Monday, August 31, 2009

IL&FS to be the new promoters of Maytas Infra

IL&FS(Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services) Ltd. will take over the management control of Maytas Infra Ltd. The board of Maytas Infra Ltd, linked to scam-hit outsourcer Satyam Computer, has received a proposal to replace the existing founders of the company from IL&FS limited. IL&FS is the single largest shareholder of Maytas and will control 37% of equity in the company as some other large shareholders will pledge their shares with it.IL&FS currently holds a 14.5% stake in Maytas. The existing promoter shareholders will step down.
Maytas was founded by the family of Ramalinga Raju, the former chairman of Satyam Computer Services Ltd., who confessed in January to an accounting fraud at Satyam.
IL&FS Financial Services will spend about Rs.1.5 billion to buy 22.51 percent of equity in Maytas Infra Ltd.

Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal goes to polls on October 13

Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh will go to polls on October 13 on a single phase election time table. This was announced by Chief Election Commisioner Mr.Naveen Chawla. The counting will take place on October 22. There is an unusual 9-day gap between the polling day and counting day.

This, Election Commision says is due to Diwali that comes right between on October 18. This is also the first elections after the General elections which took place last April-May where Congress party romped home with victory.Despite the ongoing controversy over Electronic Voting Machines, the same will be used for casting vote in all three states. Video cameras will be placed in sensitive polling booths. With this announcement the Model Code of Conduct has been activated.

There are 60 seats in Arunachal Pradesh, 90 seats in Haryana and 288 seats in Maharashtra assemblies respectively. There are 7.56 crore voters in Maharashtra and 1.20 crore voters in Haryana. EVMs will be used in all the three states.

Arunachal Pradesh and Haryana are expected to go Congress way mainly due to a strong party base and also a very weak opposition in BJP. Maharashtra will be the one to watch. The Congress-NCP combine are likely to go together against the 3o years of coalition combine of Shiv Sena and BJP. BJP is certainly on a sticky wicket due to internal party uproar and fights within the party high command. Also, the Raj Thackeray's MNS could play a spoiler and eat into the votes of BJP and Shiv Sena.

Congress, fresh from its victory at the centre is itching to take hold of the Maharashtra government for the third consecutive time. The main qusetion being whether they would contest alone in Maharashtra or contuinue with their combination with NCP which is headed by BCCI-president and Union Agricultural minister Sharad Pawar. Pawar had a very poor General elections winning only 9 seats in 48-seat Lok Sabha contest.

Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella moves to Ferrari

Belgian GP runner-up Giancarlo Fisichella has completed a temporary switch to Ferrari for the rest of the F1 season. Fisichella would replace Luca Badoer, who has struggled as a replacement for the injured Felipe Massa. With Massa definitely out of the reckoning till next year, Ferrari made a call to Force India boss Vijay Mallya and requested him to release Fisichella. Fisichella's move to Ferrari is now confirmed. Force India likely to call up Vitantonio Liuzzi to take Fisichella's place.

Badoer, Ferrari's official reserve driver, was drafted in to replace the injured Felipe Massa after legendary seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher was forced to shelve his comeback plans. Fisichella's contract with Force India runs out at the end of the 2009 season.
Massa is recovering at home in Brazil after suffering a fractured skull in a crash during qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July.Ferrari are believed to have run out of patience with Badoer, who has qualified last at both of his races so far.
While Raikkonen won the race at Spa, Badoer trailed in last, nearly 48 seconds slower than the driver in front.
The Italian GP is on the 13 September, followed by Grands Prix in Singapore and Japan, before the teams head to Brazil. Though, the constructor's championship for Ferrari is out of question this year, Ferrari intends to have a strong second driver to support Kimi Raikonnen. Felipe Massa could return to active F1 only next season. Fisichella'stransfer will be a great boost for Ferrari and can give Kimi Raikonnen much needed support. Felipe Massa, meanwhile can concentrate on his full recovery and comeback stronger next season.

Economy grows by 6.1% in Q1

Indian economy grew an impressive 6.1% in Q1 of FY2010. The YOY growth was at about 7.8% while last quarter(Q4 FY2009) was at about 5.8%. So, QoQ the economy has grwon by around 300 basis points. As government stimulus measures helped spur demand, although a poor monsoon threatens to crimp growth later in the year even as it drives inflation. The economists feel the full impact of drought in certain areas of the country will be seen only in the coming quarters, especially in the Q2 and Q3 of this year.

The segment grouping financing, insurance, real estate and business services led growth in gross domestic product, gaining 8.1% on year. Services sector was pleasant surprise which grew by 7.8%, while as expected Agriculture was worst performing with 2.4% vs 3% last year. The drought situation will only decrease the growth in agriculture in the coming months. Manufacturing and mining grew by 3.4% and 7.9% in June quarter compared with 5.5% and 4.6% respectively in the year-ago quarter.

The whole year GDP guidance is at about 6.1-6.4% taking into consideration the agricultural slowdown and also some counter balance from manufacturing,services and mining sectors. This is below the promised growth of 7% by the Finance Minister in his budgetary speech. Weak rains will hurt purchasing power of consumers in rural areas and drag down industrial output. Drought situation may impact around 400-700 basis points of the total GDP growth.

Hatoyama becomes Prime Minister of Japan

Its was a historic moment in Japan's history. Yukio Hatayoma ended five decades of Liberal Democratic Party rule in Japan. The Democratic Party of Japan(DPJ) headed by its leader Yukio Hatayoma cruised through in the national elections to hand otgoing PM Taro Aso and leader of LDP its worst ever defeat in fifty years. Democratic Party of Japan seized 308 seats in Lower House election, bouncing the Liberal Democratic Party from power. The DPJ's tally far exceeded the 241 seats needed for a single majority and surpassed the 296 seats the LDP won in its landslide victory in the previous Lower House election in 2005.

The Liberal Democrats have governed Japan for virtually all of the past 54 years.Japan's electorate wanted a significant change in old school policies of the LDP, which includes a more equivocal diplomatic relations with the USA rather than a more submissive approach all these decades. At the same time, the Democrats want to improve relations with other Asian countries, like China, Taiwan, S.Korea and India.

Hatoyamo has pledged to foster a family-friendly state by abolishing high education fees, increasing child support to £170 a month and introducing a minimum income for farmers. Tax breaks for small and medium-sized businesses, minimum pensions and the abolition of road tolls are among other promises. The child support plan is one which is aimed at increasing the fertility rates in Japan which is shockingly in the nagative. This would lead to an population degrowth by 2030. So, the increase in child support plan is one way of encouraging couples to have more child.

Japan managed to climb out of a yearlong recession in the second quarter, but its economy remains weak. Unemployment and anxiety over falling wages threatens to undermine any recovery. The jobless rate has risen to a record 5.7 percent.But with Japan's public debt heading toward 200 percent of gross domestic product the largets for any wealthy nation, it will be very difficult for export-driven-country like Japan to pull out of this recession and lead a path to high-end recovery.As China threatens to overtake Japan as the world’s second largest economy as early as next year, the pressure is on for Mr Hatoyama to reinvent the nation’s trade and industry Japan's people are hoping the new government with new ideas will lead the country towards the glory days of 80's and 90's.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Raikonnen wins Belgium GP; Force India's Fisichella takes second position

It was a close race and who would have thought the race to the top would be between F1's top budget team Ferrari and the "low -budget" Force India. It was a dream weekend for India's liquor barron Vijay Mallya-owned Force India. Italian Giancarlo Fisichella of Force India got into a shock pole position. The race started with Fisichella having a clean start while Kimi Raikonnen in his Ferrari over stearing in the first corner and somehow with his adept driving joining the track at third position.The biggest irony of the race was when Fisichella was racing first, his team-mate Adrian Sutil was at last. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton got into a worst collision in Belgian Grandprix in years and soon found out that he was out of the race along with Brawn's Jenson Button.

Kimi Raikonen with his superior Ferrari car took the top slot. Soon it was Kimi vs Fisichella with Fisichella pushing the Finn right to his limit. With both having a 2-pitstop strategy, both fought to gain every second of the race. Meanwhile, a pitstop mistake from Renault team had Alonso retiring from the race. The final showdown with Ferrari and Force India both going to pits at the samew position was mindboggling and it was Ferrari's Kimi Raikonnen who secured his top slot and Fischella settling for a second position. Red Bull's Sebastien Vettel came third. Barrichello in his Brawn GP had a heart-stopping last three laps due to an engine leak finished seventh and hold on to his second place in Champioship points.
Jenson Button still holds his No:1 in terms of Championship points followed by his teammate in Brawn GP, Rubens Barrichello. In constructors championship, Brawn hold on to its top position, while Red Bull and Ferrari are at second and third position respectively.
Race Result:
1. Kimi Raikkonnen(Finland) - Ferrari.
2. Giancarlo Fisichella(Italy)- Force India.
3. Sebastien Vettel(Germany)- Red Bull.

Chandrayaan mission called off formally

THE CHANDRAYAN I mission is over and India's honeymoon in lunar space came to an abrupt end. The actual lifetime of Chandrayaan 1 is 2 years but everything came to end in just 312 days.The country’s space agency has lost radio contact with the lunar craft Chandrayaan-1 at around 1:30 AM on August 29th.Data from Chandrayaan-1’s last orbit was transmitted until 12.25am on Saturday to the Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bangalore.With communication totally lost, there is no transmission or receipt of signals between Chandrayaan-I and ground control stations.

Nearly 95% of Chandrayaan’s scientific goals had already been accomplished in less than a year. At Rs 386 crore, the mission that put India in the global space league of six nations, was launched on October 22. Chandrayaan-I aimed to take high-resolution, three-dimensional images of the lunar surface, especially the permanently-shadowed polar regions.The craft carried payloads from the United States, the European Union and Bulgaria. One of its objectives was to search for evidence of water or ice and attempt to identify the chemical composition of certain lunar rocks.

Chandrayaan-1’s temperature raised to over 50 degrees Celsius, prompted ISRO to switch off most of the 11 instruments it was carrying. The ‘star’ sensor, unable to bear the heat, collapsed.Though there was no official word on the cause of the loss of contact, space experts, said it could be due to a power problem in the spacecraft, or the spacecraft being hit by a some space object. Earlier this year, the Indian government increased the federal budget for space research to about $1 billion from $700 million.

Force India's Fisichella takes pole position in Belgium

Nobody could believe their eyes.Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella took pole position in the Belgian Grand Prix in an extraordinary qualifying session.The 36-year-old's performance created a sensation not only because it was the team's first pole, but also because the team is yet to score a single point in its one and a half years of existence.The Mercedes-powered Force India, with a new aerodynamic upgrade introduced at the last race in Valencia, has genuine pace particularly at a fast and flowing circuit like Spa - and Fisichella made the most of it.

The good news for Button is that the Red Bulls also struggled with their set-up, Sebastian Vettel qualifying in eighth and Mark Webber ninth, and they are likely to find a McLaren in their rear view mirrors before too long. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was another favourite to falter badly, after qualifying 12th fastest.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli will start second for Sunday's race ahead of BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Barrichello's Brawn. Kimi Raikonnen will start from sixth in the grid while his team mate Badoer, who replaced injured Felipe Massa continued to have a horrible time at the circuit as he spun off the track to finish last in qualifying. His days in Ferrari are literally numbered. Hopefully, Force India will grab their first points in 29 races.

Friday, August 28, 2009

3G spectrum auction in 3 months; reserve price at Rs.3500 crore

The deadlock over the reserve price for third-generation radio frequency auction, vital for services such as video-calling and high-speed internet access on mobile phones, was finally resolved.The empowered Group of Ministers (e-GoM) finalised the reserve price for auction of at Rs. 3,500 crore. The auction will be completed within three months, and the winners will take another 3-5 months to roll out the services.

The EGoM also decided that a total of five players will be allowed to offer 3G services in every circle, of which one slot will be reserved for state-owned telcos BSNL & MTNL. BSNL and MTNL already own and operate 3G services. They will have to match the highest auction price in each circle.The 3G spectrum auction will provide mobile users a host of facilities like video streaming, richer internet connections—basically use of data on phones not possible in the current 2G spectrum and also put behind irritants like call drops and connectivity problems. The group of ministers (GoM), headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, also fixed a reserve price of Rs 1,750 crore for the auction of wireless broadband (WiMax) spectrum.The e-GoM decided to auction only three slots of spectrum for WiMAX services.

The government will earn at least Rs 35,000 crore from the auction. The more aggressive the bids are, the richer will the government be. This will provide some succour to the government which is struggling with its finances with a fiscal deficit already estimated at a high of 6.8 per cent of the GDP. The Prime Minister’s Office and the finance ministry expect 3G services to attract foreign players and generate high revenues.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Salman Khan to buy an IPL team

Bollywood action hero Salman Khan is the latest cine star to join the Indian Premier League (IPL) and has expressed interest in buying a team. The bollywood star met Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi and expressed his desire to be the owner of an IPL team.Salman is eyeing an IPL team in the 2010 season. Modi said that Salman had approached to discuss all the pros and cons of buying an IPL team. Modi also confirmed that the actor would be buying one of the new teams and was not interested in any of the existing ones.

A lot of Bollywood actors are a part of the cash-rich T20 League with Shah Rukh Khan owning the Kolkata Knight Riders, Preity Zinta with partner Ness Wadia owning the Kings XI Punjab, and Shilpa Shetty, with Raj Kundra, owning the Rajasthan Royals.

The fourth season of the IPL in 2011 will see two new teams and they would be up for grabs through a bidding process later this year. This takes the total number of teams in 2011 season to ten teams. Auctions for two teams will take place in January 2010. The cities that would go under the hammer would be decided by December this year at the latest. Each team could fetch the BCCI anywhere between $200-300 million. Likely cities that could be auctioned are Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Vishakhaptanam and be the hometown for new teams.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wasim Akram to coach Kolkatta Knight Riders

Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, inarguably the most gifted left-arm quick of all time, is in the frame to take John Buchanan’s place in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ set-up. The good rapport between Akram and KKR captain Sourav Ganguly may well seal the deal for him. This process, which includes a presentation, is to be completed by the end of this week. Sourav Ganguly who is tipped to regain the captaincy next season, may be present at the meeting. Akram is part of the final few coaches who have been called on August 30.

India's former coach John Wright was the frontrunner to succeed Buchanan, who’d been the franchise’s head of cricket operations until his sacking two months ago. However, impressive presentations by Richard Pybus and Duncan Fletcher have opened up the race somewhat. Others who may be interviewed for the post include former Aussie all-rounder Michael Bevan and former Indian wicket-keeper Praveen Amre. Former Indian batsmen WV Raman, Ashok Malhotra and Lalchand Rajput made their presentations in front of principal owner Shah Rukh Khan and Ganguly last week.

Akram's candidature, however, is not expected to carry much weight because, the former Pakistani legend would essentially be a bowling coach and Akram himself is less keen on a full-time coach's job and would like to work as a consultant. Also, Wasim Akram has prior media commitments with ESPN-Star Sports.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Motorola to test 4G in India

What? 4G, In India? We have had a torrid time implementing the 3G spectrum and license and now that first of the 3G Services have started trickling in, Motorola wants to do a trial run of 4G in India! Technology changes with day and our slow government took lot of time selling 3G mobile phones and wanted to raise about Rs 35,000 crores from trading radio frequency for the existing version. But now, Motorola brings in the next level 4G phones. This could mean spoiling the broth for the government’s plans.

4G can offer upto 70 Mbps download speed on a mobile phone. We don't have those kinds of speeds even on our broadband networks today. That is in a normal broaband network, whereas it takes 4-5 hours for downloading an film with an average space of 700 MB- 1.5 GB, with the advent of 4G, the same movie can be downloaded in 10-30 minutes. Ofcourse, it will come our way with a huge premium, but it could also save lots of online time. This technology is known as Long-Term Evolution(LTE). Lots of research on this technology has been done by American electronics majors Motorola, Verizon and also by Japan's NTT DoCoMo which has a JV with Tata Communications for rolling out 2G GSM services across India.

The DoT(Department of Telecom) is understood to have prepared a concept paper on 4G. Apart from Motorola, other telecom vendors are also in the process of trials in India. Many services providers would wait and watch the growth of 4G. This may affect the enthusiasm for getting spectrum from the government for 3G networks. Government had earlier planned to rake in Rs.35,000 crores by auctioning 3G spectrum. More the delay in the 3G auction, more the pain for Government's exchequer.

It also shows how slow the government process can be in India . When countries around the world are all providing high quality 4G network, getting started with 3G network in India is in itself proving to be a big hurdle. In the end, people are the real sufferers because they are forced to use hapless 2G GSM network which is quiet inferior in speed and voice quality when compared to 3G, leave alone 4G.

England regain the Ashes; Ponting eyes 2013 tour to England

England regained the Ashes after beating Australia by 197 runs Sunday to win the deciding fifth test and take the five-match series 2-1. Michael Hussey was the last man out after tea at The Oval, for 121, for Australia to be dismissed for 348 chasing a mammoth 546 for victory.England, 2-1 victors, had grabbed back the oldest prize in sport, in a repeat of the scoreline four years ago, which made household names of Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan.

With a day to spare. That was the lovely part. For once, England’s cricketers did not test the resources of an already overworked bench strength of English cricketers.

This is not a vintage Ashes year, it must be said. Australians didnot have the aura and invincibility that they possessed for alomost a decade. The "ruthless assault" which created panic and frightened oppositions across the board is no longer their traits. Perhaps, they have become vulnerable without the presence of all those greats.Had Andrew Strauss, deservedly the player of the tournament, newcomer Jonathan Trott and Graeme Swann not batted so superbly to set such a vast total, England would not have been safe.
This may be an average Australian team in relative terms, but in Ponting it possesses one of sport’s greatest competitors, and had England not risen to the occasion at The Oval, the momentum Australia achieved with the victory at Headingley in the fourth Test would have been unstoppable. Australian captain Ricky Ponting, was the perhaps the main culprit. His batting skills have seen a sharp decline and his captaincy is not something to write home about. At cricial moments, like his run out in the second innings in The Oval, he failed to take the bull by its horns. Having said that, as the old saying goes, the captain will only be as good as his team.Ricky Ponting became the first Australia captain to lose two Ashes series in England in 119 years and then indicated he will try to return for the next tour in 2013 to avenge the defeats of 2005 and 2009, which may not be all that easy as discovered by Shane Warne this year.

Due to this loss against England,Australia now drop down to No 4 on the Test rankings.This is the first time that any country other than Australia has filled top spot in both formats of the game. It is the first time that Australia have lost the No 1 Test ranking since the current system was introduced in 2003. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka with their win against New Zealand claimed No:2 spot followed by India at No:3.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jinnah jinx haunts Jaswant Singh

For long, Bharatiya Janatha Party(BJP) has found itself toeing the line of its big brother and parent party in politcs, the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak(RSS). Party men, be it their tallest leader LK Advani or even someone who is a basic member of BJP have not dared to cross the Lakshman Rekha drawn by RSS,when it comes to their age-old ideaology, the Hindutva. L.K.Advani's comments on Mohammad Ali Jinnah being a secular leader created a huge uproar in the BJP and the RSS in 2005. He was literally given marching orders by the RSS from the post of party leadership. He found out the wrong way that it was RSS and not BJP who call the shots in ideological matters relating to BJP.
Now its the turn of Jaswant Singh, the senior most party leader and a close confidant of two pillars of BJP namely Vajpayee and Advani. His comments in his book regarding "Jinnah, Independence and Partition" have caused yet another furore. He has indicated that both Nehru and Patel were equally responsible for the partition and its the ignorance of Indian public to make a villian out of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the first PM of newly formed Islamic reublic of Pakistan. He has also praised Jinnah of being a nationalist and only one who has the distinction of being the President of All India Congress Party and also Muslim league.A controversial new book suggests that Jinnah, a secular man who drank and smoked and rarely visited the mosque, has too long been demonised by Indian society.
It is a fact that Nehru and Jinnah had strained relations. Nehru along with Vallabhai Patel, it is believed, refused the idea of Jinnah being made the Prime Minister of united India, so that there wont be any partition. This idea was allegedly proposed by Gandhi himself which was flatly refused by Congress members except a few muslim leaders like Abul Kalam Azad. These are facts which are hotly debated even today and refused in some quarters as mere myths by Indian historians.
The decision to expel Singh came after the release of his book “Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence” which the Bharatiya Janata Party said did not represent the views of the party. The decision was taken in the "Chintan Baitak" or "brain-stroming session" called by the BJP leaders in Simla from August 19-21. Ironically, Advani has given the go-ahead for the expulsion process of Jaswanth Singh to take place, whille Jaswant Singh was one of the few who supported LK Advani during his "Jinnah Controversy" in 2005. Many believe this is sheer double standards and refusal in the part of BJP to come out of its intolerant ideology.
The main agenda of this session being to discusss the recent poll debacle of BJP and the future steps to be taken in order to strengthen the party ahead of the assembly polls in four states including Maharashtra. The expulsion has become some kind of a distraction for the BJP taking the spotlight away from the "Chintan Baitak". It has become a "Chinta Baitak" with BJP leaders scrambling for top post in the BJP and many having their won goals in BJP's succesion plan.
Meanwhile, in a trademark Narendra Modi style the book of Jaswant Singh has been banned in Gujrat territory. The ban on Jaswant's book comes soon after his expulsion from BJP.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rahul Dravid recalled to Indian one-day squad

Rahul Dravid is to make a return to one-day international cricket after being picked for India's tri-series trip to Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy in South Africa.The Indian selectors have picked a common 15-member squad for both the ODI tri-series in Sri Lanka and the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa.The 36-year-old, who last played an ODI in October 2007 against Australia in seven match series in Nagpur, is included in India's tri-series trip to Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy in South Africa.

Indian selectors hope the 36-year-old will bolster the batting in the Champions Trophy on pacy South African pitches. A young Indian batting unit struggled against short-pitched bowling at the Twenty20 World Cup in England.As expected, Tendulkar who made himself unavailable for the four-match ODI series in the West Indies in June-July, is back to the squad along with Suresh Raina. Selectors have also retained wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik and all-rounder Abhishek Nayar, while leg-spinner Amit Mishra is picked at the expense of left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. Medium pacer Praveen Kumar pipped a promising Sudeep Tyagi and gets a ticket to fly to Sri Lanka and South Africa

Explosive opening batsman Virender Sehwag is not in the squad as he is yet to recover from the shoulder injury sustained in the IPL.Fast bowler Zaheer Khan was already ruled out because of a shoulder injury.The tri-series in Sri Lanka, which has New Zealand as the third team, is set to begin on September 8 while the eight-nation Champions Trophy will be held from September 24 to October 5.

The squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and WK), Yuvraj Singh(VC),Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Gautham Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Yusuf Pathan, Abhishek Nayyar, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar, Rudra Pratap Singh.

Friday, August 14, 2009

What is W,V and U-shaped recession ?

U,V,W or something else.... What shape will it be eventually ? Everyone wants to know about it. No, am not talking about something pertaining to English literature. Its about the painstaking graph that this economic recession will take through up until its end and for the world economy to come back to its normal growth progression. Well read and well-informed researchers and economists have all tried to through their hat in to decide the course-graph that this recession could eventually take.
The first case is the shape of 'V' that this recession could take. This essentially means that economy will have a steep decline in its growth, but its rebound will also be quiet sharp. This kind of recession and its recovery will resemble closely to the alphabet 'V'. This has always been the case in superficial recessions like the ones in 1983 and in 2001. These are typically those recessions that comes in a cyclical fashion after every economic bubble. They are shallow recessions which doesn't affect the job market in a significant manner. But this 'V' shaped rebound have been ruled out when it comes to this particular recession. The main reason being that this recession is an outcome of a virulent housing market bubble going bust. Soaring housing market and typically low interest rates have long fuelled a huge booming housing market in the US. People started using their homes like some kind of ATM machines, mortgaging them and withdrawing money and getting huge profits due to a booming housing market.
The sub-prime crisis and huge dip in housing market were instrumental in bringing the housing prices to record low levels. Unable to cope with rising interest rates and lowering home rates citizens felt it was impossible to either sell their homes or pay their mortgage loans. This led a huge amount of loan defaulters and many foreclosures followed. The banks unable to flush out these bad debts went bankrupt overnight. This was manily due to bad and directionless management of mortgage and bad debt accumulation by these banks.
This triggered a huge stock market crash which started immediately followed by the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Lehmann Brothers. Many banks like AIG and Morgan Stanley faced unprecedented drain of assets and cash equivalents. Many Americans lost jobs as many industries like the automobile industry in particular, were closing down their many manufacturing plants.
This was the start of long and painful recession which many believe will chart out a 'U' shaped recovery in the coming year.Most economists, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, predict a slow and gradual upturn. To be sure, the telltale recovery signals have been flashing green lately. Factory output and new orders grew last month at the fastest pace in two years. These are what many state as "Green Shoots" in the recovery path of the economy.And with inventories of stores and manufacturers depleted, factories must soon ratchet up production just to restock. So, this is the way economists bet,the economy will grow to get out of recession, the 'U' shaped recovery, slow and painful recovery.
Now to the theory of a 'W' shaped recovery,the occurance of it,many believe is remote .The recovery will be muted, largely because consumers are in no mood to open their wallets. They have lost $13 trillion of wealth in the recession's housing and stock market crashes and appear determined to sock away any extra cash they have.The savings rate jumped to 5.2% in the second quarter from a low of 1% before the crisis. Consumer spending in the US accounts for 70% of the economy. So, any dip in consumer spending will greatly affect a dynamic, consumer centralized economy like the United States.
A small group of experts believes the economy will endure an unusual W-shaped, or "double-dip," recovery in which the economy falls back into recession before growing again.The massive liquidity, plus rising commodity prices, will increase inflation. Meanwhile, many believe the Fed reserve will be loath to raise interest rates to stave off inflation in 2010, because doing so could tamp down what will be a weak recovery in next year.So, these are the three major theories that is doing rounds in terms of recovery in global economy.

Whatever be the recovery path the economy takes, one thing that everyone comes to a consensus is that unless and until the US citizen starts spending again, the economical growth will not possible in a major way. There maybe green shoots or slight decrease in unemployment rate, but consumer confidence and higher spending are the ones which could lead a robust economical growth in the coming years.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Michael Schumacher calls off his comeback to F1

Michael Schumacher has called off his highly anticipated return to Formula One.He has not recovered from a neck injury he sustained in a motorcycling accident earlier this year.The seven times world champion had been due to replace Ferrari's Felipe Massa at the European Grand Prix in Valencia on August 23.He announced on his personal Web site that these plans have now been scrapped.

Since confirming he was to make an F1 return, Schumacher has been pushing himself hard to get back to race fitness. The consequences of the injuries caused in February, fractures in the area of head and neck, unfortunately have turned out to be still too severe to pave way for his F1 comeback in his favourite car Ferrari.The German driver said the decision had been an extremely difficult one to make and he apologised to everyone at Ferrari and to fans of the sport.

Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer will now replace Massa in Valencia.Massa is recovering in Brazil from the serious injuries he received in a freak crash in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix and is set to miss at least four races.

Schumacher has worked as a special adviser to Ferrari since his retirement from Formula One in 2005, after winning five championships during his time with the team.The German, who won 91 grands prix from 250 races, is the most successful driver to take part in the sport.

Friday, August 07, 2009

"Right to education" bill: Move in the right direction

The wait is finally over. India and its ever powerful politicians and bureaucrats finally woke up to the urgent need of passing a bill which makes primary education for all citizens an irrevocable right. "Right to education", as it is called, makes primary education free, compulsory and with the quality of highest order to all children between the age group of 6-14 years.This is one of Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh's ambitious and visionary projects. Kapil Sibal, the HRD minister of the newly elected UPA government, called it the most important bill that has been passed in independent India. Sure, that might be true, but the following question that would haunt every Indian is "Why so late? What have they been doing for 62 years ?".

We will deal with the three mantras that this bill has formed around: free,compulsory and quality education.First of all about the "free education" clause.Its a shame that people in India will take up their own child's education seriously only if its made free. Many would argue that acute poverty in rural India makes it necessary for making atleast the primary education "free". After all, the government also has a responsibility towards its children. But you may not have an effective implementation of this "education for all" project without the proper engagement of the parents who are an equal stakeholders in the child's physical and mental growth. They must have the ambition and not just "wishful thinking",an equal responsibilty towards the education of their child. This ambition and desire of the parents will go a long way in vigilant and efficient implementation of this project. Only then, governments can be made accountable for their actions in making every Indian educated. So, the word "free" doesnot mean parents can just wash their hands off from their wards education believing the government will do everything. A careful folllow-up and scrutiny of their child's performance will eventually help only the child's education.

The second clause is "compulsory education". This perhaps can be effectively implemented by far reaching campaigns making the people realise the importance of education of their child. I am sure many in rural village India wouldn't have known such a bill is in place and that their children can have quality and free education.The finer points of the bill and the government's arduous actions should be highlighted to the genaral public. This may increase awareness among public and eventually the enrolment in primary schools will also increase many fold.

Next is "qualty education". One of the main reasons why average enrolment in government schools is low is because of quality. The main problem being inadequate infrastructure and student-teacher ratio being very less. The government has made plans to build new schools in every panchayat but it needs to be speeded up and they must be expedited to a much earlier time frame. But these things cannot be done over night. So, the rule which makes it compulsory that atleast 25% of overall intake must be allocated for children below poverty line in private schools makes lot of sense. Its a responsibility that private schools must not shy away from.

Another important issue is the student-teacher ratio. Ideally every 40 students must have one teacher.So, new teachers with proper training must be recruited and the old teachers must also be trained which is a necessity in this changing world. Its beleived that of the nealy 1,00,000 government teachers, 25% are absent or not available for work at any given point of time. This must be done away with. Stricter laws which calls for well trained and duty-bound teachers should be in place. Non-performing teachers should be shown the door.

Teaching is an important tool which will shape a country's future for the best. At present, teaching is not a career option for young Indians. This can be changed with hefty pay packages which could woo the best young minds for this important profession. Young and bright minds in teaching and research can ignite thousand more minds of young children within the age group of 5-15. Other ambitious professions might keep you and your loved ones happy and cheerful. But teaching will have a multiplier effect lighting up thousands of lives. So, the government must make it attractive for young indians to take up jobs in education.

So, the passing of the "Right to education" is just a first step. To experience the fruits of this project, effective and vigilant implementation is very much a neccesity. This will go a long way in making India an "enlightened country" ready to surge ahead to its righful place in world's history.

Sachin targets Worldcup 2011 victory; 15000 test runs

He has played 129 Tests, 425 ODIs and scored close to 30,000 international runs over the last two decades, but Sachin Tendulkar insists that there is unfinished business before he winds up his international career. Sachin Tendulkar wants to take his Test scoring record past 15,000 runs and help India to win the 2011 World Cup before he considers retiring from cricket.While many of his contemporaries have retired, Sachin Tendulkar has no intention of applying the brakes on his record-breaking career.

The 36-year-old Tendulkar, also disclosed that he has been inspired by legendary Sunil Gavaskar to set the goal.Tendulkar said former opener Sunil Gavaskar, an all-time great for India, had urged him to carry on playing and stretch his lead in the scoring charts over the retired Brian Lara and current Australia captain Ricky Ponting.Tendulkar is the leading scorer in Test cricket, with 12,773 at an average of 54.58. Australian captain Ricky Ponting, 34, is closest to him with 11,193 Test runs so far.

Even as quite a few players have sounded the impending death-knell of Test cricket in the wake of the huge popularity of Twenty20, one of the game's icons, Sachin Tendulkar, has said he does not fear for the health of the game's most traditional form.The master batsman likened Test cricket as the main course in a meal and Twenty20 as its dessert and that one cannot survive on just the latter part of a meal.