What’s with the old people and the new currency?

What’s with the old people and the new currency?

“Money is an idea, Backed by confidence” 

~ L. Ron Hubbard ~


While the social networking sites and the media were busy debating the good and the bad of demonetizing the Rs.500 and Rs.1000 denominated notes and the introduction of new currency notes, I was noticing the behaviour of general public and the regular transactions. Here are some interesting things that I noticed:

  1. First obvious behaviour that could be seen in the urban public was finding ways to go completely cashless. Now this had some interesting behavioural patterns like more and more people using Uber (Paytm) and Ola (Ola money) to travel cashless; people who were not using these apps earlier have also started using them overnight for making online payments. Paytm transactions seem to have increased. Credit/Debit card payments will now obviously become the most common ways of purchasing goods in restaurants, malls, marts etc.
  2. To meet the daily cash needs and to exchange demonetized currency, people were crowding at ATMs and Bank branches.
  3. Now the question arises that why do you need cash if you can go cashless in the urban setups? Well for most of the needs it’s fine but what if you feel like having coffee at home and you run out of milk? You cannot order just the milk from your grocery app as it will cost you an extra Rs.50 for delivery (The total purchase value has to be at least Rs.500 for a free delivery). You might go to a mall and need to pay for the parking tickets; you feel thirsty all of a sudden and need to buy a bottle of water and so on. Either you need more of perishable goods than other less perishable grocery or food items or you can’t avoid other small token purchases. That’s where it gets difficult to go cashless. You need cash in small denominations for your day-to-day needs as majority of the small vendors that do not accept cards.
  4. How do people manage then? Especially small vendors who sell perishable goods like fruits and vegetables. From what I keenly observed off-late was that the vegetable vendors allow you to have a line of credit …… I was like, what? Why? Then I thought again and the answer was the very nature of vegetables being perishable. So, if a vendor does not let you purchase them on credit and you are all out of cash, all his stock will eventually go to waste. Some people started using paper-money i.e. your own currency. Wow…. Can you do that? Yes, of course. Why not? When people can use black money and unaccounted currency notes for their transactions, why can they not use these fragile and pseudo-currencies like paper-money (the vendor gives you a handwritten note that he owes you money or the other way round). Now some of you will ask what this pseudo-currency is backed with. The answer is trust & confidence – the most valuable thing in this world. Also, some small vendors eventually purchased the mobile payment machines or downloaded Paytm on their phones to do cashless transactions.
  5. Now, if I talk about the regular trade, it was low. Shops were operational for a lesser number of hours due to cash problems and some were shut. I have seen them remain closed from 2-3 days now. But why? While some shopkeepers might be having problems transacting, some might even be avoiding raids or maybe the loss from not operating is smaller than that of not converting all their black money into White. And that is going to take a while given the limits of transactions imposed on various modalities per day and per week basis. So, maybe that is keeping them busy off-site. However, other than people with black money, the folks who have suffered the most are illiterate or semi-literate people and small vendors dealing in small denomination and changes, having no bank accounts.
  6. One more important and amusing observation, in general, was landlords and relatives becoming all-too-friendly all of a sudden in expectation that you would allow them to convert some of their Bad money (not black money… don’t blame the colour … it compliments style …Black deserves better) to white money. Well, Sorry Boss!! Give me my rent-agreement first, that is long overdue.
  7. Amidst all of this, there were rumours of salt prices rising all of a sudden. Thankfully that turned out be a rumour only. However, it could have been true in some pockets of the country where people could have actually exploited the situation to hoard up the “essential goods”.
  8. Fuss about Paytm using PMO’s image to gain business. I don’t know why people had to make a fuss about that when one of the best ways to go cashless is Paytm. How? Well, even a small vendor has a smart phone in his/her hands nowadays. They can just download the Paytm app and be ready to make even small token transactions in a cashless way. In fact, Mother Dairy is allowing its customers to buy products using Paytm.

Fundamentally all these activities have yet again proved that money is not the currency note that you hold but it is “the liquid-capacity (or liquid asset) that you have to settle accounts for the products, commodities and services exchanged”. What you do it with is just a modality not money. 

Mobile banking can be a big enabler of cashless and legitimate transactions given its growth rate of 212% in terms of value (February 2016) and 131% in volume. At present we have 12% of our GDP floating as cash in the economy (one of the highest around the world). According to World Bank only 53% of Indian population i.e. 636 million people have bank accounts, whereas over a billion have mobile phones. The percentage of internet users in India is roughly around 35% of the total population and is still growing strong. With stricter KYC procedures for mobile phone service subscription and bank accounts, the introduction of the new UPI (Unified payment system- across banks, introduced by RBI) can revolutionize our regular transactions as there are already legitimate users and bank accounts in the system. Under this system you can link your multiple bank accounts to the app and make transactions under Rs.1 Lakh from bank accounts to bank accounts (Individuals and merchants) just by sending a message to the app. It is quite simple and efficient.



  1. http://www.financialexpress.com/fe-columnist/payment-banks-a-mobile-wallet-is-a-depreciating-currency/321088/
  2. Centrum broking report titled- ‘Banking Transactions – Technological Disruption

Disclaimer: This study is based on use of information from government database, newspaper articles and internet-trends and observations in general. The data collated through different sources like RBI, World Bank have been duly credited to and are indicative in nature. The author doesn’t claim any ownership or the veracity of figures mentioned. The ideas that have been borrowed have been duly credited to and other self-proposed ideas are inconsequential and meant only for the academic-engagements of the institute.”

Author : Gaurav Chauhan

Senior Research Fellow, Great Lakes

B2B Marketing – Changing the framework










Business-to-Business Marketing (B2B Marketing) directly involves the sale of a product/services from a company to another company.

B2B marketing techniques rely on the same fundamentals as consumer marketing, the difference lies in the execution of strategies and techniques. In consumer markets, the decision to purchase a product/service lays not just on the price, but also on its popularity, status and/or any other emotional trigger. While in the case of B2B, purchase decisions are made primarily on the basis of price and profit potential.

Core fundamentals of B2B marketing revolve around building relationships that guarantee lasting customers, which is the primary goal (other than having a larger customer base) for any company irrespective of its size of operations. It is a domain which is less focused upon but is the frontier for any business to grow and sustain in any industry. It has been the focus of many organizations, where the sharpest of business minds had the untapped potential which could be brought to use not just to generate revenues, but for making enormous profits from their business activities.

A lot of focus has been directed and emphasis has been laid upon different horizons surrounding the B2B marketing that ranges from market structures and drivers to growth, customer categorization and buyer types to decision aspects, etc.

The main attraction of B2B marketing lies in the evolution of its framework, i.e. from product oriented approach to a solution based model. The product oriented model is well known as 4Ps of marketing (Product, Price, Promotion and Place) and it has been used by marketers for decades. With the ever evolving technologies and the presence of web services has made the classic principles appear archaic as modern buyers learn almost everything about the business, the 4Ps of marketing are increasingly at odds with the imperative to how B2B marketing functions in this modern age. Hence, retooling the 4Ps has become a necessity for today’s B2B reality.

It is not that the 4Ps have become irrelevant, but there is a dire need to reinterpret them to serve B2B markets. The model shifts the emphasis from Product to Solution, Place to Access, Price to Value and Promotion to Education/Educate, i.e. SAVE.


Solution: Instead of marketing the products, the focus needs to be shifted to a solution based approach. Basically, it means selling of benefits instead of just features.

Access: The idea here is not to disseminate the base location, but to create a cross-channel presence that considers a customer’s entire purchasing cycle/process and not just the place to seal the deal.

Customers want the business to be accessible and available as per their time of requirement, suitability, and a mutual assurance that you (the business) have their backs if something goes wrong.

Value: Compelling and convincing communication about the benefits rather than features is something that helps businesses gain pricing power. Thus, value based pricing holds a distinct advantage and has a better approach over competitive pricing.

Education: Educating prospects as to what the solution is and how it meets their unforeseen needs/requirements by interacting with the customers and evaluating their needs. Thus, providing information and advice to create a sense of familiarity and trust even before the purchase is made. In other words, educating prospects about the business solution attracts more than just promoting the product or service.

In a nutshell, the organizations that continue to embrace the fading model of 4Ps, run the potential risk of involving their business into a repetitive and increasingly unproductive competition.

As the customer has more say in the business-customer relation, embracing a framework that would reflect the actual concerns of the customers should possibly help marketers create and provide better value for the people and meet their needs.

Author : Kinshuk Chaturvedi

PGPM Class of 2017, Great Lakes

Smart Cities in India

Smart Cities in India


Smart city has a different definition in India than, say, Europe. Even in India a smart city means different things to different people and the conceptualization of a smart city varies from city to city, state to state and region to region, depending on the level of development, willingness to change and reform, resources and aspirations of the city residents.

Generally acceptable definition for smart cities would be a modern urban place that has intelligent technology support for people to utilize natural resources, infrastructure and amenities like water, electricity, healthcare facilities, transportation etc. efficiently, putting minimum possible pressure on the overall ecology and environment.

Increased dispensable income in India, consumerism and massive shift of population from rural to urban space for employment etc. has led to ever increasing pressure on resources available in the city and the environment in these urban places is degrading fast. Keeping this problem in mind the Government of India envisioned the Smart Cities Mission

In approach of the Smart Cities Mission, the objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of smart solutions. The Smart Cities Mission of Government is bold, new initiative. The Smart City frame work comprises the following key enablers:


Globalization and consumerism is dragging us into its whirlpool, where we are unable to efficiently adapt. We are just responding. We need to keep into account the complex nature of such transitions while we plan for our ‘SMART CITIES’.

  • STRATEGY The Strategic Components of area based development in the Smart Cities Mission are Retrofitting (City Improvement), Redevelopment (city renewal) and Greenfield development (city extension) plus a Pan-City initiative in which Smart solutions are applied covering large parts of the city.
  • Retrofitting will introduce planning in an existing built-up area to achieve smart city objectives, along with other objectives, to make the existing area more efficient and liveable. In retrofitting, an area consisting of more than 500 acres will be identified by the city in consultation with citizens. Depending on the existing level of infrastructure services in the identified area and the vision of the residents, the cities will prepare a strategy to become smart. Since existing structures are largely to remain intact in this model, it is expected that more intensive infrastructure service levels and a large number of smart applications will be packed into the retrofitted smart city.
  • Redevelopment will effect a replacement of the existing built-up environment and enable co-creation of a new layout with enhanced infrastructure using mixed land use and increased density. Redevelopment envisages an area of more than 50 acres, identified by Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in consultation with citizens. Two examples of the redevelopment model are the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Project in Mumbai (also called the Bhendi Bazaar Project) and the redevelopment of East Kidwai Nagar in New Delhi being undertaken by the National Building Construction Corporation.
  • Greenfield development will introduce most of the Smart Solutions in a previously vacant area (more than 250 acres) using innovative planning, plan financing and plan implementation with provision for affordable housing, especially for the poor. Greenfield developments are required around cities in order to address the needs of the expanding population. One well known example is the GIFT City in Gujarat. Gujarat International Finance Tec-City aspires to cater to India’s large financial services potential by offering global firms a world-class infrastructure and facilities. It aims to attract the top talent in the country by providing the finest quality of life all with integrated townships, and multi-speciality special economic zone (SEZ).
  • Pan-city development envisages application of selected Smart Solutions to the existing city-wide infrastructure. Application of Smart Solutions will involve the use of technology, information and data to make infrastructure and services better. For example, applying Smart Solutions in the transport sector (intelligent traffic management system) and reducing average commute time or cost of citizens will have positive effects on productivity and quality of life of citizens. Another example can be waste water recycling and smart metering which can make a huge contribution to better water management in the city.

Some typical features of comprehensive development in Smart Cities are described below:

  • Promoting mixed land use in area based developments – planning for ‘ unplanned areas’ containing a range of compatible activities and land uses close to one another in order to make land use more efficient.
  • Expand Housing opportunities for all.
  • Creating walkable localities – reduce congestion, air pollution and resource depletion.
  • Promoting a variety of transport options
  • Making governance citizen friendly and cost effective
  • Applying smart solutions to infrastructure and services in area based development in order to make them better.

Good ideas come in many shapes and sizes, and are designed to improve quality of life. They may involve technology, institutional or managerial reforms. Best results may be obtained by smart-communities where people interact amongst themselves to device leaner and greener solutions to manage their day-to-day requirements or comply with the regulatory changes that make them act as responsible citizens and communities. Sometimes just the technology advancement brings in innovative business models. For example, If we talk about modern transportation in metro-cities; IT-enabled (app-based) car-pooling models have brought a good change by making people act for collective benefit of shared cost bringing down the number of cars on the road and pollution level.

Here are some of the best practices that have been implemented around the world which can be implemented in cities in India to make them smarter.

  1. Priority savings and benefits you can count on: Pick a near term project proven to deliver immediate cost saving. With networked LED Street lightning, major cities around the world have lowered energy bills, saving up to 70% on energy costs in new deployments. Paris has committed to reduce public lightning energy consumption by 30% over the next 10 years while ensuring quality lighting for residents.
  2. Promoting solar energy to increase sustainability: Barcelona, which has second largest metropolitan population in Spain, was heavily dependent on cost and environmentally damaging fossil fuels. The city government issued a Solar Thermal Ordinance, which makes compulsory to use solar energy to supply 60% of running hot water in all new and renovated buildings. It also put solar powered bus stops. More than 70 other Spanish cities have followed Barcelona’s example.
  3. Automating congestion pricing: In late 1990’s, London suffered from some of worst traffic in the U.K. In 2003, in order to decrease congestion, the city levied a surcharge on single-occupancy vehicles.
  4. Local Government address complaints with mobile technology: Dong Cheng District Implemented a pilot program using GIS and GPS technologies that break city into smaller zones and track all complaints within these zones, a solution which has been replicated in multiple Chinese municipalities.
  5. Bike sharing to improve public mobility: Traffic congestion in Hangzhou made public mobility a challenge. To address it, the city created a robust bike sharing program that included 66,000 bicycles and 2700 sharing stations.


The Smart Cities Mission is an innovative and new initiative by the Government of India to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens.

Indian government biggest mission is to roll out 100 smart cities across the country. These smart cities will leverage innovation and technology for e-governance, Digital India initiative, employment generation, as well as improving the quality of life.



The Smart Cities Mission will be operated as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) and the Central Government proposes to give financial support to the Mission to the extent of Rs. 48,000 crores over five years i.e. on an average Rs. 100 crore per city per year. An equal amount, on a matching basis, will have to be contributed by the State/ULB; therefore, nearly Rupees one lakh crore of Government/ULB funds will be available for smart cities development.


India is the world’s fourth largest energy consumer. It is envisaged that with this pace India will take over China in next decade in terms of energy consumption. Energy efficiency measures will not hold true, if the concerns of T&D losses are not addressed on priority. While we aspire to venture into new age of smart cities it is imperative to know, what is the state of different resources, how and where are they sourced from? What is their availability? & many more questions.

  1. To monitor and ensure the availability of the resources like water, land, food etc.

Water: The demand for water has been increasing at a high pace in past few decades. The current consumption in the country is approximately 730 trillion litres with irrigation requirements accounting to 89% followed by domestic use at 7% and industrial use at 4%. Demand in country is projected to very soon overtake the availability of water. In some regions, it has already happened.


In the next decade the demand in water is expected to grow by 20 percent, fuelled primarily by the industrial requirement which are projected to double from 23.2 litres at present to 47 trillion litres. Domestic demand is expected to grow by 40 percent from 41 to 55 trillion litres while irrigation will require only 14 percent more ten years hence. This would mean the cities will have to look for their own fresh water resource. Water security of smart cities, would be a function of protection of the water bodies which supply water, making necessary policy arrangements and ensuring their continual safeguard.

Food: The state is no different when it comes to procuring food. As per the Down to Earth Data, there are just 100 districts in the country left with more rural than urban population. They must be in all probabilities the districts, where food is grown.


A negative gap indicates that the demand of the commodity is more than its supply and this implies a deficit of the commodity in future. The table clearly explains that there is a dire need to strengthen the food security, sufficiency as well as sustainability in cities. A smart city is thus presumed to protect its own food systems and practices while making it efficient enough to make it available at affordable cost and consumable quality. If the agricultural lands continue to get converted for alternative uses, these areas will tend to shift farther away from cities which could mean, more inflated food prices even for basic food items. Thus, shifting or encroaching agriculture lands would mean, a district threat to food and nutrition security.

Land: The process of urbanization establishes some reversible and some irreversible impacts. While the reversible impacts can still be tackled, the irreversible are the ones, need to be reckoned well in advance. Urbanization with the absence of planning may result in permanent damage to the system. The agricultural land once lost for construction cannot be revived further, resulting in permanent loss of food growing area.

Housing: Housing in India varies significantly and can reflect the socio economic mix of its vast population. Studies suggest that net migration share to the urban growth in he world grew from 21 percent to 24 percent in the ast decade which by all means is significant. If there exists no policy to contain  the population shoot which is projected to happen in certain locations, the resource management could remain a major and incremental challange for the civic authorities.


As per the above table 11 crore houses will likely be required by 2022, out of which 70 percent would be concentrated in in just nine states. These states are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

  1. States and ULBs will play a key supportive role in the development of Smart Cities. Smart leadership and vision at this level and ability to act decisively will be important factors determining the success of the Mission.
  2. Understanding the concepts of retrofitting, redevelopment and green field development by the policy makers, implementers and other stakeholders at different levels will require capacity assistance.
  3. Major investments in time and resources will have to be made during the planning phase prior to participation in the Challenge. This is different from the conventional DPR-driven approach.
  4. TheSmart Cities Mission requires smart people who actively participate in governance and reforms. Citizen involvement is much more than a ceremonial participation in governance. The participation of smart people will be enabled by use of mobile-based tools.


Author : Rajat Kapoor

PGDM Class of 2018, Great Lakes

Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 53 “Helicopter Skills centric 360-degree Training”

My dear friends,

As head of Training & Development at Reliance Energy Ltd., I was responsible for training 25,000 in-house workers right from gross root level to the CEOs of various Units and several thousands of engineers from SEB’s and DISCOM’s. There I realised that training them in their functional areas was inadequate and was in fact only 1/4th of the job to make them complete professionals. The value-vision domain on which organizations survive for centuries has a strong bearing on mind-set, attitude and constant learning of working people to be competitive at all times.

A “360-degree training model” was evolved at Reliance Energy Management Institute (REMI) –with the 1st quadrant circumscribing attitude which decides the altitude and is fundamental to self-growth. An IIT/MIT topper with a negative attitude will not be acceptable to any department. One’s mind-set exhibiting features like “Can you think big”, “Can you think in other’s shoe” etc. is extremely important. According to Harvard University research, whatever growth one achieves in terms of promotions, quantum jumps in business etc., 85% of the time it is due to his attitude and not his qualifications, gender, colour of the skin etc.

Attitude is inside while the behaviour is outside. Therefore in the 2nd quadrant, the model emphasizes on development of individuals in a people’s organisation where their behavioural planes are polished like diamonds, going beyond courtesies to ‘elegance and dignity’. This becomes necessary in Business organisations where customer interaction becomes highly relevant. Behaviour decides their spread.

In the 3rd quadrant the core competence, which is one’s exclusive strength, is addressed for its continuous reinforcement to upgrade a professional with the latest developments in his field to be competitive at all times, having an edge over others.

In this commercial world dictated by the global economy, each and every professional needs to have a commercial orientation and an understanding of the business, of which he or she is a part and therefore these aspects are covered in the 4th quadrant. Commercial sense and acumen make all the difference; Bill Gates and Dhirubhai Ambani have proved it.

According to MIT executive report on innovation, 80% of all innovations are made by people working outside of the discipline for which they are trained. It is important not only to be trained in your area of expertise, but also to have a bird’s eye view of the other functions prevalent in the organisation periodically. At least once in a quarter, one has to rise above the horizon of his own discipline and rise above his own working area (like a helicopter) to have a broader view of the entire business.

There is a depth of knowledge and there is a breath of knowledge. Deeper you go; there would be chances of invention once in ages. While breath of knowledge has capacity to funnel down from all lateral sides ideas that are capable of creating spirals of innovations which are more relevant in business context. “Six sigma” was not innovated by a Quality Engineer but a Communications Engineer. Cross-functional teams can bring in more innovative ideas than the specialised teams.


Their down-to-earth questioning is perhaps responsible for it.

In view of the above, our training model was upgraded to “Helicopter skills centric 360-degree Training Model” as depicted alongside.

Programs like Finance for Non-Finance, Technical for Non-Technical, Electrical for       Non-Electricals, Commercial for Non-Commercial, HR for Non-HR, Legal for NonLegal, Customer orientation for back-end executives and ‘Power Business for all’ proved to be very helpful in developing “Helicopter Skills”. The kind of programs covered in different quadrants is listed in the exhibit. These were suitable for a Power Distribution Company. This training model created a history in Reliance Energy Ltd. and power industry as a whole. It was mainly responsible for Golden Peacock National Training Award to REMI as ‘Best Training Institute in the Corporate Sector’ in the year 2006. This model’s application is universal with suitable selection of programs.

I wish more and more companies take advantage of this model !!!

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

BE(Hons), M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI-Scholar, D.Engg. (Calif.), FNAE, Hon.D.WRE (USA)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI) Govt. of India

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)