CYBERSECURITY AND COVID19

Cyber attacks increased from March 2020 as organizations hurried to restructure their IT Infrastructure, moved to cloud and started making arrangements for their employees to work from home during COVID19 lockdown. This hurried deployment of IT Infrastructure led to misconfigured and unprotected assets that has opened up vulnerabilities and attack vectors which was used by cybercriminals. Reports from various websites indicated that there was double the amount of cyberattacks since the covid19 lockdown. COVID19 related phishing and malware attacks increased by 50 times during April-May 2020 in the USA.India also witnessed increase in cyberattacks during the COVID19 lockdown. (https://www.rfi.fr/en/international/20200817-cyber-crime-soars-as-hackers-cash-in-on-india-s-covid-19-crisis-phishing-work-from-home). (https://www.checkpoint.com/press/2020/check-point-research-covid-19-pandemic-drives-criminal-and-political-cyber-attacks-across-networks-cloud-and-mobile-in-h1-2020/)

Global warming and heavy rains

The recent (October 15 to 22, 2020) heavy rains (and flooding) in Hyderabad (South Indian City) is an result of severe climate change effects. Temperatures are rising and the water holding capacity of atmosphere increases by 4% for every 1 Degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature. With absolutely no control over the CO2 and Methane emissions in India, and India being the third largest climate change pollutant the resulting climate warming will lead to more heavy rains in the future, and massive damage to livelihoods of millions due the devastating floods. Please see the picture below. India is going to see more and more of these intense rainfall in the future. Source of this picture below: https://climatesolutions.edf.org/

PLASTIC IN OUR EVERYDAY DIET?

The last post i wrote about plastic pollution was on August 22, 2020. Today i am again giving a reminder of the danger single use plastic brings to us and our future generations. When i first saw the reuters infographic on “plateful of plastic” which helps us understand the amount of plastic that goes into human bodies, I was not surprised, i was following various journals to get more information on how this “plastics into human bodies” can happen. Please see the reuters infographic here: https://graphics.reuters.com/ENVIRONMENT-PLASTIC/0100B4TF2MQ/index.html. Please read this article: https://daily.jstor.org/we-consume-a-spoonful-of-plastic-a-week/

zoonotic diseases, can we stop them?

As we cut down more trees and bring down forests, and threaten the habitat of wild animals and other species we encounter more new animal infections. Zoonotic diseases (diseases that spread from animals to humans) are on the rise, we have seen HIV/AIDS, SARS, and COVID19. Increase in consumption of fresh meat by humans by 5 times since 1960’s has increased the chances of animal diseases infecting humans. Pandemics like COVI19 are not going to be once in a century incidents, they are going to happen more frequently in the future. See this: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/daily-covid-19-cases-reach-new-high-new-report-examines-how-prevent-future. Read this: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/06/coronavirus-on-the-hunt-for-the-next-deadly-virus/

Global warming and why this 1.5 degrees is important

1.5 Degrees Celsius is an important milestone which will keep the global warming to less devastating impact. This means that every fraction of additional warming beyond 1.5 degrees will cause a devastating impact on the global environment, impacting livelihoods and economies. The CO2 emissions 10 years ago is 6% less than today, and the CO2 emissions 20 years ago is 10% less than today. To prevent global warming beyond 1.5 Degrees Celsius countries should reduce emissions by 7.6% every year from today to 2030. Read more at: https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/climate-change/facts-about-climate-emergency. Can all countries achieve this together? But as we speak, this look impossible. See this: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/11/nations-miss-paris-targets-climate-driven-weather-events-cost-billions/

PLASTIC CAN ENTER INTO HUMAN TISSUES

We are already aware that microplastics was found inside the bodies of a wide variety of marine animals, including fish. Recently a technique was found to identify microplastics in human tissues. Given the fact that we eat and breathe thousands of particles of micro and nano plastics we should not be surprised if this new technique reveals that these micro plastics are found in human body and tissues. Currently the health impact of these microplastics on human health is not fully known, the ongoing research will definitely reveal the details very soon. The fight against COVID19 pandemic has increased the consumption of single use plastic, currently 11 million metric tons of plastic goes into the ocean, and this is expected to reach approximately 30 million metric tons by 2040. Please read here for more information: https://earth.org/microplastic-is-now-discoverable-in-human-organs/ and here for more on ocean plastic pollution: https://earth.org/ocean-plastic-pollution-on-track-to-triple-by-2040/

ARCTIC SEA ICE MELTING AND ENVIRONMENTal impact

Arctic is heating twice as fast as the global average, the volume of arctic sea ice by September 2019 after the melting season has declined by 50% compared to the average between 1980 to 2019. Less and less of arctic sea ice and warming ocean water leads to extreme summer and winter events in the Europe and Asia, and it is also one the most visible danger signs of extreme climate changes all over the world.When more ice melts more ocean surface is exposed to absorb heat from sun warming the ocean water more and the region. It is predicted that arctics ice cover will disappear by 2025, but some scientists predict it will disappear between 20 years to 50 years from now. Please see these links: https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/arctic-sea-ice/. This link from united nations: https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/07/1068961. Certainly we are not leaving a sustainable planet for our future generations.

interesting data from global risk report 2020

New technologies in the 4TH IR is likely to create great impact on the global economy. Artificial intelligence is expected to boost the global economy by 14% by 2030. With nearly two thirds of world population likely to own a mobile phone and nearly 1 million people expected to join internet every day, we are also likely to see increasing risks, particularly in the area of cybersecurity. Cyber attacks is going to become the world’s top 5th risk in 2020 and there is going to be a huge increase in cybercrimes on IoT platforms and devices. It is expected that nearly 40 billion IoT devices are going to be connected by 2025. Cyber attacks on IoT devices have increased by over 300% in 2019 and is likely to increase in the coming years. Cybercrime as a service is also increasing with easy access to malicious services and tools and their sophistication. Please see the report: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Global_Risk_Report_2020.pdf

NEW EDUCATION POLICY 2020 & REFORMS

The cabinet has approved the New Education Policy 2020. There are lot of noteworthy points to discuss about the new policy. Some of the reforms will help us align with SDG4 & SDG5. The following are some of the highlights, there are more:

> Right to Education (RTE) is changed, it now covers from 3 years to 18 years (Learners can get free education till age of 18 in government institutions).
> Four Year Undergraduate degree has been introduced, institutions can now offer 4 years UG Degree (institutions can offer 4 years UG along with 3 years degree).
> Store and carry forward academic credits: Learners can use the credits earned at any education institution for further education, this is particularly useful for college dropouts (Dropouts in degree programs can get a certificate and carry forward their credits earned to continue their education in future from where they have left).
> Single regulator for the entire University Education/Higher Education (Single regulator for all higher education, excluding Legal and medical education).
> Medium of instruction till class 5 is encouraged to be in Mother tongue.

For highlights on the education policy reforms you can look at :https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1642049. Read the full policy here: https://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/Draft_NEP_2019_EN_Revised.pdf

World’s new waste management challenge

The new global waste management challenge is COVID19 waste. Majority of the surgical masks, gloves and other Personal protective equipment used in COVID19 health care facilities are made from single use plastic. These are being dumped carelessly by waste management companies leading to environment pollution. Oceans have been found with massive amounts of gloves and masks underwater. Majority of these waste are not biodegradable which means that they have long after life, perhaps decades. Some of these waste is discarded in animal habitats, which when mistakenly consumed by animals will lead to their death. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/ppe-masks-gloves-coronavirus-ocean-pollution/. Some other data is available at: https://earth.org/covid-19-unmasking-the-environmental-impact/

india’s sustainable development goals index

The below picture indicates Indias SDG Index, SDG Index is performance scorecard of India’s progress towards achieving SDG 2030. You can also click on this wheel to understand the Sustainable development Goals: https://in.one.un.org/sdg-wheel/

Fresh water – Clock is ticking in India

Do you know that fresh water resources available in the world is just 2.7% of worlds water? The rest of the water (97%) is in the ocean. Out of this 2.7% fresh water, approximately 30% fresh water (30% of 2.7%) comes from rivers, streams, reservoirs, lakes and ground water. The balance approximately 70% is locked up as glaciers and ice, which means this fresh water is unavailable. Fresh water unavailability is one of the worlds biggest crisis of the future. Nearly a billion people do not have access to fresh water. India is going to face severe fresh water shortage in the coming years. The severe water shortage in Chennai in 2019 is a warning sign. Is India doing something to address this shortage? The clock is ticking: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/water/india-s-water-crisis-the-clock-is-ticking-65217. One of the SGDs to be achieved: https://in.one.un.org/page/sustainable-development-goals/sdg-6/. Wetlands, lakes, ponds, reservoirs, water streams are precious for our survival. Don’t allow these to disappear in your neighborhood and cities, don’t allow them to be polluted.

Training Evaluation Framework

Which training evaluation framework is good? There are many evaluation frameworks available but the 2 most popular are Donald Kirkpatrick’s 4 Level Evaluation Model and Joseph Phillips 5 Level Evaluation Model. Phillips evaluation model is build on the Kirkpatrick’s Model. The five levels of Phillips framework are: 1) Reaction 2) Learning 3) Job applications (application of learnings) 4) Business Results 5) Return on Investment. Majority of organizations conduct evaluations up to the 4th level, but rarely at the 5th Level because ROI evaluation (5th level) is expensive and difficult process.

Situational Leadership

The leadership approach that i like the most, Situational Leadership. It requires the leader to adapt his style to different situations. Employees move back and forth across the development continuum and leader has to adapt his style to meet the development level of employee. I wrote a short white paper last year on this: https://mvenkatorg.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/situational-leadership-1.pdf

Denmark – Water resource management

Denmark is the only country in the world where drinking water supply comes from ground water. Danish waste water treatment, sewage management, rainwater management, river water management, industrial waste management are the best in the world. Such quality of water resource management comes at a price. An average danish household pays Rs.60000 per year on water bill https://www2.mst.dk/udgiv/publications/2001/87-7944-862-3/pdf/87-7944-858-5.pdf. Is India taking help from Denmark? A few projects were initiated, progress of the projects not clear (https://stateofgreen.com/en/partners/state-of-green/news/danish-solutions-to-ease-indias-water-challenges/). Is India able to manage its water resources. No. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2019/03/22/helping-india-manage-its-complex-water-resources

Leaders and Managers

If Leaders are those who give vision, direction, inspire people, setting examples and building teams then who are managers? What managers do in organizations? Managers are those who manage the organizations resources efficiently and effectively. They maintain the steady state environment in the organization. Managers are good administrators, and are good at performing routine tasks.. But can managers become leaders? Yes, indeed. Managers become leaders when they give direction, set objectives, inspire people and perform all other functions of leadership (like transformation activities), and when their personality and character is accepted by others in the organization. Leadership and management are overlapping concepts, resulting in little confusion, to some. Leaders need not necessarily be only at the top. Leadership can be at all levels, Strategic, Operational, Team Level.

World Environment day and India’s SDGs

June 5th was World Environment Day, the regular annual event by UN Environment programme was postponed to 2021. COVID-19 is the result of excessive human encroachment of natural environment. COVID-19, like SARS and Ebola is a zoonotic disease, zoonotic diseases are those which get transmitted from animals to humans. Where does India stand in environment protection? What is India’s efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals? The plans and data available is not very promising but efforts are ongoing. http://niti.gov.in/writereaddata/files/SDGsV20-Mapping080616-DG_0.pdf

The bases of power in Leadership

The two popular bases of power in leadership are Position Power and Personal power. Position power includes legitimate, reward and coercive. Personal power includes referent and expert. Position power is when someone derives power from a rank or a position in the organization, like Vice President or General Manager. Personal power is power derived by a person who is likable and knowledgeable or a person who is a subject matter expert and highly respected for his subject knowledge. Some leaders have one of these power bases and some others have a combination of both the bases.

Sustainable development

India is one of the worlds worst among the developing nations in solid waste management. India generates approximately 60 million tons of solid waste per year. At least 50% of all the waste coming from urban India and which includes waste from chemical factories, hospitals, industries, domestic waste coming from urban homes, e-waste, plastic waste, metals are put in dumpsites (landfills are planned and controlled by muncipalities) and these dumpsites are polluting the air, soil and underground water. Untrained and uneducated workforce manage most of the waste management system in India who recklessly manage these dumpsites which is causing this colossal damage to environment. Less than one third of plastic waste generated in India is managed safely for recycle. Though there are many waste management projects running in the PPP model in India they are not enough. The dark side is that only 65% of solid waste generated in India is collected and less than 25% of collected is treated and all municipalities dump the collected waste in landfills. Sources: unenvironment.org, in.undp.org, sustainabledevelopment.un.org, downtoearth.org.in. Sustainable cities and communities which is one among the Sustainable Development goals of UN guided by ISO 37101 is one of the way to look at smart cities development in India. More than half world population live in cities today (2020) and that is going to double by 2050. Let us allow our future generations to live with digitalization and smart technologies: https://urbanoctober.unhabitat.org/sites/default/files/2020-04/WCD2019__Key_Messages.pdf

Leadership Quotes

“The higher the self esteem of a leader, the more likely it is that he or she can inspire the best in others. A mind that does not trust itself cannot inspire greatness in the minds of colleagues and subordinates” – Dr.Nathaniel Branden

“Twenty first century leadership relationship dynamics are from the bottom up rather than the top down; from the outside in, rather than the inside out” – James M Strock