Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blogger Buzz: Blogger integrates with Amazon Associates

Blogger Buzz: Blogger integrates with Amazon Associates

Golden Temple in South India

It is unbelievable. That there is a Golden Temple in South India.  All these days, we only know and hear about Golden Temple in Amritsar in North India.  Enough of information is available only about the Sikh Community praying at the Golden Temple.

Last Sunday (the 25th April, 2010), I travelled from Bangalore to Vellore / Kancheepuram along with family and friends by car only to see this new South Indian Golden Temple in Sripuram. It is about 200 km away from Bangalore via Krishnagiri by road.  We could not believe the new structure and the environment which was very peaceful.  One may visit the site at :

The adage 'seeing is believing' perfectly suits this temple.  A friend of mine who also visited the place recently says that one gentleman who did his postgraduation (may be MS) in USA and relinquished a plum job opportunity took this religious task and built the Golden Temple.  He is referred as Sri Narayani. Unbelievable.  You may also view video clippings in youtube :

ASBA - Old Wine in New Bottle?

ASBA stands for Applications Supported by Blocked Amount.  I have been seeing hoardings on roadside advertising for IPOs of certain companies of late containing this acronym.  It is also found prominently in the News Paper ads for IPOs.  They read "ASBA is a better way of applying to issues by simply blocking the fund in the bank account, investors can avail the same.  For details, check section on ASBA below".

The ads further say that "Investors may apply through the ASBA process.  ASBA can be availed by all the investors other than Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs).  The investor is required to fill the ASBA form and undertake other tasks as the specified procedure.  On allotment, amount will be unblocked and account will be debited only to the extent required to pay for allotment of shares.  Hence, there will be no need of refunds etc.  ASBA form can be obtained from several banks, the list of such banks is given in the ASBA form and is available on website of SEBI at   For more details on the ASBA process, please refer to the detail given in the ASBA form and Abridged Prospectus and also please refer to the section 'Offer Procedure - Offer Procedure for ASBA Bidders' beginning on page... of the Red Herring Prospectus".

I am very sure SEBI must have taken adequate precautions while introducing the new ASBA procedure.  In fact, about two decades back there was a mechanism called Stock Invest - a paper issued by the banker of the investor to attach to the Share Application form with similar facilities like ASBA.  There were large scale misuse of the facility by scamsters in the Stock Market.  Hence, I termed it as Old Wine in New Bottle.  Every time the regulators like SEBI take a new initiative looking into the interests of investors, some perveted characters find loope holes and defeat the system.  In early nineties, Harshad Mehta invented an instrument called Banker's Receipt and played with almost all types of banks (public, private, cooperative and foreign banks), all levels of Officials by fooling them and made huge killing on scrips which are even junk papers.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2 States by Chetan Bhagat

Having read the latest popular book "2 States" by Chetan Bhagat during the last fortnight while I was travelling from Delhi to Mumbai to Bangalore and back in Manipal, I am tempted to air my views.  Well, it was a spicy story for some youngsters to read and enjoy.  But, I have some reservations.  I only heard about / seen his previous three books - 5 Point Some One, One Night in a Call Centre and My 3 Mistakes.  The high profile author's background is excellent - highly educated from India's prestigeous IIT-D and IIM-A. He was also working in a top-class Foreign Bank - Deutsche and quit for writing.  However, he gives an impression that all his novels / stories resemble his own life and facts.  Some times, such books mislead the new generation - on values, principles, systems, religion, traditions, ethics, culture and what not?

I think present day youth are somewhat confused.  With twenty-first century technology and culture they seem to aping the so-called American styles in thier dress, talk, walk, writing &and reading styles, food habits, etc. We, the Indians, are not used utter the word "FUCK" as easily and frequently. And also, neither indulging in pre-marital sex during the formatory stages of college life.  Similarly, inter-caste, inter-religion and inter-State marriages are not uncommon.  In fact, the aspect of marriage has utmost sanctity in our country - in almost all the States.

Coming to the two States - Punjab and Tamil Nadu - the description of people and their living styles also seem to have been in a very bad taste.  Not everything is wrong in these two or for that matter in any of the States in India or world over.  It is all about civilisation.  TN people are generally highly educated  and are in Civil / Central Services as also in Banking Industry. One need not depict a particular language or tribe or a State in a demeaning manner.  After all, Tamil Nadu has produced eminent personalities like Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, CR Rajagopalachari, Sri Venkataraman,  Dr APJ Abdul Kalam ((former Presidents) or Nobel Laurates like Sir CV Raman, Dr Chandrasekharan and Dr Venkataraman. TN also produced many Bharat Ratnas.  Bharata Natyam and Thyagaraja Kritis are the pride of Tamilians. AR Rehman, Rajnikant, Hema Malini, Sridevi et al have brought fame to the Indian Cinema in their own way.  E Sreedharan of Delhi Metro fame (also Konkan Railways) is from TN too.  If it is the ignorance of Punjabis that they are not aware of such illustrious sons  or daughters of India from TN, Chetan Bhagat had a responsibility to include a chapter to highlight many good things about TN including religious places, historical events, tourist centres, and so on. After all, the great epic Ramayan might have started in North India but ends in South / Sri Lanka. Mera Bharath Mahaan.  

I may clarify that I am not a Tamilian (but an Andhra).  I married my wife from Bhubaneswar who was born in West Bengal and also lived in Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya. I live presently in Karnataka for over a decade.   Earlier I lived in Mumbai for about a decade and travelled all over India while working in a Bank.  I love my India and Indians. I studied in Osmania University, Hyderabad and presently teach in a leading B-School with PG students from all over the country / world.  I had and still insist to have a great respect to IITs and IIMs. I only wish that authors think twice (or 'n' times) before such writings which influence the future generation of India with pervert thoughts and beliefs.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Back to Manipal

Admissions-2010 interviews at Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore were an interesting experience for TAPMI.  Other teams did at Kolkata, Hyderabad and Manipal.  All these were between 10th and 23rd April. The side experience was meeting host of Alumni as Panel Members as also in the Interactive Sessions.  The response at Mumbai is unbelievable that as old as 1987 batch members appeared with family members to recall their nostalgic experiences two decades back and sharing their journey in the management and business / corporate world with the present generation management graduates. 

It was an unexpected addition for me to travel to Bangalore to add up ten-days saga of Interviews as was done hitherto in Manipal only before.  The continuation was to attend a three day Workshop cum Training on Blue Ocean Strategy on 22nd, 23rd and 24th April along with eight other colleagues from TAPMI and six senior Officials of Piaggio, Pune.  Dr Bong and Ms Katrina kept us busy all the three days with discussions sessions, Case Discussions, Group Tasks, Presentations and so on.  It is interesting to know that Dr Bong is setting up a Centre in India with a tie up with TAPMI, Manipal for propogating on Blue Ocean Strategy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CA/PI for TAPMI Admissions 2010

It was a hectic schedule for Personal Interviews for Admissions to PGDM programs for 2010 batches of TAPMI, Manipal.  This year TAPMI is visitng other centres like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore to conduct interviews for over 2,000 candidates.  There appears to be stiff competition among all MBA Institutions across the country to pick up bright and smart candidates in to their programs.

While the heat is increasing during Summer, the four day experience (10 to 13th April) was very interesting, challenging, and exciting to both the interviewers and candidates.  We had daily three sessions with six panels each handling the interviews.  A few local Alumni have also joined us on all the days to add flavour to the process.  Director's Panel was common to all candidates at the end.  Having replaced GD with Case Approach, there was peace and calm all over.  The venue at Delhi - IIFT was a good location as the arrangements were generally good.

Proceeding further to Mumbai today for three day sessions at KJ Somaiah Institute.  Dr SNV Siva Kumar would be helping us while a team of fresh batch of panel members lead by Dr Gururaj would be joining us.

Let us hope and see that a very good crop will emerge out of all our efforts.  The other group having completed at Kolkata moved to Hyderabad to carry on the process for two days on 14th and 15th. The last lap would be in Bangalore followed by Manipal on 23rd.  Then enters the vacation for all Faculty...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

4 Padmabhushans on Campus

I was compiling information for TAPMI's UPDATE 2010 last month; it was a great feeling that a top-class B-School in the country originally conceived by late Shri Padmabhushan T A Pai was visited by four Padmabhushans during a span of less than six months in 2009-10.  Galaxy of other visitors on Campus include Dr V S Acharya, Home Minister of Karnataka, Shri Salman Khurshid, Union Minister for Corporate Affairs, Shri Leeladhar, former Deputy Governor of RBI, Shri Alen Pereria, CMD of Bank of Maharashtra, Shri Mallya, CMD of Bank of Baroda, Dr NK Thingalaya, former CMD of Syndicate Bank and others. 

These four Padmabhushans are Shri Montek Singh Ahluwalia (noted Economist and Deputy Chairman-Planning Commission, Government of India) to inaugurate the Knowledge Centre on Campus, Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia (Chair-Person ICRIER, New Delhi) to deliver key note address at the National Conference on Banking & Finance in November 2009, Dr Valiathan for addressing the Workshop on PGDM in Healthcare Management and Dr MV Kamath to inaugurate the Centre Indian Culture & Management.

Like the Indian PSUs being classified as Navaratnas (and now being elevated to MahaRatnas); I suggest that B-Schools in India should also be ranked by an absolutely authorised agency - be it a private or public organisation with all authenticity.  Multiple agencies, magazines, organisations and others are releasing their own typical rankings of B-Schools in India based on their own survey methods, research methodologies and perception surveys and confusing the MBA aspirants.  Misleading claims are made by these mushrooming B-Schools in their advetisements to lure the applicants.  Instead, a highly standardised exercise should be in place.  The measure should be after an academic year is over say April each year; data should be collected in June-July; visits to campuses be made at least in random cases; interviews be carried out with Directors / Deans / Alumni / Corporates who recruit these MBAs and so on in August-September and after thorough scrutiny, these results be announced in October.  Around this time the most popular entrance test in India viz., CAT is on and candidates can have a fair idea.  Such Surveys be restricted to three or four only.  I counted the number last year; it touched almost between 15 to 20 (including publishing of Directories).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reforms in Education ...

It was Right to Information Act about five years back after embarking on Economic Reforms, followed by the Technological, Legal, Land, Taxation and other Social reforms. Women's Reservation Bill is passing though all types of hick-ups; the strange thing being Women and Socialists (among UPA) opposing the proposal.  Looks like now is the time for Educational Reforms. 

After RTI, we are reading about RTE (not Ready to Eat, or Right to Employment) - Right To Education Act passed on April 01, 2010.  What a noble thought by the Government.  Ever since the new Government (and the two Ministers of course) has come to power last year, Education has been engaging their attention equally with others like Infrastructure.  UGC, AICTE, MCI, etc are being revamped with the proposal of NCHER.  Foreign Universities Bill is being introduced soon. 

Over five years back, I was thrilled to read and write about SEZs (Special Economic Zones).  It was an extension of EPZs (Export Promotion Zones) and a concept adopted from China and UK.  Of course, interestingly, there is stiff opposition in parts of the country to SEZs, which is unfortunate.  Technology Parks have also come to stay and India has been experiencing near double digit growth rates and vying to compete with China.  And only this week, I read some news item about Special Educational Zones.  Great.

IBS in Mangalore?

I had written about IBS for all bank-cadre employees. It is like IAS, IPS (Police or Postal), IAAS, IFS (Foreign or Forest), IRS (Revenue or Railways) and so on. I read in Newspapers today that Shri Veerappa Moily, Minister at GOI, hinting at opening of an International Business School in Mangalore shortly by converting over a century old Govt. College.  It is a welcome move to have an ISB (or IBS?) in the west.

Being a Hyderabadi myself, I feel some times proud and some other times confused at ISB and IBS.  Same thing happened in the above news item too. ISB is a world-class Management Institute - one of its kind ranked in the top-15 globally.  ISB is going north to Mohali in Haryana.  IBS is an off-shoot of ICFAI with a chain of about 15 schools pan-India.  IBS have intra and inter-B-Schools competition to face to prove.

Back IBS, I mean Indian Banking Service, it is time we had this cadre.  With two nationalisations in 1969 and 1980, over 80% of the banking business in India is in public sector.  In the early days (seventies and eighties), all types of experiments were made with the banking system.  Only in early Nineties, during reforms process, we realised that they were un-productive, non-profitable, low-capital, no-customer care, regulated interest rates, no competition, no tech-savvy, mediocre staff, no innovations in products and services, no ALM or RM, no balance sheet management, no competitive compensation packages, rigid trade unionism, and so on.  CMDs are chosen by RBI and GOI for as short a period as one month to five years terms... Dumb Commercial Advertisements were issued by these banks through a Joint Publicity Committee of IBA.

With the modern banking or Knowledge Banking as called by a latest bank, and the need for furthering banking services to grass roots in the name of Financial Inclusion, it is time that Banking field to be professionalised.  Cooperative, Regional Rural and Local Area Banks are only a baggage on the industry.  It is only PSBs, Private (Old & New) and Foreign Banks should have a level-playing field through stiff competition in their products & services, customer care, pricing of their products, locations and net-working.  IBS and formation of Indian Banking Academy (with branches one each in North, East, West, South and Central India) should develop this cadre for efficient handling of the task.  Let us look forward.