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Monday, October 26, 2015

Dovetailing Coconut farmers in Palakkad

(This is the excerpt of an article published in the Indian Coconut Journal, published by Coconut Development Board in the Month of August, 2015, written by Padmanabhan Bhaskaran on behalf of Palakkad Coconut Producer Company Limited. Hence, request the readers to read the the data and dates which are based on the context of August, 2015) 

The Palakkad Coconut Producer Company(PCPCL) formed by federating 24 Coconut producer federations with a farmer strength of 24000 is well ahead in initiating multiple programme in various fields with an urge to pioneer the best technology in association with some of the premium institutes of the country. PCPCL is  having an authorized share capital of Rs 5 Cr. and member farmers have mobilized share of Rs 2.6 Cr. as on 12th August 2015. Lets have a brief  look into the various developmental programmes taken up by PCPCL for the overall growth of coconut farmers. 

Research & Development 
Having no established model in this industrial vertical, PCPCL had experimented, tested and adapted technologies from Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasargode for the extraction of high quality neera (with pH value of 6.5 to 7.0) and establish a no preservative, nutritious, virgin health drink under the brand name ‘Pam Dew’.

PCPCL had created history by establishing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for research for processing Neera, with one of India’s state of the art technological marvel called Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) on a unique revenue sharing model. This seems to be a rare model with a public sector institute. In the latest review meeting held on 20th July, 2015, CFTRI has informed that they are in the last leg of their trials of the proposed first product research with two remarkable breakthroughs, ready to be submitted for approval of PCPCL by end of  August, 2015. The Team PCPCL and the Team CFTRI are happy to note that the outcome of this research would bring out better products to the world, which will leapfrog India ahead in the segment. 

Neera Processing Plant 
The processing plant construction is progressing. A  honey making unit using vacuum  evaporator technology is expected to commence in a month with a honey processing capacity of 500 litres/ hour.  

On the special occasion of Onam, PCPCL offered all its member farmers a 'Farmer's Corner' in its
'COCONUT POINTS' to showcase their products! The chemical free farm produces and its value additions can be sold in the PCPCL Retail Chain. Palakkad, being the rice bowl of Kerala, PCPCL introduce varieties of rice, rice flakes, rice powder and value added product blends of rice and coconut, which are sourced directly from  member farmers. Farmers are liberated to celebrate Onam. Product Bouquet include, 'Aval Vilayichathu', exotic range of 'Chammanthipodi', mouth watering 'Pazham Paani (Roasted Banana in Coconut Honey), Dosa Batter, Turmeric Powder, Natural Black Pepper, etc.

Currently PCPCL is in an advance stage of entering into a marketing agreement of PamHoney and PamSugar for entire western and northern region with an experienced trading group, apart from the overseas markets. As the PCPCL had already initiated processing through traditional method, it is expected to deliver the first off-take by 1st week of August, 2015. After the sampling done by this proposed associate of PCPCL, the response they have been receiving seems to be overwhelming and they themselves are excited over this response. 

Drip Irrigation 
Under the farmer welfare programme, PCPCL negotiated hard with M/s. Jain Irrigation Systems Limited for an approximate 1000 acres drip programme and are able to offer approximately 20% discount on the MRP of such high quality pipes and accessories. This programme became slow as it begun to rain again! However, still the material is moving out as the intensity of monsoon is fading out. 

Micro Enterprises 
As of now, PCPCL has 25000+ shareholding farmers, which is ever increasing and approximately 50000+ farmers are in the ambit of this three tier structure. PCPCL envisages processing at least 20% of the nuts produced by these farmers by establishing at least two micro enterprises in each CPS over a period of two years. The first 12 units among such enterprises are expected to start production soon with the help of financial assistance from Kerala Finance Corporation (KFC).  They had already undergone two levels of ‘Entrepreneurial Development Programme (EDP)’ trainings on building capacity and a final exposure visit to identified institutes would make them freeze the projects, technologies and machinery. In order to strengthen the activities of federations and societies, PCPCL is also undertaking capacity building and skill development programmes. FoCT new batches are about to get started and the Neera Technician Training programme is going on as part of the skill development. PCPCL’s Human Capital Management (HCM) Division started formally functioning and initiated Communication Skill Enhancement Programme for batches of employees for improving their communication. This division has also initiated a process to identify and develop a management cadre selected from educated individuals, especially women, who would be keen to use their knowledge and skill. A key group is formed to work out modalities of conceiving and formulating training modules in affiliation with some of the premium institutes. The monitoring of activities are being done smoothly by the subcommittees organized by PCPCL. 

Neera Subcommittee 
Despite all the odds and investments, the neera production across the federations had significantly increased. Though this is a happy outcome, it was alarming as the sale was down due to the monsoons. The Neera subcommittee has been taking some tough decisions to sustain and move forward. Coconut points established by PCPCL is spread across three districts and is getting popular. As on date, 25 coconut points are selling neera, neera honey, syrup, sugar and other coconut products such as  coconut oil, chips etc. 

Coconut Procurement  & Oil Production 
The coconut procurement pilot was carried out by Nemmara Block Federation and procured approximately 1.1 Lakhs nuts and distributed approximately 15+ Lakhs to approximately 50+ farmers. This exercise provides key indicators in terms of expenses on wages and transportation costs etc. On further course, strategizing the procurement process with the minimum requirement of working capital in place and also with a clear goal set on the processing of the procured nuts for value additions. Though coconut oil was made of these procured nuts, we also had to partially force sell high quality copra which was prepared through the quality process with No Sulphur, No Chemicals and No Smoke, in the open market in competition with the normal abused copra to keep the cash flow intact! However, the coconut oil made out of this high quality copra is accepted and after initial lukewarm response, the sales graph of PamFresh Coconut Oil is ticking steadily up, thanks to marketing efforts to boost sales initially. Now, PCPCL had come up with one more variant of the PamFresh Coconut Oil by bringing out traditional chak processing and the variant is called ‘PamFresh Coconut Oil’ – ‘Thani Nadan’, which retains lot of virgin values of the original coconut oil. Two medicated oil variants are on trials and on completion of successful trials these medicated variants would be introduced in the market. 

Equity Mobilization Committee 
The equity mobilization committee has been working hard to conduct monthly meetings of CPSs of all federations, where they have been engaged in making the member farmers aware of the importance of building such a Farmer Producer Organization for sustenance. Though most of our farmers are not able to visualize the need and effect of such an organization, some of them get inspired and initiate participating in the process. This engagement keeps people active in the system. However, our subsidy culture makes our people bargain for petty benefits against the share payments and demand supply of manures for further payment of shares. However, with this committee’s outreach drives, the farmers are becoming more and more aware of the significance of the company.   PCPCL knew much in advance, that we are fighting a battle with an undefined battlefield and we need to establish a farsighted strategy to win this and also realised the importance of accurate market data from international arena to evaluate the demand – supply proportions worldwide and also the market dynamics to position our products with added value propositions. Thanks to the support of Coconut Development Board (CDB) and its dynamic team lead by the most enterprising legend of our times, we were directed to committed young entrepreneurs who were as enthusiastic as us on being part of this revolution among farmers. The Sanjivani Naturals Team had done a wonderful job for PCPCL in the last six months by participating in two major organic fairs, one in Germany and another one in London, where they had showcased our flagship products, which received an overwhelming response. They also conducted a deep research in competitive products in the market and brought some valuable data along with few premium brands of honey and sugar available in the international market.  PCPCL is proud to announce that our  ‘Pam Honey’ and ‘Pam Sugar’ would win hands down, in competition with any of those best products available in the international market. PCPCL also did a study on various other hot moving coconut products including coconut chunks (which is similar to chips) and they are much above the products available in the Indian market. In exploration of technologies and experimenting through new horizons, PCPCL had engaged professionals as consultants for guiding the organization in the right direction. Since the beginning, Team PCPCL was consisting of management graduates from IRMA and Food Technologists from premier institutes like IIT, Kharagpur. There are multiple associations in exploring technologies with premium institutions and it had always been a learning curve with so many revelations and exploration of new horizons. PCPCL had taken weighted average of many such existing technologies before taking some concrete decisions. It was learning all the while and through this process PCPCL realized the merits and demerits of many such methodologies prevailing in the market. Having no model in this segment, it has been a tightrope walk for PCPCL on completely dark terrains of technology and thanks to various institutions, who walked along with support to explore this unknown path. The MoU with M/s. CFTRI is one among the unique propositions in research which made PCPCL’s life much easier, in terms of the time, investment and expertise. PCPCL hopes that this journey will be smoother in the coming days and will also ensure farmers fair, stable and reasonable price.  

PCPCL - CFTRI research initiative is taking a positive turn after about 1+ years exhaustive struggle in the unknown terrains of Coconut Sap (Neera) research. The first ever such revenue sharing partnership in research since the inception is producing fanta-fabulous results in bringing out the most chemical free, nutrient rich, natural drink which would disrupt the existing know-how of the products available. PCPCL's belief in creating value for this 'blessing of the nature' (otherwise called 'God's Own Drink') finds positive results! 

(Excerpts of the article Published in the Indian Coconut Journal, August 2015 - Page Nos: 17 & 18, written by Padmanabhan Bhaskaran)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ATM Robbery By Banks & A Constructive Alternative Model by ABAHU

The ATM usage charges are introduced indiscriminately to harass the millions of common people of this country at this modern age of cost effective technology and services. We, common people (Aam Aadmi) of this country are fed up of the treatment meted out to all of us by various organizations/ institutions like banks?!

Going to such kind of places seems to be a herculean task for the common man as they lose a day's wages for no constructive purpose. More over, many a times, we are sent back with yet another list of things to be fulfilled before actually receiving the service from these institutions. The funniest part of this ATM story is that when RBI came up with strict security norms, the first bank to protest and suggest such a charge was not any private or multinational banks, instead it was SBI group of banks who did that??!! For the service they offer to their customers, it was always relieving for any customer to avoid going to this hell and they keep complaining about the work load and when it came to ATM services they want to squeeze their customers. 

Now, let's think from bank's perspective. There's huge pressure from RBI and governing bodies for these banks to cut down their operating cost and increase the productivity. In addition, they were asked to modernize and introduce world class security as well! Caught in the act, what they wanted to achieve was to squeeze the customer and make up for new expenses. However, they don't bother to improve the quality of services as our country or country men neither enforce nor demand that quality, respectively. There are constructive models available and one of that was to build an independent ATM network operated by a third party with all the facilities as per the security norms prescribed by RBI. Thus the operating cost of these ATMs will be shared by all the banks based on the customer usage of these banks. This was successfully evolved in mobile tower network and similar logic is applicable here as well. This would increase the number of the ATMs to include every bank associated in this network. In this context the banks with existing ATMs can lease out their existing property to this external agency so that they can recover their investment over a period of time. Now, what I mean to say is instead of harassing the lives of millions of common people, if we create an "All Bank Account Holders' Unity - ABAHU" and join  together to form a pressure group and make such constructive proposal to the government & RBI, it would be noticed/ listened. Remember, if few banks can come together and demand a change in RBI policy of free ATM usage, why can't millions of customers do the same muscle flexing in return?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Election 2014 – The Abusive Money Power!

It is with a heavy heart I write this note?! This is written with fresh experience I had while campaigning myself in ‘Palakkad’ constituency.

When we decided to field our candidate in the last minute, we called for a campaign strategy meeting and worked out a minimum budget of 7.5 Lakhs, which may extend up to 10 Lakhs. We had appealed for 25 lakhs to common people as we had post – election plans. When we were evaluating our strategies, we found that there are patterns and precedents set by most of the mainstream political parties, which tend to make elections, a festival of flex boards, road shows and illuminated jugglery of statements and visits of leaders of regions and religions. After quite a bit of debates, we had taken a conscious call to omit this Flex-Mania and instead, opt for cloth banners with printed matters on it.

On the field, we had positive responses from every section of the society and the acceptance from the women folks, both rural & urban, and the youth gave energy to pull on despite the taxing heat…! Many of them were expecting us and responded with enthusiasm. We realized that we need not speak much as people are well aware of Aam Aadmi Party and its relevance. They cherished us with their hearts full of hope and joy and it gives us momentum and unconditional hope in the journey ahead.

The point I wanted to make here was on the abuse of money power spread by these mainstream parties on campaign. The money spent is estimated in crores and the reliable information is that all these parties had collected hefty sums from ‘Quarry & Sand Mafia’ to make their campaign rich and colourful. Remember, the money thus collected smells blood and vita-salts of each of us. My questions to the common people are as follows….

1)      Have you ever thought where this lavishly spent money is sourced from?
2)      Have you ever checked what did you get there in your region as development?
3)      Have you ever checked about the growth in assets of these sitting representatives?
4)      Did any of these parties or candidates reveal the receipts (Income) vs Payments (Expenditure)?

I know, like me in the past, none of you would have thought about this or even if you had thought about it, you would have conveniently ignored this thought justifying that it does not affect you. This attitude is exactly what prompting our political representatives to become arrogantly assertive in looting us and still face us for votes offering few freebies gimmickry. They had weighed us well and used us well consistently.

To fight this precedence, we need to react by choosing wisely the people with credentials and substance, who represent an idea of a noble political culture which resonates the common man’s aspirations. Encouraging such a trend is the responsibility of each one of us…

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We Need Innovative, Effective & Smart Social Audits

We discussed about Sensinomics earlier, in the context of petroleum price revision and its lack of sensibility in economics. I must be the nth person in the country to discuss this. However, our Governing super bureaucrats are not bothered about public or their inputs and they went on to constitute a committee to study about revision of pricing (or, was it a committee to find some digestible reasons to increase the price?). The results are obvious and pre-determined and in a nutshell, it recommends an increase of Rs. 100/- for domestic cooking gas and an increase of Rs.4/- for the diesel. This is apart from the already slotted Rs. 0.50 increase per month!

The committee to study about price revision was appointed by the ministry with consultation
and consent of these oil companies! How does this committee arrive at an unbiased conclusion? By arriving at a figure based on the financial data provided by the companies (Not by considering independently amalgamated data!) and how on the earth it becomes an independent revision exercise? On top of this, do you have any sampling done among the consumers from various strata? (No authentic information available despite multiple pleas under the provision of RTI Act). There were multiple finance wizards who came up with multi-level suggestions and none of their inputs are taken into consideration before arriving at the (il)logical conclusion.

All this adds cost to the consumer, as it gets funded by the tax payer. In fact, what’s happening in this country is that the tax payer appoints a committee with awesome fees and perks to find a reason to increase the prices of the commodities consumed by them?! Irony….! Is it not? How can we end it? In the current system we have no choice other than going to the court individually or collectively; which would take a long time to decide. In the meanwhile, the price can be increased unilaterally, unless we get a direction from the court or stay order on any price increase till the judgment is made on the matter.

In this context, we should seriously think about bringing in effective social audits in the sector, which should reflect the sensibilities of the ordinary people; among whom you come across excellent and practical ‘Sensible Economists’ or ‘Sensinomists’. How to bring this into effect needs detailed discussions. However touch points would be a multi-level approach….

First Level:

The online response platforms should be provided at each petroleum outlets which is going to be a large network. This would empower the end customer give their feedback direct and without any interference and delay.

This can also give responsive customers an opportunity to comment not just on the pricing, but on various services (or lack of those) offered by the franchisee or the companies.

Second Level:

Initiate social audits at ‘Panchayat’ level by independent people groups. This can be initiated at Gram Sabha and other social and governing bodies, where collective discussions are held to pass a resolution to be sent to the ministry with copy to companies. Akshaya Centers, JanSeva Kendras, e-Seva Kendras or such online kiosks at Panchayat levels can be utilized to send this referendum online.

Top Level:

Furthermore, it could be done by multiple Civil Society bodies at the top level. This level of participation is to bring in fresh thoughts and out of the box ideas without bereaving the essence of social justice to amicably find sustenance solutions in this energy craving globe.

This independent body with eminent economists with common sense should audit the financial data based on the international thumb rules and social data available. These interventions are expected to be transparent and consumer centric.

More would get evolved as this process progresses and it could be formalized later on to improvise every bit of this process.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

To All My Brothers & Sisters of India...

My Dear Brothers & Sisters of India,

Being 'apolitical' has been a fashion or a symbol of being civilized (so called 'decency') till recently among middle class. However, of late, many people from this species realized the importance of participation in the political process and also understood the hidden agenda of the current political system which had strategically sidelined and deliberately kept away the 25%+ population of India outside active political process. In fact, the very 'apolitical' stand by this middle class of India had provided in a platter to the political hood-winkers to share seats among the goons and the influential class. I request you to kindly look around you to understand this further. Kindly post your feedback after checking out your constituency position - be it a municipal Councilor, MLC, MLA or MP. By a thumb rule, every one among them would be either an infamous goon or some influential dynasty' kid??!!  So, who's responsible for this? WE OURSELVES!

So, my dear brothers, sisters, uncles & aunties, kindly understand that it is high time to debate
and take a strong stand about the reforms required as it is a necessity of the hour and need to be welcomed. In this process of discussions and deliberations, one may come across many 'indigestible' views, but that should be taken in the best spirits and the end goal is to reach a common land/ approach which should pave way to a new beginning to eradicate criminals and dynasties from politics. Otherwise, we'll be electing criminals and goons and they would make laws to protect them (This is exactly what's happening in Parliament now). So, for heaven's sake, wake up and respond constructively as we have our last bus waiting in 2014. 

There's a huge change happening across the country and a movement is brewing exactly like in our freedom struggle days; choice is ours to become part of it or refrain ourselves. The future generation would not forgive us if we remain 'apolitical' now. We have an inspiring history to follow where our ancestors have jumped enthusiastically into the bus of freedom struggle facing hardships of their lifetime and sacrificing their normal family life. We're lucky enough that we don't have to face such hardships now, but if we leave this opportunity, our future generation would definitely be forced to face such music from these goons.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sensinomics – In a Banana Republic (Indian Version)

This is absurd! On a fine morning, rumours were in the newspapers about the possible climb down of petrol price in the context of Rupee regaining its value graph and stability of crude oil price in the International market in the context of Syria war getting distanced; thanks to Russian intervention. However, in reality petrol price shot up overnight?! A common man with minimum economic sense would not able to comprehend the reasons cited by the ministry, as there is neither a major fall of rupee from its previous day’s position and nor that Syria situation had worsened. In fact, Syria’s position had improved with the introduction of Russia – US pact! Another important aspect is that the Rupee gained value in the context of proposed news about the control over imports. Despite all these, our petrol prices are going skywards….What’s this (black) magic?

Economic common sense or ‘Sensinomics’ does not allow me to understand/ comprehend any logic offered by the Petroleum Ministry and other concerned authorities in unison, consistently over a period of time. Their pseudo genuine reasoning against the expected price climb down is that the effect of the Rupee gain will come into reality only after one or two weeks?? But when it comes to effecting the Rupee devaluation, it happens overnight?? Moreover, in the context of stable international price and relatively stable Rupee, why there is an unprecedented price rise? Inexplicable….?!

In this scenario, the Sensinomics do not understand the reason for the absence of role of the State with firm action?! Is our Government afraid of someone to act tough or is it just the lackluster approach?  The State is expected to assure the quality of life through timely interventions for the rights of the people and here is a republic where the State looks helpless at such junctures despite collecting multiple taxes and surcharges; ever increasing…! The taxes collected for petroleum products are much higher than the subsidy offered and there is a steady graph in the last few years, where subsidy is being cut down/ delayed and the price is made dearer & dearer….! In fact, it should have been in the reverse order. Sensinomics do not state that the subsidy should be increased; but I would definitely say the taxes and surcharges should have been kept at a steady level, at least for a financial year. These ‘Once-in-15 days’ price review brings these taxes and surcharges along with it which is not envisaged in our budget and this additional revenue is neither spent for the betterment of the people nor it is used to effectively bring down the price. In fact the tax envisaged during the budget is what is actually sanctioned and it should be kept as a fixed amount even in the scenario of ‘basic price’ increase. This will at least bring some relief to the common man. 

A recent survey indicates that 62% of the total consumption of petrol amounts to two wheelers and that belongs to the massive middle class or common man of the country. Hence, the increase of petrol price to save diesel price hike does not benefit the common man; instead, it directly affect the common man by increasing his daily expenditure. Sensinomics recommend removal of the ‘uncouth gooses’ sitting for a long time at the helm of ‘(Un)Planning Commission’; who neither understand anything other than their vested interests. This is the modest word I could find in the dictionary to describe them!

If we do not respond to such atrocities, those concerned will take us for granted and keep taking us for such grand royal rides…!

Note: It is 10 days since I started writing this and this so called 'petrol price reduction' has not happened yet...?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

All That Matters In Life!

It is very tricky to talk about what matters in one’s life. Personally, I would say that it is quite relational and varies from individual to individual. However, I would like to narrate something which touched me and inspired me to run over my setbacks and define what matters in life!

It was a cold morning in Shillong. I was reluctant to come out of my blanket when a loud tea call came from my friend. But then, how would he leave me happy like that when he got up and made tea in this ice cold climate? Murmuring absurd sounds, I drew myself out of blanket and walked lazily towards the dining table. My friend John was sitting there sipping the ‘Lal-sa’ (Decoction) with his head plunged into the newspaper. He seemed to have finished his routine gym and looked fresh! Now, I wanted to enjoy the Sunday by just not moving out of bed. In fact, I wanted to finish ‘Three Mistakes of My Life’ of Chetan Bhagat, which I started yesterday late in the night. John was very quick to get ready to go to church and asked me to be ready to go out with him when he comes back. Though I asked several times about the destination, he told me that it was a surprise offering to me.

I got ready at my own pace and then waited for John for some time. On a Sunny Sunday, I felt it was too long by the time he reached, but then we got off quickly to the unknown (at least to me) destination. We had our breakfast at Shillong town and carried on to down under. I was zapped to realize that he had taken me to a missionary organization which ran a residential center for special children. He introduced me to Meghna, a volunteer who had the charge of managing the center and she welcomed us and took us around the facility to explain the challenges and excitements in running such an institution. Though the infrastructure was built by the missionary group, the unit was independent and considered as a separate cost center to sustain on its own! The children were waiting there to meet us! This was the moment that I realized that our man (John) had a clear plan and everything was discussed and fixed for my visit. Meghna discussed many things and among that she wanted me to suggest a micro enterprise for sustaining the center. The children seemed to love her a lot and were reluctant to listen to anyone else. We chalked out a plan to utilize the time of the parents and the teachers to start an enterprise and compensate them as well. We had our lunch there and by the time we left the place, this young lady had left quite an impressive mark on us!

While driving back, John explained me about the background of Meghna. She was the only daughter of a multi-millionaire of the region and after doing her masters in engineering; she pursued sociology and her passion for social work. However, her father wanted her to marry and settle down and that’s when she left her home and came off to this center and started working there. She stays there in an attached guest room and she had already changed the face of the center within few months. In this era of compromises of principles to accumulate wealth, here was one lady with a mission and unconditional love for those little ones who’re created special!

That evening was really haunting and I realized what matters in life to me and Meghna’s gesture had reiterated that all that matters in life to each individual is different and reaching there should be the mission of one’s life.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Silent Invasion

A few years back, one of my friends from Botswana told me about how African countries were economically invaded by Chinese! If you observe the incidents of recent past, one would amaze at the strategies they adopt to pursue their interests with precision planning and clinical execution. In most of the African countries, they had built infrastructure at free of cost and as a return of goodwill, flooded those markets with Chinese products (excessively produced to bring down cost of production) and they have the range of products to suit each strata of society. The usual trend is that a family would migrate and set up a small shop to sell the products and over years, they would establish a colony of shop keepers to spread their net. In the meanwhile, their Government supports them by bilateral agreements and other facilitations to cement the market forever.

In fact, in some other countries where high levels of social security measures are prevailing, the Chinese migrants’ master plans forced those countries to stop such privileges to all migrant communities! If I recall a meeting with a Chennai based investor, who was close to the TN power houses, it was Indians and that too Central Ministers from Tamil Nadu who were given the first right of refusal for building world class ITES infrastructure in Srilanka, just after the ethnic crisis was over. However, as usual we were over confident and our lethargy in decision making gifted a huge opportunity to impatiently waiting Chinese. This lapse in governance not only affected India’s business interests, but deflated strategically maintained position in a country which looked expectedly at India at each juncture of political crisis??!

China had worked hard in every industry sector and took giant leap forward in comparison with India. Though they have been vigorously trying to bridge the gap in IT industry with India, they could not achieve this according to their set targets. However, of late, what is observed is a course correction in their strategy to focus pragmatically on technologies which can be adopted fast. One among such areas of their interest is animation vertical. Close observation reveals that they had advanced well ahead and their marketing tactics is quite simple as usual. Mediocre Quality at low cost or Low Quality at lowest cost!

The global animation industry had grown fast and touched US $500 billion and in US it is now, one among the first ten industries. In Japan, it had already crossed its flagship automobile industry. China had grown faster in this sector and they are moving fast towards a silent coup like what they had done in other verticals & markets.

I had written this note after observing the content of various channels which telecast a range of animation serials. Like we watched Donald Duck, Mickey, Tom & Jerry in our childhood days, our children watch a large number of Chinese characters day-in and day-out, in every other channel which targets such young audience. I think our children are undergoing a cultural invasion through these alien characters to our culture and not surprisingly most of these animated characters come from China for obvious reasons. These channels opted for cheaper alternatives in comparison with standard Walt Disney animations. The characters and the nauseating dubbing make these animations sub-standard apart from their ugly looks. My predominant concern is the lack of logical stories for these contents and its wrong influence in these young minds, which are in their formative years.   Recently I searched for one of the award winning animations, the ‘ek chidiya anek chidiya’ which was created by Films Division of India at animation center of NCERT, which was telecasted by Doordarshan and the link is as follows….

If the production houses, channels and their audience don’t put their act together and bring the change to the industry, there are multiple disasters waiting for us –
1)          The slow cultural invasion which will create a Generation of morons.
2)          The China’s dominance in yet another industry, where our country can heavily contribute               with unlimited talents.
3)         The absence of passing on the rich cultural heritage and those stories we heard from                  our Grand Parents, which asserted value system in each one of us.
4)          Above all, there’s a huge but strategically silent financial drain, like in many other sectors.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Modern Drutharashtras & Suyodhanas….

In the great epic Mahabharatha, there are some dramatic scenes at the courtyard of the blind King Drutharashtra at Hastinapuri. The King & his beloved son get disturbed at the news of Pandava’s come back as they did not want to share their Power and Kingdom at any cost. Unfortunately for them, despite their best efforts to expel Pandava from the Kingdom, they came back safe in clinical frequencies framed by destiny. At each opportunity, King Drutharashtra was advised to rehabilitate Pandava and give them their Kingdom! Despite the good advises of senior mentors and wise men, the King and his pampered son never accommodated them. And the kind of intolerance they had shown towards sharing their power is the classical example of shamelessness and it should be counted as one among the first ever examples of how much people can stoop low to satisfy their own greed for the power in a civilized society!

We’re in the age of modern Drutharashtras and Suyodhanas at every walk of life; or at every corridor of Power! When minority and majority play their influence in politics, the common man wonders that who are the real beneficiaries of these so called ‘benefits’?! The minority representatives might have bargained lot of favours for them, but it is distributed among the confidants of the ‘party kings’. Most of these common people of this ‘minority’ are just spectators and they run around hard to make both ends meet. So who benefited out of these huge bargains is ambiguous; rather clear. Similarly, it is the same or more apparent in the case of majority representatives. There were major institutions allocated to these community organizations for the progress of their respective communities. In fact, it was never useful for the poor people in the community. These institutions have become money spinning tools for these organizations and over a period of time they lost the mandate to speak on behalf of respective communities. Now, there’s a sudden realization that if they don’t put their act together, they would be nowhere. But, if both of them don’t change their ways and cut down their whims & fancies and qualitatively change to serve their respective communities, people would eventually realize the truth and at a particular juncture, they would express their anger and throw these unrealistic leaders out.

Another example is that of the current cricket governors in the country! A game of great significance in a country of die-hard fans made 'Gods' of the game. This, not only made them earn multi-billion contracts but more greedy too. Eventually, the cricket governing body in India became one of the most rich and powerful in the whole world. This had paved way for all the honey bees (or Money Bees) to get attracted to the organization and to abuse it to the core for their benefits! This beeline is not just from Sports alone, but from politics too, as many of them find these sports organizations as safe zones to hang on forever without trouble.  However, arrogance pays its dividend very fast and the very people who were beside you while on the good times become the attacking enemies to save their own seats. One among them got expelled a few years back, thanks to a silly row with a minister on issuing visa to a former Brand Ambassador model from South Africa?! It is unbelievable to see an all-powerful glamour boy becomes a villain overnight and he’s in exile now, at London. In fact, this phenomenon should have given all these culprits a valuable lesson to curtail their greed or to gracefully quit. However, it does not happen so and they keep riding people till the next link gets exposed. I think that’s the very reason that these guys flex their muscles to stick on shamelessly even after they are semi-exposed as they would be wiped off from the post either by their own colleagues or they would get wiped off from this world by their unholy partners of underworld. You have classic examples like Hansie Cronje and Bob Woolmer.

If they don’t change, they’ll be forced to do so, by the millions of game lovers. If these politicians don’t change, millions would come out to change the system which would eventually throw them out forcibly?! History teaches us great lessons and the intelligent visionaries learn farsighted lessons to evolve and envisage a better system in advance!