Politics & the Nation
  • Some interesting thoughts on telecommuting to work
    • Here is an interesting story that debates about telecommuting to work in India.  We take a few excerpts on some stats and definitions...
    • A survey points out that the average commuting length in India is 29 minutes, but 12% of commuters travel more than an hour, onward and return, resulting in unproductive wastage of time.
    • Telecommuting (as defined by Prof Jack Nilles, who coined the term in 1973) means work done outside the principal office, for one or more days per week, either at home or at a client's site. Telecommute, thus, uses IT to partially or totally substitute the commute-to-work. Telecommuting enables companies to reduce transportation costs and allows better use of the existing infrastructure — but the biggest benefit comes from the lowering of loss of productivity in employees due to traffic delays in commuting.
    • According to a Frost & Sullivan study released in last October, India is the most telecommuting-friendly country, with 59% of its organisations having a formal policy on it, and 48% of its workers telecommuting daily, (followed by Hong Kong, with 54% of its businesses having a formal policy, and 26% of its workers using it on a daily basis).
  • Social security pact may be inked during Obama visit
    • The Indian government is making a strong bid to ink the Indo-US social security agreement during President Barack Obama’s visit in November.
    • The totalisation agreement between the two countries will help lakhs of Indians in the US on short-term H1B and L1 visas, who will then not need to contribute towards social security which they cannot avail before ten years. The workers with short-term visas cannot remain in the US for more than seven years.
    • The totalisation agreement will provide for aggregation of benefits whereby workers will be entitled to social security benefits in proportion to the number of years that they contribute both in the US and after returning to India.
    • The agreements also provide for portability of benefits, whereby workers can avail themselves of the social security cover irrespective of which country they are working or living in.
    • India has agreements with nine countries—Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Luxembourg. The deal with Canada is ready and will be inked soon.
Finance & Economy
  • Titbit about PE investments in the country
    • Between 2004 and 2008, PE and VC firms invested nearly $43 billion in the country and have funded around 1,400 companies.
  • An excellent primer about Laffer Curve
  • The country plans big about having dedicated chopper corridors by 2020
    • As cities are grappling with increasing traffic congestion, it has dawned on the administrators that at least for providing effective emergency and security services, there is a need to come up with a huge fleet of helicopters.  For this they want to create an infrastructure with the establishment of a dedicated agency -- the Heliport Authority -- and a string of helipads across the country.
    • Take a look at the entire story.  Makes an interesting reading.
    • At present, India has a small civil fleet of 260 helicopters, of which about 40 are used for offshore oil exploration operations, while the rest are used for private and chartered transportation and tourism.
    • The United States has the largest civil fleet of 11,858 rotorcraft. Other top civil fleets are Canada (1,675 rotorcraft), the United Kingdom (1,100) and Japan (940).
  • We hate to think on these lines but, is it worth holding the C’wealth games?
    • The lack of preparedness, the corruption allegations and the total incompetence of the powers that be for conducting an event of this magnitude are all making us wonder whether India should gracefully pull out of hosting the games.  The daily newspaper reports that we keep reading about the games makes us wonder so.
    • Perhaps it is time for the PM to put up a brave face and say that India is sorry and will not be hosting the games.  At a time when India is otherwise being rated as the ‘third most powerful’ nation et al., the games bosses have let the country down badly.  
    • Hope the PM takes things into his own hands cancels the games and takes up a thorough purge of all the sporting bodies.  These bodies should be rid of politician-sport-administrators.  The management of the sport is better handled by sports persons themselves.  It should never be given to those that never had been associated with the sport as a player.  If the country can’t find managers from among the sport, it is better left to the defence forces at least.  They will hopefully do a better job of it.