Swati CA

Swati_CA column in The Hindu Business Line

Monday, February 12, 2007

How inflation hits hard the pensioners

Woes of the senior citizens

It is not often that I visit the pharmacy, which is good, in a way. Yet, I had to go to a drug-store nearby a few days ago, to buy lozenges for my sore throat.

At the entrance, I saw an old couple who stay in the block adjacent to mine. "Hi," said grandpa, as he is known. And the grandma was anxious to know what brought me to buy medicines. We three spent some time talking about work and weather, traffic and TV, and soon our discussion veered towards microeconomics.

"Our interest income is not enough these days!" said grandpa, shaking his head ruefully. And his wife chipped in: "Expenses keep increasing, even for our bare minimum needs..."

I wanted to ask them if they were curtailing their medicines on account of price increases, which I suspected could well be the case. But before I could manage to take the topic forward, they said `bye', amazingly cheerfully, and slowly moved away.

The thought that kept coming back to me thereafter was about the adverse impact of inflation on pensioners who depend on interest receipts. Send in your thoughts by Friday.

Knowledge economy spilling over to public places...

Knowledge should never be kept stagnant. It should always be transferred. Everything that we communicate is actually a kind of knowledge transfer, as during debates, for example. So, knowledge transfer sessions will lead to growth in the knowledge economy, and this has no boundaries of age, language, sex, caste or race. Let’s make sure that there is a continual high growth in our knowledge sector.

Devisetty Manojna

Informal and impromptu meetings will grow over time. Organising meetings with a fixed agenda and venue are proving costly. In today’s networked world, getting across to many other persons is not an issue at all. However, emails, SMS, and video-conferencing cannot replace the impact of one-on-one meetings and get-togethers. An informal ambience adds to the comfort level. Let the number of such meetings increase.


I do agree with you that the signs of the knowledge industry should be more evident in our day-to-day life.
It has already taken rapid strides, as in travel booking and communications. But one thing we fail to acknowledge is the continuing poor state of our farming sector and the manufacturing sector, where we are unable to achieve any breakthrough. Only these sectors can generate employment and help end poverty. Therefore, more efforts from the IT sector should go into development of these areas.


When we discuss any issue in public we get to know various views and we will be able to come out with the most astonishing solution to even intractable problems.

C. Maruthi Kumari

Maximise the usage of individual skills

For all those who drop out of the job race and have been left stranded in the path of career, it would be wise if they look at harnessing the unique individual skill that they have. Maximizing the usage of individual skills, like, from the example of carrom-board game, where the youth can form together a small group and start providing basic training to the neighbourhood community on the game's nuances.

This idea is not to demean their educational qualification but to develop a good network of believers and well-wishers, using which they can always land up in a lucrative job. There can also be instance where the youths will realise where their real potential is and start working towards that goal rather than getting lost in the crowds of empty partying and mindless enjoyments. Coming together as a group also addresses the issue on lack of diversity in the knowledge skill set that every individual possesses.

Sriram Kannan

Reduce corruption to generate employment

It is a fact that the normal Indian youth if not utilising his time usefully, in whatever way, tends to fritter away. That idleness leads to various outcomes, which are not for the long term good of the individuals and the society. One of the reasons is abject poverty of the majority. Despite long period of socialism and welfare policies, the ultimate beneficiaries have not derived any tangible improvement. That is because of the massive corruption in the planning and execution of the welfare policies. As such, the most important thing to aim and strive for, is to reduce the corruption levels, if not complete elimination. Further, the NGOs and other voluntary agencies also can join and spend their energies towards this end. What is needed is education and some vocational/other course, followed up by employment generation. The aim should be not to give rice and dal, utensils, TV sets etc but to make them stand on their own legs and earn a well deserved living.


Ideas for the unemployed youth

How to tap the skill of these unemployed youth:

Actually service sector is growing. The needs of services is growing in geometric progression. Youth should make use of this.

Now-a-days nobody is having time to attend so many domestic chores, especially number of working people. Number of working ladies is increasing, so also the need of services (domestic help).

Youth can form Self Help unemployed association and they can provide these services to people - 1. Working ladies 2. Old people 3. Needs of house wives. Select the locality and assess the need of those.

Ø Have food processor and supply cut vegetables, fruits, fresh fruit juices, salad of raw vegetables, specially cleaned onions, greens, banana flower, banana stem etc.

Ø Have plumber, electrician to attend small jobs in their locality.

Ø Have one auto, van to satisfy the need of transport facilities of those families.

Ø Have vacuum cleaner – do the cleaning of the house including furniture, doors, window panes, etc.

Ø Having one stitching machine – repairing of clothes, dresses, etc.

Ø Door delivery of cut vegetables, vegetables, fruits, fresh fruit juices, medicines. Pressed chapattis for ready to cook.

Ø Giving help in preparing snacks. However many hotels come up, people like to prepare at home provided some help comes.

Ø Have grinder - supply batter for idli, dosa or grind dal, rice when they want.

Actually all these help is available from different sources.

But if we get the needed help under one umbrella, it reduces to constant different people. It will be helpful for the working ladies, old people, alike.

Now a days, so many youth are going to foreign countries. Parents are staying back. If they get the help from one organization, they can lead their life happily, hassle free and also they become intimate with the organization. And also through association, unemployed youth get work and can earn money. Intimacy develops.

But one thing: Association should stand upto the mark in the areas of gentleness, fairness, homeliness, neatness.

Taking care of the school children after their school time till their mothers come back

They can do so many other services, which will follow the main services.


C Maruthi Kumari
C 34/9, Mohan Nagar
SALEM 636 030

Trade unions and philanthropy: Nothing equals eternal satisfaction

From : <ioboa@cppdnotes.iobnet.co.in>

This has reference to your article on 29th January 2007 and 5th Feburary 2007 in Businessline. Many trade unions have been doing philanthropic acts. Indian overseas Bank Officers' Association also believes that as an organised trade union we have to do out bit for the society at large.

Though initially our role remained restrcited to occasional contributions during emergencies/natural calamities in the recent pat we have structured our approach to our duty towards society by suitably amending our bye-laws.

A sum of Rs.10/- per month per member from the member's subscription goes to a separate social fuind. We accumulate Rs.80000/- per meonth approximately and we utilise this fund for social causes.

Some of social projects we have done so far with this fund are:

1) reconstruction of 3 school buildings in cyclone ravaged Orissa (cost Rs.15 lakcs). Our bank supported and enthused us by donationg Rs.2 lakhs for furniture.
2) Construction of a school building for special children at Madurai run by M.S.Chellamuthu Trust and Research Foundation. Our bank nsupported and enthused us by donating van to the Trust.
3) Construction of a school building in fisherfolds hamelt called Kadipatina/Nadipatna in village Padubidri near Udupi (Cost of Rs.10 lakhs). Our bank donated Rs.25,000/- to the school.
4) Installation of 30 Solar lamps in village Kanadukathan, the native place of our bank's Founder M.Ct.Chidambaram Chettiyar (cost of Rs.7 lakhs). Our bank supported and enthused us by contributing to install another 30 solar lamps making the total to 60.
5) Now we are organising free medical camps for Osteoporosis Test and Cancer screening in various centres for our members and public as a port of our 40th year celebrations.
6) Our Kolkatta unit makes yearsly visits to several orphanages on Netaji birthday and distributes old and new cloths with food packets/sweets. This year 100 new mosquitto nets were donated.

A little publicity helps in gaining accptance of the membership for such social activities as public recognition improves their motivation. But nothing equals the eternal satisfaction one gains by doing such social activities.


Development vs displacement: What if....

From : Surendran Valoth

Dear Swati,

I read your story appearing on Business line Monday issues. I cannot agree with many of your views expressed.

For example you talked to one illiterate villager in singur who said he know other job so other than cultivation.? You men to say that for the sake of one farmer you have to abandoned such a massive project. So atas should go to some desert where there are no human inhabitnts . so that there wont be any problems for the govt to acquire land , look after rehabilation of displaced people.!

Luckikly during the time of British raj they built wast railway net work. Otherwise if you have to take up such a massive project, there may be opposition from left, and people like Medha Patker and like you on the following valid points.

1)Railwy line will spoil the serenetay of the thousands of villages, displace many familys living on the land acquired by railways. It will creat envirment pollitution and sound pollutions. ( all for valid reason for Medha Patkar to go on indifinate fast?

2) Left s Concern.: Such a mode of transportation will creat job losses for truck drivers, river transportation workers who ferry goods of course cheaper rate. People engaged in transportion of people by bullock cart, country boat, and other bus transport workers .

Of course valid reasons. Bill will remain in the Parliament house for years for want of approval. People like you will discuss the matter through valuble pages of dailies

Dear swati, can you imagine a India with out a Railway net work now?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Are there ways to tap the skills of the educated unemployed?

Last Sunday, I ventured out for a stroll late in the evening in the hope that the fresh air would help me get a good night's sleep. The roads were deserted already, as if daunted by the prospect of one more exacting Monday, only hours ahead. However, there was some activity in one of the by-lanes, where a group of youngsters was standing around a carom-board. I moved closer to watch the game.

The boys were familiar faces in the neighbourhood, with no gainful employment, despite education. One could always find them in tea-shops and libraries, on bikes and in street corners.

At the carrom game, though, the concentration they displayed and the precision they achieved in their strikes were amazing. There should be a way to tap the skills of the unemployed youth, I felt, while retracing my steps. Send in your thoughts by Friday.

Are there ways to tap the skills of the educated unemployed?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Now writing...

The carrom board saw a lot of action... as I saw it....