Friday, November 26, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I now learn that it wasn't anything like that. A businessman told Tata that he would be stupid to pass up an chance to start an airline just because it meant paying some minister R 15 crore. Here are the details that I came across at a site on the Internet (and I hope they have reproduced Tata's clarification correctly):
Business Standard wrote an edit saying that instead of 'whining' about the issue, Tata should name and shame the minister. Tata has written an angry letter to the paper roughly making the same points as above.
I ( Ratan Tata) happened to be on a flight once, a fellow industrialist sitting on a seat next to me & he said you know I don’t understand, you people are very stupid. You know that the minister wants 15 crore of rupees, why don’t you just pay, you want the airlines. I said you will never understand this; I just want to go to bed at night knowing that I haven’t got the airline by paying for it.”
The company then included a clarification on the following three points, which India Real Time is reproducing verbatim:
–No minister ever asked Mr. Tata for a bribe
–The fellow industrialist expressed his personal view point that some minister (sic) were asking for a bribe–Mr. Tata in no way was in agreement to the fact that he was asked for bribe by any minister
Which raises the question: how did so many papers report the news inaccurately?
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The Orissa High Court has ruled that the Orissa government’s acquisition of about 6,500 acres of land – including 500 acres from Puri’s famous Jagannath temple – and the land’s subsequent transfer to Mr Agarwal’s eponymous foundation to build Vedanta University was illegal.
BS notes that a good engineering institute can be set up on 10 acres and a management institute on 5. So why are private institutions asking for and getting so much land? It also notes that Infosys' Mysore training facility is on a 337 acre campus. This is not even a degree-granting facility, it is strictly for a private company. Interestingly, Shiv Nadar and Aziz Premji are acquiring and pay for the land they need for their educational ventures instead of seeking concessional land from the government.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
What sort of recovery is possible in these conditions? Certainly not the 100% claimed by MFIs thus far. I would be very surprised if banks did not end up taking a substantial hit. This should prompt some introspection among banks. How did they fall over each other to lend to entitities that were mostly one-person affairs and whose governance left much to be desired? Did they keep track of cumulative bank exposure to a given MFI?
On a broader note, the MFI model itself will have to be revisited. MFIs should now be brought under stringent regulation, of course, but also on-lending of bank funds through MFIs cannot continue as before. Let MFIs garner their own funds either as equity or as deposits (with deposits being linked to net worth). More on this in my ET column, Five myths about microfinance.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Quantitative easing-II has led to funds flooding into emerging markets and triggering competitive devaluations. It hasn't done much to revive the US economy. Fiscal policy, discredited since the Greek crisis, may have to play its role. More in my ET column, G 20 accord needs US policy shift.