Emerging market economies are ‘most unloved ever’ and are now seen as the biggest risk to financial market stability, according to the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch Fund Managers survey. The survey said that, currently, investors are the most underweight on BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China.
About 43% of respondents are of the opinion that global emerging market (GEM) equities are ‘undervalued’. This, in turn, could lead to a ‘contrarian rally’, according to the global financial services major. Almost 24% of global investors would like to remain underweight on GEM in the next 12 months, down from 28% in January 2013. Overall, 222 panellists with $591 billion of assets under management participated in the survey.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has pitched for a part of the money lying in employee pension funds to be invested in mutual fund schemes for investors below 40-45 years of age and earning over Rs6,500 per month. While looking to boost to the mutual fund industry with contribution from the Rs5.5-trillion corpus being managed by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation, SEBI feels that the age restrictions would safeguard investors from ‘unnecessary risks’ during the years closer to their retirement. Simultaneously, income-related restrictions will protect low-income employees from the risks associated with capital markets—a major roadblock in pension money being invested in high-risk assets.
Staunch supporters of J Jayalalitha, the incumbent CM of Tamil Nadu want her to become the next PM of India. However, Amma, as she is referred by them has very little chances to hold the hot chair at the centre!
When staunch supporters and followers of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, fondly called as Amma, for her birthday bash in February, they had made her a birthday cake in the shape of the Indian Parliament, for public to know what their ambition is, to install her as the next Prime Minister of India. At one time, she supported Narendra Modi as a good friend, and to fuel her ambition, former Prime Minister and strongman of Karnataka, HD Deve Gowda, even suggested her suitability as Prime Ministerial candidate!
And what does she promise to do? We do not know as yet, but we do know that she brought out a manifesto for her home state, entitled, "Tamil Nadu Vision 2023". To upgrade this to national level, it is believed to be "India Vision 2023". In line with the Tamil Nadu version, will also call for eradication of poverty and corruption, employment opportunities for both men and women, widespread of education, industrial development etc.
There are many achievements to her credit. At one time, thanks to the bitter quarrels between the ruling party and Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK), the voters in Tamil Nadu received the bounty of various electrical appliances like TV sets, mixies (grinders), sewing machines for women to become self-supporting and mangalya sutra (thaali, in Tamil). Now that her traditional opponent, Karunanidhi, is mired in family squabbles and controversies, Jayalalitha’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) will probably have much easier walk through in the election. Her mid-day meal scheme for children, is well received and her recent innovative idea of supplying the ever popular Idlis at Re1 a piece has a long line of consumers and supporters.
The industrial development in the State has been remarkable, despite power shortages, and industrial unrest is hardly heard of.
What would she do for the rest of India to garner their support? Relatively speaking, most of north India does not suffer from shortage of electric power and they already have electrical appliances! Her offer to supply mixies, really, won't help, unless, she wants to bid for something higher than this, like, maybe washing machines, air-conditioners. Besides, AIADMK is a regional party and so has little bearing on the political sense for the northerner! But, then, Jayalalitha is smart enough to start a BMK on a national basis. BMK Stands for Bharathiya Munnetra Kazhagam, translated from Tamil to English, means, Bharat (India) Progress Party! She needs to get support from both Western and Eastern States to inch towards the Parliament house.
One of the biggest problems that Tamil Nadu is facing is the lack of adequate power supply, despite the new addition of Kudan Kulam Nuclear Power Plant and the connection of Southern grid to the national grid. Power cuts for several hours a day are common and the people suffer during summer needlessly. Industries simply cannot survive on self generating pumps for long due to economies of operation, considering the huge costs incurred on diesel. She needs to increase the power production through every means possible.
Next is the poor drinking water supply, with corporation making it possible for a few hours at a stretch. This is a sad state of affairs when abundant drinking water could be had simply by installing desalinisation plants on its coastline. The sewerage system, which literally flows down the "Cuuvam" is an eye and "nose" sore! Every chief minister in Tamil Nadu, including Jayalalithaa, has failed to rectify this so far. However, her greatest achievement was making "rain-water harvesting" mandatory. This has certainly reduced the scarcity, but that is not enough.
Yes, the roads are broader now, flyovers in abundance, and supporting electric trains and public transport systems have been done well to improve the living conditions.
Jayalalithaa's latest jibe at the centre on the high cost of petrol and diesel can be well taken. Her demand that the actual price of these should be realistically based on true import cost of crude, processing (refining charges) cost and a fair margin needs to be reviewed. Likewise, she has objections on the upward revision of prices, for indigenously produced gas. She has many supporters on this score.
All said and done, Amma has very little chances to hold the hot chair in the centre!
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)