Archive for June, 2011


Government recently raised the prices of diesel, kerosene and LPG cylinder on 24th June 2011. With the increase in prices of diesel by Rs 3 per litre, cooking gas (LPG) by Rs 50 per cylinder and kerosene by Rs 2 per litre, there has been a huge outcry about its impact on the economy and the masses. It also eliminated the 5% custom duty on crude oil and reduced the excise duty on diesel from 4.6/l to 2.0/l which will further increase the fiscal deficit. With the increasing inflation constantly biting the government which is already bruised by multiple controversies in terms of XIX Common Wealth Games Fiasco, 2G scam and social movement by Anna Hazare & Baba Ramdev, the questions arises if the hike in prices is wrong move or a bold move?

The Cause

With as estimated losses of INR 1,77,000 crores in FY12, government has tried to reduce the losses to an extent of INR 21,000 crores through price hike and INR 49,000 crores through reduction in taxes. These losses occur because the oil that is used in the form of diesel, kerosene and LPG is available to us at a huge subsidy from international market rates. The OMC – Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum were losing INR 18.11 per litre of diesel, INR 28.33 per litre of kerosene and INR 315.86 per 14.2 kg of LPG cylinder – before the recent hike. This loss burden is shared to the extent of 33% by upstream companies (ONGC, Oil India & GAIL), and the remaining by Government of India through Oil Bonds and the OMCs.

Another worrying factor is that subsidized oil prices have led to diversion and wasteful consumption of certain petroleum products. Due to artificially depressed prices for diesel, the demand for industrial products such as FO, LSHS, Naphtha, and LDO has been partially substituted with increased consumption of diesel by certain industrial consumers in sectors such as cement, coal, steel, and mining etc. for captive power generation. 

The Impact

The cumulative weight of diesel, kerosene, and LPG in the Wholesale Price Index is about 6.3%. With the upward revision in prices last week, headline WPI inflation will increase by about 65-70 bps (direct impact) over Jun-Jul 2011. Apart from this the transporters will feel the pinch from the hike in diesel prices and will pass on the cost to the users causing inflation to rise by approximately another 20-30 bps indirectly.

The price hike can be considered a bold move given the fact that the government would be taking a hit on the fiscal deficit for FY12 after its move to reduce taxes which will give benefit to the oil PSUs to the tune of INR 49,000 crores. With expected oil subsidy of INR 40,000 crores in FY12 the fiscal deficit to GDP ratio is likely to touch 5.5% vis-à-vis the government target of 4.6%.

The Advantage

The advantage of the price hike would be first and foremost in terms of reducing the losses of the oil companies. Moreover the step by government to increase the prices amidst so much opposition can be taken as a feeler that the government is willing to break the decision inertia, which is most certainly expected to improve the market sentiments and confidence in the government. Also the move towards price hike and deregulation is expected to create level playing field for private players. Not only on the downstream front, but also on the upstream side, price deregulation would attract huge investments in the refineries.

Way Forward

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar in one of his articles, proposes to revive the Oil Pool Account (OPA), which in the 1980s and 1990s smoothed fluctuations in product prices.  When price control imposed losses on oil marketing companies, they got compensating cash from the Oil Pool Account (OPA). If, however, world prices dropped below the controlled Indian price, the surplus went into the coffers of the OPA. A similar situation occurs today when the prices of crude oil are on a decline and creation of an OPA account would help in creation of surplus if the government doesn’t gives in to pressure to reduce oil prices.

Further there is a need for phased abolition of subsidies as advocated by Kelkar committee in 1990s. The recommendations of the committee have not been implemented till date because of political reasons and for appeasing the masses. Learning can certainly be taken from countries that implemented oil price hike/deregulation and took steps to mitigate the effect and protect the poor.

There is a strong need for oil price hikes to be taken more rationally and at the same time stronger and sincere efforts from government to implement measures to soften the impact of price hikes. A necessary evil it is, to be managed and never to be let out of sight.

A more detailed discussion paper can be downloaded from the Downloads section of the blog.

Aloo Pyaz Parantha : With Butter

If your thoughts are similar to the first two options of the poll above, then you need to visit Sukhdev Dhaba. Yes, this dhaba also has a website. Cool right !

A couple of us decided to hit the road and visit this much recommended place 60 km from Delhi on GT Road. The first good thing about the trip is that the highway is pretty awesome. The roads being smooth and the weather being good, we hit a continuous speed of 100 kmph for most of the stretch reaching there in less than an hour from South Delhi.

There are a lot of Pure Vegetarian Dhabas in Murthal – all equally good by one standard or the other. We chose Sukhdev Dhaba for it was highly recommended. The Dhaba serves everything from Indian cuisines to Chinese, Italian, Continental and Street Foods. We picked up the famous Aloo Pyaz Paranthas and Kadhai Paneer along with Dal Makhni and Chilli Gobhi. Much to our surprise the Paranthas came loaded with butter – fresh butter !! Well..I did promised myself for a minimal fat diet 2 days ago but can a foodie really ignore delicious butter ?! Infact as we realized the taste of paranthas become super yummy just because of the butter.

Fully stuffed, we just wished for a dhaba style ‘khat’ to have a good after meal sleep. Well that was not there so we decided to walk around a little before sipping on to lemon soda and much recommended tea. Trust me you wouldn’t have sipped a better tea elsewhere ! It was time to head back  - running on the smooth highway with soothing music and in the company of friends – Sumit, Varun & Gurpreet.

For those who chose option 3 – Still do you not feel like tasting all these ? If no, then you are missing some seriously good food !

Must Try at Sukhdev Dhaba  - Aloo Pyaz Parantha, Kadhai Paneer, Tea

For visiting Sukhdev Dhaba, refer the Google Map Guide Below.

Recently I came across an article in IBNLive which goes on to describe 5 types of guys a woman should have in her life. The author symbolizes Draupadi as the lucky one having 5 husbands and goes on project the need for current woman to have five different types of men to satisfy five different needs. Relevance of such a post in Indian context is questionable; however dark the truth may be behind curtains.

Recently I also watched – Pyar ka Punchnama. Amazing movie I must say where the director has truly captured what really goes on in relationships – existing and potential ones. The movie does exaggerate a bit at points but there are examples in real life that surpass those exaggerations too!

Well, call it a retaliation or inspiration from the movie; I have captured 5 types of girls that each guy should stay away from if he wants not be hurt. As you can guess, this is the guy side of story – you may most certainly go on to say that the same applies to men also: An argument that is most old and repetitively used.

1. The one who is “just good friend”   

Ishita Sharma

Ishita Sharma

You can relate this character with Charu of Pyar ka Punchnama. Such a girl will try to make you your best friend. Such a girl will care about you at the right moments, tell you her secrets and always add a line – “I have not even told this to my best friend.” Being a guy you would continue to be charmed by her spirits and pamper her all the way through even if to be a friend. She expects and you will clean up all the mess and mistakes (popularly known as “raita failana” in hindi) that she commits. It may also happen the she already has a boyfriend and just needs you for the emotional support – a shoulder to cry on; somebody to make her feel good when she is ‘not in the right mood’. At this point she might let you be a little more intimate than usual (letting you feel loved and feelings reciprocated) only to set things straight right in the face the very next morning. Despite all this slowly and steadily, you will start having feelings for her and when you express it – will come the classic statement – “We are just good friends”. Best part is she will give all sorts of mixed signals and yet ridicule you and mock you if you try to come close.

2. The confused one

Sonalli Sehgall

Sonalli Sehgall

You can relate this character with Ria of Pyar ka Punchnama. Such a girl is the one who has just gotten out of a relationship or even worse – has not been able to forget her ex-boyfriend till date irrespective of the timespan. You may fall just at the wrong place and time to be used like a rebound. Initially things will go great as these relationships start with rebound sex. But then comparisons will creep in. She will constantly argue with you over issues and compare you with her previous boyfriend. She will promise to forget her ex and ask more time – the next day you will see her more engrossed with those memories. Being a good guy and still in her charms you will try to console her and try your best to be the only man in her life until one day she will tell you to give her space and don’t interfere in her personal life. The nail in the coffin would be her getting tattooed with her ex’s name. <here comes the exaggeration but who knows :P)

3. The one who dominates

Nushrat Bharucha

Nushrat Bharucha

You can relate this character with Neha of Pyar ka Punchnama. Such a girl is one who would like to dominate your life to every possible extent. She will take up every space that you have & make you paranoid – yet you will keep falling for her. She will change your living style, ask you to get better clothes that she likes, change the setup of your house even though you might not live together, ask you to be with her everywhere, give up your social life for her, emotionally blackmail you for anything that is not to her liking, make you feel guilty about all the pleasures you have without her – in short be her little pet. At times you will get frustrated but then she would have all the weapons that make men weak and use them at the right time.

4. The over obsessed career woman

Shraddha Das

Shraddha Das

Most easy to spot, you can relate this character to Gungun of Dil to Bachcha hai ji.  Best thing about such a girl is that she doesn’t hesitate in telling you that she is career oriented. Given her ambitious nature, she is upfront about it. I don’t say that don’t be with a career woman – in-fact a career woman is much more sensible -  I personally believe but I use the word “obsessed” here. The obsessed kind will chose career over love even though she knows she will regret it later. She will treat you as the most important second priority. She will expect you to understand everything – you will – but men are by nature possessive – and this understanding will find its cracks someday.

5. The one who “needs” you

Tisca Chopra

Tisca Chopra

This is the most secretive woman. She has needs – than can be physical or emotional. And she would go to any extent to find a guy who satisfies those needs. Obviously everything would be discreet. You can relate her to Anushka of Dil to Bachcha hai ji. Being felt “needed” is always a good feeling and hence men fall easily in this trap. She will use you as an emotional support but shrug you off when you get too personal. She will want you in bed and expect you to be amazingly good yet if you get a little sentimental she will run off. She will come back to you even after a fight because she knows she can talk to you and you will be discrete. She needs you for all the things she cannot go anywhere else.

Photo Courtesy: Bollywood Hungama

The views expressed are personal to those of the author.

Rain !

Rains ! They always make you smile. People like me in Delhi are suffering from the super hot weather and it just rained ! Ahh- the bliss. It felt so good that I wrote whatever was coming to my mind. On second read I felt like I wrote like a child – but then rains do make you wish to return to childhood and splash around !! Enjoy the rains and leave back your comments and experiences about rains.

       

Rain Rain..you let go of all pain
you bring me the coolness
from the tiring day and its heat
a gift that makes me joyous and upbeat

I want to get drenched
and let you soak me wet
there is no better feeling
from the cool breeze that you get

You bring back those memories
of childhood the innocent one
making boats and splashing water
AAh ! there was nothing better to be done 

Here I sit with a wish
That you pour all through the night
The breeze and the rains
playing the lullaby I so desire !
 

This was the first cut unadulterated version of poem inspired by the much desired rains. Would love suggestions/feedback to improve the same.

Photo Courtesy : Google Images

How many times have you encountered a girl saying that looks doesn’t matters for her in selecting a guy. Chances are the girl is aged somewhere around 24-26 and is getting pressure from home to be married.

Well, don’t be fooled by this for this is utter non-sense.

Where did this sensible talk of girls go when they were during their late teens, just entering colleges – when making boyfriends and girlfriends was a social status symbol. If you are not currently in that age bracket, take yourself back a few years and remember what the preferences of girls were? Yeah Right! They wanted good looking handsome hunk guys as boyfriends with not even a second glance at the nerdy guys. They prefer fooling around with duds rather than being friends with sensible guys who probably will value a relationship more. Where all this does leads them? You guessed it right again – Nowhere!

By the time this realization comes they have come to the age of 24-26 where they look forward to marriage (or made to do so by parental pressures) and suddenly they realize life isn’t all about good looking cool dudes and making your girlfriend jealous and earning brownie points over your boyfriend(s). And then the statement comes – “Looks don’t matter to me!”

I recently debated the topic with a female friend of mine. She was flabbergasted at the blunt truth I put in front of her. She argued that with time girls mature and realize what true beauty means. Does it takes 5-6 years and failed relationship with 2-3 duds to get that realization? And what is this realization? Isn’t this that life cannot be spent on the basis of good looks but financial stability and sensibility which they figure out they will find out in the last known “nerdy” guys which have now become successful in their lives. Has now the definition of “beauty” changed to “money and success”? And not as if their attraction for good looking guys has ended. It’s just that the average successful guy is “average” looking – so pretty much not many options. I think argument against bitter truth is futile so she ended up saying she is not like that. Dare I disagree with a woman?!

To prove and strengthen my point I will request you to go through some of the entries of the Real Beauty Blogging Contest by Yahoo and Dove. 99.0% of the girls have written about how beauty is other than physical beauty.  If only they meant it! Is this contest only about writing to win or was it meant for something more? Only a few posts like this dare to ask the question – if I may quote from the blog

“How many of you even talk to someone who is totally dark, fat, smelly and ugly? At least when you look at that person, for one minute you will have some opinion for that person. If you don’t have any work with him/her then you will probably not even try to strike a conversation.”

Point here is that why are girls not upfront about it? Why they have to disguise it? When a guy is upfront in saying that he likes good looking girls, the girl snorts at him saying- “Does external beauty only matters to you?” Here is the answer

“No Lady! We value the emotional bonding in the relationship as much as you do but we don’t mind telling the truth that yes we do appreciate physical beauty also. It is not the only or most important criteria in finding a girl but certainly a criterion for us. JUST LIKE YOUR’S. It’s just that you don’t say but we do. For us beauty is the whole package – right from the physical beauty to the emotional bonding, from the deep understanding to the sensuous touch – It’s everything!. Hope you just understand!” 

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This article is a part of the IndiBlogger and Yahoo! India – Dove contest “What does real beauty mean to you?”

If you liked the article you can “Like” it or give your vote on IndiVine here. I certainly can make use of that cash prize ! Thanks all for understanding and reading my blog post.


Dove Real Beauty on Yahoo! India

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Updates:

This blog featured in Editor’s Choice – Blog Junta on 14th June 2011.

BlogJunta - An ode to the Blogosphere

The views contained in this blog are personal to those of the author.

Hot Industry : Telecom

Pick a newspaper and you are sure to read about the telecom industry and what is happening in it. It’s and industry you just cannot ignore right now, its an industry which cannot be forgotten for its role in transformation of Indian Economy. Understanding the dynamics of the industry and how it has and will shape our lives is quite important.

Telecom continues to be one of the fastest growing sectors of the Indian economy, becoming a strong contributor to India’s overall GDP. With a growth rate of 47% over the last 4 years and current subscriber base of 811 Million users the industry is attracting new players. Currently the telecom industry is dominated by big players like Bharti Airtel, Reliance, Vodafone & BSNL. However new entrants like Idea, Tata, Aircel are also making their mark with further competition increased by smaller players like Uninor, S Tel, HFCL, Loop. The industry has witnessed developments such as rollout of newer circles by operators, successful auction of 3G and BWA spectrum, growing push by telecom operators to rollout network in semi-rural areas and increased focus on the value added services market. Recent rollout of 3G services and MNP implementation are considered to change the industry significantly.

Despite all these milestones the way ahead for operators is challenging to continue the same growth story due to intense pricing competition among the 15 players. Usage of multiple SIMs, multiple tariff corrections and swelling competition continues to exert immense pressure on the operator margins. The 2G profitability is expected to dip by 3-4% over the next 2 years due to deterioration of operating Metrics and for the incumbents, EBITDA breakeven is unlikely before 4-6 years given the poor ARPU figures.

Given the intense competition, declining margins and lack of infrastructure, there is great need being seen for consolidation in the Telecom Industry. Consolidation is expected to improve operating metrics and stabilize the revenue growth to a healthy 15%.

The industry is an exciting study, the intricacies of its business model in the Indian Scenario, the operating metrics and the future outlook. I have avoided discussing here the political issues and scams that are currently surrounding the industry (there is enough of this on the news and it can form another blog post in itself) as the intent is to educate about the industry.

I have prepared a brief writeup on the Telecom Industry which I would definitely recommend you to download and read to get more insights to the current telecom scenario. The report can be downloaded from the Downloads Section. You will also find other useful material to download there.

Please do revert back on how you liked the report and your views on the Industry and its role in shaping our lives and the nation.

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