About the Blog

This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

July 4, 2017

GST Cartoon

So the Govt finally got into GST business after 17 years of dithering but that amount of time was never enough to plan the implementation in advance. For most of us in Business, it was like falling into abyss with a twinkle and hope that the crash landing would be smooth and things would change for the better

Because nothing else explains the situation we are in today

  • There was practically no govt machinery (atleast in a small town like belgaum) where anyone in Business could go to for queries. Not even a help desk in a govt office!!
  • People in the supply chain (suppliers/manufacturers) were in 'la-la' land as far as preparedness was concerned. The morning of GST shone bright but manufacturers had no inkling or information about HSN codes mapped to their produce.
  • The software guy just threw up his hands and asked me to fend for oneself until he gathered his wits on the GST preparedness of his software! So I was going 10 steps backward to the good old days of writing out bills by hand

So Mr.Jaitley, the super erudite finance minister, here's a toast to your bold venture and my take on it

Cartoon on GST implementation

June 4, 2017

English Vinglish and all that Jazz

Let’s face it, English is the gateway to a better future and one can ignore it at his own peril. Whether one likes it or not, it is the dominant global language of trade commerce & industry and international politics, It is often termed as a window to the rapid progress of technology and scientific knowledge in a constantly evolving world.

Thomas Macaulay did a big favor to Indians when he articulated the British policy of educating the colonial people in western thought and ideals. It was meant to serve their purpose but it ended up doing a greater good for us. He famously said "We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, words and intellect."

Indians like Raja Rao Mohan Roy, Sarojini Naidu, Mulk Raj Anand gave a distinct Indian flavor to the Anglican literature for Indian consumption. The Anglo Indians and convent school teachers took this great legacy forward and one such person was Mrs.Hilda Edwards who passed away today. In essence this article is a tribute to her, for it was in her fine teaching that we learnt the nuances of the language and its transformative influence on our lives.

There are many International schools today, what with their fancy names, logos and flashy billboards. But the quality of teaching and the imparting of knowledge can’t hold a candle to the modest but brilliant class of old world teachers like Mrs.Edwards.

Traditionally attired in a Saree and large spectacles, Mrs.Edwards would punctually troop into the class with a text book clutched by the chest. She would quickly get down to lessons in a soft demeanor. She was patient in our fumbling attempts to get Wren & Martin right, many of her English lessons were interjected with questions on prepositions, conjunctions and so on. When errant boys misbehaved or created some ruckus in the class, her reaction would be to stop the lesson and a silence laced with a dead pan expression would be directed at the culprit. It was enough to convey the message without a harsh word or a caning. She encouraged us to ask questions and drew engagement on the subject.

She taught us English grammar the traditional way i.e., deductively which is presenting a rule followed by example drills (from general to particular). The pedagogical rules and methods have changed from passive to explorative learning now, but in the mid 80s that was the best way to get attention and engagement from the class and Mrs.Edwards exemplified it.

Sri Rajagopalachari once pointed out that English was the greatest gift of Goddess Saraswati to India. And we saw a helping hand of Mrs.Hilda Edwards in that …..R.I.P Teacher.

November 16, 2016


One of the most respected business conglomerate in this country is embroiled in a bitter battle at the very top. Accusations and counter allegations between Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry is flying thick and fast. Cyrus's ignominious exit from the chairmanship of the group (under dubious circumstances) has now spilled in a turf war on the boards of TATA group companies. All this points to one thing - the sparkling white image of the TATA's is now stained beyond repair...TATA has become TARTAR. The public spat has become a sorry tale of one upmanship of Ratan Tata who was long expected to ride in the sunset. His prodigy was non other than a clansman ( parsi) who was anointed after much fanfare (global executive search is what the TATA's would like to call it).


Tata identity before


TATA identity after the fiasco


Like Tartar (dental terminology for yellow color on Teeth) this unsavory spat threatens to tarnish the image of Tata with sordid allegations of mismanagement, misappropriation, dismantling of organizational structure, betrayal etc.

September 25, 2016

Cauvery Water Dispute: Heart of the Matter

Much has been said and written about the Cauvery Water Dispute and much water has flowed down KRS & Mettur dams since the British colonial era when the first water sharing understanding was reached formally between the two parties. Since Water is the fundamental resource and  stands at the center of everything we humans do,  it is the source of increasing conflicts all over the world particularly over its rights, sharing and usage protocol.  Cauvery dispute is the most prominent in India and is a historical one with a turbulent past. Much has been written about it but since it has failed the legal litmus test, it is necessary to examine the core issue and question the entire premise of its credibility

The legal basis to the Cauvery water dispute: Who is right?


If Cauvery was to be seen as a ‘property’ who could claim ownership? Because ‘entitlement’ then decides ‘rights’ over property which would then define principles of water allocations. This seems to be at the heart of the dispute and there are 3 doctrines that come into picture
  1. Harmon – as per harmon doctrine the primary rights of water are bestowed on those who own the land at the source of water. It is a fairly simple and straightforward logic – you own the water and the well in your own backyard even if the neighbors come daily to draw water from it.
  2. History – this confers primary rights to historical uses of water irrespective of geographical location. In simple terms it means if your neighbor has been using water from your well since ages and is dependent on it, then he has the right over water even though the well is in your property. This ‘deemed’ right has uncanny semblance to the ’Tenancy Act’  (which was amended subsequently by SC) which entitled the tenant to be owner of the property if he occupied it for  12 years or more.
  3. Hobbes - this doctrine identifies right obtained through negotiations and agreement between disputing parties through a intermediary. The Water Tribunals were constituted to solve the problem based on this principle. But there is a caveat here - if both parties sat and agreed to sharing water earlier (say 100 years back) do both parties still ‘honour’ it, even of ground situation has changed now?
Tamil Nadu has been able to get a favorable judgment over Cauvery river water rights in the dispute by arguing its case on points 2 & 3.  On point 2 it says it is entitled to ‘principle of prescriptive rights’ on the basis of the 1924 agreement (entered between the princely state of Mysore & madras presidency). Simply put TN enjoys easement (a right to enjoy property) that it has ‘earned’ by regular use irrespective of whether it purchased, negotiated or granted by opposite party. In other words TN feels that given the long history of river water use , farmers in Cauvery delta (majority of which lies in that state) irrigating and producing paddy and ragi should not be denied water.
Karnataka on its part says that its neighbor should not raise a claim whenever there is deficit of water due to poor monsoon.

Social equity of water use?


The global standard for water allocation  which is  the water footprint assessment should have ideally been applied by the tribunal before awarding the quantum of water in the Cauvery Water Dispute.  It did not because  such a scrutiny would have taken into account whether water use for crop grown in the delta region was  environmentally sustainable and resource efficient. Hard questions would have been raised like - Has the Tamil Nadu water footprint come down due to any measure of resource efficiency (like the cubic meters  of water required to produce a ton of paddy or ragi) by which it can claim its historical right of water in changed situation?  If you grow water guzzling crop and still demand water irrespective of availability how can it be equitably allocated is the moot point

It is clear that the Hobbes (Pt. 3) model of negotiations is failing in the Cauvery Water Dispute because Karnataka is not ready to accept historical models and outdated doctrines when it  is facing a harsh reality on ground. If  Karnataka was a late starter in  irrigation development of its area of the Cauvery basin does it have to be at a disadvantage in appropriating water  because the neighbor has historically used more water due to better irrigation in its territory? Is  the Tribunal justified in awarding a simple average based allocation (arithmetic hydrology as it is called)  or is it simply a disaster waiting to happen (as evident from the imminent clash between legislature and judiciary)

Is fair play involved?


One of the Judges in the recent SC order had a ‘conflict of interest’ and should have recused from the Cauvery Water Dispute case, a precedent set by other SC judges earlier but did not. This means that the judge who had represented TN chief minister Jayalaltha earlier as advocate  could have been swayed by other considerations while passing the order
The Tribunal (CWDT) was itself in conflict without a unanimous decision on the verdict. It is reported that there was a division among the 2 members and chairman before awarding 27 tmcft of water. It also counts 1/3rd of Bangalore to fall in the Cauvery basin and drinking water to be allocated only to that area!

Feedburner Count