Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The art of splitting hair?

As long as there is property, inheritance, money, ego and ambition, business families will continue to split. Given their size and the profile that they enjoy in public imagination, the Ambani brothers have been getting more than their fair share of publicity and gossip. If one looks at the whole issue objectively, there is no doubt that stakeholders have benefitted immensely after the two brothers agreed to a split arranged by ICICI Bank boss K. V. Kamath and morally presided over by the matriarch of the family Kokilaben Ambani; the widow of Dhirubhai. Around the time the two brothers split, the Reliance Industries share was hovering in the range of Rs.700 or so for a while. There were many so-called pundits who sniggered when it was suggested that a split between the two and a clear division of functions and ‘assets’ will lead to unlocking of shareholder value. As usual, the pundits were wrong and the Reliance share that was worth about Rs.700 in 2005 is worth more than three times that figure!

No wonder, the Ambani brothers, despite their personal feuds, have retained the loyalty of the stock market investors in the country and beyond. Something totally different seems tobe happening with the proposed split in the Bajaj family; a controversy that has been raging for many years now. Just recently, after many battles with Sishir Bajaj that have been made public, Rahul Bajaj announced a separation offunctions and responsibilities between even his own sons Sanjeev and Rajeev Bajaj. In effect, the Bajaj patriarch announced that one son will lead the automobile business while the other one will control the financial services business. Despite this seemingly pragmatic separation imposed well on time by the elder Bajaj, investors in the market have not taken well to the split, nor do they see any unlocking of value in the near future as Sanjeev and Rajeev go their own separate ways.

In fact, the share price of Bajaj Auto has dropped after the split was announced recently! Ranbaxy is yet another inheritance that has seen bruising and controversial battles between inheritors. This is a battle in which uncle is pitted against nephew; with the genesis of the battle going back to the early 1990s, when Dr. Parvinder Singh, who spearheaded the rise of Ranbaxy, orchestrated the ouster of his own father Bhai Mohan Singh from the company, when the latter opposed Dr. Singh’s plans to take Ranbaxy global. Bhai Mohan Singh bequeathed many of his assets to the other son Bhai Analjit Singh, the uncle of Malvinder Singh, who now heads Ranbaxy. Indeed, Indian business families have had quite serious split personalities!


For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Monday, November 26, 2007

POTA? Funny!

DEFENCE : ANTI TERRORLAW
It’s funny there’s no Act now...

Probably there’s no other country in the world, which has faced such a severe onslaught of terrorism and yet finds itself lacking tough laws to combat this menace. NDA Government’s POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) was brought in effect through an ordinance, but the UPA, to prove its secular credentials, revoked the powerful law, arguably only to handicap the police in convicting terrorists. Though POTA’s efficacy can be questioned, the fact is that the absence of a sensible Act has helped terrorists to continue with their work knowing well that even if they get caught, there were high chances of their getting spared (For example, it is nothing less than ridiculous that state police still needs permission to cross the state border while chasing down terrorists), one reason why ‘encounter killings’ by the police increased. State police forces, barring those in J&K, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab, are no match for organised terrorist groups, more because of the lack of structured powers than because of lack of ammunition. Unless the government shows resolve, the battle is surely not going to be won on the streets...

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Friday, November 23, 2007

The army’s fallen behind China

Defence : Army

Barmy army?
Considered to be among the best in the world in terms of skills and professionalism, the second largest army of the world has for long kept itself apolitical and has won many a war for the country. But over the last few years, it has been losing some of its sheen due to a severe shortage of commissioned officers, increasing pressure to deal with insurgency, suicides among its personnel and inordinate delay in getting the right kind of hardware owing to political indecisiveness. While it finds its artillery capability severely hamstrung owing to cannibalization of its old Bofors 155mm guns, for fear of political backlash, the new contracts for the 155mm Howitzers are not being awarded to the Swedish company, even though now it is a subsidiary of BAE Systems. Though Indian Army’s budget has been considerable increased in recent past, the fact is that China has gone far ahead of India in terms of troop modernization , without a matching response from India. Yet, in the worst of times and amidst hostile neighbours, the army still remains our best bet... with feet on the ground!

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Man of Steel gets his hands in Oil

After becoming the country’s Steel baron, L. N. Mittal has set his eyes on oil. Taking an exception to the current 26% FDI limit in public-sector petroleum refineries, government gave green signal to Mittal, allowing him to pick up 49% stake in Bhatinda refinery of HPCL for Rs.33.65 billion. The stake in the state run refinery with a capacity of nine million tonnes per year is being acquired through Singapore- based Mittal Energy Investments. The deal marks Mittal’s foray into the oil sector and is also the largest FDI in the PSU refining sector. Land of Uncle Sam; worth $2 billion Indian investments in the US have touched the $2 billion mark in 2006-07. The IT and the ITeS sectors accounted for 48% of the total deals. The investment figure is likely to go beyond $10 billion by 2010. Motivated by factors like greater profitability, cost advantage and a moderate regulatory atmosphere promoted by the government, a total of 48 overseas deals were inked in 2006-07. Also, many small and mid-sized deals contributed somewhere between $20-60 million. A joint study by FICCI & Ernst and Young predict better activity in this sector.

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article


Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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A tough Endeavour
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Taking Taj to places...
Delhi to sip Starbucks first
A Fair and Handsome deal
Blackstone buys out Intelenet
Calling off the ‘Spice’y Idea!
HLL ‘Lever’ ages the power of Hindustan

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

HLL ‘Lever’ ages the power of Hindustan

In tune with its global identity, FMCG giant Hindustan Lever Ltd. (HLL) has finally re-christened itself as Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL) after getting the government nod. The name change episode can be traced back to December last year when rumours started floating around about its probable name change. In February this year, the name change got the board of directors’ approval which was followed by shareholders’ approval in May 2007. The new name asserts the equilibrium between the company’s heritage in the country and the desired global alignment with its corporate brand ‘Unilever’. After much deliberation, the name Hindustan was retained in the new name, keeping in mind that India plays a vital role in Unilever’s scheme of things. Hindustan has been integrated in the new name to authenticate its commitment to the country’s economy, people, partners, employees et al. The company has also released its new logo which is being publicised through massive campaigns. The new logo carries Unilever’s statement of ‘adding vitality to life’. It incorporates the ‘U’ of Unilever that comprises of 25 different vitality icons and has the name Hindustan Unilever Ltd. inscribed at the bottom. According to the company officials, the corporate name will enhance Unilever’s global scale operations which will in turn benefit the Indian business locally and globally. However the stock markets were not very gung-ho about the change as company’s stock dipped by 1.64% to reach Rs.189.20 after the company announced its new identity in the country.

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Monday, November 19, 2007

Delicious divorce!

How can divorces be delicious? For starters, Cadbury Schweppes plans to bring in Cadbury plc as its new identity once its separation is complete. Strategically, the company will take up a cost reduction initiative to ‘focus on fewer, bigger and more value-creating initiatives’ and ‘significantly reduce complexity across all aspects of the business’. Cadbury now plans to close 15% of its manufacturing sites globally while reducing 15% of its labour force. This is to achieve mid teen percentage margins by 2011, from the 10.1% in 2006. Over the next four years, the company aims to abridge its organisational structure for better execution of a focused commercial strategy. It was in March 2007, that Cadbury announced its plans to split Americas Beverages and confectionery, and of late confirmed that a ‘sale is the more likely expected as a outcome’. While showcasing tremendous confidence, the company believes that both the businesses have enough potential to operate in independent ways. On this cost reduction programme spanning 2007-2011, the estimated investment has been decided at $895 million, of which $99.4 million will be non-cash. Furthermore, the company has also restructured its confectionery business, with Britain, Ireland, the Middle East and Africa (BIMA) forming one part, while Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe (rest) representing the other.

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Going going . . .gone?!

Exasperated with greenhouse emissions beyond human control, scientists prescribe another 15 - 25 years before we face drastic shift s in climate patterns. Resources have been exploited to the ‘t’ while alternatives are still at nascent stages. Under such circumstances, some areas pose a major threat to our future. Here’s a rundown on the most potent of all. . .

Fish n’ chips, a legend!
Man’s greed has forever got the better of him, so it’s hardly astounding that despite knowing awfully well the after effects of hurting perhaps the most imperative of all creatures summing the aquatic food-systems, in those gigantic killer-trawlers, they went ahead and killed fishes by the millions of tonnes. With such over-fishing affecting the marine food web with dwindling numbers of turtles, sharks, seabirds and other predators because we take away their source of food – fish! Besides, commercial fishing is also to blame for needlessly eliminating thousands of dolphins, whales, sea turtles and other animals every year on account of their getting trapped in the trawler nets!

To add salt to injury, these killer-trawlers have begun to penetrate deeper waters affecting even the deep-sea ecosystems. Making matters worse are the world’s governments that are actually promoting this mindless plunder. Subsidies to fisheries are pegged at $30-$34 billion annually – approximately 25% of world fishing revenue! Nearly $20 billion are "harmful" subsidies promoting intensified fishing by providing support for boat construction and modernisation, fishing equipment, fuel and other operational costs! Due to such apathy on our side, 70% of the world's marine fish stocks are fully exploited , over-exploited or depleted. Today, 1/3rd of all fishing stocks worldwide have reduced to 10% of their normal levels, affecting the marine ecosystems and fishermen alike. If not curbed now, such brazen acts, threaten to damage, the aquatic ecosystems beyond repair. To miss out on fishn’ chips or a ‘prawn masala’, the choice is in our hands.

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Microsoft makes a Quantitative move!

In one of its biggest acquisition ever, Microsoft has acquired a Quantive, the online marketing biggie at a whopping price of $6 billion. With this deal, Microsoft has complied to its previously outlined vision of providing the advertisement industry with a world-class advertisement platform. “The deal represents the next step in the evolution of our ad network from our initial investment in MSN, to the broader Microsoft network including Xbox Live, Windows Live and Office Live, and now to the full capacity of the Internet,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft . The deal has a lot of potential for Microsoft as it would enable the company to strengthen relationship with advertisers, agencies and publishers.

Microsoft , which is a dominant player in online content with MSN, it now aims at becoming a Web powerhouse with this acquisition. It will also allow Microsoft to have access to a Quantive’s brands like Atlas (advertiser’s tool for better return generation on ad campaigns) and DRIVE pm (a service that matches ads with Web-page inventory). Noticeably, Microsoft has been on a spree of acquisitions, a move to become an unparallel name in online market. In 2002, it bought Navision, the Danish small-business soft ware-maker at a price of $1.45 billion. In more recent times, Microsoft acquired Massive, online video-game advertising firm, and Screen Tonic and Motion- Bridge, mobile-phone advertising companies. However, its latest move to acquire a Quantive seems to be a counter move against Google’s latest buyout of Ad firm Double Click.

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Monday, September 03, 2007

KINETIC MOTORS

Kinetic gatecrashes into the party!
Though having failed to make a mark in our survey last year, Kinetic Motors makes its debut this year at rank 90, but what 4Ps B&M sees in Kinetic is its inherent capability to manoeuvre its way right to the top under its exuberant Jt. MD, Sulajja Firodia Motwani. With an ever increasing appetite and not limiting itself to domestic catfights, Kinetic Motors, this February, signed contract with companies from Egypt and Sudan to export its scooters. Moreover the icing on the cake comes with the news that the company is already exporting scooters to Japan with the second export order already secured. While new models to be launched are kept under wraps, one can be rest assured of quality and a brand value only to be revered. K.V. Sridhar gets candid, “Kinetic is not doubt a huge brand but has lost its way mainly due to TVS bringing out its Scooty that has eaten Kinetic’s market. Its time for this brand to strike back...”

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Friday, August 31, 2007

VIDEOCON

Everyone talks about its umpteen foreign acquisitions, but listen to its India strategy too – it’s incredible!
When you talk about a global brand, imagine ‘Videocon’ and that’d be enough! In consumer durables, Videocon has Akai, Sansui, Allwyn, Hyundai, Electrolux and Kelvinator – the very names that have earned some degree of respect for giving convenient technological solutions to their consumers. And besides the much-hyped Daewoo acquisition being the most heard-of event for 2006-07 when it comes to Videocon, about which Tushar Bhattacharya, Senior Economist, FICCI, feels, “This acquisition forms a major part of Videocon’s branding strategy.

The brand is not only getting brand equity but also the entire Daewoo network”; its recent India- centric strategies cannot be overlooked. Videocon, last year banged on the market during the festive season with many an offers. For Onam, it had “Onama hot savam hat-trick offer” in Kerala doling-out three gifts on every purchase. For Diwali, the brand offered “Har Din Diwali” offer. A clever move on Videocon’s behalf also was dropping cricketers as its brand ambassadors and roping-in Bollywood’s King Khan which indeed gave the brand that much needed push to rise 25 positions to occupy the 63rd rank for 2007. Surely, it’s been a terrific brand performance for Videocon – ‘The Indian multinational’ brand!

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

GOOGLE

Brand Google is soaring globally, but its India strategy clearly needs more punch
Every one loves the $144.6 billion giant Google! And why not, thanks to them, you have the world at your finger tips! It might have slipped fifteen places to a seemingly unimpressive number 37, but surely, with 53.7% of the world search-engine market share, it undisputedly stands tall and worthy to be called a brand that garners a swashbuckling $10.6 billion in revenues during 2006 (at a growth rate of 121.6%, since 2002). The year 2006 also witnessed quite a few acquisitions, starting with Google’s acquisition of YouTube – a popular video sharing website, making it a huge rage among the youth. Then in October 2006, it cemented its hold even on the working population with its acquisition of Jot Spot, an enterprise social software. Despite its activities being on a global scale, India has not found itself out of action when it came to playing a role in this giant’s business development. The brand has given millions of Hindi-speakers a reason to rejoice with Google News in Hindi and has even come out with two venture capital funds, Seed fund and Erasmic. Shailesh Rao, MD, Google India told 4Ps B&M: “We want to be a catalyst for the India entrepreneurial spirit and create new services for the Indian market.” Google has also initiated its ‘click-to-call’ ads in India, a tie-up with Bharti Airtel to provide a mobile search option. Brand ‘Google’ has clearly left its competitors with no choice, but to ogle!

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Monday, August 20, 2007

HYUNDAI MOTORS

Once upon a time, Maruti was the only rival for the sunshine car. Till Tata Motors came along...
Here’s a Korean auto major, who boasts of three ambassadors – SRK, Preity Zinta and Sania Mirza. Yes! Hyundai, and small wonder then that the brand has been able to dent Maruti’s un-challengeable dominance to some extent. Arvind Saxena, VP, Marketing and Sales, Hyundai Motor India, explained to 4Ps B&M: “We have been doing product specific campaigns during the last year based on our requirements.” He added that the company will consistently focus on 2 core areas – innovation and reliability in all its communication. Hyundai posted sales of 299,513 units in CY06, an elephantine increase of 18.5% as compared to CY05. Anticipating similar momentum, HMIL is setting up its second plant, taking the total production to 600,000 units by end of 2007 from the current 300,000 units. The company is building up an extensive network of dealers, expanding their numbers from 183 to 250 by this year end. In a bid to boost consumer satisfaction, after sales service network are also being increased to about 1,000 in 2007. This will give Hyundai the much needed edge to com at par with Maruti and continue to keep the sun shining brightly on its India story!

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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Friday, August 17, 2007

RELIANCE COMMUNICATIONS

Airtel beware... As Anil Ambani gets more serious about the GSM route, your nemesis is finally here!
If you formulate a list of India Inc.’s most aggressive, Reliance Communications would be a frontrunner. Be it the sassy branding activities, bold marketing campaigns or strong below the line activities, RCL has constantly stormed the Indian telecom market with its aggressive streak. One experiences this belligerence in RCL’s approach, even when talking to Sanjay Bahl, Branding Head of the company: “Reliance has been a pioneer in spearheading the value creation and product innovation in the Indian telecom market. The spirit of our marketing strategy lies in leading the market growth,” he iterates. Always hawkish in its approach, the RCL brand has been creating maximum stir over the last few months, by launching a series of campaigns last year. Most of its initiatives like the Mobile TV, RIL India calling card, internet on the move and One India Plan (launched by RCL even before BSNL) went a long way in changing traditional market paradigms. “Our ‘Go Colour campaign’ (Baton baton mein rang chaa gaye hain) and ‘Bus batan dabao campaign’ have been popular,” says Sanjay. All this aggression plus cheap lifetime validity offers and a phone@Rs 777 have resulted in record monthly subscriber additions and an astounding net profit increase of 612%. Watch this torpedo steadily rise to the top of the ladder!

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Thursday, August 16, 2007

WIPRO TECHNOLOGIES

Their focus was on acquisitions in FY07. Ready for the big game?
From a modest peanut oil business to one of India’s largest Technology Service Companies, Wipro has come a long way. Headed by one of India’s greatest entrepreneurs – Azim Premji, Wipro is India’s third largest software firm. Over the past four fiscal years, Wipro has nearly tripled income and registered itself in the prestigious $3 billion club and its employee base has also tripled to around 65,000. The company hires a staggering three persons every working hour! In what is described as its ‘String of Pearls’ strategy, Wipro has embarked on an acquisition spree in different regions to gain access to new markets. Some of the major acquisitions include Austria’s New Logic, USA’s MPower, Quantech Group and the latest being Enabler in Portugal. Interestingly, the company does not disclose its 400 strong client-list, which includes publicly known clients like Nokia, GE, ABN Amro, among others. Azim Premji sums it up saying, “Our investments and focus on enhancing value to our customers and stake holders have paid off. We see new challenges and exciting opportunities ahead. We believe that we have the right ingredients in place to keep winning.” Need one say more?

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article


Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What problem?!

Trade deficit is being coolly ignored
Oh, alright! This time we’ll not beat about the bush with smart words to make this article an easy read. We’ll bite the bullet right away. India’s trade deficit reached a worrisome $56.74 billion figure for FY 2006-07, widening a killing 40.5%! But what’s got our goat is that not many seem to be making any bones about it! Of course, a growing economy has its own ill-effects (or side effects, as government supporters would love to portray), but even if the 30.3% increase in the oil import bill can be termed as transitory, considering oil prices to become moderate or even to fall, the same would not hold true for the non-oil import bill, which has seen a dramatic rise for past some time now, growing by 24.74% over the last fiscal. “Th e trend is likely to persist as demand manifest through non-oil remains strong. We expect this component to grow at around 22%,” opines Sachchidanand Shukla, Economist, Enam. Truly, while exports are likely to be sluggish due to expected slow-down in the US economy, imports are likely to grow above 22% due to continued non-oil imports. Even in March 2007, while exports grew y-o-y by only 8.84%, imports grew by 14.45%. Worse, non-oil imports are contributing less to import bill than oil imports. Apr- Nov 2006 figures show that non-oil imports made up 67% of the total imports, compared to 70% last year. As Shukla further states, “The situation is going to deteriorate further.”

However, as long as non-oil imports largely comprise capital goods, which have a positive impact on the economy by augmenting the productive capability, there is less cause of worry. Creditably, capital goods, which formed 21% of non-oil imports in the period Apr-Nov 2005, increased to 22.69% in the same period in 2006. But still, as the May ‘07 Asia Markets Research report by JP Morgan shows, the RBI and Ministry of Finance act at loggerheads on capital flow policies, thus exacerbating the issue. Will they change? We hope they at least start discussing the problem of deficit!

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007



Pro-reactive!
A new defi nition for SEBI’s moves
You may ask, why the term ‘pro-reactive’? On one hand, while the recent moves of SEBI seem quite sincere in attempting to regulate the market (proactive, we should say), on the other hand, their response to various recent scams have been straightforward knee-jerk jumps (reactive, we should mention again). And ergo, the term ‘pro-reactive’. First the good news. In a bid to rewrite the rule-book that regulates the capital market, SEBI has roped in two national law schools, a law firm and two legal experts to implement the changes, and has decided to convert all existing circulars, including guidelines (as these do not have statutory backing) issued by it, into regulations. That this perhaps is SEBI’s biggest policy restructuring exercise is a mammoth understatement. Should this be lauded? Of course, and with encouraging argumentative support.

At the same time, without taking away their most deserving credit, the fact also is that SEBI has failed time and again to forecast structural faults right within the system. A major case to point being the recent IPO pricing scam involving promoters, which came up in the wake of alleged price manipulation in the shares of newly listed companies (e.g. MindTree Consulting). Of course, SEBI has barred the perpetrators from any further trading. Further, the market regulator – apart from mandatory grading of IPOs to stricter disclosure norms – now plans to fix a first-day price band for stocks after their IPO to check any irregular movements in the scrips. “Price is determined by grey market scenarios... It may not be of much use... In any case, the first day price band is (again) a cautious approach adopted by the market regulator,” complains R. K. Gupta, MD, Taurus Mutual Fund.

Well, without an iota of doubt, good intentions and reasonably robust systems are backing SEBI’s latest drives. However, despite various analysts and experts berating SEBI’s lackadaisical approach in shooting the target before it moves, SEBI still remains at the mercy of market happenings, rather than the same being vice versa. And all it requires to correct this is not a mammoth restructuring exercise, but just a change of philosophy... from pro-reactive to, we said it, reactive!

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

‘Da’-the ‘Som’(raas) socialist!

The erudite Speaker of the Lok Sabha has had an unblemished & impeccable Parliamentary record
Somnath Chatterjee may or may not become the first ‘Communist’ President of India, but he will certainly go down in history as one of the most controversial Speakers the Lok Sabha has ever had. His run-ins with the Opposition & the judiciary have been making headlines ever since he took over as Speaker on June 4, 2004. During his earlier nine stints in the Lok Sabha, he was one of the most seasoned orator. He seems to have carried forward the legacy to the post of Lok Sabha Speaker, as his is, still the most resounding and frequently heard voice in the lower house of Parliament.

Chatterjee represents the Bhadralok. Despite having studied Law in UK, Somnath is known for his love for everything Bengali, ranging from dhoti to Rabindra Sangeet. He is also famous for his love for good food & good life. Coincidentally, he represents the Bolpur constituency in the Parliament, which includes Shantiniketan – the land of Rabindranath Tagore. In the times of Nandigram conflict, the fact that the land around Shantiniketan, amidst the surrounding Kopai River, is one of the most sought after real estates in West Bengal may go against him. “He converted the desert-like area into a green belt sending the land prices skyrocketing”, cribs Bishwabhuti Guha, a local resident. A case of a do-gooder being condemned, indeed! But, that is not the only instance of Somnath being at the receiving end for no fault of his. The stories about his Presidential aspiration being another example.

What prompted such stories was an innocuous comment delivered on a TV channel after prolonged prodding. Asked whether he would accept the post of President of India, if it was offered to him, Somnath replied, “Who won’t be proud to accept the post. I will indeed be most honoured.” The stories triggered by his statement couldn’t be stemmed even after his categorical denials that “nobody approached him with the offer and I too didn’t discuss with anybody.” Chatterjee’s stint on the Speaker’s chair was marked by near absence of trust between him and the Opposition, mainly the BJP, which threatened to move a no confidence motion against him at least on two occasions. But, Somnath is not someone to be cowed down by threats. He not only carried on with the job undeterred, but also earned the dubious distinction of being the first Speaker to have conducted the business of the House amidst din & shouting. He is also the first Speaker to have been accused of holding office of profit as Chairman, Sriniketan - Shantiniketan Development Authority ,for which the Opposition demanded termination of his Lok Sabha membership. “This is character assassination of not only an individual but of office of the Speaker,” he shot back belligerently.

Somnath fiercely guards legislature’s supremacy over judiciary and doesn't mince words in condemning Supreme Court’s ‘interference’ in formation of the Jharkhand government and apex court’s stay on the OBC reservation law passed by the Parliament. “Judiciary can’t solve all problems plaguing the country like infant mortality, child marriages and female foeticide,” he mocked at the judiciary recently. Coming from a barrister, such diatribe was a rude shock to the legal community. Somnath Da, as he is fondly called, has never been elected to the top policy making body of the party politburo. His father N. C. Banerjee was a Hindu Mahasabha leader. On his return from UK, Somnath joined CPI (M) and became close to Jyoti Basu, who was instrumental in getting him into CPI (M) Central Committee in 1984. His proximity to Basu is said to be the reason he could never cozy up to the next incumbent Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. But, that’s not an impediment in his ascent to being the first citizen of India. The actual hurdle is lack of support from allies, especially Congress, which wants to install its own man on Raisina Hills. Better luck next time Somnath Da!!

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

‘Burning’ urgency

Deadly smoking zones of India
Jharia is virtually India’s only reserve of coking coal. As per industry estimates, over 50 million tonnes of coking coal have been lost to subterranean coal fires (SCFs) over the last few decades. These SCFs give birth to plumes of smoke, dead and junk vegetation, and arid and infertile terrain. The exposure of women and children to this kind of environment affects irrevocably their quality of life. Even those who do not work in the mines also complain of various respiratory illnesses and skin diseases. Due to terrible economic and financial conditions, these victims of deadly gases are left with no choice but to live and work under these deadly prevailing conditions.

People residing near mine-sites are forced to consume the contaminated water that affects the children and the pregnant women. The chemical residual gets mixed up with the water table and causes irritation of the respiratory tract, ulcers and pneumonia. Studies reveal that chromium has become a common constituent of the food chain and has been found in edibles like mango, paddy and fish. Such kinds of subterranean fire has ill effects not only on the health of the population that lives nearby, but indirectly, even on the national economy. The solution, though, is quite complicated, and would require the roping in of international experts. But the same has to be done with ‘burning’ urgency...

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Futuristic technologies

LOOK WHAT I’VE CREATED
Give a print out, what do you get? A simple paper copy. What if you are an architect or a ceramic designer and you want to see your creation that you have so tediously made as a 3D object? Well you will be off to purchase thermacol, clay, paints and adhesives to build the model, right? Wrong. Just get a 3D printer. This amazing printer works like ordinary inkjet printer, but builds layers on layers; ultimately producing a 3D copy. With this method, you get to convert a three-dimensional image into a real object. Contemplating the futuristic importance of 3D printing, it is finding increased use in bio-technology & tissue engineering.

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I’M A PART OF YOU!
From wear your clothes, to wear your attitude, to wear your computer now! That’s the degree of personalisation we are looking forward to in the future. Personal computer will be more personal than before and will spend more time with you. The concept of wearable computing will put to test the question of how and when to use a computer and puts forth the proposition that computers can be a part of us, as much as our own clothes, sunglasses etc. This ‘always ready’ capability will lead to a new form of synergy between human & computer, characterized by long-term adaptation through constancy of user interface.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hero of his Time, but an Inconsistent Reformer

A smooth operator, but Yelstin lacked the vision to steady a teetering nation!
Boris Yeltsin was utterly unique. Russia’s first democratically elected leader, he was also the first Russian leader to give up power voluntarily, and constitutionally, to a successor. But he was also profoundly characteristic of Russian leaders. Using various mixtures of charisma, statecraft , and terror, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Alexander II, Lenin, and Stalin all sought to make Russia a great military power and an economic and cultural equal of the West

Yeltsin aimed for the same goal. But he stands out from them in this respect: he understood that empire was incompatible with democracy, and so was willing to abandon the Soviet Union in order to try to build a democratic order at home. At the height of Yeltsin’s career, many Russians identify ed with his bluntness, impulsiveness, sensitivity to personal slight, even with his weakness for alcohol. And yet in the final years of his rule, his reputation plunged. Only in the last few months of his second presidential term, after he launched the second war in Chechnya in September 1999, did he and his lieutenants regain some legitimacy in the eyes of the Russian public. Despite his caprices, Yeltsin kept Russia on a course of broad strategic co-operation with America and its allies. Although he opposed America’s use of force against Iraq and Serbia in the 1990s his government never formally abandoned the sanctions regime against either country.

Moreover, no nuclear weapons were unleashed, deliberately or accidentally, and no full-scale war of the kind that ravaged post-communist Yugoslavia broke out between Russia and any of its neighbors, although several of them were locked in internal or regional conflict in which Russia’s hand was visible. The tasks that faced Yeltsin when he attained power in 1991 were monumental. At several crucial moments, he established himself as a person who could rise to the challenges of transforming Russia from a dictatorship into a democracy, from a planned economy into a free market, and from an empire into a medium ranked power. In 1992, as the emerging Russian Federation teetered on the brink of economic and monetary collapse, he opted for radical reform, prompting a backlash from vested interest groups. In the years that followed, he would tilt toward liberal economics whenever he felt powerful enough to do so.


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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The thin red line...

...that is soaked in blood and greed...
Ever wondered as to why does Africa have most of its international boundaries as straight lines? Well, as an accident of history that was deliberately heaped on Africa, the European colonial powers used scale and rulers to carve out territories for themselves during the infamous Berlin conference of 1885. This sinister move which earned the sobriquet of ‘Scramble for Africa’ in history not only brought rival tribes in the same national domain but segregated national groupings in different political landscape. As a result these lines have not only divided tribes and communities but have also caused internecine warfare in Africa killing millions of people.

The European quest for exploiting the resources of Africa, gift ed the region with blood and bullets that has ever since kept the countries in the region perpetually at odds against each other. The result of such quixoticism has been that, Eritrea and Ethiopia have been at war against each other while the Somali population has been splattered across different countries fuelling tension and war. The legacy doesn’t end here rather the political bigotry that has led to creation of artificial international boundaries have led to severe repercussions elsewhere as well. The 38th parallel that divided the Korean Peninsula into warring North and South was the creation of the infamous Korean War. Even before the ceasefire in 1953, the line separated the Soviet and the American controlled sector after the World War-II.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Monday, May 21, 2007

And the Bakwaas Ads...

After you have gushed over the blockbuster ads of this fortnight, here are some, which – we are absolutely sure – will never make it. 4Ps B&M lists the three worst ads of the fortnight... Ads that almost made you swear that you won’t ever buy the advertised brand. And even if you managed a peek at it, you were left with a bad taste in the mouth. Medium error, complex message or just plain bakwaas communication!

BRAND: Getz Prime
BASELINE: Drive Global
AGENCY: Innocean
4Ps TAKE: In a time and age when India Inc. is bent on proving to the world that its goods and services are second to none, Getz Prime in this ad is going all out to drive home its German antecedents. Come on guys, you could have done so much more (just look at some recent four-wheeler ads!) and the only power idea that you could come up with was Getz’s German connection? What’s more, in terms of features, the ad only highlights the car’s air conditioner, elbow rest, glove box, luxurious interiors, et al. Get real guys, those features are found in most every car today. So, what is Getz Prime’s USP? As the ad says: ‘the European favourite, now in India’. If with such jaded advertising communication, Hyundai plans to wean away market share in the segment, which Suzuki’s Swift stole a long time ago, they are in for a real shock. No reward to prospect and no focus, what’s up Hyundai?

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cross-cultural cinema’s champions

The year was 1988, Mira picked up an unconventional story of Mumbai’s street children to narrate, and made the world sit up an take stock of her talent as Salaam Bombay! went on to receive an Oscar nomination for the Best Foreign Film, the second earned by India. Mehta’s first feature film was no masala fare either. Sam & Me was about the friendship between a Muslim boy and an ageing Jewish gentleman, which scooped up an award at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.

The two took on blatantly honest stories, which predictably, created quite a furore. 1996 was a particularly interesting year for the two, for while the first of Deepa’s elemental trilogy–Fire–rankled conservative-Indians’ propriety, Mira battled similar ire as her film Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love was banned in India and Pakistan. The two fearlessly filmed bold scenes and brought to the fore subjects such as lesbianism – a relationship so taboo that our national language hasn’t even a term for it!

The two are fiercely faithful to the subjects they chose and have gone to great lengths to make their scripts come alive on celluloid. Where Mira stealthily shot KamaSutra in India with a phoney title to bypass trouble, Deepa showed extraordinary courage as she filmed Water in Sri Lanka under a different title too, after Hindu protesters destroyed the initial sets in Varanasi. And victory awaited both at the end of the road, for while Mira’s movie received honours at film festivals, Water got Deepa an Oscar nomination this year.

Where Deepa is now as much a Canadian as an Indian, Mira’s identity is a product of not two but three nations. Mira spends about 8 months of a year in the Big Apple, a month in India and the rest at Kampala, Uganda, where, interestingly, she feels most at home. They’ve got exciting projects in hand too, with Shantaram starring Johnny Depp and Munna Bhai’s Hollywood remake expected next from the lady who delivered the phenomenal The Namesake, and Deepa is planning a movie on the Komagata Maru incident and is titled Exclusion. They’re ambassadors of India who have mastered the technique of winning over foreign audiences, by portraying India just as it is, sans any cosmetic touch ups. They’re true to their art and that is how Deepa Mehta and Mira Nair have turned into formidable forces, who are pioneering free and fearless cinema.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

BURJ AL ARAB, DUBAI

Redefining grandeur by the day, Burj Al Arab perhaps provides one of the most spectacular sights in the desert emirate of Dubai, apart from being acknowledged as the best and the tallest (321 feet) hotel in the world! Want it or not, you WILL be pampered with the utmost luxury in this tropical, seven-star paradise!

THE VIEW: Overlooking the sparkling blue sea and the pristine white sands bathed in golden sun, the hotel provides a dreamy view, to say the least!

ARCHI-TYPE: Standing tall like a swelling sail, the hotel’s nouveau-modern architecture surpasses human imagination, and the ultra luxurious suites, awe inspiring atrium and the old world, typical Arabia-flavoured interiors only make it better!

BON APPÉTIT: Delectable, scrumptious and adventurous is the word... All thanks to the regularly held in-house cooking competitions at the Al Mahara! Savour the stimulated submarine drive into the aquarium-like restaurant as also the most delicious sea food!

AROUND THE CORNER: Water parks, amusement parks, shopping malls and the posh Jumeirah beach are not very far off for the visitor.

FROM UNDER THE CARPET: The hotel teaches you that nothing in life comes for free – be it drinks, food or... er... even entering the grand walls of this opulent oasis!

IN ESSENCE: An exquisite marvel of exotic hospitality!

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Supreme Court’s reservation verdict is out!

Reason enough to celebrate? Oh, please...
So the long awaited verdict on quota is out. But what amused me the most is the fact that how, for many of us, the Supreme Court’s verdict has been a reason for celebration. This amply indicates the fact that as a nation, we have been subjected to so much adversity that we have started celebrating mediocrity. I say so because the apex court’s verdict is just an interim order ;and that too it is just a stay order against the ‘quantum’ of quota and not a verdict against the very fundamental essence of quota. I don’t find any reason for celebration; more so because, interestingly, while giving the verdict, the Supreme Court has put forth an intriguing observation (perhaps not in these exact words) that ‘probably nowhere else in the world, there is a race among the people to prove themselves backward in their eagerness to get listed for quota accommodation’. This observation cruelly and blatantly states what policy makers have done to the people of this country.

Moreover, what followed as an aftermath of the verdict in Tamil Nadu puts forth a more fundamental question. And that is, whether we are a nation driven to destruction by ruthless and myopic politics, or a nation that is not yet fit enough for self rule? Probably both! This gets exemplified by the near total strike that paralysed the whole of Tamil Nadu, proving that as a nation we are far from being one. A verdict, which apparently brought celebration to a certain section of people, became a sore throat for some others. All this because political parties like DMK, Rashtriya Janata Dal, LJP, whose survival depend on the politics of exclusivity, have created such a mental divide among people that they are completely blinded towards the larger good. In fact, it is ridiculous that instead of accepting their hypocrisy, policy makers have resorted to a near 75-year-old census data (and that too of an undivided India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) to draft a course for the future of more caste-based systems in an already fragile society. It is no secret that even after sixty years of Independence, our policy makers have not been able to create an equitable society. And worse, that none of them have any intentions to create one. Instead of doing that, politicians have blatantly propagated and brainwashed ignorant and innocent people of this country that they have been kept outside the ambit of access to quality education solely because they belong to backward caste. A blatant lie! The truth is that political parties, over the last 60 years, have consciously kept masses illiterate ,so that neither could they understand the predicaments of Indian politics, nor could they question it. It is no secret that most of the 600,000 villages in our country have been purposefully kept deprived of every possible social and physical infrastructure, as is validated by our shameful performance in the UNDP Human Development Report.

The fact is that those 400 million below poverty line, who do not even make two square meals a day, have only one caste. And that is the caste of poverty and lack of purchasing power, which had always prevented them from giving their progeny a decent education. If India has to genuinely make its society equal, then there is only one solution – create purchasing power along with hundreds of additional and functional schools and colleges; and that too on a war footing, so that both affordability and scarcity of education is done away with. It is then and only then that we all would have a real reason to celebrate.


For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article


Source : IIPM Editorial, 2007


An IIPM and Malaya Chaudhuri – Arindam Chaudhuri Initiative