Wednesday, 21 December 2016

US Elections, Trump Regime and Talent Mobility….

It’s finally out!! Donald Trump is officially set to become the 45th US President of the world’s oldest democracy . Well, 58th US quadrennial elections seemed worst nightmare for majority of the IT industries – esp. in India. The information technology (IT) sector is in focus with President-elect Donald Trump at the helm in the US and the fear that the US immigration policies are going to get a lot stricter. His stand on trade policies had been ‘hawkish’ to some extent which has set precedence on immigration models across the industry eventually affecting Talent Management & Mobility especially in IT Sector.

Source: Google images

Immigration has been the key issue during elections in the US. The coveted H-1B visa program is expected to become more protectionist as President-elect Trump promised during his election campaigns. This will affect Indian IT companies as they will be able to send only a lower number of professionals to the US to assist their clients in the country.

Post elections, it has been witnessed that few IT majors are looking to step up hiring in the US – especially fresh graduates from the campuses of top American educational institutions, even though despite of the significant talent gap still existing in the States. Well, the impact of US Elections on Business Immigration seems quite unclear as of now. However, Immigration is expected to be a key issue in the upcoming fiscal year in Donald Trump's administration. He has shown some support for skilled immigration, however he has also called for more investigation for foreign nationals entering the United States. It is anticipated that curbs on foreign worker admissions and there would be close monitoring & obligations on employers of foreign workers.

Though the Mr. Trump has not made any specific proposals, but has indicated that he would seek reform on the renowned H1B CAP, may renegotiate key trade agreements – many of which contains the provisions to streamline immigration between the member countries. Thus, it becomes very important for the organizations to plan talent management & mobility diligently and decisively. 

Though, India as a nation is not completely dependent upon US for economical / commercial benefits – however, immediate reforms may prove to be unexpected hiccup and disrupt business models for a while. Instability &n uncertainty is a part of a business – but we should also remember that "In every period of upheaval, there are opportunities for progress!". 

PS: Views expressed are personal

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Monday, 23 May 2016

Ignorance – Blissful or Dangerous?

Being in a people function, sometimes I feel to ignore some people over certain petty issues which I come across - say in terms of casual discussions, debates or issues. Somehow, I refrain myself in doing so. Thomas Gray in his Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College coined the term ‘Ignorance is blissful’ – but is it really the same or is it dangerous?

Source: Google images
Ignorance, to my understanding means being uninformed, lack of knowledge or sometimes say not being open to humor, wit, sarcasm or criticism. It may also imply a lack of desire to introspect yourselves which eventually may lead to hopelessness and cynicism.

There may be certain situations where you are happier not knowing the truth. Being ‘ignorant’ following your own way in life could make you more efficient and happier. Spiritually, detaching yourself from the materialistic pleasures is a way of attaining happiness. Thus, it can have a place in life for a while.

Thomas Gray in his poetry was reminiscing his childhood unmarred by the dark realities of adult life. He also indicates that he is able to escape worries of the world as an adult by ignoring them.   

However, I found it quite ironic, that after so many years of exploration, when information can be attained easily especially in a world of 24/7 news, social media, and easy internet access – enjoying ignorance can be dangerous. Being uneducated and unaware is not blissful. Your ignorance will keep you working on mediocre things. Not knowing isn't even a bad excuse anymore: It's a death sentence these days.

So what can be an alternative? Is ignorance blissful or is it dangerous? I feel, putting it simply as ‘learning’ both ways (outside & inside) can lead to a blissful life. We should be ignorant enough to allow our mind to rest and enjoy - rather than always chasing information. But, learning and understanding the ‘uninformed’ facets around ourselves can definitely lead to blissful life. 

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(views expressed are personal) 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

‘Muffler Man: Part 2’ – Back with a Bang!!!

And finally the most awaited, ‘Muffler-Man’ part 2 released last week with a massive response… Mr. AK, in lead role is all set to rule the capital. His last release though got super hit opening, lasted only for 49 days. But this time, AK is super confident that he will be on screen (on duty) for at least 490 weeks to meet the people’s expectations.

AK’s willingness to say sorry has paid off diluting his ‘Bhagoda’ charge and people forgiving him in the SRK (Oops, Sorry Obama?) way - “Bade Bade deshon mein…” - made AK as an emerging mascot of an alternative brand of politics. The 45-year-old engineer-turned-civil servant changed the political discourse with a spectacular win of his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Assembly polls that brought BJP to mere negligible in the capital.

With the overwhelming vote from the people of Delhi in his favour, now the onus is on AK to deliver the challenging responsibility of meeting the collective and varied aspirations of people of the 17million residents of Delhi. This time he cannot run out of his responsibilities. He will have to fulfill the promises.

AAP’s manifesto has promised various reforms right from providing subsidized water & electricity to free WiFi, passing Jan Lokpal in the first assembly election to having full statehood in Delhi, Corruption free govt. to transparent governance and ending VIP culture to making the city a better in every possible way. All these tasks are quite difficult where AK will have to take bold decisions to make it happen without disturbing the harmony.

BJP in the centre, AK has to now approach them before any decision until Delhi gets full statehood status. This is the time AK should not fight with them or court a ‘Dharna’ style controversy. PM NaMo has assured him full support which he should take positively and coordinate with the centre for the benefit of Delhi.

AAP should now respect the mandate and go out to fulfill its election promises. Respecting the choice of 17million people, I believe, Delhi will witness a change and if this time it doesn't, then this will be the last sequel of ‘Muffler-man’. 

-Prateek Aloni

Friday, 20 June 2014

Making the Aadhar Nir- Aadhar...

After a messed up three-year process and running through Rs 11,000 crore, the great discovery of a unique identity number for each Indian may get scrapped now.  The newly elected government is planning to scrap it. Though the concept of Aadhaar card, of providing the lower strata of Indians with an identity card that could be linked to their bank accounts so that the benefits marked to them did not get lost in bureaucratic hurdles or get siphoned off by middlemen, was really ideal and great but, as of today,  in my point of view, Modi Sarkaar’s move to scarp it should be welcomed. 

Right from the beginning of the project, it had been always criticized by BJP and other activists, but the architect of the Aadhaar, Nandan Nilekani, who is now a Congress politician, as well as the UPA government, brandished the cost-benefit analysis of the card. The future of Aadhaar project was never bright but the Congress government kept on pushing the same despite various constitutional and legal infirmities.

Indian economy is facing inflation and sluggishness since long time and in such a scenario, wasting even a single penny on projects like Aadhar will be foolishness! The cost of building Aadhaar and integrating it with the government schemes was estimated around 35000 crores by UPA – II government. The government is already said to have spent around Rs 11,000 crores on the project and over 70 crore Aadhaar numbers have been issued. A poor country like India should not waste an expenditure or effort on this scale, especially at this late stage.

Apart from this, there can be chances of Aadhaar as invading a person’s privacy by taking their biometrics data. The critics of the Aadhaar has always mentioned that the agency engaged in the process, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), might share the  biometric information of people with other government agencies thereby violating people’s right to privacy. They also thought that using the biometric data, people might be singled out, tracked, harassed and have their rights violated.

Also, Aadhar has no legal statute. The Constitutional Validity of Aadhaar Project has already been questioned in the High Courts and Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court has even held that Aadhaar Card/Number cannot be made mandatory for availing public services in India. Though, today it is accepted by RBI, SEBI, Railways, Telecom & IT departments, etc.  as a proof of identity or for the KYC process, but as per the Supreme court’s judgement, the entire legal basis of the card stands vulnerable.

In these circumstances continuance of Aadhaar project would be a big mistake. The Modi Government’s move seems to be ideal and hence, if it takes a decision of scrapping the project, it should be welcomed. 

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Tuesday, 10 June 2014

How will history remember Manmohan Singh???

In the past couple of weeks the new government has taken over the country and everybody is hoping for a bright future of the nation, expecting reforms friendly for the nation and its development.  The new PM is all set with his plans for the next 100 days and thereafter. Amidst all these, the Ex-PM of India for past 10 years, Dr. Manmohan Singh walks into sunset with little fusses and noise.

The frustrated congressmen are blaming him and the leader (RaGa) of congress party for their failure in communicating the UPA government’s achievement to the people. Indeed, the man’s humility is remarkable, as at the last meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), Manmohan took the responsibility for the government’s failure shielding the mother son duo in the congress party making them to lead the party.

History has assessed many PM’s. While others have been forgotten, some (Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P.V. Narsimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, etc.) had left a large footprint on the nation. How will history remember Manmohan? Will he be remembered as the architect of economic reforms that began in 1991 or as a robot working on the signals getting from 10 Janpath, the residence of Sonia and seat of actual power?

The man, who hails a degree from Cambridge and Oxford, had worked with United Nations, then acted as an advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, then Singh held several key posts in the Government of India, such as Chief Economic Advisor (1972–76), Reserve Bank governor (1982–85) and Planning Commission head (1985–87). In 1991, as India faced a severe economic crisis, newly elected Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao surprisingly inducted the apolitical Singh into his cabinet as Finance Minister. Over the next few years, despite strong opposition, he as a Finance Minister carried out several structural reforms that liberalised India's economy. These measures proved successful in averting the crisis, and enhanced Singh's reputation globally as a leading reform-minded economist.

After UPA’s win in 2004, the first term of Manmohan Singh as a PM had fine moments – Enactment of RTI, INDO-US Nuclear deal, strong economic growth, Rural health Mission, Unique Identification Authority, Rural Employment Guarantee scheme, etc had boosted again the nation’s confidence on Congress and Manmohan.

But during UPA-II, the Manmohan (or Sonia) government failed on few important fronts. The GDP growth, consumer price inflation and the the new rules for FDI in multi-brand retail were so loaded with cumbersome clauses that they have not yielded much investment. Singh started with two years of 8.5% growth and ended with two years of 4.5% growth.  Apart from these, Singh's "UPA II" government faced a number of corruption charges—over the organisation of the Commonwealth Games, the 2G-spectrum allocation and the allocation of coal blocks. This made the nation to vote against him and as thinking of him as a person with a paralysis of decision making.

Well, people are ultimately judged not by their failures but for their career achievements. Manmohan will be remembered as a decent and hardworking man, who had saved India when the Nation was in dire need of Economic reforms and stability. He may be remembered as a man who had tried to work hard for the Nation’s benefit without the greed for chair. 

Sources: Wikipedia, Swaminomics, Business India

Prateek Aloni