The Forgotten Promise

Dear Indian,

68 years ago, all your elders consensually promised each other to abide by a set of rules and regulations. And created me as an embodiment of that promise. After they achieved Independence from British, it was essential to set a few common grounds for better and harmonious society. So, they enacted me, to remind next generations of the grand old promise. To accommodate all the ideologies, religions, races, castes and sex, I was made the largest in the world. I am made up of 448 Articles spread across 25 Parts and 12 Schedules. Of which, only the part III, which consists of Fundamental Rights is mainly reiterated and the rest is almost forgotten. Especially, Part IVA, consisting of Fundamental Duties, is being buried in the ground.

When created, I was considered as a ray of hope for millions of citizens. Celebrations were being conducted all over the country. I was overwhelmed with the respect and love showered upon me. Nevertheless, no one reminds me, except on my Birthday – The so called Republic Day. You cannot walkaway form me, saying and push the responsibility towards you politicians. Every time, when you vote, when you utilize the public resources, when you enjoy the freedom provided by me, do remember that you are obligated to me. The obligation is to abide by the rules written. But, now it’s a latest fad among youth, to Break those Rules. Not to mention the demise of the son of A.P. Educational Minister while he was speeding on a Benz. I feel petty, when you lose your valuable life just for the sake of fun. And pettier when that life is taken away even while clicking selfies.

Unlike your neighbour, who prioritized Islam above everything, you made a right choice by accommodating all the religions. You even made a promise to show compassion for other living creatures (Article 51A(g)). But, some of you shamelessly cut the legs of cattle for easy transportation. And when government tries to mitigate these problems, you again reiterate your Fundamental Rights overlooking all your promises. This is not a matter of religion, just another mistake of humanity. Hope you strive hard to improve your values and thereby the surrounding environment.

I urge you to always remember those words from the most beautifully worded Preamble in the world, “We the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialistic, Democratic, Republic and to secure among them all Equality, Liberty, Justice and to promote Fraternity.” It’s your responsibility to keep up this promise.

When it comes to myself. I was assured the protection from The President of India. None of them, except Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam could keep upto my expectations. I miss him.

Yours Sincerely,

Indian Constitution

He Boarded his First International Flight Just To Watch Her Graduate

Rakesh has been waiting for six long years, to cherish this particular moment. Shruti is going to get graduated from University of Melbourne, Australia and it was his dream to see her in the ‘academic attire’. With the help of his friend, Mukund, who was passing out from the same Institute, he found her whereabouts and headed towards her. As the flight started rushing over the clouds, his mind began to rewind all those sweet memories, once again. Had he revised those CSE subjects at least half of the time he thought of her, he would have not dropped out of the college in the second year.

Rakesh still remembers the first encounter with her. As usual, he was engrossed in writing the code on his laptop during the lecture. Suddenly, a beautiful girl stood at the door, asking permission to enter the class. Then he smiled, not at the girl, but at the entire classroom tracking the girl’s movement and then normally went back to the coding. Only thing, that attracted him was coding. Never a girl, dragged his attention. He always wanted to start his own venture without getting distracted. But, God had different plans for him.

Accidentally, they started getting along with each other, thanks to the project that they had to complete together. However, their thoughts and actions were poles apart. But, her aspirations attracted him, her ideas inspired him and her elegance, bamboozled him. Her liveliness, impulsiveness, and craziness got him out of his digital world, a world where only 0’s and 1’s existed. Inadvertently, his emotions took over his intelligence, his routine got in sync with hers. He realigned his entire world to gain her “attention”. All his aspirations were traded for her dreams. He made her, his entire world. He loved her, in all manifestations. She looked adorable in silence, innocent when she cried, intelligent when she spoke, sensible when she argued, cuter when she kipped, hotter when she played and gorgeous when she smiled. Most importantly, she was always beautiful for him, in any of her forms. Not to mention, he loved her profile pics, her status updates, her picture captions and her witty replies. And yes, love is blind and will be blind forever.

He always wanted to propose her. But, how could he? Without being independent, how could he promise her to rely on him? When he is unsure of his career, how could he make a commitment? When his future seemed puzzling, how could he assure her to accompany in her future? Rakesh thought that it’s not a right time to propose and let the time pass by. Amidst all these happenings, he flunked his exams and was debarred from the college. Of course, he never wanted to study that crap taught in the campus. At the same time, he never expected to drop out of college. He began an e-commerce website within two months. As soon as the venture becomes successful, he thought of proposing her.

With all these thoughts going on at the back of his mind, he arrived at the airport. Mukund warmly received him. Directly, they headed towards the graduation ceremony. There she was. Wrapped in a yellow coloured silk saree, Shruti looked stunning, as ever. May be the god has bestowed upon her, everlasting loveliness. Rakesh slowly moved to her, wishing her to remember all those sweet memories they had together. Shruti then looked at Rakesh and surprisingly asked, “Hey, Nice to see you. It’s really a long time. I never thought that you would come all the way along to see your friend graduate.” He wanted to say something else, but he lied, “Yes. How could I miss this opportunity, I have been waiting for year to see Mukund graduate.” Then she lovingly looked into Mukund’s eyes, not his, and gave a tender kiss. She then smirked at Mukund and said, “You are lucky to have a great friend along with this beautiful girl.” He hesitatingly smiled. Mukund and Shruti were in relationship for the past two years. And Rakesh was aware of all the happenings.

After the ceremony, Rakesh directly took a return flight to India. Yet again, his thoughts slid into those memories. While pursuing his second year at engineering. He always believed that he was in love with Shruti. But she said, it was a great friendship. Like any other average guy, he never understood the difference. The value he attached to her was million times more than the value she attached to him. After the college, he distantly helped her achieve all she wanted, without letting her know. By the time, he was ready to propose after the success of his venture, he learnt that Shruti was already committed to his friend, Mukund. The love as a verb died on the same day. But, the same love as a feeling, remained forever. Never a day passed by, without praying for her success. It was his dream to see her successful. When all her dreams were coming true, sorry! When all his dreams for her were coming true, how could he stay in India? So, he took his first international flight to see her graduate.

Android O: All you need to know about it

Google unveiled Android O at the Google I/O annual developer conference held on 17-19th May 2017. Google has released the second developer preview of Android O. In case you missed, we have the important highlights for you about the upcoming update:

Battery life has been one of the major concerns for any android customer. Google is trying it level best to limit background activity and maximize battery life. In the latest upcoming update, it has increased the automatic limits on what apps can do in the background in a number of key areas (broadcasts, background services, location updates).

Google is bringing new PiP (picture-in-picture) features that enable users to continue watching videos while working within other apps; apps will be able to put themselves in PiP mode. Something similar you can find in Facebook app, where you can continue to watch a video, looking at other posts.

Google is also introducing new Notification channels that allows to group notifications together by their type. Users can block or change the behavior of each channel individually, rather than managing all of the apps’ notifications together. It will help you things like how a news app notifies us or a music player shows a persistent notification.

Another new feature is notification dots, which are visual indicators on app icons that’ll show if you have any waiting notifications. iOS users maybe familiar with this.

AutoFill API’s will help you remember your pre-filled form, usernames/passwords (in some cases) to quickly be added into apps on your device. A user will be able to choose a source for autofill data, and applications that need to store and retrieve this sort of data no longer will need to act as an Accessibility service.

Android on Chromebooks also indicates that there will be an update to the keyword navigation. Android O focuses on building a better model for arrow and tab key navigation.

With the new updates, Google has also announced Adaptive icons and badges. The feature will enable developers to use different-shaped app icons depending on the manufacturer’s preference. Adaptive icons will be supported in the launcher, shortcuts, device Settings, sharing dialogs, and the app overview screen.

Wi-Fi Awareness will allow your Android O device or app to communicate with other devices and apps in the vicinity over Wi-Fi without requiring an actual internet connection. Sony’s LDAC codec is also part of the update. They are also introducing the AAudio, which could result in improved low-latency audio.

From the latest update, the Pandas feel that the Google is following Nougat’s footstep. The first developer preview will be available on the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL and Pixel C devices. Google is concentration more on improving performance rather than just adding features. It’s focusing on strengthening the platform and filling gaps. We are eagerly waiting for the update and probably hear lots more about Android. Google is also yet to name the update – Have any suggestions ? – We would like to hear from you from the comments below

Stay tuned for the updates

Inflation – 3

The intervention of Government may have positive or negative effects. A wrong decision can cause catastrophe like that in Zimbabwe and recently, Venezuela also in deep trouble due to hyperinflation. Hyperinflation causes a problem in the Foreign exchange rate as well. The large magnitude of imports also become a problem, as the Current Account Deficit would set in. The Foreign exchange rate goes bonkers and the value of the currency at a global level declines. So, should the Government really intervene?

If we go with Keynesian approach, the intervention of Government can be useful. The monetary policies can be altered to provide a constricted investment. In other words, the government can increase the rates which might plug the excess consumption/expenditure. The excess interest rates, mean that the investment would likely go down. Thus, the multiplier effect of money and velocity of money would be reduced substantially.

Another polar argument, would be from Hayek’s theory, by promoting the free market concept. The market should not be meddled much, but should be left on its own to recover from inflation. His argument is that the Central bankers, politicians, economists and financial experts cannot do much about the future because the real world consists of people, who are hardest to predict, as opposed to machines. The theory would sound rock solid, but on field called “real world”, it is going to be a disaster. The arguments sound logical as the current situation in Zimbabwe and early 20th stories of inflation too point in his favor.

The third approach is more of a criticism. The process of inflation, recession and instability is due to capitalism. Thus, capitalism should be eliminated. This also mean that, there would be a reduction in disparity of wages between the rich and the poor. This is today’s communism approach proposed by Karl-Marx. The extreme ideas would sound good now, given the recent US Recession which was due to Capitalism and the tremors are felt till date!

So should we terminate inflation? Let me remind you that, a steady inflation means that the country’s GDP is on the rise and the country is on a growth trajectory. So what is the right value? This is the question the entire world would want to know. The estimated inflation for a developed economy would be 2% and for a developing economy, somewhere between 4-10%. But this is not a magic number. The percentage depends on various factors and hence, let’s not overcook the dish here. I have made my best efforts in explaining the possible causes and effects of inflation along with a few approaches. I have left out many theories such as Phillip Curve to avoid any boredom and complexity. And, by any chance if you can determine the right inflation rate, please let the world know, because the Nobel Prize would be knocking on your door!!

Output= C+I+G+NX
C- Consumption
G-Government Savings
NX-Net exports

Article Originally Written by Adithya N

Inflation: Part – 2

Video: Raghuram Rajan uses ‘dosa economics’ to explain inflation (Source: YouTube)

Let me continue from where I left. When the government prints excess money, the value of the money comes down. Let us take a real life example. After the World War I, to reconcile from the war and to fight inflation, Austria had run the printing press almost 24 hours, thinking that the offset can be made by just giving hot cash. The prices rose non-linearly, and at one point in time, the inflation had crossed way beyond 100%. 500,000 Crone was a denomination! This is called hyperinflation which is an inflation spiral and everything will be in tantrums. How to resolve the issue of inflation then? The answer is not that simple and has various approaches.

One way is by Government intervention. During inflation, there is an underlying excess of money circulation. To plug that the Government raises the deposit rates. So instead of spending, people would intend to save. Another approach is to control the prices of other commodities in the basket. In our example of a pen, let us say the price of food grains has come down substantially. So, the increase in the price of wheat can be transferred to the price of other food grains which have fallen below the expected value. The above solution could only be possible, if both the grains that are being are in surplus with the host country and both are complementary. The above solution is complex and hence would be avoided in most cases. There are two indices for the measurement of inflation called CPI and WPI, which will be dealt separately. Someone now may ask, what if the Government does not intervene and allow the market to stabilize on its own. This will be in the third article separately.

Another major problem, of inflation is that the supplier/manufacturers would not be able to gauge the markets to a large extent. The fluctuations can also take them on a ride and inventory management would be a difficult task. The instability will penetrate to the bottom of the economy with great viciousness.

The other major issue of inflation is the fall in exports. This is very futile and the Current Account can go for a toss. Note: Current Account Surplus/Deficit= +_ (Exports – Imports). The Current Account value may not sound impactful to some of you. Let me elaborate. The Governments borrows money from other governments for various purposes such as investments and bonds. One of the main indicators of the same is the Credit Ratings. The more instable the country is, the more hopeless the credit rating. Inflation can be a curse and hence the investments to the home country can reduce. This causes a cut down in growth and job opportunities go bust and entire economy comes to a standstill. No FDI and FII. The magnitude of the problems due to inflation is unimaginably impactful.

Dr. Rajan used “Dosanomics” (YouTube link provided below) to explain inflation to help people understand the gravity of the issue. Inflation is measured YOY (Year on Year) and this impacts the calculation of GDP. Let me not get too technical to bore further!! The main question of whether the Government has to intervene or not? Consequences of the same? Will be discussed in the last article on inflation.

Inflation: Part – 1

The colloquial term, Inflation, has creeping into our lives since the beginning of school. I will be introducing the topic inflation in this article and the subsequent article will delve deeper into the topic. Let us take a simple example of a pen. I am referring to a normal pen affordable by almost 99.9% of the population.

Let us say, the price of a Pen today is Rs.10. and there are 1 million of them in the country. Let us consider, the buyer is earning 100 rupees per month as salary. At the current price level, with your current salary limits, you can buy 10 pens. Now, fast forward one year from date. The demand has seen a surge in the market. So, the supplier is now unable to meet the excessive demand and hence, the price of the pens tend to go up. This is logical, isn’t it? More you’re willing to pay, you will get a fairer chance of buying/owning the pen. Now say, the price of the pen has thus rose up by 10% to Rs.11. Your salary of 100 is not enough for buying 10 pens, but now you can afford only 9. This is the simplest explanation for demand side inflation, which on the other hand is also referred to as pull inflation as well. Now, some of you might be thinking as to, “Why is this Dumbo not considering the raise in salary levels?” I will comment on this later.

Let us see the other side of the same coin. What happens if the prices of the raw materials of the pen rise? Raw materials may be plastic, ink prices, cess on supply chain or any other supply constraints such as taxes. Now, the manufacturer can no longer sell the same pen at Rs.10, as his margin would get affected. The price again goes up by 10% (assume). Now, with the 100 rupees, the consumer can buy only 9 pens (100/11). This is due to supply side effect and hence it is referred as push inflation.

What is actually happening in the process? The value of (your) money is getting de-valued as the price is going up. Is it not so? The same quality pen which was 10 rupees is now 11 rupees with no change in specs or aesthetics. This is called erosion of capital which is by far the largest impact factor of inflation. This is at a micro level. Apply the same logic to dal prices, phone prices or any other commodity used daily.

To compensate for the above, what happens if excessive money is printed to offset the prices? This will be discussed in the next article, as the explanation is quite lengthy and involves macroeconomics concepts.

IT Job cuts in India

The recent jab by major IT Companies has stirred up the Indian Job Scenario. The expected cuts in IT jobs might reach 100,000 in the next two years if expertise in automation sets into the fray. The major problem is not “Protectionism” from the developed countries, but it’s the underlying demand for cutting the costs to extreme levels.

According to a study, India has 1.5-1.6 million engineers passing out every year out of which only 7-8% are employable. The growth of IT sector has been persistently around 6% and it contributes almost 10% to the GDP (According to NASSCOM). But are there 1.5 million jobs for 100% Placements? Where are we going wrong? Let us see the macro conditions, where improvements could be made.

  1. The structural reforms in the field of education. Online learning has grown impressively in the last half decade. But the question how many are using this to obtain renaissance from the rote learning process? Virtual learning is only used by private institutions like Byju, but why not in Engineering Courses?1. The structural reforms in the field of education. Online learning has grown impressively in the last half decade. But the question how many are using this to obtain renaissance from the rote learning process? Virtual learning is only used by private institutions like Byju, but why not in Engineering Courses?
  2. The number of engineering colleges have increased to almost 6200 in the country. But the main question is how many are providing the right form of education? The pattern of examinations, viva-voce and practical evaluation is definitely not upgraded to obtain the relevant preparedness in the current scenario.
  3. One of the major causes of Great Depression in 1929-1930s amidst the strong growth in US was the mismatch of supply-demand of educated youth. India is also growing at a rapid pace, but this issue of “Quality” needs to be addressed immediately to prevent lakhs of job cuts.
  4. Lack of awareness about the subjects that need to be opted by the students is another cause. Media Firms such as TOI, Hindu Group and Deccan Herald have started conducting workshops, but is it reachable to the last-mile, i.e., to the students in villages? The government has to initiate the same.
  5. The measurement of growth using GEI, i.e., the Gross Enrollment Index needs to be modified to accommodate the output productivity and employability of the student. GEI is useful in the under-developed stage, where awareness is not the current issue on hand. A GEI of 20.4 in Higher Education is not an indication of the true quality of engineers or professionals.

Karl-Marx approach towards macroeconomics might just prove right in this case. Capitalism in Technology education (Especially Engineering) has no impact on quality, as compared to quantity. The IITs and IISC are still ranked above the private colleges in the global rankings. Are we really increasing the quality by allowing private ownership or have we meddled enough with quality already to increase only the quantity?

If financing is a problem, PPP could be one way out. The focus on this is vital as it should have been prevented in the first place as automation threat was known globally. Hope Government comes with strong measures with this, considering the abysmal employability in this segment. Thus, another thought could be given in order to stop thinking that software has a considerable amount of “Factor of Safety”. Hope enrolment is seen in other fields too and hope people realize that only engineers cannot make up a country!! (Ironically, this is written by an engineer)

Artistic Economics – The Balassa-Samuelson Effect

A few days ago, I heard Dr. Raghuram Rajan talk about Dosa Economics and Balassa-Samuelson Economics in a talk. So, I wondered how I could apply the same to painting profession in India. The painting profession is more of creative task and a highly engaged one. The supply for number of painters is less. The professional painters have not replaced by any technological advances. The technological advances have taken in labor intensive industries such as automotive sector, consumer durables industries, tyre industry and many similar ones.

So, what is the issue on hand now? Let us consider the automation of spray coating of car outer body. As we know, more technological advances eliminates normal routine work and hence the price of labor shoots up. The productivity also flies up, which is the prime motive of automation and technology implementation. The rise in labor prices overboard as compared to productivity because the price of car cannot be hiked in the immediate term to compensate for the increase in cost. On the other hand, if the productivity is huge against labor wages, the output is higher and the industry can boast a positive value. Thus, the productivity and labor prices should be matched hand in hand to ensure the game of supply-demand.

Now, let us look at Traditional Painting. The absence of technological advances amidst the increasing demand and growing market along with larger disposable income for the memorable paintings cause the price to rocket up. This is pure supply and demand. But will the prices of the paintings come down? Now that’s tricky. The answer is not really. The main reason is again that the painters at lower and middle level would prefer to go to work for the higher paying jobs. Why? Remember, automation has struck major portions of the economy. The economy is on the boom. Hence he/she would use the opportunity to ensure security and increase the earnings. Thus, there is a short of supply in paintings again and hence the market drives the prices of paintings upwards. If you ever wondered why those paintings cost a fortune, I hope you got the answer!!

Luckily, we are in the world where the contribution of these “artistic” activities contribute less towards the GDP. That is the reason why inflation for countries are at 5%, 6% and more. The growth in the technological sector, infrastructure and automation holds the key. Whereas, in the developed markets, it is more of constancy and the inflation rate is less due to their focus on expansion rather than development in the immediate term. One good Example, is the inflation in Japan is almost 0%, whereas in India is hovering around 6.7%

Thanks to Dr. Rajan, I started thinking differently about inflation. Can this effect be so crucial on GDP? Can we apply the same to amend the measurement of GDP which is acclaimed in not being 100% true? A nice sets of thoughts to ponder over…

Article Originally Written by Adithya N

Customer Engagement in Business

The complexities in this world have increased, giving rise to a host of opportunities as well. The act of marketing can no longer be termed as “Making a monkey out of someone.” Marketing has re-defined into as a skill integrated with analytics and numbers.

Many scholars such as Vivek and Hollebeek have done mammoth research on Customer Engagement. So, what does the term “Engage your customers” really mean? The answer is really not that simple. Engagement involves a cycle in itself. It involves the ABC of consumer behavior, i.e., Attitudinal, Behavioral and Cognitive aspects. Let me brief you with a simple example.

Consider a designer wear luxury brand, say, Armani. What do they first do? Allure the customers. This is where you’re starting to get hitched to the product irrespective of whether you buy or not. Now, Say you go ahead and make a purchase. The transaction is another sequel in engagement. The brand recognition you receive, the feedback you give about the Armani product are all the processes involved in engagement. This is another way of understanding the mindset of the target audience. With one right step, the brand can engross on the path of a Steep Mountain and with one wrong step, into a deep pit.

The Segmentation process is not enough in today’s fragile world. People need change and the best way to obtain it is to make them tell. The online media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr are all the means of engaging with the customer. A few years ago, there was no Facebook or WhatsApp. Two Behemoths of the FMCG industry had to close down on their new launches as they were in tantrum. One was PepsiCo, with their product Pepsi Blue. Due to less engagement with the people, Pepsi did not perceive that People could confuse that with Kerosene and another one was New Coke by Coca-Cola which was also rejected by people for another reason. These two war-heads of FMCG sector were hit-hard. Here, engagement is worth a try. That is why nowadays, even restaurants offer a few days of discount or promos in the beginning to gauge the customer feedback, increase promotion and most importantly engage with the customers by paying a bare minimum.

Customers who engage truthfully, can provide insights that can take brands to new heights. Engagement is a new way to sell. Customers need constant reminders and Companies make that happen. Engagement broadens the customer base, induces an impact factor and evolves into a better relationship with the customer. Marketing is no longer making monkey out of people thanks to the enormous list of substitutes in the market. Engage well and market better is the new motto for any company in the market, may it be Apple or Orange!!

Article Originally written by Adithya N

WannaCry 1.0: All you need to know about the cyber-attack

On 12th April 2017, a large-scale cyber-attack called WannaCry affected more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries around the world. The attack has been described by Europol as unprecedented in scale. Let’s have a look into the cyber-attack and its implications:

What is WannaCry ? It’s a ransomware program targeting Microsoft Windows operating system. It works by encrypting most of the files on a computer and then the program demands that a ransom be paid in order to have the files decrypted.

In the case of WannaCry specifically, the software demands that the victim pay a ransom of $300 in bitcoins at the time of infection. If the user doesn’t pay the ransom within three days, the amount doubles to $600. After seven days without payment, WannaCry will delete all of the encrypted files and all data will be lost.

WannaCry is believed to use the EternalBlue exploit, which was developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to attack computers that run Microsoft Windows OS. It was leaked by the Shadow Brokers hacker group on 14 April 2017. A patch via security update MS17-010, was released by Microsoft on 14th March 2017 to remove the underlying vulnerability for supported systems (Windows Vista and later operating systems) but delays in applying security updates and lack of support by Microsoft of the older versions of Windows left many users vulnerable to the attack. Microsoft also had to release patch for unsupported OS in order to protect the users.

The attack affected many National Health Service hospitals in England and Scotland. Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK in Tyne and Wear, England halted production after the virus infected some of their systems. Renault also stopped production at several sites in an attempt to stop the spread of the ransomware. In India, the virus affected government bodies including the Andhra Pradesh Police, Government of Kerala & Government of West Bengal.

Has the attack stopped ? Nope, but it has slowed down. A 22-year-old security researcher named Marcus Hutchins slowed the spread of the virus when he registered a domain name hidden within the virus’ code in an attempt to track the spread of WannaCry. You can read more about it from this blog at How to Accidentally Stop a Global Cyber Attacks

How to protect yourself from the virus ? Install any and all available security updates immediately regardless of the operating system that you use. We recommend that you backup all the data in a hard disk. If you are already, affected with the virus, then sadly there is no fix available at this time. Security experts and anti-virus companies around the world are working hard to find a way to tackle the situation and decrypt the files.

The Pandas feel that the attack could have been much worse or could get worse if the cyber-security experts fail to discover a solution to it. Imagine, if the virus affected systems in a nuclear power plant, dams or military facilities. The results could have been catastrophic. The attack’s impact could have been much worse if there was no kill-switch built in by the malware’s creators. The attack also demonstrates the degree to which cybersecurity has become a shared responsibility between tech companies and customers. It also shows us why stockpiling of vulnerabilities is a problem especially by the government. It should be a wake-up call for the government all around the world to stand united against cyber-attacks in future.