Where did the comedians go! (Column: B-Town)(09:18) By Vinod Mirani The term comedian carried as much weight as the phrase hero in Hindi films. Almost no films, especially a family drama or even a romantic film, was complete without a healthy dose of comedy. Often, the comedy track had little to do with the main narrative and, if at all, a thin connection was devised to keep it relevant to the story.
Partnership for success (Column: Spy's Eye)(09:10) BY D.C. PATHAK In the Age of Knowledge that we live in many old concepts of management of an enterprise including those revolving around leadership, employer-employee relationship and the role of hierarchy in the organisation, have received a severe knock. Among the key determinants of the new norm are the recognition that a leader must rely on knowledge-based decision making and not personal 'charisma' for moving ahead, acceptance of the importance of lateral rather than 'vertical' interactions for improving the output and a realisation that in the competitive environ 'time' had to be regarded as a precious 'resource' -- apart from manpower and funds. In these times, an enterprise will succeed if its leader knew how to bring the best out of all members of the organisation and create an ethos that makes everybody -- high or low in the hierarchy -- feel that they were contributing to its progress. In a word, success today is built on partnership.
A Kiwi wound that needs healing (Column: Close-in)(10:12) BY YAJURVINDRA SINGH The Indian cricket team has embarked on a very important overseas series Down Under against New Zealand. The Kiwis, as they are popularly called because of their flightless national bird, are a difficult side to beat at home.
Getting private rail on track (Column: Behind Infra Lines)(09:43) BY TAPONEEL MUKHERJEE Fundamental to business success over and above external market conditions is the ability of a business to move the levers of revenues and costs to drive a sustainable profit margin. As crucial decisions around allowing private players to operate passenger trains are made, a relook at the fundamental requirements for success would be appropriate.
Midcap and Small caps to lead upsurge(14:50) By Arun Kejriwal Markets began the last week with big gains on Monday and then traded in a narrow range, gaining on four of the five trading sessions.
30 years after exodus, Kashmiri Pandits struggle for justice (Comment)(10:29) BY DEEPIKA BHAN For three decades a community of over five lakh people has been waiting for justice to get the perpetrators of their forced exodus identified and booked. The Kashmiri Pandits, a minority community from Kashmir, regard their exodus as a case of 'genocide' and 'ethnic cleansing'. For them January 19-20 is a painful memory of the persecution meted out to them in the Valley in late 1989 and thereafter. It is also a reminder of the bitter fact that theirs is, perhaps, the only case of violence in the country, on which no inquiry commission or committee was ever formed to investigate.
Investment Strategy 2.0 (Column: Behind Infra Lines)(09:32) BY TAPONEEL MUKHERJEE Recently, market commentator Saurabh Mukherjea pointed out the formalisation in various sectors of the Indian economy leading to the emergence of one or two giants in each industry, thereby creating a market structure where a larger share of the profits sits with fewer firms. The price action India witnessed last year with the BSE Sensex soaring even as BSE Small-Cap index failed to keep up would provide further credence to the theory.
The return of agitational politics (Column: Spy's Eye)(09:02) BY D.C. PATHAK Political history of independent India amply illustrates how street agitations have been used as a potent instrument by the opposition to create an anti-incumbency environ against an otherwise well entrenched regime. Economic issues and failures of policy implementation have been the common cause for the politically disparate groups to come together for vote mobilisation. Students and workers were always the focal points of an agitational campaign -- the most pronounced in recent history was the episode of JP agitation that derived strength from the parallel Railways strike masterminded by George Fernandes in 1974 to oppose Indira Gandhi. The war cry of that agitation revolved round misgovernance and corruption. However, that particular all India stir -- as far as one can see -- never displayed a communal streak. The current protests in the country on the twin issues of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) need to be analysed and evaluated considering that for the first time the opposition at the all-India level is stoking communal passions to whip up a public agitation on what it alleges are the 'anti- Muslim' measures of the Modi government.
Age is now just a number in Indian cricket (Column: Close-in)(09:50) By Yajurvindra Singh Cricket as a sport in the past was always looked at as one that had the aura of royalty. Whether it was played on the village green or in a stadium, it had that lethargic approach of a sport that showcased elegance, character and endurance rather than one with a fast and furious approach. Cricket was a sport that taught one the way of life, of its ups and downs, where individuals shone but a teams' performance finally was the ultimate goal.
India and The 'Fractured Syndrome' (Comment)(11:28) BY HIMANSHU MANGLIK Current events indicate that India is at an inflection point. You can feel the the swirl of undercurrents and the violent conflict. See the process of disruption and sense the resurrection of ideologies. It is almost as if you are witnessing the birth of a nation. There is an upheaval under way and it is a strange feeling. There is uncertainty, there is aggression, suspicion, hysteria, and there is palpable fear in society. It almost seems as if India wants to revisit the holocaust and the horror of the Partition. It is a crisis in the making for a country that, until recently, the world respected for its commitment and its ability to survive as a democracy. We are witnessing Indian politics at its extreme. It is the politics of power and control.
With Iran-US tension easing, expect markets to move up (Lead)(14:53) By Arun Kejriwal Markets were under pressure in the first half of the week and waited for Iran to come out of the period of mourning and then gauge the response to the killing of their top chief of the Revolutionary Guards. Post the mourning period the retaliation which came in the form of missile attacks at two bases of the US army in Iraq was a measured attack and certainly not meant to escalate tensions. President Donald Trump for once showed restraint and helped in easing global tensions by talking down the markets. A net result of all of this was markets went up globally. Crude oil prices fell and so did gold. In a nutshell what was being talked about as the probable beginning of world war III, saw tensions de-escalating in a big manner.
India can handle this triangle of conflict (Column: Spy's Eye)(13:56) BY D.C. PATHAK The elimination of Gen Qasem Suleimani heading the Al Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps in an American Drone attack at Baghdad, draws a parallel with the earlier killings of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, chief of ISIS, in a raid by US Special Forces in Syria last year and of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a SEALs operation at Abottabad way back in 2011. These three militant leaders, termed by the US as 'International Terrorists', represented Islamic radicals who had declared the Americans as their sworn enemy and engaged in a no holds barred 'proxy war' against the US.
India can handle this triangle of conflict(14:10) By D.C. Pathak The elimination of General Qasem Suleimani heading Al Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps in an American drone attack at Baghdad, draws a parallel with the earlier killings of Abu Bakar al Baghdadi, the chief of ISIS in a raid by US Special Forces in Syria last year and of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a SEALs operation at Abottabad in Pakistan way back in 2011.
Frugal domestic cricket foundation could be cause for concern (Column)(13:12) By Yajurvindra Singh Indian cricket's premier domestic tournament, the Ranji Trophy -- in its newly formed avtar last year -- is on its second leg this year. With 38 teams in the fray, Indian cricket has truly reached the length and breadth of the country. The Lodha committee recommendation, in involving the north-eastern states along with a few others awaiting recognition, has played a major part in this effort.
Budget 2020 expectations of Indian mustard oil industry(16:27) By Vivek Puri India has emerged as the largest importer of edible oil in the world. The country imported millions of tonnes of edible oil last year from October 2018 to November 2019, which is a record in itself. The nation's dependence on imported oil is expected to reach alarming levels up to 60-65 per cent.
Will Iran-US issue act as a dampener or much more than that (Market Watch)(14:12) By Arun Kejriwal Markets had begun to roll on expected lines and the breadth was improving as well, till Thursday/Friday when US President Donald Trump had a top commander of Iran and others killed through a drone attack. Markets fell globally and suddenly a positive and feel good atmosphere has been vitiated.
How secure will India be in 2020? (Comment)(10:06) BY Maj Gen (RETD) S.B. ASTHANA National Security has a wide span and needs to cover much wider period for any meaningful analysis, but to be realistic about current security dynamics of the country, speculating the immediate trends under the existing realities may be useful, especially in a high voltage political scenario in the country. While the year 2019 has seen a lot of activities with regard to national security from Balakot strike, abrogation of Article 370, administrative reorganisation of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two Union territories (UTs) and appointment of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), extrapolating the trends can help in anticipating some strategic and security challenges which might need the attention of decision makers beyond politics.
A Home Minister in the 'mission and delivery' mode (Column: Spy's Eye)(09:08) BY D.C. PATHAK Intelligence Bureau's Centenary Endowment Lecture on December 23 this year was appropriately delivered by the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, who analysed the security scenario of the country in some detail -- covering the entire range of threats from intrusion of our borders, internal violence of terrorists, Naxalites and agents provocateurs, to the formidable challenge of dealing with the dangers facing Cyber Security. He pitched national security on top of the country's agenda, called for a proactive approach on the part of our security and intelligence set-up in identifying any incipient threat to the nation and wanted IB to further enhance its capabilities for operational follow up on Intelligence to ensure action.
Soleimani's killing: It is building up to a terrible crescendo in West Asia (Comment)(10:44) BY SAEED NAQVI The assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani by US airstrikes in Iraq, brings West Asia nearer the precipice. By this action, President Trump, who cannot get out of Afghanistan, has got himself deeper into the West Asian quagmire. Americans know power and strategy. They don't understand a quantity called the people. This gap in their make-up has been their undoing in every outing since Vietnam.
Test cricket should not fall prey to clicks, hits & eyeballs (Column: Close-in)(09:23) By Yajurvindra Singh The International Cricket Council (ICC) seems to be on a path to change the duration of Test cricket into a four-day affair. To do so, they have highlighted analytical facts of most matches being completed in less than five days and freeing up those un-utilised days for something more useful. The only thought that immediately comes to mind is the commercial advantage and the additional revenue that can be generated from it.
Ramping up corporate growth (Column: Behind Infra Lines)(08:59) BY TAPONEEL MUKHERJEE The need for private investment by the corporate sector to provide impetus to the economy is of great interest and debate in India, given the clamour for significantly more private investment on the back of the corporate tax cuts by the government in the last calendar year. However, unfettering the corporates and allowing each agent to play its role in capital allocation decisions is essential in the grand scheme of things. The robust health of the corporate sector and the consequent advantages of a healthy investment environment are dependent on three major factors: the ability for and of firms to make optimal capital allocation decisions, an environment of efficient corporate governance standards and a regulatory framework that facilitates business.
Borderline: A year in macro and markets(13:46) By Suyash Choudhary The year 2019 should probably be counted as a forgettable year for India, given the off-a-cliff kind of growth collapse that we saw during the year. That this was accompanied with significant strains in the credit markets that claimed many an investment book, probably adds to the merits in favour of assigning this year to oblivion. The other view, of course, is that this probably counts as one of those rare years that one should take pains to remember. Experiences like this year serve to enhance ones experience tool-kit by much more than many years spent in linearity.