Saturday, August 29, 2015

Where are India's Satya & Sunder?

"Good companies do whatever it takes to make sure apps are great and don't hesitate to add features"…Sunder Pichai

"You renew yourself every day. Sometimes you're successful, sometimes you’re not, but it's the average that counts"...Satya Nadella

Sure no need to introduce these two names anymore, at least not to the millions of Indians who have some exposure to Internet as Mr. Sunder Pichai CEO of  Google & Mr. Nadella CEO of Microsoft & these two companies rules the world of Internet & Computers, which are like as essential as breathing oxygen for today’s world! And then they have made headlines not just in Indian media but entire worlds news media as being CEO of any of these companies is like becoming King of a Nation  & credit goes not only to their annual turnover which is more than many nations but their virtual monopoly over the fields they are in! For Google is now parallel term to go & find something as well Microsoft windows in computers like what Bislery is for bottled water! For years these two giant corporations are ruling the game & with fair practices as well their name is an indication of respect & trust for their users that’s what their real strength is! So its pride moment for entire India that these two boys, yes as both of them are yet to reach their fifties, have taken or crowned as top boss of their companies respectively! So I choose quotes of both of them as lets discuss is it really our Indian pride or the coin has other side too?

As when these two Indians were making headlines, two more news too are there, one is about Chhattisgarh State where for seventy posts of peons’ in Govt some thirty thousand application has come & in them are engineers as well post grads also! Another news was about a mammoth procession of people from a certain caste in Gujarat State for giving them reservations in Govt jobs as well education institutes; the whole procession is being lead by some just twenty two year old youth! Interesting part of the story is, this particular caste was the opponent of reservation policy few years back & now they only want reservation  for themselves! Then on whatsapp I received a forward with snap of US Prez with a sentence coming out from his mouth “Thanks India for reservation policy or else we would never have got Sunder”, & Sunder Pichai’s snap shown along! And then in one of the news RBI Governor appealed real estate industry i.e. builders to lower the home rates & reduce the profits! One more thing, I came across one of my friend from automobile segment who has switched a good job giving reason that in that particular company if you are from a particular caste i.e. of the same caste of the management then only you can get promotion after a certain level! So he felt he has no scope of growing in that group & left & to my surprise it’s a renowned name in automobile segment in our country!

Well on prima-fascia there doesn’t seem any relation between all these media head lines as well with my friends story but somewhere something is very much correlated, let’s see how? First Sunder Pichoi & Satya Nadella, does any of the Indian asked what caste they are from or which religion they belong? We are feeling pride that an Indian has been reached to an American Dream i.e. every year thousands of people migrate to USA to make it big but really how many can make it? And when in our own country we look for crutches like reservation, caste & family legacy, even our Govt as well Private Sector supports this system, so can we by any means call Sunder & Satya Indian? As they have made their choice by leaving the country & refused to become part of this crutches based system which don’t allow a person to rise on his merit but make him cripple by allowing all such supports to grow which indirectly kills your capacities to perform best!

No I am not anti reservation policy or any open category supporter though I myself am from open category & I don’t have any pride or any shame for it as in which family I took birth wasn’t in my capacity to decide! What I wanted to say is USA is what today’s is the companies like Google or Microsoft in USA makes to it! There must be thousands of people working in these & hundreds of Sunders' or Satyas' have joined fresh graduates from best of the universities here! So Google never needed to look what country Sunder is from or whether he is related to Larry Page i.e. Google’s founder neither did asked Bill Gates this to Satya! Yet they are at the top position of these companies, how? Just because they trusted on their capacities & worked to deliver something better than others & the companies trusted them as well acknowledged what these boys have in them! So it’s two way thing & not just one side’s success!

Now analyze the Chhattisgarh peons’ job news, why so many educated youngsters went to apply for a job of peon which is far below dignity of whatever education they have? Agreed no job is under dignity but then we are supposed to do something better with the education we have than to deliver the mail or serve tea to the visitors or sweep the work premise! Yet the so called engineers or post grads applied for this post means they felt its comfortable as well safe as it’s a Govt job, so first the work will be less & then they will be assured of life time fixed salary whatever output they give! Means who are at fault to pass such message in the young genre of this country? Off course our own Govt itself is the main culprit!  As on one hand they are giving reservations means sending a message that yes they do allow some group a wild card entry in service as well we all know govt service means no accountability for any outcome, means no stress! And on other hand making private service or any business such difficult by all sorts of corruption it has to fight with as well govt policies that youngsters will either not want to go in entrepreneurship here or strait way flee out of country for getting what there intelligence can earn them which they won’t ever here in their own country!

I think this is outcome of our repeatedly failed policies especially grooming the new genre for competition as well getting best out of them. You ask any businessman of my age or even senior he will tell that most of today’s youths do have have talent but where they lack is slogging out & make their own way which goes through path of hard work! They have dreams but lack in delivering the zest to live those dreams & obvious that they end up is choosing easy path of Govt job & that needs reservation, so I won’t wonder tomorrow every caste & religion starts asking for reservation & unfortunately we have only hundred percents with us for accommodating over hundred crore population & individually each caste will come in minority on that scale! So from where govt is to provide reservations for all is the question, which our rulers should be fighting if they have any senses left!

The fault equally lays with private sector as last year the country witnessed history a “chiwala” become Prime Minster of the country i.e. topmost post a politician can dream off but name me a single company or group where a no caste or religion or no family tag is there yet someone has reached to top of the company, the way Satya & Sunder has made to their companies respectively! On this front is where real estate lag totally as when it comes to take ahead the legacy we always fall prey to the favorite saying “blood is thicker than everything” & that’s the reason real estate lacks new ideas & concepts as well rarely the real estate business has gone through second or third generation! Tell me a single real estate company at least I don’t know in Pune where an employee may he be from technical or marketing has taken over the company, however talented or capable or hard working he may be! Why blame Satya or Sunder for leaving the country behind & using their talent for foreign companies or even why blame those Chhattisgarh States engineers who has applied for peons’ govt job, if they see no carrier in private sector of this country to live up to their dream?

It’s not just few prime ministers or leaders who changes fate of the country but its every individual who call himself a citizen is equally important in making a country great & responsible too! Private segment may be looking down at govt for reservation policies but reservation isn’t something which is just caste base, it’s in our mind & attitude! Unless we treat all as equal & give opportunity to every young blood to reach at top on his merit & sincerity in every organization, we will just keep reading news about Satyas’ & Sunders’ in some other countries & all our youths will be standing in queue for some govt posts may it be of peon or a driver & rest will keep fighting for making to reservation category; that’s the fate of the country!

Lastly it isn’t just a coincidence that the two names that made so big on their own on world’s platform, are from our Hindu Philosophy’s base i.e. Satya & Sunder, of which English meaning is “truth” & “beautiful” respectively! So let this be an alarm bell for all we so called Indian, is all I feel!

To end, it’s not just technical or financial intelligence which take you to the top but your philosophical base also is equally important which both Satya & Sunder has; sharing a letter which shows why these two deserves what they are…

Following is the text of Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella's letter to employees

Today is a very humbling day for me. It reminds me of my very first day at Microsoft, 22 years ago. Like you, I had a choice about where to come to work. I came here because I believed Microsoft was the best company in the world. I saw then how clearly we empower people to do magical things with our creations and ultimately make the world a better place. I knew there was no better company to join if I wanted to make a difference. This is the very same inspiration that continues to drive me today.

It is an incredible honor for me to lead and serve this great company of ours. Steve and Bill have taken it from an idea to one of the greatest and most universally admired companies in the world. I've been fortunate to work closely with both Bill and Steve in my different roles at Microsoft, and as I step in as CEO, I've asked Bill to devote additional time to the company, focused on technology and products. I'm also looking forward to working with John Thompson as our new Chairman of the Board.

While we have seen great success, we are hungry to do more. Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation. This is a critical time for the industry and for Microsoft. Make no mistake, we are headed for greater places — as technology evolves and we evolve with and ahead of it. Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.

As we start a new phase of our journey together, I wanted to share some background on myself and what inspires and motivates me.

Who am I?

I am 46. I've been married for 22 years and we have 3 kids. And like anyone else, a lot of what I do and how I think has been shaped by my family and my overall life experiences. Many who know me say I am also defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning. I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things. So family, curiosity and hunger for knowledge all define me.

Why am I here?

I am here for the same reason I think most people join Microsoft — to change the world through technology that empowers people to do amazing things. I know it can sound hyperbolic — and yet it's true. We have done it, we're doing it today, and we are the team that will do it again.

I believe over the next decade computing will become even more ubiquitous and intelligence will become ambient. The coevolution of software and new hardware form factors will intermediate and digitize — many of the things we do and experience in business, life and our world. This will be made possible by an ever-growing network of connected devices, incredible computing capacity from the cloud, insights from big data, and intelligence from machine learning.

This is a software-powered world.

It will better connect us to our friends and families and help us see, express, and share our world in ways never before possible. It will enable businesses to engage customers in more meaningful ways.

I am here because we have unparalleled capability to make an impact.

Why are we here?

In our early history, our mission was about the PC on every desk and home, a goal we have mostly achieved in the developed world. Today we're focused on a broader range of devices. While the deal is not yet complete, we will welcome to our family Nokia devices and services and the new mobile capabilities they bring us.

As we look forward, we must zero in on what Microsoft can uniquely contribute to the world. The opportunity ahead will require us to reimagine a lot of what we have done in the past for a mobile and cloud-first world, and do new things.

We are the only ones who can harness the power of software and deliver it through devices and services that truly empower every individual and every organization. We are the only company with history and continued focus in building platforms and ecosystems that create broad opportunity.

Qi Lu captured it well in a recent meeting when he said that Microsoft uniquely empowers people to "do more." This doesn't mean that we need to do more things, but that the work we do empowers the world to do more of what they care about — get stuff done, have fun, communicate and accomplish great things. This is the core of who we are, and driving this core value in all that we do — be it the cloud or device experiences — is why we are here.

What do we do next?

To paraphrase a quote from Oscar Wilde — we need to believe in the impossible and remove the improbable.

This starts with clarity of purpose and sense of mission that will lead us to imagine the impossible and deliver it. We need to prioritize innovation that is centered on our core value of empowering users and organizations to "do more." We have picked a set of high-value activities as part of our One Microsoft strategy. And with every service and device launch going forward we need to bring more innovation to bear around these scenarios.

Next, every one of us needs to do our best work, lead and help drive cultural change. We sometimes underestimate what we each can do to make things happen and overestimate what others need to do to move us forward. We must change this.

Finally, I truly believe that each of us must find meaning in our work. The best work happens when you know that it's not just work, but something that will improve other people's lives. This is the opportunity that drives each of us at this company.

Many companies aspire to change the world. But very few have all the elements required: talent, resources, and perseverance. Microsoft has proven that it has all three in abundance. And as the new CEO, I can't ask for a better foundation.

Let's build on this foundation together.


Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hon RBI Governor Sir... Open Letter from a Builder!

Real estate is one sector that India is not very proud of....Kushal Pal Singh

Kushal Pal Singh Teotia or K.P. Singh is an Indian real estate mogul and the chairman and CEO of DLF Limited, founded by his father-in-law Chaudhary Raghvendra Singh. DLF limited is India's largest real estate developer. Not surprising that coming from a person who himself has given a new dimension to Indian Real Estate, as many will agree & the clients will vouch for what he has said! Why I choose his quote is when its real estate, we always hear something similar & here always few make money where as most pay for it, which eventually are the clients & common people of our country.  

May it be any platform, speaking against builders or real estate is now what we are used of but when Reserve Bank Governor does it on a public platform, it’s not to be taken lightly! Till now right from Honorable PM to our State’s CM, all had their go at real estate & now RBI Guv fired the last salvo on already crippled real estate named creature by saying builders should reduce their selling prices of the homes! Here I recall a story of one of our leading politician telling farmers few years back to eat bread if they are not getting chapatti! Well seems Honorable Governor was in mood of joking but then let me tell it was a bad joke indeed as I am developer by myself & I am proud of it. What Gov has said I haven’t heard directly but read in news papers & he may not be saying about all builders yet from that position whatever we say it has to be clear or else words can damage more seriously than any weapon!

Going by Hon Governor let’s see first what is the scene in the real estate & then we can decide whether reducing rates is the solution which is possible or not? For years real estate is considered as the safest investment & simple reason is it’s not the mean of investment but it’s a need base product. A home is the first need of any Indian family & that’s why people buy homes, unfortunately looking at the tremendous potential in this need base product many entities & we know very clearly who are these entities, entered in the real estate to make it as investment based industry & not client based! Agreed investors are a must for any business to grow but in the process somewhere we all even the Govt also forgot that the essence of the real estate is to provide homes to the millions of common men of the country & not just to double the investments returns & today a stand still situation in demand of real estate is the outcome of every that persons greed who is associated with real estate. As in the whole process the end user of real estate has been driven out from the market! I think Hon Governor must be talking in this context but then is builder alone responsible for the out of budget prices of homes? Is the question I will like to ask to Mr. Governor! So let’s have a look at the factors which affects or  associated with the price of a home & they are Land, TDR, Construction Material & Labor, Govt charges/ premiums as well Sanctioning Processes, Taxes & Stamp Duty, Finance, Infrastructural burdens & lastly other necessities’ of today’s life! What outcome common man sees is it’s the builder who is making homes costlier because he is the one who delivers the home & takes the money but then this logic is as childish as saying the grocery shopkeeper is responsible for making  Cadbury chocolate costly, just because he is the one who sells it!

Take the issue of land prices, here is a product which has no upper limit to sale but a lower limit is there in the form of stamp duty or ready-reckoner index which also keeps on moving up each year means Govt itself accepts constant rate hike in land cost! So what Govt is doing in controlling a land price is what Hon Governor should ask to the Govt because that’s the main crux of entire real estate! On one hand Govt wants every advantage of ever increasing land prices & on other hand it expects builders to control the finish product’s prices, well as the famous tag line in a ad says, “ye baat kuch hajam nahi hui”! Land prices are uneven because of poor infrastructure, if every buildable land has got well developed infrastructure with roads, transportation, water, drainage & power then obviously the land prices will be balancely equal & then we can expect cheaper land costs with more supply of buildable/livable lands for the homes! And sure this builder can’t do it; all he has to do is surrender to the current rat race & beg, borrow & buy the land at whatever rate it’s available & build homes on it!

Another modern day’s real estate key word is TDR which indirectly is potential behind capacity of the land to absorb more buildable area on it! In simple terms it’s like plastic money, i.e. area generated via acquiring reservation lands. Here the process is extremely slow & the result is no TDR in market & whatever it’s there in many cases the TDR rates are more costly than the land rates itself! Slow generation of TDR indicates one more thing i.e. slow development of the infrastructure as no one is giving land under reservation to the governing body! Why can’t we on our own reach out to the people & starts process of acquiring the lands under reservation & declare third party TDR like court verdict! Take help of law here as whether city’s interests are less important against some individual land holder’s interests? This certainly no builder can do but the Govt; what say Mr. Governor?

Then take a look at hundreds of materials & their costs involved in the construction field. Right from basic material like cement to steel to sand & khadi & even water, if you study the graph of last ten years the cement itself have risen by three times & so is steel! Sand & khadi like natural items have hundreds of policy hurdles such as not issuing sand digging permits to restricting their transportation as per some fixed weight carrying norms! Then like land there is no control on any of these materials which could be easily done, especially if the materials are being used for affordable housing range & for that first decide such range defining what is affordable! Labor rates may not be as good as auto industry in real estate but then so is scarcity of skilled labors, hampering work quality! Except few efforts like “Kushal"; a workers skill development program, the industry lacks skilled labors & no mass level effort is there for this cause! This affects output by the present labor force which is one main cause for increase in construction costs as well cause accidents at site! And then nearly fourteen percent service tax  on every service contract adding the cost strait way by that percent, why can housing is considered as essential commodity & make some set off available for service tax in real estate & then asking developers to pass that effect to end user?

We as CREDAI or MBVA i.e. associations representing builders has given hundreds of suggestions regarding various development charges as well premiums which local bodies apply on any new constructions but of no use! No one expects or asks for zero premiums as for city growth money is required but that doesn’t mean only one segment will have to take that entire load! Years after years property taxes, our elected members don’t allow to increase for fear of losing the vote bank but what about every added rupee in sanctioning charges of the new projects? Who is ultimately paying for that burden if not citizens of the city? And what they are getting out of it? The biggest joke is Municipal Corporation takes huge amounts for project sanctions in the form of development charges including premiums for stair cases & even parking but smartly makes the builder responsible for inadequate water supply like issues which in actual is PMC’s responsibility! It even doesn’t supply water also for building construction activities not even drinking water for the site labors! And what about the time span required for all the sanctioning process? The interest burden just keeps on mounting with every day wasted in getting hundreds of NOC’s & the home becomes costlier but who cares as those who are the policy makers or sanctioning authorities are not the flat buyers, though most of them generate enough money for that in the process, please don’t ask how?  Hon Governor can you please under any fake name register a builder firm by yourself & try getting a small say just ten flats project sanctioned & then let’s see to who you will appeal first for reducing home prices?

On the top of it there are every known tax in every possible form like Vat, Service Tax, LBT, Stamp Duty & Ses as well Infrastructure tax & Security deposit when it’s PMRDA but who gurerenties security of the developer if the project isn’t sold? The above list of taxes as well premiums takes near about twenty percent of selling cost out of which nothing goes in the pocket of the developer but all goes to the Govt, making the Govt biggest gainer from real estate! So Hon Governor Can you ask the Govt to shell out something for the home buyers if not for the builder?
Even a lay man in financing like me knows by now that here in our country no bank finances for buying the land for real estate, even the project finance for a project that too if the banks management permits or if it is in sectorial limits, then the loan is given for construction of the project only! So from where the builder is getting money to buy the land & at what rate of interest, has some one ever asked this question to any builder? The interest rates are as high as thirty six percent a times & who bares this burden but the flat buyer! If you are buying a land for building a factory or hotel there is loan available by all Govt banks at very low interest but if you are making homes for the common man on the same land then there is no loan!  On the top of it every financing institute is in home finance but that’s for the flat buyers not for the person who is making those flats! Such jokes can happen in this country only & Hon Governor expects builders to use their own money to buy the land yet reduce the rates of the homes!

After going through all these grinds when a home is ready then the builder himself has make provisions like power cables along with transformer room for getting electric supply, why? Because the MSEB don’t have funds to do these infrastructure setups. There is no proper paved road for the site, so the builders have to join hands & get road done, same is story for water supply or drainage; as or else who will come & live in the homes without this basic infrastructure. And whose responsibility is to provide all this, can you please ask Hon Governor Sir? And who is bearing the cost of all such infrastructure making, please do ask that too!
Apart from every above aspect the flat buyer has other responsibilities as well necessities of life such as he has kids whose school fees are more than EMI! There is no public transport so he has to pay for petrol in his as well his wife’s two wheeler & then pay for school bus too! He has to shop a bit for his essential needs & watch a movie for entertainment. He has some travel plans in vacations as well he has to pay his mobile bills, & all these things also need money. What about ever rising rates of food items like “tur daal” & vegetables, certainly builders are not responsible for that too, I hope   Mr. Governor! So home is not the only thing which takes money to buy, what about prices of all such essential commodities? We can ask that too, don’t we?

And with all the things in place yet one more task remains & that is to market the homes which you have built & can we ask who controls advertising rates? Even in media to my knowledge there are higher rates for builders so let’s appeal the media also to lower the rates for advertising of homes!

Like when we say “save tiger”. It’s not just one specie that can be segregated & protected but the entire life cycle of which the tiger is a link, needs to be protected then there are hopes for the tiger. In same way unless we answer all above questions how can be the builder only is responsible for lowering prices of the homes? Going a step ahead, with all due respect to your good intentions about the real estate segment, do you think just lowering prices will solve the issue? What guaranty is there that lowering prices will improve the market scene & lowering is a vague term, how much exact be clear on it! And have a look at various advertises about real estate; doesn’t it suggest the mentality of the market & a clear indicator that rates are already down? Rather such statements which will drive whatever customers are there away from the market! Dear Governor Sir, we respect you as a person as well your intelligence very much & look with all the hopes for brining some real good change in the policies by which no one has to be told to lower the rates for the homes & all we be proud of real estate unlike what Mr. K P Sing quoted! We need to think about making a home affordable to every segment of the society & when we say affordable it means affordable to its manufacturer too i.e. to the builder himself; there lays the solution is all I wanted to share! Will be happy to assist on this front is all I can assure as a small time developer who has still some pride left for the profession he is in!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani ! (Click the links below)

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

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