Chalo Dalal Street

I was appointed as the HRD Director at M-Circle for the year 2015-16. The job of the HRD team is to organise programs, events, workshops which benefits the members, in our language: programs which appreciate the NAV of the member’s knowledge.

M-Circle was founded in March’2012 by a group of youth belonging to Maheswari community in Chennai with intention of Connect-Fellowship-Business motive. Within few years the organisation has scaled new heights and has already inaugurated Kolkatta chapter and few more are under process including Mumbai.

Being a Certified Financial Planner and Investment Adviser myself and knowing the fact that majority of Marwadi’s invest in equity markets, we in the board, led by MC President Mr.Sekhar Chandak came up with an idea of visiting the Historical Dalal Street and the BSE. We named the event as “Chalo Dalal Street” The idea was that most of the people who invest in equity markets all their life, actually never visit the epicentre of the business. Even today when someone speaks about Indian Stocks Market, the first thing which comes to the mind is Dalal Street.

We further thought why not call the who’s who of the industry to address us. Almost 50 members from various cities confirmed to fly down to Mumbai for the event. After almost 60 days of follow up’s we were able to get confirmations from six big wigs of the industry, and most of them Maheswari’s.

Our sincere thanks to Mr.Ashish Chauhan (CEO BSE), Mr.Anand Rathi (Anand Rathi Securities), Mr.Ramesh Damani (Member BSE), Mr.Krishna Kumar Karwa (Emkay), Mr.Ramdeo Agarwal (Motilal Oswal), Mr.Kishore Biyani (Future & BIG Bazaar Group) for having addressed us.

The event happened exactly a month back on 7/August/2015 at BSE Building. This topic being related to Investments, and moreover since the learning’s make even more sense today, post the recent correction in markets, I thought why not post the same on the web so that everyone can read the same and benefit. Yes, I have orally taken the consent of MC board for posting this article.

Speaker.1: Mr. Ashish Chauhan, CEO of BSE

He introduced the guests to the Stock Exchange in his own unique way. He took the group through the history, the challenges faced by the Exchange in its evolution, the hard work of the team in relentlessly keeping pace with changing legislature and modernization of the markets. Mr. Ashish encouraged the small & medium sized family owned businesses to consider listing on BSE, and educated about the Platform that BSE offered for such opportunities.

Speaker.2: Mr. Anand Rathi of Anand Rathi Securities

We had asked him to speak about his own success story and what he is looking forward in Indian Equity Market. Vision 2020 was what we asked him to expand on.

He was very articulate on the focus and dedication one should have in his life to achieve success. He informed us that he studied in Hindi medium during his school and then did CA in English medium. None believed that he could do it. Today he is running a business with branch network of around 400.

He said by 2020 we will not be less than double of what we are today. Markets have lots in store for us. But still not everyone will profit from it. He was very clear that if investing is not your full time profession do it through investment advisers. Right advice will only take you forward.

Speaker.3: Mr. Ramesh Damani

Everyone knows RD in Indian markets. He is one of the wizards of Dalal street and also a friend of one of the most followed investor in India, the big bull RJ alias Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.

We requested Mr.Damani to speak on the lessons learnt in the markets and learning’s from others mistakes. He should us the cycles of various markets across the world since 1900’s and taught us about the irrational behaviour of investors at both the Top’s and the Bottom’s. Irrational behaviour is the No.1 mistake of the investors. He also gave us examples of certain companies which he bought when the market was in distress. Wait for distress and be greedy!

Speaker.4: Mr. Krishna Kumar Karwa of Emkay Share Brokers

We asked Mr. Karwa to speak on ‘How to Cut the Noise and Excess Info’ we get daily.

He was very articulate and each point of his was hitting us hard. He was very clear, during bad times you will get all negative info and during good times we get only good info. Everyone tries to sail with the trend. Don’t watch/read too much of info on stock markets.

Speaker.5: Mr. Ramdeo Agarwal, Motilal Oswal

We went to the MOS towers and were amazed to see their passion for markets even in the way they have constructed the office building. Every evening the building is lit up in Red or Green based on that day’s market movement.

He was very clear in his thoughts. He said everything which India requires to grow is in place now, including a stable government. There will be teething problems but then things and economy will fall in place. Not investing in equities in today’s situation will be the biggest mistake. This is the right time to participate in the growth phase which our country may see in times to come.

The slogan of Buy Right, Hold Tight, also suggests buying stocks at the right time, when they are under-valued and retaining them for long-term to see them grow multi-fold.

Speaker.6: Mr. Kishore Biyani, Future Group

There may rarely be anyone reading this, who has not entered a Big Bazaar store. It was a Retail & Trading Break-Out Session. He shared his unique philosophy of “Create and Destroy”, in life, and how it correlates to business. His vision for retail is farfetched and strong confidence in the Indian market space, suggested opportunities to participate in a growing sector. The core values of Future Group were highlighted, and a message on trust was shared with the members present.

The above speakers have surely changed the way many people and investors think. For people like me it was a full refresher course. Few of them who have never invested till date have decided to start in a small way after hearing the examples of these wizards.

On day two, we had business meet arranged by our past president Mr. Ravhee Laddha at Hotel JW Marriott, Juhu, which was participated in large numbers by Mumbai Maheswari’s. We had two great personalities Mr. KK Maheshwari, working for Aditya Birla group, for over three decades now and Mr. Akash Moondara, Ex CFO of www.SnapDeal.com, he enlightened the delegates regarding the potential opportunities in the e-commerce and the m-commerce space.

‘I sincerely thank MC President Mr.Sekhar Chandak and the team which supported me for the event. Their vital contribution was the reason behind the success of this event.’

*Vivek Karwa

***

 

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Good Advice and Bad Advice: The Difference

When you are not sure about something you will require an Advice. If good advice is like a boon then bad advice is nothing less than a curse. This way it becomes very crucial in life to give and take right kind of advises.

In my nation the inflation is on rise, but this one thing is still offered for free. Every mouth has an opinion irrespective of the know-how required. It’s really funny to observe people taking it so lightly.

Simply, the advice that fetches you profit in reality (real profit not imaginary) is good, otherwise it’s useless or might be disastrous.

In this post I have tried to explore the basic difference between a good advice and a bad one. Have a look …

Taking Advises:

These points might help:

  • The suggestion coming from a person belonging to a different field must be given a second thought, third thought, 4th … You must not expect a physician to explain rocket science in its correct form. The person might be knowledgeable but only in his area of expertise.    
  • The person providing you with suggestions is himself a big clues. Your task must be to look for any hidden agenda. There is nothing bad to profit others, but not at the cost of your loss.
  • Men make mistake and they make more mistakes when too happy, too sad, or angry. The advises provide at these times are to be taken very seriously. In the hype you might do something for which you will have to regret later.
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse is on rise. The suggestions to and from people suffering from such condition must be provided with greatest care. Hopefully, this might not be the case with you, but it happens and I have seen it multiple times.
  • Sometimes the suggestion might not be a complete match with your requirements. In such cases you can perform the desired modification in plan to make it compatible.   

The one thing that you must never forget is that at the end, responsibility will be yours. The incurred profit or loss will affect you, only you, or your loved ones.

If you fail the whole responsibility will be yours. None will come and say “It was my mistake as I gave you a wrong advice”. Even if they confess the situation is unlikely to change.

Giving Advises:

The simple rule of thumb is to never provide an advice outside your area of expertise. In case, you find it difficult to suppress your urge to speak then mention it clearly that the idea stated is simply your point of view.

When you really desire to help someone better do it the right way. If you cannot make it it right don’t turn it to bad.

The conclusion is that you will come across numerous suggestions and a lot of mouths. Every time you will have to determine the legitimacy of every individual idea being presented to you. There is no single line definition or some devise to differentiate between a good advice and a bad advice. All you need is to take care and act right.

A Few Chanakya Neeti Quotes about speaking :

  • It is a waste to advice some foolish person. Your words won’t change the person’s nature. Like the fragrant wind passing through forest of sandal wood does not make any  impact on odor of a bamboo tree.
  • Don’t give any advice to a foolish person; try taking care of a non listening woman; keep company of a sad fellow.
  • A really wise man is well aware about the art of speaking, he talks as per situation, speak the words that add to his fame, and shows anger in accordance with the power he possesses.

An advice is just an idea. It is you who will have to think about the outcome and act accordingly.

Source: Fwd Email

How should NRI choose a Financial Planner in India?

NRIs can come across hurdles as certain investments may have restrictions if not planned in advance

Kayezad E. Adajania, Mint 28/6/13

source: http://www.livemint.com/Money/fc1d4G4bOOuRve4bLrTnIN/How-to-choose-a-financial-planner-in-India.html

It could be an unnerving experience when it comes to choosing a financial planner in India if you stay abroad and wish to invest in India. Here are a few things that a non-resident Indian (NRI) investor should check before selecting a financial planner in India.

Taxation laws

It’s important that your financial planner knows the taxation laws that are applicable to NRI investors. Though capital gains taxation for most instruments are the same for Indian as well as NRI investors, there could be provisions that are specific only to NRIs. “Not just about the Indian tax laws, it is also desirable to have some idea about taxation in the country where the NRI resides. Maybe not detailed but a cursory idea,” says Gaurav Mashruwala, a Mumbai-based financial planner.

It’s not just on the taxation front that an NRI investor can come across hurdles, even certain investments have restrictions. For instance, according to the Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema), NRI investments in Indian companies that are listed on Indian stock exchanges cannot exceed 10% of the company’s paid-up share capital. This ceiling, though, can be raised to 24% subject to the approval of the general body of the company passing a resolution. “Understanding Fema guidelines, how the NRI’s money can or cannot be repatriated back to the country where the NRI is residing at the moment, are crucial things to know for a financial adviser,” says Gautam Nayak, a Mumbai-based chartered account.

Products and more

After taxation, it’s crucial to see whether your financial planner has knowledge about options available. And we don’t just mean about Indian products; it helps if your planner understands international products. “An NRI investor is often exposed to a greater variety of products than an Indian investor. For instance, if oil or commodity prices are on the rise, there are hardly any products that an Indian investor can invest in. But a NRI investor can invest in oil-based financial products abroad or invest in commodities,” says Aashish P. Somaiyaa, chief executive officer, Motilal Oswal Asset Management Co. Ltd.

Planning skills

While some NRIs aim to settle in a foreign land forever, others have plans to return back to India after spending a few years abroad. Your financial planner should be able to help you make that transition smoothly. In such cases, it also helps if your financial planner has the ability to research on the taxation laws of various other countries as well if your investments across countries need to be brought back to India eventually.

Suresh Sadagopan, another Mumbai-based financial planner, faced a similar situation about a year-and-a-half back when one of his clients moved to India from Singapore. The couple’s daughter still continues to remain in Canada where she was studying at the time the parents moved back to India. “Since this client had investments in various countries, we had to do a lot of homework, a lot of studying of taxation laws of the countries where his money was. There was significant money to be brought in here and from various countries. It was a complex case, but we did it”, he says.

“Also it is an added advantage if the adviser has a tie-up with a local adviser in that country for cross-border practice”, says Sadique Neelgund, a certified financial planner and founder, Network FP, a firm that trains aspiring financial planners.

Communication and service standards

Living abroad and in different time zones can make it difficult for you to reach out to your financial planner when you need him or her the most. If you’re in India, you can telephone, or if possible, you can also go to your planner’s office. But frequent international phone calls can burn a hole in your pocket. What do you do? “We use Internet phone calls using Skype, frequently, with our NRI investors. Accessibility is important because it gives our clients comfort”, says Mashruwala.

Neelgund, infact, goes a step ahead and suggests that financial planners should also consider going abroad to meet their clients at times.

What should you do?

Akshay Gupta, chief executive officer, Peerless Asset Management Co. Ltd says that NRI investors who have invested “heavily in gold and real estate” prefer to go to chartered accountants, while others who have conventional investments such as mutual funds and equity prefer to go to bank distributors. These banks, Gupta adds, are preferably foreign banks that are also present in counties where the NRI investor stays.

A third, and a potent, avenue, that has opened up in recent years is the independent financial adviser, many of whom already service a lot of NRIs. “Many NRIs prefer to choose their bankers for the sake of convenience and an established relationship. But this is the most inappropriate way of selecting one’s financial advisor as many bank’s relationship managers tend to misuse the trust reposed by clients by pushing wrong investment and insurance products to meet their targets”, says Neelgund.

Try www.fpsbindia.org, the website of the Financial Planning and Standard Boards of India—the Indian branch of the global body of certified financial planners—to get a list of certified financial planners, as a start.

***

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Max’s Analjit Singh

Business Standard, 19-20/2/2011

Out of the woods: Has Analjit Singh, the perennial start-up man, finally found his groove?

Analjit Singh says he was very excited when a home ministry official called to say that the government had decided to give him a Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in the country. The response of friends and associates over the next few days overwhelmed him too. “I was surprised to find that so many people were aware of my social and public work,” he says.

But there’s more that sets his pulse racing these days. Max India along with its subsidiaries — Max New York Life, Max Healthcare, Max Bupa and Max Neeman — made a small profit of Rs 38 crore in the quarter ended December 31, 2010, after a long tread in the red. Max New York Life and Max Healthcare, Singh’s two expensive ventures, turned cash-positive during the quarter. Two other businesses, packaging films (a division of Max India) and clinical research (Max Neeman), have been profitable for some time. That leaves Max Bupa, the health insurer, which has just begun operations and is projected to break even only in 2014. Singh expects to close the books for 2010-11 with a profit, as against a loss of Rs 44 crore in 2009-10.

Singh, the perennial start-up man of India, seems to have finally found his groove. He turned 57 in January and says that among his last two New Year resolutions, one is to stay fit and the other, give more time to his family.

* * *

Singh likes to call himself a self-made entrepreneur, though his father was Bhai Mohan Singh of Ranbaxy. Here’s why.

Upon his return from the US in 1982, Singh was put in charge of a new project to make amino-penicillic acid, raw material for the semi-synthetic penicillin that Ranbaxy made. So he set up a company called Max India — M for his father, Bhai Mohan Singh; A for his mother, Avtari Kaur; and X for everybody else.

But the project was fraught with problems: The government was unwilling to give a licence and the technology had to be imported, but there were restrictions on the foreign exchange that could be used for such a purpose. Still, Singh went ahead. The cost of the project was Rs 5 crore, of which the family contributed just Rs 65 lakh. The rest came from loans which Singh repaid over 18 years after the factory started in 1985.

It wasn’t easy. Ranbaxy, which gave Max almost 60 per cent of its business, pulled the plug in 1991, two years after the family separation, when it decided to set up its own plant for raw material. Singh had other run-ins too with his brother, Parvinder Singh, who ran Ranbaxy. To hedge his risks, Singh diversified into penicillin and formulations, and also became a distributor for Upjohn. Over the next few years, he exited all pharmaceutical ventures.

The urge for stable cash flows led him to packaging films and trading of electronic components for telecommunications. Singh’s next stop was radio paging with Motorola. But it was a service business and he had taken a hardware vendor as a partner! He then brought Hutchison Whampoa into the business. And when cellular telephony was opened up, he along with Hutch bagged the lucrative Mumbai circle. But differences emerged between them — Singh wanted to grow a national footprint, while Hutch was keen to stick to Mumbai. So, in April 1998, Singh sold 90 per cent of his stake to Hutch for Rs 549 crore. (The remaining 10 per cent was sold in tranches around 2004.) He then tied up with British Telecom but couldn’t get any licence.

With cash in his pocket, Singh began to think about life afresh. He gave himself a six-month break. McKinsey was brought in for advice. When nothing came out of long meetings, a consultant handed Singh a piece of paper and a pen, and asked him to write his obituary in 800 words — how he would like to be known. All of a sudden, Singh knew what he wanted: Make Max the most admired company in service excellence. (His idols were Naresh Goel of Jet Airways and the Oberois of East India Hotels.) The businesses Singh chose for his new innings in 2000 were life insurance and healthcare.

Detractors didn’t give him much of a chance. Except mobile telephony, Singh had always been in B2B sectors; life insurance and healthcare, on the other hand, have always been highly consumer-centred. Did he have it in him to run these businesses profitably?

* * *

Eleven years later, with profits in life insurance and healthcare within sight, Singh can afford to breathe easy. He can also call himself a rich man. Max India is worth Rs 3,500 crore on the stock market; he owns over a third of that, which puts his wealth at over Rs 1,000 crore. He owns close to 8 per cent in Vodafone Essar, which could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. (Hutch got Ashim Ghosh and him on board to make the shareholding compliant with the rule that foreign investment cannot exceed 74 per cent in a telecommunications service provider. He stayed put once Vodafone acquired Hutch and some time back, bought Ghosh’s stake as well.) He has put Rs 50 crore in the upcoming campus of Indian School of Business at Mohali near Chandigarh.

Singh agreed to be white knight to the Oberoi family after ITC had bought close to 15 per cent in East India Hotels. The Oberois finally decided to walk to the altar with Mukesh Ambani. Singh does not want to talk about it, but the grapevine suggests that there was a mismatch between what he was prepared to invest and the control he was offered. The two were putting up a hotel together in Dehradun. That alliance too has been called off. Singh, however, continues to own 4 per cent of East India Hotels. But that didn’t set him back for long. These days he is busy planning new businesses with his children — two daughters and a son. “I am totally calm and at peace, and therefore very happy,” says Singh. “I have embraced the principle that all ups and downs are a part of life. Life is not about us — we are about life.”

* * *

The urbane demeanour apart, Singh has done some serious course-corrections in the healthcare and life insurance business — which have caused some pain as well — to turn them profitable. After the Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority clamped down on the margins on unit-linked insurance products, Max New York Life turned towards traditional products which offer better margins. Such products now make up 85 per cent of the company’s portfolio. “We went into the trenches for five months and totally revamped our strategy,” Singh says. Cost rationalisation, including manpower, was done across businesses.

In Max Healthcare, categories like oncology and minimal access surgery were added to the portfolio. Business also came from the addition of a full range of tertiary care. From here, Singh wants to drive scale. (Warburg Pincus and International Finance Corporation have bought close to 30 per cent in Max Healthcare.) On the anvil are four new hospitals in Dehradun, Bhatinda, Mohali and New Delhi which will double Max Healthcare’s capacity to 2,000 beds. Apart from the usual cost advantages, scale, says Singh, also brings in accountability.

Instead of a national footprint, Max Healthcare has consolidated in and around Delhi and is only now spreading into North India. “Our patient-base is 1.1-million strong, we get 250,000 footfalls every month, and we have 1,200 doctors,” says Max India director (corporate development) Mohit Talwar. “We are among the largest hospital chains in Delhi and our average occupancy is around 70 per cent.” Still, Singh is aware that profit margins in healthcare are low, though the sector is immune from business cycles. “If you want to make super profits, you shouldn’t be in healthcare,” he says.

But have his companies delivered on service excellence? “Amongst private players, we have the best record in medical outcome, average length of stay, occupancy and infection,” says Singh of Max Healthcare. More steps are afoot. Habib Rehman, the former ITC Hotels honcho, has been appointed to the Max Healthcare board to prime the hospitality piece of the jigsaw.

At the group level, Singh has brought in Prashant Hoskote from Mashreq Bank in Dubai as vice-president (quality and service excellence) of Max India. Till now all his companies measured quality parameters like customer satisfaction and loyalty, complaint management and processes with their own yardsticks. They will now be scored on the uniform Max Performance Excellence Model. Every CEO will be given target scores regularly. “What this has done is escalated quality into every CEO’s KRAs (key result areas),” says Hoskote. “Every board in its meeting gives at least an hour to quality.”

* * *

With business growing in size, Singh has taken steps to improve governance. Nine independent directors have been appointed on the four boards: Max India, Max New York Life, Max Healthcare and Max Bupa. “I didn’t know seven or eight of them,” says Singh. According to him, executive-search specialist Egon Zehnder helped him zero in on the attributes required for the directors and then helped him find such people.

Singh, of course, is the chairman of Max India. To maintain his independence, he does not sit on the board to protect the interests of the family. Instead, his family has appointed Ashwini Windlass, one-time head of Max India, to represent its interests — just like Warburg Pincus and Goldman Sachs have appointed directors to safeguard their interests. If the family has an issue, it is raised by Windlass and it may be answered by Singh!

The staff that helps the family with its new ventures, paperwork, treasury operations, tax returns, and so on is not drawn from group companies — they are on the family’s payroll. Their space inside the Max India office in south Delhi has been taken on rent by the family from the company. Singh holds three structured shareholders’ meetings with his business partners, New York Life and Bupa, without the aid of company executives so that the principal shareholders speak in one voice in board meetings.

It sure has been a long journey for Singh.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/outthe-woods/425681/

STRESS: How to Cope Better with Life’s Challenges

*Though off-topic v at VRIDHI thought that it’s an useful article for all…
What causes stress?

Stress is caused by the body’s instinct to defend itself. This instinct is good in emergencies, such as getting out of the way of a speeding car. But it can cause physical symptoms if it goes on for too long, such as in response to life’s daily challenges and changes.

When this happens, it’s as though your body gets ready to jump out of the way of the car, but you’re sitting still. Your body is working overtime, with no place to put all the extra energy. This can make you feel anxious, afraid, worried and uptight.

What changes may be stressful?

Any sort of change can make you feel stressed, even good change. It’s not just the change or event itself, but also how you react to it that matters. What may be stressful is different for each person. For example, one person may not feel stressed by retiring from work, while another may feel stressed.

Other things that may be stressful include being laid off from your job, your child leaving or returning home, the death of your spouse, divorce or marriage, an illness, an injury, a job promotion, money problems, moving, or having a baby.

Can stress hurt my health?

Stress can cause health problems or make problems worse if you don’t learn ways to deal with it. Talk to your family doctor if you think some of your symptoms are due to stress. It’s important to make sure that your symptoms aren’t caused by other health problems.
Possible signs of stress

· Anxiety

· Back pain

· Constipation or diarrhoea

· Depression

· Fatigue

· Headaches

· High blood pressure

· Insomnia

· Problems with relationships

· Shortness of breath

· Stiff neck

· Upset stomach

· Weight gain or loss

What can i do to reduce my stress?

The first step is to learn to recognize when you’re feeling stressed. Early warning signs of stress include tension in your shoulders and neck, or clenching your hands into fists.

The next step is to choose a way to deal with your stress. One way is to avoid the event or thing that leads to your stress–but often this is not possible. A second way is to change how you react to stress. This is often the best way.

Tips for dealing with stress

· Don’t worry about things you can’t control, like the weather.

· Prepare to the best of your ability for events you know may be stressful, like a job interview.

· Try to look at change as a positive challenge, not a threat.

· Work to resolve conflicts with other people.

· Ask for help from friends, family or professionals.

· Set realistic goals at home and at work.

· Exercise on a regular basis.

· Eat well-balanced meals and get enough sleep. 

· Meditate.

· Get away from your daily stresses with group sports, social events and hobbies.

Why is exercise useful?

Exercise is a good way to deal with stress because it is a healthy way to relieve your pent-up energy and tension. It also helps you get in better shape, which makes you feel better overall. Meditation is a form of guided thought. It can take many forms. You may do it with exercise that uses the same motions over and over, like walking or swimming. You may meditate by practicing relaxation training, by stretching or by breathing deeply.

Relaxation training is easy. Start with one muscle. Hold it tight for a few seconds then relax the muscle. Do this with each of your muscles.

Stretching can also help relieve tension. Roll your head in a gentle circle. Reach toward the ceiling and bend side to side slowly. Roll your shoulders.

Deep, relaxed breathing (see the box to the right) by itself may help relieve stress. This helps you get plenty of oxygen.

If you want more help treating stress symptoms, ask your family doctor for advice.

Narendra Modi best performing CM: survey

The opinion poll, conducted on the eve of the Congess-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s first anniversary in its second term, rated Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik as the second best performer, with only 1% fewer votes than Modi

Mint 20/5/10

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has been the best performing head of a state government in the last one year, according to a survey by NDTV news channel with GfK Mode, a market and social research firm.

The opinion poll, conducted on the eve of the Congess-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s first anniversary in its second term, rated Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik as the second best performer, with only 1% fewer votes than Modi.

Interestingly, chief ministers belonging to the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dominated the top five list of best performers with Patnaik, who belongs to the Biju Janata Dal and Assam chief minister and Congress leader Tarun Gogoi being the exceptions.

While 85% of the 34,277 respondents across the country chose Modi, a BJP leader, as the best chief minister, Patnaik got 84%. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chauhan and Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh got 77% and 73%, respectively. Both belong to the BJP. Gogoi was the favourite of 76% of the respondents.

According to the survey, 44% of the respondents said they were worse off in the UPA’s second term, compared with its first. However, almost 70% were satisfied with Manmohan Singh’s performance as Prime Minister. A majority of 55% of the respondents were in favour of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi becoming the next prime minister. The poll suggests that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is more powerful than Singh—63% of the respondents thought so.

Home minister P. Chidambaram, who has been under attack for his handling of internal security in the wake of stepped-up Maoist attacks, is rated as a high performer with a score of 61%. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s performance was applauded by 59% of the respondents. However, 62% said they had been affected by inflation measured at 9.59% in April.

Who is your tomorrow’s competitor?

Who sells the largest number of cameras in India?

Your guess is likely to be Sony, Canon or Nikon. Answer is none of the above. The winner is Nokia whose main line of business in India is not cameras but cell phones.

Reason being cameras bundled with cellphones are outselling stand alone cameras. Now, what prevents the cellphone from replacing the camera outright? Nothing at all. One can only hope the Sonys and Canons are taking note.

Try this. Who is the biggest in music business in India? You think it is HMV Sa-Re-Ga-Ma? Sorry. The answer is Airtel. By selling caller tunes (that play for 30 seconds) Airtel makes more than what music companies make by selling music albums (that run for hours).

Incidentally Airtel is not in music business. It is the mobile service provider with the largest subscriber base in India. That sort of competitor is difficult to detect, even more difficult to beat (by the time you have identified him he has already gone past you). But if you imagine that Nokia and Bharti (Airtel’s parent) are breathing easy you can’t be farther from truth.

Nokia confessed that they all but missed the smartphone bus. They admit that Apple’s Iphone and Google’s Android can make life difficult in future. But you never thought Google was a mobile company, did you? If these illustrations mean anything, there is a bigger game unfolding. It is not so much about mobile or music or camera or emails?

The "Mahabharat" (the great Indian epic battle) is about "what is tomorrow’s personal digital device"? Will it be a souped up mobile or a palmtop with a telephone? All these are little wars that add up to that big battle. Hiding behind all these wars is a gem of a question – "who is my competitor?"

Once in a while, to intrigue my students I toss a question at them. It says "What Apple did to Sony, Sony did to Kodak, explain?" The smart ones get the answer almost immediately. Sony defined its market as audio (music from the walkman). They never expected an IT company like Apple to encroach into their audio domain. Come to think of it, is it really surprising? Apple as a computer maker has both audio and video capabilities. So what made Sony think he won’t compete on pure audio? "Elementary Watson". So also Kodak defined its business as film cameras, Sony defines its businesses as "digital."

In digital camera the two markets perfectly meshed. Kodak was torn between going digital and sacrificing money on camera film or staying with films and getting left behind in digital technology. Left undecided it lost in both. It had to. It did not ask the question "who is my competitor for tomorrow?"

The same was true for IBM whose mainframe revenue prevented it from seeing the PC. The same was true of Bill Gates who declared "internet is a fad!" and then turned around to bundle the browser with windows to bury Netscape. The point is not who is today’s competitor. Today’s competitor is obvious. Tomorrow’s is not.

In 2008, who was the toughest competitor to British Airways in India? Singapore airlines? Better still, Indian airlines? Maybe, but there are better answers. There are competitors that can hurt all these airlines and others not mentioned. The answer is videoconferencing and telepresence services of HP and Cisco. Travel dropped due to recession. Senior IT executives in India and abroad were compelled by their head quarters to use videoconferencing to shrink travel budget. So much so, that the mad scramble for American visas from Indian techies was nowhere in sight in 2008. (India has a quota of something like 65,000 visas to the U.S. They were going a-begging. Blame it on recession!). So far so good. But to think that the airlines will be back in business post recession is something I would not bet on. In short term yes. In long term a resounding no.

Remember, if there is one place where Newton’s law of gravity is applicable besides physics it is in electronic hardware. Between 1977 and 1991 the prices of the now dead VCR (parent of Blue-Ray disc player) crashed to one-third of its original level in India. PC’s price dropped from hundreds of thousands of rupees to tens of thousands. If this trend repeats then telepresence prices will also crash. Imagine the fate of airlines then. As it is not many are making money. Then it will surely be RIP!

India has two passions. Films and cricket. The two markets were distinctly different. So were the icons. The cricket gods were Sachin and Sehwag. The filmi gods were the Khans (Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and the other Khans who followed suit). That was, when cricket was fundamentally test cricket or at best 50 over cricket. Then came IPL and the two markets collapsed into one. IPL brought cricket down to 20 overs. Suddenly an IPL match was reduced to the length of a 3 hour movie. Cricket became film’s competitor. On the eve of IPL matches movie halls ran empty. Desperate multiplex owners requisitioned the rights for screening IPL matches at movie halls to hang on to the audience. If IPL were to become the mainstay of cricket, as it is likely to be, films have to sequence their releases so as not clash with IPL matches. As far as the audience is concerned both are what in India are called 3 hour "tamasha" (entertainment) . Cricket season might push films out of the market.

Look at the products that vanished from India in the last 20 years. When did you last see a black and white movie? When did you last use a fountain pen? When did you last type on a typewriter? The answer for all the above is "I don’t remember!" For some time there was a mild substitute for the typewriter called electronic typewriter that had limited memory. Then came the computer and mowed them all. Today most technologically challenged guys like me use the computer as an upgraded typewriter. Typewriters per se are nowhere to be seen.

One last illustration. 20 years back what were Indians using to wake them up in the morning? The answer is "alarm clock." The alarm clock was a monster made of mechanical springs. It had to be physically keyed every day to keep it running. It made so much noise by way of alarm, that it woke you up and the rest of the colony. Then came quartz clocks which were sleeker. They were much more gentle though still quaintly called "alarms." What do we use today for waking up in the morning? Cellphone! An entire industry of clocks disappeared without warning thanks to cell phones. Big watch companies like Titan were the losers. You never know in which bush your competitor is hiding!

On a lighter vein, who are the competitors for authors? Joke spewing machines? (Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, himself a Pole, tagged a Polish joke telling machine to a telephone much to the mirth of Silicon Valley). Or will the competition be story telling robots? Future is scary! The boss of an IT company once said something interesting about the animal called competition. He said "Have breakfast …or…. be breakfast"! That sums it up rather neatly.

—Dr. Y. L. R. Moorthi is a professor at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. He is an M.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and a post graduate in management from IIM, Bangalore.