Posted in Personal Stories

The Outsourcing storm ..

obama oscar pic

Last week, there was a furore in India over the US President Barack Obama’s perceived anti-Bangalore-outsourcing statements at a meeting to discuss  US tax policies in the White House. The President was speaking about International Tax Reform, and mentioned flaws in US tax policies that favour companies outsourcing jobs over those that don’t.

Reactions to his statements and tremors were felt everywhere –at home, on TV, in the front page of the daily newspaper and in coffee time chats in office. There was outrage in various sections of the media, with everyone proclaiming “Obama is at it again!”, and criticism of the US president’s anti outsourcing  Obama-isms. The NASSCOM issued a statement that the Indian IT industry is doing quite good, and there is no danger from the newly proposed tax policies of the US.  All this brouhaha piqued my curiosity, and I was inspired to a bit of research on my own.

Agreed, these are competitive times, and everyone wants to be at the top of the pyramid. Yet, we have to acknowledge that Obama has an axe to grind against the outsourcing industry, especially when US is in the midst of the recession. Americans are losing jobs in millions, to be exact – their economy lost another 539,000 jobs in the month of April. So, he is just doing his job. Also, the tirade is not against Bangalore, but an expression of frustration towards a phenomena which has cost thousands of Americans their jobs and livelihoods.

In the last fifty years, there has been a radical shift from the old “Manufacturing Based” economy, to a new “Information Based” economy. The major force of a company is now intangible assets like knowledge, intellect, creativity and brain power.. “…In an information-based economy, it is this human capital and knowledge that creates worth for the firm.”  There is a relentless pursuit to hire and sustain employees which are of high technical value and a level of completion which the industry has never seen before. Under these circumstances, off shoring jobs to skilled personnel in foreign nations seemed to be the obvious choice for many of them. It is all the more relevant at a time when companies are scuttling to aggressively cut costs and boost profits.

However, off shoring is not the crux of all White house economic woes. And coming back to Obama’s original statement about Bangalore, we have a lot to infer from it. I read the text of his statement, and he is talking about the flaws in the tax policies of his country –“… it’s a tax code that says you should pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India, than if you create one in Buffalo, New York.” The mention of “Bangalore”  here is not just alliteration, but is symbolic of India’s coming of age in the global economy, and how it is beginning to be perceived as a threat to a Global superpower – both in terms of human resource and technology. We have indeed come a long way – though we still have a long way to go!

Life is like that, and someone’s loss is someone else’s gain. However, we have precious lessons to learn from this. If the world is flat, then it is flat for everyone. So its very easy for fortunes to change – if the opportunities are there for you, there they are there for everyone else too!.. You have to be competitive or critical, differentiate or die – and this is what will give us the edge in the future. We might be competitive under the current circumstances, but we need to move towards becoming critical in terms of ideas, technology, competency and resources.  And the pace at which things are moving, we need to evolve fast!  We need to breed our own Yahoo!s and Googles – because in this laissez-faire and unforgiving economy, the only exclusive competitive advantage you can have  is a brilliant and original idea!!

A link to the President’s address is here:

Posted in Personal Stories

The Great Indian Voter

india logo

The verdict is out, and  celebrations are in!

The India Election has surprised everyone with the hugely intelligent and level-headed output that the millions of voters have given. It has reaffirmed our faith in the Indian parliamentary and Democratic form of government which had taken a beating over the last few decades. It has also dispelled all doubts and banished the depressing possibility of a hung Parliament. We will now have a strong and decisive government when we need it most – in the middle of an economic meltdown and a stormy neighbourhood.

Just few weeks ago, scores of scribes and intellectuals were lamenting the possibility of a fractured mandate and impotent government in the middle of an economic crisis. There was the shocking possibility of a dogmatic Left calling the shots, and fears of a government led by the Left which is any industry’s nightmare come true. In the middle of all this was an arrogant and cocksure BJP which refused to budge from its communal overtures, promising the Ram Temple at every opportune moment and supporting a malignant Varun Gandhi for his hate inducing rants. And of course – a bevy of regional parties eyeing a shot at national power, after extracting their pond of flesh. The scene at ground zero was pessimistic at best and catastrophic at worst.

Political discussions and vote bank analysis essentially proved that the mandate would be caste or religion based. The assumption was that the affiliations of most Indians could be flipped and turned around by whipping up rhetoric – pitching the X community against Y, and capitalizing of the peoples’ insecurities. This let to a retrospection – are we a defunct democracy, bitterly divided by narrow domestic walls?.

The verdict yesterday dispelled all doubts. It proved that here is logic behind the thinking of a million minds, and a method behind the madness. The Indian voter can think with a national purpose, and rise above narrow differences. The Indian voter can recognize false promises and blatant rhetoric, rewarding sincere purpose and good governance. It has also proved that the electorate understands the enormity of tasks which lie ahead, and is in no mood for experimentation. It has rejected all communalists, dogmatics, double-crossers, megalomaniacs and foul mouthed dragons, voting for continuity and smooth transition.

I know this post sounds too pro-Congress, but let me tell you – I am no big fan of the Indian National Congress . The Congress party has lots of flaws, and most of its critics are not wrong when they say that it is dynastic. That “Who Rajiv Gandhi fell in love with?” should determine the destiny of an entire nation is not very commendable – it’s anyone’s guess. However, the fact that the Congress party’s Gandhi heirs rose to the occasion is commendable. They have shown a sense of commitment and gracefulness in politics which dynasties aren’t much known for, and which hasn’t been shown by the other Gandhis in the BJP!. The basic ideology of development and secularism which Congress unwaveringly stands for is what bodes well for the country, and gives hope that we will be able to tide over and rise high in these difficult times.

The mandate is out and with a highly educated Prime minister at the helm, it is a time for the Government to pull up its’ sleeves and get down to work. It has a long way to go and should begin with the cognizance – power corrupts and victory has many friends .It has finally got a chance to work unfettered without nosy allies and interfering Toms, and should make the best use of it.

Plaudits to the Indian voter for this sage verdict. Take a bow!

Posted in Personal Stories

Just a thought..

thought cloud

I like to feel my mind abuzz,
With thoughts filled to the brink…
And I can, at my leisure pick..
My favorite thought to think!!!

Its not anything I wish to achieve,
Nor any conclusion to make..
Its just sheer exhilaration,
“Thinking” for Thinking’s sake!!

My thoughts, they give me company..
When I am lonely or blue..
They speak of unspoken aspirations,
They weave me dreams anew!!..

And I never cease be amazed..
As I analyze their trend..
Of how they end with no beginning..
And have beginnings with no end!!!