Wednesday, January 25, 2006

FDI in retail

Well my last post spoke breifly of retail..........and here it is. The government has decided to allow 51% FDI in retail of single brand. Allthough this probably won't open up the floodgates nevertheless it means that, (if the left doesn't mess up things) we shall very soon see brands like Gucci and Versace in India. Well, more than that the government can gradually open things up and allow FDI in other retail sectors.

No wonder the left is protesting, as they feel that opening up the entire retail sector to FDI can be detrimental to intrests of cornershop owners.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Well, if 2005 was year in which reliance was in the news for all the wrong reasons, 2006 is gonna be vastly different. Both brothers seem to have started to focus on their own businesses.

Anil Ambani it seems is poised to become an entertainment Czar. Adlabs, (51% ADAE owned) which he had acquired from Manmohan Shetty has bagged 26 licenses for FM radio for a whopping 112 crores. Adlabs already owns five multiplexes across the country, and is looking at 140 screens by 2008.

Adlabs Films is looking at investing Rs 50-60 crore every year and has already tied up with Ram Gopal Varma, Prakash Jha, Ramesh Sippy and Vipul Shah. Once Adlabs has a large network of theatres, it will be possible for the group to digitally transmit a movie from one centralised location to all the theatres through Reliance Infocomm's existing fibre optic network.

Reliance Entertainment is also working on it's direct-to-home venture which is being called Reliance Bluemagic for which it is aquiring a total of six transponders on INSAT 4B this year, and also might bid for sporting event rights including cricket.

Apart from that, Reliance Infocomm has also chalked out an agreement with Microsoft to look at IPTV. The company is all set to enter consumer homes with broadband Internet through its fibre optic backbone.

Mukesh Ambani recently successfully bidded for seven acres at the Bandra-Kurla complex in Mumbai for (hold your breath!) 1104 crores. Beating brother Anil in the race, it was the biggest land deal in India. This is reportedly for his next venture 'Reatail'.

His team includding Anand Jain and the Meswani brothers is readying to launch a chain of hypermarkets soon across the country. They are looking at 2500 outlets starting from September 2006 with an investment of 20,000 crores, and will employ around 250,00 people. Their counters will start in cities like Aurangabad, Ahmedabad, Surat, Mumbai, Banglore, Delhi, Ludhiana, Chandigarh.

With Such a scale it will make other players like Biyani's Pantaloon, Shoppers Stop, and even Waal Mart (if FDI in retail is allowed) look small.

Well trust Reliance to do their business on a grand scale!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


According to K.V.Kamath CEO of ICICI, India's second largest bank, and largest private bank, the urban market for them is getting saturated, and so they are looking towards the rural market for growth. Kamath’s hypothesis is that rising urban incomes will also stimulate rural aspirations; and ‘‘as rural aspirations grow, it will be important to meet them by helping to create rural wealth’’.

One of the challenges in doing so is the operating costs. Indian banks, on an average, operate at a tenth the cost of foreign banks, and for rural banking they will have to cut costs by a fourth further.

Creating such a structure meant getting past social and infrastructure bottlenecks such as illiteracy, lack of electricity and telecom connectivity. So a solar-powered ATM, operating on wireless technology which uses biometric identification instead of the standard PIN cards was one of the solutions.

But trust modern day Indian companies to come up with innovative solutions. ICICI Bank is likely to pursue a better and lower cost alternative more aggressively in the form of point-of-sale terminal attached to the local bania store. This involves the same biometric identification, but since the bania uses and deposits cash extensively, it will marry his financing needs with that of the bank customer.

The business potential for this is huge: it is common knowledge that unorganized enterprises and rural folk pay usurious interest rates to money lenders. Also, in the absence of funding, there is large-scale wastage especially in the process of getting agri-produce from farms to markets. (Excerpted from The Indian Express.)

APJ Abdul Kalaam must be happy man if reads this, since he too has a similar vision called the PUARA i.e. providing urban aminites in rural areas, as part of his Vision 2020 for India.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

It's Finally Coming!

The movie based on the Blockbuster Novel 'The DaVinci Code' is releasing on May 19, 2006. So if are not among the 25 million people who have read the book, you still have a couple of months before the flim is out.

What is more exciting is the cast. Tom Hanks for the role of Langdon. Initially they were speculations of Salma Hayek for the role of Sophie, but a Latin American girl, playing a French character didn't seem proper. The producer Don Howard and director Brian Frazer infact were called upon by Jacques Chirac to say bonjour and to make sure all was well with the flim shooting. He recommended his daughter's best friend, a french actress of some acclaim for the role of Sophie but Audrey Tautou ended up getting the job.

The movie is shot in the Louvre, but they have used a duplicate Mona Lisa painting. The movie also includes the other locations in the book like the Temple church in London, and Rosslyn Chapel in scotland where Silas goes finding the holy grail.

If 2005 was not a good year for Hollywood, 2006 promises to be a blast with Superman, Spiderman3, X-men3, sequel to the pirates of the carribean, mission impossible3, and offcourse thr DaVinci code.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Secular or Comunist : The Perpetual Question

I am a great fan of NDTV 24/7, and well watched it 24/7 too, in India. But it wasn't without the tuffs with my younger bro, who wanted his share of M TV. Anyways, recently Rajdeep Sardesai who had a great role in making NDTV what it is, started his own channel IBN CNN, in collaboration with CNN. I desperately wanted to see this channel, couldn't so instead checked the web site. There I came across a blog by Sagarika Ghose ( Rajdeep's Wife), which had a post on LK Advani, which said that he must be really regretting what he did in 1991, which is why he made the remarks about Jinnah recently.

Here's what I think about it.

I strongly believe that the Congress is a pseudo secularist party. They have indulged in appeasement politics for a long time, ever since independence, which I believe is the root cause of everything. They are continuing what the Britishers did, divide and rule. A majority of the people found this unjust and felt left out.

These appeasement policies are, I believe, the reason for the formation of the BJP, in the 1980's, with the RSS ideology. This Hindu ideology appealed to the people, and the BJP rode on these sentiments.

But I think the BJP then went too far with it. There is nothing wrong if they represent the Hindu people, as a matter of fact they should, but they can do so without indulging in anti Muslim rhetoric. Similarly the Congress can represent the Muslim people openly and not do so by appeasement. In this context the Left front is good, it has a clear pro labor ideology and certain views on it, and they stick to it. That is why they keep getting elected in West Bengal (for about 50 years now).

Sudheerendra Kulkani, who is reckoned to be the mastermind behind Advani's remark, in some way recognized that the BJP can no longer get votes on its Ram Mandir ideology, since the anti appeasement anger was already vented. He tried to change that, and instead got the RSS ire, and it has been one step forward and two steps back since then.

I think votes should be devoid of religion and caste basis, and should be on pure governance issues. If the BJP sheds its communist colors, I will be more than happy to vote for it, as I like their pro-urban policies, and have a slight edge over the congress when it comes to governance. The Congress has some ridicules rural projects, like the employment guarantee schemes. It is ignoring the Urban areas. What people don't understand is that if they don't develop the Urban India how are they gonna get taxes for upliftment of rural India.