By One Who Loves and Hates Bihar….

Since 2005, I have been coming to US almost every second year and staying for almost four to six months. I try to meet the persons of Indian origin, and most of the elders are the parents of those who have come and work in US. This time I observed and experienced something that perhaps in my earlier visits I overlooked. Most of the Indian elders in our community ‘Harmony’ in Cary are South Indians with those from Andhra in majority. Anand confirms that the number of persons from Andhra are maximum in Cary and Morrisville. We don’t have a single family from Bihar. Andhra till 90s was not that educationally advanced.

And then I tried to do some more research. With maximum number of private engineering colleges in Andhra, as confirmed by a Times of India news report, Andhra sends the maximum number of students for higher studies to US. Many of them stay back.

Why has Bihar lagged behind so miserably? One can’t expect Lalu or Rabri Devi to understand that. But Nitish Kumar, himself an engineer by education, should have understood this and could have taken steps to correct the situation of education, higher education in Bihar. But Nitish Kumar after doing some development work spent all his time and resources for vote bank politics, and there too because of his egoistic approach failed miserably. Today Nitish Kumar is busy in retaining his relevance in Bihar politics, though he had all potentials and opportunity to become the prime minister of the country with shrewd political strategy. Bihar awaits a bleak future if the results of the recent by-polls are to be believed as the mood of the state.

But perhaps the sole responsibility for the degradation of education in Bihar must be owned more by its people than anything else. All these years of my active life I found all the parents and guardians in Bihar more interested in getting their children passed by even the foulest means, chit management at examination, leaking the question papers, finding out the assessor and bribing him, and then finally getting some job as clerk, policeman, or even in defence services too by paying any amount of money to the middlemen and corrupting any system.

Recently I found some students from Bihar in the protest movement for Hindi in UPSC examination as crusaders. I doubt if they had the required level of excellence even in Hindi. And I am sure they have not read even ten good books in that language. And it is not only me who is having this experience. A noted columnist has this to write:

“Among the panelists was a so-called ‘crusader’ of ‘the rights of Hindi and India’s 22 other regional languages’. This young man, hailing from Jamui in Bihar, was full of fire. His comments soon generated into a rant against English and the so-called ‘elite’ usurping ‘the rightful share of opportunities’ of India’s masses, most of whom cannot speak English and thus are at a disadvantage as far as education and employment opportunities are concerned.
One particular rant by the young man made me freeze. “…I want to warn you, O slaves of English,” he roared in a rhetorical ditty in heartland Hindi, “Prafulla Chaki, Khudiram Bose, Chandrasekhar Azad died to drive the British from this land and raise the tricolour. If you do not honour the tricolour , there will be consequences.”

What can we infer about the future of the state with the type of political leadership that Bihar had, have and are perhaps going to have? The people of Bihar can only be in menial work all over India and perhaps in Arab countries.

And what can be the way out?

Education, education, education, ….knowledge….skill…excellence in English, French, German, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, ……engineering, science, maths, architecture, … Business management….

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पचहत्तरवें जन्मदिन पर

पचहत्तरवें जन्मदिन पर
अगस्त १४, २०१४

कभी हर दिन एक नयी आशा,
कुछ कर गुज़रने की तमन्ना
लिये आता था
अब है हर दिन के गुज़र जाने की गुज़ारिश केवल

पर नहीं एक छोटी ही सही चिंगारी कहीं है बाक़ी
एक सही झोंके के आ जाने की मद्धिम आश लिये

पचहत्तरवें जन्मदिन पर
बच्चे अगस्त १४ को मना लिये, रिकार्ड में आज का दिन, अगस्त २९, है जन्म दिन । कोई हीरक जयन्ती लायक तो काम किया नहीं, और अब अपने मनाने के दिन नहीं जो मैं हिन्दमोटर के शुरू के सालों में करता था । मुझे बिश्वास है उस समय के दोस्तों को याद होगा, जो अभी हैं ।ख़ैर, सभी को उनकी शुभेच्छाओं के लिये हार्दिक धन्यवाद। अब आदत के अनुसार अपनी बात…….

समय की िशला पर
समय दर समय पर
कुछ कबिता गढ़ी थी
कुछ कहनी कही थी
अपने कुछ िबचारों की
मथनी मथी थी
और आज िफ़र जब
पलट देखता हूँ
सोच में आ पड़ा हूँ ….

समय आकर मुझको
बदलता रहा है
बदल कर जिया हूँ
नया कुछ किया हूँ
और चलता रहा हूँ।

कुछ को गर न भाया
कुछ को तो हूँ भाया
न कोई है शिकवा
न कोई शिकायत।

यही एक आशा
कि
बाक़ी सफ़र भी
कुछ करते कराते
कुछ सीखते सीखाते
ऐसे हीं गुज़र जाये ।

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‘Make in India': Some Views

Can just with few announcements and policy declarations as done in the previous government too, India move ahead fast in real term to become a manufacturing super power? Even many Modis can’t do it with many a sermons such one by him on the Independence Day.

1. It will require a change in mindsets of those who matter, in big way. Naturally, to start with, it will be that of the head of the government. It must not come as few knee jerk actions, but as focused strategy planning and effective policy deployment with monitored progress in measurable terms.

2. FDI in manufacturing is certainly one route. Can some efficient and rightly qualified officers in our consulates in the countries strong in manufacturing such as US, Japan, Germany, market India to the targeted companies whom India wants to come in and set up its manufacturing facilities in India, facilitate if they decide so and ease the rest of the processes? It will be necessary to make the policy effective. Without sufficient marketing, no one is going to come.

3. As claimed, the quick clearing of defence orders such as helicopters in hundreds, Avros to private sector and the vessels for navy will certainly rejuvenate the manufacturing, but simultaneously restructuring of PSUs such as HAL and manufacturing dockyards for warships, submarines-traditional or nuclear powered, and ordinance factories for army hardwares such as tanks etc and building strong professional management at unit level with opening them for exports, will be necessary to give the real boost to manufacturing in big way. For example, the different facilities of HAL must be restructured as fully independent units with R&D, for manufacturing and marketing: one for helicopters, the second for fighting planes and ,may be third for transport carriers.

4. A revolution in Indian manufacturing sector is inevitable if manufacturing PSUs become globally competitive and profitable, and are not kept alive with repeated budgetary supports draining the national resources. But the level of professionalism in their management will have to be improved. Many things such as the constitution of board of directors, or the selection of CEO must be only based on merit.

5. The manufacturing sector must reach small towns and rural India for creating employment. Let the rural carpenters, blacksmiths or others with family traditions of manufacturing become the new manufacturers in village. Many items for mass market and daily use, be it the cheap sanitary towels or organic soaps, knit wears or soft toys, can easily be produced in many households. The IAS officers at block and district level, particularly those with engineering background must be asked to encourage young local entrepreneurs through a little handholding and out of the way assistance and their performance in that regard must be monitored.

6. Other e-selling companies must also encourage local manufacturers as Flipkart plans. Big organised retailers of Corporate India such as Big Bazaar can get the world class products being sold abroad by big retailers there, manufactured through the indigenous manufacturers.

7. The system and those who matter must see that the jobs of engineers in manufacturing become sufficiently lucrative, that the engineers particularly from IITs and other great institutes remain in industrial activities rather than getting into IIMs straight and then in finance or UPSC, that the entrepreneurs in manufacturing find it hassle free to get into the business with prompt supports from the financial institutes and banks, that the skilling starts right in school, and for all graduates a fixed amount of credit hours for the courses on wealth creation,entrepreneurship and innovation be made compulsory.

8. The government develops more and more fully serviced clusters for various products as it is being planned for electronics goods.

Unfortunately, even with so huge a market in manufacturing, the big corporate houses of the country are hardly entering the manufacturing sector. Many who were in the sector are leaving it for greener pastures of retail and finance.

Many in the country need implements and machines to ease the working for their bread. A huge potential is there for those who can develop, manufacture and market them. I read recently about the story of a juggad for baking corn. I am sure that can be improved and marketed all over India.

Let all avenues be explored and used to reach the goal of making India a superpower in manufacturing. It is but a national necessity.

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Manufacturing India and Modi

India can’t get a better person than its PM himself to inspire Indians and India to get back on the right track to take the country ahead as a global manufacturing power. His speech from Red Fort on 2014 Independence Day was pathbreaking and most inspiring for taking India fast to grow as manufacturing superpower:

For Foreign and NRIs

“…..and I call upon the world and call upon the Indians spread world over that if we have to provide more and more employment to the youth, we will have to promote manufacturing sector. If we have to develop a balance between imports and exports, we will have to strengthen manufacturing sector. If we have to put in use the education, the capability of the youth, we will have to go for manufacturing sector and for this Hindustan also will have to lend its full strength, but we also invite world powers. Therefore I want to appeal all the people world over, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, “Come, make in India”, “Come, manufacture in India”. Sell in any country of the world but manufacture here. We have got skill, talent, discipline, and determination to do something. We want to give the world an favourable opportunity that come here, “Come, Make in India” and we will say to the world, from electrical to electronics, “Come, Make in India”, from automobiles to agro value addition “Come, Make in India”, paper or plastic, “Come, Make in India”, satellite or submarine “Come, Make in India”. Our country is powerful. Come, I am giving you an invitation.”

To India’s Young entrepreneurs

“Brothers and sisters, I want to call upon the youth of the country, particularly the small people engaged in the industrial sector. I want to call upon the youth working in the field of technical education in the country. As I say to the world “Come, Make in India”, I say to the youth of the country – it should be our dream that this message reaches every corner of the world, “Made in India”. This should be our dream.”
…..

To youngsters

“Brothers and Sisters, I would like to pose a question to my youngsters as to why despite them, we are forced to import even the smallest of things? My country`s youth can resolve it, they should conduct research, try to find out as to what type of items are imported by India and then each one should resolve that, through may be micro or small industries only, he would manufacture at least one such item so that we need not import the same in future. We should even advance to a situation wherein we are able to export such items. If each one of our millions of youngsters resolves to manufacture at least one such item, India can become a net exporter of goods. I, therefore, urge upon the youth, in particular our small entrepreneurs that they would never compromise, at least on two counts. First, zero defect and, second again zero effect. We should manufacture goods in such a way that they carry zero defect, that our exported goods are never returned to us. We should manufacture goods with zero effect that they should not have a negative impact on the environment. If we march ahead with the dream of zero defect in the manufacturing sector then, my brothers and sisters, I am confident that we would be able to achieve our goals.”

There can not be a better way of putting forth the case of manufacturing and its relevance for the real fast growth in manufacturing sector. But I as well as many well known columnists and economists also question if factually the call will bring manufacturing in focus of the entrepreneurs.
Sankar Acharya in Business Standard wrote, “The national polices required to bring about this resuscitation of manufacturing have yet to be announced or put in place in the critical areas of labour laws, the land acquisition law, infrastructure and skilling of the work force.”

William Pesek commented in Bloomberg, “ On Friday, he announced a bold scheme to turn India into a manufacturing superpower without providing any details- better infrastructure, less red tape, increased training- of how he might pull off such a feat. Talking about a manufacturing revolution that involves “zero imports” and “zero defects” is catchy gimmicky……The billion plus people need less talk from Modi and more action.”

If so, what should be the way out to make it happen effectively and fast enough, as it is a national necessity for employment as well as for many more things such as overall inclusive prosperity?

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Cars of Tomorrow: Electric Or Fuel Cell

Tesla and Electric Vehicles
It was Puchchu (Anand) who first introduced me to Tesla Motors and its founder Elon Musk. I never knew that it was Elon Musk who had bought the famous NUMMI plant producing GM and Toyota cars. I had visited the plant in 2008, when in US.

Anand had bought some shares of Tesla Motors, and he is one of those rare technocrat shareholders who keeps very close watch on the product and performance of the companies in which they invest.

Tesla S is the choicest vehicle for the auto enthusiasts and environmentalists too. The EV, unlike the internal combustion engine with hundreds of moving pieces, has only one moving piece: the rotor. Acceleration is instantaneous going to 60 miles per hour in 5.4 secs. Tesla S has been a great success.

Next models are X and E. Model X to come soon in production, will be more exhilarating.

Fast enough recharging of the vehicles is the technical hurdle for the users of the cars. Tesla Motors has already started establishing superchargers in large numbers to ease recharging in US and other countries that will have the prospective customers of Tesla Motors. These Superchargers provide half a charge in as little as 20 minutes.

As per the latest quarterly report in early August, ‘Tesla delivered 7,579 Model S vehicles in the last quarter, a bit above its forecast of 7,500. But Tesla has lowered its forecast for revenue and deliveries for the third quarter to 7,800 vehicles from 9,500, because it had to shut down its factory in Fremont, Calif., to install equipment in July. Tesla expects to ramp up production in the final three months of 2014 to reach its sales goal of 35,000.’

And further, ‘Tesla Motors and Panasonic signed an agreement to work together on building Tesla’s Gigafactory, which would be the world’s largest lithium-ion battery manufacturer when completed. The Gigafactory would also add about 6,500 jobs by 2020. The Gigafactory would cost as much as $5 billion to build. Panasonic is expected to initially invest 20 billion to 30 billion yen, or $194 to $291 million in Tesla Motors and invest the full $5 billion.Tesla X is already in plan of production. Earlier this month, chief executive Elon Musk confirmed the automaker’s next model, the Model 3. Priced at $35,000, the Model 3 is Tesla’s cheapest electric car and the company’s first attempt to cater to a wider range of customers.’

Tesla Motors aims to produce 1,00,000 cars a year by 2020.

Is EV going to be the ultimate in driving auto technology replacing the gasoline vehicles, as Élan Musk bets on?

I wanted to find out what other major car manufacturers think. Interestingly, I came across an equally prospective technology of fuel cell.

Toyota and Fuel Cell Mirai

Toyota Motors, the maker of the most popular Prius hybrid bets on fuel-cell cars over pure-electric vehicles, pushed by Tesla Motors Inc. and other like GM and Nissan. Toyota plans a hydrogen fuel cell car with sticker price of about 7 million yen ($69,000) for its first model based on the technology, Mirai which go on sale in Japan before April 2015.

Toyota has also been working hard to convince governments to offer massive purchase incentives to anyone willing to buy one. So far in its home market of Japan, Toyota has managed to convince the Japanese government to offer a massive ¥2 million ($20,000) to each and every customer who buys a Mirai, with certain prefectures pledging to add another ¥1 million of incentives on top of that. As reported, the Japanese government may be going one step further by underwriting the entire cost of early adopters’ cars. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is prepared to do whatever it takes to help Japan lead what he believes will be a hydrogen revolution.

Quoting Japan’s Nihon Keizai newspaper, Automotive News says a governmental panel is currently considering pushing that further, doing whatever it takes to help make hydrogen fuel cell cars a success. Among them, the Nihon Keizai claims, are free fuel for hydrogen fuel cell cars, exemptions from highway tolls and most noticeably, free cars.

The primary advantage hydrogen-powered vehicles have over EVs is that they are able to refuel in about the same time as a conventional gasoline-burning vehicle. However, there are currently only 12 station in the U.S., of which 10 are in California.

As reported, Toyota and Honda are gearing up to launch new hydrogen-powered vehicles in California and Hyundai began delivering its hydrogen-powered Tucson last month.

Toyota Mirai, named after the Japanese word for “future”, has so far only been known as the Toyota FCV (or “Fuel-Cell Vehicle”).Toyota is claiming around 300 miles of driving on a single tank of hydrogen. Toyota sees fuel-cell technology could be the next big technology to disrupt the classic combustion engine that propels most cars today.

But why is Toyota making such an aggressive move toward this technology and away from battery-electric cars? Simply put, Toyota thinks that current battery technology isn’t good enough, and there are no promising breakthroughs on the horizon.

Toyota’s research team has moved aggressively toward cars with fuel cells — so aggressively, that it has delayed the next-generation Prius in order to focus on the Mirai’s development.

So when Tesla Motors is betting on a pure battery car, giant Toyota has chosen another path, despite the success (so far) of upstart Tesla Motors.

One will have to wait to know who’s right?

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Powering India: Go Solar

Cary, NC, USA, July 1: One more home in Harmony community has gone solar, 24 modules of solar plates on the slanting roof matches with the original roof. I saw it happening in my morning walk. In US, there is hardly any power outage. Dependence on electricity is very high. Big refrigerator, washing/drying machine, air conditioning system, big ovens- all consume a lot of power. Electricity bills are high. Any saving on that is a major saving. The system will save anything between 60-100 percent of household energy requirement. The utility firm that supplies electricity will buy solar power generated. It will reduce or eliminate the bill for the home owner beside raising the sale value of the home. And American home owners are installing these rooftop solar system in big number in the states where the tariff is very high.

In California, the commercial businesses, from almond orchards in the Central Valley to hotels in San Francisco, are installing energy storage for backup power and to avoid costly charges for electricity during peak usage hours.

Palo Alto-based Tesla, best known for its all-electric Model S sedan, besides offering the residential energy storage units to customers through SolarCity, where Tesla CEO Elon Musk serves as chairman, Tesla is making much larger-scale energy storage systems for commercial businesses at its Fremont factory. With the lithium-ion battery technology, which powers Tesla’s cars, it aims at revolutionising both the electric vehicle and energy storage markets. And next to come is the Tesla’s “gigafactory”for battery production that is expected to produce more batteries than currently are being made globally. The batteries will not just be for Tesla’s cars but also for stationary storage.The customers including homeowners installing the system ultimately will get the storage systems fully connected to the electric grid of their local utility.

For a country like India that has acute shortage of power and too with unbearable climatic condition, the popularisation of roof top solar will be big saviour. New Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad, and the urban region of the whole of North India will be the best place to go for the revolution with clean energy through solar power.

However, the electricity supplying companies will have to cooperate in the project with a missionary zeal. Only genuine and strong solar energy providers with good accreditation must enter the sector, otherwise the users may find themselves cheated with false promises of advantages and poor quality of installations. The project will need a lot of education and marketing too.

As per the media reports, many states and cities in India are having the plan to go solar in phases. But it has still not reached the required momentum. And million of prospective clients in urban and rural areas are eagerly waiting to see solar helping them.

India can sort out its energy problem with solar route.The PM has called for a “saffron” revolution, or rather a shift away from the current fossil fuel based energy system towards one that is based on non-fossil fuels and in particular, solar energy.

Jaitley’s budget has hardly any mention on household rooftop solar installations. He perhaps skipped it as it would have meant further pressure of subsidy load of the government. But his power minister must discuss about the various problems in bringing about this energy revolution to cut down the grid load during peak hours, particularly in satellite towns such those in NCR that suffer most in summer.

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Budget and fast implementation

Many welcome news are coming from various ministers. Smriti Irani, while getting critical views from the leftist historian Romila Thapar, has appealed to all the directors of IITs to mentor some engineering colleges in the vicinity. If executed with concern, it will have multiplier effect on the quality of output of engineers graduating from those colleges. I wish she also pronounces the progress made. Gadkari is moving fast to restart the many road projects worth more than a lakh that are held up, soon. Gadkari further has promised to speed up the road construction to 30 kms per day. And that will mean 27,000 kms of highways by this government even if he considers 300 days in a year for just three years.

After all the announcements in various documents of different platforms, all the executive machinery must focus on fast implementation.

1. All the ministries must cut its flab of expenditures even without waiting for the report of the Expenditure Management Commission (EMC) that is to submit an interim report by year end to help in subsidy rationalisation and enhance the efficacy of public outlays. For a real change to come, the ministers must discuss cost-cutting, productivity and operational efficiencies. It is never late to learn. I wonder if the ministers and implementing bureaucrats get the assistance from the best brains on the subject even if it meant its import from private sector or abroad. They must appreciate the cost of poorly designed projects and that of inordinate delays.

2. The common people like me and many were expecting the government to identify and list out some visible acts and projects that will make the people to perceive the government working hard and efficiently to develop the country . By the end of 100 days, the new government must let the nation know at least 100 priority projects with its target and what percentage of the same will be completed by the end of first, second, third and fourth year. The country men will like to see the progress on ground. A special website will be the requirement.

I wish the government sees the reason behind this, as that will differentiate this government from the previous ones. All Indians are hankering for seeing the progress on projects such as bullet trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad or dedicated freight corridors, or for that matters the improving cleanliness all over India and clean Ganga. Indians will judge the government on basis of bringing the promised IITs, IIMs, and AIIMS in operation before the next election in 2019. Indians will not wait for five years to see the progress on promised actions of improvements, so they must be constantly informed.

3. As reported, if the government succeeds in getting amended various contentious labour legislations as initiated by Rajasthan, and strikes at the much-dreaded inspector raj successfully, it will certainly improve the poor perception about India as destination for operating an enterprise and doing the business.

4. The ministries will have to be proactive. The announcement of 49 percent FDI in defence production or lifting of the need of licences for manufacturing many defence equipment may also require special efforts from the concerned ministries to persuade the prospective investors to come and establish the manufacturing facilities. Perhaps foreign affairs ministry through embassies and consulates will have to work for marketing the potential of India. Perhaps, Modi will have to discuss with the heads of Wipro, HCL, or Airtel why could not they expand the manufacturing of hard wares that they were already manufacturing and why did they abandoned manufacturing or hived off the business. Manufacturing will require something more than just policies to become competitive. Modi may have to motivate all the manufacturing PSUs such as BHEL, BEL, or BMEL to become world class giants in its fields, may have to encourage them for developing products of world class quality and to target exporting at least 30 percent.

5. Ministers such as those in Telecom, Aviation, or Heavy Industry must stop providing budgetary support to PSUs instead they must a clear signal to perform or perish. PSUs must not be supported year after year to live on their inefficiencies. Why should not BSNL or MTNL take up the task of reaching the target of connecting all cities, small towns and rural India with high speed broad band? Can’t India tap the potential of IT sector and its talent by providing the world class digital connectivity? Indians, particularly the young users, will certainly expect India to have world class infrastructure in this field from tech- savvy Modi. Why should not Modi government fast track the national optic fibre network (NOFN) ?

Let the government perform with a missionary zeal.. Implementation……Implementation …….. Implementation…

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