Saturday, April 30, 2016

Breaking the Silence

Over the last six months, India has seen an alarming rise in the number of suicides committed by its youth. India has nearly the world’s highest rates of suicides among people aged between 15 years and 29 years. Every year, about 30 and 40 people per 100,000 Indians between 15 years and 29 years kill themselves. This accounts for about a third of all suicides in the country.

The American Association of Suicidology reports that over 90 per cent of suicide victims have a significant psychiatric illness at the time of their death. These are often undiagnosed untreated or both. People who become suicidal in response to recent events generally have underlying mental problems, though they may be well-hidden. Research also indicates that during the period immediately after a suicide, public responses may be extreme, and underlying causes may be oversimplified. The main concern is that dramatizing the impact of suicide through descriptions and pictures of grieving relatives or community expressions of grief may encourage potential victims. Suicide becomes an acceptable reaction to a situation. This is what perpetuates suicide contagion. In India, this appears to be the case among the farming and student communities, both of which have witnessed highly publicized suicide outbreaks. (Source: The Indian Express)

The feelings of agony and pain are experienced when we come to face an emotional, social or financial turmoil, which are beyond our control. The word ‘agony’ implies suffering that one goes through helplessly, maybe over a prolonged period of time. It could be a mental state of distress in which we fear or question the uncertainty of life. We may feel like giving up to fate.

What seems like stress or suffering can be turned into a golden opportunity if dealt with intellect and patience. Dealing with what causes stress or suffering means to overcome the obstacles in the path to progress. Here are a few ways to overcome these obstacles:

 Self-realization: Focusing on strengths and understanding our limitations can be a good start. Interacting with positive people helps. Walking in natural surroundings, spending time alone, reading quietly or listening to music can stimulate positive thinking. These activities connect us to our inner selves; open our eyes to the interconnected nature of life and everything starts making sense.

Service: Another way of dealing with suffering is to engage in community service as well as by learning skills to acquire knowledge and wisdom. Seeking the company of the good and virtuous from whom you can learn and elevate your consciousness may be of great help. In the presence of faith, miracles happen.

Positive thinking can turn hardships into opportunities for healing and self-rehabilitation. Then our deeds will automatically be done with no fear of the future uncertainties and the path of agony will be changed to a path of progress and eternal happiness. 

Never give up!

- Mr. Sumit Chakravarty
  Faculty, INLEAD

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A guide to Disaster management

Disasters can strike anywhere and at any time. The recent Japan quakes and the droughts in India are testimonials to this fact. Now, though we have a little control over the timing and occurrence of the disasters, all we can do is curtail the disaster’s impact and Disaster Management is aimed at achieving just that.

DISASTER MANAGEMENT explains how to overcome and get cured from disasters like floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes, tsunami, landslides, bomb blast, fire, accidents, poisonous and chemical disasters.

The term disaster owes its origin to the French word “Disaster” which is a combination of two words ‘des’ meaning bad and ‘aster’ meaning star. Thus the term refers to ‘Bad or Evil star’. A disaster can be defined as “A serious disruption in the functioning of the community or a society causing economic, social and environmental losses which are uncontrollable for long period of time.

The basic supplies needed in a disaster kit are: -

Water: You should have a three-day supply of water on hand, or about one gallon per day per person. If your water is not already treated with chlorine, add some household bleach to the bottles. It should be stored in a cool, dark place for no longer than six months.

Food: Put aside at least three-days worth of food in your disaster kit that is non-perishable and don't need refrigeration. Also, choose foods that don't need heating. Avoid foods with a high salt content as they will make you thirsty.

Foods that are recommended are: Candy, chocolate, tea, coffee Sugar, salt, pepper, Canned juice, milk, soup Canned fruits, meat, vegetables Peanut butter, jelly.

Assemble a first aid kit: for your home and one for each car. A first aid kit should include 24 Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes, 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6), 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6), Hypoallergenic adhesive tape, Triangular bandages (3), 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls), 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls), Scissors, Tweezers, Needle, Antiseptic’s, Thermometer, Tongue blades (2), Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant, Assorted sizes of safety pins, Cleansing agent/soap, Latex gloves (2 pair), Sunscreen, Non-prescription drugs pain killer, Antacid (for stomach upset).

One should make sure that the disaster kit contains clothes that provide protection from cold and from heat. There should be at least one change of clothing per person, including footwear.

Tools: Mess kits, battery-operated radio or television and extra batteries Flashlight and extra batteries, Cash or traveller’s checks, Knife, Match box’s, Thread, Whistle, Plastic sheeting Map of the area (for locating shelters), , Paper, pencil Needles,

Special items: include family documents such as birth certificates, passports, photo id, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, household inventory, cash and important things.

Types of disasters: primarily there are two types-

1.      MAN-MADE- Man-Made disaster are specific events where a man made hazard has come to fruition.
Example-Fire, Terrorism, Nuclear, Stampede, road accidents etc

Taking an example of fire,
Fire safety refers to precautions that are taken to prevent the likelihood of a fire that may result in death, injury, or property damage. Three elements of fire are fuel, any combustible material-solid, liquid or gas, oxygen and heat.
To overcome fire we can use fire extinguisher, always remember P.A.S.S
P- Pull the pin
A- Aim the nozzle
S- Squeeze the trigger
S- Sweep it to side to side

Steps to evacuate a building on fire:
The last person in the room should not lock the door.
Always proceed to SAA- Safety Assembly Area
Always use staircase to exit the building.
In case of LPG, remember to walk briskly do not crawl.
Call the ambulance, fire brigade and police.

2.      NATURAL

When a natural disaster occurs, we can't always rely on police or governments to provide help.
Earthquake is a sudden shake of the earth, which lasts for a short time, within a very limited region. Most earthquakes last for less than a minute, but sometimes shock may last, for as long as 3 to 4 minutes. The place where an earthquake originates inside the earth is called the focus of the earthquake. Most human lives in earthquakes are lost due to collapse of buildings.

If you are caught indoors at the time of an earthquake, stay away from glass windows, doors, almirahs, mirrors, falling plaster, bricks or stones. Get under a table or a sturdy cot so that you are not hurt by falling objects. Do not rush towards the doors or staircase. They may be broken or jammed.

If you are outdoors at the time of earthquake, If open space is available nearby, go there. Keep away from tall chimneys, buildings, balconies and other projections, Do not run through streets, hoardings or lamps may fall on you.

A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land. Flood is defined as a covering by water of land which is not normally covered by water. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide. Flooding may result from the volume of water within a body of water, such as a river or lake, which overflows or breaks levees, with the result that some of the water escapes its usual boundaries. While the size of a lake or other body of water will vary with seasonal changes in precipitation and snow melt, it is not a significant flood unless such escapes of water endanger land areas used by man like a village, city or other inhabited area.

One needs to be prepared at all times for any kind of disaster. As of April 2016 there have already been 9 earthquakes around the globe and 2 Tsunami warnings. I do hope that people who read this article on Disater preparedness are able to implement some bit and live a safer life.     
- Mr. Vivekvardhan Gade
  Student, INLEAD
  July 2015, INBM        

Monday, April 25, 2016

Corporate Orientation Workshop by Mr. Tushar Abrol, Vivanta by Taj

As a part of the Orientation Week for the new batch of April ’16 last week, INLEAD organized an Industry Expert Session with Mr. Tushar Abrol, Manager – Learning & Development, Vivanta by Taj.
The session began with a brief introduction of the speaker, sharing his work and the profile that currently he is handling. The main agenda of the discussion was - “Attributes for becoming a right fit in a corporate”.

During the session, the speaker highlighted the challenges that the Corporates face today in terms of hiring the right set of talent. He further drilled down to some of the key attributes that the Corporates seek in candidate, to identify the right fit for their organizations. These key attributes are:
• Functional Knowledge and Professional Experience

• Pleasing personality – Verbal & Non-verbal Communication, Etiquette
• General knowledge and awareness
• Clarity of thought, articulation
• Confidence
• Creativity
• Self-control & ability to handle stress
• Analytical Skills
• Teamwork
• Openness to feedback

According to Neha Gupta, Event Management and PR,  April 2016: “I found the session quite enlightening as it gave us an understanding of how we should aim atnot only polishing our skills, but also our personality. He also shared many insights on people handling and the Do’s and Don’ts of the Industry.” “The talk was very informative. We were allowed to interact freely with the speaker and share our views, apart from listening to his expertise in the Corporate. Such lectures are beneficial to the fresher and the experienced students to keep them motivated and updated about the developments in the Corporate scenario, “ added Dr. Reshma M. Gopan, Healthcare Administration, April  2016.

The session ended with a QA session during which Mr. Abrol answered various questions asked by the students related to his experience in the corporate world. Mr. Abrol concluded by saying, “I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with the students. These were some very inquisitive minds and a very interactive set of students.” 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A more equal currency

I borrowed this blog’s title from a newspaper story I read recently with the headline “A more equal dollar now”. So, what is a dollar equal to now? To rupee, pound or euro? Well none of these.

USA has made quite a few changes in their currency bills over the years to stay ahead of counterfeiters. This April 2016, after 10 months of heated debates, Treasury Secretary, Jacob J Lew announced the changes in $20 bill. There would be changes in $5 & $10 bills subsequently. The $20 bill will have the image of Harriet Tubman, an African American woman who was born a slave and eventually helped hundreds of slaves escape chains using the Underground Railroad. 

Equality here symbolizes women like Tubman as well as leaders of suffrage movement like Lucretia Mott & Sojouner Truth who are getting represented on currencies and replacing traditional faces of men like those of President Andrew Jackson, who has of late found disfavor amongst Americans due to his role in the 1830 Act on Removal of Indians (Native Americans).

Countries that have used images of women in their currency bills:

While USA has a brief history of women on its currency and India has none on a bill, (we do however have image of Indira Gandhi, our fourth Prime Minister on coins), there are quite a few nations across the globe that have been printing women’s faces on their currency bills.

The first country that comes into mind is interestingly Syria which as a nation has an image of being completely warn torn and struggling against a violent militant group, ISIS. They have Queen Zenobia, known for fighting against Roman colonisers in the 2nd century AD, on their 500 pound note.

Philippines in 2009 added the image of their erstwhile first female president, Corazon Aquino, in their 500 peso note. In Turkey the 50-lira note features the image of women’s rights activist Fatima Aliye.  Mexico features the image of its prominent artist Frida Kahlo. The image is from her famous self-portrait made in 1940. Argentina, South Korea, New Zealand, Israel, Sweden, Australia, England are some other countries that have images of women on their currency bills.

So is there need for Gender Equality in currencies as well?

And why not? If we delve into our own country’s history we have many women who have played important roles in every sphere of life. Each of them deserves a stamp and an image on the currency bills. Since the currency denominations are very few, we could add some women in the list which technically has just Mahatma Gandhi as the only image of a person on our currency bills, since independence. It’s time we recognized Sarojini Naidu, Annie Besant or even Rani Laxmibai and gave them their due spots in our currency.

- Ms. Monica Mor

  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Mallya Saga

The story goes back to December 1955, when Lalitha Ramaiah and Vittal Mallya became the proud parents of Vijay Mallya, in a small town of Karnataka called Bantwal. Vijay Mallya was an extremely prolific student and after receiving his doctorate in business administration from California Southern University, joined his father’s business and in 1984 became the chairman of United Breweries Group, which is the proud owner of the Kingfisher brand of beer.

It has been a rather successful career that this flamboyant businessman can boast of. He soon started “living life kingsize”, throwing glamourous parties and even published limited editions of the extremely elite but a rather saucy, kingfisher calendar. Vijay Mallya managed to build properties around the world in locations like Monaco, Scotland, USA, and across 3 cities in India. He even came to be known as the “Playboy of East”.

In 2005 Vijay Mallya set up Kingfisher Airlines which soon after started connecting 32 cities. Kingfisher Airlines in a couple of years became extremely popular and looked to moving into no-frills segment of air travelers and so invested in Air Deccan. It was then that the downfall of the Mallya Empire started.

How the Empire came crashing

  • The grounded Kingfisher Airlines:
Since 2012 Kingfisher Airlines had been facing severe financial crisis and the share of the company dropped to its lowest in April 2012. The DGCA (Director General of Civil Aviation) in India suspended its flight certificate in October 2012 and in early 2013 GOI withdrew both domestic and international flight entitlements allocated to the airline. The company thereby shut its operations and locked out its employees, many of whom hadn’t been getting salaries for the previous 6 months.

  • Meanwhile the Diageo and Heineken story moves on…          
Despite an insolvent Kingfisher Airline, Vijay Mallya continued to enjoy his lavish lifestyle and retained his position amongst India’s richest. His company United Spirits Limited has been the largest manufacturer of IMFL (Indian Made Foreign liquor) since 1951. By the time it was 2012, USL gradually came under majority ownership of a British multinational alcoholic beverages company, Diageo. Vijay Mallya took home a huge amount for the stake sale to Diageo. In 2015 Diageo demanded that Vijay Mallya quit as USL chairman against charges of funds diversion from the company, and soon after sold its shareholding in United Breweries to Heineken.

  • The Mystery of 9000 crores
Vijay Mallya had raised close to Rs.7000 crores from 17 banks for his now bankrupt Kingfisher Airlines. Since 2012 this loan has become a Non Performing Asset (NPA), with the largest borrowings coming from SBI (State Bank of India). For half a decade he has mocked the banks while flaunting his lifestyle. Now that all of India’s investigative agencies including ED and CBI are looking into the loan default, Vijay Mallya has fled India and parked himself in London.

As you read this blog, there are negotiations taking place between Vijay Mallya’s lawyers and the banks regarding settlements. As of 14th April, 2016, the offer from Vijay Mallya to the banks is Rs. 9,000 crore.While he had given a Personal Guarantee against his borrowings, most of his property is located abroad and therefore difficult to take custody of.

The cat and mouse game continues, and according to Economic Times, dated 31st March 2016, there are 72 similar companies in India with huge tranches of loan defaults, the primary being the Adani Group. Here’s hoping justice is delivered and Indian banks get back their money.

Ms. Monica Mor, Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Image Courtesy: Google Images 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What is Women Empowerment?

Lucknow, 5th April 2016: A rape survivor was refused any medical assistance by a government hospital in Lakhimpur, Uttar Pradesh and had to be carried by a policeman and attendants after she was refused even a stretcher. The survivor was a girl with special needs. (Source: The Deccan Chronicle)

This news was being telecast the entire day across various News channels in India. It was both disturbing and horrendously appalling, and was reacted to differently by different strata of the Indian Society. While for some, it was just news, some like me dwelled on the thought of what have we become as a society.

 In today’s times, Women "Empowerment ", "Emancipation", “liberation" and "Women Rights" seem to be the hot topics of discussion in the modern Indian society; the word “empowerment”, particularly, being misinterpret and misrepresented by both men and women. The definition of empowerment has been re-defined every now and then. For some it means financial independence, for others it implies freedom, while for some it signifies freedom of expression. In a recent debate I was witness to, on “the influence of western civilization on Indian culture”, someone mentioned that the concept of women empowerment is a contribution of the western world. Sadly, a rebuttal that followed was that this very concept had led to the introduction of addiction and adultery for Indian women. This brings about the fact that no matter how modern we act or behave, our thought process remains quite conservative. We have been blinded by our values and customs to an extent of treating empowerment in a sense of materialism, rather than an act of morality.

On the other hand, some staunch feminists have created uproar in the name of women emancipation to fight against any kind of injustice or ill-treatment towards them. However, the definition of injustice is very subjective and vague in itself. Who is to decide, what is acceptable and what is not? There have been examples where women have misused the concept of "Women liberation and rights" in order to get their way out, if they are unhappy with their relationship with their spouse, employer, colleague or in-laws.

Let us understand what empowerment means. It means ‘to give power or uplift’. Despite worshipping our god in the form of “Ardha-Narishwar” – Lord Shiva in the Avatar of half woman and half man, we have never come to terms about treating each other equally. Most of the responsibility in this direction dwells on the shoulders of us men, for we have enjoyed being the alpha in the society, and still do. Breaking traditional stereotypes, both at institutions and homes, education must emphasize on the acceptability, inclusivity and gender equality. Ultimately, it all boils down to one single idea - Empowerment is the ability to lead one's life with dignity.

- Mr. Sumit Chakravarty
  Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, April 11, 2016

INLEADers @NSE, New Delhi

Known as a reliable barometer to measure the economic condition of a country, the National Stock Exchange is one of the most important financial organizations in India. In order to make the International Business Management students of INLEAD have a deeper understanding about this important financial organization, INLEAD recently organized an Industry visit to the National Stock Exchange in New Delhi.

The visit began at around 11 am sharp when the students were assembled in a training room at the NSE premises. They were taken through the history of stock exchanges in India followed by the inception of NSE and its eventual success. They were thereafter put through a mock trading session where they made some buy and sell decisions for fictitious stocks. They were even introduced to many financial instruments which are traded on bourses.

Within a span of three hours, INLEADers understood the roles played by many players in the financial market like Fund managers, Market makers, Asset Management Companies and had a closer look into the functioning of a stock market, the important role that it plays in an economy and the way it behaves due to cyclical changes in the financial market.

While students study about the Securities and Capital market in classroom, a live demo of stock market functioning and an understanding of its inception was very vital, as a part of practical insight. The NSE visit aimed to achieve just that.  In the end, the students learned a lot about the working of the NSE and had various positive things to share about the visit.

Ashish Gupta, INBM Jan’16 PGDM: “The industry orientation was very informative. I have always followed the ups & downs in the stock market. To know more at NSE was enlightening for me.”

Anjali Prabhakar, INBM Jan’16 MBA: “I never had any inclination towards finance. Now my outlook towards this sector is changing. I was completely taken up by the huge amount of knowledge that I gained at NSE.”

INLEADers @Rockland Hospital, New Delhi

Continuing on its efforts of providing its students a practical on-field exposure of the lessons they are taught in classes, the Healthcare Administration students of the January 2016 Batch of INLEAD were recently taken for an Industry Visit to one of the nation’s most renowned hospital- Rockland Hospital, New Delhi.

The students were really ecstatic about the visit and had their thinking caps on for the entire 2 hours duration of the visit. The visit began at around 10 am with Ms. Vibha Mongia, HR Manager, Rockland Hospital, acquainting the students with the history the foundation of the hospital. She thereon took the students for a floor tour and answered what all queries the students had regarding the Hospital.

Rockland is a NABH accredited 100 bed hospital, with various medical facilities ranging from Oncology, OPD to a robust International patients department. It currently has 3 functional branches at Qutab Institutional area,  Manesar and at Dwarka. There is a 800 beds branch coming up in Noida as well. Rockland Qutab was launched in the year 2004 and was the first hospital among all with a startup of 100 beds.

The agenda of the visit was to enlighten INLEADers about the hospital operations and functioning. Students learnt where all departments are located and why are they necessary for a smooth flow of hospital activities. There were total 6 floors, and the 4th floor was completely dedicated to international and TPA patients. They also saw how Rockland hospital is promoting medical tourism and has separate wards and floors dedicated for the same. Students saw various departments like dietary, linen, blood bank, etc. and learnt how proper supply of food, beverages, gases is maintained which is a difficult job.

The visit made the students understand the importance and effort that goes into the proper functioning of a hospital and how much hard work they need to put in in order to become the next caretakers of the nation’s health. 

Donning the Thinking Hat

“Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought.” – Albert Einstein

Creative Thinking is a way of looking at problems from a new perspective, suggesting unconventional solutions (which may look unsettling at first). Unlike Critical Thinking – which is more judgmental in nature, and is practiced during analysis when a critical decision has to be taken in a short span of time, creative thinking is more relaxed as it is practiced by brainstorming or mind-mapping various ideas from multiple people, to reach an experiential yet feasible solution.

Creative thinking can be demonstrated by:
·         Inventing something which has never existed before
·         Inventing something which exists elsewhere but you weren’t aware of
·         Inventing a new process of doing something
·         Reapplying an existing process or product into a new or different market
·         Developing a new way of looking at something (bringing a new idea into existence)
·         Changing the way someone else looks at something

Creative thinking techniques help in stimulating original ideas. New ideas occur when two or more ideas are accidentally or deliberately merged, provided they have never been merged before and in ways which you would not normally come across or think about. Two of the most widely used Creative Thinking techniques are – Brainstorming and Mind Mapping.


Brainstorming is a combination of a calm, informal approach to problem solving, and lateral thinking. It encourages people to generate thoughts and ideas that can, at first, seem a bit irrational. Some of these ideas can be shaped into original, creative solutions, while others can trigger even more ideas. This helps to get people freed by "jolting" them out of their normal ways of thinking.
Therefore, during brainstorming sessions, people should avoid critiquing or gratifying ideas. One must try to open up possibilities and break down incorrect assumptions about the problem's limits. Judgment and analysis at this stage can exploit idea generation and limit creativity.

Ideas should be evaluated at the end of the session – this is the time to explore solutions further, using conventional approaches.

Mind Mapping

At times while brainstorming, we may find ourselves caught up with pages of information, but no clear idea of how they fit together. This is where Mind Mapping can help you. A Mind Map is a powerful graphic technique which provides a universal key to unlock the potential of the brain. It harnesses the full range of cortical skills (using the cerebral of the brain) – word, image, number, logic, rhythm, color and spatial awareness – in a single, uniquely powerful manner. The idea is to write the topic of the problem or the subject in the centre, and subsequently adding the supporting ideas further. Hence, it gives you the freedom to roam the infinite expanses of your brain. The Mind Map can be applied to every aspect of life where improved learning and clearer thinking will enhance human performance.

- Mr. Sumit Chakravarty

   Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, April 4, 2016

Revenue Management by Ms. Manasi Bidikar

The International Hotel Management students of INLEAD were recently treated to a fun and interactive industry expert session on Revenue Management so as to reinstate the emphasis that teachers have always been laying on Revenue Management. Recent trends have shown that students are always very keen on Hospitality operations, while ignoring the revenue aspect. The session was a reminder for them on this department’s importance.

Ms. Manasi Bidikar - Revenue Manager – Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, Gurgaon was the guest speaker for the session. Ms. Manasi has been with the Taj group for almost a decade and her experiences are very rich and diverse. She took the students through her professional journey and laid a lot of emphasis on Revenue Management which is a very vital vertical for hospitality industry.

Ms. Manasi talked in great lengths on Revenue Management. She said that the strategy of Revenue Management is to focus on price rather than costs when balancing supply and demand. It suggests exploiting each products value cycle & continually re-evaluating revenue opportunities.
For Effective Revenue Management an organization must have:

1) Segmentation (Know your Customer based on Pricing) a different rate must be charged to Leisure guest and a Corporate Guest.

2) Price Fencing, it must be done properly in order to sustain for long term in market as the price must be according to market it may not be more or less.

Online Travel Agents (OTA) are considered as Frenemy for hotel business as they provide the business in the time of low occupancy as well as they cut the profit margins of hotel at the time of peak season. Here the part of Revenue Management plays effective role of taking decision how to deal with situation and raise more revenue.

She concluded the session by stressing on how during the time of Recession, Revenue Management plays a vital role in effective utilization of available resources by the means of Cost Optimization.

“The session proved to be extremely useful and we realized the importance of Revenue Management, having heard it from an industry expert,” said Dixit Mohit, July 2015, INHM.

 “It was a good introductory session on revenue Management, and the speaker’s experiences were quite awe inspiring,” said Naman Pare, July 2015, INHM. 

An Insight on Branding, Advertising & Experiential Marketing by Mr. Ashish Bhardwaj, Business Head, Lowe Lintas Group

The Event Management and PR students of INLEAD recently got an insight into the world of Branding, Advertising & Experiential Marketing by an industry expert session undertaken by Mr. Ashish Bhardwaj, Business Head, Lowe Lintas Group.

The session began with a case study wherein the students were expected to identify the marketing problems and then suggest brand building tactics and plans. This short exercise worked like an ice breaker between the speaker and the students. Mr. Ashish Bhardwaj then took the students through strategies used in Advertising, Media, Brand Activation. He also talked in detail about the various types of media management techniques like ATL, BTL & TTL as well as also introduced a new concept of Experiential Selling.

Mr. Ashish gave the students a first-hand experience of coming up with a solution to branding scenario through a case study. This was followed by a detailed look into strategies followed by organisations like:

Advertising: is a communication accustomed to promote or sell a product or service, sometimes a business's product or service. In Latin, ad vertere suggests that "to flip towards".

Media: is the collective communication measure to store and deliver data or information.

Activation: promoting activation is the execution of all methods be it Above-the-line, Below-the-line or Through-the-line. The activation part is followed by customer feedback which is then evaluated.

Experiential selling: Engagement marketing, typically known as "experiential selling," "event selling," "on-ground selling," "live selling," or "participation selling," its a selling strategy that directly engages shoppers and encourages shoppers to participate in the evolution of a complete product or service.

Merchandising: At the retail in-store level, merchandising refers to the range of products out there for purchasing and therefore the display of these products in ways that stimulate interest and entices customers to shop.

The session culminated with a very interactive Q&A round. “I had a very participative audience, they were able to answer many questions and even had a few very interesting queries,” said  Mr. Ashish Bhardwaj.

Friday, April 1, 2016

An Act of God or Man Made Corruption?

“India Kolkata Flyover Collapse: Hope fading for survivors”- BBC News

“21 dead as Kolkata flyover collapses”- The Hindu

In 2008, the CPI(M) Govt. in West Bengal commissioned a flyover in one of its most congested areas, Girish Park. The 2km flyover passing over Vivekanand Road was supposed to be ready by 2011 but eventually missed 3 deadlines and at the time of collapse was still under construction. With state elections just days away, this disaster has become a political issue. Mamata Banerjee, the current Chief Minister of WB from the TMC (Trinamool Congress) Party has passed the buck for the unfortunate mishap to the previous govt. The Hyderabad- based firm, IVRCL (Iragavarapu Venkata Reddy Construction Limited) responsible for the construction of this flyover has been booked for culpable homicide by the West Bengal Police Department.

While the disaster is of gargantuan proportion, unfortunately the construction company has shown little respect for the lives lost due to the flyover collapse. K Panduranga Rao, Group Head (HR and Admin), IVRCL told reporters that “It’s nothing but a God’s act. So far in 27 years we have constructed several number of bridges…it (collapse) has never happened”. This, especially when concerns were raised on quality and safety issue of the flyover.  There were hundreds trapped under the huge iron and steel girders and the debris until the morning of 1st of April, 2016. Two IVRCL engineers are also feared trapped under the mountain of debris, along with 5 others who are injured.

The Rescue Efforts

Army men along with Kolkata Police Disaster management team, NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) and fire fighters have been working round the clock to pull out victims. 24 have been confirmed dead, and from the 90 rescued many are in critical condition. People from the Burra Bazaar area, around the flyover, in an apparent display of humanity, have been serving tea and snacks to rescuers and the rescued. The ones being successfully pulled from under the debris have been rushed to nearby hospitals.

Reasons behind such tragedies

IVRCL, the company, responsible for construction of the flyover, a portion of which collapsed on the 31st of March, has yet to ascertain the cause of collapse. According to them standard operating procedure has been followed, where 78% of the work was completed without accident. They claim that the flyover was designed by a reputed consultant from Kolkata and all clearances and steps to ensure quality had been taken. The work was commissioned for Rs. 166 crores and was missing deadlines due to lack of clearances as the Burra Bazaar area is extremely crowded. However, the fact remains that a concrete structure will collapse if the deadweight calculation is faulty and therefore there are cracks due to design flaws. There is also the accusation of usage of substandard material, inadequate quality inspections; and this is a problem across many construction projects in India.

There have been similar disasters across the world like the one in 1958 in Canada, Vancouver, where the cause was diagnosed to be miscalculation of weight bearing capacity. In Melbourne, Australia in 1962, a bridge collapsed due to fractures in the pillars due to extreme cold weather conditions. Then again in Belgium in 1966, a bridge had collapsed due to faulty design, where the foundation of the piers was not deep enough.

While forensic team is doing its investigation, the Vivekanand Flyover collapse seems to be a combination of the all the reasons mentioned above, in addition to poor quality construction material. The guilty need to be booked and efforts should be made to prevent future disasters which are man-made and could have been easily prevented for want of honesty, ethics and intelligence.

- Ms. Monica Mor

  Senior Faculty, INLEAD

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