India and Japan, Poles Apart

Of late, we are hearing a lot about interest Japan has on India. Japanese prime minister Abe follows prime minister Modi. First high profie visit of Modi will be Tokyo. Japanese want a strategic relationship with India. Japanese want to invest in India. Japanese are builing a global city at Neemrana, Rajasthan. Japanese companies are making a beeline for  setting up shop in India. Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Canon, Nikon you name it, they are here or they intend to set up shop here.

It is true India needs to build her infrastructure. To this effect India needs investment. Technologically advanced Japan can help India in many areas. Japanese companies are cash rich. These companies want to invest in Indian market.  Japanese economy is stable but not growing. Indian economy is growing and is a place where one can make money multiply.

Japan has a socio-cultural affinity for India because of lord Buddha. Many Japanese visit India to see places like Bodhgaya, Nalanda,  Rajgeer, Sarnath, Ajanta and Ellora caves among others. These places have strong Buddhist past. Many Indian freedom fighters had looked to Japan for help during colonial rule. Notable among them Rasbehari Bose and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

 Japan is a homogeneous country from the socio-cultural view point. As a people Japanese are very strong, extremely polite on surface and extremely conscious about cleanliness of their environment. Japanese have faced multiple natural calamities and was ravaged by nuclear war. Yet, Japan has emerged as one of the economic and technological superpower in the world.

Japanese are highly disciplined, proud and patriotic people. They follow orders from top to the last detail even at great personal cost. Japanese do not ask people in power to explain their order.  Many important issues are simply decided upon in one on one meeting outside the office over a drink. Meetings are meant not for discussion but simply to formalise a decision that has been arrived at. Expat Japanese managers tend to implement Japanese management practices in totality in India. Tendency of not explaining decisions is made worse by high context non vocal communication practice and  poor fluency in spoken English. This may have bearing on Japanese business. Lack of flexibility in decision making to suit ground reality results in friction between management and employees. Typical examples being trouble in manufacturing plants of Maruti Suzuki and Honda in India.

Japanese also have a superiority bordering on racism over other nations, cultures and people. The way Japanese treated Chinese, Koreans and other south east Asian nations bear testimony to this fact. Many a time attitude of Japanese managers reflect such superior attitude when dealing with managers from different social and cultural background. Japanese managers do not necessarily believe in competence of managers. Rather, Japanese believe in loyalty and seniority. As a result, many Japanese companies tend to promote managers who have spent long time in the company over managers who are competent. Competent managers are replaced by an expat from Japan who may not be the right person for a job.

Japanese managers may obey diktat of corporate officers about expansion in India. They have been trained to obey orders. I think, Japanese will find it difficult to work in India.  India is diverse, unruly, poorly governed and generally  dirty by Japanese standard. The Japanese practice of one size fits all may not work in India. Indian’s are by nature argumentative, question orders, and  believe, at least young Indians, in competence over seniority. As a nation, Indians look towards open culture of United States and Great Britain over rigid hierarchical practices of the East, including Japan. Certainly, Indians have a lot to learn from Japan, but where the two will converge only time will tell.

Tags: India, Japan, USA, Britain, Culture, People, Religion, Economy, Business, Managers, Management Style, Cleanliness, Discipline


Menace of Plastic Waste

Growing up in seventies, I was accustomed to see my father go to market with two jute bags. One bag was for carrying the veggies and the other for carrying fish or meat. I used to think why does my father not change his bag? How I hankered after glossy polythene bags. They looked so glamorous, so shiny and best of all one could discard them when done with. Those days we never heard of recycling, except recycling our souls.
Today plastic has surrounded us from all sides. Plastic is inert. Plastic does not get wet by water. Plastic is non-toxic. Goods made of plastic are cheap. Plastic as a material is user friendly. Yet plastic is killing us. 
Dumped Plastic Waste Waiting to be Collected

Plastic is filling our landfill sites.  Plastic is clogging our drains, our rivers. 

Floating Plastic Waste in River

 Plastic is filling up our beaches and our mountains. Animals in land and sea

A Cow Munching on Plastic Bag Containing Food

die consuming plastic bag that contain food. Plastic clogs the digestistem if ingested. Plastic is everywhere and affecting all aspects of life form.

India produces around 5.6 million metric tons of plastic waste every year. This waste comes from electronic waste of computers, mobile phones, house hold materials, mineral water bottles, shopping bags, disposable catering plates, cups and glasses. India is among the top few countries that recycles its plastic waste. India recycles nearly 60% of its plastic waster, unlike those of Europe (7%), China (10%), USA (10%), Japan (12%), South Africa (16%). Still, remaining 40% constitute a huge 2.2 million metric tons.
According to disposal policy of government of India plastic waste has to go to landfill site. In landfill, plastic material may take 1000 to a million years to completely degrade. Plastics in different states of degradation release toxic material that leaches into ground and pollutes ground water. Plastic material should not be burnt. A multitude of toxic gases are released when plastic is burnt. These include carbon monoxide, phosgene, nitrogen oxide, dioxin etc. In addition, burning one kilo of plastic releases 3 kilos of carbon dioxide, a gas that contributes to global warming.
It is important to note that government is waking upto the menace of plastic waste. Regulations are being framed against indiscriminate dumping, and proper collection and disposal of plastic waste. Effort is being made to promote biodegradable plastics for food material packaging.
Genie is out of the bottle. I do not think anyone can stop use of plastic anymore because the convenience and cost advantage it offers. Aggressive campaign must be mounted to stop indiscriminate dumping of plastic and promote all possible ways to dispose of plastic.

Tags:  Benefit of Plastic, Plastic Waste,Danger of Plastic Waste, Toxic Effect of Plastic Waste, Degradation of Plastic Waste, Burning of Plastic Waste

Managing Municipal Solid Waste in India

Once I saw a movie.  Principal of a school was rebuking his student who did not polish his shoes before coming to school. The principal said, a person who cannot take care of his own appearance,  does not have  any respect for his own self. By this account, we Indians have no respect for ourselves as well as for our country. We see in Indian cities garbage remain uncollected and scattered in different street corners. Stray animals fight for scrap of food in heap of house hold waste. In many places, people defecate in the open in full public view. Uncollected rubbish and offal pose a major hazard to human health. Waste also block drainage channels during rainy season causing major water logging and flooding as well as contribute towards enteric and water borne diseases. Like a seriously ill person who drowns in his own excreta, Indian cities it appears are choking under the burden of waste they generate.

Solid waste generated by households can be disposed of by several different ways. In India, the most common approach is to dump the waste in a landfill site. Household waste has mostly biodegradable components. In the presence of oxygen and microorganisms, degradation takes place. Process in environment friendly, inexpensive and gas generated can be tapped for energy. Biodegradation, however, is a time consuming process. Fresh waste is dumped on top of waste from previous day creating a mound of garbage. Open rotting creates smell, attracts vultures, buzzards and stray animals. Such open dumping grounds are health hazard due to surface pollution as well as underground pollution. 

A Landfill Site

One way of removing waste rapidly is to burn it to generate energy. A waste to energy plant that can generate 10 Mega Watts of electricity has been set up in a landfill site in Delhi. At peak performance, such a plant can consume 1300 tonnes of waste. Delhi produces nearly 3000 tonnes of waste per day. Setting up of second power plant may solve waste management on a day to day basis. Site will still have 5 million tonnes of waste from earlier times. Energy content of Indian waste is low compared to the same in the west. Cost of energy production from waste is nearly four times higher than the same from conventional sources. Problem is further compounded by the fact that several waste to energy plants did not generate any energy. Many places, plant could not resume function because of residents of locality were apprehensive of health consequences of gases that emanated from waste burning.

A Waste to Energy Plant in Delhi

Waste management in India is projected to become a Rs. 60000 crore market by 2015. Production of solid waste is only going to increase with time. According to figure shown, while population will double in cities, the waste production will increase threefold.

 Many companies both foreign and Indian have jumped into the market of waste management at different stages. Some sort waste, others dispose it to landfill site, and some others try to generate energy from waste. As discussed above, waste to energy has not been very successful in India because of low energy content and high cost. Besides public fear has not let many projects to takeoff. May be process of energy generation needs optimisation. Commercial units are, however, weary of investing money if they do not see long term return backed by policy decision. There are other options like thermal depolymerisation and pyrolysis of waste in the presence of oxygen in a sealed chamber. Such techniques convert waste into combustible oil. Cost of setting up such technology is very high.

I think in the long run composting or organic degradation of municipal solid waste is a good, clean and safe proposition. We need to do research to improve degration time and turnover time of landfill sites. Also, instead of using one big site, may be every community should designate small sites for biodegradation of wastes. It is important to recognise the gravity of the problem of waste management. I think like minded people should come forward to setup a project to do research and eventually manage waste in our cities, towns and villages. If necessary we should seek government help and support. For money minded, there is a scope to make money given the enormity of problem. At the end of the day, it is our country, city, town and village we are talking about. If we don’t who will?

Tags: Solid Waste Generation, Solid Waste Management, Business of Solid Waste Management, Waste to Energy, Composting, Pyrolysis

More Universities Need of the Hour

According to estimates, India must have 200 million graduates and 500 million skilled people by 2022 to ensure double digit economic growth. India is woefully short of good institutes of higher learning. Number of seats in existing institutes has been further reduced due to affirmative action. As a result students with grades as high as 98 percentile in high school exams fail to get accepted in a course or university of their choice. A way out of this impasse is to create more universities.  

Education market in India is likely to be in the tune of US Dollar 110 billion by 2015. Many private universities have come up in India. Number of seats have increased and variety of curriculum has improved. 

Cost of education has also gone up. Most private universities are being run like a business house. There is fear that creating more universities will dilute standard. May be fear is justified. Initially, we may not have sufficient faculties as well as adequate infrastructure. It is important to note that lowering basic criteria of admission and reservation of seats to elite universities also contribute towards lowering of academic standard. At the same time it cannot be denied that private universities in India are more concerned about profit margin than education. Many desist from hiring senior faculty and do not encourage research. It is would be important for private academic institutes to set new and higher benchmark in education and research. Universities should be encouraged to think out of the box and hire experienced professors and professionals, if necessary by looking outside the country as well as by looking outside academic circle.

Many foreign universities have also expressed desire to setup base in India. If permitted to setup a base in India, students can get a degree from  Harvard while being in India. India may save foreign expense and the cost of education may be less for students. At the same time, Indian scholars will be exposed to state of the art research while being in India. Universities in the United States, namely Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, Berkley, Cornell and many others, only improved standard of education and research. American  universities  have faculty / researcher that are nobel laureates as well as academician that serve as think tanks that advice governments on key policy matters. Indian government expects universities willing to come to India should be within top 400 in their world ranking. Government is apprehensive that foreign universities may not necessarily be controlled by Indian government. They may bring their own program and systems. Indian government also does not allow repatriation of profit generated by foreign universities to their home campus.

Recently, through presidential address to parliament, government has expressed its intent to set up more institutes like IITs and IIMs in every state. At the same time India should open her doors to foreign universities of repute as well. I think government must fund creation of good universities public funded as well as private, should monitor universities with respect to infrastructure and faculty vis a vis fee charged, create policy that facilitate meritocracy,  support education of students with education loan, scholarship, on campus employment, ensure all university graduates get employment. 


Tags: University Education, Private University, Government University, Foreign University, Business of Education, Cost of University Education, Profit Motive and University Education, Affirmative Action, Meritocracy, Student Loan, Employment

Politics of Intolerance

In his address to joint session of parliament, President Pranab Mukherjee outlined governments intent. Among many things our honorable president mentioned one was zero tolerance towards communal violence and religious intolerance. Yet, we saw on television and read in news papers brutal killing of an innocent muslim youth in Pune. His fault, he looked and dressed like a muslim. Such act of communal violence directly strengthens hands of people who have been claiming that Narendra Modi and BJP victory will  breed intolerance, destroy pluralistic nature of Indian society, polarise nation and terrorise minorities. Such act will definitely shake faith minorities reposed on present BJP lead NDA government, that development and job will get more focus than religious identity. Let us not forget the destruction of hopes and aspirations of an individual and his family.

Perpetrators of crime were members of right wing Hindu Rashtra Sena. I am glad that members of the gang that participated in the heinous act have been arrested. Leader of the gang is also rightly put behind bars. I hope government and law and order machinery comes down heavily on these self declared protectorate of Hindus and Hinduism with a heavy hand. I hope if found guilty such hooligans must be given death penalty. Such an act goes againist the development agenda propagated by our prime minister Narendra Modi.

 It seems a concerted effort is being initiated at different levels to create situation that can be used to label BJP communal. At one level,  public opinion is being mobilised about communal and intolerant nature of present dispensation. Prominent TV journalist, through her syndicated column, demanaded prime minister Modi clarify his stance on murder of muslim youth in Pune. We forget that intolerance is not unique to BJP alone. Left that ruled Bengal for thirty years was equally intrusive and intolerant on people whom party perceived to be class enemies.  About ultraleft, less said is better. These people believe in annhilation of enemies of people. They believe in power of gun and believe in silencing any dissent. They blow up schools, telecom towers, and stop any development activity that may wean away their supporters. Trina Mool Congress that has taken over charge of Bengal from left has not covered themselves in glory on the count of tolerance. It must be remembered that intolerance does not become any different when it is practiced by so called secular parties?

On a different level, it appears that a deliberate effort is being made to elicit reaction from a community.  A gang of people protesting publication on Face Book of morphed pictures of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Balasaheb Thakre, goes and kills an innocent muslim youth. Whereas, direct holders of Balasaheb’s legacy Shiv Sena distanced themselves from the act and condemned it. It will be foolish on part of BJP to engage is such an act, especially so when they have been voted to power with such overwhelming mandate. It any link to this effect emerge to suggest involvement of BJP, it may severely dent credibility of the party and its electoral plank. It is surprising that no one is asking question of Maharashtra government, a secular congress NCP government. Why did government machinery not come down heavily on hindu right wing group? More so when law and order is a state matter. It is also important to note that three BJP leaders were gunned down in Uttar Pradesh in last seven days. Uttar Pradesh is being ruled by Samajwadi Party. No one knows who were the killers and what were their motives? It may not be far fetched to assume  that  vested interest group/s may by trying to make concerted effort for last few days to spark violence that can potentially take the shape of a communal conflagration. By the way, violence unleashed on women and dalits in secular Samajwadi party ruled UP is no better than religious violence in other states.

Mr. Modi was voted to power for his message of hope. I think, society has to stay vigilant and avert knee jerk reaction to any event, how deliberate and how provocative it may be. Anything different  may only let vested interest be the winner.

Tags: BJP, Shiv Sena, Hindu Rasthra Sena, Left Parties, Trina Mool Congress, NCP, Samajwadi Party, Communal Violence, Intolerance, 

Faulty Electoral System and BJP Victory

BJP lead NDA government is settling down in Delhi. People bitterly opposed to BJP have no choice but to accept the resounding verdict. Many people that had gotten used to spoils of election due to fractured mandate have resigned to their fates. No more small parties with less than a tenth of lok sabha strength can blackmail centre in the name of safeguarding secularism in India. No longer central government need for survival help of  corrupt leaders with dubious background,  leaders without any vision of India beyond their caste, community and state. Centre need not tremble at the mutterings from distant state capitals by blatantly regressive and misogynist leaders who ran their state like family fiefdom. Yet previous government embraced them to survive and protect Indian secularism. So much so,  self appointed protectorate of secularim had proclaimed it is their god given duty to topple a BJP lead government, in case it came to power. People have have given a resounding response to such arrogance.

New game, however, has started.  Intellectuals have started doubting BJP’s mandate. In an article published in Hindustan Times, Harsh Mander lamented how upwardly mobile, plastic loving, EMI following Indians have put in place a right wing government that is going to spell disaster for the poor, underprivileged, dispossesed and minorities. Mr. Mander went on to say how minorities are under fear because of BJP win. Mr. Mander went on to recommend an electoral reform, because BJP had got only one out of every three votes cast. The present electoral practice has been in vogue since independence. It is a common sense if four people competing for five votes, then one that gets two votes first becomes a winner. If all other people unite to form one block, then they consolidate their votes and defeat the first person.  In fifties, sixties, seventies, and even in eighties congress has won elections with huge margins. Never we heard any complaint of faulty electoral system. We have seen whenever opposition parites had united, they had defeated the main contender. If all parties like congress, samajwadi party, bahujan samaj party, their selfish motive, and their desire to get the bigger share of electoral pie, then it is not BJPs fault.
If we assume by conservative estimate India has 300 million people that may be considered upwardly mobile, 600 million that are desperately poor and 100 million minority muslim community. Many people from minority community may also come under 600 million poor. Definitly not all of upwardly mobile camp voted for BJP. Can any party get a majority of its own without all sections of society supporting it? If one removes congress, AAP, left supporters, samajwadis, bahujansamajis, then you have to accept many dispossessed people and minorities may have voted for BJP to get good governance, good infrastructure and betterment of life. 

Finally, I fail to understand this question if India had embraced welfare measures of government why did congress do so badly. Did it under estimate that poor also have ambition. Poor also wants to send his kids to school, yes English medium school that too privately run, poor want to drive car. For this poor wants to earn money not get free ration and three monthly income. Poor wants society to hold their hand also at the same time he wants society to create avenue so that he can stand on his own feet. A truth Mr Mander does not want to understand. 

Tags: BJP victory and faulty electoral system, BJP victory due to first off the block, BJP victory and minority fear, BJP victory and growth, BJP victory and job, BJP victory and development, Weak centre and strong state, Week centre supported by regional parties, Regional leader and prime ministerial ambition

Baghvan Taj Safary Final

This is the final narrative of our six trips inside the forest. On the final day also we made two trips in the park, one in the morning and the second in the afternoon. We saw a wide variety of wild animals.

Pack of wild dogsWe

We saw this pack of wild dogs. This pack had five to six animals. We heard that pack can be as large of forty. In sufficient number, wild dogs can attack tigers.


A langoor (left) relaxing at the base of a tree. While, a rhesus monkey (below) thinking of its next move.

Rhesus Monkey
Spotted Deer

A spotted deer (top left) grazing for food. There are nearly forty thousand spotted deers in the Pench. By comparison, there are probably ten tigers and may be 50 leopards. Spotted deers are considered to be poultry of Pench. 

Also seen on bottom right, is a Sambhar deer. These were not as ubiquitous as spotted deers.

Sambhar Deer

A Fork Tailed Drongo
A Hawk??

After a look at the gates of reserve forest one final time, we went back to resort. Next afternoon we went back to Nagpur and then on to Delhi.

Tags: Pench, Langoor in Pench, Rhesus Monkey in Pench, Spotted Deer in Pench, Sambhar Deer in Pench, Fish Tailed Drango, Hawk

Baghvan Taj Safary Part III

Our second trip to Pench National Park was in the morning of second day of arrival in the resort. It was a cold January morning. We gathered in the lobby of resort dressed in warm clothing. After a hot coffee, we took of with Gaurav for the park. We had to wait with other visitors for the part gates to open. After collecting our ticket and picking up our guide we entered the park. 
Waiting to Enter the Forest

n the chilly morning, things were quiet. We saw a family of Indian bisons at a distance. They were moving away from us. These pictures below were taken from a distance. Bisons are big muscular beasts. 
Indian Bison

Ghost Tree

We saw this tree locals call it ghost tree. Because it is white in color, it apparently is visible even in darkness. We saw similar trees in Ranthambhore and Gir too.

Banyan Tree
Breakfast in Pench

We also saw this big banyan tree. Its roots and branches have spreadout and made identity of their own.

An interesting and exciting part of safary in Pench is having breakfast in open. Shown in the picture, Gaurav arranging breakfast that he brought from the resort. There was warm coffee / tea, juice, sandwiches, fruits. It was fulfilling and enjoyable. We saw other operators were also stopping for breakfast. Good thing was everyone was collecting their refuse and taking back out of the park.

Wild Boar
We had a glimpse of this wild boar on the left. It was busy digging for roots. We could see its white tusk like tooth from a distance. 
This jackal on the right was busy with his meal. It did not care we were photographing him from close by. We were on our way out for lunch in the resort. We came back again in the afternoon and twice in the next day.

Tags: Baghvan Tiger Resort, Baghvan Tiger Safary, Pench National Park, Animal Sighting in Pench National Park, Indian Bison in Pench National Pak, Wild Boar in Pench National Park, Jackal in Pench National Park, Breakfast in Pench National Park