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Showing posts from January 12, 2014

Gobal economy, moving forward but on different engines

Is the air of optimism that seems to permeate the global economic outlook justified? Leading commentators around the world are more optimistic at the start of the New Year than they have ever been since the global recession of 2008. Even conceding that a certain amount of cheer and expressions of glad tidings are common on every new year’s eve, the year 2014 seems exceptional — in the opinion of many experts, things look much better than they did in the recent past.
Subjectivity rules

In tough times, customers go for a strong brand

Despite the downturn in the automobile industry in 2013, the luxury car segment saw an action packed year with numerous launches. Mercedes-Benz reported the highest growth rate among luxury car brand, and moved to the second position from third in 2012. It outpaced leader Audi’s growth rate in second-half of 2013, ending the year with its highest ever annual sales. An aggressive action plan combining many areas aided its impressive show. Eberhard H. Kern , Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, is a happy man as his first year at the helm of the company saw the three-pointed star brand staging a strong come back. Mr. Kern spoke to The Hindu on luxury car market and company’s plan for 2014. Edited excerpts:

Phones become smarter, people get dumber

What leading executives need more than anything today is wisdom. And one of the things that makes it harder and harder to connect with our wisdom is our increasing dependence on technology. Our hyper-connectedness is the snake lurking in our digital Garden of Eden. “People have a pathological relationship with their devices,” said Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist who studies the science of self-control at Stanford’s School of Medicine. “People feel not just addicted, but trapped.” We are finding it harder and harder to unplug and renew ourselves.

Scrap the allocations

The government’s admission before the Supreme Court that something went wrong with the allocation of coal blocks should be followed by the next logical step: cancelling the allocations illegally made to private entities. About 40 blocks have already been ‘de-allocated’, and the court has raised the question why allocations involving blocks that do not have forest and environmental clearances cannot be cancelled too. The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered over a dozen cases. Even in the absence of evidence of criminal culpability, there are other reasons for revisiting the entire process: the absence of competitive bidding, and the lack of transparency in the functioning of the screening committee that made the allotments. The investigation process has been beset with

Upbeat global sentiment

At the start of the New Year, global economic sentiment appears to be more upbeat than at any time after the financial crisis of 2008. Even taking note of the pitfalls of a hasty generalisation, it is possible to discern a mood of optimism among policymakers and financial markets around the world. Policymakers in the advanced economies of the U.S., the European Union and Japan — though these countries are in varying stages of recovery — have special reasons for cheer. In the early days after

When the burden falls on the poor

Policies being pursued in India are based on the growth-at-any-cost model. The poor and the enviroment suffer while the corporates and organised sectors reap the benefits Mafia prospers:As a result of an underground economy, water supply is often disrupted and wastage occurs. Delhi Jal Board, citizens lose out.— Photo: V. Sudershan The Aam Aadmi Party, having won the trust vote, is now in the saddle in Delhi. By announcing several measures to benefit Delhiites, it had already impacted the political discourse in the nation. The established political parties are trying to follow suit. Why did the previous Delhi government not take some of these steps given that the financial implications are not large while the benefits to the citizens are substantial?

Reforms in the house of God

The need for state intervention in temple management was realised during the temple entry movement, which stressed the importance of treating temples as public spaces FOr Public good:The Chidambaram Natarajar Temple (pictured above) drew the government’s attention for some unreasonable practices, and issues over funds and property.— Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy

Knowledge as power

Common people, acting collaboratively, are a wonderful source of public good. Regretfully, experts, when assigned a monopolistic role, can abuse public interest My ears perked up during a lively rendition of “the Lungi Dance” by my granddaughters, for the words ran: ‘ Gharpe jaake tum Google kar lo, mere baare me Wikipidia pe padhlo ! So, Wikipedia, which has become such a fantastic source of information and enjoyment for me over the last few years, is now a part of popular culture! This is incredible, because Wikipedia goes against all the tenets of the votaries of market economy who had confidently predicted fourteen years ago that this non-profit, voluntary experiment was bound to fail.

BSNL to install mobile towers in Naxal areas by 2014-end

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited plans to install mobile towers in Naxal-affected areas by the end of this year, for which the company has selected a vendor and identified 450 locations. “BSNL has opened the tender and selected the vendor. The market price for the project has been obtained, which is communicated to the Department of Telecom. Further decision is to be taken after the approval of the Telecom Commission,” an official of state-owned BSNL told PTI. The official said the timeline could be achieved if the Telecom Commission gave its approval this month. “As

MoEF to ask States to rework ESZ proposals

‘The proposals sent by States are not demarcated scientifically’ The Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to return the Ecologically Sensitive Zone (ESZ) proposals sent by various States as many of them are not demarcated scientifically. States will have to rework the proposals and resubmit them. Ministry sources said they received 406 proposals from Chief Wildlife Wardens of different States. The proposals were sent to the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, which scrutinised them and pointed out the modifications that needed to be incorporated in each proposal. The Ministry would return the proposals within a month, the sources said.

Farmers’ suicides dropped by 50 p.c.: Pawar

Says country may head towards bumper production of wheat this year Sharad Pawar Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said here on Sunday that farmers’ suicides in the country had dropped by 50 per cent according to recent statistics. “The efforts that we have been taking since 2005-06 have been bearing fruits,” he said while addressing the media after announcing ‘Krishi Vasant,’ the largest agricultural exhibition to be held in Nagpur in February.

4 independent directors take charge on Antrix board

The board was reconstituted as part of organisational reforms initiated after controversy over the Antrix-Devas deal For the first time since it was formed over 20 years back, three of Antrix Corporation Ltd.’s prominent corporate old guard are not on its board.
In last year’s overhaul, Tata Sons’ Ratan Tata, Godrej & Boyce’s Jamshyd Godrej and Hyderabad-based MTAR Technologies’ Ravindra Reddy, who have been on the Antrix board since 1992, made way for four new non-ISRO faces. The 12-member board met as recently as December 24, 2013.
The three companies, however, remain suppliers of vital hardware and inputs for the agency’s launch vehicle programme.

India polio free for third straight year

India has a reason to smile. On Monday, it completes three years without reporting any case of polio. It is only the second time in the history that a disease is being eliminated in India through immunisation after small pox in May 1980. However, officially the World Health Organisation (WHO) will certify India as polio-free on February 11 after the last of random samples picked up would be tested. India’s being declared polio-free is particularly important because it was the only country in the South East Asian region with polio cases.

2011-12 GDP growth revised up

Faulty data underestimated industrial output India will on January 30 revise its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate for 2011-12 from 6.2 to about 7 per cent. Faulty data earlier underestimated industrial output by about 7 percentage points, sources in the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council told The Hindu . “India has been overstating the slowdown in the economy, this correction will address that.”