Wednesday, February 22, 2006

India's foreign ambition

In the last one year, Indian companies have pursued aggressively buying out strategic assets worldwide and the rise of Indian entrpreneurship is a much more important aspect of Indian economy than the 8% growth rate of Indian economy. Forget about Mittal's $22b bid. There is much more goin in India.

Just look at these things:

1. VSNL - India's premier internet company bought Tyco for $130million (when Tyco had installed Optical fibre for whopping $3b in 2000 and then crashed) and again Teleglobe of Canada, last week and it wud be the third biggest international voice carrier in the world after AT&T and MCI. It has a significant presence in data communication too, and given its extensive optical fiber network and a ever-hungry 1 billion people Indian people market, it could become the No.1 telecommunications provider in the world, in the next few years.

2. Bharat Forge bought a host of companies in the last few years to become the second largest car parts manufacturer in the world. Half of its employees are qualified engineers and this can be used for a better leverage in the automobile industry.

3. Tata steel is busy competing with Mittal and other companies for world wide steel purchases and is in for huge expansion.

4. Dr. Reddy's bought a German generic drug manufacturer, three times its size.

5. Indian Oil Corporation and ONGC are busy competing with China, worldwide for oil assets.

There are atleast a dozen other top deals that wud make India topper in their respective fields. And there is always the software industry, where Indian companies try for a lion's share.

But, the most important thing wud happen when the companies grow beyond a certain threshold and can create synergies. IF VSNL, BSNL continues this growth they might increase the number of cellphones by tens of millions and this wud bring a great impetus to Indian electronics industry. And addition of hundreds of millions phones at very cheap calling rates can tremendously push entire state of the economy.

The rise of pharma major along with software majors can provide a huge catalyst for the biotech industry and once the melting point occurs between the aggressive pharama companies and software companies, we can create a huge bio-revolution dwarfing the info-revolution of the current era.

The rise in power of core economic industries like Reliance,ONGC, IOL in energy, Tata, Mittal in Steel and Tata in automobile industry can add the long-awaited crucial industrial revolution element in India and this would be a back-bone for the intense service sector.

Within 2 years a dozen airlines are starting up and India bought the highst number of planes in the world, last year worth more than $20b. Massive revolution in high-speed transportant would surcharge the Indian business.

The buyouts would give India, a more competitive face in the global industry from the image of cheap software writer and call center employees and would aid a further expansion of Indian owned industries in the west and elsewhere.

IF the current acceleration lasts, then in no matter of time India with its thousands of agile entrepreneurs will set the stage of 'Great Indian return' where the Indian economic climate would be red hot for agile Indian youngsters studying and working in US and Europe.

Let's see how China challenges our threat...

International Herald Article

Yale Global Article

Historical Robbery in Britain

Asian Age Reports
"An armed gang disguised as police has stolen more than $59.62 million from a security depot in southern England after abducting its manager and his family.

A spokesman for the Bank of England said the money, 25 million pounds in banknotes, was stolen overnight from a cash centre at Tonbridge in Kent county. No one was injured in the robbery.

There are unconfirmed reports that the final figure could be up to $94.78 million, making it the biggest heist in British history."

US policy on Iran - US charting a dangerous course

From the recent statements made by Bush administration, I fear that US is readying itself for yet another war in Middle East. This time against Iran. It is terrifying. Iran is not Iraq or Afganistan. Iran is not as isolated and it is really a strong nation to be cowed by US tactical missiles. Besides it has teh support of Russia and China and even India cant allow Iran to be attacked. But, most importantly it is over Staraits of Hormuz, that controls half of World's oil supply. Saudi, UAE, Iran and Iraq's oil supplies run through this small stretch and any attack on Iran can make it to retailate by attacking supplies here..... Imagine such a situation

If that strait is destroyed, world oil flows will stop. IF oil exports stop, world stops literally. Transportation systems stall, electricity stops, economies crash and jobs will plummet. All for what??? Why should we do all this? The best thing for us to do is contain the Iran's nuclear ambitions by diplomacy and talks. Use the principles of carrot and stick. US should think sanely and understand Iran's ambitions and genuine fear. Iran is a nation with a very rich history and vast size. It cant be treated as a pushover. US and Western governments can surely hold meaningful talks if they are practical and put satisfiable demands and Russia, China, India and the middle east can act as mediators. By making jingoist statements Bush is not doing any good to America. He is only feeding the side of extremist authoritarian regime of Iran.

Read more

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Greenland Ice is melting

I guess one of the towering achievements of man would be to make greenland into a tropical region. Maybe not that much, but we have certainly warmed the world enough to make Greenland's glaciers to pump billions of liters of water into the sea. Should that be a great surprise considering the fact that all major natural disasters of historic proportions have started to occur in the last couple of years.

It is a grave threat that has the following consequences:

1. It really shows that Global warming is a serious problem. Global Warming Deniers have always argued that the smoke and dirty gases (including CO2, methane) that we emit wont harm the earth as much. They questioned the accuracy of the computer models and to their advantage the effects of global warming were too slow to be measured empirically. Now, they could see with their bare eyes that Greenland's glaciers have sunk upto 150m in the last 15 years. The summers are warm enough to grow potatoes in Greenland. If we dont act fast we are in for more ugly surprises from world over, and before we start to act, it would be too late. Read more on global warming here.

2. Artic creatures are threatened with extinction. Many of them are already endangered, but these could destroy further species. Many of the creatures have a crucial dependence on the ice and loss of ice would be big blow to these poor creatures.

3. Salinity reduction of water can affect ocean currents. Pumping of more freshwater causes the salinity of the sea to reduce a great extent int the North Atlantic region and this would affect surface density. The effect would be the the warmer currents from gulf stream might be changed and Europe and North America could face more harsher weather. This could mean loss of billions of dollars in agricultural productivity.

4. Most importantly, the effect of global warming acceleration would be the drowning of major land masses including Bangladesh etc. and this could put enormous strain on human society, to say the least.

Why not let us act on reducing global warming....

Use lesser energy. Let us remember that our energy consumption pattern need not be same as those of our parents or our predecessors. We have an urgent need to save more energy. See some tips for this here. gives global warming tips here

We can write to our political representatives and make them aware of the implications. See, some of the things that could be done politically here.

Most importantly, research more. If you are computer scientist work on creating more accurate simulations, if you are scientist analyze weather patterns, waveforms... if you are a social worker analyze the impacts on various societies. So many things to be done here....

Sunday, February 19, 2006

What can we do to solve world's problems - Part 2 (Childhood)

Imagine entire generations of your family being born into bonded labor, with no hope of breaking free. What will you do?

In the Part 1, we discussed about the importance of literacy and how we can do our bit for solving the problem. To recap, if each of us could manage to make one illiterate person a literate, we could solve half of world's problems. In this part, we will discuss on the opportunities for doing our bit for orphaned young kids...

Childhood age is one of the greatest periods of human life. It is the period we learn the most, dream for the big, long for love, have pleasant attitudes and always laugh and fun. We all had a beautiful childhood. I could not imagine what would have happened if my parents threw away when I was 1 year old into a waste bin, or forced me to go for child labor or prevented from studying or tortured by a child abuser ... There are endless miseries that shatter the dream of the young souls. Manytimes, I skip reading such news as I dont have enough strength in heart to accept the truth and weep for them. But, I dont have to cry. Maybe, I can do something that can change their plight without sacrificing too much and it is definitely withing my reach.

I did my bit of research on this, and collecting material for various ideas. Some of them are:

1. Getting to know the organizations that does service on this. An awareness about the various organizations would always remind us of a purpose. It will always shows us there is something we could do, in the times when we totally wonder about the purpose of life. The more we know of them, there is a chance that we could do a little piece of timely help.

One of the persons about whom, I read a lot since childhood and have great respect is Mr. Vidyagar founder of the organization - Udavum Karangal which is a pioneer in orphanage management. It supports orphaned children and strives hard to make a great career out of the young lads. He runs a school, health facility, recreational facilities with his paltry fortune. It provides scope for volunteering and child support.

Sivanada Ashram works with the primary objective of protecting orphans, destitute women, the physically handicapped, AIDS-affected children, and the elderly.

Child Relief and You is another notable organization that works for the rights of every child in India, believes that all children are equal and have equal rights.

The other organizations of repute are:
World Vision
Plan USA
Save the Children

2 Donations & Sponsorship - This is one of the simplest ways to provide help. We can just chip in with our small contribution that can do great wonders to people. When we want to gift something for our closest friends or family, we generally gift them big and throw big parties. Some of them would not stay in our mind at all. This year, apart from throwing a big party, I wanted to gift my parents something special. I just had a meal sponsored for 100 kids in Udavum karangal for just $40 and it touched my parents a lot. They remembered it much more than than the $350 party I gave them. Its such a heart-moving thing that I found this year. I never imagined that 40 bucks could bring so much of happiness. We could also sponsor a child's education for one year, gift a computer, provide funds for a adding a teacher, build a classroom.... For every dollar, we can create wonders in someone's life.

3 Volunteering. More than just giving funds, we can go a bit farther and volunteer ourself for an organization. Many organizations accept volunteering and volunteers are typically assisted in doing a project of their own, with the organization. For example, we could go on a summer to one such organization and teach the kids, few hours a day and spend the remaining time, say touring. We could also use our imagnination to solve some of their problems, and you would wonder how much our expertise can be of use to them. It is one place, where our works can really make a decision of life and death in a kid's life. Udavum karangal has a link for their
opportunity page here.

4 Create Awareness. May times, we might not be able to provide donations or voluteering due to lack of money or time or both. But, we could do our bit to create an awareness about the organizations with our friends. We could speak with our boss or school to see if they have some used computers to be given to orphanages. We could suggest our friends to have their birthday parties along with spending for a "party" in a orphanage. We could give the organizations more publicity by putting it in our noticeboards and blogs or we could make our organization donate a free product that they are making. Say, Microsoft could be asked to give free OS CD's for the computing systems in the organizations.... The list is endless, bounded only by our creativity.

(Kindly chip in and add more suggestions and types of services we could do. You can also submit your articles to me by putting ur url, in the comment section or suggest some article points. Let us try to do our bit of service. Please.... )