Monday, October 10, 2011

FDI in Indian Retail, Louis Vuitton & Russell Peter

I don't know what is the connection among above three; but Indian govt.'s delayed decision on allowing FDI in retail sector was in news again in the last week & then there was a news about Louis Vuitton (that it is eyeing Indian market as it is planning to reap huge profits with 100% FDI in Single Brand Retail Outlet).

Today in India, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is allowed up to 51% in Single Brand Retail (you see those show rooms of Zara, Adidas, Mango, etc) and 100% in wholesale (pat of what Wall-mart is doing with Bharti or Carrefour).

After extensive deliberations and withstanding pressure from various executive management representatives of MNCs & foreign governments' commerce ministers - Indian govt's departments - DIPP, RBI, MofCom are not in hurry to change swimming lane. And in last week, Industry Secy said, Govt is *thinking* about opening up to 100% of Single Brand Retail to FDI.

These are indications! companies like Louis Vuitton, Canali, Jimmy Choo who have been waiting to tap this market for obvious reasons. There has been significant lobbying going-on for it, for quite some time. I think it's about time before it gets opened up for Multi Brand Retail Outlets (MBRO) too.

Now this fellow Russell Peter: he is a Canadian comedian of Indian Origin. He makes fun of Indian, Chinese people in conventional and unconventional style. Quite often, I like his observations. So one of his shows in NY, he made fun of Indian people about being Cheap - that Indian & Chinese don't spend on such luxurious items. (now things have changed with the new 'generation' grown up in real estate, IT boom). In  the same show he mentioned brand - Louis Vuitton -  much like this way 'Indian & Chinese can't even pronounce Louis Vuitton & at another place - he himself thought twice before buying Armani goods (Made in India: whether he should ask his uncle in India, if he can buy these Armanis made in India)

Though some of us might have become rich and have been spending lavishly, significant percentage of Indian folks are still struggling with basic needs of life, Sad but true.

On other note, this cheapness (I would rather call conservativeness) of Indian banking system saved Indian economy from Recession 2008-09. The cheapness of Infosys, TCS, Wipro,  etc got them cross the billion dollar mark. & yes, RussellP acknowledge that there is nothing wrong about being cheap. It was an Indian who introduced ZERO to the world :-)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Monetory review by RBI

Dr. Subbarao (RBI Governor) and Mr. Pranav Mukharjee (Fin Min) have been worried about it for quite some time. The extent of worry has amplified now.

  1. The inflation which has remained above comfort level of RBI and has refused to come down since last two years; is still hovering above 9%
  2. The India Growth Story seems to be have got brakes. The IIP numbers out in last few week for last quarter are to be worried out. The Industrial Production number has grown significantly lower.
Really a tough job for Mr. RBI Governor. He has been indicating increase in policy rates.

There is another angle to it now.  Despite, RBI has been selling US Dollars for last few days, the INR, Indian Rupee has depreciated significantly against US Dollar ($). 1$ ~ INR 48. I believe, if Mr. Subbarao has to increase key policy rates (against the lobbying done by finance/banking community and business world); the depreciation of Rupee will act as an supportive case for him.

Increased prices of crude oil is surely a worry for India. Depreciated INR is even more worrisome.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Interference of Constitutional Pillars of India

Looking at the comments and objections raised by court, there definitive appearance of interference of Judiciary into Executive's (Government's) activities.

  1. The CVC appointment being invalidated
  2. Handling of The 2G Spectrum by CBI being questioned & the Supreme Court declared that it would be closely watching investigation progress made by CBI
  3. As SC commented on the Government's inability/unwillingness to put Pune based Hassan, behind bars. 'Black Money Matter'S'
  4. Adarsh Scam, ULC Scam
  5. Statements leaked by Wikileaks: Statements made by Mr. P Chidambarm to FBI about inquiring David Hadley.
So looking at number of Public Interest Litigation (PILs) upheld by Judiciary (specifically Supreme Court), one may wonder if there is uproar of Judicial Activism.

But to me, this is inevitable. The inability of government to act against social wrong doing (Isn't it a broader term to corruption?) put a question on the credibility of the government & opposition as well (elected by common man) in common man's mind. The judiciary is now keeping up the hope that there is some element which can be looked up to and which is concerned about all these wrong doings of executives & Administration.

There are lot many aspects over which the government has failed to take necessary actions: be it
1. Inflation - hoarding of essential commodities
2. Illegal land acquisitions by Builder Lobbies
3. Telangana Issue
4. Jammu-Kashmir unrest, Ulfa, Naxalist, Bodo attacks.

Though there are some good things happened.

Mr. Prime Minister & Sonia Gandhi,
Failures of the Executive is definitely not acceptable.

Though the comparisons are also inevitable: I feel, India needs Golda Meir.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Online Search Quality- Changes in google web ranking algorithm

A step to correct Google search result, bits further has been taken. For some time, there have been criticism on the way Google search engine has been providing search result. Still, some set of Google users think that search result provided by Google Search Engine is biased to certain extent; attributed to the market maker i.e. the advertisers.

Last week Google fellow - Amit Singhal & Matt Cutts announced changes in its ranking algorithm which provides web search result & that it has impact on 11.8% of queries. The changes in consideration have been done to rectify those website which do not bring value to user.

Now these low-value-websites are loosely defined. Google considers them based on the extent of copying of content done from from other websites & few other things. The real valued/good quality sites are those which holds original contents, research materials, in-depth & thorough analysis, etc.

But isn't it something, which was expected in default from search engine?

Let's say there is a pharma company which has published research papers, in depth analysis, etc share on its websites. But the normal users of search engine may not want to see these complex or complicated research. Rather they would look for somebody's website (Say JeeV), who in turn would have inherited contents from this pharma company website (of course, I expect it to be done with proper references) but he would have published the same data but in a easy-to-understand way. I wouldn't wonder if JeeV's website gets higher ranks through search algorithm.

In such case, (given search keyword match) I would expect that the pharma company to get listed at the top of the search result but next ranked result would be by those who would have made it simpler & appealing.

Reading further in the google announcement, I sensed google has done 'pat self on the back' with the concurrence of results obtained from Personal Blocklist Chrome extension.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Mask of Zoho

Last week, one of my friends told me about Apparently he informed me that Zoho is Chennai (India) based company; which is partly untrue as Zoho is Peasanton, CA based company & probably, Zoho would have been carrying out significant delivery work from Chennai office; he had got such impression.

So, my impression after trying out few of Zoho's offerings - This company is going to change the way incumbents have been doing business for years. It has got so many products, solutions to offer and all of those are SaaS (available in cloud). As the statistics are gathered about, it has touched multi million users base & growing.

I am sure, guys at Microsoft, Google, have well taken note of things happening at

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Google Public Data Explorer

Recently I came across another significant feature made available by Google. Google Public Data Explorer. Apparently, as per googleblog, this feature has been made available or googleblog has been making public data available to user since last couple of years :-) Nevertheless, now researchers, students even naive users will have one single place where data like...
1. Country-wise GDP
2. Statewise Unemployment rate in US
3. Various data released by autonomous bodies, international bodies like IMF, etc
  • Even more to feature is; These data can be visualized in various forms like charts, etc
  • One can add his own data conforming to open standard like Dataset Publishing Language (DSPL) which is in a xml form (I guess, publishing of such submitted data would ultimately subject to satisfaction/approval of google team)
I am yet to explore it further. But somehow I feel, though with this feature google has made available users; an utility to access publicly avaiable data; to me, it can also be seen as an encirculment attempt

where, the facilitator will store data & will get it growing over the period. And once data grows over the period, it becomes an asset to organization on which it can easily capitalize. And Google is well known for this :-)

Friday, February 04, 2011

Government has no Magical Lamp

It happened one more time.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Pranab Mukharjee said, government has taken necessary steps to tame inflation, but it does not have Aladdin's Magical lamp to resolve things immediately.

  • I remember him saying the same thing in early January 2011
  • Last time, he indicated, the future course of action would be taken Reserve Bank
  • RBI in line with general perception & growth pressure raised benchmark rates to moderate 25 basis points. And this moderate hike has not helped so far to bring down the inflation (read WPI and specifically essential commodity)
  • Somehow, I think, RBI should take a preemptive steps in near future & tweak benchmark policy rates
  • Hoarding of food commodity is raging off-and-on with different items, it started with 'daal', onion, now edible oils.
  • The Indian Economy at large will have implied effect of radical changes happening in political sphere of Egypt