Chambal Valley: Once a famous dacoit and now a popular social activist, Gabbar Singh has finally decided to go the technology way and has reportedly installed a “festivals” application on his smartphone, to keep track of key festival dates.
Mr. Gabbar who is co-founder and chairman of an NGO named Society for Collection of Alternative Revenue (SCAR) for Ramgarh village often needs to stay updated about festivals in order to effectively run his NGO. However Mr. Gabbar has been facing lot of issues off-lately in getting exact dates of festivals such as Holi, Deepawali and Eid despite repeatedly asking questions such as: – “Holi Kab hai, kab hai holi?” (Holi is when, when is holi?).
In light of this development is also being rumored that Mr. Gabbar is now considering firing his all-time favorite personal secretary Samarth Bhasin, popularly known as SamBha. Faking News got up close and personal with Mr. Gabbar in an exclusive interview where he spoke about politics, economy, revenue collection and role of technology in emerging economies:
Faking News Reporter: Hello Mr. Singh
Mr. Gabbar Singh: Oh please, you can call me Gabbar, that’s the name the world knows me by, so absolutely no need of formalities here.
FN Reporter: Sure, Mr. Gabbar. Let’s get started. My first question is that after so many years in revenue collection business which has predominantly been a people oriented business, why this sudden inclination towards technology? Installing mobile applications and using them to run business, sounds pretty hi-tech.
Gabbar: Well it’s not. Understand it this way, technology is no longer just a business enabler, instead it can give you an edge over competitors. Earlier we had to send one of the gang members to the Ramgarh village to collect revenue, now we just send a whatsapp message to the Village Sarpanch. Earlier we used to take revenue in form of wheat bags, cattle, poultry and what not. Now all the villagers duly submit their revenue to us through NEFT transactions via net banking before 5th of every month. Earlier our field executives use to blindly ride horses through jungles, and used to forget their way often. Now each of the horses is fitted with an android tablet on their backs which has GPS enabled Google maps, so that our executives stay focused and can visit multiple villages in one journey. Our processes are sleeker and faster, our people are more efficient and our organization has managed to stay lean despite growth in business.
FN Reporter: But experts are saying that this increased reliance on tech is taking you away from your employees. It is also being said that you are even planning to fire your long time assistant Sambha?
Gabbar: These are all rumors. I have just eliminated the position of my Executive Assistant which Sambha was holding. But Sambha is not leaving our organization he will be moving into a more of general management role. Please understand that we are in a business which is very much operations oriented. Ops is our backbone and people are our assets, especially those who have stuck with us for a long time, through thick and thin, and we value them for that. I personally value and cherish each of my gang executives. Though these mobile apps and fancy analytics software can solve our specific problems, but they can’t just replace our people assets.
FN Reporter: Let’s talk about this festival app of yours. It seems to have solved a lot of your problems?
Gabbar: A lot, it’s very efficient and accurate and I am able to check Holi dates, well in advance now.
FN Reporter: Mr. Gabbar it spikes curiosity of many people that you have been asking about Holi dates for so many years now, why are Holi dates so important for you?
Gabbar: Those people who are native to Ramgarh, Chambal and nearby areas know this very well, that Holi is not just a festive occasion here but also a time when farmers in Ramgarh sell their produce in international markets and make big bucks. Consequently our revenue stream also thickens during this period. Once the year’s panchang is calculated and our operations team knows the exact Holi date they immediately send an email campaign to village folk, wishing them Holi in advance and reminding them that their revenue payment is due 3 days after Holi and late payments can have consequences. This is an ideal time for us to earn higher revenue from them and hence it is crucial to track exact Holi date.
FN Reporter: That clarifies a lot of questions our readers had.
Gabbar: Pleased to know that.
FN Reporter: Mr. Gabbar, before we finish this interview .. a lot of people, especially youngsters these days, are planning to make a career in revenue collection business. Being a veteran in their area what will be your message to them?
Gabbar: My message is plain and simple, don’t be dejected and lose hope when you face resistance in this line of work. Instead use technology to fight those who resist you. You know my history, learn through it. Years ago when 2 rowdy elements tried to kill me and that mad Thakur tried to eliminate my existence, I was an uninformed newbie in this business, didn’t know what technology was. My people used to go to village and were ambushed by just two people standing on the roofs. But that was then. Today I have got high definition CCTV cameras installed in each nook and corner of Ramgarh. The live feed from all these cameras is sent to our cloud servers which we purchased and maintain specifically for monitoring purposes. Now whenever our executives go to Ramgarh, they know very well what they are walking into because the live CCTV feed is available on their smartphone browsers at click of a button, they can’t just be ambushed like Kalia was. And that is a business edge. I know of many revenue collectors in other villages who perished just because they could not adapt and incorporate technology into their strategic and tactical initiatives. Consequently their on ground operations failed on regular basis, they faced attrition and finally declared bankruptcy.
FN Reporter: Mr. Gabbar these were some really great thoughts. I must say, it was great to connect with you and know you better, thanks a lot for your valuable time.
Gabbar: Thanks for visiting me. Just one request, please do create some backlinks for our web-portal when you publish this interview, it helps our SEO efforts.