Monday, August 15, 2011
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Monday, September 10, 2007
मेरे देश की धरती सोना
उगले, उगले हीरे मोती,
हो मेरे देश की धरती
ON TIMES SQUARE:
The World's Largest
Stock Market NASDAQ
joins in celebration with The World's Largest Democracy,
India's Independence Day with a brilliant display of the
Tricolour at the Market Site in Times Square, New York.
Singh is KING,Singh is KING, yep sing with me yaar
हमारे शेर ने phir कमाल कर dikhaya!!!
became the first Indian to win the World Championships in
Zagreb with a superb 10.7 on his last shot - in the final series.
10 SATELLITES LAUNCHED INTO ORBIT
Superday in India’s space calendarINDIA LAUNCHES 10 SATELLITES INTO SPACE to become technically THE FIRST COUNTRY in the world to achieve the difficult feat after Russia, which had put into orbit 13 satellites in April 2007. The 50-hour countdown, launched on Saturday, climaxed when all the satellites were placed in their orbits in 1,151 seconds on Monday morning. But ISRO officials pointed out that the total weight of Russia’s 13 was only 295 kg as against INDIA's 820 kg carried up by the four-stage iNDIA's PSLV on Monday.
NASA’s attempt to do something similar had come to a nought। A proud ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair declared the mission successful and said there was “not even a slight deviation in the spacecraft’s trajectory and they (the satellites) were delivered at their doorstep’’।
Of the 10 satellites, two are from India — the 695-kg Cartosat-2a and the 87-kg Indian Mini Satellite-1 (IMS-1) — while the remaining eight are nano satellites from Canada, Japan, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands। The total weight of these nano satellites, six of which were clustered together with the collective name NLS-4, is about 50 kg.
Their primary role is scientific research for various laboratories and universities. Cartosat-2a, the 13th in the Indian remote-sensing satellite series, will be used for mapping and help in urban and rural infrastructure development. It is also providing a trial platform to a hyperspectral camera that will be used on Chandrayaan-1, India’s maiden mission to the Moon, tentatively slated for June-July this year.
More nano satellites are on the way
Space experts have stated that in the coming years an increasing number of nano satellites will be launched because they are “faster, better, smaller and cheaper।’’
These satellites weigh anything between one and 10 kg and are usually cubical in shape। Monday’s successful launch of eight nano satellites can encourage universities in India to work on similar projects in collaboration with ISRO, officials pointed out. They predicted that future satellite constellations will be “swarms’’ of hundreds of nano satellites.
ISRO chairman Madhavan Nair has been quoted as saying that the demand is picking up for launching nano satellites. He said many space science missions during the 11th Plan period can use nano satellites. According to NASA, nano satellites will revolutionize scientific investigations of key physical processes explored by the space and earth science communities.
If corroboration is what you are looking for, the Forbes list of 40 richest Indians offers it.
The Global इंडीयन,
- L N Mittal of ArcelorMittal remains the richest Indian with a net worth of $51 billion.
- Mukesh Ambani comes a close second with $49 billion,
- while his younger brother Anil is the third richest Indian with $45 billion।
- K P Singh, is the world’s richest real estate developer with a net worth of $35 billion, .
Between the four of them, their combined wealth is $180 billion. It’s the kind of number that makes them richer than the 40 richest Chinese put together. If the Indian stock market had reached the levels it is at today in March 2007 when Forbes compiled its annual list of the world’s richest people, then, says the magazine, these four people would have been among the Top 10.
Premji leads pack of 6 Bangalore billionaires
Mumbai has pipped Delhi as a city with the highest number of billionaires in the country. The latest list of richest Indians, compiled by Forbes magazine, has named 23 billionaires from Mumbai. Delhi accounts for only 12. Pune and Bangalore have six billionaires each.
Among top five richest Indians living in India, two are from Mumbai and two from Delhi. But Mumbaikars enjoy higher ranks than the Delhiites. The billionaires from Mumbai are led by Ambani brothers — Mukesh (2nd) and Anil (3rd). In Delhi, the richest person is Kushal Pal Singh of DLF (4th), followed by Bharti’s Sunil Mittal (6th).
The list of 40 rich Indians has 10 new entrants into the billionaire club. They include the Ahmedabad-based Gautam Adani, who built the Mundra Port; Anand Jain, who heads infrastructure project at Reliance Industries and is Mukesh Ambani’s close friend from his childhood days; Gautam Thapar of Ballarpur Industries, India’s largest manufacturer of paper; real estate tycoons Niranjan Hiranandani of Hiranandani Constructions and Rakesh Wadhwan of HDIL, which listed on the stock markets in July.
To make the list of the 40 richest Indians, a minimum net worth of $1.6 billion was needed — roughly twice the $790 million that was needed last year. That is why Naresh Goyal of Jet Airways has fallen off the list despite his fortune rising 55% over the previous year to $1.5 billion.
Like Goyal, 13 billionaires came within a whisker of making it to the list. They include Jignesh Shah of Financial Technologies with a net worth of $1.37 billion. In roughly five years, he built India’s largest commodities exchange. Then there is Nandan Nilekani, cofounder, Infosys Technologies, with $1.26 billion in his account. Pradeep Jain of Parsvnath Developers follows closely with $1.25 billion.
Now the techies, the whose who of the IT industry
- Executive vicepresident Vyomesh Joshi heads the $26 billion imaging and printer division;
- Senior vice-president Prith Banerjee is Director of HP labs ($3।6 billion budget in 2006);
- Senior vice-president Satjiv Chahal, a former Apple and Palm whiz, tasked with global marketing
Last November, HP acquired Calgary, Canada-based VoodooPC, makers of high-end luxury and gaming computers (think Ferrari equivalent among computers). The founders of this garage start-up -- brothers Ravi and Rahul Sood.
Last week, they were the toast of HP's annual "Your Life is the Show'' event in New York, where their soupedup computers (some as expensive as cars at $ 14,000 apiece) were the cynosure of gaming aficionados, while the tech hoi-polloi feasted on new PCs, laptops, and mobiles.
There was a time when Joshi, called VJ in tech circles, was said to be in line to succeed Carly Fiorina as CEO, but that moment passed.
It will eventually come, if not in HP then someplace else. The tech world knows no boundaries or ceilings now, and much as election-season American politicians and perpetually paranoid Indian comrades will sow seeds of suspicion and doubt, the geeks shall inherit the Earth
Prahalad top management guru
In this year’s Thinkers 50 — to be released in London — Prahalad (No. 3 last year) has trumped the likes of former US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, strategy guru Michael Porter and Microsoft founder Bill Gates to emerge as No. 1.
Apart from Prahalad, there are three other Indians in the Top 50: CEO coach Ram Charan at No. 22 (up from No. 24 last year), innovation guru Vijay Govindarajan of the Tuck Business School at No. 23 (No. 31 last year); and Harvard’s Rakesh Khurana at No. 45 (No. 33 last year).
“Not many management thinkers actually follow up important early ideas with genuinely groundbreaking future ideas. This is what C K Prahalad has managed to do. His work with Gary Hamel set the strategic agenda of the 1990s. Now, with The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, he has established the social, entrepreneurial and economic agenda of our times,’’ said Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove of Suntop Media, the organisation which brings out the Thinkers 50 ranking.
CK, as he is known in academic circles, is known to set the tone in whichever area he ventures into. In 1990, he coined the term “core competence’’ with Gary Hamel, an idea that emphasises that companies should stick to their core strengths. In 2004, with his book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, he nudged multinational companies to look at the vast untapped opportunity that lies in serving the world’s 5 billion poor. And from there, CK set his sights on the idea of “co-creation’’ or how companies can involve customers in the innovation process in a book he co-wrote with his colleague Venkat Ramaswamy.
Stuart Hart, professor at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management and co-originater of the idea of the ‘bottom of the pyramid’, says: “He is a rare breed of academic; a contrarian who has shown an uncanny ability to turn things upside down।”
‘He challenges his own ideas’
Business strategist C K Prahalad — who has just been named the top management guru by Thinkers 50, an annual ranking of the Top 50 management thought leaders in the world — is on the leading edge of management thinking for well over two decades. “It’s a very difficult feat indeed,’’ says Stuart Hart, professor at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management.
It’s a feat, indeed. Jagdish Sheth, professor of marketing at Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business, says: “Just like Peter Drucker and Philip Kotler, Prahalad has the uncanny ability to sense emerging reality and conceptualise it into a major movement. Examples are core competency, co-creation of value with customers and most recently his focus on the bottom of the pyramid population.’’
One of CK’s biggest strengths is the practicality of his ideas.
“A lot of academics have a huge impact in the academic world and no practical impact. But CK has influenced management practice immensely,’’ says Nirmalya Kumar, professor of marketing at London Business School. Adds Bala Balachandran, professor at Kellogg School of Management, “CK beautifully blends the two extremes of business relevance and academic elegance. (Some academics) have no clue of the changing corporate world and are more interested in mathematical rigour rather than business reality. There are other high-powered consultants who are more interested in strategy formulation and not strategy implementation or execution.’’
Unlike most thinkers who remain single-idea wonders, CK has the ability to move effortlessly from one theme to another, including his latest baby — the idea of global resource leverage.
Says Venkat Ramaswamy, professor at the Ross School of Business and also co-author of The Future of Competition, “He is constantly amplifying weak signals and challenging his own ideas. Once something takes root, he just moves on.’’
This is probably not the last we have heard from him. As Crainer and Dearlove put it, “There is a real feeling with CK that his best work is still to come. People regard him highly because he appears dedicated to making a difference rather than marketing himself relentlessly.’’
M A N O F M E A N S - Anil Agarwal says ‘I will do anything for business’
Anil Agarwal started out as a scrap dealer and went on to build a fortune by turning around poorly run state-owned companies into mean profit-making machines. He shares a few tricks of the trade
Or maybe, it is the fact that he isn’t like the conventionally suave and articulate CEO that you encounter regularly. But don’t, even for a moment, imagine he isn’t articulate. He is. It’s just the way he talks about himself. A bumbling boy from Patna who came to Mumbai and fell in love with the city’s arc lights; and altogether incidentally happened to be the world’s 245th richest man.
He now spends most of his time in London and operates out of an office in Mayfair, a posh locality in central London. He drives around in a Bentley and has a battery of attendants and butlers to help him around. “I don’t know anything about brands. But I understand comfort,” he says.
Outside work, his interests appear completely banal. He does the usual things regular people do—hang around with friends, cracks a few mean jokes, and watches every Bollywood flick that hits the screen. He keeps insisting he’s had an easy time.
But the truth is this: He built his fortune by turning around poorly run stateowned companies into ruthless, profit making machines. His business has grown from Rs 3 crore in 1986 to Rs 26,000 crore. His flagship company, Sterlite Industries is the second most profitable private sector company in India and is also the second highest tax payer. Vedanta, the holding company for his group’s businesses, was the first Indian company to list in the London stock exchange. In Konkola mines in Zambia, Agarwal has one of the world’s largest deposits of copper. From starting out as a scrap trader in metal, Agarwal, clearly has come a long way. He has now trained his guns at becoming one of the largest mining companies in the world.
The real McCoy:
Push him a little further and ask him whether his reputation as a master at finding shortcuts in business bothers him. He fixes you with a steely gaze before answering. “I am a single man army. I am first-generation entrepreneur. Tatas are the best people. They will do it right. I do it with passion, tremendous passion.” He adds: “When I finish my new expansions, I really want someone to stand up one day and say, amazing.”
In the last two years, Agarwal has stepped on the gas. In the next three, he is investing $7.5 billion to increase his metal making capacities. In June this year, Sterlite listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and raised $2 billion for expansion programmes.
As early as 2003, much of Agarwal’s attention was focused on opportunities of doing business with the government. His fetish with the government goes a long way. His father was a scrap dealer and a contractor who had to deal a lot with government officers. “I learned a lot—the psychology of officers and politicians—because that was the business,” says Agarwal. After buying metal scrap from telecom companies, Agarwal found that there was a great opportunity in making cables for these companies. In those days, there was only one supplier—the stateowned Hindustan cables. A captive market led Agarwal to set up his first jelly-filled cable making plant. As days went by, thanks to Agarwal’s knowledge of the system, Sterlite remained the largest cable supplier.
Government orders went to the company that quoted the lowest prices and this in a way also moulded Agarwal’s manufacturing strategy. He always looked for cheaper ways to make his stuff. So, Agarwal’s facilities for making jelly-filled cables was on the back of a secondhand plant that he bought at a bargain from the US. Though Sterlite made cables more efficiently, competitors accused Agarwal of manipulating the system. It was a reputation that stuck with him for a long time. Having got a foot hold as a supplier, Agarwal focused next on making more and more of the raw materials that went into making cables. With his scrap business background, he was soon making copper rods and in the late ’80s, mooted the first big idea of making copper.
After setting up the smelter, Agarwal hit a setback. He was forced to shift his plant from Maharashtra to Tamil Nadu after complaints from environment groups. Later, in Tamil Nadu, the smelter was shut for a few days after a few workmen died in a blast. “People get scared of the government, bureaucracy, union and various problems. That’s where entrepreneurship comes in and you say, let’s go ahead,” says Agarwal. “There wasn’t much choice in those days.”
Soon, aluminium got Agarwal’s fancy. First, he picked up an ailing Madras Aluminium, backed by big concessions from Tamil Nadu state government. He turned around the company but was yearning for more action. Unlike in copper, which was a state monopoly, there was the Kolkata-based Indian Aluminium (Indal) that was making the metal. Agarwal zeroed in on the company, finding its operations inefficient.
Out of the bureaucratic setup, Agarwal made an awkward move. He met Indal’s Canadian owners Alcan for tea, only to come back to India and pick up a stake in the former. Agarwal called the move friendly but soon launched a hostile bid to take over Indal. He lost the bid and later, was not even considered a buyer when Alcan sold the business to Hindalco, Agarwal’s competitor. Later, he bid 100% more than the next bidder to bag Bharat Aluminium, after the government divested its stake. “Indal was very close to my heart. I tried my best, but eventually we knew we didn’t have the money.”
It was by the turn of the century, that the big picture slowly started falling into place. Agarwal now said that he wanted to be among the biggest players in non-ferrous metals in the world. After buying out the government’s stake in Hindustan Zinc, he knew there was no more state owned metal companies available to be bought.
Opening up: Agarwal knew he had to scale up his ambition if he had to grow bigger. For that he needed big money of the kind the Indian markets were not willing to give him. As London was the biggest metal trading centre, for a year, Agarwal applied himself to studying the listing process in LSE. The UK media scoffed at the idea.
To get around the disdain, Agarwal did something smart. He got Brian Gilbertson, former chief of BHP, the world’s largest mining company, to come and certify his factories in India. Later, he hired Gilbertson as the chairman of Vedanta, an idea that worked to get his issue subscribed. To impress Gilbertson, a passionate cyclist, Agarwal rode with him from Oxford to London. He retired half way but got what he wanted. “I’ll do anything for my business,” he says. “If somebody asks me to ride a horse, I’ll do that. If they want me to swim or go to a night club, I’ll do it.”
The first of the expansion to go on stream was the aluminium project in Kalahandi, Orissa. Despite initial opposition from the green lobby, Agarwal has sunk in more than a billion dollars. But, there is small change in the way Agarwal is doing it this time. Kalahandi, being a backward district, Agarwal is spending a lot of money building amenities for people around that area. He has built over a 1,000 toilets in Chattisgarh. “We realise that in the mining business the local people are the key to a project’s success.”
The next round of growth, Agarwal feels may well come from a large acquisition overseas. Vedanta is also on the look out for mining companies that the Indian government is likely to put on the block.
1st foreign company to take control of a Chinese steel maker.
Mittal, the world's largest steelmaker, raised its stake in China Oriental Group Co Ltd to more than 73 percent, becoming the first foreign company to take control of a Chinese steel maker.
Arcelor raised its interest in China Oriental from 28.03 percent, according to the stock exchange filing, but no financial terms were released.
Arcelor paid HK$6.12 per share for the 28.03 percent stake earlier this month. Based on that price, the 73 percent holding would be worth US$1.7 billion.
Arcelor bought the initial stake from China Oriental's former executive director for $647 million this month following Chen's unsuccessful bid to buy out the company in August.
NRI creates breed of super mice that can resist cancer
Dr Vivek Rangnekar, professor of radiation medicine at the University of Kentucky, who spent over 25 years of his life in Matunga, a central Mumbai suburb, created the breed with a more active tumour-suppressor Par-4 gene.
Carrying this gene made them completely invulnerable to cancer. Not only did they not develop tumours, they even lived longer than the control animals, indicating that they have no toxic side-effects.
Reporting this breakthrough in the journal ‘Cancer Research’, Dr Rangnekar, who studied in Don Bosco School and Indian Education Society School in Dadar, said the gene offered a potential way, unlike most other cancer treatments, of destroying cancer cells without harming normal cells.
Rangnekar told “We found that these mice with the super protein kill cancer cells which were produced inside their body, both artificially and spontaneously. What’s most exciting is that through our cell culture studies, we know that this killer gene only destroys cancer cells. It does not harm normal cells at all and there are very few such molecules in both animals and humans.”
Rangnekar, who completed his bachelor’s from MV College Andheri, his masters from Harkishan Das Hospital and PhD from Bombay University before completing his postdoctoral studies from the University of Chicago, now plans to breed these super mice with other types of animals that are prone to cancers of the lung, breast and colon to see if the pups become resistant to these cancers.
In Kentucky since 1992 and working on creating these super mice for the past 5 years, Rangnekar says that this breakthrough gives hope that one day scientists could use this gene to make humans cancer resistant.
“We originally discovered Par-4 in the prostate, but it’s not limited to the prostate. The gene is expressed in every cell type. We are trying to expand on our research and are looking at the possibility of using bone marrow transplants to generate the activity of this killer protein Par-4 in humans without the toxic and damaging side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.”
NRI recruits dalits for US jobsMichael Thevar, during his childhood days in rural Karnataka, Michael Thevar often trudged barefoot deep into the forest to collect firewood. He would sell the timber to pay school fees and support his family. Now a successful NRI, employs young dalits and tribals to work as professional social workers, counsellors and therapists for his flourishing USbased healthcare agency.
Thevar came to the US in 1992 as an international exchange scholar with $18 in his pocket. He began as an alcohol and drug counsellor and went on to become a director of admissions at a Pennsylvania hospital. In 2000, he started Temp Solutions Inc that has become a rapidly-growing healthcare staffing agency in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. His wife Sushama, a dalit, is also a healthcare professional.
He recruits candidates by advertising in communitybased newspapers, by spreading the word through Yahoo social networking groups and through SC/ST college forums and campus interviews. “I try to identify the poorest of the poor from SC/ST communities who live in slums and in remote areas. I have rejected a lot of candidates whose parents are IAS officers or who came from the higher class of backward communities,’’ says Thevar, whose landless labourer-parents had migrated from Tamil Nadu.
Vivek Katara (22), from MP’s tribal Jhabua district, came to know of Thevar’s initiative through an online social network group for the marginalized. He faced discrimination during his college days in Chennai. “One was made to realize indirectly that being a tribal, one is less than equal, hence undeserving. We are identified as dalits or tribals. We are never looked at as good students,’’ says Katara, who was selected this summer for the job. Dalit intellectual Chandrabhan Prasad feels Thevar has come up with a very sensible and smart strategy: employ and then train ordinary dalits who have basic qualifications in masters of social work, irrespective of their academic grades and put them on the job in US hospitals.
Dinesh Dalvi, recruited by Thevar for Temp Solutions, has been working with multilingual and multicultural target groups, especially Hispanic, African-American, Caucasian and Asian.
At a time when most Indian corporates are resisting the idea of providing reservations to underprivileged castes and communities, proactive entrepreneurs like Thevar are showing the way. “Getting to work abroad is like a dream come true for me,’’ says Daisy, “due to people like Michael Thevar, doors are opening for us.
NRI is chief executive of Houston University
But American academia has been a sweet spot for Indian immigrants, and so stirring is saga of Renu Khator’s improbable journey, that it has both the community and university circles in raptures.
On Monday, as the Board of Regents of the University of Houston (UH) officially confirmed Renu Khator, 52, as their next chief executive, her Farukkhabad (UP) to Florida (US), Kanpur-to-Houston journey was being milked by the media.
The story goes that when Khator first came to the United States in 1974 as a young bride following an arranged marriage, her English was so dodgy that her new husband, Suresh Khator, an engineering student at Purdue University, translated for her while she was interviewed by the dean for school admission.
She made the cut, earned high grades while learning the language from re-runs of ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘The Andy Griffith Show’, and never looked back. The couple moved to Florida in 1983 when Suresh received a teaching offer from the University of Southern Florida.
Renu Khator took up a temporary position, but in two decades worked her way to become provost at the university, where her success in attracting funds and top notch faculty drew UH’s attention.
On Monday, the ‘Houston Chronicle’ observed that “Khator spoke without using notes, and her easy eloquence seemed to impress all who met the university’s 13th president.” Her husband happily boasted that he was now the junior partner and happy to follow her.
Khator has a tough job ahead of her. The University of Houston system, with a faculty of more than 3000 and an student enrolment of 50,000-plus, is one of the nation’s biggest. But it has lived for long in the shadow of two other Texas flagships — the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University. Khator is being tasked with making UH the state’s third flagship.
In her new job, she is expected to woo major donors and land top faculty, both of which should come readily to an Indian-American at a time when the community is hitting the high spots.
It was during Khator’s time as provost at USF that the university got a record $18.5 million donation from Dr Kiran Patel and his wife Pallavi.
Texas, by all accounts, has as many, if not more Indian-American moneybags as Florida. And they have reached a stage where giving to education has become routine.
Padmasree Warrior - Motorola mom to Cisco diva
Warrior, who is a graduate of IIT Delhi, is one of the few women to hold the CTO job in a top tech company in a domain generally regarded as a male preserve. Her move electrified the tech industry, coming as it did amid turmoil in the worlds third largest cell-phone maker, whose CEO Ed Zander also announced last week that he was leaving.
Warrior, 47, is also among the top ranking Indian female executives of a Fortune 500 company, after Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi. Cisco was quick to snap up Warrior and announce her appointment as CTO within hours of the news of her exit from Motorola, although she told AP that her talks with the San Jose-based Internet infrastructure giant had been going on from much before.
The industry scuttlebutt is that Warrior is more interested in working in the area of seamless mobility involving multiple connected devices, whereas Motorola was more intent on fixing its troubled cellphone business where Nokia, Sony-Ericcson and others are stealing the thunder.
In that sense, Cisco Systems, which makes routers, switches and other Internet infrastructure devices, may be a better match for her expanding interests. Warrior said she is excited about finding ways Cisco can benefit from video mobility or moving video among different networks and kinds of devices and the rise of social networking web sites.
Cisco CEO John Chambers echoed her interests. “We are headed into a new era that we define as the second phase of the Internet, driven by collaboration and Web 2.0 technologies where the network becomes the platform for communications and IT. It is an exciting time with new frontiers and opportunities for innovation. Padmasree’s new role as CTO will help to develop and promote Cisco’s future technology leadership,’’ he said in a statement outlining her new responsibilities.
Warrior will report directly to Chambers, who is a frequent visitor to India because of the company’s expanding footprint there। Cisco had been without a full time CTO since 2005. Warrior, who has a BS in chemical engineering from IIT Delhi, joined Motorola in 1984 after she earned a Masters degree at Cornell. At the pinnacle of her career at Motorola, she led a global team of 4600 techies, creating vast intellectual property for the company and influencing standards and roadmaps for the industry. Her accomplishments were recognized by the United States government when President Bush awarded her the National Medal of Technology at a White House ceremony in 2006.
Dial M for Murder naah Malini Dr.Malini
The lady is in her early forties and can be easily mistaken for a classical dancer, with her grace and wide-set eyes. Ask any terrorist or criminal who has come under her ‘spell’ — he will have a different story to tell.
Under her scientifically analytical spell of 'Narco analysis' at the Forensic Sciences Lab at Madivala in Bangalore, several truths have tumbled out of hardcore terrorists. Dr Malini, who has been the assistant director of the lab since 1999, says as a teenager, she was influenced by the theories propounded by Sigmund Freud. “I was curious to know how our brain could carry out nearly 75 per cent of the tasks, most of the time unconsciously or in a partially conscious state!"
Malini did her M.Sc. in ‘Industrial and Clinical Psychology’ from Bangalore University and went on to obtain her Ph.D. with a four-year study on the subject ‘Alcoholism and wife battering’.
After Malini's marriage to Dr B K Muralidharan, Professor at UVCE, Malini did her 'residency' in Canada in the department of experimental hypnosis and learnt to conduct 'hypnosis' for both clinically analytical purposes and to study the psyche of criminals. In 1993, after her return to India, Dr Malini worked under Dr Mukundan at 'NIMHANS', Bangalore and was assigned the task of carrying out neurophysiological and electrophysiological studies on alcoholics.
In 1999, Dr Malini became the Assistant Director of the forensic lab. In the past eight years, she has attended on nearly 3,000 cases, from all over the country! For the last couple of years especially, the police officials in Mumbai, Calcutta etc have procured court orders to subject the accused to forensic science tests and thus Dr Malini's days have become hectic.
Malini recalls a few challenging cases which have assumed political significance such as that of Abdul Karim Telgi's multi crore financial fraud case. “ I spent nearly six to seven hours interviewing Telgi, even before the lie detection test so that I could analyse part of his psyche and the circumstances that led to the biggest ever stamp paper scam. Quite surprisingly most of the accused are very gentlemanly and answer all the queries! In fact it is so sad that most of the criminals have two sides to their personalities!"
Recalling another crime mystery solved by 'Narco analysis procedure', Dr Malini explains the brutal murder of an Indian born, Canadian gynaecologist Dr Asha in Mumbai. "In 2003, Dr Asha was asked to stay back in Mumbai for one more day by her brother. The lady, who had flown in to see her brother ailing from a kidney ailment, got murdered on the day of her extended stay! Mumbai police remained clueless and found it difficult to make any progress in the investigations since the lady doctor's brother and sister-in-law died of their ailments within six months of the lady's murder.
The crime branch of Mumbai Police brought three persons working in the lady doctor's brother's house as suspects. Two of them confessed to the crime, when they were subjected to the forensic science tests. What was horrifying was the revelation that the ailing brother, along with his other sibling, had ordered for the lady's murder, so that those two brothers could get the lady doctor's property in Mumbai!
Malini feels that Narco analysis is a very scientific procedure and a far more humane approach in dealing with an accused's psychological expressions than the 'third degree treatment' meted out to extract truth. When an accused or the suspect goes into a 'trans state' of his mind after starting the slow intravenous infusion of pentothal sodium, Dr Malini starts questioning the person.
In the last one year, Malini's days have been hectic with the ATS (Anti Terrorism Squad) of Mumbai requesting for Narco-analysis test on Mumbai train blast and Malaegaon blast suspects and also on suspected terrorists arrested from Mysore and Bangalore. In the Mumbai train blasts, of the 22 persons who were subjected to the tests, 21 persons were found guilty.
Depending on the information revealed by them, huge amount of RDX was recovered in several places and the police were able to trace a location from where the terrorists were getting logistical support.
Dr Malini will soon head ‘The Centre for Brain Sciences’, which will shortly become operational within the premises of the lab। A true woman of substance and you don’t need a truth serum for anybody to agree to that!
Dola is world champion
“I’m happy with my performance, especially against the Korean girl. We had alternate shots, and she needed to shoot 9 for victory but shot 8,’’ the ecstatic archer told from Dubai.
Dola trailed in the first round 27-28. Choi shot an 8-10-10 in the second to pile up the pressure on the Indian who shot a 9-9-10. With things tied after 9 arrows, it looked like Dola would have to settle for a bronze when she shot an 8 with her 10th arrow. The Korean, however, shot a 7, which took the fight to the final (12th) arrow.
“I was very surprised. She had to score a 10 with her last arrow to win.
“I expected her to do it but she only scored an eight and I won. I didn’t expect to win,’’ she said. “I did my regular practice for the World Cup. This win means so much to me. It will help my ranking tremendously, I just don’t know how much!’’ shrieked Dola excitedly before she was whisked away to a gala dinner.
Dola had came from behind in the fourth leg in Dover, England, to defeat Zhang in a nerve-racking match (111-110) and win the gold medal.
ये तेरा घर ये मेरा घर ...... Home sweet home
NRI doctors head home with training, technical experience
“I moved to the UK in 1995 for training in cochlear implants and later started practising in Birmingham. My wife too found an equally exciting opportunity after training as an anaesthetist, intensivist and pain management expert. But we always nurtured a secret desire to come back to India, to our people and culture,’’ say the Dutts, who are working in Apollo Hospital.
The Dutts are not alone. Young NRI doctors joining the league of super-specialists in the IT city is no longer an exception.
Dr Ravindra Mehta has triple specialisation — critical care, pulmonary medicine and sleep medicine — from the American Board. But he is back in India and is heading the Wockhardt’s 90-bed critical centre unit in Bangalore. Prakash Vemugul, who has worked in Australia and Canada for the last eight years, is now heading the paediatric ICU at Wockhardt Hospital.
The brain-drain scare might continue to threaten the Indian talent pool, but Bangalore is witnessing a refreshing change, the homecoming of NRI doctors. Like the icing on the cake, the doctors are filling up crucial lacunae as they are flying in with training and experience in super-specialties - from emergency medicine, paediatric cardiology, critical care to pain management.
What is the lure? The desire to be close to one’s country and people, the growing medical infrastructure and surprisingly, the gaps in the Indian healthcare system, say the doctors.
“There is nothing to match the satisfaction you get in serving your own people. After working for 15 years in the UK and Ireland, I don’t regret my decision to return to India. I am happy to see my daughters grow up in a culture that is closer to my heart,’’ says Dr Shabeer Ahmed, a specialist in keyhole surgery at Wockhardt Hospital.
CEO of Wockhardt Hospitals, Vishal Bali has a mission on his mind. He wants to reverse the medical brain drain and over the last three years, the hospital has recruited 28 super specialist physicians from the USA, UK, Australia and Canada.The homecoming is not without compromises.
As Dr Prabhakar Reddy, head of emergency medicine at Wockhardt Hospital puts it, emergency medicine in India is still primitive. Ambulances get stuck in traffic, negating all that modern technology can do to save a life. And there is a need to evolve better practices and systems.Reddy, who has returned to India after his 16-year-long stint in the US, also finds the salaries to be a drawback as it does not match what the US offers.
For Dr Dutt, it is the three big ‘Ps’ - pollution, population and poverty, that is a put-off here। “The crowded city hits you hard as it is congested। But I am happy to find good schools for my kids.’’ (times network)
ARMED FORCES FLAG DAY
Armed Forces Flag Day or the Flag Day of India is a dedicated towards collection of funds for the welfare of the armed forces personnel. It’s being observed on December 7 every year since 1949. The day is mainly observed to serve three basic purposes: rehabilitation of battle casualties, welfare of serving personnel and their families, and resettlement and welfare of ex-servicemen and their families.
Come December 7, it’s time to celebrate the spirit of the uniform. The Armed Forces Flag Day is time for every citizen to give a thought to the welfare of the brave soldiers who face the odds, yet shield the country from any external or internal threats.
Are the ex-servicemen given their due when they shed their uniforms after serving the nation? Not really, says Capt Raja Rao, former state secretary. That’s the reason why many youngsters are interested in joining the defence forces, he laments.
On the other hand, ex-servicemen who have made it big in various fields are great motivators for the youth to join the defence forces. This at a time when the Indian Army is facing an acute shortage of officers.
CHAK DE ಬಿಂಗಳೂರುये तेरा घर ये मेरा घर ...... Home sweet home
The sky tower was earlier planned in Freedom Park on the old Central Jail premises, but was scrapped because it would have attracted a lot of tourists, leading to traffic problems.
The proposed tower will be built to boost communications, tourism and commercial activities. It will be a major landmark in the the southern part of the city.
A special feature of the tower is that it will be a major revenue earner for the BBMP. With a microwave dish platform at an altitude of 410 metres, the tower will enhance overseas and inter-departmental communications of government organizations like the Railways, All India Radio (AIR), police and Doordarshan. Four floors will be earmarked for these organizations.
This apart, four floors will be set aside for private telecom giants, who will set up their infrastructure.
The floor diameter at 350 metres serves as a microwave disc platform to facilitate live telecast of major events within a radius of 100 km. Visitors can get a bird’s eye view of Bangalore from here.
A major attraction of the tower will be a revolving restaurant and a cafeteria at 360 metres and 370 metres, respectively.
Architect and designer of the tower H R Vishwanath, former principal of BMS College of Engineering, told The Times of India: “Solar energy will be tapped with the help of solar cells installed at a height of 410 metres. Air navigational lights will be fitted at a height of 560 metres. The tower provides space for exhibiting the cultures and traditions of each of the states in the country.’’
He was instrumental in constructing the Delhi TV tower, and said the tower would be completed within two years from the date of commencement of work.
The project will be handled on the public-private-partnership model at an estimated cost of Rs 150 crore.
Bangalore has 1.05 lakh millionaire homes
Bangalore for Millionaire Club too
Contrary to what you might expect, even ranked by the absolute number of households with incomes of Rs 10 lakh or more per year, the metros aren’t all on top of the list, with Chennai ranked 9th, Hyderabad 12th and Kolkata a lowly 26th.
On top of the list are
- Delhi, with 1.38 lakh such households
- Bangalore, with 1.05 lakh families.
- Mumbai comes in third at just over 1 lakh millionaire households
It is destination Bangalore for foreign travellersHuge Growth In International Air Traffic
As per the air traffic figures provided by Airports Authority of India (AAI), Bangalore reported a 40% growth in international passenger traffic in the one year between September 2006 and August 2007. That’s the highest in the country and more than double the all India average growth of 16%. Hyderabad was the next highest at 19%.
Bangalore’s overall growth (including domestic and international air traffic) was 38%, the highest among all the major metros and well above the country’s average of 28%.
“Bangalore is the most exciting aviation market at the moment and in the days ahead the city will continue to see very high growth figures, of about 40%, as both domestic and international airlines look to make the city their hub,” says Kapil Kaul, CEO (India) of Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).
The country’s full service carriers Air-India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher are looking to make Bangalore as the gateway city to the US.
CAPA estimates that once the new greenfield BIAL airport becomes operational next March, Bangalore would witness phenomenal passenger growth ranging between 40% and 50%.
While the new airport would double the capacity of passenger traffic to 12 million per annum, 20 new international carriers are expected to fly into the city from the current six to seven.
In the last eighteen months, carriers such as Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Malaysian Airlines, Lufthansa and Air France have increased their total seat capacity to the city. Singapore Airlines now operates 2,104 seats in a week between Bangalore and Singapore, up 576 seats from March this year.
“From next week we will be increasing our total seat capacity by 30 per cent by adding extra flights,” says Louis Arul, manager (Karnataka), Singapore Airlines.
Mohan Kumar, GM of Taj Properties, Bangalore, says the city has taken over from Chennai as the “gateway to the South”. He adds that sectors like education, medical tourism and spa are driving the growth of foreign traffic into the city in addition to the IT industry. Bangalore’s real estate mart has also been attracting a lot of NRI attention.
WiMAX pilot for city to roll out in JanuaryThe much delayed ‘Bangalore Unwired’ project may finally be seeing some progress. The state government now says that in another 20 months, the city will be unwired with its 741 sqkm coming under the Worldwide Inter-operability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) technology.
The first leg of the project, a 3.5 sqkm stretch in the city centre, will be rolled out between January 14 and 22. Project executor Chennai firm Microsense is ready with the pilot which will stretch from Mallya Circle to Trinity Church.
“The base station is ready on MG Road. Work on connecting the entire city will be taken up in phases. The state will not make any investment. It will be entirely done by the service provider who will later recover it through subscriptions,’’ IT secretary M N Vidyashankar says
The project is expected to enable IT and ITeS professionals who spend a lot of time commuting in the city, to connect to the internet and work while on the road, thereby increasing productivity.
The latest standard in WiMAX, IEEE 802.16e, is being used.
The connectivity speed will range from 512 mbps to 2 gbps.
Subscriptions will be based on usage and slabs may be designed on the lines of mobile phone packages.
The start-up packages will be from Rs 1,000 per month, Vidyashankar said.
The facility can be used on a laptop as well as desktop computers.
The second leg of connectivity will be the IT-belt from Electronic City to Whitefield,
and the third stretch from Electronic City towards Bangalore South.
Provides anytime-anywhere net connectivity
First leg in January covers 3.5 sqkm
Little skater to go under 100 cars
In February, this skating marvel will bid to rewrite his own record by skating under 100 cars in one minute.
With legs spread and torso bent forward, Aniketh is no more than eight inches above the ground as he disappears under the vehicles. The little lad also attracted international media attention with British mediapersons visiting Belgaum last week to meet him.
Aniketh said: “I’m working towards breaking my own record, which I set in February last year. But it all depends on how many cars are made available for me. Since I skate under Sumos, getting 100 of them at a time is a problem. I’ve practised very hard and I’m confident that I can break my record.”
Aniketh, who took to skating two years ago, says his fascination for limbo-skating started after watching a television show. On taking to the sport, which could be dangerous if he’s not tactful, Aniketh said: “When I started off I used to come out of practice sessions with bruises, but over a period of time I learnt to be careful and corrected my postures. Now I perform without getting injured.”
On his routine, Aniketh said: “I practise for about four hours every day and cover about 100 km twice a week. I don’t miss out on playing with my friends too much since I’m very determined to have my name in the record books.” His proud parents Jyothi and Ramesh Chindak have been his pillars of support.
“Both our children started skating at a very young age, but Aniketh showed a keen interest and we decided to back his dream. It took him a while to get his body position right since he is hardly 8-10 inches above the ground. But once he got it right, there has been no looking back for him,” said Jyothi.
Although Aniketh has been invited to England to set the record, his family is firm that his record-breaking feat will be performed in Belgaum. “Although we are looking at accepting invitations for exhibition performances, his record-breaking performance will be here. We want it to be a record set on our home land,” said the proud mother.
COME FLY WITH ME
Fancy a flight? You can give wings to your thoughts as hobby flying has caught the imagination of young and old alike.
Microlight pilot Vinitha Mariappa of Mysore Aerosports (earlier known as Bangalore Aerosports), the only training school, puts it in perspective: “Microlight flying is not a money-spinner. The investment is high and returns are nil. Returns depend purely on flying — how many hours is your aircraft in the air — although investors would like something else to support the flying. Unless you are into manufacture or maintenance, pure flying won’t fetch any money.”
Vinitha says microlight flying is also not about volumes. “It’s about passion for flying. Knowing there are no returns, why would people want to get into microlight flying? Only as manufacturers or as hobby flyers. You won’t be into microlight flying if you don’t have a feel for flying.
You don’t measure its passion by the number of schools training enthusiasts to fly, but then just one training school is not great for the country.”
Apart from returns, the costs involved in going for a joy ride or for pilot training are high — microlight flying is an expensive hobby. A half-hour joy ride in the two-seater aircraft costs on an average Rs 2,500 and Rs 5,000 for an hour. Even hiring the microlight aircraft and flying it solo would cost roughly Rs 5,000 an hour, and more if accompanied by an instructor.
The low number of training schools is not only due to low returns, but also due to difficulties in finding instructors. “If you don’t have a flying instructor, how can you run a flying training school? And flying instructors are few because most of them would shift to airlines — they pay four or five times more than a training school,” says Aditya, a long-time microlight flying professional.
Microlight flying is also constrained by season. Too much wind, for instance, does not allow for joy rides or training sessions. Flying is also not possible very early in the morning or little late in the evening. Weather conditions have to be factored in given that it is a non-pressurised aircraft. “There are limitations to microlight flying. Only those willing to adjust to these can get into it,” says Vinitha.
There are only two other organisations in Bangalore which have any connection to microlight flying — Agni Aviation and Rajahamsa. They do not train or offer joy rides, but manufacture and assemble microlight aircrafts.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
( Finance & Future)
Power On .......Future On
Future On .... INDIA On
Watch where you are going - Service tax to hit your foreign trip
Recently, the Commissionerate of Service Tax in Delhi had called a meeting of all major tour operators where the travel and tourism companies were apprised about their service tax liability। When this did not have the desired effect, the commissionerate booked three big players in the outbound tour segment for more than Rs 23 crore on account of tax evasion. Sources said an investigation is on against others who have not yet deposited service tax. As the service tax and other additional cess are being recovered for the financial year 2006-07, a post-trip bill from your tour operator should not surprise you.
Already, foreign airlines have been made to pay for service tax on their premium travel in India। British Airways coughed up Rs 107 crore and Lufthansa shelled out more than Rs 5 crore.
The BUDGET, how it changes your life.........
Smart investments can help you save 88% tax
And that the FM has now made it lucrative to be a dutiful child — and parent?
On the face of it, you have to start paying tax the moment your income crosses Rs 1.50 lakh — if you’re a man — and Rs 1.80 lakh if you’re a woman. But a little smart investing goes a long way when it comes to tax-saving. Here’s an example — you could pay as little as Rs 6,695 for the whole year, saving tax of Rs 50,000 in the process, if you are earning Rs 5 lakh per annum.
That’s a saving of almost 88%. For a woman, tax liability can drop even further, to just Rs 3,605.
Here’s how. You already have the basic exemption limit. You also have the option of getting up to Rs 1 lakh deducted from taxable income by investing in instruments covered by Section 80C. These include provident fund, equity-linked savings schemes, insurance plans, and fixed deposits. Expenses incurred for tuition fees for your children and repayment of the principal component of a home loan are also included in this. Besides, interest payment of upto Rs 1.50 lakh on a home loan taken to buy a house for personal use is also deductible.
Assuming an interest rate of 10%, taking a loan of Rs 20 lakh will result in an EMI of Rs 19,300, of which a substantial chunk will initially be the interest part. So you can avail of the maximum deduction benefit of Rs 1.50 lakh from your income.
You can save tax while feeling good about yourself. You can claim deduction upto Rs 20,000 to buy a mediclaim policy for your parents, if at least one of them is a senior citizen. Plus, there’s a Rs 15,000 deduction against medical cover for yourself, your wife and children.
Invest in kin’s name, reap more benefit
New Delhi: Strong family bonds may help tax payers invest smartly and reduce the tax payout to barely 1%. In all, you can pay nil tax on a total of Rs 4.35 lakh (Rs 1.50 lakh exemption limit plus Rs 1 lakh under Section 80C plus medical insurance of Rs 35,000 and another Rs 1.50 lakh as deduction for interest payment on housing loan). That leaves a taxable income of Rs 65,000. Taxed at 10%, with the education cess of 3% thrown in, that works out to a tax payout of Rs 6,695. If you don’t make any of those investments, your tax liability will be Rs 56,650 — or almost Rs 50,000 more. Now, doesn’t it make sense to do some tax planning?
Incidentally, while you don’t really need a reason to love a child, but the Budget has just provided an incentive to do so. With the increase in the basic exemption limit to Rs 1.80 lakh, finance minister P Chidambaram has given a unique opportunity to save money for your daughter. If you gift Rs 20 lakh to your girl child, which goes tax free to her, her interest income at the rate of 9% will be Rs 1.80 lakh. If you invest the amount back in her name, there will be no tax on the interest income.
If the Rs 20 lakh were to remain in your account, the interest income on this would be clubbed with your income. And it would attract tax at the maximum rate at which you pay income tax.
If your marginal tax rate is 30%, on Rs 1.80 lakh interest income, you would pay a tax of Rs 55,620 including the education cess. Obviously, the strategy to gift Rs 20 lakh to your child will lead to substantial savings for you. At the same time, the money can be used by your daughter for her education later.
In the case of male child, the basic exemption limit is Rs 1.50 lakh. Therefore, the maximum income which can go tax-free is Rs 1.50 lakh. You can earn this much by gifting Rs 16.66 lakh to your child on a rate of return of 9%. In this case, you will save a tax of Rs 46,350 per annum.
Investing in Bangalore a good option now
The city offers a variety of options if you are looking at investing in property
A positive factor that works well for all investors here is the long term character this market promotes. It is not a market for speculative buying, simply because the long term holds greater promise. This creates a healthy environment where those who plough money into the property industry here will stay invested for a long haul. The stability is good for both the industry and investors alike. Property is an asset that will yield healthy returns here - the longer you hold on, the higher will be the returns.
Buying property in Bangalore used to be relatively less complicated. The IT-led appreciation in some parts and the relatively more economical options in others made the choice easier. In the context of the changing dimensions of the city, the location you choose to buy property in depends on other parameters too. The metro rail, international airport and major arterial roads being developed are all pushing property prices, apart from IT-related development.
Investing in property in the city is not as easy a decision as it used to be a year ago. The international airport is at one end of the city. The IT Corridor has its draw at the other end. The metro rail project is changing the dynamics in the central areas. The West is all set to play a significant role with another IT belt that's on the anvil. In such a scenario, where does one buy?
In other words, the city's property sector has more than one trigger now. So, on the one hand, you have property that appreciates based on civic infrastructure in the vicinity, and on the other, you have property that sees appreciation on the back of the IT industry. And within these two dimensions, you can choose from different price bands, based on the sort of project.
A property investment now needs to be based on the objective : -
- do you need rental returns,
- long term plans (will you move into it at some point yourself),
- and priority (do you want to stay close to the airport, a Ring Road or an IT cluster).
If capital gain is the only objective, it becomes a decision between a higher priced property in a prime locality and relatively more economical option in a developing area with promise. Many localities hold considerable promise in the light of the developments on the anvil - both in the Comprehensive Development Plan and market forces that are driving prices.
Property as an investment has always been an attractive proposition. It is even more so when the city is in the middle of a growth curve. Investing at this stage will see sharper growth in the years ahead. All it takes in Bangalore is one good road to push prices in a locality. Surely, an international airport and metro rail will mean good news for the property industry.
- Property is an asset that will yield healthy returns here
- the longer you hold on, the higher will be the returns.
Shopping for a SECOND HOME
With falling loan rates, now is the time to buy that second home you always wanted.
Let me show you around some prime real estate in India
Planning to buy a SECOND HOME as an investment? Here’s a checklist:
- Track the suburbs. Keep an eye out for articles on highways being built,
- Make a field trip to the property. Invest in a property that is coming up;
- If you’re planning to rent the place out, it is better to buy a smaller,
- It’s safest to rent your house out as a company guest house on an
annual hike in rent. Providing basic furnishing and white goods make the rent shoot up
- Take 10 months advance rent
- Commercial properties give a better rate of return (10-15%)
The Kotharis are one of many Indian couples with large disposable incomes that are looking at real estate as an investment opportunity. These are essentially people who already own one property and want to buy another.
“In the NCR, couples are lapping up houses anywhere in the range of Rs 35-80 lakh,” says Raminder Grover, CEO (residential property) Jones Lang Lasalle Meghraj. “With home loan rates going down, it’s definitely a good time to buy that second house. But if you’re looking at another property as an investment, you must remember that the returns will only start coming after a period of 48 months. If someone is willing to factor in that gestation period, they should go ahead and buy.” Grover says sectors of Gurgaon (Rs 2,300-12,000/ sq ft), Noida (Rs 3,000-7,500/sq ft), Ghaziabad (Rs 1,800-3,500/sq ft), Faridabad (Rs 1,800-3,000/sq ft), Manesar (Rs 2,400-2,600/sq ft) are prime areas to buy property in the NCR.
Mumbai-based Chetan D Narain, president of the India Institute Of Real Estate, feels rates in mid-town Mumbai — areas such as Prabhadevi, Worli and Bandra — are already at a high and will continue to rise further. “Investing in these regions will not fetch a good rate on rental returns. Areas such as Malad, Borivali, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli and Mulund have the most feasibility in growth as of now,” says Narain. If you’re looking to buy a place in any of these areas, you may have to shell out anywhere from Rs 4,000-6,000/sq ft in Ghatkopar, Vikhroli and Mulund and Rs 5,500-7,500/sq ft in Borivali and Malad.
Narain is also clear that the ‘gestation period’ must be kept in mind when looking at a house as an investment. “The purpose of investment has to be well defined. If it is long-term investment with a seven to 10-year horizon then, yes.”
Down South, Bangalore’s real estate market is witnessing a period of correction and has already dropped by 15% this year. But real estate brokers recommend waiting for another few months in order to cash in on a further drop in prices that is expected. “In another two-three months, prices will fall by another 20% or so. Though prices in the central regions of the city, in a radius of 5 km from MG Road, will only rise, areas like Whitefield, Kanakapura, Marathahalli, and Sarjapur Road will see a sharp drop in apartment prices,” says Feroze Abdulla, MD, Feroze’s Estate Agency. “There has been a 40% drop in sales recorded in the sub-registrar offices in peripheral areas of the city. The reason is that supply has outstripped demand and the unrealistic prices being quoted by developers,” he adds.
The going rates in the areas mentioned above would be between Rs 3,500 and 5,000/ sq ft. Rentals for a three-bedroom apartment in Whitefield and Marthahalli will be between Rs 10,000 and 15,000. However, with the opening of the new Bengaluru International Airport in north Bangalore, people are seen gravitating towards that direction, when traditionally most of the real estate activity was seen in the south and east of the city. Says Nitesh Shetty, MD of property development company Nitesh Estates, “There is a large section of people that is seen investing in a second home and is keen on securing a fixed monthly rental or investing to earn a good return on appreciation.”
This is a great time for real estate investment in Kolkata. In the last year, property prices have grown steadily but not hit the roof. While prices increased by 35-40% in 2006-07, the appreciation was 15-20% in 2007-08. This means value levels are very realistic and have not appreciated due to speculated movement but demand-led dynamics. “Since 1998-99, prices have seen a steady growth. In the past two-and-a-half years, they have doubled. It’s best to book now, particularly because home loan rates are on the verge of being slashed by a percentage point,” explains Abhijit Das, managing director, Kolkata regional office of Jones Lang Lasalle Meghraj.
Providing an insight into the areas that are prime property in Kolkata, Das says, “Rajarhat, Bantala, West Howrah and EM Bypass are the locations where prices are reasonable and people are investing in a big way. Compared to Rs 8,000 -14,000/sq ft at Ballygunge, Rs 6,000-10,000/sq ft at Alipore and Rs 9,000-12,000/sq ft at Gurusaday Road, property prices are pegged at Rs 2,600-3,100/sq ft at New Town, Rajarat, Rs 1,800-2,200/sq ft at Bantala and Rs 3,000-5,000 at EM Bypass.”
Investment options for HNIs in the New Year
Mergers and acquisitions are expected to reach a higher scale, considering the need for consolidation and scale. “Therefore, a lot of investment from HNIs is bound to funnel M&A related deals,” says Mrunmay Das of Das Capital Management and Advisors. Private equity (PE) will remain in vogue in 2008, but more wealth will follow the exotic PE route with complex payout structures, adds Das.
With the government relaxing the norms for Indians investing overseas, the trend of HNIs investing in foreign assets could see substantial ramp up as people go in search of returns, which are getting priced out in India.The equity market behaviour in the latter part of 2007 has mystified even experts.
“The wealth management strategies of HNI investors should focus on the aspects of greater diversification through customized innovative strategies looking at the present market scenario and the high liquidity factor,” says wealth consultant Anand K S.Fixed income is expected to make a return to the portfolio in some shape this year, compared to 2007, when it was almost negligible. It may come in various forms of structuring compared to plain vanilla debt papers or bank deposits.
With the global interest rate environment softening, initiated by the Fed rate cuts, fixed income could experience the bull-run seen in the early part of this decade. “Interest rates in India have peaked compared to other developed economies and may start falling, albeit slowly, in 2008. This will only give healthy returns from a fixed income portfolio,” says Das.
Commercial real estate will become a key investment option for large HNIs. Second rung cities with SEZ opportunities are expected to attract sizable allocation. Large real estate companies may turn direct borrowers from HNIs through attractive structured products with higher coupon-plus-conversion rates.
Financial security plan for women
“It’s important for women to channelize their savings into a good investment plan and capitalize on the booming market. After all, women are considered better savers than men,” says a wealth manager.
Women in the age group of 25-35 years should especially be financially equipped, as they tend to encounter more contingencies than men. “They usually relocate after marriage, take breaks and plan children. So it’s necessary that their investment plan be sufficient to meet the changes,” says a wealth manager.
For working women it’s essential to prioritize their objectives and goals. The planning should have a ‘to do’ list. Based on the nature of short and long-term goals the investment instruments should be selected. Women tend to have low risk-taking capacity and so aren’t very active in the markets and in trading. Besides, their decisions tend to be based on inputs from parents or spouse. “However, they are very systematic and focus on their needs,” says Chetna, Manager @ a risk management firm.
The ideal investment avenues for women are mutual fund SIPs (systematic investment plans), fixed income securities, gold, unit linked insurance plans and property. “We recommend SIPs in equity mutual funds for women investors, which goes well with their low risk appetite, at the same time helps in wealth creation,” says Portfolio @ leading wealth management firm. “It’s a good idea to plan for their personal needs and family needs like children’s education.
A home loan can be considered from tax planning plus investment perspective and if married can even be jointly done with the spouse.”