Saturday, 30 January 2010

Indian IP filings

I have just been reading through the World Intellectual Property Organization's "World Intellectual Property Indiactors 2009".

What strikes one is:
(i) how rarely the word "India" appears,
(ii) how poorly India appears to do (even after including NRI filings), and
(iii) how late is the information that is supplied by the Indian Patent Office (most of the information is from 2006, some from 2007).

If India wants to do well from a financial point of view in the future, we need to:
(a) wake up the Indian Patent Office, and
(b) encourage our companies and citizens to register the IP which undoubtedly exists, and is being increasingly created, in the country.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Recent survey results on corruption within India

Apparently the results of a survey on the subject have just been released by MDRA, a market research agency. The report from the Press Trust of India is at:

However, I cannot see it on the MDRA site:

As the sample size is smaller than 1000, in a country like India the survey results could be technically considered indicative rather than substantial.

However, the new thing that the report reveals is that there is greater toleration of corruption at the top levels in society than there is at the bottom levels of society.

This is presumably because the top levels benefit the most from corruption, while the bottom levels suffer the most from corruption.

In any case, the finding must surely not only be a sign of hope but, for those who are interested in doing something about, it must also suggest a strategy for action.

"An average 86 per cent of respondents believe that corruption is a common phenomenon in corporate India. The acceptance towards corruption increases from lower management (83.4 per cent) to middle management (88.1 per cent) to senior management (90.2 per cent)," the survey by market research and consulting firm Marketing and Development Research Associates (MDRA) said.

The study by MDRA was conducted among 742 employees across the sectors in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad.

The employees surveyed ranked monetary transaction as the most prevalent form of corruption while nepotism comes at bottom. Monetary transaction at 39.2 per cent is followed by exploitation at 17.1 per cent.

Besides, breach of trust and fraud are the other form of corruptions widely seen in the corporate world. When it comes to activity-wise corruption, 36 percent respondents said most frequent corruption is observed in recruitment process followed by promotion/performance appraisal (24 percent).

Further, 22 percent of the surveyed employees said that it occurs most in procurement and 17 percent of them consider it is visible in project implementation, the survey said"

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Pakistan or China?

While the immediate danger is from Pak-based suicide bombers and other attackers, they do not pose a significant national threat (even though, as in Mumbai, the cost is huge to the individuals concerned). We should therefore regard the challenge coming from Pakistan-based individual and small-group attackers as a pimple, or series of pimples.

China is a totally different matter. While it is best for China and India to be friends (something for which I wish many more of us worked), I fear that national compulsions facing China may make it look around for who it can attack - preferably successfully - in order to divert attention from internal problems. As far as I can see, it has only two options that fit the criteria, the Spratly Islands and India. That does not mean that it won't attack Russia or Taiwan (the other two options), but that these are more unlikely targets at present - better equipped to resist, and likely to lead to much greater political complications. The last factor mentioned (complications) also makes the Spratly Islands (which are claimed by several nations - eight, if I recollect aright) less attractive than India.

If, as stated in an interview with The Hindustan Times yesterday by Lieutenant General BS Jaswal (General Officer Commanding, Northern Command), "The Indian Army lags far behind China in military infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control", then it is of the highest importance and urgency to spend the necessary money to upgrade the infrastructure. "China has built all-weather metalled roads leading right up to its border posts facing Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and Demchok and Fukche in Ladakh....Indian troops, on the other hand, often have to march miles to the front. Roads, where they exist, are dotted with potholes, with long stretches of boulders and slush, leading to accidents that slow down movement. Better connectivity allows the Chinese to cover 400 km a day. The Indian army finds it difficult to cover more than 200 km a day in the forward areas". An army is hugely disadvantaged if it is not as mobile as its opponent.

So what about air power? One to five, apparently: India has "three airfields at Daulat Beg Oldi, Fukche and Nyoma, about 220-250 km east of Leh. But only AN 32 transport planes can land there, so they have no operational value in terms of countering an attack. The only airfield near the China border from where India can deploy warplanes is at Tezpur in Assam, where it has stationed its frontline Sukhoi 30 planes. Chinese military aircraft, however, can reach Shimla, Chandigarh and Leh within five minutes and New Delhi within 20 minutes of taking off from their forward base in Gar Gunsa, across the border, from Demchok in Tibet. It has five such airfields in Tibet where it has stationed warplanes".

So China has at present overwhelming superiority in surface mobility as well as in air power. Chinese soldiers are also better trained and equipped, as far as I can make out. The only disadvantage faced by the Chinese in an attack on India would be if they went beyond the areas they claim, where Chinese soldiers may not feel any sense of conviction in battle. The only advantage possessed by India is that its soldiers would fight for the motherland with full conviction, even in relation to the areas claimed by the Chinese. Conviction is important, but it is the responsibility of the government to provide the best possible training, equipment and facilities so that our soldiers have more than mere rhetoric and sentiment on their side.

Chinese and Indian defence forces may be both riddled with corruption, but what gets through to the bottom level is clearly far more in the case of China than in our case.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

India's legal system is now unreliable at state level

It has always been the case that our legal system has been more reliable at national level than at local or regional level.

However, there are now contradictory trends, with the national system weakening in some areas, while the local system seems to be strong enough to challenge national weakness in certain areas.

However, we still have incidents of total flouting of the law at local or regional level.

For example: Manoj Pradhan, a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Orissa, from the Bharatiya Janata Party (the political wing of the neo-fascistic Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), has been accused in several cases in relation to the attempted genocide in Kandhamal District.

Reliable reports say that the accused threatened one of the witnesses inside the Court, and even threatened the police right inside the court.

As far as I know, the Court has refused to take cognizance of his threatening behaviour - which should surely be enough on its own to land him behind bars.

We have descended to a sorry condition if MLAs display such barbaric behaviour in the first place; and even more if Courts are now so powerless, corrupt or ineffective.