Posted in Economic

Digitalization drive: transforming rural India like never before.

Time to take stock of UPI payments enabled in India. This came close on the heels of demonetization. Paperless transactions may never have amounted to this magnitude in days before demonetization. It was quick and easy for petty shopkeepers and even street hawkers to seamlessly switch over to UPI payments because, even the villagers and rural artisans who have not have received elementary education have turned out to be tech savvy today when it comes to smart phones and can follow maps and keep track of bill payments etc. Digitalization therefore materialized in India more out of necessity as the nation ran out of cash overnight with demonetization. Recently I was in Kerala. As we thronged the streets of Guruvayur, I and my friend found that we did not carry enough cash and our cards were not being accepted anywhere. We were not exactly shopping for big brands whose franchisees had opened posh showrooms or chains in the backstreets. The petty shops, arguably, may not have impressive volumes of turnover. We shopped for papads, nendram (a kind of banana) chips (deepfried in coconut oil) (that Kerala is famous for), lamps, sweets etc. Our bills in the snacks shops couldn’t have exceeded 200-300 bucks. The shopowners too were not the kind to wait for credit card payments settlements. As we know, the credit cards have a window of 3 months for final bill honour and settlement from merchant banks. Running cash remains crucial for small businesses. Plus since I have a phone from Middle east where some features in Playstore are disabled, I do not have Gpay. I have though downloaded desi Phonepe that the shopowners did not have even if they did have the universal payment method Gpay. In which case I had to scan the QR code and make instant payment. The places were not as crowded as the fastfoods in Mumbai that may necessitate speaker announcements for payments received. But the billing clerk and the salesmen did verify and confirm with each other on the spot in the shops in the Guruvayurvappan temple Sannadhi street whether payments were received. Before anyone left the shop,t the verifications were done superfast. These are small things that do not come packaged with qr codes printed in the merchandise to emit the beep sound if someone left with a stolen item. The shopowners needed to be super alert given that the chips packets, pickles and other nibbles and edibles were displayed right through the small shop and were also hanging from roof in suspenders. It must be tough to keep track. But they seemed to have perfected a way to keep track of sales and payments. It would be interesting to see what they would do should there be a crowd. When we were shopping, there weren’t more than a dozen shoppers that made it easy for the petty shopkeepers to keep an eye on every transaction. Even so, the small shops seemed to be stuffy. Its true, from the tender coconut vending woman in the street side to the pani puri wala hawking everything from bhel puri to sandwiches and steamed dimsums in busy market places, everybody has gone cashless. Last two years I have been paying bills for all labour thro UPI. These include the plumber, the electrician, the tailor, the janitor etc. All you have to do is make a phonepe payment or scan the qr printed in the push cart or wherever to make a payment. I haven’t witnessed this level of digitalization even in Middle east where normally tech facilities are enabled better especially when it comes to banking. The advantage with digitalization and cashless economy is that, there is more transparency than ever before and the black market shrinks significantly. More incomes and individuals under taxable net as transactions leave an electronic trail that you cannot erase or refute. With the Aadhar (national/personal) ID linked to our bank accounts alongwith PAN (permanent account number for income tax), when you make a UPI payment, like the credit card payment these minor bills are accounted for. Which was never the case earlier when you bought something or anything from the street stall or an icecream during the park stroll or when you took the giant wheel ride in the fair or sometimes as simply as chewed pan outside the restaurant you dined in. Now the paan vendors have UPI qr code displayed on their stand and would rather prefer you to scan and pay. So what happens? You leave a record of your lifestyle, your habits, your preference, your tastes etc., so far not covered by the credit cards. This can give a totally different perspective to the ways of spending by netizens. The more you make digitalized payments, the more white is the national currency from black. I insist on making cash payments sometimes for groceries because I want to make use of cash – as I have to necessarily swipe my cards at least once in 6 months to keep them active. Otherwise frankly, I have no need for cash at all.

Where Gods and Goddesses accept UPI : In all temple hundis, qr scan code is printed for donations, for special puja services etc! The last time I visited Kapali temple in Mylapore, there was a queue so I opted for a shorter queue for which I had to buy a ticket for 50 bucks. The receipt with qr code was scanned in the queue by a temple worker before I was allowed a darshan of Kapali-Karpagambal! You no more can sneak into any queue even in temples!

The far reach of the digital payments: now its possible to go cashless in the remotest corners of the country where your credit cards may not be accepted but where UPI payments are more than welcome for the safety and security and convenience they present. As good as cash, UPI payments have cut down the ATM precipitation especially in rural areas.

I visited the PDS (public distribution shop) last month where there is smart card in use for 4-5 years now. The latest addition is thumb impression verification matched with your Aadhar to prevent misuse of govt rations. Its a good move and can check corruption – provided the state govt fat rats and central govt don’t eat into the rations literally (pun intended).

How many loopholes has PM Modi plugged. Quite a few. Very smart. Yet it agonizes me that the common man is made to sacrifice whereas those like the Adanis can get away with it all.

Posted in Economic

Great Going!

how one brand captured the lion’s share in the leggings market in India and became a household name in a remarkably shorter time…

One of the most promising starts in recent times, smart entrepreneurship with high yields on low cost investments could be the GO COLORS chain of legging shops that have sprung up in every nook and corner of the city and perhaps entire India. Starting like a typical kirana shop abutting the street corners, not a square inch over the size of a walk-in closet, Go colors boldly sold the lycra stretch pants (leggings) exclusively to go with kurtis, limiting their scope (initially) to mere leggings which was a courageous move that at that point of time could have been considered foolish. There were established brand names doing good business that majorly sold kurtis when Go colors made a modest entry in the sector. Matching the pants was the natural corollary for retailers, so the shopper felt no need to step out of the air-conditioned environs to pair a matching pant/legging to go with the top/kameez. Leggings thus were an add-on and never an entity by themselves, at least until Go colors gave them their due. Leggings market in India also was new and limited in volume mostly because, harem pants, baggies, jeggings, culottes etc., were yet to make a splash if not a proper beginning in the country where mostly the favoured trouser for womenfolk was the unimaginative and simple stringed shalwar. The bigger the better it got, with the Patialas remaining top pick uncontested, complementing too very well the short kurtis. We Indian ladies would not even adapt easily to the elastic waistbands. Traditional Indian clothes continue(d) to be the preferred formal attire. So why should anyone want to open a shop that sold only the leggings that were a curious mix of the east and the west. They went well with the kurtis. They went well with short tops. But then lycras are lycras, aren’t they. One conjured up images of fitness routines with leggings. To connect them to traditional clothing was out-of-box thinking if not vulgar. The boundary was breached but market stayed unexplored. In summers, why would girls want to wear the spandex tights over cool ballooning shalwars. To go for the close intimate fit for outdoor wear, the pair of leggings needed to be real good. Go Colors captured the market with quality fabric, desired length (like ankle length rather than mostly gatherings that was one weak point with brands like Biba or Twin birds), neat finish, thinner strength of material that made it more stretchable, lasting elastic and neutral colours even if pricing was at par with ruling brands. As one of their earliest patrons, what made me go for them was their stretch quality, durability and chic shape and fit. Ankle length suited petite me and the elastic waist band held fast without twisting back or rolling down. Machine washes were fine and the fabric fit exactly into your body contour. To me this is what made Go colors get a sizeable share in the market pie in a hitherto unexplored line of business. From the shelves of mall outlets and retailers as an innocuous ‘also ran’ brand (as I first discovered them years back), the chain took baby steps opening up closet-sized nooks from ceiling to floor pigeonhole display racks neatly and nicely stacked with convenient sizes xs, s, m, l, xl, xxl, xxxl etc. Both gatherings (like churidhar) and ankle lengths were available but the ankle lengths were a massive hit. Even today mostly of the Go color outlets operate out of walk-in closet size nooks only. The trial rooms may be a 1×1 square foot space. Go colors are now simply everywhere: a cubicle in the center of a busy market to open stall in the lookout gallery down the corridor of a posh shopping mall. Curiously the brand is not sold any more by other retailers making it available only in the brand outlets. This single move to me makes Go colors an exclusive club. Only very lately Go colors have expanded floor space wise as slightly larger showrooms surface in shopping districts, strictly catering to ladies bottoms segment. A big risk by the venturer but the gamble paid off in my opinion. Today, Go colors is here to stay and a label to reckon with when it comes to ladies pants. The brand outlets have mushroomed in dozens. Whether they are the chain or franchisees – I have no idea. Whatever, the market share of Go colors has been steadily climbing, as is clearly evident. From leggings, they have now cautiously diversified into jeggings, nightwear, culottes, three fourths, seven by eights and even denims but the bottomline stays the same (pun intended)! There are then the elasticated shalwars and straight pants. The colour range includes sheers and shimmers. For anything and everything to pair with your kurta or kurti – the single brand that comes to your mind these days is GO COLORS. The rules are unlaid: you don’t have to sell designer brands or lacy lingerie or plush accessories to carve a niche in women’s retail. You can do just what Go Colors did, restrict yourselves to a specialized service and excel in the limited scope. Wherever I go now, I try to look for a street or thoroughfare without Go colors! I spotted the brand in Thrissur. In Tirupathi. In Kumbakonam. Where not? In a world where increasingly perfection is deplored to be a weakness, Go colors is living proof as to how perfection is key to success.

Posted in Economic

Diwali Sale

Surprisingly the safety shoes for engineers and office shoes are best at Hush Puppies that we normally associate with dainty feminine strappy sandals! I am not into HP at all like many women are. Just own a single pair over 12 years old but that still is doing good which can double up as testimony to the brand. Men aren’t big shoppers like we ladies are. So my hubby just wanted to have a look not buy really before comparing prices. Caught off guard when the sales girl told us that a 50% off was on. The catchy ‘buy one get one free’ thing we all lap up so enthusiastically and end up piling the mountain of clothes that we hardly get to wear! The leather shoes were too good and we ended up buying a pair for him on good bargain. So we asked the girl why wasn’t the thing advertised? Not even a board display? We know what a sale at HP means to discerning customers. Boy haven’t we been amused by the rush year after year. To which the girl who was also their cashier replied, in middle east, any sale had to have a premier first, and then get the ministry clearance. There would be audit inspections so that the sale is effective and not a hogwash. So the sale we have in the malls with their global brands just do not happen at the whim of the enterprises. Its a long drawn legal-bureaucratic affair culminating in the sale we all throng. The process for initiating the sale commences months earlier seeking approvals and submitting figures waiting for sanctions. Really? I am a resident of middle east for 15 years now although I fly up and down on and off. I am aware of the rules and regulations and guidance regarding bumper prizes, lotteries etc., that we have in the shopping malls. The sale must give genuine discounts and must not be eye-wash. A sale meant a REAL SALE in this part of the world – of that much I was aware. Which is why we the NRI community as well as other expats always prefer to wait for the sale. Its a big, big draw for us women naturally who would go for the bags and shoes and clothes and skincare not to leave out the home linen and even cutlery. The footfall in the malls you know when you see it – like you are having a stampede!

In other words the counter girl said, the application for sale was processed but until it was received, the sale could not be announced to the world. Any walk-in customer could be appraised of the prevailing discounts, that’s all.

Really impressed with the system we have here that makes sure that the consumers’ interests are well protected and that we have value for money. The discounts are genuine and are a shopper’s delight. Good administration is all about regulation and fair and even and transparent functioning of institutions that hold the power to influence a society. The benefits if any are passed on to the masses without holding back. How many checks at every level.

I wonder what is the protocol that we have in India when it comes to the marathon sale beginning with Aadi discounts in Chennai showrooms to gallop at full throttle through the Navrathri and then the unstoppable Diwali season followed by Christmas and Pongal. The merchandise under purview is not limited to clothing. Jewelry shares the top spot with silks and other apparels. Even bags and shoes and watches are on sale. The entire spectrum is on the ‘off’ mode to put it in nutshell. From electronics to even bank loans and cell phones and laptops, virtually everything is subsidized on Diwali offer.

But then,

  • ARe the sale of clothing/merchandise/electronic/jewelry/footwear/accessories or whatever we have in India regulated? If so, by which authority, state or central govt.
  • Are the sale genuine sale. Is the discount REAL DISCOUNT compared to the MRP (marked up retail price). One often gets a feeling that the prices are hiked before the sale and during the sale the prices are at par with MRP levels in India.
  • Do we have any inspection checks at every stage to ensure that the sale announced are genuine and that the consumers are not taken for a ride.
  • Are the govt sops passed on to customers during the sale.

I don’t deny that India is an ocean and we do already have in place various mechanisms to facilitate workings of these nature. Yet I would like to know or confirm from someone that there is in place such an effective system in India when it comes to discounts offered by retailers during festive sales in India. What a timing. Aren’t we now precisely primed for the Deepavali. We are bred on the psychology of waiting for the Diwali or New year sale for going for the latest smart tv or Android phone or clothes or even for booking that flat in ECR. We Indians are hopelessly addicted to ‘sale’ aren’t we. My friend used to joke, ‘osila kudutha phenyl kooda kudippom’ which means if phenyl is offered for free drink, we shall drink it too! Sadly this is our mass mentality.

Posted in Economic

Title Deeds In Bold Fonts

NRIs who own estates/homes in foreign countries may know what it is to hold crisp, concise documentation for your investments. No encumbrance ever. Clear title deeds. Neat presentation. Slim portfolio. Sits snug in your briefcase. I did expect this to be the case of papers filed for properties bought and sold in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. In the case of Asia, I expected such a neat work from the Asian tigers and Korea and Japan. But I happened to chance upon a title deed held by a Filipino in Middle east sometime, that was so concise, fitting perfectly in an elegant file folder. It was easy to handle and refer to. It didn’t seem to run to hundreds of pages. Computer fonts advertised that every single detail held electronic data proof. Ever since I have been wondering, where in India we went wrong. Like in India the filipinos do have language issues with a hundred dialects spoken from island to island in their scattered archipelago nation. But their government seems to have unanimously chosen the English language for official communication. When I looked at their impeccable presentation, I was reminded of the pages and pages of soiled title deeds punctured with staples and holed for tying with thick legal ropes, covered with smudged seals from indelible rubber stamps with no space to spare. Indian title deeds to properties are a riot of colours. Hardly there remains a margin for any notation or observation or comment. We register deeds invariably in local (state) languages and rarely is a documentation done in universally understood English. Which means, the mother or parent documents in a title deed may make no sense to someone from Delhi buying a flat in Chennai for instance. Stamp papers are the way we Indians pay court fees for registration of properties. The top one fourth of every document sheet is therefore reserved for the stamp value affixation. Small mercies: we switched over to A4 size finally with the turn of the century. You just can’t fit the old sepia-tinted papers of another age and time, neatly into a present day folder designed for the A4 culture. To me the documentation in foreign countries underscored the discipline that you found in these places that is lacking in India. Just like us Indians, our title deeds are chaotic and messy making no sense to third parties. There may not be relevance, but documents must be legible and comprehensible to whoever. I guess the title deeds you may find in other parts of the world may be decipherable to a great degree unlike our complicated Indian title deeds that come as a loose bunch mostly: of tattered papers with ends frayed and haphazardly tied up, ink or print blotched. Things are changing in India as well but India being India, do we even have an idea on ‘standardization’ ?! Years before, there was not even the need for the seller to present himself/herself to the registrar when someone sold/bought a property. We have come a long way since then. Now apart from solid admissible ID proof and third party witnesses, there are conscious efforts to adhere to legal parlance in entire documentation leaving no grounds for ambiguity. Loopholes are plugged in documentation process at every stage as much as possible. While bribes have not been completely abolished from registrar offices, there is the saving grace that the data are saved by the government and a lot of the registration process is well streamlined. The statistics garnered must help in future planning. Lot less hassles compared to what it used to be just a decade ago. So can we at all have a neat and presentable documentation of our title deeds?

There are a couple of interesting discrepancies or differences between how we Indians document and register our title deeds and how the rest of the world may be going about it.

Unlike some newborn nations, India has the longest history and living memory which adds to our backlog of attached documents. This is called the chain of title deeds that cannot be broken. We have reams of papers connecting the dots! Government mooted development projects or settlements are not as common in India as in the newly formed republics. In the latter’s case, there is very short history to be recorded formally which means least documentation.

Well for one thing, India seems to be one or one of the rarest nations on earth to have nonjudicial stamp papers for registration. Look at others. They are way too simple. That header is a huge space consumer for us. The stamp duty is calculated at about 7% of guided value of property in question approximately. Further registration charges apply. To that effect, the stamp papers are made in India wherein the title deed may be executed in front of the concerned registrar. This is the legacy from the British Raj understandably. But is it not time we do away with this cumbersome practice. Why cannot the stamp duties and registration charges levied be printed in the annexure to the documents. Or perhaps in the place of the wide header, a small and simple square stamp will do. When did world nations grow out of the stamp paper practice that India is still keeping up.

India has adopted a whole range of economic reforms in last few years. One more in the mode of documentation of our title deeds is the need of the hour. Sleek title deeds crystal clear and to the point can be possible. If I were the prime minister, I would constitute a legal panel to look into this matter. Simplification of procedures and uniformity of terms and conditions and styles of registration are a must. As nothing in India is standardized from our garment sizes to school bus colours, we are at a fix when it comes to grave issues like title deed uniformity and standardization. How would you go about the chain of links or the history of documentation.

The watermark authentication seal must be the only way a title deed can be verified. This will leave room for observations and foot notes if any, at the time of registration. The deeds in any case must not run over a couple of pages. We are not writing volumes here.

Postal addresses in India need to be contracted and regularized as having a distinguishable PINcode has hardly helped matters. Along with postcode, the residential/commercial addresses must not run over four lines. This is how addresses are printed in America.

Paying detailed attention to every entry in the title deed and rectifications and regularizations can make way for sleekest and slimmest document folders in future.

World is growing out of physical monetary system, physical ID proofs, physical certifications etc., and even physical board meetings, as we slowly transcend to the digital age. Soft copies cannot summarily replace hard copies and the original title deed documentation is one such an area where transit from physical form to digital can be slowest and unreliable. May be in future, there is the possibility when we can entirely shift to electronic documentation. One of the hurdles that prevents such a total transformation is the age old parent documents that have to exist to maintain the chain link and authenticity of title deeds. The clue lies in how we process these old papers and bring in a revolution in the documentation process. Is Pradhan Mantri ji listening. Have you given a thought to this ji. Further, will this be foolproof. Can the digital title deed lead to scams and forgeries. Or is this the way forward.

Just a thought. With this I set the ball rolling. Why not. When Aadhar is here, PAN is here, Rupay is here, PayTm is here, Smart family card is here, Smart driving licence is here, when futures trading can be done from the cool comforts of your home, when there is the cryptocurrency, why should not be there an electronic title deed at all. How do we assemble the jigsaw puzzle.


I am limiting the scope of this post to mere appearance and/or shape and physical volume of title deeds with no input for substance.

Posted in Economic

Amazon to Reliance will be like frying pan to fire.

If India gets rid of Amazon, I will be the first happiest. Only I don’t want it to be replaced by the Reliance of Ambanis. In which case I would rather Amazon stays put. The foreign players are far better in service. With them we have fair dealings. Staff quality is exceptional or best across the board. If Amazon must close in India, then Reliance and Tata also must exit the retailing business. I as a principle NEVER SHOP FROM RELIANCE RETAIL. I have bought from the Westside of Tata, and harbour some guilt feelings about it. Tell me one area that these two huge business houses have not disturbed or have spared. Titan sent home all small time watch repairers and downed the shutters of dozens of watch-clock shops. What happened to HMT? Is Titan all one hundred percent Indian. What about Timex and foreign brands on display. Titan Eye Plus has taken over all the businesses of practising opthalmologists in my city Chennai and across entire India, that even I prefer changing my glasses here rather than our family optics we used to go to for decades. They employ a round-the-clock opthalmologist that you don’t even have to seek anyone for consultation. Its all under their one roof. Now we Indians wear Ray-ban and Essilor even for Varilux lenses., i mean the progressive lenses. See, even varilux is imported brand. Never stepped into Reliance Trends once that sent so many, many, retailers and small boutique owners packing. NEVER GOT A RELIANCE 4G PHONE. As much as possible avoid Uber or Ola. I prefer to use the services of a loyal automan who used to ply my son to school. Unlike the foreign app cabs and cabbies, the auto wallah used to get my son veg puff if he ever would pick him up late from school in the evenings. That is the humanitarian touch we all enjoyed in businesses and trade dealings in India until the thoughtless industrialists collaborated with foreign investors to bring it all down. Traditional market is long since gone in India. First of all how many can talk about Futures trading in our markets. Have you ever seen a tweet on what damage is being done to small farmers. Who are these bigshots doing the talking? What has F1 got to do with India. This is obscene that one must even think on these lines. India is not merely Delhi and Mumbai. India is also Chennai and Madurai and Kochi and Mangalore and Viayawada. Whether you like it or not, you have to accept the fact that I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO DELHI ALTHOUGH I HAVE TOURED A DOZEN WORLD COUNTRIES. I don’t even have the urge to see my capital city. YET I AM INDIAN AND NO LESS. And I admire Arvind Kejriwal even if I cannot belong with his political party. People down south, at least vast majority Tamils, cannot speak Hindi and are not even aware that an SRK or Amitabh Bachchan exists. The bestest Indian restaurants to my knowledge across the world may be Saravana Bhavan and Annapurna and Udipi, definitely not five star. These are from south. Bombay Chowpathy, Tandoor and the Kailash Parbath and of course now Zaffron are leading north Indian restaurants to my practical knowledge. We are NRIs for over 25 years now. The Saravana Bhavan chain caters to middle class NRIs or PIOs not the diamond trading Gujjus (who have reputation for fleeing the country bankrupt). India must become self-reliant totally, but improving human resources quality and potential is a must in this case. Our infamous ‘chaltha hai’ attitude must be dealt with first. Extremely proud of Indigo flight landing on India made gear (navigational system Gagan). Now that is truly desi and patriotic. I hope these bureaucrats stop suggesting to masses what is right and what is wrong and what we must do. We all have our eyes open and we can see what’s going on. I would any day prefer to get back to pre-Amazon times but then I am asking this one question: why should the Flipkart guys sell out. What happened to Jabong. Our selfish Indian bros exit making quick bucks the moment an opportunity presents itself. At least the Amazon are doing a wonderful job. Amazonless days are welcome, but don’t fill that with Reliance, is what I would like to tell Modi government. So whatever happened to Reliance oil in Krishna Godavari basin. Why should we ever trust an Indian business/industrialist.

PS: Amazon earned its rightful place in India during the emergency imposed upon us by back-to-back lockdowns when the pandemic reached us, even as nations including ours were grappling with the sudden influx of Covid. Everyone else failed our masses but Amazon did not. What were Big Basket etc., doing. Theirs and even the Dunzo app were down and ill equipped. Those who managed to get through and place orders were still left in lurch without delivery. The capacity of Amazon – is something I realized in this crisis situation. Lived upto its name literally. If not for Amazon, I am not sure what would have happened to us. The supplies were prompt, the website did not crash and no mix-ups either. And no inflated price over the markup.

Posted in Economic

The LIC Privatization

If LIC is on peril on privatization, then so are private pension funds in India such as HDFC, ICICI, Max, etc. And what about the private banking institutions. I was a bank employee myself and I worked for a private bank that was held by seven private and public sector banks with no retail investor. Now the bank is taken over by the parent public bank. I can recall the sentiment of fear and anxiety when private banks came into existence in India in a big way starting from the turn of the millennia. Indeed there was some ground for the public apprehension: one such a private bank, the Global Trust Bank, did go under. But there are others who have outperformed over economic forecasts from right their inception, the chief among them being HDFC and ICICI and UTI (Axis). These banks also have entered the insurance industry and stock markets and mutual funds. Should these banks fail, it means the end of India as a nation: that is how big these private institutions have grown into and spread wings (branches) pan India with roots well entrenched in strong fundamentals in the country as we have had the Indian public stand eyewitness to their taking babysteps from day one to expand into impressive institutions with global reckoning. So much so that it is private banks such as Axis, ICICI and HDFC that are most efficient today than the nationalized ones who are mostly queued up for mergers as they show heavy balance of the Non Performing Assets (NPA) accumulated over years. The private banks have been harbingers of modernization and computerization, taking technology to grassroots level quicker than public banks. Their banking service is considered benchmark today in entire banking industry. They dispense more cash with an impressive network of ATMs which is a proof to their liquidity, and their processing and disposal of loans etc., is much faster. When it comes to cards issue, they are par excellence with international validity that cannot be matched by nationalized banks. Indian citizens now prefer equally if not more the private banks, and this is by no means any exaggeration. In other words, the private banks of India today have metamorphosed into pioneer financial institutions of the country within very short span of time.

In life insurance and pension industry as well, we have participation of PNB Paribas tied up with SBI, HDFC, ICICI, Axis tied up with Max, etc., that have come out with credible results and performance. Not all are unit based funds. Mutual funds as well stock markets too see a healthy participation from the private banking sector over the government owned financial institutions.

India’s has been a mixed economy with both the government and private entrepreneurs working in tandem to cater to public demands. This is how our national economy has been operating since the dawn of our independence. Before Indira Gandhi nationalized the private sector banks in the year 1969, the Indian Overseas Bank, Indian Bank etc., were privately founded and managed by efficient hands turning out profits. In fact, the May Bank of Malaysia was founded by Tamil Chettiars which was nationalized at a later date by the Malaysian govt. The May Bank was the first ever banking institution founded in Malaysian history that is the pride of every single Malaysian Indian. This underscores the participation of the private sector that cannot be written off. Even today conservative private sector banks such as Karur Vysya Bank, etc., are rated best among the industry.

The private banks and insurance industry have been forerunners of some wonderful products (financial) over public financial institutions. Their interest earnings are far better. Their schemes are very flexible and their apps/platforms for trading etc., are user friendly. As for general insurance such as automobile and (foreign) travel insurances, the private insurance companies have a huge presence and may have overtaken the nationalized ones already. You only have to take govt insurance and private insurance for your two different cars and make a claim to discover which is fast and best and more reliable. In the health insurance industry as well, we have private health insurance companies leading from the forefront. The Star Insurance and Apollo collect the bulk of premiums over national health insurance companies.

That brings us to health industry. Who among us is willing to go to Omandurar govt hospital or Kilpauk or Stanley. The private health industry cater to all segments as per our budget: from five star hospitals such as MIOT to the neighbourhood polyclinic with specialists visiting on appointment.

Even in air travel, who is getting the general janata fly from one corner of the country to the other cheap and fast? Only the private airlines such as the Indigo. What stopped the government from founding more economic airlines to service the masses? When a private entrepreneur can operate a budget airline adhering to air safety protocol at profit, why cannot the government. What was the condition of Air India all these years. The former national carrier will be turning a new leaf shortly with the takeover by Tata.

If everything has to be nationalized, we must first down the shutters of some private political tv channels founded with ill-gotten money violating FERA regulations as it has been alleged. We shall have actual PEACE and NO VIOLENCE in this country.

Indians today prefer to enroll their wards in private or deemed (autonomous) institutions over established public universities is it not? Except for the first tier of IIT/IIM/AIIMS and the second tier such as NIIT/JIPMER etc., who among us would want our children attend government colleges. Will those who raise voice against privatization send their children Presidency College and Arts College. Or to Corporation schools or Government schools. I am proudly the product of a government aided State board school. Understandably, the private institutions have better lab facilities these days and employ the best brains for faculty over government universities.

In rural India, it is the private buses that come to the rescue of our masses living in far flung villages with no bus routes. The public transport such as railway may still be miles away.

How many of us have BSNL broadband at home. Why should we go for Airtel or Hathway or ACT. How many of us use BSNL network for mobile operator. How many among us use Vodofone or Airtel.

I am not for Reliance at all, yet I miss the Reliance petrol stations for their superior service and washroom facilities. No IOC or BP or HP outlet in India can match the Reliance standards. Highway travelers will agree with me.

Finally, today it is the private industry Information Technology (IT) that generates and employs a major chunk of our fresh graduates. The word to note is: EMPLOYMENT GENERATION. This is now done best by the private sector be it in manufacturing industry or what you call core industry or financial or tertiary sector. This is also one industry where foreign participation is enormous, that it can hurt us if anything goes wrong ‘on site.’ Public institutions simply do not have in them such a mammoth capacity to absorb skilled labour or they have been systematically weakened over decades by the preceding Congress govt that today they have degenerated into skeleton institutions and nothing more.

Note: Most of private industry have sizeable foreign participation already. Pharma for one thing. Startups such as Swiggy are possible only thanks to foreign investments. We live in an interdependent world: not in an insulated and isolated bubble just by ourselves. How many of us have modular kitchen installed without a foreign collaborated unit. How about our air-conditioner units. Automobiles. Refrigerators. Mobile phones. Even our furniture. TVs and PCs/Laptops/IPads. Dove soaps. Garnier shampoos. Loreal cosmetics. And we talk about nationalistic policies.

How about leaving Hindu temples to Hindus now. Will the DMK government give back our temples to Hindus. Or will they equally take over the churches and mosques, audit them, staff them and use their funds as it has been happening with Hindu temples? All Hindu temples across India have to be given back to their devotees for management. Indian government and state governments have been SHAMELESSLY using Hindu temple money to meet their own selfish ends. If Hindu temples have to be in govt care, then all churches and mosques must be similarly taken over and their financial positions gazetted along with details of Hindu temple fundings. I challenge our governments to do it or hand over Hindu temples to Hindus.

Private Industry such as the Tatas, the Birlas, TVS, Ashok Leyland etc., are hallmark manufacturers of India who have gone on to acquire foreign assets. What was the first Indian company to get listed at NASDAQ in our history? INFOSYS. Who have global imprint today employing millions around the world.

I have not gone into the financial analysis of LIC with relevant statistics for my write-up. My logic lies in weighing the pros and cons. We have encouraging precedents and we are hopeful that LIC will follow a similar path to privatization and healthy zooming profits in future. If this boat is to sink, remember India must go under, God forbid! To empty talkers who have no patience or inclination or facts and figures, ignorance is truly a bliss!


Until now i have not googled LIC privatization. I am adding a few lines from googling hereunder:

LIC going public is fine but the foreign participation must be capped to 49% maximum with controls resting with Indian hands on disinvestment. LIC has been conservative institution in Indian history. The public reaction on privatization is understandable and must be addressed. Foreigners holding stake upto 75% may carry risk component that can rock the ship. Let PM Modi not forget Lehman Brothers. As financial institutions grow, their expansion beyond boundaries cannot be helped. Joint ventures have to become public listed corporations, etc. Key industries with security concerns such as the Defence, Space etc., and mass facilities such as major rail routes need not have to go in for privatization. However luxury private trains are permissible and are already on operation such as ‘the palace on wheels.’ Along with star rated hospitals, the public health centers (PHCs) need to be expanded for the general public. The private and public industry can co-exist in mixed Indian economy servicing to different segments of our population.

PS: I am no financial pundit or qualified expert to speak on this. Just a housewife’s cue 😀

Posted in Economic

Yogi’s Population Control Plan for UP

Large size families must be penalized, for stringent enforcement of population control in India.


A Uniform Civil Code (UCC) bringing all Indian citizens under the single umbrella of a uniform statute is long overdue.


If India is not overwhelmed outright by terror, I won’t be surprised if we are won over by population jehad. The war is already afoot in India as Hindu population continues to shrink back while non Hindus are exploding many multiple times. Would we be following in the footsteps of Egypt and Turkey before the turn of this century? Would we Hindus become minority in our own Dharmic Hindu nation someday to live at the mercy of others?

India is incomplete story, unfinished business for both the islamists and christians. India defies the Abrahamics and continues to exist in history as a predominantly Hindu nation, one of a kind barring mere Nepal.

When population control was introduced first in India, the target group was Hindus naturally. Enforcing or advising the same to the Abrahamics amounted to ‘offending their religious senses’ as per the Congress govt that had made the Hindu fertility their scape goat. While the patriotic and literate Hindus cut back on their family sizes, we saw at the same time how others were multiplying already like rats and rabbits.

The other day I was browsing through Chennai corporation website to extract my son’s birth certificate. I was shocked to find that over 30% of newborns on a June date as far back as in 1994 happened to be muslim. The chrisitian babies’ figure was normal and within bounds. But the muslim baby count far exceeded my expectation. Birth ratios for communities have to be in correlation with the population share of the respective communities, but not necessarily. The demography ratio and the percentage addition to population by each community have to be in direct proportion. In India, the minorities have the highest rates of population growth while the majority is falling back. This can mean disaster for a secular democratic nation like India. Our democracy is incumbent upon our demography, it goes without saying.

Anyone can crosscheck fact sheets in Chennai corporation website. You can extract your own birth certificate from 1960s/70s and those of your kids born after 1990. A comparative study is advised.

If this is the case of Chennai city, work out the statistics for whole of Tamil Nadu and entire India. While the Hindu families have been shrinking in size drastically, the Abrahamics have been expanding manifold during the same time. While the muslim population in India is increasing in superlatives, the chrisitians are resorting to ruthless conversions to boost their numbers. Modi’s BJP governments successfully plugged many loopholes that were flushing in dollars from the west for the christian conversion mafia operating in India. Foreign evangelists have been kept out to a good degree in recent times. While there is little success in this front, conversion is still rampant all across India without a break.

In under thirty years, there is a possibility that India will become for the first time in world history a NON HINDU majority country which is AGAINST OUR VERY GRAINS. This is the land of Dharma. I respect equality and secularism, but I wouldn’t want India to become one more islamic nation or a duplicate hallelujah country in world map. We have ample number of both chrisitian and islamic nations in the world. Nepal that used to be constitutionally Hindu is also now made secular by the communists. India that must have been constitutionally secular Hindu is steadily losing Hindu population.

What is more worrying is that, India has different statutes governing different communities. I wonder what is taking so long for the Indian government to bring everyone under a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) at the earliest.

I read this social media post on one of the negative effects of having different statutes for different communities in India. This enables polygamy in India on which our leftists and communists and media have been strangely silent about. Neither can you come across our so called liberals pulling up our government when it comes to enforcement of UCC.

This could be an imaginary scenario as well but quite a legal possibility. Consider this: A senior govt servant who is muslim dies, leaving behind his four legal wives in India. Let us assume the first or the eldest legal heir/successor is 60 years old and the youngest wife is 18 years. Then theoretically the fourth and the last wife of the man could continue to draw government pension until her lifetime, The govt exchequer could be paying out the pension to one wife or other of the dead government servant close to a hundred years!

I admit I am not sure about the veracity of the story but this did make me think a lot on the urgency of introducing the UCC in India. The islamic community in Europe, America or Australia follow the law of the land and do not seek special privileges as they do in India. Indian muslims will welcome this move by Indian government with open arms. After all, when the Triple Talaq law was passed, there was wide appreciation for the same from the Indian muslims. Why underestimate them.

Similarly, any legal move aimed at curbing the exponential growth of Indian population is bound to be welcome with cheers by both Indian muslims and Indian chrisitians. The insecurity of the native Hindus will be in their consideration. Which is why I am for the population bill to be introduced by Yogi government in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

There can be a cut-off date fixed like say, 2022. A third baby born in a family could incur for the family more taxes and sops cut. The said population bill is not community-specific. The law may be applying to all Indians irrespective of your religious rooting – be it Hindu or Muslim or Christian or Sikh or Jain/Buddhist.

How unfair is it to have a big family in India:

If you have more than two kids in family born after 1990 or 2000, it means, your family is using more resources meant to be shared by other needy. Even if you have the capacity to pay for energy sources, as these are limited, you directly contribute to increased prices on account of creating artificial scarcity for resources. A three child family consumes natural resources and energy three times as much as a family with a single child. You consume more food, more power, more space, claim privileged seats in universities that could go to poorer and more deserving families. Why should the third or fourth child of a particular community be eligible to enter IIT or medical college even if the scores are good, compared to a mediocre from a two child family. If the kid from single child family or two child family loses out to the brighter kid (we suppose for this case) from a three or four children family, it is very unfair. We live in a world where everything is measured and one family resorting to more consumption of any or all resources is extremely unfair. Population control has to be advised to some communities in a language that can be understandable to them, like how the UP CM is doing now. I wouldn’t suspect illiteracy to be an issue in a nation where the rural poor are very verse with smart phones and apps like whatsapp and gpay. Don’t give me that crap now!

I welcome Yogi’s move for family planning and population control one hundred percent.

At any time, India must ensure that the majority Hindu population does not dip under 75-80%. However I doubt if that is the case already.

Government of India on enforcing UCC can also propose a population control plan on lines of Yogi for implementation at national level. A breathing time can be allowed before the law is in place. The two child norm can have a cut-off date for enforcement, say somewhere in 2022/23.

Posted in Economic

One Size Fits Not All: Standardization/Regulation Hick-ups In India.

In colourful vibrant India, everything has to shine a different shade. Every kinder garten kid must flutter like a butterfly in a different pinafore than the kid from a second or third neighbourhood school.

The range of secondary school education boards we boast of: Respective State boards, CBSE, ICSE, NIOS… and of course the latest IB (even though if you follow IB syllabus you will have to necessarily go for graduation to a foreign university as Indian universities do not recognize IB school certification). Not to leave out the rural municipal schools/urban corporation schools which may adopt state board stream… Where is a uniform platform to contend.

You would never know whether private buses ferry industrial workers to factories or kids to schools unless you read the nameboard, because school buses ply in all colours from yellow and blue to pink and green.

How are college campuses. How many tiers. For Tier I we have IITs and IIMs and AIIMS etc. Tier II has NIT etc., Tier III comprises other engineering and medical colleges, and so on… Every tier seems to have a qualifying entrance specific to the their layer. No standardized selection/admit procedure or test.

Hail a black tuktuk (auto rickshaw) in Delhi. In Chennai hail the yellow one and in some states of India watch out for the green ones.

How about sizing in India. Are our brands and sizes compatible. Size XL in one brand can be size L in some brands in the country whether it is a t-shirt or trouser or kurta. You can never take the sizes for granted. Shoe sizes? Shoe size 38 in one brand and size 40 in a different brand and size 8 in a third may be the same fit! And here we have the next level of confusion. UK size or US size or Europe size??? Shoe sizes now measure from 6 to 12 (US sizes). But what is really the standard Indian size for garments or footwear.

Aerial views of geographical locations excite us always when we board a plane. The only country where the aerial view is so mixed-up, confused, hazy and clueless is India’s! I have landed in well planned and organized countries in Europe, Asia and America. I can’t help comparing and concluding that the bird’s eye view of my nation is just a sample of things to come once we land. Co-ordinated town planning and organized development missing in us so that, India is an eyesore when you look down from the skies.

Is our water consumption metered? Water is the scarcest natural resource as we know, even if replenishable. The upper middleclass among us have access to abundant piped water supply, footing a bare minimum bill (by way of a flat water tax and minimum fixed water charges), with the regular unmetered municipal/corporation water filling our basement sumps to the brim, while the lower middle/working class have to run after the water tankers. Notable is the absence of a civic water distribution system that must be in place for the poor and the neediest among us. The rural scene is unmentionably pathetic. Who are we shortchanging here. India could be the only third world nation that does not meter water. Go see the European nations and America my dear countrymen and government. Not even a glass of water is free even in restaurants where it is always free in India wherever you go, especially in restaurants.

What about a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for all Indian citizens, the most important of all. Why do we have separate laws governing followers of different faiths. High time everyone is brought under the single umbrella of a uniform statute. Are you hearing me pseudo liberals and leftists. Or are you having your moment of selective amnesia. Dear Indian bhais, do you enjoy special religious laws in the US and in European countries. Can you have four wives as per laws in the west. Whereas in India, I recently chanced upon some real life cases. Legally sanctioned. A muslim man who retired as govt servant left behind four wives. After him his pension was drawn by his first wife, then second, then after her the third and then finally the last who was only 20 when she married the old man. The man’s four wives were drawing more pension for longest number of years than the man’s service record, close to over half a century. In which country on earth is this possible including in middle eastern.

Is there anything in India that is properly standardized, regulated. Anything at all streamlined effectively and hassle-free that you can go about your exercise without a bottleneck.

Conforming to uniform national standards across the board will be a national benchmark. It will be a day of reckoning in Indian history.

Until recently before GST was introduced, even the Sales taxes and Excise duties varied from state to state on crossing border. Now with the imposition of a uniform tariff, long queues in checkposts are eliminated. Some attempt at regularization of revenues, a commendable attempt! Seamless pan India trucking for all-India permit holders. The fuel and time and charges and manpower saved!

Aadhar unique ID and PAN (Personal Assessment Number (for Income Tax)) are like baby steps at standardization/regularization and linking of both may not be a hundred percent foolproof method to prevent loopholes but may go a long way in preventing duplication of accounts and hoarding of black money.

Driving licences and Passports were easiest to standardize and centralize.

Voters IDs have some regional input like the PDS Family cards.

Without standardizing education, some learned so-called pundits talk about reservation. Yes, reservation in India is possible when every kid in India either attends the neighbourhood creamy academy or the municipal school uniformly. When the differences start as early as in kinder garten, there is no way we can suspend reservation quotas in India for the moment. Privileged classes have to make amends to accommodate the under-privileged to usher in some sense of social justice in the country. Reservation is merely a compensatory pay-out.

NEET may be a bold step towards regularization of admit of candidates to our medical universities even if it may pit our rural aspirants in a disadvantageous position.

At a very slow pace, India is going for standardization across the board.

Is standardization/regulation not possible at all in a country like India. Remote chances even if a country seven times as large as India, the United States has managed to achieve sort of an equilibrium, so to say. In India, the differences are culturally rooted and have been in place for centuries. We will have to work harder and with sincerity to weed out the discriminating factors dividing the society.

Only a satisfactorily literate society can realize the objective goals of a flourishing economy. In such an event, standardization is the natural outcome. A free and fair economy is possible when we have level playing ground for everyone in our country.

It takes a strong will on the part of administration/government to enforce laws to standardize our economy notwithstanding criticisms.

Inclusive growth is the only way to grow uniformly and evenly. Over next few years, hopefully we can count on more standardization and regulation-regularization enforcements for bringing in equality and social justice across the spectrum.

Posted in Economic

The Immeasurable Knowledge & Acumen Loss In Covid Times…

As thousands of lives get lost in this horrifying second wave of Corona pandemic, it may probably sound improper if we mention loss of knowledge and knowhow accumulation herewith. .

I am thinking of the higher secondary school students who have never been in the Physics lab, Chemistry lab, Botany lab or Zoology lab. I am talking about Engineering students who have not touched a lathe/machinery or nut-bolt in the Mechanical lab, not held a test tube or conical flask in their hands in the Chemical lab, not been on industrial tours or construction sites, not bisected a frog or reptile. I am concerned of the medical/ dental/ veterinary students who may be missing their autonomy classes vital to mastering physiology, their OP ward hands-on experience that can hone their diagnosis skills, semester examinations and of course the crucial internships that may initiate them as serving physicians in their chosen medical profession… What a tremendous loss to humanity! Can we even quantify this knowledge and expertise loss across India! Very unlucky batches, those that are caught in-between.

Many wonder aloud about school kids studying at home. I have no problem with that as my son had homeschooled under me in Malaysia upto standard two. The only issue may be fitting into classrooms when it is time for the children to go back to schools. The younger ones can adapt very fast to changing scenarios unlike us adults. The one problem I do foresee is the toilet training. This requires disciplining from early years controlling bladder from kinder garten. A second one could be relating to the morning routines and time-keeping/punctuality apart from eating habits, keeping hygiene and grooming neat. But none of this is unmanageable.

There are mentions of severe neck pain and even rare cases of vertigo in young children and teenagers who are learning from home online without attending schools in last 1.5 years. These are the ones glued to their mobile phone and computers for hours with incorrect posture that can injure their spine. This is an area that we must focus on apart from the mental health of the children who are denied their outdoor playing time and extra-curricular activities that may require physical attendance. Vitamin D from direct sunlight which is essential for bone growth is denied to growing kids. Last but not the least is the human touch to holistic education which is absent with the teachers staying home and schools closed. Online classes may hardly replace the classroom teacher parked in front of the blackboard.

Vocational courses have born the brunt of the covid 19 lockdowns that shut practical classes to their students. These include semi-skilled professions like plumbing, electricals, electronics, carpentry, air conditioning etc.

Fortunate are the school and university students in commerce stream who are least affected by the covid 19 effect on their education.

The computer students seem to be faring okay given the conditions after the accounting ones and arts & literature graduates.

Campus interviews have not been happening, and if they do happen fail to materialize into concrete appointments for fresh graduates. Those who wish to pursue higher education are left in the quandary unable to decide as job prospects grow dim. Even if this can be a temporary phase in our lives, covid impact will stay with us for a long time to come.

Medical and engineering aspirants in present times can seriously contemplate taking a break after finishing school until situation gets normal in an year or two. In my personal opinion this will be a better and thoughtful choice over missing valuable classes.

How to make best of the circumstances is what the academic institutions must focus on. Will it be possible to open up science and tech labs to staggered batches of students.

The years 2020 and 2021 need to be written off from the Biodata and CV of all those pursuing higher secondary school education, undergrad and postgrad courses in universities. Employers need to relax their prerequisites such as job experience when it comes to recruitments.

The restless teenagers need to be handled with care. They are at the threshold of their adulthood and they must not be allowed to lose their hope. It is important to engage them fruitfully in alternate activities and keep up their spirits.

Let us cheer our younger generation and not allow them to wither before they bloom. Looking forward to a bright and cheeful future!

Posted in Economic

Where there is no level playfield

Sometime back I read a post on difference between CBSE education and State board education.

I have these to say.

I and my friends attended only LS, the famous girls’ school in Mylapore. I still remember my 6th standard school fees. It was a total of twenty six rupees for one academic year, that’s all. It was paid by my mother in cash. In my 7th standard, we paid Rs.33/- for one whole academic year.

Finally in standard XII I guess I paid Rs.150/- as per prevailing cost of living conditions then, being annual fees. Apart from this, I guess we paid exam fees to the board of perhaps 5/-rupees nothing more, to my memory.

Look at what we paid for schooling and what the privileged kids paid for theirs. In what way today we are inferior to the CBSE school products.

My school/classmates have gone on to become medicos, mathematicians, scientists, engineers, lawyers, teachers etc in every corner of the world. My mother too was an alumnus of my school.

Dr. Shantha of the Cancer Institute of Adyar passed away today. She was a renowned alumnus of ours. Playback singer Vani Jayaram and actor Lakshmi are our proud alumna.

My education was heavily subsidized. Max fees I paid was for my math undergrad degree in private college – which came to 750 rs per annum which was deemed very expensive in those days. My PG fees was Rs.500/- pa being Univ of Madras govt dept. Through out school, I received my father’s office scholarship as he worked for central govt undertaking which came to Rs.600/- pa much more than what we paid as fees. For class 11 & 12, I received cheque for Rs. 900/- pa from my father’s office because I scored over 90% in all classes. The scholarships were awarded for scoring 90% marks in previous annual exams by the children of the employees.

My husband and his brothers attended Tamil medium schools in villages as my FIL was posted in rural Tamil Nadu. Only for class 6 they came to Madras. The boys went on to still become school toppers in English stream in state board schools and also in their respective colleges and are leading professionals in their chosen fields ever since. Until now their grammar may not be perfect but my hubby claims, he and his bros have what we call ‘technical brain’ which can understand maths and physics and chemistry effortlessly that comes by birth. The other brain is what we call the artistic brain that can enable some of us in becoming artists-artisans in creative fields such as literature, art, costume designing, performing arts such as theatre, music etc.

Until today this is the greatest plus for the brothers as I can see the same trait even in my son. To them equations and numbers and formula are too very simple and not at all confusing or complicated. But for my husband anything literary is very complex. Writing an essay or even 3-4 lines at one go is … not really a problem but never appealing if I can put it that way. Anything artistic is too out of the way so I wonder how he is reasonably a good amateur artist still. Perhaps that is why my son is a mix of both literary and math brains. Rarely we see such a combo.

I gave homeschooling to my son from 3 years to 6 years in Malaysia. I took the text books with me. Here in good old Madras, he had just started school and was starting to write alphabets.

In standard 3 at the age of 7 years he was turned down for admission by every single school in Chennai as he did not have record of formal education. Indian school system sucks!

Finally a matric school in Anna Nagar dared to give him admission as I was nearing the end of my wits running from pillar to post frantically trying to secure admit for him in any school. The correspondent of the school simply opened the school diary and asked my son to read the national pledge. My son read it fluently and comfortably. He was given spot admission. Two years later I switched school for him when the correspondent got irked. In these 2 years, I received many notifications from the school that was pulled up by state govt authorities that sought records for my son’s formal education upto class 2. We had not a single paper and I was forced to get a signed declaration from a retired teacher in Malaysia claiming that she taught him at home. Only then he was allotted an admission number. It never mattered to the board or any authority that my son was already topping the school almost having had no formal schooling at all until his 7th year.

So I wonder what is wrong with our education.

In Malaysia, our PC was my son’s blackboard and I taught him upto class 2 at home at our own leisure. I had educational CDs from ‘Pasar malams’ the famous nightmarkets of Malaysia that played a vital role in his education. We did playfully and joyfully the numbers and rhymes and even short stories. My son also did attend a play school with Malay and Chinese kids for an year but regular schooling for kids started in the south east Asian country only by 7 years. When we were back in Chennai, my son could comfortably read the latest Harry Potter over other kids who had had regular schooling right here in the city. So I guess it is merely a matter of how much your ward can absorb irrespective of what or how much you can impart. Or that is how I see it. Kids brains are like sponges. Of various levels of absorption. Some drink in more whereas some imbibe moderate. Learning can be from outside world exposure as in my son’s case.

CBSE syllabus is undoubtedly good I am not denying that, but state board kids pay far less for education compared to the central school kids. For what we paid at least in my generation, what we received in return was immense. In my opinion which stream you study is hardly important. State board kids are far more street smart. Finally it’s a question of affordability in India, which school you attend and which university you graduate from. It is very cruel to compare the better-off kids attending CBSE schools with the rural state run school attendees who have to walk miles to go to school.

Contrary to what I read from the post on CBSE vs State schools by this friend, when my son joined engineering stream, most failures in his class were from CBSE who were overconfident. As the state board kids were learning engineering physics, chem, maths, engg drawing for the first time, they worked diligently and secured a pass.

But CBSE students definitely have the best edge in national level entrances especially when it comes to IIT, II of maths, physics, science etc. Aspirants for these streams need to take up only CBSE syllabus and nothing less.

One has to remember here that Sundar Pichchai still attended Jawahar Vidyalaya only and not PSBB even if later he went on to graduate from IIT-IIM. The other stalwart CEO of Microsoft from India, Satya Nadella, isn’t even from a pricey engineering university reportedly. Not an IITian.

Finally it is all upto the individual. How well you capitalize what resources are available to you. How well you hone your skills. How you apply your knowledge and skills acquired in 2 dimensions to a practical 3 dimension. As we say in Tamil, ‘yettu suraikkai karikku udhavaadhu.’

My husband says, whenever they secure mammoth industrial project contracts, as project head he thinks ahead by years – in 3 D – from raw material and manpower procurement and execution phase to complete profit projection. Most importantly cannot allow idling of resources which will be billed on the project. He can visualize the entire concept and finalize the designs (steel design structures) in his mind and order of phases of execution. For instance, in the case of even basic demolition, one has to start from roof top not from rock bottom. That’s how you go about things. He says for this logical thinking you have to be street smart with hands on experience. Text book knowledge is insufficient. Translating your book knowledge to field acumen is the secret. That is how filmy directors work. That is how director Shankar made his Robot starring Rajnikanth. What kind of schooling can teach you this kind of critical thinking, planning and execution.

My simple state board school had National Geographic stacked in our library and that is how I got to know of the journal in my middle-school. We were obviously subscribing to such world class editions at a time before we had satellite tvs that beamed in these foreign channels right into our living room.

My school taught me to respect elders, to be responsible, to be polite, to be humble…. and more than all I mixed with middle-class girls which is what makes me what I am today … for better or for worse. As not much came from text books, we girls learnt a lot from other outside sources, from life experiences etc.

I don’t know how good state board schools are faring presently. For the first time I believe a christian lady is HM in my girls school now which is nothing sort of a revolution. Such a Hindu school which is the main reason I was enrolled in this school. Obviously the world has come a long, long way.

It is heartless to criticize the state board kids or syllabus because they are not there by choice. They are in state board only because that’s what their families could afford.

The lapse is on part of the Indian state. Such a disparity in education. I think I have blogged on this in the past. A kid’s destiny is decided right at the time of his/her KG admission. There simply cannot be comparison between a corporation/panchayat school kid who learns in local language (Tamil) and a urban upper middle class kid attending creamy school in the metro with access to (global) English (language) text books to study materials. In which other country in the world is education so divided and unequally distributed as in India.

In Malaysia, there was only one board. You attended school that was closest to you. Admission denied in any school over 2 km range. I was stunned to see the uniformity of education there all those years back. Which is why Malaysian Indian (Tamils) community mostly as well as the Chinese community were doing so good. Admissions to universities had quota system favouring the Malays. Down at school level, everyone was on equal footing with equal opportunities available to all. Those who are questioning reservation in India today are precisely from the creamiest section ironically. Yes, you can do that provided you have the guts and honesty to enroll your kid in corporation school. Let all of us start life on equal footing. Then we will earn the moral rights to phrase and question the formulated practices of justice in the nation.

Now that brings us back to the question of NEET. This is why NEET is NOT justified in rural India where poorest rural children grow up right from the start at a disadvantage. Center expects them to compete with CBSE kids with sound economic and academic background. Whereas these creamy kids will go on to work with only Fortis and Apollo, the rural kids on quota basis who attend medical schools will go back to their native villages to work for the poorest and tribal communities. What they may lack by book knowledge, they learn with valuable hands-on experience handling hundreds of OP as well as in-patient cases every single day in their public health centers/govt hospitals. It needs no mention that the swanky city hospitals today have book-thumping medicos with not great experience. The effects of our current NEET entrance will be known after a generation or two when the present serving physicians as we know them in health care industry will take retirement. Then we will pay for the mistakes of willfully neglecting the aspirations of poor malnourished rural kids who dreamt of one day going back to their native villages to serve their local communities. After all, how many Tamil films have had this single plot for storyline ?! In their place we will have super sophisticated English speaking medical professionals over-dependent on machinations and lab test results without instinctive diagnosis skills that can come with experience alone.