Archive for July, 2008

Can you guess the salary of the CMD of IDBI Bank?

Posted on July 8, 2008. Filed under: Banking |

I was reading through the balance sheet of IDBI Ltd., One interesting thing which caught my attention was the salary levels of the Chairman and Managing Director, Yogesh Agrawal. This poor guy, I literally mean that, is being paid a basic salary of Rs26,000/- pm and Dearness allowance of Rs13500/- pm. What is this measly salary figure for a person who is supposed to manage one of India’s largest bank. I was totally confused to know what kind of motivation or committment levels these kind of salaries can inspire.

The bank has two major divisions, Retail Banking Division and Corporate Banking Division. Each one of them is managed by a Deputy Managing Directors and they are also paid salary of similar nature.

The IDBI Balance sheet is bi-lingual. That is, it has a Hindi version and an English version side by side. It also proudly talks about the steps taken by the Bank to propogate Hindi in their administrative activities. I was immediately reminded of Central Government offices, Central Excise, Income Tax and Customs. There you can find a new Hindi word written on a slate (similar to one what is used by school going children) and hung at the centre of the hall with the meaning in vernacular language.

The other noteworthy thing which caught my attention in IDBI Balance sheet is the amount of investments held in its books. It is more than Rs33,000/- crores. Most of it would be Government securities for SLR and other purposes but surely there are hidden gems of investments in companies and corporations which would translate it into a goldmine, if at all, IDBI decides to monetise it someday. At the peak stock market valuations, the per share value of investments was stated to be somewhere close to Rs75/- per share.

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India falters at the last hurdle, again!

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: Cricket |

India failed to win the Asia Cup failing miserably in the final against Sri Lanka. I guess they lost the battle psychologically to the new boy, Mendis. He was given away wickets like anything. What a fall for Indian batsmen who are supposed to play spin better? It again goes to prove that Indians are better players of spin on paper but on cricket wickets!! ha!! ha!! Joke..

Leaving aside the debacle of Indian Cricket team, the Wimbeldon finals yesterday between Nadal and Federer was an keenly contested match with Nadal finally prevailing over Federer in 5 sets. I didnt watch it yesterday but I know many people would have taken the pains to watch in the night yesterday after the Asia Cup final. In my growing years, (now also I grow, but more horizontally) Wimbeldon used to be a great entertainment on DD. There was no DD Sports in those days and all the matches starting Quarterfinals of Wimbeldon would be telecast live by DD. Whenever Wimbeldon was played, the finals would be on Sunday evening and the regular Tamil film would be sacrificed for the Wimbeldon finals. I used to watch almost all the matches of great players like Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl etc., I used to be a great fan of “Boom Boom” Becker known for his powerful serves. Becker created sensation by winning the Wimbeldon at the age of 18. I also used to follow Leander Paes progress as a Junior player in the Wimbeldon. If I remember right, Leander won the Junior Wimbeldon in 1990, exactly 18 years ago. Those seems to be good old days now with this year I hardly watched a single set. Somehow the interest for Tennis as a sport has vanished and I have to admit that I cant even recognise many top players except for Federer, Nadal and Hewitt.

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Watching Asia Cup Cricket – more painful to see Indian bowlers

Posted on July 4, 2008. Filed under: Cricket |

I have been watching the Asia Cup matches particularly when India is playing (who has the time and energy to watch one-day matches when India does not play) and I really surprised by the good show of Indian batsmen consistently. The word to note here is consistency. They have been scoring above 300 on a regular basis, of course, the pitches are also very helpful to the batsmen, to say the least. Good that Suresh Raina has at last come good at the international level and will add more solidity to the Indian batting. MS Dhoni, I have to accept, has been leading from the front in the batting. The players with names starting with Y’s are yet to make their mark, let it be Yuvraj or Yusuf Pathan. Yusuf Pathan is a complete dis-appointment in this series and this is least expected after a very successful IPL. Dhoni has been backing him well by giving him number of chances but he has been squandering each one of them. Rohit Sharma and Robin Uthappa are not being regulars now are finding it difficult to score when given a chance. Guys, gear up, it is a golden opportunity for you to cement your place else, sit out in the sidelines forever.

The agonising part is the Indian bowling. Ishant, Irfan, Praveen and to some exten Piyush Chawla have failed to deliver on the flat Pakistani pitches. But that is no excuse for not bowling at the proper place. RP Singh is creating a record of sorts by bowling 3 continuous wides. I dont know if any other regular bowler has got this distinction in world cricket!! Too many loose balls, too much of width for the batsmen to cut and pull, juicy half-volleys, you name what a bowler should not do, has been done repeatedly by our great bowlers. Indian bowlers cant defend a total of 300 plus runs against Pakistan, allowed a lowly Bangladesh to score 280 runs. What is Venkatesh Prasad as a bowling coach doing? Why is he being paid for? Waste of space!!

With the batting line-up showing form, where will Sachin Tendulkar fit in when he eventually confirms that he is fully fit? Should he be included in the one-day squad going forward? These are the questions which remains to be answered after the Asia Cup irrespective of who wins the tournament.

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Interview with Howard G Buffet, son of Warren Buffet!!

Posted on July 2, 2008. Filed under: General |

We all have heard so many things about legendary investor, Warren Buffet. His investment insights, annual reports with wit and humour and at the same time lot of meaning, his generous contribution to charity etc., But his personal side is not that much explored! ( I dont know if it is a right word to say). Warren Buffet has three children and one of them is Howard Graham Buffet, named after Warren’s father Howard and Warren’s mentor, Benjamin Graham. Naming your son after your father’s name is a unique thing to Tamilnadu (particularly Southern part of Tamilnadu, I guess) but Warren Buffet has also followed that!!

Howard Buffet still lives in Omaha and he loves farming. He has 850 acres farm where he cultivates soya and corn. He says that his life as the son of world’s richest person has been no different from any body else. Howard Buffet is engaged in charity work in Latin America and other developing nations. He has been tipped to become the Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway after Warren Buffet. It is really interesting to see that successor to Warren Buffet is from his family. Corporate America also follows the Indian way of succession planning or what??

You click the link here to read an interview with Howard G Buffet, the second son of Warren Buffet and President of Howard G Buffet Foundation.

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Acute fuel shortage and the panic situation in Chennai!

Posted on July 1, 2008. Filed under: Chennai |

Over the last 4 days, Chennai is experiencing acute shortage of petrol and diesel resulting in total panic and chaos near the fuel stations. The Petrol Pump Owners Association claims that the Oil Marketing companies have reduced the supply by 50% over the last 4 days. The first two days of reduced supply didnt have much impact as it fell on a weekend and come Monday, there was utter chaos. With there is real shortage of diesel, the people started becoming worried about the availability of petrol and started filling the tanks.

People waited for more than 45 minutes to 1 hour to get their tanks filled up against the normal time of 2-3 minutes. As it is the case with any scarcity, black marketing was at full speed, with diesel being sold at as high as Rs80/- per litre. I was told that Shell petrol pumps have yesterday sold diesel in their petrol pumps at Rs66/- per litre officially, which is a good Rs27/- more than the official Government price. The problem is getting accentuated because of the Transport Lorry Owners Association strike call which starts on Tuesday. With the lorry strike also on the horizon, the threat of real scarcity is looming large.
The senior State Government officials have had a discussion with the Oil Marketing Companies staff yesterday and have asked them to increase the supply. It is reported that there is a delay in arrival of a tanker ship at Chennai port which is causing the delay. In my company, the pick-up and drop facility which is usually provided for people who come to office before 7.00 AM and leave after 8.30 PM has been already suspended for the day. Many BPO’s and IT companies have been working overnight trying to rejig the transport route map so that the employees are least affected. But most of the companies have declared that the staff have to make their own arrangements to come to office today and till further notice.
When I step out of my office and have a look at the road, I see a very minimal traffic inspite of today being a working day. The number of vehicles on the road has gone down drastically. Where all this going to end is a big question mark?
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