National Career Service Portal

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On 20 July 2015 , our PM , Shri Narendra Modi-ji launched a career portal ,

http://www.ncs.gov.in

NCS claims to bring together on a single platform , Career Centers ( re-named Employment Exchanges  ? ) /  Jobseekers  /  Employers  /  Career Counselors  /  Skill Providers  /  Local Service Providers  etc

Whereas this is a great initiative , it seems the web site has got launched despite any number of glitches , such as :

>   ” Site Map ” missing

>    Links not clicking

>    Pages not loading

>    Databases missing

>    Content confusing

>    Naming misleading… etc

As if this is not enough , most of the Registration Forms , carried unnecessary and irrelevant data-fields , such as :

>  Aadhaar Number for Employers / Placement Organizations  ?

>  Employer Company Executive to provide personal Aadhaar Number  ?

>  Employer Company Executive to provide Gender / DOB / Father’s Name ?

A Local Service Provider does not need to select ( from a drop-list ) , what kind of service does he provide. But he must mention his “Affiliation”  ?

A Jobseeker does not need to provide :

>  Edu. Qualifications / Institute attended / Exams passed – and when

>  Previous Employment History ( for experienced job-seekers )

>  Years worked / salary drawn / designation held , in each previous job

I suspect , there is some another form hidden somewhere , which , a job-seeker will be asked to fill in later , just when he is ready to click ” Apply ” against a job searched after several hours !

But , these are minor defects that can be rectified soon – and without much difficulty

But here is the worst part !

Apparently the web site does NOT want  job-seekers  and employers to get motivated enough to register  !

Here is how :

#  EXPERIENCING  THE  FEATURES

Job portals all over the World , enable any casual jobseeker to be able to search the online database of posted / live jobs , even if he is not registered

But he cannot ” Apply Online ” , unless he is registered and logged in

It is no different than a shop-keeper allowing you to roam free thru the entire shop , without asking to see your Credit Card !

He knows that a customer gets motivated to ” Buy ” , only if he gets to see the goods on sale !

Ditto with a casual Employer Visitor

Job portals allow anyone to search and look at resumes

But he can download only if he is registered / logged in

Usually , job portals ” hide ” contact details on the resumes , when viewed online but downloaded resumes carry full contact details

This is because , job-portals , make their money from Subscriptions from Employers ( usually 95 % of the incomes of Indian Job Portals )

They cannot afford any casual visitor to reach out to the job-seekers , bypassing them !  They make their money , by acting as ” Gate-keepers ” between the job-seekers and the employers

I am sure , this ( making money by acting as an intermediary ) , cannot be the intention of National Career Service – since , rightly , it is FREE for employers as well !

I believe NCS intention is to ensure that no vacancy remains un-fulfilled for more than a few hours  !

#   JOB /  RESUME  ALERTS  ON  MOBILE

On the web site , I could not find any provision ( downloadable Mobile App ) thru which ,

>   A jobseeker can ” pull ” job alerts ” matching his resume and can apply online , directly , from his mobile

>   An Employer can pull ” resume alerts ” matching his posted job and download those resumes with just one click on his mobile

We must remember that millions of jobseekers in remote corners of India have no access to a PC

But , soon , all of them will have internet-enabled smart phones  !

#    JOB   FAIRS

On the site , there is a provision to search for info on ground-based Job Fairs taking place in different parts of India

But , for a job-seeker located in Coimbatore , there is no use getting info about a job fair taking place in Kolkata  !

Same with an Employer

Why have portal designers shied away from a ” Virtual Job Fair ” , where both , the job-seekers and the employers can conduct Online Interviews , using Video ?

Not difficult , considering that all mobile phones / tablets carry a camera and Skype / Face Chat are free !

Technically , it is a simple task to create a million Interview Cabins online , which any registered Employer can ” book ” for a specific date / time / period and conduct  online interviews

A million online interviews can take place simultaneously , with no constraints of either time / space / distance !

That would encourage even employers located anywhere in the World to conduct interviews of Indian jobseekers

If , India wants to train 40/50 million youth who will constitute ” Export Surplus ” , as per Shri Modi-ji , then this feature is a must

#   COMMON   SHARED   DATABASE

Today , in India , there are hundreds of job-portals , each having its own database of Jobs and Resumes And , barring a few big ones , most of these offer FREE service to both , the jobseekers and the employers Many have only ” local clientele ” ( both job-seekers and employers ) But a jobseeker who is registered on portal A , can search only those jobs which are posted on that portal Same with employers searching for resumes

Neither resumes , nor jobs posted on portal B can be accessed by visitors of portal A  !

Like a MTNL subscriber not being able to dial anyone other than another MTNL subscriber  !

This severely limits their usefulness

NCS should enable ALL such job portals to ,

>  Deliver their jobs and resumes , into the CENTRAL DATABASE  of NCS

>  Deliver / display  all of these to any visitor of any participating partner portal

Within a short period , this feature would generate a database of millions of jobs and hundreds of millions of resumes , accessible from a thousand partner job portals Just imagine the exponential increase of usefulness thru ” Network Externality ”

#    MOBILE  APP – ” JOB-POST ”

Today , NCS web site boasts of only 1684 registered employers  !

India’s 3 major job portals show some 50,000 + registered employers

Then there are approx 50 million MSME , who have never advertised their vacancies on any job portals  !

May be because they don’t have PCs / broadband connections

Let NCS web site enable them to post their jobs , using a simple Mobile App , ” Job-Post ”

There is no reason why their 12 million vacancies every year , should remain ” Un-Announced ”  !

Then there are many other features that can bridge the DIGITAL DIVIDE between the jobseekers and the employers

If desired , I would be happy to share my thoughts / notes / codes etc with NCS or Ministry of Labour and Employment

hemen  parekh

22  July  2015

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Innovation , a distant dream ?

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Writing in today’s ( July 19 , 2015 ) Business Standard , Arindam Majumder provides following interesting facts about patents :

>    No of patents filed last year

*  Whole World………………… 214,500

*  USA…………………………..    61,492

*  Japan…………………………    42,459

*  China………………………….   25,539

*  India………………………….      1,349

>    Only one Indian entity features on the list of the top 10 recipients of Indian       patents

>   Collectively , the IITs filed  342  patents

That article also quotes Mr Narayan Murthy , expressing his anguish at the lack of innovations coming out of our IITs and Research Labs

True , but while lamenting this poor state of affairs , we should also examine what causes this poor state

Here are my guesses :

>   PATENT – FILING  TIME

Whereas , it takes months to get a patent approved in Developing Countries , it takes years in India ( see my old blog below )

>   PATENT-  FILING  COST

In India , it costs lakhs of rupees ( fees of Patent Attorney ) . Abroad , it takes lakhs of dollars

>   PATENT  PROTECTION  COST

It costs a fortune ( whether in India or Abroad ) , to protect your patent in a court of law . Often , more than the monetary benefit derived from it  !

And with never-ending appeals , it takes years to settle the matter

For Indian Innovators , fighting a patent litigation in Foreign Courts , is an impossible task

>   PATENT  REGIME

India’s Patent Laws are considered ” weak ” , especially , in case  of Pharma / Chemical patents , in respect of ” Product Patent ”  vs  ” Process Patent ”

There is also a provision whereby , Government of India can force a Foreign Patent holder to ” license ” it compulsorily , to an Indian applicant who wants to exploit that patent ( of course , on reasonable licensing fees  ! )

>  PATENT  BENEFITS

Abroad , when a scientist working in a Educational Institute or a Research Lab , invents something for which ,even if a patent gets applied for in the name of that Institute , he too gets a percentage of future royalties , when that patent gets licensed for commercial exploitation

I don’t think , Indian Inventors , benefit in this way . That takes away the incentive

>   PATENT  PRESTIGE

If the inventing scientist’s name does not figure on the patent and gets replaced by the name of his boss , innovations will remain buried !

{   Old blog dated : 26 Feb , 2012   }

Want a Patent ? Be patient !

Newspaper Pravasi ( 26 Feb 2012 ) gives following interesting – but far more distressing – info about working of India’s Patent Office in Mumbai :

  • No of patent applications pending ………………………………… 100,000
  • Which will take to clear ………………………………………………….. 3 years
  • No of requests being examined / year ………………………….. 12,000
  • Additional Patent Examiners being trained …………………….. 250
  • Which will help clear no of applications / year ………………… 40,000
  • New requests being received / year ………………………………… 25,000 +
  • Annual growth-rate of requests ……………………………………… .. 20 %

I would not be surprised if Indian scientists working in foreign labs are filing more patent applications abroad than the Indian scientists working in Indian labs !

Innovation will get a huge boost if Patents can be granted – or even rejected – in 6 months !

hemen  parekh

19  July ,  2015

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Make in India is Skill-ing India

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A couple of days back , PM Shri Narendra Modiji launched this scheme

Some 20 odd Central Government Ministries / Departments are engaged in this effort

Many State Governments are joining forces to impart Skills Training to millions of Indian Youth

As to the number of youth planned to be trained ,following figures are reported :

>    400 million by 2022

>    Creation of a pool of 500 million skilled youth by 2022

>    Exportable surplus of 40/50 million skilled youths

Major burden for this Herculean effort will be borne by some 11,500 ITIs ( Industrial Training Institutes ) , with a combined intake capacity of 1.6 million students per year ( most have 2 / 3 year courses )

An intake of barely 140 students per ITI per year !

But Skill India program is talking of imparting skills to some 60 million youth every year , for the next 7 years  !

That would require some 4,40,000 ITIs , altogether  !

Now , assuming that setting up a full-fledged ITI , would require an investment of Rs 1 Crore , we are talking of a fund of Rs 4.4 lakh*crores  !

Governments ( Central + States ) don’t have that kind of money

Nor will banks lend that kind of money to anyone to set up an ITI , without assurance of adequate returns ! Banks are already bleeding with NPAs amounting to Rs 4 lakh*crores and begging the Central Government for re-capitalization  !

There are two sources from where this kind of money can come from

These are :

>   100 % FDI in ITIs

>   Black Money Channelizing in ITIs

To encourage Black Money to flow into this most productive and beneficial use , we must come out with an Amnesty Scheme for such investments thru SPVs.

And , whether the investment came through 100 % FDI or thru Amnesty Scheme , the income from operating an ITI , should be made tax-free for 20 years

Nothing short of an ” Out of Box ” thinking will help  !

If this suggestion is implemented , I see following consequences :

>    FDI INFLOW IN SERVICE SECTOR

There will be a huge inflow of FDI from Foreign Investors , who , today       earn 2 % from their bank deposits . Their investment in an Indian ITI , can earn them , may be , 10 %  – and tax-free !

>    UPGRADING OF TECHNOLOGY

Instead of finding ( in our present ITIs ) , a 20 year old lathe , we will see most modern machines / technologies in these new ITIs This will tremendously raise the Skill Level of graduating students – the kind of skills which will enable students to find jobs abroad.

>    JOB  CREATION

We should , simultaneously amend the Apprentice Act – 1951 Under the amended Act , every factory will be required to take fresh Apprentices in the ratio of 1 : 3 ( one trainee for three permanent employees , in each trade ) , instead of current prescribed ratio of 1:7.  This will create a huge demand for ITI trained students

>    COST  REDUCTION

Since ITI trained apprentices are paid a stipend ( generally 20 % of the       wages paid to regular / permanent / skilled workers ) ,  this will sharply       reduce the manpower costs of manufacturing units

This will lead to India becoming a ” Low Cost Economy ” and increase the     competitiveness of our products , in the international markets , thereby     boosting our exports ( currently , a meager 1.7 % of World Trade ! )

This is the major reason why Foxcon ( Taiwan ) wants to put up 10      factories in India , at an investment of $ 20 billion

>   ADVANTAGE ,  MSME

Under amended Apprentice Act , permit MSME to retain ITI trained skilled     workers , on a stipend-basis , for 4 years ( instead of current 2 years ) This lowering of wages will make MSME very competitive in their cost. In turn , this will encourage large organized factories to outsource /sub-contract more components to MSME , instead of manufacturing  in-house

This will result in a robust ” Supply Chain Eco-System ”

It is such an Eco-System in China , which compels Apple to have 331     Component-Suppliers in China as against ONE supplier from India !

>   PRODUCT  QUALITY

Product quality depends upon quality of skilled manpower coming out of      ITIs When lakhs of ITIs are competing with one another for attracting     students , each will try to raise the quality of its training When such highly trained students enter work force , quality of  ” Make in India ” products , is bound to rise

>   PERCENTAGE  OF  SKILLED  WORKERS

Of the total work force , percentage of skilled workers in India today , is     meager 3.5 % , as against 96 % in South Korea  !

If my suggestion gets implemented , we should be able to raise this figure to at least 50 % in next 10 years !

>   DEMAND   FOR   TEACHERS

There will be a huge surge in demand for Highly Skilled persons to act as     teachers / trainers  in 4.4 lakh ITIs

>   SELF  EMPLOYMENT

MUDRA bank will provide loans to ITI trained skilled workers to set up    themselves as local area Carpenters / Electricians / Plumbers / Welders /    Masons / Repairers etc

Thousands of ITI trained workers will tend to become Self Employed

You will be justified in asking :

”  How do we know that your suggestion will transform  India’s Unskilled Youth into a Demographic Dividend  ? ”

All I can say is :

”  Luck happens when preparedness meets opportunity . If we prepare ourselves , opportunity will arrive , sooner than later ”

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hemen  parekh

18  July  2015

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

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In 1937 , Walt Disney produced ( in 2D / Black & White ) , a film ,

“  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  “

Around the World , this fairy tale became immensely popular , among children and adults , alike

Closer at home , in 2014 , Narendra Modi crafted a colorful and 3D holographic film, titled ,

“ Sonia and the Thirty-Nine Dwarfs “

[ – also known as Congress Working Committee  ]

This became hugely popular in villages and towns of India

And parents started teaching their tiny tots , a brand new nursery rhyme ,

“ Madam – Baba sat on a throne

Madam – Baba had a great fall

All the Congress yes-men

And all the UPA dwarfs

Could not put Madam and Baba

Together again  “

But surprise of surprise  !

For the Nth time , the yes-men were singing , in unison ,

“ No !

No , we won’t accept your resignations “

Among those 39 dwarfs , sat a midget , who had earlier called Narendra Modi , “ Impotent “

Little realizing that he would himself , be playing that role when election dust settles !

Never before in the history of India , have so few inflicted so much misery on so many – and for so long !

It is high time the dwarfs fade away from our collective memory  !

*   hemen  Parekh  ( 21 May 2014 / Mumbai )

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All Seasons Are Election Seasons

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There were 152 MPs in the 15th Lok Sabha , who had criminal cases pending against them

In 16th Lok Sabha , this figure has gone up to 186  !

A case of ” Progressive  Democracy ”  ?

Supreme Court has directed the courts to complete their trials within 12 months

And , Narendra Modi has made a poll-promise to set up Special Courts for this purpose

Q :  How many special courts will need to be set up ?

A :  At least 15 ( my estimate ) – assuming that each court can dispose off ONE

case per month ie: 12 cases per year ( on daily hearing basis )

That is Do-Able, if BJP is really serious about breaking the nexus between politics and crime ( we will know soon ! )

May be 50 % of the MPs ( around 90 ) will get convicted , with a jail-term of 5 years or more , and lose their seats in the Lok Sabha.

That means , in 2016 – 2017 , Election Commission will need to conduct fresh elections in these 90 constituencies ! A mini General Election  ?

Karl Marx may have said , ” Religion is the opium of the Masses ”

In India , it seems , ” Elections are the opium of the Masses ” !

*  hemen  parekh  ( 23 May 2014 / Mumbai )

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Defining E – Commerce

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A report in Hindustan Times ( 15 July 2015 )  talks about a series of

meetings expected to be held today between Commerce Minister and

different stake-holders , to define ” e-Commerce ”

I am reminded of the story of the 7 blind men , each trying to describe an

elephant by touching different limbs of the animal

It was obvious they could not arrive at a commonly agreed upon description,

since their perceptions differed

Before trying to define ” e-Commerce ” , we must first define ” Commerce ”

In pre-historic times , persons produced whatever they needed to survive

Then they learned to ” barter ” things produced by each other

The only concepts were , ” need ” and ” surplus ”

That lead to introduction of a concept called ” Value ” , which manifested itself in the form of a stick , a weapon , a goat or a piece of animal skin , till it became , some sort of coin

When barter gave way to an exchange of some goods ( or service ) , for its perceived ” Value ” ( as measured in coins ) , it became ” Commerce ”

So , we can conclude that :

” E – Commerce ” is nothing more than ” Commerce ” , where such exchange of values , take place electronically , as opposed to physically . It still remains Commerce , even when perceptions differ

Hence , regulations / controls / taxation etc that govern E-Commerce should , essentially remain the same as in case of Commerce

Ditto for FDI in e-Commerce

Mere elimination of an intermediary ( Distributor / Wholesaler / Dealer / Agent / Stockist etc ) , from the ” Supply Chain ” , itself cannot be the determining criteria

A few years back , when General Motors , tried to sell its cars to end-customers , directly from its own web site , thousands of its Brick-and-Mortar dealers protested and even threatened General Motors

GM had to back-out against the vested interests  !

But when Michael Dell started manufacturing computers in his garage , he took orders on his telephone and later , on his own web site.

He never appointed any dealers . This model became a roaring success and heralded the beginning of E-Commerce era ( read , ” Direct from Dell ” )

Under present guidelines , I suppose , India would allow Dell to set up a wholly-owned , local manufacturing facility , with 100 % FDI

Now , if Dell starts selling those India-made computers , directly to end-consumers ,  from its own web site , would not that be E-Commerce  ?

An e-Commerce with 100 % FDI ?

And what about 100 % FDI by FoxConn ( Taiwan ) , wanting to set up 10 factories in India , to manufacture electronics goods , not only for Foreign giants like Apple / Samsung etc but also for local brands such as Micromax ?

Shall we insist that FoxConn cannot deliver such goods directly to Indian consumers , based on orders received on , not only web sites of Amazon / e-Bay but also on local web sites of Flipkart / SnapDeal etc  ?

It is unfortunate that we , in India , always look-up to the discoveries / inventions taking place in the West ( – and in Japan / South Korea etc )

Had we encouraged Prof Jhunjhunwala ( IIT – Madras ) , we could be today , delivering internet thru common electric outlet in every home , at speeds of 100 mb ! That would have Digitized India , 5 years ago !

When ISRO sent MOM ( Mars Orbiting Mission ) , it did not call it a ” Space Ship ”

As long as the concept of ” Ship ” defines our thought processes , we will continue to ” Sail in a Sea ” – never to traverse the ” Space ”  !

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hemen  parekh

15 July , 2015

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FDI in Retail ?

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These days , a lot of heated debate is going on re FDI in ” Retail ”

There are many camps , viz:

>  Brick-and-Mortar Retail traders

>  E-Com Retail Traders

>  Wholesalers

>  FDI Investors / Overseas Manufacturers

>  Single Brand vs Multi-Brand Formats

>  Payment Gateways

>  Central / State Governments

>  Tax Authorities

>  Bankers ………..etc

As far as I can see , the entire debate is centered around ” Retailing of Physical Goods ”

But how long before ” Retailing of Services ” too , enters the equation  ?

Or does anyone think that to be a far-fetched idea ?

Just wait for 2018 to arrive  !

Some 40 years back , marketing guru Ted Levitt wrote a seminal essay , aptly titled :

”  Marketing  Myopia ”

The central observation Levitt made was :

”  Why do companies fail to ask : Ultimately what business are we in ? ”

Among many example that he gave was the case of American Railroad companies

They believed themselves to be in ” Railroad Business ” – and failed to see that they were , really into the business of ” Transporting People ” !

So , along came the ” Car Companies ” and the ” Air Lines Companies ” which made ” Railroad Companies ” obsolete  !

Now , 40 years later , are ” Car Companies ” and the ” Air Lines Companies ” asking themselves : What business are we in ?

If the correct answer is : We are in the business of enabling people to meet and talk to other people :

then they would shift to Video-Conferencing / Holographic Projection business !

Or , if another answer is :

We are in the business of enabling a person sitting in hot Sahara desert to ” Experience ” the cool climate of Europe thru ” Virtual Reality ” ,

then they should be shifting to manufacture of future versions of Google Glass !

Levitt added :

”  If you don’t make yourself obsolete , then someone else will ”

And more and more , it is happening that , that someone is NOT even anyone from your current competitors !

Have physical goods retailers , considered that soon , retailing itself might become obsolete ?

And if that happens , the question of FDI in retailing too will disappear  !

A unknown guy sitting in a small cubicle in Estonia , will deliver to my grand daughter,  sitting in Mumbai , any physical consumer product , through the 3D printer , sitting on her kitchen platform  !

Or a Start-Up belonging to a bunch of 24+ something IIT guys would  set up :

” 3D Printing Kiosks ” ( like the PCOs of a few years ago ) ,

in 1000 cities / towns of India , to deliver at your doorstep ( obviously using Drones ! ) , any Foreign Brand product , at a moment’s notice  !

And a Central Government committed to Digital India , may even give them Rs 100 crores , by way of Venture Capital  !

For the quarreling parties of FDI , it is time to ask of themselves :

How can we stop being made irrelevant ?

How do we re-invent ourselves ?

How do we stop becoming obsolete  ?

How do we co-operate / collaborate to re-write the ” Rules of the Retail Game ” for the rest of the World  ?

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hemen  parekh
11 July , 2015
hcp@RecruitGuru.com
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