Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jai Ho- Kapil Sibal

You are on the right track. We have one of the worst education systems in the world, notwithstanding the IIT/IIM. Today, if you do not have money or a caste certificate, education is not for you. Private participation is restricted to politicians who set up colleges and collect capitation fees.
Sir, have ONE Board English the medium and all languages optional. Take away the powers of the state to tinker with education.
Pay the teachers well. Force all the SEZ's and builders to compulsorily build schools and colleges as a pre condition to getting approvals. Make corporates set up schools / colleges and manage them. If the private sector will not do it, let the PSU ' s do it. Give them double deduction benefits on this.
We badly need change. For 60 years, the politicians have made sure that education does not reach the masses, in the fear that they would lose power once the masses get education. Now, even if you do not, the media will make this happen. So, do something positive, for a change. Carpe Diem, Mr Sibal.

SBI gives financial guarantee

Old news. Tatas got SBI to guarantee a debt paper. Once upon a time, financial guarantees were strictly prohibited by the RBI. Nothing has changed in law. But the regulator winks at this, since the top brass of SBI seem to have the clout to get away with this. It will be interesting to see if the guarantee is revoked or modified. If that were to happen, every investor would have to get a refund. If past is any example, the Tatas will write to every investor and say that if we do not hear from you, we presume consent. This is how corporate India functions and regulators snore.
Now, how can SBI refuse to guarantee other corporate paper? Surely, many must have already approached.
To my mind, this guarantee smells..............

Saturday, June 20, 2009

SEBI- Lost and yet to be found

SEBI wants 'anchor investors', who will stay on for at least thirty days!! This is supposed to give confidence to retail investors.
I wonder when will the pretence stop and we realise that in stock markets, it is 'caveat emptor'? SEBI cannot catch capital market crimes. So, it resorted to 'compounding'. Now it has nothing to do. So trying to micro manage every damn thing and in the process, screwing up.
When will SEBI realise that its role is as a watchdog and a judge. It is not for SEBI to boost trading volumes or to change sentiments.
Simultaneously it has attacked the MF industry by banning entry loads!! Whilst it regulates every aspect of the mutual fund industry, it does not do anything to presecribe even a minimum qualification for a fund manager. Yes, the bus passengers and the conductors should have a license, but the driver can be anyone. I think I will launch a MF with my house maid and the driver as fund managers. It will be legal and you cannot do a damn about it. It is also very likely that they will outperform the fund managers out there, if past performance is any indicator..

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


SEBI oversteps

The announcement by SEBI that it will recommend a dilution in the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) is a sad one and made without ‘application of the mind’. STT was introduced in lieu of abolition of long term capital gains and a very thin rate of tax on short term gains.
Our market does volumes of more than one lakh crore rupees on most days with ninety percent or more being of the satta bazaar variety (the F&O segment). This clearly shows that the STT is not a deterrent to trading. Trading is more a function of the state of the market. The government has already made capital gains from listed stocks on par with agriculture income.
More dangerous is the fact that this kind of a recommendation comes from a market regulator, who has been like the proverbial police in the hindi films. SEBI should stick to what it is supposed to do. Let them not get in to thinking that they are here to grow or throttle the market. Their sole job is to provide a clean platform and also ensure speedy punishment for wrong doers. Whilst they have managed the first one reasonably well, the second role of punishing wrong doers has been a dismal failure. To cover that up, they borrowed the immoral concept of ‘compounding’, from the West, where all malpractices in capital markets originate.
Let SEBI focus on regulation and leave the economics to market forces. The irony is that the exchanges (which are akin to public utilities) are busy issuing stock and playing the market cap game. It is matter of time before they impose levies on players and participants in this endeavour. Let SEBI stop this first rather than doling out favours to players who are in any case addicted to gambling on the bourses. SEBI is like the child who has a toy, but does not know what to do with it, so eyes someone else's toy.

Monday, June 8, 2009


The arrest of a lady of the erstwhile industrial family is heartening. Not that there are others with unaccounted money. But in this case, surely it must be old money that escaped the tax men as well as some bank that wrote off a loan to some Mafatlal company. All the NPA promoters seem to be rushing overseas to bring back their wealth, before someone publishes a list of people of Indian origin with bank accounts in Lichenstein and other taxfree steins. Sadly, this lady could not escape enemies within the house.
It is funny to see a lawyer pleading that "for a 'measly' 30 lakh duty evasion" why should the client be jailed? I do not see the difference between a pick pocket or a thief or someone who evades duties. In fact the tax evaders are the true scum of the earth, who pour misery on the salaried employees and this crime is the worst of all. If I get a chance, I will surely hang tax evaders. Do not waste your tears for crooked businessmen (ex or present). They are the true pick pockets and parasites.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Education Racket

The fatal quota cum reservation system in Education has given the politicians a huge money making machine. It is an open secret that most engineering and medical colleges are owned by politicians who auction the seat to the highest bidder. Land for the institution is given away as a freebie by the state, nationalised banks give loans for construction (with most loans having gone bad, except for progressive businessmen who have built a chain of educational institutions) and the upper middle class and the NRI who are denied seats due to the quota system are easy targets for these temples of learning. It is a well known fact that you can end up having to pay any where between a couple of lakhs of rupees to fifty lakhs to 'buy' a seat in a medical college. This is payable in cash, with no receipt issued. So, if you think that any politician has a noble objective in setting up a school or a college, think again. The Return on Investment is enormous, since land is virtually free and construction loans seldom get repaid.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Paki colours

So, Pak has formally dismissed the case against LeT. It is a shame that we continue with the charade of friendship with this country. Time for our politicians to stand up and act. Since 26/11 our politicians have only been 'talking' tough. Now, the Paki government has called the bluff. Wonder whether the Indian politicos will do anything at all.
Let us forget all pretences. The Paki will not change. Cut diplomatic contacts, stop them from visiting us and do not let our folks visit them (of course, Dubai / middle east will always facilitiate the Indian traitors to visit Pak from there, with no passport entries). Stop trade and sports with that country. That is real and will not surprise anyone. The US, in any case will support Pak as it does want Pak to be a thorn in India's flesh.