Administration & Management

It's Art of Governance & Not Commerce Alone

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My Journey on Path of E-Commerce: A Recollection

The effort here is not to deliberate on the History of Computers and or Internet, but since it turns out to be a brief but vital component of total deliberations if any is being made on providing or seeking or exchanging any product, service, information etc. using Internet as a medium.  Instead of starting the sentence “long long ago….”, like in many other field, here story starts with the set words “In very recent past….” .

The deregulation of Internet and it’s use for Commerce is recent as just four decades. Today it would not be wrong if one makes an inference that it happens to be largest market place. It has also succeeded in turning itself near to indispensable and a good number of people can not imagine their daily life in its absence. As a tool of exchanging information and thought, it has even left behind the devices like telephone, fax, mobile telephony etc. by miles. Even we have the examples, though of very recent nature, that few less popular national government, when faced by some kind of event which was called by media as uprising, made internet their first target to breakdown the communication flow taking place in citizens. The case of “EGYPT” and “LIBYA” are a burning and recent example of this.

Initially there was some sense of fear amongst the people who were stakeholders in business. These stakeholder can never alone be the Business Men, they also included the beside established business houses, the Entrepreneurs,  students of business, the academic and scholarly community dealing with issues related to the domain of business, the customers around whom business revolves, and certainly a few more individuals who comprise those who thought it to be fad and expected it to die an immature death.

Here, the stage is ripe for sharing few anecdotes especially Indian to give a practical understanding of how these developments moved from nearly nowhere to everywhere. Prior to starting on it, Helpman and Trajtenberg (1998) were of the opinion that “In any given era there typically exist a handful of technologies that play a far reaching role in widely fostering technical change and thereby bringing about sustained and pervasive productivity gains.” On the similar lines Norman (1999) said that “The goal is to move from current situation of complexity and frustration to one where technology serves human needs invisibly, unobtrusively: the human centered and customer centered way.”

Now coming to Anecdotes:

1. It was perhaps Year 2000 or 2001, when I happened to give entrance examination for pursuing Ph. D. Program at Indian Institute of Information Technology & Management, Gwalior, when it was still functioning in old building. Till then I was not aware that I would be lucky enough to make my career in academics, scholarly and research work, and also in transfer of technology to masses, though I wanted to do it.

They used to conduct a written test followed by interview for admitting research scholars. Luckily or otherwise, I cleared the written test to qualify for next stage, that was personal interview. There I was interested in pursuing my research in E- Commerce. That was also a time when an e-Commerce initiative with the help of internet initiated by Shoppers’ Stop had met a debacle. All through the interview while I was trying my best to convince them that e-Commerce was the very near future, the interview board was interested in making me believe that penetration of computer required for that would never happen in India and they topped their argument by quoting the example of debacle of Shoppers’ Stop. Besides it the board also wanted to convince me on importance of bandwidth and its importance for e-Commerce, suggesting me to work on it, as it was a must for success of the concept I was arguing, but then I was least interested as it was a work for a Technical Degree Holder and not my cup of tea with MBA preceded by ZBC. Ultimately we could not land on a common platform and it could be said that they rejected me or I myself worked to get rejected.

Nearly the same got repeated at NITIE Pawai Mumbai same year. I would elaborate on it next time when I get chance to further elaborate on it. Its late night and I plan to close writing at this moment. hope spelling mistakes if any would be pardoned.

 

Always Yours — As Usual —- Saurabh Singh

 

 

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Egypt: Now without Hosni Mubarak in Control of Affairs– For Other Nations a Caveat Issued Against Facebook and Likes…..

A Brief Introduction to Hosni Mubarak & His Journey

Hosni Mubarak has ruled the country Egypt for 30 years, which by far is the most powerful in the Arab world. It all started on October 6, 1981. Egypt was shaken when its President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by right-wing Arab groups during a military parade before the world’s eyes. Mubarak, who was then the vice president, was wounded in the attack. Terrified he stood there and by the time stunned security police began firing back, killing two of the assassins, Sadat was already dying. Hosni Mubarak at World Economic Forum

Mubarak was a natural successor. He took control of the government on October 14, 1981 and has held it, by various means, ever since. While this is looked at as his first appearance on the global stage, one cannot overlook the crucial role he played in 1973.

He is still credited with winning the war that changed the course of Arab Israeli relations in October 1973, when he was Air Chief, under Sadat’s presidency. The victory over Israel brought him personal glory too.

Mubarak with son of Slain President Sadat

In April 1975, Mubarak was appointed as the vice president of the Egyptian republic and he loyally served Sadat’s policies. He became a popular representative of the President and had numerous meetings with foreign leaders.  Mubarak’s political significance as vice president can be seen from the fact that at a conversation held on June 23, 1975 between Egypt Foreign Minister Fahmy and United States Ambassador Hermann Eilts, Fahmy said to Eilts that “Mubarak is, for the time being at least, likely to be a regular participant in all sensitive meetings”. He advised the ambassador not to antagonise Mubarak, as he was Sadat’s personal choice.

Mubarak may be considered largely unpopular today, but as President, he allied with the West and an anchor of stability in the Middle East. Taking over as President, he moved quickly to crush an Islamic uprising and jailed over 2,500 members of militant Islamic groups engaging in violence. Mubarak retained most of Sadat’s foreign and domestic policies, and Sadat’s close ties to the United States. All the Arab states but three had criticised Egypt for the treaty with Israel, so Mubarak tried to rebuild relations with Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Palestine Liberation Organisation leader Yasir Arafat. It was Mubarak who encouraged Arafat to compromise and recognise Israel’s right to exist.Hosni Mubarak - the war Hero of 1973 Egypt Israel War

Throughout the 1980s Mubarak increased the production of affordable housing, clothing, furniture, and medicine. He also kept a close eye on his officials, firing ministers at the first hint of wrong-doing and fining members of Parliament for unnecessary absences. Egypt’s heavy dependence on US aid and her hopes for US pressure on Israel for a Palestinian settlement continued under Mubarak. He improved relations with the former Soviet Union. In 1987, Mubarak won election to a second six-year term. In 1989, eight years after Sadat’s assassination, Egypt was re-admitted as a full member the Arab League. Its membership was suspended after Sadat’s peace treaty with Israel, but Mubarak rebuilt the bridges.

Mubarak was angered over the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. When the US was hunting for a military alliance to force Iraq out of Kuwait, Egypt’s President joined without hesitation. After the war, his reward was that America, the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, and Europe forgave Egypt around $14 billion of debt. He won America’s support and Egypt enjoyed massive amounts of military and economic aid over the last three decades.

The Wave of Change

However, as years went by Mubarak became more authoritarian. He throttled meaningful political evolution and curbed the freedom of expression. Plots to assassinate Mubarak had surfaced in 1992, 1993, and 1995 and he is known to have survived six assasination attempts. But Mubarak continued his tough stance. His crackdown led to charges against his government of torture, threats to the press, and other human rights abuses

Political corruption in the Mubarak administration rose dramatically. Such corruption has led to the imprisonment of political figures and young activists without trials, illegal undocumented hidden detention facilities and rejecting universities, mosques, newspapers staff members based on political inclination.
And all of this worsened in 2005. After increased domestic and international pressure for democratic reform in Egypt, Mubarak asked the largely rubber stamp Parliament on February 26, 2005 to amend the constitution to allow multi-candidate presidential elections by September 2005.

On July 28, 2005, Mubarak announced his candidacy, as he had been widely expected to do. The election which was scheduled for September 7, 2005 was widely seen as heavily rigged.
Anguish against Hosni Mubarak
Votes were bought for Mubarak in poor suburbs and rural areas. It was also reported that thousands of illegal votes were allowed for Mubarak from citizens who were not registered to vote. On September 8, 2005, Ayman Nour, a dissident and candidate for the El-Ghad Party, contested the election results, and demanded a repeat of the election. In a move widely seen as political persecution, Nour was convicted of forgery and sentenced to five years on December 24, 2005.

Even the Muslim Brotherhood, which has a wide cadre base in Egypt, fielded candidates as independents due to their illegality as a political party. They won 88 seats to form the largest opposition bloc, but only after the arrests of hundreds of Brotherhood members. A constitutional amendment adopted by the National Democratic Party-dominated Parliament has made it virtually impossible for independents like former IAEA chief Mohamed El-Baradei to run for president.

Soon after, Mubarak appointed his son Gamal as the general secretary of the ruling NDP, a move that convinced many of his unwillingness to let go of power.

As Mubarak tried to tighten his grip over Egypt, anti-government protests strengthened in 2005 giving rise to the Kifaya (enough) movement, the unofficial moniker of the Egyptian Movement for Change.

It first came to public attention in the summer of 2004, and achieved a much greater profile during the 2005 constitutional referendum and presidential election campaigns. Since then it has opposed Mubarak’s presidency and over the years the voices have only grown louder.Now the final outcome this gradual but sure approach is in open — Mubarak Stepped Down.

Role of Social Media

In one of my earlier posts posted on this blog dated February 04, 2011, I wrote an article with title as mentioned below, but found rare buyers of the concept. Probably now its no more a secret and known to all. I did not emphasize much thereafter on role of social media because one of my teacher taught me a lession that can mentioned as  “People can believe only on the things, creations and thoughts and other things of the same kind, only to the extent if they are capable of even imagining such phenomenon in their wildest dreams. Else they will laugh at you and will say the things that you may not love to listen. Let them be mature, but do not kill your vision just for the reasons that other are suffering from vision myopia.”

THE FACE BOOK IS WORKING TO GET CHANGE IN GOVERNMENT OF A NATION: YES, I MEAN IT– IT’s EGYPT –Saurabh Singh

Adding to the dicussion further I would like to state what’s even more interesting  and that is the role played by Social Media tools like the use of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to speed the process of protests in Egypt. There has been some backlash about the use of social media, with some pundits calling it a “Facebook Revolution,” as if without Facebook this wouldn’t be happening.

The revolt still would have happened, even if the Social Media tools were not there. but their presence added fuel to fire of revolution. Today’s era of real-time communication made the “words of the January 25 protests” spread more quickly and gained momentum that would have been hard to achieve without the social networks.Role of Social Media

But it also leads oneto wonder…is the use of the Internet, and social media, a human right?

The best testimony about social media’s role in these events has to be the efforts of the Tunisian and Egyptian governments to thwart or completely cut off the Internet. The chart published on Mashable, the Internet became a critical communications point leading up to the events of the past few days. It’s no wonder that the autocratic Mubarek regime sought to protect its own power by cutting the Internet.

Internet Traffic Chart

It should be noted that the protests have significantly escalated since the proverbial kill switch was hit on the Egyptian Internet. So at best social’s role can only be painted as a catalyst, and not the ultimate factor.

Leaving the discussion on Role of Social Media to Political Pundits.. will follow If find their or comments from my audiences on the topic.

Post Mubarak Situation in Egypt : A State of Uncertain Transition

Some have termed the departure of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from office on Friday as a resignation. Some others have called it waiving the office or powers of the president. The Egyptian constitution provides for both contingencies.

When a president resigns, the constitution requires that he should address his letter of resignation to the president (speaker) of the parliament. When he stops exercising the powers of the president, he addresses his letter to the vice-president.

Article 82 provides for this interesting contingency of the president leaving office without formally resigning. It says: “If on account of any temporary obstacle the president of the republic is unable to carry out his functions, he shall delegate his powers to a vice-president.”

Mubarak, while leaving office much to the jubilation of the protesters, did not inform the president of the parliament and submit a formal letter of resignation as required under the constitution.

Celebrations in Egypt as Announcement of Mubarak Leaving the office comesNor did he ask Vice-President Omar Suleiman to take over. Instead, he asked the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to take over. It is a coup without seeming to be a coup.

One can go on analysing the circumstances of Mubarak’s departure. Whatever be the circumstances, Mubarak is gone from office for ever. It is time to discuss what next. Egypt is now in a state of transition under the leadership of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which consists of the following:

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who has been the minister of defense and commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces since 1991.

He has been a field marshal since 1989. After the protests broke out on January 25, Mubarak promoted him as deputy prime minister and asked him to continue to hold the defence portfolio.

He visited the Tahrir Square on February 4 and met the troops deployed there as well as the protesters. He is the chairman of the Supreme Council.

Air Marshal Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed, the chief of the air force since March 20, 2008.

Lieutenant General Sami Hafez Anan, chief of staff of the army.

Lt Gen Abd El Aziz Seif-Eldeen, commander of air defense.

Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish, chief of navy.

Is Lt Gen Omar Suleiman, the vice-president, who made the televised announcement regarding Mubarak leaving office after handing over his powers, a member of the Supreme Council? The position is not clear.

Al Jazeera says he is. Others do not say so. However, since he is only a lieutenant general and since the Supreme Council is headed by a field marshal, it stands to reason that Suleiman may have to work under the orders of the Supreme Council and not vice versa.

What next? The present constitution has become untenable since the post-Mubarak transitional arrangements are not in accordance with the constitution.

This gives rise to the possibility that the Supreme Council may suspend the constitution and dissolve the parliament. Mohamed El Baradei has said that Egypt will now have a provisional constitution.

What will be the duration of the transitional arrangements? Till September when the election of a new president is due or for a longer period?

The political elements, who participated in the protest movement, are already saying that it may not be possible for the Supreme Council to restore political and economic normalcy before September and, hence, according to them, it should be for a longer period.

El Baradei has been quoted by the BBC as stating as follows: “What I have been proposing is a transitional period of one year. We will have a provisional constitution. We’ll have a transitional government, hopefully a presidential council, including a person from the army and a couple of civilians.”

“The main idea is that the army and the Egyptian people will work together in a systematic way for a year to reach the point where we can hold a genuine free and fair election, a parliamentary election and a presidential election. I think the people of Egypt, who have been suppressed for at least 30 years, are ready to wait for a year as they see things are going in the right direction,” Baradei said.

The younger non-political elements, who played a leading role in the revolution, have not clearly indicated their view on this subject apart from expressing their trust in the army.

Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian Google executive, who is credited with rallying many young people behind El Baradei, has tweeted to his followers as follows: “The military statement is great. I trust our Egyptian army”.

The armed forces’ statement to which he had referred said the Supreme Council would lift the country’s emergency law but only “as soon as current circumstances end”.

It also said, “Armed forces make a commitment to caring for the people’s legitimate demands, and to seeking to follow their implementation within the time frames with full precision and resolution, until the complete transfer of power, and the achievement of the democratic free society which the people aspire to”.

It pledged not to prosecute ‘the honest men who called for an end to corruption and for reform.’

While it spoke of time-frames for the transition, it refrained from specifying those time-frames. If Ghonim comes out ultimately in support of El Baradei’s call for a longer transition, will other youth leaders support him?

Who will be in any transitional government or council that may be constituted? Everybody wants that it should be a civilian council possibly headed by El Baradei and including a representative of the armed forces.

It is not yet clear whether the Supreme Council would accept a transitional council of which the Muslim Brotherhood is a member.

The MB has been supportive of El Baradei till now. He has been advocating a role for the MB in the transitional set-up, but the MB has said it does not want any role. The youth leaders are not opposed to it. The Supreme Council has not yet spelt out its views.

Always Yours —- As Usual — Saurabh Singh

What’s even more interesting to me, though, is the use of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to speed the process of protests in Egypt. There has been some backlash about the use of social media, with some pundits calling it a “Facebook Revolution,” as if without Facebook this wouldn’t be happening.

Let’s be real. The revolt still would have happened. But in this day of real-time communication, word of the January 25 protests spread more quickly and gained momentum that would have been hard to achieve without the social networks.

I’m reminded of the Malcolm Gladwell piece that ran in The New Yorker in early October last year. In it, he describes 1960s North Carolina where a Woolworth’s wouldn’t serve black students. The story goes that the protest to not allow blacks to sit at the bar, but instead stand at the snack counter, began with four students and, the next day, grew to 27.

During the following days, the sit-ins eventually grew to 600 people and more than five colleges taking part. Soon 70,000 students were involved and thousands were arrested and even thousands more were radicalized.

He says, ‘These events in the early sixties became a civil-rights war that engulfed the South for the rest of the decade—and it happened without e-mail, texting, Facebook, or Twitter.”

While I disagree with the rest of his view on the use of social media in today’s w0rld, he eventually gets to the point that we are not in the middle of a digital revolution. And, whether you use the tools or not, you have to agree that the revolt in Egypt would have happened without social media. The use of the tools just speeds the process.

But it also leads us to wonder…is the use of the Internet, and social media, a human right?

I greet my Audiences; Fans; Passing By Visitors; Learneds or known by any other name at Transition of Time to a New Year of New Decade of Very Young Century

I am thankful for and to my audiences who have managed to see my traffic grow through 2009 till date being a digit containing many firsts  in a way, really, it is 01.01.11,  and have been uncaring for Charges by their service providers.

Let me promise you that in the coming year too, my efforts will still be focused on maintaining a mature communication and relation with you and at the same time all efforts would be made to keep the same advertisement free, till the same can be afforded by me under my resources and with help of service providers.

new-year-wish-mail-size

 

 

It has been my wish that till possible the domain of knowledge should be kept a bit away from market and commerce. At the same time it should not be demeaned by attaching some material value to it. Knowledge is not something to be traded and neither Professors or Gurus are Traders.  Normally they happen to be much detached from material things. Society should by itself  create a provision where, its the society which is responsible for their needs and should try execute their words in spirits.

This feeling is being aired even after being fully aware of the fact, that market and commerce are two potent forces that give birth to objectives, which  humans strive to achieve, as they think  it as something worth achieving, and thus remain objective less life long. However these happen to be nothing else  but illusions.

Probably due to these reasons academic institutions are planned at place far away from town or city area, so that interaction with material forces can be minimized to the least possible levels.

Any individual only worried to get the show going with no attachment  to value System can only be called a common man; a  man attached to material pleasures just like other men can only be called a tutor and not professor.

I am not seeking any donation till I am able to support it by myself and from my pocket. I also have faith on good number of  individuals who like me would pour after pooling in all possible resources to make it happen like this only.  This is must, just due to the reasons that I want to see truth and freedom co – exist; irrespective of my existence.

I am just trying to stand upright on a  Grave yard of Academics called University in My Language or the language of people who interact with same domain.

One more card wishing you all a new year with few of my affiliations shown on it.

 

A New Year Wish Card

Wishing You all a Happy MMXI or (II)XI or 2011


I would love to make any inquisitive know what I mean

—–but is any one interested to learn.

Happy New Year 2011

 

Always Yours —-As Usual ——Saurabh Singh

[In the mean time I have received a lot of mails wishing to know my profile; so I have decided put one soon on Page Titled About]


 

 

Finance in History – A compilation by Saurabh — Part II

Finance in History: Labor Days

The Lowell Mills offer a lesson in the perils of focusing on labor costs at the expense of technology.

The building of Samuel Slater’s mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1793 marked a genuine paradigm shift: the transition of cloth-making from the home to the factory. A decade or so later, wealthy Bostonian Francis Cabot Lowell followed Slater’s example by surreptitiously copying English spinning and weaving technology. After visiting the cotton mills of Manchester, England and taking copious mental notes, he returned to Boston and raised $400,000 from wealthy friends and family to recreate what he had seen in Great Britain.

Thus began the American Industrial Revolution, and with it, another sort of shift. The new cloth-making business put both capital and labor to work on a scale that demanded not just new machines, but new management. Unfortunately, the accounting and financial technology of the day wasn’t up to the task. Financial managers of the time focused on the familiar — costs of labor and materials — but oddly enough, often ignored the potential challenges of maintenance, obsolescence and technological change that came with their new machines. Without a good understanding of the importance of depreciation and reserves, writes one historian, “The known expense of labor received more attention than the largely unknown problems of capital expense.”

Initially, however, a management focus on labor seemed a happy development. An idealist, Lowell did his utmost to improve upon the grim working conditions he had witnessed in England, where, in the early 1800s, English laborers had no minimum wage and generally worked twelve to fourteen hours a day, six days a week.

Lowell set about creating a worker’s utopia. He recruited girls and women, ages 15 to 35, from surrounding farming communities and promised their understandably wary families that they would live in chaperoned boardinghouses and have access to a church, a library, and healthy social activities. They would receive weekly wages, an unheard-of luxury for a farm girl, even if she did have to work six 10- to 12-hour days (almost as long as her English counterparts) to earn it.

Lowell’s five-story factories were a brilliant early construct of vertical manufacturing. Each mill had machines to clean the raw cotton, turn it into yarn and thread, weave it into cloth, and then print the finished cloth with colorful designs. The U.S. Congress helped matters considerably by imposing prohibitive tariffs on imported cloth, protecting the Massachusetts producers from their British competition.

If the water wheels powered these mills along the Merrimack, treasurers ran them. Sitting at the top of the largest early American companies, treasurers (not presidents) held shares in their organizations and conveyed the wishes of the shareholders in Boston to the agents who managed the mills in Lowell. Although flawed, the structure made sense. For agents, labor costs were paramount, while shareholders worried most about the cost of raw cotton and the price of cloth — the most important U.S. export of the early 19th century. Detailed accounting information provided essential communication between managers and investors separated by the miles between Boston and Lowell.

As early as 1826, Lowell’s utopia began to give way to competitive pressures. England, which bought much of America’s raw cotton, continued to turn it into cotton cloth at a ferocious pace. In response, the U.S. mills tried to increase productivity by speeding up production and productivity. A woman who had once tended one loom soon found herself tending four.

In 1834, the Lowell Mill’s directors tried another tack — cutting fixed labor costs. When management announced that the women would have their wages cut, the Lowell Mill girls, as they were called, went on strike, or in the language of the day, they “turned out.” After only a few days, the strike collapsed and their attempt to forestall the wage cut failed.

Two years later, management decided it had to cut costs again, though not its own, and again it targeted its women operatives. Pay was to be cut by $1 a week, and simultaneously, the amount the girls paid the company for their rooms in the boardinghouses was to increase. At the time, they were sleeping two to a bed and eight to a room. This time, over a thousand women turned out, striking for several weeks.

Throughout, the women’s efforts to improve their working conditions were undermined by the willingness of later immigrants, first Irish, then Italian, to take whatever wages were offered. Ultimately a six-year depression that began in 1837, brought on by overly easy bank credit and rampant real estate speculation, ended any attempt at labor organization. Jobs disappeared by the thousands, and what little power the fledgling labor movement had evaporated.

Of course, if savings on labor costs created intolerable conditions for mill workers, the demand for cheap cotton had bred an even more ghastly system. The raw material used in the mills came from the South, and was grown and picked by slaves. Two-thirds of the Southern cotton was sold to England. The other third was shipped north to New England. Many workers sympathized with the plight of slaves and supported abolitionism, but also suffered themselves when the Civil War broke out. Realizing that they would make more selling raw cotton than by making cloth, Lowell’s mill owners closed their mills and sold off the contents of their warehouses.

Many of the mills reopened after the war, but eventually most moved to the South themselves. Although most attribute this development to the lure of cheaper labor and proximity to raw materials, another factor played a part. As the management hierarchy of the mills suggests, investors focused on finance and labor. Responsibility for technology — specifically, the machines that spun, wove, and finished the cloth — was relegated to an outside superintendent. As Steven Lubar reports in “Managerial Structure and Technological Style: the Lowell Mills, 1821-1880,” shareholders challenged the need for skilled (and therefore costly) managers for these machines. Neither the management system nor the accounting systems (this was before the day of useful cost accounting) fostered an appreciation for the role technology played in operations. As a result, the Lowell mills were slow to repair and slower to invent more efficient machinery. In the end, operators found it simpler to start over in a new location than to repair old machinery.

Today, of course, even the southern mills are closed, with almost all textiles made overseas. But you can still visit the remarkable cotton mills of New England. They’re museums.

Finance in History: Blood and Treasurers

Those who guard the crown jewels need good internal controls.

Roget’s Thesaurus has made a bizarre word familiar to many college students who have found themselves at a loss for words. Compiled by Dr. Peter Mark Roget and published in 1852, Roget’s Thesaurus is a vast categorization of English words — and their friends, siblings, and relatives.

But how did he come up with a word like “thesaurus?” Simple. It’s the Latin word for “treasure.” Back in the 15th century in Scotland, treasurers were called “thesaurers,” and the royal thesaurer had the plum job of guarding the royal treasure trove.

To become thesaurer, a fellow clearly had to be known for his honesty, strength, courage, martial experience, suspicious mind, and self-restraint. One wonders how often the inventory of the royal thesaury (treasury) was conducted and whether the King and Queen were there to congratulate themselves on their fine thesaurus.

Besides the psychological comfort of knowing you have a pile of jewels in a vault nearby — and a trusted thesaurer to make sure they don’t wander off — the king’s jewels must have helped convince lenders of his creditworthiness. A bit like Fort Knox when the United States was on the gold standard.

The flaw in that idea, though, is that crown jewels are anything but a liquid asset. They represent, instead, the classic buy-and-hold strategy. The British gem collection is a 900-year long position in precious stones and metals.

Despite the manifold and elaborate precautions taken by the thesaurer, an audacious brigand almost got away with stealing Britain’s crown jewels in 1671. The perpetrator was an Irishman with the improbable name of Colonel Blood, and he did it by preying upon the Assistant Keeper of the Jewels, an elderly dupe named Talbot Edwards. Revenge certainly played a part in the bloody plot, seeing that the British had taken Blood’s land in Ireland.

Disguising himself as a humble man of the cloth, a parson, Blood made several preliminary visits to the Tower of London, intent on insinuating himself into the good graces of the assistant jewel keeper. Like so many visitors to London who were soon to follow, he took the Tower tour to give the crown jewels a good once-over. The jewels first went on display in the 1600s, and even back then the jewel keeper was allowed to make some money on the side acting as tour guide.

After several increasingly chummy visits, Blood went so far as to propose that his nephew marry Edwards’s daughter, a nice match considering he claimed the nephew was worth 300 pounds a year. The assistant jewel keeper and his wife thought this sounded like a bit of all right.

A few days later, Blood brought his “nephew” (actually his son), to meet Edwards, and they were accompanied by two of their friends. While supposedly waiting for Blood’s wife to join them, Blood persuaded the jewel keeper to show him, his nephew, and their two companions the jewels one more time.

Once Edwards unlocked the vault, they decided the time was especially opportune to bash him in the head with a mallet and stab him to death. Scooping up the jewels, Blood crushed the king’s crown, the better to hide it under his frock. Before they could make their pious exit, however, Edwards’s son stumbled in on them and raised a hue and cry. The plunderers were apprehended, probably by a cohort of the Tower guards, the Beefeaters. The lucky king reclaimed his jewels and dented crown.

Besides housing the crown jewels, the Tower of London was the home of many famous prisoners. Some, including Richard III’s two nephews, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Sir Thomas More, and Guy Fawkes, never left. Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Rudolph Hess, on the other hand, were only temporary residents.

Weirdly enough, Colonel Blood never joined their ranks. King Charles II met with him after his disastrously botched heist, gave him back his confiscated Irish estates, and is thought to have taken him into his service as a spy. The moral of the tale, apparently, is that the bold entrepreneur often ends up a whole lot better than the treasurer.

Finance in History: Bankruptcy

Chapter 11 may be tough, but it beats death, dismemberment, slavery, exile, prison, and other insolvency solutions.

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” (Charles Dickens, David Copperfield)

Misery indeed. Bankruptcy is no picnic even today, but through the ages it has been the source of much literal pain. The word “bankruptcy” comes from an Italian practice of the Middle Ages — “banca rotta” — which means “bench-breaking.” The term describes the punishment administered to businesses that failed: local fiscal authorities came to the market and smashed the bankrupt business’s table.

Through the ages, people or businesses have gone bankrupt in two ways, either running out of money and thus being unable to repay debts, or being forced to close as a result of fiscal mismanagement. Either way, bankruptcy has often carried a punitive dimension.

Death, dismemberment, slavery (for the debtor and family members), indentured servitude, exile, and debtors’ prison have all been used as punishment. Dickens did not use the word “misery” lightly.

And yet the first known effort to regulate bankruptcy was surprisingly modern in its approach. Appearing in the Code of Hammurabi, which dates to Babylon around the 18th century B.C., the law stipulated that a bankrupt’s possessions were to be divided among creditors in proportion to the amount of money each was owed.

Alas, those would soon come to be seen as the good old days, because by 621 B.C., when Draco ruled Athens, the punishment meted out to “deadbeats” (literally, one who is “completely exhausted”) was death. Or they and their families might be sold into slavery, with the proceeds going to creditors. If that strikes you as Draconian, well, consider the source.

A generation later the Athenian statesman and poet Solon decided this was perhaps a bit too severe. Under his legal reforms the bankrupt and his family had to give up their citizenship but not their freedom — or their lives.

The Romans, however, soon turned back the sundial. Under the Twelve Tables of Rome, promulgated in 451 B.C., maiming became the appropriate sanction. Instead of getting his money back, the creditor was given a pound of flesh — or perhaps more, depending on how much was owed. Debtors were cut up and their parts distributed among creditors on a pro rata basis. (The Roman writer Petronius would later satirize this practice in The Satyricon, a portion of which describes a plutocrat whose will decrees that any friend, parasite, or hanger-on who wants to collect his inheritance must eat a piece of the dead man’s corpse.)

Fast-forward to Renaissance England, where Henry III established the practice of imprisoning debtors in the 13th century. By the time of Henry VIII, in the mid-16th century, the first bankruptcy statute (as opposed to insolvency law) was enacted. It applied only to merchants and traders, since they were considered the only people who had a legitimate reason to borrow money, and provided a way for their debts to be addressed (sans death, torture, or even prison) in the event that a storm at sea sank their boats and thus their fortunes, or similar circumstances beyond their control led to bankruptcy.

That statute did not get the common man off the hook, however. And once someone landed in debtors’ prison it was often nearly impossible to get out. Family or friends might come forward to pay the prisoner’s debts; if not, debtors had to rot, presumably coming to appreciate, as they did, the error of their ways.

The absurdity of debtor’s prison, of course, is that a bankrupt’s ability to repay his creditor from prison is precisely nil. That may be why, in some countries, creditors were required to pay the costs of incarcerating their debtors. The open-ended prison sentence could be cut short, therefore, should the creditor tire of throwing good money after bad.

If you were lucky you might end up a “peon,” a term that originally described a bankrupt person condemned to work without pay for a creditor until the debt was paid off.

While bankruptcy was generally a bigger problem for the debtor than for the creditor, that wasn’t true in every case. In the 14th century, Italian bankers unhappily discovered that England’s Edward III was an unreliable credit risk, but couldn’t do much about it. And in the 18th century, English goldsmiths, the principal bankers of the era, slid into bankruptcy after the Stuart kings found it inconvenient to pay back their loans. Worse, if the bankers were deemed to be charging too much interest their fingers would be burned.

Today bankruptcy still entails pain, if only in the form of many, many meetings with lawyers. And Dickens’s lesson still rings true: having slightly more than you need is infinitely better than having even slightly less. Unless, of course, your credit card offers rewards points and a low introductory rate.

Still to Cont……………………………………………………………………

Always Yours— as Usual———–Saurabh Singh


International Relations, International Trade and Business & Administration

PART – I

Scholars in “Business Administration”, irrespective of the time and span of domain, are required to understand the role and importance of History. This paper builds on the same theme supported by valid arguments and facts. The assumption made is “Scholars of any established body of knowledge, probably possess the capacity to, understand the evolution of that particular discipline as an organized body of knowledge”, while initiating the study. It is specifically mentioned that in case of even collapse of assumption too, the study would hold good. The attempt here is targeted on detailing, in a brief manner, the evolution of the discipline named Business Administration as an organized body of knowledge.

STEP – I

In the initial days of human civilization, when population inhibiting the earth was very low, the vacancy for individuals with best mental faculty existed so as to entrust them with the responsibility of policy making. This happened for the reasons of complexities involved in the science and art of policy making; and the individuals responsible for the task were supposed to work in a non – self – involving manner.

STEP – II

Consequent to phenomenon of rapid increase in population and passage of time, the learned policy makers were forced to realize that, if seen in a comparative perspective, probably ‘Policy Making’ as an art had become easier as compared to ‘implementation of the policy‘; which is must for proper governance and control the individuals and societies.

STEP – III

The time couldn’t have been better for initiation of new thought process, and the same was ultimately but brilliantly done by a devoted scholar “Mr. Woodrow Wilson”.  Mr. Wilson, a scholar of knowledge domain termed “Political Science & International Relations”, is credited as first individual who established a dichotomy separating “Political Science” & “Public Administration”. Thus a new domain of knowledge was born and christened as “Public Administration”.

Mr. Woodrow Wilson, later on, got elected to the office of President of ‘United States of America’.

STEP – IV

A logical deduction that can be drawn from the deliberations is that ‘with the increase in the number of people to be administered, the sub system ‘Public Administration’ that used to be a part of super system ‘Political Science and International Relations’ got inflated as super system itself.


Journey called Public Administration

It is of significant to mention that, as a full fledged discipline, the discipline of “Public Administration” equipped itself with tools possible from all disciplines worth contributing fruitfully in the achievement of its objectives as a body of knowledge. This can be held responsible for the multidisciplinary nature of the body of knowledge.

The is to clarify further that the disciplines contributing in this manner for achievement objectives of ‘Public Administration’ do not get the status of related or concerned stream or subject matter and should not be dubbed so.

Illustration

The domain of knowledge named ‘Physics’ makes use of tools provided by ‘Mathematics’ in a significant manner. Even in such a scenario scholars of neither ‘Mathematics’ nor ‘Physics’ would ever claim these to be related disciplines of either of them. The similar is the case with ‘Economics’ and ‘Statistics’ too, specifically while dealing with ‘Econometrics’.

[Note: Other domains of learning, viz, Agriculture Economics or Live Stock Economics etc. is being considered here, as this may be considered, by scholars of domain,  as degrading these respected disciplines of knowledge. These domains are in no way comparable to either ‘Economics’ or ‘Administrative Sciences’. In fact these turn out to be too specific domains developed to address the problems of the specific to these domains, and these problems are vital in nature for survival and welfare of humanity. ]

STEP – V

In the domain of ‘Public Administration’, the word public is used to represent a congregation of people, [where congregation is significant in terms of number of people], good enough to be called as a Society, Public, State or Nation.

STEP – VI

Any individual, prudent enough, would be in agreement with the author, in comprehending that Business happens to a ‘niche area’ of any society while working, in and for the society, in a congruent manner to achieve the objectives of the society. In common terms it can be explained as, ‘Goals’ set by Business for being achieved by it, positively contribute towards achieving the overall goal of society. It can be in many forms viz., generating employment, producing the products or services which are required for smooth functioning of society,  while spending a part of its earnings for the welfare of less privileged or less fortunate people of society and area inhabited by them.

STEP – VII

Ensuring the efficient and symbiotic functioning of niche area of society termed ‘Business’ so as to result in win – win situation for both, business on one side, and rest of society on the other end, created the need for a domain of knowledge that is developed to specifically address this area.

The easiest way to do this is, just extracting out the relevant portions, addressing the administration or governance of business, from the domain of knowledge called ‘Public Administration’.

Now, It is time to celebrate, the birth of a new and specialized domain of knowledge and this child has been christened ‘Business Administration’.


Moving further on the same direction in search of the nearest relatives of Science and arts of ‘Business Administration’; one is bound to land up in and around the domains viz., Political Science, International Relations, Public Administration, Political Economy, History of International Business, Development of Mechanism of Revenue Collection, Span of Control, Numerous types of Organizational Structure for providing an efficient and just administration. The strains like Human and Social Psychology, Sociology, law of land, science of decision making.

PART – II


The issue now is to learn and establish the fact that is the body of knowledge being deliberated here, so new in nature, as to be taken to be born in late Twentieth or Early Twenty First Century. Or the same was born in past, flourished, reached its youth and also touched its possible top possible mature status and got extinct like many of the other living and non living phenomenon found on earth due to the changes occurring with time on earth.

Any person of my level probably would do what I am doing. I am now moving in fold of history to get, if possible, some cues on it. The reason for same can cited as below:

1. The times when I was in my adolescences, I got to here many times and occasions, the words in the language [a mix of Sanskrit and Hindi] “VASUDHAV KUTUMBKAM”, meaning, ‘the world is our home’.

Deliberation:

Probably, it is difficult to believe for me, today, when I have for last over a decade am hearing of the phenomenon called ‘Globalization’.

The part of Asia, which I happen to be born, grown and learning new concepts and philosophies, even as on date, has advocated as profession known as Business and/ or Trade to me much respectful than providing service of any kind.

The population inhabiting the landmass still narrates the stories, theses days called as Arabian Knights, precious stones and gems, [related to Arab World], of Rulers like Alexander [Roman Empire], the stories of Panchtantra [much older than Europe, with nothing like USA of today in place], the European Dark Ages etc.

The stories of various scholars like Huentsang, Fahyan, Albaruni and many of the kind visiting the land with the specific purpose of learning and discovering knowledge from the area called Gulf and middle Asia to the Universities like Nalanda and Takshshila etc.

Every body from Gulf, Middle Asia and even post tenth century from Europe visited the land to make fortunes via trade in the area.

The influence of area was so vast even in terms of Administration that states or nations today called as Combodia [Angkorvat], Malaya [Maldives], Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and many more like that were in its fold of Governance. The area today may be visualized as Greater India [an old concept – not much alive today].

The United States of America was lucky and should be thankful to the area [may be called INDIA], as it got noticed, only when a great sailor cum trader started on journey to discover the trade route to India. Luckily for USA and may be not so lucky for Columbus, that he got disoriented, to touch the landmass called America.

What all this could be dubbed if not as “a society at pinnacle of its development, and the phenomenon called as Globalization in today’s context”?

All these facts are coaxing the author to embark on a journey in time, the time which is past and called history, to develop a clear understanding. So with permission from learned academician and scholars the author embarks on the journey to trace the origin of phenomenon called ‘Globalization’.


History has always come to the rescue of any individual aiming to be dexterous in the domain called administration, governance, international relations, evolution of a system for efficient administrative and governance, making policies for maximizing the welfare of mankind, exploring the unexplored universe etc.. and then too the list may remain illustrative in place of being exhaustive.

As an scholar committed to contribute to the discipline of Business Administration, author finds history to be a sound bazooka. The attempt can be made to trace and document the process of evolution of trade and commerce in past civilization, along with the horizon touched by them. The process of administration of nurturing and blossoming such relations over the past would be providing sound and fertile breeding ground.

The same then can be fruitfully, and economically utilized for developing the ways and means to counter the threats being faced by humanity in form of calamities of economic nature but probably not related too domain. Thus no tools discovered till now to cure the disease.

Here, as said by Professor Dereck D. Jones [2004] can be quoted as below

“International Business scholars often talk about history, but rarely take it seriously. Or so it would seem from reading the pages of JIBS. A simple search showed that the word “history” was mentioned in 119 articles and notes published in the journal since 1990. The word “evolution” occurred in 135 articles and notes. Yet not a single article was explicitly devoted either to the history of IB or employed historical data to explore an issue. Only a handful of articles contained longitudinal data covering more than a decade.” (Derek D. Jones 2004)

The discussions about History could be started from Eighth Century onwards, as the particular era is known as ‘Dark Age for Europe’ and any landmass like United States of America was not connected, even if present, to the main stream of Global/ World Society.

The present study being compiled for being presented to world community, may force the great philosophers of the discipline to revisit the theories and principals of globalizations just based on based on developments of yesterday. Simply because there have been many years prior to yesterday and one needs to get rid of Myopia while talking on such subject matters.

Now in NEXT WRITE UP – – TO KNOW MORE PLEASE VISIT SOON….COMING IN JUST FEW DAYS

NOTE: Questions, Arguments, Discussions, Suggesstions are Welcome and is Open for Comments too.

This a paper in process to turn out as another monograph or Working Paper Series Publication.

Always Yours —  As Usual — Saurabh Singh

The Monograph “Global Trade in Herbal Medicines” is now available at amazon.com

This is just for sharing with my loving and learned audiences audiences the The Book which is also termed Technical Monograph authored by me, i.e. Saurabh Singh is now available at http://www.amazon.com for sales online. You can see and search by putting my name in author search or book title or related keywords search at http://www.amazon.com – the same bears a price tag of Euro 59/ US $ 85. Due to your wishes I would be having another book too on amazon but this time it would be related to Economy, Stock Markets, Macro Economic Variables and related. This one is being Co – authored with another gentleman but not from the workplace I am posted.

The Cover Page View of Book at Amazon URL: http://amazon.com

The Book by Author Name at Amazon – the World’s Largest Online Book Seller

Share your comments on it. I am uploading a few pictures of the amazon portal to let you have a glimpse of the page.

——————–Alway’s Yours as Usual —- Saurabh Singh, Pantnagar, INDIA

India’s Events that Covered Head Lines in 2009 Media

As Ever A Happening Year but with many Negative Shades still Promising A Bright Future Ahead

SLOWDOWN

It was a year of turbulence for India Inc and the economy. While many sectors like realty, textiles plunged into darkness on the back of a global recession, there was a ray of hope in some other sectors like the telecom. The year also saw India’s biggest corporate fraud, falling earnings, stock market crash, job losses and soaring food prices which hit the common man. However, towards the end of the year, the economy started showing signs of recovery.

The stimulus packages started giving results with the economy growing by 7.9 per cent in the second quarter of this fiscal, the highest growth in six quarters. The Indian economy is likely to grow between 7 per cent and 7.5 per cent during the current financial year despite poor performance of the agriculture sector due to drought and floods. India’s exports and industrial growth have also turned around raising hopes of a better year ahead.



Slowdown banner

Slowdown or Not

SATYAM SCAM

The year 2009 began on a shocking note with Satyam founder Ramalinga Raju admitting to siphoning off over Rs 7,000 crore (Rs 70 billion) from the company. It was the biggest corporate fraud in India. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has now pegged the Satyam fraud at Rs 14,000 crore (Rs 140 billion) instead of the Rs 7,800 crore (Rs 78 billion) that Raju had admitted to in January this year. Satyam Computer Services was founded by Raju in 1987. The crisis-hit company has been taken over by the Mahindra group and renamed Mahindra Satyam. Vineet Nayyar is the chairman of Mahindra Satyam.

Satyams ill famed directror Raju Ramlingam

Satyams ill famed Directror Raju Ramlingam

Raju, who turned 55 on September 15, has been in jail since January, 9. Raju is now being treated at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS).  He was earlier diagnosed with Hepatitis C and heart ailments. Raju’s brother B Rama Raju, chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas, three other employees of Satyam and two auditors are also in jail. They have been charged with cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy.

INFLATION SWINGS GOLD , FOOD PRICES

The food prices in India hit a 10-year high of 20 per cent for the year till December 5, due to demand-supply mismatch and worst monsoon in 37 years, which affected the kharif crop output. India’s annual rate of inflation, based on wholesale prices, rose sharply to 4.78 per cent in November from 1.34 per cent in the previous month, mainly on account of a 16.71 per cent jump in prices of food articles. Rising prices of food items, jet fuel and alcohol pushed up inflation to 5.64 per cent in January 2009.

In June, inflation in India turned negative 1.61 for the first time in 32 years but the prices of food items like fruit and vegetables, cereals and oil were still higher than last year.

A Grocery Shop Selling Pulses

A Grocery Shop Selling Pulses - Prices hit by Inflation

Meanwhile, the food inflation decreased to soften to 18.65 per cent for the week ended December 12, though essential items like potato and pulses continued to remain expensive.  Potato prices have zoomed by 136 per cent and pulses by over 40 per cent in the last one year.

MONTHLY INFLATION FIGURES

From now on, India will present inflation figures on a monthly basis instead of the existing weekly system. Analysts say since weekly data on wholesale price index-based inflation do not adequately capture the movement of prices of manufactured goods, government has to often revise the figures later.

GOLD PRICES ZOOM

Gold prices closed at all-time record of over Rs 18,000-per ten gram in November 2009 on the back of a strong marriage season demand, positive global cues and a weaker dollar. Gold touched a all-time high of Rs 18,550 per 10 gm. Gold prices rose by 13 per cent since the beginning of this November after the Reserve Bank of India announced it had bought 200 tonnes of bullion from the International Monetary Fund. Retail investment demand for gold has zoomed by 515.8 per cent to 109 tonnes in the second quarter (April-June) of 2009 from 17.7 tonnes in the first quarter. India consumes nearly 30 per cent of the world’s annual gold production. This is slated to increase by 36 per cent to 980 tonnes by 2010 according to the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

UNION BUDGET 2009 – 10

Stating that ‘aam aadmi’ is the focus of all the government programmes, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee proposed the following measures in Union Budget 2009-10

  • Personal income tax exemption limit for senior citizens raised by Rs 15,000.
  • The exemption limit for income tax for women raised by Rs 10,000 to Rs 190,000.
  • For all others, exemption limit raised by Rs 10,000 from Rs 150,000.
  • No change in corporate tax.
  • IT returns to be made simpler.
  • Fringe Benefit Tax abolished.
  • Minimum Alternate Tax on book profits increased to 15 per cent from 10 per cent.
  • Commodities Transaction Tax abolished.
  • 100 per cent tax deduction for donations for electoral funds to improve transparency in political funding.

One of the biggest taxation reforms in India — the Goods and Service Tax (GST) — is all set to integrate state economies and boost overall growth.

Union Minister for Finance during Budget Speech

Union Minister for Finance during Budget Speech

GST will create a single, unified Indian market to make the economy stronger. Pranab Mukherjee while presenting the Budget on July 6, 2009, said that GST would come into effect from April 2010.

DIVESTMENT – A GREAT MONEY SPINNER

Divestment is the government’s mantra to earn big bucks at a time when the country is feeling the ill-effects of the global financial crisis. Now that the Left parties are not a part of the United Progressive Alliance-II, the government has put divestment of public sector units on the fast track.

Money and its Game

Disinvestment -- A Money Spinner

The Centre is likely to prepare a blueprint for its divestment process for the next two years by the end of this financial year. At present, there are 61 unlisted profit-making public sector undertakings and 10 listed PSUs where the government could look to dilute its stake. It plans to raise over Rs 25,000 crore (Rs 250 billion) in 2009-10, which will help to cut down fiscal deficit and the expansion of public sector enterprises.

THE SPECTRUM SAGA

The much awaited auction of spectrum for 3G mobile services is likely to be delayed by more than a month and may commence from the first week of March next year. The schedule will be announced soon. The revised schedule is being worked out taking into account the outcome of last meeting of an Empowered Group of Ministers where defense ministry agreed to vacate spectrum.

Meanwhile, the spectrum row, termed as independent India’s largest financial scam, is centered on the allocation of scarce 2G spectrum at throwaway prices. Accusing Union Telecom Minister A Raja of orchestrating a Rs 60,000 crore (Rs 600 billion) scam, the opposition parties — Bharatiya Janata Party and Communist Party of India (Marxist) had asked the government to fire the minister and institute probe into the alleged irregularities.

Union Telecommunication Minister A. Raja

Union Telecommunication Minister A. Raja

The government had in 2007 recommended an ‘open license regime’. ‘Applications for telecom licenses were invited setting Oct 1, 2007, as the deadline. An artificial cut-off date, Sep 25, 2007, was created and applications received between Sep 25 and Oct 1 were summarily rejected. Rules of the game were changed after the game had begun,’ the BJP charged. The BJP alleged that ‘all friendly applicants, mostly real estate companies, had been advised to put in their applications before Sep 25’.

The licences and the spectrum allocation were then allotted to nine operators at a price of Rs 1,650 crore (Rs 16.50 billion) per operator. This price was not taken on the basis of the 2007 market value but on the basis of an auction held in 2001. The value of the licence and spectrum in 2007 could not be the same as in 2001 as the telecom market has grown phenomenally during this period. However, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said allegations about the scam were incorrect. The prime minister had earlier expressed his reservations about inducting A Raja in the Cabinet.

MERGERS & ACQUISITION’S

Making strong inroads in the global acquisition arena, Indian companies continued to win big ticket deals and acquisitions.

BHARTI – MTN DEAL

This year Bharti Airtel was all set to take over South Africa’s MTN. It would have been India’s biggest-ever M&A deal but months later, the talks failed and the $23 billion deal was called off.

WIPRO BUYS YARDLEY’S ASIA BIZ

Wipro buys Yardley's Asia biz

Wipro buys Yardley's Asia biz

In a $45.5 million (Rs 215 crore) deal, Wipro took over 229-year-old British brand Yardley’s business in select markets including India from UK’s Lornamead Group to stretch its personal care portfolio to the premium range.

LUPIN BUYS PHILIPPINES DRUG FIRM

Drug maker Lupin acquired Multicare Pharmaceuticals Philippines Inc. for an undisclosed sum in March 2009. This is Lupin’s sixth acquisition in 18 months.

ONGC BUYS IMPERIAL ENERGY

The Oil and Natural Gas Corp took control of Imperial Energy Plc for $2.8 billion, in January 2009, after an overwhelming 96.8 per cent of London-listed firm’s total shareholders accepted its takeover offer.

MEGA INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

Bandra-Worli_Sea-Bridge

Bandra-Worli_Sea-Bridge

BANDRA – WORLI SEA LINK

An engineering marvel and the first-ever open sea bridge of its kind, the Bandra-Worli Sea Link is one of the most complex and advanced construction projects ever to have been undertaken in India. The Rs 1,634-crore (Rs 16.34 billion) project of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation has been executed by the private engineering and construction major, Hindustan Construction Company.

DELHI METRO

Delhi Metro made further progress when a brand-new train chugged into the satellite city of Noida for the first time paving the way for thousands of commuters in east Delhi and adjoining areas to enjoy the new age transport system. The Noida corridor, built at a cost of Rs 630 crore (Rs 6.30 billion), is completely elevated and will be integrated with the existing 34.3 km Yamuna Bank-Dwarka Sector-9 segment, extending the total length of Line-3 to 47.4 km.

AIRPORTS

The state-of-the-art integrated terminal, called T3, of Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi is poised to be the world’s second-largest, after Beijing in China, in terms of size. The terminal, built at a cost of Rs 8,996 crore (Rs 89.96 billion), has four boarding piers with 48 boarding gates and 78 aerobridges, which is the highest for a terminal of its size.

LONGEST FLYOVER

India’s longest flyover with a length of 11.66 km was opened in Hyderabad in October. The flyover was built over a period of about three years at a cost of Rs 600 crore (Rs 6 billion), using the latest technology of prefabricated segment and overhead grid launcher, causing minimal disruption to the traffic along the route.

INDIAN AUTO SECTOR BOOMS

It is raining cars in India. The passenger car sales in India soared 61 per cent in November on the back of improved consumer sentiment, easier finance and low sales base, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam).

Auto companies sold 1,33,687 cars in November compared to 83,121 units in the same month last year. About 40 new car models were launched in the market over the past year. India has now become the second-largest maker of small cars, overtaking Brazil.

Nano Car from House of TATA

Nano Car from House of TATA

The world’s cheapest cars, the Tata Nano was launched in March this year. In two months, the Tatas received over 203,000 fully paid bookings amounting to nearly Rs 2,500 crore (Rs 25 billion).

BAJAJ BIDS FAREWELL TO SCOOTERS

Three months from now, Bajaj will bid farewell to scooters. From selling over a 100,000 units every month, the company now manufactures only 1,000 scooters. Bajaj Auto which revolutionized the nation’s scooter market said it will stop production of Kristal by end of the current fiscal.

AIRLINES HIT BY TURBULENCE


It was a year of losses and strikes for the airline industry. The combined losses of all airlines in 2008-09 were over Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion).  The operations of Jet Airways and Air India were hit for several days as their pilots went on strike in September to protests against a cut in performance-linked incentives.

Striking Air India Employees

Striking Air India Employees

A drop in traffic, revenues, high fuel costs further added to their woes. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Indian aviation industry, which accounts for two percent of air traffic worldwide, accounts for 11 percent of global losses.

Jet Airways, Air India, Kingfisher Airlines and low-cost carriers are now planning to hike air fares by up to 25 per cent in January.

THE RISE AND FALL OF MARKETS

The Sensex created history when it crossed the 21K-mark in January 2008, however,  a year later it crashed. In January 2009, the Sensex saw its biggest intra-day fall when it hit a low of 15,332, down 2,273 points. However, it recovered losses to some extent and closed at a loss of 875 points at 16,730 on Januray 22, 2009. On December 29, the Sensex rose by 0.24 per cent to its highest close at 17,401 in 19 months on December 29.

Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria poses with Bull

Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria poses with Bull -- Probably feeling Bullish on India

On May 18, 2009, the Sensex surged 2110.79 points from the previous closing of 12174.42 this leading to the suspension of trade for the whole day. The Sensex is expected to trade at a historical average P/E of 15 by the end of the financial 2010-11 as foreign and domestic equity analysts expect India Inc’s net profit to grow 25-30 per cent in 2010-11.

FAKE CURRENCY

The government has admitted that the problem of fake currency was ‘alarming and dangerous’ as some groups are trying to destabilize the Indian economy by injecting massive doses of counterfeit notes in the country. The secret template India uses to print currency notes has been ‘compromised’ and that is possibly why fake but real-looking Indian currency notes are being pumped in, the Central Bureau of Investigation said.

The CBI, the nodal agency for checking fake notes, has now formed a special team comprising its sleuths and officials from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the Reserve Bank of India and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory to find out how and at what level the design got ‘compromised’. According to the CBI, the counterfeiters have deep knowledge about the kind of special ink, paper and other ingredients that go into the making of notes.

PLASTIC NOTES

The Reserve Bank of India is toying with the idea of replacing paper currency with polymer notes. As a pilot project, the central bank is said to have decided to introduce 100 crore (1 billion) pieces of Rs 10 polymer notes, for which the bank has floated a global tender. The bank has asked interested parties for 500 pieces of sample banknotes, before the actual global bids for the project go through.

Teller Machine Counting Currency Notes-- INR

Teller Machine Counting Currency Notes-- INR

THE COPENHAGEN SUMMIT

On December 7, officials from 192 countries attended the world’s biggest summit on climate in Copenhagen to tackle the challenges of climate change. However, the Copenhagen climate talks failed to deliver a legally binding agreement to tackle global warming. Countries like India, Brazil, China, and South Africa joined hands with President Obama to form the Copenhagen Accord.

The accord commits to cut greenhouse gas emission in each country but the Accord is not yet a legally binding treaty and failure to achieve emission reductions will not be penalized

“Climate change cannot be addressed by perpetuating the poverty of the developing countries,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told Parliament recently that the country would reduce its ‘carbon intensity’ — the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for each unit of gross domestic product — by up to 25 per cent from 2005 to 2020.

Climate change and environmental degradation will force as many as one billion people to migrate over the next four decades to Southeast Asia, central America and parts of west Africa.

Mumbai Traffic came to a Standstill following Heavy Rains

Mumbai Traffic came to a Standstill following Heavy Rains

GREAT YEAR FOR TELECOM

The telecom sector continued to ring louder in 2009. The economic slowdown did not hamper its growth. The telephone subscribers were a happy lot with a number of new mobile operators, like Tata DoCoMo, Unitech Wireless, MTS and STel, making a foray into the booming market. The intense competition led to a tariff war, with operators offering tariffs on per second basis. There was drop in roaming and STD tariffs as well. The mobile subscriber base grew from 346 million in December 2008 to 506 million by November 2009.  However, the much-awaited introduction of Mobile Number Portability and third generation (3G) mobile services has been delayed.

CRACKDOWN ON CELLPHONES WITHOUT IMEI CODE

The telecom ministry disconnected mobile phones without the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) code. Concerned over the threat to national security, the Department of Telecom had asked operators to crack down on illegal and China-made cheap handsets, which do not bear any IMEI code. It is estimated that there are about 25 million handsets without IMEI number. Delhi Police have seized over 3,500 mobile phones without unique identity numbers, mainly imported from China.

Telecom Sector Booms

Telcom Sector Boom

DUBAI CRISIS

The glittering Dubai image took a beating in 2009. The Dubai government’s announcement seeking a six-month reprieve on debt repayments sent shockwaves through the world markets, as it raised doubts over the Gulf emirate’s ability to meet its financial obligations. The Dubai government requested the creditors of Dubai World (one of three conglomerates that are backed by the emirate), to agree to a ‘standstill’ on repayments until May 30 2010.

The Dubai crisis is likely to hit exports, remittance, banking and real estate sector in India. Exports are going to be the most affected, as the UAE is now India’s largest export hotspot.

Bullion trading in Dubai is likely to be affected. The financial crisis in Dubai will not affect India but may prompt investors to take a relook at emerging markets, according to World Bank President Robert Zoellick. Indians who constituted 42.3 per cent of the UAE’s labour force in 2008 are also likely to be affected with several jobs being slashed.

Burj Tower, Dubai

Burj Tower, Dubai

NILEKANI, MURTHY IN NEW ROLE

Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani quit Infosys to head the government’s ambitious unique identification project (UID). Nilekani said he would start issuing the unique number by February 2011. Stating that it was a huge challenge to make sure that there is no duplication. Biometrics will be used to prevent duplication. The project estimated to cost around Rs 30,000 crore (Rs 300 billion) will offer identity card to all citizens.

Nandan Nilekani

Nandan Nilekani

MURTHY TURNS VENTURE CAPITALIST

N R Narayana Murthy now wants to help budding entrepreneurs. He has initiated the first step towards starting a venture capital fund focussed on India. The fund will encourage and support young entrepreneurs who have brilliant business ideas. The Infosys chairman offloaded 800,000 shares from his personal holding, to raise about Rs 177 crore (Rs 1.77 billion) a few days ago to start Catamaran Venture fund. The fund will primarily invest in India, though it might consider investing overseas on a ‘case-to-case basis’.

AMBANI WARS

The Ambani brothers continued to hog the limelight in 2009. Even four years after splitting the Reliance Empire, the Ambani brothers still seem to be washing dirty linen in public: the latest battle is over gas pricing. Mukesh and Anil Ambani are at loggerheads again over a gas-supply agreement that was made when the Dhirubhai Ambani-founded Reliance group was split in 2005.  The gas sale master agreement between Reliance Industries Ltd and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd states that the latter (RNRL) is entitled to be supplied 28 million cubic metres of gas a day from the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin at a price of $2.34 per million British thermal unit (mBtu) for a period of 17 years.

Mukesh and Anil Ambani in Happier Times

Mukesh and Anil Ambani in Happier Times

Accusing RIL of using of delaying gas supply to the power projects of ADA Group and NTPC by a minimum of four years, RNRL said: “RIL is selling 40 million cubic meters of gas per day committed to NTPC and RNRL to third parties at $4.20 mmBtu and making super normal profit of over Rs 20,000 crore (Rs 200 billion), being the difference between $4.20 mmBtu and $ 2.34 mmBtu.

If you go by the NTPC draft agreement which the RNRL says is the template agreement for the supply of gas then there exists a clause that the price of the gas is subject to the government approval,” RIL’s counsel Harish Salve said.

Meanwhile, the government counsel said the issues involved were not between two parties. Gas from the Krishna-Godavari (K-G) basin was a natural resource belonging to the government. As the custodian of public interest, the government has asked the empowered group of ministers to fix an equitable price and it was doing so with the help of experts. The price of gas and other vital matters cannot be the subject of the fight between two persons.

—–Always Yours as Usual—-Saurabh

Note: The info has been posted for academic use only. This has no commercial value. Specially hosted for consumption of students so as to remain updated of major events and their Impact on markets. I acknowledge the portal Rediff.com and other media for source.

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