My take on #GiveItUp (LPG Vs Parliament Canteen Subsidy Debate)

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LP_gas_cilinder

Image courtesy – wikipedia.org

Government is asking citizens, those who can afford, to give up LPG subsidy voluntarily. Why? In 2013-2014, government spent nearly Rs. 40,000 Crores on LPG subsidy. Even if a small percentage of population gives up subsidy, it would result in considerable savings to the exchequer. And that would not only help reduce the fiscal deficit of our country but more importantly, will help the people in lower income category get cooking gas at subsidised rates. Continue reading

Why group buying is not every merchant’s cup of tea?

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A lot has been said and written on this topic already. Group buying may not be successful in long term mainly because it is not a sustainable business model as vendors/merchants can’t keep providing heavy discount (typically >50%, sometimes even 90%) regularly. Most of the deal sites in India are shifting their focus from deals to e-commerce. However this is just one aspect of it. Group buying is actually a wonderful marketing idea which can do wonders to the business of a merchants.

Unfortunately, the problem is that most of the merchants think of it as a quick and easy way to increase sales temporarily rather than turning those ‘discount’ customers into repeat customers, which should be their main objective. It’s an open secret that generally customer of such deals do not get the same treatment as the regular customers. For example, quality of service is generally poor, quality is reduced (e.g. 4 piece instead of 8 piece in case of starters in a restaurant) and even lower quality products are used (in saloons, spas and beauty parlors). I have been a victim of these deals and the saloon and restaurant examples given above are experienced by myself (and a couple of my unfortunate friends whom I pulled into one of these deals). In fact, both restaurant manager and saloon owner admitted that they reduce quality and use low quality products respectively for customers having deal vouchers. That’s the reason they don’t mind coming up with deals regularly on various group buying sites like Snapdeal, Koovs and others as they still make money from these deals. However they fail to understand that people are not fool and how negative WOM spreads like fire now a days.

Instead, the merchants should provide same to better services to ‘discount’ customers which they provide to their regular or non-deal customers so they get a real taste of their service or products. This will help them turning those ‘discount’ customers into repeat customers. In the long run, this is not only result in more profits but will also help improving their image. I was discussing this with a friend who mentioned most of the merchants don’t have adequate education to appreciate group buying concept. But I don’t agree. Anyone who has been in business for few years should be able to figure out how to utilize group buying opportunity and some of the merchants are making good use of it and have acquired new customers but most of them are probably happy with short term profits. Ideally, it should be the responsibility of the deal sites like Snapdeal to educate the merchants on how to get benefited from such deals without having to compromise on service quality but they are probably too busy worrying about their own profits.

What’s your take on this?

Traffic Indiscipline in India

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After a gap of 2 years, I got a chance to drive in Hyderabad. I must say it was as difficult as it used to be since people drive as if they are the only one driving on the road. Hyderabadis (in general) know no traffic rules unless there is a cop in sight, sometimes they ignore him as well. I guess the same can be said for most of the Indian cities.

When I used to work in Hyderabad, it was common people discussing in office how they nearly escaped (or sometimes even got injured) from an accident on a frequent basis. This reminds me of ‘Roads are filled with idiots‘ Ceat tyre advertisements on TV (this and this). It’s unfortunate but very true that most of our cities are filled with such people who drive recklessly and put others life in danger along with their own. No wonder India tops the list in number of road accident fatalities in world. During the year 2009, there were around 4.9 lakh road accidents, which resulted in deaths of 1,25,660 people and injured more than five lakh persons in India. The official number of deaths increased in 2010 to 1.3 lakh and if government reports are to be believed, most of the accidents were caused due to driver negligence.

Fortunately if you live in Delhi, you get to learn some road discipline unless you love paying fines and don’t mind trips to jail every now and then. Traffic discipline situation is not ideal in Delhi however it’s far better compared to other Indian cities.

Who do you think is responsible for this situation?

Doesn’t matter how safely you drive, if others on road do not, you are not safe.

Learning Vs. Grades

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Few months back, I joined an executive program in management with an objective to get myself acquainted with management skills. On first day of class, I found there were forty-five others like me who joined the program with same objective and everyone seemed to be quite enthusiastic, just as I was. A few weeks passed and one fine day, we got a notification from course authorities that end term exams would take place after a couple of weeks … and that was the end of our learning. Everyone started worrying about the exams and how to get “passing” marks (including me). Some took the help of Google to find sample questions and some started referring to multiple books to find all possible combination of questions which could be asked. It’s not that everyone was doing this, I am sure there must have been some people who were genuinely interested in learning and expanding their knowledge spectrum.

This is what typically happens since our education system make students (and their parents) more concerned about clearing the exam with flying colors than actually learning the subject. It reminds me of ‘3 idiots’ – Rancho vs Chatur. Both were toppers however how many students like Rancho you can find in a school/college/university class? Very few, but in all probabilities, you’ll find at least one Chatur in every class. A student getting 90+ percentage by mugging up books is considered superior than someone who scores less but is actually more knowledgeable. When I was doing engineering, students who used to score around 65-70% were among the first to get recruited and I saw many ‘toppers’ who struggled to get a job. May be this is not correct analogy however my point is that typically (not always) high scorers are not good learners as they are more focused on scoring high marks. There are exceptions, yes, but exceptions are omnipresent. If you’ll look closely, you’ll find that the startup ecosystem also reflects the same. Some of the most successful startups and tech majors were started by ‘non toppers’.

We fail to understand the simple thing. If we will try to learn, we’ll also score good but the opposite is not true. So, let’s pledge not to worry about exams, instead let’s give our 100% to learn on every opportunity 🙂