Companies & Sectors
Dismal R&D of Indian auto companies
Allocation for improvements are just 5% of advertising & marketing spend
 
How much does a typical automobile company in India spend on research and development (R&D) vis-à-vis the amount spent on advertisements and marketing? Hard numbers are difficult to come by, especially since many automobile companies in India are wholly-owned subsidiaries of foreign companies; trying to read through the fine print is like trying to find a noodle without MSG (monosodium glutamate) in it. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that, even after being generous, the number for actual R&D would be around 5% of the amount spent on advertisements and marketing.
 
Yet, some manufacturers complain that sales are bad for a variety of reasons—none of which is obviously their fault—and then demand more tax sops. All this, when R&D is 100% tax deductible, in most cases. 
 
What do customers expect in terms of R&D for automobiles made for Indian conditions? The answer is not far to see. Just get on the road and see how old vehicles look like and perform. It is easy to blame ‘bad maintenance’ for this; but what does R&D show? Should the critical parts not have been engineered for Indian conditions from the very start?
 
One manufacturer that spends a lot on R&D is Tata Motors. This shows in their leadership position in commercial vehicles. If they were to apply the same to personal vehicles and motor cars, maybe they would have a winner, and that would take some minor genuine R&D.Tata Motors is skipping a dividend this year for the first time since 2002.
 

Good News for the Differently-abled

Some months ago, we noted how difficult it was for differently-abled to get their driving licences—new or renewed—and to get excise waivers on purchase of new motor vehicles. Well, over the past few months, there is some good news from different states. In Indore (Madhya Pradesh), a gentleman who uses his feet to drive, will get a driving licence, if media reports are to be believed. Likewise, in Maharashtra, a gentleman who has been having a rough time with the authorities towards getting the excise rebate for a purchase of a new motor car has finally succeeded. However, some states still lag behind in this context; we, at Moneylife, would like to know more about how this issue is being handled in different states. For those who are keen to know more, or do more, about making mobility better for the differently-abled, write to us.
 

Celerio Diesel as Taxi

This author ran into a diesel Celerio, a few days ago. I have nothing against diesel clatter: a well-tuned diesel engine will settle down into a pleasant purr after a few minutes and give you years of driving joy. But there are some—in auto-rickshaws and cargo three-wheelers, for example—which you know by intuition will never settle down to a pleasant anything. The diesel Celerio appears to be aimed at the Maruti Alto taxi market. The higher ground clearance suggested may or may not last with five people inside. High torque will pull it through mountain roads, where the Alto is popular, but where climate change makes a diesel engine capable of going through deeper waters than possible. But, unless you are looking at driving more than 3,000km a month in a very thin tin can, you may wish to look elsewhere, even in Suzuki Maruti’s stable if it comes to that, for a reasonable three- or four-cylinder petrol engine car. The Celerio 125 diesel is, in my opinion, for the taxi trade. It may well be cheaper than a bus.
 
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)

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SelfieWithDaughter: Can India save 23 million girls?
The child sex-ratio, if it does not improve, will lead to a deficit of 23 million women in the 20-49 age group by 2040
 
India’s child sex-ratio (below six years) is now the worst in 70 years, possibly the worst ever. The latest decline was from 927 (girls per 1,000 boys) in 2001 to 918 in 2011.
 
The child sex-ratio, if it does not improve, will lead to a deficit of 23 million women in the 20-49 age group by 2040.
 
Urbanisation is worsening the child sex-ratio: it is 905 in towns and cities, 923 in rural areas.
 
Three of five states with the worst child sex-ratio have higher per capita income than the national average, but the link with prosperity is less clear.
 
Taking inspiration from a sarpanch (headman) in Haryana, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his radio show, Maan Ki Baat (On My Mind) on June 28, launched the hashtag #SelfieWithDaughter, to draw attention to India’s plummeting sex ratio.
 
But the scenario for the future is grim because India’s declining child sex-ratio indicates that girls are increasingly being aborted, killed or otherwise dying.
 
The overall sex ratio in 1921 was 955 women per 1,000 men, declining to 946 in 1951 and to 943 today. The child sex-ratio was 983 girls per 1,000 boys in 1951, declining to 918 in 2011, the lowest in the seven decades since it was counted.
 
The rate of decline has worsened in the years during which the overall sex ratio began to improve. This corresponds to the decades following 1981, offering evidence of sex-determination tests, selective abortion and female infanticide.
 
Only China, Pakistan Are Worse
 
How does India compare to its partners in BRIC and its neighbours?
 
India’s overall sex ratio is below all BRIC nations and its South Asian neighbours, save for China, Bhutan and Pakistan, which has a sex ratio of 942, or one behind India’s 943.
 
Russia has the highest sex ratio with 1,165 women per 1,000 men, while Bhutan has the lowest with 897.
 
The urban sex ratio for 2011 is 905, while rural India’s is 923.
 
The reasons for the lower sex ratio in urban areas, as IndiaSpend reported earlier, are easy accessibility to sonography centres for sex determination and other procedures.
 
Haryana has the worst child sex-ratio in the country with 834 girls per 1,000 boys. Most states among the top five have improved over the last decade, but they still remain among the states with the lowest sex ratios.
 
Rajasthan and J&K are the only two states in this list where the child sex-ratio has fallen further.
 
Prosperity Not Always A Cause For Low Sex Ratios
 
The link between low child sex-ratio and per capita income is tenuous. Three of five states with a low child sex-ratio have a higher per capita income than the national average.
 
Only two states, Rajasthan and J&K, have a lower per capita income. In both states, as we noted, the child sex-ratio has fallen.
 
23 Million Fewer Girls Predicted By 2040
 
The declining child sex-ratio will lead to a deficit of 23 million females in the 20-49 age group by 2040, according to a study by the United Nations Population Fund.
 
With fewer women of marriageable age, a significant proportion of men will have to delay their marriage.
 
It will also affect younger generations of men: they will face a backlog of older, unmarried men, who will still be in the “marriage market”.
 
“Scarcity of women would not enhance their position in society due to the simultaneous increase in pressure to marry, higher risk of gender-based violence, rising demand for sex work and the development of trafficking networks,” said the UN study. 

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COMMENTS

LALIT SHAH

1 year ago

Parnetur (married wife) ne chhodi dennar na modhe ek or JOOMLA suvakiya

REPLY

A S Bhat

In Reply to LALIT SHAH 1 year ago

translate for us; can not follow...

CBI questioning Dayanidhi Maran
Former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran is being questioned by the CBI in a case registered against him for using over 300 high data capacity BSNL telecom lines at his Boat House residence in Chennai, an official said.
 
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sources said Maran reached at the agency's headquarters around 11.00 a.m.
 
"Maran reached the CBI headquarters around 11.00 a.m. His questioning is on," a CBI official said.

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