The cricket legend, who has scored record 100 international centuries, was nominated to the Rajya Sabha and today took oath as member of parliament
New Delhi: Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar on Monday began a new innings as a member of Parliament. He took oath as member of Rajya Sabha to which he was nominated on 26th April, reports PTI.
39-year-old Tendulkar, who was accompanied by his wife Anjali, took oath in the chamber of Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari.
"Cricket comes first," Tendulkar said when reporters asked whether he preferred cricket to Parliament. However, he hastened to add that he does not want rumours to swirl that he has stopped playing cricket for Parliament.
"...I am here because of my cricketing career. I cannot take any focus away from my cricket. That is where it all started for me. I will focus on my cricket and as and when I stop playing cricket, I don't know, when I will start attending to other things.
"I don't want rumours to start that I have stopped playing cricket. I will let everyone know when I will stop playing cricket," he said when asked how he would assuage people who raise questions whether he would be able to do justice to the job in Parliament when he is still playing cricket.
There was much excitement in the corridors of Parliament as a large number of officials gathered outside Ansari's chamber where Tendulkar took oath.
A number of Parliament staffers took out their mobile phones to capture a glimpse of the cricketer.
After taking oath, Tendulkar said it was a great honour for him to be nominated as a Rajya Sabha member by the President.
Tendulkar said the Rajya Sabha nomination has put him in better position to help not only cricket but also other sports in the country.
On apprehensions that he would not be able to devote much time to Parliament, Tendulkar made it clear that he was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha and had not sought to be a member.
"See, I am a nominee. So, I didn't go to anyone to say that I want to become a Rajya Sabha member. It is an honour which I accept with full respect but I am here because of my cricketing career," he said.
Asked whether Tendulkar's oath was special, Ansari said, "All oaths are the same. All members are same."
Tendulkar said cricket had given him many things in life during the 22 years he has played the game and he had always dreamt of giving something back to cricket in the latter half of his life.
"Whatever I am today is because of cricket and I strongly believe that. Today, with the nomination as Rajya Sabha member, I think I am in a better position not only to help cricket but also other sports in the country which is really important and means a lot to me. And I will try my best to help other sports," he said.
"But I believe there might be few obstacles along the way and a few challenges along the way. And I need help from my fellow parliamentarians, the administrators, media and our countrymen. I think, together we can make a lot of changes," Tendulkar said.
The cricketer said he would like to be remembered as someone who contributed to all sports in the country and not just by his cricket statistics.
"I would finally like to say that I will be happy if I am remembered as someone who contributed to all sports in India rather than just my cricket statistics. That would be fantastic," Tendulkar said.
Two others, actor Rekha and industrialist Anu Aga, who were nominated to Rajya Sabha along with Tendulkar, had taken oath last month when the House was in session.
Tendulkar was busy with the Indian Premier League (IPL) season, which ended on 27th May.
He had created history by scoring 100 international centuries in March this year.
An inspector assigned by the market research company masquerading as a guest made full assessment of the hotel’s services. The 42nd part of a series describing the unknown triumphs and travails of doing international business
The hospitality industry survives on rendering the best of customer service that could be made available at a given location. To this end, competition from the hotel owners is very severe and really, if I may say so, it is cut-throat in approach.
I think this is the most important aspect that keeps everyone on its toes! In our case, we had continuous training programs, and, very often, we had impromptu tests to see if we were up to the mark!
The guest commentary card, which many guests left in their suites, were collected diligently by the housemaids who cleaned the rooms, and these were daily passed on to the housekeeping director the same day, who in turn, would submit them to the GM’s office immediately; generally the person concerned was a lady in charge, as the staff were mostly young women, and she would spend some time making notes from these cards those that relate to the housekeeping department, because she could take prompt action. By the afternoon, all the relevant departments indentified in the comments would be alerted, both for the compliments received and complaints made; if there were suggestions made to improve our services/facilities, these would be subject to further study and investigation by the top brass.
In addition to the commentary cards submitted in the hotel (both directly at the front desk and left in the rooms), the guest may still have the option of filling up the questionnaire that would pop up on their email addresses, as soon as they have checked out. Very often, the comments may be filled in by the guests as they await their flights, or even when they are airborne! In any case, by the end of the month, the data would be processed at the headquarters, and each unit (branch) or location would get its grading, which again will be computed on a national scale. Based on the outcome of these reports, we would still have to meet the boss when they discuss our standing on the national level. This was a continuous process and trainings where we failed to come up to the guests' expectations were brought to our notice and corrective steps taken, so that the negative comments become positive even before the next visit. In effect, as a very large percentage of the guests were ‘repeat’ visitors to the hotel, we had the opportunity to improve ourselves for an enduring happy relationship.
On the top of these natural reactions of the customers, we had unexpected guests, who came and stayed with us and who gave extremely detailed account of every single service they ‘enjoyed’ or found ‘lacking’.
I shall share with you with an incident that took place on one such occasion. I was on duty, when I received a call from the courtesy phone at the airport. “I am Gloria Fernandez at the airport; when is your coach coming to pick the guests?” “Madam, I am Ram at the Suite, welcome to Washington. Right now our coach is at the airport but please tell me your location and if you have collected your baggage?”
“I came on Continental, and I have two in hand, one expected anytime now”. “Madam, you are close to gate No 5 where our coach will stop after which it will go to gate No 9. What I will do is to ask the driver to take a second round to collect you. Please hold on for a moment”. I called Ibrahim on the radio: “Ibrahim, your location, please?” “Approaching gate No 5”; “I have a Ms Gloria Fernandez at gate No 5, but she had to get one more baggage; please take a round and definitely collect her” “Ok will do”. “Madam, thanks for holding, our Ibrahim will collect you in the next five to seven minutes, as he will stop at gate No 5 now and proceed to No 9, collect some guests and then take another round before reaching No 5, by which time, we hope you have the luggage” “ok thanks”. After about 12 minutes, Ms Fernandez arrived at the hotel; she was welcomed at the main door before she came to the front desk. She was checked in by 5.15pm.
While booking, she had asked for a suite near the elevators; she was a Starwood Club member, and I had blocked both 720 and 722, so that she could make a choice, both non-smoking; as I checked her in, seeking her photo ID, payment arrangements, etc. Ibrahim had got the trolley with her baggage, and in a couple of minutes, she was all set to go. Along with her suite keys, I had also given her some hotel leaflets, brief brochures for sightseeing in the area, and a list of restaurants with a wide choice of food.
Ibrahim took her to the suite, explaining other details, and seeking if she wanted any other assistance in terms of cabs for visiting places or if she wanted to hire a vehicle. In the evening, she came down asking for dinner suggestions, and after a brief chat decided to dine at our own restaurant. On her way, she stopped again to reconfirm that she wanted a wake-up call at 7am. She spent a few minutes at the Shoppe before going back to her suite.
Next morning, she came down and enjoyed a well-spread buffet breakfast, and wanted to look around the hotel on her own. She sought assistance to have her laundry done (by using complimentary equipments in the tenth floor), but came to pick up some detergents at the Shoppe. For lunch, she had met an associate at the front desk and took her suggestions for taking a walk on King’s Street, so that she may decide on the spot! She came down again only in the evening to have a brief chat with me, and asked why she was not given a suite in the Club level?
I explained to her that because of the limitation, of 20 suites in that floor, it was generally allocated to Platinum card holders on availability basis, and even there, rotation was done so that all such members had the opportunity to enjoy the benefit. In any case, the major difference was the location of the Club lounge, for which all Platinum Card holders had access keys even if they occupied suites in other floors.
After this chat, she asked for recommendations for supper, choosing Italian food, and I gave her the names and locations of the restaurants nearby. Aamir was on duty and had him drop and pick her up later. Once again, on her way back, she stopped at the front desk, and sought my assistance for booking for her family to arrive a couple of weeks later, and also wanted a list of sightseeing places. I had given the brochure earlier, and as for booking I suggested to her that as soon as she got back to her suite, when she calls us on the phone, we would be able to connect her to the central reservations who were not only qualified but authorized to make the bookings, as at the front desk we were not equipped with all the required information for this purpose. After she confirmed her wake-up call, she went back to her suite.
On the next day, around noon, when she returned back to check out, she was surprised to see me! “Ram, do you stay in the hotel itself? I saw you late yesterday night?” “Yes, Ms Fernandez; a colleague of mine is sick since yesterday, and I came in to assist Robi, this morning”. “Will you be staying the evening as well?” “Yes, but tomorrow is my day off, so there won’t be a problem!”
As Robi progressed with her check out, we continue to have a general chat; as to how she liked her stay and if she was able to make further bookings for her planned return in the next couple of weeks and so on... Once the check-out process was complete and her baggage was down in the lobby, she asked, “Who is your GM?” Robi replied, “John is our GM”. “Is it possible for me to meet him, where is his office?” Robi directed her to Alex’s office, special assistant to GM, and we did not see her for maybe an hour or so. Only when she had left, John came and told us that she was an ‘Inspector’ assigned by the market research company, to visit us ‘incognito’ and make a full assessment of our services!!!
We did have good comments on her card and she had made certain recommendations in regard to rates for suites and the need to increase the number for Platinum and Gold Card holders as more and more guests will be falling in these categories due to frequency of their visits. We were not fully aware of all the recommendations she had made.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was 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. From being the advisor to exporters, he took over the mantle of a trader, travelled far and wide, and switched over to setting up garment factories and then worked in the US. He can be contacted at [email protected].)
Governments are enamoured with manipulating the market. The irony is now the market is manipulating them. So the reality is that China’s slowdown is inevitable and it matters little what Wen says
Recently markets have been concerned about slowing growth in China. According to the data coming out of China, there is really nothing to worry about. Although China’s official purchase managers’ index (PMI) fell to 50.4 in May, it is still the sixth consecutive month above the 50 level indicating expansion. Still the trend does not seem encouraging. But not to worry, Premier Wen Jiabao promised that the government would pursue more proactive growth including additional spending on infrastructure and additional “fine tuning” of the economy. Most of the world’s economic experts have an almost religious respect for Chinese economic management and feel that there isn’t any problem. But are they correct?
China is also famous for being the factory to the world. Exports make up 30% of its GDP (gross domestic product). Although China is less exposed to a slowdown in places like Europe than countries like Korea where exports make up over half of the economy, it will be far more affected than the United States which exports only 13% of its products. So with the problems in Europe, it is hardly surprising that it reported exports rose only 4.9% from last year. This was quite a surprise to analysts who were predicting 8.5% growth. Exports actually have been slowing since the end of 2010.
The import numbers were far worse. The forecast was for growth of 10.9%, but China barely grew at all, only 0.3%. The imports are by far the more important indicator since China is supposed to be rebalancing its economy toward domestic consumption. Certainly Chinese consumers are not doing their part. According to a recent survey they were saving more not less.
But it is not just the Chinese numbers which are disturbing. China has been driving most of the growth in the world economy since the beginning of the Great Recession. Many other countries are highly dependent on its demand. Commodities, especially mining companies have been major beneficiaries. But now the boom is over. The price of metals is down more than 20 % from 2011 highs. The companies that mine the metals did even worse. The FTSE All-World mining index has dropped 31.8% from its peak in April 2011.
Copper is often called Dr Copper because the strength of the demand for copper is supposed to reflect the health of the world economy. In February 2011, the expectations about Chinese demand were so great that the price hit a record high, over $10,000 per tonne. It recently dipped below $8,000 a tonne. China imported so much of the stuff that it is re-exporting it.
According to China’s presumptive next president, Li Keqiang, the official GDP numbers were for “reference only”. To determine the real state of the Chinese economy, he relies on electricity consumption, rail cargo volumes and disbursement of bank loans. These indicators show trouble. Last April electrical production increased 11%. This year it increased only 0.7%. Rail cargo is growing but only half the pace of last year.
Real estate construction makes up twice as much of the Chinese economy compared to most countries, but housing prices are falling. Prices in Wenzhou declined by 12.3 %, Beijing declined 1 % and Shanghai declined 1.3%. March also saw a 50% decline in the sales of Chinese bulldozers.
China is supposed to be rebalancing its economy away from investment, by encouraging consumers to spend more, but the consumers didn’t get the message. Retail sales growth for April slowed 14.1% to a 14-month low
But not to worry. This week’s market turmoil has investors around the world predicting and expecting that central banks will step in with more monetary goodies. China is no exception. Even the IMF (International Monetary Fund) said that China “has room for a countervailing fiscal response and should use that space”. Wen’s remarks seemed to confirm this, but there is a problem. The irony is that China is already stimulating its economy and it is not working.
Recently the People's Bank of China delivered a 50 basis point cut in banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR), the third cut in six months. This is supposed to pump an additional $63 billion into the system. There is also a wide expectation of an interest rate cut. But it is not helping. The banks were supposed to lend 800 billion yuan in April, but they only managed 681 billion yuan ($108 billion). It is getting worse. Loan growth for the four largest Chinese banks in the first two weeks in May was exactly zero and there was a drop in deposits.
This is a major problem. The fiscal and monetary stimulus that everyone expects China to make has occurred and it is not working. Governments, and especially Chinese government, are enamoured with manipulating the market. The irony is now the market is manipulating them. So the reality is that China’s slowdown is inevitable and it matters little what Wen says.
(William Gamble is president of Emerging Market Strategies. An international lawyer and economist, he developed his theories beginning with his first hand experience and business dealings in the Russia starting in 1993. Mr Gamble holds two graduate law degrees. He was educated at Institute D'Etudes Politique, Trinity College, University of Miami School of Law, and University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. He was a member of the bar in three states, over four different federal courts and has spoken four languages. Mr Gamble can be contacted at [email protected] or [email protected]).