Saturday, October 13, 2007

Media Reports - R K Misra

Please READ me as Editor of Times of India - Page -2 - October - 12 - 2007
Also other Lead India Articles इन September-October - 2007 (Page-2)

Use of Plastic improves durability of Bangalore Roads - Sep - 2006

Bangalore is getting Bangalored - Indian Express - June - 26, 2006

Mayor is unhappy with Misra inspecting the roads of Bangalore -political undertones - March - 2006

What’s irritating the city’s IT industry - Indian Express - Oct - 30, 2005

Stand-Off between Industry and Karnataka Government - The Hindu - Business Line - Sep-16, 2005

Adopting a lake in the neighbourhood - July - 2005

Who will address 5 Most Impotant Issues for Election 2009 - My VOTE goes for BJP/NDA

To choose your 5 most important issues for Elections-2009 please go to - Change India has access and has put-in resurces to work with and make these issues the agenda of 2 national parties - BJP and Congress.

My 5 most important issues for Elections-2009 are Economy, Terrorism, Rural Poverty, Infrastructure & Reforms.

Economy -
UPA inherited a boom economy from NDA and all the hard work and reforms during NDA regime yielded 4 years of unprecedented economic growth. UPA did not make use of this unprecedented opportunity to reduce revenue and fiscal deficits, create a safety net for unorganized sector and given a thrust to infrastructure.

Unfortunately none of this was done. Now we are in an unprecedented global economic slowdown with fiscal deficit reaching around 12% of GDP (Center & States Combined) and we have no money left to pump prime the economy without causing a debt trap. UPA has completely mismanaged the economy and wasted the golden opportunity it had.

Terrorism/Border Security-
UPA's record on terrorism and border security has been a disaster and we need not say much about this area. Intelligence agencies have become puppets in the hands of politicians to spy on opponents, defense agencies do not act on intelligence inputs, no one is held accountable (I have not hard of any official being fired or suspended post 26/11, of course Home Minister was a non-entity anyway) and weak laws have made it impossible to punish terrorists.

Rural Poverty -
NREGA scheme, a good initiative has failed miserably with only 16 days of actual work being provided where money was spent for 100 days worth of work. This is as per the CAG report - a Government of India oversight institution. NREGA anyway is just a temporary measure to give rural poor some work of digging some pits and ponds, just to keep them alive. No effective steps have been taken by UPA to revive rural economy to provide long term sustainable employment and non-agri income generation opportunities in rural India.

Infrastructure -
NDA had visionary infra initiatives of Golden Quadrilateral and NHDP programs in road sector. Telecom reforms, airport and port privatization were the most visible infra initiatives of NDA.

UPA slowed all these programs. GQ is still incomplete. In fact a 'very capable' Minister of Surface Transport has changed 5 Chairmen of NHAI in last 2 years as they did not (could not) comply, since NDA had drafted NHAI act, which does not allow the minister to do what he feels like (?), so he tried changing Chairmen and when that also did not work, he just stopped the work.

Compare this with Mr. Khanduri (NDA Minister), the cleanest politicin you will ever come across and a task master. He was Mr. Vajpayee's choice.

We all know what UPA ministers have done in Telecom. Selling precious GSM spectrum at throw away prices to their favorite companies. 3G is still a dream.

JNNURM was a good initiative to improve urban infrastructure, but here again UPA miserably failed in delivery. No effective oversight mechanism was put in place.

Political/Economic/Judicial Reforms -
UPA has not been able to carry out any reforms, economic or political. They blamed left for economic reforms but there was no desire to do anything on political reforms either. Congress's own leader Mr. Veerappa Moily has drafted a wonderful report on administrative and political reforms but it just remains that, a report.

Judicial reforms are a crying need. Crores of court cases are pending, judges have come under suspicion and we have executive and judiciary clashing so very often. This is not a healthy situation. No party or coalition has spoken openly about this, but we must address this issue.

So I give my VOTE to BJP/NDA for this election.

Mr. Advani is the most experienced leader in the country today. He is simple, approachable and is willing to listen. He has grass root understanding of the country, acquired over 70 years of political activities. He has visited and interacted with the people from every nook and corner of the country to understand our nation of great complexity and diversity.

All BJP/NDA Chief Ministers (Gujarat, MP, Orissa, Bihar, Chattisgrah, Uttarakhand & Rajasthan) have done great development work with good governance in their respective states and have got re-elected (except Rajasthan where in-fighting let BJP down).

BJP has internal democracy where even Mr. Advani can be questioned. There is no high command culture and there is no sycophancy. You don't need to be loyal to a family to be recognized nor do you have to have a fancy surname to become a leader.

Though chaotic at times (all democracies are chaotic as all are allowed to express their opinion), BJP/NDA had done a great job during their 5 year tenure from 1999-2004. They brought about visionary ideas (GQ, Privatization, PGSY, River Linking, Telecom & Insurance Reforms) and implemented them with vigor and sincerity. They lost in 2004 because of their city centric election campaign and poor electoral alliances.

So for me, it is BJP/NDA this time.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Lead India Home Page

Visit LEAD INDIA Home Page -

to know more about LEAD India and vote for your favorite candidate...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

About Myself

I have been an entrepreneur for most of my professional career.
I founded and acquired three technology businesses, raised venture funds and made successful exits.

In late 2005, I took time off from corporate role to advise entrepreneurs, invest as an Angel Investor and work in Public Policy Domain with various government and industry organizations.

Education -
IIT Kanpur - 85-89 (B Tech.)
Tokyo University - 89-91 (MS)

Professional -
Kajima corporation - Tokyo(91-95)

Entrepreneurial -
96-98 - Tekelec India - Subsidiary of Tekelec USA -

98-01 - Acquired Tekelec India, Renamed as Tenet Technologies

2001 - Raised PE from Citi Corp, NY

2003 - Sold Tenet to Hughes (which was acquired by Flextronics and subsequently KKR)

2005 - Took Time off from corporate roles

Other Ventures/Investments –
99-00 - India's first Travel Portal – Traveljini, which was sold to - ICICI Ventures

2006- Organic food business -

2007 - A DELI venture -

2006 ~ Few Other Technology/Alternate Energy Ventures

Industry & Government -
Founder Trustee – SAHYOG – Indian Council for Public Private Partnership (ICPPP)

CII- South – Co-Chair - Infrastructure & Convener– SUMINFRA-2007

Member – Empowered Committee on Infrastructure – Govt. of Karnataka

Advisor – Rajasthan Mission on Livelihood, Govt of Rajasthan

Charitable Initiatives –
Charter President – Rotary Bangalore IT Corridor (Dist – 3190)

Founder Trustee - Pragati Charitable Trust - An Environment Conservation Initiative

3 most important challenges facing the nation

3 Most Important Challenges for the country –

1. Inclusive Growth – Urban Rural Divide
India’s GDP is growing at close to 9% and is expected to reach 10%. India overtook Japan this year in number of billionaires, with 36 billionaires worth a total $191 billion while Japan's 24 billionaires were worth $64 billion. This is good news!! But please also note that 77% of our population (836 million people) lives at less than Rs. 20 per day, mostly in rural India. Benefits of growth and prosperity are not reaching the rural India.
Majority of our rural population is dependent on agriculture for its livelihood, however share of agriculture in India’s GDP has declined from 59% in 1950-51 to 20% in 2005-2006. Agriculture can no longer provide sustainable livelihood for our rural population.

We need to provide non-agricultural jobs in rural areas. Local skills based self employment in cottage industries should be encouraged through PPP. Micro Finance has been a major success in many parts.Agricultural productivity should be improved and more land should be brought under cultivation by implementing irrigation projects urgently. Farmer must get fair price for his produce through Input Cost based Procurement Price (ICPP) in place of current MSP. Easy credit facilities and crop insurance schemes should be effectively administered. Honest & efficient implementation of various rural welfare & employment generation schemes. 74th amendment should be implemented in its true spirit.

2. Essential Public Services for the Poor - Education & Health

Educated & Healthy population is a prerequisite to sustain high growth rate of any economy. Given our high economic growth rate, with share of services and industry in our GDP reaching 80%, we have a historic opportunity to provide gainful employment and respectable livelihood to each of our employable adult.
Unfortunately, majority of our population is UNEMPLOYABLE, because they are not suitably educated and lack required skills.
70% of our population is rural, dependent on agriculture. Education will provide them with an alternate means of employment. Sadly education is accorded a low priority in rural India due to the need for helping hands with daily chores of agriculture. Lack of infrastructure and poor quality of teachers has compounded the problem.
Efficient implementation of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan & Mid Day Meal Scheme with effective monitoring using DISE (District Information System for Education) should improve the situation.
Quality and affordable health care for poor should be made a national priority. We spend just 1.2% of our GDP on health care. Our Public Health System is inefficient and has lost its credibility. This is in urgent need of revival and resurrection. Our poor can not afford private healthcare. Subsidized Universal Health Insurance for poor should be accorded high priority.

3. Infrastructure is Essential for Virtuous Growth Cycle – PPP is the way to go

Rapid economic growth must be an essential part of our national strategy since it is only in a rapidly growing economy that we can expect to raise the incomes of the masses sufficiently to bring about a general improvement in living conditions. With sustained economic growth rate of 8-9% and population growing at 1.5% per year, the real income of the average Indian would double in ten years.
Infrastructure has become a major constrain and is threatening to impede our economic growth. The matter has acquired extreme urgency and calls for a substantial increase in the allocation of public resources for infrastructure sector. However, public resources alone may not be sufficient.
The private sector has a critical role to play in achieving the objective of faster and more inclusive growth. This sector accounts for 70% of the total investment in the economy. Given the huge investment requirement in infrastructure sector, private participation is critical and must be encouraged.
Government should device appropriate policy framework, dispute resolution mechanisms and MCAs (Model Concession Agreements) which would encourage private investment in infrastructure. Success of private participation in Telecom and National Highways should strengthen the case for a mutually beneficial Public Private Partnership Model in infrastructure.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Is Parliamentary System or Presidential System of Government better for India –

Lets first understand as to why do we need to change the system of government –

I can think of 3 possible reasons –

Incompetent and Criminals as Ministers & MPs –
Due to lack of party democracy and transparent system of choosing party candidates, we get incompetent and criminal elements as MPs, who end-up running the nation.

Paralysis of Governance–
Basic requirement of Parliamentary System of Governance is the consensus between Executive and Legislative which is often missing in the era of coalition politics, hence there is a paralysis of governance as very little legislative works get done.

Frequent Elections –
Since days of absolute majority are over, coalitions are put together for opportunistic reasons rather than ideological similarities. Many parties get the benefit of being in power without being accountable by providing outside support and thus holding the nation to ransom with not even 10% seats in legislature.

Possible solutions–
I believe a HYBRID SYSTEM which is a combination of Presidential System and Parliamentary Systems would be more appropriate.

When France went through a long period of unstable coalition governments, in 1958 they changed from parliamentary System to so called Semi-Presidential System of government.
Within a decade, French political parties, once unwilling to cooperate and form stable coalitions, began to coalesce into a workable system with coalitions that supported not only prime ministers, but also presidents.

The French hybrid system functions more smoothly when the majority party in parliament is also the party of the President, but this needs not always be the case. However, the French system has sometimes resulted in a situation of cohabitation, whereby the separately elected President may face a Prime Minister and majority party in the legislature from a party different than his own (which occurred in 1993 and 1997).

The term hybrid generally refers to a system with a separately elected President who shares executive power with the Prime Minister. The President usually has the constitutional power to select the Prime Minister.

For political reasons, Presidents generally appoint leaders of the ruling coalition to the post of Prime Minister, although they are not required to do so constitutionally. The President nominates the Prime Minister and selects his own cabinet, over which he presides. The President, his cabinet and attending bureaucracy initiate and draft most legislation.

The French President, like some others in hybrid systems, has some areas where his power is well defined, such as in the conduct of foreign affairs. The day to day running of the government is, however, left to the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Legislation & Bills -
'A way to avoid paralysis of governance resulting from coalition politics'
Bills can be introduced by the individual members, the executive and the government (the Prime Minister and the cabinet). However, the introduction of executive initiated bills takes precedence over member bills.

The executive sets the agenda in the legislature and can call for a package vote, which forces all or none of the pieces in a package of legislation to be passed.

The executive can make any bill it initiates result in a motion of censure if rejected, which dissolves the parliament.

The President can by-pass the legislature by taking a proposed bill directly to the public through a national referendum. If a majority of voters support the bill, it becomes law without any input from the legislature.

Crisis Resolution - Stability & Frequent Elections

Unlike in a parliamentary system, the legislature in France cannot force the resignation of the President. Rather, the President may dissolve the parliament’s Lower House, the National Assembly (but not the upper house, Senate). Further, the President appoints, and can remove the Prime Minister, who is effectively the head of the cabinet and legislature. Similar to the parliamentary model, the National Assembly can also force the government (the Prime Minister and legislative leaders) to resign by passing a motion of censure.

Thus, in the French model, while the Prime Minister is vulnerable to removal from both the legislature and the President, the President cannot be removed prior to the end of his/her electoral term.

This situation has the potential to combine the possible negative aspects of both presidential and parliamentary systems, leading to conflict and deadlock. As in a parliamentary system, party discipline is encouraged, as deviation would potentially bring down the majority party and its Prime Minister. At the same time, party discipline may discourage cooperation with the President, paralyzing the policy-making process.

The prospect of non-cooperation with the president due to party allegiance is tempered by the fact that the President can dissolve parliament and/or remove the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is encouraged to play a balancing role, as he or she must maintain the confidence of both the President and the legislature.

Please give your comments and suggestions ....

Times of India - Feature (R K Misra) - Road Less Travelled

Here's the article (ToI.BLR.2007.0904.Pg02) for folks who missed it

Road less travelled

IN THE running As the deadline for nominations for Lead India nears, we profile some entrants
Swati Anand TNN

Rajendra Kumar Misra (42) is not one for conventional choices. After graduating from IIT-Kanpur in 1989, he refused a P-G scholarship in USA. Instead, he was one of the 25 students from 18 countries chosen to pursue Master of Engineering in Infrastructure and Transport Planning and Management from Tokyo University.

"Pre-internet USA wasn't exciting,'' he shrugs. "I was intrigued and impressed by Japan's culture and successful economic development model.'' After P-G, he joined Kajima Corporation, Japan's largest infrastructure development organisation. "Despite World War II, Japan became the world's second largest economy in 60 years and perfected inclusive growth and equitable wealth model of capitalism.'' Misra imbibed Japanese culture and work ethics. But he was bothered by the negative business image that the Japanese had of India. "I felt the itch to return to India,'' he recalls.

And against criticism from friends, Misra made unconventional choice No. 2: to prove entrepreneurs can pursue dreams in India.
In 1996, Misra founded Tekelec India, a telecom design and software company, and acquired its US parent two years later and renamed it Tenet Technologies. US-based CitiCorp invested in Tenet in 2001 and in 2003 Tenet merged with Hughes, which was acquired by Flextronics.

" I hated to be an armchair critic. My friends and colleagues complained about problems around us. While some had ideas how to fix problems, none had the conviction, commitment, time or financial independence to take the next step.'' Misra wanted to lead by example.

Thus came unconventional choice No. 3: he quit Flextronics in 2005 and got involved with various public policy initiatives around the public private partnership (PPP) model.
When Bangalore's poor infrastructure brought a faceoff between IT industry and political leadership in 2004, Misra convinced the government about the PPP model and assured private participants about government's commitment. "We delivered India's first set of community-based PPP road projects by developing four-lane roads in Bangalore's congested IT corridor -- 20 km at a cost of Rs 25 crore funded on a 50:50 model by government and users.'' Misra is now a PPP regular and a member of the state's Empowered Committee on Infrastructure.

"If I win Rs 50 lakh, I'd start a low interest microfinance venture for families that will put the money into entrepreneurial activities. It's better to teach a man to fish than give him one.''

Would Mahatma be a political force in today's context ?

In the history of post independent India, NOW is the time when the Mahatma, a true leader and social reformer, will be the most potent political force.

India of TODAY is a nation of YOUNG. More than 50% of our population is below 25 years of age. The youth of today is ambitious, responsible and proud be an Indian. He wants to be relevant and be counted. He is looking for an identity and ideology.

Who should he/she look up to?

Unfortunately our political leadership has been self serving and in the process dividing the nation on regional, religious and caste basis. They have failed to enthuse and inspire our youth. Only vested interests, political dynasties and anti-social elements are attracted to politics as a profession for obvious reasons.

Our youth have stopped believing in the political process and are resigned to the fact that things are not going to change. Most do not even vote because they feel that there is very little to choose from among the candidates as they all belong to the same discredited political class.

Mahatma Gandhi, a great leader and uniting force for the nation, was respected as he kept the nation’s interest above his own, which is missing in today’s political context. He scarificed his personl life and material comfort to serve the nation.

The Mahatma would be able to enthuse and inspire the youth of today, who is responsible and willing to contribute but has become disenchanted and disillusioned.

How do we create Modern Day Mahatma ??

5 Contentious Issues - Reservation, SEZs, Disinvestment, Sting Operations Terror Laws

My Views on these issues –

1. Reservation-
I am against current reservation policy.
Reservation was a well meaning Affirmative Action by State to bring about socio-economic change for underprivileged sections of the society. However, now it has become a vote gathering tool for all political parties.
The situation has become so bad that every caste wants to be included in the list of underprivileged castes. It has become a race to the bottom now. It is really sad.
Our reservation policy has divided this nation on caste and religious lines. Merit has taken a back seat and we are producing unqualified professionals in the name of social justice. This will impede national progress and hamper economic growth.
Poverty has no caste and hence reservation should be based on income criteria. Reservation should be limited to education alone and applicable only to the first generation in any family. Having provided access to quality education through reservation, employment should be provided only on merit or else we will become a nation full of unqualified, under performing mediocre. Imagine being operated upon by an unqualified doctor or board a flight piloted by a sloppy captain.

2. PSU Disinvestment -
I am in favor of selective disinvestment on a case-to-case basis.
I see no merit in government running bakery shops, selling vegetables or managing hotels. However it would be unwise if we let private monopolies dictate terms in areas of national and strategic importance where geopolitical factors are in play and market forces do not operate effectively.Every PSU should be evaluated on the following parameters before taking a disinvestment decision – 1. Is the PSU operating in an area of national interest or strategic importance – space, defense, strategic infrastructure etc.2. Is the PSU helping market competitiveness and restricting private monopolies.3. Is the PSU serving a constitutional obligation where no alternate means are available.
If the answer to all the above is YES, then we should not disinvest and must support the PSU.
1. Provide short term financial support to bring it back to health, in case of sick PSUs.
2. Give incentives to attract talent to effectively compete with private enterprises.
3. Reduce political interference and appoint a professional board to run the PSU.
4. Accord operational autonomy (Navaratna status) for effective decision making.

3. SEZs -
I am against land grabbing by in the name of SEZ.
I also do not support small SEZs – few strategically located large mega SEZs should be encouraged.
SEZ policy was meant to encourage private enterprise by way of fiscal and tax incentives to invest in long term infrastructure and attract global investment and industries.
However SEZs have become a historical land grab opportunity for private businesses with help of the state governments where state forcibly acquires fertile land for private profit, depriving farmers of their livelihood and dignity, in the garb of serving national interest.
SEZs, as small as 25 acres, are mushrooming in every nook & corner. It is hard to imagine as to what kind of strategic infrastructure and facilities can a 25 acre SEZ provide. It is nothing but duty exempt cheap land for the developer and tax free heaven for companies who would simply relocate to these so called SEZs.
This is a short sighted approach and needs a mid-term course correction. A better approach would be to follow China (Shenzen) or UAE (Dubai) model and promote Mega Multi-product or Specialized SEZs using PPP model in suitable locations and make concerted efforts to attract global investment. A PPP model will ensure that fair and equitable benefits accrue to all involved and national interest is served.

4. Sting Operations -
I am in favor but ethical norms must be followed.
Press is the fourth pillar of our democracy and investigative journalism is an integral part of any free and democratic society. As history stands witness, a lot of public good has been served and democratic institution have been strengthened due to courageous and hard hitting investigative journalism by few brave hearts – whether it was Iran-Contra affair or Tehelka episode. Investigative journalism has the power to change the governments and alter destiny of nation states.
Investigative journalism puts fear in the hearts and minds of corrupt and powerful. They are made accountable and face consequences of their actions and misdeeds.
However, now sting operations are being carried out to sensationalize trivial issues and to settle corporate and political rivalries. In modern day commercial journalism where TRPs and Eyeballs have become success mantras, common sense and ethical values have taken a back seat.
This is in bad taste and people will not approve of it. It is in the best interest of the press to desist from meaningless and motivated sting operations.

5. Tougher Laws to Tackle Terrorism –
Yes they are needed, but security agencies need to be sensitive in their application. It is tough call.
Laws are made to be implemented in letter and spirit and to deliver justice. Unfortunately it does not always happen in real life. Tougher terror laws are supposed to deter people from committing an act of terror or joining a terrorist organization due to fear of harsh punishment. Unfortunately religious terrorism is ingrained in faith and hatred for which terrorists are willing to sacrifice their lives. Fear of punishment or even death may not be an effective deterrent for many.
On the other hand, it is very likely that knowingly or unknowingly innocent citizens end-up on the wrong side of the law. Tougher laws make them suffer in silence with no recourse to justice. In the process they end-up alienating from the mainstream and an easy recruitment target for the terrorist organizations.
It is a tough call. Better intelligence network, sensitizing our security agencies and humane implementation of terror laws is the only possible solution.

My motivation to Lead India

We are in the 60th year of our independence. India is experiencing unprecedented economic growth with GDP growing at around 9% and expected to grow even faster while we race towards the US$ 1 Trillion GDP. We are in the fastest growing region of the world, Asia, and have become the fourth largest economy in Asia.

Economic superpowers are wooing our nation and we have acquired a strategic role in world bodies. Whether it is Doha round of WTO negotiations, Davos economic summit, regional groupings such as ASEAN or world bodies like World Bank or UN, India is able to put its views across meaningfully and the world is listening. This is really a great time and opportunity for our nation and we must use this to bring our millions out of abject poverty and hunger and provide them with the means to lead a dignified life.

We are a young nation with more than 50% of our population below 25 years of age. This is providing us a huge demographic advantage in a fast graying world of developed economies. Even among large emerging economies of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India & China), India has a demographic advantage as our productive population will continue to grow till 2050 while others will decline.

However this is a double edged sword. If we are able to harness the energy and youth of our young adults in a productive manner by providing them education and gainful employment, we will achieve greater economic strength. But if we fail, the disgruntled youth that is uneducated and unemployed will become the bane of society and a drag on our economy.

Current political system and coalition politics is taking a toll on our democracy. Executive is held hostage to a fragmented legislature. Parties with just 10% MPs decide the national agenda and hold the nation to ransom. This is unsustainable. We educated and successful Indians have a responsibility and need to take matters of the nation seriously and do our bit to improve the situation.

I have been an serial entrepreneur and I strongly believe in intellectual and entrepreneurial abilities of our youth. However lack of opportunities, risk capital and guidance are the main constraints.

I am one of the few lucky Indians who got the best education and a highly successful professional career which gave me financial independence and opportunity to retire from a professional career at the early age of 40. I always wanted to utilize my knowledge, skills and resources for the betterment of society and nation.

Public Policy interventions and Public Private Partnership are the areas of my interest.
I have been involved with various public and industry bodies where I have been able to positively influence public policy matters and their efficient implementation.

Public Policies related to governance are in need of urgent attention. Capacity building and efficient delivery mechanisms are the need of the hour, to keep our economy growing at the current rate. Our systems and processes for social welfare schemes, education, health care and infrastructure are extremely inadequate and inefficient with multiple layers and leakages.

It is my desire to further my interest and passion in the domain of public policy intervention and I believe LEAD INDIA is the most suitable platform for professionals like me who have the skills and knowledge and are keen to make a difference.