Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 BJP as Single Largest Party…But will that be enough ??

Political commentators are today in consent that there is a clear ‘Narendra Modi’ wave (BJP’s PM candidate) in the country that would likely propel BJP to become the single largest party if not come in majority in the upcoming elections. BJP is expected to make significant headways in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar besides repeating its winning performance in the state elections of MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat. This notion is in line with the three opinion polls that have come out indicating that BJP would win >30% vote share (up from 19% in 2009), this could translate into 188-210 seats. Its also noteworthy that BJP will have to exceed the mark of 200 to create chances of Government Formation. A score of less than 180 seats would make government formation difficult for the BJP (coz still BJP has non secular Tag and alliance with BJP may create a severe dent in Core customer of regional Parties) and may delay policy reforms in case such a coalition comes to power.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

WhatsApp !!! What 'a' App

WhatsApp is undeniably a super quality asset featuring a massive 450MM user base (+100% Y/Y), very high engagement (7 of 10 users log in daily), and the potential to disrupt the $100B text-message business. With just 50 employees and 450MM users, a 'mature' WhatsApp(After being taken over by Mark) could deliver very nice profit margins as monetization ramps. The deal reminds me of Google's 2006 acquisition of YouTube.

With 19 Billion messages and 600Million photos sent each day, WhatsApp serves nearly the same text-message volume as the entire telecom industry, which is a ~$100B business for carriers.

Lots of calculation validates this strategic move, as there are numerous models which values social media at various prices. Some value Facebook at 170$ per user and so on where in total revenue is around $7 Billion aprox 7$ per user.. One must not forget that this is the only industry where each category has only one leader unlike others where you have three four companies dominating the market. Hence going by those calculations this overpriced buy looks rational but there are other concerns too.

1) User-first mentality could create short-term revenue risk and volatility
2) Threshold of switching is very low.
3) Competition from purpose-driven social services.
3) Advertiser ROI on Facebook may remain difficult to measure
4) Privacy, security, and regulatory risks  
5) Competition for online and mobile ad dollars from Google, Yahoo!, and other online advertising companies
6) Dual-class share structure and Mark Zuckerberg’s control.

We can just speculate the future based on Present Markets and History but this announcement will surely send shivers to Telecom Industry who fear that a big part of their future revenue will shift to IP base data sharing.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

FM. Caught in Swamp

The rising financial power of 21st century yesterday witnessed a non prudent hasty interim budget which made an attempt to window dress the past the portray an illusionary future.

A muted Interim Budget– The interim budget turned out to be a non event with no major reform announcements and highly optimistic fiscal deficit targets. There were some initiatives to revive the slackening consumption growth in Automobile sector and ameliorate the investment activity. However, I dont expect these measures to boost the capital formation and thereby improve the economic activity. Despite focusing on fiscal consolidation in FY15, there is no let down on spending while revenue growth is optimistically pegged at 13.4% YoY.

Challenging task of achieving fiscal deficit target of 4.1% of GDP– Slippage of fiscal deficit target of 4.1% is likely on back of optimistic budget expectations on higher revenue collection from tax and from disinvestments. Tax collections are expected to grow by 18.0% YoY which is optimistic considering the expectations on growth in manufacturing and services sectors.
– Excise Duty collection is budgeted to grow by 11.7% YoY, however with reduction in duty and continued sluggish pace in industrial activity Excise Duty collection is expected to expand marginally. On the other hand, budget estimation of Services Tax collection growth of 30.7% YoY is also at higher end amid sharp slowdown in services sector growth.
– Achieving divestment target of INR 569.3 bn would be ambitious given the historical trend and gradual withdrawal of US monetary stimulus package.

Math behind FY14 Fiscal Deficit of 4.6%– Shortfall in revenue collection was limited to the extent of INR 569.0 bn mainly due to sharp increase in dividend payouts by the PSU, which exceeded by
INR 143.2 bn in FY14. Government has garnered INR 164.9 bn from Coal India alone as interim dividend, which is a one off event.
– PlanExpenditure alsohas been sharply cut down by 14.4% in FY14 especially on the revenue front. Revenue Plan Expenditure has been slashed by INR 714.0 bn during the year to meet the budget deficit target. This is the second consecutive year of reduction in the Plan Expenditure which will continue to
hamper future growth prospects

And as rightly said by Harvard Alumini "Let history be the judge of the last ten years". He sounds more like a defeated man, who is waiting for an unceremonious  end.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Budget Glass- Half Full or Half Empty ?

The Budget Glass – Half Full… After the weak performance of the Congress Party in the State elections, Populism was expected. But the Finance Minister has not succumbed to the temptation. He has attempted to address the twin priorities of fiscal consolidation and reviving the investment cycle.

• The FY13 Budget targets a fiscal deficit of 5.1 % of GDP, down from the 5.9% expected to print in FY12. Aiding the initiative, are a fair bit of resolve , speaking of a few… in curbing non-plan expenditure growth to 8%, an increase in indirect taxes by 200 bps and widening of the service tax net. Estimates pertaining to nominal GDP growth, tax collections and the fertilizer subsidy appear credible.
• A 22% increase in Plan expenditure is positive for the investment cycle. Similar are soft measures announced including removal of the dividend cascading tax, easier norms for ECBs, enhanced limits for infrastructure bonds, additional depreciation allowance, etc
…but Half Empty Fuel subsidies appear to be sharply under budgeted, unless there is a sharp increase in retail prices. Consequently most of the fiscal consolidation targeted is premised on asset sales –Rs. 300 bn from divestments and Rs.580 bn from the telecom sector.
While all of this is possible, it does make the fiscal consolidation process hostage to capital markets and business sentiment. All said and done, we expect the fiscal deficit to drop to 5.5% of GDP, still a better performance than last year. Appending to the same, despite the measures announced, a revival in the investment cycle will remain contingent on effective follow up to address the real issues plaguing the sector viz. land acquisition, environmental clearances, etc.

No impetus for equity markets. Investors approached the Budget with a fair bit of caution. That said, “the Budget does not provide any meaningful impetus or direction”. Markets would await follow up action on fuel price hike and revival of investment cycle. YTD, India is amongst the best performing equity markets delivering returns of 15% in local currency and 21% in USD. Going forward, we believe gains of another 10% are likely. But the gains are likely to come at a more measured pace and investors will have to contend with considerable volatility.

But, In line with our expectations, Budget FY13 has turned out to be a non-event. Isn’t it ….?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Where is the virus of World Destruction ?

The new era of enlightenment(A shift from Wars to Building a peaceful world) where developed nations are taking the onus of uplifting the socio economic condition and eradicating poverty hunger and illiteracy from the world.
Such a shift will be comforting the world and shall be given a red carpet welcome, but before joining this chorus of self congratulaion we will have to overlook facts like one displayed in the visualizaion below.
Ironcially, these developed nations are the ones which are the biggest exporters of arms, and you all know how these arms contribute in the upliftment of African and other poor nations.
So decide where is the virus of World Destruction ?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What middle East has in store for US

President Obama has reportedly told the White House and his intelligence that he wants a "new Middle East policy", one that put political pressures on beleaguered allies threatened by popular rebellions( started from Jasmine revolution in Tunisia) to enact reforms that would curb down and suppress the want for a government change while preserving crucial U.S. interests, such as oil, counterterrorism, confronting and containing Iran and protecting Israel and most importantly their global policy of unipolar world.

US is now trapped at the crossroads. They need these donkeys (autocrat leaders like Mubarak) to carry their heavy baggage of priorities but can’t help them, as US is the torch bearer of creating a idealistic world bent on ending inhumanity dedicated to principles and values.

Can US transfer this baggage onto the backs of the new democracy? Answer is ‘NO’, as these priorities are not shared by Arab citizens. That’s why US chose autocrats, but democracy will be chosen by citizens. The thought that new born Middle East democracy will march silently in lockstep with US is fanciful. Individual views of these Arab autocrats, ‘of Iran being a regional menace’ created an illusion that the Arab nations are in alliance with US in confronting Iran but bad news for Obama and Bush is that the same view is not shared by Arab citizens.

The University of Maryland's survey on ‘Arab opinion’ surprisingly revealed that 57% of respondents believed that Iran developing a nuclear weapon would positively affect the region, while 20% felt that it “would not matter”. Just a minuscule 20% were in favour of pressurizing Iran to stop its nuclear program.

Survey further revealed that Israel-Palestinian peace agreement, followed by withdrawal from Iraq are the best gifts which US can gift to the Arab World.

Tunisians and Egyptians have overthrown the regimes and Libyans, Bahrainis, Algerians, Moroccans, Omanis are in process. Citizens are fighting for their most fundamental right i.e. to craft their countries' destinies (by electing government of their choice) and make sure that their government's domestic and foreign policies reflect the popular will.

US must responsibly work as a head of family to bring about peace harmony and growth in the world rather than creating a Unipolar world where it won’t have any peer competitor.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Changing World

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

As its not Hindu or Muslim: Its INDIA

How many Americans will be amused if a state hoists a Russian flag in their nation???......None!!! Will this prove US in not liberal??? .....No!!! But in India which is by far the largest democracy of the world there have been instances of Pakistan flag being hoisted. Does it earns respect for India and proves it to be a liberal and secular nation? For a moment please forget India and Kashmir. What image will you draw for a nation which succumbs to pressure of separatist and stop celebrating their national festivals? Weak, feeble and incumbent, right... In the same way the in-power government should refrain Citizen from hoisting tricolour in Assam(Boldoland), North Eastern states(controversy with China), and Punjab(Khalistan) in purview of controlling social outburst.

What is the definition of a nation? Can we keep drawing international boundaries on the demands of small groups of notorious people? If yes, than I am sure we are looking at, 500 countries. Communist China has a Buddhist dominated province in Tibet, and an Islam dominated province on its eastern border. Can they allow them to become new countries? Oppression against separatism is not just on the grounds of creed or religion but it is valid and justified when that separatist movement is fuelled by enemy nation. India with an Islamic population of nearly 170 million has proved its Democratic, secular and inclusive nature.
I am sure your opinions would change after reading the following fact about Kashmiri separatists:
The US Department of State reports that, according to the Indian National Human Rights Commission, the Kashmiri Pundit population in Jammu and Kashmir dropped from 15 percent in 1941 to 1 percent as of 2001.
Are these activities of a minority group?

Hoisting of the Indian flag should be the government's prerogative however the government is spineless to do so, contrary they are using headless power to stop Citizens from exercising their fundamental rights. By not allowing the tri-colour in Kashmir the UPA government has given a huge psychological advantage to separatists across India & Pakistan.
Or do you think they are right?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Will Facebook choose next President

Charles Dickens in his masterpiece “Tale of two Cities” depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy, leading up to the revolution. Though fiction but it subtly illustrates how difficult it was for the peasants to communicate among themselves. It almost took three years for the monarchy that ruled France for centuries to collapse.

On the contrary on January 17, 2001, during the impeachment trial of Philippine President Joseph Estrada, followers of Estrada in the Philippine Congress voted to set aside key evidence against him. An hour after the decision was announced, thousands of angry Filipinos, converged on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, a major crossroads in Manila. The protest was arranged, primarily by forwarded text messages reading, "Go 2 EDSA. Wear blk." Their number was humongous and in no time there were more than million angry citizens on the streets.

The ability of citizen’s to coordinate such a massive and rapid protest (close to seven million text messages were sent that week), alarmed the country's legislators and they reversed course and allowed the evidence to be presented. Estrada's fate was unwrapped with that letter; by January 20, he was gone. It was first time in the history when a national leader was overthrown with the power of social media. Later Estrada openly blamed "the text-messaging generation" for his downfall.

Since the rise of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s, the world's networked population has grown from the low millions to the low billions. It has become a need from luxury. Off late, social media has become a fact of life for civil society worldwide (Facebook in less than 5 years has more customers than any other firm in the world). This raises an obvious question for every government: How does the ubiquity of social media affects national interest, and how should state’s policy respond to it?

The Philippine strategy has been replicated several times in various geographies. In number of cases, the protesters have ultimately succeeded in their motives, as in Spain in 2004, when demonstrations organized by sms and emails led to the quick ouster of Spanish PM José María Aznar, who blamed Basque separatists for the Madrid transit bombings. The Communist Party lost power in Moldova in 2009 when massive protests coordinated by Facebook and Twitter broke out after an obviously fraudulent election. Around the world, the Catholic Church has faced lawsuits over its sheltering of child rapists, a process that started when The Boston Globe's 2002 report on sexual abuse in the church went viral online in a matter of hours.

As the communications landscape gets more complex, the networked population is gaining greater access to information and more importantly they are participating in conversations. They have an enhanced ability to cooperate and collaborate and take collective action. It’s a call for the states either to give freedom to internet participation to their citizens and face public uprising or suppress it(like china) and be prepared for a revolution.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Live and Let Live!!!

A general definition of marriage is that it is a social contract between two individuals that unites their lives legally, economically and emotionally. So why stop homosexuals? I don’t think that there is any good reason for the government's exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. This denial of marriage to committed couples does nothing to address any of the things people worry about: divorce, men and women's "freighted" relationships, "unintended" children, etc. Most of the Government bureaucrats are of view that the children of different-sex couples are raised well in wedlock, then why don’t they advocate abolishing divorce or compelling different-sex couples that conceive "unintentionally" to marry? Wouldn't that make more sense than prohibiting same sex couples from marrying, thereby punishing them and the children they are raising?

Do traditional (different sex-couples) cease having sex, having babies, or getting married just because the same-sex couples next door got a marriage licence. Terminating the exclusion of same sex people from marriage does not take anything away from, or hurt, anyone. What hurts people is selectively withholding the freedom to marry. Civil Union Act was passed in USA in 2007 but An official commission in New Jersey found that in emergency rooms, in financial aid offices and in companies across the state, same-sex couples and their families are still being denied the rights and protections they were promised. The commission stated, that the difference in terminology, between 'marriage' and 'civil union,' stigmatizes gays and lesbians and their families because they are singled out as different." Everyone knows what marriage means; it is a statement so important that most people wear its symbol on their hand. Government should not be in the discrimination business and put obstacles in the path of people who love.

Governments stand and other activist stand on same sex Marriages, reminds me of Ronald Reagan's definition of an economist: someone "who sees something work in practice and wonders if it will work in theory". Gay and lesbian couples can now marry in 12 countries on four continents and the sky has not fallen in any of them, rather allowing them will make our society look more mature and liberal.
Do you disagree???

Saturday, January 1, 2011

We wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year-2011

Tuesday, December 28, 2010



Putin Khodorkovsky Feud continues...

Politics and business are inseparable across globe and they are even more coupled in Russia, because they combine to create power. Khodorkovsky, prior to his arrest in 2003, had moved to merge his company Yukos with another energy company, Sibneft, which would have made Yukos the fourth-largest privately-held oil producer in the world, with one-fifth of the reserves of Kuwait. Also Khodorkovsky was involved in talks with Exxon Mobil and Chevron-Texaco to buy up to 40 percent shares in the new company for billions. For the in-power siloviki faction lead by Putin — men from the "power ministries" such as the armed forces, police and intelligence services, all this was too much to digest. First the power of the new corporation and, second the proposed sell-off of a major portion of Russia's oil industries to Western countries.

It has been a battle for power over Russia's riches and its futures. In the far away West, Khodorkovsky and others successful industrialist like him are looked up and perceived as the guys in the white hats, modern liberals committed to free-market ideals. No matter how questionable the means and circumstances were in which they accumulated this wealth, they have now cleaned themselves and are working for the virtues of shareholder rights, transparency and corporate governance. Now oligarchs such as Khodorkovsky were ready to cut deals with the best in the West. Ranged against these oligarchs, in the "black hats," were the reactionary political forces (Lead by Past president and now prime minister-Putin) that were and are against the West. These are Russian nationalists who favour the preservation of their past ideologies over the National economic interest.

The re-arrest of Khodorkovsky ultimately points to the weakness of Putin's rule: Putin has not denied from the possibilities of contesting 2012 president elections. Putin, like a master Russian chess player has been brilliant at negotiating between different factions, playing them off, against one another. But this mark a watershed, Putin has taken the most dramatic action possible against the leading oligarch (The way he has intervened the legal proceedings).

Putin has pushed fragile Russian economy back by numerous years as this will badly hurt sentiments of the future FDI investors.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Social Media: The new Emperor

Year 2010 was a banner year for social media’s growth and adoption. World witnessed Facebook overtake Google in terms of total time on site, while some surveys reported that nearly 95% of companies use LinkedIn in recruiting. Social media access will soon become the basic function of mobile apart from call and texting. The use of social media through mobile devices is increasing in triple figures.

Most global brands have cottoned on to social media as tools for engagement, promotion and collaboration. Marketers at leading companies have created lively and intereactive exchanges with and among customers on sites such as OPEN Forum (American Express), (Procter & Gamble), myPlanNet (Cisco), and Fiesta Movement (Ford), tapping into participants’ expertise and creativity for product development. Social media also has the power and potential to boost brand awareness, trial, and ultimately sales, especially when a campaign goes viral. More important for most companies, however, is that through social media they can gain rich, unmediated customer insights, faster than ever before.

Social media will become the biggest market place in future. Just look at these startling stats from

People on Facebook

· More than 500 million active users

· 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day

· Average user has 130 friends

· People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook

Activity on Facebook

· There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)

· Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events

· Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month

· More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.


· People on Facebook install 20 million applications every day

· Every month, more than 250 million people engage with Facebook on external websites

· Since social plugins launched in April 2010, an average of 10,000 new websites integrate with Facebook every day

· More than two million websites have integrated with Facebook, including over 80 of comScore's U.S. Top 100 websites and over half of comScore's Global Top 100 websites


· There are more than 200 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.

· People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users.

· There are more than 200 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile product.

Companies can sell via social media, but their real value at this stage lies in learning about customers. Facebook in particular has such tremendous reach that it can provide detailed quantitative analyses of communication flows between consumers. Increasingly smart natural-language-processing technology will, over time, help companies extract further insights and learning from the content of those discussions. At the other extreme, company-sponsored online brand communities can generate immediately applicable insights from direct, smaller-scale interactions.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Privatization of IIM-A

Call it image-building or a hard-core marketing strategy. For the first time in its history, the country's top B-school, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmadabad ( IIM-A ), has decided to step out of the campus and go overseas for wooing recruiters. The B-school which is celebrating its golden jubilee later this month will be organizing a recruiters' conclave in Singapore on December 6.... read more.

Brilliant isn’t it!! IIM-A is so interested in Welfare of their students, and every institution should aspire to do so... But are they forgetting some duties and responsibilities in doing so?

IIM-A is a government aided institution set up to nurture nation’s best talent and equip them with skills so as to foster the growth of India. By organizing a recruiters' conclave they are defeating this objective in two ways. First, these sought after highly talented managers won’t render their services for the benefit of our nation. Second, Huge expenditure incurred by government will go in vain, in fact towards offshore prosperity.

This comes in time when India is suffering from ‘Brain-drain ailment’. It is sad when a government aided institution behaves as a private profit making institute, which ranks its own interest higher than the nation’s interest.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stay out of this Assange

I am not arguing against transparency. But I strongly believe that there is a due place for secrecy in international diplomacy and there is nothing intrinsically wrong with diplomacy behind closed doors

In fact, to cry ‘wolf’ does no service to any society. What WikiLeaks has done is, it has simply collected an enormous mass of documents, and made it publically available.

Leaking information of this kind will be detrimental in building the trust among diplomats which is necessary platform for effective and productive diplomacy.

Let us understand the underlying problem by a real life example. Do all of us live in a society where we need to exhibit split personality? Do we all have secrets which are unknown to our dear ones? But does that mean we are cheating them? So is this confidentiality necessary in smooth running of our personal life? I feel I will get a ‘yes’ in reply with a smile.

Hence, it’s not a good news, If WikiLeaks continues to publish these peck of document containing information regarding country’s defence, foreign policy and other confidentialities, as these documents would certainly complicate relations among people involved, originate hard feelings among nations and representative of different nations about publication of private information, and decrease the fragile confidence that exist between the most governments (very few have strong faith). It could also reveal strategies or intentions which will retard progress on a number of issues.

Such sensitive issue cannot be discussed on public forums, in front of media. Confidentiality is taken for granted in such discussions and meetings; least these diplomats can expect is to see their conversation in the newspapers next day.

Assange get into responsible Journalism, this ways you are doing no good!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Overcast on Korea

N.korean attacks will call for indepth investigation, in which Seoul will conclude that it was, in fact, North Koreans who fired on the island, further provocation may make them react. Beijing and Moscow will hold their own independent investigations and will come to a conclusion that it can't be determined who fired the artillery and Venezuela President will claim that it was a U.S. conspiracy. Post this, the honorary UN will continue to send aid to North Korea like it never happened.

Based on my knowledge about South Koreans, they are not wimps. They're dying to retaliate, but this is not just about them. Their reaction will decide the political course of rest of Asia and potentially the globe. They kept silent after the warship sinking incident, it will be interesting to watch how much more provocation will be needed before they hit back.

This is not an official war but between the ongoing political games and war, I and other sensible people will choose the games. Right?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Euro: Shaky Fundamentals

The recent Irish banking crisis clearly depicts that Euro makes little sense, because the European Union lacks taxing, spending and regulatory authority which are critical in managing a modern economy.

The U.S. federal government regulates banks and financial institutions and ensures deposits because continuously functioning banks are as essential to modern economy as uninterrupted electricity, infrastructure and the Internet. Ireland government, not the EU, regulates and ensures the solvency of Irish banks.

Irish treasury doesn’t have the cash or borrowing capacity to recapitalize troubled Irish banks, Without an EU rescue, Ireland's banks default, its government defaults, or its citizens face cuts in government services which will make their life miserable.

Had Ireland continued with its own currency, it could have been in the position to print money inorder to recapitalize its banks -- that is exactly what the Treasury and Fed can do for the FDIC, Citigroup, Bank of America, and other financial institutions, or RBI for India.

Printing money would have pushed down the Irish pound against the dollar and other currencies, resulting in some inflation and lower Irish living standards, as bank losses would have spread over the entire economy. However, over several years Ireland's trade balance would have improved, and provided they didn’t take any foolish steps, the Emerald Isle would have worked out of its mess.

Lacking the power to print money, Ireland must accept aid from the ECB and stronger EU governments, but accepting aid seems to create political embarrassment for Irish politicians.Ireland makes the usual baseless claims that it can handle its own problems but euro is weakening against the dollar.

Quick, decisive action seems to become impractical when it is most needed, and fears spread about the euro zone breaking apart. Let us understand this by taking US example of why there is something fundamentally wrong with European Union. Among the 50 states, the U.S. federal government equalizes social spending by transferring tax revenue from rich states to poorer one. France and Germany, like New York, are prospering, but Brussels cannot tax Germany for benefits in Greece in the manner Washington taxes New York to for spending in Mississippi, or other states

Keeping its huge wealth to itself, Germany provides its citizens with employment security, health care and other benefits, portrays itself a model of country of European Union, and scolds Italy or Greece or others for frugality.

Greece, Portugal and others have borrowed thoughtlessly to satisfy their citizens' expectations for benefits on a par with Germany and now face severe troubles. If they still had their own currencies, devaluation of currencies would have significantly helped these countries to come out of these heavy debts .

With each such crisis, probability of infected nations dropping the euro and returning to national currencies increases. Ultimately, this motivates Germany and others strong European nations to come to their aid.

The Treaties of Rome and Maastricht provided Brussels with key powers for building a single market for private goods and services but deny Brussels the taxing, spending and regulatory powers to act as a sovereign government.

The EU should not be printing money,Unless this void is filled.