After a long time

After a really long time, I’m actually writing something. That’s because after a really long time I’m actually free.

My last one year had been very enriching for me. I took some radical decisions:  pursued the idea that I was passionate about, somehow managed to instill belief into my parents and family members about my decision, steered its growth to what it has become today along with my able partner, struggled to earn every little penny for the venture, so that we don’t have to borrow money from our parents.

lived with uncertainty when My ‘right-hand’ deserted me in the middle of the entrepreneurial road and kept on moving forward. It was the toughest and most fruitful period of my life. When My talented friends are making a lakh a month, hanging on to something financially not quite rewarding works when you work not for money, but for satisfaction. It taught me a lot about conquering one’s fear of uncertainty. I know that now I can manage without a penny for seven days, I can live without food for two days, I can live without bathing for ……..oh leave it. Now I can clearly say ‘been there, done that!’

 On January  26th, I decided to leave the venture that I co-founded (https://www.thewittyshit.com/). Why did I leave? If that’s the question that’s circling in your mind, I would say that it’s a personal question and I would not like to answer that ‘now’. I quit…I quit. When I got free, I had a lot of options.. No… This was not me. I am not going to again put myself in an assembly line situation. At least not immediately.

 I had spent my last  year in such a state that almost every second minute the feeling of what’s up with the venture circled my mind. In short, I was more like a machine, which when on, used to only work in a particular direction blocking every other part of it.Now, being completely free, I had nothing special in mind.
 

In the month of march i traveled alone to Kolkata again To meet people, to live their lives, to learn their inspirations, to get inspired from them, to hear their stories and to share mine, to give whatever little experience I possess and to take whatever magnanimous learning they possess. with limited baggage , limited money , no laptop …One diary one pen and 5 books named ‘INTO THE WILD’ ‘THE NEXT BIG IDEA’ ‘AUTO BIOGRAPHY OF YOGI’ ‘THE MANAGERS HAND BOOK(UK)’ ‘THE RURAL INDIA(3 VOLUMES)’….

accidentally i have joined with an NGO, in which I  have met students, entrepreneurs, designers, techies, musicians, photographers , hopeless and helpless people and more at all those places and now i am going to pen down a book, i am going to include my experience with them in that book (would be released soon in 2015 with blessings of the god), I would like to thank PREM LATHA DAS  for suggesting the title for that book.

Challenges Facing Indian Agriculture

India’s massive agricultural sector employs about 60% of the population, yet accounts for only about 17% of total GDP.  Growth in agriculture has stagnated relative to other sectors: last year the agricultural sector grew at a rate of 2.7%, relative to 11% growth in both the service and industry sector. Agricultural incomes are lower and growing slower than incomes in other sectors. The government has a clear imperative to seriously examine whether existing policies are optimal.  There is a staggering amount of literature analyzing agricultural policy in India.

1.Increase farmer’s access to markets.

  • The World Bank cites an “almost universal lack of good extension services” to farmers as a major factor inhibiting growth.
  • In addition to the miserable infrastructure in many rural areas, the inability of farmers to directly access markets has sustained the presence of a chain of middlemen through whom most agricultural commodities must circulate before finally reaching consumers.
  • Many SHGs have, with great success, arranged cooperatives that bypass such middlemen and sell directly to wholesalers.
  • The government should learn from the success of such initiatives and try to help streamline the agricultural commodity supply chain.

2. Improve agricultural productivity.

  • In spite of the gains of the Green Revolution, Indian agriculture lags behind in terms of technology take-up and production efficiency.
  •  Lack of access to credit,, may be one of the factors inhibiting farmers from investing in technology.
  • However, the ground reality also suggests that poor education and lack of awareness of the benefits of new technology is also a factor.
  • In addition, the epic and recurring issue of poor irrigation and infrastructure is widely recognized as a drain on productivity in many regions (Its estimated that about 10% of all agricultural production in India is wasted due to lack of storage, transport, etc).
  • The government already proved itself capable of stimulating advances in agricultural productivity with the Green Revolution.
  • Future policies should focus on providing incentives to farmers to adopt better production technology, bridging the information gap that currently exists in the agricultural sector, and remedying severe underdevelopment of irrigation and infrastructure facilities.

3. Reconsider distortion subsidies and other policies

  •    Currently, the Indian government sets a minimum support price for almost all agricultural commodities.
  • Farmers who produce various goods are guaranteed the option of selling directly to the government at a price fixed in the beginning of the season.
  • The stated goal of this policy is to “ensuring remunerative prices to the growers for their produce with a view to (sic) encouraging higher investment and production.”
  •  The inherent endogeneity of MSP policy makes a rigorous impact assessment difficult, but the persistently low productivity growth in agriculture suggests that the MSP policies have failed to stimulate sufficient capital investments by farmers.
  • Its conceivable the virtual subsidy provided by MSPs might actually dampen incentives for technology take-up by guaranteeing a basic level of income security.
  •  Furthermore, the existence of MSPs may encourage agricultural production for which there is actually limited demand in private markets, leading to unbalanced and suboptimal production choices by individual farmers.
  • The process by which MSPs are set is also somewhat dubious, and many have suggested that the current price-setting system is vulnerable to political manipulation and lack of parity across goods.
  • Although scrapping MSPs would obviously expose a large number of farmers to the risk of price shocks, it seems to me that improving farmers access to insurance products and commodity futures markets is more sustainable and optimal way to manage such risks.

4. Improve public education.

  • Even if agricultural productivity does increase, it is still likely to lag behind the explosive IT and service sectors.
  • However, the public education system is clearly failing to provide rural children with the skills necessary to enter these labor markets.
  • This is perhaps the single biggest factor inhibiting the transition from agriculture to service sector employment.
  • The demand for skilled workers in India has exploded, particularly in the service sector, demand which many firms are finding difficult to meet domestically due to extremely skewed distribution of human capital .

5. Promote non-farm entrepreneurship among farmers.

  • Although India’s rural poor are by and large uneducated, many of them are capable of operating small businesses that have higher returns than traditional agriculture.
  •  However, their ability to start such business is often hampered by lack of access to credit and capital. ]
  • In spite of the microfinance “revolution” and government policies designed to stimulate capital flow to the rural population (such as priority sector lending), there is still a massive failure of credit markets to meet the demands of the rural population.
  • Empirical research has demonstrated that returns to capital are extremely high in microenterprises (roughly 80% in Sri Lanka), which of course suggests that there is tremendous potential for farmers who start operating small businesses to supplement or replace their primary line of work.
  • agriculture_main

To be trustworthy, we must know when not to listen, when to remain silent and when to speak out.

The Three Dolls !!

 

A sage presented a prince with a set of three small dolls. The prince was not amused.
“Am I a girl that you give me dolls?” he asked.
“This is a gift for a future king,” said the man. “If you look carefully, you’ll see a hole in the ear of each doll.”
“So?”
The sage handed him a piece of string.
“Pass it through each doll,” he said.
Intrigued, the prince picked up the first doll and put the string into the ear.
It came out from the other ear.
“This is one type of person,” said the man. “Whatever you tell him, comes out from the other ear. He doesn’t retain anything.”
The prince put the string into the second doll. It came out from the mouth.
“This is the second type of person,” said the man. “Whatever you tell him, he tells everybody else.”
The prince picked up the third doll and repeated the process. The string did not reappear from anywhere else.
“This is the third type of person,” said the man. “Whatever you tell him is locked up within him. It never comes out.”
“What is the best type of person?” asked the prince.
The man handed him a fourth doll, in answer.
When the prince put the string into the doll, it came out from the other ear.
“Do it again,” said the sage. The prince repeated the process. This time the string came out from the mouth. When he put the string in a third time, it did not come out at all.
“This is the best type of person,” said the sage. “To be trustworthy, a man must know when not to listen, when to remain silent and when to speak out.” 

Problems faced by People Living with HIV /AIDS* and the role of NGO’s : my field visit report

* PLHA – People Living with HIV/AIDS

India has 2.4 million HIV positive people. It’s estimated that out of these 61% are male, 39% are female and 3.5% are children. As of 2009, the adult prevalence is believed to be 0.31%. Despite, the huge number the prevalence of HIV is low when compared to our today population. On the other hand, HIV epidemic regions like South Africa have over 5 million cases with a prevalence of 18% in adults.(Source: AIDS Alliance)

today  i was there to visit aadhar  foundation a NGO organisation that aims to support PLHA*   . , here i  am sharing my views on Problems faced by PLHA* and the role of NGO’s ..

 

Issues:

Discrimination

By Family

Different room to stay; Separate wardrobe

Not allowed to perform household activities

Not allowed to live in the house, in some cases

By Society

Treated as untouchables

Stop visiting houses with HIV infected people

By Hospitals

Given last preference in queues

Doctors charge them higher for treatment

By Schools

Children with HIV+ parents are discriminated against

HIV+ students denied admissions

By Companies

PLHA are removed from their jobs leading to shortage in Income

Children of PLHA are not able to attend school

Awareness

Lack of Awareness on Govt. schemes

Psychological blocks

Role of media

-ve news reported, mostly

Success stories are almost never written about

Formation of the NGO

Aadhar foundation

Formed by PLHA; for the PLHA

Aim -

Support group

Social network

Create income opportunities

Better Healthcare and Nutrition

Remove stigma and discrimination

 

Support group for PLHA

Try and contact HIV infected people

Counsel PLHA; Members have been trained on how to counsel

Visit different places to advocate on several myths held by people

Create awareness on different scheme available for PLHA

Avenues to improve the efficiency of different schemes

Bank accounts for all HIV infected people by DENA Bank

Helps in obtaining the benefits of the scheme better

Social Network

Association of 2500-3000 people

All the workers are HIV +ve

Visit people neglected by relatives

Festivals are celebrated together; creates a sense of togetherness

 

Create income opportunities & Funding

Training to develop skill-set

Catering services and food selling stalls in prominent places

Tailoring and Sewing skills

Generate income through -

Catering services and setting up food stalls in prominent places

  • Plagued by people frequently falling ill

Sewing machines at the Aadhar office for members to work

Resolve issues of firing people on grounds of being HIV+

Govt. schemes to fund a part of the school fee (Rs.2000/ year)  for children of PHLA

Further discrimination by principals in some schools

Better Healthcare and Nutrition

1. World bank’s project

2. Jatan project

   Free transportation facility

3. Jeevandeep

  • To mainstream the issues of HIV in the important programme / Department / stakeholders of public and private sector (GO, NGO, CBO, FBO, Hospital, Media, Lawyers etc.)

  • To create Zero stigma level in the district.

  • To sensitize vulnerable group especially youth and women for the preventing spread of HIV in these group.

4. Drop in Center (DIC)

  • To promote social acceptance of People living with HIV and to end stigma & Discrimination.

  • To provide access to information for people living with HIV

  • Counseling & Capacity Building of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Remove Social stigma and discrimination

Counsel hospitals, factories and households

Separate wards were removed; Combined with the general wards

 

Immediate problems to address

Donations -> Help only in resolving short-run solutions

Need means of employing PLHA, as a long term strategy

Need funding in terms of raw material

Employes people to produce finished goods; generates income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Management Story

Story # 1

It’s a fine sunny day in the forest and a lion is sitting outside his cave, lying lazily in the sun. Along comes a fox, out on a walk.

Fox: “Do you know the time, because my watch is broken”

Lion: “Oh, I can easily fix the watch for you”

Fox: “Hmm… But it’s a very complicated mechanism, and your big claws will only destroy it even more“

Lion: “Oh no, give it to me, and it will be fixed”

Fox: “That’s ridiculous! Any fool knows that lazy lions with great claws cannot fix complicated watches”

Lion: “Sure they do, give it to me and it will be fixed”

The lion disappears into his cave, and after a while he comes back with the watch which is running perfectly. The fox is impressed, and the lion continues to lie lazily in the sun, looking very pleased with himself.

Soon a wolf comes along and stops to watch the lazy lion in the sun.

Wolf: “Can I come and watch TV tonight with you, because mine is broken”

Lion: “Oh, I can easily fix your TV for you”
Wolf: “You don’t expect me to believe such rubbish, do you? There is no way that a lazy lion with big claws can fix a complicated TV“

Lion: “No problem. Do you want to try it?”

The lion goes into his cave, and after a while comes back with a perfectly fixed TV. The wolf goes away happily and amazed.

Scene :

Inside the lion’s cave. In one corner are half a dozen small and intelligent looking rabbits who are busily doing very  complicated work with very detailed instruments. In the other corner lies a huge lion looking very pleased with himself.

Moral :

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY A MANAGER IS FAMOUS; LOOK AT THE WORK OF HIS SUBORDINATES.

Management Lesson
In the context of the working world :

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY SOMEONE UNDESERVED IS PROMOTED; LOOK AT THE WORK OF HIS SUBORDINATES.

Story # 2

It’s a fine sunny day in the forest and a rabbit is sitting outside his burrow, tippy-tapping on his typewriter. Along comes a fox, out for a walk.

Fox: “What are you working on?”
Rabbit: “My thesis.”
Fox: “Hmm… What is it about?”
Rabbit: “Oh, I’m writing about how rabbits eat foxes.”

Fox: “That’s ridiculous ! Any fool knows that rabbits don’t eat foxes!”

Rabbit: “Come with me and I’ll show you!”

They both disappear into the rabbit’s burrow. After few minutes, gnawing on a fox bone, the rabbit returns to his typewriter and resumes typing.

Soon a wolf comes along and stops to watch the hardworking rabbit.

Wolf: “What’s that you are writing?”
Rabbit: “I’m doing a thesis on how rabbits eat wolves.”

Wolf: “you don’t expect to get such rubbish published, do you?”

Rabbit: “No problem. Do you want to see why?”

The rabbit and the wolf go into the burrow and again the rabbit returns by himself, after a few minutes, and goes back to typing.

Finally a bear comes along and asks, “What are you doing?

Rabbit: “I’m doing a thesis on how rabbits eat bears.”

Bear: “Well that’s absurd ! ”

Rabbit: “Come into my home and I’ll show you”

                                           Scene :

As they enter the burrow, the rabbit introduces the bear to the lion.

Moral:

IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW SILLY YOUR THESIS TOPIC IS; WHAT MATTERS IS WHOM YOU HAVE AS A SUPERVISOR.

Management Lesson
In the context of the working world:

IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW BAD YOUR PERFORMANCE IS; WHAT MATTERS IS WHETHER YOUR BOSS LIKES YOU OR NOT

Forward it & let others know…..

 

 

 

what’s right isn’t always popular… and what’s popular isn’t always right

Image

 An interesting insight into Decision Making

A group of children were playing near two railway tracks, one still in use
while the other disused. Only one child played on the disused track, the  rest
on the operational track.

The train is coming, and you are just beside the track interchange. You  can
make the train change its course to the disused track and save most of  the
kids. However, that would also mean the lone child playing by the  disused
track would be sacrificed. Or would you rather let the train go  its way?

Let’s take a pause to think what kind of decision we could
make…………….

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Most people might choose to divert the course of the train, and sacrifice  only
one child. You might think the same way, I guess. Exactly, I thought  the same
way initially because to save most of the children at the expense  of only one
child was rational decision most people would make, morally  and emotionally.
But, have you ever thought that the child choosing to  play on the disused
track had in fact made the right decision to play at a  safe place?

Nevertheless, he had to be sacrificed because of his ignorant friends who
chose to play where the danger was. This kind of dilemma happens around us
everyday. In the office, community, in politics and especially in a  democratic
society, the minority is often sacrificed for the interest of  the majority, no
matter how foolish or ignorant the majority are, and how  farsighted and
knowledgeable the minority are. The child who chose not to  play with the rest
on the operational track was sidelined. And in the case  he was sacrificed, no
one would shed a tear for him.

The great critic Leo Velski Julian who told the story said he would not  try to
change the course of the train because he believed that the kids  playing on
the operational track should have known very well that track  was still in use,
and that they should have run away if they heard the  train’s sirens. If the
train was diverted, that lone child would
definitely die because he never thought the train could come over to that
track! Moreover, that track was not in use probably because it was not  safe.
If the train was diverted to the track, we could put the lives of  all
passengers on board at stake! And in your attempt to save a few kids  by
sacrificing one child, you might end up sacrificing hundreds of people  to save
these few kids.

While we are all aware that life is full of tough decisions that need to  be
made, we may not realize that hasty decisions may not always be the  right one.

“Remember that what’s right isn’t always popular… and what’s popular  isn’t
always right.”

Everybody makes mistakes; that’s why they put erasers on pencils.

Ever dislike anyone

A man hated his wife’s cat and he decided to get rid of it. He drove

20 blocks away from home and dropped the cat there. The cat was

already walking up the driveway when he approached his home.

The next day, he decided to drop the cat 40 blocks away but the same

thing happened. He kept increasing the number of blocks but the cat

kept coming home before him.

 

At last he decided to drive a few miles away, turn right, then left,

past the bridge, then right again and another right and so on until he

reached what he thought was a perfect spot and dropped the cat there.

An hour later…. The man calls his wife at home and asked her, “Jen

is the cat there?” “Yes, why do you ask?” answered the wife.

 

Frustrated the man said,” Put that damn cat on the phone, I am lost

and I need directions to reach home!!!

 

Moral:

 

“ How much ever we dislike someone, sometime we will need their

assistance.  So never worry how many people dislike you… ”