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From the Director’s Desk


gives me immense pleasure and pride to introduce to you the third edition of Symphony, the annual magazine of IIM Shillong. Symphony seeks to strike a harmonious chord with its audience as it does with the state of Meghalaya, where we are located. Situated in the serene environment of the North Eastern part of the country, we at IIM Shillong aim to become a global Center of Excellence for the 21st Century Management Education and Research. This magazine is committed to expand the frontiers of knowledge and significantly contribute to the challenges of management. The third edition of Symphony is based on the theme of ‘Inclusive Growth’ which has become one of the top priorities for all the economies in this world. The magazine also publishes an interesting mix of articles, ranging from management lessons from the human perspective to the campus life at IIM Shillong and includes a variety of creative sections. I hope this edition provides an enriching knowledge experience for its readers. Considering the current global economic instability, corporates are looking for managers equipped with skills who can make their economic growth sustainable in the long run. With such a foresight, we have identified Sustainability as the basic Foundation and formulated the same as a part of curriculum in our flagship Post Graduate Programme. At IIM Shillong, we equip our participants with an understanding of sustainability and accelerated development of the society from a holistic point of view rather than just in terms of economic parameters. Our goal at IIM Shillong is to constantly innovate and produce research based knowledge that would have an impact on the society in which we reside. To achieve success under tough and critical situations is a quality which we embed in our participants. I congratulate the Editorial Team of Symphony, for doing a great job of publishing the third edition of the annual magazine. Taking forward the achievements of the previous two batches, it is my sincere hope that the students of IIM Shillong shall continue to bring pride to the Institute and the Country.

Prof. Ashoke K Dutta

Message for


faculty advisor, I feel great pride in introducing the third edition of Symphony to the readers. The mission is to educate by producing unique and highquality intellectual capital put forward by our student community and placing Symphony as a key asset of our institution. I am very impressed by the way our students have exhibited their management proclivity showcasing their breadth of knowledge by focusing on one of the most pressing issues in the world which is ‘Inclusive Growth’. The magazine presents an eclectic collection of articles on contemporary management topics which we feel confident will heighten the readers’ interest. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Editorial team of Symphony for making this edition a grand success. I sincerely hope that the magazine will strike a chord with readers, in accordance with its name. Happy reading!

Prof. Naliniprava Tripathy Faculty Advisor Chairman- Research & Publications IIM Shillong

Faculty Co-Advisor: Dr.Tapas Giri

Editorial Team Deep Mehta Pritha Sharma Priyanka de Noronha Ritika Parasrampuria Sawan Singamsetty Srikkant R

From the

Editorial Team Dear Readers, We take great pride in bringing to you the 3rd edition of Symphony, the annual magazine of IIM Shillong. The collective efforts of the participants of IIM Shillong have culminated in Symphony. The word ‘Symphony’ means ‘agreement or concord of sound’, and it is along these lines, that we hope that this magazine will strike a harmonious chord with the reader. The magazine is a platform for budding managers to pen down their thoughts on contemporary issues and management trends, and reflects the passion and zeal with which they seek to address these issues through their learning and experiences. Further, the magazine also gives a glimpse into the life and interests of the vibrant student community in Shillong and their contribution to the country and social community. The theme of this year’s edition is Inclusive Growth. With more than 70% of India’s population below the poverty line, struggling to gain access to opportunities of growth, finance and progress, we feel it is of paramount importance to focus on inclusive growth and its related challenges. India will truly develop as a nation only when it creates economic opportunities for all strata of society and the benefits of economic growth are equitably shared. From a management perspective, we have explored inclusive growth through the cover story and through articles like Understanding the Indian Rural Market, Managing SMEs, the Social Implications of Land Acquisition, Growth in Bamboo Use and Woes of Ageing Nations. In addition, the magazine incorporates articles across domains and functions with an aim to provide a holistic perspective on current world issues. This edition presents new and interesting insights into diverse topics ranging from the need to rethink the Indian education system and management lessons from human evolution to IPR and Modern Crimes and Modern Colonization. We are privileged to present in this edition an interview with Mr. Shouvick Mukherjee, VP and CEO, Yahoo! India R&D. He has vast experience in the Technology Industry and has been with Yahoo! for over 12 years. His valuable insights on the challenges in managing a technology firm, corporate strategy and proactive leadership have been captured through this interview. We are also extremely pleased to present an interview with Mr. Vijay Mahajan, Head of Basix Microfinance, President of Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) and a stalwart in the Micro Finance Industry. In tune with this edition’s theme, the interview talks about how microfinance institutions can help achieve inclusive growth. We are grateful to our esteemed Director, Prof. Ashoke K. Dutta and our mentor, Dr. Naliniprava Tripathy for their continuous guidance and motivation without which Symphony would have been impossible. We would also like to thank the Junior Symphony team for the tremendous support they’ve extended for the release of the magazine. The dream behind Symphony will be realised only if its rhythm resonates with the audience. Team Symphony

Contents Article Building a stronger India through Education 6 Exploring the true meaning of education, and how education, in its full measure, can help India achieve its developmental goals The Woes of Ageing Economies: Does India have an Advantage? 8 While India is a young country with a dynamic workforce, India’s population growth must be supported by appropriate developmental activities Social implications of Land Acquisition 11 The social impact of displacement and the need for rehabilitation, resettlement and community development Rethinking Gambling in India 13 Exploring factors that make legitimizing gambling a sound business case for India Discovering a way out of Black Money 16 Why tackling India’s black money problem is more important than just the Jan Lokpal Bill Indian Telecom Industry: Much Ado about Nothing? 18 Going beyond the hype to take a good hard look at India’s sunshine sector Where the heart meets the mind: How women make a difference 20 Identifying factors that make the fairer sex inherently better positioned for success 2000s: A politically incorrect recapitulation of the decade that was 24 A rendition of an incredible decade in view of significant events that have changed the world Modern Colonization: An Africa Perspective 26 What remains after the mad scramble for colonization Inclusive Growth: Cover story 28 Why India’s goal of inclusive growth can no longer remain merely a populist agenda In Conversation with Vijay Mahajan 32 Insights on inclusive growth from the Chairman of BASIX Microfinance IT Services: The rough road ahead for Indian Players 35 Why big players in the IT services industry should have a well-rounded service portfolio to continue to perform in the face of an impending recession Bamboo Growth…Bulldozed! 38 Identifying the urgent need to organize the handloom and handicraft industry in North-East India

Managing SMEs: An HR perspective 40 Why HR and the Balanced Scorecard approach are increasingly important for SMEs to survive amidst a fiercely competitive business environment Understanding the Indian Rural Market 42 Analysing rural consumer behaviour to help companies make the right value proposition in this huge and largely untapped market The Perils of Intellectual Property Rights 46 Using IPR intelligently as it becomes the new battleground for technology majors In Interview with Shouvick Mukherjee 48 Leveraging on this Yahoo! veteran’s expertise to better understand innovation and technology Where’s the Time? 51 A simple and practical tool to develop and hone time-management skills Learning from Famous Cases of Biomimicry 54 What businesses, in their move towards sustainable growth, can learn from Nature’s principles of biomimicry Management Lessons from Human Evolution 56 Some pointers that businesses can take from Man’s story of evolution Winds of Change 58 Is RBI prepared for the entry of corporates in the banking sector? Green buildings 60 A Futuristic Housing Solution A Sneak Peek into Campus Life Life at IIM Shillong


Epilogue 65 A personal narrative on love and pain Centre for Development of North East Region 66 IIM Shillong’s initiative to respond to needs of the local community Bittersweet Symphony 68 A poem reflecting the anguish of a women who experiences a tragic loss India from the eyes of time 69 A narration of the hardships that India faced as seen from the eyes of Time I’ll try again 70 Poetic composition of a girl who falls back on her mother for support during difficult times Student activities 71 Student clubs, committees, achievements, corporate visits and the like…

Building a Stronger India through Education Sowmya R. Exploring the true meaning of education and how education, in its full measure, can help India achieve its developmental goals


truth about Albert Einstein’s statement ‘Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school’ is so stark that it comes as a jolt to all of us who claim to be ‘educated’. Education, which was conceived as a tool to achieve uniformity, has ironically become a differentiator, segregating people into the ‘Educated’ and ‘Uneducated’ classes. A person’s, a family’s, a state’s and the entire nation’s progress is governed by the so-called educated ones. This leads one to explore what Education really is. If education is merely the ability to read and write, ’literacy’ would be a more apt term to use. If it refers to the skill to make quick decisions,


it is common sense - for often it is our experiences that influence our decisions with instinct also playing a major role. If that is the case, what is the need for Education? Before we answer the question before us, it is imperative that we define ‘education’. The word ‘education’ is often used interchangeably with literacy, knowledge, training, learning, schooling, aptitude and common sense. The truth is, there is no single way of defining education. All the above terms are parameters of education, yet none of them are sole determinants of it. Having said that, education is indeed a critical factor for development. It creates awareness in the minds of people about themselves as well as their environment. It facilitates creativity and innovation and

becomes a channel to put forth views, ideas and thoughts. With creativity and innovation being precursors to development, education in turn aids national development. How can we build a stronger India through a focus on education? There is an urge now to scrutinize the current education system in the country. Grades and percentages seem to govern and exercise greater control on our minds than anything else during our formative years. The influence is so great that students form islands among themselves based on the scores they have obtained. Admissions to colleges are largely determined by grades, and cut-offs are becoming increasingly high and are making us puppets in the hands of the system. Education, instead, is meant to shape the overall development of a person’s awareness, his domain knowledge and general knowledge, his intellect and overall personality. It is hard to achieve intellectual and personality development when we’re fighting amidst the crowd to be ‘accepted’ by virtue of our grades. Yet, there is no need to do away with grades completely. We continue to be graded in the workplace, in the family, among friends and strangers, and it is not in our capacity to delink ourselves from these grades. Grades are and will remain a part of the system, but what is needed is a change in perspective. There is a concept called ‘Nishkaam karm’ that suggests a greater focus on the work process rather than the end result. Is it possible to incorporate this into the Indian system so that grades are no longer the center-stage of measurement? Another impediment in the path of knowledge discovery is the high cost associated with education. If education is a means to developmental goals and the growth of the individual, society and country as a whole, it is imperative that it should lie within the grasp of a king and a beggar alike. How can India truly achieve growth unless it is inclusive? The reservation system which is passed off as a means to ensuring just this very proposition needs to be examined more closely. The reservation system was formulated based on the caste divide prevalent in our country because of which the ostensible lower strata who could not afford education were given waivers and scholarships. But today, the same system has led to a high amount of angst among general merit students, who by the virtue of not being a formerly oppressed class, are deprived of a seat they welldeserve. I am not professing that the reservation system should be abolished, for that would shatter

the dreams of citizens who have been deprived for so long. I am only suggesting that the basis for reservation should be made economic, i.e. monetary capacity, rather than social, i.e. caste. It is sad that the affluent, educated class of the country, the hope of the nation, those who can actually help the hapless poor gain access to education, often leave the country in search of better prospects. Brain-drain is rising at an alarming rate, with increasing incomes making foreign education affordable to even the middle class. There is, therefore, a need to retain the country’s talent by increasing the standard of education through collaboration with the best institutes worldwide. It is ironical that while some can afford expensive education, others cannot even afford to get enrolled in a primary school. The gap is widening. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We cannot seek to build a stronger India unless we strive to tackle every problem at its root. The Australian Government, under its Nation Building Economic Stimulus plan, is investing in education, skills and training of the youth in order to boost productivity and national prosperity. The Right to Education Bill was a long due initiative taken by the Government to provide free and compulsory education up to 14 years of age. We are yet to see to what extent it is successful, but nevertheless it has set the right context for any future action in this sphere. If it does get implemented successfully, it will renew hope and faith in thousands of families and young minds and will invigorate the desire to excel. Having worked with an NGO and interacted with children in slums, an observation that caught my eye was the lack of infrastructure and good teachers in government schools. Neglect and meager wages have left teachers demotivated and while initiatives like free mid-day meals may ensure attendance, learning and knowledge, the take away from school remains questionable. Unless these conditions improve, the bill may not be successful even if implemented to its full measure. In addition, it is critical to transform the mindset of these children and their parents to make education a top priority for them. They need to be made aware of the benefits of being educated and the independence and the opportunities that it has to offer. I am reminded of a wise saying ‘Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; instead, teach him how to fish and you feed him for life’. This is exactly what education should do, and to a certain extent does. I say ‘certain extent’ because though we innovate and stand on our own feet, we are still bound by a framework and unless its boundaries disappear, the true purpose of education cannot be achieved. These boundaries are social, cultural, political and psychological, and we have to break free from these shackles and emerge as one unified body, with a single objective. Certain reforms are therefore necessary to allow education, to bring out the best in us. And only this would be a true measure of a country’s progress, a sure sign of nation building.


The Woes of Ageing Nations: Is India At An Advantage? Pritha Sharma

While the average age figures of the Indian population presents India as a young country with a dynamic workforce, India’s population growth must be supported by appropriate developmental activities for India to fully leverage on her young populace


about the biggest problems that hinder India’s development, and our large population is right at the top of the list. At a count of 1.21 billion people, we are the second most populous country in the world with lack of food and water security, unemployment, lack of healthcare and poverty contributing largely to this. In the backdrop of the tremendous challenges being faced by ageing nations today, there is a need to rethink whether our growing population is really slowing us down. With tremendous economic development and medical advancements, developed nations have managed to achieve, among other things, exceptionally high standards of living, access to superior medical facilities, improved life expectancies and reduced death rates. Developing nations are striving to achieve the same progress and with changing social and family patterns, birth rates have declined considerably. We, as a world, are ageing. Ageing is the phenomenon when people live longer and have fewer children, increasing the median age of the population. The US Department of Health and Human Services predicts that by 2030 a total of 1 billion people are estimated to be above the age of 65 years. The phenomenon of ageing population is affecting the developed nations much more than the developing nations. The median ages of people in several European nations, Japan, USA and Canada are above 40 years. By 2025, one in five Europeans will be over 65 years while 19% of the US population will be above the age of 65 years. This, combined with slow or negative population growth of these nations can be damaging to economic health.


Demographic Details of Developed Nations Country

Population Growth Rate USA 0.90% Germany -0.30% France 0.50% Switzerland 0.80% Spain 0.60% United Kingdom 0.70% Japan -0.10%

Median Age of Population 36.8 43.7 39.7 41.3 41.5 40.5 44.6

The two biggest effects of ageing are the declining working population and the increasing dependent population. As the working population declines, the GDP growth rate and savings rate decrease, eventually leading to an absolute decrease in GDP and savings. Tax revenues for the government will also fall. Fuelling these problems will be the increasingly ageing population and dependency ratios, leading to lower per capita income, a further decline in savings and severely marred capital investment and economic growth. Another issue for developed nations is the outsourcing of jobs from developed to developing nations. But the decreasing workforce of these developed nations shall make them even less competitive for establishment of labour intensive industries thus adding to their agony. Worsening the situation will be the huge social costs associated with social schemes for the aged. As more and more people age, fiscal spending on pension systems, healthcare and other social benefits will increase, putting tremendous pressure on the government to sustain such programmes. Apart from these measurable influences, population greying will steal away from a country its young and vibrant generation that innovates for the country, that sets up businesses and kindles a spirit for social advancement and transformation. Without these, any country would be rendered technologically, economically and socially backward. Developed nations have already length and breadth of damage that populations can do. There are a variety of policy changes being suggested to mitigate this potential damage, each with its own set of problems and limitations. For instance, encouraging families to have more children is an option that

sensed the their ageing

attempts to change the social structure of the country and will invariably take time to make an impact. Another option is to increase the savings rate and the return on savings. However the gross savings as a percentage of GDP for USA and several European nations has been falling by a percentage or two over the period of 1995 to 2006 and has further dipped since the recession struck. For nations like Germany and Canada which showed improved savings percentage during the 1995 to 2006 period, the savings rate dropped in the recessionary period. With the double dip recession and the staggering economy, the idea of improving the savings rates and returns on savings is a far-fetched dream. Also the governments of European nations should promote foreign as well as local businesses to improve the productivity of their businesses. But given the bad shape of the economy and the structural changes that each of these solutions requires, we need a significant amount of time before any of these solutions can take effect. In a matter of over a decade, developed nations shall face a severe crunch of working citizens and may well lose their competitiveness and business potential. Worsening economic conditions in the shorter run in combination with deterioration in technological, business and social advancement in the longer run will impact the overall prosperity of these nations. At the same time, countries will look towards developing nations for productive labour, new business opportunities, technological innovation and leaders of social change. There is no doubt that the odds are changing in the favour of young and growing developing nations.

Where does India stand? Today, we comprise 17.43% of the world’s population and are home to 11.15% of the 15-64 years age group. Our population of 1.2 billion is growing at a rate of 1.3% per annum with a median age of 25.9 years. This growing populace is probably our biggest strength against the backdrop of ageing nations and the increasing dependence on developing nations for labour and trade. A large population with a huge talent pool and cost advantages of cheap labour are significant drivers for business investments in India. In addition, with an increased focus on higher education, professional education and literacy for women and children, our country is churning out a large number of graduates, professionals, technical

Demographic Data for Developing Nations Country

China Brazil South Korea

% of World Population 19.30% 2.75% 0.71%

% of Population Population Median Age in the Age Group Growth Rate of Population 15 - 64 years 72% 0.50% 35.2 67% 0.90% 28.9 73% 0.30% 37.9 SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 9

trainees and other vocational trainees each year further giving businesses a sound reason to invest in India and to tap the cost advantage of our growing pool of employable people. For some time now, the same scenario existed for several other developing nations. However demographics tell a different story for the future. The Chinese population has a median age of 35. 2 years and with a lower mortality rate and a one child policy, it is forecasted that by 2020, 11% of Chinese citizens will be above the age of 65 years. The median age is expected to rise to 45 years by 2050. The population is already ageing! According to a recent survey by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, manufacturers in the Yangtze and Pearl River Deltas faced labour shortages of over 10%. With an ageing workforce, the Chinese manufacturing sector will be forced to retain existing workers for longer tenures and also employ older workers, leading to a substantial increase in labour costs and taking away from China its ability to remain the top low-cost outsourcing destination. The South Korean economy is growing at a very high pace too. It relies heavily on both the manufacturing and services sector, with its key strengths being quality services at competitive prices, a skilled workforce, high productivity and innovation. However, the South Korean population is ageing at one of the fastest rates across the world. In just a matter of two decades - from the

1990s to 2010 - its population has changed from more young people to more old people. With such demographic conditions, it will be extremely difficult for South Korea to maintain its competencies of quality, competitive prices and most importantly a skilled and innovative workforce. With favourable government policies and large domestic markets, Brazil has become an attractive target for FDIs. Its IT services industry is growing at a remarkable rate and its low median age of 28.9 and population growth rate of 0.90% is making it a strong competitor for India’s IT industry. Thus, the population ageing problem is not confined to developed nations only. In many developing nations, population ageing is going to pose severe problems in the near future and will limit the number of manufacturing and service hubs. Yet India continues to grow at a rapid rate with a median age of merely 25.9 years. With its promising workforce, improving government policies and a growing consumer base, India will soon become a top notch choice for business investments. However, tapping this opportunity will be an onerous task for us. For one, the government must initiate reforms that will make India a more convenient and economically attractive destination for businesses. Two, a growing population alone will not attract investments. We have to turn the growing number of people into a growing pool of literate, skilled and employable workers. Although the literacy levels in our country have improved significantly, it still stands at 74% only, with huge variations across states and regions. In turn, the progress of healthcare and living conditions in the country is still not up to the mark. In rural areas, families with several children are being supported by one or two earning members. Children who are deprived of adequate food, proper living conditions, healthcare and education are much less likely to be able to effectively contribute to the employable workforce, making it imperative to ensure a proper balance between population growth and population control programs. Growth should be adequate to expand our population, but controlled enough so that each child can be nurtured without having to face a lack of resources. Only with a balanced approach can upcoming generations be made drivers and not hurdles to our growth story.

Social Implications of Land Acquisition in India Chandan Rout The social impact of displacement and the need for rehabilitation, resettlement and community development cannot be overstated. Companies need to engage with locals to socialize people to the change and ensure guaranteed employment in the long run


is a valuable resource and with the burgeoning population pressure and development mania, the demand for land is continuously spiralling upwards. To add to it, the incessant mining activity and exploration projects are a big trade-off. The cases of Singur in West Bengal, POSCO in Orissa and the recent agitation in Greater Noida bring forward the widespread implications of land acquisition. In this context, it will not be wrong to quote John Rawls, “Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override”. Unfortunately, according to the Constitution of India, the Right to Property is not a fundamental right but rather a legal right, which means that no person shall be deprived of his property, save by the authority of law. The government is busy acquiring land under the doctrine of Eminent Domain for the Greater Good and ‘development’ purposes. The term ‘development’ is a grey word since it definitely means growth for the government and the industry alike, but it does not benefit in true measure the actual owner of the land. Thousands of acres of land are being taken over in exchange for a few lakhs or a guaranteed job. On practical lines, a compensation of a few lakhs is way less than the actual value of land in the long run and the guaranteed job does not guarantee continued employment and income owing to the lack of relevant skills. There is a long history to land acquisition in India. It started during the British rule when the laws were framed to ensure that land was acquired without

much hassle. Again land reforms were introduced in the 1990s to ensure participation of private as well as foreign players in the field of mineral exploration and mining. Since then land has been acquired by the government with the intent of ‘public good’ but this actually appears to be an opportunistic stance. The government is busy acquiring land from farmers and tribals to sell or lease the land to private players at a hefty price. Owners losing their land are not being rightfully compensated. Let us take the case of POSCO’s 12 MTPA steel plant proposed to be set up in Orissa at an estimated cost of $12 billion (the largest FDI in India till date). The Orissa government has started allotting land in Jagatsinghpur district (the proposed plant site) which was being used for betel plantation and other cash crops by land owners. Most of the project site is proposed to come up close to the captive port which is being developed by POSCO to solve the transportation issue. The disconcerting fact is why the government planned to do away with arable and fertile land and not allocate barren land for setting up the steel plant. Also, when there already exists Paradeep port in the vicinity, there was no need to give permission to POSCO for building a captive port at Jatadhari which would deny access to outsiders (ironically the insiders are the outsiders here). According to a report by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai, the construction of the port will cause extensive land erosion and pose a serious ecological threat to the nesting beach of the Olive Ridley turtles. It seems that the stepstaken by thegovernment might be in the economic interests of the state but their actions are skewed towards the steel giant which is not a good sign for times to come. We have to, however, concede that it is neither possible nor wise to completely shun away from the development phase especially in the current economy where growth and development are inextricably interlinked. Singur lost Tata’s SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 11

Nano project to Sanand and the same fate might befall Orissa and its growth story. The Eastern part of India is less developed compared to the rest of India and impediment to rapid industrialization is one of the factors responsible for backwardness. The need of the hour is clarity of thought and a sensitive bent of decision making. It is a good sign that foreign players are willing to invest in our land and provide employment to a sizeable population, but is this benefit camouflaging the greater evil? Given that minerals are a finite resource, we should have firm policies regarding mining and exploration and the local people should be made stakeholders in such decisions. There lies another big question which needs to be addressed - Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) steps post-displacement that players in the industry promise to offer. One needs to continually keep local interests in mind since the locals are important primary stakeholders, and neglecting them will be nothing short of committing cruelty. Take for instance the POSCO project which will displace 2000 odd people (roughly 400 families) comprising farmers, landless agricultural labourers, betel vine cultivators and local fisherman. Each of these families has a distinctive earning pattern and hence needs to be adequately and rightly compensated for their loss of income. The compensation should not only be in terms of a one-time lump sum payment but rather in terms of providing them with a continuous means to income with equal returns of the same measure as that provided to them by their agricultural or piscicultural activities. Apart from compensation, the rehabilitation program should be made more inclusive so that the affected individuals develop a sense of belongingness for the project


at hand. First, the local people must be given preference in employment and they should be made industry ready. To achieve this, it is imperative to impart proper vocational training to them to ensure that they are well equipped with the requisite technical skills. Second, efforts should be directed towards both-encouraging investments in local healthcare facilities and cleanliness drives as well as in the education sector like providing scholarships, education loans and imparting training to teachers which will provide long term tangible benefits to the locals. In other words, a proactive approach has to be adopted by any industry entrant and they have to be visible and transparent in their practices especially when venturing into foreign territory. Signing Memorandum of Understandings with the state government and getting a go-ahead from the Centre and the Ministry of Environment and Forests only ensures compliance with legal regulations operating in the country at that point. A multi-pronged approach has to be followed with the needs of local stakeholders being addressed. Rehabilitation, resettlement and community development have to be part of the plan and companies need to engage with local people to socialize people to the change. At the same time, it is necessary for firm rules and regulations to be implemented at the Centre with mechanisms for public consultation and participation. No player should be bestowed with a preferential advantage of any kind in order to ensure a healthy business environment. Had there been a proper framework devised taking into consideration the differential interests and long term versus short term benefits of the various stakeholders involved, Orissa would have embarked on her journey to further economic prosperity and set an example for others to follow.

Rethinking Gambling in India Ritika Parasrampuria Exploring factors that make legitimizing gambling a sound business case for India


to the Research and Markets report ‘Global Casinos & Gaming’ (2011), the gambling global market is valued at US$381.8 billion, with the Asia-Pacific sector accounting for 43.2% of this value. While growth slowed down during the recessionary period, the market is now expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.1% to reach a value of US$512.9 billion by the end of 2015. Why then are governments around the world apprehensive about legalizing gambling? Gambling (commonly referred to as betting) is the wagering of money or anything else that is valuable, on an uncertain outcome, with the hope of gaining additional money. For most part, it is regarded as taboo, and like smoking, drinking and drugs, has a social stigma attached to it. Why do some governments not legalize gambling activities? The common answer to this would be that it ruins the poor. Governments in many countries believe that the social benefits that accrue from gambling are considerably less than the social costs. What are these social costs and benefits? Social costs are indeed more difficult to measure quantitatively as opposed to economic costs, owing to the complexity of establishing the true cause-effect relationship between social problems and gambling. It is often seen that individuals get addicted to gambling and become ‘pathological gamblers’ or victims of ‘problemgambling’. Studies show that approximately 0.5% SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 13

of the adult population in the US and Canada is either pathological or problem gamblers. Various studies suggest that pathological gambling largely manifests itself in the form of increased family problems and problem gamblers are found to be afflicted with anxiety, depression, low satisfaction problems, increased drug usage and alcohol consumption. They are inclined to sell private or family property without the knowledge of loved ones in order to gamble more or protect themselves from the shame of bankruptcy. Further, they spend less time with family members and friends, and engage in illegal and criminal activities far more than non-pathological gamblers. It doesn’t stop here. Families of individuals who suffer from pathological gambling witness higher divorces, are victims of domestic abuse, and the children of gamblers are often left behind locked in cars or at homes for a long period of time while they gamble. Some of these effects can be controlled by the law whereas others cannot be. For instance, the Australian government imposes heavy fines on children being left behind unattended in cars. Therefore, having stringent measures in place can minimize the negative effects of gambling. Gambling can have serious financial implications not only on individuals and their families, but also on society, because of the economic costs associated with job losses, unemployment, higher bankruptcy and suicide rates, and poor physical and mental health of the citizens. Perhaps, this is why several religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Catholicism strongly discourage the legalization of gambling. But, is preventing legalization of gambling a solution for this? Prohibition has not stopped people from drinking or smoking in


public places, why then, do lawmakers believe that banning gambling will stop people from indulging in it? It is important to note that gambling has been part of the Indian culture for the last 400 years. Some of the oldest epics and scriptures, like the Mahabharata, mention stories of Yudhishthira, who lost a game of dice to his opponent Shakuni who was cheating, and stories of Nala, who lost his kingdom to his younger brother but later was tutored and won back his kingdom. It does seem that that the ancient lawmakers were far more foresighted than the modern lawmakers who framed laws in 1867 prohibiting gambling in India. This law, known as the Public Gambling Act of 1867, is a central legislation that applies to all states except the states of Sikkim and Goa. It bans all games except those which involve skill. Legalizing gambling will bring in transparency and revenue by way of taxes and employment opportunities. In the US alone, the government collected US$7.59 billion in taxes from commercial casinos and US$ 16.3 billion by way of lotteries. The US commercial casino industry employed around 3,40,564 people in the year 2010. According to a KPMG report (2010), the Indian gambling market was worth about US$60 billion. However, most of this market is illegal. Making gambling illegal doesn’t eliminate gambling, but rather drives it underground and breeds more black money. If betting on horse racing can be termed as a game of skill and be legalized, even betting on sports like cricket should be legalized. The amount of money being bet during IPL matches and World Cup matches through bookmakers and online websites is phenomenal. Media reports suggested that over US$4.27 billion had been bet on IPL 2010 and over 12 billion was bet on the World Cup 2011 before it even

started. Wondering where this money comes from and where it goes? Investigations have revealed that this money, more often than not, comes from drug mafias and the underworld and goes into funding terrorist activities, drug trafficking or to offshore accounts. The wealth generated via betting doesn’t reach India but is rather ploughed back into illegal activities. And a vicious cycle ensues. Regulating gambling will help minimize the involvement of underworld and drug mafias. The funds that come by way of revenue to the government can be used to provide better education, infrastructure and social welfare for the citizens of India, instead of being used to further crime in the country. Gambling or gaming should include offline and online wagering. Indian society discourages games of chance and probability as they believe it leads to loss of hard-earned money. Goa and Sikkim are the only two states in India that currently permit gambling whereas there are 13 states that permit organising of lotteries. Some states have also legalized horse-racing and dog-racing. There are no explicit laws either banning or permitting online gambling in India. Most of the gambling laws in India are outdated as they were framed in the era of 1860 to 1980s. At that time, the concept of television, media and the internet as media for gambling could not have been anticipated while formulating laws. Since then, there have been no further amendments to these laws to provide clarity on online gambling. However, with the advent of the Sikkim Government giving licenses to operators under the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008 under the condition that their servers should be set up in Gangtok, there arise uncertainties about whether people from other parts of India can participate.

The Indian laws being archaic, it is nearly impossible for these businesses to carry out their day-to-day payment operations. The online gaming business requires customers to transfer money for placing bets to operators through a banking channel. The operators, too, transfer the winnings to the bank accounts of the players after withholding the appropriate taxes. However, currently, banks and payment gateways are hesitating to participate in transactions relating to gambling and lotteries as they are prohibited under Rule 3 of the Foreign Exchange Management (FEMA) Act. This is creating a major hindrance for the operators despite having received provisional licenses from the state government. So far, the Indian authorities were depending on ‘The Information Technology Act’ and the FEMA Act to curb overseas gambling in India. But now, with provisional licenses being given by an Indian state, no one knows what the future of online gambling or gaming in India will be. But one shouldn’t ignore this industry owing to the massive scale at which it is expanding worldwide. In my view, gaming and betting should be legalized in India and foreign direct investment should be allowed into this sector. Considering the size of the gambling market in India, one can conservatively assume that if betting and gambling were to be legalized, it could account for nearly 2% of the country’s GDP. Imposing special taxes on activities of betting and gambling could also act as a discouragement for players. This was seen in 2010, when the government imposed an additional tax of 10% on horse racing in Mumbai and Pune. The increase had a negative impact on the bets recorded on the days following the increase. Special taxes would also ensure added revenue to the tune of billions of dollars to the government. India could use funds generated from here for various rural and social welfare programmes and schemes. Thus, legalizing gambling will ensure control on match-fixing, will help control the gambling addiction and will bring in large amounts of revenue for the government. Further, it will minimize black money, provide employment opportunities, reduce funding to terrorists and criminal activities and ensure greater national security along with the overall development of the nation.


Discovering a way out of Black Money Aritra Nayak 16 SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG

Why tackling India’s black money problem is more important than just the Jan Lokpal Bill


hue and cry being raised by the Jan Lokpal Bill controversy has brought to the light a national shame – the stashes of black money kept in the tax havens of Europe and the lack of political will to address the issue with a greater concern. According to a rough estimate, the sum of money is to the tune of at least $1.4 trillion which is 13 times more than India’s foreign debt. But the question that bothers me is what will be done with the money even if it is recovered by the government. Let us first see why money is being hoarded in such astronomical numbers. Money is a unique entity - something which is almost

an aberration to the law of diminishing utility in today’s economic scenario. People seem to be unsatisfied with any amount of money and there is always a constant urge to seek ways to become richer, sometimes through unfair practices. The corporate culture seems to further hasten the race for money. The Indian economy being an open economy is like a gold mine for unscrupulous people who only come with the motive to benefit. The millions of dollars of FDI supposed to be invested in development are merely a honey trap that attracts more and more corrupt people who project themselves as the Messiah of the poor so that they can also dip their hands in this river of wealth. If we look at scams right from the days of the License Raj, we can see that corruption has become a pervasive entity in the Indian system. Today people seem to be more disturbed by the skeletons that have rolled out of the cupboard of the 2G scam and the Commonwealth Games fiasco. But I wonder whether people really remember the Fodder scam or the Bofors Deal. What was the final outcome of these scandals? Were the guilty punished? It somehow seems that the law of the land has not been able to aptly bring justice to the wrongdoers. What then is the point of trying to have yet another policing body in the form of the Jan Lokpal when the law itself does not have any clause to suitably punish a corrupt politician or bureaucrat? For the millions of dollars that had been siphoned off in the past scams have not been recovered even after conviction and in most cases are still the darlings of political systems and just another talking point for the media. The impeachment of Justice Soumitra Sen seems like an exception in the present context of things or maybe just a diversionary tactic by political powers to take away from the public’s focus other bigger problems and also reduce the strong public resentment that has been built up by the movement.

institutions that are crippled by corruption, even private organizations are no longer free from corruption. There are umpteen stories and reports which have shown how private organizations have fallen victim to corrupt practices. Take the example of the many educational institutes that accept ‘donations’ from prospective candidates for admission. This is a shame for our society, especially as India strives for free quality education and the right to education by the very virtue of its constitution. So are all efforts futile? Will India never be able to do away with corruption or is it that the 40% people below the poverty line will forever be damned to a life of hardship? The only way out is a radical change, not only in the administration of the country, but also the economic policies of the society. One of the most important steps shall be to do away with whatever ‘babu-dom’ is left in the system, perhaps through privatization of non-performing assets of the government, to begin with. If the core of the Government machinery, the bureaucracy itself, is not evaluated by its performance, then it is bound to spread into society like an epidemic that career growth can be achieved even if you do not work with responsibility. It is ironic that India struggles with such a problem when it is the land of the famous Bhagawad Gita that says ‘You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty’. If people were to accept and live by these principles, may be tomorrow will be a new day where ‘corruption’ and its evils shall only be like a fossilized dinosaur from the past. It is also the moral responsibility of the people and the education system to at least sensitize the next generation about the important ethics of honesty and integrity and not fall for the bandwagon of the Keynesian economic theory of just earning profit, no matter what the costs.

People might say that if the money is brought back it might be used to uplift the poor through various welfare schemes. But I beg to differ again as most of these welfare schemes were in the first place responsible for giving politicians the opportunity to siphon off public money and create wealth that they now own. The fact that the much touted MNREGA scheme has also ended up with million dollar scams in Gujarat is indicative of the fact that despite (perhaps) the good intentions of a few people, the termite of corruption has eaten deep into the ethics of the grass root level workers. It is not just government programs and SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 17

phone subscribers was 826.93 million at the end of April 2011. The numbers seem like a gold mine of opportunities for service providers. The growth has been consistent and the tele-density has increased to 67.7 per cent. A BCG report suggests that the sector is set to see investments to the tune of $55 billion in the next 5 years and to continue growing at 12-13 per cent annually. India has surely come a long way from the days of struggling to place a trunk call, which was the norm in the 1970s and 1980s.

India’s Telecom Industry: Much Ado about Nothing? Jitesh Patel Going beyond the hype to take a good hard look at India’s sunshine sector


is where the money is. All the telecom companies seem to be running on this single mantra. The ground reality shows a slightly different picture. There might be money, but it is in no way easy money. Telecom companies have made huge investments and not all of them are happy about the massive capital involved. Readers might label this point of view as a sceptical one but it is not without merit. India’s GSM subscriber base is massive, 590 million as of May, 2011. The total number of mobile


The first Mobile telephony service started in India in 1995 in Delhi. The real telecom boom started only in the 2000s with a flurry of providers including Tata, Airtel and Reliance (in 2004) which started wooing customers with attractive plans. The wave never subsided and India has emerged as the second biggest market in terms of users, poised to overtake the leader China by 2013. The landscape has changed immensely. Customers who were once charged for incoming calls now enjoy some of the lowest tariffs in the world, thanks to the fierce competition. Most of the early operators made a considerable profit, given the rock bottom prices they paid for the spectrum. Despite the 3G auction fetching a large amount of money; it is still considerably lower than the worldwide prices for 3G spectrum. A simple example would be the auctioning of the spectrum in UK which garnered $35 Billion in 2000 for a country with a population of 62 million. The Indian 3G auction collected $15 Billion in 2010 for a population base of over 1.2 billion people. The explanation for such a cheap spectrum is quite simple. India has the lowest mobile tariffs in the world. India also has the lowest Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) in the world. This also explains why companies cannot afford to make the sort of investments they make in Europe and North Now that the customer has grown used to such tariffs, there is no going back for telecom providers. The only option is to increase revenue through Value Added Services and the likes. These companies need to come up with services which can generate revenue from the rural market - this is where the major growth in the subsequent years will come from. All providers are working hard to figure out services which will grab the attention of India’s rural users and make money in the process. There are already a plethora of services being offered from weather forecasts to commodity prices which are being lapped up by consumers in India’s hinterlands. India’s 3G auction was supposed to be the saviour for telecom providers, giving them a potentially significant new revenue stream. Companies spent around $15 Billion

acquiring spectrum across the country. The price overshot their budgets and as a result, none of the companies could acquire spectrum in all circles. Airtel clearly expressed their frustration at not being able to manage a pan-India license because of the ostentatious bidding. Surely, this has to be a major hurdle for all the companies, overcoming the fact that they cannot offer a user 3G services nation-wide. It has been a while since the auction ended but operators have started offering 3G services to consumers only now. The delay was partly because of the regulators having banned service providers from buying equipment manufactured by Chinese companies ZTE and Huawei owing to security concerns. The regulators were allowed to purchase from these established hardware companies only after Huawei and ZTE shared their access codes with the Government. India has less than 5,000 3G ready towers installed and it will take time before 3G is available in all parts of the country. This increases the payback time for the operators who have invested heavily to acquire the spectrum and to build hardware capabilities. Companies should be wary of what happened with BSNL in the 3G segment. Despite being offered an early advantage, it has failed to capitalise on it and is now seeing red because of the high auctioning price it needs to pay. 3G was launched in Japan and South Korea in 2000, more than 10 years back. India is expected to see 30% of its customers switching to 3G by 2015. Companies might be a tad bit too late in trying to cash in on the 3G bandwagon. Most developed countries are already moving onto

4G. India’s mobile boom was partly because India skipped the telecom lines installation part and most rural areas went from having no connectivity to having wireless connectivity. All other countries went through the cycle of establishing wired connectivity and then switched to wireless connectivity. For the movement from 2G to 3G and later on to 4G, it might have been a wiser idea to implement the latest technology and not spend so much investment on a technology which might not last long. The pattern of outrageous spending might repeat itself for the 4G spectrum too as it works on a completely different standard from the current 3G services. The smaller mobile operators are currently struggling to grab a pie of the huge number of subscribers in India. The top 5 operators - Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance, Tata and Idea - make up for almost 75% of India’s subscribers. The percentage has increased after MNP has come into effect and it has become very difficult for smaller operators to retain customers despite aggressive marketing campaigns. The 2G scam has only worsened the situation and the likes of Uninor, Etisalat and MTS seem to be in deep trouble. These were the companies which joined much later and have failed to garner a sizeable market share. The future seems wary for them. The bigger operators have to deal with issues like falling ARPUs and increased churn rates. There is minimal brand loyalty when it comes to telecom, and consumers – especially the youth, do not mind changing to a new operator at the drop of a hat. It is a tough balancing act and only time will tell what happens. India’s sunshine sector needs a careful approach because it is so fiercely competitive. The tariff wars, 3G costs and declining customer loyalty might dent the telecom boom and force companies to rethink their strategy. This is essential for growth and more importantly, for survival. It is no surprise that telecom and handset companies have displaced FMCG as the top spenders in advertising and media. The telecom operators have to ensure that India lives up to the numbers and becomes a huge market for mobile telephony. Only having a large subscriber base will not do any good. This stark example should give the readers a good idea of what I am talking about. India’s largest telecommunications company Bharti Airtel has revenue of $9.29 Billion whereas the largest telecom company in the USA AT& T has revenues over $120 Billion. SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 19

Where the Heart meets the Mind: How Women make a Difference Swati Nidiganti

As women grow more influential and set the agenda for critical world issues, the author explores factors that make the fairer sex inherently better positioned for success


creeps in when I try to recollect the days our entire family used to assemble after dinner for a friendly chat, with Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi playing in the background. Having captured the audience like never before, this series and many others of the same genre went on to revolutionize the television viewing habits of the Indian middle class in the 21st century. The credit goes to Ekta Kapoor, rightly known as the one-woman army who changed the face of prime time daily soaps on Indian television through a series of TV serials under Balaji Telefilms. Fighting against all odds, it was not just her hard work and determination but more her ability to connect to the viewers, that helped her deliver value to her customers. Moving from our cozy drawing rooms to a much more competitive global market, Indra Nooyi is an icon to be followed and emulated not only in India but also at the international level. Ranked as #1 in the list of most powerful women in Business in 2009 and 2010 by Fortune, her quick decision making ability, firmness and go-getter attitude has won her laurels in PepsiCo and has helped her


reach a place which many women only dream of. Despite such monumental successes in her career, Indra Nooyi quintessentially remains an Indian woman who has combined the high energy of her job with her calm, collected demeanor to manage the equally central responsibilities of a mother and a wife. On the other hand, Anita Roddick’s social responsiveness has helped Body Shop become a powerful brand in the world of cosmetics. Born in a bomb shelter with parents who later divorced when she was nine, life was no cake walk for her. Yet she showed strength of character and pursued a dream she believed in. The list is endless with the likes of Oprah Winfrey who rose through difficult times to become the most successful business woman and talk show host and J.K. Rowling who relentlessly followed her childhood dreams to break all records in the world of literature through what is probably the most influential fantasy novel of the present generation. Both of them have an interesting ‘rags to riches’ tale of their own. Born into As Rudyard poverty to a single teenage woman Kipling has and having experienced sexual rightly pointed abuse at the tender age of nine, out, “A woman’s Winfrey overcame it to be known as guess is much the most powerful and influential more accurate woman in the world. Rowling’s life than a man’s was equally challenging. Seven certainty”. years after graduation, she was still jobless, divorced and with a dependent child. But she believed in herself and today we all dream of the magical world of Hogwarts! These are just a few names of the many women who have broken the glass ceiling and made a difference. But what is it that made these and many other such women successful?

The Woman Perspective Women, in general, are known to have a fairer and better perception of things. As Rudyard Kipling has rightly pointed out, “A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s

certainty”. Women carry unimaginable strength which is developed over a period of time through the various hardships they face in life. They are good at multi-tasking, something they have practiced throughout their lives from the times they helped their mothers prepare dinner at home while simultaneously outperforming others in studies at school. Women have the heart to smile when they are burdened by numerous worries and the ability to empathize with the less privileged when they themselves endure so much. Mother Teresa relentlessly worked for the poor, sick, orphaned and dying for over 45 years, and selflessly served society. That is the kind of interminable strength a woman carries. In my opinion, most women won’t have a problem admitting that they are not sure how to accomplish a certain task or what needs to be done next at a crucial stage in business. Shikha Sharma, the current Managing Director and CEO of AXIS bank, rightly pointed out that women are good at succeeding without prior experience, because they have smaller egos than men, and it’s easier for a woman to say, ‘Hey, I know nothing about this’. Chanda Kochhar, knew little about retail banking when she took over ICICI Bank’s fledgling retail operations in 1998. She decided to hire a team that knew more about retail business than her and learned from them while applying her business acumen at the same time. Today ICICI, India’s second-largest and fastest-growing bank, is the market leader in retail banking and Chanda Kochhar is in the list of the 100 most powerful women in the world. With a strong focus on values, women think about what their businesses will stand for before they start planning anything else. That gives the company a strong vision, mission and set of values and helps bring about business success. This is precisely what made The Body Shop successful. A strong vision along with numerous activities and campaigns for various social and environmental reforms, allowed it to establish a brand identity of its own. And last but

not the least, women are generally more engaging and build and nurture relationships more easily. Women have indeed come a long way by overcoming many hurdles and have successfully broken the glass ceiling. Susan Anthony, the American civil rights leader who played a prominent role in the Women’s Rights Movement in United States once said, “The day will come when man will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race”. After all the hardships, we recognize that this day has arrived and we should stand up and embrace it and look forward to boosting this development through mutual cooperation and collaboration.




A Politically Incorrect Recapitulation of the Decade that Was | Shubhajit Lahiri A rendition of an incredible decade in view of significant events that have changed the world

that gets stuck to that time-period tends to be borne out of incidents or movements or mass outlook or stylistic developments, or a complex combination of all these, that becomes a pop-cultural reference point. Thus, over the course of the last century, when world development speeded up incredibly, a host of epithets started to get thrown around, like the Jazz Age, the Prohibition Era, the Lost Generation, the Beat Generation, the Peace (or Hippie) Generation, the X-Generation, and so on. The 2000s, in that sense, could easily be qualified as the Twin Generation, because, even at the sake of sounding ironic (or callous), the collapse of the Twin Towers was not just the most enduring event of the decade, its aftermaths proved how immensely it ended up shaping and defining it. The years leading up to the birth of the new millennium had an ominous ring to it. The humankind had just experienced the advent of widespread usage of personal computers and internet, and had taken to it as a vulture takes to blood. And then they were apprised of something called Y2K, and the reaction was as if the world was coming to an end. But then, as 31st December 1999 transformed into 1st January 2000, the bug mysteriously disappeared, and the world was a happy place again. But, in hindsight, that happiness was ephemeral at best.

is a famous statement, popularly known as Murphy’s Law, which goes something like ‘If something can go wrong, it will’. There are various versions of the statement, and disputes as to who was the father of this fatalistic quote, though some attribute it to Edward A. Murphy, Jr., an American aerospace engineer. This remarkable and highly prescient law has time and again proven to be an encapsulation of great wisdom and irrefutable truth despite its nonsensical nature. We need look no further than the first decade of the 21st century and 3rd millennium, better known as the Noughties, as proof, as the said decade has lent a sense of poetic beauty to the prophetic law.

On 11th of September 2001, four aeroplanes were hijacked by a group of ‘Jihadis’ (Holy Warriors), who in essence were virulent, brainwashed murderers, and two of them crashed into the World Trade Centre with such pinpoint accuracy as to make one wonder whether that was for real or just computer simulation. The two towers crashed to ground – ‘Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust’ - some said with quiet resignation; and suddenly war cry became the order of the day, reminding us of the famous adage ‘If you want peace, prepare for war’. George W. Bush Jr., the then President of the United States surely believed in that adage with the little grey matter that he was born with, and went about making his father proud by first demolishing Afghanistan in order to teach the mountain-dwelling Talibans a lesson, and then dethroning Saddam Hussain from his gilded throne in the name of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The fact that ‘Petro-Dollar’ was the agenda for waging war against Iraq was drowned in the President’s tear-inducing and stirring speeches on democracy and liberty.

Every decade or so, one tends to witness the occurrence of an ‘Age’ or a ‘Generation’. The label

The decade thus quickly turned into a battleground where each wanted to teach the others a lesson, as these oh-so-



pious warriors for peace caused one spectacular havoc after another – each more devastating (and consequently, more attention-grabbing) than the previous one. It did not matter whether you were a President of Moscow or Madrid or Mumbai, a series of debilitating blows were indicted on society and collateral damage became the order of the day. Some so-called intellectuals started making statements in the media like ‘terrorism should not be equated with religion’. Though that’s fundamentally a truism, this noble sentiment was so dramatically ludicrous in this particular decade that Islamic Terrorism became a part of our daily lives. As if not enough people were already getting killed by shrapnel emanating from grenades, bullets emanating from sub-machine guns, and, not to forget, barbs emanating from the mouths of rabid clerics, even our seemingly magnanimous Mother Nature came into the picture with the notso subtle taunt aimed at the warmongers, ‘If you can do it, I can do it better’. Tsunami suddenly raced into our lexicons by wiping out hundreds of thousands in one dramatic sweep. And there were earthquakes too. The decade really gave the doomsday sayers one field day after another. The decade not only gifted us a plethora of bizarre, grotesque and violent memories, it also provided us some ludicrous moments that were as ironic as they were darkly comic. Thus, the United States, till the end of the previous millennium the undisputed leader of all nations, got undone by their own greed and callousness. It seemed that financial engineers, including some of whom had graduated from some of the most renowned business schools in the world, had somehow forgotten how to balance assets with liabilities. What the world witnessed as a result was a stupendous fall from grace for the mighty Americans (and thanks to the boons of globalisation, the event soon ensconced the entire world with stunning rapidity). The economic crisis was a full body blow to the pride of a country which fiercely believed that they were the greatest nation on earth, as if the gargantuan display of stupidity - courtesy War in Iraq - and the subsequent episodes at Abu Gharib

and Guantanamo Bay were not enough. Meanwhile the popular American athlete Marion Jones finally proclaimed that she was not an athlete after all, but a cheat, while Tiger Woods, whose trophy case was as overstuffed as his bank vaults, suddenly became a pariah even to those who used to swear by his name. Was this decade filled only with darkness and sorrow, one might ask. Not really, as it had its moments of glee and achievements too – most notably in the cyberspace and in the field of high technology. While Google, Facebook and Wikipedia became parts of our daily jargon, cellular communication and computational speed became more commonplace than food and water. The world suddenly became much flatter. With a laptop and internet connection at his bay, man could now roam the entire planet and beyond sitting in his living room. He could now make friends with unknown faces residing in Uzbekistan or Uganda, read about the meanings of Quantum Mechanics and Bose-Einstein Condensate in laymen’s terms, book airline tickets from Toronto to Timbuktu, listen to the lost songs of Bob Dylan and watch avante-garde movies screened at underground film festivals, and so much more, without having to lift his posterior out of his sofa. Yet, as Gautam Chatterjee through one of his classic songs prophetically foretold three decades ago (words that seems more relevant now than ever before), ‘The world has shrunk so much that it now fits within the idiot-box in our drawing rooms; the constraints of space, time and national boundaries are now a thing of the past as we can now connect to the anywhere in the world right from our houses. Yet, ironically, we have drifted so apart from one another in the meantime that we are now light years away from each other!’ As one might grudgingly agree, that is sad but true. Despite what this current piece proclaims, this was an incredible decade. Yes, it had its share of enervating lows and severe heartbreaks, but it was also a decade that in more ways than one altered and reshaped the course of history – for better, or for worse. As Charles Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”. SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 25

Modern Colonization: An Africa Perspective Shipra Gupta

What remains after the mad scramble for colonization


greed, all of nature is too little’ goes the maxim. Our desire to work more and earn in exponential quantities increases the appetite for excess. Colonization was conceptualized to extract wealth and enrich colonizing nations. During the early part of the 20th century, Britain was the leader of the world economy. With colonies extending from what is now known as the United States to the Indian waters, the revenues procured by the English were immense. Meanwhile, colonies which were unable to sustain their own inhabitants were left with the grueling task of rebuilding their economies. Fast forward to the 21st century and most of us are under the impression that colonies are long gone. A look at Africa gives us a different story. The mad scramble for colonization drained resources from the Dark Continent and harsh prevailing conditions inhibited recovery from colonization. The latest trends show a rush, not for gold, but for water resources and land. The terrestrial mass


of Africa which exceeds that of USA, China and Europe combined with cheap labor and resources, makes it a haven for ‘available land’. Southeast Asia and Latin America are also victims of resource draining. Food importing countries, rich in capital resources but constrained in terms of land and water, are leaders in land acquisition. European nations with a higher demand for biofuels are investing in acreage seizing and countries like China are buying land to ensure enough food grain within the country. Entities involved in the procurement of land are not just private firms but the governments of several developed nations. Given the increase in the price of arable land, the value of water and land resources in the developing world has risen drastically. These nations are dependent on assistance, and with land acquisition, the locals lose out on the few resources available to them. Land is usually owned by the government, who then leases it out to the highest bidder. This may seem like a profitable prospect, but nobody loses out more than the farmer. The food security of the host nation is compromised as most of the yield is exported. Biofuels are extracted from many crops and those remaining are genetically modified. Displaced inhabitants are not fittingly compensated and the lack of education and unawareness of rights further encourages their exploitation. Many deals for leasing land have a common denominator for protecting the investor against the slightest risk. With a

targeted export market, the conventional farming practice is preferred mainly to reduce any further investment in land. Knowledge about the locals is seldom counted, disregard for stakeholders’ claims are commonplace. A high FDI ensures trade benefits to investors. The rich get richer, the fight for water is becoming viler by the day. Adding to this is the dismal fact that water is scarce and does not replenish itself. The cost of an irrigation project in India or China is much higher than that in Africa. Around 70% of water is used to cultivate crops, making it equivalent to importing water. The import cost is set to escalate given the rise in prices, but the short term requirements of food, nevertheless, are met. Stark parallels of resource exploitation and exploiting the destitute can be drawn from past experiences. In Ethiopia, over 2.9 million hectare of land was requested with a total planned capital expenditure of US$ 2.2 million. From Swaziland to Congo, foreign investors are being lured towards investing in Africa. Bilateral nation agreements, private equities, AGRA (African Green Revolution) and public-private partnerships for development corridors are the major fund providers.

From Colonization to Symbiotic existence: The picture is not all gory. The projected employment in Mozambique leaped to over 32,000. Those who have already made substantial investments in plantation or in the agrofuel industry have improved the status of employment, potable water and livelihood opportunities. Bilateral Investment Opportunities (BITs) outline the obligations set by host nations for leasing of land and fair treatment to the investors is also a clause in it. The mandate of the majority is harder to refute. Land acquisition may become unacceptable if the practice is not sustainable. Land expropriation cannot last for long - a small spark can ignite the fire against oppression. Uniform laws, non-disruptive intervention of civil society and increased investor responsibility will help farmers realize the benefits of these investments. Moving from Colonization to Coexistence is the need of the hour. We will be better off with this segment of history not being repeated. The domination faced by earlier colonies has definitely left an indelible mark on present day colonies.

Jatropha, used for biofuel is widely grown by the foreign nations. It is usually genetically modified, which may not be acceptable to land owners. Novel species are often introduced into the SubSaharan territory. Introducing non-indigenous and hybrid plant species, including pine and eucalyptus, raises the requirement for chemical fertiliser inputs, leaving the soil dependent on the same. Several moral, health and social effects of GM crops have been overlooked, due to fewer regulations and the governments’ lookout for investments in their countries. Job promises made to the local farmer may not be fulfilled, thus highly risking their means of livelihood. Sometimes the land is classified as ‘underused’ to put it up for lease and alternate uses like grazing are automatically ruled out. However, a paradigm shift can transpire. A collective effort from the farmers can give them scope to voice their opinions. A project can also be well managed to capitalize on foreign investment to the fullest. An integrated civil society can work wonders in improving the living standards of the impoverished. Contract farming, where a certain amount of the produce is allocated to the foreign investor, ensures quality. With a lower risk, the farmer can avail better returns.



Why India’s goal of inclusive growth can no longer remain merely a populist agenda


concept of inclusive growth has been prevalent for a long time now and is not radical. What is radical is the amount of emphasis inclusive growth has been gaining in the recent decades. A few decades ago, growth was the primary concern of the state. However, the realization is now very evident that the focus is not on growth, but a broad-based growth which avoids exclusion or marginalization of major sections of the population. For long, growth and inclusion have been thought of as trade-offs. However, the


idea that growth and equity are complementary is gaining traction and is viewed as a positive sign by government initiatives like the Common Minimum Programme and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

Why Inclusive Growth? It is a widely acknowledged fact that in order to establish a harmonious and developed society, social and economic disparities have to be kept to a bare minimum. Market forces, however, often tend to foster disparities, due to non-equitable distribution of opportunities. The need to

alleviate poverty has never been in question. Therefore, it often becomes the role of the state to ensure equality of opportunity. From the time India got Independence, the populist agenda has always been the focus of inclusive growth. But the real reasons emphasizing the need for inclusive growth are appearing to be clearer. The understanding that inclusive growth will improve peace and provide political stability is one of the important reasons driving the inclusive growth agenda. Another important reason is the understanding that resource constraints are emerging in all parts of the world and to sustain growth momentum, a larger share of the population needs to be part of the development process. Not to mention, this larger share needs to bring in complementary skill sets, implying that it should include people from all strata of society.

India and Inclusive Growth – a Historical Perspective The topic of equity and inclusion can broadly be discussed in three dimensions: political, social and economic. Right from the time of independence, the policy of the Indian government has been formulated in ways that support inclusive growth. Political equality was guaranteed by the fundamental ‘Right to Vote’. Poverty alleviation has been the key term in all of India’s policy initiatives in this regard, signalling focus on the economic front. India is also one of the first countries to provide inclusion on a social basis in the form of reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, having identified them as socially deprived sections of society. As can be seen, the populist agenda and intentions have been right since the time of independence. The implementation of these policies, however, is not beyond question. Many countries who have achieved better equitable growth have followed multifarious economic policies. But there is a common underlying tone that signals huge

investment in basic education and health care, a grey area in the Indian context.

Notions of Well-being A country’s growth has traditionally been measured by the change in a country’s GDP or GNP. However, the notion that there has to be a more holistic way of measurement has gained significance. The Human Development Index is considered a well-accepted measure of a country’s success and well-being. If we were to consider Human Development as a measure of a country’s success, it is imperative that the development of the nation is inclusive. As can be seen from the below graph, a high human development index is associated with less inequality. It is also interesting to note how the term ‘poverty’ has undergone a change. Traditionally, the term referred to is income poverty. The latest Human Development report by the United Nations Development Program(UNDP) proposes that ‘the dimensions of poverty go far beyond inadequate income to poor health and nutrition, low education and skills, inadequate livelihoods, bad housing conditions, social exclusion and lack of participation’ and the Multidimensional Poverty Index of UNDP captures all of the above in its measure of poverty.

Means towards Inclusive Growth: UN and World Bank views To understand the facets of inclusive growth, one needs to look at how different agencies looking to promote inclusive growth address the issue. When addressing this issue, the need for social protection, especially that of risk and vulnerability of the downtrodden population, comes to the forefront. Broadly, countries have followed two different kinds of strategies or means to achieve the end of inclusive growth. One is to provide safety nets, in terms of pensions, health insurance and social funds, and the other, to develop macroeconomic policies to focus on the poor. A survey of the literature in this direction suggests that both these approaches have been followed successfully in


different countries. Reports from the World Bank are slightly more favourable towards safety nets whereas UNDP is more in favour of macroeconomic pro-poor policies. However, both are not mutually exclusive options and can be combined at various levels.

India and the Inclusive Growth Strategy India has traditionally followed the UNDP approach to poverty alleviation and inclusive growth - the macro pro-poor government policies. The favour towards a growth-mediated approach is partly by choice and partly by compulsion and the basis of this decision has largely revolved around the assumption that in a country like India with a large number of poor workers and absolute poverty, it would be fiscally impossible to provide a comprehensive social security. The assumption is an acceptable proposition, but there have also been instances where supportled programmes introduced by various states, especially Tamil Nadu and Kerala, have been successful. In Tamil Nadu, state sponsored special nutrition programmes, one of which is the largest feeding programme in the world (CMNMP), have been run successfully for decades now. There are also other forms of social security in the form of widow pensions and health insurances. The latest announcement by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister on free health insurance for the poor with a policy limit of 4 lakhs INR for 4 years is a clear indication that some of the developed states have reached a


position where they can afford to take up support-led social security measures. Another important facet of the Indian developmental policy when it comes to inclusive growth is the focus on rural areas where majority of the Indian population lives. This is almost a rejection of the current scenario at the rate at which urbanization is happening in India. ‘Urban Poverty’ is an equally big challenge and has to be tackled in a different way. According to the McKinsey Global Institute report on ‘India’s Urban Awakening’, April 2010, the urbanization rate between 2001 and 2008 is 158%. The report also indicates that India’s current approach will lead to urban decay. This current scenario warrants a look at the development policy in urban regions. According to a research paper by the Institute for Development Studies and Enterprise Research (IDSER), approximately 93% of enterprises form a part of the informal sector in India. Together with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the informal sector contributes close to 60% to the GDP and 40% or more to export trade, and creates 95% of the total non-farm jobs. Informal enterprises are set up by owners to alleviate their poverty condition. Therefore, a two-pronged approach, with a specific focus on inclusion, across both rural and urban areas, is essential.

Financial Inclusion A discussion on inclusive growth is incomplete without a discussion on financial inclusion, which has gained considerable prominence lately. Government initiatives, like the nationalisation of banks were an attempt at greater financial inclusion. However, the traditional forms of banking and finance have proved inadequate to provide financial access to the masses. In terms of reach to bank, and number of banks in rural areas, India is doing decently well. But whether that is turning into the real outcome of providing good access to financial services for the poor is a big question. The World Bank report on financial inclusion in India can be taken as a reference to summarize what the real problems with traditional modes of financial services for achieving financial inclusion are. The banks don’t find it attractive to serve the rural, especially the rural poor because of high uncertainty and default risk, lack of credit information, lack of collateral, transaction cost, weak legal framework and enforcement issues. The rural people fail to look at banks as an attractive option because of the lack of flexible products and services, transaction costs and requirement of collateral, which many do not have.

Solutions are beginning to emerge in the form of Self-help group-bank linkages and the development of microfinance institutions. However, development has been happening only in fewer pockets in different parts of the country. The recent crisis with respect to microfinance in Andhra Pradesh and the subsequent draft bill, The Microfinance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011, looks like a strategic inflection point for the industry, which is poised to grow and play a major part in the inclusive growth of India. A lot of innovation is happening and it would be interesting to see how novel methods and services such as mobile pay, along the likes of Nokia money, will help achieve financial inclusion.

Conclusion The term ‘inclusive growth’ has come a long way from being a populist agenda and buzzword to becoming the need of the hour. There is a consensus emerging that growth cannot be one-dimensional anymore. Different countries have adopted different ways to achieve inclusive growth, but fundamentally all countries that have managed such an appreciable growth have concentrated on two basic things: education and healthcare. A bird’s eye view is needed to ensure that all sections of the society participate in the development process. The mentality to resist urban migration has to be eliminated and inclusive growth policies should also have an urban flavour. Financial inclusion is essential and the role of the government should be that of an effective regulator. The inclusive growth agenda is here to stay!


In Conversation With

Mr. Vijay Mahajan Mr. Vijay Mahajan, a staunch social entrepreneur, is the Chairman of BASIX Microfinance and the president of Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN). An alumnus of IIT-Delhi, IIM Ahmedabad and Princeton University, Mr. Vijay Mahajan has worked for over 20 years in the domain of ‘Inclusive Growth’ and is an authority in this area. You can create financial inclusion and make all kinds of financial services or credit available to the poor without contributing to growth potential. For example, one of the activities for which the rural poor get microcredit is animal husbandry. But if there is not enough veterinary care or other support services, the credit might not result in providing additional income to the poor. So the emphasis needs to be well-rounded on both fronts. The last time you spoke to us, we discussed the steps taken by the Andhra government and the unhappiness of the microfinance industry. How do you see the situation panning out? Also, what do you perceive the impact of the Development and Regulation Bill (2011) will have on Microfinance Institutions (MFIs)? What do you think of the recent emphasis on inclusive growth and financial inclusion? What is your opinion on the role of the microfinance industry in achieving that objective? First of all, to clarify the premise of the question, we need to distinguish between financial inclusion and inclusive growth, which are two very different things.


Since the last time we spoke in February 2011, nothing has really changed on the ground. There has been a complete stoppage of microfinance. Actually it is not just microfinance, but a shortage of general credit to the poor. The informal sector rates have gone up dramatically. So there has been no great progress. While MFIs have been talking to the government of Andhra Pradesh, there is need for the government to

amend the Act. There are two important provisions of the Act, one is that we cannot go to the homes of borrowers for repayment of debt, and the other is that we cannot disburse any loan without the government’s permission. With this kind of situation, recovery cannot take place and the amount in question is Rs. 7200 crores, and if this situation is not dealt with, it might lead to the withdrawal of MFIs from the whole nation. The situation in Andhra has caused people in other states like Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Bihar to be deprived of microfinance. A large number of borrowers are listed as defaulters which prevent them and any of their relatives from access to any form of credit, given the way our present credit system works. However, we are in conversation with the government to improve the situation on the ground. Grameen Bank has been highly successful as an MFI. Why are Indian MFIs inclined to be more creditoriented and not savings-oriented like Grameen Bank? And why are they not diversifying into other sectors like Grameen Bank? First of all, Grameen Bank started in 1976. It is 35 years old while the Microfinance Industry in India is still very young. So diversification apart from Microfinance is still not on the horizon. Acceptance of savings has to do with the regulatory framework in the country. Grameen Bank was made a bank in 1983. It attained the status of a bank and was able to take deposits. Also, it was not regulated like the other regular banks. In a sense, it was given a special status. In India, however, all microfinance institutions are registered as NBFCs, making this a question for our regulators to answer. Can the online lending model i.e. internet microfinance in case of Kiva (the US based firm) work in India? Can it help in any way to reduce the cost of capital? According to me, Kiva, and other similar attempts are all good-hearted attempts at poverty alleviation. They wonderfully use the Internet as a platform to enable giving from people who are well off. But let us not confuse this with serious microfinance. The Indian poor, today, need about $100 billion. Any good-hearted attempt is worth applauding but should not be confused with systemic change. India has Rs.57 million on agricultural enterprises and close to Rs.90 mllion agricultural holdings. What is the government doing to ensure that credit needs are met? If the government cannot do it, it is time to let the private sector do it. This is the kind of serious structural change

I am talking about. Kiva and Rangde are all good hearted attempts, but let us not take it as any measure of systemic change. How do you view the newer vehicles for financial inclusion such as mobile banking, money transfers and Nokia money? How can MFIs leverage on these new technologies? These are good developments. Basically the more we move towards mobile payments, the better it is for us. We need to realise that mobile money will not work unless there are sufficient cash-in and cash-out centres. Right now, this is one area where the policy framework is really well in place, but players are behind the policy. What is your view on MFIs being listed in stock exchanges? In what way has the listing of SKS affected the outlook of the microfinance industry? It is true that the SKS listing caused a lot of people to wake up and take notice of the sector and draw premature conclusions too. But this does not take away the validity of the microfinance sector in accessing capital markets. SKS had reached a point where their outstanding was close to 4000 crores. So the IPO was a necessity and there is nothing wrong with that. Regarding the specific case of the turn of events post IPO, I have nothing to say. Coming to the non-financial aspects of inclusive growth, what are your thoughts on how inclusive development can be achieved? According to you, do growth-mediated measures or support-led measures work better? This is an area of eternal debate. This whole thing has to be a balance. The economy needs to have both growth and support-led measures. Growth has to happen first before the economy can afford to think about redistribution. But at the same time, if it is growth alone, it can lead to problems such as the ones faced by Latin America. In this case, I like the government policy which is to aim for 8-10% growth and invest a lot of tax revenues towards social sector schemes. In fact, I would urge the government to get out of all but some of the most important sectors such as Education, Healthcare, Law and Order and National Defence. We should be proud that there are entrepreneurs who can do wonders in most of the other fields. There are, however, some sectors where the government needs to provide some external support, in terms of providing viability gap funding, like in Infrastructure.


But apart from that, it should concentrate on only those few areas. If we don’t do that, we will end up spending more money on fighting terrorism and the like. What do you think is the role of the private sector in achieving inclusive growth? The whole growth will come from the private sector only. The role of the government is very minimal, and as I said before, the government’s role should be restricted to the 4 or 5 main areas of Education and Law & Order that I mentioned before, as well as formulating policy frameworks like monetary and fiscal policies. Finally, how do you think India is doing with respect to achieving inclusive growth? What are your views on the steps taken by the government on the financial inclusion front?


As of now, the government’s announcements are far ahead of its actions. But the announcements are in the right direction. We now have a very dynamic Head in the Department of Financial Services who has just joined. So my views are positive on the financial inclusion front. These pronouncements if executed well will yield good results. What is your advice for our readers? Before I give my message, I’d like to say that this is my 20th year of working for inclusive growth. My simple advice for whoever talks about inclusive growth is to ‘Do it’ rather than just talk about it. The situation needs some action to get better!


current contribution of the tertiary sector to the Indian GDP is almost 64%. IT services has been a major force driving the enormous growth of the service sector in India over the past decade. IT services is a US $800+ billion industry worldwide and almost 10% of this is handled by India. But it is the number of jobs that this industry creates regularly that is significant for the Indian economy. Hence its growth is of very high concern to India. The essential role played by IT services in efficient operations and management in global businesses is an established and undoubted fact. But it has majorly been an export-oriented industry in India. Hence with major jolts in the global economies – downgrade of US and Japan sovereign debt ratings, the earth quake and nuclear crisis in Japan, the looming economic crisis over the European Union, and the consequent pessimism and stricter fiscal regulations of the suffering governments, speculations for darker days are widespread in this industry. All these adverse happenings in the global economy have been spread over the first half of the current year. Typically, IT spending has been found to have a greater than 50% correlation with S&P 500 Rating with a lag period of 3 to 4 quarters. Going by this observation, it is likely to be hit by the shocks only in late quarters of this fiscal or early next fiscal year. Does that indicate that the gloom is near?

IT Services: The Rough Road Ahead for Indian Players Nilanjan Saha Why big players in the IT Services industry should not rely on a single domain or geography, but instead have a well-rounded service portfolio to continue to perform in the face of an impending recession The Figures Well the figures are important. In 2011, the total global IT spending has been estimated to be $3.7 trillion. But with North America and Euro Zone, the prime client geographies for Indian IT exporters, facing very low, at times negative economic growth and inviting austerity measures, Gartner suggests that the global IT spending is going to grow at a pace of only 5.3% CAGR. This figure is a combination of spending on computing hardware, software, IT services, Telecom equipment and Telecom services, with predictions for the software and IT services being of 7.5% and 4.8% CAGR SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 35

respectively. Spending on the cloud infrastructure will be growing at a staggering 20%. However this will contribute only 4% of the total spending by 2015, implying less dollar value generation at the end. However, if we look at the vulnerabilities in spending patterns during the recession of 200809, the IT services spending shrinkage showed a more resilient trend than the software and the hardware spending.

How are the Indian IT majors faring? Though India has companies providing software and IT services counting in hundreds, the major chunk of the earnings is skimmed by a few major players. Hence looking at their strengths, weaknesses, strategies and risks might give us some concrete idea about where the gaps might be and how they can be countered. Tata Consultancy Services is the biggest player in the industry with revenues over $8billion. It has maintained its growth in both revenues and net profit close to 25%. It is reasonably cushioned against risk given that it derives 22% of its revenues from emerging markets like India, China, Middle-East, Africa and Latin America, which are growing economies and less vulnerable to global economic disturbances. However, 44% of its revenue comes from the BFSI sector exposing it highly to the nuances of economic turmoil. Infosys has been a huge wealth creator for its shareholders for the past decade, but has shown a declining trend in its growth over the last few quarters. However, key strategic moves by Infosys are likely to go in its favor, making the company more responsive and agile in the changing business environment. It has streamlined its organizational structure to around 4 key verticals – financial services and insurance; energy, utilities,


communications and services; manufacturing; and retail, CPG and life sciences. It has also identified 3 key clusters - business innovation, transformation and operations. It has also made the decision to venture into the areas of cloud computing, sustainability and enterprise mobility. It presently derives 60% revenues from the cluster of business operations which are ‘must go’ activities for clients and hence are less resilient to slowdown. The company also maintains a 10-30% variable component in its compensation structure and hence might afford to enjoy this cushion during tough times. Cognizant has replaced Wipro as the 3rd largest IT services major in India. Its growth story is almost legendary. However the company has a strong exposure to the US market and to the BFSI sector, adding to its vulnerabilities. Wipro has been lagging behind in logging profit owing to poor decision-making in the top management.Ithas undergone restructuring under unfavorable pressures of low profitability and hence is likely to be vulnerable in the coming quarters. However, its business mix consists of higher share of non-discretionary services like IMS and BPO and a lower share of vulnerable segments like BFSI, which speaks favorable for the company. HCL Technologies has seen a sharp growth in revenue over the past year. However it has built its competitiveness around a strategy of cost leadership which can prove to be detrimental in a slowdown. HCL has taken over Axon to raise its share of revenue from enterprise systems to 21%. With the slowdown, this segment can suffer low growth owing to the discretionary nature of the service rendering the company vulnerable. Tech Mahindra has an extremely high exposure to the telecom vertical with almost 90% contribution to revenue. The lack of diversity and ongoing concerns over Satyam Computers are weak points. Mphasis has a high dependence on one single client - HP.

Recipe for Greater Resilience Though all the factors creating concerns about potential growth of the IT industry in India are not in the hands of these companies, there are a few things that they can be careful about while designing their strategies. Exposure to discretionary spending, like enterprise system and hardware, must be kept limited to a certain extent. In times of slowdown these are the areas that are hit primarily, with clients shrinking their spending in these areas. On the contrary, BPO and business operations support are likely to be less vulnerable as they are necessary for clients to be in business. Hence a wise and even distribution of service portfolio is critical to survival in a notso-lucrative scenario. Similarly, over-exposure to one single vertical like BFSI or Telecom might also prove to be unwise. As was the case in the previous downturn, BFSI was the worst hit sector taking the revenues of companies highly dependent on such clients to plunge along with it. North America and Europe are the more vulnerable geographies. Expansion into Asian, African and South American economies might prove to be less profitable initially. But setting foot into these emerging economies is likely to return more benefits in the long term. Companies have been export-oriented till date. But with the high growth of the Indian economy, opportunities have cropped up within the country as well. TCS has already pitched in with success, setting an example for the others.

market to augment the growth of the IT players when other clientele are not pushing bottom lines. Some companies like TCS and Infosys have significant flexibility in their cost structure. A major share of their cost is the wage-bill, 10-30% of which is made up of the variable pay components. Hence with minor market adversities, this can be tweaked to absorb the risk, not making layoffs a necessity. Trying to be aggressive with low margins might prove to be self-harming when slowdown sets in. Innovation has been a tested driver of growth even under unfavorable economic scenarios. In the past centuries, many industries have been created out of new innovations which were not even thought of in the past. Hence venturing into new domains of services, leveraging on existing competencies, with a close watch on risks and controlling them, might be key to survival in slowdown. Green computing, enterprise mobility and cloud services are emerging as strong markets.

Conclusion Though the next couple of years might not prove to be the brightest for the Indian players in the IT services industry, measured steps can still help them to survive and keep growing. A well balanced choice of clients, service portfolios, geographies and industry verticals along with strong strategic relations with key clients and expanding in new economies might mark the next phase of the story of the Indian IT services revolution, after the first phase of undeterred and legendary growth.

Strategic relations with the clients are necessary. Especially for large corporates like Infosys and TCS, who have a significant number of 10+ million and 50+ million dollar clients, a strong and strategic partnership with high value clients can be the secret of survival in a slowdown. Often these clients partner with their vendors, not only for a particular service, but also for advisory roleson their strategies in the technology front, with full transparency provided to the vendors on their top level business strategies. These relations are difficult to build and break. Hence once built, they can be banked upon for less exposure to risks. On the other end, the SMB sector is a huge market by volume, if not high margins. These companies can also shape their strategies to address the specific needs of SMBs. Low cost and standardized services to improve operational efficiencies of this sector can be a very strong potential future SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 37

Identifying the urgent need to organize the handloom and handicraft industry in North-East India that provides a livelihood for a significant number of artisans in the region

7 + 1

states, 51399 villages, 19.18% of units are in this part of India and every fourth person in the Northeast depends on it. 79.58% of the total value of production comes from here. Around 21.71% of the total workforce of this skill is located here. The economy of the region depends on it. What are we talking about? Yes, of course, its handloom and handicrafts!

lesser these products are popularised, the greater will be the margins certain middle-men and sellers ask for!

This sector provides more than 90% of livelihood to around 61% of the total artisan households in the region. What more can underline the immense significance of these special skills that the inhabitants possess? Every state in the region has some unique items of production that have been highly appreciated both within the country and abroad. Still, the current scenario of this potentially lucrative business is, to say the least, miserable and superbly unorganised. The reason can be understood by the premium these products command in other parts of India. So, the

There are as many as 16 most widely used bamboo species that have found inherent use in local art forms ranging from sturdy and strong house construction, scaffolding, ladders, thatching, roofing to basketry, paper pulp, mats, handicrafts and boat masts. Each block (district) has clusters which manufacture a specific product. So unique is a product to

Having said this, the purpose of this article is not to point out the inefficiencies in this sector. Rather, the intention is to portray the diversity and richness of this art form. This itself will make you aware of the importance and urgency required to organise it.

a particular region that other regions have never produced them in the past. For example, Syntein, a cluster of five villages in Mawsynram block, produces a wide range of handicraft products. Kenmynsaw and Kanbah villages produce handicrafts which have curves and essentially are weaved using bamboo skins after the flesh is removed. Some of the products they manufacture are flask pack/

Bamboo Growth‌ Bulldozed! | Deep Mehta


shang flask, match box pack/needle + button pack/shang thyrnia, flower vase/shang syntein and jewellery boxes or shang khasia as it is called. Artisans from other blocks such as Shella Bholaganj or Pynursla are not skilled enough to produce such curves. They would rather produce square-shaped products and use cane extensively in their products. So, in short, by simply looking at the finishing and design of the products, you can easily identify the region they come from. I bet many of us didn’t know this. Assam makes a lot of furniture products from bamboo cane which is not produced anywhere else. Some of the regions like in Ri Bhoi district use vegetable dyes to colour their products. These products have an extremely long life too. Most of these products are meant for the local markets. Locals trek for hours to reach flea markets and sell their wares on specific ‘mandi’ days. So treacherous is the climb, that if by evening they are not able to sell some of their wares, they see no point in carrying them back to their villages. What do they do? Simple. They just sell it to any local vendor at throw-away prices! Talk about that for profit margins! Many of these artisans are approached by designers from Delhi, Mumbai as well as retailers from many other towns. They give them designs, a small advance and off they go! They manufacture for them within timelines and charge a paltry sum for the 6 to 7 hours (on average) that they spend on each product. Their cost price calculation works like this: Bamboo – Rs. 5/product, Cane – Rs. 5/ product, Labour – Rs. 8/ hour (would you work at that wage rate for the special skills you possess?). Well, for a product that requires 5 hours of laborious work while balancing family chores, the cost prices works out to be – 8 x 5 = 40 + 10 = 50, margin = 10. So, yes! The selling price is Rs. 60! City retailers are over jubilant! Assuming some transportation cost (about Rs.15 on the higher side), if they sell the same at Rs.200 per product, they make a profit. A profit of a whopping 167%!

outliers spoil the show, they say. So, they have no other option but to be governed by prices set by outsiders. And it’s still not over. Only the head of the family – the eldest woman and few other ladies in the house are aware of finances – the revenues and expenditures. All the men are busy with work in the forests and are totally ignorant of basic math. Can’t get worse, you see! Digressing from handicrafts would only do justice to find out the reason behind why such a thing has been going on for ages. Tourism, for instance, could have given them the much needed exposure to people from outside and hence put a thrust on some spending related to awareness amongst these ‘deprived’ citizens. But, not even a single village (apart from two in Assam) from amongst thousands in this part of India, feature on ‘ExploreruralIndia’ website. The only exposure they get is through some government sponsored exhibitions in different parts of India. But this gives the impression of a charity event of sorts where the margins they charge don’t last long. Just a day or two, and they are back to doing what they are used to doing best – selling cheap and living their lives. Some may see the flaw to be in the way they think. They seem to be people who want less and just wish to live a hand-to-mouth existence with no concept of savings to secure their future. But only when you meet them will you understand them. I don’t know what the solution is. I don’t know how you can change the way they think. I don’t know when it will change. But I do know one thing for sure – it’s time to stand up and be counted. If not for us, then for them. And what a special take-away it will be, bringing ut a change in the backbone of the North about tern economy! Eastern

That isn’t fair. But that’s the way it has been. To add to the misery of this skilled, but classified as ‘uneducated and backward’ workforce, is the lack of access to a proper education. Most schools teach the local language, so interaction with people from outside is heavily reliant on the presence of a translator. Can something go wrong

here? Most definitely it can, and so I found out. Locals are very sceptical of any stranger and hesitate to talk to them. They are not even aware of the market prices that their goods command outside their region. They lack co-operatives too. This could have given them some sort of bargaining power with customers. But a few SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 39

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in the growth and development of a nation, especially developing nations, and heavily contribute to the GDP. They also provide numerous job opportunities and employ a major chunk of the population. A lot of research is being done to study and expand the scope of human resource management in SMEs. Until a few years ago, little attention was given to HR and was construed to be a function that involves a lot of cost and does not accrue enough benefits for the firm. It is (wrongly) believed to be a large company phenomenon and HR practices were thought of as something large firms with an enormous work force and a complex hierarchy had to worry about.

Human Resource Management, a broad domain that involves a number of practices like recruitment, induction and orientation, training and development, compensation, payroll and benefits, employee retention and employee engagement, continues to a remain relatively underdeveloped function in SMEs. However, irrespective of the size of the firm, employee related issues need to be dealt with and are applicable to all organizations. They need to be considered for the effective running of an organization. Amidst their unique set of challenges and problems, SMEs must take measures to attract, develop and retain the right talent on a long-term basis. Further, since each individual’s performance and productivity has a greater impact on a smaller firm, the dependability of the firm on each of its employees is much more than in the case of larger firms.

Managing SMEs: An HR Perspective Noopur Borwankar

Why HR and the Balanced Scorecard approach are becoming increasingly important for SMEs to survive amidst a fiercely competitive business environment

Working with limited resource options, SMEs need to be rational in allocating the right amount of resources in the right direction. Managing talent judiciously thus becomes important. Job dissatisfaction, work overload and employee disinterest, if not gauged at the right time, may lead to a dip in the performance of workers, which in turn will have negative repercussions on the overall performance and profitability of the firm. SMEs, which employ a smaller workforce, cannot afford to overlook the fact that dissatisfaction among employees may impact the throughput of the enterprise, no matter what the strength of the workforce is. It is imperative that a proper assessment of each employee activity is done. This will serve two purposes. First, employees can be compensated either through monetary or nonmonetary methods according to their contribution to the firm’s goals, and second, it will allow the firm to analyse and review the work of every employee. Employees who are underperforming can be identified and proper measures can be put in place to groom and train them to perform well. These initiatives may improve the efficiency of the employee under review and a positive feedback by a manager may work wonders in increasing the efficiency of the employees. In China, SMEs form the backbone of the country’s economy thereby contributing to its growth and development. A research article published in the Asia Pacific Business Review reveals that the SMEs in China face enormous pressure due to its increasing integration with the world economy. It further elaborates that factors found in the business environment such as globalization, technological innovation, demographic and social change as well as the level of technology deployed, creativity, financial support and entrepreneurship have an impact on the performance of SMEs. Consequently, the way SMEs develop in an increasingly competitive market has become a key issue. In such a scenario, human resource management has a critical role to play. In countries like Belgium and Australia, HRM practices followed in successful and unsuccessful firms vary considerably. A research paper published in the International

Journal of Business and Management, in Malaysia, found that organizations mostly focus on performance-based systems to evaluate the benefits and compensation given to employees. Also, the study revealed that firms with their own human resource department are more sophisticated in areas of training and development, performance appraisal, employee relation and communication. In the Indian context, a research conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industries revealed that around 80% of the small enterprises and 20% of the medium enterprises had no formal HR department. The SMEs in our country are yet to realize the strategic advantages of human resource management. The primary focus should be on talent acquisition and talent retention because manpower plays a key role in the operations of an SME. Proper training programmes imparted to employees will help enhance skillsets. Other than that, programs like personality development, work-life balance and stress management help employees in the long run. Globally, HR departments of many governments and non-profit organizations are now using the Balanced Scorecard approach that enables companies to align their processes and focus the entire organization towards implementing a long-term strategy. The use of balanced scorecards in SMEs characterized by lesser number of departments allows SMEs to concentrate on the important things and use resources efficiently. One of the perspectives of the balanced scorecard is the learning and growth perspective which focuses on employee training. In the current climate of rapid technological change, it is becoming necessary for workers to be part of continuous learning. The balanced scorecard also serves the purpose of aligning employees’ individual performances with the overall firm mission and can be used in communicating and educating, setting goals, and linking rewards to performance measures. This will bring in transparency in evaluation and also provide managers accurate feedback about their workers. Research suggests that there is an increased use of the balanced scorecards in SMEs and some success stories demonstrate benefits such as reduction in unit costs, ontime delivery and lower absenteeism. It is evident that managing human resources is vital to small and medium sized enterprises. However, a little more attention is needed in this regard to bring about positive results as SMEs grow and evolve. HR is an invaluable asset for any organization and, must be sufficiently developed irrespective of size of the enterprise in order to achieve long term success.


Understanding the Indian Rural Market Sunil Mishra An analysis of rural consumer behaviour that will help companies make the right value proposition and achieve success in this huge and largely untapped market


decades, the Indian rural market has been an enigma to major companies across the globe, a difficult riddle to solve and a market that most companies did not see much profit in. But by its sheer size (two thirds of over 1.3 billion people) and growing market size (valued at US 150 $billion in April 2010), it has become a market that no big company in India can afford to neglect anymore. Combining this with the growing economic prosperity among the rural population and the decreasing margins in the urban market due to increased competition, firms are now looking for more and more ways to cater to this growing economy. Rural can be defined as any habitation with a population density less than 400 per sq. km., where at least 75% of the male working population is engaged in agriculture and where there exists no municipality or board as a rural area. With that definition, India has almost 6.36 lakh villages, out of which only 13% have a population of more than 1000. A marketer trying to market his product or service to such a market has to tackle problems such as the geographical spread, the population density, the low income of individuals and the


diversity across the rural region. Thus, it becomes very important for any company to study and evaluate this market thoroughly before venturing in. According to research reports, almost three quarters of the income of rural population goes into food, beverages and tobacco. The next highest spending goes into their energy needs, education and healthcare still account for only 2% to 3% of their annual spending. The major products and services prevalent in the rural areas are FMCGs, retailing, agricultural goods and telecommunications with FMCGs having the maximum penetration (almost 90%) and closing in on having the same level of accessibility in the rural areas as in the urban areas. In recent years, the telecom sector has also penetrated the region with the growth in rural areas being greater than that of urban areas.

Value Propositions Let us now take a look at some of the value propositions for rural consumers in India. They can be listed as: Product Availability: Unlike their counterparts in the urban areas, product availability is one of the most important values that a rural consumer looks for. Due to poor infrastructure and the low income, it becomes difficult

Consumer Spending Pattern Housing & Health 3%

Other 10%

Energy Needs 12%

Food & Beverages & Tobacco 75%

for rural consumers to travel long distances to make purchases and thus they want products to be easily available to them at nearby locations. Value for money: With a lower average income, the rural consumer looks for low cost products and is ready to haggle to get a lesser price. Though the cost of the product may be the most important product feature while buying a product, it does not necessarily imply that the rural consumer is ready to compromise on the quality of the product. High Durability: Rural consumers seek higher product durability as the investment is bigger compared to urban consumers. The proverb ‘sasta sundar majboot’ still applies in India and consumers believe that a product that runs for a longer duration has better quality. If we consider the electronic goods segment for rural consumers, durability would also include the product’s ability to run for long hours as most villages in India have only a few hours of electricity supply daily and thus want their appliances to run even when there are power constraints. No-frills product: Rural consumers do not look for value-added services or extra features from a product. They look for basic features that offer the core functionality or performance attribute at a lower cost rather than shell out more money for additional features. For example, in the mobile phone handset category, rural consumers prefer low cost mobile handsets that fulfill the primary requirement of a mobile phone i.e. calls and text messaging, rather than a smartphone with superior functionalities like the internet, emails and other sophisticated applications. Small Packs: Rural consumers have a low risk appetite and also cannot afford to pay a large sum of money at one go, making them prefer smaller product packs. This is the primary reason for marketing of small sachets of soaps, detergents, shampoos and other FMCGs in the rural areas rather than the normal pack sizes which are offered in urban areas.

High purchase involvement: Most of product purchases are high involvement ones. Any product or service that is trying to cater to rural areas has to factor this in and accordingly provide information and use distribution media to complement this behaviour of consumers. Packaging to withstand weather conditions: The storage facility in the rural areas is not as good as in the urban areas. Even warehouses in the rural areas do not have proper storing facilities. Consumers are looking for a product which can withstand weather conditions such as heat and rain. For example, while purchasing soaps, they look for soaps which are harder and can last for a longer duration in water because the soap may be wet for a longer duration after use due to improper storage. Small assortment of goods: Rural consumers are looking for an assortment of goods rather than single product alone. Thus companies which combine their products and sell them together rather than single goods are likely to be at an advantage. While companies have begun to understand rural consumers to a certain extent, there are other significant problems that continue to prevail. Since rural India is extremely heterogeneous, has different income and savings pattern and suffers from language barriers, understanding the consumer and communicating the value of a product is a great challenge. In addition to the consumer profile, the operating environment in which the product has to be sold is also another challenge for the company. Infrastructure constraints, scarcity of data about the consumer and credit policies are some of the practical realities that companies have to look into while marketing in the rural areas.

Success Stories Considering the problems in the rural areas, innovative strategies need to be implemented by companies operating in these regions. Some of the companies which have been successful in doing that are HUL (Shakti), ITC (e-Choupal), Mahindra and Mahindra (ShubhLabh Stores), Bharat Petroleum (Small petrol pumps), Reliance Industries (Reliance Rural Hub), Asian Paints (Utsav), Colgate Palmolive (Tooth Powder) and Tatas (Tata Tea’s Gaon Chalo). These companies undertook initiatives to study distribution and logistics in the success of their product, while at the same time communicating value in lucid terms, empowering Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) entrepreneurs, providing information and education about the product with the product and understanding the wallet size of the customer to create different price points. Rural India’s importance for the companies is increasing by multiple folds every year and the behaviour of the rural consumer is very different from that of the urban consumer. The diversity, heterogeneity and the associated challenges present obstacles for any company venturing into this area. But companies have to also come up with innovative approaches to counter impediments and succeed in creating a new market for their product. SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 43


Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is certainly one of the oldest, and in my opinion, a terribly fascinating institution, put in place to grant owners exclusive rights to their creations. But with the onset of the digital age, protecting intellectual property and tracking violations against it has become increasingly difficult.

The Perils of Intellectual Property Rights

A veritable property of the human intellect is the information it generates. Digitalization has led to seamless accumulation and sharing of this information. And this has changed the dynamics of protecting intellectual property. Today, most IPR violations occur in the digital media and platform, with the highest being in the software domain. Almost a paradox of sorts - one property of man’s intellect threatens the protection of other properties.

Arpit Tripathi


Microsoft and Google are two of the most advanced and influential companies in the digital space. They have had their horns locked for quite some time. Microsoft sued Google for patent and copyright infringement. Google claimed that Microsoft is attempting to use ‘bogus patents’ to destroy Google’s new mobile platform sensation, the Android platform. In another instance, Google was accused by Oracle of directly copying somewhere between 37 and 44 Java files, Oracle’s flagship product, in Android. Yet another interesting occurrence was when a report of Microsoft’s financial health released by Citi in May 2011 suggested that Microsoft gets $5 for each phone manufactured by HTC. And these payments to Microsoft were part of a patent settlement after Microsoft threatened to sue HTC for use of its intellectual property. Then there was the instance of Napster, launched as a peer-to-peer online file sharing website primarily focusing on digital music formats which crumbled because of huge copyright violation claims by big entertainment houses when users paid nothing to them for the music they downloaded from Napster. These instances have led us to acknowledge a new phenomenon called ‘modern crime’. From


IPR is increasingly becoming the new battle ground for technology majors and the article examines which companies may be using IPR intelligently or to its advantage

the perspective of patent holders, the major challenge as already touched upon earlier, is the increasing ease with which intellectual properties can be imitated as well as the decreasing visibility of these violations. There is an increasing ease because all creations and the information about creations can be readily digitalized. For instance, today if I were to devise a new revolutionary way of optimizing my budget by taking into account various variables like how much I have already spent, how much I am left with and the pattern of monthly expenses, I would be disposed to digitalize this procedure and represent it in the form of a computer program, because it would ease my work and perhaps return monetary benefits to me. In a large number of corporations too, where businesses are created out of ideas, digitalizing simplifies and quickens the process of monetizing. Information about creation, also, often gets digitalized because media and digital networking are essential part of our lives. We share digitally what we have done or what we are working on. Again in organizations, this translates into who releases pre-launch information or operating instructions about their product. Moreover, information digitalization is an integral part of progressiveness that the world seeks today. So, even the patent office that has information about your data has moved towards digitalizing that information. Now, in this global village, both creations and related information that has been digitalized are easily accessible. As a matter of fact, another paradox is that this whole concept of global village is again facilitated by digitalization of creations and information. Oracle had it digitalized and distributed. Microsoft had it in digital and had it in public. Napster took what was digital and was in public.

blind to the fact that they may be violating the intellectual property rights of others. Napster created something radically new and did not really bother about any violations or infringements that it might be causing in the course of time. In all the above examples, digitalization of creations and related information facilitated violation. But why would visibility and traceability go down? While it is a huge digital world where you can find multiple answers to what you are looking for, it is sometimes equally likely that you will stumble upon something you are not looking for. For instance, I may have shared a novel idea by digitalizing it, but it is hard to trace how and where it is being used. But that doesn’t seem to be the case in all these huge and famous IPR battles. Apparently, the IPR holders come to know. These are not exceptions, rather these are a part of the process - the process that says that ‘I know I cannot find out, but I don’t care. I will care about violations only when it is benefitting others and I can get the better of them by pointing out these violations’. For instance, iPhone as a product name was registered by Cisco. Cisco did not release or market any product by that name for several years but on hearing of Apple’s new venture named iPhone, Cisco quietly included in their portfolio, a product called the iPhone. And then they sued Apple. It’s another story that Cisco never succeeded in getting any claims because they never used the registered name, but it does bring out the nature and dynamics of the current IPR institution, another paradox where dormant IPR is used as a deterrent for the competitors, or so it seems. Thus when Microsoft accuses Google of infringing its patents and Google accuses Microsoft of misusing ‘bogus patents’, only time will tell who the real criminal is in the scene of modern crime related to the institution of IPR in this digital age.

Before looking at decreasing visibility of violations or low traceability, let us first look at it from the point of view of the violators of IPR. There are three types of violators of IPR. The first being the type that approaches the digital world looking for solutions to problems they face, the second being the type that approaches the digital world to access creations that can give him benefits with least efforts of his own. Some media reports suggest that Google used Java codes in their mobile platform to save efforts of creating a new code and that HTC used technology that Microsoft had patented as it had no prior exposure to Microsoft. There is a third category too, those who have reached a point where the excitement of something new and novel is so great that they are SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 47

An Interview with

Shouvick Mukherjee Mr.Shouvick Mukherjee is a Yahoo! veteran and has played a pivotal role in developing Yahoo! India R&D into a hub for product and technology innovation. He is an expert in the internet domain with a proven track of record in building and managing large teams and driving innovation.

As the CEO of Yahoo! India R&D, how would you define your style of leadership? Is it more participative or task-oriented or leading by example? I think it is a combination of all three. As a leader, my primary goal is to make the whole organization successful, to have a clear vision and strategy and then driving its buy-in among our people. It is not only about putting together a vision but also about getting people excited about it. An important element is the leader’s focus on making every individual employee successful. The success of the organization is finally derived from the success of every individual working with the organization. What do you think are the key challenges of a leader in the top management of a technology firm? How have these challenges changed over the past decade?


There are different types of tech firms, and of varying scales. Let us first take the case of large technology organizations. Technology is going through a lot of change- innovations take place, new technology stacks evolve, the consumer and enterprise seek change. Take as an example, Cloud technology. As we have seen in the past few years, Cloud has evolved dramatically and pretty much every corporate is moving towards it. Product wise, we need to keep adding new features. The timing of when to move from our legacy systems to newer systems is again a key milestone. Where we put our investments and when we change our platform stacks are also big decisions. If we don’t change our platform stacks, they will become obsolete. The challenge for the top management in these situations lies largely in balanced decision-making required to drive and counter change and bring about a positive outcome. In the start-ups space, most of them are built around the newest technology. Hence their challenges are different. I’d say that the key challenge is to decide on how much to invest in technology and how much to spend on other activities such as sales and marketing. That is a big decision considering the fact that most new technology stacks are initially very expensive. Talent is also expensive and how much they spend on hiring the best minds is another key decision. Talking about these challenges, how has Yahoo! managed to strike this balance?

Well, we have been one of the first-movers in our investments on Cloud. We have been consistently investing for over five years. If you looked at the Yahoo stack 10 years ago, it was more of distributed computing, but, now we are moving into the Cloud. The whole presentation layer is going into theCloud service. We are also thinking about how to build a presentation layer that cuts across different properties and Yahoo Publishing Platform (YPP) is a good example of that. As to how we decide on this issue, if you look at Yahoo! products, in most cases, we have prioritized platforms over services. An example could be ‘Content’. If we truly platformize Content, we could leverage it in more different ways across the Yahoo network and also on different other platforms. In some other cases like ‘Search’, we prioritize features over platform. How does a company like Yahoo! manage to remain young in an ever-changing internet landscape? How do you foster the culture of innovation in the organization?? That’s a very good question. It has been a key area of focus for us. In many cases, we have to kill our ur own legacy. y. We have to o consistentlyy look ahead d rather than n look back at what worked ed for us. The reality lity is that it is a very rapidly changing market-place. We need to look at where re the market is heading and design products for that, that rather than replicating what has been successful in the past. While we look ahead, key is to identify one’s core competencies - in our case it is Content. Yahoo! is a premier digital media company. What we mean by that is when it comes to content, we do it better than anybody else. That basically is the driver of our strategy. Even in the tablet space, it is about how

content consumption is changing and how we are positioning our products differently to meet these needs. We look ahead and continue to leverage our core competencies. That is how we stay young! How do you think globalization has affected the way we think and do business? Specifically, how do you decide which of the problems you address at a global scale and where you need to provide region specific solutions? Most problems today are global in nature. However, it is possible to solve it using a local market scenario. Let me give an example with respect to Yahoo! Cricket. This year, we launched a gamecalled ‘Predictopus’ for Yahoo! Cricket users. This game involves predicting the outcome of a match, taking into consideration different factors. We had actually launched this product in Yahoo! Sports during the soccer World Cup. Building on user response and our experience, we eventually finetuned the various aspects of the prod productand launched it in Yahoo! Cricket as a it had a huge uptake iin India. Actually this game which now features on a no sspecific regional site is in reality a complete global product. However, in ssome cases we plan to launch the p product at a local pr scale, customize it to sca specific requirements, speci evolve and then let it e truly global level. take it to a tr global problem, solve That is how we work, take a globa further from there. it at a local level and then take it fu If we are talking about YPP, our platform which allows rapid property creation, we are thinking about how to take the product feature set very local to the country. Using this, we launched OMG for the Europe market and then for the Asian market. This helped us evolve the platform and now we are thinking about how we can get a more global scale on that.


Every entrepreneurial fledgling thinks about the internet space. There are so many people hoping to start their own dotcom and make it big. What do you think is the role of small time entrepreneurs in shaping the internet industry? I think the rise of entrepreneurs is good for India. Enterprising entrepreneurs will create more jobs, opportunities and innovation that will transform this country. You see more entrepreneurship in the dotcom space, because the barrier to entry is very low, and investment required is quite moderate too. Right now, the factor of innovation is not very marked in the market. Ideally, I would like to see a lot more innovation happening in India. Entrepreneurs who have begun to think about their venture should really look at two things - whether they are solving a yet unsolved problem and whether it is relevant in the Indian context. The market potential is huge and any entrepreneurial venture which meets these two criteria is sure to be a success. In general, the trend with most big internet companies has been inorganic growth. What are the plans for Yahoo! globally? In particular, with respect to Yahoo! India, what do you think will be the growth model? Are there enough mid-level start-ups in India for Yahoo! to look at serious inorganic growth? For Yahoo!, India is a very important market – second only to the US in terms of audience numbers - and we have many reasons to continue our focus on India. The potential uptake of the internet is huge in this country. Internet users are trending younger and many more people are seeking content in different languages. We believe that tablets are also going to play a key role in increasing the Internet penetration in India. So, as a company our strategy revolves around providing good local content, in different regional languages – which are accessible across devices, including mobiles and tablets. With respect to mid-level start-ups for inorganic growth, we will be looking for those companies which are aligned to our strategy, and can accelerate implementation. There are quite a few number of start-ups focusing in related areas - especially with regard to low-bandwidth data, and those which are focused on bringing more local vernacular content and local distribution. Such


companies can be of potential partnership interest for Yahoo!. What do you think are the key qualities or traits required to be successful as the top leader/CXO of a technology firm? This is a pretty difficult question! I think that a can-do attitude is most important because in many instances we should be prepared for the unforeseen, and be able to do all it takes to succeed. One needs to have the passion and be able to put in years of hardwork. Unless we are passionate about what we are doing, we cannot bring out the very best. And there is absolutely no substitute for hardwork in any field. What would be your advice to aspiring CXOs in management schools? Consistency is the most important thing. Stick to a problem, solve the problem and be determined to succeed. At times, I find the younger generation rapidly moving from one problem set to another, without seeing through to the end. While it may appear like an easier way to succeed – I believe the ability to stick on and continue to chip away at a problem is indispensable. Getting into a space, sticking to it and truly improving it, is what takes you up the ladder. You can choose to do that while being in one organization, or even if you move organisations while continuing to focus on the same or similar set of challenges and problems see a lot of great thinkers who provide interesting and innovative solutions. But the clincher is about how they see it through, and get it implemented. That is what I call the mantra for success.

Where’s the time Sria Majumdar A simple and practical tool to develop and hone time-management skills “What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.” – William Hendry Davies


have many times over the last one year when I have thought about these words. I have pondered on whether I am effectively utilizing my time in a b-school. I have thought about where I am, where I want to be and what’s needed to take me there. I have thought about self-management, motivation and time management only to reach late for class again the next morning. We do learn a lot of things in a b-school - how to speak on any topic with confidence, how to make awesome PowerPoint presentations, how to ‘balance’ the balance sheet and how to attend meetings at 2 am. However, what some of us learn and many of us struggle to learn is how to manage time. My friends have always admired me for being able to get so much done in a day, but after I joined IIM Shillong I felt that I was slipping. I was still accomplishing a lot of tasks in the day, but at the end of the day I was left wondering if that was indeed the best use of my time. As Randy Pausch said, ‘It’s not about doing things right,it’s about doing the right things’. It was this question that troubled me for months. Many people go on with their routine life, trying to squeeze time out to do what they can and some are fortunate to have a more casual approach towards life. I, unfortunately, think too much. It is the sum of many of these ponderings that resulted

in this article. A few days back, when a friend of mine was struggling with the first year in his b-school, I wrote him a 7 page letter on time management. I then realised that I had subconsciously developed a matrix for time management! But before I get into the details of my matrix, let’s clear some myths about time management.

1. You will never ever, ever, have time! I have often thought that life will be different next term, next year, during internships or during holidays. Life however, has the prowess to prove you wrong at every stage. As one short story read, the busiest manager is the one who always has time. We can never find time, we have to make it. So, the crux is in prioritizing the work needed to be done. One way of doing this is the urgent-important matrix where you map tasks by urgency on one axis and importance on the other SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 51

exams or vacations. To my surprise, work always found me or I always found more things to do than I had time to. It was like an addiction, if I did not have anything to do, I would be like a lost puppy looking up random websites and reading random articles. At the end of the day, I would again complain that I did not have time to enjoy myself. Sometimes the line between choice and compulsion gets blurred, and we forget that we are the masters of our lives. Just to remind myself, I intentionally bunk meetings sometimes. There is nothing more empowering than doing that. Knowing that even now, you control your circumstances (at least some part of it) and it’s not the other way around.

4. Switching off your laptop or mobile will not kill you

axis and then try and finish urgent and important tasks first. The key is in understanding that tasks should never be allowed to become high on urgency, we should finish them while they are not so urgent. Another way of prioritizing tasks is my matrix, but we’ll come to that later.

2. You cannot sustain 4 hours of sleep everyday till eternity I have heard many people say that you cannot live in a b-school unless you sleep for less than 4 hours a day. Listen to yourself- that’s ridiculous. People who say this either sleep during the day in their rooms by bunking classes, or sleep in the class. So essentially, they will stay up all night to read the case for the class, but sleep in the class when the case is discussed! I have not and will never understand this rationale. I have been sleeping for more than 6 hours on an average even in the most hectic weeks, and I think that makes me more efficient and energetic in my waking hours. Also, reversing sleeping patterns to become nocturnal makes no sense. You can get the same amount of work done in the day, and also enjoy the sun streaming into your room. So before the sleep deprivation gets to you, and you fall sick (at the risk of sounding like a mom, I have to say this) get some much needed rest. Work will wait till tomorrow.

3. There will never be a more relaxed tomorrow Throughout the first year I was in search of this mirage, those so called ‘relaxed weekends’, or the week after


We have spent many hours in front of the laptop doing simply nothing. ‘I was supposed to sleep at 12, but then I opened the laptop and before I knew it, voila, it was 2 am’. These are common occurrences in a b-school, and when they happen, you need to remember point 4. On and off, it’s good that people can’t reach you. Apart from increasing your demand, it will give you the much needed time to do your own stuff. So having cleared some myths, let’s move to the much

awaited matrix. The matrix essentially has four components: Me time, Student time/Job time, Additional responsibilities and People who Matter. If we think carefully, we can divide all the work that keeps us busy into these four groups. The key is to understand what is the most important for you. i. ‘Me’ Time: This is the time in the day where we do stuff that is personally relevant or important to us. It could be reading the newspaper or a story book, going to the gym, learning to play the guitar or taking a walk down the street. This time is the most important and the most neglected in the day, just because we don’t have a submission deadline attached to it. We should ensure that after we wake up, our first priority is to get this done. Even on the busiest day, make sure that youspend enough time on this, and get it done early in the day. As the day proceeds, the more routine and ‘emergency’ tasks take a grip of your life and the ‘me’ time is lost forever. Sleep time is also a very important part of ‘me’ time. Guard this time preciously! ii. Student/Job Time: The second most important thing in the day is your job. As a student this means preparing for tests, completing assignments and reading cases. As a manager, this means doing your job. This is the reason you are where you are, and you should never forget that. While ‘me’ time increases your happiness quotient and ensures your long term prosperity, student/job time ensures your current prosperity.

iii. People who matter: Again, an often neglected component of our lives, we forget to connect to our friends, family and loved ones during times of duress. We are so engrossed in our routine tasks and their timelines that their daily admonishing fails to have an effect on us. The calls reduce from 3 times a day to once a week, and the duration reduces to a few seconds. Once this happens, no matter how much you try, you can’tget the relationship back to what it used to be. Think about it- for the short term success of today, is it worth forgetting your parents, sister or girlfriend? The key to getting this in place is using the idle time in the day. A short 10 minute break between classes is the ideal time to catch up with a loved one when you can’t seem to find any other time! iv. Additional Responsibilities:‘I am a member of the ____ committee, and it is the most important committee in the whole world, and I am always busy and I never have time’. But still, you are not the President of the United States. And even if you were, it is not okay to neglect your wife or children (People who Matter), basic roles and responsibilities (Job time) and yourself (Me time) for the additional headaches of being the President. Most of the times, this is the task that is given the most priority, and in the longer run, this is the task that probably has the least significance for us. There are times when we feel so pushed, that we want to break free. Unfortunately we all have the same 24 hours in the day, and too many things on our plate. Those who manage to be happy, and deal with their tasks effectively are the ones who realize that they can’t eat everything on the plate. So take some time out to stand and stare!


Learning from Famous Cases of Biomimicry Subhankar Padhi

What businesses, in their move towards sustainable growth, can learn from Nature’s principles of biomimicry


present lifestyle is triggering drastic conditions in the environment in the form of major climatic changes and depletion of the Earth’s natural resources. Besides engaging in environmentally friendly activities, another important way to address the above situation is to emulate Nature which is already sustainable. The practice of developing technologies by adopting sustainable trends in Nature is called biomimicry. It is a disciplined method that includes applying Nature’s design principles to human design challenges, thus paving the way for sustainable innovation. How does biomimicry work? At first, biological research is undertaken on a particular characteristic or behavioral aspect of an organism or an ecosystem. Then, its relevance to a design context or a particular human need is identified. Following this, an attempt is made to find solutions for the latter through the observation of organisms and ecosystems with the help of available biological data. One of the most popular examples of biomimicry was the invention of the ‘Velcro’ brand fasteners. It was invented in 1941 by Swiss engineer George de Mestral. The idea struck him when he found burrs sticking tenaciously to his dog’s hair. After a

microscopic observation, it was found that the tiny hooks on the end of the burr’s spines caught anything with a loop such as hair, clothing or animal fur. The 2-part Velcro fastener system uses patches or strips of a hooked material along with that of a loose-looped weave of nylon that holds the hooks thus giving it the name ‘hook-and-loop fasteners’. Because it is easy to use and maintenance is free and safe, hook-and-loop fasteners have been used for multifarious applications where a temporary bond is required. The skyscraper Eastgate Centre building in Harare was designed to mimic the way the tower-building termites in Africa construct their mounds and maintain a constant temperature in it. The insects do this by constantly opening and closing vents throughout the mound to manage convection currents of air, so that cool air is drawn in from open lower sections while hot air escapes through chimneys. The state-of-the-art building uses a similar design and air circulation arrangement. This design consumes only about 10% of the energy used in similar sized buildings which rely on various conventional methods of temperature regulation. The human body is the most amazing machine that possesses the power to heal itself from any external injury. The same process, if mimicked in light polymer composites that are used to produce aircraft fuselages, gives rise to an indispensable product - self-healing plastics. They are made from hollow fibers, filled with epoxy resin that is released if the fibers suffer serious stresses and cracks due to some externality. A scab which is nearly as strong as the original material is created. Self-healing plastics could be used in the manufacture of planes, cars and even spacecraft that will be lighter, safer and more fuel efficient. In the process of photosynthesis, green plants use chlorophyll to convert water, sunlight and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen. Artificial Photosynthesis is envisioned as a means of using sunlight to split water into oxygen and hydrogen that may be used as clean fuel for vehicles. This will use up the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and thus reduce the greenhouse effect as well. Additionally, hydrogen fuel cells could become an efficient and self-recharging

way to create and store energy for household as well as industrial uses. Dependence on fossil fuels can be reduced if we devise more efficient methods of energy usage. Shark’s skin has the unique ability to reduce drag by manipulating the boundary layer flow as the fish swims. Based on this, researchers are developing coatings for submarines, ship’s hulls, aircraft fuselage, and even swimwear for humans. Inspired by the varying shape and texture of the shark’s skin over its body, Speedo has developed Fastskin FSII swimsuits. This class of swimwear became famous in Beijing Olympics where the US swimmer Michael Phelps won his record eight gold medals. These are some instances which corroborate the fact that Nature is inherently sustainable, and mimicking its processes and ecosystems leads to sustainable solutions. However, there are other strategies to achieve a balance between human actions and the environment, which are comparable to biomimetic. A proper feasibility and cost-benefit analysis would help scientists determine the desirability of one strategy over the other.



has always learnt from the pastintentionally or unintentionally. The way he has learnt from his successes and failures has always intrigued me. If you were to rewind and go back a long way, somewhere beyond a million years, would you find something interesting to learn too?

right in front of us - a species which defied all odds to become the ruler of not only the ecological niche it occupies but also every habitat available in this world. Let’s see what this story has to offer to the business world of today. After all it is Man’s story, it is our story.

Free your resources

What was it like a million years ago? Man was still competing with animals and other hominid species. Man faced many constraints. He was not physically strong; he struggled with limited resources, faced heavy competition and fierce predators. Yet he endured, survived and ultimately dominated. Man won the battle and established himself as the ruling species. I can’t help but notice how this hostile scenario and the present corporate world are similar. Companies, too, face comparable constraints. We have a success story

Let’s start with how Man initially differentiated himself from apes. He started walking on two legs! Bipedalism offered numerous advantages, the most important being freeing his hands to do something else. This was a huge change; the use of hands to do work gave man an unparalleled advantage which no other species had - the advantage of multi-tasking. This development however was not easy. It came with its own drawbacks. He lost balance often and struggled to move with speed and agility. In addition, it resulted in anatomical changes in the pelvic structure giving rise to further complications (such as those faced during child birth) which were critical to the very survival of the species itself.

Some pointers that businesses can take from Man’s story of evolution

It is no different in the business world. Economic downturns make it imperative to adopt cost-cutting measures like reducing the number of resources. Functional managers complain about the limited resources available but they fail to realise the importance of freeing resources for some other activity. There can be no greater success than when one is able to reduce the number of resources and achieve the same levels of productivity and efficiency. What this does is it makes available other resources, which can be used to do something novel. How many managers dismiss this as impossible without a second thought? As far-fetched as it was, Man was able to achieve bipedalism. It’s time we decided to stop walking on four legs and endeavoured to get those two vital ‘free hands’.

Management Lessons from Human Evolution Harish Rammohan 56 SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG

Stand your ground; face your fear/ competition When primates moved out of their arboreal habitats to get to the ground, they discovered they were vulnerable. They were suddenly prey to the wild cats. But Nature played its game, the big

cats were quickly exterminated and primates were able to spread to the forest floor without any fear, giving rise to the walking Ape. Thus Ardipithecus Ramidus was born. His cousin Ramapithecus still lived in the trees. Both were about the same size and intelligence but Ramidus had feet on one end and Ramapithecus had hands on both ends. Soon after, Nature re-introduced the primate’s old enemy – the felines - back in to their habitat. On spotting a predator, Ramapithecus would escape into the trees. With his four hands and opposable thumbs he could out-climb even the leopards on trees. Ramidus, however, with feet at one end, could neither stay on the ground nor escape quickly enough into the trees. He decided that the best way to deal with danger was to confront it. He learned the art of co-operation and the use of the club for defence. He learnt to organize with friends during feline attacks. He stood his ground no matter what the animal was. Thus he overcame his fear. Now with the club in hand he could go anywhere he wished and live anywhere he liked. This started Man’s long journey out of forests and in to the plains. Ramidus later evolved into modern humans and Ramapithecus soon perished. As a manager, one might often find himself in tough situations with the state of the organisation in quagmire. There are again two choices available - to escape the situation through a temporary solution and avoid direct confrontation of the problem just how Ramapithecus did or to stand and fight like Ramidus. Invariably, one might find that the manager who chooses the option of facing the situation bravely and stands his ground will be able to bring his organization out of trouble and to a more advantageous position.

Differentiate yourself Interestingly, Economics supported Evolution. It was trade and specialization of labour which helped Man survive over other hominids. Neanderthals were dominant for more than 200,000 years but as soon as they started occupying the same habitats as the Homo sapiens, they started fading out and soon became extinct. It is believed that H.sapiens had a better economic system than that of the Neanderthals. H.sapiens traded extensively, meaning that those who were good at making tools did not have to go hunting, but instead traded tools for their daily meat from a hunter. This resulted in specialization of labour, which in turn gave rise to effective goods being produced. Tasks were carried out by people who

were the best in that area, bringing about success for the whole community. Unfortunately, the Neanderthals did not practise trading and therefore did not have people who specialized in a particular field. Every Neanderthal was forced to do all chores irrespective of how good or bad he was at a particular task. This resulted in low productivity and low efficiency and lead to absence of innovation and slowly to the extinction of the species. In the world of business too, one should strive to differentiate. Achieving dominance in a particular area will make the person or company indispensable and challenge existing dominant players, possibly even overthrowing their supremacy just as the sapiens overthrew the Neanderthals.

Adapt to the situation and compete Probably one of the most important virtues that stood Man in good stead and allowed him to achieve success over 100,000 years was his ability to adapt. He faced sudden changes in climate such as the onset of ice age, lived right through the ice age and was able to adapt to the climate change. He has been able to live in not only the most pleasant conditions but also in the most extreme conditions as well. So man’s adaptability is crucial to his success. Similarly, the success of an organization depends tremendously on its ability to adapt to situational changes in the market. The flexibility and agility of processes in the company are extremely critical to its success. Another thing one must observe is that throughout Man’s evolution, he did not compete with his own. He only started to compete with others of his own species after he had established himself as the ruler of the earth. Man first ensured that his species survived as a whole. Team work enabled Man to survive. Humans were unique; they made sure they fought not among themselves, but with other species. Co-operation helped them escape predation from other animals. There is a wonderful example from the business world on similar lines. Robert Goizueta was the CEO of Coca-Cola in the 80s. The primary competitor was Pepsi. Competing against Pepsi did not bring in any results. That is when Goizueta stepped in and decided to compete against the situation instead of Pepsi. He understood that Coke’s share in the average fluid intake of an American was 14.28%, the real competitor was not Pepsi - it was water, tea, coffee, milk and other fruit juices. He decided that the public should reach for a Coke whenever they feel like drinking something. Coke started putting up vending machines at every street corner. The sales went skyrocketing and Coke took an unassailable lead over Pepsi. It’s all about competing against the situation. We have so much more to learn from our past. It has so many solutions to the problems we face today. We just have to take a closer look! SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 57

Winds of Change Is RBI prepared for the entry of corporates? Debanjoli Sinha


the wait is over! Corporates in India have much to look forward to these days as the doors of the much coveted banking sector will now be open to them on condition that they adhere to certain norms laid down by the Reserve Bank of India. But why does the banking sector hold such salivating prospects for corporates? The answer is simple. It is said that while businesses incur the probability of both success and failure in the banking sector, it is only the degree of success that differs. Other than the higher probability of success in the as-yet virgin banking space, some other benefits envisaged by business houses interested to venture into this segment are selflending, the freedom to lend almost ten times more than the capital base as well as the potential of the market yet to be explored by existing banks. But is the RBI ready for corporates? Or will India again face the heat of 1969, when bank failures and the damage they did under ‘laissezfaire’ conditions led the government

to nationalize more than 54% bank branches in India, making the total number of banks under Government control to a little over 84%. To safeguard the interests of the public and enhance the credibility of the banking sector, the Reserve Bank of India has drafted a guideline for licensing of new banks in the private sector. The RBI this time is being supremely cautious to


ensure tighter regulation and deter firms from indulging in unscrupulous practices. Let us take a look at the key features of the guideline to see the kind of banking reforms RBI is planning before it allows corporates to have their share of the pie. The RBI has mandated that it will only be issuing licenses to those entities that have ‘diversified ownership, sound credentials and integrity and having successful track record of at least 10 years’. It is apparent from this that the RBI is highly committed this time to protecting the interests of consumers and will allow only the entry of credible players. The condition of a ten-year track record will hinder new-age entrepreneurs from participating in the banking business, thus reducing the risk involved for consumers. In the process, however, the banking sector will lose out on newage processes and radically different practices that these newbies would have brought in. In an effort to safeguard against the conflict of interest on real estate, broking and banking businesses, corporates having more than 10% income or assets from the real estate construction and/or broking activities individually or taken together in the last three years will be debarred from entering into the banking domain. But on the other hand, this measure will automatically rule out the entry of many high profile industry houses in banking, leaving only a few corporates to grab the lion’s share of the banking pie. The RBI has clearly taken steps to demarcate banking and financial businesses from the other businesses of the corporate. Under the RBI guidelines, only a wholly owned NonOperative Holding Company (NOHC) which is registered with the Reserve Bank as a non-banking finance company (NBFC) can be allowed to set up a new bank. This NBFC will hold the bank as well as all other financial companies in the promoter group. This delineation will bring in increased transparency in the system. It will also facilitate the regulation by RBI. As a result, both the corporate house as well as the RBI can define their discretionary power within a given framework, resolving the innate ambiguities.

Another laudable action is the ensuring of a larger capital base by SEBI due to the increase inthe minimum capital requirement to Rs. 500 crores from Rs. 300 crores as per the existing regulations. Also, the NOHC will have to hold a minimum of 40% of the paid-up capital of the bank ‘for a period of five years from the date of licensing of the bank’. This will protect banks from insolvency issues which arise out of borrowed investments. In a bid to save cash flows from the Indian banking sector from being transferred to a foreign country, the RBI has limited the aggregate non-resident shareholding in the new bank to 49%, at least for the first five years. But with the level of global dependency increasing particularly in this sector, whether this will prove to be short-sightedness on the part of the RBI to not allow seamless global integration remains to be seen. Besides the above mentioned measures, the RBI is leaving no stone unturned to protect the common man’s hard-earned cash from being exploited by spurious practices of banks. Noteworthy among these are the RBI’s mandate to limit the exposure of a bank’s credit to any entity in the promoter group to 10%. Additionally, the aggregate investment of the bank to the whole promoter group cannot exceed 20% of its reserves and paid-up capital. This will prevent the bank from indulging in malpractices like self-lending where the bank can potentially misuse public money by providing loans of disproportionate amount to the parent corporate house. To ensure operational transparency of the bank, the RBI has given clear instructions that new entrants will have to get their shares listed on the stock exchange within two years of licensing. This step was important since the presence of retail and institutional investors as equity holders will provide a deterrent measure to prevent the bank from taking risky decisions and increase the operational transparency of the bank. In an attempt to promote the cause of financial inclusion, the RBI means to reach out to even the unbanked rural sectors where there is need for banking service providers. According to the latest guidelines of the RBI, the bank shall have to open at least 25% of its branches in the unbanked rural sectors. The measure, no doubt, has the best intentions at heart, but at the same time its feasibility is questionable. The apparent implications of the measure is that for every three branches that the bank sets up in urban India, there should be one branch that serves the notso-affluent rural India. However, it will be difficult for corporate houses to fulfill this condition in

view of the fact that even the public sector banks are facing operational issues in running rural branches. The whole focus still remains on the over-banked metros where cost of capital is low and bottom line is high. It is but obvious that the banks are not overtly enthusiastic about opening their branches in rural India. For a private sector bank, where the motive is predominantly profit maximization, this mandate might turn into a farcical play leading to dummy branches being set up in rural areas, leading to an under-utilization of resources and an overall loss for the economy. While the above regulations will help plug the gaps in the existing guideline and ensure better governance, implementation will be tough. It will need a different mindset on the part of the corporate to run a bank from the one that is required to run a manufacturing outfit wherein the promoters tend to influence almost every decision – from strategic to operational decisions. Unlike a manufacturing company, the bank has millions of depositors and it needs to keep their interests in mind. An example of the mindset issue is the one of an old private sector bank that was set up before independence. The promoter indulged in unethical practices like selling his group company’s property to the bank at a higher rate than the market price. The bank has bought this property (without a clear title or registered deal) to open its branch in Mumbai. Moreover, both the bank’s zonal office as well as the corporate office are located in the premises of the promoter’s other companies. The promoter’s relatives also own the two guest-houses that the bank rents in Mumbai. To get a better grip of the bank, the promoter recently established the bank’s corporate office in Mumbai, although its headquarters continue to be located elsewhere. With the shift, every important department of the bank - credit, investment, treasury, recovery, the board secretariat, office of the Managing Director as well as Deputy Managing Director and Executive Director - are now almost located in the backyard of the administrative offices of the promoter’s other businesses. This has been done to enable the promoter-cum-chairman to keep a tab on every single corporate decision that is taken in the bank. Technically, even though the Managing Director of the bank can sanction loans up to Rs. 3 crores, in reality he cannot sanction a single proposal without the Chairman’s nod. Besides these, the promoter has been leveraging the bank in many other ways. However, everything is being done formally within the purview of the regulations. Even though the policy of the Reserve Bank of India to allow corporates to enter the banking sector is seen as a ‘wind of change’, will there be a robust implementation process needed to safe guard the consumer’s interest? The answer, my friend, ‘is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind’.



consume a lot of energy in construction and their maintenance, thus having deep impact on our natural environment, economy, as well as personal productivity and health. It has been identified that buildings account for one quarter to one third of all energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Also, it is estimated that about 30 percent of the newly built or renovated buildings suffer from the “sick building syndrome”, exposing their occupants to unhealthy environmental conditions. Therefore, buildings should be designed, constructed and operated in a manner such that the adverse impacts are minimized or eliminated, and the positive impacts are enhanced. The concept of “Green building” is being promoted as the foremost strategy to ensure sustainable infrastructural development. Green building is the practice of increasing the efficiency of usage of resources - energy, water, and materials - while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment, through better site, design, construction, operation, and maintenance. As an added benefit, green design measures also reduce operating costs, enhance building marketability and increase worker productivity. These breakthroughs in building design, science & technology are available to aspiring green designers, builders, operators and owners, to help them maximize both the economic and the environmental potential of their buildings.

A Futuristic Housing Solution EcoBiz Club, IIM Shillong Designing of energy conscious buildings can be done through the Integrated Design Approach and the Passive Design Approach. In the Integrated Design approach, all the building components work together as a system to save energy while keeping a building warm in cool environments and cool in warm environments. In this approach, the building developers use energy-saving components and high-efficiency heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning options.The integration of design and window strategies results in bringing daylight into a building’s interior without heat and glare. Also, the use of high-efficiency lighting (e.g. compact fluorescent) reduces both electricity demand and heat gain, which in turn leads to the usage of smaller cooling systems. In the Passive Design Approach, the design takes advantage of natural energy flows to maintain a building’s thermal comfort and as a result, reduces the need for mechanical heating or cooling. There are various options for passive design approach including increased use of glazing, double glazing with coating to reduce solar radiation transmission, curtain wall panel/frame insulation, external canopy/fin shading, passive solar heating system and passive cooling system. The construction industry is one of the largest economic activities contributing to India’s development. India has been

witnessing tremendous growth in the building and construction sector for the past five years. Therefore, adoption of green building strategies will not only decrease the harmful impact on environment but will also be economically and socially beneficial. Broad River Asset Management, LLC, an investment management and advisory firm within the empire state building is leasing a pre-built office suite built on principles of green building. The 4,000-squarefoot suite was built according to LEED Platinum standards. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and spearheaded by

founding chairman Robert K. Watson, LEED is intended to provide building owners and construction companies a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction and maintenance solutions. The office complex features appliances with energy star ratings, tenant-controlled HVAC, and high-end finishes made up of sustainable materials. They are designed to bring in natural

light from glass-walled offices and conference rooms. The Empire State Building, recently committed an energyefficiency retrofit program to reduce the building’s energy consumption by 38 percent. Green certified homes have outperformed non-certified homes in several areas in the northwest part of the US, according to a study conducted by the Earth Advantage Institute. The annual study found out that those existing homes which had a sustainable certification were bought at 30 percent more than homes without the certification. These figures were provided by the Portland Regional

Multiple Listing Servicebased on the sales of existing homes between May 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011 in Multnomah, Columbia, Clackamas and Washington Counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington. Newly constructed homes built to sustainable certifications sold for 8 percent more than new non-certified homes in the same localities, as found in the study. The Earth Advantage Institute has defined a “certified home� as a home that has received an Earth Advantage New Homes, Energy Staror LEED for Homes designation. The certification could also include a combination of these designations.

A Sneak Peek into

Campus Life TheÂ

early rays of the sun pierce through the dark blue blanket of the night before exploding into a myriad of colours through tall pine trees. A bird hops about chirping a lovely tune before it takes flight. A cool morning breeze wafts in the fragrance of dew-kissed flowers which bow before the sun, welcoming its glory and warmth. A group of students with laptops clutched to their chests pause for a moment to take in the sensation as they retire to their beds. Its 4 am and time to get a few winks before the adventure starts again the next day. Classes here are of a different equation, with suggestions, analysis, and discussions flying in from all directions. Harvard case studies are prodded, poked and ripped apart to viewpoints, arguments and counter-arguments that are added with a dash of spice and a whole load of passion, and shot at faculty who bravely tackle this assault and guide it to a fruitful end. Guest lectures add practical industry perspective to theory. Concepts are not taught here but learnt; peer learning is an important aspect owing to the diverse backgrounds of students. Classes give way to a horde of activities in the evening. The recreation room stages a heavily fought game of table tennis while badminton players slam the shuttlecock about in the background. Some are busy with b-school competitions trying to woo judges with their ideas and presentations. Club and committee members get together to work on their magazines, live projects and other initiatives that make a positive difference to campus life while some manage to get their much needed evening siesta. Study groups get together for assignments, case submissions or projects. A cup of coffee in the Night Canteen tops it all. Banter and chit-chat quickly give way to the wee hours of the morning. The rains add a different dimension to the campus - the grass becomes a lush green, the lighting adjusts itself to a more relaxed setting, the raindrops play a symphony outside followed


Siddharth Jaidev

by claps of thunder; a hot cuppa and an old classic playing softly in the background sets the mood. Term examinations combined with a biting cold winter are a deadly combination. Suppressing the compelling urge to sleep, students trudge on trying to win a losing battle over heavy eyelids. Concepts are passed back and forth, ever fretting over unbalanced balance sheets or trying to understand various business matrices and inventing a few ingenious ones along the way. The much awaited weekends see a truckload of students cramming into a puny Maruthi-800 as the poor cab driver looks on open-mouthed. Police Bazaar aka PB, the centre of the town, is suddenly filled with familiar faces, while entry into any restaurant invariably elicits a ‘Hi’ from someone we know. Piping hot food and gossip gives a sense of satisfaction like nothing else can, and even the poorest of jokes are laughed at with gusto. Despite the academic rigor, we find time for other activities. Cricket tournaments are arranged with managers bidding for the best players that virtual money can buy a la IPL style. Tensions run high, bats are out and players are ready for battle. Umpires are brought into the firing line for any controversial decisions. Scorecards are distributed and permutations made to get a team through the league stages. Numerous waterfall trips and treks add colour to the otherwise busy calendar. The travel is as much fun as the trip itself - intermittent stops for the unplanned picture, the incessant leg-pulling in the van and the loud blaring stereo music adds to the overall charm of it. Not all trips are planned however, those early morning walks followed by hot tea and breakfast at the local chai wallas or the fun treks to the hill at the back after a long night out are memorable indeed. During the two years, we may have our fights and disappointments as well as experience friendship, bonding, support and happiness, none of which anybody here would trade for anything else in the world. It is experiences like these that give shape to our short stint here at IIM Shillong. When we leave the gates forever as alumni, we leave a part of us behind, but not before a part of this institute has ingrained itself into our hearts forever.

Epilogue Payal Bangar


should have been together together. ogether. If not for our selfish motives, if not for the simple imple reason that we were in love, perhaps just to demonstrate what a relationship should be like. In a way, it felt like massive injustice to the universe in general that we couldn’t be together. Like we had stamped our dirty boots on our intertwined destinies, hurled expletives at each other, walked off in a huff and shut the door on life.

Like the epilogue had rushed to meet the prologue of our story. We were meant to be. It was there in our conversations, in our chemistry, in the way one moulded to fit the other, whatever form the other took, and we could still be who we really were, never feeling the need for pretence. He found some pride in his mysteriousness, but we both knew the masquerade had been called off in an unnoticed, involuntary way. I found some security in my secrecy but that too had given way to an openness I hadn’t known I was capable of. The lack of a facade and mutual vulnerability had led to a strange sense of trust, a soft sure comfort between us. We fought too often. We fought too much, and most times without a reason. The making up was worth every bit of the fight. We loved too often. We loved too much, and most times without a reason. Loving each other was the

ortless thing we had ever done. It was the keeping most effortles effortle took way too much effort and drained us. away that too I had no idealistic image of love and knew that it could hurt. But not the love we shared. The love we had was too innocent, too white, too beautifully delicate, and as pure as it was unintended. Our love had given us the best times we had ever had; it had given us access to the deepest crevices in our hearts, given us genuine smiles, lots of laughter, and a comforting sense of security. It was the doing away with it that caused all the pain. It felt like the brutal murder of something so alive, innocent and pure. Perhaps our love was a cancerous limb and it had to be cut off, however painful the process. Perhaps we were walking on a bridge, the other end of which was set on fire and we had no choice but to return. What could I say? I had given up long ago, though I still put up the pretence of bright hope once in a while. It was eventually going to fall in place, I believed. Not us, together, but him and his life, and me and mine. Somehow everything would fit in like pieces of a puzzle and I’d probably have a moment of realization, understand why things happened the way they did, and move on. One day, I’d be able to smile at it all. Still, I knew, I was never going to forget the way he had touched my heart. That little space was always going to belong to him, whether he chose to stay or not, and even when everything was settled, even when the puzzle was solved, I’d still have a slight lingering feeling of having missed out on something.


Centre for Development of North Eastern Region Indian Institute of Management, Shillong Dr. Keya Sengupta


Centre for Development of North Eastern Region (CEDNER) of the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong has been constituted right from the inception of the Institute under the name of Accelerated Learning Centre (ALC). IIM Shillong, besides training the youth of the country to be future corporate managers, has also geared its resources to work for the involvement of not only the local community, but also for the development of the region by contributing to the capacity-building of the local youth of the north eastern states. This is achieved with the help of the expertise of the Institute. It is with this aim in mind that it was considered pertinent that a Centre under the name of CEDNER starts functioning specifically for the benefit of the local youth and the development of the region in general.

Under CEDNER, faculty members of the Institute use their expertise to train the youth and also undertake consultancy work often at subsidized rates or sometimes even free of cost. They help the youth develop a deep insight and a theoretical and practical understanding of the complex set of interrelated economic, social and environmental issues by bringing out the indigenous talent, skills and capabilities in them. The faculty members of the Institute with its focal emphasis on sustainable business attempt to fulfill their social responsibilities to the local community through an innovative pedagogy of lectures, case studies, e-books and e-journals. The Courses for these programs are specially designed to train the local youth so that they are able to avail the opportunities of the emerging business both for the development of the self as well as the society and economy in tune with the emerging market scenario.

CEDNER has therefore been organizing shortterm training programs and courses as well as various types of six months progams for training the youth of the region. The Centre has also been undertaking projects and consultancy work for the development of the region. CEDNER has therefore been offering a unique opportunity to young entrepreneurs, businessmen and women and also the youth of this region with potential talent who otherwise would have limited opportunities to gain exposure in managerial skill development. The purpose of offering such training courses by CEDNER is to help the local youth develop business ideas and projects which can not only be sustainable but be relevant to the needs of the society in which they live.

CEDNER has so far organized about twenty training programs and courses and completed at least another fifteen projects and consultancy works specifically for the region. About 500 persons from the region have benefitted from training programs organized by the Centre so far. Some of the programs organized are on Small Business Management, Entrepreneurs and Promoting of Entrepreneurship, Increasing Media Profitability, Improving Health Care Services, Sports Management programmes, Leadership Development programmes for NGOs, Management Refresher Courses, Health Management Programs, Improving Traffic Management System in Shillong, Courses on Family Business and Effective Judicial Management. All these courses range from one to two weeks to six months.


Recently the Centre has tied up with the Ministry of DONER, Government of India and is currently running a one year programme on ‘Developing Managerial Skills for Entrepreneurs’ in which a total of 60 candidates will be trained. The Centre therefore aims to take up projects and training programs by tying up with various government and corporate sectors and also independently so that the development of the human resource as well as the region as a whole may be expedited. Though initially little was known about the Centre and its initiatives, however the dedicated work of the team of IIM Shillong has now been recognized and known both within the region as well as outside the region. CEDNER is now been approached by various government and non-government organizations to conduct various kinds of programs and partake in consultancy work for the region.


Bittersweet Symphony Sowmya R. The poem reflects the anguish of a woman who has lost her lover in a tragic accident, and is symbolic of her frame of mind and her gradual acceptance of the loss. Realization dawns on her that true love knows no boundaries, not even death. Her lover is no more. Every new day brings both bitter memories of that fateful night as well as sweet reminisces of cherished moments… Life goes on as a bittersweet symphony.

The night was dark, no moon, no star Thunder raged on like a soldier in war A streak of lightning stared me in the eye I stared back, my eyes too dry to cry The pain was fresh, the wound still raw A fate so cruel, that never before I saw My hands reached out and shook in fear The wind roared ‘he is no more here!’ Why did you leave my side so soon? Had not you promised to bring me the moon? Those kind eyes I longed to see, those strong arms that cared If only I was taken and you had been spared! It was a crash so deafening Yet I did not hear a thing Except the silent tears you shed Even as you lay cold and dead. I lay on my bed, lost in a trance My spirits rose though just a nuance My lips curved into a tremulous smile Knowing you are watching me all the while Dew drops on roses so fresh Soothed me like a mother’s caress The golden rays seeped gently in As though to cleanse many a sin Love knows no body, no form or time Just two souls, yours and mine Like the night will disappear this agony Every new day, a bittersweet symphony…


India from the eyes of Time Ananya Roy A narration of the hardships that India has faced as seen from the eyes of Time. Time watched as India was at the peak of her prosperity and also stood helpless while she was gnawed upon under British colonialism. Time recognizes India’s inner strength and believes that India, once a golden bird, will one day be able to regain her lost sheen. Standing by the stream Looking at the sky Ah! I see a golden bird flying high I look aroundIt’s the envy of every eye I see the eyes going green Blinded by the bird’s sheen I look on… green turns to greed I see the eyes bleed with greed Greed for the gold on the bird Greed that curdled my blood Blinded by the consequences, they have no clue They prove my worst fears true They target the bird with stones The pain pierces through its skin and bones Shrieking with pain, it comes down On the faces, I see no hint of a frown

They pounce at it from every side As a bystander, I just looked and cried I’m Time, I’m forbidden to interfere I can just shed tear after tear I look on… I see them leave one by one I realize they are finally done The bird lay motionless, dead Hither lay its feather, thither lay its head Not a speck of gold to be seen No sign at all of any sheen They had done their job well It was once a golden bird, none could tell I look on… Only the gold outside is gone After the dark night, I see a hint of dawn The bird struggles and gets back up Though not glittering anymore, it looks grown-up It has learnt its lesson the hard way But its world has lost the gold, is all grey Its wings may now be misshapen But don’t you be mistaken What you see is a phoenix And it’s me - Time who predicts Look on longer and you will see The bird is going to get back its gold and glee…


I’ll try again Varuna Khattri A description of a girl who falls back on her mother for support amidst failures and testing times When things don’t seem to work alright, All faces seem to turn away, It’s then you cross over my mind, My guiding Angel to show me the way. A battle was pitched, With confidence oozing I jumped, For miles I walked with no one along, To chase a dream quite forlorn. “Let no fear pass you by”, you said to me, “Not the end, it’s the length that you should long”. With passion and desperation amix I stand, Venturing again into that obscure land. You ask to get up on my feet, though hard, Fail and fall but walk another yard. “Thump your back, you are the best”, you say, “Bleeding knees shall one day pay”. A smile we share, a dream redreamt, Fire rekindled for a brand new attempt. Giving up is not what I’m meant for, For victory I choose to be right here, No fear of falling now I have Cause with all of your heart, you’ll be-right there.



IIM Shillong Golf Cup The

first of its kind - a golf tournament for b-schools in India - the IIM Shillong Golf Cup was organized in April 2009 for the first time. With a unique concept of bringing corporate leaders and budding managers together, the tournament spans across two days and is held in the prestigious golf course of Shillong Golf Club. The first day witnesses the action between b-schools and the second day showcases the most anticipated showdown between b-schools and corporate houses. The third season of the IIM Shillong Golf Cup which was held on the 6th and 7th November, 2010 saw participation of more than 150 golfers, including corporates and B-schools from India and abroad. The star attraction of the event was Mr. Mir Ranjan Negi, former Indian hockey team goalkeeper, whose life also inspired the movie ‘Chak De India’. The tournament was teed off by the Chief Secretary, Government of Meghalaya, W. M. S. Pariat and the Director, IIM Shillong, Prof. Ashoke K Dutta.

Season 3 of the IIM Shillong Golf Cup went global with the participation of German delegates from Hamburg Media School. The IIM Shillong Golf Cup also includes a Golf Certification Workshop - the ‘Green Jacket’ that promotes the sport amongst budding managers at b-schools across India. Students from IIM Ahmedabad, FMS, MDI, IIFT, NITIE and Delhi School of Economics participated in the Green Jacket Workshop as well as the tournament that was conducted simultaneously. The event concluded with the Prize Distribution Ceremony. Shri Madan B. Lokur, the Chief Justice, Guwahati High Court was the Honourable Chief Guest. The ‘IIM Shillong Golf Cup Trophy’ was won by Rommel Majumdar from Brihans Maharashtra College of Commerce and Mr. Vicky Lyndoh won the award for the ‘Best Golfer’ in the 0-12 handicap category. Ms. Suzie Syiem won the ‘Best Lady Golfer’ award. The ‘Best Budding Golfer’ and the ‘Green Jacket’ award, sponsored by Royal Group of Institutions, Guwahati was awarded to Narendra Jha, FMS among the workshop participants. The prize distribution ceremony was followed by a grand luncheon at the IIM Shillong Campus. The two-day tournament saw as much enthusiasm from the organizers as from the golfers, with the students of IIM Shillong putting in weeks of planning and coordination giving them a handson experience of what lies in store as future corporate managers.



IIM Shillong’s International Sustainability Conference IIM Shillong inaugurated the first Annual International Conference on ‘Sustainability: Management & Beyond’ in December 2010. The inauguration ceremony saw the participation of eminent personalities which included the Chief Guest Padma Vibhushan Shri. Sunderlal Bahuguna, a noted environmentalist and Chipko Movement leader, and Dr. Paul Srivastava, Director, David O’ Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, Concordia University. The conference witnessed the participation of intellectuals, social activists and thought leaders from various parts of the world. A sincere effort towards the theme of sustainability was initiated by providing jute bags to all the participants of the conference. Sus-Con served as a single platform for thinkers, academics, business leaders, government

officials, civil society groups and grass root activists to initiate an on-going dialogue on sustainability. It marked the beginning of a revolutionary approach from IIM Shillong to create space for exploration of alternative sources of learning beyond structured curriculum. Leveraging the unique assets and expertise of IIM Shillong as a hub of sustainability in business, the conference promoted a balanced distribution of emphasis on global perspectives, national priorities and regional issues for harmonious development of the individual, the organization and the planet at large. In the idyllic setting of Shillong, the mood and spirit of this starting chapter of Sus-Con is that of a retreat for self-renewal and collective revitalization. Much emphasis was also laid on incorporating the sustainability theme in management education.


Campus Activities:

STUDENT COMMITTEES Alumni Committee With the second batch of IIM-S having graduated and joined the corporate world, the Alumni Committee is playing the essential role of fostering and furthering the umbilical-cord connecting the institute with its distinguished alumni. To keep students abreast with dynamic industry, Alumni Committee has been providing industry interaction by organising knowledge-building lecture sessions with the assistance of its alumni. Alumni Committee has developed a website that will serve as a comprehensive, one-stop alumni portal


and form a permanent bridge between the institute and the alumni. The committee is also in the process of getting itself registered as a non-profit association by the government to enhance its functioning.

Cultural Committee The Cultural Committee of IIM Shillong is involved in providing much needed small breaks in the form of get-togethers, bonfires and Karaoke nights. It strives to unleash the talent of the batch through its different events. Over the past one year, it has organized SPICMACAY concerts, festivals like Diwali, Holi and a Contemporary & Salsa Dance Workshop. It also arranged for a grand farewell for the graduating batch and a warm welcome to the incoming batch. The committee also promotes North East talent by inviting local bands of the North East and by

organising folk dances of the seven sister states to promote the local culture.

Hostel Committee The Hostel Committee of IIM Shillong is a studentdriven body with the aim to provide an amicable residential facility to all participants of IIM-S so as to facilitate all-round development. It is an interface between the administration and the students, and handles major facilities like mess, hostels, recreation facilities, laundry services and night canteen. It also organizes ‘Rannbhoomi’, an intra-college sports tournament covering games like table tennis, badminton and chess. Over the last three years of its existence, the Hostel Committee has been instrumental in bringing about significant changes in the infrastructure including hostels and sports facilities, a huge turnaround in mess food and improvement in laundry services.

including summer internships and final placements, and provides a platform for students and companies to benefit mutually.

Public Relations Cell The Public Relations Committee of IIM Shillong is responsible for establishing a proper communication channel between the industry, the media and IIM Shillong. It serves as point of contact for all communications to and from other b-schools. It is also responsible for dissemination of information from other b-schools within IIM Shillong student and staff. The PR committee has also taken up a unique initiative, Synapse, a mentorship program for the incoming batch of the institute. Through this forum, it not only guides new participants through the admission process but also addresses their individual queries on various topics.

Student Council IT Committee The IT Cell has been instrumental in positioning IIM Shillong as one of the most tech-savvy b-schools in India. It provides key facilities like network maintenance, video conferencing, classroom, auditorium and library infrastructure. Over the past one year, it has brought about major infrastructural improvements. To support the growing batch strength every year, the entire wireless network infrastructure of the campus has been re-laid to provide more access points and bandwidth. The auditorium has been equipped with state-of-the-art sound systems and other accessories. The Placement Portal, inaugurated in February 2011, has been created to streamline the placement process. Crucial improvements also include installing network printer-copier-scanner for students, introducing Moodle version 2.0, procuring superior teaching apparatus, and pushing for greater adoption of ERP facilities.

Placement Committee The Placement Committee is a dedicated body which strives to enhance industry interaction and works closely with all stakeholders to provide a perfect launch-pad for participants of IIM Shillong. It builds long lasting corporate-institute relationships, acts as an interface between IIM Shillong and other organisations for various corporate activities

The Student Council is the apex student body responsible for overseeing all student-related activities in IIM Shillong. It is the representative body of students which provides a liaison between the participants and the administration. All recognized committees and clubs operating in the institute are co-ordinated by the Student Council. It is also responsible for addressing and resolving student grievances and framing processes and activities that will have a long term impact on reputation of the institute. Also, the Student Council heads the organizing team of the institute’s flagship event, IIM Shillong Golf Cup as well as co-ordinates with the faculty in organising the ‘International Sustainability Conference, Sus-Con’.

Symphony Team Symphony is responsible for publishing the annual magazine of IIM Shillong. The magazine is the collective effort of the student community of IIM Shillong towards addressing the most pressing issues in the world of business, and reflects the passion and zeal with which budding managers wish to use their learning and experiences towards making a difference. In addition, the magazine provides a glimpse into the lives and interests of the diverse and vibrant student community of IIM Shillong.


Campus Activities:

Student Clubs bITeSys, the Systems Club bITeSys provides a platform for seamless dissemination of knowledge between corporates and students by keeping them abreast with industry developments in the field of Technology & Systems Management and by undertaking live projects. Currently, bITeSys is undertaking two projects in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre, one of which is on ‘Process mapping of Integrated Child Development Services Scheme of the Government of Meghalaya’’ and the other on ‘Development of portal of State Transport Department for the Government of Meghalaya’. Recently it collaborated with the Systems club of IIM A, B, C, K, L & I to publish the inaugural edition of Click’d, the Pan IIM Systems magazine which featured the interview of Mr. Subroto Bagchi, Cofounder and Chief Gardener of Mindtree as its cover story. bITeSys launched its own website ( in early 2011, featuring technologyrelated articles, ‘bITeSys Speaks’ - a monthly update on industry happenings and a section on ‘internship experiences’ that focuses on communicating the experiences of participants who interned in the field of IT and technology. Recently, bITeSys also launched its inaugural online event ‘i-converse’, enabling participants to discuss the current developments in the technological industry.

usHR Club usHR, the HR club of IIM Shillong stands for Union of Students for Human Resources. The main objective of the club is to establish IIM Shillong as a premier institution for Human Resource Management. Through our activities, we aim to foster interest of budding leaders in managing


people and organisations and bridge the gap between corporate and academia in terms of the recent developments occurring in this domain. One of the forums through which the club aims to fulfil the above objectives is usHR’s official blog ( where it has sections like ‘Tetee-Tete’, displaying the interviews with various personalities from the field of HR, ‘HR News’, and ‘Events’, citing HR conferences, workshops, etc. taking place across the world. usHR has also undertaken few live projects to understand the real life problems of industries related to their human capital and HR practices. Some of these have been done in collaboration with Department of Forests, Assam, IOCL, Guwahati International Hospital, Guwahati. usHR also publishes its own magazine, “TogetHR” which is an assimilation of discussions on recent trends in the field of Human Resources and articles which are submitted by both B-School students and corporates. The magazine also boasts of a section called “Connoisseur Speaks!” where common queries faced at workplaces are addressed. It also incorporates interviews with eminent personalities from this domain to brief everyone on the best practices of the industry.

Consultancy Club The Consultancy Club of IIM Shillong known as ‘Conquest’ is a student driven body which seeks to equip students in pursuit of careers in management consulting and strategic management with the knowledge, expertise and tools that would be necessary to succeed in careers of consultancy domain. The club handles all aspects from live projects to online newsletters and active student participation across all b-schools Conquest aims to provide its members consulting

projects and challenges that will enable them to assimilate classroom learning to solve real-life industry problems and prepares them to tackle future assignments confidently and competitively. The club’s e-zine ‘Conquest Online’ is a popular platform for b-school students to learn and enrich their knowledge by reading the latest trends in various industries, contemporary issues in strategic management and featured interviews from industry experts like Mr Jamshyd Godrej (Chairman of the Board of Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd), Mr Nick Morgan (Founder Public Words) and Shri Rathin Datta (Ex-chairman and CEO, PricewaterhouseCoopers India Pvt. Ltd). Conquest conducts strategy games, case study competitions, consultancy quizzes and organizes forums and events which act as a platform for club members to interact and network with consultants and also acts as facilitators for mutual knowledge sharing.

ECoBiZ Club Serve, Preserve, Prosper

i-Cube (E-cell of IIM Shillong) The role of management education is to produce leaders who can create sustainable opportunities for every segment of society. This is the philosophy of i-Cube (E-cell of IIM Shillong). We aim to hone our entrepreneurial skills by working at the grassroots level and in the process aid the development of MSMEs and NGOs, particularly in the north-east region. To this effect, we have tied up with Bethany Society; an NGO based out of Shillong to help them explore the market potential of their niche products such as IMO and bamboo charcoal. We have also tied up with the National Innovation Foundation, established a Student Chapter for Augmented Innovation (SCAI) at Shillong and are working with many innovators in successfully commercializing their innovations. We are also in the process of collaborating with venture capitalists across India and financial organizations such as NEDFI to support a venture initiation through i-Cube which is our long term goal.

ECoBiZ Club is the socio-ecological club of IIM Shillong and was incepted in the year 2010 through the initiatives of some members of the PGP10 batch. The main objective of the club is to promote businesses through green and safe technologies and to create awareness about environmental issues.

Not restricting our focus to entrepreneurship, we facilitate students in getting a feel of ‘Intrapreneurship’ by taking up live consulting projects. We have conducted a series of lectures from successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and people from training institutes working at promoting entrepreneurship.

It successfully organized the first Blood Donation Camp at IIM Shillong. It placed eco-friendly bamboo bins in the campus to promote cleanliness and sustainability.

We also provide guidance to students who are trying to shape their business ideas into viable business plans and have had reasonable success. Members of the e-cell have been selected as national finalists at various entrepreneurial events across India. In a nutshell, we at i-Cube create an environment where students can think, feel and act like entrepreneurs and prepare themselves for their real world journey into entrepreneurship.

Recently the club launched ‘Chetna’, in collaboration with SBI, Laitumkhrah (Shillong), an awareness campaign that aims to highlight social and ecological issues. The initiatives that the club has taken up include ‘save electricity’, ‘preserve water’, and ‘stop food wastage’. ECoBiZ club also conducted a book donation drive where students of IIM-S were encouraged to donate books to be used as braille material. The club also collected clothes from students and donated them to Mercy Home for the aged. Additionally, ECoBiZ club carried out a field study on the operations of Witchell Diary, Shillong to consult them on sustainable practices. In the future, ECoBiZ plans to work on paper recycling in Shillong and other community development programmes in coordination with NGOs.

Finance Club Finance Club of IIM Shillong is a student driven initiative that focuses on creating learning opportunities for students outside the classroom and maintaining industry connectivity. The chief activity of the club is to bring out Niveshak, a one of its kind Finance Magazine, involving participation from students of premier b-schools of India. It features articles and interviews of eminent personalities from both corporate and academia and is circulated widely in b-schools across India. Some of the interviews featured were: SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 77

• Mr. Sunil Mitra - Finance Secretary, Ministry of Finance • Mr. Utkarsh Majmudar - Vice-President, Global Research, HSBC Bangalore • Dr. Jean Imbs – Professor, Paris School of Economics • Mr. B.R. Tripathy - Chief Commissioner, Central Excise & Service Tax Department • Mr Kumar Sanjay Krishna - Jt. Secretary, Dept. of Economic Affairs, Ministry Of Finance Its other activities include corporate talks and live projects. The major achievements of the Finance Club in the last one year have been organizing the • The national level Sector Report Writing Competition to mark its third anniversary • Online stock trading games for students of IIM Shillong: KheloStocks in collaboration with Stockezy Pvt. Ltd and Trade Mogul in collaboration with Futures First: Futures Trading Game

Marketing Club The Marketing Club comprises marketing enthusiasts who strive to learn about the subject by sharing knowledge, conducting events and interacting with industry experts. Markathon, the monthly marketing magazine of the club, has a subscriber base touching 4000 premier B-Schools and corporates. Markathon has undertaken several projects like a survey for the Commonwealth Games for Drexel University, a Trans Graph Consulting project to assess market scope and opportunity for Trans Risk software, an Abhi Foundation (Mumbai) project to present a marketing plan and pitch and a State Government of Tripura project for a virtual state university. Marketing Club also initiated a feature called ‘Markeopedia’ to share marketing terms through Google SMS Channels, Facebook and Twitter. The club also conducts weekly lectures on varied Marketing topics and also conducted an Intra College Design Competition called Tulika. Markathon completed 2 years in July 2011 and launched a special Anniversary Edition, featuring interviews from leading marketing minds like David Aaker (Brand Consultant), Al Ries (Father of the “Positioning” concept), Piyush Mathur (MD, India, The Nielsen Company), Arvind Singhal (Founder &Chairman, Technopak Advisors Pvt Ltd.) and Santosh Desai (MD & CEO, Future Brands) and


was launched by Mr. Sanjib Kumar Dey, Chairman, Hammer Communications, earlier the President of Saatchi & Saatchi, India.

OP-ERA The Operations Club of IIM Shillong, known as ‘Op-era’, is the forum for all ‘operations’ enthusiasts to come together and share and enhance their knowledge. It functions on the goals of ‘Develop Passion & Skill’, ‘Create Visibility’, ‘Seek hands-on opportunities’. ‘Op-Era’ participated in the launch of the ‘PANIIM’ Operations Magazine, a collective effort of Operations enthusiasts across IIMs. The club has initiated ‘Operation Fortnightly’ under which it screens videos that focus on the role of operational expertise in the execution of any project. It organises simulation games that help to enhance the ability to apply operations concept in a practical scenario. ‘Know Your Company (KYC)’ is another initiative taken up by Op-Era to increase the awareness level of participants about the companies in different sectors. The KYC contains information like origin details, presence, product portfolio, subsidiaries, revenue & profit, SWOT analysis, operational strategy and recent news of a company. Apart from internal activities, the club has undertaken consulting projects like capacity utilization for a major Agro Food Processing company, and formulation of revival strategy for one of the largest cement manufacturing companies in Meghalaya in coordination with the Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation.

Quiz and Debating Club “Knowledge is Power and only the powerful rule the world” The Quiz and Debating Club intends to empower future managers with knowledge and create curiosity about information in various fields and aspects of life. We aim to bring to light something new and interesting every time and provide facts related to general knowledge and information regarding current affairs of national and international importance. We conduct activities like ‘Question A Day’, ‘Sunday Quizzes’ and debate competitions and hence provide a platform for students to interact and share their knowledge and opinions.

Corporate Visits IIM Shillong has always maintained a collaborative and amicable relationship with the corporates. Several corporates also have shown interest to interact with the students personally during their visit to campus or via video conferencing. Following is a list of the corporates who have visited the campus or have interacted with students through video conferencing in the previous months:




Manasij Das

Regional Representative Asia (Commercial)

PepsiCo Worldwide Flavour

I. N. Chatterjee

Executive Director

Jindal Drilling Industries Ltd

Kishore Talukdar

Regional Head- North

Barclays Bank

Arpit Dhariwal

Online Marketing Manager

Vijay Mahajan


Basix Microfinance

R. Senguttuvan

SBU Chief Executive


Mohit Kakkar

Assistant Manager, Talent Delivery


Venkat Narayan

Managing Director - Corporate Finance

Lazard India

Mr Vivek Kudva

Managing Director

Franklin Templeton Group

Karan Sharma

Assistant Manager, Talent Development


Rahul Dutta



JV Ramamurthy

President & COO

HCL Infosystems

Dr K Radhakrishnan


ISRO, Space Commission

Bandi Ram Prasad


FT Knowledge Management

Mr. Sameer Shukla

Head- Retail Measurement Services, North and East India

The Nielsen Company


Coal India Ltd (CIL)

Nirmal Chandra Jha


IIM Shillong’s Music Band

Aaveg innumerable times as I kept committing a mistake).Finally, after many nights of rehearsals, we had a good grasp of the songs and headed to Delhi for the first round.


band ‘Aaveg’ (literal meaning: Force) was formed in September, 2010 to represent IIM Shillong at Zee Aspire Music to Money Challenge. The team reached the final of this event which had bands participating from all major B-Schools of the country. The following is a narration of my experiences over the course of the competition as a part of this band. Zee Aspire was a reality show/competition where bands from various B-Schools across the country participated. It was a two pronged competition where the participants were to be judged based on both their musical as well as on quizzing abilities. Numerous bands representing almost all major B-Schools in India competed in this event. It was decided that IIM Shillong would participate in this event and the band Aaveg was formed. The band was initially formed by the seniors with the faculty mentor Prof. D. K. Agrawal and I was drafted later on. The initial round was just weeks away and was scheduled to be held at Delhi with the venue for the final being Shillong. The competition was bound to be tough, but with Rukma Jayram and Sourjyo Das, two brilliant musicians, we knew that we were in with a chance. Saumya Chaturvedi was the band leader and the lead vocalist while Anurag Joshi and Nagendra Singh supported on the vocals and were our quizzers. Preparations started right from procuring the necessary instruments to deciding which songs would be suitable to perform. After a lot of deliberations, we decided on two songs namely “Bawara Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna” from Hazaaron Khwahishien Aisi and “Ghanan Ghanan” from Lagan. After umpteen rehearsals and lot of preparation, we finally got the songs right. (I remember Saumya making me repeat a portion


Once in Delhi, we had our dose of the inevitable last minute glitch as the adaptor of the keyboard kept breaking down intermittently (the engineers in us obviously tried to fix it ourselves but in the end lost the battle and brought a new one). The show was hosted by Omi Vaidya (Chatur from 3 idiots fame) and there were nine other teams slotted with us in the first round. Since most of us were facing a camera for the first time, we were naturally nervous but the round went well and, in the end, we were quiet confident that we could make it to the finals in Shillong. Turned out that our gut feeling was correct and we were selected for the finals that were scheduled to be held in Shillong. For the finals, we had to prepare our own original composition. Anurag wrote the lyrics for the song titled ‘Yaadein’ which went as “Joh Khoya Hua woh Pal Dhal Gaya... Aakhon mein halki nahi bhar gaya…” The song was about various memories which a person collects and how he should deal with them. The music was given by Rukma and Sourjyo and the first composition of Band Aaveg was born. In addition to this, the other song which we decided to play was the Sufi song “Dama Dam Mast Kalandar”. Our College played host to all the finalist teams and also the crew of Zee Aspire. One day before the event, the Zee team shot many scenes with all the bands inside the campus for their program. The event was supposed to be held the next day starting in the afternoon followed by a performance by famous Indian Rock band Parikrama. Unfortunately, it rained throughout the morning and the initial plans of an open air performance had to be cancelled. After a lot of discussions, it was decided to move the shoot indoors to Rykinjay resort at Bara Pani Lake. The actual performance went well, but what gladdened us the most was that our original composition was appreciated by all. This was followed by the Quiz and Anurag and Nagendra aced it. They got almost all the answers correct and we scored double the points the next best team had. Sadly, the organizers decided to scrap the final as they were not happy with the small scale makeshift indoor shoot and hence decided to refilm the entire final round at Delhi. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances we could not attend that event. Nevertheless, the time we had as this band was memorable and would be etched in our minds for a long time.

The five member GIRC team representing IIM Shillong at Bali, Indonesia for Asia-Pacific Finals From L to R :Sumit Kedia, Sumit Bagla, Sakshi Sharma, Veena Sankaran, Hitesh Gulati



students from IIM Shillong have carved a niche for themselves by making their presence felt in various B-school festivals, national and international competitions organized by prominent institutions across the country. The students from IIM Shillong have been consistently excelling in a wide range of national and international competitions. However, the icing on the cake surely has to be the success in the Global Investment Research Challenge conducted by the prestigious CFA institute. The Global IRC aims to provide university students with an unparalleled experience of working with investment industry professionals and publicly traded companies to produce an equity research report, as well as to promote the best practices in research among the next generation of analysts. The team from IIM Shillong (team members- Sakshi Sharma, Veena Sankaran, Sumit Bagla, Sumita Kedia and Hitesh Gulati) emerged as winners in two rounds - East India finals and India finals, by beating many prominent institutions from across the country. Going further, the team also represented India in Bali, Indonesia for the Asia-Pacific round where they stood sixth. Some of the recent noteworthy achievements that have made us proud include: • Finalist in the Asian round of the Global Social Venture competition organized by ISB Hyderabad • Winners of a case study competition organized by Deloitte consulting based on a UK based insurance company

• Finished second in a case Study Competition organized by Nomura based on merger & acquisitions recommendations • National Finalists in a case study competition organized by Google where they were supposed to strategize Google’s strategy 50 years hence • Winners of Sparsh, an event for mobilizing management aptitude to help non-government organizations, held in IIM Bangalore • Secured second place in the War of wits event the flagship HR Contest of XLRI’s annual festival ‘Ensemble’ IIM Shillong follows a unique tradition of helping people from rural areas by carrying out consultancy projects to improve their business and also imparts desired managerial skills through various customised programmes. Some of the significant contributions include: • Organising a series of two-day Management Development Programmes (MDP) and Faculty Development Programmes (FDP) at the GRD Institute of Management, Coimbatore • The Ministry of Development North Eastern Region has joined hands with IIM-Shillong for providing training on managerial skills to young entrepreneurs in the region • IIM Shillong helped Assam Hospitals by carrying out a comprehensive study of the HR setup and provided recommendations in relation to the set-up at healthcare institutes elsewhere in the country SYMPHONY 2011 IIM SHILLONG 81

November 2010 saw the third season of Rannbhoomi, the annual sports festival of IIM Shillong generate huge enthusiasm from both batches as we engaged ourselves in playing table tennis, badminton, chess and carom, both during the day and night of the month-long event. Season 3 of the Kopda Cup Cricket Tournament was organised in early 2011. It was played in a league format with the junior girls as team owners and the teams comprising both senior and junior boys. These two events were probably the biggest that brought together students from both batches. Live commentary and humorous incidents were the most cherished memories from these events. Sunil Mishra Shillong itself may have become a city, but the rest of Meghalaya offers many unexplored places of natural beauty. During the rainy season, the beauty of the place increases manifold, as the abode of the clouds forms amazing waterfalls, bubbling brooks and rivulets. Combined with this, the natural root bridges, temporary bamboo bridges, and thick vegetation unspoiled by human activities make trekking even more attractive. During our tenure here, we visited places such as Rengthiam Falls and Krang Suri Falls, Syndai Caves-one of the largest caves in India, trekked on the David Scott trail (also known as the Sacred Forests by the locals) and Sweet Falls amongst many others. These visits have provided me with incredible memories and I hope that even after I graduate, I will continue to visit Meghalaya to explore beautiful places and experience the unknown. Parminder Singh Saluja For me, campus life at IIM-S is a new world. It feels like the last one year breezed away like the shortest period of my life. The many friends I made here have become an indispensable part of my life. What’s best is that we’re not restricted to academics. Experiencing


a diversity of cultures and different ways of thinking has in itself broadened my horizons and changed my perception for the better. A small batch size is definitely a boon as it facilitates better interaction. Living on campus and being able to experience this LIFE has been a wonderful journey. May be some day when I will look back and think of those memories, I shall miss all the moments I spent here. Bhimashish Patil One of the greatest advantages of being the first among the 21st Century IIMs is the opportunity to render corrective steps and recreate processes that shape premier management education in India. Based on feedback from the industry that managers churned out by premier institutes do not excel as team players as much as they excel as individuals, the learning pedagogy aims to ingrain team work into the learning experience. A study group, as we call it, is formed with as much diversity as possible for the entire stretch of the course. The ratio of assignments and course work that are group based versus individual based is 70:30. Working within such a framework, peer learning has been one of my biggest take aways. Fellow participants from various professional and cultural backgrounds have impacted my learning to new dimensions. The subtle differences between the way I approach a case and the way in which my study group members and other class participants approach it facilitates a better understanding and learning. Paul Jebanesan Franklin

Participants at IIM Shillong are nothing less than Design Thinkers. Rahul Sehgal All my apprehensions about the MBA experience at IIM Shillong were settled at the tete-a-tete, the seniorjunior meet at Chennai. The informal meet followed by lunch allowed us to interact with our future seniors and batch mates and get a peek into lives at b-school. The seniors recounted their experiences, which not only cleared our misconceptions about MBA life and academics, but also left us excited about the beautiful campus and the activities in and out the campus life, like the parties, the treks and the trips around Shillong. We were assured that the next two years would be the experience of a lifetime. The meet ended with us looking forward to our new life at IIM Shillong. Dhivya Ravikumar

Life is all about the balancing act between ‘ability’ and ‘choice’ and being able to accept humbly an overruling destiny. IIM Shillong has taught me to think beyond everyday operational aspects and instead focus on strategic aspects that can bring about a larger scale societal and ecological impact. Over the last one year, I have started to believe that the three pillars of Ethics, Knowledge and Passion are the sole drivers which lead to results in whatever one aspires to be in life. The sense of a community that emerges from continuous interactions with peers, alumni and faculty create experiences and memories which will remain etched on our minds forever. Partha Mitra At IIM Shillong, we believe in converting theory into practice. The vision is to evolve as a centre of excellence with innovation and diversity. This is backed by the fact that students at IIM Shillong come from diverse backgrounds with past experience ranging from Engineering, Commerce and Chartered Accountancy to Arts & Sciences, Law and Management. In its four years since inception, participants at IIM Shillong have been known for coming out with innovative solutions to overcome various hurdles, be it the Golf Cup to set a platform for B-school-corporate interaction or the Sustainability Conference to get the best academia on campus to facilitate healthy discussions on issues of environmental significance.

My stint at IIM Shillong has taught me the art of selfmanagement and has provided me with the power to direct myself towards self-evaluation, self-intervention and self-development. I understand the importance of the five ways in Zen’s philosophy of achieving greater latent on my shoulders. In a place like IIM-Shillong where demands are huge, the skill of challenging one’s mind is of utmost importance and each day you have to question the very essence of work. Respecting your own body is one of the most important aspects of this hectic life. IIMShillong allowed me to recognize my inner qualities. Somjeet Behera Where sleep is a luxury and a new form of recreation is scarce, we were in for a surprise when the Cultural Committee organized a ten-day dance workshop on Salsa conducted by Bollywood professionals. People formed pairs for the Cuban dance form and there was no dearth of entertainment even for those who were too shy to do a couple-dance. There was a 10-day course on the contemporary dance style as well. The workshop saw enthusiastic participation from both the batches and then on the closing night, it ended with breath-taking performances. And guess what? We are already waiting for Salsa level II! Ragini Iyer


The Journey That Was… What our alumni have to say

Someone once told me that the biggest takeaway from a B-School is the network of people you carry for a lifetime. At IIM Shillong, I was lucky to be with a group of exceptionally talented people from whom I could always learn a thing or two! Sumit Rana, Associate Manager, Procter & Gamble My 2 years at IIM-S taught me to respect every individual and the skills they bring. I learnt how to be punctual, to meet deadlines no matter what, and to maintain the highest standards of integrity at all times. Shweta Srivastava, Consultant, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu There is always an awful lot one can learn from people around. All you need is the ability to accept that you don’t know. This was my biggest learning through my two years at IIM-S. Hitesh Gulati, Senior Analyst, Deutsche Bank IIM Shillong helped us become real team players where we genuinely started enjoying each other’s success. The rigorous work schedule prepared us for the huge challenges of the corporate world. Those were easily the best days of my life! Umamaheswaran B S, International Graduate (Consumer banking), Standard Chartered Bank Friends are life’s greatest teachers. Sourjyo Das, Senior Management Trainee, Godfrey Phillips I learnt to work against adversities. Also, at IIM Shillong, we were given the freedom to experiment and set in systems in place. Priyam Srivastava, Consultant, PwC I learnt to be able to smile, no matter what the situation. And obviously I can play table tennis far better than before. Anurag Joshi, Associate Analyst, HSBC An electric kettle, a room heater and some good friends can teach you a lot about life. Enjoy the tea while it’s hot, beat the adverse weather and make some relationships for life. The rest will follow. Nagendra Singh, Associate - Human Capital Management, Yes Bank




Symphony 2011  

Third edition of the annual magazine of IIM Shillong

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