Govt reaches out to business leaders to bridge trust deficit

The meeting took place against the backdrop of slowdown in industrial production, rising cost of borrowing and global uncertainties, even as there were perceptions about policy paralysis in the government

New Delhi: The government on Monday reached out to top industrialists including Ratan Tata, Anil Ambani and Sunil Mittal amid cynicism over lack of policy initiatives against the backdrop of a raft of scandals, reports PTI.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma were closeted with the industry leaders, also comprising Anand Mahindra, Shashi Ruia, V Narayana Murthy and YC Deveshwar.

"There has been some cynicism expressed of late regarding lack of movement on policies and institutional processes. I find this view to be based more on perception than facts," Mr Mukherjee said in his opening remarks.

The corporate honchos after a two-and-a-hour meeting appeared re-assured.

"If there was a trust deficit, it was dispelled today vanished today. There was an assurance on time bound action on our proposals," Mr Mahindra told reporters.

Echoing the sentiment, Mr Ambani said: "The interaction will certainly go a long way in building the momentum needed to catalyse economic growth."

Mr Mittal said: "Discussions took place in a frank and open manner."

Mr Sharma said the government remained fully committed to the reforms agenda. Several initiatives are in the pipeline and would be rolled out soon.

The industry was asked to give five specific suggestions for re-energising the economy.

The meeting took place against the backdrop of slowdown in industrial production, rising cost of borrowing and global uncertainties, even as there were perceptions about policy paralysis in the government.

Mr Mukherjee said: "Weakening of business sentiment is partly due to an uncertain global environment and perhaps also on account of rising cost of domestic credit."

He said a tight monetary policy has been necessitated because of the continuing challenge posed by inflationary pressure. Inflation was 9.44% in June. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has raised key interest rates 11 times since March 2010 to tame the rate of price rise, leading to overall hike in borrowing costs.

Mr Mukherjee said the fundamentals of the Indian economy remained strong and the growth drivers in the medium term remain broadly intact.

V Narayana Murthy expressed hope that the government would try to solve the problems of the industry. "They (government) wanted to listen to us...By and large they would certainly try and help us," he added.

RP Goenka also expressed hope that there will be co-operation between the government and industry.

Talking about the reform agenda, Mr Mukherjee expressed confidence that important financial sector legislations, like Banking Laws Amendment Bill, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill and Insurance Laws Amendment Bill would be passed in the ongoing Monsoon session of Parliament.

He also said the report of BK Chaturvedi Committee on issues relating to reconciliation of environmental concerns and coal mining will be discussed by the Group of Ministers (GoM) later this week.

The minister said the reports of the Vinod Dhall Committee-on the public procurement standards and policy-and the Ashok Chawla Committee on allocation and pricing of natural resources are being examined by Committee of Secretaries. The GoM will consider them by month end, he added.


Greenlam Laminates: Deathly confusion!

Greenply commercials tend to be surprising and engaging. But this time, in their endeavour to create whacky stuff, the advertiser has made a major blooper in the commercial, which leaves the viewer very confused

I usually like commercials that come from the house of Greenply. They tend to be surprising, mad, engaging, but at the same time, very, very rooted in the product. I think their 'Judge' commercial for plywood, where a man is being tried for a crime for years and years was simply brilliant. Which is why I look forward to their ads.

However, the new commercial for their laminates brand, Greenlam, left me very disappointed. Because this time, in their endeavour to create whacky stuff, the advertiser has made a major blooper in the commercial, which then leaves you very confused as a viewer.

Here's the convoluted tale: An old gent is fed up with life. Or so it seems, as he wants to die. And what motivates him to kick the bucket is a splendid coffin (made with Greenlam) he's spotted at a local caretaker's shop. And he decides that particular coffin will be his final resting place.

But there's a minor complication: The man's not born a Christian. So he first needs to convert his religion. (Hope the Bajrang Dal guys aren't watching this one). Of course, he does so, and promptly dies. And looks happy and at peace inside the coffin. The voice-over matter-of-factly explains: 'Dikhe itna achha, dil toh karega hi'.

Two serious issues. The first is to do with the execution. Instead of keeping the narrative simple, the advertiser has packed in many elements. As if they were producing a full length feature film. So there's the man's obsession with the coffin and the unraveling of the mystery behind it. There's a wife whose reactions have to be captured. And the gent is made to ask for forgiveness from his natural god (where was the need for this sequence at all?). Plus there's a scene of the man being baptized in a church!

Completely ridiculous, all this overloading of a commercial that ought to have been kept simple. The result: You are left scratching your head trying to figure out what happened. I had to watch this ad many times to get a hang of things. But the viewer only gives you one chance.
Secondly, I am not sure this nation is ready to accept death as a situation in ads. Most Indians are a superstitious lot, and would shy away from brands that cue misery. And Greenlam is a laminate one uses for home décor, a celebratory activity! I think the marketer is pushing his/her luck out here. So even if I am happy to concede, despite my reservations, that we should credit them for pushing the envelope, the very busy story kills the idea anyway.




6 years ago

Not sure of whatever you have mentioned, I love this ad. Interesting bundle in all.


6 years ago

They have created a classic ad - a cult classic that will be cited the world over and for a long time, as an example of an ad that makes ALL the mistakes:
1. Associates its product with the most lastingly negative themes - death, old age, without any redeeming wit.
2. Promotes use of coffins in a country where most people are cremated.
3. Uses Gothic visuals to reinforce the negative, bleak, sepulchral tone.
4. Leaves the viewer thoroughly confused.
5. Does a national prime time campaign, without testing it.
The only explanation I have is that the company wasn't paying the agency's bills on time, or mistreating the Marketing head, who has decided to punish the company in a way that's going to be hard to pin down.

Indian stocks to see cautious opening: Tuesday Market Preview

Mixed domestic economic data announced on Monday showed signs of a slowdown in the local economy

Indian stocks are likely to open on a cautious note on negative global cues. The US market closed lower on Monday ahead of the crucial vote by the Congress on the debt deal and weak manufacturing data. Tracking the world’s largest economy, markets in Asia opened lower on Tuesday. The SGX Nifty was down 32 points at 5,496.50 compared to its previous close of 5,528.50.

The markets gained on Monday, as stocks worldwide got a boost following the US debt breakthrough. However, this positive move after four consecutive days of losses that eroded nearly 200 points on the Nifty, cannot be seen as the end of the fall. We could expect an upmove only if the Nifty closes above 5,590 in a day or two. Yesterday’s gains were on lower volumes; a total 53.01 crore shares were traded on the National Stock Exchange, which is below the 10-day moving average of 61.09 crore shares.

Earlier, the domestic market opened 46 points up at 5,528 and the Sensex resumed trade 155 points higher at 18,352. Buying activity pushed the benchmarks to the day's highs in early trade, as the Nifty touched 5,552 and the Sensex went up to 18,440. However, higher levels soon lured investors to take profits off the table, pushing the indices lower as trade progressed. The market fell to its intra-day low in noon trade as the Nifty slipped to 5,486 and the Sensex fell to 18,219.

The market bounced back from the day's lows, as a positive opening in the major European indices lifted sentiments again. The market closed in the green with the Nifty gaining 35 points at 5,517 and the Sensex finishing at 18,314, up 117 points from its previous close.

In US news, the House of Representatives on Monday approved a deal to raise the US borrowing limit in a decisive step toward averting a debt default by the world’s largest economy. The Democratic-controlled Senate will vote on the bill at noon on Tuesday and is widely expected to pass it. The bill would then be sent to the desk of president Barack Obama, who has said he is anxious to sign the bill.

Earlier, markets in the US ended lower on Monday ahead of the crucial vote on the debt deal and on lower-than-expected manufacturing data for July. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index plunged to 50.9, the lowest since July 2009, from 55.3 in the previous month. The July reading was lower what analysts had expected. The ISM report followed weak manufacturing reports from much of Asia and Europe.

Healthcare stocks plunged on worries that the debt-ceiling deal would lead to cuts in healthcare spending for federal programs such as Medicare.

The Dow fell 10.75 points (0.09%) to 12,132.49. The S&P 500 shed 5.34 points (0.41%) to 1,286.94 and the Nasdaq declined 11.77 points (0.43%) to 2,744.61.

The Asian pack was mostly lower in early trade on Tuesday on signs of a slowdown in the manufacturing sector in July—both in the US and across the region. Meanwhile, new vehicle sales in Japan fell by a record in July, following production disruptions from the 11th March earthquake, while South Korean rivals extended their winning streak to report strong global sales.

The Shanghai Composite tanked 1.68%, the Hang Seng declined 0.59%, the Jakarta Composite fell 0.30%, the KLSE Composite shed 0.06%, the Nikkei 225 shrank 1.32%, the Straits Times tumbled 0.90%, the Seoul Composite slipped 1.61% and the Taiwan Weighted was 1.44% lower in early trade.

Back home, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) on Monday proposed doing away with the assured 4.5% return norm for pension schemes and introduced mandatory disclosure of assured benefits upfront to the customers. The insurance watchdog proposed to modify the guidelines as the earlier norm of assured 4.5% return did not find favour with life insurance companies.

Since the implementation of the guidelines on pension products from 1 September 2010, only five out of 23 life insurance companies came out with pension or ULIP product.


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