Thursday, July 23, 2009

Go for the Gold

Gold prices have been sluggish in recent times. However, with the amount of extra liquidity that has been put into circulation in the last 12 months, it is expected that gold will regain its shine when the extra liquidity results in higher inflation rates.Some estimate that gold will hit $ 1,600/ounce (Rs.28,200/tola(10grams)) in the next 12 months.

Experts advise that,depending upon your appetite for risk, about 5% of your investments must be in gold. Gold can take the form of gold coins, gold bricks or gold certificates. Of these, gold coins and gold certificates are the easiest to invest in. Gold coins are available with your local jeweller with a Hallmark of purity from Bureau of Indian Standards.

For a detailed explanation on why the price of gold will raise, read this narration on Gold Coin Gains.Gold Coin Gains is an online site for buying and selling gold. Gold Coin Gains also has interesting information on the history of gold coins in India.

It is estimated that India has the largest private stock of gold in the world.Indians are prolific gold buyers. Therefore, a .in version of a site like Gold Coin Gains may do very well and will make it easier for people to buy gold in the form of gold coins or gold bullion.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sach ka Samna : Tendulkar helped me

Tendulkar helped me.
Kaun Tendulkar?
Kaun S.Tendulkar
Suresh Tendulkar*

*Suresh Tendulkar,Economic Adviser to the Indian Prime Minister

Sunday, July 12, 2009

This Kambakht Budget has many bhakts

"Kambakht budget! We deserve better, Pranab babu" says Shobhaa De in The Time of India. Of course, this week too, like other weeks, I can't figure what Shobhaa De is cribbing about. The Finance Minister pronunciations (pun unintended) or the non-fulfillment of her wish list. She says that it took her two full days to decipher what was presented on July 7.July 7? I don't know what was presented on the 7th of July - it certainly was not the Indian Budget.

Assuming that she's confused between the 6th and 7th of July - I still can't figure out her crib.Only the FM's pronunciations? So what, if the FM's speech was heavily accented. Except Shobhaa De, everyone else understood it very well. Everyone, including the non-English speaking Gujarati stock broker.

Subsequently,Shobaa De has understood the budget better than any economist. She says it hard to decide which is worse - the movie "Kambakht Ishq" or the 2009 Budget. She's had a few days to reflect on the budget (of the 7th July!). Many economist economic writers, industrialists and bankers too have had time to mull over the budget (of the 6th July).Their views seem to be at variance with Ms. De's views. Sample this:

- Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar (TOI-Bangalore 12 July): "... isn't that exactly what is needed to combat the recession and return to faster growth?" "... I am willing to give Mukherjee a chance to prove himself".

- Bimal Jalan (former RBI Governor)“...The budget’s focus and the medium-term perspective is extremely positive. Similarly the short-term and the medium-term perspective about 9% growth, jobs, alleviation of poverty and what’s going to be all that and what’s going to be done about all that — I mean it’s extremely positive,” Jalan said, in an exclusive interview on CNBC-TV18.

- K.V. Kamath, chairman, ICICI Bank: “This is a budget that will take two-three days for the larger markets, not just the capital markets, to understand and then probably react to it.”

- Som Mittal, president, Nasscom: “The decision to extend fiscal benefits available to the industry under section 10A/10B for one year will help the industry mitigate the impact of the current economic environment and help India retain its competitiveness.”

- Karl Slym, president and managing director, General Motors India: “The budget is encouraging due to its focus on infrastructure, education, agriculture, irrigation, health care and social security schemes.”

- Chanda Kochar, chief executive, ICICI Bank: “The growth target of 9 percent set by the budget is clearly a positive signal, especially given the backdrop of weak macroeconomic conditions globally.”

- Uday Kotak, chairman, Kotak Mahindra Bank: “I do believe that this budget is good for domestic economy; it is good for domestic investment, domestic savings and domestic consumption. I think the government has now done its bit to what I call the fiscal part of supporting the economic recovery.”

- Gautam Adani, chairman, Adani Group: “With abolition of FBT and surcharge on IT, more money will be available in individual hands in these challenging times. This will catalyze savings, investments and spending, which in turn will help the economy. An appropriate budget.”

Most people, who are better versed with the budget, seem to be happier with the budget than Ms.De. Also, the FM's pronunciations did not come in their way of understanding the steps taken by the FM to put the economy back on the growth path.

Criticize the budget or policies of the government by all means. Don't make fun of the individual - especially when the minister's integrity and intentions are above board. It does not behove a person of Shobhaa De's stature to ridicule a senior functionary of the government just to fill a newspaper's column.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Long line to Online

That, computers and the power of the Internet is coming of age in India is more represented by Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike's online property tax payment facility than Nandan Nilekani's joining the NAUI. Citibank was, perhaps, the first bank to go online in India. Indian Railways made short work of long queues at railway stations through it online portal IRCTC. What took several hours now takes just minutes. What a relief!

Now, the BBMP has enabled its website to accept online property tax payment. Though the site looks rudimentary, it works well. Paying property tax online,today, has saved me atleast an hour which includes the time to commute and time in the queue.

Already, airlines, railways, cinemas, banks, retail business and several government agencies have gone online. As more organizations go online the need to commute and spend time on unproductive activities will reduce. This will free scarce time and expensive resources.

The next time you need to commute or stand in a queue to get your job done, check if the work can be done online. Navigate using your mouse not the steering wheel!

Lord Ganesha's vehicle is the mouse. Yours needs to be too if we have to contribute to save the world from global warming.