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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Year of Failures

Citizen Gautam Naik takes a review at year gone past 2012

If 2011 was year of revolutions, 2012 can definitely be branded as the year of failures. Failures on the part of those at helm who could have really made impact if they wanted to and who for some reasons failed in connecting with masses, had wrong priorities and thus resulted in problems for masses. Be it world, India, Maharashtra, Pune or be in Indian cricket team, or be it new social activists

Let’s start with the world stage, the main concern everybody had was euro zone crisis and impending world economic crisis. It pitted Germany (and other northern countries) against rest of Euro zone. Had there been decisive tackling, crisis could have been managed better but still we carry over crisis to 2012. Entire Middle East was positive about spring revolution in 11. But agenda shifted from freedom to religion and as usual things lined up resulting in violence be it Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain.  Iraq and Afgan problem continue to perplex US. Iran-Israel posturing amidst recognition of Palestine by UN continues to be serious threats.  Countries in rest of Americas (central and south) struggled to fight against crime. Africa continues to struggle on human development, violence etc.  China’s posturing with south sea countries, Taiwan, Hongkong, Japan shows intents Chinese have over the region and it wants to take up vacuum created by Russia which itself is bothered by protests. New Chinese leadership is yet to have its say which we will sure in 2013. India has to be cautious about that especially of growing influence of china in SAARC region, continued support to Pak, its own border agenda and Tibet issue. There is a school which believes that China also has a stake in NE and other naxal infested regions. Failure of Pakistan as nation will have unforeseen impact on India. Pakistan’s state and non state actors continue to abet terrorism and foment trouble for India. India definitely needs strong resolve in 2013. Main threat though is climate changes which resulted in sandy like storms all over, earthquakes , tsunamis , floods, melting of polar ice, and famine in our very own country. Though world did not end as said in 2012 but something needs to be done and we failed for another year.

India’s scene is the same. Its rulers failed to connect with aam aadmi. Reforms were pushed after Pranabda was given VRS at Rashtrapati Bhavan and PC took back his favourite job of managing economy to suit his/his party’s line of activities and interest. Some wasteful activities like MNERGA, subsidies, UIDs were tried to be improved upon again with failure.  The lpg and diesel pricing was big political issue. Mamta, Mulayam and Mayawati continued to push their own agenda. Mamata went away but other two Ms bailed out govt whenever needed due to some backroom gimmicks (CBI- other deals). Coalgate added to already swelling list of scams. FDI in retail issue was managed curiously by government. Naxals rule roost in their areas of dominance. Terror modules still exist all around though they seem underground with some key men arrested or outside India. Government failed to prevent crimes against women. India is no more a safe place for ladies.  Opposition failed to provide an alternative with an exception of Narendra Modi who can now take new roles in future. Government could not control Inflation, failed to achieve growth (They blame world economy though). New common man movements also failed to gather momentum after a great 2011. The series of exposes of Kejariwal added nothing new to known issues. Actually this was all public domain knowledge but not used by established media to take the corrupt to task. That’s where media failed. Government tried to regulate social media and failed.  Team Anna movement failed because of internal dynamics though AAP was launched. Hope it makes impact in 2013 and not help government by dividing opposition. This year government failed to control riots in Assam or UP or Mumbai. Riots were things of past but thanks to sinister agenda of the government, danger lies ahead. Again nature proved spoilsport with floods and famines. River linking project failed to see any action.

 In Maharashtra, main news of the year was of the sad demise of Balasaheb who was influential in last 50 years of state politics. Now it is to be seen if both Thakareys can bank upon the goodwill and work towards defeating the inefficient DF govt in 14. This govt failed to control riots in Mumbai and few other towns. It failed to control terror in Marathwada where MIM had inroads in elections. Mumbai elections proved that shivsena will not end as predicted by CM. The drought situation worsened with politics played over water. The irrigation scam which maligned Ajitdada did not hamper his return into ministry from which he strangely had resigned. Future of NCP also is curious matter. BJP was also maligned through Gadkari in same scandal but thankfully Munde was given prominence to avoid a setback. RPI joining Yuti was landmark.  The battle for memorials still goes on.

 For Pune city, things went worse on law and order front when juvenile crime took centre stage when young children were kidnapped and killed. Crime against women increased. Thefts, chain snatching and murder of elderly highlighted fact that Pune is no more Pune of old which we all cherished. Politically NCP won PMC and Kalmadi took backseat while Dada showing who is boss. Same rulers also took away Pune’s water to feed cash crops and rich farmers for ZP election. City had a monsoon scare but finally dams were full but water cuts continue. Politics is again at centerstage when new DP or BDP or Metro is discussed. Pune has to yet wait for world class infrastructure thanks to godfathers of Pune city. PMPML suffered irrespective of stunts like Bus day.  Expressway mishaps created own record and has become a death trap as one remembers death of marriage party in May and death of Marathi actors recently. Pune also saw IPL happening as well as international cricket back at Gahunje. And we had a bizarre tragedy where a psycho driver ran amuck with a bus and killed innocents on 25th Jan.

 In sports lets start with cricket. An year of not only failure but disaster. Lost test series to Australia 0-4.  We missed on to reach finals of tri-series and Asia cup, or reaching knockouts of ICCT20 despite virat kohli heroics thanks to some stupid and inconsistent performances earlier. Two greats of Indian cricket:  the wall and VVS retired without a farewell they deserved. Sachin also deserved one for his service in ODIs. Most fans would though agree that he failed to time is retirement as he would a cricket ball. But watching ODI cricket will never be same in 2013 and we all will miss him. Let’s hope he has good time in Test and time his total exit properly.  The ultimate disaster was defeat tp England on home soil. Things cannot go worse than this and let’s hope young guns like Rahanes, Pujaras and kohlis take up the world stage. Bowling though is bigger problem. On world cricket SAFs took up No1 spot as they have good batting and bowling. Aussies have found some good talent after slump. Our win at U19 WC is also promise that road ahead can only go up.

 The Indian sports suffered thanks to some dirty politics and corruption resulting in disqualification at IOA level. We also had dope test failures and failure at olympics to win gold and our hockey team was last.  Thankfully we won 6 medals which was a record at Olympics. London did manage to put good show to host in addition to their performances. US piped china to have largest medal tally. Usain Bolt and Phelps showed who the boss is.

On soccer being a non follower of club level and champions trophy etc football only heard that Messi rules there. On international scene Spain continued its bull run started since euro 2008 and made hat trick. That’s the only case where club level excellence transmitted into National success which is surely a case study for BCCI while defining IPL future which seems on shaky ground. On tennis we had Federer back to winning ways though one may attribute that to Nadal injury. But still he managed to overcome Djoker and Murray. Murray was someone UK was looking forward to and had their own player at Wimbledon finals after decades. On rest sports side India gain had F1. India failed in Davis cup. Saina had some hiccups. Chess had a new GM for India and Anand failed to reach past levels.

 This year we had various new kind of films find success at box office like Kahaani, Wassepurs, Shanghai, English-Vinglish, OMG etc. Big banners failed with like JTHJ, SOS,ETT, Dabbang 2 (though might be great commercial successes for sallubhai) a disaster. Rohit Shetty held his fort so did Aamir with Talaash. We had sad exits of Darasingh, Rajesh Khanna and Jaspal Bhatti. In Marathi films there was quantity but quality was rare. Of course Marathi industry experiments and has talent. We Marathi people should give it more support. Old Marathi plays were revived and a listers attempted theatre. Experimental theatre also got support.  On Marathi literature we finally had new talent coming in name of Dharmakriti Sumant getting acknowledged with national award. We also lost Grace.

Music industry also lost stalwarts like Ravishankar, Mehendi Hassan. Film music also lost quality or its assumed place maybe to focus on storytelling as in Hollywood.  Pune saw great events like Sawai Bhimsen fest and many more but somehow event management has taken centre stage.  It’s more of being in vogue attending those than love for quality music.

Media again failed to connect with people while raking up issues selectively and lost its credibility. Print media struggled with feasibility amidst onslaught of online and mobile device based driven delivery models. This new media itself struggles due to lack of revenue models. Social media also lost its sheen due to over exposure and as well as censorship. But gain media lost due to skew commercial models which makes it vulnerable to business and politics. Of course one has to understand that if governments can be changed by internet opinions congress would have never been in power at least after advent of internet. But in India politics works on vote banks and cash for votes....

On business side country suffered policy paralysis for most of the years. Rupee fall and inflation added to woes. Foreign investors did not buy India story. But then UPA2 finally had its say in reforms to sooth markets especially after subsidy cuts, Retail FDI investment etc. But challenges still remain same due to euro zone and global issues as well as those induced by weak government. Airline industry struggled with AI and KF defaulting. Telecom companies had to increase price due to licensing policies.  One more driver this year was re-emergence of ecommerce as we saw people really using it in India. This is more threat to kirana shops next doors than FDI. On business houses Tatas will have change of guard. Ambanis have problems at homes and Laxmi Mittal abroad.

 On Technology scene where i am involved things were interesting. Samsung provided apple a great fight on tablet market. Facebook struggled in its IPO due to skew revenue model and its acquisition of Instagram was a surprise. User experience and privacy issues also made it difficult for facebook. Google had its nexus going successfully but Android still has some model driven and standards issue. Microsoft with the huge releases of its Windows 8 PC operating system, a new mobile phone operating system, and the new Surface tablet — but all hit the market without much fanfare. Windows 8 was panned as a confusing, unfocused user experience that left many users with a frustrating first impression. Windows Phone was better received, particularly for its fresh, new approach to displaying apps, photos and social media content on its home screen. But it hasn't connected with the mass market yet. And despite a large marketing campaign, the first version of Microsoft's Surface tablet managed to attract some early attention but failed to be seen as a real iPad rival. And "above" all other developments in the tech world was the growing presence of computing in the "cloud." Cloud services were everywhere and available from almost every tech company, allowing users to access their programs, data, files, photos, music -- essentially their entire digital lives -- from any device, anywhere, at any time. World moved from PC  and servers to devices and clouds.

In India we had a great advantage offered by USD exchange rate but all was lost due to reduced client spending in world scenario. Tier 2 companies struggled more than Top 10. But even in top 10, Infosys and Wipro struggled. We had more cvs fro Infosys floating in market. HCL, TCS and Cognizant did better whose business is more robust and models more customer centric. Does that sound for consolidation in 13? Tier 2 and 3 cities are real grounds for talent acquisition. And Indian domestic IT including rural market are new game changers. We saw more entrepreneurs doing good with adoption of mobile, device, cloud, FMS deliverables.  Talent creation hit saturation with education system faltering and autonomy of IITs/IIMs were challenged. IITs were never a number game but thanks to government there is a threat.

Finally on social side we failed as well. We failed to offer inclusive growth. We failed to adopt social engineering and equality. Castes still continue to plague us. Female infanticide, environmental damage, domestic violence, honour killings, water pollution and scarcity are main challenges as pointed by Aamir Khan in satyamev jayate this year. Lets work toward better corruption free India in 2013. Wish you a very Happy new year 2013

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