Tuesday, May 29, 2012

TEAM ANNA vs PM’S TEAM = Where is Lok Pal Bill? = Who thinks of it any more? = PM can & must Act = Team Anna must keep to gentler words


The ANTI-CORRUPTION MOVEMENT is meandering. It is deviating too much from its Goals.

India wants a strong Lok Pal Bill. It wanted it 65 years ago in 1947. But, the Governments are unwilling/unable to pass it – and they give out all sorts of excuses for it. Governments need to be severely indicted for this lapse on their part. 

It is because of this and such other costly lapses that today, India has the uncharitable name of being ONE OF THE MOST CORRUPT NATIONS in the world. And, it is sliding down further into the corruption abyss –with every passing day.
Every important office in India is seeped and steeped in corruption. The Non-corrupt in those offices are suffocating – because of the corrupt bureaucrat-politician-Police-Rowdy combination, that invariably compels them also into the same stink of corruption. So, even the non-corrupt is compelled into corruption out of the sheer necessity of survival.

Every scam exposed by CAG, is bigger than the previous – and yet, CAG is only pointing out deviations from rules, principles and ethics – and is not indicting people behind them. But, it is becoming so obvious – that CORRUPTION is behind most losses to the Government and Public.

There are very few cases, wherein Government itself voluntarily came forward to order a thorough probe – someone like Supreme Court had to tell them sternly.

There are states which are known to be hugely corrupt – but nothing much is coming out into the OPEN in those states. CORRUPTION kingdoms are well entrenched in those states – which is very obvious – and RTI activists are just getting KILLED for merely asking for INFO.  Yet, no action is being taken against the mafia – behind those Gruesome murders.

The Question in every citizen’s mind is – will Parliament Pass a strong Lok Pal Bill or Not? – and When? Does it see any urgency in it not? Please, for God’s sake, do not go on looking at PRIVILEGES in such matters. We have a sovereign right to demand of you a CLEAN GOVERNMENT, free of corruption.  No Parliament, No legislature should invoke privileges on people in such matters. 

On one side, MPs will say that Team Anna is going against Parliamentary Privileges. But, on the other side, they display NO URGENCY to pass the LOK PAL BILL – despite scam after scam coming out from different corners. Pass it, people will praise you. But, if you don’t pass it -  people are left with no option than to agitate. They have this sovereign right to criticize you.

The Anti Corruption movement of Team Anna started off with all NOBLE IDEALS – to bring about a strong LOK PAL BILL. It was an extraordinary movement which got spontaneous support from all across India. So was the movement of Swami Ram Dev against Corruption and Black Money.

But, Government and Politicians dealt with them as nastily as they could. The cases heaped on members of Team Anna and Swami Ram Dev were clearly a witch-hunting process. The mid-night scoop on Swami Ram Dev’s sleeping supporters was particularly deplorable. So, it is but natural – that members of team Anna and Swami Ramdev feel very bad about the Government – and feel a huge TRUST DEFICIT  in dealing with it.

If only the Lok Pal Bill was passed – and some measures to bring back Black money were taken by Government with some transparency -  Government would have retained its respectability in the minds of these agitators against corruption and Black Money. Today, the frustrating feeling is – another 65 years may go – but these Politicians will never pass the Lok Pal Bill – because, a strong Lok Pal will tie down some of them in their activities.

In sheer frustration, Team Anna seems to be calling names. But, that is not necessary and not correct. Team Anna and Swami Ram Dev must refrain from naming anyone as corrupt, unless proved so. More so, they must keep the respect of the August office of the Prime Minister.

Their attention and effort must be – on getting TOTAL SUPPORT  of all MPs of all Parties to vote for the LOK PAL BILL in the Parliament. This is what the country wants. If someone is corrupt, Lok Pal will take care of them later. Get the Lok Pal Bill passed. That is MOST IMPORTANT. The country needs it. We do not need your verdict on X or Y being a corrupt person. That is the jurisdiction of the Lok Pal.

Instead, almost every member of Team Anna is destroying all support from all MPs, with their unnecessary words against all of them. BJP did offer a huge support inside and outside Parliament for the Bill. What was the need to decry them? The Prime Minister also voluntarily had offered to be within Lok Pal’s jurisdiction.

This Prime Minister may be guilty of Policy paralysis, action paralysis etc – especially in UPA II – due to various reasons – but, without an iota of doubt, he is one of the most non-corrupt persons in India. So, calling him also as corrupt, and using various undesirable epithets for him – is in clear BAD TASTE. Members of Team Anna and Team Ram Dev must concentrate in mustering his support for Lok Pal Bill – and not turn him also against it, with their uncharitable words.

Most Politicians never offer apologies – and I don’t hope for anything like that from Team Anna too. Big Egos can’t see their own mistakes. Team Anna seems to be suffering from the same malady now. It needs statesmanship to acknowledge a mistake and apologize. But, apologizing for a mistake, knowingly or unknowingly committed – is the most beautiful, healing acts on earth. It is almost divine.

That said – every Indian wants the Prime Minister to be a performing Prime Minister. He must lead. If a minister, either of Congress or of its allies is not adhering to his advice, he has every right to pull them up. If required, even publicly. Now, the allies are pulling up the Government and pulling it down.

The way, some of the allies are behaving – I feel, the call to the people should be – as far as parliament is concerned – do not vote for regional parties – do not vote for allies at all -  vote only for national parties – if you want a PERFORMING GOVERNMENT. Otherwise, you will have a paralyzed Government. That is the lesson to draw from UPA II experiment.

That said – Congress also has a lot of blame to share. Could it not prevent A.RAJA from doing what he did – despite advices from so many people? Does it have to put up with all ideas of Ms.Mamata – especially on issues like Naxalites? The same lady was supporting Naxalites and opposing all actions against them earlier – and now says – you are a Naxalite, I will not answer you! Food and Agriculture Ministry failed very badly on food Inflation front – it was almost behaving as if God is the only Food Minister for India, and he only has to act – not the Food Ministry of the Government. Ditto on some other Ministries. Why this Policy + Action Paralysis? 

A Prime Minister must not be afraid of strongly ADVICING any of his Ministers – including allies. ALLIES must understand that they must obey the Prime Minister’s advices – and not the other way round. That is the very essence of Parliamentary Democracy.

A simple thing like Land acquisition Bill is not even tabled in Parliament. That at least seems to have nothing to do with ALLIES. There is a clear lack of vision. This Bill also was needed 65 years ago. The Land owner must get sufficient compensation – not just the price of Land – to enable him to resettle after selling his land for public purpose. 

Parliament must understand that the Land owner is THE COMMON MAN; and many times, the land you are taking away is his sole life line. You will take away and give him a pittance, then, the purpose is an ANTI-PUBLIC PURPOSE, not a public purpose. Is it so difficult to see this? Mahatma had said in 1940s – think of the common man when you legislate. But, the Government is only thinking of the RICH MAN – not the common man in this case. There is a huge unnecessary confusion on the word - PUBLIC PURPOSE. 

Infrastructure, communications, food, oil, Gas, electricity are all PUBLIC PURPOSES. Whether ONGC serves it or CAIRN /RELIANCE, the nature of purpose does not change. India needs electricity, Gas, oil, roads, food, water – these are basic needs. Government may provide them by itself – or through a Private initiative, or through a PPP initiative. The nature of public purpose does not change. 

If I am in a waterless, Roadless village, does the village treat water & Road as public purpose – or only Government supplied water/Road (which may never come) as public purpose? Why this dithering? Parliament is looking at the Rich man who provides – but is not looking at the poor man who uses it and needs it! The latter is the PUBLIC. His BASIC NEED is the PUBLIC PURPOSE.

…Waiting and wailing…to see a Lok Pal Bill passed…and the end of Policy Paralysis… 

This Prime Minister can do it.. I have no doubt..he just have to talk strong enough…Want him and wish him all success in (t)his PUBLIC PURPOSE.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

News&Views Today=28th,May'12= Protect & Support India's SOFTWARE INDUSTRY= Medicine For Patient, Not for Pharma Co= 4LPG Cylinders P.A.= JK CEMENT Does well = Air India – GOPINATH'S Sound Suggestions







1.    NEWS :-  The Central Board of Direct Taxes had taken the view that deputing software professionals to the project-site for software creation was in fact ‘body shopping’ and not software exports. It has now called for comments on this from its offices and is expected to issue some CLARIFICATIONS in the matter.

VIEWS : Deputing a software professional abroad for on-site software creation is much, much different from deputing a driver or Doctor abroad for work. The software Professional goes abroad with special skills, for CREATING SOFTWARE on site – which of course, he could do from the Indian office as well some times. But, sometimes, he has to go to the project site and create the software there itself. When he comes back, the software he has CREATED is very much available for all to see – and it powers the projects for a long time to come. 

On the other hand, when a Driver or Doctor goes abroad, offers his skills and comes back, there is nothing abroad, to show that he ever existed there. His work is  purely temporary, for the time being, and yes, it is a sort of Body-shopping (or skill-shopping).

On the other hand, A software professional can export software from his Office or sometimes create it on the project site only -  and that very much is SOFTWARE EXPORT, as much as a software crated in India and sent by electronic or physical means abroad.

To draw an extravagant parallel – suppose TATAs export CARS but someone from TATAs goes along with the CARS and sells them abroad, is it selling cars or is it BODY SHOPPING? 

SOFTWARE is an invisible good. It is much like a CKD Unit, carried in the head of the software professional which is built up at the project site. 

By no stretch of imagination can it be called BODYSHOPPING. There is a tangible good  which he creates and sells at the site – and that tangible good is the SOFTWARE he builds at the site. He is not a physical worker like a driver, who is offering a purely temporary service.

SOFTWARE EXPORT is the forte of India – and CBDT and finance Ministry must support this Industry in all possible ways – even relaxing some of their present positions. On the other hand, calling SOFTWARE CREATION ON SITE as Body shopping – simply because the Income tax officer is not able to see  A PHYSICAL GOOD, where a SOFTWARE GOOD does really exist – is obviously incorrect . Don’t see a floppy disk or Hard disk as the only SOFTWARE going from India aboard. Creating the same on-site  is ,without a shadow of doubt, SOFTWARE EXPORT.

2.    PRIZE vs PATENT : There is an excellent suggestion from Dr.Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate, reproduced in Economic times on 21st and commented editorially today – that the world must shift from a PATENTS regime  TO  a PRIZE based system for new drugs. It is a practical suggestion. The Editorial says, The Bill and Melinda foundation is already successfully experimenting with this Model. Innovators must be rewarded handsomely for their innovation / discovery – and they have to give up their right on their innovation / discovery.

VIEWS : In my view - new Drug discoveries are painfully few and far between today. We can name scores of widely prevalent diseases – for which there are no complete cures. Sometimes, we feel, that there is no real support for finding complete cures – but only for just MANAGING the disease life long, so that, the patient becomes a lifelong source of revenue for Pharma Companies. 

The Pharma Companies’ costly Medicine regime – especially makes us suspect that this is so. It seems that they do not want CHEPAER MEDICINES at all. Neither they make cheaper drugs which are obviously possible – nor do they allow others to make such cheaper drugs. This is simply unacceptable that Patients are allowed to suffer – when cheaper drugs are possible.

If there is a more effective innovation by some scientist, a Pharma company claims Patent on it – and produces it – at an astronomical price (NOT ASTRONOMICAL COST). But, if some other company produces the same drug and is able to sell it at a small fraction of the Price, the Patent company blocks the production of drug at LOW COST & PRICE. This makes the whole system ridiculous. Drugs for whom ? Drugs at what cost? Is it for all suffering Patients or for creating Profits for the Drug Company?

In this context, Pharma Scientists all over the world must gladly embrace the suggestion of Prof. Stiglitz – for accepting a GOOD PRIZE (MONEY ESPECIALLY) AND A CITATION rather than selling it to a Pharma Company. Governments must come forward to institute such Prizes – and such prizes must be much, much more than what a Pharma company will offer – and spur the scientist into further innovations. In India, the encouragement that a scientist or Scientific Lab receives is very Poor at present – and this situation must change quickly and drastically.

There is especially GREAT NEED to promote indigenous research into both ALLOPATHIC CURES and AYURVEDIC CURES – especially the latter. This writer is  a great beneficiary of Ayurvedic Cures and is convinced that if this indigenous science promoted well -  India will achieve Great Breakthroughs in ensuring the health of people across the world.

3.    ONLY FOUR LPG SUBSIDISED CYLINDERS IN A YEAR :- This is a big negative step from the Government. It is expected to be implemented shortly.  

VIEWS : This step is similar to the Planning commission’s BPL income level of Rs.24( or so). Every one, except Planning commission, knows that - no one can live at that Income level. Planning Commission received a lot of flak for it. 

The LPG restriction is worse than that. I would request the Government to show ONE SINGLE FAMILY BELOW POVERTY LINE or ABOVE POVERTY LINE – which can do their cooking with 4 cylinders in a year. By all means, block the LPG use from uses other than cooking, like water heaters etc. If this is taken care of - no home can ever misuse LPG cylinders for any purpose other than cooking. But, if Government does not supply cylinders, or supplies them short or at huge cost – the suffering will be felt by  99% of the people presently using them. 

Government on the one side is using funds on schemes like NREGS – which is almost wholly non-productive. On the other side, it is now curtailing the most essential LPG Cylinders supply. LPG is as important as rice and wheat for the people’s food needs. 

For a small family of three, for the most essential food needs alone, a cylinder is needed once in 25 days. Government cannot curtail this supply in cities, urban and suburban areas. Villages have firewood availability – which is not there in non-rural areas. But, Government is extending LPG to villages and luring them into it – even while it is unable to supply it in non-rural areas efficiently.
12-14 Cylinders per a small family per annum is the absolute minimum needed. Please do make all your investigations and enquiries and research. But, do not curtail LPG supplies and do not make the cost astronomical.

4.    J.K.CEMENT LTD : JK CEMENT has done well in both Q4 and FY 2012.Total Income from operations stands at Rs.809.40 Cr in Q4 FY 12 and Rs.2094.35 Cr in FY 2012, against Rs.672,46 Cr in Q4 FY 2011; and Rs.2094.44 cr in FY 2011. Net profit is Rs.80.35 Cr in Q4 FY 12; and Rs.174.57  Cr in FY 2012 compared to Rs.53.56 Cr in Q4 FY 11 and Rs.62.62 Cr in FY 2011. The Basic EPS  stands at Rs.11.49 in Q4 FY 12 and Rs.24.97 Cr in FY 2012 compared to Rs.7.66 in Q4 FY 11 and Rs.8.95 in FY 2011.The company has recommended a dividend of 50% (Rs.5 per share) for FY 12.

5.    AIR INDIA :-Today’s ET has an article by Captain G.R.Gopinath on “Air India – easy to fix if there’s Political will”.

VIEWS : An excellent analysis on Air India. But, like in all other cases, Government needs a clear vision of what it wants of the Airlines Industry. I feel, Like  Sri Gopinath, that Government must plan to carry 20% of Indian Population by Airlines before a decade. Whatever it takes to achieve this – that must be done.

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Friday, May 25, 2012






1.       NEWS :-Goldman Sachs, Merrill Linch and Morgan Stanley have downgraded their estimate of the growth (GDP) of India very sharply from 7+% to 6+%.Some of the reasons in the Economic Times Headlines story today are – (i) fiscal deficit, external imbalances, lack of reforms-the biggest concerns;(ii) Poor sentiment has hurt investments (iii)Fiscal Slippage, worsening Eurozone Crisis could lead to More Downgrades; (iv) Monetary Measures will not be of much help at this Juncture, supply side reforms needed (v)(v)Petrol Price reform is a good start

VIEWS :- God, give me the wisdom to do what I can; and forget what I cannot. The Government must have this vision very clear in its mindset. About Eurozone Crisis- India can do nothing about it, except insulating itself from its negative impact as best as it can. On Fiscal deficit – you can either cut allocations, or at the minimum, ensure productivity of a clearly, visible nature. At the moment, in many cases, it is partly a dole, and partly siphoned off. In other words, a risky scheme making agricultural labour very costly and fueling inflation and doing nothing else.

Monetary Measures are not enough, supply side Reforms are needed – Yes. Inflation cannot be tamed by RBI alone. Every time RBI announced a repo rate hike, this Blog consistently pointed out this, several times. The irony was- every time RBI announced repo rate hike, Government was busy fueling Inflation with some measure or other, instead of taking supportive measures. Supply side Reforms were CLOSE TO ZERO. We needed adequate, appropriate type of closed storage facilities for all types of agri commodities and products 50 years ago. But, Government was saying all through last 2 years that Walmart will build them, if it comes with FDI retail. It is farfetched. We must build them – for our self, in the way we need them, for next 50 years. It can be built on PPP basis. User builds them and Government also contributes a part. Both are entitled to use them. Government can permit the farmers also to use them. Or, a farmer’s co-operative contributes a part, and Government the rest. Many Models are possible. The will has to be there. The storage facilities can come up in less than a Year. Enhancing the area under cultivation – needs concerted measures on the part of central and state Governments. But, what we find is area under cultivation is shrinking. Agricultural science seems to be the concern of only Shri Swaminathan, the famous Agri Scientist and none else in the country. Where are any concerted efforts by Agri Universities and Labs to bring about another agri revolution? Where is Government resolve for it? Population is the only thing which is growing by leaps and bounds, and requires efforts to reduce – not just control – as it is already too, too much. No Political Party seems to have the resolve – to even talk about it. At the simplest level, imports of commodities under Inflationary pressures must be done quickly. Even that is not happening. On would wish, the Government discusses these aspects in seriousness and adopts the supply side reforms quickly, which alone can lead to LOWER INFLATION RATES.

But, all this is NO REASON at all, for RBI to keep to a HIGH INTEREST RATE REGIME – because GROWTH has  gone up for a toss already – for a washout – and the Global Banks are merely stating the obvious fact. India needs a drastic cut in Interest rates, which can fuel Growth rates immediately. RBI must leave Inflation control to the Government now; surely, RBI can urge them to undertake supply side reforms, but RBI must go ahead with MORE REPO / CRR RATE CUTS. Growth cannot be allowed to suffer at the stage at which India is.

Government must come out of its Policy and performance paralysis – now that everybody, including the Global Banks are talking about it. With stalwarts like Sri Manmohan Singh and Pranab Mukherjee at the helm, this should not be difficult. But, the leader must tell his colleagues – on what they must do. And, the colleagues, even if they are coalition partners, must be told to perform. Being Coalition partners does not make them independent of the Prime Minister’s authority. All Coalition Partners must understand this. Else, the Nation must become wary of the non-performing coalition Partners.

2.       PETROL PRICE HIKE -  A hike of Rs.7.5 is too steep for the public to bear. The Minister is,  as usual, expressed unwillingness to roll back. 

VIEWS : Hon’ble Minister must also tell us of the cost-cutting measures within the OMCs. When International prices go up, Petrol Price goes up in India. But, when International Prices go down, why are the Indian prices NOT GOING DOWN?  What are the prices in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka? Please do compare with retail prices in other countries and tell us, how this steep price hike is justified. Let us not compare with International crude prices alone. Let us compare with international retail Petrol prices. And, let us know, if  and why we are charging more than others.

3.       ITC RESULTS : In Q4,Net Sales has risen to Rs.6861.35 Cr ( Rs.5836.26 Cr)- up by 17.6%.Net Profits have risen to Rs.1614.36 Cr (Rs.1281.48 Cr)-up by 26%. For the full year NPT has grown to Rs.6162.37 cr-up23.6%;Net sales has grown to Rs.24798.43 cr-up 17.2%.Other than Hotel segment, all others recorded impressive Growth Rates. 

Views : Some Analysts feel cigarettes business will feel the pinch of higher taxes this year. Usually smokers in India feel the pinch for a week. I have no hope that Indian smokers will quit smoking – until they are on the verge of a Big Health problem. And, if cigarette manufacturers assure that their products pose no problems, or very less problems, they will merrily go ahead.  Therefore, it is business as usual. FMCG will grow from strength to strength. But Hotels will pick up if the UPA II gives a semblance of taking decisions and confidence of other countries returns. ITC is a good bet for medium/long term investors.

4.       KARUR VYSYA BANK : The Private Bank has performed well. Net profits amount to Rs.146.79 Cr (Rs.115.29 Cr) in Q4 ; and Rs.501.72 cr for FY2012(Rs.415.59 cr). EPS  for FY2012 stands at Rs.46.81 (Rs.44.90); % of net NPA is quite low at 0.33%.CRAR14.33%; ROA :1.56% Deposits and Advances have both grown impressively in the year. But, as in the case of many other Banks, Provisions has grown steeply to Rs.93.76 cr against Rs.39.31 Cr last year.

VIEWS :  Karur Vysya is also a good Bet for medium / long term Investors.

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