2014 February


The XX Factor is written by Alison Wolf, the CBE Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management at King’s College London. The book outlines how working women of the modern workforce have changed the society.  This change has occurred due to the fact that women are working in white collar jobs around the world hand in hand with men in contrast to past generations where both educated and uneducated women stayed at home once married. Author starts the book with the story of Jane Austen (1775 – 1817), an English novelist braking off her engagement with Harris Big Wither in 1802, which was something extraordinarily brave at her time. Then the book describes modern highly educated professional females, 70 million worldwide who stand in a direct line from Jane Austen.

Praise for regulators in US

Posted by on February 27, 2014  /  2 Comments

They say mergers are coming in both India and Sri Lanka. I’d prefer clear guidelines rather than discretion, for reasons like this. A rash of consumer-friendliness has broken out across the mobile data industry. Over the last year, the four major carriers — AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile — have cut prices and offered greater flexibility in how they sell their voice, text and broadband services. The industry could be on the verge of an all-out price war.
Yesterday I listened sporadically to a live streamed conference on Big Data. Sporadic was not intentional. I am in Dili, Timor Leste, where most connectivity is via satellite with latencies in the 700ms range. Anyway, the focus was not on big data per se. They talked about all sorts of things, mostly open data (in the parts I heard) and crowd-sourced data.
LIRNEasia’s dissemination workshop on Improving Service Delivery for e-Inclusion was held on 18th February at the Hilton Residencies (Jaic Hilton), Colombo. The workshop was attended by the senior management of Sri Lankan telecom and electricity companies. Rohan Samarajiva led the theoretical discussion on service quality addressing how incentives for service quality differ under different market conditions.  Helani Galpaya, CEO and Ranjula Senaratna Perera presented the quantitative and qualitative findings on how low-income, urban micro-entrepreneurs (MEs) are being served by their electricity and telecom service providers.  Research Managers, Shazna Zuhlye and Nilusha Kapugama proposed some solutions/ designs for improving service delivery in the two sectors.
The unpredictability of what large numbers of people do with their wireless devices when in a crowd has caused problems ever since wireless became the preferred last mile solution. But there is a solution on the horizon? A recent demonstration in San Francisco showed off a technology that Steve Perlman, a serial entrepreneur and inventor who sold WebTV to Microsoft for more than $500 million in the late 1990s, contends will give mobile users far faster cellular network speeds, with fewer dropped phone calls and other annoyances, even in stadiums and other places where thousands of people use mobile phones at the same time, Nick Wingfield reports. In the demonstration, eight iPhones played different high-definition movies from Netflix at once, all receiving the video wirelessly. Rather than causing the local network to stumble under the strain of so much data jamming the airwaves at once, the video played on all the screens with nary a stutter.
A presentation and discussion of LIRNEasia research from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh  
Abstract In spite of many policy interventions and proactive legislations by the Central Government aimed at encouraging Urban Local Bodies (ULB) to play an active role in promoting orderly growth of the Micro Enterprise Sector in India, the ground reality is that most ULBs have not accepted the new mandate. Even though the sector is important contributor to the economy, particularly towards the growth of employment, there is little focus on the wellbeing of the sector by the ULBs which are responsible for the regulation and growth of the sector. The law requires that all micro enterprises-shops, establishments, and hawkers need to register themselves with the local government. The intent of the law is that the ULBs can plan for an orderly growth of the sector as well as regulate the sector. However, it is universally accepted that there is virtually no compliance of the law.
Obama administration wants to digitize the bureaucracy for all practical purposes. With federal budgets under fire in Congress, the government’s move to the Internet has gained pace. An electronic payment, for instance, costs the government only 9 cents to process, compared with $1.25 for a paper check, the Treasury Department says. At Treasury, which last year suspended most paper mailings for all but the very aged and those with “mental impairments,” officials estimate the shift will save $1 billion over 10 years.
The “twittersphere” has been abuzz, with claims of anti-intellectualism and a few admissions of fault since Nicholas Kristof’s philippic appeared. “Political science Ph.D.’s often aren’t prepared to do real-world analysis,” says Ian Bremmer, a Stanford political science Ph.D.
Every few months (or longer, depending on whether I am in the country) I serve on judging panels for a televised debating competition run by a private TV channel. Today, the topic was one that we had actually done research on: “mobile phones have positive effects on the efficiency of daily life.” The proponents had done their home work and were citing Jensen’s Kerala study, Aker’s Niger research and so on. To beat back the opposition, they were citing the Danish cancer study and so on. They could have cited our work that directly dealt with the subject, but I was not going to hold it against them.