Shreedhar Manek

Staff Writer • India Edition

Based in Bangalore, Shreedhar is a Staff Writer for The Ken. He writes on technology, education, human resources and urban mobility. He has a BTech in Computer Science and an MS in Urban Sociology from IIIT Hyderabad.

15 Articles published

Top Comments by Shreedhar Manek

What’s disrupting RBI’s forex disruption?

Its success depends entirely on banks' motivations which depend on how much revenue they can afford to forego. Once RBI opens up the space for private players, though, it could make having being part of a platform such as this a feature instead of a well-kept secret. But how any company could profit in a space where a competing government entity bleeds money (and in some cases, margins were wafer thin to start out) is anybody's guess.

Shreedhar Manek

After global models, national lockdowns, India finally has local Covid models

The UK's numbers have been fairly consistent, I think, with what models in the later half have been predicting. Especially those that came out later, such as Cambridge's nowcasting - https://www.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk/now-casting/. I agree with your concerns, though. I wouldn't say I have an opinion here, it's difficult for me to say. But this is what a scientist working on one model told me - "The modelling exercise is a difficult one, but it’s not astrology. It’s a difficult problem. It’s like weather prediction was 40 - 50 years ago. People would get it wrong, make jokes about it and so on. Now no one makes jokes about weather prediction because you get it correct 90% of the times.” Make what you will of it :) Also, to add, there are some ways in which the risk of over-relying on models can be mitigated. I've outlined them in my story but let me just put them together here. 1) Ignore hard numbers entirely. 2) Do not rely on one model. Get multiple models' inputs. Compare them. 3) To compare, you need to know what went behind those models. Any model that is not a 100% open with its methodologies - discard. Have independent researchers examine the accuracy of the models (just as RAMP is doing in the UK). 4) Based on informed, transparent inputs from multiple models: see what they recommend. Then weigh the pros and cons of going with the "most recommended" position vs the other options that are less recommended, taking into account socioeconomic factors. The answer of what needs to be done cannot come from a model alone. India, for example, is in dire straits economically. Smaller, richer countries in Europe? Perhaps not so much. The final decision would and should vary based on such considerations. There are so many variables any sane mind would need some sort of assistance in decision-making -- even if imperfect and to be taken with caution.

Shreedhar Manek

After global models, national lockdowns, India finally has local Covid models

Hi Maumita. You're probably referring the same CDDEP model that I have referred to at the beginning of the story. The government needs some basis to make its decisions. As I've written in the story, the numbers are not important. In fact, one of the scientists I spoke to said, and I quote - "Numbers mean nothing to us". The CDDEP - John Hopkins model may or may not have been way off in terms of numbers, but it was a forewarning and a call to be prepared. Models today, however, can help in vital decision-making. Say the government decides that it has to open offices. Now how must they do that? They can work with a modeller to etch out various scenarios and see what works best (capacity, localities, kinds of transport that should be used, so many variables) and then proceed accordingly. Governments aren't used to working with researchers is, of course, one perspective. This might vary. Everyone would be better served, though, if the government were more transparent if that were to not be the case.

Shreedhar Manek

Favouritism and fake certifications mar India's ventilator procurement

The tender mentioned in this story came out after we did the story last month. All of them had to realign in accordance to the specifications in the new tender, which broke the idea of having a minimal ventilator (notwithstanding the delay in the release of the final amendment). As of now, a ventilator from IIT-B is under production in the AMTZ in partnership with Innvolution Healthcare. Another from IIT-K is going to be produced by defence PSU Bharat Dynamics Limited. However, both are facing massive procurement issues since the new specs force them to rely on components that are in massive demand worldwide.

Shreedhar Manek

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