Tuesday, 26 November 2013

ICHL- The first conference on Humanitarian Logistics in India



Flash floods in Uttarakhand (2013). Tsunami in South-east Asia (2004). Earthquake in Haiti (2010). Earthquake in Japan (2011). These are some of the deadliest disasters that have occurred over the past decade. With the disasters come human, livestock and property losses and the task of rebuilding the disaster affected areas. But the biggest task in the aftermath of any disaster, natural or man made, is relief work.


Countries across the world have been on the lookout for reducing the impact of man made and natural disasters by developing mechanisms to deal with such disasters. However the responses to the previous disasters which have occurred in India show our lack of preparation. The worst part is that such preparation is hardly given any importance. Humanitarian logistics is the key to cope up with such disasters. It specializes in organizing the warehousing and delivery of supplies during natural disasters or complex emergencies to the affected area and people. The supplies include food, water, life-saving drugs and other necessary amenities.  Time has come, for policy makers, Government bodies, academia, and practitioners to meet on a common platform to deliberate on this key issue of Humanitarian Logistics. 


In wake of this, IIM Raipur is organizing International Conference on Humanitarian Logistics (IHCL) on 2nd December 2013 and 3rd December 2013. ICHL 2013 is the first conference organized in India on Humanitarian Logistics and will provide the platform to various stakeholders to deliberate on the same.



The conference aims at providing an essential update on natural and manmade disaster, future trends, disaster response, and preparedness and governance issues. Planning, co-ordinating and delivering the essential amenities in good condition, quality and quantity at the right place and right time are few of the key strategic issues in humanitarian logistics. ICHL will help in identifying and providing keen insights into these strategic issues to the various stake holders. ICHL will provide an opportunity for professionals to meet colleagues and peers in a positive environment fostering  learning and sharing.


The conference will be a mix of panel discussions and technical issues. Panel discussion on Right to food: Value chain perspective will have extensive talks amongst prominent personalities on food security act and the key strategic issues such as procurement, transportation, storage and delivery involved in its implementation.  The second panel discussion will be on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief Operations. The speakers in this panel will deliberate on the role played by stakeholders such as governments, NGOs, international relief agencies etc. in improvising, learning, unlearning and relearning from the disaster experience. This will equip the various stakeholders with effective preparedness in dealing with future disasters. The panelists in the discussion on Strategic Issues in Humanitarian Logistics will dwell upon strategic organizational, operations and managerial challenges faced during the humanitarian crises to keep the material flows, financial flows and information flows up and running. The panelists in the final discussion on Managing Humanitarian Logistics will explore alternate ways of planning, designing, preparing, coordinating: strategic alliance, response, execution, performance and accountability, to outwit the various  problems faced during the crises.


ICHL 2013 thus promises to be an eye opener to the importance of Humanitarian Logistics in disaster relief and management.

Friday, 22 November 2013

The World without God: Bidding Farewell to the Master




16 Nov, 2013, 8:00 AM
Finally, the day has come. I know that the wearing track of Wankhede, along with the feeble Caribbean batting line-up will make sure that this will be his last day on a cricket ground after a marathon service of 24 years to the game. I still remember, way back in early 90’s, when I was a kid, a ‘Boost’ TV commercial introduced me to a curly-haired young cricketer, who would later become the ‘God of Cricket.’ Eager eyes, child-like agility, elegant strokeplay, aggression ahead of its time, profound humility and immense love for the game; be it 1996 world cup semi-final, where he was the lone-warrior against a dominating Sri Lankan bowling, or his 1998 heroics against the mighty Australians that made Shane Warne reveal that Sachin haunts him in his dreams, he carried the burden of the expectations of the nation, with sheer pride and true grit. Who can forget his precious 136 runs at Chennai against Pakistan in 1999, despite being injured, like a wounded soldier, resolute Sachin kept his struggle on and took the team very close to the victory, though the team collapsed with his departure. Against the same opposition in World Cup 2003, he tore their bowling attack apart and exhibited supremacy over the lethal Pakistani bowling attack with his swashbuckling innings of 98 of just 75 balls. 

Injuries are part and parcel of every cricketer’s life. Sachin too, had to struggle with tennis elbow problem and there was a time when it appeared that he would never be able to play his natural game again. It reminds me of the famous article (February 2006) titled ‘Endulkar’ writing him off and proclaiming that his retirement was near. But again it was his unconquerable will with which he fought back. Resurgent Sachin silenced all the critics with his fabulous performances in 2007. In 2010, at the age of 37, he was awarded ICC cricketer of the year award. On 2nd April, 2011, India won the world cup and he was the highest run getter for India with 482 runs in 9 matches. 

With more than 34000 international runs, a century of centuries and most of the batting records in his name, Sachin is set to bid adieu to the game. We are on the verge of the culmination of an era that witnessed the indomitable spirit of the ‘little master’, who earned a godlike stature in India with his unfading grace and truest form of dedication. It is 9:30 AM now, and I am entering my class in spite of knowing that the match will surely be over in next two hours, and very soon, he will be hanging up his boots ending one of the greatest cricket careers ever seen, and I will be sitting in a corner of the classroom, 1200 km away from Wankhede, along with 1 billion other teary eyed devout, giving him an emotional send off .God is great!

This article is written by Siddhartha Tiwari, PGP 2013-15. He can be reached at pgp13055.siddhrtha@iimraipur.ac.in .






Sunday, 20 October 2013

The MOB Testimonies: Queen of the Clouds

It was 6 am …after a sleepless night of banter with my mates it was finally time to sleep. On the way to the toilet, I met Mudit dressed up and backpack slung on his shoulder, and asked the first question that would make the rest of my day “Are you going somewhere?” Mudit, as always his smiling and excited self said that they were a group of 11 riding to a place called ‘Ghatarani’ known for its waterfall. He was looking for people who would come along and started pestering me to join. One of those moments where the mind says yes and the heart says no. I wanted to go …but with having wasted the entire night before and the one before that, the ghost of pending projects and studies haunted me. I came back to the room seeing others on their way to join Mudit. I sighed; maybe some other time. When I entered the room Alok (my roomie) asked what was up. I told him about the ride these people were going on and how I wanted to go too. I had not even finished my sentence when his bike keys hit me in the chest, “Go on bro!” he said. Those three words were the stimulus that made me get ready in 2 minutes and on the bike with the others.
The pack (if I may call it) started from our residence at IIM Raipur, heading northwards towards NH-30 after fuel and air checks. On NH-30 and outside city limits, we stopped at a ramshackle tea-stall for tea and cigarettes. After tea, it was time to twist the throttle and burn some rubber as we zoomed away through the green paddy fields of Chhattisgarh towards the small town of Abhanpur. With the wind in my hair and Metallica pounding away “I disappear” in my ears I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else, that moment. To top it all, Partha zoomed in from behind me throwing up a challenge. I quickly responded with a change of gears and twist of the accelerator to get ahead of him; our little race went on for a while before I left him in the lurch and put distance between myself and the rest of the group. I finally reached Rajim and waited for the others to come; meanwhile I bought cigarettes and had tea. Seeing that it was taking them too long and fearing something wrong I turned back, to look for them. After going back a considerable distance without a sign of the rest of the group, I asked the second question that would make my day this time directed towards me.”Should I go back or continue towards Ghatarani?” Still don’t understand why I chose the latter but would be thankful to god later. 
What followed were few very anxious moments with all sorts of things bouncing inside my head. Despite everything, I went on… The road had by now become a narrow track with paddy fields on both sides and cattle in the middle (yes, on the road!). As I weaved through oncoming obstacles, I brushed on more than one occasion by their tails…. Not a good experience. But despite the thoughts going on in my head and the trouble I was having in maintaining speed, I could not stop myself from soaking in the serene beauty all around me, from lush green paddy fields, fresh air laced with incense from a nearby temple to the sights and sounds of a quaint village waking up. Not really the romantic.... I tried concentrating on the road ahead but couldn’t help my eyes from wandering towards the simple yet touching beauty. Stopping at a place to ask for directions, I was told that the remainder of the group had passed before me. It was the moment of relief that I was looking for, flipping gears and opening the throttle my bike reflected my emotions.
Coming down a slope I suddenly saw a blur of colors mainly yellow with some pink and bit of others. The next thing I knew was that I was on the ground my clothes dirty and some blood on my left leg below the knee. It was nothing serious actually, I had taken a skid and a fall in the process of avoiding a collision with a “family travelling on a bicycle” (man, wife and child on one cycle ….can you believe it!). The bruises were minor and to avoid any further embarrassment in front of a group of giggling schoolgirls, I picked up the bike and whatever was left of my pride and rode on.
“Is that them?” Yes, the third question which made my day came after about 15km later …on a road with curves which could put Jennifer Lopez to shame, I had arrived within seconds of the group and the anxious faces returned to being their usual grinning selves. We went up to the waterfall and posed for photographs trying to look the best we could while being semi-naked (Special mention to Sumit Ranjan for this). Partha was in his element while under the falls and surrounding forest, from making gorilla mating calls to dancing in ways considered offensive in many civilized societies. The temple of Jamtaimata at the head of the falls must have been at least many hundred years old, it made me realize that no matter what changes, but man’s faith in god is perpetual.
As we sat for lunch in a sleepy dhaba in Rajim, the fatigue showed but what showed more was joy. Everyone was happy about the trip and then past incidents were narrated. The laxity in service at the dhaba only gave us more time to chatter about, but suddenly it turned very formal more like a group discussion on topics ranging from Clubs in college to the CR’s. Time seemed to have slowed down (especially for me and Partha; the most uncouth in the group) ….and then the food finally came…spicing things up a bit (quite literally actually). 
On the way back, I tried to reminisce all that I had seen on the trip and all that I had done (The stinging bruise on my leg a mute reminder)…. I guess most of all, I remembered faces…smiling faces, be it the bearded ‘Babaji’ at the first tea-stall we stopped at, the giggling schoolgirls, the smile of relief on the faces of my mates when they saw me come over the hill and many others; it showed more than just happiness and contentment …what I saw in them was resilience, for which I arrived at a new definition. It’s not really what people say it is …. It is actually the ability of a person to curl his lips upwards and display his dentures in times of adversity (so much …for an MBA).
I can’t really describe the feelings my posterior had while riding into the campus. Finally it was going to be relieved of all the weight it had been carrying for so long …Now the 80 kg of man would be transferred on to the back on a Godrej mattress, until we ride again!
This article is written by Aniruddh Mukerji, PGP 2013-15. He can be reached at pgp13063.aniruddh@iimraipur.ac.in .

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The fine balancing act: Inflation Vs Growth


The thought that Dr.Raghuram Rajan, the RBI Governor visited our campus at IIM Raipur still gives me goose bumps. He came across not only as a man brimming with knowledge but also as a person with humility that formed an extensive part of his demeanor.
Dr.Rajan commenced the session with a brief on where the Indian economy stands, how the RBI had tackled the pressing issue of CAD (Current Account Deficit) and the measures undertaken to revive the economy. This was followed by a question answer round by the students. It was a wonderful interaction filled with a few light moments and a lot of knowledge sharing that ended with the departure of the RBI Governor.
The RBI Governor’s address focused on the measures taken by the RBI to bring the Indian economy back on the growth trajectory. The RBI is focusing on creating a fine balance between the mounting inflation and the slowing economic growth. It has been following a balanced approach instead of the hawkish stance followed till last year.
Although inflation remains a pressing issue, inflation can be curbed through stringent measures. However, this is likely to have an adverse impact on the economic growth. The RBI is aiming at achieving a slight moderation in the inflation figures in the near term in line with the growth targets.
Secondly, CAD was under control and the government was even prepared if USA proceeded with the quantitative easing process. This statement exuded confidence that the Indian economy was out of the woods for the moment and the rupee depreciation would be curbed in the coming future.  
Thirdly, he also emphasized that the Indian economy was facing fundamental problems such as pending implementation of economic and tax reforms, creaking infrastructure, project implementation delays, procedural and clearance delays. Unless these issues were resolved, bringing growth back on track would be difficult. He also pointed out that when the country was tooting about the “India Shining Story”, it still faced these underlying difficulties. A slowdown has brought these fundamental problems to the forefront.
The pitfall is that these fundamental issues have led investors and banks to rethink their project investments across India. The delays have not only created a bottleneck for the original investors but also for the banks that have their loan and investment amounts blocked in existing projects. This situation is causing an asset liability mismatch for banks and also leading to rising NPAs. This is an area of concern and requires to be addressed.
The government in coalition with the RBI, plans to undertake small steps to resolve these fundamental issues that are detrimental to the Indian economic growth. The resolution of these issues is expected to boost investor confidence and mobilise funds in the Indian economy. 
Lastly, the RBI governor addressed the queries that the students had about inflation, food security bill and the like. It was a memorable and an enriching experience that involved knowledge sharing between the Governor and the students.

Contributed by : Ms.Jaslene Bawa. She is pursuing Fellowship Programme in Management at IIM Raipur and can be reached at Jaslene.fpm2013@iimraipur.ac.in

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

HR Confluence ‘13 - The Experience


Come 30th August 2013, the students of IIM Raipur PGP batch 2013-15 were to attend the HR Confluence ’13. Despite there being a lot of hype surrounding the kind of reputed professionals participating in the panel discussions of the confluence, the true nature of what we were about to witness was yet to be revealed. It is a common sight in IIMs, the premier B-schools of India, to see people donning suits and lots of grey hair sitting on the dais and addressing students. However, as soon as the discussion began, it was apparent to us that this was no ordinary event.
Dignitaries from various areas of the corporate sector arrived to the city of Raipur to participate in discussing various aspects of 'Strategic Recruiting and Employee Branding'. The era has changed drastically, the quintessential workplace has changed, the needs have changed and so have the recruiters. Recruiting is one important function of HR and with these changing times, it has become more and more strategically aligned with the entire organisation. In words of one of the speakers, “HR is too serious to be left to the HR guys.”
One of the most difficult tasks in any academic discussion is to ask simple, grassroot yet pertinent questions. This task was amply addressed in the confluence, taken care of by the able faculty of IIM Raipur as moderators. As discussions progressed, the issues started coming out of the mist and clarity emerged as to some possible precautions and solutions. The result, a form of enlightenment for the students.
One very important thing which appealed to me was that if you keep the designations in perspective, the people on the other side of the dais still were able to connect both to the topic and to the students at a very basal level. The kind of comments that were made, the kind of arguments that were put forward, were of course pertinent, but they also appealed to the raw intellect of the students in a very natural fashion. This contributed very much to the non-commercial success of the event.
One of the speakers, Mr. Shwetabh Jha, mentioned, “HR as a function has always had an identity crisis. This is changing now.” The change that the aforementioned speaker spoke about,  has been very apparent for quite some time now. The only dearth was that of recognising it and acting upon it. This confluence and all events of such kinds go a long way in contemplating upon the said change. Another interesting thing about HR as a functional specialisation is that it seems very generic on the outside; non-HR aspiring professionals are often of the opinion that HR is something which needn’t be learnt or studied, it is something which comes very intrinsically. Whether this is good or bad, that is a story for some other time. But the fact remains that this confluence, in a not-so-subtle manner, showcased the importance of HR as a discipline and the complex nature of the kind of problems and issues that HR professionals face one they are in the industry.

Suffice to say that the HR Confluence ’13 organised by Indian Institute of Management Raipur was an enriching experience, both in terms of knowledge and exposure.

Contributed by : Jayesh Surisetti, PGP 2013 -15. He can be reached at pgp13082.jayesh@iimraipur.ac.in 

Monday, 26 August 2013

HR Confluence 2013 – Strategic Recruiting and Employee Branding


After last year’s successful HR Confluence on ‘Managing Talent for Competitive Advantage: From Identifying and Acquiring Talent to its Retention’, the theme of this year’s confluence is Strategic Recruiting and Employee Branding.’
This second edition of the confluence will see eminent people from the industry, coming together on this platform to share their ideas on strategizing the hiring process that is of special relevance in the world of business today. The confluence will hold panel discussions on topics such as transformation in recruiting culture, employer value proposition strategy, HR in employee branding – Public v/s Private sector, and emerging global talent pools.  Strategic recruitment means identifying the needs of the organisation and recruiting accordingly. HR practitioners will share their observations from real life experiences.
Employee branding is the image that the employee of a company showcases of himself and the company outside. Each employee is a brand ambassador and it demands a strong affiliation to the company. Pipeline approach which includes workforce planning, branding, continuous sourcing and on-boarding will be included in panel discussions on transformation in recruiting culture.
Employer value proposition is what is offered to the employee to make the organisation a desirable place to work in. It describes the mix of characteristics, benefits, and ways of working in an organisation. It is also important to understand the differences and similarities in the role of an employee in public or private sector. The impact on local employees due to the emerging and sought after global talent pool will also be covered in the panel discussions.
The confluence aims be a learning experience for the future managers for whom it would be essential to understand in depth the methods and strategies for recruitment. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The First Step Forward- HR Confluence 2012 in Reminiscence


      Managing talent for competitive advantage – this is a sentiment that resonates in every organization as people are its most valuable resource. So when the first HR Confluence 2012 addressed this very issue, it was bound to generate a huge interest among industry experts as well as budding managers. 
       The discussions of HR Confluence 2012- Managing talent for competitive advantage revolved around three major themes which addressed the central idea in phases. These were talent spotting, talent retention and talent development. The main objective of the event was to provide insights into the plurality of perspectives on talent management. Also, the factors affecting the adoption and formulation of talent management strategy tailor-made to meet specific local needs and context of an organization were discussed.
          In a fiercely competitive environment, how do companies identify the right talent from the same employee pool, especially with the shrinking percentage of employable people? The discussions on talent spotting addressed this very dilemma. Acquiring the right talent is just a part of the problem organizations face. How to retain it seems to be the bigger issue as talent retention is easier said than done.  More importantly, how can companies best plan, select and implement development strategies for the entire talent pool to ensure that the organization has both the current and future supply of talent to meet their strategic objectives? Talent development plays a crucial role in every organization for this very reason.
        To address these issues on talent management, the HR Confluence 2012 witnessed HR practitioners from prominent companies in both public and private sectors such as SAIL, TVS, Renault-Nissan, Deloitte, L&T, Essar Oil Ltd., Balco and Carwale. From elucidating the concept of employee management using ’The Mahabharata’ to stressing on the need for companies to recruit individuals not just for their skills rather for the principles they carry, each speaker brilliantly put their thoughts forward. The common thread present in their speech was the cardinal principle – ‘People are important’.
           The ideas exchange that took place during the entire event was immense. The queries put forward by the students, inquisitive to know about the real-time business scenarios, were received with equal enthusiasm by the speakers. By providing the practitioner’s perspective on the questions raised, the experts helped the student panelists gain a better understanding of the realities faced by organizations. This is what ultimately resulted in the success of the inaugural chapter of HR Confluence paving the way to its second chapter in August 2013.
           Every organization spends a great deal of resources in recruiting and training its ‘talent’. Hence, it is relevant to discuss issues that deal with recruiting, developing and retaining people. However, there is much more to this story. Strategic recruiting and employee branding are equally essential for the long term sustainability of an organization. This is what the upcoming HR Confluence 2013 aims to address. Let’s see it take forward the success story of 2012 this year to a whole new level.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Future of Apple without Steve Jobs


 For a brief period of time Apple has been able to dethrone Exxon Mobil from the number one position in terms of market capitalization to become the most valuable company. Apple’s stock price has varied between $705.07 and $385.10 from Aug’12 to Aug’13 (a 45 percent change) and it clearly shows swing in the sentiments of investors. Now everybody has started asking the obvious questions about the future of Apple. Will Tim Cook and company be able to come up with the visionary products that catch the fancies of the customers? Will they continue to lead the technology market? Is the leadership at Apple as effective as the leadership of Steve Jobs?

A couple of decades ago Apple was just an overpriced beige box manufacturer with an obsolete operating system. Michael Dell had once said that the company should be sold as scrap and the money returned to its shareholders. But Steve’s return was marked by a unique vision. He lead a team of immensely talented engineers to create the future market for iPod+iTunes, iPad and iPhone.  Now Apple is the new Microsoft and it controls everything from the hardware to the operating systems to the apps. It has become the number one technology company in the world. There is no company which can match the style, design sense, attention to detail, marketing and manufacturing precision of Apple.

 Times have changed. Apple can no longer profit at the same pace in saturated markets. To keep the behemoth breathing and killing, Apple needs to create a new market- a virgin territory, a new gold rush. It appears that wearable gadgets may be the answer. Apple has been registering the ‘iWatch’ trademark across the world. The most important feature of the gadget is the ability to see new messages without taking the phone out of one's pocket. Tim Cook, Jonhathan Ive and Co. are very brilliant and capable people. But the question is, can they do it without the Wizard of Oz, the snake oil salesman and the amazingly brilliant Steve Jobs?
In recent times Apple has undergone a significant brand makeover, shaking off some of unpleasant characteristics associated with Jobs and taking on bits of the personality of its new leader, Tim Cook. By contrast, Apple from the outside has appeared more open under Cook, thanks to a number of meetings and trips to appeal to the various stakeholders i.e.consumers, investors, politicians etc. iPhone 5’s Maps app was marred by flaws such as missing features, misplaced businesses, landmarks and even towns as soon as it hit the stores. Cook apologized for this error publicly and with surprising humility which could have never been expected from Steve Jobs.
Apple has nothing much on the product horizon and new products are not expected until 2014. There is nothing to lure the investors or customers but Cook, Jonathan Ive and their latest signing Paul Deneve, the CEO of luxury goods house Yves Saint Laurent Group, are together capable enough to bring back the favorable sentiments. A constructive and sensible use of cash pile can do wonders for the company .Let us hope that Apple does not have same fate as Sony, a wonderful company, with appealing products and awesome design, but still struggling to sell phones tablets and computers just like any other company.   
References:

Contributed by : Sushant Singh;PGP 2013-15. He can be reached at pgp13115.sushant@iimraipur.ac.in

Monday, 19 August 2013

Pratigya-The Oath taking Ceremony Of IIM Raipur


On 15th August 2013,IIM Raipur performed its fourth Pratigya, the oath taking ceremony, for the students of 4th PGP batch and the 2nd FPM batch. The event was centered around instilling a sense of necessity for good work ethics in managers-to-be with the hope of making them socially responsible citizens of our country. The intent was to give birth to a new generation of managers trained in the art of living with civic sense. This oath taking ceremony serves as a mean to nurture the sense of inclusiveness in ourselves, keeping our spirits alive as we grow into full-fledged contributors to our society, in general ranging from self growth to inclusive growth during later part of our life.
The event began with an introductory speech by the members of 'Kartavya', the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) club of IIM Raipur. Being the organizers of the event, their speech sensitized us, the audience, towards the contemporary issues which stymied the nation’s progress. Needless to say, at the end we were left inspired to strive for economic as well as social development as both are essential for the overall growth of our country. Being the future managers, we should not forget about the welfare of the underdeveloped section of our society, while fulfilling our commitments to the corporate world. We were also made aware of the importance of good values and ethics in decision making.
Inclusive growth was a term much talked about in this event. The term's projection during the ceremony was completely different from what we had come across as students or non-managerial employees. We came to understand it as a virtue that needs to be nurtured early on. Future managers are the people who will be  important and in influential positions in our society, and as future managers we need to be aware of what changes we can bring about. This event was exactly what was required to trigger our thought process in that direction. 
The speech was followed by the ‘diya’ lighting ceremony performed by all 130 of us. In the presence of our seniors, who surely were feeling nostalgic about their ceremony a year ago, we arrived at the central hall. We stood around a beautiful rangoli in a circle, where a few lit candles provided to some of us were passed on to the others after lighting our respective 'diyas'. We cheered for some as they enlightened a part of the colorful creation and applauded for others. After each of us had lit a diya, we stood around in a circle again to pledge our commitment towards our society to the best of our abilities. 
This was the first occasion that brought us to the realization of our responsibilities to the society as a whole but more importantly to ourselves. This realization seemed to seep into the air; the diyas radiating a comfortingly powerful aura affecting all of us with its golden hue. Surely, a better timing to commit to the moment could not have been imagined for such an important occasion. 
We never felt so motivated for something that would happen in the future. The central hall echoed the 'responsibilities' and 'honours' that we spoke of, replacing the usual void with our conviction. At that moment they ceased to be just words- they characterized what all of us would stand for when our time comes.
Contributed by : Devasheesh Nautiyal and Chanyo Y.L.; PGP 2013-15.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Chhattisgarh: Land of Opportunities


The first time I visited Raipur or for that matter any part of Chhattisgarh, was on 16th June 2013. I was finally joining Indian Institute of Management Raipur which would be my humble abode for the next 2 years. As I arrived at Swami Vivekananda airport the first thing that caught my attention was a huge banner of Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) showing their steel plant at Raigarh. I had read about Chhattisgarh being one of the fastest growing states in India with big steel and power plants. The first impression of the state at the airport seemed to reinforce the fact.
Chhattisgarh was formed on 1st November, 2000 from Madhya Pradesh. It is widely believed that that the state derives its name from thirty six forts present in the region (chhatis in Hindi means thirty six and garh means fort). With a geographical area of around 135000 sq.km, it is the ninth largest state in India. Growth rate of Chhattisgarh’s economy was 8.5% in fiscal 2012-13, much greater than the growth rate of Indian economy in the same period. Chhattisgarh has been labelled as “A land of opportunities” by its Chief Minister, Dr.Raman Singh. Now let’s dwell deeper into why should Chhattisgarh be the investor’s choice for opening up new businesses.
Chhattisgarh has rich mineral wealth. It is the fourth largest iron ore producing state in India with a production of 27.7 million tonnes in fiscal year 2012-13. State owned National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), Steel Authority of India (SAIL), Essar Steel and Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corp are some of the major iron-ore lease holders in Chhattisgarh. The state is planning to increase its iron ore production by 33% in the fiscal year 2013-14. This is indeed good news for steel manufacturing companies like JSPL and Essar which have set up steel plants in the state as they tend to benefit from the increase in iron ore production.
Chhattisgarh contributes around 19% to India’s total coal production. Adani enterprises started coal production at its Parsa east-Kanta basin mine in April’13. The coal produced from this mine will fuel power plants in Rajasthan. The state also has proven resources of diamond and other valuable gems. This can be a huge incentive for investment in technical know-how and state-of-the-art technology for exploring economic production of the high value gems. Chhattisgarh is also a major bauxite producer and the largest producer of tin in India.
Agriculture is the backbone of Chhattisgarh’s economy and provides employment to a majority of the state’s population. Major agricultural produce includes kharif crops like rice and maize. Other crops produced are pulses, groundnut, soya been and wheat. Horticulture and animal husbandry are also a means of livelihood for many people of Chhattisgarh. Food processing industry ranks fifth in India in terms of production and it is valued at USD 121 billion. It has vast potential to grow in Chhattisgarh and the government has taken numerous steps to attract investors. Five zones have been identified for setting up of food processing plants and the government plans to give them Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status. Investment subsidy, electricity duty exemption, stamp duty, VAT exemption and loan assistance are few among the various incentives planned by the state government for food processing industry.
Chhattisgarh is one of the few states in India which have surplus power. It has achieved ‘zero power cut’ status in urban as well as rural areas and will be able to sustain that in future according to Dr.Raman Singh. Having become self sufficient in energy sector the state now plans to attract investment in renewable energy sector. It has significant latent potential to harness solar power, wind energy, geothermal and small hydropower sources. Essential elements for development of the industry like robust power infrastructure, power purchase agreements and tariff plans are already present in the state. Major power players like Lanco, JSPL, Godawari Power and Ispat have already shown interest in investing in the renewable energy sector in the state.    
  Around 40% of the land area of Chhattisgarh is under forest cover. The raw materials required for minor forest produce and herbal medicine sector are available in abundance in the state. Herbal and medicine parks, industrial clusters and SEZs are a few ways in which government plans to increase investment in this sector. Over 250 acres of land have been identified in Dhamtari for setting up of herbal and medicinal parks and they are expected to attract INR 25,000 lakhs in investments.
Chhattisgarh has rich cultural heritage and bio-diversity. Chitrakoot waterfalls situated on river Indravati near Jagdalpur is the most popular tourist destination in Chhattisgarh. Other popular tourist spots include Indravati national park, Kangar valley national park, Barsoor, Bambleshwari temple, Bhoramdeo temple and Kotumsar caves. The government has identified four sectors for promotion of tourism and has initiated tie-ups with various private players in the hospitality sector.
IT services is one of the fastest growing segments in the Indian services sector. Availability of skilled talent pool, policy support, latent potential and robust infrastructure are a few growth drivers of this sector. Dedicated investment zones, like 7.46 acre plot for setting up Software Technology Park of India (STPI) in Bhilai and 20 hectares of land at Naya Raipur have been identified by the government. The government is providing impetus to investment in IT sector through favourable policy formulation, interest subsidy, concession on land premium, stamp duty exemption and technical patent subsidy.
So, it is hardly surprising that economy of Chhattisgarh has grown at higher rate in the past few years despite the sluggish growth of Indian economy.  The fiscal indicators depict a robust economy for the state and 10% growth rate is targeted. The state government also plans to enhance social sector spending to reduce disparity in human development indicators and achieve MGDs. Considering the government’s ambitious plans and state’s vast potential, most of which is yet to be utilized, Chhattisgarh can indeed be labelled as land of opportunities.

References:
1. www.crediblechhattisgarh.com/
5. Planning commission data table and RBI report on state finances.


Contributed by : Aashwij Mallya, PGP2013-15; He can be reached at pgp13030.aashwij@iimraipur.ac.in

Thursday, 15 August 2013

My First TEDx Experience- Courtesy IIM Raipur




What do you feel on hearing about of an event lined up with speakers talking about their life stories? Excitement…Nah!!! But if the event is called TEDx, then you know for sure that there is something worth looking forward to. After all, TEDx celebrates human imagination by bringing in speakers who are achievers in their own way. So the buzz created in IIM Raipur campus over the TEDx event was a given.

TEDxIIMRaipur, organised on 10th August 2013, had five guest speakers from different walks of life to share their stories. The string connecting each speaker was that they were simple people with brilliant ideas which they converted into actions and also delivered what they had in mind.
The event’s first speaker was Vishnu Tadimeti. I was looking forward to his speech for a very simple reason- his achievements and the way he ideates was far beyond what one would expect out of a seventeen year old and that amazed me. His speech reflected his obliviousness to the amazing feat that he had achieved through his website for students Aspirebest.com.

The next speaker was just as inspirational, Mr. Akash Gautam. His simple yet immensely powerful message “Bunk junk thoughts, take actions and the beyond is for the world to see” made me reflect on my way of life. What he said was so true, that we spend so much time trying to master everything and as a result we are not truly satisfied. Developing thought leadership is an essential part of life and the failures we may face will only bring us closer to our goals. 

The event was turning out to be much better than what I had expected. The next speakers took things up several notches. When Neha Juneja, a young successful entrepreneur, spoke of how she started her own venture, the troubles and failures she faced and how she finally figured her way out through the haze. She narrated a story that spoke of faith in oneself.

That football can change lives is probably a story one would find in movies. But this is the true story of Mr. Vijay Barse, a sports teacher from Nagpur who through his venture ‘Slum Soccer’ taught slum kids more than just the game of football. When he spoke of how he used football as a medium to educate these children on various social issues, it made me realize how simple people with immense conviction in their dreams can change lives. Superman need not be a figure of our imagination after all.

So while we were soaking in the stories of the extraordinary achievements people can accomplish, we witnessed a hand shadowgraphy event which was the icing on the cake. I could never imagine how beautifully stories can be narrated by creating visual imagery using hands. Amar and Sabyasachi Sen left the entire audience amazed. This was evident through the frequent rounds of applause that followed every minute of the act.

As the event was drawing to a close, the final speaker of the day, Pankaj Johar, a financial consultant turned television producer, spoke on how life is about living dreams, by acting on what you truly feel is meant for you. “Brain is a factory of countless thoughts. What we do with it defines what we are.” That was the message he wanted to convey through his words and snippets of his documentaries.

‘Ideas worth spreading’ that is what every TED event aims to achieve. At TEDxIIMRaipur – Thoughts, Actions and Beyond that was a promise delivered. Every speaker left an impression on every mind present in the room. It definitely gave me food for thought. Perhaps it is time for me too to convert my thoughts into actions and beyond.

Contributed By: Anwesha Dasgupta, PGP 2013-15. She can be reached at pgp13067.anwesha@iimraipur.ac.in.

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