The November #DeMo created a sudden change in the social, political and economic dynamics of the country. The crisis like situation created panic in the masses and chaos in many parts of the country. The face of a leader who they had worshiped suddenly crashed worlds and disappeared abroad. Opposition leaders had to come out on the streets to interact with people as a confidence building measure.
It’s the changing dynamics of the socio-political and economic environment that creates the need for a charismatic leader. The situation in 2016-17 looked at the young leadership of Rahul Gandhi as someone who reached out. Leaders like Mamata Banerjee and local leaders also drew a huge response.
It was such charisma that Narendra Modi had displayed in 2013 in the run-up to come to power, with his slogan ‘acche din aagaye’. The 2013 promise collapsed completely with one swift act.
Modi has adopted a transactional and autocratic style of leadership. He appealed to his voters through rewards and punishment as is shown in the policy on #DeMo. Also, he appealed to a certain section by showing them their self-interest and gain.
In contrast Rahul Gandhi used the transformational style effectively as evident in his speeches. His motivational speeches appealed to a sense of right and wrong. He worked on the moral appeal where millions were impoverished with one policy and hundreds died. He works on the concept of good for the group.
Both leaders have used emotional appeal to achieve a higher goal. Modi appealed for the good coming out of #DeMo, (which really is a fake or illusory picture he has painted) and would be believed only through an emotional appeal.
Rahul Gandhi’s emotional appeal is through the suffering of millions and how grouping to protest against an insensitive despot would lead to progress of nation. In short, that is the emotional appeal. This engagement of his follower’s beliefs and values that they hold close to them, makes his personal following really vast. Of course, being young and charming also helps.
Gandhi has challenged the status quo and asked followers to help him create a new order, so as to speak. He has pointed out the flaws brought out by #DeMo. He creates a vision of a free and fearless society & helps the followers experience passion and motivation to help achieve this vision. A remarkable difference is evident in his election speeches. Gandhi also uses Christian concept of love to reach out to his followers. His appeal is to service or servant leadership, which is required where a large number of followers are ‘garib’ or poor.
Modi, on the other hand is more and more removed from public reach. He uses the media to reach out to public to talk of irrelevant issues. For instance, his first ‘mann ki baat’ in 2017 discussed laughter and importance of laughing. None of his speeches since #DeMo expressed sympathy for those who died as an impact of #DeMo or apologized for the ill effects of the policy. He is a leader who chooses to wear rose coloured glasses and not only sees but also shows a mirage of progress.
Both leaders have made effective use of mass media to reach out to public. Their charisma makes people trust them as a political leader from a distance, in spite of having little personal knowledge about them. The technology that we have and is in use promotes closer interaction that people now have with their leaders; thus increasing their appeal.
The consciously developed charismatic style of leadership is more tailored to relate to and appeal to a mass following than developed only from personal characteristic as such. Social media and networks bring leaders closer to people. The use of social media to target people has led to adulation, devotion and bands of loyal followers. The relationship with the leader becomes less distant and is through the handheld now – just a tweet away. This makes it easier for a charismatic leader to bond with the people, as that is what increases his circle of influence. We are witnessing just that in the run-up to state assembly elections.
I have been observing elections over the years and the most coverage we have of polls is now through various media, such as TV, internet based media and print. A person in Kerala is now aware of the factionalism in UP at the moment it happens or is announced on media. The events unfold live and is followed by every member of the public. Thus the challenges that leaders face multiply as they need to be accountable and answerable real time. That is evident in the number of TV appearances put up. In fact while Rahul was campaigning in UP and Uttarakhand; the bjp put senior leaders on TV live to counter his charges. So cared are they of his charismatic approach, that they had to be told ‘daro mat’.
There is pressure of constant public attention and maintaining a public image takes its toll sometimes. Only a leader with a highly charismatic style will survive this challenge. However, for the charisma to work, the message he communicates will have to be relevant. A distant future which the poor don’t believe that they will ever see; a redemption that will never happen will not help. Only time will tell whether either leader will deliver.
It started with me taking my work online. I started an online business. Not e-commerce but custom developed elearning products. All I used was my laptop; Wi-Fi /internet connection; apps like skype; Bitrix (free version collaboration software like intranet); and email. I also purchased software to produce custom elearning solutions. I got clients through online networking. I got paid online via NEFT. Not PayPal. I hired vendors online via freelancer sites or personal networking. I paid my vendors online. Both via PayPal and NEFT.
I earn online. I purchase online. I shop at sites like Amazon and Big Basket or Zop Now. I pay via net banking or debit card. I get good delivered to my doorstep. I purchase health care products online. I can get milk, eggs, bread online.
I apply for utilities like LPG & MTNL online. I pay my electricity bill and other utility bills online. I recharge my pre-paid mobile numbers online. I pay the maid online.
I can even book taxi cabs online in case I need to travel. Now, Ola even has helicopter booking online!
I don’t even need to step out of the house.
If I am living my life with only digital transactions, why am I against cashlessness?
I am not against cashlessness, per se. I am against the process in which it has been imposed upon the country. I did not require a sudden jolt to switch to cashlessness. I did it gradually over the past two years. How many years will a person who leads a life like running a shop; going to market; eating panipuri or chat (which I miss) or buying veggies from the sabji mandi take to switch to digital payment modes. If he is in an area where merchants are switching to digital mode quickly, he is lucky. Else he will have to hunt for that panipuri guy who accepts PayTM.
Demonetization was a sudden ruthless move which left millions bereft of legal tender in fifteen minutes alone. Hard earned cash was declared illegal. Millions rushed to banks to exchange the old one thousand rupees notes and five hundred rupees notes with new notes of two thousand rupees and other denominations.
Did that help in switching to cashlessness? No, it didn’t. Shopkeepers were forced to invest in POS and in urban areas, they did. So that at least they get paid for goods. Or they switched to PayTM – a controversial platform. It suddenly had Chinese investors and some transaction issues.
What is the usage of PayTM is all digital transactions in India? Over 30.34 lakh rural users and a total of over 7 million transactions daily with a value of over 120 crore and growing.
Others are switching to mobile payment platforms, like Mobi Qwik; Airtel Wallet; Idea Money among others. Estimated users of cashless methods are over one crore. In a population of over 200 crore, that is not even a fraction of the population.
The sectors affected are mainly SME’s and rural agro based sectors. Millions of traders and small businesses in Mumbai pay meagre salaries in cash or cheque. Many were unable to pay cash salary. Those who got cheque were unable to withdraw. Transportation has taken the major toll. Autos and taxi drivers’ incomes nose-dived for a while. Their unions are actually mulling introducing POS or PayTM system in cabs and autos. The local grocer started giving credit. The food vendors were unable to return change. The newspaper guy had to take paper on credit. The milk man too had issues with milk token dispersal, usually done against cash.
The local paanwalas started having shortage of supplies. The STD-ISD booth guy reported loss of business. The domestic helps did not have bank accounts. The number of shop boys and delivery boys who were floundering for jobs, tips and cash is countless. Hotel business is suffering as well. These are the small support systems which form the lacy mosaic of our daily lives. They are interwoven threads, where if one breaks, the mosaic collapses. Hundreds of vendors and stall walas who come from rural areas or areas close to metros and operate a thela were left with extra stock and no way to sell stock. The daily labor in smaller construction houses; casual labor like carpenters and electricians were affected badly. Tourists were stuck across the country.
The PM claimed:
- Black money will be caught – Several IT raids took place and huge amounts were uncovered. But were these due to Demonetization? These were procedural raids, where information was with IT department, prior to Demonetization. In fact introduction of this policy made no difference to acquiring black money.
- Terrorism will subside – November alone saw four major attacks 2 in J& K and 2 in the north east, namely Assam and Manipur.
- Cashlessness will rise – It did. People were left without a choice. They had to switch to a little bit unsafe mode such as PayTM, and digital wallets. However, to use digital wallets, digital literacy is a must. Most people are barely able to use their mobiles, let alone transact with it. One village alone took more than three months to understand digital payments. There are six lakh villages in India, suddenly deprived of cash. What will they do? The government has adopted only one lakh villages with a population of over 10,000 to be given only two POS.
Meanwhile, the banking issues that took place when the notes were scrapped –
- Banks did not have enough alternative currency to replace the scrapped notes.
- Banks in number were far and fewer compared to number of customers.
- ATM’s had to be recalibrated.
- Withdrawal limits were imposed.
- Queues were unimaginably long with scores falling ill and over 100 dead due to queues or inability to get cash for medicine.
- To date there is complete confusion about exchange and deposits.
- Corruption in banks.
- Large number of fake accounts are opened to convert black to white.
- Banks have more money than they can handle.
- Banks quickly offer loans increasing indebtedness and creating the debt cycle. Can loans save a company which is unable to sell as customers are unable to buy? No, once again a cycle of bad loans will be created.
- 2000/- note was introduced without proper legislation. Not yet acceptable in foreign banks, such as Nepal Bank.
- Although withdrawal limit is increased individual banks give subjective amounts to customer as per their available savings.
- Rural banks don’t receive cash for days creating riots and stampedes.
- Cash gets over really fast
- RBI changes rules 150 times. An institution like RBI stands totally discredited as it bans its own legal tender. In turn, the other non-banned instruments get treated with suspicion. It loses all credibility when it agrees to print 2000/- note without proper legislative order. Or when the notes come out with different shades and sizes.
- Banks raked up bad debts and now manipulated the situation such as to create huge deposits and thus increase capital. This capital used by nationalized banks to create NPA’s. Also to give more loans. The cycle will only get more vicious.
- Digital transactions cost customers. Each transaction has a %charge. If all payment is via transactions, a customer stands to pay an unfair amount.
- Banks are opening accounts quickly without authenticating the KYC documents.
- All transactions via VISA/Mastercard attract foreign fees for the banks. RUPay cards help retain money in India. Awareness of this is nil.
What is the ideal process for introducing a policy which impacts lives of all, mind you, all citizens and NRI’s and foreign businesses as well as consulates?
- Ideally the government should consult with its cabinet and President. It should call for a meeting with the opposition to inform its decisions.
- The policy should further be opened to debate (even after enforcing) in the parliament. All related ordinances should be introduced as bills and ratified by both houses to be made into law.
- A government cannot and should not be working on the basis of ordinances.
In introducing this policy, Modi has circumvented norms and showed how high handed and despotic he can be. He has completely disregarded administrative and legal and parliamentary procedures. As per reports, he neither consulted his cabinet nor followed any advice to the contrary. Nor did the government debate the policy in the Lok Sabha. The government did not answer any questions so far. Government has not acknowledged deaths due to the policy. Government has made itself unaccountable to the people of the country, its citizens who voted it to power!
Modi has blinded the people into supporting Demonetization as a positive outlook and with attitude changing measures. It is an emotional appeal rather than an appeal to logic and reason. It is that kind of corporate approach that is brought out only by the likes of Trump. USA has never in 200 years, demonetized its currency. India in its 68 years has demonetized more than twice.
What are the welfare measures government undertook to compensate for the ill impact of the policy?
- Schemes for farmers, senior citizens and pregnant women (read weaker sections).
- Housing loans.
When were these announced?
- At the end of fifty days after cash crunch was still not over.
- PM had no real answers to the concerns and questions raised by opposition.
- Too much damage was done.
Petrol price has been raised thrice since Nov 8 when the Demonetization policy was announced. The inflated prices first sunk and then rose three times as much.
A hare brained scheme of BHIM app and Aadhar number to be used as EAAPOS has been introduced to enable digital payments. These have been done in a hurry without testing or checking loopholes.
The questions which remain are
- How much scamming will take place through mobile banking apps?
- How much money will be taken out as transaction charges by apps and banks, when previously cash transactions had none?
- How long will citizens be harassed for holding and exchanging cash which is a legal banking requirement? Cash transactions even the smallest amount are being viewed with suspicion.
- How many months till cash crunch is over and citizens are returned their property or money?
- Will the economy recover within six months as promised by the finance minister?
- Was the percentage of black money unearthed due to demonetization or prior knowledge? Also, how come only BJP had black money? In spite of prior information? Did BJP try to falsify numbers by declaring or getting caught in order to prove the scheme a success?
- Why has JIO scheme been extended to March 31st? Will the withdrawal limits also be extended to March 31st?
- Does the government have an economic measure of the amount of loss? How many jobs have been lost due to Demonetization?
- What about the fundamental rights to property which has been so blatantly violated as a policy of this kind has been brought into effect? This right cannot be suspended without declaration of emergency or by view of policy. What is the SC doing in this regard?
- The congress released a booklet of facts and demands –http://www.pci.inc.in/In-Focus/865/Demonetisation-is-Modi-made-disaster
- News articles published since Demonetization esp in HT and Indian Express
- Twitter thread @karunasanghvi (since Nov )
On the job training requirement is high in a dynamic workplace where the paradigms are constantly shifting. All employees upskill; reskill and constantly learn workplace related skills.
At the same time, most employees spend personal time to learn more. Or have to take time from a busy work day to meet compliance requirements for reskilling or training. Not very motivational, is it?
Imagine at the end of a stressed day, when they are probably in crowded transport places or traffic jams or even home with family, the employee has to spend time learning or refreshing a skill, which may or may not be immediately applicable. How would you tackle this demotivation apart from strategies implemented by gamification aficionados?
In my experience, the biggest issue with on the job training is the time required. Whether it is blended learning or elearning, time spent on training is always factored into ROI and impacts results and cost. The best training that has maximum ROI is the ten minute content module with check points. I firmly believe that a course should be delivered only as ten minute chunks with one concept exploration.
- Course of 75 slides with 5-6 modules including quiz or excluding quiz.
- One module would be 12-15 slides with 2-3 check points.
- Applicable seat time or module time would be ten-12 minutes depending on the learning pace.
- Each 10 minute capsule would have at least one or two concepts explained and tested.
What are the advantages of this approach?
- It is suitable to all platforms and all types of internet connectivity.
- It does not stress out the user
- Less but relevant information increases learning retention
- Time consumed on learning is less.
- Learner motivated as it is anytime learning; anywhere learning; anyhow learning; and possible to use while travelling, or in short breaks.
Content strategy for 10 minute modules has to be very detailed. As each module will have to target a learning objective with content tailored to meet it. The content must be carefully chosen so as to best explain the concept in the shortest possible time.
Use of interactivity and multimedia will also have to be worked in. Use videos of not more than 45 seconds and only if they contain highly relevant points, which will enhance concept. Or meet with objective requirements. Interactivities, like drag and drop should be minimal, while click to view can be high or hotspot activity would be more effective.
At idesigngyan, I design and develop ten minute capsules with Storyline 2 for short skills and for hard information based courses. For fully customized courses, fill in the contact form or call me./ skype me.
Internet is flooded with articles, esp. the US press, about how the Chinese garlic is flooding the US and how harmful it is.
Let’s list some facts
- 80% of world’s garlic supplies are from China.
- Chinese garlic is cheaper
- Chinese garlic bulbs are processed before being imported. Thus, they appear whiter, do not have roots and look ‘pretty’
- Chinese garlic is hurting all local garlic producers, be it in California-US; Western India and Australia. Everywhere local garlic farmers are competing with Chinese garlic. Prices differ by almost 60%
Let’s list some claims
- According to an Indian biotechnologist, interviewed by TV9 (Gujrati channel) in 2010, Chinese garlic is hybrid garlic. Hybrid garlic contains enhanced levels of ABCA1 protein, which leads to diseases.
- According to foreign press, Chinese garlic contains insecticides. Namely, methyl bromide which leads to high toxicity. Regular exposure to methyl bromide, which is used as a fumigating agent, both on garlic plant and wood packaging can lead to nausea; respiratory and kidney trouble and pulmonary edema among other illnesses. However, there is no published study available about how much and whether all Chinese garlic contains this pesticide. Further, as per 1987 Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances, the chemical is expected to be phased out.
- Further, FDA in USA has not declared Chinese garlic as unsafe in spite of similar reports in American press.
Some action taken on Chinese garlic imports
- Govt. of India has banned the import of Chinese garlic as far back as 2005, when consignments were found to contain fungal disease garlic bulb canker. No news of whether the ban on garlic was lifted at a later stage with fresh consignments
- However, Chinese garlic was flooding sabzi mandis in Gujrat and other regions as late as 2011. This garlic was being imported from Nepal, Bangladesh and other countries.
- In October 2016, APMC market in Vashi claims that garlic prices are impacted both by rains and by low supply from China. (DNA Report)
- There is no mention of garlic containing methyl bromide in the Indian market. Chinese garlic is a variety of garlic imported in India via Nepal.
My conclusion is that a large part of garlic wars in India and even in different parts of the world are caused by
- Price wars. Chinese garlic is cheaper. Availability of Chinese garlic makes it difficult for local farmers to sell their garlic, which is priced higher.
- In USA, California garlic competes with Chinese garlic on supermarket shelves and suffers as it is priced higher.
- In India, China is widely seen as flooding the market with fake and inferior quality products. This is true for garlic as well, as Chinese garlic is sometimes bulbous. Also, it is believed to be made pretty looking by a process of bleaching.
- Patriotic fervour – China is widely believed to have supported Pakistan. People in HP demanded a boycott of Chinese garlic among other goods, esp. in the wake of the Uri attack
- Make in India campaign – A sharp dissent on foreign goods has been witnessed esp. among traders
- Rise in organic farming – Organic farming has led to consumer favouring local grown pesticide free garlic.
Key Sources are hyperlinked in the article.
Have you ever seen pigeons cooling off near falling water? They are really cute. They lift their wings and lean their underside towards the water. A little away and not directly under as they hate getting their primaries wet. Or have you seen pigeon siblings slap each other really hard for space to sleep on a pipe or on the feeding ground? They lift their wings and hit the other pigeon hard. Have you watched how a mother bird guides younger pigeons away with ghuttar goos or tiny pecks on their heads? Have you seen immature birds screaming at the mother birds fighting for space in feeding bowls? I guess not, as most of us don’t want to feed pigeons – the urban pests- anymore.
Ofcourse humans domesticated them for acting as messenger birds or collecting the feathers they shed everyday or for bringing warmth to cold days. Pigeons, when they fly create breeze and bring joy. But most of us can’t appreciate them. They have become carriers of various illnesses as their life in urban areas has been degraded the most. They eat cement and grit because we dont want kabutar khanas. They drink water from chemical laced outlets. They breathe and fly in air full of urban pollutants. We forget that we made these beautiful creatures into pests. It’s sad.
Pigeons prefer heights to small trees, as heights keep them away from urban sounds. High open ledges allow them to fly off easily. There are more places to hide and seek shelter from weather and predators. They fly away from humans and only close contact with pigeons may lead to getting some illness, if they are are carriers. Don’t you think most of us would be really ill if all pigeons carried illnesses?
It had to happen. A society member suggested that I stop feeding the birds (read pigeons mainly) because they poop. Well, they will poop even if I don’t feed them.
On further enquiry, I learnt that one of the neighbours with a flat directly below mine found them noisy while feeding, which lasts less than fifteen minutes twice a day. It got me thinking hard.
I started listening to the sounds around me. There is loudspeaker namaaz five times a day heard by the entire area. God forbid, you need rest on a Friday afternoon, because some highly angry Muslim preacher speaks on current issues for two to three hours after one p.m. Then, there is some wedding venue nearby where loud music is the norm and festivals are also celebrated with gusto. There are some welding and steel workshops in the vicinity. Firecrackers often go off at a film studio nearby. Hey, I live in a noisy area. And of course, there is traffic. So, why do all these noises seem more acceptable than a little ghuttargoo from the birds. It’s a wonder that these birds hang out here at all, considering the sounds. Among others, there are crows, ravens, kites, kingfishers, drongos , bee-eaters, orioles, sparrows and robins, egrets and innumerable other small birds not to mention tabelas full of cows and buffaloes, small patches with goats and pigs. And the dogs. A stray dog howling was chased out with a stick as it was noisy.
Since when have sounds of animal and bird life become so alien that they disturb our peace?
Why is a little poop dirty and gutters full of chemicals acceptable? Why are Frooti packs and plastic bags ok to throw on the ground but bird seed or poop lying on the ground a bit unacceptable? In spite of living close to a forested area, we as humans are not able to live in harmony with nature.
I felt sad as I found about this issue. I don’t think that arguing passionately about my cause is going to sensitize them to nature. And preaching most definitely won’t. We need to conduct more nature sensitivity workshops in urban areas instead of taking people to forests and camp there or go for long nature trails and conduct slide shows. A creative way will have to be found to solve this problem.
Lately, I have a fan base among the pigeons. I started a bird feeder for pigeons. Luckily, there is no rule against it here, unlike Hiranandani Estate where they ban residents from allowing pigeons and plants outside your windows or flats. When I saw a group of pigeons hovering around, I was reminded of the kabutar khanas in South Mumbai, where the floors are always laced with jowar and hundreds of pigeon ghutargoo. I used to like standing and watching them eat there. It’s incredibly peaceful to hear them ghuttargoo and feel the breeze that fluttering wings create. I wondered if I could recreate the experience.
There was no pigeon feed in the kitchen. I pulled out a small bowl of rice grains and kurmura. The rice grains vanished in a few seconds. The kurmura or puffed rice was rejected. Until a merry white dove with a large pink beak came along. Either the dove was hungry or well, it had a preference for kurmura. It pecked the kurmura into oblivion. Well, here’s a bird that likes kurmura and it was pretty to watch, with it’s large pink beak.
I repeated the ritual the next day. Once again, all the pigeons stuck to the rice. The white dove, when it tried to peck the rice, was harassed by the black rock pigeons. So, it opted for the kurmura.
Now, I decided to get them some jowar. Oh, the pigeons came in hordes. Ten, may be twenty pigeons flew in from all directions. Jowar was the preferred feed. They went ghuttar ghoo; ghuttar ghoo. A family of white doves joined them. The younger white doves were now ignored as there was plenty of feed. However, the white ones did not opt for the kurmura, except for the one with the large beak, which did not look like it belonged to the family. Soon enough another large white spotted dove sailed in. Elegant with long neck, where flecks of black feathers were visible. It strutted around ignoring the rest with their heads bent, pecking at the feed. Finally, it decided the feed was good enough for it to try. As soon as it started pecking though, the other pigeons attacked its wings. And it flew off.
Discrimination is a part of nature’s survival guide. It tells you – are they different? Then, chase them away. They may get more food if they are not around. Are they attractive? Then, attack them. Are they injured or weak or disabled? Then, ignore them. Are they not like you? Then don’t accept them. God seems to prefer that they hang out in homogeneous groups. Well…I wish God would rewrite the survival guide.
God’s Revised Survival Guide for the Pigeons (a few pointers) –
- Don’t fight for food.
- Accept everybody. Let each eat what it can.
- Don’t hang around construction sites.
- Don’t think of cement or broken bricks as soil.
- Watch out where you peck.
- Don’t play with plastic.
- Don’t think that the garbage dumps are where humans put out their feed for you.
- Don’t build nests on buildings. The nasty humans might clean you out.
- Tall buildings are not trees and man is not God. He will destroy your nests and bee hives. He will also sell your honey.
- Be ready to eat what humans give you. As what you were given as Nature, was grabbed by humans for his fields and later factories.
- Humans will even use nets, guns and scarecrows to chase you out. So, learn to live amicably with them and wait for what they give.
- Always try to be on the good side of the human.
Of course, feeding pigeons daily has its drawbacks. Here’s a guideline:
- Make sure you have the right kind of feed.
- Make sure there is plenty. At least a bowlful and not a handful.
- Fix a time. The pigeons will come there daily at feed time.
- Be punctual. Else they will ghuttar ghoo till you respond in kind or feed them.
- Soon, they will think that you are a ‘dine –in’ and come at all times and ghuttar ghoo. They also have menu preferences, so be prepared to have your feed ignored. They will crane their necks left and then right and then peek at you with their orange beady eyes, pleading for more.
- Don’t feel bad when they ghuttar ghoo intensely and stare at you really hard and beg. Don’t melt, else your week’s stock of feed will disappear in a minute.
- Make sure your neighbours feed them as well. So, you feel les guilty when a few late comers straddle in. They can always hop over to the next window.
- Keep a little feed till the rest of them fly away. A few immature ones and the albinos or the mulatos (black with white feathers or the white with black feathers) will hang back. Then, sneakily spread the rest of the feed.
- Keep some kurmura at hand. You never know, which one prefers kurmura.