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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Rehauling Higher Education in India

We know that current state of higher education in India is not in top form. Here are some points which I want to highlight..
*** Current Scenario
1. Theory based University Education.
2. More weight-age to theoretical papers.
3. Poor Infrastructure.
4. Severe negligence to intelligent students who are very good a particular subject not in all subject.
5. Lack of experienced teacher in terms of industrial exposure.
6. Government funding is not sufficient or funding is mismanaged.
7. Syllabus is not upto-date. 
8. Student feedback system is absent or not known.
9. NPTEL course material is good enough but not known to all university.
10. Some university sessions run late due to which a degree course takes more time than required.
*** What can be done::
1. Training of faculty members to
1.1 update about current industrial standards
1.2 update about current industrial trends
1.3 appreciate the efforts of students who want to go beyond the syllabus and want to invent/develop something.
1.4 having proper practical knowledge of subject.
1.5 conduct workshops relevant to their majors
2. Time to time inter university or Intra- University initiatives, competitions and workshops
3. Universities should have special fund to invest in an idea or project if found promising.
4. Proper infrastructure so that students can do their hands-on effectively and efficiently.
5. Keeping the practical tool updated: e.g: TurboC is still used in universities whereas it's support has been withdrawn from 2009. Similarly Adobe Flash is going to be absolute so there is no need to put efforts in learning that.
6. Although arrangement of guest faculties is norm in universities/colleges, but still not very popular form of teaching. We can do this arrangement for specific topics instead of subject specific.
7. Free availability of research papers are available for few universities only, government can make some arrangements that small colleges and universities get same kind of benefits also.
8. In every universities we can have an IP(Intellectual Property) Panel, which help to expedite to get patents for the innovations done by students during their college term.
9. Government can put some incentive program for universities who keep on publishing new research papers. This will increase competitive environment.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Investment mistakes I made and how I corrected it

I was a Doordarshan guy, ummm ... rather, I am still a Doordarshan guy. Since my childhood whenever I used to see news there was stock news on a daily basis. I couldn't understand how it worked. But, the only thing I knew that we gamble in it and we can earn or lose the money quickly there.

But anyway, I was curious about it and I was sure I will enter into it someday. When I started or rather before starting I made some big mistakes, like

  1. I was sure I will start investing in it, but when ? This was not decided, this is where I failed miserably. I should have started just after job joining i.e. Nov 2011. Rather I started in July 2015. I have taken some sample stocks I invested in 6 months after July 2015. So, I have taken an example of average price from May 2012(which I missed) and Jan 2016 after 6 months from July 2016. So if you notice due to delay, I have to spend almost 70% more on same stocks. If I factor inflation and my stock weightage, I have paid around 80% more money for the same stocks. In reverse way you can think that if I would have started investing around Dec 2011. My profit would have been more than 80% till Jan 2016. Moral: Start as early as possible and invest regularly.

    May 2012
    Jan 2016
    Increased Cost %
    Adani 46 85 84.78
    Apollo 67 140 108.96
    Arvind Mills 75 313 317.33
    boi 300 100 -66.67
    CG 130 130 0.00
    cipla 300 600 100.00
    grasim 500 734 46.80
    HDFC Bank 500 1050 110.00
    IndiaBulls 200 720 260.00
    Infosys 600 1150 91.67
    ITC 160 203 26.88
    JP Associate 70 9 -87.14
    JK Tyre 15 120 700.00
    Mohit Indus 40 60 50.00
    MOIL 271 217 -19.93
    Morepen 3 37 1133.33
    Muthoot 123 193 56.91
    NMDC 164 93 -43.29
    Pidilite 171 555 224.56
    Powergrid 100 140 40.00
    Rallis 113 172 52.21
    REC 108 92 -14.81
    SCI 58 91 56.90
    SIB 22.1 19.1 -13.57
    SBI 190 209 10.00
    TataMo 301 370 22.92
    TVS 39 281 620.51
    Total 4666.1 7883.1 68.94
  2. Not having financial knowledge before investing. If you want to invest in equities for long term then you must have some knowledge beforehand. This was my second biggest mistake. If you analyse the above portfolio the P/E is close to 25. This is what exactly Benjamin Graham is put as a upper level. So I am still at high risk. And all this happened because the book "The Intelligent Investor" was sitting idle on shelf when I started investing. Moral: If you want to invest in equity by yourself read some investment books and do some dummy trading/investment. See the graph what happens when you invest without knowledge. More down than up. 
  3. Ignored the value of SIP and mutual funds. I knew that I am not good enough to know market. Despite this fact I didn't go SIP route initially. This was because I never had someone who recommended it and those quick ads like "Mutual Funds are subjected to market risk and blah blah. " This kept me away from it till long time and missed golden opportunity to make some money. Moral:  Start investing in mutual funds through if you are not an expert.
  4. Going after quantity instead of quality. Although this point can be covered under point No. 2. But I find it a separate issue. There may be chances that you can find a great stock with high price tag and low P/E and a good enough stock at pretty low price per stock but at high P/E. Moral: Don't go after quantity rather invest in quality but make sure you don't pay a premium price i.e. higher P/E. Like if I would have invested in MRF in Mar2012 @10k.  Today's value is close to 56k and at this price P/E is still under 16. Having lots of penny stocks is no good.
  5. This 5th point is actually the first point, the mistake I made was - purchasing an endowment life insurance plan, in which I was able to get double the return in 15 years which was accumulated in those 15 years. This sounded reasonable at that time whereas I was not able to calculate the return percentage for the same. Let's talk about the figures- I paid around 260000  and returned the policy in 4 years, if I had done some SIPs or even bank's RD it would become 4 lakh and 3.5 lakhs respectively. But I returned the policy and got only 160000. My overall loss is around 200000. Again around 80%  of loss :( . Moral: Don't go for endowment insurance plan, its returns are pretty poor and your money remains stuck with your insurer. Keep an SIP or RD for investments.
  6. Not having stop loss on my investments. This was one of the early days mistakes for which my portfolio is showing losses. Always put stop loss according to your risk appetite and companies fundamentals so that your hard earned money doesn't go waste.
These are a few mistakes made till date, however I tried to correct it one by one as soon as I realised them. Here are course correction steps:
  1. Completed reading few investment books before investing much. ("The Little Book That Beats the Market" and "The Intelligent Investor"). See my portfolio vs benchmark report as of now. 
  2. Started few SIPs.
  3. Invested in quality stocks. (Read large cap and Companies with strong fundamentals).
  4. I keep buying stocks at regular interval (averaging) and especially at dips like Brexit and Demonetization.
  5. Tried to lower brokerage charge by buying in bulk.
  6. If  you have quality share, don't book profit from selling all the it. Book only to take out the 50-60% of capital invested in that particular share . 
  7. Booked profit in the Bulls run. When market gives you profit of 30-40% in a month or two. 
  8. Keep listening some market experts and matched their suggestions with my existing knowledge and then deciding what to do.
  9. Diversified my portfolio through investing in different sectors.
Learn here to start investing 

declaimer : "I am a fairly new investor(less than 2 years old in market), so my view will be fairly limited to my experience of market as well as studies done by me. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Colgate and Aliens

My nephew is one of the naughty and crazy kid around. I never knew the creative side of him. When I was shortlisted for the Colgate magic stories, I thought I will let him play with it and see where it goes. When the gift arrived, he was already aware about this series. He was very happy that all of three unique cards have arrived.
He cut the pack with great zeal. I also helped him a bit to expedite.  He even corrected me when I put one card in wrong base.

He was reluctant to make story at first. So I had to blackmail him. I put the condition that he can take away those cards only if he writes the story. I handed him a paper and pen and I left the room.
Here is the storyline by my nephew - “Ashutosh”.
“”Once there were two scientist, one’s name was Jack and other’s name was John. They had listen that there are aliens on Mars.  So one day they decided to travel a long journey. (To find aliens maybe!!!). They started making their own spaceship. After many months their spaceship got ready to fly.

They dressed in astronauts suite and launched the spaceship. After an hour they were in space, they decided first not to go to Mars but to Neptune. They were going at the speed of light for Neptune. After reaching there they didn’t find any alien there. So they went to Urenus but no luck then move to Saturn then Jupitor but no luck there also. Finally they landed on Mars, as they had listened that there were aliens on Mars. 

Jack and John parted in different directions in search of aliens. Jack gone in the west and John gone in the east. They both taken a gun with themselves for safety. Walking and walking Jon had gone in the area where aliens lived.

When an alien saw a strange person in its area he got very angry. It fired on John but target got missed. John got scared what was happening!  At that moment a UFO came flying in front of him. He quickly understood that it was an alien attack. He called Jack to help him and destroy the alien.

Jack quickly took the spaceship and reached where John was fighting with aliens. John was in real trouble but Jack went and saved John. After that both fought with the aliens and destroyed them.””

I am quite impressed by Ashutosh's imagination, I will shamelessly use him more. :P 
“I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Robots are coming next door, Are you prepared?

If you read even a bit of recent technological news, you may have fair idea where it all going! And besides all the advancement, the main concern of our era is quick and revolutionary advancement of AI.

Before going into further detail, let's discuss some progresses already achieved in AI.

  1.  You can be uniquely identified by your voice with 90% of accuracy. Link
  2. Voice recognition has been as good as human being. These first two points jointly identifies who you are and what you are talking about. Link
  3. Face recognition accuracy has been reached to 97%, where as human accuracy has been around 96%. More or less AI is reaching there where your one image can be identified at different places with certainty. Link
  4. Letter scanning technology has been improved so far that it can identify your cursive handwriting with 99% of accuracy. Scan any image containing any text, it will identify and highlight texts within it. Be it a machine text or human text AI is now able to extract the textual information. Link (Read Conclusion)
  5.  Google's AI Deep Mind is able to defeat world's Go Champion Lee in 4-1. This is done through AI without much computation as supposed earlier with such game's complexity. Link
  6. Driverless cars are now a reality. Tesla is one such good example. Google has been running it's driverless cars for 2 years successfully. Link
  7. News story can be created in real time with the help of AI. This puts news editor's job in danger. Link1 Link2
  8. Book review is pipelined for AI.
  9. Chatbots to help or chat with them.  Link
  10. Poetry and music creation is now possible. Link1 Link2
  11. It is getting better day by day in poker game even. Link
  12. Able to create paintings. Link
  13. Movie script writing. Link
  14. Spam Filtering. Link
  15. Movie and product recommendations. Link
Some further links
The AI Threat Isn’t Skynet. It’s the End of the Middle Class
Elon Musk: artificial intelligence is our biggest existential threat

AI works best where there is certain rules to follow and need little human intervention, but it is not limited to above use case only. It can learn almost all of human skills in quick manner if it is programmed that way whether it is a labour intensive job or requires a creative thinking.
Knowing the recent speed and efforts companies are putting in AI, there is no surprise there will be AI for all kind of job, in that scenario what will human left to do is a big question to think!!!
Now you got the fair idea that AI is reading at human level or at par with human in some or other fields. In today's internet world it will take no longer to reach such technology to other part of planet. (Read developed world to developing world). We will see more and more applications based on AI in near future at a rapid rate. Everything that can be automated will be automated.
But there is a catch for you, once automation will be in place, it will be hard to bypass/trick an AI based robot. Let's see some hypothetical examples:

  • Suppose there is a Robotic Traffic Police Man which controls traffic as well as gives challan to traffic rule violators. Can you manage to bribe that Robo Cop? There is a 100% surety that it can't be bribed and 99% chance that it can't be fooled.
  • Similarly if you have evaded some taxes then some Robot based income tax inspector will come to arrest you, can you bribe him?

In coming 5 to 10 years, it will be hard to evade from your wrong karma and if you are able to escape from God's punishment make no mistake. AI will punish you for sure. He will track your current record as well as previous records and will do the needful.