Labor Law Reforms (India)

Unfavourable laws are one of the main reasons why labour-intensive manufacturing has suffered in India.

Indian policymakers seem to have realized the importance of manufacturing in providing jobs but it is also equally important to realize that the path leading to higher manufacturing employment has to necessarily cross a difficult bridge called labour reforms. Labour laws in India are perceived by trade and industry circles as complex, archaic and not conducive to promoting the interests of the industry. Some of the labour laws are both enacted and enforced by the Centre; in respect of some others, Centre enacts the law while implementation is done by both the centre and the states. Besides, there are labour laws which are enacted by the centre but are administered by the states. This complexity makes any modification of the labour laws a difficult task. Some of the major problems concerning labour laws in India are listed below-

  1. Many laws are old and irrelevant, a few being almost a century old.
  2. Some of the labour laws contain provisions, which are not perceived to be industry- friendly (eg. Section 25(F) of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947). Further, the Trade Unions Act, 1926 allowing the multiplicity of trade unions, stringent panel provisions under the Contract Labour (R&A) Act, 1970 etc. are also not perceived to be industrial friendly. Besides, the foreign investors are critical of the absence of a comprehensive exit policy.
  3. The process of tripartite consultations, which is mandated under the ILO Convention, often results in a breakdown of the consultation process in respect of contentious issues and the resultant delay.
  4. Definitions under different labour laws vary in respect of workman, establishment, appropriate government, etc. The threshold levels for applicability of the Act are also different under different labour laws. This has given rise to a lot of confusion. There is a need for uniform definition and threshold levels to the extent possible.
  5. Separate filing of returns under different labour laws creates difficulties for industries, particularly for the small units.
  6. Small units look down upon frequent inspections as ‘inspector raj’ since this adds to the compliance costs.

The recent emphasis on Make in India and the suggestion for enhancing the share of manufacturing necessitates rationalization and simplification of labour laws.

In order to understand the real impact of labour reforms on employment growth, it is important to move beyond self-selected anecdotes and engage in careful empirical analysis. Fortunately, a number of prominent scholars have taken up this task and produced a wealth of evidence regarding the association between labour reforms and many real outcomes such as employment growth, firm growth, plant productivity, etc. Almost all of them use the data provided by Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) compiled by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation. The survey provides plant-level information pertaining to inputs used and output produced by thousands of factories. More importantly, the survey is conducted every year—allowing the researcher to track the growth of a factory over the years.

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Professors Timothy Besley and Robin Burgess in their seminal research paper published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics examine if labour regulations hinder economic performance in India. They find that rigid labour laws lead to significant reduction in employment, productivity, and growth. More importantly, they document a strong relationship between labour laws and urban poverty. In other words, rigid labour laws are also associated with increased urban poverty. Researchers conclude that rigid labour laws ultimately end up hurting the very same constituency that they are supposed to protect.

Most of the arguments advanced, both in favour of and against labour reforms, are coloured by the ideological worldview or the economic status of the people making the arguments. Many a time, arguments are driven by passion rather than reason. For example, all those who represent workers or subscribe to a leftist worldview believe that labour reforms are likely to have a detrimental impact on employment and hence oppose even simple procedural reforms in this area. On the other hand, industrialists and those subscribing to rightist worldview call for radical labour reforms without appreciating the plausible political consequences and immediate human costs.

What government wants to do?

The government wants to club around 40 existing labour laws into four or five acts. For example, all wage-related laws will be made part of the wage code and all industrial relations laws included in the respective code. The wage code and the industrial relations code will club nearly 10 existing laws, including The Factories Act, 1948, and The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, into just two. The Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill seeks to position the National Pension System (NPS) as an alternative to Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF). Similarly, the wage code bill seeks to offer health insurance as an alternative to Employees State Insurance Corp.’s health facilities for industrial workers. Given below are some of the changes happened in recent past-

Minimum Wage

Last month the Union government increased the minimum wage of non-agricultural, unskilled workers in the central sphere from Rs.246 to Rs.350 per day. The wage hike move will benefit more than 10 million workers in sectors such as mines, construction, and sanitation. But the labour unions remain unconvinced and went on strike on 2nd September, to protest against labour reforms, disinvestment in profit-making public sector undertakings and contractualization of workforce, and demand a monthly minimum wage of at least Rs.15,000.

The decision to hike minimum wage does not mandatorily apply to all such workers across the country. Labour issues are a part of the concurrent list of the Constitution, allowing both the Union and state governments to make labour laws. The Union government has the power to declare a national minimum wage floor, discussions for which have been on for the past couple of years.

Model Shops and Establishment Bill

According to a 2015 research paper published by NITI Aayog, the labour force participation rate (LFPR) in India is around 40%, but for females, it is only 22.5%. The gap in male-female labour force participation is such that the LFPR for rural females of the age group over 15 years is only 35.8%, while for rural males it is more than double at 81.3%. The Union government is making efforts to bridge this gap. The Model Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016, that the Union cabinet approved last month allows women to work night shifts, albeit with proper safety arrangements. The labour ministry has proposed a similar provision in Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2014, which is pending in Parliament.

Maternity Benefit Act

Rajya Sabha also passed the Maternity Benefit Amendment bill 2016 which raises maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks. The bill also provides 12 weeks leave for commissioning and adopting mothers. A commissioning mother is one who gets a baby via surrogate mothers. This bill also makes it mandatory for an establishment where the number of workers is 50 and above to provide a creche facility . Beverage maker Coca-Cola India Pvt. Ltd, pharmaceuticals firm Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd and diversified Hinduja Group are among those firms who have recently taken similar moves. Startups like Jabong and Care24 (Aegis Care Advisors Pvt. Ltd) too has announced a similar policy for women workers.

Factories Act

The cabinet also gave ex-post facto approval for amendment of the Factories Act, 1948 by introducing the Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament. The amendments relate to increase in overtime hours from the existing 50 hours per quarter to 100 hours (Section 64) and existing 75 hours per quarter to 125 hours (Section 65) in some urgent situations.

Exemption to MSMEs

The ministry has decided to exempt MSMEs from inspections related to key labour laws—including the Contract Labour Act, the Employees State Insurance Act, the Trade Union Act, the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act and Industrial Disputes Act—in a bid to dispel fears and encourage entrepreneurs to help promote manufacturing in the country. The internal circular issued by labour secretary Shankar Aggarwal proposes to simplify the compliance burden of MSMEs in the first three years of establishment.

Some suggestions from FICCI regarding labour reforms are-

  1. To give more economic independence to the State Governments and promote federalism, FICCI strongly pleads for shifting labour to the State list, from existing concurrent list of the constitution.
  2. A uniform definition of terms like ‘industry’ and ‘worker’ is necessary across statutes. For better interpretation and understanding, industry should be termed as ‘enterprise’ and workman should be termed as ‘employee’.
  3. Reduction/ reforms in dispute settlement mechanisms between labour and employers. There are more than 4 levels of dispute settlement which are available after arbitration. These should be reduced to maximum one or two levels on a priority basis.
  4. Almost every Act requires the employer to maintain a set of registers, submit periodic returns and display certain notices near the main entrance of the establishment. The efforts spent to complete these formalities are not commensurate with the utility of such registers, returns, and notices. Besides, there is a lot of duplication and over-lapping.
  5. Laws governing terms and conditions of employment, which may consolidate:

(a) Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

(b) Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946

(c) Trade Unions Act. 1926

Laws governing wages, which may consolidate:

(a) Minimum Wages Act, 1948

(b) Payment of Wages Act, 1936

(c) Payment of Bonus Act, 1965

Laws governing welfare which may consolidate:

(a) Factories Act, 1948

(b) Shops and Establishments Act

(c) Maternity Benefits Act, 1961

(d) Employees’ Compensation Act, 1952 and

(e) Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970

Laws governing social security, which may consolidate:

(a) Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions

Act, 1952

(b) Employees State Insurance Act, 1948

(c) Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972

Here some of the questions from the change management perspective are-

  1. The laws framed mainly to cater the manufacturing sector, do not address the problems of the service sector, which today, accounts for 55 per cent of our GDP. How are we going to address problems of such a large workforce?
  2. When the multiplicity of labour laws will end? 44 central and about 100 state laws – present operational problems in implementation and compliances that need to be looked into. Besides, using different terminologies like – employee, workman, worker to denote a worker or wages, basic wages, salary referring to the compensation, yet covering different components in each legislation, have made compliance very cumbersome multiplying litigations.
  3. In the market economy of today, average shelf-life of a product is less than 6 months. Companies are under pressure to innovate, redesign and technologically upgrade the products to suit consumers’ choices which are not possible without restructuring and rightsizing. Chapter V-B of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 enacted during emergency puts all these processes under Government purview which has promoted industrial sickness. How can the entrepreneurs avail benefits of Make in India or Skill India in such circumstances?
  4. For the implementation of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, in 2012 an estimated 3,171 inspectors were expected to cover around 7.70 million establishments in the country, giving a ratio of 2,428 establishments per inspector. Inspection rates, that is, the proportion of registered factories that have been inspected declined from 63 per cent in 1986 to 18 per cent in 2008. Notwithstanding data limitations, this decline is symptomatic of the poor state of inspections. What is the use of stringent acts if the implementation is not happening?
  5. The government is talking of simplifying labour laws but there are no labour laws to cover women who deliver crucial government schemes, such as the Anganwadi Worker and Helper of the ICDS [Integrated Child Development Services] or the Accredited Social Health Activist [ASHA] of the NRHM [National Rural Health Management], the IKP [Indira Kranti Patham] or Grama Deepika workers of the National Rural Livelihood Mission or the various Shiksha Karmis involved in primary education or those involved in the National Child Labour Programme.
  6. What is the action plan of government in the creation of skilled labour? The ITIs need to be modernised but the private sector will not step in to do that. Companies have stepped in to modernise the ITIs with government help before, but it is primarily the responsibility of the government to invest in training.

 (Sources- Multiple articles from LiveMint, ET, Frontline special issues, ILO paper, FICCI report)

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Funding and Startup Valuation Bubble

‘Funding’ and ‘startup valuation’ are buzz-words these days. With funding of millions of dollars, valuations of many newborn companies have crossed the mark of  one billion dollars. Amazon is pumping $3 billion in Amazon India, Alibaba is investing in Paytm and many more startups are getting funded.

A comparison of the valuation of these startups with decade old companies can be very interesting. Flipkart founded in 2007 had a valuation of $15 billion (Rs 100,000 crore) in May 2015. In comparison, the stock market values of Tata Motors founded in 1945 was at Rs 95,000 crore. Hindalco, India’s largest aluminium company has a market valuation of Rs 16,000 crore. Snapdeal, which began trading just six years ago, is valued at Rs 35,000 crore. India’s biggest airline, Jet Airways, with large assets, is valued at Rs 3,800 crore. In stark contrast, asset-light Ola Cabs, the app-based taxi-hailing start-up, is worth Rs 30,000 crore.

Recently Morgan Stanley has marked down start-ups in the US such as Palantir and Dropbox as global investors turn cautious on new ventures with high valuations and no clear path to profitability. The total value of Flipkart has touched a low of $9.4 billion. Fund-raising has also become more challenging for start-ups, both in India and the internationally.

Why and when startups need funding?

Startups need funding to grow faster and avoid valley of death. “Valley of death” is a term referring to the time from when a startup firm receives an initial capital contribution to when it begins generating revenues. During the Death Valley curve, additional financing is usually scarce, leaving the firm vulnerable to cash flow requirements.

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The early stage investment is called as Angel funding whereas venture capitalists enter a little later. VCs or funding partners aim for potential exit through M&A or probability of the company getting listed as a public limited company. But for an ‘exit’ to happen, someone else has to ‘enter’.

How is valuation calculated?

Companies are valued based on the expectation of future profits. Valuation is mostly about perception and how good a sales pitch the CEO can make. Some of the key factors considered while calculating valuation is-

  1. The potential of the idea/product What is the solution that company is providing? Is it really going to be the next big thing? The ‘hotness’ of the industry attracts more investors. E-commerce, mobile wallets, payment banks, driverless cars – these ‘disruptive’ technologies will transform the way we work, consume, travel and pay. It is this transformation that VCs and PEs are betting on.
  2. Traction What is the existing user base? How fast can a company convince more users? The deals of LinkedIn and Whatsapp were valued at $ 26.2 billion and $19 billion respectively because of their strong user base across the world.
  3. Reputation (founding team) The kind of reputation Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos bring to the table warrant more valuation. A successful startup often has more to do with the founders’ ability to execute rather than starting with a truly brilliant idea. The background of the founders, their previous projects and their exits, influence valuation.
  4. RevenuesRevenues are more important for the B-to-B startups than consumer startups. Valuations always include a bit of mystery, but those more mathematically inclined will appreciate adding revenues to the equation.

Issues with funding and valuation bubble

Most e-commerce sites like Flipkart and Snapdeal focus on gross merchandise value (GMV) to pitch their stories. GMV is misleading for three reasons- First; it reflects the total value of goods and services transacted through the site, not the actual revenue earned by it. The real revenue of e-commerce sites is broadly around five per cent of their GMV. Second, the huge discounts offered are not excluded from GMV. Third, companies can temporarily boost GMV by offering huge discounts on trending products like mobile phones. Such kind of sales are not sustainable but they help in the immediate round of funding and valuation.

No start-up is listed; so scrutiny by financial analysts is limited. Their balance sheets, though, are available on the Registrar of Companies (RoC) website and it’s clear that actual annual revenues are in fractions of the GMVs.

Questions are now being raised: is the hype overcooked? The US offers a glimpse of the future for e-commerce start-ups. Amazon, only recently, announced a quarterly profit after 21 years of being in business but commands a market value of $260 billion, which is more than that of America’s largest retail chain Wal-Mart (market value: $230 billion).

There is no fixed plan to grow and higher importance to time over money. One fine day, they want to target one whole country as a potential market. The next month, they are scaling down operations after burning millions trying to scale up. There will be plans to go ‘app only’ and then there will be a sharp U- turn. (Example: E-Commerce and food delivery startups).

The money spent on customer acquisition is absurd, which is obviously not turning into profits. The willingness to capture more and more market share is dangerous. When the users talk about the cash backs and discounts associated with a product instead of its utility or experience of using it, there is something seriously wrong with the business strategy of the company. Most of the tech startups are acquiring customers by offering discounts, which is justified, given the huge technology-adoption potential in India. However, if a company has to pay users to keep using the product, it is a serious misappropriation of funds.

After some years, three-four resource-rich and efficient players will remain in these business areas. Most of the small players will either experience a painful death or get acquired by big companies if they are lucky. Thus an openly competitive market gets reduced to an oligarchy.

The startup ecosystem, thus will shift to course-correction. We have started seeing this in the case of food delivery and grocery startups. There is an interesting dialogue in the movie Interstellar which makes us ponder- “Will ever such time come when we will need food more than any fancy innovation?”.
And the answer is- yes, it will come when innovations create ‘Redundancies’.

When is a redundancy created? When you already have enough resources to get something done, and yet you get more resources that add no value, while totally missing out on what is essential to keep us going or progress. An insane number of food delivery startups remind me of the same dilemma.

Some other key concerns are wage distribution and volatility of jobs. Silicon Valley employees are commanding ever increasing wages, with reports of $500,000 annual pay packages offered to recent college graduates. Interns are making $7,000 or more a month. Expectations for such sky-high pay have become both inevitable and unsustainable; they’re reminiscent of the $1 million pay packages promised to Wall Street associates in 1999. By 2000, once the party had ended, annual bonuses were being replaced by pink slips!

In the book ‘HR scorecard’,  the authors talk about a very important phenomenon- “Organization has to be a compelling place to work to make the company a compelling place to shop”. This can’t be achieved just by offering attractive pay packages but by having a right strategy.

In a recent article in The New York Times, Katie Benner sounded a warning from the Silicon Valley: “Start-ups that cannot adapt to a world that prizes profit over growth may ultimately be forced to raise money at the same or lower valuation than in the past, something referred to as a ‘down round’. Those can be debilitating: employee stock options usually become less valuable when a firm’s valuation falls, making it harder to retain people”. The concern about valuation bubble is exactly the same in India too, “Of recent, the valuation game has turned into a ‘black magic art’ more than a science,” Ravi Gururaj, the then chairman of India’s National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) product council, told Quartz in March 2015.

The way forward

As Warren Buffett put it, “It’s only when the tide goes out that you can see who’s been swimming naked.” Recent reluctance to go public and valuation markdowns suggest we’ve reached high tide — and we’re about to discover who’s most exposed.

So the question arises, will these ‘fancy’ startups (Ola, Flipkart, Paytm, etc) not get funded anymore? The answer is – they will. It’s just that their growth and valuation will go down because we need e-commerce and internet technology startups. The valuation bubble is a global one.

Imagine the Dotcom Burst. The money is there, those who deserve shall get it. According to the research, 92% of the startups fail in first 3 years, but if startups pivot successfully at the right time they might survive and come across a good business model. Wal-Mart takes parking fees, promotional advertising fees. They’ll even service the car we drive there. Does that mean they have failed at selling grocery?

If entrepreneurs ask few questions using approach of 6 thinking hats, it will give them more clarity and stop from falling in trap of startup bubble-

White Hat -What solution will the business provide?

-What are the required and available resources?

-Is this the good time to raise funds? Who will give funding?

-What valuation do we want? How can we make this model profitable?

-Why did startups fail in spite of funding and how to avoid those traps?

-How much equity to dilute for funding?

Red Hat -Hesitation?  Fear of losing? Excitement? Concern?
Black Hat -What are the weak points of the business plan?

-What could go wrong? What is my plan B?

-What will happen if the required funding is not raised?

-What will I learn if something goes wrong?

-What if the startup fails?

Yellow Hat -What are the benefits of this decision?

-How to create a successful business using this decision?

-Where should we make the investment after getting funding?

-What is the plan of action once the financial problem is solved?

-When will the firm achieve breakeven point?

Green Hat -What are the other ways to raise funds?

-Why not operate as a lean startup?

-What are the solutions to arrest probable issues?

-Is expansion at the cost of equity is necessary?

Blue Hat -How and when profitability can be achieved to avoid external support to business?

-How do other employees and stakeholders look at this decision?

Conclusion

Getting a higher valuation in the first round isn’t a victory, maintaining that valuation in future matters the most. There is a huge difference between the valuation of billions of dollars and liquidity. The problem is that start-ups are surviving on VC/PE/angel money, and not on earned profits. When that source eventually dries up, some will go belly-up. Companies with no real business models will die anyway. Startups are also often pressurised by VCs and Private Equity people to scale too fast. In that race to chase growth, a lot is sacrificed.

Entrepreneurs need to focus on creating more value and profit rather than on raising more and more money to boost valuation. Upon going for an IPO, company’s listed price shall not match the company’s valuation at the last round of funding. This is going to cause a major crash where early exits will be lauded & a lot of investors are going to be an unhappy lot. Only those with business models that generate real cash profits will survive and a few thrive.

(Sources- Business Standard, Economic Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Yourstory, Wall Street Journal, Inc, Business Insider, Pbs)

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LinkedIn-Microsoft deal- In Short

Alphabet, Oracle, IBM and Salesforce also tried to acquire LinkedIn but finally Microsoft grabbed the deal at $26.2 Bn. It is absolutely essential to have alignment on two things in any M&A: Purpose and structure. On the former, virtually Microsoft and LinkedIn had identical mission statements. For LinkedIn, it was to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful, and for Microsoft it was to empower every individual and organization in the world to achieve more. Both are trying to do the same thing but coming at it from two different places: For LinkedIn, it’s the professional network, and for Microsoft, the professional cloud. 

Reasons- Technological & Strategic Advantage

The data Microsoft is going to get from LinkedIn can be used for interviews, reference, etc. Integration of services like HRMS, Skype, MS office will enable Microsoft to give unparalleled offerings. In words of Satya Nadella,“This combination will make it possible for new experiences such as a LinkedIn newsfeed that serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete”. Microsoft could also enter into bridging gap between job requirements and job seekers by using Lynda.com, recent acquisition of LinkedIn. Talent acquisition business of LinkedIn is strong and it is penetrated only 20% into large organizations. This human capital area is a massive business opportunity and an entirely new one for Microsoft. Marketing and Premium solutions have strong growth opportunities. This gives Microsoft a big technological and strategic advantage. At the same time it is boon for investors of LinkedIn because of company’s growth was slow in last year.

Competition with Facebook and Salesforce.com

Microsoft has dominated the work productivity software market for 30 years. With the acquisition of LinkedIn, the company is looking to add the missing “social angle” to its products. Currently Facebook at work or Enterprise Social Network (ESN) is in beta mode and being used by 450 companies. The social media giant plans to reach out to global working population of three billion. The combination of Microsoft’s work productivity tools with LinkedIn’s professional network could prove to be a tough competitor for Facebook@Work.

LinkedIn gathers detailed information about its users, including their employment history, education and whom they know. These data could prove valuable to Microsoft as it attempts to build offerings for managing relationships with customers and to compete with Salesforce, a firm it tried to buy last year. This deal enhances Microsoft’s transition from a desktop software firm to a cloud computing services provider.

Concerns of Financial Analysts

Though Satya Nadella has been more aggressive about acquisitions than Steve Balmer, industry experts have expressed some concerns about this deal. In February LinkedIn’s share price sank by more than 40% in a day, shedding $11 billion from its market value, after the firm reported that forecasts of revenues for 2016 were lower than expected. LinkedIn had also revealed that it made a net loss of around $165m in 2015, despite revenues of $3 billion, in large part because of excessive stock-based compensation.

History and Operational Challenges

In most of the M&A it is more important to see what company does with M&A rather than which company is being bought. Records of Microsoft with such big deals are poor. Buying aQuantive ($ 6.3 Bn, 2007), Skype ($ 8.5 Bn, 2011) and Nokia’s handset business ($ 7.6 Bn, 2014) didn’t go well. Satya Nadella wants to keep LinkedIn as a separate company might be because he has seen negative side of integrating big companies.

Post Merger Integration and Culture

As per Peter Cohan integration is one of the important tests for successful acquisition. After this deal Jeff Weiner will remain LinkedIn’s CEO and report to Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, and join the Senior Leadership Team but there could be a culture clash between the younger LinkedIn thinking and the mature Microsoft way of doing things. In near term there will be no changes in who reports to whom so no reporting relationships at Microsoft will change in that regard. LinkedIn team is expected to focus on driving results while simultaneously partnering on product integration plans with the Office 365 and Dynamics teams. Jeff Weiner in his article ‘changing way world works’ writes, “employees will have the same title, the same manager, and the same role they currently have, the company will have the same mission and vision; same culture and values”. A lot of academic research shows that the odds of making an acquisition work are not high; it will be interesting to see what happens in this deal.

(Sources- article of Jeff Weiner, people matters, Economist, Business Insider, Forbes & ET)

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Charles Correa

Charles Correa 1

Mukesh Bhavsar on Charles Correa

Charles Correa 2

Mukesh Bhavsar on Charles Correa

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How to crack TISSNET?

TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) has earned recognition as an institution of repute from different Companies, Ministries of the Government of India and various State Governments, as well as international agencies such as the United Nations, and the non-government sector, both national and international. The Master’s degree program in Human Resource Management offered at the TISS (now at Hyderabad also) remains one of the most sought after and prestigious programs in the field of HR in India.

As a student of HRM, I take the opportunity to make TISSNET preparation simple for you which will be beneficial to applicants of almost all courses :-).TISS_Logo The selection of candidates for different programmes happens in two stages and has three components of assessment. All candidates appear for the National entrance test (TISSNET). Based on the performance in the TISSNET examination, only short listed candidates are called for the Pre Interview Test (PIT). In this post I’ll focus only on entrance exam i.e. TISSNET. Difficulty level is not that great as TISS wants students with no exposure to have the equal chance too (but this results in very high cut-offs). Typically aspirants have to attempt 100 questions in 100 minutes. From last few years there is no negative marking and three sections are there-

1. English Proficiency (30 questions)– This section has RC passages with most questions being direct. Besides RC, logical arrangement of paragraphs, vocabulary based fill-in-the-blanks, analogies, sentence correction, essence/summary of a paragraph are the kind of questions that have traditionally appeared in this section. Keep daily habit of reading something related to different fields. E.g. Education, Politics, Biology, Economy, History, etc. Identify the crux of the passage, mark important words and refer dictionary for unknown words. Try to improve reading speed. You can go through other sites which will give you break up of questions according to different category. But searching/reading too much info isn’t that useful, just keep in mind these inputs and FOCUS ON STUDY!

2. Maths and logical reasoning (35 questions)– Practice commonly asked topics like Venn Diagrams, Ratios and Proportions, time and work, quadrilaterals, numbers, averages, profit and loss, mathematical series, percentage, permutation and combination, DI, visual reasoning, etc. Refer RS Agarwal or any other notes with average difficulty level. Calculation speed is the key! Learn tables, squares, cubes, fractions, etc. You can expect 5-7 difficult questions in this section.

3. Most important- General Awareness (30 questions)- This is where many of the top percentile getters of other exams fail! Forget TISS if you don’t improve your GK! TISS really wants to have different blood in the institution and they make it sure through this section. Earlier the questions used to be predominantly from the field of Social Sciences only while they cover concepts from a wider range of topics now but there is a common trend in the kind of questions being asked. I hope they don’t change the pattern after reading this blog ;-).

From last few years around 15-20 questions are being asked on Static GK– longest-biggest-highest type questions, states-dances, arts, culture, books & authors, laws and rights, constitution of India and recent amendments, important organizations (founding years, HO locations, heads), government schemes, etc. Also go through basics of history, geography, science and economics.

Remaining 10-15 questions are based on news from last 8-10 months (Current GK)- Recent Mergers & Acquisitions, obituaries, socio-political appointments, sport persons, important sports/events/tournaments and their slogan-logo-locations, budget, elections, awards, etc. After reading this you might think it is too much to go through all this but believe me it is important and helps a lot during ANY interview. You just need to keep making note of anything relevant you read in a smart way. E.g. create separate word files for above topics and keep adding information regularly. For other GK topics just Google- list of M&A/ obituaries/ Sport events, etc in the year so and so…

Take as many mocks as you can, solve old TISSNET papers, it will boost your confidence. Don’t be overconfident because of easy nature of paper. Don’t search/ask for cut-off! Your target should be terribly score high! Practice will give you understanding of the required speed, strong and weak areas. Keep reading newspapers like Indian Express/TOI and ET. Keep adding one liner news in your word file, Google around those news to memorize important info. Daily reading will help you in getting comfortable with social issues, forming opinions, changes in laws, HR and other development related news. This helps in GK section as well as PIT because you get just a month to prepare for PIT and you have lot to read! (and interviews of other B-schools in between).

For question papers, GK and PIT related  material visit- https://howtocracktiss.wordpress.com

For official info- http://www.tiss.edu/

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लेझीम खेळणारी पोरं (Lejhim Khelnari Pora- Marathi Play review)

Lejhim Khelnari Pora review

Mukesh Bhavsar on Lejhim Khelnari Pora (review)

Lejhim Khelnari Pora_Mukesh Bhavsar 2

Mukesh Bhavsar on Lejhim Khelnari Pora (review)

Director and Set Designer: Abhijeet Zunjarrao (Contact-abhijeet.zunjarrao@rediffmail.com)

Writer: Sanjay Krushnaji Patil

Cast: Neha Ashtaputre, Durgesh Budhkar, Rahul Shirsat, Ketan Fad, Roshan More, Sonali Magar, Babu Aavade, Darshana Rasaal and Shreyas Meshram

Music– Viraj Zunjarrao Lights– Jaydeep Apte

Presented By Abhinay, Kalyan

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Education… Career and Happiness…

Did I want to be a civil engineer? Of course not… I wanted to be a superman…! Wanted to join army and protect my beloved country. But then things don’t always happen the way we dream… do they? Ok… From the very first day I was told that I had to concentrate and focus and work hard and understand and do all of this at the same time… After all my name is just Mukesh with no Ambani at the back! So I would go to the class daily filled with all types of people and try to do all these things together… I would end up staring at the teacher with an expression of constipation. They sure would remember me… my ways have been weird. I used to say there is difference between education and learning… and they used to laugh at me… But I felt pity for them for not understanding the essence of education… Sometimes I tried to tell them if students are not paying attention in class the teachers are equally responsible for failing to create interest in students! I would tell my boring teachers that I might bunk few lectures and just meet the norm of 75% attendance… Instead of looking at my honesty and reflect on the quality of education they have provided, they would tag me as a rude student and unofficially give me less Marks in the internal assessments… Because they were gurus! They used to do their job to ‘deliver’ lectures… But those long painful hours while drawing sheets and writing assignments made me cry. Took precious fun and learning away from those intellectual books, talks, seminars, music shows and everything I used to do…

“Do you have a girlfriend? Are you virgin?” many people tend to ask me in Mumbai… Never ask such questions… I didn’t even made good friends in those ‘5 years’ of engineering! Not even from my class mates! There were exams…. Fat books… hundreds of concepts… thousands of numerical and speculation by those who had the power to speculate… “Is baar ye pakka aayega 15 marks ke liye” 🙂 The look that everybody had just before the exam… Cannot be expressed in words… A day before the results… Nobody would utter a word that could upset another living soul… they told me god is watching… even though I don’t know now even if he exists or not… Not only was it important to pass… it was important for everybody to pass… Somebody would still fail… but why its me all the time??

My teacher asked me once- Mukesh what will you do in life? What do you want to become? I said,” ma’am, I want to be a good human. I want to follow my interests. Pet ke liye kuch na kuch dhang ka to kar hi lunga!” and I did, for next three years I worked with some of the best organizations experimenting in education, even got a chance to work as a teaching assistant in Manchester University..!

But there is this invention called money… and you are expected to earn it and forget that money is for you… You are not for money! Then there was office… No offence intended… a labour knows work better than any (fresher) engineer on site… I went there clueless… Then the boss would ask us to do something that even he fails to understand and even though you know nothing about what’s going on in this world you still do it..! Perfectly sometimes. I didn’t give a damn what amount of money I earn… Every month the company kept putting money in my bank account… I was interested in learning… I experimented with life… I had tough time… Many left… some new joined… I was interested in low cost housing and bamboo… but who else? Everybody wanted to build towers in cities… For the sake of building CV I was also on the so called ‘World’s tallest residential project’. For the luxury known to only those who have money!

Everything could go wrong… Never did… I did not come here to make friends…  Or to please people… But things don’t happen the way we say… do they… I made many friends…. I fell in love… she left… I gathered my bits and pieces and started walking again… And I met few good people again… I sing with Avril ‘if you wanna bring me down.. Go ahead and try. Go ahead and try!’

Even now many of my friends are married… My Facebook Wall keeps showing where did they go for honeymoon and what type of car they bought… But it doesn’t speak about the heavy loan they have on their head! And here I am still looking for something real and meaningful in life… Then in 2015 I joined a management program of my choice in the institute I loved a lot… After fighting alot with situation and parents! But things remained the same! Did I ever grow up? Did I really learn anything because of these top engineering and masters degrees? What did I get, what did I loose? You have chosen the other, so called safe path… Tell me are you happy my friend?

It’s complicated!!

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