Education – What India needs the most

Before heading to the crux of the much interesting topic, let me cite a few quotes that are borrowed from great personalities.

  1. “If you think Education is expensive in 21st Century, just wait to witness how expensive it will be without education” – Barack Obama
  2. “Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world into a better place.”- Nelson Mandela
  3. “And our own Rabindranath Tagore said “Education is one which does not give only information, but makes our life in harmony with all existence.

The main question to ask ourselves now, is: ‘Is our education system enabling us to convert information into wisdom?’ I understand that the topic might be overcooked on the web. But the view the Pandas present is quite different.
First of all education is not only schooling or grades or number of qualifications. It is a tool which makes a person live happily, work with maximum efficiency and live with delight. It should benefit both the human mind and the heart. O.K. let me name the above as it is known ubiquitously as intelligent quotient and emotional quotient.

The right form of education enables a person to learn the nitty-gritties of life. The jealousy, greediness, enmity, theft, robbery, dacoits and murders are present in this world. Some are also committed by educated people. Why is this so? This is not only because of the internal psychology, but also due to improper understanding of life.

According to a source, children whose mothers are able to read have 50% more chances of survival (above the age of 5) than the rest. A scintillating fact is it not? Another fact. Just imagine that if all women on earth had any form of primitive education there would be nearly 2 million less malnourished kids in this world. Does it not strike the minds of those chauvinistic people who are reluctant to send girls/ladies/women for education?

In developing countries like India, we see it to be a rat race. Yes, we Pandas are also a part of it. But we urge every reader to expound beyond this rat race. Education is a learning process. Look out for knowledge. If you have the privilege to go to a learning center, make use of it to the fullest. Along with the syllabus try reading all genres of books ranging from comedy, romance, G.K to lifestyle.

And most importantly, start educating one other child either by paying fees or in whatever way possible, to make this world a better place to survive.

Article Originally written by Adithya N

The reason to get up in the morning

“If you can’t fly, then run;
If you can’t run, then walk;
If you can’t walk, then crawl;
But whatever you do, you have to keep going”
-Martin Luther King Jr.

World came into existence around 13.6 billion years ago according to Big Bang Theory. Life began around 4 billion years ago. So, there is an enormous probability that a particular person would have taken any life form. In other words, there is very less probability to take a form of human being in this generation as a Millennial. Where there is unlimited access to information, unhindered rights to fundamental freedom etc., so there is a purpose to fill in everyone’s life and to fulfil that, one needs to get up in every morning.

Though the civilization has evolved through generations, we still have many challenges to be resolved around us. According to WHO, 5 woman die per every hour during pregnancy and 1 woman die every hour due to dowry related issues. India still has highest number of child deaths in the world. Gandhi says that it’s the duty of every educated person to lift the downtrodden from his poverty. For this, we need to get up every morning.

Demonetization and its efficacy

Sometimes, thought the target is missed, prize is won. Demonetization drive started as a drive to alleviate the circulation of black money in the economy. But, it resulted in improvement in usage of digital payment systems and reduction in interest rates by most banks. However, there was a short term reduction in GDP growth rate and escalation of unemployment due to decline in demand.

In the analysis carried out by Mint, the industries such as Mining, Metals and Machinery were not affected by demonetisation. Most affected were customer facing industries like consumer goods sector. Consumer electronics and domestic appliances were badly hit. There was also a 30% fall in house prices in metropolitan and Tier 1 cities. So, due to temporary slowdown of economy, IMF slashed India’s growth forecast by 0.4% for next fiscal.

According to RBI, banks have received around Rs. 5 trillion by 18th November, 2016. Leveraging this opportunity, online payments systems promoted their brands and improved their market share. Paytm saw a fivefold increase user base after demonetisation and so have do other companies like Mobikwik, Ola Money etc., Government also swung into action through their digital payment systems like BHIM and UPI. However, the continuation in usage of digital payment systems is yet to be seen.

Should religion be given a say in the process of law-making

Preamble of the Indian Constitution stipulates that India is a secular country. It is supported by Article 25 of Part III which provides freedom of conscience and free practice, propagation and profession of religion. Also, Indian way of secularism means that India is non-religious and not anti or irreligious. So the state supports all the religions without any favouritism.

India is a birth place of many religions. Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism are born here. Christianity and Islam are also widely practised in India. Furthermore there are many cultures and traditions which are imbibed our society. Not considering the voice of religion in such a multi diverse society is an act of ignorance. All the laws governing the personal life of citizens are based on the religion. For example, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and The Muslim Women Act, 1968 are promulgated respecting the religious values of citizens.

According to the sociologists, like Robert. K. Merton, who believe in functionalism, religion is a part of society and cannot function without it. However, this doesn’t mean that religion takes the centre stage as in case of some Islamic countries. Religion should evolve itself with by complimenting and contradicting laws in any society.

Freedom of speech in India

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we be led, like sheep to the slaughter” -George Washington

Article 19, Part III of Indian constitution envisions the Right to freedom of speech and expression. Since, the inception of the constitution, the scope of this freedom has been expanded by the Supreme Court. Recently, Section 66A of IT Act was scrapped to promote online freedom of speech. But, this freedom of speech is only utilized by few sections of the society.

Due to the emergence of social media around 30% of the total population are able to air their views. The remaining population is still looking for the mediums to raise their voice. So, the ultimate question is not whether freedom of expression is fair or unfair but to whom it is fair? Sedition laws and defamation suits are randomly filed against the citizens in many cases. For example there was a huge hue and cry against the arrest of a famous cartoonist and an editor. Also, minorities in India, both social and economic, were worried about the emergence of the fringe elements after Modi took over as Prime Minister. Fortunately all the worries were proved wrong.

Byju’s Classes – A Step Ahead of the Rest

The colloquial quote “Do what you love and love what you do” is not taken seriously by many. Rather many believe it is an irrational, infeasible and a maniacal thought. Byju Raveendran, an entrepreneur of different aura has showcased that the quote is not a dream, but a reality.

I, being a Byju’s student can imagine his words “Do not read for CAT exam. No need of any preparation. It is just common sense.” These are his usual words whenever he handles quants session. Coaching/Tutoring business in India pretty magnanimous, ranging from school tutoring i.e., from class I to IAS exams.

The way Byju made his entry into this business strategically is commendable. He started CAT classes in early 2000s after he found out that he was excellent in topping these exams as he could solve the aptitude questions very well. The aspirants quickly recognized the opportunity and started to enroll under him to learn the concepts in a totally different way. He is mostly known for Online Teaching, which is a whole new ball game altogether!
Online Teaching in India even today is not highly prevalent. But the astute ability shown by Byju to put across the importance in preparing for CAT/XAT/other exams by sending the recorded lectures via tablets has created a new dimension in Coaching Business. The entire Byju’s Classes has grown into a full-fledged education hub. He realized that there is a “Blue Ocean amidst Bleeding Red Ocean” of off-line coaching. The first mover advantage into online learning and his reputation expounded into a huge success. He made sure that students find it attractive as well. All the faculty are experts and connoisseurs of the respective fields. This makes the learning curve more exponential.

The Inducement of Capital by Investors like Sequoia Capital and Facebook’s subsidiary indicate the fact that Byju’s Classes will revolutionize the learning process in the country. He is able to reduce the fixed costs in this manner as he need not purchase Land for his classes. Thus, managing a mammoth strength of students is not an issue. The visualizing of mathematics via tablets by Byju is laudable. The premium charged by him as compared to others is a fee paid for enhancing common sense along with learning! I am a testimony of that !!
He is a disrupter in the market-place as he has efficiently carved out a niche for himself amidst the likes of Time, Career Launcher etc. The further question is that, what is in store for the students as the classes received a further 50 million dollars from Sofina (Facebook Subsidiary). Will Byju’s use Virtual Reality to teach? Will they head in for a one on one online coaching? Will they go brownfield? Will they enter into academia themselves? Will they go for a buy-out of another player?

Lot of questions to ponder every time Pandas see the poster of Byju’s on a TV commercial, or on a Bus or other digital Ads.

Article Originally Written by Adithya N

Trump governance vs Modi Sarkar

With the raising right wing populism across the world, there is no wonder that Donald Trump and Narendra Modi got elected to the top position. Modi cashed in on the incompetence of Congress to eradicate policy paralysis. His stand on the implementation of Uniform Civil Code, prohibition of Bangladeshi immigrants on Indian soil, eradication of black money gets him closer to Trump’s policies. Trump is specific about his policies. He wants to prevent illegal immigrations from Mexico and other Muslim majority countries which are threat to U.S. economy. Improve the ease of business by reducing the corporate tax, protect and promote American culture.

The policies of both the leaders stems from the political party they belong to i.e., National Democratic Party (NDA) and Republican Party of U.S.A. Both the parties are Nationalists, neo-conservatives and anti-elitist. They could be brought under a larger umbrella of Right wing populists. Liberal in their economic policies and conservatives in their culturally conservative, both the parties, are in sync, in broad terms. However, there is an enormous difference between ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make America great again’ as propagated by Modi and Trump in their campaigns. Modi’s focus is on increasing Foreign Direct Investments by establishing business friendly environment. On the other hand Trump is inclined towards protectionist measures by imposing ban on Chinese goods or hiking VISA fee. So, Modi is probably getting it right compared to Trump.

The Future of Climate Change

Till last year, efforts to mitigate the threat of climate change were in full momentum. The landmark climate change agreement concluded by U.S.A and China in September, 2016 was hailed as the major breakthrough. Both the countries joined the Paris Agreement through this pact. However, with the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of U.S.A, the future of climate change looks bleak. Irony is that the result of USA presidential elections were just released during the Marrakesh Treaty negotiations.

Rise in right wing populism across the world is also a major threat to climate change. The ideology prefers a Nationalist approach to solve the solutions whereas climate change mitigation requires global mindset. According to NASA, 2016 was the warmest year and the temperatures may surge exponentially in coming years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that future risk involves ocean acidification, significant eco system shifts and species extinction. This will undermine food security and may also provoke global wars.

The tangible solution is to get the world together to implement all the treaties agreed upon and not to sign new agreements. Otherwise, the Paris Agreement, Kyoto Protocol and other significant treaties will remain only on books. Recent strides in technology such as Big Data Analytics has to be leveraged. With increasing global concerns, political consensus is the need of the hour.

Welcome to Pandas Wisdom

None of us is a CEO to a Fortune 500 company nor did we emancipate thousands of deprived people from poverty. We are just a bunch of friends, from across the nation, who have uncompromising passion for writing. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” We chose the former one and the Pandas Wisdom came into the fray. Thanks to the locked-in period during the residential Post Graduate Education in Chennai.

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Pic: From left: Adithya N, Bharat S Raj, B. Jyothirmaie Reddy, P. Shankarananda Reddy

Introducing myself, I’m Bharat S Raj, an Independent Technologist, blogger, data enthusiast and traveler from Kochi, India. As an intern, I have worked with companies like Amul & Sobha Ltd. I’m also a TEDx Organiser, Wikipedian & Digital Marketer (Google AdWord Certified). I am interested in growing and developing with data, solving business problems and creating impact.

Adithya N is a calm youngster, a chess wizard, a voracious reader and a sardonic person hailing from Mysore, one of the cleanest cities in India. He is also a keyboard player and a music lover. His area of interest include sports, education, economics, showbiz, lifestyle, and music.

Palle Shankarananda Reddy is a finance fanatic and a content writer. After experimenting with all the entrance exams, one could ever think of, he decided to settle with us for an MBA at Great Lakes. But his constant quest for knowledge and creativity has made him more of an artist rather than a manager. Anything with wheels drags his attention, say it skating, cycling or riding, he loves it.

Bommineni Jyothirmaie Reddy was born and brought up in a patriarchal society, she has successfully modelled herself into a strong female. As a trained horse rider, badminton player and a classical singer she adds diverse value to her writings. She brings along with her a rich corporate experience of working in TCS and Amazon.

But why name Pandas Wisdom? We believe that Pandas are incessantly persuasive, kind and are known for their wisdom. Just like Pandas express their wisdom through adorable cuteness, we wish to express our vivid ideas through lucid writings. Our diverse backgrounds and unique style of writing helps in achieving this purpose.

The four of us have strong desire to help our fellow citizens in contemplating this VUCA world. This could be achieved only through the free flow of knowledge. Pandas Wisdom is a perfect platform for it. Our experiences with the corporate world, strengthened the fact that general knowledge is quintessential for survival. May it be in technology or showbiz or any other segment of business!

Just like the Panda bears which are completely focused on hibernation and fun in their lives, we Pandas request you to engross yourselves in these articles and enjoy the dissemination of knowledge to the fullest!

On behalf of the team, I would like to thank you for being one of the first readers of Pandas Wisdom. We hope that you enjoy reading our blog and disseminate knowledge to the world.

Happy Reading Folks !!