Now BJP MP’s have to get sensitive…

The BJP is now asking MP’s to avoid making “provocative statements” because they

 are being used by the anti-BJP forces to deflect the attention from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development agenda.

I suppose the recent poll defeat in Bihar has alerted them to the fact that acting like jerks and assholes is not always a good idea.

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Background: Buffett and Investing in Indian Companies

Personal Note:  As can probably be guessed from the paucity of recent posts, I have been rather busy trying to set up a new partnership.  So, though there have been a lot of things that have caught my attention, I haven’t been able to post much.  I decided to take the medicine and do a few short posts when I get the time.

James Lamont had an interesting piece — quite a while ago — during Warren Buffett’s visit to India.  Buffett was really there with Gates for his philanthropic work Continue reading “Background: Buffett and Investing in Indian Companies”

Trade Notes: Some Tarnish on “India Shining” Might be an Opportunity

RBI head office, Delhi
Image via Wikipedia

Yes, India is most definitely one of the few positive things we could look to in 2010 but there were more than enough warning signs that things might not continue to remain so rosy.  Maoism coupled with the fissiparous nature of Indian politics —based as it is on race, religion, caste, and class — makes government and governance from the center difficult enough.  Rampant corruption in federal & state governments doesn’t help.  Nor does exploitation of that corruption by the large Indian corporates only recently weaned from the vicissitudes (that they so adroitly profited from) of the “Permit Raj.” The demographic advantages that everyone had been touting vis-a-vis China may also be a double-edged sword if not tackled adroitly and with some dispatch. Continue reading “Trade Notes: Some Tarnish on “India Shining” Might be an Opportunity”

Trade Notes: Milk Most Likely to go the way of Onions in India

Manmohan Singh, current prime minister of India.
Image via Wikipedia

I’d mentioned as long ago as March that milk prices are likely to spike higher.  The Economic Times delivered to my hotel room in Kolkata suggests this is coming true

After vegetables, now milk will also pinch consumers, as Gujarat‘s largest milk producer, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) marketing dairy products under the brand ‘Amul‘ on Tuesday announced a pan-India hike in milk prices by Rs 2 per litre. Continue reading “Trade Notes: Milk Most Likely to go the way of Onions in India”

Background: Incredible India can do your Head in

The Calcutta Club, where The Raj remains in residence

I’ve been coming to this place on and off for about two decades now but the contrasts can still leave you a bit more than bemused.

As our Kingfisher Airlines flight taxiied in to Kolkata — new name of Calcutta, a gift of their identity politics — airport, you can see the place hasn’t changed in the last two decades with that same air of “really can’t be assed” decay.  But the airline I’m flying is new and swanky, with a young and rather good-looking flight attendant who smiles like she actually means it.  And there are a lot more aircraft on the tarmac as well.   You notice the Indian Air Force Embraer Legacy executive jet Continue reading “Background: Incredible India can do your Head in”

Background: Grameen Bank’s Model Under a Foreseen Threat

Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena

Good old-fashioned partnership merchant banks lending out proprietary money is where banking started (hence the picture of Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena, the oldest surviving bank):  a partnership with long money to lend, taking the risk and the profits of new ventures from the next crop to the next shipload of whatever coming into port.

Modern banks are built around the concept of borrowing short and lending long:  borrow money short-term (from depositors or worse, short-term money markets) and lend long-term.  That’s where the image of the bank (and the banker) becomes critical.  Essentially, banks then become a legally sanctioned Ponzi Scheme: Continue reading “Background: Grameen Bank’s Model Under a Foreseen Threat”

Background: Pakistan is not as bad as Burma, or is it?

Asif Ali Zardari

With the world still tut-tutting and trying to figure out what the most recent election in Burma portends, there seem renewed worries about Pakistan’s military taking charge again.  Most of this is, rightly, due to the venal incompetence of its President Asif Ali Zardari.  According to Maria Kuusisto of the Eurasia Group, Continue reading “Background: Pakistan is not as bad as Burma, or is it?”