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Tag Archives: Saurabh Singh

General Beliefs and Re- Discovering Man

Rediscovering Man: A Research Study finds that What is Seen is not Always True 

UCLA’s Anderson School of Management Professor Corinne Bendersky who conducted Two experiments says, on based on the findings of experiments, that “Our intuition about the kind of people who make good teammates, which are often based on their personalities, are actually wrong”. The study further reveals that “highly neurotic people, while initially not inspiring confidence, often defy expectations among teammates. On the flip side, the extroverts in the office, usually seen as strong leaders among peers, tend to disappoint”.

In research, published in the “Academy of Management Journal” this month, Corinne Bendersky “compared MBA team members’ ratings of each other before and after weeks of collaboration”.

The second study was similar, but researchers gauged perceptions by providing subjects with personality profiles of made-up colleagues.

The findings again were surprising, as due to being provided with ‘Personality Profiles’ of the Colleagues prior to asking them to work together, it was seen that “at start participants had bad impressions of their neurotic colleagues, predicting they would have low contribution and low status within the group” on the other hand “those with extroverted personalities were given high status ratings by others. Collaborators thought that their enthusiasm and energy was going to be a boon for the team, and that they would be positive contributors”.

This probably can be attributed to individuals capability of creating an artificial and biased perception about other individuals without even attempting to learn issues like ‘how such individuals react’ and ‘ the way they respond to numerous variables that come to play teams’ work climate.

A very common perception that prevails in society and also with co – workers about neurotic people or neurotic employees is that their volatility and negativity is going to make them a drag on the team. As per research Bendersky and her co-researcher, Neha Shah state that “What people don’t appreciate is that an aspect of that ‘neurotic personality is really an anxiety of not wanting to disappoint our peers and our colleagues’. Neurotics can actually be motivated to work really hard especially in collaborative situations”. It further states that extroverts tend to be less receptive to other people’s input, which makes them more difficult to work with. The studies being referred here found that contributions from extroverts were less impressive than expected.

Study further states that “the core of the extrovert’s personality really wants to be the center of attention”. Thus they give or say they are found doing a lot of self-presentation that is well received and in majority cases it creates a positive first impression. It is their ambition/ drive to be the center of attention which actually turns fairly disruptive in collaborative situations.”

Adrian Furnham, a psychology professor at the University College London opines that regardless of the finding that neurotics work better in teams, they are still considered to be at a disadvantage in the workplace overall. Argument offered by Furnham to support the opinion given is that “neurotics tend to be unstable, they’re insecure, they worry a lot, they’re moody — which are really difficult traits to deal with. He believes that while neuroticism makes people more sensitive to the reactions of other people, “by and large it’s not good news. High neuroticism is not associated with success in the workplace.”

Whereas, when it comes to opine on other part of the study that extrovert actually turn fairly disruptive in collaborative situations, Adrian Furnham seems to be in agreement with the finding to some degree. He agrees that he does not think highly extroverted people make for the best employees either. He has a very different opinion and that is “rather moderate outgoingness makes individual ideal for teamwork”.

Again it is worth mentioning that people who are high on the neuroticism scale need not be disappointed; what they actually need is to find the right job. As per Spencer Lord, a human resources specialist with the Britain-based firm Organic HR, says highly neurotic people are often strong in roles that require attention to detail, like positions in finance or compliance.

He says so as he finds that “neurotic people are more predisposed to worry about the consequences of mistakes and therefore put more effort into avoiding them.” “Due to their natural caution, they can also be very effective in assessing risk.” While the stereotypical job for more neurotic people is technical, back-office work, Spencer Lord believes that the best leadership groups often include someone highly neurotic in the mix. He cites an example to support his argument by saying that “on one board of directors he works with, the most important person, the financial director, has just such a personality”. Probably in this case of (in the example given by Spencer Lord) it seems that the Financial Director is a lady, as he further states that “her risk aversion, need for precision and near-obsessive attention to detail don’t make her the most popular member of the leadership team at times — she often shoots down ideas from her fellow directors — but she is utterly indispensable”.

When it comes to extroverts, its found that they are good at building relationships and getting themselves noticed, but they need to be able to show they have a good base of other skills, too, or risk being thought of as “style over substance.” Spencer Lord believes that “when it comes to hiring, it is important that companies think about how candidates’ personalities may help them fit into the organization or on teams. The individual can have all the skills, qualifications and experience in the world, but if he/ she cannot gel with your people, then the hire will not be successful.

      —————— Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh
Source: The study can be found at portal

One Percent versus Ninety Nine Percent: A Debate


Nobel Laureate of 2001 in Economic Joseph Stiglitz (who shared it with two more), presently Professor at University of Columbia, is  credited with starting the “1% versus 99%” debate. The Columbia University professor talks about his latest book, “The Price of Inequality”, in which he argues that economic inequality leads to instability

• The title of the book reflects a view that counters the right-wing argument that inequality may be a bad thing but to do anything about inequality is to kill the goose that lays golden eggs. Inequality is bad for economy, democracy and society. Much of the inequality in the US arises out of rent-seeking —monopoly, exploitive practices by banks and corporate exploitation of public resources. In the Indian context, you will call it corruption but we call it corruption American style, where you give away natural resources below market prices. India is doing it now but America has a long history of doing this.

There is a clear association between inequality and instability. People at the top don’t spend too much, they save a lot but people at the bottom spend everything. So you redistribute income from the bottom to the top and demand goes down. That makes an economy weak. That is what happened in the US. We would have had a weaker economy, but the Feds stepped in by creating a bubble that created more demand to offset the demand that was going down. Of course, creating a bubble was creating instability.

• Stiglitz confessed that both the IMF and the UN commission that I chaired came to the conclusion that inequality was one of the major causes for the crisis. It is not the direct, precipitating cause that bad lending was, but bad lending was a result of deregulation and the interest rates that were itself a result of inequality. If we don’t improve inequality and don’t do something else, it is going to be hard to get back to robust growth and prosperity. We are likely to have another housing bubble.

• He further opines, that in the presidential debates none of the candidates have mentioned the word ‘inequality’ as American politics is money-intensive and money-driven. Each of the candidates is expected to spend a billion dollars. When you spend so much, you have to go where the money is, and money in America is at the top. Therefore it is not a surprise that in the campaign you don’t hear a lot of discussion about inequality and the 1%. You don’t bite the hand that is feeding you in the middle of an election.

• He say that this debate may last or  may remain a phrase, he is not sure of, but it will be a part of America unless the problem of inequality gets addressed. It is just not that the top 1% get three to four times more that what they got in the 1980s, but the middle class today is worse off. When you have this degree of stagnation in the middle, there will be an expression through the political process.

• Stiglitz feels that GDP is not a real measure (or say per capita income) of development. he says that, I haven’t looked at India exactly, but it has strong implication for every country. In the case of China, if you take into account the environmental degradation and resource depletion, growth is much less than what it seems. You need that debate in India. Your GDP is going up, you have per capita highest number of billionaires but at the same time you have many people in poverty. So the GDP per capita doesn’t capture what is happening. In India, the progress in the middle and at the bottom has been less than what GDP in itself would like you to believe.

• When asked about the current issue in Indian Economy, that is FDI in retail, he puts it this way.  The advocates of FDI have probably put too much emphasis on it. India is in a different position than a small, developing country. You have a large pool of entrepreneurs. They are globally savvy, have access to global technology and they have a lot of wealth. So, if there were large returns to large-scale supermarkets, the domestic industry would have supplied it. Not having access to FDI is not an impediment in India. Wal-Mart is able to procure many goods at lower prices than others because of the huge buying power they have and will use that power to bring Chinese goods to India to displace Indian production. So the worry is not so much about the displacement of the small retail store but displacement further down the supply chain.

When an argument that ‘But big chains may create more jobs’; he told that  some of the profits of companies like Wal-Mart come from free riding on our society. They don’t provide healthcare benefits and assume that the spouses of the workers get healthcare benefits from their other employees or through some other mechanism. They might not be a good employer.

Always Yours — As Usual —- Saurabh Singh

Source: TOI

सियासती खेल

एक अरसे के बाद कांग्रेस पार्टी को सियासती खेल खेलते देखा. पिछली बार तो लगा था की कांग्रेसी नेताओं में सौदा (दिमाग) नहीं है I अमूमन तो कोई भी मजहबी अतिवादी या ऐसी ओर्गानैजेसन के मेम्बरान इतने हलके धमाके नहीं करते की वो जिस साइकिल पर वो बोम्ब रखा था उन्हें भी ख़ास नुक्सान नहीं हुआ I दहशतगर्द इतना तो ख़याल रखते ही हैं की इन धमाकों से अगर इंसान कम भी मरें, तो भी किसी भी हाल में जख्मी होने वालों की संख्या ज्यादा से ज्यादा हो I

मजहबी अतिवादी या ऐसी ओर्गानैजेसन के मेम्बरान बेकार में ही ऐसा जोखिम नहीं उठाते I इसका मतलब है की ये धमाके सियासती तोहफा थे, और मीडिया मैनेजमेंट काबिले तारीफ़ था की इन धमाकों की चर्चा मीडिया में भी ज्यादा न होकर बमुश्किल दो दिनों में ही ख़त्म हो गयी I इसके पहले भी तीन ग्रिडों का फेल होना महज इत्तेफाक नहीं हो सकता, और गर हुआ भी हो तो वह ४ – ६ घंटों में दुरुस्त नहीं किया जा सकता I अबकी कांग्रेसी सरकार ने अरविन्द केजरीवाल और टीम को सियासती दावों से मात दे दी I इतने ज्यादा और इतने सनसनीखेज इवेंट्स में मीडिया इनके इन्कलाब को तरजीह नहीं दे पाई I

खैर अछ्छा है की अरविन्द केजरीवाल, मनीष सिसोदिया, और किरण बेदी को समझ में आ गया होगा की, सियासत क्लर्क की नौकरी (जिससे उन्हों ने इस्तीफा दिया है) जितनी आसान नहीं है; वर्ना हर क्लर्क, क्लर्क बनने के बजाय मंत्री या बादशाह बनता I ये विचार मैंने किसी सियासती या मजहबी ओर्गानैजेसन के खिलाफ या सपोर्ट में नहीं, बल्कि सियासती चालों की समीक्षा के मायने से लिखे है

Always Yours — as Usual — Saurabh Singh



Perhaps, since Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, the present Finance Minister of UPA government (2009 – 2014) has presented his finance bill on March 16, 2012, the Term “P – Notes [Participatory Notes]” has transformed or metamorphosed in an instrument of mass massacre at Indian capital markets. Probably in current era we do not have Black Friday but probably a new kind of day, i.e., P – Note day, though the common term “Black Monday” is associated with these P – Notes. Even a rumor on the issue of GAAR and P – Note is good enough to create an epic blood bath in Indian Capital Markets these days.

The class of investors suffering maximum burnt are ‘the new breed of retail investors’, and I feel this to be the worst impact of the event, as this phenomenon may turn the retail investors chary and scary both. Consequently the flow of money to capital markets may decline significantly, rather it may get once again get diverted to safe heavens, i.e., to nationalized bank in India, out of which majority are in cash plus state. This mean the capital that was meant for capital markets will get locked into banks and simultaneously these banks will have to shell out more amount as interest on these deposits; without getting any returns on them (as there are no borrowers available in market, who may love to pick money from bank in the regime of sky rocketing interest rates).

Participatory notes can be found making it to news headlines every alternate day, but due to all bad reasons. They have been in the root of biggest fall witnessed at capital markets in current era. The apex regulatory bodies of Capital Market and Money Market,, i.e., SEBI and RBI are also making it to the headlines of pink paper these days, as they are found issuing notices and warnings to the parties using this instrument.

The financial analysts and experts dealing in or related to Capital Markets are neither concerned nor worried about this instrument, as Indian Investors do not and cannot use this instrument. At the same time they do not have a say in the issue, as it is the government which is supposed decide the fate of Participatory Notes. The P – Notes come into prominence when the deliberations are regarding or related to Foreign Institutional Investors [FIIs].

But what are Participatory Notes [P – Notes]

This as question is circulating in the conscious or sub-conscious part of mind of every individual or retail investor. They are a confused lot due to probably two reasons. First being that till a few months ago they had neither heard about any such instrument nor had they thought that something unknown may throw all their investments plans hay ware. Whereas, the second reason is their failure to comprehend that why it is they, who are paying the cost for something not known, and why the government and market regulators are working towards saving their interests.

An Attempt to Explain what P-Notes Are:

Just like any other derivative ‘Participatory Notes’ too are simply ‘derivative instruments’ that is used by investors not registered in India or Mauritius to trade in Indian markets

Numerous FIIs, which are neither registered nor they wish to get registered with SEBI, but are interested in getting exposure to Indian Securities, place their orders through brokerage houses that have Mauritius-based FII accounts.

These ‘P-Notes’ are generated as a consequence of the action of brokers who buy or sell securities on behalf of their clients on their proprietary account and as a result of the transaction, issue ‘notes’ in favor of such foreign investors. It is these notes which are called in profession of securities trading as “Participatory Notes”. The brokerage houses then repatriate the dividends and capital gains back to these entities, which are generated as a consequence of such trade. In this case, the broker acts like an exchange: it executes the trade and uses its internal accounts to settle the trade. They keep the investor’s name anonymous.

Somehow, anonymous investors are not liked by the regulators of Capital Markets. The recently out, Lahiri Committee Report, also lays emphasis on participatory notes, its role and functioning.

 Functioning of Participatory Notes Depicted Diagramatically

Exhibit – 1: Functioning of Participatory Notes

P-Notes, down the line exhibit properties of Hedge Funds. Although SEBI, as a regulator had issued KYC (Know Your Client) guidelines, which include that, FIIs must know all the requisites details about their client and be able to furnish the details of the same, as and when demanded or asked by the regulator, to which there should be strict compliance, failing which the regulator may sentence them to very harsh punishments or even capital punishments, as was done by SEBI in case of UBS Securities. SEBI barred UBS Securities from trading in Indian markets on this premise only as they could not succeed in furnish the information regarding their clients. Though, finally SAT reversed the SEBI’s order.

The Bigger Issue

The bigger question needs to address the debate on hedge funds and why regulators like SEBI and RBI are wary of them….. ? That will be another topic of discussion with some other headline. For the time being the deliberations stop here.

Photograph of Author or Compiler of this Post


Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh




In late evening, when I had just pressed the shut down button of my workstation, a colleague of mine entered the office chamber (Officially allotted to me to work).Hello, was the first word uttered out by her and before I could ask the purpose, she herself expressed that she planned to have my company while walking back to home, at least the part of distance that was common to we both. I welcomed the idea and also thanked her for the same. Thus the journey homewards started. While on walk the momentary silence was done away by my colleague, when she requested the permission to ask question that was coming to her mind. I agreed to help her to the limited capacity of mine.Image- Bricks of Gold

 Probably it was the prices of yellow metal that were troubling her and my colleague wanted to know, where the prices are expected to move in future and why. This I am inferring from the talks that continued.

She started the conversation by posing her curiosity as ahead: “Where do you see the price of gold going in the days to come?”

Since, at that moment, I was not exactly focusing on ‘investment advisory’, so I responded by saying that “on a broad level, the price are supposed to continue their northward journey.”

It seems that my response confused her a bit, as she soon came up with another question that “what I mean, when I say a broad level.”

I got the point and then explained to her that “the prices of any commodity do not move in a straight line. When I say on a broad level, it means that the prices will keep moving northwards, but in between they may drop as well, but they will pick up again, and thus will continue to scale up.”

It seems, that she was not ready to buy anything that I said, therefore, she questioned that what lay behind my confidence, which she visualized while I was answering her first curiosity.

Suddenly I realized that majority of investors; rarely scan the external and vital economic variables that are often of political nature. This made me aware that now I need to go bit detailed and also in a manner that she could easily comprehend.

“Well, I was just reading through some material and I realized that there is another solid reason for gold prices to go up,” I told her.

“Is it something other than all the money printing that is happening and is likely to happen in the days to come, all around the world?” she asked.

“Yes”, I answered.

“So what is this new reason?” she was now more curious.Image - Gold with a Medival Painiting in Background

Now I started by posing a question as ahead “Ever heard of Hugo Chavez?” Pat came the reply, “nope” with a supplementary question that now who’s he?

He is the President of Venezuela, a country in South America.”                                

Probably she got a bit more confused and said that she knew that, but expressed her surprise on the issue that what “Venezuela” has got to do with the price of gold.

This made me aware that now my job was to explain history, international polity, and international trade, cost of transaction and accounting to her, and all this in very limited time of few minutes. I knew that I may be bombarded with whorls of questions.

 I started with letting her know that Venezuela has the 15th largest gold reserves in the world amounting to 401.1 tonnes. A lot of this gold is lying abroad in bImage - Golden Fairyanks in New York, London and Zurich.

“But why will a country keep its gold overseas?” she interrupted.

 I started to introduce her with history. I said that “a part of the reason comes from history. Till August 15, 1971, the world was on a gold standard. Paper currencies were ultimately convertible into gold. This meant that countries had to settle their deficits in gold.” I followed this by giving an instance from international trade. I asked her to assume that England and Germany are exporting and importing goods from each other. At the end if France exports more to England than England to France, there is a deficit.” This means that England had to pay France. This payment was to be made in gold. A look at her face made me feel that she has now started picking up what I was attempting to explain. I carried on by adding that “now this meant that gold had to be physically moved from England to France, which of course was a pain. Movement meant cost of insurance as well as security.”

Image - Gold being Transported via Air

She was prompt in asking that “what was the way out?”

 I added for these reasons “a lot of this gold is simply stored overseas at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (a part of the Federal Reserve of the United States, the Central Bank of the US).”

“How do you think this is going to help?”

It’s simple; I added and just narrated what Peter Bernstein writes in his book “The Power of Gold”. For example, if England lost gold to France, a guard at the Federal Reserve had merely to bring a dolly to England’s closet, trundle the gold to the French closet, and note the change in the bookkeeping records.’

She got the point, and allowed my request to take her back to Hugo Chavez.

The deliberations continued further, certainly with some statistical inferences. Estimates suggest that nearly 211 tonnes of the 400-odd tonnes of gold that Venezuela has are with banks abroad. Chavez has asked this gold to repatriated back to Venezuela.”Image - Hugo Chavez Nationalises the Gold Mines

Now this brings a twist in the story, and the discussion to follow will also attempt to answer possible reason for Hugo Chavez’s such an act.

 “Chavez has had an anti-US stance for years and may feel that because of that Venezuela runs the risk of its gold being seized.”

“Gold Seized? Why would such happen and does the possibility of such an act exist?” was the latest in series of questions.

“It sure is. I explained the same by making her aware of the ongoing Libyan foreign exchange reserves crisis, which happens to be an outcome of its foreign reserves being seized by allied nations with declaration of war earlier this year.”

 “But what has all this got to do with the price of gold? To me it’s as simple as me wanting to have gold in my own locker rather than the bank locker.”

I agreed to her statement, while continuing to explain by adding that all is not that straightforward as concluded by her, though to some extent she was correct. The straight forward part of transaction would be limited to 99 tonnes of total 211 tonnes lying abroad, as this 99 tonnes are deposited with the Bank of England in London. Repatriating that back to Venezuela would be a straightforward process.”

Image - Gold Jewellary at Display

 Now comes the not so straight forward part, which happens to be of the tune of 112 tonnes of the gold and same is lying abroad with what are known as bullion banks. J P Morgan is one of them. Estimates suggest that Venezuelan gold worth $807 million (or around 450,000 ounces of gold) is lying with it.”

 She was instant, and argued that this should also be as straight forward as it is in the case of Bank of England, London, while simultaneously her facial expressions conveyed me that she wanted to know, if I dare to differ from her opinion. Certainly, I had to differ, and added that things are not always as simple as they seem to be. The statistics again came handy in quoting that “estimates suggest that the total amount of physical gold with J P Morgan currently stands at around 338,303 ounces (1 troy ounce equals 31.1 grams).”

Now, it seemed that she was out of reasons, as she expressed her ignorance about having to come across any news in media regarding, such a huge bank robbery in which approximately 1,11,697 ounce or 3473.8 kilo grams worth gold was looted.  I had to instantly chip in by saying that, this is not a case of bank lifting, but a way of functioning of financial system in general and banking sector in particular. Let me add an example to illustrate it? I sought her permission. The phenomenon goes as explained ahead [the attempt was to explain the process by making it as easy as possible, so that even a novice can understand].Image - Gold of Merchants in Various Weights put at London Central Bank

“Central banks around the world had a huge amount of gold lying in their vaults, not earning any return. The end of 2007 witnessed the stock of gold with central banks around the world rising to 32,000 tonnes of gold.”

 I requested her to be more attentive to whatever I was going to add now. Out of the 32,000 tonnes gold held, the Central Bank lent approximately 14,000 tonnes to Bullion Banks like J P Morgan. James Turk and John Rubino in their coauthored book The Collapse of the Dollar, have argued that “lending, for instance, involves the central bank transferring gold to a major private bank, known as bullion bank, which pays the central bank a small-but-positive interest rate, then sells the gold in the open market.”

In this manner “central banks convert the gold into cash and then deploy this cash, somewhere to earn some positive rate of return. This based on a very fundamental assumption that idle assets provide no return, and there is fair possibility that such assets may ultimately add up some cost to the holder.” These costs may range from cost of storage to cost of security. As per meaning conveyed by the operative word “lending”, since the gold has been lent, therefore, the central banks have all the rights to, and can demand it back, whenever they want.

She chipped in by adding that probably “this is what Venezuela is doing right now”; and thus conveyed me a feeling that she was sincerely following the every single word uttered by me. 

 I nodded in agreement and continued further by adding that, since, the bullion banks have promised to return the borrowed gold to the central banks so they will have to return the same. In prevailing situations these bullion banks are not having the volume of gold that was lent to them by Central Bank. In financial and monetary world, this position is conveyed by the term ‘short’, and this means that these bullion banks are ‘short’ gold.

Now comes a significant turn in events, that may work as catalyst to force the prices of gold to break the roof. As the situation deliberated above suggests that, in case, sometime in future, these bullion banks are asked to deposit the volume of  gold lent to them by central bank, they will be left with no choice and would be obligated to buy gold in order to repay the central banks’.”

“So, as I can get, it goes like, that in such a scenario the bullion banks like J P Morgan will now have to buy back gold from the market in order to repay the Venezuelan government, given the situation that Venezuela has around 450,000 ounces of gold deposited with J P Morgan, whereas J P Morgan at present has only 338,303 ounces of gold in its accounts/ record books,” she added.

Exactly, I said in agreement, and carried the deliberations forward by adding, that this buying will lead to the price of gold rising further. I knew that now she has got answer to her question, but then too, I continued it by saying that this is only one part of the story.

Much like a child, who is curious to know about everything, she was now eager to learn that what the remaining part of story was now. She requested me to unfold the other part of the story.

I continued by giving her a reference of a report titled “Thing That Make You Go Hmmm” , and told that this report points out, ‘Chavez’s move could set in motion a chain of events whereby Central banks who store the bulk of their gold overseas in ‘safe’ locations scramble to repossess their country’s true ‘wealth’. If that happens, the most high-stakes game of musical chairs the world has ever seen will have begun’,” I said.

“This sounds very scary”, she added.

Image - Gold derails the US $ and US Economy“Yes, you are very much correct while mentioning that the report further states that ‘any delay in repatriating Venezuela’s gold could potentially start a frantic scramble by central banks to claim their physical. God save the scenario, but if it actually happens, rest assured that gold price will be on fire. A scenario will take place, which has neither been seen in past, nor even imagined.

It will give birth to an economic tsunami of magnitude, which will turn the great economic recession witnessed by world or even the jasmine revolution and contribution of social media to same to seem dwarf.

Don’t be surprised if I that there is enough in media to believe U S Govt. Manufactured Fake Gold

Perhaps, there are only few who can imagine the magnitude of risk, specifically if they are not linked to foreign trade. Let me illustrate it. It’s one thing to counterfeit a twenty or hundred dollar bill. The amount of financial damage is usually limited to a specific region and only affects dozens of people and thousands of dollars. Secret Service agents quickly notify the banks on how to recognize these phony bills and retail outlets usually have procedures in place (such as special pens to test the paper) to stop their proliferation.

Image - U S Government Manufactured Fake Gold

This is the most sacred of all commodities because it is thought to be the most trusted reliable and valuable means of saving wealth.

A recent discovery — in October of 2009 — has been suppressed by the main stream media but has been circulating among the “big money” brokers and financial kingpins and is just now being revealed to the public. It involves the gold in Fort Knox — the US Treasury gold — that is the equity of our national wealth. In short, millions (with an “m”) of gold bars are fake!.Who did this? None, but the United States Government, as claimed by Chinese Authorities.

In October of 2009 the Chinese received a shipment of gold bars. Gold is regularly exchanges between countries to pay debts and to settle the so-called balance of trade. Most gold is exchanged and stored in vaults under the supervision of a special organization based in London, the London Bullion Market Association (or LBMA). When the shipment was received, the Chinese government asked that special tests be performed to guarantee the purity and weight of the gold bars. In this test, four small holed are drilled into the gold bars and the metal is then analyzed.

Officials were shocked to learn that the bars were fake. They contained cores of tungsten with only a outer coating of real gold. What’s more, these gold bars, containing serial numbers for tracking, originated in the US and had been stored in Fort Knox for years. There were reportedly between, 5600 to 5700 bars, weighing 400 oz. each, in the shipment!

At first many gold experts assumed the fake gold originated in China, the world’s best knock-off producers. The Chinese were quick to investigate and issued a statement that implicated the US in the scheme.


What the Chinese Uncovered

Roughly 15 years ago — during the Clinton Administration [think Robert Rubin, Sir Alan Greenspan and Lawrence Summers] — between 1.3 and 1.5 million 400 oz tungsten blanks were allegedly manufactured by a very high-end, sophisticated refiner in the USA [more than 16 Thousand metric tonnes]. Subsequently, 640,000 of these tungsten blanks received their gold plating and WERE shipped to Ft. Knox and remain there to this day.

According to the Chinese investigation, the balance of this 1.3 million to 1.5 million 400 oz tungsten cache was also gold plated and then allegedly “sold” into the international market. Apparently, the global market is literally “stuffed full of 400 oz salted bars”. Perhaps, its worth is as much as, 600-billion U S dollars.

Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh


WILL The Buck Stop — May be This One Works

Olympic Gold Medalist of Corruption in recent olympics Mr. Suresh Kalmadi-led CWG fiasco became India’s shame; A Raja will have made the CWG affair look petty if it turns out that he has indeed caused national loss and brought global shame for India in the 2G scam as charged. Now B S Yeddyurappa and Janardhan Reddy are BJP’s A Raja, standing accused of being the shameful faces of mafia-like corruption. Now is the time to ensure that buck must stop.

The good news is that citizens are finally refusing to accept corruption as routine anymore and are demanding immediate accountability from those who they elect. Today, for the first time in independent India’s history five corporate CEOs, one IAS officer and several senior politicians find their new address as Tihar Jail No. 1. This could well be dubbed as India’s second  independence struggle, but this time it’s not against foreign rule, but for for freedom from corruption by our own rulers, and has begun in right earnest in 2010.

There are four immediate steps, which can be taken to control corruption.

First, the government must notify the rules for the confiscation of assets of corrupt officers in the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988. This will allow the state to confiscate properties into an escrowed account where no claimant shows up, and if he does, then the tax laws can be invoked to inquire into the source of income for purchase of the property.

 Second, India must enact strong anti-perjury laws to stop frivolous, false complaints under oath; this would be a necessary step to prevent witnesses and complainants from frequent retractions which one currently observes in court.

Third, reversing the onus of proof. The accused must demonstrate why illegal cash
or real estate suspected to belong to them is not theirs or face confiscation. Today, the standard of evidence followed is cumbersome. Taking cues from the US system, one must trace the money trail rather than paper trails of files of decision-making.

Lastly, posting the right man for the right job. When one outstanding officer, Bishwajit Mishra, was posted in Bellary, he disciplined Reddy’s minions and recovered dues of Rs 20 crore in 10 days flat before he was transferred out.

Justice Santosh Hegde, U V Singh, Vipin Singh and their team have done yeoman service. They have painstakingly sifted through voluminous bank records of over 40 lakh entries, reconciling millions of transactions from one benami account to the other, one benami company to the other, till it reached the eventual beneficiary, as is shown in the report.

It recounts how Reddy started the ‘zero-risk system’ whereby he would use government officers to procure permits for other mining companies, ensuring safe transport of illegally mined ore to a destination of their choice. For a payment of 40% of the prevailing global market price of iron ore or sharing an equal amount in volume, he had created a different kind of single-window system – for bribes!

Companies that initially refused were later forced to sign zero-risk contracts with Reddy. Rs 40,92,88,860 was the amount paid as ‘risk amount’, Rs 62,92,36,810 was paid for illegal iron ore trading and about Rs 2,46,62,377 was paid to 617 officials in just five years.

This apart, the report says Rs 4,79,03,917 was paid to “G J Reddy Sir” by cheque (and many times more by cash). Now, the time has come to use the fullest extent of various penal provisions of the law to recover the money. Thus, perhaps for the first time, actual value has been imputed to the extent of bribery in just one sector of the economy, that too in one state.

It also appears from the report that Yeddyurappa brought enormous transparency into bribe-taking by having his sons take the bribe by cheque into a family trust, turning a blind eye to the rape of the treasury by his colleague and his own family.

He was clearly told in writing on file by his outstanding team of officers including the chief secretary and others that denotifying land after a Section 16(2) stage of Land Acquisition Act is violative of Supreme Court judgments. Yet, he brazenly went ahead, denotified it, sold it back to the same mining company and received a ‘donation’ by cheque! Despite L K Advani’s repeated sane counsel and warnings, the misdemeanour continued for he thought the buck would never stop. But it did.

 It remains to be seen that India’s second war for independence would spread further or soon the principal culprits will be forgotten, witnesses will be purchased or will ‘voluntarily’ withdraw their statements, bail would be granted by friendly judges, back-door deals for mutual protection will be struck across party lines, some elections will be won, and the same people will be back in power. And show  must keep going on and on.

These view reflect the agreement with views presented are vies of the author.

Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh


US Prez Barack Obama as well as The rest of the world, too, is having nightmares about a possible US debt default

Last Seven Sleepless Night of United States President Mr. Barack Obama

The Reason Behind the Phenomenon has been detailed below in Issue and It’s possible reason Format.

What is the crisis about?

Since 1917, the US Congress has stipulated that there has to be a statutory limit on US public debt (debt of US federal govt). This limit has been periodically raised and now stands at $14.3 trillion (95% of the US GDP). The US will hit this limit on Tuesday, Aug 2, unless Congress approves a fresh hike. But the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and Democrat-controlled Senate haven’t been able to work out a consensus

Why are they fighting?

The Republicans want any debt limit hike linked to deep cuts in govt spending. They want the increase to be effective for a year, with fresh discussions after that. The objective is obviously to make it an issue ahead of the 2012 presidential elections. Democrats favour tax increases and a one-shot raising of the ceiling. They are also opposed to any cuts that could jeopardize the economic stimulus and welfare payments

What happens if debt ceiling is not raised?

US govt can’t pay     employees, social security benefits, defence contractors, medical insurance bills and interest to lenders. Credit rating will plunge from top ‘AAA’ to bottom D’
What will be the global impact?

Govts, investors and businesses across the world will stop investing in US bonds. There will be panic in financial markets globally, with investors exiting equities for safe havens like liquid cash and gold

Does it affect India?

Indirectly, though much less than countries/blocs with big trade and debt dealings with US, like EU and China. Still, a worldwide downturn could hit Indian exports and FDI flows

When did this debt accumulate?

 Barack Obama (fighting recession, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) $2.4tn

George W Bush (wars and tax cuts) $6.1tn

Bill Clinton $1.4tn

George Bush $1.5tn

Ronald Reagan $1.9tn

Earlier $1tn

Whose money has the US taken?

Foreign countries (including China $1.2 tn) $4tn

US public and cos $3.6tn

US federal system $6.2tn


Always Your — As Usual Saurabh Singh


Wrangling over the US debt ceiling and questions marks over corporate earnings mean markets are unlikely to get a break any time soon.

Wall Street is set to close its worst three months in a year as July draws to a close next week after a roller coaster ride for markets. Whacked out fund managers hitting the beach in August may find themselves fiddling with their BlackBerrys more than the little umbrella in their cocktails.

“I need a vacation, man. After all the stuff that’s happened in the last three months I’m pretty much shot, I’m getting weird,” said one New Jersey-based fund manager, who was packing his bags for a destination in the Caribbean as temperatures topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit in New York City.

With euro zone leaders having reached a deal for yet another bailout for debt-laden Greece, investors will be free to chew over the rancor in Washington with even more attention.

Negotiations between President Barack Obama and the top Republican in the House of Representatives, John Boehner, still looked far from a deal to avert a looming US default, lawmakers said on Friday, raising the likelihood of more volatility next week if no solution is reached over the weekend.

“It’s likely an agreement in any form will cause a relief rally for equities,” said global head of sales trading at Dahlman Rose in New York.

“Coming on the heels of overall pretty good earnings numbers and some sort of resolution in Greece and that could make for a rally in the market,” he said.

But on the other side of the coin, the prolonged and partisan dispute over solving the country’s debt crisis means there is still a big downside risk.

“Who knows where that is going to go,” as per an analyst at MF Global in Chicago. “We’re vulnerable to a buyers’ strike if we don’t get any news.”

In addition, the corporate earnings season suggests other risks could dog the market. Despite generally good results so far, there have been some worrisome signs. The S&P 500 rallied 6% in the run-up to reporting season, but earnings misses from big industrial names like Rockwell Collins and Caterpillar Inc weighed on the Dow and S&P 500 on Friday.

Earlier in the week several big consumer names such as Whirlpool and Pepsi warned about sluggishness in developed markets, sending their shares sharply lower.

“The market still has a high degree of skepticism in it,” said the analyst, summing up the earnings season so far.

As per him, he will be closely following earnings from sector and economic bellwethers next week. Those include the package delivery company UPS, chipmaker Texas Instruments, and online retailer Amazon.

Around 30 percent of the S&P 500’s USD 12.3 trillion market caps have reported earnings so far. They have outpaced consensus estimates by 3.8%, and only 7% have missed estimates, according to data from Morgan Stanley.

But share prices of those that have fallen short of estimates have taken a severe beating. Given the fragile sentiment a few more prominent misses could derail the market.

“The market is punishing these misses more than it is rewarding beats, an asymmetry we have been calling for and we forecast will continue,” wrote Morgan Stanley’s US equity strategist in a note to clients.

“Our view remains that first half of the year numbers are achievable but the second half of the year looks challenged,” he said.

Next week is also a big week for economic data. Fears of a slowdown in the economy have been a large driver of market volatility over the last few months, and the coming releases will be parsed very closely.

They include early regional manufacturing data from Chicago and New York, a reading of consumer sentiment, and a first reading of US growth for the second quarter, expected to show the economy grew just 1.9% in the period.

Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Blackrock, one of the world’s largest fund managers with around USD 1.6 trillion of equities under management, said this week that the US economy is at a critical juncture.

Doll points out that since 1960 every time year-on-year growth has fallen under 2% the US economy has gone into recession.

“Our bottom line view is that investors should maintain a reasonably constructive bias toward risk assets, but should also be prepared to scale back exposure if evidence of economic growth acceleration does not materialize.”

Always Yours — As Usual —- Saurabh Singh

Note: Compiled from published News and Views

IFRS ——- What is IFRS ?

IFRS for SMEs  — What is IFRSs and IFRSs for SME

Scope of IFRS All International Accounting Standards (IASs) and Interpretations issued by the former IASC (International Accounting Standard Committee) and SIC (Standard Interpretation Committee) continue to be applicable unless and until they are amended or withdrawn. IFRS sets out recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure requirements of transaction and events in general purpose financial statements. IFRSs apply to the general-purpose financial statements and other financial reporting by profit-oriented entities i.e. those engaged in commercial, industrial, financial, and similar activities, regardless of their legal form. Entities other than profit-oriented business entities may also use IFRSs with certain changes in terminologies. General purpose financial statements are intended to meet the common needs of shareholders, creditors, employees, suppliers, government and the public at large for information about an entity’s financial position, performance, and cash flows. IFRS apply to consolidated as well as separate financial statements. If an IFRS allows both a ‘benchmark’ and an ‘allowed alternative’ treatment none of them is preferred treatment. However, in developing Standards, IASB intends not to permit choices in accounting treatment. Further, IASB intends to reconsider the choices in existing IASs. IFRS presents fundamental principles in bold face type and other guidance in non-bold type (the ‘black-letter’/’grey-letter’ distinction). Paragraphs of both types have equal authority. IFRS does not prescribe as who should apply IFRS. It left upon the national standard setters to decide which entities would be bound to comply with IFRS. The focus of international standard setting is on profit-oriented reporting entities, including non-corporate entities such as mutual funds. Despite concentrating on profit-type entities, the IASB envisages that non-profit entities in the private and public sectors may nevertheless find its Standards an appropriate basis for financial reporting. The specific needs of the public sector have been acknowledged by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), whose Public Sector Committee has on its agenda the preparation of standards based on IFRS, for use by public sector entities. However, a non-profit entity that states compliance with IFRS should comply with IFRS in full. A profit-oriented reporting entity is one that reports to users, who rely on the financial statements as a major source of financial information about the entity. Financial Statements are directed to the information needs of users such as investors and potential investors, employees, lenders, suppliers, creditors, customers, governments and the public at large. The term financial statements refer to statements that display different aspects of the entity’s financial performance and position. Financial position is reflected in the statement of financial position and a statement of changes in shareholders’ equity (excluding transactions with shareholders). Financial performance is reported in the income statement and liquidity position in the cash flow statement. These statements are supplemented by a series of detailed notes. Some Standards permit different treatments for certain types of transactions or events. One treatment is designated as the benchmark treatment, and the other the allowed alternative. Neither is designated as the IASB’s preferred approach. The Board intends to develop future Standards that require similar transactions and events to be accounted for in the same way. The IASB intends to reconsider the choices given in current IFRS with a view to reducing and potentially eliminating them. Structure of IASB The IASB is organised under an independent Foundation named the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation (IASCF). That Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation created under the laws of the State of Delaware, United States of America, on 8 March 2001.

Components of the new structure of IASB are as follows:

1. International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) – has sole responsibility for establishing International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs). 2. IASC Foundation – oversees the work of the IASB, the structure, and strategy, and has fundraising responsibility. 3. International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee (IFRIC) – develops interpretations for approval by the IASB. 4. Standards Advisory Council (SAC) – advises the IASB and the IASCF. 5. Working Groups – expert task forces for individual agenda projects. 6. Monitoring Board of Public Authorities- effective 01.02.2009 Accounting Standards in India are issued by Accounting Standard Board (ASB) of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and are largely based on IFRS. However, India has not been able to keep pace with the amendment and additions made in IFRS from time to time. This is largely because of its sensitivity to local conditions including the conflicting legal and economic environment. However, with the opening of Indian economy in near past, the convergence to IFRS has become unavoidable. Keeping this in view, ASB decided to form an IFRS task force in August 2006. Based on the recommendation of this task force, the Council of ICAI, in its 269th meeting decided to fully converge with IFRS from the accounting periods commencing on or after 1st April 2011. At initial stage, this convergence will be mandatory for listed and other public interest entities like banks, insurance companies, NBFCs, and large sized organizations with high turnover or annual income.

Why this convergence?

Converging with IFRS will have multiple benefits for Indian entities especially those who aspire to go global. Some of the benefits of convergence with IFRS are explained below:

a) Accessibility to foreign capital markets

The force of globalization has enabled the concept of ‘open economy’ and increasing numbers of countries has opened doors for foreign investment and foreign capital. Many Indian entities expanding and making their presence felt in international arena. Huge amount of capital commitment are required in this process for which entities have to list their shares in various stock exchanges around the world. Majority of stock exchanged either require or permit IFRS complaint accounts. Adaptation of IFRS will enable Indian entities to have access to international capital markets.

b) Reduced Cost

At present when Indian entities list their securities abroad they have to make another set of accounts which are acceptable in that country. Convergence with IFRS will eliminate this need for preparation of dual financial statements and thereby reduce the cost of raising capital from foreign markets.

c) Enhance Comparability

If the Financial statements of Indian entities are made in lines of IFRS, they will have greater comparability and will enable foreign companies to have broader and deeper understanding of the entities relative standing. This will also facilitate mergers, amalgamation and acquisition decisions.

d) Boon for multinational group entities

Entities in India may have a holding, subsidiary or associate company in some other nation. Compliance with IFRS for all group entities will enable the company management to have all the financial statements of the group in one reporting platform and hence will facilitate the consolidation process.

e) New Opportunities for the professionals

Migration to IFRS will not only be beneficial for Indian corporate, it will also be a boon to Indian accounting and other associated fields. India is a country with immense human resource. With knowledge of IFRS Indian professional can immerge as leading accounting service provider around the globe. This convergence will also open the flood gate of opportunities for valuers and actuaries as IFRS is fair value based accounting standard.

What is IFRSs?

 International Financial Reporting Standards comprise: – IFRSs – standards issued after 2001 – IASs- standards issued before 2001 – Interpretations originated from the International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee (IFRIC) – issued after 2001 – Interpretations of Standing Interpretations Committee (SIC) – issued before 2001

Effective IFRSs as on date

• No of standards issued – effective 29 (total 41) IASs , 8 IFRSs • No of interpretations – effective 15 (total 18) IFRIC Interpretations, effective 11(total 33)SIC Interpretations • No of Financial Reporting Standards in force as on date – 63

 Grouping of IFRSs into eleven parts:

 1. Preface and framework

 Preface a. Objectives of the IASB b. Scope and authority of IFRSs c. Due process d. Timing of application of IFRSs e. Language

Framework a. Introduction b. Qualitative characteristics of financial statements c. The elements of financial statements d. Recognition of the elements of financial statements e. Measurement of the elements of financial statements f. Concepts of capital and capital maintenance

2. Other literature

 a. IASC Foundation Constitution b. Due process Handbook of IASB c. Due process Handbook of IFRIC d. Glossary

3. Presentation of Financial Statements

 Standard Number Standard Name IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements IAS 7 Statement of Cash Flows IAS 33 Earnings Per Share IAS 8 Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors IAS 10 Events after the Reporting period IAS 21 The effects of changes in foreign exchange rates IAS 29 Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary economies SIC 7 Introduction of the EURO IFRIC 7 Applying the restatement approach under IAS 29 Financial Reporting in Hyper inflationary Economies

4. IFRSs on Interim Financial Statements

IAS 34 – Interim Financial Reporting

 5. IFRSs on Group Reporting Standard

 Number Standard Name IFRS 3 Business Combinations IAS 27 Consolidated and separate financial statements IAS 28 Investment in Associates IAS 31 Interest in joint ventures

 6. IFRSs on Assets

 Standard Number Standard Name IAS 2 Inventories IAS 16 Property, Plant & Equipment IAS 40 Investment Property IAS 38 Intangible Assets IAS 32, IAS 39, IFRS 7 Financial Assets / Financial Instruments IAS 41 Biological assets IFRS 5 Non-Current Assets held for sale & Discontinued operations IAS 17 Leases IFRS 6 Exploration and Evaluation of Mineral Assets

 7. IFRSs on Expenses and Liabilities

 i. IAS 19 – Employee Benefits ii. IFRIC 14- IAS 19 – The Limit on a Defined Benefit Asset, Minimum Funding Requirements and their Interaction iii. IAS 37 – Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets iv. IFRIC 1 -Changes in Existing Decommissioning, Restoration and Similar Liabilities v. IFRIC 5- Rights to Interests Arising from Decommissioning, Restoration and Environmental Rehabilitation Funds vi. IFRIC 6- Liabilities Arising from Participating in a Specific Market – Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment vii. IAS 12- Income Taxes viii. SIC 21 – Income Taxes – Recovery of Revalued Non-Depreciable Assets ix. SIC 25- Income Taxes – Changes in the Tax Status of an Enterprise or its Shareholders x. IFRS 2- Share-based Payment xi. Financial liabilities / Financial Instruments a. IAS 32 Financial Instruments: Presentation b. IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement c. IFRS 7 Financial Instruments: Disclosure

 8. IFRSs on Income

 i. Construction contracts (IAS 11) ii. Revenue (IAS 18) iii. Agriculture income (IAS 41) iv. Service concession arrangements – IFRIC 12 & SIC 29 v. Customer loyalty programmes – Customer reward credit or points IFRIC 13

 9. IFRs on Disclosure

 A.  IAS 24 Related Party Disclosures B. IFRS 8 Operating Segments

 10. IFRSs on Industry

 i. IFRS 4 Insurance Contracts ii. IAS 26 Accounting and Reporting by Retirement Benefit Plans

 11. IFRSs on First time adoption – IFRS 1

 IFRSs for SME


 In Sept 2003: World Standard Setters survey n June 2004: Discussion Paper (117 comments) n April 2005: Questionnaire on recognition and measurement (94 responses) n Oct 2005: Roundtables on recognition and measurement (43 groups) n Feb 2007: Exposure Draft (162 comments) n Nov 2007: Field tests (116 real SMEs) n Mar – Apr 2008: Board education sessions n May 2008 – Apr 2009: Redeliberations n May 2009: Near-final draft posted on IASB website n 1 June 2009: Ballot draft sent to the Board n 9 July 2009: Final IFRS for SMEs issued

Why IFRSs for SME

A. Topics not relevant to SMEs are omitted. B. Where full IFRSs allow accounting policy choices, the IFRS for SMEs allows only the easier option. C. Many of the principles for recognizing and measuring assets, liabilities, income and expenses in full IFRSs are simplified. D Significantly fewer disclosures are required. E the standard has been written in clear, easily translatable language.

 What is SME as per IFRSs

 SME Small and medium-sized entities are entities that:  Do not have public accountability, and o Publish general purpose financial statements for external users. Examples of external users include owners who are not involved in managing the business, existing and potential creditors, and credit rating agencies. General purpose financial statements are those that present fairly financial position, operating results, and cash flows for external capital providers and others. An entity has public accountability if: o Its debt or equity instruments are traded in a public market or it is in the process of issuing such instruments for trading in a public market (a domestic or foreign stock exchange or an over-the-counter market, including local and regional markets), or o It holds assets in a fiduciary capacity for a broad group of outsiders as one of its primary businesses. This is typically the case for banks, credit unions, insurance companies, securities brokers/dealers, mutual funds and investment banks.

 Contents of IFRSs for SME – divided into 35 sections

 1. Small and Medium-sized Entities 2. Concepts and Pervasive Principles 3. Financial Statement Presentation 4. Statement of Financial Position 5. Statement of Comprehensive Income and Income Statement 6. Statement of Changes in Equity and Statement of Comprehensive Income and Retained Earnings 7. Statement of Cash Flows 8. Notes to the Financial Statements 9. Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements 10. Accounting Policies, Estimates and Errors 11. Basic Financial Instruments 12. Additional Financial Instruments Issues 13. Inventories 14. Investments in Associates 15. Investments in Joint Ventures 16. Investment Property 17. Property, Plant and Equipment 18. Intangible Assets other than Goodwill 19. Business Combinations and Goodwill 20. Leases 21. Provisions and Contingencies 22. Liabilities and Equity 23. Revenue 24. Government Grants 25. Borrowing Costs 26. Share-based Payment 27. Impairment of Assets 28. Employee Benefits 29. Income Tax 30. Foreign Currency Translation 31. Hyperinflation 32. Events after the End of the Reporting Period 33. Related Party Disclosures 34. Specialised Activities 35. Transition to the IFRS for SMEs Glossary Derivation Table Basis for Conclusions – published in a separate booklet Illustrative Financial Statements and Presentation and Disclosure Checklist – published in a separate booklet

 Omitted topics in IFRSs for SME The IFRS for SMEs does not address the following topics that are covered in full IFRSs: n Earnings per share n Interim financial reporting n Segment reporting n Special accounting for assets held for sale

 Examples of options in full IFRSs NOT included in the IFRS for SMEs n Financial instrument options, including available-for-sale, held-to-maturity and fair value options n The revaluation model for property, plant and equipment, and for intangible assets n Proportionate consolidation for investments in jointly-controlled entities n For investment property, measurement is driven by circumstances rather than allowing an accounting policy choice between the cost and fair value models n Various options for government grants.


 To conclude IASB put lot of efforts in coming out IFRSs for SME. IASB has received 162 comments on Exposure Draft for IFRSs for SME. IASB follows transparent approach for formulation of standards.

Always Yours —- As Usual — Saurabh Singh

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