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Insurance Companies and their ‘No Medical Test’ Policies

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Such policies are nothing less than hidden attempt to reject most claims. Many policy conditions are written in such ambiguous fashion that the TPA and/or Insurance companies can reject any claim at their will and discretion. Before signing for any policy, one needs to go through and understand all conditions laid down in the policy/prospectus. Unfortunately, these conditions of the policies are written in such a language that these can be turned and twisted by the TPA/ Insurance Companies. If someone requests them to send a ‘rejection letter’ , for that also TPA insists that all their procedures must be completed.

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First Things First

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Time management is the process of planning how to segregate your time between specific activities to accomplish your goals effectively. Time is always limited, so ensure that you spend right amount of time on the right activity. Skills involved in managing your time efficiently include planning, setting clear-cut goals, prioritizing tasks, and monitoring where your time actually goes.

Setting priorities is a vital tool in the time management toolbox. Put important things first i.e., complete the most difficult tasks first and then, identify your top priorities as well as the amount of time you need to invest in them. Good time management facilitates you to work smarter – not harder – so that you get more done in less time, even when pressures are high.

Once, a lecturer walks into a classroom with a bag of sand, pebbles, some big rocks and a bucket. He calls out one of the student to put all three grades of stone into the bucket.  The student duly comes forward to carry out the task, starting with the sand, then the pebbles, and then the rocks, which do not fit in the bucket. This is an analogy of poor time management. If the student would have put the rocks first, then pebbles and then the sand, all three would have perfectly fit as the sand slides between the pebbles and rocks easily. This is much like time management, by completing the biggest task first, you leave room to complete your medium tasks, then the small or easy ones. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are significant to you. Therefore, take care of the big rocks first i.e., the things that really matter. Set priorities. The rest is just sand.

Time flows in the same way for all human beings – be it rich or poor. It seems like there is never sufficient time in a day. But, since we all get the same 24 hours, why is it that some achieve so much more with their time than others. Time management helps you decide on what to prioritize in life.  Rank daily tasks based on its importance and make a priority list. There is no one busy in this world, it just depends on priorities. One will always find time for the things that he/she feels important. It’s not about ‘having’ enough time. It’s all about making time.

People with no definite goals will find it difficult to prioritize time. Set your goals as high as possible and strive hard to accomplish it. People often miss time unknowingly.  For example, most people listen with the intent to reply, not with the intent to understand.  You must probably seek first to be understood. The whole purpose of time management is to enable you to have enough time to spend with your loved ones, doing the things you enjoy. Pay attention to the stuffs that are critical to your happiness. In fact, if your mind is cool, you will start enjoying life.

There are many principles of time management that would make a great difference to the way you manage each day.  Mastering the principles of time management is important to achieving your goals.

Now let’s have a look at the principles of time management:

Planning

The key principle to effective time management is planning. Planning involves thinking in advance how to manage your time to achieve the desired goals or results. With an effective plan, you will never sit around and wonder as you will have a schedule with priorities that need to be achieved. This will enable you to finish one task completely and then move on to the next quickly.

Creating deadlines                                             

Self-imposed deadlines are one of the most effectual techniques of assuring productive effort by monitoring progress. Having unrealistic deadlines that are not going to work will definitely affect your effectiveness and causes stress. Therefore, get rid of the backlog and set goals for yourself.

Do one thing at a time  

Multi-tasking is a myth. In reality, you are actually switching back and forth between tasks.  While switching, you tend to lose the depth of your engagement, absorption thus makes you less efficient.  Therefore, concentrate on doing and finishing one task at a time as far as possible.

Eliminate or Minimize Distractions

Distractions like phone calls, internet, emails, etc., may lead to compromise of performance and incompletion of tasks promptly. Therefore, make the necessary arrangements to keep these distractions to a minimum. Also, you should be an expert in avoiding distractions and maintaining focus on your task.

Give yourself a break

Never forget to include time to relax in your schedule. Use your free time to do things you really enjoy! Spend time with your family, do exercise, go shopping or hang out with friends. And definitely you will start enjoying life!!

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Ring out the old Ring in the new!!

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The impact of scams reaches far and wide into our society, affecting the economy of the nation as a whole.  India has been home to several scams, resulting to losses amounting to lakhs crores coal scam and of rupees to the economy. Some of the scams include the spectrum scam, UTI Scam, Fodder scam, and many others. Implication of these scams create a great impact in terms of political stability, economic sentiments and repute of the country. When an unpredictable event like scam occurs, only few people tend to make money but many suffer.

 

The Government on a promise to end corruption initiated many bold steps to eradicate black money from the economy. One such biggest move was the demonetization, a transformative programme which is aimed at stronger and more movable digital economy. Many people were tremendously affected by the demonetization scheme which eliminated the large denomination. The fact is that most of the poor people were elated by this move. With demonetization scheme, the strong will of the poor and their honesty have been widely recognized.  However, the Government need to have a closer look on the areas where the notes of high and mighty are exchanged. Since Banks are dealing with large chunk of money, they assume the authority, that they possess more money power.

 

Another big change to witness is – in Uttar Pradesh, a Yogi is being elected as the chief Minister.  Now his only task will be to combat corruption, clean the record room with dusty files, and to clean the streets and offices. In the quest to have a clean and better society, probably there is no better person than a Yogi. Because only the simplest leaders have the potential to work with total commitment. However, he will definitely achieve and thrive in it. So let’s look forward to things that could happen in this direction for a better tomorrow. Since the Prime Minister is precising more on key factors of business, many people are free from the burden of offering bribe to the Bureaucrats for getting their work done.

 

The push towards digitalization of payments is another bold step which results in more people coming under the legitimate financial system.  Moving towards a digital economy is not an easy task. There will be many hitches in the way. For instance, many people are not familiar with some major digital learning concepts and platforms, however they can be trained. Younger generations who are quite digital familiar can help out the older ones and the rural sector.

 

Digital transactions will help bring transparency into the system. The long term future of the Start-up and e-commerce sector in India looks robust with more and more people coming on digital platform. Thus, the move from a cash economy to a digital one will have long-term benefits for the economy, ushering in transparency and a faster adoption of digital payments. Moreover, one of the major challenges that remain in priority is the attitude of people at large. Certain set of attitudes need to be completely changed for the overall well-being. Digital India can be achieved only with the continuous support of the people. And definitely things will happen sooner than later.

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Modern Lifestyle; Thy name is Stress!

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In today’s world, one cannot perform traditional work at a modern pace. Traditional work has traditional rhythm for which you need to be calm. You may be busy, but you must remain calm which sometimes might not be possible in present environment. It is often assumed that having more money eases the path through life, but sometimes it also brings added complications. Proper Plan is always required to make more money in order to lead a modern lifestyle. You may wish to acquire clothes or things that are more expensive simply to show off, trying to create a big impression. Conversely, the style depends on, what you do with these things. Thus, Fashion is what you buy, while style is what you do with it.

The modern lifestyle with its many fascinations, distractions and temptations can offer us several things, but the meekest of all goals – your inner peace – seems the one illusive thing beyond your reach. In fact, Modern lifestyle can destroy your peace. If not destruction it can disturb your peace. So do not ever let your lavish lifestyle steal your peace.

The economic anarchy of capitalist society and its impact on Indian mind and ethos are one of the key factors that lead to stress. When you sturdily desire to have something which is difficult to acquire, then obviously you’re under stress. Modern lifestyle requires position which in turn requires money, your extra effort or corruption or anything that is unworthy.  Apart from the pressure of modern life, your stress level will also differ based on your personality, attitude, habits and risk factors. Expecting things to be easy that are normally not so – can further lead to stress which in turn requires you to change your habits and attitude which is difficult, but not impossible.

Since the consequences of traumatic and chronic stress are serious, it is vital to find out ways to mitigate stress. These kinds of stress cannot be completely removed but can definitely be kept under control. The first step in managing stress is identifying the cause. Then it is necessary to contemplate on your values. Your values tend to give you a direction, to deviate your mind from unnecessary material acquisitions and positions.

Meditation is undoubtedly one of the best stress management techniques known, since ancient times. Sit in a relaxed cross-legged fashion, try to control your mind and affirm that your life is in significance. And that implication will not allow you to feel jealous and envious of people and their positions. Avoid developing grudge on people who are leading an affluent life with a luxury car, bigger house, etc. It doesn’t mean that you should kill all your desires. Rather, have a clear goal, strive hard to achieve it, concentrate and then contemplate it.

The only person you should try to compete with – is the person you were yesterday. Give up comparing yourself with others. Don’t change to be better than those around you. Instead, change yourself into a better person. Review everyday whether you are reaching towards your goal or not.  Achieving specific goals requires focus, approach and continues efforts. Perseverance is another vital aspect of life for which you require strong willpower and courage.  Take risks as this may lead to change in your attitude and make you stronger, courageous thereby mitigating your stress to a large extent.

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Stress; Answer 20 Questions

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I list below some questions which you need to ask yourself. Considering their importance in your success story, contemplate seriously and answer as honestly as you can. Please give marks from 1 to 4 in each question. In the end you have to add up your score. The scale of evaluation is given at the end.

Analysis:

After completing the assessment, you need to add up your score and compare your performance with the analysis given below. We all know the significance of human life is continuous improvement in all areas. Pursuit of excellence should be your habit.

You will find adequate suggestions and techniques for improvement in your weak areas during the program, its activities and the course material. Make the best use of the opportunities.

These questions are about the negative qualities. So if you rarely do it give your-self one mark. But if you do it very often it would be 4. Therefore lesser the points the better.

Scores:

47 & below Great! Just remember pursuit of excellence is unending.

48 to 63 identify the areas to be improved and work on these.

64 to 80. Please work seriously to remove the deficiencies.

Impact of H-1B visa reforms on Indian IT companies

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India’s software services sector is bracing for the consequences of US President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigration, which include the restrictions on so-called H-1B visas. Having won the presidency on the promise of protecting US jobs and against moving work offshore, Trump through his reforms restricted the flow of immigrants and temporary labourers into the US workforce.

H-1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupation.  Indian IT firms and H-1B visa aspirants will be badly affected due to changes proposed by the Trump administration.  However, this reform doesn’t affect the Indians, settled in America who therefore being an American citizen enjoy all the benefits.

The American authorities have raised the minimum salary from 60,000 USD to 130,000 USD per annum with additional restrictions on the employer.  And therefore, doubling of the minimum wage applies to “visa dependent employers” who send the workers for a short period say 1 or 2 years from India.  Thus, Indian companies have to send those people who are really worth the minimum wages.

An opportunity to “work onsite” and “earn in dollars” has been a big lure for Indian Techies. But the Americans want only those specialized US workers to occupy those high-skilled technology works and the remaining jobs to be filled by local Americans.  However, there is nothing to worry about because the local American cannot become excellent techies overnight.

The US government have received about 250,000 applications for H-1B visas – with a majority of them being from Indian companies. Of nearly 85000 H-1B visas granted in 2015, 55900 visas were issued to engineers, designers, coders and others from India. This shows that the majority of tech worker in America are indeed no doubt Indians.

The new bill introduced by trump in the US House of Representative, made it difficult for the firms to grant H-1B visa as it is quite expensive. Furthermore, nearly half of the techies are actually working in India on the American projects. And therefore the problem is not the visa or the immigration laws. The exact problem lies on the shortage of appropriate manipulative skills which can take the country, workforce and economy from traditional one to a digital world.

Key Points on how the new bill on H1-B visas can impact Indians: 

  1. India’s IT industry will face short-term challenges

The reform will affect the profits of Indian IT companies in US. Because the new H-1B Reform Bill has doubled the minimum wage requirement of H1-B visa holders from $60,000 to $130,000. This change could turn into a major catastrophe for Indian companies and workers, as it would make it financially unviable for Indian workers to be hired in the US. This automatically negates one of the biggest reason for hiring Indian workers – the availability of cheap labour.

  1. Indian tech workers may face uncertain future

Due to the new reforms, Indian IT companies will not be able to send local engineers to work in US, for a very high salary. With the new mandated levels, Indian workers must be paid more than the American workers, making them a costly proposition. Moreover, it will be difficult to get them back   home and make them work for the same salary. Even when they tend to work– they will feel more dissatisfied.

  1. Results in higher operational costs for the Indian outsourcing industry

Changes in the H1-B visa arrangement will add immense cost pressures on IT firms. IT companies in India that enjoy significant cost advantages by sending Indian engineers to the US for a lower salary, are likely to be affected. H-1B programme was initiated on premise to complement America’s high-skilled workforce, but not replace it. Unfortunately, many companies are trying to exploit the programmes by cutting American workers for cheaper labour.

  1. Will affect Small Companies to a large extend

The restrictions on H1-B visas, is most likely to affect small firms more than large outsourcing firm. Since the process is expensive, small companies do not even dare to apply for these kinds of Visa.  Though the start-ups and emerging companies dare to innovate and progress, because of the high expense of acquiring the H1-B visa, the smaller companies tend to step back.

Unlike other countries like America, France, etc., there is no provision for start-up visa and thus, the companies daring to do something new can enjoy these benefits.  India’s one of the biggest outsourcing industry, Information Technology contributes around 9.5% to the country’s GDP and employs nearly 3.7 million professionals. And due to unfavourable developments in key markets, the industry faces difficulties on home-ground because of higher Operational Costs.

The US government allows upto 85,000 new H-1B visas each year but the demand is usually higher than the supply.  NASSCOM, the industry body for software and services companies is planning to send a delegation to the United States to negotiate and discuss on these issues. Meanwhile, India discussed several issues, including the proposed restrictions on H1-B visa with the US lawmakers.  The negotiators have to find an effective solution that does not hurt our economy, technical department and Indian IT companies.

Many social media companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, etc. have emerged to be successful in a very short span of time. Companies are automating jobs and seeking innovative technology to remain competitive. This kind of innovation has to be inculcated even in Indian Companies. Consequently, India has to inject the culture of innovation.

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What Ails Education in our Business Schools?

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Higher education system of ancient India had marked its impression all over the world. But over a period of time, higher education lost its global competitiveness. Due to foreign rulers–Mughals & then the British, the strength and finesse of our education was fatally wounded. The fact that our country got freedom about 70 years ago, yet our education system has hardly seen any change is dismal. No doubt, there are more schools, more colleges, more institutions for higher education, but the quality of education which is the critical has not improved. In particular, business management education in India is far from satisfactory. In spite the openings of many IIMs, the state of management education is depressing.

The expansion of economic activity requires more business managers. Many business schools came into existence. But are they producing graduates who can take up higher management roles? Sadly not. There are more than 20 IIMs as of now. Barring a few – IIM Ahmadabad, IIM Bangalore, & IIM Calcutta, the standard of education is below average. Besides, hordes of business schools have mushroomed throughout the country, but their pass outs are not even employable. The Modi Government may have realised the situation, but the action taken is too little, too late.

The Government is proposing to remedy some of the problems which require an executive order. Currently, there are more than 20 IIMs, yet it is unfortunate that only 7-8% of the MBA graduates are employable, according to a study conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. Employability is critical. The quality of teaching in most of the institutions is not even satisfactory. There are exceptions like highly rated IIM Ahmadabad, IIM Bangalore and IIM Calcutta, These are top 3 institutes and have excellent faculty. Students from these 3 IIMs are offered fat packages at campus placements. But no other institute can boast of the same.

Higher education system in India is in such a dismal state, that even the quality of students from the IIMs is deteriorating. Public Speaking training sessions have been conducted by us for the students of various IIMs including Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Udaipur, Raipur and Lucknow over a period of time. It was observed that only students from Ahmadabad, Bangalore and Kolkata were capable of expressing themselves clearly, and confidently. Others searched for words, used lot of filler words and were too verbose to communicate effectively. Here, we are considering only IIMs. One can imagine the poor plight of students from thousands of other business schools which have mushroomed in the country over the years. There were 5500 business schools approved by A.I.C.T.E. Out of these 220 were shut down in 2014 & 2015. At least 120 more met the same fate in 2016.

If this situation prevails, we will land ourselves in a scenario of having a huge number of people with degrees but not enough manpower with adeptness to meet the emerging requirement, thereby leading to low employability. Latest bill on education is intended to remove some of the anomalies.

IIMs to offer MBA degree instead of diploma

Students passing out of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are presented with diplomas instead of degree certificates. This puts graduates from IIMs behind many universities and colleges, which provide Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degrees. Some countries do not understand the concept of PGDM. Only in India, diploma is recognized not in foreign countries. Therefore, if students are trying to find out any position outside India it is difficult.

Foreign Students need to be attracted  

Inspite of producing excellent students and some even being selected by multinational companies at very hefty packages, IIMs do not attract foreign students. Firstly because IIMs are awarding diploma instead of degree, secondly and more importantly there is practically no marketing effort. Since IIMs are getting enough students from within the country, the board of Governors of these institutes do not realise the importance of securing students from other countries. This is a fallacy. There is no dearth of students for the top universities in UK & USA, yet they have a consistent programme to attract foreign students. These institutes realise the benfits of cross cultural interaction in education. Hope some positive steps are taken in this direction.

Faculty need to be excellent trainers

The second major problem faced by IIM students is the faculty. Most of the faculty in IIMs are highly qualified but they are not great teachers. They need to be enthusiastic public speakers which most of them are not. If a faculty is not able to express his/her opinion with conviction the students are not going to become very confident individuals. Confidence to express oneself is crucial for a business leader.  Therefore, it is important to select skilled, high quality faculty who possess the necessary qualifications but who are also adept in motivational speaking.

These institutes need to be fully autonomous.

Out of 20 IIMs in India, 13 IIMs are functioning without full-time directors. Some posts are lying vacant for more than 2 years. If they are autonomous, this situation will not arise. In the absence of directors, the institutions will not be able to take decisions which should never be postponed. This may include appointment of faculty, which is the root cause of all problems.

Lack of Transparency

Transparency in management institutions will attract better quality professors who truly act as facilitators. IIMs must maintain the transparency in the selection of Faculty, Directors and Board of Governors of the institutions. While selecting the key personnel, both technical as well as the personal aspects should be taken into consideration.

Institutions must encourage education which motivates students to become independent learners. Also, Students must be encouraged to discuss with other students on research projects and assignments that are both socially and culturally relevant to them. By interacting with other students, they develop the ability to express their thoughts and ideas effectively and confidently.  In this way, students become self-confident, self-directed, and proactive. That will stimulate them to crack any kind of interviews effectively.

Hope with the 2017 budget where the focus is moved to improving the quality of education and the forthcoming education bill, we may see significant improvement.

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