VOLUME 12 ISSUE 11 NOVEMBER 2013
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Industry finds itself meddling in public policy, as government pushes liberal pro-poor schemes in an election year.
Modi and Rahul of Recent Times: Is This the Beginning of a Glorious Future?
Vol 12 Issue 11 november 2013
Managing Editor Jason D Pavoratti Editor John Antony Director (Finance) Ceena Senior Editorial Coordinator Jacob Deva Senior Correspondent Bina Menon Creative Visualizer Bijohns Varghese Photographer Anish Aloysious Correspondents Bombay: Rashmi Prakash Hyderabad: Iqbal Siddiqui Delhi: Anurag Dixit Director (Technical) John Antony Publisher Jason D
Gandhi Jayanti of 2013 would go down in history as the first time Narendra Modi dared to project a more inclusive, non-partisan vision for India. Speaking to students in Delhi, BJP’s Prime Minister candidate thundered, “I am known to be a Hindutva leader. My image does not permit to say so, but I dare to say. My real thought is, pehle shauchalaya, phir devalaya.” Toilets first, temples later. What a welcome change from a Sangh Parivar leader who is alleged to have aided one of the largest genocides against Muslims in India, that left thousands in the minority community dead, raped, orphaned, looted, homeless, and terrorised, for around three months, ostensibly to avenge the killing of 58 kar sevaks who were returning after participating in a controversial temple building process. Coming from such a leader, it was a welcome change indeed.
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But we have elements that won’t let a man change, a man improve. Controversial Viswa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia was up in arms swiftly, saying, “It is nothing short of an insult to the Hindu society.” Dr. Togadia even wanted BJP to condemn Modi’s statement. How can it be an insult to Hindus? That is, Hindus alone? Devalaya need not be a Hindu temple alone, it can very well be a Mosque, a Church, a Gurudwara, a Jain temple, or a Buddhist shrine. But what if Modi had said, “pehle shauchalaya, phir temple, mosque, church, and gurudwara”. Then not only Togadia, but Imams, Bishops, and others would have been up in arms. That is obviously why Modi refrained from saying so. Maybe a Modi of yesteryears would have said so. But this is the Modi of 2013, anointed to be Prime Minister. He should be more sensitive to minority communities. And for the first time ever, he took a timid step towards that. It can even be argued that Modi meant only Hindu temples, because it is in Sangh Parivar alone that a movement exist to rebuild ‘destroyed’ devalayas, even if it means destroying current mosques or churches. But how many Hindus actually want to pursue such volatile strategies is very obvious. Though there have been serious exceptions like Gandhi’s assassination and Gujarat 2002, it is indisputable that the majority community of India is a most peace-loving one. Modi may be now showing that he is intelligent enough to distance himself from the temple-plank of Sangh Parivar, which has been producing diminishing returns since the last few elections. Lastly, what is the need to read literally this great quote from Modi? Was he really comparing temples with toilets? Of course not. The comparison was just there for the effect, to elicit the impact. In that regard, this is a quote comparable to one from Swami Vivekananda regarding building mindfulness. “Better to play football than read the Gita,” the renowned Swamiji had once said. Was he really comparing reading a scripture and playing a game? What did he really mean? For his thinking followers, it is obvious that what Vivekananda meant was the need for building physical stamina, mental alertness, wholesome mindfulness. If developing mindfulness required playing an intensive sport like football, so be it. Don’t be content with just reading scriptures, as alertness may have to be physically and mentally practiced. Wonder whether any Togadias were there to accuse Swamiji at that time. Anyway, even now there are many, as you
can see from the Hindu hardline critics against this olden goldie from Vivekananda, in cyberspace. They wonder, among other things, why Swamiji had to mention just Gita, and not Quran or Bible. How on earth would you pacify such literal readers? They just don’t realize that mindfulness is not only a Hindu ideal, but an ideal pursued by all great religions of this globe like Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism etc. Mindfulness or alertness is essential to spirituality. Similar is the case with Modi’s temple vs. toilet quote. Did he mean it literally? Not necessarily. He was merely echoing the ancient Hindu saying that “Manava Seva is Madhava Seva.” And Modi was targeting one of the most neglected manava sevas in this country. If India had a social scourge from the time of Mahatma Gandhi to the time of Rahul Gandhi, it has been open defecation due to acute lack of toilets. And it is not just an issue of hygiene or perception alone. Dean Spears, an economics PhD candidate at Princeton University and visiting researcher at the Delhi School of Economics, recently published a paper that reveals that open defecation contributes to stunting of children, which is a signal of malnutrition. It was not only Togadia but Congress who found fault with Modi. However, one complaint from Congress was fair enough. As Digvijaya Singh was quick to point out, wasn’t it what Jairam Ramesh spoke about around six months back? “No matter how many temples we go to, we are not going to get salvation. We need to give priority to toilets and cleanliness,” Ramesh had said in April. Another great quote. But didn’t BJP raise such a stink against Ramesh, back then? Why are they silent now when Modi says the same? That was fair enough an argument from Congress. But then, others in Congress went overboard. Rajiv Shukla for example, who tried playing the Hindu card for a change. “Modi is not a Hindu leader. He has not even done anything for Hindus. He is not a leader of Hindus. His views are also entirely different. He is being projected like this to mislead people, mislead Hindus under a conspiracy to garner votes,” was Shukla’s take. Trying to beat Modi in his own game, eh? In which fool’s paradise is guys like Shukla living? Come on Congress men, give credit where it is due. Modi said the right thing, this time around. Anyway, coming back to the crux of the issue, why did Modi suddenly change? Any astute observer of politics can realize why. Just one week back, someone called Rahul Gandhi had opened his young mouth for the first time. Proving all his detractors massively wrong, Rahul Gandhi had gate-crashed into mainstream political discourse in the classiest way imaginable. He just grabbed the mike from spokesman Ajay Maken who was defending a controversial
ordinance and said, “My view is that this ordinance is complete nonsense. It should be torn up and thrown away. It is high-time that all political parties - mine and others - stop making these kind of compromises.” Yet another great quote. What he rubbished as nonsense was, of course, an ordinance that his all-powerful mom, the party’s core group, and the cabinet had recently approved. In one stroke he proved that he has more ethics than not only Sonia Gandhi, P Chidambaram, and the likes of Kapil Sibal who can defend the indefensible through infinite articulation, but that he has more ethics than the so-called benchmarks in ethics like AK Antony and Dr. Manmohan Singh. They had compromised and allowed this ordinance to save the skin of seriously convicted legislators, but Rahul had single-handedly called out that the king was naked. And it was on Rahul’s insistence that the ordinance was subsequently withdrawn. Even Pranab would have signed it on into law, if the Cabinet would have pressed him. That was undoubtedly a big win for Rahul. Of course, the BJP was quick to criticise it as a gimmick, but the fact is that whether it is a gimmick or not Rahul was right on the nation’s pulse. Just like how Modi is right on the nation’s pulse when he says toilets first, temples later. Like Congress, the BJP too has to learn to give credit when it is due. Is this the beginning of a new virtuous cycle of one-upmanship in proposing radical changes between Rahul and Modi, rather than the usual vicious cycle of mindless criticism between Congress and BJP? Reports suggest that after Modi scored an equalizer through toilets-before-temple, Rahul is planning his next goal, to shoot down a proposed watering-down amendment to the game changing RTI Act, which has the tacit approval of both Congress and BJP. Anyway, India would definitely love this virtuous cycle to gather speed. It is easy to trash Modi’s and Rahul’s recent positions as mere gimmicks, but if we do so, we would be doing great injustice to ourselves. Because, real leaders of people are always eager to receive people’s feedback. That is why it is essential to jeer each leader’s bad stands on issues, and cheer each of their good stands, irrespective of who they are. Through such feedback, we mould them into better leaders. The perfect example of this was recently visible in the radically different positions taken by 81-year old Dr. UR Ananthamurthy and 40-year old Jagan Mohan Reddy with regard to Modi. Murthy didn’t want to live in an India where Modi would be PM, but Reddy’s stand was that, “I appreciate Modi, but secularism is a must.” What a shocking but constructive message Reddy put across! That is what feedback is all about. Will Rahul once and for all end his family’s stranglehold on Congress and make it a cleaner party? Will Modi once and for all, apologize for Gujarat 2002, and end his animosity towards Muslims? Both are highly unlikely. But if they are at least trying, we should be cheering, for leading them in the right direction. John Antony
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Why Choose a Joint Home Loan, if Possible A home loan is usually the biggest liability in an individual’s life, and thus needs to be carefully taken. Sometimes you may want to buy a house of greater value, but you may not be eligible for a huge amount of loan from the bank. Seasonal Magazine
WHY GOVERNMENT AND CII DON’T SEE EYE TO EYE ON RECENT REFORMS Nation is fast approaching election year. UPA Government which has already lost out on economic development during the last four years, is eyeing the only redeemer on the horizon, which is massive socioeconomic development. Does that make S Gopalakrishnan an unhappy man?
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TYCOONS WHO WON'T LEAVE THEIR FORTUNES TO THEIR KIDS Not all of the world's billionaires are dedicated to being extraordinarily altruistic - many decide to spend their money indulging in fancy cars, planes, and yachts. But others want to spread as much of their wealth as possible before they die. A select few even want that last check to only cover the cost of their funeral. Of course, not everyone stands to gain from such selflessness - namely, the children of these generous donors. Though they will still have untold opportunities, advantages, and connections, to help them succeed, the children of these tycoons won't be living large off their inheritances. Seasonal Magazine
Warr en Buf arren Bufffett, Legendar or egendaryy In Invvest stor As an incredibly wealthy investor and philanthropist, Buffett has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth, either during his life or when he dies. He started by promising 83% of it to the Gates Foundation. The Oracle of Omaha isn't worried about his children not getting their fair share. Echoing a common sentiment on this list, Buffett said in his letter to the Gates Foundation: "I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing."
Bill Ga Gattes, Micr oso Microso osofft Chairman Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world. But he and his wife Melinda aren't interested in keeping their money for themselves, or for their three children. "I knew I didn't think it was a good idea to give the money to my kids. That wouldn't be good either for my kids or society," he has said in the past. Instead, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was founded in 1994, and today has assets of over $37 billion. The Foundation even started "The Giving Pledge," which invites other wealthy individuals to join the Gates' lead and donate half their money to charity.
Pierr e Omidy ar Pierre Omidyar ar,, EBa ounder EBayy FFounder
TYCOONS WHO WON'T LEAVE THEIR FORTUNES TO THEIR KIDS
Michael Bloomber g, Bloomberg, Ne wY ork Cit New York Cityy Ma Mayyor Bloomberg gets paid $1 a year for his government duties because with a net worth of $19.5 billion, he's pretty much set financially. But Bloomberg is also an avid philanthropist, having donated millions to Johns Hopkins University, the Carnegie Corporation, and thousands of other nonprofits. In his letter to The Giving Pledge, Bloomberg wrote that "nearly all of my net worth will be given away in the years ahead or left to my foundation." Bloomberg's two daughters, however, may be left to foot the bill upon his death. Bloomberg once said, "the best financial planning ends with bouncing the check to the undertaker."
Ever since Omidyar became a billionaire when he was 31 years old, the eBay founder has made it his life's work to donate the majority of his money to those less fortunate instead of to his three children, according to Forbes. He signed the Gates and Buffett Giving Pledge in 2010, and continuously gives eBay shares to the Omidyar Network, his philanthropic investment firm. He and his wife Pam are also the single biggest private donors to the fight against the human trafficking industry.
Jackie Chan, Actor The mo vie st ar announc ed in 20 11 tha movie star announced 2011 thatt he had decided tto o giv ea way half his give aw mone o charit s. Chan moneyy tto charityy when he die dies. added tha as no thatt he w wa nott planning on lea ving his son JJa aycee any o leaving off the millions of dollar dollarss he ha hass made during his film e his car eer apable make areer eer.. "If he is ccapable apable,, he ccan an mak own mone t, then he will just moneyy. If he is no not, be w asting my mone wa moneyy," Chan ha hass said.
TYCOONS WHO WON'T LEAVE THEIR FORTUNES TO THEIR KIDS
Chuck FFeene eene eeneyy, Busine Businesssman Chuck Feeney is the the co-founder of Duty-Free Shoppers Group (those airport shops), and was one of the world's billionaires in the late 1980s until he transferred all his wealth to his foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies. Before giving away his inheritance, he also went to great lengths to teach his children the value of saving money, including making his kids chat with their friends on payphones, work during their vacations, and work through college. Today, it's rumored Feeney doesn't even own a house or a car. He once famously told, "I want the last check I write to bounce." Seasonal Magazine
Ted TTurner urner urner,, Media Mogul Turner is such a prominent philanthropist that he is as famous for giving away money as he is for making it. After accumulating his wealth through the founding of media outlets like CNN and TBS, Turner has gone on to give literally billions of dollars to causes like the United Nations Foundation. Turner has five children from three marriages, but they shouldn't expect a large endowment once he passes. Whether jokingly or not, Turner was quoted in 2010 as saying he was "almost to the edge of poverty" and just wants enough money to cover funeral expenses when he dies.
Bernar d Mar cus, Bernard Marcus, Home Depo Depott co-f ounder o-founder Marcus grew up in Newark, New Jersey to Russian immigrant parents, and went on to start Home Depot. His retail success helped him accumulate $1.5 billion in net worth. His philanthropic efforts include funding the Georgia Aquarium and starting the Marcus Foundation. Not wanting his kids to inherit large sums of money â€” for their own good, he told Forbes â€” Marcus plans on giving the majority of his Home Depot stock to his foundation, which benefits the handicapped and education. Seasonal Magazine
TYCOONS WHO WON'T LEAVE THEIR FORTUNES TO THEIR KIDS
T. Boone Pick ens, Pickens, Oil and Ga Gass Magna Magnatte
Pickens spent his whole life — from delivering newspapers to taking over Gulf Oil — making money via acquisition. The corporate raider now has a net worth of $1.4 billion because of it. So it's no surprise that Pickens isn't in favor of handing his money over for free, even to his children. Pickens is one of America's billionaires to take The Giving Pledge, donating at least half of his money to charity. And when asked about leaving money for his kids, he had this to say: "I've long stated that I enjoy making money, and I enjoy giving it away...I'm not a big fan of inherited wealth. It generally does more harm than good."
Geor ge LLuc uc as, George uca Dir ec oduc er Direc ecttor and Pr Produc oducer Lucas signed on to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge back in July of 2010, promising to give at least half of his wealth away by the time of his death. “I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education,” Lucas wrote in his pledge letter. The father of four also said in a statement that he would donate the $4 billion+ Disney paid him to acquire Lucas Films to charity as well. Seasonal Magazine
HOW STRESS KILLS YOU SLOWLY BUT SURELY The human body is well adapted to deal with short-term stress, but if it remains on orange alert for an extended period of time, you can grow vulnerable to some serious health problems. Here's how major systems respond to your worries.
1. NERVOUS The "fight or flight" response begins here: When you're stressed, the brain's sympathetic nerves signal the adrenal glands to release a chemical variety pack, including epinephrine (aka adrenaline) and cortisol. Persistently high levels of these chemicals may impair memory and learning, and up your odds for depression.
2. ENDOCRINE Stress hormones trigger the liver to produce more blood sugar, to give you that kick of energy in the moment of perceived danger. But if the "danger" you're concerned with is a long-term dilemma and you're already at risk for type 2 diabetes, bad news: Elevated glucose levels may turn you into a cardcarrying diabetic.
3. RESPIRATORY At high-stress moments, you may find yourself breathing faster, feeling short of breath, or even hyperventilating. Over the long term, this strain on the system can make you more susceptible to upper-respiratory infections (so if you're considering a
career in air-traffic control, you might want to stock up on Emergen-C).
4. CARDIOVASCULAR Momentary, acute stress, like, say, when you're walking down the aisle to get married, will make your heart beat faster and blood pressure rise. Long-term stress, like unwelcome pressure from the folks to produce offspring, can cause narrowing of the arteries and elevate cholesterol levels, upping your chances of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
5. REPRODUCTIVE Stress can lengthen or shorten your menstrual cycle, stop it altogether, or make your periods more painful. High
Stress hormones trigger the liver to produce more blood sugar, to give you that kick of energy in the moment of perceived danger.
levels of stress make bacterial vaginosis (BV) more likely and, during pregnancy, may increase the chance of your baby's developing asthma or allergies later in life. Bring on the prenatal yoga.
6. IMMUNE Short-term stress can actually boost the immune system, helping your body fight infection. Ongoing stress, however, turns things in the other direction, possibly slowing wound healing, leaving you more susceptible to infection, and worsening skin conditions such as eczema, hives, and yes - acne.
7. DIGESTIVE Extreme stress isn't unlike the morning after a bender. It can cause dry mouth, indigestion, nausea, and gas, and it stimulates the muscles of the intestines, possibly causing diarrhea or constipation. Have these symptoms chronically, and you may increase your risk for irritable bowel syndrome, severe heartburn, and ulcers.
8. MUSCULOSKELETAL Muscles tense to deal with what your body perceives as danger. No one who's pulled an all-nighter with only PowerPoint for company will be surprised that constantly tight muscles can cause headaches and neck, shoulder, and back pain. Chronic stress may also increase your likelihood of developing osteoporosis. SM Seasonal Magazine
Sea sonal Magazine in vie ws S 'Kris' Gopalakrishnan, Seasonal intter ervie view Pr esiden on ation o Pre sidentt o off C Con onffeder edera off Indian Industrie Industriess (CII) and ic e-Chairman o Co-F ounder and V o-Founder Vic ice-Chairman off In Inffos osyys LLttd. Interview and Feature by Jaison D and John Antony
WHY GOVERNMENT AND CII DONâ€™T SEE EYE TO EYE ON RECENT REFORMS Seasonal Magazine
ation is fast approaching election year. UPA Government which has already lost out on economic development during the last four years, is eyeing the only redeemer on the horizon, which is massive socioeconomic development. Does that make S Gopalakrishnan an unhappy man? Ideally, it shouldn’t be that way. Yet the CII boss doesn’t see eye to eye with the government on most recent reforms including Companies Bill, Land Acquisition Bill, and the Food Security Bill. At Infosys, he is Kris, its beloved Co-Founder and ViceChairman who helped it scale to massive heights, especially during his long stint as head of North
American operations. But outside Infosys, Gopalakrishnan initially looked like an unlikely leader to lead CII during this tumultuous year. If not for anything, for the fact that software exporting companies like Infosys have gained massively due to the rupee rout. Yet, it goes to his credit that he has really felt the pain of the larger India Inc., which is evident from the 10-Point agenda CII presented to Union Government in July to salvage Indian economy from the crisis it is finding itself in. Confederation of Indian Industry had recently published these 10 points, and it comes across as comprehensive and impressive, except for the fact that on supercritical issues like oil imports, CII
has only painful solutions to offer like removing the subsidies. The 10Point agenda as well as CII’s calibrated reservations to certain provisions in Companies Bill, Land Acquisition Bill, and Food Security Bill clearly reveals that it has a different development plan for the country than pursued by the UPA Government. CII’s view is simply that only double-digit growth or at least high single-digit growth can lift millions more from poverty. Dr. Singh and Chidambaram would have agreed with Kris on some other day, but not today. The 2008 world economic crisis and the unconventional monetary policies unleashed by US, EU, & Japan to contain it have shaken the very foundations of these UPA economists’ understanding of economics itself. That is why on one hand they have brought in a more updated professional like Dr. Raghuram Rajan to head RBI, and on the other hand are more keen to follow Congress Chief’s benevolent plans for the poor. They had pursued growth, but growth had failed them. In fact, growth pursuit has failed the entire nation, as it became clear that growth was not enough to bring in more equitability between the rich, middleclass, and poor. Vajpayee’s failure to get a second term, and Dr. Singh’s need to rely on NREGA to get a second-term were telling. Yet, Kris would disagree. Not just disagree because that is the industry’s stand, but because he can make incisive cuts into the logic supporting more benevolence as well as more regulation. Who will be eventually right only time can tell, but Seasonal Magazine caught up with Kris to get his views on the wide-ranging challenges the nation, and particularly the industry, faces today. Seasonal Magazine
Seasonal Magazine in conversation with S Gopalakrishnan, President, CII, and Co-Founder and Executive Vice Chairman, Infosys Ltd.: CII had made an impressive 10-point submission before the government for reviving the economy in July, which was published recently. Since it is almost two months now, have you seen any action on any of these 10 points yet? Yes, we can definitely see some action, at least on a couple of fronts. Government has decided to act on infrastructure projects, and things have started moving. Also, with regard to large industrial projects, several clearances have come. But we realize that it would still take time. One reason is that there is a gap or difference in speed between execution at the Centre and execution at the state level. States are relatively slower in the decisionmaking or execution process. Several infra and industrial projects require things to get executed by various state governments also, and therefore the delay. But definitely things have started happening on some of our suggestions. You come from the services sector, that too from an exportoriented sector, which is obviously benefiting from the rupee slide, looking at the way frontline IT stocks including Infosys have been moving up. Do you think that that makes you a little immune to know about the acute pain in sectors most affected due to the rupee fall like airlines, equipment manufacturers etc? Not really, as I approach these issues as an Indian first. And I believe that the sharp or significant depreciation of the rupee is bad for all Indians and the country, irrespective of the sector we are in. Firstly, India remains a net importer, and hence the net impact can only be bad. For all of us it will cause higher inflation. It will worsen the Current Account Deficit. Many corporates - including those who are not into importing - have also taken significant overseas debt in past years, Seasonal Magazine
and they are going to be severely affected with the rupee fall. Even the banking industry is going to be hit with higher NPAs, as our banks too have exposure to these companies. So, overall it is a bad development. Looking at the 10-point agenda that CII put forth, though it is comprehensive in many ways, CII hasn’t addressed two root causes of the CAD problem - which is burgeoning demand for oil and gold. What would be your thoughts on this? By the time we presented this 10-point agenda, Government had already started acting to curb gold imports, which have proven effective to an extent. More recent developments like the proposal for an inflation-adjusted savings instrument would further help
in this regard. With regard to oil, CII’s 10-point agenda does contain enough suggestions, with the main one being the eventual and full removal of subsidies on diesel and other fuels. But won’t that cause high inflation? And that basically doesn’t address the challenge of reducing consumption or demand… No, that is not true. As per CII’s position, removing subsidies will be effective in curbing demand and consumption to a great degree. But as you said, it will cause inflation, but that pain is more likely to be short-lived, something to which the economy would adjust soon. You have been a great proponent of sharply higher FDI inflows into the country, citing ratios like low FDI-to-gross-
capital-formation and FDI-toGDP compared with other developing economies. Can you explain this position? Definitely. As per government’s own estimates, it needs 1 trillion dollars for creating competitive infrastructure across the country. Only around 500 billion of that requirement is possible to be sourced from domestic investments and government expenditure. For the rest, we have to depend on FDI. There is no other go. That is with regard to infrastructure alone. Other sectors too have such funding requirements. And when we compare India with other comparable developing and developed economies, using ratios like FDI-to-gross-capitalformation and FDI-to-GDP, it is clear that there is significant room for India to improve its FDI inflows to come up to the world averages.
If a new bill introduces too many new regulations and bureaucratic procedures, we believe that it will be bad for our industry’s competitiveness. Because, too many new regulations will obviously cause significant delays and probably more corruption too.
Regarding FII activity in this country, CII’s position has been a bit confusing. On one hand, you have gone on record stating that FIIs should be clearly demarcated from FDIs, and on the other side CII has been advocating exemption of shortterm capital gains tax for FIIs. Can you clarify this dual position? What we need most is undoubtedly long-term foreign capital, which comes in the form of Foreign Direct Investment. Because only such patient capital would create infrastructure, projects, industries, jobs etc. So preference is definitely to attract FDI. That is why FDI strategies were highlighted in CII’s 10-point suggestions. But having said that, let me also explain why we need Foreign Institutional Investors. The world over, listed industries are supported in the equity markets by FII money. So, for a stable equity market, we do need to attract FII money. Exempting FII from short-term capital-gains tax is an effective method to make our equity markets relatively attractive with other global markets. So, we need both kind of funds, even though they should remain demarcated. Your 10-point agenda, is high in content on short term goals, while lower in content on long term goals. With a strong economic model like China lying quite nearby, why can’t CII explicitly ask the government to follow the Chinese model wherever relevant, like in their wonderful track record in creating the world’s most formidable skilled work force in manufacturing? No, I don’t agree with your view at all. More of CII’s recommendations to the government in that 10-point agenda were of long-term nature. For example, suggestions regarding infrastructure sector, FDI, GST etc are all with really long-term objectives. But, it is true that we also had to mention a few plans with short-term objectives due to the immediate nature of the economic
situation prevailing in the country. That is why short-term solutions like the sovereign bond was mooted. Can you reply on emulating the Chinese model too? China indeed has an impressive manufacturing base, but don’t ever think that India is inferior in any way when it comes to manufacturing. In fact, we lead them in several key industries. For instance, automotive sector and advanced manufacturing. In fact, India exports more cars than China, which shows that our automotive sector is more competitive. But they have an edge in several other sectors, like electronics and appliances. Should we learn from them? I would say that we should learn from all good models. But I don’t think it is the manufacturing expertise that we have to learn, as we can any day develop that given our educated manpower. What we should be really learning from China is with regard to enablers like infrastructure, logistics, labour laws, competitiveness etc. Despite being a communist country, China has simple labour rules, that are good for the employers as well as the workers. So, do you think India can compete head-on with China? We should be able to do it, provided we improve in those enabling aspects. Thankfully, the Government too is recognizing the need for jumpstarting manufacturing, as the Centre has made an objective that manufacturing’s share of GDP should go up from the current 16% to around 25%. But then, no two nations are quite alike. We can’t fully emulate them, and there is no need for that either. We should play to our strengths. Also, we should understand that the relative competitiveness between countries is an evolving or dynamic scenario. For example, in sectors like leather and textiles, Chinese manufacturers have recently turned somewhat uncompetitive compared with Indian companies. Hence we are already taking advantage of this development in those sectors. Competitiveness is the key, and it should be fine-tuned to be Seasonal Magazine
the best in the world to attract investments and jobs. Creation of a sovereign bond has been one of CII’s most noteworthy recommendations to solve the CAD issue. How will this help in battling the rupee crisis? Many Indian companies, especially PSUs, are already creating overseas bonds for their own purposes. But if India launches a sovereign bond, the overseas markets would lap it up in no time. What CII has recommended is that it should be in the size of 70 to 90 billion dollars, so that it is effective to counter balance the CAD. It would end once and for all, excessive speculation against INR that was dragging it down. The rupee fall was basically a CAD issue, and solving it would naturally help the rupee rise and stabilize. A deeper look into the ongoing rupee fall has revealed that the main factor pulling down the rupee has been Indian corporates buying dollars indiscriminately as a hedge, thinking that rupee would stay on between 66 to 70. It is said that some large corporates have hedged so much that it is enough for 3 years worth of imports. Why can’t CII advocate against such senseless pessimism or once-bitten-twiceshy attitude? And has CII or these industries ever given a serious thought on the kind of forex losses if rupee strengthens and claws back to around 60? No, I don’t agree with your observations. I do admit that Indian corporates have significant overseas debt as well as the fact that they are hedging against potential forex losses. But to assume that those are the prime reasons for the fall or volatility in rupee would be erroneous. Rupee has been falling mainly because of the large fiscal deficit as well as the large current account deficit. Corporate issues are only secondary, and at best would have only an add-on effect. And companies Seasonal Magazine
Scaling up your company is not just for business survival, but for societal contribution. You can influence the communities around you in a positive manner, if you are bigger and bigger. In the final tally, what matters most is contributions as a societal leader, and not as an entrepreneur or CEO.
cant ignore the hedging process also, as they have to guard against forex risks. CII is an industry promotion body, of course, but don’t you think industry can thrive only if social imbalances are minimized? Recent actions of CII like its reservations regarding mandatory CSR in the Companies Bill or reservations regarding a more socially equitable Land Acquisition bill, are quite telling. Don’t you think CII should have a more inclusive picture? CII stands for inclusive growth. In fact, we stress inclusiveness in almost all our
policy suggestions. Our issue is not with inclusiveness, but with regard to implementation of the provisions, or in other words the execution process. If a new bill introduces too many new regulations and bureaucratic procedures, we believe that it will be bad for our industry’s competitiveness. Because, too many new regulations will obviously cause significant delays and probably more corruption too. Regarding the land acquisition bill, farmers should get good value for their land, which the bill now ensures through its provision for four-times the current market value, but that doesn’t mean the acquiring industry should go through
serious uncertainties regarding the final outcome. For example, we had recommended the approval of 60% landholders, which was fair enough, but the final bill asks for approval of 7080% owners. Then there is the new regulations like social impact study, environmental impact study etc, which all when taken together just means that infrastructural and industrial projects are going to be unnecessarily stalled, if not forsaken. Such a scenario would reduce our competitiveness further, which is already above 100th position in around 180 countries. Ultimately, a thriving industrial scenario is needed to create sustainable jobs, which is the only means to uplift millions of less fortunate Indians from poverty. That is where CII’s reservations come in. What about the Companies Bill and Food Security Bill then? We broadly welcome both. Many of CII’s recommendations were indeed added to the Companies Bill by the Government. But we have reservations regarding provisions like mandatory CSR. It is found nowhere else in the world. Similarly, the new CSR provisions have too many what-not-to-dos and what-to-dos, like where exactly to do CSR etc. One should understand that CSR too is a creative process, and that many Indian companies already have excellent CSR practices without any such regulations. It should come from within, as a matter of social responsibility, as a matter of pride. We believe it is not something to be imposed by a government. Regarding the Food Security Bill, our main reservations are regarding two aspects - the wide coverage and the implementation. Do you think 67% of Indians need subsidised food? That comes across as an extreme view. If people who can very well afford food is included in such an exercise, it will invariably end up in wastage and even worse, as a corrupt money-making activity for many. Regarding implementation, it is well-known that our PDS is full of leakages. If such a massive scheme is routed through the same PDS without plugging these leakages, it would end up in huge wastages.
Coming to a question on your sector, why hasn’t India still produced services like Google or Facebook or a software like MS-Office? India already has internationally bestselling business software packages like Infosys’ Finacle for Core Banking Services. But when it comes to consumer software or services, yes, success hasn’t come yet, but it can come in the near future. You should understand that Google, Facebook or MS-Office are just three enormous successes among thousands of competitors around the world. In fact, it is not just India, but no other nation other than USA has been able to produce such global scale products. It is also a function of IT penetration. North America, especially USA, had the highest IT penetration in the earlier IT decades, and that is one prime reason why such successes were of US origin. But the situation is set to change, as India is a leader in the world when it comes to mobile penetration or social media reach. So, definitely we can expect breakthrough products of Indian origin in the mobile telecom space or social networking space. Already some big Indian successes are emerging in mobile app and Facebook app spaces. You have been one of India’s most successful entrepreneurs as well as most successful corporate leaders. How far are both roles different, and how would you advise aspiring entrepreneurs as well as aspiring CEOs? What I have always felt is that both these roles are not different at all. A good entrepreneur can be a good corporate leader, and a good CEO can be a good business owner. My advice to both these professional groups would be to scale up their activities. Scaling up your company is not just for business survival, but for societal contribution. You can influence the communities around you in a positive manner, if you are bigger and bigger. In the final tally, what matters most is contributions as a societal leader, and not as an SM entrepreneur or CEO. Seasonal Magazine
ANY ANIMAL THAT TOUCHES THIS LETHAL LAKE TURNS TO STONE There's a deceptively still body of water in Tanzania with a deadly secret—it turns any animal it touches to stone. The rare phenomenon is caused by the chemical makeup of the lake, but the petrified creatures it leaves behind are straight out of a horror film. Photographed by Nick Brandt in his new book, Across the Ravaged Land, petrified creatures pepper the area around the lake due to its constant pH of 9 to 10.5—an extremely basic alkalinity that preserves these creatures for eternity. According to Brandt: "I unexpectedly found the creatures - all manner of birds and bats - washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake. The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry." I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Reanimated, alive again in death. You could go and visit for yourself — but keep a safe distance from the water, please.
6 ITEMS THAT INDIAâ€™S RICH MOSTLY SPEND ON Wealthy people are known for their exclusivity and hereâ€™s what they buy to have their flamboyant lifestyle. These spending patterns of ultra-rich are closely tracked by marketers of all kind.
RISIL Research & Kotak Wealth Management released Top of the Pyramid report which explains what a luxury home means to an Ultra High Net Worth Individual (ultra HNI) and their purchase pattern. The report states that the number of Indian ultra High Net worth Households (HNHs) is estimated to have grown to around 100,900 in 2012-13, and is expected to triple to around 329,000 over the next five years. Consequently, the net worth of ultra HNHs is estimated to surge 4.5 times from an estimated Rs.86 trillion (86,000 billion) in 2012-13, to Rs.380 trillion (380,000 Seasonal Magazine
billion) by 2017-18.Close to 46 percent of the ultra High Net worth Households reside in non-metros, according to the report. Data suggests that unlike last year, the ultra HNIs are pessimistic about the economy and believe that an early recovery is not in sight. This belief has caused a change in the spending habits among the wealthy. Although they continue to spend and maintain their lifestyle, exercising cautious purchases, nearly a third of the respondents to the report indicated that their spending has been badly impacted. Luxury homes, food, clothing, education, travel and family vacations are some of the most common things that track their
spending patterns. So, here are the top six spends by the ultra rich of India:
1: Luxury Homes The wealthy are known for their exclusivity. Status symbol and the choice of location are some of the key factors that drive them to buy a luxury home. Personal pool and mini theatre are the most preferred amenities in a luxury home. Also, they prefer taking a second opinion from renowned architects or developers while buying their lavish homes. Interestingly, the report highlights that luxury home purchases by ultra HNIs are not confined to India.
2: Apparel & Electronics Even during an economic slowdown, apparel and electronics continue to be the most sought after avenue to spend for the ultra High Net worth Individuals. They spent 52.3 percent of their routine spending on apparel and electronic gadgets.
3: Home Decor & Appliances The ultra High Net worth Individuals spend about 12.9 percent on home décor and appliances.
4: Watches Do you have a fetish for watches? Well, the ultra High Net worth Individuals definitely do. They tend to spend about 7.7 percent on luxury watches.
5: Diamonds & Jewellery Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. True to that India’s rich splurge 7.3 percent of their money to buy diamonds, jewellery and precious stones.
6: Holiday Packages Exclusive holiday packages are a part of their lavish lifestyle and they spend about 7.2 percent on holidays. SM Seasonal Magazine
Soaring Rates for this SKY HIGH Profession hose who pluck coconuts are much sought after in Kerala. And now they are acting pricey. The coconut pluckers charge an exorbitant rate of Rs.75 per tree, especially in cities. Yet they are much in demand. "It has become impossible to get a coconut plucker to come on time which is around 45 days when the coconuts have to plucked. We have to wait for the person at the junction where he frequents and when he finally arrives, it is a fight to finish to take him from other people who are also there to take him away," said Krishnan Kutty, a retired engineer in the capital city who has four coconut trees at his home. Coconut farming in Kerala is spread over 820,000 hectares. The state contributes 42.4 percent of the total production of coconuts in the country. In the year 2011-12, of the 14,006 million nuts produced in the country, Kerala accounted for 5,941 million nuts. "I have been in this profession for the past four decades and, mind you, it's only in the last few years that our stock has increased because this has become a dying profession. I am 67 Seasonal Magazine
and in a day I cannot climb more than 10 trees," said Manikuttan, a coconut climber in the commercial capital of Kochi. The price of a coconut today ranges between Rs.8 and Rs.10. The average yield in cities is around 8 to 10 coconuts per tree and most households require a minimum of one coconut a day for cooking purposes. "...let us also enjoy the VIP status. See coconut climbing is a tough job and we get exhausted soon. So even the fittest climber can climb around 25 to 30 trees in day," said Kozhikode-based Xavier, a coconut plucker who has been in the business for three decades. Thanks to technology, a coconut climbing machine has now come as a help. "I am the manager of a rubber plantation and in the past two years, I have employed people who are not the traditional coconut pluckers, but who have taken this as a profession by using a coconut climbing machine. They charge around Rs.50 a tree. Since they are not professionals, a lot of time is taken. "...I have been instructed by the owners to see that only trees that have a minimum of six or more ripe coconuts are plucked; (otherwise) it would end in loss for the owners," said Thomas Jacob in Kottayam. Kerala has 2.5 million migrant labourers and coconut tree owners fervently hope that they take to plucking coconuts to tide over the problem. (By Sanu George for IANS)
Duster and XUV500 Sales Fall Behind Even Scorpio's The tough old Mahindra Scorpio may be over ten years old, but it is by no means ready for retirement. In fact, as the numbers reveal, its sales have overtaken not only its sibling the XUV500, but also the once popular Renault Duster as well, for the last three months. The Scorpio managed to sell 4,345 units in September, 3,356 in August and 3,256 units in July, besting the Duster’s 3,973, 2,967 and 3,089 units for the same months, respectively, comfortably eclipsing Renault’s superstar. In fact, the Mahindra Scorpio achieved a significant sales landmark of 400,000 vehicles last month. Although, under the skin, the Scorpio is basically the same SUV that was launched way back in 2002, Mahindra has made sure to update it regularly to keep the car fresh. These updates included a series of cosmetic and mechanical changes over the years, the most significant of which were the addition of the 120bhp, 2.2-litre mHawk engine, a ‘micro-hybrid’ stop-start system and a six-speed automatic gearbox option. We’ve often seen huge sales numbers from exciting new models at the time of their launch, only to watch them fall considerably just a short while into the car’s life cycle, after the hype has faded. However, the Mahindra Scorpio’s sustained success over the years bucks this trend and instead points to another facade of our car market, where trusted products maintain a steady rate of sales, despite fresher competition. A revamped Mahindra Scorpio Seasonal Magazine
IPO in Focus
WILL IBS IPO PROVE THIRD TIME LUCKY?
VK Mathews would have liked to take his software company public during the 2007-08 bull run. But then the party didn’t last for long. Founder of IBS Software Services again mulled taking his baby public utilizing the sharp recovery in 2010. But then the new regulation of 25% public float played spoilsport. Mathews didn’t want to dilute that much that early. Three more years have passed. Market is a changed beast, and Mathews is a changed leader. Besides, the pressure from early backer General Atlantic to exit is obviously stronger now. The noted PE fund had pumped in $60 million into IBS in 2007 for an undisclosed minority stake. An IPO in the coming months would see GA exiting at least partially, and Mathews diluting his stake. But this is going to be a different IPO. In its third attempt, IBS would be making itself a public company through a listing in NASDAQ of USA. NASDAQ is not just the world’s second-largest exchange by market capitalization, but the most prestigious destination for blue-chip tech stocks, which fits the aspirations of IBS perfectly. Mathews has grown IBS in a dramatic way since starting it in 2007, through the organic route as well as through several key acquisitions in overseas markets. Starting off with just 55 staff in 1997, today’s IBS has come a long way, employing 2000 plus staff, belonging to 30 different nationalities, working from 10 worldwide offices, serving 170+ international customers, through 17 large software products in the travel, transportation & logistics sector. Between 2007 and 2012, Mathews’ leadership has seen the Trivandrum Technopark headquartered software player growing its revenues at a CAGR of 48%. But what is preventing IBS from an initial Indian listing? Is it the same issue with the 25% public float? And will IBS eventually go in for a listing in Indian markets too? As of now, things are in a wait and watch mode.
Arundhati Bhattacharya, SBI
Tough But Benevolent Taskmaster Arundhati Bhattacharya, 57, the youngest of the managing directors at State Bank of India (SBI), became the first woman chief of the country’s largest lender, succeeding Pratip Chaudhuri, who retired on 30 September. The government announced the appointment of Bhattacharya as the next chairperson of SBI for three years. Bhattacharya is also SBI’s chief financial officer. This is the first time that an SBI chief will get a three-year tenure, irrespective of when the person will retire. Technically, Bhattacharya was the only eligible candidate for the post, going by her residual service (none of the other three had the required years of service left), but the scope widened and chances were equal to all four managing directors after the government relaxed rules, allowing the other three to appear for the interview. Bhattacharya’s name was finalized for the SBI top job after the appointments committee of the cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, gave its clearance. Bhattacharya joined the bank in 1977 as a probationary officer and has served in various positions, including head of SBI Capital Markets Ltd, the bank’s investment banking unit. Prior to this, Bhattacharya had served as a deputy managing director and corporate development officer at SBI. She has undertaken various assignments spanning credit, foreign exchange, treasury and retail operations. Besides, Bhattacharya had a brief stint at the Bank’s office in New York. Bhattacharya is known as a bit of a task master and takes tough calls. Bhattacharya was instrumental in creating three of the bank’s newest subsidiaries — in general insurance, custodial services and the SBI Macquarie Infrastructure Fund. Unlike her predecessor, Pratip Chaudhuri, who clamped down on union activities, Seasonal Magazine
Bhattacharya shares a good rapport with the trade unions. State Bank officials who work closely with Bhattacharya cite her successful negotiations with the officer’s federation when unions planned a major strike against the management’s plan to move to a seven days’ working arrangement in 2012 (this meant keeping banking operations on all seven days of the week, not making everyone work seven days a week). Bhattacharya was then deputy managing director and corporate development officer in charge of human resources.
Rajeev Rishi, Central Bank of India
Rajeev Rishi has taken over as the Chairman and Managing Director of Central Bank of India from August 1st. Prior to the new assignment, Rishi was the Executive Director of Indian Bank. Before joining Indian
Bank, he was the General Manager of Oriental Bank of Commerce. Rajeev Rishi has rich experience in banking having worked in various parts of the country such as Chandigarh, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Dehradun, Pune, Mumbai, Ludhiana etc. He belongs to Chandigarh and holds degree in BA, LLB. He has also served as a Director of Ind Bank Housing Ltd. Central Bank of India and service commerce company Suvidhaa had recently jointly launched a prepaid card for retailers that will enable people to pay their utility bills, taxes and book tickets by going to the nearest Suvidhaa outlet. Any customer, including the one who does not have a bank account or an email id and wishes to do an online payment or purchase, can do so by going to the nearest Suvidhaa outlet. There are over 65,000 Suvidhaa retailers across 2,800 towns in India. The bank is also undertaking a major push into mobile services. Technology company Spanco is set to implement mobile banking and mobile commerce related application for Central Bank Of India. The Mumbai-based company has emerged the most qualified bidder, following a technical and financial evaluation by the bank, it said in a press statement. Spancoâ€™s revenue model is transaction based; it will earn a fixed fee for every financial and non-financial transaction that happens through the mobile platform.
SR Bansal, Corporation Bank
Quick Decision Maker SR Bansal has taken charge as the Chairman & Managing Director of Corporation Bank on 5th October. Prior to assuming the position of Chairman & Managing Director, he was Executive Director of Punjab National Bank. SR Bansal is a Post Graduate in English, a Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers (CAIIB) and an Associate of Indian Institute of Banking & Finance (AIIBF). He is a seasoned banker with over 32 years of rich experience in various administrative and functional capacities at Branches, Regional Offices, Zonal Offices and also at the Head Office level. He started his banking career as a Direct Officer Recruit at Dena Bank in 1981 and went on to hold the office of the Field General Manager (North India) covering eight states. He was appointed as Executive Director of Punjab National Bank in June 2012, where he was responsible for large field operations and many other key areas. Bansal is known in the industry circles for his result oriented and practical approach, team work and quick decisions. During his tenure, the Bank as well as the departments headed by him have won several prestigious awards like ‘The SKOCH award for Financial Inclusion’, ‘Best Bankers’ award under Agriculture Lending - Large by The Sunday Standard’ and ‘The MSME National award by Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium
Enterprises, for excellent performance in PMEGP in North Zone’. He has also received accolades as a speaker at various seminars and conferences organized by FICCI, CII, Management Institutes like IIM (A) and International conferences in Singapore and Dubai.
IS NEW INDIA READY FOR THE NEW ORDER? It has been so far so good for Indiaâ€™s largest general insurer. But the industry is changing rapidly, and is New India Assurance Company up to the mark in the emerging new order of things? Indian insurersâ€™ health cover operations are still bleeding, while the auto industry has entered an indefinite slowdown after many years of rapid growth. The world scenario for insurance too is changing, and there is no doubt that it would affect New India Assurance more than anybody else due to their operations in 23 countries. Demand for adherence to Solvency II norms by 2016 is sure to emerge. Under the leadership of Chairman G Srinivasan and Directors AR Sekar and K Sanath Kumar, the over 19,000 strong team of New India has been busily preparing for the new order of things.
G Srinivasan, Chairman Seasonal Magazine
CAN JAMMU & KASHMIR BANK MAKE GOOD OF ALL THE SUPPORT? Support has been pouring in for Jammu & Kashmir Bank which completed 75 years recently. Even while not a public sector bank, and even when it remains a relatively small private sector bank, the support the bank and its Chairman Mushtaq Ahmad received was overwhelming. While none other than J&K CM Omar Abdullah publicly pitched in with RBI to provide Ahmad a second-term of 3 years, P Chidambaram provided the bank with a clear strategy to eventually become a large private sector lender. The stock markets too have been highly appreciative of J&K Bank, which came into limelight during Ahmadâ€™s first term. But even on a larger time-frame, J&K Bank stock has been a wealth creator, having appreciated by 56 times within the last 13 years, breaking sometime back into the four-digit category. Omar even publicly rued his decision to sell off the stock while it was in double digits. Chidambaramâ€™s advice is for the bank to break out to new geographical territories, and begin by supporting J&K based businessmen operating in other states. Now the question is, whether Chairman Mushtaq Ahmad and his team can deliver on such support and strategies, going forward?
Mushtaq Ahmad, Chairman Seasonal Magazine
WHY UNITED INDIA IS THE MOST DIFFERENTIA TED GENERAL INSURER DIFFERENTIATED n a sector where each general insurer is struggling to differentiate itself from other general insurers, United India Insurance Company has always come across as a welcome change. Though not the largest general insurer in the country, United India has attempted to underwrite larger stuff beyond the mundane, the motor and health covers. The Chennai headquartered insurer has insured airports, industrial projects, pilgrimage centres, and other such larger-than-life operations. This government-owned insurer’s portfolio include customers like ONGC, Mumbai International Airport, GMR Hyderabad International Airport, and Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam, to name a few mammoth customers. In recent years, United India has taken such initiatives to new innovative dimensions. The best recent example was the insurance cover extended to pilgrims during the Ganesha Chaturthi in Mumbai. For instance, one Festival Mandal in Mumbai had taken a Rs. 20 crore policy from United to insure all devotees. This covered people who suffered permanent disability during Ganesh Visarjan, or those who die by drowning at any immersion site. The policy covered important Visarjan days, like the second, fifth, seventh and tenth day of Ganeshotsav, when lakhs and lakhs of devotees took part in the procession and immersed gigantic as well as numerous household statues of Ganesha in the sea. That single policy was most probably United’s not only one, as it was from just one Mandal of the festival. Apart from such large projects and festivals, United India Insurance Company (UIIC) also does
Milind A Kharat, Chairman large coverages of a totally different kind. UIIC has been a leader in insurance for the masses or microinsurance. It has proactively promoted schemes like Universal Health Insurance Program, Vijaya Raji Janani Kalyan Yojana, Tsunami Jan Bima Yojana, National Livestock Insurance etc. Some of these programs are so huge in its social impact, as they cover more than 50 lakh people, sometimes all of them women. But such innovative pursuits doesn’t mean that UIIC has forgotten its bread n’ butter business of auto and health insurance. In its core health portfolio, it has diverse schemes like Medicare, Family Medicare, Gold, Platinum, Senior Citizen, Topup, and Super Topup. In its motor business, United prides itself to say that it insures everything except those running on rails! The emphasis is that it is not just an insurer of cars & bikes, or private vehicles, but an insurer of all kinds of commercial vehicles. An older tagline from UIIC is even more catchy as it claims to insure everything from bullock carts to a satellites. United also
has one of the widest general insurance portfolios in the industry apart from the core health and motor sectors, including Fire, Marine, Industrial, Liability, Business, Rural, Social, Travel, & Credit Insurance. Under the leadership of its Chairman Milind A Kharat and Directors S Surenther and Asha Nair, the company has also been growing remarkably, when it comes to absolute growth metrics. United has also been leading industry-wide initiatives like in their drive to create an in-house TPA for delivering health insurance schemes of the four government-owned insurers. United has also put in serious efforts to limit hospital expenses from skyrocketing, which has benefited Indian patients as a whole. However, there are also several areas where United India has to improve sharply. Recently, its Indore offices were raided by CBI and several officers and agents interrogated for allegedly running a fake policy racket. The insurance giant is also under government scrutiny currently regarding a former deal it had with Swiss Re, from which it had bought reinsurance protection. Swiss Re is now attempting to enter the Indian health insurance directly through a tieup with L&T. The government’s concern is whether Swiss Re has access to United’s nationwide health cover data, which it can use to its own unfair advantage under the new private sector JV. There is also talk in the industry that the former deal with Swiss Re was unnecessary as United’s portfolio was quite healthy and profitable. Apart from such rare issues, the over 18,000 strong team of United comes across as doing an exceptional job, which can eventually aspire to the lofty slogan of UIIC - At United India, It is Always U before I. Seasonal Magazine
IS THERE AN IDENTITY CRISIS AT IDBI BANK? A Development Financial Institution (DFI) from 1964 onward. Spawned off a bank from 2004 onward. Designed, built, and presented at par with new generation banks. But government owning majority shares. A reverse merger with parent IDBI in 2005. A further name change in 2008. All through this, a glorious legacy of having assisted industrialization through extensive project finance. But a legacy that has turned into a liability since 2008, bogged down by NPAs. Market cap is down by 75% since 2010 peak. But things can turn around under external leadership brought in by July. CMD MS Raghavan is not from a DFI background, but a hardcore banker from the stables of IOB and BoI. Helped by IDBI veterans BK Batra and Melwyn Rego as Deputy MDs, Chairman Raghavan may turnaround IDBI Bank, but only when economy rebounds, and liabilities like project finance business again become asset.
MS Raghavan, CMD Seasonal Magazine
HOW TO INVEST LIKE WARREN BUFFETT obert G. Hagstrom wrote a book about the legendary investor Warren Buffett entitled "The Warren Buffett Portfolio". What's so great about the book, and what makes it different from the countless other books and articles written about the "Oracle of Omaha", is that it offers the reader valuable insight into how Buffett actually thinks about investments. In other words, the book delves into the psychological mindset that has made Buffett so fabulously wealthy. Although investors could benefit from reading the entire book, we've selected a bite-sized sampling of the tips and suggestions regarding the investor mindset and ways to improve stock selection that will help you get inside Buffett's head.
1. Think of Stocks as a Business Many investors think of stocks and the stock market in general as nothing more than little pieces of paper being traded back and forth among investors. This might help prevent investors from becoming too emotional over a given position, but it doesn't necessarily allow them to make the best possible investment decisions. That's why Buffett has stated he believes stockholders should think of themselves as "part owners" of the business in which they are investing. By thinking that way, both Hagstrom and Buffett argue that investors will tend to avoid making off-the-cuff investment decisions, and become more focused on the longer term. Furthermore, longerterm "owners" tend to analyze Seasonal Magazine
situations in greater detail, and then put a great deal of thought into buy and sell decisions. Hagstrom says this increased thought and analysis tends to lead to improved investment returns.
2. Increase the Size of Your Investment While it rarely - if ever - makes sense for investors to "put all of their eggs in one basket", putting all your eggs in too many baskets may not be a good thing either. Buffett contends that overdiversification can hamper returns as much as a lack of diversification. That's why he doesn't invest in mutual funds. It's also why he prefers to make significant investments in just a handful of companies. Buffett is a firm believer that investors must first do their homework before investing in any security. But after that due diligence process is completed, investors should feel comfortable enough to dedicate a sizable portion of assets to that stock. They should also feel comfortable in winnowing down their overall investment portfolio to a handful of good companies with excellent growth prospects. Buffett's stance on taking time to properly allocate your funds is furthered with his comment that it's not just about the best company, but how you feel about the company. If the best business you own presents the least financial risk and has the most favorable long-term prospects, why would you put money into your 20th favorite business instead of adding money to the top choices?
3. Reduce Portfolio Turnover Rapidly trading in and out of stocks can potentially make an individual a lot of
(By Glenn Curtis for Investopedia)
money, but according to Buffett, this trader is actually hampering his or her investment returns. That's because portfolio turnover increases the amount of taxes that must be paid on capital gains and boosts the total amount of commission dollars that must be paid in a given year. The "Oracle" contends that what makes sense in business also makes sense in stocks: An investor should ordinarily hold a small piece of an outstanding business with the same tenacity that an owner would exhibit if he owned all of that business. Investors must think long term. By having that mindset, they can avoid paying huge commission fees and lofty short-term capital gains taxes. They'll also be more apt to ride out any short-term fluctuations in the business, and to ultimately reap the rewards of increased earnings and/or dividends over time.
4. Develop Alternative Benchmarks While stock prices may be the ultimate barometer of the success or failure of a given investment choice, Buffett does not focus on this metric. Instead, he analyzes and pores over the underlying economics of a given business or group of businesses. If a company is doing what it takes to grow itself on a profitable basis, then the share price will ultimately take care of itself. Successful investors must look at the companies they own and study their true earnings potential. If the fundamentals are solid and the company is enhancing shareholder value by generating consistent bottom-line growth, the share price, in the long term, should reflect that. (To learn how to judge fundamentals on your own, see What Are Fundamentals? )
5. Learn to Think in Probabilities Bridge is a card game in which the most successful players are able to judge mathematical probabilities to beat their opponents. Perhaps not surprisingly, Buffett loves and actively plays the game, and he takes the strategies beyond the game into the investing world. Buffett suggests that investors focus on the economics of the companies they
If you take that time and effort to implement some of Buffett's proven strategies, you could be on your way to better stock selection and greater returns. own (in other words the underlying businesses), and then try to weigh the probability that certain events will or will not transpire, much like a Bridge player checks the probabilities of his opponents' hands. He adds that by focusing on the economic aspect of the equation and not the stock price, an investor will be more accurate in his or her ability to judge probability. Thinking in probabilities has its advantages. For example, an investor that ponders the probability that a company will report a certain earnings growth rate over a five- or 10-year period is much more apt to ride out short-term fluctuations in the share price. By extension, this means that his investment returns are likely to be superior, and that he will also realize fewer transaction and/ or capital gains costs.
6. Recognize the Psychological Aspects of Investing Very simply, this means that individuals must understand that there is a psychological mindset that the successful investor tends to have. More specifically, the successful investor will focus on probabilities and economic issues and let decisions be ruled by rational, as opposed to emotional, thinking. More than anything, investors' own emotions can be their worst enemy. Buffett contends that the key to overcoming emotions is being able to retain your belief in the real fundamentals of the business, and don't get too concerned about the stock market. Investors should realize that there is a certain psychological mindset that they should have if they want to be successful, and try to implement that mindset.
7. Ignore Market Forecasts There is an old saying that the Dow "climbs a wall of worry". In other words, in spite of the negativity in the marketplace, and those who perpetually contend that a recession is "just around the corner", the markets have fared quite well over time. Therefore, doomsayers should be ignored. On the other side of the coin, just as many eternal optimists argue that the stock market is headed perpetually higher. These should be ignored as well. In all this confusion, Buffett suggests that investors should focus their efforts on isolating and investing in shares that are not currently being accurately valued by the market. The logic here is that as the stock market begins to realize the company's intrinsic value (through higher prices and greater demand), the investor will stand to make a lot of money.
8. Wait for the Fat Pitch Hagstrom's book uses the model of legendary baseball player Ted Williams as an example of a wise investor. Williams would wait for a specific pitch (in an area of the plate where he knew he had a high probability of making contact with the ball) before swinging. It is said that this discipline enabled Williams to have a higher lifetime batting average than the average player. Buffett, in the same way, suggests that all investors act as if they owned a lifetime decision card with only 20 investment choice punches in it. The logic is that this should prevent them from making mediocre investment choices and hopefully, by extension, enhance the overall returns of their respective portfolios.
Bottom Line "The Warren Buffett Portfolio" is a timeless book that offers valuable insight into the psychological mindset of the legendary investor Warren Buffett. Of course, if learning how to invest like Warren Buffett were as easy as reading a book, everyone would be rich! But if you take that time and effort to implement some of Buffett's proven strategies, you could be on your way to better stock selection and greater returns. Seasonal Magazine
HOW CHANDY SURVIVED ALL Any other CM would have been paranoid long back. But not Oommen Chandy, even after paying a heavy price for his trusting nature. This unwillingness to change style, however, lies at the heart of the paradigm shift Chandy has been attempting since he took office. No other Kerala CM would have faced as many controversies as Chandy has been facing in 2013, but he is not letting any of the parasites in Congress and UDF - feeding on such scams - to paralyze either his ongoing Jana Samparkka Paripadi nor his dream projects and planning headed by professionals like KM Chandrasekhar, E Sreedharan, & Sam Pitroda. Will he survive this paradox? Interview and feature by Jaison D and John Antony:
uccess breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive." So wrote a business manager and author in the early 90s. The last four words became one of the best-known success paradigms of recent times, in everything from careers to business to politics. Not because it was very intuitive, but because the guy who said it had done the impossible. Fleeing from communist Hungary to escape persecution, this Jewish youngster would land up in America, educate himself, get employed with a start-up, and turn it into the world’s 7th largest company with 64,000 employees, registering a 4500% increase in market cap, and making its founders, himself, and its early
investors billionaires and millionaires. That is how Andrew Grove built Intel. Counter-intuitive to the market wisdom of greater trust, win-win, and all such stuff. Until Grove said that, paranoia was a mental affliction, and paranoids were sympathetically viewed. Grove ‘suspected’ everyone, from competitors to associates to employees. He equated someone wasting a key officer’s time to someone stealing an expensive office equipment. For Grove, every decision, every thing depended on raw data. India too had many ‘Andy’ fans, most notably NR Narayana Murthy who used to tell about meetings, “In God we trust, everyone else brings data to the table.” But it goes to his credit that for all his paranoia, Andy was one of the most
approachable Big Business CEOs ever, shunning the corner office, always working from a small worker-cubicle, and allowing colleagues to argue and shout at him. Andy also never owned a jet, but had a modest home, a modest car, and a modest life. Still, the counter-intuitiveness of Grove was telling. Not that “only the paranoid succeed.” But that, “only the paranoid survive.” Even mere survival required paranoia in Andy‘s wisdom! Now, try telling that to politicians. At least 99% would readily agree. From Washington to New Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram. After all, isn’t that what the success of K Karunakaran, EK Nayanar, AK Antony, or VS Achuthanandan taught us? All of them were alert, suspicious, and paranoid to a great extent.
HAS ODDS â€œWhen a student with the potential to win the first rank, comes home with a first class, will anyone be satisfied? That is the situation of Kerala.â€?
Now, try telling that to Oommen Chandy. He wouldn’t agree. Even after he has paid a heavy price in 2013 for not being paranoid about stuff that other leaders would have been paranoid about. Speaking to Seasonal Magazine exclusively, Chandy says, “I tend to take people and issues at face value, with sincerity. Let people prove otherwise.” Even after a few of his staff have been suspended and put under investigation for allegedly helping the solar scamsters, Chandy is unrepentant. Is it arrogance? Nobody who knows the current Kerala Chief Minister up-close would blame him for that character. He also can’t be arrogant, given his Government’s wafer-thin margin in the Kerala Assembly, and the belligerent attitude of his UDF partners as well as of competing groups in Congress itself. Live political debates in various TV channels have also been merciless on him. How can they be otherwise, given that much of Chandy’s problems have come from within Congress and UDF. Channels can do nothing but make merry when it is the likes of Ramesh Chennithala or his followers who publicly ‘suspect’ that Government is going soft on arch-rival LDF in key cases like TP murder and another one against Achuthanandan’s son, in lieu of LDF calling off a massive protest seeking Chandy's resignation. Outspoken KM Mani aide, PC George, nor the ever-smiling PK Kunhalikutty has also not made CM’s life easier. Everyone has been trying to extract their pound of flesh using Chandy’s besieged status. Kerala Police, which has never been immune to political patronage has in the last couple of years turned more complicated in its allegiances, often dictated by even Congress group rivalries. But despite all this, Chandy has survived all odds, till now. Is it because of the impending general elections, and Sonia Gandhi unwilling Seasonal Magazine
to upset the apple-cart before elections? Or is it because even his detractors think that Chandy is better than any of his potential replacements, any day? Or is it because of the all-out support he enjoys from the allpowerful AK Antony? Though all these factors are helping Oommen Chandy remain the CM, there are also unmistakable leadership traits that are unique to him, that no politician in Kerala has ever had. When Seasonal Magazine trailed him almost for a whole day, for this
“ What if one or two people I meet during a day, among the hundreds, turn out to be insincere? I can’t be held accountable for that, as long as I haven‘t done them any undue favours.
interview, this was apparent to us. Chandy, who will soon be 70, was tired beyond description when night came, having travelled to Kochi from Thiruvananthapuram during the day, and having attended a lengthy public function of SmartCity, besides a few other commitments. The interview was finally re-scheduled at 10:30, but at the last minute Central Minister Vayalar Ravi called upon the CM, prompting CM's PA to suggest us another wait. It was past 11 PM, when Oommen Chandy ushered us into his room, after caringly bidding bye to the senior and junior police officers who had patiently waited for him to retire. Chandy was already in his night dress, ready to retire as soon as our interview was done and over with. Still, the moment he started replying to our questions, his energy returned, and his clarity on a wide range of issues we asked were startling for his age and the approaching midnight. If we felt guilty of making him stay awake, we reminded ourselves that he was a person who has done it umpteen times, not just with a couple of probing journalists, but with thousands of people thronging him for submitting their petitions, often at odd hours and public functions, as part of his uniquely successful Jana Samparkka Paripadi (JSP), a mass contact program which won him a United Nations award. Grassroots level contact is a uniquely energizing exercise for a politician, indeed. The second key trait of Chandy is that ever since he assumed office, he has spared no efforts to push all the large transformational projects like Kochi Metro and SmartCity, so that they can be completed on schedule. For this, he had also roped in some of India's best administrators and planners like E Sreedharan, KM Chandrasekhar, and Sam Pitroda. Clearly, Oommen Chandy has turned professional, which is usually not a trait found in most past Chief Ministers of this state. Though we had interviewed former Chief Ministers, and even this Chief Minister before, this time it was totally
“I tend to take people and issues at face value, with sincerity. Let people prove otherwise.” different. Oommen Chandy was more candid, more combative, but restrained and realistic with regard to Kerala's performance. In the end, at around 12 AM, it was we who felt exhausted as Oommen Chandy comprehensively answered all our questions, before wishing us a good night’s sleep. The key takeaway was simple. Paranoia is not his style. He trusts everyone, meets everyone, works with everyone if possible, and tries to build that difficult consensus in every decision. But in a world where only paranoids survive, will Chandy survive? But then, even the father of paranoids Andrew Grove - has failed dramatically during the last ten years. The paranoid company that he built, Intel, has been totally wiped off from the smartphone and tablet processor market by the ARM Coalition, a broad group of small and large chipmakers led by a small British firm, ARM Holdings. So, maybe even those who aren’t paranoid can also survive. Seasonal Magazine
Seasonal Magazine in conversation with Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala: Today must be a happy day for you, as the Raghuram Rajan Panel report has reiterated that Kerala together with Goa are India’s most developed states. How do you view this development? Yes, it is a happy day, of course. But the point is whether we should be satisfied with such a recognition, however true it is. I will tell you a quick example. When a student with the potential to win the first rank, comes home with a first class, will anyone be satisfied? Maybe compared with students who failed, or who were placed in second or third class, one can argue that it is a satisfactory performance. But is it really so? This is something that all Keralites should be asking themselves. You mean to say Kerala has squandered away many potentialities? Exactly. And this squandering away of opportunities have been going on since Independence. I don’t know whether you are old enough to remember, but there was a period, post-Independence, when India was a food-deficient nation and we had to depend on US donor programs like PL480 and all. From that sad state of affairs, the nation planned well ahead and systematically advanced through various stages of the agricultural revolution, so much so that, within a few decades India became a food-surplus nation that exports significant quantities of food grains. But sadly, Kerala had no role whatsoever in this achievement. Why? Because, some parties here were fighting the introduction of tractors and mechanisation, ostensibly for protecting worker interests. But will such short-sighted measures ever work? The irony today is that whatever paddy cultivation we had has dwindled seriously, mainly due to shortage of workers. And this is not the only such instance in Kerala’s post-Independence history. Seasonal Magazine
Can you elaborate? What was the response of these same parties to computerization? Didn’t they fight it tooth and nail for long? Again, their short-sighted logic was that computers would kill jobs. But see what happened to our next-door neighbours, Karnataka. In fiscal year 2012-13, their IT and allied exports stood at a whopping Rs. 1.35 lakh crore. Our number for the same period would be just around Rs. 5300 crore. And instead of the job-losses these parties feared, Karnataka has created over 8 lakh new well-paying jobs in the IT and allied sectors by embracing computers at the right time. But is it reasonable to expect that Kerala would have been as successful as Karnataka, if we had welcomed computers early on? Why not? With our fondness for higher education and English skills, we should have been the natural destination for software revolution in this country. Even today, are the vast multitude of engineers who power Bangalore’s software companies, hailing from Karnataka alone? We all know that a significant percentage of them are Keralites and from other states. So, it is very clear that we could have done it as successfully as them, had we encouraged IT companies at the right time.
“Personally, I am against it, as I feel that the national consensus on 18 as the minimum age for girls of all communities to marry is a well-thought of rule, which should continue.”
Any other area where we have squandered away our possibilities? Higher education is something that readily comes to my mind. This had an even more serious impact, because the long-running resistance to private higher education resulted in tens of thousands of crores of rupees flowing out of our state for decades. For certain parties and their student organizations, higher education always had to be free or heavily subsidised. How long can a government do that? Government can only subsidise for the needy or meritorious students. Since the Government was incurring huge expenses compared with the small fees being charged, expansion of seats in government sector became next to impossible. And that resulted in this outbound money flow, and other states becoming richer at our expense. Finally, it was the AK Antony led UDF Government that allowed selffinancing professional colleges, and it was a welcome relief. Still, much more needs to be done, as some percentage of our students are still going outside for better facilities. We are also yet to significantly attract students from other states to come and study here. We can pretend that we have high standards of education. But the reality is that when it comes to higher education, we are nowhere. But overall development of a state has other criteria too, like health and primary/secondary education, where Kerala ranks high… I am not disputing that, as we are indeed much advanced in such areas. But it is not really a new phenomenon, as Kerala’s pursuit of health, hygiene, school education, English language skills etc predates even the Indian Independence. We have just continued with that culture, but we have not built up on that further, like for advancing our higher education standards. That is what I meant. It can’t be disputed that the backbone of Kerala economy is the NRK remittances. Isn’t it high
time that Kerala started preparing for an eventuality that many expatriates will have to return? And won’t that hit Kerala economy severely? What is our Plan B? Yes, in fact, we should have started our preparations long back. The Saudi Nitaqat is a case in point. Due to the negotiations Kerala had with Saudi Government, the time was extended once, and even that deadline is getting over now. The government is now preparing some plans for rehabilitating the Saudi returnees. But on a larger canvas, we would be addressing such issues in a more comprehensive way, so as to find lasting solutions. Developing entrepreneurship and skillsets for the workforce will be the two major initiatives in this regard.
“In fiscal year 2012-13, Karnataka’s IT and allied exports stood at a whopping Rs. 1.35 lakh crore. Our number for the same period would be just around Rs. 5300 crore.”
Can you describe each of these initiatives in more detail? You have been a great proponent of entrepreneurship and start-ups. But why does the state harbour a narrow focus on telecom and IT? Don’t we need start-ups in every field? Yes, we need to be more inclusive, and it has already started happening. We just started off with telecom and IT, around a year back, and the response has been tremendous, especially from student entrepreneurs, in these two fields. But we need to go further, and that is why recently the focus has widened to include travel, tourism, art, entertainment, hospitality, health, culture, farming, cinema etc. Around 1% of the state’s budget, which currently comes to about Rs. 500 crore, would be spent on supporting entrepreneurs, every year. This is the largest such annual budget allocation by any state government in support of entrepreneurship, so far. We have also decided to redesign the Kerala State Entrepreneur Development Mission (KSEDM) and re-launch it as a flagship programme with greater coverage. So far, the mission has succeeded in identifying 674 entrepreneurs for financial assistance provided by the Kerala Financial Corporation, out of which 200 have already started Seasonal Magazine
functioning. Our main aim is to transform many young job-seekers to be job-creators. What are your plans for the second initiative, skills development for the workforce? Kerala is known to be very keen about a major push into the skills development arena for young people as per PM’s grand vision for the same i.e. 50 crore Indians to have productive skills by 2022. Can you elaborate on state’s plans? This is another area where we are equally bullish about. Our plan is to follow a dual approach, which includes skills acquisition and skills enhancement. Two different ministries will cater to these. The Labour Department will run the Additional Skills Enhancement Programme (ASEP) for those who have dropped out from education and other youngsters not interested in a university program. And Education Department will execute the Additional Skills Acquisition Programme (ASAP), for those in Universities. But our interest in skills development goes much beyond doing our proportionate role of the national objective suggested by the PM. What we are foreseeing is that many states would find it difficult to meet their own targets due to poor facilities, and that for them, Kerala can be a national skills development destination. The Cabinet has decided to use the expertise of retired hands, recently. Can you elaborate on this need and the plans to execute it? This proposal was suggested by Sam Pitroda, Chairman of National Innovation Council, and Mentor to Kerala Government. The Cabinet found the suggestion very creative. Today, many employees are at the peak of their expertise when they are forced to retire at 56 or 60. We can’t let that talent go to waste, because they can fulfil many duties which the young may take years to master. This doesn’t mean that all retired personnel can be Seasonal Magazine
It would be the first time that projects of such a large scale would be commissioned on schedule, in this state.
used. The focus will be on the really meritorious or outstanding employees whose skills can be put to good use by the state. The modalities of how to go about it would be decided soon. Affordable health care has been one of the issues close to your heart. Don’t you think health insurance should be an integral part of this. With not even 20% of our population insured, how can it be really made affordable? What are your other plans for the same? Today, if you analyze our population, the main issue is not education, employment, food, or housing. The situation has improved so much that such issues can be managed by most Keralites. But health care continues to be a real challenge except for the really well-off. It is not due to lack of hospitals. Kerala today has the best of medical facilities in India. But how many can afford a serious medical procedure? It can cripple the life savings of most households. This should change. This is not something peculiar to the state, but to the whole of India. That is why Kerala Government mooted the idea of ‘Right to Health’ in two National Development Council meetings. It is an original contribution from Kerala, and if it gets implemented, will provide a lasting solution to the prohibitive cost of healthcare in this country. Right to Health should be the natural next-step to Right to Information, Right to Education, and Right to Food or the Food Security Bill. Kerala has recently decided to appeal against the Green Tribunal’s orders. How ecologically safe is such a move? We are all aware that we shouldn’t pursue development at the expense of environment. Kerala is especially prone to environmental damage due to the nature of our land and climate, with landslides being a prime example of potential ecological catastrophe. But having said that, it is very obvious that we also need development, which most often will need the use of resources like
land. That is why we are against the blanket rejection of any development by the Green Tribunal with regard to Western Ghats. That shouldn’t be the right approach. There is an environmental clearance framework in this country, which is one of the best in the world. Let projects apply for stringent environmental clearances and get approval if deserving. And all environmentally cleared projects should face no hindrance in execution. That is our stand, and that is why Kerala is appealing the blanket rejection against any development. This is especially important for Kerala as land is very scarce here. Such blanket rejection will cripple all development in the state. Environmental activism is appreciated, but development that passes environmental clearance will not be allowed to stall due to such activism. Is there any area where you are disappointed with the way environmental activism has hindered development? Mineral sand mining is one example. Studies suggest that Kerala is sitting on a huge mineral fortune without utilizing it. It is like, if the Gulf countries were unwilling to mine for oil. This should change. We should develop and pursue the ways and means to utilize our God given resources without harming the environment. How do you view the issues faced by KSRTC? What would be the lasting solution to its woes? Don’t you think it is high time that an efficient crisis-manager kind of administrator is brought at its helm? Today everyone is bashing KSRTC. But one thing we should remember is that KSRTC is not an all-out failure. Far from it, this state PSU has fulfilled many social obligations like subsidized transport for the masses, concessional transport for students and deserving people, providing service on financially unviable routes etc. Which private transport firm would run on a financially unattractive route? KSRTC
has also helped in preventing travel charges from sky-rocketing in the state. So, much of KSRTC’s problem is not from within, but from outside, which means it is suffering because it has always catered to social obligations. That is why the Government will be holding its hand for as long it would take. This doesn’t mean that KSRTC doesn’t have any inefficiencies. It has inefficiencies, like any other stateowned company, and that would be improved. The challenges facing KSRTC is not small by any measure. For example, the pension expenses have surpassed the salary expenses, and there is no easy solution for it. While your Jana Samparkka Paripadi has been a huge success, why can’t such an intensive proactive scheme be conceived for aiding big, medium, and small companies, and thus removing roadblocks for generating huge employment? We are already doing it, as part of JSP and otherwise. The government remains always open and approachable. I always have time for hearing grievances of all, including industries. Maybe as and when JSP gets more institutionalized and it evolves, more formal structures for addressing the issues faced by companies can be implemented. Narendra Modi is taking a keen interest in Kerala BJP these days, with his frequent visits. Do you foresee any kind of communal unrest or even riot due to this? Kerala has a backdrop of cases like Marad, while even top national Congress leaders are seeing the hand of Modi aide Amit Shah in Muzzafarnagar… If there is one state where Modi’s tactics won’t work, it is Kerala. The state has proved it again and again, when it remain unperturbed even when many states were rocked by issues like Babri Masjid demolition. You cannot judge Kerala by the unfortunate incidents at Marad that happened long Seasonal Magazine
back. Communal harmony is a natural culture of Malayalis, and Modi or anybody else can’t change it. I am least bothered with his so-called influence. It simply can’t work in Kerala. Do you feel upset when religious or caste based organizations like NSS, SNDP, Church, Muslim Organizations etc try to influence and threaten an elected government? That is not the way how Congress sees it. A real Congress worker smiles when he hears such criticisms from various communities. Because, you have to think why such criticism is only directed towards Congress. It is because Congress is the only real inclusive party in the state. Every community is welcomed to work with Congress, every community’s grievances are heard and acted upon, and so every community feels as a part of Congress. We are never upset with such criticism, and always take it as constructive feedback to understand where all we can improve in meeting each community’s aspirations. We have a uniquely inclusive culture. How do you view the recent move by some Islamic organizations in the state to lobby for making 16 as a legally acceptable age for Muslim girls in the state to marry? Personally, I am against it, as I feel that the national consensus on 18 as the minimum age for girls of all communities to marry is a well-thought of rule, which should continue. It has served us well for many decades. I hear that some Islamic organizations in the state has now mooted the idea that it should be reduced to 16 for the willing. Some other Islamic organizations have also come up against it. So, it is a proposal at a very nascent stage. There is no need to jump the gun now itself, from the Government’s part. Don’t you think UDF should have been more disciplined in public relations? Is it not true that if such a move had been taken earlier, it would have helped the Seasonal Magazine
“I am a hands-on leader, who is most comfortable meeting with hundreds of people with grievances, every day, often at odd hours too. If I change style and turn extremely cautious, I can’t meet even 10 people on a day.”
UDF government in these difficult times? UDF is a unique tie-up of like-minded parties, which has several advantages unique to it, like its democracy and consensus culture. What you are referring to, is its disadvantages, which are unfortunately inevitable. With the Palmolein case now withdrawn by the Government, how do you view its 22 year old eventful history? Was it just a case of political vendetta? It was never a significant case, and was pursued only for political advantages. The state hadn’t lost a single rupee due to the alleged issue. If the then UDF Government hadn’t acted swiftly, we couldn’t have been able to obtain palmolein during that crisis period for edible oils, because only around 4 or 5 states were allowed to import using that special mechanism, back then. Many states were competing to be included in that one-off mechanism. And it dragged on and on, despite the last UDF government deciding to drop it. Anyway, we were just waiting for the High Court to confirm the findings by Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau which absolved me of any irregularity as Finance Minister back then. We had to take this decision now, better late than never, as the careers of two senior IAS officers were unnecessarily being affected for over 20 years due to this politically motivated case. Even the Central Vigilance Commission had opined long back in this regard, that the cases against them be dropped. You had always had excellent relations with media. But recently you were upset with the way visual media was going. Do you think any vested interest is at play? I still have good relations with media. But the competitive landscape of visual media has changed dramatically in recent years. Each news channel is trying to outdo the other by providing so-called breaking news, exclusive coverages, allegations etc, which are often poorly researched due to the obvious time constraints. Visual media
First of all, let me make it very clear that my time or the government’s time is not taken up by these allegations at all. All key projects like Kochi Metro and SmartCity are right on schedule. also pressures politicians to respond to daily developments on a live or instant basis, creating further controversies. But I don’t think there are any vested interests or concerted efforts to undermine the government. They target Governments because, there is nothing to be obtained by targeting the Opposition Parties. I see it as a marketing game, but eventually the public will see through this game. Are you upset with the huge official time of yours being taken up by the various allegations of scams? Don’t you think your focus on developmental issues have taken a back seat due to these scam allegations? Are you satisfied with the progress of Kochi Metro, Smart City, and other such major projects in the state? First of all, let me make it very clear that my time or the government’s time is not taken up by these allegations at all. All key projects like Kochi Metro and SmartCity are right on schedule. Today, as you know, I am just back after publishing the revised and approved plan for SmartCity. The first building will be ready by December 2014. Kochi Metro is also racing ahead for its firm commissioning by June 2016. It would be the first time that projects of such a large scale would be commissioned on schedule, in this state. The solar scam is not a serious issue at all. Was there any loss to the Government? No. Did the Government help the accused in cheating anybody? Not at all. The only thing is that some of my staff’s call records had calls with
the accused. That is not conclusive proof. A CM’s office and assistants get numerous and repeated calls due to the busy nature of his work. Is there any proof that the alleged staff made any illegal gains out of this? No again. But the opposition parties and some sections of the media exaggerated it beyond any imagination. Anyway, we have ordered a full enquiry, and a judicial enquiry as well. We have also removed all alleged staff from their posts. We won’t meddle in the investigation at all. It will proceed free and fair. No accused will be protected if found guilty. Smell of another scam is here, with regard to the arrest of Fayaz PK. Do you now think that more care should have been taken while selecting people for key assistantship posts to CM? Most of the staff were reasonably wellknown people, and reasonable checks were also done regarding their integrity. But can we be absolutely sure about anyone before appointing? I tend to take people and issues at face value, with sincerity. Let people prove otherwise. Action will be taken. I am of the opinion that nobody should be victimised just on hearsay. Should Kerala expect a major style-change from Oommen Chandy? The style in which I operate has its advantages. I am a hands-on leader, who is most comfortable meeting with hundreds of people with grievances, every day, often at odd hours too. If I change style and turn extremely cautious, I can’t meet even 10 people on a day. What if one or two people I meet during a day, among the hundreds, turn out to be insincere? I can’t be held accountable for that, as long as I haven‘t done them any undue favours. But I am not planning to sacrifice the opportunity to meet the remaining thousands of people, just to avoid a couple of bad elements. It is simply not my style of functioning. I don’t think that is the way any grassroots level politician should function either. SM
WHY CHOOSE A JOINT HOME LOAN, IF POSSIBLE A home loan is usually the biggest liability in an individualâ€™s life, and thus needs to be carefully taken. Sometimes you may want to buy a house of greater value, but you may not be eligible for a huge amount of loan from the bank. This is where the concept of joint home loans comes in handy. A joint home loan is a loan which is taken by more than one person. Letâ€™s look at some features of a joint home loan, and why it can be advantageous to you. Seasonal Magazine
Co-Borrowers: A co-borrower is a person with whom you take the home loan jointly. This is different from co-owner, which means a person who has a share in the property. Usually banks insist co-owners to be co-borrowers of the loan. However, the reverse is not necessary. In India, a home loan can have upto 6 co-borrowers. Usually a joint home loan is taken by spouses, or parent and child. You cannot take a home loan jointly with your friend or colleague or an unmarried partner.
bank’s stipulations, for you to be eligible to get Rs. 80 lakhs as the loan. Suppose your income does not meet this requirement, then you will be forced to look at a house which costs lesser. However, if your spouse is working and if you choose to take a joint home loan, then both your income as well as your spouse’s income will be considered by the bank to determine the eligible limits of the loan.
Tenure of the loan: If the co-applicants of
Tax Benefits: A more important reason
the joint home loan are spouses, then the maximum loan tenure can be upto 20 years or 25 years, depending on the housing finance institution. However, in case the coapplicants share a parent-child relationship or are siblings, then the maximum term is restricted to 10 years in most cases. In case of a joint loan taken by a parent and child, if the repayment is linked to the parent’s income, then the maximum loan tenure is restricted to the retirement age of the parent.
why you should opt for a joint home loan is to receive additional tax benefits. This is the reason most working couples opt for a joint home loan, as the tax liability is reduced significantly at the family level. The Indian Income Tax Act allows both principal repayment as well as interest repayment as eligible deductions from your income. Principal repayment falls under the ambit of Sec 80C and interest repayment comes under Sec 24 (b) of the Act. Thus an individual can claim upto Rs. 1 lakh on principal repayment and upto Rs. 1.5 lakh on interest repayment in a financial year. This is for one individual.
Documentation: A joint home loan requires both the applicants to furnish the necessary Know Your Customer (KYC) documents. This includes address proof, ID proof, income proof and the bank statements of both the applicants, as well as the proof of co-ownership of the property.
Repayment: Although the loan is taken by more than one person, the EMI payment will need to be made only by one of the borrowers. The payment can be made from a single or joint account of one of the borrowers. The borrowers can also choose to share the number of EMIs between them in the whole year. However, it must be remembered that all coborrowers are jointly and severally liable to repay the loan. This means if one of the borrowers refuses to pay the loan, the other borrower is liable to pay it. Why you should opt for a joint home loan?
Ability to borrow a higher amount: One important reason why you should opt for a joint home loan is to be eligible for a larger loan amount. For example, assume you would like to buy a property worth Rs. 1 crore. The bank is ready to fund 80% of this amount which is Rs. 80 lakhs. However, you must meet the eligibility criteria of the bank. This means, your income should be sufficient according to the
However, if you opt for a joint loan for a self-occupied property with your spouse, which is to be held in equal proportion, then both you and your spouse can claim a deduction on the principal and interest repaid separately from both your incomes, to the extent of your share in the loan. Let’s understand this with an example: If you take a home loan in your single name, then the maximum deduction you can claim is Rs. 1 lakh on principal repayment and Rs. 1.5 lakh on interest repayment. On the other hand, suppose you take a joint home loan. If the total principal repaid during the year is Rs. 2.5 lakhs and the total interest repaid during the year is Rs. 4 lakhs, then both you and your wife can claim upto Rs. 2 lakhs on principal repayment (Rs. 1 lakh each) and Rs. 3 lakhs on interest repayment (Rs. 1.5 lakhs each). As seen above, a joint home loan results in more savings collectively. Thus it always makes sense to opt for a joint home loan. SM Seasonal Magazine
MEET RAKEYSH OMPRAKASH MEHRA:
A Filmmaker With a Real Difference
that stands to exploit anyone. This, he agreed, all the more at a time when constant "concerns" are raised against showbiz for giving a fillip to the escalating number of rape cases in the country. "Filmmakers and performers are a part of the society. There is no reason to objectify. The only reason as I can think of is the lust for glamour, and greed for money, and you also get eyeballs. That has to be discouraged," said the 50-year-old looking relaxed in a white shirt teamed with denims. He practices what he believes in. Be it Soha Ali Khan in "Rang De Basanti", or Sonam Kapoor in "Delhi-6" as well as in her not-so-meaty-but-mighty role in "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" - Mehra`s female protagonists have never had to resort to skin show or sexy numbers to leave an impact. The fact that it has worked proves his point.
e presents his heroines mostly as the girl-nextdoor with minimal makeup and a simplicity that screams emotions louder than the cacophony of item numbers. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra says he is not against nudity in films, but he has strong views against exploitation of women. "I don`t see art there," Mehra said while talking about the current trend of raunchy item songs. "I am not against nudity. If that`s a part of the story, please go ahead. It`s beautiful...our bodies are beautiful. But exploitation for money and exploitation on the part of the audience and society Seasonal Magazine
Constant "concerns" are raised against showbiz for giving a fillip to the escalating number of rape cases in the country. "Filmmakers and performers are a part of the society. There is no reason to objectify. The only reason as I can think of is the lust for glamour, and greed for money, and you also get eyeballs. That has to be discouraged.â€? for titillation...," added the filmmaker as he mulled over the matter while chatting on the breezy and picturesque banks of Indus river here. He was here for the second edition of Ladakh International Film Festival. The need of the hour is for filmmakers to own up the "responsibility" of avoiding "gender bias", for actresses to make the right "choice" and for the audience to "stop watching" anything
"Cinema reflects whatever is going on, and not in a good way, I would say. And when there`s gender bias in cinema, it`s a shameful act. I hang my head in shame when I see that... whether I have done it or not, I belong to that community. One has to own the responsibility," he added. Also, the onus lies on the performer hugely. "Why is anyone doing it? Is there a necessity? Is there someone dying at home out of hunger? Are there younger siblings for whom you have to pay the school fees? ... so there`s no `majboori` factor here at all. "If there is lust for glamour and it is a girl who is dancing out there, it`s her choice! If she refuses, and she can, then there is nothing anyone (either a filmmaker or the audience) can do," he said. The audience, especially needs to take a stand, according to Mehra. "Don`t watch it! Nobody is forcing you. Don`t buy that product, stop buying it, and if there are no takers, one won`t make it," he said. Away from the reel life, in real life, we need to look at ourselves in the mirrors as an individual, as a family unit and educational institutions, said Mehra. "And that`s how reform can begin. It`s not easy, it won`t happen overnight. It`s a slow process, but I am confident that it can be turned around, has to be turned around, it should be turned around," he added. SM
Can Prem Watsa Takeover & Revive Blackberry? Born in India. A BTech from IIT. An MBA from Canada. Hailed as Canada's Warren Buffett for being a phenomenally successful stock market investor. Famous for his deeply contrarian calls, that include betting massively against the US housing bubble, which bled him badly from 2004 to 2008, but gave him unprecedented returns since 2008, when every other investor collapsed. Watsa's Fairfax Financial Holdings has aggressively bid for Blackberry through a $4.7 billion offer. But can he follow through? Is anybody else really interested in Blackberry, once the de facto king of smartphones, but now a pale shadow of its former self, beaten by Android and iPhone/iPad. s soon as Prem Watsa stepped down from Blackberry's board in August, speculation that he would launch a bid for the troubled smartphone maker started to swirl. Six weeks later, the man some call Canada's Warren Buffett has delivered, beginning a rescue project he once said could take four or five years. Just over a year ago, Watsa said BlackBerry was a "Canadian success story," a good buy and a likely turnaround story even though its market share was tumbling. BlackBerry's fortunes have only deteriorated since then, with the latest blow coming on Friday, when Blackberry said it would cut more than a third of its workforce as it retreats from the consumer market in favor of its traditional strength serving businesses and governments. But Watsa, chief executive of Fairfax Financial Holding Ltd, which is the top BlackBerry shareholder, is an old hand at looking wrong today and right tomorrow. On Monday, BlackBerry said it agreed to be acquired by a consortium led by Fairfax for USD 4.7 billion, a move observers said could allow the company to put its house back in order out of the public eye. Fairfax, both an insurance holding company and Watsa's investment vehicle, was on the losing end of bets Seasonal Magazine
While some critics wonder whether Prem can indeed raise funds for this cause, others doubt whether Blackberry can be revived at all.
against the market in the mid 2000s as Watsa waited for the U.S. mortgage industry to collapse. The company's stock fell by 50 percent between mid2003 and mid-2006 as Watsa's purchases of credit default swaps flattened profits, while rivals feasted on a housing-fed bull market. But when the market began to weaken in 2007, Fairfax began notching up investment gains, pulling in billion-dollar profits in 2007 and 2008. Then with markets still reeling and other investors licking their wounds, Watsa started to plow money back into equities, bringing another strong year in 2009. Since their 2006 low of C$100, Fairfax's shares have more than quadrupled. Indeed, Watsa had already shown his investment chops by selling stock ahead of the 1987 stock market crash and buying Japanese puts - or rights to sell stocks at guaranteed prices - ahead of the Tokyo market's collapse in 1990. Like the billionaire Buffett, an investor Watsa says he admires, Watsa preaches a long view that suggests it may be too early to assess his decision to buy into BlackBerry. As it sits now, BlackBerry has not been a turnaround story under Watsa's watch. Since January 2012, a period when Fairfax has raised its stake in the company from a little more than 2 percent to just under 10 percent, BlackBerry's share price has slumped. "Prem invests for the long term," Paul Holden, an analyst at CIBC World
Markets who follows Fairfax, said earlier this year. "He's held his major stake now for what I would say is a fairly short period of time relative to his investment horizon, so I would say it's probably too early to put any score on that investment." Watsa stepped down from the BlackBerry board of directors in August, citing a potential conflict of interest, as the company said it was exploring the sale of itself and other options. Watsa, born in 1950 in Hyderabad, and trained as a chemical engineer, has a public profile that has at times bordered on the reclusive since he took over Fairfax in 1985. For his first 15 years at the company, he barely spoke to a reporter, and he only started holding investor conference calls in 2001. Fairfax has
Since January 2012, a period when Fairfax has raised its stake in the company from a little more than 2 percent to just under 10 percent, BlackBerry's share price has slumped. generally not been known as an activist investor, but Watsa has not shied away from a fight, launching a $6 billion lawsuit against a group of hedge funds in 2006, accusing them of conspiring to the drive the company's shares down so they could be shorted. A short position enables an investor to profit when a stock drops. To be sure, not all Watsa's moves have been golden. Fairfax had to write off most of its investment in Winnipeg-based media company Canwest in 2009 as the company filed for bankruptcy protection. It also wrote down a significant investment in publisher Torstar in 2008-09. Speaking last year, Watsa suggested investors looking for a short-term rebound in BlackBerry might be disappointed. "Is it going to turn around in three months, six months, nine months? No," he told reporters. "But if you're looking four, five years ... We make investments over four or five years." SM
BlackBerry Seeks Further Bids From Google, Intel, Samsung, Cisco lackBerry, on the block as its smartphone business struggles, is in talks with Cisco Systems, Google and SAP about selling them all or parts of itself, several sources close to the matter said. Such a deal would be an alternative to the preliminary agreement reached weeks ago with a group, led by BlackBerry's biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings, to take the company private for about $4.7 billion, a bid which has faced some skepticism because of financing questions.
18 months, a company filing from this week shows, potentially limiting its attractiveness.
The company, based in Waterloo, Ontario, has asked for preliminary expressions of interest from potential strategic buyers, which also include Intel and Asian companies LG and Samsung, by early next week. It is unclear which parties will bid, if any. But the potential technology buyers have been especially interested in BlackBerry's secure server network and patent portfolio, although doubts about the assets' value remain an issue, the sources said.
Private equity firms that have showed interest in BlackBerry - which also include Cerberus Capital Management - have asked the company and its advisers to provide additional financial details about its various business segments, two of the sources said. That process could take another few weeks, as BlackBerry focuses on taking bids from industry peers, the sources said.
Google, Intel, Cisco, LG and SAP declined to comment. Samsung was not immediately available for comment. Possible bidders are proceeding with caution given the uncertainty around BlackBerry, which last month reported a quarterly loss of nearly $1 billion after taking a writedown on unsold Z10 phones. The value of BlackBerry's patent portfolio and licensing agreements is likely to halve in the next
According to analysts, BlackBerry's assets include a shrinking yet wellregarded services business that powers its security-focused messaging system, worth $3 billion to $4.5 billion; a collection of patents that could be worth $2 billion to $3 billion; and $3.1 billion in cash and investments. Adding to the company's woes, it's likely to burn through almost $2 billion of its cash pile in the next year and a half, Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu wrote on Thursday after studying the filing.
In August, the company said it was weighing its options, which could include an outright sale, after Reuters first reported BlackBerry's board was warming up to the possibility of going private. A spokesman for BlackBerry said in an emailed statement to Reuters: "The special committee, with the assistance of BlackBerry's independent financial and legal advisors, is conducting a robust and thorough review of strategic alternatives." He declined to provide further comment.
What the Hell Happened to Sachin's Mind? Seasonal Magazine
It’s sad to see Tendulkar’s great career limp towards a contrived end. There’s a passage in the Cameron Crowe film Almost Famous that’s a mirror image of Indian cricket today. he protagonist of that film, a young rock journalist named William Miller, is horrified when he realises that Stillwater, a band he idolises, have sold their most popular groupie (a girl William loves) to another band for fifty dollars and a case of Heineken. “Don’t worry” says Russell Hammond, the Stillwater front-man, to an upset William. “This is a party... everybody’s trying not to go home.” Like the neverending rock and roll party Hammond refers to, the Indian cricket party that kicked off a couple of decades ago is in its final moments. No wonder some of us are in denial that it is ever going to end. Guess what? It’s already the morning after. Dravid and Kumble had their fun but left on time to report to work sober. Zaheer is throwing up on the carpet because he didn’t know when to stop. Sehwag and Yuvraj have passed out on the lawn. Ganguly, who continued partying till daybreak, looked oddly fresh when he’d finally left. And Laxman is shaking his head disapprovingly as he drives by the party while dropping his kids to school. And finally, the life of the party, Sachin Tendulkar, has climbed on to the roof, just like in another scene from Almost Famous. High on the previous night’s excesses, he is threatening to jump off it into the swimming pool below. It’s his last party trick. Everyone has gathered below him. “You’ll hurt yourself,” some try to deter him. Others cheer on: “Jump! Show us you’ve still got it!” Will he? Won’t he? Should he? Should he not? The BCCI’s decision to host the West Indies in November has given Tendulkar an opportunity to play an unprecedented 200th Test match at home. In one stroke, the BCCI has managed to drive the conversation away
from their mangling of the South Africa tour and their mishandling of the spotfixing scandal. In the last two years, social media reactions to Tendulkar have dropped from nearly fully positive to increasingly negative. We can see why. Tendulkar’s form has slid down a greasy pole with no evidence of rising again. But he continues to defy suggestions of retirement as he chases the mirage of another big triumph. "Let people have a chat with the great man and advise him,” posted reader Shrikanth. “There has never been a greater sight than seeing Sachin bat (till a few years ago) and never a more painful sight than watching the great man struggle against mediocre bowling these days.” "I can't believe it,” says reader Kamal of the West Indies series. “A complete series is being scheduled for a specific person.” Even numbers no longer come to Tendulkar’s rescue. While he was India’s second-highest run scorer in the twin 0-4 defeats in England and Australia, he has fared miserably in four other series, all played at home. Against the West Indies in 2011, he was India’s fourth-highest scorer and sixth against New Zealand in 2012. The slide didn’t stop. He took seventh position against England, and sixth against Australia, all in friendly conditions at home against bowling attacks that were not Wasim
“There has never been a greater sight than seeing Sachin bat (till a few years ago) and never a more painful sight than watching the great man struggle against mediocre bowling these days.”
and Waqar, or McGrath and Warne. Now, it’s his plan to recover from one of his countless injuries and surgeries, go to South Africa aged nearly 41, somehow hope his reflexes are back to their best as he takes on the meanest pace attack assembled in a long time an attack that has bowled out three different teams for under 50 in the last two years. Some might call it optimism, others stupidity. Yet, faced by these facts, we’re reliably told that Tendulkar has no plans to quit. “Don’t be surprised if he goes to England next July too,” says a former team-mate. A BCCI official is even quoted as saying Tendulkar may play the home series (against either England or the West Indies) in November 2014! Tendulkar himself said yesterday, “No reactions now... will take it match by match.” Among these details, we seem to miss that India had recently sent an ‘A’ team to South Africa, for what it’s worth, to adapt to local conditions and prepare for the upcoming Test tour. There’s a whole team of young players who did well on the ‘A’ tour and awaiting a break in the senior team — a break that will continue to elude them while faded prima donnas bask in their selfimportance. But retiring wasn't going to be Tendulkar's call alone, was it? The hastily-arranged West Indies series is another reminder of how important he is to the BCCI's finances, and by extension, the finances of many other cricketing entities. Reader Sankara hits the spot in his comment: “Sachin is a prisoner of his own fame. At the deepest point in his heart he knows that he ought to have retired a long time back. Now he runs the risk of being remembered for what he has not done rather than for what he has done.” Please get off that roof, sir, before you get hurt. The party is over. Let's go home. By AR Hemant for Yahoo! Cricket)
5 Bad Habits That Have Good Sides Habits are a disguised form of addiction that you develop over time. Like all other things, habits too can be categorised into good and bad. There lies a distinct line which differentiates these two worlds of habits. However, there are some habits that appear bad but do have some positive effects as well. So, take a look at some such bad habits that are actually too good to let go.
Skipping a Shower No one could have guessed that this nasty habit would have a positive side as well. Daily shower erodes the natural oils from your skin, which keeps it hydrated and supple. Dr. Richard Gallo, chief of the dermatology division at the University of California, says that daily showering removes some of the good bacteria that help maintain a healthy balance of skin. Not to mention all the water and time you will be saving as well. However, do not try this on the days when the weather gets humid or you are doing some strenuous activities.
Surfing the Internet All the online shopping, video streaming and social networking might take up a lot of your valuable time; but they do have some positive effects too. Web browsing can fire up your brain’s complex-reasoning hubs and trigger the memory cells. It can also improve your decision making powers and increase your mental strength. It is like a gym for your mind. Besides, you get to socialise with a world of endless possibilities. But, goggling on the internet is a powerful and tricky tool, so just be smart enough to not to misuse it
Referred by many as a ‘disgusting and annoying habit’, yet here are some motivating reasons to open that pack of chewing gum. It improves both short and long term memory. Chewing gum
also helps in increasing concentration, along with giving you a fresher breath. Not only this, it also helps you slim down by stimulating your brain’s satiety centres. It also strengthens the gums in your mouth. But, it is best to stick to the sugar-free ones and not overdo it!
Skipping Workout Do you go frantic if you miss out on your workout for a day or two? Well, as long as you are not a professional athlete or a gym trainer, it is not really essential to workout every day to stay fit. As per studies, gruelling workout sessions trigger the release of a hormone (lipoprotein lipase), which make your hunger pangs more prominent. More you exert your body, hungrier you feel. Not only this, overtraining can also lead to extreme mood swings. So, relax and take a day off from your gym without stressing yourself!
Fidgeting Here is some relief for all you fidgety people out there. Your habits like playing with your hair or constant foot tapping may be irritating for others, but it is healthy for you. Constant fidgeting is like small exercises for your body, which helps you to burn some good number of calories. Fidgeting also helps in better blood circulation in your body, along with decreasing risks of joint pain. Contrary to the popular belief of being distracting, research has shown that fidgeting helps to improve your memory and focus. Seasonal Magazine
Why India is Tur Eye to this Rs. 55 This is a Rs 5,500-crore scam no one wants to deal with. What exactly happened in the NSEL scam? How did Rs 5,500 crore disappear? And why is there still no sign of a tough, comprehensive investigation?
ning a Blind 00 Crore Scam n innocuous-looking notification from the Forward Markets Commission (FMC) came in on July 12, 2013. And in the offices of the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL), a commodities exchange promoted by the Jignesh Shah-led Financial Technologies (FinTech), things began to change.
anonymous (the buyer and seller don’t know who the other side is). The important feature of any such exchange is that the exchange has to stand guarantee to either party that it will ensure the contract is settled. If the buyer can’t bring in the money for any reason, the exchange should then sell the goods to someone else and recover the money (and make up the difference). And a similar exercise if the seller defaults.
The notification restricted NSEL from making fresh contracts available as they were likely in contravention of the Forwards Contracts Regulation Act. NSEL first changed its contract duration to comply, and then when it found customers leaving in droves, threw up its arms and shut down the exchange. More than Rs 5,500 crore was due, and over the next few days it became evident that there was neither the money nor the underlying ‘spot’ goods to settle trades by over 15,000 investors. Since then, the story has unravelled, slowly.
Now, when the seller and buyer are far away from each other, how does the exchange guarantee delivery? The idea is that the seller must come to an exchange-designated warehouse and give his goods, which are then tested and verified for quality and weight. He then gets a warehouse receipt (WR) that is used for electronic trading. When he sells on the exchange, the warehouse receipt is transferred to the buyer; this receipt entitles the buyer to take the goods out of the warehouse, or if he chooses, to retain the goods there (to sell them later) by paying the warehouse rental charges.
The scale of this default dwarfs the last big exchange crisis, the Rs 600 crore settlement problem at the Calcutta Stock Exchange in 2001.
What is a Spot Exchange? Commodity spot trading is about buying and selling a commodity, paying cash for and receiving your goods on the ‘spot’. Which signifies that the buyer and seller agree on a price and ‘deliver’ their side of the contract immediately. NSEL was a spot exchange designed to help this activity, with the added feature of being electronic (so buyers and sellers can be in different locations) and
There are rules governing commodity trading, which is regulated firmly by the Forward Market Commission (FMC). Under the Forward Contracts Regulation Act, any contract that is called “spot” must be settled within 11 days – that is, both delivery of goods and transfer of money must happen within 11 days (called “T+11”). The 11 days give the buyer and seller time to complete the contract. Thus, this would then not become a “forward” contract. Spot contracts, by their nature, were deemed to be out of FMC regulation by a small notification in 2007 by the Department of Consumer Affairs. This Seasonal Magazine
exemption was given specifically for one-day duration contracts – or, technically those contracts that complete both delivery of goods and transfer of money within two days, called “T+2”.
What NSEL Really Did Instead of just making T+2 contracts, the spot exchange designed multiple contracts. Some of them were T+2 settled, making them ‘spot’ in nature. Others were the same product but settled after 25 to 35 days, called T+25, or T+36 contracts. This was illegal – such contracts are forward contracts and NSEL was not authorized to execute these, but it did. And no one stopped it. And the concept got worse. NSEL sold what seemed to be ‘arbitrage’. You could ‘buy’ the T+2 contract and ‘sell’ the T+25 contract and the difference in prices gave you nearly 15 percent per year, annualized. Effectively, you would be the owner of half a ton of sugar or castor seeds or such commodities, for a period of about a month, which would get sold when you ‘exited’. The exchange practically removed all constraints from investors during this period – the goods would lie in the same warehouse and be sold from there, and the price difference included a 15 percent net return after storage charges, VAT, etc. This arbitrage was almost ‘guaranteed’. NSEL as an exchange stood guarantee, or so investors thought. Brokers peddled this product to their customers for over two years. The number of customers ballooned to over 15,000, each of whom put in at least Rs 2 lakh to get their ‘superior’ returns.
What Was the Problem? Who was on the other side? That’s the question that no one seems to be asking. Was the arbitrage genuine? It appears not. The contracts were always sold in pairs. Brokers have reported that no one was allowed by the exchange to just take one side of any contract – you always had to have a ‘buy’ on the near contract and a ‘sell’ on the far side. Seasonal Magazine
A quick look at the Kadi contract for castor seeds, sold in pairs of T+3 and T+36, shows identical volumes and interest for both contracts in January 2013, and that’s the case with every commodity that had a near and far contract. This is hardly possible in a real market, so it points to the fact that these contracts were always executed in pairs.
The Ponzi Scheme It turns out now that those on the other side were just 24 members of the exchange, called Planters or Processors or Borrowers. These members owned plants that processed commodities – or, at least, they said they did. For instance, NK Proteins owned a plant to process castor seeds in Kadi, Gujarat. The contract – the Kadi Castor Seeds contract – was settled at an NSEL warehouse located inside the Kadi plant of NK Proteins. Processors like NK Proteins (and there were 23 other such members) were on the other side of the trade. They would sell at T+2 and buy back at T+23, offering huge returns. The fact that the contracts were executed in pairs indicates a financing program. Something is placed as collateral to borrow money for a short period of time. This used to be commonly known as “badla financing” in the pre-2000 stock exchanges, where shares were collateral.
(Badla is banned now; the financing has moved to the futures market.) Let’s say I am a plant owner, and I can’t get a loan from a bank. I can effectively borrow from you at 15-18 percent – much cheaper than I can borrow from banks. And if I’m smart, I know that the goods I sell you will remain at a warehouse inside my premises, so why not cheat a little and tell you that yes, I’ve added more goods to your warehouse, and you, on the other end of the phone agree. In this situation I can invent stock that doesn’t exist and borrow against it for 15 days; for the interest, I might pay some out, but immediately get it back in a new contract when I add even more imaginary stock. This was the Ponzi nature of the game. Indeed, it turned out that some of these companies had poor balance sheets incapable of handling such large loans – loans of the size of Rs 900 crore. And the exchange did nothing. Most ‘investors’ rolled over their contracts. That is, when the contract was unwound after T+35, they would enter a fresh round of T+2 (buy) and T+35 (Sell). Meaning, the interest received was also ploughed back into further purchases; a ‘borrower’, on the other hand, was pretending to pay interest, but was simply creating warehouse receipts for the interest and trading them on the exchange, while rolling over the contract forever.
The End of the Game In this situation I can invent stock that doesn’t exist and borrow against it for 15 days; for the interest, I might pay some out, but immediately get it back in a new contract when I add even more imaginary stock.
All this had to stop sometime, and the circular from FMC stopped it. First, on 16th July the contracts were cut to T+10. But that would involve too many pair trades – from one a month to three a month, each of which had higher transaction costs. Next, some investors smelt a rat and didn’t roll over their contracts. The lack of a rollover shuttered the exchange. When the ‘borrowers’ were told that they had to pay back all the money, they simply could not (or didn’t want to). And it turns out they don’t seem to have the goods to back it up either. On July 31, NSEL issued a circular
saying all future contracts would be stopped. And because there was a settlement problem, they would have to delay payouts for a while. Remember, some investors had bought goods on a T+2 contract, paying upfront. Now they expected that after their 25-35 days, the other contract would kick in and they would be paid back money at the higher rate on that contract. At this point, the exchange should have stood guarantee. That’s the role of an exchange. But because it didn’t get paid from the borrowers, it didn’t have the capacity to pay.
The Department of Consumer Affairs was the de facto regulator when no one else was. It had been made aware of the situation over a year ago and should have taken action, and it didn’t.
Lies, Deceit and an Incestuous Web The exchange started to lie. The CEO, Anjani Sinha said on August 1st that they had a ‘Settlement Guarantee Fund’ of over Rs 800 crore plus they had all the stocks in the NSEL warehouses. In a few days they changed that position, stating they had only Rs 60 crore in cash and the rest of the ‘guarantee fund’ was in stock. All entities were supposed to put a tiny amount – up to 5 percent – as margin until trade completion. This, too, was unavailable for some reason. And then, after telling everyone that they would get their money back, the NSEL management said they had to auction stock to get the money. Soon, even that avenue was gone as there wasn’t any stock. Jignesh Shah, the founder of FinTech, which promoted the exchange, said in a press conference that they would have a high-powered committee, including an ex-SEBI chief, a senior police officer and the like, to ensure settlements happen. As it turns out, the committee was useless in actually enforcing the contracts. NSEL next created a complex settlement program. After a few days, NSEL management offered a ‘settlement calendar’ stretching 30 weeks where people would be paid back Rs 174 crore per week for 20 weeks, Rs 86 crore a week after that, and a big balloon payment at the end. NSEL couldn’t even make the first week’s payments properly – it paid up just half. In the second week, to fend off investor
aggression, FinTech dipped into its resources and paid Rs 177 crore to those with less than Rs 10 lakh outstanding. There have been three payments till now – of Rs 92 crore, Rs 190 crore (including small investor payouts) and then, on 3rd September, Rs 15 crore. But in the settlement program, NSEL had promised to pay Rs 174 crore on each of these three Tuesdays. In the middle of all of this, it turned out that many of NSEL’s 24 Processor members were related to each other. One of the biggest borrowers, NK Proteins, is owned by the son-in-law of NSEL’s chairman Shankarlal Guru. Then there was Indian Bullion Market Association, owned primarily by NSEL, which participated as a member, allowing parties in the bullion space to buy through them.
The whole thing began to stink. N Sundaresha Subramanian of Business Standard visited many of the defaulting members and found strange results. There was a mall in the place where 2 lakh tons of sugar was supposed to have been stored, at the address of a NSEL borrower called Mangla Shree Properties. In Ludhiana, where ARK Imports was supposed to have 12,000 tons of raw wool, there was apparently nothing. One borrower had vacated its premises months back, while another
refused to admit they owed anything. NSEL’s investors involved clients from nearly every major broker in the country. Even the Sahara Group, which is under RBI and SEBI fire, was found to have invested more than Rs 200 crore. Some NSEL board members were close to political bigwigs like Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar. CEO Anjani Sinha had earlier in his career overseen defaults in two exchanges in Magadh and Ahmedabad. Belling this cat will not be an easy task.
Where are the Regulators? The FMC was supposed to control regulation of all forward contracts. Although NSEL had received an exemption, it was only for the T+2 contracts and definitely not the T+35 contracts. The new FMC Chief, Ramesh Abhishek followed this up since 2012, but what about those before him? The Department of Consumer Affairs was the de facto regulator when no one else was. It had been made aware of the situation over a year ago and should have taken action, and it didn’t. Even after the scam was unearthed, and the scale of the borrowing discovered, regulators remain tight-lipped about action. SEBI has barred some of the 24 ‘borrowers’ from trading on the stock exchange, and FMC has ring-fenced MCX (a commodities futures exchange which shares the same promoter, FinTech, with NSEL) from helping the beleaguered NSEL with its cash. However, any other actions have yet to come through. Where is the RBI? Banks have lent to operations that involve stocks in warehouses. In fact, some photos of NSEL warehouses explicitly state that goods are pledged to certain banks. Are these goods there? Has the RBI asked banks to initiate a probe? Not yet. If FinTech is the promoter of NSEL, and NSEL has seen a huge default, the obvious next step is to declare that FinTech is not ‘fit and proper’ to run any other exchange, including MCX. This has not yet happened. The failure of regulation could be because there are too many agencies involved. Seasonal Magazine
Were Brokers to Blame? Brokers might have known something was wrong. After all, you don’t get an exchange everyday where you have to coordinate between a buy and a sell on the phone. Many, though, fell prey to the machinations themselves. They promised investors a return of, say, 12 percent, and then took that money to NSEL and decided to make the 3 percent extra that NSEL promised. Now, when NSEL has defaulted, brokers want to put the blame on the exchange – but just like the exchange, they promised the money, which they have to pay. SEBI must act and ensure these brokers pay. Also, brokers are expected to be fiduciary agents of their customers – should they have exercised more caution before recommending such an investment?
Where is the Money? The short answer is: we don’t know. The Enforcement Directorate and a Mumbai Police Special Investigations Team (SIT) are trying to find the money. It’s gone abroad through hawala, says the SIT. Others claim it has gone to fund real estate, where there is no swift liquidity. Yet others claim the money was used to prop up FinTech and MCX shares in the stock market – so when those stocks fall, the amount of money that can be recovered reduces. It is also believed the money was siphoned for political interests or for personal gains of the personalities involved. Jignesh Shah, the ambitious promoter of FinTech, started out as an engineer on the BOLT system for the Bombay Stock Exchange in 1989. After learning the ropes, he set up FinTech in 1995 and established a presence in brokerage back-office and terminal software across India. Then he set up MCX and a slew of other exchanges in India and abroad. Shah won a battle against SEBI in 2012 about a circumvention of regulation in their new MCX-SX stock exchange. He had aggressively taken away market share from other exchanges. He had sued people who Seasonal Magazine
pic jignesh s h a h
Jignesh Shah wrote against him and kept media as a friend with a big advertising budget. NSEL’s exemption from the Department of Consumer Affairs was attributed to Shah’s influence. But it is now apparent that everything is not clean in the FinTech empire. It would be a surprise if someone with Shah’s business sense let all this happen without knowing where the money has gone.
What Happens to MCX and FinTech? FinTech, at Rs 111 per share, is down over 70 percent from its 31st July price
MCX is a wellregulated commodities futures exchange. The volumes in it haven’t come down quite as much as one would suppose. Its share price fell 60 percent after NSEL’s shutdown announcement on July 31 but has now recovered to a 40 percent fall.
of Rs 540. It derived a large portion of its profits from NSEL – the trades resulted in outsized earnings through exchange fees. But the sudden lack of profit is not its only problem. If it is declared unfit to run exchanges – and it has about nine of them – that would destroy the enterprise. Apart from this, there are potential fraud charges if more dirt is discovered. MCX is a well-regulated commodities futures exchange. The volumes in it haven’t come down quite as much as one would suppose. Its share price fell 60 percent after NSEL’s shutdown announcement on July 31 but has now recovered to a mere 40 percent fall. The expectation is that regardless of what happens to its promoter FinTech, MCX will be sold – and there are willing buyers.
The Future? The NSEL crisis shows the investment community one thing: we do not have adequate regulation or enforcement. That if there is a crisis, the ‘agreement’ will not be sacrosanct; it will be secondary to the interests of the parties who have better political and business connections. This default will trigger other issues, and in a country already branded as crony capitalist, the lack of will to enforce laws and put people in jail for fraud will hamper future investment. Decisive action is required, but the window for action is fast shrinking. There is a political fallout to this crisis, but the details on that are sketchy at best. The problem really is: we have lost trust. The entire financial system is based on trust – for example, if everyone tried to withdraw his or her bank deposits at once, we’d have to shut everything down. Every attempt to undermine this trust must be dealt with heavily. NSEL’s ‘getting away’ will leave us all with a deficit worse than a fiscal or current account one: the Deficit of Trust. (By Deepak Shenoy for Grist Media. Deepak Shenoy is a founder at Capital Mind, a financial data, commentary and analytics site.) SM
WHY NATIONAL INSURA FOR GROWTH INTO A H National Insurance Company is not just India’s oldest non-life insurance company. In recent years it has also become one of the country’s fastest growing general insurance giants. But even that is not the brightest feather in the cap for this Kolkota headquartered PSU insurer, which is that it has played quite well with the hand it was given with. The main reason for this performance is that under the guidance of leaders like Chairman NSR Chandraprasad and Executive Director AV Girija Kumar, NIC has kept abreast of the competition in not only superior products but superior delivery. Led by impressive operations in the core health and auto sectors, NIC of today is a billion dollar premium earning company with over 16 million customers. hat National Insurance Company (NIC) was founded a good 41 years before the nation became independent would come as a surprise to many. An even greater surprise is that during the past 107 years, this organization has weathered quite a few transformations, which has not weakened its fabric, but on the contrary made it adaptive to rapid changes in the industry. National Insurance set out on its eventful journey in 1906, in the private sector. And would remain in the private sector through Independence, and up to the first 6½ decades of its existence. Then came the dramatic nationalization of private insurance firms, and not only would National Insurance become a PSU entity, but lose its status as a standalone company, becoming the subsidiary of General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC). But turning public had advantages outweighing the disadvantages. For one, National Insurance exploded in size, as 21 foreign and 11 Indian insurance firms were amalgamated with National. It set the stage for a greater stature for National on the national scene. But there were flipsides too. Apart from the fact that National had become a subsidiary of GIC, the company’s Seasonal Magazine
NSR Chandraprasad, Chairman
designated focus naturally became the East and North East of India. Unfortunately, both these regions except for Kolkata City - remained less economically developed than West, North, Central, or South India, for many more decades. However, the way National Insurance looked at the issue was as an opportunity. An opportunity to serve the less developed regions and bring them up to the national average. And over the next few decades, Team National executed this vision with great diligence so much so that, by 2002, the promoter
AV Girija Kumar, ED
of GIC, Government of India, decided that National Insurance be hived off from GIC as a standalone company. Also, what was once a liability is surely turning to be an advantage. East and North East are fast progressing, and it has enabled National Insurance to ride a higher growth trajectory. And NIC has further cemented its position as the market leader in two zones - North and East India. NIC’s performance has been especially commendable as unlike the country’s life insurance business where the sole
NCE IS POISED IGHER ORBIT government owned player - LIC of India - has had an unbridgeable and monopolistic advantage for long, the nation’s non-life business has been a fragmented one not only due to private players, but due to multiple government owned players. India today has four government promoted insurers - New India Assurance, United India Insurance, National Insurance, & Oriental Insurance. But even when taken together, they control only 60% of the general insurance market. The remaining 40% of market share lies with the highly competitive private sector, dominated by around 13 private sector insurers led by ICICI Lombard which alone has a market share of around 10%. Heightening the competition further in recent years has been the advent of standalone health insurers in the private sector. Currently, there are only four such players - Star Health, Apollo Munich, Max Bupa, and Religare Health - but they are already in significant momentum due to their specialised focus. Additional competition in the core health insurance segment has been especially tough for conventional general insurers like National Insurance. Because, the typical premium portfolio of a general insurer is dominated by health insurance at around 25-35%. That NIC has performed well even in this cutthroat competitive environment is noteworthy. The main reason for this performance is that under the guidance of leaders like Chairman NSR Chandraprasad and Executive Director AV Girija Kumar, NIC has kept abreast of the competition in not only superior products but superior delivery. The best examples come from National’s health
portfolio itself. Apart from the usual Mediclaim policy, NIC has two additional, well-thought of products Parivar Mediclaim and Overseas Mediclaim. NIC’s Parivar Mediclaim policy provides protection to families against the financial burden of treatment in hospitals for diseases and accidental injury. It is a floater policy where the entire family consisting of self, spouse, & two dependent children are covered under a single floater sum insured. Even the Overseas Mediclaim Policy from NIC is quite tailor-made for diverse requirements. While ‘Overseas Mediclaim - Business & Holiday’ helps those who are either on business, holiday, or corporate frequent visits, another version called ‘Overseas Mediclaim - Employment & Studies’ comes to the aid of those pursuing either studies or employment in foreign lands. The basic Mediclaim Policy from NIC is also an impressive one. The policy covers hospitalization expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred for treatment of diseases or injury sustained by the insured persons during the policy period. It also covers 140+ day care procedures and surgeries. National Insurance also leads its peers when it comes to formulating impressive policies in the other pivotal segment of general insurance viz. Motor Insurance, which accounts for an even larger pie of the total business than health insurance. NIC has tailor-made products for both cars as well as twowheelers, and this has been a booming sector due to the underlying auto boom which has translated to higher premiums. NIC has made strong strategic tie-ups with most major car and bike manufacturers. NIC also has
significant products and presence in all other general insurance segments like Personal Insurance, Rural Insurance, Industrial Risk Insurance, & Commercial Risk Insurance. National’s products like Householders Policy, Personal Accident Policy, Gramin Suraksha Bhima, Gramin Suswastha Bhima, Machinery Insurance, Electronic Equipment Insurance, Fire & Special Perils Insurance, & Shopkeepers Insurance are all well-designed policies in these sectors. National also shines when it comes to delivery, both personal as well as online. NIC has more than 1340 offices including more than 373 Business Centres across India, employing more than 15000 skilled employees. Recently, NIC has also started expanding its micro office architecture into unrepresented rural areas, which are manned by just one officer, but does almost all the work of a conventional office. NIC’s impressive online foray has resulted in a robust and versatile system by which not only premium payments but purchase of new policies as well as renewals can be done entirely online. Payment methods are quite versatile including net banking, credit card, debit card, NEFT/RTGS, swipe cards at select offices etc. No wonder then that National Insurance has bagged ‘Best in Service’ awards in the Motor and Health sectors of General Insurance, apart from numerous other awards. NIC is now all set to zoom ahead in general insurance, if not for anything else, for their updated products in the health insurance sector. India is a country where only 15% of the population has some kind of health insurance, and where still 86% of all medical expenses are met out-of-pocket. This gives National unimaginable room for growth. National’s ideals of Prompt Service, Hassle Free Process, & Fair Settlement is readily appreciated by people seeking general insurance, especially health insurance, as these three values are what customers are really looking for from an insurer. More than 16 million customers generate more than a billion dollar in premiums for National, for pursuing such ideals. SM
WHICH IS BETTER Sleeping Too Little or Too Much? Sleeping for less than six hours or more than 10 hours a night is linked with chronic diseases - including coronary heart disease, diabetes, anxiety and obesity - in adults age 45 and older, a new study has found.
ccording to the study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), short sleepers reported a higher prevalence of coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes, in addition to obesity and frequent mental distress, compared with optimal sleepers who reported sleeping seven to nine hours on average in a 24-hour period. The same was true for long sleepers, and the associations with coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes were even more pronounced with more sleep. "Some of the relationships between unhealthy sleep durations and chronic
diseases were partially explained by frequent mental distress and obesity," said study co-author Janet B Croft, senior chronic disease epidemiologist in CDC's Division of Population Health. "This suggests that physicians should consider monitoring mental health and body weight in addition to sleep health for patients with chronic diseases," Croft said. The study involved more than 54,000 participants age 45 or older. Nearly one third of participants (31 per cent) were identified as short sleepers, meaning they reported sleeping six hours or less on average. More than 64 per cent were classified as optimal sleepers, and only 4 per cent of
participants were long sleepers. "It's critical that adults aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to receive the health benefits of sleep, but this is especially true for those battling a chronic condition," said Dr M Safwan Badr, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). "Common sleep illnesses - including sleep apnea and insomnia - occur frequently in people with a chronic disease and can hinder your ability to sleep soundly. "So if you're waking up exhausted, speak with a sleep physician to see if there's a problem. If you are diagnosed with a sleep illness, treating it could significantly improve disease symptoms and your quality of life," Badr said.
MEET THE MAN WHO IS CLEANING UP CHINA WHO IS CLEANING UP CHINA
Behind China's aggressive drive to root out corruption is Wang Qishan, a historian-turnedeconomist who once felt so bad about getting free parking that he reportedly sent a colleague back to pay the fee. President Xi Jinping launched the anti-corruption campaign after becoming Communist Party chief in November. So far the party has announced the investigation or arrest of eight senior officials, including three from the 376-member elite Central Committee. Among them, former executives from oil giant PetroChina are being investigated in what appears to be the biggest graft probe into a state-run firm in years. Seasonal Magazine
ang, 65, heads the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and ranks sixth in the party hierarchy.His power far exceeds this, said Cheng Li, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington and an expert on Chinese politics. "I would say that Wang Qishan is the second most powerful person next only to Xi Jinping," he said. Given the secretive nature of China's Communist Party, there are few details on what Wang has done as its top graft-buster, a role he assumed when Xi became party chief. Wang keeps a low profile and his public appearances and comments, like those of all top Chinese leaders, are usually scripted. He rarely gives interviews. But observers said the fingerprints of the urbane former banker were visible in the anti-corruption campaign and in related efforts to force officials to behave less extravagantly. "He is the lead actor in this," said Zhang Ming, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing.
IMMUNITY FOR ELITE REMOVED For example, it was Wang who proposed the party scrap a decades-old unwritten rule that exempted incumbent and retired members of the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, of which he belongs, from investigation for corruption, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said. That landmark move was approved earlier this year by the Standing Committee, China's top political decision-making body, sources who have ties to the leadership or direct knowledge of the matter have told Reuters. Wang has also reorganised parts of the discipline inspection commission and added two offices so the body can deepen its investigations into provincial leaders. And one of the earliest initiatives Xi unveiled was a set of guidelines for officials that aimed to cut bureaucracy and formality. "This came from the discipline commission," said Li of the Brookings Institution. "He and Xi Jinping have a very, very good partnership." To be sure, China has announced corruption crackdowns before that have met with little success. Experts say only deep and difficult political reforms will move the needle. "If the anti-graft campaign is sustained
Corruption oils the wheels of government at almost every level in China, which ranked 80th out of 176 countries and territories on Transparency International's corruption perceptions index, where a higher ranking means a cleaner government. and expanded, it could begin to challenge the party's systemic problems with corruption, but it's far too early to say that the government is committed to that," said Duncan Innes-Ker, senior China analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit. Like his predecessors, Xi says corruption threatens the party's very survival. He has said he wants to show he is serious by going after "tigers", or political heavyweights, not just "flies". Some questioned the wisdom of moving Wang away from his role as a leading economic policymaker. A protege of former premier and economic reformer Zhu Rongji, he was even viewed as a dark-horse candidate for premier before the new leadership lineup was announced in November. Now that the Chinese economy is showing signs of stability, the decision to deploy a man widely known as "the chief firefighter" to the corruption front might be a good call. "They needed a person to deal with corruption who was strong and whose image and reputation were good, and he was that person. There was no one else they could have picked," said Jin Zhong, editor of Hong Kong's Open magazine, which follows elite Chinese politics. Wang is under no illusions as to task ahead. Graft oils the wheels of government at almost every level in China, which ranked 80th out of 176 countries and territories on Transparency International's corruption perceptions index, where a higher ranking means a cleaner public sector. "The war against corruption needs to be resolute and longlasting, and it must be a battle to the death," the Xinhua news agency quoted Wang as saying in March. Not everything has gone according to plan. State media reported last week that Yu Qiyi, a 42-year-old engineer in the eastern city of Wenzhou, drowned after being repeatedly dunked in cold water while being interrogated by corruption
investigators. Six officials will soon stand trial.
NO TIME FOR NONSENSE Wang made a name for himself in the late 1990s when he sorted out a debt crisis in booming southern Guangdong province. He then ran the island province of Hainan as governor before moving to Beijing where he tackled the deadly SARS pandemic in 2003 as mayor after his predecessor was sacked for covering it up. His most recent job was vice premier with responsibility for the economy. As an undergraduate in the mid-1970s he studied history in Shaanxi province, where he had worked on a farm at the height of the Cultural Revolution. In the 1980s Wang moved to Beijing and focused on rural policy, the forefront of China's market reforms. He later transitioned into banking. Wang is a straight shooter, sources say. When being briefed by officials he has a habit of stopping them from reading from prepared statements and asking them questions. "He does not have time for nonsense and demands direct answers," a source with ties to the leadership told Reuters. The new administration has taken steps to introduce more transparency and adhere more closely to the rule of law in anti-corruption work, said Zhu Jiangnan, a professor at the University of Hong Kong who has researched corruption in China. The discipline commission held its first news conference ever in January and launched a new website at the start of this month. "I suspect some of those ideas are coming from Wang Qishan," Zhu said. In May, Wang ordered disciplinary and supervisory cadres to give up club membership and VIP cards, apparently common gifts for officials, calling them "small objects (that) reflect a big problem in working style". The son-inlaw of late vice premier Yao Yilin, Wang has a reputation for modesty and honesty. In a late August cover story, the influential state-run magazine, Southern People Weekly, recounted an incident in which a parking attendant insisted on letting Wang, then mayor of Beijing, park for free. "The car behind started to get impatient and honk so Wang had to drive away," it said. Wang later sent a staffer to pay the fee. SM Seasonal Magazine
THE JINX TROUBLING AJINKYA
Ajinkya Rahane has missed the cut for the Indian squad for the home series against Australia. But then, that has been the story of Rahaneâ€™s career, hasnâ€™t it? here were two shots that Rajasthan Royals' Ajinkya Rahane played in the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013 semi-final against the Chennai Super Kings which were true depictions of the talent that he is but, sadly, wasted by the national selectors. It was the 12th over of the innings with the Royals moving along steadily at 75 for three, Rahane and Shane Watson were looking settled in the middle. Ravichandran Ashwin, India's best spinner, was the bowler. Always looking to outsmart the batsman in this shortest format of the game, Ashwin went for the googly, but erred by pitching it a tad too short. Rahane was as calm as a cat on a hot summer afternoon as he stepped down, made himself some room and lofted Ashwin inside-out over cover for six. It was a shot that the 25-year-old has perfected over the years playing limited overs cricket, and has all but made it his own. The second Rahane special came in the 17th over with the Royals at a comfortable 130 for four. Rahane had crossed his half-century - his third in the tournament - and was looking good for a big one. Pacer Mohit Sharma spotted Rahane going for a premeditated sweep and bowled a slower one on middle, but the Mumbai batsman was too good for him as he slickly improvised and managed to sweep-flick it wide of short fine-leg for four. Rahane went on to make 70 off 56 balls, Seasonal Magazine
helping Rajasthan to a total of 159 which turned out to be more than enough for them to defend and barge into the summit clash. He had played an integral part in maintaining Rajasthan’s unbeaten run in the tournament, now spanning five matches, with a swashbuckling unbeaten 62 off 53 balls against the Perth Scorchers and a plucky 48-ball 52 against the Otago Volts. He thus carried forward his great form for the Royals after a successful Indian Premier League (IPL) earlier this
Rahane will continue to amass runs in the domestic circuit and T20 cricket, while an almost inexplicable big-stage fright continues to overwhelm him in the international arena.
year, where he scored 488 runs in 18 games including four half-centuries that helped the Royals reach the last four. So, it does seem like a shame that Rahane missed the cut for the Indian squad for the upcoming home series against Australia. But then, that has been the story of Rahane’s career, hasn’t it? At 25 years of age, with a First-Class average of over 60 - which features in the all-time top 10 in the world -built over 105 innings and five seasons, including 19 hundreds and 22 half centuries, it's a shame that Rahane has played just one Test match and 17 OneDay Internationals (ODIs). A perennial bench warmer and drinks carrier ever since he was first picked in the India squad for the Test series against the West Indies in 2011, Rahane has seen many a compatriot barge through the doors of the national team, while he has been asked to wait outside. In fact, as many as seven players - Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, R Vinay Kumar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja and Shikhar Dhawan - have debuted for India between then and the Delhi Test against Australia in March 2013 when Rahane finally got his chance. Since then, two stalwarts of the middleorder - Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman have retired, while two openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have been sacked. Unfortunately, Rahane, who prides himself in being a versatile batsman who can play at any position, still continues to be overlooked. His Test debut was realised only after Shikhar Dhawan injured himself and was ruled out of the last match, and as fate would have it, Rahane could manage just eight runs over two innings batting at No 5. Considering his one-day career, inspite of a solid IPL 2012, where he plundered 560 runs, Rahane played just the one ODI in the calendar year - the fifth game of a five-match series that India had already won going into the match; unfortunately, he could score just nine runs. In January 2013, he was again
given a chance to play in the third and final ODI against Pakistan at home, where he flopped yet again and could not get into double figures. He was extended a longer rope in the ODIs against England that followed: he scored 47 at Rajkot to show some promise, before again failing to cross double digits at Kochi and Ranchi; he was dropped again. As was his fate, Rahane was not picked in India’s Champions Trophy squad, which the team went on to win. Neither did he play in the tri-series in the Caribbean that followed, featuring Sri Lanka and the West Indies. Finally, picked in the second string squad that toured Zimbabwe for a limited overs series, Rahane got a chance in the fifth and final ODI after the Indian team had long clinched the series, and scored a half-century. It wasn’t to be enough, as Rahane’s name was again brushed away by the selectors while picking the squad for the important limited-overs series against Australia at home. And so, Rahane will continue to plunder runs in the domestic circuit and T20 cricket, while an almost inexplicable big-stage fright continues to overwhelm him in the international arena. Perhaps one can argue that he hasn’t quite been given as long a rope to prove his worth as, say, Rohit Sharma. Still on the right side of 30 for a few more years, Rahane has enough time on his side to push for an India spot. Rahane could still play against Australia, since the squad announced is limited to just the first two ODIs. His CLT20 show must surely have grabbed the attention of the selectors. But he will somehow have to get rid of his international blues if he wants to cement his spot in the Indian team. Or else, rather unfortunately, he will be added to the heap of talented Indian players who could not make the cut in international cricket. (By Jaideep Vaidya for PTI) Seasonal Magazine
By Joanne Lipman
8 REASONS WHY TOUGH TEACHERS DELIVER HIGH ACHIEVERS Ace American journalist Joanne Lipman presents a compelling case for tougher teachers, for moulding high achievers. Based on her tough experiences with a childhood music teacher in New Jersey - Mr. K - as well as on recent breakthrough research in effective ways to educate kids, Lipman tells a story that is not just concerning American education, but of universal appeal to all students, teachers, and parents. As Lipman asks, what can we learn from a teacher whose methods fly in the face of everything we think we know about education today, but who was undeniably effective? Ironically, studies have now shown, among other things, the benefits of moderate childhood stress; how praise kills kids' self-esteem; and why grit is a better predictor of success than SAT scores. had a teacher once who called his students "idiots" when they screwed up. He was our orchestra conductor, a fierce Ukrainian immigrant named Jerry Kupchynsky, and when someone played out of tune, he would stop the entire group to yell, "Who eez deaf in first violins!?" He made us rehearse until our fingers almost bled. He corrected our wayward hands and arms by poking at us with a pencil. Today, he'd be fired. But when he died a few years ago, he was celebrated: Forty years' worth of former students and colleagues flew back to my New Jersey hometown from every corner of the country, old instruments in tow, to play a concert in his memory. I was among them, toting my long-neglected viola. When the curtain rose on our concert that day, we had formed a symphony orchestra the size of the New York Philharmonic. I was stunned by the outpouring for the
gruff old teacher we knew as Mr. K. But I was equally struck by the success of his former students. Some were musicians, but most had distinguished themselves in other fields, like law, academia and medicine. Research tells us that there is a positive correlation between music education and academic achievement. But that alone didn't explain the belated surge of gratitude for a teacher who basically tortured us through adolescence. We're in the midst of a national wave of self-recrimination over the U.S. education system. Every day there is hand-wringing over our students falling behind the rest of the world. Fifteen-yearolds in the U.S. trail students in 12 other nations in science and 17 in math, bested by their counterparts not just in Asia but in Finland, Estonia and the Netherlands, too. An entire industry of books and consultants has grown up that capitalizes on our collective fear that American education is inadequate and asks what
American educators are doing wrong. I would ask a different question. What did Mr. K do right? What can we learn from a teacher whose methods fly in the face of everything we think we know about education today, but who was undeniably effective? As it turns out, quite a lot. Comparing Mr. K's methods with the latest findings in fields from music to math to medicine leads to a single, startling conclusion: It's time to revive old-fashioned education. Not just traditional but oldfashioned in the sense that so many of us knew as kids, with strict discipline and unyielding demands. Because here's the thing: It works. Now I'm not calling for abuse; I'd be the first to complain if a teacher called my kids names. But the latest evidence backs up my modest proposal. Studies have now shown, among other things, the benefits of moderate childhood stress; how praise kills kids' self-esteem; Seasonal Magazine
and why grit is a better predictor of success than SAT scores. All of which flies in the face of the kinder, gentler philosophy that has dominated American education over the past few decades. The conventional wisdom holds that teachers are supposed to tease knowledge out of students, rather than pound it into their heads. Projects and collaborative learning are applauded; traditional methods like lecturing and memorization-derided as "drill and kill"-are frowned upon, dismissed as a surefire way to suck young minds dry of creativity and motivation. But the conventional wisdom is wrong. And the following eight principles-a manifesto if you will, a battle cry inspired by my old teacher and buttressed by new research-explain why.
1. A little Pain is Good for You. Psychologist K. Anders Ericsson gained fame for his research showing that true expertise requires about 10,000 hours of practice, a notion popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book "Outliers." But an often-overlooked finding from the same study is equally important: True expertise requires teachers who give "constructive, even painful, feedback," as Dr. Ericsson put it in a 2007 Harvard Business Review article. He assessed research on top performers in fields ranging from violin performance to surgery to computer programming to chess. And he found that all of them "deliberately picked unsentimental coaches who would challenge them and drive them to higher levels of performance."
2. Drill, Baby, Drill. Rote learning, long discredited, is now recognized as one reason that children whose families come from India (where memorization is still prized) are creaming their peers in the National Spelling Bee Championship. This cultural difference also helps to explain why students in China (and Chinese families in the U.S.) are better at math. Meanwhile, American students struggle Seasonal Magazine
with complex math problems because, as research makes abundantly clear, they lack fluency in basic addition and subtractionâ€”and few of them were made to memorize their times tables. William Klemm of Texas A&M University argues that the U.S. needs to reverse the bias against memorization. Even the U.S. Department of Education raised alarm bells, chastising American schools in a 2008 report that bemoaned the lack of math fluency (a notion it mentioned no fewer than 17 times). It concluded that schools need to embrace the dreaded "drill and practice."
3. Failure is an Option. Kids who understand that failure is a necessary aspect of learning actually perform better. In a 2012 study, 111 French sixth-graders were given anagram problems that were too difficult for them to solve. One group was then told that failure and trying again are part of the learning process. On subsequent tests, those children consistently outperformed their peers. The fear, of course is that failure will traumatize our kids, sapping them of self-esteem. Wrong again. In a 2006 study, a Bowling Green State University graduate student followed 31 Ohio band students who were required to audition for placement and found that even students who placed lowest "did not decrease in their motivation and selfesteem in the long term." The study concluded that educators need "not be as concerned about the negative effects" of picking winners and losers.
4. Strict is Better than Nice. What makes a teacher successful? To find out, starting in 2005 a team of researchers led by Claremont Graduate University education professor Mary Poplin spent five years observing 31 of the most highly effective teachers (measured by student test scores) in the worst schools of Los Angeles, in neighborhoods like South Central and Watts. Their No. 1 finding: "They were strict," she says. "None of us expected
that." The researchers had assumed that the most effective teachers would lead students to knowledge through collaborative learning and discussion. Instead, they found disciplinarians who relied on traditional methods of explicit instruction, like lectures. "The core belief of these teachers was, 'Every student in my room is underperforming based on their potential, and it's my job to do something about it-and I can do something about it,'" says Prof. Poplin. She reported her findings in a lengthy academic paper. But she says that a fourth-grader summarized her conclusions much more succinctly this way: "When I was in first grade and second grade and third grade, when I cried my teachers coddled me. When I got to Mrs. T's room, she told me to suck it up and get to work. I think she's right. I need to work harder."
5. Creativity can be Learned. The rap on traditional education is that it kills children's' creativity. But Temple University psychology professor Robert W. Weisberg's research suggests just the opposite. Prof. Weisberg has studied creative geniuses including Thomas Edison, Frank Lloyd Wright and Picasso-and has concluded that there is no such thing as a born genius. Most creative giants work ferociously hard and, through a series of incremental steps, achieve things that appear (to the outside world) like epiphanies and breakthroughs. Prof. Weisberg analyzed Picasso's 1937 masterpiece Guernica, for instance, which was painted after the Spanish city was bombed by the Germans. The painting is considered a fresh and original concept, but Prof. Weisberg found instead that it was closely related to several of Picasso's earlier works and drew upon his study of paintings by Goya and then-prevalent Communist Party imagery. The bottom line, Prof. Weisberg told me, is that creativity goes back in many ways to the basics. "You have to immerse yourself in a discipline before you create in that discipline. It is built on a foundation of learning the discipline, which is what your music teacher was requiring of you."
6. Grit Trumps Talent. In recent years, University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Angela Duckworth has studied spelling bee champs, Ivy League undergrads and cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.-all together, over 2,800 subjects. In all of them, she found that grit-defined as passion and perseverance for long-term goals-is the best predictor of success. In fact, grit is usually unrelated or even negatively correlated with talent. Prof. Duckworth, who started her career as a public school math teacher and just won a 2013 MacArthur "genius grant," developed a "Grit Scale" that asks people to rate themselves on a dozen
statements, like "I finish whatever I begin" and "I become interested in new pursuits every few months." When she applied the scale to incoming West Point cadets, she found that those who scored higher were less likely to drop out of the school's notoriously brutal summer boot camp known as "Beast Barracks." West Point's own measurean index that includes SAT scores, class rank, leadership and physical aptitudewasn't able to predict retention.
of a family member. Then he plunged their hands into ice water. The students who had experienced a moderate number of stressful events actually felt less pain than those who had experienced no stress at all.
Prof. Duckworth believes that grit can be taught. One surprisingly simple factor, she says, is optimism-the belief among both teachers and students that they have the ability to change and thus to improve. In a 2009 study of newly minted teachers, she rated each for optimism (as measured by a questionnaire) before the school year began. At the end of the year, the students whose teachers were optimists had made greater academic gains.
Prof. Seery's findings build on research by University of Nebraska psychologist Richard Dienstbier, who pioneered the concept of "toughness"—the idea that dealing with even routine stresses makes you stronger. How would you define routine stresses? "Mundane things, like having a hardass kind of teacher," Prof. Seery says. My tough old teacher Mr. K could have written the book on any one of these principles. Admittedly, individually, these are forbidding precepts: cold, unyielding, and kind of scary.
7. Praise Makes You Weak… My old teacher Mr. K seldom praised us. His highest compliment was "not bad." It turns out he was onto something. Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck has found that 10-year-olds praised for being "smart" became less confident. But kids told that they were "hard workers" became more confident and better performers. "The whole point of intelligent praise is to boost confidence and motivation, but both were gone in a flash," wrote Prof. Dweck in a 2007 article in the journal Educational Leadership. "If success meant they were smart, then struggling meant they were not."
8.…While Stress Makes You Strong. A 2011 University at Buffalo study found that a moderate amount of stress in childhood promotes resilience. Psychology professor Mark D. Seery gave healthy undergraduates a stress assessment based on their exposure to 37 different kinds of significant negative events, such as death or illness
"Having this history of dealing with these negative things leads people to be more likely to have a propensity for general resilience," Prof. Seery told me. "They are better equipped to deal with even mundane, everyday stressors."
But collectively, they convey something very different: confidence. At their core is the belief, the faith really, in students' ability to do better. There is something to be said about a teacher who is demanding and tough not because he thinks students will never learn but because he is so absolutely certain that they will. Decades later, Mr. K's former students finally figured it out, too. "He taught us discipline," explained a violinist who went on to become an Ivy League-trained doctor. "Selfmotivation," added a tech executive who once played the cello. "Resilience," said a professional cellist. "He taught us how to fail—and how to pick ourselves up again." Clearly, Mr. K's methods aren't for everyone. But you can't argue with his results. And that's a lesson we can all learn from. (From Wall Street Journal. Joanne Lipman is co-author, with Melanie Kupchynsky, of "Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations," published by Hyperion on Oct. 1. She is a former deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal and former editor-in-chief of Condé Nast Portfolio.) Seasonal Magazine
DASH DIET FOR HEART HEALTH
Why has the DASH diet been ranked as the best diet, the healthiest diet, and the best diet for diabetes, 3 years in a row? The expert panel of physicians assembled by US New & World Reports chose DASH because it is proven to improve health, has a balance of healthy food groups, and it actually works. It has been proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and is associated with lower risk of several types of cancer, heart disease, stroke, heart failure, kidney stones, reduced risk of developing diabetes, and can slow the progression of kidney disease. Seasonal Magazine
What DASH Can Do for You The DASH Diet can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which is good for your heart. In fact, DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or high blood pressure. Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, the DASH Diet is worth a look. It may help you lose weight because it’s a healthier way of eating. You won’t feel deprived. You’ll have lots of vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products while cutting back on fats, cholesterol, and sweets.
Cut the Salt Too much salt causes fluids to build up in your body. This puts extra pressure on your heart. On DASH, you’ll lower your sodium to either 2,300 or 1,500 milligrams a day, depending on your health, age, race, and any medical conditions. Here are some ways to cut back: Choose low- or no-sodium foods and condiments. Watch foods that are cured, smoked, or pickled. Limit processed foods. They're often high in sodium.
Get Your Grains Eating whole grains like whole wheat breads, brown rice, whole grain cereals, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, and unsalted pretzels or popcorn is a good way to get fiber. Fiber helps lower your cholesterol and also keeps you feeling full longer. For a diet of 2,000 calories per day: Eat six to eight servings a day. One serving is a slice of bread, 1 ounce of dry cereal, or ½ cup of cooked whole wheat pasta, rice, or oatmeal (about the size of half a baseball).
Load Your Plate With Vegetables Vegetables give you fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They don't have a lot of calories or fat -- a good recipe for controlling blood pressure. Have four to five servings of vegetables a day. That’s 1/2 cup of cooked or raw vegetables, 1 cup of raw leafy
vegetables, or 1/2 cup of vegetable juice for each serving. Iffy about veggies? Start by adding a salad at lunch and dinner.
beans or peas in each serving. Grab a handful of seeds or nuts as a snack. Or add beans to your salads or soups.
Don't Forget Fruit
Cut Back on Fats and Oils
Fruits offer lots of fiber and vitamins that are good for your heart. Many also have potassium and magnesium, which lower blood pressure. Have four to five servings of fruit every day. One serving is a medium apple or orange, or 1/2 cup of frozen, fresh, or canned fruit. Onehalf cup of fruit juice or 1/4 cup of dried fruit also counts as a serving. Try adding bananas or berries to your breakfast cereal or have fruit for dessert.
Have Some Yogurt Low- and no-fat dairy foods are good sources of calcium and protein, which can help maintain a healthy blood pressure. Try to get two to three servings of dairy every day. Choose skim or 1% milk, buttermilk, and low- or no-fat cheeses and yogurt. Frozen low-fat yogurt is OK, too. One serving equals 1 cup of yogurt or milk, or 1 1/2 ounces of cheese -- about the size of three dice.
Go for Lean Meats and Fish You can still eat meat. Just make sure it’s lean. Meats are good sources of protein and magnesium. Skinless chicken and fish are also on the menu. Limit your servings to six or fewer a day. A serving is 1 ounce of cooked meat, fish, or poultry, or one egg. A good rule is to have no more than 3 ounces of meat at a meal the size of an iPhone. Limit egg yolks to no more than four in a week.
Add Nuts and Legumes Nuts, legumes, and seeds are rich in magnesium, protein, and fiber. Walnuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help lower your risk of heart disease. Enjoy as many as five servings of these foods each week. That’s 1/3 cup of nuts, 2 tablespoons of seeds, or a 1/2 cup of cooked dried
Eating too many fats can cause high cholesterol and heart disease. With DASH, you’ll limit fats and oils to two to three servings a day. A serving is 1 teaspoon of margarine or vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, or 2 tablespoons of low-fat salad dressing. When cooking, use vegetable oils like olive or canola instead of butter.
Watch the Sweets You don't have to skip all sweets. But you should try to have five or fewer servings a week. That’s 1 tablespoon of sugar or jam, 1 cup of lemonade, or 1/2 cup of sorbet at a time. Choose sweets that are low in fat, such as gelatin, hard candy, or maple syrup. Instead of highfat desserts, try having fresh fruit over low-fat ice cream.
Get Enough Potassium Potassium is another important part of the DASH diet. Getting enough of this mineral may help lower your blood pressure. It's best to get potassium from food instead of supplements. Aim for 4,700 milligrams (mg) a day. Try these potassium-rich foods: Potato: 926 mg Sweet potato: 540 mg Banana: 420 mg Avocado (1/2): 345 mg Cooked spinach (1/2 cup): 290 mg
Getting Started on DASH DASH isn’t hard to follow, but you’ll have to make some changes. Start by keeping a food diary for a few days and see how your diet stacks up. Then start making changes. You’ll aim for around 2,000 calories a day. It may vary some depending on your body and how active you are. Ask your doctor for advice. SM Seasonal Magazine
9 Unknown Dangers About Flying If you suffer from a fear of flying, you probably shouldn't read this unless you enjoy having your worst fears validated. Here for your reading pleasure are 10 horrifying facts about flying that you're probably better off not knowing.
1. These 11 Minutes Are The Scariest We're not saying you should spend the three minutes after takeoff and last eight minutes before landing frozen in fear, but you should probably be awake and alert. Research has shown that these 11 minutes are when 80 percent of plane crashes occur. Think about that the next time you're tempted to ignore the flight crew's instructions.
2. Traveling with a Lap Child Can Be Deadly
Between 43 and 54 percent of pilots surveyed in the U.K., Norway, and Sweden admitted to having fallen asleep while flying a passenger plane.
No one wants to spend extra money on a separate plane ticket for their infant, especially when kids under two can usually fly free. But can you put a price on safety? You wouldn't dream of driving with your child sitting in your lap instead of a car seat (we hope), so why would you do it on a flight? According to the FAA, "The safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government-approved child safety restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap. Your arms aren't capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence." Kids can easily fly out of a parent's arms during severe turbulence or a crashâ€”hurting not only the child but other passengers as well. Survivable accidents can become fatal for unrestrained infants. There has been a recent account of an emergency landing in which a mother survived but her lap baby was killed on impact. Play it safe and get the extra seat.
for cleaning before a flight is turned around for the next group of passengers. Since cold and influenza viruses can live for days on surfaces, planes can become germ hotbeds. Watch out for seat pockets (where sick passengers may stash dirty tissues), tray tables (a study found that 60 percent of tray tables tested harbored the "superbug" MRSA), and airplane blankets (which are only washed every five to 30 days, according to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal). Pack antibacterial wipes and hope for the best.
3. Turbulence Might Be Getting Worse
5. Pilots Fall Asleep at the Controls
Flight feeling bumpier than usual? It's not your imagination. Scientists say that the amount of moderate to extreme turbulence experienced on transatlantic flights could increase by between 10 and 40 percent by mid-century, due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide. Buckle up!
Here's an eye-opening statistic: Between 43 and 54 percent of pilots surveyed in the U.K., Norway, and Sweden admitted to having fallen asleep while flying a passenger plane. Even worse, a third of them stated that they woke up to find that their copilot had also been sleeping!
4. Your Plane Is Filthy
6. Airlines Are Skimping on Fuel
With planes flying on tighter schedules than ever before, there's often no time
Airline cost-cutting measures are
getting extreme. Some airlines are reportedly flying with less-thanrecommended fuel levels in an effort to save money, according to a scary report by Spanish safety investigators. The report focuses on budget airline Ryanair, which is no stranger to cutting corners. Take this case, in which the airline instructed its pilots to fly slower in order to save fuel.
7. You Might Have Only 90 Seconds to Escape a Burning Plane Better make sure that you know where the emergency exits are on your flight. The FAA requires that all aircraft be capable of being evacuated in 90 seconds, as a minute and a half is the amount of time it can take for a fire to spread through the plane. To up your odds, wear cotton or non-synthetic clothes; synthetics are flammable and may melt to your skin.
8. If You're Not Sitting Within Five Rows of an Exit, You're in Trouble If a crash happens, let's hope that you're sitting within five rows of an exit. Statistical analyses of plane crashes have shown that passengers who sit farther than five rows from an exit have greatly reduced chances of successfully evacuating a plane during an emergency. Another way to increase your chances of getting off a plane after a crash is to count the rows between your seat and the nearest exit once you've boarded the plane. If visibility is reduced by smoke, you'll still be able to find your way out.
9. Turbulence Hurts Here's a good reason to keep that seat belt fastened even if the sign isn't on: Turbulence is the number-one cause of nonfatal aviation accidents. Most injuries sustained as a result of these accidents are suffered by passengers who are not safely buckled in. Don't get up when the seat belt sign is illuminated, and when you're sitting down, always keep your seat belt on. SM Seasonal Magazine
CAG BLASTS GUJARAT for One-Third Children Being Malnourished and Underweight
he CAG has lambasted the working of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in Gujarat, which is aimed at fighting malnutrition among children, saying that every third child in the state is underweight. "Though there were 223.16 lakh eligible beneficiaries under Supplementary Nutrition (SN) programme under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), 63.37 lakh beneficiaries were left out," the CAG said in its report, which was tabled in the state Assembly on Thursday. "As against the target of 300 nutrition days annually, shortfall in providing SN was up to 96 days. Every third child in the state was reported as underweight. Shortfall of 27 per cent to 48 per cent was noticed in the implementation of nutrition
programme for adolescent girls," the report said. The report further said that a population of 1.87 crore was deprived of the benefits of ICDS. "Against the requirements of 75,480
"Though there were 223.16 lakh eligible beneficiaries under Supplementary Nutrition (SN) programme under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), 63.37 lakh beneficiaries were left out," the CAG said in its report, which was tabled in the state Assembly on Thursday.
Angan Wadi Centres (AWCs), 52,137 AWCs (69 per cent) were sanctioned and 50,225 AWCs were in operation in the state, thereby, a population of 1.87 crore was deprived of the benefits of ICDS," the report stated. The report goes on to say that though the central government directed the state government in November 2008 to submit proposal for additional projects based on revised population criteria, the state did not forward any proposal. The report also highlighted the lack of basic amenities (building, safe drinking water and toilets) in nine to 40 per cent of AWCs in the 123 projects in eight test-checked districts. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) had sanctioned a loan to construct 3,333 AWCs, but only 1,979 AWCs were constructed, the report said, adding that records regarding immunisation programme were not available with AWCs.
Unlisted Indian Firms Allowed to List Abroad
he government said on Friday that it will allow unlisted Indian companies to list directly and raise capital overseas to retire debt or for acquisitions or operational needs abroad. The move comes at a time when the government is battling to trim the current account deficit and attract dollar inflows. A finance ministry statement said unlisted Indian companies would be allowed for two years, on a pilot basis, to list and raise capital abroad without the requirement of prior or subsequent listing in the country . "At present, unlisted companies that are incorporated in India are not allowed to directly list in overseas markets without prior or simultaneous listing in Indian markets," the statement said. After the initial two year period, the impact of this arrangement will be
reviewed. While raising resources abroad, the listing company shall be fully compliant with the FDI policy in force, the finance ministry said. In case funds raised are not utilized abroad such companies would be asked to remit the money back to India within 15 days and these funds would be parked only in AD category banks recognized by RBI.
to several conditions. Unlisted companies may be allowed to list abroad only on exchanges in International Organization of Securities Commissions ( IOSCO)/ Financial Action Task Force ( FATF) compliant jurisdictions or those jurisdictions with which Sebi has signed bilateral agreements.
Experts said the government was trying to test overseas markets for companies, which are finding it tough to raise resources at home. "It is a freedom to companies. The government is testing whether there is an appetite for this," said D K Joshi, chief economist at ratings agency Crisil. The finance ministry, the department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and the RBI will issue the notifications soon to implement the listing process. The approval to list abroad would be subject
The companies will have to file a copy of the return, which they submit to the proposed exchange /regulators and also to Sebi for the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) rules. They will have to comply with Sebi's disclosure requirements . Some experts said the new rules are more to address the sentiment issue. The new rule does not change much for companies to list, but it's more sentimental in nature. "A company's listing depends on several factors like liquidity that an exchange can offer, robust trading and settlement system, strong listing rules and governance structure, nearness to a pool of large and loyal retail investors ," said Avinash Gupta, senior director & leader financial advisory, Deloitte India. Unlisted companies may be allowed to list abroad only on exchanges in IOSCO/FATF compliant jurisdictions or those jurisdictions with which Sebi has signed bilateral agreements. In case the funds raised are not utilised abroad such companies will be asked to remit the money back to India within 15 days and these funds will be parked only in AD category banks recognised by RBI The government is trying to test overseas markets for companies that are finding it tough to raise resources at home, say experts The finance ministry, the department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will issue the notifications soon to implement the listing process . SM
Panjab University Stuns IITs in Global Rankings ndia has improved its position in the world's definitive university rankings with five Indian varsities entering the top 400 list, up from three in 2012. Panjab University made its debut in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-14 in the 226-250 band followed by two other new entrants - Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and Kanpur in the 351-400 band. The new entrants join IIT Kharagpur, which slipped from 226-250 into the 351-400 group, and IIT Roorkee, which retained its place in the 351-400 band. "These results should be encouraging for India: while no Indian institution makes the top 200...India now has five
representatives in the top 400 - a sign of growing commitment to the global rankings," said Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. "The drive in India to share more data and to compare its institutions against the trusted, established and rigorous standards set by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings is a great step to improved quality," he added. The increased representation for India in the rankings has been attributed to a two-day National Policy Dialogue in May on international rankings, when representatives of Times Higher Education were invited to meet with senior university leaders by India's Ministry of Human Resources Development and
Planning Commission. "India is clearly focusing more and more on quality to compete with the world's best. These rankings require a lot of data and in the past this engagement was lacking. Even though the Indian universities have missed out on a top 200 ranking, having five in the unranked top 400 list is a strong performance," said Elizabeth Gibney, a rankings expert at Times Higher Education. Overall, the California Institute of Technology retained its place at the top of the rankings for the third consecutive year, with Harvard University regaining second place (up from fourth), a position shared with the UK's University of Oxford. Stanford University slipped from joint second to fourth.
Role Played by Ex-Student Manmohan Singh in the Ranking rime Minister Manmohan Singh, astronaut Kalpana Chawla and scientist Yash Pal are among its most illustrious alumni. And yet, when Panjab University found itself at the 239th spot on the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings, ahead of institutions including IIT Delhi and IIT Kharagpur, many eyebrows were raised. Just how did Panjab University sprint ahead of the elite IITs in the latest round of the Times Higher Education (THE) Rankings 2013-14? A close analysis of the rankings shows PU made it to the 226-250 mark chiefly on the strength of its impressive research citation record. It has also emerged that it was one of PU's most high-profile alumni - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - who urged his alma mater to participate in the rankings. Prof Arun K Grover, vice chancellor of PU, said that while the university has been scoring high on research for a few years now, it was coaxed into participating in the rankings this time. "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, higher education secretary in the union HRD ministry, Ashok Thakur, and higher education advisor in the Planning Commission, Pawan Agarwal, particularly wanted us to take part and so we did," Grover told . "The fact is that if the other universities in the country had the courage to pick up the proforma and send it to the rankings, we would have had at least 8-9 Indian institutes among the top 400." Citation record or citation impact refers to how widely the university's research is being used and valued by the academic community around the world. Here, PU had a citation score of 84.7 while IIT-Kharagpur scored just 35.3, IITKanpur 41.8, IIT-Delhi 38.5 and IITRoorkee 53.6. PU also did much better
It was one of Panjab University's most highprofile alumni â€” Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh â€” who urged his alma mater to participate in the rankings, this year. than the IITs on the 'international outlook' parameter, scoring 29.3 while the IITs had scores between 14.7 and 15.6. That IIT-Kharagpur and IIT-Delhi did not share their data on 'industry outcome' also hit their rankings. On teaching though, the three IITs in Delhi, Kharagpur and Kanpur did better than PU. Citation impact (normalized average citations per paper), research and international outlook together hold over 67 per cent weightage in determining the rankings. Teaching and industry outcome have 30 per cent and 2.5 per cent weightage respectively. In all, 21 Indian institutes participated in the THE rankings and only five of them
made it, with PU at the top. Panjab University, incidentally, is no dark horse. While PU has not captured public imagination the way the universities of Delhi, Hyderabad or Pune have, it is a clear frontrunner when it comes to research. "In the case of Panjab University - a new entrant to the tables this year thanks to it providing data to us for the first time - it has received an extremely impressive score for citation impact," said Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education Rankings. "Panjab also outperforms the IITs in its score for international outlook, which means it is attracting international students and staff, and collaborating with academics from across the globe more so than the IITs. All of this has contributed to Panjab University's fantastic ranking position as number 1 in India - an achievement in real terms," Baty said. Baty also brushed aside the contention that IITs being smaller, specialist institutes may have suffered in the ranking process. He said the rankings are designed specifically to recognise excellence at all levels, regardless of the size of an institution. Vice Chancellor Grover, however, is quick to set aside any comparison with the IITs. "This is a futile comparison. PU cannot compete with IITs in science & technology just as IITs cannot be compared with say Indian Institute of Science," Grover said. Nevertheless, PU overtaking the IITs, has come as a surprise. Prof Pradipta Banerjee, director of IIT-Roorkee, said he was also 'quite surprised' and added that the IIT has been scoring high on research and citations. "Having said that, it must be considered that in terms of research funding, perception management and so on, we do lag behind. While the IITs will possibly do much better if you compare hard data, on softer criteria like reputation/perception, we usually fall behind and this may need to be corrected," Banerjee said. Seasonal Magazine
The Customised Bats That Impressed Cricketers The next time you go shopping to buy a cricket bat, chances are the dealer will hand you a one-page questionnaire and demand to know if your backlift is low or high, whether the follow through of your shot ends on the back of your shoulder or in front of you, if you play airy or grounded shots, and if you are strong square of the wicket or in the ‘V’. Only then will he select the right bat for you after making a few calculations. pecially-engineered handcrafted bats have become the latest rage in the Indian cricket circuit, with Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag endorsing the physics-based bat designing. The demand for the bat has picked up strongly by word of mouth, with several Ranji Trophy cricketers from Saurashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and Tamil Nadu also placing their orders for customised bats for the upcoming domestic season. Conceptualised by Aniruddha Chaturvedi, a degree holder from the National Institute of Design in toys and games, the trademarked bat is a product of well-researched findings based on players’ batting style, stance and body mass index while combining inertia, aerodynamics and gravitational force in
coming up with unique bat shape, weight and balance. “The bat is now a natural extension of the body, it needs to be in sync. Players pick the bat by just the weight and feel of it but more than that, it’s each player’s downswing that determines what is the right weight for him,” says Aniruddha. It was Sehwag who adopted the new innovation first after he tried it at the Ferozeshah Kotla nets during the IPL. He immediately started hitting the ball well and didn’t feel the twinge in the shoulder muscles that had been bothering him for the past season. Sehwag was eager to know the reason why this bat worked better for him and immediately placed an order while directing Aniruddha to meet Tendulkar. “Sachin paaji liked my concept and also the customised bats I had crafted for him
and started using it for the Ranji season. In fact he even gave me the bat with which he hit 14 centuries, including that ODI double hundred at Gwalior and asked me to study the bat. “He wanted a bat that has the same pickup from the top to the bottom of the willow and that doesn’t jerk his wrists while swinging it,” he said. Seasonal Magazine
BARACK OBAMA NAMES KERALITE TO KEY POST Arun M. Kumar will lead the trade promotion arm of the US Commerce Department.
S President Barack Obama has named yet another Indian American, Kerala University physics graduate Arun M. Kumar, to lead the trade promotion arm of the US Commerce Department charged with helping US companies succeed in markets around the world. Kumar, who has been nominated Assistant Secretary and Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, would on Senate confirmation succeed another Indian American, Secunderabad-born Suresh Kumar. Nominating Kumar with four other individuals to key administration posts, Obama said: "The extraordinary dedication these men and women bring to their new roles will greatly serve the American people.
Management Leader. From 1993 to 1995, Kumar was the founder and CEO of Planning & Logic, Inc, a software company. Prior to that, he was cofounder and CFO of Netlabs, Inc from 1991 to 1993; the CFO of Elite Microelectronics, Inc from 1990 to 1991; and the Director of Planning & Management Information at Silicon Graphics, Inc from 1989 to 1990.
Arun M. Kumar
From 1980 to 1984, he was the controller of Elxsi Inc and from 1984 to 1988 co-founder, CFO, and Vice President of Operations for Cydrome, Inc, a minisupercomputer company. At over two dozen, Obama administration boasts of having the highest number of Indian Americans in key jobs than any previous administrations in US.
"I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this administration and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come." According to the White House, Kumar who received a BSc in Physics from the University of Kerala, India, went on to get an S.M. in Management from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kumar was a partner and member of the Board of Directors at KPMG LLP. From 2005 until his retirement in September 2013, Kumar led the firm's West Coast Finance Management Consulting practice. He also led the firm's US-India practice from 2007 to 2013. Kumar joined KPMG in 1995 as a Finance
BARACK OBAMA Seasonal Magazine
Marks & Spencer (M&S), the iconic British clothing retailer, is continuing to grow its presence in India with the opening of its first store in Kochi, Lulu Mall. The newly launched store saw South Indian movie star Rima Kalingal joining Venu Nair, Managing Director, Marks and Spencer Reliance India Pvt. Ltd to celebrate the opening of 34th store in the country for Marks and Spencer. Trading from 16,000 square feet, the new M&S store located at Lulu Mall offers customers an international shopping experience, showcasing M&S’s exceptional quality and confident styles for the whole family. Customers can choose from an extensive range of the latest autumn collections across womenswear, lingerie, menswear and kidswear, as well as accessories and a special edit of beauty products. Speaking from M&S store at Lulu Mall, Rima Kallingal said: “”I am delighted to be associated with the launch of the first Marks and Spencer store in Kerala. I have been an M&S customer for a very long time and love the experience every time I shop at M&S. Marks & Spencer is
a much-loved British brand and it’s great to have the M&S store at such a popular location in the city. The new collection available at the store is bound to make a strong style statement for the season ahead. The store is very inspiring and I am sure that the people of Kochi will love it.” Venu Nair, Managing Director of Marks & Spencer Reliance India,said: “”Continuing to build our presence in India, with new stores at popular shopping locations like the Lulu Mall in Kochi, is an important part of our international growth strategy. It’s a pleasure to introduce our extensive range of high quality, great value and innovative products to customers in Kerala for the first time.” Exceptional quality, stylish fashions Established in 1884, M&S is the UK’s largest clothing retailer and has a growing store presence across India – now with 34 stores. Exceptional quality and confident style are at the heart of the M&S clothing offer, with a commitment to deliver the M&S difference customers expect and to exceed their expectations on fabric, fit and finish.
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Joyalukkas Wins International Award, Signs Hrithik Roshan as Global Brand Ambassador he Bombay Bullion Association, the apex body in India representing the bullion and jewellery industry, on the occasion of its 65th Foundation Day celebrations had launched the 1st India International Bullion Summit and the India Bullion and Jewellery Awards. At this glittering ceremony held at the Park Haytt, Mumbai, Joyalukkas bagged the first award for the ‘Best Chain of Retail Stores - International’. The award was received by Joy Alukkas, Chairman & MD, Joyalukkas Group from Mohit Kamboj, President, Bombay Bullion Association, and Prithviraj Kothari, Ex -President, Bombay Bullion Association. On receiving the award, Joyalukkas said that, “We are delighted to be the first jewellery retail chain to be awarded the prestigious award for ‘Best Chain of Retail Stores International’ from the esteemed Bombay Bullion Association. We are the first Indian jewellery retailer that actually started our operations outside India and later used our international credentials to venture into here. So I consider Joyalukkas as a truly international brand, which offers a truly international experience in jewellery shopping. I would to thank our millions of customers around the world for their support and blessings and the esteemed Bombay Bullion Association for this honour”. Joyalukkas has also signed Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan as its brand ambassador for its ongoing and further global expansion. “The decision to sign Hrithik Roshan is strategic due to the global recognition he has received over the years as a symbol of Indian cinema as well as a fashion icon,” said Joy Alukkas. Joyalukkas sells directly in over 10 developed and developing countries, including UK, UAE, & India. Seasonal Magazine
Momentum Building Up for Coco Neera, the Wonder Bio Beverage R. Hali, a former Director of Agriculture, Kerala and former special consultant to MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, presents his persuasive arguments for marketing Neera which can be produced from coconut trees. lobalization and emergence of World Trade Organization have put tremendous pressure and at the same time created awareness among the developing nations to intensify the efforts for finding out farm produce which could earn fast, wide and profitable consumer acceptance. In this context when you hear that a coconut palm is capable to produce sweet floral sap worth Rs. 50,000 annually, it is both sensational and stimulating. A not so very impressive coconut palm at ‘Cherthalai’, in Alleppey District, Kerala, like several others in different parts of the state, is providing every day three liters of sweet toddy or neera earning a minimum Rs. 120 per kit. ‘I climb the palm thrice daily except during a few days in the worst dry period and bring down a minimum of three liters of sweet toddy’ claims thirty year old tapper Shri. Anirudhan. ‘Though the palm is over thirty six year old, this has been subjected to tapping for last twenty years’, he said. Anirudhan the tapper, MD Thomas, the owner of the palm, and TS Viswan, the former Agricultural Officer, as well as several tappers and trade union leaders have more hope generating experiences to narrate. Before that let us have a close look at the super qualities of sweet toddy. Coconut phloem sap, the choicest health drink produced by tapping the unopened spadix of the coconut tree, is called ‘Neera’ in Tamil Nadu and Kerala; ‘Tube’ in Philippines and ‘Tuvak’ in Indonesia. Sweet toddy is rich in carbohydrates with sucrose as its main constituent. It is unctuous and cool in effect. Hailed as highly Seasonal Magazine
rejuvenative in traditional medicinal systems it is recommended for the cure of anaemia, tuberculosis, bronchial suffocation and piles. Even today a glass of neera before going to bed is a ‘grandmas’ prescription to pregnant women and young girls to make the skin colour more charming. Unlike in the past, unfermented sweet toddy could be promoted as a health drink as techniques for preserving neera without undergoing fermentation for few weeks or months is available now. Sri Lanka and Philippines are having coconut gardens maintained exclusively for producing toddy. Indonesia is the largest producer of sweet toddy for making jaggery and sugar. It is reported that Sri Lanka is producing and exporting 1 lakh litre of “Arrack” made out of coconut toddy. But the process to preserve sweet toddy for weeks is opening up opportunities for a massive and gigantic health drink or beverage industry if exploited well commercially. One ‘wonder palm’, at Cherthalai, produces around Rs. 50,000 worth toddy every year, is only one among several hundreds and there must be more palms giving even double the yield. Anirudhan, the expert tapper reveals that he climbs the palm three times daily at 10 a.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., but sweet toddy is collected during the morning and night climbs only. The afternoon climb is to ‘tame’ the spadix for stimulating the secretion of more sap. But the toddy one gets during night is sweeter. TS Viswan, former Agriculture Officer and several tappers’ union leaders are of the opinion that one could find out more such trees in Cherthalai in Alleppey district though the area is prone to coconut ‘root-wilt’ disease. Scientists
have not yet come forward with a package of practices for boosting the yield from palms exposed for sweet toddy collection. Coconut Board of the Union Ministry of Agriculture has done commendable job for expanding area and diversification of coconut products in India. Here again the tender coconut promotion deserves very special kudos. But promotion of sweet toddy as a health drink is yet to gain momentum in the country. A lot of information is available with traditional experts in medicine, farmers and tappers on various aspects relating to sweet toddy. Among coconut varieties, it is said that hybrids give more toddy than others. The palms of Palghat, Trichur, and Neeleswaram are very profuse yielders of sweet toddy. ‘There are palms which give over six liters of sweet toddy every day’ claims Anirudhan. Rs. 240 worth of toddy per day is the yield. A tapper becomes an expert in the field only if he has experience in tapping similar type of coconut palms of Palghat. Even today toddy drinking is not considered as a good habit and there are movements against the same. But ‘sweet toddy’ or neera production and consumption are recommended by AP Udayabhanu Commission constituted by Kerala Govt to study the prohibition of liquor sales in the state. The bigger
obstacle for the promotion of sweet toddy production and its sale was the lack of technology to preserve it without fermenting. Let us hope, a perfect technology on this will come to the rescue of coconut growers. Composition of Neera Specific Gravity
Total Solid (g/100ml)
Total ash (g/100ml)
(mg/100ml) Coconut farming has been facing a threat of ‘root wilt’ in Kerala, Tanjore wilt in Tamil Nadu and the mite attack in the entire south India. Production is going down but the trade and labour are not at all farmer and crop friendly. While consumer has to pay Rs. 10 to 12 per coconut without its husk, the farmer is getting a cost of Rs. 6 only. The labour cost is prohibitive and farmers are not engaging people to harvest nuts and instead allow them to fall. This affects the health and yield of the palm in the long run. In this context promotion of tender coconut and sweet toddy as energy and health drink will give a new life to the coconut care and it may revolutionalise the coconut culture and give a better deal to the coconut growers. It is high time to throw the century old excise laws for controlling tapping of coconut trees to the dustbin and declare sweet toddy as a raw material for the beverage industry. It is not at all difficult to identify 15 to 20 million trees ideal for sweet toddy production from Kerala where total population exceeds 200 million. The country has over 400 million coconut palms now. 10 million palms are more than enough to give sweet toddy worth Rs. 25000 crores annually. The coconut production from the existing 1.9 million hectares is only 1259 crores and its cost will not be more than Rs. 6200 crores. From this we could estimate the huge value addition and the profit the farmer may get if he manages the situation. The huge employment it will create in the
production, processing and marketing sectors will be very lucrative apart from the huge revenue the government could mop up at different levels as taxes. The most heartening development is that farmers organizations and scientists have already detected the great possibilities the sweet toddy is offering. The international coconut summit held at Kochi has recommended that the government may take quick steps to declare sweet toddy as a soft drink. Another significant and specific recommendation of great repute is from the WTO impact and study report submitted by M S Swaminathan Commission constituted by the Govt. of Kerala. The report is titled as ‘Building a sustainable Agricultural trade security system for Kerala.’ The Commission was chaired by M S Swaminathan, the great Indian Agricultural scientist who is at present the chairman of National Agricultural Commission for farmers constituted by Govt of India. The report specifically states that ‘sweet toddy may command massive demand potential and it is a health drink... Like in Karnataka, Kerala should lift all restrictions in tapping coconut by farmers for promoting diversification to sweet toddy and jaggery products’. The report has two sections. One section deals with the action to be taken at Govt. of India level and the other deals with the things to be attended by the State Government. May be due to various political and other compulsions not much has been done to implement the recommendations. But here again the coconut farmer is the looser. Farmer’s organizations are also silent in urging the authorities to implement the suggestions. Diversification and new products development are twin paths to be developed for the prosperity of coconut farmer and coconut growers. Coconut is now cultivated in twenty states of India. It is loved and adored by the entire population of the country and is hailed as” Tree of Heaven”. If the sweet toddy production is transformed into a gigantic health drink industry, it will emerge as the largest in the processed food sector
with a huge turn over and excellent export prospects. Sweet toddy production in Indonesia is stated to be so high that annually they are producing over one million tonnes of coconut sugar. It is exported to Singapore, Malaysia and Middle East and is rated very high over cane sugar and used as a health food. Australia is a new market for Indonesian sugar export. According to PK Thampan, Chairman of PK Tree Crop Foundation Kochi, exclusive gardens are maintained in Thailand for sweet toddy production connected with sugar making where tapping of palm commences at the age of five. From neera the normal yield of sugar is almost 12 per cent and from this we may estimate the quantity of sweet toddy produced to prepare and market one million tonnes of coconut sugar. Sugar is done as a cottage industry in the villages of Indonesia and so the quantity used for drinking, as a beverage and making syrup are not estimated. It may be noted that unlike India, beer is treated as a soft drink like coco cola in Indonesia and so it is sold freely in every wayside shop. India is one of the largest producers of coconut in the world. Due to pressure of palmoil and soyabean oil available at a cheaper rate, the use of coconut oil for edible purpose is dwindling all over the world. While India has the advantage of consuming the entire coconut produced, major coconut producing countries like Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, etc are compelled to export coconut, coconut oil and copra as their domestic consumption is lower than their total production. They could export the above three items at a cheaper rate to India if trade restriction is taken away as per World Trade Organization conditions. This is really a threat to the coconut producers while industry and consumers may welcome the same. Sweet toddy is nothing new to our people. According to the traditional books of knowledge ‘the juice of young spadix of coconut when unfermented is a sweet, refrigerant, aphrodisiac, diuretic, mildly exciting tonic and useful in dyspepsia, diarhea, diabetics and for general disability’. Seasonal Magazine
IIM-Calcutta Tops in Finance Among 70 Global B Schools
remier B-school Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta (IIM-C) has bagged another laurel and the top spot in finance among the world's 70 leading business schools, a statement said Thursday. The finance module included in the Master of Management programme offered by the institute, has been hailed as the best in comparison with the subject taught at other B-schools, according to the Financial Times Global Masters in Management 2013 survey. IIM-C has also clinched the second place for its economics course in the same study. "It is heartening to note that IIM - Calcutta is ranked No.1 in finance and No.2 in economics among the top 70 global business schools that offer masters in management programme," the release said. Rankings for career status of alumni after three years of completing graduation has placed the institute at the first spot. According to Professor Ashok Banerjee, dean of new initiatives and external relations, in charge of the ranking matters at IIM - Calcutta: "We believe that these rankings come as a recognition of overall quality of our post-graduate programmes and performance of our alumni after they pass out from IIM - Calcutta." "Having said that, these rankings will put also greater responsibility on us to perform even better in the years to come to further improve our ranking. This is a challenge and we will take all possible measures necessary for continuously improving the quality of education that IIM - Calcutta offers."
Chidambaram in Talks With Rajan for Including Exports Under Priority Sector Lending
inance minister P Chidambaram has confirmed that the finance ministry is in a conversation with the Reserve Bank of India to include exports credit in the priority sector category. “As you know the ministry of finance supports it. But there are some issues which have to be resolved. There is a fear that if you include exports in the priority sector, some other elements in the priority sector may get affected,” Chidambaram said at a conference organised by Federation of Indian Export Organisations on Friday. Currently, banks have to set aside 40% of their net credit for lending to priority sectors, including agriculture, micro and small enterprises making the cost of funding cheaper for them. The finance minister also said he feels 59-60 would be the “right” level for rupee against the dollar. While talking at the conference, Chidambaram said even at these levels, the rupee would still be extremely competitive for export purposes.The rupee had hit an all-time low of 68.85 on August 28, but since then gained 9%. According to the finance minister, global markets have started showing signs of recovery, which is a big opportunity for Indian exporters. “In the US economy, there is an upswing. In Europe too, some countries are showing better growth rate and Japan is bouncing back. So, there is a better opportunity for exporters,” he said.
WORST BEAUTY MISTAKES TO AVOID Sleeping with Make Up On: After a long night of partying, it’s so tempting to just take off your shoes and hit the bed. But sleeping with heavy make up on is one of the worst things you can do to your skin. Not only are you clogging your pores, which can lead to acne; you’re also subjecting your skin to the free radicals from the environment that your make up clings on to. This can result in eeks! premature ageing and who needs that?
Leaving Oil in Your Hair All Day:
is essential only in dry regions or dry climates.
Ladies! Read carefully because this is important. When it comes to oiling hair, it’s the massage that’s really important. Do not leave oil in your hair all day as it will just attract dirt and clog your pores, leading to hair fall. Massage your scalp well, leave the oil in for an hour and then wash it off.
Not Getting Enough Sleep:
Not Moisturising for Fear of Acne: There is a myth amongst those prone to acne that applying a moisturiser will aggravate the acne. This is untrue and can actually lead to excessive oil production from the skin, which may cause another acne breakout. Pick an oil-free moisturiser and ensure your skin is well-hydrated at all times. However, moisturising
This one’s a rookie mistake! The best care for your skin is a nice long restful sleep. So don’t be up watching movies all night if you have college or work the next day. Make sure you get your beauty sleep and keep your skin looking young and fresh.
Smoking: That’s right, guys n gals! In addition to being bad for your lungs, heart and general health, smoking is one of the fastest ways you can age your skin. Smoking can cause bags under your eyes, darkening of lips and even increases your chances of getting psoriasis. Sigh! Still need a reason to quit?
How IOB Became ‘Best IOB CMD Became ‘Best The multifarious initiatives taken by Indian Overseas Bank during the last several quarters, under the leadership of Chairman M Narendra is finally getting world recognition. While world’s business information leader, Dun & Bradstreet, has now selected IOB as ‘Best Public Sector Bank’ under the category Priority Sector Lending under D&B - Polaris Financial Technology Banking Awards 2013, IOB CMD has been recently adjudged as the ‘Best Indian Banker - Large’ by Sunday Standard. anking awards by D&B, or any other reputed organization for that matter, are given away in diverse categories. Because banking is not a simple entity any more. There are different objectives for not only broad categories like public and private banks, but even among either group there are different objectives like growth, asset quality, global business, rural reach, priority sector lending, retail growth, technology adoption, wealth creation etc. What would be the best metric to assess a public sector bank? Any socially conscious observer would invariably point to performance in priority sector lending. Because, Government of India had promoted all PSU banks, and continues to capitalize them, with the prime Seasonal Magazine
objective of enabling lending to priority sectors like agriculture, MSME, education etc. This is why IOB bagging the D&BPolaris award for Priority Sector Lending assumes great significance. It is evident that the Chennai headquartered lender is staying focused on its prime objective, much sharper than its peers. Out of the 20 categories of awards, only 5 PSU banks could make it into the award list. There are awards and then there are the really well-conceived awards. Coming from Dun & Bradstreet, this award belongs to the latter category. No other company analyses as many businesses worldwide as D&B. Its continually updated database carries comprehensive information over 220 million businesses worldwide. If that is not enough to understand Dun & Bradstreet, a cursory look at the
companies that D&B has spun off from itself would be enough to convince anyone of their pedigree. D&B spin-offs include giants like Moody’s, Nielsen, & Cognizant Technology Solutions! IOB has bagged this award through sheer hard work. The bank under the leadership of Chairman M Narendra had systematically improved their priority sector lending to industry leading levels. No wonder then that M Narendra too has won recent prestigious awards. At the recent Sunday Standard Best Bankers Awards 2013 by the New Indian Express Group, the IOB CMD bagged not just one but three noteworthy awards. Narendra was adjudged as Best Public Sector Banker - Customer Orientation, Best Public Sector Banker - Large, and Best Indian Banker - Large. The bank’s unique products for
PSU Bank’ and, Indian Banker’
various priority sectors include IOB Bhoomi Laxmi for buying agricultural land, and IOB Sagar Laxmi for fisherwomen. Despite an overall lull in credit growth, IOB has achieved good traction in agriculture, education, & MSME. The bank had come to the rescue of its MSME customers with increased repayment period, due to the difficult situation caused by inflation and the resultant rate hikes. The bank’s products for MSME include IOB MSME Plus, and IOB Micro One. IOB also has good market share in certain unique sectors, one of which is educational loans. The number of educational loans IOB delivers has grown by more than fourfold between 2006 to 2011, with the disbursements for 2012-13 being an impressive 48000 sanctions. IOB has clearly made good of the recent regulatory changes that allows sub-4 lakh loans with no collateral, and the widening of eligible courses from core professional degrees like engineering and management, to other volume sectors like teachers training and nursing courses. But is the bank taking adequate caution with regard to priority sector lending. Is there any issue of forced lending, Seasonal Magazine had asked Chairman M Narendra recently. His answer was this: “There is no forced lending. Lending is done after analysing the proposal from all fronts by the appropriate authority, and only after the viability appears convincing. Besides viability, the repayment capacity is also taken into consideration while fixing the repayment schedule. I categorically state that political compulsions do not figure in any of our lending, and that all lending is need-based and on stated merits.” We had also asked CMD Narendra on whether there was a level playing field between PSU banks and private banks. He replied this way: “In many aspects, there is a level playing field with private sector banks. However, public sector banks also take up the responsibility of fulfilling socioeconomic commitments, which the private sector banks set aside.” SM Seasonal Magazine
How Facebook Can Degrade Memory
Always online? Take a break! People who spend too much time browsing social media could be squandering their memories or losing important information, a new study has warned. Contrary to common wisdom, an idle brain is in fact doing important work - and in the age of constant information overload, it's a good idea to go offline on a regular basis, according to a researcher from Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Erik Fransen, whose research focuses on short-term memory and ways to treat diseased neurons, said that a brain exposed to a typical session of social media browsing can easily become hobbled by information overload. The result is that less information gets filed away in your memory. The problem begins in a system of the
brain commonly known as the working memory, or what most people know as short-term memory. That's the system of the brain that we need when we communicate, Fransen said. "Working memory enables us to filter out information and find what we need in the communication. It enables us to work online and store what we find online, but it's also a limited resource," he said. "At any given time, the working memory can carry up to three or four items. When we attempt to stuff more information in the working memory, our capacity for processing information begins to fail. "When you are on Facebook, you are making it harder to keep the things that are 'online' in your brain that you need. "In fact, when you try to process sensory information like speech or video, you are going to need partly the
same system of working memory, so you are reducing your own working memory capacity. "And when you try to store many things in your working memory, you get less good at processing information," he said. You're also robbing the brain of time it needs to do some necessary housekeeping. The brain is designed for both activity and relaxation, Fransen said. "The brain is made to go into a less active state, which we might think is wasteful; but probably memory consolidation, and transferring information into memory takes place in this state. Theories of how memory works explain why these two different states are needed. "When we max out our active states with technology equipment, just because we can, we remove from the brain part of the processing, and it can't work," Fransen said.
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Published on Oct 12, 2013