Politically Incorrect


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Politically Incorrect

  1. 1. Politically Incorrect Abhinav Tyagi “Today's problems cannot be solved if we still think the way we thought when we created them” - Albert Einstein -
  2. 2. Preface Being obsessive compulsive can be good or bad. In my case, hopefully, it has yielded a positive outcome. Born to an economist father and a historian mother, I was brought up with the values of social justice and idealism. It was not as much about my parents’ educational backgrounds but about their value systems that I have witnessed till date. They have never ever preached anything but I have mostly seen them do the right things. It is only when I started living alone and traveled to a few places that I began to have issues with my own internal beliefs. I was not able to reconcile how my parents lived their lives, with how a lot of other people did. Till the day I lived with my parents, I (naively) thought that everyone else leads his/her life the same way. I was about to rise to a rude awakening. As I interacted with people from various walks of life, such as, business owners, corporate managers, farmers, doctors, engineers, scientists, marines, policemen, traders, artists, motivational speakers, event planners, restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, academicians, policy makers, students, office clerks, socialites, car mechanics, housemaids, investment bankers, financial advisors, Wall street thought leaders, ministers (religious), software programmers, authors, sports persons, cab drivers, postmen, vegetable vendors, air stewardess, radio jockeys and lawyers, I started becoming aware of the realities of life. This interaction provided me a 360- degree view of our society and the world, at large. Even though, at times, the tone of this book may seem politically incorrect (and even idealistic), it may be noted that I have not discounted my interactions with a variety of folks in all kinds of places. The idea is to accurately communicate the ground problems and offer solutions without biases and adulterations. This book caters primarily to young students in colleges (and universities) and hopes to inspire a sense of awareness of and responsibility towards the world we live in. It does not cater to any special interest groups, organizations or institutions. I sincerely hope and believe that this book will also strike cords with folks from different walks of life who through their life experiences have developed certain value systems, and this book should provide structure and a voice to their thoughts. Neither am I an expert on the topics discussed in the book nor
  3. 3. do I claim to be one, but the book tries to develop a holistic understanding of our world, its people and its institutions, and also tries to explore out-of-the-box solutions to some of the global issues we face today. This book was not authored in a library of an Ivy League school or a cozy corporate office or even a political leader's mansion. The meat for this book, instead, is derived by interacting with people from different cultures, nationalities, professions, age groups, social & economic strata and societal groups (activists, military etc). The book has made a sincere effort to reflect the feelings, thoughts and ideas of the above mentioned people and of course, the author. Those who have a restless energy in them that keeps nudging them to speak their hearts out, to make this world a better place, should find a great outlet to their thoughts and feelings through this book. If this book is able to reinforce, in even one individual, an obsession for social justice and an inspiration for building a more peaceful and progressive world, I would consider this book a success. I also hope to reach out to the wealthy and the powerful, to encourage them to pro actively involve themselves with making this world a better place. Throughout the book, I have tried to be as objective and concise as possible and avoided any real world examples that would invite any unnecessary controversies. This book is not a diatribe or a preaching manual (I am myself a work-in-progress) but a sincere effort has been made to cut to the chase and put things in black and white without worrying about political correctness. I hope that this book can resonate with you and help you develop a more holistic perspective of our world, its people and its institutions. The book does not claim to offer any earth- shattering information but is a humble effort to inspire, provoke and rally change in your perspective, on our world and on your role in it. You (the reader) are the most important entity and I hope you will find this book thoughtful. Thanks in advance for reading. With warm regards, Abhinav Tyagi
  4. 4. Acknowledgements Inspiration for this book came from the two years spent on the idyllic University of Maine campus and the terrific people I met there. That environment helped me to assimilate my experiences during the years of my under and un employment. My parents and sister also helped me with the necessary encouragement and stood by me during those difficult years. Genuine appreciation and valuable guidance accorded by Honbl. Nicholas P. Heymann, an alumnus of my school (and a very well respected Wall Street Analyst), during my years at the University of Maine, was also instrumental in making this venture possible. Last but not the least, this book is also very much a result of the free spirit of self expression that is the essence of United States of America, and which leaves no one with an open mind, untouched.
  5. 5. CONTENTS 1. Creators, Operators, Mediators and Talkers 2. Duality in human existence 3. Water is the new Oil 4. Energy: Elixir of Economy 5. Healthcare 6. Education 7. Microfinance: The quiet revolution that is about to take off 8. Decentralized development: An engine for equitable growth 9. The Fiber of Prosperity 10. Global Youth: Opportunity or Threat? 11. If the environment is screwed nothing else really matters 12. Don't do charity 13. Specialize for Peace 14. Re inventing the Government Administrative machinery 15. Re Branding the Government 16. Measuring Government Performance 17. Its all about Political Will 18. Accountability, Accountability, Accountability 19. The Right Cabinet 20. Building Value Systems Top Down 21. The concept of Nations, Democracy & Power 22. Credits where they are due 23. Bare your soul 24. What is Success? 25. Integrity is Integrated 26. Lets do it Now!
  6. 6. Quick Brush up on the Chapters The book is not at all meant as a preaching guidebook or a diatribe. We have lot of such stuff out there and no one wants to read another piece. It simply tries to put together some of the ground realities and issues that we face, globally, and hopefully will inspire you to think about these issues more holistically. The findings presented in the book are derived from my numerous interactions with a variety of people, my readings of a variety of subjects, and my own thought system developed as a result of my experiences (both failed and successful) over the last 11 years. The book emphasizes the role & importance of Government(s) in tackling some of these issues. I begin by categorization of people based on their key skills & professions. The second chapter talks about the widening split between the 'haves' and 'have-nots'. The following six chapters deal with the issues of water, energy, healthcare, education, micro credit and decentralized development. Ninth chapter emphasizes the critical role an optical fiber network can play, as a facilitating infrastructure for other initiatives. The following chapter discusses the role of youth in shaping our tomorrow. Eleventh chapter reminds us of the importance of environment as the most precious asset of our planet. The next chapter denounces 'charity' – both the usage of the word as well as the moral hazard it brings with it. The following chapter makes a case for specialization of countries in achieving world peace. The next seven chapters talk about deficiencies in governance systems, measurement of government performance, ways to re engineer and re brand the governance, and most crucially the importance of having suitably qualified people in top political posts, the need for political will, the need for accountability at every level of government and the need to lead by example (demonstrating value systems at the highest level in political leadership). These chapters are followed by a chapter on the evolving concept of nations, democracy and power. The twenty-second chapter is a tribute to those people who work behind the scenes and who, in reality, are the real heroes of society. The chapter is followed by a call to all corporate folks to begin to contribute to the society that has given them so much. The next two chapters try to define success and integrity. The final chapter is a request for all readers to begin to think about, contribute to, or facilitate the endeavors talked elsewhere in the book. Even an acknowledgement of the issues faced by our world is a great step in this direction. Style of communication used in this book is simple, concise (to the point) and non-diplomatic. I hope you enjoy reading this book!!
  7. 7. 1 Creators, Operators, Mediators and Talkers “All things will be produced in superior quantity and quality, and with greater ease, when each man works at a single occupation, in accordance with his natural gifts, and at the right moment, without meddling with anything else” Plato Greek philosopher & mathematician
  8. 8. Before we try to understand the world, its people and institutions, it is a useful exercise to try and categorize people on the basis of their professions/skills. I have classified people as: • Creators • Operators • Mediators • Talkers Creators create. Farmers provide us food; Soldiers and cops create sense of security; scientists create intellectual property; entrepreneurs create business systems; engineers design softwares, structures, machines and equipments; leaders build and transform teams, organizations and societies; authors write books, stories and plays; good teachers instill a sense of enthusiasm among the students, for lifelong learning; musicians compose music; movie makers conceive screenplays; Visionaries create and disseminate a vision. Operators operate and execute Creators' plans and designs. Blue and white collar workers enable operation of services and manufacturing units; CEOs and divisional managers help to run organizations and divisions; doctors help to live us longer and healthier lives; administrators help to administer policies, programs and workflow (e.g. civil servants, bureaucrats).
  9. 9. Mediators mediate transactions. Traders mediate buying and selling of commodities (physical and soft), contracts, financial instruments; Investment bankers mediate deals between investors and company owners; Real Estate agents mediate buying and selling of houses; Recruiters help to match employers with employees; Diplomats mediate peace processes and treaties; Judges deliver justice; retailers and wholesalers mediate distribution of goods; political brokers mediate seat sharing in legislature and exchange of favors between businessmen and politicians; Journalists mediate delivery of events & news to the consumers of those news; teachers facilitate transfer of education & knowledge to students. Talkers talk. Yes, that’s precisely what they do. Majority of politicians are talkers. They are able to convince their electorate to vote for them in elections, through their impressive speeches. They leverage imperfect information, ignorance and sometimes, indifference of people (towards politics) in their electorate, to win elections. However, there also exist (albeit few) Political “leaders” who have a vision and are passionate about the welfare and development of their electorate. These political “leaders” can be categorized as Creators because they help to build societies.
  10. 10. 2 Duality in Human existence "The outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes." John Maynard Keynes British Economist; Father of Keynesian economics
  11. 11. Sharp contrast in how the rich (and the powerful) live versus the existence of the poorest, brings to fore the biggest duality in our human existence. While the rich have got richer, a significant % of the world population still lives on less than $2 a day (refer the World poverty distribution maps provided at the end of the chapter). The following photos can illustrate this duality better than words.
  12. 12. There are regions in our world where even today there is no electricity and clean drinking water. Forget telephone and TV. There are regions where people are forced to eat rats for dinner even though they are vegetarian by religion (not that a non- vegetarian would savor rat meat). There are places where maternal deaths during delivery due to lack of adequate healthcare facility are a norm. There are places where people are not aware that they have AIDS, even though the area has a high incidence of this deadly disease. There are regions with no hope for a better future, where there are no employment opportunities, no women rights and no education infrastructure. The “Ten-Ten” formula In my opinion, if top 10% of the richest, voluntarily part with just 10% of their income, the world can change for the better. The money could:
  13. 13. 1) feed all the poor of the earth 2) bring electricity to every home on the planet 3) bring clean drinking water to the entire humanity 4) build schools in all the remote areas of the world 5) provide healthcare to everyone on the planet Such large-scale voluntary contribution exercise can happen only if there is a deep sense of responsibility, not only among the wealthy but people at large, towards the less fortunate. As Hellen Keller has aptly remarked: “Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained.” It is important to note, however, that the issues discussed above cannot simply be tackled by pouring in money. Apart from offering monetary support (in form of aid, charity), it is important that the wealthy also contribute their talents and skills to develop the poverty ridden regions. This is the only way to sustainable poverty alleviation because unless we seal the bottom of the bucket, no amount of water can fill it. Development efforts must include building of schools, skilling of the poor and creation of employment opportunities. These efforts have to be in co operation with the local governments. If one looks at the big picture, ultimately this development would trickle into demand for products/services and would benefit the businesses in the area (and hence the overall economy of the nation & the world).
  14. 14. While creation of wealth is crucial to human progress and prosperity, and must be encouraged, it has to be accompanied with creation of opportunities for the poor, so as to bring more inclusiveness in our world. It is a matter of shame for the entire humanity that while we take pride in all the infinite advancements in science, technology and commerce, and are planning to take commercial flights to other planets, we haven't yet been able to achieve basic social equity on our planet.
  15. 15. Global Poverty map - % of population (UN Data)
  16. 16. Percentage population living on less than $1.25 (PPP) per day
  17. 17. 3 Water is the new Oil “Water is life's mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Hungarian Biochemist; 1937 Nobel Prize for Medicine
  18. 18. Water is the foundation of life on our planet. It is difficult to overstate the importance of water for health, economic development, environmental integrity and social cohesion. As the United Nations (UN) Millennium Report in 2000 concludes: ‘No single measure would do more to reduce disease and save lives in the developing world than bringing safe water and adequate sanitation to all.’ It is also difficult to overstate the scope and consequences of the current global water crisis, one that leaves more than 1 billion people without access to safe drinking water. Pictures below depict the serious situation of water crises.
  19. 19. Water is the driving force of all nature. It is essential for the workings of our ecological systems. It is essential for our health and the health of our communities. It features prominently in our spiritual life. It binds us together through shared waterways and shared water sources. It shapes our relationship with nature, politics and economies. Competition for water is heating up everywhere. Continuing population growth and urbanization, shifting dietary habits towards more water-intensive foods, spiraling demand for alternate fuel crops and growth in water-intensive industries, are all contributing to ever-growing demand for water. At the same time, water pollution, degraded ecosystems and global warming endanger local water recharge, quality and sustainable supply around the world. Two in every five people in the world today live in international water basins, and more than fifty countries on five continents have been identified as hotbeds for potential future conflicts over water. Water ‘grabs’, the irresponsible appropriation or diversion of water without consideration for other users, abetted by corruption, may translate tension into open conflict. It is high time that public policy makers, businessmen and activists begin seeing water as a “public good” in the real sense and join hands to develop technologies, solutions and policies that would promote a more efficient and equitable use of water. Research and commercialization of sea water desalination using energy
  20. 20. efficient methods must be made a top priority and a multi national research team may be instituted to work on that. Demand Side Water management Globally, about 69% of fresh water is used for irrigation while industrial and household usage is about 15% each. Others: 1% Household: 15% Irrigation: Industrial: 69% 15% Water may be used more efficiently in Irrigation by • encouraging use of sprinkler systems (providing sprinkler systems on subsidized prices; regulations mandating use of sprinkler systems) • monitoring irrigation water usage using digital systems. This digital information may be recorded in a database
  21. 21. • placing a cap on irrigation water usage and removing subsidies on diesel and electricity (used to pump water) if the consumption exceeds the cap Water may be used more efficiently in households (esp. urban homes) by creating a tiered system of water rates, wherein, the rates go up dramatically, as the consumption of water in a household goes beyond a certain level (say, average consumption per person, for the region). Tiered water pricing must be supplemented with Water awareness programs. Tax incentives may also be provided. Privatization may also aid in more efficient usage of water. Industrial usage of water can be made efficient through use of policy measures (tax incentives) and technology. Supply-Side Water management Governments need to encourage private sector participation in building Water treatment plants and distribution systems, by ensuring a transparent and corruption free system, a reasonable rate of return for the equity provider, and by ensuring that the long term purchase contracts (in Public-Private partnership projects) are honored 100% of the time. Desalination of sea water must also be encouraged and such systems may be powered by the tidal or wind power systems integrated with the desalination system.
  22. 22. Contamination of rivers must be checked by pre-treating municipal wastes. It is imperative to appreciate that Water is a scarce resource and if steps are not taken aggressively, to preserve it, danger may be posed to nations' integrity (and internal peace) – with one state flexing its muscle over the other, to have access to water. Tensions could also arise between industry groups and farmers, over the usage of water. This is of course, besides the fact that we literally need water for survival.
  23. 23. 4 Energy: Elixir of economy “It is evident that the fortunes of the world's human population, for better or for worse, are inextricably interrelated with the use that is made of energy resources.” M. King Hubbert Geologist known for his Hubbert Peak Theory
  24. 24. It is rightly argued that Energy is at the heart of all human and economic activity. Food, water, medicines, transportation systems, clothes, electronic gadgets, entertainment and everything else needs energy to be produced. There are no two opinions on the importance of energy in our lives. However, the way we produce energy is being debated due to environmental concerns. While a consensus is building up on the increased use of solar power, wind power, geothermal power, bio fuels (bio ethanol, jathropha) and tidal power, the economics of generating energy from these alternate sources is still hampering large scale adoption. Solar power is one area where lot of research is being done and new technologies, such as, nanosolar, are being developed and tested, as I write this. If nanosolar becomes a commercial success, we could see a significant increase in solar power generation across the world, because this technology makes construction of large scale solar farms cheaper than other solar technologies. Wi n d far m
  25. 25. Sol a r far m in a de s e r t Ethanol plant surrounded by corn fields
  26. 26. Jatr o p h a (biofu e l) pl a n t a t i o n Nuclear energy is being revived as a solution to the problem of energy security and environmental degradation. However, it does have issues, namely, long time to commission a nuclear power plant, high initial capital costs (making the electricity produced, more expensive) and most importantly, nuclear waste disposal. The Energy Tri-Challenge The challenge we face is three-fold. Firstly, we need to ensure energy security i.e. adequate future supply of energy for the ever increasing world population. In the words of Tony Blair (ex Prime Minister of UK): "In the future, energy security will be almost as important as defense". Secondly, we have to improve the reach of energy, especially electricity, which is a must for decentralized development (discussed later). The power infrastructure needed to facilitate reach in a particular
  27. 27. country is illustrated in the figure below. Finally, we have to ensure that the environmental security is not compromised due to increased demand for energy. Interestingly, all three of these issues can be tackled by gradually increasing the % of alternative energy in the energy- source portfolio. For example, a decentralized solar generator provides energy security, is environment friendly and enables reach of energy to the remotest parts. Power infrastructure High Grid based + distributed Distributed power power generation generation + some Grid based No. of remote areas w/o Grid based Distributed power (centralized) power generation generation Low Low High Transmission losses Measures promoting energy security and environmental protection are provided below:
  28. 28. 1) Increasing dependence on Solar and wind We should try to tap solar and wind energy, followed by geothermal, bio fuels and nuclear power, in that order. Even though solar power can only be generated while the sun is there, it would significantly reduce dependence on coal or oil based power. Likewise wind energy has a huge potential to replace fossil-fuel based energy generation. 2) Mass transportation systems All key cities around the world must have mass transportation systems. Such systems may be developed as group initiatives, wherein the G20 or another similar group of countries, must come together to assist other countries in planning, funding and transferring technology. Apart from mass transportation systems, car pool may be encouraged by governments. 3) Transmission losses & theft must be checked Automated metering, replacement of faulty transmission equipment and privatization of electricity transmission and distribution are some of the ways to check transmission losses and theft of electricity. In most developing countries, as much as 50% of electricity is lost during transmission due to thefts and poorly maintained transmission & distribution infrastructure. Therefore, curtailing such losses & thefts can significantly help to alleviate the energy crises in such countries.
  29. 29. 4) Mandatory usage of biofuels with regular fossil fuels Use of biofuels in conjunction with fossil fuels must be mandated in all nations. Ethanol and Jatropha oil can be the key biofuel additives.
  30. 30. 5 Healthcare "He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything" - Arabic Proverb
  31. 31. A healthy body (and a healthy mind) is the basic foundation for all other forms of human, economic and social development. To that end, importance of healthcare infrastructure can hardly be overstated. Having said that, healthcare reforms are long overdue in almost every nation of the world. There are several elements to the healthcare puzzle, most important of them being: a) Health education to the last mile The basic building block of any healthcare system is health education. Apart from health clinics, such education could be imparted through pan-country distribution networks, such as, Post Office or a pan national bank. Health education could also be delivered via Satellite systems (in conjunction with education – discussed in next chapter). Women health, child health and elderly health must be emphasized, along with preventive health. Menace of AIDS, TB and the newly prevalent H1N1/H5N1 viruses can only be tackled by educating people throughout the world. Companies like Microsoft and Google who are already at the forefront of Healthcare can play an even bigger role in this area by digitally connecting the remotest parts of the world. b) Health services to the last mile Health education has to be supplemented with easy access to good quality healthcare in all parts of the world. Healthcare delivery infrastructure may comprise of fixed health clinics, mobile health clinics and Telemedicine. Telemedicine is a system where diagnosis of health can be done remotely by means of a communication link (internet/satellite) and a specialized
  32. 32. software which interfaces with sensors that can guage the body temperature, pulse rate, heart beats and transmit images of symptomatic body parts.
  33. 33. The choice of the Healthcare delivery medium depends upon the country's doctor density as well as the number of remote locations that need to be served. Interplay of these two variables and the corresponding healthcare delivery model has been provided below. Healthcare Solutions High New clinic/dispensary Set up Health centers establishments in remote serving a group of areas remote areas; Telemedicine Country’s doctor density Transportation of doctors once a week (mobile); Telemedicine Telemedicine Low No. of remote locations Low High c) Application of IT to facilitate healthcare initiatives Information and Communications Technology (ICT) have always been a great enabler of reach, efficiency and quality. In healthcare sector, ICT can enable:
  34. 34. • Healthcare education delivery • Health diagnostic services • Healthcare audit • Healthcare intelligence development Healthcare education delivery and diagnostic services have been discussed earlier. Healthcare audit and intelligence are discussed next. Healthcare audit is a way to guage the performance of a healthcare system at every delivery point. Various performance metrics, such as, number of physicians, number of nurses, number of people served in a month/week, case outcomes (resolved, referred, unsuccessful cases) can be fed in real-time into an online system, from every delivery point. Such a real-time audit system is a great way to make the healthcare system agile in terms of identifying outbreak of epidemics and in terms of quickly identifying any bottlenecks in the healthcare delivery system. “Healthcare intelligence” is the knowledge derived from accumulation of data on medical cases, their treatment and the final outcome. This knowledge can be used to observe trends in diseases, and can also help in guiding treatment of certain diseases with certain symptoms in certain category of people (either racial category or disease category). Such treatment guidance system is especially beneficial in areas where there is shortage of quality physicians and medical specialists. In such
  35. 35. areas, the doctors may seek assistance from a “Healthcare intelligence” system in determining atleast an initial course of action (especially in emergency situations). d) Population control Last but not the least, population control must be made an intrinsic part of any healthcare policy. High population levels put stress on the natural resources and environment, and the economy, in general. Unabated growth in population shall lead to food shortages, and ultimately affect the nutrition level and overall health of individuals adversely, leading to a greater need for healthcare. In words of Hellen Keller, "Once it was necessary that the people should multiply and be fruitful if the race was to survive. But now to preserve the race it is necessary that people hold back the power of propagation." While the above suggested measures seem like common sense things to do, healthcare systems in most countries (especially developing ones) leave a lot to be desired. In countries where healthcare is provided as a government service, lack of political will and corruption in healthcare administration & delivery (and not the lack of technology and finances) is the reason for inefficient and deficient healthcare systems. In countries where healthcare is mostly privatized, the healthcare providers are gouging enormous price from their customers, making healthcare unaffordable for a vast majority of people. In either case, the end consumer (of healthcare) is suffering.
  36. 36. 6 Education “What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the human soul.” Joseph Addison English essayist, poet and politician
  37. 37. Education is at the core of economic development of any country. Without appropriate education infrastructure, no country can progress. The current format, content, delivery mechanism and institutional framework of education, in most countries, leaves much to be desired and must be revamped. For some countries, the re engineering of education sector is not even a matter of choice. Case in point is an Asian country that boasts of having the largest number of youth population in the world in the next 10 years. While on one hand this implies potential availability of enormous manpower that can propel the country's economic growth, on the other hand it necessitates a massive revamp of the country's education sector. And the window of opportunity to achieve this is very small. Very soon a huge chunk of youth population will attain the age where they would be eligible for college education and an equally massive population would begin their schooling. The country has to therefore prepare its education infrastructure within this short time span, otherwise, the same potential human resource could turn into millions of uneducated & unemployed youth. Recommendations for Re engineering of the education sector (involving re designing the format, content, delivery mechanism and institutional framework) are provided below: Format Currently most schools have primarily one-way communication (teacher to pupil) in a classroom setting. There is a need to introduce Group Discussions and public speaking in the classroom
  38. 38. setting. Books should be complemented with online lessons, class presentations and external speakers. Educational games and interactive exercises may also be part of the curriculum. If possible, there should be educational visits. Case studies may be used in classes to teach subjects. Content Apart from conventional subjects, there should be subjects dealing with: • Personal financial management • Global issues – environmental, political, business, social • Career options available to students after school (in certain countries school students believe that there are no other professions besides engineering and medicine) • Information systems – How they have impacted various industries and professions (to prepare students for future work and social environments) • Ethics in business and society • Concepts should be integrated through case studies. Delivery mechanism In addition to lecture oriented delivery inside classrooms, newer mechanisms should be adopted. These may include: • Satellite based real time interactions with students from schools in other countries and regions within the same country. • Powerpoint/Multimedia presentations in the class
  39. 39. • Online lessons through PCs • Speaker series Institutional framework • Public-Private partnerships must be used to set up new schools in remote/less developed regions. • Management of existing government schools may be privatized. In this model, the government would pay for the schools operations and private sector will manage the administration of schools. • 1 to 2 year teaching assignments at government sponsored schools may be made a mandatory part of National Service. • Teaching at government schools for a year or two, may be made a pre-qualification for applying to a government job. • Bureaucrats must be made in charge of the schools in their respective regions/districts. For example, in countries where District collector is incharge of a district, he/she should be made the Chief Education Administrator for the district. • Parameters may be laid down to assess the efficiency of schools, performance of students and clear accountabilities must be set. These accountabilities may be published online (in public domain). • Education content must be audited every 2 years and updated to reflect the current affairs.
  40. 40. Education being the most important social goal of any country, it must be prioritized. There should be no lax on the accountabilities and performance metrics. The remaining chapter discusses ideas and ways to enhance the effectiveness and reach of academic and corporate education. Specifically, following topics are covered: • Global education • Corporate training and re skilling • Quality education to the last mile • Human Resource Development Global University for a globalized world In our ever changing, globalized world, the education too should reflect globalization in true sense. An online global university (refer figure on next page) may be formed which can deliver top quality education across the globe. Here, professors from some of the best universities around the world, can come together through an online platform and deliver classes via the Internet, to an equally diverse set of students from a variety of cultures and regions of the world. Such an online program will be highly flexible because the curriculum can be adapted quickly to the contemporary issues. Moreover, it will promote a more holistic understanding of key issues facing the world, such as Global financial systems, Environmental safety, Terrorism, Unemployment, Poverty, Social injustice, Healthcare and Education.
  41. 41. Global Education Delivery Model Customized content, Interactive, Flexibility of location & time, International outlook, Leveraging best academic minds Professors from a variety of universities and Age, location, profession of expertise may come together to deliver a course student becomes irrelevant
  42. 42. Corporate training & re-skilling via “A la carte” online system An online e-Learning platform should be developed to train and re skill corporate managers, workers and executives. The supply of content could be from an individual industry expert or a university or an industry association. Benefits of such an online corporate training platform include: • Flexibility in customizing the curriculum to meet the training needs of a firm (Companies can provide the outline of the training to which the consultants and universities can submit their proposals) • Employees can train at their chosen place and time (and even pace) • A la Carte system implies that the companies can pick and choose what modules they wish to train their individual employees in • Such a re-skilling or training programme could act as a confidence & morale booster for the employees Quality education to the last mile This can be achieved by using Satellites for delivering world class education to the remotest parts of the world. LCD Mega screens may be installed in the remotest parts of planet earth, and educational lessons, current affairs programmes, speaker series (in local languages) and programmes on various countries, may be delivered via satellite. Such an infrastructure is an absolute must to remove the misery and hopelessness in certain places of the world. It would also help people to better
  43. 43. understand the world that they live in and are part of. Most of all, it would excite these people towards personal upliftment and upward mobility in society. Speaker series may include people from different walks of life: • Authors • Economists • Historians • Musicians • Scientists • Industry gurus • Scholars & Academicians • Sports figures • Corporate managers • Engineers • Doctors • Geologists • Entrepreneurs The idea is to sow a seed of curiosity among the students even in the remotest parts of the world. Human Resource Development Ultimate objective of good education infrastructure in any country is Human Resource Development (HRD). To that end, education infrastructure is just one element of HRD.
  44. 44. The HRD model proposed here includes 4 elements: • Education Education content should be redesigned to include contemporary topics discussed above, apart from the conventional subjects. • Personality development (sports, communication skills, English language skill) In today's globalized world where work and information flows seamlessly around the globe, it is critical to make Personality development an intrinsic part of education system. Participation in sports and development of English language skills must be emphasized throughout K-12 and beyond. • Vocational training Given the increasing specialization in the nature of work, globally, it is imperative that vocational training be imparted to all college graduates in their areas of interest/abilities. Vocational training may be seen as a polishing exercise where raw talent is moulded into Human resource that can be utilized productively by the employing organization. • Employment opportunities Without adequate employment opportunities (qualitatively and quantitatively), education and vocational training are not of much benefit to either an individual or the nation, as a whole. For complete Human Resource Development it is critical that the governments and the private sector work collaboratively to create job opportunities. While this is a challenge in developing countries with large populations, I believe it is
  45. 45. also an opportunity for these nations to create industries that could absorb large number of people. For example, by creating mega solar farms in the Thar Desert of India and the Sahara, the Kalahari, and the Namib of Africa, entire new industries can be created. A solar farm would need solar panels (and thus the need for solar manufacturing units), panel installation specialists and solar farm maintenance workers, at the very least. Human Resource Development = Education (including contemporary content) + Personality development (sports, communication skills, English language skill) + Vocational training + Employment opportunities It is worth noting that all the elements of Human Resource Development (especially Education, vocational training and employment opportunities) are needed in tandem, to have a positive impact on the society. Any missing or imbalanced element can, in fact, be counterproductive for the country (society). Analysis of the interplay between the education level and vocational training in terms of its impact on the productivity of workforce and their re skilling potential is provided in the matrix below. As can be observed, lack of either proper education level or vocational training or both, does not yield
  46. 46. the most desired results. Emphasizing formal education without any avenues for vocational training produces a workforce that is not highly productive. On the other hand, if vocational training is emphasized without adequate emphasis on formal education, the workforce may be productive at the task they are trained for but their ability to grow professionally through re skilling, may be significantly hampered. Impact of education level & vocational training on productivity High Pool of educated but Most productive; most unskilled people; flexible in terms of re Less productive but skilling; Greatest chances potential for skilling of integrating with the new economy Formal education Exclusion from the new Career options limited; economy Productive but less potential for re skilling & integrating with new economy Low Low Vocational training High
  47. 47. Likewise, if promotion of education (and subsequent high education penetration) is not supplemented with adequate employment opportunities, this may lead to frustration among the educated due to under and un-employment, and may also lead to brain-drain (through emigration). On the contrary, if the employment opportunities are available but educated/skilled people required for such positions are not available, this may lead to immigration of talent (which is good for economic development) leading to societal tensions between the immigrants and the natives. This has been observed in some of the most developed countries in form of “glass ceilings” and discriminatory pay. The following matrix illustrates this dynamics between education and employment opportunities. Impact of Education penetration & Employment opportunities on Society High Frustration due to Progressive, un/under hopeful society employment; emigration Education Penetration (%) Immigrants/expat Hopelessness in dominated society; society; hotbed for potential bed for terrorism protectionism Low Low Employment opportunities High
  48. 48. 7 Microfinance: The quiet revolution that is about to take off "Microfinance is an idea whose time has come." Kofi Annan 7th Secretary-General of the UN; Nobel Peace Prize winner
  49. 49. I call microfinance - the financial “Drip irrigation”. There are more similarities between Microfinance and Drip irrigation, than differences. Both are provided in small amounts and offered right at the area of need, and both help to provide maximum return to both the provider and consumer. Currently worldwide microfinance loan portfolio stands at $25B and experts believe that $250B more is needed to reach all the poor of the world. Microfinance loans defy the key finance principal of Risk and Reward. A Microfinance loan offers very high rates of return and has one of the lowest default rates. In other words it is a high reward – low risk game. This should be reason enough for financial institutions to develop their Microfinance asset portfolio and reach out to the poorest of the poor in the remotest parts of the world. A good indicator of the success and lucrativeness of the microfinance model is the flow of smart money (Mutual funds, Venture Capitalists and Private Equity) towards microfinance in recent years. A phenomenon that was started by Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh in 1976 is about to take the world by storm. Financial pundits have taken serious note of this financial asset in recent years and I am confident that in next 10 years we will witness exponential growth in this domain. I believe that for microfinance to yield its full benefit, the recipients of these microloans need to be equipped with education and awareness about the opportunities that exist. Till
  50. 50. now, microfinance has mainly been used to facilitate very small ventures & to meet incidental expenses, such as: • purchasing cattle, sheep or chicken • starting a tailoring or a barber shop • starting a handicraft making unit • cost of burials, sickness • crop failure • healthcare costs (medicines, treatment, surgery) • purchase of farm equipment (irrigation, transportation, seeds) • purchasing of bikes, radios, boats • construction of wells • home renovation • microenterprise working capital In the next phase, we should see creation of ventures that are higher in the value chain, such as, food processing; manufacturing handicrafts, glassware and brassware for exports; retail shop for clothing, electronics, cycles; cyber cafes; taxi service. The only constraint to the microfinance model is that by its nature, it cannot support financing of high investment ventures – which are essential for creation of new wealth. For example, mass manufacturing that can leverage economies of scale and
  51. 51. provide consistency in product quality is essential to creating low cost, high quality products that can be exported to other areas, regions or countries. To that end, currently, microfinance is essentially a wealth transfer tool within a small area. However, that does not take away its importance in terms of creating livelihoods in the poorest and the remotest parts of the world. Given the huge number of people in poverty in several parts of the world, microfinance can be a great trigger for economic development in those areas. Microfinance: Grass root banking
  52. 52. Microfinance: Working capital and credit to vegetable sellers Microfinance: Promoting local crafts
  53. 53. Microfinance: Venture capital for a home based business Commercial banks, private equity shops and Asset Managers should make Microfinance an integral part of the portfolio. Next generation portfolio should read: Equities, Bonds, Cash, Commodities and Microfinance loans. The day when mutual funds will start to put money in microfinance, like they do in stocks, our world would have become a step closer to removing poverty. Likewise, a specialty bond called 'Microfinance bond' may be introduced. Such bonds would be a great win-win for global investors and the millions of microfinance recipients. 'Microfinance bond' will provide high yield with low risk and has the potential to raise billions of dollars for microfinance institutions.
  54. 54. 8 Decentralized development: An engine for equitable growth "As a rule of thumb, involve everyone in everything." Tom Peters American management guru
  55. 55. Decentralized development is the key to equitable growth in any country. Besides promoting equitable growth, it helps to discourage the migration of people to a few key cities, which has positive effects in terms of reduced pressure on the infrastructure, easier management of homeland security, and reduced stress on environment around the key cities. Having a metropolitan city for every 5 million people in the country can serve as a rough benchmark, for the number of metropolitan cities that may be developed in a nation. Of course, in case of developing countries, a key impediment to such decentralized development is financial resources. With the lack of full fledged capital markets in developing economies, it is difficult for governments to raise enough capital to develop pan-nation metro cities. This has led some developing nations to chose the path of promoting development of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in partnership with private companies. Private corporations have been encouraged through incentives, to develop, mega Special Economic Zones, that would be like a city by themselves (with their own power supply, water supply, sanitation). The success of such schemes has not been completely problem-free as well. Arbitrary allotment of land for industrial purposes (causing the fertile farm land to be siphoned away for industrial activity) and land acquisition problems due to inadequate compensation to farmers (marred by delayed payments and political middlemen and corrupt bureaucrats receiving a cut of such payments ) have been the key hurdles to SEZ development.
  56. 56. According to World Bank estimates, as of 2007 there were more than 3,000 projects taking place in SEZs in 120 countries worldwide. A variety of institutional structures ranging from fully public (government operator, government developer, government regulator) to 'fully' private (private operator, private developer, public regulator) have been utilized. For such a decentralized development to be truly successful, there must be a network of highways, railways, airports that connects these cities. The local economies of these cities may be supported by developing industries that reflect the skills and resources available in the region, and/or by building a services base (that can serve either the local economy or national economy or even international markets). Given the population of the major developing countries, such pan-national metro cities can thrive simply by serving the local population. Apart from the essential elements of a decentralized development, such as: • Healthcare facilities • Banking facilities • Postal facilities • Public transportation • Power & Water infrastructure
  57. 57. • Roads • Houses • Airports, Railway Stations, Airports • Commercial district a very important element of decentralized development is development of recreational facilities & avenues, which helps people to socialize, have fun together or with their families and get a sense of joy & relaxation. A less expensive way to promote decentralized development is through creation of small scale industries spread across the country. A lot of developing countries have successfully used this model and I believe it can be fruitfully utilized in the undeveloped countries, as well. Some of the small and mid-sized businesses that can help to kick start local economies are listed below: • Handicrafts • Brassware • Bricks made from agricultural waste and ash • Fish farms • Horticulture – flowers, perfume • Auto parts manufacturing • Manufacturing of FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods)
  58. 58. • Manufacturing of textiles • Glassware • Plasticware Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) Markets Discussion of decentralized development cannot be complete without emphasizing the importance of such development to the private sector. There was a time when the Multi National Corporations omitted the poorer and less developed (Bottom of the Pyramid) regions of a developing country from their marketing plans. But it has now been realized and understood that these less developed regions (especially those where development has been started) are the key to future growth of the MNCs. Even though the per capita purchasing power in these less developed regions may be low, the population of these regions is large enough to contribute to the bottom line of the MNCs, provided the companies customize their product and service offerings to this new BOP market. Product sizing, packaging, pricing and delivering is now being altered to meet the requirements of these BOP markets and to make the venture profitable for the companies. As an example, an FMCG conglomerate started selling its shampoos in ultra-low priced sachets* in a BOP market, and discovered that their strategy was a hit. Due to the sheer volume of sachets sold, this venture became a highly lucrative business for the conglomerate.
  59. 59. Decentralized development helps to build the economic capacity of the previously undeveloped region, thereby increasing the purchasing power of the people therein. This increase in purchasing power has the potential to trickle down to the bottom line of a corporation, provided the corporation has customized its business model and marketing strategy to this new market. I will close by saying that decentralized development is good for the government, the private sector and most importantly for the people. *A sachet is a small disposable bag, often used to contain single-use quantities of consumer goods, such as ketchup or shampoo.
  60. 60. 9 The fiber of prosperity “The Internet lives where anyone can access it” Vinton Cerf Computer scientist; Father of the Internet
  61. 61. Optical fiber is the most revolutionary technology that can significantly make a difference to our world. By connecting the remotest region of the world with high speed optical fiber network, we can literally connect billions of people living in the dark fringes of misery, with the rest of the world. A high speed information network: • can facilitate communication between the remotest regions and the rest of the world • can act as a medium for dissemination of literacy and education, and removal of ignorance • can be used to facilitate remote healthcare • can be used to disseminate information on weather, disease outbreak, natural calamities
  62. 62. • can be used to discover prices for commodities (including crops) • can be used to facilitate matching of micro credit donors with seekers (kiva.org is a case in point) • can be used for facilitating interactions between government and its citizens, and making it easier, quicker and less expensive, both for government and the citizens. These interactions may include payment of taxes & levies, payment of utility bills, voting, application for licenses, subsidies & loans, determination of crop prices, purchase of insurance, purchase of fertilizers, search for employment in government and application for admission to schools & colleges • can be used to bring entertainment to the remotest parts In my humble opinion, an optical fiber network has the potential to improve the lives of billions of poor people, around the world. Investment in building a country wide information highway (fiber optic network) is the most prudent investment any government can make.
  63. 63. 10 Global Youth: Opportunity or Threat? “Employment is nature's physician, and is essential to human happiness” Claudius Galenus Roman physician and philosopher of Greek origin
  64. 64. Demographics of a nation directly impacts its stability and development. There are some interesting things happening on the demographic front, globally. While the growth rate of world population is declining, the number of people added each year is stable at almost 76 million (over 200,000 people every day). Median age of the population is rising (it was 28 in 2005) yet every year there are more people below the age of 30. While the policy makers in the industrialized world ponder over falling birth rates, their counterparts in developing and undeveloped countries are getting alarmed by the rapidly rising population in those countries. In 2006, there were over 6.5 billion of us. UN projections indicate we will be almost 9 billion by 2050 – thats almost an addition of 40% more people in a span of just 44 years. “Law of compounding” sucks when it comes to the subject of population. Apart from the rising global population, the age structure dynamics is also something that we must pay attention to. The age composition of any country can be categorized as either Favorable or Adverse. When a country's age structure is favorable, its government and institutions are relatively easily able to provide social welfare to the country's people and solve economic and political problems. When a country's age structure is adverse, it is more difficult to meet these challenges, resulting in lost opportunities and sometimes state failures. Favorable age structures are observed in countries with sound economic prospects and which have a large proportion of the
  65. 65. population comprised of working-age adults, with smaller proportions and slower growth among dependent children and older adults. A favorable age structure provides a sufficient tax base for government services and a social safety net for the more dependent age groups. Adverse age structures, in contrast, often develop in countries with weaker economic prospects and where there is a rise in the proportion of young and/or dependent age groups. Countries with adverse age structures (especially due to higher proportion of younger population) are breeding grounds for potential social conflicts and tensions, due to high degree of unemployment. The following matrix depicts these age structures. Age Structures High Adverse age structure Neutral age structure High degree of High degree of employment unemployment;potential among working-age adults; hotbed for social tension; savings rates may be low; high government cannot take govt. taxes may be seen care of dependent population adequately Dependent population Neutral age structure Favorable age Due to lesser employment structure opportunities at home, lot Lot of working-age adults of adults may work abroad; employed in the economy lesser dependent and can support the population makes it easier dependents easily for working adults to emigrate abroad Low Low Economic strength of a country High Low degree of dependent population = Smaller proportions and slower growth among dependent children and older adults
  66. 66. Past data has shown a significant correlation of Adverse age structures (resulting from high proportion of young population) with Civic conflict and weak democracy. According to a report by Population Action International, between 1970 to 1999, 80% of all outbreaks of civil conflict that resulted in atleast 25 deaths and in which the government was an actor, occurred in countries in which 60% or more of the population was under age 30. Likewise, nearly 90% of countries with very young structures had an autocratic or weakly democratic government at the end of the 20th century, while more than 80% of countries with mature structures were fully democratic. While a high proportion of young population may pose grave challenges to the environmental sustainability, peace/security and democracy, this same challenge can become an opportunity, if the youth can be trained/skilled and absorbed into the economy in a manner that enhances the productivity and the output of the economy. Some of the measures that may be adopted by young countries (population wise) especially developing ones, are provided below: • Retirement age of government employees must be reduced by 5 years from the current retirement age. It is a no-brainer that youth being more productive can enhance the overall productivity of the economy. And of course, such reduction in retirement age will bring millions of youth into workforce. • Government jobs must adopt corporate-style performance model wherein non-performers are made redundant after
  67. 67. certain levels of repeated non performance. This would help to free a lot of jobs currently occupied by grossly inefficient government employees, many of whom join the government for the very stability of such jobs. • Governments in developing and undeveloped countries must undertake massive infrastructure development and reconstruction programs, that would create millions of jobs for both the rural and urban youth. Such projects may be funded through government bonds tapping into domestic markets or funds raised in foreign markets. Sovereign wealth funds also have the potential to fund such infrastructure creation. Countries like UAE, Norway, China, Japan & Singapore have huge piles of foreign reserves that can be diverted to creating productive assets in the developing and undeveloped world. In the long run, such investments are a win-win because they help to create employment in developing countries thereby also creating huge markets for the products/services of firms based in the industrialized countries. Last but not the least, such undertaking helps to uplift the quality of life of millions of people around the world. • Attracting black money (dirty money) for infrastructure development can also be a viable strategy. Governments may allow use of such money for purchase of infrastructure bonds. Bonds with such facility may pay a lower interest than identical bonds purchased with white money. This is again a win-win. The government can unlock a huge reserve
  68. 68. of unaccounted money and can obtain such capital at a lower cost. At the same time, the entity/person hoarding black money can convert it into white money (by paying a nominal capital gains tax or interest income tax) while also receiving a return. These developing countries with a vast pool of youth population have a small window of opportunity that must be seized by their governments. First the governments will have to ramp up the primary, secondary and tertiary education infrastructure and then skill the graduates. This ramp up will have to be in tandem with enhanced healthcare and nutrition. At the same time, the government will have to ramp up the physical infrastructure and even expand the manufacturing base so as to absorb the millions of educated and skilled youth, produced each year. A match between the number of youth entering the workforce and the number of jobs is an absolute must to ensure peace and harmony in these developing countries, and the world at large. Pyramid below depicts the equality in importance of education, health and employment opportunities, in tapping the potential of millions of youth, and hence creating a peaceful and economically productive society.
  69. 69. Job creation Peace & Economic productivity Health & Nutrition Education & Skilling
  70. 70. 11 If the environment is screwed nothing else really matters “We won't have a society if we destroy the environment” Margaret Mead American cultural anthropologist
  71. 71. Economic and social progress is of least value if it comes at the expense of our environment. I cannot imagine living in a world where one has to walk around wearing oxygen masks for breathing, where floods and droughts become seasons, and where trees, plants and animals are only to be seen in text books. What I have just said is so banal (and repetitive) that I actually thought twice whether I should even write this note. But the fact is that the threat to environment is real and imminent. It needs our immediate attention and we need to prioritize environmental protection. While transitioning from the pre-industrial to industrial phases, we, as human beings were in awe of industrial discoveries and inventions. Productivity increased; agriculture was replaced by manufacturing; focus then started shifting onto services. At the same time, a lot of countries in Asia & Africa were gaining independence from their colonists. These countries which were earlier busy with their freedom struggles were facing humanitarian crises post-independence. There were large scale migrations (due to partitions), food & grain shortages and the exploitation of these nations by their colonists would leave them dilapidated for several decades following the independence. During these periods – industrialization of the west and recuperation of the East – environment was accorded the least priority. By the time the West woke up from their party and the East had just started to resurrect, it was too late. Ozone had started to deplete, sea levels had started to rise, there was a
  72. 72. marked increase in earth's temperature and ice caps had started shrinking. Flora and Fauna in various regions of the world was classified as endangered.
  73. 73. This is not a desert. This is (was) Amazon forest.
  74. 74. Arctic is melting Some scientists have recently stated that we have less than a decade to reverse the adverse environmental changes. This should ring an alarm bell for us. All corporations, governments and people must rise above all other differences, to unite in their efforts to save our planet.
  75. 75. While a lot of attention has been given to environment in recent years, and a variety of measures, programs and initiatives started, a lot still remains to be done to save our planet. Some of the ways we could check environmental degradation, includes: • Using public (mass) transportation instead of individual vehicles • Promoting use of electric cars • Using recyclable stuff • Switching off electrical gadgets when not using them • Using technologies that automatically cut energy consumption based on some control parameters • Switching to alternate fuels/energy (solar, wind, tidal) instead of coal • Retrofitting all emission sources/points across the world with new technology • Discouraging travel and utilizing IT as a communication enabler • Ensuring rapid curtailment of forest fires • Strictly implementing ban on poaching/killing of endangered animals While all of these ways are being currently implemented, there is a need for widespread/global education campaign to increase awareness among people about the threat to environment.
  76. 76. Last but not the least, population control is also needed for checking environmental degradation. However, this is not as easy to implement given the political dynamics involved. In most developing countries, the most populous section of the society, is also the most influential in determining the fate of politicians and political parties simply because of their numbers and the their higher than average voter turnout. No party wants to bell the cat. Any party that tries to mandate population control on such populous groups may face voters' wrath in the elections. Educating these groups on population control has not yielded very promising results because of their low education levels and the argument that more kids in the family mean more bodies to earn money. However, the good news is that, of late, such groups are beginning to understand the long term benefits of smaller families, and its role in bringing upward mobility to such families.
  77. 77. 12 Don't do charity “Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it” John D. Rockefeller American industrialist & philanthropist
  78. 78. Firstly, the word 'Charity' is belittling because it implies inability of the recipient to fend for themselves. While that may theoretically be true but the core reason for that situation is an ineffective governance (due to greed and inefficiency) and insensitivity of business and political leaders. It is the responsibility of any government to enable each of its citizens to be able to earn livelihood and lead a dignified life. Secondly, instead of providing free food or money or clothes, the poor must be provided education, they must be trained to enter the workforce and they must be assisted in career guidance & job search. Give them fish, they will enjoy the dinner tonight; teach them how to fish and they will enjoy dinner every night.
  79. 79. 13 Specialize for Peace “A durable and equitable peace system requires equal development opportunities for all nations” Willy Brandt German politician; Noble Peace Prize winner
  80. 80. It seems imperative that for all countries to live peacefully with one another and have peace within their societies, they will need to have a competitive edge in one or the other economic area. Not only would this enable the respective countries to create wealth for themselves but it will also make them a stakeholder in the progress of the entire world. It is also important to understand that the developed countries will have to help the underdeveloped countries to become competitive in their areas of specialty. This may be achieved by introducing new (latest) technologies in the region (as against the previous approach of exporting older technology to the underdeveloped markets); introducing newer managerial techniques and tools; and also helping the underdeveloped countries to build their education and health care infrastructure. Unless we have such a model of global inclusiveness, there will always be soft spots and regions which will support and breed terrorists and other disruptive forces. Having said that, it is not sustainable for our world to to have a few highly developed countries ('haves') and a large number of underdeveloped ones. Initially, the 'have nots' may witness social unrest within their boundaries but sooner or later the undeveloped regions shall become a breeding ground for exporting terror, maritime piracy (Gulf of Aden is a hotbed of such activity), promoting international drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal arms sales and in the worse case scenario,
  81. 81. an agent for illegal nuclear trade. Not that all this is not currently happening, but if proactive measures are not adopted by the developed world to build an “inclusive” model, these problems would only worsen with time. Each country – whether developed or developing – should assess its strengths and areas of opportunities. These could be: • Vast pool of educated youth • Service oriented culture • Natural resources – fertile soil, coal, oil, metals etc • Wastage of agricultural produce • Scenic beauty • Marine productivity • Land pattern – deserts, mountains, plains • Weather – winds, rains, heat • Creativity in society • Abundance of a particular vegetation or crop • Location Every nation should leverage their natural strength to the maximum. Not only will this create prosperity for the country but it will also benefit the entire world (through efficient resource utilization). Nations that have leveraged their natural strengths have made a mark for themselves in those specialist areas.
  82. 82. Industries that have (or can be) developed on the basis of natural strengths of a country: Vast pool of educated youth • Business Process Outsourcing • IT services industry • Engineering services Service oriented culture • Business Process Outsourcing (airlines, hospitality credit card services, financial services) • International summits, conferences & workshops Natural resources – fertile soil, coal, oil, metals, gems, river systems etc • Production of crops, fruits & vegetables • Exports of commodities • Refining of commodities to value-added products • Power generation (large and small scale hydro power projects) Wastage of agricultural produce • Food processing industry (domestic & export markets) • Cold Chain development (Pre-harvest processing, Storage, transportation, retail) Scenic beauty • Tourism (including Eco Tourism) – Resorts, Safaris, Tourist spots • International business summits, conferences
  83. 83. Land pattern – deserts, mountains, plains, coastline • Deserts may be used for setting up solar farms • Desert sands may be used to develop optical fibers (used in telecommunications) • Mountains may be used for hydel power • Access to seas (Coastlines) may be utilized to develop aquaculture (fisheries, marine life) for food, medicines Weather – winds, rains, heat, cold • Windy countries/regions may develop wind farms to generate power • Rainy areas – Groundwater (for domestic use & even export of water) • High solar intensity regions may emphasize solar power generation • Colder regions may develop cold storage facilities for domestic as well as foreign markets Creativity in society • Entertainment industry • Publishing industry Abundance of a particular vegetation or crop • Biofuel • Food processing Location • Refining base for oil • Shipping industry
  84. 84. • Ports industry (rent seeking) • Tourism industry • Economic & financial capital for multilateral organizations
  85. 85. 14 Re inventing the Government Administrative machinery “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” Buckminster Fuller Philospher, futurist and global thinker
  86. 86. Governments worldwide need to give a serious thought to re inventing how they administer. With the rapid adoption of the internet and related technologies, evolution of new markets (e.g. online services), the opening and subsequent emergence of previously closed economies, and increased incidences of terrorism (extremism), the governments cannot administer effectively using archaic assumptions, work flows and control systems. Some of the areas that must be looked into, include: 1) Digitization of all the government records: This would promote quick retrieval of information, increase transparency and trust (between citizens and the government) and the stored data can be used to develop “Administrative Intelligence” which can be used to guide the Administrators. 2) Digitization of work processes: By making the internal and public interface processes available online (intranet, extranet and internet), not only would the costs involved in executing the processes, come down, but it would increase the transparency (and hence accountability) as well. Use of technology shall make the administrative machinery leaner (in terms of staff, consumption of paper and other operational costs) and help to reduce the time spent on internal approvals and in delivering public services. Incidences of error related with manual processing may be eliminated, as well. While, federal and state governments are beginning to implement IT in their administrative systems, the governments need to set aggressive
  87. 87. time lines for digitization of entire administrative system, and ensure that the state systems and federal systems are integrated (to avoid redundancy in data and processes). 3) Public Access to government funding information Timeline for all the public programs initiated by the governments (both federal and state) along with the administrators responsible for the implementation of those projects must be made available on the internet. Budgets allocated and the details of spending must be provided, too. 4) Public Access to government processes Every time a citizen engages with the government, the status of the engagement should be made available online. The system should be similar to the online application process to various colleges and universities. Unless public can see in real time how their taxes are being spent and the status of their interactions with the government, they will not trust the governments and will continue to be cynical of them. For example, if I apply for a new phone connection, I should be able to track in real time, the status of my application, online. While in the short term, use of technology would be resisted by some because their vested interests may be affected but if the Governments are sincere about social equality, democratization and development-of-the-last-mile they would go ahead with implementing technology throughout their administrative setup. In the long run, this would significantly boost the Government's image among the citizens and even foreign nations, and of
  88. 88. course, will improve the efficiency of the entire administrative machinery. Benefits are summarized below: • Efficient utilization of tax money • Improved public delivery services – cost, time, quality, transparency • Increased trust between the Government and its citizens • Increased foreign investment – which further leads to economic development 5) Sharing of data base and work processes among government departments Sharing of data and work processes among various government departments can significantly increase the efficiency of all the departments (by speeding the inter-department approval processes) as well as reduce the wastages due to un-coordinated public works projects. For example, real-time data on projects could be shared between the Transportation, Railways, Sewage disposal, telephone, electricity and the local public works department (responsible for roads, lighting). This would ensure that all necessary approvals are obtained quickly and that there is no rework. Reworks are a major issue (and drain on resources) in public works. Very often, due to lack of co-ordination among the road and sewage disposal departments, the sewage pipes are changed after the road has been re constructed. This necessitates a fresh series of patchwork on the roads. Not only does the rework make the road less usable for a longer time period, it also costs the government more.
  89. 89. Revitalizing state owned firms Even though the state owned firms are not directly a part of government's administrative machinery, re-vitalizing such organizations is an important part of reinventing the government set up. Some of the ways of achieving this are listed below: • Reduce fixed pay and add performance based pay • Introduce labor reforms that allow for flexibility in shedding non-performers and hiring as per the needs of the organizations, through simple process. Currently, in most countries, it is next to impossible to lay off a government employee even if he is a non-performer. This breeds an unhealthy sense of security among government employees and translates to a lackadaisical attitude towards the job. • Introduce regulation that bans strikes by government departments especially in areas of essential services. I know first hand how it feels when the electricity of entire city is cut off or the broadband service is disrupted due to a strike by the electricity & the telecommunications departments, respectively. Such service disruptions do not just affect ordinary consumers but they affect the functioning of critical infrastructure such as airports and hospitals. This also has a severe negative impact on a country's image. • Cross leverage firms in the public sector to improve asset utilization, remove redundancies, increase work variety (and hence motivation of employees) and ultimately improve
  90. 90. the return on government's equity (ROGE). Cross leveraging is discussed in detail later. • Shift all work flow processes to IT systems – for quick, error-free, paper less work • All project accountabilities may be made public by publishing project details on the Internet • Upgrade skills of employees every year through mandatory corporate training courses State owned organizations that can be revitalized using the above measures, include: • Post Office • Railways • Non Banking Financial Institutions (NBFIs) • Hospitals • Police • Government Schools • Government Colleges • Vocational training Centers • Scientific research organizations • Industrial & Agricultural Equipment Manufacturer • Food processors Cross Leveraging
  91. 91. Government organizations such as public sector banks, Non banking financial institutions (insurance companies, pension funds), post office, railways, government hospitals, police, government schools/colleges, scientific research organizations and vocational training colleges should be cross leveraged, by utilizing each other's distribution network/reach, co-branding and allowing transfer of employees across organizations. Cross leveraging by firms may include: • utilizing the network of other organizations for distribution of products/services and for communicating with potential customers. For example, a Post Office network could be used to sell/distribute insurance or other financial products. • allowing personnel skills, knowledge and experience in one firm to be transferred to another through deputations and transfers • having access to a common marketing database (client database). For example, the electricity, water and phone departments could use a common (shared) customer database and integrate their billing and CRM processes. This would lower their costs of operation as well as benefit the customers by reducing the number of interaction points. • collaborating on projects (and using technology as an enabler). For example, government's telecommunications and power related organizations could jointly develop
  92. 92. technology to transmit data and electricity cheaply, over the power lines. As an example, the Post Office can • distribute Financial products of public sector banks and NBFCs (insurance, auto loans, equipment loans, microfinance) • market FMCG (Fast Moving consumer Goods) • distribute and collect enrollment forms for schools, colleges and vocational training colleges • provide intelligence to local police • administer market research surveys • disseminate information on epidemic in other parts of the country • disseminate information on preventive healthcare • disseminate adult literacy kits State owned NBFIs could: • manage financial assets for other government organizations • provide venture capital for government's research organizations Railways could be used for:
  93. 93. • Food balancing: Railways can help to transport food to shortage areas by receiving real time information. This can significantly reduce storage costs and wastages. • Mobile healthcare: Railways can be used to provide mobile healthcare in the remotest parts of the country. This helps to avoid setting up a namesake health center in a remote part which is merely a cost center for the government and is exploited by the officers in charge of funding the health center. Government Colleges and Vocational colleges may have arrangement with Public Sector organizations for internships of their students.
  94. 94. 15 Re Branding the Government “Customers must recognize that you stand for something.” Howard Schultz Founder, Starbucks