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GIS Business : An Overview is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal and aims to publish original articles, review articles, case reports, short communications, etc. Journal indexed in SCOPUS, papers are not indexed. Send papers to editor@gisbusiness.org

  • GIS-Business Journal is Indexed in Scopus, papers are not indexed. UGC approved journal. Send papers to editor@gisbusiness.org

Letting go

When your child is born, it is probably the greatest moment of your life. It's your child. It is the creation of you and your partner. It's a new life created out of the blue. And only because of you.

You then slog your butt off to raise the child. You shower it with love and affection. In the first years of the child's life, you don't have a single night's sound sleep. You worry about your child every minute. You take joy in every smile and gurgle. You get terrified if the child were to as much sneeze.

As the child grows up, you continue to sweat over it. You work hard to earn money to provide for the child. You are willing to sacrifice anything to ensure a top quality education. You try and impart your values. You even discipline the child when she does something wrong. You have every possible aspiration for the child - she will be famous, she will be wealthy, she will excel; above all she will be happy. You even transfer your own aspirations, which you were not able to achieve, on to her.

All too soon, the child grows up. She is now a teenager. She has her own wishes. She does not want to ask your permission for everything. She perhaps listens to music that you cannot even understand how it could be called such. She wants to stay out late. You want to impose your will on her, because in your eyes, she's still the baby and you want to protect her. She rebels. You argue. 

And then, in the blink of an eye, she is an adult. She leaves home; first to study somewhere else and then to work and be independent. You have a lump in the throat. 

What do you do as a parent ? You have to let go.

What if she wants to marry somebody from a different world and the polar opposite of what you determine to be a "good man". You have to let her go and warmly and enthusiastically embrace both of them.

What if she takes up a profession (maybe singing in a night club). It's against all your values. But you have to let her go. Wish her every success.

What if she takes up something unpleasant. Like, say, smoking. You can certainly give her a hug and say quietly that this isn't good for her health. But is she going to listen ? No way. You have to let her be.  Yes, you can worry inside your heart. But that's all you should do.

You came from a very middle class family where you lived frugally and never bought anything for yourself. She decides to blow her first salary on 25 designer dresses. She flaunts bling. Yes, the neckline is too low. Do you chide her ? Of course not. You let her be.

The worst thing you can ever ever do, is to bitch about her to all and sundry and say what a disappointment she has turned out to be.  You will gain absolutely nothing from it. You will only demean yourself in the eyes of everybody else. And she is not going to be one inch different.

For you see, its her life. The values you tried to drill into her are all very much there. She just sees life very differently from you. That doesn't mean she doesn't love you. It doesn't mean that she is "bad". She is just she. The angel she always was, is, and will be. Let her be.

I know its not easy. But its a mark of your greatness, if you can let her go. It does not negate the immense effort and everything you have done for her.

Mr Murthy; I am talking to you.
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This blog turns to politics

On October 18th, or immediately thereafter, a small line of people will walk in  into the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. That will be the new Standing Committee headed by Xi Jinping. And at that time the world shall know what has happened to the "elections" in China. The stunning fact is that very few people in the world seem to even know about one of the most momentous events in world politics. Very little has been written about it in the world press and almost nothing has made it to TV. Not even the significant Beidaihe retreat that happened in August.

All this at a time when many people in the world seem addicted to the nonsense that a certain person spews sitting on his toilet seat.  The lack of interest in what is happening in China is, to this blogger, unbelievable. Perhaps unfamiliarity is the reason. And hence this blogger is breaking his vow to keep this blog completely apolitical and is launching into a series of posts on what is happening in China.

I begin with a small primer on the current Chinese political system. The Communist Party of China (CPC) is the apex body in China. The government is subservient to the Party. Even the People's Liberation Army is not the army of China; its the army of the Party. Therefore what happens in the Party is of prime (only) importance in the politics of China.

The apex decision making body in the CPC is the Politburo, currently consisting of 25 members. Consider it as the Cabinet. From amongst these, an elite group forms the Standing Committee of the Politburo. Currently it has 7 members. This is the all powerful body.

When Mao Zedong established the Party, and for as long as he ruled China, all these institutions were irrelevant. Mao was the sole power centre. But when he died and the dangers of concentrating so much power in one man became apparent, the party elders led by Deng Xiaoping, established some rules and norms  for the politics of the future. Thus far they have been adhered to. They are

The principle of retirement . The unofficial term is "qishang baxia" or "Seven up; Eight down". The unwritten rule is that if you reach 68 at the CPC Congress meeting  which is held once every five years (think of it as election year), you step down and retire. 5 of the 7 members of the Standing Committee  and 11 of the 25 members of the Politburo have crossed 68.

  • The General Secretary and the Premier usually serve for two terms - 10 years - and then stand down. The current incumbents are finishing their first term and can therefore continue for one more term.

  • An all powerful single power centre , a la Mao, was never allowed to happen post his death. Even Deng was not all powerful - he had an equivalent power centre in Chen Yun. Factions  abound ; the Shanghai faction, the Youth League, etc. These factions and their powerful overlords jockey for power behind closed doors. Retired leaders don't keep quiet - they exercise power by placing their underlings on these bodies.

  • The norm in China is for leadership changes to happen with great turmoil, purges and the like. Only two peaceful transitions have ever happened - the handover from Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao and from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping. Even the transition from Hu Jintao saw the dramatic fall and subsequent imprisonment of Bo Xilai.

  • There are three powerful positions in China - The President of China (a mere titular position), the Secretary of the Communist Party (the real powerful position) and the chairmanship of the Central Military Commission that governs the armed forces. Currently all these three positions are held by  Xi Jinping. That was the case with Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao as well, but in the Deng era, he was simply the Chairman of the CMC and the other positions were held by his chosen people. A fourth, and less powerful position is that of the Premier - currently held by Li Keqiang and is the No 2 position in China.

  • Every year in the summer, the power brokers in China retire to a coastal town called Beidaihe , where all the skullduggery, bargaining and negotiations happen. Each faction tries to get its people on to the Politburo and the Standing Committee. Usually most of the big decisions are made here on the beach behind thick closed doors. This is the real "election" in China. The Beidaihe meeting happened last month and this blogger is mystified that not only have there been very little leaks, there has been scant reporting in the press as well. Next to the US elections, this is the most important political activity in the world. And we don't hear even a squeak.

  • In the last two peaceful transitions, at the end of the first of the two terms of the incumbent leaders, the top of the subsequent generation is usually nominated to the Standing Committee. This gives the clue as to who would subsequently take over as leaders. If the past 20 years is a guide, then this should happen in the current change and the successor to Xi Jinping who would take over 5 years from now, would at least be indicated. But as we would see in subsequent posts, there is a good chance that this won't happen.

In the next post, we will assess the current political landscape and who are the power brokers in China.
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Who's who in Chinese politics

Xi Jinping, the current Chinese leader is easily the most powerful leader that China has had ever since Deng Xiaoping faded away in the early 90s. But in order to understand his power, we have to go back a bit in time in modern Chinese history.

Mao was a tyrant and supremely powerful in China and until his death, he was simply the sole power centre. But that degree of concentration of power resulted in chaos in China - the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution being two big disasters. When he died, the elders decided that no single person should ever be allowed to accumulate such power. Deng Xiaoping became the preeminent leader, but there was a rival power centre in Chen Yun and to a lesser extent in Li Xiannian. Multiple purges later,  Jiang Zemin was appointed the Secretary of the Communist Party immediately after the infamous Tiananmen incident in 1989.

Jiang accumulated a fair degree of power, but was never all powerful. He led the party out of the post Tiananmen crisis and then earned his own notoriety by the brutal suppression, and virtual extermination, of  Falun Gong - a cult loosely based on mysticism, but which was feared by the Party as a political movement. By the norms set by Deng, which he followed and reinforced,  he stepped down after some 12 years as the Secretary of the Party and handed over to Hu Jintao, who was handpicked by Deng himself before his death. However, Jiang continued to remain the Chairman of the Central Military Commission and therefore in his first term Hu really did not have much power and had to constantly "handle" Jiang. Jiang continues to remain a power centre and is the leader of the Shanghai faction. However he is getting old (he's past 90) and his power is fading, helped along by Xi's efforts to undermine this faction.

Hu Jintao is a colourless and plodding leader, who even while he was the Secretary of the Party, was never a charismatic leader. His hold on power was weaker. When he handed over the reins to Xi Jinping, he quit all his formal roles. He leads the Youth League, another faction, but is not a powerful leader.

Xi Jinping comes from a group called the "princelings" - their fathers were revolutionary leaders in the Mao era and their positions, at least to some measure, is owed to their parentage. When Xi took over, he swiftly started to consolidate his power with a massive anti corruption drive, the likes of which China has never seen.

Ostensibly Xi was tackling one of the greatest scourges of China - corruption. The scale of corruption in China is simply unbelievable. Nowhere has mankind seen anything like this. It is all pervasive . I won't say anything more - I still wish to travel to China !! Let me just say that whatever you think is the level of corruption in China, the reality is probably tenfold worse. It is an existential threat to the Party.  Therefore tackling corruption was a popular thing to do.

But the anti corruption drive was also a big consolidation of power by Xi. It was positioned as catching "tigers and flies" - both the small fry as well as the really powerful.  Unsurprisingly, the people targeted the most were political opponents. More than 100,000 flies have been indicted, but more importantly so have nearly 200 tigers. This includes some 100 senior people in the military including two former Vice Chairmen of the Central Military Commission (the equivalent would be Defence Secretary and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the US military being purged). The biggest tiger of all who was jailed is clearly Zhou Yongkang, a past member of the Standing Committee. Such a thing is simply not done in Chinese politics - the upper echelon of the Communist Party was thought untouchable.

Xi's main ally who has carried out the anti corruption drive is Wang Qishan, a current member of the Standing Committee and 6th in the formal order of seniority. But clearly the real no 2 in China is Wang Qishan. He is a star economic leader in China - having held a number of economic portfolios in the past. But for the last 5 years he has been Xi's enforcer in the anti corruption drive. Crucially he is 69 and by the tenets of the unofficial retirement policy, he should retire in October. All the rumours swirling around China are that Xi will keep him. 

The formal No 2 is the Premier Li Keqiang. His job is to run the economy and the general consensus is that he has not been successful. His power base is small and he belongs to the Youth League faction of Hu Jintao. In fact at the time of Xi's succession it was rumoured that Hu actually wanted Li to succeed him and not Xi. Li is only 62 and can continue as Premier for one more term.  This blogger has a view (wild guess) as to what might happen to both Wang Qishan and Li Keqiang and he will boldly articulate a prediction in a subsequent post !

Two other names need mention. When Xi and Li were appointed, there was also speculation as to who would succeed them in 10 years time (the next generation of leaders). Two names were mentioned - Hu Chunhua and Sun Zhengcai. Both were included in the politburo last time around and given important positions. Just two months ago, Sun Zhengcai was summarily replaced and an anti corruption investigation started against him. Clearly he lost out in a power struggle.

How do the Chinese themselves view all this ? You may be surprised ! Watch out for the next post.
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Politics and the average Chinese

The man in the street simply does not care ! At least politically !!

In a country of 1.2 billion, such a sweeping  statement is an outrageous generalisation. But it is broadly true. The average Chinese does not care because (a) what is the real choice (b) she has very little access to information that is even remotely political in nature and (c) she doesn't seem to be hugely interested anyway

And this is despite a startling fact; the country with the maximum number of protests from citizens is actually China ! On any given day, there are probably 800 odd protests happening throughout China. If there is such vigorous activity, how come the assertion that the average Joe (Mrs Li) doesn't care ?

Two sweeping statements can be made about the average Chinese's views (a) she believes (and it does not matter where or who she is) that the local government is utterly corrupt and inefficient
and (b) she believes that the central leaders in Beijing are extremely efficient, working hard for the country, are the best humans on earth and if only they knew of their specific problem, it would be instantly fixed.

All the protests are predominantly on local issues, and mostly against land grabs by local officials. It is therefore mainly economic in nature, not political. There are simply no political protests of any sort.

A major issue in China is that public opinion is greatly hampered because of virtually no access to true political information. The following is the information environment in which the average Chinese lives

- There are no independent newspapers at all. Foreign newspapers are mostly not available.
- There is only government TV . No foreign channels, except in top end hotels. Even those are censored - can you believe that CNN's broadcast to China is routed through a Chinese government controlled satellite !
- All films are subject to censorship. Foreign films are severely limited in number and if you have anything remotely political in your film, fat chance of being cleared. Ditto books. Ditto music. Pirated DVDs are freely available but then the market is mostly for sexually explicit stuff rather than political content.
- The Great Firewall of China, behind which the internet sits in a parallel universe, is one of the most remarkable operations of all. The Hall of Fame of sites that are completely banned and inaccessible from China includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google plus, Maps, Docs, Picasa, Dropbox, Flickr, ..... I can keep going. Every one of these have local equivalents which are of course severely censored by the authorities
- The Chinese are avid users of social media, but only on domestic providers. These are hugely monitored by armies of machines, men and software. Every offending post is deleted . If you realise that there are half a billion internet users in China and they are as active as anybody in online activities, you can imagine the scale at which censorship takes place.

Consequently, the average Chinese is poorly informed on political matters and therefore has limited and not fully informed views. In any social gathering in the West (even more so in India), the conversation will turn political. Not so in China.  Mao has been glorified as "70% right" - very few of the younger generation know anything about the horrors of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. The Tiananmen incidents of 1989 have been airbrushed from history - when I lived in China I was amazed that my colleagues knew virtually nothing about what happened.

The sum total of all this is that public opinion in China is less intense and formed than in virtually any other country. Therefore the Party and the government are under less pressure than anywhere else. You see, the true check on any government in any country is not judiciary , or the constitutional checks and balances - it is really public opinion  represented by the media. In China, that check does not exist. The Chinese have made a pact with the Party - give us continuous economic advancement and we won't care about the politics. Thus far, that pact has held good.
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A tough ethical issue

Businesses are often considered as machines without a heart. But even businesses face some gut wrenching ethical issues , where the "right" course of action is by no means obvious.  Take the case of the compassionate care issue face by pharmaceutical companies.

Drugs produced by pharmaceutical companies are marketed after years, and sometimes, decades of clinical trials. They have to be approved by a regulating body - in the case of the US, the FDA - before they can be made available for use by doctors and patients. This is a justifiably stringent process.

It is therefore obvious that at any point in time, there are a number of experimental drugs which are at various stages of testing or approval. They may or may not finally make it to the market place. But the fact of their existence, their performance in the trials, the stage of FDA approval (relevant since most drugs are discovered in the US) are all fairly common knowledge and often in the public domain.

The ethical issue comes when there is say a terminally ill patient who does not have much time left and where conventional approved forms of treatment have failed. The patient, or his family, makes the appeal to a pharmaceutical company for an experimental drug that is not yet fully tested and has not been approved by the FDA. Is it ethical for the company to release an experimental drug for such a patient ? They may not even be making the drug outside of the lab as yet. Should they actually produce it in a pilot facility to make it available ?

I learnt from this news article that hundreds of such requests actually come to the FDA every year . The regulator examines each such request and apparently they are mostly approved. But for any serious evaluation of a request, they need time and that is probably what the patient does not have. Even if there was a little time, the patient and the family would be understandably anxious to try the treatment tomorrow if possible. So, even with an FDA approval of the case, how does a company respond to such a request.

On one hand, it is absolutely cruel to withhold a possibility of a chance, however slim, from somebody who will otherwise die. The case for release of experimental drugs is very strong. It doesn't need any further elaboration.

But consider the risks. Doctors will be the first to tell you that there are many grey cases where it is not easy to determine if the patient is terminally ill. What if there are are horrendous side effects which are not yet known - at what stage of experimentation of a drug is it OK for it to be released to a live patient. What about the risks of lawsuits - after all we are talking about the US a notoriously litigious society. What about the risks that companies may simply use terminal patients as clinical trials if compassionate care becomes widespread. What about non terminal cases (say Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, which are non fatal but horrible diseases) where an experimental treatment might drastically alter the quality of life.

Thorny ethical issues. I would hate to be in a position making the decision. Johnson & Johnson, a famously ethical company has moved to set up an independent panel to be organised by the New York University to decide on each case. That is probably the best course of action, but each decision would be extremely difficult to make.

What do you think - in which direction would you lean ?
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Think India Quarterly Journal

Think India Journal  (TIJ) is an open access, peer-reviewed journal. The main objective of TIJ is to provide an intellectual platform for the international scholars. TIJ aims to promote interdisciplinary studies in business and social science and become the leading journal in business and social science in the world. TIJ publishes original papers, review papers, conceptual framework, analytical and simulation models, case studies, empirical research, technical notes, and book reviews. The articles in the journal are open access to different users in different countries around the world. Knowledge produced in the journal is meant for all scholars specialized within all disciplines of sciences. 

Think India Journal with ISSN 0971-1260 , a peer-reviewed open access journal published bimonthly in English-language. The journal is available in both online and print version for scholars and researchers around the world. Think India Quarterly aims to foster a wider academic interest in literature, arts, humanities, education, finance, psychology, philosophy, sociology, commerce, management, social sciences and allied subjects. Think India is a multidisciplinary journal for research publication approved and listed in UGC Care. 

Submit papers for publication to editor@thinkindiaquarterly.org
The topics related to this journal include but are not limited to:
Microeconomics
Macroeconomics
International economics
Auditing
Financial reporting
Earnings management
Financial analysts
International trade and finance
Industrial organization
Strategic behavior
Market structure
Financial contracts
Corporate governance
Capital markets
Financial institutions
Human resource management
Production management
Strategic management
Marketing management
Financial management
Information technology management
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Thematics Journal of Geography (ISSN 2277-2995)

Thematics Journal of Geography (ISSN 2277-2995) , a peer-reviewed open access journal published bimonthly in English-language, provides an international forum for publishing the study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets, including the hydrologic cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability. It aims to publish definitive and original research papers of high standard, containing material of broad interest and of significant contribution to Hydrology, with emphasis being placed on hydrometeorology, surface hydrology, hydrogeology, drainage basin management and water quality, where water plays the central role. 
 
Thematics Journal of Geography (ISSN 2277-2995) is a UGC Care Listed Journal for research Publication by Thematics Publications. Link to Journal is https://thematicsjournals.org/index.php/tjg/ and Link to Publisher is https://www.thematicspublications.com/. Impact Factor of Journal is 5.3. Email id of Editor is info@thematicsjournals.org
 
The topics related to this journal include but are not limited to:
Drainage basin management
Groundwater
Hydrogeology
Hydrometeorology
Infiltration
Integrating measurement and modelling
Modelling
Precipitation and evaporation
Prediction
Remote sensing
Soil moisture
Statistical hydrology
Surface hydrology
Surface water flow
Transport
Uncertainty analyses
Water quality
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