Business Today

Cover story | June 14, 2009

UPA: No time to lose

Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s spectacular victory in the Lok Sabha has expectations and sentiments riding high. Bold actions must follow—soon.

The 3-R formula

Resolve, right men and revenue are the three Rs that can set the economy on fast track. Here's how fixing the three Rs can help the UPA redeem itself as an economic administrator of excellence. Puja Mehra writes.

NREGS: The game changer

The high-profile scheme has delivered on its promise—both politically and economically— but with huge costs and inefficiencies. Fixing these is both desirable and feasible. Puja Mehra reports.

Handling public spending the smart way

Inefficiency in public spending is one of the biggest and most persistent problems plaguing governance in the country. Arvind Virmani offers a way out: creation of a numeric ID and a web-based database that can be accessed by all and hence easily verifiable.

Nehruvian economics '09

Rahul Gandhi’s influence on economic policies will grow in UPA’s second term. Here’s what it means to the economy and business. Puja Mehra goes into the details.

Bulls back the right horse

The initial relief of electing a stable government rapidly converts into great expectations from the UPA government. Can the two—the market rally and big-bang reform—move in tandem in the days ahead?

Money

Fixing investments

Investors are now increasingly running to financial planners to fix their out-of-shape investment portfolios. BT looks at the reasons behind the trend.

Editor's Note

From the editor: June 14, 2009

Every time the UPA government proposed even half a reform that had a hint of liberalisation, the Left parties would come down on it like a tonne of bricks-and would do so with relish, fanfare and on camera. This almost-blind opposition to reforms must stand out as one reason for their electoral defeat-a lesson the Left would hopefully imbibe, even if it doesn't admit.

Deal Watch

Aegis acquires Australia-based UCMS Group

Essar Group-owned BPO firm, Aegis, has announced the acquisition of Australia-based UCMS Group for Rs 184.3 crore ($37.2 million) in an allcash deal.

Book

Transforming India, changing the world

What does one do after building one of the world’s most respected and admired companies? Try and fix the country, of course. That’s the agenda charted out by Infosys founder and ex-CEO N.R. Narayana Murthy in his debut book A Better India: A Better World.

Treadmill

14 ways to stay motivated‚?¶

Of the few thousand-odd e-mails and letters that Men’s Health receives every month, a sizeable number have little to do with health and fitness, nutrition, sex or any other core topic that the magazine talks about.

Printed Circuit

Hotmail is hot again

Hotmail is working better than ever, though Gmail has its loyal band of followers. The battle for the soul of the Internet just got more interesting.

IE8‚??worth it?

I have not used Internet Explorer (IE) regularly since I first checked out a beta build of Mozilla Firefox in 2004. Since then, I’ve moved to Google Chrome, but I decided to give IE8 a whirl.

People

Ambani bahus on the go

The Ambani bahus were on the move last fortnight— Mumbai Indian team-owner Nita Ambani in South Africa and Tina Ambani back home as the Chairperson of Kokilaben Hospital.

Leadership Spotlight

O captain my captain!

Wall Street banks and cricketing elevens are as likely to be spoken of in the same breath as Glass-Steagall and Duckworth & Lewis.

Trends

Is this dawn for real?

Dalal Street is in celebratory mode, but it may be a bit early to pop the champagne.

Instant tip

The fortnight’s burning question. Will the FII buying spree continue in stock markets?

'The Internet is very unsafe'

The number of Internet users in India will jump to 140 million in 2011. But, as Gene Hodges, CEO of Websense, a web security firm, tells Rahul Sachitanand, there are plenty of pitfalls awaiting these newbie browsers. Excerpts:

Every move you make

Cellphone data was used in a recent case to pinpoint the location of an accused during a crime. Can such data be used as evidence?

Microsoft Kumo

What is it? It is the codename for Microsoft’s new search technology. Is something wrong with the current technology? No, but Microsoft wants its search technology to be “significantly better” than Google’s.

'Increase after-tax salary'

This is among many other suggestions an E&Y study makes to deliver the economy a better fiscal stimulus.

A boon for online advertising

It’s not yet a serious threat to print, outdoor or television but ad networks are helping online advertising rapidly creep up on traditional media platforms in terms of revenues generated.

Numbers of note

340: The number of independent directors who have resigned from their positions so far this year (2009) in India, according to data compiled by the directorsdatabase.com

Luxury booming

The business of collectors’ items is growing in double digits as regulars keep their purses open and firms extend their retail reach.

#1 on the counting day

When millions of Indians across the world Googled to find out updated news on the 2009 Lok Sabha elections on May 16, most of them went to one site for the latest news—Aaj Tak, which belongs to India Today Group, which is also the publisher of Business Today.

The emission divide

The Indian rich not only emits much more CO2 than the poor, he is a more ineffi cient consumer of energy than the rich in developed countires, fi nds a Greenpeace survey. Here is how worrisome the situation has become and what to do about it.

To be precise

“The whole perspective in which companies are viewed needs to shift from short to the long term, and as I would say, to a focus on shapes, not just numbers”

It's raining big small cars

Ritz, Jazz, Polo, Yaris—new premium compact cars are flooding the Indian automobile market. And people are buying, too.

'We have helped several optimize IT spending'

Simon Webb, global head for IT Strategy Practice of TCS, spoke to Anusha Subramanian on the concept of Optimise IT and how TCS is using it in recessionary times.

Current

Relics in boardrooms?

Has the debate on the role of independent directors begun to echo in company boardrooms or is there a case for scrapping the idea of them as protectors of minority shareholders?

Telecom to lifestyle

Airtel not only wants to get to the next 100 million customers in three years, it hopes to cease being a telecom company—only. Kushan Mitra speaks to Bharti Airtel CEO Manoj Kohli and Deputy CEO Sanjay Kapoor to figure out the telecom giant’s future plans.

Economics of IPL-2

Will the foreign venue and costs associated with it and increased rates for advertisers dent the earnings of various stakeholders in IPL’s second season? BT finds out.

Licence to download

Indian music industry comes up with a novel business model in a bid to stem the menace of illegal downloads on mobile phones.

Jet's low-fare lollipop

The private airline gambles with a second no-frills brand to pull itself out of the woods and win back its lost market share.

Features

Call of the small town

As BPOs catch on to the domestic market’s potential, small towns look attractive locations.

Shifting gears

Global downturn is forcing a restructuring in the BPO sector. Here is what will separate winners from losers.

Charity in crisis

The slowdown has forced Indian companies and international foundations to slash funding to NGOs in India, threatening the survival of some and endangering vital social programmes in the country.

Banking on boutiques

A clutch of high-profile bankers has quit their cushy jobs and set up their own advisory hot-shops to woo high net worth and retail clients with the promise of personalised services and solid wealth creation. Anand Adhikari reports.

HUL loses ground

Mid-sized fast-moving consumer goods companies, riding on rural volumes, have stolen a march on the big guns.

Back of the Book

The shrink is in

Lost jobs, troubled economy, and shaky stock markets drive Indian workforce to therapists of all kinds.

Columns

Outsourcing beyond taxation

Why Obama’s proposed overhaul of the US tax code may not negate Bangalore’s appeal to corporate America.

Letters

Bucking the odds

The fizz is back (BT cover story, May 31) is a gripping read about Coca-Cola India chief Atul Singh’s exemplary leadership.

60 minutes

We have to revisit the whole financial sector: Y.V. Reddy

Reddy, the 67-year-old bureaucrat-turned-banker, is credited with making carefully calibrated moves to save the Indian banking system in the face of the global meltdown and ensure that it remained unscathed.

Corporate

Cool companies

Our fifth annual listing of companies that are hip and happening. This listing is not an “objective” one made by researchers poring over data.

Careers

Falling employee engagement

Tough economic conditions take a toll on employee engagement, according to a study.

Markets

End of season sale

The recent run-up in stock prices notwithstanding, a host of Indian promoters has little choice but to either sell assets or equity to survive the downturn.

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