Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bajaj Capital just offered me a 0% interest loan!

Bajaj Capital just offered me a Rs 15 lakh loan on 0% interest rate. That’s right, you read it correct. 0%.

Is there a catch? Of course there is. Do I know what the catch is. Of course not, I don’t know.

I don’t know how these schemes work. And they way the agents sell the plans its just impossible for a naysayer like me to read between the lines.

Anyway, so here is the deal the agent tried to sell me on the phone:

For example if I go ahead with a Rs 5 lakh loan with 10 year repayment I will be paying Rs 50,000 every year.

Bajaj Capital will invest the loan repayment EMI in a life insurance policy which will have a maturity of Rs 9.60 lakh (This is where the locha is). This entire money will go to the company.

Since Bajaj will get Rs 9.60 lakh at the end of the maturity they don’t need to charge me any interest rate. Hence, I get the loan at 0% interest rate and Bajaj still makes its money on the life insurance policy.

Now I want someone to explain how this works and what is the catch.

Statement from Tata Sons

And Ratan Tata retracts his seething statements on the PMO. So typical of him. First go to foreign media to give interview and get screwed every time. History has it that he has put foot in his mouth with every interview & retracted statements or clarified.

Yet, without fail these Tatas, Birlas and Ambanis will go to foreign media for interviews.


Below is the statement and clarification issued by Tata Sons on the Ratan Tata interview to Financial Times. Read and see the amazing u-turn made. I am sure this u-turn couldn’t have been possible in Nano. Jaguar, maybe?



Mumbai, December 8, 2012: Tata Sons clarifies that in Mr. Ratan N. Tata’s interview with the Financial Times, he spoke about coherence in implementation of government policy as a need rather than “lashes into the PM”, “rapping India”, “warning government of inaction” or “venal business environment”, as has been reported in the Financial Times and other media.


These are terms used by the publications and not by Mr. Tata, in any manner.


Mr. Tata has always supported the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, even when there was mass criticism of him and the last thing he would wish to do is to be a critic of the Prime Minister, as has been reported.


For record, the relevant portions of the interview are:


Q: When you look at your…I wanted to ask you about Globalisation in the west your moments, India’s most global company. When we last met you said that you felt that in the future the way that India was being governed made it very difficult to grow business here and therefore you felt that Tata and Indian companies should look abroad. Is it still the same way?


Ans: Yes it is still


Q:Tell me why and how you think that way?


Ans: Sometimes the issue is that different agencies of the government, different constituencies in the government, have almost contradictory interpretations of the law or different interpretations of what should be done. By that I mean there are differences between the centre and the state in some cases. So you have a central policy that is announced, on paper sounds very exciting but at the state level is very difficult to operate. Singur would be one such example. In other cases, it’s that constituencies or government may have made it a personality issue. You may have the Prime Minister’s office saying one thing and maybe one of the Ministers having a different view. That doesn’t happen in most countries. So you wouldn’t have a eight year or seven year wait to get all the clearances for a steel plant or as in the case of the airlines four or five years without any decision. These are the things that by and large would drive investors away in most other countries, if they were practised. And some of the countries they are practised and they don’t see investment. And at the time we started to look and





invest overseas, India had become a country which had foreign exchange reserves. You could actually make those moves which earlier you couldn’t because you didn’t have foreign exchange. So, we exploited them in that sense and both invested in or acquired companies overseas.


Q: Is it your sense that it is getting more difficult to do business in India? I mean

I suppose people are going to be interested in the way you feel whether it is India or industrialised world or maybe emerging markets or Africa. Things in India are worst it used to be in terms of growth, corruption and the way the government works?


Ans: You know, I have always been bullish about India’s potential. I still am and I feel India is a country that really has an enormous amount of potential and has the human capital to succeed. But if you sit down and say will it succeed? You see imbalances; you see energy availability is not enough to keep pace with the high rate of growth.  Then you see more recently you have got issues of land and land acquisition for projects. You have issues on state issues, one state versus the other in terms of dealing on sales tax and issues of this nature. You may have a given policy. I will give you another instance; For example the defence sector has been thrown open to the private sector. But it is still very difficult to establish a business in that sector and you can go round the cabin and somebody saying you should see so and so,  so and so, so and so and  you come back to the same and it does not happen.


Tata Sons is surprised that reputed media entities have sensationalised the observations, without taking into cognizance the tone, tenor and context of the interview.

Norway is an enemy of christianity

Now, there have been two incidents in the past few months regarding Norwegian authorities and Indian parents disciplining their kids the good old Indian way (more or less).

Although, I have been a mute spectator for most of times during these two events a book that I am reading currently has forced me to write this blog post and decree that Norway is indeed an enemy of christianity.

I hereby give an explanation based on the teachings in the holy Bible itself which will prove that Norway should be ostracised from the christian community and banished forever. For they are trying to stand tall between the God’s will and parents disciplining their kids as prescribed in the Bible itself.

This post is dedicated the AJ Jacobs and his last book ‘The Year of Living Biblically.’

I must admit that half way through the book I am compelled to try living the way prescribed in our religious books. Alas, I shouldn’t have shaved my dishevelled beard or cut my hair. The potent combination made me look like a cheap Baba Ramdev. I am glad that my Yoga skills are worse than Bikram Choudhary.

Sorry for digressing.

Now, according to Wikipedia, as much of 83.6 per cent of the total Norwegian population is practicing Christianity. I understand that only 0.2 per cent of those are Orthodox Christians but I will ignore this fact simply because it will dilute the idea of this blogpost. Anyway, I have told you the numbers so you are free to argue.

I am not into corporal punishment but my views here don’t matter because I don’t practice Christianity. I don’t practice Hinduism, as well. My religious views are somewhere torn between Agnostic and Atheist.

But this is not about me. According to Jacobs in the above mentioned book, Proverb 13:24 says, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”

This proverb alone proves that the fact that Indians are so sensitive about foreign cultures. Not only do we beat our kids back home, even in Norway, we conformed to the norms of Christianity and continued with the exercise.

The Bible is full of examples which signify the importance of corporal punishment for kids.

Let’s admit it that most of us were mischievous during our childhoods and were swayed away very easily by the wrong. Just for that, the proverb 22:15 in the Bible clearly states that “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.”

With the above two examples it is clear that the state of Norway is, even though Christian dominated, is not so in practice. As a matter of fact, they are complete opposite.

Even the Pope has also joined Twitter recently and is following only himself proving that no matter which century we live in our mentality will continue to remain at pre-historic era.

Therefore, if an Indian parent hit their kid in Norway because the kid wandered from the path, Bible approved it. “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell,” says Proverb 23:14.

Last but not the least, the child protection agency in Norway is totally against anything that the Bible stands for. Every religious man and woman on this planet has to first believe in the fact that everything written in the religious books is true and they cannot afford to question it.

Proverb 23:13 says ,”Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.”

So, dear Norway, its time you come out clean and let parents beat the hell of out their kids because you know, its written in the Bible.

PS: Just because of the Indian Section 66(A), I don’t mean to harm any religious sentiments with this blog. Please take it with a pinch of salt, because you know, iodine is good for health.

Its Time We Get Our Act Together

Actions turn unbelievable  moment the cover of subtlety is blown.

With the New Yorker interview the most public secret of the Indian media is out. Money buys editorial and that is the way its going to be. But its time we stop playing puppets in the hands of anyone and everyone who throws money towards us.

I am not the Oracle but if this is the highway we have chosen then its clear that the bird in the hands and the one in the bush, both, will fly away. The goose mustn’t be killed for the golden eggs is an important lesson.

At this time we have forgotten these for quick gains.

I have just two points to make.

First is regarding the Robert Vadra-DLF saga.

The story was published in The Economic Times in 2011. What a public listed company does with its money is a cause of concern for its investors. If DLF gave money for free to Robert Vadra then its a corporate governance issue. If the shareholders of DLF did not raise the question till date I don’t see a point why Arvind Kejriwal should.

The media did not follow-up the story back then and the investors paid no attention. Because Kejriwal now drums up the issue and everyone in the business and general news runs after DLF, is purely acting like puppets in the hands of politicians like the chief of India Against Corruption.

This needs to stop.

Another example is the Coalgate scam.

Every single question when any journalist met companies which were in cement, power, metals space, etc were regarding the raw material (coal, iron ore, etc) allocation.

It was the Central Government policy to allot coal blocks to companies and every company tried to get some. It was policy. Stories were written and cheers rippled through the stocks on the Dalal Street the moment a company got the much needed allocation.

No question regarding the policy was asked back then. Why now? Because CAG puts it as a loss?

Was it very difficult to assess back then that every single coal block being allocated to private companies means a loss to the state?

It was two plus two back then but the media played by the rules of the policy.

These arguments may be naive and too simplistic for the better good of the complex politics but that is exactly what all this is: politics.

Watch “My first stand up.” on YouTube


You leave me numb as always
I am smiling, or grinning, may be.

I don’t know what to make out of it
The world with words and no words.

Take the step, be a stranger no more
Blush, go pink, unbreak, make it one.

There is something that binds us
And I hope that it’s enough.


Its been long since I wrote a poem
Funny, because I have never written one.
There was no reason for me to write again
Yes, I was looking in the wrong direction.

I am happy as I could have ever been
Although, inhibitions had to be shunned.
These lines as always make no rhyme
But then, I also give them no reason.

I have never been the river or the sea
Yet, for no reason I just let myself drown
I may like what we have between us
Sure, I am not looking how long it will go on.



You are spineless, aimless and yet so effortless.
You have a glass half empty, yet so plentiful.

I am heartless, shameless and yet so penniless.
I have a thorn in my throat, yet not scornful.

You are speechless, feet-less and yet so fearless.
You have a face to stare-at yet so mournful.

I am guileless, mindless and yet so smirk-less.
I have an entire universe in my heart yet no force pull.

The iOS 6 Conundrum

Last night we saw Mactards rise from the ashes again in a bid to regain their control over the stupidity quotient over the Internet.

Apple was announcing the new version of iOS dubbed as ‘iOS 6’.  I went through a couple of stories to check what new Android feature has Apple copied that is making the fans orgasm so much.

Here’s the link of the story I referred to:

1. Passbook.
Now Apple lets you see your bank account details on the go.  It stores everywhere detail of your checks and balances of your accounts in a safe and secure way.  Oh wait,  that’s not what this passbook does.

This one stores your flight tickets,  loyalty card details,  etc.
Masterstroke: calling it Passbook. And guess what? Android doesn’t have this inbuilt. (Did Apple really manage to think something original for the iPhone?

By NOW Mactards are going this

We have apps to do this. Don’t see a reason why this is a big deal. Anyhow,  moving on.

2.  Maps
Apple to give its own internally developed maps.  Yes, have ditched Google Maps.  Wait, what?  They were using Google Maps all this while?  ROFL.

3.  Attach photos in emails
Dear Mactards, welcome to 2008.

4.  Do not disturb
Basically,  if you don’t any calls,  etc, while you are asleep you can use this feature. It will remind you later to read those messages or make those calls.

For a much easier functionality,  it’s called the ‘silent mode’ in all phones.  Selling it as a top feature is a masterstroke only Apple could think of.  And the reminder thing.. Yeah we have notifications for that. iOS guys got notifications like last year so I guess they haven’t figured it out yet hence this new feature.

As it turns out, the biggest surprise in iOS 6 was The Stig at the WWDC event! Oh wait, he is not replacing Siri? Damn.


ITC’s statement on its cigarette business

May 25, 2012

Below text (Only on the cigarette business) is verbatim from ITC’s press release announcing its fourth quarter and Fy12 results.


The Cigarettes industry in India continues to be impacted by an environment of rapidly escalating challenges and discriminatory taxation. The steep increase in the tax rates on cigarettes, both at the Central and at the State level, has led to the undesirable consequence of shifting consumption patterns to lightly taxed or tax evaded tobacco products besides fuelling the rampant growth of illegal cigarettes. In effect, the spiralling tax rates have only led to sub-optimising the revenue potential from this industry without achieving the stated objective of a reduction in overall tobacco consumption.

The steep hike in Excise Duty rates announced in the Union Budget 2012 will further exacerbate the problem of discriminatory and high taxation on cigarettes within the tobacco industry.

The accelerated tax increase on cigarettes relative to other tobacco products has shifted tobacco consumption to cheaper, lightly taxed or tax evaded products like Bidi, Khaini, Chewing Tobacco and Gutkha which are the most dominant forms of tobacco consumption in India and constitute as much as 85% of total usage. The objectives of revenue maximisation and tobacco control have been severely compromised by this lopsided tax policy on Cigarettes which now contributes over 74% of tax revenue, whilst accounting for less than 15% of tobacco consumption.

The domestic legal cigarette industry is faced with the growing menace of illegal cigarettes. Independent research indicates that, in India, whilst there is a fall in volumes of ‘duty paid’ cigarettes by 4.4% during the period 2005 to 2010, the ‘duty-not-paid’ volumes grew by 49.3% during the same period. India has now been recognised as one of the leading destinations for Illegal cigarettes.

Attractive tax arbitrage opportunities, due to high level of taxes on the legal domestic Cigarette industry in India, incentivises illegal flow of cigarettes into the country, especially of internationally advertised and known brands. Coupled with our porous borders, cigarette imports under Open General License (OGL) make it extremely difficult to monitor and regulate the inflow of illegal stocks. Further, with the domestic Cigarette industry being strictly regulated, including compulsory licensing under the Industrial (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951, a liberal import policy is contrary to the Government’s tobacco control policies. This is also detrimental to the interests of Indian tobacco farmers, as it directly impacts the demand for indigenous tobacco by the domestic industry.

The demographic construct of India’s population calls for multiple price points to meet the needs of the country’s diverse consumer segments. The growth of illegal cigarettes is also aided by the vacuum created at lower price points, where legal industry has been unable to operate, due to a disproportionately high tax burden. Further, the lacunae in the provisions of the Industrial (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 encourages ‘fly by night’ operators to manufacture illegal cigarettes without obtaining requisite licenses and clandestinely clear them without payment of taxes.

The Company, along with other stakeholders and industry bodies continues to represent to the regulatory authorities seeking a non-discriminatory tax and regulatory policy on tobacco products in the interest of the Government exchequer, domestic farmer community and industry.

Despite a difficult operating environment in the market place, it is gratifying to report that the business further improved its market standing during the year. The business’s uncompromising commitment to continuous and consistent offerings of value-added, world-class products has been reinforced through innovations in product development and launch of differentiated offers. The portfolio has been strengthened through strategic investments in product quality and technology.

A premium line of hand-rolled cigars launched in 2010 under the brand name ‘Armenteros’ has gained significant consumer franchise, competing against world renowned Cuban and other cigar brands. The Armenteros range of cigars is now available in premium outlets across key cigar markets and is expected to further consolidate and grow its franchise.

The Cigarette business faces the daunting challenges of an unprecedented high incidence of taxation, complex tax structure, rising illegal trade and a discriminatory regulatory climate. Despite these challenges, the relentless pursuit of excellence in building robust, world-class brands and innovation in processes and investment in appropriate state-of-art technologies will enable it to further consolidate its market standing.

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