What Makes Lucknow the Most Preferred Place for Buying a Flat or Apartment?

The City of Nawabs, Lucknow, which is so popular for its culture, Nawabi and Victorian era monuments and gastronomical delights, is witnessing rapid development over the last few years. The city where people converse in a very courteous manner, and is home to some of the most splendid historical monuments such as Bada Imambara, Chota Imambara and Rumi Darwaza is gradually losing its old world charm with the development of wide roads, highways, flyovers, glittering shopping malls, swanky multiplexes, discotheques, hotels, and more. Today, many multinational companies, public sector firms, top realtors of India and foreign luxury brands have their presence in Lucknow, thereby strengthening the real estate in Lucknow by leaps and bounds.

Owing to infrastructural development initiated by Uttar Pradesh Govt. such as Lucknow Metro, IT City, International Cricket Stadium, U.P. State Dial 100 Headquarter, Cancer Research Institute, to name a few, along with better employment, healthcare and educational facilities, there is a rising demand for luxury residential projects in Lucknow. Seeing this realty boom, top real estate developers in Lucknow have launched their luxury housing projects with spacious & airy rooms, premium architecture, modern amenities, hi-tech security features, and more.

However, there are other important factors that have contributed to the overall increase in demand of residential properties in Lucknow such as:

Connectivity

With Charbagh Railway Station, Amausi International Airport and wide network of highways, Lucknow is properly connected with the rest of the country. Moreover, Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) buses ply all over the state touching every nook and corner of U.P. Once completed, the ongoing Lucknow Metro development work would further streamline and facilitate transportation in the city.

Healthcare Facilities

The city has some of the best government healthcare centres of the country such as King George Medical College (KGMC), Balrampur Hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI) and Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. Apart from public sector hospitals, Lucknow is also home to top private hospitals such as Sahara Hospital, Vivekananda Polyclinic, Charak Hospital & Research Center and Mayo Hospital, drawing patients not only from other districts of UP but also from other states and even abroad.

Educational Infrastructure

Lucknow is considered the hub of education with quite a few reputed schools, colleges and universities. Leading govt. educational institutes such as Indian Institute of Management (IIM-Lucknow), University of Lucknow (LU), Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University and Institute of Hotel Management Catering & Nutrition (IHM-Lucknow) are present in Lucknow. Private colleges such as Babu Banarasi Das University, Integral University and Amity University are providing quality education in the field of arts, science, commerce, law, medical, architecture, biotechnology, information technology, etc. Aspiring students every year from all over India come to Lucknow in search of good educational institutes to pursue quality higher education.

Entertainment Options

Lucknow is filled with fun entertainment parks such as Disney Water Wonder Park, Anandi Water Park, Dream World Resort, Gautam Buddha Park and Begum Hazrat Mahal Park where people of all ages can make the most of lush greenery and various types of water swings. Movie aficionados can watch latest Bollywood and Hollywood blockbuster movies at state-of-the-art multiplexes such as PVR Cinemas, INOX Cinemas and Wave Cinemas. Party lovers can organize their get-togethers at some of the trendiest lounges in the city such as Percussion, Zero Degree, Mirage The Lounge and 5 C R Lounge. Famous Mughlai cuisine restaurants such as Tunday Kababi, Dastarkhwan, Idrees Biryani, Raheem’s, multi-cuisine restaurants like Royal CafĂ©, Kalika Hut, Cappuccino Blast, The Salt and international fast food chains like McDonald’s, Dominos, Pizza Hut and KFC are present in the city.

You name it and Lucknow has it all. All the above factors have really contributed towards the growth of residential real estate market in Lucknow where customers have shown an increased preference to buy residential property in Lucknow.

Government’s Hold on Higher Education – How Rational and/or Irrational?

The area of higher education is remarkably vast, having a variety of constituents, less or more contributive in nature. Also, like every other part of the social structure, good and bad lie in equilibrium there. Since corruption has radically made it to every sector of our society, there remain all the chances for a sensitive area like education to get affected, no exception.

College managements (private ones, especially) are too big bodies to get stormed away in the fury of corruption. In fact, they need to move with the flow and become a part of corruption in one way or the other. Every now and then, however, the delicate air of the area of higher education can be seen turning out to be insecure for students. Pity!

There is nothing complex in understanding that the weaker unit is always dominated in every social relationship, which students here in this case are. If anything adverse has to happen because of whatever irrational corruption carries along, that will happen to students. Not everyone thinks such thinking is thoughtful, though.

Where the idea of some legal body’s control over higher education institutes comes is the intellectual section of our society. Well educated intellectual people actually care for students, their future and career. They suggest that if there is a body required to govern institutes imparting higher education, it should be government itself. This they believe is the best way to make the control as pure and authentic as it ultimately can be.

Unlike that, those who deny this concept, strongly argue that government’s control on higher education can’t necessarily be transparent and corruption-free. This is exactly when a rich-in-contradiction narrative (always varying from person to person, obviously) of why there should or/and shouldn’t be some decree system to control higher education in India can be felt flowing around.

Is Government’s Control Actually Required?

In December 2010, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) issued its notification with a new set of rules for B-schools. It included instructions to finish MBA entrance exams such as XAT, ATMA and MICAT. It also stated that only MAT and CAT or exams conducted by any state government will be main means of admission in B-schools.

Furthermore, the circular implemented fee related regulations wherein B-schools were denied right to set fee according to their own structure. Also, because of the changes that were introduced, now higher education institutes need to admit students only through a state government controlled process. This is how government has managed to regulate higher education institutes. Though any policy implemented by government can’t be challenged, still common man willing to react on such rules and regulations (to prove them right or wrong in this way?) can’t be ignored. Everything governments do, after all, is for common man.

Mass Reaction – Consensus or Disagreement?

To a reasonable extent, having a regulatory body comprising of an excellent regulatory mechanism to tame higher education institutes is essential. Imparting education to young minds, future pillars of a country, after all, is a task full of responsibility. Then anybody opening up an institute in a residence-like accommodation doesn’t make sense. The worse, they charge enormous fees and provide students with almost negligible facilities and education in this way becomes more of a profit-making thing.

As suggests our original education policy, education can’t be for profit and should be for all, irrespective of which class or caste one belongs to. To make this actually happen, we need a regulatory mechanism in place. Also, this is only through government’s control that we can put a check on low grade and unrecognized educational organizations.

At the same time though, imposing too much regulations is like challenging liberalization. We need to keep in mind that it was economic liberalization which helped India emerge as the fastest growing economy in the world. We can’t, again, set excess of rules and regulations for higher education institutes as they promote innovation. Generally, we don’t see government schools and colleges coming up with new curricula that lead to innovation among students. And when private institutes of higher education want to design and implement new course structure, we deny it in order to defend the rules prevailing for long back. This can’t be called fair, no.

All in all, and for the most part, there is a common belief among us that governments should concentrate on tightening the reins of unrecognized institutes making back-door entries. And if our government, instead, interferes in how established and recognized centres of higher education function, it is completely unfair. Then why do it when nothing worthwhile is going to come out of it?

Higher Education and Society

Institutions of education, and the system of which they are a part, face a host of unprecedented challenges from forces in society that affect and are influenced by these very institutions and their communities of learners and educators. Among these forces are sweeping demographic changes, shrinking provincial budgets, revolutionary advances in information and telecommunication technologies, globalization, competition from new educational providers, market pressures to shape educational and scholarly practices toward profit-driven ends, and increasing demands and pressures for fundamental changes in public policy and public accountability relative to the role of higher education in addressing pressing issues of communities and the society at large. Anyone of these challenges would be significant on their own, but collectively they increase the complexity and difficulty for education to sustain or advance the fundamental work of serving the public good.

Through a forum on education, we can agree to: Strengthening the relationship between higher education and society will require a broad-based effort that encompasses all of education, not just individual institutions, departments and associations.

Piecemeal solutions can only go so far; strategies for change must be informed by a shared vision and a set of common objectives. A “movement” approach for change holds greater promise for transforming academic culture than the prevailing “organizational” approach.

Mobilizing change will require strategic alliances, networks, and partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders within and beyond education.

The Common Agenda is specifically designed to support a “movement” approach to change by encouraging the emergence of strategic alliances among individuals and organizations who care about the role of higher education in advancing the ideals of a diverse democratic system through education practices, relationships and service to society.

A Common Agenda

The Common Agenda is intended to be a “living” document and an open process that guides collective action and learning among committed partners within and outside of higher education. As a living document, the Common Agenda is a collection of focused activity aimed at advancing civic, social, and cultural roles in society. This collaboratively created, implemented, and focused Common Agenda respects the diversity of activity and programmatic foci of individuals, institutions, and networks, as well as recognizes the common interests of the whole. As an open process, the Common Agenda is a structure for connecting work and relationships around common interests focusing on the academic role in serving society. Various modes of aliening and amplifying the common work within and beyond education will be provided within the Common Agenda process.

This approach is understandably ambitious and unique in its purpose and application. Ultimately, the Common Agenda challenges the system of higher education, and those who view education as vital to addressing society’s pressing issues, to act deliberately, collectively, and clearly on an evolving and significant set of commitments to society. Currently, four broad issue areas are shaping the focus of the Common Agenda: 1) Building public understanding and support for our civic mission and actions; 2) Cultivating networks and partnerships; 3) Infusing and reinforcing the value of civic responsibility into the culture of higher education institutions; and 4) Embedding civic engagement and social responsibility in the structure of the education system

VISION We have a vision of higher education that nurtures individual prosperity, institutional responsiveness and inclusivity, and societal health by promoting and practicing learning, scholarship, and engagement that respects public needs. Our universities are proactive and responsive to pressing social, ethical, and economic problems facing our communities and greater society. Our students are people of integrity who embrace diversity and are socially responsible and civilly engaged throughout their lives.

MISSION The purpose of the Common Agenda is to provide a framework for organizing, guiding and communicating the values and practices of education relative to its civic, social and economic commitments to a diverse democratic system.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

I believe social justice, ethics, educational equity, and societal change for positive effects are fundamental to the work of higher education. We consider the relationship between communities and education institutions to be based on the values of equally, respect and reciprocity, and the work in education to be interdependent with the other institutions and individuals in society.

We will seek and rely on extensive partnerships with all types of institutions and devoted individuals inside and outside of higher education.

We realize the interconnection of politics, power and privilege. The Common Agenda is not for higher education to self-serve, but to “walk the talk” relative to espoused public goals. We understand the Common Agenda as a dynamic living document, and expect the activities it encompasses to change over time.

THE COMMON AGENDA FRAMEWORK The general framework for the common agenda is represented in the following diagram. It is clear that while goals and action items are organized and aliened within certain issues areas, there is considerable overlap and complimentarity among the issues, goals and action items. Also, following each action item are names of individuals who committed to serve as “point persons” for that particular item. A list of “point persons,” with their organizational affiliation(s) is included with the common agenda.

ISSUES

ISSUE 1: MISSION AND ACTIONS

Public understanding more and more equates higher education benefits with acquiring a “good job” and receiving “higher salaries.” To understand and support the full benefits of higher education the public and higher education leaders need to engage in critical and honest discussions about the role of higher education in society. Goal: Develop a common language that resonates both inside and outside the institution. Action Items: Develop a common language and themes about our academic role and responsibility to the public good, through discussions with a broader public.

Collect scholarship on public good, examine themes and identify remaining questions. Develop a national awareness of the importance of higher education for the public good through the development of marketing efforts.

Goal: Promote effective and broader discourse. Action Items: Raise public awareness about the institutional diversity within and between higher education institutions.

Identify strategies for engaging alumni associations for articulating public good and building bridges between higher education and the various private and public sector companies. Develop guidelines of discourse to improve the quality of dialogue on every level of society. Organize a series of civil dialogues with various public sectors about higher education and the public good.

ISSUE 2: DEVELOPING NETWORKS AND PARTNERSHIPS

Approaching complex issues such as the role of higher education in society that requires a broad mix of partners to create strategies and actions that encompass multiple valued perspectives and experiences.

Broad partnerships to strengthen the relationship between higher education and society involves working strategically with those within and outside of higher education to achieve mutual goals on behalf of the public good.

Goal: Create broad and dispersed communication systems and processes.

Action Items:

Create an information and resource network across higher education associations Create information processes that announce relevant conferences, recruit presenters and encourage presentations in appropriate national conferences Develop opportunities for information sharing and learning within and between various types of postsecondary institutions (e.g. research-centered communities).

Goal: Create and support strategic alliances and diverse collaborations.

Action Items: Establish and support on-going partnerships and collaborations between higher education associations and the external community (e.g. civic organizations, legislators, community members) Explore with the public how to employ the role of arts in advancing higher education for the public good Promote collaboration between higher education and to address access, retention, and graduation concerns

ISSUE 3: INSTILLING AND REINFORCING THE VALUE OF CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY INTO THE CULTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS

Education should attend to the implicit and explicit consequences of its work, and reexamine “what counts” to integrate research, teaching and service for the public good to the core working of the institution.

Goal: Emphasize civic skills and leadership development in the curriculum and co-curriculum.

Action Items: Develop and implement a curriculum in colleges and universities that promote civic engagement of students Create co-curricular student and community programs for leadership and civic engagement development Develop learning opportunities, inside and outside of the classroom, that promote liberty, democratic responsibility, social justice and knowledge of the economic system Develop student leadership and service opportunities that focus on ethical behavior Teach graduate students organizing and networking skills, and encourage student leadership and Diversity education

Goal: Foster a deeper commitment to the public good.

Action Items: Work with faculty on communication skills and languages to describe their engagement with the public, and educate faculty for the common good Identify models for promotion and tenure standards Identify models for faculty development

Goal: Identify, recognize, and support engaged scholarship.

Action Items: Identify and disseminate models and exemplars of scholarship on the public good Encourage the participation in community research Help institutions call attention to exemplary outreach. Establish a capacity building effort for institutions

Goal: Bring graduate education into alignment with the civic mission.

Action Items: Work with disciplinary associations to hold dialogues on ways graduate student training can incorporate public engagement, involvement and service Promote “civic engagement” within academic and professional disciplines according to the disciplines’ definition of “civic engagement” Incorporate the concept of higher education for the public good into current graduate education reform efforts

ISSUE 4: EMBEDDING CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THE STRUCTURE OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM

Promoting the public benefits of higher education requires system efforts beyond institutions to intentionally embed values of civic engagement and social responsibility in governance practices, policy decisions, and educational processes.

Goal: Align governing structures and administrative strategies.

Action Items: Develop ways to improve student and the community involvement in the governance and decision making process of educational institutions. Identify and promote ways for institutions to improve involvement with the public and the practice of democracy within their own institution. Establish public good/civic engagement units that orchestrate this work throughout institutions.

Goal: Publicly recognize and support valuable engagement work.

Action Items: Offer public awards that reward institutions with demonstrable track record in serving the public good in order to encourage institutionalization of performance around the public good and civic engagement.

Develop a comprehensive inventory of funding sources, association activities, initiatives, and exemplary practices that advance the public good. Identify, recognize, and support early career scholars who choose to do research on higher education and its public role in society.

Goal: Ensure that assessment and accreditation processes include civic engagement and social responsibility.

Action Items: Identify service for the public good as a key component in provincial and federal educational plans (e.g. Master Plans, provincial budgets, and professional associations).

Bring higher education associations and legislators together to broaden current definition of student outcomes and achievement, and develop a plan for assessment.

Develop strategies and processes to refocus system-wide planning, accreditation and evaluation agendas to consider criteria assessing the social, public benefits of education.

Goal: Cultivate stronger ties between the university, federal and provincial government.

Action Items: Develop a 2-year implementation plan that joins the university rector / Pro-rector and Director with provincial legislators to engage in an assessment of the needs of the public by province Host a series of dialogues between trustees and provincial legislators to discuss the role of universities and public policy in advancing public good at a local, provincial, and national level.

Efficiency and Effectiveness in Higher Education

1. Introduction

Higher education has seen increasing pressure on funding since the Gershon Report in 2004. This has been accelerated by the new, more market-focused environment created by the current government. Responding to the new funding environment has become a key priority for all higher education establishments, something highlighted in the recommendations of the 2011 Diamond Report. These recommendations state that the way forward is through the adoption of LEAN, increasing and improving collaborative arrangements and putting the effective flow of information at the heart of transitional arrangements. This paper provides an overview of the key concepts that underpin the recommendations within the Diamond Report.

2. Integrated Improvement & LEAN

LEAN is a concept with a long-pedigree. Many people associate it with the transformation of the automotive manufacturer Toyota over the last 50 years but its history extends much further back in time. The concepts that we now associate with LEAN, such as Value Stream Analysis, Standard Working, Flow, Pull and Continuous Improvement can be found in use in the private sector since the 14th Century where they were used by the Venice Arsenal to produce warships in as little as an hour. It later found use in further military applications such as reducing the time taken for British warships to fire broadsides and the inter-changeability of parts used in weapons by the French and Americans.

Over the last 20 years LEAN concepts have taken hold in the public sector and is at the heart of the transformation of many central and local government organisations, healthcare and the armed forces. The adoption of LEAN requires organisations to create defined and effective processes, share knowledge and create a strategy for improvement. LEAN also drives the need for collaborative projects between departments and across entire organisations.

Creating effective processes, delivering efficiency and driving up the value realised within higher education will be achieved through this integrated approach to improvement.

In this article we will outline the key aspects of LEAN and Collaborative Working that will enable higher education organisations to respond to the recommendations within the Diamond Report and realise significant efficiencies.

3. A Strategic Approach to Improvement

The Diamond Report recommends the development of a long-term vision for the organisation and improve the access to management data about day to day performance. Coupled with these two points is the need to consider a strategic approach to the introduction of LEAN and the actions required to deliver a strategic approach to improvement are detailed in the following sections.

  • Create an integrated improvement plan

The creation of a long-term vision and the implementation plan required to support the introduction will be key to realise the larger benefits available to the higher education sector. One approach available to higher education organisations will be the creation of a strategic plan that provides an overview of the vision, objectives and strategic tasks required to deliver the improvements required, as well as avoiding the use of LEAN just being seen as ‘something else to do’.

  • Develop your management dashboard

The need for better management information was highlighted in the Diamond Report. The creation of an organisational dashboard that provides ‘at a glance’ performance data will provide leaders at all levels with the required information to enable them to plan improvements and track the changes achieved.

  • Develop an ‘improve every day’ culture

The third arm of a strategic approach to improvement is to foster a culture that supports continuous daily improvements. Within LEAN this is referred to as ‘Managing for Daily Improvement’ and we will review this later in this paper. However, at a strategic level there is a need to define the values and behaviours that will create a culture that supports an ‘improve every day’ culture. There is also a need to establish the management and communication processes and develop systems to support continuous improvement.

4. Building your knowledge base

Whilst there may be a need to utilise external support during the early stages of a LEAN implementation, the objective should always be to bring the expertise in house and to develop your own team to enable them to lead your LEAN activities.

Building your knowledge base is concerned with creating an organisation capable of self-sustaining LEAN and consists of a number of activities that we will discuss below.

  • Creating a cadre of expertise

Your cadre of expertise might need to include a lead body, such as a LEAN Team, who are responsible for training others and initiating major projects. These are your ‘Black Belts’, ‘Senseis’ or whatever else you choose to call them. Other people, called Practitioners, will normally have LEAN as a topic to do alongside their day jobs. Widespread communication of LEAN principles will support the ‘improve every day’ culture and ensure that the implementation of specific improvement projects can be achieved.

  • Creating an improvement knowledge bank

You will need to collate lots of improvement information including information on LEAN tools, case studies, processes, guides, checklists and operating procedures. There is a need to create and maintain a repository for this information and provide a place for people to access best practice guidance, share experiences and develop new processes.

  • Best practice sharing

Wherever possible you should share useful articles with your colleagues, take advantage of visits to see other organisations participating in LEAN and attend conferences to hear the experiences from a wide range of people. In addition, there will be an opportunity for every member of your team to contribute to the development of best practice within your organisation through the sharing of ideas and experiences.

5. Delivering LEAN successfully

Of course, the whole purpose of having an improvement strategy and adopting LEAN is to deliver improved performance. Delivering LEAN successfully means husbanding your resources, making the best use of your team, focusing on delivery and then following up after you have made changes. Some of the issues that will ensure you deliver LEAN successfully are covered in the following sections.

  • Find a LEAN partner

LEAN concepts can appear to be simple, but the implementation of them is significantly harder. You should seek out a LEAN partner who can provide the practical guidance, support and training required to enable you to become self-sufficient in LEAN.

  • Implement pilot projects quickly, and then learn from them

Part of the focus of creating an improvement strategy will be to identify some pilot projects that can be used to create pathfinders for the organisation and a template for further, larger and even more beneficial projects. The initial projects need to meet four criteria;

1. Be capable of providing a good return on investment

2. Be aligned with the objectives of the organisation

3. Be capable of realising benefits within a limited period

4. Have the support of local management staff

  • Managing for Daily Improvement

As already mentioned, to help create an ‘improve every day’ culture relies on the LEAN concept of Managing for Daily Improvement (MDI). MDI supports the embedding of changes following your ‘big ticket’ projects as well as helping to engage staff in the identification, and improvement, of processes day to day.

MDI relies on four main concepts;

  • Visual and virtual ‘Information Centres’ containing details of performance, projects and other team related information.
  • MBWA (Management By Walking About) and get your leaders at all levels to show an active interest in the challenges faced by front-line staff.
  • Holding regular team meetings to discuss performance, issues and objectives.
  • Creating a process to enable people to log issues and concerns and have them dealt with on a regular basis.

6. Robust processes are more important than tools

It is more important to the overall success of improvement within higher education to have a robust process than it is to worry about the individual ‘tools’. Scoping, Value Stream Mapping, Rapid Improvement Events and Managing for Daily Improvement are the key to a LEAN process, whilst Transformation Maps and Leader Standard Work are the keys to the strategic aspects to improvement.

7. Working collaboratively

The Diamond Report is also extremely positive about the need for enhanced collaborative working in higher education.

Collaborative working means more than one organisation (or department) working together to realise benefits for all parties. It recognises that for successful collaborations there must be some form of win-win for everyone involved.

The reluctance felt by organisations in working collaboratively often comes about because they have not considered such things as the ‘fixed points’ (things that cannot change), mutual objectives, the collaborative processes and how information will be shared and how disputes will be managed.

Collaborative working is essential to the successful adoption of LEAN and a structure is provided in the form of BS11000, the Collaborative Working standard.