Amul pays a sweet tribute to ‘Vicky Donor’

The advertisement shows a caricature of what seems like Ayushmann Khurrana, the lead of the film

New Delhi: The movie has already garnered lot of attention for its unusual story line and now dairy brand Amul has come out with its unique tribute to Shoojit Sircar's 'Vicky Donor'.

The advertisement shows a caricature of what seems like Ayushmann Khurrana, the lead of the film, surrounded by little babies and holding a bowl of Amul butter. The header says 'Vicky, Do Na' indicating the butter in Vicky's hand.

The film has been produced by John Abraham and narrates the story of a sperm donor. During the promotions of the film, the makers had spoken about artificial insemination and in fact John had urged the youth to donate sperms in fertility clinics.

Amul seem to have picked that up and cheekily made it as their tag line. The tag line says 'Donate generously'. Now weather they are talking about sperms or Amul butter, that's for us to decide


About 60% of rural India lives on less than Rs35 a day

Around 10% of the population at the lowest rung in rural areas lives on Rs15 a day, while in urban areas the figure is only a shade better at Rs20 day

New Delhi: About 60% of India's rural population lives on less than Rs35 a day and nearly as many in cities live on Rs66 a day, reveals a government survey on income and expenditure, reports PTI.

"In terms of average per capita daily expenditure, it comes out to be about Rs35 in rural and Rs66 in urban India. About 60% of the population live with these expenditures or less in rural and urban areas," said J Dash, director general of National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in his preface to the report.

According to the 66th round of National Sample Survey (NSS) carried out between July 2009 and June 2010, all India average monthly per capita consumer expenditure (MPCE) in rural areas was Rs1,054 and urban areas Rs1,984.

The survey also pointed out that 10% of the population at the lowest rung in rural areas lives on Rs15 a day, while in urban areas the figure is only a shade better at Rs20 day.

"The poorest 10% of India's rural population had an average MPCE of Rs453. The poorest 10% of the urban population had an average MPCE of Rs599", it said.

The NSSO survey also revealed that average MPCE in rural areas was lowest in Bihar and Chhattisgarh at around Rs780 followed by Orissa and Jharkhand at Rs820.

Among other states, Kerala has the highest rural MPCE at Rs1,835 followed by Punjab and Haryana at Rs1,649 and Rs1,510 respectively.

The the highest urban MCPE was in Maharashtra at Rs2,437 followed by Kerala at Rs2,413 and Haryana at Rs2,321. It was lowest in Bihar at Rs1,238.

The median level of MCPE was Rs895 in rural and Rs1,502 in urban India, indicating consumption level of majority of population.

According to the study, food was estimated to account about 57% of the value of the average rural Indian household consumption during 2009-10 whereas it was 44% in cities.

The study reveals that the average monthly per capita consumption of cereals was 11.3 kg in rural areas and 9.4 kg in cities.

Based on NSSO estimates, the Planning Commission had pegged that poverty line at Rs28.65 and Rs22.42 daily consumption in urban and rural areas respectively in 2009-10.

As per the Commission's estimates the number of persons living below poverty line was 35.46 crore in 2009-10, as compared to 40.72 crore in 2004-05.


SEC keeps credit ratings game rigged in the US

The SEC brought a civil case against a tiny, iconoclastic ratings agency called Egan-Jones accusing it of filling out forms wrong. The allegations seem especially paltry when compared with the disastrous performance of the ratings agencies that matter—Moody’s and S&P

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seems to think that it has done a much better job of investigating financial crisis wrongdoing than the Justice Department. And it’s true.

But it’s like being proud that you're the ‘Dumb’ of “Dumb and Dumber.”

A case the commission filed last week epitomizes a lot of what’s wrong with the agency, even under the supposed overhaul by its chairwoman, Mary L Schapiro.

The agency brought a civil case against a tiny, iconoclastic ratings agency called Egan-Jones, run by the outspoken Sean Egan, accusing it of, well, essentially filling out forms wrong.

Before the SEC charges, Egan-Jones was best known for two things: having made some bold calls about shaky credit prospects and having a business model that was different than that of the big boys—Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch. Mr Egan’s outfit gets paid by the users of his ratings; the oligopoly gets paid by the issuers whose debt is going to be rated.

You don’t need to be a hedge fund quant to see the conflict of interest: the more ratings, the more profits to the ratings agencies, so the temptation is to be extra lenient. And, boy, were they.

Mr Egan wasn’t shy about pointing this out, often through media appearances. To be honest, one wondered how much was showmanship and how much was deep research.

But the world needs his brand of punditry, especially on Wall Street, where the uncorrupted are too afraid to speak out. Mr Egan has been prescient on some important calls about declining credit prospects, ahead of both the European financial crisis and the American mortgage and structured finance bubble before that.

The SEC’s case against Mr Egan and his firm concerns a filing made in 2008 seeking special designation to be a “nationally recognized statistical ratings organization.” This status confers some rights and special privileges under securities laws, and it’s one of the main competitive advantages the credit ratings trinity has.

The agency makes a variety of allegations. For one, Egan-Jones represented in its application that it had 150 ratings on asset-backed securities and 50 ratings on governments, when it hadn’t issued any at the time, the SEC says. To the guillotine! (Egan-Jones responds that it was using a different counting method.)

Some allegations are more serious, but only slightly. The agency contends that two Egan-Jones employees had a role in rating issuers while owning securities in those issuers. The firm says these employees had long-standing investments and that it actually brought these violations to the attention of the SEC.
All told, the allegations seem especially paltry when compared with the disastrous performance of the ratings agencies that matter—Moody’s and S&P. Egan-Jones’ ratings didn’t cripple the global economy. Mr Egan’s business model is far less prone to compromise and corruption. The inescapable conclusion is that the SEC is letting Moody’s and S&P officials walk free while pursuing Mr Egan on minor technicalities.

This is your SEC, folks. It courageously assails tiny firms, and at the pace of a three-toed sloth. And when it goes after its prey, it's because it has found a box unchecked, rather than any kind of deep, systemic rot.

Unfortunately, there’s an even worse problem here. The action against Mr Egan gives the appearance, perhaps inadvertently, that the agency is persecuting a longstanding critic of the ratings agencies. That just solidifies the woeful ratings oligopoly we have today.

Now, the SEC doesn’t see it this way, naturally. The agency says that bringing one case doesn’t preclude another. And it’s true that there have been news reports of investigations into the ratings firms regarding actions that led to the financial crisis, including notices that it plans to bring charges over some ratings.

John Nester, a commission spokesman, said the agency stands up to the big boys. “Our record shows beyond dispute that no institution is immune from SEC charges when we find violations of the securities laws,” he said, pointing to, among others, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.

Relative to Eric Holder’s Justice Department, that record makes the SEC look like the god Shiva, destroyer of worlds. But the SEC has hardly been aggressive about the ratings agencies. It hasn’t moved against any top executives of any major ratings firm for actions leading to the financial crisis.

In one of its timorous moments, the agency punted on a case involving Moody’s and a questionable rating on a complicated European structured finance product. The SEC determined that it was unclear whether it had jurisdiction because the securities were created and sold in Europe.

Promising leads on other potential wrongdoings by credit rating agencies seemingly go to the SEC to die. A whistle-blower—Eric Kolchinsky, a former Moody’s executive who oversaw the firm’s collateralized debt obligation ratings—claimed that Moody’s inflated ratings on a loan deal called Nine Grade Funding in January 2008 because it had already made a decision that it was going to downgrade the assets that were going into the deal.

Some three years after that allegation was dropped at the door of the SEC, there’s been no action so far on the deal.

Moody’s declined to comment. The SEC does not confirm or deny investigations. Given that the regulator’s bark is worse than its bite, Egan-Jones will probably be able to wriggle out of the agency’s clutches with a settlement and a fine. Mr Egan’s business will be damaged, but he is likely to still have one.

The help that the SEC has given the oligopoly will last, however. Any small company looking at filing for special status will think twice. While they ponder, Moody’s, S&P and Fitch will continue to earn fat profits, and their executives walk free.



Mike Dever

5 years ago

I'm certainly no fan of the credit rating agencies. They are incompetent and borderline criminal with their conflict-of-interest (issuer pays) laden business models. Egan-Jones was the one firm structured differently. Rather than focus on them, the government should focus on the underlying problems inherent in the structure of the 'big three.' It was government regulations that empowered the credit rating agencies by requiring institutions, such as banks, to invest only in debt securities that were rated by one of the agencies. Now they need to fix the mess. Remove those rules and let the market decide whether to use the credit rating agencies or not.

I talk about the failure of the credit rating agencies and government regulations in my book "Jackass Investing." I'm pleased to provide readers with a complimentary link to the two chapters dealing with this (Myth #13: It's Best to Follow Expert Advice and Myth #14: Government Regulations Protect investors):


5 years ago

Welcome to moneylife. I have already subscribed to your news letters.

Dear MDT - Appreciate your efforts. It would be great if you could publish more articles of this kind from around the world.

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