Functional autonomy for IIMs
The BT-Nielsen ranking of India’s top business schools (BT, July 13) highlights the state of B-school education in the country. Barring the top dozen B-schools or so, and these include the IIMs, there are not enough quality management schools in India. This lacuna will only blunt our competitive edge in the long run. IIM-A has once again shown why it’s No. 1. Granting absolute functional autonomy to all the IIMs will surely help in getting the best out of them.
S. Umashankar, through e-mail
BPOs: Battling odds
Business Today’s round table on the Indian BPO industry (BT July 13) was indeed timely, as it raised some pertinent questions. The BPO industry for many years has been the Golden Goose of Indian economy; not only has it been growing at a scorching pace but it has also been one of the largest employers of the country’s young workforce. But as the round table discussions revealed, the going may not remain as good going forward, given the dramatic changes taking place in the global economy in general and in the US economy in particular, which is the biggest source of revenues for Indian BPOs. A prolonged slowdown in the US is certainly going to reflect in the order books of many of our BPOs, as foreign companies are likely to begin looking for cheaper outsourcing destinations such as the Philippines— whose currency is weaker than the Indian rupee—to shave costs and stay profitable. However, slowdown and rising inflation are part of an economic cycle which, one hopes, will end soon. A greater threat to our BPO industry is posed by poor infrastructure and an acute shortage of skilled manpower. I agree with Nasscom President Som Mittal that our education system has to change. Our BPOs are going to find it difficult to sustain their low-cost model if they have to spend their resources on teaching soft skills to their employees. Our colleges should be doing all this.
B. Rajasekaran, through e-mail
Fuel price hike was unavoidable
In your editorial Decontrol retail prices of oil (BT, June 29) you have made some very valid observations regarding our response to the global crude price hike. Oil is a political commodity in India, and usually governments are loathe to tinker with its price unless it becomes absolutely necessary, as it has in the present circumstances. But increasing the retail prices of fuel is at best a soft solution under the circumstances when global crude oil prices are threatening to go past the $150-mark and even higher. We should try to curb demand by further reducing the subsidy component on oil by imposing a bigger price hike; in addition, we should also levy extra excise duty on big cars. Only then will we be able to bring down the ever-increasing demand for oil in the country.
R. Thomre, through e-mail
Emotion ranks low in business
I cannot understand why so many people in the country were surprised by Malvinder Singh selling his family’s stake in Ranbaxy to Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo. In your feature Who’s next? (BT July 13), you have pointed out that many Indian pharma promoters are emotionally attached to their businesses and they won’t cash out if such an opportunity arises in future. I think we need to grow up now. If we can buy foreign companies, then why can’t we be bought by them? I must say, Malvinder Singh has shown great business sense and maturity by selling out for nearly Rs 10,000 crore, a price that Ranbaxy wouldn’t have got for a long time. I hope, other Indian companies will take heed from the Ranbaxy example.
R. Nagrani, through e-mail
In the story, One-year miracle (BT, June 13), IIM Lucknow was inadvertently stated to be starting its executive MBA programme in 2009-10. It was launched in April 2008. The error is regretted.
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