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Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Yes we can

Barack Obama is the new president elect of the USA. I heard snippets of his Chicago victory speech and (the lover of good speeches that i am ) I think it was a very firm and confident Obama delivering the message of change and inspiring a vision of a new America on which the world so much today depends for a stable economic order.

Barack Obama- President elect of the USA

Barack Obama- President elect of the USA

Being a citizen of the worlds largest democracy and observing the election results of the worlds oldest democracy I realized some unusual differences between the two.

1. Most Americans have a strong emotional connection with their president elect. I wonder how many of us here think the same way about our Prime Minister or President. The closest to this feeling was when i read or heard Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam when he was our President. He was different.

2. The post victory speech of Obama has a positive message for all be it his republican competitor, be it his heroes of the gone days, be it an ordinary 106 year old voter, be it the people who voted for McCain, be it the other Nations of the world or be it the environment. Being positive and thinking simple good things indicates his affirmative plan of action. I wish him very well.

3. The grace with which the loser surrendered was also remarkable for a man of McCains stature , he only grew larger in everyone’s eyes by acknowledging his defeat with the same mark of respect. I have still to see this elegance in the political class of my country. Honestly we are not anywhere near.

4. Finally the whole idea of a junior Senator running an intense and hard campaign to become the youngest President of the worlds most powerful country not withstanding his race or color not shrouded by political game play makes a really prolific and inspiring journey. To say the least i am amazed. Think about such possibilities here ?

This election has been a watershed in more ways than one not only for America but for the whole world order.  It reflects the massive change in mindset of the average American who has voted this little known black Senator from Illinois into becoming the 44th President of the United States of America. From the other side of the world we sincerely hope that he delivers what he promised.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you: We as a people will get there. – Barack Obama

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After a really long time…

So dear fiends, where have i been , why am i not blogging all these have been asked and to tell you i was just around but a little more than normally busy. In the meantime a lot of things happened around. There is heightened terrorism activity and some blasts shook our own garden city, the financial world is dreading the reality of a meltdown which looks more menacing everyday, the stock markets are reacting painfully to this reality, i realized that money can also evaporate like camphor, India has sent a mission to the moon, Raj Thakeray(RT) is spitting fire against immigrants and challenging the social fabric of our country …. Some of the main happenings.

Lets not talk about the economic meltdown , its a cycle which will come and go. Those who are using this as an excuse to resurrect Marx and communist philosophies will not make much out of this exercise.

Lets talk about something that i read today in the papers. Some activists stormed into a FM radio station here and ransacked the place because they were broadcasting Hindi songs on Kannada Rajyotsava Day. This is no better than what is happening in Maharashtra under the able guidance of RT. Regional chauvinism is the new style among us all. Why are we Indians working to divide our communities ? Why don’t we act in accordance with our rich heritage of peaceful co-existence that has been sighted as exemplary through centuries ? It pains to hear that people are intolerable of other citizens from our own country. What do we want to prove : that we are intolerable narrow minded blokes ? Let us not indulge in this dangerous trend, let us not find ways and means to split our democracy, let us unite and remain as peace loving Indians – that is what strengthens our democracy and makes us stand out proud with honor.

Permanent good can never be the outcome of untruth and violence.
–Mahatma Gandhi

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The other day I was watching a BBC newscast where I heard that people in Cuba could now buy personal computers. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. Were they never buying computers before ? I remember my first computer was an imported 386DX almost 15 years ago. The world has come thus far and now we hear Cubans are going to buy their first computers ! Reforms will now slowly make way into the communist protected Cuban economy. Cubans are heaving a sigh of relief. Castro will no more impose his communist dictatorship over them but everyone knows that Raul is not going to be much better. But i take this chance to sit back and wonder on how fortunate we are here in our country. We are free to buy almost anything(provided you have the money), free to visit places(one Cuban citizen says”Even if we had the money, the government wouldn’t let us leave the country” ), free to choose a profession we like, free to work anywhere, free to educate our kids as we want, free to do any business ( as long as its legal) and free to enjoy the gift of life.

Dear readers, lets wish that things improve in Cuba and other places in the globe where people are struggling to get what we here take almost for granted.

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It is election time in my adopted state. The campaign is getting hotter with the climate. Political parties are following Karunanidhi’s example of electoral success in Tamil Nadu and resorting to offering freebies like Colour TV’s , free power etc. (more…)

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One topic, which every one from economists to common man is discussing today is the high Inflation in our country. For starters, Inflation refers to the general rise in prices over a given period of time. Let us not discuss the statistics behind inflation, that’s not interesting for many of us. What is important though is the fact that prices are rising and the power of your rupee is decreasing. The rupee can buy lesser of a commodity than it used to.

For me and you :

(more…)

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Nano : The 1 Lakh car

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How can I not mention the new buzz word in the auto industry – The Nano by Tata. Truly an invention that will unseat some auto majors worldwide and give hope to a lot of my countrymen to own and drive a car of their own. They call it the people’s car and I think it will trigger a low cost car revolution in the industry. The praise ends here, in this entry I want to look at what will happen to the already choked infrastructure of Bangalore once the Nano sets feet here. I don’t wish to criticize anyone; I am only imagining what the future has in store. The infrastructure in the city is far from adequate and the city cries under the weight of its own progress. Development is haphazard and really unordered. Roads, Flyovers, Public transport systems, Public health systems, Educational facilities all are stressed to the last possible end.

If the Nano invades the roads here it will be similar to killing something which is already breathing its last. I dread to imagine how the roads will looks like. Personally I would love to use a public transport system like a Metro Rail that is starting to be developed but is hugely inadequate because it will cater to a very small surface area and is progressing at snail’s velocity which will ensure that the average citizens problems will remain unsolved for a long time to come.

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Do I earn enough ?

A question occurred to me last night : Do I earn enough ? Last month i analyzed my major expenses to really understand what i do with my money. I had to do this because every month after 20th my account balance ventured into dangerous territory where my banker would take pride in offering me the privilege of using my overdraft facility in case I needed money. Anyway coming back to the point, from the survey i found out the following :

30% of my income goes in loan repayments, 20% in household expenses, 10% in fuel and other expenses, 10% in education, entertainment etc, 10% in insurance and other payment etc,

So then do i earn enough ? After a lot of deliberation it was easy to decide – i do !

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In the papers, I saw a news item carried with much importance in the last few days. There is a new condom in the market and apart from doing its regular duties it is also supposed to vibrate – I mean it protects with pleasure. So whats the big deal ? Not for me but a so far unknown minister of the Madhya Pradesh Government took exception to the fact that the condom was being marketed for pleasure(as a sex toy as per his understanding) rather than for preventing AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. Our guy defines the duties of a condom.

a. It should offer protection from AIDS ….

b. It should be used to supplement our population control measures. Full Stop.

If anyone markets the apparatus for something other than (a) and (b) above then it is a gross violation of the traditions of Indian Culture and will be dealt with severely. Our minister was more angry because the whole story is about Crezendo, a condom with a vibrating ring marketed by the Government’s own Hindustan Latex Limited, India’s premier condom producer trying desperately to revive its fortunes in the face of intense competition from private sector players. The minister is from the BJP but in this case he has the full support of the Congress and the Left. Together the trio form the saviors of India’s rich cultural heritage and its holy traditions.

Dear politician and caretaker of the Indian morality please give me a break.

When will our politicians stop making controversies out of such non-issues. Pity. I remember the following line of Charlie Chaplin I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.

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Seven years ago when I reached Bangalore to start my career with Siemens, little did I imagine that I would make this place my home. At first it was amusing to see a new people with new cultures, new emotional attachments, new conflicts and new ways to celebrate. Slowly my feelings too dissolved in the serenity and peace of this wonderful city. But over the years things have changed , more for the worst. Traffic has become uncontrollable while road sense has disappeared into thin air, Pollution is unbearable and at peak hours it nearly chokes, Fossils of road remind me of the good old days when I used to zoom on my bike with the wind kissing my forehead(now I crawl in my car and the ride is as bumpy as a camel ride in the desert), Real Estate prices have increased at the speed of thought and now Hosur (in adjoining Tamil Nadu) beckons property buyers.bangalore_traffic.jpg

This city which takes every one in its stride and gives everyone an opportunity to grow and to dream. Patiently it suffers under the weight of huge apartments and tall sky scrapers. It must be crying out for help but who cares. Let us hope that the tax rich Government of this state does a wee bit more to give the city the care and commitment it so much deserves.

Note: picture acknowledgment Deccan Herald.

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Where the future belongs…

Eddie Izzard once said, “I grew up in Europe, where the history comes from”. I have to tell Eddie , ” Congratulations!, I grow up in India, where the future belongs”. No it is not out of over-confidence , as you would note in my previous blogs I am confident that we are living in a resurgent India that is a breaking from its shell of the “Hindu growth rate” and associated self-imposed imprisonment. We as a people have been exploited through and throughout history by our invaders. Now is our time to grow beyond these inflictions and move ahead in the forward direction with a positive frame of mind. Beyond the economic progress we are making and the giant strides in technology that have catapulted us into a strong leadership position in the digital world, we have lots to accomplish at home itself. We cannot boast of a 10% growth rate and still have half our children suffering from malnutrition.We cannot pat ourselves on the back for being #6 in the world in terms of GDP(Purchasing Power Parity) when we are #126 in terms of the HDI(Human Development Index), but all this means that we can only become better than what we already have achieved.

In general it is important :
1. To push our poverty line in the opposite direction so that every Indian gets 3 wholesome meals a day.
2. Create more job opportunities for the youth of today.
3. Improve heavily our health services sector.
4. Make education available to every Indian.
5. Strive with a strong heart for more economic reforms.

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