Monday, September 27, 2010

The unexplored part of India

India is gradually moving up the ladder as far as a destination for leisure tourism is concerned.The ranking is quite high when it comes to medical and spiritual tourism.Places like 'God's own Country' Kerala, 'Go Goa', Shimla, Mussorie, Kashmir and the metros like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru to name a few are right up there in the mind of all foreign tourists.What they probably need to explore and try is the Northeastern part of India, which in itself would provide an altogether different experience than any other part of the country.The lush green surrounding embedded with ice clad mountain tops, people of mongoloid origin would for a moment make one sit back and ponder, whether its China, Southeast Asia or India.The infrastructural bottlenecks, notwithstanding, NE India with places like Sikkim, Guwahati, Shillong, Itanagar, Dimapur, Kohima, Agartala are worth the try.The central and state government are trying their best to market these destinations, what is needed is that momentum which can come only from the private sector,the absence of which unfortunately happens to be the shortcoming for that region of India.The hospitality extended to the tourists would second to none,and with literacy rate quite high, the locals(read service providers) would have no problem in managing the communication in English, even when it comes to the ordinary citizen.Companies like Cox and Kings are already trying to market these destinations,but more such concerted efforts has to come especially through public-private ventures.This can also boost up local employment, apart from the Indian exchequer earning foreign revenues.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Protectionism the synonym for Free Trade?

Protectionism should be the last word in the lexicon of a country which is supposed to be the most developed economy in the world.Seems they are yet to learn their lessons in spite of the recession which is gradually subsiding and supposed to be the biggest since the great depression.Proponents of free trade especially to the emerging economies namely the BRIC nations are now eating their own words only to save their own skin from the domestic audience.Creating barriers in the form of banning government outsourcing contracts citing a silly excuse like boosting up of local employment/reducing umemployment or hiking up the fees for H1 visas are wishful thinking to say the least.For every job outsourced to an emerging nation the developed nation generates at least three jobs directly and indirectly in their own backyard and what about the foreign exchange they earn in the whole business process, which is substantial enough.China is probably the only country which has taken the bull by the horns.They have a tit for tat measure in place either in the form of the currency devaluation of the Yuan vis-a-vis the US dollar or the low cost manufacturing coupled with their huge domestic demand, which makes even the most dynamic economy beg for uniformity, albeit diplomatically.The other three emerging nations in unison with other countries should join hands so as to neutralize the impact of the protectionst moves carried out by the US and its allies.Crying hoarse in global forums like WTO or G-20 wouldn't bring much respite to these emerging economies as everywhere US or their proxies would ensure that their vested interests are kept alive, even if it means digging their own grave yard in the long run.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Is the Indian aviation landscape changing?

Indian aviation sector has improved by leaps and bounds. My recent visit to India and while traveling across the length and breadth of the country during those two months summer holidays made me realize quite a few changes observed in the aviation landscape. I flew Air India, Jet Konnect and Jet-lite, Kingfisher, Indigo, Spicejet and paramount. Some of the observations which stuck me are as follows-
Indigo coming up as one of the most admired budget carrier and would definitely create a positive mark internationally once they get approval from the regulatory body, Their focus on the minimal turnaround time by involving the on board passenger is commendable, the changes in the uniform, hair style of the cabin crews and announcing the languages spoken by the crew on board on the lines of Emirates is a point to note, first by a domestic carrier. One thing which was not fitting into the bill was the fact that while the staff on board speaks more than one Indian languages quite often I have seen the languages aren't commensurate with the sector they are flying into. Overall,, Indigo as a carrier is doing a great job by being a true no frills airline. Spicejet gave me a different feeling, which wasn't a positive one at least on two counts-one their time lines and two the laid back approach of their cabin crews especially when the dinner packets were exhausted much before even half the passengers were being catered to while I was flying Pune-Chennai sector. Jet is feeling the heat from Kingfisher, while Air India is partially out of their slumber, but they have miles to go before they can clean their balance sheet completely. Air India may have roped a high flying expatriate executive; however the turnaround calls for brave and forward looking steps by the ministry of civil aviation, which I am afraid won't be there, thanks to the vote bank politics.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Take on the Indian Healthcare Sector

Healthcare sector in India gave me a mixed feeling.My prior experience in the Indian pharmaceutical sector while based in India, coupled with my insights into the sector as management trainer, consultant and also as a customer(read as patient and their dependents)gave me lot of food for thought. I am sure this small note would activate the grey cells of many of my Indian friends so as to put forth their opinion on the topic which is of immense significance to all and sundry.Indian healthcare sector are broadly classified under the following heads(Manishankar's classification)-Organized chains of corporate hospitals, mom and pop hospitals and nursing homes functioning as semi organized players and the dilapidated public sector players, not to forget the traditional medicinal players and the quacks trying to pitch their own offerings.Corporate chains are good in many aspects, especially when it comes to offering quality treatment along with their composite services which provides a good experience for the patient and their dependents. The pricing strategy is questionable especially when there is an absence of a regulator which can monitor the services, benefits and the pricing strategy followed by different chains.They have very good medicos and paramedics, however, a wide gap is existing especially when it comes to reaching out to the masses, vis-a-vis that of the classes.My experience with two chains in Nagpur and Chennai were reasonably good, sans the opaque feeling a customer have, especially when it comes to the pricing policy adopted by the players and some service related constaints encountered while the patient is metamorphosed from an out patient to the in patient.One shouldn't deny the fact that these chains offers the best services, be it the medical staff and quality paramedical support to complement each other.The loopholes exisiting in their processes are minimal, what calls for immediate attention is to target a wide range of segments through flexible pricing policies.Quasi organized players in the form of mushrooming private nursing homes and hospiatals are minting money with the exception of a handful few which are offering value for money to the consumer.As far as the public healthcare players are concerned, apart from a minsuscle few, most of them are sustaining only because the masses have no option but to lean upon so as to save their lives and that of the dependents.The handful few public operators which are benchmark of sorts are located in some metros as a result of which a chunk of the citizens who otherwise cannot afford the private players are deprived of them owing to locational disadvantage.Moreover, typical of any public sector players, red-tapism is the biggest bane which need to be resolved at the earliest if India is to serve its billion citizens who are dying only because they cannot access quality medical care.The traditional service provider have created a niche for themselves and are also making waves of sorts in the global market, especially when the awareness level of the end user is ever increasing thereby opting for something having minimal side effects.The quacks are trying to play on the ignorance of the rural household.One thing which is common across the sector is being leveraged by a wide range of unethical professionals who consider that their patients and the dependents should treat them as demi gods and never question their decision.The awareness level is always increasing with every bit of information available at the click of the mouse, the improved educational standards reaching out to the nook and corner of the country could only test the approach of the doctors and their supporting staff.Would wind up with an article read recently,authored by a professor from CMC,Vellore, where he emphasized on the importance on humanities in the Indian medical and healthcare sector sums it up all, doctors need to be good human beings first, understanding their profession always have an element of service towards the human kind, the monetary benefits would simply follow, if one knows this core value.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ohio ban on Outsourcing would bounce back on US

The ban on outsourcing by Ohio government to any of the emerging countries is more of a rhetoric, rather than a mature business move.Every sensible American knows that outsourcing is here to stay and in many ways it contributes towards the developmental curve of their nation.Unfortunately, a dwindling support base and popularity for Barack Obama and his team both at the federal and county level have compelled them to take steps in hara-kiri, which defies even the basic business and common sense.Ohio ban may be imitated by many other state governments so as to deviate the attention of common Americans as the job losses encountered with every passing day is in no way related to the outsourcing model adopted by American corporations.The most vociferous voices for free trade had to bite the bullet, simply because of the lack of proper checks and balances culminating in the global crisis is indeed a matter of shame.Emerging nations especially G-20, BRIC nations should take up this move in a very serious matter so that their unified pressure makes the US administrators to realize the stupidity they have committed.If the same move is reciprocated by the group of emerging nations notably India and China, US companies have to run for cover, as most of their toplines and bottom lines are coming out from these markets, instead of their home turf.