Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Commonwealth Games mess- Shame to India

The Commonwealth Games 2010 (CWG) has put the last nail in the coffin and the shame and embarrassment to India is complete. The Organizing committee (OC) and the Government machinery are clueless about damage control. It is abundantly clear that those like Kalmadi and his team have absolutely no organizing capability and leadership to conduct an international event of this magnitude. They are highly capable in being corrupt and in that they have done a wonderful job which few can surpass.

With just a day to go before the athletes start checking into the CWG village, the conditions of the apartments as reported are pathetic. The toilets are dirty, the electrical connections and fittings are poorly laid and security in utter disarray. Foreign delegates have said in clear terms that the accommodation provided is filthy and uninhabitable. The secretary of the Organizing committee Mr.Bhanot has the temerity to say that “it is not a matter of shame. Their standards of hygiene differ from ours”. This is the kind of jokers we have to run the show. Coupled with these is the collapse of the foot bridge near the stadium which is the proverbial last straw in the camel’s back.

It was in 2003 that India was sanctioned to conduct CWG 2010. For seven years the OC personnel had a merry time travelling abroad to “see how international events are conducted”. Mr.Kalmadi says that the facilities would be better than what was put up by China during Olympics. Yes, his personal facilities would have improved by leaps and bounds. He has been singularly responsible in ensuring that India’s paper tiger can never stand up to the planning and precision of the dragon. China was ready with their infrastructure one year ahead of the games.

The fact that all the top international athletes have pulled out of the fray is indicative of what others think of this CWG. Of course India will net a bagful of Gold as they will compete with lowly placed sporting nations.

The damage done to our country is irreparable. Our image has taken a severe beating in the International circles thanks to corrupt officials The first thing the Government should do after the games is to publicly sack all concerned from the post and ensure they are barred from any public or political postings in future. Corrupt officials should be behind bars.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Is lure of money confined only to cricket?

News about the Pakistani cricketers involved in “spot-fixing” was a shocking revelation. This is not the first time and certainly it won’t be the last. The lure of money has made even the strong willed persons to succumb to the temptations and hence lesser mortals falling prey is no surprise

Newspapers had it in their front page. The media grabbed this scoop with both hands and splashed the video footage all day long with panel discussions with eminent people. The channels were vying more for their target rating points (TRP) and not so much for their concern for the issue. If they were really concerned about bribery or corruption, there were so many cases involving our politicians, MP’s and Ministers which have been there for ages. Not a single case has been brought to books and the concerned people put behind bars. Corporate and companies grease the palms of Government staff to get things done. Have we stooped to the level of accepting these occurrences as normal and routine?

I am not trying to down play the incident of match fixing. Let us get this straight. Whatever may be the temptations, the people involved in this spot- fixing will have to be sacked and imposed a life ban from playing any form of cricket. The severity of the punishment should be a deterrent for any player to even think of such an act in the future. My submission is why different yardsticks for different category of people. There are 150 MP’s in the Lok Sabha with criminal records. Our whole system comprising politicians, Ministers, police force, Judiciary, corporate etc… is in a total mess with bribe and corruption.

I don’t believe that the media cannot unearth these wrongdoings with clear video proof. If the media claims to be responsible citizens and the fourth pillar of democracy, then let them expose incidents of governance which really has put our country to shame. Even the Government has agreed that only ten percent of the financial aid earmarked for the poor reaches the deserving people. Middle men and politicians pocket the rest. Any Government which cheats the poor who have no other recourse is not worth governing the country. Politicians who enrich their pockets at the cost of the poor and downtrodden have no moral standing and should be banished. Unfortunately every political party is rooted with corruption.

Finally, what the media has done in the case of this spot-fixing scandal is commendable. Hopefully, with proper follow-up actions, this will cleanse the system. Let the media take more important issues that besets our country and help to cleanse the corrupt politicians and departments

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pitches that kill Test cricket

The second cricket test match between Sri Lanka and India at the Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo( SSC) was a farce of a test match. Have a couple of more pitches like this in every test playing country and it is a sure shot recipe for killing the test cricket. As such the advent of one day cricket and T-20 have shifted the viewership and interest away from test cricket. Hence it becomes imperative that sporting pitches are designed for test cricket so that connoisseurs of the game could see an even and fair contest between bat and ball.

Pitches like SSC where a total of close to 1500 runs were scored for just 17 wickets will drive even the ardent fans away from test cricket. Three centuries( Mahela Jayawardana,Paranavitana and Raina), Two double hundreds( Sangakara and Tendulkar) and Sewag's 99 are scores which were not surprising in this pitch. What would make news in this kind of pitch is when a batsman fails to score a century and in that way Dravid and Laxman made the headlines. The SSC pitch can write obituaries for many a bowler.

Many construe cricket as a batsmen's game and most rules are bent in favour of batsmen. On top of that if one comes across pitches like this, it is the ultimate death knell for the bowlers. Unless the respective cricket Boards ensure that strict orders are given to the groundsmen to make pitches which are conducive to good contest, it won't be far before we see the last of test matches.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Murali scales peak 800

Muttiah Muralidharan,the smiling assassin scalped eight wickets in his last test match and conquered the unimaginable and magic figure of 800 test wickets. 67 five wicket haul in an innings, 22 ten wicket haul in a match- can it be anything other than magical? Few people in test cricket would have undergone the trauma that Murali underwent when he was called for "chucking" in Australia. With his captain Arjuna Ranatunga and the Sri Lankan cricket Board backing him to the hilt, he came through unscathed. He even underwent the scrutiny of his action through scientific study and the ICC Technical committee cleared him.

Even under normal circumstances, this record of 800 wickets would be well nigh impossible to surpass. However, with the capsuled versions of the game gaining ground, one can say with conviction that this test record will stand the test of time like the record of Bradman's batting average of 99.94. Coupled with his record in one day cricket as the highest wicket taker, he has truly attained the status of a legend who becomes incomparable.

With all his achievements, Murali is still such an unassuming person. Like Tendulkar, Federer and Vishwanathan Anand, Murali joins those selected category of people who believe that the pinnacle of glory can go hand in hand with humility. That by itself is as great an achievement as his world record number of wickets.

The world will always remember Murali and till cricket stays, Murali will always adorn the record books.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


My friend had put up the article below in facebook and it impressed me very much. Am reproducing the article below.

This was narrated by an IAF pilot to IIT students during a Seminar on Human Relations:

Venkatesh Balasubramaniam (who works for IIT) describes how his gesture of booking an air ticket for his father, his maiden flight, brought forth a rush of emotions and made him (Venkatesh) realize that how much we all take for granted when it comes to our parents.

My parents left for our native place on Thursday and we went to the airport to see them off. In fact, my father had never traveled by air before, so I just took this opportunity to make him experience the same. In spite of being asked to book tickets by train, I got them tickets on Jet Airways. The moment I handed over the tickets to him, he was surprised to see that I had booked them by air.. The excitement was very apparent on his face, waiting for the time of travel. Just like a school boy, he was preparing himself on that day and we all went to the airport, right from using the trolley for his luggage, the baggage check-in and asking for a window seat and waiting restlessly for the security check-in to happen. He was thoroughly enjoying himself and I, too, was overcome with joy watching him experience all these things.

As they were about to go in for the security check-in, he walked up to me with tears in his eyes and thanked me. He became very emotional and it was not as if I had done something great but the fact that this meant a great deal to him. When he said thanks, I told him there was no need to thank me. But later, thinking about the entire incident, I looked back at my life. As a child, how many dreams our parents have made come true.

Without understanding the financial situati on, we ask for cricket bats, dresses, toys, outings, etc. Irrespective of their affordability, they have catered to all our needs. Did we ever think about the sacrifices they had to make to accommodate many of our wishes? Did we ever say thanks for all that they have done for us? Same way, today when it comes to our children, we always think that we should put them in a good school. Regardless of the amount of donation, we will ensure that we will have to give the child the best, theme parks, toys, etc. But we tend to forget that our parents have sacrificed a lot for our sake to see us happy, so it is our responsibility to ensure that their dreams are realized and what they failed to see when they were young. It is our responsibility to ensure that they experience all those and their life is complete.

Many times, when my parents had asked me some questions, I have actually answered back without patience. When m y daughter asks me something, I have been very polite in answering. Now I realize how they would have felt at those moments. Let us realize that old age is a second childhood and just as we take care of our children, the same attention and same care needs to be given to our parents and elders. Rather than my dad saying thank you to me, I would want to say sorry for making him wait so long for this small dream. I do realize how much he has sacrificed for my sake and I will do my best to give the best possible attention to all their wishes.

Just because they are old does not mean that they will have to give up everything and keep sacrificing for their grandchildren also. They have wishes, too..

Take care of your parents. THEY ARE PRECIOUS.

Friday, June 11, 2010

BP's oil spill catastrophe

BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been spewing about 25,000-30,000 barrels a day for the last 50 days. That would be close to one million gallons per day. The damages resulting from the oil slick are estimated to be more than $10 billion. But how can one put a value for the death of all those sea animals. This has been a catastrophe of unimaginable proportion and the solution to cap the oil spill is still evading BP.

The irony is that this is not the first time that BP is involved in such a fiasco. There have been similar oil spills and one would have thought that BP would have at least learnt a few lessons from it. However, they have been fooling the world by stating that they have geared themselves to facing such crisis. It is now evident that the company is totally ill-equipped for such eventualities.

Now, it has become such a global disaster that problem is no more BP’S alone even though they are fully responsible and accountable. The “top kill” operation has not been successful and the experts are putting their thinking caps to come out with a solution. One hopes that the solution comes sooner than later.

This is a warning bell for all oil exploration companies and research efforts will have to focus on preventing such eventualities and also to finding quick answers if such a calamity happens. This also leads one to reiterate that the Governments world over will be better of to channel their efforts away from oil and focus on other forms of energy like solar, wind etc..

The damage this disaster has caused to the species in the ocean has to be evaluated. It is quite possible that some of the rare species are close to extinction. Already there is media news that some rare and endangered species of sea turtles are washed ashore dead. Pelicans have been spotted in Louisiana covered with the oil slick. It would be a big tragedy that the humans have brought forth to the Bio-diversity.

Let us hope that we learn from our mistakes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Crown for Viswanathan Anand and Brickbats for Team India in cricket

The victory of Viswanathan Anand and the crushing ouster of the Indian cricket team from the world T20 championships remind me of Charles Dickens’ “The tale of two cities”. The outcome of the two events was like chalk and cheese- One reaching the zenith and the other touching the abyss. Cricket in India has been so revered that the country goes ga-ga when Team India wins but the fans also throw brickbats when the Team does bad. No other sport or games attract so much attention which is unfortunate. Anand has done so commendably right thro his career but has failed to get the accolade and adulation from the Indian people as much as his cricket counterparts.

Anand has won four world chess titles, out of which three were undisputed world champion in 2007, 2008 and now in 2010. A remarkable achievement by any standards and it puts him among the all time greats in chess history.He is the first player in chess history to have won the world championship in three different formats: knockout, tournament and Match.Consistency has been his hallmark which is sadly missing with our cricket team. The level of commitment and hard work Anand puts in before his world title match should be an eye opener to our cricketers. His focus is so much that for the six months prior to the title match, all he thinks of is his opponent and how to tackle him and nothing else. Most of our cricketers don’t know how to handle the short pitched deliveries on the field nor the late night parties off the field. However, they behave like they are the Gods. It is the Anands, Federers, Tendulkars who are the true greats of the modern sports and these people are humble. The lesser mortals wag their tail when they should actually be going to the drawing board and practice.

The world chess crown rests majestically on Anand’s balanced head. Chess is such a mental game involving tremendous amount of stress. Anand had to travel 40 hours by road (due to the volcanic ash) to reach the playing venue. He lost the first game to Topalov but regained his composure to come back strongly to win by 6.5-5.5.

It is high time we realize who the real greats are who bring laurels to our country consistently. We should acknowledge such achievements, admire such people and reward them suitably.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The IPL broth is boiling

Lalit Modi must now be wondering why at all he tweeted mentioning about Sunanda Pushkar. That was the fodder for the media and all hell broke loose. Shashi Tharoor who claimed to be a mentor of the IPL Kochi team and a “close friend” of Sunanda was dragged in the melee and charges and counter charges were traded. The Government was visibly embarrassed both inside and outside of Parliament with the Opposition gunning for them.

Tharoor was forced to resign and the Government now began to show their vendetta on the opposition and on Lalit Modi and the IPL fraternity of office bearers, Franchisees and just about everybody even remotely connected to them. IT raids were happening on dime a dozen offices every day. Politicians and other cabinet Minister’s names were falling out like nine pins. Now everyone wants to keep away from Lalit Modi.

In support of Lalit Modi, one would say he was a “go-getter” and a person with a tremendous drive and energy. The way he shifted IPL 2 to South Africa and conducted it with clock work precision was taken note of by the world with awe and astonishment. He was a no-nonsense person and would even trample on his detractors to achieve his end. He built up a lot enemies in the process but even his worst enemies will not undermine his abilities.

However, Lalit Modi went overboard in presenting IPL as an entertainment. Yes, with Bollywood celebrities, late night parties, wine and women in plenty, there was no dearth for entertainment. Everything pointed for the can of worms to be opened and that’s exactly what happened.

The Government’s investigation and the media’s news are throwing up a lot of names both in the political and at the ministerial level. The probe will have to be done thoroughly and not by a joint parliament committee (JPC) as the opposition parties claim. The JPC will only ensure that nothing will happen.

One hopes that through all this mess will evolve a clear direction. IPL should not be killed but the administration should be made accountable and governed by a clear set of rules and guidelines.BCCI and IPL will have to abide by corporate rules and political interference should be removed.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Mumbai Express derails in Chennai- IPL 2010

Mumbai Indians (MI) was having a run too good to believe. So, it had to happen sometime and on the 6th April 2010 it took place. The Mumbai Express derailed in Chennai. It was a combination of good bowling by CSK and Hara-kiri committed by MI batsmen.

With Albie Morkel sitting out due to injury, the team management took a rather bold decision to bring in Thushara and Hussey and dropping Muralitharan. It was a gamble but as it turned out Thushara played a crucial role by claiming two wickets and a very good catch.

The score of 165 by CSK was a par score for Chepauk. The Chennai team would have felt that they were about 10-15 runs short but Harbhajan and Pollard bowled very well to contain CSK.

MI started off with a bang with Sachin and Dhawan putting on 46 runs in quick time. More than the guile of the CSK bowlers, it was the Chennai heat and humidity that was taking a toll on Tendulkar. The Master had to retire due to dehydration with MI score reading 62. This probably proved the decisive factor of the match. In a space of just over five overs Mumbai collapsed from 62 for 1 to 89 for 7. The spinners Ashwin, Raina and Jakati used the slowness of the wicket splendidly but it was unimaginative batting from the Mumbai players and poor shot selection. Even a Tendulkar returning at 89 for 7 couldn’t change the course at that time.

It was a much needed win for CSK to regain momentum and look positively for the matches ahead. CSK should take one match at a time and not look at the semi final berth now. The return of Bollinger has really added value in the bowling department. CSK will do well to go with Hayden,Hussey,Bollinger and Muralitharan as the four foreign players in the next couple of matches. Albie Morkel can replace Hussey or Hayden depending on circumstances.

Go Chennai go.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Introspection time for Chennai Super Kings(CSK)

Five down and nine matches to go for CSK in the league stage in the IPL 3. With just two wins so far, they are not exactly in the comfort zone. Experienced heads in the team will come together to analyze and evolve a strategy for the games ahead. But let us be proactive and look at the positives and negatives that have emanated so far and see where exactly CSK have gone wrong and the corrective actions needed.

The positive take from the five matches so far has been the brilliant bowling of Murali followed by Morkel and to a lesser degree by Balaji. In batting Dhoni (till he was injured) is in form, Hayden is shaping well and there has been bits and pieces knock by Raina, Badrinath.

The negatives so far have been a handful. Bowling at the “death overs” has been a major cause of concern. Against the Deccan Chargers and the Royal Challengers (RCB), CSK gave away close to thirteen runs per over in the last five overs. The other area of worry is the way batsmen get into panic mode. This was visible in the last two games. Against Kings X1, Punjab, needing just 5.4 runs per over in the last eight overs with nine wickets in hand, CSK blew it away. CSK fans would have really missed Dhoni’s cool temperament in these times. Surprisingly, fielding has let the team down in some of the matches especially against RCB.

The road ahead requires clear planning and execution. The return of Dhoni shortly would be a great morale booster. That would really strengthen the batting and exert a calming influence on the players. Depending on the team composition, Morkel /Murali /Kemp should be used in the last five overs to avoid big leakage of runs and Balaji /Ashwin /Tyagi to finish their quota before.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

India goes big ticket for womankind

India made history of sorts on 9th March, 2010 when the Upper house passed the Women's reservation bill reserving 33% seats for Women in Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies. This would be the 108th change in the constitution. They might have symbolically missed it by a day to commemorate the 100th anniversary of International women's year but in a country where decisions are male dominated and male centric, this move comes as a giant leap for womanhood. The Upper House witnessed unruly scenes of opposition from the Samajwadi Party, RJD etc and the abstinence of the Trinamool congress. Seven members were suspended and physically removed from the floor of the House. But the Congress and the BJP, Left parties and other UPA allies should be commended.

There is still a long way to go as the Lower House will have to clear the Bill. Here it might be more difficult and would witness more protests but finally it would make it through.Before the Bill is passed into law, the pros and cons like which are the seats reserved for women, what is the quota for minorities etc.. will have to be discussed. These issues are more likely to bring out problem areas. But, a good beginning is made and it will be a red letter day for India.

The real gender equality comes when it is truly implemented by the letter and spirit. It will take some time before the hurt male ego is redressed and the real transfer of power goes to women instead of back seat driving. The ball is set rolling and now people will have to work towards achieving the intended end.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Budget India 2010-11

On 6th July,2009 when Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee finished his 2009-10 budget presentation, the stock market had tanked by more than 5%. Even though, given the economic context it was a good budget as reported in my earlier blog of July 8th, 2009. However, this time around when he presented the budget today, the market went up by 1.3%. The general pre-budget opinion was a mixture of caution with fear. People were expecting that the Finance Minister would roll back all the excise duty cuts he made during pre- election as part of the economic stimulus package. But Pranab Mukherjee turned the tables on them by coming with another balanced budget.

He has promised to bring the fiscal deficit from 6.8% of GDP in 2009-10 to 5.5% in 2010-11 and has made a road map to bring it to 4% in the third year. Also, he has promised to implement the direct tax code(DTC) and goods and service tax(GST) by 1/4/2011. He has provided more money to the poor thro' National rural employment guarantee scheme(NREGA).

He has managed to increase the 10% i/tax slab from Rs.3 lakhs to 5 lakhs and similar enhancement for 20% tax slab from Rs.5 to 8 lakhs. This would really help the salaried class. However, he has made no changes in the base exemption limit of Rs.1.6 lakh. With inflation going thro' the roof, one would have expected relief in this as the value of the money has been eroded. The other surprising proposal was to roll back the duty on crude and petroleum products. Also he has enhanced the excise duty on petroleum produts by Re.1. This would increase the petrol rate by Rs.2.7 and Diesel by Rs.2.55. this will have a ripple effect and spiralling inflation. This brought uproar from the opposition who staged a walkout.

My first impression of the budget is the Finance Minister has by and large kept his earlier promise and has looked at the future pragmatically taking India to the 9% GDP growth era. Well done. i would give 7 out of 10 marks.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

God- thy name is Sachin Tendulkar

In India, cricket is a religion and Sachin Tendulkar is God. For twenty years he has held onto this exalted position where people revere him. In his playing years, cricket has undergone lot of changes like most things have. We have the longer version in the form of test cricket which most cricketers believe is the ultimate test of skill, endurance and patience. Then we have the capsuled version of the 50 over one day . In the last four years we have the slam bang variety of the 20 over game what with the IPL which has progressed leaps and bounds.

The greatness in a person hovers around how he adapts to all these types of format and comes out tops in all the three versions. That's exactly what Sachin has done. For twenty years his body has taken the grind in all forms of cricket and he has surpassed all obstacles to be in top.

More than 31,000 runs in international cricket( tests + ODI), 93 centuries, several world records including the aggregate number of runs in test and ODI, maximum number of centuries in tests, ODI . On 24Th February, 2010, he created another world record when he became the only person to score a ODI double century which he got against South Africa in Gwalior. Records are meant to be broken they say, but i have a strong belief that there are certain records which are going to be his own.

He is an icon in India. His fans would say " we have seen God and He bats No.4 for India". For all the adulation, Sachin is a very unassuming person. Both on the field and off it, he is mild mannered, no touch of arrogance, has respect and admiration for fellow players and mixes with people freely. This is another great hallmark of this person. Success has not got to his head as it had with so many sports persons who ended up in the dumps. The balance and poise he displays are remarkable and worth emulating by present day sports persons.

At 37 years now, some people might have thought he should lay down his boots. But he is probably having the best season of his 20 year career in 2009-10 with an average of 78.3 in tests with six centuries. What he plans to do, only God knows and he is God.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Save the Tiger

Look at that majestic animal in the picture. The most graceful of the cat family, Tigers were considered as " endangered " species as early as 1976 by "convention on the International trade in endangered species" of wild fauna and flora ( CITES). India launched " Project Tiger " to save the animal from extinction in 1973. Now there are 29 Tiger in India. However, if one sees the situation today, the plight of tigers leaves much to be desired. At the beginning of the twentieth century, there were 100,000 tigers in the world and India boasted of 40,000 of them. By 2002, India was left with only 3642 tigers and now it has reached an alarming and precariously low level of 1411 tigers only. If the situation is not highlighted and awareness brought to the people, it may become too late to protect these big cats.

Hunting of Tigers is legally prohibited but poachers have either managed to hoodwink the authorities or colluded with them and escape the law. In earlier years, Tigers were hunted for their fur but with the global ban on tiger skin and fur, poachers are now eying for other organs like eyes, teeth and even testicles which is said to have aphrodisiacal effect. Tiger bones are much sought after in China for medicinal purposes.

It is time that the Government, media and all like minded people come together to create awareness among public and also tighten the security in the reserves to prevent poaching. Tigers are one of the top predators and by keeping the prey population in check they maintain the overall health and balance of the nature's food-chain and ecosystem. If tigers are lost, pretty soon forest will also go and as forest cover acts as water catchment area, it will result in insufficient rainfall. The complete ecosystem will be in imbalance. We will be doing a great disservice to the cause of a green world.

Apart from poaching, the other threat to tiger conservation is deforestation, fragmentation of habitats and human-tiger conflict. With urbanisation, settlements in forest areas and industrialization through mining and quarry, grave danger to tiger population and other animals have become a reality. The Government and ministry of environment will have to come out with stricter rules that will preserve our forests and have corridor of habitat connectivity to increase tiger population.

Let's join hands and save the tiger from extinction. Else, they might be a thing of the past and our future generation might only know through stories and pictures.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The year 2009- A quick recap

The year started with the then chairman of Satyam computers divulging that the company's accounts have been fudged. The Government acted quick by forming a new Board to go into the irregularities and Raju finding himself behind the bars.

Cricket also became the target of terror when the Sri Lankan team was attacked in Pakistan. Fortunately there were no casualties but International cricket in Pakistan was put in cold storage.

The Global economic meltdown continued for most part of the year and the G-20 came to some sort of understanding on regulatory crackdown . With countries spending huge sums of money to prop up the economy, most nations showed signs of recovery in the last quarter of the year.

India went to polls and the Congress party came out thumbs up thanks to infighting in the major opposition party BJP.

The IPL cricket jamboree moved to South Africa as the Indian Government pleaded inability to provide security for the tournament as it was coinciding with the National polls. IPL Chairman Modi and his team did a wonderful job in shifting the venue at such short notice and coming out trumps. The tourney was a huge success and the " Deccan chargers" came out winners over the "Royal challengers", Bangalore. These two teams literally turned the tables on the other sides as these two were just about making up the rear during the inaugural IPL season.

Sri Lankan Government went hammer and tongs against the LTTE and virtually wiped out the organization and their supremo Prabhakaran.Innocent human lives were the casualties in this Government crusade against LTTE.
Racial attacks against Indian students in Australia was common place and by the year end it was gaining momentum. The Australian government seem to be incapable of arresting the turn of events. Ominous signs indeed.

The world lost Michael Jackson, the "King of Pop" music in June 2009. The world of music will be that much poorer.

Roger Federer created tennis history when he won the 15th Grand slam title upstaging Sampras' record. But in a different sport- Golf- we had Tiger Woods exposed for his "sexcapades" causing severe family problem and personal embarrassment.

The year ended with the Copenhagen accord on climate change. An accord devoid of any teeth and failed to meet Global expectations. Cutting on emission levels involve huge costs and the developed nations failed to reach a consensus on how to share this cost and fund the developing nations. This proved to be the biggest stumbling block for a brave and challenging target.

The world economy is trying to put it's head out of water and one hopes that the year 2010 would be lot brighter for planet Earth.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

RBI Monetary policy- a balancing act

The monetary policy 2010 announced by the RBI Governor Subbarao this week clearly is a balancing act. 2008 and 2009 were difficult years for global economy. However, India has handled it's cards well even during this recessionary period. The RBI has been a watchdog which prevented Banks getting muddled up with the mortgage and derivative problems. With less dependence on exports, India could weather the storm well. RBI has made an upward revision in it's GDP guidance for India from 6% to 7.5% for the year 2009-10. In the same vein, RBI has also revised its inflation target from 6.5% to 8.5%.

The rampant inflation is what has made RBI act by increasing the cash reserve ratio (CRR)
by 75 basis points from 5% to 5.75%. By keeping all the other policy rates like Bank rate, Repo and reverse Repo rates unchanged, the RBI has sent a clear message. This act of RBI will not increase the interest rates but will suck up Rs.36,000 crores ( Rs.360 billion) from the system. Hence sustenance of growth coupled with capping inflation has become the focus for the central Bank.

India is now moving from an era of managing growth to sustaining growth. This has to be handled effectively without letting inflation go out of control. Full marks to RBI for keeping this in mind in it's policy formulation document.

Indian economy will roll forward and the central bank will have a role to play.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti hit by natural calamity

The earthquake that hit Haiti probably caused the worst natural calamity in history. Close to 100,000 deaths and more than three million people affected. The pictures and news coming out from Haiti shows the dastardly devastation . Coupled with the total breakdown of the administrative machinery, the relief operations have been severely impeded. World aid is pouring in and so is individual contributions. But it is going to take some time before any meaningful alternate solutions can be arranged for the affected people and families.

Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the western world and this heart breaking disaster would severely impair their development process. It would require a concerted effort from social organizations and world Governmental agencies to come to the help of Haiti over a longer period to sustain the momentum of development and growth.

Let us wake up to this cause and help our brethren so they may live a life with self respect and dignity