Archive for May, 2006

Sloan Fellows in India

May 31, 2006

It was an interesting day to host about 100 Sloan Fellows at IIIT-B on May 30, 2006.

These are outstanding individuals from more than 40 countries who spend a year of Graduate Studies at Sloan School, MIT, USA. Headed by Steve, Director of the Program and his able deputy and a Faculty member the team was an eclectic group. There were a couple of Indians too.

I preferred the informal chat where I talked of

    IT in India
    IIT’s
    IIIT-B and finally
    India & China

It was a rare occasion to share their views on these important subjects. They too share at least part of my enthusiasm on India & China!

IITians Party does well in Tamil Nadu Elections

May 12, 2006

Lok Paritran http://www.lokparitran.org/ started by ex IITians early this year formally contested in the Assembly Elections in Tamil Nadu. Though the party did not win a single seat, their maiden performance is impressive by every count, considering the fact that they had no money or muscle power except the power of “an idea whose time has come”.

Here is the quick analysis for those interested

Santhanagopalan in Mylapore constituency was in 3rd position out of 16 contestants; he had polled 9,436 votes and 6.4% of the vote-share; he was ahead of DMDK and Janata Party! (Interestingly I grew up in Mylapore and I feel so proud that Lok Parivartan had its best performance in “my place”)

Rajamani in Anna Nagar constituency was in 3rd position out of 14 contestants; he had polled 11,665 votes and 5.38% of the vote-share; he was ahead of DMDK and BJP!

Arvind in T Nagar constituency was in 4th position out of 16 contestants; he had polled 6,323 votes and 4.14% of the vote-share; he was ahead of BJP, BSP and SP!

Maheshwar in Thousand Lights constituency was in 4th position out of 26 contestants; he had polled 2,459 votes and 2.23% of the vote-share; he was ahead of BJP! (Interestingly MK Stalin, s/o Karunanidhi, the current Chief Minister contested and won from this constituency)

Prema in Villivakkam constituency was in 5th position out of 21 contestants; she had polled 6,473 votes and 1.06% of the vote-share; she was ahead of BSP, Forward Bloc and CPI!

Elanthirumaran in Chepauk constituency was in 5th position out of 20 contestants; he had polled 669 votes and 1.00% of the vote-share; he was ahead of BSP! (Interestingly, Karunanidhi, the current Chief Minister contested and won from this constituency)

Vanchinarayanan in Mudukalathur constituency was in 9th position out of 11 contestants; he had polled 300 votes and 0.29% of the vote-share; he was ahead of JD(U)!

(Thanks to Election Commission site http://www.eci.gov.in/May2006/index_st.htm? that I could collect all the information in 15 minutes flat!)

Interesting meeting with National Knowledge Commission Members

May 7, 2006

Nandan Nilekani, CEO of Infosys and a Member of the National Knowledge Commission, had invited an interesting set of people at his house for a Dinner meet on Saturday (May 6, 2006) with the other Members, notably Chairman Sam Pitroda, Ashok Ganguly, Jayati Ghosh and Pratap Mehta.

It was an amazing set of individuals

Azim Premji of Wipro, Kiran Shaw of Biocon, Mohan Das Pai of Infosys, Gopinath of Deccan Aviation, Lakshminarayan of MICO…- industry titans

IISc Director Balram, IIMB Director Prakash Apte, NLSUI Director, Goa University VC Koleskar,… – academic leaders

Srikanth Nadamuni from e-Government Foundation, Ashok Kamath from Akshara Foundation – techies running new generation NGO’s

Kaushik Barua and other youngsters from Knowledge Commission

Vivek Singhal (IDCA), Vinod Goel (World Bank) and select guests from USA
were there.

It was interesting to know first hand the goals & objectives of the Commission, meet the members, give our suggestions and network with the “shakers & movers”.

Teacher shortage, legal problems hindering the Indian systems of medicine, IPR related issues, lack of emphasis on vocational education, and of course the controversial reservation issues, were touched upon by the audience as possible “action items” for the Commission.

Dr Ashok Ganguly (with whom I had interaction when I was teaching at IITK when he was the Chairman of the Board) had the interesting quotation from Niels Bohr at Los Almos Laboratory “the solution to the difficult problem lies in the difficulties”. He was confident that after nearly 60 years there is a critical mass of Indians wanting to solve India’s problems

It was indeed an interesting evening; the hospitality of Nandan and Rohini was just superb

Interesting meeting with National Knowledge Commission Members

May 7, 2006

Nandan Nilekani, CEO of Infosys and a Member of the National Knowledge Commission, had invited an interesting set of people at his house for a Dinner meet on Saturday (May 6, 2006) with the other Members, notably Chairman Sam Pitroda, Ashok Ganguly, Jayati Ghosh and Pratap Mehta.

It was an amazing set of individuals

Azim Premji of Wipro, Kiran Shaw of Biocon, Mohan Das Pai of Infosys, Gopinath of Deccan Aviation, Lakshminarayan of MICO…- industry titans

IISc Director Balram, IIMB Director Prakash Apte, NLSUI Director, Goa University VC Koleskar,… – academic leaders

Srikanth Nadamuni from e-Government Foundation, Ashok Kamath from Akshara Foundation – techies running new generation NGO’s

Kaushik Barua and other youngsters from Knowledge Commission

Vivek Singhal (IDCA), Vinod Goel (World Bank) and select guests from USA
were there.

It was interesting to know first hand the goals & objectives of the Commission, meet the members, give our suggestions and network with the “shakers & movers”.

Teacher shortage, legal problems hindering the Indian systems of medicine, IPR related issues, lack of emphasis on vocational education, and of course the controversial reservation issues, were touched upon by the audience as possible “action items” for the Commission.

Dr Ashok Ganguly (with whom I had interaction when I was teaching at IITK when he was the Chairman of the Board) had the interesting quotation from Niels Bohr at Los Almos Laboratory “the solution to the difficult problem lies in the difficulties”. He was confident that after nearly 60 years there is a critical mass of Indians wanting to solve India’s problems

It was indeed an interesting evening; the hospitality of Nandan and Rohini was just superb

Subex acquires Azure

May 1, 2006

Subhash Menon founded Subex Systems acquired Azure (UK-based, earlier spun off from British Telecom) for $ 140 Million. This is interesting from many perspectives

Financially it is one of the largest acquisitions overseas for an Indian company

Subex is pushing “software product business” as its focus (unlike the traditional push into services only)

Subex is small, yet makes bold moves and tall achievements; in the telecom fraud management (a niche area) it grew steadily and upstaged HP ($ 90 Billion US behemouth) in year 2004; today this small company makes the biggest acquisition!

Next to iFlex Subex will be the next “icon” for Indian software products company

It will be interesting to watch this company grow from strength to strength