Indian scientists develop reactor for cost-effective production of hydrogen using sunlight and water

A team of scientists has, for the first time, developed a reactor that produces a substantial amount of hydrogen using sustainable sources like sunlight and water, which is a cost-effective and sustainable process, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) said on Wednesday. Development of large-scale prototype reactors with photocatalysts (suspended powders) and a successful use of those in large-scale hydrogen production is under process, it said in a statement.

The development assumes significance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his Independence Day speech, had announced the launch of a National Hydrogen Mission to accelerate plans to generate the carbon-free fuel from renewables as he set a target of 2047 for the country to achieve self-reliance in energy.

India has set a target of 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030. To achieve this, researchers are working towards renewable energy solutions that should be sustainable with a limited carbon footprint.

One of the most economical ways to achieve this is to produce hydrogen at a large scale through photocatalytic water splitting. It is the long-term persistent solution for the growing renewable energy needs and a low-cost economic process that will benefit the society in the longer term.

Thus, significant efforts from scientists towards achieving this goal are utmost necessary and an urgent need of the hour.

In this direction, Dr Kamalakannan Kailasam and his team, including Professor Ashok K Ganguli, Dr Vivek Bagchi, Dr Sanyasinaidu Boddu, Dr Prakash P N and Dr Menaka Jha from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali have developed a prototype reactor that operates under natural sunlight to produce hydrogen at a larger scale (around 6.1 litre in eight hours).

They have used an earth-abundant chemical called carbon nitrides as a catalyst for the purpose.

The process was attempted many times by several researchers using complex metal oxide or nitride or sulphide-based heterogeneous systems, but it was very difficult to reproduce hydrogen in large quantities.

The INST team employed the low-cost organic semiconductor in carbon nitrides, which can be prepared using cheaper precursors like urea and melamine at ease in a kilogram scale.

When the sunlight falls on this semiconductor, electrons and holes are generated.

The electrons reduce the protons to produce hydrogen and the holes are consumed by some chemical agents called sacrificial agents. If the holes are not consumed, they will recombine with the electrons.

This work is supported by the DST Nano Mission NATDP project and the related article has been published in the “Journal of Cleaner Production” recently. The team is in the process of obtaining a patent for the technology.

The INST team has been working in this area of photocatalytic water splitting to generate hydrogen for quite some time now.

“The energy crisis and ever-threatening climate crisis urged us to work on this promising way of hydrogen production through photocatalytic water splitting. The stability and chemical flexibility of having different organic groups in carbon nitrides triggered us to work on these cost-effective organic semiconductor materials for sustainable hydrogen production,” Dr Kamalakannan said.

The INST team started from the lab-scale process to the bulk scale of developing the photocatalyst and hydrogen production through a large prototype reactor.

The team is in the process of optimising the hydrogen production with effective sunlight hours, in addition to the purity of the hydrogen, moisture traps and gas separation membranes so as to hyphenate with the fuel cells.

Hydrogen generated in this manner can be used in many forms like electricity generation through fuel cells in remote tribal areas, hydrogen stoves and powering small gadgets, to mention a few. Eventually, they can power transformers and e-vehicles, which are long-term research goals that are under progress, according to the statement.

Source: economic times

Business Ethics and Value Systems By Dr. Mruthyunjaya

Ethics is just a concept or a thought that stands for Virtue-based discipline of the human mind. Based on its observations, studies, discussions/interactions and experience, the human mind keeps continuously acquiring knowledge and refining the same as and when new information or data is available to enrich its data bank about various issues and aspects. The human mind also keeps differentiating between right and wrong or between virtues and vices. This differentiation enables it to direct and monitor actions and responses to circumstantial situations around.  Next, it analyses the acquired data through a thorough introspection to draw a clear demarcation line between right and wrong or between virtues and vices. Moreover, the normal human mind strives to acquire information regarding absolute righteousness about different issues for this purpose.

Absolute righteousness stands for the highest order of virtues and occupies the innermost strata of the human mind. The sensitive human mind always aligns itself with the virtue side of the spectrum and directs all actions and responses of people, whether instantaneous or planned and well thought over to draw the key driving force only from the inner strata of virtues’ spectrum and ensures that all actions have the backing of the nobility of thought. Ethics, thus, happens to be the camouflaging virtue of the key driving force behind all actions of people.  This nobility of thought, also known as Morale, always distances itself from the influence of external parameters. And hence, the first thought of people would always be virtue-based because it originates from an un-impacted, virgin, purest and noblest knowledge about an issue, fact or a phenomenon. 

When we say that both Ethics and Morale stand for Virtue-based discipline of the human mind, how can they be different from each other? 

A close examination reveals that there is only a hairline thick border between   Ethics and Morale. While morale does not get impacted by external parameters and stays firm in its alignment with the innermost core of the virtues spectrum, ethics, on the contrary, tends to get impacted by many external parameters easily but still tries to align itself with at least the outer strata of the virtues spectrum. While morale finds a firm footing in the inner core of the virtues’ sphere, ethics has its base at the outer strata of the virtues sphere. Ethics could therefore be described as the synthetic output of synergistic interactions between many first seed thoughts that govern the overall macro-conscience of the human mind. Since the human mind keeps continuously learning from experience and exposure to realities of life, its concept of rights and wrongs also gets refined and enriched as and when it updates its knowledge bank. Similar to knowledge evolution, Ethics, namely the concepts of Rights and Wrongs, also traverses through the three phases of evolution, namely Nucleation of First Seed of Ethical Thought, Growth and Refinement of the first Ethical Thought and Crystallisation of the thought to derive Clear Concepts of Ethics.

Society ensures that all follow the righteous path without exception and reference to personal and/or collective discomfort or inconvenience and meticulously followed such a highly disciplined social order until a few decades back. People had no option but to follow the ethical dictum of society.  The ethical way of carrying out all activities has remained the norm of society for a long time.

Over a period of time, human greed steadily corroded the nobility of thoughts and actions and concepts of Competitive Material Comfort steadily overweighed the basic social norms of spiritual, emotional and ethical requirements. Implantation of this first seed of Knowledge Corruption (Mother of all Unethics!) gave rise to the onset of the phenomenon of Unethics, and people started coming more and more under the influence of many external parameters while deciding about an issue. 

The innovative human mind did not take much time to invent many novel routes to circumvent the righteous, ethical path to dig into the very vitals of value structures across society. Traditional value structures that stood the test of time for generations steadily got completely eroded and collapsed. The welfare of the general public remained a mere paper exercise of executives, far from reality. Ethical Requirements had to be administered and enforced. Thus originated the concept of Business Ethics, Professional Ethics, etc., intending to formulate, refine, administer, monitor and enforce ways and means of practising a business activity or a profession. The word Profession embraces all fields and walks of life across society, including voluntary and social services.

As an ever receiving beneficiary, the social responsibility and the accountability associated with a business enterprise or a profession demanded certain plough back in terms of intellectual and economic development of the society. This concept gave rise to the onset of Value Systems for business establishments. With further passage of time, the concept of value systems grew stronger by evolving and embracing concepts of Corporate Governance and Environmental Ethics. 

Many theories came up to explain and justify ethical dictums evolved from time to time. Knowledge Theory is one of the most ancient theories developed by traditional Indian scholars on the concept that Ethics is an ever evolutionary process and that the first seed of the Knowledge-Driven Concept of Righteousness should be sown and implanted in the human mind right in its tender age and nourished all through the younger age for an everlasting impact (The Foundation Principle). This theory upheld and propagated in Bhagavad-Gita states that one should discharge one’s duty-bound responsibility with total dedication and sincerity as demanded by the righteousness (truth) associated with the act of execution without fear or favour. 

This theory provided a good base for developing many other ethical theories that came to be known from time to time. Some of these theories use these concepts but explain them differently. Lawrence Kohlberg’s Theory, Carol Gilligan’s Theory, Consequentialism Theory, Utilitarian Theory, Virtue Theory. Deontology Theory, Duty Theory, Right’s Theory, Immanuel Kant’s Theory, Utilitarian Theory, Non-consequentialism Theory, Social Contract theory, etc., are some of the more popular ethical theories that caught the attention of intellectuals across the society.  Collectively they emphasised a supra-legal moral model built on five broad principles, namely Harm principle (avoiding unwarranted harm to people), Fairness principle (fairness of all actions and activities, to be fair to people and society), Human rights principle (respecting human rights), Autonomy principle: (non-interference in personal choices of people) and Veracity principle (freedom from deceptive practices). They also emphasised that the law merely specifies the lowest common denominator of acceptable behaviour and that organisations should work more towards establishing harmony, congeniality and comfort for all in the society. 

In today’s socio-economic context, one can say that any act of a person, whether an individual, a professional or an organisation, can be declared ethical if it is driven by Pure (Unadulterated, Virgin) Knowledge, unquestionable nobility-guided righteousness and is driven by Totality of fairness to all concerned. When these three basic criteria are met, then it would automatically address total compliance to the laws of the land (legal norms), stipulations and/or statutory guidelines set by concerned governments, local or global or both as may be applicable and guards the genuine interests and/or requirements of the society, local or global or both, as may be applicable and the mankind as a whole without jeopardising the moral ethos of the societies concerned or the individuals involved in the process. Above all, the objective or cause behind an action should also be very fair and noble. For business establishments, the concept of fairness should primarily embrace direct (external) customers, the impacted society and/or social establishments, the workforce of the organisation, business investors, business establishments, the impacted environment (Local and Global).

But the excessive human greed induced by uncontrolled desire to acquire and enjoy more and more of, rather un-limited, earthly comforts does not allow people to stay ethical. Business establishments readily get inflected by unethical practices. Some of the more common reasons for such unethical thoughts and acts are following: 

a. Concealing an inevitable unholy activity arising from: 

  • lack of nobility of purpose
  • very stringent local
  • legal stipulations
  • impractical social accountability requirements of the region
  • very high safety requirements
  • non-availability of sincere, honest and skilled workforce, etc.  

b. Concealing the heinous act of taking-over the responsibility to dispose-off toxic and hazardous wastes from other bigger industries and disposing them off, locally, in different names and in different forms without concern for the safety of the local environment and the people around.  

  • Resorting to innovatively identified operation short-cuts to circumvent situations of execution limitations
  • Concealing the act of not addressing certain social obligations 
  • Pursuing partly-developed technology without regard to personal and environmental safety aspects
  • Participating in development of special hacking-programmes to steal the precious data of other organisations

c. Getting involved in the generation and disposal of huge quantities of lethal weapons and warfare equipment (which add to growing social imbalance across the society due to concentration of power in a few pockets) under cover of various technical jargons. 

None of these unholy activities could be pursued without the support of administrative and law enforcement and controlling authorities. Organisations would first buy their goodwill through monetary favours (hard cash or cash in-kind and/or service). Once this act is successfully carried out, they get full licence to continue perpetuating their unholy activities. Some of the broad categories of these unethical activities are given below. Each one of them manifests in its own unique way. In fact, human imagination is the only limitation for the manifestation of unethical practices. Some of the common forms of unethical practices are given below. Business establishments should learn to carefully recognise and identify all these forms of unethical activities and guard themselves against the same. 

Social offence – Influencing a change in society’s guarded and/or conventional practices, customs and traditions. 

Cultural Offence – Implanting a different culture and influencing a change in the prevailing culture.

Legal Offence – Bypassing legal requirements and statutory stipulations through different means, including misconceptions and misguidance. 

Socio-economic Offence –  Adversely impacting either immediate and/or long-term effects and/or both on social wellbeing through some actions like adverse impact on general health, community welfare, environment, etc. It is becoming a cause for the steady creation of a situation that forces society to spend more to maintain its normal health status. 

Environmental offence – Merciless usage and uncontrolled exploitation of all-natural resources is a standard form of environmental offence practiced by most organisations.  Such acts could deprive the posterity of their basic right to know about virgin Nature’s generosity.  It could also create a situation that might force them to take to voyages to other planets in search of materials to support their existence. 

Another critical area is the unabated burning of precious fossil fuels, which would cause environmental pollution. This, in turn, results in a frequent outbreak of newer health problems caused by newer and newer forms of micro-organisms (bacteria, virus, fungus, etc.) and results in high economic costs to the society and forces the scientists to keep continuously identifying newer and newer bio-active chemicals to fight these newer micro-organisms.

Intellectual Offence – The mischievous human mind keeps identifying innovatively newer ways and means to commit the intellectual offence. One very common form of intellectual offence is either offering a wrong interpretation or offering an interpretation that may not have any relevance to the context of data generation. Some people take to this route to convey certain pre-contemplated wrong messages. Pre-targeted intellectuals readily fall prey to such ill-conceived motifs and keep spreading those wrong messages. Focussing on partly developed knowledge and sharing only a small portion of specific knowledge with biased objectives is another intellectual offence. One more heinous intellectual offence is direct participation in developing new knowledge for dedicated use in anti-social activities. However, another form of intellectual offence is not acknowledging the source of knowledge but using the same for personal gains.

Biological offence – 

  • Meddling with nature’s bio-diversity and bio-sphere, 
  • Meddling with natural vegetative and other bio-species, 
  • Participating in biological warfare through spreading of certain harmful/dreadful viruses, microbes, weeds, macro- and micro-organisms, 
  • Introducing certain unknown weeds in places with wrong objectives, 
  • Subjecting living species for experimentation. 

Pressure groups – 

  • Political groups that have sufficient muscle power and money power to put pressure on the public to leverage their specific interests, 
  • Social groups/societies that have sufficient muscle power and money power to put pressure on the public for a cause which the group conceives and believes right for some leveraging purposes.

Faith groups – 

  • Religious faith groups that can exert some influence on People in moulding their thought processes or collective behaviour/attitude, 
  • Forming collective groups to propagate certain cults or beliefs, 
  • Fanaticism/terrorism practised by some hardcore elements and faith groups can exert a forceful and/or harmful impact on people.

Pseudo-service groups – Private and/or public societies configured to collectively leverage pre-meditated selfish motives under the guise of service to society.

Dr. H. C. Mruthyunjaya, PHI Learning author is a Consultant (Corporate Systems). Dr. Mruthyunjaya was formerly a research scientist in Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. He has over 35 years of professional experience in the fields of R&D, technology and knowledge management. He has authored two books in the fields of R&D and quality management.Author of  over 50 review articles in various fields of Quality Management and Business Management including invitation articles on Technology Management and Knowledge Management

PHI’s book Business Ethics and Value Systems by Dr. Mruthyunjaya deals with some fundamental issues associated with business ethics and value systems. It presents the views of different schools of thought on this subject and dissects the phenomenon of corruption to expose its root causes.

Explore more about this comprehensive and well-organised book and PHI Learning, please log on to:

‘Google’ is most searched word on Bing, Google says

 The top entry on Microsoft’s Bing search engine is for its rival Google, Google has said.

The claim was made in court, as Google made its case to appeal against a €4.3bn ($5bn) fine from the European Union for abusing its market power.

The EU accused Google of using Android’s success in the smartphone market to make Google the default search engine.

But Google says its service is simply the most popular.

“We have submitted evidence showing that the most common search query on Bing is, by far, ‘Google’,” lawyer Alfonso Lamadrid told the EU General Court, as first reported by Bloomberg. “People use Google because they choose to, not because they are forced to.

“Google’s market share in general search is consistent with consumer surveys showing that 95% of users prefer Google to rival search engines.”

  • US files landmark lawsuit against Google
  • Google fined €500m by French regulator
  • Microsoft blames error for ‘Tank Man’ censorship

Google’s argument users choose its services is a key part of its appeal to the record 2018 fine.

At the time, Google boss Sundar Pichai blogged Android “has created more choice for everyone, not less”.

But Margrethe Vestager, then the EU’s Competition Commissioner, said Google had made Android manufacturers pre-install its search app and Chrome web browser – and paid some to make it the only pre-installed app – meaning only 1% of people downloaded a different search app


Wave Optics by Garg et al

Some of the major deficiencies of Indian higher education include:

  1. the scarcity of well-written textbooks authored by reputed professors and published by highly rated publishers,
  2. use of help books by students to pass examination and 
  3. over-emphasis on rote learning with little or no training on problem-solving. 

To improve the quality of education, it is essential to make good books available at a reasonable cost. The latest research and learning theories suggest that outcome-based learning with interactive text in-text questions and practice problems should provide a way to engage an average student in the learning process and enhance her/his learning experiences. Similarly, mastery in problem-solving is mandatory for nurturing creativity. This, no doubt, is a challenging task.

These ideas formed the basis of our work when we began to develop the manuscript of our book on Wave Optics, one of the most fascinating courses taught to undergraduate science students of major/honours and general degree programmes. We aimed to empower learners and enable them to see its principles at work and develop problem-solving skills by interspersing problems with graded difficulty levels throughout the text. 

A conscious effort was made to help learners apply theoretical knowledge to real-life problems and phenomena with the hope that the book’s utility would be considerably enhanced. As we now know, the emergence of lasers, holography and fiber optics in recent years led to applications in communication, optical computing and medicine. Moreover, their applications have found revolutionary applications in space science, geospatial imaging, and cryptography in space, defence, agriculture, medicine, and mineralogy. We were conscious that a sound knowledge of their fundamental principles and developments would immensely enhance the utility of our textbook. The Wave Optics by Suresh Garg, Sanjay Gupta and CK Ghosh, published by PHI Learning Private Limited, New Delhi, fulfils many of these requirements and should be extremely useful to Indian students. Some of its salient features are:

  • Comprehensive coverage of the syllabi of all major universities as well as the new UGC syllabus
  • Rigorous treatment of subject matter while retaining a learner-friendly approach
  • Several in-text pedagogical questions, solved examples and practice problems to support self-learning.

It is said that a diagram is worth a thousand words. With faith in this dictum, we have tried to explain concepts using diagrams as and where required.

Happy Reading!

To know more about the book, please log on to:


ERPs are here to stay and seen as a standard option for enterprises. Enterprises could be Small, Medium or large. Appetite for ERPs – whether homegrown or off-the-shelf products is a necessity. Reasons for looking at ERPs are simple, and some of them are: Enterprises would like to borrow the best practices developed in some of the available products in the market instead of reinventing the wheels, have integrated business processes to derive a single version of the truth on information, businesses are always meant to scale, and hence, intended products are expected to be robust, scalable, and secured.

ERP implementations are seen to be a strategic move, and important stakeholders of the organizations, namely, Head of Organization, Business Owners, Head of Finance and IT must be involved in monitoring and guiding the project team from time to time.  

Selecting a product is always a tricky proposition and must be done in a careful manner. Few important takeaways from the well-known implementations are: look at the installed base of the product in the region, support, availability of skill sets within the organization, training and learning curve etc. 

The next important concern and step are to have an implementation partner. It is often seen implementation partner is selected based on the cost, market reputation etc. I personally feel the most important part of the selection is to see the domain expertise of the implementation partner so that effective communication with the businesses can be established. Does the implementation partner have a relevant knowledge base on the domain so that customers can benefit from the same? Therefore, interviewing partner and their team members from these dimensions becomes a crucial parameter.  

Implementation of ERPs is a daunting task, and hence, motivating internal as well as external team members is imperative. We often do this by creating internal team-building exercises, bringing external speakers on motivation, and giving them an off-site environment. Hence, allocating a suitable budget for these activities well in advance (ideally during kick-off) may not be a great surprise to stakeholders. 

Before we go to other trivial steps, namely, data migration and testing, let me take another important aspect of effective communication during the entire implementation life cycle. We must design a communication deck well in advance and distribute and present it to relevant leaders. Communication must include progress, risk and mitigation plans, roadblocks and expectations from management etc. There could be certain facts to be communicated only to top leadership, and project owners must be bold to communicate effectively and with possible suggestions.

Data migration and testing are trivial steps of any implementation. Generally, it is seen that organizations force a team to migrate whatever crap exist in the old system to be migrated to ERP.  There are many suggestions on the data migration, and some are: One can migrate data which is required for statutory assessment (let us take of last 6 – years) and rest put it on Data Warehouse and build Analytics layer, Bank and Insurance companies can look at only live policies of past 30+ years and rest put on analytics layer for an internal team to respond. As far as possible, do not migrate old videos or audio files as it is. One can look at the option of creating a BIG DATA environment. 

Testing is divided into 2 phases, namely, Integration and Model Office Testing. Integration testing is to ensure all the modules are tightly integrated and producing desired results. Model Office testing is in case enterprise have third-party products; ERP has developed interfaces with the product and organization can not function unless they handshake well. Therefore, model office testing is imperative. 

Last but not least, technical and functional documentation will be the treasure of all the above efforts. Good documentation will serve the current team and help the process manual for the organization, and annual audits can also take the help of process audits, etc. Technical documentation is a useful tool for maintenance, next upgrades – major or minor etc. On-going maintenance of documentation is a must. I always recommend an audit of documentation to ensure they are updated regularly in line with the embedded or changed processes. 

Needless to say, many organizations seem to be celebrating ‘Go live’ in a grand way. Acknowledging project team members with proper achievement certificates and awards to motivate them will add employee delight and encouragement. 

Beyond ERPs

The fun begins after about six months to one year of implementation where-in the leadership team expect quick reports, would like to see a design and engineering needs to be addressed in the latest implemented ERP. Appetite for computing grows, and ERP seems to be having limitations. 

This is going to be an interesting and challenging situation for the existing IT team to look at beyond ERP, and some of the reasons are: user requirements are not adequately addressed in current ERP and to fulfil separate licensing and implementation costs to be incurred with long-drawn timelines, implemented ERP is not meant of new intended requirement etc.    Noted business requirements which are beyond existing ERP implementations are Analytics (dashboards, data mining, predictive analytics etc.), Document, Design and Employee Collaborations, Customer Relationship Management, Demand Forecast Planning, High-tech engineering and design solutions to emulate real-life situations (for example, 5D, 6D modelling), Estimation and Risk modelling, automating repetitive tasks etc. 

To address the above business needs, one must research carefully various technologies available in the market in the field of collaboration, content management, analytics, design and engineering, business process automation, estimation and risk modelling. Some of them are available in the SAAS platform, and a few are on-premise as well.  

Most of the Systems Integrators (SI), namely, IBM, HP, Microsoft, AUTODESK etc. are well equipped with the above technologies, and more importantly, they are well integrated with well-known ERPs. There are open-source products available with the support and can also be integrated with ERPs. 

One caution of implementing the above technologies by interfacing with ERP is IT security, and most of the applications are exposed to the outside world. Therefore, addressing security framework is of paramount importance to the organization and must be addressed with proper assessment and recommended to audit the entire environment periodically.

Needless to emphasize, success in implementing extended technologies have to be planned with a partner who possesses the right skills, and the next key for success is not to take too many initiatives in one go…ideally one key initiative at any point in time!!

To understand general implementation methodologies as well as specific methodologies prescribed by Oracle and SAP for the implementation of their products, explore our book ERP TO E2RP: A CASE STUDY APPROACH by Desai and Srivastava.

For more information, please visit ERP TO E2RP : A CASE STUDY APPROACH

Sandeep Desai — The author of book ERP TO E2RP: A CASE STUDY APPROACH




Accounting More Important Than Ever During Pandemic

Accounting being the language of business has always played a significant role in every economy of the world. The increasing significance of accounting in a digital world during pandemic COVID 19 has become a debatable issue among students, academicians, professionals and industry experts. The accountants have played a considerable role in managing the funds of businesses during this great pandemic. The analytical skills and ability of accountants have made accounting really a highly demanding profession during the great pandemic COVID 19. Accountants and corporate finance professionals have helped organizations a lot by increasing effectiveness by comparing pricing scenarios, evaluating investment opportunities and looking for new ways to curtail operating expenses. 

Due to the emergent degree and interval of the pandemic, organizations have been experiencing circumstances associated with a general financial recession due to financial market volatility, fading credit, liquidity concern, additional increase in government interference, growing unemployment, turn down in consumer discretionary expenditure, rising inventory level, less production due to reduced demand, layoffs and other reshuffling activities.  To save the economies from this crisis, accounting has been playing a beautiful role in the current scenario by serving the best interests of entrepreneurs, creditors, investors, employees, management, government and others. It has helped to gauge the financial health, profitability, viability and consistency of business organizations. As a fundamental and comprehensive tool, it has supported every organization to achieve the aim of value maximization.

With this aim, the importance of talented and steadfast financial accountants have heightened during times of financial upheaval. Even during uncertain times, the business community has to look to accountants for their analytical insights and their stewardship of corporate finance.

To cope up with the challenges of this global pandemic, the book Basic Accounting provides an in-depth knowledge of accounting concepts, procedures and techniques which are a must for accounting as well as non-accounting professionals. 

The book covers the most important topics like preparation of final accounts, the rectification of errors, Bank reconciliation statement, depreciation, computerized accounting, fund flow statement, cash flow statement, accounts of non-trading organizations and sources of finance as well as share capital also. This book fosters a firm understanding of these topics to help finance managers as well as accountants to effectively hold the revenues and funds of organizations.

The book has been especially designed for undergraduate students of computer application (BCA) and business administration (BBA). It also proved to be of immense value to the postgraduate students of business administration (MBA).

Visit to have a glimpse of the book and its detailed contents. 

Click to purchase it.

Internet-access spending improves academic outcomes, according to a study of Texas public schools

Increased internet-access spending by Texas public schools improved academic performance and led to more disciplinary problems among students, a study of 9,000 schools conducted by a research team from Rice University, Texas A&M University and the University of Notre Dame shows.

According to the researchers, whether students benefit from increased internet access in public schools has been an open question. For example, some parents and policy advocates contend it increases children’s access to obscene or harmful content and disciplinary problems. Others believe it promotes personalized learning and higher student engagement.

The research team created a multi-year dataset (2000-14) of 1,243 school districts representing more than 9,000 Texas public schools to address these policy questions. The team measured internet-access spending, 11 academic performance indicators and 47 types of school disciplinary problems. It used econometric techniques to develop causal estimates linking internet-access spending to academic performance and disciplinary problems. Using student earning, the researchers calculated the economic impact of increased annual internet spending.

To date, this is the largest and most comprehensive study linking school internet-access spending to academic and disciplinary outcomes, the researchers said.

The team found that increased school district internet spending is associated with improved graduation rates and higher numbers of students meeting SAT/ACT criterion and completing advanced courses. It also led to an improvement in commended performance in math, reading, writing and social studies. Interestingly, the researchers noted that these improvements were stronger for students in countries with greater internet access (as measured by the number of broadband providers).

On the flip side, increased school district internet spending also led to more serious disciplinary problems at schools, they said.

The team also calculated how much economic benefit a school district’s internet access would bring students during their lifetimes. It found that a $600,000 increase in annual internet-access spending produces a financial gain of approximately $820,000 to $1.8 million per school district, together with losses from disciplinary problems totalling $25,800 to $53,440.

In other words, investments in internet access are well worth the costs.

“We are proud that Texas public schools can serve as a live learning case for understanding education policy,” said study co-author Vikas Mittal, a professor of marketing at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business. “Investments in internet access provide clear and meaningful academic benefits. Yet, schools need to implement policies to address increased disciplinary issues such as cyberbullying.

“K-12 education has transformed into virtual learning due to COVID-19,” he continued. “Our research conclusions apply to a setting where physical learning is supplemented by internet access.”

However, Mittal cautioned that these benefits could not be expected to hold if physical learning is wholly supplanted by internet-based learning.

Source: Science Daily

Blending Online Learning with Textbooks can help prepare students for their courses in the discipline and employment in the field.   To contribute to virtual classroom discussions, select a textbook that supports course topics from a wide range of textbooks published by PHI Learning. 

For more information, visit us at 

Know how one can manage emotions and be self-confident


Stress Diaries is an interactive self-help book that tells real-life experiences of people’s troubles at work and in their relationships, and how they eventually overcome them with the help of therapy. This is a must-read book for anybody who works or is preparing to work, as it inspires us to hope and fight. 

In today’s fast-paced world, we often juggle multiple roles at the same time. No one is immune to stress and mental problems, and this tendency is more visible in the workplace, compromising work-life balance. Professional problems, the fear of resigning, unhappiness at work, and a resulting state of worry are not uncommon. 

It is, therefore, imperative to deal with this new impending epidemic—the stress. In an attempt to address these wide-ranging problems, Stress Diaries is an interactive self-help book comprising real-life stories and anecdotal narratives of people’s struggles in their work environment and how they emerged victorious with the help of therapy. 

This book is based on concrete methodology and comprises assessments, self-help tools, and specialized tips and tricks to deal with our daily problems. A comprehensive volume of this book will help people manage their emotional troubles better and will prove to be a journey of hope. Easy-to-relate and anecdotal narratives of real-life problems of people at the workplace compiled by a renowned therapist, this is a self-help book that can be used as a first-aid kit for any socio-emotional and stress-related issue. It discusses highly effective, standardized, and scientific measures—Self-Administering Psychometric Assessments, paper-pen activities such as mood logs, thought diary and so on—and gives out specialized tips which can be implemented by readers. 

A must-read for all students and working individuals to equip themselves with tools to deal with the daily challenges at the workplace. It allows you to introspect on your immediate surroundings and tells you that you are not alone in this situation. There are plenty out there! It’s one of the best stress-management books to be kept on your shelf. It is now acclaimed as the ‘Mental Health First-aid Kit’. 

It is a great book to prepare college students for a real-life working environment scenario. It gives a bird’ eye view of work-life and how to create a work-life balance. The book discusses the one common problem that everyone, regardless of age, faces— “stress.” Everyone, whether a youngster or a well-established adult, faces some level of stress in their daily lives. This book is a fantastic way for students, teachers, and everyone to learn about stress, why it occurs, what a person can do to overcome the feelings associated with the stressful event and, most importantly, people will be able to learn about anecdotes where people have come forward and shared their own experiences of being under stress.  This book is highly valuable for students as they confront several stressors on their journey, such as getting good grades in an exam or selecting the best college to begin their studies. Life is like a wild ride, and this is the apex of the roller-coaster for the kids. 

There can be no discussion of kids without mentioning teachers. Both of these species must overcome numerous obstacles in order to succeed in school or college. Because different people can read about the various approaches and apply them to themselves, this book works as a source of distress.  To conclude, this book is an excellent resource for self-help; anyone facing stress can apply the tactics described in this book to make a significant difference in their life on their own. It is a book that has the potential to alter our perception of stressors. As a result, for anyone who is ready to fight their own conflicts, this book is an excellent tool.


Mayo College, Scottish high, Cambridge schools, DPS, etc) and colleges (IITs, IIMs, NMIMS, BITS Pilani, Sharda Group, etc) Pan India, and has also made a mark internationally (Royal College of Physicians-London, Tokyo Medical College, University of Exeter-UK, University of Minnesota (USA), etc).

Dr Rachna Khanna Singh is a Mental Health Professional, and a TEDx Talk Speaker, with a medical background, focused on providing Individual, Group & Corporate Counseling with a strong focus on Hospital & Clinical care. 

She is currently the Head of the Department of Holistic Medicine & Mental Wellness at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon. Also, she is the Founder and Director of The Mind and Wellness Studio, which provides services like STRESS MANAGEMENT, COUNSELING & LIFESTYLE OPTIMISING to create positive changes in the lives of people to ensure holistic health for a better tomorrow.

She is a Corporate Health Care Consultant and has conducted various workshops, webinars, & one-on-one counselling for over 500 leading Corporate houses and Banks of the country, like Amazon, Accenture, Ford India, CII, Aditya Birla Group, Airtel, SAR group, Ericsson, Genpact, HCL, Hero Honda, Infosys, Nestle, Phillips, Pepsico, Coca-Cola, Reserve Bank of India, HDFC, Bank of America, HSBC, etc, focusing on Mental Wellness & Soft Skills Training.

Besides working with adults, she has also worked with students from over 300 schools.

Having achieved proficiency as a Health Care & Wellness Consultant, she is also a Consultant with important NGOs and is an Executive Board Member with Ngo Serve Samman, where she works with underprivileged women and children for various medical and psychological ailments.

Dr Rachna is the weekly Columnist for the Ask The Expert online section of The Times of India.

Her writings are regularly featured in the print media, including columns and articles infamous medical journals, magazines and newspapers, such as – India Today, Men’s Health, The Week, Economic Times, HT Brunch, Times Life, Dainik Jagran, Femina and many more.

She is also the proud author of a highly proclaimed book on Mental Wellness which has been stated as the “Mental Health first-aid kit” with tips & tricks to manage day-to-day stress published by BLOOMSBURY- “STRESS DIARIES: From the Eyes of the Therapist.” (Available on Amazon).

Another feather in her cap is The Mind & Wellness Studio’s DE-STRESS App, which has also been given the “Special Recognition Award” by The Times of India’s Times App Search Contest (available on Android).

You may also be interested in reading PHI’s Book on Emotional Intelligence (Mangal and Mangal) for self-exploration.

Know how one can manage emotions and be self-confident.

A Quick Start to Mission Karmayogi Dr. Sameer Sharma

Simply, the goal of Mission Karmayogi is to transform civil servants into catalysts of change. The challenge is how to quickly transmute the existing training wherewithal (e.g. course material, physical infrastructure) of different training institutes to fulfill the core principles set out in the mission.

One core guiding principle of Mission Karmayogi is to create an ecosystem of shared training infrastructure, including that of learning materials, institutions, and personnel among training institutes. This requires the unification of capacity-building programmes being organized by training institutes of different services. The means to do this is the Integrated Govt. Online training (iGOT) platform.

The iGOT is conceived as a continuous online training platform, which would allow all civil servants to undergo continuous training, depending on their areas of domain specialization. The structure of the iGOT should be in the form of a hub-and-spoke with the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) acting as a hub. The training academies of different services would be the spokes. The hub would provide the best-of-its-kind courses and evolve into a vibrant and world-class marketplace for content, where carefully curated and vetted digital e-learning material would be made available. The hub would also create the content, and organize remotely proctored self-assessments. Some of the key features of services provided by the hub are given below:

  • Simple e-learning modules of short duration – not more than of 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Use state-of-the-art Moodle Technology to develop modules.
  • Create a hierarch of modules – common modules for officers of all services, particular modules for different services, and basic and specialized modules for functional areas.

Another core principle is to provide an opportunity to all civil servants to build their competencies in their self-driven and mandated learning paths. For this, the bespoke approach would be used to impart skills and knowledge. There are two distinguishing characteristics of the bespoke approach – self-learning and self-assessment.

Self-learning allows officers to acquire knowledge and skills at their own pace depending on their position on the learning curve in key areas linked to their job profiles. This takes care of the diversity in knowledge, backgrounds and experience of officers. On the other hand, self-assessment would be done through mock tests and assessment tests. Self-assessment reduces the fear of taking examinations, as well as allows learners to test themselves at a pace they feel comfortable at.

One more core principle is to create and deliver learning content relevant to the identified framework of roles, activities, and competencies of positions in different organizations and services. For this, the flipped classroom method holds much promise.

The first “flip” is to ask learners (officers undergoing training) to assume the role of a teacher and teach practices to peer groups in the classroom. The instructor manages the process as a guide. In this, the passive elements (e.g. lectures) become homework, and active elements (e.g. assignments) become classroom learning. The learner-teachers are evaluated on the “teaching performance – ability to answer questions and think on their feet”. The instructor acts as a student and steers the group to understand which theory works best for what kind of practice. Another flip is that students are graded on the relevance of questions asked, not on the answers given.

For the flipped classrooms, training content would primarily be in the form of accounts of practice (e.g. case studies, narratives, vignettes).

The aim of accounts of experience will not be to provide learners with universal rules and generalizations, but to give insights into processes of decision-making in messy problems involving values, judgment, multiple interpretations, administrators’ particular identities, and personal and group agendas. Learners obtain answers to the question – How did the conventional practices and decision-making come about, and how have these have been modified in response to the social, economic, political and cultural orders?

The accounts of practice would be rich in history or process (contextual).

The depth of contextualizing detail provides the “toolbox” to learners to draw on understandings or ideas developed in another context to the current decision setting, and determine what is unique to a particular time and place, versus what is more general. The deep situational understanding is expected to empower learners to deal with new problems and circumstances.

Some ways of providing a head start to Mission Karmayogihave been spelt out. The proposed roll-out is expected to morph civil servants into change agents who possess “a set of capacities, sensibilities and perspectives that bridge common divide between theory and praxis and also the multiple divides between disciplines and professions that are necessary to decide in uncertain, unstable settings containing value conflicts found in the unique Indian environment”. 

(Author has a PhD from USA and a DLitt from Kanchi University. The article is based on his research and practice and views are personal)

What has made e-commerce such a hit in India

The lack of evenness between the vertical and horizontal trade had two effects. First, a highly skewed ratio between cities and villages emerged. For example, Johnson (in the 1950s) found that in India, on an average, there were 468 villages for every town. If the inter-urban hierarchy of settlements was not skewed and the ratio was the same as in the United States, then India would have had 47,000 towns; instead, she had less than 2,000.

Second, the spatial pattern of Indian cities and villages in space evolved in a different way. The Indian system acquired a dendritic form in which the major port cities represent the head of the dendrite and the strategic cities and local marketplaces constituted the tail. During the same period, settlements in the West arranged themselves in the form of the asymmetrical honeycomb (hexagonal) because a hexagon is the most efficient distribution of habitations in space. In this arrangement, strong economic links existed between settlements and investment, both private and public, leading to the best development outcomes.

A well-ordered habitation pattern arises when trade between the vertical and horizontal value chains is balanced among settlements at different levels – global, nation state, district, city and village.

The conventional way to address asymmetry in spatial patterns of settlements is to identify the gaps in the hierarchy of settlements and focus on the growth of high potential intermediate settlements. This strategy was suggested by the National Commission on Urbanisation (NCU) in 1988. The NCU noted that markets in cities were isolated with weak linkages to hinterlands. In order to address the gaps in the urban network, the NCU recommended retrofitting of intermediate towns. Specifically, the NCU identified 329 cities, called Generator of Economic Momentum (GEMs), and 49 Spatial Priority Urban Regions (SPURs) for redevelopment. The development of GEMs and SPURs would lead to an ordered network of market- places in the way given below. Traditionally, retail stores selling cheaper, frequently purchased goods (e.g. groceries) are found in small towns and these are called “low order goods”. On the other hand, departmental stores (or malls) selling expensive, less frequently purchased goods (e.g. watches, jewellery) are located in large cities and these are called “high order goods”. People living in small towns visit large cities in order to purchase high-order goods. In a well-ordered hierarchy, towns selling different orders of goods are arranged in a way so that consumers have to travel the minimum distance to purchase goods and services. Digital technology has opened up avenues for addressing the gaps in urban networks without waiting for the development of intermediate towns.

E-commerce is a digital platform that connects consumers with producers (or intermediaries) without the intermediation of a physical marketplace. E-commerce delivers goods and some services at the consumer’s doorstep so that they do not have to physically go to out- lets. The size of settlements in terms of markets selling different orders of goods loses meaning. The lack of continuum from the villages to the metropolitan cities ceases to matter. Nations do not have to go through the slow and costly process of developing missing settlements. In practical terms, a virtual network of markets is created, which substitutes for missing brick-and-mortar stores in a skewed settlement pattern of marketplaces. This is what has happened in India and has led to an explosive growth of e-commerce. There are potential benefits for domestic supply chains too. Imagine if e-commerce companies start buying farm products directly from farmers and sell to households in India or to any place in the world. Farmers will get a higher price and consumers will be able to buy reliable farm produce at cheaper rates. There will be large-scale employment generation in villages, small towns and large cities. A large-scale digital network will develop, which will enable routing of subsi- dies directly to the farmers.

Most importantly, an adverse colonial legacy will be reshaped to India’s benefit. (Author has a PhD from the USA and a DLitt from Kanchi University. The arti- cle is based on his research and practice and views are personal Imagine if e-commerce companies start buying farm products directly from farmers and sell to households in India or to any place in the world. Farmers will get a higher price and consumers will be able to buy reliable farm produce at cheaper rates.