverty in Indian society. But, there are many issues that government is yet to address. Its success will depend on how government will inspire youngsters to change their job oriented mind set towards entrepreneurship especially in premier institutes and how successfully can government rescue these youngsters in case of failure. Another area of concern is almost all the startups of India that have flourished into big enterprises like flipkart, snapdeal, ola etc is financially dependent on venture capitalist. This startup culture will not be feasible when there will be booming numbers of startups competing with each other. Government has to play a role of facilitator for investments for these budding startups. Another area of focus for government should be startups in different sectors. In current scenario, boom of startups in India is confined to technology and service sectors. There is an impending need of flourishing startups in manufacturing and agriculture industry.  Another thing that government should consider is job security of employees working for these startups. Recently, many startups of Powai(Mumbai), India’s hot start up hub laid off their employees in large numbers in order to cope up with the volatile business environment. These uncertain job environment in startups can hamper startup culture in India to flourish.

We must be hopeful that government must address these issues and will do all the needful  so that start up India Standup India become a very successful campaign and allow Indians to reap the fruits of real economic development.

References:

  1. http://www.financialexpress.com/article/economy/live-pm-narendra-modi-to-unveil-startup-india-today/195809/
  2. http://www.thehindu.com/business/top-10-takeaways-from-modis-speech-at-startup-india-launch/article8114318.ece?homepage=true&ref=relatedNews
  3. http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/a-dilemma-for-powai-india-s-hot-start-up-hub-115122100893_1.html
  4. http://gadgets.ndtv.com/internet/features/startup-india-standup-india-event-everything-you-need-to-know-790263

Pure Air, No more!

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Darshan H D, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


The Delhi government implemented the Odd even plan from 1st Jan 2016 with an aim to reduce air pollution. This policy was following the report by WHO, in which New Delhi is recognised as the most polluted city in the world. The decision to implement policy created a lot of fuss and was one of the most debated topics in the media as it is first time that any state government has implemented this type of policy.

The initial reports showed marginal improvement in the quality of air, but the reports released on 10th January by IndiaSpend and NAQI revealed that there was no considerable improvement in the quality of air. Although the policy seems to be a failure, Delhi government showed an intent at least to experiment on ways to reduce the air pollution.

With Delhi being at the focal point, the big picture is blurred. Among the top 20 most polluted cities, reported by WHO, 15 are in India. “Except Delhi, all other state governments seemed to have a sense of satisfaction about it”. Not only have the state governments but the central government also pushed the problem aside and having an indolent winter.

I do believe that the responsibility to improve the quality of air rests not only with government but also with each individual. But the government has failed to create awareness among the public with respect to air pollution reaching alarming levels. “In fact, they were waiting for the World Health Organisation to conduct a survey to enlighten about this fact”. Nevertheless, it is time for us to gear up and take measures to control air pollution as the next generation and the generation to come, have a right to quality air and we don’t have the authority to take that away from them.

Gandhiji once said “The future depends on what we do today”, so high time we think about tomorrow ramifications of today’s actions to save the purity of the air we breathe.

Netflix in India: Should we say bye to our cable operator?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Yash Malani, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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The international streaming giant Netflix is now in India, much to the elation of couch potatoes who had been waiting with bated breath for more shows to binge watch. Netflix is one of the true cross-platform video streaming applications that are currently available globally. You can access this on an iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone or tablet, Windows phones and tablets, on the web browser on a PC, Smart TV platforms, Apple TV box, Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox consoles as well as stream using a Google Chromecast supported device and Blu-Ray players. One subscription allows you access on any of these devices that you may own. Netflix carries most of the TV sitcoms, and movies. The online streaming service has contracts with a number of TV networks and movie companies to stream their content online. Recently it has also started adding a lot of original content into their roster. Latest trends have shown that most of the people below the age of 30 watch television only for matches or news. They find the content currently on televisions as boring, and that speaks a lot in favour of Netflix being the prime source of content consumption in coming years. But let’s not sell our set-top boxes just yet. Bandwidth in India being one of the major hindrances, internet providers really have to offer more Netflix friendly plans. The pull of Netflix is the uncensored programming. Looking at what happened to Spectre, after our Indian Censor board is done with Netflix, it will not be worth watching. There is also no original Indian content as of now. But going by the success of TVF Pitchers and YFilm’s, it’s a man’s world and more, there is a space here where Netflix can grow with original content. Netflix also has to compete with a lot of established players like HotStar and their ‘On Air with AIB’ show and Eros Now with their large collection of regional content and then there is the dominant presence of YouTube with its never-ending treasure trove of content.

With all said and done, let’s not say good-bye to our cable operator as it seems like a cheaper option as of now. May be Netflix and Cable will co-exist and give more engaging content. What happens next, only time will tell.

A turmoil in Indian markets : Opportunity for investment

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sameer Jain, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

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This Friday the we witnessed a major downturn in the various Indian markets. In the stock market the sensex was at the 19 month low. BSE sensex was plummeted 318 points or down 1.3 %, while the Nifty was closed 99 points down or 1.31 %. In the currency market Rupee slipped 67.50/$ to a fresh 29  months low of 67.61/$. The crude prices went below 30$/barrel and gold prices were down Rs 115 on Friday.

This turmoil in the Indian market is majorly attributed to the instability in the global markets. China stocks closed 3% lower, European markets were down more than 1%, and the futures trading showed a soft opening in the US market. It  This created a negative sentiment among the investors. As a result foreign investors pulled out over Rs 1100 crores from the markets on Friday. It is estimated that FIIs have pulled out over Rs 4500 crores out of the Indian equity market since the beginning of this year.

As shown in the below graph, BSE sensex is down 6.36% since the beginning of this year.

BSEhttps://in.finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=%5EBSESN

While this turmoil is a result of negative sentiment in the market, it can be used as an opportunity for investment. As Petyr Baelish  said “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” Volatility in short term is a characteristic of the stock market. The current downturn in stock market have dropped the stock prices to a level that doesn’t attribute to the company’s performance. The herd mentality in the stock market has dropped the stock prices of companies which are still fundamentally strong. Given the positive outlook about Indian economy and reforms (GST, Maked in India, etc.)  this provides an opportunity to the investors to recognize such stocks and invest in them at a lower price, and get a good return in long term. 

References – http://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/mkts-slide-as-global-worries-persist-116011600028_1.html http://www.moneycontrol.com/india/stockmarket/foreigninstitutionalinvestors/13/50/activity/FII.   http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/markets/the-stock-market-crash-is-an-opportunity-for-the-longterm-investor/article8089325.ece