Showing posts with label Economy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Economy. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Fresh New Year! [1/365]

Yesterday is history.
2012 is a distant memory.
Tomorrow is a mystery and..
Today a present!

There is something about the 1st of January that cheers me up. You wake up with a purpose. And if you are like me, you'd want the day to be perfect.

I've never been able to predict how the rest of the year will be and given up trying to wish for something I think I'll need.

But looking into my crystal ball, here's the good news first.

You're Hired!
After years of slowdown, no hikes and a bleak job market, several quarters starting this year will see stronger hiring and better salary hikes. Personally, I would love to see people chuck jobs that weren't taking them anywhere, and this year looks promising for that transition.

With the Fiscal Cliff nearly averted, the spendthrift middle class and pampered upper class in America and elsewhere will see better days ahead.

Poll Position
This year will test Sonia's political IQ for the second time since her coalition government won several years ago. When she took over the reins of India's oldest party, she won millions of sympathetic voters. After years of corruption and a brain-dead government, I doubt if her party will win even if they beg on their knees. Either ways, India will benefit from some change. Jai Ho!

Fit it. Forget it.
Indians have a notorious habit of not maintaining their infrastructure. The only roads that are motor-able and 'world class' are the ones that the government built with our money and then charge us to use. This poll year will see higher spend on infrastructure.

Everything will be sold online. At a price.
With over a dozen etailers setting up shop in the past couple of months, the margins will shrink and competition will increase.

Gung-Ho about Gadgets
It's going to be a great year for gadget lovers this year. Great time to get that credit card and forget about saving a cent this year. Great year to buy ACs as manufacturers will look to offload their inventory before the deadline for stricter energy regulations.

Dude, where's my car?
Shelve that idea to buy that sedan on all down. As metal and fuel prices go north, you may be able to afford that EMI though.

Shop till you drop..
With major retail giants readying themselves to flood our market, its yet another reason to bid goodbye to any spare change.

And now for the bad news

Bad Girls.
Its a new year and the count resets today. Rapists can open the statistics today. As the holiday season comes to an end and the protesters go back to their colleges and offices, don't even expect our politicians will do anything to redeem our women.

Misogynist Netas and Babas
Can we pack all of them off to a deserted, uninhabited island, please? Maybe we can also exile Sherlyn Chopra, Poonam Pandhey and Rakhi Sawant to join them.

No more freebies..
Is it any wonder why we have the largest cellphone penetration in the planet? We pay the lowest cellular tariffs. Well, cherish it while it lasts. The party is over!

Its all about the money
With a change of guard imminent, you can expect to be pampered like a pup. On the brighter side, we are only getting what they stole from us anyway.

Murder, he did.
If we thought our demands for castrating and hanging the rapists would send a shiver down their collective spi.. er. penises, then think again. Our rapists will make sure their victims won't live another day to speak the truth.

War is here
What can be more disturbing than an Army recruitment billboard that reads: 'The purpose of all war is peace'. We might be doing something wrong because inspite of the dozen or so armed conflicts in the past couple of months, there is no sign of peace.

If anything, we don't deserve a planet like Earth. If I had my way, I would want to recall more than half of the earth's population just for the way they've malfunctioned.

As New Year's eve celebration die down, I wonder where we're headed.
Today's newspapers were flooded with reports of hundreds of innocent people dying just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So as I start my second 365 Challenge, here's to a great New Year, folks..

Friday, November 02, 2012

Its Black vs Tan [307/365]

Ah America!
What a glorious land it is!
School text books in most countries call America- the lone Superpower in a tumultuous world, maintaining peace and stability and sanity.
Most Indians (and Asians) aspire to become a citizen there. Green Cards were a groom's or bride's ticket to a grand wedding here in India. Kids want to study there. Proud parents of kids who got married to an American citizen will gloat about the great pot of gold their kids managed to get.

Seven seas away, the Americans are struggling to keep the shine on their rust.
The coveted American Dream is slowly unraveling. Most households live hand to mouth and paycheck to paycheck. Statistics reveal that a vast majority of Americans will file for bankruptcy if they miss two paychecks in a row. And if this does not sober most Indian parents, then a reality check with the number of unemployed will.

At a little over 7.9%, the unemployment rates are perhaps the highest since the Great Depression. With Obama and Mitt battling it out, it could be a close call. However, it isn't a great competition.
Mitt with his guffaws is no match for the suave sophistication that O brings.
While many people are secretly against O, not many will deny that he just inherited a lot of his predecessor's trash. In the 8 years that Bush ruled he took America to the battlefield and left most of it in the gutters. His daddy's connections with the Oil mafia effectively sealed America's fate. If millions of Americans are unemployed, then it is because of the way Bubba spent all their tax dollars fighting ragtag mercenaries with AK47s six timezones away.

I am no Obama supporter but I do believe him when he says he is trying. What Americans need is security. Not security from foreign terrorists, but from bad policies from leaders with vested interests.

I am amazed how a country as great as America does not have affordable healthcare and efficient employment plans, when much smaller countries like Canada, Kuwait, and Sweden are able to provide for their citizens.

O will win. Not because I have strange powers of seeing into the future but because what America needs now is continuity and some semblance of stability.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

All Stop! [264/365]

Source: Mangalore Today
Bandh- One of Gandhi's only legacy that all political parties practice.

Many years ago, when I attended school for a short period in Kerala during the Gulf War, there would be an average of one bandh a week. Every single week. We used to have atleast 3 weekly off days, and as school kids this was simply amazing. I can't tell you how I loved listening to the radio in the morning when the newsreader would announce a State-wide bandh that day. Double that ecstasy if there was a class test on that day. YAY!

That was 20 years ago. Keralites gradually became weary of the frequent bandhs because of the way it held the State to ransom.
The High Court banned parties from declaring any more bandhs and urged politicians to figure a more meaningful way of non-violent protest. That gave birth to hartals. Not much has changed and there has been about 363 hartals in the 7 years since.

India was held at knife-point today by one of her main Opposition parties - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - to protest a litany of sins that the ruling party has committed.
If you ask me, there was nothing Bharatiya or pro-Janata in declaring a bandh that accomplishes nothing but mind-numbing losses to the national exchequer. It is said that for every day of shut down, the State and Central governments loose tens of thousands of crores in revenue. Not to mention loss of private business revenue. Ofcourse, no one is complaining since coming close to Ganesh Chathurti (yesterday) and the weekend (day after tomorrow), most Indians would have just taken the Friday (tomorrow) off to jet off on a 5 day impromptu vacation. Who's bothered if the country just lost about a 5th of its GDP because of the bandh?

It appears like our elected and non-elected representatives are waiting for a reason to shut shop. Having lived through a dozen such, it won't take an rocket scientist to figure out how this will turn out.

  1. The ruling party passes a bill/legislation.
  2. The opposition will fight for it. It does not matter what the legislation is or how it will help the nation. 
  3. The opposition will demand a rollback. Demand duly refused.
  4. The opposition will demand the resignation of every single minister starting from the PM.
  5. The PM will refuse to resign. 'Make me'
  6. Opposition declares a bandh.
  7. Bandh happens.
  8. The ruling party will not move a finger.
  9. Second bandh happens.
  10. Partial or complete rollback of offending bill/legislation.
  11. Opposition will claim victory.
  12. Repeat cycle.
As news hungry journalists prowled the nation for reports of violence, I saw a report about the unique way the government in Kerala approached the issues of increase in diesel. The citizens understood why the prices were hiked and the government simply lowered the tax that it charges on the fuel per litre and brought the burden down by just as much. This was one of the reasons why life went on as normal in a land where you'd have an average of one hartal every fortnight.

Which brings me to the question; Mr Advani, would you mind paying for the loss that this country has suffered because of the bandh you announced?
Meanwhile, Mr Gandhi is rolling in his grave at the way our politicians have corrupted a concept he popularized.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Didi versus Madam [261/365]

No more Mr Nice Guy
Okay, I must admit. I had that feeling.

Do you have the feeling that someone important is actually reading your blog? Ten days after I wrote about how Mr PM needs to get his act together, he actually does it. Having announced FDI in multi-brand retail and airlines, he has in one masterstroke done what the country needed from him for several years.

While the skeptics ask 'Who are you and what have you done to the PM?', no one will privately deny that this has actually added shimmer to the Indian Dream.

Critics and armchair protesters will tell you how this is the end of Indian independence and how millions of people will be unemployed and yada yada yada...
Didi, the chairwoman of Indians Against Progress has already given a 72 hour deadline to the UPA government. Rollback or Else.
Or else what, Didi? You dont have the gallbladder to do shit.

I can't understand how allowing people who are interested in investing in you can be bad for you. Seeing how Kingfisher (not the drink) and Air India are barely breathing, I wonder how FDI can hurt them. If anything, something like this can actually open up employment to millions. NGOs like Unnati, who've trained thousands of people who would've otherwise added to social poverty statistics can actually be the change that we need today. The only reason why the government won't shut down sick airlines like KF and AI is because shutting them down can mean serious trouble for the economy. Reviving them with bailouts are simply not sufficient.

I'd like to see critics of progress do a reality check. Not take a protest march.
Our country can no longer afford to have politicians like Mamata. By the time we wake up tomorrow, Didi would have withdrawn her ministers from the government. While she has helpfully added that she will still support the UPA from outside, this is the UPA's chance to 'go down fighting'.

Advice to Didi: 'Take a hike'.
Advice to Mr PM: 'Dont stop and dont look back. Didi's taken a hike'.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Behind Poverty lines [79/365]

Roti, Kappada aur Makaan (Food, Clothing and Shelter)
Man's three basic and fundamental rights.
Secure these for your citizens and everything else will fall in place.

Today, a report headlined proclaimed how 5 crore people have moved beyond the poverty line.
Last year, the commission became the stock of much ridicule when it declared how a person cannot be below the poverty line if they earned Rs32 (About half a dollar) or more. Apparently, the department is made up of people who are living proof that evolution can go in reverse.
The new report puts the poverty line at Rs 22.43 for rural areas and Rs28.65 for those fortunate to live in cities. (The encouraging news here)

Now, I don't have anything against the poor becoming richer by a few rupees. Heck! I would be the first to pop the bubbly if the yawning gap between the have's and the have-not's are bridged.
But I smell a rat here.
As Indians, we have lived long enough under the unsightly shadow of being called a 'developing nation'.
So, a headline like this makes an euphoric read. The World Bank and all the donors of our poor, hungry and fly-infested children who will die if we don't contribute generously will be happy.
But the fact is far from the truth. Beyond the headline, it is clear to see how this report is a perfect example of unimaginative people who are about as smart as a bait.

Sample this:
Despite the fact that the commission has reduced the minimum wages required to be classified as under poverty, the number of poor have increased in Bihar, UP, Chattisgarh, Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Meghalaya. Interestingly, so has naxalites and maoists in these regions. Not good news at all.

But who can live on Rs32 today? Maybe in the 18th Century where an an Anna paise took you far.
By releasing such a report, the committee has become a farce and a slap on the face of all those families struggling to live on Rs 1000 ($18) a month.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Calling the bluff [51/365]

And the obsession with Iran continues.
The West threatening Iran with punitive sanctions while its business as usual in Iran. I wonder why all the posturing when it is obvious that we need the Iranian oil as much as they need our petrol-dollars.
Amidst the war cries and the many claims, Iran defiantly went ahead and processed nuclear fuel. (Read the startling news here)

Call it modern age propaganda or just the result of the West's influence on the media, Iran is a very progressive nation.
Unlike the Cubans, Russians, Iraqis or the Koreans, Iran has managed to make huge strides in infrastructure. With a GDP close to a trillion dollars, its economy is something that only a handful of nations can match.
Being one of ten most tourist worthy places in the world, I had the wonderful chance to visit the country a decade ago.
I noticed how broad the roads were, how friendly the people were and the enormous respect that its citizens had towards Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran.
With all the war-mongering going on, I was surprised at how peaceful you feel on the streets.
Their emphasis on protecting culture and history is a lesson that India can truly learn. Iranian cinema and musicians had been quietly gathering accolades for themselves for a while when I had visited. Sport is taken seriously, both as a recreation and as a career, which is much more than what I can say for other countries with the resources but lacking the will.
Many of us tend to confuse Iran with its poorer Asian neighbors. But their ingenuity, perseverance and almost limitless ability to excel inspired me.

Today as the war cries reach a crescendo, I recall how my perception about Iran changed. Iran is indeed the West's favorite punching bag. Today, I realize why the West and more importantly the US cannot bear an empowered Iran.
The same reason why the US could not stand a powerful Russia. 

More power to Iran.

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