Cold wave conditions are not restricted to North India this winter. Small towns in Karnataka and Andhra, too, have unusually cold nights
In Chandigarh, on 7 January 2012, the weather news was that there will be no morning assembly in any government school until the weather conditions improve. The relaxation has been given by the Union Territory’s (UT) education department. In Jamshedpur on 11 January 2012, the news was that all schools were ordered to remain closed till 14 January 2012. In wake of the bad weather, the district administration had called for the closure of the schools till the weekend. In Kanpur, on 5 January 2012, the weather news was that thick clouds and strong winds brought down the temperatures. Some areas even witnessed light showers during the evening.
This is in the northern parts of India where Indians are familiar with cold wave conditions for many years. What about places in the south where winters have been pleasant over the years?
The harsh cold weather, on 17 January 2012, broke records in many places, with Madikeri (Karnataka) registering its lowest in 132 years at 4.8 degrees Celsius, Mysore’s coldest day in 120 years was at 7.7 degrees Celsius and Bangalore’s coldest day of January in the past 19 years with minimum temperature dropping to 12 degrees Celsius. The temperature in the twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad dipped suddenly to 9.3 against 11 degrees Celsius in the last three days. Bijapur recorded the lowest-ever minimum temperature at 8.4 degrees Celsius. Even Gadag was chilly at 12 degrees Celsius against 14, which was recorded in the last two days. Haveri recorded 9 degrees Celsius.
Look left, and you see a westerly storm heading South (towards Tamilnadu) and look right and you see a monster of an easterly heading also South (Karnataka & Andhra).
This is why probably Andhra and Karnataka felt the impact of cold more than Tamilnadu
The residents in Karnataka and other parts of south India have been taken by surprise and struggle with even their daily routine. The weather forecast in Karnataka still has the temperature warning: Moderate to severe cold wave conditions would prevail over interior Karnataka in the next two nights.
In Andhra Pradesh, too, the winter has been severe on account of which four elderly persons died of chilly winds blowing across coastal and north Telangana districts. Two women each died in Bapatla and Visakhapatnam. Adilabad shivered as mercury fell to 4 degrees Celsius.
In the metropolitan cities, the night temperature is still mild with Kolkata recording 14 degrees Celsius, Mumbai at 18 degree Celsius and Chennai recording a pleasant 17 degrees Celsius.
Punjab’s Pathankot, which saw its first snow in more than 40 years on 7 January 2012, recorded a maximum temperature of 17 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 7 degrees Celsius. Amritsar was a little cooler, at 16.7 and 4.4 degrees Celsius.
The Met department told the media that rain, cloudy skies, icy winds and fog were only adding to the chill, making the weather feel colder than it really is.
According to the Times of India, B Puttanna, director, in-charge, Bangalore Met department told the media: “The severe cold wave from the north and north-east, combined with clear skies, has appreciably brought down the minimum temperatures across the state. Also, the shorter day time and longer nights have reduced the radiation on Earth’s surface...Last week, the temperatures in Karnataka were above normal. But this week after the severe cold wave affected North India, the temperatures in various parts of the state have gone down by 7-9 degrees Celsius.”
Also, according to the Times of India, MB Rajegowda, an agro meteorologist, “The severity of cold also depends on the air-moss strip passing through the co-ordinates of Karnataka. This strip keeps shifting and the area which falls under this strip gets affected by the cold wave. The prolonged north-east monsoon has contributed to the cold spell.”
Cold wave conditions have spread to eastern India, too, with dense fog conditions blocking incoming solar radiation and bringing down day temperatures. Cold wave conditions continued to hold over many parts of Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh for a couple of days.
For several years now, climate sceptics have amusedly eyed a phenomenon known as “The Gore Effect” to give arguments against global warming a tinge of humour. “The Gore Effect” is a concept suggesting a causal relationship between unseasonable cold weather phenomena and meetings associated with global warming, with particular emphasis on events attended by ex US vice-president, Al Gore. We, in India, are having a severe winter even without the “Gore Effect”.
Nifty may move in the range of 4,900 and 4,990
Domestic concerns, highlighted by the finance minister, and the World Bank’s cut in global growth forecast induced a high degree of volatility and saw the market snapping its four-day winning streak today. As we mentioned yesterday, the Nifty witnessed marginal fall, after making a higher high and higher low for the second consecutive day. From here we may the index moving in the range of 4,900 and 4,990. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a massive volume of 76.10 crore shares being traded.
The market opened with small gains on concerns that the ongoing Eurozone debt crisis will impact IT companies. TCS, which posted an 18.26% net profit growth for the third quarter, stated that the challenges in the short-term would impact the company’s business. The Nifty opened 11 points at 4,978 and the Sensex resumed trade at 16,502, up 36 points over its previous close.
The market dipped into the red soon after the opening bell but news of a possible buyback of shares by index heavyweight Reliance Industries pushed the benchmarks higher. However, volatility saw the market fluctuating in and out of the red in morning trade.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s concerns about the government’s ability to achieve the fiscal deficit target resulted in the indices falling sharply into the negative. Sporadic buying activity led to minor gains, but those were not sufficient to push the market in the green.
A lower opening of the European indices kept the domestic market under pressure in noon trade. The World Bank cut its global growth forecast even as the Greek government is set to hold talks with its creditors on chalking out ways to cut the country’s debt and avoid a default.
The market fell to its intraday low in post-noon trade. At the lows, the Nifty went down to 4,931 and the Sensex declined to 16,384. The market continued to flip-flop till the end of trade, settling lower and breaking its four-day winning streak. At the close, the Nifty lost 12 points to 4,956 and the Sensex finished 15 points lower at 16,451.
The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was negative at 532:1204.
The broader indices underperformed the Sensex today with the BSE Mid-cap index declining 1.16% and the BSE Small-cap index dropping by 1%.
BSE Oil & Gas (up 3.12%) and BSE Realty (up 0.61%) were the only gainers in the sectoral space. The top losers were BSE Metal (down 2.19%); BSE IT (down 2.16%); BSE Capital Goods (down 2.04%); BSE TECk (down 1.77%) and BSE PSU (down 1.31%).
Reliance Industries (up 4.94%) led the gainers’ pack on the Sensex. It was followed by HDFC Bank (up 2.79%); ONGC (up 2.39%); Hero MotoCorp (up 1.67%) and DLF (up 1.57%). Tata Steel (down 4.05%); Coal India (down 3.22%); Mahindra & Mahindra (down 2.84%); BHEL (down 2.78%) and Wipro (down 2.70%) languished as the top losers on the index today.
The top performers on the Nifty were RIL (up 4.26%); HDFC Bank (up 3.16%); Reliance Infrastructure (up 2.61%); Reliance Power (up 2.20%) and ONGC (up 2.06%). The key losers were Tata Steel (down 4.52%); SAIL (down 4.29%); Coal India (down 3.48%); Kotak Bank (down 3.26%) and Axis Bank (down 3.16%).
Markets in Asia settled mixed as fresh concerns about Europe overshadowed the optimism of positive economic data that came in on Tuesday. Chinese shares settled lower on profit booking, ahead of the week-long Lunar New Year holidays next week.
The Hang Seng rose 0.30%; the Jakarta Composite gained 0.59%; the Nikkei 225 surged 0.99% and the Taiwan Weighted advanced 0.17%. Among the losers, the Shanghai Composite tanked 1.39%; the KLSE Composite fell 0.13%; the Straits Times declined 0.73% and the Seoul Composite shed 0.02%. At the time of writing, the key benchmarks in Europe were mixed while the US stocks futures were in the positive.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of shares amounting to Rs1,025.75 crore on Tuesday while domestic institutional investors were net sellers of shares aggregating Rs429.23 crore.
Bangalore-based Sobha Developers has announced its foray into Chennai residential market by launching two ventures with a combined project size of over Rs400 crore. Sobha Meritta, coming up at Kelambakkam, has a project size of Rs300 crore while Sobha Serene has a project size of Rs120 crore and will be coming up at Porur over 3.15 acres. The stock tumbled 3.79% to settle at Rs231.10 on the NSE.
With the domestic market for independent testing solutions in India opening up, Thinksoft Global, a software testing solution provider for the BFSI segment, plans to enhance its revenues from India. The stock declined 3.29% to close at Rs45.60 on the NSE.
Dishman Pharmaceuticals & Chemicals said its Switzerland-based subsidiary Carbogen Amcis AG has acquired Creapharm Parenterals for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition will extend Carbogen Amics development and manufacturing services by adding complementary formulation and lyophilisation services and sterile GMP capabilities for the fast supply of drug products, including highly potents, for pre-clinical studies and clinical trials (Phase I, II & III), Dishman said.
Dishman settled fell 0.32% to close at Rs47on the NSE today.
The bank officers’ union has suggested that bilateral agreements between bank management and the union should be kept in mind while considering the Khandelwal Committee’s recommendations
The recommendations of the Khandelwal Committee on Human Resource Management (HRM) in the public sector banks (PSBs) have seen a stiff opposition from the bank officers’ union. Expressing their reservations on recommendations pertaining to recruitment and promotion policy, the union has requested a dialogue with the finance ministry.
The committee headed by the former chairman of Bank of Baroda, Dr Anil K Khandelwal, had submitted 105 recommendations on HRM in July 2010. Recently the government accepted 56 of them.
The committee recommended that 50% of the vacancies in officers’ cadre should be filled through direct recruitment. However, All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC) feels that such recommendation is against the career interest of clerical employees and cuts the bilateral agreement between the bank management and the union. Currently 25% of the recruitment is through this bilateral agreement.
According to AIBOC, the most controversial recommendation is the performance-based incentive. The committee suggested that there should be accountability for non-performance through premature retirement of an employee after a review, on reaching 55 years of age. The union points out that the topic of performance or non-performance is debatable, for instance a bank manager can claim achievement only if the staff supports him. Accepting such suggestion of rewarding the individual without taking in to account the team work will be counter productive.
In a memorandum sent to the Department of Financial Services, GD Nadaf, general secretary of AIBOC said, “The existing bilateral understandings and agreements between bank managements and officers’ organisations in the area of promotions, transfers and service conditions may be allowed to continue.”
The committee suggested fast-track promotion by reducing the minimum length of service. This, AIBOC says has lot of practical issues as each bank has its own requirement and there cannot be a standardized policy. Currently, the promotion policy is based on bilateral agreements and takes care of career aspirations. It is also in lieu with the recently amended guidelines issued by the ministry of finance.
According the union, the recommendation to review all internal settlements affecting mobility, flexible utilization of staff productivity, performance and customer service will affect the banks’ industrial relations. “Any effort to unilaterally change the existing settlements which are time-tested and evolved through mutual consultations will vitiate the industrial relations in the banks,” says AIBOC, in its monthly journal Officers’ Voice, run by the Corporation Bank Officers’ Organisation.
It adds, “The finance ministry which represents the ownership of PSBs, has every right to issue policy guidelines; but the implementation of the policy should be left to the banks’ boards.”
Speaking to Moneylife, TR Bhat, former member of AIBOC and advisor of Officers’ Voice says that, “So far as the promotion and recruitment policy is concerned, there is a bilateral agreement between the bank management and the union. It is also within the regulatory mandate. I don’t see why there is a need for a separate guideline. Each bank has its own requirements and the ground realities are different. What suits ‘X’ bank may not interest ‘Y’ bank.”