Monday, August 12, 2019

A man’s territory?─Analysing Automobile Advertisements

Gender in advertising has received extensive scholarly attention. It is among the most researched topics in advertising ethics. Past researchers have investigated various concerns related to gender roles in advertisements. Of particular concern to the present study is the existence of gender stereotype indicating a traditional male dominance in advertisements. 

The general case of generic representation: breeding ground for biases─

Women are generally depicted as homemakers, caretakers of the family and children, cleaner of the house, endorser of beauty products or sex objects. 

Women’s roles are often decorative, recreational, emotional, inconsequential, subservient to men and defined by men. Women are also frequently portrayed as less knowledgeable than men. 

On the other hand, men are mostly depicted as dominant, authoritarian, professional, decision makers and independent. Gender asymmetry is further apparent in the higher frequency of appearance of men and predominant male ad orientation. More often than not, the voice-overs, primary product users, and main characters are also male. 

Automobile advertising and men─

Overrepresentation of men in advertisements is a universal phenomenon. Automobile advertisements have always been oriented toward men. From being extremely informative in the 1950s and 1960s, automobile advertisements took the shape of entertaining short movies in the 1980s. The advertisements of the 1990s promoted technology and contemporary advertisements focus on style. But in spite of these changes, an underlying commonality has been the extreme focus on men. Automobiles have always been a man’s territory. 

Recent years have seen a reduction in restrictions based on traditional gender roles. More and more women are demonstrating behaviors and foraying into professions that are traditionally considered masculine. However, still, a disproportionally small number of women drive an automobile in India. This observation lends relevance to the examination of gender roles in contemporary automobile advertising.

What did a recent research on automobile advertising show?

  • All the four measures used to examine stereotypic expectancies in automobile advertisements (i.e., ad orientation, gender of voice-over, gender of dominant product user, and gender of main character) exhibit preference for the male gender.
  • The incidence of male ad orientation, male voice-overs, dominant male users and male main characters was higher in the sample of automobile advertisements than the sample of non-automobile advertisements.

─Taken from Fueling Gender Stereotypes: A Content Analysis of Automobile Advertisements in Business Perspectives and Research 

Click here to read the full article!

Friday, August 09, 2019

Waste Management: A Reverse Supply Chain Perspective

From space, planet Earth appears to be incredibly rich as exemplified in the symbolic image of ‘Earth Rise’ captured by the crew of Apollo 8 on 24 December, 1968. 

It seems improbable that in less than 50 years since then, the planet could be on the brink of a set of disasters. One of the most visible disasters facing us today is the growing volume of waste generated in both the production and consumption of goods and services. 

The increase in waste can be traced back to two specific observations. First, there is a significant increase in world population. Second, there has been a rise in per capita incomes of individual consumers. 

Statistics about waste across industries— 

Did you know?

The global waste market, from collection to recycling, is estimated at US$410 billion a year, not including the sizable informal segment in developing countries.

Recycling a tonne of aluminium saves 1.3 tonnes of bauxite residues, 15 m3 of cooling water, 0.86 m3 of process water, and 37 barrels of oil, while preventing the emission of 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide and 11 kg of sulfur dioxide.

In 2000, recycling activities in the European Union (EU) created 229,286 jobs, which by 2008 had increased to 512,337—an annual growth rate of 10.57 per cent.

One tonne of electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) contains as much gold as 5–15 tonnes of typical gold ore, and amounts of copper, aluminium and rare metals that exceed by many times the levels found in typical ores.

Focusing on the long-term issue—

For example, the scale of waste incineration facilities should be determined not only by focusing on current waste disposal but also keeping in mind how their use might decline in the longer term due to reuse and recycling efforts. This would not only enhance economic, environmental, and social values but also extend product life cycles and facilitate the use of regenerative materials.

In sum, state-private partnerships typically address many current problems. It is essential that such partnerships evolve to integrate a system-wide focus necessary to achieve the 3R’s of waste management over a longer time horizon.

—Taken from Waste Management: A Reverse Supply Chain Perspective in Vikalpa: The Journal for Decision Makers.

Liked what you read?

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Thursday, August 08, 2019

Fossil Fuels, GHG Emissions and Clean Energy Development

During the post-1970 period, there has been an impressive increase in energy consumption across the world. The primary energy consumption has increased at an annual growth rate of 2.21 per cent over this period. Energy baskets of a large number of countries remained dominated by fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

There has been an increased significance of natural gas in recent times. Similarly, the share of nuclear energy has increased over time. However, the hydro energy sources did not see much expansion in terms of their share in overall energy mix, whereas there has been a mild increase in the share of other renewable energy sources.

There has been not only the dominance of fossil fuels, viz. oil, coal and natural gas, in world energy basket over time but they have also remained largely irreplaceable. Owing to their carbon-rich nature, their burning contributed to global warming through GHG emissions.

The magnitude of CO2 emissions was 5,891.71 MtCO2e in 1951. Since then, it increased by 5.74 times. In such situation, there is a growing concern within the international community about rising GHG levels, especially CO2, because of its impact on global warming.

Owing to a large number of efforts, the developed nations, at large, are making efforts to contain their CO2 emissions. A move towards low-carbon economies is considered as a key strategy to attain this objective. In this line, a number of innovations are taking place and the development of clean energy sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, bio-fuels etc. is gaining momentum.

Still there persist various technology-related issues but at the same time, efforts are being made to bridge the gap through trade and investment financing. But, on the whole, a good progress seems to be made.

Global Significance of Asian Giants—

In Asia, there are three major economies, viz. China, India and Japan. Spread over 9.85 per cent of world’s surface area, they reside about 40 per cent of world’s population.
These Asian Giants account for a major share in world GDP. n terms of energy-related indicators, the Asian Giants are quite distinct. The reserves of fossil fuels especially oil are very limited in China and India—Japan does not have any reserve of oil and natural gas. China has a relatively large reserve of natural gas than India. Similarly, its reserve of coal is significantly large. In terms of the magnitude of primary energy consumption, the disparities are much larger. China alone accounts for 22.92 per cent of world’s total primary energy consumption. Similarly, India and Japan also account for a significant share in world total consumption of primary energy.


Two major conclusions: First, there has been large fossil fuel dependence of the Asian Giants. Second, the effort made by the Asian Giants in not only the development of clean energy installed capacities but also the development of clean energy technologies especially by China and Japan is remarkable. India could not do much on technology fronts except than developing its installed capacities through imported equipment.

Click here to read the complete article!

Incorporating Artificial Intelligence into your Digital Transformation Journey

by Amitabh P Mishra & Ashish Ranjan, co-authors, A Modern Playbook of Digital Transformation

Let’s assume you have figured out your Digital Transformation strategy, and have already embarked on the execution of the strategy that includes initiatives based on analytics and IoT. Now, however, due to a number of reasons, senior management wishes you to foray into AI – e.g. it is expected to provide a competitive advantage or enhance the image of the organization or its ability to attract top talent.

Among the first questions that you’ll need to answer are: Does AI have a place in my industry? If it does, where should I start?

The concept of artificial intelligence is widely misunderstood. The reality is, most of what passes for AI today doesn’t contain any element of ‘intelligence.’ For example, if your HR system is voice-enabled and responds to your questions and requests, it’d be referred to as ‘AI technology.’ In reality, the system must include the element of learning in order to be called AI.

AI is a journey, of which RPA (robotic process automation) is the first step. RPA mimics human actions, while AI simulates human intelligence. In other words, RPA merely ‘does,’ while AI ‘thinks, does, and grows more intelligent with time.’

Therefore, consider starting your AI journey with RPA as the first step, e.g. to automate your HR processes such as reimbursement or payroll processing, or finance processes such as GST, taxes, Account Payables or Receivables. This technology primarily uses ‘chatbots,’ or simply ‘bots,’ that automatically performs manual, repetitive tasks.

Here’s an example of a business scenario RPA can help you automate: business travel. The key challenge is the volume of invoices from the travel partners or agencies, the time and effort to process the paperwork (the invoices along with supporting documents). The repetitive nature of the task makes it eminently suited for automation. The workforce employed in handling this task can be released for higher value-add tasks.

Now, let’s take a look at the scope of the task. For a company with $1B of annual sales, it may translate into the following order of volume of paperwork per month: 4,000 airline invoices, 6,000 hotel invoices, and 2,500 taxicab invoices.
Your objectives could be:

  • 75% reduction in manual data extraction. RPA technology will improve the effectiveness of automated scanning and data extraction. 
  • 100% integration with ERP and other systems that will use the extracted data in downstream systems. 
  • Reduction of manpower requirement by 80%, in terms of FTEs. 
After performing an analysis of the various products in the market, you may narrow down your options to one of several leading OEMs such as UI Path, Automation Anywhere, or Blue Prism.

You may then evaluate the competing proposals on the basis of a framework consisting of: (a) architectural fitment, (b) financial benefit, (c) ease of adoption and use, (d) time taken to realize the benefit, and (e) total cost of deployment and ownership.

Once you pick the product and the partner, the next question is whether you’d want to go for a full-fledged implementation perform a PoC first. In order to minimize your risk and to be able to demonstrate success quickly to senior management, a PoC may make sense.

A word here about senior management buy-in. You may want to follow a two-pronged approach: first, provide annualized benefit numbers, clearly mentioning the source (e.g. $0.8M reduction of costs due to 75% lower FTE requirement). Second, portray the benefits as direct, i.e. revenue increase or cost reduction. Anything else would be indirect – e.g. increase in employee productivity. Senior managers would always ask you: so what if we increase productivity? Can we reduce our headcount? If not, this is only an indirect benefit.

RPA is not an end in itself, but a required step in the journey to incorporate AI into your Digital Transformation journey. By following a deliberate process to identify a suitable business problem, and a thoughtful process to pick a product, a partner and a strategy, you can get AI to go work for you

A Modern Playbook of Digital Transformation

Click here to know about the book. 

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What ails the IAS & Why It Fails to Deliver?: An Insider’s View by Naresh Chandra Saxena

Despite their high integrity, hard work, and competence, IAS officers, who occupy almost all senior administrative positions in the states and Centre, have not been able to improve development outcomes for common citizens. India could not achieve many Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations, particularly in hunger, health, nutrition, gender, and sanitation. India’s social indicators are today worse than countries poorer than India such as Bangladesh and Vietnam. Besides, growth has not helped the most marginalized groups, such as tribals and women. Of all the disadvantaged groups, tribals, especially in Central India, have been the worst sufferers, primarily because of anti-tribal forest policy, displacement laws, and poor governance. Section 46(1) of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act places women at par with lunatics and idiots. 

IAS officers working as Collectors and Commissioners have not been able to ensure that teachers and doctors remain present in their place of postings and provide quality services. Land records are terribly outdated with the result that nearly two-thirds of all pending cases in Indian courts are related to property disputes which take an average of 20 years to settle. The IAS Secretaries in the state governments collude with the junior staff and do not honestly report figures on hunger deaths, malnutrition, usage of toilets, etc, leading to erosion of accountability. They are also not able to ensure regular monthly payment of honorarium to the contractual staff, such as para teachers, Rozgar Sahayaks, AWWs, and cooks in MDM.

The author argues that not only many welfare programs have a design flaw, governance in India at the state and district levels is also quite weak, manifesting itself in poor service delivery, uncaring administration, corruption, and wasteful public expenditure.

The book also describes how reforms initiated by the author failed to make any impact because most IAS officers resist change, or are indifferent to the poor. He got a new law passed in UP for preventing tribal land alienation, but not a single acre of land was restored to the tribals. The economic philosophy that he followed in his career was, 'socialism for the poor and free market for the rich'. The political and administrative system in India, on the other hand, seems to be believing in 'indifference to the poor, and controls over the rich to facilitate rent-seeking'.

As Joint Secretary, Minorities Commission, he exposed the communal bias of district administration in handling riots in Meerut, but he was punished for bringing to light killing of innocent Muslim women and children by the police. 

When the Bihar bureaucracy had collapsed during the Lalu years of 1990-2005, he sent a letter to the Chief Secretary of Bihar accusing many IAS officials of behaving like 'politicians - the English speaking politicians - corrupt, with short term targets, narrow horizons, feudal outlook, disrespect for norms, contributing nothing to the welfare of the nation, empty promises, and no action.'

The book is full of anecdotes ranging from how the author resisted political corruption that led to Prime Minister's annoyance, to a situation when the author himself 'bribed' the Chief Minister to scrap oppressive laws against tribal women.

The author analyses the present Indian situation and suggests policy changes in all cross-cutting systemic issues, such as the role of politicians, tenure, size and nature of Indian bureaucracy, accountability, monitoring of programs, and civil service reforms, which will transform individual competence of IAS officers into better collective outcomes

What Ails the IAS and Why It Fails to Deliver

Click here to know more about the book. 

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Friday, August 02, 2019

The science behind the drinking pattern of youth 

A substantial body of research shows that young people’s first alcoholic drink and first intoxication usually occur in their final years of elementary school and peak before their mid-20s. 

But is there a pattern? 

Young people’s alcohol consumption on a given day is the combined result of their present life circumstances, past experiences, and future expectations.

Previous studies indicate that both early drinking onset and heavy drinking during adolescence are associated with family background characteristics, including social class, income and education. Alcohol consumption during adolescence is also associated with cultural factors such as gender roles, for example, masculine, risk-oriented lifestyles, parental styles and peer-group pressure. 

These studies provide important insights about the structural factors influencing youth drinking, individual decision-making in the social context must also be taken into consideration. 

Alcohol consumption is closely associated with the social context 

There is often an assumption that young men and women have to learn to become alcohol users by following the culturally prescribed pattern of drinking in which drinking too much—or too little—may lead to low popularity. 


Daily alcohol consumption is categorized into five groups: not drinking (not shown), cautious drinking (one unit of alcohol), moderate drinking (2–5 units of alcohol for men and 2–4 units for women), binge drinking (6–10 units for men and 5–10 for women) and heavy binge drinking (more than 10 units of alcohol). At age 15–16, both genders are most likely to drink on a Friday when most consume between 2–4 units of alcohol (about 40% of the men and 37% of the women). 

» Saturday is the second most likely day for this age group. 
» Results show men become more likely to be weekend bingers. 

» At age 15–16 and 18–19, academic motivation is positively associated with belonging to the majority group and negatively associated with heavy drinkers. 

» ‘Family socio-economic background’ variables such as parents’ education and income are not strongly associated with the young people’s weekly drinking patterns. 

» Family instability is, however, significantly associated with less likelihood of belonging to the majority group and weekend drinking at age 15–16 and 18–19. 

» Regarding ‘lifestyle indicators’, both smoking cigarettes and having friends described as drunk are strongly related to a weekly drinking typology with high alcohol intake. 

» Temporal drinking patterns were associated with individual factors (gender, academic motivation), family socio-economic background (parental income and education, family instability), lifestyle indicators and past drinking patterns. 

» The main finding is that young people have very distinctive weekly drinking patterns. 

» Lack of academic motivation was found to be associated with high alcohol intake at age 15–16 and 18–19. 

Click here to read the article. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Analysing—Online Queries on Sexual Health

Sexuality is an important aspect of the human personality and influences the thoughts, behaviors and emotions of humans. With so many aspects of one’s life being influenced by sexuality, it is only natural that humans have always had questions regarding sexuality.

The stigma attached—

People suffering from sexual health problems and dysfunctions have a lot of stigma approaching health care professionals. With the coming in of Internet-based services, people are finding it easier to seek help online anonymously.

As an industry, this is likely to continue to grow and offer opportunities to people in distress to seek help.

According to a recent United States survey, 52 million adults have used the World Wide Web to obtain health or medical information.

However, the information consumed may/may not be accurate—

“Sexually frustrated men make a beeline for anyone who calls himself a sexologist, blissfully unaware that India has no medical sexology course.”

Even India’s most famous sexologist, Dr Prakash Kothari, concedes that “there is no qualification to become one. One becomes a sexologist either from experience or attending conferences abroad.”

Gender disparity:

96.8% of the queries come from men. Why?

Variety of reasons were culled out from the research such as:

  • The gender difference could be due to the clinician being a male, and that this could also have created hesitation in women seeking help.
  • Sexuality is still treated as a taboo, reinforced by parents, prominent personalities, and society at large.
  • It could also be related to the assumption that women in India do not experience sexual issues.
  • Anxiety, shame, and embarrassment displayed by men influenced with pornography instigate them to ask numerous questions on online healthcare portals which may/may not have expertize.

A probable solution and gateway to authentic health information—

The Indian Government has started a National Health Portal Gateway to authentic health information. offers a number of services which include mSwasthya—a mobile app which can be used to consult a doctor—among other uses. So the reach is far and wide even in the rural areas of the country and can be accessed by anyone having a smartphone.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Breaking the glass ceiling: How women directors positively impact a firm

The corporate world is experiencing a change in the regulatory norms related to the gender diversity at the board level. The regulations of Norway, Spain, Iceland and France require that the board of directors of publicly traded firms are to be comprised at least 40 per cent of women. 

In India also, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has made it mandatory to have at least one woman director on the board of all the listed firms. However, this change in the corporate laws related to the mandatory appointment of a woman director as a board member raises an important question. Would this mandatory appointment of at least one woman director at the board level really improve the firm performance?

The existing literature on the appointment of women directors and their contribution to the financial performance of the firm has been extensively examined in the Western and developed countries. In a recent study in Spain, the impact of the presence of women directors on firm performance was positive. A similar observation was found in the US context (Dezsö & Ross, 2012).

Role of gender in the success of a firm—

The theoretical base for the relationship between women at the board level and firm performance can be established on the basis of two important theories, namely human capital theory and social identity theory. The human capital theory provides the economic perspective and argues that the value of an individual depends on the amount of skill, education and experience. 

Skills, education and experience of women differs from that of men (Metz & Tharenou, 2001).

This may result in the differential performance and may result in the difference in the firm performance. Social identity theory argues that each individual identifies himself or herself with a particular group (Tajfel & Turner, 2004). Extending this theory to gender, women identify themselves with their own group, which in turn influences their behaviour and thereby their performance on the board.

What does the study indicate?

It is found in the study conducted that the positive impact of women director is significant for the business group-affiliated firms and insignificant for standalone firms. 

The result has to be seen in the context of a call for more gender-specific regulations to increase the participation of women in corporate affairs. 

However, the study provides insights into the regulators and policymakers that such regulations could have the positive impact on the performance of corporate firms in a developing country like India, as it is different in its social, economic, cultural and legal aspects.

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

You market what you speak/post!

  • In 2005, disappointed with Dell’s customer service, blogger Jarvis coined the term ‘Dell Hell’ in his blogs, which brought Dell national embarrassment.
  • In 2012, McDonalds launched a campaign on twitter with hash tag #McDStories about the heritage of company’s food, which turned into a chaos when the hashtag was being used to share negative or funny stories about the company.
  • In 2014, Zomato, had to take back its hiring advertisement and issue an apology. It had created a controversial recruitment ad, comparing two cities—New Delhi and Bengaluru—on different parameters and lifestyles, which did not go down well, especially with people working in Bengaluru.
Word-of-mouth (WOM) communication is widely accepted as a critical factor in building marketing strategies and communications. Invention of the Internet and proliferation of social media have added a new electronic dimension to traditional WOM, thereby converting it into electronicWOM (eWOM).

eWOM impacts—

    Consumer’s purchase decision process
    Utilization of eWOM to build brand strength
    Consumer loyalty
    Information diffusion, and
    Creating buzz among potential consumers.

Features of eWOM communication–

→ It can be expressed in different forms such as opinions, online ratings, online feedback, reviews, comments, and experience sharing on the Internet.

→ It utilizes online communication channels, for example, blogs, review sites, discussion forums, online e-retailers, firm’s own brand and product sites, and social networking sites.

A take-away for marketers—

The traditional marketing approach is being revised and modified to utilize the power of the Internet. Consumers have more power with them due to proliferation of social media and the Internet forums and communities.

→ Marketers can utilize eWOM for
  • Building product awareness,
  • Improving sales and other related performance parameters,
  • Strengthening brand value,
  • Building customer loyalty.

→ eWOM also acts as direct feedback to marketers.

→ They can use positive and negative eWOM to improve their product and service deliveries and to offer recoveries and address consumer grievances.

Click here to know more about electronic Word-of-mouth (WOM) communication. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Disaster Management and Women

“If women and girls are left out of disaster management efforts or risk reduction measures, the talents, skills and knowledge of 50 per cent of the whole population will be ignored and their needs are unlikely to be met.”

 Indian Journal of Gender Studies

Different types of disasters have globally increased in intensity and magnitude. Gender shapes people’s responses to disasters, both directly and indirectly. Although both women and men can be vulnerable to the negative consequences of disasters, women are generally looked at as helpless victims.
Considering women as a highly vulnerable group can be the result of highlighting the negative effects of disasters on women rather than their coping capacities.

To ignore women’s capacities and focus only on men’s abilities can adversely impact women, households and the whole community.

Women’s capacities in the recent natural disasters of Iran were explored in a qualitative study which was carried out in East Azerbaijan, Bushehr and Mazandaran, stricken by earthquakes and floods in the years 2012 and 2013.

Incorrect media portrayals—

The media show the images of women as a passive group waiting for rescue and relief by strong men. These pictures reflect the common notions of gender, which shape disaster management policy in hazard-prone regions.

For instance, the analysis of shots taken from women after the Australian tsunami showed that women were absent in 55.5 per cent of all photos. In 35.5 per cent of pictures, rescued women were depicted as the passive victims who could not do anything but cry and ask for help.


     A number of studies did mention women’s capacities in disasters including high level of risk awareness, social networking practices, extensive knowledge of their communities, environmental resource management and caring abilities.

     The management skills of women have been neglected in post-disaster scenarios.

     Women are the key organizers in their families in everyday life, and more so in disastrous situations.

     This study, probably the first of its kind, indicates that women can survive disasters better and turn into a resilient group in disaster-stricken communities as well as disaster-prone regions.

     Women’s disaster management skills grew out of their experience in handling family affairs and contributing to family livelihood.

     Disaster management officials can benefit from women’s knowledge, skills and capacities in policy-making, planning and resource allocation.

Click here to read similar articles.

Monday, July 01, 2019

How loyal are the Indian Shoppers towards their malls?

“Once shoppers get what they value the most, they are expected to be more loyal to the shopping mall.”
It was often debated whether Indian loyal shoppers look for hedonic or utilitarian benefits during their visit to a shopping mall. Since shopping malls are relatively new to the Indian markets, shoppers are expected to show initial euphoria due to the novelty value of the entity.
In contrast with the traditional retail stores, shopping malls offer superior aesthetics, ambience, and marketing orientation.

This implies that shoppers look beyond the basic chore of shopping and experience while shopping plays a vital role. To attract the attention of shoppers, mall developers make huge investments in mall promotion and ambient factors in order to enhance the shopping experience.

As the Indian shoppers’ euphoria about shopping malls gets toned down with time, mall managers need to focus on something more substantive. 

Such fundamental benefits can be offered to shoppers only if mall managers know what is more relevant for the shoppers visiting the malls. 
Past studies have identified a number of factors such as—
  • Ambience,
  • Physical infrastructure,
  • Convenience,
  • Safety, and
  • Marketing activities.

High-risks involved—

Shopping malls involve high capital investment that is recovered over a very long time period. At the same time, consumer preferences too evolve over a period of time. Besides high initial investment, shopping malls have a high operating cost to keep the infrastructure and facilities in good shape. Over time, the operating cost (maintenance cost) increases steadily because physical infrastructure and facilities deteriorate exponentially with time. The manpower costs also rise.

This study establishes that Indian mall shoppers predominantly look for convenience.

This strongly indicates that Indian mall shoppers are more utilitarian than hedonic. Results of this study, however, should be examined in its proper context.

Click here to read the full article.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Water ATMS: Causing a Silent Revolution

It was a hot summer afternoon in New Delhi, India, and Mr. Siya Ram, the Group General Manager of Rail Neer, the packaged water brand of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), was having his lunch in his office on the 11th floor of The Statesman House, the corporate headquarters of IRCTC.

His eyes fell on a group of 10–12 people crowding a road-side stall buying bottled chilled water to quench their thirst.

His thoughts flew back to the event yesterday, where he launched an Automatic Water Vending Machine at the New Delhi railway station, a product developed for the Indian Railways (IR) by private manufacturers. The vending machine made purified and chilled drinking water available to customers at busy platforms of railway stations, dispensing different amounts ranging from 300 ml to 5 l with an option to collect the water in a packaged or a refill option.

As he cast his eyes again on the road-side stall selling water, now teeming with a different set of people, he wondered if he was on the verge of a solution that provided clean drinking water at public places in India.

He rued that despite 70 years of independence; a large population still lacked access to clean drinking water and were either exploited by corporations or forced to use water of suspect quality. The huge volume of people traveling by IR on a daily basis made him hope that intervention by railways in the packaged drinking water segment could harbinger change across geographies and societies in the country. He, therefore, felt that this was an opportunity for the IR to revolutionize this product category.
With this came about Water ATMs at the Indian Railways.

The challenges in providing affordable clean water to the masses—

Ø  The water ATM project was not a priority for the officials at railway stations.
Ø  They had to meet their daily responsibilities and neither IRCTC nor the vendors chosen by IRCTC to implement water ATMs had an authority to enforce the agreement at the local level.
Ø  In addition, railway stations stood to gain only 15 percent of the revenues generated through water ATMs.
Ø  Vendors had begun losing interest and were now reluctant to apply for new licenses.
Ø  Pressure from seniors to install water ATMs at a large number of railway stations.
His long experience in the railways told him that the solution was in managing relationships on a day-to-day basis at ground zero. He needed to put in place a framework within which the relationships could be managed. The legacy of IR of more than 100 years had built-in a rigidity in the system that was difficult to shake off.

Click here to know how these challenges were overcome with grit and confidence of a man.

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Call for Papers
Vikalpa: The Journal for Decision Makers

Special issue on Healthcare Management

Vikalpa: The Journal for Decision Makers invites authors to submit papers focusing on various aspects of Healthcare Management on topics focused on but not limited to:

• Enhancing Service Quality and Patient Experience in Health System
• Issues in Hospital Management
• Patient Empowerment and Patient Centered Care
• Accessibility in Healthcare
• Innovations in Healthcare Services including Strategies and Use of Technology for Enhancing Healthcare
• Management of Public Health Systems
• HR issues in Healthcare Systems in India
• Role of Operations in Healthcare Delivery in India

Vikalpa is a quarterly, peer-reviewed, open-access publication of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA).

Papers should be submitted with the understanding that they are original, unpublished works and are not being submitted elsewhere. Please read our submission guidelines at Manuscripts must be submitted online at

Last Date of Submitting the manuscript: December 31, 2019

For any questions, please contact:

Joshy Jacob, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, India

Guest Editors:
1. Dhiman Bhadra
Associate Professor, Production and Quantitative Methods
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

2. Rajesh Chandwani
Assistant Professor, Human Resources Management
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

3. Vaibhavi Kulkarni
Assistant Professor, Communications
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad