Silence Is The New Outcry

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced.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.

Yaswanth Kumar P, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.


Is history repeating itself? Yes, It all started with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He is the one who started nonviolence movement with his Salt satyagraha protest in 1930. This was a silent protest against the British government regarding the taxation of salt. Later in the same year another silent protest, Vedaranyam march which was also a civil disobedience movement took place. These silent protests though did not have immediate results, the inspiration of the silent and nonviolent protests led to India’s Independence in 1947.

Now recently the silent protest in Chennai regarding the ban of Jallikattu became successful as the jallikattu bill was passed on 23rd January. The way the people had handled the silent protest is really commendable. There were lakhs of people protesting silently on roads though power and cellphone signals were blocked. There was no single incident of violence or damage to public property. Even they had set an example to all kind of protests and party meetings,  by collecting all the littered waste.

With the inspiration given by the jallikattu movement, its neighbouring state Andhra Pradesh is also planning a silent protest in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupathi areas regarding the special status to their state on January 26th. It is very good to see people choosing silent protest rather than complicating the situations and causing damage to the property.

One more broken promise

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 Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced.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.

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

_________________________________________________________________

Volkswagen will not the update about its scandal in the diesel emission in the coming week. Its is a reversal from the promise that the company made earlier. The reason stated by Volkswagen says that “citing unacceptable risk” we are not going to provide any further update at the moment. It goes on to say that this assessment is based on findings by a law firm in America called Sullivan and Cromwell and Jones Day, which the firm retains.

But still company has step aside a capital of around 18.2 billion dollars for the fines it foresee in near future. But company then goes on to say that disclosure at the moment could potentially prejudice the ongoing investigation and will jeopardise their credit line issues by US DOJ.

Critics are saying this is just a time buying tactic by the company to negotiate a deal with the justice department in exchange for its cooperation.

IPL or No IPL- Will it solve the crisis?

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.

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

————————————————————————–

The Bombay High Court had sought an explanation from the BCCI and the three state associations in Maharashtra on why water should be “wasted” on hosting IPL 2016 matches when the state is facing one of its worst-ever droughts. The state is reeling under a drought and acute water shortage as levels in dams and lakes have gone down. The high court had already taken suo-motu cognisance of the drought situation leading to suicides by farmers across the state.

The IPL tournament is set to begin from April 9 with the first match to be played in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. A total of 20 matches will be played in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur. The finals of the tournament scheduled on May 29 will also be held at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The pitch maintenance in stadiums will approximately consume 60,000 litres of water every day. If we go through past statistics, 65 lakh litres water will be used through out the tournament by the organizers in the state of Maharashtra.

The state government and IPL organizer tried their level best to save IPL and not let the money churning matches be given to other venues. They stated that the water used to maintain the  pitch were treated sewage water and are not portable water (inedible for consumption). They even stated that the amount of water used by them were much lesser than that required by the farmers. But all their efforts went in waste. Bombay HC allowed the organizer to conduct only 13 match out of the scheduled 20 matches.

Will this decision help the farmers? With all the revenue that was supposed to be earned by Maharashtra government being lost. This will incapacitate them from making more investment towards the relief work. Moreover, the water which the Bombay HC has saved is not at all feasible to be transported to the drought affected area. Thus, we have actually done nothing in an attempt to do everything. Decision regarding these should be made after keeping emotions at bay and by being rational towards the logic.

TCS fined 940 million dollars!

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.

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

_________________________________________________________________

TCS has been fined by a US federal court in Wisconsin for stealing software from one of its clients. TCS’s client is US based healthcare software firm called Epic Systems. It accused TCS of “brazenly stealing the trade secrets, confidential information, documents and data” belonging to the company. Company went on to say that TCS then used this information to create its own rival product called ‘Med Mantra’.

Federal grand jury of Wisconsin ruled that TCS and Tata America International must pay 240 million to Epic Systems for stealing the software and 700 million in damages. TCS said that the verdict in “unsupported by evidence presented” and that it plans to appeal to the higher court.

Also revealed in the complaint is that Epic Systems was tipped of by one of TCS’s employee that TCS has downloaded close to 6500 documents and 1687 files from Epic’s computers inappropriately. Some of these files had proprietary software. It also blames that TCS’s leadership in both India and US knew about it.

Main defence of TCS is that it did not misuse or benefit from any of the information that was downloaded and no code of Epic Systems was used in making of Med Mantra. TCS is also trying to calm the spooked investors by saying this verdict will be challenged vigorously in upper courts and  will not have any impact on TCS Q4 and FY16 financial results.

5000 Posts Vacant in the Judiciary

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

______________________________________________________________________

A 1987 report of the law commission had drawn a blueprint of the manpower required in the judiciary. At that time, the strength of the judiciary was 7,675 judges, or 10.5 judges per million people. The judge-population ratio (sanctioned strength) has since increased to 17 judges per million but the vacancies have surpassed the 5,000 mark and so have the backlogs.

The current sanctioned strength of the subordinate judiciary is 20,214 judges while that of the 24 high courts is 1,056 and the pendency of cases has remained abnormally high at 3.10 crore. On the sanctioned strength, there are 4,600 vacancies of judges in the subordinate judiciary which is more than 23% of the strength. The situation in the high courts is worse with almost 44% (462) judges’ posts vacant. The Supreme Court too has six vacancies on a sanctioned strength of 31. The appointments have been held up following a standoff between the apex court collegium and the government over the finalization of the memorandum of procedure for selection of judges. To address backlogs in justice delivery, the 120th report of the law panel had proposed to increase the strength to 50 judges per million people — less than the US where the judge-population ratio then was 107. In case of UK it was 51, for Canada it was 75 and Australia 42.

The 50 judges-per-million view was supported by the commission in its 245th report submitted to the government in 2014, an exercise carried out after three decades of the first manpower assessment without any substantial follow up action. The 20th law commission study found at the current rate of disposal, HCs require an additional 56 judges to break even and an additional 942 judges to clear the backlog. This estimation was based on the sanctioned strength of the HCs at 895.

Maharashta: Water Scarcity..IPL..Sugarcane Industry

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.

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


The Bombay High Court had directed the BCCI to move all IPL matches scheduled post 30th April out of Maharashtra. The decision was granted on hearing a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) filed by The Lok Satta movement and the Foundation for Democratic Reforms.

The state of  Maharashtra is facing a severe and acute water shortage. In most parts of the state, rationing of water has been ordered while the Latur district in Marathwada region is hardest hit. The PIL was filed in this context. The petitioners argued that when the citizens are facing difficulties in obtaining water for drinking and other day-to-day activities, shifting IPL will save a large amount of water which would otherwise be spent on maintenance of cricket grounds. As per an estimate, around 6 million litres of water will be used during IPL 2016.

However, this incident needs a deeper analysis as Maharashtra particularly Marathwada faces drought more frequently than rest of Maharashtra. Marathwada is predominantly sugar cane growing area. The state is the second largest producer of sugarcane in the country after Uttar Pradesh. It is also the largest producer of sugar, which is a byproduct of sugarcane.

The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) points out in its report “Price Policy for Sugarcane-2015-16 Sugar Season” mentions that Maharashtra consumes around 2100 litres of water to produce a kilogram of sugar which is 1300-1400 litres of water over and above what Bihar requires (800 litres). A basic calculation implies that to produce a tonne of sugar ( 1 tonne = 1000 kilograms) Maharashtra needs 2.1 Million of water as compared to 0.8 million by Bihar i.e. 1.3 Million litres more. Effectively IPL just uses the water required to produce 2.86 ton of sugar (6/2.1). This is miniscule considering the sugar production by the state.

The point highlighted is the state authorities should guide and provide the required assistance to sugarcane growers to adopt more water friendly ways such as drip irrigation, improved variety of seeds etc. so that overall water consumption to produce sugarcane and sugar come down. Even if the water consumption goes down by 20% ( ideally by 62% as Bihar is doing the same), the state could easily provide water to all its citizens and can hold IPL as well.

Note: This blog doesn’t take into account water theft and leakages.

References:

 

IPL vs sugarcane: That’s really the equation in Maharashtra

http://cacp.dacnet.nic.in/ViewQuestionare.aspx?Input=2&DocId=1&PageId=39&KeyId=547&utm_source=VKD&utm_medium=mail&utm_campaign=e-letter&utm_content=VKD

Surge Pricing issue post Odd-Even scheme in Delhi

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.

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

___________________________________________________________

As what happens in most cases, the prices charged for a product or a service of high demand, the pricing or money charged by cab companies like Ola, Uber etc. also vary with demand. As demand rises and supply falls, prices are increased to encourage more and more drivers to go online and meet the demand.

The same is what happened when the odd-even scheme was re-launched in Delhi with effect from April 15. After commuters took to social networking sites alleging that rates were hiked due to Monday being the first full working day of the fortnight-long scheme, the Delhi Transport Department issued a helpline number aimed at bringing overcharging drivers to book, warning of legal consequences, including cancellation of permits and impounding of vehicles.

With Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warning strict action against Ola and Uber vehicles allegedly overcharging riders on the first full-fledged working day of the implementation of the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme, both app-based cab companies temporarily suspended surge pricing in the Capital on Monday.

The government would penalise the accused cab driver with immediate effect, it also intended to tabulate the complaints and forward them to both companies for disciplinary action. Both firms, after deciding to suspend surge pricing in the Capital till the conclusion of the odd-even scheme on April 30, however, claimed that surge fares were not controlled by them but were decided in real-time based on demand and supply situation.

“Strict action, including permit cancellation and impounding of vehicles, to be taken against taxis which charge rates more than government prescribed rates,” Mr. Kejriwal tweeted on Monday, April 11, 2016 within hours of which both Uber and Ola announced temporary suspension of the surge pricing citing “support for the government’s odd-even initiative.

Gagan Bhatia, general manager, Uber North, said that the company did surge pricing when demand outstripped supply. “Higher prices are required in order to get cars on the road and keep them on the road during the busiest times. This maximises the number of trips and minimises the number of people stranded … without surge pricing, there would be no car available when people need it,” he said.

Deep Singh, Business Head (North), Ola, said: “To make the government’s odd-even initiative a success, Ola has temporarily pulled out peak pricing in Delhi NCR.”

Simultaneous Elections

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.

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

—————————————————————————————————————–

A debate which has taken place periodically in India is about the issue of holding the simultaneous elections to the State Legislative Assembly and the Lok Sabha. The latest to start this debate again is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He made this suggestion and went a step ahead from what others in the past including his own senior colleague and former deputy Prime Minister L K Advani has been suggesting. Till now all of the voices are for the simultaneous elections for the Assemblies and the Lok Sabha, PM Modi included even the urban and rural local bodies. Meanwhile, the reason behind the issue getting attraction again is the report of the Standing Committee of Parliament which in December last year made the suggestion. It has made certain recommendations on how it can be done. However, political parties have divided on this move. There are various political, practical and constitutional issues relating to the enforcing a uniform election calendar in the country.

The cost of conducting elections is getting high with each passing election. This cost is being borne 3 times every 5 years currently. This not only incur cost but also affect normal daily lives of citizens. Business, district administration, movement of goods, people, security forces each itself makes a chaos. Approximately every election preparation period goes from 2-3 months. In these months’ noise pollution, black money transactions and communal disharmony goes on the curve. Ministers get busy with their promotion and rallies etc. and this affect the normal work of politicians as well.

First four general elections till 1971 were held simultaneously across the country and then the cycle broke with the advancement of Lok Sabha by 1 year. In the era of coalition politics, it is becoming very hard to survive for whole 5 years in Lok Sabha or in Legislative Assembly. Since we follow Westminster parliamentary model of democracy, it needs refinement to achieve simultaneous elections. We need to shift towards American Style system where tenure of session is fixed and if the president loses the faith of his/her supporters, there are still ways of transferring the power to the opposition. First step towards conducting simultaneous elections would be to reform our parliamentary style which in my view lacks will and courage from political parties because of the uncertainty associated with it. However convenient simultaneous elections become, they are not practical in current structure.