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A concert of ideas to profit from


ormally, news of international conferences on major issues of global concern elicits only very scant response from people, except from those who are closely linked to those. Not so the upcoming Global Conference of the World Malayalee Council, the representative organization connecting Keralites the world over, in Doha, Qatar. The debates there among leaders, delegates and special invitees from many places over how to ensure the development of Kerala and unite the people and the diaspora for progress will be well worth noting. Few issues are likely to have a larger effect and impact on new industries, jobs, rehabilitation of those who return home and, above all, the way we live. Confirmed speakers at and participants in the conference include such luminaries as Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi, Kerala Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem, Revenue Minister K P Rajendran, Education and Culture Minister M A Baby, Water and Irrigation Minister N K Premachandran, former Union Minister of State for Railways O Rajagopal, Emke Group Managing Director M A Yusuf Ali, Galfar Group Chairman Mohamed Ali and a host of officials of the Kerala Government.

Editor & Publisher Varghese Paul

Whether or not you accept all their conclusions, we think you will agree with many that it will be the most intelligent conversation on the subject we will witness. There certainly will be ideas, ideas to help one better manage one’s business or career, ideas with which to understand the vast changes that will help rebuild the State’s industrial field and to improve its economy, ideas to prod people to things in new and better ways.

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Thinking of pursuing opportunities abroad or at home? Consult our cover story in this issue on C K Menon, who has become a legend in his own time. It is the story of the astounding success of a Keralite on alien land which is sure to inspire those pioneering abroad with small enterprises. We also profile in this issue some of those who have made good outside our country by venturing into different fields of activity. The point is to give a précis of the ideas of individuals whose thinking may well shape your future, along with a feel for who these men and women are, where they are coming from and where they have reached. Plus a sense of how their concepts play out in real-world practice. You will realize that neither Mr Menon nor those who have been profiled in PASSLINE achieved their present status by accident.

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Not everyone, however, is so lucky. Many struggle for years to get ahead in their careers or business only to find that they have failed. They need not despair. They can get inspiration from the cover story on how to bounce back from failure.

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It has given us great pride and pleasure to watch PASSLINE move to the forefront as the media partner of the World Malayalee Council’s Global Conferences over the past four occasions. This is the fifth in succession. We have had the satisfaction of WMC reaching new heights during this period by extending its activities and broadening its horizons. We wish it every success in its onward journey to more accomplishments.

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t is an honour for the Indian expatriate community in Qatar that Doha has been chosen as the venue for the Seventh World Malayalee Global Conference 2010, which is going to be held from July 28-31, 2010. The conferences organized by the World Malayalee Council provide a non-political forum to bring together the large global Malayalee diaspora. As in previous years this time too the conference has received an enthusiastic response and will be attended by senior Ministers and dignitaries from India as well as leading entrepreneurs from the GCC and other parts of the world. The conference has a full agenda and will cover issues of topical importance such as the empowerment of youth, economic opportunities of investments in Kerala and developments in the area of arts and literature. Kerala occupies a very special place in the composite identity of India due to its unique political, social and cultural milieu. It is in fact a microcosm of the best aspirations of India, such as secularism, social development, high levels of literacy and political awareness. The people of Kerala have


Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa

Varghese Paul

been leaders in every sphere of public life in India, and also distinguished themselves in fields as varied as science, literature and cinema. The Malayalee diaspora has carried its skills, entrepreneurial spirit and ethic of hard work and sincerity to shores far away in the countries of the GCC. The intelligent, industrious Malayalee is ubiquitous and such is their popularity that all Indians are known as Malabaris. I wish the organizers of the Seventh World Malayalee Global Conference 2010, especially the Global Chairman, Shri Soman Baby, Advocate C K Menon, Chairman, WMC Organizing Committee, and all the participants a very successful conference.

(Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa) Indian Ambassador to Qatar


July 31-August 31, 2010

its members to be good individuals and good citizens. It is not a ‘Pravasi’ organization; rather it is a global organization of all Malayalees. A non-sectarian, non-political and community organization, it was formed on July 3, 1995 on the last day of the First World Malayalee Convention in New Jersey US. Mr T N Seshan, former Chief Election Commissioner of India, was its first Chairman, Dr Babu Paul Vice-Chairman and Mr K P P Nambiar Vice-President. Mr Babu Paul (1998-2000), world-famous physicist George Sudarsan (2000-2002), Mrs Lekha Sreenivasan (2002-2004) and WMC founder leader Andrew Pappachen (2004-2008) had served as Chairpersons. Mr Soman Baby is the current Chairman (2008-2010). WMC has a three-tier organizational structure with a global council, six regional councils (in America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India and the Far East and Australia) and local chapters called


and socially committed Malayalees. It started with district camps where about 100 students in each district participated. A final State camp was held at Lulu Center, Thrissur, on December 28 and 29 last in which 1,200 college students participated. A follow-up one-day camp was held at Muscot Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram, on January 4, 2010, which was addressed by former President Abdul Kalam. WMC is now forming Altius clubs in all colleges in Kerala.

disadvantaged, which include village adoption, women’s employment training, scholarships for poor children, old-age care etc. It had provided timely help to the tsunami victims in Kollam and Alappuzha districts, built a community centre and library in Ayiramthengu and established a mobile healthcare unit, which provided home healthcare for the poor in various districts in the State. WMC’s provinces in Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore, Houston, New Jersey, Dallas, Kuwait, Riyadh, Dammam, Jeddah, Bahrain etc have implemented local charitable projects. Its Chennai province through the ‘Hridayaragam’ project assisted 150 poor children with heart problems to undergo heart surgeries in Madras Medical Mission Hospital. One of its most recent and successful projects in Kerala is ‘Altius’ to build a new generation of globally competent

WMC organizes biennial conferences to conduct official meetings and election of global officials and set the agenda for the future. Previous conferences were held in Singapore (2008), Kochi (2006), Bahrain (2004), Dingden, Germany (2002), and Dallas, USA (2000). The seventh Global Conference and 15th anniversary is scheduled to be held in Doha, Qatar, from July 28-30, 2010. More information about WMC’s bylaws, organization and activities can be obtained from the website


he World Malayalee Council (WMC) is a global organization with a mission to network Malayalees, create a global community able to communicate with one another and continue the connection through generations so that the Malayalee identity will live forever around the world. WMC promotes goodwill and friendship among all Malayalees, encourages them to help one another especially those in need and requires

provinces. The global, regional and provincial councils have a cabinet responsible for the day-to-day affairs, presided over by the President and an Executive Council, which is the legislative body and electoral college responsible for policy-making and electing officers presided over by the Chairman. Membership in WMC is at the provincial level. WMC currently has 48 provinces covering 34 countries around the world. The organization has implemented several projects in Kerala to help the economically




The organization has implemented several projects in Kerala to help the economically disadvantaged, which include village adoption, women’s employment training, scholarships for poor children, oldage care etc. It had provided timely help to the tsunami victims in Kollam and Alappuzha districts, built a community centre and library in Ayiramthengu and established a mobile healthcare unit, which provided home healthcare for the poor in various districts in the State.

By A Correspondent




July 31-August 31, 2010




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ear members of the WMC Family, The grand finale of our tenure is coming to a close with the seventh biennial summit of the World Malayalee Council in Doha. I really wish we continue to move on and on, sustaining the same spirit of fraternity and like-mindedness sans pettiness. As I reminisce, the past two years can be written as a novel era for our community. We have become the world’s most notable thinkers and doers. Hats off to each and every one of you! These two years have taken us to further heights of uniqueness in making progressive changes in our attitude to ourselves as well as to one another. These two years have been of indescribable blessings from God Almighty who opened WMC to new ideas and pragmatic projects. With gratitude to my ardent supporters and all-time inspirers I thought that as a charity project ‘Hridayaragam’ created its own waves while ‘Altius’ proved to be the jackpot of our tenure making positive vibrations in the younger generations with a strong will to be achievers and not losers in their encounter with the challenges of daily life. Hats off to our Kerala Province which worked hard for the success of Altius, and for undertaking a unique project to study the magnitude of pollution in the rivers of Kerala. Both projects have helped enhance the profile of WMC. It is appropriate for me to register my fine sentiments on the tenure that cemented our bonding with one another keeping alive our motto, “Together and not alone we accomplish our well-set goals”. I really enjoyed working for WMC together with such proactive and likeminded members of the Global, Regional and Provincial Executive Councils. If you feel that as Chairman I could contribute my best self and achieve some satisfaction out of my tenure it is not at all to my credit but to the support, encouragement and inspiration from

commendably result-oriented souls that constituted the outgoing Executive Council. Brothers and sisters, let not variety in ideas divide our stand, let ideas equip us with better application skill and strengthen us to march on without losing our aim of making Keralites the constituents of a role model society. The Movers and Shakers of the world. So let’s reap the harvest of self-satisfaction and success together burying deep all the points of differences between individuals. We formed WMC collectively, to work collectively and achieve laurels collectively. There is no you and I in WMC. Nobody waits in WMC for a call of action but we reach out to the scene of action with our resources enlightened by the common goal of social welfare. I now look forward to a more vibrant membership at WMC for I am convinced by now what WMC stands for with a sincere service-before-self’ attitude. It is time for all of us to show the true power of the Malayalees if we stay put together. Let not any dividing spirit creep into our thoughts; let unity bind us together. Be proud at the thought that ours is the only Indian State where the multi-religious and caste-ridden members of society happily coexist as Gandhiji envisaged. Let not divisions defeat our morale to paralyze our willingness to activate our lives with a deeper commitment to our own community. My plea to each of you is to keep our great legacy like Altius thriving to further the multidimensional growth of WMC. Let WMC become the pride of every Keralite. The biennial conference in Doha must speak volumes about Malayalees as a set of resource personnel not meant to beg, borrow or steal but tap at their own talents. Let’s once again get together to leave a lasting imprint of the WMC FAMILY on the sands of Doha Welcoming all of you to Doha, Soman Baby Global Chairman, World Malayalee Council


July 31-August 31, 2010


Global forum for Malayalees


erala’s strength is its education. The State can be proud of having well-educated youth. Lakhs of Keralites have moved overseas for decades and wherever they have gone and settled they have formed their associations and ‘samajams’. This Malayalee unity has spread its ethnic identity in the alien lands also. However, these Malayalee associations serve their purpose only locally. When the new generation grows up, especially in foreign countries, they need a new and wider organization of Malayalees. This led to the formation and growth of the World Malayalee Council. The migration of Malayalees to various parts of the globe has not only helped the economic growth of the State but has also enabled our younger generation to get education and employment in foreign countries. Even the many industrial projects that have come up in the country and the many that are on the anvil are the outcome of the toil and farsightedness of these Pravasis. If we can help the new generation to maintain their identity and keep in contact with the rest of their brethren around the world including those in Kerala and India, we can build a global community. It is this that WMC has been thriving to achieve over the years and it is our belief that we have been able to succeed in this effort to a great extent. Jolly Thadathil Global President,World Malayalee Council

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Greetings from the Global General Secretary!

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he last two years has been a demanding and turbulent time but I have enjoyed leading the World Malayalee Council as its General Secretary during the period. I cherish its memories. What at this moment comes to my mind is what President Theodore Roosevelt once said: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails,

at least he fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” I feel strongly that what President Roosevelt said applies fittingly to everyone who is in the WMC arena, past and present. Each of us worked with dedication to maintain and set the path of growth for WMC. All challenges were met with dedication, discipline, commitment, enthusiasm and success. We thank all for their disciplined approach, commitment, support and firm stand on WMC’s founding principles. The establishment of WMC can be summarized in the words of Robert Kennedy: “Each time someone stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” This tiny ripple of hope resonates every time a new leader, a new person enters the WMC arena, as President Roosevelt said, “one who is determined to stain his or her face with dust, sweat and blood, who is willing to do his/her best courageously ……….triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly”. WMC is deeply committed to bringing positive transformations in the socio- political and economic arena where there exists a


Malayalee community. As Charles F Kettering, an American engineer, said, “Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future”. Harold R McAlindon said, “The quality of an organization can never exceed the quality of the minds that make it up”. I invite all of you to become part of this universal organization founded on quality of principles. I gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the various WMC units to the several social and cultural projects. I specially congratulate the Kerala Province on founding one of the most creative projects, Altius. It is a unique movement, a youth development programme meant to bring out their inborn intellectual talents to become caring leaders of society. It is focused on promoting selected youth with high potential and intellectual capacity from the colleges around Kerala to build and promote the necessary confidence and sensitivity towards the social realities around them and a new social order. WMC plans to expand this programme to the whole of India and to various parts of the world as it is showing success in Kerala. Napoleon Bonaparte once said: “Do you know what amazes me more than anything else? The impotence of force to organize anything”. WMC “is edgeless, permeable, amorphous…

July 31-August 31, 2010

constantly reforming according to need”. I recall what Charles Sorensen said: “It isn’t the incompetent who destroy an organization. It is those who have achieved something and want to rest upon their achievements who are forever clogging things up”. Let us renew our dedication and move forward with more fruitful projects. Of course we realize and see one of the problems is, as Aldous Huxley, the English writer of the famous novel Brave New World, once said, “Men are forever creating such organizations for their own convenience and forever finding themselves the victims of their home-made monsters”. Let us unite and move forward with a vision. I see WMC, as someone once said, “What shall I call you? A fountain in a waste, a well of water in a country dry or anything that’s honest and good, an eye that makes the whole world bright”. Albert Einstein said: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Friends, join WMC and let us do something. I take this opportunity to thank those who bestowed their trust in me to serve as the General Secretary, and also for extending their help and support needed to complete the job with success. George M Kakkanatt Global General Secretary World Malayalee Council

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Feeling at home in Qatar

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arghese Chacko is an expatriate of 31 years’ standing. He was in Canada for four years and has been in Qatar for 27 years now, working with Qatar Petroleum as Lead Engineer in the Engineering Business Department there. “The country in which we have been living for all these years is, we feel, home away from home and safe. It is quality life we are leading. Life back in Kerala is not the same as we used to enjoy in our childhood,” says Varghese Chacko, though he

has some real estate interests in the State. A native of Veeyapuram, Haripad, Varghese Chacko is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering. He is also Director of Orchid Realtor, and Trustee and Secretary of Share

& Care Foundation. He views Kerala as God’s Own Country, blessed with natural beauty. “But it has been spoiled by political activism,” he says. “The strength of Kerala is the communal harmony

there and the weakness is the excessive political activism and the misuse of freedom”, he adds. And he has no plans to come back and start any ventures in the State.

MESSAGE FROM VARGHESE CHACKO It gives me great privilege and pleasure to be a part of the WMC Doha Province. I am really inspired to associate with serviceoriented people like the various Global, Regional and Provincial leaders. The Qatar Province of WMC, a global organization. has just been set in motion. The WMC members across the globe engage themselves in various philanthropic activities and programmes aimed at the socio-economic development of Kerala. If you would like to share your thoughts/views with others, strengthen your relationships and roots, discover the enormous


July 31-August 31, 2010

power of self-belief and teamwork and have the zeal to create an active, thoughtful and socially committed community, with a passion for helping our unprivileged compatriots, creating awareness about preserving nature and pursuing your altruistic goals notwithstanding the obstacles in your way, then please do join us with the WMC 2010 Global Meet as a starting point. Being the General Convener of the Organizing Committee and Chairman of the Doha Province, I am more than blessed to be part of this mega-event of WMC Global Conference 2010. I request your wholehearted support and participation.


orn in Karthikapally, Alappuzha, as the second son of Karthikapally S Baby, a businessman, and Achamma Baby, a devout housewife, Soman Baby, the outgoing Global Chairman of the World Malayalee Council, had his early education at St Thomas High School, Karthikapally. Passing his pre-degree examination from TKKM College, Nangiarkulangara, in 1967, he took his BSc (Zoology) degree from Catholicate College, Pathanamthitta, in 1970 and MA (English Language and Literature) from St Thomas College, Thrissur, in 1972. Soman Baby also holds an honorary Doctorate (DD) from Emmanuel Bible College from Hopegivers International, Kota, Rajasthan.


The man to approach in Bahrain the Indian Embassy or to contacting the echelons of power in Bahrain, if normal avenues fail, he holds profound and farreaching influence amongst non-resident Malayalees. Involved in spiritual and social work and community welfare, he tries to ameliorate

Socially committed body (Mr Soman Baby, who assumed office as the Global Chairman of the World Malayalee Council in 2008, replied to some questions asked by PASSLINE on the eve of the Seventh Global Conference of the organization. The following is an edited version of the interview): How do you evaluate the performance of WMC from its inception? The World Malayalee Council has been successful in creating a global network of Malayalees through its three-tier organizational structure, the global council, six regional councils and the provincial council (local chapters). WMC has 51 provinces. These are located in the US (7), Canada (1), Ireland, UK, Russia, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria,





After completing his master’s degree he joined the Malayala Manorama Kozhikode unit as a Subeditor, continuing there for more than three years. He then moved to the Palakkad unit as a Reporter.

According to him, the Gulf papers provide much freedom. If one learns to criticize creatively, the real problems faced by the community could be brought to the fore without really offending those in power, he says.



An alternative route to approaching

the lot of the expatriates through his philanthropic activities and highlights the problems faced by them through his writings in the newspaper.


One of the most popular Malayalees in the Middle East, Soman Baby is a welltravelled scribe, and is considered as the unofficial ambassador of Malayalees in Bahrain. Such is his renown that almost every member of the Malayalee community, which forms 70% of the 1.5lakh-strong Indian community, knows him personally, and approaches him even for minor help.

Mr Soman Baby speaking at a function organized by the KPCC ..............................................

In April 1978, Soman Baby joined the Gulf Daily News in Bahrain as a Subeditor and later moved to reporting. Now he is working as an Associate Editor there.

South Africa, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia (3), Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, UAE (4), India (9), Singapore, Australia (4) and Vietnam. WMC also has been very successful in its mission of getting involved in the socioeconomic development of Kerala through village adoption, employment projects, charity projects, river water quality monitoring and Altius. Many of the WMC provinces have conducted major charity promoting the

July 31-August 31, 2010

need for social commitment. What are the major contributions of WMC to Pravasi Malayalees in particular and Malayalees in general? WMC is not a Pravasi organization; it is an organization of all Malayalees born in Kerala, elsewhere in India and the rest of the world. Its major contribution is the formation of a global organization of Malayalees to create a global network of Malayalees and making it possible for Malayalees to maintain their identity for generations to come. WMC allows its chapters and regions to function within the framework of the Constitution of each country and work for the betterment of Malayalees. WMC also promotes the interest of non-resident Keralites (NRKs) to protect their rights. WMC provinces (local chapters) function as a helping hand to Malayalees in dealing with their issues to the local Government. Could you elaborate on your contributions to the organization since your election as Global Chairman? Since I became the Global Chairman, I could reactivate the council in many areas especially in the Middle East region and from more provinces (local chapters). I am instrumental in the project Altius creating globally competent and socially committed young generations of Malayalees in Kerala and elsewhere. I have visited several provinces and I help promote the mission of WMC. How far can WMC have creative involvement in the economic development of Kerala apart from the NRK remittances which are lying idle in the banks? If there are any projects please name them and give details. WMC could not do much in the economic development of Kerala mainly because it does not deal with Government agencies much. WMC is a nongovernmental organization (NGO) and is mostly involved in social programmes and projects. WMC has proposals to form a World Malayalee Centre in Kerala and create a training centre for entrepreneurship for young Malayalees. Norka-Roots has envisaged a rehabilitation programme for NRKs. Are you satisfied with the efforts being made by the Kerala Government for the welfare of NRKs? NORKA has been somewhat effective in helping the Gulf-returned Malayalees and creating welfare programmes for Pravasis. Some members who could drive the organization to new heights have left it abruptly and started a parallel one. As Global Chairman do you think there is an ideological clash existing in the organization? How do you plan to prevent people from leaving? The dissident group consists of less than ten members of WMC, who are mainly people who have been working against the mission of the organization and mostly interested in positions. There will be always some disruptive people in all organizations.




Needed—a network of global Malayalees

by Andrew Pappachen ....................................................................................................................................................

he mission of the World Malayalee Council (WMC) is to create a global Malayalee community able to communicate and cooperate with each other and continue the connection through generations so that Malayalee identity will live for ever around the world. When the WMC was formed on July 3, 1995 in New Jersey, US, on the last day of the first World Malayalee Convention, we declared this mission and adopted the WMC bylaws with a three-tier organization structure with a global council, regional councils and provincial councils (local chapters). Through networking and promoting programmes and projects to help fellow Malayalees in need, we start working towards the goal of creating a global Malayalee community. The WMC is perhaps the only such ethnic organization that connects people of similar heritage. Through formation of provincial councils wherever Malayalees reside, creating a global network, encouraging the next generation to join and implementing programmes and projects to help fellow Malayalees we can reach our goal. Why do we need a global community? Malayalees have formed Kerala associations and Malayalee samajams wherever they reside to preserve their culture and traditions and maintain social friendship. These Malayalee associations serve their

purpose locally, but when the new generation grows up, especially in a foreign country, they get absorbed to the local culture often forgetting the language and origin of Malayalees. In countries like Malaysia and Singapore, there are fourth- and fifth-generation Malayalees, in America, Africa and Europe there are second- and thirdgeneration Malayalees and in Australia there is a big flow of new migrant Malayalees. Often, after the third generation they lose connection with Kerala and the traditions. But their ethnic identity as a Malayalee will not fade away. If we can help these new generations maintain their identity and keep contact with the rest of the Malayalees around the world including those in Kerala and India, we can build a global community. The world has become much smaller in terms of communication and mutual cooperation in trade and commerce. Globalization has created emerging markets and opportunities for people to build their careers and businesses through international contacts. In every part of the world there are Malayalees and many have become successful in their professions and businesses in the countries where they reside. There are even many Malayalees in elected positions in democratic countries like the US, Canada, Germany and South Africa. The new

generation growing up will be much more involved in local communities. If we can create a network among global Malayalees, many of these successful professionals and entrepreneurs can interact and advance their careers and businesses in a global market. Malayalees will be playing an important role in the global economy. Unless these new-generation Malayalees are connected with each other and maintain their Malayalee identity, these young people will be lost and they will be denied their opportunities to live as proud Malayalees in this new world. In the US, where I have been living since 1973, the ethnic identity is very important. We are identified as Asians among the general public, as Indians among Asians and Malayalees among Indians. Our children know the difference between ‘other Indians’ and Malayalees and they are very proud of their Malayalee identity. I am sure that it is the same in other countries. As I have written, after the third generation, they usually lose their identity. I recently got photographs and paintings of my grandparents and great grandfather. When my daughter saw those, she very proudly created computer images, framed them and put them on the wall. Nobody wants to forget their identity. Therefore, we must not deny the new generation and their


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children the opportunity to maintain their identity as Malayalees and be proud of it. Malayalees very proudly elected Sashi Tharoor as a member of Parliament even though he never kept in touch with Kerala and Malayalees. We are proud when a Malayalee reaches fame in any part of the world. We must make sure our children, grandchildren and their children have the same feelings and become proud of being Malayalees. The WMC has the big


responsibility of creating the global Malayalee community and a network of young Malayalee professionals and entrepreneurs. Therefore, I urge you to work towards this ambitious goal and make it happen. Malayalees will be a known ethic group around the world and its members will be shining stars in the fields of science, technology, business and politics. Our next generation and the generations to come will be proud of their Malayalee identity and they will uphold the name Malayalee for ever. (Andrew Pappachen is one of the founders of the World Malayalee Council. He has served as WMC Global President (2000-2004) and Global Chairman (2004-2008). Architect of the WMC bylaws, Andrew migrated to the US in 1973.)

A meeting of minds

he forthcoming Doha conference of the World Malayalee Council is an important event in the annals of WMC. Our organization is spreading its wings widely. The various units across the world are doing yeoman services to society. The Kerala unit is seriously involved in youth training and waste management and the Tamil Nadu unit in health-related services like free heart surgery. The response to our activities is overwhelming. Let us keep the tempo and do our best to the people around us. It would be a great pleasure for me to be among our brethren at the meet. The meeting of minds will always bring out new and useful ideas. I look forward to participating in the meet. GOKULAM GOPALAN CHAIRMAN, ADVISORY COUNCIL, INDIA REGION

‘I derive satisfaction from all areas of my activity’


r A V Anoop, industrialist, film producer, real estate player and several others, has made a mark in all these fields. In the following interview he discusses his different roles and how he has fared in them. You are a multifaceted personality renowned as an industrialist, film producer, property developer, social worker, organizer and amateur dramatist, all rolled into one. Which of these sectors gives you the most satisfaction? Each sector is different in its own way. Basically I am a businessman and I am happy that I have employed more than 1,000 people, which gives me great satisfaction. I spend time on social work and drama during my time off and I enjoy organizing functions and doing charity. Under my chairmanship the World Malayalee Council Chennai Province organized a mega-eye donation campaign during which 3,19,952 eyes were received as donation from contiguous panchayats of Mannathoor in Ernakulam district. This has entered the Limca Book of Records which gave me a different kind of satisfaction. Drama-performing as a stage actor gives me immense pleasure and I enjoy it. As a film producer, this year I received the national and State awards which also gives me satisfaction. I am happy with all the areas in which I am involved. Being the first producer who won both the national and State film awards, do you feel that you have missed international recognition or awards? I don’t think that I am the first producer to win both awards. I entered the film industry during 2007 and have been getting awards from the same year. I feel there is still time to get more recognition. Had you at any time nurtured any ambitions in the field of the arts or in other fields and have they been fulfilled?

(An ISO 9001:2000 Certified Educational Institution)

Dr B S Krishnan di Shankara Institute of Science and Technology (ASIET) has become the most-sought-after institute in the technical education sector in Kerala. Established in 2001 at Kalady, ASIET has been providing value-added professional education with technical excellence and ethical values since the beginning. The college is run by Adi Shankara Trust, a registered trust which has carved a niche in the educational arena. ASIET offers BTech and MBA and is introducing MTech in Computer. The vision of ASIET is to provide a good environment for


My ambition when I entered the film industry was to make Yugapurushan to get international recognition in all aspects. As far as the quality of the movie is concerned my ambition has been fulfilled. A documentary film of yours has also won an award. Do you plan more documentaries? Yes. If I come across good subjects with social relevance I shall definitely do them. Some new faces have achieved fame and popularity through your films. Do you plan to introduce more newcomers in your future productions? My first film Pranayakalam had some new faces and my recent one Paleri Manikkyam– Oru Pathira Kolapathakathinte Katha produced jointly with Varnachithra Big Screen has 32 drama actors. All of them are getting good offers. As a mega-film producer, have you any suggestions for cost-cutting in film production? Do you think big-budget films are feasible in Malayalam? Are you for production of such films? There are no big-budget or low-budget movies. Some subjects require more elaborate arrangements and star cast. In Yugapurushan we had more than 40 big sets to show its historical importance. My upcoming movie Christian Brothers, produced jointly with Varnachithra Big Screen, is a multistarrer with Mohanlal, Sarath Kumar, Suresh Gopi, Dileep and Kavya Madhavan and is directed by Joshiy. Naturally the budget will be more for the production of such a film. You are an actor in your own right. Do you intend to further prove your histrionics in significant roles in future films? I am basically a stage artiste, and recently I acted in my movie Kadaksham. I am not interested in taking acting as my profession. But if any role comes to me which is apt for me I will take it up.

Dr Anoop receiving the ‘Rajat Kamal’ for the Best Film on Family Values (non-feature category) for Appuvin Nayagan (Tamil) from President Pratibha Patil in the presence of Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Minister of State S Jagatrakshakan. How do you think can those connected with the film industry—from story and script writers to lyricists— contribute to improving our films? Every individual in the film world can contribute to the betterment of the film and it is collective effort that brings out a good product. Personally I feel script writers have an important role and they are the people who can improve films. What suggestions can you offer to make the World Malayalee Council an organization with greater social commitment than it is today since you have been actively associated with the organization’s activities since its inception? The World Malayalee Council is the only global organization which has presence in every part of the globe and is contributing largely to the betterment of the Malayalee

community. I think WMC is moving in the right direction with projects like Altius. Do you think that Kochi’s infrastructure can afford to manage such a giant outfit as IPL Kochi and that the Kerala Cricket Association is competent enough to organize megatournaments here? To my knowledge cricket experts have made a detailed study and concluded that IPL matches can be hosted in Kochi and the Kerala Cricket Association is planning a new stadium with international standards for organizing mega-tournaments in the future. The Cholayil Group has now become a major player in its fields of activities. What plans do you have to develop the group and diversify activities? We have a lot of plans to diversify and grow. I think this is not the right forum to talk in detail about my business plans.

Dr S G Iyer

ASIET offers MTech in Computer Science too individuals to become technologically superior, socially committed, spiritually elevated and nationally responsible citizens. ASIET is the first new-generation engineering college to get the prestigious international standards certification, which is done by KPMG Quality Registrar and accredited by the Dutch Council of Certification for quality technical education. Approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and

affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University, the college is accredited with ISO 9001:2000 certification. The Adi Shankara Trust, established with the blessings of Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya Mahaswamikal of Sringeri Sarada Peetham and guided by the great vision of Adi Shankara, keeps the light burning for generations to come. It has been a pioneer for the last 50 years in catering to the growing demands of highly specialized science


July 31-August 31, 2010

graduates and technologists. The other institute run by the trust is Sree Sarada Vidyalaya, Kalady. The objectives of the trust include the bringing of excellence in the engineering, agricultural and medical fields by organizing higher education courses in these areas. The trust also desires to conduct educational institutions and hostels inspired by the ancient ‘gurukulas’. It stands for secular moral values, giving importance to Indian culture.

Popularizing Sanskrit education and in-depth study of Vedanta thought is another objective. ASIET is managed by Dr B S Krishnan, Managing Trustee, and headed by the electronics wizard, Dr S G Iyer, who is ably assisted by a group of young, dedicated and competent faculty. Can be contacted:

Ph: 0484-2463825, 2460497, 2463062, 2462341, Fax:2463828





12 With takeover threats off, Catholic Syrian Bank, the oldest private-sector bank in Kerala, is moving into a fresh growth trajectory. According to Mr V P Iswardas, MD and CEO, business has been steadily growing from the last quarter of 2009-10 at an envious pace in the entire banking sector. In an interview to PASSLINE, he discusses the various schemes of the bank for its clients and the steps he is taking to build it into a modern entity. Here is the edited version of the interview: V P Iswardas


hat are your immediate priorities and future plans for CSB as the new MD and CEO? We have set a business target of Rs 19,000 crore by March 31, 2011 and Rs 30,000 crore by March 2012. During the last quarter we have grown by an annualized rate of more than 75%. We expect to improve our performance this quarter. For maintaining profitability we are laying great focus on the CASA portfolio apart from aggressive asset growth. Currently we are having CASA at 25% of total deposits and we intend to increase it to 40% in a phased manner. For accelerated growth we have identified three key areas—leveraging on technology, branch expansion and development of human resources. Though you were part of CSB as General Manager, the bank is always in the news about its existence and identity. Do you have any specific plan or strategy to keep the entity as it is? The shackles of takeover are off and our workforce is more motivated than ever. We do not have any takeover threat. From the last quarter of 2009-10 our business has been steadily growing, that too at an envious pace in the entire banking sector. With the successful rights issue of shares, our capital base is well above the required minimum and we see our future promising. Our bank has been in existence for over 90 years and is the oldest existing private sector bank in Kerala. This unmatched legacy itself is a source of perennial energy for us to continue for ever. CSB is doing fairly well in the matter of performance by all parameters. Do you think it needs your specific attention in a particular area to make the performance better? Since I took charge as MD and CEO, CSB has moved to a new growth trajectory. All business parameters have been showing significant improvement and our marketing and monitoring mechanism has been geared up for sustaining this performance. Simplifying systems and procedures, initiatives for eliminating routine works at branches, product development and corporate brand building are some areas I will be focusing on. Another area of my specific attention will be development of human resources as this is the most critical element for success. Branch expansion is yet another area on my radar. Most of our banks especially newgeneration ones have achieved technological advancement. What is CSB’s record in this? Each and every bank has acquired CBS as an off-the-shelf item a la normal shopping;

CSB has thought about it differently. Ours is not a prefabricated product as many other banks have. It is a fresh, customized, tailormade product jointly developed by us along with a renowned software company. This provides flexibility in product designing and modifications as well as scalability. All branches are enabled with RTGS/NEFT facility. We have 151 ATMs. For providing doorstep banking to customers, we have set up mobile ATMs at selected locations. Our customers have the option of getting balances, transactions etc on their e-mails/mobile phones. We are issuing global debit cards in association with VISA and credit cards in association with SBI. We will be setting up banking kiosks very shortly. We are in the advanced stage of implementation of mobile banking and POS terminals. Internet banking based on hybrid architecture would also be enabled soon. Lowcost technology and ICT devices will be used for rolling out business correspondent/ facilitator models. The new-generation banks are vying with each other for fast business growth focusing on young workforces. Does this pose tough competition to scheduled banks like yours with staff having an average age of 50 years? Currently the average age of our staff is a little bit on the higher side. Detailed manpower planning is being undertaken taking into account our proposed branch expansion and upcoming retirements. We are currently working on a succession plan of identifying and training a pool of people for handling the key assignment. The comprehensive training to be imparted by a professional agency will cover hard and soft skills development and equip our second line to shoulder higher responsibilities. We have already recruited 200 officers for our North India and Western India branches. We plan to recruit another 200 immediately. For the first time we will be recruiting people directly from the colleges/ management schools. Tie-ups have been made with reputed B-schools/colleges for this. To retain these young talents and motivate employees we will be coming out with performance-based incentive schemes, fasttrack promotions based on performance and variable pay scales. The banking industry is witnessing a lot of mergers and tie-ups. In such a scenario how do you see the status of your bank? Thanks to the Great Global Recession of this century and the role played by financial behemoths in creating the crisis, I think the mood now is not in favour of large banks.


What are your projections for the current fiscal and will this quarter result corroborate your dream figures? We plan to grow by 65% in the current fiscal to take our deposit portfolio to Rs 11,500 crore and advance portfolio to Rs 7,500 crore. The Q1 performance had been quite satisfactory. Deposit and advance portfolios have shown impressive growth during the first quarter. How many NRI accounts do you have and what is your total NRI business? What is the percentage of NRE accounts vis-à-vis your total deposits?

July 31-August 31, 2010

We have more than a lakh NRI accounts. Being NRI-friendly has helped us to move on successfully in today’s highly competitive market. As a matter of fact I am proud to mention that almost a quarter of our deposit portfolio is contributed by NRIs. Do you have any specific products for NRIs? Have you any business offices abroad for them? One major service that is required by nonresidents is the fund transfer facility. For providing international fund transfer facility for our NRIs we have a tie-up with international money transfer service providers Money Gram, Xpress Money and Insta Cash. Arrangements have also been made with around 20 exchange companies and a few banks in the Middle East for providing remittance facility. Recently we launched the NRI quick remit support which makes remittances faster and safer. Added to these the recipient and beneficiary would be intimated about the transaction by way of cont page 72 SMS, totally free of cost.


NRKs—-shaping the State’s future K

eralites have been on the run, literally, for decades. Yes, lakhs of them have moved overseas and thousands have settled there accepting the citizenship of the countries they migrated to. Many have returned home after several years. But to whichever countries they had gone, they had made their contribution to the local culture and to the local economy.

Those who are returning are bringing with them the rich experience they had gained from their work or profession and rich rewards too, which they may not have been able to secure back home. Many are using their money to enrich the State’s economy and to help society’s downtrodden, in one way or another. And those who stay back are quick to assimilate the culture of the land they are in, at the same time keeping their own culture and way of life in tact. On the following pages of this issue, being brought out in


July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

connection with the Seventh Global Conference of the World Malayalee Council (WMC) taking place in Doha, Qatar, from July 28 to 30, 2010, PASSLINE profiles some of these people. They are only representative of the lakhs of non-resident Keralites (NRKs). The sketches however will, we are sure, provide an insight into the enterprising nature of these fortune-seekers who can shape Kerala’s future. They are indeed the pride of the State.



POLLY MATHEW ARAMPANKUDY Restoring natural body and mind rhythms


ulture, health, business and care for the environment. Rarely do they mix. But, Polly Mathew Arampankudy, the Chairman of Somatheeram Ayurvedic Beach Resorts near Kovalam in Thiruvananthapuram, has attained precisely that. A businessman to the core, Polly Mathew took upon the daunting task of erecting a resort of worldclass standards at the little-known place with hardly any support from others. Even before the Government explored the tourism possibility of such ventures, he established a resort that would ‘’restore natural body and mind rhythms.’’ Polly’s straightforward, sociable ways and shrewd business head raised it to prosperity, respect and international acclaim. How did he embark on such an adventure? While life was progressing as a successful supermarketer in Germany, he chanced upon an advertisement by a Sri Lankan firm claiming magical cures through ayurveda. It made him think about the scenario where others are exploiting our indigenous medicinal system for want of proper publicity and information. So, he decided to journey back to the old ways and principles. To the indigenous solutions and the rejuvenating therapy which thrived here long ago. It was not an attempt to fuse the old with the new but doing things precisely the same way it has been done for several centuries.

Soon, he started sending patients to Kerala on a regular basis. As the numbers began to swell, the system prevalent in Kerala during that period showed its inherent flaws. The doctors and the infrastructure were not equipped to cater to European taste and refinement, many European clients openly showing their displeasure which translated to heavy financial loss. This forced him to have a fresh look at his approach and business strategy, which finally culminated in the establishment of Somatheeram in 1990. He packaged ayurvedic therapy by blending the essentials favoured by Europeans like beach and avenues for relaxation, including yoga and a calm and quiet locale in addition to traditional setting by keeping brick and mortar structures to a bare minimum. They were presented with a truly invigorating and intoxicating adventure, which was lapped up wholeheartedly and he began to reap the rewards of his unconventional approach. The resort now boasts a super-deluxe granite bungalow (Sidhartha), four deluxe traditional Kerala

houses (Illam, Mana, Arappura and Tharavadu), ordinary traditional Kerala houses (Nalukettu) and several cottages catering to budget tourists. But, even the large-scale demand did not alienate him from the taste of European tourists. Wherever possible, he used wooden structures. Every single cottage or suite on the premises of Somatheeram has a unique legacy behind it. Most of them are careful reconstructions of traditional homes of Kerala. By employing the guardians of ayurveda (Parampariya Vaidyars) and ayurvedic doctors alike, he created a truly international resort. By consistently fostering close, long-term relationships with clients, his business continues to succeed and grow. The core competence and competitive advantage of Somatheeram spans several continents, finding thousands of takers. To cater to the wide taste he has recently launched another ayurvedic-beach combination, ‘Manaltheeram,’ close to Somatheeram. And to showcase ayurveda to the world, Somatheeram has brought a comprehensive CD on the system, the first in India. The State Government has recognized the efforts of this resort towards propagating and preserving ayurveda and presented it with the Kerala State Tourism Award during the past three years.

M R RAJAGOPALAN NAIR ‘We lack leaders of vision’


senior-level Executive in a financial institution in the UAE and a former CEO of an international commercial bank, M R Rajagopalan Nair from Edappally in Kochi is a highly qualified person: he is MA (Economics) with a PG in Personnel Management, a CAIIB (Certified Associate of the Indian Institute of Bankers) and a graduate in law. Though he has no business ventures in Kerala he believes that his home State is a wonderful place endowed with natural resources. He laments however that it is spoiled by corruption and a set of inefficient politicians. “Our leaders say that in tandem with the growth of the other parts of the country, Kerala also is growing and that it offers tremendous

opportunities. I think this is wishful thinking by the leaders. An analysis of the various industries and industrial estates which were there in Kerala will reveal that our State has the potential, but we lack leaders who lack the vision of a prosperous State. When the neighbouring States prosper, we are pushed back every year and I do not think the climate is ripe for any investment in Kerala,” says Nair.

According to him, Kerala’s main strength is its people— highly literate and mobile, hardworking in the right atmosphere. “They are highly successful outside their home State,” he says. “The main weakness is the corrupt political leaders in the State.” Like many expatriates, Nair also has a dream: “My dream is a wonderful Kerala devoid of these corrupt political parties and their leaders.” In contrast, the Government of the UAE is very concerned for its people and its prosperity. They have efficient administrative machinery and there is no scope for corruption. Rajagopalan Nair’s wife is a homemaker. Their only son has completed his engineering course now.

VINSON XAVIER PALATHINGAL Entrepreneur-cum-professional


ot all Indian pioneers trying their luck in the United States are job-seekers. Nor are they all entrepreneurs. Only a small percentage of expatriates have found themselves excelling in both entrepreneurship and professional careers. Vinson Xavier Palathingal belongs to the latter category. Armed with a BTech degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Calicut, Vinson went to the US in 1992 and took his MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Nevada there. His rise to the position that he occupies today has been meteoric. Vinson carried with him to the US the immense experience he gained back home at KITCO Ltd, Kochi, where he worked as Project Engineer and Consultant from 1989 to 1992. In 1995, Vinson joined Maryland State Highway Administration, Frederick, as Civil Engineer (Inspections). There he provided engineering inspection services on various

interstate highway construction projects and was involved in job scheduling. While working as IT Analyst/Programmer at the Metro Washington Council of Governments in Washington DC, Vinson played a key role in a team that redesigned, developed, implemented and fine-tuned COG’s existing water quality and waste water databases into a relational Oracle database, an environmental data depository for the DC Metro region. It was his stint at FannieMae, a Fortune 500 company, as Business Systems Technologist that perhaps paved the way, some time later, for his launching in 1998 of his own Amaram Technology Corporation at Falls Church. At PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

FannieMae he provided software development, testing and test automation services. In 2000, he played a key role in a testing effort, one of the most extensive in corporate US. As a highly successful and result-oriented entrepreneur, Vinson has been heading the operations since 1999 of Amaram as President and CEO. The firm provides systems design, embedded systems and socket programming, Web/software development, software testing, test automation, quality assurance, data warehousing, data analysis and data base management consulting to major corporations in the Washington DC Metro area. Its major clients include FreddieMac, FannieMae, the Department of Labour, MCI Worldcom and Manugistics. Amaram has a back office at Kadavanthra in Kochi. Vinson was Secretary of the Kerala Association of Greater Washington (KAGW). Asha is his wife and Xavier and Stephen are their children.






ANTONY PANAKAL Marketing expert

rmed with a BSc (Biology) degree and a Business Management Diploma, Antony, who hails from Cherthala in Alappuzha district, migrated to Switzerland in 1981 and took a Swiss Federal Diploma in Marketing Management. He is a member and executive committee member of the Swiss Marketing Club and executive member of the Merchants Association, Giubiasco. He became Export Key Account Manager of Chocolat Bernrain AG/Chocolat Stella SA in Switzerland, his job involving the looking after of the export marketing of chocolate products in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia, plus key customers in other countries, eg India, Japan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. Antony would only be happy to participate in Kerala’s development and has no doubt about the potential for the State’s growth. But growth is “subject to a stable and dynamic government”, he says. He wants the present Government to look into issues of economic progress setting aside political gains. His future plans include business development back home in India. He appreciates the work carried on by the World Malayalee Council. Cicily, his wife, is a staff nurse specialized in oncology. Of his three children, Arun is a biotechnologist and Anupa a law graduate. Ajay is the third.


oban Idicula Oonni Idicula’s is a rags-toriches story. His father, who was a gold merchant and a Thiruvalla municipal councillor, died when he was just 10 months old. The family lost everything and Boban’s mother had a harrowing time bringing up her seven children—five girls and two boys. She however toiled hard. With great difficulty Boban completed his SSLC course. He pursued an air-conditioning engineering diploma course later, at the same time studying accountancy, typewriting and telex and telephone operation. After he completed the air-conditioning course, he went to Mumbai and worked in different companies till 1981. His fortune took a favourable tide with his arrival in Bahrain in June 1981. He joined General Air-condition as Site Supervisor and slowly started getting promoted. He became General Manager of the company later. For a long time he was Liaison Representative of the Indo-Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industries from Mumbai to Bahrain and was VicePresident of the Indian Worldwide Chamber of Commerce, which is a World Malayalee Council wing, located in Chennai. Through these and his contacts, Boban had helped a lot of Indian companies to come into Bahrain to set up branches there. He was also a committee member of the Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam during 1991-93 and 1995-96, VicePresident of St Peters Church twice and committee member for three times. He occupied the position of Honorary Secretary of the Indian Fine Arts Society, Bahrain, for three years and then was its Vice-President.

GEORGE ABRAHAM Promoter of trade and business

orn and brought up in Singapore, George Abraham has served in various capacities with the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Singapore Federation of Chambers of Commerce and the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Chairman and Managing Director of G A Group Pte Ltd, which organizes country-focused seminars, conferences and publications, and Global Indian

Business Network Ltd, which assists cross-border trade and investment within Singapore, India and other regions, Abraham serves on various Government, civic and community organizations and launched the Global Indian Summit in 2006. As the Regional Representative and Adviser of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the apex private sector body in India with over 500 regional chambers and more than 2,50,000 of the largest Indian corporate companies as members, he has promoted FICCI’s interests in Singapore and the region. As the representative of the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Georgia, he was responsible for the development and intensification of economic and trade relations

VADAKKE ANAVANGOT GOPINATH ‘Would love to be back home’


Involved in charitable activities, Boban is a respected Indian among the locals and knows several leaders there. He was the Vice-President and Chief Coordinator for the Charity Fair 2002 conducted under the banner of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, which was a grand success. The show collected 46,000 Bahrain dinars for needy Palestinians. He was also instrumental in bringing into Bahrain a centre of the Kerala Institute of Medical Science (KIMS) Hospital,a 500-bedded hospital in Thiruvananthapuram with 300 doctors and paramedical staff. The KIMS unit is functioning in Bahrain now. Boban is associated with Access International (civil, electrical and mechanical contractors), Access Tech Division (latex work, duct fabrication and winding works), France Aluminium (aluminium fabricators) and the KIMS Bahrain Centre; Hilton Garage and MTM Marketing and Management Consultants. Though he is doing well in Bahrain, he is interested in developing Kerala. But he feels that the State lacks the leadership which can make its people work for the country. “To make Kerala globally competitive, we must try to stop the almost-daily hartals and strikes. We also have the unusual practice of changing governments every five years, so there is no continuity”, he says. Born in 1954 at Kavumbhagam, near Tiruvalla, Boban is married to Joanita of Goa, a housewife. Brenda is their daughter and Jason son.

adakke Anavangot Gopinath, a 1984-batch Commerce graduate from Calicut University, began his career in the same year in Mumbai. In 1991 he migrated to Muscat and in 1997 shifted to Qatar, presently working as Assistant Reinsurance Manager in a national insurance company there. Gopinath considers his home country as ‘my blood’ and ‘being an insurance professional would love to be back there if an opportunity arises’. He thinks that there is ‘too much freedom of speech’ in our country. “Real workmanship, however, is not up to the mark and that stands in the way of Kerala’s

growth”, he says. Comparing Kerala with other countries is not easy, he says. “There are problems in business and industry because of the involvement of trade unions. I am against too many demands by workers for benefits. What Kerala should do is to create a congenial atmosphere for industrial growth so that we can build a better Kerala and a better tomorrow.” Sincerity and hard work will decide our destiny, he says. Gopinath’s wife Jothi is a homemaker. Their daughter Amrutha is pursuing the CA course and son Abhishek is studying in the 10th standard. PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

between Georgia, Singapore and the region. He is also Charter Member, Director and Company Secretary of Indus Entrepreneurs Limited, Singapore, an organization for effective networking and mentoring of budding entrepreneurs linked to the parent body in TiE in Silicon Valley, US. Abraham bagged the GOPIO Award 2007 for rendering public service to the Indian diaspora. His wife is Grace, a medical practitioner, and they have four children. Of them Anne Marie is a BA in Journalism from Manash University, Ajit is working for Singapore Airlines, Aimee has completed a course in Globalization Studies at Gettysburg College, US, and Ajay has completed a Business Administration course from Singapore Polytechnic. Abraham’s father hails from Kozhenchery.

MATHAI JACOB Doing business in Nigeria


athai Jacob, who is doing business in Nigeria, is a native of Kundara. An MA LL B with a DAM, he is a member of the trade organization there. At present he has no business ventures in Kerala. “I am yet to decide on whether to start one,” he says. His opinion about Keralites: educated but not humble. But he says the State has scope for tourism, though it is not good for business. “Other States are better for starting business.” His wife is a full-time social worker and works for the less privileged. They have two children, a daughter and a son.



RAYMOND PILLAY Making a mark in hospitality


he Pillay Group of Hotels and Restaurants owns four hotels and two restaurants in Australia, where Raymond Pillay, the group’s Managing Director, came in 1990. Today his is one of the leading business houses among Keralites in that country. Pillai, who hails from Changanassery and has a Hotel Management degree, and his wife Shyla, who is a partner in the business and is also ‘well equipped’ for the profession, assert that their business is running very well. Pillay is a Member of Commerce of Hawkesburg Sydney and several other organizations.

GEORGE KAKKANT Behavioural health services provider


psychotherapist, practising psychiatry in Houston Metro area, US, Captain George Kakkanatt is the CEO of Georgian Health Concepts, a healthcare organization providing services in different areas in behavioural health. He had also served as a Captain of the United States Air Force. Hailing from Kallooppara, Thiruvalla, he is an MA (Literature) and MSW. He later enrolled for PhD in Clinical Psychology. Very active in the socio-political arena in the US, he has organized, conducted and led many activities. A Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work, he is the World Malayalee Council’s Global General Secretary and is a former Chairman for Houston Province and Chairman of the WMC’s World Malayalee Business Directory and Mail. He had also held the position of Global Vice-President Administration of WMC and of General Secretary, Pushpagiri Medical Foundation. He is a founder and member of the Board of Directors, American Association of Indian Social Workers (AAISW), a founding member and first Regional Secretary, WMC America Region and is the recipient of several awards and recognitions for his outstanding service in the field of professional and community activities. George thinks that Kerala has great potential for development, but has inherent and intricate hurdles to overcome. He believes that even though Kerala has got many strong points like human resources, culture and religious harmony, the weak points like laziness, unwillingness to change, political interventions etc hinder its development. People everywhere easily adapt to changes and that is the core point of development and growth. He resides in Sugar Land with his wife Sally and children Rejoy, Richie and Renji.

“I am greatly interested in Kerala’s progress but nothing works out either from banks or the sellers. The latter overprice their products and I can’t make up my mind. I have been trying to buy something for the last six years”, says Pillay to a question whether he is interested in investing in Kerala. ”I already have some investments in the State and in Mumbai (worth about Rs 3.5 crore), but would like to expand this”, he adds. ”I am looking for the right move on any business, preferably hotels, as, you see, that is my profession”. Kerala, according to Pillay, is not poised for growth. Growth should have happened much earlier. However, he feels that the new generation has a positive attitude to problems of development and growth. Says Pillay: “My future plans include the opening of a hotel in Kerala and expansion of my business in Australia”.

JOSEPH MELOOKARAN Leader of Asian Americans


oseph Melookaran is a member of Presidents Commission of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Besides he is President of JMA Chartered, a professional services firm specializing in information technology, financial services and healthcare solutions. He has served the IRC Board several terms since 1993. He has also served as Chairman of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Kansas City, Trustee of India Association of Kansas City and a Commissioner with White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Melookaran hails from Koratty, and before migrating to the US had founded the Peninsular Capital Company of Kochi.



r Sebastian Devasiya Asiananda, Professor of Philosophy at Intercultural Open University, Netherlands, and holder of its ‘Sri Aurobindo Chair for Human Unity’, obtained his PhD from Calicut University on ‘Indian Writings in English’ and DrPhil from Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany, on ‘US-South Asian Relations 1942-1963’. He was Lecturer (197292) at a German technical university, Fachhochschule, Bocholt. Asiananda’s encounter with Rajiv Gandhi in 1988 moved him to dedicate his life to India’s service: “building up the India of our dreams…in a nonviolent and nuclear-free world”. He moved to New Delhi in 1991. His arrival at the Mumbai airport on May 21 at 10.30 pm happened to coincide with the news of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. After that he devoted himself to serious writing:

Whither India? Whither Human Future?? (1995); Redefining Indian History—on the Millennium Paradigm of Bharatiyata (1999); Nuclear Subcontinent— Calling for a Confederative Remaking of United Nations (2000), co-authored with Prof Jan R Hakemulder, Chancellor of the Intercultural Open University (Netherlands); Healing the Subcontinent— an Indepth Psychoanalysis of Partition and Kashmir, coauthored with Prof V T Patil, the then Vice-Chancellor of Pondicherry University (2002), and A Corrective Reading of Indian History—Jinnah (2005).

DR THOMAS ABRAHAM Father figure of Greater Indians


hile India has a population of over one billion, Greater India (‘GI’ in geographical sense) consisting of People of Indian Origin (PIO) living outside Indian borders has 22 million. India’s GDP (wealth) is $850 billion but the total wealth held by the 22 million PIOs in other countries is much more, an estimate putting it at $1,000 billion. Obviously, this is because the PIO population includes people like Lakshmi Mittal, Lord Swraj Paul etc. It is to this numerically smaller but richer Greater India that GOPIO, established in 1989 by Dr Thomas Abraham, addresses its agenda of the global Indians networking together, and enriching themselves, India and the world. Today a number of Indian urban centres have GOPIO units. Two years ago, President Pratibha Patil conferred India’s prestigious Pravasi Award on Dr Thomas Abraham, along with Dr Joy Cherian of the US. It is Dr Thomas 0Abraham who perceived the need for creating a global network of PIOs first, an initiative comparable with the one of Mahatma Gandhi in forming the African Indian Congress for the PIOs of PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

Indian origin in his time in South Africa. And it is not mere coincidence that the initial work of GOPIO related to human right violations affecting Indians in Fiji in 1990 and later involved the holding of an international conference on human rights in November 2004 in New York. It is for this historic and visionary initiative that Dr Thomas Abraham transforms himself into a parental figure of the Greater India and Greater Indians. GOPIO has today units in 19 countries and 25 chapters in various urban centres. The scope for its further growth is great considering other countries in which it has still to establish its presence. After giving the global umbrella of GOPIO to the PIOs, Dr Thomas Abraham provided numerous other avenues for the people of Indian origin such as Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Centre (1993); Jagdish Bhagwati Chair for Indian Political Economy at Columbia University (1992-2000); National Indian American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) (1998); South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) (2000) and the Indus Nanotechnology Association (TINA) (2007). Before establishing GOPIO, Dr Thomas Abraham had started the Federation of Indian Association (FIA) of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in 1977 and the National Federation of Indian-American Associations (NFIA) in 1980.



GOPALA PILLAI Doing good to society


he spirit of doing something good for society is ingrained in Gopala Pillai’s blood. This is not surprising because the former World Malayalee Council (WMC) Global President’s love for social activities started at an early age when he was a schoolboy through the All-Kerala Balajana Sakhyam. It is no wonder, again, that he later came to occupy positions that would be the envy of many. Though he successfully manages an own home healthcare agency in Dallas, Texas, in the US, Pillai is associated with a legion of organizations there. Born and brought up at Thekkemala, Kozhenchery, Pillai graduated in Economics from Dayal Singh College and in Journalism

from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, both in Delhi. Later he took a degree in Computer Science from Wayne State, Detroit, Michigan, US. Gopala Pillai came to the US in 1975. He was in Detroit for five years; in Houston, Texas, for two years; in Sarasota, Florida, for another two years; and in Dallas, Texas, for 22 years. Starting his career as a Computer Operator in 1975, he became a Junior Programmer in 1978 and worked in all departments—systems design, development, programming, implementation and data warehousing. Pillai had been associated with the Delhi Malayalee Association while he was in that city, the Kerala Association, Detroit, the Houston Malayalee Association, the Kerala Association, Dallas (of which he was President twice), and FOKANA in the early stages and the WMC in various capacities since its inception. He is associated with the Dallas Indians’ Lions Club, Board of Trustees of India Association of North Texas,



chamma Chadersekaran, endearingly called ‘Acamma Teacher’ by all, was a teacher in India before migrating to the US. She reached the US with a full scholarship to do her undergraduate studies. After taking her BA in English from Barat College, Lake Forest, Illinois, in 1966, she got a Master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Illinois. She then went back to college and got an MBA in Finance from Drexel University in 1977. Achamma worked for the US Department of Communication in several posts for 24 years and travelled to many countries in the Middle East, the Far East, South America and South Africa as an International Trade Specialist for Education Training Services as one of the best anywhere in the world. She has been active in the Indian American and Asian American communities to impress upon the members the importance of political involvement in influencing policy decisions by elected officials and working together, not as spectators of, but as participants in, the political process. As national President of the Indian American Forum for Political Education (Forum) (Link) and National Chair of the Asian American Voters Coalition (AAVC), she made both organizations stronger by establishing several State Chapters and by successfully inviting the secondgeneration ethnic organizations to become members of AAVC. While she was President of the Forum, she took the initiative and laid the groundwork to establish a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi in Washington, D C. Mrs Chandersekaran was co-translator, along with Dr R E Asher, of three novels by Vaikom Mohammed Basheer for the UNESCO Programme of Representative Works. The book Me Grandad Had an Elephant!, published by the Edinburgh University Press in 1980 and by Penguin India in 1995, was well received in India and elsewhere. It includes two more stories, Pathumma’s Goat and Childhood Friend along with the title story. Mrs Chandersekaran has a first solo translation project, Daughters of Kerala. The book is the published form of a paper on Women’s Contribution to Malayalam Literature which was presented at the second World Malayalam Conference held in Washington, D C in 1985. It discusses the contributions of three women writers—Lalithambika Antharjanam, Mary John Thottam and Madhavikkutty. The authors were chosen for their different styles and themes.

which serves 60,000 Indians in the area, and the Asian American Chamber of Commerce. Gopala Pillai is keenly interested in Kerala’s growth. “I could see considerable growth in the State politically, socially and economically. The WMC itself has undertaken a project to develop and build a global village in Kerala that will accommodate the needs of non-resident Keralite repatriates and I would definitely have my stake in it”, he says. Gopala Pillai, however, says that Kerala has to catch up with the rest of the country as it has been left far behind other States. “Our Government should give unconditional support to foreign investors and promise them security to stay in business without labour union troubles”, he adds. His wife Santha is a registered nurse. Their daughter, Dr Saji, is married to Kesavan Nair, a computer consultant from Palakkad. Dr Sanjay is their son.

DR JOY CHERIAN Recipient of Pravasi Samman


mong the numerous eminent Pravasis, the name that one can’t omit is that of Dr Joy Cherian. He is the man who received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman on January 8, 2008 at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi from President Pratibha Patil. The award was for guiding US business missions to India and for public service. Later in the year he also got the high-profile India Abroad Lifetime Award for Service to the Community in New York. Dr Joy is the first Asian American and first Indian American Commissioner at the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). He was appointed by President Ronald Regan in 1987 in what was seen as a milestone. After serving his time as Commissioner, he founded and was President of a consulting firm, J Cherian Consultants Inc (JCC), established in September 1993. JCC is a Government relations firm specializing in international trade in services with its focus on corporate activities of insurance companies abroad. He is a former Director of International Insurance Law at the American Council of Life

Insurers (ACLI), Sub-Cabinet-Level Presidential appointee in the United States Government, Chairman of the Committee on International Insurance Law of the Section of International Law and Practice, American Bar Association (ABA), founder and President of the American Council for Trade in Services (ACTS), a non-profit trade association, and the founder and President of the Association of Americans for Civic Responsibility (AACR), a non-profit organization. He has five university degrees, including two Master’s in legal studies, and a PhD in International Business Law with a minor in Political Science and a collateral concentration on Asian countries. Cherian is also the author of a number of published works including two books, a law manual and dozens of articles on various topics relating to the international insurance business. He hails from Kochi.

AMAL FABIAN Consultant, entrepreneur



mal Fabian from Kochi is an international consultant and global entrepreneur based in Bucharest, Romania. Amal has a Master’s in International Studies from John Hopkins University, Washington, D C, and an MBA from European School of Economics, Rome. He graduated from St Xaviers, Mumbai.Amal was Chief Executive of Giovanni, an apparel manufacturing unit in Tajikistan, and worked for Carrera, US, in Washington, D C. He was a consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and served AT Kearney as summer associate. Amal was also Director, Crafts and Looms International, Bucharest, Romania. A linguist, he knows, besides Malayalam, English, Hindi, Russian, Italian, Spanish and French. PASSLINE

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erry Anthony is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa, US, a Carnegie Class I research university. With a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University, US, a Master’s in Town Planning from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, and a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Government College of E n g i n e e r i n g , Thiruvananthapuram, Prof Anthony was named a HUD Urban Scholar by the National Research Council of the US in 2001. He came to the US in 1996 and lives with his wife and two children—both boys—in Iowa City, Iowa.






eneral Secretary of the Organizing Committee as well as General Secretary of the Qatar Province of the World Malayalee Council, Biju John Njondimakal migrated to Qatar in 1992 and has been a resident there since. Interested in social activities, career guidance, public speaking, debating and literature, the Idamattam (Pala)-born Biju John, an MBA, is presently General Manager, Mediterranean Shipping Company (Qatar) WLL, Doha. He is President, UPAKAR Qatar (Unity of Pala and Kaduthuruthy Residents in Qatar). Nostalgic about Kerala, normal for any expatriate Keralite who has been living outside his State for many years, Biju John, however, feels “sorry and disappointed about the unfulfilled potential of my beloved State.” Kerala, he says, has great potential to be a truly wonderful destination for business and tourism, provided a paradigm shift takes place in the people’s attitude. “Why are we Keralites so negative about anything and everything? I wonder if I have already started worrying about my retired life in Kerala, when I come across the many happenings there,” he says. Is he ready to come back and start a venture in Kerala? “Yes, my preferred area will be the tourism sector. We need to bring in more professionalism into our business ventures in Kerala,” Biju John says.

KARIPPUR NANDA KUMAR Core industry reasearcher

core industry researcher, Dr Karippur Nanda Kumar involves himself actively with the World Malayalee Council’s activities. He was General Convener of the Sixth WMC Global Conference held in Singapore in 2008. As a senior executive in the public sector in Singapore, he works closely with Singapore’s research institutes, universities, industrial players and industrial associations. Dr Kumar strongly believes in the culture of creating self-help groups for the development of society and industry. In his official capacity he was involved in the formation of two associations in Singapore called Broadband Media Association, an association of broadband media companies and Internet access providers, and Association of Information Security Professionals, an association of professionals practising in IT security. Dr Kumar graduated from the elite Indian Institute of Technology Delhi with a Master’s and a PhD in computing. He has over two decades of experience in R&D, software development, project management, IT training and industry development. He was the Vice-President of the Organizing Committee of the first-ever Asia Pacific Malayalee Conference in Singapore in 2004 and has been associated with WMC for more than a decade now, having once held the post of Regional President of the council (Asia Pacific and Australia Region). Dr Kumar is married to Usha, an accounting professional. They have two children.

What, according to him, are the strengths and weaknesses of Kerala? Says Biju John: “An educated working class ready to work hard anywhere outside Kerala is our strength, the natural beauty of our land is our strength. Our attitude to problems is our weakness: critical mentality, unwillingness to accept changes, pessimistic views and lack of initiative.” Biju John says the quality of life in Qatar is much superior to that in Kerala. The Government promotes business and is keen to make maximum use of the available natural resources. The progress achieved by Qatar in the last 10 years is much higher than the world average. The country benefits from the vision of its rulers. “I feel sorry for Kerala. We suffer in Kerala because of the lack of a long-term vision by our leaders. We do not value our blessings, remain inactive and criticize everything.” Caroline is his wife. They have two children, Emil and Elaine

ALEX PALLICKAL KURIEN Nostalgic about Kerala


lex P Kurien is so nostalgic about Kerala that he is beyond words to describe his home State. And like every Malayalee residing abroad Alex is also wistful when thinking about his native land, Mallappally West, Pathanamthitta. After completing his bachelor’s degree in Journalism, MA and a Diploma in Public Relations and Advertising, Alex migrated to Oman in 1983. By profession he is a journalist in Muscat with the Government-owned Oman Daily Observer. Alex thinks that Kerala has ample job and investment opportunities, especially in tourism. Also he finds that it is rich in human resource and verdant scenic beauty. But he is not at all confident of launching any venture in the State. Kerals’s main drawbacks are inter-party and intra-party disputes and influence of bad politics, he says. When he compares Kerala and Oman, he finds that in Oman there is no power or water shortage and there are no strikes. Fuel prices are very low, there are no traffic jams, and the nationals are very friendly. The Omani Government is very keen to boost investments in the country. It has also initiated several incentives for foreign investors, especially in tourism—a booming sector. Alex’s wife Elizabeth is also working in the same newspaper.



inuMalayil Tharian Thomas is running part of a business established in Uganda, East Africa, by his uncle P K Kuruvilla, who started his career there way back in 1953. Kuruvilla forayed into the travel and tourism and insurance sectors in Uganda and in 1991 launched Computer Point Ltd. So when Binu, belonging to the Malayil family of Punnackadu, Kozhenchery, in Pathanamthitta district, completed his BA History course from St Thomas College, Kozhenchery, and later took a Diploma in Computer Management and another in Hotel Management, his obvious destination was Uganda. Arriving there in 1995, Binu started his career with Computer Point. After he spent five years in different positions in that country the management decided to open a unit in the neighbouring Rwanda, Central Africa. With his experience and the guidance he received from the management, Binu was given the full rights to run the company. Thus in 2001, it started operations with a staff of just five. Today Computer Point has turned into a topclass firm with a lot of expertise (there are expatriate and local experts on the staff) and business partnerships with world-class companies like HP, Microsoft, Avaya and APC. Computer Point concentrates on ICT (information, communication and technology) development. It is poised to achieve the 2020 vision for Rwanda with manpower of 28 fulltime employees and more than 20 casual labourers. Though most of his time is taken up for developing business, Binu is part of the World Malayalee Council having once been VicePresident, Public Relations-Africa Region. He is also associated with the Rwanda Information PASSLINE

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Technology Authority (RITA) for developing ICT requirements and achieving Rwanda’s Vision 2020. RITA is now working on establishing an ICT park, the first of its kind in East and Central Africa, which would provide a platform for facilities and services to develop ICT firms, aimed at making Rwanda a middle-income country by 2020. While agreeing that momentous developments are taking place in India with multinational companies wanting to establish their presence, Binu says that when it comes to Kerala things are a bit discouraging. There are major threats to development. Retirement age should be fixed for politicians as in the case of civil servants and young and enthusiastic people found to lead the State. Only this will ensure its development. We should also elect the right people irrespective of their caste/religion. And they should be people with vision and ideas. “I am sure one day I will establish some business in Kerala as it is our State and we must do something for it”, says Binu; “As of today my plan is to concentrate on what I am doing with my business partners in this part of the world. We have established an ICT exporting company in Dubai targeting Africa and we have plans to develop it further. The group also intends to take up more challenges and establish links in Europe and Asia”, he says. Mary Elizabeth, Binu’s wife, is working. Their firstborn, Cyril Malayil Tom, is a student. The second child is Cerine Mellissa.



M V P BABU Success due to hard work, sincerity


V P Babu of Irinjalakuda in Thrissur district reached Bahrain in 1977. Babu was honest, sincere and ready to work under any conditions—the recipe, perhaps, for his enviable success. “Today’s Bahrain has no resemblance to what it was then. It was literally a desert. There was only one high-rise building, the Hilton Hotel”, says Babu. “I left home with an offer of a secretarial job but when I reached here I was appointed in a construction company. The promised salary was 200 Bahrain dinars. But I got only 50 BDs. There was no drinking water. We were using salt water for everything. Humidity was at its peak during those days and there were no


The company now has three apartments which it took on lease and lets them on daily and monthly rental basis. According to Babu, apartment and villa rental business is lucrative in Bahrain since the country is a tourist destination having few restrictions. The Star Group of Companies now provides employment for 600 people, 75% of whom are Malayalees. It has also forayed into human resource outsourcing. Its major clients include Citibank, Gulf Air and American Express. The group’s HR division scrutinizes the CVs of candidates and submits the list to companies. The group does not charge anything from candidates for its service. A service charge is collected from the companies. Unlike other NRI businessmen, Babu is positive about investment in Kerala. He is waiting for the completion of his children’s education. His wife Shyla is from Thrissur. The couple have two children, Sherin and Shana.

JOHNSON JOSEPH MANJOORAN Catering for Arab tastes

ohnson Joseph Manjooran’s Rainbow Catering LLC in Sharjah is unique. It caters for Arab tastes, that is, Arab weddings. No room service, no 24-hour front desk—just catering, tailored mainly to a particular class. But his business is billed as one of the hospitality industry’s hottest properties. Arab marriages are unique, with plenty of colour and music accompanying them. They are traditional and performed in temporarily built air-conditioned halls. Peculiarly, Arab weddings are attended only by women. It is Johnson who literally is the main organizer of the function, building air-conditioned tents, furnished with carpets, providing everything else, including


air-conditioners. My first appointment was as a supervisor at a construction site, for which I was totally unfit”, he reminisces. “In 1978, I joined another company, which was engaged in cleaning and maintenance for which the Gulf countries had a penchant. Our boss was a foreigner and the Managing Director a Bahraini, Fahad Hassan Tharradah. Incidentally, he (Fahad) is the Director of my present company, Star Cleaning and Maintenance Services”, says Babu. Babu soon learnt all the intricacies of the business. But, the company was not sailing smoothly. “We had a drastic financial crunch. Our initial capital was a paltry 2,000 BDs. The hardships we faced those days were indescribable. My director quit and I alone had to manage the company for more than a year”. “But slowly we flourished”, remembers a beaming Babu. “We added interior decoration, landscaping, pest control etc to our services”.

catering, under one of the most popular brand names in the Arab world. Rainbow Catering is the only Indian firm doing this business in the UAE. Johnson, who hails from the famous Manjooran family of Njarackal, near Kochi, came to Sharjah in 1975 after getting a year’s experience in the hotel industry in Mumbai. He worked in Sharjah for three years. In 1978, he started

Rainbow Steak House, along with a Keralite partner. In 1991, they parted company and Johnson launched his own venture with the same name. Johnson’s success in the field enabled him to launch three more ventures in Sharjah—The Grand Buffet, Rainbow Catering and Camah Vegetarian Restaurant. He also started two ventures in Abu Dhabi—Al Fanan Mills and Training LLC and Al Fanan Foodstuff and Training LLC. Al Fanan imports Basmati rice from India and Pakistan for local sale. Johnson is ably supported by his wife Sobha and two daughters—Maya and Deep.

RAMACHANDRAN V K Businessman from agriculturist family

t may be paradoxical that Ramachandran Vallathkunnummal who belongs to an ancient agricultural family of Vadakara, Kozhikode, strayed into business. Running a freight forwarding and construction company in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with offices in Dammam, Jeddah and Dubai, Ramachandran has three brothers and one sister, all doing different businesses. Ramachandran already had some business background when he arrived in Riyadh in 1977. His Commerce degree also perhaps aided him in starting the business, which, he says, is going on smoothly with a group of dedicated, hardworking workforce from different parts of the world. He and his family back home have some trading business (marble, wholesale and retail, and a dairy farm) at Vadakara. In early 2008, they started

an IT firm, Globees dot Com, in Bangalore with a branch office in Kochi. “In my opinion, Kerala is a blessed land for new entrepreneurs with tremendous opportunities and quality human resources. Unnecessary interruptions of work at business establishments by trade unions with strikes, hartals etc should be controlled. Road infrastructure should be developed, which in turn would save valuable time and cost relocation. An equally important thing is that uninterrupted supply of electricity should be ensured”,

Ramachandran says about Kerala’s poor show in the industrial field. The ruling Left Democratic Front, he says, should drop the traditional detest of new technology and development. It (the LDF) should think globally and create a better atmosphere to attract foreign investment. “All NRIs are keen to invest in their homeland. But the Government and the departments concerned should create a pleasant atmosphere with a liberal approach to attract investments with minimum red tape (legal formalities) and maximum cooperation”, he says. Ramachandran has a plan to invest in the tourism and hospitality industries in Kerala “if the climate permits”. Mrs Girija Ramachandran is a homemaker. Their eldest son Ragin is a BTech. Nikle, the second child, and Kevin, the third, are students.

THOMAS JACOB A man with newspaper techniques


homas Jacob has joined IFRA as Deputy CEO and Managing Director in charge of the Greater Asia Pacific Region. He will be based in Singapore. He is an MBA with high honour from the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business. As a summa cum laude, he was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the US based honour society for management. He is a trained engineer in electronics and telecommunications, having graduated with distinction from the Karnataka Regional Engineering College. He also underwent advanced studies in computer networking at ICIS, Singapore The new MD, an industry veteran, has been active in the Asian media scene for over 24 years.

Prior to joining IFRA, he worked for Associated Newspapers Limited, publisher of Daily Mail and Metro in the UK, As the International Development Director, he conceptualized a compact midmarket newspaper for India and initiated a JV with the India Today Group to launch the new newspaper, Mail Today. Jacob is not new to the IFRA world either. Before joining ANL, he established IFRA’s presence in Asia where he set up the two PASSLINE

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subsidiaries IFRA Asia and IFRA India. He started the Chinese edition of IFRA’s former newspaper techniques, brought out the Asian Newspaper Directory and successfully launched the Publish Asia conference Expo and the Asian Media Awards events during his previous tenure with IFRA. Born and brought up in Kochi, India, Thomas Jacob is the son of Prof. K C Jacob, the former professor of Economics at the Sacred Heart College, Kochi. He now lives in Singapore with his wife and two children. An avid golfer, he also enjoys sweating out at the badminton court. However, on longer breaks, he says that he would rather spend his time enjoying the nature at the national parks and forests.



KATTIKULAM BHARATHAN For him Paris is second home


or Kattikulam Bharathan, France, nay, its capital Paris, is home from home. He frequents the world’s fashion city so often that it has become part of his psyche. When Bharathan, son of Purathissery (Irinjalakuda) Kattikulam Kumaran and Kalyani, ventured into business more than four decades ago the going was not smooth. He never went to a business school. Nor did he have any college education. He had nothing, really, except the will and desire to build something that he could call his own. Thus was born ‘Kumar Diffusion’, the outlet for Bharathan’s legendary drive (‘diffusion’ in French means ‘distribution’). Named after his father and situated in the heart of Paris, the showroom displays and sells the garments that French, Italian and German professionals design for Bharathan. In the modern, palatial house Bharathan has built at Kizhuthani, an Irinjalakuda suburb, you feel the presence of clothes designed in Europe and

manufactured entirely in North India. Why North India, not Kerala? “These cannot be made in Kerala, especially the printing is difficult. Cost also is very high in our State. Moreover fashion stuff cannot be delayed. They have to be in Paris within 60 days of receipt of orders. And delivery in Kerala is not prompt”, he says. He has his distribution outlet too, supplying goods to others and arranging exhibitions in France. Bharathan came to Paris in 1972. Kumar Diffusion was the first and exclusive showroom that imported readymade dresses, especially womenswear, from India. An active worker of the Sree Narayana movements, he is an ardent follower of the Guru’s teachings, spreading them as and when the

opportunity arrives. No wonder he was the instant choice for the award instituted by the Sree Narayana World Council, New York, for services rendered in the field. He also manages the Karalam Vocational Higher Secondary School, near Irinjalakuda, which was earlier not functioning well. Now it has more than 1,000 pupils and offers courses in various trades. Bharathan laments the erosion of values in Kerala society. Even teachers and doctors have no commitment to serve the community, he says. Despite all these shortcomings he admits that Kerala is a better place to live in, the most beautiful on earth. Bharathan is also associated with the activities of the Unnayi Warrier Smaraka Kalanilayam, Irinjalakuda, and is connected with a host of other organizations including the Malayala Manorama Balajana Sakhyam of which he was Convener of the Madhya Mekhala Sahakari Forum. Besides, he was State President of the All-Kerala Aided Schools Management Association. His family consists, besides wife Sudha, of daughters Linta and Lucky and son Lal.



Architect of WMC

Nursing great dreams about Kerala


ne of the founders of the World Malayalee Council (WMC) and its former Global President and Global Chairman, Andrew Pappachen is very well known among the Malayalees and other Indians as also among the American community in the US because of his record of social, political and community activities for the past more than three decades. As a pioneer, Andrew played a key role in the formation of various cultural, social, political and religious organizations like the Kerala Association of New Jersey, Asian American Political Coalition, Asian American Heritage Council of New Jersey, Mar Thoma Church of New Jersey, Federation of Kerala Associations and the WMC. Andrew migrated to the United States in 1973 at the age of 25 with a Master’s degree in Chemistry. He took another Master’s in Environmental Engineering from the famous Sevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey, and became a certified public manager in New Jersey. Having worked for the City of Newark, New Jersey, for a long time, he is now the Director of Operations of Newark Watershed Corporation. He has authored three books in English under the pen name Andreos published by the Authors House, US: A Journey Through Generations , an autobiography, and two novels, Secrets of Passion and Love with the Ghost, which have been translated into Malayalam, and one novel in Malayalam, Thalamurakalethedi, published by Prabhat Book House. His second Malayalam novel, Theerthadanathinte Katha, also to be published by Prabhat Book House, will be released in August. As a renowned social worker he believes that to make money or enjoy luxuries is not the most important thing in life but to share our wealth and experience with those who need them. The WMC’s Liberate Kerala from Pollution and Poverty project is a brainchild of his. Its first plan is to educate the people on the need for and benefits of a clean environment and how to achieve it. Somini is Andrew’s wife. Their two children, Simi and Kevin, are working in the US.


avis Edattukaran, who hails from Mala in Thrissur district, started his career as a commissioned officer in the Indian Army. After having served the 18th Battalion of the Madras Regiment for eight years he resigned as a Captain in 1981 to join his wife Daisy in Austria. An MCom degree holder, Davis worked in the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as Finance Officer initially and is now Programme Officer in the Montreal Protocol branch of the organization. It was Daisy who started the first South Indian restaurant— Kairlay—in Vienna, the Austrian capital. Later, they opened another one called Himalaya. However, they sold both ‘for several reasons’. Davis was a member of the hotel industry organization in Vienna when he was associated with the restaurants. “I have great dreams about Kerala—a Kerala with good roads, a Kerala with drinking water facility available to all, a clean Kerala with waste processing facility, a Kerala with disciplined people, a Kerala where we have security for our lives and property, a Kerala where women can move around without any fear of harassment, a Kerala with low carbon emission and environmentally green and a Kerala where all people respect one another,” says Davis about his home State. According to Davis, Kerala has a lot of opportunities to grow tremendously. “Our land is blessed with everything possible. Unfortunately we are not making use of many such opportunities. We should go for solar and wind energy as well as small hydro-power generation projects. The Government should invest some money in those projects. We do not have good roads and it is time to go for them. We should opt for at least 45-metre-wide roads. The people affected should be handsomely paid and motivated to give their land for a greater Kerala. I think the Vallarpadam terminal will change the entire shape of Kerala. We should plan projects like that. We should go a long way in our IT field. We need greedfree politicians. I think they should be highly paid so that they will not have any greed for money,” he says. PASSLINE

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About new ventures by NRIs, Davis says that this seems to be difficult under the present conditions. The bureaucrats and the Government should respect the law of the land and treat others as human beings, he adds. Davis says any comparison between Austria and Kerala seems to be very difficult. “Here all respect one another and are disciplined. The bureaucrats deal with people gently adhering to rules and regulations. The police behave like friends and guides. The dealings are transparent. There are no unnecessary delays for anything. We will get a yes- or no-answer immediately. The business community is also treated very well. My experience in Kerala is just the opposite,” Davis says. The strength of Kerala is also its weakness, says Davis. “We have vast human resources. We should use them properly. Kerala produces a great number of engineers, doctors, nurses and other professionals. Many of them leave the country for better job opportunities. The money they send back home is not utilized in Kerala, it is being used by others. Unfortunately we spend a lot of money to build individual houses. We are lazy in nature, while in India, we do not respect rules. It is true that we keep ourselves clean but do not care about the surroundings and the environment. We are a selfish lot. Individually we may be good, but collectively we are bad. But if we individually do our best in all things, Kerala will climb the ladder of success very easily,” he says. “Let us make our weakness into strength. So let’s work together without ego, without selfishness for a better future for the next generation,” concludes Davis, who will be retiring in a couple of years and is looking forward to a retired life in Kerala. Though he has no business ventures in Kerala now, he has plans to launch one. The Davis-Daisy couple have two sons, – Paul and George, who are studying at Vienna University.



K K USMAN Businessman and social activist


State with great potential as well as great misfortune. The majority of Keralites are hard workers and honest people. But the militant trade unions and their bellicose followers make sure that the State will not achieve any improvement”. This is what K K Usman has to say about his home State. Usman, who belongs to Nadapuram in Kozhikode, is a graduate and is now in Qatar doing business. Though he has no business ventures back home, he is a member or founder member of several organizations in the Malabar area and in Doha, Qatar. He, however, feels that there are tremendous opportunities in Kerala, “but there is no guarantee for the investments as there are hardly any steady political policies”. Usman is the President of INCAS, a well-known organization among the Indian community in Doha, a founder member of MHES College, Vadakara, a founder member of MET College, Nadapuram, a founder member of National College, Puliyavu, a member of the Director Board of AGREECO, Kannur, and founder member of Noble Indian School, Doha.

Usman feels that Kerala’s strengths are its honest, hardworking and adventurous people. “Its weakness is the lack of vision and determination of its political leadership.” About a comparison of Kerala and Qatar, he says that in Qatar, the administration never interferes with one’s business as long as it is lawful. Business and industry survive on market tendencies. However, in Kerala, the local administration through political intermediaries makes sure that businessmen are controlled by the Government. Lethargy of the law-enforcing agencies encourages Government officials to engage in corruption that forces a businessman also to collude with corruption. The Usman couple have four children—one girl and three boys.

MOOSAFI MUZAMIL An organization man


oosafi Muzamil, MBA, who hails from Kannur, is a businessman in Doha, Qatar. Closely associated with the India Cultural Centre under the aegis of the Indian Embassy in Qatar, he is a member of ICBF in Qatar and the Lions Club. He has functioned in different roles as President, General Secretary, Chief Coordinator, Treasurer and Cultural Secretary etc in affiliated organizations in India and Qatar. Moosafi’s is a partnership business. He has some investment in India and is also Director of Gem International School. ‘God’s own Kerala’, he says, should be developed better than other States. Small-time politicians’ influence in Government affairs should be ended, labour rules modified, labour unions’ militancy curbed, unwanted strikes and bandhs eliminated and severe punishment meted out to perpetrators of trouble on all fronts—these are the ‘medicines’ Moosafi prescribes for the State’s ills. “Honestly speaking, none of the NRIs are interested in coming forward to invest in a new project in our State for various reasons, like Government

policies that discourage investment and failure to provide facilities and infrastructure, delay in approvals, labour rules etc,” he says. According to him, Kerala’s strength is its literacy and its weaknesses are political parties and indiscipline. As for a comparison between Qatar and Kerala in respect of Government policies on business and industry, he says different countries have different attitudes and approaches. “Qatar is the best place where one can live comfortably and do business without any problems. According to the country’s laws, expatriates are fully protected by the Government,” he says. Happily settled in life, the Moosafis have three children, the eldest and the youngest being sons, both employed. The daughter is a BBA student.

M V SEBASTIAN ‘Kerala has to go further’


ts Jobanputras, the firm in Kigali, Rwanda (Central Africa), of which Maliyamave Joseph Sebastian is Resident Director, is one of the leading importers of commodities into the country. Sebastian is also an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and Private Sector Federation in Kigali. Born at Chittattukara, Thrissur, Sebastian is a Commerce graduate, with a JDC (Junior Diploma in Cooperation and Banking) and a KGCE (Kerala Government Certificate Examination in EngineeringElectric). He came to Rwanda in 1980. Interested in contributing to Kerala’s development “if I find something viable”, Sebastian thinks that the State has changed its basic old attitude to industrialization, “although we have to go further to achieve competitiveness”. “We are aware that our tradition of strikes and bandhs is still in full control

over the State. This has to change. We should also consider working six days in a week”, he says. Sebastian feels that the present Chief Minister of Kerala is “not up to the mark” and “has little knowledge of the world”. “He should listen to new blood and follow what is happening in West Bengal”, he says. For the immediate future, Sebastian wants to start own businesses in Rwanda where, he says, he has more experience than in India.Shaji, his wife, is not only employed but has her own small business set-up in Rwanda. Viju and Siju are their children. PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

SAJITH SVIHAR SUKUMARAN In logistics profession


igration of Keralites to the Russian Federation has not been as large as, say, to the Gulf countries. But Sajith Svihar Sukumaran of Alappuzha went there in 1989 after the completion of his MBA degree. A member of the Indian Business Alliance and All Moscow Malayalee Association there, Sukumaran is in logistics and trading. Unlike many other expatriates, Sukumaran really wishes to go back to Kerala and start a venture of his own there. “I’m really looking forward to return and settle there,” he says. “I consider Kerala as God’s Own Country. We Malayalees should contribute to the development of our State in every field to make it really God’s own,” he adds. “Literacy, education, healthcare and the hardworking nature of the people are our strengths. Overinvolvement in politics, enthusiasm to conduct strikes and hartals etc without thinking of the national loss, inconvenience and consequences are our weaknesses,” he says. In Russia, Sukumaran points out, even a city can be built without unnecessary involvement of politicians and the public. “In Kerala, to acquire a few inches of land for road development takes years and still remains uncertain”. Sukumaran’s wife Praseena, who hails from Thripunithura, works in International School in Moscow. Son Sidharth is 6 years old and is a Class II student of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Moscow.


SALEEM M MANZOOR ‘Kerala no more a nice place’ aleem M Manzoor of Thiruvananthapuram went to Qatar in 1977 armed with a BSc degree. He soon entered the profession of landscaping, irrigation, civil contracting and management. What does he think about Kerala? “It was a nice place, with nice and clean people. Not any more,” Manzoor says. And ask him about plans to start a venture of his own in Kerala. “I will never start any business in Kerala”, comes his prompt reply. (He however runs a nursery and a mushroom unit in Thiruvananthapuram). “First our leaders need to travel, starting with other States in India, then go to China…then talk politics,” he adds. He considers its own people as both the strength and weakness of Kerala! How does he compare Kerala with the country of his domicile in respect of life, the Government’s approach to business and industry, opportunities etc? “The leaders here are with the people, with the land and have a genuine interest in development and in overcoming problems and issues. I don’t see this in Kerala. Smart City is an excellent example. On the other hand, we are very enthusiastic about having an international airport in every district if possible, so that people can fly out from their backyard,” he says.



VINOD THARAMAL Combining charity and business


s a token of its appreciation for the wonderful work he did in t994 in evacuating Indian nationals during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the Government of India appointed Vinod Tharamal Honorary Consul-General of India in that country. He has been in the South African country for the past 35 years. Vinod, who hails from Vatakara, is an unusual man having combined a full-time job, social work and a business of his own. He was General Manager of Sulfo Rwanda Industries, the third largest industry in the country, from where he retired four years ago. He continues to live in Kigali, Rwanda, as Honorary Consul-General. He is the founder member of Enfants de Dieu (‘God’s children’), a charitable institution, started in 2002, taking care of street children. He owns a business house in Mumbai named Tharamal Exports Private Limited. Besides these activities, Vinod is also the Legal Representative of the Asian Association of Rwanda and a Presidential Economic Advisory Council member. After finishing his graduation Vinod was employed in a financial institution in Tamil Nadu from 1972 to

1975 and left for Rwanda where he got a job in Sulfo Rwanda. His future plan is to continue to live in Kigali “to support some socio-economic projects of the Rwandan Government, especially in the fields of health, education and poverty eradication”. He has also created a ladies association there through which he thinks he can introduce Kerala’s Kudumbasree-like projects. “Personally I don’t see any future for Kerala; I am sorry to say this. The reason, as you know, is the State’s politics. Take the cases of the Vallarpadam and Smart City projects and the self-financing college admissions issue. All that our politicians want is to cling to power. No one is bothered about the future generation”, he laments. Preetha, his wife, who is not employed, stays back in India. They have two children, daughter Neha and son Vishnu.

O P RAMON KUTTY Professional and organization man


highly qualified man, O P Ramon Kutty of Nemmara in Palakkad district is associated with a number of organizations. His qualifications: BCom from the University of Madras; FCA from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India; MBIM (Member of the British Institute of Management) and CCA (Certified Cost Analyst, Institute of Cost Analyst, US. Group Financial Controller of A A Turki Corporation, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Ramon Kutty is Vice-Chairman of IDEAS (Indian Doctors, Engineers and Accountants Society), Jeddah. Founder and Past Chairman of the Al Khobar Chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, he is also founder and Past President of the First Tamil Literary Association of Saudi Arabia established in 1989. The other positions he either occupied or is now occupying include: Past President and Patron of Kerala Kala Sahithi, Jeddah; Patron, Thiruvithamcore Socio-Economic Forum, Jeddah, and Vice-Chairman of the World Malayalee Council, Jeddah Province. For the past three decades (he came into Saudi Arabia in 1980), Ramon Kutty has been actively participating in the welfare activities of non-resident Keralites in that country. Besides, Ramon Kutty provides free investment and NRI taxation consultancy.

Is he interested in participating in Kerala’s development? “Yes, by pooling the idle savings of NRKs we can contribute in a big way to the development of Kerala”, he says. There is no doubt that Kerala is poised for growth, he says, and adds that a more conducive and investment- friendly atmosphere must be created that would ensure safety and a supportive attitude and approach from the Government, trade unions and the general public as well. “The primary duty of any government is to work sincerely and support wholeheartedly those coming forward to invest. The Government policy should be to provide a constructive environment, not a destructive one. It is only the question of a change in the mindset for which all should work together,” he says. He has plans to professionally support NRK investors and to participate in the implementation of projects for the development of Kerala. His wife Vasantha is a homemaker. Both his sons, Satheesh and Rajesh, are employed, the former in Saudi Arabia (he is also into business) and the latter in the US.

JERRY KALARICKAL Economist of great standing


orn in 1974 in Kochi, Jerry Kalarickal is an economist in Washington DC. Jerry arrived in North America on a United World College scholarship. As an undergraduate, he was inducted to the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. A PhD in Economics, Jerry had worked for the World Bank (2003-2006) on issues related to urban development and housing and for the United Nations (1998). He works for Bearingpoint (formerly KPMG Consulting), a management consultancy firm. Jerry was previously active in the leadership of the Syracuse Chapter of Asha for Education. Asha is a student-run non-profit organization that supports educational

institutions for underprivileged children in India.Jerry has authored papers on housing and urban development topics and has co-authored and edited with Robert Buckley Thirty Years of World Bank Shelter Lending: What Have We Learned?, published by World Bank Publications in 2006. He is married to Anupama Rajaraman who works for the US Agency for International Development, and lives in Northern Virginia, near Washington DC, US. PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

FRANCIS AND ELIZABETH KALARICKAL Pioneers of online advertising


rancis and Elizabeth are pioneers of online advertising in the Middle East region. As Directors of Global Media Insight (, their services are used by blue chip companies based in the Middle East, like Emirates Airlines, American Express, Shell, Volvo, Emirates Sky Cargo, LG, Nokia, Qatar Airways, Jotun Paints, Sieko, Mercedes B e n z , Jeep and the like. T h e Middle East’s m o s t popular online publication for women,, developed by Global Media Insight, has been well accepted by the women in the region. In June 2006, the Crown Prince of Sharjah awarded Global Media Insight for their contribution towards online media development in Sharjah. Of the Kochi-born couple, Francis did his schooling at Rajagiri High School (1980) and graduated as a BTech from the College Of Engineering, Thiuvananthapuram, in 1988. Elizabeth studied in the Cochin Refineries School and completed her MBA from the Cochin University of Science and Technology in 1992.


ANNA ANTHONY Journalist and author


nna Anthony, journalist and author from Kochi, lives in Iowa City with her husband Jerry Anthony, architect and Assistant Professor in Urban Planning (University of Iowa), and their two boys, Jeremiah and Joshua. Anna came to the United States to join her husband in 1997. She has an MA degree in Creative Writing from Florida State University. Anna also has BA and MA degrees in Psychology from Kerala University. Before going to the US she was working as a journalist with the Press Trust of India (PTI) in New Delhi. She has written for journals in India and the US. Anna’s first book Mango Ice Cream (2005) is a collection of stories, depicting the lives of young women in Kerala villages and towns caught in the web of love and sorrow and tradition and lure of MTV.

V V VARGHESE Doing business in Jeddah


n employee turned businessman, V V Varghese is currently settled in Mumbai and working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He is originally from Kavalam, Kuttanad, Alappuzha district. A BA (Hons), DMM and LLB, Varghese arrived in Jeddah in 1980 where he worked with Saudi Cable Co for 22 years as General Manager (Sales and Customer Service). For the past several years he has been doing business there. The business consists of supplying raw materials to the manufacturing industry, mainly to cable companies. An executive member of the World Malayalee Council once, he is connected with various other cultural organizations in Jeddah. Varghese was Treasurer of India Forum, an organization under the patronage of the Consular-General of India, with the Indian Ambassador as its patron. With no immediate plan to make any investment in Kerala, Varghese says the State cannot become competitive unless the workforce changes its mentality (by becoming productive and proving better than what it is being paid for) and the State becomes

SAJU GEO THACHIL Combining business with job


aju Geo Thachil is one of those rare people who combine business with a job. Saju who is in charge of the Fire and Safety Department of the Kuwait Shipyard also runs a restaurant in Kuwait. Besides, he is Trustee of MET’s School of Engineering back home at Mala in Thrissur district. Saju, who belongs to Angamaly in Ernakulam district and arrived in Kuwait with a diploma in fire and safety engineering in 1981, is involved in different cultural activities in Kuwait. Saju’s reply is a firm ‘no’ to the question whether he is interested in participating in Kerala’s development either by involving himself in or starting a unit in the State. “Kerala no doubt is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is also one of the best locations for investing money. But, unfortunately, because of the dirty games being played by political parties there, we are not at all confident of investing even one rupee in our State. Unless and until these parties stop their tug of war between themselves there is no future for the State. The present situation is that

they have no time even to sort out their problems within their own parties and are struggling to keep their chairs secure. The result is that they have little spare time to work for the development of the State. If someone comes up with a good idea, immediately the Opposition group raises an objection, with the result that everything ends up in a big mess. How will our State improve? Everyone should have a positive mentality, not a negative one. Unless the politicians’ negative mentality changes into a positive one, I see no hope for the State”, he says. “I feel more confident of investing in Kuwait”, he says. His wife, Lizy, is working for the Kuwait Oil Company. George, Paul and Limol are their children.

ANUPA FABIAN Social activist


ochi-born Anupa Fabian is a sprightly young public a d m i n i s t r a t o r, r e s e a r c h s c h o l a r, United Nations consultant and social activist, based in New Jersey, US. After graduating from Sophia College, Mumbai, Anupa earned her Master’s in Public Administration from the famous Columbia University and was awarded fellowship to provide teaching. She had worked as Reports Consultant of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN at Rome, with the Women’s Prison Association, New York, providing help for women with criminal justice involvement and also for the World Food Programme in Tajikistan. She ran the 2005 DC Marine Corps Marathon to raise funds for ASHA, a non-profit organization. Anupa has co-authored research studies on women.

investment-friendly. Infrastructure should also be conducive. “Let any government manage the State, but its focus should be on development and the welfare of the people. The Government’s priority should not be to keep its chairs safe for the next election. It should leave this to the people’s verdict based on its performance”, Varghese says. “At the moment I wish to continue in Jeddah. If the situation is conducive in Kerala, I may move from Mumbai and settle in the State in the future”, he says.Mrs Annamma Varghese is a homemaker. Their eldest son Vinil who is an MS from CSU, Colarado, US, and the second son, who holds the degrees of MS and MBA (UD, Delaware, US) are both working in the US. Daughter Anita is a doctor.

THOMAS KANNENKERIL Travel and tourism expert


homas Kannenkeril, who was Vice-Chairman of the World Malayalee Council and Convener of its Business Forum, has been in Germany for more than three decades. Starting his career with Royal Signals in Germany, he worked in the travel and tourism field, having completed several related courses.An expert in travel and tourism, he started his own business, a travel agency, in Germany called Reiseburo Skyreisen. He also works for promoting tourism in Kerala, being the official agent of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) in Germany. Thomas is also a Director of Green Berg Resorts in Idukki and Managing Director of Kuttanad Resort. His wife Ammini is a registered nurse in Germany and daughter Rency is a Master’s in Industrial and Personnel Management and is working in London. Regin is his son.

DAVID LUKE From varsity job to printing press


tar Printing Press is one of the most modern printing presses in Saudi Arabia. The secret of the company’s success is its visionary leadership and the personal and cordial relationship it has with its customers. The man who made all this possible is David Luke, who quit a prestigious university job and joined a Saudi sponsor to start Star Printing Press in Riyadh. He persuaded the sponsor to start a small-scale printing press with two GTO single colours, a small cutting machine, Polar 78, and a pre-press department. David Luke was born on May 22, 1954, in a village in Kerala. After completing his primary school education in his village, he shifted to Mumbai for his high school education and to Allahabad for his university course. He specialized in printing technology from Mumbai. In 1978 he joined King Saud University of Riyadh in the Department of Printing and Publishing. But he quit the job to start his own business. PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

Today Star Printing Press is a leading printing press, equipped with state-ofthe-art printing technology and employing more than 50 expatriates and many Saudi nationals. The Star team formulates designs and produces delightful presentations on paper. At present Star operates 20 hours a day. It is one of the quality printers in the kingdom. Star has opened a new press in Dubai, called CMS Printing Press, with all modern machines from Heidelberg. David’s wife Annakutty supports him in managing his property and estates. The couple has two children—Jim and Jeena.


SONEY JOHN ‘Politics ruining Kerala’


hange of government during every alternate term slows down the developmental process. It will take time for every government to chalk out its policies and programmes. Then some more time is required for going through the previous government’s dealings. Even if it had taken up for implementation a developmental project which is good in every aspect, the new government will spend time to change it, or at least its name. Whoever governs, it is politics first; development comes only later. These are the considered views of Soney John of Vaikom who has been in Doha since 1990. An employee there, Soney thinks it is not just Kerala that’s poised for growth but the entire country. “The difference is that while the rest of India

progresses fast, Kerala’s growth is slow because of its ‘excessive politics’. Actually a change should take place in every Keralite’s mind. In other words, there should be a positive mind-setting in the people”, he says. “I have no plan to make any investment in Kerala. And in no case is there the question of starting a manufacturing unit in the State”, he says emphatically. His plan is to continue working in Doha “as far as I can”.His wife Laiju is ‘employed in our homemaking’. Nivedita Liz and Nandita Maria are their children.

MATHEWS POIKAYIL VARUGHESE He started Nigeria’s Kerala Samajam


athews Poikayil Varughese was instrumental in forming the first-ever Kerala Samajam in Nigeria in 2001 and was its Vice-President for the first two years. Since 2000 he has been associated with the World Malayalee Council being its VicePresident, Middle East and Africa Region, and ViceChairman of the African Region at one time. He later became the President of the WMC Nigeria Province. An engineer from Thiruvalla who has been in Nigeria since 1996 where he is in service, he was instrumental in the WMC Nigeria Province adopting an economically backward village in Ogun State. The village having a population of about 1,000 had no electricity and no drinking water. Its people were unhealthy and poor. After adoption, WMC conducted a free medical camp there every month to improve the health standards of the villagers. It provided the villagers with drinking water by drilling a borehole. “We donated scholastic materials to children through the only primary school in the village”, says a proud Mathews. Yes, all this with his efforts. Mathews thinks the situation in Kerala is not conductive enough for a newcomer to attempt

starting business. Any suggestions to make the State globally competitive? “Yes, but the attitude of the people and the Government must change and should be geared towards development. The labour force must be born again and must work towards betterment of the State. The Government must learn from other developing States and nations. All hartals called by political parties must stop and people shall not respond to the calls,” he says. “I will work for some more time and then think of setting up a small business and work for the betterment of society”, is what he says about the future. “We must be grateful to the Almighty for all His blessings. Working with WMC and other social organizations gives self-satisfaction. We must be useful to others”, he concludes. Mrs Rosy Mathews is a housewife. They have two sons, Roshan and Blessen.

THOMAS CHACKO Top businessman in Ethiopia


JENNIFER TRACY MYALIL Outstanding achiever

SANTIMON JACOB Wants to start IT unit in Kerala


erala is a ‘slow-moving giant’. It has got a lot of potential to become a forerunner in international business. We could feel the slowmoving attitude of the people even in the airport to the Secretariat. The heavy loaded roads to the old-fashioned paper-based offices should become paperless offices by introducing digital documentation solutions”. This is what Santimon Jacob, hailing from Kottayam and now settled in Ickenham, west London, says about his home State’s potential for growth. He cites West Bengal as a haven of international investors. “Kerala’s LDF regime should follow the footsteps of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, West Bengal Chief Minister”, he says. A Master’s in New Media from Nottingham Trent University, UK, Santimon is Chairman and Managing Director of Purple and Pink Solutions Ltd. One of the fast-growing consultancy firms in London, PPSL focuses on international business consultancy for technology transfer,

marketing, international finance and outsourcing solutions for European clients. Within a short a period three years after he arrived in the UK only in 2003, Santimon has become Chairman, Committee for Media, Communication and Education, SMCC, London. He says he is interested in information technology and infrastructure investment in Kerala. A joint-sector BPO facility is in his mind. His future plans? “To start a professional training institute to develop the ‘soft skills’ of educated youth in India”, says he. “It will be an institute of international standards and the faculty will be from corporate giants around the globe”, he adds. His wife Mini helps him in the business. They have two children—Ashik and Athul. PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

homas Chacko, his wife and children have investor status in Ethiopia, where Thomas came in 1982, but they are Indian passportholders. Thomas graduated from Marthoma College, Thiruvalla, which is also his birthplace. A businessman of standing in Ethiopia with import licences, he represents foreign companies mostly from Dubai and India and supplies items to United Nations missions and diplomatic offices. He is also running a school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. A member of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce, Rotary International and Addis Ababa Golf Association, Thomas Chacko likes to make a ‘small investment’ in Kerala though he does not have any idea about the State’s growth potential. And, according to him, the present Government’s attitude towards business is “different and difficult to understand”. Mrs Santha Elizabeth Thomas is running a school of theirs. Their son is Jacob and daughter Santha Elizabeth.


ennifer Tracy Myalil, US-born American of Indian origin, is a double major in Finance and Accounting from the Chicago Varsity. Daughter of Joy Myalil, a computer engineer and co-founder of the first bank organized by Indian Americans, and Marykutty, a registered nurse in Chicago, Jennifer is one of the rare young outstanding achievers of the new generation of US-born Indians. Based in Chicago, Jennifer works for one of the largest accounting firms in the US. She was Co-captain of the national award-winning cheerleading squad, Jay Leno Show guest on CNBC and guest participant in Walt Disney World ‘Main Street’ parade. She has served as the Executive Chair of the Golden Key International Honour Society.


JOLLY THADATHIL Seeks support of Government


olly Thadathil is running four old-age homes and two nursing homes in Germany where he migrated in 1981 after obtaining his MSc degree in Botany and MA in Sociology. Hailing from Thottakkara, Muvattupuzha, Jolly had worked in the Federal Bank in Kerala before going to Germany where he specialized in the healthcare management field. An active social worker, Jolly is a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the ruling party in Germany. Twice elected a municipal councillor in Schwelm town, he worked for several years as President and Chairman of the World Malayalee Council’s Europe Region. He was also instrumental in starting the WMC Provinces in Europe since the very beginning of the WMC in 1995. At present he is the organization’s Global President. According to Jolly, globalization has brought forth tremendous changes all over in India and Kerala. All modern facilities with regard to technology, medicine and communication are available now in Kerala. The State has great potential for development but has many inherent and intricate hurdles to overcome for making progress. “The main obstacles to development are our so-called leaders. Whereas all over the world politicians are called politicians we call them leaders. What is a leader? There are many definitions. But according to a layman’s thinking, a leader is a person who guides others towards a common goal, showing the way by example. Most of Kerala’s socalled political leaders have no vision or mission. They need not have any basic qualifications,” says Jolly. Jolly says Kerala’s strength is its education. The State can be proud of having a very good educated young generation. Its main weakness is the attempt of its politicians to destroy the whole education system. Keralites living abroad are grateful to the educational institutions from which they got their degrees and knowledge. The attempt of the politicians to destroy our education system is deplorable. To develop business, says Jolly, one needs the support of the Government and also the support and cooperation of the employees. The question is if these are available in Kerala. Anyhow most nonresident Keralities are yet to believe that the soil of Kerala is ripe enough for business. Many successful Kerala business people from outside India may not take the risk of losing all their savings in Kerala through business entrepreneurship. Jolly’s wife Mercy is a teacher by profession and is certified in Healthcare Management. She administers their institutions. They have three children, of whom Nicole, the elder daughter, is an MBA (London) running her own IT consulting firm with her husband, Libin Karuvallil, who has a Master’s in IT. Jolly’s son Nelson is doing his Engineering at the University of Dortmund in Germany and the younger daughter Nancy is doing plus one, also in Germany. Whatever Kerala’s weaknesses, Jolly, his wife and children love their home State, its people and its traditions. “In spite of all the disparities, discriminations and hartals, we all visit God’s Own Country at least once in a year,” says Jolly.

N R PANICKER Founder of an IT conglomerate


he man behind the success of Accel Group, one of the leading IT conglomerates in India, is N R Panicker, its founder-Chairman. He is one of the leading entrepreneurs who has his origins in Kerala and who has made good in the IT industry. He built Accel from scratch, and it went on to become a multi-service organization operating in more than 100 locations spread across India, West Asia, Singapore and the United States. The group employs more than 2,500 people in its various offices. Born in 1954 at Pattanakkad, Cherthala, Alappuzha district, Panicker did his degree course in Electronics and Communication Engineering from the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, in 1976. He joined Hindustan Computers Ltd (now 0known as HCL) in New Delhi in 1977 as a computer maintenance engineer and served the company in various capacities till 1990. In 1990 he quit his well-paid job to start his own business. Accel Ltd, which he started with Rs 40,000 and a small rented office space in Chennai, now valued at several hundred crores, with companies such as Accel Frontline Ltd, Accel Transmatic Ltd, Accel Systems Group Inc etc under its umbrella. Accel acquired two companies in Kerala in 2004—Transmatic Systems Ltd in Sreekaryam and Ushus Technologies Pvt Ltd at Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram, and took steps to leverage the strengths of these organizations to create a large IT

entity in Kerala, titled Accel Transmatic Ltd, headquartered in Thiruvananthapuram. Panicker is actively involved in many industry associations and professional bodies, including the Computer Society of India, Manufacturers Association of Information Technology and NASSCOM, the World Malayalee Council, Madras Management Association and the Confederation of Indian Industry. He is also involved in charity work. Apart from being the Chairman and CEO of the Accel Group of Companies, he also sits on the board of Kerala Venture Capital Fund and is the VC arm of Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. According to Panicker, the social set-up existing today in Kerala is not at all conducive to the development of the State. The public is misguided by the wrong campaigns being conducted by various political parties year after year without addressing the core issues. There is lack of visionary leadership in the State, he says. What is required is a non-political popular government with a vision to change the current culture of Kerala, so that the State will become a place like Florida, the most-sought-after tourist destination in the world. Panicker is married to Sreekumari. They have two children.

C R NAMBIAR ‘Hartals/bandhs must be banned’


telecommunication engineer in Bahrain, Cheeyancheri Rajagopalan Nambiar is an MSc (Engineering) with added degrees and diplomas like MIE, MIETE, FCSE and BDM. Belonging to Kunhimangalam in Kannur district, Nambiar arrived in Bahrain in 1977. He is former President and Life Member of the Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam; founder President of the Kerala Social and Cultural Association; General Secretary, Board of Governors, the Indian School, Bahrain; General Secretary, Malabar Airport Development Committee; Chairman, Advisory Committee of the Indian School, Bahrain; General Secretary, Coordination Committee of Indian Associations, Bahrain; General Secretary, Indian Community Relief Fund (under the Indian Embassy), Bahrain; Coordinator, Indian Community Services (under the Indian Embassy); General Convener, Building Premises Committee, the Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam; Patron, Payyannur Souharda Vedi, Bahrain; and General Secretary, World Malayalee Council Middle East Region. Though not interested in making any investment in Kerala, Nambiar definitely would like to participate in the State’s development. “Kerala has the potential for growth, provided political parties change their pure political attitude. Keralites, by and large, have an investor-friendly attitude, and facilities are ready to work in the State”, he says. Nambiar says the Kerala Government should appoint technocrats to head the Government institutions, instead of political nominees and bureaucrats. He wants a moratorium on bandhs and hartals. “In fact I want legislation to ban these, which are illegal”, he says.Advocating an ‘opendoor policy’ on business proposals, he thinks


July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

severe punishment and heavy fines should be imposed on people involved in destruction of public property, and damages should be collected from them. “The Government should take severe action against corruption and implement economic reservations. Scholarships or financial aid should be given to weaker sections for studies and training. There should, however, be no compromise on the capabilities of candidates for employment, recruitment and promotions”, he says. Nambiar also thinks that unions/associations should not be allowed in police forces, and employees getting paid fully or partially from the State or Central Governments, including the Government staff, staff of aided schools, agencies or any other organizations should not be allowed to participate in political activities. His future plans include some consultancy services and useful social activities. Vanaja R Nambiar is a housewife. Their son Ranjit Rajan, a BTech of Cochin University of Science and Technology and an MBA of the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, is Regional Marketing Manager of a multinational company in Dubai. Ranjit’s wife Nisha is also an MBA—of Symbiosis Institute, Pune. She is Sales Manager with a Dubaibased international bank. They have a daughter, Uttara. The Nambiars’ second child Rajesh Rajan, a BE of Nitte Engineering College and a CISCO specialist, is Senior Sales Manager with an MNC in Muscat.


Altius retreat to rebuild Kerala T

he logical response to a social malaise is an idea of social reform. Somehow not many people in literate Kerala are troubled by the caustic presence of social evils and the general neglect of social reforms. For the members of the project Altius, however, it is a different story altogether. Not only are they troubled by the diseased state of Kerala society, they are on a mission to reform this society as well. An initiative of the World Malayalee Council (WMC), the project Altius brings together some very promising college students and provides them with the necessary training and ideas to reform Kerala. The idea was to select some bright minds from all districts of Kerala and to promote them to become socially responsible and globally competent. The youths were targeted as they have the energy and ability to enact a long-term and concrete change in society. But given the state of the career market and the nature of education and social conditions, the young students are almost always blind to what is happening around them and are solely driven by self-interest. In such a climate, the development of both the State and its culture gets jeopardized. Besides, being driven largely by packaged career goals, the students often deny themselves their own dreams in spite of their inherent talent and ability to do exceedingly well in that field. It is to prevent such malaise that afflicts both individual and their society that the project Altius was commenced by Mr Priyadas and his team of committed WMC members—Mr K Balachandran, Mr Anoop Dhanwanthri, Mr Anoj Kumar, Mr Joy Abraham and Mr Biju Vargesse. In the last academic year, various Altius camps were held in different districts of Kerala and students from all the 14 districts were invited to participate. In these camps the students were given training for personality development and were exposed to diverse constructive ideas. From among the participants, a group of students— who had the potential to lead the programme of social reform—were finally selected for a weeklong retreat held at Maria Rani Centre, Sreekaryam, Thiruvananthjapuram, between June 19 and June 27. The retreat was unique in many ways. It was carefully designed to reflect upon almost all aspects of undergraduate life and education in Kerala. Some weeks before the retreat commenced, the selected students were provided with some reading material that would help them understand Kerala society and the Malayalee people better. A special effort was made by Mr T P Sreenivasan, who drafted two essays concerning the mindset of the Malayalee people required to rebuild Kerala and the ideal social behaviour that should be expected of all Altius students. The readings, thus, sensitized the participants of the issues that were to be discussed at the retreat. During the retreat, the students were provided with a working schedule from early morning till late evening so that they learn the rules of time management, self-improvement and

During the retreat, the students were provided with a working schedule from early morning till late evening so that they learn the rules of time management, self-improvement and contemplation. They were made to follow an ideal routine, where they devoted some part of their day in productive activities like newspaper reading, meditation and self-study. In order to ensure that these activities become their mental habit, different trainers and life-guides were invited. contemplation. They were made to follow an ideal routine, where they devoted some part of their day in productive activities like newspaper reading, meditation and self-study. In order to ensure that these activities become their mental habit, different trainers and life-guides were invited. Mrs Reba Paul guided them through their meditation session and explained to them various techniques and benefits of meditative awareness. Mr K Balachandran, an executive of All India Radio (AIR), discussed the significance and method of reading newspapers and conducted various quizzes to ensure that his observations were driven home. During the course of the day, the students brainstormed on the project ‘Samanwaya’, its organization and implementation. ‘Samanwaya’ is the

signal project of the Altius students to improve the state of education in Government-run institutions. Most educational institutions run by the Government lack the kind of resources and training that the private educational institutions provide. The Altius students, therefore, took upon themselves the responsibility to better the condition of students studying in these schools by providing free academic support to them. In order to help the Altius students in undertaking their task of social reform, eminent personalities from different walks of life were invited to discuss various aspects of such an undertaking. The selection of eminent personalities, too, was as carefully done as was the selection of the students themselves. As one of the mottos in the oath of Altius, that was scripted by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, former President, announces, “I will work with integrity and succeed with integrity”, only those eminent personalities were called upon who have displayed exemplary track record in their career. Among the bureaucrats, Mr Babu Paul, Mr A P M Mohammed Hanish, Mr Tikaram Meena and Mr Vinson M Paul were invited and they all graced the camp with their wise words. The students opened up many social issues that troubled them and were quite inspired by the experience of these honest civil PASSLINE

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servants. One of the most insightful sessions was conducted by Mr John Samuel, one of the directors of a United Nations programme. He deftly laid down the framework within which the young minds could negotiate their self-interest and social responsibility without impairing either end. Another seminal role was played by Dr Justin Padamadan, eminent psychologist, who talked about the challenges of growing up. In one of the most humorous sessions, he delineated the problems concerning adolescence and early adulthood and explained ways of dealing with such problems. For discussing the role of the media and the ways of reconstructing Kerala, Mr Sreekantan Nair, popular television personality, was invited. Dr A V Anoop, entrepreneur and social worker, shed light on different issues of development and led a productive discussion among students. The presence of Dr Sahadulla, physician and entrepreneur, was very fruitful. He focused on the mindset and value system of Malayalees that pose difficult problems for any programme of development in Kerala. A very notable presence was that of the Education Minister of Kerala, Mr M A Baby. Mr Baby has been a consistent support for Altius and even on this occasion he immensely inspired the students. Mr George Kulangara, educationist and activist, enlightened the students on environmental issues and exhorted them to spearhead the ‘Malinya Muktha Campus’ project in their towns. A significant focus of the retreat was to provide students with certain training that would help them excel in their career goals as well. Different training sessions for personality development and for leadership training were conducted efficiently by Mr Benny Kurian, a professional trainer and CEO of a leading consultancy. In order to help them improve their language skills, Ms Sangeeta and Mr Shibu took language classes every day. Besides language skills and personality development, the organizers made arrangements for feeding the creative impulses of the young mind. A host of artists and scholars were, therefore, invited to assist them to improve their creative imagination. Mr K G Jayan, cinematographer who has won many State awards, conducted extensive workshops and helped the students improve their creative skills. The focus of Mr Jayan’s workshop was to assist the students to develop a script for a movie that would capture the negative mindset of Malayalees and deliver a message for positive change. Ms Betty Louis Baby, Programme Executive of Kairali Channel, and Mr John Brittas, another Kairali Channel executive, conducted

(To page 69)


Coastal refugees

By Richard Mahapatra


iplab Mondal, a migrant from Sagar island in the Sunderbans of West Bengal, now a resident of Delhi’s Govindpuri slums, had a nightmare for 25 years. “Whenever I looked at the sea I thought it would march into our village,” he recalls. So when he migrated to Delhi in 1992, to take up a daily-wage job, he started saving to invest in a house that would be permanent. After 17 years, Biplab’s nightmare turned into a reality. “My relatives informed me how the sea slowly submerged my home in Sagar. Now there is nothing to call home there,” he says. In 2009, he spent Rs 7,000 on an illegal hut in the Govindpuri slums. “My hut is illegal, but I am sure that it will not be submerged, ever.” Biplab’s hut in Govindpuri is surrounded by the illegal settlements of many of his fellow villagers who have been forced to leave the island because of the invading sea. “In the last 30 years the sea has submerged many islands in the Sunderbans. And many of us have migrated to Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai,” Lata Mondal, Biplab’s relative, says. Biplal and Lata are ‘climate refugees’. So far, India’s climate refugees have been from unknown villages in the Sunderbans, Orissa etc. In a matter of years there will be climate refugees from Mumbai, Chennai and other big coastal cities as these too will face the onslaught of rising sea levels. The reasons for migration are familiar—loss of livelihood due to a plethora of disasters, drought, ingress of the sea and lack of fresh water for agriculture. “My father migrated to Kolkata after the 1971 cyclone as he couldn’t manage our family of six. He never returned to the village. I struggled hard on our small agricultural plot till 1999. The supercyclone left it completely saline,” says Jagannath Sahu, a resident of Orissa’s Kendrapara district, the worst affected by the 1999 supercyclone. “Of late, migration to cities from our district has increased as people residing along the sea are finding it difficult to withstand its fury,” Sahu adds. There have been reports of sea ingress claiming over 15 village settlements in this one district.

medium and high, respectively. According to these estimates, around 120 million people will be rendered homeless by 2100 in Bangladesh and India. “Climate change is going to lead to bigger human migration than we’ve ever seen before,” Koko Warner from the UN University said during a conference in Poznan, Poland, on the sidelines of the December 1-12, 2008 summit of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Using data from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Warner estimates that around 24 million people around the world have already become climate refugees. The International Organization for Migration, a UN body, says that the number of people forced out of their homes by the effects of climate change may touch 200 million by 2050. Warner says: “India is one of the hotspots for forced migration due to climate change, with people displaced by drought, floods and a rising sea.” As the focus on climate refugees increases, particularly as a result of sea level rise, India

Coastal blues: It’s a familiar story all along India’s 8,000-odd-km coastline comprising nine States and two island groups. Indeed, the reality of rising sea levels due to global warming is fast sinking in. For nearly 25% of India’s population residing along the coast it’s a question of survival rather than a scientific theory. The likely fallout: a flood of migrants from more parts to other States in India. Once known as islands of hope, coastal cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata will be According to the Intergovernmental Panel on forced to accommodate more migrants. This means Climate Change (IPCC), sea levels in India the added pressure of rising are expected to rise at the rate of 2.4 mm a populations in urban year; in 2050, the total increase will be 38 pockets that already lack basic amenities. The cm, displacing thousands. For nearly 25% of migrants will bring with India’s population living along the coast, them a host of issues that global warming is a question of survival would spark off fresh conflict. people in India rather than a scientific theory. City slums are because of excessive already seeing an influx of climate refugees. flooding in coastal areas, and it can increase salinity finds herself in a disadvantaged position. The of groundwater in the Sunderbans and surface estimated high impact on Bangladesh’s coasts water in coastal areas,” says R K Pachauri, means more refugees from that country to Chairperson of the IPCC. India. There are already a substantial number The IPCC goes on to estimate that sea levels of Bangladesh migrants in India. in 2100 will be around 40 cm higher than they Cardiff University’s Dr Hefin Jones, a climate are today, causing an additional 80 million coastal change expert focusing on environmental residents in Asia alone to be affected by flooding, refugees, says India will have to cope with most of them in South Asia, particularly in around 15 million refugees from Bangladesh Bangladesh and India. Greenpeace says a rise of by 2050. In its 2007 report, the IPCC says 3-5 metres is ‘not out of the question at the that by 2050 the estimated rise in sea level in end of the century’, with a 4-5 degree Celsius coastal areas of Bangladesh will be 1 metre, increase in average global temperatures. and by 2100 it will be around 2 metres. As a To new land: Millions of people in India live result, Jones says, the sea will submerge most within 50 km of the coast. The area—referred to of the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta that supports as the ‘low-elevation coastal zone’—comprises around 120 million people.That’s not all the coastal regions that are 10 metres above the future holds. According to a recent document, average sea level. These are areas that will be Human Impact Report, Climate Change’, by the submerged first in the event of rising sea levels. Global Humanitarian Forum, Geneva (the report They are inhabited by rural and urban populations estimates the human impacts of climate in equal proportion. A 1-metre rise in sea level could change), the impact of climate change will result in nearly 6,000 sq km of India being flooded. increase in the next 20 years. “Rising sea levels, In a study for Greenpeace, Sudhir Chella which affect relatively few people today, are Rajan from the Indian Institute of Technology expected to impact large populations in the Madras suggests that India will face major outfuture,” it warns. As water takes time to warm migrations from coastal regions. Taking note of up, in the next few years the rise in sea various current estimates of sea level rise, he temperatures will catch up leading to an divides the ‘business as usual’ scenario into three expansion in sea volume. And more categories: 1 m, 3 m and 5 m of sea level devastation.—TWN Features increases in the year 2100. This is basically low, PASSLINE

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NRK investment should facilitate development

By Job K T


emittances by non-resident Indians (NRIs) exceeded $52 billion in 2008, according to the latest World Bank figures. Non-resident Keralites’ Affairs (NORKA) of the Government of Kerala estimates that there are around 2 million Keralites working abroad. The yearly contribution of nonresident Keralites (NRKs) is estimated at $10 billion, 22% of the State’s income. The total bank deposits of NRIs in Kerala alone are Rs 38,000 crore, according to the State-level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC). This indicates the extent of flow of foreign money to the State. It will be interesting to note the profile of investment of the savings of NRKs in Kerala. A large portion of the remittances is used for maintenance of members of families back home. This has been particularly true of blue-collar workers, part of whose withdrawals has gone towards investment in real estate/houses. When it comes to investing NRKs’ savings, property and gold still remain favourite options. However, there are varied investment opportunities now available in a rapidly growing

country like India. The expenditure profile of NRKs is 15% in non-resident accounts of banks, 5% in shares, 2% in gold and balance for domestic purposes. As Indians moved to white-collar jobs, especially in the Gulf in the past decade, the investment pattern among them is also changing. A large number of professionals had a lot of surplus cash, but it did not always translate into wise investment decisions. In fact, much of it has either been splurged or invested heavily in the stock market. While in the Gulf the investment pattern is generally characterized by an invest-for-earnings approach, on homecoming, they largely focus on invest-for-stability. However, the focus is further shifting from stability to future socio-economic security. Hence, property and fixed return plans such as bank deposits are becoming increasingly popular. Most of the investors prefer conservative options on their return, including insurance and fixed bank deposits. Some of them do get into equity and mutual funds as well. A trend towards more calculated and constructive investment is seen. Not only that, long-

Most of the investors prefer conservative options on their return, including insurance and fixed bank deposits. Some of them do get into equity and mutual funds as well. A trend towards more calculated and constructive investment is seen. Not only that, longterm investment plans are finding favour, some money going into income-generation too. As seen from the investment patterns of returning Indians, they can be classified into different income groups: term investment plans are finding favour, some money going into income-generation too. As seen from the investment patterns of returning Indians, they can be classified into different income groups: High-income: real estate (commercial), project exports, transport business, horticulture, education, management consultancy, job consultancy and immigration services. Middle-income: house, property, gold, stock market and plantation (especially in South India). Low-income: cyber cafés, public call offices (PCOs) and small-scale cottage industries. Nowadays, NRKs invest for sustainability and invest in banking, health services, media, agriculture, fisheries (especially in Kerala) and consultancy activities. India’s recent infrastructural and economic situation has opened up new avenues and has given a cause for comfort to NRIs. This has increased what is called ‘reverse migration’. For many Indians abroad, ‘home’ now means better prospects other than just properties. Contribution to development: The contribution of Gulf migration to development can be seen in various areas like housing, transportation, town planning, educational and religious institutions, amenities and other infrastructural facilities. The main impact of migration is on the housing sector. After the 1970s, Kerala has witnessed the construction of palatial houses thanks to the remittances by the migrant workers from the Gulf countries. The development can also be noticed in the commercial sector. The growth in the number of commercial complexes, jewellery outlets, hotels and hospitals during the 1990s and 2000s with international standards proves the contribution of Gulf migration to development. Schemes for industrial investment: Kerala’s Department of Industries has devised capital subsidy PASSLINE

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and margin money schemes for the promotion of industries by NRKs. Kerala Financial Corporation (KFC) offers a special package to NRKs returning home jobless because of the economic recession for permanent a set-up on or after July 1, 2007. The salient features of the scheme are: · NRKs can choose from any of 33 loan schemes based on their area of interest and expertise. · Maximum ceiling of financial assistance is Rs 50 lakh. · A special rate of interest of 7% will be offered for the entire loan period. · Only 50% of the processing fee will be charged for loan processing. Among the various States in the country, Gujarat leads in mopping up NRI investments, followed by Maharastra. Large-scale investments are made in these States both in the private and public sectors. Kerala is unable to facilitate a significant portion of the NRI remittances towards productive sectors. Though there is a lot talk about mobilizing NRK investments for the development of the State, nothing much is being achieved. It is high time to formulate strategies to woo a major junk of the remittances. The State Government, in fact, needs large investments for its increasing development projects. Some of the suggested strategies for attracting NRK savings could be: 1. Provide protection for investments. 2. Guarantee a minimum return on investments. 3. Enable withdrawal/deposit of money at any time from anywhere. 4. Make hassle-free schemes. The State Government can popularize investments in Government bonds and deposits in treasury savings accounts. (The author is Professor, Centre for Management Development, Thiruvananthapuram)


Kerala emigrants emigrants in in the the Gulf Gulf Kerala By K C Zachariah and S Irudaya Rajan


ow many Indians work abroad? We have no answer to this question even today. However, available evidence indicates that Kerala among States in India has the highest number of emigrants in the Gulf countries1. In order to make an assessment of the emigrants from Kerala to the Gulf, the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) conducted four large-scale surveys over the last 10 years—in 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2008. This article is based on the Kerala Migration Survey (KMS) 2008, funded by the Department of NonResident Keralite Affairs, Government of Kerala, and the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India2. According to our estimates, the number of Kerala migrants living outside India in 2008 was 21.9 lakh (Table 1). The corresponding number in 1998 was 13.6 lakh. During the 10-year period 1998-2008, the number of emigrants from Kerala has increased by 8.3 lakhs (Figure 1).

Figure 3 indicates that Malappuram district had the largest number of emigrants from Kerala— 3,35,000 out of a total of 21.9 lakh for Kerala as a whole (15.3%).

net migration of 66,000. Similarly, the total cash remittances that Kerala households received in 2009 registered a modest increase of 7%. Table 4, which provides the trends in remittances to Kerala over a long period of time, indicates continuous growth of such remittances. Table 4: Estimated Remittances to Kerala, 1991-2008 (Footnotes) 1 Zachariah, K.C and S Irudaya Rajan. 2009. Impact of the Global Recession on Migration and Remittances in Kerala: New Evidences from the Return Migration Survey 2009. Working Paper No. 424. Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

Kerala witnessed accelerated emigration at the start of the 1970s and from then on the Gulf countries have been the principal destination of emigrants. The state of affairs remained more or less the same in 2008. Table 1: Number of Emigrants, Return Emigrants and Non-Resident Kerala emigration, even Keralites from Kerala, 1998-2008 today, is essentially emigration to the Gulf countries. In 1998, a Gulf country was the emigration destination for 93.9% of Kerala emigrants, which Migration begets migration; emigration begets declined to 88.5% in 2008. return emigration. The greater the extent of The changes within the Gulf region are more emigration, the greater would be the extent of return marked. Saudi Arabia was the principal destination in emigration. Return emigration is a built-in aspect of 1998, with 37.5% of Kerala’s emigrants. The the emigration process. This is particularly true of Gulf proportion of emigrants from Kerala to Saudi Arabia migration where almost all emigration is of short declined to 26.7% in 2003 and further to 23.0% in duration and temporary in nature. Return emigration 2008. However, the number of Kerala emigrants in statistics given in Table 1 tell this story convincingly. Saudi Arabia has remained stable; it has not declined The number of return emigrants rose from 7.4 lakh in at all during the 10-year period. On the other hand, 1998 to 11.6 lakh in 2008, the net increase being the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has received a rising 4.2 lakh during the period 1998-2008. The number proportion of Kerala emigrants—from 31.0% in 1998 of Non-Resident Keralites (NRK=EMI+REM) in 2008 to 41.9% in 2008 (Figure 4). was 33.5 lakh, while the corresponding number in 1998 was 21.0 lakh. Thus the number of NRKs had increased by 12.5 lakh during 1998-2008.

The number of emigrants per 100 households increased from 21.4% in 1998 to 29.0% in 2008. Similarly, the number of return emigrants per 100 households increased from 11.6% in 1998 to 15.3% in 2008 (Figure 2)

Kerala’s Gulf connection is so strong that even at the time of the global crisis, both emigration and remittances seem to be resilient. According to our recent study 1 conducted for the Government of Kerala, even at the peak of the recession in the Gulf, when 1,73,000 emigrants returned to Kerala, 2,39,000 emigrants left Kerala to work in the Gulf, resulting in a PASSLINE

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Source: Zachariah and Irudaya Rajan, 2009 The flow of about Rs 43,288 crore into the Kerala economy in 2008 by way of remittances did have a very significant impact on the State’s economy and the living conditions of its citizens. It is important to state that 88.5% of emigrants from Kerala went to the Gulf and therefore they contribute a major chunk of flows of remittances in Kerala. For a total population of 3.371 crore in Kerala in 2008, the remittance of Rs 43,288 crore meant an average per capita remittance of Rs 12,840, and. for an average household, it was Rs 57,227 per year. Remittances thus make a substantial contribution to the annual income of the households in Kerala. Remittances are also associated with the macroeconomic indicators of the State. To begin with, remittances in Kerala in 2008 were as much as a third (31%) of the State’s NSDP. The per capita income of the State excluding remittances stood at Rs 41,814, but was as much as Rs 54,664 when remittances were also included (Table 5) Other statistics also indicate the importance of remittances in Kerala’s economy. Remittances were 1.74 times the revenue receipt of the State. They were 5.5 times finance Kerala got from the Central Government and 2.3 times the annual non-Plan expenditure of the State Government. In 2008, remittances were sufficient to wipe out 70% of the State’s debt. Remittances to Kerala were 36 times the export earnings from cashew and 30 times that from marine products. (To page 63)


‘’—the NRK initiative for IT upsurge in Kerala

By Varkey Pattimattam


he glaring role of non-resident Chinese in their country’s recent economic growth is well known. If so what about Kerala where every third person has some friends or relatives working abroad? Of course, non-resident Keralites (NRKs) are eager to contribute to the development of their homeland in many ways by virtue of their immense potential. However unless there is a user-friendly system to tap this potential, their dreams will remain dreams only as they will be making short annual visits during which they will be busy with many family matters. Hence, we have to think about a mechanism through which NRKs can fuel the growth of the State with the support of the local community. Yes, some wise NRKs did think about it. And have done something about it. Let us log on to the website It is the website uploaded by a non-political, global organization established in 2007 in New York. The name of this fellowship of Malayalee immigrants is Kerala Information Technology Alliance (KITA). It is an initiative of successful leaders in the IT business, constituted under the chairmanship of Mr George Abraham, an IT veteran serving the United Nations. KITA is a forum where local and immigrant Malayalees can work together for the development of IT in the State. Anybody can take membership of KITA and work for a role of

his/her choice matching the available time, interest and expertise. KITA will provide contacts and connections for the members all over the world. It envisages a collective and collaborative approach to all concerned. When you glance through the homepage of, you get a feel of the host of facilities and activities of KITA. There is a blogging facility for easy interaction and discussion among members. It provides information on IT education and courses as well as job opportunities. A lot of information on IT and Kerala is made available in a professional way. You can be a member by filling the online admission form. There is no membership fee. Members can

KITA is a forum where local and immigrant Malayalees can work together for the development of IT in the State. Anybody can take membership of KITA and work for a role of his/her choice matching the available time, interest and expertise. KITA will provide contacts and connections for the members all over the world. It envisages a collective and collaborative approach to all concerned. participate in the KITA programme held in Kerala and abroad and formulate processes for the development of the IT business, education and employment in Kerala. A few programmes, which I could attend as a member, had been very informative and inspiring. KITA aims to be an enabler by developing a global professional social community network among individuals, groups and communities. It plans to collaborate in the leading educational institutions in the State. By working in the key industries, it envisages effective knowledge management services of value. Technological, legal and financial advice can be PASSLINE

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provided to budding entrepreneurs. Growth of new IT ventures will be facilitated through incubator services wherever possible. KITA can guide the academia for globally acceptable curricula, courses and teaching methods. Proper guidance for IT professionals for career enhancement is also possible. KITA has made attempts to provide advisory services to the State Government in policy-making, project formulation and execution, recruitment, IT strategy, trend analysis etc. The Government is keen to listen to them and the IT Secretary to the Government had participated in the KITA programmes organized in Kerala. Eminent NRK professors and professionals are keen to deliver lectures to the students and IT professionals in the State if a proper forum is made available. KITA arranges such talks on hot topics, research opportunities, industry trends etc. As a result, along with knowledge transfer, networking between entrepreneurs, job-seekers and students also happens. The e-governance practices implemented in other countries can be emulated here also. In turn, the successful e-governance projects executed in our country can be marketed abroad also. They can arrange liaison services abroad with business partners interested in marketing software products, services and professionals. KITA is a model, which can be emulated by NRKs active in other diverse fields also. For example, thousands of professionals serving in the hospitality industry can formulate a similar alliance and develop the tourism sector of the State. The medical fraternity can contribute to the promotion of medical tourism and medical education. The presence of modern information technology, facilitating online interaction sitting at various points of the globe has made formation and management of similar alliances easier. However, in the absence of an active support group from the homeland, these organizations cannot reach their goals. KITA also calls for more involvement of the Kerala IT fraternity for further growth. Hence all who are interested have to take membership of and participate in the noble venture it has dared into. If you are one among them, right now click on ‘’. (The author is General Manager (MSS), HOCL, Kochi)



The dragon and the elephant can live together It is probable that the India-China war of 1963 could have been avoided if India had not offered asylum to the Dalai Lama, extending a royal welcome to him. There have been quite a few signs in recent months that the two Asian giants have begun the difficult process of forgetting old hostilities and getting closer.

By K P Joseph


t is the wonder of wonders that a country like India that has the second largest population in the world, speaking 18 different languages, following half a dozen different religions and grouped into dozens and dozens of political parties still continues to be a democracy, 63 years after gaining independence. There never has been any attempt at a coup. Compared to India, China, which is a bigger country, is far easier to govern. It does not have different languages or religions and there is no parliamentary democracy or freedom of expression. What is really amazing is that, riddled with all these crippling problems, India has been beating most of the developed countries in the rate of economic growth year after year. Many rich countries of Europe are sinking in debt and deficit and are on the brink of bankruptcy, like Greece and Spain. Britain is so hard up for money that it has withdrawn chauffeur-driven cars even from many of the Cabinet Ministers. Salaries of Government employees are being cut and posts reduced in many countries. We do not have any of these problems. We can indeed be proud of our country. Those whose main hobby it is to blame the Government all the time have to keep their mouth shut. Indians can be found even in the remotest parts of the world. It is estimated that there are about 30 million NRIs who send home remittances of around Rs 2,00,000 crore a year, which is the highest amount that the immigrants from any country remit. India is followed by China, which has a larger number of immigrants than India. It is sad but true that much of the money that has been pouring into India for a long time is wasted on liquor and ostentatious living by those who receive it. Though there is much talk about this problem, hardly anything is being done to deal with it. The time has come when the NRIs themselves have to set up groups to study the problem and find remedies. The hard-earned money has to be spent prudently and carefully. Indians have been ahead of the people of other European countries by several centuries in migrating to other countries. More than 1,500 years ago, Indians spread Buddhism in China. Again they took Hinduism to South East Asia and the islands of the Pacific a long time ago, much before Christopher Columbus discovered America. The Chinese also have a long history of migration and even reached Kerala several centuries ago. China and India had civilizations older than Europe’s and have been friendly to each other across the centuries.

If India and China had not fought against each other in 1963 and if Pandit Nehru had introduced the economic liberalization reforms that Dr Manmohan Singh as the Finance Minister in the Narasimha Rao Government initiated in 1991, India would have been much ahead of China in economic growth. It was the Chinese war started in undue hurry that crippled India for about half a century. Our defeat was complete and shameful. It is probable that the war could have been avoided if India had not offered asylum to the Dalai Lama, extending a royal welcome to him. There are quite a few signs in recent months that the two Asian giants have begun the difficult process of forgetting old hostilities and getting closer. Not many people of the present generation would be aware of how friendly India and China were to each other. During the Chinese war of 1963, I had some personal experience about this, which I will share with the readers. It was over 50 years ago that a road was built to connect Gangtok, the capital of the then princely State of Sikkim, with Nathu La, situated at an altitude of 4,310 metres above sea level, high up in the Himalaya mountains. Nathu La is the mountain pass on the border between India and China. Pandit Nehru himself came down to Sikkim and declared the road open, after going up to Nathu La by the new road. This was The Dalai Lama something of an engineering achievement in those days. I had to go to Gangtok a few weeks after the opening of the road for some official work. I noticed a lot of excitement about the new road among the people I met in Gangtok. A friend of mine insisted that I should go up to Nathu La, for which special permission of the Government was necessary. The journey was a rare experience. There was snow everywhere as we went up the mountains. We saw a large lake completely frozen over. As we reached Nathu La, we noticed that at that height no trees could grow. We could see far across the mountain pass into Tibet. There was not a single policeman or military person anywhere at the border between the two countries. We saw several large groups of Chinese traders moving along on the road, by the side of their mules loaded with things which they had bought in Sikkim for sale in China. There was no restriction whatever on movements between India and China. There was no better proof


July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

for the friendly relations between the two countries. In a few months, when the war broke out in 1962, the pass was closed; no one was allowed to go there and the army took control of the pass. It was reopened only in 2006. In 1959, before the war broke out, I had to go to Darjeeling from Calcutta (Kolkata), again for some official work. Near Siliguri, the car in which I was travelling had to stop at a railway crossing. I got out of the car and joined a crowd of people who seemed quite excited. I heard that the special train in which the Dalai Lama who had fled to India from Tibet after the Chinese occupation of Tibet was soon to pass that way. In a few minutes the special train with three carriages roared past. It had a golden lotus flower displayed in front of the engine and there were many Indian soldiers inside. We could hear the loud shouting of slogans from inside the train. Later we heard that the Dalai Lama briefly addressed a crowd that had collected to see him at Siliguri. The grand reception and asylum given to the Dalai Lama in India was very much resented by China and from that time the relations between India and China broke down completely. It was probably the hasty orders given by Pandit Nehru to throw out the Chinese out of the places in the mountains they had occupied, without considering if the Indian army was ready for the job, that precipitated the war, in which India’s performance was truly disastrous. I was living in Calcutta at the time of the Chinese war and we were expecting that Calcutta would be bombed. We had located places where to take shelter if bombs were dropped over the city. But luckily the Chinese army withdrew unexpectedly from Tezpur, on the banks of the Brahmaputra in Assam. And we all breathed a sigh of relief. I had some families near where I lived in Calcutta, whose members were in the Indian army fighting the Chinese, as they came down the mountains into Tezpur. They were all passing through a dreadfully anxious time. It is a great relief to know that India and China are getting closer to each other in recent months. This will benefit the people of both countries. Hard as it may be to believe it, in the first week of June this year, a book, What Can China Learn from India, written by Pan Song, a businessman who has lived and worked in India for some years, was released in Beijing and detailed reports about it appeared in important Chinese papers like China Daily, with the heading, ‘Dragon can learn a few lessons from the elephant’. This is indeed very flattering to our country. It will be marvellous if the dragon and the elephant can live together in friendship, as they always did in the past, till the Dalai Lama came in the way. (The author is a former Accountant-General of Kerala)


NRIs can usher in a brave new world To be effective cultural ambassadors of the countries they live in to India NRIs have to know and absorb the best of the cultures and life of those countries. Unfortunately, most NRIs are aware of only the superficial aspects of the history and life of the people among whom they live.

By E X Joseph


illiam Wordsworth’s poem on the French Revolution begins with these famous lines: Bliss it was to be alive on that day But to be young was very heaven.This is what I feel when I meet a young NRI in America. Ours is an age when life can blossom in all its splendour and beauty. Science and technology enable man to have all the material comforts he wants and have enough leisure left after working time to devote to scientific research, music, poetry, fine arts, philosophy—whatever he has a passion for. The sages of all countries and religions have also given man profound insightswhich will open his mind to the great mysteries of life. In America an NRI has the opportunity to do all that he wants to bring about the full realization of his potentialities. There is total freedom. He will also have the material resources which he needs. He has the opportunity to bring in a beautiful life for himself, his family and the entire mankind. A pinch of salt can change the quality of a whole lot of water. Jesus had told his apostles that they are the salt of the earth and asked them to spread the message of love. Cannot the Indian diaspora all over the world be the salt of the earth and bring about a universal transformation and usher in a brave new world of peace and creative development? Cannot they be the cultural ambassadors of India to the countries where they live and be the cultural ambassadors of those countries to India? It is my conviction that they can and they should. What is necessary is that they must absorb in themselves and project to others the blending of the best of Indian civilization and the civilization of the countries they now live in.Indian diaspora is now spread all over the world. According to a recent survey by a Washington-based think tank,the United States is home to about 1.6 million Indian-origin people, making them the third-largest immigrant group in the country after Mexicans and Filipinos. Between 2007 and 2008, the number of Indian immigrants surpassed that of Chinese and Hong Kong-born immigrants for the first time since at least 1960, said the Migration Policy Institute in its latest report.Indian immigration to the US, a fairly recent phenomenon, grew rapidly during the 1990s and 2000s. In addition, people with Indian ancestry have also immigrated to the US from the Caribbean, East Africa, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Of the 2.3 million members of the Indian diaspora residing in the US in 2008, 66.4% were born in India, including individuals born in India to at least one parent who was a native-born US citizen. One-fifth (20%) were US citizens at birth. The remaining 13.6% were

born elsewhere, mainly in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Fiji, the Caribbean (Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica), East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda), South Africa and the British Commonwealth (Canada, the UK). I do not have the figures in respect of Indians in other countries. But they are certainly everywhere in large numbers and generally in the higher echelons of the social and economic ladder. In the US, 38% of the doctors are Indians. In Europe, and specially in Great Britain, Australia, Africa, West Asia and other countries also there are sizeable numbers of Indian-origin people. It is this which gives the opportunity to NRIs not to be merely economic beneficiaries, but to be messengers of a new universal culture.To be able to take up this

the priestly class stopped our growth. Foreign invasions wrote the last chapter. Every NRI would do well to read Jawaharlal Nehru’s Discovery of India. Our embassies and diplomats unfortunately do not care to educate NRIs about the splendour that India was.NRIs are often not aware even of what India of the immediate past and of the present. How many— except Bengalees of course—are aware that Rabindranath Tagore is the only poet of world literature whose poems and songs are sung every day in Bengali homes? How many are familiar with the profound insights of Ramana Maharshi, Sri Narayana Guru, J Krishnamurthi, Sri Ramakrishna and others? How many are aware that Ashoka is the only ruler in world history who declared that he would never

luminous task, NRIs should know the essence of the beauty of Indian civilization and the civilization of the country which they are in.Unfortunately, at present most NRIs have only a superficial idea of the great civilization which India can be proud of. They have to discover true India. According to Max Muller, the great Sanskrit scholar, the human genius reached its climax in ancient India. Ours is a civilization which goes back to 5,000 or more years. Mathematics, astronomy and many other branches of knowledge were perhaps for the first time highly developed in India. In Sanskrit and Tamil, the ancient writings are incomparable. Zero is a contribution of India. In Kerala there was a school of mathematics which had developed calculus before Europe. The excavations made in Harappa and Mohanjedaro etc have shown how advanced town planning, governance, science, art etc were in the pre-Christian centuries. We had great universities. The world has now become aware of the unique treasure that Yoga is. In many ways ayurveda is superior to allopathy. The Hindu understanding of the profundities of life is still unsurpassed. Jainism and Buddhism opened up the splendour of human illumination. The Greeks and the Arabs eagerly gathered our knowledge and fortunately passed it on to Europe where monks translated the Indian writings in total secrecy in the Middle Ages when the Pope did not tolerate any openness of mind. When Britishers came to India, our industries were much more advanced than in the West which became industrialized with the invention of the steam engine. Unfortunately, we did not have a renaissance of the kind which Europe had and our social fabric, particularly the caste system and the killing of the open mind by

wage a war and became an apostle of non-violence, that the Gandhian revolution is the only political revolution which was achieved without the violent overthrow of the rulers? How many are aware of all the great advances made by free India? When we became free, even pins were made in Britain and imported. Now we have mastered the technology of making the atom bomb, of sending satellites into space and so on. We have today the largest number of engineers in the world. We have carved out a united nation out of over 500 kingdoms which were all declared independent by the British. We came out of the agonies of the partition which the British managed to inflict upon us. We were compelled to wage three wars against Pakistan. We are today fighting terrorism. We have the most effective and independent Election Commission in any democracy. Our judiciary is as independent as in the US and Britain and our Supreme Court is the most powerful court in the world. Our media is as free; we have protected our plural society. Recently Dr Abdul Kalam, former President, in an article lamented that our media highlights only our failures and black spots and not our achievements. This is what he wrote: “We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them. Why? We are the first in milk production. We are number one in remote sensing satellites. We are the second largest producer of wheat. We are the second largest producer of rice.” The list is long. And remember we have achieved all these in spite of all the difficulties and problems To page 34


July 31- Aug. 31, 2010



All 44 rivers of Kerala are polluted Passline News Service


he World Malayalee Council (WMC) with the technical support of World Water Monitoring Federation, USA, in association with the students and teachers of Labour India Public School and Labour India College of Teacher Education, tested the level of purity and pollution of water of the 44 rivers of Kerala for the second consecutive time during this summer. Led by Mr George Kulangara, WMC Kerala Province Chairman and Chairman of the Kerala River Water Protection Samithi, and Mr Anoj Kumar, WMC Kerala Province President, the team trekked 4,200 km in two phases to collect and test the waters of the 44 rivers. The others who participated in the venture were Mr Anoop Dhanwanthiri, Dr Praveen Itticheriah, Mr Mohanan, Mr Suresh, Mr Andrew Pappachan (USA), Mr Ajith R Das, Ms Geetha Ajith, Mr George Kulangara Sajimon K R and Mr Subin Neerumplakkal. Labour India College of Teacher Education teacher Suji V Panikkar and BEd college student Maneesh K also rendered their expertise along with the students of Labour India Public School—T N Shibu, Ajith Santhosh, George Joseph Junior, Jijo Varkey, Maria Jose, Athira G and Merlyn Jose. The major findings were: The water in all these 44 rivers is fully unfit for human consumption and polluted. Kerala, which is blessed with monsoon rain, is now disorderly. Because of depletion of forests, rain has weakened the water flow to the rivers. A majority of factories are located on the banks of rivers and they discharge the effluents to the rivers. This causes the whole water species to perish. Lorryloads of all types of wastes from septic tanks and hospitals are dumped into the rivers in collusion with political parties under cover of darkness. Use of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides and weedicides pollutes our estates, crop fields and farms. This may finally drain into rivers in

much concentrated doses during summer. This will also pollute our source of drinking water, setting the stage for water-borne diseases. Seventy-five percent of Keralites are directly linked to river water for their drinking and cooking purposes. The major source of water to Kerala Water Authority is river water. What it does to eradicate the faecal coli form bacteria is simple chlorination at a high dose. KWA is not seemingly concerned about the oxygen concentration, acid concentration, phosphate, calcium carbonate, nitrate, ammonia etc. There is enough medical evidence to support the findings that a good lot of abdominal, dermal and renal diseases are caused by polluted drinking water.

Meenachil, Vadavathur make Kottayam ill T here are no clear visions or schemes to eradicate or recycle the wastes in Kottayam. According to the Central Local Body Governing Department, Kottayam stands at the 84th place in hygiene in India. The residents of Irattupetta, Pala and Kottayam depend on the Meenachil river for drinking water. The investigation revealed that there is only 53% oxygen in the water. The rest 47% contains hues of wastes including 15% phosphate which damages the kidney. Similarly its ammonia content causes bronchitis and coliform bacteria lead to intestine ills.Medical colleges, general hospitals, railway stations, YMCAs and bus stations are treasures of solid wastes and the Meenachil river becomes the dustbin of wastes. The search made at the waste dumping yard of Kottayam—Vadavathur—revealed that the stench emanating from the yard is as dense as the stink from thousands of rotten corpses.

Contagious fever, cancers of several kinds, lung diseases and vulnerability to diseases are caused by water.


There is enough medical evidence to support the findings that a good lot of abdominal, dermal and renal diseases are caused by polluted drinking water. Contagious fever, cancers of several kinds, lung diseases and vulnerability to diseases are caused by water. Physicians are of the opinion that polluted water causes the malfunctioning of the human brain. PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

Meenachil Mr George Kulangara opines that Kottayam municipality should set up its own solid/liquid waste recycling plants. The fund can be raised from the State allocation, municipal budget and district panchayat fund. The district administration, people’s representatives and social workers, if united, can make Kottayam a waste-free district.

Physicians are of the opinion that polluted water causes the malfunctioning of the human brain. The investigation team has pointed out the following remedies: Night patrolling of police should be intensified. Statutory enforcement of the waste disposal mechanism should be made mandatory for every public institution and the recycled pollution-free wastes should not be allowed to move in the open. The Pollution Control Board should take strict action against violators of anti- pollution norms The Local Administration Department should be geared up to act with people’s participation. The general public, NGOs, communities, religions, political parties etc should prioritize an anti-pollution agenda. School and college campuses should be conscientized and encouraged to act against pollution of all kinds. Nanotechnology and biotechnology should be incorporated to fight pollution. A status report of Kerala’s river water purity has to be published by adopting international standards. A coordination meet of renowned global Malayalees should be convened by the State Government to draw up a ‘clear river’ agenda. Highlights: The most polluted river in Kerala is the Kallayippuzha closely followed by the Panamarampuzha, Karamanayar, Pampa, Periyar, Chaliyar, Bharathappuzha and Manjeswaram.


NRIs have to know the best of cultures From page 32 and negativities of a parliamentary democracy. NRIs have plenty of the great aspects of India of the past as well as of the present. To be effective cultural ambassadors of the countries they live in to India NRIs have to know and absorb the best of the cultures and life of those countries. Unfortunately, most NRIs are aware of only the superficial aspects of the history and life of the people among whom they live. How many know that America is not just a land of permissiveness, that at least onethird of American families are filled with love, and devotion to each other? How many appreciate the heroism of the American Revolution, the love of freedom which permeates the American culture, the courage and determination with which the Americans have built up the most prosperous country in the world? How many are familiar with the expansion of freedom in America during the last 300 years? How many NRIs in America are familiar with the

great books written by American thinkers, poets, novelists? How many have read Walden by Thoreau, Essays by Emerson, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitan, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck and so on? It is not only America. How many NRIs living in Europe are aware of the great Renaissance painters, sculptors? They may have heard of the painting Mona Lisa; but how many have read about the extraordinary life and achievements of Leonardo da Vinci? How many are aware of the great opening of the mind which took place in Europe in the 15th century onwards and of the great writers and artists and thinkers whom Germany, France, England, Italy, and other European countries have given to the world? The history of European nations is not just about imperialism. It is much, much more. When we talk about Africa, NRIs living there are aware of only the lions and the violence and disease. If they delve deep into African history, they will know

about a great civilization, about the innate love of rhythm in Africans, and so on. All the peoples of the world have great traditions and radiant cultures. NRIs have the opportunity of absorbing the immensity of the beauty of all human history and becoming truly human, really world citizens. If they use this opportunity and be cultural ambassadors of the entire humanity, they can certainly usher in a brave new world where the dream in the Prayer of Rabindranath Tagore beginning with the line Where the mind is free and the head is held high becomes a reality on the earth. (E X Joseph is a senior advocate in the Supreme Court of India and a former Editor of the late V K Krishna Menon’s weekly The Century. President of the V K Krishna Menon Educational Initiative, Joseph has authored Songs of Love and Other Poems; Krishna Iyer: Splendour of Humanism and Justice; A Legendary Battle for Human Rights and How to Make Old Age your Golden Age.)

Cutchsoft develops cheque software C

utchsoft Private Limited (Cutchsoft) has developed Cheque Strategic Office Software (Cheque SOS), a comprehensive cheque management function which includes cheque printing and aims to avoid preventable mismanagement of cheques. Mr Yasser Rahman, Managing Director of Cutchsoft, says: ``It is simple software that will help users print cheques directly from their home or office printer." Designed for small and medium businesses, the software helps organize, print and track the cheques issued by the company costing Rs 1,999 per Cheque SOS. The company expects to invest Rs 2.5 crore in

Kerala and hopes to have a turnover of Rs 20 crore. ``At present we have appointed two distributors,

in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, and propose to have another in Kozhikode. We are also planning to expand our distribution network in Kerala and other parts of


July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

the country. The turnover has been quite good. We are also in talks with major distributors in the Middle East", says Mr Zaheer Rafiq, Director of Cutchsoft. In the cheque book, the user can easily create a cheque with pre-defined cheque number. The user can print a series of cheques in a batch by specifying the account and the cheque numbers. The SOS suite marks Cutchsoft’s foray into office solutions for businesses of various sizes with a specific focus on SMEs. With the backing of the Cutch Group of Companies and technical support from some of the best software programmers in the country, Cutchsoft has completed the R&D on its software packages.


Persistence pays in stock markets also By Raja S


hy are most traders not successful in the financial market? Quick-money attitude: Most people choose stock market trading with a wrong illusion that this is the place where they can multiply their capital in a short span of time. Some people who may have made big losses in their earlier businesses also choose this trading business because of this illusion. They do not even try to know the risks involved in trading in different segments of the stock market and to manage those risks. We get jackpots too, but not every time. To earn big gains we need persistence. We always remember Sachin Tendulkar and not Krishnamachari Srikanth. Lack of knowledge: Most traders do not learn the basic data like functions of the market, its different segments, risks and rewards, different participants and the factors that affect the price movements, both fundamental and technical. Always do some homework before starting trade. Passion in speculating: Most traders prefer day trading because of the leverage given to them against their initial trading capital. They get addicted to this fascinating trading game because of the price volatility in the market during intra-day and finally trade, just as a gambler does in a casino. Speculation guarantees action but not profit. Never speculate since probability of winning is too low. Instead, follow some specific backtested trading strategies consistently, depending upon the present trends in the market. It may be boring but winning constantly. Fear of loss: People who are not successful in the market hate losses. That is the reason why they always end up in losses. They do not bother if their stock moves down because of the simple market theory they all know, “For every fall there is a rise”. They need to accept the other counter-theory, “Falling stocks will always fall”. Smart traders do often book a small loss earlier instead of making it a big one. Never hesitate to book loss and always exit a stock when it is not moving in your direction. Fear of profit: Unlike any other business, most traders in the stock market do not enjoy big gains; instead they become nervous. Some start biting their nails and sitting in the edge of the chair when their stock moves right in their direction. This is the fear of profit. Why do they do so? Again because of the simple theory they all know, “For every rise there is a fall”. If they are not booking profit it might come to their cost price. They need to accept the other part of the market theory, “Rising stocks will always rise”. It is essential to book periodical profits and, at the same time, try to earn big gains as and when the market delivers. Money management and risk management: Most unsuccessful traders do not follow money management and risk management rules. According to money management, do not use more than 20% of your trading capital or trading gross exposure for each trade. And according to risk management, your stop loss for each single trade should not exceed 2% of your trading capital. Suppose the trading capital is Rs 25,000 and gross exposure is 10 times, ie Rs 2,50,000 for day trading. You have planned a day trade to buy Reliance above Rs 1,000 with stop loss @ Rs 988, target @ Rs 1,010/ 1020; 20% of gross exposure = 2,50,000 x 20% = 50,000. Then your quantity should be Rs 50,000/ 1,000 = 50 shares according to money management.

Your stop loss is Rs 1000–Rs 988 = Rs 12 ( in case you lose your trade). 2% of your trading capital=Rs 25,000 x 2% = Rs 500. Then your quantity should be Rs 500/12 = 42 shares according to risk management. The lower of both is 42 shares which you should buy for this particular trade. Always follow money management and risk management rules while trading as they diversify MONTH



April: 2009






your direction. Learning trading strategies is easier. Applying them consistently with money management and risk management is more difficult. Plan your trade and trade your plan. Balance your greed and fear all the times you trade. Never fight the trend. Never get excited while gaining and afraid when losing. Never try to pick the bottom of a stock while falling and top while rising. One hundred percent profit REMARKS

U.S Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sees signs of recovery. Home sales increased. G-20 meeting calls for coordinated action for economic recovery, growth. Reliance Industries begins KG Basin gas production. Tech Mahindra acquires Satyam Computers. FII invested more than Rs 5,500 cr in Indian equities. U.S manufacturing index started moving up. US Govt states that most banks have more than enough capital to weather the downturn. FII invested Rs 13,890 crore in Indian markets.

May 15



May 18



UPA gets unanimous mandate.


US consumer confidence index jumped to 54.9, Previous: 40.8. US Government takes over 70 % share of bankrupt General Motors.






Union budget: Infrastructure stocks declined due to increase in MAT from 10% to 15%. Financials declined. No announcements on insurance sector reforms.




ADB increases India’s growth forecast. India’s inflation turned – 0.12%, Industrial production growth at 10.4%. Previous: 7.2%, US GDP growth at 3.5%, Previous: - 0.7 %, FII invested 12,643 cr in Indian markets.




CAG inquiry on Reliance books of accounts, Weak quarterly corporate earnings. Crude crosses $80.

February 2010



Union budget: Cut in surcharge, more money for infrastructure, increase in divestment target, increase in personal tax slab to Rs 8 lakh.

March 2010



Indian industrial production growth rate at 17.70%. FIIs invested Rs 14,792 cr.



Good corporate results. Expectation of normal monsoon.

April 2010 May 2010



Eurozone crisis: Goldman Sachs fiasco, Greece bailout.

risks and never increase your quantity after two consecutive profit trades or loss trades. Power of discipline: Before initiating each trade, decide what to buy, when to buy and how much to buy, where to exit if it moves in the right direction (target level) and stop loss level if it moves against


July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

yielding strategy does not exist and no fool can offer it. Last but not least: Commit mistake but never repeat it.(The author is Regional Head (T.N), Acumen Capital Market (I) Limited:


Emerging opportunities in Kerala By Vinodh Ninan


he Kerala educational environment is fast changing. Led by far-reaching changes taking place in the educational front on the Indian canvas, Kerala is making those reluctant changes necessary to try and keep the lead in this sector generated over so many years by the service rendered by the English rulers and the Christian missionary groups in the early 1900s. The early advantage from good education gave a headstart to the Malayalee throwing open opportunities that helped migration to different countries and other States in search of scarce jobs in Kerala. A poor work culture along with militant trade unionism made sure that few factories could survive against the strategic and crippling actions of the political formations. The Malayalee therefore is a prominent part of the global workforce. It is of paramount importance that we maintain this lead in education for the future growth of the State. Standards of education have all along been very high in Kerala. But of late the providers of high-quality education—the Catholic Church in particular—have been targeted by certain political formations in our State leading to a situation wherein the energies of the Church will necessarily be focused on just sustaining itself rather than focusing on the growth of education. This will lead to a drop in the quality and eventually to Kerala losing its eminent position as a destination for quality education. The opportunity: This provides an opening window of opportunity. A scenario is developing leaving a gap wide open for the emergence of quality education providers. The political

formations are amenable to private participation provided the providers are amenable to some of their demands. Once you toe their line they are most supportive. But the objective is to provide quality education. And probably the ends justify the means. The need for centres of excellence in higher education is tremendous and is likely to multiply with India becoming a leader in the knowledgebased industry. Research and development centres are already being relocated to India and the demand for quality personnel will just skyrocket in the immediate future. The automobile sector is booming and with this growth more and more automobile manufacturers are shifting their design centres to India. Tata’s Nano has been a path-breaker showing the world India’s capability as a provider

Private investment in education is a pressing need and this need can be met from the large number of well-to-do Gulf-based investors. The returns on investment are above those in most industries though the returns may have a longer pay-back period. But then Kerala can become the centre of higher education and research in our country and each one of us can be proud to state that we have a major contribution in achieving this laudable goal.

of solutions with out-of-the-box solutions. The demand for highly qualified research and design personnel is phenomenal. Defence production is an area expected to take off with the new offset clauses coming into play. India’s defence budgets are increasing at an unimagined rate again pushing up the demand for qualified personnel. With US President Obama’s new space policy declared India is likely to become a preferred partner in America’s charge on the next frontier. So is the case in renewable energy, pharmaceuticals and software. The trend of foreign universities setting up campuses in India is an outcome of this need. They have seen the emerging trend and are working overtime to establish in India. While setting up research centres is an easy task, getting them to perform will mean that they will have to recreate the necessary environment and research culture which is not that easily achieved. They will bring with them the research methodology and techniques employed in their universities only if they are subjected to


July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

competition from our universities. This competition is unlikely to come from the Government-run colleges as their environment has been vitiated by the politicization of the teaching staff. Teaching in Government-run and aided colleges has been reduced to a bare minimum and focus on the students just clearing examinations and will do nothing in the way of creating brilliant material for the future. This is where the Gulf-based Malayalee has a prominent role to play. Having received the benefits of a good education it is almost like it is pay-back time with an added benefit. Private investment in education is a pressing need and this need can be met from the large number of well-to-do Gulf-based investors. The returns on investment are above those in most industries though the returns may have a longer pay-back period. But then Kerala can become the centre of higher education and research in our country and each one us can be proud to state that we have a major contribution in achieving this laudable goal.


Should firms manage foreign exchange risks?

By M R Rajagopalan Nair


nternational commerce has changed rapidly as the Internet has provided a new and transparent marketplace for individuals and entities alike to conduct business and trading activities across the nations. Significant changes have taken place recently in the world economy, like introduction of a common currency among the European Union nations, free-trade arrangements by various groups of countries etc, which have made the foreign exchange market a complex one leaving much to the market forces to determine the direction of the exchange rates. The uncertainty about future rates has brought forward the need for corporates to have an effective vehicle to hedge their foreign exchange exposure. By definition, foreign exchange exposure can be defined as contracted, projected or contingent cash flow whose magnitude is not certain at the moment. The exact magnitude depends on the value of variables such as foreign exchange rates and interest rates. Some of the important variables impacting the exposure are contracted foreign currency cash flows, interest rates abroad (whether floated or fixed) and cash flows from hedge transactions as well as projected or contingent cash flows. Exchange risk is the effect that unanticipated exchange rate changes have on the value of the firm. Foreign exchange rate risk is common to all entities which conduct business across the borders. The business of buying and selling goods or services from various countries exposes the entities to foreign exchange rate risks as any adverse movement of one currency against another affects the pricing of the goods which has an immediate impact on its business. Managing foreign exchange exposure: There are arguments in favour of an effective risk management policy to hedge against foreign exchange risks and there are also many firms which refrain from an active foreign currency exposure management. The foreign exchange exposure of a firm could be broadly divided into two based on its nature, and the risk management tools adopted are also accordingly different. Hedging the various exposures: Transaction exposure: Transaction exposure measures the gains or losses that arise from the settlement of existing financial obligations whose terms are stated in foreign currency. The exposure is hedged through a forward market hedge, money market hedge and options market hedge. Economic exposure: Economic exposure is the sensitivity of the future home currency value of the firm’s assets and liabilities and the firm’s operating cash flow to sudden changes in exchange rates Firms which do not opt for management of risk do argue that any use of risk management tools such as forwards, futures and options is a speculative action. These are beyond the scope of their companies’ objectives as their business is different. Many managements turn a blind eye to this as they

Foreign exchange rate risk is common to all entities which conduct business across the borders. The business of buying and selling goods or services from various countries exposes the entities to foreign exchange rate risks as any adverse movement of one currency against another affects the pricing of the goods which has an immediate impact on its business. do not understand the whole gamut of complex hedging operations. Some of the firms also argue that an attempt to manage foreign exchange risks is an exercise without precision because the exposure and the risk emanating from it cannot be measured. According to them, currency risk management does not add value to the firm. Further, they believe that their exposure is covered already by taking forward cover for their imports/exports business. However some of them ignore the fact that a major portion of its value is locked in transactions which are not yet completed and hence exposure management is not complete till a comprehensive cover is available against all transactions in different stages and denominated in various currencies. The Modigliani-Miller theorem that a firm cannot improve shareholder value by financial manipulations gives strength to the protagonists of this ‘do-nothing’ strategy. However, modern companies have understood the importance and need to have a proactive exposure management policy to address the operational and strategic risk exposures arising from the exchange rate risk. Reduction of risks of adverse movement of exchange rates on the future cash flows of the firm enhances its planning capability. An effective hedging strategy reduces the probability of financial distress. Shareholder value is best protected as the company managers have the knowledge and expertise to know the specific risks of the firm. There is need to have a strategy for risk management as the markets are often in disequilibrium because of structural or institutional imperfections. Traditionally, to eliminate exchange rate risks from the cost-revenue equation, many companies have implemented financial hedging strategies through financial instruments, carrying large cash balances or PASSLINE

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borrowing in the currency of countries in which they operate. Financial hedging techniques can offset the impact of short-term currency fluctuations which will help in limiting near-term financial risks. However, these policies do not have the ability to limit the risks emanating from the large, long-term exchange rate movements for which the entities are increasingly depending on the modern hedging tools. Companies have adopted operational hedging as part of their integrated risk management strategy. Operational hedging strategies are designed to mitigate long-term currency risks by providing companies with flexibility in their supply chains, financial position, distribution patterns and market-facing activities. This will enable them to make quick adjustments to the place of manufacture and source and sell by taking appropriate decisions on the location of production facilities and capacity, sourcing of inputs and logistics network, product design and offerings. In the current scenario of a volatile exchange rate market, which is impacted by various external and internal forces, a comprehensive risk management policy is a must to take the company safely forward. A reduction in net cash flow due to erosion of value caused by adverse exchange rates can subject the firm to costs of financial distress. The sudden and unanticipated fluctuation in earnings may threaten the firm’s viability, absorb management’s and creditor’s time, cause costs such as legal fees and create a variety of operating and investment problems. This takes us to the conclusion that there is a strong case for corporates to hedge their foreign exchange exposures adequately and appropriately. ( The author is former CEO of International Commercial Bank and is currently working at a senior level in a financial institution in the UAE)


Implications of revised DTC

By R P Deshpande


he Union Government has plans to bring in a New Direct Taxes Code (DTC) from April 2011, replacing the existing tax regime, which is almost 50 years old. Its aim is to improve the efficiency and equity of the tax system, eliminate distortions, introduce moderate levels of taxation and expand the tax base. The draft DTC was unveiled by the Union Finance Minister on August 12, 2009 for suggestions from the public whose public response was overwhelming. Innumerable suggestions were received on modifying the draft code. The revised discussion paper, released on June 15, 2010, addresses many contentious issues, out of which issues connected with income tax incentives on home loan repayment, computation of rental income and provisions on capital gains are analyzed in this article. Home loan repayments: In the existing tax regime, there are four tax incentives available for home loan borrowers: considering the income of self-occupied property as nil and taking into account interest paid on home loan as the expenses, under Section 24 (b) of IT Act, deduction

up to Rs 1,50,000 pa is allowed; the assessee is allowed to claim deduction in five equal parts of the total interest paid during construction period under Sec 24(b) of IT Act, after construction is complete; the loan repayment (principal loan amount) is allowed as deduction under Sec 80C along

with other specified savings instruments like contribution to PF, LIC premiums etc; the stamp duty and registration costs incurred for purchasing house property can be claimed as deduction under 80C of the IT Act. The revised DTC has suggested providing partial relief in the form of allowing interest paid on home loan up to Rs 1,50,000 pa (for selfoccupied house property) to be deducted from total income of the assessee. The Rs 1,50,000 would be allowed in the specified savings of Rs 3,00,000 pa, which qualify for deduction, like PF contribution, life insurance premium and contribution to pension funds etc. There appears to be no change in IT incentives available for properties let out. The interest paid on home loan (without any limits) can be claimed as loss from house property when interest paid is higher than the rental income computed. There is a slight change proposed in DTC for computing the rental income as follows.

to which it relates. Capital gains tax: Capital gains are profit (or loss) arising from transfer (sale, exchange or relinquishment) of capital asset. The draft DTC had sought to eliminate the distinction between short-term and long-term investments on the basis of the length of the holding period. The gains were supposed to be added to the total income of the financial year in which the investment was transferred. For resident Indians, tax was to be paid at applicable slab rates and for NRIs capital gains were to be taxed at 30% flat. The revised paper explains that capital gains will be considered as income from ordinary sources for all taxpayers, including NRIs, at the rate applicable to the taxpayer concerned. The loss arising from transfer of any asset would be treated similarly. This is a welcome move as it helps NRIs and lower-income group investors to minimize the tax burden.

The revised discussion paper, released on June 15, 2010, addresses many contentious issues, out of which issues connected with income tax incentives on home loan repayment, computation of rental income and provisions on capital gains are analyzed in this article.

Computing rental income: In the present tax regime, rental income is computed under the head ‘income from house property’. The income from house property is computed as gross rent received less the deductions allowed as follows: 30% of rent towards maintenance and collection charges; property taxes paid to the local revenue authority; interest payable on the capital borrowed to acquire/construct/repair/ renew the house property. For let-out properties, the draft DTC of August 2009 proposed to allow 20% of gross rent (presently 30%) towards maintenance and repair charges, retaining other deductions as stated above. The draft DTC had proposed presumptive basis for calculating notional rent from house property (at 6%) with reference to cost of construction/purchase/ acquisition. The revised discussion paper has clarified that rent received/ receivable in a year will be the gross rent. The advance rent will be taxed in the financial year PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

Capital gains on investment assets (equities and units of equity-oriented funds) held for more than a year will be calculated after deducting a specified percentage (without indexation) and added to the total income of the assessee. Capital gains on assets held for less than a year will be calculated without specified deduction. Capital gains arising on other assets (other than equities and units of equity-oriented funds) held for less than a year would be calculated in the same way as in the case of investment assets. However for gains arising from assets held for more than one year, the base date for calculating cost of acquisition would be shifted from 1981 to 2000. Hence there will be no capital gains for unrealized capital gains from 1981 to 2000. After allowing indexation, the gains would be added to the income of the assessee in the year the asset is transferred and will be taxed at the applicable rate. (The author is a Director of the Institute of Home Finance and can be contacted at


A Confluence of Confidence, Credibility and Concord Specialized Aluminum & Steel Co WLL (SASCO) was founded in 1983 in the State of Qatar. Since its very humble inception, the phenomenal success of SASCO Group can be attributed to the virtues of its great visionary, contented clientele, uncompromising quality and enviable growth. The SASCO Group comprises 23 companies and its Flagship Company, Specialized Aluminum & Steel Co and Imperial Trading & Contacting Co (ITCC), are the most renowned companies in the State of Qatar. In order to render better tailor-made service to the customers with enhanced efficiency, perfection and quality, SASCO Group owns and operates its own factories and other facilities such as Aluminum & Steel Cladding, Fabrication, Industrial Insulation, Scaffolding, Construction, Glazing, Hardware and Spare Parts Trading, Sanitary Ware, Cyber Technologies, Pharmacy, Manpower Sourcing, Arts and Cultural, Offset Printings, Hospitality, Catering, Entertainment & Events Management, Maintenance & Services, Asset & Property Management. SASCO Group holds a remarkable dedicated manpower strength of 7,200, which comprises professional, administrative, skilled, semiskilled and unskilled workforce. Thriving business of SASCO Group provided umpteen opportunities to leverage its overseas operations by venturing its first establishment in India by 1999. Yet, within short span of short time, it has its successful establishments in India, Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Togo, Bahrain, Libya and Dubai. SASCO Group recorded a milestone turnover of One Billion Qatari Riyals during the financial year. Our Vision: “To spearhead and set a new standard by striving to achieve competitive excellence through technological advancements in our business.”

Our Mission: To exhibit and serve our loyalties to society by ensuring the utmost satisfaction of our customers with uncompromising quality in all our business endeavours.”

With Best Compliments Group Companies Specialized Aluminium & Steel Co. W. L. L.

Dallas Glass Tempering Factory W. L. L.

KBC Engineering W. L. L.

Qatar Indo Fabs W. L. L.

Imperial Trading & Constructing Co. W. L. L.

Continental Trading & Contracting Co W. L. L.

Alubond Qatar W. L. L.

New Ceramics W. L. L.

Specialized Trading & Constructing Co. W. L. L.

Specialized Cladding & Neon W. L. L.

Al Sada Engineering W. L. L.

Jockey Trading W. L. L.

Cuber Micro Solution Technologies

Specialized Pharmacy Division

Arabian Auto Spares W. L. L.

Global Rent A Car W. L. L.

Kalabhavan Qatar W. L. L. Music & Art School

Specialized Marble and Granite W. L. L.

Arabnet Qatar W. L. L.

Express Printing Press W. L. L.

Golden Fire & Safety Engineering W. L. L.

K M Maintenance and Services Co W. L. L.

Nafal Qatar W. L. L.

Imperial Flavours W. L. L.

P O B o x : 1 7 7 5 0 , D o h a , Q a t a r, Te l : 4 6 9 4 7 4 7 , F a x : 4 6 9 6 9 7 5 , E - m a i l : s a s c o n e t @ q a t a r. n e t . q a W e b : w w w. s a s c o n e t . c o m PASSLINE

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Cheril Krishna Menon, popularly known as C K Menon, hasn’t started just one project but has built a business empire, that too largely on alien land. He has become a cult figure in the world of entrepreneurship C K Menon and in areas of social, charitable and community work. The Menon saga has just begun; its best days lie ahead.


Tycoon with a heart

Passline News Service rom a few feet away, ‘Sowparnika’, C K Menon’s house in the heart of Kochi city, looks like a beautiful painting of a palace on a cloudy July afternoon. Nearing it, you gaze down at the entire expanse of the edifice, built on a oneacre plot of land, and the compound, a thicket of plants dotted with glassy pools of water, one giant green rectangle of nature placed down in the middle of an urban concrete desert. It is easily one of the most spectacular views in all Kochi city, but very rarely does Cheril Krishna Menon, popularly known as C K Menon, occupy the house. Don’t get him


The Behzad Group of Companies The following are C K Menon’s companies: Behzad Transports, Doha; Oriental Bakery, Doha; Behzad Information Technology; Dubai; Behzad Fuels UK Ltd; United Kingdom; Sowparnika Group, Kochi; TJSV Petroleum Limited, Udumalpetta (Tamil Nadu); Ali Bin Naser Al Misnad Transport & Trdg W L L, Doha; Behzad International Transport Co, Kuwait; Behzad Petroleum Services Est, Jubail KSA; Behzad Steel & Engg Ltd, Sudan; Behzad Transport, Kochi; Ali Bin Naser Al Misnad Steel, Kochi. Positions being held: CEO , Behzad Transports, Doha; C & MD, Ali Bin Naser Al Misnad Transport & Trading; CEO, Oriental Bakery; C & MD, Sowparnika Group; C & MD, Behzad International Transport Co, Kuwait; C & MD, Behzad Petroleum Services, Saudi Arabia; C & MD, Behzad Fuels UK Ltd; C & MD, Behzad Steels & Engineering Ltd, Sudan; C & MD, Behzad Information Technology; C & MD, TJSV Petroleum Ltd, Udumalpetta; C & MD, Behzad Transport, Kochi; C & MD, Ali Bin Naser Al Misand Transport, Kochi.

wrong: he likes it as much as anybody. It is that views like these hardly charm him much, as he has little time to enjoy them—he holidays here only once or twice in two or three months in a year, that too only for a couple of days at a time. On the day, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Behzad Group of Companies with headquarters in Doha, Qatar, is being interviewed by PASSLINE. Menon is on a private visit to the city. To critics, Indian businessmen and industrialists abroad, especially in the Gulf, are a class of people who pay their workers lousy wages and benefits and provide them with poor working conditions. They fail to see what these people who run their enterprises are doing and how they have reached the positions they occupy now. PASSLINE did, speaking to the man who has found better ways to serve the economy of Kerala by helping hundreds of its people. The experience makes us squarely with those who admire the men who have moved overseas to find rich rewards in the fertile lands they migrate to. As with any megafortune, Menon’s wealth was built from a few simple but revolutionary ideas, much sweat and a generous glossing of luck. The details of his experience are singular in the extreme. Menon reached Doha in early 1978 in search of a job. Yes, the man, who, by his own confession, “was born rich”, had to leave his native town of Thrissur as the business he was running, a bus service, had suffered a setback three years earlier. Born to Sree Ramajayam Transport Company owner Puliyamkott Narayanan Nair and Cheril Karthyayani Amma, Menon had to take over the bus service operating on the ThrissurIrinjalakuda-Kodungallur route upon the sudden death of his father. He was a preuniversity student then, barely 16 years of age. Things went smoothly for some years, by which time Menon had mastered—almost—the intricacies of the passenger transport system. But, as it turned out, trade unions started playing tricks, strikes becoming frequent occurrences. Menon came to know afterwards—”a bit late”—that the trouble was


engineered by a close relative of his. “That was one of my failings in life. I could not foresee it,” he admits. The year was 1975. Menon had, in the meantime, earned his BA and LL B degrees. Enrolling as an advocate, he practised in the Thrissur Court and the

July 31-August 31, 2010

Jayasree Menon

Kerala High Court in Kochi for two years. Before practising as a lawyer, Menon, however, did one thing: he handed over his buses—a dozen and a half—to the workers and made them owners of the business. “I was perhaps the To page 41


With Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh, EMKE Group Managing Director M A Yusuf Ali (second from left) and Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi (extreme right)

Menon receiving the Padma Shri title from President Pratibha Patil From page 40 first employer in Kerala to do such a thing,” he says. He did not want to stick to the legal profession mainly because he found it not attractive in terms of income. “We were eight juniors to the lawyer under whom we were practising. So whatever remuneration we were given had to be shared by the eight of us. You can imagine the amount we used to get”, he says. Unable to sustain himself at home, he badly wanted to go somewhere else, possibly outside the country. He thought of getting hold of a visa. It materialized one day. A man from Kunnamkulam brought him one for Doha for Rs 25,000, a big amount in those days. Menon jumped at it. That was in 1978. “Why Doha? Had you any preference for the place?” “Not at all. There was no particular reason for choosing Qatar. In fact I didn’t choose it. It so happened that the Kunnamkulam man had a visa ready then and it was for Doha. He gave it to me and I accepted it,” says Menon, who seems to reminisce about the past. For Menon, it was no walk in the park in the strange place. He had neither friends nor acquaintances there. He however managed to get accommodation with a ‘group of 20’, many of them Malayalees, all staying at a ‘house’ together. Menon recalls stumbling upon a man who, he recognized, was in his employ

Employees are his ‘extended family’ of 450 lorries. When Menon joined the company, 200 of the 450, along with their drivers, were remaining idle because, he soon found, they needed minor repairs. It was here that he put to good effect his knowledge of vehicles and also his intelligence by suggesting that either the company sell all the 200 unused ones or at least demolish 50 of them and use their parts to repair the other 150. The owner chose the latter suggestion and, to his great surprise and satisfaction, the 150 vehicles which were repaired were soon back on the road and the company back to profit. After a few years with the company, its owner wanted to sell it and asked Menon if he was interested in buying it. He was of course interested, but had no money to pay. The owner consented to being paid in instalments as he had by now cultivated great trust in Menon. Retaining the name Behzad (meaning ‘money’) Menon began to build the company. Although he seemingly found his niche, it took a keen marketing sense to expand it so successfully as Menon did. With many areas covered, he methodically started adding to his fleet, the company’s focus being on fuel transportation by land and sea. Recently he has also entered the steel manufacturing sector. Today he has built his group into a Rs 4,000-crore-a-year conglomerate, his commercial involvement stretching from Qatar to the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, South America, the US and the UK. The group

400 people and working 24 hours a day,” he says. It’s now the biggest of its kind in Qatar. With the potential for being one of the most thrilling corporate leaders of our times, Menon, given his sharpness, his vision and his commitment, has been able to develop a business model as revolutionary as any anywhere. A rare corporate boss who says boldly that his company will do best for its employees and take care of them and the community, Menon has a strong sense of personal identification with his enterprises and employees that drives his work. He refers to his employees as his ‘extended family’, all of them being provided with company accommodation. He is in short one who combines an industrialist’s pedigree and an idealist’s sensibility and is doing well by doing good. “A nice man with a politician’s keen instinct”—this is how a business leader describes him. Menon is also a ‘family man’

Positions in public

Member of the Board of Trustees for India Development

Foundation (IDF), governed by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs; Director-NORKA-ROOTS, Government of Kerala; Vice-Chairman, Al Barakah Financial Services Ltd, a Kerala Government financial institution with private-sector participation; Director of Modern Indian School (a Delhi public school), Doha; Chairman, Bhavan’s Public School, Doha; Director, Gurukul School, Thiruvananthapuram; Founder Partner, Sree Narayana Educational Trust School, Thrissur; Founder Member, Adi Sankara Charitable Trust, Thrisuur; Director, Jai Hind Television Channel; Director, INKEL, Government of Kerala; Director, Symphony TV, Thiruvananthapuram. Socio-cultural activities: Patron, Thrissur Jilla Souhreda Vedi, Doha, affiliated to the Indian Embassy; Patron and Director, ‘Adarsh’ (a school for handicapped), Thrippunithura; Patron, Qatar Malayali Samajam, Doha, affiliated to the Indian Embassy; Patron, Kerala Socio-cultural Association, Doha; Patron, ‘INCAS’, Doha, affiliated to the Indian Embassy; Life Member, Indian Cultural Centre, Doha (under the Indian Embassy); Life Member, Indian Community Benevolent Fund, Doha (under the Indian Embassy). as a driver of one of his buses back in Thrissur! He was working as a driver in Doha also. “The irony, or the only difference, was that this man had a job then and I didn’t,” Menon laughs. After a few days, Menon landed a ‘job’, “nothing better than that of a labourer”, through a Pakistani, a driver too, with a Pakistani transport company. The job involved travelling with the lorries transporting goods and helping unload them at destinations. He was later promoted to supervisor there. What turned out to be the precursor to his great success later in life came when he joined Behzad Transports which owned a fleet

employs 2,000 people, almost 95% of them Keralites, and the rest mainly Sri Lankans and Nepalese. Menon thinks highly of Malayalees and their honesty. “They may be lazy at home, ie in Kerala, but they are very good, efficient and trustworthy outside,” he says. His keen marketing sense, business acumen and ingenuity were evident in his 1994 takeover of a loss-making bakery, Oriental, in Doha. It was of 40 years’ standing. “Out of the 40 years, it was amassing losses for 41 years,” says the witty Menon. He restored it to profitability in a few months’ time. “It’s no ordinary bakery, you see, the kind that we come across here but a huge one, employing


July 31-August 31, 2010

who would rather spend his nights having supper with his wife and children than eating pizza with movers and shakers. His wife Jaya (Jayasree Menon), his constant companion and support, vouches for this. Menon has three children—two daughters and a son. Anjana and Sreeranjini, the daughters, are married to doctors. The husband of the elder one now looks after the group’s steel fabricating unit getting ready in Sudan. Jayakrishnan is the son. Menon’s concern for the people, for the community, irrespective of caste or religion— these are things that you just don’t see in industrialists, those who know him say. A philanthropist who believes that charity is not being merciful to the less fortunate, but is their right, he earmarks 2.5% of the net profit of his companies for ‘sakkat’ (help or money given to poor people). His charitable and social activities are widespread and have great influence on the To page 42


A role model for communal harmony

From page 41 people of India. He is at the helm of several social welfare and educational activities both in his country and abroad. All this is apart from his leading role in business. He built and handed over 100 houses to the slum-dwellers of his birthplace Thrissur some time ago. He has played a major role in constructing houses in the ‘Laksham Veedu’ (onelakh houses) Colony at Puthupally and the M N ‘Laksham Veedu’

restoration project announced by the Government of Kerala. Menon is the patron of ‘Adarsh’, a model institution that epitomizes compassion and love. Children from various religions are studying at this charitable venture functioning at Thrippunithura, Kochi. ‘Adarsh’ is dedicated to the rehabilitation of children having symptoms of cerebral palsy and other motor-sensory childhood development disorders like

autism, on purely charitable basis. This institution was highly commended by former President A P J Abdul Kalam who inaugurated the institution’s new wing some years ago. That he is a role model for communal harmony is evidenced by some of his deeds. He recently built for his Muslim brethren a masjid where 400 people can offer prayers

at a time. It could very well be the first time after Cheraman Perumal in the late eighth century that a Hindu believer was getting a masjid built. He has also erected a life-size statue in memory of Sister Alfonsa, the first Catholic saint from India, at the new bypass junction in Changnassery. He was also deeply involved in the establishment of the School of Bhagavat Gita at Thiruvananthapuram.

Numerous awards and positions have come his way for his contributions to society. In 2009 the Government of India bestowed on him the country’s highest civilian title Padma Shri in recognition of his charitable and social activities. In 2006 he had won the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman of the Union Government. He has also an Honorary Membership of Rotarian conferred on him. Menon is a Director of the Kerala Government’s expatriates’ welfare association, NORKA ROOTS, and a Director of Infrastructure Kerala Ltd (INKEL), set up by the Kerala Government in 2007 for the development of infrastructure in the State. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has nominated Menon as a member of the Board of Trustees of the India Development Foundation on a directive from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The foundation is a non-profitable trust to channelize philanthropic activities by overseas Indians. He is also a Director of Jai Hind TV and Symphony TV in addition to his directorship of a number of educational institutions in Kerala and outside. The most recent recognition is his nomination as Vice-Chairman of Al Barakah Financial Services Limited, a joint-venture financial institution formed by the Kerala Government with private-sector participation.


July 31-August 31, 2010

‘Gulf job prospects bright for another 100 years’ C

K Menon, who has been in Doha for 32 years, knows the Gulf countries very well. According to him, Kerala possesses a huge asset to help realize its dreams: the lakhs of its educated youth who are coming out of its colleges and universities. They include many of the State’s best and brightest. For them the Gulf is a second home. The Gulf offers them what they lack in their own birthplace: employment opportunities, lower costs of living and a vast and booming market. Are not the opportunities there drying for Keralites? “Certainly not,” Menon says, firmly rejecting the idea. “Opportunities will continue to be there for at least the next 100 years,” he says. In fact, the Gulf’s surging economy, which has been posting successive 9% growth (except when it fell to 7%-7.5% last year because of the global slowdown), has caught the imagination of Keralites and the Gulf has become something of an obsession. Menon also says that the recession had not affected all places in the Gulf, except Dubai, which suffered a bit. He is clear about his successor: “It is my son whom I want to groom. But he must deserve to be in the seat on his own merits”. Just 22, Jayakrishnan has had his engineering education in the UK and is already actively involved in Menon’s business. Despite being a ‘world citizen’— he holds visas for the UAE, US, UK, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, besides Qatar—Menon is essentially an outand-out Keralite, rooted to the State’s soil. He has never forgotten it either in respect of projects, as can be seen in the box item going with this story, or in providing employment for Keralites. Besides the existing ones, another of his projects for the State is a Rs 250crore five-star hotel, coming up soon at Edappally bypass, Kochi. This remarkable man who, perhaps, owns the largest chain of companies among Keralite entrepreneurs, has steered Kerala

towards global prominence. Everybody thinks that his best days are yet to come. We ask him, “What do you feel today?” He replies: “I had never imagined such a huge success as a young man. I grew up with no TVs, no mobile phones, no computers. I did not know much of what was outside, though I was blessed with almost all conveniences in life available then. When I fell on evil days I had even thought of committing suicide. But something in my life suggested to me that I was destined for something else. So I am here now. I am happy and contented. God has given me something which I can share with other people,” he says. Perhaps his success has made him philosophical. “I need very little material possessions. I am content with whatever I have. I make money not for spending it on myself or my family alone but for the people,” he concludes.



July 31-August 31, 2010

44 State-of-the-art banking service provided with a human touch—that is the underlying mandate at SIB. It combines an innovative international spirit with the personal aspects of the SIB tradition. It has international locations, including those in Dubai, Dar-eSalaam and Sharjah, where remittances can be completed in just 30 minutes. SIB knows that in today’s highly demanding and complex financial environment, timing is everything. That is why it is on hand to meet every need of its clients at the right time and in the right place.

Passline News Service n a day in late 2003, Syndicate Bank Mumbai General Manager V A Joseph got a stunning offer: Would he move to South Indian Bank’s headquarters at Thrissur in faraway Kerala to take over as Executive Director of SIB? Dr Joseph was then overseeing Syndicate Bank’s operations in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and Chhattisgarh, an illustrious post he had won after years of labouring in the bank as a Trainee Officer, starting in 1972, Branch Manager at Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Pune for 15 years, Principal of the Staff Training College, Udupi, Karnataka, for two years and Deputy General Manager of the Delhi and Ahmedabad zones. A move from the country’s commercial capital to the trouble spot that is Kerala was not part of his game plan. He was reluctant to accept the offer and even rejected it. But, then, came pressure from all quarters, and SIB wanted a man it could trust for the job. So one month later Dr Joseph was setting up housekeeping in Kerala’s cultural capital. Of course, the shift to Thrissur also followed his seeking the advice of his


mother, something he always does when crucial matters concerning his personal life are to be decided. “We are what we are today only because of our parents. Everyone would be well advised to follow their parents’ guidance because they (the parents) have no axe to grind and act only out of concern for their children,” says Dr Joseph. For the soft-spoken, informal Dr Joseph, the shift unexpectedly proved to be a superb career boost. He quickly discovered that SIB, Kerala’s own bank, was one with exploding growth potential. And he wasted no time in building on the bank’s culture of traditions while continuing to focus on change. Over the past six and a half years since he joined SIB he has boosted its business threefold—from Rs 13,000 crore then to Rs 39,000 crore now. The projected growth for the whole of this year is Rs 48,000 crore. By 2013 the bank hopes to transact business worth Rs 75,000 crore, with 750 branches, 750 ATMs and a staff of 7,500, to become one of Kerala’s biggest employers. Ensconced in his large cabin on the second floor of SIB’s yet-to-be-finished posh, modern

then,” Dr Joseph says with humility. Watching him sing on stage (even on the laptop screen) after such a long gap tells you two important things: one, he is a stickler for detail and two, he never shows up unprepared. That is what makes him so good at his job— improving his bank’s functioning, a job tailormade for Dr Joseph. Since assuming charge, SIB has had the highest growth rate among the banks in Kerala. Its non-performing assets (NPAs) have come down sharply and asset quality has improved substantially. In a note in November last Dr Joseph said the bank could contain fresh NPAs and recover Rs 169.15 crore against the half-yearly recovery target of Rs 144 crore, achieving 75% of the annual recovery target of Rs 225 crore even in September of the year (2009). The bank could also reduce the net NPA to 0.43% as on September 30, 2009 from 0.68% on June 30, 2009. “We are confident that we can maintain the hard-earned title of ‘Best Bank in Asset Quality’ in the private sector, which includes the new generation as well as the traditional banks, at a time when banks are concerned

Man of varied experience Born on May 24, 1951, Dr Joseph joined Syndicate Bank as a Trainee Officer in June 1972 after passing his MCom examination from Kerala University. He worked as Branch Manager of the bank at Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Pune for 15 years and was Principal of the Staff Training College, Udupi (Karnataka), for two years. He was also Head of Human Resource of the bank’s head office at Manipal. Dr Joseph who was promoted as Regional Manager of Goa later became Deputy General Manager of the Delhi and Ahmedabad zones. Before joining SIB he was the General Manager of Syndicate Bank’s Mumbai zone overseeing the bank’s operations in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and Chhattisgarh. Dr Joseph joined SIB on December 4, 2003 as Executive Director and was appointed Chairman and CEO on June 5, 2005. He was redesignated on the recommendations of the Dr Ganguly Committee appointed by the Reserve Bank of India as MD and CEO on October 1, 2008. Besides his MCom, Dr Joseph has the Master in Personnel Management (MPM), LL B and PhD degrees. He also possesses the CAIIB qualification. headquarters in downtown Thrissur, Dr Joseph, now Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD and CEO), leaves no one in doubt about what kind of man he is—suave, plain and lover of the arts. On a rainy afternoon in June, the tall, handsome banker darts off to select a video scene on his laptop of himself singing a duet with Elizabeth Raju, Ikkareyanente thamasam, akkareyanente manasam…, immortalized by Yesudas and Susheela. Recalling that night some time ago in celebration of SIB’s 80th anniversary at Thrissur, he muses to PASSLINE about how he used to sing in college almost four decades ago. He was singing at a public function after those days. And what singing even after such a long gap! How does he sing so well? “I don’t think I am a good singer. Moreover I am singing on stage after four decades, though I have appeared in TV programmes related to music occasionally. Of course I think I could sing better


July 31-August 31, 2010

over the creeping of NPAs into the balance sheets.” It is not merely in music that Dr Joseph has made his mark. There is also an artist in him. He put his ideas to work in redesigning the bank’s emblem and logo, trying to cater for the tastes of all people from North to South and from East to West. In the redesigned logo, ‘S’, the first letter of ‘South’ (Indian Bank), also stands for ‘Service’. By these and some other subtle changes made in the logo, SIB has been able to boost awareness of the bank in North India. ‘Customers’ are prominently displayed. Banks, Dr Joseph thinks, should be preserved as institutions and their depositors protected. Customers, he says, have always been on top of SIB’s priorities, a point he drives home among his staff. Everyone must know that the problems a company or bank faces must be thought of as the problems of every employee not of a particular one. To page 45


‘Banking for us is about personal trust’ From page 44 Over the past four quarters, the bank’s business has grown an average of 5% each quarter. In the third quarter ending December 2009, net profit spurted by 15.8% to Rs 62.46 crore against Rs 54.20 crore in the corresponding quarter in the previous year. Total income for the period increased to Rs 530.91 crore (Rs 487.38 crore). Again, net profit for the whole year ending March 31, 2010 rose to Rs 233.76 crore against the previous year’s Rs 194.75 crore. Now that SIB has grown from an insular Kerala (Thrissur?)-based bank into a highly profitable national player, Dr Joseph wants to disperse a large percentage of its assets beyond its traditional turf, Kerala and the other southern States, to different areas. “We are interested in several places in the North, growing on our own,” he says. Diversifying geographically without seeming to abandon Kerala is Dr Joseph’s plan. His bank is so pervasive in its home market that it still has half of all deposits there though it has emerged as a national player of late. It used to have 75% of its volume of business from Kerala and Tamil Nadu put together until five years ago. Now this has come down to 50%. Dr Joseph says SIB has no plans to buy out or merge with or into any other banks. “We have enough on our plate (work, not problems) right now. We would like to be among the best, although certainly not the biggest,” he says, stoutly refuting suggestions and rumours about reports in this regard. “We are doing extremely well on our own and are on the right course. We want to be dominant in Kerala and the South and one of the leaders among the private-sector players in the country. Buyouts, if any, may hurt, rather than improve, our results as we may have to carry the burdens of the incoming bank. Moreover, several of the existing banks available for takeover are old and established ones with a good

Many firsts to its credit One of the earliest banks in South India, South Indian Bank came into being during the Swadeshi movement. Its establishment was the fulfilment of the dreams of a group of enterprising men who joined together at Thrissur in the erstwhile State of Cochin to provide the people with “a safe, efficient and service-oriented repository of savings of the community on the one hand and to free the business community from the clutches of greedy moneylenders on the other by offering need-based credit at reasonable rates of interest.” The milestones in its functioning are: the first among the private-sector banks in Kerala to become a scheduled bank in 1946 under the RBI Act; the first bank in the private sector in India to open a currency chest on behalf of the RBI in April 1992; the first private-sector bank to open an NRI branch in November 1992; the first bank in the private sector to start an industrial finance branch in March 1993; the first among the privatesector banks in Kerala to open an overseas branch to cater exclusively to the export and import business in June 1993; the first bank in Kerala to develop in-house, fully integrated branch automation software in addition to the in-house partial automation solution operational since 1992; the first Kerala-based bank to implement a core banking system and the third largest branch network among private-sector banks in India, with all its branches under the core banking system.

percentage of their employees being past their middle age. When we can get highly qualified and energetic young men with modern thoughts and views why bear these people?” he adds.

He cites the instance of a recent recruitment drive by the bank for 100 clerical posts. “We received 18,000 applications, and a majority of them were from engineering graduates and MBAs.” Consolidation, moreover, he says, is not easy. It is about merger of two cultures, not just two entities alone. Mergers that set out to solve one enterprise problems sometimes end up, as has happened in several cases, raising troublesome new questions. Frequently they revolve around management of the merged entity, besides accommodating aged staff etc. There is the possibility that a battle for power could erupt, creating uncertainty about stocks. Then there is the customer loyalty. If a bank merges into another, many of its clients may drift away from the merged unit. This has happened in Kerala after the recent two bank mergers here. “Consolidation, if it is to be 100% successful, has to be between two equally strong entities. In Kerala this was not the case with two earlier acquisitions. The big sharks swallowed the smaller fish,” says Dr Joseph. SIB’s exposure to the equity market, admits Dr Joseph, is limited. “We are going slow and steady and can be called conservative even with regard to expansion. Presently the bank has 35% foreign institutional investors, mostly from the US and UK, local investors accounting for about 50%. Today, SIB has 2.5 lakh NRE customers, having deposits worth Rs 3,735 crore (as on June 4, 2010), contributing to almost 26% of the bank’s total deposits (as on December 31, 2009). To achieve its objectives, says Joseph, SIB always remembers, “We are only trustees (not owners) of the funds of the public placed with us and also that as trustees we have a sacred duty to manage the funds of the public placed with us.” This has driven the bank to set new standards that go well beyond traditional banking services. Its total commitment to its clients focuses not only on their financial wellbeing but on their personal values as well. The lakhs of its customers have had the benefit of this individual attention. From a creative approach to investment counselling, it addresses its clients’ needs like portfolio management and tax advice. All this is incorporated in its vision and mission statements which read: “To emerge as the most preferred bank in the country in terms of brand, values, principles with core competence in fostering customer aspirations, to build high-quality assets leveraging on the strong and vibrant technology platform in pursuit of excellence and customer delight and to become a major contributor to the stable


Compliment from a stalwart One thing that got Dr Joseph animated during the interview, more than anything else perhaps, was talking about an incident that took place more than three decades ago. Dr Joseph, just 28 years of age then, was Manager of Syndicate Bank in Thiruvananthapuram at the time. One day a person came into his cabin and introduced himself as ‘Adoor Gopalakrishnan’. “Have you heard about me?” he asked, to which Joseph said, “I have heard only about the famous filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan.” “I don’t know whether I am so famous. But I am the filmmaker of the same name,” Adoor said. Their friendship grew afterwards. Adoor, says Dr Joseph, came then to pawn some gold ornaments to help him finance a film. “You know the kind of films I am making. They hardly collect money at the box office. These are my wife’s ornaments,” he said. When Adoor came yet another time for the same purpose, his wife also was with him and Dr Joseph presented her with a compliment from the bank—a money purse. In his speech at SIB’s anniversary, Adoor, who was one of the five most prominent Keralites the bank honoured on the occasion, referred to the gift and his association with Dr Joseph. “I had never felt any shortage of money since we got the gift. The man from whom we received the gift now presides over South Indian Bank. What is heartening for me to feel at this moment is that Dr Joseph never used to treat me as a borrower but as one of his most valued customers. I also know that all people who have dealings with him are cared for by him. No wonder SIB is marching from progress to progress under his leadership.” “What better compliment can a bank expect to get”, says Dr Joseph. economic growth of the nation; to provide a secure, agile, dynamic and conducive banking environment to customers with commitment to values and unshaken confidence, deploying the best technology, standards, processes and procedures where customer convenience is of significant importance and to increase the stakeholders’ value.” State-of-the-art banking service provided with a human touch—that is the underlying mandate at SIB. It combines an innovative international spirit with the personal aspects of the SIB tradition. It has international locations, including those in Dubai, Dar-eSalaam and Sharjah, where remittances can be completed in just 30 minutes. SIB knows

July 31-August 31, 2010

that in today’s highly demanding and complex financial environment, timing is everything. That is why it is on hand to meet every need of its clients at the right time and in the right place. About his goal and how he plans to meet future challenges, Dr Joseph says he visualizes a Rs 2-lakh-crore turnover by the end of a decade from now. But, he adds, the bank has to maintain sustained growth to achieve this goal. “We have to grow and grow as no small bank can survive for long.” Ultimately, SIB is led by a spirit of enterprise. Banking for it is about personal trust and an emphasis on the importance of human values— values which include everything that makes life worth living. This is also Dr Joseph’s motto.

46 With best compliments from



Mrs Deepa G Wadhwa Ambassador of India


......................................................................................................... Chairman

C K Menon

......................................................................................................... General Convener & Province Chairman

Varghese Chacko

General Secretary

Biju John

......................................................................................................... Vice-Chairman Cultural Events

V A Gopinath


Sponsorship & Publicity

K K Usman


Programme Committee

Annie Varghese


July 31-August 31, 2010


IRDA directives: insurance cos fear negative growth By K Aravind


he guidelines by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) revising the structure of unit-linked insurance plans (ULIPs) that come into force on September 1 2010 are going to change the very face of the life insurance companies, 65%-80% of whose revenues come from ULIPs. The popular perception in the industry is that the new rules are mooted with the intention of maximizing investor returns from ULIPs, but experts in the insurance business point out that this step will lead to a serious decline in revenues of the life insurance companies. They believe that some of the guidelines will have an adverse impact on the investors too. IRDA’s circular makes it clear that the intention is to make ULIPs a better financial instrument. According to the guidelines, the lock-in period and the minimum policy-paying term for the ULIPs will be five years. It also contains a norm to increase the sum assured of the ULIPs from five times the annualized premium to ten times. The proposed changes in the minimum lockin period and premium-paying term are aimed at

Soon after the IRDA guidelines, LIC withdrew its bestselling policy, Market Plus-1, from the market. The move to withdraw a policy that played a key role in LIC’s premium collections last year points to the grim future of the pension plan business. The decline in pension plan revenues not only affects the business from this particular segment, but also the overall revenues and profits of life insurance companies. arresting the trend of companies selling ULIPs as a short-term investment tool. The criticism that ULIPs are being sold more as investment products than insurance products has resulted in IRDA’s proposal to increase the life cover from the existing level to ten times the annualized premium. While these changes are believed to be in the interest of investors, the move to institute guaranteed returns on pension plans and cap the premium charges has invited strong opposition from the business. Companies lament that such changes are sure to result in decreased revenues and profitability. "Features like minimum 4.5% guaranteed return on pension plans and capping on charges can be the death-knell of life insurers," says Mr V Philip, Chief Operating Officer of Bajaj Allianz Life. IRDA says that pension plans should give a 4.5% annual guaranteed return. This is applicable to pension plans that invest in equities as well. With this, companies will be forced to give 4.5% guaranteed return every year regardless of how their investments in equities perform. The guaranteed return clause will exert additional stress on fund managers to rely heavily

on Government securities in order to spike any high volatility likely to be seen in NAVs. This will limit the gains from unit-linked pension plans when compared to normal ULIPs. Industry sources say that such a change will affect and even turn away those investors who invest in pension plans for the long term expecting higher returns. Mr Jaison Adappally, Kerala head of Kotak Life Insurance, is of the opinion that with a minimum guaranteed return as a clause, one cannot even expect the unit-linked pension plans to deliver returns that balanced funds, which invest in equities and debt, can deliver. The returns you can expect will be likely in the range of returns from debt funds. Other sources

say that investors end up getting the minimum return that IRDA mandates for these policies as the maximum returns from their policies. Profitability takes a hit: Pension plans constitute 25% of the total business of life insurance companies. The latest entrants to the fray such as Star Union Dai Chi and India First Life depend on pension plans for nearly 50% of their revenues. Sources say that when these companies try to attract new investors in to these policies, the revised guidelines will make the policies look less attractive, thereby limiting the policy sales.

To page 52

‘Profitability will be affected’

Mr V Philip, Chief Operating Officer of Bajaj Allianz Life, speaks about the possible impacts of IRDA’s new guidelines to revise the structure of ULIPs: What will be the impact of the IRDA’s guidelines related to ULIPs that come into force on September 1, 2010? The new guidelines have tried to remove some of the anomalies in the ULIPs and made them more customer-friendly. The increase in the lock-in period from three to five years is set to clearly position ULIPs as a long-term product. The minimum sum assured limit has substantially increased the protection element. The compulsory annuitization of pension policies is also a good step and will largely minimize the mis-selling in ULIP-based pension policies. However these features have been nullified with features like minimum 4.5% guaranteed return on pension plans and capping-on charges. These two features can be the death- knell of life insurers. Do you think these changes will affect the profitability of life insurance companies which have more foucs on ULIPs? Yes, the minimum guarantee and the capping of charges would have a major impact on distribution and also affect the volume of business. Lower business volume and pressure on expenses would affect the profitability of the industry. It can happen that most life insurers will scale down the distribution network. The stipulation of 4.5% guaranteed return on pension and annuity plans may force the insurers to direct a major part of the investments to safe avenues like Government securities. What will be the impact of this kind of asset allocation on long-term investments? The stipulation of 4.5% guaranteed return on pension products is detrimental to the survival of the life insurance industry as it will be a difficult promise to fulfil given the constraints in investment options PASSLINE

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that get restricted only to Government securities etc. It should be noted that pension products are long-term in nature which could extend to 30-40 years. There are numerous examples where life insurers have gone bankrupt offering high guarantees for the long term in the past. It may also happen that this minimum guarantee would actually become maximum for customers. Thus while on one side insurers will be reluctant to offer this guarantee for long term, on the other hand even if they do so, it will end up resulting in being the maximum return for policyholders. This can be described at best as a loose-loose situation for both. How will these guidelines affect the interests of investors? The guidelines attempt to simplify various features of ULIPs to make them more customerfriendly but this has its own pitfalls for a section of investors. For a small investor it will make it impossible to buy ULIPs as the cost structure is prohibitive for low-ticket premiums. Today almost 50% of the policies come in this range of low-ticket premia. Hence customers of middle- and lower-income levels will no longer be able to afford regular-premium ULIPs. The minimum premium in single premium is even higher, so it basically means that half of the potential customers especially in the rural areas can’t buy ULIPs. Will the cap on charges force the insurance companies to reduce the commission of their insurance agents? This is another feature which will be a disincentive for an agent to sell ULIPs, as the commission structure would undergo a drastic change. The fresh guidelines have brought a capping of charges from the fifth year onwards, which means that the overall allowance of expenses for insurance companies comes down dramatically. In such a case, the firstyear commission will not be more than 5% and for each subsequent year it will be 2% only. This commission structure can’t sustain an agent’s income. Hence agents would find it difficult to sell ULIPs. We hope that we will not have a situation where the product is very good but no one is willing to sell it. Lower volumes and pressure to reduce expenses will impact profitability Bajaj Alliance reported highest revenue among private life insurance companies in India. Their COO V Philip talks to Passline about the impact of the IRDA directives on the structure of ULIPs on the insurance business.


NH development in Kerala

A more comprehensive approach and vision needed

By M N Prasad


oad development in Kerala has been woefully slow and inadequate to deal with the explosive growth of vehicles, of which the State has been in the forefront. In the past 20 years NH 47 has only been brought up to two-lane standard, whereas it should have been four-laned long ago. NH 17 has still not come up even to two-lane standard. Apart from the resultant capacity saturation, serious bottlenecks have arisen on both highways, not only in the towns en route, but also at the numerous urbanized nodal centres in between. Bypasses around the cities of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Alappuzha have been lying incomplete, although they were started over 20 years ago. The Central Government, instead of fulfilling the earlier promise of four-laning of both these highways, has now directed that a minimum land width of 45 metres should be available throughout to enable provision of service roads on both sides and thereby to restrict access to the NH for the local traffic. This has led to stiff resistance from the people in certain areas, who insist on a reduced width of 30m, which is sufficient only for four lanes, without provision of service roads. Public resentment is also there against getting the work done on BOT (build-operatetransfer) terms, as now proposed, entailing toll liability. This, in turn, has resulted in a stalemate. The author is of the view that a proper solution to this problem will need a more comprehensive approach, covering all the relevant aspects. Above all, it would also require a long-term vision on the part of the decision-makers. The right vision: the Greater Mumbai model: For planning the development of Kerala’s transport infrastructure the ideal approach would be to follow the Greater Mumbai model, considering the similarities between the two in geographical shape, the spread of the population and the travel needs, both local and long-distance. According to this, the main northsouth arteries, both road and rail, ought to be strengthened to meet the growing needs of traffic and the hinterland served by developing the road network, connecting with the nodal points on the arterial routes. (Railway development in Kerala has so far been progressing on these lines). The ground realities should be taken into account: Both NH 47 and NH 17 are the main arteries of the State, covering its entire length. They are also the lifelines for the respective regions, serving the day-to-day traffic needs of the people, with crossroads connecting the coastal areas in the west and the hinterland on the other side. The numerous urban-like nodes en route, together with cities and towns without bypasses, are like multiple blocks in a diseased artery, which will impede traffic flows even if the highways are widened to four-lane or six-lane between these nodes.

The proper strategy would be to construct, on top priority, a new north-south corridor of six lanes for the entire length of the State, or at least up to Thiruvananthapuram to begin with, to carry all the longdistance traffic, both passenger and goods. The two highways are having to carry the bulk of goods traffic, including inter-State, petroleum and container traffic, which tend to slow down other fast-moving vehicles and also pose safety hazards. The local population which has hitherto been freely using the highway will resent any curtailment of access, or imposition of toll for use of the same after it is widened under BOT. With the level of traffic already reached on these highways, it will be extremely difficult to execute the widening project unless a substantial part of the traffic is diverted via alternative routes. A rational approach to solving the problem: Considering the realities explained above, the prime

‘After his graduation in Civil Engineering, M N Prasad joined the then TravancoreCochin State PWD in 1952 and served in its Designs Section for one and a half years. In 1954 he joined the Indian Railway Service of Engineers and then the Railway Board, before retiring as Chairman in 1990. After retirement, Prasad settled down back home in Thiruvananthapuram and has since been pursuing public interest matters like road safety, rational development of Kerala’s transport infrastructure and animal welfare. He has also continued to maintain an abiding concern for the Railways. Prasad has held and is holding positions in various Government and nongovernmental bodies.’

need is to provide a new north-south corridor, bypassing the existing NH 47 and NH 17. This may be an access-controlled super-highway, similar to what had been envisaged earlier, and cater primarily to longhaul goods traffic (say, over 100 km) and fast passenger traffic, including inter-city bus services and tourist traffic. This can be got done on BOT basis, with levy of tolls from all users. With the provision of the aforesaid bypass to serve as a new corridor, the pressure on the related stretches of NH 47 and NH 17 will ease substantially, making it possible to limit the widening to four lanes, PASSLINE

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even in future, with bypasses of the same width around the towns and major nodal centres. The project cost will also get reduced correspondingly. The above approach will help to avoid costly acquisition of additional land width to make up the prescribed 45m width in developed areas. On stretches where 45m width is already available, the provision of service roads may be taken up as found necessary. Depending on the level of development at the nodal centres en route, the provision of flyovers bridging such locations may also have to be resorted to in due course. This will avoid the need for constructing bypasses involving large-scale acquisition of costly lands. The works mentioned above should be funded by the Government, mobilizing external aid as may be necessary. NH 47 and NH 17 have, from their early days as coastal roads, been the lifeline for the heavily populated coastal belt of the State. Ribbon development and the presence of numerous nodal centres along these highways make them quite different from highways in other parts of the country. It would therefore be injudicious to enforce a uniform standard of 45m land width all through, as prescribed for a four-lane highway with service roads on both sides, with a view to restricting entry of the local population to the National Highway. The proper strategy would be to construct, on top priority, a new north-south corridor of six lanes for the entire length of the State, or at least up to Thiruvananthapuram to begin with, to carry all the long-distance traffic, both passenger and goods. (This will be analogous to a coronary bypass being done when a major artery in the human body has developed multiple blocks). This project may be undertaken on BOT basis. Side by side with the above, the existing NH 47 and NH 17 should be widened to four-lane standard all through, along with bypasses around the towns and major nodal centres en route. This must be funded by the Government, mobilizing external aid as may be necessary.Wherever 4.5m land width is already available, service roads on either side may be added in due course, depending on the local needs. At nodal centres where the land width is limited, the provision of flyovers to separate the highway traffic from the local traffic may be resorted to, if need be.


NHs: take real needs of State into account T

here are nine national highways (NHs) passing through Kerala with a total length of 1,457 km. The National Highway wing of Kerala’s Public Works Department (PWD) is responsible for the execution of improvement of works on NHs passing through the State, utilizing the budgetary resources of the Central Government. The main activities of this wing are construction, maintenance and repairs of roads declared as NH. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) directly executes the four-laning work of NHs 17 and 47 under the National Highway Development Programme. These two highway segments together with the KanyakumariManglore rail line constitute the backbone of the transport infrastructure of Kerala. The four-laning of these arterial roads proposed by the Centre is bound to unsettle the lives of a large number of families living on either side of these roads. It is their experience that the highway improvement programmes, road widening and doubling, construction of railway overbridges, underbridges and bypasses for the major towns and cities take even decades to complete. Many such projects remain halffinished, and vast tracts of these highways are always under construction or capital maintenance. They look like roads under construction and hardly as parts of finished highways. The vast tracts of unused land on either side, newly procured or abandoned long

Minister to impress upon the Central authorities that the proposed plans by NHAI are unsuited for Kerala. It was agreed that highway widening in Kerala would be restricted to 30 metres. However, this proposed consensus is now being opposed by sections of development planners and highway engineers. They blame the political leaders and State Government for their allegedly populist stand and argue that such technological compromises will harm development. They argue that a standard 45-m highway in conformity with the national standard is essential for ensuring seamless commerce and passage of goods across the State borders. The second argument is that NH 47 and NH 17 will simply collapse under the rapidly increasing vehicle pressure within a few years unless widened expeditiously. Both these arguments are built on the apparent belief that there are no options for meeting the increasing transportation needs of the region. It is well known that the highway and automobile lobby had dominated the country’s transport development even during the heyday of the Central Planning Commission. Despite the massive outlays on roads for more than half a century, a vast majority of our villages do not have proper road connections. The Railways had increased its route kilometre hardly by 10%. Very few Indian towns and villages were fortunate enough to get connected to the rail network after Independence and India continues to lag far behind the developed nations in rail kilometre per unit area or population.

Planners and highway engineers should not blindly apply national or international highway standards without looking into local and regional specifics. NH 17 and NH 47 in Kerala look very different from the national highways elsewhere in the country ago, give them an ugly and uncared-for look. On many stretches, they look even monstrous, thanks to poor aesthetics and neglect of the local environment. Access to these main arteries of Kerala is virtually nobody’s concern. Poor performance of these socalled highways is a common experience. It is no surprise that our highway engineers and planners have lost their credibility. This is the circumstance under which, people on several stretches from Kasargod to Parasala were organizing resistance against the Central initiative to widen NH 17 and NH 47. All political parties and their leaders, as well as the Government of Kerala, were under compulsion to respond to this people’s movement. An all-party delegation led by the Chief Minister had called upon the Central Road Transport

Most of our minor and intermediate ports and inland waterways, which were vibrant with activities during the British Raj, have degenerated and are mostly in disuse today. Neglect and decay of coastal shipping and inland water transport is an all-India experience, and Kerala had been the worst sufferer of these flawed transport development plans at the national level. Planners and highway engineers should not blindly apply national or international highway standards without looking into local and regional specifics. NH 17 and NH 47 in Kerala look very different from the national highways elsewhere in the country. They have seldom functioned as highways ever since they were conceived and constructed. With residential, commercial and institutional buildings and vehicle parkings on either side, and uncontrolled access at PASSLINE

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By K Vijayachandran every km, these roads were virtually functioning as the arterial road of a 500-km-long metro-like region with a population base of around 20 million. Even a casual look at the road map of South India will reveal certain very special features of these so-called national highways. These north-south roads constitute the life-line of Kerala and connect up most of the major cities and towns. There are some 15 of them, one in every 30 to 40-km stretch, each stretch packed with a dozen or so smaller towns and villages. The economy and mainstream culture of Kerala had developed along this stretch of land along the right and left banks of a 560-km-long backwater system that connects up the estuaries of 41 west-flowing rivers, forming the backbone of the transport infrastructure. This long stretch of land along the sea coast has an urban-like population density of around 1,800 people per sq km. The region badly needed an arterial road for its natural development, and used up NH 17 and NH 47 towards this purpose. The experience of the Railways in Kerala also underlines the specific needs of transport infrastructure in the region. All super-express trains slow down as they enter Kerala territory and are under compulsion to operate as fast passengers or suburban trains. Planners and highway engineers who insist on national and international standards for NH 17 and NH 47 seem to ignore the economic history and geography of the region served by them. Unlike Mr M N Prasad, former Railway Board Chairman and an eminent transportation engineer, they neglect its real transport infrastructure needs. Mr Prasad, who hails from this region, had been suggesting, for long that we follow the Greater Mumbai model for the planning and development of Kerala’s transport infrastructure “considering the similarities in geographical shape, the spread of population and the travel needs, both local and long-distance.” He has repeated this plea in a recent paper presented before the Institution of Engineers Thiruvananthapuram. According to him, “the main north-south arteries, both road and rail, ought to be strengthened to meet the growing needs of traffic and the hinterland served by developing the road network, connecting the nodal points on the arterial routes.” He also pointed out that railway development in Kerala has so far been progressing on these lines. In his view both NH 47 and NH 17 should be developed further mainly as arterial roads in tune with the needs and wishes of the people of the region, and not as standard national highways of certain minimum width and other specifications. This could be done without large-scale acquisition of land and on a priority basis with Government funds, he said. (To page67)


Gareebi hatao—through education

By Dr P K Abraham


he first ten years of the second millennium saw two significant sectors in our country growing and reaching the breathtaking momentum of take-off. The first is IT (information technology), ITC (information technology and communication) and ITES (information technology-enabled services) and the second automobiles. Both are reaching the stage of maturity. The tele-density will be overshooting above 100% in the next three years. It is already above 60% and aggressive operators are adding several million every month. No doubt the beneficiary is the aam aadmi.

Could a housemaid, a daily wage-earner, a fisherman or a headload worker have dared to dream of owning a phone just 10 years ago? The answer is ‘no’. Ask BSNL, which put the cell phone in the pocket of the common man. It is facilitated by the entry of foreign players who brought the technology and competition resulting in unbelievable cost advantage and affordable price even for the poorest of the poor. Even a beggar takes his mobile and enquires about the pilgrim density in the nearby church or temple to shift his market perch to improve his earning. A fisherman checks out on his cell phone the fish arrivals in the neighbouring sea landing. Similarly, private automobiles, both two- and fourwheelers. A middle-class Indian had to book and wait in the queue for more than a decade for a Bajaj scooter or a Premier Padmini car. Now what is the position? Who brought the change? Who made a two-wheeler affordable to a fish vendor or a carpenter, a four-wheeler to a factory mechanic? Again the answer is foreign players who brought technology and competition. Both the above are essential products and services for the common man. These two sectors are maturing for the good of the people. There is yet another sector, most vital and perhaps only next to food, clothing, shelter and health. That is education. Without education, a human being today can live only slightly above the level of an animal. Most illiterate live in poverty. Economists and developmental schools have found that education is the most powerful tool to change human beings and in its absence all-round development of society is

impossible. The major reason for all-round poverty in India after 60 years of Independence can be directly attributed to lack of education. From empirical studies, it could be seen that there is a high correlation between poverty, economic development and education. The case of advanced countries and the rapidly developing countries shows this beyond doubt. India continues to contain the highest number of poor people in the world because we also house the largest number of illiterate people. Educate them and they will find ways to make a living. As the Chinese say, “Do not give fish to a hungry man; instead teach him how to fish.” It is already seen that the most powerful change agent to eradicate poverty is education and not subsidy, PL 480 or charity. Belatedly India has woken up to this reality. In an unprecedented manner, the present Government

The recommendation of the NKC (National Knowledge Commission) to establish over 1,500 universities in place of the present 350 is undoubtedly in the right direction. It is obvious that the present resource level of both the Government and the public agencies is grossly inadequate for this activity. It is here that private participation including NRI involvement is to be explored, encouraged and brought in as a viable means. under UPA II has focused on education sector reforms. The most important measuring yard for the education level of a country is: one, literacy and two, gross enrolment ratio, both of which are two sides of the same coin. The first is a simple measure, easy to find out and understand. What is the percentage of people who can read and write and can comprehend simple arithmetic for daily use? After 60 years of Independence and planned development, the literacy level is around 60%, whereas in developed countries like the US, UK, Japan and West Europe this is above

90%. For fast-growing economies like China, this is above 90%. Their poverty level is below 10%, whereas ours is 30% to 40%. One could easily see the correlation between literacy and poverty. High literacy means low poverty and vice versa all over the world. The second and most important index which measures the level of education of a country is gross enrolment ratio (GER). GER gives a rough indication PASSLINE

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of the level of education from kindergarten to postgraduate education. GER is calculated by expressing the number of students enrolled in primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education regardless of age as a percentage

of the population of official school age for three levels—primary, secondary and higher education. GER is over 50% in most developed countries with the US topping the list with over 90%. The present GER in higher education is around 12% (world average 23.2%, developed nations’ 54.6% and Asian countries’ 22%). The Government wants to increase this to 21% by 2017. In this context, we may look into the UNESCO dictum made as early as in 2000: “Higher education is no longer a luxury; it is essential to national, social and economic development”. Education in general and higher education in particular is ‘elitist’ in India, meaning that only the top classes can afford such education. With less than 12% enrolment, the present system cannot be otherwise. The higher education system where enrolment is less than 15% is ‘elitist’. Fifteen percent to 50% of the age group were in the mass system and more than 50% enrolled were universal (Martin Trow, Policies of Higher Education–OECD). From the above, the key to higher education reforms and development is to increase the gross enrolment ratio and to reach from the present elitist to mass (15% to 50%) and universal (above 50%) in the next 20 years, ie at least by 2030. This is the real revolution that all are looking for. The recommendation of the NKC (National Knowledge Commission) to establish over 1,500 universities in place of the present 350 is in this direction, and undoubtedly in the right direction. It is obvious that the present resource level of both the Government and the public agencies is grossly inadequate for this activity. It is here that private participation including NRI involvement is to be explored, encouraged and brought in as a viable means. Establishment of universities where ‘cities’ are really built wherein 50,000 to 1,00,000 students are enrolled can be thought of by NRIs along with large industrial and business groups and in partnership with foreign education institutions. The recent approval of the Union Cabinet for the Foreign Education Institution (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill 2010 is in this direction. It is hoped that this bill will shortly become an Act of Parliament. By this the Government can be a facilitator, guide, monitor and corrector of such systems. This model, ie private participation as in the case of telecom, is the only way to universalize the higher education system in the next 10 to 20 years and thereby eradicate poverty from India. Like her mother-in-law’s famous slogan Gareebi Hatao (eradicate poverty), Mrs Sonia Gandhi may coin a new slogan, ‘Gareebi Hatao through Education’ and may she realize it as her lasting contribution and model to the world’s hungry millions. (The author is Director of Mar Athanasios College for Advanced Studies, Thiruvalla)


Organizational and management challenges By Sony Mathews, Chithra V Menon, Vinod K.G and Ebison .O.Antony


India’s growth and the opportunities available have meant growing attrition rate across industries. Attrition negatively affects a company because it means inordinate delays and higher costs to train and equip new workforce. The high attrition rate is mainly due to the inability of the management in the economic or career aspirations.

he challenges that remain confined to the level of organization or organizational challenges shape up the challenges to management and vice-versa. Hence it would be perfect to say that both organizational and management challenges are management. As Warren Buffett puts, “Capital philosophies that drive the organization, in effect their inter-related. allocation in India is determined by the ‘lucky sperm implementation strategies were flawed. The challenge The challenges may be classified by looking club’ “. Career progress may also be determined by for companies in India is to not just formulate strategic through the prism of the following domains: culture or by personal preferences rather than by plans but also to effectively implement them. Human Resources; Marketing; Technology; giving due importance to merit. Performance appraisal, External challenges: political and legal Government; Stakeholders; Industry and Legal. although prevalent, still has a human element in it. framework: Let’s have a look at some facts and From the opinion of a few managers in these The challenge is to establish the culture of meritocracy. figures. In 2009, the country’s score on the Global domains the challenges have been classified into Otherwise talent might end up being sacrificed at Political Risk Index (GPRI) remained at 62 on a scale Internal and External. the altar of societal norms. of 100. In terms of ease of doing business, India ranks Internal challenges are defined as the Employee aspirations: We celebrate India as the a lowly 133 amongst 183 countries. It was also ranked challenges faced by management within the land of diversity and therein lies one of the biggest 70 in the corruption index of 2006 and the worst organization while external challenges refer to the challenges for managers too: ie to manage diversity performer out of 30 countries in the Bribe Payer Index. challenges that arise in the business environment in the aspirations of the increasingly young workforce. Government approvals involve red tape at almost on a par with which management has to align its The aspirations of different employees may vary based every level wherein most of the corporates wanting strategies and various components accordingly. on their age, social background and gender, and to set up business in India find it difficult to adjust to But we should remember that both external and managers need to walk a tight rope between the the political and bureaucratic pressures, corruption, internal challenges are inter-related with aspirations of their diverse employees. India’s growth unstructured approval processes, decision-making etc. management forming the connecting tissue. and the opportunities available have meant growing This image is further projected when Mr Sachin Duggal Therefore the specific function of management attrition rate across industries. Attrition negatively says “I am a patriot but I am also a realist” when he is to organize the resources within for results affects a company because it means inordinate delays was enquired about the reason for setting up Nivio in outside the organization.. Switzerland. Proper clarity about the Compliance and ethics: The challenges will help regulatory environment has grown riskier management in making the and more complex for organizations. After right decision at the right the Satyam fraud of 2009, there was time. We encounter renewed focus on the importance of numerous challenges that compliance and ethics within an stand in the way of organization. Driven by various stakeholder businesses currently or pressures, companies have started those intending to operate viewing customers as wallets to be in India. However, in the tapped. Instead of concentrating on longprocess, already wellterm prospective, companies have documented and still started to have an eye on short-term gain relevant challenges such as to add value to their shares. Their human capital, ultimate destination seems to be profits infrastructure and energy rather than means for attaining them. deficit have been replaced Ethics and values seem to have lost from by other challenges which the scenario as a whole. ACC to Harward are relevant. Business School ‘ethics-based’ companies Internal challenges: increased their net income 756%-versus mindset: The challenges The winners of the 28th Annual Competition for Young Managers just 1% for companies which put profit can be further subdivided 2010 Vinod K.G, Sony Mathews, Chithra V Menon and first. The message today is that principled into two, ie the legacy economic behaviour is a long-term mindset and the inferiority Ebison.O.Antony of Geojith BNP Paribas receiving the KMA-OEN investment in the security of nations. mindset. The legacy Rolling Trophy + Rs.20,000 cash award from the CMD-CENTRAL Competition and technology: India mindset can affect both the BANK OF INDIA Sridhar ranks 49 th out of 133 countries in the industry as well as the Global Competitiveness Index (The India organization as a whole. Since Indians are basically and higher costs to train and equip new workforce. Competitiveness Review 2009). Indian companies are risk-averse and combined with our deep-rooted The high attrition rate is mainly due to the inability of facing fierce and growing competition. Diverse culture, fear of failure and past successes, people the management in the economic or career aspirations. markets, price-sensitive customers, quality assurance are comfortable with established procedures and Implementation challenges: In today’s fast- etc pose challenges to Indian companies. Indian attitudes. “If it ain’t broken, then why fix it”, paced world, having a strategy in place serves as a companies also need to cater to the huge potential seems to be the mantra. GPS for the organization as a whole. According to offered by rural markets which need to be tailored to The inferiority mindset is what prevents a Forbes magazine, companies spend huge amounts to their taste and preferences. They do not want a poor company from thinking on a global scale. Working formulate strategies or ‘ideate’, but less than 10% man’s Citi Bank but a Grameen Bank. If we take the with an already present sense of smallness can are effectively executed which means that only 1 in case of the mobile industry, there is a David v Goliath put a dead end to the company’s scope of 10 companies have an effective implementation battle going on. Indian mobile manufacturers like development and passion. strategy. Arvind Eye Hospital’s successful strategy of Macromax and Karbonn are giving tough competition Cultural myopia: Dynastic succession is one creating an assembly line system for eye operations to MNCs like Nokia, Samsung and Blackberry. The point of the most pervasive and curious characteristics was shared with others. But the success could not is not who is today’s competitor. Today’s competitor of Indian society and this brings in a degree of be replicated elsewhere because people focused only is obvious. Tomorrow’s is not. sameness and limits the thinking of the on the processes and not on the underlying (To page 52) PASSLINE

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Role of research in innovation From page 51 Sustainability: Sustainability is garnering ever greater public attention and debate. It may change the competitive landscape and reshape the opportunities and threats that companies face. At the Copenhagen climate change conference, India had endeavoured to cut its emissions intensity by about 20%-25% by the year 2020. Companies are more concerned about the impact of sustainability efforts on the triple corporate bottom line (people, planet, profit). The challenge is to progress towards low-carbon profile operations, while at the same timepromoting inclusive development. It is high time that India Inc started capitalizing on sustainabilitydriven challenges and formulated strategies to position themselves for competitive future. Education: India contributes a significant 28% to the total talent pool of knowledge workers globally. The study by Boston Consulting Group for PHD Chamber has estimated a 46-million workforce deficit by 2020 while India would have an estimated surplus manpower of 47 million. The problem is more of suitability than of availability of manpower. Here lies the role of research for fostering innovation. Research is the backbone of innovation and innovation is important for any organization, be it in process or product. India accounts for only 2% of global R & D spending. The challenge is to create a sustained cadre of knowledge workers and to foster innovation through a relationship between industry and academia with research as a common ground. Solution to tackle them: So, after analyzing the challenges encountered by management at different levels let’s now look out for the solution to tackle them. Management’s concern and responsibility includes everything that affects the performance of the organization and its results—whether inside or outside. A company to meet the challenges should start from within, as Gandhiji said, “You should be the change that you wish to see in the world.” So let’s start by instilling the spirit of change within the organization. This mainly comprises redefining the mindset. Overcoming the conventional mindset is difficult, but this could be attained through constant training and counselling programmes; instilling spirits through effective team management and proving opportunities to work on international assignments.

All these will function as a cure for cultural myopia too, but this could again be supplemented by bringing in more thrust to meritocracy in company, transparency in performance appraisal and eliminating cultural bias in selection. Recruitment and promotion will ultimately help in creation of a diverse workforce. This will encourage disruptive thinking and promote innovation within the company. Retention of talent: After ensuring the availability of skilled workforce, retention happens to be the next big challenge to tackle. Identifying the core competencies of the employees and making them do what they want will enhance the productivity. Constant training programmes to update knowledge will keep their morale high. Techniques

The problem is more of suitability than of availability of manpower. Here lies the role of research for fostering innovation. Research is the backbone of innovation and innovation is important for any organization, be it in process or product. India accounts for only 2% of global R & D spending. The challenge is to create a sustained cadre of knowledge workers and to foster innovation through a relationship between industry and academia with research as a common ground. like job rotation, rewards and recognition for creativity and idea generation can keep the retention programmes at ease. Career interviews may also be conducted to make self-analysis and to build up a good career path. Sustaining green planet: Sustainability is not a burden on the bottom line as many executives believe it to be. Experiences prove that having a sustainable business model can reduce your cost and enhance your competitive advantage:

The following are the five stages for successfully adopting corporate sustainability by looking at best practices at companies such as HP, Wal-Mart, Clorox and others: viewing compliance as opportunity; making value chains sustainable; designing sustainable products and services; developing new business models and creating next-practice platforms. Tackling competition: Do or die: Rupert Murdoch says, “Big will not beat the small any more. It will be the fast beating the slow”. Agility and foresight are the major factors that help a company to stay ahead of competition. India has a diverse domestic market wherein wide opportunity is opened up by the rural market. The companies which come out with innovative, cost-effective products tailored to the requirement of this rural market have a big success in store. The competitiveness can be enhanced through linking research and academia together with the industrial requirement. More thrust is to be provided in promoting research activities which will in turn foster innovations. This could be attained through a threedimensional partnership model, ie partnership with corporate/industry; partnership with technology leaders and partnership with academics. Governmental reforms: The Government has a big challenge to keep its reforms on track, reforms with infrastructure, energy, bureaucracy and to tackle corruption. It is important to work with the private sector to find effective models of public-private partnership. Investment in vocational education and training is needed to bridge the skill gap. As Indra Nooyi, the CEO of Pepisco, said, “India needs to address its say-do gap, there should not be a gap between what we propose to do and what we actually execute.” We feel that the implementation challenge needs to be addressed and it also brings in the different functional domains to work in harmony within an organization. Management may have strategies to tackle organizational and management challenges, but without an effective implementation plan, these strategies could well remain on paper or be confined to the annals of the company’s history. (The article is a content of the paper presented by the team who won the first place in the competition for the Kerala Management Association’s Young Managers Award).

The move reflects the grim future of the pension plan business From page 47 Soon after IRDA published these guidelines, LIC withdrew its best-selling policy, Market Plus-1, from the market. The move to withdraw a policy that played a key role in LIC’s premium collections last year points to the grim future of the pension plan business. The decline in pension plan revenues not only affects the business from this particular segment, but also the overall revenues and profits of life insurance companies. Impact of capping charges: IRDA mandates that if an investor cancels a policy within four years of the policy term, the company can levy a maximum of Rs 6,000 as withdrawal charges. Regardless of how high the premium is, they are not permitted to collect more than Rs 6,000 from a policyholder. From the fifth year onwards, the difference be-

tween the actual yield and the return after deducting the charges must be a maximum of 4%. This will result in a steep decline in the percentage of premium the companies levy as charges and will leave them with no option but reducing the commission that they pay agents. The likely impact will be reduction of agent commission to 5% in the first year and then 2% for the rest of the term, says Mr Philip. Note that currently agents earn anywhere between 15% and 40% of the first-year premium amount as commission when they sell a ULIP policy. If their return gets reduced to 5%, they will lose interest in selling these products, which will lead to a downward trend in ULIP revenues of companies that currently earn 65%-80% of their revenues from ULIPs. For the private players in the life insurance industry that continue to suffer losses, this will be a nail on their coffin.


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Increased focus on traditional policies: IRDA’s norms will force insurance companies to focus more on the sales of traditional policies. LIC had declared before IRDA gave final shape to its directives that it will bring down the share of ULIPs in its business from 65% to 60%. Now private players too are trying to reduce the share of ULIPs in their business from 80%-90% to 60%. Insurance companies have already started shaping strategies to focus on plain, traditional life insurance policies. Mr K Sreejith, Area Manager (Corporate Channel) of Shriram Life, says that already 58% of its total revenues come from such policies. Mr Jaison Adappally says that his company is in the process of bringing down the share of ULIPs in its business from 80% to 60% by focusing more on pure life insurance policies.


Learn to live with inflation By A Correspondent


n his first national news conference in May 2010 after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) returned to power in 2009, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admitted that inflation “is still a problem area.” He however added that the nation could bring it down to 5% or 6% by December. In an interview with a newspaper, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee echoed the same sentiment, saying that the overall price “will be manageable” and that “it will be around 4%-5%.” “Out of 17 food items, prices of 14 have come down in the last three months. This shows a declining trend,” he said. The people of the country and statistics beg to differ. The latest inflation rate has surged into double digits, touching 10.16 in May, the highest in the last 10 months, while the food inflation rate is much higher at 16.49%. Though normal rains and surplus grain stocks should naturally bring down food inflation in the coming months, forecasts of high inflationary tendencies continue to cloud our economic recovery story. Some analysts have said that rise in prices of manufactured products and high oil prices will fuel overall inflation in 2010-11. Since July 2008, food inflation has consistently been at high levels of 9%-10%, peaking to a decadehigh 19.17% in December 2009. The only consolation was that there had been a tendency of prices of some food items softening—like those of cereals, pulses, rice and sugar—since January this year. But these have started to rise again. Though it was expected that with the arrival of the Rabi crop in April, food prices would fall sharply, the decline had only been marginal—to the tune of Re 1 to Rs 5 a kg for wheat, wheat flour, tur dal and sugar—for some time. Now they have started rising again. The paradox is that though we have a huge surplus of grain, prices remain high. This is a cause for worry for all. Experts attribute this phenomenon to excess liquidity in the system. The situation can improve if measures are taken to tighten liquidity. They also say that the high support prices of grain have contributed to the high prices. Whatever the opinion of analysts and experts, the problem of high food inflation is far from over. Already the high rate of inflation has started hitting most sections of people, the middle- and lower-income levels harder. “Earlier I used to give Rs 2,500 as mess fees. This has now been increased by Rs 750, ie to Rs 3,250. The salary increase I got this year was just Rs 500. Budgeting has become a bother as prices of almost all other items have increased,” says Sunitha who works as a clerk in a private firm and stays in a women’s hostel in Kochi.

Recent history of inflation T

his is not the first time that inflation is hitting the country in the last two decades. The rate of growth of our gross domestic product (GDP), which was just 1.4% in 1991-92 at the time of the formation of the Narasimha Rao Government, rose to 6.4% in 1994-95.This resulted in a spurt in demand for construction materials like steel and cement and also consumer items. Companies had gone for huge investment outlays to expand their production capacities. Suddenly, however, the Government was confronted with double-digit inflation. To contain inflation, the Reserve Bank of India jacked up interest rates. By 1996, companies like the IDBI, ICICI and IFCI were raising funds from the market at 16% and lending to companies at 18%. The stock market, which had touched an alltime high of 4,500 in June 1994, fell to 3,300 by June next year. With soaring interest rates and the bearish stock market, companies struggled to fund their plans. To add to the worries, money supply also dropped. By 1997-98, economic growth fell to 4.3%. In the meantime, the Congress had already been defeated in the general elections held earlier. The Congress came back to power in the 2004 general elections and Dr Manmohan Singh became Prime Minister. By 2008, the economy grew to a creditable 9% growth rate. Forex reserves rose to over $300 billion. But inflation was once again back Inflation and the consequent price rise also affect the entertainment options of many. “Until a few months ago we used to go to the city three or four times in two weeks for dinner. Now we have restricted it to Sundays as hotels have raised prices. For students like us, going to a cinema has also become much costlier what with the rise in ticket rates and prices of snacks,” says Parvathi, a college student who lives with her parents in a Kochi suburb. Babu Joseph’s concern is different. “My father is a retired man. As it is, things are pretty bad with cost escalation on all fronts. I am also worried how this trend is going to affect our chances of getting good placements and salaries after our studies,” says Babu who is an MBA student. Kirti Lal, a migrant employee in Kochi, has yet another worry. “For years India has been one of the best destinations for cheap labour. With the rising costs and salaries, overhead expenses of companies, particularly of multinationals, would certainly have

Inflation and index


y inflation what everyone means is an increase in prices. Inflation earlier used to be defined as “too much money chasing too few goods.” But there are different types of inflation: a general sustained increase in prices resulting from excessive demand for goods (demand-pull inflation), increased pricing by sellers in the absence of increased demand (cost-push inflation) and the expansion of the money supply (monetary inflation). There are however problems in arriving at a single figure for inflation when prices of different commodities are changing at varying rates. This is usually done by constructing a price index. The index essentially arrives at an overall rate of price increase by assigning different ‘weights’ to different items. Generally, rice and wheat, the staple food of almost all people, have a relatively high weight whereas

items like glass have a low weight. Prices of items with a high weight are more crucial in determining the overall average than others. The official inflation rate in India is calculated on the basis of the wholesale price index (WPI), which measures changes in wholesale prices. The inflation rate going down does not necessarily mean that prices are actually declining: it only means that the rate at which prices are going up has slowed down. Ultimately, what the ordinary consumer is concerned with is not the wholesale prices but the retail prices. So even if the WPI index slows down, it does not and need not give much relief to the consumer as she/he may not be using all the items covered by the WPI. So what the Government should do is to step in to reduce the prices of essential items which are used almost daily by people. PASSLINE

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into double digits. Such a phenomenon a new generation of investors and consumers were witnessing for the first time. The Sensex, which was witnessing a triumphant rise till January, started an equally dramatic retreat. In fact the situation became worse than it was in 1995. The global slowdown and a worsening oil crisis, the crude hitting an all-time high, contributed to the situation. Food, steel and cement prices soared. All this also affected economic growth. The economic growth rate fell below the 8% level. The saving grace then, as it is now, was savings, the rate of which remained at 35%. As interest rates rise, so will the temptation for investors to save. Today, the country is haunted by the spectre of inflation once again. The rate of food inflation has gone up to about 17%, pushed by higher prices of fruits, pulses and milk. Prices of pulses have shot up by 31%, milk by 21.1%, fruits by 18.7% and wheat by 3%. The Reserve Bank of India is reported to be taking steps to control money supply, including the tightening of the monetary policy. “Food inflation will remain range-bound until the next harvest season as there has been no sustained decline in food items. The monsoon having improved, cereal prices may see a decline. So food inflation will ease in the second half of the fiscal,” according to an analyst. risen. Very soon we may lose the tag and MNCs may take their businesses out of the country,” says Lal. Are there any solutions to the crisis? Some feel that the immediate cause of the rising prices is the oil price rise. They suggest that the Government should come up with alternatives like biofuel, which will curb inflation in the long run. Some others say that India should stop its exports. Exports, they say, create artificial demand. “Once exports are stopped, inflation will automatically come down. The Government should also find new ways to cut costs and increase efficiency,” they say. Are the frequent increases in oil prices the only reason for the escalating rate of inflation? Economists say that it is only partly true. Even if these increases had not been there prices would have risen, they say, pointing out that these constitute only 0.8 percentage points to the overall inflation rate. An analysis of wholesale price indexes over a period of time, on which the inflation figures are based, suggests that food items—rice, wheat, edible oils and sugar— alone account for about 2.7 percentage points , a fourth of the inflation rate. Petro products account for 1.9 percentage points but much of this is not petrol, diesel or cooking gas but products like aviation turbine fuel or inputs. Iron and steel constitute 1.3 percentage points. A look at the items that have seen the sharpest price increases in the last many months will make it clear that there is not going to be any respite from the situation in the months ahead. Most of the items have seen increased prices ranging from 2.5% to almost 75% over the past few months. It is not the jacking up of the prices of finished products because of increasing demand. It is, according to economists, cost-push inflation. Another sickening fact is that commodity prices globally are going up. There is therefore little chance of imported items being used to bring down prices. Every factor therefore points to the possibility of our having to live with inflation—at least for several months ahead.


Making a success of a project By Santhosh Kumar (Director, Delivery Excellence Logica)


n the conventional Waterfall Model, Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) starts with gathering the requirements in a document called Software Requirements Specification (SRS). Once these requirements are finalized and agreed on, it is followed by design, development, testing and implementation stages. The typical advantages of automation include improved efficiency, accurate and timely reports as well as ability to drill down to any level of detail. This also makes possible better monitoring and control on project execution, improvement in communication and reduction of delays. The Union Government awarded a major SRS development project in the late 1990s to a leading software services organization based in North India. The scope of the project included determination of the software requirements at all levels in the administrative hierarchy of the Rural Drinking Water and Sanitation Departments of the Central Government, all State Governments and all Union Territories (UTs). Typically these departments are known as Public Health Engineering Departments (PHED) across different States/UTs. (Water being a State subject, the Central Government does not have direct control over it; it only has a role in funding/monitoring schemes for harnessing/augmenting the water resources. It also provides assistance in relief operations, eg during drought through Centrally funded schemes). The deliverable was SRS documents conforming to IEEE 830* standards. The project had to be completed within 120 working days. The project effort was estimated at 500 person months and required extensive travel throughout the country. It also required extensive interaction with officials in the Central Government from the Chief Secretary down to the junior engineer. The requirements were to be verified and signed by the officials concerned of user departments and representatives of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and at the State level by the Chief Secretary of the department concerned (project sponsor) and Additional Director General (ADG) at the overall level. From the central government a senior official under the guidance of Project Sponsor and Director actively participated. From NI the active participation from Additional Director General and below at different levels right up to the district information officer was involved. At one time it looked an impossible project. Those days the Internet in India was in its infancy. The biggest challenge was the time limit of 120 working days (with stiff penalties for delay) and producing the SRS documents in conformity with IEEE 830 standards. For execution of the project as Project Director, the author was given a free hand by the management of the vendor organization. The author identified the following areas as critical for the success of the project: Contract; methodology; kick-off meetings; customer education and involvement at various levels; communication; project team; project office and quality and risk management Contract: As the contract lays down the ground rules for engagement, it becomes most important that right terms and conditions are included in the contract to make the project a success. Thus, to ensure that the contract covers all practical aspects for successful completion of the project, it was agreed that the execution experts from the vendor

organization and practitioners from the Central Government also participate during the contract finalization. As in any other project, the contract played a major role in ensuring the successful completion in time. It appeared to be a balanced contract. On the one side it imposed stiff penalty for delay on the vendor; on the other the Government committed itself to providing timely response, inputs/feedback and review comments. One clause provided for deemed acceptance in case of delay in providing inputs/feedback. However, it was agreed that this clause would be used only in exceptional situations and with the consent of the project sponsor. The Central Government included the State Governments and UTs within the purview of the entire contract, drawing attention to the deemed acceptance clause and requesting them to give priority to this activity. Methodology: phased approach: All the States and UTs were divided into two phases. Nine States and UTs were carefully selected for phase I, based

Engineers/Superintending Engineers representing each State/UT. The meetings were addressed by the project sponsor, Additional Director-General of NIC and others. They created awareness about the project, role and expectations from different levels, methodology, tentative schedules of meetings etc. Kick-off meetings at State/UT levels were conducted to create awareness about the project, educate users on methodology and to publicize the expectations at State level. These meetings were addressed by the Chief Secretary and attended by all stakeholders including Chief Engineers and identified Superintending Engineers. Further meetings/ education sessions were also conducted at division level by project managers. Standard presentations for the kick-off meetings across the States for various levels in the departments were prepared and agreed upon. These presentations were modified to suit the local conditions. Customer education. Involvement: User education and involvement were identified as a key

If one makes sincere efforts and ‘communicates the same through actions, one finds enough committed personnel in the Government who are willing to go that extra mile with you to make a project a success.

on considerations like enthusiasm, commitment and responsiveness shown by the chief engineers/ secretaries concerned. A good mixture of advanced States and not so advanced ones, and UTs that were widely geographically distributed were selected. Phase II covered the rest of the States and UTs. Based on the findings of phase I, templates were developed for different levels and these templates were used in the second phase to speed up information capture, modifying and verifying the requirements. Top-down and bottom-up approach: The requirements were gathered both from the mission and the Chief Secretaries’ offices top down as well as from the junior engineers’ offices upwards to ensure that there were no gaps or overlaps. This also helped in reducing time, enabled various teams to work in parallel as well and point out information contradictions, gaps and overlaps. Kick-off meetings: Kick-off meetings at the Central level were attended by over 120 Chief PASSLINE

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success factor for the project. For this purpose an elaborate plan was drawn and executed with the active involvement of senior Government officers. In view of the hesitation on the part of users to read and understand the documentation and flow diagrams, workshops were conducted at different levels to verify the accuracy and completeness of captured requirements. This also helped in ensuring that there were no gaps, overlaps or conflicting requirements. About 1,500 officials were involved. Communication: Contract provided for reports by the vendors at the State and Central levels. These reports enabled detailed review of progress at different levels and helped in keeping the project on track. As the project involved various agencies, structured communication included the following: Communication from the Central Government, through official and semi-official channels to all stakeholders in States and UTs, with progress reports

To page 64


Who can bail them out? MFs did business worth Rs 4,000 crore in 2008-2009, considered a watershed year for the markets. When the markets bounced back in 2009-2010 value-added products such as ULIPs outgrew MFs. While insurance companies, which earn 70%-80% of their business from ULIPs, recorded 25% growth in first-year premiums, MFs recorded reduced earnings of Rs 2,100 crore as a direct impact of financial advisers abandoning their products.

By K Aravind


s the entry load ban on mutual funds that SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) introduced as an investor-friendly step completes one year, the mutual fund industry is still groping in the dark. Stock markets continue to rally, but mutual fund houses are struggling to overcome the crisis that the ban had triggered. The exodus of advisers from the industry has prevented mutual funds from cashing in on the stock market bull run ever since the removal of entry load, the commission/incentive for advisers to sell funds, from August 1, 2009. MFs did business worth Rs 4,000 crore in 2008-2009, considered a watershed year for the markets. When the markets bounced back in 2009-2010 value-added products such as ULIPs outgrew MFs. While insurance companies, which earn 70%-80% of their business from ULIPs, recorded 25% growth in first-year premiums, MFs recorded reduced earnings of Rs 2,100 crore as a direct impact of financial advisers abandoning their products. One can get a glimpse into the depth of the crisis looking at the numbers in the last five months, a meagre Rs 157 crore.

SEBI had directed that investors and advisers can negotiate commission to be paid on an MF product, thereby distributors earning an incentive for selling a quality product, rather than levying a fixed entry load upfront. However, distributors and experts complain that this suggestion is impractical as not many investors want to shell out additional money as commission. In the current scenario, MF houses themselves pay commission to distributors for selling their products. Mr Subin Philip, head of Reliance Mutual Fund in Kerala, says that the company pays 0.05% commission from its margins to distributors. The chief of another fund house says that it is giving out 0.5% to 0.75% of the 1% management fee that it earns to distributors. Such commission is just not sustainable and clearly not enough incentive for advisers to stay put (remember

that they used to earn 2.25% before the ban). Industry sources say that the number of MF advisers in Kerala has been reduced from over 1,000 to around 200 and only 60 people are active. The rest of them backed out after realizing that MF distribution is no longer a viable business proposition. Beneficial for investors, but…: The fact that the removal of entry load greatly benefits investors is undisputable. Now an investor need not pay a single penny as entry load. Earlier, Rs 2,250 of every Rs 1 lakh (2.25%) invested in mutual funds used to get deducted as entry load and only Rs 97,750 get invested. Now 100% of the amount gets invested. How much the investors have benefited out of this change is a question worth asking. “When investing money in high-risk instruments like MFs, only a small percentage of Indian investors decide on their own. Regardless of how many investor-friendly decisions the regulators come up with, their success on the ground depends on distributor involvement. When advisers stopped distributing MFs, retail investors were deprived of sound advice and their investment in the instrument drastically reduced,” says the Kerala cluster head of a prominent MF company. Any favourable policy on investments must result in increased investor participation in the market, but the entry load ban proved to be counterproductive. The number of retail investors participating in MFs has come down considerably. Sound financial advice was made affordable only for high-net-worth individuals and investors who deal in high volumes, thus excluding small investors in villages and small towns. Earlier, advisers used to provide investors with all the necessary financial services at their doorstep. “If an investor in a small town like Thriprayar wanted to redeem his investment, he had only to call his adviser instead of going to the next city like Thrissur. Similarly some MF houses changed their names and the investor might not be aware of the new names. Advisers used to help investors clear their doubts at the time of


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redemption, but now they are left with no alternatives,” says the State head of a leading MF company. Disparity in commission: There is widespread criticism that the load in various financial products is not uniform. An agent who sells ULIPs can get up to 40% while someone who sells an MF cannot even earn 1%. It is a harsh reality that such disparities force agents to focus more on selling the lucrative ULIPs than the low-incentive MFs. There is an opinion among experts in the industry that SEBI’s controversial MF regulation has spelt the death-knell of the MF industry. The US and Australia relaxed entry load on MF products only after a large percentage of the investing population became well aware of the various financial instruments and started putting large volumes of their investments in them. Contrast this with a country like India where only a small percentage of people are aware of the pros and cons of investing in MFs and it becomes clear why this decision is ahead of its time. Surveys suggest that advisers are granted due importance even in developed economies where investor awareness is high and technologies like online trading are popular. What is the way out?: Mr Subin Philip claims that his company conducts regular awareness programmes to increase investor participation in the market. Reliance MF has been organizing such sessions in nearly 60 centres in association with AMFI since June, but Subin says that it could turn only 10%-25% of the participants into investors. An executive with an MF company of three years says that though this crisis has adversely affected the profitability of the MF business, not many prominent companies are looking at this issue with the prominence it deserves. He says: “Out of the promoters of the top 10 MF companies with the highest Assets Under Management (AUM), eight have their own insurance arms. They can cover the loss in MF revenue with the increased revenue in ULIPs.”



How UNIDO helped change the destiny of Mankulam

By Davis Edattukaran


he seed that later blossomed into the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) was sown in the early 1960s, as the United Nations (UN) increasingly recognized the need for a specialized agency for industrial development that could encourage peace and prosperity through equitable economic growth. On November 17, 1966, the UN General Assembly passed resolution 2152 (XXI) establishing UNIDO as an autonomous body within the UN. Its mission was to promote and accelerate the industrialization of developing countries. In 1985, UNIDO became a specialized agency. It has 173 Member States and is headquartered in Vienna, Austria, but operates

PROFILE (Davis Edattukaran, Programme Officer in the Montreal Protocol branch of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna, is the founding President of the World Malayalee Council in Austria. He has been elected to the posts of Europe Region Chairman and President and Chief NEC of the WMC, was the President of the Kerala Cultural Society in Vienna and Chief Editor of the magazine Samasya and the Indian Catholic Community Souvenir in 2007. In the workplace UNIDO, he was member of several committees and the Treasurer of the UNIDO Staff Council)

worldwide. UNIDO also has offices in Brussels, Geneva and New York. It employs over 650 regular staff at its Vienna headquarters, field offices and representational offices. It also draws on the expertise of around 2,800 experts, from a wide range of countries. Several ‘UNIDO Desks’ have become operational since 2004. Dr Kandeh K. Yumkella is the Director-General of UNIDO. He was elected to the post in December 2005, and re-elected for a second term in December 2009. UNIDO promotes industrial development and global industrial cooperation. Competitive and environmentally sustainable industry has a crucial role to play in accelerating economic growth, reducing poverty and achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals. UNIDO works towards improving the quality of life of the world’s poor by drawing on its combined global resources and expertise. It provides comprehensive and integrated packages of services which combine its operational activities with its analytical, normative and convening roles, both globally and locally.

The organization bases its work on three thematic on the experience gained in the first phase, the priorities, which directly respond to the needs and Government of Kerala and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and requirements of its Member States: · Poverty reduction through productive Industry, Government of India, have requested UNIDO to extend support to UNIDORC for three years activities. (January 2010 to December 2012). · Trade capacity building. During the first phase of UNIDORC, even with a · Energy and environment. UNIDO is financed in several different ways. The limited budget and time, the RC accomplished several Member States, through a UN-wide system of activities to support scaling up of the SHP development assessed contributions, contribute to UNIDO’s regular efforts in the region. Because of a paucity of funds, budget. Funding also is received through voluntary there was a gap between the first phase (2003-2006) as well as special-purpose contributions from a variety and the proposed second phase (2010 and 2012) of donors. UNIDO prepares project proposals for during which time UNIDO’s involvement in this RC prospective donors to review and approve before became minimal. However, the RC continued to work with internal resources received from the Government, financing is made available. The recipient-UNIDO-donor triangle is essential to and kept its linkages with the International Centre the organization. But implementing technical on Small Hydro Power (ICSHP). Based on the earlier cooperation can be a complex process if the objectives experience and lessons learned, it is now proposed of all parties are not quite the same. The donor may to have a second phase to strengthen UNIDORC with have interests that are not conforming to those of a clear strategy and establish it as a self-sustaining the client. In such cases, UNIDO tries to bridge the institution working for SHP development in the region. gaps while trying to ensure that everyone’s interests are served. Other funds include those for the Montreal Protocol (MP) for activities related to phasing out substances that deplete the ozone layer, and the Global Environment Fund, which deals with cross-border pollution, greenhouse gas reduction, clean energy and biodiversity. Over the years, UNIDO has been rather successful in mobilizing external funds for technical cooperation. UNIDO has implemented over 300 projects in India for a total of approximately $136.67 million, out of which 265 projects have been completed with a total of $96.35 Till recently, Mankulam village in Idukki million. Currently, UNIDO has 35 district had no road, electricity and phones. ongoing projects in India worth Its population of 15,000 had to make do $40.32 million. These include 43 MP without modern amenities and without projects worth $11.5 million. At this access to information technology resources. time, only three MP projects are With UNIDO assistance, the long-cherished ongoing, with a value of $4 million. UNEP, UNDP and the World Bank are dream of the people to electrify the village also implementing a number of MP became a reality on October 28, 2004. projects in India. UNIDO assisted the village community in Given the high growth rate of the implementing a micro-hydropower project. Indian economy, demand for energy The organization also established a is increasing tremendously. The Community Development Centre (CDC) with Government of India has recognized the key role that can be played by networked computers, TV, a flour mill, and a renewable sources of energy to wet grinding station. The computer centre address both energy security and has already trained several young people. the environmental concerns The village has also established Internet associated with the production and connectivity through VSAT to enable people use of energy from fossil fuels. to stay informed and communicate to the Renewable energy technologies in general, and small hydropower outside world using email in the absence of technologies in particular, have been telephones. accorded priority by the Government through a clear strategy, concrete targets and appropriate policies in the country. UNIDO UNIDO’s SHP strategy (under development) envisages set up a Regional Centre (UNIDORC) in 2003 jointly the strengthening of the institutional framework, with the Government of India and the Government technology demonstration, capacity building, policy of Kerala to promote small hydro-power (SHP) framework and networking for scaling up SHP development in India and the region. UNIDORC, which development in developing countries. As a first step, it is proposed to strengthen linkages is located in Thiruvananthapuram, carried out a number of field activities, including feasibility studies, and between UNIDO’s international centre on SHP (ICSHP) identified the great potential of SHP in the region To page 57 linking rural electrification with productive uses. Based PASSLINE

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Hydropower is the leading source of renewable energy From page 56 in Hangzhou, China, and the regional SHP centres (UNIDORCs) in India and Nigeria. UNIDORC in Kerala , with the objective of scaling up SHP in the region, is to play a catalytic role in promotional activities like field studies, policy, pilot demonstration, technology dissemination and awareness through seminars, workshops and consultations. These activities will enhance SHP development in the region, which in turn will enhance the rural economy through the productive uses of energy and reduce GHGs. In order to enhance UNIDORC’s position as a leading regional centre in small hydropower development, the second phase will seek to: · develop and disseminate the small hydropower activities in the region, · share good practices, lessons learnt and success stories among the stakeholders, · promote international cooperation and SHP technology transfer in developing countries, · train experts and institutions in the region through training workshops and seminars, · build the capacity of the centre to establish it as a self-sustaining institution. UNIDORC will be managed from its office in Thiruvananthapuram for the period from 2010 and 2012 with the total budget of $970,000 (both cash and in kind), which will be available from the partners of the project: the Government of Kerala will provide around $2,70,000 (in kind), and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion of the Government of India will contribute $7,00,000. UNIDO itself will provide technical assistance, including technical support, through the ICSHP in China. The project will be closely monitored according to standard UNIDO rules and procedures, and will be evaluated towards the end to determine the results and impacts on SHP development in the region. UNIDO’s micro-hydro-power project changed the destiny of Mankulam, a backward village in Kerala. I would like to give a brief description of the project. Idduki district in Kerala prides itself in having the country’s tallest arch dam in its largest hydroelectric power project. However, till recently, Mankulam village in the district had no road, electricity and phones. Since this district is also home to a wildlife sanctuary, environmental concerns determined the development ethos of the village and its population of 15,000 had to make do without modern amenities and without access to information technology resources. With UNIDO assistance, the long-cherished dream of the people to electrify the village became a reality on October 28, 2004. In keeping with its mission to catalyze development and progress in rural areas, UNIDO assisted the Mankulam village community in implementing a micro-hydropower project through the UNIDO Regional Centre for Small Hydro Power in Thiruvananthapuram. To ensure that power generation also results in employment and income generation and offers entertainment and leisure, UNIDO established a Community Development Centre (CDC) with networked computers, TV, a flour mill, and a wet grinding station. The computer centre has already trained several young people. The village has also established Internet connectivity through VSAT to enable people to stay informed as well as communicate to the outside world using email in the absence of telephones. Inspired by the immense success of micro-hydroprojects in China, the power project at Mankulam village is the first UNIDO project to be completed under the direction of the village panchayat. The entire system, ranging from generation and transmission to distribution of power, is owned, operated and

managed by the panchayat, which ensures long-term sustainability of the project. Thus, there is little doubt that the 110-kW station is truly a people’s project. UNIDO uses this model of micro-hydro-systemspowered community development centres for replication in other developing countries as it ensures that the power will result not only in rural electrification but also long-term economic benefits and overall community development. In Mankulam, within the last few months, the availability of power has resulted in the creation of small enterprises and has enabled people to productively use the rich, unpolluted local agricultural products like cocoa, milk and other forest produce and to access markets directly. UNIDO will also install a biomass gasifier in the village that will utilize local agricultural waste for the production of additional electricity and exploit the abundant water resources in the region through additional 1 MW of small hydro-capacity and connect these resources into a rural grid. Traditionally, the world power industry has been demand-oriented and driven by the needs to resolve electricity shortages. The industry is now evolving as the global emphasis has shifted towards socially sustainable development and the use of clean and proven technologies. The power industry is now subject to strict environmental requirements, and hydropower has become a highly contentious issue under these new conditions. So, the appropriate use of hydropower has become even more important, with the exploitation of hydropower potential placed under unified planning and management by the different levels of government. Hydropower is the leading source of renewable energy. Estimates show that hydropower accounts for 16% of the total electricity produced worldwide and provides more than 95% of all electricity generated by renewable sources. Other sources, including solar, geothermal, wind and biomass, account for less than 5% of renewable electricity production. Small hydropower generation utilizes a source of energy which is renewable and abundant in many parts of the world throughout the year. It produces negligible greenhouse gases compared to fossil fuel use and therefore contributes little to global warming. While India has technology and sunlight in abundance, and since these are key ingredients for a green energy future, it is unrealistic to think that solar thermal and solar electric power can increase their share of energy production from today’s negligible level to provide the needed growth in energy production within a generation. Over 40% of India’s population does not have access to electricity, and providing electricity for 24 hours in rural areas is a major challenge. The Indian Government has envisioned several paths for its energy requirements, from nuclear to renewable. Despite ‘greening’ its energy requirements, the Government has taken different paths, from bidding for foreign oil wells through diplomatic efforts to establishing fossil fuel thermal plants. On the other hand, hydropower is an energy source which ranges between aspiration and achievement. However, today there is a strong push for large hydro-projects in India. While the pro-


July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

hydro lobby is working towards meeting India’s full potential, the anti-hydropower groups are targeting those projects which they believe are violating environmental and human rights norms. Despite a growing number of opposition to hydropower, the Indian Government is optimistic that it will achieve its potential. Small and minihydel projects have the potential to provide energy in remote and hilly areas where extension of an electrical transmission grid system is uneconomical. Realizing this fact, the Indian Government is encouraging development of SHP projects in the country. Since 1994, the role of the private sector in setting up commercial SHP projects has been encouraged. So far, 14 States in India have announced policies for setting up commercial SHP

projects through private sector participation. Over 760 sites of about 2000 MW capacity have already been offered/allotted. India looks for more such types of energy sources. In Istanbul, Turkey, ICHET has initiated a number of demonstration projects, including Turkey’s first hybrid bus running on hydrogen and a prototype H2 ecocart. The projects aim to establish or enhance hydrogen production from indigenous—and preferably renewable—energy resources so that hydrogen can take a far more important role in the satisfaction of local energy needs. So, are we on the verge of seeing the long-awaited dream of hydrogen-powered vehicles come true? Overall, small hydro-projects are being cautiously implemented by the Government. However in some cases the adverse socioeconomic and environmental impacts of large dams can be mitigated through informed decision-making, transparency and engagement of all stakeholders. In all probability, the advantages and disadvantages of hydropower structures, large or small, have to be discussed with people openly and transparently. I will not be justified if I do not write a few lines on the Director-General of UNIDO. Dr Kandeh Yumkella is a strong believer that the most effective way to fight poverty is to strengthen the productive capacities of countries and people, enhance their adaptive capabilities to use modern technology and devices and to commercialize new knowledge. He has advocated pro-poor industrial and agribusiness development as sustainable means of wealth and job creation, and the economic empowerment of the poor. Let me conclude this article with a quote by the Director-General during his speech at the 36th session of the Industrial Development Board: “Looking ahead, UNIDO should stand for, and act on, what it was designed for—inclusive, equitable and sustainable industrial development. No other international institution is better placed— and better equipped— to do so.”


Solving the problem of medical errors

By Dr B Ekbal


alpractice is professional negligence and medical malpractice is the negligence of the doctor towards the care of a patient. Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances, doing something that a reasonably prudent doctor would not do under the circumstances, or failing to do something that a reasonably prudent doctor would do under the circumstances. It is a deviation or departure from accepted practice. A doctor who renders medical service to a patient is obliged to have that reasonable degree of knowledge and ability which is expected of doctors who (perform, provide) that (operation, treatment, medical service), in the medical community in which the doctor practices. Medical malpractice: the law points: The law recognizes that there are differences in the abilities of doctors, just as there are differences in the abilities of people engaged in other activities. To practise medicine a doctor is not required to have the extraordinary knowledge and ability that belongs to a few doctors of exceptional ability. However, every doctor is required to keep reasonably informed of a few developments in his/her best judgment and to use reasonable care. By undertaking to perform a medical service, a doctor does not guarantee a good result. The fact that there was a bad result to the patient by itself does not make the doctor liable. The doctor is liable only if he/ she was negligent. Whether the doctor was negligent is to be decided on the basis of the facts and conditions existing at the time of the claimed negligence. A doctor is not liable for an error in judgment if he/she does what he/she decides is best after careful examination; if it is a judgment that a reasonably prudent doctor could have made under the circumstances. If the doctor is negligent, that is, lacks the skill or knowledge required of him/her in providing a medical service or fails to use reasonable care and judgment in providing the service, and such lack of skill or care of knowledge or the failure to use reasonable care or judgment is a substantial factor in causing harm to the patient, then the doctor is responsible for the injury or harm caused. Error in judgment: It is accepted law that a doctor is not liable for an error in judgment if it is a judgment, which a reasonably prudent doctor could have made under the circumstances. Since medicine is not an exact science, if a surgeon selects one of two courses of treatment he/she will not be liable for a bad result solely because he/she is in the exercise of his/her sound judgment chose course (a) over course (b). Similarly, if a doctor’s course

The law recognizes that there are differences in the abilities of doctors, just as there are differences in the abilities of people engaged in other activities. To practise medicine a doctor is not required to have the extraordinary knowledge and ability that belongs to a few doctors of exceptional ability. However, every doctor is required to keep reasonably informed of a few developments in his/her best judgment and to use reasonable care. By undertaking to perform a medical service, a doctor does not guarantee a good result. The fact that there was a bad result to the patient by itself does not make the doctor liable. The doctor is liable only if he/she was negligent. of treatment is based on misdiagnosis of a patient’s condition, he/she may assert a defence that the misdiagnosis, albeit an error, was predicated upon his/ her considered judgment. However, the error of exercise of judgment defenc is not a valid defence to a claim that a surgical procedure was performed improperly. In medical practice cases where the alleged departure is that the surgeon improperly performed a surgical procedure resulting in injury to the patient, the error of judgment rule should not apply. This is so even when the surgeon’s expert testifies that the surgeon did not depart from proper and accepted practice. The reason is, of course, because the issue is simply whether the surgery was performed properly, that is in accordance with good accepted surgical practice. Informed consent: The amount of information a surgeon must impart to a patient in order that the patient’s consent to the operation be an informed consent is a continuing matter of controversy. Before obtaining a patient’s consent to an operation or invasive diagnostic procedure or the use of medication, a doctor has the duty to provide certain information concerning what he/she proposes to do, the alternatives to that operation, procedure or medication and the reasonably foreseeable risks of these. It is the doctor’s duty to explain, in words understandable to the patient, all the facts that would be explained by a reasonable medical practitioner so that when the patient does in fact consent that consent is given with an awareness of (1) the patient’s existing physical condition; (2) the purposes and advantages of the operation, procedure or medication; (3) the reasonably foreseeable risks to the patient’s health or life which the operation, procedure or medication may impose; (4) the risks involved to the patient if there is no operation, procedure or use of medication; (5) the available alternatives and the risks and advantages of those alternatives. Magnitude of medical malpractice: Over the past two decades there has been a substantial increase in the number of medical malpractice suits filed against PASSLINE

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doctors all over the world as well as in Kerala. The American Medical Association has documented a rise in the incidence of medical malpractice claims against surgeons from 11.4 per 100 doctors in 1990 to 14.9 in 1996, peaking at 18.9 in 1993. Only obstetrics-

gynaecology specialists had a higher rate, peaking at 22.5 in 1993. A 1990 study found that the most common cause of medico-legal claims filed against US doctors involved surgical procedures and complications. Errors in diagnosis most commonly involving malignancy were the second most common cause of medico-legal claims. Delayed diagnosis of breast cancer is the most common specific allegation leading to lawsuits among the errors in diagnosis. Surgical negligence: Surgical negligence involves four elements all of which the patient must prove to recover damages from a surgeon: 1. The surgeon had a duty to treat the patient in accordance with the established standards on the basis of an established relationship with the patient, 2. The surgeon deviated from the standard care, this deviation resulted in an injury to the patient. 3. The patient suffered an actual loss or damage from that injury. Standard of care is defined as how a reasonable and well-qualified surgeon would act under the same or similar circumstances. The law does not require that the best care be given, but that reasonable care be given. To page 59


The surgeon is the one to attract the accusing eyes

From page 58 There may be valid indications at times to deviate from standard care, but the rationale for such action should be documented clearly in the medical record. Surgeons are much more exposed to lawsuits than their non-surgical colleagues. Surgeon’s mistakes and complications are simply more visible; when a patient dies on a medial ward, it is always the disease, which is to blame, but in the case of any adverse postoperative outcome, the surgeon is the one to attract the accusing eyes of involved parties. The ‘expert’ opinion: Adverse events regularly occur, as the result of accepted medical treatment in the absence of any lapse on the part of the physician. The occurrence of an adverse event is not evidence of malpractice. Unfortunately, many lawyers, and many laymen as well, think otherwise. Deciding whether or not an adverse outcome is due to negligence requires evaluation by an expert. Fortunately, many lawyers all avail themselves of the opinion of unbiased experts to help them decide whether to file a suit. When they receive such an expert opinion, suits arise only from events involving real malpractice, and are usually settled; otherwise no suit is brought. Unfortunately, equally many lawyers first develop a theory of negligence about the events surrounding an adverse outcome, and then shop for an ‘expert’ who will support their view. Experts who will adopt a lawyer’s theory are readily available, frequently from the fringes of the academic community. Causes and results of rising medical malpractice suits: Several factors have contributed to the rising severity of this problem. The advances, sophistication, and complexity of modern medicine is a major factor, allowing treatment of severe illnesses previously considered hopeless. In this setting, complications and human error are quite likely, patient understanding of the medical problem and risks tends to be poor, and there may be disagreements even among expert doctors as to whether an adverse outcome could have been prevented. Unrealistic expectations on the part of the patient are another factor, and may be poor communication between surgeon and patient, as well as the abundance of inaccurate information in the media. This leads to the misconception that there must always be someone to blame for any outcome that falls short of perfection. The progressive expansion of tort law has also contributed to the problem of malpractice litigation, with staggering monetary awards providing an

incentive for patients to use the courts as a form of social insurance, and for lawyers who receive a substantial portion of the awards to accommodate and encourage such actions. The litigation problem has consequences for the surgical profession and for society as a whole. Medical insurance costs are rising and become harder to obtain for the average citizen. Defensive medicine is increasingly practised by surgeons to reduce likelihood of a suit leading to increased costs to patients. Malpractice insurance rates are progressively rising, driving surgeons’ fees to prohibitive levels. Of course, the rest of society is burdened with greatly increased healthcare costs as a result’ The ‘bad doctor’ myth: The legal profession, the media and much of the public believe and promote the concept that the professional liability problem is caused solely by ‘bad doctors’ who should be punished for injuries they inflict upon patients. This dates back to Hammurabi’s Code of 1800 BC, which provided that physicians whose patients had a bad outcome would have their hand cut off. A number of studies have revealed that it is the most highly trained, experienced specialists rather than poorly trained incompetent doctors who are more likely to be sued. This is due to their care of the most complex of illnesses and performance of the most complex procedures, which have the highest risks of complication and death. Also several reliable studies have shown that incompetent surgeons make up a very small percentage of all surgeons. One major outcome of the bad doctor myth is that it promotes the general misconception that any adverse outcome in surgical care must mean that a surgeon is to blame, and that a surgeon who is sued must have done something wrong. This fails to consider that medicine is an inexact science, and that adverse outcomes can and do occur despite the best medical care because many factors which affect outcomes are outside the surgeon’s control. Other consequences of this myth involve the continued rise in costs of medical care, as more lawsuits and larger monetary awards lead to increased liability insurance costs, increased doctor’s fees, increased practice of defensive medicine and reduced access to medical care due to a greater reluctance of surgeons to care for the sickest patients and to many choosing to abandon their practice altogether. Lawyers and doctors: the cultural gap: Enormous cultural gap exists between the two


July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

professions: law and medicine. Physicians function in a world in which the vagaries of human biology create variability in nearly everything measurable; boundaries are sometimes indistinct and subject to change. Written records usually are a kind of communication shorthand rather than an exact or complete diary of events. Judgments are made on the basis of probability. Usually, in acute situations, needed information is incomplete or erroneous. Inevitable errors of action and judgment are intrinsic to the practice of medicine. The occurrence of errors is not evidence of negligence; the important thing, if possible, is to recognize and correct errors. Lawyers in contrast function in a world that is more orderly and predictable. Detailed and accurate records are routine. Boundaries are usually clear and easily defined. Judgments are made on the basis of written rules and precedents. Error is identified through review on appeal. There are no acute situations in the law comparable to those in medicine. A threat of life or limb as a result of legal error is a vanishingly tiny risk. Because their cultures are different, lawyers and physicians often do not understand how members of the other profession think, how they evaluate evidence or how they define reasonable expectations. As a consequence, they often talk past each other in discussing an issue. The surgeon identifies malpractice as a problem and offers a solution unlikely to be enacted. The lawyers, on the other hand, see no problem and instead discuss the technicalities of defending or proving claim. Why malpractice litigation suits?: Interestingly, only a minority of patients injured due to medical negligence actually bring a suit against their doctor. Conversely, nearly half of all medical malpractice actions arise from events in which there is no negligence. In

other words, in half of the malpractice actions files against doctors are no objective grounds for bringing suit. If real negligence is not the usual motivation and actual negligence is absent in a substantial number of suits, why do patients sue doctors? Suits are brought primarily because of poor communication by the doctor with the patient and the family, especially after an adverse event occurs. Perceptions by the patient and the family of desertion, devaluation of their perspective and failure to understand their concerns were the motivating forces in a large number of cases. Almost as potent a factor was a suggestion by a health professional of the presence of negligence. The most effective thing doctors can do, in their self-interest as well as in the interests of their patients, is always to take the time to insure open, effective and honest communication with patients and their families, particularly when things are not going well. (To be concluded)


SMEs: marketing under a common brand name

A novel solution to meeting the global competition

By G Rama Mohanan Nair


arketing under a Common Brand Name’ is not a new concept altogether. Though the advantages of this strategy are well known, little headway has been made in its implementation in Kerala. In the liberalized economy, marketing of their products has become a herculean task for the SMEs where, in addition to competing with medium and large industries, they have to face international competition as well. Marketing under a common brand name is probably the only solution to their problems. Role of central mother unit: A central agency to initiate the implementation programme is the first requirement. Let us call it the mother unit. A promotional agency under the Government like the Small Industries Corporation of the State can also take up this responsibility. Activities like conducting market study, developing designs standardization, procurement of raw materials, quality control, advertisements and publicity and marketing can be centralized and carried out by the mother unit. The member units can concentrate on production only. Market potential: The mother unit together with its partner units can identify products suiting local, national and, international requirements and set up the manufacturing under first ambit. Brands can be built up by the Mother unit which will be an umbrella for all these SMEs. The strategy—assessment, standardization, inspection: Formulate minimum standards for enrolment of member units to the consortium with respect to facilities like · plant and machinery · built-up area, open area · financial status, bank facilities enjoyed · standing in business, performance for past three years etc. 1. A renowned consultant in the field can be retained until the whole thing takes off. 2. An assessment committee is to be formulated including one member each from the mother unit, industry association and consultant company. 3. All components to be standardized. 4. Standardize the process of manufacture and inspection procedures. 5. An expert team to be constituted for inspection and quality control Periodic meetings/interaction among members to review and modify procedures: 1. This activity is a democratic setup, where every member can express his problems if any and participate in the working of the system and bring about changes/modifications. 2. Mother unit’s role is that of a coordinator / mentor

Supply chain management: Raw material supply The entire raw material should be procured by the mother unit centrally. It can be supplied to the member units against bank guarantee (BG). Materials worth 75% of BG can be issued to them. This can be finally adjusted against supplies a. Delivery of goods: Deliveries can be effected directly to the client organizations or business houses by the mother unit. The member unit closest to the client can be asked to effect the supply. 1. A delivery note duly acknowledged by the buyer will be sent to the mother unit for billing. 2. On receipt of the delivery note, the mother unit will prepare the bill and send it to the buyer. b. Payment: The mother unit can pay up to 80% of the bill amount to the units after deducting the cost of raw materials supplied on production of documents 1. The mother unit can use bill discounting facility from the bank and get realization of the amount immediately. 2. When the final payment is received from the client, the mother unit can effect final settlement with the member units after deducting the cost of raw materials, its service charges and interest.

Advantages: To the SMEs: Procurement of raw material at most competitive rates making use of the mother unit’s capability to procure on mass scale. 1. Customized components can be procured in a similar way. Only finishing and assembling works need be carried out on the member unit’s premises. This helps in maximizing the production at minimum cost. 2. Access to domestic as well as global markets at minimum cost. 3. As advertisements and publicity are done at the mother unit, cost per unit becomes minimal. 4. As the unit becomes part of an organization, producing a branded product, it becomes a beneficiary of the brand enquiry buildup. PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

5. The unit gets raw materials and components on credit, hence its working capital requirement is minimal. 6. The unit gets money immediately after supply through the bill discontinuing facility of the mother unit. 7. As the mother unit takes care of the major functions of procurement and canvassing of orders, the unit can function tension-free. The stability of the unit is increased manifold. 8. Not only the units which are members of this consortium are benefited, but many other units supplying materials to the mother unit also get their due share. To the mother unit: If it is a Government agency, it gets the satisfaction of fulfilling one of its major responsibilities to the SME sector by demonstrating successfully the working of a highly viable and novel scheme enabling the SME to catch up with the global competition. 1. More than anything else, the agency’s venture will be looked upon by the units as a model for others to start similar ventures with other products. 2. This will eventually give a fillip to the advancement of the SME sector in the State. 3. The agency/mother unit also can earn good

profit by way of service charges levied from member units. The State also in benefited by this as it generates as big economic activity which in turn generates employment. The Central and State Governments get substantial revenues by way of excise duty and sales tax (VAT). This model is ideal for many products like wooden and steel furniture, bus bodies, readymade garments and several food products. (Revised and updated. Courtesy: Kerala Management Association) (The author is a former General Manager of SIDCO and is Chief Consultant, Industrial Consultancy Services, Kochi. Email:


Balance your portfolio for proper risk management Endowment , Childrens Plan and Pension Product Category

Product Name


Min. Age at entry - 18 years Max. Age at entry - 65 years Max. Age at maturity - 75 years Min. Sum assured - Rs. 1,00,000 Max. Sum assured - Depends on underwriting Min. term - 5 years Max. term - 57 years

Sum Assured and vested bonuses is payable on survival. An additional Sum Assured is payable on death thereafter. Accident benefit is inbuilt in this policy and the max. limit is 5 lacs.

C h i l d r e n ' s Child Career Plan LIC of India (T- 184) Plan

Min. Age at entry - 0 years Max. Age at entry - 12 years Min. Age at maturity - 23 years Max. Age at maturity - 27 years Min. Sum assured - Rs. 1,00,000 Max. Sum assured - Rs.1,00,00,000 Min. term - 11 years Max. term - 27 years Premium payment term - 6 years or (term – 5 years) B e n e f i t s receivablePolicy YearTerm – 5 years

30% of SA + BonusTerm – 4 years 15% of SA Term – 3 years 15% of SATerm – 2 years 15% of SATerm – 1 years 15% of SAMaturity year 15% of SA + any loyalty addi. Note that total benefits is 105% of SA

C h i l d r e n ' s Child Future Plan LIC of India (T- 185) Plan

Min. Age at entry - 0 years Max. Age at entry - 12 years Min. Age at maturity - 23 years Max. Age at maturity - 27 years Min. Sum assured - Rs. 1,00,000 Max. Sum assured - Rs.1,00,00,000 Min. term - 11 years Max. term - 27 years Premium payment term - 6 years or (term – 5 years)

B e n e f i t s receivablePolicy YearTerm – 5 years 25% of SA Term – 4 years 10% of SA Term – 3 years 10% of SATerm – 2 years 10% of SATerm – 1 years 10% of SAMaturity year 50% of SA + Bonus +any loyalty additions. Note that total benefits is 115% of SA

Min. Age at entry - 18 years Max. Age at entry - 60 years Max. Age at maturity - 70 years Min. monthly payout - 10 % of Annul Premium Max. monthly payout - 25 % of Annual Premium Min. term - 10 years Max. term - 30 years (Terms from 11 to 14 years not available)

ULIP with 4 fund options. An innovative plan with monthly returns and flexibility comparatively lower premiums.

Min. Age at entry - 18 years Max. Age at entry - 65 years Min. Age at vesting - 40 years Max. Age at vesting - 75 years Min. Deferment Term - Regular premium:10years Single premium: 5 years Minimum Premium - Regular premium: Rs. [5,000] p.a. for deferment term 20 years and Rs. [10,000] p.a. for deferment term 15 to 19 years Rs. [15,000] p.a. for deferment term 10 to 14 years Single premium: Rs. [30,000] for deferment term 5 Minimum Sum Assured - Rs. 30,000

ULIP Annuity plan

By Shinin M Sunny


he recent row between market watchdog SEBI and insurance watchdog IRDA educated the customers on their rights and the nitty-gritty of insurance products especially ULIPs. Further, IRDA has suggested some constructive changes in the structure and sale of insurance products in order to protect the interests of consumers through a circular to all insurance companies dated on June 28, 2010. The deadline to implement these changes is August 31, 2010. It is observed that the time granted to get approvals for the new products based on these guidelines is misused by the insurance companies. Most of them use this interval as an opportunity to push their existing ULIPs with misleading campaigns while the fact remains that the consumer is going to enjoy better insurance products after the revamp. The major changes suggested by IRDA in the circular are; 1. The lock-in period for all unit-linked products will be increased to five years, including top-

A balanced insurance portfolio should include the following components in adequate proportion based on the risk appetite of the individual/ family/industry: a life insurance cover; a medical insurance cover; a critical illness cover; a personal accident cover; a cover for dependent senior members of the family; insurance for home, vehicles, gadgets etc and an indemnity cover for his/her profession/ business. up premiums. 2. All ULIPs, other than single-premium products, should have a premium-paying term of at least five years. 3. The insurers shall distribute the overall charges in ULIPs in an even fashion during the lock-in period. 4. All ULIPs, other than pension and annuity products, shall provide a minimum mortality cover or a health cover. 5. All pension and annuity products should provide a minimum guaranteed return of 4.5% per annum or as specified by IRDA from time to time. 6. In the case of ULIP pension/annuity prod-


Jeevan Anand (T- LIC of India 149)

E n d o w ment Plan (Whole life)

(The author is Manager-Corporate Relationships, AIMS Insurance Broking Pvt Ltd. Email:


C h i l d r e n ' s Future Idol Plan

Pension Plan

DLF Pramerica Life Insurance Co. Ltd.

Market Plus I LIC of India (with Life cover)

ucts, no partial withdrawal shall be allowed during the accumulation phase. In the case of surrender, only a maximum of one-third of the surrender value can be commuted after the lock-in period. The remaining amount must be used to purchase an annuity, subject to the provisions of Section 4 of the Insurance Act, 1938. NRIs often fall prey to mis-selling in insurance. Often they are under-protected by the insurance products because of non-maintenance of a balanced portfolio. A balanced insurance portfolio should include the PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

following components in adequate proportion based on the risk appetite of the individual/family/industry: a life insurance cover; a medical insurance cover; a critical illness cover; a personal accident cover; a cover for dependent senior members of the family; insurance for home, vehicles, gadgets etc and an indemnity cover for his/her profession/business. As an independent insurance consultant, I suggest the following products to balance your insurance portfolio: (To next page)

62 INSURANCE Personal Class Products

(From page 61) Product Category

Product Name




H e a l t h Happy Family O r i e n t a l Age at entry - 3 months to 60 years Sum Insurance Co. assured I n s u r a n c e Floater Policy - Rs. 1,00,000 to 5,00,000 in Silver Ltd Plan PlanSum assured - Rs. 6,00,000 to 10,00,000 in Gold Plan Bima N a t i o n a l Insurance Co. Ltd

H e a l t h Varishta I n s u r a n c e Youjana Plan for S e n i o r Citizens

Critical Illness Cover

Critical Policy

Illness N a t i o n a l Insurance Co. Ltd

D a i l y Super Hospital H o s p i t a l Cash Plan Cash Plan

R o y a l Sundaram G e n . Insurance Co.

Family floater policy can cover Proposer, spouse, children, parents and grand parents.Cashless treatment facility from networked hospitals across India.In Silver Plan 10% copayment by the insured is required.Provisions to cover hardships due to critical available.

Min. Age at entry - 60 years Max. Age at entry - 80 years Sum assured - Rs.1,00,000 (Fixed) Critical illness cover - Rs.2,00,000 (Fixed) Sum Insured Premium 0-65yrs 66-70yrs7175yrs76-80yrs Mediclaim 1,00,000 4180 5196 5568 6890Criti. Illness 2,00,000 2007 2130 2200 2288 TOTAL 6187 7326 7768 9178

Covers hospitalization expenses and Critical illness of Senior citizens. Renewals are possible upto 90 years of age.The premium charged is reasonable and perhaps this is the best policy for senior citizens.

Sum assured Level Sum assured Level Sum assured Level Sum assured Level Min. Age at entry Max. Age at entry

Covers critical ailments for Coronary Artery Surgery,Cancer,Failure of both Kidneys,Stroke,Multiple Sclerosis,Major organ transplants like kidney, lung, pancreas or bone marrow.The SA is paid in lump sum to the individual to take care of medical expenses incurred in case of the above illness. Compensation for Coronary Artery Surgery shall be limited to 20% of the limit of indemnity.The insured person needs to survive for 30 successive days after the diagnosis of the critical illness in Order to make his claim.Waiting period is first 90 days of inception.

I – Rs.5,00,000 II – Rs.10,00,000 III – Rs.20,00,000 IV – Rs.25,00,000 - 20 years - 65 years

PremiumAge of insured Plan 1 Plan 21 year to 45 yrs Rs.687 Rs.127646 to 60 yrs Rs.1276 Rs.2455No health checkup required

Benefits Plan 1 Plan 2Illness Benefit (up to 60 days) 500 1000ICU Benefits (up to 30 days) 1000 2000Accident hosp. Benefit 500 3000(up to 21 days)

P e r s o n a l Chola Accident Cholamandalam MS General A c c i d e n t Protection Plan Insurance Co. Policy Ltd.

Min. Age at entry Max. Age at entry

- 18 years - 70 years

The following covers are available for accidents any where in the world. Accidental Death Permanent total DisabilityPermanent Partial Disability Weekly Indemnity Broken Bone Modification of Residence Vehicle due to accidentCost Of Transporting Mortal RemainsCost of Performane of Death Ceremonies Ambulance Hiring ChargesFamily Transportation BenefitHospital Daily Cash (Rs.500 / day)

H o m e / Home and Family protector Valuables

Min. Sum assured Max. Sum assured

- Rs. 10,00,000 - No limit

Policy has 12 Sections which provide compreh ensive protection for your household assets, interests, liability as well as for your personal self, your family members and domestic employees. The Sections are:Fire and Allied Perils (Section1)Burglary and other Perils (Section 2)All Risk (Section 3)Fixed Glass and Sanitary Fittings (Section 4)Electronic Equipment (Section 5)Home Entertainment Equipment, Portable Computer/Mobile Phones and Pedal Cycle (Section 6)Breakdown of Electrical/Mechanical Appliances (Section 7)Personal Accident (Section 8)Loan Payment Protection (Section 9)Baggage (Section 10)Liability (Section 11 A/B/ C)Increased Living Expenses (Section 12)

H o m e / Valuables

IFFCO Tokyo G e n . Insurance Co. Ltd

Householders O r i e n t a l policy Insurance Co. Ltd

Fire and Allied Perils (Section1)Burglary and other Perils (Section 2)All Risk (Section 3)Plates and Glass (Section 4)Break down of domestic equipments (Section 5)Television Sets & VCR/VCP (Section 6)Pedal Cycle (Section 7)Baggage (Section 8)Personal Accident (Section 9)Public Liability (Section 10)

Covers various perils.

Suggested insurance products and their features Term Plans (Pure Life Cover) Product Category

Product Name


Eligibility - 18 years - 60 years - 65 years - Rs.3,00,000 - Depends on underwriting - 5 years - 25 Years

Low premium for SumAssured between 3 lacs to 25 lacs. Choice of Level Cover or Increasing Sum Assured @ 5% p.a. which is a realistic approach towards inflation.

Family First

DLF Pramerica Min. Age at entry - 18 years Life Insurance Max. Age at entry - 50 years Co. Ltd. Max. Age at maturity - 65 years Min. monthly income - Rs.4,000 Min. term - 10 years Max. term - 30 years or ( 65 - Age)

Monthly benefit term insurance plan. Premiums are comparatively lower. One can chose a regular monthly income required for the family in an unfortunate event of death. An amount equal to 20 times the monthly income is paid in lump-sum and the family gets a regular assured monthly income thereafter.

Elite Secure

Bharti Axa Life Insurance Co. Ltd

Term Cover SBI Shield

SBI Life

Min. Age at entry Max. Age at entry Max. Age at maturity Min. Sum assured Max. Sum assured Min. term Max. term

Term Cover

Term Cover

Special Plan


Jeevan Saral (T165)

LIC of India

Min. Age at entry - 18 years Max. Age at entry - 65 years Max. Age at maturity - 70 years Min. Sum assured - Rs.25,00,000 Max. Sum assured -Depends on underwriting Min. term - 5 years Max. term - (75 - age) Min. Age at entry Max. Age at entry Max. Age at maturity Min. Sum assured Max. Sum assured Min. term Max. term

- 12 years - 60 years - 70 years - Rs. 62,500 - Depends on underwriting - 10 years - 35 years


July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

Low premium for Sum assured from 25 lacs and more. Ideal for Keyman insurance. One can opt this plan in for covering debts/loans etc.

High sum assured with reasonable returns and flexibility as of ULIPs. Can avail premium holidays.



(From page 29)

Malappuram biggest receiver of remittances

Table 5: Macro-Economic Impact of Remittances on Kerala Economy, 1998-2008

Looking at the breakup of the total remittances of Rs 43,288 crore by household type, it is found that Rs 16,493 crore was recevied by Hindu households, Rs 7,800 crore by Christian households and Rs 19,000 crore by Muslim households. The average remittance per household was Rs 37,385 among Hindus, Rs 50,107 among Christians and as much as Rs 1,19,004 among Muslims (Table 6).

emigrant. The proportion of households that received remittances was even smaller. The 2008 Kerala Migration Survey estimated that only 17.1% of the households had received cash remittances (Figure 5). Muslim households received the largest proportion of remittances and Hindu households the smallest.

Table 5: Total Remittances and Remittances per Household by Religion, 2003-2008

In 2008, the emigration rate per 100 households was 29, but only 18% of the households had an emigrant member because some had more than one

Total remittances by districts are given in Figure 6. Remittances vary considerably among districts.

Malappuram district leads with a total of Rs 6,486 crore as remitances followed by Thrissur district with Rs 5,961 crore and Thiruvananthapuram district with Rs 4,801 crore. Idukki and Wayanad come last. While Malappuram accounts for 15% of the State’s remittances, Idukki accounts for less than 0.5%.

The average remittance per household in Malappuram was more than Rs 1 lakh (Rs 1,03,585) which is nearly double the State average (Rs 57,227). The other districts with high average remittances per household were Thrissur, Pathanamthitta, Kollam and Kozhikode. The average remittances per household in Idukki district were less than a tenth of the State average for Pathanamthitta, Kollam and Kozhikode. They were also less than a tenth of the State average in that district. The impact of remittances on Kerala are manifest in household consumption, saving and investment, quality of houses and possession of modern consumer durables. Remittances also play a major role in enhancing the quality of life and contribute to a high human development index for Kerala in terms of education and health along with reduction in poverty and unemployment.

‘Lama’ credited to Jerome SR Properties S T he internationally acclaimed display material ‘Lama’ was introduced to the American Malayalees by Mr N.G. Jerome. The display works of all the sponsors were executed through ‘Lama’ by Mr Jerome. The easy-to-fold and simple-to-set-up ‘Lama’ reached India via French technology. Mr Jerome, who excelled in promoting ‘Lama’ which is very beneficial to exhibitors, was given an award in Fokana. Mr Jerome is residing at Thevara in Kochi. His wife Maria is a writer. Their daughter is doing her PhD in English Literature. Son Poppy, a software engineer, is working in Converges IT Corporation in Hyderabad.

Jerome receiving the Fokana award PASSLINE

R Properties has been a classic name in the realty sector from 2000 during which period home-seekers have relied on it for their dream homes. It has now launched its new project, SR Classic, at Kollamkudymugal in Kakkanad. SR Heights consists of posh apartments providing the required living space away from the hustle and bustle of the city, just 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre, says Mr Suresh Varma, Managing Partner. SR Heights is at Rajagiri Valley and IT City, Kakkanad (near the Rajagiri Engineering College). Mr Suresh Varma Jayachandran K R Jayachandran K R is a partner in SR Properties and an engineer with a degree in BSc Engineering (Civil) with more than 30 years’ experience in the construction and management sectors in India and abroad.

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010


Aranmula mirror that reflects glory A

product from Kerala was recently awarded a Geographical Indicator (GI) patent in India—the world-famous Aranmula mirror. The product comes from a place famous for its vallamkali (boat race). But what has spread the glory of the place internationally is the unique Aranmula metal mirror. It has remained a wonder for the world for ages and it still remains so. The metal mirror’s use is traced to Crete in 3000 BC and Etruscans in Italy around 2000 BC. Excavations in Mohenjodaro in 1922 revealed its use in western India 500 years ago. It was considered a luxurious item of the beauties in the Vedic period. It is really a combination of copper and white lead in the right proportion. The proportion is kept a secret by the seven families belonging to the Viswakarma community of Aranmula region. The method of making Aranmula mirrors is entirely different from that used for making other bronze items. The mixture of copper and white lead in a particular ratio is melted and poured into a clay mould and made into a non-reflecting metal object. The metal plant is tightened with lac and put into a wooden frame. It is then placed on the surface of a sack. When oil is applied, the object gets a softened surface. The final touches are given with soft, velvet cloth. Finally it is fixed with lac in different brass frames. The production process needs utmost care in each step as otherwise the product may be broken. There are several stories behind the birth of Aranmula Kannadi. The most plausible among them is

related to the King and the Viswakarma families he brought from Tamil Nadu for the construction of the Aranmula temple to make pooja vessels and other items of daily use in the temple. The King had provided the families with all facilities including their stay, which made them lazy soon. The angered King withdrew the facilities. To please the King they began to produce a crown. As it was being given finishing touches, it showed the quality of reflection. Later, with hard work, they could find the right ratios of metals to be used in the making of a mirror. One such mirror was made and presented to the Maharaja of Travancore. Earlier the mirrors used to be enclosed in vermilion containers. Later they were shaped like P Gopakumar ‘Valkkannadis’ that could be hanged on the walls. Valkkannadi is a sacred object in the ‘ashtamangalyam’ (the eight sacred articles) in marriages and ‘vishukkani’. “Whereas the reflection in mercury-filled Belgian glass is from the back, in Aranmula mirrors it comes from the very surface. Therefore we get refractionfree images from Aranmula mirror”, says Mr P Gopakumar, an expert craftsman who produces Aranmula mirrors at the Aditi Handicrafts Centre, Aranmula.

‘Ensure uniformity and consistency’ From page 54 indicating areas of priority and corrective actions on fortnightly/monthly basis from the project sponsors to the various levels of the department concerned. · Reporting and review mechanism – simple one-page reports to the senior officials at different levels in Government and in the organization. · Fortnightly review meeting of all key stakeholders at State and Central levels with honest and transparent sharing of risks. · Communication within the State/UT/ department concerned. Project team: Under the Project Director six programme managers, one each for Central, North, East, West and South zones and one for project office and quality were put together. Project managers for all the States and UTs were identified and initially they worked with teams of phase I States – later on, they were deployed in phase II States. This enabled better understanding and reuse of knowledge/understanding of issues involved. A large team of software analysts that was distributed across the country was deployed (peak team size 120 analysts). To bring the analysts on to an effective footing on methodology and domain knowledge, workshops were conducted where the standard training material for user education, presentations at different levels and documentation standards were also discussed and finalized. Training of teams also included domain knowledge for department with the help of subject matter experts concerned. Interpretation of IEEE 830 standard, the documentation structure and the steps to be followed for eliciting and developing the requirements were finalized in consultation with all stakeholders, with the active involvement of the external expert.

Project office and quality: The project office coordinated the activities of teams across the country as well as of the various government agencies. It also handled the logistics part of the project. Documentation standards and definitions were initially developed and training on standards for the team organized. As the project progressed, more standards were added to ensure uniformity in look and feel as well as ensuring consistency in representation, for example, usage of notations etc. All documents were reviewed by the quality team and review comments incorporated by the practitioners. Sometimes teams had to get back to users to obtain clarifications/review comments before these could be finalized. The final documents were then submitted and approved at State and Central levels. Risk management: Risk report and transparent sharing of risks constitute an important aspect of periodic reports. Guidance was taken from a prominent professor of IIT Kanpur, who had written a book on software engineering. Sample contents of the SRS documents and methodology for documentation were finalized in consultation with him. The external expert also reviewed and certified the SRS document for different levels for a few States. Geographical spread: As the project included travel all over the country, it was a logistical and communications challenge. For example, for travel to Andman and Nicobar Islands there were limited fights with waiting lists of up to two months. For Lakshadweep, travel was available only by ship, that too for a restricted period. Travel in the North East was another challenge.


July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

There was enthusiastic participation in the West and South Indian States and good basic understanding. In some States the Minister of the department concerned himself attended the full-day session and provided guidance and motivation. In one island the senior officials worked late nights for three days to meet the commitments and deadline. The Chief Secretary himself guided the officials and reviewed the documents with the senior officials. Cultural challenges: Sometimes during user education sessions, senior officials showed their disinclination to learn new things. During the long years of work, they had not been in the reading/ understanding the lengthy documents setting out what was required from them. This was addressed through the workshops where these documents were presented through flow diagrams/pictorially and in brief – and their feedback incorporated. If one makes sincere efforts and communicates the same through actions, one finds enough committed personnel in the Government who are willing to go that extra mile with you to make the project a success. Project standards and conventions keep evolving as the project progresses. The whole project management is really a risk management exercise. Continuously new risks emerge and the old ones get mitigated. Identifying risks, taking preventive and corrective actions and sharing the risk perception with the management and customer are vital for the success of the project. (Courtesy: Journal of Management and Entrepreneurship of Xavier Institute of Management & Entrepreneurship, Bangalore)


Kandamkulathy: a tradition of 150 years

K P Pathrose Vaidyan, Founder


andamkulathy is one of the most celebrated ayurveda families of Kerala having 150 years’ tradition in ayurvedic treatments. The late K P Pathrose Vaidyan of the Kandamkulathy family, who studied ayurveda from his ancestors, was a veteran ayurveda physician of his time and had cured a lot of complicated diseases. He established

Kandamkulathy Vaidyasala which became a multidivisional institution under the effective leadership of his son, Mr K P Wilson, the present Managing Director. Now Kandamkulathy is a trusted name in the ayurvedic field with ISO- and GMP-certified manufacturing and other units: ayurvedic hospitals in different parts of Kerala— Mala, Aluva, Kochi and Chalakudy—, ayurveda Superspeciality Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, ayurvedic publications, a research and development K P Wilson division, academy, herbal division and exports. Strictly based on the ayurvedic concept of ‘authentic ayurveda at appropriate atmosphere’, Kandamkulathy Vaidyasala has started Ayursoukhyam


July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

Ayurveda Resort at Athirappilly near Chalakudy. A team of dedicated, experienced doctors and therapists under the guidance of Dr Rosemary Wilson is making success stories in these treatment centres. Now Kandamkulathy has introduced some exclusive ayurvedic treatment programmes like ‘Soothika’ (mother and child care programme, post-natal/ after-delivery care), computer-related injuries treatment Dr Rosemary Wilson (CRI) programme for IT Chief Physician professionals, Arabian Lifestyle Programme for preventive diseases in Arabian climate and work habit and food, apart from other packages like Monsoon Care Package, Lifestyle Diseases Package etc and treatment for specific diseases.


Rising to the occasion F

oodies all over are familiar with Eastern products— spices and condiments—processed and distributed by Eastern Condiments Pvt Ltd (ECPL). Numero uno in curry powders and curry masalas, Eastern products are used in all types of dishes prepared out of fish and meat, rice and wheat, pulses and cereals. The unique feature of Eastern is that it offers products suitable for use in favourite delicacies from vegetables or non-vegetable items fit for the occasions and festivals celebrated by people irrespective of caste and creed. Condiments to be used in the preparation of items used during these occasions are made available by Eastern. Pickles, packed drinking water and beverages are also marketed by the Eastern Group.

Eastern has market outlets not only in Kerala but in Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Eastern exports its products to West Asia, East Europe and US markets and has sales outlets in 10 countries. It has installed a fully M E Meeran a u t o m a t e d microbiology testing lab to ensure stringent quality in spices and ready-to-eat products. ECPL is the first

company in India to have such a system. The machines for grinding coriander and chilli are imported from Germany. It has large warehousing and refrigeration storage facilities at Adimali and Kalady. Started as a family-managed business, Eastern soon became a professionally run organization by adopting several steps to imbibe the principles of sound corporate practices. The Eastern team is led by the Group Chairman, Mr M E Meeran, who is assisted by the Board of Directors comprising Mr Navas Meeran, Mr Feroz Meeran, Mr M S Ranganathan and Mr M S Sebastian. “Winning the trust of the customer through commitment to quality at the right prices for all our products is our motto’’, says Chairman Meeran.

Sharewealth: Reaching out to investors globally S

harewealth, the first corporate member of the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd (NSE), Bombay Stock Exchange Ltd (BSE) and MCXStock Exchange Ltd (MCX-SX) from Thrissur, is actively expanding its retail distribution network to reach out to investors nationwide as well as globally. Sharewealth is a depository participant with CDSL. Sharewealth has membership in all major commodity exchanges, MCX (Multi- Commodity Exchange of India Ltd), NCDEX (National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Limited), NMCE (National Multi-Commodity Exchange of India Ltd), ICEX (Indian Commodity Exchange Limited) and NSEL (National Spot Exchange Ltd). The company offers the online platform for equities, derivatives, commodities, Internet and currency trading, depository services, mutual fund distribution, research and investment consultancy.

Sharewealth offers excellent Internet trading products like ‘e-MINT’, ‘e-MINT GOLD’ and ‘e-MINT NOW’. Promoted by a team of professionals having more than 23 years’ experience in financial markets, Sharewealth has a highly competent, diversified Board of Directors. Mr T B Ramakrishnan (Ramki), CEO and Managing Director, is a stock market analyst of repute, former Treasurer and Governing Council Member of Cochin Stock Exchange Ltd (1998-2000) and former Kerala Regional T B Ramakrishnan Head of Sharekhan with more than 23 years of experience in financial markets. Having over 200 outlets in different locations across India, Sharewealth is in the process of taking its

presence in more than 400 locations by 2012. The company has also already opened its representative office in Abu Dhabi, offers consultancy services to non-resident Indians (NRIs) in the Middle East through its joint venture, Sharewealth Financial Consultancy LLC. Sharewealth is also opening its representative offices in Qatar, Dubai, Kuwait etc. Strategic joint ventures and business partnerships in the Middle East have enabled the company to access the large NRI population in the region. Sharewealth’s proven expertise in providing online services is helping the company to rapidly expand its business in all segments. According to Mr Ramakrishnan, the focus of his company’s business is the customer— customer service, customer education, customer support, customer relation and, above all, customer satisfaction. Its mission is “to educate the growing investing public in a simple and practical way to help them to protect their hardearned money and to make more money from financial and commodity markets” which, says Mr Ramakrishnan, we mean by wealth creation simplified’ “.

Emmanuval’s Kochi outlet will be the world’s biggest E

mmanuval Silks, Thrissur, one of Kerala’s largest textile business centres, is entering Kochi in a big way. Its new 5-lakh-sq ft showroom coming up at Edappally is billed as the biggest of its kind in the world. The centre, to be inaugurated in February next, will have all international shopping facilities, the firm claims. Besides its Thrissur outlet, Emmanuval has another centre—in Kottayam. The Edappally unit is expected to employ 4,000 people directly and another 4,000 indirectly. Showrooms have also been planned in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. Emmanuval was started by Thekkumpuram Ouseph in a small way in 1990 at Mannumpetta, a remote village in the district. The meteoric progress of the business necessitated its shifting to the front of the church at Mannumpetta. It soon turned out to be the hugely successful Emmanuval Wedding Collection, looked after by Ouseph’s wife Annie Ouseph. Ouseph

Byju, Shaju, Jiju, Raju died in June 2008. Continuing success led Emmanuval to enter the heart of Thrissur city with a wholesale showroom in 2001. Besides adhering to the principles and ideals left by Ouseph, the cohesive and concerted team spirit of nine people—Annie PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

Ouseph and her son and in-laws, Shaju, Byju, Raju, Jiju, Jinsy Shaju, Sheeba Byju, Gini Raju and Neetha Jiju—gives the enterprise enough strength and endurance to face any challenge from any corner and steer it to further successes.


Meera Homes—making clients and parents happy M

eera Homes, the ace builder, has come up with a unique way of making its clients and their parents happy. The parents are accommodated in the clients’ own luxurious apartments and there are professional and dedicated people to take care of them. “The satisfaction the clients get goes beyond words and their parents feel that their children do really take care of them,” says the company. The features and facilities at Meera Homes’ project ‘Elegance’ include 24-hour presence of two qualified nurses; food prepared and served by company staff (optional); cleaning and maintenance of flat; washing and laundry; weekly shopping facility and running of errands (or visit to temple or church); vehicle and driver facility; ambulance and driver; doctor’s

Rajeev G and Manju consultation once in a month; annual subscription (Rs 1,20,000 for one person and Rs 1,80,000 for couple); all expenses including medical bills (normal) will be borne by the company; if a need arises for the 24-

hour attention of a nurse a home nurse will be appointed by the company exclusively and will be considered as medical expenses; park and garden facility; children or relatives can visit and stay with them (if stay is only for one day, free food); any other services required as provided by their children. Elegance, in association with Johnson Lucos, is located just 500 metres from the KarimugalThripunithura road. Facing Dawn Public School, one of the prestigious schools in Kochi, it comprises 32 super-luxury two- and three-bedroom apartments and is just 2.5 km from Kochi Refineries Ltd, 3 km from Smart City and 6 km from Infopark. Meera Homes, again, is turning the dream of many people to settle in a peaceful and calm location into a reality with its project, ‘MEERA SIGNATURE’, on the banks of Manjali Thodu, the enchanting picnic spot and one of the fastest-growing river destinations, near Angamaly. Coming up on 1.1 acres of land, Meera Signature consists of 1, 2 and 3 BHK apartments with state-of-the-art amenities. It is just 5 km from the Nedumbassery airport and Kalady, 14 km from Aluva, 30 km from Ahthirapilly waterfalls, 4 km from Infopark, Karukutti, and 45 km from Thrissur. The floor heights in 8 to 12 floors of Type A and E cover 1,289 sq ft in area, Type B 1,247 sq ft, Type C and D 1,646 sq ft and Type F,G and H 750 sq ft. Parackal Estate: Meera Homes’ landmark project, Parackal Estate, is coming up at Varappuzha, 10 km

from Kochi. When the ongoing four-way-line road from Kalamassery-Varappuzha-High Court to Vypeen is completed, Parackal Estate will only be a 15-minute drive from Kochi. The project comprises 28 superluxury two- and three-bedroom apartments. New project: ‘Dream’ is a project with 2- and 3bedroom apartments at Marampally, Aluva. Mr Rajeev G, Meera Homes Managing Partner, has been in business for more than 16 years. “We have a team of dedicated professionals working hard to deliver unparalleled service and quality. I attribute my success to them,’’ says Mr Rajeev. Meera Homes provides all modern amenities in its homes. “We are the first to introduce a most modern sewage treatment plant, a very cost-effective system, in Kochi,’’ says Mr Rajeev. His wife Manju is a partner of Meera Homes.An ISO 9001:2008-certified firm, Meera Homes has its headquarters at Aluva.

Non-road solutions should be thought of From page 49 Mr Prasad suggested the BOT route for developing a super-highway as a bypass to this existing artery in order to cater primarily to long-haul goods traffic over 100 km and fast passenger traffic, including intercity bus services. For long-haul goods traffic as well as fast passenger and inter-city travel, even non-road solutions should be thought of as part of a long-term comprehensive plan for the development of our transport infrastructure. The acute problems faced by the transport sector today are the result of lack of such approach in the past. In 1984, a high-level committee on physical infrastructure and transport appointed by the State Planning Board had made serious attempts in this direction. This committee was headed by the late G P Warrier, another retired Railway Board Chairman. This committee had warned 26 years ago: “Unless measures are taken to increase the share of rail traffic to at least 20% and inland water transport and coastal shipping are modernized and systematized to carry freight traffic of about 5 million tonnes and 0.5 million tonnes respectively by 2000 AD, the

pressure on the road system will be such that it will collapse....”. The report recommended regulation of vehicle growth by organizing an efficient public transport system, minimizing thereby the growth of personalized modes of transport. We have a totally ill-planned public transport system today, dominated by small-time private operators who are ill-equipped to deliver efficient public transport. Kerala lags far behind other southern States with regard to city and town services as well as inter-city and mofussil services in terms of quality, cost, spread and availability. There is a phenomenal increase in the number of personal vehicles in Kerala, compared to other States, due to the extremely poor development of public transport. The high-level committee of 1984 had predicted a total vehicle population of more than a million by 2000 if efficient public transport systems were not developed and less than half a million for a regulated scenario. The number of vehicles on Kerala roads had crossed the million mark in 1995; by 2000 it was 1.9 million and, as on today, it has crossed the 5-million mark. The recommendations of this high-level task force, headed by an eminent Kerala engineer and PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010

transportation expert, obviously fell on deaf years, and no such comprehensive study has been attempted for several years either by the State Planning Board or any other body. Though the Chairman of this eminent task force is no more with us, many among its members, who had substantially contributed to its report, including its convener and noted transport economist T R Gopalakrishan, continue to be professionally active even today, and there is enough expertise available within the State, including that of NATPAC, to study the real needs of its transport infrastructure. It is a good sign that our political leaders, irrespective of party affiliations, have reached a consensus on the vexed highway issue. They have rightly questioned the wisdom of NHAI, whose knowledge about the real needs and development aspirations of our people are limited. Is it not time that we thought of a Highway Authority of Kerala which could be federated into the Central body? And, such capacity rebuilding exercises are long overdue for the transport sector.


Nirapara: byword for quality K

K Karnan’s ‘Nirapara’ brand of food products has grown from a small beginning in 1991 to a Rs 100-crore-turnover entity now, ranking as one of Kerala’s first and largest food processing units measured by sales. Nirapara’s rice processing unit at Kalady had a very humble beginning in 1991. The business, started out in a very low-tech way using the traditional method of boiling, sun-drying and milling, grew soon. In a few years’ time, Nirapara became one of the most modern rice processing houses in India with the latest worldclass technology. Nirapara was the first in the State to bring out stoneless ready-to-use rice. Though sales were not very encouraging initially because of the relatively high

price, Karnan didn’t change the price as he was conscious of the high quality of his product. With a keen marketing sense he was able to change the people’s mindset. Nirapara’s rising popularity made Karnan launch another mill, K K R Agro Mills, again in Kalady, in 1993. Nirapara uses the most modern technology in its mills and continually upgrades the machinery. It uses only the highest quality of rice. Nirapara is the only rice which uses the nutri-select process, ensuring that only the best-quality rice with

the optimum content of vitamin B is selected by the Z-sortex machine and packed. The porous jute bags help air circulation that is essential to enhancing shelf life, keeping the product fungus-free. Nirapara products are exported to 45 countries. Curry powders, spices and pickles have now been added to Nirapara’s product range, marketed under the brand ‘Nirapara Silky Food Products’. These wings are looked after by his wife Ammini. Apart form his units in Kalady Karnan has many other business ventures in other parts of the country and abroad. His son Biju, who is the Managing Director of the group and is an MBA, is always there to help him.

DLF set for growth in Kochi I

ndia’s largest real estate developer DLF Ltd is increasing its presence in Kerala along with other States in the country. It already is in possession of 3.75 acres of land at posh Marine Drive where its third project, ‘Bay View’, with 294 luxury apartments costing Rs 70 lakh to Rs 2.5 crore will be coming up. Moreover DLF has acquired 3.5 acres of land from Aspinwall in Kochi where its fourth project is to come up. The plan and other details are yet to be drawn up, says Col M G Girish, Kerala head of the company. According to Col Girish, the demand for homes is gaining momentum and enquiries from Gulf areas like Abu Dhabi and Doha are increasing. Many players had earlier felt that there was sluggishness in the market. But the situation has changed and the market is

showing very positive signs of growth. Asked what types of customers are aspiring to own apartments he says young couples, young entrepreneurs and young officials are the main buyers. They mostly prefer 2-BHK and 3-BHK study apartments of which DLF has only a handful are remaining for sale. Among large apartments, nearly 75% of Col M G Girish the 300 available have been sold out. In the case of other types, 70% of 1,200

AEGON Religare plans topline growth A EGON Religare Life Insurance (ARLI) is planning to expand its current distribution network. It has a 3% to 4% business turnover from Kerala with branches in Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Kochi and Kozhikode since July 2008 and mulling to open three more in the State. Now it has 23 life insurance offices. It will add more branches across the country. These branches will be staffed with a welltrained sales force Yateesh Srivastava to provide better to Chief Marketing advice customers and to Officer this end the company plans to increase the life adviser base to 20,000 and to hire over 800 relationship managers during this fiscal. In addition, the company will also focus on increasing third-party distribution with the focus on acquiring a bank partner. The increased distribution will help the company target an increase in top line to a total received premium of Rs 500 crore as compared to a total received premium of Rs 166 crore achieved in the previous fiscal. As of now, AEGON Religare has attracted over 70,000 customers. The

company launched a suite of products that are focused on providing the customer with the means to meeting their long-term financial goals. Products such as AEGON Religare iTerm Plan and AEGON Religare Invest Maximiser Plan have been ranked among the best in terms of value and have attracted many external accolades. ``Last year was a challenging year and we used this opportunity to test our distribution models and we K S Gopalakrishnan ended the year Chief Financial with all channels Officer producing excellent results”, according to Mr Rajiv Jamkhedkar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. AEGON has business in over 20 markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia. With headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands, AEGON companies employ nearly 28,000 and serve 40 million customers globally. The company’s common shares are listed on three stock exchanges: Amsterdam, New York and London. Religare Enterprises Limited is a global financial services group with presence across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. PASSLINE

flats have found buyers. “It is the small types of homes that are more in demand, especially from local customers (nearly 55%),” adds Col Girish. What is the reason for the revival of interest in real estate investment now? Col Girish feels that it is because the share market index is not growing appreciably. But when prices of real estate shares become low, many people invest in them in the belief that they will provide a higher return in the coming days. Adding more teeth to their existing project the New Town Heights at Kakkanad is a 4-storey mall of 2 lakh square feet. Nearly 1950 families of different income groups can enjoy its amenities. DLF’s other existing project River Side at Vyttila is to be completed by 2011 .

Titan Eye Plus offer


itan Eye Plus of Titan Industries has offered customers a flat discount of 25% on exchange of old eyewear for new spectacles or sunglasses from an array like Cabana, Vybes, FLEXX and Enigma and from the latest range of international brands. A flat 10% discount will also be offered on the contact lens portfolio. Titan Eye Plus has state-of-the-art-eye testing facilities and optometrists to ensure that the customer gets a `zero-error eye test’, says the company. It also offers free insurance on spectacles, covering up to 80% the cost of repair or replacement of the original.

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010


KSE proud of least mandays loss K

SE Ltd has declared a dividend of 100% this fiscal. The price of a KSE share with a face value of Rs 10 now ranges between Rs 230 and Rs 250. It has 6,000 shareholders. KSE which has won the SEA award for 16 times consecutively for the best entity processing coconut oilcake is also the recipient of the National Productivity Award for eight consecutive years. Besides cattle feed the company makes other products of high quality and great demand. Jercy oilcake, KS milk and Vesta icecream are its other popular products. “Last fiscal the company’s sales turnover was Rs 371 crore. The sales output of cattle feed was 2,87,000 tonnes and that of Jercy oilcake 23,600 tonnes. Milk sales amounted to 46 lakh litres and icecream 8.60 lakh pieces’’, says Mr M C Paul, KSE Chairman and Managing Director.

“Our company has embraced CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives almost since inception. These include donations and support to social causes, charity, educational institutions and national causes like the Kargil war, Gujarat earthquake victims and tsunami-affected people”, says Mr Anand Menon, Chief General Manager. KSE’s other areas of focus are growth of society, wellM C Paul being of employees and children, eco-friendly initiatives and community development. The management policy is to employ people staying within a radius of 5 km in each unit so that all employees

have a sense of ownership in the company. This also helps the management to know each individual and their families well. This probably explains the least number of mandays lost because of strikes during the past 36 years. The company provides regular extension programmes for dairy farmers on scientific animal husbandry practices and cost-effective methods of Anand Menon milk production and hygiene. The company has a policy to reduce energy consumption engaging an energy audit programme with the fulltime help of an Energy Manager.

K V M—major seafood exporter K

V M Exports Private Limited and K V Marine Exports have been in the field of seafood exports for more than three years under the leadership of Mr K V Viswa Mohanan (K V V Mohanan), Managing Director of the former and Chief Executive of the latter. He runs two units in Chennai. With own raw material collection points in the coastal line of the east coast area for sea materials and south Tamil Nadu and Nellore for farm-raised shrimps, the units have five insulated trucks which can take materials to the processing plant in a safe and good condition. They have their own factory infrastructure. The processing unit is situated at Padur village, Old Mahabalipuram Road, Chennai. The units aim at producing good-quality seafood and expanding the business worldwide. At present the company handles frozen shrimps, which are exported to all parts of the world including the European Union, and about 500 people are working in the factory.

The company has crossed a turnover of Rs 20 crore and it has buyers in Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam and the UK. Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui and Co Ltd, Hanwa Co Ltd, Eiger Co Ltd, Eagle Seafood Corpn and Kohyo Co Ltd are its main buyers in Japan. There are two brands, KVM Gold for HL Black Tiger, and KVM for all other types of shrimps. The quality control section is taking care of all K V Viswa Mohanan quality parameters, testing, inspection and monitoring. The effective HACCP system implementation is the function of quality control. It takes care of feedback and complaints, if any, from the buyers.

‘Change ourselves’ From page 26 sessions on various aspects of the reel world and real world. Dr Hridaya Kumari, academic, drove her points through a poem of W B Yeats. Another notable social activist that served food for thought was Ms Sreekumari Amma. In the closing session, poet Murugan Kattakkada impressed the students not just by his poetry but also by his rendering of soulful recitals. On the rhythm of his poetic voice, the students ended up dancing together. One of the most memorable and cherished moments of the retreat was the visit to the Somatheeram Resort. Mr Polly Mathew, CMD of the resort, has been a constant supporter of the Altius movement and he hosted the students at his resort. The students enjoyed their visit to the resort and spent some very playful moments at the Kovalam beach. The resort also organized a pleasant cultural evening programme in the

evening. For most participants, it was an evening that they will remember all their life. At the end of the retreat, both the students and the organizers were happy with what they had experienced during the programme. For the organizers, it was a retreat that saw Altius mature in many ways. For the students, the retreat was novel both in its content and form. They appreciated the experience of a routine-bound day and the significance of mediation and newspaper reading. More significantly, they pledged to change themselves and the social conditions around them. As one of the students observed at the end of the retreat, “In previous camps, we focused mostly on personality development, but in this camp we became more socially aware and committed. It is for us to see that we first change ourselves and then improve the conditions of our society.” PASSLINE


Born in 1952 at Kannur, Mr Mohanan completed the BCom degree course from Sri Narayana College in 1974. He worked in the office of a leading seafood export company from 1974 to 1976. In 1977 he started his own marine products business and in 1991 entered the field of seafood exports. Mr Mohanan is the President of the Seafood Exporters Association of India, Tamil Nadu Region, Vice-President of the Confederation of Tamil Nadu Malayalee Associations, the central body of more than 72 Malayalee associations, each with a membership of about 300 people, and Vice-President of the Madras Kerala Samajam, Chennai. He is also the Secretary of CTMA Educational Trust, Chennai. He is involved in various social activities also. Mr Mohanan has invested in K V Complex, a commercial shopping complex at his native Chirakkal. Sushama Devi is his wife and they have three sons—Dr Shaji, Dr Sanjai and Vikas. The youngest is an IT student.


With best compliments from

KVMarineExports 61, Venkatesa Street, Chintadripet, Chennai -600 002, India PH: 91-44-28456020 / 28452246 Fax: 91 -44 -28456544, Email: Fac: 1/30, Padur Village, Kelambakkam Post Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu, India PH: 91-44-27474334 / 27474401

Leading Seafood Exporter to all over the world including European Union & U S A Uncompromising Quality with Consistency EU APPROVAL NO. 915 Chief Executive : K V V Mohanan

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010


Winger Platinum: holidaying family car T

ata Motors has launched a new range in its Winger series, the Tata Winger Platinum. It is a luxurious seven-seater, designed to provide an enhanced on-road experience with a perfect blend of comfort and space. The Winger Platinum allows itself to be deployed for both long-distance transportation and intra-city needs such as transportation for working executives, holidaying families and for tourist usage. It gives a mileage of about 12 km a litre. Only diesel and AC-category cars have been launched now. The price is Rs 6.94 lakh (exshowroom, Kochi). The Winger Platinum’s innovative design ensures that passengers are equally comfortable even in the last row. The seven individual reclining captain seats provide private space for each passenger. With adjustable head rests, soft wide adjustable armrests, best in-class legroom, individual

AC vents and wide luggage space, the vehicle provides pleasurable journeys. Other comfort features include collapsible grab handles, a side footstep for easy entry, coat hooks, two mobile chargers, two-din music system with four in-built speakers, provision for LCD, fully enclosed body, rugged engine sub-frame, anti-roll bars at both front and rear, retractable seat belts and child safety lock. The three-way adjustable driver’s seat with power steering and a turning radius of 5.65 metres helps reduce driver fatigue. Motorized headlamps, fog lamps and a demisting unit aid visibility while driving. The Winger is powered by a proven two-litre turbo-charged inter cooled diesel

engine and comes in two colour options, pearl white and cycus grey, and is backed by a 1.5-lakh km/18month warranty.

V-Guard net up 46.85%; dividend 30% B

acked by growth in the white goods and electronic and electrical segments, the net profit of electronic and electrical major V-Guard surged by 46.85% to Rs 25.47 crore for the year ended March 31, 2010, from last year’s Rs 17.35 crore. The profit before tax increased by 50.36% to Rs 39.51 crore (Rs 26.28 crore). The net turnover was Rs 454.09 crore, registering a growth rate of 43.35% compared with the previous year’s Rs 316.78 crore. The Board of Directors which met the other day recommended a dividend of 30%, ie Rs 3 per equity share for the year 2009-10. Mr Mithun K Chittilappilly, Executive Director of the company, said that the increase

in the net turnover could be attributed to the better penetration of the North Indian markets and also stretching the wings to the tier-II and III cities of the existing South Indian markets. Contribution of all the products to the turnover was remarkable and outlook for the future Mithun K also seemed good, he said, adding that profitability improved because of a better sales mix, better penetration level of both

the existing and unexplored markets, efficient sourcing of all inputs and the c o s t management initiatives. The company had utilized 95% of the IPO (initial public offering) proceeds for commissioning the various projects mentioned in the offer document and the remaining two projects, ie distribution centres in Hubli and Vijayawada, would be completed by the end of the current fiscal, Mr Mithun said.

Dhanlaxmi to have new corporate office B

hanlaxmi Bank, one of the fastest-growing midsize private-sector banks in the country, performed the ‘Bhoomi Pujan’ for its proposed corporate office building at Punkunnam Junction in Thrissur recently. The 11-storeyed tower with two basements will have a total built-up area of 1,17,000 square feet and will accommodate 1,000 employees. Mr Sachin Saraf, the bank’s Head, Infrastructure Management Group, said the structure would have multiple amenities such as a multipurpose auditorium, gymnasium, library, training centre and cafeteria for the employees. It would also have a museum based on the bank’s history. The building, designed by architects N M Salim & Associates, is expected to be completed in about 18 months. Mr D Anantha Subramaniam, former Chairman of the bank, performed the ground-breaking ceremony along with Mr P G Jayakumar, Chief Credit Officer, signalling the construction work. The ceremony was attended by several senior executives of the bank. The bank (earlier ‘The Dhanalakshmi Bank Limited’) was incorporated in 1927 and became a scheduled commercial bank in 1977. It provides a suite of banking products and services for both resident and nonresident Indians and has 271 branches and 380 ATMs across the country. As of March 31, 2010, it had a total net worth of over Rs 400 crore, total deposits worth Rs 7,098 crore.

Mr D Anantha Subramaniam, former Chairman, performing the ‘Bhoomi Poojan’ along with Mr P G Jayakumar, Chief Credit Officer. PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010


Known for value-based education G

arden City College (GCC) has been in the forefront of education since 1985 and ranks among the best institutions in South India. Established by the Garden City Education Trust under a visionary, Dr Joseph V G, the founder Chairman, GCC is known for value-based education. All its courses are affiliated to Bangalore University. The professional courses are recognized by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) of the Union Government. Dr Joseph, who from early on envisaged the demand for professionals, moulded the college in such a way that it became an institution of excellence in no time. Today, the college, having crossed several milestones, is consistently churning out professionals in various faculties, who have become the first preference in the employment market. Located in the centre of Bangalore city, GCC has a vast 15-acre campus on the old Madras Road and a corporate office on Indira Road. It has well-equipped spacious classrooms of international standard and students from all over India and also from 54 nations. Professional teachers, separate hostel facilities for both teachers and students and restaurants to cater for their diverse tastes distinguish the college. GCC offers a plethora of undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) programmes, handpicked with the basic intention of providing suitable employment to the aspirants. It has a Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT) course, affiliated to the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences. Students who have completed their postgraduate degree in Physiotherapy are working in some of the prestigious institutions in and outside India. GCC also offers the Bachelor of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology (BSLP) course that helps to treat deaf and dumb children. The institution also concentrates on job-oriented courses in the travel and tourism field, BA History and

Journalism, Master in Tourism Administration (MTA) etc, and those passing out are placed in big companies. One of the best management institutes in India, GCC’s courses in the field include MBA, BBM, BBA, Bachelor in Hotel Management (BHM) and BCom. BSc Nursing students from GCC who get practical training in community healthcare are serving in world-famous hospitals. The college’s placement cell in Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Genetics has helped many to get decent jobs. For computer studies there are BSc, BCA and MCA courses and the number of applicants is increasing each year. GCC has also set up a law school, GCC College of Law, one of the best in India. This institution, with all facilities for five-year LLB, is headed by Prof V G Kuttino, the Executive Director, who was Bangalore University Law College Principal and Gulberga University Vice-Chancellor.

Devamatha Central Schools functioning like finishing schools under GCC follow the CBSE syllabus. The self-service counter at the institute helps to build confidence by enabling students to share money. GCC has also made a mark by joining hands with Hanze University in the Netherlands. By this, many graduate and postgraduate courses have been started in Retail Management, Facility Management etc. These courses have IFMA (International Facility Management Dr Joseph V G Association) accreditation. GCC has reached an understanding with some nationalized banks for loans to poor students. It also has a publication called GCC World.

ANCIENT, TRADITIONAL, UNIQUE Aranmula Metal Mirror The Bronze Marvel



July 31- Aug. 31, 2010


Dream life in the lap of nature A

luva, surrounded by numerous tourist attractions and the sacred Periyar, the second largest river in Kerala, is a place where one would love to own a home and settle in, or at least stay for some days. A walk down the river and its silkysmooth sandbank is an unforgettable experience for anyone, who would want to come over again and again to experience the beauty of nature. Being close to the Cochin International Airport and Kochi city, Aluva is an ideal living location, with soothing and exquisite culture and surroundings. Its sacredness and historical importance make it even more special and unique. Aluva Manalppuram, where people in their thousands assemble during Sivarathri, is another attraction of the locality. It is in this sacred and unique land that Pareckattil Builders, which stepped into the realty business recently with a bang, is trying to turn the dream of many to invest in property

Pareckattil Builders

into a reality. A household name in the timber and paint businesses for the last two decades, Pareckattil is entering the building sector after making its presence felt in its existing businesses. That the Pareckattil Group, formed by members of the renowned Pareckattil family, will find its niche in the construction industry too with its innovative spirit and superior concepts is acknowledged by all. Jacob Dominic, Alphy Dominic, Seby Dominic, Jesty Dominic and Loy Dominic of the Pareckattil family are the Managing Partners of Pareckattil Builders. After the success of its maiden

project ‘Springdale’, Pareckattil is all set to explore the construction market with two other projects, ‘Royal Nest’ and ‘Summer Nest’. Situated just 500 metres and 800 metres respectively from Aluva bypass, Royal Nest and Summer Nest will provide ideal living conditions away from the hustle and bustle of the town, at the same time ensuring close proximity to the highway, reputed schools and colleges, hospitals, the railway station, places of worship, the Sivarathri Manalppuram and bus terminals. Summer Nest, the ongoing premium waterfront apartment project, which overlooks the Manalppuram, is also situated midway between ‘Smart Kochi’ and the International Airport. Commitment to quality and comfort and dedication and reliability are the USP of Pareckattil Builders. These, the partners say, are the key factors that promote their business and make it a substantial success. Making superior living conditions, inspiration for innovation and adherence to customer satisfaction with the unique blend of quality and comfort are what they concentrate on, they say.

‘Fresh players won’t be a threat to us’ From page 12 Apart from providing remittance facilities all our branches are equipped for providing other financial services like life insurance, pension products and wealth management through mutual fund products. The bank has launched an international debit–cumshopping card, ‘CSB Global Support’, in association with VISA International, the world’s largest banker card organization. CSB Upahaar, a VISA-enabled gift card with a three-year validity and multiple usage has also been recently added to our boutique of products. The co-branded credit card being issued in collaboration with SBI cards completes the bouquet of cards available from CSB. We also have a tailor-made scheme, NRI Housing Loan, for providing financial assistance to NRIs for purchasing their dream house. Students have much benefited from your services and loan schemes. Likewise are you drawing up any services or branches entirely for women empowerment? Making the right proposition to the right customer at the right time cannot be left to chance. We have devised special schemes targeting different classes of society according to their requirements. Our products cover the financial requirements during the entire lifecycle of a customer. We focus on building relationship banking and our products are ample testimony to this. For students we have CSB Student Support SB and educational loans. The CSB Student Support account facilitates students to open accounts with any branch of CSB with zero balance and use a visa global debit card free. For empowering women we have a tailormade scheme, CSB Women Support, whereby financial assistance is given for improving the earning capacity or living standards of women. We have also been financing a lot of self-help groups and micro-finance institutions where most of the end beneficiaries are rural women.

How do you plan to penetrate into the rural sector where banking services are at a low ebb? We have recently adopted a policy for appointment of business facilitators/correspondents. The process for identification of BC/BF is already on. Appointment of BC/BF and use of information and communication technology models will definitely help in spreading our

V P ISWARDAS reach in rural areas. Micro-finance services in the country are growing and expanding and the RBI has identified micro-finance as the most cost-effective method to reach the rural poor to eradicate poverty and enable a better quality life for them. The bank has plans to adopt select underbanked villages across the country for directly catering to their banking needs. To start with, we have adopted two villages in Kerala. Besides, many major MFIs are having credit lines with us. Further, we

would come up with banking kiosks in the current fiscal to serve the financial and information requirement of rural masses. Is the proposed RBI move to grant banking licences to NBFCs a healthy gesture to the banking sector? Entry of fresh players in the market has only strengthened our banking system. Consequent on the financial reforms, the new-generation banks came into existence and we witnessed how it brought technology to our banking system, how marketing initiatives gained prominence among banks. Hence granting of licences to NBFCs would definitely bring about welcome changes in the existing setup. CSB is one of the old-generation private banks that has been able to offer an appreciable level of service to the customers in spite of several constraints. To what would you attribute this? We have a distinct place in the mind maps of our customers, carefully nurtured down the time line. We have been delivering the best of customer service over the generations and this is engrained in our value system. Each one of the staff at our branch level has the customer’s perspective in mind in their dealings. We have a dedicated workforce who consider CSB not simply as an employer but as a family concern. Secondly the customer loyalty and confidence in the bank are derived out of a longstanding relationship. We have been serving three generations of customers from the same family and have over 90 years of chaste tradition of rendering customer service at its best, the acronym for which is CSB—‘C’ for Customer; ‘S’ for Service and ‘B’ for at its Best. Our acts have proved that we are an organization that has fully imbibed the essence of our punchline CSB Support All the Way in our functioning. We at CSB always review the level of customer delight and focus our product innovation for the betterment of service quality. In the market, we are known as the ‘Listening Bank’.

Worldst first Laser treatment centre for piles, Kochi AL-SHIFA SUPER SPECIALITY HOSPITAL

CENTRE FOR PILES & INFERTILITY (A division of Al-Shifa Educational & Charitable Trust), Rajaji Road, Cochin-682 035, Ph: 0484-2363777 (5 Lines), Fax: +91 484 3043777, e-mail:, web:, Piles Helpline 98465 00500 PASSLINE

July 31- Aug. 31, 2010


CAPITAL MARKET “Investment in equities is the best as it gives 18% return while gold gives only 10% and realty 13%. Moreover there will be a steady growth of equity investment for 8 to 10 years whereas in banks your deposits will have double growth only after 7 years.”

Passline News Service


Hedge’s advertising slogan, “Share trading is not an end to make fast bucks but an asset class to amass wealth”, aired through Mohanlal’s tone, instilled confidence and trust in investors who were lured to the stock market. But to retain them in the market Hedge provided them with expert guidance and suggestions. This made investors search for Hedge sites. “Investment in equities is the best as it gives 18% return while gold gives only 10% and realty 13%. Moreover there will be a steady growth of equity investment for 8 to 10 years whereas in banks your deposits will have double growth only after 7 years,” says Mr Alex Babu, who anticipates the BSE index to cap at 20,000+ at the end of this fiscal. He says that inflation and budget are the two bottlenecks that hamper the growth of the stock markets. “But the Government has taken ameliorating steps and this year the monsoon is also favourable for the markets to rein in inflation. The 3G spectrum auction will give the Government Rs 1 lakh crore which can be used for creating liquidity in the market. Likewise the disinvestment of Government shares in

public sector undertakings will fill up the deficit,” he says. “We assess the success of our company on the basis of the increase in the number of investors in stock trading. Nowadays we find more new faces doing trading in front of our terminals. So Hedge has opened more new

branches,” reveals Mr Alex Babu. Hedge deals in equity, commodity, derivatives, portfolio management services, currency futures, mutual funds and insurance. The vision of Hedge is to raise it as a financial supermarket in India.


tock markets are the backbone of our economy, say economists. It was when only 3% of the population in India ventured into investments in equity markets as against 40% in other countries that Hedge Equities made its foray into the ........................................................................................... stock market with the aim of making at least one individual from a family an equity investor. It was a time of speculation and gambling rather than investors’ interests, and some multinational companies shied away when the markets tumbled. These players were not interested in their clients increasing their share but only in raising the turnover of the company to earn more brokerage. This put investors at great losses and edge School of Applied Economics has been opened with the intention of grooming accounted for the low turnout of investors high-calibre financial professionals competent enough to take Kerala’s financial market to the to the stock markets. next viable level. The tailor-made syllabus is interspersed with live classrooms, where live It was in the midst of challenges like these share trading is shown and explained. The packed schedules are conducted in sessions led by that Hedge started its operations, initially experienced faculty, market players from trading and financial industries and experts from with 10 branches. Within two years the the Bombay Stock Exchange, National Stock Exchange and the Securities number of branches went up to 110. It now and Exchange Board of India. has presence in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, The focus is to train students to have the expertise in share trading, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, “We plan banking, insurance or wealth management, says Mr Alex Babu. 200 branches by the end of this fiscal. The The duration of the course is two months and the fee Rs 15,000. aim is to have more branches in small towns Those who complete the course successfully will have job opportunities and 50 branches each in Tamil Nadu and in Hedge also. Karnataka. Our presence will be felt in all The specialist-hungry trading and broking companies are good metro cities also. The target is 1,000 launch pads for students to commence their careers. They branches in the next five years, spread all can become individual trading brokers, portfolio over India,’’ according to Mr N managers or financial consultants. Moreover, Hedge Bhuvenendren, CEO. “We see this growth Equities itself provides Hedgezens a platform to as a recognition by the people of our mode become sub brokers by offering space at its business of service’’, remarks Managing Director Alex centre. Babu. Being a responsible corporate entity, Hedge Equities has initiated a nonprofit movement called “The time when we launched our firm ‘Yuva’, an ambitious programme aimed at propagating during the recession period turned out to be the virtues of the stock market. The movement favourable as many Mumbai companies had seeks to trickle down to the micro level and wound up their operations in Kerala and we educate the masses, especially the youth, with could fill slots in our company with the intention of converting liquid money into experienced hands. The Hedge team an investment in shares. To propagate now consists of 380 people who are this movement, various scholarships are always in touch with the clients,” awarded to industrious and dynamic says Chief Operating Officer Bobby youth. Hedge School of Applied Jos. Economics would be a complement to this When speculation and motivating cause undertaken by Hedge gambling were reigning over the Equities. bourses Hedge brought a Professionals specialized in whiff of fresh air into share broking and investments are so trading through its new few that their demand has mode of operation. To touched stratospheric levels. So spruce up its operations, this is the right time for setting Hedge tapped the voice up an institute of this type for and presence of actor moulding specialized financial Mohanlal who is also a professionals, according to Mr Mr N Bhuvenendren, C E O, Mr Alex K Babu, Managing Director, Director of Hedge Equities. Bhuvenendren. and Mr Boby Jose, COO, with actor Mohanlal, Brand Ambassador.


School of Applied Economics


July 31-August 31, 2010

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............................................................................................................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................................................................................. By R Seetharaman short run by offsetting the contractionary BRIC, where India, a $1-trillion-plus economy,

Some of the major sectors in India which have immense potential are infrastructure, agriculture and food processing, information technology and education. The Indian rupee has got a new unique symbol and joins other international currencies with an identity that is instantly recognizable worldwide.


he International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects the world’s growth at 4.6% for 2010, with advanced economies expected to experience around 2.6% growth and emerging and developing economies including the Middle East region 6.8%. We have seen that the performance of emerging economies, India and China in particular, had contributed to the global recovery from the current crisis. After growing at 9% for four years before the crisis, the Indian economy has averaged about 7% in the last two years and is expected to grow at 8%-9% in 2010. India is currently taking steps to reverse the fiscal stimulus which was introduced to deal with the crisis. To this end it has outlined a medium-term plan to halve the fiscal deficit by 2013-14. It is also taking measures to control the inflation. India has a sound and well-regulated financial sector which was resilient to the crisis. It will persevere with implementing financialsector reforms to support rapid and inclusive growth in the real economy, and also to increase systemic stability in the financial sector. Developing countries rebalance their strategies by relying less upon exports and more on domestic demand. In many developing countries such as India, this is best done through increased investment directed towards infrastructure. This will sustain growth in the


effect of lower exports. It will also increase the growth potential in the medium term by addressing the supply side constraints. India will continue to give a strong push to investment in infrastructure, relying on private-public partnership as much as possible to reduce the burden on scarce public resources. Recently even India has called for reforms in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with at least a 7% shift in the fund’s quotas from developed to emerging countries and giving them more seats on the IMF board. Some of the major sectors in India which have immense potential are infrastructure, agriculture and food processing, information technology and education. The Indian rupee has got a new unique symbol and joins other international currencies with an identity that is instantly recognizable worldwide. India and China will shadow the rapid development of other Asian neighbours with growth continuing for decades and the purchasing power of their people also increasing to almost match that of consumers in the United States and the European Union combined. India will become one of the most sustainable economies in the future and by 2030, Asia’s economy mainly encompassing India and China will be larger than that of the United States and the European Union combined. G7 and G8 are old stories now. G20 and

July 31-August 31, 2010

can play a bigger role, are the global forum for open debate and suggesting solutions for the global economic recovery from the recent financial crisis. In the Gulf, the GCC nations had shown substantial GDP growth even during the recent financial crisis. Monetary officials and regulators have worked hand in hand to ensure that the effect of the global financial crisis is minimal in the GCC and they have proved that the coordinated action was a success. With oil prices shooting up above $140 in 2008, the investment surplus of the GCC nations has ballooned substantially. While the AAA ratings status of several G7 nations is under risk, rating agencies have maintained/ upgraded several GCC countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It is a matter of immense pleasure that the Seventh World Malayalee Council Global Conference- 2010 is being held in Doha, the capital of the Jewel of the Gulf, Qatar. The large NRI population in the Gulf has played a vital role in fostering the historically long IndoGCC friendship for our mutual benefits. Doha Bank, one of the leading banks in Qatar, with substantial presence across the globe, along with its associate business partner, Doha Brokerage & Financial Services Ltd. (DBFS) having about 230 offices in India and the GCC, wishes the conference, its organizers and delegates every success and prosperity.


n the eve of the World Malayalee Council’s Seventh Biennial Conference being held in Doha, Qatar, PASSLINE sought the views of Mr R Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank, Doha, on his bank’s plans for the future and also on developments in the economic, banking, capital market and financial services fields in India and Kerala. The following is the text of the interview: India has an enviable growth story when we compare its economy with that of other developing countries. What are the opportunities you foresee in India in banking, the capital market and other financial services fields? With the Indian economy expected to grow at 7%-8% in the next couple of years domestic consumption will increase. Hence we can expect an increase in lending both across the commercial and retail lending sides. Competition can intensify in the banking sector as there are proposals to issue new banking licences. There are opportunities for long-term investors in the Indian capital markets. Investors can participate either directly or through mutual funds based on their risk profiles. We are also witnessing growth in the Indian infrastructure and property sectors. Mutual funds and private equity funds directed towards these sectors will provide good returns. The Indian commodity markets can also provide attractive opportunities for those investors who would like to grow with the country’s economy. Gold-related exchangetraded funds are also new opportunities for investors. As a leading bank and brokerage and financial services company what are your major concerns against the backdrop of the economic meltdown in the Gulf countries and in Europe? The key concerns are the sovereign debt and related systemic risk issues. The higher budget deficits resulting from the crisis have pushed up sovereign indebtedness. For example, G-7 sovereign debt levels as a proportion of GDP are nearing 60-year highs. The deterioration of fiscal balances and the rapid accumulation of public debt have altered the global risk profile. Vulnerabilities now increasingly emanate from concerns about the sustainability of governments’ balance sheets. Because of the close linkages between the public sector and domestic banks, deteriorating sovereign credit risk can quickly spill over to the financial sector. The skilful management of sovereign risks is essential for maintaining financial stability and preventing an unnecessary extension of the crisis.




R Seetharaman

......................................................................................................................................................................... Analysts say that the Indian stock index will cross the 20K mark by the end of the current fiscal or even before it. Do you endorse their view? If so what are the fundamental reasons for it and how safe are Indian markets for longtime investment? We can expect a relatively narrow rangebound market in the coming months. Probably in early 2012 or before/after the next year’s budget the market is likely to cross the 20K mark and probably we might see a new high in 2012. Indian market movements are largely driven by FII inflows/outflows but India with potential 8%-10% growth in the coming several years will ensure attractive returns for long-term investors. How good are Middle East markets for equity trading? Has equity trading got more scope there than in India? Although some of the Middle East markets are cash-rich and there is potential for recovery, the market sentiment is driven by global concerns. Moreover these markets are relatively small and illiquid and a majority of investors are taking a very short-term view and follow the hit-and-run policy.


Who are all your channel partners in India? Do you have any branches for your banking service here? We have correspondent relationship and electronic funds transfer arrangements with several nationalized and private-sector (newgeneration) banks in India. Among NRIs, DB is a brand name with a large network of branches and ATMs in Qatar and branches in the UAE and Kuwait. Our remittances to and traderelated business with India are growing continuously. We don’t have a branch in India. However, our associate company in India, Doha Brokerage & Financial Services Ltd (DBFS) in which DB has 49% holdings, has about 250 offices in India and presence in Qatar, the UAE and Oman. In addition to providing capital, currencies and commodities market products, DBFS is also planning to enter the NBFC sector and institutional broking and distribution of third-party products What are your projects and plans for India? We have ambitious plans for expansion into India including a full branch licence, which is still under process. Until then, we are focusing on NBFC and institutional activities including asset management.

July 31-August 31, 2010

How does your DBFS Cochin fare and what is its share in your total business and profit as an international partner? DBFS India is doing well and has a good brand name in South India, especially among NRIs, with about 250 offices in the country and presence in Qatar, the UAE and Oman. Currently we are focusing on brand building including 700 offices and Rs 500-crore revenue with global presence (with NRI focus) in three years and not on profit alone. Is there any plan for acquiring stakes or taking over any Indian banks in the near future particularly in Kerala? Definitely, we are interested but pricing and potential business synergy and how it would fit into the vision of Doha Bank are key to such a move. What is the percentage of business turnover from Indian operations? In the Indian equity, currency and commodity markets, our share of business is growing steadily but there is potential for substantial business (volume) improvement. In other areas like NBFC and asset management, we are in the process of beefing our team up and starting our operations As a banker and economist are you satisfied with the way the Indian economy is growing under Dr Manmohan Singh and the UPA Government? Inflation and fiscal deficit are the two major hindrances which pull back the growth engine of the Indian economy. Can you suggest any remedies? India is already working on the two key issues of fiscal deficit and inflation. According to the fiscal policy strategy for the ensuing financial year and the next two years, the Government is already making efforts to moderate the growth rate of expenditure in order to bring down the deficit. In relation to inflation the RBI has periodically increased the repo and reverse repo rates to regulate inflation. With partial oil price deregulation we can expect more rate increases by the RBI to curtail inflation. According to you, what are the measures to be taken for macro-level development? Financial experts say that increasing the pace of disinvestment and the RBI’s apt interventions from time to time are the only remedy for it. Do you agree? I fully endorse the above measures and we can witness further developments in the above direction.



Passline News Service new chapter in the history of infertility treatment for couples began in 1999, when Dr Mohamed Ashraf established the Centre for Research in Assisted Reproduction and Foetal Therapy (CRAFT) at Kodungallur in Thrissur district. Since then CRAFT Hospital & Research Centre has made many breakthroughs, and has been


able to help hundreds of childless couples become proud parents. The ART Registry of India, which collects and publishes authentic data on IVF (in vitro fertilization)-ICSI (intra cytoplasmic sperm injection) treatment, says that while the 2006 figures show a 24%

success rate in the method nationally, CRAFT’s record was 46%. CRAFT has many firsts to its credit: first ISO 9001: 2000 fertility centre in India (2002); first video laparoscopic centre and IUI centre in Kerala (1992); first to do laparoscopic tubal anastomosis (1995); first to do laparoscopic burch colposuspension (1996); first PESA-ICSI and TESA-ICSI delivery (2000), first assisted hatching delivery (2002), first slow freezing delivery (2003) and first blastocyst pregnancy of the State; first vitrification and delivery in India (2006); revolutionized the technique of cervical circlage by a new and highly effective method known as Ashraf’s Stitch; introduced the mild stimulation protocol for the first time in India (2007); ensures 100% genuine parentage certificate; many babies born for

the first time in Kerala through the most sophisticated infertility treatments of global standards; top in quality and results; first centre that installed a 4 D ultrasound scanner facility; first frozen embryo transfer baby in Kerala; first ISO 9000: 2000-accredited infertility centre in the country and ANSI-RAB accreditation. In vitro maturations: cost-cutting in IVF: IVF-ICSI is the most successful treatment in any type of infertility, but it requires 10 to 12 days of hormone injection to produce good-quality eggs and embryos. In this new technique of IVM, which was introduced in CRAFT recently, the doctors are


able to cut short the hormone injection by 50% so that they need to give injection for four to six days only. When eggs are of the size 10 to 12 mm the doctors take them out using a special needle and pump. They culture them in special media in the IVF laboratory within 24 to 48 hours. A majority of these tiny eggs will grow to

laboratory, 14-plus doctors and scientists the hospital works 24 hours a day. Monthly 150 laparoscopic surgeries are done by highly experienced doctors like Dr Mohamed Ashraf and Dr V P Subash earning the centre the honour of excellence for laparoscopic surgeries. The pregnancy rate at CRAFT after the laparoscopic surgeries is 40%-60%. CRAFT has also to its credit many achievements through herbal care treatment and counselling for changes in lifestyles. Through freezing

helping childless couples become proud parents normal maturation and these eggs will be injected by husband sperms followed by transfer of good quality embryos after three or four days. Now CRAFT has 40% success rate. CRAFT does not make use of sperm or egg from donors. This is because Dr Ashraf and his hospital do not treat infertility treatment as trade or business. The parenthood of the child born at CRAFT is to its parents. CRAFT is the only centre that handles an above-50% rate of stable delivery rates every month with 80-100 IVF-ICSI cases. With the support of ultratech modern facilities, research

July 31-August 31, 2010

and keeping embryos for four-five years CRAFT ensures that they are used for patients’ own future needs. This method has helped CRAFT to raise the rate of childbirths by 70%. Some clinics destroy surplus embryos or give them to other patients. Some IVF clinics donate unused embryos, sperms and ovum of couples. But this is never done at CRAFT. It guarantees that this system will never be followed by CRAFT. Not only that, couples can make use of CRAFT’s most modern method of embryo freezing for their future needs—a convenient and an inexpensive way of impregnation, again through the IVF-ICSI method.


77 PRINCE GEORGE is an eminent businessman with more than two decades of experience in the field of stock broking. Besides pioneering the first corporate brokerage in Kerala as early as in 1992 in the form of Select Securities Ltd, he was instrumental in promoting Peninsular Capital Market Ltd as its Executive Director. A regular contributor to business journals and television channels, Mr Prince George commands in-depth knowledge of the capital market. A self-made technocrat who has pioneered many innovations in the brokerage industry, especially on the technology front, he was the architect of the strategic alliance of the former Select Group with Doha Bank of Qatar. The group has been rechristened Doha Brokerage & Financial Services Ltd (DBFS). As the Managing Director and CEO of DBFS, Mr Prince George has turned the group from a small-time member of the Cochin Stock Exchange to a 250-plus-branches-strong brokerage with the entire range of brokerage activities and licences. Mr Prince George has represented various committees of the exchanges and associations in the capital market. In an interview to PASSLINE he discusses the present state of the capital market and what the future holds for it. The interview:

‘Austerity steps may entice market’ T

he stock market has been moving in a range-bound manner for the last three-six months. Many large-cap stocks are struggling to go beyond the higher levels reached months ago. Do you think the market conditions will be tough in the remaining months of 2010? One needs to look at the first part of the question closely to answer the question put forth, ie what are the factors that have led to markets across the globe to lose the steam to cross the range it has entered. European markets particularly have been plagued by the financial crisis emanating from fiscal deficit mismanagement and the reluctance or rather the hesitation of the EU members to bail out ailing economies. The PIIGS nations have a crisis at hand. All in all, the austerity measures announced by several of these nations may help in pleasing the market but by what extent is a big question that needs thinking and deliberation. Indian markets per se will follow the monsoon and by all indications so far we may see normal rainfall which should assist the markets to recover or even break above the barriers they have set for themselves. We see the index breaching the 5,400-levels pretty soon if the Q1 results hold good. Some momentum stocks in the early part of the rally are trading 40%50% lower than their 52-week-high prices. Do you think that formation of a stock portfolio is a difficult job for an ordinary investor in this market? Considering the current market scenario, we are witnessing huge movements/actions in certain ‘specified’ stocks rather than ‘sectorwise’ stocks. So an investor won’t find it much difficult because one has to look forward by picking fundamentally sound companies in his/ her portfolio for a medium-term horizon. An investor should not hesitate to book profits at appropriate levels, ie at 15%-20% return at the present market conditions can be considered as very good returns. I think one can buck the trend in any market by valuepicking stocks rather than the movement of the indices. And one thing to be noted is that many of the frontline stocks are also trading at their 52-week highs even though the indices are not performing. Global markets like China and Europe are trading at lower levels. But FIIs used every 5%-10 % correction to re-enter the Indian market and such inflow helped our market to sustain the higher levels. How long will Indian markets outperform like this? The recent trend shows that Indian markets are comparatively resilient to the negative news arising from the macroenvironment across the globe. With the big boys of the global economy in Europe going into fiscal deficit, investors have many reasons to cheer about the growth prospects in countries like China and India. The recent IMF economic projection suggests that both India

and China outperform their European peers. India’s growth rate is likely to be around 9%. Therefore, given the situation, institutional investors have several reasons to tap the potential in the Indian economy. Now with a stable Government at the Centre and the consistent performance of Indian corporates, we can expect the Indian markets continue to outperform. You will also appreciate the fact that India is the only market showing some positive performance compared to the rest of the world. Even the much-hyped markets in China are down 20% during the current fiscal. What should be the strategy of investors in the current situation? Should they wait for corrections in the market to avoid the risk of investing at higher levels? Patience, patience and patience! The market is strong despite the talk of continuous revision of bank rates and the measures to contain inflation. In today’s market, the best strategy to adopt would be to ‘buy on dips’ and ‘on dips’ only. The market may see some disturbances emanating from global uncertainties but India, in several senses, has some insulation from the global turmoil because of its own strong domestic economic sentiments. Risk is part and parcel of the game. Accumulate the best of shares with strong corporate fundamentals to hedge the shortterm risks and balance that with its volatile peers from the mid-cap space to gain from the volatility. The oil sector stocks seem to be the best of the lot to squeeze the best returns largely for political uncertainty and ‘loud’ reactions from different sections of the economy: it is a battle of the aam aadmi policy and Government deficit management. What is your target for the Sensex for the next two years? What are the sectors and stocks that you recommend to invest in at the current level? How can an investor manage a safer portfolio in a volatile market? Presently it is not as easy to predict the targets as before. According to Keynesian economics, it is better to live short-term and worry less about the long-term. The situation in India is certainly improving. The Sensex might test the 19,000-21,000 levels in the next two years. The sectors that are likely to perform include power, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and FMCG. Power, in particular, will be the ‘star’ performer largely for global depletion of energy sources and the need for alternative sources of energy to reduce global warming. Today, when the market is really lacking a direction, an investor should be cautious about picking the stocks. It is advisable to include some defensive stocks as well as high beta stocks to manage the portfolio. What is your view of the performance of Indian corporates in the first quarter of the current financial year? FY10 has now concluded and the performance of India Inc has certainly been


much better towards the latter half of the last fiscal. India’s GDP has been growing nicely above 7% to 8% and is projected to grow at about 9% this year. Several companies have come out with good advanced taxes which may be seen as an indication of good corporate results. Certain sectors may have some surprises for us. Telecom, for example, is certainly one of the star sectors but telecom companies have been plagued by solid cutthroat competition. How will the rising inflation and interest rate hike affect the Indian stock market? In the present scenario, the rising inflation and interest rates are already discounted. The next economic review of the RBI is scheduled on July 28. The RBI is expected to follow another round of rate hike revision to contain inflation which again is likely to be discounted. The investors and corporates alike seem to have a positive outlook on the economic

July 31-August 31, 2010

forecast. Any further hike in the interest rates can affect the rate-sensitive sectors in the short term. Recent trends suggest that rate hikes have had only spontaneous overreaction and then the market sees recovery. The only immediate concern for the markets would be the consequences of oil price deregulation on the food prices at least for now. What are the expansion and diversification plans of DBFS in the scenario of technology upgradation and introduction of new platforms in the stock broking field? We have huge expansion plans this fiscal. We are in consolidation phase for our operation in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. We have plans to expand into the eastern parts of the country very soon. In the Middle East, we will be opening offices in all the GCC countries, with Kuwait operations scheduled for this year. On the technology front, we have been pioneers in introducing technological innovations in the industry. We are set to roll out state-of-the-art CRM software, in which the user can even set alerts on his mail or mobile for all scrip movements. This software will enable the user to ‘manage’ his wealth more efficiently.



Helping investors tap opportunities


atar, known as the jewel among the GCC countries, has a large number of expatriates, Non-resident Indians (NRIs) accounting for 20% of them. Qatar’s economy is dominated by oil and natural gas, which accounts for 70% of its export income. With a GDP growth rate of over 9% in 2010, Qatar is one of the emerging economies of the Middle East. Doha, the capital, is also the economic nerve centre of Qatar. Doha Bank caters to the ever-growing needs of the Indian population in Qatar, and has become a household name among the Malayalees, who form a chunk of the NRI population in the city. DBFS (Doha Brokerage & Financial Services Ltd), an associate of Doha Bank, operates in the entire spectrum of the Indian brokerage industry and has membership in all the premier stock exchanges for equity, commodity and currency futures trading. Besides retail and institutional brokerage, DBFS also offers services in trading of international commodities and currencies through its subsidiary, DBFS Commodities DMCC in Dubai. Beginning operations in 1992 as Select Group of Companies, DBFS successfully established itself as a committed, knowledgedriven and customer-focused entity, having operations in India and the Middle East. After its strategic alliance with Doha Bank in 2007, the group was rechristened Doha Brokerage & Financial Services Ltd. Mr R Seetharaman, who has played a pivotal role in taking Doha Bank to its new heights in excellence and performance as its CEO, is the Chairman of the DBFS Group. Mr Prince George as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, who is also a founder of the company, heads the

company, which has high-profile investors including Mr M A Yosuf Ali of the Lulu Group. “To create and enhance wealth for investors by providing financial solutions for their varied individual needs with thrust in technology, trust and transparency as core values” is the corporate vision of the group. The services of the company include stock, commodity and currency broking as well as other related fields like portfolio management, depository services, mutual funds and insurance services. Upholding absolute transparency, commitment to customer interests and the inherent bent for providing thoughtful solutions, the company could earn a top-notch position amidst the reputed brokerage houses in India. DBFS has been carefully and meticulously expanding its reach and operations. One of its specialities is its ability to serve its clients through various channels. DBFS has a fully integrated Internet platform for online trading in equities, derivatives, currency and commodities. With over 250 distribution networks in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, it has ambitious plans to expand into other parts of the country too. It has a DBFS Trade and Help Desk in Dubai (P B No. 121485, Ashrafi Building 1st Floor, Room No. 15, Airport Road) and Oman (Al Madina Financial & Investment Services Co (SAOC), P O Box No. 171, Postal Code 112, Ruwi). It wants to expand into other GCC countries too, with operations planned in Kuwait during this fiscal. Schemes focused on NRIs: DBFS Trading Desk is committed to customer interest besides providing thoughtful solutions to the


investors. NRIs can participate in the Indian growth story through DBFS, offering to assist them in weighing the pros and cons of investing in equity markets, portfolio management schemes, mutual funds, insurance products, gold ETFs etc of the Indian capital markets. DBFS offers special schemes under the RBIapproved PIS route for NRIs to invest in the Indian capital markets and is also a registered portfolio manager. Investors who are unable to track their portfolios at regular intervals can invest under the PMS scheme with an investment of Rs 5 lakh and above. Over the years, the scheme of the company has produced much better returns to PMS investors and has consistently bettered the benchmark indices. The research team at DBFS is always active and vigilant in building and managing the financial assets of its customers. The group is one step ahead of the other brokerages in providing security information and trading calls on a realtime basis through trading terminals /SMS. The brokerage industry is highly technology-driven. The IT and telecom revolution has helped DBFS to service customers in a much faster way. Looking at quality and speedy services, the group has invested large amounts in acquiring latest innovative technologies for front-end trading and back-office processing. The use of the latest technology enables centralized monitoring and risk management up to client level, online back office at branches and realtime customer support through the Internet. The group has state-of-the-art CRM software, which enables customers to view their portfolios on a real-time basis, with advanced features like setting up of alerts on mobile and

July 31-August 31, 2010

email. Most importantly, the group has a large pool of dedicated professional employees, who are motivated and properly trained to service its customers. Investment opportunities in India: The fundamentals of the Indian economy being strong, it is an opportune time for investing in the Indian capital markets. Moreover, the Indian markets are well regulated and there will be a strong influx of FII investing in the Indian corporates, which will improve the valuation and prices of these companies. Those who are willing to invest in the Indian markets with a long-term view are bound to reap huge dividends. Servicing investors in Qatar: DBFS operates a trading and help desk, manned by qualified, trained professionals at the IRC division in Doha Bank (P B No. 3818, IRC Section, Doha Bank, Doha) which offers endto-end solutions for all investment needs besides offering research and advisory support. The products are offered at a very competitive fee structure, keeping in mind the interests of the customers of Doha Bank. As part of its ambitious expansion plan, the group plans to roll out a host of new products and services including property management services and strives to be a onestop solution for the entire financial and wealth management for its customers. Creating and managing wealth of the customers is the mantra. For further information, Mr Lynn Mathew John (Doha, 009745850657), Mr Binny C Thomas (Dubai, 00971508443897) and Mr Noel Mathew (Oman, 0096897881400) are available.


ochouseph Chittilappilly built V-Guard into a Rs 454-crore enterprise, but he is charting the journey to a much bigger entity with his two sons, Arun and Mithun, who have emerged as leaders in their own right. As Executive Director of V-Guard Industries Ltd today, the younger Mithun oversees administration of the company’s units. The elder one is Executive Director, V-Guard Holidays Pvt Ltd, which is the holding company managing Wonder La in Bangalore and Veega Land in Kochi, the group’s amusement parks. Mithun is trying to weave his own legacy. His goal: to make V-Guard one of the most modern and profitable companies in the country. He knows, as does his illustrious father, that voltage stabilizers, V-Guard’s core


pace,” he says. There was the time, for example, when he wondered out loud why the employees were drawing fixed salaries and no incentives. Why shouldn’t they be paid according to the quantity or number they produced instead of the time they spent in the company? “I felt that remuneration should be result-oriented. We changed the fixed gross target for the unit and fixed individual targets. This resulted in higher individual contributions to the company and the employees earned higher emoluments including incentives,” he says. How did the old guard react to this? “Of course there was initial opposition to this insight and many tried to resist the move to scrap the fixed salary norm. But in due course individual contributions went up and crossed

they got the right working atmosphere and proper remuneration. “As for putting my own stamp on things, you must understand that V-Guard is a company that follows corporate governance rules. Though I am not the key decision-maker, father has given me enough rope to follow my style,” says Mithun. Mithun wants V-Guard to get bigger and better, both in terms of its business practices and its contributions to society. “The business in our core product has gone up to Rs 130 crore now from Rs 80 crore when I came. Almost 50% of our voltage stabilizers are sold in Kerala. But we realize that the market for the product in many places, particularly in the North, is stagnant,” he says. What is the company

Mithun K Chittilappilly


proceeds for commissioning the various projects mentioned in the offer document and the remaining two projects, ie distribution centres in Hubli (Karnataka) and Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), will be completed by the end of the current fiscal. Does he think that VGuard will make the transition from Kochuouseph’s company to Arun’s and Mithun’s? “My

to the fore at


Passline News Service

product, are not as sexy as, say digital cameras or even as LCD or LED TVs, but there are many people using stabilizers for their electrical and electronic equipment especially in States like Kerala where fluctuations in power supply are the order of the day. In a recent interview with PASSLINE, the handsome, energetic Mithun shared some of his views on business in general and on the company which he presides over today in particular. An MBA from Australia, young Mithun wanted to stay back after getting a job there. However his parents had other ideas. They wanted him to join his father’s company which was then doing well with a turnover of Rs 150 crore. That was three and a half years ago. Mithun took the plunge and, say insiders, brought to the company an analytical mindset so different from traditional norms. According to his own assessment, the company, when he took over as ED, was not achieving the pace of growth that it was capable of. “I thought it needed a faster and aggressive

130%. With increased emoluments the decision started getting an overwhelming response.” Did he ever think, after taking over, that V-Guard’s management style needed to be changed and what steps did he take to put his own stamp in things? “Even at the time of my joining, the management had already begun to shift the company towards higher-end production and diversification. Pumps, water heaters, both electric and solar, cable wires, UPSs, fans etc had been added to the range. But I realized that the company’s style of functioning needed to be modernized. So we started orientation courses for employees to introduce them to the latest methods of working so that they might be well fitted into their positions. Once employees learnt things they would certainly stick to their jobs provided


doing to improve its market share? Says Mithun: “We are making a foray into tier II and tier III cities in Tamil Nadu, like Pollachi and Tirunelveli. Productwise, we are monitoring the distribution, making it more professional. Domestic as also Chinese competition is there. Most of the domestic competition comes from the unorganized sector.” Regarding the company’s IPO issue some time ago, he says, “Initially I was against the proposal for the IPO issue made by father because some companies had failed to raise money. But I had to change my opinion as VGuard’s turned out to be a great success and was oversubscribed three times. Banks in Kerala were behind the success.” The company has utilized 95% of the IPO

July 31-August 31, 2010

father is naturally the role model of both my brother and me. His involvement is always there. He is still a regular at the office, spending half a day at V-Guard and half a day at Veega Land. He gives valuable directions and rectifies mistakes, if any, committed by all. I am also an admirer of Infosys mentor Narayana Moorthy, whose life has influenced me a lot. “Whatever be the transition, the institution should exist, the quality of the products should be maintained and values should be adhered to’’, Mithun says. It is tough to become a worthy successor to a man who has become a legend in his own time and who still loves his company. Though V-Guard has not made the transition from being Kochouseph’s company to Arun’s or Mithun’s they are their father’s sons and their own men.


AIMS—centreofexcellence IMS (Acharya Institute of Management & A++ B-school (AIMA- IMRB Sciences), Peenya, Bangalore, was Survey October 2009); rated as established in 1994 with the specific aim of ‘A’ Category B-school (Business imparting excellent quality higher education India 2007 as well as 2008) and in the areas of Management, Hospitality and Best College for Tourism, Information Technology and the Humanities Entrepreneurship Education having as its vision "to transform youth into (NITIE, Mumbai 2008). professionals of global excellence with a deep International collaborations: concern for society". University of California Riverside (UCR), The institute has created an academic, cultural US; Laval University, Quebec, Canada; and physical ambience, which is in line with its vision. ESC Troyes, France; Vatel, France; The quality initiatives, the processes and the College of Tourism and Hotel centres of excellence established on the campus Management, Cyprus; IMI Swiss Hotel aid the institute in realizing its vision. Management, Switzerland; and Graduate AIMS has been rated as: Outstanding B-school, School of Business & Government Prof Kiran Reddy South India (Dainik Bhaskar B-school Leadership Leadership, North-West University, Awards 2010); ranked 20th Best B-School (Business World South Africa. Survey June 2010); ranked Fifth Best B-school in Teaching & Affiliation and accreditations: AIMS’ UG and PG courses Learning Experience in India (Business World 2009); ranked are affiliated to Bangalore University/AIMA, and New Delhi/



July 31-August 31, 2010

approved by the AICTE, wherever applicable; institutional member, IACBE; education partnersSAP; ISO 9001-2000-certified institution. AIMS’ learning processes are primarily meant to enhance the quality of life that students enjoy on-campus and off-campus. Students are supported in their course through the established excellence centres, which are student-centric: ACRM-AIMS Centre for Research in Management; ACTD-AIMS Centre for Training and Development; AEEC-AIMS Entrepreneurship Excellence Centre; ACIL-AIMS Centre for International Liaison; ACCS-AIMS Centre for Community Service; ACMC- AIMS Centre for Management Consulting; C&PR-Corporate and Public Relationship. Institutional membership: NEN (National Entrepreneurship Network); BMA (Bangalore Management Association); CSI (Computer Society of India); AIMA (All India Management Association); AIMS (Association of Management Schools); ISTD (Indian Society For Training & Development); ISTR (International Society For Third Sector Research); HRD network. AIMS currently offers the following programmes: Master of Business Administration (MBA); Postgraduate Diploma in Management (PGDM); Postgraduate Diploma in Information Technology & Management (PGDITM); Master of Computer Applications (MCA); Master of Social Work (MSW); Master of Tourism Administration (MTA); Integrated Master of Tourism Administration (MTA-I); Bachelor of Business Management (BBM); Bachelor of Commerce (BCom); Bachelor of Hotel Management (BHM) and Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA). AIMS also offers three months’ and six months’ certificate courses in English Language Proficiency for Indian and foreign students. Amenities: Cafeteria, cholarships and awards, banking assistance, audiovisual lab, language lab, business lab, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, medical centre and separate hostel accommodation for boys and girls. The institute houses an array of clubs and societies and depending upon where students’ interests lie, they could participate in the activities of any or all of these: Foreign Languages Club, Arts and Culture Club, Sports and Games Club, Finance Club, Marketing Club, IT Club HRD Club, Business Leadership Club, Centre for Community Development and Welfare and The Great Outdoors. The intellectual capital at AIMS is an excellent combination of professionals with academic and industry experience. It includes dedicated full-time faculty members and visiting faculty members from reputed institutes and industry. The pedagogy aims at imparting the muchrequired practical and real-time experience to the students. Students are encouraged to take up professional memberships, participate in activities of many clubs and societies and benefit from the numerous workshops, guest lectures and seminars. English and foreign languages training, augmentation courses, Yoga, industrial tours and visits make studies more enjoyable. Intensive training nurtures the professional excellence among the students and enables them to get the best employment offers across the globe.


Nagarjuna Kerala’s first corporate ayurvedic firm he first corporate house in Kerala’s marketing them in 18 States and exporting ayurvedic sector, the Nagarjuna them to 20 countries, thus becoming the Ayurvedic Group is one of the best second largest product manufacturer among solution providers in healthcare through the 2,000-plus ayurvedic product the ancient system of medicine and treatment. manufacturers in Kerala. In its search for excellence, Nagarjuna has The products manufactured are traditional brought together the ‘Ashta Vaidya’ and the ayurvedic medicines, proprietary branded ‘Arya Vaidya’ schools of thoughts ofKerala’s rich healthcare and curative products, FMCG/OTC ayurvedic tradition. It has also successfully ayurvedic herbal products, export portfolio integrated ayurveda’s traditional of speciality healthcare values with the modern ethos products including dietary and contemporary technology. supplements, single herbs, The Nagarjuna Group is herbal teas, massage oils, involved in popularizing personal care products, herbal authentic ayurveda, cosmetic products and herbal conducting product and clinical toilet soaps. research, manufacturing and NHCL’s R & D has been marketing ayurvedic products, recognized by the Central providing holistic ayurvedic Department of Scientific treatment services, assisting in and Industrial Research, the setting up ayurvedic treatment first and only R & D certified centres, propagating medicinal ISO in Kerala. Its animal testing plant cultivation, promoting Dr Devadas Nambuthiripad laboratory has been approved Managing Director ayurvedic studies, imparting by the Central Government’s training in treatments and therapies and Committee for the Purpose of Control and publishing scientific journals and books on Supervision of Experiments on Animals ayurveda. For achieving these goals, the (CPCSEA). Nagarjuna is the only ayurvedic group presently has six entities: Nagarjuna company in Kerala with such a facility. Herbal Concentrates Ltd (NHCL), the flagship The group’s ‘Green Leaf’-certified company running an ISO- and GMP-certified Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Centre, the awardmanufacturing facility; Nagarjuna Ayurvedic winning ayurvedic hospital at Kalady in central Centre Ltd (NACL), providing authentic Kerala, imparts authentic ayurvedic treatments. Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Institute is the ayurvedic treatments and allied services; Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Treatment Services education and training wing of the group, (NATS); Nagarjuna Research Foundation (NRF); which undertakes ayurveda nursing as well as Nagarjuna Social Service Society (NSSS) and therapist training programmes along with orientation programmes on the Kerala Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Institute (NAI). The main manufacturing unit of NHCL is ayurvedic system and specialities for situated at Thodupuzha in central Kerala, ayurvedic doctors from outside Kerala as well which manufactures about 600 products, as for international students.



fully satisfied former patients who got complete relief from l-shifa Super Speciality Hospital for Piles, Kochi, the piles at Al-shifa bear testimony to this. A happy patient is also first of its kind in India for colorectal diseases, is also the best spokesman for a doctor”, say the doctors. the country’s first laser treatment centre for piles. “We receive patients as guests. We believe it is Started in 2002 as a division of Al-Shifa Educational and Charitable Trust, it was established to provide state-of- more important to help than to treat. Our policy is that no the-art facility for the treatment of piles and related aliments. patient should be turned back solely because of lack of funds Ever since its inception, Al-shifa has been noted and if his/hers is a deserving case. If our help would care them, recommended by the medical world around the globe for its nothing will prevent us from giving help. Only the medically most effective and highly advanced treatment for the dreaded insured or efficient patients are charged the actual cost”, they disease of piles and related aliments by using the unique and add. According to Dr Shajahan and Dr Joseph, WHO statistics paralleled technique called CTL laser therapy. An innovative initiative in the medical world, it has now grown into a centre reveal that about 60% of the world’s population is suffering from this health problem, but only a small percentage is being of excellence. reported. Developing proper awareness is the Al-shifa offers an ideal system of therapy single most important step against this. which is highly effective and 98% result-oriented Al-shifa has organized a campaign, ‘Health as compared to other systems of medicine for Awareness Programme 2008-2013’, Piles, the treatment of the diseases, giving a new Eradication programe in India to create awareness dimension to the treatment of haemorrhoids like among the public about piles and related diseases internal hemorrhoids, fistula in ano, fissure in and the need for proper treatment in time. A full ano, rectal prolapse, perianal abscess etc for medical team provides information through visual patients of all ages. It introduces the worlddisplays and leaflets about the diseases. acclaimed daycare system of therapy, which is The hospital and its treatment have already very famous in western countries. One of the been approved and recognized by the Government important advantages of this system is that the of India TPA and many reputed companies and patient can go home within hours after the Dr Shajahan Yoosaf Sahib organizations. Al-shifa has also won the 2003-2004 treatment without any bed rest or further Gandhian Award for Health Excellence, 2004-2005 AIBCF hospitalization. Further, no strict diet control is required for National Award and 2004-2005 Nehru Peace Foundation Award the patients. and 2007-2008 Mother Theressia Founder Award “Our motto is to deliver the best medical service to the public. Our professionally motivated medical team is fully for Excellence in the field of medical services. “To formalize geared to meet new challenges in the treatment of colorectal our quality concern, we are going in for the ISO certification”, diseases worldwide”, say Dr Shajahan Yoosaf, founder and say Dr Shajahan and Dr Joseph. Piles or ‘urshus’ or ‘moolakkuru’ is a disease of the blood Chairman of the hospital, and Dr P. C. Joseph, the Chief vessel, either artery or vein. When distended blood vessels Surgeon. One of the salient features of the CTL laser therapy at are further distended or compressed they may rupture and cause even torrential bleeding inside the anal canal. The disease the hospital is its affordable cost. The entire cost depends on the nature of the ailment and the treatment. “Compared is varicosity of aneurism and rectum. The disease is caused by gravity (standing on two legs); to the total cost of the traditional system of treatment for piles in other hospitals, the cost at Al-shifa is reasonable and heredity; diet (low fibre content in diet, fast food, tinned food, affordable to people of all walks of life. “A large number of soft food, bakery food, lack of fruits and vegetables, smoking,


July 31-August 31, 2010

alcohol consumption, too much of chillies and spices, low intake of fluids); habit and occupation; constipation; diarrhoea; sedentary life; lack of exercise; long sitting and standing; continuous cycle riding and frequent enema; excessive use of cold water for cleaning after defecation etc. Its symptoms are mass per rectum, bleeding per rectum, constipation, feeling of incomplete emptying even after defecation, feeling of frequent emptying, frequency of motion, burning, itching, irritation, pain, retention of urine, incontinence of urine and motion, blood in motion—mixed with motion, marking, spraying, fresh flow and clots. The other related diseases are fissure (cracks or cuts around the anus), fistula (holes or opening in and around the anal canal) and rectal prolapse caused by laxity of rectal prolapse. Contact: R

ERNAKULAM AL-SHIFA SUPER SPECIALITY HOSPITAL CENTRE FOR PILES & INFERTILITY (A division of Al-Shifa Educational & Charitable Trust) Rajaji Road, Cochin-682 035 Ph: +91 484 2363777 (5 Lines) Fax: +91 484 3043777 e-mail:

Piles Helpline 98465 00500



launches zero brokerage scheme


he Acumen Group, the Kochi-based financial services company, has announced, for the first time in the country, a zero brokerage scheme for investors and traders. Any client joining the company’s network between July 1 and August 31 can trade without paying any brokerage for 15 days from the date of opening the trading account.

Akshay Agarwal Managing Director

This scheme is part of the group’s aggressive plans for encouraging investments in the financial market and spreading the investment culture in the country. In the last two years, which has been the most challenging time across the globe, Acumen has emerged as one of the

Akhilesh Agarwal Director

country’s fastestgrowing financial services companies, adding 492 trading locations, serviced by 29 regional offices and managed by a team of about 1,400, handling a turnover of about Rs 400 crore a day. Acumen had appointed KPMG, one

P R Aravindakshan Nair Director

of the world’s top five consulting firms, to suggest improvements in its processes and is currently implementing them. “We are very optimistic about the future of Indian financial markets and will continue to expand aggressively. We plan to add over 250 trading locations this year, taking the total to 750, and the number of regional offices to over 50. This will help us touch a daily turnover in

George Mampilly CEO

excess of Rs 600 crore,” Mr Akshay Agarwal, Managing Director of the company, told a press conference in Kochi recently. “To make our associates more profitable, we have set up a separate team who will guide and monitor the growth of each. To further assist their growth, we will constantly bring out new initiatives and reward schemes. In our initiatives last year, over 50 of our leading associates had qualified for foreign travel and other rewards,” Mr Agarwal said. For the first time in Kerala, Acumen is setting up a fullfledged arbitrage and trading desk, which will also give opportunities for youngsters to build a rewarding career in the financial markets. It will provide trading infrastructure, trading, and even the working capital. As a part of going global, Acumen is taking membership of three new international exchanges—in Singapore, Bahrain and Mauritius. One of Acumen’s key focus areas and strengths is research, advisory and education, which it believes, holds the key to the creation of wealth. “We keep our clients updated on the financial markets through regular research reports and newsletters via emails, SMSs and chats and through the post. Our trading department, in association with major exchanges and the media, regularly conducts investor awareness programmes across the country. Mr Akhilesh Agarwal and Mr P R Aravindakshan Nair, Directors, and Mr George Mampilly, CEO, were also present at the press conference.


July 31-August 31, 2010


The group’s top divisions are: Seashore Engineering and Contracting Company, Seashore Galvanizing Factory, Seashore Waste Management, Seashore Equipments and Transporting, Seashore Stevedoring Services, Seashore Hydraulic Centre, Seashore Trading Company, Seashore Instrumentation and Automation Solutions, Seashore Pipe and Steel Melting & Rolling, Seashore Rubber Recycling Factory, Seashore Tiles Factory, Seashore Vehicle Chassis and Body Manufacturing Division and Seashore Food Center.


early three decades ago a sturdy and determined youth from the small village of Kulimuttom in Thrissur district landed in Qatar, a Gulf State blessed with geographical features ideal for economic development but reticent to grow. The young man named P Mohamed Ali was later to become one of the

greatest contributors to the economic progress of Qatar. Young Mohamed Ali had a modest beginning owning a small workshop which in due course became the largest multi-disciplined engineering and contracting firm, known today as the Seashore Group. The company began operations with just three workers way back in 1989 at Al-Khore. The development of Al-Khore is largely attributed to the Seashore Group. Diversifying later into various divisions and

consisting now of 13 companies, the group employs more than 3,500 people. The top divisions are: Seashore Engineering and Contracting Company, Seashore Galvanizing Factory, Seashore Waste Management, Seashore Equipments and Transporting, Seashore Stevedoring Services, Seashore Hydraulic Centre, Seashore Trading Company, Seashore Instrumentation and Automation Solutions, Seashore Pipe and Steel Melting & Rolling, Seashore Rubber Recycling Factory, Seashore Tiles Factory, Seashore Vehicle Chassis and Body Manufacturing Division


and Seashore Food Center. These are all owned by Mr Saeed Salem Al Mohannadi, a Qatari national, the group Chairman, of course with the able leadership of Mr Mohamed Ali, who is the Managing Director. Mohamed Ali is a man who turns everything he touches into gold. No wonder the group has become an example of how the vision, hard work and sincerity of an individual, without even the rudiments of engineering knowledge, can build a conglomerate which is today an engineering and mechanical marvel. Seashore Engineering and Contracting Company has become a major player in oil and natural gas production and distribution. For oil and gas, Seashore owns hi-tech modern equipment and vehicles. In the oil and gas business Seashore has made an indelible mark in the Gulf region. Seashore Galvanizing Factory is another notable establishment in Qatar as the company was the first to develop the latest technology of hot ditch galvanizing for insulating steel equipment from the dent of rain, severe cold and heat. For this venture the company was recently granted the ISO 9001certification. Seashore Waste Management has imported modern equipment and a fleet of vehicles for waste management, thereby getting attention and care by the Supreme Council of Natural Resources and Environment, municipality and the public. Seashore is the first to manufacture sewage water tankers in the country. Seashore Equipments and Transporting has owned all types of heavy equipment and

July 31-August 31, 2010

logistics catering to the needs of industrialists. Seashore Stevedoring Services distributes all types of goods from the port to its dealers. Seashore Hydraulic Centre manufactures quality hydraulic cylinders and its ancillary units in Al-Khore. Seashore Trading Company supplies all kinds of civil, mechanical and electrical gadgets to the oil and gas industries. Seashore Instrumentation and Automation Solutions undertakes the repair and maintenance of machinery of big factories and irrigation projects using modern machines and tools. Seashore Pipe and Steel Melting & Rolling Plant, the first venture in the private sector with a capacity to produce 10,000 tonnes of steel a month, is in the final stages of completion. Seashore Rubber Recycling Factory is a maiden endeavour in Qatar and is nearing completion. Seashore Tiles Factory will start production of nearly 60,000 tiles daily by the end of this year. Seashore Vehicle Chassis and Body Manufacturing Division is building trailer dumptruck, skip loader, roll compactor, low bed and flat bed trailer for commercial and industrial purposes. Seashore Food Center is engaged in the production of essential items, home appliances and electric gadgets that are used in the daily life of consumers.




July 31-August 31, 2010

passline buinsess magazine  

passline buinsess magazine 2010 july

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