Monday, December 17, 2012

Can we rely on these Exit Polls?

As soon as the polling hours were over, all news channels got in race to telecast the exit poll results of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, where the elections have just completed and  counting is to happen on 20th December. The four surveys did not have any significant difference unlike past when each channel used to show the projections as per their political ideology  confusing the viewers.

Psephology, which is used for these exit polls, is a branch of political science which deals with the study and scientific analysis of elections. Therefore, there is a systematic approach and it should be relied with a statistical margin of error.  The reason to raise question is not about doubting the science of psephology  or any efforts to recall failed and misleading projections of past, but it is about the ethical functioning of fourth estate of democracy – Press.

If you read the newspapers of Gujarat published  till 17th December, it looked as if Modi’s defeat is certain. Keshubhai will emerge as kingmaker and  after 22 years some Congress leader will head the state government once again. The exit poll projections do not confirm any of these. Such a radical shift highlights two facts – press is not neutral and does not represent the factual reporting  and second, there was a mass level of paid news publication.

A PTI news  has quoted Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath  saying, "While 444 suspected cases of paid news were reported in Gujarat, notices were sent to 224 of them. In Himachal Pradesh polls, the Commission came across 211 suspected cases of paid news and notices were sent in 190 cases and 91 confirmed cases were reported,"

The election authorities in Gujarat  have identified 126 confirmed cases of paid news during the just-concluded polls, with 61 candidates admitting of have paid for such news in electronic and print media.  Election commission will take some actions in case of the confirmed cases like adding these payments  to the expenditures of the candidates.

The extreme punishment can be disqualification of the candidate like EC gave to Umesh Yadav, MLA from Bisauli assembly constituency, after finding him guilty of getting news published in his favour during 2007 UP polls by paying hefty amount to media outlets.  This punishment was announced on October 20, 2011  when the term was almost over. (fresh election were held in UP from Jan to March 2012). Media which carried  these paid  news escaped the punishment.

A fact- finding team of the Press Council of India has also confirmed about large scale  practice of 'paid news' in the Gujarat elections. PCI chairperson Justice Markandey Katju has accepted that that self regulation by media was proving to be ineffective.

Press is not self regulated to remain honest, but is getting infected by the virus of “easy money” like government servants.  Majority of small papers published in local language are involved in money extortion business.  Their staff approaches for “monetary favour”  and threatens otherwise to tarnish your image. The tone of black mailing can be sensed from the communication.  All the industries who have to carry out public hearing in Gujarat undergo through this experience.

Mr Katju refers to the “freedom of press”,  but the time has  come  when we  should think of making it a healthy press by cleaning these malpractices from media. Such tactics spoil  core culture of the country as society look towards press as “just and honest”.  While EC takes  action against erring candidates, PCI should  take equally strong action against these publication and broadcasting channels. Unless that is done the fourth estate of democracy will continue to decay.

Other  Posts :

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gujarat 2012 : No Issues, It was Narendra Modi versus Ahmed Patel

The Gujarat is all set to close its verdict for next  five years.  High poll turn around has put many political analysts into dilemma whether their words  will stand true or wave for “Let us Vote for….”  Will  sweep them away.

Will These Forecasts Prove True?
During campaigning one thing was sure from both sides – BJP and Congress, that more efforts were localized and less of the national leaders’ campaign.  Congress was very aggressive during early part in making sops and promises which are difficult to achieve and provide – “Ghar nu Ghar”, free laptops   an idea borrowed from SP’s victory from UP. 

Whether Congress under the fear of vote polarization, excepts it or not, Ahmed Patel was the brain behind all the orchestra it played.  This approach has both possibilities; one, muslims and middle class may heavily support Congress; two  it   may  polarize upper caste votes against Congress in central and south Gujarat constituencies and take away many seats from Congress.

From ruling side it had been one man army of Chief Minister Narendrabhai Modi taking everything on his head. He is most hard working politician of the state. To reach to masses he worked from 8 am till 11 pm daily  and travelled across the state to ensure that he  reaches to all constituencies twice before the polling. He used technology to amplify his solo campaign. An entirely  new concept  of 3-D holographic projections covering multiple locations simultaneously was explored to amaze the opponents.  People’s response will be known post 20th December.

Congress leadership in state was unable to resolve their internal fight with high ambitions of Shankarsinh Waghela, Arjun Modhvadia and Bharat Solanki  all trying drag down the other. The result was, Narhari Amin, a strong Patel community leader switched over loyalty to Modi’s camp.   It has  failed to garner the anger of people in Saurashtra and in particular Bhavnagar & Amreli  where people were in anguish against the corruption of ministers like Dilip Sanghani,  Purshottam Solanki etc.
Siddhu :  Helped Keshubhai back in Fray
It not only failed on this account, lacked completely on agenda in dismay to highlight candidature of former state home minister Amit Shah, who is accused of the murder of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a petty criminal, who was killed in a fake encounter  This issue has  raised anti Modi feeling amongst the Kadva Patel community of north Gujarat  who supported Modi in all its fight with Leuva Patel leader Keshubhai.  Sensing the heat – Kadva Patel leader and revenue minister Anandiben  Patel  changed  her seat to Ghatlodia in Ahmedanad from Patan.

In 2007 Modi won 25 of the 32 seats in Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Patan and Gandhinagar districts of north Gujarat.  The Kadva Patel votes are very crucial in these constituencies.  But, this community is upset with the BJP after leaders from their community were convicted in two different cases of 2002 riots. More than 24 people, most of them Kadva Patels, were convicted for killing 42 people, and sentenced to life in prison by a trial court in Gujarat.

The community feels that Modi did not intervene in the proceedings and helped the  way Congress did help its supporters  in  1985 to 1988 communal riots of state.  They feel it was only because of inaction of Modi entire media talks of 2002 and not 1985-88 phase.  This  sense of disenchantment  could change the table,  had  local congress team worked united.

Speeches  of cricketer Navjotsingh Siddhu has  helped Keshubhai to make presence felt  in the poll, who was totally sidelined by the public  despite all national TV anchors’ focus on him. Leuva Patel community after Siddhu’s  comments may remain united behind Keshubhai  and will affect on many seats in Saurashtra and Surat.

Tail ender show of Sonia and Rahul has left no impact on the campaign.  Their speeches were aimless  lacking issues to energise supporters. So was the presence of other national leaders from BJP as well.  They remained only as fillers.  This time campaign had  remained highly localized and fight between two strategists – Modi and Ahmad Patel.  Verdict of people on 20th will decide who was better.

Other Posts : 

Opposition Surrenders to Modi for Gujarat Poll.

Nitish Kumar in top 100 global thinker

Akbar was not that great.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Opposition Surrenders to Modi ahead of Poll.

Congress and Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP)  seems to have taken pre poll surveys carried out by news channels and newspapers very seriously.  They have fielded  candidates  who can get some votes on sympathy and not on the strength of their party or their own socio-political strengths – a clear walkover.

Walkover Candidate
Sweta Bhatt
All the pre poll surveys have predicted  a whopping comeback for Modi. These survey have forecasted more percentage of votes and seats for Modi this time than the year 2007.   Then 47% votes were polled in favour of BJP and 117 candidates had won  legislative assembly seats.  This time about  50% votes and around  125 seats are projected.

Even after such a favourable predictions Modi went back on his image and  theory of no repeat of maligned ones. This  time he has given tickets to controversial leaders  like Amit Shah, Purshottam Solanki,  to make sure that factors of Keshubhai’s  GPP and dissidence within party does not harm the poll prospects.
But the opposition parties do not want to take advantage of it and  are fielding candidates who do not mind losing in the return of short time publicity.  Congress has  fielded Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt  against   Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi  from  Maninagar constituency.  Her candidature will  spice up the contest  and get more bites on visual media but can she pose any serious  threat to the CM ?

"It is not a fight between equals, I agree...but I am fully confident that I am going with a true heart to say the truth, so people will support me...I don't have false promises to make," Shweta told reporters after getting the ticket.

This will only help Modi to reinforce his claim that congress is misusing CBI to tarnish image of his government and fabricating false cases.  Indirectly Congress has extended benefit to          Controversial former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah who is contesting from Naranpura. Shah is one of accused in the  Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati alleged fake encounter cases and is out on bail.

Another  disadvantage to Congress in Naranpura constituency is  disgruntled former Deputy Chief Minister Narhari Amin  who is denied ticket by the party. Amin has threatened to join hands with Modi openly. Senior leadership of state is now busy in doing fire fighting.

GPP has given ticket to  Jagruti Pandya, widow of former home minister Haren Pandya.  Jagruti  is challenging  BJP's Rakesh Shah in a triangular contest  in Ellis Bridge. Haren Pandya was shot dead on March 26, 2003, near Law Garden area of the city when he had gone for a morning walk. Haren’s  father  and later  his widow  has been blaming governmrnt conspiracy in murder and pitching against Modi  for past eight years. In past three elections their cry has failed to garner any support.

The survey had shown that  the intensity of Muslims hating Modi has reduced. The surveys say, the drop is almost half.  Percentage of Muslim respondents  who say that they will never vote for Modi has come down from 44% to 23%.  This change of heart is more because the young generation is getting participative opportunity in the growth story of the state.  But still, Modi has missed the opportunity to bridge the gap with the community by not giving ticket to any Muslim candidate.

What does this all mean?  The elections this time are one sided, only over confidence can defeat Modi in December.   However,  I  foresee  atleast  three of his ministers definitely losing the election. There are not going to be any shocks to Modi,  but for BJP yes.

Other Posts :

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bihar CM in Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers list

Three  Indians including  Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar find place in the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine among its top 100 global thinkers.   The top position of the list is shared by Myanmar's democracy icon Suu Kyi  and her military ruler. ,They  together chart out a non-military future for their country- Myanmar.
Citing Myanmar as "one of the most remarkable and unexpected political reversals of our time," the magazine writes about how the country -- long counted among the world's most repressive dictatorships -- has begun to reform under the leadership of "two very unlikely allies". 
The second  spot also is grabbed by political game changer from  new democratic country Tunisia. Tunisia's president Moncef Marzouki  is placed at second spot for providing 'vision and wisdom' since assuming office in December 2011, and ensuring that Tunisia remains the Arab Spring's "most promising success story".
The 61-year-old Chief Minister of Bihar  Nitish Kumar Kumar figures at the 77th spot and finds the place for his achievement of "turning around India's poorest state" through an array of innovative programmes to address crime, corruption and lack of development.
The list of 100 also features India's chief economic advisor Raghuram Rajan at 80 and writer Pankaj Mishra at 86.  Harvard University's young Indian American economist Raj Chetty also figures in the list at number 74 for his mathematical research on a range of issues in the US including economic policy.

Teenage icon Malala Yousufzai, perhaps is the youngest person to figure in the prestigious list.
15 year old Malala, who is recuperating in the UK after being attacked by Taliban militants for her advocacy of education for girls is credited for "standing up to the Taliban, and everything they represent".

US president Barack Obama features at seventh position,  a spot behind Pakistan's Malala Yousufzai.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Adani Posts drop in Profit in line with Market Expectations.

Adani Enterprises, the flagship firm of the Adani Group has posted its consolidated net profit to Rs 402.88 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2012.  This is down by 29% on Y-o-Y basis . AEL had posted a net profit of Rs 569.81 crore in the Q1 last year.

Bad Days are nearing end for ADANI?
The consolidated net sales of the company in this quarter was Rs 11,024.59 crore  vis-a-vis Rs 9,596.13 crore of the first quarter of FY'12, it said in a filing to the BSE. This is an increase of about 15%. The AEL standalone performance has shown remarkable performance. Its standalone net profit for the quarter ended June rose a whopping 344 per cent to Rs 421.6 crore, against Rs 94.9 crore in the corresponding period last year.

Reasons cited for the drop in profit were known and anticipated by the invetors. Market had  already discounted  the likely impact of Fuel cost to its power business. Till June AEL stock was traded in the range of 210-260,   but it slipped to the current range of  171-196 in July. Going forward  if there are no fresh shockers to the market,  AEL share can bounce back to the previous range soon.

There are two reasons to this. First,  in this quarter drop in profit has absorbed an increased cost of finance.  It's finance cost in April-June quarter of 2011-12 was at Rs 222.97 crore. This quarter it rose to to Rs 927.19 crore.  The impact was of more than Rs 700 cr.  If  this factor is ignored  there is a  45% rise in the net profit.  (402.88 + 704.22 - 281.69  =  Rs 825.41 Cr).

Share Performance on 9th August'12
Second reason is that the  financing cost will come down as   promoters have to reduce their  stake to below  the threshold level of 75% in the three group companies  as per the directives of the  regulators.  Promoter holding  in Adani Power is pegged at 76.63%, in Adani Port and SEZ at 77.5% and about 80% in Adani Enterprises.  This dilution is expected to raise about US$ one  billion.  Which will be used in financing the upcoming mining projects in Australia.

Environment and other regulatory clearances for  its Australian coal venture will also be obtained by fiscal-end.  The operations of overburden removal at Australian mine is expected to begin in November 2013.

Most bleeding of business plans has happened in power sector. Group Chairman Gautam Adani is optimist there. He said the company is working with concerned authorities to arrive at a solution and "are confident that our power business shall generate the envisaged return shortly, creating value for its stakeholders."

But, nothing will  happen till the government is willing to take tough reforms in the power sector, which may not be liked by the managements of the DISCOMS.  Unless that happens major  break through in revival would be slow. 


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Anna is no more Mahatma : Team Anna missed opportunity

Last year, Ralegaon Siddhi village Gram Sabha had passed a resolution on Gandhi Jayanti  conferring the title of 'Mahatma' to Anna Hazare, in recognition of his contributions to the nation. Like the people of Ralegaon Siddhi village  many in India had started to look another Gandhi or atleast JP (Jai Narayan Prakash) in him.  Politicians might have been divided on him and so was media, but none  could dare to ignore him.

A  day after the “Gram Sabha” resolution was passed, Anna told  his villagers that he could not be called Mahatma (Saint, equating him to the father of nation – Mahtma Gandhi). He said to a news agency PTI, "I am a simple Indian trying to follow the path of greats like Gandhiji, Mahatma Phule and Dr B R Ambedkar. People should try to follow the ethics and values of these 'Mahatmas' in their lives to elevate themselves."

Recalling this incidence after ten months one can say that Anna had an  intuition of the events to come. Probably he had seen the future  or these events were coining some where his mind. Luke response of public during Mumbai show in December’11. Infighting among his core team members. Deserting support of media and  indifferent UPA government.

All this led to the events  post 23rd July till 3rd  of August. This time when Anna team went for fasting, the UPA government boycotted and refused to take notice of the protest.  The electronic media which gave uninterrupted 675 hour long marathon coverage a year ago, gave a cold shoulder.

This was the major blow to team Anna, which was under the impression that media needs the realty show at Jantar Mantar to get higher TRP.  They forgot that it was their need to get proper focus and publicity to bring in the middle class supporters to reach Jantar Mantar and pressurise the government and other political parties.

Frustrated  team Anna  this time  attacked  media too, along  with  politicians.  There is no denial that today’s many reporters and editors are not different  from "government babus  and “politicians” in moral behaviour. But, one should not fight at multiple borders. Had Anna’s  core team read history, they could take lessons from the debacle of German army in second world war.

By declaring to form the political outfit, Anna has lost the opportunity  to be next Gandhi or JP.  The behaviour of his team probably  will not give  him a chance even to reach to the level of VP Singh.  When VP Singh came out of Congress  and  led the campaign highlighting the corruption in Bofors deal,  he did not disclose his liking or disliking for any  “ism”.  It was only later when the fear of growing popularity of BJP forced him to take out the “Ginny of Mandal Commission”. But, later in countering the forces who made him prime minister,  he pulled down curtain on his own political career.

The Gram Sabha when conferred  mandate of Mahatma to Anna  it was hoping that the son of Ralegaan will reform the society and make it corruption free. By personal conduct Anna tried to behave in Gandhian style. But his insistence to reform governance is a misfit to the role.  He  has done a great job by bringing  the issue of corruption to the centre stage. Saints reform the society in the process government can change. But, this time Anna has taken reverse path.

In our democracy, politics runs in a different way. This can be seen from the fact that even when Jan Lokpal bill movement was considered to be a success, Mulayam Singh and his party came back to power in UP with a majority not predicted by and poll pundit. In neighbouring state, Uttarakhand where BJP  had  passed the Lokayukta bill  was routed.

The criteria to vote are not issue based. Team Anna had enough time, they could try to educate people to vote for the honest candidates when five states had gone to poll early this year. That could stop “Raja Bhaiya” and many criminals from reaching Lucknow and become the minister. 

Member of team Anna are having different political ideology.  To keep them united will be more difficult than is seen in last one year. We have watched many prominent faces leaving the team due to different reasons.  Brand Anna is saleable only  if there is a solid performing team behind  it. The two TV anchors of team Anna can get the headlines, so was Mallika Sarabhai getting in last election, yet she lost her deposit.

Having succeeded in deviating Anna from the focus of corruption, UPA will not hesitate to misuse all its resources, including governing agencies like – CBI, Income Tax, ED and many more  to break the moral of the team.

Judiciary will deliver its verdict on false fabricated case  after many years, out come of 2014 will come before that in two years. It was an opportunity lost by Anna alias Baburao Hazare. Political Ocean has bigger sharks- can small fish named Team Anna Survive there?

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Who is pulling Anna Hazare down?

The poor show of people turn around at Jantar Mantar  until Anna Hazare himself started  the fast  has raised many questions in the minds of people. Have people of the nation lost hopes from their fight against the corruption? or has Anna Hazare lost his charisma?
Is he saying, "Stay away its Secular means no Hindus?"

Answer to both these questions can be negative, but there are lots of learning lessons for the Anna Hazare and people around him.  Most important of them is to build a team. Anna has a group of people around him and not a team.  The word used by media frequently – “Team Anna” is inappropriate. Team works in cohesion towards a goal.  Here, both focus on goal and cohesiveness are missing.  The result  of this can be that  the round four of agitation will not have dramatic impact it had last year during monsoon session of parliament.

The  groups within have their own agenda to push, as it looks.  Anna is a staunch follower of Gandhi, probably with no personal agenda and selfish interest. That is his USP  but he has failed to prove himself to be a leader.  He has failed to direct the steam of the agitation to vent in the direction of focussing corruption.  Result is, people around  him keep on making statement suiting to their ideology or belief. Congress has one Digvijay Singh, Anna Hazare has  many surrounding him. This can be understood from following incidents.

Some of the  protestors  wrote “chor” (thief) on the wall outside the Prime Minister’s residence.  Delhi police  issued warning to Kumar Vishwas, a core team member. Anna apologised for the defacement saying, “That is not right. Use of such words against the Prime Minister lowers the level of discourse. I apologise for it,”.

Anna had to regret for the words of  its most vocal team member Arvind Kejriwal  who in a press conference before the start of the agitation declared, "Pranab Mukherjee is also among the 15 corrupt ministers. It's unfortunate he will become the President tomorrow."  This was in  disagreement with Hazare’s view that Pranab Mukherjee should not be targeted now that he is the President.

Team Anna member Sanjay Singh  attacked the yoga guru on sharing dais with the Gujarat Chief Minister, “We have never been in agreement with Narendra Modi and never can be. Modi is a murderer of humanity. Ramdev should clarify his position on this.”  Just two days ago Anna and his team welcomed Ramdev on their stage and had given poses to media clippings. Anna Hazare  has praised Modi and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar in the past, saying their work should be emulated by other state governments. 

This is a well known fact that Kejriwal  is very cautious  to retain his identity of “Secular”  as per standards of the Leftists and popular news editors.  But he has  no reservation to seek favour of BJP leaders to get infrastructure and support in parliament to his cause.  Like all communists and Samajvadis  he went to Hisar to campaign against Congress , but when he was asked that, “does he support NDA  candidate”, he was in denial mode.  His logics prove that BSP and SP leaders are less corrupt than two main national political parties.

Kejriwal and  his group is very vocal in attacking certain ministers of UPA  for corruption and Gujarat Govt for their belief.   They forget that these are elected representatives in the democratic way.  Fight against them in legal way if there are proofs to their allegations. Else, the approach is an insult to preamble of the same constitution which Anna refers very frequently. “We the people …”  does  not mean “ We the group around Anna Hazare..”

The next big reason for Anna’s movement losing its popularity is that Anna’s  group and to certain extent Anna himself have become too arrogantAnna’s  justification  on the slap on Sharad Pawar did not go well with his Gandhian philosophy. This group does not want to follow the democratic way  of reaching to the solution. It simply wants to impose its doctrine.

Last year was the victory of Anna’s  movement  when Loksabha passed  “Lokpal Bill”. It got  stuck up in the upper house.  Had Anna pressed all political parties to reach to a consensus and pass the bill  every body must have hailed the wisdom of the group.

 If the bill lacked some of its provisions Anna’s group  should have made people aware of the lacunas and raised the voice. The support would have been many fold.  The mass behind him could go with a feel of having tasted  success.  The stand that “pass the bill drafted by us only” has converted the last year’s success into failure. Not many people stand with the failed ones. 

This is the  high time that  Anna  and his group does introspection  and take some corrective steps, else they will go into the history soon and will have no role to play in 2014, their ultimate dream.

Other  Posts :

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

This Year plan to Gift Apple Mini iPad in festival season.

The year Apple can surprise its fans with a mini version of the iPad. By doing so Apple will enter into a mass segment in contrast to its niche image and challenge the Google and Samsung’s offerings in the market.
Sibling is Coming

Mini version will have a display area almost half of the present versions of iPad which measures 9.5 x 7.3-inches. The mini tablet version is expected to have a 7.85 x 5.3-inch dimension. Thickness may remain same close to 7.3 mm or 7.4 mm. The sleek and small size is being planned so that it may remain in hands for a longer period.

The current connector of 30 pins may go out replaced by a 19 pin dock connector, but retain all the bells and whistles of the popular bigger pad sibling.

The market experts are guessing on the type of display. Whether here also Apple will first launch with a so-so 1024 x 768 display and later advances a Retina display in high priced niche models, or begin with a bang by launching straight to Retina display.

Ultimate test of mass marketing will be at the price end. If Apple can match its new little gadget close to the 16GB Nexus 7’s $250 price tag, then the brand loyalty will make it a clear winner in this segment. Apple name has its own advantage.

Last is the timing of the launch, before the release of iPhone – 5 in October or after that. These siblings will also have some competition. They are likely to complement each other and jointly will eat away the market share Apple’s competitors.

Other Posts :

New Mercedes Benz-m-class suv launched in India.

Adani group opts for SAP to drive its business.

Three more Pharma MNCs to setup projects in Gujarat

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Three more Pharma MNCs to setup projects in Gujarat

Israeli Pharma Giant

Israeli pharma giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has plans to set up a greenfield project in Gujarat. For the same a delegation from Israel is expected to visit to discuss the procedures with Gujarat Food and Drugs Control Authority (FDCA) and other state government agencies.

Teva is likely to sign an agreement with the state government during Vibrant Gujarat investors' summit in Jan 2013. The company has manufacturing plants in the US and Europe and  is working on a $50 million project in Russia from where it plans to produce 1 billion tablets a year.

Bio Devise Manufacturer
Gujarat is a favourite destination for the pharma companies. The state  holds 40% share of India's total pharma production. This will further increase as  and many new facilities are coming up. The list of companies eyeing Gujarat includes Amneal Pharmaceuticals and Apicore from US and Biosensors International from Singapore.

Amneal Pharmaceuticals has already set up a formulations unit and research and development centre at Changodar near Ahmedabad and plans to start operations out of its facility. New Jersey based Apicore LLC is a  manufacturer of specialty Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs). 

Biosensors is a medical device company manufactures medical devices used in interventional cardiology, namely drug-eluting stents (DES), used to treat blocked arteries, and critical care procedures. It has business plans to take major share in Chinese and Indian markets.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Will the meeting with Montok Singh change fortune for RIL?

Reliance Industries Ltd , India's largest petrochemical is making all efforts to regain its position of the most influencing company. Meeting of its chairman Mukesh Ambani with Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Monday is part of this exercise. However, the indications are not so positive at this stage. RIL is facing hurdles in getting clearances for its oil and gas exploration projects.

Neither Montok Singh nor Big Ambani spoke to media after an hour long meeting at the Yojna Bhavan. The speculation is that besides the three troubling areas of the MoPnG they discussed about the telecommunication policies as well. RIL has plans to bid for the spectrum auction. Montok Singh is likely to play a bigger role in the government after elevation of Pranab Mukharji. He was finance secretary in the period when Manmohan Singh was the Finance Minister in PV Narsinmha Rao’s ministry.

Before the meeting RIL announced revival of 50 of its petrol pumps in Gujarat. After starting with a bang seven years ago, RIL had shut down 60 of its company-owned pumps stating that it was at a disadvantage since they were not covered under government subsidy. Now, with decontrol on Petrol pricing , there is a level playing field. RIL pumps, now can afford to sell petrol and LPG . If government announces it policy to reduce subsidy on diesel RIL may soon start sell of diesel too from these pumps.

The main agenda for RIL in such a meeting with key people of the government includes a demand for higher gas price from Kaveri basin. Ministry of Petroleum, which earlier had an image of being fully under the influence of RIL, has made a U turn with Jaipal Reddy in charge. In last one and a half year MoPnG has remained very tough with RIL, be that the issue of cost recovery, pricing or the production of gas. All the officials who had soft corner for RIL were shunted out.

Another blow to RIL’s ambitions is the indication that the Oil ministry will reject its proposal to price coal bed methane (CBM) from Madhya Pradesh block at import parity price just as is done in case of oil. The ministry’s technical arm, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), had in April concurred with RIL proposal to price coal bed methane (CBM).

But the ministry wants DGH to review its decision in the light of Supreme Court ruling in the gas row between RIL and RNRL, sources privy to the development said. MoPnG in a letter to DGH wrote, “Allocation of natural gas made by the EGoM (Empowered Group of Ministers) cannot be overridden by a contractor through a private arrangement.”

Jaipal Reddy’s team is tough while writing to DGH,“Supplies of natural gas can only be made in accordance with the policies of the government and subsequent guidelines issued by ministry of petroleum and natural gas on Pricing and Commercial Utilisation of Coal Bed Methane.” New Director General has taken charge of DGH in the month of June only. He has a tough task ahead to please the ministry and defend the stand of its own team.

Yojana Bhawan, the Ahluwalia’s office, is being thronged by industry top brass ever since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took direct charge of the portfolio. The list of recent visitors includes, Vodafone India chairman Analjit Singh and chairman of UB Group Vijay Mallya and this will expand in the days before monsoon session of parliament.

Ahluwalia is being seen as key policy maker and is considered close to the Prime Minister and being an important functionary in the government. Besides Ahluwalia, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council chairman C Rangarajan too is likely to play more proactive role as the government is struggling to put India back on path of high growth path.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Myths and Facts about Cholesterol

In the office party Srinivasan was not eating anything. When his boss enquired for the reason, he said, “Sir, in the last health check up I was diagnosed with high level of the cholesterol.” His boss Saraf laughed and said, “Sri, your concern for high Cholesterol is ok, but it has more to do with other factors and food has very little role to play. Further, Cholesterol is not always a bad omen. It actually plays an important role in helping cells do their jobs.”

Srinivasan countered, “No, sir! Doctor has asked me to remain at arms length from all sort of oil, Ghee and Butter.”

• The cholesterol is generally associated with fatty foods, but that is not true. Most of the waxy substance is made by our own bodies. The liver produces 75% of the cholesterol that circulates in our blood. It is only other 25% which comes from food. But excess of everything is bad. The cholesterol levels are precariously high in more than 100 million Indians. The good news is high cholesterol is simple to detect, and there are many ways to bring it down.

• High cholesterol does not show any symptoms that is why most of the people never realise that there is high level until damage deep within the body are caused. Over time, too much cholesterol may lead to a build up of plaque inside the arteries that can trigger heart disease.

• Cholesterol testing results show your levels of "bad" cholesterol, "good" cholesterol, and triglycerides. It is required to avoid and reduce the bad - called low density lipoproteins or LDL.

• Some of the following measures can help in the matter.

Cholesterol Buster: Eat More Fiber

• Diet changes offer a powerful way to fight high cholesterol. If you've ever wondered why some cereals claim to be heart-healthy, it's the fiber. The soluble fiber found in many foods helps reduce LDL. Good sources of soluble fiber include whole-grain breads and cereals, oatmeal, fruits, dried fruits, vegetables, and legumes such as kidney beans.

Cholesterol Buster: Know Your Fats

• No more than 35% of your daily calories should come from fat. But not all fats are equal. Saturated fats -- from animal products and tropical oils -- raise LDL cholesterol. Trans fats carry a double-whammy, boosting bad cholesterol, while lowering the good kind. These two bad fats are found in many baked goods, fried foods (doughnuts, french fries, chips), stick margarine, and cookies. Unsaturated fats may lower LDL when combined with other healthy diet changes. They're found in avocados, olive oil, and peanut oil.

Cholesterol Buster: Smart Protein

• Meat and full-fat milk offer plenty of protein, but they are also major sources of cholesterol. You may be able to reduce LDL cholesterol by switching to soy protein, such as tofu, at some meals. Fish is another great choice. It's rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week.

Cholesterol Buster: Low-Carb Diet

• There's growing evidence that low-carb diets may be better than low-fat diets for improving cholesterol levels. In a two-year study funded by the National Institutes of Health, people who followed a low-carb plan had significantly better HDL (good cholesterol) levels than those who followed a low-fat plan.

Cholesterol Buster: Lose Weight

• Exercise keeps you fit and help in reducing the weight as well as LDL. If you give up smoking

Treatment: Medications

• If high cholesterol runs in your family, diet and exercise may not be enough. In that case, medication can give your cholesterol levels an extra nudge. Statins are usually the first choice. They block the production of cholesterol in the liver. Other options include cholesterol absorption inhibitors, bile acid resins, and fibrates. Your doctor may recommend a combination of these medications.

Treatment: Supplements

• Certain dietary supplements may also improve cholesterol levels. These include flaxseed oil, fish oil, and plant sterols, such as beta-sitosterol. Prescription niacin, a b-complex vitamin, has been found to raise good cholesterol while reducing bad cholesterol. Niacin found in ordinary supplements should not be used to lower cholesterol. Fenugreek seeds, Holy basil also help in the problem

Can the Damage Be Undone?

• It takes years for high cholesterol to clog the arteries with plaque. But there are evidences that atherosclerosis can be reversed, at least to some degree. Several studies show that a low-fat vegetarian diet, stress management, and moderate exercise can chip away at the build-up inside the coronary arteries.

Monday, June 25, 2012

11 Rules for the Modern teenager - Who Wrote - Bill Gates or Charles Sykes?

Who Wrote - Charles Skykes and Bill Gates  ?
In the mail box after about a decade again it was an alleged speech of Microsoft miraculous man - Bill Gates. Many have raised doubts about the origin of this mail. Some claim these to be words of Charles Sykes, Author of "Dumbing Down Our Kids". A few email chains attribute this to Kurt Vonnegut's sunscreen speech at a college graduation. 

According to Urban Legends website it is a pared-down version of an op-ed piece by education reformer Charles J. Sykes, originally published in the San Diego Union-Tribune in September 1996. It began making the email rounds under Bill Gates' name in February 2000, and has continued to do so ever since. Without going into the controversy we first read these Golden Rules because they are worth reading for all school and college students.
To anyone with kids of any age, here's some advice. Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school.

Rule 1: Life is not fair -- get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping -- they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one

Duncan Macleod Kiwi Posts
Duncan Macleod  in October 2005 on a website Post kiwi republished the work of original writer where 14 rules were mentioned. Following three are the additional ones.

Rule No. 12: Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you’re out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That’s what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for “expressing yourself” with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.
Rule No. 13: You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven’t seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.
Rule No. 14: Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school’s a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you’ll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. You’re welcome
You tube carries a video claiming it to be a speech of Bill Gates.
Bill Gates' 11 Rules on U Tube

But this link has only text and stills of Bill Gates.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monetary Policy Points to Government’s Inaction to Clear the Bottlenecks

RBI Governor
The Indian central bank on Monday has given a clear signal to the government that its task is to mend monetary policy to check inflation, rest has to come from the government through reforms. This was consecutively second occasion when  the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)  has gone away from the expectations of the market, which was expecting a cut by 25 basis points (bps). The same RBI had  surprised market with a larger-than-expected 50 bps rate cut in April.
Since 2010  UPA-II government has failed to nail the inflation. Burden to bringing down the rates by regulating the flow of money fell on the central bank. As a result RBI raised its lending rate 13 times between March 2010 and October 2011. The trend was given a reversing mode in April by slashing its key repo rate by 50 bps and a two-stage CRR cut of 125 bps since January.
Snubbing aside the concern of slowdown in growth  RBI opted  status quo and said, “ Its assessment of the current growth-inflation dynamic is that there are several factors responsible for the slowdown in activity, particularly in investment, with the role of interest rates being relatively small”.
RBI took initiative with  a reduction of 50 basis points in April  because it expected that the government would take steps to reduce the fiscal deficit and take other “supply-side initiatives”. The government has been irrational in adjusting the fuel price and subsidy on petroleum products. The government’s inability to rein in subsidies is “crowding out public investment”.
While declaring the mid quarter monetary review RBI governor clearly pointed out that  failure of governance is responsible not only for slowdown in development but also for the inflation. This has made task of the central bank difficult.  When slowdown is combining with inflation  the government should have taken apt action to augment supply. The government is responsible for the current account deficit as well. The widening current account deficit is  a pointer to the urgent need to resolve the supply bottlenecks. RBI’s stance seems to be that unless the government does something to reduce the fiscal deficit and ease supply constraints, it cannot reduce interest rates.
Reacting to the monetary  policy CMD of Canara Bank said,“There will be no cut in the lending rate. We are already tight on rates. Margins are tight and we cannot reduce the deposit rates and thereby lending rates. We would be awaiting the next policy action.”  The central bank’s next policy announcement will be made on 31st  July.
If the interest rates remain high will that affect the growth aspects of the country? By common sense, yes.  There are many other factors before coming to them, let us see if the nominal rate of interest is same as the real interest.  Nominal rate of lending is 14.5% to 15%, average – 14.75%.  Nominal deposit rate is 8.75% to 9.25% , average 9%.  Industry cost will have impact of the whole inflation factor which is 7.55%.  This gives real rate of lending to be 9.20%.   The deposits get discounted by Consumer Price Inflation which is 10.4%, making the real deposit rate negative 1.4%  Hence to cut down the deposit rates seems difficult, making to bring down the lending rate impossible for time being.
What can be the driver to industrial growth?  The government had framed National Manufacturing Policy last year.  It had set a target  of raising the share of manufacturing in (GDP) to 25 per cent, (creating) 100 million jobs.  If policy reforms to cut red tapism and speedy clearances can be brought, scenario can change.  In practice this is against the philosophy of Congress party.
Another factor of pushing demand can be depreciation of rupee; This can drive the export led demand.  But global macro economy factors  in near future will not support this theory. Meaning that keep your fingers crossed till the presidential election and realignment of coalition in centre.

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