Twisted Logic

October 26th, 2009

The silk industry in India has been complaining of dumping by the Chinese. There are press conferences every now and then by either the industry or the reelers or some other aggrieved party to complain about the cheaper Chinese silk imports.

The Chinese have also been facing flak from across the world for their ability to sell cheap products abroad. Indians are not far behind. The Indian businesses are having to deal with products being imported from China that are cheaper.

While the consumer is happy with cheaper products, the businesses are definitely not. The same is the case of consumers and producers of silk.

Those who are directly competing with the Chinese imports in the domestic market are hurt. On the other hand, those who want to reduce their input costs are happy to import from China.

With the Chinese pegging the Yuan to the dollar is helping to drive down the yuan as the dollar falls as the US’s influence. But, the Chinese influence is not falling though. The cheaper Yuan helps one import cheaper from China.

But, not even the China baiters can keep their hands off the Chinese goods it seems. The silk industry which keeps complaining of cheaper imports from China, itself now has to turn to the Chinese to help them cut costs.

At a press conference while complaining of the problems faced by the industry, one complaint was that of the rising input costs. But, how does the industry intend to cut the input costs of Indian silk products.

Looks like the industry wants to use one Chinese to fight another. Some members of the industry said: “We will import Chinese machines as they are the cheapest in the market. Only then can we bring down our input costs.”

Some twisted logic this. But, it makes sense though.

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The Aging not Welcome

October 20th, 2009

Those with a cell phone connection are well aware of the numerous calls from many a firm wanting to sell you products and services.

The number of calls from banks and other firms wanting to sell you financial products and services are dime a dozen.
It’s often a big challenge to shake them off. Most of the call centre agents are trained to absorb any extant of abuse it may seem.

If I, as a working professional, gets a call it’s not easy to shake them off. After some adverse reactions and after they were stopped with a ‘Laxman Rekha’ by the government, they had become less persistent. I hoped to get some relief only after I registered my name with the ‘Do Not Call’ directory. What prompted me to do so was a call centre agent who made my skin creep with his over-persistence.

There is no such problem with my father though. He refuses to register his name on the ‘Do Not Call Directory’. Despite this, he doesn’t seem to be getting too many calls lately. I was surprised till I heard him speak to a call centre agent when he called regarding a financial product he wanted to sell him. The bank wanted provide him a depository services.

“I am a retired person.” Bingo! Now I got it. It were these five words that put all those people off, who wanted to dip their hands into pockets of people. A retired person’s pocket as he explains to a salesman is “always empty. And, I have no pension.”

So, now no insurance firm or any bank or investment consultant or an investment adviser wants to waste time speaking to a retired person. Now I wanted to try the ploy while I wait for my ‘do-not-call’ registration to be activated.

But, the first time I tried, the agent seemed shocked. “Are you sure you are the person? Or, are you impersonating the person?” Now, I seemed to be in a spot! Impersonation is not a nice thing to be accused of. The agent seemed to have all details about me on his computer screen.

So, instead of do-not-disturb, I hope to have as much fun with the call centre executives as possible as I shall soon be off the list of people who are not on do-not-call directory.

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CSR, in style!

October 16th, 2009

The HR department of a multi-national corporation which is into developing embedded software, decided to get their employees involved in some CSR activity.

The employees were also told they would get credit for participating in the CSR activities. They took time to work on the right kind of CSR activity as they had to first of all get the right approvals from the agencies concerned. They also could not spend too much time on getting the approvals necessary.

Finally, they opted for a lake that near their office. All these days they had seen the degradation around the lake. It had a lot of visitors and when people came, they defintely came with their eatables packed in plastic bags, or carton boxes. After taking in the scenic beauty of the lake, the visitors or picnickers would dump their empty sachets and, plastic covers and bags after refreshing themselves. 

Since the road that necklaced the lake was the only way to reach the office, there is no escape for anyone passing it twice a day from noticing the degradation.

So, finally over 50 of the staff of the firm set out for the lake. In their orange attires provided by the firm which alone had held up the noble work by over a week.

Come the D-day and all landed up at the lake in their ‘uniforms’ with gusto they set out clearing the surroundings of the lake of the plastic covers, and other plastic wastes. Also, there were the discarded paper and plastic plates left there by visitors to the lake.

Within about 3 hours, they were finished with their work and patted themselves for the good work done. But, they were all dead tired from the hard labour. Now was the time for refreshments. Well, out came the plastic cups and tumblers, and plastic and paper plates. After they were finished, they just discarded the garbage on a side of the lake, just from where they had cleaned the garbage.

So, did they clean up the mess they created.

NO! They were too tired and were preparing to go home after a hard day’s labour!

“Some other firm will do that with their employees. We did our job,” said a participant.

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Perils On Way to Being a Super-power

October 9th, 2009

Leaders, both business leaders and political leaders, are often seen patting themselves for taking India perilously close to being a super power.

But, not in political terms or economic terms. But, as a super power for providing IT services for businesses around the world. Wealth creation is what the leaders speak of when they speak of their achievement. Buts, has it translated into proportional rise in welfare?
Just as in achieving anything, there are sacrifices of many, maybe in their thousands or even lakhs, on the way to being a great nation or economy. On the path to becoming an IT services super power, there are tears and curses of a million young hearts.

The onsite-offshore model was fine when you had to manage the show with bachelors and bachelorettes. But, over time, they have grown up.
“My husband’s away,” said a melancholic friend. “He will be away for two months.”

Only a couple of months ago he had returned from a nine-month stint onsite. Then, she had been with him. But, this time he was asked to pitch in for a colleague whose visa had fallen victim to fickle-minded foreign relations.

How much longer are we going to play deaf to the cries of the thousands? Perhaps, till the tears start to wash away the cash piles of the industry.

Maybe a 3D hologram of the individual who is away if it can be transmitted over the several time zones in realt time, or perhaps 3D fax???

An army of unhappy citizens is not what a country needs. Alexander could not go on with his conquests and was forced to return to Macedonia because of an army of imhappy, homesick soldiers.

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Spoilt Brats

October 5th, 2009

In a village near Mavelikera, not very far from Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram, a village is slowly coming to terms with a few changes in the labour market. The concept of wage is being revolutionised there. In a state already reeling from serious labour shortages, people who don’t mind physical labour are the ‘lucky’ ones.
For someone wanting to till his land or get his harvest reaped, you have no one but six ‘farm workers’ (not labourers) to choose from. You can’t choose them, they choose you. If you get into a tiff with any of them, be prepared to do the job on your own as no one else will come.

A farm worker’s life may be considered one filled with drudgery. But, not these gentlemen. They are the special citizens of the village. How did they come to occupy such a hallowed status? Since they were not very qualified… academically, they did not think twice before taking up the odd jobs that demanded physical labour.
Now, they are all the most-wanted people in the village. They are now in a position to just ask for what they want and you have people ever-ready to meet their demands.
In economics, a wage is a compensation, usually financial, received by a worker in exchange for their labour. Compensation in terms of wages is given to a worker and compensation in terms of salary is given to employees.

Here, the most wanted men have gone to another stage in compensation. Besides their Rs 300 per day wage they need to be given their mandatory lunch and an evening tea/coffee. The six have to be given a bottle of brandy after winding up for the day. If you fail to give them their favourite drink, you can be sure you will not have any more farm help for a season at least. Who know, maybe one day, brandy could become mandatory while hiring a worker is what you get to hear.
No amount of influence or wealth can help you if the six make up their mind. All youth of the village are ‘educated’, and prefer more respectable jobs. The lesser qualified prefer to become carpenters, electricians. But, no one in the village wants a job that entails physical labour and that’s the blessing for the six lucky men.

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