Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dialysis Insurance in India

What are we waiting for when all variables for sustainable successful business model are present and intact?

Few snapshots for India Dialysis

• App 2,000K patients with renal failure. 900K need dialysis
• Adds app.150K ESRD new persons every year. Only app. 20K has an access to treatment. 75% don’t even get a chance because of lack of awareness, lack of care and affordability.
• Out of 20K, 4K gets Renal Transplant while 8K gets HD. Rest perish waiting to tap resources. Even those who get treated ended up in losing all their family wealth, health and peace of mind and even kidney and yet don’t live longer. Doesn’t have insurance nor any social welfare measures.
• The mean age of ESRD patients is between 32 and 42 years, compared to 60 and 63 years in developed countries. They are at productive age for the nation.
• Three times a week dialysis costs app. Rs 10,000.equivalent to the entire family income per month.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Talk on Dubai – A bubble of facts or just babble of disillusion ?

It started with little murmurs, leading towards a topic of discussion , finding its way to medium of bloggers whose expressions were based more out of frustration and exasperation than any meaningful substance of figures. The media largely controlled by Govt. published brave signs when it was neither necessary nor called for. I watched, listened and participated in all this with great curiosity. I started taking active interest when stories started occupying the columns of New York Times and International Herald Tribune.

It was about Dubai Economy with predictions, analysis, theories and speculations. Articles galored . How Dubai's fantasy skyline tumbled to earth , Dubai Bubble burst and Video on You Tube

I knew all along it was coming. However, I did not know when?. Everything seemed unreal yet it shaped in front of the eyes. The rational part of the brain doubted the variables that existed on the economic equation of the Dubai. Yet, it stayed on. In fact it not just stayed on it grew exponentially and it continued to grow until scales of Y-axis has to be squeezed to fit it on the size of the paper.

An Architect friend of mine has his business flourished amidst this construction boom. I asked him ‘How come you didn’t invest in Dubai when your own customers were getting richer by phenomenal appreciation of their property’. His answer was simple: No matter what he wouldn’t invest. ‘If you have spare money you can invest’. I could sense his underlined uncertainty and lack of confidence in Dubai’s real estate investment. I watched the development around with me with mix of trepidation and awe. I had no spare money nor had I courage to go to the bank and raise loan by mortgaging the property. Instead, I stayed at rental comfort confines of apartment seeing my precious savings eaten by increasing rentals.
In FYO2, One bed-room apartment with central air-conditioning, 24 hour security and Gym at 10 minute drive from my office costed me Dh18K p.a..When I left Dubai in FY07, similar apartment would be Dh46K ( albeit with addition of swimming pool ). Y’day article in Gulf News says that property price is heading towards 50% reduction. Dubai / Sharjah at this level of price is the place to enjoy quality of life.

Christopher Hawthorne in Los Angles times wrote an article 'Deconstructing Dubai' while reviewing book The Vulnerability of Success by Christopher Davidson. He analyses aptly that most people worldwide believe that Dubai has a lot of cash from oil and this they use it to stash it abroad by investing abroad. I also would get similar reaction when I mentioned about Dubai. “On no, you have lot of oil !” The fact was Dubai had such a meager oil . Even at its peak in 91, it produced only 420K barrels a day and account for less 5% of Dubai’s GDP . But Dubai had and still has a visionary, a bold Business leader who exploited the weakness of other countries around the region and encouraged investment . He created finest economic engine that drew profits from international trade, luxury tourism, and high technology and high profile real estate investments from India Subcontinent, Middle East, and Africa who arrived with their moneybags to invest in Dubai. Smart, Suave Dubai ruler H.E. Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum with poetic mind and business acumen kept frenetic pace with city infrastructure – expanding free ways, airport terminals, ports , hotels, malls , sky scrappers. The crucible was set in. As Dubai 's success story was advertised all over the globe, investments soured. Dubai went ballistic. World's biggest mall, Tallest Building , Indoor ski resorts, Dubai metro, Man-made islands with multimillion-dollar villas booked by wealthy celebrities . Dubai now was well connected with the world.

Dubai growth was parallel only to Shanghai and China. Emirates direct connection with Shanghai, opening of Dragon Mall enables China to open the market of Middle East through gateways of Dubai. Soon China became biggest trading partner with Dubai. Japan till then enjoyed numero one position with automobiles, consumer goods. Indians despite being dominant consumers kept India at number 4 next to Japan and US.
I was neither ecstatic when Dubai was galloping at frenetic pace nor I am disillusioned with the observations of the above articles and views of Davidson . I find Dubai will now settle down for steady growth. A wiser sense will prevail to chart manageable growth.
Dubai has gone at great lengths to affect the image and the transformation. In mid 80’s it was known as for a busy hub for money laundering, fugitive criminals. Now Dubai has the presence of all the leading companies , their airline is among the best and biggest in the world, law and order system is impeccable. Amidst all Islamic fundamentalism surrounding the region, it displays liberal, tolerant secular face. However, I also tend to agree with Davidson’s concerns ‘Dubai’s greatest risk comes from its own population and its patronage towards her own country’. Dubai is projected to outnumber Abu Dhabi for the first time in 2009. With 80% expatriate population, bulk of locals are teens whose major time is invested drinking coffee, playing video and soccer games. Dubai has to shape its population.
However, I foresee the exit of speculative investors that had swarmed Dubai like El Dorado would bring orderly correction. Manageable rents, great infrastructure, modern lifestyle will make Dubai once again a happy place to live and enjoy a quality of life.
I hope I am correct in my assessment.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jai Ho for Akshta



Jai Ho Jai Ho Jai Ho Jai Ho
Aaja Aaja Jind Shamiyane Ke Tale
Aaja Jariwale Nile Aasman Ke Tale
Jai Ho Jai Ho

Aaja Aaja Jind Shamiyane Ke Tale
Aaja Jariwale Nile Aasman Ke Tale
Jai Ho Jai Ho
Jai Ho Jai Ho

Ratti Ratti Sachi Maine Jaan Gavayi Hai
Nach Nach Koylo Pe Raat Bitayi Hai
Akhiyon Ki Neend Maine Phoonko Se Uda Di
Neele Tare Se Maine Ungli Jalayi Hai
Aaja Aaja Jind Shamiyane Ke Tale
Aaja Jariwale Nile Aasman Ke Tale
Jai Ho Jai Ho


Baila! Baila!
(Dance! Dance!)
Ahora conmigo, tu baila para hoy
(Now with me, you dance for today)
Por nuestro dia de movidas,
(For our day of moves,)
los problemas los que sean
(whatever problems may be)
Salud!
(Cheers!)
Baila! Baila!
(Dance! Dance!)

Jai Ho Jai Ho
Jai Ho Jai Ho
Chakh Le Ho Chakh Le Ye Raat Shahad Hai Chakh Le
Rakh Le Haan Dil Hai Dil Aakhri Had Hai Rakh Le
Kala Kala Kajal Tera Koi Kala Jadoo Hai Na

Kala Kala Kajal Tera Koi Kala Jadoo Hai Na
Aaja Aaja Jind Shamiyane Ke Tale
Aaja Jariwale Nile Aasman Ke Tale, Jai Ho, Jai Ho

Jai Ho Jai Ho
Jai Ho Jai Ho
Kab Se Ha Kab Se Tu Lab Pe Ruki Hai
Keh DeKeh De Ha Keh De Ab Aankh Jhuki Hai.. Keh De
Aisi Aisi Roshan Aankhe Roshan Dono Bhi Hai Hai Kya
Aaja Aaja Jind Shamiyane Ke Tale
Aaja Jariwale Nile Aasman Ke Tale
Jai Ho Jai Ho
Jai Ho Jai Ho

(Thanks Inkspllz for lyrics)

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Three movies in a day

What does one do, when medicines that were supposed to alleviate your physical pain cause further damage? One can either go back to medical specialist and ask him to alter the course of the treatment or one detach from medical intervention and let body find its rhythm naturally. I chose later option when a treatment for fever, throat infection led to persistent cough and collapse of voice box.

Over the weekend, I chose two therapies. First, lot of rest and second, drink plenty of warm water. Restless mind even with rest often turns to laptop. I started with Hindi movie Ghazani on Saturday and finished By Sunday morning. This was followed by later part of Billu Barber and then Maqbool that stretched up to the late night. Domination of character ‘Mian’ was too strong to leave my nightmarish mind disturbed by acute cough attacks emanating from tiniest of bronchi. With natural treatment heading nowhere, I will have no option but to go back to the doctor. These days, various Internet sites belonging famous medical colleges in UK/USA let one surmise the cause of symptom. My symptoms can lead to Acute Bronchitis, Chronic Sinusitis and Throat Cancer. Let us see what doc says!

In Ghazani, I learnt about this character artist – Pradeep Rawat- from Garhwal who made a bastion in southern film industry. Was he the apt choice for Ghazani? I felt he was portrayed a bit crude for a pharmaceutical businessman but his expressions do demonstrate his potency for his devilish intentions. Irfan Khan is galloping his career much the same pace as Nasser and Om Puri did in their heady days. I wonder why Atul Kulkarni is missing getting such roles.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Road to Khalistan

Road to Khalistan is a blog not for people with weak heart and guts. It also has links to various other blogs from Sikh community across the world. All of them still carry fresh wounds from inhuman, brutal assault meted out to them and their loved ones on the evening of November 30th. Their only crime was they were Sikh by appearance and they happened to be in the vicinity of barbaric people.

I learnt about the assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi at noon in BHEL colony at Bhopal. I was at the home of one prospective doctor customer , watching India Pakistan one day cricket match. I had almost finished my work in Bhopal and was to go back to Indore to carry on with my business trip. Everything seems fine at Bhopal Bus depot but not so when bus arrived at Indore bus terminus. Black billowing clouds were ballooning the city from the burning of Tyres . From the balcony of my hotel adjoining the railway lines, I could see crowds of people dragging their loot from the shops to their home. They were carrying furniture, shoes, toys and everything their hands could clutch. I struck a conversation with another fellow salesman who was also from Mumbai. We decided to go back to Mumbai the very same day. There was a passenger train that takes us to Ratlam by midnight well ahead of Frontier mail that would come from New Delhi.

Ratlam station was quiet at this early hour and it so remained even after train arrived. There were no tea vendors selling tea nor hustle bustle of porters. We had no confirmed reservation. We decided to get into the second class compartment with a hope to secure some seats under Ratlam quota. But people inside the compartment had locked the doors and would not let us come in. We had to plead them and seeing just two of us must have led them to open the door and bring us in. We had no idea why they behaved in such a manner. It was unusual that everyone was awake even at this time. Hushed silence prevailed as some people squeezed along the bench and let us have seat. As the train left the station, people around us explained the reason for not opening the compartment door.

Frontier mail starts from Amritsar and arrive in Delhi by evening. By the time passengers left Amristar, everything was normal.they News of the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi reach them in Delhi but they had no inkling what awaited them at Mathura station. Here the crowd with iron rods entered the station and picked up every Sikh that was in the compartment. They assaulted them will full fury, took all their jewellery and valuable belongings. As my eyes moved to the window seat, there was a old couple reclining along the window - his yellow turban had streaks of crimson red dried blood, her ear lobes torn by pulling away her ear rings. their body was covered with blankets. Their standstill posture gave me shivers about their physical condition. There were other Sikh families too faced similar mob fury. Most passengers expressed their helplessness with the situation as it happened within few minutes. Everyone did their best in offering their money so that they can carry on their journey. Ticket conductor too dropped in every now and then assuring them he would ensure railway police are there to take care of them at Bombay Central station.

When I read this blog, the horrible memories of my Frontier Mail journey on that fateful night came to my mind. Those days, I had colleague from New Delhi -Amarjeet Singh - who stayed in Jankapuri - an area that took brunt of the heinous crimes. In one of my business trips to Shimla, he recounted some of the horrors. He also promised to give me a book that compiled the events that led to Operation Blue Star and subsequent tragedy. I never got a chance to read that book - which he claimed was banned in India but I could imagine the contents of this book as I went through this blog of Road to Khalistan

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Zakaria and Bandra

Those were the days of ‘Cow and Calf ’; well before the ‘Hand’ became official symbol of Indian National congress. In election time, paper posters of Indira Gandhi with slogans of Garibi Hatao would get plastered on the yellow walls of Government servant’s colony in Bandra East. Name of Zakaria often would figure in those election campaigns. Only later I learnt the connection between Ahmed, Rafiq and Fareed Zakaria. Ahmed was nephew of Mr Rafiq Zakaria – learned and articulate person. While canvassing for his nephew, I remember him telling my father ‘There is no point in canvassing middle class dominated Kalanagar - MIG area – You would never vote for congress!”. It was the fact. Most of the bourgeois population of Bandra had turned into an anti-establishment and often voted for opposition Jan Sangh, Socialist party, or later Shiv Sena. I do not know much about the contribution of Ahmed Zakaria or other Shiv Sena Corporators who did not even attempt to make make a good road and drainage even in front of Balasaheb Thakare’s house. One corporator even went to coin a new protest march called’ chaddi morcha’ – a protest wearing underwears while protesting infront of Dilip Kumar's house.

Ahmed Zakaria left his legacy by having his section of Kherwadi named after him and his son being municipal corporator from Bandra. Mr Rafiq Zakaria penned some nice thoughts through articles and books revolving around Islam. I have not read any of his books but his articles ‘What Indian Muslims should do?’ , ‘What’s Muslim about Kalam?’ did impress me with his writing skills.

These days, when I read Fareed Zakaria’s views in the Newsweek International, I remember name Ahmed and Rafiq Zakaria from Bandra election days. Fareed may not have contested any elections but his writing does carry essence of Indian democratic ethos while presenting his ideas about US politics. Y’day I saw him posing a question to various premiers of Britain, South Korea and Mexico while coordinating a debate at Davos during economic summit. His question was ‘In mid 90’s when Asia was in crisis, western countries with the help of IMF instructed Asian countries to do three things. 1. Don’t bail out sick and inefficient banks. 2. Increase the interest rate. 3. Cut the flab of the Govt and stop Govt expenditure. Now when the turn of the western countries being in the same situation, they are doing the exact opposite. They are bailing behemoth banks that have become sick by their inefficient operations.They are bringing down the interest rates and in some cases even to zero. Govt is on spending spree expenditure ostensibly to stimulate economy. So what is correct and appropriate? Advice then given by the western countries or what is practiced now by the western countries? The question would have put most westerners in quandary. However, politicians possess slithery skin. They smartly evaded the answer by deftly shifting trajectory of the question to another issue. Fareed too did not pursue it further.

Whatever I have seen of Fareed on TV has impressed me much more than his writings. I do hope to see him more on his program of Fareed Zakaria GPS CNN.

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