Archive for April, 2011

I like volunteering at GREAT Foundation that helps children from the underprivileged background…We a set of volunteers under the Pehel initiative teach over the weekend…nothing fancy but our small contribution to the society…something as a return gift i would say.

Since i assume the role of a volunteer coordinator i end up interacting with 10  people on an average during the week..some queries, some want to be volunteers, some want to donate cash, kind, etc…the list runs long…I have been seeing volunteers for the past 2-3 years now and have a fair acumen about people who come in and i can tell you on day one if the person is going to stick around or leave…that is a judgement you begin to develop when you meet new people everytime…their body language, their way of speaking, etc..two interactions and i can tell most of the things about you..i don’t even need social networks to cover that area…

Though most of the people who join the organisation are firstly stumped at meeting me…as they think i should be an old lady in the age group of 50-60, rather am a 26 year old who is very passionate about working for the underprivileged section…

I am quite a task master when it comes to performance…in case you don’t fit the bill and play the fool. i do reserve the right to show the door…i know it is a free volunteer effort but you don’t come here to do time pass…we believe in serious work…we work within the system…no doubt there are a thousand flaws in it we try to make it better…For example, we know the schools have irregular rules, timings, improper teaching methodologies, are infested with all the wrong things you can point out, etc…we still try to work within the system to make it better. It has taken us quite a while to bring the schools to the level they are at present. As they say “Rome was not built in one day”

There have been numerous instances where we have had to work within the given constraints and ensure success of our intitiatives. I remember vividly when we had begun teaching in the schools the principals and the school teachers used to find it as a hindrance and often end up acting high and mighty with the volunteers. They used to go to the extent of not informing when the school had an off or no classes were being held….

We started with 6 volunteers and now the number has touched 30 plus volunteers teaching at the schools..though the turnover rate is quite high as a number of volunteers leave due to work commitment. However, a high level of passion is necessary to ensure success during their volunteering tenure…usually the one’s who join the place to do times pass fizzle out within 2-3 sessions. Many come for a certficate, a good profile…i tell them teach well and that is your contribution…and please don’t ask me for a good profile..am not recruiting you…and this is not a 9-5 job…it is charity… However, we have people who have been teaching for more than 2 years in continuation and a few others who have left and rejoined since they enjoyed teaching the kids…

Over the past years we started monitoring the performance of volunteers who teach and how it helped the children, we found that the pass percentage increased by 15%. I would owe this to both the school and the volunteering effort.

We have evolved both as an organisation and an initiative…we have faltered at points but more or less have been able to achieve most of the goals set…for example, we inked a deal with Vedanta Foundation for computer labs across the 3 high schools, have sponsored higher education for more than 30 students, roped in Soroptomist volunteers to teach the primary school children and train the teachers, conducted counselling and meditation sessions for the children, arranged toy distribution via the Toybank for the younger children, financed 10th std kids, distributed stationery and so on…the list goes on and on…

All these things have not happened overnight…it has taken tremendous effort on the part of the management and the volunteers to ensure the success…and maintenance of continuity in activities…going forward our aim is to ensure zero malfunctioning and help bring these children at par with the other public school children…I would not say we are perfect but i will never say that we will not improve…It is a constant effort on our part and we take every step in that direction.


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A Poem by a Bengalee School Teacher
Through the jongole I am went
On shooting Tiger I am bent

Boshtaard Tiger has eaten wife
No doubt I will avenge poor darling’s life

Too much quiet, snakes and leeches
But I not fear these sons of beeches
Hearing loud noise I am jumping with start
But noise is coming from damn fool’s heart

Taking care not to be fright
I am clutching rifle tight with eye to sight

Should Tiger come I will shoot and fall him down
Then like hero return to native town

Then through trees I am espying one cave
I am telling self – “Bannerjee be brave”

I am now proceeding with too much care
From far I smell this Tiger’s lair

My leg shaking, sweat coming, I start pray
I think I will shoot Tiger some other day

Turning round I am going to flee
But Tiger giving bloody roar spotting Bengalee

He bounding from cave like footballer Pele
I run shouting “Kali Ma tumi kothay gele”

Through the jongole I am running
With Tiger on my tail closer looming

I am a telling that never in life
I will take risk again for my damn fool wife!!!!!

Disclaimer: This is a mail forward not intended to hurt any one’s religious sentiment. Take it with a pinch of salt…Thanks. Happy reading.

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The infrastructure sector in India has long been ailing from delays – sometimes due to land acquisition procedures, regulatory, financial, procedural, and environmental; the list is never ending. This has given rise to questions such as

  • Will the Infrastructure spending assigned for the 12th plan – about US$1trillion (of which 50% will be private investment) – be achieved or not?
  • Will PE firms invest in Projects?

As on October 2010, out of the 559 projects, 14 were ahead of schedule, 117 on schedule, and 293 delayed. Of the balance projects, no dates were fixed for commissioning.

Indian government authorities are positive that the 12th plan targets will be achieved, and most of the delays caused will be sorted out. To ensure timely project completion, authorities are in the process of setting up land banks and land acquisition units that will ease land acquisition procedures across states. They are also setting up units that will help finance and implement projects, and expedite approval processes.

11th Plan- Infrastructure:

The 11th plan target of US$500 billion was achieved primarily on account of the telecom investments, while most of the sectoral targets were left unachieved. A quick glance at the table below gives an overview of the 11th plan sectoral investments:

Roads Investment in the road sector is significantly lower at $61bn compared to $69bn in the original projection.
Ports Investments are now projected at a level of $8.9bn, which is less than half of the original projection of $19.6bn. Private investment in the port sector is also expected to be almost 40.31% lower as compared to the projections made at the beginning of the Plan.
Railway The projected investment in railways, including metro railways, in the 11th Plan is now expected to be about $44bn – 23.3% lower than the earlier projection of $57bn.
Telecom Investments are expected to be $75bn, which is 1.3 times higher than the originally estimated figure of $56bn at the time of formulating the 11th Plan.
Airport Investment is now projected at $7.9bn as against the original estimate of $6.8bn.

Source: Economic Survey 2010-11

“Infrastructure assets generate cash flows over a long period, which could be longer than the fund life of the infrastructure fund. Post stabilization of the project, these cash flows become quite stable.”  – Bhavik Damodar, executive director and head of infrastructure transaction services, KPMG India Pvt Ltd


Most of the sectoral investment targets were not achieved due to procedural and financial delays. This has given rise to concern among private equity (PE) firms whether they should hold infrastructure investments or liquidate them. Most PE investors continue to remain bullish on the Infrastructure sector since they believe that despite delays, projects turn profitable in the long run.

According to VCCEdge there were 48 PE deals worth $3bn in the infra sector in 2010, up from 44 deals worth $1.2bn in 2009. Approximately 38 infra funds are currently waiting to invest in India. PE firms are also backing non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) that fund infra projects. The private equity sector expects up to three times returns on investment in infra projects. Investors who finance such projects have large sums of capital at hand and are willing to wait for longer periods to earn a stable income.

This will provide tremendous opportunities to the Infrastructure construction companies such as GVK, GMR Infrastructure, Lanco Infratech, L&T, etc who are raising finances to fund their projects and look at expansion.

A few companies that have received financing via the PE route are mentioned below:

Company Name US$m
Macquarie SBI Infrastructure investment in GMR Airports, subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure 200
Macquarie SBI Infrastructure Fund is picking up a minority stake in Moser Baer Projects Private Ltd’s Madhya Pradesh unit for US$130 million.  MB Power (Madhya Pradesh) Limited is developing a 2,520 MW thermal power plant which will involve an investment of US$3 billion, with the investment from the fund covering the first phase of 1,200 MW which will cost Rs.62,400 m 130
Norwegian sovereign wealth fund has raised its holding in Lanco Infratech by purchasing a further 0.6% stake for around Rs.890m (US$20m) from the open market. The sovereign fund already owns 1.17% in Lanco as of 30 Sep 2010 20

Source: VCCircle

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