50 Days

There was a Bollywood movie called 100 days, a 1991 film, starring Madhuri Dixit and Jackie Shroff – one of my favourite movies. The plot of the movie is something like this – A young girl, whose elder sister is reported missing, falls in love with the next door handsome rich neighbour, gets premonitions followed by panic attacks. The visions, which gets stronger after her marriage, are related somehow with her sister, and leads her to the wall of the isolated mansion owned by her husband, behind which she finds a buried skeleton that happens to be of her murdered sister, who was a history research student investigating and writing on stolen museum monuments sold in the black market. Well, in the end the criminals are caught—some self confessed, some arrested. Interesting plot, good music, overall a great movie.

Now, if we apply the same plot to the 50 Days of Demonetization in India, then well, no one was practically murdered, but the economy experienced sudden death of the most popular and favourite forms of Indian currency – the 500 and the 1000 rupee notes. And the black money that was stacked in the safe boxes or buried in the walls, ceilings, floors, was either extracted by the one, who placed it there or by the Income Tax Department. Some amount was burnt, some abandoned in dumping grounds, some were torn, some were submerged in the waters, some deposited in the donation boxes, but most was deposited in the banks, were it truly belongs.

Post 8 pm, Tuesday, 8th November 2016, life in India took a strange turn, halt in some cases.

Despite clear announcements, there was a panic attack among the masses, with queues that no bank has ever witnessed. But the banks of India did a remarkable job. Hats off to all the bank employees, who did not shy away from putting in extra hours and efforts, yet stayed level-headed despite the ignorance, the tantrums and the anger displayed by the agitated crowds. The cashier at every bank, not just stayed calm, but was cautious and vigilant of the amount and notes exchanged.

If demonetization was a ‘Project’ with a start and an end date, then Indian Finance Industry has accomplished the project quite successfully. Yes, there were hiccups, but those are expected in a country as big and diverse as India, with a population over 1.2 billion at literacy rate of about 74%.

Demonetization received appreciation and criticism equally. In my opinion, it was an excellent call by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi. Our country was facing huge cash deficits due to various reasons, and now banks have funds. Indian economy has slowed down, but this short term risk will bring long term benefit to the nation—obvious to some, oblivious to some.

If demonetization is discussed as a ‘Change in Indian Economy’, then it was a big change and relatively successful due to cooperation by all those citizens who understood the benefit it will bring to the country and to its future. Retired citizens, senior citizens, specially abled citizens, the youth, the housewives, the corporate professionals, those aware, those who tried to get aware—all stood in the queues, Banks and ATMs, for hours, but did the needful and complied to the new rules announced almost every 15 days.

As of now, the news channels are still discussing the effects of demonetization on Indian Economy and the discussions will continue for a long time, into the New Year and post that, because this decision was a landmark decision. Digital India, Cashless India is an achievable vision. All that is required is a lot of awareness and a lot of patience with a willingness to change and to learn. And the past 50 Days have proved that the country can change if guided properly towards the goal.

We still have a long way to achieve the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission). This is just the beginning. Cleaning anything, anyplace, anywhere is always an annoying job, but if done wholeheartedly, the results are sparkling. We are in the process of polishing our economy; it will sparkle, it will be radiant, it is just a matter of time.

I am optimistic. I am hopeful. I can see that Incredibly Incredible India we all hope and aim for.

Wishing all the readers a great year ahead…

Happy New Year!

Jai Hind!

…Ashu Bolar

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Top Ten Management Institutes, India: 2016

As per the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), Government of India released on Monday 4th April 2016, following are the top ten management Institutes in India:

  1. Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
  2. Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
  3. Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
  4. Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
  5. Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur
  6. Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode
  7. International Management Institute, New Delhi
  8. Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal
  9. Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
  10. Indian Institute of Management, Indore

From Mumbai, SP Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR) has been ranked sixteenth (Category A -institutions that are engaged in research and teaching) amongst the top 50 Management Institutes. The NIRF website enlists all details in the Ranking Framework for Management pdf (picture below is a screen shot from the pdf on NIRF website) on the various parameters used for ranking giving a better insight into various aspects right from teaching to research to perception of each institute ranked. Such complete study and published information makes the ranking reliable unlike various rankings that are found on the website with no relevant information to support them.

Besides management, the other ranking lists for higher studies include Universities (Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, Rank 2), Engineering (Indian Institute of Technology IIT Bombay, Rank 2) and Pharmacy (Bombay College of Pharmacy, Mumbai, Rank 6).

I am glad that I was associated with SPJIMR and currently a part of PGPMX, IIM Indore (Mumbai Campus), and I really did like the NIRF AV presentation on the Top Ten Management Institutes for the year 2016.

Management Institute Ranking_India_2016

I look forward towards more rankings like the best Medical Institutes and many others in the near future.

                                                                                                                                                                       …Ashu Bolar

Paradise Lost (.) Paradise Regained (???)

I am sure you must have heard, if not read, the epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’ by John Milton, a 17th century English Poet. It is one of my favourites amongst all the poems I had to read for my MA English second year exam.

Well in short, it is the story how mankind lost its permanent place in Paradise after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit as intended and tempted by the Satan disguised as the serpent.

Well, now that the fruit is eaten, here we are on the Planet Earth instead of the Garden of Eden. There are serpents everywhere, in various disguises. There seems to be no riddance from this serpent and its poison. The poison of lust, greed, envy and pride infects us from both within and out. But there is a hope for a remedy, a hope that leads to cure.

This having learnt, thou hast attained the sum 

Of Wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Stars 

Thou knew’st by name, and all th’ ethereal Powers, 

All secrets of the deep, all Nature’s works, 

Or works of God in Heav’n, Air, Earth, or Sea, 

And all riches of this World enjoy’dst, 

And all the rule, one Empire: only add 

Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add Faith

Add Virtue, Patience, Temperance, add Love,

By name to come called Charity, the soul 

Of all the rest: then wilt though not be loth 

To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess 

A paradise within thee, happier far.

                                                          – Paradise Lost; Book XII. 575–587

In Paradise Lost, Book XII, Archangel Michael says these lines to Adam, just before Adam and Eve are led out of Paradise, while trying to explain that even though they have fallen from grace and must leave Paradise, they can still lead a fruitful life. To assure their happiness, they should live their lives by seven tenets: Obedience, Faith, Virtue, Patience, Temperance, Love and Charity. If they live their lives accordingly, they will feel as if they never left Paradise as these tenets will allow them to create an inner Paradise.

Well, here’s the antidote—leading a life by the seven tenets: Obedience, Faith, Virtue, Patience, Temperance, Love and Charity.

Again, this is common knowledge. But how many of us actually apply this to our lives?

‘Paradise Lost’ was followed by another poem ‘Paradise Regained’, where Milton tells the story of Jesus’ resistance to Satan’s temptations, thus narrating the victory of good over evil.

This victory is not fiction, but a reality.

However, today it appears more like fiction due to widespread pandemic recurrent venomous attacks of corruption, terrorism, human trafficking, child abuse, gender abuse, gender discrimination and the list goes on and on.

And with the lengthy list, the rampant attacks and the minimal efforts to eradicate this toxicity…

…Paradise Lost? – Yes, for sure.

…Paradise Regained??? – You’ve got to be kidding me.

…Ashu Bolar

Mouth Marketing :)

The other day, two office boys were having a discussion and one of them said:

“Arey, woh to mouth marketing se aage badha.”

(It progressed as a result of mouth marketing.)

I know what mouth watering is, but mouth marketing to me was a new terminology, and the sound of it was too hilarious. 😀

What he actually meant was Word Of Mouth Marketing (WOMM). WOMM is an unpaid form of oral or written communication.

Today, organisations spent millions on various modes of advertising. But still word of mouth publicity has a strong grip on marketing. No matter how much you advertise, WOMM can either boost up your brand or kill your brand.

With the advent of newer means of communication like the Internet and then the social networking sites, today WOMM has become all the more powerful. It takes seconds for anything to go viral – be it positive or negative. (If negative, then it is milliseconds! 🙂 )

When a brand is a product, to maintain a strong WOM promotion is still not difficult if the manufacturing process is accurate. However, if the brand is a service provider, then to constantly maintain a good WOM publicity can be a challenge. Satisfied consumers will always have good reviews. But one unsatisfied customer can ruin the entire brand image. Because these unhappy customers not just speak but write offensive comments on web pages, and once this process sets in, it is very difficult to have a control over it and extremely difficult to erase it.

Indeed, mouth marketing ;), I mean WOMM is still an essential tool for marketing. Personally, I feel organisations before spending millions on advertising, should first ensure that the product or service they offer is flawless. If so, then I think WOMM can do wonders and save some big bucks that can be utilised elsewhere probably for a good cause.

…Ashu Bolar

Smoking – A Grave Craving

 In The Words Of A Smoker… 

 

“Everything was just so perfect. Nice job, great salary, amazing house, awesome social life, perfect health…until recently when I started getting bad headaches. They were so bad that I could not concentrate on my work. Everyday now turned out to be a bad day. I woke up with a headache and slept with a headache. Not just this, I was repeatedly getting nasal and throat infections which made my bad days worst.

 

I went to my doctor, and after general examination and a battery of tests performed, I was diagnosed as a hypertensive with high cholesterol levels. I took the prescribed medicines but the prescription just worked temporarily. Now I wasn’t getting enough sleep either. So, my doctor  added a low dose of sleeping pills to an already-lengthy-prescription.

 

Physically I am absolutely fit, perfect weight for my height. My diet is just right for my age, weight and lifestyle. I still could not believe for what I was diagnosed of at a young age of 29. I thought I had the perfect lifestyle until my BP read 160/130 mmHg.

 

One evening I sat down to figure out what has gone wrong where. While thinking the cause for this ill health, the smoke from my cigarette made me cough. I stopped smoking to drink water only to realize what the much-hunted cause. I am a smoker for the past 7 years. This is the greatest flaw in my lifestyle which is now taking a toll on my health, my work, my career and my life.

 

So now after much thinking and suffering, I have decided to give up smoking because I want my beautiful and perfect life back. I know it is going to be difficult but to live happily and healthily I will take up this challenge of giving up on my seven years of this killing addiction. I have already started staying without smoking and I am praying hard that I should succeed in my purpose.”

 

Smoking Is Injurious To Health

 

We all are aware that smoking is injurious to health. Although statement is printed on the cigarette packs, they are still sold. The increase in the sales of these cigarette packs is primarily because smoking is addictive. Some common reasons for getting involved in smoking are peer pressure or following examples of siblings and parents, employment outside the house, stress, homesickness or just as a fashion. There may be many reasons for smoking but the bottom line – ‘Smoking Is Injurious To Health’ always remains the same.

 

Tobacco Ill Effects

 

According to the World Health Organization, about 4 million deaths occur in a year from tobacco that is expected to rise to about 10 million by 2030. Tobacco is responsible for about 30% of all cancer deaths in the developed countries. Other ill effects are diseases like stroke, myocardial infarction, aortic aneurysm and peptic ulcer. Smoking is also a known cause for infertility. Smoking is extremely harmful during pregnancy too. The babies of mothers who smoke weigh on an average 200 grams less at birth than those of non-smokersThere is evidence that the sooner a person begins to smoke, the greater is the risk for any life threatening disease to develop, and hence, the life expectancy reduces by almost 25 years as compared to a non-smoker. Smoking brings environmental pollution and the smoke causes diseases even amongst the non-smokers, also called as passive smokers.

 

Government Initiatives

 

WHO has organized a “Tobacco Free Initiative Programme” to galvanize global support for tobacco control, and to heighten the awareness of social, human and economic harm caused by tobacco consumption. But no program can be a complete success without mass participation.

 

The government is trying its best by imposing rules like no smoking in public areas and smoking only in zones meant for smokers. These rules may reduce the ill effects of passive smoking but are they going to help the smoker. He will now be in a zone where he will be smoking along with other smokers. So, in turn he becomes a smoker as well as a passive smoker.

 

Smoking – A Suicide & A Homicide

 

Tobacco is a killer and it should not be advertised, subsidized or glamourized. Smoking is suicidal and homicidal. Suicidal because smoking will leave a smoker vulnerable to several life-threatening diseases, and homicidal as by polluting the environment, a smoker threatens the health of others around him. If thought this way then no one will want to be a criminal.

 

It is high time that every individual realises the ill effects of this grave habit. Stress is no reason for getting addicted to smoking as you are giving yourself a painful life and death. There are times when a doctor advices his patient not to smoke when he smokes himself. It is important to practice before you preach or else your preaching just becomes noise which is heard and then forgotten very easily.

 

 So, Dear Smokers…

 

Anyone who is a non smoker then he or she should never fall prey to this addiction anytime in their lives. And if a person is a smoker then he or she should quit smoking. It is normal that smokers will find it difficult to stay away from cigarettes during the initial days of withdrawal. But once they overcome this period, they will soon realize the life-long benefits of giving up smoking.

 

Withdrawal sounds scary and difficult but it is not impossible. Remember that even an impossible says ‘I-M-POSSIBLE.’ Anyone doing so is not just helping himself but also the nation and the world. Smokers should not lose hope and stay firm during the phase of withdrawal to achieve their purpose. There should be lot of motivation and support from family and friends along with strong individual will power. And yes, where there is a will there is always a way!

…Ashu Bolar