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April 23, 2008

Study Mission to India photos

Photo from Study Mission to India


For those of you who were interested in Anne Blouin's posts from the Study Mission to India, you may also be interested in the large set of photos now available from the study mission. A variety of pictures from the trip are now available on Flickr, as part of ASAE & The Center's Flickr photostream.

I hope you enjoy the photos!

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March 3, 2008

Study Mission to India: Last day

Today was an amazing day with content presented by the diplomatic editor of The Times of India (one of the largest newspapers in India, if not the largest), and by a former ambassador of India who now is currently working at a think tank. Both presenters gave a very candid view of the political picture as well a look at societal issues.

Their presentations really put things together that we've heard during the week and brought into clearer focus all that is happening here in India.

Today was also the presentation of the budget by the finance minister. It is really a big deal here and everyone is glued to the TV because this is how they find out how their taxes will change. In any event, we watched some of the budget presentation and it was extremely interesting after hearing all of the presentations during the week involving healthcare, education, the tax laws, etc. Of interesting note, two people, the finance minister and the prime minister, develop the budget that 1.1 billion people depend on. Amazing!!

In any event, one can see how this country is changing so fast -- so much money is being spent in the rural parts of the country involving the farmers, more money for education and healthcare, more focus on transportation, etc. Being here has given us a great appreciation for the rapid pace this country is moving, although of more of course needs to be done.

On a cultural note, we toured Delhi in rickshaws, which was a lot of fun and saw beautiful Hindu temples and the Red Fort. This has been a tremendous learning and cultural experience.

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Study Mission to India: Small world

Susan Sarfati sent us a note from India to share an interesting story:

Late last week, Susan had the opportunity to meet with John Davison, Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs, at the U.S. Embassy. When Susan started briefing John and his colleague Atul Keshap, Depty Minister Counselor for Political Affairs, John said that he knew about ASAE & The Center, because he worked at ASAE in 1982 managing the conference center. According to Susan, "We couldn't believe it."

The world gets smaller all the time ...

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February 28, 2008

Study Mission to India: Another perspective

I thought that I would provide Acronym followers with a different perspective than Anne Blouin's. We arrived in New Delhi last evening from Mumbai. New Delhi certainly has a different vibe than Mumbai, the latter of which is much more frenetic and the former of which is more relaxed (those things are relative, it's hectic here too!).

We met this morning with five representatives from various associations headquartered here in New Delhi. While space doesn't permit me to go into details about our nearly 3 hour discussions, I walked away being reminded, yet again, of the fact that those things that make us different make us the same. I was also reminded - the good American that I am - that we are not the only sophisticated non-profit professionals in the world. I would have been proud to serve on any staff with the people that spoke with us today.

Our Indian colleagues here operate sophisticated organizations who are concerned with branding, value propositions, membership recruitment, registry of professionals (not certification, yet, though), education content development, and much more.

On the societal side, there is no question that many, many, many Indians live on less than $1/day. The fact alone makes this particular market for associations simultaneously daunting and full of opportunity. Fully 20 million Indians a year are raised up from the poverty level due to Indian and foreign investment. If there was ever a time to consider business and personal travel to this part of the world, it's now, whether you represent a large or small, local, state or national organization. The world is in India...and if we're not careful, we'll left out on the porch while the Chinese, the Europeans, the Scandinavians, and more are eating an amazing feast inside.

Good night from New Delhi...

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Study Mission to India: Telecommunications and infrastructure

The content for today focused on the fastest growing sectors in India including telecommunications and infrastructure. Some of the highlights from the excellent presentations included:

The Indian mobile market is at a tipping point with its explosive growth and this growth is expected to continue until 2010 and beyond. Although its now the third largest market after the U.S. and China, India has overtaken China in the growth of wireless subscribers now numbering 240 million.

800 million people live in the rural areas, which is where the growth will occur. Access to wireless communication will improve productivity and dramatically improve the lifestyles of the rural subscribers.

In terms of infrastructure, investments have almost doubled in the last 5-6 years, reflecting 8 percent of GDP. The private sector is heavily invested in the infrastructure and as a result roads are projected to dramatically improve. While they are putting emphasis on roads and rail, much attention is also being placed on building separate roads to move freight to alleviate congestion.

There also has been privatization of the airports and aviation is expected to grow 25 percent each year. Although the airlines are not currently making a profit, this soon should change.

Huge investments are also being made to the power structure to support India's rapid growth.

The Chief of Strategy from Tata, the largest conglomerate in India, gave a phenomenal presentation. He talked a lot about the history of Tata, which was formed in the 1800s. He indicated that excellent companies respect and honor their history and heritage! He also talked a lot about their value of Integrity, defining it as being fair, honest and transparent in all dealings. The companies of Tata are members of the UN Global Compact, and corporate social responsibility is key on their agenda.

Tata's companies have been inspired by the Malcolm Baldrige award, and they have instituted quality measures/criteria in all companies.

Following this morning's presentation in Mumbai, we flew to Delhi. From what we've seen, Delhi, the seat of the government, is a very green city and a very beautiful one. We'll see more of the city tomorrow but unlike Mumbai where we saw thousands of taxis, tuk tuks and motorcyles, here we've seen hundreds of rickshaws along with goats (we also saw them in Mumbai along with cows on the road) and donkeys! Stay tuned . . .

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February 27, 2008

Study Mission to India: Education

Yesterday, in addition to getting an overview of the healthcare system, participants in the Study Mission to India also heard from a few speakers from the world of education. One was Dr. Misra, a director and professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, which might be considered the equivalent of MIT.

Some interesting facts:

- The role of education and its globalization is assuming an increased role and significance
In India. People with a high school certificate number 250 million, with 10 million getting a BS degree.

- IIT receives 300,000 applicants and accepts only 5,000. However, 400,000 graduate each year with degrees in engineering and science (more than the population of New Zealand). There has been a much greater focus in the last few years on research and on innovation and creativity.

- Lots of technology incubation. They expect that before long a "Microsoft" will be coming out of India.

- Indian universities are attracting many foreign students and are losing fewer students to U.S. institutions.

- Industries are becoming proponents of partnerships with universities; universities are also working to build international collaborations with exchange of faculty and students, research centers, and joint degree programs.

In summary, India is at a point where it can produce a high number of knowledge workers. This offers an enormous opportunity for the globalization of higher technical education.

- India will need a large base of knowledge workers to play its role as a leading knowledge economy.

- India will need to gear up for meeting the challenges by revitalizing its institutions of higher learning with greater freedom and momentum.

- Clearly, globalization has had an effect and will continue to impact higher technical education, offering enormous opportunities.

I have to say that after listening to all of the speakers over the past few days, there is an enormous sense of optimism. You can just feel the opportunities of growth--I think that India is really on the cusp of greatness!

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February 26, 2008

Study Mission to India: Healthcare highlights

Today we had a very interesting presentation on healthcare in India. Here are some of the highlights:

- Because of the explosive growth, there is a huge opportunity in India's healthcare sector.

- Healthcare equaled 5.2 percent of GDP in 2004 and is expected to be 5.5 percent in 2009. The sector employs around 9 million people.

- Standard of Care is the biggest opportunity for improvement, as is the ability to serve more people.

- Demand is expected to outstrip the supply over the next decade. Almost 80,000 additional hospital beds will be required to adequately meet the need.

- There is a shift from traditional diseases such as typhoid and cholera to problems such as heart attack, arthritis, and diabetes. Diabetes is rampant and obesity is increasing, which predisposes patients to cardiac disease.

- 85 percent of the population pay for healthcare out of pocket. There is no healthcare insurance.

- There is very little focus on preventive health, resulting in non-operable medical conditions.

- Wellness programs are needed – yoga, exercise and diet control are huge areas!

- India’s total expenditure on health, public and private, does not compare favorably with South East Asian countries.

- There is a huge need for qualified nurses because many skilled nurses go to Western countries because the pay is so much better.

Key drivers include:

- Access through health insurance

- Support capability building in R&D in healthcare

- Significant improvement in healthcare infrastructure

- Adoption of a broader view of healthcare costs

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February 25, 2008

Study Mission to India: Entertainment

The final presentation to the Study Mission participants today focused on India’s entertainment industry.

One notable fact: Unlike Hollywood, Bollywood is not a physical area. Instead, it refers to the film industry, which is based in Mumbai. Where India’s overall GDP is expected to grow at 9 percent, the entertainment industry is expected to grow at 18 percent over the next five years. The huge market potential and growth rates are attracting global media giants to enter India. Multiplexes are cropping up; there are more areas to distribute content, which brings rise to more content with more variety; and the retail boom is fueling the need for entertainment.

Challenges for the fast-growing entertainment industry include lack of training. In this industry, which employs 6 million people, there is very limited training. Very, very small numbers of employable talent are graduating from Film & Media institutes. Piracy and content regulation are two more issues facing the industry.

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Study Mission to India: India's economy

A presentation to Study Mission participants on India's economy compared and contrasted India and China. As recently as 1991, China and India stood on similar levels of economic development. However, today the Chinese standard of living is more than twice of that of India. Here are some statistics that I found interesting:

- In India, 809 million survived in 2005 on less than $2 a day, compared to 591 million in China.

- Life expectancy in 2005 was 63 years, compared to 71 in China.

- Child mortality was 85 per 1000, compared to 31 in China.

- Morgan Stanley estimates unemployment in India at 20 percent of the workforce or 80 million people. The UN estimates that by 2015, the working population in India will have risen by 138 million, twice that of China.

India needs faster growth for reducing poverty, alleviating the misery that comes from poverty. They need to create the jobs to absorb the growing workforce, lest they have social unrest. For faster growth they need greater investment, for which they need funding.

How did China manage such funding? They had a much higher level of savings and foreign investment.

Looking at capital expenditures in India is eye-opening. India’s investment on infrastructure in 2005 was estimated at $28 billion compared to $201 billion in China (3.6 percent of GDP vs. 9 percent). Although the savings rate in India is beginning to increase, other sources of funding is necessary to accelerate growth, specifically foreign investment which they are actively pursuing.

Currently India controls less than 2 percent of global trade, but that is expected to increase with foreign investment.

The growth opportunity is huge for many sectors, especially in the area of telecommunications, where one company recently sold 400,000 telephones in one day!

Some growth projections:

- India will become the fifth largest consumer market by 2025.

- The Indian middle class will grow to 583 million.

- Rising incomes will lift 23 million out of poverty.

- By 2025, over 291 million (more than the population of Australia) will become extremely wealthy individuals.

- Most of these incomes will be generated in urban areas.

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Study Mission to India: First impressions

[Note: Anne Blouin, chief learning officer for CenterU, is joining us at Acronym to blog about her experiences on ASAE & The Center’s Study Mission to India. We’re sure you’ll find her posts to be informative!—Lisa Junker]

Our Study Mission to India is off to a great start. Despite the weather problems on the East Coast on Friday, the majority of participants had no problems with flight delays. Only a few were unable to make their connections because of the weather and ultimately will arrive either tonight or tomorrow night.

After a very long flight from the U.S. to Mumbai (Bombay), we were met at the airport and taken to an oasis of paradise in this city of 18 million people, the JW Marriott Hotel. The hotel is in a beautiful setting on Juhu Beach. Staying at this hotel does not really give you a good sense of what Mumbai is like, so a group of us took taxis to the central area of Mumbai last night for dinner. Well, we got a much better sense of the congestion and the poverty that exists.

First of all, it took over an hour and a half to get to our destination. With lots of tuk tuks (three-wheeled cars), taxis, motorcycles carrying entire families, and horns honking, we got a good feel of the congestion. When the new Nano car rolls out, I can’t imagine what that will do to traffic. I don’t think we should complain anymore about the traffic in DC! It could take a few hours to go from one end of the city to the other because of the traffic. Mumbai does have a train system and more than 7 million people take the train each day—no more complaining about the crowds on our Metro system either!

Today, we kicked the content for the Study Mission off with a brief look at the history of India, followed by presentations on the economy and insights into the entertainment industry.

All of the speakers today alluded to the fact that India is a country rich in diversity and contradictions. It is a country of billionaires and beggars, with 30 percent of the population impacted by globalization and enjoying 70 percent of the GDP. However, 20 percent of the population live on less than $1 a day.

Some interesting points from today’s sessions:

- It wasn’t until the 1980s when India embraced a free economy, at least 10 years after China, Singapore, and Thailand. In the 1980s, the IT sector began to grow. Then, in the 1990s, emphasis was placed on R&D, especially in terms of technology development.

- Early in this century, India became a global player in exporting technology and acquiring companies, which instilled a sense of confidence in its people. The country’s GDP is expected to grow at a rate of 9 percent this year.

- Major challenges include the infrastructure—built infrastructure as well as social infrastructure (health and education).

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