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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam on Social Responsibility of institutions

Do well by doing good

I am delighted to participate in the 23rd Annual Day Celebration of Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services
I would like to talk on the topic “Social Responsibility of Institutions”. Let me first talk about the current ambience in India in a global environment of economic turbulence.

Current Ambience

Indian economy was growing at an average of 9% per annum till the last year. Now this year, Indian economy has got affected due to global economic turbulence, nevertheless it will grow at 6.5% in 2009 as expected by the Reserve Bank of India. I was asking myself, what type of innovation is needed to enrich the Indian economy and other world economies in the present circumstances. I had discussions, on this subject,with many experts. It came to light that the Indian economy will be less affected due to the world financial crisis. This is due to (i) The liberalization process in India has its checks and balances consistent with the unique social requirements of the country. (ii) The Indian banking system has always been conservative which has prevented the crisis (iii) The Indian psyche is generally savings oriented and living within means is part of the mind set. These three causes have r educed the effect of global turbulence in the Indian economy. However, there is reduction in export and reduction in outsourcing. The drop in annual growth rate of GDP is around 2.5%. In fact, as we approach 2010, the Indian economy is once again showing strong signals. CII recently has reported that the industrial production has risen considerably with increase in business confidence, along with the return of stabilized financial markets and capital inflows, all indicative of upside prospects. The industry grew 9.1% in September 2009. Sectors like automobile, cement and financial services are all posting significant recoveries since the second quarter of 2009.

This is the time innovation has to be encouraged in our thinking to rejuvenate in particular agricultural and rural sector through value addition, the small and medium scale industries and enterprises for making higher levels of contribution to the GDP. I foresee possibilities of creating new markets through rural potential and employment, giving rise to interesting possibilities of Public-Private-citizen partnerships and international partnerships. Right type of financial institution will become an accelerator of economic development.

India’s performance in IT sector, Pharma, small scale industries and the infrastructure has brought a new dimension to the Indian economy. With its credible legal framework in place, robust banking system, dynamic financial system, its skilled manpower and dynamic 540 million youth force India has become an attractive proposition for the world order.

At the domestic level, India is focusing on bringing sustainable development through rural and urban infrastructure, quality education, healthcare, environmental up-gradation, bringing vibrancy in the public institutions for better and enhanced delivery of essential public services on time, reforming the financial system for better global integration and a proactive regulatory system. It is critical to the success of India becoming a Global player. Six decades of democratic vibrancy in providing leadership to the nation gives confidence to manage the socio-economic turbulences and providing the leadership to the one billion people in a democratic, multicultural, multi-linguistic and multi-religious environment.

Dr.Abdul Kalam on the knowledge society in 21st century

At the 23rd Annual Day Celebration of Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services

Dear friends, let me first discuss about the knowledge society in 21st century.

The world in the 21st century will be a knowledge based society with multiple opportunities. I was reading a book, “Empires of the Mind” by Denis Waitley. This book gives, what type of the new world which we are facing now? What was yesterday and what is today. I have modified certain points of the author to suit our conditions. I have also added a third line which relates to action of university.

It specially says that “what worked yesterday, won’t work today”.

Yesterday – natural resources defined power
Today - knowledge is power
Corporate will nurture and invest in ideas

2. Yesterday - Hierarchy was the model
Today- synergy is the mandate
Corporate will be enabler of intersection of multiple faculties towards mission goals

3. Yesterday – leaders commanded and controlled
Today – leaders empower and coach
Potential Business Leaders will be empowered through exposure to the needs of sustainable development

4. Yesterday - shareholders came first
Today – customers come first
Corporate should inculcate sensitivity to “customer” needs
5. Yesterday - employees took order
Today – teams make decision
Corporate will promote team spirit and empower them to make decisions

6. Yesterday - seniority signified status
Today – creativity drive status
Corporate will evolve as the breeding environment for creativity in business models

7. Yesterday – production determined availability
Today – Competitiveness is the key
Corporate will constantly evolve methods of continuous improvements through value added services and product revisions

8. Yesterday - value was extra
Today – value is everything
Objective Value Addition to be introduced as a key success parameter for performance evaluation of each employee

9. Yesterday – everyone was a competitor
Today – everyone is a customer
Corporate will be aware and work towards fulfilling its social responsibility to the customers, people and the nation

10. Yesterday - profits were earned through expediency
Today – Work with integrity and succeed with integrity.
Corporate will work and succeed with integrity and propagate the philosophy in all its employees

Friends, the knowledge society of the 21st century will mobilize India towards a developed country in another ten years. Now, let me give my visualization of India during the year 2020.

Distinctive profile of the nation

1. A Nation where the rural and urban divide has reduced to a thin line.
2. A Nation where there is an equitable distribution and adequate access to energy and quality water.
3. A Nation where agriculture, industry and service sector work together in symphony.
4. A Nation where education with value system is not denied to any meritorious candidates because of societal or economic discrimination.
5. A Nation which is the best destination for the most talented scholars, scientists, and investors.
6. A Nation where the best of health care is available to all.
7. A Nation where the governance is responsive, transparent.
8. A Nation where poverty has been totally eradicated, illiteracy removed and none in the society feels alienated.
9. A Nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, devoid of terrorism, peaceful and happy and continues with a sustainable growth path.
A Nation that is one of the best places to live in and is proud of its leadership.

Friends, for realizing this distinctive profile of India by 2020 in the next ten years, the rising Indian Corporate Sector has a tremendous role to play. The corporate sector backed by its innovative thinking, creative employees and financial assets can take up each of these pillar of development as a mission towards fulfilling their Corporate Social Responsibility and evolve and execute financially sustainable and inclusive models towards achieving the goals.

Honda recalls over 8000 units of City in India

New Delhi, Jan 30: A day after the Japanese auto giant Honda announced a global recall of 6.46 lakh units of City and Jazz models, Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) decided to recall over 8,000 units of sedan City in the country.

Buzz up!Honda's decision to recall that cars was based on the reports of defective power window switches.

HSCI on Saturday, Jan 30 announced that it would "call back 8,532 units of second generation City, manufactured in 2007, for a preventive part replacement of power window switch."

All the cars that are being recalled were manufactured in the year 2007.

Since Honda Jazz belongs to later generation models than the one which has been recalled in other markets of the world, the hatchback will not be affected by the recall in India, HSCI said.

The third generation City, which is currently being sold in India, is also not affected, the company added.

The company said that the preventive part replacement would be done free of cost.

The company will be directly communicating with the owners of the cars, which are covered under this part replacement.

India Inc disappointed at CRR hike

NEW Delhi: Unhappy over the RBI's more than expected 75 basis point hike in CRR to squeeze money supply, India Inc on Friday cautioned that economic growth will be hit if accommodative monetary stance is reversed hastily.

"...The tipping point has not yet arrived for tightening of the monetary policy and if one proceeds in that direction hastily, economic growth is bound to take a hit. This, in turn, will effect employment generation that is critical at this juncture," FI CCI President, Mr Harsh Pati Singhania said.

He said the RBI's move signals a further tightening of the monetary policy regime. A FICCI statement said that SMEs are still borrowing at around 13 per cent, exports have contracted by nearly 20 per cent during October 2008 and October 2009 and imports are down by 21 per cent during the same period.

" is still premature to signal a tightening of the monetary policy and has cautioned that if this is complemented with fiscal tightening, the results would be disastrous," it said.

The Reserve Bank of India has increased CRR- the bank deposits kept with the RBI-- 75 basis points. However, short term lending and borrowing rates between RBI and banks were kept unchanged. - PTI

Tata Motors drives in Rs 400-cr profit

30 Jan 2010, ET Bureau

MUMBAI: Tata motors, the nation’s largest truck-maker, turned in a profit for the December quarter boosted by soaring vehicle sales and lower excise duty but it warned of rising pressure on margins because of the soaring cost of steel and other inputs.

Net profit for the fiscal third quarter for its Indian operations was Rs 400 crore, compared with a loss of Rs 263 crore in the year earlier quarter, the company said in a statement. It does not include the operations of UK subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover.

“High input costs are expected to put pressure on margins in the coming months, “ said chief financial officer C Ramakrishnan.

Indian automobile companies, including Tata Motors, saw a surge in sales during the last quarter as lower taxes and the central bank’s record low interest rates lured customers. But with the economy recovering, inputs price also rising, shaving off margins.

Operating margin during the December quarter was 12.8%. Gross sales, including excise duty, jumped 83% to Rs 9,577.5 crore from Rs 5,246.3 crore a year earlier. However, excise duty payments rose less at a much slower pace, 22%, to Rs 647.7 crore.

“Introduction of new products and strong continued growth in the existing portfolio, along with government stimulus, a benign liquidity environment and overall economic recovery, have driven domestic demand revival during the current year,” Tata Motors said in a statement.

Vehicle sales in the quarter, including exports, rose 68% to 165,413 units. Sales of its mainstay trucks in the domestic market advanced 88.8% to 93,520 units. Cars and utility vehicle sales, including Fiat and Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles distributed in India, grew 46% to 61,593 units. The company sold 10,034 units of the world’s cheapest car, the Nano.

With the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) keeping interest rates at record lows, and the company’s plans to launch new models in the coming months, sales may climb further.

“Sales of vehicles are picking up again in India and we see recovery in all segments in the coming months,” said Ravi Kant, vice-chairman of the company.

India cbank holds rates, lifts CRR by 75 bps

HIGHLIGHTS -Fri Jan 29, 2010
"As far as rate hike goes there is also a signalling angle.
It might have indicated a greater degree of confidence in the
recovery." "Whereas we have been saying recovery is in place ... it is
still uneven. That is really what in our calculations was the
strongest argument against hike of rates." "Possibility of a mid-cycle action always exists, we have
never shut it but it is a matter of circumstances and there
must be a strong justification for acting out of schedule and
typically it is a crisis situation. Between now and April if
there is anything that warrants such an action, only then, but
not in the absence of such a provocation. "It is important to recognize that mid-cycle policy action
is only in response to an unforeseen situation and if it is
foreseen, then it would be a part of our schedule."

"In our assessment, the Reserve Bank has taken a very
balanced view of the situation and rightly acknowledged that
managing the recovery is as important as managing the crisis
was." "The CRR hike of 75 basis points is in our view
appropriate and adequate because it would only impact the
excess liquidity which is in the system." "Beyond that RBI has not taken any other steps on the
policy rates at this stage, which is a clear indication that
they intend to proceed in a very calibrated manner in handling
the recovery process." "So overall, the scenario as it seems is that the growth
process is certainly well on track. It has been handled in our
view appropriately, adequately by the Reserve Bank. This should
be a good signal for trade, industry." "The fact that they have not done it today clearly
indicates that they do not see the need for doing it in
foreseeable future," Chawla said when asked the whether he saw
a rate rise as imminent.
"Inflation, which was completely sector-specific food,
there is small stirring of that in other sectors taking place.
To that extent, RBI has reacted correctly." "Inflation is not going to go out of control, but the small
step taken by the RBI is in the right direction to keep the
whole economy's demand more or less under wraps, and also the
expectation this is going to mop up little bit of excess
liquidity from the market."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sensex falls by 188 points on weak global cues

Mumbai, Jan 27 (PTI) The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex today fell by 188.51 points, or 1.10 per cent, in opening trade on selling by foreign funds driven by weak trends in the overseas bourses.

The 30-share index, which had lost over 860 points in the past five sessions, fell by 188.51 points to 16,591.95 points. Banking, technology and metal sector stocks were under pressure, dragging the Sensex down.

The wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty dipped below 5,000-point level losing 63.15 points, or 1.26 per cent, to 4,944.75 points.

Brokers said sentiments on the domestic market remained bearish in line with subdued global markets on reports that China may impose further measures to squeeze liquidity.

Besides, tomorrow's monthly expiry in the derivatives segment also cast its shadow on the sentiments as participants were seen off-loading their positions, they added.

Among major losers, Reliance Industries down by 0.08 per cent to Rs 1,040.

AirAsia to fly to Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi

January 26, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: Low cost carrier AirAsia says it will fly to the Indian cities of Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi.

To mark the opening for sale of the new routes, it is offering fares as low as RM199 for the booking period from Wednesday to Sunday.

In a statement, AirAsia said the Penang-Chennai route would commence on April 28 while the Kuala Lumpur-Chennai route would start on May 17.

It will fly to Bangalore and Mumbai in May, to Hyderabad in July and Delhi in August.

AirAsia Berhad CEO Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said that it was “a timely effort in response to our Prime Minister’s call to strengthen Malaysia-India bilateral relations.”

“We are proud to position Kuala Lumpur as the gateway to India. At the same time, it is India’s gateway to ASEAN,” he said.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

India should be ready for more terrorist attacks: Antony

New Delhi, (IANS) Defence Minister A.K. Antony Saturday warned of more terrorist attacks and infiltration bids along the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, but said the armed forces were prepared to counter these threats.
'In the last two months, the attempts to infiltrate into Kashmir have increased. The trend will continue as those inimical to our country see that the situation in Kashmir is improving and they cannot tolerate it,' Antony told reportershere.

'India has to be ready for more attempts at infiltration and terrorist attacks, and we assure that the armed forces will take every step to counter them,' he said, speaking on the sidelines of a function organised by the India chapter of an NGO, Transparency International.

The defence minister visited Kashmir earlier this month to assess the security situation in the valley.

During his visit, Antony said that the local police would be given more responsibility for law and order but after reviewing the security situation.

Last year, the armed forces withdrew nearly 30,000 troops from Jammu and Kashmir.

Women in Purdahs can't be issued voter ID card Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today said that a burqa-clad woman cannot be issued voter ID cards. The Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice Deepak Verma observed that a person in burqa could not be allowed to vote as it would create complications in identifying voters.

Counsel for petitioner M Ajam Khan had argueed that asking purdah-clad women to lift their veil for being photographed would amount to sacrilege as their photographs would be seen by many men working as polling agents and electoral officials. 'It will hurt their religious sentiments and the Election Commission must not insist on `purdah-nashin' women to be photographed for inclusion of their name in the electoral rolls,' said the petioner's counsel.

This argument did not impress the court and the Bench said: 'If you have such strong religious sentiments,and do not want to be seen by members of public, then do not go to vote. You cannot go with burqa to vote. It will create complications in identification of voters.'

Referring to the Madras High Court order upholding the EC's insistence for a photograph without veils, the Bench said that the elections have been conducted without staying the HC order and that those who do not comply with rules on voter identification not be allowed to vote.

The bench explained that the right to vote was only a statutory right and not a fundamental right. 'Right to contest an election is an extension of the right to vote. Can anyone contest an election saying photograph of her face be not taken? Can she be photographed in a burqa with a veil and yet contest an election?' the Court asked.

Though the Bench made its mind absolutely clear, it agreed to a detailed hearing on the issue at a later date.

V.K. Singh to take over as army chief

New Delhi: Lt General Vijay Kumar Singh, the present commander-in-chief of the Eastern Army Command, will be the next Indian Army chief, it was announced here Friday.

Singhwill take over from the incumbent army chief General Deepak Kapoor on March 31, the defence ministry said.

The decision was taken by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) Thursday.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Will India, China break business barriers?

Beijing, January 21, 2010

It is easier for Chinese companies to do business in India than for Indian companies to do business in China, a CEO with a decade’s experience in China told HT a day after the two nations inked a trade agreement.

“India is more open and competitive, while in China almost everybody you deal with is the government,’’ he said. “As for visa issues, we face them in China as well.’’

This month, Beijing began to acknowledge that China could make it easier for India Inc. The MoU signed this week after the Indian and Chinese joint economic group met after four years, doesn’t say how the promises will be put into practice.

But the big deal, said a diplomat, is that the Chinese have at least officially accepted that there is a ‘problem’ in bilateral trade. Three-fourth of Indian exports to China comprise just raw materials. Within China, foreign companies struggle to compete for major State-run projects that are usually bagged by domestic players. Several foreign companies in China tend to trail behind while the Chinese economy forges ahead.

Last week, Commerce Minister Chen Deming showed keenness to make amends with a glowing speech in the Communist Party mouthpiece, People’s Daily: “We have to jointly let one-third of the world population enter modernisation...we’ll be faced with common difficulties and we need to learn from each other and draw from each other’s experiences even more today than any other time.”

In a 50-minute meeting, Premier Wen Jiabao was quoted telling Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma that “only if China and India achieve common development and prosperity can we have a real Asia century”.

Almost the entire MoU lists issues of trade imbalance India has raised for several years, and more forcefully last year, when the trade deficit ballooned to $14.39 billion and bilateral trade sank by 21 per cent.

After the meeting, the Chinese commerce ministry hosted a rare joint media conference. Sharma looked askance at the Indian diplomats in the hall, as the first question broached the alleged Chinese hacking of the National Security Adviser’s computers. The big question this year will be whether India’s largest trade partner just talks shop or starts breaking business barriers.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shivshankar Menon is new National Security Adviser

New Delhi, Jan 21 (PTI) High profile former Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon was today named as the new National Security Adviser (NSA) to succeed M K Narayanan.

The 60-year-old career diplomat will be in the rank of Minister of State, according to the decision of the Appointments Committee of Cabinet.

Menon, who brings with him vast experience in the diplomatic field, had played a key role in the negotiations on the historic Indo-US civil nuclear deal and in ending India's isolation in the atomic sector.

He served as Foreign Secretary for about three years before retiring on July 31 last year. Prior to it, he had a crucial three-year stint as High Commissioner to Pakistan and his tenure saw an upswing in the bilateral ties marked by the progress in composite dialogue process.

L&T records biggest single-day fall in last six months

January 21, 2010

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today recorded its largest single-day fall in last six months, after the company reported 50% drop in net profit. The company posted Rs 758.82 crore net profit for Q3FY10 against Rs 1,520.44 crore in Q3FY09.

The stock, apparently also, was the largest loser among the Sensex 30 & S&P CNX Nifty 50 stocks. The stock declined by 6.9 per cent to close at Rs 1,524.35 on BSE. Meanwhile, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex declined by 2.42 per cent to close at 17,051.14 today. Earlier, on July 6 2009, the stock fell 8.9 per cent after the Sensex fell by almost 6 per cent.

The sharp drop in net profit was mainly due to fall in extra ordinary income, which plummeted by more than 90 per cent during the quarter. Extra ordinary income for the quarter ended December 2009 stood at Rs 62.55 crore (which includes proceeds from partial stake sale in Satyam Computer Services). However, the extra ordinary income for corresponding quarter of 2008 stood tall at Rs 916.33 crore (which included a gain on sale of the company's ready mix concrete business).

Hence, excluding extra ordinary income from the net profit results into a 15% jump at Rs 696.27 crore for Q3FY10 versus Rs 604.11 crore in Q3FY09. The net sales have declined 6% to Rs 8,071 crore against Rs 8,594 crore on a year-on-year basis.

Rahman's song NaNa shortlisted for Oscar nomination

Rahman is a composer with a staggering range
Indian composer AR Rahman has been shortlisted for an Oscar nomination for his Tamil song NaNa from the Hollywood film, Couples Retreat.

The song is vying with 62 others for the nominations which will be revealed on 2 February.

Rahman won two Oscars, a Bafta and a Golden Globe last year for his soundtrack to the multi award-winning film, Slumdog Millionaire.

The composer is often called the Mozart of India.

'Really touched'

Couples Retreat is a comedy film directed by Peter Billingsley and Rahman says it is his "first mainstream Hollywood movie".

"Normally a person who picks up double Oscars, doesn't pick up a comedy movie. But I thought it would be less pressure to pick up a comedy film," Rahman told a press conference.

"The makers of the movie [actor] Vince Vaughn and Peter Billingsley [director] came to me before I had won any of the awards and said they were moved by my music and it will be an honour to have my music so I felt really touched and accepted the movie."

The film stars Vince Vaughn and is about five couples who land up in an island resort.

"It's a comedy and the music is kept very low. And they used the song as the background score," Rahman said.

"The good news is that the song NaNa has been shortlisted for the Academy awards. I don't know whether it will make it, because we didn't go for promoting it; but that's a good sign."
BBC Reports

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

China Denies Hacking Attempt on Indian government computers

NEW DELHI—China Tuesday said reports of an attack on Indian government computers by Chinese hackers "are entirely without basis."

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said at a routine press briefing in Beijing that China is one of the biggest victims of hacker attacks.

Hacker attacks on China from outside the country rose 148% in 2008, he said.

India suspects that Chinese hackers attempted to gain access to Indian government information at the same time as they have been accused of targeting U.S. companies including Google Inc., according to a report Monday.

The Times of London quoted India's national security adviser, M.K. Narayanan, as saying of the attempted cyberattacks on his and other government offices: "People seem to be fairly sure it was the Chinese. It is difficult to find the exact source but this is the main suspicion. It seems well-founded."

A person who answered the phone at Mr. Narayanan's house and an official who answered at his office said Mr. Narayanan was unavailable to comment. A spokesman for the Indian prime minister's office said he had no immediate comment. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in New Delhi said he wasn't aware of the statements but added, "Let me tell you, we are a legal country and hacking is against the law in China."

Mr. Narayanan was quoted in the interview saying "this was not the first instance of an attempt to hack into our computers." He said the recent hacking attempt, made through a virus sent by email in mid-December, was detected and eliminated.

Google said last week it may leave China after an investigation found the company had in mid-December been hit with major cyber attacks it believes originated from the country there. The attack targeted as many as 34 different companies or other entities, according to two people familiar with the investigation. Investigators are probing whether the attack is linked to the Chinese government or intelligence services, a person familiar with the investigation said.

Mr. Narayanan's remarks are likely to stoke tensions further between India and China, neighbors and rivals who are experiencing a tense phase in their complex relationship.

The two countries are major trading partners—China is India's largest export market—but they have been sparring of late over disputed border areas and the Indian government's hosting of the Tibetan government in exile

Monday, January 18, 2010

India's bridge to ASEAN

18 January 2010

As the Asia-led global economic recovery begins to take hold, the dynamics of 21st century economic relations are still changing, shifting and reshaping around the world.

Yet it is already clear that Asia will play an increasing role in the global economy, and India is poised for a long run among the regional and global leaders. Asia's economic strength, its largely sound banking systems, rapid growth and increasing domestic and regional consumer demand means that a significant portion of growth in 2010 will come from intra-Asian trade as much as from our traditional relations with Europe and North America.

India has already distinguished itself at the global level as a fast-growing and extremely well-managed economy, a leading member of the G-20, and a government that recognises the importance of inclusive growth for all. But India's own entrepreneurs and political leaders are increasingly finding that outside of their own domestic market, there is also abundant opportunity for India in the nearby 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

As a commercial and financial regional hub, an IT powerhouse, a tourist destination, and as a shipping and logistics staging point with exceptional connectivity, there can be no better gateway for India to the prospering ASEAN market than Malaysia.

This is why i am committed to working with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to improve and strengthen our trade and investment ties, as well as to furthering cooperation on issues important to both India and Malaysia, ranging from the position of developing countries on world trade talks to the search for a fair and just solution to the difficult issue of climate change.

A natural partnership between India and Malaysia already exists, with shared cultural bonds and a commitment to democracy and social equity. India and Malaysia, however, also have serious and deepening business ties.

Last year India was the ninth biggest investor in Malaysia, and annual export-import numbers show a trade volume between our two countries in excess of $10 billion. But India and Malaysia can do even more together.

The trade and investment possibilities on both sides are quite exciting. For example, we have constructed an airport in Hyderabad, and many highways in India, and we wish to offer our technology and know-how in building more infrastructure in India, from highways to airports, ports and logistics. Malaysians are good builders and India provides a wonderful opportunity for us to participate in the infrastructure sector.

Equally, in the field of IT we can strengthen ties in terms of software development. India is also a big buyer of Malaysian palm oil, and i hope we can continue to grow our trade in this important agricultural product.

Meanwhile, in Malaysia, India can enjoy the benefits of an efficient financial and logistics centre as well as new and attractive tax incentives and an open door policy in our special economic zone, Iskandar, an area three times the size of neighbouring Singapore with state-of-the-art connectivity.

With the ASEAN market of 600 million people in the heart of South East Asia, Malaysia is also the ideal business platform for this rapidly growing region. India is already part of the ASEAN process, and we look forward to strengthening that integration still further in the course of 2010.

It is against this global and regional Asian backdrop that our two nations can cooperate in several areas. India's 8 or 9 per cent prospective growth in the next few years, together with Malaysia's 5 per cent GDP growth prospects, and our location at the heart of ASEAN, mean that together we can forge a healthy and mutually prosperous partnership for our peoples and our companies.

Public sector banks gain market share

January 19 2010

Account for close to 75 per cent of deposits, advances.

Public sector banks (PSBs) inched closer to acquire 75 per cent market share, as they acquired depositors and borrowers at a faster pace than their rivals during the quarter-ended September 2009.

According to the latest data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), PSBs -- comprising 19 nationalised banks, State Bank of India and its six associates -- increased their share of deposits to 74.3 per cent, while they accounted for 74.2 per cent of the gross bank credit at the end of September 2009.

A bigger share of the pie came at the expense of private and foreign banks. When it came to lending, foreign banks, many of these were affected in their home markets during the financial crisis, have shrunk their loan book. Similarly, many private players, classified as other scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) by RBI, had adopted a similar strategy to ensure that delinquencies, especially in the unsecured loan portfolio, did not mount.

On the deposit side, foreign banks have maintained their share. PSBs – which have increased their market share by 250 basis points between September 2008 and September 2009 – gained at the expense of private sector players, which saw their share of the pie decline 230 basis points during the period.

This, executives said, was largely the result of banks such as ICICI Bank shedding high-cost bulk deposits. “While almost all banks are shedding bulk deposits, those with a lower proportion of low-cost funds such as ICICI Bank have done so at a faster pace,” said a PSB executive.

Following the credit crisis, many depositors, including large companies, had moved their funds from private and foreign banks to PSBs in what was described as flight to safety.

“What has happened is that SBI got very aggressive in the market and they are trying to regain whatever market share they had lost. In addition, post-meltdown, PSBs were seen safe, so deposits shifted,” said Corporation Bank Chairman & Managing Director JM Garg.

Besides, Union Bank of India Chairman & Managing Director MV Nair said PSBs reduced their benchmark prime lending rates during the crisis even if it resulted in lower margins.

Going forward, Oriental Bank of Commerce Chairman & Managing Director TY Prabhu expected the share of PSBs to improve steadily. “We now have efficient operations with most of business being run on core banking platform. Cost management has improved significantly in a highly competitive market,” he said.

At the start of the last decade when private players came with retail products, technology and brand building initiatives, they had virtually occupied everyone’s mindshare.

“Now, we are well-equipped to deal with the competition. Retail lending was their (private sector’s domain), but we have now conquered that too,” said Garg.

“This decade belongs to the public sector since they have responded to the competition by repositioning themselves, upgrading their technology and processes and through brand-building,” added Nair.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Malaysia's Private Sector To Sign Slew Of MoUs With India

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 17 -- Malaysia is expected to sign more than 13 memoranda of understanding (MoU) during Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's five-day visit to India from Tuesday.

Najib said most of the MoUs would be from the private sector.

"The latest count is 13 and we are still counting," he said in an interview with Indian journalists at his office recently.

The prime minister said both countries would also trade in traditional sectors and Malaysia would like India to continue buying palm oil from the country.

He said several bilateral discussions would be held during his trip, including on road construction, education, information and communication technology, oil and gas exploration, pharmaceuticals, tourism and green technologies.

He said bilateral trade between the two countries had reached US$10 billion (RM33 billion) and hoped it would increase in the future.

Najib described his visit to India as "substantive and not purely ceremonial".

"I will also extend an invitation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to come to Malaysia. It will enhance Malaysia's political and economic ties with India," he said.

To a question on defence cooperation, Najib said India had provided some useful help over the Sukhoi aircraft.

"But we have not bought anything major. Our personnel were sent to India for pilot training."

On whether Malaysia would collaborate with India in nuclear technology for source of energy, Najib said: "We have not made any decision yet as nuclear energy will the last option for the country."

Najib will be accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and a delegation including ministers, menteris besar and chief ministers as well as representatives of the business sector.

During his visit, Najib will meet Manmohan Singh on Jan 20 and is scheduled to call on President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and Vice-President Hamid Ansari.

Najib will also attend a roundtable meeting with selected Indian industrialists and launch a Malaysian property exhibition.

The prime minister will also meet the Malaysian community in Chennai, including businessmen and students.

Jyoti Basu, 95, Leader of Communists in India, Dies

January 17, 2010

NEW DELHI — Jyoti Basu, a powerful leftist leader who dominated politics in the state of West Bengal for more than two decades and nearly became India’s first Communist prime minister, died in Calcutta on Sunday. He was 95.

Mr. Basu’s outsized stature in West Bengal was evident by a huge public outpouring of concern in recent days as his health steadily deteriorated. Anxious crowds gathered outside his Calcutta hospital, local newspapers carried front-page updates on his condition and a litany of leading Indian politicians, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, made calls to him. He died of multiple organ failure, according to Indian press reports.

Mr. Basu was known as a savvy political survivor, skilled at building coalitions and forging consensus, whose biggest policy initiatives were sweeping land reforms in West Bengal. The reforms distributed land to more than two million landless families and, in turn, established a leftist coalition known as the Left Front that dominated state politics for three decades until showing recent signs of weakening.

Mr. Singh praised the Communist leader as a pragmatic, visionary politician whose death “marks the end of an era in the annals of Indian politics.”

Born July 8, 1914, in Calcutta, Mr. Basu was raised as a doctor’s son in an aristocratic family. He later studied law in London, where he also embraced Marxism before returning to Calcutta in 1940. He then joined the Communist Party of India and began organizing railroad workers in the last years of the British Raj.

After India’s independence in 1947, Mr. Basu was elected several times to the local assembly. When the Communist Party of India split in 1964, he was among the founders of the more radical Communist Party of India (Marxist). He became chief minister in 1977 as the leader of a multiparty Left Front coalition and held that position, the most powerful in the state, until 2000.

He nearly became India’s prime minister in 1996 as the head of a multiparty national coalition. But his selection was rejected by hard-liners in his own party, who argued that leading a coalition government would betray Marxist principles and not allow him to carry out Marxist policies.

His land reforms won national praise but West Bengal’s industrial policies were criticized during his tenure. Today, the popularity of his CPI-Marxist party has suffered severely, amid concerns about corruption and bad governance.

Report Courtesy NY TIMES

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Solar eclipse on 15th January 2010

Thu, Jan 14, 2010

The solar eclipse of January 15, 2010 is an annular eclipse of the Sun. The annular solar eclipse will start becoming visible in India from 11.00 am to 3.30 pm.

THE SOLAR eclipse of January 15, 2010 is an annular eclipse of the Sun and also the longest solar eclipse of 21st century. The annular solar eclipse will start becoming visible in India from 11.00 am to 3.30 pm. The solar eclipse path begins in central Africa, crosses the Indian Ocean to touch the southern tip on India, and then moves on to southeast Asia, ending in southeastern China.

The maximum duration of solar eclipse will be seen in Indian Ocean region in South India for 11 minutes 10 seconds. At first the surya grahan or solar eclipse will be seen in Kanyakumari and then it will move diagonally to Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi (about 18 km South east from Rameshwaram) and then move to Kerala. It will end in the northeastern state Mizoram.

The solar eclipse is a mythical event in India. Solar eclipse 2010 is failing on the day Mauni Amavasya. Devotees take a holy dip in rivers across India on the auspicious day of Mauni Amavasya. Astrologers are advising not to watch this eclipse by pregnant women, physically weak and diseased people and kids

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti Earthquake and Caribbean tsunami warning

13 January 2010

Yesterday, an earthquake damaged the whole island nation of Haiti with an intensity of 7.0. It is reported that it was most powerful and catastrophic quake in past 200 years. The quake which came yesterday afternoon threw whole nation on the roads, countless buildings have been completely damaged, outside communication is failed, and unaccountable people has been suffered from it. No one knows the exact number of dead people; no one knows the exact number of injured. Many are lying on streets, roads and footpaths waiting for aid. BBC pictures show that the national palace of Haiti is also among the damaged buildings. In the picture, the palace is shown completely damaged from outside.

The area is still under threat because every thirty minutes, the people feel an aftershock that proves enough to hold their breaths. Karel Zelenka is the representative of Catholic Relief Services, he told that thousands of people have been dead, many buildings have been collapsed including a hospital. Reports say that people were being heard shouting and crying for help from inside hospital. Zelenka said that the Headquarter of CRS also faced damages and its walls has been collapsed.

Poorly constructed shantytowns were crumbled in huge clouds of dust including a supermarket that was completely razed along with a church and gasoline station. Carrefour section of Port-au-Prince is among the worst-hit areas.

President Obama issued a statement expressing his sympathy with those who have been affected by this earthquake. United States has decided to provide the Haiti with military and civilian assistance. U.S. Agency for International Development and the military’s U.S. Southern Command started working together for damaged people of Haiti last evening.

The whole situation will be cleared after two to three days. The people of Haiti need our help they cannot face the challenges alone so please go ahead and help them.

Caribbean tsunami warning issued after Haiti quake

Tue Jan 12

WASHINGTON – A US government agency on Tuesday issued a tsunami warning for countries bordering the Caribbean sea, after a powerful 7.3 quake rocked Haiti.

"This message applies to countries within and bordering the Caribbean sea," the Pacific Tsunami Warning center said, "except for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Auto Expo 2010: Over 2 million visitors, 25 new launches

New Delhi, January 11, 2010 PTI

The seven-day Auto Expo, which drew to a close on Monday, had over 2 million enthusiasts passing through its doors to catch the buzz surrounding some of the most advanced cars showcased by global majors.

The global economic gloom notwithstanding, the show saw more new launches than any other previous edition with international firms taking the lead. A total of 25 new models were unveiled.

The success of the expo is a testimony to India’s emergence as a global manufacturing hub, Union Minister of state for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Monday at the valedictory function of the 10th Auto Expo.

“The expo has grown from strength to strength since 1986. This year we received over two million footfalls,” Mr. Scindia said.

He said the Indian automobile market is a “relatively virgin” one with only nine cars per thousand persons as against 27 per thousand in China.

”...India is becoming an attractive destination for its low-cost design innovation and design of scale and is becoming a hub for manufacture of small cars... The Indian automobile market is growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 30 per cent and last fiscal exports grew by 52 per cent,” he added.

Speaking at the occasion, Hero Group’s Sunil Kant Munjal said 2,105 exhibitors took part at the biennial auto show.

“In terms of product launches, this expo surpassed all the previous editions with 25 new models revealed. This is the biggest and the best show we have ever had so far. We hope this expo will be the springboard for future development of the automobile and manufacturing sector,” Mr. Munjal said.

Andhra police book TV channel for report on YSR's death

Hyderabad, January 09, 2010

Andhra Pradesh police on Friday booked a case against a Telugu television channel for airing a "baseless and malicious" report about the alleged conspiracy behind the death of chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash last year.

Police booked a case against TV 5, which aired the story based on a report on a Russian website. Cases under sections 153/3A (provocation with intent to cause riot) and 502 A (sale of printed or engraved substance containing defamatory matter) were registered at Jubilee Hills police station here.

Director General of Police RR Girish Kumar told reporters that notices would also be issued to other TV channels which aired the story after TV 5 began telecasting it on Thursday night.

The report led to a series of attacks on Reliance shops throughout the state, since it had alleged a role by the firm in the helicopter crash that killed YSR.

The police chief warned that stern action would be taken against those indulging in violence. Prohibitory orders under section 144 have been imposed in the state in view of the shutdown called by loyalists of the late chief minister in some districts.

Kumar said the investigations into the September 2 helicopter crash were continuing and appealed to people not to believe the rumours.

Chief Minister K Rosaiah on Friday held a meeting with Home Minister P Sabita Indra Reddy, Kumar and other senior officials to review the law and order situation in the wake of a series of attacks on Reliance properties in the state since Thursday night.

YSR's son and Kadapa MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy appealed to people not to resort to violence. He said in a statement that he would urge the central government to investigate the conspiracy angle.

Reliance retaliates!!


In what could be termed as one of the most nasty and embarrassing incident, the breaking news by TV5 over the death of YSR and the involvement of the Ambani family saw the entire state go into a frenzy of mob violence on the Reliance outlets and creating fear.

As expected, the reaction from the Ambani house was quite strong and they filed a case against the channel. The police also arrested the editor of the channel and this was followed by the protests from few unions of journalists as well.

In all, the state of Andhra Pradesh has become a laughing stock for the activities happening and many say that it is due to the incapability of the government. Efforts are on to ensure that the tensions subside and let us hope that happens soon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Small is big at India

January 2010

A host of new small cars jostled for attention Tuesday at the start of the Indian auto show, a showpiece event for compact vehicles in one of the world's fastest growing markets.

AutoExpo 2010, which began Tuesday and runs till Monday, is expected to be the biggest ever, featuring global releases of new models from the most famous names in the industry.

This year's show is the 10th, but it first caught the world's attention in 2008 when Indian manufacturer Tata Motors unveiled its Nano, the world's cheapest car that has since hit the road.
The 115,000-rupee ($2,500) Nano kick-started the race to produce cheap, small vehicles, which account for 80 percent of all car sales in India.

In a sign of India's attraction for foreign manufacturers, Japan's Toyota took the wraps off its first compact model designed especially for India.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor – the Indian unit of Japan's Toyota Motor – unveiled Tuesday the concept of its small car, Etios.

"With the introduction of the Etios we will enter the mass volume segment. We are looking at a sales volume of 70,000 (cars) in the first year," the Wall Street Journal quoted Hiroshi Nakagawa, managing director of Toyota Kirloskar, as saying.
"If you want to be a major player in India in the mass market, small cars are the way to go," said Jochem Heizmann, a member of Volkswagen Group's management board.

Recent months have seen foreign giants Ford, General Motors, Hyundai and Renault join a stampede to India, where each has promised a small, cheap model designed for what Ford boss Alan Mulally termed the "sweet spot" of the market.

India is Asia's third-largest car market after China and Japan, but what has excited manufacturers is the potential explosive growth in a country with a billion-plus population.

Global truck makers launch their best machines at the Auto Expo

7 Jan 2010

NEW DELHI: The world’s second-fastest automobile market has drawn global truck makers to launch their best machines in the Auto Expo, even as domestic players upped the ante to take on the competition from foreign majors. On offer were brand new global ranges from the like of Volvo, Navistar and Daimler for prices going up to a crore while Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland announced new platforms and products.

The first glimpse of the truck monsters at the 10th Auto Expo in New Delhi reveals the finesse of these machines and the changing perception of the world towards India. The largest truck maker in the world, Daimler, imports the Actros range of trucks to India which is now the backbone of the domestic coal industry. It will soon launch a new range from its Rs 4,400 crore greenfield plant at Chennai. Its closest competitor worldwide, Volvo of Sweden, has launched the country’s most powerful truck at a staggering price of Rs 1 crore.

These new generation super trucks boasts features only a few luxury cars are loaded with. Automatic transmission, air suspension systems, adjustable power steering, electronic seats and front and side air bags that are absent in many popular cars are now common in these machines. this apart, they are backed by the regular gizmos. Many of these machines are so big that they are not able to fit into the huge pavilions at the Expo and are drawing the huge attention from the crowd. Riding on the growing economy and the fast-track infrastructure development, Volvo is looking to sell a few hundred of its most powerful truck.

“We are not convinced that India doesn’t need these expensive machines. It is one of that easiest machine to drive aided by all the gizmos that you will find in a BMW. Transporters in India are changing and willing to pay a price for technology and global quality,” Volvo Truck India president Somnath Bhattacharjee said. The company is expecting good demand from the sunshine sectors like power, petroleum, wind mills, infrastructure and construction.

The truck market is all set to boom and the new comers want a slice of the action. In a recent interview to ET Now, this paper’s sister channel, Anand Mahindra, VC &MD, M&M said: “As infrastructure booms, truck demand will take off in India. It’s not a plateauing market. It has enough space for newcomers to grow.”

Mahindra’s JV with American truck major Navistar launched two new products at the Expo. The MN 49 and MN 40 are both jointly developed by M&M and Navistar and the 51:49 JV plans to get into more variants as well as buses.

“Later we will have smaller, sub 16-12 tonne products, and this will complete our offering,” said Daniel C Ustian, CEO of Navistar. “When we are done with medium and heavy segments, we will come back to light trucks to see if we can refresh the platform.” The JV has already made an investment of Rs 1,000 crore and in the next few years will pump in more money as part of the next phase.
ET Bureau

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tata Motors Show case Aria, Jaguar XJ at Auto Expo

Jan 06, 2010 10:59:13 IST
TATA MOTORS chairman Ratan Tata unveiled their brand new cross over vehicle – Aria at the Auto Expo 2010 this afternoon. Aria, is a sports-utility and multi-utility crossover vehicle that was termed by the company as “four wheeler built by Indian engineers for the Indian customers”.

The Delhi Auto Expo 2010 witnessed the platform of various launches from Tata Motors. Other than Aria, the other two vehicles of Tata Motors that were also launched, are the new passenger carrier “Magic Iris” and the multi-purpose vehicle “Venture” for the Indian customers. Tata Motors also unveiled the new Jaguar XJ model for its luxury car segment in India.

Speaking on the occasion, Ratan Tata said, “The range of Tata, Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles is representative of our technology base, and the direction our brands are taking in pursuing market opportunities. The Company is focused on meeting the full range of customer needs while being conscious of the environment.”

Tata Motors displayed its 37 vehicles at the Delhi Auto Expo. In passenger vehicles, the group’s display ranges from Jaguar luxury saloons and Land Rover SUVs to Tata Indigo Manza sedans, Tata Indica Vista hatchbacks, the Tata Safari, the Sumo Grande MK II, the Xenon XT, and two specially conceived Tata Nano cars. The Tata commercial vehicles range include a brand new Starbus platform, the Prima range of world standard trucks, CNG-fuelled truck pick-up vehicles, and a Winger-based special application, at the Auto Expo 2010.

The unveiling of the all new Jaguar XJ marks its India launch. The car was premiered worldwide in London in July 2009, and deliveries across the world are beginning this year.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Reliance traces pirated DVDs of '3 Idiots', files case

2 Jan 2010

NEW DELHI: Anil Ambani Group firm Reliance Big Pictures has filed a case against Galaxy Cinema in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh for allegedly making pirated DVDs of its just-released blockbuster "3 Idiots".

The first information report (FIR), filed Thursday, is based on technical information gleaned through the "cap code marking" anti-piracy technology on each print of the film, a statement from Reliance Big Pictures said Saturday.

It said that the company, a subsidiary of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-ADAG), traced the pirated DVDs in the national capital and the activity was stopped soon after.

"Movie piracy is not a victimless crime. Not only does piracy have a financial impact on Reliance Big Pictures, it negatively impacts jobs of people in the film industry and related businesses," said Kamal Gianchandani, COO (Distribution) at Reliance Big Pictures.

"We are committed to take a strong, proactive position in protecting copyrights and are hopeful that our support of strong anti-piracy efforts will be instrumental in developing a growing and vibrant marketplace for Indian films," he added.

The movie, starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor, grossed over Rs. 100 crore in the first four days after it was released.

India growth story on track

3 Jan 2010 ET Bureau

Pitch the question of sustained global recovery to a group of experts and cacophony ensues. Talk of India’s ride on the road to recovery, and the ‘yeah’s’ rings loud. This is the big Indian story for 2010.

If corporate India’s projections for this year are any indication for what is to come, Indian consumers are likely to return to shopping with a zest, returning home with products ranging from mobile handsets, slimmer TVs to ever cars.

Mind you, it isn’t that surprising given that India’s GDP is expected to grow at seven per cent and more in 2010, while most developed countries find themselves struggling to keep growth in positive zones.

While a Gartner research forecasts a 21 per cent growth in PC shipments in India for 2010 over the last year and whopping 41 per cent in mini-notebook segment, India’s continued journey of adding 10 million mobile subscribers a month for this year too, may make India an attractive destination for top telecom and technology giants.

And the growth for this year is not confined only to a few sectors. Car sales which remained positive in most part of the last year bucking the global recession, may look up further, whereas industry estimates suggest that consumer durables segment may post a smart 20 per cent growth this year, indicating that the Indian economy, primarily driven by domestic demand, may keep up the momentum of a swifter recovery compared to the rest of the world.

R Zutshi, deputy MD of Samsung India, says that the television industry will get a strong boost in 2010. “Within the television category, I expect the consumer preference for LCD/LEDs and slimmer displays to continue. The advent of HD broadcast with the Commonwealth Games too should contribute to the growth of full HD LCD/LED TVs,” he explains

North India plunges into darkness as grid trips due to fog

Jan 02, 2010

Many parts of northern India, including Punjab and Haryana, plunged into darkness in the wee hours on Saturday as the northern grid collapsed due to thick fog. The northern grid tripped at around 3.02 am following a technical snag in transmission lines that reduced power to zero at many sub stations, Power Grid CMD S K Chaturvedi said, adding that Delhi and NCR were not affected as precautionary measures like cleaning of transmission lines were taken in advance.

Besides, Punjab and Haryana, parts of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Chandigarh were also affected due to the grid failure.

Although restoration work was on, authorities said, it would take another three to four hours for power supply to resume.

Power failure also threw train schedule out of gear in Punjab and Haryana and many trains were stranded midway, stopping abruptly due to disruption in electricity supply.