Sunday, January 30, 2011

11th Five Year Plan - Plan Versus Actual Spending On Education

In one of my earlier posts, I had pointed out a 5x increase in allocation for education for the 11th five year plan (2007-2012), by the Government of India. This was a welcome change for a sector that had been severely lagging, despite everyone wanting to do something about it. With a progressive education minister, one hoped that things would improve and improve fast. However, while there is definite action, the pace still leaves much to be desired. Many of the bills introduced are still languishing, for a reasons best left unsaid on this blog. Perhaps a telling graphic is the one below, which plots the Planned outlay vs Actual expenditure for the 11th five year plan. The fourth year is coming to an end and has let a huge gap to be filled in the last year.

  1. Of the total plan outlay of  Rs 273 K Crore, only 28% i.e. Rs 87 K Crore was spent in the first 3 year (2007-2010)
  2. Planned expenditure by Central government during FY11 (as per budget) is another Rs 42 K Crore. 
  3. Assuming all of this money is spent as planned, this leaves a gap of 186 K Crore for the 5th year, i.e. in FY12. This amounts to 58% of the total 5 year outlay, is almost one and a half times the spending in the first 4 years and more than four times the Planned expenditure for FY11. 

Government has ambitious plans for increasing reach of education in India.  It is aiming for universal education at the school level and for increasing the gross enrollment ratio to 30% for higher education by 2020 (vs 12% currently). One can already see that they are going to keep pushing these targets back. Many in the government hope that private sector would pick up the slack. However no one in the government is ready to provide clarity on allowing For-Profit Education. Philanthropy, the only legal model of private education currently, alone would not fill the gap.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Pre-commitment can be a pretty useful tool. What is there was a device that allowed you to precommit to you doing what you want to do and then made sure that you tried your best to do the same. It would for example stop you from eating a double fudge chocolate ice cream when you are trying to get back in shape or in the financial world, make you stick to your sell the stock when the price falls 10% or rises to reach your goal. We would not have traders turning into long term investors.

Such a device would not let you fall for short term rewards and sacrifice long term gains. I for example would get up sharp at 7:30 am (time of my first alarm) instead of 9 am every day (20 minutes past the second alarm on my smart phone). Image, my smart phone would get up and spray water on my at 7:35 if I am still in bed. Or a bed which starts to fold up and roll into the wall. Imagine the possibilities with precommitment

Friday, January 07, 2011

Those who saw CAT 2010 'results' are unethical?


The above word does not even begin to describe the CAT Convener Prof Himanshu Rai's statement calling the students who saw their results through legitimately logging into the CAT website before the officially announced date for declaration of results.

Instead of saying 'Mea Culpa' he says the following "This has shown them in a bad light as people. They are certainly not the kind of people IIMs would like to have in their institutes and definitely not the kind of leaders we are looking forward to make in the future,"

I mean, not only are IIM's not accepting that they goofed up (...again, after last year's fiasco) and admit that they are poor managers of IT systems but are accusing the young curious minds. If at all the guys who first saw the results may have been more curious and nervous about their results, while many of the others who heard about it and logged would have done to to find out if IIM's were that stupid. Many of those who apply to IIM's are from the IT industry. This is the second decade of the 21st century. Even kids know that confidential information is to be put securely on a website.

This is like you give a gold coin to a person and then call the police and say he is a thief. Or imagine, a large company is bidding for a tender and 'accidently' mails out the quote to all its competitors and then accuses them of unethical behavior for quoting lower.  Why? You were not supposed to receive a letter.Even, If you received were not supposed to open it. Even if you opened it you were not supposed to read it. Did you not see the letter was marked "confidential" . Now that you saw the number you should have bowed out and not quoted. Not only this you should have sent back a cheque for a million dollars as penalty for corporate espionage and be disqualified from all future tenders. 

A whole lot of crap!! Isn't it? Ek chori aur doosra sina jori!

Mr Rai, have some humility at least. Please accept that the IT guys managing the system f**k*d up. You need not even say that IIM professors are bad managers (and know zilch about IT security and managing). Students would still keep applying because IIM's are a great sea of knowledge that students can gain from. Or are we hoping for too much?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Citibank Fraud: FIR against Pandit

MD of Helion Ventures has filed a police complaint against Citibank which names several senior officials of Citibank including Vikram Pandit. Farcical as it may sound, it is sounds like sweet justice to hundreds of small time investors and other customers of these big banks, who in the past have faced harassment at their hands, but were too insignificant to draw attention. 

In Sanjeev Aggarwal, who earlier had founded Daksh, there is a guy with enough clout and credibility to create adequate nuisance value for Citi. One of my friends told me that he was happy about the FIR as Citi had, in the past overcharged his account without informing him, an amount that he could not recover as he gave up after repeated reminders to Citi's customer care. I too had been charged an insurance fee without my knowledge on my Citi Credit Card, a scheme that I had not opted in to, and had to fight tooth and nail to recover the charges. These may be small amounts for Citi but these hurt an ordinary customer just as much. 

For Sanjeev though, it is more than money at stake. For a GP (General Partner) at a private equity firm credibility is supreme. Which LP (Limited Partner) would now give money to a GP, who got conned out of his life savings by a small time private banker. We feel sorry for you Sanjeev and hope you recover your money at least. 

For Citi more than the fraud amount, loss of credibility and delays would hurt them more, especially in the retail segment and needs to take immediate steps to regain customer confidence. 

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