Freedom to Act…

July 4, 2010

In noting the nature of human lives, we have reason to be interested not only in the various things we succeed in doing, but also in the freedoms that we actually have to choose between different kinds of lives. The freedom to choose our lives can make a significant contribution to our own well being as well as others. Even for selfish people,’ there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others’.  The freedoms and capabilities we enjoy are valuable to us, and it is ultimately for us to decide how to use the freedom we have.

The significant aspect of freedom is, it makes us accountable for what we do. The freedom to choose, gives us the opportunities to decide what we should do, but with that opportunity comes the responsibility for what we do – to the extent that they are chosen action. On the same side capability is the power to do something, and the accountability that emanates from that ability, make room for demands of duty.

A person is free to act, but once the deed is done, no one can stop its relentless consequences. When one acts, it is not only motive but also the consequences that are important. So, think before you Act.


The idea of social justice

January 31, 2010

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।

“One must do his duty, no matters what results from it”.I was wondering, whether Lord Krishna’s word on doing one’s duty irrespective of consequences, lacks the moral support?

A high school student asked his Sanskrit teacher whether it would be permissible to say that the divine Krishna got away with an incomplete and unconvincing argument against Arjuna’s doubt, whether killing his relatives is the right thing for him to do. His teacher said in reply: ‘May be you could say that, but you may say it with adequate respect’. Many years later with adequate respect, the student took the liberty of defending Arjuna’s original position.

Arjuna had the genuine doubts:

Why should he kill so many people even if that appears to be his duty?Can a just world be built through extensive killing?

One cannot close one’s eyes to what actually happens and stick to consequence-independent niti (strategy), ignoring altogether the state of affairs that will emerge. Arjuna’s arguments definitely lean towards the side of nyaya (Justice), rather than merely the niti of fighting a just war by giving priority to ones duty as a military leader. Arjuna also argued that a person whose decisions bring about some serious consequences must take personal responsibility for what results from his own choices.

The Arjuna’s “Social realization” and “idea of personal responsibility” was quite convincing, critically important and must not be ignored.

The Growth Warriors

January 15, 2010

‘The Economic Times’ has identified the 10 captains for 2020 and they called them the ‘Growth warriors’. The good thing is that, these captains does not belongs only to corporate world but there are few political faces too, whom we can say the “Growth machines”. (I have mentioned the term ‘Growth machine’ not because there is lack of human sentiments but they are fast, accurate and consistent).The Bihar chief minister Nitish kumar, the winner of business reformer award is one among them.

It’s been over four years since Mr. Kumar took charge, and the winds of change have started blowing across the state. People’s faith in governance and the rule of law have largely been restored. The sense of despondency and gloom has been replaced by an air of optimism. “Bihari pride”, which had become a pejorative phrase in the past couple of decades, is being invoked once again.

The latest Central Statistical Organization (CSO) data reflects that Bihar’s GDP grew by 11 per cent in last five years, much more than the national average of 8.49 percent. These figures make it the second fastest-growing state in the country. It, of course, has benefited from a low base effect since the state has long been a growth laggard.

The move to empower women with 50 percent reservation in panchayats and the urban local bodies’ shows Mr. Kumar’s commitment towards making the state more balanced and more civilized (Though my personal belief is that, positive discrimination in democratic process and democratic institutions are not good for the society and the nation as a whole. There is much better way to empower women w/o damaging your democratic belief). Mr. Kumar’s concrete effort to improve the education, health and infrastructure are remarkable. The web pages are flooded with so many data in this regard. We must thank and support (the extent we can do) to this great leader in his effort to bring the change in the state.

Mr. Kumar mentioned:

The state economy heavily dependent on agriculture. We want the next round of green revolution to take place in Bihar, “It’s our biggest strength. We want to build on this.”

It brings in the confidence when you know your strength and Mr. Kumar’s aforementioned statement brings the similar kind of confidence. Definitely we need to focus on agricultural sector but mean time we also need to look at our industrial outputs. We need to have a balance in our GDP from agricultural, industrial and service sector for sustainable growth. I think it is important to mention here that the agriculture based economy has to move to industry based economy before it enters into service based economy. The developed states followed the same trend and we need to learn it from them.

“PROFIT”, is it really a dirty word?

November 29, 2009

Is it really something wrong with the term ‘Profit’? I was just wondering!!!

I read the conversation between Mr. JRD Tata and Mr. JL Nehru:  JRD innocently mentioned that the public sector ought to be making a profit. Nehru snapped back, “Never talk to me about profit, Jeh, it is a dirty word” (It was 1959).
Is it really a dirty word?
1991 – Economic liberalization in India. Now it is 2009.Unfortunately, even after  18 years of economic reforms launched by congress government and even after seeing the growth and prosperity in last two decades, still few people see the ‘profit’ as a dirty word.

I am quoting here the Narayanmurty’s word:

” Entrepreneurship (primarily motivated by the profit making), resulting in large scale job creation is the only viable mechanism for eradicating poverty in society. In the process of profit making Infosys has created 70,000 well paying jobs and 20,000 plus rupee millionaires.”

Tata, Birla, Ambani, Bajaj, Ruia, Hinduja, Munjal, Wadia, Mahindra and so on and on and on…motivated by profit making, brought the millions of jobs for Indians and improved their state of living. The same theory applies for all major IT giants. Government disinvests the nonprofit making public enterprises to make it profitable. Only profit can run and sustain the System, not the charity. Multinationals are investing billions of dollars only for making profit but that provides the opportunities for millions of Indians to earn, learn and grow.

I don’t see any threat in profit making, it motivates the people in the society to come up in the life and bring the prosperity. Nevertheless, profit should not be treated as an end itself. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the purpose of business is to make profit so that the business can do something more or better.

Gross Domestic Happiness!!!

October 31, 2009
Whenever we talk about the nation’s growth…the only term that get importance is the GDP (Gross domestic product). But I doubt the GDP as a measure of nation’s well-being. Producing more goods and services alone cannot represent the growth of a nation.
Ultimately what does a nation dreamed of? I think, happy citizens!!!!And people know that material well-being and happiness do not goes hand in hand. While the rich are usually happier than the very poor; increase in material wealth alone does not necessarily lead to greater happiness.
Gross domestic happiness (GDH)!!!!!!!!!!!! An excellent concept brought by Bhutan’s former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck to indicate the nation’s well being…Most “serious” economists just laugh at this concept…but getting better insight into happiness– and its implication for social policy– is likely to come from re perceiving our world through a different lens…
Nobody can deny the fact that happiness is too much complicated to measure, what makes one man happy could make another miserable…But at the same time the another fact is that only happiness of the citizen can indicate the nation’s growth…Here happiness does not represent only something obvious like pleasure, wealth or honor but its equivalent to living well and acting well.
I feel our policy makers, our political, social and corporate leaders have to think beyond the decimal science of double digit growth…and need to ponder over GDH…

Profit should not be treated as an end itself

June 21, 2009

Economies are suffering from the excessive focus of business managers on ‘financial profits’ and ‘return for investors’, and not enough on the needs of society. We need to understand the term profit in broader perspective. Profits are the means to an end and should not be treated as an end itself.
As Handy observed:

We need to eat to live; food is necessary condition of life. But if we lived mainly to eat, making food a sufficient or sole purpose of life, we would become gross. The purpose of business, in other words, is not to make a profit, full stop. It is to make a profit so that the business can do something more or better. That ‘something’ becomes the real justification for the business. Owners know this. Investor’s need not care.

If we talk about India, it is at the cross roads of ideologies in politics and economics. It is where capitalism and socialism, and even communism, co-exist and are evolving. In the past 15 years, the Indian economy has seen the benefits of open markets and entrepreneurship. But the benefits of growth have not spread far enough and fast enough. In developing democracies like India, business must follow the principle, ‘business for the people, by the people, and of the people.’

‘Business for the people’ include innovations in product and services so that more people can afford them, ‘Business by the people’ includes innovations in business models that engage more people in the process of production and distribution and ‘Business of the people’ include Innovations in enterprise models whereby more people participate as business owners within an extended enterprise.

Today democracy puts demands on business corporations. People want to participate more rapidly in the benefits of economic progress. In this scenario we need to know the fundamental of business-corporate philosophy of trusteeship, Innovations in inclusive business models, managing cash, controlling consistency, respect for people, and skills for building partnerships.

To many this will sound like quibbling with words. Not so. It is a moral issue.

The changing face of BIHAR

May 24, 2009

We can see the change in perception of the people about Bihar. Thanks to the NDA government. I am bringing the few quotes from the elite group.

“Bihar government has been doing outstanding work in many sectors including health” – Montek Singh Ahluwalia (Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Government of India)

“Along with the development, the government of Bihar has been working well towards poverty eradication” – Dr. Maxine Olson (UN)

“Bihar Economic Development is phenomenal” – Sunil Bharti Mittal (Chief of Airtel)

“With 54% women’s representation in Panchayat, Bihar tops the list in the country” – Mani Sankar Aiyar

“Congress ruled states should adopt Bihar’s RTI (right to information) model” – Sonia Gandhi (UPA Chairperson)

“Bihar has concentrated hard on women centric welfare schemes” – Sri S. R. Gava ( Former Governor of Bihar)

Bihar is changing, its new policies and programs are worth emulating” – B K Chaturvedi (Member of Yojana Ayog)

“Among English speaking people, Bihar students are number one and above national average in mathematical abilities” – ASR Report 2008“

After the creation of Jharkhand in November, 2000 what does Bihar have? We have very little forest and practically no mineral wealth but abundant fertile land, water and a large but poorly educated population. Bihar’s development strategy is based on these resources. Bihar’s villages are now bustling with activity. Roads, bridges, culverts, an upward rural economy, children’s school attendance going up, a heavy rush of patients in primary health centers, toilets in village homes, all these are sign of resurgent rural Bihar. Yes, there is still grinding poverty especially among the oppressed people, there is corruption in government schemes, we remain somewhat semi-feudal, but there is an undeniable air of optimism that things are improving and sustained effort will bring development in even the most backward regions. Definitely, the ability of present state government (NDA) to take initiatives and implement the national and state schemes effectively is changing the face of BIHAR.