Mea Culpa

Most rational people are not out there in the world looking for the last drop of blood from all the people who have harmed them. What they need is a mere acknowledgement of guilt. A small token of apology to make them convinced that you know that you have knowingly/unknowingly harmed them and in future you would be careful not to repeat. Also a key baby steps towards mitigating the loss goes a long way in seeking forgiveness.
Recognizing and accepting the consequences of one’s action on others both materially and emotionally is what I guess makes us fit to live in a society, a human. Admission of guilt and an apology is a great way to start. Parents teach their kids the value of 3 magical words “Please, thank you and sorry” to infuse this habit very early on. However looks like in spite of being one of the most experienced and highly educated individual, our Prime Minister is not aware of these facts.
Livemint has correctly pointed out that the high handiness of the Prime Minister has resulted in our country reaching a new low. No wonder under his regime as a Finance Minister, the country witnessed the biggest financial scandal (Harshad Mehta) and under his regime as a Prime Minister we have witnessed the biggest scandal (Telecom).
What irks me is that how can he claim to have the Moral High ground?
Hello: There can only be 2 things possible: He was aware of these 2 scams or he was not.
If one truly believes that he was unaware of these developments then he is probably more incompetent to run this country than a blind, deaf and mute individual.
If he was aware of these scams, then he is an accomplice who should be tried like common criminals and lynched by the very mob that lost 50,000,00,00,000/-. After all he is no different than any common crook or con artist who charms the target before robbing them.
Correction: As per the law Prime Minister is the Leader of the cabinet of ministers who are collectively responsible for their actions. So this makes him the head of the gang of criminals (which apparently he handpicked)


Two-Stroke Diesel Engines

In text-books, we are taught that 2 stroke internal combustion engines are inefficient and are used only in small motors where weight is more important than efficiency or power. However what people don’t realize is that most of the big, high power, high efficiency diesel engines are also two stroke engines. This includes most of the locomotives, ships and submarines. (Gas turbines have higher efficiencies and power to weight ratio, but their high maintenance restricts its use as continuous power supply)
So why the role reversal for Diesel engine?
1. In a petrol engine the intake is a mixture of fuel (petrol) and air (oxygen). The major source of lower efficiency of 2 stroke IC engine is that either some of the fuel leaks away with the exhaust or the exhaust fumes are not fully drained out from the cylinder. However in diesel engine the intake is only air. The fuel is sprayed into the combustion chamber during the combustion phase only. So this takes care of the major source of inefficiency.
2. Diesel is traditionally regarded as a slow and bulky engine. However 2 stroke engine means that for the same rpm (and to the large extend weight and size), there is twice as much combustion and twice as much power.
However all said, 2 stroke engine crams up the intake and exhaust so much that a lot of aerodynamic and thermal stress problems emerge due to close proximity of cold intake with hot exhausts.


Crisis vs Bankruptcy

A very proud moment had been when the Asian Tiger crisis of 1997 had no impact on India. Now even in this sub-prime crisis, when people were having Doomsday prophecy, India continues to grow by leaps and bounds. However recently I have started questioning Indian policies and whether the country is better/worse off due to them.
I have had the fortune to visit Europe during the sub-prime crisis and 3 countries in SE Asia after the Asian Crisis. People were unanimous that times are bad and they are poorer than what they earlier were. However they were not poor, the infrastructure is better than what is found in India, people have better skills and spirit. Hence no wonder within a few years of recession, it’s going to be prosperity and business as usual.
On the other hand, India in 1947 was economically better off than Japan, Europe or any country in the SE Asia. Over the years these countries witnessed several cycles of boom and recession while India has had nearly 7 decades of stagnation where the people were deprived of a decent standard of living.
Failure is the cost of dreaming and the recession is the cost of progress and development. Its high time that our policy makers realize that. “I have never met a rich guy who hasn’t lost a dollar, but have met several poor people who have never lost even a dime” – Rich Dad Poor Dad.


Goodwill in Business

Today I was going across the credit growth numbers of Indian Banks and was surprised to find out that between 16th Jan 2009 to 15th Jan 2010:
Foreign banks lost 9.7% of their business. (credit offtake)
Private Banks grew by mere 9.8%
While Public sector banks which almost constitutes 75% of the total credit offtake grow by an amazing 16.8%
Private and foreign banks tend to have leaner operation cost and more convinient services resulting in lower rates and ease in obtaining credit. Now there can be 2 reasons why the public sector banks are growing at the cost of Private/foreign banks:
1. They are working extra hard to make themselves accessible to their customers while charging them competitive prices.
2. Over the past couple of years the story of private banks man-handling and threatening their defaulting customers have scared even the good customers away.
Tradition demands that the loan shark be shrewd and cold blodded in order to be able to recover his outstanding. However looks like the Public and the foreign banks in India have taken these saying a bit too seriously because now their customers are scared of them.
Note: This theory is unsubstantiated. I really need to organize myself to find out time to dig deep into it before I can confirm what I have written here.


Crusader for Dalits: Mayawati

Mayawati in almost all her speeches highlights the fact that Congress party failed to uplift many wretched dalits while ruling UP and India for over three decades. However it makes me wonder that already in 2007 this dalit leader was voted to power for the fourth time. So how much more time will it take before her actions will start showing results?

BSP is probably the only party which has grown to a national party from a regional party. Yet the party is little more than a vehicle to serve the wishes of her Leader Mayawati. In spite of all the tall claims. In this year general elections the 17 Dalit leaders that BSP has fielded belong only to the reserved seats (where she could not field any other candidate. I could not locate the party manifesto. However I won’t be surprised if like Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party, all the manifesto says is removing computers and bring India back to the Dark ages.

As of now, there is no evidence that Dalits in UP are doing better than in any other part of the country. At the moment the only results that I am seeing are the grand birthday and the public display of millions of dollars worth of public wealth amassed by her party leaders.


Big Bazzar Wednesday Onion-Potato scheme

Big Bazaar has come up with a wonderful scheme. For a purchase of 1,000 INR, you can avail free 1kg onion and Potato for the next 52 weeks.
Even by the most conservative estimate, 52kg of onion and 52 kg on potato will be worth 1,500 INR.
However what makes the whole scheme interesting is how much this can change the buying pattern on indian consumers.
1. You need to visit the store every week. Which effectively means that you will not only make your monthly purchases, but also your weekly purchases there. Hence a shift from low margin commodities like groceries to higher margin perishable fruits and vegetables.
2. Wednesday, being in the middle of the week, is typically a lean day for retailers. Hence this attractive promotion offer would help them balance the crowd better (a customer who has already made his purchase on the weekday might not visit the store again on the weekend) Thereby enabling them to service more households without having to take the pains of visiting the store.
3. 52 weeks is a long enough time to permanently change the buying pattern of the customers.

Future group (its promoters) have launched a prepaid card (which also offers a cash discount of 5% on all sales). A consumer usually is in the hurry to consume the balance in a pre-paid card. Hence he/she effectively is expected to visit the store repeatedly. Also like credit cards, many people tend to spend more when there is an option of a cashless transaction.

I really feel that these 2 schemes are really innovative measures taken by this retail chain. They will not only increase the footfalls and billing but also change the consumer buying behavior completely.


IPL becomes NRIPL

Today’s newspaper is screaming about the news that IPL matches have to be shifted to South Africa or England because the safety of Indian players in this Indian event is at risk.

What message does the Indian Government want to communicate by saying that it cannot guarantee the safely of Indian nationals (who are not involved in any controversy) on Indian Soils?

You might call me anti-P Chidambram, but it looks like home minister has lost his mind.
When the Sensex was falling, he emphasized on the confidence building positive talks to raise the sentiments. In fact he did it so much that many people started wondering if he truly understood the gravity of the situation.
Now when he is in Home Ministry and people of India are desperately looking for a reason why they should feel safe, he is denying us one. Why is the GoI chickening out? Why can’t it guarantee the safety of Indian Nationals? Has it lost its spine?


TV Channel Bashing

This wonderful video from daily show does a much needed bashing of the CNBC channel and their reporting. I wish if someone could make a similar video bashing Indian News channels


Securities Premium account

I was reading this article about how Hindalco is hiding its loss due to acquisition of Novelis, how Tata hid its development charges for Indica using an innovative Securities Premium account.

Basically the asset is transferred to this account and depreciated without effecting the Profit and loss accounts. What is worse is that since Indian courts allow this scheme, more and more companies are taking the route and hiding the true shape of their balance sheet from the public.


India’s secret N-submarine

i was reading the press release by A. K. Antony, India’s Defence Minister:
“India’s secret Nuclear submarine project is near completion”
My views WTF:
1. If it was a secret, then why on earth are you revealing its existence.
2. What benefit does India has to gain by acknowledging that it does not have a nuclear submarine. An incomplete submarine (which is scheduled to be completed by 2012) is equivalent to no submarine for next 4 years. So what does one mean by NEAR COMPLETION?
3. If one trusts DRDO’s capabilities then definitely this submarine would be 20 years behind schedule, would be costing 10 times more than estimate and the submarine would be so rickety that Indian navy would not like to risk manning those submarines.