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KERENG/2002/6803

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VOLUME 11 ISSUE 6 JULY 2012

Rs. 50


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Seasonal

EDITORIAL

MAGAZINE

www.seasonalmagazine.com

Vol 11 Issue 7 July 2012

9 Ideas for India

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

#1 Create Performance Accountability

Editorial & Business Office Cochin: 36/1924 E, Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road, Near IGNOU, Kaloor, Cochin-17. Ph:0484- 2345876, 2534377, 2340080 Mob. 09947141362, 09947258505 Mumbai: 202, Woodland Heights Building, St. Martins Road, Bandra West, Mumbai -400 050, Mobile: 9757076197 Ph: 022-26401362, 26401360, Bangalore: House No: 493, Block 3 3rd Main, HBR Layout, Bangalore-4209731984836, Email:skmagazine@gmail.com www.seasonalmagazine.com UK Office: “CRONAN”, Boundaries Road Feltham, Middlesex, UK TW13 5DR Ph: 020 8890 0045, Mob: 00447947181950 Email: petecarlsons@gmail.com Reg No: KERENG/2002/6803 Printed & Published by Jaison D on behalf of PeteCarlson Solutions Pvt. Ltd. at Cochin. Printed at Rathna Offset Printers, Chennai-14. All Rights Reserved by PeteCarlson Solutions Pvt. Ltd. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means, including electronic, without the prior written permission of the publisher. All India Distributor: India Book House, Mumbai UAE Distributor: Malik News Agency & Distributors Dubai All health related articles are for first information purposes only. Always consult your doctor before taking any decison affecting your health.

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Mention the word accountability in Indian public governance, and most of us conjure up images of corruption, scams and cover-ups. But think of accountability in an Indian corporate governance setting, and the focus instantly changes to performance. Why is this so? Don’t we expect our government to perform? Or is it enough that they just don’t scam? Our politicians (and ourselves included) have a lot to learn from India Inc in this regard. Are our best companies on the watch-out for corruption in employees? Certainly not, as such stuff are kindergarten lessons in the corporate world. Effective companies have created systems that pre-empt corruption. And by not wasting energies on such mundane stuff, they are sharply focused on positive performance from employees. Corruption there is regarded as employees and teams not performing up to the expected growth levels. It is high time we expect positive CEOs like Chandrasekaran of TCS has performed againest all odds. performance from governments too. Demand positive performance. Quarter on quarter. Year on year. And not just once in five years. Of course, before that we need to pre-empt corruption. But should that take 65 years?

#2 Implement Right to Recall How is corrupt practices pre-empted in the best companies? No rocketscience is employed, and is effected just on the fear of being fired. Whether to fire an employee on sub-standard performance is dependent upon each company’s policies, but there won’t be many successful companies that would have hesitated to fire an employee on detection of a significant fraud. The same policy should be implemented in governance through Right to Recall. Agreed, it is no secret that recall policy and recall elections are some of the toughest policies to formulate, implement, and fine-tune. It may be open for abuse too. But still, there shouldn’t be two minds on whether India needs right to recall. Countries like USA, Canada, and Switzerland have successfully implemented recall elections after much toil. In 2011 alone, USA witnessed 150 recall elections, of which more than half were successful in recalling elected officials. Right to America accounts for the largest number Recall, when implemented in India of recalls every year should include as grounds not only corruption but non-performance.

#3 Use Collective Intelligence of Brilliant Indians MEMBER

When did we start having this totally erroneous idea of hero worship? Even Mahatma, one of the true heroes this nation ever had, would have


squirmed at the idea of entrusting the fate of 1.2 billion people in the hands of a leader like Dr. Manmohan Singh or AB Vajpayee. Do they lack any credentials? To take Dr. Singh as an example, he has the education, exposure, track-record, integrity, and all those values. But MMS is a single human being, and not a hero. What could be more foolish than expecting that Singhji would have the magic wand to ensure prosperity for Is MMS a victim of over-expectations? Indians, just because he is an economist and an honest man? Hero worship is applicable only during wars and catastrophes. Wars will cause heroes to emerge like Churchill or Gandhi or Indira. In fact one of the key reasons why Nehru failed during his latter years was too much hero-worship by Indians. Normal day-to-day challenges, especially challenges that fail to improve despite scientific efforts like the current economic turmoil, require teamwork. Why are the most successful companies like Google or Facebook always on the look-out for the youngest smartest guys and gals they can find? Simply because, despite already having some of the largest intelligent human resource pools with them, these companies realize that more talent is required to survive. Is India using the best Indian brains available? If we had used it, we would have been not US, but heavens. Intelligent and experienced people will contribute, even freely, if they are reassured that their opinions would be taken seriously, and they would be credited for their ideas. A social and administrative framework to achieve the same should be our most pressing agenda.

#4 Stop Brain Drain This is an oft-repeated one, but its vital nature can’t be overstressed. Just a small story would suffice. Once upon a time, there was a brilliant software company called Borland. So brilliant that, despite having no operating system of their own, they created and dominated the IIT students building their Formula-1 car application software development tools industry. Despite Bill Gates’ best efforts, Microsoft’s own application development tools were no match for Borland tools. So, what did Gates’ honchos do? They gave free dinners to key Borland staff during lunchbreaks. Legend has it that Microsoft would send in limousines to pick them up, give them royal feasts at the finest hotels, invite them over to see Microsoft, and drop them

back at Borland. Slowly the brain drain started. Within less than a decade, hundreds of key Borland developers had joined Microsoft, and the software giant came to own the finest software development tools. That is what brain drain can do to a ‘donor’ company and the ’recipient’ company. Isn’t this what US of A has done to India during the last six decades? We created the finest educational institutions like IITs and IIMs, selected our finest maths & science students to study in them, made them worldglass graduates on public money, and then gifted them to USA. This has been the mother-of-all-scams, and not 2G or Bofors.

#5 Attract Foreign Brains that Love Indian Culture Why did our best graduates migrate to USA? It was not just the money or opportunities, but something more - a free, open culture. Thankfully for us, that culture has gone into excesses during the last two decades, and Indian

India could do better with more fans like Dr. Jean Dreze, father of NREGA values of family, thrift, and savings are now more appreciated than ever. It is no secret that India and its culture have their fair share of admirers, the world over. Why don’t we formally invite them to live here? If 1200 million of us can live here amicably, no much strain should be expected from a couple of million brilliant foreign persons migrating here. There is some magic in bloods of different ethnicities mixing, as seen from the prosperity of USA ever since it opened its gates for foreigners. Foreign migrants who find value in India would be invaluable for us too, as they would contribute to Indian society being more pluralistic and cosmopolitan. The brilliant among them would also passionately contribute to nation building, as, to begin with they came here because they love this nation more than their motherland.

#6 Attract Brilliant Students from Anywhere This should be our tit-for-tat. Our reply to being wronged for the last six decades. We should proactively attract the finest students from the world over. Create even tougher

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EDITORIAL exams than SAT or GRE, that would work like magnets for brilliant students. If they are from the developed nations, Indian expenses wouldn’t be a problem for them. Even if they are from developing nations, and in need of assistance, let us not be stingy and provide all the assistance to make them study here. Chances are that a good percentage of them would stay on here, some falling in love with India, some falling in love with Indian girls or boys, and make this country their home, and work for the betterment of their new homeland. Foreign students mingle at IIM Lucknow Attracting brilliance has never failed a nation ever, and it is highly unlikely that it would ever fail India too. But then, to effect it, we should think beyond smaller considerations like caste-based reservations. Small compromises by all would ensure that our students would benefit by studying with the best students in this globe.

#7 Tax Non Performing Assets As Gandhi once said, there is enough resources in this world for every man, but not enough resources for the greed of any man. Thankfully, due to the last six decades of progress - however meagre it has been - we can easily substitute the word ‘world’ with the word ‘India’ in that famous quote by Mahatma. Today, India has enough for every Indian’s needs. But only if the super-wealthy companies, religious trusts, and individuals of this nation would stop hoarding assets, wealth. It looks like the super-rich wouldn’t voluntarily stop hoarding wealth. The nation should see to it that they don’t. Anymore. Any asset that is not performing for the nation, but only for the company or individual holder, should be taxed appropriately. It can be real estate, it can be gold, it can be cash, it can be brand, it can be corporate assets , but if it is not being contributed to improve this nation’s GDP, should be taxed. Let the capital gains tax accrue on a small yearly basis, and not just on the final sale basis. Only and only then would the super-rich think of ending this hoarding culture and agree to put the asset for productive use for the nation as well as for Indian companies and super-rich are infamous for hoarding

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themselves.

#8 Discourage Petroleum, Encourage Mass Transit, Cycling Will a family, or even a company spend beyond its means? Agreed, a company may go for loans a couple of times its equity, but there are limits to spending beyond revenue. But nations including India has found it convenient to do just the same, solely guided by populist policies. How good it would have been if our industrial clusters and residential clusters are such Every large Indian city is crying for mass-transit like metro that cycling would be a healthy alternative to using cars? How good it would have been if India had spent its greatest focus on improving the mass transit like metros and luxury buses, before going in for de-regulating petrol. People wouldn’t have cared, as they could switch over to luxurious mass transit, or cycles as the case may be, if they hadn’t done it already due to lower headaches. Make no mistake, this is no regressive measures. Scandinavian and Western European nations known for their most innovative policies, have gained much ground in promoting bicycling to work, as well as mass-transit for travelling around their countries. After all, how can we rely on fossil fuel that we don’t produce in enough, and the most ironic fact is that uncontrolled consumption of petroleum in India and China have been the principal factor behind the global oil boom. Without taking this step, India would never ever address our fiscal deficit.

#9 Maintain a Stable Investment Policy USA leads the FDI charts in most countries including China. And China attracts a third of this globe’s FDI. But has these developments ever changed which nation attracts the most FDI still? It is USA. If USA still relies on incoming FDI to develop, then who are we to sit on judgement seat on FDI? Allow FDI in that, block FDI in this, and so on? Even worse, we change the rules often. No wonder then, that even the tiny island-nation of China attracts 1/3rd of global FDI, using which over Singapore is attracting more 50% of global steel and concrete is consumed to build FDI than this massive nation game-changing infrastructure of ours. If we closely inspect the incoming FDI policy of USA, China, or Singapore, there is only one question basically - how much jobs will that FDI create? John Antony


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CONTENTS

Billionaire Entrepreneurs Who Were Too Busy for College

Steve Jobs Bill Gates Mark Zuckerberg Dhirubhai Ambani PNC Menon Subhash Chandra R Chenraj Jain Ramnath Goenka

Mercedes Benz Overtaken by Key Rivals, Sees Slower Single-Digit Growth Ahead

Jobs that are Most-in- Manager or Entrepreneur? Demand Around the These are the kind of perplexing World questions before many discerning MBA Despite the slow and uneven recovery from the global economic downturn and lingering high levels of unemployment in..

aspirants. Here is a person who has done both MBAs and done both a.. highflying career...

Tournament favourites rule the roost, hog the glorifying limelight and even face unimaginable amount of pressure and..

Education, Training, & Family of India's New Army Chief

Water From Heavens Does Magic on Kerala

Foods with Helpful or Harmful Hormones

Best Yoga Poses for stretching Purposes

Recently, Peter Honegg, MD & CEO of Mercedes-Benz India has..

General Bikram Singh PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC assumes charge as the Chief of Army Staff on May 31..

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What is it that made these entrepreneurs skip college and still make it big as high-flying entrepreneurs? In fact, the world’s list of self-made or first-generation business billionaires is dominated by those who had no time for college. India too is no exception to this global phenomemnon with too many examples. Did they skip college because their minds were already so big with ambition, confidence, and discipline that they thought college would be a stifling experience?

What is more beautiful than a beautiful woman? A beautiful woman coming out from her bath, maybe? That is how Kerala looks during monsoon.

Over the years it has been proved that there are substances in our daily food that possess the magical property of behaving exactly like hormones.

The Two Teams that May Spring Surprises in Euro 2012

Speaking from personal experience, Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center advises you to stretch out..


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CONTENTS

Why Prosecutors Want Rajaratnam’s Email about Mukesh to Rajat Gupta Convicted hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam wanted former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta to ask Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani if his company Reliance Industries was planning to 'aggressively' get into..

PNB

Asset Quality Concerns Remain at PNB, Even as Headline Numbers are Attractive

CORPORATION BANK

BOB

CANARA BANK’S

New Battle Plan is to Chase Quality Rather Than Quantity

UNION BANK

IOB’s

Turns Around in Q4, And Has a Solid Battle Plan for FY’13

Performance is Solid, Battle-Plan is Aggressive Unlike Many Peers

OBC

INDIAN BANK

Puts a Difficult Year Behind, Sets in Motion a High Growth Trajectory

Confident on Improving NIM, Battle Plan Focuses on MSMEs, Agri, & Retail

CENTRAL BANK OF INDIA

KVB

Completes a Cleanup, Performance to Improve on a Solid Plan

BANK OF INDIA

Beyond Stunning Numbers, Lies the Solid Turnaround

KARNATAKA BANK

Operating Profit Doubles at Karnataka Bank,Battle Plan Being Readied with KPMG

Tablet Killer Coming: Windows Laptop at Rs. 5000

5th Year in a Row, an Indian kid Wins US Spelling Bee

VIJAYA BANK SIB

Delivers Record Profits, Cuts Capital Raising Plans by 60%

All-India Central Board Secondary Examination Class XII topper Mohammad Ismat battled the odds to score a stunning 99.6 percent this year.

UK's longest standing laptop specialist brand marketed in India by a BSE-listed, Allied Computers International (Asia) Limited, is now all set to offer super lowcost laptop to Indian public at Rs 4,999.

Stood with Customers During the Turmoil, And Will Reap Benefits When Economy Improves Reaps High Benefits From A Cautious and Realistic Approach

Investors in many Indian companies would have a sense of déjà vu after Facebook’s public issue turned into a huge Wall Street debacle. For, over the last five years, Indian markets have been witness to many such breathlessly hyped initial public offers which have crashed in an equally spectacular way on the listing day and never recovered.

Meet the CBSE Topper Who Overcame Mother’s Loss, Poverty, Surgery, & Power Cuts

Expanding Product Portfolio, Continued Vigil on Asset Quality

Gets Global Attention, Asset Quality to Improve in FY’13

Facebook Sued by Investors for IPO, Will Indian Investors Follow Suit?

Does Samsumg Galaxy SIII Live Up to the Hype?

That Indian American kids rule when it comes to the National Spelling Bee, particularly in the last two decades..

It is not wrong to say that Samsung Galaxy S III (SGS III) is the most awaited Android phone of the year. Its predecessors redefined the..

Motorola Razr Maxx is Soon Here, Highlight is the Superb Battery

Motorola is expected to launch its latest smartphone Razr Maxx in India on June 24. Motorola Razr Maxx measures 130.7x68.9x8.99 mm and sports a 4.3inches super AMOLED..

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Entrepreneurship

MBA after College or MBA after Work? Indian MBA or Overseas MBA? Manager or Entrepreneur?

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

These are the kind of perplexing questions before many discerning MBA aspirants. Here is a person who has done both MBAs and done both a highflying career as well as entrepreneurship. Meet Neeraj Kakkar, CEO of Tzinga who has a double MBA from MDI Gurgaon and Wharton, who left a senior position in Coke to pursue his dream. Most entrepreneurs tend to start their businesses during B-School or right after graduating from one. But how are their start-up stories different from those who work in a corporate world for a few years before deciding to go on their own? Neeraj Kakkar studied two MBAs spaced ten years apart, one from Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon (1996-1998) and the second one from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (2008-2010) before co-founding Hector Beverages, makers of the energy drink ‘Tzinga’, which he heads as CEO. In this interview, he narrates his double MBA story and talks about how entrepreneurship is different for those who first spend a substantial number of years in the corporate world.

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ou did your first MBA from MDI Gurgaon. Why didn’t you start a business right then? Why did you work in the industry first? I had always been inclined to do something on my own. Before MDI, I actually did a small stint on my own, trying to set up a garment manufacturing unit. But I think the confidence was missing. MDI, though it was good, didn’t give me a huge amount of confidence. So I went the normal corporate way and worked with Coca Cola for a long time. When I entered Wharton, my initial objective was not entrepreneurship. Wharton was more to speed up my journey in the corporate arena. But at Wharton, I had a very successful stint. I was amongst the top five students in terms of academic performance, in a class of 800. I was heading two important studentrun committees - one was the leadership

lecture committee and the other was the developmental committee. I was president of both. Then I realised that these were the best students from all over the world. And when you’re doing better than them, it gives you a lot of confidence. If you can do better than them here, you can do better than them in other fields as well. It gave me a lot confidence that I could compete with the best in the world. That is when I decided that I wouldn’t like to work with any corporate. How much time did you spend in the industry in between MDI and Wharton? What made you think of a second MBA? I spent almost ten years in the corporate world. I had an extremely successful journey at Coke. I was growing at a very fast rate and I became one of the youngest general managers in Coke’s system. From there, the corporate ceiling kicked in where if you’re not at a certain place or you’re not a certain age, you can’t move to the next level. I wanted to break that

ceiling. One way was to spend more time at Coke and go for different functional roles. I decided that it was better if I utilised this time to get more skills. After a lot of discussion with the people at Coke, I took a decision to do this. Why Wharton? Why not a school for more experienced people in India, such as the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad? I think ISB is a great institute in its own sense. It’s not that I rejected ISB but I wanted the international experience. I wanted to see what was happening around the world. ISB would not have given me that. It is a predominantly Indian school. For example, I’ll tell you the story of my class (at Wharton). We were discussing a case about diamond cartels and there were people from Brazil, China, Korea, India, Portugal, Cuba, Belgium and the USA. We started debating and found that everyone looked at things extremely differently. That experience itself was worth its weight in gold.


How did you meet your co-founders and how did you come up with the idea of building a beverage company? I was interning with a venture capital fund while I was at Wharton when I got in touch with Suhas Misra, who was my colleague at Coke. He is an Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta guy and we had worked together at Coke for some time. This is his second venture. He had exited his first venture and was trying to start something new. We discussed it amongst ourselves and we thought that it was a good idea. In the meanwhile, at Wharton I met James Paul Nuttall during one of the class social events. We discussed our ideas and he said that he was going to join Dow Chemicals. His primary responsibility there was to bring down the packaging costs. I thought that was very important because in India, a small revolution has happened because of reduction in packaging costs. Once Suhas and I talked it over, we went to James and asked him whether he would like to be a part of it (our company). James then arrived here in March and looked around for a week. And he liked it. He had offers from top companies himself. But he spent a month here and said, “This is what I want to do for life.” So he said no to those offers and came back to us. It was during my internship period at Wharton that we took the decision to go ahead with our venture. Once we had finalised the project, I was in a tearing hurry. I wasn’t even in Wharton during my second year. I was

there for only for 2-3 months in which I took additional courses and finished my coursework. In 2009, I decided to shift to India. The first one and a half years went in trying to develop the product. As I told you, we were looking to develop the perfect beverage which has the best quality and ingredients from across the world, at a price that is an affordable range for the Indian market. This involved a lot of research. I, James, Suhas and Neeraj Biyani (an ex-Coke guy who joined them) worked to develop the perfect thing. People find it very hard to believe but Tzinga, on the ingredients side, is actually better than Red Bull. The formulation is better than Red Bull, even though the ingredients are of a similar quality (it’s the same vendor). And we’re priced at almost 1/5th the price point. It took us one and a half years to develop the product. We had all quit our jobs to develop the perfect product. We launched the product in April 2011 and it’s doing extremely well. In a market like Bangalore, it sells more than any other functional beverage in the market. It sells more than the bigger brands in the market. How would you contrast starting up right after B-school to starting up after working in a corporate for a few years? There are positives and negatives to both sides. The corporate world equips you with knowledge of certain situations, and makes you deal with certain problems so that when you face those problems again, you’re prepared. For example, setting up a manufacturing plant. I have done that with Coke and now it’s easier for me to do it if I start a company. If I would have started right after my first MBA, it would probably have been wrong. I wouldn’t have been able to do as much. But at the same time, the corporate world also limits your ambition levels. You can’t think beyond a certain paradigm. Coke is a great company and they’ve equipped me really well. But when you’re working for Coke, you think that Coke is the best beverage. When I went to Wharton, I realised that it was a great beverage which was made 125 years ago and it was doing extremely well. But it’s not the perfect beverage for India. And then we went through the whole process of trying to find the best beverage which was possible for Indian consumption. So, I think the corporate

world has its positives and negatives. However, if I had to live my life again, I’d like to start earlier and spend lesser time in the corporate world. I won’t say that I wouldn’t like to spend any time in the corporate world but I’d like to do it with the right company. And Coke was the right company. What would be your advice to someone who wants to start afresh after MBA? I think then you’ll have to choose something in which you have a sustainable advantage over other people. You are bound to make more mistakes as compared to a person who has some amount of experience. But if you have the passion and have strong skill sets, you can make those mistakes and still do a better job. However, there are examples from both the sides. Look at the biggest success stories in the world. Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, all of them started afresh, right? Their concept was so powerful and their skill set was so good. They would have definitely made some mistakes while growing but they overcame those mistakes. And they went ahead and did things that were totally unimaginable. For me, my idol would be NR Narayan Murthy (of Infosys). He spent a particular amount of time in the corporate sector. He learnt from Patni and then he started out on his own. So I don’t relate too well with Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. I relate more with what Mr Murthy is saying. What about funding? Would you advise people to collect and depend on personal savings or would actually going for a loan be better? How do you compare the two? It’s not easy. You’re not going to get a loan very easily if you start a new venture, even if you have corporate experience. I think the first round of funding always is best with friends and family. They know you as a person. And they don’t invest in the business idea. They invest in the person, thinking that he/she is a good person and will make something of our money. Once you’ve taken it to a certain scale or have your beta ready, then you can go to an early stage VC company or angel investors to take it to the next level. Not everybody would have the money themselves but you can always go to your friends and family.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Could you narrate your thought process leading up to your decision to start up on your own? For me, growing in the corporate world was very important. But when I reached Wharton, I realised that it wasn’t good enough a goal and there were bigger opportunities around. I had offers from McKinsey and private equity funds, which are considered as dream jobs in a Wharton environment. I realised that even those were not enough. To sum up, I had been doing so well in my career that in every other setting, there would have been limits put to my growth. You can’t grow faster as there is a system in place. I wanted to come out of that system into an open arena where only I can decide how fast I can grow. That’s the reason I became an entrepreneur.

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EDUCATION

MEET THE CBSE TOPPER WHO OVERCAME MOTHER’S LOSS, POVERTY, SURGERY, & POWER CUTS

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

All-India Central Board Secondary Examination Class XII topper Mohammad Ismat battled the odds to score a stunning 99.6 percent this year. Until a few days ago, Mohammad Basirul Rahaman was just a primary school teacher in Imphal leading an ordinary life and making ends meet. But ever since the CBSE results were announced, people have begun to recognise him as the father of Mohammad Ismat, the all-India Senior Secondary Examination 2012 topper.

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smat also happens to be the first ever student from the North-East to top the examination. “I am at a loss for words,” said Basirul Rahaman, a single father who, after the loss of his wife, raised his son alone from the age of one and a half. “It’s a proud achievement for both a father and a teacher,” Rahaman said over the phone, soon after his son was felicitated at school by Manipur State Education Minister Okendro Singh yesterday. A student of Zenith Academy, Imphal, Mohammad Ismat scored a record aggregate of 99.6 per cent, securing full marks in Mathematics, Chemistry, Home Science and Fine Arts and 97 and 98 per cent in Physics and English respectively. But his journey to success has not been a cakewalk. A topper all through Class IX, Mohammad Ismat

could not continue studying at Sainik School, Imphal despite scoring 94.2 per cent marks in Class X CBSE, because he could not afford the school fees. “It was very unfortunate for my child to have lost his mother and then struggled with poverty at such a young age. He has always been brilliant, topping throughout Class IX, securing 100 per cent in all subjects,” shared Rahaman, who works in the education department of a government school in Manipur. Even when the young boy scored 94.2 per cent, he’d topped the state of Manipur and finished second in the North-East. But being the first all-India topper from the North-East is an achievement that is second to none, says the topper. In this interview Mohammad Ismat talks about how he could not study for three months due to an anal surgery, why it is important not to lose focus and why he wants to

appear for the Civil Services exam and top that too. When did you realise that you have topped the country in the CBSE results? Where I stay, there is no access to the Internet. I had SMSed my number to a friend in Bangalore. He informed me that I had scored above 99 per cent, with 100 per cent in four subjects. Later, my school called to inform me that I was the all-India topper. I thank God and all the people who believed in me and supported me in helping make this dream come true. This success is not my own; I owe it to my school management, who funded my education and my father who brought me up despite our family’s poor financial conditions. How did you prepare for the exam? I studied for eight to 10 hours every day before the exam. I had to put in an extra effort because in November 2011, I had to undergo an anal surgery which restricted me from studying for long hours. For almost three months, I had to lie on my stomach and prepare. It was painful and exhausting, but I did my best. Did you take any coaching? How important is coaching for success, according to you? I did not take any specialised coaching. I could not afford it either. But I did approach teachers to help me after school and they immediately agreed. I think coaching is important, but only to guide you, to improve the weaker areas. You can ask your teachers at school, your friends — anybody who is willing to help. How did you overcome the challenges you’ve faced? Ever since I was young, I have been a victim of adversity, losing my mother, my family’s poor financial condition... But I have learnt that there is no place in society for people who complain. I don’t believe in destiny. I believe that each one is responsible for his/her own destiny. Life will always be difficult for those who are looking for excuses. We


have to break free from adversity and focus on the bigger goal - what we want to achieve in life. You have to be patient, learn from your mistakes and run towards your goal without resting.

When you are not studying, what activities do you enjoy? I love reading scientific journals, most of which I get from the school library. I love to watch sci-fi movies, but we don’t have much time after school, because we have to do our homework and prepare for our exams. The last movie I enjoyed watching was Independence Day. I liked the concept

and I could watch it again and again. You were felicitated by the State Education Minister. What did he have to say about your achievements? He congratulated me and also promised to take care of my educational needs. He said the Manipur government will give me a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh for my higher education. I am happy that I don’t have to worry about my education expenses now. What are your career plans? I want to pursue Physics honours at St Stephen’s College, Delhi. I have heard Mohammad Ismat

it’s a big college and it’s also the best for science. I would also like to appear for the UPSC exam and top that too, so I can become an IAS officer and work to improve the administration of the state of Manipur. I want to improve the educational facilities for students and help them in all possible ways - good study material, good teachers, scholarships etc. I want to light up the lives of students in my state and my country. As an officer, I would like to bring peace and prosperity to my state and country. What would you like to tell students who will appear for their CBSE examinations this year? Concentration is the key to success in any exam. You have to work hard to improve your concentration. There will be many distractions in your way, but you must not lose focus. The bigger goal should always inspire you to confront all challenges and obstacles in your path. Any message for our young readers? Nothing is impossible. In life, whenever you are sad, you must remember the good experiences and motivate yourself to see better ones. We all fail at some point. But it is important to look at failures as stepping stones that will lead you to success. To achieve bigger success, you have to be patient and let the bad times pass.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

What challenges do students in the North-East face with respect to education? The North-East, especially Manipur, is not as advanced as the other states. We have very limited access to the Internet, for instance and are not updated (about things around us) like the city kids are. Most of us don’t even have a Facebook account! How and where will we access it? There are indefinite power cuts. We can’t afford to buy invertors or generators. So we rely on candlelight in the evenings. It may sound filmy to most of you, but it is very common here in Manipur.

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CAREERS

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JOBS THAT ARE MOST-IN-DEMAND AROUND THE WORLD

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espite the slow and uneven recovery from the global economic downturn and lingering high levels of unemployment in many markets, organisations around the world still report that they cannot find the talent they need when they need it, according to Manpower, a global consultancy firm. They are looking for evermore specific skill sets and taking longer to fill job vacancies as they wait for the economy to fully rebound and their businesses to get back to "normal", it says. This year, Manpower expanded its sixth annual Talent Shortage Survey not only to gauge where employers are having difficulty filling available positions, but also examine why organisations are facing a lack of talent and what they are doing to mitigate these challenges. The results reveal increased difficulty finding the right talent in the wake of global economic recovery with limited effort to systematically fill the gaps - and notable regional variances. Manpower Group’s research reveals employers in India, the United States, China and Germany report the most dramatic talent shortage surges compared to last year. In India, the percentage of employers indicating difficulty filling positions jumped 51 percentage points. Nearly one in four employers say environmental/market factors play a major role in the talent shortage - employers simply aren't finding anyone available in their markets. Another 22 per cent of employers say their applicants lack the technical competencies or "hard" skills needed for the job, while candidates' lack

of business knowledge or formal qualifications is the main reason identified by 15 per cent of employers. About three-quarters of employers globally cite a lack of experience, skills or knowledge as the primary reason for the difficulty filling positions. However, only one in five employers is concentrating on training and development to fill the gap. A mere six per cent of employers are working more closely with educational institutions to create curriculums that close knowledge gaps. Manpower Group surveyed nearly 40,000 employers across 39 countries and territories to gauge the impact of talent shortages on the global labour

MOST-IN-DEMAND JOBS 1. Skilled Trades Workers 2. Engineers 3. Sales Representatives 4. Technicians 5. Drivers 6. Labourers 7. IT Staff 8. Accounting and Finance Staff 9. Chefs/Cooks 10. Management/Executives market. The results of the sixth annual Talent Shortage Survey reveal a modest upward trend in the percentage of employers having difficulty filling positions due to lack of available talent. Globally, one in three (34 per cent) employers reports experiencing difficulties filling positions due to lack of available talent - a three percentage point rise over 2010 - while 66 per cent report no difficulties. So while the global

economic downturn may have masked the talent shortage for several years, the global recovery has made the strains of the talent shortage more evident, as organisations that cut back staff are discovering that they need more of the right people in place to move forward and support their business strategy. For the Talent Shortage Survey, employers in many countries are reporting a slight increase in difficulty, such as Japan's four percentage point increase to 80 per cent in 2011 compared to 76 per cent in 2010. However, in some countries, including some of the largest economies in the world, employers are reporting a dramatic surge in difficulty filling positions. India and the United States report the largest increases in difficulty; in India, difficulty increased to 67 per cent in 2011 from only 16 per cent in 2010 - a 51 percentage point increase. In the US, the difficulty increased to 52 per cent from 14 per cent, a 38 percentage point increase. These difficulties likely stem from increased demand in both countries as the economy rebounds. When asked, "What is the one job you are having the most difficulty filling due to lack of available talent?" employers on a global basis named skilled trades workers, sales representatives, and technicians to the top of the list for the fifth year in a row. This year, for the first time, employers were asked about the impact unfilled jobs have on key constituents (customers, investors, etc.) More than half of the employers surveyed report that when positions are not filled in a timely way there was a high (20 per cent) or medium (37 per cent) impact on key constituents, while one in four believes unfilled positions have low impact and 11 per cent say there is no impact.

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Manpower Group’s research reveals employers in India, the United States, China and Germany report the most dramatic talent shortage surges compared to last year. In India, the percentage of employers indicating difficulty filling positions jumped 51 percentage points. Nearly one in four employers say environmental/market factors play a major role in the talent shortage - employers simply aren't finding anyone available in their markets. Another 22 per cent of employers say their applicants lack the technical competencies or "hard" skills needed for the job, while candidates' lack of business knowledge or formal qualifications is the main reason identified by 15 per cent of employers.

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COVER S TOR Y ST ORY

BILLIONAIRE

ENTREPRENEURS

What is it that made these entrepreneurs skip college and still make it big as high-flying entrepreneurs? In fact, the world’s list of self-made or first-generation business billionaires is dominated by those who had no time for college. India too is no exception to this global phenomemnon with too many examples. Did they skip college because their minds were already so big with ambition, confidence, and discipline that they thought college would be a stifling experience?

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WHO WERE TOO BUSY FOR COLLEGE

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APPLE Inc.

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BILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEURS WHO WERE TOO BUSY FOR COLLEGE

Steve’s adopted father Paul was a machinist for a company that made lasers, and taught his son rudimentary electronics and how to work with his hands. The father showed Steve how to work on electronics in the family garage, demonstrating to his son how to take apart and rebuild electronics such as radios and televisions. As a result, Steve became interested in and developed a hobby of technical tinkering. His adopted mother Clara was an accountant who taught him to read before he went to school. Clara Jobs had been a payroll clerk for Varian Associates, one of the first high-tech firms in what became known as Silicon Valley. Jobs’s youth was riddled with frustrations over formal schooling. At Monta Loma Elementary school in Mountain View, he was a prankster whose fourth-grade teacher needed to bribe him to study. Jobs tested so well, however, that administrators wanted to skip him ahead to high school - a proposal his parents declined. Jobs then attended Cupertino Junior High and Homestead High School in Cupertino, California. At Homestead, Jobs became friends with Bill Fernandez, a neighbor who shared the same interests in electronics. Fernandez introduced Jobs to another, older computer whiz kid, Stephen Wozniak (also known as “Woz”). In 1969 Woz started building a little computer board with Fernandez that they named “The Cream Soda Computer”, which they showed to Jobs; he seemed really interested. Jobs frequented after-school lectures at the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto, California, and was later hired there, working with Wozniak as a summer employee. Following high school graduation in 1972, Jobs enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Reed was an expensive college which Paul and Clara could ill afford. They were spending much of their life savings on their son’s higher education. Jobs dropped out of college after six months and spent the next 18 months dropping in on creative classes, including a course on calligraphy. He continued auditing classes at Reed while sleeping on the floor in friends’ dorm rooms, returning Coke bottles for food money, and getting weekly free meals at the local Hare Krishna temple. Jobs has often mentioned that it was the calligraphy class that became the inspiration for Apple Mac and its awesome design capabilities.

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Steve Jobs

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MICROSOFT

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BILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEURS WHO WERE TOO BUSY FOR COLLEGE

Gates graduated from Lakeside School in 1973. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT and enrolled at Harvard College in the autumn of 1973.While at Harvard, he met Steve Ballmer, who later succeeded Gates as CEO of Microsoft. In his sophomore year, Gates devised an algorithm for pancake sorting as a solution to one of a series of unsolved problems presented in a combinatorics class by one of his professors. Gates’s solution held the record as the fastest version for over thirty years and its successor is faster by only one percent. Gates did not have a definite study plan while a student at Harvard and spent a lot of time using the school’s computers. Gates remained in contact with Paul Allen, and he joined him at Honeywell during the summer of 1974. The following year saw the release of the MITS Altair 8800 based on the Intel 8080 CPU, and Gates and Allen saw this as the opportunity to start their own computer software company. He had talked this decision over with his parents, who were supportive of him after seeing how much Gates wanted to start a company. After reading the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics that demonstrated the Altair 8800, Gates contacted Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), the creators of the new microcomputer, to inform them that he and others were working on a BASIC interpreter for the platform. In reality, Gates and Allen did not have an Altair and had not written code for it; they merely wanted to gauge MITS’s interest. MITS president Ed Roberts agreed to meet them for a demo, and over the course of a few weeks they developed an Altair emulator that ran on a minicomputer, and then the BASIC interpreter. The demonstration, held at MITS’s offices in Albuquerque was a success and resulted in a deal with MITS to distribute the interpreter as Altair BASIC. Paul Allen was hired into MITS, and Gates took a leave of absence from Harvard to work with Allen at MITS in Albuquerque in November 1975. They named their partnership “Micro-Soft” and had their first office located in Albuquerque. Gates never returned to Harvard to complete his studies. Microsoft’s BASIC was popular with computer hobbyists, but Gates discovered that a pre-market copy had leaked into the community and was being widely copied and distributed. In February 1976, Gates wrote an Open Letter to Hobbyists in the MITS newsletter saying that MITS could not continue to produce, distribute, and maintain high-quality software without payment. This letter was unpopular with many computer hobbyists, but Gates persisted in his belief that software developers should be able to demand payment. When IBM later created its PC, it was unable to find a good operating system, and though Gates too didn’t have any OS, he successfully bought an OS from an individual programmer and licensed it to the computer giant. Gates’ greatest business strategy was that he did not transfer the copyright on the operating system, because he believed that other hardware vendors would clone IBM’s system. They did, and the sales of MS-DOS made Microsoft a major player in the industry.

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Bill Gates

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FACEBOOK

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BILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEURS WHO WERE TOO BUSY FOR COLLEGE

Zuckerberg began using computers and writing software as a child in middle school. His father taught him Atari BASIC Programming in the 1990s, and later hired software developer David Newman to tutor him privately. Newman calls him a “prodigy”, adding that it was “tough to stay ahead of him”. Zuckerberg also took a graduate course in the subject at Mercy College near his home while he was still in high school. He enjoyed developing computer programs, especially communication tools and games. In one such program, since his father’s dental practice was operated from their home, he built a software program he called “ZuckNet”, which allowed all the computers between the house and dental office to communicate by pinging each other. It is considered a “primitive” version of AOL’s Instant Messenger, which came out the following year. Some kids played computer games. Mark created them. Zuckerberg himself recalls this period: “I had a bunch of friends who were artists. They’d come over, draw stuff, and I’d build a game out of it.” During Zuckerberg’s high school years he built a music player called the Synapse Media Player that used artificial intelligence to learn the user’s listening habits, which was posted to Slashdot and received a rating of 3 out of 5 from PC Magazine. Microsoft and AOL tried to purchase Synapse and recruit Zuckerberg, but he chose instead to enroll at Harvard University in September 2002. By the time he began classes at Harvard, he had already achieved a “reputation as a programming prodigy”. There, he created a program he initially called Facemash that let students select the best looking person from a choice of photos. The site went up over a weekend, but by Monday morning the college shut it down because its popularity had overwhelmed Harvard’s server and prevented students from accessing the Internet. In addition, many students complained that their photos were being used without permission. Zuckerberg apologized publicly, and the student paper ran articles stating that his site was “completely improper”. Later, Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dormitory room on February 4, 2004. Facebook started off as just a “Harvard thing” until Zuckerberg decided to spread it to other schools, enlisting the help of roommate Dustin Moskovitz. They first started it at Stanford, Dartmouth, Columbia, New York University, Cornell, Penn, Brown, and Yale, and then at other schools that had social contacts with Harvard. Zuckerberg moved to Palo Alto, California, with Moskovitz and some friends. They leased a small house that served as an office. Over the summer, Zuckerberg met Peter Thiel who invested in the company. They got their first office in mid-2004. According to Zuckerberg, the group planned to return to Harvard University to complete studies but eventually decided to remain in California, as they had already turned down offers by major corporations to buy out Facebook.

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Mark Zuckerberg

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RELIANCE

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BILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEURS WHO WERE TOO BUSY FOR COLLEGE

Dhirubhai was the second son of Hirachand Ambani, a low wage villager. Just after Dhirubhai was through his annual matriculation examination and even before the result was out, Hirachand called him home (to Chorwad). Hirachand had been unwell for quite some time and had grown extremely weak and frail. Hirachand asked his son the very night he reached home. “Well, I’ll tell you. You know I have been unwell for past several months. I cannot work any more. I know you want to study further but I can’t afford that any more. I need you to earn for the family. I need your money. The family needs it. You must work now. Ramnikbhai has arranged a job for you in Aden. You go there.” Dhirubhai had really wanted to study for a bachelor’s degree, but his ambition melted when he looked into the anxious eyes of his sick father. “I’ll do as you say,” he said, and the very next morning he left for Rajkot to get his passport. Those days Indians were exempt from obtaining a visa for entering Aden, but there were rumors around that the No Visa regime was about to end any day. So he needed to hurry up before the visa rules changed. In a few days he was in Bombay to board the ship to Aden. It was on board the ship that Dhirubhai learnt from a Gujarati newspaper that he had passed his matriculation examination in second division. On reaching Aden, Dhirubhai joined office on the very day of his arrival. It was a clerk’s job with the A. Besse & Co., named after its French founder Antonin Besse. Those days Aden was the second busiest trading and oil bunkering port in the world after London handling over 6,300 ships and 1,500 dhows a year. And it was here that Dhirubhai learned to be a master trader in commodities. Since he didn’t have much money on his own he borrowed from many friends, and distributed back the profits, which later became the model for the publicly listed Reliance Industries.

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Dhirubhai Ambani

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PNC Menon He journeyed from Kerala to Oman when he was 26, with just Rs. 50 in his pocket. Menon’s father died when he was 10. He had to drop out of college because of financial problems at home — he was pursuing a BCom from Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur. He then began doing small design jobs, such as interiors, in Kerala. He’d had no formal training. He met his first business partner, an Arab, by chance when he was visiting Kerala to buy a fishing boat, and followed him to Oman. Having no funds of his own, Menon took a loan of 3,000 rials (around Rs. 4 lakh now) from a bank in Oman to set up his interior decor business. He climbed up steadily, in his words, “always two steps at a time”. Over the next 17 years, he moved from contracts of small shops to larger projects, hotels and then palatial homes, including a project for a royal family in West Asia. In 1995, he started Sobha Developers Limited in Bangalore named after his wife. In 2008, he met Infosys chairman and chief mentor, N.R. Narayana Murthy, who gave Sobha the opportunity to build Infosys’ first campus at Electronic City. What triggered Murthy’s interest was one of their first projects, Sobha Sapphire, a premium residential project on Bangalore’s Bellary road. PNC Menon doesn’t take off on weekends or holidays, and spends two and a half hours every day praying and has a shrine for all faiths in his Bangalore office. His retirement from Sobha is scheduled for 17th November 2013, when son Ravi Menon will fully take over, and PNC’s plan is to launch an international luxury brand labelled ‘PNC’ for premium home fittings and furniture.

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SOBHA DEVELOPERS

BILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEURS WHO WERE TOO BUSY FOR COLLEGE

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BILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEURS WHO WERE TOO BUSY FOR COLLEGE

ZEE / ESSEL

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Subhash Chandra He was born into a trading family and grew up in a small village in northern India. As he relates it, the extended family, which numbered as many as 86 people, slipped into debt and split up. He had to drop out of college and start working. With less than a dollar in his pocket he moved to Delhi to find a way to pay off the family’s debt. In Chandra’s own words, “My earliest experience was to pick up my family business of converting whole grain into pulses, into split pulses. When I started that, our family had lost all of the business capital. I was called back from college because they couldn’t afford my fees and everything else. The market was not giving us credit. But still I insisted that I would reinstate my family business. When I would go to the mandi (wholesale market) and there was an auction of chana (chick peas) for example, even when my bid was the highest, they would not sell it to me because they were afraid that they would not get paid. They would sell to the next bidder. But I would insist and I would say, “Why are you not selling to me?” They would say that they can’t wait for a long time to get paid. So I would say, “You don’t worry. You don’t have to wait. You just weigh the thing. I’ll go to my shop, get your money, and then we will take delivery.” So what I did was I built the confidence of the people. If I had creditors worth 10 lakh rupees and if I had 1 lakh coming in as a receipt of the sale proceeds, I would put it in my bag and I would go to each shop. If I had to pay somebody 25,000, I would give them 5000 there and then. So it became my reputation: Don’t go to his shop for recovery of money; as soon as the money comes he will come and pay. Then there was no stopping. Building the confidence of people taught me a lot.” Chandra eventually made decent money in rice trading and moved to Mumbai, where he set up a packaging unit making laminated tubes. Today his Essel Propack claims to be the world’s largest producer of such tubes. His channel Zee TV competes with, among others, Sony Entertainment Television and STAR Plus. Other interests include the newspaper DNA, packaging, theme parks, lotteries and cinema multiplexes.


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R Chenraj Jain

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JAIN GROUP OF

Chenraj Jain is today more known as an educationalist, who also holds a honorary doctorate in literature from Mangalore University. But he skipped school after 8th and never attended formal college. How come then in his playschool-to-university education empire - Jain Group of Institutions - he has initiated several supplementary courses and often conducts them? His favourites include Personality Development, Time Management, Stress Management, Memory Techniques, Transactional Analysis, Goal Setting, Communication, and Presentation Skills! To understand that secret, one definitely has to see the man working up-close. Passionate is the word to describe him. Everything else springs from that passion - energy, speed, complex decisions. He has explained more than once how he stopped at Standard 8. He was disillusioned with just mugging up for exams. In fact, he hates everything done without any passion, even to this day. Chenraj Jain makes no bones about his humble upbringing where

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studies were not taken seriously by most in his family and community in Karnataka. Starting to earn early and thus to come up in live were more important. So he focused on sports, and legend has it that he was so good at it, that he could finish schooling at 8th. Soon after leaving school, right at the tender age of 13, he joined Bombay Dyeing showroom as a salesman. There, on a meagre monthly salary of Rs. 50, and pitted against experienced salesmen drawing Rs. 600 (then a handsome sum), young Jain proved his mettle with his enthusiasm, speed, and ability to satisfy customers. Later, he shifted to his uncle’s textile shop, and seeing his performance and ambition to come up, one of his uncle’s friends took him to meet none other than Dhirubhai Ambani, who was then already a tycoon with his Vimal brand of textiles. Ambani could spot the winner in this boy and gave him a distributorship on Rs. 3 lakhs credit. Though he had quick success, selling even stuff that were lying waste for two years in his first two


BILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEURS WHO WERE TOO BUSY FOR COLLEGE students and mentoring them made him realize his real calling. He started Jain College in Bangalore in 1990 and in his own words “has never looked back”. Today, Jain Group of Institutions (JGI) include a cluster of 70 vibrant educational institutions serving 30,000 students and 3,120 staff members engaged at the P-12, undergraduate & postgraduate levels across 44 campuses, centres of excellence, and Jain University. But if you thought JGI is his zenith of success, wait till you hear about his further passion - R Chenraj Jain Centre for Entrepreneurship. RCJCE is a business incubator as well as VC fund that has already spawned 48 successful companies, many of them by former JGI students! A prolific donator to rural causes, he encourages these companies to also donate 50% of profits. His entrepreneurship advice to all is to develop a good micro business idea and make it scale rapidly. Jain attributes his success to eternal optimism, encouraging all around him, focusing on human capital, and above all on delivering value to colleagues and customers. Money, this billionaire claims, is a side effect.

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months, he also had failures and lost 1 lakh in Tamilnadu, which was back then a fortune. Jain credits his success to Dhirubhai who instead of reprimanding him for the loss, gave him more business sensing Jain’s genuineness and hard work. Young Chenraj never forgot that benevolence and went on to become Reliance’s largest distributor, appointing over 1300 shops across South India, and more remarkably, of that 1300 over 1000 were new young men who Jain encouraged to be entrepreneurs for the first time in their lives. Chenraj Jain is proud when he discloses that before the age of 25, he had made himself known to more than 5 lakh people through this network. He calls them his contacts, and that his success mantra was rapid networking. He made sure that out of 100 contacts, 10 gave him some business. In the textile distribution business, Jain is said to have achieved in 1 year what others did in 10. But by 1986, he wanted to come out of business totally and try his hand at something else. Without thinking twice he followed his inner calling, and is said to have donated 30-40% of his profits to rural upliftment programmes. An avid reader, Jain was most impressed by the thoughts of Mahatma, Swami Vivekananda, NR Narayana Murthy, and of course, Dhirubhai Ambani. Jain was also impressed by the vocational training programs available in USA, for those who had missed regular school and college. He had already adopted 10 poor

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Ramnath was just six months old when his mother died. Though he completed his primary education, he had no time for further studies as his adopted mother, who was his aunt, had been bequeathed with a large business and several estates when her husband Basant Lal Goenka died. As a boy, Ramnath joined the business of his maternal uncles, and worked as an employee in several of their and their associates’ firms in Kolkata and Chennai. Later, in Chennai he would attempt his first business venture, which was a partnership. Though they were fairly successful, Goenka would later pursue his passion of being a salesman, and for a long time was the Chief Salesman of Bombay Co. In 1932, Goenka would again attempt to be an entrepreneur, by taking over the loss-making Madras edition of The Free Press Journal, driving the delivery van himself to dispatch the papers. He founded The Indian Express in 1936, and in 1941, he was elected President of the National Newspaper Editors’ Conference. Following this, both The Indian Express and Goenka himself openly challenged the British Raj, which is regarded as his greatest achievement. In 1948, Daily Tej partnered with Goenka to publish Indian News Chronicle, an English daily, from New Delhi. After the death of its founder Lala Deshbandhu Gupta, Goenka converted it to be a part of The Indian Express. Upon independence he was nominated as a member to the Constituent Assembly of India. Goenka played a significant role during the ‘Emergency’ in India and openly challenged Indira Gandhi, which was also a career highlight. His admirers believe that his passion for politics was the fire that led the newspapers from Indian Express Group on a blazing trail. Ramnath was known as a hard task master, and his employees were always in fear of his temper which could easily turn into violence. At the same time, Goenka is credited for grooming some of the finest editors in India, known for their fearless nature and investigative calibre Goenka also spawned a vast business empire. His only son BD Goenka, who was slated to take over Indian Express, had died of a cardiac arrest. Goenka’s daughter, Krishna, married AM Khaitan the founder of Williamson Magor, the worlds largest tea producers and manufacturer of Eveready batteries. Through that connection, another heir was to come into the Goenka family, Vivek Khaitan, who was adopted in 1990 and changed his name to Viveck Goenka, and who is presently the Chairman and Managing Director of the Indian Express Limited. Another of Goenka’s daughters married in to the Sonthailia family in Chennai. Her son Manoj Kumar Sonthalia runs The New Indian Express Group based in Chennai. The Goenka family also has close connection with

INDIAN EXPRESS

Ramnath Goenka

BILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEURS WHO WERE TOO BUSY FOR COLLEGE

the Sahu Jain family which owns India’s largest newspaper firm, The Times of India Group. Ramnath’s son, BD Goenka had married Saroj, daughter of Times doyen Sahu Shreyans Prasad Jain. Both Groups had cross-holdings and directorships in each other’s firms. Though Goenka’s war with Dhirubhai was infamous, at one point in time, Goenka was close to both Dhirubhai Ambani and Nusli Wadia. On many occasions, Goenka tried to intervene between these two warring factions and bring an end to their enmity, but later sided with the more educated and sophsticated Wadia clan. Goenka is said to have spoken the now infamous words about Ambani and Wadia, to some mutual friends - “Nusli is an Englishman. He cannot handle Ambani. I am a bania. I know how to finish him.” The Indian Express carried a series of articles against Reliance Industries and Ambani in which they claimed that Ambani was using unfair trade practices to maximise the profits. Rather than use his staff at The Indian Express to investigate the matter, Goenka assigned the task to his confidant and advisor, S. Gurumurthy. Stories were also contributed by journalist Maneck Davar, who was also independent of the newspaper. The battle between Wadia, Goenka and the Ambanis had at one point of time taken monstrous proportions, creating a national crisis, drawing in the likes of Rajiv Gandhi and VP Singh. Goenka has been a mentor to the Hindu rightwing in India, represented by RSS, Jansangh, and later BJP, through his close confidantes like Nanaji Deshmukh, Rajmata of Gwalior Vijayaraje Scindia, S. Gurumurthy (his principal advisor), JK Jain (his personal doctor who later started Jain TV), Arun Shourie (his most famous Editor), and Arun Jaitley (his lawyer).


TOURISM

DREAM SEASON - MONSOON TOURS

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Water From Heavens Does Magic on Kerala


ater cleans. Water rejuvenates. And water cools…like no other. In God’s Own Country, nature uses it to soothe summer’s dry emotions of 24-34 degrees to a moist 20-30 range. Of course, the Dream Season has already started in God’s Own Country on full earnest, right from April 1st. But ask any international traveller, which is the best of the dream, chances are high that the answer would be this season’s last leg, from June 1st to September 30th. That Kerala is God’s Country is no tall claim. South West Monsoon offers the most poignant illustration of this blessing, from time immemorial. The hard work is done by the dry Thar and adjoining areas in North India that gets red hot during the prolonged summer. And to cool that comes nature’s supply of cool, moisture laden air from the vast Indian Ocean. Further hard work is done by the stately Himalayas and Western Ghats, which traps the storm clouds that forces them to rise and pour out the blessings. All the elements of nature working together to make sure Kerala remains wet and green, and not dusty and dull like its neighbouring states. The state is the first and most blessed beneficiary of the generous monsoons, year after year. The preference given to God’s Own Country is stunning. Just east of Kerala’s boundary, Western Ghats, lies the large Tamilnadu State, which is not blessed with this rainy season which is noted not only for its heavy lasting downpours but the holistic and multifarious ways in which it beautifies the already exceptional beauty of Kerala. And through the Dream Season campaign and its integral Monsoon Tours packages, Kerala Tourism is giving back to the world the greatest gift it has received. Keralites known for their warm hospitality is inviting travellers from all over to witness how water from heavens magically transforms this land. The South West monsoon in Kerala do not take the pattern of incessant rains continuing for weeks. It rains for a few hours continuously, then comes sunny interludes. Occasionally the rains might stretch on for a few days but the respite of sunshine

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What is more beautiful than a beautiful woman? A beautiful woman coming out from her bath, maybe? That is how Kerala looks during monsoon. Come, witness, experience for yourself how God magically transforms His Own Country with heavenly downpours…


The preference given to God’s Own Country is stunning. Just east of Kerala’s boundary, Western Ghats, lies the large Tamilnadu State, which is not blessed with this rainy season which is noted not only for its heavy lasting downpours but the holistic and multifarious ways in which it beautifies the already exceptional beauty of Kerala. And through the Dream Season campaign and its

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

integral Monsoon Tours packages, Kerala Tourism is


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is never far away. The Southwest Monsoon is called ‘Edava-ppathy‘, as it comes in the middle of the month of Edavam on the Malayalam Calendar. According to Ayurveda, Monsoon is the best season for rejuvenation therapies. During the Monsoon season, the atmosphere remains dust-free and cool, opening the pores of the body to the maximum, making it most receptive to herbal oils and therapy. Kerala traditional artists make best use of this, and special herbal oils and medications are applied on the body of these artists during the monsoon time to ensure muscle flexibility and dexterity of movement. This makes Ayurveda an important regimen in Monsoon Tours. During recent years, this has caused an influx of discerning tourists into this southernmost state of India, from all nooks and corners of this globe. The monsoon rains give fresh lease of life to plants and animals every year. Kerala’s famed elephants, for an example. These giants who roam Kerala’s temple and festival grounds love the wetness of rains and are in the best mood to play with tourists. And if you thought downpours pause life the world over, you haven’t yet seen Kerala up close. In the Malabar region, with the onset of the South West Monsoon comes a 28-day festival, held at the Kottiyur Temple. It has its proceedings going unhindered during the rains and is attended by thousands. As the South West Monsoon enters the Malayalam month of Karkatakam, it signals the arrival of a distinct group of theyyams. Majority of these theyyams are performed in the month of Karkatakam, with these theyyams being different in size and form compared to the ones that are witnessed during the main theyyam season in Kerala that starts later in the year. South West Monsoon is especially famous for beautifying select destinations like Ranipuram near Kanhangad and Valiyapraramba near Kasargod, both of them towards the Northern side of Kerala. While Ranipuram is noted for its shola forests, monsoon forests, and grass savannahs, with its excellent trekking trails, Valiyaparamba is a scenic and larger-than-life backwater destination noted for its extensive fishing facilities for tourists. But the real beauty of monsoon in Kerala is that it doesn’t leave not even one destination more beautiful with its touch. Be it the backwaters of Kumarakom, or the waterfalls of Athirampilly, or the forests of Wayanad, or the paddy fields of Kuttanad, or the beaches of Varkala, every destination beckons you more than ever during monsoon.


FITNE SS FITNES

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BEST YOGA POSES FOR STRECHING PURPOSES Speaking from personal experience, Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center advises you to stretch out before and after a workout, so you warm-up and cooldown respectively. Remember, that the stretches before any intense activity should be dynamic paced fast and moving fast, instead of being slow. On the other hand, stretches after a workout should be slow and static, meaning you hold the pose instead of moving too fast. 1


The duration of warm up and cool down stretches should be proportionate to the length of your main practice. Ideally for an hour of practice, five to ten minutes should be allotted to the warm up and cool down respectively. Beginners should do longer start-up and wind-down stretches, since their muscles are even less acclimatised to the intensity of the main workout.

the hands before the forehead. Press down the forehead into the back of the hands. The muscular exertion should be from the neck and upper back. Hold for a few seconds, breathing normally throughout. Release.

Benefits: Prepares the neck for any intense activity. Most often the neck muscles are not prepared for any sudden twists or intense move and cause the most trouble or sports injuries. The spinal nerves at the neck service the hands, so the hands are also prepared for coordination.

pointed ahead. Inhale, going up on your toes. Simultaneously raise hands overhead, interlocking fingers, pointing palms out to the ceiling. Hold for a few seconds, stretching intensely from the toes and the arms, as if being dragged from above. Release, exhaling to drop hands, to sides and heels back to floor. Benefits: This is a complete body stretch and workout and most powerful, healing practice in yoga. It is used to treat all major ailments and spinal issues.

2. Mind & Muscle Power: Trikonasana

4. Eye Arm Coordination: Katichakrasana

Stand with legs a meter apart. Feet should be pointed in front. Inhale, lowering right palm flat on the ground, under the face, bending at the waist. Left arm lifts into the air, aligned to be in one line with the right hand. Look at the left hand. Hold to breathe evenly. Exhale, drop the left palm flat on ground, raising right arm to repeat the exercise for the other side.

Stand with feet about two feet apart. Hold out arms at shoulder level. Inhale. Exhaling twist to the right, with the arms still at shoulder level, to look back. Inhale, return to the centre. Exhale, to twist to the left. Inhale, return to the centre. This is one round. Repeat five to ten times.

Benefits: It prepares the mind for the sudden challenges of balance and coordination. Works out large muscle groups in arms, legs, hips and the back. The spine is also twisted and toned.

Benefits: Prepares the spine, limbs and the rest of the body for any activity. Also challenges balance, preparing the brain for sudden nerve coordination, especially those involving eye/arm movements.

1. Neck Practice: Greeva Sanchalanasana

3. Spine & Healing: Tadasana

5. Knees & Ankles: Janu Chakra

Stack up hands one on top of the other. Raise

Stand up straight, feet half a foot apart,

Stand up straight, with feet close. Place palms on top of thighs, to hold them just above either knee, squatting lightly. Breathing normally, move the knees apart, then circle them back together. This should be in a circular motion, first drawing the knees out to draw the circles. Later to draw them inwards. Do five to ten times.

You do not need to do too many stretches, but the duration or the repeats decide their intensity. In dynamic stretches you need to do many repeats, fast. In static stretches, you need to hold for long the final pose. In both warm up and cool down you need to cover the entire body, including the neck. Given below are a few poses which can be used dynamically or statically.

2

3

4

5

Benefits: The legs need to be really involved in all intense workout. The knees take a load of such intensity, as do the ankles. This moves prepares these delicate, overloaded joints for the work ahead. This move also involves hip muscles, lower back and the entire leg, toning them.

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he reason for this difference in the texture of movement is that fast movements warm up the muscles, preparing them so they do not shock or strain. Static stretches at the end of a workout help relieve the strained joints, ease off the blood lactate levels, allow the breath to resume to near normal, plus allow the sweat created through these stretches to help the body cool down naturally.


NUTRITION

Foods with Helpful or Harmful Hormones

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Over the years it has been proved that there are substances in our daily food that possess the magical property of behaving exactly like hormones.


1) Cabbage and Cruciferous Vegetables These are known to influence the levels of hormones like estrogen in the body, by affecting the intake and breakdown of the compound by the liver. This total effect is especially beneficial for women with a genetic predisposition to tumours or women with a family history of breast cancer.

2) Wheat Bran

3) Peanuts Peanuts are a rich source of protein and boron. Boron is an important component in the production of several hormones. Thus, eating boron-rich foods can boost estrogen levels in post-menopausal women.

4) Non-vegetarian Foods A very high consumption of non-vegetarian foods, such as red meat and poultry, can influence hormonal levels in the bodies of those who eat them. There is ample proof of large residual levels of growth hormones in meat and poultry. While this not be harmful for pre-teens, from teenage onwards this is definitely a cause for concern.

5) Fat Content The fat content in one's diet plays a major role in the production of hormones. It has been observed that children in most urban settings, on a high-fat diet of cheese, chips, butter and the like, produce excess hormones, leading to early puberty. So it isn't advisable for them to be fed foods with an unbalanced proportion of fat. Besides direct fat, there is the trend in Western nations to consume meat and poultry that has been fattened by the use of growth hormones. These growth hormones eventually find their way into the human body, which exerts additional hormonal effects. With better food choices to pick from, you can eat healthy, as well as regulate your body's hormones and reactions without having to go on medication. This is great news for people who've been struggling with hormone-related problems. Don't wait - get on the right track with the right foods.

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Hormones are chemical substances in the human body that act like messenger molecules. After being produced in one part of the body, they move to other parts where they help control how our cells and organs function. For example, insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas, but it regulates how cells use up food sugar. It may surprise you to learn that the foods we eat on a daily basis contain certain substances that imitate hormones. These are actually plant hormones called phytoestrogens. They came to light during the phase of modern nutrition and its renewed interest in micronutrients, enzymes and plant hormones. So how do phytoestrogens work? Here's an interesting fact about them. Even after digestion and absorption, a component of the plant hormones stays active. The good thing is that being natural, these plant hormones are completely safe and have only a mild effect on the body. Although there are over 300 plant-based compounds which have such hormone-like effects - such as soy - there are many foods which have an indirect effect on the hormones themselves, such as cabbage, fat content in the diet, peanuts and wheat bran.

Wheat bran is also known to help control excess estrogen levels in the blood stream. This in turn helps reduce the risk of breast cancer. Women with high estrogen levels are more prone to breast cancer than others.


VYTHIRI VILLAGE

Have You Been to Wayanad Lately?

Wayanad is the quintessential paradox in destination Kerala. Awesome beautiful, but little by way of comfortable and reasonable stays. At least until recently. Take the case of the dusky beauty, Vythiri, in Wayanad. Until recently there was only a couple of staying options, which is akin to no option at all. Exotic Vythiri can any day upstage any beauty of Kerala - right from Munnar to Kumarakom. Yet more tourists thronged to see these popular beauties rather than the hidden charms of Vythiri, due to the superior traveller facilities there. All that is set to change. Or it is already history, after one

of the finest hospitality entrepreneurs in the state - NK Mohamed - set his eyes on Vythiri and started Vythiri Village, a luxury resort aiming for 5-star status. Mohamed is the man behind ‘The Kadavu’, the 5-star riverside resort in Kozhikode that redefined the segment in the state. One might have heard of many aspirations that drive hoteliers, and the list is likely to be dominated by the aspiration to make the best of a naturally fast growing industry. But NK Mohamed forsake his engineering background as well as a career in


government, and pursued hospitality for a strange match with his personality. Mohamed has always believed that the greatest quality that man has ever cultivated is the ability to conduct oneself in any given situation. NK calls it ’the code of manners’. Always someone who walks the talk, Mohamed has always been known for his humble, polite, & suave nature, despite being a man of sheer gumption. He looked around and found that hospitality was the industry to be in, if he wanted to pursue that passion. Vythiri Village has benefited from the growing expertise of Mohamed and his core team, as this is their fourth and latest project, after The Kadavu, Greeshmam Resort, and

Oriental College of Hotel Management. Expect nothing less than fine treatment when you land at Vythiri Village. Starting from the traditional welcome and welcome drink, one will unmistakably feel that special touch staff who are perfectly helpful without being a bit obtrusive. If anyone thought that calling a resort as ‘a village’ is overkill, be prepared to trek all the 20 virgin acres. The land is an absolute delight, in the lap of mistladen Wayanad hills, 2600 ft above sea-level, and featuring a soothing stream right through. Cross the stream, wading through clean water, or walk across on

Expect nothing less than fine treatment when you land at Vythiri Village. Starting from the traditional welcome and welcome drink, one will unmistakably feel that special touch staff who are perfectly helpful without being a bit obtrusive. If anyone thought that calling a resort as ‘a village’ is overkill, be prepared to trek all the 20 virgin acres.


the inspiring hanging bridge on a nostalgic trip. Tranquil views of Chembra Peak and Karanchi Stream is for you to enjoy. Your days will begin with birdsongs and your nights will end with spicy aromas, and the best part is that nothing is engineered for you here, everything comes natural. There are ample options for accommodation ranging from Deluxe Rooms , to Suites, to Cottages. Accompanying dining options are also ample, from Continental Plan (CP) that includes complimentary breakfast with the accommodation, to Modified American Plan (MAP) that includes breakfast and one of lunch/dinner, and American Plan (AP) that includes all three. And the pleasant surprise is that Vythiri Village doesn’t cost a bomb. Rates start from Rs. 7300 for Deluxe/CP to just Rs. 11,000 for Cottage/AP, and there are all flexible options in between. Rooms feature 32" LCD TV, Mini refrigerator, Tea / coffee maker, Safe locker, and an Ergonomic work area. Resort facilities include Multi cuisine restaurant, Doctor on call, Laundry facility, Ozone treated swimming pool, a world class spa, Gymnasium, Health club, Game room, Playstation, Souvenir shop, Business centre, Cycling facilities, Outdoor and indoor game facilities, Conference hall, Board room, and Travel Desk. The highlights of the resort are Nawa Spa and the diverse Ayurvedic treatment and rejuvenation facilities available. Outdoor activities are courteously assisted by staff and include hiking, trekking, cycling, and sight-seeing. Some of Wayanad’s finest destinations are very accessible

The highlights of the resort are Nawa Spa and the diverse Ayurvedic treatment and rejuvenation facilities available. Outdoor activities are courteously assisted by staff and include hiking, trekking, cycling, and sight-seeing.

from Vythiri Village, and these include Pookode Lake, Chain Tree, View Point, Banasura Sagar Dam, Soochipara Falls, Kanthanpara Water Falls, Edakkal Caves, Kuruva Island, Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary, Chembra Peak, Pakshipathalam, Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary, Karapuzha Dam, and Thirunelli Temple. A half-week or week spent at Vythiri Village is destined to earn anyone and their family a renewed zest for life.


5th Year in a Row, an Indian kid Wins US Spelling Bee That Indian American kids rule when it comes to the National Spelling Bee, particularly in the last two decades, was manifest recently when Snigdha Nandipati, a 14-year-old from San Diego, California, became the fifth consecutive Indian American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition and the tenth in the last 14 years. Nandipati, an eighth-grader at Francis Parker School in San Diego who was making her second Spelling Bee appearance in her final year of eligibility, clinched victory by correctly spelling the French derived word, 'guetapens' (which means ambush, snare or trap). She beat fellow Indian American Stuti Mishra, also 14 and an eighth-grader from Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in West Melbourne, Florida, who in the previous round had misspelled schwarmerei as schwermerei. In the final round, Nandapati correctly spelt arrondissement. In the earlier 11th round of the finals, both Nandipati and Mishra had correctly spelt admittatur and chionablepsia respectively. In 2011, Nandapati had tied for 27th place and Mishra had tied for 19th place. Like the clean sweep by Indian American kids the previous week, when they took the first four places in the 2012 National Geographic Bee, it was yet another steamroller sweep by the Indian American kids with Arvind Mahankali, 12, of Queens, New York, finishing third. Mahankali met his waterloo in the 10th round of the finals when he failed to correctly spell schwannoma, instead misspelling it as schvonoma. Mahankali had participated in the 2010 and 2011 Bees, tying for 9th place and 3rd place last year, and when he came a cropper with schwannoma, was accorded a sustained standing ovation. Nandapati, by winning this 85th Scripps

National Spelling Bee, besides the massive engraved Scripps trophy, will be the recipient of a surfeit of prizes, including $30,000 cash prize from Scripps, a $2,500 US Savings bond and a complete reference library from Merriam Webster, a $5,000 scholarship from Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation, and a $2,800 in reference works and the Britannica Test Prep Precocious Programme valued at $799 from Encyclopedia Britannica. With confetti raining down on the gargantuan Washington National Harbor Convention Centre, where the competition was held over the past four days, and her parents, grand-parents and her younger brother hugging her, Rich

Boene, chairman and CEO of Scripps, declared, "Snigdha, on behalf of all of us at Scripps, it's our honour and thrill to declare you champion of the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Congratulations." Then when a reporter with sports channel ESPN asked Nandapati what she thought when she first heard the final world, pat came the reply: "Guetapens. I knew it. I have seen it before. (But) I just wanted to know everything I could before I started spelling." She had kept asking the judge for the word's origin, its pronunciation, what kind of an adjective it was and so on. As to the question of how she feels, Nandapati said, "It's a miracle." Nandapati, who said that her role model was the 2009 Spelling Bee winner Kavya Shivashankar of Kansas, is a voracious reader of random facts in enclycopedias, particularly those topics pertaining to science or history. In her spare time, she likes to read whodunits and adventures, and she collects unique coins from around the world. Nandapati, who speaks fluent Telugu, loves to play the violin and hopes to one day become a psychiatrist or neurosurgeon, has competed in the Science Olympiad and earned several medals. At her school, Nandapati is a member of the math club, MATHCOUNTS, Math Field Day and other math-related events, besides attending the San Diego Math Circle each week. Way back in 1985, Balu Natarajan of Chicago, and today a physician specialising in sports medicine, was the first Indian American to win the title. In 1988, Rageshree Ramachandran of Sacramento took the title, followed by Nupur Lala of Tampa, Florida in 1999, George Thampy of St Louis, Missouri in 2000, Pratyush Buddhiga of Colorado in 2002, Sai Gunturi of Dallas, Texas in 2003, Anurag Kashyap of San Diego, California in 2005, Sameer Mishra of Indiana in 2008, which started the deluge with Shivashankar winning in 2009, Anamika Veeramani of Ohio in 2010, and Sukanya Roy of Pennsylvania in 2011.

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PIO


PERS ONALIT Y PERSONALIT ONALITY

Education, Training, & Family of

INDIA'S

NEW ARMY CHIEF

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The 25th General to lead the world's second largest army is one of its most decorated serving soldiers today, says Group Captain Tarun Kumar Singha, VSM. General Bikram Singh PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC assumes charge as the Chief of Army Staff on May 31, 2012. It is no coincidence that the 25th General to lead the world's second largest army is indeed one of its most decorated serving soldiers today. Commissioned on March 31, 1972, into the Sikh Light Infantry, SIKHLI, Regiment, his four-decade career in the uniform so far has been a continuing saga of 'aspiring for excellence.' His colleagues remember him as one of the bright cadets at the Indian Military Academy, where he held the appointment of Battalion Cadet Adjutant. An astute military tactician and an ardent student of military strategy and operational art till date, he was awarded the J&K Rifles Gold Medal for 'Tactics and Leadership' and the 'Shriganesh Trophy' at the IMA. The affable general better known as 'Bikki' to his friends began displaying his steely resolve and grit very early in his

army career. At the Infantry School during his Young Officer's Course, he topped the course and was adjudged the 'Best Young Officer' and also awarded the prestigious 'Commando Dagger' for being the best commando along with 'Best in Tactics' trophy. These awards remain the most coveted dream of every aspiring young officer. It was during his tenure as an instructor at the Commando Wing at the Infantry School that General Bikram Singh would find his life partner. Then, a young captain, he saw and briefly met his future wife-tobe, Surjeet Kaur popularly known as 'Bubbles' in army circles at a family wedding. He saw her, liked her and proposed to her. "It indeed was love at first sight," reminisces the general. Respecting custom and tradition, he sought the assistance of his sister and other family members who set up the match before his return to the Commando School after his leave. "Within a week, things were arranged and we got engaged. However, I was not happy with the marriage being fixed after six months. So, I called her up

from Belgaum and told her to be prepared for marriage within a month. Of course, this required convincing parents and family members on both sides." True to his words, marriage done, Mrs Bubbles joined him at the Commando Wing of the Infantry School within the stated time-frame. For the newly-wedded lady, it was an altogether new experience to be in a way of life that she had no prior association with. "During various demonstrations that used to be organised for the public, I ensured that Bubbles was present to see and appreciate our commando skills and techniques." He needn't have done any more, for Mrs Bubbles was more than just smitten by this young, handsome officer and his honest display of affection, albeit only commando-like. "Bikki's friends ensured that for nearly a month-and-half I didn't have to cook any meal after I joined him. Either we were invited to a friend's house or they would send us meals at home," says Mrs Bubbles. Her tryst with army life began on a note of bon homie and she has stood steadfast to the core values of the camaraderie that is the mainstay of life


internal security canvas in all the militancy-inflicted states has shown a marked improvement. The general ensured that all counter-terrorism operations were synergised, people friendly, and launched on hard intelligence to obviate inconvenience to the locals. All actions of his troops, he demanded, must contribute to the groundswell for peace. As a Brigadier, he was selected to attend the US Army War College, Pennsylvania, where besides excelling in academics he also won the International Toastmaster's award in public speaking. His international forays with peace-keeping missions include two assignments with the United Nations in Central America (ONUCA and ONUSAL) and as the Deputy Force Commander and GOC of Eastern Division in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His division comprised contingents from 18 different countries including a brigade each from India and Pakistan, and

As a Brigadier, he was selected to attend the US Army War College, Pennsylvania, where besides excelling in academics he also won the International Toastmaster's award in public speaking. His international forays with peace-keeping missions include two assignments with the United Nations in Central America (ONUCA and ONUSAL) and as the Deputy Force Commander and GOC of Eastern Division in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

battalions and companies from China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Uruguay, South Africa, Morocco, Senegal, Benin, and Tunisia amongst other countries. During his tenure in Congo, his division was instrumental in bring peace to the strife-torn eastern region and creating conditions for the consolidation of peace process. Colleagues also remember him for being a 'soldier's soldier' for spending time and sweat with his troops on the ground. A shade of this was visible during the September 2011 earthquake in Sikkim when he visited all affected forward posts and even awarded commendation medals to soldiers and officers for exceptional service on the spot. Gifted with a razorsharp memory for details, General Bikram Singh is known to often surprise old friends -- even those he has not met in decades -- with references to their family members and memories of time spent together. He studied at the Punjab Public School, Nabha. An avid sportsman, his favourite games in school were cricket, athletics and hockey. Singing and painting were his other talents that also fetched him awards in school. "Classical songs and ghazals are my favourites," he reveals. "Jagjit Singh, Ghulam Ali and Pankaj Udhas are his favourites," adds Mrs Bubbles. General Bikram Singh was nearly destined to be a doctor as most of his teachers believed he would. He was an exceptional student of zoology and biology and always scored very high marks in these subjects. But the wars of 1962 and 1965 were to have a profound impact on his young mind to motivate him to join the National Defence Aacdemy in 1968. The medical fraternity's loss has been the Indian Army's gain. When asked whether he ever regrets the choice made, General Bikram Singh says, "If I were ever to be born again, I would only join the Indian Army" -- words that would be echoed by only a highly motivated soldier, and that which would also inspire a generation of youth who aspire to be one like him. (Group Captain Tarun Kumar Singha is the Chief Public Relations Officer, Defence, based in Kolkata)

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in the armed forces, the army in particular. Today, Mrs Bubbles has an equally important role to play alongside General Bikram Singh, as President AWWA (Army Wives Welfare Association), in the days and years ahead. The environs of South Block beckoned General Bikram Singh on several occasions. After the 'Higher Command Course', he served his first tenure in the Military Operations Directorate. The tenure, as a director, coincided with the Kargil war and the bright officer was singled out to brief the media on the daily progress of the conflict. Later, he was also made responsible for writing the official version of the war history. These were major responsibilities, which he fulfilled commendably. He went on to serve four more important tenures at Army HQ which included one additional tenure in the MO Directorate as the Deputy Director General, thereafter, two tenures in the Perspective Planning Directorate, initially as the Deputy Director General of Perspective Planning (Strategy) and later, as the head of the army's 'Think Tank' as the Additional Director General (the appointment now has since been upgraded to the post of Director General). He would later return to Army HQ as a lieutenant general to serve as the Director General Staff Duties (DGSD) that facilitates the overall functioning of various branches of army headquarters and serves as an interface with other government agencies besides looking at the Indian Army's training teams abroad and UN peacekeeping operations. In between 'Staff' roles, General Bikram Singh went on to command several other operational field formations. These include command of a Rashtriya Rifles Sector in South Kashmir, an Infantry Division in Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] and the prestigious 15 Corps at Srinagar. His tenure later as Army Commander Eastern Command was also marked by significant improvements in both the conventional and sub-conventional war-fighting arenas. In addition to the timely raisings of various field formations and infrastructure development, the


INVE STIG ATION INVES TIGA

Why Prosecutors Want Rajaratnam’s Email about Mukesh to Rajat Gupta

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Convicted hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam wanted former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta to ask Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani if his company Reliance Industries was planning to 'aggressively' get into the solar business, information federal prosecutors want to include as evidence in Gupta's ongoing insider trading trial.

In court documents submitted on Monday, prosecutors said they want to offer as evidence an April 3, 2008, email from former McKinsey executive Anil Kumar to Gupta to demonstrate the 'close' relationship between Gupta and Rajaratnam, particularly the 'mutual trust' between them. In the April 2008 email, labelled 'urgent', Kumar told Gupta that Rajaratnam wanted him to ask whether "Reliance Industries Limited would be getting into the solar business aggressively because, if so, there would be implications for supplier companies." According to the email, Kumar said, "When with Mukesh on portfolio question. . . 2 things to explore: A) Raj wants to know if they will get into the solar biz aggressively and when (there are implications for supplier companies etc)." The email was sent to Gupta around the time he was scheduled to meet Ambani. Ambani has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the case. Kumar has pleaded guilty to insider trading and is cooperating with prosecutors. He is scheduled to take the witness stand in Gupta's trial, which began on May 21. "The proffered testimony of Kumar is

In the April 2008 email, labelled 'urgent', Kumar told Gupta that Rajaratnam wanted him to ask whether "Reliance Industries Limited would be getting into the solar business aggressively because, if so, there would be implications for supplier companies."

Raj Rajaratnam

relevant to demonstrate the nature of the relationship between Gupta and Rajaratnam, particularly the mutual trust between them and that their relationship was so close that Rajaratnam was willing to confide in Gupta, the former worldwide head of McKinsey, about his illicit activities with Kumar in violation of McKinsey policies and US tax laws," the prosecutors said. US District Judge Jed Rakoff, presiding over the case, has not yet decided whether to allow the email into evidence. The government alleges that Kumar

Rajat Gupta


Mukesh Ambani

In the July 29 call, Rajaratnam also cites the name of Ambani's younger brother industrialist Anil Ambani as he discusses with Gupta how a telecom fund can be set up. conspiracy and securities fraud, is into its second week. Gupta's lawyers used their crossexamination of Proctor and Gamble Chief Finance Officer Jon Moeller to suggest to the jury that there could have been people other than Gupta who supplied confidential company information to Rajaratnam, particularly about P&G's 2008 sale of its Folgers Coffee unit. Defense attorney Gary Naftalis questioned Moeller about who were the other company officiuals who were aware about Cincinnati-based P&G's plans to sell the coffee unit to J M Smucker Co. Gupta is accused of passing information he received during

Anil Ambani

the board meeting about P&G's plan to sell the coffee unit as well as company earnings in January 2009 to Rajaratnam. Moeller said employees in nearly halfdozen departments at P&G as well as J M Smucker and bankers and lawyers were aware of the deal weeks before it was announced. "And all these people were working on the transaction, in addition to the Smucker people?" Naftalis asked Moeller in Manhattan federal court. "Yes, that's true," Moeller said. Taking the witness stand after Moeller, former Galleon portfolio manager Michael Cardillo told jurors he bought Smucker stock in June 2008 after being told by Rajaratnam's brother R K Rajaratnam that Smucker would buy Folgers. Cardillo said Rajaratnam's brother told him that "the information was coming from Rajaratnam's guy at P&G." Cardillo bought 75,000 Smucker shares for RK Rajaratnam on June 2, 2008 and 17,000 shares for himself the next day, the first time he had bought the stock. Prosecutors showed as evidence instant messages and emails in which R.K. Rajaratnam told Cardillo to buy Smucker stock. Last week, Cardillo testified that he was told by R.K. Rajaratnam that the part of P&G's earnings known as 'organic growth' wasn't as high as expected. Rajaratnam's brother said the information came from his 'guy' on the P&G board, Cardillo said. Cardillo has pleaded guilty to insidertrading charges and is cooperating with prosecutors. He will continue to be crossed examined later today by Gupta's defense team. Gupta's defense team has argued that Rajaratnam had other sources, who gave him insider information and the prosecution has no hard evidence that it was Gupta who passed on company secrets to the Sri Lankan hedge fund founder.

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received money from 2004 through 2006 in exchange for providing Rajaratnam with material, non-public information. Kumar received approximately $125,000 every 3 months in 2004 and 2005, as well as a bonus of one million dollars in late 2006 after providing Rajaratnam with material, non-public information. During a July 29, 2008 call between Gupta and Rajaratnam, the Sri Lankan founder of the Galleon hedge fund told Gupta that he was 'giving him [referring to Kumar] a million dollars a year for doing literally nothing.' In the July 29 call, Rajaratnam also cites the name of Ambani's younger brother industrialist Anil Ambani as he discusses with Gupta how a telecom fund can be set up. The names are cited as an example, with Gupta saying meetings with them will be 'completely different' as opposed to meeting other businessmen in relation to the telecom fund. Gupta has pleaded not guilty to the charges that he provided secret company information, particularly those he received in his capacity as board member, to Rajaratnam, who has been found guilty of insider trading and is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence. The trial of Gupta, who is charged with


By Carl Jaison

SOC CER OCCER

The Two Teams that May Spring Surprises in Euro 2012 Tournament favourites rule the roost, hog the glorifying limelight and even face unimaginable amount of pressure and jittering as soon as they represent in a major tournament. For numerous years, teams like Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Italy etc have always had the ‘heavyweight’ tag firmly etched on their foreheads and more often than not they have lived up to it. But, there are those underdogs which give these supremos a run for their money.

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While this Euro 2012 has seen the favourites put up a not so noteworthy display so far, it has been the lessfancied outfits that have provided quality and classy football. Croatia and Russia, both upcoming soccer giants have showcased their exemplary technique and unwavering confidence on the big stage. Both these teams are being pitted as the dark horses of the tournament and with the kind of talent they possess, it won’t come as much of a surprise if these giant-killers goes on to script their mark in footballing history. While Croatia is well served by their talismanic and flamboyant mid-field operator in Luka Modric, Russia is indebted to their experienced doubles in the likes of Roman Pavychenko and Andreiy Arshavin, both of whom represented in the English Premier League for their respective sides a while back. Since their disintegration from the Yugoslavian nations, Croatia has emerged as a front-runner in all European tournaments but it is at the final lap where they have perished meekly. They finished second runners-up in the 1998 World Cup and since then the red-and-white chequered outfit has grown from strength to strength.

Croatia is often recognised by the visibility of their English Premier League playing stars in Modric and Kranjcar both of whom lend remarkable solidity to the Slaven Biliccoached team. Croatia is being compared to the Netherlands of yesteryears as indicated by their stylish attacking gameplay. Croatia has already topped their table after a convincing victory over the Republic of Ireland where they discovered a future star in Mario Mandzukic, the Wolfsburg forward. Now Croatia have two back-to-back games with two heavyweights - Italy and Spain - and if they manage to upset at least one, they can assure a spot in the quarters as Ireland look the most hapless unit of the lot. Russia, announced their entry with a blistering 4-1 crushing of the Czechs and silenced the Polish fans with a draw

against the home nation. Russia developed into a potent force under the watchful eyes of Guus Hiddink who has now been replaced by the enterprising Dick Advocaat. Like the Croats, the Russians too top their pool. Their refreshing brand of football has earned them much praise with experts going on to say that they have it in them to lift the coveted Euro Cup. But what Croatia and Russia have lacked over the years is their inability to deliver in crunch games and overdependence on a select few stars which have resulted them in crashing out after much promise. But the two football rookies will once again hope to arrest their big-match slide by capitalizing on early chances against top-flight teams. If they can attain the early advantage, then one may witness two fresh-faces battling it out in this edition of the Euro Cup final.


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FY’12 numbers have poured in. Beneath the good or bad headline numbers lie the hidden prospects for fiscal 2013. One thing is sure. The battle is likely to be a long drawn out one. It is not won or lost on a quarter’s arithmetic. Beyond the optimism due to the 50 bps cut, has come in the reality of continuing challenges like inflation


and sluggish credit growth. Which would be the banks that are poised to satisfy all stakeholders? Beyond just gratifying promoters and employees, to satisfying retail customers, industries, and shareholders too? Surely, they are the ones with the best battle plans for the year. War plans for defending strongholds like asset quality or margins. Plans for opening new war fronts on CASA and retail. Schemes for delighting customers with over-delivery, from automated bills payment to mobile banking. And in the process, satisfying all those who own a piece of the bank, from government to institutional investors, to innocent individual investors who are the only ones supporting banking stocks during deep falls. Indian banking is fortunate enough to have as its patron the Indian democracy, a democracy and its regulators like RBI that have been vigilant enough to never let a major bank fail in recent years. As the special sector that takes in nervous and short-term money from retail depositors and lends it to bold and long-term business projects, it is a no-brainer that any nation’s banks can fail if confidence in the banking system falters, and every depositor demands their money back. With such risks pre-empted by our strong democracy, unlike even in the US which allowed Lehman to happen - the task before our banks is simply to satisfy the nation overwhelmingly. Seasonal Magazine queries public and private Indian banks to assess their battle readiness for FY‘13.


Beyond Stunning Numbers, Lies the Solid Turnaround Is Bank of India taking a shot at regaining its past glory, among this nation’s largest and finest banks? Beyond the headline numbers that were stunning in their own right, lies further solid clues that Chairman AK Mishra has crafted the perfect strategy for a momentous up-move. Focusing on CASA, focusing on retail, focusing on SMEs, focusing on strategic branch roll-outs, this new battle-plan is ensuring that growth is sustained, margins are rising, and asset quality is getting safer. The last fiscal or even the current one haven’t been too kind to PSU banks nor their stocks. But during the current year-to-date, BoI stock has done some unpredictable moves. It is one of the PSU banking stocks to have appreciated the most from its year-to-date lows. Even in a difficult year, it had appreciated by more than 22% from its 52-Week Low. Which ranks it higher than comparable peers like PNB, BoB, Indian Bank, IOB, Oriental Bank, Canara Bank, SBI, IDBI Bank, Central Bank, & Corporation Bank. But was Bank of India’s outperformance due to a deeper correction earlier? To put this in perspective, a look at how much all these stocks have corrected from their year-to-date highs is enough.

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BoI’s correction from its 52-Week High is one of the least in the sector, lower than almost all in the above list of peers, and then some more. BoI stock is going places. And when a stock is going places in these tough times, it can mean only one thing. The institution is also going forward decisively. Under Chairman & Managing Director, Alok Kumar Mishra, the bank has been re-

AK Mishra, Chairman


BANK OF INDIA strategizing on most fronts. Bank of India had recently stunned market watchers with a robust set of Q4 numbers with operating profit climbing by 67% and net profit jumping by 93%, on a year-on-year basis. But beneath such headline stunners are to be found the real turnaround signals that reveal a battle-plan in the making. The crucial CASA deposits has gone up, on a quarter-on-quarter basis, by 1.84% to reach a healthy 34.25% now. Powered by this higher CASA, BoI could achieve a higher Net Interest Margin of 2.86%, which is up by 0.31% sequentially. On the asset quality front, which is one of Bank of India’s weaker links, the bank is steadily gaining ground with Gross NPAs reduced by 0.40% on a QoQ basis to reach 2.34%, which is a good achievement in a quarter when many banks reported asset quality weakening further. For BoI, it is especially good as when it switched to system generated NPAs in September, the Gross NPAs were at 3.02%.

Provisioning for bad loans was flat on a sequential basis. This PSU bank has also cut its slippages to a great extent. Slippages refer to restructured loans becoming NPAs later on. While in the previous sequential quarter saw Rs. 587 crore worth of slippages, this time around it was contained to just Rs. 75.8 crore. This development is especially comforting to investors and analysts as the bank has added Rs. 3900 crore more in this quarter into restructured assets, and this has been the only area of asset quality concern in Q4. Though sequentially it is a rise from Rs. 3010 crore, the bank now has a significantly improved and demonstrated capability in avoiding slippages. Two more developments also point that

asset quality can only improve from here on. Firstly, the bank has almost completed its bulk restructuring exercises like in the case of State Electricity Boards. Secondly, a major portion of BoI’s restructured accounts are of Government companies like Air India and SEBs, which are highly unlikely to slip into NPAs. In fact, analysts have pointed out that in many countries, government bank lending to government companies are not considered NPAs at all. While some of the spike in net profit this time is due to high provisioning for pension in the year-ago period as well as income-tax refunds, it needs to be highlighted that both interest income and non-interest income did have upticks, of 8.4% and 17.5% respectively, on a year-on-year basis. The higher rise in non-interest income

shows that the bank has been successful in cash recoveries. The bank has maintained a 70% dividend payout to investors this year too, which comes to Rs. 7 for each share of face value Rs. 10. The bank’s new battle plan that has so far delivered, and on which CMD AK Mishra is betting on is a newfound focus on retail and SME loans that are of higher yield than corporate advances. The achievements on CASA front is set to better as Bank of India rolls out more branches in a strategic manner. The bank is also aggressive in its internal targets for asset quality improvement in the coming quarters and fiscals. The GNPA target has been set at 1.6% and NNPA at 1.1%, which when achieved will ensure BoI’s position among the bluest of blue-chip banks.

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The sequential fall in Net NPAs was even more impressive, from 1.78% to 1.47%.


CENTRAL BANK OF INDIA

Central Bank of India Completes a Cleanup, Performance to Improve on a Solid Plan Beyond a shocking loss in Q4, which was largely due to migration to systemgenerated NPAs, Central Bank of India has a definitive battle-plan made ready to make a strong turnaround in FY’13. The idea is to grow its retail and MSME segments, by an unbelievable 45% in this fiscal. The plan looks workable when one looks into the deeper numbers, and finds out that the Mumbai headquartered PSU banking major has already started sprinting in key areas like property-backed mortgages, home loans, MSME, gold loans etc. Under Chairman MV Tanksale, the bank is planning these initiatives to new heights with tailor-made products for these high-yielding segments. One of the most dismal results, as far as headline numbers are concerned, was of Central Bank of India. From a net profit position of Rs. 132.70 in Q4 of last fiscal, and from a in-green bottomline of Rs. 113.24 in Q3, CBI has this time posted a net loss of Rs. 105.23.

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But a closer look reveals that what the top management has done is perhaps the most prudent step that could be taken by the large-sized PSU bank under the given circumstances. Essentially, this has been a cleanup act, once and for all. What Chairman & Managing Director, MV Tanksale, has boldly done is complete the migration to the system generated NPA model in Q4, and the apparent hit on bottomline is largely due to that. The Mumbai based public sector lender’s topline growth continued to be healthy, growing by 17% year-on-year,

and over 4% quarter-on-quarter, even in this difficult credit climate. Other Income has shown a sequential up-tick of nearly 21%. But even without its help, Operating Profit has shown a strong year-on-year growth of 30%, revealing that the bank has been able to contain its non-interest expenses, that has remained flat on a year-on-year basis, expanding by only less than 1%. The Operating Profit for the whole of FY’12 has also stayed in the green, growing by nearly 29% The hit to the bottomline in Q4 was in the interest expenses, which expanded by over 31% year-on-year. CMD Tanksale has clarified that the turn to net loss has been due to the spike in NPAs, which in turn was due to the migration to the system-

MV Tanksale, Chairman

generated structure. The slippages in the quarter which rose to Rs. 3300 crore was mainly due to a few large corporate accounts, which the bank is not overly worried about due to the technical nature of some of these slippages. Apart from that, three major accounts of the bank in sectors like steel and agriculture underperformed. Central Bank is taking these specific accounts quite seriously, as their outlook remains hazy. The bank which saw total provisions against bad loans in the quarter at Rs. 870 crore, is prepared to add more provisions, taking into account the possibility of their restructured book expanding due to the continuing challenges in the country‘s economic climate. But the bigger story for investors,


Chairman Tanksale’s core strategy for the bank in the new fiscal is to grow its retail business aggressively. He is confident that a 45% growth is possible in retail in FY’13. While this looks a tough target on first looks, their focus retail segments when enumerated tells a convincing story. In retail, the bank will be focusing on Micro, Small, & Medium Enterprises (MSME), home loans, other mortgages, and gold loans - all high growth segments even in this difficult period. The retail business of Central is already showing an up-tick from 10% last year to 12% now. The bank has also been successful in

The bank’s home loan and gold loan businesses are growing satisfactorily while its mortgage against property has grown three times in this fiscal, thereby proving that their battle-plan for FY’13 is very workable.

creating tailor-made programs in different segments. Cent Sahayog, their flagship MSME scheme now offers loans without security and with added insurance cover, in association with SIDBI. Similarly in the home loan segment, the bank has created a special program that is designed to speed up the construction and thus aid the developer as well as the customer. Under this scheme, Central will offer disbursement in one-go to carefully screened developers and projects. The bank’s home loan and gold loan businesses are growing satisfactorily while its mortgage against property has grown three times in this fiscal, thereby proving that their battle-plan for FY’13 is very workable.

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employees, and all stakeholders of the bank is that apart from these environmental challenges, CBI has a clean slate to begin a new pace of reforms in this centennial year.


KARNATAKA BANK

Operating Profit Doubles at Karnataka Bank, Battle Plan Being Readied with KPMG

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Karnataka Bank’s interest income as well as operating profit have grown healthily in Q4, both on a year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter basis. Net profit too grew sequentially, but fell by 8.43% on year-on-year basis. The fall which is largely due to higher provisioning and higher taxes don’t appear serious, especially as bank’s operating profit recorded a 100% rise. Also, for the whole year, bank has achieved a net profit growth of 20.26%. MD & CEO P Jayarama Bhat is confident of achieving a 25% business growth in FY’13. Asset quality has improved with both Gross NPAs and Net NPAs moderating in the quarter. The bank’s battle-plan for FY’13 is being readied with the assistance of global consultancy major, KPMG. The plan revolves around adding 1 million new clients in this fiscal, to target higher CASA deposits as well as lend more to MSMEs and agriculture sectors. The targeted 25% growth will see the Karnataka based private sector lender reaching a business of Rs. 65,000 crore, and the plan will be assisted by 50 new branches and over 100 new ATMs in this fiscal.

P Jayarama Bhat, MD & CEO


INDIAN BANK

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Indian Bank Confident on Improving NIM, Battle Plan Focuses on MSMEs, Agri, & Retail Chennai based PSU lender, Indian Bank’s Q4 and annual results were a mixed bag, with annual results holding ground even while Q4 numbers was uninspiring. Core income and net profit have improved in FY’12, and could have been better if not for the downfall due to higher provisioning and higher restructured loans in Q4. However, core interest income showed a strong up-tick yearon-year in Q4. Operating Profit too has shown a modest up-tick year-on-year. Chairman TM Bhasin is confident that the bank can outperform this year’s business growth with a renewed focus on MSMEs, agriculture, and retail sectors. The bank is targeting a 20% growth that will see it cruising to a total business of Rs. 2.60 lakh crore in FY’13. The bank doesn’t have the headache of further capital raises in FY’13 as its Capital Adequacy Ratio stands comfortable at 13.5% now. The bank which has had an impressive branch expansion in recent years would continue the trend. Indian Bank now has 1955 branches and three overseas branches in Singapore and Sri Lanka. Chairman Bhasin is confident that NIM would be at 3.2% for the whole of FY’13. Due to market correction, the stock is trading quite cheap at 0.81 times its book. The bank has announced a handsome dividend of Rs. 7.50 for the Rs. 10 FV shares. TM Bhasin, Chairman


PUNJAB NATIONAL BANK

Asset Quality Concerns Remain at PNB, Even as Headline Numbers are Attractive

aviation sectors. For example, this quarter’s restructured accounts included three SEBs, two airlines, and a telecom tower company. PNB which recently lost its status as the secondmost profitable stock to BoB, has also been on a steady downfall, and recently touched a new 52-Week Low. The bank

urgently needs to formulate a battle-plan that will reverse the fundamental slide in performance by embracing higher-yield sectors like retail and MSME, even while patiently waiting for its core and troubled sectors like infra, aviation, textiles, and metals turn around.

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Beyond the reasonable set of headline numbers, PNB’s performance in the quarter is not very inspiring and calls for a tough battle-plan if the performance is to continue in the upcoming quarters and this fiscal. Though net profit grew at a reasonable 18.6% year-on-year, the various constituents that went into it show a different picture. For example, noninterest income was up by 11.4% on high trading profit, there was a writeback of Rs. 202 crore, and the tax outgo was lower. However, the greater concern with the second-largest PSU bank by revenue, continues to be of asset quality. Provisioning has doubled over the year-ago period, and it is striking that these reserves against bad loans are up in almost all categories of credit. Both restructuring and slippages shot up in the fourth quarter. The Delhi headquartered PSU banking major’s problems seem to stem from its high exposure to infrastructure and


Canara Bank’s New Battle Plan is to Chase Quality Rather Than Quantity

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The South based PSU lender is re-strategizing. From a focus on wholesale segments like infrastructure and short-term corporate loans, it is taking a momentous shift to higher-yield sectors like retail, agriculture, MSME etc. In fact, much of its sluggish performance in Q4 was due to this plan already finding traction. After disturbed by accounts like Air India and SEBs, the top management under Chairman S Raman has consciously decided to chase quality rather than quantity. CanBank has also corrected weaknesses in its CASA strategy to better its NIMs going forward. Is Canara Bank stock attractive now? You bet! And why is this South based PSU banking stock available this cheap? Well, Canara’s net profit has dipped in Q4, and together with the market correction it has made this scrip available at just 0.83 times its book. The mid-sized public sector lender’s Q4 bottomline is 7.77% lower on a year-on-year basis, and 5.31% on a quarter-on-quarter basis. Not a very adverse development, compared to a couple of peers whose bottomline slipped into red in this quarter. But the core question is, is it only a case of net profit dipping? Well, on most other metrics, Canara has shown stable growth. Core income is up by nearly 29% YoY, and nearly 6% sequentially, which shows that the bank’s core topline hasn’t slowed down at all even in this difficult period for credit growth. Other Income has remained stable on a quarter-on-quarter basis. The bank could also well contain expansion in non-interest expenses, with it remaining almost flat at 1.34%. Despite interest expenses swelling, CanBank could also post a 3.4% increase in Net Interest Income on a YoY basis. On the asset quality front too, there were improvements, with Gross NPAs

moderating from 1.81% to 1.73% sequentially, while Net NPAs bettered slightly by falling from 1.49% to 1.46% on a YoY basis. On a sequential basis, there was a small up-tick in NNPAs. S Raman, Chairman & Managing Director of Canara Bank has made it clear that the bank could have had better performance in the quarter, if not for some conscious decisions it took in formulating a new battle-plan for FY’13. The first decision was to go slow on wholesale or large-ticket loans. Canara Bank especially had high exposures to two kinds of such loans - infrastructure loans and short-term corporate loans. The figures for the whole year, made available with Q4 numbers, show that the bank could reduce short-term corporate loans by over Rs. 10,000 crore. The strategy seems very sound as in lieu of large volume of business, these loans are not only of lower yield, but also of relatively higher risk. Under CMD Raman, Canara has also completed the detailed process of acquiring a handle or consolidating its position on all its assets, and this has enabled him to confidently state that, going forward, only some restructuring would be the only major task before


CANARA BANK

S. Raman, CMD, and Archana S. Bhargava, ED the bank as far as asset quality is concerned. But a closer look at this restructuring requirements, reveals that much of it has to do with its exposure to State Electricity Boards (SEBs). But then, apart from the temporary pressure it exerts on the finances, such government company loan assets held by a government bank is not really thought of as serious NPAs in most countries due to the very low chance of default. Even in this quarter, nearly a third of its restructuring in this quarter of around Rs. 4500 crore was towards its Air India account, which has received much attention and support from government ensuring that slippages are a remote possibility. Apart from a Rs. 5000 crore restructuring for SEBs, what will remain is less than Rs. 1000 crore of such requirement in a few assorted accounts, which shows that Canara Bank is indeed in a better shape than many comparable PSU banks on the asset quality front. Provisions were already lower in the quarter by 16.8%, falling to Rs. 662 crore from Rs. 796 crore in the corresponding year-ago period. The battle plan that Chairman Raman has crafted together with his top management starts with an aggressive

campaign for bettering their CASA profile. In fact, it has already started yielding results, with Savings Bank accounts showing a growth of nearly 11%. Now the bank is focusing more on bettering its Current Accounts where there is significant room for improvement, as due to some technological challenges in their IT infrastructure, the bank was forced to go slow on this front. But that has been fixed now, and Current Accounts will receive high focus from now on. Bettering CASA profile will benefit Canara much, as during Q4, what hurt it most was a YoY hit on Net Interest Margin (NIM) due to rise in deposit costs outpacing rise in yield on advances. A recent stamp of approval for Canara Bank stock came when Reliance Industries Ltd disclosed that Canara is one of the seven financial institutions in which RIL has invested significant amounts as part of a longterm investment plan for its yet-to-be started financial services arm in collaboration with DE Shaw. Canara’s selection by RIL is especially striking as the other institutions are all relatively PSU heavyweights like SBI and PNB, and private players like HDFC Bank, HDFC, ICICI Bank, & Axis Bank.

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Under CMD Raman, Canara has also completed the detailed process of acquiring a handle or consolidating its position on all its assets, and this has enabled him to confidently state that, going forward, only some restructuring would be the only major task before the bank as far as asset quality is concerned.


ORIENTAL BANK OF COMMERCE

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OBC Puts a Difficult Year Behind, Sets in Motion a High Growth Trajectory Oriental Bank’s Q4 was not encouraging with a 21% decline in net profit, capping a rather sluggish year that saw income improving, but bottomline dipping due to the difficult economic climate and the Bank’s struggle with asset quality issues. However, Chairman & Managing Director, Shri S.L. Bansal has prepared a meticulous battle plan for a turnaround in FY’13 that will see a focus on growing its retail business. In fact, Oriental Bank has already started moving full stream ahead to garner a better chunk of the retail business from the market. It has been most aggressive in loan interest rates cuts, with both OBC Home Loans and Car Loans getting cheaper up to 0.75% & 1.25% respectively. Valuing long-term retail customers relations highly, OBC is also extending a 0.25% cut to existing loyal customers with good track-record which is a step that most Indian Banks hitherto shied away from. Encouraging customers who are of more benefit to the Bank, it is also extending rate cuts to all those with an annual average balance of Rs.1.00 Lac in Savings Bank and Rs.5.00 Lac and above in Current Account. Improving SB Accounts has become crucial for all banks as it contributes more to a stable CASA rather than the highly volatile Current Accounts. The mid-sized PSU Bank is also going aggressive on the education loan front with up to a 100 bps cut, as it anticipates this sector to be a high-growth one. The tenure for car loans has been extended to 7 years, while the period from home loans has been increased to 25 years, thereby making a OBC car loan at 11.50% and a OBC home loan at 10.75% highly attractive options for customers. The Bank has taken the lead to promote payments through the electronic mode by making all NEFT transactions upto Rs.1 lac free and reducing the charges for transactions between Rs.1 lac to Rs.2 lac from Rs.15/ - to Rs.10/-. This move will not only motivate the customers to undertake more and more e-transactions but also result in increasing the customer base. SL Bansal, Chairman


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BANK OF BARODA

Bank of Baroda’s newfound status as the second-most profitable PSU bank has happened this quarter, and it is not only because PNB, hitherto the position-holder, underperformed. Net profit is up by 17%, while Interest Income (NII) rose 28.2%, and NII rose 7%. The world too took instant notice of the development, with BoB being added to the prestigious and widely followed Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Global Standard Indices. Chairman MD Mallya is confident that the high restructuring the bank witnessed in recent quarters, won’t be there in FY’13, signalling that asset quality improvements would be sustained. Though the NIM has corrected somewhat in Q4, BoB still enjoys one of the best margins in the sector, and Chairman Mallya doesn’t see it falling below 3% in any case. And revealing the stature of BoB further is the fact that the Mumbai based lender is one among the select five public and private banks that has been directed by RBI for early adoption to Basel II. Other banks are considered not ready to go in for this major overhaul.

MD Mallya, Chairman

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BoB Gets Global Attention, Asset Quality to Improve in FY’13

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KARUR VYSYA BANK

KVB Stood with Customers Du And Will Reap Benefits When E

Karur Vysya Bank has always been noted for its high CAGR on both topline and bottomline. However, during FY’12, and especially during its latter half, Managing Director & CEO, K Venkataraman decided to focus on maintaining asset quality above everything else. Though margins were affected slightly in Q4, KVB is confident that compromising on margins for the sake of its loan customers was the right strategy. The South based traditional private sector bank which had successfully diversified away from term loans during the last two years, is now looking ahead with more diversifications, jumpstarting its CASA deposits, and of course maintaining the sharpest focus on asset quality. K Venkataraman, MD & CEO, Karur Vysya Bank, answers Seasonal Magazine’s queries on KVB’s performance as well as battle-plan for FY’13:

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You have posted an impressive set of numbers. What have been the main challenges that you overcame for this balanced performance in both interest and non-interest income as well as operating and net profits?

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Yes, the achievement was against significant challenges. The economy is going through such a difficult phase that maintaining good asset quality is the number one challenge. KVB is more of a traditional private sector banking model, where decades old customer relationships holds the key. We can’t just pass on all rate hikes to our loan customers. Because, if we do so, we will be contributing to weakening the quality of these assets. So we have had to compromise on margins. But yet we could present good numbers due to our focus on volumes. Your Net NPAs have shown a QoQ uptick. Is it going to ease from now on?

It has to. This time, our provisioning was lower on a QoQ basis. Also, gross NPAs as well as gross slippage ratios have shown improvement. I think that if we keep vigil on all aspects of asset quality, Net NPAs should improve from now on. NPAs are a double whammy for us. Net Interest Margin has shown a decrease. Was it solely due to the high cost of funds? Yes, that has been the main component. As I said earlier, we could have clung on to our margins, but at this point of time we really felt that it is a time for compromising, thus avoiding pressure on assets. For example, textiles is a sector where we have good exposure, and it doesn’t make much banking sense to stress an already stressed industry like it. On the other hand, we at KVB believe that if we assist them now, they will come out of this situation without much damage.

whole sector. Due to hikes in Repo rates and the increase in G-sec benchmark rates, the general rate scenario turned high. With liquidity becoming tight due to tightening monetary policy, the cost of funds increased. CASA balances migrated to term deposits due to prevailing higher term deposit rates, thus further increasing the cost for us. You mentioned NPAs being a double whammy for the bank. Can you elaborate? Well, by definition, NPAs are not generating any revenues for us. But recent changes in the regulation to manage NPAs has made it a double whammy for banks. We have to deliver a high percentage as provisions to cover them. This has made NPAs a very tricky situation to manage, and that is why we have made the maintenance of good asset quality as our principal strategy.

Was the high cost of funds specific to KVB, or it was just what the whole sector experienced?

Are you continuing your focus on safe bets like working capital loans, or are you attempting a wider portfolio of credit growth?

Higher cost of funds applied to the

This focus on working capital loans that


uring the Turmoil, Economy Improves

III compliance, I would estimate that capital would be enough for another 34 years. The Rights Issue that we did last year proved to be the right strategy. Even if the economy doesn’t improve, and provisioning requirements go up, our CAR should be sufficient for more than 2 years. Are you satisfied with the QoQ growth in advances and deposits, or more work is required on this front? The growth in advances was pretty ok, especially when you consider the kind of low appetite that was there in the country from high quality customers. But I am not satisfied with our deposit growth, especially on the CASA front.

K Venkataraman, MD & CEO

“We are at a very comfortable situation as far as capital is concerned. In fact, even if we are to go in for Basel III compliance, I would estimate that capital would be enough for another 3-4 years. The Rights Issue that we did last year proved to be the right strategy.”

you mention, is, in fact, due to an earlier decision to diversify. KVB was more into providing term loans, but since the last two years we consciously focused on growing our working capital loans, and that has made the situation much more healthier. Your Capital Adequacy Ratio has become more comfortable. Up to what period will that avoid a further capital raise? Yes, we are at a very comfortable situation as far as capital is concerned. In fact, even if we are to go in for Basel

I think we already covered most critical elements of our battle-plan. Firstly, the focus will be on maintaining and bettering our asset quality, as we feel that this will be the game-changer in the days to come. If we can do this without affecting our growth metrics like CAGR, well and good. But asset quality will be the prime focus. Secondly, as I said, we have benefited from diversification, and we need to diversify much more on the credit side, especially in segments like auto and home loans. Thirdly, we are having nothing short of a war-cry on the CASA front. Today, we are a tad less than 20% in our CASA ratio. But rather than disappointed with that, we have identified it as the perfect room for growth in our overall scheme of things. With a higher CASA ratio, say 30 or 35% within the next 2-3 years, KVB will be in an enviable position.

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What all are KVB’s main battle-plans for FY’13?

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Upendra Kamath,CMD


VIJAYA BANK

HS Upendra Kamath is a realistic banker who sees the ongoing pressure on the system, as such. He is candid enough to admit that cases of Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR) would rise across the system in FY’13, as due to the lag effect with which such issues arise. Ironically, such a candid leadership model is what enabled him and the top management of Vijaya Bank to come up with a splendid turnaround in Q4 which also shored up the bank’s fiscal 2012. Q4 net profit is up by 234% while interest income is up by almost 34%, both on yearon-year basis. Net Interest Income is up by 3% in Q4, while interest income is up by 37% for the whole year. Advances outpaced deposits at a growth rate of 19% against 13%. Saving Bank accounts has shown an up-tick of 2.06% yearon-year, while total CASA stands at 25.25% now. The small-sized PSU bank is reducing its exposure to troubled sectors like Infrastructure, while it doesn’t have significant exposure to the troubled airlines industry. Vijaya Bank has achieved an impressive 24% reduction in non-interest expenditure in Q4 on a YoY basis. On the asset quality front, provisioning has sharply reduced YoY by around 82%, while NPAs came down to 1.72% from 1.81%. Both cash-recoveries and upgrades were on the higher side, thereby indicating that asset quality concerns are easing. Among its restructured accounts, majority are discoms and infra companies, which most analysts expect to come out of their troubles soon. While discoms are expected to benefit from government support, the upcoming lower interest regime would definitely help the infra players. Chairman Kamath doesn’t see much slippages in the current quarter, Q1 of FY’13. However, the realistic banker that he is, CMD Kamath feels that CDR requirements will be high and that will put pressure on margins. His battle plan for Vijaya Bank is to carefully monitor asset quality, ensuring recoveries or up gradations, and at the same time go in for higher-yield sectors like retail and MSME. The Chairman of Vijaya is also supporting the four-fold approach proposed by the banking leaders for ensuring effective CDR, which include, conversion of debt into cumulative convertible preference shares or equity, obtaining personal guarantee of promoters, contribution to be brought in by promoters, and the change in management.

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Vijaya Bank Reaps High Benefits From A Cautious and Realistic Approach

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UNION BANK OF INDIA

Union Bank Turns Around in Q4, And Has a Solid Battle Plan for FY’13 The large-sized public sector bank has not only turned around significantly in Q4, but has prepared a firm battle plan for FY’13 under Chairman D Sarkar, which hinges on a newfound focus on retail, SME, and agriculture sectors, as well as on a rapid branch roll-out that will see 300 to 400 new branches and induction of 6000 new probationary officers in this new fiscal. Union Bank of India has performed well on most parameters in Q4 to mark a strong end to FY’12. While the initial euphoria of Union Bank watchers were based on the strong headline performance of net profit growing by 29.4% and total income growing by 24.6%, a deeper look too is satisfying on most counts. Two fronts were Union has performed well this time is good growth in fee income, and a significant capping of expenses, especially on account of employee expenses.

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At the same time, the large-sized public sector bank has performed well on core business fronts, with advances growing by 17.8% on a year-on-year basis. The Net Interest Margin has remained stable at 3.3% even in this difficult period for maintaining margins, and it is to be noted that Union enjoys one of the highest margins among its peers.

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There has been marked improvement also on the asset quality front with both Gross NPAs and Net NPAs getting cut. While the slippages moderated from an average quarterly pace of Rs. 890 crore

to Rs. 607 crore, the PSU bank could also cut its provision coverage ratio this quarter. Union Bank’s restructured loan portfolio is noted for the absence of any exposure to the troubled airlines industry. The only concern on the asset quality front is that the bank added Rs. 3236 crore more to its restructured book, and that it needs to restructure an account worth Rs. 1100 crore in the upcoming quarter. But such developments have been happening at most PSU banks, due to their exposure to Government companies as well as the prevailing high interest regime. And in any case, Union Bank numbers show that the pace as well as need for restructuring is coming down significantly. Union Bank is also expected to fare much better in the coming quarters as it has a large portfolio of technical slippages, from which recoveries have much higher visibility. Due to the recent mark correction,


Union Bank of India stock has become attractive again, as it is trading at just 0.83 times its TTM book value. The dividend offered by the bank for FY’12 is Rs. 8 per share of face value Rs. 10, and at the current market price, delivers a yield of 4.12%. The bank doesn’t need any capital requirement for the next two years, and devoid of such headaches, Chairman and Managing Director, D Sarkar has crystallized a firm battle plan to improve Union Bank’s performance in the coming quarters of the new fiscal. This strategy revolves around growing some key segments where the yield is much better. On Union’s radar are segments like retail, SME, and agriculture. CMD Sarkar is convinced that this battle plan can see UBI growing its credit at 19% and deposits at 17%. The strategy seems just right, as there is significant room for growth in Union’s retail loan portfolio which is just 9% now. Though the crucial low-cost CASA deposits are comfortable at 31.28%, the bank would be looking forward to shore it up further, as this has become a major competitive arena, the performance in which can give any bank that crucial edge in performance.

D. Sarkar, Chairman & Managing Director, with S. S. Mundra, Executive Director, Union Bank of India, at a press conference in Mumbai

To attract CASA as well as give an jumpstart to the overall business, Union Bank is going in for a massive new branch rollout that will see 300-to400 new branches by this fiscal end.

drastically, even while delivering superior customer service. As part of this plan, 1100 new ATMs are being planned for the year which will take Union’s ATM network tally to over 5000 across the country. The bank is also focusing on quality issues, and the latest initiative on this front has been the special ‘Union Experience’ branches which will showcase the very best the bank has to provide in terms of world-class customer services as well as enabling technologies. Everything is set to roll out six Union Experience branches by this June.

In Q4, the bank has been aggressive in recruitments to deploy at these new branches with nearly 2500 probationary officers being newly inducted. But the full branch roll-out will create 6000 vacancies and the bank is all set to recruit 3500 officers more. Also being added are 1000 new clerical vacancies. The PSB is also proactive on advancing tech-led banking initiatives which can save costs

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To attract CASA as well as give an jumpstart to the overall business, Union Bank is going in for a massive new branch roll-out that will see 300to-400 new branches by this fiscal end.

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INDIAN OVERSEAS BANK

IOB’s Performance is Solid, Battle-Plan is Aggressive Unlike Many Peers

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Though the headline numbers of IOB were pretty good, the real performance is hidden beneath that layer. Net profit was up by nearly 22%, aided by a tax writeback and lower provisioning. The bigger story was however in the business growth that clearly outpaced almost all its peers, with deposits growing by 22.7% and advances growing by 23.6%. The medium-sized PSU bank bettered its CASA profile by 8.8% year-on-year. Also impressive was IOB’s efforts at outpacing the high rise in deposit costs with an even higher rise in yield on advances, which it could do with elan thereby bettering Net Interest Margin to 2.7%. Like most PSU banks, IOB has a challenge in managing asset quality, but the situation is definitely improving with Gross NPAs and provisioning coming down. The bank’s battle-plan for FY’13 seems to be quite different from many of its peers, with a continued thrust on aggressive credit growth. At the same time, Chairman M Narendra is focusing on quality, with M Narendra, IOB favouring high-yield sectors like retail, MSME, and agriculture. The Chairman bank which undertook a successful $500 million medium-term notes issue in FY’12 for overseas expansion, will be attempting an encore this year for domestic expansion, with a plan to reach a total business of Rs. 4 lakh crore.

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M Narendra, Chairman

M Narendra, Chairman, Indian Overseas Bank answers Seasonal Magazine’s queries on IOB’s performance and battle-plan for FY’13: How did IOB manage to grow at a faster pace in Q4, on both deposits and advances, compared with most of your peers? Considering the difficult environment that was prevailing, our strategy was to grow on all possible sectors. And that was what really delivered. There was above average growth in segments like MSME, agriculture, retail, and overseas lending to Indian corporates. Some of them like agri were our strongholds, while some others like overseas lending was relatively new to us. Outperformance in such key segments enabled us to overcome the sluggishness in traditional segments like corporate loans, infra, discoms etc., to post overall good numbers like 23.6% growth in advances and 22.7% growth in deposits. While most PSU banks now favour slower growth, IOB’s strategy seems to be a continued thrust on aggressive credit growth. Is it because of your assessment that the economy would turn around faster than expected? We remain hopeful on the economy like others, but that is not the sole reason. The challenge now is really about keeping your deposit costs down, so that you can lend effectively. During the last 18 months we had opened 600 new branches, and we plan to keep that pace of expansion. The major advantage with increasing your branch footprint is that it takes care of our need for low-cost CASA deposits to a great extent. If we can continue this momentum on the deposit side, I am confident that there are ample safe opportunities on the credit side for IOB like working capital loans, MSME loans, and credit to Self Help Groups. Though IOB managed to outpace rising cost of deposits with higher yield on advances, your NIM still has room for improvement, compared


Can you tell us about your specific battle-plans for garnering business in segments like retail and MSME? On the retail front, IOB’s thrust would be on two fronts - auto and home loans. We have already made good progress on these two segments during last fiscal and that focus would continue. On the MSME front, IOB has been offering all the best schemes available by way of government policy like collateralfree loans for up to credit of Rs. 1 crore. This segment has found good traction, and we are already kind of leaders in this segment in South India. Coming to agriculture, it has always been an IOB stronghold. What kind of performance are you planning? Even before agriculture now became a focus area for most PSU banks, IOB was leading this segment in our key territories like Tamilnadu. Due to last couple of years’ concerted efforts put in by our team, IOB is now the lead agriculture bank in 13 districts in Tamilnadu and one district in Kerala, which is its capital, Thiruvananthapuram. We will try to extend this leadership to more neighbouring districts, as well as grow our agri business in our key territories. We remain bullish on our home turf of Tamilnadu where we have crossed 1000 branches, and we have the full support of both central and state governments. You mentioned Self Help Groups. Is this a kind of micro-financing, and what are the risks involved?

operations in this segment, this nodefault track record is a feat worth mentioning. We have extended financial inclusion to 1400 villages on our own and opened 27 lakh no-frills accounts for this activity.

“Last year we had raised the Medium Term Notes worth $500 million for lending to Indian corporates expanding overseas, and this year also the main focus would be the same segment. There is ready demand from them, and it is a safe business for us, even though it is a low 2% margin business. In this difficult domestic economic scenario, volume build-up is also important, especially if the asset quality is good.”

” Yes, the model is broadly microfinance itself, but our aim has been to make the best of the mandate given to us by the government, which is extending financial inclusion as much as possible. Since we lend only to Self Help Groups, and these are all carefully selected and monitored credit, we have been able to conduct this business with virtually no serious default so far. Considering our size and breadth of

Would there be any pending asset quality concerns in the coming quarters, or are IOB’s restructuring requirements set to move down from here? As you might know, our full year restructuring of around Rs. 613 crore was dominated by discoms. We expect this segment as well as other restructured segments to turnaround in another six months. Meanwhile, close monitoring of the situation is necessary from our side. Also, we have been able to control slippages and our recoveries are also on the upswing. We are confident of containing NPAs if the economy doesn’t degrade further. What are the pros and cons you anticipate in the proposed move from an in-house Sybase CBS to an Oracle based CBS, as per a RBI directive? That is not really a move by RBI, and anyway that is now only at the proposal stage. Our Core Banking System has been designed and developed in-house and is as flexible, if not more, than other popular platforms. There wouldn’t be any impact on operations if at all we move to a more standardized platform in the future. What would be the main utilizations for your upcoming MTN issue for $500 million? Last year we had raised the Medium Term Notes worth $500 million for lending to Indian corporates expanding overseas, and this year also the main focus would be the same segment. There is ready demand from them, and it is a safe business for us, even though it is a low 2% margin business. But in this difficult economic scenario, volume build-up is also important, especially if the asset quality is good. We are ready for the issue, but international funds are currently costlier than what we would like, and as they come down, we will go for it.

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with some of your peers. What is your internal target for NIM, and what would be the strategies for achieving it? We now stand at 2.75%, which is not too bad, but as you said there is room for improvement. Even though the current interest regime is not very conducive to bettering NIMs, we are confident of improving it to 2.85% to 3% for this whole fiscal. And if the interest situation improves significantly down the lane due to further rate cuts, we can shore up our NIM much more.

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CORPORATION BANK

Expanding Product Portfolio, Continued Vigil on Asset Quality Corporation Bank’s Chairman & Managing Director, Ajai Kumar answers Seasonal Magazine’s queries on bank’s performance and battleplans:

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Your Q4 bottomline has been flat. Was it mainly due to the pressure from restructuring or from sluggish performance in non-interest income? The flat bottom-line was mainly on account of higher provisioning and sacrifice requirement on NPAs and restructured accounts and lower growth in Net Interest Income (NII). During the year 2011-12, the Interest Income increased by Rs 3882.53 crore (42.50%) from Rs 9135.25 crore to Rs 13017.78 crore, while Interest Expense increased by Rs. 3675.38 crore (59.32%) from Rs 6195.51 crore to Rs 9870.89 crore. As a result, the Net Interest Income (NII) increased marginally by Rs 207.15 crore (7.05%) from Rs 2939.74 crore to Rs 3146.89 crore. During the year, the Bank has provided for a sum of Rs 557.21 crore for Provision for Bad and doubtful NPAs as against of Rs 479.27 crore provided during the year 2010-11, beside this the Bank has also provided a sum of Rs 103.40 crore for FITL provision and sacrifice of Rs 90.58 crore.

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Your other metrics like non-interest income, deposits, advances etc have all shown an up-tick. Yet, the overall pressure on bottomline was there. Where would you put your focus on to correct this situation? During the year 2011-12, the Deposits of the Bank increased to Rs. 136142.20 crore from Rs. 116747.50 crore. The increase in the deposits was mainly contributed by increase in Term Deposits. During the year, the rate of

interest on term deposits ruled high resulting in higher cost of deposits. On the credit front, the Bank had an absolute growth of Rs. 13618.62 crore during the year and total credit of the Bank have increased from Rs. 86850.40 crore to Rs. 100469.02 crore. The Non Interest Income Increased by Rs. 236.74 crore from Rs. 1255.88 crore to Rs. 1492.62 crore and registered a growth of 18.85% during the year ended March 2012. To improve the bottom-line, the Bank is focusing on increasing the share of low cost deposit (CASA) in total deposits, improving retail business, improving credit growth with high yield advances, and by increasing NonInterest Income.

You have clarified that NPAs at CorpBank has peaked out. How much do you expect NPAs to come down, say, by the next two quarters? Owing to external factors & scenario on domestic front, Indian Banking system witnessed a rise in the levels of NPAs in the books. Despite tough operating environment, our Bank has posted one of the best Ratios in the area of NPA management. The Bank’s Gross NPA at 1.26% and Net NPA at 0.87% are a testimony to the said performance. We are in the league of first Bankers to move to a system based process of identification of NPAs where 100% of our loan book is covered. Our strength lies in our


Growing your SME business has been a focus area. What all are your initiatives in this regard? The SME business in the Bank is steadily growing from year to year. From a level of Rs 6485 Cr in 2010, the advances under this segment have increased to Rs 14542 Cr. To promote SME advances the bank has started 5 exclusive SME branches in Noida, Tirupur, Madurai, Rajkot, MumbaiMarol. To give a further fillip our bank has launched, effective from 02-052012 8 exclusive SME Loan centres in Delhi, Vadodara, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai & Coimbatore. The centres in less than 3 weeks have processed as many as 235 SME loan proposal covering a credit sanction of about Rs.900.00 crore. Enthused by the performance bank has proposed to start 8 more SME loan centre at Ahmedabad, Mangalore, Kolkota, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Tiruchirapalli and Kochi in order to give further fillip to the growth under SME advances in our bank. As the above efforts, reflect the Bank’s resolve in promoting SME lending, Bank has put infrastructure in place, besides making available some tailor made SME loan schemes. How do you view your recent restructurings to Air India, and Rajasthan discom? Both being staterun companies, do you view it as

Despite tough operating environment, our Bank has posted one of the best Ratios in the area of NPA management. The Bank’s Gross NPA at 1.26% and Net NPA at 0.87% are a testimony to the said performance. We are in the league of first Bankers to move to a system based process of identification of NPAs where 100% of our loan book is covered. Our strength lies in our capability to capture early warning signals & symptoms of stress in our loan book.

merely technical, and not prone to further slippages? Based on the Turnaround Plan and post implementation of Financial Restructuring Plan (FRP), Air India is estimated to turn EBIDTA positive in FY 2013. With adequate backing from its sponsor, the Govt. of India and its commitment to infuse substantial equity into the company, the FRP may be viewed as viable Restructuring Plan for Air India. As regards the Discom, the State Government has taken certain measures to improve the financial position of the Power Distribution companies and is taking necessary steps to generate additional capacity etc in the next two years to make the State surplus in power. With the UP discom also requesting a restructuring, do you see a slower turnaround for this sector to which Corp has good exposure? In view of the government support and various measures initiated by the DISCOMS to improve their financial health and operating efficiency, we foresee the turnaround under this sector

at a much faster pace. How would you comment on the quality of your other restructured assets, on the backdrop of both cash recoveries and up-gradations showing up-ticks? The loans are taken up for Restructuring after establishing the financial viability of the borrower and reasonable certainty of repayment as per the terms of restructuring package. The viability is determined by the Bank based on acceptable viability benchmark ratios depending upon the merits of each case. In view of the above, it is expected to improve the cash recovery and upgradations. The Bank is proposing to constitute a separate Cell with a dedicated team at Head Office to ensure that the restructuring package is effectively implemented and there is improvement in the working results as envisaged at the time of Restructuring. What all would broadly constitute your battle-plan for FY’13? The Bank is currently working on a plan that covers the entire gamut of business for an enhanced performance. The important activities include shoring up of the CASA & Retail business, improving the yield on advances, arresting fresh delinquencies and containing the NPA levels, all ultimately leading to increased bottomline and profitability of the Bank. To support the aforesaid plans and to provide a high level of customer experience, the Bank is moving ahead with a host of e-banking initiatives which would be unveiled in the coming days. The Bank plans to make available the Mobile Banking facility on Smart Phones both on the Android and the iOS phones. The Bank has developed applications that can be downloaded on to Android tablets and Android Smart Phones. Our overall focus would be to ensure that the Bank continues to deliver the best of business performance with an efficient mix of e-banking and branch banking, while maintaining high standards of customer service and profitability ratios.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

capability to capture early warning signals & symptoms of stress in our loan book. We have leveraged technology to identify the incipient sickness in individual loan account so that we take timely and necessary corrective steps to prevent slippage of the account from Standard Category. This apart, the Recovery machinery in the Bank is proactively geared up to hasten the recovery process by employing various means including swift recovery action under SARFAESI Act. By adopting an integrated approach to containing NPA levels and improving recoveries, we are confident of recovering/ upgrading the NPA portfolio to the tune of about Rs. 350 Crs by Q2 of current fiscal.

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SOUTH INDIAN BANK

SIB Delivers Record Profits, Cuts Capital Raising Plans by 60%

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South Indian Bank has delivered one of the best results among similar-sized private sector banks. The Thrissur headquartered small-sized bank posted a high profit in Q4 of nearly Rs. 122 crore, which enabled it to finish FY’12 with record profit of Rs. 402 crore. On the total income side too, SIB came on top of the list of banks growing their topline the highest. Confident with the kind of results his team could deliver MD & CEO VA Joseph has set a target of Rs. 78,000 crore business in FY’13 and Rs. 1,00,000 crore by FY’14. SIB

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stockholders also had reason to cheer as the bank has cut its capital raising requirement to Rs. 400 crore from the earlier announced Rs. 1000 crore, thereby allaying fears of high dilution. To assist in its growth targets, the bank is on a recruitment spree which will see 1000 new recruits, belonging both to the officer and clerical grades. Credit growth at 33% outpaced deposit growth at 23%. The good numbers in Q4 has arrested the fall of the stock due to market downfall, and the South Indian Bank’s stock is available at an attractive P/BV of 1.20% now compared with its higher valued private sector banking peers.


INVE STMENT INVES

Facebook Sued by Investors for IPO, Will Indian Investors Follow Suit? Company

Listing Date

SKS Microfinance DB Realty Indiabulls Power Reliance Power Jaypee Infra SJVN Ltd Prestige Estates L&T Finance

Aug 16,’10 Feb 24,’10 Oct 30,’09 Feb 11,’08 May 21,’10 May 20,’10 Oct 27,’10 Aug 12,’11

Adjusted Issue Price 985.00 468.00 45.00 281.25 102.00 26.00 183.00 52.00

bankers should give the right advice regarding pricing and not compete with each other. Companies need to be mindful that this is the first step to make investors happy." There are several instances of companies tapping the capital markets at premium valuations for businesses that were still on the drawing board. In these cases, investors have had to wait for several years before the company started making profits or delivering returns. According to Mehraboon Irani, principal & head, private client group, Nirmal Bang Securities, “When investors put money in IPOs of companies in capitalintensive sectors like power, infrastructure and real estate, they need to keep in mind that such projects have a long gestation period. These projects require continuous capital flow, which requires a conducive environment. That is not the case at present." But experts said the main reason for many public issues getting oversubscribed is the massive marketing hype which often hides over than it reveals. Irani believes

BSE Price on Jun 08 56.70 89.70 12.58 98.10 45.85 19.30 122.20 43.20

Change (%) -94.24 -80.83 -72.04 -65.12 -55.05 -25.77 -33.22 -16.92

Trading Below Issue Price After initial exceptions Always Always Always Always Always Except a few exceptions Always

with good marketing exercise, these issues get subscribed. This is an issue that’s giving sleepless nights to the regulator too. Sebi chairman UK Sinha said at the Skoch summit in Mumbai on Friday that there have been many issues wose prices have fallen post-IPO. With a view to help investors in making a wellinformed decision before putting money in an IPO, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in January mandated merchant bankers to disclose the track record of the performance of the public issues managed by them. The merchant bankers are required to disclose track record for a period of three financial years from the date of listing for each public issue managed by them. To reduce listing day price volatility and prevent manipution, Sebi has also recently introduced restrictions like a pre-open call auction and circuit filters on the first trading day. "After we introduced this concept, there have been four IPOs and our feedback is that all of them are free from any such managed volatility," Sinha said.

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Investors in many Indian companies would have a sense of déjà vu after Facebook’s public issue turned into a huge Wall Street debacle. For, over the last five years, Indian markets have been witness to many such breathlessly hyped initial public offers which have crashed in an equally spectacular way on the listing day and never recovered. An analysis of 20 IPOs of over Rs 1,000 crore since April 2007 shows that as many as six stocks -- Reliance Power, Jaypee Infratech, Indiabulls Power, DB Realty, L&T Finance Holdings and SJVN -- have always traded below their issue price on a closing basis since their listing. Five of these (except SJVN) have underperformed even their benchmark indices. After investors protested, Reliance Power tried hard to salvage the situation by issuing bonus shares to bring down the average cost per share. But the shares are still trading below the adjusted issue price levels. We have taken into account adjusted issue price to factor in any stock split or bonus issue. Of the 20 IPOs above Rs 1,000 crore, 14 are trading below their issue prices. They had manage to list above their issue price thanks to the marketing blitz, but failed to sustain beyond just a few days (see table for list). While investors of Facebook have sued the company and the merchant bankers for selectively disclosing facts on the company’s profitability to only a few, such shareholder activism has escaped Indian shores even though there have been allegations galore of rampant investment banker-promoter nexus. Amit Tandon, founder and managing director, Institutional Investor Advisory Services, believes that it’s rather easy to blame merchant bankers and promoters, but investors are also duty-bound to do their homework before they invest. “They need to look at the valuations and if the issue is overpriced, they need to be careful. A good principle is to leave something on the table, so that investors don’t get short-changed. Merchant

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CARS

MERCEDES BENZ OVERTAKEN BY KEY RIVALS, SEES SLOWER SINGLE-DIGIT GROWTH AHEAD

their out-of-this-world airs, came down to ground level, got their feet firmly planted in the Indian soil, and started competing with the likes of Honda, Toyota, & Volkswagen. India’s largest selling luxury car for the last two years is BMW X1, their entry level SUV, which is noted not for any superlative features, but for its sensible price that made it compete with Honda’s CR-V and Toyota’s Fortuner. Now, Audi is doing a BMW with their Q3, which has found instant takers during its recent launch. Next comes the issue of aging models of Mercedes-Benz. The time they took to upgrade their E-Class during the last 3-4 years is now infamous and cost them dearly in that segment, forcing them to offer deep discounts.

Recently, Peter Honegg, MD & CEO of Mercedes-Benz India has indicated that the company has cut its expected growth rate for the year’s second-half from 15-20% to 5-10%.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Once upon a time Mercedes-Benz was the luxury car to own in India. But a couple of years back, it was smoothly overtaken by BMW in India, much in sync with a pattern that was emerging across the globe between the German rivals. Recently, Audi, its other German rival, and part of the Volkswagen Group has also convincingly zipped past Mercedes in India, thereby raising the red-flag in the minds of prospective luxury car buyers, whether to consider a Mercedes-Benz any more. After all, nothing succeeds like success.

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What has really gone wrong for Mercedes in India? Firstly comes the issue of right pricing. Obviously, BMW and Audi has out-priced Mercedes’ offerings in all of the three popular luxury segments - C, E, & S segments. However, the issue is not that straightforward, as the out-pricing by competitors were not due to undercutting, but by smart-pricing, or in other words, offering much more features for the same price or slightly higher price.

Secondly, Mercedes has completely missed the SUV buzz in India, which has been driving the luxury auto market in India since the last two years. While BMW and Audi have SUV offerings in all the three segments, Benz only had an SUV in the top segment, which failed to attract much takers when pitted against the likes of Audi Q5 & Q7. Thirdly, while both BMW and Audi clearly understood that out-of-thisworld branding alone was not enough to demand obnoxious margins, Mercedes clung on to this aging business model. Today, it is very evident that BMW & Audi has managed to survive in the Indian market only because they shed

Also, despite recent upgrades, Mercedes cars have failed to shed the image of largely chauffeur-driven, whereas BMWs and Audis are thought of as drivers’ cars, and this has made a huge difference in the evolving Indian market, where luxury car buyers are much younger than before, and who largely self-drive. Lastly, Mercedes-Benz has been sluggish to the dynamic changes in the Indian market, like how it still has no offerings in the B & A segments, despite the luxury car maker having the same in Europe. The reason cited - no right hand drives available - sounds just an excuse, and while a sub-25 lakh rupee B-Class is promised by the year end, its first A-Class would take another year. Another instance of slow adaptablility is how it had got the petrol:diesel ratio totally wrong at 60:40. Though it has recently changed it aggressively to 90:10, it may be too little, too late. Latest figures show that after the slow-down in petrol cars, Indian market is now witnessing a surprise slump in the demand for diesel machines. Also, the luxury car market is expected to take the largest hit in India, that won’t spare even the BMWs & Audis, so the plight awaiting Mercedes-Benz can be imagined.


GADGE TS ADGET

UK's longest standing laptop specialist brand marketed in India by a BSElisted, Allied Computers International (Asia) Limited, is now all set to offer super low-cost laptop to Indian public at Rs 4,999. "We are launching India's super low cost laptop at Rs 4,999 in mid-June. It will be real fully functional, windows compatible working laptop at a lowest price tag in the country," Allied Computers managing director Hirji Patel said. London-based missile scientist turned entrepreneur, Hirji Patel established Allied Computers International (Asia) Limited under the ACi brand in May 2002. ACi India offers laptops and PCs in the Indian market with innovative design. Talking about the viability of the project, Patel said, the company will import the product from China and depend on volume growth and will have thin profit margin. Patel is all set to unveil to market few third generation models of laptops including Rs 4,999 windows compatible with 10" screen. Among other low-cost models, laptop PC for lower-mid class segment for Rs 9,999 and latest 3rd generation model housing Intel i3 CPU for Rs 19,999 will be launched shortly. The company is also launching latest 3rd generation model housing Intel i7 with 32GB

RAM - fastest gaming laptop ever built - first laptop in India with RAM exceeding 8GB for Rs 49,999, Patel said. "We will never compromise on quality with price. The range we will be offering are carefully designed and developed just like majority of our models launched both in UK and India," Patel said. In the recent times, we have seen much hype and heard much hoopla around so-called low-cost computing devices, which created enough buzz, but failed to live up to their expectations purely because they could never deliver computing, Patel said. Patel pointed out that although, India today enjoys a volume sales of around 2.5 million laptops per annum, it is still barely 10 per cent of what western countries like UK and other leading European countries are churning out into the market. Laptop cost-to-earning factor is still rather high in India and in lower middle class to the poor it is still considered beyond reach. Introducing such low-cost computing devices becomes more significant in the wake of various state governments like Tamil Nadu, UP and others announcing to provide laptops for students. The company is looking at offering the low cost laptops to these state governments, Patel added.

Motorola Razr Maxx is Soon Here, Highlight is the Superb Battery

Motorola is expected to launch its latest smartphone Razr Maxx in India on June 24. Motorola Razr Maxx measures 130.7x68.9x8.99 mm and sports a 4.3inches super AMOLED advanced qHD capacitive touch screen with Gorilla Glass and a resolution of 540x960 pixels.The device weighs 145 grams and the phone's body is made of Kevlar fiber. Razr Maxx is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core Cortex A9 processor and runs on Android 2.3 ( Gingerbread) operating system (OS), upgradable to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The phone also boasts of a phenomenal 3300 mAh battery that promises a standby time of up to 380 hours. Other features include an 8MP rear camera with 8x digital zoom that can shoot 1080 pixel quality HD videos at 30fps and a 1.3MP front-facing camera. For connectivity, the phone has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, microUSB, HDMI port, GPS and a 3.5mm audio jack. The phone has 16GB internal memory which is expandable up to 32GB. According to some reports, Motorola Razr Maxx is available for pre-orders in India at a price of Rs 31,999. Motorola had, last week, launched two tough phones - Defy mini and Defy XT - in India.

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Tablet Killer Coming: Windows Laptop at Rs. 5000

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GADGE TS ADGET

Does Samsumg Galaxy SIII Live Up to the Hype?

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It is not wrong to say that Samsung Galaxy S III (SGS III) is the most awaited Android phone of the year. Its predecessors redefined the smartphone market. There are expectations that it is going to do the same. The phone is finally here. We have been using it for the last 10 days. Does it live up to the expectations? Is it the best Android phone nay make it the best smartphone ever made? Is it worth the hefty price tag? Many questions, we know. Let's find the answers. Samsung has (once again) used lots of glossy plastic in its flagship Android phone. Though, the phone is solidly built. Unlike the somewhat industrial design of Galaxy S II that has straight lines, the new Galaxy has a curvier feel to it (Samsung says the design is inspired by a pebble). Pebble or no pebble, the added roundness does make the phone feel better in the hand. That said, SGS III is a big device and unless you have large hands, you will find it little unwieldy if you use it with single hand. There is faux metal strip that runs around the device. Unlike Galaxy Nexus, which is also made by the Korean company, SGS III has three buttons under its huge 4.8-inch screen. The 'home' is a plastic button while the other two — 'options' and 'back' — are touch sensitive buttons. The curves on SGS III give it understated but premium looks

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though we are not sure how the device will fare in the future once the gloss and sheen wears off the plastic. Samsung's flagship Android phones are known to pack in hefty hardware. SGS III is powered by Exynos 4412, a quad-core processor built by Samsung using technology from ARM. The CPU runs at 1.4Ghz and its four cores can ramp up or down their speed independently. This helps save the battery. The graphics duty is handled by four chips of Mali 400. It is the same graphics processor that is found in Galaxy S II but in SGS III it runs at a faster speed. The phone has 1GB RAM, 16GB storage with support for a microSD card upto 64GB. The primary camera captures images in 8 mega pixels and videos in up to 1080P resolution. This camera has backlit- illuminated sensor that helps it in low-light photography. The secondary camera sports a tag of 1.9MP. At least on paper, SGS III is a device that leads every other Android out in the market. But does this hardware make it the best phone? Let's start with the screen. Simi-

Galaxy SIII

lar to other Galaxy flagship phones, SGS III uses a Super AMOLED screen. It has a resolution of 1280x720 pixels (720P) and is very sharp. But the best feature about the screen is somewhat saturated colours it shows. While for photographer they may seem inaccurate, mainstream users will find colours on SGS III vibrant and pleasing. Brightness, however, is an issue. At least subjectively we did not find the screen on SGS III as bright as the one on SGS II. The problem was also compounded by the way auto-brightness is handled by the phone. It seems too aggressive. Though a software update should fix it. Still in the grand scheme of things, these are minor issues. The SGS III screen is one of the best we have ever seen on a phone. It is just that it could have been better. SGS III is very fast and snappy phone. The device is very smooth irrespective of tasks it is running. Multitasking is lag-free. And so is web browsing, whether a user is zooming on to a page or playing embedded videos. Navigating around the phone, playing 1080P videos, applying filters to images and reading PDF documents barely stress the phone. The GPS on SGS III is incredibly fast and accurate. This should appeal to people who like to use their phone for navigation or to find their way in unknown cities. SGS III runs Ice Cream Sandwich aka Android 4. But the user interface is the next version of Touchwiz, Samsung's own customized skin. Touchwiz doesn't look as elegant as the default Android interface or HTC Sense, which is used on One X. But if you can live with the looks, there is a lot of functionality backed in the device. For example the modified notification bar in SGS III gives users option to toggle 10 settings! Samsung has also put several unique features in SGS III. Some of these, like Direct Calling and Smart Stay are useful. S Voice, meanwhile, just like its iPhone counterpart Siri, is more of a gimmick. Features like Smart Alert, which lets a user know about missing calls and messages, are plain unnecessary because users anyways get to know it through LED notification.


The multi–billion dollar global conglomerate Joyalukkas Group has rebranded their fashion and silks retail chain in Kerala, Joyalukkas Wedding Center to Jolly Silks. The rebranding exercise comes with a renewed mission and marketing strategy for the fashion and silks division of Joyalukkas Group. “The fashion, textile & silks consumer in Kerala is changing in attitude and tastes. Even though they are deeply entrenched in their traditional roots their aspirations and outlook are modern and contemporary.’ said Joy Alukkas, Chairman & MD, Joyalukkas Group. The brand name change comes with many new and exciting plans for the ‘fashion and silks’ business. Bollywood superstar Vidya Balan will be first brand ambassadress for Jolly Silks and the Group has also hired a team of fashion consultants to manage their product line and range. The role of the team will be to closely understand the needs and expectations of consumers across all segments and better their expectations in the product range and variety offered at Jolly Silks. ‘My wife’s name is Jolly, hence I decided to rebrand Joyalukkas Wedding Center to Jolly Silks. The idea was to strongly differentiate our ‘fashion and silks’ business from our jewellery chain. The name ‘Jolly’ also is very positive and has a celebratory feel to it. We have also signed up Bollywood superstar Vidya Balan as our first brand ambassadress because we feel she perfectly compliments our new brand positioning of ‘Being Yourself’. Vidya Balan is a woman and actress who is not only beautiful but also bold and sets trend instead of following them.’ Added Joy Alukkas.

The rebranding to Jolly silks will be publicized via a new campaign, which features Vidya Balan and the concept strives to capture her true spirit, beauty and bold attitude to life. “When the Joyalukkas team through the new direction for ‘Jolly Silks’, I felt this brand would truly compliment me and is passionate towards managing the needs and expectations of the south Indian Woman. It’s a pleasure to be a part of the Joyalukkas family as a representative of Jolly silks and I look forward to this association for long time to come’. Said Bollywood superstar Vidya Balan. The new Jolly Silks media campaign will cover all mediums across Kerala and the current showrooms also have been refurbished with new and exciting collections to meet the needs of customers. Jolly Silks will offer a wide range of sarees for all occasions like Bridal Sarees, Wedding Sarees, Party Sarees, Festival Sarees & Casual Sarees. A wide range of choice will be available in each category for shoppers to pick from. The choice will be tailored to meet the fashion and budget expectations of all customers. In addition to this Jolly Silks will also offer a variety of latest designs and choice in churidar, kurtas, Salwar Kameez, Lehengas, formal attire for women plus traditional, formal and casual wear for men and kids. “ We intend to fulfill all the needs and aspirations in fashion and clothing with Jolly Silks. Our objective will be to offer the best mix of quality, choice, designs, value and service at Jolly Silks. We also have plans to set up one more showroom in Kerala before the end of the year’ concluded Joy Alukkas.

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Joyalukkas Wedding Centre Rebranded as Jolly Silks


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“Good Evening, Welcome to Puravankara Help Desk” The above was how one of our friends was greeted when she visited Purva website from Dubai during late night, last week. We had asked her to give Purva a try in her long-running attempt to zero in on an optimal apartment in Bangalore. Soon after her live interaction with Ramya of Purva help-desk ended, she called us, beaming - “Dude, this is cool. You guys back in India have cool customer care. Ramya literally took me by hand and explained to me all their best options.” But didn’t you see the best part, we

asked. “Yep, the route videos, isn’t it? I saw it played out live, both from my aunt‘s house in Sarjapur as well as from MG Road.” So are you considering any Purva home? “You bet!,” was the reply from Dubai. Yes, Puravanakara is now 24/7. And that is one additional reason to consider a Purva home now. The idea is so simple, so powerful, and so elegantly implemented that anyone would be left wondering why no realtor thought of it before. Puravankara Projects Limited, known

to be one of the most visionary companies in Indian real estate has lived up to their reputation with their latest and dynamic marketing initiatives. They are the proud executors of India’s first 24/7 on call sales support desk in the real estate industry. They have also introduced a free Web Call facility on their corporate website. The combination of these two valuable conveniences along with a 24/7 live chat facility enables people to speak to Puravankara’s home advisors at anytime and from


Video Route Map

anywhere in the world irrespective of the time zone they live in. Puravankara have a proud and long standing history of reaching out into foreign markets and offering home solutions for NRI’s who are looking for homes or investments back in India. Success stories of Indians abroad have spread through geographies and these initiatives are a part of Puravankara’s strategy to foray into international markets in an effort to tap into its rising potential.

Live Help Hesk

The company has plans to continue in adopting innovative strategies to reach out to not only its NRI audience but also domestic homebuyers in an attempt to expand their ever growing happy communities.

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The company’s constant endeavour has been to provide its NRI customers with a realistic home buying experience. With features such as 3D apartment plans, walkthrough and live video route maps, the customer is able to envision a Purva lifestyle in its truest sense.


LuxuryWORTH Projects BUYING NOW

By ENSHAA GROUP,

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Palazzo Versace at Dubai Palazzo Versace, the ultimate luxury hotel and lifestyle residential resort is under construction in Culture Village on the foreshore of Dubai Creek in Dubai, United Arab Emirates at a massive budget of AED 2.3 billion. The high-end living as well as tourist destination is being developed on 130,000 square meters. Once completed it will include, restaurants, spa, 169 condominium residences & penthouses, 146 hotel rooms and 58 suites. It uses public spaces designed to showcase art, sculpture and other artefacts. These spaces come complete with landscaped gardens and grounds with promenades, terraces, water features, reflection pools and fountains. Almost 90 percent of the artisans working on Palazzo Versace Dubai will be based in the UAE, but the hand-cut marble and glass tesserae which make up a mosaic in Versace’s Italian is being developed by an Italian mosaic expert. In total, 12,000 sq.m of mosaic artwork of Versace’s Italian will be completed during the project. The façade of the palazzo versace exhibits patterned fenestration, ornate pediment, expanses of glazing and arched windows.


By PENINSULA LAND,

Ashok Nirvaan at Lonavala

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Ashok Nirvaan is located in Lonavala amongst the serene hills of the Sahyadri range that demarcate the Deccan Plateau and the Konkan coast. The Project is adjacent to the Old Mumbai Pune Road this makes it easily accessible from the Old Mumbai Pune Road and the Mumbai Pune express way as well. The villas at Ashok Nirvaan are generous with the space to live, play, relax, party and to breathe. Every room layout is meticulously planned. Every living room looks out at the hills. Every window opens out to greenery. Every villa defines your lifestyle. The villas at Ashok Nirvaan are being designed by Gary Fell, principal architect of the Bali-based firm Gfab. Ashok Nirvaan is a restful haven of peace. Until you give in to the action on demand at its Club House. Every member of your family has myriad choices of action, entertainment, sports, games, recreation and relaxation. Ashok Nirvaan has plush 4BHK villas that have a plot sizes of 600sq mts, 750 sq mts and 900 sq mts. Type A villas are 4 BHK 3 level villas which have their private swimming pool with deck and heated Jacuzzi. They have a plot size of 900 sq mts. Type B villas are 4 BHK 3 level villas which have their private swimming pool with deck and heated Jacuzzi. They have a plot size of 750 sq mts. Type C villas are 4 BHK 3 level villas which have their private swimming pool with deck and heated jacuzzi. They have a plot size of 600 sq mts.


LuxuryWORTH Projects BUYING NOW

By ADARSH DEVELOPERS,

Adarsh Palm Retreat Villas at Bangalore

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If you thought the ‘Walk to Work’ concept was a luxury, Adarsh begs to differ. They don’t call it a luxury - it is yet another need which they understand. Ideally located off the Sarjapur Outer Ring Road, near IT giants like Intel and Wipro, Adarsh Palm Retreat is a serene gated community, a bouquet of graceful red roofed luxury villas with elegant architecture. Offering excellence in quality and gracious lifestyles are these villas; each decorated with a private garden, where you can read at your leisure the early morning newspaper or sip your evening tea. Amenities-rich independent villas, though a part of the huge community, offer calm solitude with absolute security. Spanning a total Aaea of 110 acres, there are 798 plots, with independent Villas of sizes from 3,150 – 10,000 sq.ft. Coming up at Devarabisenahalli, Varthur Post, Outer Ring Road, it is in the nearby vicinity of Intel, Wipro, and Innovative Multiplex.


By KALPATARU GROUP,

Kalpataru Aura at Mumbai Designed by international architects, Kalpataru Aura is a a complex of multi-storeyed towers, with spacious 2 BHK & E3 homes, with a clubhouse and gymnasium / spa. Sports facilities include squash & tennis courts. Entertainment ideas are awesome with a mini-theatre, multi-function room & indoor games room. Adults and kids would love the dual swimming pool & toddlers’ pool. Landscaped garden & children’s play area are generous. Two highlights of Aura are a Jain temple within the complex, and the Aura’s close proximity to the upcoming metro rail. Other features of this luxury project at Ghatkopar are well designed entrance lobby decorated with marble, high speed elevators, servant’s toilet at midlanding, fully air-conditioned apartments, agglomerated marble in living, dining and bedrooms, anodised aluminium sliding windows, modular kitchen, granite flooring in kitchen, additional service platform, well designed bathrooms with imported marble flooring, imported marble dado upto door height, superior quality sanitary and CP fittings, earthquake resistant structure, video door phone with intercom system, panic button in the master bedroom, gas leak detector and heat detector in the kitchen, luxurious spa with showers, changing rooms, steam, massage rooms and Jacuzzi, and ulti-

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functional lounge.


Joyalukkas Money Exchange Opens First Branch in India

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The first Joyalukkas Money Exchange opened at MG Road, Kochi on 18th June 2012 by celebrity Padmashree Jayaram who is also the Brand Ambassador for the Joyalukkas Money Exchange Center. “It’s my pride to present our first money exchange center to Kochi, the business hub of Kerala. We have enjoyed the trust and patronage of Kochi residents for many years now and we look forward to manage the same through our Money Exchange centers. Our first center will open in M.G. Road, Kochi and from here we start our march towards opening 100 money exchange centers across India within the next 2 years. The unique selling propositions for our money exchange center is the same as our jewellery retail business i.e. trust, best rates, great service, maximum convenience and choice” said Joy Alukkas, Chairman & M.D.,Joyalukkas Group. Joyalukkas Money Exchange currently has centers, located in Abu Dhabi, Dubai & Sharjah in the UAE and is set to open 8 Money Exchange Centers across Kuwait within the next 3 months. The range of services offered by Joyalukkas Money Exchange, has been specially tailored to serve all demographics of India and tourists. The initial scope of services offered will

include Foreign Currency Buy/ Sell, Money Transfers, Travelers Cheques, Travel Card, Travel Insurance, Air Ticketing, Outbound Tours, Gold Coins, Gift Card, Gift Vouchers, Overseas Education Loans- Assistance etc.

“We hired the best from the industry to manage our Money Exchange operations in India. The team has also created a range of services post in-depth analysis of the market and to ensure we offer consumers the best convenience possible in the Money Exchange service scope. In our range of services we have also incorporated some value-added services like Overseas Education Loan – Assistance to ensure we fill all need gaps of our valued customers. We are enjoying immense support and patronage from our customers in UAE and we look forward to manage the same in India. Like our jewellery business we plan to constantly innovate and expand our scope of services to make it better and more attractive for our customers.”, added Mr. Joy Alukkas “I am proud to represent Joyalukkas Money Exchange and its values of trust, reliability and best rates. Am looking forward to be an integral part of their growth in the near future. We received an overwhelming response from the UAE residents at our various openings there, am looking forward to the same support from the residents of Kochi for the first Joyalukkas Money Exchange Center.”, said Jayaram.

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