Hi Friends,

Even as I launch this today ( my 80th Birthday ), I realize that there is yet so much to say and do.

There is just no time to look back, no time to wonder,"Will anyone read these pages?"

With regards,
Hemen Parekh
27 June 2013

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Adopt Innovative Ways



Hindustan Times ( 19  Oct ) carries following news report :




“ Adopt innovative ways to break silos in Govt : PM  “



 Bureaucrats should use technology for delivery of better governance; ministries should not work in silos and work as a team to realise the dream of creating New India by 2020.


This was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's missive to about 380 officials of the rank of director and deputy secretaries with whom he interacted this month.


“ The PM exhorted the officers to work with full dedication towards creation of New India by 2022.


He said that silos are a big bottleneck in the functioning of the Union government. He urged the officers to adopt innovative ways to break silos, which will result in the speeding up of various processes of governance,"  a government release said.


=======================================================


I suppose , by “ breaking silos “ , PM means :



Keep each other informed of what you are doing / working on , so that the “ left hand knows what the right hand is doing “ and you do not end up slowing down others’ efforts or end up working at cross purpose


Keeping each other informed about your initiatives will , not only avoid duplicate work but it will enable you to complement one another and synergize your efforts 



Here is how , we managed this ( breaking silos ) at the small Switchgear factory of L&T , way back in 60s ( call it V 1.0 ) :





·         Whenever , a manager sent out a letter ( to any outside party ) or a memo ( to an internal department ) , he asked his secretary to make a carbon copy , marked “ FOR CIRCULATION



Of course , he did this only when he considered that communication to be important enough for other Managers to know and felt that this knowledge would help the recipient to raise questions or guide him in his own decisions



·        
Despatch Mail Room attendant responsible for all outgoing and internal mail distribution , would remove the copies marked “ FOR CIRCULATION “ , bunch these together , attach a CIRCULATION SLIP carrying the names of 8 / 10 managers and deliver to the manager whose name is right at the top


·         When the first-named manager finishes reading all those copies , he will enter “ date read “ against his name and place the bunch in his out-tray . And more often than not , he will enter his own remarks / comments on any of those letters / memos



·         Mail attendant will pick up the bunch and deliver it to the next-named manager



Utterly , Butterly , Simple  !



It worked beautifully well and all of us were in perfect SYNC , at all times



No doubt , when the factory grew and we had more than 20 managers , this system broke down since it would take a full month before the last-named manager got to read what others had written !



But then , those were the days when :


·         Managers had secretaries ( who typed on typewriters ) and used stapling devices


·         Managers boasted of “ OUT and IN  “ trays on their tables !


There were no computers / no internet / no Outlook / no Skype / no Online Collaboration softwares / no project-plans / no smart phones / no Webex / no Whatsapp / no nothing !



To day , every private sector manager and government officer , has access to all the above-mentioned aids



What could be holding them off , from coming out with VERSION 2.0 of the 50 year old process described above  ?



It can be nothing more than cultivating an attitude which says :


“ If sharing this info with my colleagues will make us move faster in providing better governance , then I will share it . Of course , I will not share info which must be kept secret ( even for a short while ) and which cannot be leaked “



Dear Narendrabhai :





But how is a Govt Officer to decide : 


·         Who ( which officers ) need to know about my views / thinking on this subject / topic and therefore , must get a copy of my email ?



If you decide to appoint a Committee of Secretaries to come up with guidelines re this ( sharing of email info to other govt officers ), then very little is likely to happen !



They may end up setting up another “ Empowered Committee “ !



For V 2.0 of the process which L&T followed 50 years ago , please consider following approach :



·         Government is already working on a big push for data analytics , in order to improve decision making .


·         Why not ask some leading software company to analyse those millions of emails ( sent out by various govt officers over the years ) and come up with an Artificial Intelligence based software , which will ( after reading / interpreting the content of each outgoing email from an officer ) , decide , WHO all ( other govt officers ) should get a copy ( cc: ) ?



Let us call such software  : IDEAIntelligence based Delivery of Email Alerts  }



Google / Amazon / Microsoft / Apple / Facebook etc are already using / employing similar AI based software algorithms for delivering advertisements to millions of “ most likely interested “ people around the World  !



Let no one tell you : This is not possible for a software to decide



Google’s AlphaGo Zero AI algorithm “ learns from scratch and with no human help beyond being told the rules ……… because AlphaGo Zero learns on its own from a blank state, its talents can now be turned to a host of real-world problems

 “ ( source : Business Line / 20 Oct 2017 )



And if anyone needs convincing , CBDT has recently awarded a $ 100 Million contract to L&T Infotech to develop a software platform ( using Semantic Web ) , to capture “ Tax Evaders “ , by scraping Social Media sites  !



One more thing :



Do not expect the government officers to welcome the idea of IDEA !


Most of them still believe their POWER lies in being in possession of some such information to which , they alone are privy !






20  Oct 2017



Progress : of a doubtful kind ?



Indian Express ( 19 Oct ) carries following news report :


Not more than 1,400 voters per polling station: Election Commission



The Election Commission has decided that the number of voters per polling station should not exceed 1,400 as the paper roll attached to the paper trail machine cannot print more than 1,500 slips and attaching a new roll when polling is on is a cumbersome process.


In an order issued to its officials in all states, the commission has said that since the thermal paper roll used in the VVPAT (voter-verifiable paper audit trail) machines can print approximately 1,500 slips, it has been decided that the “maximum number of electors to be assigned to any polling station shall not exceed 1,400”.


The poll panel explained that nearly 100 slips are printed during commissioning of the paper trail machines and during mock poll. Since a little over 1,400 slips can be printed per roll after that, the number of voters should not exceed 1400.


It believes the process of replacing the paper roll can be cumbersome when voting is on. All polling stations in Himachal Pradesh assembly polls will have paper trail machines.




What will this mean in terms of additional expenditure ?



It is reported that the Election Commission has asked for additional amount of Rs 3174 crores for purchase of VVPAT machines



Could this decision lead to a huge increase in the Number of Polling Booths  ?



During 2014 general elections , we had :



#   814.5 million eligible voters

     ( an increase of 100 million over 2009 election )
     Extrapolating , in 2019 election , we could end up with another addition of 100
     million voters , taking the total to 914 million !


     At no more than 1400 voters per booth , those additional 100 million voters could ,
    Well require another 71,400 polling booths


    But , since , many booths may have far less than 1400 voters , we may end up
   requiring 80,000 booths


   In 2014 elections , we had 930,000 booths .  Add another 80 ,000  !




1.4 million EVM

    For those additional polling booths , we would need another 80,000 EVM  !



989  Counting Booths

    How many more would we need in 2019 ?



Rs 30,000 crores

   ( total combined election expenditure ( estimated )
   ( Govt + Parties + Candidates )


   It would be safe to assume that this would go up to Rs 40,000 crores in 2019



11,00,000  Personnel

    Expect this figure to swell to , at least 12 lakh persons

=================================

If we just implement mobile app  “  VotesApp “ , not only we could save nearly all of the expenditure on part of the government ( - and even enable the government to earn Rs 20,000 crores ) , we could manage the entire exercise in just ONE DAY and declare the results by 7 pm on the same day !



Cannot believe ?  You will , after reading :





19  Oct  2017



     

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

#FiscalDeficit / #IndianEconomy ?



No one wants fiscal deficit to go up / widen / get worse


Certainly not Shri Surjit Bhalla , Member PM – Economic Advisory Council ( #PMEAC )


His views are reported in Business Line ( 18 Oct ) as follows :



“ Govt may stick to fiscal deficit target, says EAC’s Surjit Bhalla “

The government is likely to stick to its fiscal deficit target of 3.2 per cent of GDP, and may accelerate sales of government stakes in lenders and other companies as part of an effort to recapitalise banks, said Surjit Bhalla, a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, on Tuesday.

The government has already used up nearly all of its budget for the current fiscal year, and tax revenues are expected to fall far short of initial expectations. At the same time, economic growth has slowed, sparking calls for more stimulus.

But Bhalla said the government had stuck to its fiscal deficit targets over the past three years and is expected to do so this year as well.

The central bank has warned that missing the fiscal deficit target could lead to a spike in inflation, hurting macro-economic stability. Indian stocks slid last month on reports that a stimulus package worth up to ₹50,000 crore might be in the works — one that would widen the deficit to 3.7 per cent of GDP.

Economic growth slipped to its lowest level in three years in the first quarter, logging an annual rate of 5.7 per cent, but Bhalla said there were signs of recovery.

“I am more optimistic on the economy than I was two weeks ago,” he said, adding that last week’s industrial output and export data suggested fears about a slowdown were exaggerated.

He said GDP growth could be close to 6.5 per cent for the fiscal year — although that forecast is lower than the central bank’s latest estimate of 6.7 per cent.

Bhalla said the Council's views on the fiscal deficit has been communicated to the government by its chairman Bibek Debroy.

Bad loans in the banking sector hit a record ₹9.5 lakh crore at the end of June, with stressed loans as a percentage of total loans at 12.6 per cent, the highest level in at least 15 years.

That represents a major problem for Asia’s third-largest economy, as provisions eat into profits and new lending is choked off. The bulk of the sector’s bad loans are held by the 21 state-run banks.


For a layman like me , Fiscal Deficit means :

Excess of government’s EXPENDITURE over its REVENUE , in a given year

Spending more than what you earn ? 

What our parents told us never to do when it came to managing household budget  ?


Here are some ways to bring down “ Fiscal Deficit “ :
#    Spend less
#    Earn more
#   Simultaneously , spend less and earn more

Spending less “ is out of question . That would further slow down the economy !

If anything , the crying need right now is to “ SPEND MORE / MUCH MORE “ – in order to boost the Economy

Govt needs to spend  Rs 350 Lakh*Crores  on Infrastructure in next few years

That leaves us with the following options to “ RAISE / INCREASE  REVENUE  “ :

Increase Taxes  (  -  horror of horror – considering that all kinds of elections are  around the corner !  Who wants to commit political hara-kiri ?  )
    

Borrow money from wherever you can ( did not Japan give a loan of Rs 1 lakh*crore at nearly zero per cent interest ?  Why worry about Public Debt going up ?

Let the public worry about that – just as public is worrying about those bank NPAs getting  neutralized by Central Government through RE-CAPITALIZATION , using tax collected from you / me ! )
  
 Since these are not “ Viable Options “ , I request Shri Bhalla ( - and other members of PM-EAC ) , to consider my following blog / suggestion / email :



Tuesday, 2 February 2016


TIME IS NOW !




Quoting from a news-report ( HT / 02 Feb 2016 ) :


At a recent World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Shri Arun Jaitley had said , India needs some additional growth engines , indicating that the focus would shift to reviving PRIVATE investments



Senior Govt officials said," The incentives could be in the nature of TAX CONCESSIONS "



DIPP Secretary , Amitabh Kant added ,  " For the Indian economy to continue to grow, it has to be on the back of DOMESTIC  PRIVATE  SECTOR  investments ..... for a continuous robust growth , investments from the PRIVATE  SECTOR , have to be ramped up "



Let us not keep fooling ourselves  !


Prey  !  From where do the so called PUBLIC SECTOR investments come from ?



It is PRIVATE MONEY  !  Just re-routed by governments , using yours and mine tax money  !



That is, whatever gets left ( of that tax money ) after expenses of running the government



Apart from that ,


Re-routing tax money through PUBLIC SECTOR investments, is a very slow / cumbersome process


*  Persons who manage those investments are rarely made " accountable " for profits / dividends


*  Since tax-payers do not get immediate benefits from such re-routing , it gives rise to tax evasions


*  Tax evasions lead to generation of BLACK MONEY and CORRUPTION



And no political party would advocate " raising of taxes " so that , on 29 Feb 2016 , Shri Jaitley could allocate


*  ONE TRILLION DOLLARS ( Rs 70 lakh*crore ) each to , Piyush Goyal / Suresh Prabhu / Nitin Gadkari / Ravi Shankar Prasad / Uma Bharati / Venkaiah Naidu / Rajiv Pratap Rudy etc

   

and



TEN TRILLION DOLLARS each to , Manohar Parikar ( Defense ) and Nirmala Sitharaman ( Make in India )




WHERE  CAN  WE  FIND  THAT  GROWTH-ENGINE  ?




In my email ( 08 April 2014 ) , I wrote to Shri Narendra Modi :



*  Create Infrastructure SPVs



*  Allow people to invest in these directly and make " returns ( interests / dividends ) " , tax free



Amnesty Scheme for funds invested in such SPVs ( no questions asked as to the source of funds invested )



*  An " INVERSE  TAX " regime for Personal Income Tax  ( with decreasing tax-rates for each higher slab )




Later emails recommended :



*  Encourage  CREATION of WEALTH  by  total abolition of Personal Income Tax



Decreasing Corporate Income Tax , linked to number of permanent employees




I hope Shri Jaitleyji does not treat these as POPULIST measures and keep tinkering with  80ccg /  80dd / 80ddb / 80e / 80g /80gg /80ggc / 80tta  / 80u / 24b ....etc  !


Time now is for embracing ,

TRANSFORMATIONALIST measures


It is time for the Butterfly to emerge from its cocoon  !


18  Oct  2017