Mukesh Ambani awarded Dean's Medal from University of Pennsylvania

Mukesh Ambani has received an inaugural Dean's Medal from the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science

Reliance Industries Ltd's chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani has been awarded the Dean's Medal from the University of Pennsylvania for his visionary leadership in the application of engineering and technology for the betterment of mankind.

Commenting on the inaugural medal, Eduardo Glandt, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, said, "Mukesh Ambani embodies what the engineering profession can contribute to a country, as someone who seeks to apply technology for the betterment of society."

In his acceptance speech, Mukesh Ambani said, “It (the medal) recognises the collective achievement of the Reliance family and the creativity of over 25,000 engineers in Reliance. I dedicate this medal to the indomitable spirit of our founder chairman, Dhirubhai Ambani and each and every member of the Reliance family."

Mr Ambani is currently steering Reliance's development of a pan-India retail network, a transformational initiative connecting rural and urban India. He was also instrumental in the formation of Reliance Infocomm Ltd, one of the largest information and communications initiatives in the world.

Among Mr Ambani's numerous honours are the 2007 US-India Business Council 'Global Vision' award for leadership; the 2006 ‘ET Business Leader of the Year’ Award by the Economic Times and the first NDTV Profit ‘Global Indian Leader Award’ in 2006.

Mr Ambani was the co-chair of the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2006 and received the 2004 World Communication Award as the ‘Most Influential Person’ in Telecommunications by Total Telecom.

In 2008, Mukesh Ambani was elected vice chairman of the executive committee of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 

In India, he is a member of the Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industry and of the Board of Governors of the National Council of Applied Economic Research. He is also Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and a member of the Indo-US CEO’s Forum, the International Advisory Board of Citigroup, the International Advisory Board of the National Board of Kuwait, and the Advisory Council for Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, among other appointments.


Sensex sheds 75 points, ends at 17,540

Indian markets declined, despite positive trends in global bourses

The Sensex ended the day at 17,540, declining 75 points from the previous day’s close, while the Nifty closed at 5,245, down 18 points, despite positive global cues.

We had said that the market would end the day at a low and it did so. Currently, there is simply no momentum in the trend. Buyers have turned more cautious. Next week if the Nifty takes support at 5,200, the uptrend may continue or else it will go down a little bit and then bounce back with vigour.

During the day, NTPC rose 1% after the power ministry reportedly asked the petroleum ministry to place a proposal before the empowered group of ministers to allot 12 million standard cubic metres per day (mscmd) of gas from the KG-D6 block to State-run NTPC at $2.34 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu).

Eicher Motors rose 1%, after the company’s total sales spurted 202.81% to 2,265 units in December 2009 over December 2008.

Transgene Biotek was up 3% after the company signed a pact with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories to manufacture a drug named Orlistat which is used for treating obesity.

AXIS IT&T shot up 10% on reports that the company would consider and approve the rights issue of equity shares on 12 January 2010.

As per reports, prime minister Manmohan Singh said that the economy is expected to grow at 7% this year and may soon return to a sustained high growth path of 9%-10%. Mr Singh pledged that his administration would work to address key constraints in the infrastructure and the agriculture sectors as these were priorities for the government. During trading hours, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said that the economy could grow at 7.75% in the current fiscal year to end-March.

According to data released by the government, the food price index rose 18.22% in the 12 months to 26 December 2009, lower than an annual rise of 19.83% in the previous week.

According to reports, the government may introduce legislation in the budget session of Parliament to make necessary Constitutional amendments and facilitate the launch of the Goods & Services Tax (GST) although the rollout of this comprehensive indirect tax reform from the scheduled date of 1 April 2010 seems unlikely.

Meanwhile, the government will reportedly allow companies to adjust the fringe benefit tax (FBT) paid by them against the advance tax due in the March 2010 quarter, reducing the hazard of claiming a refund and slightly improving profits at a time of rising costs.

HSBC’s Emerging Markets Index climbed to 56.1 in the December-ended quarter from 55.3 in the third quarter, with measures for manufacturing and services output in the period expanding at their fastest pace in eight quarters.

HSBC said that the pace of the recovery appeared to be easing, as the gain in the index was “considerably weaker” than the 4.6-point advance registered in the third quarter. The index is calculated on 19 manufacturing- and service-sector purchasing manager indexes across 14 countries.

During the day, Asia’s key benchmark indices in China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan rose by between 0.10%-1.09%.

South Korea’s central bank kept its interest rate unchanged at a record low of 2% for 11 months in a row amid a growing conflict with a government opposed to early monetary tightening.

On Thursday, 7 January 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 33.18 points while the S&P 500 was up 4.55 points. However, the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.04 points.

As per US media reports, the labour department reported jobless claims last week had risen by just 1,000 to 434,000, which is less than expected. Continuing claims came in at 4.80 million, lesser than expectations of 4.98 million.

In premarket trading, the Dow was trading six points higher.


Is a rush-hour delivery schedule the reason behind these 'dumped' Nanos?

A number of Tata Nanos were found in a 'dumped' condition at a ground in Kalyan, near Mumbai. The company says that it is not routine procedure to keep cars in such a condition

On Thursday, Moneylife published a news report about several Tata Nano cars being kept in a 'dumped' condition at Kalyan, near Mumbai. We tried to contact everyone, including Tata Motors officials to know the reason behind this, but they were all busy at the Auto Expo.

We finally received a reply from a company official that says, “No, it is not routine for Tata Motors to keep cars in that manner. Given the rush for deliveries for the Nano, this is the first time we have begun to use railway rakes to despatch cars, and hence the required infrastructure is not up at the required railheads. We have thus far despatched cars only by car carriers to dealerships in numbers they can accommodate at their premises."

The Nano cars you have seen at Tisgaon Naka, have arrived by railway rakes, for onward distribution to our dealers in the region, by car carriers. Since dealership premises have limited space, they are being sent in batches to the dealers. It is needless to mention that before delivery to designated customers, each car is thoroughly checked at the dealerships through our pre-delivery inspection process," the official added.

According to this response, the local dealer must have kept the vehicles at that particular ground. We called the Tata Motors local dealer from Kalyan, Balaji Cars. Surprisingly, no one was willing to talk, officially or unofficially. One person admitted that last month they had sold or rather delivered 40 Nano cars to customers in and around Kalyan.

So if this dealer does not have space to accommodate all the Nanos ordered by him, how did he get the delivery of these vehicles? And second, according to the image, there were more than 100 Nanos kept at this ground which definitely is not the dealer's premises.

We contacted another dealer located at Prabhadevi in Mumbai, which was the company's official showroom. According to Mayur Adivarekar, the in-charge there, they had around 70 bookings for the Nano and four customers have paid the full amount and were waiting for delivery. 

Taking both the Kalyan and Prabhadevi dealer comments into account, on face value it appears that there is a good response for the Nano in Mumbai suburbs rather than the city. While there may be hundreds of customers in the suburbs waiting for Tata Nano deliveries, at the same time, it looks like city customers may not be interested in the vehicle or may be opting for other cars. We came across several car dealers who said that instead of waiting for the Nano delivery and finally paying about Rs2 lakh, it made sense to go in for a second-hand car, like the Maruti Zen or Hyundai Santro.

Moneylife has been writing about the cancellations of Tata Nanos, since August last year. This was largely because prospective Nano customers seem deterred by the huge gap between booking and the actual car delivery date coupled with higher interest rates charged by various banks.

At that time, Tata Motors shortlisted 1,00,000 owners through a computerised random selection process. The company had claimed that the cars were 'price-protected' and people will get their dream vehicles at 'ex-showroom price'.

However, many among these 1,00,000 selected owners and 55,021 in the waitlist were seen pulling out of the deal. The spate of withdrawals has taken everybody by surprise, although Tata Motors had pledged to shell out an interest of 8.5% on the booking amount to the waitlisted customers on the terms that the car would be delivered within two years from the date of allotment (23 June 2009) or will pay 8.75% interest if the car is delivered after two years from the date of allotment.

The fact that the customers need to pay interest first and enjoy the car ride later did not go down well with many prospective Nano buyers. Around 70% of Nano bookings were made through bank loans, with interest rates varying between 10% and 12% on a booking amount of Rs90,000 to Rs1,40,000.

For example, a borrower who had opted for a loan of Rs1,20,000 for a three-year period will be forced to shell out a monthly instalment of Rs4,000, when he is getting his dream car only after two years.

Though extended delivery time is the key reason, a few from the 1,00,000 shortlisted customers have also opted to cancel their bookings. Besides banks, some Tata Motors dealers also confirmed the Nano cancellations. "There are several cancellations, but they are at Tata's end," said one Mumbai-based dealer. Nearly 1,00,000 people who were certain to receive the low-cost car will now get it by the last quarter of 2010.



Shakuntala Rao

7 years ago

I do not think having vehicles rotting like this makes any sense to anyone. In my opinion, it is over-production. Excessive sales forecast v/s actual sales. Beware... this practice leads to final collapse.

Shadi Katyal

7 years ago

Evidently something did go wrong because there are orders being canceleld for non delivery. Such Snafu are common when a new product is unvailed.
Tata should look into this carefully and they should thank the enquiry of the writer.

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