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The Great Resignation

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Great Resignation, also known as the Big Quit, is the ongoing trend of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs, from spring 2021 to the present, primarily in the United States.

Also, it has been observed that this trend has become more popular in the USA and European countries.

The reasons for the same are:

  • It has become more prevalent in those countries, where the companies and the industries have shifted to service-based profiles rather than manufacturing ones.

  • The resignation in these countries used to happen before as well. Still, only during the pandemic, this trend became more popular due to the significant usage of the internet.

  • People started viewing the jobs in a newer way. They could manage their work alongside spending time with their family, flexible working hours, work-life balance, cutting off transportation costs, etc. Now “Jobs” has a newer definition, rather than a typical 9 to 5 one.

  • Also, people got a lot of opportunities to explore their interests, hobbies, and passions.

  • The inadequate pay, relocation costs, social security, bully and divisive boss, and the hunt for better wages, contributed to the same.

  • As per the HBR (Harvard Business Report), resignations were highest among mid-career employees aged 30 and 45 years, even as the quit rate declined for younger employees. The resignation rates also fell for workers in the 60 to 70 age group, while those in the 25-30 and 45+ age groups also saw higher quit rates than 2020.

  • This happened because the companies prefer hiring people they won’t immediately need to train for new roles. Having workers with some experience level is the best way to keep processes running as smoothly as possible.

  • Also, the fields which grew dramatically due to extreme digitalization such as IoT, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Digital Marketing people started to acquire the relevant skills and hence shifting their careers to the rising and newer fields that show potential growth in the future.

  • Even the freelancing opportunities increased dramatically, where people are their own boss. This also provided people the convenience and comfort of their home even while working.

  • The great resignation is also called a workers revolution that gave people newfound respect for themselves and their lives. The pandemic gave people another reality check on life.

  • Linkedin studied the trend, and it found that the percentage of LinkedIn members who updated their profiles and found a job has increased 54 percent year on year.

  • The sector that suffered the most considerable shift in the jobs included retail and healthcare. The people in these sectors had to devote a lot of time, which led to burnout and high pressure at work coupled with pay cuts and despondence.

The pandemic has given time to people to explore themselves. It forced people to see life’s unpredictability and reflect on what really matters to them. Many realized they didn’t like their current job or at least not their current lifestyle, so millions began re-imagining their lives. Many locked up their city homes and moved to suburbs. They realized they didn’t want to wait until retirement to spend their life in greener pasturelands. Many quit full-time jobs and began freelancing. They realized they wanted to spend more time at home or with family as life is too short to stick it out in the wrong career.

Also, to retain their talent, the companies started realizing the same. Hence,

  • Some companies are offering increments and bonuses.

  • Some employers are even giving collective holidays.

  • Some companies are giving coupons for food delivery.

  • Switching to the hybrid mode of work.

  • Reward your employees for making them feel valued.

  • Giving them better health policies and coming up with better family engagement policies.

  • Giving them a reason to return to work every day.

  • Allowing employees to work from home if they wish to do so.

Although the work from home or even hybrid mode of work has been gaining popularity, this has also created a lot of problems, such as no fixed working hours, untimely meetings, lesser socialization, distractions during work, more secondary motivation, compromisation in the transparency of work, ill time management skills, and many more. Many startups have opened up among all these, which are being started by the young or mid-aged entrepreneurs and older age groups. One such example includes that of the very famous and successful startup, Nykaa, whose CEO is Falguni Nayar, who started it at 50! About 1.4 million startups were registered in the USA, and even India added 1600 startups in the tech sector.

 

We can even see how the pandemic has brought significant changes in various industries, such as healthcare, where drones and robots are being used to deliver food and medicines. Also, different healthcare apps, such as Practo, which connects doctors with patients, have become an excellent means of communication, cutting down significant travel costs. Using digital marketing to reach a wider audience, locally and internationally, helps the local companies go global. All this is due to the social distancing norms that followed. Data science is being used to make better predictions and study the competition even in business.

 

Even in the future, with rising internet usage, the trending and upcoming fields due to digitalization and change in the mentality of the people, the work from home culture or hybrid mode of work or the trend of startups or using of digitalization will grow.

 

So it’s up to you and the company to decide how things should be going, whether to shift to online platforms or it is better to connect with the people and the customers in the offline mode or both, working from home or working in the office or both, whether to shift to freelancing or a 9 to 5 job, it’s all about the game of mentality and the preferences.

Temperature Impact On The Economy

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It is often observed in the present world that most prosperous countries are mainly in the colder regions of the globe. Is this the truth? Or is it just a coincidence?
Are there any valid reasons for this money distribution? Let’s find out together.

Is there a relation between temperature and economy?

If you look at this map, you’ll realize that almost all the developed countries lie outside the tropics.

Temperature Impact On The Economy

This shows that there is some strength in the statement that colder nations are wealthier.

Economic data show that with every one-degree increase in the temperature, GDP per capita of the country decreases by ₹762. Also, research shows that a country’s economy depends 9% on the climate outside. Even if it does not sound much, it is a huge number! Let us dig into the “Why.”

 

Possible reasons for this money distribution:

There are many theories put forward to explain this, but none was able to explain it perfectly. Some of them are:

  1. Due to colder climates, agriculture is not possible in those countries, and the residents have to be extra conscious about their food. They have to stock food, reserve fuels and build good shelters to survive winters. Compounding over generations, this led to a society that valued storing resources, and this gave them a head start against hot countries where food was always available.

  2. Due to weather conditions, agriculture was not a flourishing field. Cold countries have to focus on industries to survive; they eventually became industrial countries earlier than hotter ones, again giving them a headstart in this richness.

  1. Some people also believe that this is because, in hot weather, the temper of people stays high, while in colder countries, people remain calm. Hence, government and business leaders can make better decisions in colder countries having a calm mind.

Hence, both data and theories could somewhat explain why cold countries are more prosperous, but will this be true for the future?

Will this trend continue in the future?

The answer to that is, not necessarily. Why? Let’s investigate further.

The answer to that is not necessarily. Why? Let us investigate further.

About 2,000 years ago, a country’s wealth was strongly linked to how much food it could produce. These days, the food production and distribution industry is so developed that every country has enough stock to feed its population. Hence, in modern days, wealth is driven by innovation.

Colder countries just got a head start because of a few factors, but some hot countries like Singapore, Dubai, Bahrain, and Qatar have shown that this head start will not last forever. All these countries are in hotter regions but are excelling in terms of development and richness. Also, in ancient times, Egypt, Rome, Mayans, Persians, all these rich countries were in the hot regions. Hence, every country has immense potential irrespective of its temperature. The trend of cold countries being more prosperous is most likely to be broken in the coming few decades. The land which will innovate will be at the top regardless of the weather outside.

Let us talk about India.

As we have seen, the economy depends 9% on temperature, which means almost ten times that economy depends on other factors like governance, innovation, and youth.

We can learn several things from countries that are in the hotter region yet developed, like Singapore.

  • Tax laws and Company policies: Ease of doing business. It attracts foreign companies to come to our country. Although India’s rank improved from 142 to 63 in the past five years under the present government, there is still a long way to go. Singapore stands at second position in this.

  • No tolerance for corruption.

  • Adequate distribution of resources.

So, it is clear that any country can become a developed one bypassing its geographic and climate conditions. Therefore, rather than thinking about the conditions we cannot control, let us focus on some that we can. Let us upskill ourselves. It is our responsibility to help the government in whatever way we can. They are the ones taking India towards development.

Hence, we cannot just say that India is not a developed country due to the hot weather conditions. There is a lot more to be improved upon.

“PRIVATIZATION OF PSUs- BOON OR BANE”

Reading Time: 4 minutes

INTRODUCTION

Privatization, the 13-letter politically combustible phrase,refers to the transfer of ownership, property or business from the government to the private sector. So when the government sells more than 50% of its equity shares to the public, that PSU (Public Sector Undertaking) is called privatized.

In privatization a publicly-traded company is taken over by a few people. The stock of the company is no longer traded in the stock market and the general public is barred from holding stake in such a company. The company gives up the name ‘limited’ and starts using ‘private limited’ in its last name.
 
Insights of this blog –
        • Impact of privatization on economy
        • How people will react to it
        • What will happen to GDP
        • Effect on cash flow in market
        • Who will be benefited
        • Thinking about poor community
        • Strategic and non-strategic field
        • Role of covid

Now let’s see some of the merits and demerits of PSU privatization to figure out if the verdict is in favour or not.

IN FAVOUR OF THE IDEA:

“Privatization is a bitter pill but it is a pill that will cure”.
 
Let’s start with a general problem which everyone must have faced at any point of life.
Since the government officials don’t have the fear of being fired sometimes they don’t take their work seriously and we end up getting delayed responses.Whereas, private companies operate in much more effective manner because they have to compete in a fierce free market and in case they are not efficient enough they will go bankrupt. So, if this work is transferred to the private sector we’ll get skillful employment at less wages.
 
Moreover, India is a developing country . The efficiency is not up to the mark, so PSUs will help in reaching the tag “INDIA – A DEVELOPED COUNTRY” at a faster pace.Also, while appearingfor PSUs,one has to face reservation which is not a fair mode for seeking jobs. On the other hand private companies hire on the basis of skills.

 

PSUs in the first decade of 2000 were quite profitable. Then they started issuing more and more stocks which reduced its market interest. Now even in the bullish stock market where the NIFTY has a P/E ( i.e. price to earning ratio) of approximately 29, the major PSUs have a P/E ratio in the range of 5-8 .But after the sale of Air India the PSUs are being revalued by the firms and they see more profitability once more and more PSUs get privatized.

 
Privatization will also lead to decrease in political participation in the working sector, which will ultimately decrease bureaucratic effect. In the year of 2017 ,Sambit Patra, a national spokesperson of BJP, was appointed as an independent director of ONGC which will definitely affect decision making.
 
Examples come with explanations. Let’s move on to them.
As we have seen during 1991, our finance minister Shri Manmohan singh adopted privatization, globalization and liberalization to save the country from economic crisis and at last GDP was increased.Same goes with Adani group, their existing portfolio includes six airports, Lucknow (LKO), Ahmedabad (AMD), Mangaluru (IXE), Guwahati (GAU), Jaipur (JAI) and Thiruvananthapuram (TRV). The company is responsible for the modernization and operations of these airports for a period of 50 years.
 
Adding to the list we have an example of Maruti Suzuki. When Atal Bihari Vajpayee government decided to relinquish it’s control in 2002, the firm was valued at ₹4,339 crores. In the 17 years since, Maruti Suzuki’s company’s market capitalisation has increased to over ₹2.18 lakh crore and it is the market leader in the auto industry.Hindustan Zinc Limited turnover changed from ₹69 crore (before privatization) to ₹8000 crore (after privatization). From the above illustrations one can say “Government has no business to be in business”. If we had privatized PSUs earlier India’s situation would have been far better. So, it is high time to do it now.
 

AGAINST OF MOTION:

Does privatization bring laurels to us or are we just selling family’s silver? In the name of privatization, the government is selling off state assets (owned by everyone) to a wealthier subset of the population , thereby increasing the gap between rich and poor. PSUs work for the public interests whereas private companies work for themselves. No private sector will be interested in opening banks in villages. So what about those people? During Covid-19 pandemic many employees were fired. Private companies are not reliable when we talk of job security. 

Adding further, India is not a rich country. 68.8% of the Indian population lives on less than $2 a day. They prefer government hospitals,dispensaries,schools and public mode of transportation over high end services.According to the survey conducted by National Statistical Office (NSO) ,42% of the population rush to public hospitals for in-patient hospitalisation.Today railway is the cheapest mode of transportation. If all these will be privatized there will be a monopoly of some affluent people and they will take advantage and charge high prices knowing that the consumers will have no choice left but to do so.

In addition, PSUs are a national asset.Examples like ONGC, GALE, BPCL are in huge profit, if they get privatized the government will lose a major source of revenue. Coal India Limited (CIL) is the ‘Maharatna’ public sector undertaking, under the ministry of coal government of India and it is the single largest coal producing company in the world with a revenue of ₹93 thousand crores.
 
Let’s face the question,”Should profit making PSUs be privatized”?
According to Mr. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala,”These are the golden days of PSUs and they should not be privatized”.
 
Also, looking at the job opportunities, most of the government jobs do not require the candidate to hold a specific degree,they are instead just required to qualify for the respective competitive examination for their desired post. But the hiring process of private companies is based on educational qualifications which is not the cup of tea for everyone.
 

THE BOTTOM LINE:

 As the name suggests,’public’ sectors aim to serve the public or the “common man”.However the advantages that the PPP(Public-Private Partnership) model serves for the government and the citizens cannot be neglected. Many believe that privatization can be accepted as long as it does not violate the public interests. But then again, is this even possible? The subject is up for debate. Hopefully this blog gave you enough insight to make a judgement.

China Plus One Strategy

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What is China Plus one strategy?

The COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the whole world and disrupted the entire global supply chain. It prompted companies to invest in other countries around the world to not depend on China wholly. This strategy is called China plus one strategy

How did China manage to attract initial foreign investment?

In the early 1980s, there was a spike in labor and manufacturing costs in western
countries. This made Western companies shift their manufacturing base from their
native countries to China, where cheap labor, low production cost, and enormous
domestic consumer markets for the companies to invest.
 

Significant reasons why companies are looking for alternatives to

Chinese?

           A) The political ideology that China follows.
           B) The spike in labor cost.
           C) Geopolitical conflicts with neighboring countries.
On the other hand, the consumer market in India is already established and ready with cheap and skilled labor. Promoting employment of the youth will be highly beneficial for the country’s economy and attract foreign companies to the country.
 

How can India appeal to foreign investors?

Tariffs: Decrease import taxes on raw materials and machinery. The tax levied on raw material imports is about 40.8% and 29.8% after GST on machinery, making foreign companies think about their options upon investing in India.
China Plus One Strategy

Infrastructure: make transportation and infrastructure better and invest in special economic zones to attract labor for the factories.

      A) The road connectivity in the country poses a significant problem as the quality of             roads is below average in some parts of the country, which causes a delay in                   transportation and increases the cost of maintenance of the vehicle.

      B) The airports and seaports are still not capable of handling a large consignment.

      C) A faulty logistical approach also poses a problem that leads to companies                         reconsidering their options.

      D) Invest in making good schools and hospitals around these economic zones to                  ensure the quality education of children of labor.

Address the power problem: Govt has to focus on giving power at a subsidized rate and invest in renewable energy sources to remove dependence on fossil fuels.

       A) Invest in modernizing power transmission to long distances. Most of the power                lines are still not underground, which poses a problem during natural calamities.

       B) The government has to ensure that the power is supplied to each part of the                      country so that the factories in remote areas can function smoothly.

 

China Plus One Strategy

Try to promote the growth of small-scale industries and establish a communication channel between these small-scale industries and the MNCs and promote collaboration between them.

Promising stores of natural resources.: Ensure a proper supply of water and metals and minerals to these regions.

Try to make the policies & transactions transparent and make the system less corrupt. Also, there should be a reduction in government red tape, and the role of bureaucracy in making industries should be reduced.
 
Strongly investing and introducing new technologies and communication channels in manufacturing and transportation. The government has to aggressively support and promote skill development to ensure jobs for the country’s youth.
 
Resolve political ideologies and avoid clashes to ensure peace in the areas and attract the interest of foreign companies.
         A) The Center has to cooperate with the state governments to reduce the clash between the center and the state.
         B) Ensure stability with proper policing in the area to prevent antisocial elements from wreaking havoc and preventing rioting.

Marketing Strategy behind Rs.999 tags & 10% extra quantity

Reading Time: 5 minutes

INTRODUCTION

You must have seen products being priced as Rs.999 rather than Rs.1000, though there is just a difference of Rs.1, the former one is preferred more and has been a successful marketing strategy. Let’s find what’s behind this strategy.

What goes through the mind while making a purchase of a product which uses this strategy?

a) First round to the closest rounded values and judge the quality of the product.

b) Second to quantitatively assume the incentive of getting a product of higher quality at a lower price.

Psychologically the incentive felt while pricing 999 instead of 1000 is much

higher than that of pricing 998 instead of 999, so in a way we can say that the value of ₹1 is different in different situations.

 

There is one more strategy that has been in the trend since a long time, i.e., offering a 10 or 20% extra quantity for a similar price as before.

 

This strategy works on rational person only if he/she has a reference to compare with. For e.g., if you go to the store and see two products A and B having the same price but different quantities.

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF HUMAN BRAIN

Marketing Strategy behind Rs.999 tags & 10% extra quantity

Psychological analysis is a clever marketing strategy adopted all over the world. 

Is 999 smaller than 1000? Obviously yes.

 

But it looks much smaller to the subconscious mind. 1000 is a 4digit number and 999 is a 3digit number, so subconsciously our mind decides that 999 or 899 or 799 is a similar group but 999 and 1100 aren’t. Thus, a smaller number of digits in price tag gives impression of cheaper product.

 

THE BLACK MONEY – DISADVANTAGE OF THIS PRICE TAGS

Marketing Strategy behind Rs.999 tags & 10% extra quantity

We all often visit showrooms. Let’s imagine we purchase an item worth ₹999.

So, it’s quite genuine that we don’t ask for ₹1 change in the name of our status symbol.

This same ₹1 when collected in bulk, results in increasing black money in our country. It may sound like contribution of ₹1 will be insignificant when we are

talking about the whole country.

But let’s make it clear from an example.

Suppose a company has 250 retail outlets in INDIA. Daily if 100 customers will drop their ₹1 then the company will make ₹ 250*100*30 i.e. ₹7,50,000 per month. Means unknowingly we are adding a good amount to black market.

DIFFERENCE IN TAXES

Marketing Strategy behind Rs.999 tags & 10% extra quantity

By pricing the products Rs.999 over Rs.1000 has one major benefit to the business as the new GST rules are different for different price ranges.

 For instance, Garments costing less than Rs. 1000 will attract 5% of GST whereas if the price exceeds Rs.1000 (including 1000) it attracts 12% of GST. Hence directly a margin of 7% is created.

Hence if the price is Rs.999 rather than 1000 the buyer has to pay less amount of GST, and obviously this makes this marketing scheme very efficient, as no one wishes to spend more money on taxes.

 PSYCHOLOGICAL PRICING

 

Marketing Strategy behind Rs.999 tags & 10% extra quantity

As we all know the brain has two zones normally, one for feeling and emotional and another is for analysing and aptitude stuff. Basically this 999 and 1000 concept is just a mind game, we think that 999 is coming in 900 range so it’s cheaper than 1000 but we know that the only difference is 1 RS in this.

 

So, what is the reason behind this? Why our brain got tricked by this simple marketing strategy?

 

The main reason is that our brain reads from left to right, the first digit of the price resonates with us the most and it creates an optical illusion of getting something in the lower number series, say when it is written 999, it psychologically gives an effect that we have purchased something in the range of 900 something. But we know very well that this 900-1000 or 99-100 is not varying vastly, the only difference is 1Rs and this difference creates a vast impact on data processing that happens in our brain. And because of these, people don’t bother to pay 1Rs extra to the shopkeeper while buying something because for them at that moment ,1 Rs is nothing in front of 1000 or 900.

 

 

(Fun Fact: The numbers ending with 9 are also called “charm numbers” or “magic numbers”) 

 

SHRINKFLATION

Marketing Strategy behind Rs.999 tags & 10% extra quantity

Shrinkflation is the process of items shrinking in size or quantity, or even sometimes reformulating or reducing quality, while their prices remain the same or increase.

Most consumers do not generally check the size of a product. Someone who loves potato chips, for instance, may not realize if his or her favourite brand reduces the size of the bag by 5%, yet will almost certainly be able to tell if the price goes up by the same amount.

The combination of shrinkflation and giving extra 10% is an effective marketing strategy. 

 

E.g., Chips of 10 Rs weigh 25gm. Decreasing its size to 20gm and giving 10% extra is an effective marketing tac-tics. Overall, the product weight decreased to 22gm but nobody observed it as they think it’s giving an extra 10% so weight must be increased.

 

MAGGI – THE RISE AND FALL IN PRICES

The Nestle’s flagship product Maggi, a very popular instant noodles in India, the price of a small packet of Maggi was Rs.10, but at some point, of time the price was increased to Rs.12 resulting into decrease in the demand and less sales, as most of the people didn’t like to pay the odd Rs.2 as well, leading the company to reduces its price from 12 to 10 again but by reducing the net weight of the product, resulting into again gaining those lost footfalls.

 

Although the price remained to 10, but effectively the price of the product was increased as now the weight was reduced by almost 30gms but, then also people didn’t care much about it as compared to the increase in the MRP. And now many products are using the same strategy of maintaining the MRP, but on the cost of quantity and quality as well.

 

Although, both the above-mentioned marketing strategies are successful and are used widely. But, the effect of reducing from 1000 to 999 is much more than increasing the price from 1000 to 1001, and giving extra 10% quantity, this also comes in accordance with the prospect theory put forward by Daniel Kahneman and Tversky that the effect of a loss of the same magnitude is higher psychologically.

(Daniel Kahneman and Tversky: Nobel 2002 in economics and psychology)

The Beginner’s Guide to Group Discussion

Reading Time: 5 minutes

What is GD?

Whether it be an everyday conversation on the hot news, crying over the losses incurred in the stock market slowdown, loud conservation on our regular chai ki tapri, or the serious board discussions on How the company can achieve the desired quarterly results can be called Group Discussion(GD). 

A GD is simply a discussion where people come together, pitch in their ideas & solve a common problem, or it can just be a topic upon which like-minded people share their views.

Take it this way, recently Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) released their first animated series, “What if…?”. The fans went crazy over it, and it is the topic of discussion for fans. Another example includes a political party at the time of elections. They need to discuss their strategies upon which person will get a ticket to contest elections or enhance public relations, which will help them win the elections. These are the topics discussed during the meetings. A GD allows people to reach a common ground and derive essential conclusions from it.

GD tests the soft skills of the candidate and helps them magnify their social skills. It has become an effective tool to test candidates leadership, management, and technical skills.

Types of GD

A GD is of basically two types, namely

1. Topic-Based Group Discussion

2. Case Study Based Group Discussion

In the first category, the topics are given to the candidates for discussion. GDS can further be classified into four types of topic-based GDs,

  • Controversial topics: These topics are intentionally given to the candidates to have every possibility of a GD turning into a debate. The thoughts regarding the issues are often clashing and lead to arguments between group members. These GDs specifically help the panelist test candidates about how they proceed through the discussion in a calm and civilized way by listening to each other’s points of view. It also showcases how the participants show tolerance to matters not agreeable to them.
  • Knowledge-based topics: This kind of topic helps in assessing the knowledge of the candidate. The participants must have the necessary knowledge about the topic given in the GD. They should refrain from speaking if the command is less than in that particular area.
  • Abstract topics: These can have single word topics and can also be considered difficult as a regular discussion has a particular framework around which the topic is discussed, but in an abstract GD, there is no specific framework, and the discussion may diverge and change suddenly as different points are brought forward.
  • Case Study topics: For the case study-based GDs, the problem is given to the candidates, and they are required to solve the problem. The time given for the research and preparation is significant. These kinds of GDs are often done in B-schools and are seldom asked in interviews.

Rules

  • A GD starts with an announcement of the topic, which may vary according to the type of GD.
  • Before beginning, a preparation time of 3 minutes is given where the participants can jot down their ideas.
  • Any participant can initiate the discussion, and anyone can continue while giving others equal opportunities to speak up, considering everyone’s point of view.
  • In the end, one person should gather all the significant points to conclude the GD by summarising them and drawing meaningful conclusions

Importance and things to take care:

GD is one of the most significant parameters by which the recruiters screen out the candidates. Many candidates face issues in the GD round. Specific points must be taken care of while in a GD, such as:

Having considerable knowledge about the topic given.

  1. Body language is the key. Showing poor body language makes an abysmal impression on the panelists.
  2. Do not fight during a GD: this is one of the significant problems that disrupt a GD. People often become loud and unruly during GD to prove their point, which leads to the conversion of GD into a debate where no one is interested in understanding the point of view of their peers. This often has a negative impact on the panelists and is one of the significant reasons for the blacklisting of candidates.
  3. Always try to lead with valid points.
  4. Encourage those who have not spoken much. Doing this makes a very positive impact on the panelists and always carries cherry points.
  5. Try to bring the flow of GD in relevance to the topic given whenever the discussion is going off the rails.

How can a GD be successfully conducted?

Points to keep in mind for a GD

  • Communication is the key, and it includes not only speaking but also listening. It helps understand the topic from different points of view. It helps to think accordingly and help reach a solution quicker.
  • Avoid interrupting. It is a discussion, not a battle. Convincing others is an essential skill as it will surely make you stand out in a GD.
  • Staying relevant to the topic and a good detour of the topic helps.
  • Be clear with speech and thoughts. Being interactive and confident might seem like big gestures to follow up. However, as one starts thinking in the right direction, it naturally speaks up even if one is wrong. It is a discussion.

In a GD, how we begin and how we end is essential. Furthermore, a straightforward way to conclude flawlessly can be the “INVERTED FUNNEL APPROACH.” In this, we can jot down the ideas and views of others and ours and create a perfect sequential list that can be used for the conclusion.

Abstract GD

Abstract means existing in thought or as an idea but not having physical or concrete existence. Love and beauty are abstract concepts, which also means they can be perceived differently by every person.

A specific topic can have bias, can make us think either direction, like yes or no, wrong or right, against or for. It has a sense of familiarity. Our brains are forced to look at it and think of it in a simplistic way, which eliminates the possibility of biases, and allows the participant to push boundaries and look at different perspectives.

How to keep speaking when one has exhausted every basic interpretation

When a topic is first presented, every person starts by thinking about the basic interpretations. It may be the same for other people too. Looking at a topic in a different light may help. Consider it as an image, flip it, rotate it, twist it and look at its colors and contrasts. Your mind might now delve into the depths of the topic and find various paths and approaches to think and talk about.

Now, even if the discussion is based on every person’s interpretation, the interpretation should stay relevant to the topic. To ensure it stays that way, a universal point of reference can be kept in mind, which means it should be something that the whole group may identify with. When you start thinking beyond the same usual interpretations, that is when one may start finding connections.

A secret to thinking of ideas faster and enhancing the overall discussion scope in an abstract GD lies in the mnemonic SPELTER.

S: Social

P: Political

    E: Economical

L: Legal

T: Technological

E: Environmental

R: Religious

 

The topics can be associated with SPELTER and can widen the horizon of the whole discussion. GDS holds a special place in academic and professional setups and is one of the most valuable and practical tools to overcome an institutional problem.

Are Protests Effective Anymore?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

“Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

Protests have been an integral part of democracies across the world. Protests are one of the most effective means of displaying dissent towards authority. Today’s blog will discuss the essential aspects of protest, how a protest gets initiated, its driving factors, what makes it successful and what leads to its failure, and famous examples of successful and failed protests in India and worldwide.

How does a protest start?

Protests find their fertile ground in the geographies where political dissidence plagues the society, dissonance between rulers and ruled increases, and people do not trust the country’s institutions. In the first kind, mild dissent will get sensed in the environment where people would look normal and happy with the government, but their disagreement will be seen on social media platforms. The rights promised to them are either not given to them properly or are violated at the top level. In the second type, people come out in the open and gather at a particular place with banners, posters, and pamphlets in their hands and raise slogans against the subject that they are opposing. These gatherings may be small to mid-size, generally get ignored on prominent media platforms although covered at the local level, do not generally affect people’s daily lives in and around the country, and most importantly, have a meager success ratio. When the topic of dissent is severe, the situation can turn grave in a short period. These third types of protests attract large gatherings that occur at different places across the country and sometimes worldwide. They get featured in almost every media outlet, have a high chance of getting violent, and have a more excellent success ratio due to their sheer size. The last and fourth types of protests are enormous, have extreme aims, are often violent, and attract foreign influence. These are mainly directed at those in power and often lead the country into severe change. These changes can be good, but they can also be fatal to the country. Regimes get changed, protests turn into a civil war which overwhelms the country, generations get fatigued, and most importantly, the cost of the protest gets so high that achievement gets blurred in the process.

What are the driving factors behind protests?

According to Dr. Nicole (Fisher) Roberts, Executive Director of Feed A Billion, the following are driving factors behind protests:

  • Lack of Trust in Government or Authority: When political parties come into power making vast promises of improving the condition of people but fail to deliver, people start questioning. These dissents turn into protests, and eventually, many people gather who do not have faith in the government.
  • Shared Grievances: People suffering from the same systematic problems come together to unify their voices. These united voices give a strong message to the world about their sufferings and the solution they want. E.g., the participation of every community in India’s independence movement.
  • Shared Intensity: When emotions run high, people make decisions that they will not under normal circumstances; they can be good or bad. Unfortunately, in many situations that involve groups of people, anger and frustration can build upon each other until the collective rage spills over—E.g.reactions of fans during the India – Pakistan match.
  • Geographic Proximity: The place where one lives reflects one’s response to the protests. When an individual is witnessing the protests taking place in his/her area, compared to those watching it on television or listening about it on the radio, he/she will have a different standpoint towards that protest. It molds him into a completely different personality. It is also a matter of volume. e.g., it is much more common to see protests in urban areas than rural ones.
  • Anonymity: Group behavior and its dynamics are driven in various ways by the ability to be known. In some instances, people want their names and faces associated with what they believe. However, in many situations, due to fear of persecution, prosecution, or retaliation, people will not act individually. Hence they want to voice their opinion along with a recognized group to avoid risk.
  • Efficiency: When doing something alone, it can feel like a waste of time and resources. Nevertheless, when a group of people come together and voice their opinions in the same direction, it has a more significant impact. The more people are protesting, the greater the efficiency. Furthermore, this efficiency leads to activation – sometimes called a “contagion effect.”
  • Survival Triggers: Adrenaline hormones lead to the fight or flight response. Also, our human tendency tells us that we must do something; otherwise, we are over. We tend to find ways to come out of it. We, as humans, go into survival mode and do all the necessary things that are needed.

According to Shom Mazumder, a social scientist, and fellow at Data for progress, there are mainly four ways to evaluate a protest:

  1. Did it raise awareness?
  2. Did public opinion change?
  3. Were these institutional changes a result?
  4. Were there electoral consequences, either intended or unintended?

What makes protests successful?

A protest to become successful requires certain ingredients that make a perfect recipe to succeed when mixed perfectly. According to experts, the best way of protesting is nonviolent protests where nobody is harmed, and still many people are attracted to it. In their article “Why Civil Resistance Works,” Chenoweth and Stephan argue that successful nonviolent resistance ushers in more stable and internally peaceful democracies, which are less likely to regress into civil war. Presenting a rich, evidentiary argument, they originally and systematically compare violent and nonviolent outcomes in different historical periods and geographical contexts, demystifying the myth that violence occurs because of structural and environmental factors and is necessary to achieve specific political goals. Instead, the authors discover, violent insurgency is rarely justifiable on strategic grounds. Erica Chenoweth also noted that every campaign that got active participation from at least 3.5 percent of the population succeeded, and many succeeded with even less.

When a group of focused leaders leads a protest, is undivided into different factions, does not get hijacked by opposing powers, and is primarily nonviolent, it has a very high chance of success.

What leads to the failure of protests?

Inactive participation of people, the selfishness of leaders who keep self-interests above people’s interests, lack of leadership, propaganda of opposition overpowering the protest, and many other reasons can lead to failure. Let us take an example of a movement that gained substantial public support initially but vanished into thin air, “Occupy Wall Street.” This movement was started by a group of people who believed that the difference between the quality of life of poor and rich people is vast, and one percent exploits the rest of ninety-nine percent for their luxury. However, after months of protests, it failed to sustain itself. Experts point out a few reasons why this protest, which created a considerable sensation, was unsuccessful. The number one reason that it failed was because of a lack of leadership. This protest was a kind of mob protest organized by unorganized people who were frustrated in their life and blamed their misery on other people thus were not clear what they were doing in the protest. The second reason experts point out is that this protest could not give a clear message, or we can say the message they conveyed was wrongly interpreted in the media and public opinion. This protest was meant to maintain class equality in society but got conveyed as they wanted to remove certain people from society, which many did not see on good terms. The third reason was the name itself, “Occupy” was historically used to signify the unjust occupation of people by another group of people. Furthermore, this made people skeptical that this protest is not going in the right direction, and hence it lost its public support.

Now we will see some movements across the world throughout history and will try to analyze them.

The “Quit India movement,” was organized by Indians from all spheres of life from 1942 until 1947, when India got independence. It was an entirely nonviolent movement that got massive support from every Indian. It made Britishers step down and provide a way for independence to India. It is an example of how a completely nonviolent, publicly supported movement based on truth can overthrow even the most powerful and achieve its aim.

Are Protests Effective Anymore?

The “Civil rights movement,” carried out in the 1950s and 1960s, is also a famous example of a nonviolent movement against racial inequality prevailing in the United States. It resulted in the passage of several federal laws that helped in improving racial issues in the USA.

Are Protests Effective Anymore?

The Arab spring started in the 2010s from Tunisia and spread to almost all the Arab nations. This protest was against dictatorships that ruled nations with an iron fist, and gross human rights violations occurred. Once the Arab spring started, many dictatorships got toppled. Initially, it was successful, but soon it led to wrong leadership, and greed took over. Violence spread and countries went into chaos. Various civil wars, religious extremism, and political vacuum led to the creation of groups fighting for their interests, and people’s interests were long forgotten. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives, and millions got displaced. Many countries are still recovering from the devastating effects of movement, which many experts have described as a failure.

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The Bulls Of the Bear Indian market

Reading Time: 7 minutes

It is not just the health of the masses that the coronavirus pandemic has hit, but almost all the aspects of normal life. Businesses, markets etc., are no different and have received a big blow. Profits plummeted, and most companies were pushed to run in losses making some companies bankrupt too. However, there were some businesses, startups that not only managed to stay afloat but thrived in these times of crisis. Innovation being a key to beat the covid blues. There was a myriad of opportunities for new-age startups and investors to tap into, given the rise in demand for a variety of services . A bull market is a term for the stock market when the securities rise, and a bear market is when securities fall for a sustained period. This blog focuses on those Indian based or originated startups, businesses, newly turned unicorns etc., who developed and flourished in this pandemic, when most of the economy was about to hit rock bottom, thus becoming bulls of the bear Indian market.

Healthcare 

Healthcare was an industry that constantly had hopes hooked to it in the pandemic. Doctors, nurses, medical professionals were the need of the hour. From the business point of view, pharmaceutical companies, telemedicine, online medical consultations etc., had profits jumping many folds. The startups that prospered in the healthcare sector were:-

    • Serum Institute of India:- With net sales of INR 5,446 crores amidst the COVID-18, Serum earned a net profit of INR 2,251 crore. Or a net margin of 41.3%. Serum Institute of India the vaccine manufacturer that has become pivotal to India’s recovery from this pandemic.
    • Practo:- Practo reported a 500% spike in online medical consultation under lockdown.
    • PharmEasy:- E-pharmacy is the most important e-commerce sector in this ongoing pandemic. Due to home confinement, people are finding it very inconvenient to get their prescriptions and over the counter (OTC) medicines, so instead, they switched to telemedicine like PharmEasy, Netmeds etc.
    •  Bioline:- Based in Indore, Bioline India was founded by Neeta Goel and her late husband Rajeev Goel in 2001 to manufacture and supply affordable medical equipment to the masses. During COVID-19, the demand skyrocketed for this once slow-moving product.
    • Zyro care:- Kamayani Naresh, a retired Indian Navy officer, claims to have developed a long and sustainable solution to boost immunity — zyropathy. A Delhi-based company that provides food and herbal supplements.The Bulls Of the Bear Indian market

       

Education

With schools shut down all across the globe, the education sector underwent quite a revolutionary state. The education system required expeditious reforms to avoid the education of thousands of students coming to a standstill. EdTech startups saw a boom in their market. Online classrooms and courses came to students’ rescue. The businesses that burgeoned in the education sector were.The Bulls Of the Bear Indian market

    • Unacademy:- Unacademy beat the pandemic to enter the prestigious list of unicorns in India. The EdTech firm raised around Rs 1,125 crore in a funding round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2 and participation from existing investors, including Facebook.
    • Byju’s:- Byju’s is one of the top e-learning startups of India, which is surpassing all its competitors and has become one of the few decacorns in Indian startup history after crossing $10.5 Billion valuations in the midst of this pandemic.
    • Gradeazy in Surat:- After their first startup had a false start in 2018, Surat-based Dishant Gandhi and Alok Kumar found a new opportunity to satiate their hunger for entrepreneurship with EdTech when the lockdown started, and all the schools and education moved online. The duo launched Gradeazy in June 2020 to enable educational institutes to conduct online examinations for just Re 1 per exam.

Media and Entertainment

With the freedom to go out and carry our daily routines being curbed, it was evident that people were going to turn to TVs and other platforms to while away the extra time in hand. The media and entertainment industry in India put up a great show in 2020.The Bulls Of the Bear Indian market

    • Dailyhunt:- News and content aggregator Dailyhunt has become India’s first tech unicorn focused on vernacular content after raising $100 Mn funding from Google, Microsoft and Falcon Edge’s Alpha Wave Incubation at a unicorn valuation.  
    • Khabri:- In one of the newest startups, which was launched in October 2017, Khabri is India’s first and the fastest growing digital audio platform. Khabri provides audio content in regional languages where anyone can create, listen or discover in the app. As a great initiative, Khabri has introduced the COVID-19 helpline for the visually impaired population of India as a massive outreach program.
    • According to Inc42 Plus, the media and entertainment sector received a total funding of $877.8 Mn across 85 funding deals last year, compared to $561.27 Mn in 2019, led by online video startups like SimSim, Trell and other TikTok alternatives.
    • NeeStream:- A popular OTT platform in South India. With several new films being released on the platform, NeeStream has been witnessing a rise in subscriber numbers.

Finance and Technology(FinTech)

The Bulls Of the Bear Indian market

    • Razorpay:- Bengaluru-based payments gateway Razorpay entered the unicorn club in October 2020 when it raised $100 Mn in its Series D round, led by GIC and Sequoia Capital India. The funding round also saw participation from the company’s existing investors, such as Ribbit Capital, Tiger Global, Y Combinator and Matrix Partners. 
    • Pine Labs:- Noida-headquartered Pine Labs became the first unicorn for the year 2020, after its corporate round in January, led by New York-based financial services major Mastercard. Founded in 1998 by Lokvir Kapoor, Pine Labs provided its services to over 100K merchants in 3700 cities and towns across India.
    • Zerodha:- Bengaluru-based Zerodha was founded in 2010 by Nithin and Nikhil Kamath and offers stockbroking services. The company has claimed to have over a million active clients who trade and invest and is now valued at around 7000 crores or 1 billion approx.

E-commerce

A study showed that Indian e-commerce grew 84% in 4 years owing to the Covid-19 impact. When it was not possible to go out shopping, products were brought to individual doorsteps. A giant boom in local, national and international e-commerce startups is a testimonial to it. The Bulls Of the Bear Indian market

    • Flipkart:-Flipkart witnessed new user growth of close to 50 per cent soon after the lockdown.
    • Bigbasket:-Bigbasket has had a huge inflow of orders as more and more consumers are preferring to order essentials and groceries online amid COVID-19. Bigbasket has added around 10,000 new workers to meet the massive influx of orders, which shows the shift to digital platforms in need of the millennium.
    • Custkartin Bokaro:-Custkart has its own factory near Bokaro that produces merchandise, and all the workers come from the nearby villages.

Miscellaneous

    •  Nykaa:- Mumbai-based omnichannel lifestyle retailer Nykaa entered the unicorn club after raising around $13.6 Mn from its existing backer Steadview Capital. The funds were raised as part of Nykaa’s Series F funding round. 
    • Cars24:-  Gurugram-based online used car marketplace Cars24 entered the unicorn club by raising $200 Mn in a Series E funding round led by DST Global.
    • Rooter:- One of India’s biggest Sports community platforms, Rooter has raised $1.7 million (~ Rs 12.4 crore) in a pre-series A funding round at a time when almost all sporting activities have been seized across the globe. The Esports platform plans to capitalise on its upcoming Esports and gaming content and communities. Rooter engages its fans with user-generated live audio and video content. 

Gaming

    • Paytm First Games registered a 200% increase in user base.
    • After the ban on the popular Chinese short-video app TikTok under 69A of the IT Act, its alternatives, including Trell, ShareChat, Chingari, Bolo Indya, Mitron, Roposo, Moj and Josh, among others, started gaining massive popularity and traction in the market. 
    • Games like FAU-G, Mask Gun and others emerged as alternatives for many users in India after PUBG Mobile’s ban

Podcasting

    • India is witnessing an unprecedented boom in podcasts, and it is a country with 22 modern Indian languages and around 720 recognized dialects. The linguistic diversity in India is increasing the demand for the information available on various platforms in vernacular languages. With a growth rate of 33 per cent, the vernacular internet ecosystem in the country is thriving.

The pandemic has an impact on economies and businesses throughout the world and will keep doing so for even some time in the future. It is no doubt now that opportunities can be squeezed even from the most diabolical of times. The pandemic has proved to be both an edge or stumbling block for establishments and enterprises across the globe. 2020 was a year of crisis, and crisis is where innovation thrives. 

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Be the bear!!

Synchrophasor Measurements

Reading Time: 15 minutes

  In electrical engineering, we almost always overthink “Blackouts”!!!

BLACKOUTS: Facing The Outrageous

Bear with us for the little Background story.

In the summers of 2019, CEV Aantarak began studying Blackouts, namely the Indian Blackout of 2012 and the Ukrainian Blackout of 2015. That time we didn’t get too much of technical details, rather just getting the things on periphery of the event, by studying the reports of CEA, POSOCO and other concerned authority, until one of team member Anshuman Singh secured a research intern at IITKGP to study the exact phenomenon which triggered that largest blackout of the history, the 2012’s. Sir carried out his preliminary works and finally got to put up his great work in the blog Fault Analysis in Power Systems. The approach which he and his colleagues used to solve the problem was indeed a decent one, however, due to the inherent glitches in that particular protection philosophy itself, it didn’t fix the problem completely. And finally, now in 2021, we moved one more step ahead by studying the technology which addresses that old doomed problem, “zone 3 maloperation of distance relay due to load encroachment”, and more importantly “the drawbacks of conventional SCADA system”.

Recap: What was Zone 3 Maloperation of Distance Relay?

When any kind of fault occurs in any component of power system, what basically happens is that a high potential point gets connected to a low potential point (typically ground) via a very small resistance path, leading to flow of dangerously high current by virtue of Ohm’s Law, and thereby dissipating great thermal energy as indicated by joules law, or i^2r.

All components, especially high voltage systems must be protected against this possibility. Transmission lines obviously subjected to the external environment are most prone to faults.

Relaying is what technically called arrangement to protect against the destructive effects of faults. Based on economy and other factors like accuracy and fastness various types of relaying schemes are employed.

Recall the consequences of fault:

  1. Large current
  2. Small impedance (resistance)

Based on these two criteria we have an overcurrent relaying scheme and distance relay scheme respectively. So, when the current goes beyond a certain threshold or when the impedance goes below a certain threshold, the scheme correspondingly generates (or issues) a trip command to Circuit breakers to open up and isolate the faulted point from the healthy system.

For strategically significant lines distance relay is technically superior to overcurrent relay.

A distance relays works by categorizing its area of operation into three zones. This is done in order to provide backup protection by introducing increasing time delays for successive zones.

However, distance relay also has its own limitation.

The most prominent of them is its maloperation under heavy load conditions.

The relay misidentifies the fault when the line is heavily loaded and as Anshuman explained losing a line when it is heavily loaded is seriously fatal. (Hint: leads to cascaded tripping). In simple language distance relay works on the principle of sensing the impedance and operating when impedance falls below a threshold. Increasing loading is also manifested as decreasing impedance of system (Analogy: smaller is the value of resistance more is power dissipation for a given voltage level), thus causing the relay to trip the CBs.

This is a zone 3 maloperation of distance relay due to load encroachment.

Anshuman’s Solution in Short and problem with solution

The distance relay, unfortunately, is not blessed by his masters, i.e., the EEs, with the intelligence to distinguish the fall of impedance due to increased loading or due to a genuine fault. The relay is more like a Pharmacist who gives paracetamol to anyone having a fever.

Anshuman and his team demonstrated a procedure, which though is certainly a viable economical method to avert an impending blackout however is not so all-in-one fix and consumer-friendly.

Fault Analysis and related Technical problems in Power System

It is basically directly addressing the cause which is causing a drop in impedance, i.e., the increasing active power consumption. So, the idea is to drop some quantum of the load off the grid to stop the impedance from further dropping.

This leads to an implementation question.

There are hundreds if not thousands of buses connected to a transmission line end. So, the load shedding at which bus shall be performed, in order to achieve a certain increment in impedance for a minimum amount of load shedding and also the considering the fact that we don’t push the buses into voltage instability.

However, the issue that remains unresolved by this approach is quite obvious.

The mathematical answers that we get from the algorithms may not be practically feasible. That is this approach does offer the method to distinguish between the VQ sensitivity of buses but doesn’t take into account the criticality of buses i.e., a hospital is connected or a night irrigation facility.  

Apart from this Zone 3 Maloperation problem, we have another setback that significantly threatens the security of the power system in general, called the conventional SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems), which quite contritely is deployed to provide control over the large grid operations.

The Inherent Problems of conventional SCADA systems

  1. No measurement of voltages and current phase angles: This problem can be understood better in terms of another question.

What is the phase of this signal?

Synchrophasor Measurements

A trash question, phase is a relative quantity and thus, we need to define a reference first.

Undoubtedly the measurement of angles of voltage and current phasor in power system which rotates at a rate close to 50 Hz or 314.6 rad/sec, requires a reference. Considering, the vastness of the landscape over which PS is spread it becomes a technically challenging task to provide the same reference to all the locations. This makes the unavailability of the angular separation between bus voltages and limits the ability of operator to get the true nerves of the system (i.e., the transient stability).

  1. Time skew between measurements: RMS Voltage measurements made using SCADA even have no common time reference, hence one has no means to differentiate whether data coming are made at same instant or not.
  2. Low update time i.e., large scan cycle time: with the methodology it takes around few seconds to few minutes to get new values of variables, so the operator lags the systems by about a few seconds or few minutes, hence no real-time system awareness. It is exactly like a MARS mission, where you get to know about the touch-down 12 minutes later, as light travel at finite speed and delay generated by the communication equipment, only difference is power system engineers have much more wide options to trigger some preventive measures to avert a catastrophe if they get system parameters on time.
  3. Stringent requirement on Control Center computational capabilities: since the data streaming has so many uncertainties, to extract the useful data and figure out the true condition of the power system puts a challenging task to computers. All these problems are more severe and serious than they sound. The North American blackout of 2001 and the European blackout of 2003 were results of the foggy image that the SCADA presented to the control center. The investigative task force committees independently recommended the use of Synchrophasor technology in real-time monitoring of the system, which back then was only used in small numbers to store data and conduct post-event analysis.

The Synchrophasor Technology

The inability to do phase angle measurement as well as time skew and slower update rate of Voltage measurements were prime setbacks of the SCADA system.

Synchrophasor technology comes to address those problems. This method of measurement is significantly advance than the conventional SCADA system. The Synchrophasor measurements provide following services:

  1. Measurement of RMS bus voltages and current along with phase angle wrt to a common reference signal shared by the whole power system.
  2. No time skew: all measurements voltage magnitude, phase angles, frequency are also time-synchronized and are even time stamped
  3. High-speed update rate: from 25 samples to 50 samples per second depending on PMU devices: all these lead to give operators the wide-area situational awareness in real-time, and enables them to take much better decision to shred load or generation, trip a CB, direct the line flow, add C-banks, etc.
  4. Accurate measurements thus significantly lower computational requirements for state estimators.

The Idea of Phase Angle Measurement: Using the GPS signals

We saw the need for a common reference signal as inevitable for phase angle measurement.

Synchrophasor Measurements

This system however depends quite heavily on two things:

  1. Accuracy of common reference i.e., the GPS clock
  2. Communication systems reliability

The GPS provides one pulse per second at all the locations spread over the entire peninsula. The pulse received simultaneously by all the measurement units triggers them to begin their measurement, wrt to an imaginary zero phase sine wave reference.

So, a GPS receiver is required.

These measurements to be made successfully require stringent requirements on the waveform to be measured itself. A waveform having harmonics will lead to significant errors.

So filtering is required.

Also, the kind of mathematical operations required to be made on signal requires it to be in represented in digital equivalent.

So, analog to digital converter is required.

Fourier transform can now be carried out on digital samples, using a commonly available economical microprocessor, to yield the magnitude and what we can say absolute phase angle.

So, a microprocessor is required.

The data contained in a GPS has incredible amount of other useful data, including the time and date, location coordinates, etc., which can now also be stamped with the power systems measurement to be sent to the control center.

So, a secure, reliable, and fast communication terminal is required.

The PMUs: Device that executes the idea of phasor measurements

The Basic Schematics:

Synchrophasor Measurements

Components blocks:

We have extensively described and executed 1st stage conversion on how to obtain 5 V peak sine wave from 230 V mains supply in many previous accounts.

A Power Module

In power systems where voltage levels are of the order of hundreds of kV and current in kA, the potential and current transformers are used to step down these values.

Synchrophasor Measurements

  1. Filtering:

It is said that in analog engineering 90% of the stuff is just filtering, 9% amplification and the rest 1% is other nuts and bolts. That gives quite a clear-cut indication of fact that how much essential filtering is. Filtering is our first defense against errors.

Errors in various kinds of signal are generally indented by their characteristic frequency finger-prints. For general power systems the signals of interest i.e., the voltage and the current signal meander in a narrow range band of 49.5 to 50 Hz. So, a low pass filter is appropriate to stop most of the measurement noise, in the signal. Practically a filter is implemented by active and passive components.

  1. A/D Converter and the GPS:

Here at ADC the core PMU function is operated. The key difference between the SCADA and the PMU system is the availability of common time reference at all the terminals. So, all the ADC, every time, begin their measurement at the same instant and thus the information required to find the relative phase displacement between that signal is captured.

Synchrophasor Measurements

  1. DFT:

Once we have got a faithful digitized replica signal of analog version of voltages and currents, we enter a comfort zone, by the virtue of powers offered by a modern computing platform like a microcontroller. Instead of building physical circuits using passive components, we simply write down our mathematical tricks in a precise language (Programming Language as they call it) and print it on uC and we are done.

Here in MATLAB, we are rescued by already available setups to perform DFT. We have both Simulink block as well as in-built function.

FFT function description:

The “fft” MATLAB’s inbuilt function that generates an output vector [1*n] consisting of complex data points for an input of discrete time-domain signal having n samples.

Equivalently it generates n number of what is defined as bins, each having a corresponding magnitude and the phase angle value. This is essentially frequency domain representation of the input signal, as each bin corresponds to some corresponding frequency, depending on sample frequency and length of signal.

Now the magnitude and phase angle of a particular bin related to actual magnitude and phase angle of corresponding frequency in a defined way as follows:

Synchrophasor Measurementswhere x[n] is magnitude of bin number n.Synchrophasor MeasurementsThe point to be noted here is we were working in Simulink till now but to apply FFT we typically wrote a script in m-file.  This one of the greatest advantages of the MATLAB platform. All of the stuff we do in the simulation is to be implemented practically, so each component has a corresponding hardware counterpart. For CT, PT electrical systems made of copper and iron (loosely speaking), ADC, and GPS receiver are implemented by dedicated integrated circuits, and for signal processing and data visualization, we use microcontrollers, which are operated by the brunt codes. The former is executed in Simulink and later is exactly mimicked by m-file very conveniently.

The block used to import data is “To workspace”.Synchrophasor Measurements

Windowing and Zero padding: When we take samples of voltage and current waveforms using ADC and if the no of waves captured is not integral in number, then we get what is called as spread of frequency spectrum, which can be seen in terms of side lobes around the central lobe. This leads to the decreased measured magnitude of the fundamental, i.e., error in measurement. We can manage to get integral no. of cycles of measurement by essentially fixing the time for which ADC collects sample of a 50 Hz sinusoidal waveform, however, in the practical world, the frequency never settles at 50 Hz and tend to meander around 50 Hz (in range of 49.5- 50.5 Hz) as a result of disbalance in instantaneous real power generation and consumption. This in turn causes a non-integral no of waves to be captured. To deal with this, a typical hannowing window is applied to the ADC digital output signal to compensate for the trailing edges of the signal.

Synchrophasor Measurements

%% PERFORMING FFT on Bus 1
% Sample frequency
fs= 20000;
%Storing phase V of bus 1
b1vR= out.b1vR;
% Pre-signal Conditioning
%to improve the fft accuracy for non-integral waves
v1r= b1vR';
v1r = v1r.*hanning(length(v1r))';
V1R = [v1r zeros (1, 10000)];
% Performing FFT
V1R = fft(V1R);
% Obtaining the magnitude and phase values for Bus 1
V1R_mag = abs(V1R);
V1R_phase = angle(V1R);

Synchrophasor Measurements

Notice the absence of any side lobes in the pre-conditioned signal.

  1. Sequence Analyzer:

What we have after FFT is magnitude and phase information of each phase at each bus. When unsymmetrical faults occur in system, we get unsymmetrical phase voltage magnitude readings as unsymmetrical faults lead to unsymmetrical currents and hence unsymmetrical voltage drops in generator and transformer windings and thus unbalanced voltage at the buses. This data cannot be used to effectively to interpret the system, leave aside the detection of fault and tripping correct circuit breakers. CL Fortescue is his ground-breaking mathematical work showed us an effective way to deal with unsymmetrical systems. The unsymmetrical components can be resolved into three sets of balanced components. Based on those components the faults can be identified by their characteristic resolutions.

%% Sequence Analyzer for BUS 1
%Define alpha and alpha squared
a = -0.5 + 0.866*i;
b= a*a;
%Define sample frequency and max bin number
N = length(V1R);
fs = 100000;
z= 2/N;
bin_max = 10;
%Phase Voltage vector representation
vrb_1 = 0.37792*z*V1R_mag(bin_max) *(cos (V1R_phase(bin_max)) + i*sin (V1R_phase(bin_max)));
vyb_1 = 0.37792*z*V1R_mag(bin_max) *(cos (V1Y_phase(bin_max)) + i*sin (V1Y_phase(bin_max)));
vbb_1 = 0.37792*z*V1R_mag(bin_max) *(cos (V1B_phase(bin_max)) + i*sin (V1B_phase(bin_max)));
%Sequence analyzer
v1_pos = 0.3333*(vrb_1 + b*vyb_1 + a*vbb_1);
v1_neg = 0.3333*(vrb_1 + a*vyb_1 + b*vbb_1);
v1_zero = 0.3333*(vrb_1 + vyb_1 + vbb_1);
  1. Data visualization:
%Bus 1 Voltage plotting
bin_vals = [0: N-1];
fax_Hz = bin_vals*fs/N;
N_2 = ceil(N/100);
subplot (4, 2, 1)
A = 0.37792*z*V1R_mag;
plot (fax_Hz (1: N_2), A (1: N_2))
xlabel ('Frequency (Hz)')
ylabel ('RMS in kV');
title ('Bus 1 Phase Voltage - R Phase');

Apart from visualization of waveforms in time and frequency domain, we built a GUI to help see and comprehend the RMS magnitude, phase angle information, frequency and Circuit breakers status is more easy and convenient way. The app designer application of MatLab is used to build the GUI in graphical mode and then automatically generate its m-file to be embedded within the main code.

How it solves Zone 3 Maloperation?

Distance Relay works on the principle of impedance measurement. For a measured value of impedance less than the set value the relay issues a trip command. For zone 3 the relay maloperate as the measured impedance reduces below a threshold value either due to fault or even in cases for overloading (fanatically called load encroachment). Ideally, the distance relay shall operate for the first case but not for the second case. However, there is no true way to differentiate between the two, unfortunately, we had to go for load shedding, which just tends to avoid the locus of the impedance seen by relay to entering from zone 3.

Notice that the zone 3 protection is backup protection, thus operates with a time delay of 1 second. Now, this backup protection responsibility can be given to PMUs. Since there will always be a communication delay which is of the order of few milliseconds, so it cannot replace the instantaneous primary protection provided by distance relay. However, by measurement of voltage and phase angle, we can very well distinguish between the fault and overloading, this distinction is strictly not required for primary protection.

The Backup Protection by PMU: A two bus testbed

Synchrophasor Measurements

A simulation of three-phase bolted faulted at the bus 2.

Synchrophasor Measurements

Synchrophasor Measurements

Unbalanced current depending on the instant of fault a particular follows the highest peak. As expected, an increase in the current due to the fault, since the fault is symmetric hence the fault current settles to a balanced set steady state.

Synchrophasor Measurements

Synchrophasor Measurements

The frequency-domain information of current and voltages by PMU shows the presence of frequency other than fundamental, 50Hz. Time-domain representation accurately captures the R-phase fault current and voltage.

Also notice the presence of significant magnitude of negative and zero sequence voltages and currents, giving a reliable indication of the faulted state of the system.

Synchrophasor Measurements     Synchrophasor Measurements

GUI Output:

Synchrophasor Measurements

Conclusion

This blog ventured to prove that the PMU data can be very effectively used to differentiate the faulted condition from a healthy or heavily loaded system. Unlike distance relay protection it provides reliable backup protection which is resilient towards load encroachment. And since PMU data takes few milliseconds due to communication delay it thus cannot be utilized for the primary protection.

Quite evidently all the usual SCADA problems are effectively handled by PMUs. Based on the availability of phase angle data, the angular separation data between the voltages of different buses gives much better visibility of the true state of system.

The applications of synchronized measurements are numerous in number and tremendous in their scope. The conventional ways of doing things like fault analysis, tripping events analysis, state estimation, grid monitoring, black start, etc. which were barely and insufficiently carried out by the SCADA system can be now done easily and accurately using synchronous measurement data. It has to be further noted that, after 30 years since inception, now being in the advanced stage of development PMUs are now being deployed for modern applications like renewable integration, voltage instability problems, highly complex grid monitoring and control.

References

  1. Fault Analysis and related Technical Problems in Power Systems: Anshuman Singh Jhala
  2. Power System Backup Protection in Smart Grid: Ms. SU Karpe and Prof. MN Kalgunde
  3. Synchronized Phasor Measurement and their Application, AG Phadke and JS Thorpe.
  4. Synchrophasor Initiative in India, June 2012, POSOCO-India
  5. Novel Usage of Synchrophasor for system improvement: POSOCO, New Delhi, India

Thank you!

Keep reading, keep learning.

TEAM CEV.

End of Miseries

Reading Time: 6 minutesStraight to the agenda, this aims to record the tragedies of the COVID-19 experience. However, I don’t consider myself to have the honor to do that, because I am still not exactly among those who are affected with such intensities, so this privilege of extreme degree is deeply acknowledged, to say and be listened when even final calls of help of so many others are not being answered or even heard.

To put on the record an account of the phenomenon of which the recorder themselves were part of requires a much mature ability to detach from one’s own perceptions and produce a distortion less clear picture of what happened, rather than what recorder thinks has happened. So, I beg to ask for my severely inadequate literary skills to be compensated by the reader’s ability to understand and separate some of my own emotions, that would have unknowingly oozed, from the facts and thus, in turn, give true meaning to the text which I wish truly to reflect.

Personally, there is an urge to record some of the miseries that have essentially knocked out normalcy from lives in the early 20s of this 21st century, and in the process a desire to develop a thought framework that basically aims to dilute the sufferings.

Many among us felt the feeling of the end of our world, when we lost a close one whom we talked to just a few days back, when we heard the news of entire family torn apart in handful of days, parents losing both of their children and the child losing both of the parents and many such sorts of devastating permutations. Some deaths were swift, even they couldn’t get hold of fact that they were caught by the virus, the fact that they were infected was only revealed when all their closets got tested positive sooner. Some deaths were slow, they waited for their final moments by standing in lines outside hospitals, some souls left hours after hospitals ran out of oxygen. On top of that, death even couldn’t buy rest to the struggle of the body to achieve the unity, because the lifeless bodies now have to wait lying down in lines at crematory before being vaporized into air or buried to ground into the non-existence. Such are the ruthlessness of COVID-19.

Let apart the physical traumas caused by breathlessness to the COVID infected, it is also hard to put in mere English words the mental traumas of those who luckily remained uninfected. All sets of identities starting from doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, crematory workers, NGOs, public helpers, “true” journalists, and lastly, we the commoners are watching all of this, and the sensations of helplessness and incapacity to change or revert the things that pandemic threw at us, makes the days restless and nights sleepless.

The Alien View

We can go on using the words trying to capture in them sorrow that has been wrecked by the fate or whatever. That may relieve some of us from the agony of it but still don’t allow us to feel any kind of peace with happenings.
Now we aren’t here to entertain ourselves with juggle of words, we are here to address our mental health which is at stake if we expose ourselves to such sensitive ongoings. There aren’t too many things to be so sure of in the world, and one of them is our moral obligation to preserve ourselves “individually” and don’t spin to madness by the pain of knowing of such overwhelming sad ends, no matter how insane it gets.

So, let us just explore if there exists some other angle to go about things. One of them, maybe to have an outsider view of the world, and see if that gives some vantage point. This approach is quite popular in academics, to stop seeing every time the concepts from the same point but sometimes breaking the norm, and wonder if there is something else.

If we look at the things from standpoint of an alien watching the human race right from its early beginnings, we will find that we are in no special event but just another event of a type of which has literally littered all over the timeline. It is an inevitable truth that the pandemics, droughts & famines, natural disasters, cosmic disasters, and even wars have erased entire civilizations overnight with maddening ruthlessness.

How can we forget the miseries of the Black Death Era of the 14th century, which erased nearly 200 Million humans over a span of three years? To put into perspective the world death count for COVID-19 is 3.2 Million at the end of two years of outbreak.

How can we forget the flooding of Central China perishing away around 4 million people in 1931?

How can we forget the hauntings of World War 2 when war prisoners were forced to dig their own graves before being shot dead into them and infants were tossed into air for practicing shooting skills? Total deaths estimated at 75 Million.

Not just ruthlessness faced by an entire community but there has been incidence of extreme savageness unleashed on individuals which have shivered our spines to the core.

How can we forget the miseries of Capt. Saurabh Kalia, whose almost every body part from eyes to nails was snatched from him before he martyred?

How can we forget moments of terror for The Racheal Corrie, when she was pressed into 2 dimensions by a heavy bulldozer, in her fight for peace?

Now, these stories were just lucky enough to find a place in our common shared history, and wouldn’t it be exceedingly over-optimistic to think these were that these are the most severe brutality faced by any prisoner of war or activist across the globe.

We began by looking at our own miseries and lastly ended up looking at others, and realized that in contrast to the title of the essay, the human miseries are endless in their magnitude and existence.

All of this, ours or theirs, is however not so meaningless, hopeless, and rude as it seems to be. In a larger timeframe, every human experience of the tragedy of this scale and such intensity ultimately lay the ground for the widening of our collective understanding of human pain and suffering. Our collective conscience and maturity grow as the stories of our common shared history accumulate over time. Only events of this magnitude bring for us those fundamental shifts in our thinking and behaviors not only as individuals but rather as a species. In the light of that wisdom, we understand the preciousness of human lives and the fragility of life in general, not just in terms of humans but as full home Earth.

We then tend to take life, not as too much of a common phenomenon, and see it always at the brink of extinction but only to flourish at the mercy of nature. These instill in us a deep sense of gratitude and invokes the conservationist within us.

This framework allows, at least me, to remained concerned but still not maddened.

But equally considerable is the fact that even in light of the truth that this is what nature has been or ever will be, we as a society need to empathize ourselves and particularly those who are immediate survivors of the deceased. We bear a duty as a society to compensate the sufferers who lost their loved ones just not due to COVID but due to the incompetence of the system to provide medical support (especially beds and oxygen). Maybe setting up new COVID memorial hospitals and honoring them with lifetime free access to healthcare services there (or at discounted rates), and I can feel it this is too much optimistic. Ground truth is that our public machinery (the Ministry of Health) isn’t generating even the death polls, it seems as if they are feared by some “unknown powers“. Indeed, the political leadership at all levels has to be bought under scrutiny, and reconstruction of our public political philosophy is the need of the hour.

In the end, CEV also feels proud to share that recently our current executives have built an online platform “HELPING-HAND”, where users can get leads about any medical requirements (such as oxygen cylinders, beds, ICU & Ventilators, remdesevir, and plasma).

https://helping-hand-covid-19.herokuapp.com

Team CEV

CEV - Handout