Sunday, June 28, 2009

Is it all over for the BJP ?

The Bharthiya Janata Party(BJP) suffered a severe setback in Elections 2009 losing as many as 20 seats from their previous eletion tally in 2004. On the other hand,the Congress surged ahead to get 206 seats on its own. But, is it really all over for BJP as many analysts predict? Lets look ahead and try, analyse the outcome. The one thing which obviously separates Congress from BJP is that BJP is not a pan-India party like Congress. BJP simply doesnot even have a miniscule presence in South India. Apart from Karnataka, which it won as recently as 2006, BJP's tally in Tamil Nadu,Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, so called game changers in any election, is literally zero.They are not even a second or thrid alternative in these states and donot even figure in any credible alliance with major regional parties. They languish allay-less and are not a force to reckon with. They just have to start from scratch and try build a base,which acceptably seems very distant or even impossible without the help of the regional parties.

But, the scenario is not as worse in west and central India as in the south. They have a strong base, which of late is seeing some cracks, in Gujarat,Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. BJP, which is believed to have a created a strong attraction by both good administration in these states and also communal politics. Gujarat's growth in terms of infrastructure and government intitiatives in creating plethora of jobs in many sectors should be physicallly viewed to believe it. Yet, BJP faired marginally bad in their strong-hold states. For instance, BJP won just one seat more than in 2004 in Gujarat, where they were predicted to sweep the elections.Similar to South, BJP as a party is quiet alien to east India. Unless they have some kind of alliance, they seemed to be far behind. BJP was wiped out in Delhi, the National capital, Jammu and Kashmir,Uttarakand and won just one seat in West Bengal.

All said and done, BJP still has some hope and it may be down,but not out. After all, they are the prime opposition party and by far the second largest, in terms of number of seats won in Lok Sabha. In terms of administartion, BJP, under AB Vajpayee showed the way for the country in infrastructure development,telecom boom and the overall economic growth during their tenure from 1998-2004. In terms of foreign policy, both Congress and BJP, donot have any major differences. One thing, the Indian voter would like them to weed out from their system, is their Hindu fundamentalist face, which is advocated by a small group of grey-haired leaders in their ranks.

Maybe, a younger leader with a futuristic approach with clean non-communal image is the order of the day for BJP. The old issues like building temple in a particular site may not fetch vote anymore. Also, they can win back hearts and votes by being a resposible opposition party and helping the government in implementing important projects and also criticising when the government takes the wrong approach and giving alternative ideas. Like the saying goes, "Never say never in politics", BJP may come out of this predicament with the right, non-communal approach putting the welfare of the country as priority or slump further to oblivion by taking a dangerous fundamentalist approach. The ball is in their court and even this "not-so-good period" can become a water-shed moment in BJP's political survival.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson dead

Pop star Michael Jackson died Thursday following a cardiac arrest at his home in Los Angeles. He was 50. Jackson, one of the most influential figures in pop music history whose four-decade career included the highest-selling album of all-time, "Thriller," had been preparing for a concert comeback in London next month he had dubbed "the final curtain."Michael Jackson's death has been greeted with a mixture of shock, sadness and disbelief, as fans expressed their grief.

Jackson had appeared increasingly frail and financially-challenged in recent years. Despite earning hundreds of millions of dollars he was reported to be $500 million in debt thanks largely to his extravagant lifestyle. Jackson's rented home was roped off after paramedics arrived to transport the King of Pop to the hospital.

Jackson lived as a virtual recluse following his 2005 acquittal on charges including child molestation and plotting to kidnap his young accuser.Despite his acquittal, the trial was a body blow from which the pop music superstar, who named his ranch for Peter Pan's "Neverland" of perpetual childhood

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nandan Nilekani quits Infosys

Infosys Co- Chairman Nandan Nilekani has been appointed by the government to head the National ID Card Project and will step down from the company’s board. Nilekani would be given status of a Cabinet Minister.The UIDAI, an entity under the Planning Commission, has been constituted to provide national identity cards to Indian citizens.Nilakeni said the government was still to work out the costing of the project, adding the plan was to roll out UIDs within 12 -18 months.The big issue of this project is that we need to have one central data base which ultimately will have details of a billion residents of India and that apart from their information about their names, address, date of birth and so forth, will also have to store bio-metric information about them, maybe finger prints, or facial picture etc. because the bio-metric is what is going to ensure that we don’t have duplication of people in the database.

Under the UIDAI programme, unique identification cards would be provided to citizens by 2011. In the beginning, the cards will be assigned to all voters by building on current electoral roll data. The other big challenge is the inter-operability is whether the Citizen card is issued which are co-branded with MNIC or Pan card, as far as the identity part of it goes, it should get authenticated in the same way all over the country so there is a lot of co-ordination that is required both across central government as well as local governments, so the complexity is mainly of co-ordination and inter-operability which we have to encourage.

As co-founder of the $4.6-billion global software major, Nilekani served as a director since the company's inception in 1981. He was the chief executive and managing director from March 2002 to June 2007 and was re-designated as the co-chairman of the company's board.

Different weather patterns

The weather back home in Chennai is hot and humid, as its always been. But this time, it is very hot, feels like Dubai, though i haven't been there. Generally, Chennaites suffer from hot and humid conditions throughout the year and especially during April-July. The rainy season between October-November is quite short and we have spells of rain extending for 2-3 days. The mercury never dips below 25 degree celcius. People here crave for the rainy and winter season.Chennai weather is pretty much like what the weather in Arizona relocation is. The high 80 f in Arizona relocation maybe the way it is in Arizona always. People would love to spend in those temperate climatic regions of Arizona.Arizona’s weather is popularly categorized as hot and dry and no matter what time of year you visit Arizona, you’ll find beautiful, perfect weather somewhere.Hope weather in Chennai turns like the one in Arizona.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Will middle income syndrome affect India ?

Recently, India was elevated from being a low income country to a lower-middle income country joining the likes of China,Philipines and Turkey by the World bank. This was mainly due to strong economic performance in the last half decade. What is the significance of this elevation in the first place ? Lower-middle income countries are those countries in which the average income of an individual is anywhere between 956$-3705$. Generally, countries grouped in this category said to have attained financial credibility which they lacked previously. This in turn, makes them eligible to borrow more loans and aids from financial instituitions like World Bank and IMF for improving their internal infrastructure, spending in social sector schemes and internal security.
But, many countries like Brazil and Philippines which had tremendous growth in the early 90's and their subsequent stagnation in growth should be properly analysed. India's main growth story is fuelled by the services sector like IT and financial services. Now, why is outsourcing and other services being awarded to India by foreign countries like America and the EU? One reason is the high technical expertise of Indian engineers and the second and a major factor is due to "Low wages" prevailing in India.
But, as we grow and so is the income of many skilled people in India. This could affect the wage-advantage that we have against our Chinese,Korean and Japanese counterparts. This will affect our services sector. IT and ITES contracts may go to many less-income countries like Vietnam and Philippines which are of late, growing very well in services sector.This was echoed even by Wipro chairman Azim Premji recently in a conference. He said "The BPO business in the Philippines was hardly anything some five years ago, but now the country is in a position to get equal with India or displace its leadership in BPO". IT companies may not post 25-30% CAGR that they are posting before the recession. This means creation of less jobs in this industry and more difficult times ahead.
Thus, India has look beyond the successful growth story of services sector and start investing in sectors like manufacturing,infrastrucure,education,textiles and telecom. Proper planning forward with proactive rather than reactive measures should be the need of the hour. Also,improving educational expertise in different sectors and skilled labour in other sectors should be encouraged. India has to diversify its core sectoral growth and bring in major face-lift to many sectoral portfolios, if it wants to become a major superpower by 2020.
As far as the software industry is concerned, they will have to keep thinking and innovating in different avenues and be competitive always,like they have been for many years.Major thrust to R&D and Intellutual Property Rights(IPR) should be given by Indian companies. If these can be managed, Indian IT industry can become a 80 billion dollar sector by 2011, double than what they are today!!! It has to seen whether India can stay clear of this middle income syndrome like China and motor forward, diversifying in all sectors or get stagnated like Brazil with a small percentage of growth.

Accor Hotels- the best place to check-in for holiday trip

Holiday season is in and people are exploring new places to spend their time during their trips. With recession gripping everyone, everywhere people have started spending each penny with great caution. People want best value for each dollar spent. So, the best way to get out of all these daily routines is to have a chill pill and go exploring the earth for a few days.
The first thing that you need to do while going for a trip is to book the hotel rooms in the place you want spend. Hotels are costing much more and the services are not particularly great. Dont worry. Accor Hotels City Super Sale is here and at such flat rates, it is probably the best bet you would ever get from a reputed hotel chain. Accor has a wide chain of hotels around the world and especially Asia-Pacific. From Bangalore to Beijing, or from Perth to Pune, you name it and Accor Hotels will offer their best hospitality hotels.
Personally, i would like to go on a holiday trip to New Zealand and ideally spend couple of days in Wellington. With its low cost and great hospitality structure including some wonderful packages, i would opt for Accor Hotels in wellington. This way i get save a lot of money and also get the best luxuries any hotel can provide.
I would also others to go through Accor Hotels City Super Sale and check out the wonderful packages offered by Accor hotels. Remember, the offer is valid for a limited time and you dont get a better value for money with world's best luxuries hotels. Accor Hotel rates in 27 cities across 10 countries in Asia Pacific are being reduced in Accor's new "City Super Sale".
The offer is valid in Accor Hotels in major cities like Bangkok,Singapore,Mumbai,Sydney.
Travellers will be able to take advantage of savings of up to 60% when they book on-line between 23 - 29 June, for stays between July 10 and September 30, 2009 and also the low air fares across many Asia-Pacific countries.
So, what are you waiting for ? Avail this wonderful oppurtunity from Accor Hotels to enjoy one of the best holiday trip of your life time.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Budget 2009- what is the road ahead for our economy ?

Everyone seems to buoyed by the outcome of elections 2009 in India. India will have a far more stable and energetic government in the form of the Congress-led UPA government.Hopefully, we will see lot more governance than politics in the next five years led by PM Manmohan Singh.One of the main and immediate challenge facing the government is the economic slowdown. Although, India seems to have been faring far better than many countries around the world, it cannot be complacent. The two main reasons for this is- one, India has a vibrant domestic demand fuelled by a huge population and second is that India is just a developing country with industries and exports just on the brink of huge expansions. Also, there is lot of restrictions and caps on foreign investments in India.Therefore, well developed export sectors like IT and trextiles are the main ones which are worst-hit by the recession in the developed world.Even though we had the popular liberalisation budget of 1991 by the then FM Manmohan Singh, we still need to do lot more in terms of reforms especially in sectors like power,insurance and banking.

Many ask why its just an economic slowdown in India, while many western countries are going through a rough recession period ?It is the above mentioned reasons why there is just a slowdown in India. On the contrary, Japan is going through a deep recession even though it is not the cause of it, primarily because it is an export-dependent country.

With the left out of the way, Congress has a golden oppurtunity in setting the record straight in the economic front. The budget on July 6th will signal the direction in which this government will travel. That is why, this budget will be very important for the government as well as the industry leaders.

Here are some of the main decisions that the industry believe should be taken in this budget:

Agriculture and Food: India, even while it talks of globalisation and industrialization, should not forget that 70% of Indian population depend on agriculture. The most important policy is the Food security act, which essentially will guarantee food, three times a day for the poor. Also, more R&D intiatives and investments is the need of the hour in this sector such that new techniques and ways to cultivate fertile land and produce hybrid seeds can be achieved.

Exports sector: This sector is worst affected by the global recession and needs a fillip immediately. Tax breaks and duty cuts for this sector is a mere given. Also, textile sector should be given some stimulus package so as to revive their business and compete with global players. Also, for the IT sector abolition of FBT(Fringe Benefit Tax) and STPI tax exemption extension for another 3 years should be taken up.

Telecom: The first and foremost is the completion of 3G auction which will enable fast data transfer and more clear voice signal.Also, a proper broadband policy for India should be commisioned in line with major economies. Broadband and internet should help in e-governance and education at all levels. Atleast 8 Mbps broadband speed should be introduced in wired communication.

Insurance and Finance: Labour reforms, Insurance and banking reforms should be the priority. Banks must be adviced to lend to for many industrial projects, most of all the infrastructure projects.

Roads, railways and infrastructure: This perhaps is the most important sector. Huge potential in improving our infrastructure will produce more jobs and stimulate the demand market and improve our economic growth vastly. The main issue here is the execution of all the projects. We have all the project work and the money. But, we have to execute the projects well which is where we lack. Power generation, roads, ports expansion will hugely transform our economy. Proper execution mechanism and regulatory mechanism should be taken up by the FM in this budget for this sector.

Education: Primary education should be the main focus.Schools with properly attended teachers and students should be ensured. Innovative methods for teaching with the help of internet and computers should be used.More money should be allocated for this sector in mid-day meal schemes and should also ensure continuation of children in classes into secondary education and colleges.

Other important schemes like Bharat Nirman,NREGA(National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) with daily wages incrreased from RS.80 to RS.100 a day should be ensured. It must extend to throughout India. Similar scheme for the rural poor should be researched and executed.

Thus, these are the main and immediate steps that should be taken in this Budget. This will help the Indian economy to move back to our growth story of 2007-08. A GDP growth of 9% should be the goal which is very much achievable in the next 2-3 years.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Roger Federer-a legend beyond comparison

June 7,2009 8:46 PM-He has done it!!! The man who was time and again crucified by critics around the world- Spanish, Russian,American, German,Indian for failing to go past just that single hurdle in his career- THE FRENCH OPEN VICTORY. Roger Federer is the man and he did it. He showed the world that unlike the great Pete Sampras, his closest rival in terms of number of grand slams victories, he had the spine and more importantly the game to win in Roland Garros. Ruled for four years by current world no:1 and Roger's long term nemesis, Rafael Nadal, this was perhaps the only eluding jewel in an otherwise illustrious career.
This places him alongside "Pistol Pete" for most number of grand slam victories-14. At 27, Roger still has a lot more years to go past Sampras and create a record number of grand slams, which i believe cannot be breached by anyone in the years or perhaps, decades to come.But, all these records aside,Roger Federer is a true legend beyond any comparison. After a string of defeats and losing his No:1 crown to the Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, many wrote off Federer just like that.To be fair,he also didnot show any of his regal touch of class for a long time. The critics(read "Nadal's fans") ridiculed the way he surrendered to Rafael Nadal's power play in three of the four grand slam finals last year.
An emotional Federer was left weeping inconsolably after his defeat to Nadal in the French open final last year. His fans and also the game's greatest including Sampras were running out of ideas to defend the Swiss master. 2008-09 was the worst year for Roger Federer in terms of win-loss ratio.All this time, the new world no:1, Nadal was marching through and was playing the best tennis of his career rubbishing claims that he is a one-surface wonder. He began to win on all surfaces- grass, hard court or clay, he mastered it all. He reached his peak winning the Wimbledon 2008(grass) and the Australian open 2009(hard court) and the Olympic gold medal.
Federer with just one grand slam to equal Sampras record went into this year's French Open, the place he was beaten by Nadal four consecutive times, as a clear underdog.Nadal brezeed past his opponents in his favoutite surface while Federer was made to work hard to win his early rounds. He seemed a shadow of his gloroius past.
Second week of French open and there came the surprise. Nadal was beaten in 4 sets by a lesser known opponent from Sweden,Robin Soderling. This boosted Federer chances and he started feeling his rhytm and came back from 2 sets down to beat Tommy Haas.He started to feel confident and was soon in the finals against Soderling, the man who defeated Nadal. The occasion was overwhelming for Soderling and Federer took advantage and won the first two sets easily.Then after stiff resistance from Soderling in the third set, closed the match and realised his dream, winning the French Open for the first time. An emotional Federer could not believe it and fell to the ground in tears.
"It takes away so much pressure. Now, I can play in peace for the rest of my career. Nobody will never tell me again that I have not won Roland Garros. It's nice to be up here on the podium as a winner this time", told the champion.
More than his game, his grit and determination won him the honours on that beautiful Sunday evening in Paris.As told by Roger himself, his critics can stay calm now that he has won in all the surfaces.Maybe its time for Nadal to prove that he can achieve atleast half as many grand slams as Federer has won. Federer has proved everything and achieved everything in tennis that he will play more calmer and without pressure and win many more grandslams. I just feel, come July 5 and Federer would be posing with his Wimbledon title. Even if quits the game today, Federer will be hailed the greatest player in tennis history and all his so called present-day competitors will have to show the longevity that Federer has been able to show and sustain for about a decade in competitive tennis winning every crown in tennis history.
As far as long haired Spaniard is concerned, he has show the flare and panache of Federer, to come anywhere close to him and not just raw physical power, which cannot be sustained. Heard that Nadal's knee is already giving up. What's the news there?!!!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Federer wins French open to equal Sampras's record

Roger Federer defeated Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 in the French Open final on Sunday to become the sixth man in tennis history to win all four Grand Slam titles.The others are Don Budge, Fred Perry, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and Andre Agassi, the American who surprisingly won the title here in 1999 and presented the trophy to Federer on Sunday.Roger Federer has joined Pete Sampras on a record 14 grand-slam titles.

Federer, who was a runner-up to Rafa Nadal in each of the last three years on the Paris clay, could not contain his delight at having finally broken his Roland Garros jinx.His other wins being five each at Wimbledon and the US Open and three Australian Opens.The match was played in gusting winds and, for much of the final two sets, in rain that ranged from light to heavy and had many of the fans in the Philippe Chatrier Court hunkered down under their umbrellas.Andre Agassi who wa the last man to win all four grand slams, fittingly presented the cup to Roger Federer.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

EC-Council iClass- The place to learn for ethical hackers

IT Security and ethical hacking goes a long way both in legal ethical hacking and to secure the Information Systems that we have in place.EC-Council helps you in this regard in fulfilling your dream of being a IT security expert with credible certifications in IT Security . White hat hackers, also known as "ethical hackers," are computer security experts, who specialize in penetration testing, and other testing methodologies, to ensure that a company's information systems are secure.
Since, lot more companies are going global and capacitating themselves with pure IT infrastructure,IT Security has become a huge and an important investment for companies around the world. So, it has become a huge employment oppurtunity for many people in these tough times. People equipped themselves with these courses in security are getting well placed in big companies with good salaries. Ethical hacking itself involves various stages in hacking called as "hacking cycles". These are essential courses taken towards becoming an IT security guy by the EC-Council. Students attending EC-Council training will get proper exhaustive training namely Security Fundamentals ,Ethical Hacking ,Penetration Testing ,Computer Forensics,Disaster Recovery and Secure Programming. In Ethical Hacking training by EC-Council, each student gets Accelerated Live, online Official Instructor Led Training ,Official EC-Council Courseware ,Prometric or Vue Certification Test Voucher ,Complimentary Hacker Halted Pass with a Dedicated EC-Council Education Consultant ,Certificate of Completion and a copy of Core Security Technologies' award winning penetration testing product, CORE IMPACT Pro.
The training for Certified Ethical Hacker classes can be held at the our own comfort and thats why we have a different training schedules catering to different needs of the students.
So, what are you waiting. Go now and enrol yourself in EC-Council and become an ethical IT Security man.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

"The Great American Dream" - Will that be possible again?

For students in emerging markets i.e India and China, America was the dream destination for pursing their higher studies and a wonderful career. It was all a matter of few applications to US universities and choosing the right ones once you get the admits, ofcourse you need a better under-graduate score and acceptable scores in some qualifying exams. Two years of hard work and then landing in a good job there will help you take off in your career.
But now, is it all turning into a nightmare very soon ? The economic recession and its aftermath, have pulled the US economy considerably down. The housing bubble has led to huge financial crisis. Many big companies have gone bankrupt and huge layoffs have occured in many sectors across the board in America.
Many Indians have flown back home to India planning to apply for jobs in India, as they think that their jobs are not secure. US government has pumped in money through many financial and stimulus packages, cut interest rates to encourage spending by its citizens.This inturn has put a huge fiscal deficit burden on the American government, which many believe will balloon out to uncontrollable levels by FY10. Besides this, the American treasury bonds bought by many countries as a source of investment is becoming more of a liability. The Chinese who has the highest amount of treasury bonds are very worried about their return on investment.
Americans who are the main source of consumption for the global market are beginning to save more for the future fearing a bleak future. So, this has put enormous pressure on other countries who export goods to America and Europe.
Many believe this gap in global consumption can be filled only when emerging markets like India and China grow and create a domestic demand in their respective countries as they have a huge growing population.Experts believe even if America and Europe get out of this recession, they may not grow like they massively did pre-recession era. So, more protectionist measures and stringent immigrant laws will follow so as to keep American jobs to themselves. This may make it improbable for Indian students and their Chinese counterparts to study and get a dream job in US.
But the blessing in disguise could be a growing India and more jobs being created in India with well paid openings. This could take a few years, if not a decade or so before India and China emerge as dynamic economies providing sufficient jobs to its citizens. Till then, a slow growing or sluggish global economy will be the order of the day,hopefully just 2 to 3 years of pain.Indian companies should now look to Africa and "Emerging markets" for pouring their investment rather than United States and Europe and diversify their investment.
So, maybe, demise of the "American Dream" would be the starting point of an "Indian or a Chinese dream".

Monday, June 01, 2009

GM files for bankruptcy

General Motors Corp filed for bankruptcy on Monday, forcing the 100-year-old automaker once seen as a symbol of American economic might and dynamism into a new and uncertain era of government ownership.
The bankruptcy filing is the third-largest in U.S. history and the largest ever in U.S. manufacturing.The widely expected move comes after GM had seen its losses widen following a steep fall in sales in recent years. The move into bankruptcy protection has been backed by the US government, which is now expected to take a 60% stake in the company.
GM had already received $20bn of state aid since the end of last year. US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection gives an American company time to restructure its finances while being protected from its creditors. The restructuring is likely to drastically change GM, with some 20,000 US workers thought likely to lose their jobs.