Month: June 2004

Do you have it in you?

Do you have it in you?

A few years ago, we saw slickly produced 30-second commercials on TV showing a life full of adventure, passion and fulfilment. The voiceover went: "The Indian Army: Do you have it in you?" This recruitment ad luring to Indian youth to join the armed forces apparently generated an enormous response.

Cut to present: everyone and his brother are talking about the new release Lakshya. Reviews say the movie has an inspiring story and is worth a watch. The character that Hrithik Roshan plays is of a confused young man, who has no idea of what he wants out of life. Wandering aimlessly in life, looking for purpose, he stumbles into the armed forces, not by choice but by happenstance. Soon, the armed forces transform him from being a purposeless young man into a mature adult with a goal in life.

So what is it about the armed forces that attracts and retains young, talented men? For one, unlike in few other countries where the military draft makes it mandatory to serve the armed forces for a certain period, joining the Indian Armed Forces is voluntary. In spite of this, the Indian Army is among the largest in the world. For another, a career in the armed forces is rather exciting. As an army man, you live in deserts, icy mountains, tropical jungles, plains, swamps and islands; you play sports, learn management skills, work on hi-tech computers and sophisticated technology, use the latest communications gadgets and lots more. Add to this the respect and authority that serving Officers command, both within the services and among civilians. Yet, perhaps the biggest reason why the armed forces attracts and retains the youth is the job satisfaction associated with a career in the Armed Forces – protecting your country gives you a sense of purpose and responsibility – in other words, the armed forces give you a lakshya.

For the last ten years, the Jidnyasa Trust has been organising an annual "Military Training Programme" in the city. Held under the guidance of Major (Retd.) Subhash Gawand, the programme is open to students of class VI, VII and VIII. One of the objectives of this training is to prepare its students for the competitive entrance tests such as National Defence Academy (NDA). Students are trained in military parade, air rifle shooting, self-defence, mountaineering, first aid, civil defence and aero-modelling. Group discussion session and public speaking will be organised to develop interpersonal skills.

One advantage of military training is that it inculcates the highest sense of discipline among its participants at a young age. It also aids improving general behaviour, develops stamina and achieves overall growth of young students.

Like last year, the training is being organised in association with P.E. Society’s English School and training sessions will be held in the school premises. The minimum prescribed weight of applicants is 30 kg and they should be at least 135 cm tall. The training sessions will be held every Sunday between 7.00 a.m. and 10.00 a.m. The first session begins on Sunday 27th June 2003 and the course will continue through March 2004. To enrol, contact Maj. (Retd.) Subhash Gawand, Trustee of Jidnyasa Turst, at P. E. Society’s English School, Mithbunder Road, Thane (East) at 7.00 a.m. on June 27, 2004.

We are all environorganisms

We are all environorganisms

In his book, "Manifest your Destiny", bestselling author Dr Wayne Dyer, has a coined a new word: environorganism. Fondly called the father of motivation, Dyer believes that we are not organisms in an environment. We are environorganisms. What he means by this is that our environment and we are one. We cannot define ourselves in isolation from the environment. This implies that if we abuse our environment, we are actually abusing a part of ourselves. This was also the message that 34 city children, aged between four and 14 were trying to spread. Through street plays performed on June 05, 06 and 08, these children emphatically brought to the forefront the importance of "preserving and caring for our environment". Organised by a few socially conscious citizens from Vasant Vihar row houses and Panchvati Society, the street plays were held at four locations: Jambli Naka (near St. John the Baptist High School), Vasant Vihar (near Lok Puram School), Hiranandani Estate (near Hakone and Hirandandani Foundation School) and Garden Estate.

Alakta Kar, one of the key organisers appreciated the performances of the children, "They were wonderful, all of them, considering that some of them were briefed about their roles just a day before the plays were scheduled." To ensure a wider reach, the plays were scripted in Hindi and they covered various aspects of environment abuse – air, water, noise pollution as well as cutting of trees and blasting of hills to construct buildings. Kar was full of praise for Indu Chaturvedi, who wrote the scripts, and made sure that messages are delivered in a humorous manner. For instance, there was a scene where a building contractor instructs workers to "cut the trees". At the same time, two volunteers approach the workers, explain to them the consequences of cutting trees, and convince them to stay away. For noise pollution, she chose to show a political leader who has just won the elections and his supporters are shouting slogans and celebrating the victory with firecrackers. When the leader is asked why he is creating so much noise pollution, he replies, "Because I will be quite for the next five years."

Kar was also grateful to Mala Raj, another socially aware lady from Vasant Vihar, who coordinated the entire event and ensured that it was executed successfully. The response to the event was so good that the Lioness Club requested them to repeat plays for its members on June 08. More than 100 people attended this episode.

Such initiatives are certainly commendable. Yet, what is required is a sea in change in the individual attitude towards the environment. It is two weeks since we observed World Environment Day. And it is a good time to follow up to check if we are adhering to the resolutions we made or did we simply pay lip-service to it. The importance of caring for our environment cannot be emphasised enough. Do you know that Mumbai (and therefore Thane) is the second most polluted city in India? The measure of SMP (Suspended Particulate Matter) recorded in Mumbai is consistently found to be in the "alert" levels. This is largely a result of collective apathy and indifference towards our ecosystem. It is time we change our attitude towards environment pollution. Perhaps one way to do that is to view ourselves "environorganisms". Because, when we view ourselves, and the environment, as one, we will stop mistreating it and also prevent others from doing so.

You are not your results

You are not your results

There’s something that joins together Mark Twain, George Washington, Charlie Chaplin, Agatha Christie, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, and our home-grown superheros JRD TATA and Dhirubhai Ambani. Can you take a wild guess what that is? Chances are, you can’t – so let me tell you: none of these great individuals completed formal education. In fact, a few of them didn’t even go to school. Yet, this did not get in the way their success. On the other hand, how many board toppers do you remember? And how many of those you do, have made it real big?

When facing results, remember that doing well in academics does not guarantee success, just as doing poorly in academics does not guarantee failure.

What if you fail or perform badly? Simple. Try again. Or resolve to do better the next time around.

As a child, learning to walk, you fell down countless times. But falling did not prevent you from standing up and making another attempt at walking. Can you imagine not making another attempt to walk simply because you fell down and got hurt once??

Albert Einstein, unarguably the best known scientist of the 20th century, had failed his entrance test to Federal Swiss Polytechnic at the age of 16. God knows what have happened, if he would’ve given hopes or lost his self esteem because he failed an entrance exam? But thankfully, he tried again and the rest is history.

Let me give you another example. Did you know that it took Thomas Edison more than 10,000 tries before he invented the light bulb? After 9,999 tries, a young reporter asked him, "Mr. Edison, are you going to have 10,000 failures?" Edison replied: "Young man, I didn’t fail 9,999 times. I discovered 9,999 ways not to invent the light bulb." Sir Winston Churchill put this phenomenon quite succinctly when he said, "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

For those of you who are still not convinced, commit to memory the story of Abraham Lincoln, who was dubbed as "the man who failed the maximum number of times" before he finally became the President of the USA.

Here are some thoughts that you can keep in mind, whenever you feel let down by your performance in any sphere of life.

  • You are not your results. So stop identifying your self worth with your marks.
  • Your academic performance reflects just one of the multitudes of aspects that make you up in totality.
  • Avoid the comparison trap. You are a unique individual with special talents and abilities.
  • When others remind you of your "failure" or "poor performance", just remember that other people’s opinions of you DO NOT have to become your reality

Lastly, make a new agreement with yourself. Every morning as you wake up, and every night as you go to bed, repeat the following: I love myself, I respect myself, I trust myself.

Wish you the very best!

You are not your results!

You are not your results!

Doing well in academics does guarantee success just as doing poorly in academics does not guarantee failure. This was the central theme of the seminar "You and Your Results" held in Thane’s CKP Hall on Sunday June 06, 2004. Organised by NGO Lighthouse Foundation, in association with Jidnyasa Trust, the objective of the seminar was to address anxious SSC students awaiting their board results and help them deal with results sensibly. CKP Trust supported the event by sponsoring the venue.

The seminar began with a two-minute video clip that captured the reactions of SSC who were asked: "What if you fail?" The responses were expected: "I’ll run away", "I’ll be really depressed" and "I’ll feel hurt". This was followed by an audio-visual presentation which projected names of SSC board toppers from the past few years on the screen and asking the audience if they recognise them. Very few could. Then, names of famous individuals like Thomas Edison, Dhirubhai Ambani, George Washington, Mark Twain, Walt Disney, Bill Gates and many more famous individuals were shown. Everyone recognised them and their achievements. Yet, not many knew that most of them had not completed formal education, were elementary school drop-outs or had failed some time during their education. Some of them had never been to school. The story of Abraham Lincoln, the man who failed the maximum number of times before going on to become the President of United States, demonstrated what Sir Winston Churchill once said: ""Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." When the audience was asked what the moral of the story was, almost all of them unanimously echoed, "Never Give Up."

The Chief Guest of the evening was Jalaj Dani, Vice-President of International Operations at Asian Paints. He spoke about his experience at Asian Paints interspersing it with lovely quotes. One of his quotes, by Michael Jordon, reinforced the idea of not quitting: "Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."

Dr. Rajan Bhosle, well-known psychologist and student counsellor narrated wonderful stories that urged the students not to attach any judgement to the many occurrences in their lives. With the help of a wonderful Sufi fable, he convinced people that happenings are neither good nor bad – they are just happenings. He urged parents to be patient with their children. He said "Studies have shown that only about 20 per cent children are able to identify their unique ability or special talent by the age of 16." In the Q&A session, when a few parents asked difficult questions, Bhosle fielded them very well.

There appeared to be a spiritual undertone to all the messages. In one way or the other, all the presenters urged students to trust themselves and the almighty and then march forth to towards realising their dreams. Towards the end of the seminar, students were asked to write down their dreams on a slip distributed to them and drop them in a "dream box" which will be offered to the Universe for fulfilment.

SSC results are just around the corner and will be declared any day. If you’re an anxious SSC student awaiting your results, you would do well to remember that you are not your results. If you fail or score less than expected, just remember that you will get a many more opportunities along the way. Do you know that Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists ever, had failed his entrance test to Federal Swiss Polytechnic at the age of 16?

Lighthouse Foundation and Jidnyasa Trust have published a free booklet aimed at helping students deal with their board results. SSC students or their parents can collect this booklet from CKP Hall, Kharkarali, Thane between 5.30 pm and 8.00 pm

Superior customer experience, courtesy technology

Superior customer experience, courtesy technology

In this era of parity in product quality and product price, the only distinct competitive advantage is superior customer service. If employed sensibly, technology can be a potent instrument in effectively enabling organisations to provide superior customer service consistently.

Realising this, organisations are using technology as a competitive tool to create the customer experience that differentiates them in the market. But experts concur that technology must be used prudently, for sometimes what is designed to serve the customers ends up doing the exact opposite: disservice. Unfriendly technology, however sophisticated it might be, is as bad as poor quality service and can prove detrimental to your organisation’s image and long term survival. Organisations that employ technology will do well to remember that in the end, it is only a means to an end, not the end itself. Technology should serve the organisations and its customers, and not the other way around.

"Using technology to enable superior Customer Service" was the theme of FedEx Spirit of Success forum presented in association with The Economic Times General Management Review. Held at the Taj Residency in Bangalore, the technology hub of India, the forum showcased leading names from the industry. In exclusive post-forum interviews with the speakers Manoj Khatri asked them to elaborate on the ideas they presented at the forum. Excerpts:

Back to the Future
In December 2003, Corporate Dossier presented the first instalment of FedEx Spirit of Success in Mumbai and Delhi. Internationally acclaimed futurist Patrick Dixon took us into a journey of time and showed us a glimpse of the exciting future. He emphasised that speed will be a critical factor in managing tomorrow. "The world is changing faster than boards can contemplate. Organisations will have to become incredibly flexible, and plan for more than one vision and keep more than one business plan ready," Dixon predicted.

The Indian futurists, who accompanied Dixon in his crystal-gazing, included Sunil Mittal, the CMD of Bharti Enterprises, R Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director of Tata Sons, Arun Jain, CEO of Polaris and Deepak Puri, MD of Moser Baer. Mittal believed that "the clues to the shape the future will take are to be found in the present". Gopalakrishnan warned that low inflation and low interest rates coupled with high growth is a different reality system, but one that is here to stay. He asserted that taking a spiral approach against the traditionally taught straight line approach will be the key to unlock the future. Jain spoke about the philosophy of Lakshya, an exercise where everyone in the company was asked to predict the future of Polaris after five years. According to Jain, every organisation faces Lethargy and needs some disruptions to move ahead and shake itself out of complacency. Puri was bullish about India, the land of opportunity and the entrepreneurial spirit found in her people. In his experience in a technology-intensive domain, Puri found that the biggest problem is the short time lag between making an investment and the obsolescence of the product.

"Technology is the skeleton and customer experience, the flesh" – Shombit Sengupta, international management consultant and founder of Shining Emotional Surplus,  

In a competitive scenario, how important do you think is customer experience as a value proposition?

The service component in any business is intangible. It is employee passion that determines customer experience. Unless employees ingrain in their attitude, action and behaviour that they want to serve a customer, delivery will fail.

Technology plays a key role in the service industry, but as a skeleton. The most sophisticated technology cannot improve business if the front end of this skeleton is not endowed with flesh.

Let me demonstrate customer service experience through a luxury hotel example. Arriving at the hotel after a hard day’s work, the front desk makes you wait because international flight passengers are queuing up to check in. Then you get a digital key card that doesn’t work at first swipe, irritating you to call a passing butler for help. Once inside, your hunger awaits your figuring out the complicated telephone system that will connect room service. Your difficulty in adjusting the hotel air conditioning knob takes you back to Moscow’s -32 degree temperature you escaped from last week.

A preconceived notion exists that imposing high technology will improve a service business. But this can fall short if only the engineers, not the facilitators, understand the developed software. In the 20 or 30 customer touch points of a service business, the strategic focus should be on how to build technology to primarily deliver those 30 touch points. If technology is not designed to interface the customer’s needs and desires, it remains a mere skeleton which is totally nerveless and without flesh.

What are the special challenges of marketing and managing customer experience in a technology-driven environment?

The challenge is to first observe and diagnose the latent socio-cultural perspective of society, and see how the target customer fits in there. This enables trend identification. Understanding socio-cultural trends is the fundamental diagnosis required to cater to tomorrow’s demanding world.

Marketing strategy derived from gut feel and bolstered with expensive technology can never work. To understand real customer experience, you need micro diagnosis of the targeted and potential customer, not quantified databases or international competitive analysis gathered from surfing the Internet.

People often think that because the service industry is people driven and has minimal infrastructure investment, it can be managed very easily. So, based on this unreal idea, the service business quickly gathers competition, and a price war ensues. The spectrum of the customer’s eye is always open to this competitive world.

In marketing a service business, every different aspect of competitors needs to be minutely watched. The challenge is to understand the customer microscopically in his sociological, psychological and historical background in the enlarged competitive environment. The customer’s sociological platform comprises the class of society and environment he comes from; his psychological paradigm is his desire, need, hedonism and distress; and the historical background means the traditions followed in his country, which would obviously be different for customers in America, Europe, India or Japan.

In the price sensitive Indian market, how can companies compete effectively on technology-enabled customer service?  

If companies have not clearly understood customer need, how can they surprise the customer with service? In general the service business in India does not remunerate people properly. In the west, if a service company is asked to perform even a minor secondary service not contracted for, like couriering a letter, that company will charge handling charges for getting that secondary service executed.  

A service business must establish a tangible character and focus on it. If a service is intangible, the Indian customer does not value it. Designing a service that’s efficient at every customer touch point is a big science. The attitude, behaviour, actions and deliverables of service companies should first address customer needs and desire, and physically manifest these service qualities in customer interaction.

When the service network is driven by technology it will never work. It has to be driven by the customer’s conscious and subconscious requirement. A manual of customer service needs to be designed and the architecture of this manual must have an extensive dimension of discipline that will positively surprise the customer. It needs a tremendous micro research to be in tu
ne with a customer’s physical and psychological requirement, and make the manual accordingly.

Can technology completely replace the human factor in delivering superior experience to customers? Why?

Till the time human beings need to make physical love, technology cannot replace any delivery superiority. Technological superiority cannot give or sustain a differentiating character. It can only be the skeleton. Technology will need to be given a structure. Flesh has to be developed around it so it can be appropriated for human utilisation. It will be very difficult to have flesh devoid of human warmth in a technology enabled service.  

"Use technology to generate actionable customer intelligence" – Vivek Gokarn, CEO and managing director of SAS India

How does technology help in enabling improved customer intelligence for an organisation?

Technology plays a pivotal role in deriving customer intelligence and is catalytic in improving efficiency & effectiveness, measuring the impact of customer interactions, and effectively allocating resources; resulting in increase in customer profitability and above all increased customer satisfaction. Business Executives, Channel Managers, Product Managers, Sales and Marketing Directors all face a common challenge in deriving intelligence interpretations from their large sources of data. They need intelligence to drive their business and improve customer satisfaction, but they seldom achieve it.

To ensure that the organisations have a ‘single-view’ of all their customers, organisations need technology solutions that can collect customer data from multiple sources, analyse it, interpret customer information, and communicate the results enterprise-wide. This would enable an organisation to maximise the value and impact of every customer interaction, and provide measurable return on investment.

For organisations to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, it is therefore imperative that they have technology solutions that can generate actionable customer intelligence, to better understand their customers and maximise customer profitability.

Which industries are most likely to benefit from using technology to serve customers directly? And which sectors can use technology only as an indirect value add to the customer?

Only by gaining deeper insight about your customers can you expect to serve them better and make their buying experience a pleasurable one. Technology is an important crux to gaining this insight. SAS today has more than 42,000 customer sites across the globe and our experience with companies across various industries – Automotive, Banking, Financial Services, Government & Education, Healthcare, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Media & Entertainment, Pharmaceutical, Retail, and Telecommunications – clearly establishes the role of technology to improve customer intelligence in order to improve their business performance.

In what circumstances does technology fail? What measures must an organisation take to minimise the impact of failure of technology?

We believe that the four cornerstones for success of any technology are Usability, Manageability, Scalability and Interoperability. Usability ensures that the user experience is appropriate for every audience – saves businesses time and money in training; Manageability means that the organisation can easily manage the entire system with a minimum of resources and training; Scalability of technology signifies that the product set can grow with an enterprise without losing efficiency no matter what the data requirements are or may become; and Interoperability defines the Integration and communication with software and data from different data sources.

With these cornerstones in place, technology solutions can combine enterprise data management, advanced analytics, and campaign planning and management, to synthesise customer data across various lines of business and across all customer interaction points, including Internet, call centre, and Point-of-Sale data. By integrating online and offline customer information, organisations will have the ability to predict customer’s behaviour across all channels, targeting the right customer at the right time.

"Exploit technology to forge strong customer relationships" – Ashok Waran, Senior Director of Oracle, North America India Operations

What role is technology playing in the changing marketing dynamics? How important is it to manage customers in the current competitive scenario?

Customers are closer to companies than ever before, whether the company knows it or not. They know your processes, your competitive advantages and your competition better than ever before. They have access to information in an unprecedented scale with the advent of Internet.

There is also an information overload happening at the same time. Traditional methods of reaching out to customers may not be as effective and there is a need to change the game. The very technology that makes for information overload can be harnessed by companies to differentiate. This necessitates a new way of looking at business and ensuring that a holistic approach is taken to strengthen each and every arm of the enterprise. This means, "everyone does marketing". Marketing is then all about building customer satisfaction, value and retention. Technology enables the way we interact with our customers and allows companies to do things they never attempted before. Today, almost any level of customer interaction can be conceivably achieved through technology. It is up to the enterprise to re-design their operational models and tap into what is available. A sterling example of this is how Dell’s business model differentiated itself with other traditional computer manufacturers by reaching out to each customer to create a value proposition for that customer. Technology is the primary enabler for Dell.

You referred to customer, organisational and technology realities as factors for evolution of CRM as a strategic response. Can you elaborate on this?

The customers of today are more demanding than ever before: they are smarter, more price conscious, less forgiving, more prone to change their suppliers and are approached by many more competitors with equal or better offers. This means that that the organisational response must be holistic, working across departmental boundaries. They need all advantages they can muster, to create an effective value delivery chain that increases the product’s, or service’s, perceived value at each step of the system. Technology enables this, but the culture is something only the organisation as a whole can deliver. With increasing globalisation of businesses and technology the product as a sole differentiator is a rare phenomenon. More likely than not, there are several close competitors and the differentiator is the end-to-end service. There is no greater commoditised product than a PC, and Dell’s business model is a great example that builds differentiation.

In what circumstances does CRM fail? And when does it succeed?

The best relationship marketing today is driven by technology. CRM fails when it is seen as a point solution or a "me-too" implementation. It succeeds when it is implemented as a business strategy encompassing people, processes, making it cross functional and creating a customer-oriented corporate culture.
 
Using a case example, can you demonstrate the positive impact of CRM on the bottom line?
 
Take one of the most price competitive, non-differentiated products – the PC as an example. Let’s take the Dell story to illustrate how understanding your customer’s needs can create a consistent positive bottom-line.

The Dell model is a very efficient "made-to-order",
highly efficient, low cost distribution system characterised by direct customer relationships, build-to-order manufacturing and products and services targeted at specific market segments – the quintessential CRM. Dell broadly segmented its customers as "transactional" or "relationship" or a blend of both. Dell targeted the educated "transactional" customer rather than the neophyte. "Relationship" customers were a key component of Dell’s success story. Dell allowed these customers to configure, price and buy systems at approved, discounted prices, track orders and inventory through detailed reports and gave access to service and support teams.

The results of this approach were that in three years since Dell adopted this model, its stock climbed 2000% and ROIC was 186% – the highest in the industry by a long margin.

Capital One’s 40% year-by-year growth is another case in point.

Technology is a key driver
According to managing director of FedEx India Jacques Creeten, FedEx relies heavily on technology to deliver superior customer service. Technology is one of key drivers of FedEx and it spends about USD 1.3 billion per annum on technology development, employing close to 5,000 information technology professionals to develop this technology.

Creeten spoke about how FedEx has always used technology to improve efficiencies inside as well as outside the organisation. But he insisted that even though technology is extremely important, the human factor cannot be disregarded. "Even today, if you make a mistake, the way you react and the way you recover and fast and efficiently you do that, still requires the human element. To facilitate superior customer service requires, you require not only technology but also reorganisation and redeployment of people to make the organisation more customer-friendly and the people more customer-focussed," Creeten emphasised.

Creeten believes that technology not only enables your organisation but also your customer. It gives your customer much more power and much more flexibility than ever before. But, as customer experience becomes evermore important, you cannot count on just technology to make that happen for you. It is, in the end, just a tool that helps you run your business in a better way. You still need to hire excellent people and invest in building their skill sets to enable to them to use technology to make the right decisions.

Heal the World

Heal the World

05 June 2004 is World Environment Day. World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Another resolution, adopted by the General Assembly the same day, led to the creation of United Nations Environment Programme. Accoirding to UNEP, you can celebrate world environment day in many ways: Street rallies, bicycles parades, green concerts, essay/poster competitions in schools, tree planting, recycling efforts, clean-up campaigns and much more.

In line with the UNEP agenda, 30 Class X students from various city schools are participating in a waste management project, initiated by the Jidnyasa Trust. The goal of the programme, which began on Monday and is likely to get over today, is to measure the awareness levels of waste management among the residents of Thane. As per the directive of the TMC, wet and dry garbage must be separated at source before disposing of with it. This helps in effective management and disposal of garbage.

The biodegradable waste or ‘wet’ garbage includes vegetable peels, coconut shells, even hair, nail clippings, used cotton and paper. The biodegradable or ‘dry’ waste includes plastics, metal, glass, battery cells, cloth, rubber, bulbs etc.

These students carried a brief questionnaire, visited homes in pre-selected housing societies and interviewed the inhabitants to collect vital information on how garbage is being disposed of by residents, whether they are aware of the importance of splitting wet and dry waste and if there are in special initiatives being taken by local communities. This information, once analysed, will help in finding out how the system of collection and disposal can be made more efficient and user-friendly. A report will be published and submitted to the TMC.  

A similar project on sewage water analysis is also under way by students from Thana College and Ruia collage. This is a youth group programme organised by Jidnyasa, to find out pollution levels of sewage channels and drains that run across the city. Samples of various drains will be collected for laboratory analysis to determine the chemical composition of the sewage and the levels of toxicity in the same. Once again, a report will be prepared and submitted to the TMC for further action.

In yet another environment project initiated by Jignyasa, conducted a few weeks back, a group of six students from Dnyansadhana College measured the air pollution levels at Majwada Signal junction. This was done under the supervision of Maharashtra Pollution Board. A project for underground water testing for portability is also under way.

But should we expect responsible behaviour only from NGOs? Love and respect for the environment in which we live is important for the survival of life on planet Earth. We have already begun to feel the effects of rising air and water pollution levels and if we don’t begin damage control initiatives soon – every single one of us – the future generations will never forgive us. Let us all take a simple pledge: that we will observe every single day of the year as World Environment Day. Let us collectively heal the word – and spread this message among all our relatives, friends and associates.

Message from UNEP
"On this World Environment Day, let us examine the state of our environment. Let us consider carefully the actions which each of us must take, and then address ourselves to our common task of preserving all life on earth in a mood of sober resolution and quiet confidence."