Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: ‘Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha are venting their frustrations over being left out’

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Sour grapes?

I agree with Arun Shourie’s observations on the note ban (“Demonetisation was the ‘largest money laundering scheme ever’, Arun Shourie tells NDTV”). It was indeed the biggest money laundering excercise, one abetted by the government. Those who had not managed to convert their black money into real estate or other immovable assets got the chance to turn their unaccounted-for wealth white, at the cost of the poor.

From what I observed, government employees got the chance to earn bribes and jewellery shops benefited the most. The BJP was lucky to gain electoral benefits thanks to a gullible public but truth has a beautiful way of emerging sooner or later. – P Surendra Nath

***

The Indian economy saw one of its worst phases after liberalisation, when the learned Manmohan Singh was prime minister and had the internationally renowned economist Raghuram Rajan as governor. In 2013, India’s GDP growth sank to 4.5%. High level corruption was at its peak and there was a policy paralysis. It was the wisdom of a chaiwala that restored the world’s confidence in India. All foreign experts, rating agencies and institutions like the World Bank are upbeat about these reforms in India.

But out-of-work political aspirants are critical. First we had Yashwant Sinha speaking against the government and now Arun Shourie. A slight dip in the GDP for the last two quarters is the only weapon they have.
When you change the gear from one to four, some hiccups are to be expected. Aspirational India is fed up of long, delayed and over-discussed reforms. They wanted someone to take decisive measures and this is what Modi gave us. Decisive change are the buzzwords today. This is young India’s suggestion to the old guards: please wait for some more time before you criticise. – Dhruv Kalra

***

I don’t agree with Arun Shourie, P Chidamabaram and Manmohan Singh. It may be true that all the goals of demonetisation have not been achieved but most of them have been achieved by more than 80%. If the Opposition and people like Yashwant Sinha and Shourie show some positivity, we will see tangible benefits within the next 18 months. – Amar Tandon

***

It is scary to hear of a slowdown. People vote a party into power with the hope that their government will help the country grow. Welfare of citizens must be given top priority and supported by policies. But policies like demonetisation disrupt the day-to-day life of common citizens. The move may have helped the government a little but did not hurt the wealthy enough. – Senthil Sivakumar

***

Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie have woken up after a year-long slumber. They are worried about their political careers even at this age. They should have guided the government. Without criticism there will be no good results. – Jasbir Singh

***

Demonetisation proved that Modi and his clan are unfit to rule India. – Natrajan Kodumudi Arumugam

***

Arun Shourie’s comments seem motivated by his own interests rather than being comprehensive and logical analysis of the situation. – Nawal Singh

***

I have great respect for Arun Shourie but I totally disagree with his opinion. Demonetisation has achieved its objective partially and with GST now in place, it will meet all its goals in the next two years. We’ll see the difference over the next six months. In a country where 99% people are tax evaders, what else could one do? I am hopeful for an honest and transparent India in the future. – Hitesh Gupta

***

I have great regard for this gentleman but he has challenged the intelligence of the common man. Does he think we are so foolish as to be unable to see through what is going on around us? His statement on demonetisation is bookish and theoretical. The fact that all money is now accounted for is a good thing. Second, the builder lobby, which largely dealt with cash, were forced to shift to cheque payments. Anti-India activists also did not find hard cash to play with. The fact that almost all the money has come back into banks has become the sole criterion to call the exercise a failure. Worse is, it gives the Congress, which did nothing to crack down on black money, ammunition to go after the government. People should see the larger picture and come out of their bookish view. – PK Joshi

***

Some learned members of the BJP seem to be giving us an insight into the mindset with which the BJP is working. This would otherwise have been disguised by their slogans and tall claims. Amit Shah, Modi and Arun Jaitley seem to be giving a new agenda to BJP, which has more negatives than positives. – SL Goyal

***

Arun Shourie does not take into account the tax revenue that the government could get by penalising those with unexplained transactions. This would not have been possible without demonetisation. It has become easier to trace money. Shourie seems to be frustrated. – Umesh BV

***

What Arun Shourie said is factually correct. Though the government has claimed that it has identified black money holders and will take action against them, given the manpower in the IT department, it will take decades to finalise the cases. – Ramam Rajolu

***

Modi faces more danger from those within his party than outsiders. – Vijay Dani

***

This is an apt and to-the-point analysis offered by Shourie. No one has also found out whether fake currency has been deposited in banks during the great money laundering scheme. – Prakash Bapat

***

It’s true that demonetisation has not been able to trace black money. It in fact gave black money holders a chance to launder their money by roping in some middle men and offering them a commission. – Arvindbhai Shah

***

Demonetisation was ill-conceived gave enough room for powerful people and organisations to turn their ill-gotten money white. – B Krishnan Kunhappan

***

Arun Shourie’s comments are unjustified. Such people should substantiate their claims otherwise it will seem as though they are hobnobbing for positions. If he makes such sensational comments, how can anyone take him seriously? – Swapan Dey

***

I have great regard and respect for Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha. But to call demonetisation a money laundering scheme or an unmitigated economic disaster is too harsh and subjective an assessment of its impact.
The two may have been kept out of the decision-making process by the current dispensation, which made them bitter. Criticism should be constructive and should help people understand the true implications of decisions taken by the government. By making sweeping statements like these, these two gentlemen are merely venting their frustrations over being left out. – Ravikiran

***

I agree with Arun Shourie. I would like to add that not only was demonetisation the biggest money laundering scheme but also one with disastrous consequences. If we take into account the cost of printing new notes, the lost jobs, deaths of people and the GDP slowdown, it would among to millions of dollars of money gone. – Arun Singh

***

The statements of Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha ignited much debate. The intention of the exercise and its implementation did not match. We still don’t know how much ill-gotten wealth is stashed abroad.

However, I wonder why sudden influx of FDI and FII, after this government relaxed investment percentage in India through this route in several sectors, did not attract the attention of economists and investigating agencies.

When in the Opposition, the BJP objected to such a move. But when in power, they have allowed up to 100% FDI in some sectors, which they had earlier said was against national interests. The government is also not declaring the names of those with black money abroad.

The government is boasting of the substantial increase in FDI and FII in the last three years, running into billions of dollars, but non has noticed the various reports from different overseas banks that talk about a substantial decrease in money deposited by Indians.

If the government is serious about tackling black money, it should screen all foreign investment by looking into the creditworthiness of all the shareholders and directors of that company in their country of origin and should even take the help of tax authorities of that country. I am confident many facts will come out, provided that the government is serious. – Narendra Agarwal

***

I don’t know whether demonetisation was a success but sometimes harsh measures have to be undertaken. The government also took several other measures alongside to bring in more transparency, like looking into shell companies, benami transactions, strengthening the banks and pushing digital transactions. It is easy to be a naysayer but we would appreciate if these critics can give some constructive feedback. In my opinion, this is a case of sour grapes and an attempt to grab attention. – Shanthi Reddy

***

These people are greedy for the post and hence making such comments. We have seen much black money money holders are suffering mentally. The success of demonetisation will be proven in time. – Narasinha Galagali

***

Arun Shourie’s comments seem to stem from frustration for not being offered the post of finance minister. But this criticism could help keep a check on the BJP. – Tapan Sarkar

***

These are BJP leaders who have been sidelined by Narendra Modi. Why is their self interest superseding national interest? Demonetisation was an exercise to root out black money but no government can prepare itself for perfidy, greed and the quest for loopholes to convert black into white. – Ganesh Surath

***

What a pity. Arun Shourie was respected.What could have happened to make him stoop so low? Very sad. – Narasimhan

***

I think Arun Shourie’s critical observations are correct. But instead of blaming the government for the failure of the scheme, we should introspect. We as a nation are corrupt. Modi made a good attempt. – Rajdeep Mishra

***

There are multiple theories about demonetisation. Now, Arun Shourie says it lead to an economic slowdown and let to the conversion of black money into white. Does he mean to imply that the black economy is good for the State? What an idea. – Vishweshwara Bhat

***

What a fall from grace, Arun Shourie. You were like a lion during Emergency but now you are assisting the same forces because you don’t have much of a say in the present set up. Things are changing for the better. This government is not averse to criticism and you can talk to the powers that be directly and openly. Do not join the likes of Yashwant Sinha. – Sankara Seshan

TV Queen

Do not underestimate Faye D’Souza (“How Faye D’Souza became the rising star of Indian TV news, without yelling or finger-wagging”). She has perfected her own style of veering the discussion towards to be in line with her opinions and blunts the panelists who disagree with her. She has strong views, which can be seen at the onset of the debate.

Beauty of the news presenter lies in keeping audience guessing on what the moderator’s opinion is throughout the discussion. It would be good to take on shifting positions to infuse life into the the panel. Since she has a long career ahead, she should forge her own path that could be emulated by youngsters who join this profession. – Pravachanalu

***

I had almost come to a point where I had hated watching the news, other than on NDTV and shows anchored by Rajdeep Sardesai. But Faye D’Souza was like a breath of fresh air. She’s smart, eloquent , sensible, kind and does her research. My wife and I feel that our despairs are voiced through her. – Sanjeev Gandhi

***

It’s a good feeling to watch Faye D’Souza anchoring a panel discussion. Her anchoring is balanced, sophisticated and issue-focused, so it always enriches the viewer. She exudes calmness with the right proportion of criticism. She holds a lot of promise if not not pushed into the aggressive game of chasing TRPs. – Chhanda Basu Mullick

***

Faye D’Souza’s show is excellent. She is unbiased and conducts herself very nicely. Unlike most anchors, she does not behave like the judge and jury. Neither does she pretend to be the master of all topics. – MY Patel

***

Hers is the only news channel I watch because of the dignified way she anchors her show, unlike others which end up being fish markets. – Michael Matthews

***

I simply love her! For the last year or so, I have been seeing that she is a class apart. – Sanjoy Sankar Guha

***

Although I don’t really watch TV News, I was happy to read about a supposedly non-aggressive level-headed anchor. I was excited enough to check out the video of Faye D’Souza and the maulana, which propelled her to fame. While the maulana’s comments are ridiculous, D’Souza responded to them by misunderstanding and mis-stating his words. For example, she claimed that he threatened her to come to work in her underwear, which was not the case. He dared her, but didn’t threaten her.
There’s a chance that this could be unintentional, but coming from the mouth of a TV presenter of prime time news on national television, one is forced to think that this is deliberate. Subsequently, her words too reek of sensationalism like those of her counterparts in other TV channels. She seems to be the of the same tribe, just of a different brand. – Afzalul Haque

***

I wish her great success. But I have noticed that she is not as forceful as she once was in stopping panelists from talking over one another. Panelists should be given a time limit and there should be a buzzer, so that everyone sticks to their alotted time while also getting the chance to speak. I have stopped watching debates on other channels. – Surinder Munshi

Powerful performer

I shall miss Tom Alter. I was so impressed by his command over Urdu (“Tom Alter (1950-2017): The actor, sports lover and reciter of Urdu poetry”). He must have loved the language enough to take pains to perfect it. – Dipak Mukherjee

***

Tom Alter was a true lover of Urdu. His command over the language was commendable. I watched his solo play Maulana Azad twice. Recently I read his interview in a Urdu literally magazine. Rest in piece, Urdu ke sachche aashiq. – Milansar Ahmed

***

When in Class 10, our school, which had its own private lodge in Mussoorie, took us there for our summer break. Our lodge was close to Tom Alter’s house. As teenage girls, we were very excited to meet him. When we heard that Alter has come to the grocery store across the street, we left everything and ran to the shop to catch a glimpse of him. We pretended to be very calm in the shop and came out without saying a word. We were very nervous.

A few moments later, we mustered the courage to go up to him and request him to come to our lodge for tea. He instantly agreed.

Back at the lodge, no one believed us. But at 5.30 pm sharp, he arrived. He was so gentle, calm and genial. He spoke fluent Hindi and Urdu. He stayed for about two hours and spoke to us about his favourite writer and his food and music prefences.

I still cherish these memories. His genorousity, kindness and his habit of exclaiming “Oh Gosh!” if anything went wrong. He was a thorough gentleman. – Vineeta Sharma

***

I was eagerly awaiting Ruksin Bond’s tribute to Tom Alter. Both belonged to the same place. His rightly says that Tom Alter was kind to friends. I saw the camaraderie and bonhomie he shared with his friends when he staged a play in Mumbai in April. He had the ability to enrich the lives of those he encountered. Both him and Bond are literary giants. – Susan Philip

Penny saved

This article highlights interesting statistics about household savings (“Indian households are investing even more in stocks, equity and mutual funds. Is it sensible?”). The shift to investing in mutual funds and equity is indeed a very important point. I am reminded of the the stock market scam of 1993-’94, when the the office of Controller of Capital issues was abolished. Small inexperienced retail investors lost a lot of money in the form of near-zero value shares. Risk exists today too to domestic small investors. Government policy is the basic rain for the shift to equities. Isn’t government responsible to ensure that small investors are protected? – K Sunder

Speaking out

What Yashwant Shina did was a democratic move (“Readers’ comments: ‘Yashwant Sinha should have kept quiet or spoken to someone within his party’”). It cannot be called an anti-party activity. In fact, demonisation and GST are anti-national activities. Someone should be held accountable for the same. – Kinsey Singh

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Putting the patient first - insights for hospitals to meet customer service expectations

These emerging solutions are a fine balance between technology and the human touch.

As customers become more vocal and assertive of their needs, their expectations are changing across industries. Consequently, customer service has gone from being a hygiene factor to actively influencing the customer’s choice of product or service. This trend is also being seen in the healthcare segment. Today good healthcare service is no longer defined by just qualified doctors and the quality of medical treatment offered. The overall ambience, convenience, hospitality and the warmth and friendliness of staff is becoming a crucial way for hospitals to differentiate themselves.

A study by the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions in fact indicates that good patient experience is also excellent from a profitability point of view. The study, conducted in the US, analyzed the impact of hospital ratings by patients on overall margins and return on assets. It revealed that hospitals with high patient-reported experience scores have higher profitability. For instance, hospitals with ‘excellent’ consumer assessment scores between 2008 and 2014 had a net margin of 4.7 percent, on average, as compared to just 1.8 percent for hospitals with ‘low’ scores.

This clearly indicates that good customer service in hospitals boosts loyalty and goodwill as well as financial performance. Many healthcare service providers are thus putting their efforts behind: understanding constantly evolving customer expectations, solving long-standing problems in hospital management (such as long check-out times) and proactively offering a better experience by leveraging technology and human interface.

The evolving patient

Healthcare service customers, who comprise both the patient and his or her family and friends, are more exposed today to high standards of service across industries. As a result, hospitals are putting patient care right on top of their priorities. An example of this in action can be seen in the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. In July 2015, the hospital launched a ‘Smart OPD’ system — an integrated mobile health system under which the entire medical ecosystem of the hospital was brought together on a digital app. Patients could use the app to book/reschedule doctor’s appointments and doctors could use it to access a patient’s medical history, write prescriptions and schedule appointments. To further aid the process, IT assistants were provided to help those uncomfortable with technology.

The need for such initiatives and the evolving nature of patient care were among the central themes of the recently concluded Abbott Hospital Leadership Summit. The speakers included pundits from marketing and customer relations along with leaders in the healthcare space.

Among them was the illustrious speaker Larry Hochman, a globally recognised name in customer service. According to Mr. Hochman, who has worked with British Airways and Air Miles, patients are rapidly evolving from passive recipients of treatment to active consumers who are evaluating their overall experience with a hospital on social media and creating a ‘word-of-mouth’ economy. He talks about this in the video below.

Play

As the video says, with social media and other public platforms being available today to share experiences, hospitals need to ensure that every customer walks away with a good experience.

The promise gap

In his address, Mr. Hochman also spoke at length about the ‘promise gap’ — the difference between what a company promises to deliver and what it actually delivers. In the video given below, he explains the concept in detail. As the gap grows wider, the potential for customer dissatisfaction increases.

Play

So how do hospitals differentiate themselves with this evolved set of customers? How do they ensure that the promise gap remains small? “You can create a unique value only through relationships, because that is something that is not manufactured. It is about people, it’s a human thing,” says Mr. Hochman in the video below.

Play

As Mr. Hochman and others in the discussion panel point out, the key to delivering a good customer experience is to instil a culture of empathy and hospitality across the organisation. Whether it is small things like smiling at patients, educating them at every step about their illness or listening to them to understand their fears, every action needs to be geared towards making the customer feel that they made the correct decision by getting treated at that hospital. This is also why, Dr. Nandkumar Jairam, Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia, talked about the need for hospitals to train and hire people with soft skills and qualities such as empathy and the ability to listen.

Striking the balance

Bridging the promise gap also involves a balance between technology and the human touch. Dr. Robert Pearl, Executive Director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, who also spoke at the event, wrote about the example of Dr. Devi Shetty’s Narayana Health Hospitals. He writes that their team of surgeons typically performs about 900 procedures a month which is equivalent to what most U.S. university hospitals do in a year. The hospitals employ cutting edge technology and other simple innovations to improve efficiency and patient care.

The insights gained from Narayana’s model show that while technology increases efficiency of processes, what really makes a difference to customers are the human touch-points. As Mr. Hochman says, “Human touch points matter more because there are less and less of them today and are therefore crucial to the whole customer experience.”

Play

By putting customers at the core of their thinking, many hospitals have been able to apply innovative solutions to solve age old problems. For example, Max Healthcare, introduced paramedics on motorcycles to circumvent heavy traffic and respond faster to critical emergencies. While ambulances reach 30 minutes after a call, the motorcycles reach in just 17 minutes. In the first three months, two lives were saved because of this customer-centric innovation.

Hospitals are also looking at data and consumer research to identify consumer pain points. Rajit Mehta, the MD and CEO of Max Healthcare Institute, who was a panelist at the summit, spoke of the importance of data to understand patient needs. His organisation used consumer research to identify three critical areas that needed work - discharge and admission processes for IPD patients and wait-time for OPD patients. To improve wait-time, they incentivised people to book appointments online. They also installed digital kiosks where customers could punch in their details to get an appointment quickly.

These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott is working with hospitals and healthcare professionals to improve the quality of health services.

To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.