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Greek Tragedy: Every pothole is an opportunity, says Prof Vaidyanathan
The current crisis will take more than 80 quarters for recovery of the West. In this scenario, it is better for India to be more de-coupled and evolve its own strategy, which protects our interest, says Prof Vaidyanathan at a seminar organised by Moneylife Foundation
"India story is just starting and we need to look at every pothole as an opportunity, says Dr R Vaidyanathan, Professor of Finance, IIM-Bangalore and Dean, Centre of Economic Studies at Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF). He was speaking on "Coming Global Economic Crisis: Will India Go Down?" at a seminar organised by Moneylife Foundation in Mumbai. 
Addressing a packed hall, Prof Vaidyanathan, rated one of the most popular teachers among all IIMs, brought alive a host of complex economic issues by punctuating his talk with innumerable asides which had the audience in splits. He said, "With global economic power increasingly shifting to the east, India is well poised to emerge as the most favoured destination of private equity and overseas pension funds. For this to happen, we need reforms, not in share market, retrospective taxes or taxes on foreign institutional investment (FII), but at state level taxes, in providing more credit to unorganised sector. Education should be more focussed on trade-based needs and skills. We also need to leverage on caste as social capital. Last, but not the least, we need to close down duplications in central ministries, like education, agriculture and information and broadcasting and have not more than eight to 10 ministries at central level." 

Busting several myths about Indian economy, the 'teacher who is interested in learning' said growth of our economy is domestic demand driven and powered by domestic household savings and not due to FII or foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. "Non-corporate sectors, which are community oriented and family driven, are the engines of growth in India. However, blind adoption of foreign methodology and definitions has led to the government ignoring the real engine of growth, which is the unincorporated sector. Consequently, this sector survives, despite lack of access to formal funding, extortion and harassment from multiple government agencies as well as the police and without access to any form of social security. Yet, they toil and put away retirement funds, giving India's economy the security of a high savings rate," Prof Vaidyanathan added. 
Talking about the Greek crisis, Prof Vaidyanathan, an expert on the Indian model of economics, said, "The European countries are calling their economic problems as global crisis since past several decades. At the most, we can call Greek crisis as Anglo-Saxon Crisis. The current crisis will take more than 80 quarters for recovery of the West. In this scenario, it is better for India to be more de-coupled."
"Crisis occurs when borrowing goes beyond a point. In European countries, people are not worried about savings. They care only for consumption. This reflects in their pathetic domestic household saving and higher debt percentage to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio. Overall debt percentage to GDP in Spain, France and Italy is over 300%, while for Britain, it is around 500%. While Japan tops the chart at 511%, the same for US and China is 289% and 184%, respectively. India's overall debt percentage to GDP is 122%."
"When we talk about household debt percentage to GDP, Britain and Canada top the chart with over 90%, followed by US, South Korea and Spain at over 80%. Only three countries, India, Russia and Brazil have household debt percentage to GDP of less than 15%," Prof Vaidyanathan added.  

Explaining the Greek tragedy, he said, the country has to pay $8.5 billion to European commercial bank by August and it has total debt of $352 billion with a national income of $242 billion last year. Greece's debt is slowly reaching 200%. The Professor of Finance at IIM-Bangalore, said, "Greece has significant structural problems of Government playing the role of father and mother. The government's 75% spending is on pension and wages. Since cutting pension can hit old age and poor segments, it is not feasible. Add to this the number of employed younger population (age group 16-24), which is nearly 50% with an overall unemployment rate of 25% in Greece mainly due to lack of skillset."
"The same problem exists in a large number of European countries. In most of Europe, families have been nationalised and this model may not work in the long run with longer life expectancy and single parent (single mother) families on the rise. For example, according to official figures, by 2016 most children in the UK will be born out of wedlock because of decline in marriages," he added.
Prof Vaidyanathan also explained the recent crash in Chinese stock markets.
Busting the myth that corporate sector is major factor in our economy, Prof Vaidyanathan said, the share of unincorporated or partnership and proprietorship firms in India is 50%. While agriculture contributes 17%, government and private corporate sector contribution is 19% and 14%, respectively. Therefore, the India Unincorporated (non-corporate sector) contributes more towards the economy and not corporate sector, which still occupies the maximum mindshare.
According to the professor, using share market as barometer of Indian economy is completely wrong. He said, "Out of about 8,000 shares listed, half of them were not even quoted last year. Just 200-250 scrips are regularly traded on bourses, while shares of only 10 companies constitute nearly 30% of trading. Out of this nearly 50% to 60% are day trading. In addition, the share of all listed companies is just 5%-6% of the national domestic product (NDP). Therefore, it is wrong to assume the stock market as the real barometer of India's economy."
Same goes in services sector as well. Most of us assume that biggest contributor in services sector is ITES, however, it contributes just 5% to 6%. At the same time, the share of construction, wholesale and retail trading, transport, hotels, restaurants, realty dwellings and business services have larger share in services sector.
Prof Vaidyanathan also explained that it is the incredible savings rate of Indian households, which is another engine that drives the Indian economy by supplying the capital businesses need. He said India's gross domestic savings (GDS) to GDP is about 32% to 35%. Out of this, government's share is just 1% to 2%, while private corporate's contribution is just 7% to 8%. However, household savings have 23% to 25% share in the total GDS, which in percentage terms comes to over 75%. Homemakers are the primary reason for our economic growth. "India ought to put up statues of the anonymous 'Indian Woman' whose natural thrift and savings habits have contributed hugely to the growth of the Indian economy," he added.
There is a myth that government and corporate sector provide employment to maximum number of people. However, this again is wrong, Prof Vaidyanathan said. "In India, 85% people are either self-employed or work as contract labour, while just 12% to 15% have government or corporate jobs. In the US, over 90% people are employed in government or corporate sector, while merely 6% to 8% are self-employed," he added. 
Prof Vaidyanathan's talk on economy covered a broad range of issues - the nature of domestic economy, the role of foreign funding, structure of domestic savings, role of gold, the need to fund non-corporate sector, market access and political linkages, among other issues. 

India must evolve its own strategy, which protects its interest, Prof Vaidyanathan said, adding we also need to focus on tax heavens in search of the lost and last dollar. It is estimated nearly $18 trillion is in tax heavens the G-20 is trying to regulate or get back this money. Indian money in tax heavens is estimated to be between $500 billion to $1.5 trillion.
In the long run, funds - particularly, pension funds that are worth about $18 trillion, have to come to India and it should be on our terms, Prof Vaidyanathan concluded.




1 year ago

Random thoughts: Undoubtedly, prima facie, a very impressive statistical data doled out. Equally impressive are the suggestions offered as to what India should or not do in order to remain insulated / save itself from, or take on and be prepared to ward off, the prospects of a similar tragedy happening at home.Of course, if were to ignore or forget for the moment the inescapable fact of, just not one but, more of it being faced with, with an alarming regularity.

All said,but one thing not said or left to be sanely questioned is THIS: Could not the pothole (s) been possibly prevented through timely or time-bound remedial steps by identifying and plugging in the correctives effectively; rather than leaving it to loom large enough to a scaring 'pothole' (or a multiple of it)?!

Perforce, that reminds one of sagely cautions repeatedly given by great thinkers- humanitarians par excellence- of our own times; but perennially and unwisely chosen to be wantonly ignored.
Any like thoughts to share by the rest!

Anand Vaidya

1 year ago

Eagerly awaiting the full video recording on youtube.

I am sure Prof. Vaidyanathan's talk is enlightening with a dash of humour as usual...

Ralph Rau

1 year ago

Indian business man has a new definition of corruption under today's popular government.

Corruption = Inefficiency

Corruption is when ministers and babus do not deliver promptly i.e. take "commission" and delay the "delivery" or do not deliver at all.

In that sense we apparently have a more efficient government now.

Instead of eating a small cake, create a bigger pie so that "everyone" can eat a bigger slice.



In Reply to Ralph Rau 1 year ago

TO supplement;
If delay,the root cause, traceable/attributable mainly to basic inefficiency,-that is,in performance by anyone, particularly by a 'public servant'(in its most comprehensive meaning / connotation),- of his duties and responsibilities,in turn resulting in 'corruption' of all types, at the grass root of it is the vested or assumed power of 'discretion', invariably unbridled or left uncontrolled.

For a dilation of the specific area, may look up, -; rtw the comment thereon.

If interested in quickly knowing more,care to and browse through the related Blogs @swamilook 2015.

Nifty, Sensex to rise but the rally may be short-lived – Wednesday closing report
Nifty may meet with a resistance between 8,400-8,440
We had mentioned in Tuesday’s closing report that NSE’s CNX Nifty and S&P BSE Sensex may put a short bounce and that if Tuesday's low holds, Nifty may rally to 8,430. The major indices in the Indian stock market ended Wednesday flat with marginal gains. This is in line with the major indices in Asian markets too.
India Vix closed at 15.88, down 0.24%. NSE turnover was at 85.73 crore.
Bargain hunting coupled with subsiding of US rate hike fears on Wednesday propelled Indian equity markets which closed in the green.
After four consecutive sessions of losses which started from July 23, the barometer S&P 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) gained over 100 points in the day's trade.
The Sensex lost over 1,040 points during the last four sessions. The main reason for the downfall emanated from the recommendations made by the special investigative team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court on black money.
The SIT had recommended that the participatory note, or P-Note, route of overseas funds investing in Indian stocks be stringently regulated. 
Apart from P-Notes, worries over retrospective tax on capital gains, the continuing slide in Chinese markets and the proposed containment of the central bank's powers to fix key rates had also subdued the markets.
On Wednesday, the wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also closed in the positive territory. It was up 38 points or 0.46% at 8,375.05 points.
The S&P BSE Sensex which opened at 27,540.46 points, closed at 27,563.43 points, up 104.20 points or 0.38% from the previous day's close at 27,459.23 points.
The Sensex touched a high of 27,609.29 points and a low of 27,470.09 points in the intra-day trade.
According to market analysts, Indian exchanges remained in the positive zone due to the consistent buying ahead of the July futures and options (F&O) expiry on Thursday.
Analysts pointed out that better-than-expected corporate results from the US and hopes that US Federal Reserve will postpone interest rate hike supported markets.
The FOMC meet is significant as it will give further clues as to when the rate-hike might take place in the US. With higher interest rates in the US, the FPIs (Foreign Portfolio Investors) are expected to be led away from emerging markets such as India.
The continuous slide in the Chinese markets in the last two months has eroded nearly 40 percent of the stock value and caused panic. 
More importantly, the inability of the Chinese government, fund houses and brokerage firms to arrest the fall led to global sell-offs.
Sector-wise, healthy buying was observed in capital goods, automobile, information technology (IT), healthcare and technology, entertainment and media (TECK) stocks.
However, consumer durables, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and oil and gas sectors came under intense selling pressure. 
The BSE capital goods index zoomed by 335.50 points, the automobile index rocketed by 257.45 points, IT index augmented by 160.27 points, healthcare index was higher by 84.52 points and the TECK index was up by 81.91 points.
However, consumer durables index declined by 215.52 points, FMCG index receded by 63.96 points and oil and gas index decreased by 17.77 points.
Major Sensex gainers during Wednesday's trade were: Infosys, up 2.04% at Rs.1,085.20; Maruti Suzuki, up 1.87% at Rs.4,273.95; Lupin, up 1.83% at Rs.1,638.75; BHEL, up 1.78% at Rs.283.20; and Larsen and Toubro (L&T), up 1.75% at Rs.1,789.65.
The major Sensex losers were: ITC, down 2.35% at Rs.303.95; State Bank of India (SBI), down 2.18% at Rs.253.70, Reliance Industries, down 1.44% at Rs.995.45, NTPC, down 1.17% at Rs.135.25; and Gail, down 1.08% at Rs.348.15.
Among the Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.13%. However, China's Shanghai Composite Index gained by 3.47% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose by 0.47%.
In Europe, the London FTSE 100 index was higher by 0.47%, but the French CAC 40 was marginally down by 0.11%. Germany's DAX Index, too, fell by 0.21% at the closing bell.
The top gainers and losers in the major indices in the stock market are given in the table below:
The closing values of major Asian indices are given in the table below:
Among European indices, DAX was at 11,178.01, up 0.03% and FTSE 100 was at 6,587.20, up 0.47%.


Oversight of Dubious Brain Supplement Products Under Scrutiny
US Senators question FDA, retailers about supplements


With more than 10 million baby boomers expected to develop brain disease the market for products claiming they can improve brain function and even prevent, treat or cure dementia or Alzheimer’s has become grist for the supplement mill. 
But how brain products with particularly questionable claims are being monitored and why they are being sold by major stores and websites is the subject of an inquiry by members of the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging, who sent letters to the FDA and more than a dozen major retailers including Amazon, Target and Google.
Aging Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, and ranking member Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, expressed concern in a recent letter to the FDA that the agency “lacks a systemic approach to preventing adulterated, mislabeled and fraudulent products from entering the market” and is not effectively using its authority to require manufacturers to register supplements containing new dietary ingredients.
The FDA does not have authority to approve supplements before they reach the market, as it does with pharmaceutical drugs. But dietary supplement makers are prohibited from making claims that their products can cure or treat diseases and must have substantiation to back up any general well-being or structure/function claims. They must also have substantiation that the product ingredients are safe. While the FDA’s oversight of supplements is limited, the agency can remove adulterated products or send a warning to companies making drug treatment claims. But the agency’s actions regarding supplements have been called into question in recent months by critics who say key leaders at the agency, including the head of the agency’s dietary supplement division, face conflicts of interest because they previously worked in the supplement industry.
Preying on desperate seniors
The Senators called into question a specific supplement sold on Amazon’s site that claimed it protected against Alzheimer’s, dementia and stroke. McCaskill said the supplement, Brain Armor was pulled from the site only after she alerted the FDA. But she said similar supplement products making deceptive claims that are aimed at seniors are still widely available both online and in retail stores.
“People looking online for cures or treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia are at their most desperate — and it’s clear from what we’ve found that many of these products prey on that desperation,” she said.
Earlier this month, the manufactures of a memory pill claiming it is clinically proven to help reverse memory loss and support cognitive function settled allegations of deceptive advertising brought by California law enforcement officials and the FTC, which has publicly signaled that it is intensifying scrutiny of brain product claims. The product, Procera AVH, claimed consumers could regain the memory and brain power they had 15 years ago by using it.
What has the FDA been doing?
In their inquiry, the senators requested a plethora of information from the FDA including:
All actions taken in the past five years against dietary supplement makers. 
A description of the FDA’s policies and procedures used to ensure that companies are reporting new dietary ingredients and any penalties imposed on companies for not complying. 
All serious adverse event reports relating to dietary supplements and efforts to make the reports transparent. 
The role of contractors and third-party testing labs play in the agency’s inspection of dietary supplements. 
A description of the FDA’s process for evaluating and ensuring the validity of a supplement’s health claims. 
A list of dietary supplement manufacturers currently registered with the FDA.
The FDA would only comment that it has received the letter and “will respond directly to the Senators.” has submitted a Freedom of Information request seeking copies of all information the FDA is providing to the committee in response to the letter… Continue Reading…


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