Saturday, December 27, 2008

'Get rid of yes-people and reward the honest feedback'

Say Cheek
Political Behavior in Organizations
Andrew J. DuBrin
( http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Backstabbing can escalate during downsizing

As a democracy, we are only too familiar with politics in practice. Have you ever wondered what office politics is? Popularly, the phrase has a negative meaning, “conjuring up thoughts of kissing up to the boss, backstabbing rivals, and being insincere to obtain what you want,” writes Andrew J. DuBrin of Rochester Institute of Technology in Political Behavior in Organizations, billed as ‘the first true textbook’ on the subject.

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Audit, internal and external

Books of Account
Compendium of Standards on Internal Audit
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
( http://www.icai.org/)

Internal audit quality

External quality review is critical in ensuring and enhancing the quality of internal audit, states SIA-7 ‘Quality assurance in internal audit,’ included in Compendium of Standards on Internal Audit from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

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Losses receive more weight than gains

Books of Account
Deliberative Ecological Economics
Christos Zografos and Richard B. Howarth
( http://www.oup.com/ )

Computing costs and benefits

Cost-benefit analysis confronts fundamental anomalies, write Christos Zografos and Richard B. Howarth in the intro to Deliberative Ecological Economics. “Research on loss aversion, for example, has shown that people gauge costs and benefits in comparison with a status quo point that is defined by prevailing institutions (Knetsch 2005).”

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Myths of motivation

Books of Account
One More Time
Frederick Herzberg
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/ )

Job enrichment vs monetary motivators

One of the common myths of motivation is that wage increases do the trick. “Some medievalists still can be heard to say that a good depression will get employees moving. They feel that if rising wages don’t or won’t do the job, reducing them will,” writes Frederick Herzberg in One More Time: How do you motivate employees?

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Dedicated employees create loyal customers

Book Mark
Do the Right Thing
James F. Parker
( http://www.whartonsp.com/)

Build a culture of engagement

On a feverish pace, companies are currently busy slashing costs, cutting headcount, replacing well-paid employees with lower-paid ones or outsourced workers. Alas, many of these experiments may fail, postulates a new book. Vibrant and successful organisations are not built on a feeling of detachment by employees, avers James F. Parker in Do the Right Thing: How dedicated employees create loyal customers and large profits.

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Emerging supermarkets

Book Mark
Globalization of Food and Agriculture and the Poor
Joachim von Braun and Eugenio Díaz-Bonilla
( http://www.oup.com/)

Three waves of supermarket

From earliest to latest adopter of supermarkets in emerging markets, there have been three waves of diffusion, write Thomas Reardon and C. Peter Timmer in an essay included in Globalization of Food and Agriculture and the Poor, edited by Joachim von Braun and Eugenio Díaz-Bonilla.

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Exploring the 'burning' situation

Book Mark
Brands Under Fire
Ivan Arthur and Kurien Mathews
( http://www.penguinbooksindia.com/)

Listen to murmurings

What happens when there are ‘worms in chocolates, pesticides in colas and a catastrophe in the country’s favourite mutual fund’? Exploring the situation are Ivan Arthur and Kurien Mathews in Brands Under Fire. Just the right read, I tell myself, because the day’s news is about how Satyam is trying to salvage its image after the Maytas escapade.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

IQ is a measure, but social savvy is knowledge

Say Cheek
Outliers
Malcolm Gladwell
( http://www.penguin.com/)

The secrets of success

There is a theory that true expertise needs ten thousand hours of practice as a critical minimum level. Is this a general rule of success, wonders Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers. He finds that what distinguishes the highly successful – such as the Beatles or Bill Gates – was not their extraordinary talent but their extraordinary opportunities.

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'No resources, no work'

Manage Mentor
Keep Them on Your Side
Samuel B. Bacharach
( http://www.vivagroupindia.com/)

‘Hungry’ to ‘discouraged’

When people feel that they don’t have access to the resources they need to do their job, they get discouraged and frustrated, observes Samuel B. Bacharach in Keep Them on Your Side.

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Change is challenging

Manage Mentor
Managing Change: Step by step
Richard Newton
( http://www.pearson-books.com/)

Change is a conveyor belt

Fom a ‘change’ perspective, the important thing about an organisation is that it is made up of people, says Richard Newton in Managing Change: Step by step. Change is challenging primarily because it involves many people and impacts upon many people, he adds. “Successful change requires adapting to the way people work and behave, their skills and capabilities, and even their way of thinking and attitudes.”

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'China under stress'

Books 2 Byte
China into the Future
W. John Hoffmann and Michael J. Enright
( http://www.wiley.com/)

Chinese firewall

China’s lagging political, legal, and administrative institutional reforms can come under increasing stress in the coming years, foresees China into the Future: Making sense of the world’s most dynamic economy, edited by W. John Hoffmann and Michael J. Enright.

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The role of management

Books 2 Byte
Managing Understanding in Organizations
Jörgen Sandberg and Axel Targama
( http://www.sagepublications.com/)

Consultative leadership

Consultative leadership will necessarily mean managing understanding, say Jörgen Sandberg and Axel Targama in Managing Understanding in Organizations. The authors find that the ideas of consultative leadership and the management of understanding have received the fastest and most enthusiastic support among people in professional organisations and the so-called knowledge-intensive firms, such as schools, universities, hospitals, IT companies, and consulting firms.

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Low-skilled vs high-skilled migration

Books 2 Byte
The Global Employment Challenge
Ajit K. Ghose, Nomaan Majid, and Christoph Ernst
( http://www.academicfoundation.com/)

Brain drain

Which is better for the developing countries, low-skilled migration or the high-skilled one? The former, says The Global Employment Challenge by Ajit K. Ghose, Nomaan Majid, and Christoph Ernst.

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'Mottinetti'

Books 2 Byte
Synchronizing Science and Technology with Human Behaviour
Ralf Brand
( http://www.vivagroupindia.com/)

e-Firewood

Mottinetti is known by three-fourths of the Finnish population; over 65,000 people use it each year, with an annual growth rate of 25-30 per cent. It is expanding rapidly from North Karelia to other parts of Finland so that its services are now available to 1.5 million Finns, informs a box item in Synchronizing Science and Technology with Human Behaviour by Ralf Brand.

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Learning Linux OS

Books 2 Byte
How to Do Everything: Ubuntu
Jeffrey Orloff
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Humanity towards others

If you want to learn ‘the most popular version of the Linux operating system (OS) available to computer users worldwide,’ which is ‘extremely welcoming to the new user,’ here is How to Do Everything: Ubuntu by Jeffrey Orloff.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Business leaders -a shift from victim/controller to servants

Books 2 Byte
Leadership in a Challenging World
Barbara Shipka
(Elsevier)

Perception shift

As in those popular three-dimensional computer images that suddenly seem to leap from one-dimensional to multidimensional depending on the focus of your eyes, a figure-ground shift in our perception of business is also possible, assures Barbara Shipka in Leadership in a Challenging World: A sacred journey (Elsevier).

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Tips for the web-writers

Books 2 Byte
Writing for the Web
Crawford Kilian
( http://www.jaicobooks.com/)

Advantage, Web writers

When you write for the Web, remember to edit for international readers, advises Crawford Kilian in Writing for the Web. Many readers may be native English speakers, but most Web users are not, he adds.

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Suggestions to the manager

Mentor
Managing Up
Harvard Business Press
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Constructive disagreement

Perhaps out of fear of negative reaction, many people hesitate to disagree with their managers. But no, most managers highly value alternative perspectives, and most report that they do not hear as many of them as they would like, bemoans Managing Up, a ‘pocket mentor’ publication from Harvard Business Press.

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Business in China

BookValue
1,000 Days in Shanghai
Martin Posth
( http://www.wiley.com/)

China gyan

Want to enter China? But first make sure your business in China is profitable, advises Martin Posth in 1,000 Days in Shanghai. If you can’t earn money in China, you should give up your project, he adds.

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To live your life with confidence

BookValue
A Year to Enlightenment
E. Raymond Rock
( http://www.pentagon-press.com/ )

Enriching thoughts

Applied thought, sustained thought, happiness, bliss, and single-mindedness comprise the first stage of concentration, writes E. Raymond Rock in A Year to Enlightenment.

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The cycles of euphoria and panic

BookValue
Panic! The Story of Modern Financial Insanity
Michael Lewis
( http://www.penguin.com/ )

Is the game over?

One difference between the previous financial panics and the sub-prime collapse is the sheer number of people involved, writes Michael Lewis in Panic! The Story of Modern Financial Insanity.

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Misleading indicators

BookValue
Strategy Execution
William R. Bigler, Jr.
( http://www.jaicobooks.com/ )

Organisational wealth creation: Obstacles

Unprofitable growth, a widespread sense of drifting and being stuck in neutral, and key competitors stealing market share while financial numbers are showing misleading good indicators. These are some of the symptoms of organisational dysfunction that William R. Bigler, Jr., lists in Strategy Execution: How Established Firms Become Fast, Sleek Wealth Creators.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

‘A jewel of advice’

Books of Account
Five Loaves, Two Fishes, Six Chicken Nuggets
Barry Gibbons
( http://www.researchpress.co.in/ )

Cash is king

Make a lot of ‘to do’ lists; forget one person every day; and track nothing but cash. This is the three-part formula Barry Gibbons describes in one of the chapters of Five Loaves, Two Fishes, Six Chicken Nuggets.

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A short-term plan to stop the financial bleeding

Books of Account
The One Minute Entrepreneur
Ken Blanchard and Don Hutson
( http://www.hachettelivre.co.uk/ )

Collect your receivables right away

When the economy hits a downturn, the numbers don’t look good at all. That’s what Jud and Terri learnt. All that they had done to increase sales worked, but in the process they were losing sight of some of the basics, narrate Ken Blanchard and Don Hutson in The One Minute Entrepreneur.

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'Resonance' messaging

Book Mark
The Olympic Games Effect
John A. Davis
( http://www.wiley.com/)

Successful message

The four ingredients of a successful message are relevance, resonance, distinction, and simplicity, writes John A. Davis in The Olympic Games Effect: How Sports Marketing Builds Strong Brands.

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The aim of marketing

Book Mark
Marketing Services
Venkata Ramana Vedulla
( http://www.jaicobooks.com/)

Hospital marketing

Public relations is an indirect but invaluable part of the value chain of a hospital, writes V. Uma Nath in one of the essays included in Marketing Services, compiled by Venkata Ramana Vedulla. Foster relations with the community and educate people in the area through initiatives such as discounts and privilege cards, the author advises.

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Buyer/Seller Relationship

Book Mark
Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play
Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig
( http://www.penguin.com/)

Fear-based sales relationship is dysfunctional

What would you call ‘the process of helping clients succeed in a way they feel good about’? It’s ‘sales,’ say Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig in Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play: Transforming the Buyer/Seller Relationship. Unfortunately, many buyers feel salespeople try to force or coerce a fit, the authors rue.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Tax revenues

Books of Account
Essays in honour of Prof S. L. N. Simha
Susheela Subrahmanya and B. S. Bhandary
(Southern Economist)

Setback in fiscal consolidation

The most desirable development in the tax structure is the shift from a relatively regressive indirect taxes to direct taxes, writes A. L. Verma in one of the chapters of Essays in honour of Prof S. L. N. Simha,’ edited by Susheela Subrahmanya and B. S. Bhandary (Southern Economist).

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Direct vs indirect tax

Books of Account
India and the Global Economy
Rajiv Kumar and Abhijit Sen Gupta
( http://www.academicfoundation.com/ )

Remove indirect tax exemptions

Domestic indirect taxes are often singled out as a major reason why Indian manufacturing is uncompetitive, but is the argument justified, wonders Bibek Debroy in one of the essays included in India and the Global Economy, edited by Rajiv Kumar and Abhijit Sen Gupta.

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Two categories of innovation

Books 2 Byte
Strategic Human Resource Management
( http://www.jaicobooks.com/)

Inside innovation

What is innovation? “If we were to ask young consumers for an example of a new idea in use, most will immediately think of new communication technologies such as the BlackBerry hand-held, the iPod or other consumer electronics,” write the authors of Strategic Human Resource Management: Building research-based practice.

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'Meetings', make it a team-work

Books 2 Byte
The Living Leader
Penny Ferguson
( http://www.researchpress.co.in/)

Dysfunctional meetings

As leaders, we should not look at meetings as an opportunity to showcase our own talents and superior knowledge, although this is often what happens, rues Penny Ferguson in The Living Leader: Become the leader you want to be.

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Use of computer in Sales Tax calculations

Books 2 Byte
Plight of Honesty
G. Sundaram
( http://www.manaspublications.in/)

Tax computing

The Sales Tax laws of almost all States have become complicated over a period of time, and the computer is a convenient tool in the Sales Tax Department, observes G. Sundaram, former Secretary to the Government of India, in Plight of Honesty: The untold bureaucracy.

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Creating web sites

Books 2 Byte
Ajax: A Beginner’s Guide
Steven Holzner
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Go Ajax

Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, or Ajax, is a set of techniques for creating highly interactive Web sites and Web applications, writes Steven Holzner in Ajax: A Beginner’s Guide.

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Prepaid billing systems

Books 2 Byte
Technical Guide on Internal Audit in Telecommunications Industry
( http://www.icai.org/)

Prepared for prepaid

The major revenue of a telecom company comes from the sale of prepaid recharge vouchers, but its accounting is complex, says Technical Guide on Internal Audit in Telecommunications Industry.

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Electronics onboard

Books 2 Byte
India in the Space Age
Mohan Sundara Rajan
( http://www.publicationsdivision.nic.in/)

Space electronics

Electronic systems play a significant role in tracking, telemetry and telecommand, writes Mohan Sundara Rajan in India in the Space Age. Electronic devices also regulate a wide range of functions from simple power supplies to sophisticated guidance and control, he adds.

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Bridging the digital divide

Books 2 Byte
The Governance Discourse: A Reader
Bidyut Chakrabarty and Mohit Bhattacharya
( http://www.oup.com/)

Reform potential of e-governance

In isolated pockets, innovative e-government applications are on, but the real challenge is to achieve a wide-scale impact, says Subhash C. Bhatnagar in one of the essays included in The Governance Discourse: A Reader, edited by Bidyut Chakrabarty and Mohit Bhattacharya.

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For wealth creation

BookValue
Classic Drucker
Peter F. Drucker
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Four diagnostic tools

Enterprises are paid to create wealth, not control costs, reads a snatch in Classic Drucker. Enterprises are not normally run to be liquidated; they have to be managed as going concerns, that is, for wealth creation, adds the management guru in the book of ‘essential wisdom of Peter Drucker from the pages of Harvard Business Review .’

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Elite vs middle class

BookValue
Globalization on the Ground
Steve Derné
( http://www.sagepublications.com/ )

Affluent Indians

Not only does elite life loom large in the imagination of Indians today, but Indians also increasingly see elite life as middle class life, says Steve Derné in Globalization on the Ground. He informs that Western academics use the term ‘middle class’ to refer to the 5 per cent of Indians who speak English well, or the 6 per cent of households with income that allows them to purchase a scooter.

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Theories on inter-firm relationships

BookValue
Venture Capital: A Cross-Cultural Comparison
Dilek Cetindamar
( http://www.jaicobooks.com/ )

Financing innovation

In innovation financing, as in gambling, the chances of financing a successful, radical innovation are relatively small, but the potential gains are large, writes Jesper Lindgaard Christensen in one of the chapters of Venture Capital: A Cross-Cultural Comparison, edited by Dilek Cetindamar.

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Economic reforms

BookValue
Macroeconomics of Post-reform India
Mihir Rakshit
( http://www.oup.com/ )

Globalisation’s volatility

While formulating a budgetary programme, it is essential to select carefully the primary instruments of fiscal policy rather than focus exclusively on intermediate targets like ratios of revenue and fiscal deficit to GDP, says Mihir Rakshit in Macroeconomics of Post-reform India.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Listen and learn

Books of Account
Leading People the Black Belt Way
Timothy H. Warneka
( http://www.pearsoned.co.in/ )

Start listening

Unlike the ineffective leader, when a skilled leader hears something he doesn’t like, he stops talking and starts listening, even more so than he was previously, writes Timothy H. Warneka in Leading People the Black Belt Way: Conquering the five core problems facing leaders today.

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Land for IT park

Books of Account
Good Governance: Initiatives and impact
Ramesh K. Arora and R. M. Khandelwal
( http://www.paragonintpub.com/ )

Corporate zamindari

There is a tendency for big private enterprises to get hold of large chunks of land, writes P. R. Dubhashi in one of the essays included in Good Governance: Initiatives and impact, edited by Ramesh K. Arora and R. M. Khandelwal.

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Identifying a fraud risk factor

Books of Account
Implementation Guide to Risk-based Audit of Financial Statements
( http://www.icai.org/ )

The fraud triangle

Opportunity, pressure, and rationalisation are the three sides to the fraud triangle, states Implementation Guide to Risk-based Audit of Financial Statements. When all the three conditions are present, it is highly likely that fraud may be occurring, the publication cautions.

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Competitive forces, intense and benign

Book Mark
On Competition
Michael E. Porter
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Five forces behind strategy

Many mistakes in strategy proceed from a fundamental misconception of what competition is and how it works, writes Michael E. Porter in the ‘updated and expanded edition’ of On Competition.

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Be the first in a category

Book Mark
Personal Branding
Peter Montoya
( http://www.jaicobooks.com/)

Invest time

Billboards, full-page ads, and promotional tactics can help, but if you are working on you as a brand, the only force that can help is time, says Peter Montoya in Personal Branding.

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The future of fashion

Book Mark
What’s Next
Jane Buckingham
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

A peek at the future

In the future of fashion, the trends we don’t want to see can be just as important as the ones we do, foresee Chip and Pepper Foster, in one of the chapters included in What’s Next: the experts’ guide by Jane Buck ingham. “In fact, some years back, the trend of casual Fridays in the workplace significantly affected formal menswear manufacturers and helped boost denim sales.”

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Insights from the interviews of a business reporter

Say Cheek
The Success Effect
John Eckberg
( http://www.landmarkonthenet.com/)

Snapshots of success and fleeting insights from interviews

What does ‘I’ stand for? Does the manifestation of fun change from culture to culture? What are the biggest challenges that companies will face in the next decade? Is the Internet a blessing or a curse? What are the common traits of performance-oriented companies? Why is public speaking, even if it’s a presentation among colleagues in a conference room at work, a horrible prospect for most people? What are some of the reasons that athletes mismanage wealth? Are there any triggers or warning signs about gender bias? These and more questions find answers in The Success Effect by John Eckberg.

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Traits of a perfect leader

Manage Mentor
The Leader’s Way
Dalai Lama
(Research Press)

The six perfections

Generosity is the first of ‘the six perfections’ in The Leader’s Way by the Dalai Lama (Research Press). Successful leaders are modest people who attribute good results to their team, the author says. “A leader who wants to take all the credit destroys other people’s motivation. A good chief executive must be generous in giving credit where it is due.”

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Developing as a leader

Manage Mentor
Crucibles of Leadership
Robert J. Thomas
( http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/)

Leaders need a personal learning strategy

Intellect, breeding, beauty — none of these things has much to do with whether or not you develop as a leader, declares Robert J. Thomas in Crucibles of Leadership: How to learn from experience to become a great leader.

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Expanding Indian market

Books 2 Byte
Imagining India: Ideas for the new century
Nandan Nilekani
( http://www.penguinbooksindia.com/)

Energetic ideas

We have an opportunity to shift from an energy approach dominated by handouts and shortages to a post-carbon, energy-rich economy, avers Nandan Nilekani in Imagining India: Ideas for the new century. He finds it fortunate that the country is blessed with plenty of sun, wind, land and natural gas resources.

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