Saturday, December 31, 2011

29th Week @XIMB

29th Week - 25th December to 31st December

25th December-  A day dedicated in the library for preparation of the upcoming exam.

There is an inspiring talk by Pradeep Kashayp, CEO & Founder, MART at a TEDx event at Hyderabad (on 'Creating an Endearing Organisation - The MART story'.

He been advocating entrepreneurship courses for the business school and I taught courses in XIM- Bhubaneswar in 1993 called ‘Start your own business’. XIMB was the second institution after IIMA which had this course. Now most of the B- schools have entrepreneurship courses.

MART had also developed 3M model that is an innovative approach to initiating micro enterprises based on the three tenets of micro finance, micro markets and micro planning.

I was also reading about legendary management thinker Peter Drucker. In a 1984 essay he persuasively argued that CEO pay had rocketed out of control and implored boards to hold CEO compensation to no more than 20 times what the rank and file made. What particularly enraged him was the tendency of corporate managers to reap massive earnings while firing thousands of their workers. "This is morally and socially unforgivable," wrote Drucker, "and we will pay a heavy price for it."

26th December- PROJM end trimester paper is over.

27th December- ITM end trimester paper is over.

News of the Day - Developed by XIMB, PRIASoft is a model accounting system that will be used for maintaining accounts at panchayat samiti and zilla parishad levels. One more feather in the cap of XIMB .....

28th December- MEARS end trimester paper is over. I read three impressive quotes while going through the study material provided by the faculty.

Creditors have better memories than debtors. - Benjamin Franklin.

How can you expect somebody who's warm to understand somebody who's cold ? - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

'Inflation is like sin: every government denounces it and every government practises it.' - Sir Frederick. Leith-Ross, Observer 1957.

29th December- SRM end trimester paper is over. This website helped me a lot in understanding SRM. The question paper was difficult but good in the material.

30th December- RPLS end trimester paper is over. I was busy playing "Age of Mythology" till the morning of next day.

31st December- It was a hibernation day for me. With upcoming of the new year, I am not so enthusiastic in joining the bandwagon of the celebration.

One couplet dedicated to billion of honest Indians on the eve of new year !

‘मैंने अदब से हाथ उठाया सलाम को, समझा उन्होंने इससे है खतरा निजाम को।
चोरी न करें, झूठ न बोलें तो क्या करें, चूल्हे पे क्या उसूल पकाएंगे शाम को।’
- ‘अदम’

This was the the last week of 2011. A year of struggle, love, joy and failures had just completed and the journey to new experiences is awaiting me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

28th Week @XIMB

28th Week - 18th December to 24th December

18th December- I again visted to the same village with more bonding and enthusiasm. While talking to villagers, I was overwhelmed by their efforts to overcome difficulty of credit, regular income, irrigation and education.

Despair is frightening at this situation when you love the people but placed in the system you despair of. Farmers were poor but they were trying to cope their life with dignity and hope. They have been cheated on the development projects before and still they were helping us with full enthusiasm. They are to be admired not pitied.

The field part of RLLE was over. This one month experience was a memorable one. I felt strongly that the strength of India lies in the resilience of poor not the money power of Indian middle class. Without the support of such agricultural workforce, the great Indian middle class bubble would have busted long back.

I finished remaining day work and started journey for one day documentation on the tourist spot of Gopalpur beach. We reached pretty late in the night. Recalling his previous experiences at Pradan, MM told us about nature, trekking, development and sustainable livelihood schemes.

19th December- I walked in the morning on the beach over to 2 km enjoying morning breeze at the seashore. We started to document and draw a lot in much more detailed manner for project report early in the morning. We left to Bhubaneswar from Berhampur city bus station. It was a 5 hours journey covering 170 KM.

20th December- Our group of four visited Dr P.S.Sivakumar at CTCRI for taking feedback on the rough draft of our reports. He talked openly about exaggerated figures and planning aspect of Indian government. He was equally critical of the government bureaucracy and blind following of  Robert Chambers and Johannes Hubertus Den Van Broek by our academics in the field of rural development. I didn't agree with all but lack of faith in original homemade solution is an old age problem for India.

I also visited Toshali National Crafts Mela 2011 exhibiting near our college at Janata Maidan, Bhubaneswar. Incredible Odisha, Incredible India !!!

21st December- I was congratulated by Chandan Raut for the selection as an intern in State Disaster Management Authority of SGGPA during summer 2012. It was 12:02 AM in the morning. SGGPA (School of good governance and policy analysis) is situated at Bhopal, M.P.

I am waiting for the return of other students to listen their stories of rural India. There are dark circles around mine eyes and dark shade on the face. This tour has affected health little bit.

22nd December- IRMA results has been declared and this year cut off is quite low. People are inquiring a lot about XIMB RM 2012-2014. There is a fair of chance of having only 60 seats in PGDM-RM 2012-2014 batch as we are not shifting to new campus. The quality of entrants will be much better this time around due to entrance through IRMA/CAT/XAT.

I am paying a lot of money for this course – so focusing less on grades, and more on learning but there is no preparation of the 2nd Trimester examination and have fair chance to grab lower grades.

23rd December- I was talking to many guys returning from the rural hinterland of India with one month of experience. Lot of youths of our generation including me had no idea earlier and nor do we care how other people live and struggle for their daily livelihood. It was an eyeopener for all of us. In some cases, the prevailing corruption had killed the enthusiasm of mine colleagues interested in the developing Bharat. Most of us has our heart in the development but inadequate money and educational loan comes as major constraint early in the career.

While I may grudgingly respect the enemy, I have nothing but contempt for traitors. The pseudo development and bureaucratic forces have shown their corrupt nature in implementation of various schemes. We generally admit that there was lot of work done for the poor in the last twenty years due to Panchayati Raj, RTI and liberalization of Indian economy. Even the disparities between rich and poor has increased, a lot of fund has been made available for various government projects. And yes there is lot of need of rural managers and rural developers in the country.

One of our Professor had actually lived like a wanderer and stayed into the wild. He is a bit difficult customer for students but he has gained respect from me today.

24th December- There is a positive air in the batch and a lot of confidence after this one month of rural stay. There is sudden springing of maturity and professionalism among the individuals. There is nothing more satisfying than the growth of the peers and friends.

I read and even bookmarked a fantastic piece of article - What to do during your MBA ?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

27th Week @XIMB

27th Week - 11th December to 17th December

11th December - PRA done at Hinjerpenth at Nandapur block in Koraput district. Progress is an illusory term used in the development projects. That was the crux of the learning that I got working there.

12th December - PRA done at Renga Village in Simliguda block. This village was a prosperous one and caste division was visible to an outsider also. There was great difficulty for us in gathering people come from all hamlets together for FGD (Focussed Group Discussion). Me and MM were also misjudged initially as the agents of mining companies during survey. We have to clear our project mission and our background to them for tuning.

13th December - The remaining PRA tools were applied at Renga Village in Simliguda block. A lot of information was extracted in excess of our project to get an overview of the people mindset and village level conditions. Still, I was very careful in not giving any sort of political overtones in rapport building process.

There was a buzz in our mind to understand about Naxal problem. I concluded at the end of day that the Naxal problem had arose due to the continuous exploitation of the tribal people by the government, money lenders and middleman. It's a shame to realise that we people never stand up for the rights of those whose political views and social norms  we find disagreeable. And the apathy of many bystanders is also major stakeholder in the rise of Naxalism, Corruption and Fundamentalism in India.

I clearly understand that powerlessness can corrupt as insistently as does power. The desperation of poor tribal people lead them towards arm uprising. There is some sort of rationalizing of violence in us humans also. We student of rural India also overlook the structural violence that exist in the society in our analysis. The caste, religious and class conflicts are ground realities that shapes the path of economic development of any region. Now, I appreciate the work of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Binayak Sen, Deep Joshi and Medha Patekar much better in this frame of reference. Even when one can't help them physically yet healers like them empower people spiritually.

14th December - We reached Berhampur railway station in the morning and hired a cab for Chandragiri block at Gajapati district. We visited Taptapani on the way, that is famous for its hot springs. It is nestled at about 1,800 feet (550 m) above sea level. Our work at Gajapati district kicked off.  In 1963, about 600 Tibetan refugees arrived in the southwestern Orissa hill country of Gajapati, in a fertile valley known as Chandragiri. We stayed in the Tibetan Guest house there. We started working in the Chudangpur village of Chandragiri block with a brief meeting.

15th December - Our selected village have only Christian tribal people. All the households were converted to Christianity some forty years ago. With pumping of the foreign money for missionary activities and rise of Hindu fundamentalism, I personally fear that there is a chance of  riot situation in the future. I met two persons from Ministry of Home affairs in the Dhaba that night. Suddenly, I felt like living in an anarchy in my own country.

16th December - I roamed around Jeerang settlement and a small waterfall near it. We spotted two armed naxalites on our route to village in full day light. While working and roaming around there forced me to revise ours myopic narratives about nationhood, civil society and religion in the popular media and textbooks.

I left Gajapati in mid noon for Ganjam District. We passed through Aska, the place which has the 1st Sugar factory in Asia. The landscape was open and full of agricultural fields on both sides of the road. I reached Bhanjnagar block in the night. Biju Patnaik belongs to Village- Nuagam, near Bhanjanagar only. He once famously stated that 'Orissa is a rich state where poor people live'.

There was brief encounter with Police sub-inspector as we were non oriya outsider in a crime prone and naxal affected area. We tackled the problem quite diplomatically.

17th December - I was working in the field at Dhodapali of Jaganathprasad block. Visit to the field for the identification of Key Informant. The selected village was a poor and rainfed area.

26th Week @XIMB

26th Week - 4th December to 10th December

4th December - I attended the meeting for the assessment of our RLLE project at CTCRI Bhubaneswar. We were well prepared but the data was in hard copy. Overall, a good show at the end of the day. We are advised for not to interfere in the political and caste problems of the village/region.

I read about Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act in Swaminomics article by economist SA Aiyar as it is related to recent political heating of proposed Foreign direct investment (FDI) in fast-growing retail sector.

5th December - The whole day passed in the training of Community Participatory Rural Appraisal (CPRA) tool at CTCRI. Training was of 3 hours but the financial estimation for next 15 working days took lot of the time.

6th December -  I didn't go for the training due to cold and lack of the sleep.

I am reading again and again an article 'Youthpal bill' of Rashmi Bansal who is making  emphasis on us to live our dreams, not others. As per my view, one should venture into realizing their dreams only when they are strong enough to take the blows. Yet, the biggest training that any of us can get in life is failure. I had seen hard days recently that I will never forget, but wish not to repeat them again. But each rejection has given me reason to improve and look for their causes. The ability to never give up mixed with hard work and positive attitude can even change the fate.

7th December - It was holiday given by organization to us. I invested the holiday in sleeping. Currently, I am reading though lot of talk about FDI in the retail sector. Here is an article in this detail. Economics Journal: Who’s Afraid of Wal-Mart?

There is opening of PGDM (RM) program through IRMA/CAT/XAT from this year onwards. CAT exam has been included this year to widen the talent pool for applicant. Its a good investment for the future of rural management program. XIMB 2012-14 Admission has opened its PagalGuy page for the related queries long back on 26-08-2011.

I am happy with the academic program and learning environment of XIMB. It is a mix of theory and practice, and involves focus on real-time projects. Yet, I had little bit of hesitation to invite any IIT/NITian to join rural management unless his/her heart beats for the rural India. To quote Mahatma Gandhi – ‘waste is a resource in the wrong place’. I am in the right place as per my capabilities.

8th December - Today, there is Foundation Day Lecture by Shri S. Gopalakrishnan, Executive Co-Chairman, Infosys. I will be missing the show as I have to catch the train in the evening for my field trip.

My work would be based at Koraput, Gajapati and Ganjam district that fall under Red Corridor. For novices of Indian political reality, the Red Corridor is a term used to describe an impoverished region in the east of India that experiences considerable Naxalite communist insurgency.

9th December - I reached Koraput in the morning accompanied by fellow students (MM,CK, KK) and Dr P.S.Sivakumar, Scientist at CTCRI(Central Tuber Crops Research Institute ). We visited Nandapur block for identification of Key Informants and appropriate arrangements for next two days.

10th December - We visited to Hinjeripent village at Nandapur block early in the morning. Transect walk was done for PRA analysis. Lot of data was extracted with the help of our oriya speaking cab driver and local person working at OTELP (Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

25th Week @XIMB

25th Week - 27th November to 3rd December

27th November - I changed the old costly hotel to a cheap one. Lot of Condoms
were previously used in the room when it was cleaned in front of me ! I learned that Cigarettes, Liquor and Tea have strong sales distribution network. It was an off day.

28th November - There is no photo taken in the field trip of poverty and hunger as I didn't want to glamourize the poverty. I am travelling between mountains and rice fields. Tobacco chewing is seen in both gender.

There is unavailability of mobile network of airtel and vodafone . Only BSNL and Reliance has better outreach here. Accessibility of mobile network is there ;to block level and ;on highways only. There are no signals at GP (Gram Panchayat) level. Naxal affected block is identified for risk mitigation in the data collection through unofficial sources.

29th November -Government officials are cooperative but the pace of work is quite slow here. The brand name of XIMB works as people are impressed by the name of 'Jhabier'. Going through government records gave me creepy feeling that even data and stats are white lies but a vital ones.

30th November -I was doing household listing today in some block. There is lack of irrigation facility in Koraput region. There are household that have literally had nothing to survive. People eat Raagi here when rice crop fail.
Some people even don't know the name of their forefathers. It shows somewhat lack of history in tribal area. The villages were deep inside and far from highway.

1st December - I covered Koraput block today. This is more prosperous than its neighboring blocks. I took a train for Bhubaneswar in the evening.

2nd December - I reached Bhubaneswar and took a day off from any sort of work or study. Hearing bitter, harsh and cool stories of initial phase of RLLE of my friends.

3rd December - Off-day for work. Given a lot of thought about MBA and learning curve !

Reading without reflection is like eating without digestion. The same indigestion is happening to me. When will I read all the study material? One never knows. The worst bit is one does not know where to seek improvement in daily routine. It feels as one is doing masters in backlog management. The point of all the academic activity is not to score marks but to inquire. I am unable to comprehend the complete picture of this 2 year MBA education today.

Friday, December 2, 2011

24th Week @XIMB

24th Week - 20th November to 26th November

20th November - I woke up early for SKYPE meeting with a scientist at IPC. There were classes on Sunday. RMAX election. The election revealed one more basic fact about group behaviour. People don't like monopoly of a subgroup in a close community. The popularity meter affects the deserving candidate due to democratic nature of the elections.

21st November - Not selected in Summer Internship of another company after GD round. I need to improve my communication skills and a lot of introspection is needed in the career strategy.

One job opportunity was told to us by our program coordinator : PMRDFs. The Ministry of Home Affairs has identified 60 districts of the country as Left Wing Extremism (LWE) districts. The Government of India has launched a special programme in these districts called Integrated Action Plan (IAP). PMRDFs (Prime Minister's Rural Development Fellows Scheme)will basically function as development facilitators, they will assist the Collector and his/her colleagues in each of the IAP districts and provide them with the necessary analysis of situations and how they should be handled.

22nd November - Ours presentation in SRM class was postponed. I read an excellent article about Innovation. The DNA of Innovation: The DNA of innovation is an idea. Nothing happens until someone has an idea.

23rd November - RLLE orientation started in CIP, Bhubaneswar. I am going to Koraput. This project is about root tuber crop and food security.

'Cotton for my Shroud' is a documentary on farmers' suicide. It is very useful, to discuss what is plaguing Indian agriculture and to create debates around what needs to be done now.

Cotton for My Shroud

It captures what's going wrong in Indian agriculture in general and Vidarbha in particular - gambling with cotton, wrong technologies, Bt cotton, expensive seeds, crop failures, increasing costs, indebtedness, villages like Dorli near Wardha up for sale, anti-farmer trade policies, suicides nay genocide, agitations and firing on farmers, market machinations, the callous attitude of elected leaders etc. etc.

24th November -  Most of the fellow students had left for RLLE. Hostel is vacant and felt like a deserted place. My train is at 7:35 PM to Koraput.

25th November - The day was passed in the preparation of the trip. Many people were leaving the college for RLLE trip. I got the train for Koraput at evening. I was suffering from fever and cough.

26th November - The Pace of the life is too slow in Orissa in comparison to UP also. I will not call it lethargy as that is described by my friends here.

I reached Koraput in the morning. Koraput is a small place with lot of government offices. Transport Service charged very high price and our stay was provided at very very costly Hotel Lemon Castle at Semiliguda block of Koraput district. There was no hotel available at main district headquarter due to ;by-election ;in the neighbouring district. I traveled around 120 Km with public transport on the day of arrival only at Koraput. It was tiring and long day!


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This Blog is meant purely as a personal diary of a rural manager in making. It exists to record information, experiences and opinions about various issues encountered in the line of duty. Any person, institution and organization mentioned here doesn't assume any liability for its contents. This is not a deliberate attempt to defame anyone. And if you have actually read all that is written in the blog and aren't mad at me, then thanks for your time and patience !


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