Monday, September 24, 2007

India at 60 vies for all the attention in US

How do you get a $13 trillion economy interested in a $1 trillion economy?
Of the thousands of ways, the $20 million Incredible India@60 campaign seems one. “We are looking at creating a presence, a space for India,” said Nandan Nilekani, co-chairman, Infosys Technologies. “This is a major initiative. We intend to leave a very strong impression of India,” said Sunil Mittal, president, CII and chairman and group CEO, Bharti Enterprises.

Story in The Indian Express, September 24, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Krishna in Vrindavan

...In Krishna’s country Braj, which includes Mathura (where Krishna was born), Gokul (where he was smuggled to escape Kansa’s tyranny), Vrindavan (where he grew up and met Radha) and Govardhan (the mountain he lifted) — there’s no Krishna to be seen or sensed. Poor city planning at Vrindavan has left neither ‘vrinda’ (tulsi) nor ‘van’ (forest). Garbage has expanded the small town’s periphery, providing a base for roads to run on, pushing river Yamuna (in which Krishna fought Kaliya) 70 metres or so away. The cowherd — a term Krishna was often called derogatorily in later life but one he was proud of as it brought back memories of Radha — his flute and Vrindavan, have been replaced by the goon trying to seek ransom from devotees, turning what could be one of the world’s most visited religious destinations into an experience that leaves faithless ashes in the mouth.

Opinion in The Indian Express, September 10, 2007

Sunday, September 9, 2007

No load funds is a future that’s already happened, stop sabotaging it

A ghost called no-loads has been haunting the mutual funds industry. Things have reached a panic situation as the September 12, 2007, deadline (the day after tomorrow), comes closer — the last day to send comments to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on its August 22, 2007, proposal to waive load for investors buying mutual funds directly from asset management companies (AMCs).
What this means is, if an investor buys Rs 1 lakh worth of equity mutual fund units directly from its AMC, he won’t have to pay Rs 2,250 (it goes as high as Rs 6,000 for an NFO - new fund offer) as commission to some invisible distributor. The entire Rs 1 lakh will be invested and not Rs 97,750. Implications: roll that for 30 years at a compounded annual growth rate of 15 per cent and this investment grows to Rs 66,21,177 compared to Rs 64,72,201 in case he pays load — a difference of Rs 1,48,976. The moot point remains: why should an investor be forced to buy mutual funds through a distributor?

Opinion in The Indian Express, September 9, 2007

Monday, September 3, 2007

Myth of livelihoods, fable of organised retail, and the sad parable of governance

First it was the threat of large foreign retailers who would replace small Indian ones and so: No entry to foreign retailers like Wal-Mart. Now, it’s the threat of large Indian retailers who would replace small Indian ones and so: No entry to Reliance Fresh, and Spencer. Mayawati is not the first politician to fight organised retail outlets and she’s not going to be the last. When small traders and politicians, therefore, organised themselves into armies of violence, the new chief minister predictably ordered closure of the outlets and bought time by constituting a “high level” committee. She and Mukesh Ambani await its green signal.

Opinion in The Indian Express, September 3, 2007