Opinion

Opinion

Saudi women beyond the wheel!

With princes not spared charges of corruption and women granted permission to start driving, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is certainly displaying its credibility. Saudi government has stated that women will be permitted to drive cars from June next year. At present, regulations regarding this are being worked upon. Interestingly, “news,” of Saudi women being permitted to drive has been accorded substantial media coverage, more than most news items regarding the Kingdom usually are. This isn’t surprising.

Cancer is bad karma, eh?

Green movement activists are always puzzled, when wars are waged and gods are invoked simultaneously. Surely the arms industry is about politics, loot and commercial stakes, with a handful of diplomatic, or alternatively, virulently absurd hate speeches, thrown in? Similarly, when disease is linked by political oratory to past lives, we feel some anxiety. Is this the way that the politicians and their representative sadhus are evading social responsibility for illness and their institutional obligations?

DISEQUILIBRIUM: Value Accretive Divestment

For a government that appeared to be loath to doing anything on privatisation, it is gratifying to note that it has taken a call on it with the announcement that it will hawk 73.47 stake in Dredging Corporation of India. For a long time, the Modi government has shown strange obtuseness about strategic disinvestment. In fact, it seems to have called off the sale of the embattled and rogue IDBI Bank, which it announced in its very first full budget of February 2015.

Cloud play in China

The cloud computing market is still relatively nascent in the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China). China has a stronger ecosystem developed to support the cloud computing industry than most other emerging economies. Cloud computing business is an inevitable result when the need for the development of electronic information and technology has reached the threshold level. Cloud players in China are also playing visible roles that have potential to shape the global cloud standards.

Cut & Thrust: Cut to the chase, please?

Father versus son, ex finance minister versus current finance minister, interspersed with broadsides at the PM and the party president, the sub text was replete with toxicity, drama and irony. It kept the nation’s telly guerrillas spellbound, even as it raised issues over the systemic risks that imperil the economy. With low tide having set in, what is emerging in full view are the contours of a major ship wreck.

The silver lining

If we add the amount of solar energy that is absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere, land and oceans every year, we end up with approximately 3,850,000 EJ (exajoules or 10^18 joules). To put it in more understandable terms, this amount of energy is equivalent to:  2.7 million earthquakes of the same size as the Tohoku earthquake in Japan (2011); 40,000 times the total energy consumption in the United States; 8,000 times the total consumption in the whole world; 40 per cent of the energy that is required to heat the entire volume of water we have on earth by 1°Celsius.

On Top of the top-ups

Top-ups rule our lives in many ways — it could be an add-on pack on a prepaid mobile, that spare tyre in the trunk of the car, a second gas cylinder in the kitchen, carrying extra pens to the exam hall, spare batteries for the torch or remote and so on. The list is endless.

Nowhere are top-ups probably more essential than in your health insurance plan. As you grow older, healthcare can become prohibitively expensive and in the event of a debilitating illness, you risk losing your life savings and your peace of mind.

DISEQUILIBRIUM: ARE WE ALL LUDDITES?

Some years ago, the venerable Keshub Mahindra, one of the proponents of the reviled Bombay Club revealed to me how gentleman industrialists of India Inc sat in Oberoi’s Belvedre Club in August 1991 to discuss how to petition the government on the rising heft of MNCs who would inundate India with their cheaper goods and kill domestic industry.

Think and act local

The history of retail has been a story worth telling in the annals of human evolution. The earliest concept of a “marketplace” was seen as far back as 800 BC in Ancient Greece. Those were the earliest retail “channels” being established. Merchants and craftsmen gathered in open-air, tented marketplaces in the city, often called Agora (pronounced Ah-go-RAH). From there to here, the Omni-Channel world we are in, it’s been quite a journey.

Cut & Thrust: Fear Factor

It is an unmitigated disaster. Inexplicably, nobody has an answer to this riddle. The Delhi-Jaipur highway is caught in a time warp, a symbol of time and cost overruns and the typical Indian malaise of a painfully protracted infrastructure build out. It remains emblematic of India’s ambitious but failing highway development programme. It stands out as the highway to hell, a staggering testament to everything that can go wrong. A dangerous place to be on, particularly in the dark, completely porous on both sides with wrong side drivers popping up without hint, notice or inkling.

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